The puddle splashed up my shoe and soaked into the cheap leather sole. Every time it rained like this in the big smoke my wet toes reminded me I needed a new pair. Don’t get me wrong I’m not cheap, I just don’t have the time to go to Kmart.
I’ve been working leads for the past six months trying to locate and apprehend her murderer. Traces of a clue led me to more women like Tracey. More women brutally torn asunder by the murderers infectious seed. His Tinder profile goes by the alias Jake but I’ve amounted a few other names for his face too.
His victims – all women – share the same slash from sternum to pubis. Some morbidly obese with tears along deflated skin, while others have clusters of purple bruises around the stomach and others still have green-black bed sores, each more gross than the next.
They shouldn’t of had an impact on me after so long on the force. You get to see a few of the…nastier things this world has whilst on the job; a drug deal gone bad, a hooker beaten black and blue by a pimp for not being pretty enough, or the aftermath of a murder case. But the twisted faces of his victims will haunt my dreams forever.
A shiver ran down my spine and it’s wasn’t because of the river of rain cascading down my back. No, it’s what comes out the women that frighten me.
The street lamps punctuated the darkness, the rain through their orange light caused my vision to look like it had static, and the cars dotted the side of the road benign their sleeping owners curl up in their nice warm beds. Just an ordinary main street in the centre of a bustling city. Nothing out of the normal – but if my hunch was right, then what’s inside the derelict school before me is far from normal.
The black loop fencing is too high for an overweight exercise dodger like me to scale, and the padlock on the gate has rushed shut. Thankfully some street urchin up to no good had made a big enough hole for me in the fence. It was a job to fit through and the rain soaked my knees as well.
I thought about calling for backup but the guys back at the precinct would laugh at me for years if this didn’t amount to nothing.
“Yeah, called for backup! For a scary old school, ha ha, what a douche.”
I sent a message to a colleague anyway. Just as a precaution.
I hurried to the archway that once held an elegant door, the nostalgia took me of back to my childhood. When things were…simple.
The remains of the once heavy wooden door laid in splinters through the dark void of the entrance way. I blinked in the darkness determined to distract myself from the butterflies in my stomach and the dryness of my throat.
The smell hit me as I moved through the corridor. like rotting flesh and sewage. Like something had died and then something else has eaten that corpse and then died all over again.
I scanned the hallway ahead, 3 doors on the left and 3 on the right, and one facing me – all closed apart from the latter that lets out a tiny dull light. Something zipped past me like the wind on a cold day, and spun me around as a childish giggling echoed down the hall accompanied by the snap of a door.
I held my breath and wait for the next sound, trying to determine if it was a kid, the wind, or some trick of my mind. I slowly crept to the first door and laid an ear against the rough grain.
I took in a deep breath to calm my nerves and instantly regret it. The smell clogged my nose and throat.
The handle turned easily and swung open to a semi bare room. The window let in a dirty light and it scattered on the decaying body laying on a blood stained mattress in the far corner. Her naked body shone white is the light save for a few patches of dark marks, blood. Her sagging breasts look like deflated balloons with lead weights for nipples. Each pointing down to the long slash below.
I couldn’t see if the dark smears across her body were blood; but by the large rip and flappy skin of the deceased lady’s abdomen, it was an educated guess. The woman face stayed stretched in an eternal mask of terror. I can’t help but wonder what’s happened when I notice more dark smears leading off the cot, across the floor, to the door I just stepped through.
I follow it back to the bed and kneel down to better see. Handprints, child’s handprints, maybe the owner of the giggling I heard moments ago. There’s nothing I can do for her now apart from close her sightless eyes. But even those have fused open.
The next room show much the same as the first, and the third, fourth are equally arranged with dead women with large slashes down their chests. Each woman’s swollen stomach ripped from within by one of his seeds. The fifth is missing, although a trail of blood leaves the room and enters into the hallway.
“That makes five so far.”
Giggling reached my ears as I crept toward the sixth door. I nearly lost my feet from the slick patch of fresh blood on the floor. The stumble caused me to be eye level with the key hole as faint light from within spills out into the darkened hall.
A pale blur moves past the keyhole, then it’s gone.
I can see what looks like boys, young and naked. Neither have hair on their heads or bodies, but what gets me is their eyes. Black like midnight, not a hint of white to be seen, and as round as saucers. The boys skin seemed shiny somehow. Like they’d been oiled up.
I pressed my eye closer to the hole and immediately pull back and retch. Hot bile rose from my stomach, out my mouth, to my feet. Half digested pieces of quinoa and butter bean lunch clumped on the floor.
“They’re fucking feeding it to her.”
The hairless boys were taking it in turns to feed a women laying on a cot on the far side. She was grossly overweight and her stomach was huge, not just from fat but something bulging from within.
I steel myself to look again, one cut the flesh off a dead women to the right, then moved to the moaning lady and shoved it into her mouth. Her face and bare breasts are stained with red as blood dripped from her chin. I don’t know if she’s drugged or in some sort of trance, but she began to chew and eventually swallowed.
My stomach threatened to purge again, so I pulled back and looked away. It didn’t help and a second steaming pile of puke mingled with the first. A loud scream burst from the cracks around the door and my heart shot into my throat. I didn’t want to look, but either curiosity or stupidity made me.
The lady squirmed on the litter, the children jumped around excitedly and tore the last remains of the women’s dirty cloths from her bottom half. A stream of golden piss leaked from under the mattress. She threw back her head and screamed again. Something is happening to her belly – something is moving underneath her skin.
The hairless children sandwich the lady and hold down an arm each as a tear appeared at her rib cage. Blood sprayed from the gradually opening wound showering the boys, and they laughed with glee. With a long moan that would be better suited to an exorcism, the lady shuddered and a blooded arm emerged from the hole in her chest.
The boys pulled at the hand and helped the wound get bigger, each pulling at the flesh like it’s a present on Christmas morning. Soon it’s big enough for the thing to poke it’s face through. Another black-eyes boy stares through a thin veiny membrane as his brothers clamber to help clear it from his head. Again they pull at the bloody flesh, jagged skin exposed more of the boy’s body until it squirmed out and plopped to the sodden mattress.
The boys picked up their new brother and slapped at each others back like sportsmen on a field of play.
I threw myself away from the door and charged back to other room. Just as my door closed to a slit the three black-eyed children emerged into the hall, each supporting the other around the shoulders, and exit through the single door at the end of the corridor. The corpse of the dead lady watched me with a milky stare. I knew I needed to go on, but i also needed backup. I started to search for my phone through my wet pockets, but it was gone. I thought back to the thing that brushed me in the hall.
“Fuck, there goes back up.”
She didn’t move with my jest, and again i wonder if she would have laughed if she were alive. Maybe the last time she laughed was with Jake. My hand landed on the reassuring weight of the gun under my arm and I pulled it out. I can’t help but think of the poor ladies like the one before me. Of how they screamed when their skin was ripped from the inside out. Of the grotesque visions that I must bare for the rest of my life. If I could scratch my eyes out I would.
“So with the new one that makes six.”
With my trusty 9mm in one hand I stalked the corridor once more. The doors pass me like a twisted game show.
“Ding ding ding ding – You have chosen door number seven. What does he win Kimberly?”
The answer was suddenly at my fingertips as the smooth door knob turned slowly. The adrenaline pumped through my veins steadying my erratic heart, my hearing went sharp too, even the smells had a different clarity to them. The room opened up to a large assembly hall, a scattering of moonlight fell from the heavens over a ring of mattresses on the floor. Twenty or so in my quick estimation, and twenty bulging ladies at different stages of pregnancy on top each one. And too many of the children to count.
With only ten bullets in my clip, and a second magazine in my inside pocket the odds weren’t looking good. But I had to try.
As soon as the gun went off one of the hairless boys fell and the rest turned. I quickly made my way into the room off loading the pistol into any that ventured my way, until the clip emptied. I made quick grab for the second clip, but one of the boys charged me and we fell in a heap.
Suddenly a sharp searing pain exploded above me eye and the boy’s nails fly toward me again. I kicked him off and reload the magazine and pop a bullet in one of his eyes, blood as black as tar leaked from the socket. I didn’t have time to think as more crashed around me. The gun deafened the women’s screams. I didn’t know if the cries meant more of the children were crawling out of fresh wounds to join the fight, or were just reacting to the madness I’ve created.
Suddenly they stop. I fire what I thought was my last bullet into the nearest one, and it fell to a heap beside a screaming lady. Then I count them off – four left. As they stood panting, even with their black eyes I knew they wasn’t looking at me anymore. I turned slowly petrified to see what has made them stop, to find a well groomed man with sparkling white teeth stood in the threshold.
“Jake.” I growled.
He glanced around the room, sliding lovingly over each of his dead offspring to the pregnant hosts. A snarl curled the corner of his lip. With two steps he picked me from the floor and lifted me high, until my feet dangled uselessly in the air. I tried to shot him, but he tore the gun from my fingers and threw it away.
“You killed my children?” His words were like an angry whisper forced between ivory teeth.
The boys giggled and made goosebumps run up my arms. Jake threw me across the room and I landed heavy against a copper pipe. A jet of gas erupted around me. I jumped up even though the pain in my shoulder was intense and grabbed the damaged pipe. I bent the pipe until finally it broke loose and brandished it like a sword.
The room started to fill with gas, brief flashes of a naked flame or spark shot through my mind and I hoped that my lighter didn’t go off accidentally. Jake crossed the room in a few powerful strides as his children watched, and swung a hand toward my face. I ducked and strukout with the pipe up catching him under his chin. A wet sickening crunch told me I’d hit home, but still Jake swung again. I stumbled back into the wall and made ready for the next attack, but he stepped back clutching his chin, a fountain of black-blood fell through his fingers. He gurgled something incoherent to his offspring and they jump to the attack.
I speared the first with a lancing blow through the chest and was surprised at how soft it’s body was. Almost like the flesh was made of putty. The next jumped over his fallen brother and sunk his teeth into my bad arm. The pain was intense, almost like I’d been burnt by a scolding iron and savaged by a dog at the same time. I pulled the pipe out of his brother with a sucking sound and rammed the other end into the biters eye socket. The kid screeched like a banshee and fell withering to the floor like a fish out of water.
I expected another attack, but it didn’t come. Jake had stopped the last two with a hand against their chest. He snarled and walked back, black-blood soaking his white shirt and once emasculate shoes.
“I will remember what you have done here.”
Slowly they left, I never took my eye off the door, half expecting them to return until one of the ladies started to moan. I was over in a flash, her inflated belly wriggled with one of the Jake’s spawn. The womans mouth formed silent words.
She pointed to the fallen gun and I picked it up, and pulled out the cartridge to find it empty. After a moment pauses I pulled back the chamber to reveal one last bullet. The lady let out a bone rattling scream, and I aimed the gun at thing in her belly, but she reached out and pulled it to her forehead.
I closed my eyes and squeezed. The shot rang out and the woman laid dead, but the stomach continued to move. I looked at the tar-like-blood coating the copper pipe in my left hand, clumps of black goo dropped to the floor as I levelled it at the unborn child. There was something fundamentally wrong with stabbing a pregnant lady’s stomach; even though I knew that it wasn’t a baby at all, but rather one of Jake’s grotesque children. As I turned with a new found horror squeezing my throat, the other women called from their soiled cots, pleading for me to do the same.
With only on decision left I walked to the nearest cot.
“Take this,” I gave her my lighter, “count to ten and then light it.”
She smiled briefly and clutched my hand tightly, i gave it one last pat before I ran out the door, down the corridor and out into the night. I spotted my phone laying on the floor and stooped to pick it up just as the explosion lifted off my feet. As pieces of the building fell around me I dialed the phone.
“Hello, dispatch, yeah, I’m gonna need the fire brigade.”