Friday, October 7, 2011
The Rarest of Treats by Nomar Knight - A Halloween story
“Hey, detective! Are you going to the Captain’s Halloween party?”
The question was accompanied by a high nasal voice that could only belong to the coroner. The plump man stood to my right. I sighed, “It depends on what’s under the sheet, Saunders.”
Saunders pointed a fat digit at the body and said, “The victim was a six foot-seven inch Goliath.”
I froze in place as a tingling sensation crawled up and down my spine. Judging by what lay before me, a sizeable amount of cadaver was missing. The stained covering could have been hiding a child. I didn’t have to raise the sheet to know what I’d see. “It’s All Hallows Eve.” I said, “The crazies are back.”
Saunders had been chewing on a toothpick. He let it slip out of his mouth and juggled it with his gloved hand, making sure it didn’t contaminate the crime scene. He gulped loudly and uttered, “Hey, ten years ago we found a bunch of cadavers in this condition. If it’s all the same to you, Detective Valens, I’ll skip out on tonight’s party. I'm nobody's lunch.”
I couldn't believe how fast ten years had passed. While the coroner mentioned particulars about the corpse, my thoughts drifted back to that dreaded night. My partner, Steve Holter and I were working the subway system in plain clothes, looking out for any weirdos that stood out. We were on the four-to-twelve shift on a cold Halloween night, enjoying the creativity of some strap-hangers as they paraded on the platform in strange outfits. A huge Samoan wore lederhosen stockings and flashed thick legs. He claimed to be Helga. A pair of vampires sucked face while they waited for the train. All seemed routine until near the end of our shift when my partner spotted a uniformed police officer.
Steve tapped my shoulder, “Bobby, get a load of that guy.” My heart began to race when I realized the costume looked authentic, down to the nine millimeter Glock in his holster.
I said, “The guy looks young.”
I followed my partner to the kiddy cop. Steve said, “Can we see some ID, officer?”
He sized us up all the while looking at us as if we spoke a foreign language. At last he uttered in a low voice, “I’m a cop.”
I said, “Yeah, out of what house?”
If he was really on the force, he’d know that house meant precinct. The fact he didn’t, prompted my partner to pull out his gun. Steve said, “Don’t move!”
I circled behind the impostor, maintaining my hand on my weapon.
The Halloween cop said, “I’ve done no harm. Why are you bothering me?”
Steve said, “It’s against the law to impersonate a cop, pal.”
The next thing I knew, I’m waking up in the train tracks, listening to people screaming, some crying. I reached the ledge and almost fell back on the tracks as my hands slipped on liquid. It wasn’t until I stood on the platform that I noticed my hands and slacks were drenched in blood. My veteran partner, Steve Holter, lay in a puddle of crimson. Well, at least the lower half of his body did. His head down to his chest appeared to be torn right off and never found.
“Detective Valens.” Saunders’ annoying voice brought me back to my present predicament. “I’m locking myself up tonight. I suggest you do the same.”
I lifted the white sheet. The top half of the basketball player was missing. “I can’t do that Saunders. This shit has to stop tonight.”
Saunders touched my shoulder, “but you can’t stop them. The last time they were here, there were numerous attacks in different parts of the city. They all occurred within a twenty-four hour period. Just let them take what they want and they'll leave again.”
I got off my knee and finished straightening my tie. “I may not get them all, but I’ll be damned if I don’t bag at least one of them crazies, tonight.”
When I got home, I found a Halloween card under my door. I opened the envelope and saw a drawing of a tiny body with an incredible set of jaws. Sharp teeth similar to a great white shark entrapped the upper half of a man. I opened the card. It was an invitation to a costume party. The host called himself Officer Child. He promised to take a bite out of crime…solvers.
“The bastard’s taunting me.” While my brain told me I’d be walking into a trap, I understood that there’d be no better time to avenge my partner’s death. I envisioned an image of Rambo and muttered, “Wait till you get a load of me.”
The party was hosted in a house located in a secluded neighborhood. Right from the outset it was clear that Officer Child had major financial resources. The house epitomized a haunted mansion, complete with manufactured cobwebs, dark windows, and a spooky quality that seemed to go beyond the norm.
I entered the place expecting trouble right away. Instead, a vampire Playboy bunny offered me a glass of what looked like champagne. I ignored her and searched through the busy partiers. Zombies rocked on the dance floor, accompanied by mummies, a Frankenstein, a few half naked witches, and some werewolves. Quick movement drew my vision to a corner where tables were set up. A tiny nurse caressed the face of a man wearing fireman’s garbs. There was something odd about the way she moved. As I got closer, I noticed she looked like she couldn’t have been more than ten years old.
Someone poked my backside. When I turned, I immediately pointed my shotgun at Officer Child. The wacko had the nerve to appear exactly like he did ten years earlier. He wore the same police uniform, complete with a real firearm. It looked like he hadn’t aged a day.
I said, “What are you?”
He waved for me to follow him. I assumed he wanted to go somewhere with less noise, somewhere more private so he could eat me. Well, I was dressed like Rambo, and I had plenty of real fire-power to deal with the likes of his kind. I followed him through a chamber lit by torches. Murals of half-eaten bodies sprayed the walls. I couldn’t hold my curiosity any longer. I blurted, “What the fuck are you?”
He ignored me and maintained an easy pace. Eventually, he reached a heavy iron door which seemed to open by an unseen force. A cold draft chilled me on the inside as much as my skin. A momentary darkness at the entrance of the chamber, gave way to a light more acceptable to my eyes. He followed a carpeted path, climbing five steps until he sat on a golden throne.
I waited by the foot of the stairs, all the while pointing the muzzle of my shotgun at him.
He spoke, “Detective Bobby Valens, so good of you to accept my invitation.”
“Why did you kill my partner?”
The thing that called itself Officer Child said, “I don’t have time to provide you with a real history lesson, but surely you don’t think humans are on the top of the food chain.”
He paused and smirked at me like I was some sort of stupid creature. Then he said, “There are many galaxies and several suns. By the way, I take offense to what you call us. We’re not crazy.”
“I admit I didn’t expect you to act civilized… bottom line, you ate my partner,” I said.
He waved at me dismissively, “I only took what is considered a rare delicacy on our planet. I ate his brains and heart. Eventually I spat out what was left of his skull and chest.”
It was my turn to be demeaning, “That’s mighty cordial of you. Steve Holter had a wife and son who had to bury what was left of him in a closed casket.” My eyes watered and I chambered the shotgun.
His beady, black orbs grew the size of two half dollar coins. “Surely, you people don’t apologize to the animal’s kin once you kill and consume them.”
Screams! Somewhere in the distance screams reached the creature’s royal chamber. He smiled. “Ah, the witching hour has begun."
I knew other small terrors were feasting on the partygoers. Their terrifying screams rocked me to my core. “Aren’t you going to try to eat me?”
Officer Child laughed. “If I wanted you, your measly weapon couldn’t stop me.”
I didn’t wait for him to make any aggressive gestures. I pulled the trigger. The loud blast left me partially deaf as it echoed throughout the chamber. Officer Child’s head tore clean off his shoulders. To my dismay, another head took its place. Horns protruded from its skull. Purple skin slipped itself over the head until indentations formed eyes, a mouth and nose. Ears grew. The horns sunk through the skull and the creature opened its mouth. Then the horns divided into what looked like shark’s teeth.
I thought about firing another round, but the creature squealed and growled, and somewhere in the middle of all its bickering, I heard my partner’s voice scream, “RUN!”
There are many things I don’t understand about our world. Most of us live blind to what’s really out there. Most of us think of Halloween as something to make fun of, but I say, fuck those crazy bastards. I know the truth. I know we need to be prepared. That’s why I’m no longer a cop. That’s why I dedicate my time to recruiting an army that will blow these creatures away. We have ten years to prepare for their return. We have to make the most of our time now.
So are you with me, fellows?