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~~~

“Don’t you fucking move, asshole!” Janet yelled from behind him.

Didn’t see that coming, did you, boss?

No. He hadn’t. The gun was a new and unexpected development. Not the first one tonight, so it seemed. Fortunately, those things on the other side of the door were unaware as well. One shrieked in pain as a bullet ripped through the door and found a target.

Without turning around, Russell attempted to regain control. “Wait! Don’t shoot!” he shouted over his shoulder. “I’ve a reasonable explanation for being in your house.”

The creatures had tremendous strength. The gunshots only infuriated them. It was just a matter of time before they broke the flimsy lock. Russell leaned his shoulder into the door and slowly turned to look at her, holding his hands above his head.

“What… what did you say?” Janet asked.

“Look, I’m a private investigator,” he lied. “I work for your husband’s law firm.”

“Bullshit.”

“I’ve been keeping tabs on you and Mr. Schuler—accumulating evidence against him. He’s in a lot of trouble. I was outside watching the house from the street when I saw several intruders enter your home. I thought you were in danger so I rushed in to find you. Then I ran into a bit of trouble.”

Janet hesitated.

Give her a name, any name. Names always ease an itchy trigger finger, boss.

“My name’s John.” And then another lie, “I’m not going to hurt you, so please don’t shoot me.”

But we are gonna cut your fucking tits off for the cheek tattoo, piggy.

If not for the beasts trying to break in, Russell would have charged her and snapped Janet’s neck. When moments got intense, he had little to no control over the other one. He had to regain himself quickly.

There was another hard crash against the door as Russell repositioned himself.

Janet couldn’t think straight. Everything was happening so fast. She had awakened from one nightmare to find herself engaged in another. He’s come home to kill me, she had thought, believing the intruder was Gerald.

In her dream, there had been a man’s shadow hovering above the bed holding a knife. She remembered opening her eyes to see him, but was unable to cry out or move at all. When the shadow moved into the moonlight, it was Gerald’s face she saw.

Disoriented and driven by the fear from her vivid dream, Janet had reached desperately for the bed lamp as the noises drew near, turned the light on, and then reached into the night stand for the gun.

She only saw her husband when the stranger barged in, causing her to pull frantically on the trigger.

There was another heavy slam against the door.

“What’s out there?” Janet was shaking fiercely. The adrenaline mixed with the shock of almost killing a man kept her frozen in place, finger still resting on the trigger. She stood beside the bed with her knees locked, arms raised, and her long, blond hair thrown back over her shoulders as the bed lamp illuminated her naked form beneath the thin, silk nightgown.

To Russell, she looked like some vengeful vixen right off a comically bizarre B-rated movie poster where the crazed housewife wakes up to find her spouse screwing another woman in the next room.

He saw it in her eyes. Janet clearly intended to kill something. He had to diffuse her quickly.

Again, he was thrown off balance as the creatures made another attempt to breach the door. This time, they howled their frustration from the other side.

This was enough to get her attention.

“If you could please lower that gun, I would like to get us out of here before what’s on the other side of this door gets in. After that, I’ll explain everything. But right now, we have to run.”

Janet was fixed on the stranger’s dark eyes. They were so much like Gerald’s that she almost fired again. They were predator’s eyes. Then the door caught her attention and when she drifted back to those dark eyes, they had softened considerably.

If only you were him, she thought. Regrettably, Janet lowered the gun.

Russell backed away from the door and quickly got around the other side of a large dresser. He pushed it in front of the door. Next, he went toward the window on the opposite side of the bed. “If you don’t mind,” he began, wanting her attention off of him as much as possible, “could you please keep that gun aimed toward the door and shoot the first thing you see, okay?”

Janet raised the gun toward the door as the creatures challenged it again, causing the door to shake violently in the frame. “What the hell is out there… John?”

Russell ignored her. He opened the window and pushed out the screen, letting it fall into the darkness. He could already tell there was no way down without risking an injury.

You could make that jump, boss. It’s that bitch you’re worried about. Leave her here for the animals. Maybe they’ll let you watch.

“Shut up,” he said without thinking.

“What?” Janet asked.

“Not you.”

“What!?” She turned the gun back toward him, and then back toward the door as the creatures slammed it again.

The other one was laughing hysterically in his head.

“We need another way out.” Russell surveyed the large master bedroom for anything they could use, recalling from memory the layout of the room. There were two remaining doors. One led into a large bathroom. That was a dead end. The other door led into the large walk-in closet. There were no adjoining rooms from here.

“We could barricade ourselves in the bathroom,” Janet offered.

Russell was staring at the walk-in closet. “No, we need to move in there.”

“Why the hell would we-”

“The laundry chute at the back of the closet,” he interrupted. “It’s big enough for us both to scale down.”

Before Janet could ask how he knew that, Russell quickly closed the gap between them, grabbed her wrist and twisted until she released the gun into his free hand.

He had her on her knees in seconds, as he continued to apply pressure on the wrist while aiming the gun down at the top of her head.

Waste her, boss! Shoot her in the fucking eyes and skull fuck the bitch!

Russell regained control. He released her hand and Janet backed into the bed.

He crouched down on the floor in front of her, his face inches from hers. “Look, there’s no more time for bullshit questions. If you do as I say, when I say it, we might get out of here. But there’s no guarantee at this point. Those things mean to have us. Do you understand?”

Janet looked back into those cold eyes and understood he meant business. “I… I understand.”

Then Russell made a surprising move and handed her back the gun. “I’m not trying to scare you. But you’re making me nervous pointing that gun in my face. I’m just as confused as you are and I’m trying to find a way out of this crazy mess. I could really use your help right now, okay?”

Janet nodded.

“Good.” He helped her back to her feet. “Now, let’s move.” Russell turned toward the closet, leaving his back exposed.

What the fuck are you doing, boss? You think you know this bitch, but you don’t. Why did you give back the fucking gun?

Russell ignored him. He knew the other one would never understand the game and didn’t bother explaining it. The other one was an unthinking savage, a malevolent tool, a bloody means-to-an-end, and now, it was Russell’s moment to shine.

Janet lifted the gun and aimed it at Russell’s back. It shook in her hands and felt much heavier than before. She kept it on him until he disappeared into the closet and then dropped her arms. “Damn it!” she hissed.

“Are you coming,” he called back, smiling from the dark.

Russell did not waste time pondering the evening’s strange events. He didn’t consider the beasts outside Janet’s bedroom to be of any real relevance. He was not about the ‘how’ or the ‘why’. What mattered to him was that after looking once more into the frightened and desperate eyes of his prey, tonight’s circumstances only served to highlight the importance of purpose.

His purpose.

Whether hell had surfaced right in the center of the Schuler home, or perhaps something far worse, it didn’t matter. Everything was stressing Janet’s need to be rescued from this life. And this macabre twist of circumstances would prove to her that she’d just looked into the eyes of her deliverance.

She has seen the eyes of her savior, both now… and later, he thought confidently.

For once, the other one remained silent, perhaps understanding who the crazier of the two truly was.

The lock on the bedroom door finally gave as the door knob popped off and hit the floor. The creatures slammed into it again, pushing the door open three inches until it struck against the dresser.

Janet screamed when she heard them howling through the crack. What the hell is out there?

“Now would be a good time,” Russell said.

Janet forced her lethargic limbs to move and got up to follow the stranger into the closet.

“Leave the closet light out and close the door behind you,” Russell told her. “It may buy us a few seconds. Perhaps they’ll think we exited through the window. Unless they track by scent, then it won’t matter.”

“Track by scent?” Janet closed the flimsy closet door behind her. “What in God’s name is out there?”

“There’s nothing godly out there,” he said.

Nothing godly trapped in here with you either, bitch, the other one laughed.

The beasts continued slamming into the bedroom door, creating a one-foot gap. They were almost through.

The walk-in closet was narrow but deep, running half the length of the wall. The laundry chute was hidden behind a fashion jungle at the back end.

Janet stood near the closet door, staring out through the narrow slats that let some light in. She could clearly see the bedroom door, or what was left of it. She tried to steady herself—the gun shaking visibly in her hands. Janet also wanted some distance from the strange man dressed all in black who called himself, John. She could see him throwing clothes aside to get to the unused laundry chute.

How did he know it was there? All she had were questions that lent for disturbing answers if she let her imagination linger.

There was another loud crash against the door as the dresser nearly toppled over but righted in time.

Janet raised the gun, not yet certain which way she should aim it.

Russell cleared away a pile of folded winter clothes from the top of the chute, and then lifted the lid, letting up a cool draft from the first floor. For a moment he stared down into the dark hole, roughly the size of a man-hole cover, and listened for what he hoped was nothing from below. Russell estimated the drop was no more than fifteen feet.

He had first spied the chute on his initial visit to the Schuler house, after discovering Janet’s diary among other memorabilia that she kept on one of the closet shelves. It only reaffirmed his belief in paying attention to all the details, no matter how insignificant they seemed at the time.

Oh, come on, boss! You know damn well why we remember this old chute. That’s where we were gonna stuff her corpse when we were finished. Remember? After we cut her up in to pieces-

“That was what you wanted to do, not me,” Russell whispered.

Whatever you say, boss. You keep servin’ up that bullshit on the menu and we’ll just keep eaten’ it.

Convinced there were no surprises waiting at the bottom of the chute, Russell went to retrieve Janet.

He ignored the gun aimed at him and looked out through the closet slats toward the bedroom door.

Any second now, boss. It should be a real fuckin’ massacre. Wanna hang around and see what happens?

Russell turned to Janet. “Look, I think we can get out. But we have to go now.”

She lowered the gun and followed Russell to the chute.

Ten seconds later, the dresser fell over with a crash, followed by an all too familiar unnerving sound on the hardwood floor:

Rat-a-tat-a-tat

They both ducked down near the chute. Russell motioned with one gloved hand not to make a sound.

“Dear God, they’re in,” Janet whispered. She was trembling. In a panic, Janet lifted the gun, intending to shoot blindly through a rack of hanging dresses, but Russell quickly disarmed her and wrapped his arms around her waist to still her shaking, while covering her mouth with his free hand.

“Be completely fucking still,” he whispered sternly in her ear.

She nodded.

Rat-a-tat-a-tat

~~~

Next Episode 1-4

Previous Episode 1-2

~~~

If you’re enjoying Don’t Feed The Dark so far, please consider voting for it on Top Web Fiction and Top Site List by clicking the links below. This will help increase its visibility and draw in more potential readers. No registration is required. Thanks for your support and for reading :)

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__________________________________________
“Chapter 1-3: Demon Night” Copyright © 2014, 2015 Scott Scherr. From the Novel “Don’t Feed The Dark, Book One: Southbound Nightmares”.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission by the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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Comments
  1. midnightwriterporvida says:

    Great work! I am on the edge of my seat!

    Like

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