Russell had reached the caretaker’s cabin quicker than expected, not realizing where he was until his feet connected with the small dirt road that substituted as a driveway. He’d scanned the road toward the front of the nearly hidden, dark structure, nestled within the trees. Following the dirt road the other direction, he noticed it went around and through the woods behind the cabin, toward the cemetery.
Russell’s irritation began to surface. He should have found her long before now. Dawn was quickly approaching and the fire department would be arriving at the Schuler house, if they weren’t already there. His window of opportunity was quickly closing.
Fire department, boss? Are you fuckin’ kidding me? Why don’t you get your head out of that whore’s ass for a moment, and think about what you saw tonight. Then, tell me if you think those fuckin’ fire trucks are still comin’.
Russell ignored the other one. Truth was, he had not thought much about anything except keeping Janet alive. The rest was irrelevant. His purpose was all that mattered.
Time was running out. Russell didn’t like being rushed. Being rushed led to mistakes; being rushed led to sloppy conclusions, and that was his way, not Russell’s.
He had moved through the woods with the efficient stealth of any predator, somehow overlooking Janet’s hiding spot within the heavily shadowed thicket. While she slept deeply from exhaustion, Russell had been looking for movement. A bright colored night gown, broken ankle and the clumsy sounds of someone not accustomed to maneuvering through the forest at night, should have made finding her as easy as spotting an elephant, but Janet was proving far more resourceful then he anticipated.
The bitch is hiding, boss. She probably watched you walk on by and had herself a good old laugh. When you catch her, break the other ankle too! Break it slowly until that cunt’s not smiling anymore, so she knows what runnin’ will get her. Then, make that pig scream-
“Be quiet,” Russell hissed sharply.
His attention was fixed on the cabin.
The small, rustic looking structure sat deceptively still. Two dark windows looked out off a poorly maintained front porch toward Russell’s hiding spot.
He took a reluctant step out from his cover to get a better look.
If Janet had made it this far, the cabin should’ve been lit up, phone calls made, and the police on their way… unless, of course, they were already inside waiting for him.
He crouched down and examined the front of the cabin for any indication of a trap. That’s when he noticed that the front door was ajar and that one of the windows had been shattered.
Place feels like a tomb, boss. Can’t ya’ feel it?
The other one was right. The cabin seemed lifeless, abandoned… but there was more.
Perhaps our excitable friends with the claws and teeth hit this place first, boss.
Yes, that sounded about right. And then he remembered the screams in the wind from earlier.
Russell let out a heavy sigh, shook his head and said, “She could still be in there.”
The lame bitch isn’t worth the risk… and you know it, boss.
He stood up and approached the porch. The heavy wooden door squeaked loudly when he pushed it all the way open, letting in the moonlight.
The first thing he saw in the death room was the bloody discarded eyeball staring at him from the top of a slashed up and blood-stained sofa. Welcome to the horror show, my friend, the eye seemed to suggest. Oh, it gets much worse than this… but please, feel free to have a look around.
The large open living quarters of the cabin displayed one horrific death scene after another as Russell counted six dismembered family members scattered about the destroyed room like a macabre collage of savageness he’d seldom seen. The amount of blood splattered across every surface seemed more than six mauled corpses could manage. It was apparent that the same beasts that had interrupted Russell’s affairs in the Schuler home, had struck the caretaker’s family hard and fast, catching them completely off guard.
Two had died, without ever leaving their seats before the family television. What was left of their bodies looked like they were split down the front and had their innards ripped out and thrown about the room. Another was dragged down the back hall that Russell assumed led to the bedrooms. A thick trail of blood clearly showed that someone had struggled in vain before being devoured in the hall—a bloody torso was all that remained. Apparently, one of the monsters didn’t want to share his spoils with the group. The remaining members were torn up trying to flee out the back door of the cabin. The rear door stood partially open with a headless man lying dead within the frame.
Russell was neither appalled by the slaughter, nor did he share a peer’s appreciation for the murderous frenzy that took place. He simply stared at the massacre indifferently, while trying to calm the other one’s extreme arousal at the sight of so much meaningless brutality.
Blood’s still fresh, boss! Can you smell it? Don’t you want to rub your hands in it, feel the warmth of it on your face? Fuck! I wanna slice something up!
“Be still, animal,” Russell cautioned.
He could feel the other one’s unwillingness to be silenced… especially now. Like a child being told that Christmas was suddenly canceled while drooling over all the presents under the tree, the other one continued to resist, but finally succumbed to Russell’s control.
If your bitch had been here… well… I don’t know if you could have stopped me this time, boss. You know I’m right.
Russell ignored him. After examining the remains of the bodies, and the other rooms within the cabin, he was convinced that Janet never made it this far. He could either backtrack or stay put and wait for her to come to him.
Or you could just leave, boss. Leave before the shit really hits the fan.
Russell decided to wait. He closed the front door and sat down on the living room couch in the vacant spot between the two corpses, placing his hands behind his head. From his vantage point, he could clearly see the driveway leading up to the porch through the front windows. The moonlight would reveal Janet’s approach while he remained concealed in the darkness. He made the mistake of leaning back as he closed his eyes for just a moment…
…and woke twenty minutes later with a start as he heard an unusual sound coming in through the shattered front window.
Wake-e, wake-e, boss. Trouble’s a comin’.
“Shit,” he said, getting quickly to his feet. He’d been uncharacteristically careless, letting his exhaustion get the better of him.
He went to the window to assess the strange sounds coming from the woods. There was no movement outside. Russell had trouble identifying what he was hearing, but it was getting louder. At first he thought it was the nocturnal wildlife getting riled up by the nearby Schuler home fire or the full moon. But as he listened harder, Russell understood that he was hearing voices, overlapping one on top of another.
The shrieks and moans of nearly five hundred corpses ripped across the night as the once permanent residents of King Memorial Cemetery ascended the hill behind the caretaker’s cabin and spread out across the woods like a rotting tidal wave crashing against the shores of sanity. They were compelled by the need to feed upon the world above the soil. The stench of the recently slain put the closest to the cabin in a frenzy which spread among the cemetery horde like wildfire.
Holy shit, boss! You hearin’ this?
Russell could still see nothing. “They’re coming up behind us,” he concluded a little too late.
As confirmation, the first wave of the re-animated dead struck the rear of the cabin. They were not aware of Russell within the dark, lifeless slaughterhouse… but it was the slaughtered that attracted them.
Russell turned toward the rear of the cabin just as several cold and lifeless limbs reached into the shattered front window at where he stood exposed in the moonlight a moment before.
He sidestepped away from the blackened fingernails of enraged woman, her jaw snapping while clawing at the air. Several more joined her at the window, pushing inward against each other and blocking out the moonlight. To Russell, they resembled badly mutilated fans in the front row of a rock concert trying to reach the object of their obsession. But it wasn’t mutual adoration they had in mind.
I hate to say ‘I told you so’, boss… but-
“Fuck off!” he yelled as Russell leapt over the couch. With a surge of adrenaline, he lifted one end of the couch, spun it around facing the broken window, and then pushed it up and over with a loud grunt until if fell into the frame, landing on the heads of the beasts closest to gaining entry.
The monsters at the rear of the cabin had found their way to the open back door.
I’m already surrounded, Russell thought.
While some pounded against the rear windows, others began to push against the door until it struck the headless corpse in the frame, making an effective doorstop.
The gap was still wide enough for three smaller creatures to crawl inside while the ones behind them began to feed upon the doorstop.
Russell’s one and only advantage was the darkness. His eyes had adjusted to the dark room and he quickly ran for the back door and kicked the first three beasts in their heads. Their rotted skulls shattered under his heel as he felt his boot sink in the mud of ancient brain matter.
Seizing an opportunity to reach the kitchen area, Russell began to look for weapons and found the knife rack.
One of the rear windows shattered.
Something heavy struck the floor in one of the back bedrooms.
There was pounding on the front door.
A large sickly hand grabbed the back of Russell’s neck in the dark.
He turned, deflected a tall man’s rotted arm, and thrust a knife straight into the monster’s chest.
It had no effect.
“Fuck… me,” Russell said as he looked up into the shadowed face of a long dead soldier in his dress uniform. Maggots dripped out of one empty eye socket.
Fuck us both, boss!
The dead soldier with the knife sticking out of his dirt-clogged uniform growled at him and reached for Russell’s throat.
He’d already found a heavy meat tenderizer near the knives as Russell kicked the soldier in the gut, knocking him off balance long enough to reach for the hammer. Russell quickly brought it down on the soldier’s forehead with a vicious shout.
The soldier fell forward near his feet and remained still.
Head wounds, boss! Just like the fat bitch at the house.
Russell had no time to consider this as the back door burst violently open and the dead began pouring in through the open doorway.
He held his breath and remained still as the first five… no, six… eight entered and began storming through the house. The darkness was still on his side; they were not aware of him yet.
It’s all that fresh meat, boss. It’s all-you-can-eat night at the caretaker’s cabin and that blood’s your best friend right now.
Russell waited for a pause in the procession as twenty-five hard-to-kill cannibals now roamed freely within the cabin. Finally there was an opening at the doorway.
Russell grabbed four large knives from the rack and bolted for the back door.
He ran out into the night and straight into a crowd of creatures crouched over and pulling at the remains of the headless man they’d dragged outside and were now tearing the corpse to pieces.
Russell stopped as several disfigured creatures turned their heads toward him, opening their mouths full of flesh to scream at him. They began to rise and lunge toward him with cold flesh, but Russell was a cold and calculating machine. He saw an opening and rushed around the thinnest part of the crowd, depositing all four of his knives in the top of four creature’s heads while pushing back or kicking in the faces of several more until he got around the side of the cabin and back toward the gravel road.
The crowd was thinner at the front, most of them still distracted at the front of the cabin. Russell ran past them until he was back in the cover of the trees while the monsters slowly started moving in his direction.
Russell stopped and hid within the shadow of a large tree to catch his breath.
He could hear them moaning and shambling through the woods ahead of him as well as behind.
For the second time tonight, he’d become the prey.
Well fuck me sideways, boss, is there anything not hunting you tonight? the other one mocked.
Russell ignored him. It was Janet he considered now. If she was still out there, these monsters would catch up to her, especially with her broken ankle.
Leave it alone, boss. Let the bitch go! Can’t ya’ see the bigger picture yet? The rules of the game have changed now. Look around you.
Russell crept among the shadows, employing all his stealth to keep clear of the dead things. He still believed he would find Janet Schuler… as he was meant to.
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“Chapter 7-2: Demon Night 2” Copyright © 2014 Scott Scherr. From the Novel “Don’t Feed The Dark” Copyright © 2014 Scott Scherr.
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.