|Forum Home > RESIDENTS CHRONICLES > Fall 1998|
September 24, 1998.
There was a certain smell that hit you once in a while on the streets of a city. A mixture of body odor, fried food and shit. Kevin Ryman knew it well, but wasn't "used to it", a term you heard a lot when you were new in town. The city-wide rat problem? He'd get used to it. The recent overpopulation and subsequent skyrocketing crime rate? Used to it. The incredibly pretentious, former art museum that the Raccoon City Police Department was now operating out of? That'd take a lot of getting used to, but he'd get a grip on it eventually. Or so everyone kept telling him. However, what no one seemed to mention here, or in any city Kevin had ever lived in, was that city smell you'd catch a whiff of while walking down to the corner store, or driving into town, or having a smoke on your doorstep. It was ever present, but not necessarily constant. For it to be constant would be unbearable. Or, rather, would you eventually grow accustomed to it, and cease to notice it? Similar to lifelong California residents and small tremors? Maybe that was the problem. This smell wasn't constant, and thus, you never really got "used to it". You just dealt with it.
After all, what else would one expect when cramming thousands of people into the same general area? In a city, you learn to live with other peoples' smells, noises, and presences, which eventually, drives some people crazy. Weak minded people. Which Kevin Ryman, most definitely, was not. Kevin had been through the shit. To the edge of the darkness, and back again. He'd been heartbroken. He'd nearly been killed, on numerous occasions. He'd watched both of his parents slowly and painfully die in the span of a year. He'd suffered a gambling problem. He'd beaten a gambling problem, worked himself out of the hole from debt (no parents to go and ask money from), and finally managed to afford an apartment in a decent part of town. All in 31 short years. He'd become a cop somewhere along the way. Straight from high school to junior college to patrolling the streets.
Experience is a hell of a thing. Vital, even. And eleven years on the streets may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but stand alone, it's nothing to sneeze at. Kevin had only been in Raccoon four of those seven years, but Raccoon was much easier to "get used to" than Philadelphia had been. Growing up there had been a plus, but Raccoon was much smaller, and in turn, contained far less people, and people were really a pain in the ass when it came to police work. But, again, with time came experience, and Kevin had learned a lot about people in those seven years. Learned a lot about the cities themselves too. Their rhythms, sounds, silences, alleyways, boom periods, slow periods, and of course, their smells. Like how a certain smell can bring a certain memory to your mind out of absolutely nowhere. How a smell can lead you to what you've been looking for all along. How a smell can lead you into trouble. And how a smell can sometimes, of course, be just a smell. Kevin also learned that it doesn't take 30, 20, or even 11 years for someone to recognize the smell of death.
Of rot and blood. Kevin thought it was an instinct that all humans had built into their genetic code. To know the smell of death and decay of a fellow human being. It was a terrifying thing once you were familiar with it, and could pinpoint it. But Kevin knew that for some, it was exciting. Sexually exciting, even. Kevin had met far too many of that particular type in his seven years of policing. Personally, he was in the former category. When he recognized the smell of death, of rot, he got scared. However, as a police officer, it was his job to push the fear aside to ensure the safety of the public. Which is exactly why he stood mentally jousting with himself, alone on the street, on a quiet night in September.
His shift ended at 11, and considering he had the next day off, he was he was going to spend the remainder of the night getting absolutely arse holed drunk at J's Bar. It was a good twelve or so blocks from the station, and Kevin didn't own a car, because he hardly ever found he needed one. He could walk to work from his apartment, but the bar was in the other direction, resulting in a cab ride back to his place at the end of most nights. This would be one of those nights. He planned on barely knowing his own name by the end of the night, let alone how to get to his apartment over twenty blocks away. He knew the address and the phone number to the cab company, and that was good enough for him.
The odor that hit him about halfway to J's was so evident, and so strong, he immediately pinpointed it to the alleyway across the street. He'd never had particularly great luck or timing, and this was sure to be another instance. Here he was, fresh off an 8 hour shift, ready to unwind, and he was sure to find a corpse (or two) down the alleyway. Maybe a selfish way of thinking, but once the work day was over, Kevin was ready to unwind that very second, and developed a sort of tunnel vision until he could do so. And whatever he was about to find down that alleyway was sure to be ugly. It would then be up to him to call it in, wait for back-up, then, file a report. All of which would take much longer than it should, as all police work does. By the end of all of it, he'd be so irritated and drained that he'd just go straight home in a huff, jerk off, and go to sleep.
Kevin stood directly across the opening of the alley across the street. Suddenly, the wind changed and blew directly towards him, bringing the nauseating smell of rot with it. It was so strong that time that Kevin nearly bent over and heaved, which had hardly ever happened at any point of his life, let alone now. Whatever was down there was guaranteed to be a fright show. After that particular breeze, Kevin had forgotten about J's Bar. He was legitimately shaken now. The overall atmosphere of the street didn't help matters either. It was 11:28 on a Tuesday night, on a back street consisting mostly of apartments. Not a car or person in sight. But what did that matter? He was the police officer. It was the civilian that was always the one looking around for a policeman, not the other way around. For a split second, he nearly reached for his radio to call for assistance. He still had it and the rest of his equipment on him, and was still wearing his uniform. And his gun. Which did make him feel better. Just like it made the bartenders at J's a lot more comfortable too. It usually made a rowdy frat boy or overzealous drunk think twice before causing a scene over money, or before grabbing a certain waitresses' jiggly, round ass.
Fuck the goddamn bar. And fuck the radio. If he were to call for back-up because of a smell, he'd never hear the end of it. Even if it was the most nauseating thing he'd ever experienced in 7 years of the job. He thought about that. He may have even meant it. But try explaining that to a locker room full of veteran cops. No, the radio was not an option. Before crossing the street, Kevin undid the strap on his holster that held his gun in place, which in itself seemed a bit excessive. But, Christ, he was unnerved. Just to think, only mere minutes before, he had been thinking about Cindy, the waitresses', ass. Now, he was glued to the spot under a streetlight, staring into the depths of a dark alleyway. Just then, a car came rumbling down the street, it's headlights shining directly on him. Kevin broke out of his trance-like state, and leaned up against the streetlight, doing his best to look casual and not like a junkie without a fix staring off into space. He nodded politely at the car as it passed by, and he saw a dark figure inside give a wave. This stirred something inside of him. Shit. Why were the people in this city so damned friendly? For a relatively large city, it somehow still had a small town atmosphere. And it was those hometown manners that may have been about to get his ass killed.
Kevin looked both ways (safety first) before crossing the street, and kept one hand on his holster as he did so, bringing Luke Skywalker to mind for some reason. On the ranch, carefree, and angsty just before the shit goes down. The smell was stronger on this side of the street. As one smells trash while passing by an open alleyway, Kevin had smelled death from across the street. Of course the smell was worse here. The alleyway stretched out in front of him for awhile before ending with a brick wall with an overhanging light attached to it, and then continued sharply to the right, where judging by the intensity of the smell now, the carcass of something was sure to be. Kevin nearly took in a deep breath before stepping into the alleyway, similar to a diver before jumping into a pool, but he stopped himself. Taking a deep breath of this air seemed almost toxic, as if it could legitimately harm him if inhaled too much of it at once. A silly thought, but the smell was that bad. Instead, Kevin moved one hand just below his nose to block the smell somewhat, and kept the other on his holster as he advanced forward.
The light at the end of the alleyway was dying, and cast off an eerie glow instead of a healthy illumination, but that was better than total darkness. He came to the end of the brick wall on his right. The one on his left continued forward a bit before dead-ending into the brick wall ahead of him. Around the corner, he heard something. Compared to the silence of the night that had filled his eardrums thus far, these sounds, while soft, were immediately noticeable. Blood pounded in Kevin's ears, and his breath was hitched in his throat. The smell was undoubtedly emanating from around the corner (a fact it now seemed he had been privy to all his life), but now, there were noises accompanying it, adding a new layer of possibilities to Kevin's mind. What if whatever was wounded so horribly was still alive? An image of a fat, gutted, middle aged man with half of his intestines hanging out, pale, and crawling for help sprang to his mind. Or, what if the killer was still present, admiring it's handiwork? Kevin hadn't wanted that thought to make itself known before, but now, he had to consider it. The noises sounded like a type of shuffling, like Converse across concrete, followed by a clicking, or smacking. An almost wet sound. Enough was enough.
In police work, being cautious was a necessity, but there came a time for action, and when that moment arose, there was no room for hesitation. Kevin knew the time for action was now. He spun around the corner, still half shielded by the brick wall. He aimed his gun, but he didn't remember pulling it.
"Hey!" he shouted before he'd even fully turned the corner. The first thing he saw was the corpse. Horribly mutilated and mangled, even at first glance. The second thing he noticed were the two faces. Faces he recognized. He then felt obligated to speak.
"Rice and Beans? What the hell?" He trailed off as his gaze fell back to the body. A pool of blood and gore surrounded it. He'd startled the two detectives as much as he'd startled himself. And for good reason. Good god, the body was annihilated.
"Ryman? Wh-We could ask you the same thing!" The shorter of the two, Beans (actually Ramirez), half-shouted, half-whispered, while holding a hand over his heart. The taller of the two, Rice (actually Rice), was reeling as well, but had traces of a grin on his face as he did so.
"Christ!" Beans continued. "How did you get here so quick?"
"I didn't. I-" Kevin stammered. "I'm off duty. I was just walking by on the way to..."
Both men were listening.
"Kendo's. He's staying open late for me to look at some stuff that came in today."
Kevin had indeed befriended the gun shop owner, and did sometimes swing by after work to peruse. He couldn't let anyone at work know he was drinking again.
"Walking by? Then how did you know we were back here?" Beans questioned.
"Jesus. The smell! I could smell it from the other side of the street! It doesn't exactly take the nose of two Dicks to get a whiff of this."
Rice spoke now.
"Same thing with us. We were headed back to the station from a house call. The air's out in my car, so we had the windows down. We stopped at the light, and...wasn't hard to notice."
Beans spoke again.
"We called for back up just before you showed up, but I'm glad to see you. Even if you scared the shit out of us."
Rice and Beans were younger detectives. 24 or 25. They'd only been in Raccoon City for about a year and a half. The nickname was a part of their initial hazing as the new guys at the station. A lot of the older guys didn't seem to have much respect for them because they were Hispanic, but Kevin didn't mind them, and even though he wouldn't admit, he was glad to see them too.
"Yeah yeah." Kevin said before exhaling deeply.
They all seemed calmer now. Kevin looked down at the body once more, determined to try and make out some features this time. He found the will to move closer as Rice and Beans watched on. They knew he was a pro and wouldn't tamper with anything. As if anyone would want to touch this mess. Kevin determined that it was a woman. Gashes all over her face. Or where her face had once been. Tendons in the neck mostly sliced through so the head was hanging on just by a thread. She was splayed out on her back, and her blouse had been torn open. She had a gaping hole in her stomach, and you could see her ribs. That's when it clicked in Kevin's mind. He cleared his throat before speaking.
"Is this what I think it is, boys? Cannibal killer?
Kevin nodded solemnly.
"Wouldn't take a Dick to figure that one out." Rice said, arms crossed and leaned up against the brick wall.
Kevin ignored the friendly shot. It had been about a month since the last victim of the "Cannibal Killer" had been found. Up in the mountains somewhere out of his jurisdiction. But how many killers ate their victims alive? Or dead for that matter?
"Any I.D?" Kevin asked.
"Haven't laid a finger on her yet. Called it in as soon as we found it."
"If I had to guess, I'd say she lives nearby. No other reason for her to be back here, but to be taking out the trash." Rice spoke with a mild, southern drawl. Kevin didn't know where he was from. It was strange.
"And she's not dressed like a hooker." Rice pointed out.
"But with that red hair of hers she could have easily passed for one." Beans remarked.
"A little respect for the dead, man." Rice admonished Beans.
The three fell silent again as they awaited the back up.
"What's this bring the count to?
"An even 10."
"What the hell is going on around here? Why here? Why would a cannibal murderer take up here of all places? I didn't even run into this kind of repugnant shit in Philly."
"For me to be able to answer that would require me to be able to think like a man-"
"Or woman." Beans interrupted.
"Or woman, who eats his or her victims alive. And that is just one thing I cannot do."
Kevin looked over the woman (girl?) again. Hard to tell if she had a skanky look to her or not at this point.
"Welp. If someone did pay for this, they filled their gullet with more than just pussy." Kevin said.
"Yep." said Rice.
Beans looked to both of them before lowering his head again.
"So, should I stay or go? asked Kevin.
Please say go. Please say go, he thought.
"Considering we have half of the goddamned station on their way out here, and you've already had a hard day's work, I don't know how much good you would do us on this particular night. All due respect." said Rice.
"Well, shit." said Kevin. "Gonna be sweet dreams tonight."
He finally stood from his crouching position, groaning as he did so. He turned away from the body after one last glance.
"At least you get to sleep." said Beans.
"Yep. I would anticipate a long one boys."
"Always do." Rice said.
Kevin heard sirens approaching from the distance. He didn't want to get caught up in this anymore than he already had, especially when he wasn't even needed. And the Chief seemed to get a hard-on from making guys work overtime, and if he were to show up and see Kevin milling about, there's no way he'd let him go. Regardless of whether he was on duty, or even needed. Prick.
"You never saw me."
"Never saw who?" replied Rice.
Kevin grinned at that, and headed back to the street.
"See ya when I see ya."
Back on the street, Kevin made several out of the way turns to ensure the approaching police cars wouldn't pass and see him. Out of the way of what?, he thought. The bar.
Without noticing it, he realized that to avoid the squad cars, he'd put himself back on track to J's Bar. No turning back now. Kevin checked his watch. 11:45. He'd only left the station three quarters of an hour ago. Hard to believe that this entire ordeal had only lasted about twenty minutes. What a mess. And how bizarre. To come across two guys he knows on a strict acquaintance basis in a back alley along with a mangled corpse? It was some David Lynch shit for sure. Most importantly, Kevin knew he'd done what he could. If he'd arrived before Rice and Beans, it would've been his obligation to call for back up. And him spending the rest of his night with half the police station and a half eaten corpse. Just a matter of good luck. For once. He said a small prayer, or something similar to it, for Rice and Ramirez. They did good work. And they kept him calm in the face of one of the most horrible things he'd ever witnessed.
How were they so calm?, he thought.
How was I so calm?, he thought.
But he knew why. He was calm by proxy to them. They saw murders similar to that one nearly every day. Especially lately. Hard to imagine one becoming desensitized to something like that, but they seemed to have done it.
Superb work.....you capture the atomosphere of Raccoon City in a short paragraph far better, and with greater depth than S.D. Perry ever did !
Your work was a great read, and I am intrigued to read more.
Jessica... Lisa... Forgive me. May god justify my death in exchange for your safety.
Thanks very much! I plan on writing a few chapters this weekend (house sitting for a friend), and was thinking about setting the next chapter in the "A Day in Raccoon" motel that was never used in the final game.
After the escape from J's, the destruction of Main Street, and a momentary calm to follow it, I was thinking about having the survivors being taken to the Apple Inn and having shit go down, and presenting the Hellfire scenario in that way. I'm pretty sure that throws the timeline off a bit, but that's the only way I could think of fitting that level in.
That was quite an interesting read even for someone like me who hasn't played the Outbreak files yet. I definitely want to know where this story is going. I hope you'll be updating soon.
Why haven't you played Outbreak yet? There's lots of split opinions on them, but I think it's a necessity for any RE fan to play them and form their own opinion on them. Thanks again for the kind words.
CONTINUED FROM HEADER POST:
And the count was at ten now. Twenty in just over a year. How much higher would it go? No prints or DNA had been found at any of the murder scenes. This fucker was a real pro. Even though Kevin and everyone else at the R.P.D. hated to admit it, this guy may have been out of their league. Even their own detective version of SWAT, S.T.A.R.S. couldn't crack this thing. As pretentious as those S.T.A.R.S. assholes were, they got things done. But not this time. It was a miracle it hadn't happened already, but Kevin knew with the lucky number 10, the F.B.I. would be headed their way soon enough which would ensure a few months of hell for the entire R.P.D. But hey, who knows? It could be nice seeing the S.T.A.R.S. get treated like peons for a change.
Kevin noticed he was nearly to J's, and could see it illuminated down the street. As he got closer, he could even hear rock music coming from within. Just like that, he felt much better. Loneliness, dark streets, and half eaten corpses can do quite the number on a man. And maybe Cindy the waitress was working tonight. After a few rounds, Kevin may even build up the courage to finally ask her out. But then again, if he didn't have the courage on a night like tonight, when would he?
David King sighed as he switched off the high pressure water jetting equipment, made his way out of the sewer main, and carefully climbed out of the ditch adjacent to the Raccoon Motel. The plumbing company David worked for had received the call at a quarter til 5, closing time, and their problem seemed to be yet another "Davey Special", a term his boss had come to use to refer to certain calls the company received. Raccoon City Plumbing seemed unable to keep a single employee for longer than two months, but David had been employed for about half a year. His boss, Mr. Murdock, admired his work ethic so much that there was already talk of a raise, but David knew that talk of a raise was still just talk. Not that it mattered much to him. He enjoyed most of the work and he was good at it, more than most people could say about their jobs. However, the "Davey Specials" were starting to become tiresome. Most were procedures that Mr. Murdock hadn't bothered to teach the younger guys seeing as how none of them stuck around for very long. So, the responsibility fell on David's shoulders, which was fine by him, but these jobs weren't exactly the most glamorous, even by plumbing standards.
Today's foray into Raccoon City's poorly constructed underworld first required a bit of a drive on David's part. The Raccoon Motel was on the outskirts of town, on the side of the road on a heavily wooded scenic road coming down from the mountains. A frequent stop for travelers from north of the border who feel they don't have the stamina to make it all the way to Raccoon. In other words, an overnight stay desperately and dangerously weary. Another reason for the motel's somewhat secluded location was the same reason one would frequently find the motel mentioned in the local paper's crime reports. It was a regular hideout and/or operating location for drug dealers, pimps, and junkies on the run from the law, looking to score, or looking to sell. There had been attempts before to shut the place down, but simply because a few of it's patrons may have been from the wrong side of the tracks didn't give the city the right to shut the place down. Mick the Prick, the nickname the motel's frequent guests had given to the motel owner, and his lawyers had made that perfectly clear. Mickey had passed every test the Sanitation Department had thrown at him, he had no criminal record, and no evidence could be found in the case of him having a hand in the frequent drug running at his motel. Needless to say, as long as Mick the Prick kept a steady flow of guests, and subsequently, their money, he couldn't care less what his guests got up to in his establishment, as long as they didn't damage motel property of course.
David knew all this and many other things for the simple fact that he was an astute listener. He listened to conversations far more than he ever contributed to them. He wasn't an eavesdropper. He really wasn't interested enough to go out of his way to do so. Most people just talked too much and too loudly, so he couldn't help but overhear. His co-workers thought him rude or simple-minded, but he was fro from either of those. If he felt he had something interesting to talk about, he talked. Otherwise, he kept quiet, a belief he thought many could benefit from. He was not popular with any of his co-workers, which in part related to his work performance that Mr. Murdock so admired. While the others were inclined to sit around and chat, David was ready to work at any given moment from 9 am to 5 pm. And he definitely had his work cut out for him at the Raccoon Motel.
David and his 4 co-workers had been in the small, stuffy room outside of Murdock's office, his 4 co-workers sitting at the round, wooden table in the center of the room, while David sat in his usual spot in the worn down, weathered recliner in the corner, reading a magazine. Murdock's door was open, and when the phone on his desk rang, they all heard it, and a hush fell over the room. Seeing as how it was only fifteen minutes until closing, they all listened tensely as Murdock spoke into the reciever.
"Raccoon Motel", said Mr. Murdock. "Yeah, Mickey, I'm good. Expect someone within the hour."
One of the men at the table threw a bottle cap he'd been fiddling with out of irritation as the rest of them groaned. So close. David hadn't moved throughout the entire phone call, but his attention had been diverted from the magazine he still held in front of his eyes. He knew if it was a routine leak, Murdock would send one of the younger guys, simply as a means of experience, but if it were something more complicated, a "Davey Special", then he could kiss the early start to his weekend goodbye.
"Davey! Wanna make some easy money?"
The men chuckled to themselves as David set his magazine down and sighed resignedly.
The plumbing problem at the Raccoon Motel was a fairly common one in all hotels, motels, apartment buildings, and nursing homes. A single sewer main was fed by drain lines, which in turn were fed by hundreds of laterals from individual rooms, making it very easy for it to become blocked by waste, grease, or whatever one of the resident junkies decided to flush down the tube. In cases like these, a simple drain snake rooter isn't powerful enough, and a high pressure water jetting system is needed to effectively clean the clogged sewer line, and David, of course, was the only current employee of Raccoon City Plumbing capable of undertaking such a task. Such equipment wasn't exactly easy to find, especially in relatively small city like Raccoon, so the cost of the procedure is damned expensive, a cost that David would be sure to get a healthy percentage of. The Raccoon Motel, while out of the way, wasn't too brutal of a drive. The main issue was getting out of the city in the bulky company van during rush hour. From there, it was mostly highway until the time came to turn off on the scenic road that the motel concealed itself on.
David pulled up the gravel path leading up to the motel in the company van just as the setting sun had turned the sky blood red. Mick the Prick was at the front desk along with a young black guy in a Kite Brothers railway uniform. Prick was laying into the black kid, whose name tag read, "Kite Brothers Ticketmaster: Jim", for apparently arriving late to the night shift. The fact that the kid had rushed from one job in the city to come directly here seemed lost on Mick, or rather, garnered no sympathy from him.
"And you don't even bother to change out of this stupid fucking uniform like I pacifically asked you to!" Prick berated the kid as David stood in the doorway.
David noticed Prick's substitution of 'specifically' for "pacifically". A bright fella.
"I thought I told you I didn't give a FUCK what you wore here as long as it wasn't this shit, or any of that loose, baggy bullshit you kids just love to wear these days! Two exceptions! And what do you show up in? Idiot! IDIOT!"
The black kid, Jim, took his verbal lashing quietly, fixated on his shoes the entire time. David didn't why the severity of the tongue was necessary, but David just didn't understand some people. He waited quietly for Prick to finish with the kid, unsure if he was aware of David's presence even though the door had squealed loudly on it's hinges when he'd come in. Perhaps the substitute for the lack of jingle bells at the top of the door frame, a staple in places like this.
A beat of silence passed as Prick simply glared angrily, as if in disbelief. Prick finally turned around to greet David, and when he did, his face was beet red, veins jutting out from his neck. David thought that if Mickey hadn't had a stroke yet, there was one in his near future.
"Ah!", Mickey half-squeaked. "Thank god you're here! And quick too! Unlike some people."
Mick half-whispered that last bit, and David felt awkward and looked at the ground. Mick the Prick seemed to have a way of doing that to people. He extended his hand and David accepted this limp fish-like gesture as the man hurried past him and out of the door David had entered in. David followed after one last glance at Jim, who had his head in his hands at the front desk. He trailed behind Prick to the ditch that housed the sewer pipe David would be working in. Prick explained to David what he thought the problem was and what he thought the best way to fix it would be. David stared at the man blankly and pretended to listen, not that Prick would've noticed, as he never once looked David in the eye as he spoke. David wondered why, if this guy claimed to be such a plumbing expert, Prick didn't just climb in there, fix it himself, and save himself a ton of money?
"Alright." David said, and walked away from Prick and carefully down into the ditch. A rude thing to do, but fuck that guy. He entered the large pipe to see how bad things were.
"Yeah, it's gonna be an all-nighter." David spoke into the reciever of the phone at the front desk.
"Christ, Davey. I'm sorry. I'd forgotten how bad the pipes were up there. And that was years ago. God only knows what they look like now."
"Yeah. Well, it was nice of you to offer to stay at the office until I got back, but I don't know how long this is gonna take. Just go home and I'll drop by sometime tomorrow to pick up my check, and drop off the invoice and cash."
Getting in good with Murdock allowed him to throw his weight around a bit when necessary.
"Shit. I'm sorry, Davey. And just when you were almost home free to your three day weekend.
"Hey, at least I've got that to look forward to."
"Good outlook, kid. You da man."
David rolled his eyes.
"Alright. See you tomorrow. Thanks a mil."
David hung up. He looked to the kid behind the counter, Jim, who still had his head in his hands. He'd barely even looked up when David has asked to use the phone.
The kid looked up, as if he'd forgotten David was there.
"Oh. Y-yeah. Just, uh, rough day."
"I hear ya. Hey, look on the bright side. At least you don't have to go crawling around in the sewers the rest of the night."
The kid chuckled a little.
David nodded, gave a brief smile, and turned to walk away.
"It's just one thing after another! First, my car dies! Then, my girl leaves me! She says I cheated on her! I didn't even do anything this time, man!"
With his back still turned, David closed his eyes and sighed. Here we go. Why did complete strangers always tend to make him their personal mentor? He turned and started nodding sympathetically as Jim continued to vent.
"So she moves out, which means I have to get another job to make rent when I barely had any time off in the first place! Now, I'm pretty much guaranteed to be fired in my first week! My life is shit!"
David felt for the guy, but this level of self-pity wasn't good for anybody. David was too polite to say so though. Before he could think of any encouraging words, Prick emerged from the bathroom. He couldn't have flushed or washed his hands. Jim fell silent again as Prick approached David.
"Sooo. What's the damage, Mr..."
"King! The King Plumber!" Prick laughed at his own bad joke. "What do I owe ya?"
"Well, I've got an estimate, but we don't draw up invoices until the job's done. Company policy. And it's gonna be an all-nighter by the looks of things."
"Oh." Mickey said disappointed.
"You were smart to call now though. Much longer and you would've just had more damage than we could've fixed, and you would've had to have an entirely new main installed. And if you think this procedure is expensive..."
"An all-nighter..." Prick was still hung up on that.
"So are you just gonna stick around, or..." David couldn't think of another alternative.
"I live just up the hill from here, Mr. King. I'm sure you saw it when you first pulled up."
David had. Prick continued.
"As soon as you get done, no matter what the hour, have Jime here give me a ring. I'll come straight out, and we'll work on that invoice."
"Alright." David nodded.
Great. He had that to look forward to. "Working" on that invoice. Debating with this penny pinching asshole over the cost of labor and whatever other charges he felt were suspicious.
David nodded to Jim behind the counter before turning and walking back out into the autumn night air, relieved to be away from the two of them. There was a tiny bit of light still in the sky, but it would soon dissipate and David wouldn't even have the privilege of the tiniest sliver of sunlight within the tunnel. He walked to the van to prepare the equipment.
At 10:28 pm, David turned off the pressure machine, spent fifteen minutes loading up the equipment back in the van, and walked into the lobby. Jim was still behind the desk, watching a small TV and eating a microwave macaroni and cheese dinner. He seemed to be in higher spirits, but seemed embarrassed over his venting from earlier.
"Feeling better?" David asked.
"Uh, yeah. Done?"
"Yeah. Quicker than I thought."
"Want me to call for you?"
David was ready to be gone and to hopefully never have to return. He knew he stunk from his hours in the sewer, but Jim showed no sign of it. He drummed his fingers on the counter and looked around the small lobby as Jim held the phone to his ear for at least seven rings before hanging up.
Jim nodded regretfully.
David weighed his options.
"He lives just up the hill back there?"
David had taken a better look at the two story house while he was packing up the equipment. For some reason it reminded him of the old plantation houses in the South.
"Y...yeah." Jim admitted somewhat hesitantly.
"Well, I'll just pop up there and discuss things there."
David turned to leave.
"Wait!" Jim shouted far too loudly.
If David wasn't so tired he would've jumped.
"What?" The irritation showing in David's voice.
"H-he doesn't like people just coming up to his house without me calling first. Especially when he's sleeping."
"You just called. He didn't answer."
"He doesn't like visitors without knowing they're coming first." Jim spoke almost frantically.
David sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. He had a stress headache.
"Then, Jeff, what am I supposed to do?"
"Jim. I can't can't leave here with the job done, the equipment packed up, with no payment. It'll be my ass if I do that."
Jim groaned and fidgeted in his seat. David sighed yet again.
"Just like it'll be yours if I go up there unannounced?"
Jim nodded. The vending machines hummed down the hallway. David leaned against the counter. Thinking. It was too late and he was too tired for this shit. This could all be solved by simply marching up the hill to Prick's front door and banging on it until he answered it in his skid marked undies. But, it meant getting young Jimmy in hot water by doing so. The kid obviously needed the job. Why else would he take such a vicious verbal beatdown like he did earlier? He was already on thin ice with Mick the Prick in his first week on the job. David going up there unannounced could be the straw that breaks the Prick's back, and the reason for Jim being fired. He'd said he needed to pay
rent with the money from this job. David could imagine walking down Main Street a month from now and finding the kid on a street corner with his uniform cap on the sidewalk in front of him, begging for spare change.
"Alright, Jim. How much for one night?"
Jim seemed thrown off by the question, either because it had surprised him, or he genuinely didn't know the cost of a room for one night. He picked up a sheet of loose leaf paper off the desk in front of him and scanned over it.
"How many occupants?"
"Oh. Yeah. Any pets?"
"What do you think?"
"Okay, man, just asking. Smoking or non?"
"$30 for the night."
Shit. Now David understood what the junkies saw in the place. David paid and Jim handed him his room key.
"What time will be the bossman be in tomorrow?"
"Shows up a 7 on the dot every morning."
"I'll be here. Thanks, Jim."
David stopped and turned.
"Uh, nevermind. Have a nice night, man."
"Yeah. You too."
David had Room 101. The first door to the right of the lobby. He had to walk back outside to get to it. A short few steps to his right. He had no luggage, so he simply walked straight to the door. An awning covered the entire fron of the building, and three rooms were on either side of the lobby door. As David approached his room, the door to the room directly next to his, 102, opened. A woman, around 30, with too much long hair and not enough clothes stepped out. She wore tall leather boots on her otherwise bare legs. She was beautiful, if not a bit worn down looking. The boots were all David needed to see to know she was a hooker. David stood with the key in the lock, but hadn't turned it.
"Hey there, pretty plumber."
"All alone in there?"
"Yep. Just staying the night. Job took longer than expected."
"I know the feeling."
David smiled at that. He couldn't help it. She was the first prostitute to ever make him laugh.
"I'll take your word for that. Night."
"Pardon?" David played dumb.
"$30 and I'm yours for the night, baby."
"Ah. Well, I'm all smelly. You don't want any of that."
"The shower works. Now. Thanks to you. I know. I just took one. I guess I should thank you for that. So, thanks."
"You're very welcome. Good night."
"$15. Some deal. My discount to you for fixing the showers and making me smell fresh again. A smelly whore is no good, y'know."
David chuckled again. He could smell her from here. The wind was blowing the smell of her directly towards him. She did smell good. Like cherries.
David looked around. All he needed was to get set up and arrested out here after all of the trouble he'd gone through to lay low and start anew. He knew this place was always under police watch. And how did she know he was out here anyway? Good timing?
"How do I know you're not a cop?"
"How do I know you're not one?"
"How many cops do you know that make their money crawling around under shitters all day?"
"All of them."
He managed to hold back a smile that time, but just barely.
"Now you are dangerous."
"Look, if it's deal breaker, we'll spend the night in your room. It's dangerous, but you seem normal enough. And sexy."
"What difference does it make?"
"All looks and no brains I see. An undercover cop can't nab you for this in your own room. Only in theirs."
Was that true? That sounded right. God, he wanted to believe her. She looked better and better as the moments passed. He'd never encountered a prostitute he was remotely attracted to. He thinks she may be the most beautiful woman he's ever met. What in the hell is she doing in a dump like this?
"C'mon. What's the matter? Wife? Kids?"
David figured at any given time, any given person could end up in any given place doing any given thing.
"Mmm. No complicated shit. I like that. C'mon, baby. It'll be the best you ever had."
He didn't doubt it. She was good at this at least. David started seeing less and less reasons why not to.
"I don't hiccup."
"What do you mean you don't hiccup?"
"I mean, I don't get the hiccups!"
"I just never get 'em!"
Kevin listened to the asinine conversation while cradling his cold glass of Bud sitting at the bar. Cindy, the waitress he'd harbored a crush on, or really, had just wanted to fuck, was sitting a few seats down from him, deep in an apparent intellectual conversation with a local doctor, George Hamilton. Kevin only knew his name because of the name tag he always insisted on wearing every time he came in the bar, regardless of the workday being over. By this point, everyone was well aware of Doc Hamilton's occupation, yet he continued to wear his name tag everywhere he went, sometimes even walking in with a stethoscope still around his neck, no doubt looking to pick up a pretty young thing with dollar signs in her eyes. God only knew that George didn't have anything else going for him. He was older, had to be at least 50 by the looks of it, wasn't particularly handsome(but not hideous either), and on top of it all, was a total dork. So maybe he had the right to use what he had, in this case, his occupation, to try and pick up chicks, but that didn't mean Kevin had to like it. If he hadn't had such a rough day, he would've just called it a night after a few Buds on account of the nauseating flirting/teasing hybrid that was going on a few feet from him, but he was just getting started. The Buds would give way to whiskey (not Jack Daniels; Kevin hated the stuff), and whiskey would give way to Kevin's personal favorite, Bloody Mary's.
"Oh, c'mon! You have to get hiccups sometimes! You're only human!"
"Nope. No hiccups, but you're right, I am only human. I'm no angel. Not like you."
Cindy giggled and no doubt blushed at that. Kevin rolled his eyes with his back turned to the two of them. That round, little fuck. And with the waitress HE was going to ask out tonight! The nerve. Not to mention his pathetic attempt at flirting, and with a girl half his age! Doctors. Thank god he was the only one around tonight. Otherwise, they'd all be crowded around pretty, blonde Cindy and she wouldn't get any work done. Not that there was much work to be done tonight. The bar was pretty much dead. Two security guards, one little and white, one big and black, both old, sat opposite Kevin at the bar and talked quietly amongst themselves, not loudly like Doc Hamilton, his volume giving away his level of inebriation. The security guards still had their uniforms on from wherever they worked, but that made a different statement than George and his stethoscope. Their uniforms seemed to say avert your eyes, leave us alone, and don't start any trouble, cuz we'll fuck you up. George's doctor get-up was meant to draw attention, as if to say look at me and all the money I have. Hey, ladies, I'm a sucker, but you suck first and then we'll talk. Of course, there was a chance that the guards simply hadn't had felt like changing out of their uniforms before heading out drinking after a hard day's work. Maybe Kevin was reading into all of it too much. He needed to turn his mind off, and quick. As soon as he was finished with this beer, he'd switch to the whiskey. Start off with a whiskey, and...hell, another whiskey he supposed. Nothing fancy tonight.
The bell above the door jingled as someone walked in behind Kevin. He didn't bother turning and looking, because he honestly didn't care if Suddam Hussein had just walked through the door. He was ready to get hammered. He heard a chair slide across the wooden floor of the small bar, and Cindy went over to the new patron's table to take their order.
"Just a glass of water for now." said a woman's voice.
The small patter of Cindy's shoes against the ground approached the bar again, stopping directly to Kevin's right.
"Will, could you get me a glass of water please?" Cindy asked.
"Sure, babe." said Will, the bartender for the night.
As Cindy stood and waited for Will to finish cleaning the glass he was currently holding, she glanced down at Kevin, one hand on his glass of beer, the other holding his chin, staring glumly at the baseball game on TV.
Kevin didn't realize she was speaking to him at first.
"Oh. Yeah. Why?"
Any trace of charm Kevin had planned to use had abandoned him by this point of the night.
"Uh, I don't know. You look a little bummed out."
Spoken like a true twenty-something.
Kevin sat up straight from his slumped position and looked Cindy in the eye.
"So, what are you trying to say?" He asked with mock offense in his voice.
Cindy looked defensive at first, her eyes widened a bit and her mouth open, but realized that Kevin was only joking before deciding to play along.
"I'm saying you look like you need a vacation."
"Okay, now I really am offended."
She laughed a little and so did he.
"Keep it up, and I might just have to arrest you before the night is over."
Will handed Cindy the tall glass of water from behind the bar.
"You'll never take me alive, copper." she said with a smile as she walked away.
In her absence, Kevin noticed Dr. George watching him from a few seats down. Kevin returned the gaze, and almost grinned, as if to say, that's how it's done, but decided his blank stare was all his opponent was worthy of. George broke the brief staredown and looked awkwardly down into his wine glass. Now it was on. When Cindy came back, who would she choose to sit next to? That would decide the victor then and there. Kevin felt his palms begin to sweat under his gloves. He'd apparently forgotten to take them off on the walk over. Not surprising all things considered. He wondered what was going on in the back alley he'd left only twenty minutes before. Thank god he was away from there. He'd take a battle to the death with Doc Hamilton for Cindy the waitresses heart over a night at a crime scene any day of the week. He started to take the gloves off, but decided to leave them on. Any time he flirted with a woman, his palms started to sweat. That was the only time it ever happened too. Pretty strange, but not the worst affliction to have to deal with whilst interacting with the fairer sex. He knew many were much worse off. Stutterers and people unable to make eye contact. When it came to talking to women, he wasn't bad at all. Not a smooth talker, but who said that Don Juan shit works anyway? Either way, he definitely had ol' George beat in the charm department. Looks-wise he had the advantage as well. In fact, he had Doc Hamilton beat everywhere, but in the wallet and bank account. The great equalizers.
Where the hell was Cindy? Kevin looked over his shoulder and saw her bent over slightly, cleaning a dirty table and placing several empty glasses on a plastic tray. She finished with the rag she was using to clean the no doubt greasy table, and placed it on the tray as well. As she picked up the tray on one hand, waitress style, and began to make her way back towards the bar, a rat darted in front of her, causing her to shriek and drop the tray, sending the glasses shattering to the floor. She looked up to the men at the bar, all watching her now if they weren't already, and smiled shyly.
"You know the rules, dear. You break it, you clean it." said Will.
Cindy sighed and picked up the tray.
"I'll get the broom."
"Here. Here's the dust pan."
Will bent down and retrieved the dust pan from behind the counter.
"And don't leave a single shard, Cindy. If Jack finds any glass on the ground, I'm not taking the blame."
"Okay!" said Cindy, agitated now as she went off to fetch the broom.
To break the abrupt silence that followed as Cindy disappeared into the back, Will began asking if anyone needed refills. He asked Kevin last.
"Need a refill on the Bud, officer?" asked Will with a certain look in his eye.
Kevin did his best not to roll his eyes right in the openly gay bartender's face.
"Uh, yeah, please."
Will took the glass and walked with it to the tap.
Great. Doc Hamilton was hitting on his waitress, and now he was being hit on by the flamingly gay bartender. Hey, if he got too desperate, at least he wouldn't have to spend the night alone. Kevin thanked him when he brought over the refill, stood, and headed for the restroom to piss. He went down the short, dimly lit hallway, and pushed open the door to the men's room. The big, black security guard was at a urinal. Kevin took one two rows down.
"How's it goin'?"
The security guard looked at Kevin and grunted. A charmer. Kevin did his business and flushed. He washed his hands, and while doing so, noticed that the big black guy hadn't gone even a little. He nearly asked if he was alright, but stopped himself when he realized how embarrassing that would be. He exited the men's room, went back down the short, dimly lit hallway, and back into the bar. There was someone in the seat next to his when he got back. A woman, and he didn't realize who it was at first.
"Good evening, Officer Ryman."
Kevin put one hand on the bar, the other on his hip, and sighed.
"I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions."
Kevin looked around, as if someone could help him. He noticed Cindy approaching the bar again, the glass cleaned. She looked at Kevin and noticed the slender blonde sitting next to him, and sat down next to George again. Goddamn it.
"Well," the volume of his voice betraying his agitation. "You can ask anything you want, but I might not know the answer."
"Ah, you're a smart guy. You could at least give it your best shot."
Kevin looked into Alyssa's brown eyes unblinkingly.
Alyssa dug around in the pocket of her red suit jacket and produced a pocket tape recorder, a pencil, and a note pad. The combination of the three seemed unnecessary. She laid them all out and organized them on the bar counter. Kevin noticed the name tag above her left breast that read: Alyssa Ashcroft: Raccoon Press. She made sure the tape in the recorder was okay and looked up.
"It's nice to see you again, Kevin."
"You too." said Kevin.
The black security guard emerged from the hallway leading to the bathrooms and walked over to the jukebox. He dispensed his money, and found his selection quickly, as if he'd thought of a tune he wanted to hear as he struggled to urinate alone in the bathroom. The machine whirred and finally clicked, and "I'll Be There" by The Spinners began to play throughout the bar. Kevin thought he had to be jinxed.
"So, how've you been?" asked Alyssa.
"Are you asking me this for the papers?"
Alyssa didn't smile.
"Oh, no. I just thought we'd catch up before we got to business. I figured we had a lot of catching up to do."
"Look, you wanna ask me questions? Fine. That's your job, but I'm not in the mood for this tonight. Let's go. First question."
"Wow. You haven't changed at-"
"Okay, see you later."
Will looked up from cleaning glasses and glanced at them, smiling to himself.
"First off, what lengths are the RPD going to in order to catch this, uh, cannibal killer?"
She had to look down at her notes in order to remind herself of the killer's moniker. As if she hadn't come up with it herself. She pointed the tiny, black recorder towards Kevin, closer than he figured was necessary. The brass section blared from the jukebox.
"We're doing everything that we can. We're using all the manpower we can afford to and we're all working on the same page to nab this guy."
A boring answer to a boring question. Alyssa took notes, as if she needed to.
"Are the rumors true of the FBI coming in soon to investigate? What would that mean for our small, friendly city?"
"Well, I may not be the best man to answer that question, but I think it'd mean a lot more for our city than half eaten bodies on the streets."
Once again, Alyssa took notes, unfazed by his smart ass response. Why was she asking him this stuff anyway? The two and a half glasses of Bud had already done some damage.
"Hey, why are you interviewing me about this? Couldn't get penciled in with anybody more prestigious than a lowly patrolman? Had to corner me here to do that?"
"Hmph. Please. The Raccoon Press could have access to any city official they wanted."
And they could have access to you, I'm sure, thought Kevin.
"You sure did figure me out quick for a patrolman. Never thought of graduating to a detective job?"
"Nope. You're just a shitty liar. What are you doing here?"
Alyssa sighed and turned off the recorder.
"What happened on Davis Street tonight? I was passing by and there were about 5 patrol cars parked there. Seems pretty excessive for such a quiet street."
Christ. That place attracts people like flies to shit.
"I don't know anything. Check out Raccoon Today tomorrow morning. I'm sure they'll have the scoop. Bye."
Kevin left a twenty on the counter and stood up to walk away. Alyssa grabbed his arm.
"I suggest you sit back down if you don't want me to make a scene."
He looked up and noticed Cindy glancing at him, George still yammering away. Kevin sat back down.
"What?" said Kevin under his breath.
"I know you know. I know from living with you for two years how fast information travels through the RPD, especially on something like this. Five cars with their lights flashing. Half the damn station crammed in a taped off alleyway. Something like that doesn't stay secret for very long. You're right, Raccoon Today might get a hold of the news too, but I'm gonna make goddamn sure I do to. So what's going on?"
Kevin was almost speechless at her audacity.
"What in the hell makes you think I'm gonna tell you anything? I admit it. I do know. I do, I do! But guess what? I'm not gonna tell you. You know why? Because I don't owe you shit."
Kevin grinned smugly in her face. Alyssa shook her head in disgust.
"You dumb asshole. Do you think I just happened to come in and find you in here? How often do you think I come to a shithole like this? I came here because I knew I'd find you here."
Kevin swallowed a big lump, afraid he knew where she was going with this.
"For someone who just got out of mandatory rehab a few months ago, you sure are poundin' em down there, soldier. Now, what would happen if someone just happened to report a drunken, off duty police officer making a public scene, and they just happened to get his badge number. What do you think would happen then?"
She had him. He'd only gotten back on the bottle a few weeks ago, and he'd done pretty well so far. He hadn't let it affect his work, and he set the drinking aside for nights like tonight when he didn't have work the next morning. Still, the bitch had him by the balls. He'd been dangerously close to losing his job. He might not be so lucky the next time.
Kevin looked around to make sure no one was listening.
"It's number 10. Victim number 10. A girl. Young woman. Eaten beyond recognition. I saw it myself."
"You saw it?"
People were looking now.
"Yeah, shut up! I saw it. I saw it."
Alyssa wrote furiously in her pad, as Kevin took a large gulp of beer.
"Okay. I need more details. Was the victim black? Caucasian?"
"Look, I don't wanna talk about it. I don't know if you could tell anyway."
Alyssa leaned forward and put her hand on his knee, talking calmly and encouragingly.
"C'mon, Kevin. I need to know what you know. Hair color? Anything?"
"She...she had red hair. It was all you could really make out."
Alyssa wrote in her pad again. It took her much longer to write what she did than it did to write 'red hair'.
"Alyssa, I know you know better, but, no names right?"
She looked at him, offended.
"What am I? I know the drill. It'll be an officer at the crime scene who gave me all this."
Kevin took another big swig of Budweiser. He felt pathetic. It wasn't like giving her this information would save any lives. She was doing this for the scoop. And he was giving it to her because he was a drunken loser. Alyssa picked up all of her things and put them back in her pockets.
"Well, I've still got time to make it to make it there before press starts."
A silence between them.
"Look, I really appreciate it. I knew I could count on you."
Kevin rolled his eyes, probably setting a new record. Alyssa leaned forward again, but this time she was dangerously close. She whispered in his ear.
"Whatd'ya say you ride with me? After I drop this off, you can ride back to my place and stay the night?"
Her hand was on his shoulder now.
"I miss you."
Typical. She gets what she wants and now she's horny. The truth was though, he missed her too, hence the drinking. But it'd been the drinking that had drove them apart, among other things, but mainly the drinking. Rehab had actually taught him a lot, and one thing that resonated was that drinking, drugs, or whatever, were just a means to fill a void. He'd done a lot of soul searching before and after rehab, and he'd filled a lot of those voids, but not all of them. He was drinking again, but not nearly as much as he had been. Getting back with Alyssa could be the last void he needed to fill to get off the bottle entirely. The fact that she'd been the one to bring up the idea of getting back together meant a lot. He never thought she was capable of such a thing. She was always too stubborn. Perhaps, like him, she'd learned a thing or two about herself in their time apart.
Before Kevin could tell her that he'd missed her too, the television loudly went to static.
I was hoping to read more after the first section, which was very gripping. You make the characters come alive with great detail. The stage is now set for some serious gore in J's Bar ! Looking forward to more of this detailed work.
Jessica... Lisa... Forgive me. May god justify my death in exchange for your safety.
Thanks! The bug bit me last night, and I had to get writing.
Glad you're enjoying it!
I still haven't played the Outbreak Files yet but the more I read here the more I'm itching to play them. My brother just bought a PS2 so now I just have to get my hands on the games ...
Thanks a lot! Coincidentally, I'm writing the next chapter right now! It'll be up later tonight.
Warning: Brief sexual content at the beginning of this chapter.
"Ah, baby! Ah, baby! Ah, baby! Ah! AHHHH!"
The prostitute cried out loudly in David's ear as he felt her vaginal walls close in around his length. She rode out her orgasm just as David reached his. He couldn't help but let out a guttural groan as the prostitute continued to ride him vigorously. Milking him even though she'd already finished. As his climax reached it's peak, he wrapped his arms tightly around the fair skinned woman and buried his face deep between her firm, beautiful globes. As he came down, he let himself fall backwards onto the squeaky box spring mattress, bringing the prostitute down across his chest. They lay there catching their breath for a moment, and then the prostitute leaned forward slightly, planting David with a long, wet kiss on the lips. He was caught off guard, but he wasn't about to complain.
"I thought there was a rule about kissing your clients?"
"You clearly watch too many movies."
The prostitute propped herself up with her arms on David's chest, leaning over him and grinning, as if she was about to start riding him again. Instead, she lifted herself up and dislodged his half-erect penis from her sex. David missed the warmth immediately, but soon noticed an odd sensation. Looking down, he immediately saw that the condom had broken and the entire head of his penis was exposed to the cool air of the room. He also noticed his seed beginning to ooze down the thighs of the prostitute. They made the realization about the same time, and met each other's eyes.
"Shit." said David.
The prostitute was visibly irritated, but she spoke calmly.
"It's okay. I'm on the pill."
Great, David thought, but that wasn't his immediate concern with this situation. Nor was it the prostitute's apparently.
"You're clean, right?" she asked him.
David couldn't help but smile a little, even if it wasn't appropriate for their predicament. A prostitute was asking him if he was STD-free.
"Yeah. Last time I checked."
"Good." said the prostitute, relieved as she climbed off of him and down onto the bed next to him.
"You know, I should really be the concerned one between the two of us." David said matter-of-factly.
"What's that supposed to mean?" said the prostitute, clearly hurt.
Not wanting to hurt the woman's feelings further, David spoke more cautiously.
"Uh, well, between the two of us, let's just say that one is far more sexually active than the other."
So much for sugar coating it. The prostitute's short, flat response clearly indicated she was pissed. He'd heard it from far too many women in his life before, from his mother, to his sister, to his first girlfriend. The prostitute was fiddling with her fingernails now in order to show her disinterest with him.
"No, I'm not."
She was mad.
"Look, I didn't mean that you were…"
She looked him in the eye and he decided to choose his words very, very carefully now.
"Promiscuous. I just meant that for me, it's been…awhile."
"Mm?" She was intrigued now.
"Poor baby. How long?"
"Last November." David answered quickly.
"Oh no. Almost a year? I'd go crazy."
"No wonder you came so quick."
"Wh-? You came first!"
The prostitute couldn't hold her icy demeanor any longer and broke out into a laugh. David laughed too, as she pounced on him and kissed him fiercely before laying down to rest next to him. Just as she'd laid down, she propped herself back up on her elbow, and reached over to grab her purse from the nightstand next to the bed. She pulled out a pack of cigarettes, pulled one out and offered it to David, who took it wordlessly. She took one for herself before turning back to the nightstand, opening the drawer and pulling out a phonebook, an ashtray, and a matchbook. She lit her cigarette with a match, plucked David's cigarette from between his lips, lit it with her own, and handed it back to him. She set the phonebook down between them and set the ashtray on top of it, so as not to get ashes on the sheets. A tidy prostitute, thought David.
"So, why the wait, Mr. Plumber?"
"On the sex?" asked David after a long drag of the Camel.
The prostitute nodded as she blew smoke out of the corner of her mouth away from David. Such a polite prostitute.
"Well, it's not like it was my choice."
"Oh, c'mon. You're being modest. A nice looking guy like you in the city. You could easily get laid if you wanted to."
David said it just as something to say, not necessarily in agreeal. The woman was watching him, waiting for something further.
"I guess I'm just not that desperate of a guy. Some guys, like the guys I work with, can't live without sex. They'll go out to the bars every night looking to get laid by any woman. I'd just as soon jerk off than screw a woman I don't even like. Is that a suitable explanation?"
"Now, hang on a minute-"
"I guess not."
"You don't even know me. How do you know if you like me or not?"
"Well, I don't dislike you. You've got that going for you."
Still watching. Still expecting more explanation.
"And I've got pretty good intuition. I usually know right off if I like somebody or not."
David took another drag of his cigarette to let her know he was finished talking. She had finished with hers and put it out in the ashtray between them.
"Well, thanks. I think I know that too."
"I wish more of my clients could be like you."
"Aw, you're making me blush."
"But I don't have a dirty pussy."
David's eyebrows raised and he nearly coughed as he took the last drag from his cigarette.
"When did I say that?" David asked as he put out his Camel.
"A minute ago. Like just because I'm a prostitute I've got the fuckin' clap."
What was happening? Since when was nagging included with the price of paying for sex? David didn't like to hurt any woman's feelings, so he couldn't just ignore her or tell her to shut up like most of her customers probably do.
"I-I'm sorry. That's not what I meant anyway."
"I mean, do you think I could make any money if I was running around with a smelly pussy?"
"Y'know you asked me if I was clean. I didn't get offended. Why are you? Especially when I haven't even gotten laid for a year. Yeah, I'm really dirty."
"Well, how am I supposed to know that?"
"I just told you."
"Just because you know it doesn't mean I do."
David figured she was right, and felt sorry for her then.
"I just deal with a lot of pre-conceptions. About my work, y'know?"
"Yeah. I'm a plumber. That gets the ladies real hot when they find that out, believe me."
The prostitute chuckled a bit, and when she did, a small remainder of cigarette smoke exited her nostrils.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have been a bitch to you. I know you didn't mean anything."
"Hey, it's okay. I understand."
"Let me stay here tonight?"
"I wish you would."
The prostitute gathered the ashtray and phonebook from the bed and placed them on the nightstand.
"You won't charge extra will you?"
"I'm not charging anything."
She said it so casually that in his tired state, David almost missed it.
"Yeah, silly. I couldn't bring myself to make you pay after that. You know how long it's been since I've had an orgasm? I should be paying you."
"Look, I don't mind-"
"Do you think I only have sex for money? Well, I don't. I let men fuck me. I don't call that sex. I pretend to get into it, but I don't. Not really. So, tonight was the first time in a while for me too. I guess we're even. Just let me stay here tonight and we'll really be even. Okay?"
The prostitute leaned forward and kissed him again. He opened his mouth and inserted his tongue into hers. She welcomed it and grabbed the back of his head, wrapping her fingers in his thick, black hair. They kissed for a bit more, gently, before breaking it.
"I'm Michelle by the way." She said as she turned away from him and planted both feet on the floor.
David wished she wouldn't have told him that. As Michelle stood, she lifted her arms above her and stretched. As she did, David noticed a nasty abrasion in the small of her back, just above her plump buttocks. It wasn't very large, but it had turned a purplish color as the skin around it had started to bruise. He slid forward and placed his hand on her bare hip.
"What happened here?"
"This fucking asshole earlier today. He's a banker in the city. He's always been big on biting, but he went too fucking far today."
"It looks awful. Did you go to a hospital?"
"It's not that bad. It barely even broke the skin."
"It looks infected."
"I used alcohol on it, and showered afterwards. It's not infected."
She looked at him and saw the concern in his face.
"It's not infected." She said again.
"I'm going to take a shower."
"I don't get first dibs? I'm the one that's been digging around in the sewers all day."
"Even more reason for me to take one. Ladies first, y'know. You can join me if you'd like."
"I want to, but I don't know how much showering we'd actually do."
"You're probably right."
She stood, wavered a bit, and then plopped right back down on the bed.
"Whoo! You've got me all weak in the knees, Mr. Plumber."
"David. I like that."
She stood again and found her balance. She slowly made her way to the bathroom door, walking almost like an old man. David heard her turn the water on.
"Last chance, baby. Water's feeling good." She called to him.
When he didn't answer, Michelle looked out from the doorway of the bathroom and saw that he was asleep. She shook her head, undressed, and climbed in the shower.
David awoke with a start for some reason. Something had awoken him, but he wasn't sure if it was a dream or a noise that had done it. The bad dreams rarely came anymore, but he'd been startled awake by them plenty of times before. He rarely couldn't remember them immediately after waking though. He could barely remember any of them longer than that though, and that was fine with him. He'd awoken from some of them in such a state, he'd swear he was having a heart attack. It had to have been a noise that awoke him, but the only sound that he could he hear was the hissing of the water against the shower curtain and the floor. It was good that he'd woken up anyway. He was sure he smelled horrible, even though he'd gone nose deaf to himself by this point. He couldn't bear to make Michelle, the prostitute with a heart of gold, sleep cuddled up next to him when he smelt like sewage and cum. He wondered for the first time if this was anything. If he'd leave tomorrow and never see her again. Tomorrow was hard to imagine. Like when he was a teenager and he couldn't imagine what life would be like past the age of twenty. He truly liked Michelle, but she was a prostitute. She surely had a pimp, and most likely a drug addiction of choice. He wanted to believe that she'd wake up tomorrow morning (so far away) and say she was quitting the biz and was dedicating herself to a domestic life sentence as a Raccoon City housewife. A likely scenario.
He sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes. The clock on the nightstand told him it was 11:33 pm. He figured he'd feel guilty about paying for sex, but he felt better than he had in a while. Then again, he hadn't paid for it after all. But he'd intended to all the same. Either way, of all the things he was feeling, guilt and revulsion were not among them. They'd screwed like first time teenagers, three minutes at most, and then smoked and talked like they knew each other for years. Some people looked their whole lives form moments like this, and never found them. David had always been lucky that way. He took a moment to give quiet thanks for his luck. His cigarette from earlier still smoldered slightly in the ashtray. He reached for it, took a miniature drag, and rubbed it out properly this time, killing even the tiniest trace of a flame. As he did so, the loudest thud he'd ever heard echoed from inside the bathroom.
The loud roar of the static broke the daze everyone in the bar had fallen into, immediately catching everyone's attention. The black security guard threw his hands up in the air.
"Typical! Last five minutes of the game, the cable goes out." He said loud enough for everyone to hear.
"I've got fifty bucks on the shit!" said the short, fat security guard.
Everyone in the bar chuckled at their mock exasperation routine, and Will the bartender muted the television. Alyssa turned to face Kevin again.
"So, what do you say? You coming with me or not?" she asked with a hint of impatience in her voice.
"I just got here y'know. I barely even have a buzz going."
"Oh, c'mon. I'll give you a buzz to remember."
Sex with the ex or booze? A tough decision, but not exactly the worst position to be in. Can't a guy have both?
"How about this? You go and drop that off at the Press, and I'll a drink a few more. You have to come back this way anyway. You can pick me up on the way back. Simple."
He recited his plan proudly as he brought the frosted glass to his lips, spilling a bit as he did so.
"No wonder you don't have a buzz. You're spilling half the shit all over yourself. You know I can't stand the smell of booze."
"A smart girl."
"Way too smart to be dealing with your dumb ass again."
Alyssa laughed and thus, lost another verbal joust with the man she honestly loved. At one point anyway. Maybe she still did, but it was too late in the day to ponder too deeply over such things. For now, she just wanted to get her scoop in and get laid. Anything else would come later. Plenty of time tomorrow. Or the next day.
"Fine. Just be ready when I get back. I'm not waiting around here any longer than I have to."
"You will if I want to."
"Shut the hell up."
Kevin shook his head and laughed as Alyssa stood up from the bar, gathered all of her things into her man purse (as Kevin had deemed it the first day she came home with it), and exited the front door. In her hurried state, she didn't bother closing it entirely, opting instead to slam it behind her, hoping to do so with enough force to click the door in place. It came just short, but remained closed for now all the same. A strong wind would be enough to push it open. Kevin watched her as she walked down the sidewalk in her black heels through the large window that took up most of the front wall of the bar. She looked good, even in her red powersuit. Her blonde hair made it work he thought. Maybe brown hair would look good with it, but not black or red hair. But what did he know about those things? He just liked the way her ass looked in it as she made her way down the sidewalk and out of sight. Feeling good, he looked around to the bar's other patrons. The security guards looked deep in conversation on the other side of the bar, and Will seemed to be snubbing him now, whereas he couldn't take his eyes off of him before Alyssa showed up. Left only with George and Cindy to possibly converse with, he decided to drink in silence once again. He had to move straight to the Bloody Mary's (he'd probably only have time for one now), so he drained what was left of the beer and accidentally slammed it back down on the bar with a little too much force.
"Break it you buy it, babe." said Will without looking up from cleaning behind the bar.
"My bad. How's about a Bloody Mary when you get a chance?"
"No problem. I'll get at it now."
As he worked, Will continued talking to Kevin with his back turned.
"I guess your lady in red turned her tab over to you?"
"Yeah, I guess. Figures. She makes double my salary and sticks me with the bill. What do I owe ya?"
"Just a dollar. For her water."
Kevin sat with his head propped up on one hand with one eyebrow raised.
"You charge for tap water?"
"I don't, Jack does. Take it up with him."
Jeez. Somebody was in quite the mood.
"Here you are."
Will sat the drink down in front of Kevin. For what he considered the manliest mixed drink, Will sure had fruited it up. In addition to the lemon perched on the edge of the glass, the contents of the drink itself featured a bit of celery, two olives, and a carrot, all floating around in the tiny glass. There were more vegetables than vodka in it. Kevin sighed.
Kevin grunted in response. In a lapse in conversation with Doc Hamilton, Cindy looked over to Kevin and caught his eye.
"Was that your girlfriend that just left?" she asked.
"Yeah. She's coming back to pick me up in a minute."
"Oh. She's pretty." She said (with a hint of disappointment?).
"Thanks. I like to think so too." Kevin replied (She definitely seemed disappointed).
George, picking up on the awkward silence, began speaking directly to Cindy again, excluding Kevin.
"So, has anything happened lately?" He asked, regarding a subject of conversation Kevin had missed earlier.
"Not really. It's been awhile. I did get that creepy feeling upstairs in the wine room just today though. I hate going up there alone."
Kevin's interest peaked (compared to their earlier conversation at least), and decided to insert himself into the fray.
"What are you talking about?"
Cindy seemed surprised to hear him speak after his relatively quiet nature for most of the night.
"Oh. We think the bar is haunted. Jack, the owner, says he's been seeing and hearing things as long as he's been here. I don't know if he just has me freaked out or what, but I'm starting to believe it too."
"Why? Have you seen something?"
Kevin always enjoyed a good ghost story, especially from someone relatively young and sane. Someone relatable in other words. Most ghost stories were told by old, senile geezers, and you didn't know whether to buy it or not. Someone young and pretty like Cindy didn't seem to have much reason to lie, and the younger you were, the less superstitious you tended to be. If something had her spooked, Kevin was genuinely interested to hear what it could be. Doc Hamilton, making sure to reassert himself into the conversation, spoke before Cindy could answer Kevin.
"Wait 'til you get a load of this, man." he said, chuckling to himself.
Kevin ignored him and looked back to Cindy.
"I haven't really seen anything, but things have happened that..." Cindy thought carefully about her next words. "...that I just really can't explain."
"Yeah? Like what? C'mon, you're killing me here."
"Okay. Like one time, I was mopping the floor in the men's bathroom..."
"I told you to stay out of there!" said George in an attempt to get a laugh.
Cindy rolled her eyes and continued.
"I was mopping, and the only other person here was a girl who used to bartend on weekends. Jack was here, but he was upstairs, and it was late, like 3, and he's usually asleep by then."
Cindy stopped for a moment, as if thinking through what she was about to relate to Kevin even though she'd already thought it through hundreds of times before.
"So, I was all alone, and I was just about finished mopping when I get this really creepy feeling like I'm being watched. I look around, but there's nobody there. So, I finish up, but there's still that creepy feeling there. I'm so creeped out, I decide to open all the stall doors, just to make sure there's nobody there, even though I know there's not. And that's what I do, and of course, there's nobody there. So, I go to grab the mop and the bucket and get the hell out of there, but when I turn around, the mop's gone!"
"You're kidding!" said Kevin genuinely surprised by the twist, and a little overly enthused by the alcohol now in his system.
"No! I look around to anywhere it could possibly be, but it's nowhere. Not that it could've gone anywhere in the first place! I look all over the bathroom, but I can't find it anywhere. I look and look, and finally I give up and just put my hand on my forehead like this."
She demonstrated the exhausted gesture.
"I thought I was going crazy. Just as I was about to go and ask the girl out here to come and help me look, something banged up against one of the stall doors, the middle stall. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard that."
"I bet. What was it?"
"I go over really slowly, and I feel like I'm about to have a heart attack. I stop in front of the door and listen, but I don't hear anything, so I swing the door open really fast, and the mop falls out onto the floor! It had been jammed down into the toilet!"
"No way! No way!"
"I swear! I couldn't help but scream when that happened. The girl tending bar came in and asked if I was okay, and I must've looked crazy standing there in front of that open stall with the mop on the floor."
George nodded in agreement.
"Then what happened?" asked Kevin.
"Well, nothing really. I told Jack about it later, and he said it was just Michelle playing a trick on me. "
"He said she was a prostitute when this place was a brothel forever ago. One night, some guy refused to pay and they got into a fight and he shot and killed her. People say they've been seeing her ever since, but I never have. Somebody was in that bathroom that night though."
"Tell him about the bottle." said George, urging her on.
"A few weeks later, Jack sent me upstairs to the wine room to look for a bottle of something, and that place is huge. There's wine bottles up and down two whole walls. It always takes me forever to find anything in there. So, I'm kind of in a hurry to find this bottle, it was a..."
Cindy furrowed her brow trying to think of the name.
"1978 El Grifo! Very expensive too! Jack had written it down on a piece of paper for me because I'm not very good at remembering those wine names. So, I'm up there forever trying to find it, and as I'm making my second go around, a bottle falls from the very top shelf and nearly hits me in the head! That may not seem too strange, but that never happens. Those bottles are wedged up there good."
George nodded as if he'd seen the shelves himself.
"You have to get a ladder to climb up and get it. It doesn't just slip out like that. So, when the bottle smashed on the ground, it scared me half to death of course, and when I looked at the label lying on the floor, guess what it was."
"1976 El Grifo?"
"'78. The very same one I was looking for."
Kevin could only shake his head in wonderment.
"That's all that's happened to me. But Will's seen things, and Jack lives here, so he sees and hears things all the time. I never really believed in that kind of stuff before, but I definitely do now. There's just no other explanation. No other explanation." She said it as if she were trying to convince herself of it.
"I don't know how you could explain that either."
"Have you ever seen a ghost?"
Kevin had never seen a ghost, but like Cindy, he'd experienced things, all on the job, that he really couldn't explain. Things that couldn't simply be chalked up to coincidence. But he didn't talk about those things. Not to anyone, but especially not to relative strangers in bars. Some of the things he'd seen and experienced couldn't be explained, and that which could not be explained scared Kevin.
"No. Can't say I have, but I've always believed in them. For whatever reason."
"Well, I definitely do now."
Kevin took a final gulp of his Bloody Mary, careful not to inhale the carrot, and set it back on the bar. He needed another drink. They all did it seemed. Everyone was quiet and contemplative after Cindy's stories, thinking up their own theories about what could have really happened. Just then, the front door came flying open, banging against the wall. Everyone was startled by the sudden noise in the quiet bar, and turned to see the cause. A man, tall and skinny with long hair and a beard stood in the doorway, and he smelled horrible. Kevin could tell that the man had shit himself somewhat recently, and other smells clung to an emanated from this man as well. He stood, motionless in front of the open door, with his head down and swayed back and forth a bit. He'd clearly had too many. In addition to the disgust Kevin felt toward the man, he also felt a sense of inadequacy. Even though he was off duty, it was his job to serve and protect, but here he sat, gaping with the rest of the bar's customers at this wino who'd shit himself.
It was Will who spoke first.
"Sir, could you close the door please?"
He'd clearly seen and served customers in similar states before, as he seem unfazed by the man. The man didn't answer, nor did he look up to face Will .
"Sir! Excuse me!"
No answer. It was almost like the guy was out on his feet. Will looked to the two security guards seated behind him, and leaned over to whisper to them. Kevin felt a pang of jealousy as he did so. He heard him whisper.
"Look, can one of you go talk to this guy? I don't want any trouble, I just want him outta here. He's obviously messed up."
The large, black guard spoke up first.
"No problem. Bob, after you."
The short, white guard, Bob, exhaled and stood from his seat and the large black guard followed. The man in the front door still hadn't moved, and Kevin in his now inebriated state thought he could smell something sickly sweet and familiar on the man.
The noise sounded like a ten ton anvil had dropped through the shower floor. David sat straight up in the bed and looked to the bathroom door.
"Michelle?" he called.
No answer. David climbed out from under the sheets and made his way to the door naked. He listened to the water pattering on the shower floor, but heard nothing else.
"Michelle? Everything okay?"
Still no answer. He knew she'd looked a little off a minute ago. She'd been fine one second, and pale and shaky the next. He couldn't help but be reminded of someone going cold turkey on heroin. He'd seen it plenty of times to know. But there's no way she could've gone 60 to 0 in that span of time. That's not how it worked. That he knew from personal experience. Maybe that bite on her back? It had looked infected, but she was right in saying it wasn't deep. It wasn't. Yet, it had looked…diseased almost. But it was probably due to the bruising around it. Bruises always tended to make cuts and lacerations look worse than they actually were. Similar to how blood mixed with saliva always made an oral cut look like you were pouring the stuff. An illusion is all. Maybe she'd just slipped and fallen? Either way, she could be hurt in there.
"Michelle? I'm coming in."
David turned the knob and, luckily, she hadn't locked it. He twisted it easily and opened the door to the fluorescent lit bathroom. The lighting did nothing to flatter the already homely décor of the bathroom. The floors were quite dirty, and a framed painting of the nearby Arklay Mountains hung on the grimy wall across from the toilet. Unable to see Michelle's silhouette behind the shower curtain, David took two quick strides and tore it back. She lay face down on the floor, her feet on either side of the drain. She'd hit her head against the wall on the way down and blood swirled around her body. David quickly turned the knobs of the shower and cut off the water flow. He grabbed Michelle by the waist and lifted her out of the shower. He set her on the dirty floor gently, turning her on her back once her weight was on the ground. He set her head down gently on the tile and moved his ear to just above her breast to listen for a heartbeat. The woman's slick skin was still warm, but her heart was no longer beating.
"Shit! C'mon!" David said to no one as he wiped the water off the side of his face. He clenched his hands together and began pushing down in the center of her chest over and over. He did this quickly and the prostitute's ample bosom bounced as he did so. After about the thirtieth pump, he moved his lips over her now blue ones and administered mouth to mouth. Her chest began to rise slightly as he blew and he stopped. He began to blow again and stopped again when her chest rose. No response.
David began pumping her chest again, with even more force and speed now. On about the tenth pump, she opened her eyes wide and inhaled desperately, sounding like an orgasmic gasp in the confines of the echo-y bathroom. Her back arched and she grabbed onto David with both arms, squeezing him tighter than he ever had. She continued inhaling, taking in long, ragged breaths, struggling to breathe. Suddenly, her breath seemed hitched in her throat and she began making choking sounds. She held on to David even tighter now and her left leg flailed widely behind him, knocking over the nearby waste basket and sending several tissues and David's broken condom to the already disgusting floor. Her eyes rolled up into the back of her head as she continued thrashing, and then, as quickly as it'd begun, she fell limp in his arms once again. Her chest was rising and falling very rapidly now.
"Christ! Hang on! I'll be right back!"
David ran back into the bedroom and quickly slipped his underwear and pants back on. He hadn't taken his tool belt off earlier, so it's weight was looped around his waist once again. He grabbed his work shirt and threw it on, not bothering to button it. He spied his work boots by the door and quickly slipped them on as well. Getting dressed was not so much for his benefit as much as it was Jim's at the front desk, who David didn't want to panic any more than he was already about to. He tore open the door and left it ajar as he ran toward the lobby doors. It squealed open loudly as he quickly pulled it open and barreled in. Jim poked his head in from the back room after hearing all of the commotion and seemed relieved to see David and not somebody with a gun.
"Hey! Everything all right?" asked Jim with uncertainty in his eye.
"Call 911! A girl just had a seizure in my room!"
As Jim struggled with what David was relating to him, David was already coming around the counter.
"Hey, take it easy, man!" shouted Jim.
"Where's the goddamn phone?"
Jim reached under the counter and pulled out the old fashioned phone. David quickly pulled the receiver up and began twisting the dial, 9-1-1, as quickly as he could. He put the phone to his ear and waited for the ringing on the other end to begin. He waited a good 3 seconds, but nothing came through the receiver, only silence.
"What's wrong with this thing?"
He thrust it forward to Jim who held the receiver to his ear. He clicked the button on the base and
redialed the number himself. He held the phone to his ear and looked at David as he waited.
"The line's dead."
David looked from Jim to the phone back and forth, as if trying to make sense of it all. With a grunt of rage, he grabbed the phone off of the counter and hurled it against the wall. The wire snapped off the back of it with little resistance, but hindered the phone's momentum and it thudded against the wall weakly.
"Hey, man! Jesus!"
"What the fuck am I supposed to do then!"
"Mick has a phone up at his place!"
"So what? The lines dead!"
"No! No, it's on a separate line! It should be working!"
David turned and quickly made his way for the door.
"Wait!" Jim called out behind him he as walked out into the humid night air once again. He didn't intend on waiting around to argue with that idiot now. He walked around to the back of the motel to make his way to the two story wooden house up on the hill. He found the stone step pathway leading upwards, and took them two at a time. Michelle wouldn't die , at least on account of him being too slow. He heard the lobby doors come banging open and he heard quick, panicked footsteps coming his way.
"Hey!" Jim whisper-shouted to him. Thinking David hadn't heard him, he said it again as he approached the bottom of the steps behind him.
"What?" growled David without stopping or turning around.
Jim ran up the steps behind him now and reached out and grabbed him by the arm. That got David's attention, and he turned to face the shorter man. Jim held out his arms indicating he meant no harm.
"Hey, man. It's cool. It's cool, but what the FUCK is going on?"
"There's a girl in my room. She fell and hit her head, and then she had a seizure. Up to speed?"
He turned and began climbing the steps up the hill again. Jim started after him once more.
"Girl? What girl, man?"
"Her name's Michelle."
"Shit, man! Don't yell!"
David stopped and turned to face the man following him again.
"Do you wanna be useful?"
"Go back to my room, and make sure she's okay. Just stay there until I get back. Okay?"
Jim looked back at David with the same uncertainty that'd been on his face before.
"Look, I know you're freaked, but I'd better go with you."
David exhaled and looked up to the night sky.
"I know. I know." said Jim almost stammering. "But if I come up with you, Mick'll know it's a real emergency. Even he'll have to understand."
"Whatever. Just hurry the fuck u-"
Before David could finish his insult he was cut off by a shrill female scream that filled the night air. He and Jim both looked around wildly. It was so loud that it seemed to come from all sides. An owl left it's perch from the tree above them and flew away. The scream faded, but remained in David's ear.
"Who could be out here?" he wondered aloud.
"That ain't a person, man." Jim replied. "There's panthers up here. Especially this time of year. They say their call sounds like a woman screaming. I've heard it out here a few times from the motel."
"Christ. Let's hurry."
David regretted leaving open the door to his room, and thought about turning back for a second, but decided against it as he and Jim were at the foot of the dark, looming house now. Not a single light shone outwards from the building, indicating Mick the Prick was probably asleep. Surely, he'll be in an even better mood than usual. The two men stepped onto the wooden porch. Their footsteps loud and heavy in the now quiet night. David stepped up to the front door and banged on it heavily, causing Jim to flinch. The wooden door rattled in it's frame, as did the glass window pane inside the door. The hallway beyond the front door was completely dark, rendering David unable to see anything beyond. David knocked again, this time even louder, in turn making all of the windows on the front of the house rattle.
"Mick!" David shouted now. "Open up! It's an emergency!"
No motion or sound came from the dark house. David was reminded of a black hole. No sound or light inside. David waited another long moment. Waiting for any noise or movement to indicate that someone heard them from inside. Nothing.
"Screw this." David reached inside of his tool belt, suddenly glad he'd decided to bring it after all. He retrieved a long, steel monkey wrench and used it to jab a hole in the window of the front door.
"Ah!" Jim shouted in panicked disbelief. "What the fuck are you doing?"
"Getting to a phone that works. Between a broken window and a dead prostitute, which do you think he'll prefer?"
Jim said nothing as David used the wrench to knock the remainder of the jagged glass loose. After doing so, he reached inside, fumbled with the lock, and opened the door. The door swung open into the palpable darkness, and David felt stale, warm air rush out to meet him. Could the cheap prick not even afford air conditioning? He felt it was necessary to announce their entrance, just in case was Mick was hidden behind the corner down the hallway with a shotgun in his hand.
"Mick! If you can hear me, we're coming in! It's David, the plumber, and I've got Jim here with me! There's been an accident at the motel, and the phone line's down! We need to use your phone!"
Another long silence following that. No answer. No noise. No movement. Only stale humidity inside the black hole. David's eyes had adjusted to the complete darkness of the house, and in front of him the hallway stretched out into what looked like may have been the kitchen. The right of the entrance was the stairway leading to the second floor.
"Mickey! You home?" Jim shouted, seeming to surprise even himself.
"Is he a deep sleeper?" asked David.
"How would I know?" replied Jim.
"Maybe he went somewhere."
"No, I saw him head back this way earlier tonight. If he ever has to go anywhere, he always tells me to take his messages."
"Well, he's obviously not here." said David, stepping into the dark, front room. "Help me find a phone."
David found the light switch on the wall, half expecting it not to work, but it did, and the room was illuminated instantly. The light illuminated the dark room down the hallway, and David could now tell for sure that it was the kitchen. David headed towards it as Jim pretended to look for a phone in the tiny front room. David stopped in the threshold of the kitchen and felt on either side of the doorway for a light switch, and found one on the right side. Flipping it, the kitchen suddenly came to life with color. The kitchen was heavily decorated to give it a country feel, adding even more to David's thoughts of a southern plantation house from earlier. David spotted a cordless phone base on top of a barstool against the wall. The phone itself was missing, which meant Mickey had left it somewhere inside the house.
"Shit." David said aloud.
"What?" Jim asked back from the front room.
"I've got a cordless phone base, but no cordless phone." David said as he scanned the kitchen.
David heard Jim's short, rapid footsteps coming down the hall. He entered the kitchen and looked around, seeming shocked at the décor of the room. David found it hard to believe that Mick had decorated it in such a way either.
"I'm gonna look upstairs, Jim. You keep looking down here. Just yell if you find it okay?"
"Yeah." Jim replied almost absent-mindedly as he took in his surroundings.
David headed back up the hallway, his boots thumping loudly against the hardwood floor. What if Michelle was back to her senses now? Alone and scared and bleeding? He was suddenly struck with the feeling that he'd made the wrong decision. The hospital was a good thirty minutes away. He could've just take her himself. But the nearest ambulance station was only a few miles away. He'd passed it on the way up. They'd be here quick and could administer any immediate aid that might be needed then and there before taking her to the hospital. Besides, what the hell was he supposed to do? He was scared and he'd panicked when he saw her flailing around like that. Calling 911 seemed like his best option, and that was the one he was going to stick with. If only he could find the damn phone. He hoped it hadn't been off of the base for too long and run out of battery. He mentally crossed his fingers as he started his way up to the second floor of the house. It was dark up here too, but the light from the room below illuminated it a bit. There were three doors up here. One directly in front of the stairway, one around the railing to the side of the stairway, and one all the way behind David at the back of the stairway. David opened the door in front of him first. It was a bedroom. Mickey's bedroom apparently. David flicked on the light switch, and surveyed the room quickly. No phone on the bed or the desk. No use looking anywhere else. The mounted deer heads on the wall watched David as he turned off the light and closed the door again. He made his way to the door to the side of the stairway. He opened it to find not a trace of the phone, or a trace of a room for that matter. David had opened up a closet. Various sized boxes filled the shelves, and he was lucky all of the contents of the closet hadn't come toppling out onto him when he'd opened the door it was so crammed with junk. David tried to close the door all the way shut, but found it wouldn't close all the way now.
David now turned his attention to the only remaining door up here, which was the one behind the stairway. Underneath the crack in the closed door, David could make out the faint glow of a light from somewhere within. He hadn't noticed earlier from a distance mixed with the light coming from downstairs, but there was definitely light coming from within, but not the steady, bright light from an overhead. There had to be a lamp on somewhere in there. David made his way to the door, somewhat cautiously, as if he might walk in on Mickey reading a Penthouse and startle him. He grasped the brass door knob, and turned it loudly, making sure to announce his entrance in case anyone was inside. He swung the door open, and found himself standing outside the upstairs bathroom. He also spotted the light source right away. On top of the toilet was a large, portable lamp with two fluorescent bulbs inside of it. Next to it, lay a white cordless phone.
David breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank god."
He walked over and scooped the phone up off of the top of the toilet. He clicked the 'Talk' button and held the phone up to his ear making sure there was a dial tone. He heard one right away. He dialed 911 immediately and waited for the ring. He waited longer than it would usually take, and just as he wondered if he should go downstairs closer to the base for better reception, he heard the monotonous beep letting him know that the line was busy.
Surely there was a mistake. This line must be fucked too he concluded. He dialed the number again, waited, and sure enough, got the busy sound again.
"Shit!" David exclaimed in frustration as he sat down on the porcelain bowl. He placed the phone on the ground carefully, so he could try again in a minute, and sat with his head in his hands weighing his options. He could hurry back down, get Michelle into his van and drive away from this shithole once and for all. But he'd bothered to take all this time on this course of action, even though only a little over ten minutes had elapsed since Michelle had her seizure, and his gut still told him it was the right one. His instinct had rarely let him down before, so he would keep calling the emergency line. There was at least a dial tone after all. He at least had that much. But if there was nothing wrong with the line, why would the emergency line in Raccoon City of all places be completely busy? How often did that happen anywhere? No, there surely was some kind of technical difficulty along the way. Had to be. Before he could pick up the phone to try again, he noticed the dripping coming from the clawfooted bathtub. The shower curtain was closed around the tub entirely, and the sound of the dripping was not of that on porcelain, but the drop of water into more water, as if the tub was filled. As David listened again, that's exactly what the sound indicated. Strange. And why had Mickey left the lamp on anyway? Why bother with the lamp in the first place? Why not just use the overhead lights?
David dialed 911 again, but this time didn't even get the busy noise. He decided he would go downstairs to get a better signal. He stood up from his spot on the toilet and started to make his way out. He heard the water drip into more water behind the shower curtain again. He stopped before he could reach the door, grabbed the shower curtain and yanked it back. Mickey sat facing David in the tub, gray and bloated, partly from the water, partly from gases that had built up in his stomach. His eyes were rolled up and his mouth was partly open. His pubic hair floated aimlessly in the water and he was beginning to stink. David gave out a shout, and as he did so, Mickey's eyes left their upwards glare to meet David's. The dead man sat up from his slouched position in the tub and a soft, dumb mewl came from the back of his throat. Mickey began to stand from his watery grave, and that's when David finally started to back up. Fully standing now, Mickey held his hands out to David, either reaching for him or pleading with him, David wasn't sure. As Mickey took a step towards him, he tripped over the edge of the bathtub and came down face first on the bathroom floor. David heard his jaw crack and wondered what he should do. He wanted to call for help, but he couldn't get any noise out. Just then, Mickey let out another inhuman moan, and began to rise slowly from off of his stomach. As he got to his feet yet again, David had the instinct to get as far away from the dead man as he could. He turned quickly and exited the room, not wanting to leave his back exposed to the dead man for too long. He slammed the door shut as Mickey slowly advanced toward him. There was a wooden chair to the left of the bathroom doorway, and he wedged it underneath the doorknob. As he did so, he could hear Mickey, dead Mickey, scratching at the door from the other side. All David could do was stare and listen in disbelief.
I do hope other residents here are enjoying this story as much as me....Thanks Morning Son for sharing such a labour of love.
Jessica... Lisa... Forgive me. May god justify my death in exchange for your safety.
Thank you! And it's honestly not laborous at all...well, maybe a little.
May be about a week before the next update. I wrote the last three chapters in single sittings the last three nights, and I'm a bit burnt out. Thanks again for the kind words though. I'm glad a fellow fan is enjoying it!
Kevin flipped the lights on as the ancient Cadillac in front of him swerved for the second time. He could see a dark figure look in the rear view mirror before the car's brake lights illuminated the otherwise dark and deserted South Philadelphia street. The car slowed and came to a complete stop under a flickering street light. The bright, red brake lights shone mercilessly into Kevin's tired eyes until the red lights were joined by tiny white ones as the car was turned into reverse, a pause as if a gear was stuck, and then both lights disappeared. Kevin followed suit and parked behind the large, gray vehicle. As he opened the patrol car door, the chill of the December night quickly tore into him, in spite of his thick Starter jacket. His irritation grew as the green glow of the dashboard clock told him it was 11:42 pm. A scant 18 minutes until the end of his shift. He silently wished for a quick, routine stop as he slammed the creaking car door shut with a grunt before retrieving the flashlight at his waist. He shone it at the side view mirror, and as he approached the driver's door, shone it directly in the face of the young, black woman behind the wheel.
Kevin noticed that she'd yet to lower her window, and tapped on it lightly with his fist as she stared at him blankly. Kevin resisted rolling his eyes and motioned for her to roll her window down. She held her hand up, telling him to wait, and keeping his gaze, opened the driver's side door. Kevin stepped back as she pushed it all the way open, feeling the heat emanating from inside.
"Sorry, the window's broken." She said apologetically, putting on her best smile.
"It's fine. Have you been drinking tonight?"
"Well..." The girl seemed off put by Kevin's bluntness. "I had a few at the club, but-"
"Okay, ma'am, I'm gonna need you to step out of the car please."
The girl exhaled and took her purse off of her lap and placed it in the passenger's seat. As she stepped into the night's cold, she wrapped her arms around herself. Kevin, seeing the girl's full form for the first time, thought he wouldn't mind wrapping his arms around her. She was slim, but with nice sized breasts shown off by her low cut dress. Her long legs were on display in a pair of heels. The only outerwear she was clothed in was an oversized denim jacket with fur lining. She was dressed far more elegantly than the car she drove would have indicated. Looking her over, mixed with his weariness almost resulted in an awkward moment of her and Kevin staring at each other, but he remembered himself just in time.
"I need you to step this way please."
He motioned the girl forward as he backed towards his patrol car. She followed as he did so.
"Okay. The first thing I need you to do is close your eyes and walk towards me in a straight line. So, whenever you're ready."
"You want me to do it in heels?"
"You can take them off if you'd like."
"And walk barefoot on the street?" The girl asked with visible disgust.
"Well, it's up to you. Between going to jail and getting my feet dirty, I know what I would do." Kevin said, beginning to lose his patience.
The girl glared daggers at him as she lifted her feet and reached back to unlace the heels. Once they were off, she held them in her right hand and re-established her glare. She held out her hands in exasperation.
"Right. Whenever you're ready. One foot in front of the other. Straight line."
The girl closed her eyes and did just that for about two steps, when she stumbled a bit. She let out a little gasp as she did so, knowing she'd failed the test.
"Okay, you can put your shoes back on."
The girl did so as the street light above them stopped flickering and came entirely to life.
"Alright. Now I need you to say the entire alphabet backwards. Starting with 'z'."
The girl looked absolutely puzzled now, and a look of defeat was on her face before she'd even started. Kevin almost felt bad for her. Who could say the entire alphabet backwards even sober?
"Z...X, no, Y, X..." The girl struggled.
A good ten seconds passed, before Kevin mercifully cut her off.
"Okay. That's enough." He said, unable to keep from chuckling to himself. "I'm gonna need you to step into the car please."
"Oh, god. Why?"
"Look, I just need you to take a breathalyzer test."
Kevin opened the back door of the patrol car behind the driver's seat and motioned for the girl to get inside. She did so reluctantly, and once she was seated, Kevin went to the back of the car and opened the trunk, retrieving the breathalyzer test. He walked back to where the girl was seated and placed the black case on the roof. He opened it, and moving the instructions aside, pulled out the gray instrument and turned it on.
"Okay, take a deep breath and blow into the hole there. All the breath you've got."
The girl did so, and the results appeared almost immediately. An 0.064. Safe.
"Well, it's your lucky night."
"I passed?" The girl asked, sounding unable to believe it herself.
"With flying colors."
"I tried to tell you I'd only had a few beers." The girl remarked with clear attitude in her voice.
"Just doing my job."
Luckily, the girl left it at that. Kevin packed up the breathalyzer and returned it to the trunk.
"Okay, you can go back to your car now."
The girl headed that way, and Kevin followed, watching her ass as he did so. The girl plopped down in her own driver's seat and looked at Kevin with less anger than before, awaiting instruction.
"Last thing I'm gonna need is your license and proof of insurance."
"Wait." The girl said smiling. "Don't cops always ask for that first?"
Breaking his own personal rule of never engaging with a possible suspect, Kevin couldn't resist the charm of this one.
"And how would you know?"
"Because that's what they always do on cop shows. And it's not license and proof of insurance, it's license and registration. Please. You forgot that too."
"So, I'm the one with the badge, and you're telling me what my lines are?"
"I'm just sayin'."
"And I'm just sayin' license and proof of insurance. Please. And I say it when I wanna say it."
"Alright! I was just sayin'. And both of them are in my purse. You're not gonna shoot me when I reach for them are you?"
"Just do it slow." Kevin replied after a well timed pause.
The girl laughed, and he couldn't help but smile a little as well. And why not? Who said you had to be intimidating, hardass policeman all the time? Most of the time, sure, but with a sweet pretty thing like this? Plus, it was nearly Christmas, and after the year he'd has, he thought he deserved a little slack for once. Maybe even invite this girl over for some Christmas turkey. Carved turkey with a little brown sugar on the side. His holidays were looking up already. If he could work an angle that made it look like he was letting her slide on something, he could surely make it happen.
"I think my insurance may be expired."
"Then you're under arrest."
The girl laughed again. A high pitched guffaw almost that had her head thrown back.
"Whew! Cute and funny. Just let me find it."
She dug in the large purse until she unearthed her wallet. She took her license out quickly, but had to search through various cards for her insurance.
"Here you go."
Kevin shined his light on the State Farm card. Lisa Brown's insurance had expired three months prior.
"Well, you were right."
"Ah, damn. Guess you have to arrest me then."
"Maybe not. Let me go see what I can do. I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere."
"Of course, officer."
She closed the door and cut off the chill night air as Kevin walked back to his patrol car. He radioed in her information to Ari, the guy on duty back at the station.
"A black girl named Lisa Brown? Like there aren't plenty of those in the city."
"Keep it down, jerk off. Don't you know they record this shit?"
"My bad, Kev."
Kevin waited in silence as he awaited Ari's results. His eyes fell to the rosary and cross that swayed lightly, hanging down from the rear view mirror. A staple in every patrol car he'd ever been in. He watched it swaying gently, unblinkingly for several more seconds before the radio screeched back to life.
"Looks like she's a regular girl scout, Kev. No criminal record. Not even an unpaid parking ticket. All clear. Well, except for coasting through a stop sign about ten years ago. Send her on her way and head on back. I'll buy you a beer or two. Or three. Kev, ya there?"
Kevin had stopped listening and now shone his flashlight on Lisa's license. Coasted through a stop sign ten years ago? This girl didn't look like she was old enough to have been driving over five years, let alone ten. According to her license, Lisa Brown was born August 19, 1965.
"Yeah, I hear ya. Sounds good. See ya in a bit. Over and out."
Kevin replaced the radio back on it's hook, and continued investigating the license. The photo was definitely her. He flipped the small, plastic card over. Didn't seem like a fake. At least no fake he'd ever seen. But for this girl to be almost 30?
"No fuckin' way."
He suddenly had an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. He instantly recognized it as the same feeling he got whenever he knew he was being lied to. But how could he feel so sure? A wise man had once told him that it was impossible to tell a woman's age. He believed that, and while it may have been impossible to pinpoint, he sure as hell could ballpark, and this one was nowhere near.
He slammed the squeaky patrol car door behind him yet again and Lisa's front door opened as he approached it this time.
"Yeah. All clear."
She looked up at him with big, bright, beautiful, hopeful eyes.
"Let me ask you something." said Kevin.
"Sure." Lisa replied.
"How old are you?"
Lisa gave a look of mock exasperation and chuckled a bit. When she saw that Kevin wasn't laughing, she answered him right away.
"Well, that's what your license said. You just look a lot younger than that is all."
"Yeah, I get that a lot. I get carded every time I buy a bottle of wine."
There. Case closed. She just looked young. The envy of every thirty something housewife that she passed on the sidewalk. Simple as that. Get the digits and lets call it a night.
"Look, Lisa, I know the difference between a twenty year old and a thirty year old. I wasn't born yesterday you know. So just be honest. Between you and me. You use a fake ID to buy booze. You must be nearly 21 anyway. No big deal."
Lisa smiled and shook her head.
"You really don't believe me do you?"
"What could I do to prove it to you?"
Lisa laughed again.
"You can't be serious?"
"Or you could just admit it."
"What if I told you I had a copy of my birth certificate in my purse?"
"I'd say bullshit. Why do you carry your birth certificate around with you?"
"A COPY. I needed it for a job application the other day. Like you, they didn't believe I was over 21."
"Then let's see it. I don't mind being proven wrong."
"I hope not." She said as she turned away from him to dig through her massive purse again. Kevin turned away and surveyed the empty street.
"Like I said, it's between you and me. I won't turn you in or anything. I've just always had an instinct to know when a pretty lady's lying to me. Call it a defense mechanism."
Kevin turned back just in time to see Lisa pointing the large, silver handcannon at his face. He dove to the cold concrete as the shot tore through the silent night and through the window of the decrepit building across the street. Kevin knocked the wind out of himself having not been prepared for the fall. The car's engine roared to life from it's mild doze, and the Cadillac's tires screeched just before it tore off down the street and into the night. Kevin laid still on the cold ground, groaning and checking if he'd been shot. As he rolled over onto his back, the streetlight above him finally burned out.
He made his way back to his patrol car, and sat in silence, not even thinking to call in the incident. The shot still rang in his ears ten minutes later, as he heard police sirens in the distance. His roof lights were still on, and they painted the now entirely dark street blue. His eyes fell again to the dangling rosary and crucifix, swaying back and forth before it's blue background.
- - -
Kevin stared at the cross that hung on the wall of the 2nd floor locker room of J's Bar. The other's shouted all around him, and in the confines of the small room, the tension was building quickly. The short, fat, white security guard, Bob, was clutching his neck where the spook downstairs had bit him. Blood covered his hand and soaked his uniform, but he seemed to be dealing with the pain and the blood appeared to have stopped for now. Cindy was sobbing loudly and uncontrollably, while George the doctor sat with his head in his hands, mumbling to himself. The big, black security guard, Mark, stood in front of the door with all of his weight pressed against it. They'd followed them up here, scaling the stairs with no trouble at all, and had overtaken Will at the bottom of the stairwell. They'd all seen the mob tear him apart before barricading themselves into the locker room. They'd banged on the door, three or four of them, but it had been silent outside for the last three or four minutes. Just as they'd all gotten used to the silence, an exceptionally loud bang from the other side of the door made them all jump and Cindy squealed loudly.
"Shut up!" Shouted George. "Do you want them all to hear you? Shut up! SHUT! UP!"
He took hold of her shoulders and shook her. Seeing George shake the frail girl broke Kevin out of his daze. He came up behind George and put him in a headlock, moving him away from Cindy, he then pushed George to the other side of the room.
"That's enough!" Kevin shouted.
"I'm sorry! I'm so, so sorry! Cindy, I'm sorry!" George said hysterically as he fell to his knees and began to sob as well. Cindy didn't seem to take notice of any of it.
Mark turned so his back was entirely against the door.
"So, cop, you figure out a way outta here yet?" He asked as the beating resumed outside.
It's been a while since the last update, and I know I am not the only one totally gripped by this story........... we want MORE !
Hope you have not been victim to the dreaded writers block......are you still out there Morning Son ??!