Chapter XXXIX: The Many Faces of DeathSwallowing, feeling the blood in my veins pulsing with almost human dread, I lifted the receiver. The hollow voice, devoid of humanity, uttered the phrase.
'Who walks the night with demons of dread', I responded catatonically.
The line went dead. Replacing the handset, I trotted across the road and back to the Luckee Star Motel, ignoring the sniveling, querulous voice of the motel owner as I pushed open the double door leading to the rooms.
Stopping in front of room 2, I placed my ear against the wooden panel, listening for anything behind it. Voices, the sound of movement, breathing...Yet the room was silent. I slowly pushed open the door, eyes darting in all directions, awaiting attack.
The smell of blood here was overpowering, yet foul. Tainted, undrinkable. It stained the walls, the floor, next to scattered furniture and a cracked lampshade.
Looking closer at the still warm blood covering the carpet, I noticed that the tracks on the floor were handprints. Unsettled, I scanned the room, looking for whatever the voice on the other end of the line had intended me to find.
I picked up the key-card. Typical that the heart of debauched perversion would lead me to the Internet. I left the room, closing the door. Isaac would have to deal with that. Too many questions would arise if he didn't. That blood wasn't human. Anarch or not, not one of our kind needed that kind of attention.
The cafe was abandoned, chairs scattered, the room eerily silent. Walking slowly, warily, I opened the door to the employee offices. The room contained a computer, switched off, and some files. Flicking through them, I found them to be routine business documents.
Using the key-card I'd found, I opened the door. Pushing it open, I hesitated. Was that...breathing...I heard? A deep, wet noise, gasping for breath, something between a cough and a laugh. I stopped, my hand on the knob. There it was again. I drew the Colt I'd bought from the convenience store, holding it tightly in one hand, and began to walk up the stairs.
The door at the top burst open, fragments of sharpened wood hitting the opposing wall with a crack. I looked up, barely registering the creature vaulting from the top step, malicious, deranged red eyes focused on me as the creature gave a ravenous howl. Stepping back, I raised the gun, wrapping my finger around the trigger, pulled it back. A single bullet left the chamber, entering the creatures brain through the jaw. It disintegrated in mid air, leaving some grisly artifacts of it's previous existence. I was perplexed. The creature had died like a vampire.
I carefully rolled the arm over with the tip of my boot, ensuring that no blood touched me. Watching it sizzle acidly into the wooden floorboards, I sidled up the stairs, keeping as much distance between myself and the corrosive substance as possible. No doubt about it, this was the same type of creature as in the video. Cautiously, I peered around the corner of the wrecked door-frame.
The room was a large empty warehouse, with cheap plasterboard sets positioned to the sides, cameras on tripods positioned in front of each one. Whoever was running the cafe was making a nice sideline in Hollywood's seamier product. It looked like the standard fare however, and so I stepped in.
The warning growl alerted me to the presence of another one of the creatures. It hurtled towards me, no guile, no tactics, just pure beastlike hunger. I raised the gun, aiming quickly, firing a bullet between the creatures eyes. It dropped to the ground, stunned, before pulling itself back up on clawed hands. Again it made that rasping snarl, again jumping towards me. Again, I fired. This time the creature was destroyed, it's bones hissing as they disappeared. I kept the gun gripped tightly, walking into the room.
The woman was long dead, her body cold, rigid. Not killed by one of the creatures however. I had seen their work, yet her skin was unmarked, no sings of tears or bruising. A broken neck had killed her. I felt against her spine, feeling the dislocated bone move under my fingers. Human work. I grimaced, rising to my feet, following the corridor to another door, another stairway.
At the top stair, a corridor branched to the right, windows carved into the concrete wall allowing me to see into another room. A man was attempting to pick something up from the desk, but his fingers were shaking to much, his panicked whimpering so loud as to be audible from behind the thick glass. He looked around, hearing a noise behind him. A steel grate was flung from the wall with great strength, and one of the mangled creatures dove onto him. His shrieks filled my ears as the creature tore at him, blood spraying against the glass, the sound of bone splintering and organs bursting echoing in morbid chorus to the man's death gasps. I followed the corridor around the side of the room, and to an ominous door at the end of the corridor.
Carved deeply into the wood were the letters 'DMP'. Death Mask Productions. The core of this rotten apple. I kicked the door open, gun at the ready. I was not fully expecting the scene that awaited me.
The room resonated with an all too human evil. I could sense the pain in this room, the horror. A wholly different kind of set was built here, beds and operating tables stained with blood, the bitter iron smell lingering on every surface. Cruel implements bore the signs of regular use, spiked phallus' and forceps lying on one heavily stained bed. My lip curled in disgust, rage filling me, I walked down the stairs, dropping a creature in it's tracks with a round from the Colt. Empty now, I holstered it, wishing I had brought more ammo.
Here a man huddled, hands over his head, moaning and shaking. I moved towards him, an unnaturally cold contempt settling over me.
'On your feet, guttersnipe.'
I cut the man off, my eyes boring into his face, my skin rippling with the effort restraint cost, the desire to remove the man's eyes with my thumbnails singing sweetly in my mind.
'You with DMP?'
'No I'm not 5-0, you moronic piece of shit. I see your home movies are au naturale.' Take his evil face...carve it from him, see the grinning face underneath. Flesh from bone. It is deserved. It is justice...
'Yeah, you were making nice old fashioned family films down here, weren't you?' I sneered, the beast raging within. For once, I let it rage. For once, I agreed with it's every word.
'Guess this is poetic justice then', I grinned malevolently at him, my eyes drawn to the shadow lurking behind him. 'Don't look behind you.'
'Oh God! Help me! Help meeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa' I watched the slaughter, looking into the man's eyes as the creature broke his back, tore the kidneys from his body, bit hard, chunks of gore and ounces of blood leaking from it's bloodied maw. I looked into his eyes impassively, watched his glaze over, watched his life leave him. I watched, and felt the world was a better place for it. I walked over, placing my boot-heel firmly against the creature's face, and pushed it bodily into the wall. It gave a surprised grunt as I pulled the automatic shotgun from over my shoulder, and fired into it's mouth. As it disappeared in sparks and flame, I turned, opening the door to the office.
And on the desk, the videotape. Unmarked, with the label 'master' on it's head. I picked it up, putting it in my jacket. I turned, leaving the office, heading back to Isaac. Hopefully I could end this filth.