Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Despite the Darkness #9 - My, My, My Mitchel

The name Mitchel will forever be tied to the MST3K sendup of the movie also named "Mitchell", so please forgive my little nod to that in the title. From here on out it serious business.

Last time... Steve and Stu found Lola hiding in the Dambuster, but then shots were fired outside and Steve raced out to protect his family.

He threw himself against the door frame, took a breath, and then peeked out. A good way to get yourself killed was to run out a dark doorway unannounced while a bunch of yahoos were shooting at God knew what.

“Coming out,” he yelled and he slowly came out with his hands raised. A gun swung over his way but then the man embarrassingly turned it away. Jill and Isaiah were still huddled together in the center of very skittish men, all pointing their weapons up the road and even firing occasionally.

“She got Mitchell!”

He looked down the road and saw the body about twenty yards away sprawled out, its arms and legs at odd and unnatural angles.

“What happened?”

“He was checking something out, went off on his own, and then something pounced on him from the roof – gotta be Lola!”

“It ain’t Lola,” Stu growled, emerging from the inside of the bar with Lola in his arms. “Whoever and whatever it is going to pick us off one by one if we let it, so none goes alone. Nick, Benny, and Duncan go check out the first haus, we need to get inside and out of the open.”
The three men looked long and hard at Stu before nudging one another towards the A-frames.

“Where did the thing go,” he asked the man he’d been talking to, noticing his wife’s mouth drop open and the hurt in her eyes out of the corner of his own.

“Back up the roof, I think I got it.”

“You can’t hit a barn Trent,” Stu interjected, he then forced Lola into his arms and unslung his own rifle. “Come with me,” Stu said and fixed him with a cold gaze. The two separated from the group.

“Steve,” Jill called after him, but the two men continued on.

“Go check on Mitchel,” Stu motioned with his rifle when they got close. He stepped closer and kneeled down beside the torn remains of the man. Four great gashes rand from his right hip to his left shoulder from which his insides were splaying out of.

“He’s dead.”

“Get his gun.” He picked up the old shotgun that had been thrown away in the attack. As soon as it was in his hands the familiar scream started to build up again and his eyes were drawn to the buck, intricately carved into the dark wood stock. The buck moved its head, perhaps picking up their scent. It was a magnificent elk, easily a twelve points – an old soul of the forest. It swept the woods and then its black eyes found him and the scream was all he heard.

“Hey!” Stu yanked the shotgun out of his hands. “I said give it here.”

He stood up, shaking and sweating, but refusing to meeting Stu’s watching gaze. Stu laughed, it was a short and biting laugh that held no mirth or warmth. “I almost believe you have a soul.”

He looked away again, the scream had died away when Stu had taken the gun, but hadn’t fully abated; now it started to build up strength again. He looked to Jill, but she was purposefully avoiding looking his way. Isaiah was watching however and his lips were moving. The scream stopped suddenly, the resulting silence was equally as sudden and even more surprising. He watched Isaiah, who despite all the turmoil and chaos around him appeared serenely calm and content – Isaiah looked older, more mature than his ten years of age somehow; he couldn’t put his finger on how but he was seeing his son differently from across that snow covered road.

“My brother would know what to do.” Stu seemed to be coming out of his own thoughts.

“He’s one of the folks the preacher killed.”

Stu snorted and looked away. “Forgot you were a cop for a second. Yeah, him and two others. Killed them all with a hammer, bashed their heads in.”

“Your brother deserve it?”

“Excuse me?!” Malice was etched into Stu’s face.

“Only two reasons for a man to bash another man’s skull in. He wants to be sure the job’s done and he wants them to know it’s him.” He refused to wither under Stu’s hateful stare, he’d endured worse.

“We talking about people that deserve it then we’d better add you to the mix.”

“O.K. Stu, you know everything about me, you know how everything went down, so walk away. Baby killer, that’s what you called me, so walk away. Pass judgment. I’ll wait right here for that thing to do to me what it did to Mitchel. Will that satisfy you?” His voice had been calm and his tone reasonable, but he could see his words had gotten round the big man’s staunch defenses. The two continued their stare down in the middle of the street.

“It’s all clear Stu!” One of the men had stepped out of the first Haus and was waiving his arm to indicate all-clear. Next there was a howl somewhere close by, loud enough to drown out the stillborn scream from the man who was now being picked up and tossed into the front of the haus. The howl hid the snap of the man’s neck as it struck the fa├žade. Shadows had hidden whatever had grabbed the man, so imaginations filled in the space with frightening alternatives.

Its going to be a long night for everyone and not everyone is going to live to see the dawn. Plus, things seem ready to come to a head with Steve and Stu, maybe it will next time. Thanks for reading and please comment, shares, like, retweet, hashtag, and favorite.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Despite the Darkness #8 - Lola

Last time... Steve, Jan, and Isaiah are surrounded by Stu and his men, the lot of them confused, scared, and angry - and all of them packing heat. Heath the cook steps out to see what the ruckus is about and then Heath is just snatched by something and pulled back into the Dambuster. Is it Lola or something worse?

Stu fixed him with a stare and then Heath’s legs were pulled into the dark recesses of the bar. “Flashlights!” Stu looked ready to lead the pack when he stopped and turned towards Steve. “You’re the cop. You go first.”

Jan shook her head slowly and her eyes were actually filled with concern. He looked from the armed mob to the still and quiet Dambuster. Isaiah was smothered in his mother’s embrace but a single eye watched his father intently.

“Let’s go.” He went up the steps and peeked into the darkness. The room beyond was a mess of turned over tables, chairs, and the rubble from the collapsed ceiling - light from outside filtered in from the gaping hole giving enough light to see faintly in. Heath’s body was draped over a table in the middle of the room, still.

“Lola,” he called out. Silence.

“Get in there,” Stu whispered. Refusing to look back he pushed himself into the gloom. Shadows were deep in the corners and further into the bar, especially in the kitchen. Stu lit a flashlight and started to sweep it across the room. The two of them crept up to Heath’s body.

“The head’s missing,” Stu said with an almost clinic tone as if such a thing was a regular occurrence.

“I need a gun,” he whispered.

“Lola,” Stu ignored him. Something fell in the kitchen. “Kitchen.”

“At least give me the flashlight.” Stu seemed to weigh the decision, but then relinquished the flashlight. Feeling only the slightest bit of comfort from the plastic handle and yellow light, he started towards the back of the bar. He took his time, stepping carefully around the rubble, sweeping the light slowly and methodically. He didn't want to betray his fear by throwing the light at every sound he heard. Carefully he used the light to check behind the bar and down the hallway to the bathroom. That left the hallway to the back with the kitchen off the side. He put his back on the opposite wall and inched his way along it. The light traveled down the opposite wall and then bent over the doorway of the kitchen; lighting a countertop and some cabinets.

He took a deep breath, thought of Jan and Isaiah, and then slipped across the wall so that he passed the doorway and with the flashlight lit the whole kitchen. It was empty, although he couldn't see past an island covered in pots. He looked to Stu and motioned he was going to go inside. Stu’s grip tightened on his rifle.

He first went to one side of the door jam, keeping the wall between him and the kitchen and played the light across the room. Seeing nothing he went in, staying to the right while his light covered the left. With his other hand he motioned for Stu to wait at the door and cover the left side – he’d play the foxhound for Stu.

The light played against the myriad of surfaces; metal and glass reflecting and twisting the light at odd angles and casting more shadows. Finally he reached the end of the kitchen and had to make his way around the island. He took a deep breath and started. He first saw a shoe and then a leg.

“Lola?” The leg moved and there was a slight whimper. He moved more quickly. There was Lola huddled on the floor, a large kitchen knife brandished ineffectually from her right hand. Her eyes were squeezed shut. Stu came in to the room and took a hold of the knife.

“It’s ok, honey.” Lola dared to open an eye and gave a gasp when she saw Stu.

There was a shot fired outside. There was no hesitation, He tossed the light to Lola for the two of them to use and rushed out back out through the bar. He tripped and slid across the debris, each step taking  him closer to the doorway. More shots were fired.

You thought it was Lola didn't you? Next time will learn what they're shooting at, plus Steve and Stu have a little heart to heart. Awwww.