Terror at Make Out Point

Jenny kissed Tom in the truck passionately, and their heated passion filled the cramped space, steaming up the windows. She made little noises as they kissed, until finally Tom started to put his hand up her shirt and she pulled back, falling back against the passenger door.

“What are you doing?” she protested, staring at him in the darkness.
“Aww, come on,” Tom said. “Don’t be a prude.”
“Tom!”
“What? Do you really think we came up here just to look at the moon?” She glowered at him. “Fine, be that way. Might as well not just sit here in silence.”

Tom lit a cigarette and turned on the radio. There was the sound of a man talking, hurriedly but trying to maintain a calm tone and sound matter-of-fact:

“We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this important announcement. Police have just learned that a patient has escaped from the institution for the criminally insane on Black Briar Hill and is heading down the mountain toward the city. The fugitive is described as 6 foot 3, with long black hair, and should be considered extremely dangerous. The police commissioner is advising everyone to stay, lock doors and windows, and be on the lookout for any suspicious characters in their neighborhood.”

And then the broadcast was over, and The Eagles were in the truck with the two high-schoolers, singing about the hotel you could check out of any time you’d like but never leave.

“Oh my God!” cried Jenny, flicking one of her long curly blonde locks at Tom. “That’s terrifying! That’s not far from here, just a ways up the mountain. We should get out of here Tommy! Just to be safe! I’m so scared!”

“s’okay baby.” Tom blew smoke from his Malboro into the cab. “I’ll protect you.” He pitched the cigarette out the window and leaned in to kiss the innocent young girl.

The two necked passionately, as the smouldering cigarette lit the scrub brush it had landed in. The flames spread, engulfing all the vegetation on the hill. Just as Tom started to round second base Jenny pushed him aside and looked out the windshield to see the inferno spreading before them.

“Oh my god, Tom! Look! What did you do? What did you do!?”

The teenagers jumped out of the truck, slamming the doors behind them, not knowing why.

“What do we do, Tom, what do we do?” Jenny screamed.
“Shut up!” Tom said, grabbing her shoulders and shaking her. “Just shut up!”

The fire raged on beneath the light of the nearly-full moon. The two turned to look down the hill into the raging blaze, and saw within it a dark shape emerging, flames leaping off of it; the dark figure of a man with long black hair and holding something down at his side, something bouncing against his knee as he climbed the burning slope.

It was a human head.

They turned and ran, and the burning man followed.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

The highway is empty and the sky is clear and stark. It’s cold outside; the interior of the rental hasn’t yet warmed from the struggling heater. I rub my red hands together above the steering wheel and blow into them, trying to keep them from going numb.

After the Christmas dance, I’d driven her back to her parents’ house. The way the snow was falling so beautifully and slowly outside and the way her face was lit by the light of the big plastic candles on the lawn, it just seemed like the right thing to do, to try to kiss her. To hold her.

I don’t know what came over me then. But when she rejected me that way it just made me so angry, so very very angry, and before I knew what I was doing I’d reached for the crowbar in the back of my Dad’s pickup, and I was on top of her and tearing her clothes off and beating her face in with it and stabbing her with the sharp end. Her father ran out of the house screaming. I think he wanted to kill me.

That first Christmas, my present: tried as an adult, 25 to life, attempted murder in the first degree. I’ll never forget the bang of the judge’s gavel. I’ll never forget how she ruined my life, how she took it all away for me, for just one kiss.

25 years. 25 Christmases. No phone calls. No visitors. No presents. No cards. In prison Christmas is just another day. 25 years of being the model inmate while I was beaten and abused and tormented. While I learned what it was like to be on the receiving end of someone’s anger. Why they’d locked me up in the first place.

The heater is finally starting to work. The interior of the car is gradually warming. There is a crowbar on the back seat, blue like the one in my father’s old pickup so many years ago, God rest his soul.

That’s the thing about small towns. People don’t go far. People aren’t hard to find if you want to drop in on them. To wish them a Merry Christmas, as it’s that festive time of year. Or perhaps to reminisce about Christmases past.

I switch on the radio and music floods the car in AM, crackly and far away, and I start humming cheerily along with the tune:

I’ll be home for Christmas…

500 sq ft.

I’m trapped in my apartment.

When I woke up the other morning and tried to make my way to work, I found the front door impassable. It wasn’t locked. It wasn’t bolted shut. It had simply ceased to be a door. The handle was there and would turn and I could hear the pieces moving within the lockset, but it would not budge. It was like a wall.

The door to my balcony was the same, and all the windows were sealed shut. I couldn’t even get a fingernail into the cracks of them.

Outside, rain fell, but the streets are empty, deserted. There wasn’t a soul to be seen. No traffic. Not a bird in the grey sky.

It’s been four weeks now. There’s new food in my fridge each day I open it. The plumbing and lighting and TV still work, thank God, otherwise I’d have gone out of my mind. But I’m trapped. Something is different, something has fundamentally changed. And what terrifies me is not that I am trapped, but that perhaps one day I’ll die in here without ever having found out why.

Taking It Slow

I awoke into blackness. I was blindfolded and my mouth taped shut. My legs and arms ached and felt numb they were bound and I was immobile. I tried to call out but my cries only came as muffled noise and pulled the tape against the skin of my mouth.

Then there was a burning as the tape was ripped from my mouth and the blindfold lifted. My vision returned. I was in someone’s condo, bound to a chair in the living room. The space was devoid of furniture save for a small television and VCR atop a table placed in front of me, and another table to my side, whatever was on it covered beneath the folds of a blue bedsheet.

I turned to face my captor. It was her.

“Oh my god,” I said. “You!”

“Hello Francis,” she giggled psychotically. Her curly blond locks shook. “I was wondering when you’d wake up.”

“What are you doing? What… what is this? Release me!” I cried.

“Oh Francis, silly, silly Francis,” she giggled some more. “It was just one date Frankie, but one date was enough! Did you think you’d never see me again, like all your other whores? That I wouldn’t find out about her?”

She flicked the knob on the television and the screen showed the tape running.

“Elizabeth!” I cried. She sat bound, gagged and blindfolded in a chair just like myself, and my captor entered the picture. She had a long kitchen knife and circled my fiance and then…

“Oh god!”

“Yes, I took care of her, Frankie, I took care of her good,” she said over Elizabeth’s screams coming from the TV set. “Now it’s just you and I, and we’ve got all the time in the world.” She smiled, and somehow at that moment that was more terrifying than anything.

She walked over to the table next to me and pulled the bedsheet away dramatically. Beneath it lay a fearsome array of tools and household objects: boxcutters, kitchen knives, pairs of pliers, a claw hammer, screwdrivers, a rusty old electric drill, a portable belt sander, a clothes iron, a meat cleaver, a corkscrew, a potato peeler…

She saw me look with terror at the meat cleaver.

“Oh don’t worry, baby, we’ll get there. But we still hardly know each other. And now we’ve got all the time in the world.”

She picked up one of the boxcutters. “I just wanna take things slow…”

Splish Splash

“Please, please let me go! I don’t want to die! Please!” I screamed at my captor. I wriggled on the broken tile of the bathroom floor in my cocoon of duct tape.

“God, shut up,” he said. He was busy fussing with the last yellow container.

He unscrewed the lid and poured the remaining clear liquid into the old claw-footed bathtub. I couldn’t see, but I could hear it filling the tub – glub glub glub out of the container splish splash splish splash into the basin.

“What…. what are you doing? What is all this?” I screamed through my tears.

Finished, he threw the empty container into the corner in frustration and glared down at me.

“I told you to shut up!” He was red-faced. “And it’s sulfuric acidic, you stupid bitch, strong enough to dissolve your goddamn whiny self, bones and all!”

“Oh Jesus!” I cried. “Please don’t kill me! You’re going to chop me up! You’re going to kill me and chop up my body and dissolve me in a bathtub?! Oh God!”

“Chop you up?” he laughed, bending down. He slid his arms under me and began to lift. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

Fifty Cal

Dishonorable discharge and murder in the first degree. I shot him right in the face with my .50 caliber handgun.

No else saw it. I’d known Tucker since basic and so I really knew him. No else saw how his eyes had gone all bloodshot, or how his movements had changed. I think he was the first on base.

It’s not going to be like in the movies. It’s going to be so much worse. I stole a mask from the infirmary. I didn’t let them take it off me, even after I shot Tucker and they wrestled me and the fifty cal to the ground. It’s airborne. This is all going to go down fast.

My little sidearm isn’t going to be enough anyway. There’s another .50 cal in the armory, an automatic. I know if I had that I could survive, on foot or behind a barricade. I just have to reach it first.

They’re getting sloppy. There’s only one watching me at a time now, and sometimes he leaves. So he didn’t see me smash the mirror the other day. And tomorrow when I pretend to be choking to death and he comes into the cell, I’ll slit his throat from ear to ear with the shard in my boot.

It doesn’t matter anyway, he’s already infected. They all are.

Showtime

It’s like getting ready for a big date. That’s the closest thing I can compare it to.

Some performers don’t put the same level of care and effort into their preparation as I do. Every little detail matters, even the things the audience won’t see, because all those little details affect your mindset. Your physical and mental state. Your flow. When I put on a truly great performance I reach a heightened state of focus, a higher state of awareness, a zen.

Shower. Shave, everywhere, even though the audience won’t necessarily see that. It’s not for them, it’s for you. Brush your teeth. Comb your hair – the audience won’t see that either. Stretch; wouldn’t want to pull a muscle.

The powder makes the air dusty. I slip into the black latex garment and it clings to me like a second skin. I pull the cord and the zipper goes all the way up my back, sealing me in. Then the hood goes over my head and the zipper finds its way home.

The savage rusted chains wrap the knuckles of my left hand. The spiked cudgel awaits in the other, its wicked steel spikes coated in dried blood.

From behind the metal bars of the gate I hear the angry screaming of the unruly mob. My audience. My hot date. My lover. Beneath their din are the panicked screams from the girl, who I know is chained to the stake in the center of the pit.

The gate rises. I clench my fists in anticipation and smile. Showtime.

Man’s Best Friend

I awoke to the sound of a dog barking angrily.

I was chained to a wall, and gagged by a filthy cloth pulled taut between my teeth. I writhed and screamed, trying to free myself.

“Oh, you’re awake,” said a voice.

It came from a tall shadow standing nearby: my captor. He moved closer toward far wall, toward the angry dog, a large doberman. The animal lunged at him, barking madly, pulling its chain tight at its length.

“There’s a good boy,” he said, and violently kicked it in the face. It let out a whimper, then resumed its barking with heightened ferocity.

“Why, surely you recognize him?” he said, walking back over to me. “Shocking, really, that you don’t recognize your own dog. The same dog that got loose from your yard that day. The same dog that tore out that young girl’s throat. The same dog for who’s behavior you were not found criminally responsible.”

He knelt down next to me, and looked my straight in the eyes. The lower half of his face remained hidden in shadow.

“Do you see that clock, up on the wall?” He gestured with his head toward the far wall, to a large LED sign above the furious canine. It was counting down; the time read 00:47:32.

“In…” – he looked up – “forty-six minutes and thirty-eight seconds the chain around your dog’s neck will release, setting him free to satisfy his appetite, and all the rage I’ve beaten into him these past seven days. And that is exactly how much time you will have to figure it out.”

He pulled the gag from my mouth. I spat in his face. “Fuck you!” I screamed. “To figure out what?”

“Why, whether your pet is as safe as our criminal justice system believes it to be.” He stood to leave. “And whether it’ll have any more mercy on you than on my daughter.”

The Obliteration Room

Colonel F. J. Jefferson walked into the cold steel room and surveyed the panels of blinking instruments. Scientists clad in white lab coats scurried about, flicking switches, twisting knobs, pulling levers. The air buzzed with a ferocious intensity.

“This is it,” Dr. Wodehouse said proudly. He and Jefferson faced to turn the one-way glass. “Behind this glass and that steel door lies the greatest weapon we have ever produced. It will be the weapon that will turn the tide of the war.”

“A room?” Jefferson said quizzically. “How is a room a weapon?”

“We call it The Obliteration Room.” Wodehouse took a drag from his cigarette. The smoke curled upward into the stale air of the observation room. “Right now our technology is just confined to the fields we can generate inside, but once we extend the coils to be able to be applied anywhere we’ll be unstoppable.”

Wodehouse flicked a switch on the instrument panel opposite the glass and leaned down to speak into the grille of the microphone above it. His cigarette dangled in his mouth as he spoke. “Bring in the test subject.”

A pale emaciated man in an orange jumpsuit was lead into the room in front of them by a guard. He was chained at the wrists and ankles. The guard deposited the prisoner in the center of the chamber, then exited and closed the steel door behind him. The wheel in the door spun, hermetically sealing off The Obliteration Room from the surrounding passages of the bunker.

“Fire the weapon,” Wodehouse said, his voice tinny and garbled in the microphone, his expression unmoving.

The scientists in the room flipped switches and chattered excitedly. Then there came a low humming. The humming rose to a drone, then a grinding, then a deep throbbing that seemed to shake the whole facility, one that resonated in the forms of all in the observation room, and seemed to shake Jefferson’s very bones within his old frame.

The walls of The Obliteration Room wavered like a mirage in a desert. The prisoner craned his necked upward toward the ceiling and screamed. His face melted into a liquid, pouring down his cheekbones and exposing the red muscle of his face beneath. His eyeballs swelled and bulged from their sockets. He screamed in agony and the scream was drown out beneath the droning of the machine. He flailed his limbs wildly at his sides, as the men in the observation chamber watched in horror, and then they exploded into clouds of red blood and muscle and splintered bone.

The prisoner fell to floor, writhing, melting, screaming, crying for mercy and disintegrating into a pile of gore.

“Shut it off! Shut it off!” The Colonel screamed. Wodehouse watched impassively.

Finally, the drone died down and all was quiet again. The men in the observation chamber stared blankly into The Obliteration Room, at the steaming puddle of red ooze and shattered bones that had once been a man.

Jefferson looked down at the instrument panel.

“God help us,” he muttered. “We shall never use this weapon.”

Wodehouse smiled. “Follow me,” he said coolly.

“To where?” Jefferson asked, still shaken.

“To the others.” Wodehouse flicked his cigarette. “This is only the first.”

My Dog Wrench

I love my dog Wrench. Wrench is a special dog. He’s not like any other dog in the whole world.

Wrench was a stray, and I adopted him. I found him out in the world when he was wandering around, lost, scared, and alone. I’d always wanted a little doggie of my own and Wrench looked like he needed help. So I took him into my heart.

Some people say you shouldn’t adopt strays, because when they’re away from human contact for too long they don’t do so well being reintroduced to it. They’re basically not like pets anymore, they’re more like feral animals. I can see the thinking behind this, but I adopted Wrench anyway; he was just so beautiful. And I wanted more than anything to have a little pet doggie of my own.

When I first adopted Wrench, he was still very much an animal like that – he was scared and confused. He was still crying and yipping and whining a lot, he was so scared. I understood how it all must look to a little dog like him, how frightening all of this new environment must be. How new I must have been. It was only natural.

He wouldn’t eat. He refused to touch the big bowls of wet food I put out for him, or even the dry kibble. He tried to run away every time I opened the front door. He even bit me. But I guess that much was to be expected; you can’t just adopt a stray animal and expect it to be perfectly behaved and love you right off the bat. These things take time. You have to build a relationship. You have to train your animal for obedience. You have to reward it when it does good and punish it when it does wrong.

And that’s how my dog Wrench got his name.

Wrench is well-behaved now. Wrench loves me and I love him. When I leave work I always get excited when I think about coming home to find him waiting for me behind front door. When I come in he’ll jump up and up and put his paws on me and bark excitedly. He’s so excited to see his master and I’m excited to see him.

I love my dog Wrench. Wrench is a special dog. He’s not like any other dog in the whole world. I love that he greets me when I come home. I love that he sits up on my lap and lets me pet him when I’m watching TV. I love that he wears the new collar I bought him. I love that he’s my best friend in the whole world, man’s best friend, and I’m his.

Even so I know that Wrench will always be an indoor dog. I’ll never be able to take him out for walks, or buy him a leash, or take him out to a dog park to play with other dogs. Wrench must always stay inside because he’s special. I know he’s special because yesterday when I walked by the bus station I saw his picture on the bulletin board beneath big bold capital letters which read HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD.

I love my dog Wrench. Wrench is a special dog. He’s the most special dog in the whole world. And no one will ever take him away from me.