Heathens

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Lights, camera, action.

Chapter 5 (v.1) - 9:37 PM

Submitted: August 23, 2017

Reads: 60

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Submitted: August 23, 2017

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Officer Jeremiah came out of the house holding his pants and trying to finish the belt around his waist. He was smiling. Nearly glowing and behind him you could see a young woman with her hair still messy from a supposed wild ten minutes that really were, just seven. Jeremiah was a thin man, and he still had those juvenile marks of youth, acne, a confidant stride, an innocent smile. And here was Officer Heinz in the police car waiting for him, some old and saggy sack who melted into his seat. He would have been bitter had it not been for the vicarious nature of their partnership. For no matter how much Officer Heinz complained, he could not help but feel a second wind of youth through Jeremiah.

“You said you had something important to do. I thought it was a family emergency. A death, a fight, something like that.” Heinz started the car.

“It was a family emergency," He put the seat belt around his heaving chest. "We were discussing the future of our children."

“I'm sure she wants kids.”

“Twins.”

“And you want another girl.” Heinz pulled into the street. "This is the fourth one in the last two months. That's not good." 

“This ones a keeper, I'm done doing rash things.” 

“All you do is rash things.” Heinz said. "Boy, you didn't even last ten minutes. That's rash."

“Ten? I thought it was fifteen.” Jeremiah began to laugh.

“You’re young. You’ll get better. Trust me.” Heinz said. 

“How do you  know? Does your cock even work anymore?” 

“Longer than yours.” Heinz said. He couldn’t say he wasn’t impressed with the little exchange. He smirked, Jeremiah laughed again. At fifty he was double Jeremiah’s age and it felt good to talk to a young man, he couldn’t deny that. 

They drove their banter around the town but after a while, even the comedy died with the rhythm of their job. They were police officers, policing nothing. Driving corner to corner, for nothing. They began to collect things. Half a dozen coffee cups, burger wrappers strewn on the floor like carpet, so many paper bags they could have polluted the whole western shoreline. That was the job in the nice cut of town where the fences were white and the lawns were trim and proper. Mundane, tiresome. It was such an anesthetic job that they did not realize the rosy sky falling into night.  All the cars and people went with it. At least the sane ones.

It was nearing the last hour of their shift and their yawning became an epidemic.

“Want some coffee?” Jeremiah asked. 

“Yeah, anything hot .” Heinz said. They pulled up to a sidewalk. Across from them was a shop, The Colonel Weiner and a construction site was across from it, to the left You could see the sulking crane and how it covered the moon and stars. It looked rusted, lonely.

“It was supposed to be a mall. They had to stop work a few weeks back though,” Jeremiah said. “Someone killed himself from the third floor. Workers couldn't work after that, too real for 'em." 

They stopped the engine.

“You just gonna watch or are you going to go get some coffee?” Heinz asked. Jeremiah looked at the front of the Colonel Weiner where the window was being used. A young man stood there, his hair spiked like a porcupine and shaved at the sides. He wore a denim jacket, ripped and punctured like it had been put in an iron maiden. There were pins all around him. Bands, musicians Jeremiah had never seen or heard of, words that made him giggle a bit, pictures that made him angry. He was what Jeremiah referred to as, a punk. And he seemed to be flirting with the girl in the front of the window with more piercings on her face than hair. Their phones were out and the flash of their screens highlighted the smiles they wore.

“What’s wrong? We can go somewhere else.” Heinz said.

“I’m watching.” 

“Oh, fuck off. Let ‘em flirt.”

“But he’s loitering. Flash your lights at him.” Jeremiah was beginning to turn in his seat.

“Oh, for fucks sake. Leave ‘em alone.” Heinz groaned.

“If you wont, I will.” Jeremiah rolled the window down and with his light began to pulse it towards the couple. 

“It’s a little late, isn’t it?” He screamed from across the street. Heinz shook his head. “Why don’t you head home.”

The two looked back. The boy processed the red and blue colors of the car in his head and immediately, off instinct, began to grow more feral. A kind of negative conditioning caused him to tighten up. His frown manifested, his teeth showed like fangs and at last, he rose his skinny middle finger up in the air. 

“Why don’t you go fuck off, pigs?” The punk said.

“What the fuck did you say?”

“Oh let it go, you started it.” Heinz started the car hoping the noise would interrupt them. 

“He’s obstructing the law. Right?” Jeremiah said to Heinz. He brought his head out the window  “Hey, you’re obstructing the law!” 

It was an arrogance born out of boredom. A boredom born out of the hours of nothingness. Heinz only shook his head, he was young, he thought. Both of them were. That was why he was not surprised when the punk began to walk away, further into the street where he found a nice dumpster and wall to urinate on and a nice alley to run into. It bled into the construction site. 

“That’s illegal.” Jeremiah could not contain his smile and grating teeth. He gained scent of the crime.

“You love causing problems.” Heinz moaned.

“Me?” He slapped his chest. “The fuck did I do? He's the one who defamed that dumpster.” 

“You can't defame a fucking dumpster, it's already defamed. Damnit, Jeremy.” Heinz said.

"It's Jeremiah."

"Fuck, kid." He rolled the car up next to the alley. "I just wanted some fucking coffee."

Both came out of the car to the bite of cold and although the heat of the argument was still warm in them, it was difficult to move. 

"Middle of summer and it's this cold." Heinz said. "This is unnatural."

Jeremiah touched his belt and tried to remind himself where everything was. 

“Don’t even think about using your gun.” Heinz said. 

“I’m not, man.” He responded. He flashed his light into Heinz face who put his hand against it and pushed it down. 

“I know you’re new but here’s a good lesson to remember. We’re here to solve problems, not to cause them. Just for future fucking references.” He said. Jeremiah nodded and they both began walking loud through the muddled alley water. It seemed like a covert river, this black bough with its oppressive walls. It was Havenbrook's urinary tract for all around were toxins and trash. The blue tarps, cut and ruined into ribbons. The fence broken, leering over them. Trash upon trash, mattresses, littered diapers, used needles. They looked to the walls. Graffiti overlapped graffiti, in a kind of artisan warfare amongst the ghettos strongest painters. They saw a large eye in purple paint, a crown in yellow. They must have meant something but they were hieroglyphics to the two police. The names, the style, it all confused them as if they had entered a foreign land and they desperately looked for the instructions out.

They were lost. They began to blame the gallery. A turn lead to another which lead to another and here they were, unsure whether they were inside the alley or the construction site or if they were even near the city at all. All they saw was the tarp and the torn fence link and they looked at each other. 

“Fuck it. We’re going back.” Heinz said. 

“Coward must have ran.”

“Don’t start again.”

“What?”

“I’m talking about that attitu-”

The silence broke. There was a cry in the air. Man? Woman? It was too shrill to tell.

“What was that?” Jeremiah said. He firmed his grip on his flashlight. 

“Let’s call it in.” Heinz began speaking into his shoulder radio. They muttered things to that broken processed voice who distinctly told them, ‘Stand By’.

“We’ll wait then.” Jeremiah said. They heard another scream. It sounded like something broke. Wood? Metal? Bone. The thump bounced off the narrow walls, into their brain like a hammer strike. It sounded rhythmic. Like a beating, they thought. It was a noise that froze Jeremiah and that summoned Heinz who began climbing the fence.

“They told us to wait, man.” Jeremiah said. Heinz ignored it and fell over the other side. He took out his gun and perhaps it was then that Jeremiah realized how terrible things were. 

He looked around and saw his partner run off. Dumb and brash, he thought. With courage, he felt. He was alone then with nothing to him but a fading sanity. He heard a hiss. It drew him mad and he climbed. He fell. He ripped his jacket and started chasing after his partner who stood on the wooden ramp up. They were both sweating and adjusting to the obscurity of night. 

It was strange to have so many tripods and lamps around them, none of them turned of any use. All that was left to them was the flashlight, a shield, and the gun, a sword.

The darkness was thick. They could not see past an inch ahead of themselves and often Jeremiah had to hold onto the metal poles and concrete pillars as he followed the sound of foosteps. A touch of tarp made him jump, the cold metal made him shriek. They were torture devices, they felt like it. 

“Calm down.” His partner told him and grabbed his shoulder. “Don’t point your light where I’m pointing. We’re trying to get as much coverage as we can.” He said. 

Jeremiah shook. They heard sound. It was something wet, something dripping, something masticated. 

“Lets go back.” Jeremiah said. Heinz went forward. It was a floor above them, on the third, and Jeremiah was taking inches forward. They came up a bend and up the ramp, up, up, inch by inch they made their way to the open area that tapered at the end to an unfinished hall. There they saw the outline of something, hunched over, vesicular, decorated with terrible boils, running with venation all across its body. They could only see its back but it was enough.

Heinz readied his pistol forward. It clicked. So did Jeremiah’s and the sound seemed to attract the thing that looked up. It turned and they saw it. 

Nothing had made them feel worse in their lives than the image of the creature.

It felt like a hook had grabbed their spines and tore them out. It was a nightmare. It looked at them. Bird eyed. They were large dark circles hued with a sickly yellow, as if two dying lanterns dragged and dissipated into the caves of its eyes. It was moving. Not like anything normal, more like a frenzied schizophrenic. Bath salts? Heinz tried reasoning. But those were mortal reasons and this was something worse. These spasms were not of human ownership.

Its face drew forward even more and all the courage in their hearts shattered into a thousand flaws. For from its mouth they could see two legs dangling, kicking away in the air, kicking from a beak that would not stop chewing. A rude eater. 

In its belly, the thin membrane hung out. From inside the full stomach, they saw a form. A human hand pushing out.

They broke then and there.

They shot. Shot. Shot. Shot. Shot at the light, shot at the dark.  Shot until they were out, shot even when they were out. They were in the deafening buzz. Light flashed on their faces. Jeremiah turned for a second to see his partner.

Someone was there. But his partner was further behind.

Screaming. Spitting. Holding onto a stake that pinned him and clung to his bleeding stomach. Jeremiah heard the sound of falling blood, he heard the sound of drool. He looked up to the figure next to him and ran.


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