Doctor Nightmare and the Masked

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


*Set in a medieval world, this story does not have any associations with real places, people, or events in any aspect*



Leading a double life, Tobias Mclaggen is an honorary student at the university of medicine by day and psychopathic vigilante by night. Fueled by rage yet carrying out executions without remorse,
his secrets are threatened to be exposed to his loved ones. In the midst of murderers and lawmen, he must survive and make sure that his alter-ego remains a secret, as long as it takes....

Submitted: February 14, 2018

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Submitted: February 14, 2018

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The merchant left his house. I followed, keeping my head low against the drizzle that misted over the town. His steps were hurried, switching from alleys to alleys, leaving the more civilized housing behind. I know where he is heading to.

Suddenly, he stopped in track and whipped his gaze around. I slinked into a dark alley like a patch of shadow. Crouching, listening. Waiting until his footsteps receded into the distance.

Once the sound is faint enough, I went back to resume it. To resume the hunt.

 

He entered a murky alley, where only the shadiest of street scums prowled. This is it. The perfect spot. The perfect chance.

I caught him. I see nothing but red as I pinned the man to the blackened wall of the alley. I brought out the incense burner and hovered it just below his nose.

I partially released my grip on the man. He ran. I hollered, my voice echoing in the darkness of the deserted alley,

“Did you feel like this when you chased down that little girl? When you finally killed her?” I leaped after him, blood roaring within my ears. Red, red everywhere around me. All I see was red, and the target before me.

“Did you see her now? Breathe deeply, and tell me!” I caught up and slashed at the man’s hamstring. It was a clean cut, and he fell down on his face, screaming.

Stepping toward the pathetic, writhing animal of a man, I roughly yanked him up by the hair.

The man’s eyes were glazed, rolling up and down in horror, staring fixedly ahead at something that I cannot see.

“Burn it into your mind. Die burdened by this guilt.”

I placed the blade across his neck, then slit the man’s throat. I felt his flesh parted beneath the blade, felt the metallic knife severe the two carotid arteries and his windpipe. Warm red blood gushed down to bath my hand, and I stare into the man’s eyes, frozen in terrifying agony as he died.

I felt nothing but a cold, surgical detachment as I rammed the blade forward. My actions may have been propelled by wrath, but I felt nothing as I brought down the blade, as a butcher might felt nothing towards a pound of meat.  

I thrust it into his body, over and over again, feeling the gore and blood splatter upon me, feeling the flesh split and spilled out its contents. It was not my normal routine, but some monsters were worse than the others. He was still recognizable, though. He must be recognizable, for all the others to know. For them all to know that the vile murderer had been punished for his sins…

 

 

 

“Tobias Mclaggen!” The headmistress’s voice came like a thunderbolt, forcibly hauling him out of his peaceful sleep. He stood up groggily, smoothing the rumbled creases of his tunic, and stared right into her venomous glare. “I should whip you should you fell asleep in my lecture again. What had you been up doing late at night?”

Mass murdering, Headmistress. Since that wasn’t a reasonably sound answer, he instead replied, “Whoring, headmistress. Apparently the girls down at the harbor fancy me as their company. I blame them for keeping me up for so long.” There was a chorus of laughter from the rest of the class.

There was even more laughter as the headmistress’s face turned a deep shade of red. Tobias looked at her and the rest of the class, then shrugged, “But that was the truth.”

“Shameless, the lot of you.” She turned away, her jaws set in anger, “Sit down, Tobias, and try not to disturb the lecture any further.  She turned back and continued to mutter to herself, something about not believing how these vile cretins were able to pass the entrance exam into ‘her’ prestigious medical college. Tobias gave it no heed.

The lecture went on uneventfully, and the giant bells finally tolled, marking the end of class.

Once he emerged from the grand lecture theater, he ran into his friend, Clovis.

“You should have seen the headmistress’s face,” Clovis gave him an impish grin, “I reckon that’s the reddest a human can be, anatomically speaking.”

As they moved down the hallway toward the herbology class, he leaned in toward Tobias and patted him on the back, “Where were you really, though? I was at the whorehouse, last night. There is only one place of that sort in the entire university region, so I should have seen you.”

“I was busy with… some business.” Tobias replied haltingly while avoiding his friend’s gaze. There was a tense moment of silence between them before Clovis broken down first,

“Alright, do what you will.” The tall, wiry student reached the grand door of the next lecture hall, and placed his hand upon its brass doorknob, “Each of us had their own little secrets, eh?”

 

 As the final bells of the day tolled, the two boys wearily trudged back toward their shared dorm room.

“You really shouldn’t have applied that much incision pressure in Master Felix’s class.” Tobias chuckled as he fumbled for the dorm keys. “You should have seen the old man’s face when you severe those bundles of nerves and arteries on the cadaver. Priceless”

“Well, not everyone is as good in his class as you are, my Lord God of surgery,” Clovis mocked, an edge of feigned merriment in his voice. He grinned, despite those words, “What were your discussing with Master Ferrous during the herbology class, though? I saw the both of you stuck in a corner together for a pretty long while.”

“Oh,” Tobias mumbled, “It’s just some questions I have on hallucinogenic and their potent effects. We are having an examination on that soon, so I have to make sure to brush up on my knowledge.” He pretended to stare out at the night sky through the dorm’s narrow stone windows, avoiding his friend’s gaze.

Fortunately, Clovis doesn’t seem to notice and retorted jovially, “Wow, what a studious student do we have here! We should make a master physician out of you yet, sir!”

The joked and jostled one another all the way until they finally came into their hostel room.

 

Without even bothering to take his clothes off, Clovis fell onto his bunk.

 “Tobias,” his friend said as Tobias dimmed the lantern lights, “these past few months, there have been news of a murdering psychopath running around town during the night. Apparently, people called him ‘The Nightmare’ or something. If you are planning to go out again, do be careful.” Before Tobias could make a respond, his friend was fast asleep.

Tobias lay back upon his bunk in the pitch-black room, and waited until he could clearly heard Clovis’s snoring. Then he crept out of bed and slinked to the locked chest by the end of his bed. From there, he removed a dark tunic, long cloak, and his dagger. Lastly came his small incense burner. Customary outfit of The Nightmare.

I wish that I am able to tell you more of this, Clovis. Tobias pondered dejectedly. He felt so alone sometimes, burdened by the lies and secrets, all to hide this alter-ego of him. Someday, soon. When this is all over, I will tell you. Tobias hauled up the shutters of their window and leaped out into the night.

 

Approaching the zenith of night, the city’s streets were desolate. It was devoid of the usual cacophony of late-night workers, nor denizens coming out to relax from their daily chores. Unnerving rumors have circulated about a mysterious shrouded man, prowling out at night to slaughter murderers and other convicts who have eluded the grasp of the law. He carried with him an incense burner that conjured the most horrid nightmares in his victim, before he skewered them with his blade. Thus they named him, “The Nightmare”.

 

Despite all of that, there was still one tavern, whose lights were still burning bright. Raucous laughter and hollers of drunken men could be heard from the shadowed streets.

“Jacqueline, another pint of beer here, will ya?” A young, drunken man bawled giddily, raising up his now empty tankard.

“Coming right there!” A beautiful maiden, her bosoms full and her hips swinging, rushed up to the man’s table. While she was placing down her mugs of beers, the man slapped her roughly in her behind. “Nice firm ass ya got there, gal!” His rowdy laughter was echoed by his friends surrounding the table.

“Get your filthy hands off me!” The young woman recoiled and slammed her elbow savagely against the man’s face. A sheet of blood ran down the stunned drunkard’s face.

“Ya bitch!” Before the men could grab her and made an even greater mess, an older serving woman barred their way and bade,

“Jacqueline, go arrange the sacks of grains at the back of the store for me, will ya? We had a hard time sorting through them all.” She gave the young maiden a wink as Jacqueline disappeared out of the store’s back door, amidst the blazing fury of the group of young men.

After some time, Jacqueline walked out from the back of the inn after having finished her task. She screamed as someone leaped out from the shadows and wrapped his arms around her.

“This is what ya get for disrespecting me, ya bitch.” The man whom she had wounded earlier glared at her as more of his friends came forward. The young men cackled maliciously as they started tearing at her clothes, their eyes gleaming with lust.

“Stop it! Stop! Somebody, help!” Jacqueline screamed at the top of her lungs, her voice shrill and high with terror.

There was a dull thump as a body hit the stone pavement. A dark pool of liquid lapped at her feet, and Jacqueline screamed. All eyes turned toward the opening of the alley. Looming before them was the shrouded form of The Nightmare, his blade dripping with the dark liquid. The men’s faces became pale as they stared at the killer. One of them screamed and turned tail to run. She gasped as a man attempted to rush The Nightmare. He loped forward, only to stumble and swerve into a wall, clawing the stonework and screaming incoherently.

She could smell it too, and earthy, flowering scents coming off from the incense burner in the killer’s hand. Before long, her mind started to drift, thronged by figures crafted out of dreams…

 

Tobias waded deeper in the alley, through the gore and several pairs of frightful stares. He faced the man clawing at the cobbled walls, and rammed his blade into his kidney. Turning away, he approached the lone man still clutching on the young woman’s arm. It was the drunkard who had first groped Jacqueline. He gaped in panic and attempted to back away, but Tobias followed. The drunkard tripped and fell onto his back. A puddle of warm urine leaked out from underneath him, and Tobias snickered,

“Afraid, are you?” He slammed a booted foot upon the man’s sternum. “It’s no longer fun, when what you did to others are returned to you, is it?” Amidst the wailings and screams, Tobias crouched and buried his blade into the drunkard’s abdomen.

“I’ve wondered how it would feel to have your abdomen open up, whilst still being conscious and without anesthesia.”

Tobias dragged the blade in a horizontal line, and began to methodically dissect the writhing man. Initially, the drunkard struggled rabidly, writing and screaming in vain, but as time passes his strength waned and he went totally still. After what seemed like an eternity, Tobias stood up, glanced at the maiden who is still gaping at him with eyes wide with terror, and rasped,

“You should go now. These men could no longer hurt you.” She gathered up her blouse, and scampered down the alley with maddened speed. The Nightmare continued down the shadowy streets, to hunt down the lone man who had gotten away…

 

One week later-

Tobias stood under the pelting rain, hidden within the shadows of a ramshackle inn. The sky above the local precinct was an ominous grey, gleaming with thunderbolts and growling like a ravenous beast. In the darkness of this day turned night, Tobias glared at the rusty iron gate that stood before the precinct.

Today is the set date of release of the notorious Iron Shanks, a noble who had brutally murdered over a dozen tenants on his land. Due to his wealth and prestige, Iron Shanks had evaded the punishment of the law. Tobias had heard of the release from several of his contacts around the city, and had been preparing for it since.

 

The iron gates parted with a solemn creak, and three men emerged from the interiors of the precinct. Two of them were clad in the colors of the local law enforcers, their scabbarded swords hung ready by their sides. Between them and behind them was the figure of a smaller man. He was hidden by the larger frame of the two lawmen, and Tobias could not get a clear glimpse of the man’s features.

Suspicion nagged Tobias from the back of his mind, but he suppressed it with a growing rage. If I do not strike now, this man-monster will walk free.  

The trio made their way down the street toward his direction, then abruptly swerved right. Tobias clutched his knife and moved across the street and into the alley adjacent to the one with Iron Shanks and the lawmen. The moment is near.  

He waited patiently as the two guards unshackled Iron Shanks and left him by the opening of the alley. Without saying a word, the two men quietly made their way back toward the precinct.

As the lawmen disappeared from view, Tobias stepped forward. With his incense burner held up high, The Nightmare drew his blade.

“Iron Shanks, today you will pay for your sins.” Tobias darted toward the murderer, whose face was still turned away from his direction. At the last moment, his instinct screamed and Tobias jerked his head back. The blade swept by inches from his face, slashing through his cloth mask and leaving a blazing line of pain.

Before him was a lawman, clad in prisoner’s garb, his sword still dripping with Tobias’s blood.

Bollocks. Blood bollocks. Tobias haphazardly covered his features and threw the incense burner at the guard’s face. As the man howled, several lawmen appeared from the alley opening and met him with hoarse cries. Tobias dashed in the opposite direction, only to face a larger band of lawmen waiting for him at the other exit. He cursed frustratingly and swerved down a side alley as the thumping of boots close on him from behind. He could hear the rasping of steel as the guards drew their blades in pursuit.  

Its a trap.  All a setup for me. Tobias rushed along the night streets with the lawmen hot on his heels. He barely managed to stepped around a corner as a crossbow bolt slammed into the back of his upper thigh. Tobias grimaced in pain, but gritted his teeth and kept on running. His life is forfeit if the law enforcers managed to catch up to him.  

Tobias agonizingly continued toward his only place of refuge, the University’s dormitory. Still dripping blood from his thigh, he clambered up the wrought iron fence and dropped toward the lawn on the other side. Amidst the clamor of raised voices and alarms, Tobias staggered toward the room he shared with Clovis.

He crashed through the door and only managed a weak cry before he slumped onto the wooden floorboards. Clovis was by his side in an instant and made a startled gasp, “Tobias! Your leg!” With that, he swiftly went about wrapping Tobias’s wounded thigh with bandages, staunching the bleeding. After a while, Tobias managed to sit up despite the throbbing pain in his leg. He glanced around the small room and his eye met Clovis’s.

“So all along, you were The Nightmare, huh?” Clovis remarked, his eyes twinkling with amusement. After a pause, he added as an afterthought, “Doctor Nightmare?”

Despite himself, Tobias managed to break into a grin. That was when they heard the heavy footsteps clambering up the staircase of the hostel. Doors after doors were slammed open, and sleepy protests rose up as the lawmen forced their way in to inspect each of the hostel room.

Tobias cursed along with Clovis, and together they hastily put The Nightmare’s blood-soaked gear away. They had just finished stowing the robe beneath their bunk bed when the door crashed open and half a dozen law enforcers barged their way into the small room.

Leading them was a middle-aged sergeant, set apart from his men by the distinctive crest upon his helmet.

He seemed familiar, somehow. Tobias vaguely felt that he had seen the man before, but he could not place exactly where. As the lawmen streamed in, the sergeant barked,

“Scour every corner of the room. The trail of blood stopped at this floor, so we must be getting near. We will not let The Nightmare get away this time, do you hear me?”

The lawmen scampered about from the harsh order, rampaging through the two friend’s belongings with uncouth savagery. The law enforcers sorted through their possessions carelessly, and several items were shattered or torn apart in the process.

At that moment, a lawman whose face was partially burned broke through the crowd and hollered,

“This is him!” He pointed a shaking finger at Tobias. “He is The Nightmare! I saw his face when I cut that mask out!”

“Are you sure, officer?” the sergeant glanced at the man, his voice filled with skepticism. “It was dark when you faced him, and even a keen-eyed officer wouldn’t be able to differentiate one man from another.” At this, the sergeant’s voice lowered and filled with something that might be akin to pity,

“Also, from receiving that grievous wound upon your face, one could understand if you would want a swift vengeance on anyone who might even remotely looked similar to your assaulter. I think that you should go and get some rest before this is over.” He waved a hand at a few of the lawmen surrounding him,

“Get this officer some medical attention. Make sure he stays put.” As the man was hauled away, he continued to holler, “This is him sir. Do not be mistaken! He is The Nightmare!”

The sergeant turned toward Tobias, and surreptitiously winked at him. With a startling jolt, Tobias remembered where he had seen the man. The young maiden whom he had saved besides a tavern had similar facial features to this sergeant standing before him.

After a few more moments, the band of lawmen turned to continue their search elsewhere. Just before they left, however, Tobias noticed the hem of The Nightmare’s robe peeking out from under his bunk bed. Before he could take care of it, the sergeant spotted it too.

The sergeant kicked the fabric beneath the bed prior to any other lawmen’s notice. He eyed Tobias one last time, took his men, and left.

“All’s well that ends well, is it?” Clovis remarked as the door closed behind them, and the sound of booted feet receded in the distance.

“I guess you could say so.” Tobias remarked wearily and dropped onto his bed. “Now I need to rest from all that exercise, if you will excuse me.”

 

 

 

…………………………………..

 

 

“Have you secured the perimeter?” The sergeant inquired, his stern glance never leaving the university’s dormitory.

“We have done as you instructed, sir.” A young officer replied with a crisp salute, “We have posted men at every exit and every possible escape route. Even The Nightmare will not be able to evade us this time.”

“Good. Send the signal to the men. Round up every suspicious individual with every means necessary and have them brought back to the precinct. Should anyone resist you, put them down.”

The young lawman saluted and loped back toward his peers. The sergeant glanced after him for a while to maintain things are in good order, before his gaze returned to the dormitory.  This is it. My moment to shine. We will not only get the Nightmare, but that mysterious masked man as well.

Since their investigation of The Nightmare had started, there had been a mysterious masked man who had appeared to clean up the murderer’s trail. The masked individual had reduced numerous of their officers who had been pursuing The Nightmare to corpses, along with countless eyewitnesses of their crime.

Today I will have them both. The sergeant strode forward, his eyes gleaming with a mad lust. I will haul those pieces of filth in and have my well-deserved promotion. At last

Shattering through his musings was the dull thump of a crossbow bolt hitting home. The sergeant whipped around instinctively. His hand was already halfway to this sword when a crossbow bolt slammed into his chest. His knees gave out, and he dropped down like a sack of grain. Besides him, he could see the rigid forms of his lawmen scattered across the cobbled street, taken out by the silent bolts before they could even cry out.

A lawman noticed the bolts and was about to sound an alarm when a bolt slammed through his gaping mouth and out through the back of his head. The man sagged and a pool of blood spread from underneath him.

From somewhere up above, he heard a male voice, “Ahh. It’s a shame, really. Tobias had saved your daughter, and this is what you did in return? Back in the room, he had trusted you, too.” There was the sound of approaching footsteps. The sergeant strained to look up at whoever is talking above them.

He saw a dark shape blurring toward him, and utter darkness crossbow bolts slammed into his eyes, then blinding, agonizing pain as half a dozen more slammed into his body. Then there was only darkness…

 

Clovis waded through the blood of the dead and the dying, dispatching anyone who is still squirming with his dagger. Over his face was a plague doctor’s mask, to prevent anyone from recognizing him, especially in case of a chance encounter with Tobias.

He made his way forward until he came across a lawman who was seemingly dead. He was slumped against a fellow lawman and drenched in blood, his eyes closed.

Not quite. Clovis thought, and kicked the man hard in the abdomen. The lawman looked up, startled, and stared at Clovis in pure terror.

“Who are you?” Clovis gazed at the interior of his plague doctor’s mask, and answered rather calmly,

“I guess you could call me The Masked.” Then he brought down the blade.

 


© Copyright 2018 S. K. Inkslinger. All rights reserved.

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