Primal (Teaser)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: 'The Odd Ones'
This is a teaser for a short story that I will continue to write in the future. My purpose is to get it out and see how readers react to it. Enjoy.

Submitted: December 07, 2015

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Submitted: December 07, 2015

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“Primal”

The evening was fair, dark and peaceful, and there was a soft breeze blowing away outside.  It was a very lovely evening, perfect for a night out on the town.  Alan Mathers certainly wanted out of his job and in on the action.  There were better things to do on a Friday evening than spending a twelve-hour shift lounging around the guard post in a museum.  He only took the job because it paid well and school tuition wasn’t going to pay itself.  His parents refused to pay for anything that was over $2,000 for their eldest son when they had another child in high school and a pair of squealing toddler twins to worry about.  Alan was still living at home and helped to take care of his siblings in exchange for rent-free living and fresh home-cooked meals, but other than that he was on his own.

“Bored, oh, I’m so bo-o-o-red…” Alan started to sing.  He sat back in his chair and placed his arms behind his head.

At least tonight was his turn for monitor duty and it wasn’t so bad.  He was within arm’s reach of a mini-fridge stocked with ice coffee and soda, and there was a mostly fresh pizza still in its box on top of the microwave in the break room, which was only twenty feet away from the office.  Alan also had the room to himself tonight and it was a perfect opportunity to get some studying done.  Studying at home with irritated parents and screaming siblings was near impossible.  He never understood how some of his friends pulled through with their own troublesome brothers and sisters.  Kids were cute, but if they were anything like his own family then he wasn’t sure if he wanted to make them in the future.  His girlfriend seemed keen on the idea.

An idea popped into Alan’s head as he reached for his walkie talkie.  He spoke into it. “Hey Jen, what’s the best way to a woman’s heart?”

The walkie crackled and a cool female voice replied.  “Mathers, are you telling me that after four years of dating the same woman you have no idea what she likes? Are you fucking stupid?”

“Maybe I am, stupidly in love that is.” Alan said with a smirk as he imagined the scowl he knew was forming on his coworker’s face.

“Or maybe you’re just stupid.”

“Now you’re just trying to hurt my feelings.  Did something unpleasant happen to you today?” Alan asked, concern lining his words.

“Since you’re asking, yes something happened.  Today I learned that my idiot boyfriend doesn’t know me at all! What kind of a question is that to ask your girlfriend; oh wait, your fiancée?”

“I was just trying to get your attention.” Alan said, exasperated, “Come on, babe, you know I love you.  I know everything about you.  I know your favorite pizza toppings, ice cream flavor, favorite colors and shapes.  That’s not all I know either; I know what really gets on your nerves, what you look for in a person, your greatest passions in life…and, most importantly, I know your life plans.  I love that you’ve planned every step of your career and life, and I want to be a part of those plans.  A part of your life.”

A chuckle caused Alan to break out of his thoughts and jump in his seat.  He turned around and saw a woman dressed in a security uniform with her blonde curls pulled back into a loose bun.  “Wow, you certainly know how to run your mouth.” Jennifer said as she leaned against the doorframe.  She was holding a plate that contained a freshly microwaved slice of pizza.

“Jesus, Jennifer! You nearly gave me a heart attack!” Alan admonished while clutching his chest.

“Boo-hoo.  Even if you were unconscious, I still wouldn’t give you CPR.” She shrugged and bit into her pizza.  Alan’s jaw dropped and he began to protest, but Jennifer shushed him with a finger to his lips.  She continued, “I wouldn’t give you CPR because I’m not wearing my sexy nurse costume.”

Alan’s eyebrows shot up and he felt his pants tighten as something else shot up.  He took his girlfriend’s free hand in his own and kissed it tenderly.  “Halloween isn’t for another thirty-one days, but I’m sure as hell not waiting to say that I love you.”

“Because I’m dressing up as a hot nurse? You horndog!” His girlfriend teased him and swatted his face with the barest of touches, a playful slap.  She glanced at her watch and continued, “By the way, Halloween is now officially in thirty days.”

“Shit, it’s midnight already? I didn’t get any studying done at all!”

“Alan, it’s only Saturday morning.  You’ll have plenty of time to study when the kids go to sleep.” Jennifer assured him, but Alan shook his head.

“That’s when it’s my turn to crash, because as soon as I get off work in a few hours I’m going to be running all kinds of errands.”

“At four in the morning?”

“It’s the only time I can actually get stuff done.” The man shrugged and wrapped an arm around his girlfriend’s waist.  “By the way, I was trying to get your attention…”

“You got it.”

“…because I wanted to remind you of a very special upcoming date in a very special way.  I needed some creative ideas.”

It was Jen’s turn to admonish her boyfriend.  “You didn’t need to make yourself sound like a complete ass.  I also didn’t forget the date, though for a while I thought you did.  Glad to see that I was proven wrong.”

Alan nodded, then cocked his head to the side.  “Do I really sound like an ass?”

“Only when you ask dumb questions.  But you make the hottest noises in bed.” Jennifer winked.

“JEN!” Her boyfriend’s cheeks flushed a deep cherry red as his grip on her tightened.  Then came what he enjoyed calling “The Tickle Maneuver”.

“Alan! Eeeek! My pizza!” She squealed and tried to wriggle free of her boyfriend’s grasp while attempting to keep her pizza from flying away.  “Please, Alan, you’re going to make me pee!”

“Then I can blame it on Jeremy!” Alan teased.  Jennifer was not amused.

“At least let me set my pizza down first, jackass!”

Alan relented, giving her breathing room and allowing her to set her plate down on the desk, but only for a moment.  He was all over her soon afterwards, pulling her into his lap and assaulting her with more tickles.  She gasped and fought, throwing her body every which way in an attempt to break free.  Alan gave her a break, feeling her fall against his chest and breathe heavily.  He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her cheek.

“I love you, Kitten Chops.”

Jennifer gave a soft smile.  “And I love you, my Wolfenstein.”

“I love you more!” Alan replied in a cute voice.

“No, I love you more!”

“AHEM!”

Both guards froze and eyed one another before slowly turning their heads and meeting the eyes of a furious third guard.  An older man in his late forties, Jeremy was bulky but not heavyset, as most of his weight was concentrated in his arms.  Hair seemed to cover every visible part of his body save for his head, which was currently home to a growing bald spot.  His jaw was locked in place in visible anger, evident by the scowl stretched across his lips.

“Jeremy! Oh, um…er…” Jennifer was at a loss for words while Alan was gaping like a fish out of water.  Their superior was giving them the nastiest of evil eyes.

“I hate to break up this disgustingly cute display of affection, but since when did I say that you two could have a break?” Jeremy spoke in a slow, cold voice, “I lost contact with Chien and Lucas five minutes ago and have been trying to reach you to see if anything popped up on the tapes.  I come up here thinking you disappeared too, and what do I find? You two are FUCKING AROUND instead of doing your damn jobs!”

“We’re really so--!” Jen began but was cut off.

“Save it, DeSoto! Get your ass back to your post before I throw you out myself!” Jeremy turned to Alan.  “You! Mathers!”

“Yes, sir?!” Alan jumped and bit his lip to keep from squeaking.

“Get your ass back on those monitors where you belong and report anything suspicious to me on the double, and I do mean anything.  I’m going to try to get a hold of Chien and Lucas again.”

Jennifer quickly left her boyfriend’s side to avoid igniting Jeremy’s wrath further, while Alan felt small and helpless in the larger man’s shadow.  As told, he kept an eye on the monitors.  So far there wasn’t anything too unusual, other than an odd greenish tint that he assumed was due to the camera lens being dirty.  Alan made a mental note to ask the janitor if he could clean the cameras again.  Other than that little trivial matter, nothing seemed out of the…

“Hey, Jeremy, check this out.”

“What?” Jeremy barked from his position by the door.  “It had better be good.  What did you find?”

“Our missing people’s case has just been solved.” Alan pointed at one of the screens with a triumphant look on his face.  “Chien and Lucas just showed up on the cams.”

“Which one?”

“Hmm, apparently they’re in the prehistoric section.”

“Prehistoric? That’s not either of their stations so what the hell are they doing there?” Jeremy asked out loud, suspicion lining his voice.  Alan didn’t see the point for such suspicion.

“Relax, boss.  It looks like they’re just taking a snack break.  See? Chien’s even got that beat up lunch box of his with them.  They’ll get back to work in no time.”

“You’re unusually optimistic about this, Mathers.” His superior noted.  “Don’t think you’re off the hook for screwing around earlier, and the same goes for DeSoto.  I want everyone to do their jobs tonight and to check in every thirty minutes.  You especially need to keep your eyes on those monitors and report in to me the second you see something suspicious.”

Alan resisted the urge to roll his eyes.  “Boss, it’s past midnight and this is the Museum of Natural History, the most boring place on this earth.  The jewels and artifacts are locked up in the vault, security is fairly tight, and it’s Saturday.”

“What does that painfully obvious statement have to do with anything, Mathers?”

“I mean, if there is a crook, he’s probably a lumbering idiot who will stay at home and catch Saturday morning cartoons, right?”

“I’m talking to an idiot right now! Just what in the seven hells are you babbling on about, Mathers?! Boy, for Christ’s sake, just stay here and keep your eyes on those damn monitors, and report back to me like I said.” Jeremy sighed, shaking his head at this hopeless child.

“I get it! I get it!” Alan shrugged.  “Seriously though, why are you so tense?”

“Just call it a feeling, kid.  Something doesn’t feel right tonight and it’s got me quaking in my boots, and I don’t say that for just anything.  Remember to keep in touch.  I’m going to go give those two dickweeds a piece of my mind for slacking off.” And with that he was gone, leaving Alan alone once more.

“‘A feeling,’ my boot.” He muttered as he tore a chunk out of the forgotten pizza slice and chewed.  “Old man’s probably seen one too many scary movies.  As far as I’ve seen, nothing bad ever happens in a museum.”

The young guard continued to grumble through the night, but kept his eye on the monitors as directed.  No studying tonight after all it seemed.  The minutes ticked on by and before he knew it a half hour had passed.  Alan raised his walkie talkie to his mouth and spoke.  “This is Mathers reporting in to everyone else.  Everything is all clear on my end.  I told you nothing was going to happen, boss.”

He waited for a response, but none came.  Alan expected a slower response from everyone else, but Jeremy was the paranoid one; he should have immediately responded.  Maybe he didn’t hear his walkie go off? Unlikely, but it was still a possibility.  Alan decided to repeat the message.  “It’s Mathers.  I said it was all clear from here so you don’t have to worry, boss.”

Still nothing; not from Jeremy and not from anyone else.  Alan’s concern was growing with each second of radio silence, though a part of him was a little suspicious.  Assuming Jeremy was away from his post, possibly in the bathroom of all places, he still should have received recognition from the rest of the nightshift crew.  Where the hell was everyone?

“Yo, if this is a joke to scare me, then you’re doing a piss poor job.  If you want to fuck around on the job then do it on your own time.  I’m not getting fired for your fuck ups!” Alan spoke into the walkie, dropping all formalities.  The walkie suddenly crackled to life and a deep raspy voice sounded out.

Keep your panties on, man, everything is cool.”

“Goddamn it, Lucas!” Alan cursed but was relieved at finally getting a response, even if it was from the jackass of the group.  Everyone else soon followed suit, even Jeremy, and the guard was able to relax more freely.  He leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes, pulling his cap down to block out the annoying overhead light.  A nap couldn’t hurt and he did need to get some rest before the start of a new day.

His dreams were worrisome.  He was running through corridors but always seemed to be trapped in a corner every time, and there was a horrible constant screaming in the background.  It sounded like a tormented woman who was coming closer and closer, her screams growing louder and louder until they were the only noise that Alan could hear.  Running! He was running away! No, he was trapped! There was no way out! He was going to—

“ALAN!”

Alan bolted up in his chair as through electrocuted, his heart pounding like a steam hammer and sweat was trickling down his face.  He looked around the room and saw that nothing was out of the ordinary; he was still in the bleak, almost empty monitor room in the museum, not the endless hallway of corridors.  He almost jumped again when a loud crackle rang out, seeing that it was coming from the walkie talkie, but no words were spoken, only static.  Alan reached for it with a shaky, clammy hand.

“Who is it?” He asked weakly.

“Alan! Alan, it’s me!”

“Jennifer?” At hearing the tone of his girlfriend’s voice, Alan was now wide awake.  She sounded terrified.  “What’s wrong?”

“They’re dead! They’re all dead!” Jennifer said hysterically.

“Babe, calm down! Who’s dead?”

“The other guards! Something killed them and now it’s after me! I’ve been trying to reach you for the past hour!”

“Jennifer, it’s October, and you know what that means.  I’m sure Lucas and Chien are just playing around.  You remember the stunt they pulled last year?” Alan tried to assure her, though at this point he wasn’t really convinced himself.  Jennifer was a terrible actress and couldn’t pull off pretending to be scared without laughing, which made her a poor choice for a partner-in-crime if Chien and Lucas were indeed pulling another early Halloween prank.  She only became hysterical if it was something serious.

“This isn’t a fucking joke, Alan!” Jennifer was screaming now, “I saw their bodies! Something tore them apart!”

“Okay, okay, I hear what you’re saying! Look, just come over to the office and we’ll sort this mess out.  I’m here for you, babe, okay? Just get here safe and sound.” Alan ended the transmission between him and Jennifer.  He inhaled deeply before speaking into the walkie again, though to a different party.

“Okay, shitheads! This isn’t funny! You’re scaring the piss out of Jen and I don’t appreciate it one damn bit! So stop it already before I decide to get the boss to permanently fire both your asses!”

Lucas’ voice sounded through the walkie talkie.  “Keep your panties on, man, everything is cool.”

“No, it isn’t, Lucas! It’s fucked up! How can you say that ‘it’s cool’ when Jen is scared out of her mind thinking that you guys are dead? Do you have any idea what kind of shit heap you’re going to be in with Jeremy when he finds out about this bullshit prank of yours? I will tell him, so don’t even think about crossing me, jackass!”

“Keep your panties on, man, everything is cool.”

“Lucas, what the hell? Why are you repeating yourself?”

“Keep your panties on, man, everything is cool. Keep your panties on, man, everything is cool. Keep your panties on, man, everything is cool. Keep—keep—panties—keep—cool—”

This was fucked up.  What the hell was going on? Alan felt a cold chill run down spine when he realized something.  He jumped onto the monitors and scanned every single location, looking for any detail that could help him understand what was happening.  He froze at one particular zone.  The prehistoric exhibit where he last spotted Chien and Lucas over an hour ago taking a break…they were still there, and in the exact same positions as before.

Alan felt his mouth go dry when he saw a lump sprawled across one of the benches.  He waited the few seconds until the camera completed its rotation to get a proper view of it.  It was Jeremy.  The screen clearly displayed the slash across his throat and the blood soaked all down the front of his uniform.

“HOLY SHIT!” Now Alan had a reason to be terrified, the very same reason Jennifer was scared.  There was someone else in the museum and they had murdered everyone else.  And he and Jennifer were going to be next if they didn’t get out of here!

“Oh God, Jennifer! Jennifer!” He was barely able to keep a solid grip on the walkie talkie he was shaking so badly.  “Jen, how far away from the office are you?”

“Almost there! I’m scared, Alan!” Her terrified whisper crackled through.

“Me too, baby.  I’m going to try calling the police, so just make it here safely!”

“I think I can make the last twenty meters if I sprint! Keep the door unlocked for me!”

Alan did so and reached into his pocket for his cell phone.  Shakily, he dialed 911 and babbled almost incoherently under his breath as he was put on hold.  He kept his eyes on the monitors for any sighting of the murderer.  Fifteen seconds later he was still on hold.  “Fuck, fuck, FUCK! Pick up the phone, you assholes!”

Finally, someone did pick up.  “911, what is your—”

“My emergency is that I’m in a life-or-death situation and you fuckers are taking your sweet ass time in answering the phone!” Alan cut them off, fueled by a mix of adrenaline, terror and anger.  “You need to send a team over to the Museum of Natural History ASAP!”

“Please state your reasons why I should give that order.”

“MY GIRLFRIEND AND I ARE GOING TO BE KILLED BY A DERANGED PSYCHO! He already killed the rest of the guard staff and God knows who else! Save us, please! The address is--!”

“Alan! Alan!” Jennifer’s panicked voice came from behind the office door.

“Shit!” He dropped the phone in surprise and yanked the door open.  Jennifer fell into his arms and Alan immediately wrapped his arms around her in a tight embrace.  “Jen, oh Jen! Thank God you’re okay!”

“Alan…” Jennifer said lowly, unmoving in his arms and Alan could feel that her legs were shaking.  It must have been quite a run for her to be so exhausted that she could barely stand, he thought to himself.  She had just done her best to avoid being captured by that psychopath, of course she was tired.

“It’s okay, baby, it’s okay.  I called the police and they’re going to come.” The young guard said soothingly.

“Al…lan…” She sounded weaker now.

“Jen? Hold on, let me get you to the chair.” Alan swept her legs out from under her, carrying her bridal style to his chair.  After setting her down carefully, he moved a hand to brush her hair out of her face.  That was when he noticed the blood on his palms.

“What…? Jen, are you…?” He was not able to finish asking the question.

His jaw dropped in horror as he saw the lifelessness in his girlfriend’s eyes.  Pale, foggy brown orbs looked dead ahead.  Her skin was deathly pale and cold to the touch, and her equally pale lips were opening and closing slowly like a fish out of water.  The blood on Alan’s hands had come from her back. Pushing her forward as gently as possible, he saw that there was large wound on Jennifer’s back, a laceration so large that he couldn’t believe it was there.  She had been attacked by something large, possibly a cleaver or a butcher’s knife, and her body had been dug into much like a starving animal does so with its prey.  Alan could see her ribcage through the hole in her body, saw the indentations where the weapon had smashed into her spinal column.  Jennifer was dead before she had reached the door.

“No! No, no, no, no, no, oh God please, no!” Alan fell away from the body of his dead girlfriend and began to hyperventilate.  This was all wrong.  This was insane.  This couldn’t be happening.  “JENNIFER! OH GOD!”

His eyes were fixed on the dead face of his fiancée.  He didn’t hear the footsteps behind him, did not pay attention to his surroundings until he was too late.  Hands reached for his neck from behind and fingers wrapped themselves around his throat, cutting off his circulation.  Alan couldn’t speak let alone breathe; all that escaped his mouth were gurgles and squeaks.  His vision was fading and he knew that he was dying.  He struggled and tried to fight, but every action cost him another second of precious oxygen and he grew weaker until he could no longer even muster a fist.  He gagged and wheezed, his eyes still on Jennifer, and he awaited his inevitable death.

Suddenly, it was over as quickly as it had begun.  The fingers released their grip on his neck and fresh oxygen rushed into his lungs.  The young guard collapsed onto the floor, gasping as he swallowed down much needed air and heaving from the suddenness of it all, not caring about the icy burn.

He did not hear his assailant shuffle about the room, nor did Alan hear the sound of something deadly being unsheathed.  He cried out in surprise and pain as he was kicked around and onto his back, and was forced to look at his attacker as it wielded an axe larger than Alan had ever seen.  There was no “he,” for this monster was not of this earth, not human.  No humanity existed within those sockets that could have been called eyes.

“No! Please, no!” Alan cried as he attempted to shuffle away.  A boot slammed hard into his chest, shattering several ribs and snapping his collarbone.  Alan choked on the blood that came up.

Pleading was useless.  The Monster raised the axe high above its head, pausing only to look at its kill in his eyes.  The axe came down.  Alan’s final scream echoed throughout the empty corridor until silence was all that remained.


© Copyright 2017 Dani Raines. All rights reserved.

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