BOTTOMLESS PITS

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
This isn't a story, it's a warning. The B.E.K. are already among us, look into their eyes and peer into the abyss.

Submitted: May 10, 2014

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Submitted: May 10, 2014

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BOTTOMLESS PITS

 

I have a hard time making eye contact with strangers and I avoid isolated places after dark. I can’t sleep without the aid of pills or booze and sometimes I wake up shrieking. Let me tell you, PTSD isn’t just for combat veterans. My name is Pete Russo, I am the 44 year old soon to be divorced father of three kids who can’t bear to be around me. I am all kinds of fucked up. I wasn’t always like this, something happened to me and I’m not the only one. So this isn’t just a story, it’s a warning.

I was never much of a believer in anything that couldn’t be explained with a science book but what I experienced nearly a year ago changed that. It was something that shouldn’t be part of the natural world but there it was, right there in front of me anyway. It was something I engaged with all the known senses and a sixth one too. It’s a sense we don’t really have a name for but once you’ve used it, it can never be denied.

It all started when my buddy Jonesy invited me out for drinks. We found ourselves in a dive bar and after a couple of beers I was already bored. My midlife crisis suffering friend had been hitting on the twenty two year old bartender for the past hour. Jonesy was drinking top shelf vodka and he had an impressive pile of tips in front of him so she humored his flirting. Occasionally he’d look back at me for encouragement and I’d give him a supportive nod or thumbs up like ‘yeah you still got it dude’. But I already knew where this was going. In another hour he’d be crying into his vodka and soda lamenting his failed marriage. I needed a change of scenery; the local bodega was only a block away so I went out to get a pack of cigarettes. I’d be back, somebody had to make sure Jonesy got his drunk ass home in one piece.

Outside the light but steady drizzle kept the Monday night streets even quieter than usual. I spotted three figures in front of the store. A 30 something hipster couple was having a hushed conversation with an underage kid wearing a hoodie. Given the neighborhood I figured they were negotiating a drug deal but as I drew closer I realized that wasn’t it at all. The young kid was asking to borrow the guy’s cell phone and from the panicked expression on his bearded face it was obvious he wanted to do no such thing. The little hoodlum was starting to get a bit aggressive with his request.

Come on yo let me make a quick call. I’ma only gonna be a minute. Just gimme the phone man I’ll give it right back to you.” The kid insisted.

S-sorry my battery is really low, I can’t really spare it…” Hipster explained.

We’re expecting an important call and the phone is about to die, sorry.” The girlfriend tried to back him up but the kid acted like he didn’t hear a word they said.

Let me borrow your phone I need to make a call.” He said holding out his hand for it. “I need that phone yo, let me have it. You’ll get it right back.”

The couple had that deer in headlights look and I could almost feel the punk willing the phone from them. I shook my head; all they had to do was walk off. Beads of sweat gathered on the hipster’s brow as he slowly handed over the phone.

Put it in my hand. It’s all good.” He reassured them. “Yeah right in my hand.”

With the phone in his trembling fingers the hipster stopped just a couple of inches short of doing just that. He stood there frozen unable to close the gap into the kid’s grasping hand.

What you stopping for? Put the phone in my hand! Give it to MEEEEE!!” The kid’s shriek pierced the night. I came up behind him and dropped two quarters into his open palm.

There’s a payphone across the street kid, help yourself.” I suggested. “You don’t need their phone anymore.”

If he was startled the kid didn’t show it. He just stuffed his hands in his pockets, lowered his gaze and made a quick exit. He stepped off so fast I only caught a glimpse of him under his hoodie. The kid needed some sun, he was as pale as death. Perhaps a junkie I thought to myself. I watched him walk off, stepping through puddles as he crossed the street. I turned to the couple and they too were hurrying off but in the opposite direction. The girlfriend was yanking on her guy’s arm as he looked back my way nervously.

Come on baby let’s go, let’s just go.” She pleaded.

T-there was nothing there. They were just… empty.” He said to me.

Please let’s just go home.” She pulled at him and they practically jogged down the street.

I stood there for a moment confused, not sure what to make of the whole thing. I shook my head again as I entered the bodega, Manhattanites were a weird breed. I came out a minute later with a fresh pack of smokes. I was never much of a smoker, I might have a couple over drinks but most of the pack would probably end up going stale in my glove box.

As I got to the corner I spotted them by a construction site. Even under the shadow of some scaffolding I recognized the kid. He was with another boy and a girl, both also wearing black hoodies, the girl’s dark locks spilling out of hers. She was perched on the scaffolding’s frame with her legs swinging while the two boys leaned against it with their hands in their pockets. Even though the hoods obscured their faces I could tell they were eying me or probably the pack I was holding. I pocketed three cigarettes and tossed them the rest. The first kid caught it one-handed.

Smoke ‘em up kids.” I said with a grin. No response from them, he just pocketed the pack. I shrugged and headed back to the bar; kids nowadays... no manners. He was probably pissed I interrupted his attempted robbery.

Back at the bar it seemed like Jonesy was actually getting somewhere with the bartender half his age. They were doing a shot together and there was no denying the eye contact and the matching smiles. She went to the other end of the bar to serve some other patrons.

Don’t tell me, you’re working your whole producer bit on this chick?” I asked him.

What? You think I can’t bag her with just my looks alone? Dude I’ve been going to the gym three to four times a week and every morning I do 15 minutes of that Insanity workout. I’m fucking ripped!” I just eyed him skeptically. “Okay, yeah I told her I was a producer. What’s the big deal I AM in the movie business.”

You’re a teamster, you drive a trailer from point A to point B and then you sit on your ass for ten hours and stuff your face in the caterer’s tent. It’s not exactly the same job description.” I burst his bubble.

Shh shh, she’s coming this way.” He plead.

The night was coming to an end as I smoked my last cigarette outside. The bartender was closing up the register and Jonesy was helping out by barbacking for her. Apparently I didn’t have to worry about taking him home, it looked like their night was just beginning. I thought of having one more drink before heading out when I spotted the hooded teenagers coming up the street my way. I wasn’t worried about three scrawny kids bearing a grudge. They kept their heads low as they approached me avoiding my gaze, so I smoked my cigarette calmly. I dropped my cigarette and was stamping it out when the dark kids sauntered pass me. I got this uneasy feeling like the kid was eying me so I looked up to meet his stare. From under the hoodie black orbs on black ovals that were so alien they could not be called eyes glared back at me. I gasped so hard I nearly gagged.

Jesus…” I whispered almost like a prayer as the kid turned away nonchalantly. Those eyes were so dark if he had been any further away I would have thought I was looking into empty eye sockets but I clearly saw black pupils in black iris’ and where the whites of his eyes should have been there was only blackness. I stumbled back inside quite shaken. The bartender smiled when she saw me and poured me a drink.

It’s last call but this one’s on me.” She noticed I was shaken. “You all right Pete?”

What’s up bro something bothering you?” Jonesy sidled up beside me with a drink in his hand.

I don’t know I just saw this kid outside… he gave me the creeps.” I admitted.

What do you mean, one of those gay hustler boys on the avenue? What’d he do wink at you?” Jonesy laughed at me. “Ahh relax take it as a compliment. What are you a homophobe?”

It’s nothing like that asshole. It’s just this kid… his eyes were black, I mean all black. Not brown or blue, just black. Even the whites of his eyes were just black.” I explained. Jonesy looked at me as if I were speaking gibberish.

Yeah that is kind of… creepy.” Jonesy looked over at his new chick. “How many drinks did you give him?”

Not as many as I gave you. Relax Pete there’s a bunch of street kids that hang out around here. They’re all into that Goth scene. There’s a place around the corner that throws Goth parties. The kids over there go all out with the face painting and the hairdos. They even wear crazy novelty contacts like cat eyes or snake eyes. I’ve even seen those black ones you saw the kid wearing. They used to freak me out too when I first started working here. Anyway besides being smelly, annoying panhandlers they’re pretty harmless.” She told me.

They laughed at my expense for a bit and I pretended to join in but I wasn’t completely convinced. I felt something I couldn’t explain when I looked into that kid’s eyes. It was an overwhelming feeling of dread and hopelessness that bubbled up in my gut like acid. It was like a whispered threat coming from somewhere in the back of my mind, getting louder, drawing closer. I downed my drink, I had to get out of there. I looked over at the lovebirds, they were smooching and giggling.

Hey I really need to get going.” I said.

You sure you okay?” Jonesy asked me.

Yeah. Yeah just a little tired. How about you?”

Don’t worry about Jonesy, I’ll take good care of him.” She smiled. “Anyway I’m about to lock this joint up and call it a night.”

The rain had stopped and the streets were slick and shiny. I looked up and down the block nervously. I saw no one. I walked quickly not wanting to attract any attention. I got to my car and still nothing. I was opening the door when I saw them a block away and closing. I jumped behind the wheel, locked the doors and started the car in a blur. Impossibly before I could take off they were upon me. The first Black Eyed Kid stood in front of the car, his skin so pale he almost glowed in the dark. The other boy stood at the passenger window. I turned to my left and looked into the girl’s blackened ovals. She was leaning in, meeting me at eye level, only inches away with just the window’s glass separating us. I tried turning away to drive off but those black holes grabbed hold and sucked me in like I was nothing but matter floating through space.

Can you give us a ride?” I heard her say from somewhere inside my head. There was a knocking on the passenger side window and I turned to see the other boy staring into me.

Come on give us a ride, we’re not going far.” He joined in. “Open the door, let us in.”

Yo open the door, we just need a quick ride.” The first kid said as he knocked on the hood softly but steadily. The other two commenced knocking on the windows in the same manner.

  “I can’t, I won’t…” I said softly. “I have to go home, please.”

The knocking became louder, pounding and their demands more insistent and shriller.

Open the door you scared little bitch! Let us in! Let us in!” The first kid screamed as he slammed his fists on the hood. He screamed into the windshield, his mouth opening grotesquely wide, his breath so hot it fogged up the glass. He opened his fists and his fingernails were long and sharp enough to be called claws. He dug them into the hood and tore at it. The metal screaming as he ripped through it. “Come on we just want a ride you selfish fuck!”

No! Leave me alone damn it, leave me alone!” I covered my ears with my hands but it did little to block out their assault. “Please somebody help me!”

Open! Open! Open!” The other boy shrieked as he smashed his forehead into the window again and again. “Open! Open! Open!”

Give me a ride baby. You’ll like it, you want it…” The girl licked my window up and down with a thick, long tongue as black as her eyes. “Let me in, let me in you faggot!!”

I pressed on my ears until they went numb and I screamed as hard as my lungs would allow but all I heard were the relentless voices coming from everywhere. There was no silencing them, no denying them, there was only compliance and surrender. My mind entered a cloud, the voices quieted, they became almost soothing and gentle. I wanted to please them because then it would be over. This world was too noisy, too needy. They would help me let it go. It was what I really wanted… wasn’t it? I tried to see past the cloud, I found the faces of my wife and children. I held on to them. The fog lifted and I found my finger on the doorlock button about to unlock. The Black Eyed Kids were calm now standing silently by the doors, expecting me to open them at any second. They were reaching for the handles when I stomped on the gas and peeled off. I heard then screeching with rage behind me. I blew past a red light before I chanced a look in the rear view, they were gone. I allowed myself to breathe.

All I wanted to do was go home to my family. I was halfway there when I remembered Jonesy. I had to warn him. I pulled out my cell phone and called in a panic.

Hey what’s up Pete? Kathy’s about to drive me to her place in The Bronx. Everything all right?” He asked me.

Get the hell out of there Jonesy. Those kids are still there and they’re dangerous.”

Yeah they’re loitering around but so what? They’re just a bunch of homeless kids, I’m gonna give them a few bucks and send them on their way.” Said Jonesy.

No! Just get out of there! Don’t talk to them, just leave right now. I swear to God Jonesy leave now!”

Christ calm down. They just want a hand out. I’ll call you right back after I get rid of them, okay?” Jonesy said as he hung up.

Fuck!” I tried calling him again as I sped back but it rang out, no answer. I turned onto the avenue and drove into a line of traffic backed up nearly two blocks. When I saw the flashing police lights I realized it was a check point on the lookout for drunk drivers. I stopped myself from yelling out to the cops for help. What would they think of the crazy story I told them with beer on my breath. It was too late to back out as other drivers were pulling up behind me. Luckily I spotted a parking space and I was still far enough from the officers to slide into it unnoticed.

I was still a couple of blocks as I ran to the bar when I saw them. Kathy the bartender was in the driver’s seat of her sedan with Jonesy sitting beside her. The three Black Eyed Kids had the vehicle surrounded.

Go, go, take-off Kathy take off!!” I screamed, jumping up and waving my arms to get their attention. If they heard or saw me they didn’t show it. I could make out Jonesy with his eyes shut tight, holding his knees up and rocking back and forth in his seat. Kathy had the blankest look with her mouth hanging open. She was slowly nodding her head as if consenting to someone’s commands. The first kid looked back at me as he pulled the door open and waved. They piled in the backseat and slammed the door shut. I screamed with frustration and ran full tilt towards them. The sedan pulled off, I was still half a block away when it turned the corner. I made it to there just in time to see Kathy’s car reach the other end of the street. The three kids were looking back at me as the car turned the corner again and l lost sight of it. I ran to the next corner but I was too late, it was gone.

I tried calling several times without any answer. I went back to the police checkpoint. I kept my story simple and left out the unexplainable stuff so they would take me seriously. I told them I escaped from teenagers I believed were trying to carjack me and I witnessed them getting into my friend’s car. They put out an APB on Kathy’s car. We tried calling some more but the phone was going straight to voicemail. I called home to tell my wife I would be back a lot later than expected. I was in the precinct until sun up being interviewed. There was still no signs of Kathy’s car.

I got home in time to see my kids leave for school. I told my wife the same carjacking story I told the police and that was upsetting enough for her. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her what I really experienced or what I thought might have happened to Jonesy and Kathy. I collapsed in bed exhausted; I never made it to work that day. Later that afternoon a detective called me and asked me to return to the precinct, he said he had some new information.

This time I wasn’t shown to Detective Carrolls’ office, I was taken to an interrogation room. I knew there was something wrong as soon as the detective walked in. He didn’t seem as sympathetic or concerned as the night before. He was impatient and irritated, snapping at me when he wanted something clarified. He asked me to repeat my story several times. He seemed particularly interested in those last moments when I saw Jonesy and Kathy with the Black Eyed Kids.

Okay so you’re running up the street and you see your friends drive off with the car jackers. They’re going down C and they make a right on 12th, right?”

Yes.”

You run to the corner in time to catch a glimpse of Miss Mercado’s Honda just before she makes a left on B with the street kids in the back seat giving you the finger.”

He didn’t give me the finger, he just waved.” I corrected him.

I didn’t mean literally Mr. Russo, never mind. So you’re certain this is your last memory of the Honda before you lost sight of it?”

That’s what I’ve been saying since last night. Yes I’m certain.”

Is there any chance, just hear me out Mr. Russo, is there any chance when Miss Mercado made the right on 12th those Goth kids lost their nerve and jumped out before you reached the corner?” The detective asked me.

Of course not, I told you when I got to 12th Street I saw her car at the end of the street and they were in the back looking right at me.”

Well that’s just impossible Mr. Russo.” He looked at me with a shit eating grin.

I asked the detective to replay the footage three times and became more confused with each viewing. Apparently one of the newer luxury buildings on 12th Street had security cameras pointed towards the street. In high definition I watched the Honda roll past with Kathy and Jonesy in the front seats and absolutely no one in the back .

Where’s your car jackers? I was really disappointed when I saw this, I thought you were so credible. So I gave you the benefit of the doubt, I said ‘hmm, maybe these crafty little fuckers are ducked down real low holding a gun on Miss Mercado and Mr. Jones.’” He paused the recording on the Honda. He zoomed in on the back seats; they were clearly empty. “Unless they’re riding in the trunk there were no car jackers.”

I-I don’t understand.” I was dumbfounded.

Then let me make it clear to you, this is not a game, we have a missing young woman here. We tracked their cell phones as far as the Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel where they were dumped by the side of the road at approximately 2:35 am. That’s about half an hour after you last reported seeing them. Now check this out…” Detective Carrolls zoomed in on the front seats of the Honda. Jonesy appeared to be in the middle of a freak out. His image paused mid-scream while he hysterically pulled at his own hair. Kathy’s eyes were wide with abject terror, at the side of her neck were deep scratch marks. “Your boy looks a little unstable there and it looks like he already put his paws on her. I looked into his background, he’s got a record, he used to be quite the hot head. Three arrests from 1989 to 1995; drunk and disorderly, assault and here’s the kicker in 95… domestic violence. I mean true it’s ancient history, he’s stayed out of trouble for the past twenty years but I understand he’s been having a rough time lately. His wife divorced him, his kids won’t talk to him and he’s constantly drunk; maybe he fell into his old ways?”

W-where did they go? They should be sitting right behind them…” I stared at the monitor. It didn’t make any sense to me. Then I realized why. In the past few hours I had told the cover story so many times; to my wife, to my boss, to the cops that I almost believed it myself but I knew what really happened. They weren’t car jackers, I doubted they were even human. So why should I be surprised if they were invisible to video? I closed my eyes and I tried to see that frozen surveillance footage for what it really was.

Kathy drove in fear for her life with the young girl sitting behind her. The girl was smiling gleefully while she gripped Kathy by the neck; her sharpened fingernails piercing the soft flesh. The first kid was screaming in one of Jonesy’s ears while the other boy whispered in the other. Whatever poison they were filling him with it was driving him mad.

I’m not telling you something you didn’t know, you’ve known the guy since high school. So here’s what I think happened. Your buddy’s going through a rough time so you take him out for a few drinks. Unfortunately for Katherine Mercado you guys walked into her bar. We have witnesses who say he was chatting her up the whole night. She’s a friendly girl so maybe Jones took it the wrong way. At the end of the night he walks her to her car, he propositions her, she turns him down but he aint taking no for an answer. He forces his way into her car, he roughs her up and makes her drive off. At this point you were probably trying to stop him but he wasn’t listening.” He played the footage and I watched the Honda drive past the cameras’ range. A few seconds later I saw myself running after the car. “I don’t think you’re a bad guy but you just might be too good a friend because now you got yourself in a jam. You couldn’t catch them so you called us. You’re drunk, you’re in a panic, you don’t want Jones to get in trouble so you make up this cockamamie story about the car jackers; hoping we find them before anything crazy happens. Russo the longer this girl remains missing the higher the chances this ends badly for everyone involved. This little cover up you came up with can be swept under the rug IF you start being straight with me starting right now. Are you ready to talk to me Mr. Russo?” He told me.

Yeah but I don’t know if you’re ready to listen.” Then I told him everything. I told him about the first kid and the hipster couple, I told him about the black pits for eyes the kid had. I told him how I saw them a block away and then seconds later they were suddenly surrounding my car. I told him about the first kid’s fingernails ripping through the hood of my car. The entire time I spoke Carrolls watched me expressionless; occasionally he nodded just so I’d know he was following me. I told him how they tried to drive me mad and nearly brainwashed me into letting them in my car. I told him how I escaped and how I failed to save Jonesy and Kathy from the Black Eyed Kids.

I waited for his response. He nodded a final time and stood up. He walked over to a file cabinet and opened it. He pulled something out and tossed it on my lap. It was a sealed clear bag holding a plastic container. The bag was labeled ‘Send to lab for results’.

I’m gonna need you to pee in that cup Mr. Russo.” He informed me.

Of course I passed the drug test. Then the psych evaluation proved I was of sound mind but what really blew Carrolls’ mind was when I passed the lie detector test. They found the hipster couple. At first the girlfriend was so traumatized she refused to corroborate my story. Thankfully the guy did the right thing and backed me up. Other witnesses came forward to report their own encounters with the B.E.K. in the same area on that night. A deli worker told of the young black eyed girl who demanded he give her a carton of cigarettes. He described the feeling of dread and despair she induced in him until she ran out when a police officer in search of coffee showed up. A young woman described a black eyed boy on her fire escape, knocking on her window commanding her to let him in. She found herself helpless to resist him and about to open the window when her usually jovial Labrador bit her arm so savagely she was able to snap out of it.

Even with these leads the investigation went nowhere and the case went cold. Kalil Jones and Katerine Mercado’s names were entered into the national data base of missing persons. It’s been a year since they disappeared and I was the last person to see them alive.

I did some investigating of my own and found the internet rife with reports regarding this phenomenon going back ten years. There were dozens of sightings and encounters nationwide referring to Black Eyed Kids or Black Eyed Children. The reports were all very similar;  the B.E.K. either approach a victim alone or in a small group. They usually ask to be let into someone’s home or they ask for a ride in someone’s car. Sometimes they just ask for a cigarette or a dollar and if they are denied they become very insistent and aggressive. Their targets reported feeling as if they were losing control of their free will but once the hold was broken the B.E.K. departed quickly. There are no reports of what happens when a victim is unable to resist, when the door is opened and they are allowed in, like with Jonesy and Kathy.

I’ve developed my own theory on how they operate. The people who survived their encounters were credible, hardworking people with families and strong ties to the community. I myself would have succumbed to the B.E.K. if my love for my family hadn’t pulled me out of that dark place. But consider, Jonesy whose divorce had led him into depression and binge drinking and then Kathy who I learned went home drunk and high with a different customer nearly every night. I think the issues they struggled with also made them more vulnerable to the B.E.K. attack. The B.E.K. can not take what is not given to them but once their victims are weak enough to submit they own them. What happens afterward I can only imagine and it’s a horrifying thought. Who are they and what does it mean for us all? Why was it only recently that these sightings began to surface or have they always been here in the shadows preying on the weakest and the least likely of us to be missed?

But the attempted attacks that night were brazen. Jonesy and Kathy had their problems but he wasn’t a skid row bum and she wasn’t a hooker on the stroll. If the B.E.K. are stepping out of anonymity and stepping up their attacks, what is there end game?

These questions are beyond me. I can only tell you what I experienced. I do think the more people who fall victim to the B.E.K. the stronger they become. That’s why I’ve decided to come forward. Maybe by exposing them, future victims will be able to resist their pull because I truly believe to submit is to die.

They only come at night but they could come for you anywhere. It could be at a lonely rest stop off an unfamiliar highway or on an empty street in the middle of a city of a hundred thousand. They’ll approach you with a request that quickly becomes a demand. They’ll look like your average teenagers, maybe a little pale and rough around the edges. They usually wear dark hoodies to mask their most prominent features. If you don’t believe me, look it up. You’ll see, the black-eyed kids are already among us. You can’t miss them when you look into those pits they call eyes, pray you never fall in.


 

 


© Copyright 2020 Derwin Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

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