January 11, 2010


4. One Death After the Other

He waited. An entire morning of mixed scourging blunders with no second for hydration, this man was dead set on his goal. If ever he had to race through these unsettling events again he would be ready, and he wasn’t about to let anything get in his way. He was a true champion when came the time, but for now, he only waits.

“Man. I’m so thirsty.” With that, Ash gasped another quick breathe.

He stood on the corner from Lincoln High awaiting the arrival of Stan and his car. His appearance draped a murky exterior against the casting shadow of the large building. He hoped to hide himself from the inescapable blaze that came from the one and only sun. The same sun that cursed him from the very moment he awoke that morning.

“Stan, if you’re not here within the next minute, I am going to hunt your ass down.” Ash counted down a minute from his watch. The time on his clock read 9:02 am and yet Ash was sure he gave the precise location in which he’d wait.

A composed and humble young man sat, parked from the corner of Lincoln High. His intentions for getting up that morning had not entirely been based on his friend’s frantic distress call, but he was engaging himself nonetheless. This charismatic companion has been praised many a time for showing up wherever he was needed, but now finds himself baffled at his own initiative.

“This is right, isn’t it?” Stan gaped a small pause to reveal his watch underneath the sleeve of his gold-yellow polo shirt which was only an inch longer than his button-down shirt sleeves, his added on black tie was meant to match his remaining black slacks.

Stan sighed, reading the time out loud. “9:03. As usual, I can’t trust Ash to keep a time schedule that he even picked out.”

He continued to sit in the seat of his black tinted Ford Charger, which he had won months back in an astounding competition, representing Lincoln High in the states’ collection for a student’s theories in the field of epidemiology.

“I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since he was on foot, but honestly.” Stan adjusted his glasses back on to his nose.

“That’s it! I can’t wait any longer for this text-book-riding nerd.” Ash stepped out from the shadows and glanced around the empty streets, the sun caught him dead in his eyes. “I said I’d wait, but I didn’t mean forever. He might’ve parked somewhere near by.”

Ash began walking the sidewalks until he had noticed someone across the street, the first person he had seen for a while in this zombie town. Everyone must’ve taken the news seriously. The man covered in black looked a bit familiar to Ash, but he left the idea alone. He saw passed the stranger a darken-colored Charger sitting across the side of the road from him.

“Finally!” Ash gave his nerves a break and rushed over to the other side of the street. He couldn’t help but notice the familiar man staring back at him, it was a very ominous feeling but Ash tried to ignore it.

Finally against Stan’s charger, Ash gave the window a gentle knock, finding Stan asleep in his own car. “Dude, open up!” The knock alone was enough to bring Stan back to life. Stan unlocked the car doors and gripped his hands around the wheel.

“What’s up man? I told you to wait at the corner. This is no corner.” He slid himself inside of the car and slammed the door behind him.

“Oh. Were those the directions? Sorry about that Ash. I suddenly felt tired just now.” Stan gave a faint smile and scratched his head with concern. “I was fine in the morning. It was only a little while ago I started to feel … tired I guess.”

“Well wake up man. There’s no time to feel uneasy about losing your 40 winks. We’ve got to do something about our missing pal."

“I see. Once again, I apologize. Let’s find Lou.” Stan breathed a handful and exhaled it all out. “I figured we’d go ahead and report someone missing first, than we get to the plan I told you about.”

“Sounds good. I still have a few questions on that plan, by the way. It’s very brilliant, but I’m not exactly sure how you connected some of the dots.”

Stan gave a short hiccup of glee and started the engine to his vehicle. He changed gears and began heading towards the closest police station. “I’ll tell you about it later my friend. Just trust my intuition for now.”

Ash expected a complicated answer involving more of Stan’s theories about the laws Physics, but this answer was no surprise to him either, usually when something was as complicated as the Bermuda Triangle Stan would leave out the answer to unravel itself. Ash sighed and left him to his driving, they would be arriving shortly and Ash still hadn’t thought exactly what he’d say. Truly, Lou could have gone anywhere, but Ash could not shake the feeling something gone horribly wrong. Ash knew that Lou would never miss out on his days of practice; he wouldn’t run off anywhere unless it was absolutely necessary. The evidence of him missing was close to 70%, leaving a 30% chance of him safe and sound somewhere close.

“Did you get a chance to text his phone?” Stan still concentrated on the road ahead, even while asking something relevant.

“I must’ve messaged him about a dozen times already. I didn’t find his phone at his house either so he must have taken it with him.” Ash checked his phone for any reply, but his face gave a disappointing scowl and he immediately stashed it back into his pocket. “Nothing. I don’t know what he’s doing, but he could at least pick up his phone.”

Stan gazed at the empty streets of Mayfair, there was little to no traffic. Ash kept special attention to anyone walking during these times of danger. He noticed another man wearing black clothing walking opposite them and hiding his face under his hood. Those sure are popular clothes. This is the third guy, I think. Ash didn’t take too much interest in this guy; they were approaching the department now.

“Alright Ash,” Said Stan. “You just tell them what you saw and I’ll explain the details about Lou.” Stan found a nice spot to pull into across the street from the station. It would have taken them some time before they found the entrance had they not noticed the enormous crowd towards the outside of the station. “Seems we’re not the only one missing a friend.”

“Let’s see if we can squeeze through all these people, I hate waiting in line.” There was no line to speak of. This scrambled crowd was everywhere, and it was far from calm.

“Are you kidding? You haven’t found the killers yet?”

“My kids have to walk to school everyday, how can I be sure the killers won’t take them then?”

“How hard is it to find a couple of thugs? This town isn’t as big as you make it out to be!”

Line after line, everyone had something to say. The doors were shut tight and no one could enter. It seemed the police were in a crisis of their own.

“Everyone, please be calm. We’re doing all we can to assure that these assailants be put behind bars. We would appreciate it if you all would please return to your homes. As far as we know, these killers are only murdering their victims on the streets. There should be no danger while indoors.” A man dressed in officer clothing continued his preaching all the while being drowned out by the plenty of concerned citizens.

“What a mess.” Ash began. “If I knew it’d be like this I wouldn’t have mentioned the police.” The two of them pressed their way through the heated crowd, in search for a way in. Stan had finally reached the doors to the building when they immediately flew open. A rather short man was being evacuated out of the building by another officer.

“But I’m telling you, I know what I saw!” The shoving wouldn’t stop and the crowd wouldn’t let up, it was a riot about to happen. “If you would listen to me, I’m not lying!” The man was insisting to resist the officer and scream in front of the entire mob. “I said listen to me!” Just then, the man stopped in his tracks shoving the officer aside. The crowd went dead silent and circled around the disturbed gentleman. “What I saw wasn’t a lie. I know what I saw might not make any sense, but it’s the truth, and if you don’t believe me you might end up regretting it!” The fallen down officer solemnly picked himself off the ground and sighed in disbelief. “I saw the killing in front of my own eyes! This is the first piece of evidence you cops have and yet you deny it? More people will die and I’m not leaving until everyone here knows it. You’re just lucky that ball of light I saw earlier didn’t wipe out this entire area already.”

Ash’s eyes began to glow with enticement. Stan frowned and doubled back at the strange but hysterical man. The man was covered in sweat and was red, giving off the appearance of a nervous and disheveled individual.

“I saw it, and I couldn’t believe it at first either, but you can think what you like after you hear me.” He stroked his untidy mess of hair and wiped his hands on his pants. “This man was dark and tall. His smile was as crooked as his methods, but worst of all, you could feel the evil off his presence. I know this, having escaped his attempts myself!” The crowd lit up with orderly murmurs and occasional questions from the back. “I know this, because he himself let me go, I wouldn’t be here in front of you had he killed me this morning.” Questions of ‘he’ began to stir up within the crowd and people began to ask of plural ‘hes’. “I saw him kill his victim before he chose me next.” The man’s eyes were filled with tears at this point. “But he doesn’t chase you. He’s much faster than that.” The man finally lifted his head and gave a daunting smirk. “He vanishes and reappears right before your eyes. HAHAHAHHA! It’s crazy, right? How is that even possible?” The crowd suddenly began an even louder chatter.

Stan turned to Ash and created a signal to clear out of the crowd instantly. Ash followed and took steps out of the enclosed circle of residents.

“What do you need, Stan? This crazy guy might have some clues.” Ash kept his voice down and wished his head over the many people, trying to find that strange short man again.

“That’s exactly it, Ash. There’s something to this man’s story that doesn’t make sense.” Stan began. “This killer has been hiding his method of kill for the longest while, and yet he suddenly lets one slip. Why would he let loose his ability to everyone in the district?”

Ash handed Stan a rather puzzled look and put one hand on Stan's shoulder. “So that’s what you’re curious about? I thought for sure you’d be raging with questions of how the hell he's teleporting.”

“At first. But there are plenty of ways to deceive ones’ eyes, especially in the dark. I already have a few guesses on how he’s doing it.”

The loudest burst of a gun was heard from the distance and it left an enormous echo in everyone’s ears. The crowding mob jumped up in fear and all of them screamed a tremendous amount. “What the hell was that?” Everybody around the station began clearing and ducking their heads, the two cops had rushed into the building and were yelling in distress, asking anyone to call the ambulance.

The area was cleared in seconds and the only thing in sight was an entrance stained with the blood of a dying human-being. “Ash, let’s check inside the station.” Ash gave a nod and ducked down until they reached the station. Inside was a desk and some cell cages, but everyone in blue suits were crowding around a leaking corpse. The two teens glanced ahead towards the middle of everyone’s interest to find the preaching, sweaty-short man lying dead with his eyes open and bullet holes in both temples.

“This was definitely the work of those killers again, probably trying to stop this guy from spreading such nonsense about them.” One officer claimed that this homicide involved two people, having one bullet from each temple. “What precise aim these guys have. Both bullets lost momentum as they collided inside his head.”

“Ash, let’s get out of here.” Stan stared at the time finding the numbers '9:47' written on it.

The both of them kept their head down and rushed over to Stan’s charger. “That was unexpected. Things have gotten way out of control. Now a third party is involved with the mess of Philadelphia.” Stan panted as he gave some gas to his vehicle and they rode out of the parkway.

“A third party? What do you mean dude, those were obviously the killers that wasted him.” Ash was baffled from what had just occurred. His mind had been stuck on pause ever since he heard that deafening blast.

“It can’t be the killer, Ash. As you’ve just witnessed, this group committed homicide directly in front of the public. Not only that, their focus was singled out, killing only one individual. Contrary to the killer who kills his victims outside of any witness’s eyeshot, with a knife no less.” Stan was going back and forth, barely paying attention to the road in front of him. “No sir. From that sequence we’ve just witnessed, we now know that the killer works alone, whilst the group who killed that man work in cooperation with each other, and are excellent shots to boot.”

“So what? This hasn’t at all helped us with our search. In fact, it’s made things even more blurry. We now have a disappeared Lou, a vanishing killer, and professional snipers to worry about. We’ve taken many steps back.”

“On the contrary my friend, this may have helped me strengthen my plan.” Stan’s face illuminated and he had become solemn and content once more. “Let us review what we know. Our friend Louis Crowley had gone missing around the time of 7 O’clock this morning. That is only one part of this mess. The second part is the killing and the surveillance. Ash, I suggest you take some notes.” Stan removed a pocket-sized notepad from one of the compartments found in his car. Ash gave him a shriveled stare and stole a pencil from the same compartment. The two of them brought up the mechanics of the situation giving Ash’s wrist something to scream about. The end results had Ash writing the following:

1) Lou’s disappearance
2) Explosion & Cover up
3) Killer A
4) Killers B

Each topic had a multitude of conceptions which had pages of estimations and valued percentages on those estimations. Stan gave his explanation towards the vanishing killer to be a simple use of a darkened vale mixed with smoke giving the illusion of his transparent opacity, he then includes the people’s fear and he has them physically beat and psychologically beat.

“If you ever want me to write something again, I swear I’ll beat the crap out of you.” Ash consoled his aching wrist and asked of their next move.

“I’m sorry to say this Ash, but our first encounter has to be dealt with Killer A. If we are to continue our search we must come across this mass murderer first.” Stan’s voice didn’t sound the least bit scared and it was towards his best interest to have Killer A as his first objective.

“That’s fine, I just hope that after all of this planning we’ll find Lou safe and not killed by some murdering freak.”

“It’s best to think Lou is alive and well at the moment. I’m sure that his body would’ve turned up if he had been found dead. For now I need you to concentrate with me at the moment since we are on the verge of catching our man. I’m sure you must’ve already noticed the empty streets, and the man in black.” Ash recapped the man in black with the draping hood over his face. “I first noticed it when that same man walked passed me at around 9:03. I decided to pretend I was asleep and he’d just pass by. Thank god that worked.”

So that's why he was asleep
, thought Ash. "So now, according to what we’ve seen and where we’ve seen him, we should be gaining on him soon." Stan had concluded the first part of their plan and was ready to being immediately. His face expressed his proud and vigilant glow.

Ash’s face took another painfully puzzled look. “Once again man, when you connect the dots I think you start at the end.” Ash nudged his companion and Stan took a right turn into a deserted park.

“Remember Ash, this killer is one of a kind, that’s why we’re in this park.” Both of them waited for 5 minutes before stepping out of the vehicle and into the clear-cut fields. “We’re here to walk round until he shows up, when that happens we both jump him and nab him before he can do his Houdini trick.”

“I’ll do more than nab dude. I’m going to kick his ass until he starts talking.”

The two companions waited around for the most of 2 minutes before they saw him. He came, just as Stan had planned it.

“We know you’ve been following us sir. We don’t know why you’re after us or why you’re killing all of the town’s residents, but we’d like to ask you to stop.” Stan began straight with the ‘good-guy’ approach. Having him still 20-30 meters away was more or less their advantage, if they can see him than they won’t get hurt. The dark-clothed man took fairly small and subtle steps, a soft smirk could be seen peeking out from under his hood. He pulled out a knife that was at least 8 inches long.

“That’s right Mr. Badass; bring me what you’ve got. I want to see how much your disappearing act could help you all the way over there!” Ash screamed his words at the approaching man, throwing more and more curses at him. The same aura he felt before was now creeping closer and closer. “I’m afraid me and Stan are about to show you how much pain you’ve given this town.”

“Oh, I doubt that.” Ash could feel these blood-thirsty words blowing overtop of his right ear. His heart began to race and his body froze. He conjured enough strength to inch his head over his shoulder and find the same man he was just speaking to behind him.

“Ash, behind you! He’s behind you!” Stan was conducting the hell out of his hands but Ash was frozen in a state of panic.

“How many times have I seen you today, boy? You must’ve been dying to meet me.” Ash stayed tense as his assailant stood behind him, stroking his blood-stained knife. “Well, I might as well give you the pain you were asking for. HAHAHAHA!” As best as Ash could, he tried to move his legs, but he was forbidden to do so. The hooded man closed the gap between Ash and his knife, and before he knew it Ash felt the sharp sting from the large blade. All he heard was the sound of Stan’s panic and the laughter from the manic who popped a hole straight through him.


Deafmute said...

i really like it so far. I like the mysterious feel. I think ur use of magic is good. not to over the top at first. ease people into and the disbelief from the characters is good. I think stan has things a bit to put together though. He may be a genius and i imagin as we will eventually learn like ash and lou prolly has some magic help with that. but still an element of fear in stan should be present highschool student no matter how speacial tend not to just instantly surmise that a mass murderer is in the town and that they should catch him and have no fear about the mission. Addin a bit of fear both of them would make the scene more intense and beleivable. Other than that i like where this is goin and hope that u continue with it. Cant wait to get more into the mystery of this.

Crow said...

Thanks again deafmute.

Yes, I noticed it too as I read this over. I forgot to add in the emotion behind whatever stan was doing. I couldn't help but concentrate more on Ash, and that narration may be what sticks out most in this chapter.

The fear is most definitely not lost, but this was a mistake on my part. Thanks for bringing it up. I'll see what I can do about it in time. Maybe even with the next chapter.

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