Do Not Go Gentle into the Night
Do Not Go Gentle into the Night
Gong! Gong! Gong!
The clock struck midnight, the looming shadows of its hands stretching far below the tower. The headlights of my police patrol car cut deep into the inky blackness of night. George, a young rookie, rode shotgun, his face grim as he listened to our sergeant’s orders. I still remember him, a bright, friendly young man, with a great fondness.
“Why did sergeant send us on the mission at midnight, of all times? Why not at dawn?” George asked me.
“Beats me. Maybe this mission is so important that they needed us to clear the task away immediately.”
He frowned. “I understand that the mysterious activity and unusual amount of unsolved murders with missing bodies taking place around that house are important, but if it was so important, wouldn’t they have sent many more of us?”
I grunted with agreement. “I do agree that this is a little fishy. But I don’t think all of these murders around here are connected one way or another to that house. Not to mention that this house is supposedly haunted, according to local legend. I’ve talked to a couple people around this area. They say that they doubt that many would have the guts to stay in the house for a night, let alone living in it. Anyhow, we’re here.”
I pulled into the curb and opened the side door of my patrol car. The cloudy sky hid the moon, the rays of light barely casting light on us. A solitary lamp only slightly lit the overgrown path that led to the house. George took one glance at the house and blanched.
The house, or, rather what was left of the house, was covered in tangles of weeds and vines. A part of the roof had collapsed in, shingles lying in the courtyard beneath. When I shined by flashlight at the door, written in blood was a message. Nemo me impune lacessite.
“No one provokes me without impunity,” I murmured softly. “You’re right. Maybe we should come back at dawn.”
George, his face white, shook his head. “I really have a bad feeling about the house. I really want to get back. But sergeant said if I mess one more mission up, I’ll go back on desk duty.”
“Desk duty is better than losing your life,” I remarked, trying to say the bitter words jokingly. It came out as an ominous whisper.
Maybe if we had went away that particular day, George would be still beside me in the car, joking this time, telling me how close we both were, and how right I was to decide not to knock. Alas, it didn’t happen.
I stared at the looming house ahead, unconsciously fingering my .45 caliber pistol. Its presence comforted me immensely. Renewed, I strode up the path and knocked three times on the door.
No answer. At all.
Frowning with annoyance, I knocked again. This time I heard a hiss resonate loudly throughout the house and the sound of a knife unsheathing. I leaped immediately back from the door.
George stared at me. “What was that?”
I stared back. With an effort, I forced myself to think. So what if the guy had a knife. We had guns for heaven’s sake. But the fear still pierced me nevertheless. Springing to action, I drew my pistol and slowly opened the door. For some reason, it opened quickly, with a loud creak and groan.
I stepped inside, my flashlight bouncing off the darkened hall. When I looked ahead, I started stumbling backwards. Something was lying on the floor, crumpled, dead. It was a human, but you could hardly say that. Pieces of skin, hair still clinging to it were lying around the corpse. Its eyes were glazed, red-rimmed, and its broken mouth was covered in a strange liquid. The chest was half-torn open, flies buzzing around the blue, dried up lungs. Nearby, a knife lay, bloodied. George took one good look at it and ran outside, retching. I took a closer look at the body. Carefully, I took the knife and prodded the man’s mouth with it. The liquid sizzled, and the knife slowly melted. Acid!
George came back, his eyes refusing to look at the carcass. Instead, he tremblingly stumbled into the next room. He ran back when he saw the contents.
“Bl-bloo-blood! He-hea-heads mounted on the walls!” He moaned, clinging tightly to me. “Things on…on the ceiling!”
He pushed me inside. Even I, an experienced veteran police officer was shocked to the core at the horrors in the room. I threw up, burger meat piling up in front of me. Heads were mounted on the walls like hunting trophies, the bodies of the unlucky strung up on the ceiling. The room was a crusty red, too red, probably painted in blood. George snatched his gun and screeched. A dark shadow was moving quickly towards us. I heard a hiss, the same hiss I had heard outside. George fumbled for his radio. So did I.
“EMERGENCY! HELP!!! HELP!!! EMERGENCY!”
“Alert! Bring reinforcements, every kind! National Guard, Army, whatever you have! Quickly! Code RED! YOU HEAR ME? RED! THERE’S A HOMICIDAL MURDERER ON THE LOOSE! HE’S HANGING BODIES!!! AND KILLING PEOPLE! YOU HEAR ME! GET OVER HERE NOW!”
George fired his revolver twice at the cloaked man. What those two rounds hit, I’ll never know. A small explosion lit up the room for awhile. The shock wave carried me into another room. Everything went white, and the last thing I saw for the moment was George wildly swinging his baton at the man.
When I woke up, it was to terrible screams. Screams of a tortured man.
“My hand! NO! MY HAND!!!”
Cold fear shook me. The voice sounded like George! In fact, it was George. I picked up my radio. “George? Do you read me? George?”
No use. I picked up my pistol and ran as fast as I could. The direction of the screams seemed to be coming from a particular room on my right. I slammed my foot against it. I was rewarded… with an aching foot. Glaring at the door, I picked up my chair and slammed it into the door. I knew it was futile before I did it. The door was metal.
Then I noticed that the screams, though fainter, were also coming from a wooden door on the opposite side of the hall. Racing past the corpse we had passed by earlier, I drew my pistol and shot open the lock. Bludgeoning the door open I was greeted by a large storage room.
Praying that it wouldn’t be more dead bodies, I took a good look in the room. It was filled with personal items, like pictures of little kids, watches, bracelets, necklaces, suits, dresses, and many other personal things. Then I realized what this truly was. It was a storage room, one for the victims! I felt a pain in my chest as I looked upon the little children who would never see their fathers and mothers again, glanced over the watches that never tell the time for those who once wore it, seeing the clothes that would never be worn again. A great anger rose within me. I ran into the adjoining room where silence now lay.
The dark shadow was poised over George, knife in hand. George was cradling his wrist, a mass of red crawling it. Ants. I also noticed whip slashes and burns through his tattered police uniform. Yelling at the top of my lungs, I charged, firing a round from my pistol. The shadow leaped up swiftly, almost inhumanly, but he was still too late. The round pierced his ankle. But immediately after he grunted with pain, he disappeared into the darkness. Turning quickly to George, I grabbed my water bottle and poured the contents on the writhing mass. The ants fell like ten-pins. As fast as the wind, I carried George over my shoulder and turned towards the exit of the godforsaken, and now for sure, haunted house.
The shadow was waiting. He screeched, “No one provokes me without impunity!”
“Nor me,” I muttered impudently as I set George gently down. I drew my baton and cocked my Desert Eagle. I was ready.
We both waited, baiting one another to make the first move. Finally, he lost his patience. He leaped at me, cat-like, his knife arm outstretched. I parried the thrust with my baton and fired another round at him. He somehow dodged the bullet and scampered back. Using long sweeping strikes he forced me out of his range. When he lunged back in, I parried and counterattacked. Sparks flew as metal met metal, as parry met thrust, a counterattack flowed into counterattack. Swinging the baton in a tight circular motion, I took quick aim and fired two rounds at the wriggling mass of darkness. Both missed. I quickly switched my baton in favor of the pepper spray, knowing that I wouldn’t hit the shadow without a distraction. Once again he leaped at me with grace not known to man. I sprayed him once, twice, three times!
He yowled as burning pain filled his eyes and leaped back. Filled with adrenaline and urgency, I fired a round at him. This one connected. The bullet passed neatly through the abdomen and into his stomach. I drew my baton once more. He lunged at me in fury, sweeping the cold steel blade in his hand gracefully towards my head in a wide circle, still moving swiftly despite his wound. Ducking beneath the blow I noticed another knife in his belt. Quickly, I dropped by night baton, snatched the knife, and lunged forward with all my strength.
Unfortunately, I was only able to graze his skin slightly. Still, he leaped back in shock. Angrily, he leaped forth and, this time, hacked at my torso with strong strokes. Like waves breaking on rocks, I successfully defended each blow. However, a few strikes later, my position changed. I was forced back towards the sickly rotting smell of the hallway.
In a sudden, unexpected, move he wrapped his arms around George and held the knife at George’s throat. Taking a closer look at the knife glinting in the dim light, I noticed in horror that one of the knife’s edges was serrated, like a saw, probably for torture purposes.
“Drop the knife,” he hissed. “Or your friend dies.”
“Painfully,” he added after an afterthought.
Slowly, I made to drop the knife, than furiously hurled the knife point-first at the shadow. The knife pierced his clothing and pinned his shoulder to the wall. I raised my pistol smoothly and aimed to kill.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
The three metal bullets seemed to go in slow motion passing through the lithe chest of my enemy and thudding into the wall. He twisted out of the knife’s blade in a contorted position and stared at me in hatred. His eyes, red like hellfire, shined brightly in the night in an inhuman manner. He roared with pain and rage.
With what I believe was the last reserves of his strength, he ran and leaped high in to the air, his clothing seemingly skimming over the dark ceiling. It was then I knew it was too late, even as the door burst open, even as the bright silver light of the moon shown on my face, even as three men with automatic rifles opened fire, even as the shadow was hit with flames of orange and red. I felt a burning pain in my chest. I fell, chunks of my flesh tearing out of my body and tumbling, plunging to the dark tile floor. Summoning the last bit of my strength, I stared up to the ungodly entity standing before me. The last thing I saw on God’s green earth was the nightmare of my dreams, my enemy, standing before me, still clutching the bloodied knife, the serrated edges dripping, smirking smugly in death, triumphant in his last kill.
The clock struck one, the looming shadows of its hands stretching far below the tower.