I knew that the stiletto—the one I almost used on David (that knife really knew how to get around, apparently)—was under my pillow…
And then it was at Baron’s throat.
“Get your fucking hands off me…now.” My voice was a lone, icy note struck upon a badly tuned harp. Baron didn’t so much as flinch, but his hands appeared back at his side. His eyes were trying to plow through me. I didn’t let them.
“Let’s get something fuckin’ straight, right now. I’m not here to join your little club, or to play ‘serial killer.’ I’m here because I intend to figure something out. I thought Wicked would have sounded you out on that by now. So, were not blowing up my house, and were not mutilating any of my friends. And, frankly, the whole ‘let’s see if she can kill the people closest to her’ shtick is a little bit cliché, isn’t it? I’d have thought someone who ‘knows just about everything’ would have known that.” most of me meant every last word, with only a surprisingly small share of my energy devoted to resisting the urge to puke from fright. I could feel the heat coming from Wicked’s grin, as he beamed at me from somewhere out of sight. Somehow, I knew he wouldn’t intercede on Baron’s behalf.
Baron, still smiling, stood up from the bed, his eyes continuing to drill me. But, with his arteries beyond the knife’s edge I was at his mercy again. Regardless, I decided to push my luck.
“Before you tell me you think I’m ‘plucky,’ or whatever pithy thing you’re gonna say to me with that shit-eating smirk on your face, you should take a minute to consider where you are…This is MY house.”
I knew that I could call out to it, make it come to me—the thing that shouldn’t be.
Baron was just about to speak, when from the darkness and emptiness of the outer rooms came the sound of whispering and giggling . . . and growling. The bottomlessness of the canine snarl sank into the wood and stone of my house, creating the slightest tremor. The lights turned off, just for a second. And when they came on again, I pushed Baron’s smile back into a thin, straight line—with my own shit-eating grin. I imagined that my teeth were glowing like the fucking sun. Then came the sounds of something mammoth and monstrous, shambling away on clawed, padded feet.
“Oh, and Baron…it’s not ‘Genevieve,’ it’s just ‘Veeve.’ Got it?” Baron furrowed his brow, and nodded. Then he stepped backwards into the darkness behind him. The last thing I saw before he vanished were those eyes of his; they were filling up with all the amusement I’d pushed out of his lips. Cocky bastard.
Once I was sure that Baron was gone, I turned to look at Wicked. He was still laying on the bed, but with his head balanced upon his steepled fingers, smiling at me like a delighted child.
It appeared that the cops had no idea that I’d ever visited Wicked, or if they did they didn’t do anything about it. It had been days since the explosion and not so much as a peep from the police.
Living with the two serial killers proved to be a simple enough affair. For the most part, they stayed in my basement, talking and scheming by candlelight and drinking shit-tons of coffee. They slipped in and out at will, and I never asked them what they were up to. I just naturally assumed they were up to something horrible, and left it at that. I also wondered why they never invited me. I wouldn’t have gone with them, obviously, but an invite would have been nice.
One night while the boys were gone, I decided to catch up on my video tapes (I had hidden them from Wicked and Baron, as I didn’t need their noses in my business). The next tape had the word ‘dog’ scratched into the top of it. I took an educated guess as to what the video would be about, and slipped it into the player.
I was surprised when I saw the face of Charlie Bowers. He was checking the lens of the video camera he was holding. He panned his camera around a very dark room, only a few low-burning candles supplied any light. I could see the rest of the Bowers in the background, milling nervously. The point-of-view slowly moved to a large rocky opening—which made me realize they were all gathered in the cave I’d left ol’ Nanna He!! to rot in. And then, as was her habit, the witch sauntered into view, wearing only the shadows of the cave. I was lost in her movements, again. She slithered around like something unreal, just a bare-naked dream in the darkness.
The candlelight seemed to die away as the witch drew closer to the camera, as if refusing to fully illuminate her features. The camera quickly switched over to infrared once the last candle was dead. I could see something laying on the floor of the cavern. It was hulking and stone-still—it was a gigantic, dead dog (specifically, a large English Mastiff). The witch walked slowly to where the hairy thing had been piled…and then some kind of power came out of her. Whatever it was, I could feel it through the Goddamn TV! The lights of my home dropped as dead as the candles from the video, and I could hear the witch’s footsteps—coming from the television, and from somewhere directly behind me.
I wasn’t prepared for what was happening. I’d gotten cocky from my exposure to all the weirdness, and so I’d neglected to ready myself for whatever the tape would show me. Now I could feel my mind breaking down with each footstep that fell from somewhere behind me…getting closer by the second.
Something/someone drew up to my left ear. I didn’t look to see what it was. Then a familiar voice croaked.
“Fuckin’ bitch…Ya' left me down there till it swallowed me up, into its spoilin’ guts filled with my filthy, decayin’ kin. Ya' think you were pretty clever, huh? Leaving an old bitch like me to die a slow death, bound to my wheelchair, without any fuckin’ food, and no lights what-so-fuckin’-ever. But yer gonna get what’s a comin’ ta ya, slut!. She’ll see ta that, she will. Meantime, we got yer back, girlee. We’ll see you don’t fall an inch short’a glory…that you see things through ta the end. Right to the bitter, fuckin’ end, we will…”
My eyes were being as tormented as my left ear, as I could see a close-up of the witch’s hand sliding into the dog’s stomach, apparently without even having slit the creature open. The next close-up followed her other hand as it disappeared into the dog’s head as effortlessly as if she’d slid it into calm water. The view withdrew to frame all the action, now. The witch was still up to her elbows in dead dog, her arms moving frantically through the creature, as if she was searching for something. Even the camera seemed to be having a hard time managing, because the image began to break into ribbons of color and static, as if what it was pointed at wasn’t capable of being transcribed to video.
But the images kept coming despite the occasional, but gradually increasing, visual hiccups. The witch seemed to be struggling with something just beneath the dog’s skin. And then…a sickening, cracking sound, accompanied by the trailing echo of a distant shriek. The room erupted with the screams of a terrified audience and the light of dead candles blazing back to life.
As the camera angle and the mood in the cavern began to steady, the view exposed…a gigantic dog, sitting alone, staring at the camera with the whitest, deadest eyes I’d ever seen.
I gasped into the open air, “This is just too fucking much…I’m losing it…myself…every-fucking-thing.” I’d forgot all about the thing at my ear (if that gives you any idea how fucked up that tape was), which responded to my spoken words.
“Well, if’n ya wanna give up the chase now, bitch, I think there’s juuust enough room in here for one more body, hahaha!”
Just before I fainted, I heard the TV shut off on its own…and the clicking claws of my new, undead guard dog.
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