It was Wicked who found me lying on the floor of the living room, the smell of (un)dead dog filling the air. He sat me up at the kitchen table and, after discovering the power was out, placed a lit candle between us.
Wicked stared at me sympathetically from the other side of the tiny fire, until finally asking, “Revelations can pack a wallop, can’t they?” After a few seconds, I finally found a few questions rolling around in my mouth.
“The Bowers were some kind of doomsday preppers, right? Except, of course, that one of the ways they prepared was to make weird-ass monsters out of their victims. Was there any truth to any of it?”
“There was a wonderful futility to it all—the chanting, the rituals, the killing. For, after the goat’s blood had dried, and the sacrificial bodies had stiffened…nothing ever happened, just a splendid time had by one and all,” said the wiry serial killer who had pretty much moved into my basement.
“So, the Bowers were just your run-of-the-mill killer cultists before the witch got to them, huh?” I asked, marveling at how Wicked’s face seemed to change shape in the candlelight.
“Oh my, yes, Just the most tedious variety of killers imaginable. However, as I remarked before, they were enjoyably cliché in an almost exquisitely campy way. I had no idea why she even sent me to them, but now I see the design to it. She sent me to prepare them…for you.” Wicked’s words sent a shiver up my back, momentarily pulling me from the muddy abstraction my life had become. The Witch had prepared the Bowers to become…my bodyguards? But had she planned on me, specifically? Or, was I just the fish that swallowed the hook?
“How did you meet her, anyway? The witch, I mean.” I asked, hoping Wicked was lucid enough to answer the question.
“Oh, that. I was wondering when you’d get to the ‘me and her’ stuff. Well, I tried to kill her, naturally. One night, quite late, I sensed something in the breeze, a twilight that had reversed its course and was making its way back, despite the late hour. I needed to see it for myself. To make a long story short, It was her and her posse. They were all hold up in an old school. Veeve, are you at all familiar with the ‘Hollow School’?” I wasn’t, but I nodded all the same, so as not to interrupt his train of thought.
“You’re a liar, Veeve. But I think I adore that about you, choosing not to be limited by your reality, and all that sort of thing. Good for you. What’s honesty if not a method of conformity, anyway?” I nodded again, hoping it wasn’t already too late for the story he’d only just begun. After he stared at my dishwasher for a good 2 minutes, he finally picked up where he left off.
“So, there I was, peeping through the broken window of a thoroughly haunted institution of higher learning. All I could hear was a woman’s voice, somewhere in the darkness, whispering to something. It was her, as you can likely guess. After I resituated myself for a closer look, I saw the rest of her motley of killers. And, oh my, did she have quite the retinue of ferocious followers. The killers you’re already familiar with were all there, standing apart, almost aloofly, from another detachment of nameless, merciless, supplicant murderers. They were all gathered near the moonlit edge of a huge hole, which was situated directly in the middle of one of the classrooms. If you really did know something, anything, about the Hollow School, you’d know why that hole practically swallowed me up when I looked into it.
"I presumed the whispering woman to be on the benighted side of the hole, communicating with whatever might have been down there. I knew I had to kill her. I just had to, Veeve. But my position was too advantaged, and I desperately needed to sing for my supper. So, I allowed for a bit of debris to tumble down behind me as I scaled the outer wall to the 3rd floor.
"Impressively, the killers didn’t make so much as a sound as they set out to find me. But, my humming was likely only too noticeable. I remember quite clearly, the first fellow to make my acquaintance that night. He was a burly gentleman, tattooed, and just brimming with piss and vinegar, as they say. However, he was trying much, much too hard to be terrifying when he confronted me in the darkness of that broken hallway. I mean, I just had to hoot when he growled at me. Honestly, he growled at me, Veeve! HA! He probably should have spent less time making noises and more time avoiding the large piece of rebar I’d swung at him. It was dark, so I can’t be more specific with regards to which part of his face received the lion’s share of the blow. But, suffice to say, it was an adequate distribution of trauma to kill the man. Shortly after that, just as I made my way into a nearby classroom, a tall, lanky individual, dressed something like an evil mime, tried to grab me by the hair. He was a nimble one, I must admit, having somehow descended from the ceiling at me. And before I had even a second’s peace with which to open my attacker’s throat, another creature entered the room, brandishing a very large butcher’s knife and giggling like a deranged child. I didn’t know what he was laughing at, but his mirth was terribly contagious, and I quickly found myself laughing along with him. As things turned out, I found that big ol’ knife of his far quicker than I liked. But, thankfully, the back of the ceiling-crawling, killer mime’s head proved adequate for blocking its glimmering edge. I should have known the gent with the knife to be somewhat of a neophyte by the shine of his blade. No one worth their salt keeps a blade that clean. You see, dried blood is as fine a façade for a knife as you’re likely to find. Those damned things can glow like beacons in the moonlight, if you’re not careful. Anyhow, the killer’s laughter died with his skinny companion, and I was left feeling very uncomfortable at being the only one still laughing. But, I’m not one to be made small of, so I defied the moment by laughing all the louder and harder. Suddenly, the laugh-less knifeman backed away from me—right into another killer that had come charging into the room. What a goose, right? I actually cut my fingers on my own knife when I clapped my hands together, laughing almost uncontrollably at the sight of fools falling to the floor. I really hated slicing them up, because I was sure, if left to get up, they would provide even more brilliant slapstick. But, unfortunately, I had to be getting on to the killing of the whispering woman.
That’s when everything changed.
I had no idea where they came from, but suddenly there were two young girls on either side of me, smiling like sickle moons…"
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