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BUT FIRST A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR…

I don’t know anything…anymore
Save that what I do…is who I am

“HOLDEN’S CELL” A STUDY IN FEAR

Author: Timothy Goodwin
Word Count: 1188
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“HOLDEN’S CELL” A STUDY IN FEAR

HORROR—(READ WITH A FRIEND)..

Inspired by the motion-picture “Dread”..

HOLDEN’S CELL

A STUDY OF FEAR

Send in the clowns

Quint Holden had only himself to blame for his current predicament, although there were more than a handful of elements that were involved that justified it.

He was in a boarded-up room about one-quarter the size of his apartment, with a small stove, a bucket, and a blanket. The stove was up against the east wall, with a utensil rack above it, and a solitary pan. The gas could be controlled from outside the room, so there was no chance of him asphyxiating himself; the bucket was there to be used when he had to relieve himself, although there was no toilet paper; and the blanket was all the comfort that his captor was going to allow him. At the moment three of his toes from his left foot were in the pan atop the stove. They had been removed with a bone-saw, while his lips had been stitched shut. His captor would remove the stitches only after removing his phalanges, so that he could eat when hunger finally overtook him.

The irony was palpable. Three months ago he had begun a study on fear. What promotes it, what one would do to avoid their worst fear, and how one would react if forced to live that fear again. The latter portion of the experiment had not been on the initial itinerary. But after Holden had become either bored or fascinated with his case-studies, obsession coerced him to push the envelope further and further. He had never imagined that he would be a victim of his own study.

He had made several mistakes during the three months of study. He realized that now. The first mistake he suspected was when he decided to stop taking his medication for a mood-disorder with psychotic tendencies. He really felt like he didn’t need the medication anymore. That the study in fear had actually somehow cured him. He had started to feel more confident, if not a little heady as time went on. However he further suspected that refusal to take his medication actually started to compromise his reasoning.

Two people were in the hospital because of him. One he had blinded with an ice-pick after Holden had learned that they had been temporarily blinded for almost three years after suffering from acetone burns. The optic nerves had been damaged, and it was only through the miracle of modern-medicine that Jeff Cloverfield was able to get his sight back. Jeff had been one of Holden’s case-studies, and Quint felt compelled to force Jeff to face his fear again. That had been another mistake on Holden’s part. And he knew that as well now too.
The other hospitalized victim had tried to remove a birthmark from their face and half of the body using bleach, after confining in Quint enough to tell her story about how all of her life she felt less than normal because of her birthmark, and often times felt like a freak. Although the young woman was actually quite beautiful, she could never quite see herself in that light—it always seemed to be clouded by what God had given her at birth. She resented her marking, and often times felt like men had refused to get close to her because of it. When Holden had told her that she was actually quite sexy, and even spent quality and intimate moments with her, Sherry Sheldon felt a confidence that she had not know in a long time.

But then Quint felt the need to make Sherry face her fear once again, and in doing so, he labeled Sherry a freak, and put her interview that she had with him on the internet. This exploitation led to Sherry’s current condition which was a covering of bandages in ICU after treatment of a partially liquefied integumentary system.

Then there was Hanna Richards, who had actually worked along side of Holden, she had also been a case-study, but she had also been a researcher and interviewer. Her father had treated her like an animal from the age of twelve to seventeen—having taken advantage of her agoraphobia after Hanna’s mother had died of a pulmonary embolism. Hanna’s father had locked her in a room, and raped her at his leisure, sliding food through a sliding panel in the bottom of the door from time to time. If her father hadn’t died of a cardiovascular pulmonary infarction, Hanna’s hell might have continued. Quint of course wanted to see what would happen if it had in fact continued. He had succeeded in turning Hanna into nothing short of an animal again, one full of delirium and despair, keeping her locked in the room, that he was now in, for twenty-four days.

“Welcome to Holden’s Cell…”

Holden had been in the room now for three days.

Another mistake that Quint had made—although he didn’t realize it at the time, was allowing a medical student to be part of the research and interview team. James Harding seemed almost at least as obsessive with learning about people’s fears as Holden was. Now Quint realized that the mettle the medical student portrayed toward the project was just a ruse to earn Holden’s confidence. In as much as to put Quint at ease, making him feel comfortable enough to drop his guard, to ignore his intuition, and to confide his further research in Harding. James had seemed crazed with interest, especially when Holden had revealed to him what he had done with the two case-studies and Hanna. Harding wanted to celebrate Holden’s further research over drinks.

What Quint did not know was that James had put a sedative in his brandy. And while Holden was unconscious, Harding released Hanna. When Holden came to, his lips had been stitched shut, and he had replaced Hanna in the boarded-up room.

Harding could have gone to the police then, telling them all about Holden’s research, but apparently James had other plans. In retrospect, Holden had wished that Harding had in fact gone to the police.

For although James was a medical student, he chose not to use any anesthesia while removing Holden’s toes with the bone saw, and Quint almost tore the stitches trying to scream from the pain as Harding removed the man’s toes.
And now Holden knew that Harding wasn’t going to stop at his toes. He had told Quint this through a speaker held up high in the room, right next to the observation camera. When Holden was delirious with hunger, Harding was going to force-feed Quint his toes; then he was going to sever the metatarsals, and force-feed Holden half his foot.

“You should have quit while you were ahead.” Harding had told him. “And you should have never stopped taking your meds—they kept the megalomania at bay. But you had to play God; now you have no one to blame…bon appetite.”
Holden had 90 days to look forward to. 90 days of the machinations of his own hell. Then and only then would Harding release him…he promised.

WITHIN DARKNESS BEYOND

A weekend at the cabin becomes a journey into a nightmare of inexplicable horror for fourteen young adults and college students who unwittingly breach the veil between our world and another of unspeakable evil. Here they must confront the hideous entity of this realm, lest the world that they know ceases to exist, lost to the heart of chaos and oblivion…

Soon the world itself is infected by the darkness, monsters and demons are released upon the world—mastered only by one man, who used to be a member of a Fundamentalist Church; a wedding and pool-party are interrupted by Monwodai—shadow demons, that turn the festivities into a massacre by bodily ripping apart the guests. The authorities are at a loss, for the demons leave only ash and the smell of brimstone to mark their passing. A would-be rapist learns that there are forces more foul and dangerous than himself. And a writer with a house full of young women board themselves inside and fight off Nhei’hari—demon wasps, that can enter the mind and distort reality.

Soon the East Coast is overrun by devils and ghouls. Cities and towns fall before the onslaught of the daemonic creations. A special unit known as the U.S. Special Tactics is sent to investigate towns in Maine, before the infection of demons can spread to New York. A wraith-like entity emerges from earth in the town of Sanford, either destroying or infecting all that it touches. And the more it comes in contact with, the larger it grows. A church is attacked by Nhei’hari and Monwodai, and the members believe that they are truly living in The End of Days. The ground opens up, swallowing a handful of soldiers from the U.S. Special Tactics, and translating them to a realm beyond their darkest imaginings. While those that remain, fight for their lives and the lives of the survivors of the infected town, struggling against demons, ghouls, and subterranean abominations.

New York is finally hit, and weather of apocalyptic proportions rips through the city, even as another crater opens in the earth, spilling out more demons amidst the populace.

While chaos reigns, the fourteen young adults—translated to another realm—find themselves pawns in a game between two insane god-like entities that want to turn our world into a living nightmare. They are forced to compete in a war, where the victor will lay claim to the Earth.

*QUERY ONE

I am currently looking for a publisher that would be interested in representing my work “Within Darkness Beyond”. A 500 page novel of monstrously epic proportions (at least that’s what my audience tells me). Samples of my work can be read at this link: http://www.redbubble.com/people/orion005

Let me know if you would be interested in my work. It is very tough to find anyone with integrity anymore.

Sincerely,
Timothy Goodwin

QUERY TWO

I strongly believe hat I have a good audience that wants to see my work on the shelf, and on the screen, as I have been told that my work is as good as—if not more compelling than—Stephen King ( I make no claim that I am better than Stephen King) and is reminiscent of Clive Barker and HP Lovecraft, and I strongly feel that a publisher stands to make a profit from the interest of others.

As a writer and artist I specialize in science-fiction fantasy, horror, and erotica. When the wind is right I also work on a little poetry from time to time. Currently I am in the process of trying to get two novels published: An Epic Fantasy, entitled, “Tears of the Le’igro” and the fantasy-horror novel, “Within Darkness Beyond.” I have been interviewed by 1st Angel, and am recognized as an illustrator at “A Novel Idea’s blogzine. Furthermore, I have received encouragement from Tor Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I’m not unfamiliar with interviews on the radio, and I always look forward to the moments when they come my way.

Oprah hasn’t seem to take notice of me yet; although several friends have sent my story to her…their selfless investment to my promotion is as exalting as it is humbling…even if Oprah never sees my work.

As one who specializes in creativity, I do a lot of work on table top modules for RPG gaming, including, but not limited to—full-length adventures and art-design. I have finished the Demo for Module A1 “Darkness Beyond”; which will allow players to explore my “Darkness” series in an RPG format for only $2.00!! The Demo will be released in my store at Rendered Realities.

I have lived extensively throughout the US; including ten years in Alaska. I believe that all people’s belief-structures are valid, as long as they don’t interfere with the livelihood or belief-structure of another; obviously this incongruity makes it difficult for people to be friends. I don’t think that peace is something that can be forced, only perceived, and I have a low tolerance for people who are mean

On the offbeat-side of things:

I keep the heart
Of a child
In a jar on my desk

I watch it bleed
Daily
As I plead
In wonder

Who was it
That put the jar
On my desk…?

And ya’ know…? I always did have a fondness and affinity toward the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg…

Ra’jha-shim,,,

At this time there are currently 3000+ individuals that await the publication of WITHIN DARKNESS BEYOND; this is of course the only audience that is aware of its nature from the installments that I have left at Redbubble.com, for the perusal and enjoyment of said audience. Among this audience are avid Stephen King fans that profess to enjoy my work over his. I make no claim that my work is better than Stephen King. Furthermore, others say that it is reminiscent of Clive Barker and HP Lovecraft.

I am contacting you with the hope of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship based upon integrity, ethics, and professionalism.

The audience that I’m targeting has this solitary element in common; they have each seen at least three of the movies mentioned below:

300, Aliens, Alien vs. Predator, Aeon Flux, Blade, Chronicles of Riddick, Demon Knight, Dagon, Electra, Farscape, Ghost Ship, The Fog, The Grudge, Heavy Metal, Hulk, Iron Man, Jaws, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Mortal Kombat, Narnia, Pitch Black, Resident Evil, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Star Wars, Tomb Raider, and X-Men…or have read novels of similar genre.
I strongly feel that I can—with confidence, make this statement, based upon the mentality of the audience that has already sampled my work.

I also strongly believe that I possess a certain intensity of mood in my work that is as fantastic as it is credible…paying careful attention to the elements that I incorporate into my work, whether it be horror or sensuality; I pave the way through pathology, psychology, and the power of the myth; I don’t just write—I paint with words; providing the reader with a form of entertainment that is lacking in a lot of novels these days; I don’t insult the intelligence of my audience, but consider them to be integral individuals that keeps the magic alive, and by this, I want to give the best I can for their enjoyment
I hope that you enjoy my work…

Sincerely,
Timothy Goodwin*

Comments of my work can be found at these links:

http://1stangel.co.uk/talkthetalk/timothy-goodwin/

http://www.redbubble.com/people/orion005/art/21...

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http://www.myyearbook.com/?mysession=cmVnaXN0cm...

http://www.ichatterbox.com/showarticle.php?arti...

http://theartnetwork.co.uk/wpmu/interviews/2008...

http://www.alivenotdead.com/pariah

http://www.artwanted.com/artist.cfm?ArtID=5829&...

http://s378.photobucket.com/albums/oo221/Smilin...

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WITHIN DARKNESS BEYOND

ORIGINAL PROLOGUE
(OMITTED DUE TO CONTENT)

WITHIN DARKNESS BEYOND

With slow deliberation the thing that was Alacha’ rose from the pool of darkness beneath its throne. A shapeless bulk of immense proportion, horrifying and preternatural. An unutterably hideous mass of amorphous putrescence, which filled the throng that was standing and watching with a sensation of unimaginable terror and helplessness. It was slimy, morbid, ghoulish. Seething, surging, stewing forth; with long tentacles and grotesquely twisted appendages that moved with a repulsive kind of writhing, protruding from its horrid bulk of potted pustules that glittered sickly with a diabolical light of dark imaginings. A collection of eyes, some sunken and suppurated, others floating on stalks that wriggled and undulated horribly, covering almost the entirety of the vile epidermis of the abomination in a multitudinous presentation—looking, peering, seeking, in multiple directions simultaneously, and glistening with a certain kind of malefic glee. While many mouths filled with fangs separated by spiny teeth and serpentine tongues, babbled with the voices of the damned, screaming with torment and sanity lost.

DARKNESS UNLEASHED
3

lAan Procter’s backside broke the surface of the water of his friend Chris Byrne’s swimming pool, courtesy of a well-place shove by Natasha Camden. The twenty-one year-old was trying to hit on the nineteen year-old before the girl had prompted him into the deep-end of the pool. It had been no difficult endeavor on the part of Natasha, as Alan had been half-lit before striking the water; he had been drinking since noon, and now the sun was beginning to set beyond the woods that faced the back of the pool-yard’s six-foot wooden fence. A simple push, and Alan had back-peddled until there was no concrete to stand on, then he fell backward haphazardly over the side of the pool, his arms pin-wheeling as he went into the water.

The splash was ignored by just about everyone there at the party. All present were capable swimmers, so no one worried about Alan’s safety, and he had, after all, been wearing his trunks—although he had also been wearing a Hawaiian-print shirt, and a straw hat prior to entry into the water. Still, the action wasn’t one of true animosity on Natasha’s part; the kids all there that knew her would agree that she didn’t have a malicious bone in her body. And for this reason, two young men that were standing nearby and watching the scene as it unfolded, reflected simultaneously with smiles on their faces: “Denied…!”

Steaks, hot-dogs, and hamburgers were being cooked on the large grill, while music played from a portable deejay station on the balcony above. Saliva was currently singing My Disease.

Ryan Willis performed a cannon-ball into the pool, almost dousing the grill, and everyone told him that he was being an ass, and if any of the food turned out to be soggy, he would have it force-fed to him.

Somewhere in the midst the frivolity, someone had inflated a blow-up doll by the name of Cassandra, and was tossing her around in the swimming pool like a beach-ball.

The two-story colonial structure that belonged to the parents of Chris Byrne; who would be graduating next year from Poacher’s Grove Community College with a B.A. in Applied Science; his goal was to be a police-officer, and eventually a detective, like his Uncle Rudy. Expenses being the way they were, tuition and room and board costing an arm and a leg, Chris’ parents allowed him to stay in their home until he could afford a place of his own, without having to work paycheck to paycheck; all they asked in return was a little help paying expenses, such as gas and groceries.

At this time Joseph and Terri Byrne were on a Carnival Cruise bound for Hawaii, leaving Chris the opportunity to party-hardy with his friends, their friends, and friends of their friends. Forty kids were there at the house; some inside, most of them outside around the pool, between the ages of nineteen and twenty-three.

Hamburgers and hotdogs had been served on the grill, along with chips ranging from Ranch-flavored to Doritos; sodas and liquor were offered, and for a very select few, Absinthe was poured. The latter being purchased online outside the country.

Making-out at the party was acceptable, but fucking wasn’t, and if you were too young to drink alcohol and were caught with it on your person, you would be barred from the party. Still, that didn’t stop friends from sharing their drinks with the younger generation; however if they were caught doing so, they would be out too.

It wasn’t Chris that had ordered the Absinthe; rather it was brought over covertly by Daniel Austin, who was a friend of Chris’ buddy, Peter Collier. There were seven young adults in the group that had sampled the Absinthe; three girls, four boys—including Chris, Peter, and Daniel, and it almost immediately made everyone aroused in their own way, as if they had taken ecstasy. The girls started flirting with the guys; and some of the girls as well, demonstratively—even going as far as to walk around topless, which suddenly became acceptable to Chris.

Be that as it may, in spite of how good the Absinthe made the host feel, he would only venture a couple of shots; any more than that, he surmised, would be irresponsible. And although the three girls wanted to show their appreciation to Chris and his friends by fucking them, Chris had laid down the rule that there would be no sex…

Well… not until at least half of the party went home.

Until then Chris spent most of his time with Candice Morgan who was running the deejay station on the balcony overlooking the pool. Candice wasn’t as attractive as she was sexy. She didn’t have a pretty face, at the most it was considered comely, sporting a large nose. She did however have a great body, tits and ass that men would take notice of, and muscle-tone that suggested the girl of twenty-one either did a lot of swimming, or spent a considerable amount of time working-out during her off-time. She wore a black bikini that had a leather or spandex look about it, and that showed a great amount of cleavage and the curves of her breasts. An interesting side-note; Candice had a long tongue, with which she could touch the bridge of her nose with, when the occasion called for it, and this action usually left men with loins aching for more. Therefore, every opportunity that presented itself around Chris, Candice would lick her lips suggestively, hinting to the man the promise of heavenly delights that were to come later that evening.

And Candice wasn’t the only woman licking her lips at the sight of Chris and his friends; Erin Banks and Brianna Cartwright were also proffering salacious invitations as well.

When Alan hit the water, a prominent splash was created that hid the bubble that had rose to the surface from the bottom of the pool. If anyone had seen the bubble, there would have been jokes made about someone farting in the pool.

Even if someone had farted in the water, the aqualine sphereizoids that began rising were not caused by a slight explosion between anyone’s legs. Rather the bubbles that were produced—and just as quickly overlooked, were the result of a crack in the bottom of the pool. A small fissure, eighteen inches in length, and about seven inches wide, split the cement, wherein water began to leak out, and something else, started to slowly leak in.

When the sun was just a glowing ember in the sky, and the ferment was painted with ribbons of rose, scarlet, carmine, and violet, and free of all but the occasional cloud passing, Candice had already put her hand down Chris’ pants. He didn’t protest, despite the fact that there were still thirty people at the party.

Those inside the house, the ones that hadn’t found a secluded corner to neck in, were either spending their times playing video games on one of the three available televisions in the house, were playing pool in the game room, or were trying to turn poker into the stripping kind. It was only a matter of time before all players at the card-table agreed, and when the dealer was down to his shorts and two other women had lost their shirts, and while Candice was leading Chris up to his bedroom, followed close behind by Brianna and Erin, two shadow demons leapt the six-foot fence into the pool yard.

The ones that first observed the demons were already feeling a glow from drinking, and their first initial reaction was to mistake the intruders for some kind of mutated rogue wolves. But the creatures were too damn big to be wolves.

(Hence the mutation…)

And the kind of wolves that the drinkers knew of didn’t stand on their hind legs to knock your head from your shoulders in one fell swoop of nine-inch claws. Suddenly terms like lycanthrope and werewolf began to surface in the minds of the observers, at least for as long as they remained alive.

Chris didn’t hear the screams when they started. He was in the throes of euphoria that came when three women chose to give a hummer to a solitary man. He, of course, was that man.

Outside in the midst of the carnage that unfolded, several men and women thought abstractly to themselves: What do you do when two demons jump your fence, and all you have are pool toys and a bunch of other useless crap to fend them off with? Answer: you get the shit ripped out of you…or…you run like hell—run your ass off!

Peter had been outside when the attack started. And when the blood began to spill and spray, and when bodies were tossed around helter-skelter, he initially experienced sheer panic. But then he managed to get a grip on what little courage that he had, and the Absinthe soon modified that bravery into a kind of cocky bravado.

He knew that there were tools in the nearby shed—maybe a chainsaw.

(That would be good.)

And he ran with a swiftness born from determination toward the tool-shed. In his mind’s eye, he saw the image of the Skil chainsaw that Chris had so often times used to cut larger pieces of wood into smaller pieces, which could in turn be split by a maul. He would have done better however, if he had just tried harder to locate an escape route instead. He was cut down ten feet from the door of the shed, his flesh was laid open, his back became a blossom of blood. And he fell…his right arm outstretched toward his intention, until it was torn from his shoulder, the limb sent flying skyward, his body twisting around, and he was left with grisly tatters that pumped crimson out onto the small stretch of grass.

Baker Cage, a young man of eighteen saw Peter go down, and he hid himself behind the large Weber gas grill between the porch and the pool, just long enough to allow the demon to move on. Then Cage was running toward the shed himself, trying to avoid stepping in Peter’s blood as if it were somehow poisoned; it wasn’t of course, but the idea of stepping in a dead/dying man’s blood strongly unnerved the teenager. Peter was still trying to move forward, lying on the ground, his body—his brain refusing to put the last command away in the final file… But Baker knew the man was dead, even if his brain hadn’t caught on to the idea. He had lost too much blood; it pooled around him and shimmered in the evening light.

Rick Cooley stepped out on the porch to see what the hell it was that was making all the fucking noise…it was drowning out Ozzy Osborne singing Crazy Train. Alexandra Fenner’s limp body was thrown at him, and he took it down with as he fell backward through the sliding-glass door. Screams in the house commenced.

Baker was in the shed, looking for something to fight off the monsters. He saw a rake in the shadows leaning against the inside wall, then he flipped on the light to the side—thought better of it—flipped it back off again. In that split-second of illumination, he had seen a weed-eater, a hedge-trimmer, an aluminum step-ladder, various chemicals—including pesticides, and a stack of paint cans. Baker thought about throwing the cans at the monsters, however quickly gauging their size again he thought better of it. The cans would probably just piss them off.

In the pool yard the screams rose into the air…then rose again, stopping only when—

There was the sound of thunder in the distance…booming and rolling…

Roxanne Patrick’s voice grew hoarse, while she squalled in the middle of the pool. There were two guys and two girls treading water and wading in the pool with her—Brian Baretto, Calvin Ciella, Danielle Berson, and Erika Robertson, at the moment they were ignored by the demons; there were also two bodies lying face down in the water, their arms akimbo to their sides, their blood from fatal wounds spilling into the pool, turning it sanguine. A breeze touched Roxanne’s face, lightly, like an intimate touch, which made her scream harder. She hardly noticed the slight change of pressure beneath her, but then her pelvis grew cold, as if ice had been poured over it, she slowly lost sensation in her legs and feet, and this new element produced further hysterics. In the meantime blow-up Cassandra floated on her back in the pool—eyes looking like those of a deer’s caught in the headlights, mouth open in that perpetual “o” shape. Blood had sprinkled her plastic body, giving her a form of realism that she otherwise lacked.

His eyes having finally adjusted to the lack of light in the shed, Baker saw an axe lying up against the cabinet of tools. Hearing the incessant screams beyond the walls of the shed he wondered if the neighbors might decide to call the cops, or just assume that the party was shifting gears. Then he saw the chainsaw next to the axe.

Another shrill drilling shriek pierced the air, it belonged to nineteen year-old— blond and beautiful, Jennifer Lucas, it was full of agony and terror. It was cut short by the thunderous roar of the shadow demon, silenced by its razored claws across the girl’s face.

The lunch table outside on the porch was of stonework design, so it did not yield when Johnny Deluca’s body impacted with it. Instead the older-teen’s spine snapped with a sickening crunch like little more than kindling, Johnny went limp, and his limbs twisted and bent in ways that would otherwise be considered uncompromising. Blood flew in a light foam from Johnny’s mouth. He was dead before his body finished its roll off of the table, upsetting one of the heavy benches with his left leg, landing with finality on the cement porch.

There was a large tool cabinet toward the back that Cage was pretty sure had a hammer or plumbers-wrench in it—that might do the trick, but…Baker decided that he didn’t want to try and whack one of those things with something so…small, he decided—as an afterthought, that if he found one—or both, he would stuff them in the waistband of his swimming trunks and carry them with him anyway, just to be on the safe side; although—reconsidering, he really had no intention of getting that close to the damn things.

A body was knocked into the Weber grill, and both found their way into the pool. Two other kids ended up in the water thereafter, their feet unable to find purchase in the blood and gore that coated the concrete around the pool. Charlie Bana, a man of about twenty-two, fell to the ground with his head snapped sideways, and a gaping gash opening the left side of his face, his right eye bugged-out, the vessels in it having burst just recently.

In the time that it took for those at the card-table inside to rise to their feet, and either investigate, or bolt for the door, the plate-glass window shattered. And another body—a man, wearing black and red trunks, was accompanied by a shower of shards, as he flew backwards through the window. His face and chest were already scarlet before he impacted with the plate-glass. His body had enough momentum behind it to knock over the card-table; poker-chips, playing cards, and cans of beer in varied degrees of emptiness, flew all about the game room.

Chris was in the midst of an orgasm when he heard the screams inside the house. There was crashing and running and thumping—the sound of breaking glass… Chris lost his erection at that, but the previous activity had already reached a crescendo, and the climax wouldn’t be stopped. Still, after the accumulated rise of pleasure, it would still be rated by the man’s standards that Chris shot his wad in an untimely fashion, and he was pissed because he didn’t get to fully enjoy the screw.

“Ah—what the fuck!?” he vociferated. And as Chris scrambled across the startled girls in his king-size bed and began reaching for his trunks on the carpeted floor, he heard the sound of a chainsaw whining to life. “Oh—this better be fucking good!”

Baker was now outside wielding the Skil. He stood naked save for his black swimming trunks. Cries of the dying and those running to escape out through the back gate rose up into the evening air, contrasting the sound of thunder. One of the shadow demons reacted to the sound of the chainsaw, moved hurriedly to intercept it. The arm of the beast came down in a swift and deadly arc, threatening to cleave Cage in half, when the youth brought up the blade, blocking the creature’s attack. The saw cut through meat, and then the Skil screamed as it hit something akin to bone, thick and heavy. In the next instant Baker was covered in something resembling a light, powdery ash and the monster vanished in front of him.

Almost immediately following the beast’s disappearance, the other demon came at Cage. He stood his ground, his legs shaking with a will of their own. The ground seemed to be moving beneath him. A man of twenty-one was telling everybody to run. Two girls stood frozen on the grass, holding each other, sobbing. The demon towered over Cage looking down at him, red eyes burning and scrutinizing in the darkness of its countenance, aglow with an evil intelligence. Then it was gone as well, vanishing into the surrounding breeze, leaving a wispy column of smoke to mark its passing.
That’s when the police showed up.

“Hold it, you psycho-fucker!” One of the officers yelled. “Drop the chainsaw, or so fucking help me I’ll blow your fucking brains all over this yard!”

Yard?

Psycho-fucker?

Cops?

Better late than never…

Baker hesitated. Adrenaline had pushed him into a realm of unreality, one of which wasn’t hard to reach with the appearance and disappearance of the shadow demons. He surveyed the scene around him, gauging it with his eyes, while a part of him wanted to vomit, another part of him was strangely detached. It was a bloodbath before him. That was the best description he would be able to offer. A bloodbath, which would in turn would haunt him for years to come. And in his nightmares he would witness the dead rising…torn and bloody, like zombies…moving toward Cage while he screamed and screamed and screamed.

The only other survivors in the back yard were those that were still in the pool.

Eight bodies in various forms of dismemberment lay strewn about the yard; five boys and three girls, between the ages of nineteen and twenty-two. Three of the boys had been decapitated. The other two were disemboweled and eviscerated. Blood still flowed from the open wounds, coating the grass and covering the concrete in the yard. The girls that had been clinging to one another had managed—if only for the necessary moment, to get a grip on their surrounding environment, long enough to flee the scene before the cops arrived.

Baker never even heard the sirens.

Better late than never…

Two friends that Baker had been closed to had been slaughtered by the demons; Camille Arnold and Toby James; Camille was eighteen—going on twenty-seven, she had been a straight-A student and had helped Baker in Science and Math. Toby had been a rebel, which was understandable as his parents—whenever they were home seemed to think that he was part of the furniture; they wouldn’t have to worry about their son’s place in life anymore…Cage had been too late to save them. And who—outside this yard would ever believe what had happened here? And when the police checked Baker for drugs and alcohol they would find both—a little liquor, and a little THC from the grass that Toby had shared with him.

“Put down the goddam chainsaw!”

Baker heard a voice. But it was difficult to discern where it was coming from. He felt so light-headed. The dope. The adrenaline. He hesitated. Or…maybe he had taken a step forward without realizing it…perhaps he moved toward the cops in a threatening manner.

What was the little shit covered in? Blood obviously. Just take a look around for god’s sake! The cop that had issued the warning shot Baker—the slug hit the little psycho-fuck’s left shoulder, spinning him around, making him lose control of the chainsaw…the cop had wanted to kill the little murdering shit, and inwardly—as he saw the kid falling with the Skil, the cop hoped the chainsaw would have accidentally cut him in half. Look at this backyard! Look at it! The bastard deserves to die for what he did!

However the chainsaw didn’t kill Baker. It missed his midsection, and instead landed on his left leg. The youth would have some tissue damage, but nothing that would keep him out of the game indefinitely. He would have a scar about nine inches long that would require about fifty staples to close. But Baker Cage would live.

Live to tell a story that would not be believed by anyone west of NYC. As it were, Baker neither felt the slug that hit his shoulder, nor the chainsaw biting into his leg. Following the prior proceedings of this evening took more out of the teen than he would care to admit. Took more of a toll on his mind than anyone rightly deserved. So that when the cop fired his weapon, Cage did the only thing that he could do given the circumstances, he fainted.

YOUNG MAN MADNESS

They tell me I belong here.
I don’t mind, the digs are like a presidential suite, and I get conjugal visits from time to time. Who could ask for more, save their sanity? My name is Baker Chase, and according to them—the doctors, I have a disassociate disorder, which essentially means I cannot tell the real from the unreal. They tell me that I am living in an illusion created by my mind, of events that I recall, that never actually happened. I tell them time and again that they are full of shit. I know what happened. I saw it happen. I was there…

I saw my friends arbitrarily torn apart by demons of shadow; I saw them die before my eyes. I saw the blood. I stood in it. My friends were like discarded sacks, inside the house, and outside around the pool. When the police arrived, I had a chainsaw in my hands—the only weapon to fight off the demons. I was shot, I fainted, and I remember the moment as if it happened only yesterday. But they say that it never happened. There were no demons, and my friends did not die…

Now they send me people time and again that wear the guises of my friends, but with different names—that is how I know they are not my friends. Not my real friends. I remember the names of my friends, each one of them, each one that died. But they tell me that the people that I remember don’t exist. And these people that profess to be my real friends, I see as simulacrums. And I tell them it is they who are detached from reality; it is they who are living the illusion. I tell them that what I saw did happen, and that is how I know that it is not over… It did happen, all of it, just like I remembered. And it will happen again…

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