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Authors: The Vocabulariast

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This Rotten World (Book 1) (6 page)

BOOK: This Rotten World (Book 1)
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Chapter 13: Use Your Head

 

Mort
strained his ears when he heard the police radio squawk to life.

"Car
32, what's your status? Over," said a male voice over the radio.

Weasel
picked up the microphone and replied, "Dispatch, we're on the way in with
two suspects in custody. Over."

"We're
going to need you to shoot on over to 2378 Lincoln. We've got a mother and a
minor trapped in a room. Sounds like the father is possibly intoxicated. We
need you to head on over there and check it out. Over."

"Isn't
there anyone else? We've got two suspects in the car already. Over."

There was a
pause on the other end, and then the dispatcher spoke again, "Sorry, 32.
The switchboard's flooded tonight, and all others are occupied. Must be the
full moon. You guys are the closest and most available. Over."

"Alright,
dispatch. En route. Over." Weasel slammed the receiver home. "Fuck. I
can't believe this shit. Hit the lights, Arnie." Weasel looked over at his
partner, who was either sleeping or unconscious. "Fucking, Arnie. Wake up,
man."

"Hey.
Is he alright?" Mort asked from the backseat, which caused a fresh round
of stirring and struggling from Dirty Kurt.

Weasel
looked at Mort using the rearview mirror and said, "Don't you worry about
him. He's just catching some winks. He's got a newborn baby at home. Bastard's
probably dead tired."

"Some
dad he's going to be, beating up on homeless people. That kid doesn't have a
chance." Mort knew he shouldn't have said it, but he was still pretty
pissed off about the whole situation.

Just then
Weasel pulled up to a red light and he turned around in his seat and regarded
Mort with his squinty brown eyes. "I'm only gonna tell you once. You shut
your face for the rest of the night, or you won't be making it to the police
station. You got that?"

Mort glared
at the policeman, and that anti-authority, free as fuck part of him wanted to
tell the cop to kiss his ass. The part of him that enjoyed not bleeding decided
to just nod his head, but slowly so the cop knew he wasn't totally on board.

It was good
enough for Weasel, so he turned around and began driving. The houses of the
night flew by, silent in the city's darkness. They would occasionally pass a
denizen of the night, stumbling along to God knows where. Mort thought there
were more than usual, shambling around in last night's clothes or sometimes
pajamas, eyes glazed over, placing one foot in front of the other. It was
beautiful to Mort, the silence of the city at 2:30 in the morning. He
understood why some people would want to go out for a walk at night, away from
all the stares, the judgment, and the harassment.

Mort was
lost in thought as they cruised past an alley. He thought he saw a figure
covered in blood crouched over another prone figure, but the alley flashed by
so quick that he couldn't be sure. Perhaps he just needed to nap. Mort looked
over at Dirty Kurt, who hadn't stopped biting at the bag over his head for the
entire ride, the clicking of his teeth sent shivers up his spine. He could wait
to sleep.

They pulled
over in front of a two-story house, yellow and generic. Weasel, whose forehead
was beaded with sweat, undid his seatbelt, and said, "C'mon, partner. Time
to work." Weasel opened the car door partway and made to get out of the
car, until he noticed that his partner wasn't waking up. He closed the door
with a meaty thunk, and then Weasel leaned over and shook Arnie by the
shoulder. "Wake up, man. We got stuff to do."

Worry
washed over Weasel's face, and he leaned in close to Arnie, "Are you ok?
Stop fucking around, man." Weasel put his fingers on Arnie's throat,
searching for a pulse.

"Is he
alive?" Mort asked, genuinely concerned.

Weasel took
his fingers away from Arnie's throat, and replied, "Barely, but he's
burning up. I better call for some help."

Weasel
turned away from Arnie and reached for the police radio. Mort jumped as Arnie's
eyes snapped open and he grasped Weasel's hand. Weasel's eyes opened wide, and
he was clearly in shock as Arnie pulled his hand toward his yawning mouth lined
with big, square teeth. Without hesitation, Arnie chomped down on Weasel's
fingers.

Weasel
screamed, "What the fuck are you doing..." and then the words turned
to screaming as blood poured out of Arnie's mouth. He twisted his head from
side to side, and when Weasel finally yanked his hand free, the fingers were
gone. Weasel held his hand up in front of his face, as blood squirted out of the
stumps of his index and middle finger. He only stared at them for a second
before Arnie began crawling toward him for seconds.

"Shoot
him! He's gone crazy!" Mort screamed.

Weasel seemed
to have heard him, and he tried to pull his pistol free. He hissed through his
teeth as he bashed his finger stumps against the butt of his pistol. Arnie
crawled closer, but the seatbelt he had been wearing was impeding him. Weasel
kicked at the man, and Arnie's nose crumpled underneath the force of his police
boot. With his other hand, Weasel tried to reach across his body and pull the
pistol free. He was undoing the strap on the holster, when Arnie sunk his teeth
into Weasel's inner thigh.

With his fingers,
he clawed at the flesh of Weasel. His screams echoed throughout the squad car,
and Mort put his hands over his ears and squeezed his eyes shut, as if it were
all a dream that would go away. His eyeballs ached from the pressure. The
screaming continued, and when he could stand it no more, Mort opened his eyes
to see Weasel shuddering in the driver's seat, his hand smearing blood on the mesh
that separated the front seat from the back seat, while Arnie continued to chew
on his flesh. At some point while his eyes were closed, Arnie had gotten free
from the seatbelt, and crawled all the way over. Just now, he was clawing at
the eye of Weasel, but the tough, rubbery morsel wouldn't come free.

At this
point, Mort realized just how bad his situation was. He was trapped in a car
with two madmen and a corpse that was soon to rot. He looked down at Dirty
Kurt, who was still gnashing his teeth back and forth in the hopes of finding
some flesh of his own to chew. If he had been alone in the backseat, he could have
laid down on his back and used his legs to kick out a window, but with Dirty
Kurt taking up half of the backseat and intent on biting whatever came near
him, he only had two options... his head or his elbow, and who ever heard of
someone breaking out of a police car by using their head?

He was
wondering how bad it was going to hurt, when Weasel's eyes opened.

"Aw,
what the fuck?" Mort groaned.

Weasel sat
up, and Arnie lost interest in his latest meal. They both turned their
attention to Mort and smashed their faces against the metal mesh that separated
the front seat from the back. Their fingers wriggled frantically poking through
the mesh as if they could reach him with just their fingers, and when they
started drooling, Mort couldn't stand it anymore.

He began hysterically
bashing at the window of the police car with his elbow. The first hit was
especially painful, and the glass didn't even crack. He hit it again and again,
but the pain in his elbow was intense, and with each bash it hurt more and more.
Maybe he would have to use his head.

Chapter 14: Speakerphones and 12-Gauge Shotgun
Shells

 

Zeke wasn't
unconscious for long, but it had almost been long enough. A police siren
pierced the veil of unconsciousness that he was shrouded in. His head throbbed
and each peak of the siren had made it seem as if his head was going to
explode... so when the sound was completely gone, and no one was there to help
him, he finally opened his eyes, only to see the dead man from the car
stumbling toward him, his pants around his ankles and blood and shreds of flesh
in place of what should usually be there.

The
ex-soldier propped himself up on his shoulders and cleared his parched throat,
"Holy shit. I thought you were dead," he slurred, still trying to
clear his throat. There was no response from the man, just more awkward
stumbling as he shuffled across Zeke's front yard.

Zeke didn't
like the way the man looked, so he pulled himself to his feet, still trying to
make sense of the new world around him. At any moment, he was sure that his
brain would shoot out the front of his forehead. The pain and the pressure were
intense, and he had to squint to focus his eyes. The man came closer, shreds of
groin flesh jiggling with each awkward step.

Zeke had
seen enough. He turned around and walked inside his house. He closed the door,
and turned the two extra deadbolts he had installed just the other week.
Inside, Zeke grabbed a cigarette from the pack on the coffee table, and then he
grabbed the phone. After lighting the cigarette, he held the phone in one hand
and dialed the police.

A robotic
voice informed him that all lines were busy and that he should stay on the
line.

"What
the fuck do you mean 'all lines are fucking busy'?" He placed the
cigarette in his mouth and with his free hand he reached into his pocket and
pulled out a Zippo lighter. He snapped it open by applying pressure to the edge
of the Zippo's cap. Why did it work? He didn't know... but it was a handy
little trick when you had one hand busy holding a gun on someone. It also
worked when you were holding a phone in one hand. He lit the cigarette and let
the smoke clear his mind.

The
stumbling, bleeding bastard on  his lawn finally reached the front of his
house, whereupon he immediately began banging on the door. The metal grate of
the screen door rattled loudly, and he could only imagine it would be a matter
of time before one of his neighbors stopped by to investigate.

He pressed
the speakerphone button on the phone's cradle and calmly walked into the
kitchen to grab a beer. He had a feeling tonight was going to be a long night.
With one calloused thumb, he popped the top of his Budweiser, and took a nice
long sip as the message from the police continued to loop.

Zeke put
out the stub of his cigarette in an ashtray, and walked over to his gun cabinet.
He considered his options for a few seconds before pulling the shotgun out. He
loaded it with shells and then walked to the front window to look at the man
that was banging on his door.

He was a
middle-aged man, white, balding on top, and sporting an outfit that gave him
the feel of a used car salesman. The eyeglasses on his face were crooked and
looked ready to fall off. His arms and knuckles looked like they were quickly
becoming damaged from all of the banging, but the most disconcerting aspect of
the man, besides his shredded gear, was the fact that there simply was no
emotion in his face. Though his wounds must have been painful as hell, there
was simply nothing there.

"Hey,
dumbfuck," he taunted.

The only
response was that the man moved to the window he was looking out of and resumed
his banging. He was glad that he had put the bars on his windows. "What's
the matter, buddy, can't get laid for free like the rest of us?"

There was
no response, and at this point, Zeke expected as much. He pulled the shotgun
up, racked home a shell and pointed the barrel at the man's face. Again there
was nothing. The man didn't even blink He lowered his shotgun, and closed the
blinds.

If this
were overseas, there would already be a bloody, headless mess sitting on his
porch. But this was America, land of the free, and he could tell something was
wrong with the guy outside. You didn't just go around executing people,
especially if they were ill.

"Hello?
Thank you for waiting," announced a voice on the speakerphone.

Zeke took a
swig from his beer and said, "Well, it's about damn time. I thought you
guys were out to lunch."

"What
is the nature of your emergency?" asked the voice on the phone.

Zeke just
laughed, and said, "Honey, you ought to get over here and see for
yourself."

"Is
anyone hurt? Do you need an ambulance?" she replied, unmoved by his humor.

Zeke
fumbled around in his pocket for another cigarette. "I'm not sure an
ambulance is going to help any of these people, but yeah, we've got some injuries
here. 212 SE Thompkins. See you soon."

"Sir,
stay on the..." Zeke hung up the phone with the press of a button. He lit
his cigarette and took a long drag from it. If those damn cops didn't get here
within the next fifteen minutes, he was going to dump all nine pellets from the
12-gauge shotgun shell of his SPAS right into that man's face. And if that
didn't work, he would do it again until it did

 

.
Chapter 15: Old Han

 

Bill had
been banging on the door for a good twenty minutes when he heard a commotion in
the bar. At first, Dustin didn't know what to make of all the noise. Then he
heard someone shout, "Freeze or I'll blow your brains out!" When he
heard that iconic cop cliché, he knew that the cavalry had finally arrived.

"I'm
in here! Help! This guy is crazy!" he had shouted.

Apparently
Bill wasn't very good at following instructions, because a few seconds later,
he heard one cop tell the other one to taze Bill. He heard a pop as the tazer
was fired, but he couldn't tell what the result was.

"What
the hell is wrong with this guy?" asked one cop.

"I
don't know. Let's hit him again," his partner replied, his voice muffled
by the door between them and Dustin.

"Jesus,
he just keeps coming," he heard one of the cops say, disbelief in his
voice. "That's a tough old fucker, right there."

Apparently,
Bill was something of a Superman. He heard a struggle ensue, and after some
wrestling around, one of the cops yelled at him, "It's alright. You can
come out now."

Dustin
looked around the room and picked up a broom, just in case. Slowly he turned
the doorknob and poked his head out into the bar. He saw one cop with a knee
pressed down on Bill's back, while the other officer was looking at a bite mark
on his arm.

"Oh,
fuck," Dustin said. Dustin turned right back around and locked himself
inside the bar office.

There was
some pounding on the door. "Sir? Would you like to explain what's going on
here?"

"Listen,
I know this is going to sound crazy, but this evening, it was last call, and
this guy comes in and takes a bite out of another guy. I help him out. We're
rolling around, tusslin' you might say, and then he takes a bite out of the old
guy's neck."

"What
old guy?" asked the cop.

"The
one you have lying on the ground. We thought he was dead, I mean, he had his
jugular ripped out by that other guy. The one without a face."

The cop
tried the doorknob, and then said, "Why don't you come out here, so we can
talk. This yelling through the door nonsense is getting old, and I'd like you
to explain the fact that this guy has had his throat ripped out and is still
kicking?"

Dustin
leaned back against the wall, "That's the thing officer. The old man was
fine until he got bit. Then he died. Now he wants to bite everyone he sees. Now
one of you is bit, and it's only a matter of time until he's walking around
biting other people. It's like something out of a movie!"

"Sir,
you can either come out of there or we're coming in to get you. We can sort
this all out at the station."

Dustin
popped up out of the chair he was sitting in, and screamed through the door,
"Maybe you're not listening to me! There is some crazy shit going on out
there, and I'm not coming out until it's done!

Dustin
could hear muffled talking, and then the cop he had been talking to said,
"Alright, you leave us no choice. We're going to break the door
down."

The door
shook in the jamb, and then another voice was heard, the slightly crazy voice
of the owner of the bar. "What you do here? No break door. You like if I
come to your house and break door?"

Old Han had
been running The Sleazy Goat for years. It was no surprise that he had suddenly
showed up out of nowhere. The crazy old bastard probably had at least ten live
feeds of the bar fed into his house. You never knew what the old bastard would
be accusing you of.

"Uh,
sorry, sir. We're just trying to get the guy out of the back room there."

"Well
why don't you ask? I have key right here. Why don't you ask? No, you start
breaking door." Old Han sounded as crazy as ever. "And who is going
to clean this mess? My carpet is ruined!"

Dustin
heard the metallic rattle of a key sliding home in the office door, and then it
opened. There stood Old Han, his eyeglasses perched on the end of his nose and
his greasy, black hair combed sideways over his balding head. With his massive
key ring on his belt, he looked more like a janitor than the owner of one of
the diviest dives in town. When he laid his eyes on Dustin, they widened, and
the corners of his mouth dipped down in a frown. Old Han didn't so much view
his employees as people as he did livestock.

"What
you doing in here? How did you get everyone killed? Get out of my office!
You're fired!"

Dustin
didn't understand exactly what the old man was saying, the accent on Old Han
was pretty bad. How a guy could live in a place for decades and not learn to
speak the language was befuddling to Dustin. "What the fuck do you mean
fired?"

"What
the fuck to you. You fired! What the fuck to you!"

Dustin
couldn't believe what he was hearing. "You're firing me as if this is my
fault? Some guy comes in here and bites this dude's throat open and it's my
fault? You're unbelievable."

"You
leave door open. You let man behind bar, rip out phone. Now I pay for it!"
Han screamed as his face grew more and more red. "Now you clean mess, and
get out."

Dustin's
mouth dropped open at the last part. "You think I'm going to clean this
shit? Fuck you. I quit." The cops stood idly by as Han and Dustin had
their shouting match, but when Dustin made to walk off, they spoke up.

"You
can't just leave the scene of a crime," said the taller of the two cops,
the black one without the bite mark on his arm.

"Yeah,
we're going to need a statement from you," coughed the other cop, a short,
red-headed gentleman with thick plastic eyeglasses, and sweat beading up on his
forehead.

"C'mon,
man. I just quit. Can't we at least do this outside? I can't stand the stench
of this cheap motherfucker anymore."

"Motherfuck
to you!" yelled Han.

The cops
looked at each other, and the black one said, "Alright, let's talk
outside."

The tall
black cop pulled Bill to his feet and hustled him out of the front door of the
bar. The ginger cop followed, and so did Dustin. As Dustin put his hand on the
door, Old Han yelled to him and asked, "Who is going to clean up this
mess?"

Dustin shot
him the finger and walked out the door.

BOOK: This Rotten World (Book 1)
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