Suggested Audio Candy:
 Simple Minds “Theme For Great Cities”
 The Police “Spirits in The Material World”
“Fuck it. Shall we just have a pillow fight so we can say we did?” Sabrina was now almost nonchalant now about her impending doom after long since fearing the worst “I mean seriously. What’s the point anyhow? He’s gonna kill us no matter what so we may as well enjoy ourselves”. Lauren didn’t take to her friend’s sardonic tone kindly, reminding her that they weren’t ready for the scrap heap just yet “Listen. There’s two of us and only one of him” she rationalized. “That may be hun, but you struggle to fight off influenza and I just got my period”. Lauren was clinging onto hope for dear life “Use that rage. Channel your inner bitch and let’s use it to beat this guy” she suggested. Sabrina’s response was no less sarcastic “Sure. Tell you what, I’ll remove my sanitary towel and we can use the wings to fly to safety”. With that, the killer began to apply pressure at the other side of the door. “Well we have to do something. We’re running out of time” Lauren bleated.
Suddenly the sound of approaching sirens heralded renewed cheer. Five police units and a further three unmarked vehicles sped onto the scene, parking outside, where Harriet ran to give them her version of events. “You hear that? We’re saved. It’s over” Lauren chirped, pressed against the window as she watched the sheriff laying his instructions down to his deputy. Alas, time was almost out, and the door burst open, a feeble piece of Swedish furniture now all that stood between the girls and a sorority-themed stuffing. The unit fell forward and all the draws emptied around Sabrina’s feet. “Help me with this will you?” she cried, suddenly sensing that escape may be an option after all. Still, there was the matter of their mean-spirited foe standing between them and freedom. Through his leather mask, he was smiling wide, thrilled to have punched the clock and considering there still time to blow out these last two candles. He’d get thrown in a psych ward for the rest of his life, no judge or jury could ever argue sane mind in his case, so a cushy existence in a padded cell seemed like a punishment fitting of his crimes.
Lauren had now joined her friend and pressed against the chest of drawers with her entire body weight, but that wasn’t enough to change the momentum. The whole dresser fell to pieces like the piece of flat-packed trash that it was and the way forth was clear once more. To her credit, Sabrina made a fist of things, lunging toward him like a crazed banshee in an attempt at ending her cabin fever, where Lauren seemed content to cower in the corner until which time as his ten-inch blade was embedded in her so-called bestie. It was dog eat dog in her books and she wasn’t about to take chances. Besides, that blade didn’t look the slightest bit sanitary. Sabrina grabbed the blade handle with both hands but her valiant attempt was no match for his vastly superior strength.He knocked her headlong across the room, where she fell in a crumpled heap at Lauren’s feet. Never one to be dictated to, the killer moved toward Lauren with gnarled intent, deciding that her cowardice should be rewarded with a move up the pecking list.
From Sabrina’s fallen position, she scoped out a baseball bat beneath her bedstead. It was her father’s but she kept it there for security whenever they left her alone. Lauren was now pinned up against the window, while he maneuvered his blade to her abdomen and prepared to sink its serrated teeth in. Sabrina grasped the wooden instrument with both hands and swung with any remaining peppiness she could gather, hitting his shin full-on and knocking him back momentarily. This was the first time she had seen him weakened and it filled her with new-found tenacity to attempt a rapid exit. He had other ideas however and punted her hard with his boot, splintering a handful of her ribs in the process. Still determined not to be side-tracked he bounded over to Lauren once again, this time with great decisiveness and immersed his weapon three inches deep into her breadbasket. Downstairs, reinforcements had kicked in the front door and were converging around the stairwell, surrounded by Isabelle’s roughly dissevered cadaver.
This didn’t distract him from his ominous endeavor and he pushed the knife further into the girl’s belly, severing the tail of her spinal column as it ripped through the rind and muscle encasing her lower spine. The glass behind her was only single glazed and began to shatter on impact, until which point as it fell through and her body slumped through the jagged opening. Police below were treated to an unforeseen shower of broken glass and he dislodged a lengthy shard from the frame to end Lauren’s incessant whimpering. Sabrina was desperately shuffling to the open door, still winded and one lung collapsed from the impact. Even though several law enforcement officers were now almost at the top of the stairs, he wasn’t about to be harried into a move which wasn’t in strict keeping with his customary method of dispatch. He plunged his makeshift glass shank into Lauren’s left eye, optical fluids spewing forth as it punctured instantaneously. Her body was convulsing wildly, still just about alive albeit tentatively, but already mortally wounded and entering a state of catatonic shock by this point.
“Drop your fucking weapon” Deputy Winstead had never actually used a firearm other than on the training course and procrastinated just long enough for the assailant to pluck Lauren’s eyeball from its cavity, followed by a procession of flayed nerve endings. “I said drop the weapon now. I won’t repeat myself again”. Common sense was surely not his strongest suit as he should have had a hunch by now that this perp was not about to take heed of his demands. He fired a shot, not a particularly decisive one as it flew straight past the killer’s shoulder and into the hapless girl’s throat. He would be ribbed for that one back at the station. Seemingly he’d learned everything he knew about policing from watching Dewey in Scream, not the safest hands when the chips were down. Despite his fumbling, the second shot he fired made definitive contact, drilling through the man’s other shoulder and causing him to release Lauren from his grasp. Considering that over half of her entire mass was already dangling from the window, she slid out and fell to the patio below in a bloody jumble, but she was already stone cold dead before she landed.
That had got the killer’s attention. He turned around to face the bumbling deputy, who was feeling a wide range of emotions right now. He was positively thrilled that he had found the target, all those years playing Duck Hunt had finally paid off, but his sphincter was slackening at the idea of having pissed his opposite number off royally. Another thought currently maturing in his head was the realization that he had only loaded two bullets in his chamber prior to entry. This left him in a rather precarious position and his foe was picking up on his insecurity. Although injured, the masked man appeared unfazed, and began advancing on the deputy’s position, shaking his head from side-to-side as if to say “now you’ve done it”. Sabrina had managed to drag her aching bones a few feet away now but the distance was about to be swiftly cut down. She was the real prize here, the last number for a full house, but first he had to remove any annoying distractions. Unfortunately for Mike Winstead, this meant him.
Mike had joined the force for one reason, years of bullying had left him an emotional wreck by twenty five so, when a friend suggested he recruit, he figured it was his big shot at reinvention and signed the dotted line the next day. He was the only man in the ranks who still lived with his mother and had no intention of giving up the free room and board anytime soon. Besides, as much as the other guys ribbed him and provided him with the nickname Norman, they all adored her apple crumble. It was admittedly rather delightful. He had never been kissed, or at least, not below the waist and was instead saving himself for the right girl, presumably after his mother finally bit the turf. She didn’t approve of him courting, said it was a sinful and despicable act and that women would bleed him dry given the chance. He was seconds away from being bled right now, all eyes were now firmly fixed in his direction and the killer strode forward to claim his bonus prize.
Sheriff Mickelwhite had now joined the fray and the plummeting corpse had convinced him that maybe his deputy didn’t have it as under control as he would have liked. “Norman you need back-up? he hollered. “Please” was the swift response. Winstead extended his hand to cover his face and it worked a treat as the hunting knife cut through his palm as though it were butter, stopping just short of the bridge of his nose. Clearly this smarted some, his wail put Jezebel’s cat call to shame. Blood began to well around the wound and, as the blade was harshly removed and retracted for a second swipe, the officer fainted on the spot. Enraged that his audience was no longer captive, the madman did indeed strike again but more as a wake-up call than anything else. This time he lifted the man’s shirt and run the teeth of the blade from nipple to groin diagonally, with just enough intent to separate the flesh but not enough to finish the job. He had far graver plans for his grand finale.
Mickelwhite bounded up to intervene, pushing past three of his associates, none of which were earning their stripes right now. Meanwhile, the killer was hard at work on a symmetrical design across the deputy’s chest plate, fashioning a crimson X which marked the spot for the proposed final plunge. It’s alarming how effective an inch-deep knife wound is as smelling salts, Mike was wide awake and frozen in horror as the knockout strike was pre-loaded with precision. Just as it began its ultimate descent another shot rang out and the whole house fell silent momentarily. Winstead was somewhat shell-shocked by the close quarters discharge but, while his ears rang, his eyes focused in on the impact point. A hole just wide enough to slide your little digit into had opened dead center of his assailant’s forehead, just above brow level. A singular trickle of claret oozed through the aperture and this had evidently stopped the villain in his tracks at the 11th hour. Sheriff Clive Mickelwhite, it turned out, was something of a dab hand at Duck Hunt too and had high scores on every Time Crisis machine in state.
It took a further five minutes for the paramedics to arrive and, when they combed the premises for survivors, two injured parties were located and gurneys wheeled out to retrieve them. “You done grand kid” Mickelwhite encouraged his deputy, despite being fully aware that he’d failed miserably. He was three years from retirement and far too jaded to demand attention so was happy for his young protegee to receive any subsequent plaudits. “Thanks Clive” Mike replied, proud as punch just for playing his part. His superior reminded him never ever to call me Clive again and Mike smiled as he knew sentimentality was not in his repertoire. He’d done just fine. Sabrina was just grateful to still be alive. Her four very best friends had all tasted the business end of this faceless killer’s blade and her party had now finally drawn to a close. It would take years of therapy before she could begin to make sense of why these atrocities happened.
“What’s your name sweetness?” he asked, as the paramedics zipped Mandy into her one-way sleeping bag behind him. “I’m Sabrina. You?” Despite the obvious pain he was feeling, he was more interested right now in the twinge two inches left of his holster in his bonbons. “Name’s Mike. It’s nice to meet you although not under these circumstances of course. Was it your party he crashed?” he questioned. “Yes. My sixteenth” she responded, secretly enjoying the attention as she had a secret hankering for a man of the constabulary. It was the uniform that did it. “Oh” Mike tried desperately not to reveal his excitement at discovering she had reached a certain beacon in her adolescence. “Sixteen huh? Wow, that’s great. That’s real great.” The paramedics were ready now and placed the cute couple in the vehicle’s hold. Hold your horses Mike, her birthday ain’t for a couple of day’s yet son.
The ambulance pulled away, leaving another team behind with the cops to bag and tag any remaining stiffs. Suddenly, Sheriff Mickelwhite received a call from upstairs. “You’re gonna want to come up here boss”. He sure had worked off his doughnut today, darting to the source like a man half his age, he was greeted by an ominous change in numbers. “He’s gone. One minute he was right here, and the next, this.” He pointed down to the bloody outline, no longer inhabited. Instantly the realization dawned that he would likely spend the rest of his tenure buried in paperwork but then a far more concerning notion entered his head. The killer was still at large. The oldest trick in the book and he’d just felt its sucker punch. If all else failed, there was a potential career in clay pigeon shooting ahead of him. Downstairs, a gloved hand reached into the bowl of jelly beans left unfinished, grabbed a handful, and strolled nonchalantly out the patio door, side-stepping the gnome as he did. It was still smiling, he wasn’t.
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014