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Writer, soldier, thinker, and science fiction lover. I just can't seem to find a way to divide my adventurous self of constant outdoor activity and exercise from my nerdy self playing games and going to conventions. So why not just be both?

 I am a young professional living out of Tallahassee, Florida for the past five years. I have been on a deployment with the United States Army and continue to work outside of my other occupations to better myself mentally and physically. My passion for writing is driven by my passion for everything I find entertaining in life, and of course by my friends and family.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

One Level Below Hell (Finale)



Catherine laid in her bed, in the dark, naked. The single window in the room was blocked by both a curtain and a heavy blanket she had pinned up to keep the light out. She slept her early days away. It was after all, much easier to find what she wanted at night. 

She was awake, but trembling in bliss of the memory of how she had cleansed the disgusting reporter. Her nipples harden knowing that it would be impossible for the autopsy to show some of her more intimate work she had done. Her favorite by far though, was the finale. 

Years earlier she had been wondering yard sales; an idle hobby to waste time. At a smaller yard sell she discovered a large cast iron bull. The bull was hollow, and the back had a large hatch that opened into the center compartment. It was magnificent. The creator had unknowing created a medieval torture device that she wished to resurrect for her modern societal cleansing. Having the bull at home, she removed the shelves inside, and drilled out the nostrils to be caverns that led into the hollow compartment. The only piece she was missing was the lucky one to deserve such a cleansing. The reporter fulfilled that role. 

Having the reporter still well bound after toying with him allowed her to easily move him to the bull with no resistance. Not that his wounds would have permitted much resistance anyhow. Having the bull wheeled out on a large trolley she purchased specifically for the bull made movement into her yard easy. 

Despite the looks of her neighborhood, the yard was actually very large, but narrow. Walking along the little foot trail over a footbridge that allowed passage over a creek one could walk off into the tree line where the property lines ambiguously ended; a common source of frustration with some of the residences and location of some late night teen drinking and underage sex.  

Catherine remembered the night well. The smell of man was thick in the humid air. The rigid muffled breathing of the reporter amplified into a fine tune through the nostrils of the bull. The light was prefect for the full moon night. The fire she had lit was flickering and gaining full force from the fuel.
She released a heavy relaxing breath through her nostrils. Serenity as she waited. Soon the cast iron would begin to heat from the fire, and the flesh of the reporter would begin to expel his errors and feel repentance for not only his aesthetically unpleasing image but also for his slander. 

There came a tap. Then a thud. Catherine closed her eyes. She raised her chin up towards the night sky. The muffled voice rose making it so the glowing bull snorted in the night air. 
 
The bull snorted. The first of many.

Although, she doubted her bull was as elegant as those once crafted by ancient Greece, the concept was the same. Catherine dreamed of how they must have set the holes in the metal throat to mimic the sounds of a bull from a human’s scream. 

The bull rocked, and snorted once more. 

She had to keep him gagged inside, though in the woods, too loud of screams may draw attention.
The bull rocked steadily now and continued to grunt and snort from the converted sounds. The aroma of flesh was tainted slightly by the crisp smell of hair. 

A note, next time, shave or wax the them. No, wax, definitely wax. 

Catherine opened her eyes; she was unfortunately still in her bed, and not actually reliving the moment. Though her hands had begun to wonder towards her inner thighs, a sound came from the front door. 

She sat up. She never expected visitors, and she couldn’t recall ordering anything from online recently. Curious, she stood and pulled her robe off the nearby closet and headed out into the living room. 

Catherine’s eyes stung from the dim light in the living room. By God what was it going to be like when she answered the door? Her bare feet glided across the wood floor to the front door. She tossed the deadbolt to the side and rotated the latch lock. 

The door swung open. The light was as bright as she feared. A golden light fell from above. The background remained a bright white and only the small shade from the overhang outside allowed the image to form. The soft dark dome of a distantly familiar face came into view. Dark jaded eyes. She knew the face from headlines and articles. It was him. 

And he brought something she so badly wanted.

James tipped his head towards her and spoke some greeting. But her eyes had lingered down to his hands, one, though deformed, had created the most marvelous texture. She had to have it.
“Good morning Ma’am. My name is James…”

“I know who you are!” Catherine glowed cutting his words off. “Are you here on the case that has been in the headlines?”

“W-well, yes Ma’am I am.” James wrung his hands. “Would you mind if I asked you a few questions?”

“Not at all, please, come in.”  Catherine moved from the door way guiding James in with her extended arm towards her living room, and the bull.

James entered the darkness of the house. The living room was well kept, and well maintained, but he noticed little efforts around the house to keep the light to a minimum. There was a couch with a floral design. An elegant coffee table, he suspected it to have been crafted early in the previous century. A nightstand with a large heavy lamp which only served to collect dust now. A set of double doors, glass and wood gave view to the outside, but drapes hindered a view at this moment.  

“If you don’t mind officer, I need to put some coffee on and change. I will be right back.”

“Oh of course.”

Catherine was already heading for the next room. She moved with hast, on the balls of her feet with excitement. 

James looked about the room while still standing; his hands clasped behind his back, his good hand wrapped around the scars of his other. His attention was drawn to the one piece that stood out, a large bull made of what he guessed was some type of cast iron. He tried to pull his eyes to the many books on shelves, or the pictures, or even the various knickknacks about the room, but the oddity of such a piece dominated his attention, and it demanded that attention. 

Catherine had rushed to her room, she flung open her drawers. She scrambled to put on the first pair of shorts she pulled out, forgetting to button the top after zipping them up. She ended up wearing a thin worn tank top as she fumbled with pulling out a glass hypodermic set. Such catches rarely come to you, and to your front door no less!

 She hurried into her kitchen, she had to slow herself. The next room over held her trophy!

James put his scarred hand out onto the bull. Cold. He had considered too long now to open the bull or not. It wasn’t right to, detective or not. But curiosity, but he wished to avoid an awkward encounter with the woman if she returned as he opened the bull. He was sure he could talk his way out of it. He lifted the lid.

Catherine removed two small vials from her fridge. In each, a potent anesthetic, a synthetic opiod etorphine to induce unconsciousness. Effective and fast, but she’d have to keep him in the house for at least a minute after injection which meant a physical alteration. A fight worth having. Plunging the first needle in she filled the first hypodermic needle with the drug.

James felt underwhelmed to discover the bull was basically empty and hallow. He noticed some charred and black substance protruding from the bottom of the bull. It reminded him of times when he had left meat to sit too long on his grill. The meat would stick and blacken to the grill and require a hard scrubbing if he allowed it to cool. He touched it lightly. It felt, so familiar. 

James looked over his shoulder towards the kitchen. Something had drawn his attention there. A sound? Or just tension. 

He remembered what was said in the autopsy room, cooked. He headed towards the kitchen.
He moved towards the kitchen, swift with knowledge, stealthy with caution. His heart fluttered. That fear you can’t shift, the type that sticks around like something in your teeth. His mind raced. Have you no idea that you’re in deep? He had dreamt about this nearly every night this week. How many secrets can you keep? 

He neared the corner, she could see Catherine’s back. He slowed, his mind going, to the one thought that he could not know why. A poem he once read. ‘I met a traveler from an antique land, who said, two vast and truckles legs of stone stand in the desert…’

Catherine turned. Her eyes down at a rag she held in his grasp. She looked up and, James. A shatter. One of the needles had fallen and broken. She still held one in her hand under the rag.

“What’s that?” James voice seemed, more a whisper.

“I-I’m diabetic. It’s my insulin shots.”

“Oh.” James came closer.

“Please detective, stay seated I’ll be right in.”

“Oh no, I got a call and must be going. I’ll be back later today.” Catherine did not sense him being disarmed. He neared her. He knew. Her eyes dashed to the counter, a knife, back to him. He was closer, like a creeping cat.  He stopped at her gaze, a gaze of realization but also of disbelief. There was silence. He began to shake his head in disappointment.

“Nothing besides remains. Round the decay of the colossal wreck, boundless and bare.”

Her eyes bounced back and forth on his face. 

A swing. James missed stopped it, a needle sank deep into his left should. He drew his pistol on the right. Her left met his right wrist. His left pushed her right away. Her right flew back, the needle left in his shoulder. Her hand went back snatching a knife which met up at his stomach. A grunt. He squeezed the trigger. She screamed. The round ripping through her inner thigh. She jabbed up into him. A twist of her knife, he clenched his teeth in mortal pain. He squeezed the trigger again. She screamed and slumped to her knees still grasping the knife and he felt with her to his knees. Her hip shattered. She pulled the knife up and he fired once more. Her stomach blowing soft tissue out of her back. 

Catherine’s mouth hung open. Shock, and misery. She brought her head in close, and laid her head on his shoulder. Slumping. Her reign of terror ending with little less than a whimper. James closed his eyes and let his shoulders slump. His chin lowering and resting on her head, and he was gone. Nothing besides remained.        

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