Chapter 4

Reggie awakes from the Need as police arrive at the scene of his carnage.

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The Need barely felt the bullet graze across his ribs as the window exploded towards him. It turned aside and leapt for the rear of the car, hunkering down by the chrome bumper, as the shattered glass fell to the pavement, scattering like small diamonds dancing across the darkened parking lot.

It could smell the palpable fear emanating from the fat man in the car, and knew that it was simply a matter of time before he played out his sorry hand. Win or lose, it would all be over soon.

* * *

SS heaved himself from the back seat of the car and grabbed the top of the roof for support. His bulk, intimidating when he was with his men and on his own terms, was now a serious drawback. There was nothing left between him and his adversary except empty space.

He looked across the roof of the car, his weapon sweeping left and right. The lot was empty. He spun around and looked towards the building, where shadows hid the front entrance.

“That little fucker is here somewhere,” he said aloud. “But where?”

A noise came from the rear of the car and he snapped his broad head around and then turned towards the possible threat. He took two faltering steps and carefully leaned over the trunk.

Sweat streamed down his face and dripped into his eyes and off the end of his nose. He used his gun hand and wiped the sweat from his eyes.

* * *

The Need crawled underneath the car, ignoring the grease, oil and grime on the undercarriage, and lay in the darkness beside the rear tires. It kicked the fuel tank to draw SS’s attention and when he leaned over to look, slipped silently from his hiding place and stood close behind the fat man with the razor sharp knife at his side.

“Lookin for me, ya fat fuck?” the Need said and pricked the fat man’s neck with the tip of the knife. A small trickle of blood snaked its way through the folds of flab and dripped onto his shirt. “You’re mine, anytime I want ya.”

SS turned around quicker than his size allowed and pushed the barrel of the pistol against Reggie’s chest and pulled the trigger.

The expected gunshot never occurred.

Both men’s eyes were locked on each other and while one man knew the final outcome, the other didn’t.

SS’s eyes darted to the pistol and saw the junkie’s thumb pinched between the hammer and the firing pin. He tried to draw the hammer back and try again, but the Need knocked the gun from his hand.

The dark sunglasses had been knocked off of his face in the scuffle and he could see small, red veins streak through the whites of his eyes. The fat man’s lips quivered and a line of fetid drool leaked from the side of his mouth and dripped down his chins until it became lost in the folds of fat.

SS knew that this was his ticket out. He would be killed at this little junkie’s whim at any moment. His crew had been killed and help was not forthcoming. He was alone. He was now exactly what he always had been: a fat man in fancy clothes trying to be something he could never be. His life had been reduced to this sad state of affairs and he had no one to blame but himself.

* * *

The Need could smell the fear dripping like sweat from SS’s pores and it fed on the raw savage power it gave him. Scenes flashed across its brain, of Bishop falling on the filthy landing after being shot down like a rabid dog and the vicious attitude of SS and his crew as they murdered his only friend.

Each image slammed against the one before it and intensified the rage that was building inside of the Need. Its eyes burned with the fire of revenge and its breath came in deep, ragged gasps.

SS was nothing more than a quivering mass of blubber that opened and closed his mouth, begging for succor like a fish on a hook. Gone was the gangster that had ruled with an iron fist and directed his crew to do his despicable bidding. He was nothing.

The Need slammed the palm of his hand against SS’s forehead and pushed his head back as far as it would go. SS’s knees buckled and his bladder emptied, filling the air around them with its cloying, rancid smell.

He dropped to the street and tried vainly to hold Reggie’s arms away from him but the Need would have none of that.

“You earned this moment, ya sack of shit. Enjoy it,” the Need’s voice rasped and it plunged the sharp knife into his fat throat, twisting the blade sideways in both directions.

Blood exploded from the ruined flesh and rained down on the street. SS tried to stop the flow, but the Need slapped his hands away and laughed mirthlessly as the fat man struggled to breathe.

He ripped the blade from the bleeding throat and, using both hands on the handle, stabbed SS in his fat gut and then with a mighty effort pulled the blade upwards as far as he could, eviscerating him on the spot.

SS blew the last breath of his life out of the ruined throat in a red, frothy mist and felt his insides slide out of his body and then heard them smack wetly on the asphalt.

The Need watched impassively as SS bled out and his body dropped like a sack of rubber onto the street. The last of his life’s blood oozed from the open wounds and dripped slowly into the growing puddle of dark liquid and gore beneath him.

The Need’s rage began to subside as it looked at the carnage in front of him and slowly returned from where it had come. It had served its usefulness for the moment and allowed itself to be held temporarily in check.

* * *

Reggie became vaguely aware of what had happened and blinked his eyes several times in disbelief. He looked down at his blood and gore spattered clothing and then at his blood covered hands. He turned around in the lot and saw the other men lying in pools of blood, not moving. He shook his head trying to remember it all.

He remembered the drugs stuffed down the front of his pants and patted the bulge reverently. It was still there and safe, and it was all his. All he had to do now was to make his way across town and return to the relative safety of his room without raising any undue suspicion along the way.

He knew that he couldn’t go the direct route because of his appearance. If someone saw him now and reported it, it would be all over and everything he had worked so hard for would go down the tubes.

He left the parking lot of the morgue and, staying in the shadows next to the buildings, turned down the nearest side street just as the shrill sound of police sirens pierced the night and grew louder as they neared his location. Sweat broke out on his forehead as he realized how close he had been to being caught at the scene of his crimes.

He felt a brief tingling deep in his brain and knew that the Need was still there and that it craved what he carried with him. He looked around for a likely place to shoot up but realized that he couldn’t do it here in the open.

He was too far away from where he felt safe and was in unfamiliar territory. He couldn’t afford to be caught on the nod with all the dope he had with him. He would be an easy target for some other lowlife street scum if he succumbed to the craving here. He pushed the thought to the back of his mind and forced himself to continue on his way home.

* * *

Vic Anders, a twenty-three-year veteran field sergeant of the municipal police force, two years away from retirement, had never seen anything like what lay in front of him tonight. He’d worked on many a homicide in his time, but none so brutal as the carnage he faced here.

He walked around the perimeter of the crime scene and watched as his officers strung the bright yellow tape marking off the area. He’d called dispatch and had them run the vehicle's license plates and then had them contact the coroner and the homicide detectives and ask that they be sent to his location as soon as possible.

He posted two younger officers to work media control because experience had taught him that it would be only a few more minutes before the network cockroaches began to crawl from their hiding places and jockey for the best positions to broadcast the latest blood and gore story and have it in the can and ready for the early morning news.

The radio crackled on his shoulder and the voice at the other end gave him the owner of the car sitting in the lot. His eyebrows rose when he heard the name and looked closer at the body lying on the ground by the rear of the car.

Son of a bitch, he thought. Wonder who had the balls to pull this one off?

Before he could answer his own question, a set of headlights swept the lot and a gray, nondescript sedan pulled up to the yellow tape and stopped. The man inside lit a cigarette, tossed the match out of the window and stepped out.

He was tall, well over six feet, and powerfully built. His blond hair was cut short in the style that was well known among the military and police departments as ‘high and tight’.

He showed his shield to one of the officers and then walked towards the sergeant, taking a last drag of the just lit smoke and then dropped it at his feet.

“Gotta stop that shit one of these days,” he said disgustedly and held out his hand. “Good to see you, Vic,” the man said. “Been a while, hasn’t it?”

“Murphy, you old son of a bitch.” Vic smiled warmly, gripping the man’s hand. “I thought you’d called it quits a year or so ago.”

“I did,” Murphy replied. “But the chief asked me to return temporarily to lend a hand on this gang banger problem.”

“Problem? That’s an understatement if I ever heard one,” Vic stated flatly. “I’ve never seen it escalate this fast and, God knows, never this viciously. These boys are playing the game for keeps and as it appears, they don’t give a shit about a goddamn thing.”

Murphy nodded in agreement and turned towards the bodies on the lot.

“Coroner on the way?” he asked, removing a small notebook from his side pocket. He thumbed through to a blank page.

“Yeah. Doc should be here any minute,” Vic replied. “Hope he beats the news maggots, though. You know how he is about being featured on the frigging news.”

Murphy smiled and wrote the date and time at the top of the page and then glanced at each body and noted its position relative to the car.

“Looks like some heavy shit went down here tonight, Vic. Any idea who’s who in this puzzle?”

“The fat guy at the rear of the car was Skinny Smith, the brains behind this crew of cretins.”

“Skinny Smith?”

“His real name. I shit you not,” Vic answered with a chuckle. “His mama had a real sense of humor or very poor taste, one or the other. Went by the street name of SS and was one of the deadliest dealers in the city.

“The others are the rest of his crew and we haven’t been able to make them yet. None of them carried IDs.”

“Why here, though, at the morgue?” Murphy tossed out. “Kinda strange, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, it is.”

“Sergeant,” one of the cops standing by the entrance to the morgue called to him, “over here!”

As Vic walked to see what the officer wanted, he noticed small, bloody footprints leading away from the entrance and over to a grassy area to the side of the building. He hollered to Murphy and pointed them out and then continued to the door.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Look here, Sarge,” the cop said, shining his flashlight on the concrete in front of the door.

In the bright circle of light from the triple cell flashlight, he saw what the officer had seen. The same type of bloody print he’d seen in the lot was cut in half by the locked doors of the morgue.

“What the hell?” he mumbled. “Murphy, you better see this.”

Murphy acknowledged the sergeant and finished writing in his notebook. He took a small digital camera from his pocket and shot a couple of photos of the footprint and then replaced the camera. Careful of any evidence on the ground, he joined the two cops at the door.

Vic pointed to the footprint under the doorframe and looked at Murphy, who just shrugged and bent down for a closer look.

“This is getting stranger all the time,” he said at last. “Where the hell is Doc?”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the sound of screeching brakes and a car horn blaring several times alerted them of Doc's arrival. Vic told the cop to stay by the door and he and Murphy walked over to greet the coroner, who was already standing by the nearest body.

“Now don’t this just take the cake?” Doc said. “A fucking slaughterhouse in front of my office, and to top it off, the Bobsey twins together again. I swear, life just don’t get no better than this.”

“Good to see you too, Doc,” Murphy said as a satellite TV truck pulled in front of the yellow tape and disgorged a young, good looking talking head with his cameraman in tow.

“I was wrong, it seems,” Doc sighed as he looked over his shoulder at the commotion. He shook his head. “Now my life is complete.”

* * *




Copyright © 2008 Georgepat

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