Retracing 2: Hop, Skip….

(Retracing 1: here. Some violence.)

Light streamed through the wide front window. He was showered and dressed in minutes, eager to hunt. He still needed more time to heal, but whatever was out there wasn’t going to give him a time out. He wasn’t about to offer them any extra courtesy either.

“Don’t forget the GOD!!!” A crackhead yelled from the street as he locked the room behind him. “We can never forget!”

The police were still around the corner and a block down. Tape marked the scene and bored looking officers manned the borders of the scene. A few cops milled about inside, some talking, some taking notes, and one passing out coffee cups.

He nodded at them as he walked past. Bodies were gone but the car was there, blood still staining the streets. At least three people were taking photos of every inch of the scene.

“–ate her—”

“–methed out–”

He didn’t hear anymore details, and lingering wasn’t a good idea. Already he could see one cop’s eyes slowing on him, as the officer scanned the passers-by and the small crowd.

The doughnut shop was packed, people waiting in the propped open door, as Kint walked up.

‘Good sign.’ He was eager for some breakfast, and some coffee. He was also eager to hear the people in front of him talk.

He waited for about half-an-hour and all he got was two glazed, and a cup of coffee. No one seemed to even be aware of the cops, or the double murder just five blocks away.

‘Slow news,’ he guessed. ‘Or not news yet.’

The doughnuts were worth the wait at least. The coffee wasn’t half-bad either.

He spent a few hours wandering around the bus stop looking for trouble, more or less. Nothing jumped out at him, but there was a distinctive lack of non-human people this morning. Even the god was missing. ‘Scared? Or just don’t want to get caught up? Warned?’

Normally Kint would ask directions but what he was looking for wouldn’t really be on any map, and no one who knew would be willing to tell him. Not without some form of bribe but he wasn’t sure it was worth the effort, and attention yet. It had gone bad on him before too.

He closed his eyes, for a long few minutes, and opened his mind for instead. He wasn’t good with magic. Years of life with his teachers had taught him a few basics, but they certainly didn’t help him now.

‘No way, I can’t even get a read on this place.’  He wandered past the station, into the red bricked downtown area. A few restaurants stood out but he didn’t want to go inside now.

He needed to stay in the open. If he was going to spot anything it would be from an open area. He settled for a couple of hot dogs from a street cart.

“Soda?” the tired looking middle eastern man asked, as Kint held up two fingers.

“Sure, chips too. Barbecue.”

The hot dogs weren’t the best he’d ever had but they were filling at least. Plenty of ketchup and relish made them a lot better. Kint avoided the sour smelling onions.

He was sorry he ate moment’s later. His stomach churned as he realized hell had come back. He could feel it in his bones as screams tore through the town square.

He didn’t bother with his wanderer routine, as he stood his back was straight, his eyes shined and his mouth was twisted into a sharp smile. Ice and madness fought for dominance on his face. He’d been watching this street. He was here, or she, whatever it was, and it had killed twice within range of Kint.

Maybe it was a coincidence but if so it was a vast one. As was the thoroughly scared non-human population. Creatures of the night don’t just pack it in because something is killing people.

He could see why they were scared as he pushed his way through the crowd. Blood sprayed across the Cafe’s glass front. It slipped down the cracks, and he could see what had damaged it. The hair and flesh mixed with blood at the center of the crack, poking through in the center.

‘Camera’s inside,’ he hoped, but knew there was no way to get to them without the whole crowd seeing him walk into the massacre.

“Called 911,” one person said.

“We should back off,” another added. “I think I heard shots.”

“It was some type of terrorist thing.”

“We need to move back, before a bomb-”

Blood was tossed onto the glass door. A large splotch of it, and the whole crowd grew silent. Kint spotted six or eight cell phones already aimed at the cafe. More were appearing by the moment.

“Help! HELLLLLLPPPPPPP!” a voice screeched from inside, and Kint’s blood ran cold.

No one moved from the crowd. Sobs echoed from within the building.

Kint stuck his cane into his belt as he pushed past the people, his face on fire. He pulled his hat low, covering his face as best he could as he broke free of the crowd.

“Hey budd-”

“Don’t-”

“Dumb-”

“-Hero-”

“I’m comi-”

It only took a second for Kint to enter the door, and all the voices faded away. The cafe was too bright, yellow seats and tablecloths, far too much lighting. He assumed the stench of death wasn’t normal, so he didn’t judge them on that.

‘Far too much lighting,’ echoed in his head as he surveyed the scene.

Blood was in great pools on the floor, around pieces of bodies. He had trouble counting, there were so many pieces. At least six people were dead. He gently stepped over an arm by the door, and then a sliced apart waiter.

‘No cameras,’ Kint noted with disappointment, the one thing that looked like one to him was smashed. One employee was across the counter, one of her small tanned arms ripped off the shoulder, her face was smashed into the counter.

‘Large blade on some,’ he noted the slash marks on the corpse he’d just stepped over. ‘Others, bare hands?’

A man in a red shirt with a stylized face on it opened the door that had just swung shut. He took two quick steps forward, quickly like he was forcing himself.

“Dude.” His voice shook, a tremor floating out. He gagged and puked on the door, losing his balance as he did. He stumbled over the arm and landed on the split apart man by the door. With a yelp he threw himself backwards into a pool of blood.

“At least you’re wearing red,” Kint told him, not happy the kid was there, but not wanting to be alone right now either.

There was a large swinging door behind the counter, a kitchen visible through the port hole window. An open hallway was in front of them was covered in bathroom signs. A large man with a black shirt with white writing was torn open near the hall. Entrails spread across the floor, his arms smashed into the wall behind him.

‘Landed on him.’ Kint looked at the ceiling. Some tiles were pushed up or displaced. Plaster was showing on one wall near the top.

He checked down the hall first, three doors, one with a ‘Janitor’ sign. There wasn’t even room to draw his cane-sword, let alone swing the long blade effectively.

The kitchen was wide and open. He glanced back at the man, still sitting in blood looking like he might cry.

“Scream if anything happens,” Kint told him, heading down the hall first, walking sideways back to the wall. The closet was locked, and both bathrooms were empty, of living people anyway. One man had been caught in the stall of the small mens room, his throat slashed so deep nothing but an inch or so remained to hold his head on.

When he turned around the blood soaked man who followed him in was standing at the end of the hall, a small pocket knife in hand.

“Better than nothing,” Kint told him, flicking his eyes to the knife.

“Yeah,” the man replied looking determined. Kint knew the feeling.

They walked, side by side to the kitchen door, Kint resisting the urge to empty the register’s or steal a snack from the display case. Money and food where the last things on his mind right now, but habits called to him.

“Wait here.” He held up his hand.

“I’ll gut the bastards,” the guy said his eyes wild with fear. Another feeling Kint knew well. By this time the cafe doors were opening again, people were leaning inside, so he stepped into the kitchen quickly.

The source of the sobbing was in the kitchen, one arm missing, blood pouring from his stump. His neck was broken already, but his body still twitched, the stench of death a bare whisper on the air in the wide kitchen.

The back door was open, a delivery entrance opening into an alley. A single bloody hand-print marked the door.

The industrial freezer was closed, ice forming around the side where there was small crack in the seal. The ovens were industrial ones. Glass front’s and already the coils were red hot, lighting the open interiors.

“You okay?” The bloody man asked from the door.

“He’s dead,” Kint told him. “The rooms empty.”

“What about the freezer?”

Kint strode over and threw the door open wide, acting confident, but stepping back. A single woman was huddled in the center, her eyes locked in fear. She was unmarked, outside at least. Not a drop of blood on her. ‘Clean, lucky to get in here.’

Kint could hear police calling inside from the front of the building. He held one finger to his lips, and backed away, giving the shaking girl a wink.

“You came in alone,” he told the man. “Get her out of there.” A nod at the freezer. The man made a few disparaging remarks about cops and put his knife away, giving Kint an odd two fingered wave.

The alley was bright and sunny as Kint stepped out the back door. Whatever was out here didn’t need the cover of night, and even more terrifying it didn’t want it.

He drew his cane into his hand once more as he exited the alley, just as cops came in from the other side.

The street on this side wasn’t red bricked or nearly as trendy. No trail of blood or screams so Kint went around the block heading to the bus station. He only had about six hundred dollars but he could sacrifice it to find a homeless camp, and possibly a few non-humans to get some information from.

The yellow and white hot dog stand was right where he left it. The owner was leaning forward, his body supported by the beveled metal cart. Blood stained his white shirt, from the neck down.

The head was gone completely, but as Kint drew closer he saw strands of black hair stick from under the pot lid.

No question about it. He wasn’t just hunting, he was the prey as well.

(Next part out soon. Hope you’re enjoying it.)

 

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One thought on “Retracing 2: Hop, Skip….

  1. Pingback: Retracing 3: …And a Jump. – john cordial

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