Chapter 14

Dead.

The word rang hollow in Baybars, raged fire in Harvey, and opened barely closed wounds in Aisha.  They were all lost in their own thoughts for a minute, Baybars returning to his torturous solitude of the last few hours against the window.

“So many dead.  My family, mother, father, brothers, grandmother, and now him.”

“I am alone, all alone.”

“Again!  First Kaatib and now Jason.  Who am I protecting?!  Myself?  Where’s your duty?”

Harvey broke the silence with orders, “Get your bags, we’re leaving.”

“But what about Jason’s body?”

“We can’t claim it.  How suspicious would that be?  Best to let his parents get him.”

“But-”

“I need to protect you, get you back on familiar ground: Baltimore.”

The two others gave into the voice of authority and started packing their motions halting and artificial as a result of death’s cold embrace of one of their party.

Lazarus Trach had been off today, no investigations, no murders, no home invasions; just him, his grill, and his beer.  He was having a memorial dinner all by himself for his friend Ronald Brokman.  In working with death dealers Lazarus was used to killings and murders, but not since one and a half years ago had death struck so close to home.

“Damn drug dealers.  You killed my cousin,” he muttered darkly.

He jumped when his cell phone chirped like a Star Trek communicator disturbing his dark yet focused thoughts.

“Trach here…Hey Bud…Yeah, I remember…Jason Storch, the kid in Egypt…You’re pulling my chain?  Dead in New York…How?…Damn…Thanks.”

Closing his phone he said, “At least he lives-lived in New York, and I don’t have to be the one to call his parents.”

He stared at his grill and sighed turning it off. 

Lazarus went inside grabbing his coat and keys, “Guess I am working today.  It’s Saturday for crying out loud.”

Veteran detective Lazarus Trach sat in his office for several hours Saturday evening and returned frustrated to an empty home unable to put the pieces together in how a boy who showed up from seemingly out of nowhere, in a house fire and naked no less, who then barely survived a massacre at the Brokman household fit with the equally mysterious appearance and death of another boy, Jason Storch, who was supposed to be in Egypt  but had been killed in an eleven person pizza parlor massacre in New York.  To top it all off, the boy in Baltimore, Baybars, had mentioned the full name of the now deceased Jason Storch.  As he lay in bed that night, one he used to share with his wife, but not since she left him after he fell apart from his cousin’s death, he tried to fit the puzzle pieces together.  He was missing at least one crucial piece.  He knew it, but if he had known what that piece was, he wouldn’t have believed it himself.  What Lazarus didn’t realize was that these puzzle pieces did not play by the rules of his Earth.

Barry, the motel owner, picked up the phone again.  When the group of four, the three males and the little girl, arrived, he had been suspicious; suspicious enough to call his friend on the force to see what he should do.  After talking to Dec, who said to wait and watch, he was picking up the phone again. 

“Hello,” said a voice, “Dec here.”

“Dec it’s me,” and after a slight pause, “Barry.  I called you a couple of days ago about the weird group of people who checked into my motel.”

“Uhh yea.  Right, right.  Go on.”

“Well, they’ve been acting strange.  The one kid stared out the window for hours not moving.  Looked like the only thing he was doing was yelling and crying.”

“Umm hmm,” Dec sounded disinterested and like he had a mouthful of food, “What do you want us to do about it?”

“You said I should call again, you know because of the little girl, so that you could make the bust on some child kidnappers or molesters.  You know, be good for your career.”

Dec’s voice suddenly betrayed interest and a chilling coldness, “Describe them.”

“I already did, “Barry said growing impatient, “last time.  There is a big burly man with red hair, a dark skinned boy, but he ain’t black, a little black girl, and there was a skinny white boy, but I don’t see-”

He was cut off by Dec’s question, “Are they still there?”

Barry peered out the window, “Yea, but I think they’re getting ready to leave.  That’s why I called.  Do they match the guy’s you’re after?”

“Oh most definitely,” Dec replied, “They are definitely the bad guys.  Keep them stalled if they try to leave.  We are coming right over.”

“Uhh okay.  What if they’re dangerous?” then growing indignant at his situation and that these people would check into his motel, “Look I run a tip-top motel here, high class as they come.  I know what I got and how hard I worked to get it.  I don’t need this big in the papers.  You get these guys and get them out of here!”

But he was yelling into a dial tone.

They finished gathering their things in the now confining motel room.

“You two stay here.  I’ll go pay,” Harvey said.

He opened the door, scanned the parking lot, and seeing nothing unusual left.  Aisha and Baybars sat hugging each other in silence in the now unwelcoming motel room which had at first seemed a sanctuary but now had become a prison.

Ten minutes later, Harvey steamed in fuming, “They won’t take my credit card and asked me to return to the room to cool off.  He said that he would be by the room to give me my options.  Pompous fool!”

The three spent the next twenty minutes with Aisha and Baybars sitting on the bed and Harvey pacing, leaving and returning once after completing another fruitless confrontation with Barry.  As he paced, he did not notice the black Explorer pull up fast in the parking lot and two figures get out.  Algharoob’s boots made slight scuffing noises as the two walked to the office where Barry sat. 

“Oh thank God you’re here.  The big man has been here twice wanting to leave,” gushed Barry as the two men entered.

“I wouldn’t thank God,” Algharoob muttered, “Are they still here?”

“Yes.  Dec, why did you say that?  Why does your man have a gun pointed at me?”

Algharoob said nothing and just left the room.  The boom of the gunshot echoed across the parking reaching Harvey in the room.  He glanced out the window and saw a police officer walking towards them hand on his empty holster.

“No, no, no,” he whispered, “You two go hide in the bathroom and don’t come out until I get you.  Understand?”

Aisha and Baybars nodded and moved without hesitation.  As they disappeared, there was a calm knock on the door and a muffled voice.

“Sir, we would like to have a word.”

Harvey went to the door sweaty palms gripping the doorknob, and he opened it a crack stopping it with his shoe, “Yes officer?”

Harvey flew back as Dec’s already muscled body now enhanced by Algharoob’s demon’s strength slammed against the door.  He landed in between the two beds holding his face.  Algharoob surveyed the cramped room.  In front of it were two beds with the big man in between them; to its extreme right, a table and two chairs; and in between the beds and table in the corner was the bathroom cubby, door closed.

Algharoob stood in the door framed by darkness, “So you’re the burly one.”

He turned on the switch, and Earl strode in smelling of gunpowder from the spare six shot revolver he kept in the Explorer.  

“Heh, heh, heh.  Not so burly,” he cackled, “My, what a nasty bruise on your chin…Oh, that ain’t a bruise.  What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Nothing,” he grunted in reply, “Just peachy.

Standing up he prepared to charge but was stopped by a gunpoint, its black hole ominously waving hello at Harvey’s chest.

“Uh, uh, uh,” crooned Earl.

“Kill him,” said the cold voice from the police officer’s body.

Harvey’s eyes widened as Earl cocked the gun and said, “With pleasure. 

“Without the gun.”

Earl flashed a confused glance at Algharoob which was all Harvey needed.  He rushed Earl tackling him to the floor.  The gun went off with another boom, the bullet flying into the door of the bathroom blowing a quarter sized hole through it.  Harvey knocked the gun from his hand and which skittered under the table to his left, but before he could throw a punch, Earl coiled his legs and kicked like a horse throwing Harvey against the closest bed with a woof.

“Prove to me you’re my sidekick and worthy of my benevolence,” the monster said indifferently to the crouching and panting Earl.

Against his better judgment Earl dove for the glittering black gun through the forest of wooden chair and table legs.  Harvey again tackled him and punched once and then twice bloodying Earl’s nose.  He pulled up the dazed and battered man and shook him roughly by the collar. 

He screamed, “Did you kill the Brokman family?  Jason?”

“I’ve killed a lot of people,” he sneered through the pain, “They might’ve been on the list and so will you.”

Inside the bathroom, Baybars stiffened.

Harvey’s eyes flashed, not fire, but close enough; he wound up and punched.  Earl deflected the blow, and Harvey’s fist landed solidly against the wall putting a sizeable dent in it.  Earl stared, and Harvey grinned.  The grin was cut off, however, by a mean uppercut from Earl knocking his teeth together.

“Freak,” howled Earl shaking his hand while delivering a sucker punch with the other hand to Harvey’s gut.

Harvey stumbled back and Earl quarter-turned, grabbed a chair, and reduced it to kindling over Harvey’s head.  He fell to his knees apparently dazed.  Earl picked up a chair leg and pulled back to swing baseball style his teeth bared in a snarl.  As the swing came, Harvey ducked at the last second.  He over swung and went off balance.  Harvey tackled his combatant’s knees and crawled on top of him throwing the makeshift bat away from them.

“Here’s a taste of your own medicine.  Eat up!” growled Harvey his shiny black jaw glistening with sweat. 

They wrapped their hands around each other’s necks trying to choke the life out of each other.  Harvey relinquished a hand but only to deliver two more crushing right hands to Earl’s skull, and he felt the man’s grip weaken.  Two more blows from the semi-armored fist reduced the left side of Earl’s face to a pulp.  Harvey then began to strangle the human monster.  Earl’s arms fell away, and the glint of anger faded away from the dying man’s eyes.

Above Harvey’s ragged breathing Algharoob heard him muttering incoherent phrases with the words ‘die’ and ‘protect’ repeating throughout.  Harvey got off the corpse and slumped in the chair holding a hand to his head and stared at the police officer.

“He wasn’t worthy,” mused a nonplussed Algharoob.

“Who are you?” asked Harvey.

“We know who you are.  We’ve met.”

“No we haven’t,” Harvey winced.

“Yes we have.  We are what you’ve been running from and apparently, running into.  We were in the library, Hamee.” 

Harvey’s jaw dropped, and he started shaking with rage.  An animalistic roar filled Harvey all pain forgotten, and he barreled towards the waiting policeman.  Algharoob gave a pitying smile, and then as Harvey quickly closed the distance, took a step forward and directed a crushing overhand hammer fist to the top of Harvey’s head.  Algharoob picked up the crumpled Harvey and threw him into the remaining table and chair in front of the bathroom entrance.  Algharoob walked over as Harvey picked himself up, rolling awkwardly off the table.  He picked up the thin wooden table to use as a shield, but Algharoob punched through it breaking it into two. 

Algharoob cursed as the delicate bones in Dec’s hand broke, “Damn frail human bodies.”

Harvey, repeating Earl’s actions, went for the now exposed gun, but Algharoob grabbed him by the pants arms sucking him in and heaving him across the room. 

Harvey wearily and unsteadily stood up, “You’re toying with me.”

“Glad you picked that up,” said Algharoob, who using Dec’s body hadn’t even broken a sweat.

“Kaatib,” Harvey said suddenly as if remembering and then to Algharoob, “Go to hell.”

“It doesn’t want us.”

Then four things happened almost at once.  Harvey took a step forward, and Algharoob hurled the remaining chair at Harvey which solidly connected creating a loud and wicked thunk. Baybars who was watching through the bullet hole screamed a defiant no, and Harvey collapsed. 

Algharoob turned and faced the bathroom brushing his hands, “Glad the preliminaries are over.”

From inside the bathroom, the monster heard Aisha say, “Baybars, don’t go.”

“I have to,” came the reply.

“But it’s so strong.”

“I might have better odds,” and then with steel in his voice, “That man killed Jason.”

“Baybars!  Baybars,” the second cry was a whisper.

Algharoob strode over to the bathroom and opened the door smiling, “Hello darling.”

Its eyes flickered over to the boy lying in the bathroom tub, “Oh goodie!”

“Get away from here, you monster!” Aisha yelled.

Algharoob looked at her as a human looks at a buzzing fly and then did the equivalent action by swatting her off the toilet seat.  She lay on the floor moaning but not moving.  Algharoob delicately picked up Baybars from his repose in the tub, and careful not to disturb him anymore than he had to, carried him to the bed through the wreckage of the motel room.

“Not so respectable now, eh Barry,” said Algharoob surveying the room.

Dragging the now limp Harvey, it heaved the body into the bathroom as one would a heavy bag of trash assuming that Harvey was dead.

“Goodbye child…for now,” it said closing the outward swinging door and propping the former weapon against the knob.

It closed the front door and then straightened the sheets of the unoccupied bed.  Delicately it laid itself down, folded its arms, and interlocked its fingers as a vampire in all the movies did.  

Closing its eyes, it smiled thinking, “Now we truly finish it and become free.”

True darkness filtered in through the windows disguising the destroyed room, the two trapped but living occupants in the bathroom, and the two peaceful unconscious figures as still as death each on their individual beds.

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4 Comments

  1. such suspense and written really well1 can’t wait for the next

  2. When I said I liked your adverbs, I actually meant verbs. Overall I like your word choice.

  3. mmm…adverbs and verbs

  4. almost finished. two chapters and the epilogue left.


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