Good news, everybody! We’re taking a trip to Planet Doom in the Galaxy of Mind-Shattering Horror!
Alright, that’s the end of my Prof. Farnsworth impersonation, but we did get good news. Spinetingler’s not just causing random collateral damage, going after heroes, and distracting me with nightmares.
By the way, the most recent one involved me splashing down into the middle of the ocean. Petty, I know. Using the power of nightmares to try and make me wet the bed with a dream about swimming until some massive dark shape swam by overhead and blocked out the sunlight. Well, joke’s on Spinetingler. I slept on the new toilet.
Good luck catching me with my pants down on the new throne. Heated seat, reclines, built-in massage function, ejector seat, retractable strain bars, and chainsaw built in the rim for those pesky underworld underwear invasions. That feature scared Carl, but I insisted on its importance. I told him that if he didn’t like it, he could handle the next wiggly, body-violating creature. So we have a chainsaw in our toilet.
Actually, it’s a bit primitive. I might need to upgrade it. I could go with nanomolecular blades, but chainsaws tend to heat up. Nanotechnology is vulnerable to extreme heat. Lasers would be nice, but the difficulty is in containing them. An energy sheath like on my fists just wouldn’t work that well. It has to do with how energy is transferred with blades as opposed to blunt weaponry. Maybe a heating element that lets it melt through stuff…but at the same time, I’d rather not cauterize any wounds I cause. No need to make it easier on survivors. Perhaps a combination of a ballistic knife and chainsaw? Ah well, it’s something to think on. Back to the matter at hand.
Spinetingler may have thought he distracted me, but it takes more than that to divert my attention. I’ve kept an eye on the news, police, city hall, the villain bar, and took a few patrols as nanite-controlled civilians.
Spinetingler may be strong, but he’s got a problem. Ever see Jason trolling camping forums? Leatherface buying skin lotion off Buffalo Bill’s Ebay page? Freddy Krueger looking up porn Actually, Krueger’d have another problem with that last one considering he liked ’em young. My point is, rarely do harbingers of terror use the internet, so ‘Tingler’s been leaving a big mess as he goes about his business.
He’s looking for something. Attacks on police precinct records departments, City Hall records, newspaper archives, hospital records.
I figured he wasn’t just looking for something; he was looking for someone. If the cops knew, they kept it out of their computer casefiles. Instead, they contented themselves with screwing with the crime scenes before I could get there. Not exactly like I could call in and tell them, “Hey guys, let me have first crack at it.”
Wait a minute, I actually could have done it that way. Ah well, my way worked out, too. Spinetingler gave me a tipoff on one of his attacks another way. It was at an apartment complex; some big square thing with an open courtyard in the middle. I planned a patrol with this woman who lived there, only to find that while the nanites were fine, she definitely wasn’t. Most people need heads to live.
Though when guys say they need head to live, ladies, it might pay to be skeptical.
Anyway, she was dead. On the plus side, my notes showed she brought her kid in too. I laid back on the toilet, hitting the lever next to the handle so it would recline.
I closed my eyes and started the broadcast, receiving the data from the son. I looked through his eyes, heard through his ears, felt through his skin, and smelled…crap. Ok, so the kid got scared. Probably in elementary school. I also spoke to him. The nanites intercepting the signals from the ear drums sent him my message. “Kid, I need you to remain calm.”
He jumped. Well, of course. Wouldn’t you if I suddenly showed up to whisper sweet nothings in your ear? He squeaked, too, then covered his mouth.
“Don’t worry,” I told him. “I’m a friendly voice in your head, but you’re not crazy. I’m here to help. Now, can you tell me what’s going on? Why is everything dark?”
“I’m in the closet,” the kid whispered to me.
“Ok, I can deal with that. Lots of people are in the closet. Why are you in there? I have…sensed, let’s say, that something’s happened around there.”
“There’s a monster out there. It came through the ceiling an tore up mama’s kitchen.” He raised his hands to his eyes, which watered. Choking back sobs, he told me, “I think it got my mama.”
I gave him a few seconds to cry it out. I don’t particularly like to dwell on a maternal figure dying. Plus, he’d be more useful to me if I let him get the crying out of the way. Then he heard a crash from elsewhere in the apartment. He quieted down. Time suddenly became a precious commodity, so I spoke up. “Is the monster still around?”
He nodded his head.
“Can you take a look out the door real quick and tell me if you see anything?”
He shook his head in a vehement “No”.
“Okily dokily, then I’m going to have to do something here. Stay calm. I need to take over for a little bit and do some things.”
That got his heart racing. “You’re gonna make me go out there. I don’t wanna!” He shut up again as another crash seemed to respond to his declaration.
“Kid, I need to go out there. I promise it’ll be ok.” Empty promise. If things were going to be ok, he wouldn’t be trapped in a closet after something killed his mom. However, I didn’t plan on letting the kid die if I could help it. You know, because I needed his body in order to investigate a possible connection, of course. That’s all.
“There’s a monster out there,” the kid whispered, shaking.
“Don’t worry. I’m a monster too, but I’m a monster who kills other monsters. And I’m a meaner monster than the other one. If you like, I’ll make it so you sleep through the scary parts.”
“I don’t…” he started. Traumatized little bastard. Ah well.
“I am assuming direct control,” I said out of his mouth, with his voice. His vitals grew calmer as I cut off all sensory input to his brain, receiving it in his stead. It’d be better than walking him through what I figured would come next, but not as good as my real body due to the lag.
I stood up. Yep. He wet himself. I told y’all how fear works. Those motherfuckers back at the Psychopomp project dosed me with that drug that stimulates emotional responses to help us learn how to handle extreme fear. I’m good, but this kid didn’t ever realize that the only thing to fear is death. To avoid death, I would do anything.
Yeah, I know. Amusing, considering what else y’all know about me. There’s a reason why my deportation from my world occurred after a failed attempt to blow it up.
So I gave the doorknob a turn and peeked out real quick. A dark-colored quadruped chewed at something in the kitchen across the hallway. I was nearly six feet away. I didn’t have time to get that good of a look at the thing because the door squeaked. It’s always something, isn’t it? No matter how you squeeze in, there’s always a noise.
It jumped at me, so dove to the side while throwing the door wide. A fang nicked the kid’s foot, but its momentum carried it into the closet. Rather than try to close the door and hold it on the creature, I scrambled to the kitchen. One good thing about a kitchen is that there are weapons everywhere. It’s just a matter of finding them.
When the canine-like monster charged at me again, I pulled a cheap toaster off the wall and smacked it in its face. It still body-checked me, but just to knock the breath out of the boy’s body. I decided to cut the pain feed after that. It made recovery much easier.
I noticed its eyes finally. A line of eyes ran from the middle of its elongated head down its back. I wrapped the toaster cord around its throat and jumped on some of its eyes, wrapping the kid’s legs around its belly as much as I could. It started bucking.
As it did, its spittle flew all over the place and started smoking where it landed.
For about eight seconds, its attempt to play at rodeo prevented me from giving it a good choke. I had time to glance around and try to find what else I could use on it. It’s a good thing the kid didn’t feel anything when it finally threw me off, either, because I smacked into the stove kinda hard. I planned to get off there, since the mother had left out a cast iron skillet. I figured she wouldn’t mind if I took it. The beast sure didn’t use it when it decided to have her for dinner.
“Bitch ass.” I swung and connected with the thing’s head. “Punk ass.” I caught its head again on the back swing. “Ass!” I yelled as I brought the skillet right down on its skull. It collapsed to the ground, snorting from the two pairs of nostrils on the sides of its muzzle.
I jumped up by the stove and pulled the big butcher’s knife off its nail on the wall. The monster started to stir when I straddled it from behind, yanked its head up, and slit its throat. I dropped the knife and jumped back as the kid’s skin started to burn where the blood landed on it. Fucking thing had highly acidic bodily fluids.
I tried to stop it early, but the kitchen barely had any food, let alone any strong basic chemicals I could have used to stop the burning. It’s not my fault; I just don’t have much experience with that kind of burning sensation, ladies. Uh huh, that’s right. Clean as a whistle. Why don’t you give it a nice blow?
You know what? Telling y’all what I did while controlling a little kid’s body is probably not the best time to say that.
I originally wanted to gut it and choke any remaining life out of it with the longer entrails, but the acid made that a dangerous proposition. That said, I needed to make sure the thing was dead.
What better way than my favorite way? I just had to find a little something to help…ah, Crisco. It’s a brand of vegetable oil-based shortening. Women have been fucking themselves with it for decades. There’s a nice argument for when your partner doesn’t think you’re big enough. If you’re too short, why are they getting off on shortening?
I threw a glob of it on the beast’s butt. Then, I pulled on a ratty old oven mitt and, got that skillet again, and took a running start at the heinous hound’s hind end. I didn’t quite make it. That kid needed to do more push ups. However, the confirmed-dead doggie gave birth to a healthy baby cast iron skillet, weighing too damn much. It was truly a beautiful occasion that you’re all happy you didn’t have to witness.
That accomplished, I began my investigation. The kid was right. The critter crashed through the ceiling. I could see a hole into the next apartment up, and one to the next one, and one to the next one, but in different spots on the ceiling. He didn’t fall due to weight, that skinny fuck.
The place didn’t have any elevators, so I made the long climb up the stairs. Once I got to a certain height, I began checking the apartments to see if they still had holes. Most people had fled or were no longer alive to object, though I had to break into one of them to check it. Nice place. It’s a shame somebody stole a bunch of jewelry out of one of the rooms.
One more floor up, my bling blinging self ran across a hole in the wall, not the next ceiling up. There, it all ended. The body in that room sat tied to a chair. Mostly. Some parts of it were scattered. I swear, dead bodies are worse than dealing with Ikea; there tend to be lots of parts leftover when people are finished. That, and apparently they make really great meatballs.
Cheap furniture and meat products. Those go together like sweatshop labor and a need to hide dead bodies of workers.
They restrained this person. Torture? But then they unleashed the hound. That beast had claws incapable of tying ropes. That’s why sex with animals is wrong, folks; they can’t participate fully in the bondage community. So someone was there in person, tied the person up rather than kill him or her, and summoned the acid wolf thingy.
I rifled through stuff, looking for an indication of what might be going on. Looked like a guy living alone, based on the pictures in the living room area. Some were of a man and woman, smiling and looking happy. Then there were more of the guy alone, and he didn’t look all that happy. Finally, there was a single older one of him looking like he’d been caught unawares. He had a lot less hair and a few new wrinkles in that one. In the photo, he was holding a young dog, maybe some sort of bulldog.
Guess we know where the monster came from.
The bedroom had the guy’s briefcase. Social worker. Children and Family Services. The guy had a retirement plaque with him thanking him for his decades of service.
Are y’all thinking what I’m thinking? Guy hits up records about hospitals and city services, then pays a visit to someone from Children and Family Services? So much for that collateral damage being entirely random. If I had to guess, Spinetingler was looking for a kid. I figured I’d put out some feelers and see if Beacon had any young siblings or kids himself, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Spinetingler squirted out a little ‘Tingler of his own. He did some time, wanted to find the kid, checked the newspapers to see if anyone had been active with similar powers, or at least that’s my guess.
“Is anyone in here? Help is here! I’m a superhero!” I heard a familiar woman’s voice call out from the entry. There’s my Venus. It worked out. This kid was a bit hurt. The foot clotted up, but he got burnt and likely bruised from the rodeo upstairs. If anyone would make sure he received medical attention, it’d be her. As for me, I had to account for this new perspective on things in my own search. A kid is a valuable bargaining tool.
So I left our poor, wounded meat puppet there, within crying distance of a hero. Sure, he’s a little worse for wear, but I got him through dealing with a disposable danger. After all, sometimes dealing with monsters requires a monster of your own.