Five Fingers of Death
Bobby rummaged around in a large key bang as he entered the station’s jail muttering to himself in the near darkness. Only the orange emergency lights giving off an anaemic glow that lit nothing except the hands in front of his face.
“This is the last straw, he’s lost his fucking mind, fuck. First he’s making me bury bodies in the back lot, now he’s shooting people right in the office, he’s losing it, this is it, this is it!” He panted and took in disjointed slakes of breathes like he was having a panic attack. “Gotta, gotta let you guys out, gotta get out, gotta let you and we can leave this fucking mess!” He screeched.
The back of the cells were in complete darkness. He got closer, the hot nervousness in the back of his throat made his fingers and thumbs thick square blocks of dull round weiner meat. Which made finding the right key near impossible. The jangling of the key bang summoning fits of excited hackles from something akin to a dog.
A shadowed figure uncoiled, a dank smell and a quick fluttering of what seemed like wings and the voice. A hot stinking breath that smelled like raw potatoes and meat said right by his ear “Maybe I wanna be in here.” The voice said. Breath was hot and wet and burning like raw onions on the deputies face. He jumped back, tripping over his own feet and tumbling, the back of his head trying to make out with the corner of a metal desk not ending well.
He lay on the floor twitching, blood and brains spreading like hot homemade jam.
“Oops” Carpenter said as he slipped back away from the bars with a slithering sqeaking noise as his arms retracted into the dark cell.
“So that sound like a baby getting a bris was you?” A muffled voice outside the army navy store said.
“Can we change the subject or this is gonna be a long trip, you said the police station wasn’t too far right?” The fatboy said.
“Oh it’s right around this corner but we’re not going anywhere until you tell us who we’re picking up.” The black man said.
“Spoiler alert It’s Carpenter, who else could it be?” The girl with green hair said.
“Who’s that?” the black man said.
“This crazy homeless guy, trust me you don’t’ wanna know” Said the fatboy.
“But how is this guy supposed to help us if he’s crazy?” The black man continued.
“Crazy homeless man, bien sur?” Jean whispered as he eavesdropped on the loud americans passing the now dark dank quiet army navy store he occupied. Blue moonlight the only source of light in the store. He turned to the corpse of the owner who was missing the top half of his head and said “I think this might be the man we’re looking nes pas? What do you think?” The corpse turned in his swivel chair as bearings relaxed.
The Frenchman was sitting in a foldable camp chair he got from the camping section. He had a full little base set up complete with a sleeping bag and small popup tent. He’d planned to bed down until it started in earnest and make up his search in first light. He’d been cooking himself some mac and cheese MRE’s by the light of a small lamp when he heard them passing and decided to listen in. He seated the corpse of the army navy store opposite him around the small camp fire. In some small part re-enacting some wild west cowboy campfire fantasy. “I hate eating alone, and I hate rushing my meals but, there is no choice. Duty calls as they say” He made a face at the corpse sitting opposite, crushing his chins together.
He stood dusting mac and cheese dust off his fupa and said “The games they are on.” He smiled hopping over his little camp stove towards the gear he had arranged in advanced on the counter.
He started humming the french national anthem as he loaded various pistols, smgs. Stowing knives, ammo and other assorted interesting goodies into a green duffel bag. He then hiked it over his shoulders, the strap of which being too tight forcing him to awkwardly rearrange his beanie and pull the strap over his fupa. After the inelegant display was over he skipped towards the exit of the army navy store.
Tipping his beanie to say “And with that, I bid you adieu.” He opened the door instantly feeling the biting bitter cold, stopping and turning “Oh mon dieu, almost forgot.” He rummaged around in his little goody bag pulling out a roll of toilet paper and some lighter fluid. “I am the only one allowed the arms of fire today, nes pa”. He doused the toilet roll in lighter fluid and tossed it behind the counter. He tossed another down the clothes isle and a few more over by the hunting rack with the practiced jollity of a fat teen prankster. With a whimsical flourish he tossed the remaining toilet rolls, saving one for himself, just for emergencies.
He stepped out into the street, rubbing his hands together, smiling, stepping away to listen to the slow crackle of fire building to a crescendo. It started surprisingly fast, must have been all those Styrofoam archery targets. The building was a blazing uncontrollable inferno in under twenty minutes. The sounds of odd shells blasting off aimlessly inside like popcorn popping.
Jean watched with wonderment as the fire built higher and higher. “I wish I brought marshmallows.” he chortled before being knocked off his feet by a large surprising and unexplained explosion.
He rolled over in the snow on the other side of the street. He looked around and picked up his beanie. Dusting the snow off before putting it on the mangled mess of curly hair pulling away from his receding hairline turning grey in the corners.
He stood first taking a knee, lifting his body like it was a wet punching bag looking at the gaping hole in the building. He tutted and said rising “You were holding out on me old man, mon dieu.” He got up and shook snow off and said “No matter, I shall make do, bon soir.” He stopped a moment, looking around, listening for the dull hum. He looked up at the sky and said “I know you can see me, whether you can ’ear me is another matter, but no doubt you ’eard that.” He laughed and kissed his hand blowing it out into the sky “To my host.” He set off walking in the direction of the police station. Following the tracks of the noisey americans that passed earlier whistling as he went with hop in his step.
“What the fuck was that, sounded like god blowing his load over fem-thor’s tits!” The chief said having a mild coronary as he heard the explosion which was only a block away but was loud enough to still put a ring in his ear ten minutes later.
“It sounded like a nuke” Coral said looking up from his desk.
“Nukes, oh jeesus” The chief marched towards his office.
“Chief where are you going” Coral shouted after him.
“I’m going to my office and getting out my emergency giant tequila bottle and I aint coming out until I hear trumpets or helicopters.” He shouted hanging onto the doorjam of his office.
“Wwwait what do I do? What about your wife sir?” Coral yelled.
Chief took off his badge and awkwardly all fat sausage fingers and thumbs moved a few steps from from the door to his office and threw it underarm at Coral. “Ah She’ll be alright. You’re the new chief now, I hereby, whatever, I’m locking my door, if you come anywhere near my office I’ll blow your fucking head off. The chief waddled into his office and slammed the door shut locking the dead bolt. “Actually fuck my wife! Not literally!” He said through the door.
The police station from the outside looked like it had been there a hundred years, cold and dark and dorment. A solid stone wart on the landscape, gordy and modern and once brightly lit, fake and welcoming. But now it was stern and locked up tight, the squad cars out front only good for collecting snow.
“Looks like the powers out.” TJ said.
“It’s starting.” Sunday sighed, a small tide of rising happy anxiety in her voice, her blood tossing back and forth in her heart like a half empty bottle of whiskey. Her bat propping her up stuck in the snow.
The hairs on the back of TJ’s neck did a little Mexican wave as he heard the electricity in her voice. He looked at the tough looking building stripped of all it’s holiday cheer, readying itself for the coming micro-apocalypse.
“So we gonna stand out here freezing our respecting asses off or are we gonna go inside and ask about this crazy guy?” Jimmy said, cutting through the rising tension, clinging to himself like he just fell in a frozen lake.
“After you princess” Sunday smirked tossing her new toy over her shoulder.
“Tssss” Jimmy said as he passed her in a huff.
They walked up the paved path that bisected the parking lot. Passing the frosted trucks and cruisers on either side cautiously as they menaced the path like sleeping lions. TJ half expected one to turn on it’s lights and start revving its engine like some crappy Stephen King movie. That’s just what he’d need zombies and monsters and sentient killer cars.
They got to the front door under the little brick roofed outcropping. They stood there for a minute out of the wind looking at eachother saying nothing. The door was made of frosted glass and there was a warm light coming from the otherside.
Sunday looked at TJ and made a face and shrugged. “Hear anything”
“It’s quiet” He said sucking in a breath and stamping his feet for warmth.
“Too quiet?” She laughed
TJ sucked his gums at the mild break in tension and looked back at the door. Jimmy said nothing hugging himself for warmth looking back at them one at a time.
She poked at the door with the end of her bat and it opened, hitting them in the face with an intense blast of hot air.
Jimmy pushed past her into the lobby tutting “Fucking overdramatic bullshit.”
TJ looked at Sunday who shrugged again and they bundled themselves into the warm lobby.
The lobby was pretty normal looking, no blood or brains on the wall, it looked almost like a rural doctors office. Felt empty without a bunch of sick kids coughing on everything. A stale septic smell.
A lone chubby Latina woman sat behind the desk beligerantly pretending to type. She most certainly felt the cold chill they let seep in but nevertheless didn’t look up.
Jimmy had a headstart searching for hotter climbs and had already latched himself on the desk. He was leaning casually trying to get her attention.
“Hey there mama, what’s going on-“
“We’re looking for someone.” Sunday cut him off, shoving him to the side, a sense of terse urgency caught her speaking fast. Words falling over themselves as if she was in the lead role of action movie no one else was aware of. A boulder rolling down the hill towards them and everyone was still putting their boots on. “Hey are you listening to me, we don’t have time-“
“Calm down maam.” The Latina woman looked up wearily speaking in a practiced monotone patter. A cool lawful evil building behind her downturned eyes. Flecks of make up in the corner of her eyes starting to look like soot from a coal mine drawn into harsh Cleopatra points, clumping into gunky residue.
The Latina woman looked her up and down, her face contorted into a puffy mask of cool contempt. She smirked seeing the bat over her shoulder “Are you kids going to a little league game or something?”
“Look lady if we don’t find this guy and fast, this whole town-“ She stopped to think for a moment “Actually the town is pretty fucked either way.”
“Maam I’m gonna have to ask to refrain from cursing at me.” The woman droned, her face a mask of cold dough.
“I wasn’t cursing at you, ya dumb bitch I was just-“
“Ok, we got off on the wrong foot here.” TJ cut in getting between the two women, the sounds of knives sharpening ringing in his ears. “We’re just, err, looking for our friend. He’s a little taller than me, a beard, looks a little rough, kinda smells a little, have you seen anyone like that?” He asked putting on his most sincere ‘solid citizen’ voice.
The Latina woman spoke not taking her eyes off Sunday and Sunday doing the same “Yeah I might have seen someone like that. They took him to lock up, visiting hours are over, you’ll have to come back tomorrow.” She said stonily as she opened a well oiled drawer in her desk without a sound.
“There isn’t going to be a tomorrow dumba-!” Sunday yelled. She pushed past TJ almost climbing over his bulk to yell at this person that somehow was now pushing all her buttons in the right way in the right order.
Sunday stopped dead in her tracks, her muscles tensing, shaking, her skin suddenly taking on a waxy taugtness. Slight spasms running up her arms. She fell to the ground, curling into the foetal position on the cold tiled floor. The bat clenched in her tensed hand. A wire leading away from her midriff as two tazer prongs stuck in her. The Latina woman still sitting the tazer sideways resting on the desk poking through the little slot at the bottom of the bulletproof glass. Her face unchanged but for a microscopic upturned grin at the side of her lips.
TJ whispered “Shit”.