Beyond the Pale
At the front desk, there were two nurses who were working the graveyard shift. They were drinking coffee and gossiping not noticing what Jim was doing in the back of the corridor. One of them was middle-aged with curly brown hair and wearing glasses. The wrinkles which appear past thirty-five were already visible on her face for quite some time. The other woman was a lot younger, a good-looking brunette with hazel eyes, she was at the beginning of her career.
‘Do you really think that my George is cheating on me?’ asked the older woman.
‘I don’t know for sure, Gwen. I saw him from a car,’ said the young one.
‘Stacy, come on,’ said Gwen with obvious impatience, ‘was it him or what?’
‘I dunno,’ replied Stacy and took a sip of coffee,′ I saw him only for a few seconds, and he was with his back to me.′
‘But you said that he was with a woman!’
‘A girl, not a woman, and I tell ya again that I’m not sure it was him. The man I saw wore the same kind of clothing that your husband likes to wear. He even had the same haircut as George.’
‘Damn that son of a bitch. It was him, I’m sure. He got bored with me, so he wanted to taste some fresh pussy. I swear to Go that I’m gonna...’
She couldn’t finish because a strange smoke came crawling along the ceiling, and they also notice a strange flickering light.
‘What the hell is that?’ asked Gwen looking up in a stupor.
Stacy walked out from behind the receptionists desk and the shock on her face made her grimace then scream. She drew back and put her hands to her mouth while almost falling onto her butt. She pointed towards the source of the light and looked at Gwen.
‘There...there is a man on fire.’
‘What? Are you crazy?’ said Gwen and walked beside Stacy.
‘Oh my God! Get the fire extinguisher! Now!’
Stacy, in her shock, didn’t know anymore where the fire extinguisher is. She ran around like a chicken without head but couldn’t find it. Gwen was shouting at her to hurry, all the while Jim was walking patiently towards them with his body almost engulfed in flames.
‘I’m cold,’ he said, ‘I’m fucking cold. Can somebody warm me up?’
‘Damn it, where is the extinguisher?’ asked Stacy in a frantic manner.
‘I’m cold, I’m so cold,’ said Jim as the flames engulfed his entire body and his throat and lungs became burned by the hot air and fumes.
He collapsed to the floor as the fire began to cook his brain, and crawled a few yards uttering incomprehensible sounds. Gwen came rushing with a rug in her hands and tried to put out the raging blaze but wasn’t successful. When Stacy finally found the fire extinguisher and managed to get it going, Jim was already dead. He was burned beyond all recognition.
During the time Jim was burning like a torch and Jess’s father was walking the earth for one last time, Frank was struggling to sleep again. He was at the end of his patience. Tossing and turning won’t resolve anything, he thought, so I have to do something, but what? Frank kept thinking but this was difficult because he was tired and angry. Two nights without sleep took its toll him.
A sudden thought occurred to him, his mother might have sleeping pills on her nightstand. He just has to go and take them and swallow a few. Maybe then he will be able to sleep. But what about his mother? If she wakes up, she will give him hell for it. She might even send him into the basement for disturbing her. No, she won’t, he said to himself, I will not let her do that to me again.
Frank got out of bed and gently opened the door. He took a deep breath and tiptoed all the way to her mother’s bedroom. It was Martha’s bedroom only because she didn’t sleep with her husband anymore. Arthur used to sleep in the living room, on the couch. He said that it was more comfortable there. In truth, he couldn’t bear sleeping next to her because she was snoring too loud and her frame took up too much space.
The corridor was dark, the fog outside made it even darker. No light whatsoever could enter the house. Martha’s bedroom door was open so Frank heard her discordant snoring from a few yards away. Frank put his fingers on the door and pushed. It creaked a little, Frank stopped and then pushed again while listening if she wakes up or not. The snoring continued so he entered the room.
There were no windows open so the air was stale. He grimaced but moved on. The nightstand was just a few feet away. Frank hoped that he’ll find some pills on it and doesn’t have to search the drawers.
Frank hated this room, he hated everything in it, its smell, its look and avoided it as much as possible. It was the master bedroom and it had only one master. The whole house had only one master. Every time he entered this place he felt like Frodo might have felt after being led into Shelob’s lair by Gollum. Not that Frank knew who Frodo was, he had never touched a book on his own accord. The giant spider was his mother, and he was caught in her web from the time of his birth. Thoughts of escape were crawling through his mind for some time, but he had no magic sword.
The scent of the room and the thought of the sleeping spider brought out the hateful feelings he had felt. These were accentuated a great deal by his insomnia and frustrations. He searched the nightstand with his hand but felt nothing on it which resembled a bottle of pills. Frank had to be careful not to knock over the lamp which was on top of the nightstand. Martha was sleeping on her back and didn’t notice her son. He could see only a faint outline of her. The rest was added by memories and imagination.
She looks like she’s dead, thought Frank, if she weren’t snoring, she would look like a corpse. Frank liked what he was seeing with his mind’s eyes. A liberating sensation of freedom came upon him. For a moment, he imagined his life without her. It wasn’t even that bad, in fact every variation which didn’t involve her was better. The only problem was that he was in a psychological stranglehold. He was dependent on her, she ruled his life.
Frank woke up from his deep thinking, he realized that he’s wasting time. If she wakes up, he’ll be toast. Who knows what she’ll do to him in her delusion? Having found no pills on the nightstand, he had to search. With a careful move, Frank opened the first drawer. It made almost no sound, he sighed without a sound. His hand felt around inside the drawer. All kinds of useless shit, he thought, what does she do with all this garbage anyway? Among the contents of the drawer, he found a bottle which he supposed might contain some pills. Frank took the bottle but when he closed the drawer, it made a sound louder than intended. He froze, his mother’s snoring stopped, and she took a quick, deep breath then moved her head.
‘What? Who’s there?’ she asked in a sleepy voice.
‘It’s me, mother. I just wanted to...’ Frank tried to explain.
‘What are you doing here?!’ said Martha in a raised tone and switched on the lamp.
‘I just...I just needed some sleeping pills,’ said the boy and held up the bottle.
‘Were you sneaking up on me?’
‘Sneaking? No, I just didn’t want...’
‘Yes, you were sneaking up on me, otherwise you would have asked for those pills.’
‘But I didn’t want to wake you up.’
You filthy animal. Only animals and criminals sneak up on people. Don’t you know that?′
‘Shut up when I’m talking to you,’ she said and her face began to distort.
‘No,’ said Frank in a stern voice and his anger began to rise, ‘I won’t!’
‘What did you say?’ asked Martha with eyes open wide.
She couldn’t believe that her son defied her. The woman was used to the fact that her son feared and obeyed her. Just like his father, the two of them were under her complete control and now this happens.
‘Just what you heard,’ he replied in a faked calm voice and stared her in the eyes.
‘Get your ass down into the basement, now!’ she ordered throwing back a piercing look at Frank.
‘No, I will never go back down there.’
‘Are you defying me? Isn’t it enough that you sneak up on me like a murderer?’
‘If you continue like this, it’s damn sure I’m gonna become a murderer!’
Martha’s anger was over the roof, she jumped out of the bed and grabbed Frank’s shirt then raised her other hand in order to slap him. Her frame was bigger than Frank’s but the boy knew that under the broad frame there were many weaknesses. The boy was stronger than her and this was the other thing that bothered him. How is that acceptable that a weaker person rules a stronger one? Frank could kill her with his bare hands, and yet he was afraid of her. Why? Because of the terror and control he was subjected to over the years. These things made Frank psychologically weak and his mother strong. In reality, he was stronger, and he had to use this strength. How dare she, the weak wretch she was, tell him what to do?
Frank pushed away her hand with a forceful move. She got unbalanced and the other hand couldn’t strike.
‘Don’t you put your hands on me again!’ said Frank and he was coiled up like a spring, or a snake ready to pounce.
Martha looked at her son with indignation but didn’t hesitate much. She attacked him in a fury and slapped with both hands in all direction.
‘You filthy animal! Go down to the basement where you belong!’
Frank took a few slaps than pushed her away. She fell with her considerable ass on the bed.
‘You belong in there you filthy whore! Fuck you, you fuckin’ bitch!' he shouted with his finger pointed toward her.
Martha moved towards him again with her hands in front of her. She wanted to grab him by the throat but Frank was quicker. He grabbed her throat with both hands and squeezed with all his rage. Her eyes bulged and she fell on the bed again. Frank had a surprise when he found out that he actually enjoyed this.
Martha’s face was beginning to turn blue when the door opened and Arthur came in. He didn’t hear the beginning of the argument because he was in a deep sleep and the door to the living room was closed.
‘What’s happening here?’ he asked and the utter stupor could be seen on his face.
‘Shut up, you useless scum! Fuck you too!’ said Frank and stood up.
Martha received some air but her trachea was damaged, so she began coughing. Frank went straight to his father and punched him straight in the face. The man staggered back, hit the door with his back then staggered forward. This was when Frank stepped a little sideways and then kicked his father's knee. The move resembled the breaking of a piece of wood which was previously propped against a tree or a wall.
The tendons in and around his knee tore with an audible noise. Arthur screamed and fell onto the carpet.
‘Fuck you too you wimp-ass piece of shit!’
‘Son, what are you doing?’ he asked but it was hard to speak because of the pain.
‘What I should’ve done a long time ago!’
Frank went back to his mother who was trying to stand up from the bed. He kicked her in the stomach, and she fell on her back again. The boy got on top of her and grabbed her neck again. The look in his eyes was wild and filled with hate...deranged. Martha tried to gasp for air but Frank’s grip was too strong. Arthur crawled to the bedside and grabbed Frank’s leg in a desperate attempt to stop him. The boy wasn’t bothered much, he just kicked his father’s head just like swatting a fly. In a few more seconds, she stopped thrashing and her body became limp.
The stillness which filled her eyes made Frank feel liberated. A huge burden had fallen from his shoulder. He let go of her neck but his hands still remained half-clenched due to the prolonged squeezing effort.
No! What did you do?′ cried his father from the floor and tried to somehow get up.
‘Shut up you fat pig,’ Frank replied and began circling him like a predator, ‘you did nothing to stop her!’
‘You know well! And now you too are going to pay. You are a fucking wimp, a pussy,’ shouted Frank and kicked his father in the guts.
Arthur fell on his side and began to whine. He held his large beer belly with both his hands. Seeing his father like that, made Frank more disgusted and angry. He was now sorry that he finished his mother this quickly. No problem, he thought, I will punish this fuckin’ maggot instead.
‘Look at you,’ he said, ’crawling like a worm. Does it hurt? Well this ain’t shit!
Frank ran out into the kitchen and grabbed a large knife then ran back. He didn’t say anything else just slashed and stabbed. Arthur was conscious for a while but after the third stab to the throat, he passed out. Blood was squirting from his wounds in every direction. Frank was blood drunk, he enjoyed it and didn’t plan to stop here.
After finishing his father, he jumped onto Martha and began stabbing her too despite the fact that she was most likely dead. The boy was covered in blood and a fire was burning in his eyes. It was a blood lust which had been slowly building up through the years. There was no turning back now. He knew very well who his next victims will be so after finishing his work here, he headed out into the night with a well-defined purpose.
Andy went to meet with Jess on Thursday early afternoon as they had discussed. He waited for her in front of the gate. She was just a little late, and she came carrying a canister of gas. Spark was close by, the dog was wagging his tale happy that Jack isn’t around anymore. Jess opened the gate and Spark went straight to Andy. The two liked each other very much. Andy was happy to see the mutt and to be able to play with it a little. Jess just smiled when she saw them play.
‘He likes you,’ she said.
‘Of course he likes me,’ replied Andy in a joking tone, ‘I’m a likable person.’
‘Yes, you are,’ replied the girl, ‘but now please be even more likeable and pick up that canister before my mom sees it.’
‘Of course I’ll pick it up, my lady,’ he continued, ‘I’m a gentleman too.’
She just smiled then ordered the dog back into the yard. Andy picked up the can with one hand then both of them started towards the Shed. Jess walked beside Andy and after a few minutes of awkward silence, she took his free hand into hers. Andy felt the butterflies in his stomach coming to life. It was the best feeling ever. He was happy, even with all the darkness looming over them and this accursed town.
They walked but didn’t hurry. The can was heavy but Andy wasn’t paying attention to the pain and discomfort it was causing. The sun was up and blazing but the grass was still a little damp from last night’s misty weather. Jess’s angelic smile and the warm sunlight made him forget the ancient evil which was waiting for them tonight.
The two kids reached the Shed and entered without looking around. They were distracted and careless. A much cooler air greeted them inside. It was welcome since both of them were sweaty from the journey. Andy put down the can near the other weapons they had brought before.
‘Let’s sit down a little,’ said Jess with a faint but kinky smile, ‘I’m tired.’
‘All right,’ said Andy and sat beside Jess.
This time he was the one to take her hand, but he couldn’t go further from there. Andy knew, or rather felt, that he should kiss her now. The problem was that he had never kissed a girl before and lacked the courage and self-confidence to do it. He knew he should do it but somehow he couldn’t.
Jess rested her head on Andy’s shoulder and turned slightly toward him. He responded by wrapping his arm around her and leaning more against her. The girl looked up at him, her eyes said ‘kiss me’. His mind said ‘kiss her’, so he leaned more towards her. Both of them were excited and couldn’t wait for it to happen but when their lips almost touched, the Shed’s fragile door burst open.
They looked up in fright and saw Frank in all his bloody glory standing in the doorway with knife in hand. His eyes told them that this time there will be no mercy. There will be a showdown, here and now.
‘Gotcha! Now you’re mine!’ he said and raised his hand in which the knife was.
Andy and Jess were frozen by the adrenaline rush in a state of conscious inaction. They knew that they had to do something but didn’t know what. When Frank fixed his eyes on Jess and began moving towards her, Andy jumped up automatically to at least move between the two. Before he could do anything else, Frank slapped him so hard on the face that he fell and hit his head in the wall. Jess screamed as hard as she could.
‘Don’t worry,’ said Frank, ‘I will gut him later. But first, I have to deal with you.’
His gaze shifted up and down Jess’s body measuring her with hellish lust. The girl tried to move away from him and was looking around to find an escape route around Frank.
‘Don’t even try to run,’ said Frank and shook the knife in front of him, ′I will kill you anyway. I will kill both of you and all the wretched members of your shit-gang but first, I have a surprise for you.′
With his empty hand his grabbed his genitals as to let her know what he’s going to do to her.
‘No,’ cried Jess, ‘I won’t let you!’
‘It’s not up to you, bitch! I will fuck you now whether you like it or not. Game over, slut! I will fuck you even after you will be dead!’
She tried to bolt past him, but he grabbed her, and slammed her to the ground. The air got squeezed out of her lungs, and she also hit her head pretty hard. Frank was on top of her in no time. She was thrashing like an animal in a trap, so he slapped her, he even landed a punch to her side. The air rushed out of her again and her mind was searching for a solution but couldn’t find it. Frank put the knife down at a safe distance. With one hand he was holding both of her hands, and with the other one he raised her skirt. This made her even more desperate so when Frank managed to get out his tiny pecker of a dick, she freed one hand with a mighty pull. With her next move, Jess grabbed Frank by the side of his head and pushed her thumb straight into his eyeball while she was screaming like a banshee. Frank cried out in pain and drew away holding both his hands to his face. Jess searched for something to retaliate with and her eyes fell onto the nail gun. With shaking hands, she reached for it, pointed it towards Frank and began shooting. She was aiming for his penis. She wanted to make sure that he will not use it again. The first nails hit and Frank grabbed his crotch. The next nails hit too ironically nailing Frank’s hands to his dick. He screamed as hard as he could and fell onto his knees.
'Fuck this, you asshole!' Jess shouted.
Andy woke from his unconscious state and seeing that the situation is serious, he grabbed the ax. With one powerful swing and without hesitation, he planted the ax in Frank’s head. Frank stopped screaming, his eyes rolled upwards in their sockets as blood came gushing from the wound. He fell on his side and a few spasms later, he died.
Jess let go of the nail gun, jumped up from the ground and hugged Andy. They kissed now without any fear or doubt. They held each other tightly for several minutes not paying the slightest attention to Frank’s mangled body. Amidst all the blood, guts and chaos Jess and Andy have found each other.