Chapter 2 - Who's a Good Doomsday Prepper!
Morning light shot Aiden in the face. The night had nurtured little sleep as Aiden lay shivering. He grabbed his phone and checked the time, seven in the morning. Early, but lying here shivering would do no good. A warm shower, however, would be heaven. As Aiden looked at the matress around him he swore he could see tiny damp spots littered across it. He smirked.
Must be so cold in here it started snowing.
Aiden stood and took off the rest of his clothing, or rather peeled it off. For how many days now had he worn those? They stank horribly. Wait, this house had a washing machine. He gathered his clothes from the floor and sprinted to the kitched where he threw them all in with about four times the needed amount of detergent.
Back upstairs, it was time to brave the bathroom.
It stank, worse than any clothing. There was a standing shower, a bath, a toilet and a sink, all of which were black with damp, mold or some mixture of the two, so the bath was out, there was no way Aiden was going to sit stewing in that filth. He tried the shower. As he turned the handle hissing and a dull clanking could be heard, along with the unmistakable ‘pipes groaning’ sound as one heavy stream of water poured from the headless shower faucet, slapping the shower basin as it landed… It would have to do, it was semi warm, though Aiden would touch none of the cannibal’s soap bars.
It seemed the shower had two settings, lukewarm and boiling, and whilst Aiden stood broiling himself he formulated his plans. He couldn’t stay in this house, beyond the obvious reasons that altar… Aiden didn’t want to be anywhere near it, it or the bodies littering the area. He still couldn’t quite believe that everything, his family, his whole life had just vanished. He had as much money as he could possibly need now. With grit teeth Aiden turned and rinsed his face and hair in the scalding water, feeling it burn deep into his scalp. He would find out what had happened.
Well rinsed, skin flushed red and in fresly cleaned but worn out clothes Aiden smirked. The card for his new bank account was on its way in the post but the cannibal’s card must be in his wallet in the basement. Aiden had seen the account last night. That man walked around with near twenty thousand in his pocket! There were also drawers of letters in that forging room. A quick rummage through and Aiden found the letter the card had been received in, a little more and he found the accompanying letter with the Pin code, nobody ever threw those out.
Minutes later Aiden sat at the kitchen table with pen and paper. He had twenty thousand to fund his own investigation, food and the like as he went along he’d use his own account for. For now, what equipment would he need?
Well, now that he had an ID he had better insure his car, just incase some cop pulls him for it. He’d need ammunition, he’d need clothing, he’d need… Aiden’s mind spun as he scribbled away. Finally, around nine, figuring everywhere would be open now, it was time. He unlocked the basement and stepped down, flicking the light on with a heavy thud as he did. The cannibal’s body lay there as it always did, did Aiden honestly expect it to move?
He crept closer, silently, and kicked it for good measure. It was stiff. Aiden took care not to kneel in all the gore that has seaped out of the body’s mortal wounds as he plunged his hands into the cannibal’s pockets and grabbed his wallet. The bank card, Aiden slid it out, it was the right one. He slipped the wallet back into the pocket, still the body didn’t move. Aiden left, flicking the light off as he did and fleeing up the stairs more quickly that he’d admit, locking the door behind him.
The first stop was a camping store, well actually the first stop was breakfast, then a camping store. Aiden had thought long and hard about this, he had no idea what had happened but he wasn’t going to find out easily. He’d need clothing that was comfortable and functional, ideally quiet but still nothing people would look twice at. He’d also need bags, a larger duffle bag to keep several days clothing in and a smaller backpack for things to take with him. The duffle bag was the easiest thing. He just found the largest one he could, a long and thin cylindrical one. The backpack, he wanted something that would hug his back closely, not stick out a foot. A lot of the bags here were huge hiking ones but he soon found a thin ‘sling’ backpack, one thick strap ran over his shoulder and around his side like a bandolier and the bag iself covered most of his back, but stuck out no further than four inches. Perfect.
Clothing, well this place had plenty. Survivalist gear for warm climates, cold climates, it was expensive but Aiden’s would-be-killer was paying. After buying enough t-shirts, combat pants, fleeces, waterproofs, sunglasses, hats, thick warm gloves, strong ‘clmibing’ gloves, an array of socks, two pairs of boots and one pair of running trainers, several water bottles, several different blankets, a sleeping bag and inflatable pillow, several carabiners, an electric lantern, a swiss army knife, a few compasses, several small torches, a metal lighter with a macabre skull carving on the side with plenty extra fuel, in short, enough to supply a small army travelling from antartica to the sahara, Aiden finally paid.
As Aiden drove away he noticed several police cars slowly driving by. He did his best to ignore them.
Next was the general supermarket. Aiden bought yet anoher backpack, bigger, more decorative and with much more pockets and such this time, and bought enough deodorant, body wash, shampoo, toothpaste and mouthwash to fill one section, enough long lasting food such as oatmeal, trail mix, chocolate bars tinned foods to fill another and finally enough general medicine to fill a third. Filling his trolley with these, along with two great bottles of water, a roll of plastic bin bags, a huge, expensive first aid kit with several smaller ones, even a picnic set of plastic tubs and boxes, knives, forks and spoons and even plates. He even found a jerry-can he could fill with extra fuel. On top of this he bought enough food to stock the killer’s fridge for a week. Finally he stopped by the ammunition and picked up as many 9mm rounds as he legally could and enough magazines to hold them all. His trolley piled high, he again finally paid.
He only realised when getting back to his car what a herculean task it would be to get all this into it. First he opened the back doors, and spent a good ten minutes clearing out all the crap. The huge duffel bag then fit nicely across half the rear footwells and Aiden neatly stored all his new clothing into it, his boots and running shoes sitting under the passanger seat. The big backpack, his ‘home bag’, sat behind the driver seat with all medicine, food and hygene needs packed tightly inside and the sleeping bag, inflatable pillow inside it, clipped nicely onto the side with a carabiner. The ‘adventure’ backpack sat half beside, half ontop of that with his ammunition, a metal waterbottle and his new swiss army knife. The huge water bottles, sat in the boot with Aiden’s pre-existing car care kit and the new jerry can.
As he was packing all of this in, he heard a car pull in nearby, a cop car. He thought nothing of it and went about his business, but they clearly thought him packing all this away was odd, giving him strange glance after strange glance and muttering to each other. Aiden gave them a nod, a silent greeting. They didn’t return in. Aiden continued packing his car.
“Hey, excuse me!” one of the cops came striding over.
“Yeah!” was all Aiden said, raising himself from the back of the car and squinting at the cop in the sunlight. What did this guy want? None of what Aiden was doing was wrong.
“We’re looking for someone” the cops face was completely hidden behind their sunglasses, as was the second’s who came trotting up behind with a flyer of some sort. He thrust it out to Aiden.
“You seen this man?” they asked. Aiden took the flyer and looked. It was the cannibal. Of course the cops were still looking for him. With a confident sniff Aiden furrowed his brow a moment, then with uprutned lips and nose shook his head.
“Nah, sorry man” he handed the flyer back. Only one cop was there.
“You, uh, going somewhere son?” the second cop was stood beside his car, looking in through the still open back door. Prick.
“Ah, just camping for a couple days.”
Aiden’s voice went deep, anything to project confidence. He brought a laugh to his face as he played stupid.
“Hell, camping, I hardly even get out of the car up there. Just sit there and drink.”
He laughed to the cop who didn’t return it. He looked at Aiden for a minute, maybe, it was hard to tell behind those sunglasses. After the longest pause cop one finally drew breath.
“Alright” he said, turning he head to his colleage, then back to Aiden “Be careful up there. Let us know if you do.” He handed the flyer back to Aiden and walked away.
So they were out looking for the killer, no, somebody who looked like the killer. Could they actually know who it was yet? How well known was that psycho and, more importantly, how long until the cops came to his house?
One final stop, a tech shop, Aiden had been looking forwards to this. A laptop was the first thing he needed. He scoured the shelves, ignoring all wording and focussing only on the quoted specs. An assistant asked if he could be of any help but Aiden politely sent him away, he knew more. Aiden smiled at the realisation that his attempted murderer could afford the best laptop in here, but he didn’t stop there. Two solar chargers, one to fit to the car window another smaller and portable, a leather laptop bag, several portable power banks, small video security cameras, memory cards, Aiden was a child in a toy shop. He added one final thing, a small remote control drone with a camera and microphone. Maybe he’d let the money run away with him a bit.
Back at the killer’s house Aiden began to feel human again. Another shower with actual body wash and shampoo this time, then dressing in new clothing, complete with the softest socks in the world, he hadn’t smiled this much in years. He put on his new boots, breaking them in as he threw his old clothes in the bin and sat at the kitchen table with his new tech, his new laptop. He reformatted the hard drive, wiping it completely clean of anything the factory put on it, and installed his own operating system from his pen drive. This would be his computer.
The killer’s laptop from upstairs sat beside it, whilst the OS on his own laptop configured and between compiling his various kernals and scripts, he went onto the killer’s social media. How well known was this guy? How many people could identify him from the flyer sat beside? Looking at his profile, he had a fair few friends but not a huge amount, mostly work colleagues. Surely the police had been to the hospital with those flyers, especially if they thought the killer was injured?
In perfect timing to interrupt Aidens thoughts, a noise thundered out. The table, hell, Aiden’s head felt like it was vibrating it was so loud. It sounded like some old horn or trumpet, one loud continuous note, and just as suddenly as it had began, it ended.
Aiden drew a sharp breath. His gun was upstairs with the bag of food, meds and toiletries, dubbed his Home Bag. Aiden froze staring at the door, did that noise come from there? He stood and silently walked over to the basement door, it was still locked.
He sprinted upstairs and grabbed his gun. He checked the magazine, more for a habit than anything, he couldn’t see through the container to how many bullets were left and he hadn’t had chance to reload yet.
Let’s see, one by the car, one in the leg, three in the chest, one in the head, six fired. Ten left.
Aiden slapped the magazine back in and sprinted back down the stairs. As soon as he came to the bottom floor his gun was trained on the door. It was still closed. He stood a moment and listened as best he could. No sound. He moved to the door and tried it again, still locked.
He spun around and searched the house. Nobody. It was completely empty. Finally he accepted what had to happen and with a deep breath, he unlocked the basement door.
He took each step of that staircase as if it were a landmine, going as slowly and gently as he could, hating every creak. The basement was completely black. Aiden grabbed a torch from his pocket and held it in his left hand, using his wrist to support the handgun in his right, aiming both torch and gun togheter. Nobody was down there. Aiden reached the bottom of the steps and flicked on the light, putting the torch back in his pocket as he sweeped the room, handgun always ready. Nobody was there. The bodies were still where he had left them, looking worse and worse each time, and that hideous altar still sat in the middle like a fat slob amid his own filth. Aiden was half tempted to shoot the book for the sake of it.
One thing Aiden did notice was the smell, or rather lack of smell. The basement has always stank from the rotting bits on the altar, made all the more fragrant from the two copses here. But now the smell was weaker, some of the air even tasted… fresh. There was one more thing Aiden noticed. All over the ground, throughout the entire room, amongst the symbols, the blood and gore, were countless little wet spots. When Aiden looked closer, quite a few of them held small melting dots of ice.
“It will test you!”
Aiden spun around, waving his gun frantically! He had heard it, clear as a bell. A voice, loud and extremely deep, sounded as if it was right behind his ear. There was nobody, he was alone. He looked again to the nurse’s body, to the altar, to the decapitated cannibal…
Aiden flicked the safety back on his gun.
Stress does strange things to your head.