Primordial Soup

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Chapter 9

Mike Taylor had only taken over his dad’s milk round last month, but he was enjoying it tremendously. He loved the early mornings, the empty roads, and the tranquillity of the countryside. Mike’s dad had finally decided to retire after delivering the milk for forty-two years, saying it was time to put his feet up and hand the business over to Mike.

Mike’s grandfather had started the dairy in the days of milk urns and horse and carts. He had handed it down to his son and now Mike had the reins, so to speak.

He’d been out since four this morning delivering to the remote cottages and now he was on his way out to their biggest customer, the research facility off the Stourbridge road, then the small store and customers in Stourbridge village, and then off to bed for a few hours.

Customers had been dropping off lately. The new bypass had made it easier for people to drive the twenty odd miles to the town of Middleton and the large supermarkets. If they ever lost the research facility Mike knew it would be a big drop in their income.

As he approached the bridge, he saw a car, an old series BMW pulled over to the opposite kerb. The lights were on and the driver’s door was open. Mike stopped the milk float behind the car. He looked around for the driver, but the road was empty in both directions.

He got out of the milk float and walked around to the driver’s side. When he saw a pair of legs sticking out of the open door he quickened his pace.

He called out as he reached the car. ‘Are you all right?’

Resting one hand on the roof he leaned down to look into the car. The first thing he saw were the dark red bloodstains on the white leather interior, then the body, or what was left of it. The gaping cavern that had once been a living human abdomen looked like a carcass from an abattoir, stripped of all its organs. Most of the face had been ripped off, the teeth and jawbone shining out under the car’s roof light. Two empty blood filled eye sockets stared blankly up at him.

‘Oh my God!’

He covered his mouth and nose as the putrefying smell of rotting flesh hit his nostrils, staggering away from the car he leant on the boot for support as his bile rose, then vomited until his stomach was empty.

Wiping the spittle from his chin with his sleeve, a thought crossed his mind. Whatever did this might still be around.

Mike ran for the milk float and jumped in, slammed his foot hard on the accelerator and turned the float around, striking the chrome bumper of the car as he pulled out and drove back over the bridge. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his mobile phone, dialled and put the phone to his ear.

The operator came on. ‘What service do you require?’

‘Police. I need the police,’ he shouted, his voice bordering on hysteria. ‘There’s a body... it’s in a car on the bridge... it’s been eaten by something.’

‘Please try to calm down sir. Tell me exactly were you are.’

Mike gained some control over his voice. ’I’m in a milk float on Stourbridge road, just past the bridge coming into town.

‘Sir. Can you wait there?’

‘No. Whatever killed and ate that man could still be out here.’

‘The police have been informed and are on their way to you. I suggest you continue along that road until you see them. I’ve informed them of what you are driving.’

Mike cut the call. He put the mobile phone on the seat beside him and pressed harder on the accelerator. He was just approaching the old warehouses fronting the industrial estate when a crate of milk fell off the side of the float.

As he looked back through the cab window more crates fell over and crashed on to the road. He saw a dark shape coming through the centre of the stacked crates. A monstrous thing on the back of the float stopped and looked at him. Mike looked back and met the creatures evil stare.

The thing on the back was big; it had multiple legs, a huge gaping mouth filled with sharp pointed teeth dripping long sticky drools of saliva, and long curved claws that screeched as they scraped along the metal deck of the float towards him. Its glowing red eyes were huge slits and it was staring right at him.

With lightning speed, it launched itself at him. Mike screamed, his arms instinctively coming up to protect his face. The creature hit the perspex screen that divided the cab from the back and bounced off. It hit the crates on the side of the float and crashed onto the road amid pools of milk and broken glass.

Mike pushed the accelerator down to the floor and looked into the side mirror; it was up and gaining on him and the milk float had no doors. With a top speed of around twenty he knew he had no chance of out running it

As the creature grew level with the open doorway it launched itself at the cab. Mikes boot kicked the thing in the face sending it rolling across the ground. Undeterred it was up and running after him again.

As he reached the industrial estate three police cars sped towards him, sirens going and lights flashing.

The creature saw the police cars and changed direction. It shot through an open gateway and into the abandoned industrial estate. The police cars screamed to a halt in front of the milk float, forcing Mike to hit the brake hard. The remaining crates on the back flew forward and crashed into the back of the cab.

Mike jumped out of the float and ran to the police cars. The two officers in the lead car were already out and running for the fence that surrounded the industrial estate. By the time they got there the creature had covered most of the open ground in front of the derelict buildings. It stopped, looked around at them, then raced across the rest of the open ground and disappeared in to one of the empty buildings.

The two officers looked at each other in disbelief. They walked back to the cars where there was now a group of four officers trying to calm Mike down.

‘What the fuck was that?’ PC Dave Prentiss asked.

‘I don’t know,’ replied Mike, still shaking. ‘But if it hadn’t been for you turning up when you did I think I’d be dead now.’

PC Tomlin’s reached into the police car and picked up the radio mike. ‘Bravo Two to control.’

The speaker burst into life, seeming very loud on the quiet empty road.

‘Control here, Bravo Two.’

‘Can you get the Sergeant on the radio? We’re going to need help out here.’

‘I’ll pass you over.’

‘What’s the problem?’

‘Sarge it’s Tomlin’s. We’re outside the old industrial estate on Stourbridge Road. We’ve met the milkman. He was being chased by a... well a monster... I’ve never seen anything like it Sarge. It saw us and shot off into the old industrial estate. Trevor and Dave got a good look at it though. We definitely need animal control and ARP out here. I don’t think I’d want to go up against it.’

The Sergeant’s voice came back. ‘You’ll have to manage, the switchboard’s been going crazy with reports of animal attacks all night. What the bloody hells going on?’

‘I don’t know Sarge, but you’d better get in touch with HQ on this one.’

‘Tomlin’s I want that crime scene at the bridge secured. Send two cars to the bridge and you...’

The radio speaker went dead. Tomlin’s pressed the side button. ‘Sarge?’ He let the button go. Silence. He tried again but all the speaker was giving out was static. He tried his personal radio, nothing, just the same static.

Tomlin’s replaced the mike and turned to his colleagues. ‘We’ve lost contact with control, but you all heard the Sarge. You better get up there before someone else does.’

PC Trevor Bayliss slapped his partner on the shoulder. ‘Might get a bit of overtime out of this one Dave.’

Dave Prentiss laughed, nervously. ‘If there’s any more of those things up there you might not get to spend it.’

The five officers got into two cars, and with lights flashing and sirens on they sped off to the bridge.

Tomlins opened the car door. ‘If you’d like to get in the car sir we can take your statement.’

‘You don’t have to ask me twice, but leave the engine running, just in case that thing comes back.’

Mike sat in the front of the police car, making sure the door was shut.

Tomlin’s got in, shut the door and engaged the central locking.

With both doors closed Mike felt a bit safer.

’Reaching into his top pocket the policeman pulled out a notebook and pencil. ‘If you could start from the beginning.’

As Mike began to tell the officer what happened something bumped into the side of the car.

Tomlin’s turned to look out of his side window; it exploded inwards, showering them both with glass.

Mike screamed and cowered down in the passenger seat.

The policeman reached for the gear stick, but before he had the chance to put the car in gear a claw came in through the open window, hooked his throat and dragged him out of his seat. His large frame caught on the steering wheel and stopped him going all the way out. His body began to shake violently and his legs thrashed about in the foot-well, catching the accelerator and revving the engine.

Mike snatched for the gear lever and rammed it into reverse. As the car lurched backwards, Tomlin’s fell back into his seat with blood spurting from his neck where his head should have been attached. Jets of blood hit the roof like a fountain, covering the inside of the car and soaking Mike in the steaming liquid.

Wiping the blood from his eyes he looked through the blood-streaked windscreen as the car continued to go backwards. The thing was sitting in the road in front, it appeared to be having problems getting up.

Mike got his foot over into the foot-well and hit the brake pedal. He knocked the gear lever into neutral. The car skidded to a stop, the engine revving madly. He kicked Tomlin’s foot off the accelerator, put the car into drive, held on to the steering wheel and hit the accelerator pedal hard.

The car shot forward leaving smoke and rubber behind and hit the creature head on.

The impact caused Mike to fly forward and strike his head on the windscreen. As the car continued to move over the creature he heard a sickening series of thumps as it was slammed against the underneath of the car.

He fell back between the seats, stunned by the blow to his head. The coppery smell of blood quickly brought him to his senses, he pulled himself up and transferred his foot to the brake. The car screeched to a halt.

Mike put the car in park and turned to look through the rear window. The creature was lying in the road, motionless.

He reached over and opened the driver’s door. Pushing with all his strength he pushed the policeman’s headless body out of the car, it hit the ground with a sickening thud, but his legs remained trapped.

Movement drew Mike’s attention to the road behind, he saw the thing was getting up. It sat there for a long moment then screamed and ran at the vehicle, dragging its back legs along the ground.

Mike quickly climbed over to the blood soaked drivers seat. He put the car in drive and hit the accelerator. The open door slammed heavily into the officer’s trapped legs with bone breaking force.

The car sped off with the headless body of the policeman dragging and bouncing along the road.

Mike looked in the rear view mirror and saw the creature was falling behind; it seemed to be having trouble using its rear legs. He stopped the car, lifted the policeman’s legs and pushed them out onto the road.

The thing screamed and scuttled along the road, its rear legs dragging behind it but not slowing it down.

As he drove off. The back wheels ran over the policeman’s legs, crushing them. He looked in the rear view mirror and could see the creature had stopped to feed. Mike pushed the accelerator hard and sped off towards the bridge and the safety of the other police officers.

The bridge was deserted. Slowing the car he leaned forward to wipe the blood off the windscreen, but only managed to smear it more as his hands were also covered in blood. He stopped about ten feet from the police cars. There was no one to be seen.

‘Where the Fuck are they?’

The only sound was the quiet humming of the high performance engine. He reached down to the centre console and found the switch that operated the sirens. He switched it on, filling the air with the two tones. He flicked it back off, no one appeared. The silence returned heavier than before.

Wiping the blood from the face of his watch, he saw that it was 05:20. The sky was getting noticeably brighter.

The sun should be up soon, he thought.

The sound of something heavy being dragged along the ground drew his attention to the cars in front. He saw a creature backing out from behind the police car. As it cleared the front of the car he could see it was different from the one that had attacked him and killed the policeman.

This one had no legs; it looked like a huge bulbous seal, its wet bloated body glistening with rainbow colours in time with the police cars flashing lights. It moved with a sliding motion, its body rhythmically undulating.

As it moved further into view, he saw one of the policemen hanging from its huge mouth. Only his upper body was visible, his arms trailed along the floor as the monstrosity slithered backwards.

There were no hands sticking out of the sleeves, just stumps, leaving thin trails of blood as it moved backwards.

It reached the parapet and its pointed tail end slid up and over the wall, dragging the policeman with it. A high-pitched scream filled the air and a smaller creature with a huge head and covered in patches of dense fur scurried out from behind the police car. It rushed towards the glistening thing that was dragging the policeman.

As the bulbous creature slipped over the wall the smaller one pounced and engulfed the policeman’s head in its cavernous mouth. Both creatures had a tug of war over the policeman’s body until the head and body ripped apart.

Dripping blood, hanging sinews and part of a spine trailed along the floor. It raised its head and swallowed it whole. Then it lowered its head to the ground and its body began to convulse, as if it was choking.

Its mouth opened and as it gagged it ejected a clean white human skull, which rolled along the pavement towards Mike. The creature then began to change shape as it turned and scurried over the wall.

Mike put his head out of the window and wretched until his already empty stomach and throat hurt. He rested his head on the door and breathed in deeply. When noises came from the group of cars in front he remembered what had happened to the policeman. He quickly pulled his head back into the car.

A group of creatures, large and small, misshapen and of unimaginable horror, headed for the low parapet wall. Mike shrank down into the blood soaked seat, shaking with fear.

What the Fuck are they? he thought. Creatures like this only exist in nightmares, not in real life.

As they reached the wall, one of them, a tall gangly bat like thing with red glowing eyes, turned its head and looked straight at him. It moved awkwardly towards the car on clawed spindly legs. Leathery wings opened slowly and its mouth dripped with stringy gobs of red saliva. The other creatures, sensing new prey, all turned and looked towards Mike.

‘Oh Shit! They’ve seen me.’

He sat up and put the car in reverse and very slowly moved the car backwards, trying not to spook the creatures.

As the sky brightened with the first rays of sunlight, the creatures stopped moving towards the car, they looked up and as if seeing daylight for the first time they all began screaming. A cacophony of sounds filled the air with a terrifying noise.

Mike stopped the car and sat watching in fascinated horror at the legion from Hell. As he sat motionless, squelching in the blood soaked seat, they turned and ran, or scurried to the bridge wall and disappeared over it, as if they were frightened of the light.

Only the bat like one remained. It stood erect, wings outstretched, staring at him. Its mouth opened as it looked towards the sky. Bright red spittle flew from its mouth as it screamed a high wounded sound. It looked back towards Mike; it seemed hesitant to move forwards.

As the sun rose higher it turned and climbed on to the parapet wall, folded its wings, and with a final look back it disappeared over the bridge.

Mike breathed a sigh of relief. He rested his head on the steering wheel, waiting for the courage to get out of the car. He looked all around but couldn’t see or hear any of the creatures. Reluctantly he opened the door and got out.

The sky had brightened with the morning sun, but the normal dawn chorus was absent, the air was completely still and not one bird flew across the empty sky.

He walked slowly up to the police car. He saw the white skull on the pavement that the creature had vomited up; it had been stripped clean as though dipped in acid, its empty eye sockets staring up at the sky.

Mike shivered.

The interior of the police car was covered in blood, but it was empty. He walked around to the other side of the car. Bones and strips of blue rags that had once been police uniforms were strewn all across the road. The BMW was empty, the corpse was gone.

They must have dragged it away, he thought.

The interior of the other police car was also drenched with blood. The sweet coppery smell that filled the air made him gag. He quickly backed away. Another white skull on the floor stared up at him, picked completely clean.

Looking furtively around, he walked quickly back to his car, got in and shut the door, feeling vulnerable with the window missing.

Noticing the radio, he pulled the mike off its cradle and wiped it down his jeans to get rid of some of the sticky blood that coated the mouthpiece, then pressed the button on the side.

‘Hello. Can anyone hear me? I’m out on Stourbridge Road. At the bridge. All the police officers are dead. I need help.’

He let the button go. The radio returned only static. He pressed the button again.

‘Hello. Is anyone there?’

No response.

He threw the mike across the passenger seat and put the car into reverse, turned the car around and headed towards town.

’There should be traffic on the roads at this time. ‘Where the Fuck is everyone?’

As he approached the milk float he saw that the policeman’s body was gone. All that remained was a large dark stain in the road to show that he’d ever been there.

‘That thing must have dragged him away to eat him, there’s not even a bone left.’

The sun was now higher in the sky and the morning was a lot brighter. His throat hurt from being sick and he had a bad taste in his mouth. He looked in both directions to see if anyone or anything was around, but the road was deserted.

He walked over to the milk float and took a carton of orange juice from the few remaining crates, opened it and drank until it was empty, then threw the carton back into the crate and walked over to the fence.

Scanning the grounds and buildings to see if there was any sign of life or movement, he saw a trail of blood leading across the open ground from a hole in the fence, it was deserted.

He turned around and looked both ways along the road. ‘Thank God they don’t like daylight.’

Mike sat in the police car, the pool of blood squelching through his already blood soaked clothing. ‘Where the hell is everyone? Why is there no traffic?’

The radio was lit up showing the waveband it was on. He reached for the mike and pressed the button on the side.

‘Hello. Can anyone hear me?’

The familiar static returned. Changing the waveband didn’t help either, each time he released the button there was only static.

Where’s the help that was supposed to be coming? What had the policeman asked for? Animal control and armed response. Well, where the bloody hell are they?

He threw the mike on the seat and shut the door, the sound echoed up and down the empty road. He put the car in gear and accelerated away.

‘My mobile. It’s in the float.’

He slammed on the brakes and quickly reversed. He got out and retrieved his phone, sat back in the police car and brought up his home number. He pressed the call button and let it ring for a while, but there was no answer.

‘Why didn’t dad answer? He’s always up at this time. Oh God! If there are more of these creatures they might have reached Stourbridge. Mum, Dad and Jenny could be in danger.’

The tyres left two plumes of black smoke as Mike floored the accelerator and drove off at high speed towards town.

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