Short Story VIII: The Darkness

 

When Walter Kristiansen, the head of fundraising at the local development charity in Fairmont, Minnesota, recently witnessed the murder on Jacqueline Holmes on Tilden street, it changed his life.
It changed everything.

This quiet city never had a murder taken place within its city limits.
Once a year a robbery, a couple of assault charges and really, the highest crime rates were to be found in cases of burglaries and thefts, but never anything as big as a murder.
Last year, they had arrested Drunk Dickie Blackstone for setting fire to his own house, after his wife kicked him out, but that’s probably all the crime the city knows. Or had known.
It is actually a really nice place to live in and has the typical ups and downs a city can have.

Walter walked home after a long day of work and decided to stroll around a little more, since his wife left three days ago for a family visit to Minneapolis. There was no one waiting at home for him, except Fred. Their big red, fat cat, who was probably sleeping away the day anyway. Like a typical day in the lives of the Kristiansens.
No, he decided to extend his daily walk from work with a few extra miles, by going down Webster Street all the way to Sissleton Lake and watch the water. And then return home through Tilden and Charlotte Park, to get a sandwich at the Five Lakes and finally East Blue Earth Avenue, where their cute little house was.

He was looking out over the lake in Wards Park, it was his sanctuary after a busy day. It was comforting to him to just do nothing and stare into the dark blue, knowing it was just him and the calming noise of the trees, swaying in the wind, the birds and the lake. And at this time of night, everyone was either home, at the dinner table, or still at work.
No cars driving up the road, just silence.
The perfect remedy for a stressful day at the job.
In the distance he could see the Courthouse tower and left from it was Lake Avenue.

He looked at his watch and saw it was 7:14pm, time to head on back home. Fred’s probably waiting for his ‘As good as it looks’-crap, which really didn’t look that good to Walter. But the fatty loved it anyway.
Walter decided to walk back.

He was almost at the church, when he heard a loud, screeching sound coming from a few blocks up ahead. It was a scary, blood freezing sound, which sent a chill down his spine there for a second. He tried to look ahead, but couldn’t see through the trees.
For a second he debated if he should take the left here to avoid any trouble or just don’t be a wuss and walk on. It’s probably nothing. So he decided to stay on Tilden.
As he closed in on South Orient, just before the dark brown house on the left, that once belonged to Marvin Smith and his son, who passed away last year after a car crash upstate, he could see the church.
There was a foul smell hanging around here, like chicken breasts that have been forgotten in the fridge for a couple of days, mixed with some sort of Sulphur odor.
It was bad. And getting worse, the closer he got to the church. What was that smell?!
He shook his head in disgust and walked a few more steps until he heard this screeching sound again.
This time it was a lot closer than before, and it made Walter doubt if he hadn’t better take a left earlier. The stench was getting worse.
Suddenly the sky above the church turned darker. Walter looked around, back to the road he came on and saw that the air was a lot lighter behind him.
He faced towards the church again and saw that the center of this darkness was hovering above it.
Above the skinny church tower floated some sort of shadow-like creature with wings, it seemed. That couldn’t be right?!?
But it was a very weird shape to be a rain cloud.
In the parking lot, he saw Jacqueline. Standing there, looking up to the sky, being just as astound as he was.
He called out to her: “Jacqueline! Hey!”
Jacqueline turned her head and looked at him.
“What are you doing? What is this? I think you should get out of the parking lot”
Her eyes were big, she raised her shoulders and shook her head.
“I don’t know Walter! Never seen anything like it!”
The spine chilling screeching sound went through their bones and the air was getting thicker. There was a storm brewing on the lot. Walter looked around, but this storm was only focusing on the church.
“Get out of there!”
A car alarm went off, as a blue trash bin blew against the hood of a tan Ford.
Walter crossed the street to get to Jacqueline, but the storm was getting wilder. It looked like there was a hurricane starting above the church tower and twirled the surrounding air around it, faster and faster.
“Jacq! Come here!… What the…” Walter yelled as he had to duck to avoid a bicycle flying up to him.
Whatever this was, it was getting out of hand and he had to get Jacqueline out of there before she would get hurt. She just stood there looking up at the shadow.

Suddenly a lightning strike thundered through the dark shadow. In a fraction of a second it seemed like it had a bright face. Fiery white eyes and a mouth with glowing pale fangs were connected by bolts of lightning, that created a countenance of white, pulsating blood vessels.

Like a frozen statue, she stood there, not able to move.
A red Chrysler that was parked in front of her, started to move back and forth with the wind. The tires were slipping on the asphalt.
Walter got up and tried to walk towards Jacqueline. But the air current was too strong. He could see a green, metal garbage container starting to slide towards her.
“Jacq! Look out!! Get the hell out of there”
But she was nailed to the floor. All she could do is look at the dark shadow above her.
It was as if it was calling to her. As if it had put her in a trance.
Walter managed to get closer bit by bit, until another lightning flash revealed the monstrosity again. This time it was roaring and it seemed like it was looking right at him. A cacophony of a thousand screaming souls, the thundering laugh of a Demon, the same screeching sound that it produced before and chains rattling.
Everything was trembling and now all the car alarms were going off.
The petrifying face of this shadow creature was looking at Walter as if it was judging him, condemning him.
Then it turned to Jacqueline and raised its head with an awful scream that made Walter’s blood freeze. He couldn’t move, he was so cold but his veins were burning under his skin. He felt his eyes get bigger, forced to open wide as can be and his teeth started chattering uncontrollably fast.
The creature spread humongous shadowy wings and shot straight up in the air. When it was about 200 feet high up in the sky, it started spinning and made a dive right at Jacqueline.
“Noooo!!!”
The shadow disappeared completely into Jacqueline’s body and lifted it up in the air.
She started to shake, her torso horizontal, arms and legs hanging down. Foam started to appear around her mouth.
Walter couldn’t move, as much as he tried, there was a force holding him back.
A very high-pitched squeal was ringing in his ears. It became louder and louder; he could feel it in his bones.
Jacqueline started to shake faster, it was like she was flying up and down and up and down, with a 3 feet frequency. But so fast that it seemed like a blurry picture.
Suddenly the squealing stopped and she stopped shaking.
She just hung there.
Walter could feel the force that was holding him in place, calm down. He tried to crawl towards her. Bit by bit he came closer and when he was finally there…
A low zooming noise came from her body.
“Jacq….”
Then Walter reached out for her. He tried to grab her hand that was hanging down from her floating body.
When he was almost close enough he heard a loud pop and warm, sticky fluid was covering his face. It dripped in his eyes, leaving him without sight.
He wiped his face with the sleeve of his jacket and when he could see again, Jacqueline was gone.
Instead, the ground was covered with red, meaty pieces of… Wait…
“No… Jacqueline…”
He looked around but no sign of her.
Just this gooey, red stuff everywhere, with big chunks of, what looked like, meat.
He looked at his sleeve, with which he just wiped his face clean. The same stuff…
It was everywhere. He reached down and with his thumb and index finger he felt the red stained asphalt. He looked at his fingers and slowly, in disbelief, he brought his two fingers together and rubbed them… It was… blood… Her blood…
His stomach started to turn. He felt his body temperature drop and he wanted to throw up.
This couldn’t be true… Oh, he felt sick to his stomach…
Jacqueline… Did she… Explode?…
What was this…
The scary, loud, screeching sound from before started to come up again.

What happened today, would change his life.
It would change everything.
Walter looked up and saw the darkness flying into him with a dizzying speed. Then everything turned black.

“Honey? What’s taking you so long?”
“I’m coming, sweetheart.”
Walter looked at his reflection in the mirror. He grinned… As his eyes turned black…

 

 

 

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