When was the last time you read something truly disturbing?
Well, I have a story in an anthology out in a few days from Bloodshot Books, Not Your Average Monster 2, that I think is the creepiest thing I’ve ever written.
The anthology is a collection of monster short stories, but without vampires, werewolves and ghosts. Not your average monsters, you see.
Here is the cover:
While I’d be the first to admit that you should be wary of any anthology that would print a story by yours truly (except for Apex Book of World SF 4, that one has some real talent), NYAM2 also has some amazing talent, including Nisi Shawl. NISI SHAWL PEOPLE!
Anyway. Below is the first part of my story in Not Your Average Monster 2. To read the whole thing, you gotta buy the book.
With Covered Eyes
As he stood outside the small house in the night-time rain, watching the other police officers take their positions in those slow tense moments before the shouting started, Jon thought of how he had never fired his gun. He held it and checked that the safety was off and looked up as the officer by the door turned towards him, waiting for his signal. Hoping, as always, that this wouldn’t be that time.
The squat house seemed to cower away from the outside world. Two steps led down to the front door, as if someone had been digging for a basement but decided on just building a house instead, halfway through. Or maybe the house was sinking into the ground. It had all the inviting charm of a toad sitting in a muddy hole. A pedophile’s house.
The bulb in a light post on the street behind them went out, turning the scene darker, one less reflection on the wet uniforms. A single drop of rain slid down Jon’s neck as he raised his hand with two fingers extended, like a child mimicking a gun, and then lowered them quickly, indicating that the moment was upon them. He just hoped that they wouldn’t find any children inside.
The officer knocked on the door, three hard bangs of a fist on the thin wood.
“Mr. Hendsley, this is the police. Open the door.”
The patter of rain on uniforms.
“Mr. Hendsley, you have until the count of three to open the door or we’re coming in!”
An officer by a window at the side of the house waved at Jon. Jon turned and the officer pointed and nodded; Mr. Hendsley was inside. Jon turned back to the officer by the door and gave him the signal to knock it down. They needed to do this before Hendsley could kill himself or delete any evidence from his computers. He was a known pedophile, but it was important to be able to prove it, and without evidence obtained at the house this would be difficult.
The door broke in and officers poured into the house, pointing their guns and shouting “clear” as if they thought a single fat man was a threat. Playing at movies.
Jon entered last, hesitantly going into the deep darkness again. He knew there would be no gunfire, though there was often some sort of confrontation. Hendsley was a loner, and had hopefully not worked up the courage yet to steal or entice a child into his house. All they expected to find was a man sitting by his computer, deleting file after file of children being abused. But that did not turn out to be the case.
Jon entered the man’s living room to an odd scene.
An officer stood, pointing his weapon at the obese man.
“Put it down, now!”
Hendsley was tearing out the tape from a video cassette, ripping the brown strip of film that contained the actual recording out of the plastic cassette itself. It was clear from the smell that he had defecated himself.
“He’ll come for me, he’ll come and hurt me and make me….” he said as he tore at the tape. Hendsley’s eyes were glazed-over and his skin glistened with greasy sweat.
The living room had a single three-seat couch with an orange blanket covering it, a TV in a corner and a computer by a desk. The computer was on, displaying what seemed to be some sort of message board. Usually the pedophiles would try to destroy files from the computer, sometimes even the computer itself.
Jon drew his gun and pointed it at Hendsley. “Mr. Hendsley, drop the video tape. Now.”
The fat man kept pulling out reams of tape. Jon directed two officers to take him down and he noted the hesitation in their movements. No one wants to tackle a fat man with shit all over himself.
Jon looked on as two officers led Hendsley into a car and drove off. He was about to walk to his own car when another officer, Grode or Grange, he wasn’t sure, walked up to him. Just a kid, really. Eager. Still had his soul intact.
“I wonder what’s on that tape,” the officer said, filler for an awkward silence.
Jon looked at him. Found innocence in his eyes. Grode.
Jon then turned away and looked at the fading lights from the patrol car driving off with Hendsley. “Don’t. You never want to see the evidence in these cases.”
“Yeah, well I hope they castrate the guy,” he called after Jon. Not an uncommon sentiment in town, though Jon held out that everyone, even men like Hendsley, deserved a fair hearing.
Jon walked to his car and wished he’d never stopped smoking, a drag would be just the thing right now, and as he drove away the single thought in his mind was that he never wanted to see what was on that fucking tape. If the pedophile’s first thought was destroying it, above the gigabytes of material on his computer, it had to be something vile. And the way he had been whispering as he did it.
Jon couldn’t help but think that Hendsley had been afraid of something other than the police.
Want the rest? Pre-order Not Your Average Monster 2.