Shadow Crawlers. Part 9.

So my week was pretty good, Wednesday, we had the anthology launch, which seemed to go pretty well, it was a fun night. today is also the day that I hand in my thesis, which is slightly unnerving, it final step and I’m done! Well, at least until the graduation in a few months.

On with the show!

________________________________________________________________

Part 1, Part 8

The drive back to the house was uneventful, Dom immediately corralled them into his office when they entered the house. “What happened?” “Nothing. Place was clear, Tom’s body was still there.” “Did you have a good look around?” “Yeah, had a look about the place. Nothing unusual. Maybe there was some kind of booby trap, poison gas. Even if it was an animal, it was long gone when we got there.” Dom nodded. “So you’re saying the place is empty still?” “Yeah, pretty much.” “Think we should go in again, clear the place out?” “I’d leave it. They’ll think Tom was the only one. If too much is missing they’ll know he had help. His body being there gives us an out.” Dom nodded. “Yeah. Good thinking.” Dom frowned slightly, and scratched at his head. Grady hadn’t said anything yet, she was still pissed they had to go back. “Good. Well, unless there’s anything else, you guys have the rest of the night off. Everyone else is out on jobs. They should be back in an hour or so. We’ll sort whatever they get in the morning, you guys can get some sleep if you want. I think there’s some food in the kitchen.” Grady was the first to leave the room, not giving Dom a chance to change his mind. He was always insistent that they sort everything that was brought in immediately, but she wasn’t going to complain. He wouldn’t go back on his word now, so if he did change his mind, he’d just get everyone else to do it. She went into the kitchen and made herself a sandwich, there was some food, but she was never a big fan of stew. All those globs of floating meat. Something about it just grossed her out. A moment later Brett came into the kitchen, he went straight for the stew. “It smells good.” “I guess.” “At least it was an uneventful night, I’m looking forward to getting some sleep.” “Yeah me too, I haven’t been sleeping too well lately. Hoping an early night might fix it.” Brett nodded sympathetically, she’d be having some fucked up dreams tonight. Grady walked by him, finishing off the last few bites of her sandwich. “Good night.” “Night.” Brett ate the food quickly, not bothering to heat it up. Dom was getting a bit suspicious. He could see it in Dom’s eyes. Dom wasn’t thinking as fast as usual, was making dangerous calls. He hadn’t expected the night off, but it was a welcome gift. He had a long night ahead of him, and the sooner he started the sooner he’d finish.

He heaved the body over the wall, letting it drop to the ground with a heavy thud. She was unconscious, would be for a while longer. There was no rush, the other one was tied up in the car. He scaled the wall and landed quietly on the other side. The woman groaned slightly. Maybe she wouldn’t be unconscious for too much longer. He heard a shrill shriek coming from the house. He looked around before remembering that no one else would be able to hear it. Man she must be pissed. Oh well. Better deal with this now. He bent and picked up the woman and casually slung her over his shoulder. He went in through the window, reminding himself to look for some keys, he’d be spending more time here in the future. Up ahead he heard something break. He hoped she didn’t do too much damage. The house was warm, far warmer than it should have been. That was to be expected. He eased the door open slightly and threw the woman in, she was starting to wake finally. He slammed the door shut, a moment later he heard the screams, high and desperate. Something thudded against the door, blood oozed underneath it. It had taken longer than he had expected. He could hear her eating, he had made sure to get some good meat for her. He didn’t have the luxury, it took all his self-restraint to not eat that fucker Tom. God only knew what drugs he had in his system. He ended up eating the next person he came across, some poor fucker out for a walk. The meat was all stringy and tough. After a moment, he heard a satisfied belch come from inside the room. Good. He turned and went back outside.

It only took a moment for him to get the gates open, he drove in and closed them again. He stopped the car in front of the house, it would make his life easier. He opened the boot, the woman whimpered softly when she saw him again. Her left eye was a dark purple, the sickly bruise came up faster than he had anticipated. Oh well, she’d have to live with it for a while. She had worse bodies in the past. He pulled the woman out of the boot and carried her inside. He paused outside the door and knocked gently. “I have something for you, but you’re going to have to stay calm, contain yourself, ok?” There was a slight bang on the door. She understood. He opened the door and threw the woman in, not bothering to untie her. There was a scream, a yelp, then silence. He smiled, she was always a fast worker. He opened the door and the woman was already up and sitting on the desk. “Took you bloody long enough.” “Sorry. Had to deal with some other things.” The room wasn’t nearly as damaged as he expected, there were a few scorch marks, but that was it though the temperature had soared, already he was sweating. He walked towards her, she smiled and held out her arms for a hug, he walked right past and opened the window. “Christ I don’t know how you stand the heat.” She shrugged, he turned and hugged her. “It’s good to see you again.” He inhaled her scent, warm with just a hint of burnt wood, it was intoxicating. He let go and stepped back, she stretched luxuriously, “Thank you for this.” “No problem, figured you’d want to choose your own in a bit though.” “Good call.” “How long has it been?” “I don’t know exactly, at least a couple of hundred years.” “Wow. Long one then.” “Yeah.” “When did you get out?” “A few days ago, maybe a week, they days sort of blended together. Still not used to time.” She pouted, “What took you so long to get me?” “I had things to do.” She sighed dramatically. “Just be thankful I let you out at all. I didn’t have to.” She stood from the table and started to walk around the room carefully, after a few minutes she had the body doing what she wanted. She always learned fast. It would be impressive if it didn’t make her so dangerous. “So how long will I be stuck in this room?” “Not too much longer. You missed your window but I should be able to remedy that soon.” “Damn. Why did you let them leave?” “It’s better off that way, trust me.” “Fine. Make your silly little plans.” He smiled, wishing again that he could have released her himself. “Have you seen any of the others?” “No, but I’m sure they’re around here somewhere. Probably close. Guy was a collector, he would have wanted the entire set.” “Man, I’m starving. Is there any food around here?” He shook his head, she always did have an insatiable appetite. “I’ll go look.” “Hurry back.” He left the room and went towards the kitchen. It didn’t take him long to find something, it wouldn’t be high cuisine, but it would do for her. He read the instructions on the tins and emptied them into bowls, soon they were heated enough.

She took a bite of the food and made a face of disgust. “It’s that or nothing.” She ate slowly, letting her body get used to it. “So, what have I missed?” “A lot. Look around.” “Yeah, Indoor lights? So the fuck what? They were a long time coming.” “Not just that. Search through her mind.” “Ugh. I always hate doing that. I don’t like being reminded that the bodies are second hand.” She was silent for a few minutes. “Jeez, you’re right. Though this one is pretty damn stupid. God. You didn’t get me a pretty one, the least you could have done was gotten someone smart.” He shrugged. She was never happy. “So, what am I supposed to do while your off fucking around?” “Don’t worry. You’ll get out of there soon enough. Just have patience.” “At least get me something to do, I don’t want to spend all my time conversing with this one. It’d be enough to drive me insane.” “I’ll get you some books. She can read at least right?” “I think so.” “I might be able to lug in one of those computers, maybe do some research or something.” “I don’t think this one can use computers.” “You’ll figure it out.” She grimaced, “I can’t wait to get out of this body.” He walked up to her and kissed her gently on the cheek, “don’t worry, try to relax. I promise that soon we’ll be having fun again.”

It was late, or rather early, when he got back to the house. No one seemed to have noted his absence, before he left her he had brought in a few books and a laptop, she’d have some fun there. He didn’t think anyone would notice the old guys death, seemed like a bit of a recluse. At least from what he could gather in the brief moment he inhabited the body. He climbed the wall and settled into bed, the next few days would be busy, but he could handle it.

Grady’s dreams were twisted and feverish, people screamed and burned, flesh melting from their bones. Fire everywhere she was going to burn oh god, there was no escape she was going to- she woke up, sweating. Instantly she kicked the covers off herself, she was too hot, she needed air. She flung open her window and took deep  breaths of the cool air. The sweat on her skin became cold, chilling her. It was just after dawn, birds chirped to another, it was too early for her to be up, but she doubted she’d be able to get back asleep again. Sighing, she turned from the window, might as well get a start to the day, she grabbed a towel and headed for the bathroom, she wanted a long, cold shower. The thought of hot water unnerved her. She closed the bathroom door behind her and turned the knobs in the bath, after a moment she stepped into the water, shivering as the icy water hit her skin.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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4 Responses to Shadow Crawlers. Part 9.

  1. fminuzzi says:

    Congratulations on your thesis! It’s so good to get that weight off your shoulders.
    Interesting story as always. It makes me want to go back and read the rest, but I should be patient and wait until it’s finished first…

    • Hi,
      Thanks, it really, really is! It’s kinda weird because I’m done now, completely. First time since I was 5 that I won’t be going to school or college next year!
      I’m not sure how long it will end up being, but the weekly installments will be longer now that I’m completely done college!

      Alan.

  2. Pingback: The Break In. Part 8. | Alan James Keogh

  3. Pingback: The Break In. Part 10 | Alan James Keogh

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