VILLAGE OF VERNON CONSTABULARY
INCIDENT NUMBER 000152034
REPORTING OFFICER: CARL JENNINGS
2/14/2005 21:47:16 REPORT RECEIVED OF MULTIPLE SHOTS FIRED AT THE EAGLE INN ON MACARTHUR ROAD BY OWNER STEVEN WALKER. ADVISED SHOTS FIRED “WITH TIME TO RELOAD”, POSSIBLE NARCOTICS DEAL. ADVISED SINGLE MALE TENANT IN ROOM 16 WAS SHOOTER, AND THAT WHEN HE CHECKED IN TENANT APPEARED FATIGUED, PARANOID AND POSSIBLY ON THE RUN. NO MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POSSIBLE INVOLVED INDIVIDUALS PROVIDED.
OFFICERS JENNINGS AND HENDERSON DISPATCHED. UPON ARRIVAL, WHITE ’02 MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE PARKED IN FRONT OF ROOM 16, AND DOORWAY TO ROOM 16 WAS OPEN WITH NO ONE INSIDE. DOOR HAD BEEN FORCED OFF OF HINGES BY UNKNOWN MEANS (NO BOOT PRINT TO DOOR OR RAM FOUND), LARGE AMOUNTS OF BLOOD OBSERVED AT DOORWAY AND INSIDE ROOM. IMMEDIATELY LABELED CRIME SCENE, COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT NOTIFIED.
FURTHER INVESTIGATION REVEALED NO OTHER SIGNS OF STRUGGLE. ALSO FOUND THREE EMPTY MAGAZINES FROM A FORTY CALIBER PISTOL, THIRTY (30) SPENT SHELL CASINGS, AND THE ATTACHED HANDWRITTEN LETTER. **see attachment 17** INVESTIGATION DEFERRED TO SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT.
**Description: Transcribed letter located on desk in hotel room.**
I should have listened to that little voice in my head that said “this is a really bad idea.” Instead, the voice of reason was drowned out by the dozens of other voices telling me that nothing bad would happen, that everything would be okay and best of all I’d be happy for the rest of my days. And then it all went to hell.
It started with an act of kindness. Every town has its poor and destitute, Ichor Falls being no exception, and I always prided myself on giving them a few dollars every now and then when they ambled out of Lower Alethia and into Olympus. Well, lately there had been a new homeless man around town. Unlike most of the others, he was always ambling around, never sitting down and rarely ever still, and he was always in a good mood, blessing the day even when he had nothing to eat and nowhere to stay. He just stayed active regardless of the weather, whistling a tune with a spring in his aimless step. It was a great surprise to me then when I encountered him sitting at a bus stop in the middle of a torrential rain, just barely covered enough to avoid being completely soaked but it was evident to anyone who looked the poor old man was cold, wet and miserable.
I took him to a local diner, bought him a meal, and sat with him as he ate. He gave me his name: Owens. As he ate, he told me tales of his days in World War II, when he was just sixteen, and then the war in Vietnam, about shootouts and fighting and the people he’d meet and the sights he’d seen. When I asked him what made him re-enlist after being in the Japanese theater, he said he went back during Vietnam because at that time he had longed to die. Turns out his whole family got wiped out during the Ethylor Summer, and he alone survived watching the slow, agonizing and bloody deaths of his family. He said that he’d come across one thing there in some tiny, lost Vietnamese village that let him smile again and gave him unfailing happiness despite the deep-seated pains of his life. It appeared to be nothing more than carved rattan, something typical of southeastern Asian nations, so I didn’t think anything of its appearance. It was just a box after all.
Take it, he said, to a hill, any hill where no buildings or anything man-made stand on any adjacent hills, and open it on at midnight on any night of a new moon, when the world would be in darkness. I asked right out why the hills had to be empty and why everything had to be dark and he shrugged, saying only that if it wasn’t done right, then it wouldn’t work. Not only would it not work, but there would be hell to pay afterwards. It worked for him, he said, and even though he had recently lost his house in a brush fire, he still said what the box had shown him kept him happy even as a wandering vagrant.
He left the box with me as payment for the meal and said it was up to me to decide whether or not to use it. That was the last I saw of Owens.
As it so happened, a new moon was only a week away from that meeting, and while the thought was still fresh in my mind I decided I would give this a shot, if only to see what kind of hokey zen bullcrap was really going on here — it was more likely I’d get robbed than find happiness. Not a total fool, I brought a gun and a flashlight with me as I drove out of town to the middle of a large open field that as far as I knew didn’t have anything built in the area, climbed to the top of a hill, and turned off the light.
I should have taken the immediate sensation I had as a warning; the sudden lurch in my stomach as if the world had fallen away from beneath me, that I had dropped into a yawning pit of blackness darker than the night itself. It only lasted a moment though, so I attributed it to nerves and took the box in both hands. It wasn’t glowing, ticking or bleeding so I assumed it would be okay to open it, and so I did.
A new reaction came in the form of a shrill, bloodcurdling shriek, and again the sensation of falling returned, this time stronger, and darker if that makes sense. I jerked back to myself with such a shock that I collapsed on the spot to sat stupefied in the darkness. The scream still echoing in my ears, I turned around in every direction scanning the darkness for the source, but even if it were twenty feet away I couldn’t have seen it. Given the way it sounded though — like a strung-out woman gargling blood — if it were that close I’d know for certain. Then, as my eyes rested upon a hill towards town barely illuminated by the glow of the city lights, the hill itself moved. A silhouette of something, or many somethings seemed to pause, watching me, before slipping into the inky blackness of the night. Thoroughly freaked out, I shoved the box into my coat, flipped on the flashlight and with my gun in hand ran for the car as fast as I could.
They had already surrounded me. I don’t really know for certain how they did it, but I was aware of them on every side, darting out of sight just as my flashlight would fall upon them, their torn, blackened bodies gliding along silently beside me, some of them running on two legs, some on four, but all of them keeping perfect pace with me. I made it to the car unscratched, only to find one of them on the roof of the car, perched and waiting. It made that scream again, so much more horrible up close — human, once, a long time ago. Now it was wracked with open wounds and necrotic flesh.
I shot it. I put three bullets into it and it jerked and flopped down onto the hood, leaving a smeared, bloody mess where it made contact, while the rest of the creatures held back just within visible range, watching with amused, sinister expressions on their misshapen faces.
Two hours later, I saw them again. I had driven home, locked and bolted the doors and prayed I had seen things and that the still-present gore on my car was just my imagination. That was when they started popping up in the darkness of the neighborhood, visible in almost every direction. I called the police, and they came, but the things were too quick and would hide, scattering like flies with uncanny speed, climbing up buildings and darting behind trashcans. The police asked me a whole bunch of questions and I answered everything, but they didn’t buy my story. They thought I was high — maybe I’d accidentally killed somebody. After an hour in the company of police in my home, that jerk Brana already started making out a citation for making a false report. But as the cops searched, I could see those things peeking their heads into windows, lurking across the street and peering inside, avoiding the police like it was just a game to them. And they watched, as I did, when the police drove away, their gaze as one turning back to me. They poked around the house a bit, but never came inside. Day broke, and for the time being I was safe.
I tried and failed to find Owens, and tried and failed to find the body of the one I had killed, if anything to prove these things could die. Not knowing what else to do, I loaded my gun and as much ammunition into my car as I could and left town for a while, left the state. I rented a cheap motel with only one door and one window, and now I’m here, waiting and writing my story for anyone who might read it. Night fell about an hour ago, and they wasted no time coming back for me. I’ve accepted that I’ll never be able to run far enough away from them and I’ll never be able to hide.
I can hear them now, climbing over the motel, tapping on the window, knocking on the wall and door, but making no other sounds that might give them away. They know I can hear them. That scream still echoes in my ears, and I shiver just thinking about whether or not I’ll have to hear it again.
In case you’re wondering, I know what I did wrong; when I went exploring and looking for the body I found a tiny, almost unnoticeable shed built onto the far side of one of the hills. To think, here I am, now, waiting to be killed by these things because of one run down pile of wood.
I hear more of them outside, and they’re gathering by the door. If I don’t make it, spread the word and let my death serve as a warning. Let everyone know that if you’re going to play with destiny, make sure you do it right.
PER ORDER OF CHIEF BRYANT, ALL FURTHER INVESTIGATION HALTED AND ALL FILES FLAGGED FOR DESTRUCTION.
Submitted by A. R.