[Hey folks! You might not remember this—it’s been so long since my previous chapter—but I’ve been editing and sharing my serialized story, SHARKEY AND THE JABBERWOCK, for a while now, and believe it or not, I’ve finally gotten around to posting another episode! When we last left the story, the Knights of 58th Street, led by their foul-mouthed founder, Adam, had cornered a creature that had been killing all the animals in the neighborhood…and that little adventure REALLY didn’t go too well for them! (If you don’t remember any of this, or if you’ve never heard of Detective Sharkey, go HERE, and you can start the story from the beginning!) We now rejoin the story, which is already in progress!!! —RFY]
Sharkey was sitting in his unmarked car outside the apartment where the four young adults had been slaughtered (you remember, way back in chapter one) when he got the call. A couple of kids had been attacked by something “strange.” One of the kids was in critical condition at St. Fallacies with a punctured lung, damage to his spinal cord, and lots of missing meat.
Sharkey smelled it as soon as he parked—not as strong as it had been in the apartment, but definitely the same stink. Rot and candy and hatred and nightmares.
Jensen waved at Sharkey from the porch of the house where he was standing next to three tired looking boys huddled under wool blankets. Sharkey held up a paw but followed his nose down the driveway towards the forensics team and a carnival of lights, police tape, cameras, and blood. He hoped the crew’s activity hadn’t smothered every shred of evidence that he might have found, but as he drew nearer the garage, he actually had to control his breathing, pull in quick, careful puffs of air, to keep from being overwhelmed by the smell.
The bright shine of the halogens scorched the scene, but despite the lights, which kicked off a massive odor of their own, Sharkey easily found the trail of relatively fresh, blackish blood.
“Huh…” he grumbled. “One of the little bastards actually hurt it.” He nodded absently at a few techs who yelped quick greetings to him as they passed, but his attention was focused on the trail of rot-blood that sizzled in his nostrils. He followed the pungent splashes toward the backyard, but could tell within a few steps that the creature, whatever it might be, was healing quickly. By the time he reached the hedge that the thing had jumped through, its blood had stopped flowing.
He walked back to the garage door and waved a tech over so they could shine a light into the room for him. He found the remains of several animals, and spent a few minutes looking at the fresh carcass of a cat. He told the tech to bag it, and said to have the bite marks measured and, if possible, identified—but he already knew enough. This wasn’t the thing that had caused the mess in the apartment. It was OF it, a piece of the thing, but not THE thing. He thanked the tech and headed for the front of the house.
Sharkey walked up to the porch, his paws in his jacket pockets. He looked at Jensen, and Jensen’s return glance said, “They been grilled and they ain’t got much left.” Sharkey took one of his paws out of his coat and pushed the brim of his hat back.
“Hey boys, I’m Detective Sharkey. I understand you’ve had a rough night.”
Adam and Phil looked up and stared for a few seconds at Sharkey’s face, then Phil said, “You’re a dog.”
“Clever kid,” Sharkey said. “Most people miss that.” Adam slugged Phil in the arm. Jensen chuckled.
“Schitt?” Sharkey said to Jensen. Adam’s eyes widened.
“He’s carting a few of the other boys home. These two,” he pointed at Adam and Philip, “found the thing. It attacked their buddy, and this bruiser,” indicating Jason, “came to the rescue and took a whack at it with a machete.”
Sharkey looked at Jason, who was staring blankly at Sharkey’s car, and felt a slight tremor at the back of his neck. This boy was too calm. The other two were shaken and upset, but this kid was indifferent. The amount of black blood on the driveway said that this kid had seriously buried that blade in the creature, whatever it was, not to mention the fact that his friend had been attacked and was nearly killed, but here he sat—blank—almost uninterested…
“Nice job with the chopper, kid,” Sharkey said. No response.
“He don’t talk much,” Phil said.
“Hunh,” Sharkey grunted. He’d figured. When this kid popped—and it wouldn’t be long, five, maybe ten years, max—it was gonna be bad. Somewhere deep inside, Sharkey hoped he wouldn’t be around to have to clean it up.
“Well,” he said, breathing in Jason’s scent in one big breath—he’d remember it—“why don’t you boys tell me what happened. Short version’s fine.”
“Okay,” said Adam, breathing in a gulp of air himself—here’s the “alpha,” Sharkey noted—“we were out playin’ hide and seek…”
“With a machete,” Sharkey interrupted. Philip twitched, but Adam looked steely. That was his story, and by the gods, he was stickin’ too it, or so his look said. Sharkey started to think he might like this kid.
“We were playin’ and we thought we’d hide in the garage there,” Adam soldiered on. “The house has been empty for years, and we sometimes come here, only this time a huge, fuckin’ two headed rat was inside the garage eating a cat.”
“Hey! Watch yer mouth, kid!” Jensen scolded. “I’ve warned you.”
Sharkey stuck out a paw and tapped Jensen’s arm. Jensen threw his hands up—wasn’t his problem!—and he paced off into the yard.
“Two heads, huh? You get a good look?” Sharkey asked.
“Not too good. We opened the door and saw them red, glowin’ eyes, then slammed the fucker…oops, sorry. We slammed the door and tried to run, but it came after us.” The kid sounded angry. Yeah, Sharkey was definitely starting to like him.
Phil was nodding his head, slowly, and his face had acquired a sickly, gray look. Sharkey could smell the fear on his skin.
“How big?” Sharkey said.
“Tall as me, when it reared up,” Adam said.
“Hmmm… Big fucker,” Sharkey said. Phil’s eyes went wide. Adam smiled.
“Jeezus,” Sharkey heard Jensen mutter from across the lawn.
“Okay. Thanks, boys. I’m gonna go talk to the lab coats for a sec, but after that I can give you a ride home—if you can trust a dog to drive.” Sharkey chuckled as Adam slugged Phil in the arm again.
[So…two lines finally cross. Sharkey meets the Knights and takes a liking to the “alpha.” Of course, a good cop can tell when someone’s intentions are noble, and though he’s a bit crass, and more than a bit ignorant, Adam is about as noble in his intentions as they come! Tune in NEXT time—I want to say “next week,” but I know I’m not that reliable—when the camera turns back towards Nightmare Bill and see him make some new friends! See you folks then!!! —RFY]
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
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