Chapter 21 with nothing left: Closure's for Closers (Beej)

Published on 2 August 2023 at 22:46

 

 

I was sweating profusely, my nerves already fried. The anxiety was running wild, turning my legs to rubber and my bones to gelatin. Yet, as I’ve been doing since I was three years old, I put one unsteady foot in front of the other and I went forward. Towards danger, towards the malicious, unmarked building. Towards, we hoped, Elizabeth. My steps felt heavy as lead and my guts turned to stone, but onward I went. For Elizabeth, for our best friend, we’d go anywhere.

 

I followed Jamesy’s steps, treading lightly heel to toe like the ninjas in the movies. Hoping that by being stealthy, by being quiet, maybe there really was a chance that things would go alright. That things wouldn’t go completely sideways on us. That we wouldn’t need The Closer. I hoped and hoped, and I kept on hoping until I no longer could.

 

Jamesy reached the door first, a thick square slab of unblemished steel. Before he could dig into his bag for his trusty blowtorch that he ‘borrowed’ from the local mechanic years ago, the door simply opened on its on. Not slowly, with a creak and a moan, ushering in a sense of doom like a haunted house. Not quickly or forcefully either, no slam or heavy breeze accompanied it to cause us to step back. As we approached it, it was just suddenly open. Like it always had been. Open without a motion or a whisper. And, somehow, that was the most unnerving way that it could have opened.

 

We hesitated for only a moment, both of us wishing we didn’t have to answer the doors quiet invitation. But we did. We stepped inside, knowing by doing so that we were leaving all hopes of a normal life outside, dashed into pieces upon the unforgiving ground.

 

*****

 

We flattened against a wall, seeing no cameras or signage yet, no signs of life. Nothing that could have opened the door. Nothing human, anyway. Stretched out before us, dimly lit by large, rectangular boxes of fluorescent lights, was a long sterile hallway. Our footsteps clicked against the hard ceramic tiles and echoed and bounced back at us. The lights flickered and buzzed overhead, sounding like a bunch of slowly dying house flies. No matter how many measured steps we took, the hallway continued on past the limits of our eyesight. As we ventured forward, the light boxes behind us began to extinguish themselves, one after the other, the elongating mass of shadows acting as a silent, dark hand that gently bid us forward.

 

The hallway spread impossibly onward, the length of it seemingly longer than the exterior of the building. There weren’t even any turns or curves in the path that we could ascertain, no windows or doors to open up and veer off into. Just a long, buzzing hallway.

 

I turned to Jamesy. I was going to ask him his thoughts on where we were, about how long the hallway was, how unnerving it all was. Before I could, darkness came upon us. And fast.

 

All the lights went off at once. The darkness was total and it was suffocating. Off somewhere in the murky depths of the hall, we heard a noise. A fast, low, rustling. Like a predator stalking some prey. Like fur against tile.

 

The backup lights kicked on and, as our eyes adjusted to the new dim lighting, movement caught my eye. Down the hall, bounding around a corner that I swear hadn’t been there before, something bounced and rolled and tumbled. As it moved towards us, it got smaller and smaller. It stopped right at our feet. 

 

I looked up and my eyes followed the frayed, pink yarn, a ball of which had now completely unraveled. As my eyes neared the end of the line, I saw something that made my nerves want to unravel as well.

 

The fur on tile sound started again, this time with a menacing and hypnotic clicking and clacking of sharp nails against hard ceramic accompanying it. Thick tufts of grey fur poked out of the openings in a white hand-knit sweater, one portraying an old woman playing with a basket of crying babies. Glowing wet yellow eyes flashed at us with ill-intent from the recesses of a ball of fur lined with gleaming, dripping fangs. The fur at the top of its head was pulled into a tight bun with two pencils criss-crossed through it. I gulped and turned to Jamesy, the fear in my wide eyes apparent. His face matched mine.

 

“That thing must be over six feet tall, what the hell is it?”

 

“I don’t know, but she doesn’t look like a Nancy to me.”

 

Without needing to speak the idea, we both immediately turned on our heels and looked to retreat back down the hallway, back out of the building. If nobody got in our way, we’d probably run all the way out of town. We got about two steps away before our exit was blocked by another hulking, shadowy shape. Stepping out of a doorway that I KNOW hadn’t been there before, a rippling mass of supple pink flesh spilled out into the hall.

 

The mess of pink took on a bulbous shape after it squeezed itself through the doorway like Play-Doh oozing through a Fun Factory Shape Making Machine. Four short limbs that ended in hardened hooves hit the tiled floor and made a sound similar to the claws behind us. The flesh grew splotchy up towards the round, squat head, which was wearing a tattered Navy blue hat with the title of Manager scrawled across it in faded ink. Beneath the hat sat a pair of red, penetrating, hateful eyes that immediately seemed to lock onto me. They rested on a hairy snout that was snotting and steaming as it looked at me hungrily. “Jamesy?” I started, but my words got choked off as soon as I saw yet another shape coming into view in the hallway behind it. 

 

This one was dark, furry, and it moved in a flash. It didn’t roll, bounce, walk or click. This one was swinging its way towards us, two massively muscled dark arms grabbed onto the light fixtures, using them to propel itself forward, leaving a mass of sparks and broken glass behind it as every light it grabbed exploded from the added weight. In the small explosions of light more and more of the beast made itself clear. The matted fur, black as midnight. The prehensile tail shaking like an angry balled fist. The silver gleam of its back peeked out from beneath a mis-buttoned but pressed shirt that said SECURITY across it in neon yellow letters, letters that matched the discoloration of the mass of hard teeth that gaped out from a hideous smile. Another swing forward, another shattered group of fluorescent tubes. It was close enough to us now that, when the sparks lit up its advancing chest, I could make out the name tag clipped to its shirt. It said its name was Ron.

 

I opened my mouth to scream, choosing to forgo any final words I may have prepared for just this occasion. As a loud, blood-curdling scream ripped its way from my throat in a pitch that I hardly recognized as my own, another sound rang out to drown out my scream. It was Jamesy.

 

He stepped forward, rage in his eyes like I had never seen before. He shouted and cursed until every single thing he had been feeling was released and aimed at these monstrous mutant muppets. All the fear, all the pain, all the misery. All the worry for our friend and for our town. For every sinister smile, every Nazi plot. He finally had enough and the rage had bubbled over.

 

Ron took another mighty swing and released his grip on the decimated light fixture, tucking his hairy knees and somersaulting with mutant monkey grace over the rippling salmon colored mass, until he landed with a heavy thud on the floor right in front of us. 

 

I didn’t have time to react, but luckily Jamesy did. The juxtaposition of my fear to his rage made all the difference. With one quick motion he deftly reached into his back pocket and pulled out what was secreted there. 

 

“Enjoy bananas in Hell, you Nazi fur ball!” 

 

In his hand, gleaming in what was left of the lights overhead, was The Closer, which was what he called his father’s Desert Eagle. He switched off the safety and took aim. Ron’s ugly ape eyes went wide with fear, but it was too late for the monkey man to do anything else but die. A mere microsecond later, Jamesy squeezed the trigger and the gun let loose its fatal payload with a deafening roar.

 

The shot exploded out of the gas-operated barrel in a violent burst of light and sound. The .44 Magnum round traveled straight and true, entering just off-center into Ron’s forehead and tearing out from the back of his head in a mess of brains and blood, fur and fragments. As good as the shot was, it appeared to be more luck than skill, as the powerful kickback caught Jamesy by surprise and it violently jolted the gun right out of his grip. 

 

He let out half a curse word, which was cut short by the gun recoiling and smacking him squarely in his nose before bouncing up and over his head. Blood gushed from both his nostrils as he cried out in pain and crumpled to the floor. The Closer, to its credit, still did its dirty work regardless of whether or not it was being held. It hit the floor with a heavy clang and then bounced once before spinning around and around like a bottle at a teenagers party. Instead of a kiss, however, the person who it pointed to would receive a bullet to the brain. The impact on the ground caused the gun to fire again once, twice, then three times. The first two shots went wild and ricocheted loudly down the hall, the expanse of it carrying the echoes near and far. The third shot, however, met meat and flesh as it punctured into the stomach of the pink pig person, causing rivulets of deep crimson to commingle with the pallid coral colors. The beast let out a snort and a squeal, spittle and blood flying as it did so. It tried to clutch at the new gaping hole in its guts but the short stubby arms couldn’t reach around its massive belly. Instead of being able to put pressure on the wound, the tiny limbs and hooves just twitched and convulsed uselessly at its sides; causing it to make a grotesque snow angel in the pooling blood below its collapsed body.

 

The cat lady, name unknown but probably not Nancy, screeched an inhuman caterwaul and took off, away from the noise and, luckily, away from us. As she fled, her hind claws caught on the yarn she had rolled out upon her entry. It bunched up and tangled, somehow getting itself wrapped around the dropped weapon. It dragged the Desert Eagle behind her as she fled, causing it to go off and blast rounds at her fleeing backside. In the blink of an eye she was gone, as was The Closer.

 

 

When the tears in his eyes cleared enough to see what had happened, Jamesy pinched his broken nose and, in between geysers of blood that erupted to the beat of his heart, he looked down at the dead pig-man and said, “What’s up sow? That’s what you get for your insu-boar-dination.”

 

“Jamesy, what do we do now?” I tried not to look at the mayhem around me. The blood, the guts, the fur, the glass. It was all enough to send me spiraling again, to make me breathe into a bag. I had to stay strong. He met my eyes. His were still brimmed with tears from the pain but I also saw a steely hardness there that wasn’t there before. After our short shared glance, his eyes darted away, surveying the room, before he nodded towards the doorway that the pink mess had squished his way out of. “There,” was all he said. And no more was needed.

 

Together we made our way to the door, stopping only to bend over and grab the keycard that was clipped to Ron’s chest, just below his name tag. “Thanks,” Jamesy said to the carcass as he gave it a solid kick for good measure, “I appreciate you gibbon this to me.” I would have groaned if I wasn’t so scared.

 

We got through the doorway and saw that it contained another hallway, this one running perpendicular to the one we were just traversing. This hallway, however, contained a slew of doorways and windows in it. 

 

“Which one should we try?” I asked him. He squinted and scanned the wide expanse, then a tight and mirthless smile formed on his lips. “There,” he said again. I turned and followed his gaze. A few doors down and to the left, a glass door reading Doctors Office. On the door was a small door sign that sent chills down my spine. It said The Doctor Is In.

 

“Are you sure it’s the right move, Jamesy?” I already knew the answer but it was my final respite, my last stall before I knew things were going to go from very bad to way worse. Jamesy bent over and spit some blood onto the floor. When he stood up, he put on a pair of dark aviator sunglasses that were slightly bent. He replied in a deep, silky cop voice, “I think that it’s the only move, BJ.” 

 

“Where’d you get the sunglasses?” I asked him, as I didn’t think he had brought a pair with him. “I got ‘em off Ron,” he said with a shrug, “I got his wallet too. And the pigs keys. The dude had a Mercedes-Benz keychain. Can you imagine that guy stuffed into any of their cars? Ridiculous.”

 

I felt like that was a lot of information to take in and before I could fully process that he had just robbed and killed two guys, well half guys anyway, and that he had stolen keys off of someone who wasn't wearing pants, we were already at the door and Jamesy, without hesitation, kicked the door as hard as he could, even though it was already standing slightly ajar, as if we were expected.

 

The door rebounded hard off of its frame and the small window shattered and scattered into a million pieces. We both instinctively ducked as the sharp shards fell all around and onto us. After the glass cloud had settled, we looked up to see a small, sharply-dressed man sitting behind a desk with a shocked expression on his face. Even if we were expected, as I had suspected, I’d bet he wasn’t expecting that. But that’s Jamesy-style for you. In a flash, Jamesy sprinted to the desk and grabbed the short man by his striped Armani tie. “Oh, was that yours?” Jamesy asked with an evil grin on his face, indicating with his head that he was referring to the now ruined window. “My bad. Then I’ll bet this tie is yours too, huh?” Before the man could answer the rhetorical question, Jamesy grabbed a stapler with his free hand and quickly put four metal staples right through the fat part of the tie, fastening him directly to the desk. Jamesy wound up and then slapped the man across the face, sending his little round glasses flying.

 

The man lost his balance and fell to the floor, landing in an unnatural position due to his own tie half strangling him from above, acting like a luxury noose. I could tell by how this was going that we were going with our usual phase one plan, so I leapt into action as well. I grabbed a sticky note from the desk and, after a brief permanent marker break, I stood over the prone man and held the picture up where he could see it, nice and up close just in case the bastard was nearsighted. Jamesy nodded his approval and handed me the stapler.

 

The man was starting to get his bearings again, even though he was still being uncomfortably hung. I’m glad I didn’t say ‘uncomfortably hung’ out loud, as I’m sure it would have divided my partners attention. The man squinted at my drawing and then tried to jerk away upon seeing it, although that motion only made his Windsor-knotted rope a little tighter. “If you don’t want this big black dick stapled to your face, you’d better tell us where our friend is.” The man gurgled and grabbed at his knot. I counted to three out loud and then stapled it as promised to his right cheek. He screamed out in pain and surprise and anger.

 

I turned to Jamesy, expecting to see his look of approval. Instead, I saw a look of frozen horror upon his face, his mustache warming the top of a perfect circle, a caricature of a shocked mouth. He pointed to a stiff, plastic chair sitting off to the side of the office, tucked behind a large leafy plant. When I looked that way, I soon wore a matching expression. I opened my hand in shock and dropped the stapler to the floor. 

 

“Hey guyth,” came a bashful lisp from the chair. Head tucked down, legs crossed, we saw our friend. Only thing was, she didn’t look the same. Her eyes bulged, changed from innies to outies in a way that I couldn’t understand. Lining the contours of her face were small specks of scales, most of them green but they were turning red around her cheeks. A long, curled tongue flicked out and unrolled as she spoke. “Thankth for rethcuing me.” I froze to the spot. Jamesy, for his part, fell to his knees and raised his arms in a wild gesture, as if beseeching the gods themselves. “Oh my god!” Jamesy shouted. “It’s…it’s..it’s..”

 

“It’s Elizabeth,” I finished for him.

 

His hands turned to fists that shook and scolded the sky. “No,” he said in an angry, scared, quavering voice, “it’s aLizardbeth!”

 

 

 

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Lizardbeth
8 months ago

I hope they can fix Liz! This action was awesome. I hope they kill everyone! I was not expecting the closer to be a gun but I'm glad it was