Friday, March 27, 2015

Fear of the Dark – Chapter 1.3 - i Craven

Whoever would have thought that it would take forty five minutes to get less than forty blocks in a taxi in the middle of the day? Of course to Timmy it felt like four years, his heart has been hammering in his chest from the moment he hung up the phone and went darting out to get the first taxi he could hail down. He had totally forgotten his “holy kit” as he had proclaimed it, which was nothing more than a backpack with the essentials in it. For some reason he didn’t think he would need it, which was just the invitation to need it all the worse. It didn’t matter. He was going to get an answer to something, anything relating to one of his two “God” obsessions. He did of course do his best to stare at his feet and play with his hands so that he didn’t accidentally, of course, take his other God’s name in vain, which he did do on occasion.

The hospital that Gina and Jim were in is the best in the city. The police were obviously just as enthusiastic about having a witness to God as he had ravaged another victim in the barely darkness of the night. Timmy tried to rationalize the amount of carnage that God had splayed throughout these streets in the past eleven years, and he actually lost track. In the beginning, when he was given the uncreative name of “The Shredder” which had taken an initial slew of five deaths in a month, the world media wasn’t really involved. His worst month to date had been thirteen, but it was followed by a month with one, and had followed a month with two, bringing his first years totals down to the usual average of five per month. Of course this is New York City that we are talking about so it took about two years for it to even become a “state” issue and start running in the Albany papers. After about four years New Jersey was starting to warn people to get out of the city before dark, and within six it became common knowledge thanks to the Connecticut papers running stories. Timmy’s mother had called him around this time when the Boston Herald started running the stories.

By the time Timmy had had to pick up the phone and start calming his mother down about it all “The Shredder” had left his cartoonish Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles moniker, and the papers were already walking into blasphemy with “The Wrath of God” when someone finally caught onto the trends. It might have never been documented at all, since a lot of the people in the law enforcement community had just been attributing it to drug mafia warfare as well. “The Shredder” was starting to be commonly regarded as the new “bully” in town since it was mostly, but not always drug kingpins that were being shredded and left for dead in various alleyways. Nobody had pieced together that all of these people had other habits, and although not always proven rapist and torturing natures. In the end when it was a cast off from one of the old Mafia families that was shaking down an entire section of the lower east side but “old school” in the ways of avoiding the heroin trade, Timmy stepped in to explain to the police the trends he had noticed as well.

One of the things that all but two of the criminals had in common was rape. The two that Timmy could confirm truly had no rapist tendencies were not lacking in the prime factor that seemed to be the target of God. Whatever this God was about, he targeted rapists in particular, and that was obvious, but the one indisputable factor that he targeted were those that made life a long deluge of hopeless despair. That class A criminal that everyone in the world hates, who seems to get away with everything they do, and use constant fear, tyranny, hopelessness, and despair to trap entire communities. It was for the most part a very theological outlook on the whole situation, and a certain justification for a man, monster or whatever Timmy had been tracking his entire time in New York. He had also come to the conclusion that whatever was doing this stalked its own victims through research and cunning that somehow escaped the average man. It always brought him back to that voice he had heard as a small boy when his father would break out the old LPs of his favorite radio crime fighter, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of man … The Shadow knows,” and of course it fascinated him.

As Timmy walked through the hallways of the hospital to get to room 606 his mind wandered to his new expression that he repeats to himself over and over again after every attack, “Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of God … God knows, and he ain’t tellin” which gives him that maniacal grin it always does. The door in front of him opened before he could even grasp the handle. “Thank God you’re here, Gina has been going crazy,” Tam Blasdell said the second she looked into his face, and with his warmest smile Timmy held up the brand new notebook and pack of Erasermate pens that he had purchased on the way in at the gift shop. “You never think of these things when you’re having a nervous breakdown,” she then added after she saw them.

Gina was laying on the bed staring at them, and appeared quite calm. She didn’t appear to be the wreck of a begging, and injured young girl that her mother had made her out to be. She looked rather serene despite her wired up jaw and the mouth guard that were covering the lower half of her face. Timmy even thought that she would have been smiling had she not been restricted to do so by all of the hardware. She held out her hand towards the two of them and Timmy walked towards her to take her hand in his, as innocently as he would have anyone, but jumped startled when she lunged her other hand into his with something hard and wooden in her hand. She released it as it made it into his hand and he accidentally dropped it, which made Gina go wild, as if she was trying to get out of bed. Timmy restrained her gently, and said, “I’ll get it, here take this pad of paper, so that we can talk,” and once she stopped stirring he did just that.

He actually got down to his hands and knees so that he could reach under the bed, where the object had fallen. Groping for it, struggling, his fingers finally clasped around the piece of wood that had a rather familiar feel to it, and as he got it out into the light he could see why. It was a hand carved wooden crucifix about the size of a pack of cards, with a hole carved into the top. The hole was obviously carved in as it wasn’t smooth enough to have been made by a drill. It had obviously had a chain through it at one time as there were definite signs of rope wear.

Getting back to his feet Timmy tried to add some levity to the situation by saying, “That’s what startled me, I think was the inner fear that you were trying to convert me back to Catholicism,” and he was the only one to laugh at his joke. He was thinking it was a tough room, like a comedian in the Vaudevillian days might have at this point, as he placed the crucifix into Gina’s panicked, outreaching hand.

Gina started making the “shooing” motion at her mother with her hands, which at first her mother tried to ignore, outright. As Gina started making strangled noises through her facial apparatus, her mother started trying to protest, which made Gina far more animated about it. Timmy was starting to wonder if he should start trying to reassure her mother that she would be ok in here with him, when her mother, most likely afraid of Gina hurting herself turned on her heels and stormed out of the room. The slamming of the door behind her made it so that nurses came down the hall to see what the commotion was, as Timmy could see out the hallway window. Gina started motioning towards the window as well, so Timmy walked towards it and made a motion as if to close the window which immediately had Gina nodding.

While he was closing the window shades Gina started writing furiously on the pad and had it held out for Timmy before he had even come back to the bed. Grabbing the notebook he started reading aloud, “I don’t want my mother to know about any of this, and you read everything out loud, as everyone knows.”

He smiled at her and started to speak, “You write down anything you want, and I promise not to read it aloud for the rest of the conversation,” and he handed her back the notebook. His excitement was still very hard to contain, but he did his best as she started writing furiously again. He asked her a simple enough question, “Did you make that crucifix?”

She stared at him wide eyed for a moment and then started shaking her head furiously the whole time she was writing. She did quite a bit of writing, and it was amazing that she could do it with her head shaking back and forth the way it was. Timmy was starting to think it would have made him dizzy, but she finished up and handed it to him. He started reading it in his head, and then started reading it aloud again, “No, I want you to read it aloud so I can make sure you read it right. I need you to completely understand what I tell you here, and it might take a while to get all of it out,” below that was where she had started writing after the last question, and the writing was exactly the same as before her violently shaking head. Timmy wondered if it is a talent, and yes his mind often travels even in the mist of important things. He continues, “He threw that at me before he disappeared. I think he tore it from around his neck. It makes me feel better for some reason when I hold it, but I don’t know why. A lot of what the police told everyone wasn’t completely true, and I need to tell you, someone, and anyone, but not my mother. She can’t take it right now ok?”

Timmy nodded his head as he handed her back the notebook. He started speaking but before more than, “I” could get out she held up the notebook with the words, “When I write please don’t ask questions, I have to tell you and you can ask me questions after I am done, I don’t know how much time I have ok?” and again he nodded.

Timmy chose the “serenity route” by pulling up one of the reclining chairs beside the bed and sitting patiently until she finished writing. If the truth be told, he was absolutely amazed at how well she was doing under the circumstances. His own twisted teenage years had taught him that most girls her age are not only incapable of being rational during such a time of duress but humorously he thought they couldn’t go this long without the use of their mouths. She stopped as he thought that and glared at him, which actually made him blush as he thought she could read his mind. “One insanity at a time Timmy,” he thought to himself and she didn’t glare this time so he thought himself safe.

She handed him the notebook and she had most of a page covered. He was now thinking that she could write almost as fast as his teenage sister could talk at least. He cleared his throat and started to read, “It was horrifying!!!” with emphasis on the three exclamation points for a reason, “I thought I was dead when that freak Marty stabbed my father and grabbed me. My mind was racing and I was trying to think through the screaming in my head. I was NOT completely terrified like a deer in the headlights, there was still a glimmer of hope, until that huge black shape started falling from the top of the building,” there were some eraser marks here as she was trying to get her wording right, “Then I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to die and it was going to be the worst death that anyone could have ever had. I could barely look at it,” again she had eraser marks, and as Timmy looked at her she was just sitting there nodding. He started up again, “It was human shaped, but a lot larger than one of those freakish professional wrestlers on TV. It’s eyes were totally black and it’s skin was white, but he had a huge mop of dark brown hair like in an old heavy metal video. I closed my eyes and covered my face waiting for whatever it was that was going to happen to me. Nothing did, so I opened my eyes just a crack,” and that was where it ended, so Timmy handed her back the notepad.

Timmy couldn’t help himself as he asked the question, “You said it was a ‘he’ are you sure about that?” which made her glare at him and hold up one finger. Timmy knew what that meant and blushed like a child with a big mouth and went back to fiddling with his fingers, as she handed him the notepad with one sentence on it, “In my bag there is a book that he told me to give you in a voice that was either a roaring man or a woman on the wrong birth control, but thanks for spoiling the ending smart ass,” which was Timmy’s queue to go get the book and leave her alone to write.

He pulled the book out of the bag that was wrapped up in her leotards and tights as if she had been trying to hide it from someone. Timmy knew better than to open his mouth and ask this time at least, but he makes no promises that he will use any tact in the future. The book was eerily like an old King James Version of the bible in its usual pliable leather cover, with the gold painting on the tips of the paper. Scratched into the cover as if with a very sharp, yet wide claw were the words “i Craven” with the lower case quite distinct on the first letter.

Gina was done writing and handed the notebook to Timmy and went back to staring at the ceiling. He started reading aloud again, “What I saw was just as terrifying as I thought it would be, only far worse than what you would read in a book. The creature bit into the neck of Marty like a Vampire would, but then again, not like a Vampire would. Not any of the Vampires we have read about,” and Timmy let out one of the surprised whistles that people often do when they hear something a bit shocking. He continued, “It completely ripped the throat off of Marty and then spit it out. It was the entire front of his throat, and I couldn’t watch again, but was too horrified to move. With my eyes covered I listened to the slurping and sucking sounds as he sucked every bit of blood out of him. When the sound stopped I cracked my eyes to see him rip Marty’s head completely off with one hand and then crush it between his hands before shredding it apart with its huge claws. I put my head down and cried as I listened to it completely shred Marty and throw all of his pieces everywhere,” and at that point it ended, but she remained there nodding with no expression on her face.

She reached out for the notebook, and Timmy handed it to her. Timmy wanted to ask her about what the police had lied about. So far the story she told at least would have meshed with the story he had read from the local paper. His shock was overwhelmed by his curiosity over why he would shred the body afterwards. His mind was floating into one of those dazes where he was computing too many formulations at the same time, he was thinking about the shredding, the blood, the cross. The cross? Why would he be carrying around a crucifix? His mind was wandering so much that Gina had to hit him with the notepad to get him reading again, “With my head still in my arms crying I heard other strange noises, but I just kept my face hidden. I know I should have tried to see more but I was more scared than I ever will be again. I know that in my heart,” Timmy paused for a moment to look at Gina’s nodding head as she stared at the ceiling, “That was when the book bumped against my hip. It wasn’t thrown hard it just grazed me, but my head darted up. I looked right at him. His face was pale white but almost childlike. It was huge of course and the blood was dripping from his chin making me sick. He started talking and it came out like a roaring lion as he said ‘That book is for my Reverend friend’ which let’s face it even in shock at the time, meant you. My father was laying by my feet groaning. He had obviously carried him up and dropped him there, but he doesn’t remember a thing. When he told the police that he had fallen into the basement entry that was the story they went with because they didn’t like my version. He turned away from me, and I heard the breaking chain, and that was when he tossed me the crucifix, and started scaling the building. It wasn’t graceful or catlike, but more of a brute force reaching from window ledge to window ledge. He made a loud roaring grunt as he threw himself over the roof, and he was gone.”
Timmy let out another whistle as he handed the pad back to Gina. She sat there patiently looking at him. He asked her the only question that was on his mind, “You hid the book inside your bag to make sure that I got it and the police wouldn’t take it?” and she nodded and scratched out, “I was scared to not get it to you.”

Timmy opened up the book and started reading the beginning of it aloud, “It has been eleven long years since I have walked among you as a man. I imagine there will come a day when I will think of eleven years as mortals would consider seconds. My thirst for blood has driven me to be outcast in your society, and I feel that it is time for me to tell my tale to anyone who would wish to hear it. To know me, to hate what I have become, to fear me, to be me, it is all irrelevant. I am from the hand of God as all things are created by God, even those that you would find evil. Was not Satan made by the hand of God? God is the creator and the devil would be the destroyer, and I have had my life stolen from me in the name of both. I am both killer and savior as long as I chose this path, and with the will of our loving God almighty I shall be what I have to be in his name, while using my own free will to be whatever I can be to the betterment of society. In the name of the Lord, Thy Will Not Mine Be Done,” and with the first paragraph down an eerie feeling started creeping up Timmy’s shoulders from deep within the book.

He continued tenuously, not even realizing that he is reading the words aloud as he always had and that Gina’s mother had re-entered the room as he started this paragraph, “As I walked this earth mortal I was given my father’s name, and came to New York full of the dreams of any man that would wish to spread the word of our lord, God, and all of his infinite love for all of us. I hadn’t realized that as I crossed the George Washington Bridge it would be the last day I would ever be able to leave this Island as the water that rushes around it has created my prison. It was officially the last day I would ever be known as Reverend Timothy Mahoney …” which caused all three of the people in the room to gasp, the one behind Timmy being the worst to hear. He finally learned the hard way to stop flamboyantly reading everything out loud, but it might have been just a little too late. … To Be Continued