Available Darkness: Chapter 27
(Serial and Milk: Available Darkness is a serialized horror thriller co-written by David Wright and Sean Platt. A new chapter appears here each Friday. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them here.)
You asked – we listened. Since so many of you have commented, emailed and tweeted demanding more than one chapter per week, we figured what better time than Halloween to serve up a double dose of Available Darkness? In case you missed Friday’s chapter, go back and read that first.
And all we ask in return is that you help us promote Available Darkness – especially for Halloween weekend, when people might be looking for a good scary read. Please tweet, email, or just tell a friend. And for all you new readers, or shy ones, we’d love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment or email us and let us know what you think.
And lastly, a sneak peek at the book cover below.
Brock’s squad flanked the dingy doorway of the motel room. Two agents were stationed in the back of the old inn, though the only exit was a small bathroom window.
According to Jacob, their target, the feeder named John, was in a straight jacket and not likely to be much of a threat. Still, in Brock’s experience, you could never be too prepared. His men were each armed with a satchel of flash bang and tear gas grenades that would neutralize without killing. They were also equipped with M4A1 carbines to deal with anybody else that got in their way.
John cursed the jacket that was keeping him prisoner.
He could feel the presence of the men surrounding the motel room, like a blind man sensing someone at the edges of his space. He could even hear some of them, anxious breaths and quickened heartbeats, though much of what he heard was lost in the din of his own internal cacophony of panic, anger and hunger, damn, the hunger!
He saw in the monitors that they were armed to the teeth, each man in black equipped with their own series of guns. While he had healed from the earlier gunshot, he wasn’t sure how he would stand up to a hail storm of bullets. Perhaps he had a weak spot. If you could kill movie vampires with a stake through the heart or by chopping their heads off, perhaps he had a similar frailty? He already shared at least one Achilles heal with his fictional brethren, sunlight. So why not the others?
John suddenly realized that most of the gunmen were positioned just outside the hotel room which he entered. Not the adjoining room where he now was. He clumsily rose to his feet, though his upper body was completely restricted by the jacket, and raced to the door separating the two rooms. He pushed the door closed with his shoulder and sealed himself off in the secondary room, where all the monitors were. Unfortunately, the doorway between the rooms had two doors – one on each side, and he had no way of closing the other door. Certainly someone would notice the door and then storm the adjoining room. At best, he was buying himself a few seconds. A few seconds to do what, he didn’t know, but a few seconds, nonetheless.
“Come on,” Abigail said from the back seat. She was nervously watching the monitor as the small army assembled outside the motel room, large weapons raised and collectively aimed at the door.
“I’m going as fast as I can,” Larry snapped, and indeed he was pressing the van to its limits. The speedometer was past the 100 mph listed on the dashboard and the entire van shook as if the sheer force of unreasonable speed might shred it to ribbons. While the van was deceptively well built and maintained, it was never meant for such ridiculous speeds. There was only so much Larry could do with a vehicle like this. Fortunately, they hadn’t strayed too far from the motel and were now only a few minutes away.
Larry hoped that would be enough time.
The doors burst open in a riot of sound, smoke and light. Masked soldiers stormed the next room. John tried to suss out the noises and his senses, to get an idea of how many of the men were still outside the motel. At least six, he sensed. One man in a straight jacket against six soldiers. They weren’t good odds, but it was as good as it was gonna get.
John ran as fast and as hard as he could, sending his shoulders into the doorway that led outside, in hopes of launching the door open and running into the night. Instead, he slammed into the immovable door and fell to a painful heap on the floor. Only then did he realized that the door opened inward, not out.
“Fuck!” he cried out, on the ground and writhing in pain.
The door separating the rooms burst open and smoke began to pour inside, choking John and burning his eyes as though they were rinsed in fire.
He could hear the echo of boots against hard wood around him. He knew he was surrounded, though he couldn’t open his eyes to verify.
Suddenly, two hands yanked him from behind and pulled him up by the back of the jacket. Something sharp poked his head – a gun barrel.
“Walk,” a voice, muffled by a mask, barked in his ear.
John obeyed, not that he had a choice. He was aching and hungry, and still couldn’t focus on a single clear thought. His instincts prodded him like a tiny million needles, directives to run, jump, bite, and even fly. The whispered counsel from his inner voice was slowly rising to a scream, but he couldn’t harness his thoughts long enough to formulate a plan. It took all his focused energy just to stay upright and stop himself from melting into a puddle of impotence. Hunger twisted in his gut and he could feel the warmth of the bodies around him, begging him to feed on them. Even if he could break free his restraints, the gunmen would never give him a chance, he knew. They held him from behind, gun to his head as they marched him out of the motel room and into the last moments of night, to God knows what.
Larry killed the lights as he coasted into the parking lot across the street from the motel. He watched as the men marched John out at gunpoint.
“Do something!” Abigail cried.
“Get out of the van,” Larry commanded.
“No, I want to…”
Larry turned back to her and yelled, his face twisted in anger, “Get out!”
She looked him in the eyes. He was dead serious. Whatever he was going to do, he was trying to protect her. She climbed past him, into the front seat and opened her door.
“Run like hell and if anyone tries to stop you, shoot them in the head,” Larry said. “Remember, turn your safety off.”
“Okay,” she said, nodding her head and jumping down to the ground.
Larry gunned the engine and raced towards the motel.
Brock watched as his men marched John out. He was much weaker looking than Brock would have guessed for a man who had caused so much havoc in the past 48 hours.
He approached John, keeping a safe distance.
“It’s okay, John. We’re going to take you home. You no longer have anything to fear.”
A roar of an engine erupted behind them. Brock looked up as a van careened straight at them. His men drew their weapons and fired at the approaching danger.
“Yee-haw, motherfuckers!” Larry screamed out, surprisingly giddy and laughing as he barreled forward.
Bullets pierced the window, ripped into the chair where Abigail had been, but missed Larry entirely. With just a few yards to go, he turned the wheel left, aiming not at John, but at the handful of men just behind him.
The van struck them with a sickening thud, then rolled over them, thumping as Larry slammed on the breaks. The van screeched then lost its balance, tumbling over twice and sliding to a crashing halt into the motel.
John opened his eyes in a painful blur just in time to see a van careening straight toward them. The van slammed into the men behind him and the momentum sent him forward, into one of the gunmen.
Instinct took over, John’s eyes shot open wide, his jaw snapped open and he bit down hard on the man’s neck and jerked, ripping flesh and blood away in one animalistic surge. They fell to the ground hard, the man screaming and flailing as John dug in deeper like a dog refusing to loosen its grip. Blood rushed into his mouth and then, as his jaw locked tighter around the man‘s neck, the current of energy began to course through and into John.
John inhaled deeply, his eyes rolling back into his head as he felt a pleasant wave pulse through his body. All at once, the panic, pain and hunger which had been coursing through him eased, replaced with a calmness even as chaos continued to erupt around them. For that moment, even as the van screeched and flipped over before slamming into the hotel, even as the remaining gunmen screamed and fired their weapons at John, there was nothing else but John and the life force he was drinking in fully.
One of the men screamed “hold your fire” repeatedly. However, bullets continued to rip into John’s back, legs and arms. Only when a bullet hit his shoulder, did some part of him consider the danger of a head shot.
John looked down at the withered corpse beneath him, paused for a moment, and then lifted his gaze at the remaining men in black – four of them.
They stopped firing, standing back. One man’s weapon shook in his hands.
John looked down at the jacket, concentrated on the belts and buckles which fastened his arms together. All at once, they unfastened and he began to wriggle free.
Neat, if only I could’ve done that 10 minutes ago.
“Holy shit!” one of the men said and fired a shot which slammed into John’s chest.
John fell back and to his feet, his chest stinging as he gasped for breath. He glared up, then leaped at the man who shot him, so fast that none of the men could do a thing, and his hands found the man’s skin beneath the mask.
“Oh God no!” the man blurted out with his dying gasps. John turned and glared at the three remaining men and barked, “Run!”
Brock watched as John fed on his soldiers. What the fuck happened? He took cover behind one of the vans the minute shit went south.
He wanted to call Jacob and ask him what to do, but was afraid to disappoint his boss. He knew all too well what happened when people let Jacob down. While Jacob was not a strong man, he was not without his resources. Those he didn’t kill, always wished themselves dead soon enough. Brock could not return without John.
As he contemplated his next course of action, he saw her. The girl that he and his squad had kidnapped earlier. She was sitting in a car across the street, head peeking out over the dashboard. While she was seemingly staring straight at him, her eyes were more likely fastened on the action. Brock decided to move from his spot so he could circle around and take her from behind.
John might out power him, but Brock would be damned if the freak would outsmart him.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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