Available Darkness: Chapter 33
(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.)
Larry swung the black van into the chop shop. The unassuming warehouse sat in the middle of a dozen others, nearly invisible, in a broken row in a rundown neighborhood just two miles south of their next port of call.
Lydia was waiting outside, alone as he’d requested. Most hours, she’d have a crew of at least six to help ensure her safety, but their amorous past was a solid promise of safety. She raised the bay door and Larry pulled inside, parking beside the white Ford Econoline she’d readied for him. The van was modified inside, with a spacious cargo area sealed off from the front to prevent any light from seeping inside. Larry would transfer John and Abigail, and then be on his way. Lydia would take care of the black van and all its tracking systems.
Larry hopped from the van. Lydia pulled the bay door down and turned to him, her infectious smile lighting the room, “Hey, stranger.”
He laughed. “Not by choice. You still seeing Tony?”
“Hell no, he’s back with his little bitch Jessi.” Lydia sidled towards Larry, then leaned in and gave him a peck on the cheek. “You asking for any particular reason?”
Larry grinned. It had been a while since he’d been laid. Even longer since he’d been with a kinky little minx like Lydia. He felt the usual stir, and then ignored the wish that was turning to a want which time wouldn’t allow. Lydia’s eyes danced; hands in her pocket, head sideways, a lock of chestnut curls teasing the nape of her neck. Larry swallowed.
“No reason, just wanted to make sure the hairs on my neck weren’t rising because of an asshole behind me.”
Lydia laughed. “Nope, just you and me … and whoever you have in the van.”
“Thanks for this,” Larry said, reaching into his pocket for an envelope of cash which found her fingers in a whisper, with the fluidity of a man used to greasing palms and paying for those items or services which were unavailable on the open market.
“Nothing but a thing,” Lydia said, peering over Larry’s shoulder at the black van. “So, what are we about to unwrap?”
“I need to get these people to safety,” Larry said as he led her to the side door. He slid it open. Inside, an especially large looking John with a still sleeping Abigail like a rag doll in the nook of his body.
“Oh shit!” Lydia’s eyes widened. She took an involuntary step back from the van.
“So you get the news in this city too, huh?” Larry made a weak attempt at humor. It didn’t work.
“Dude, what the hell are you into? I’m not into helping a kidnapping, no way.” Lydia took another step back, this one on purpose.
Larry had seconds to calm her. Lydia’s blood was always hot and it didn’t take much to roll it to a boil. She may have run a chop shop with a regular clientele of thugs, thieves, and organized crime, many which had blood on their hands, but kidnapping, or any crime involving a child, was something she wasn’t willing to take part in.
He spoke calmly.
“Come on, you know me better than that. Don‘t believe any of that shit you saw on TV. There are some people after her, bad people. We’re protecting her.”
John crawled from the van and nodded to Lydia.
“What about him?” she said, “I saw what he did on TV. What the hell is he?”
“You trust me?” Larry asked, his voice climbing an octave like a guy in a fight with his girlfriend.
Lydia looked past John and at Abigail, who was starting to stir. “You okay, sweetie?”
Abigail looked up at Lydia. The child’s eyes were cloudy and distant. Larry could only imagine the accusations barreling through Lydia’s mind. They drugged this girl!
Larry had always been able to count on Lydia in a pinch, but they hadn’t spoken in more than half a year, since the “Tony situation” came out of nowhere and took over everything. Who knew where her loyalties lay now?
Larry eyed her up and down, while her attention was on the child. He was certain she was packing heat; something small like a snub nosed Ruger, probably in the small of her back. Lydia might not have run with the lowest of the low, but she was, like Larry, always prepared for any eventuality. He didn’t want to get into a gunfight, so he’d have to act quickly to disarm her the moment before she reached for her piece.
“Where are we?” Abigail asked, her syllables slurring through the slosh of a thick tongue and vacant expression.
Something looked off about the girl, Larry thought. Same doll, different batteries.
“You okay, honey?” Lydia asked, edging towards her.
John leaned over, blocking access to Abigail, and growled. “Don’t touch her!”
Lydia drew back, and before Larry could make a move, she had a gun in hand, a Ruger, indeed, Larry noted, and aimed it at John. Oh fuck, Larry thought, this is gonna get ugly.
“What the hell is going on here?” Lydia asked, gun trained on John, but eyes on Larry; wide, wild, and dilating in a fear that was full yet unflinching.
“Put the gun away,” Larry said, his voice a glassy calm, “You saw what this guy did to those people, right? He may not be human, BUT, he’s not the bad guy here. And this girl here, Abigail, isn’t human either. These government fucks are after them both. They want to capture them, experiment on them and God knows what else. All that shit on TV is a giant spin by the media machine, Lydia. You have to believe me.”
Something in Lydia’s eyes softened and Larry could see she was starting to buy what he was selling. He might have even believed they would get out of the entire mess unscathed if Abigail hadn’t started to scream at that moment, her body convulsing in a wicked rhythm of spasms, eyes rolling into the top of her head. A low predatory snarl started to spill from her throat.
“What the fuck?” Lydia said, gun back on John.
John’s face turned gray as he turned to Larry, “What’s happening?”
Abigail echoed the question in broken gasps, her fingernails digging into John’s arm. “Wh… what’s hap…pening to me?”
Abigail’s back arched upward, her body a circus freak of twisted contortions as anguished cries erupted from her lungs.
Tears poured down Lydia’s face, “What’s happening?”
She put the gun back behind her back and moved towards Abigail, reaching out to help somehow. Neither Larry nor John were able to stop her before Abigail’s flailing hand seized Lydia’s forearm and locked.
And the feeding began.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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