In the previous episode, Darrel was able to break free of Tartarus’ possession, finding himself in the middle of the woods. When he called his dad, who asked what was going on, readers voted that he feign ignorance, saying, “I don’t know. The last thing I remember was being in my room. Now I’m in the middle of the forest.”
“You are accusing my son!”
Police Chief Greg Flint slams his hand on the desk, roaring at a cowering deputy. Everyone else in the station stops what they are doing, turning their attention to their commander’s office. Many look at Darrel, who sits at the deputy’s desk. After spending several hours wandering the forest, he wishes he were back there instead of having all eyes on him. He looks down at the floor, knowing that the accusation is not too far from the truth.
The young deputy tries to calm his ill-tempered chief, “I am just saying that Darrel is wearing a piece of the suspect’s armor. In any other case we would have booked him.”
Chief Flint thinks otherwise, “This is not a normal case. That armored thing threw me through my front door, withstood a barrage of bullets, and somehow damaged our equipment with just its voice. Do you honestly think my son is capable of that?”
The deputy shrinks away, “Well…no. But—”
“There are no buts,” the chief snaps back. He lets out a soft groan as he holds his side. “I’m going to take my son home. We’ll pick up on this case tomorrow.”
He steps out of the office, leaving the deputy looking foolish. In the station everyone pretends to be working, and not eavesdropping. Of course, the chief knows better, but pays them no mind. Motioning for Darrel to follow, both head to his truck, and get in. The drive that follows is awkward, filled with an uneasy tension.
After the first mile of silence, Darrel’s father asks, “Are you sure you didn’t see anything else?”
“It’s like I told you,” he lies, “I woke up in the forest. And I had this thing latched to my arm.”
His dad eyes the metal gauntlet, “No one in the station could rip that off. This night keeps getting stranger…”
“Tell me about it,” Darrel whispers to himself.
“Anyway,” his father steers the conversation away from gloom, “I talked to your brother. Mr. Winters has offered for the two of you to stay at his house for the night.”
“Okay,” Darrel forces a smile. “What about you?”
His dad holds his side again, “I need to go to the hospital. Pretty sure I broke a rib or two…”
Hours later across town at a local motel, Alyssa is sound asleep in a foreign bed. She is lost in the depths of dreamland. The queer events of today have been left behind. As she slumbers, sinister yellow light oozes from her body, writhing as if it were alive. It slithers from her sleeping self, making its way to the window.
In such a small town, the city’s cemetery is just a stone’s throw away from the hotel, which gives it the ironic name, Gravekeeper Inn. The living ectoplasm sloshes through the gaps in the glass, entering the nightly air. It flings itself off the fourth floor, splashing into the damp grass of the graveyard. The yellow goo sinks into the soil beside a headstone. In marble, it reads the name of a young man who perished decades ago, only living to thirty before his years were cut short.
A crow cries out in the distance as the full moon casts its glow over the dead. Suddenly, a hand bursts from the earth. Flesh has rotted from the limb. Only strands of muscle and tendon cling to bone. The corpse pulls itself out of its final resting place, taking a fresh look at a world it had left.
Dressed in the tattered suit it was buried in, the body stands up. Its skin is as pale as snow and hair in long strands of white. When it opens its sunken eyes, they blaze a fiery red. The corpse studies itself, seeing the chunks of rotted flesh, able to reach in and touch its still heart. A twisted smile creeps over what is left of its lips.
“This body shall do, for now,” the corpse speaks in a gravelly voice that causes the earth to tremble. The soul that clings to it is one that revels in death. Pallas speaks softly, “I must become familiar with this world…before it becomes mine.” Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.