The city buzzed like a noise-struck hornet, skittering round a white-hot light. The sound pouring forth from beneath the shade of jagged, phallic highrises, behind which grumbled ramshackle factories discharging grim, hellish plumes of living charcoal up into the darkening, moonless sky.
A man stood backlit by moon in that blasted district, silent as a tomb, motionless as statuary. He stared up into the thunderheads building in the far-off distance as rain drew a thin and shimmering patina about his ball cap and tight-fitting leather jacket, white and emblazoned with a golden chrysanthemum sigil. His middling form shuttered suddenly as the man inhaled deeply, meditatively. Then he turned full about and made for the high brick wall of the ruined factory now before him.
Without hesitation the man drew back his powerful arms and slammed his naked fist into the mortared facade. Again and again he struck the wall, until his knuckles bleed and his forearms tired.
At length, he moved away from the wall, and stood eyeing the mortar and blood upon it, slow washing down unto the filth beneath. The man withdrew a small roll of medical cloth and ripped it in half, fastening one section around each bloodied hand, from knuckles to wrists, and then surveyed the rain speckled ruin surrounding.
The playground was strewn with condoms, needles, broken bottles and chewing gum above which, on either side, rose two massive factories, both crumbled in upon themselves, victims of some forgotten housing project which had never reached completion. Everything within that wasted yard between the ruins of dilapidated industry smelled of rain and steel, smoke and sin, scents like afterimages of all those teeming, filthy lives what had passed before. Scents so intense in their invocation that the man, for the briefest of moments, swore he could see them, those past people, elapsed persons, flittering like somber khefts who corroded the tenuous weave of reality with their nightmarish alcahest.
He surveyed the filth surrounding, first left to the porno mag neath the swing set, then right to the dead dog near the far wall, it’s collar fused with flesh like a demonic brand. Inhaling the stink, feeling the cold, omnipresent sting of cloud-rheum. All consuming, imminently palpable and utterly inescapable.
The man whirled suddenly striking once again at the walls, this time more furiously, emitting a low, inhuman growl as he did so. Blood pooling neath knuckled bandages, veins and blows rising in tandem to the rains savage increase. He kept on thrashing the wall as the lunar light shown faintly through the slow-breaking cloud-line. Striking til he was no longer essence and entity but pure causal aggression. Planetary, orbitless. Object without agency, purpose distilled.
When the mortar finally began to crack beneath his blows he relented, taking two steps back, his military boots slashing in the fetid, ashen grime of the wide, gravel yard. The crack in the wall was a revelation, it was more than a mere physical representation of reality but a mirror unto a calling beyond his ken. It felt as if he were becoming a providence unto himself and the feeling was greater than any elation he’d ever before experienced.
Reverie broken. Winds gusting. The merry-go-round creaking eerily with the tilting of sky, shifting in uneven undulations like some skeletal prison, moaning in agony neath the terror of the moon.
The man walked methodically to the merry-go-round and placed a bandaged and bloodied hand upon cold steel, feeling the turning of the world and all reverberations there from. The sound of creaking omnipotent, filling the air with mystic song, like the ringing of sword on mail, both precedent and prelude to dire contentions whose totality shaped the living mold of history and the silhouetted form that moved there within.
Then he straightened and walked up to the old house behind the playground, entering through the unlocked front door. Sounds of synthwave and scents of alcohol permeated the place with visual density. They reminded the yellowed eyed man of the nightclub he had tersely visited the night before and his pace quickened at the recollection.
The man passed through the foyer, his sound masked by the pulsing bass emanating from stolen loudspeakers booming from some room beyond, and entered the living room where a mass of blacklit bodies flailed wildly, enrapt with spirits. They were young and old, though mostly young, the women especially so and them scantclad, their carnal movements magnetic to the older men who ground upon them with orgiastic ecstasy. Sweat and swelling groins, lolling breasts and heaving thighs. None noticed the newcomer with the ballcap as he walked purposefully along the edge of the left wall, taking the stairs up to the second floor landing. He turned sharply left and took the corridor to it’s extremity. At the end of the corridor was a high, green door and a large, muscular man, standing before it, talking on a phone, his back to the intruder with the bloodied hands. As the intruder approached the large man whirled instantly, clearly surprised.
“Whoa, ya scared me there, buddy. You a friend of Kim’s?”
The man with the dark blue ball cap didn’t respond, he merely balled his hands into red-white fists, dragging his knuckles along the walls as he hastened his approach, blood-lines painting the peeling stucco walls in his wake.
“The fuck happened to your hands?”
Again the man didn’t answer. Instead he burst forwards suddenly, viciously striking the large man in the face – phone dropped, cartilage broke. The big man staggered aback, blood trickling in hot, blooming globs from his odd-angling nose.
Furiously the large man threw a pudgy, bejeweled fist at the assailant, connecting with nothing but air. The man with the bandaged hands caught the big man’s arm in a pincer move, pressing with savage intensity upon his elbow until it snapped like ripened celery. The big man gave a strangled moan just before the intruder drew back his upper body and slammed his forehead into the big man’s nose. The bone of the large man’s nose had gone straight into his brain but failed to kill him. Instead the brute thrashed upon the ground in wild, epileptic spasms, eyes rolling white and queer-twitching.
The intruder loomed over the dying man, watching with opaque eyes as blood drained from the creature’s indented nose and pooled into his gasping maw. Choking red, he attempting to scream, failing, flailing. Helpless.
Then the man with the bandaged hands stepped over the pitiful creature and walked calmly into the room beyond. It was a small chamber, filled with marijuana smoke and pornographic paraphernalia, partitioned by a thick black curtain. The intruder peered silently through the parted curtain, surveying all beyond keenly. Beyond the veil was a plush, velvet mat upon which two handsome, naked men stood, one white, the other Mexican, cocks dangling semi-hard. Between them a young, thin man whose beautiful blue eyes were wide with terror. He was chained to large steel pole that had been erected in the middle of the room via something resembling a dog collar.
“What the fuck are you looking sour about?”
The intruder’s eyes darted to the speaker, a young woman who leered at the orgy goers from behind a small digital camera. She wore wide-rimmed glasses, lipgloss, a mini-skirt and a tightfitting, low-cut T-shirt which read: Jealous?
The prisoner bowed his head, averting his eyes. The director shook her head and lowered her camera.
“I’m fucking speaking to you, cunt. Look at me.”
The young man reluctantly acquiesced at which point the woman nodded, vaguely pleased and then viciously grabbed the man by the back of his head, shaking him violently.
“You better not resist this time or I’ll have Henry discipline you again. Severely this time.”
The man nodded, terrified. The woman smiled and released her hold on his hair and then stepped back and raised her camera.
“Alright, let’s get this fucking movie done so I can give Karol his pay and get the fuck out of here – and don’t be afraid to get rough with the little fucker, he deserves it for trying to run.”
The naked men laughed and started in on the cowering young man.
“In three, two-”
Suddenly the man with the bloodied hands burst into the room from behind the black curtain. The director spun, wide eyed, mouth slightly parted in surprise. The intruder raised his fist and backhanded her to the floor, sending the camera clattering into the corner. The two studs spun from the slave, their visages those of children before the flog. The anglo spoke up first, taking a step backwards off the velvet mat, moving towards the corner in fear.
“What the fuck man?”
The intruder didn’t speak, he merely stared at them, his eyes hidden neath the shade of his dark blue ballcap. After a beat the mestizo took a step forward, pointing at the intruder.
“You don’t know who you’re messing with, walk away, and I’ll forget this ever happened.”
The intruder wordlessly kicked the man in the groin and watched as the mestizo collapsed to the ground with an inhuman moan. Then he grabbed the Mexican by the back of the head and splintered his skull upon the concrete. Once, twice, three time, four, until there was scarcely anything left of the man’s face that could be called such. Then he rose and walked methodically to the anglo in the far right corner of the room.
“Hey man, let’s talk about this – you want money? Is it Karol? Listen man, we’ve got money!”
The intruder delivered a kick to the man’s left kneecap so powerful that the join inverted instantly. The anglo folded over screaming, his wild exclamations drowned out by thunderous electronica. The ballcapped man drew back his leg and delivered a sunderous kick to the man’s skull. Again and again he struck down until the floor went red with blood and rheum and fragments of bone. Then he straightened, breathing heavily and turned to the prisoner who crouched beside the steel pole which affixed him to the middle of the room.
“W-who are you?”
Before the man with the bandaged hands could respond there came a spastic howling as the director came barreling at the interloper with a small, weighted baseball bat clutched in trembling, feminine hands. Wood met muscle as the bat connected with the trespasser, who staggered back without exclamation. Recovering nearly instantly, the interloper drove his fist into the woman’s gut and then drew his uninjured arm back and wrenched the bat from her grasp, tossing it carelessly aside. The killer moved mechanically round the fallen woman to stand before the chained prisoner, removing a large, folded hunting knife from his eggshell, leather jacket. With a flip of his bangled wrist the blade snapped free of casing, glinting malevolently in the dim, red light which emanated from a solitary lava lamp upon a small wooden table in the far left corner of the room. The chained youth attempted to look the killer in the face but there was no face, only shadows cast by his low-worn ball-cap.
“Oh god – please don’t kill me, please!”
The intruder knelt before the prisoner, knife brandished before the young man’s trembling face and then grabbed the youth by the collar.
“Please, oh god, I don’t want to die! Oh god! Help me!”
The knife wielder slit the collar cleanly without nicking the skin, then threw it from the prisoner and rose, staring down at him with a expression beyond comprehension. The blond youth was crying now, shuttering violently, as he raised his head.
Then the youngster rose slowly and grabbed his cloths from off the ground beyond the velvet rug, dressed hurriedly and left off out through the black satin veil. The interloper watched the youngster depart and then turned to the director where she moaned upon the ground.
Expressionlessly, he straddled the woman, striking her in the face, rendering her instantly unconscious and then bringing the blade up underneath her shirt. He slit the glitzy T from base to collar, removing it as he drew the tip of the knife to cheap-tanned skin and began to trace a tenuous red-lettering as a crow cawed somewhere off in that wide, outer dark.
The party ended with the rising of the sun; most of that drug addled procession piling out of the house and dispersing into the crystal shimmering ambit of the metropolis. Dropouts and deadbeats sauntering back to their dingy, stucco hovels to feast on corn chips and beer and drain their brains on superfluous pay-per-view programming; skinflicks and action romps.
Only a young black woman and her roommate, a skinny, tattooed mulatto remained. They surveyed the desecrated house, plastic bags of marijuana piled on the living room table, crowded in by beer bottles and Styrofoam cups. The television was on, it occupying the wall directly opposite the door. To the left and right of it were long leather couches, covered in debris: chips, forgotten hats, pillows and cigarette ash.
The woman collapsed upon the couch with a heavy sigh.
“That was one crazy party.”
“You tired, babe?”
He sat down next to the woman and grabbed the remote off the cluttered tabletop, flicking to the local news station. A handsome Asian sat behind a mahogany desk, a slender bundle of papers laid out on the table before him. He picked them up and tapped them together upon the desk in an orderly fashion, looking into the camera with a mechanically serious expression.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is Damien Bao with VNN bringing you the latest in breaking news. The mysterious disappearance of Vandem University student, Jimmy Garner was resolved late last night when the young student stumbled into VPD headquarters, bruised, shaken but otherwise unharmed. According to Mr. Garner he was abducted by a young woman who the police have identified as Kimberly Novak, a well known child porn producer who has ties to the Karol Drug Cartel. Novak has been on the run since an attempted arrest earlier in the year which resulted in the deaths of two police officers. More astounding then this revelation, however, was the situation which lead to Mr. Garner’s release. According to Garner whilst he was confined a man stormed the room, killed his captors and released him, never speaking a word. According to Mr. Garner the man wore a dark blue baseball cap, sun faded jeans, military boots and a off-white leather jacket with a… flower insignia.”
The broadcaster briefly paused, touching the transmitter in his ear, then nodded and continued.
“I’m being told that the sigil on the man’s jacket, that is, the symbol, was a chrysanthemum. Here is an artist rendering of the alleged perpetrator. If you see this man, please report him to your local police. In other news, reality TV star Christie Rains shows off her baby bump at the-”
Suddenly, the door was kicked down, a flock of SWAT members storming in, tactical shotguns canvasing the tatterdemalion party house.
“Get down on the ground – NOW!”
The couple, who had sprang up from their couch with expressions of purest terror, dropped instantly to the shag carpeting.
“What’s going on?!”
“It’s going to be ok, Rachel. Officers, what’s going on?”
“You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
One of the SWAT member’s pressed the young mulatto’s head to the carpet, cuffing him with practiced precision.
“What the fuck, man! It’s just pot.”
The agent cuffed the girl, ignoring both their protestations, rose and quickly marched up the stairs, shotgun at the ready. He emerged upon the landing with his men close behind him and traversed the long corridor, then paused, noting a faint, pale-red smear along the left and peeling stucco wall. A few feet further on he noticed another stain, this one residing upon the left corner at the end of hall and the beginning of the next room’s door frame. It was much more easily recognizable than the first.
“What do you think, Serge?”
“Think it looks like blood.”
The sergeant turned away from the blood stains, focusing his attention on the door before him. He gingerly tried the knob, didn’t budge. Locked. With soundless hand gestures the sergeant assembled a point formation and then switched out his Remington 870 for the Heckler & Koch MP5 which hung from a strap about his shoulder. He never liked shotguns for corner clearing, the MP5’s shorter length made it a much more pragmatic choice.
He looked back at the man under his command, they nodded, he nodded back and then kicked the door down and surged inside. He cleared the corners swiftly, black satin to either side – nothing. Tearing the curtain aside he shuddered with utter revulsion. Within that tiny, dim-lit room were the bodies of two men, their heads crushed beyond recognition, the air thick with the scent of blood, defecation and something else unplacable. In the middle of the room was a battered steel pole from which a naked woman slumped. Chains ran the length of both wrists and from the wrists the chain ran about the pole.
The SWAT members thoroughly swept through the room then looked back at the sergeant and nodded. The sergeant approached the woman tentatively, his breath sharp and labored with dread which slithered through his gut like some sinister and demonic aberration. A dread which permeated the very air of those fetid, pale green confines.
He reached out a black gloved hand and spun the woman around, gasping at what he beheld.
There were no eyes, nor tongue, nor ears, nor nose, only black and septic holes, cavities oozing with vile rheum.
Upon her naked stomach had been carved the words: FILTH.