Th£ SECOND SIGHT EPISODE 37
® 20+ SNVL
Th£ LEGION REIGNS
Th£ dog’s h£ad came up, but was stopped short by th£ restra!n!ng muscles of th£ man, but aga!n Bruno shook h¡s h£ad savagely and ₱v||ed !n maddened fury.
Th£ man s¢r**med aga!n, and th¡s time h¡s clench£d fists b**t h£lplessly aga!nst th£ h*g£ h£ad of th£ dog, h¡s cont!nuous wail a terrible sound that tortured my eardrums.
What was probably th£ wh0l£ of th£ man’s stomach and entrails were clutch£d !n th£ dog’s m©vth. I was dimly aware that Nicole was s¢r**m!ng beh!nd me, and I was aware that th£ dark liquid $pr£@d!ng !n th£ dim light was th£ man’s blood.
Th£ man j√$t couldn’t stop s¢r**m!ng.
Strangely, !n that moment of confusion I wanted h¡m to stop s¢r**m!ng m©r£ than I wanted to deal with th£ evil demons.
h¡s s¢r**ms were that bad, and th£y made me feel crush!ngly !nadequate.
You vile th!ng!
And th£n th£ dog whirled round and saw me for th£ first time.
I stared !nto its baleful eyes, and th£n I saw a f|¡¢ker of surprise, or fear, and th£n it charged me.
It jerked suddenly to a stop, as if it had ran !nto an !nvisible wall. Its eyes swept from side to side, desperately seek!ng an escape r©vte.
And th£n it wh¡mpered, and began to cower.
Th£re’s nowh£re to flee to, you vile piece of sh*t!
As it cowered I began to m©v£ toward it.
Yaw, be ¢ar£ful!
$h£ m©v£d forward and suddenly clutch£d my upper arm. I glanced at h£r, my concentration broken.
That split second was all that th£ Legion needed. With a growl it bounded forward, away from me, straight at th£ pastor and h¡s wife.
s¢r**m!ng, th£ two of th£m fell d©wΠ on th£ b£d. Th£ b©dy of th£ dog cra$h£d !nto th£ tall French w!ndows beh!nd th£m, shatter!ng th£m, and th£n it was ©vt unto a small t£[email protected]
I shook myself free of Nicole and bounded after it.
I was aware that I was runn!ng barefoot over broken gla$$, but I felt no cuts. Th£ dog vaulted over th£ rail!ng and fell off.
I followed, and leapt off th£ rail!ng.
Th£ dog’s h£ad seemed to twist round entirely and glared up at me. Th£ anger was th£ adrenal!ne that drove me forward.
Gone was th£ fear. Th£ only th!ng I wanted to do was to get hold of it and tear it to pieces.
We fell two floors unto th£ soft green gra$$ below. Th£ dog whirled at me, growl!ng, and saw th£ look on my face. It took frantic steps [email protected]¢k, its growls reduced to wh¡mper!ng aga!n. I was still ¢rov¢h!ng, and my right [email protected] came up, po!nt!ng at it.
You vile sh*t! Th¡s night you shall know th£ power of th£ Lord.
Basically that was all I got ©vt.
Suddenly Bruno’s neck began to elongate. It was as if a giant had taken hold of h¡s h£ad and was ₱v||!ng it off.
I knew I had to act, to do someth!ng, but I was once aga!n paralyzed by th£ $h£er evil of what I was see!ng. Th£ dog’s neck became longer and narrower as its h£ad was forcibly ₱v||ed ©vtward.
And th£n th£ h*g£ h£ad was torn off th£ dog’s b©dy. It fell on th£ gra$$, rolled a few feet, and came to a stop, t0Πge still b**t!ng rapidly !n its [email protected] agony throes.
Th£ b©dy of th£ dog fell, blood pump!ng ©vt of its neck, its legs jerk!ng spasmodically, its tail b**t!ng a rapid tattoo on th£ gra$$.
Th£re was a flap of w!ngs above me, and I looked up to see a h*g£ crow … th£ big ugly white crow … pa$$!ng j√$t over my h£ad.
And th£n, thrown vividly aga!nst th£ wall, I saw that shadow – th£ same three legged, three-f!ng£red horned piece of garbage – and it was mov!ng swiftly.
Th£ shadow of th£ crow was also thrown aga!nst th£ wall, and th£ Shadow-Th!ng leapt. It merged with th£ crow, and with anoth£r mighty thrv$t of its w!ngs it swung savagely away, ga!n!ng h£ight !n a k!nd of diagonal flight.
And I watch£d it go.
I saw its crimson eyes star!ng d©wΠ balefvlly at me as it rose high£r and high£r !nto th£ night sky.
I could have commanded it d©wΠ. I could have transported my soul ©vt of my b©dy and gone after it. I could have done a dozen th!ngs right.
!nstead my limp b©dy stayed on th£ gra$$, and my stomach lurch£d as I vomited all over th£ green ma$$ and on my own right foot.
Th£re was no strength left !n me. All th£ energy had left my b©dy, and I fell d©wΠ limply.
My b©dy began to shake [email protected] My breath was short, and m©r£ sweat ₱0ured off me.
My stomach lurch£d aga!n, and I vomited some m©r£.
I tried to ₱ush it away, but I couldn’t.
Yes, I had seen those eyes, and beh£ld what that th!ng was capable of do!ng. My confidence suddenly des**ted me, and I had very serious doubts now ab©vt my ability to stand anoth£r encounter with that demon.
I didn’t know how long I stayed ¢rov¢h£d d©wΠ !n th£ gra$$ whilst th£ s¢r**ms of th£ gutted man wa$h£d d©wΠ to me through th£ broken w!ndow.
Th£ nightmarish stupor only left me wh£n I h£ard th£ sirens.
Medical staff … and cops!
I got to my feet !nstantly.
I dragged Bruno across th£ gra$$ to th£ edge of th£ trees, and came [email protected]¢k for h¡s h£ad. By th£ time I got to th£ edge of th£ trees aga!n th£ ambulance had rolled !nto th£ yard and white-cloth£d medical guys were gett!ng ©vt th£ir gear.
Wh£n I returned to th£ house I saw Bonner and Paul Anderson Junior walk!ng toward me.
Th£ young Paul was hold!ng a shovel.
Thought you might need th¡s.
Bonner said gravely, !ndicat!ng th£ shovel with a slight thrv$t of h¡s h£ad. Th£ harsh l!nes of h¡s face revealed th£ deep sorrow h£ was feel!ng.
Who’s that man? How’s h£ do!ng? Will h£ ₱v|| through?
I asked as I took th£ shovel from th£ trembl!ng [email protected] of th£ young man
h¡s name was Bruce Andoh. h£ was one of our pastors. h£ was stationed at Apremdo. We recalled h¡m for re-post!ng because h£ ran !nto some h£adach£s with th£ local congregation. h£ reported last night, and we were go!ng to meet h¡m th¡s morn!ng, you know, po!nt ©vt a few of h¡s shortcom!ngs and stuff like that before post!ng h¡m to anoth£r a$$embly.
I shuddered and exhaled, star!ng at h¡m with my face all screwed up.
h£ bled to death. Do what you got to do, Yaw. Th£ cops’ll be h£re pretty soon.
For a moment I stared at h¡m, my gaze question!ng.
Th£ cop – if it is that Chief !nspector Frost – might want to know how th£ dog died. j√$t bury Bruno, and we’ll tell h¡m you sh°t h¡m with Andoh’s gun. I figured that a blast !n th£ neck from a double-barreled gun might j√$t expla!n th£ decapitated h£ad of th£ dog.
I stared at h¡m dumbly.
h£ had not even seen Bruno’s b©dy, but h£ knew how th£ dog had died.
h£ was a Seer.
You saw what happened.
(nodd!ng h¡s grey h£ad)
I saw. I j√$t th!nk it might be a little awkward expla!n!ng what really happened to th£ dog to Frost. h£’s a pagan who believes !n evolution. God doesn’t figure !n h¡s sch£me of affairs.
I thought th£ cops h£re were selected by some special k!nd of council, and that th£y were all Christians. Expla!ns why Portville has one of th£ lowest crime rates ever.
Frost’s good at what h£ does. h£ was transferred h£re after h£ lost h¡s wife. A demented man h£ s£nt to jail was released on parole and th£ first th!ng h£ did was follow Frost’s missus to a supermarket and strangle h£r. Th£ murder!ng devil claimed !n court later that h£ was a self-proclaimed Messiah of God s£nt ©vt to clean th£ world of filth, but actually h£ was a mad man through and through. We thought hav!ng Frost h£re would give us th£ opportunity of turn!ng h¡m toward God, but th£ loss of h¡s wife affected h¡m too much, and now h£ believes all Christians are crim!nals underneath. Would’ve been unfair to request that h£ be transferred ©vt of Portville aga!n after fruitlessly try!ng to convert h¡m for years. We still have hopes that one day h£ would turn ©vt a true believer. Remember to [email protected] th£ sh°tgun wh£n you get it. You have to get your f!ng£rpr!nts on it.
I stared at h¡m a moment longer, and th£n I nodded with understand!ng.
I turned and left th£m.
Th£ h0l£ I dug was deep, and I ₱u$h£d Bruno !nto it gently. I had to lean forward to drop th£ h£ad, and th£n I covered it up, stomp!ng all over it to give it a good solid look.
From far away I h£ard th£ sirens aga!n, and I wondered if Chief !nspector Frost was on h¡s way to th£ grounds.
It was time to get my f!ng£rpr!nts on th£ sh°tgun.
Police Chief !nspector Jack Frost turned ©vt to be a tall narrow man who cha!n-smoked.
Even at dawn h£ was impeccably dressed !n a dark suit, clean shirt, grey tie and a dark Stetson. h¡s long narrow face was completely cold, and h¡s dark eyes were sharp, at times appear!ng to be star!ng straight !nto one’s soul.
Th£re were h*g£ bags underneath h¡s eyes, and h¡s complexion had th£ dark gl!nt of one who spent a lot of hours ©vtdoors. h£ didn’t take off h¡s hat, but I saw that h£ was gray!ng at th£ temples. I put h¡m !n h¡s late fifties.
Chief !nspector Jack Frost was not only cold and apparently competent, but also a very [email protected] man !ndeed.
h¡s a$$istant was Sergeant Kweku Abbiw.
h£ was th£ complete opposite of Frost. Short, fat, pot-bellied and wear!ng a crumpled dark trousers and a green cardigan over yellow shirt which poked ©vt unfashionably underneath h¡s cardigan simply because th£ cardigan was !nch£s too small for h¡s obese frame.
h£ had a double ch!n, was bespectacled – h£ had one of those gla$$es which had round thick lenses which made th£ eyes appear recessed and foxy – and had th£ annoy!ng habit of |¡¢k!ng h¡s l¡ps rapidly and pok!ng th£ tip of h¡s t0Πge through h¡s l¡ps as h£ listened or thought of someth!ng.
I was !n th£ shower wh£n Junior came and told me th£y had arrived and were wait!ng !n th£ liv!ng-room. I dressed quickly and stepped ©vt.
Bonner had 0rg*nized a quick meet!ng wh£re we had all agreed on what to say, and wh£n I entered th£ liv!ng-room I sought ©vt th£ old man. h£ was sitt!ng !n a manual wh£el-chair by th£ tall French w!ndows, and h£ gave me a little nod as th£ cops m©v£d toward me.
I could feel th£ fear !n that room.
Pastor Anderson and h¡s wife were sitt!ng !n a wide [email protected], and Nicole perch£d on th£ arm of th£ seat and was hold!ng unto h£r moth£r’s [email protected] $h£ had ₱v||ed on a white bath!ng robe over h£r negligee, and $h£ cut a spectacular figure even at that time of day.
Th£ servants were huddled close togeth£r, still shak!ng.
CHIEF !nSPECTOR FROST
Mr. Yaw Boat. I recognize you. You killed th£ dog. We have th£ gun. Would you please step ©vtside with me for a moment?
As we made our way toward th£ door Nicole and Bonner began to rise at th£ same time.
CHIEF !nSPECTOR FROST
No, you stay h£re.
h¡s l¡ps barely m©v£d, and h£ didn’t break stride, but th£ authority was th£re !n h¡s voice. I understood th£n why Bonner had been so appreh£nsive ab©vt h¡m.
h£ was a [email protected] uncompromis!ng man.
I noticed that th£ir police sedan was h*g£ and clean.
Black, powerful … a man’s car.
h¡s deputy spoke beh!nd me suddenly, startl!ng me.
I had not seen h¡m beh!nd me.
Would you m!nd stat!ng your name, address, age and purpose !n Portville for th£ record, sir?
h¡s voice was a screechy discord that I disliked immediately.
I reeled off th£ !nformation.
Frost walked across th£ lawn, paused, and spoke with h¡s [email protected]¢k to me.
CHIEF !nSPECTOR FROST
Tell me what happened, Mr. Boat.
It was basic.
Th£ dog had gone mad, probably rabid. Its bark had woken me up, I had ru$h£d !nto th£ pastor’s room, and found Bruce Andoh ab©vt to shoot it.
h¡s bullets had missed, and th£ dog had attacked h¡m. It had th£n jumped ©vt of th£ w!ndows. I had taken Andoh’s gun, ru$h£d ©vtside and found th£ dog on th£ lawn. It had tried to attack me and I had sh°t it.
CHIEF !nSPECTOR FROST
Wh£re did you shoot it, Mr. Boat? h£ad, ch£st, b©dy?
As h£ spoke h£ was turn!ng to face me, th£ shadows and th£ hat mak!ng h¡s face almost !nvisible. h£ rem!nded me of one of th£ hit men !n some of th£ old gangster cl¡ps, th£ James Cagney k!nd of movies.
I don’t really know. I th!nk it took both bullets !n th£ h£ad. It was almost on me, see, and I had j√$t a split second to react.
Th£ words seemed to drag through my teeth.
Suddenly some of my confidence seemed to erode, and I found myself somewhat on th£ defensive.
I guessed Frost was that k!nd of man; h£ wasn’t really h*g£, but h£ had an impos!ng pres£nce.
CHIEF !nSPECTOR FROST
What happened next?
h¡s voice was still soft, but th£ !n th£ semi-shadows h¡s eyes seemed to gl!nt.
I buried it. Th£ family loved h¡m very much, especially Junior, and I figured it might be a good idea to bury it before th£y saw h¡m th£ way h£ was.
A mad dog ch£ws a man for d!nner and you bury it? Boy, talk ab©vt th£ age of dumbness. Did it ever occur to you that th£re’s such a th!ng as police procedure !n cases like th£se and that th£re’s such a th!ng as collect!ng evidence and ascerta!n!ng facts prior to writ!ng reports? Did it even occur to you that !n cir¢vmstances like th£se it is always necessary to f!nd ©vt what happened to th£ dog so that preventive measures could be taken, especially if it turns ©vt that whatever happened to it could or have already affected oth£r dogs, hmm?
It took all my self-¢©Πtr0| from sw!ng!ng round and bury!ng a fist !nto h¡s gut.
!nstead I shrugged !n what I hoped was a self-deprecat!ng way, and smiled nervously.
Well, I don’t know, I wasn’t th!nk!ng right I guess. I didn’t th!nk it was a crime, you know. j√$t thought it was an unfortunate affair. Sorry. Th£ grave is right th£re on th£ edge of th£ trees. Maybe you would like to have it opened up aga!n?
A STRANGE TOUCH
Frost took quick steps toward me and stopped with!n touch!ng distance.
As tall as h£ was, h£ stood almost a wh0l£ h£ad shorter than I was, and a lot leaner.
I could probably have taken h¡m ©vt if it ever came to that, but h£ still gave that impression of a man totally !n ¢©Πtr0| of h¡mself, and I felt slightly at a disadvantage.
CHIEF !nSPECTOR FROST
I hate smart-a$$ guys, Mr. Boat. Those Christian freaks !n th£re are ly!ng, and so are you. Bruno rabid? Horsesh*t! That dog’s probably th£ fittest and h£althiest pet !n th£ wh0l£ of Portville. And th£ friendliest too. Been known to take to every kid. !ncidentally th£ Vet that takes ¢ar£ of our police dogs also attends to Bruno, and I called h¡m before com!ng h£re. Turns ©vt that Bruno had h¡s sh°ts only a month ago, and rabies vacc!nation was one of th£m. You’re all a bunch of f****ng liars, that’s what you are. Now, tell me what th£ f**k really happened.
I put my [email protected] !nto my pocket.
Now h£ was on my home turf, ₱|@y!ng [email protected] h£ might be mean, but I had had run-!ns with tough£r cops.
Be!ng !n Portville, with all its delicate trimm!ngs and wa$h£d ©vtlook had floored me for a while, but now I welcomed h¡s animosity and m©v£d toward it.
It h£lped clear my h£ad, and for that I was secretly grateful.
Didn’t your Vet also tell you that those sh°ts aren’t a guarantee that a dog can’t go bonkers? Maybe it wasn’t rabid. Maybe it had some tumors !n th£ bra!n, or it got !nfected with someth!ng toxic. I don’t know; th£ possibilities are h*g£. All that I know is that it went crazy, attacked a man, tried to ch£w me up and I sh°t it.
And that’s why you should’ve left th£ b©dy h£re and not buried it, as***ole.
Th£re was so much a man could take, and I swirled on h¡m so f*st that h£ jumped [email protected]¢k, h¡s jowls shak!ng with alarm. I saw th£ sudden fear !n h¡s magnified eyes, and that was enough for me.
I won’t warn you a second time, Sergeant.
I had th£ [email protected]!$faction of see!ng h¡m swallow.
I saw h¡m struggl!ng to come ©vt with a sharp retort, to reaffirm h¡s authority, but h£ cast a quick look at Frost first, and suddenly I understood it all.
Abbiw was th£ boy who had always been accused of lack!ng character. Work!ng with th£ [email protected]!ng Frost might be a great challenge to h¡m.
Frost was probably h¡s h£ro, possess!ng th£ k!nd of quiet toughness that Abbiw so envied, and as a result h£ was what h£ was: a weak man try!ng desperately to ride th£ tides.
CHIEF !nSPECTOR FROST
Th£ dog !ndeed attacked Andoh, which I don’t dispute. What I don’t understand is why a gentle docile dog would suddenly go berserk. But that’s all for now, Mr. Boat. But do stick @r0vnd ‘cause you’ll h£ar from me aga!n. C’mon, Abdul.
Abbiw was search!ng for a part!ng jab, and I glared at h¡m. h£ tried to hold my gaze with a tough one of h¡s own, but after a moment h£ turned round and followed Frost, h¡s fat a$$ jiggl!ng.
Only wh£n th£ lights of th£ir sedan vani$h£d @r0vnd th£ curve !n th£ path did I breath£ easy.
h£ didn’t buy it, did h£?
I almost jumped at th£ sound of Bonner’s voice.
I turned round quickly, a little disconcerted.
My nerves were drawn taut, and th£ !ncident with Andoh and Bruno was still ₱|@y!ng havoc with my s£nses.
Sorry, son, didn’t mean to startle you.
h£ gave a mighty sneeze.
h£ fumbled a h*g£ [email protected] ©vt of h¡s br£@st pocket and blew h¡s nose.
Com!ng d©wΠ with a cold, I th!nk. Nasty weath£r. Beware of Jack Frost – h£’s a tough one.
I know. h£ didn’t buy our story. You know what, I had th£ strange feel!ng that h£ knew exactly what happened.
Th£ old man nodded.
Maybe h£ did, but I doubt it. h£’s aware that someth!ng h£avy went d©wΠ, but h£’s also conv!nced that th£re was no evil motive beh!nd it, or that any of us had anyth!ng to do with it. !n h¡s own way h£ respects th£ secrets of th£ church.
Th£re was a little silence b£tweeΠ us.
So what now?
I shuddered !n th£ sudden chill.
h£ sneezed aga!n, discharg!ng a th!n trail of phlegm d©wΠ h¡s right nostril.
h£ took ©vt h¡s hankie and ¢ar£fvlly wiped it off.
We wait, son. Paul and h¡s wife are understandably freaked ©vt, and I want you to keep a keener eye on th£m. We want you to have an upstairs room next to th£irs. h£’s afraid to step ©vt, but h£ can’t hide forever. Th£ congregation needs h¡m. Th£ Legion will be [email protected]¢k, of course, and that’s why you have to be with th£m all th£ time. I better get |ns!de now; th£ weath£r a!n’t h£lp!ng my cold none.
We walked toward th£ door togeth£r.
Th£ Legion is not a priority, son. You failed your call today.
h£ spoke suddenly, for a moment disorient!ng me with h¡s sudden change of topic.
I stopped and looked at h¡m, and I was alarmed at th£ quick anger that flooded me. It was anger born ©vt of secret guilt, I knew, because ever s!nce Andoh died I had been hav!ng troubled thoughts.
I felt as if th£re was someth!ng I could’ve done – someth!ng really important – but I had missed it.
Now wait a moment, Pastor Bonner! What are you talk!ng ab©vt?
h£ faced me.
You’re !n th£ battle zone now, son, never forget that. A man was d©wΠ, dy!ng, and you went after th£ Legion which was flee!ng. Your fight with th£ Legion is secondary. Next time stay with th£ victim; you could’ve done a lot for h¡m.
What’re you talk!ng ab©vt? Th£ man’s stomach had been ch£wed away, and h£ was bleed!ng badly. What possibly could I have done ab©vt it?
With©vt a word h£ h£ld up h¡s [email protected], and I saw a razor blade gl!nt!ng !n h¡s left [email protected] With©vt warn!ng h¡s [email protected] dove d©wΠ, and h£ sliced th£ razor blade on th£ [email protected]¢k of h¡s right [email protected] which was hold!ng unto th£ cane.
h£y, sh*t! What did you do that for?
I sh©vted with horror, tak!ng a step [email protected]¢k, sick to my stomach.
Blood sp©vted across th£ [email protected]¢k of h¡s [email protected], ₱0ur!ng d©wΠ th£ sides. h£ transferred th£ cane to h¡s left [email protected] and h£ld ©vt h¡s bleed!ng [email protected], thrv$t!ng it at me.
(voice like a whiplash)
Take my [email protected]! Now!
I took h¡s bleed!ng [email protected], cover!ng it with my right [email protected] I felt a t!ngle !n th£ palm of my [email protected], someth!ng like a slight burn!ng, like th£ pa!n you feel wh£n steam from th£ kettle fla$h£d across your sk!n briefly.
h£ drew h¡s [email protected] away and rubb£d th£ [email protected]¢k of h¡s [email protected] – th£ bleed!ng one, th£ one h£ had cut with th£ razor – vigorously d©wΠ th£ front of h¡s gown, and th£n h£ h£ld it ©vt aga!n.
Th£ sk!n had closed. It was old and gnarled, puckered with age, yes … but th£re was no wound, no razor cut, and certa!nly no m©r£ blood.
I looked d©wΠ at my [email protected]
My palm was still covered with h¡s blood.
It was a stagger!ng moment, and I felt very fa!nt and sick. I took falter!ng steps [email protected]¢kward, sudden sweat form!ng on my face.
You underestimate th£ power God has given you, boy. Your gift is unique. You’ve been given so much power, m©r£ than any Unbl!nd I have ever met! You even have th£ gift of h£al!ng!
Stay away from me! j√$t stay th£ f**k away from me!
I turned and walked quickly away from h¡m. I fa!ntly h£ard th£ door clos!ng, and figured h£ had gone |ns!de.
I sank to my knees s1©wly to th£ gra$$, feel!ng th£ dawn dew soak!ng !nto th£ knees of my trousers. I took great wh£ez!ng breaths. I was chok!ng, and my h£ad was burst!ng. I felt th£ stick!ness !n my clench£d fist.
Broken sk!n, somehow h£aled aga!n!
Suddenly, overcome with a bl!nd!ng ach£, I bru$h£d my [email protected] on th£ w€t gra$$ furiously, want!ng – need!ng – to have h¡s blood off me, every little trace of it!
Dear Lord, what’re you do!ng to me … what th£ h£ll is happen!ng to me?
Cool f!ng£rs suddenly touch£d th£ nape of my neck. Soft sweet fem!n!ne perfume flooded me – jasm!ne, yes, jasm!ne.
Nicole. Yes, it is h£r beh!nd me.
… a man was d©wΠ, dy!ng, and you went after th£ Legion which was flee!ng. Your fight with th£ Legion is secondary. Next time stay with th£ victim; you could’ve done a lot for h¡m…
Oh God, no!
To be cont!nued…