If I did not have a gun, this man would worry me. With the gun, I was only on professional high alert.
Perhaps a description would be useful in this, a reference point to the creature—once human.
He had the usual marks—dark green veins around his mouth. Had the standard shadows at his feet dancing and snapping at things. Each time they touched me I got cold.
He also wore a black suit.
“Hello,” I said, and then backed up a step as he pushed up against his restraints. The large metal cuffs around his hands glowed with heat, and he flared his nostrils.
I kept my gaze on his nose since he had his eyes covered. Another security thing. A piercing gaze was a tad more literal with him than a normal person.
I had had a coworker who learned that the hard way. The bloody way.
“Hello,” I tried again, and he this time did not shake around. Instead, he bit his lower lip and spoke in a voice not human, but not quite alien.
More like a bad connection on a phone. From Hell.
“Hello there. Could you let me go?”
The words echoed in my head, building in pitch for a few seconds. That required training to resist.
I cocked my gun, sure he could hear it.
“Nah, I don’t think so. I’m here to talk with you only.”
He bit his lip harder, and a stream of blood dribbled down onto his shirt. His teeth now stained red.
“I have nothing to say unless I can see. I don’t like to address someone I don’t know. Why don’t you remove the head thing and let’s speak like gentlemen?”
“No, I can’t do that—”
“Aren’t you tired of saying no?” he said, piling on the mind control.
“Yes, I am. But I have to say it to you.”
“You really don’t,” he said, licking his teeth.
“I do, actually. Now, I’m here to ask you a simple question.”
My left eye twitched. “Where did you put the children? Where did you stash them?”
He spat out a glob of blood, and right before it would hit me, I moved out of the way and watched the liquid congeal on the ground. My hand darted out quick, gun aimed right at it, but nothing else happened.
“Ha…ha, did I scare you?” he said, leaning his weight on the chains connected to his bindings. “I tend to scare people.”
“Where are the children?” I repeated, leveling the gun on him. Shooting him, if aimed in the right spot, would not kill, but it would hurt—and I was about ready to resort to torture. Even if they did not respond much to torture. They barely understood human emotions and sensations anymore—pain included.
“The thing about children, tasty, tasty children—”
I shot him in the chest, and the impact made him stumble. He leaned against the wall, and tilted his head upward, toward the ceiling.
My hand held steady, and I wondered if I needed to shoot him again.
He spat out another glob of gore, with less force this time, and let it dribble down his chin. The hole in his chest leaked with the pushes of his heart. The blood looked like blood in all other ways but moved too slow and too solid.
It made my stomach churn to look at it. We still don’t understand all that is part of them. We don’t know what makes them tick once the human disappears under all the madness and power.
“…the thing about the children…the thing about the little things—”
I shot again, and he did not even stop to respond to the pain. Did not even act like a chunk of hot lead had entered his body.
“The thing about human children is that there is no piece of them that is not full of chaos. Prepubescents have it innate, you know? I tap in—that’s all.”
“So, where did you put them then?” I said, stepping closer to him, but keeping my feet on the right side of the room, behind the faded yellow line.
He tucked his hand as close to himself as he could, toward his messy shirt. The chains held him from touching himself.
But he smiled. “Inside.”
The shadows on the walls reveled. Partied with the fury of unleashed demons. I aimed for his head and pulled the trigger. Right into the mouth, hopefully enough to blow his head away.
The shot met a wall of red. Solid and yet flowing.
“Or, outside now. Thanks.”
I turned and pressed the button on the back of the wall. Pain immediately blossomed in my head, and I ground my teeth.
I looked to the side and saw the blood pierced into my hand, breaking the button. With my other hand, I shot at the congealed mass, and it let me go. The door was open, so I threw myself out of the room. More tentacles shot into the wall of the hallway, and I heard metal creaking.
One more bullet, right into the button opposite outside, made the door slam shut, cutting the tentacles and reducing it back to a liquid.
Inside, he swore loudly. And the metal continued to groan. The door would hold, at least for the next minute. I hoped. Some other officers ran down the hallway in my direction to assist.
Only another minute to contain, then we’d shut him down. Even he would not survive a full salvo of automatic rifle fire.
The door bent with a clang.
Only one more minute.