Bleeding Out

Be sure to read Scrutiny before this.

“I’ve got a present for you.”

“Are you Atreus?” I ask the voice on the other end of the line. My question is only met with laughter.

“Forty- three fifty- two, East Washington Boulevard.” I don’t have time to answer before the line goes dead.

What choice do I have? I need to find out who called me. Is it Atreus? Will it lead me to who or whatever Atreus is? Will it lead me closer to killing him or it?

I can recognize that there’s no time to pack a bag of kill tools. It’s too late for that. If I want to meet Atreus, or uncover the next step in this mystery, or find whatever waits at 4352 East Washington Boulevard, I need to move now.

It’s with those thoughts that I rush out the door with only my cell phone, running down the apartment building stairs two at a time into the parking lot and finding my car. I peel out of the parking lot, slamming my foot down on the gas.


I don’t know this city well, and as such it takes perhaps an hour of driving to find the address. I pull up to the building, and as I see it I can only think one thing.

What the hell?

It’s part of a dingy strip mall, a building situated between a low- rent nail salon and a take- out Chinese restaurant. The tiny establishment is scarcely wider than the door that opens to it.

What could possibly be in here? Is Atreus leading me on some wild goose chase? It doesn’t make any sense. I can’t fathom how anything of importance could be inside.

Without warning, my phone rings again. I’ve pressed the talk button before the ringtone’s first iteration is finished. It’s at my ear a second later.

“Yes, you are in the right place.”

My head whips around. Is he watching me? Have I been followed this whole way? And how? This all reeks of foul play. But, it’s grown increasingly obvious that I have no choice.

The door is unlocked, squealing and creaking from disuse as I open it. The room is pitch-black, but I can instinctively tell that it’s very small. I walk in, shoes splashing through a pool perhaps an inch deep. I hit my head on a hanging light bulb after three steps, and feel a switch on the wall.

I flick it on.

The room lights up.

My eyes widen.

Blood is splattered by the gallon all over the room, covering the walls and pooling on the floor. The sheer amount is staggering, bizarre. And at the center of it all is a large stone slab pushed against the wall, the focal point of the… whatever this is supposed to be. It occurs to me that this was why the murdered women were drained of blood.

Suddenly, without warning, the visions rise up like a horrific tidal wave, images superimposed infinitely upon one another. I feel as if I need to breathe, but can’t. My head sears with pain. The visions become more vivid, far more than they’ve ever been. Many times more. Shudders wrack my body, and suddenly I can barely stand. The visions begin to converge, morphing and changing into one twisted scene.

A woman bound to a stone slab, just like the one in this room, crying out to a screaming child sitting a few feet away.

A man slashes a knife across the woman’s neck.

Blood fountains from her throat, coating the room just the way it is now. The boy stops screaming. The man turns, and I can see his face.

It’s my own.

Suddenly, my whole body goes limp. My senses fail. Shadows fall over my mind.

The last thing I hear before losing consciousness is the splashing of my own body in the inch- deep pool of blood.


I awake some time later to the sound of footsteps, shouting, and the click of handcuffs fastening around my wrists.

Continued in Trapped.

Part of the series Labors in Futility.
Last modified on 2009-12-11 23:35:51Viewed 3354 times

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