Christ, am I really going to need help with something as simple as a fucking door??
Room 1313. Room fucking THIRTEEN THIRTEEN. This was a complete piss-take…The place was so small there could only be a handful of rooms in the whole rat-infested barn, surely?
Jesus, Jesus, JEEEEEEESUSSSSSSSS! Open the bloody door, swipe, swipe for the love of all…
Right, the other way round.
I have rarely been so freaked out by such a group of weirdos and inbred fucking mutants. Not that I’m judgemental. And the guests seemed even worse. What was yer man, the gingery werewolf looking guy in such a hurry for? Manner, manners.
Deep fucking breaths. It’s over.
Tilbury Gervase was rarely so glad to be locked safely inside a hotel room, even if it was a sub-standard, shitbox like this one. Still, it served the purpose and he would be safe for tonight at least. Safe, he thought, on the only night of the year he ever felt uncontrollably threatened.
He loved living where he did, it was a nice town with nice people, far from the hassles and everyday threats of a city, that’s why he’d chosen there when he was offered his first senior work posting. But, when 3 years ago a serial killer had struck three people down one dark night at the end of October, everyone felt threatened and the town became the focus of national attention. The Halloween Hacker was born and Tilbury would never feel safe again.
He had appeared out of nowhere and before the sleepy local police could get their bearings they had three corpses on their hands. Hacked beyond recognition some of them with parts missing never to be found again. “Trophies”, the profiler called them. This caused an almost total lockdown of the town for days afterwards. Well, a lockdown for everyone except for the sleepy local police. Tilbury, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tilbury was the sleepy local police.
WAP. WAP. WAP.
No. Get a grip. It’s just the Victorian plumbing. Up in the attic alright but it must be the plumbing. For Christ sake. He doesn’t know you are here! That’s impossible. Impossible.
The worst he’d ever had to deal with in 12 years of local policing was the odd bit of vandalism, some drunk driving, once a lad with a shotgun (fake) had tried to hold up the post office and botched it so badly he’d knocked himself out tripping over the postmistress’ handbag on the way out. It was a safe, unthreatening, handy job, just the way he liked it.
Then came the godforsaken Hacker and life had changed forever.
The first year was traumatic for all concerned, especially him as he was so freaked out by the sight of blood… and entrails… and missing body parts. He needed a month off after the whole thing had blown over and the cops from the capital had packed up their temporary headquarters and gone home for good, long after the TV crews had done the same.
Was that a screaming baby?
No, no, get a grip. Take a valium Tilbury for fuck sake…Like you are the focus of his world and tonight, tonight of all nights he’s going to come to this godforsaken place in the middle of nowhere and hack every other guest up just to get to you.
You’re more paranoid than Stalin…
12 months to the day he struck again. Only two this time but a husband and wife in their own home. People Tilbury knew fairly well from around the town. They couldn’t even identify them through dental records, they were like offal strewn across their sitting room, and kitchen, and back yard. It was the first time they’d used a new DNA identifying technique on bodies in a murder case, it had taken weeks.
The panic was unbelievable. What last year had been a series of murders now amounted to a serial killer and the media frenzy extended long into Christmas and far beyond.
The third year everyone was on high alert, the national media had the Halloween Hacker as their headline story for days beforehand. There had been dozens of law enforcement officers of every shape and hue from as far as a hundred miles away. They waited, and they waited, and they waited spread out across every street in the town, every track in the woods, even on the lake in boats and with helicopters.
“NOT ME BALLS!!!!!”
Oh for Christ sake. If people are going to do kinky shit with such thin walls they should keep it to themselves…
“Keep it down in there!!!”
Fucking perverts… But at least it’s funny, it breaks the tension… Maybe the valium are kicking in. Maybe a couple more?
Eventually when dawn broke on November 1st 12 months ago they knew they were in the clear. He was gone, his pattern broken, his murders to disappear into scary bogeyman territory for a generation of local kids. Until they found him…
One body, made mincemeat of, under Tilbury’s nose. One of his own lads. A cop. An officer with kids and a wife with no distinguishable body to bury.
That was it, he was finished. Partially in disgust at seeing one of their own being so callously dispatched under his nose, but more primally, in fear. He was absolutely sure that next year, he’d be next.
So he quit the force (medical grounds, stress, no-one made a fuss after all he’d been through) and quietly retired on a generous invalidity pension. When this Halloween came around there was no way he was going to be anywhere near that circus again, or anywhere near the threat that the Halloween Hacker might come back as everyone expected he would and that this time he might get in the way.
“Ring around a rosie,
A pocket full of posie,
A – tishca, a – tischa,
We all fall down.”
No. Now that was just weird. That must be the valium kicking in?
So this year he’d spent the whole week before just driving randomly through the countryside, stopping here or there at a pub or a guesthouse there as the fancy took him, not reading a paper or seeing a tv since he’d left home. No-one on earth knew he was here so, his logic ran, there was no chance that psychotic maniac knew where he was if indeed he had come for him. Not a chance.
It just fell randomly that the night he hated above all others he was here, in this place, one room left. Sleep was never came to him easily at certain times but tonight he was weary, weary from running in his head and on the road, and sure he wasn’t going to find it hard. Even if it was only to escape the seedy sheets and clapped-out curtains that he was sure no-one had ever been glad to see. No-one except him, because above all other things tonight he wasn’t there. Tonight he was safe.
It is just someone dropping a plate or a glass. Weird smell though…
As the evening turned to night and then to the wee hours and he finally turned out the light all he could think about was the people back home and whether the Hacker would make another appearance as it seemed inevitable he would. He could only wonder just who would be breathing their last now and whether the new, young police chief would finally make his mark and catch the most notorious serial killer the country had ever seen. Best of luck to him, Tilbury thought.
Later on as he started to doze the moon wheeled high in the sky through the crack in the curtains and slowly, gently, finally Tilbury Gervase started to drift off to sleep. At least when he woke in the morning it would all be over for another year and he could get back to what he laughingly called “normal” life. His normal life.
It was a while before he melted away to a night of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep just as his nails lengthened, sharp and tight, his hair grew coarse and long all over his body and his empty, bleeding red eyes sprung open, alive again and hungry.
He could smell prey.
The rest of the story unfolds here: