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Chasing Shadows

April 21, 2010

There were bones oozing out of the soft mud near our feet. A skull, a clavicle and a femur. A footprint laid beside them. My partner crouched down and inhaled.

“Either he’s still here or left just a few minutes ago,” he said. “If we move now we still might be able to catch him.”

Before we could react blood began to fall onto our heads. My partner jumped onto the roof. I followed him and caught a glimpse of a tall figure standing over a dead man. The murderer had outdone himself this time. He’d succeeded in separated the head from the body. The blood ran thick over the steel roof panels. Fresh blood my partner could not resist. He cupped it into his hands and drank.

I charged toward the figure and slipped onto my back. My shoes were soaked and my jacket too heavy. I removed them and leaped over the roof in pursuit of the assailant. Peripherally, I observed my partner’s blood lust as he drained the blood from the victim’s head.

For a brief moment the killer turned around and I saw his face. A familiar face, but one without a name. By then, my partner was already running beside me, his blood stained mouth displaying signs of fulfillment.

“Against protocol,” I said. “And completely against our own rules.”

“I know, but if I hadn’t I wouldn’t be of any use right now,” he replied. “I’ve been thirsty for almost a week.”

The assailant lead us to a nearby carnival. Although there were hundreds of families around we pulled out our guns and entered the funhouse. We burst through its grand entrance and discovered a small room, a miniature rollercoaster stuck in a loop, and red and yellow lights beamed directly over our heads.

The door locked behind us and the walls began to turn clockwise. Although this tactic intended to muddle our perception, we managed to stay focused. When the fiends starting coming through the walls we fired several futile rounds. My partner lunged forward and propelled himself off the rotating walls, pouncing hard onto several demons at once. I tore a beam off the rollercoaster track. I swung it against their fangs, into their heads and across their throats. Their forces multiplied as the walls turned more rapidly. Dozens more began rising from the floor. For every fiend I killed another came even closer to my face, allowing me to stare into the eyes of something unearthly.

“We can’t keep this up,” he said. “We’re outnumbered.”

But I would not cease the slaying. I waved the bar continuously until my arms felt heavy. We were clearly not in a position to engage the murderer that day. My partner slashed open an exit for us. On the way out he held me close.

“What’s with you?” he asked. “I’ve never seen you like this. You’re ruthless…but gorgeous at the same time and I’m impressed.”

I managed a chuckle. “Shut up. We failed to catch him. Again.”

I looked down at my body and felt sick. I was covered in blood and dirt.

The next day we found another set of bones. They were buried under an oak tree. This time he had separated the entire skeleton. Wooden planks were used as dividers between the different sections. Woke up with a sense of dissatisfaction and with the knowledge that I’d been inside that funhouse before.

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