Monster Mash Blog Hop 2015: Unlawfully Embalmed

Monster Mash Blog Hop 2015: Unlawfully Embalmed

Alone in a deserted alley at midnight.

Avery Harper tapped the com on her vest. “Voigt.”

No response. For the third time.

She tapped the com again. “Control, this is Badge #13. I’m five minutes out of contact with Voigt and seven with you. I’m switching from voice to vid feed and entering the building.”

She eased up on the warehouse and peered inside the door Voigt had disappeared into. The interior was dim and quiet. A cheesy horror movie soundtrack echoed in her skull.

Lightening flashed inside the building, vivid blue, accompanied by an electrical buzz and the fizz of her vid feed wires frying. When the noise ceased, a voice imprinted itself on her consciousness. “Stop wasting your power on humans.”

“We all have our crusades,” she said, pulling her gun from its holster and moving further into the dark.

“But most of us don’t hold onto them for twelve hundred years,” he said, his likeness flickering beside her, bold and imposing.

“You talk an awful lot for a man without a mouth.”

He exchanged his disembodied self for a tangible body, Voigt’s. “At least allow yourself the luxury of a competent partner. This human will never be your equal.”

She swung on him, jamming the barrel of her gun into his chest and pinning him to a steel post. “Those scars on your chest are proof that my power is not so easily diminished or seized.”

His true face flickered beneath Voigt’s, the ritual blue and black tattoos writhing across the chalk white skin of his forehead, cheeks, and jaw, eye sockets glowing with cobalt fire, white lips stretched into a feral grin that strained against the black stitches fastening his mouth shut. “I didn’t come to rob you of your power this time but to replenish it, Paladin.”

“Like hell,” she said, but the rest of the sentence died on her lips when a violent quaking struck the building.

Overhead lights rocked against their fixtures. Glass shattered and concrete crumbled. A sickly sweet stench permeated the warehouse as lumbering bodies with milky eyes and sagging jaws rose from the basement stairwells.

Harper took a step back, recoiling against the terrible smell. “Hydes, right? Souls unwillingly conjured into dying bodies during their final breaths. Dark practitioners sustain and command them using a chemical variant of formaldehyde. I’ve only read about these. I don’t know how to stop them.”

“But your partner does,” he said, bowing his face over hers and breathing something jagged and pungent into her lungs.

She pulled away, mouth stinging where the sharp tips of his stitches had pricked her lips, belly churning as though brewing something vile, something that raced through her until her hands rose over her head of their own volition.

A scream tore it’s way out of her throat as her palms split open and hundreds of white bats poured forth, swirling into a malevolent cloud and descending on the Hydes, tearing at their putrid skin with razor teeth and spiked claws.

When it was over, when the Hydes were reduced to piles of shattered bones and spilled intestines and the bats had winked to the other side of the veil, the interloper said, “Let that serve as a warning to the next power-hungry fool who encroaches on my territory. No one commands the forces of darkness without my consent.”

“And no one possesses my partner without my permission,” she said, catching his jaw with an uppercut.

He grinned before vacating Voight’s body and the temporal plane.

Harper hoisted Voigt over her shoulder, walked out to the alley, and with a word, razed the warehouse to the ground.

When Captain DeFiori arrived on scene, Harper was helping medics buckle Voigt onto a gurney. A couple days of rest and he’d be fully recovered. “Feel like grabbing dinner after we wrap this up, Captain?”

“What gives? Two hours ago you were begging me to sign off on an extended leave of absence because you were burned out, done with me, the job, and the welfare of the world.”

“Yeah, about that …”

“Destroyed buildings. Debilitated partners. Reenergized dispositions. This whole thing reeks of Xerxes.”

Harper sighed. “You just had to say his name, didn’t you? So much for my appetite.”

Behind them, blue lightening flashed and laughter echoed in the deserted alley.

 

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This is my submission for Ink After Dark’s “Monster Mash 2015” flash fiction challenge.

The challenge prompt was the story title.

The characters are from my WIP ‘The Twelfth Paladin.”