Detective Blackwater Goes To Hell (A Bit More)

Sam continued down the hallway, acutely aware of the absence of any sound, with the beating of his heart the only exception, thumping loudly in his ears. Placing his hand under his coat, he felt for his weapon – a Colt. 45, reassuring and solid in his hand. Counting off the apartment numbers in his head, he wondered how anyone could have lived here, where the despair was so thick that it coated the walls like paint. In this city, it wasn’t all that surprising, he supposed. Silence was its only inhabitant now, and despite the people here undoubtedly keeping to themselves, as curiosity can kill more than cats in a place such as this, Sam could not help but feel that something was profoundly wrong. An indistinct terror was following him, the darkness refusing to be lifted by the scattered dirty light. A presence was pervading around the edges of what he could barely see. There was something very wrong here. Attempting to divert his attention, he remembered that the last time he played Scrabble, he was missing some letters. Important ones too, like E. That made things difficult. But then, nothing was ever easy.

Arriving at Apartment 164 he entered quickly, denying himself the chance to contemplate the decision in any depth. There was always something about doors, he thought. Innocuous and terrifying, like moving from concealed darkness to stepping into its very heart. Moving inside, a television set sat flickering in the corner of the tiny apartment, illuminating the room in snapshots. A body lay on the floor, a man in perhaps his early thirties, frozen in the last motion he ever took; arms outstretched towards the sky, hands twisted together like grotesque claws. Dried blood ran from his eyes and both arms, pooling in scarlet stains on the carpet. A book lay next to him, open and torn. Sam stood in the centre of the room, observing in silence. The walls were cracked, with yellowing paint flaking off and laying to rest in piles at its base. Despite this, there did not seem to be any signs of struggle, or forced entry. Even the victim himself did not seem to have sustained any obviously fatal injury. Sam approached the body slowly. ‘It looks as though he was pleading,’ he thought. ‘But to whom?’ His eyes scanned the room, coming to rest upon a section of floor, briefly lit by the blinking television. Looking closer, he saw that words had been written into the carpet, in thick splashes of blood.

‘He who calls
Into darkness so bright
For hope or favour of rescue of man
Dances the peril of endless night’

Sam read the message aloud, scribbling it down into a tattered note book. He was certain he had heard this before, but could not remember when. However, he was sure of one thing; that messages written in blood are seldom uplifting tales, and this was no exception. Reading it again, he reached for his radio. Strangely, he was answered with only static. Trying again, he reasoned that the radio must be malfunctioning, as a lot of the departments equipment was old and in need of replacing. Heading back towards the hall, he felt as though something was different. The apartment seemed larger, as though he was in danger of becoming lost inside it. Inexplicably, and to his horror, Sam saw the door begin to retreat away from him, sliding away ethereally until it was merely a shadow on the horizon. Breathing raggedly, he drew his weapon, and began to shout, hoping that the patrolman would hear him, and could possibly free him from whatever was happening at that moment. Retreating against a wall, he saw that they had begun to drip black – a dark, slithering liquid, creeping out from every crack. Stepping away, Sam’s mind raced as his struggled to comprehend what was happening around him. A low, piercing rumble began to emanate from the air, a chaotic crescendo that ate at Sam’s bones, before a figure appeared before him, sheathed in black, with six arching wings sprouting from its back. It raised its head to look at Sam, as he rapidly fired his weapon at the creature, the empty shell cases arcing through the air. Suddenly, an indescribable force flung him backwards, slamming him into a wall, before he collapsed to the floor. The noise receded for a moment, as the two regarded each other. The figure moved forward, darkness flowing around it like a cloak, washing over the room.
‘What … what are you?’ Sam gasped, clutching his chest.
The creature spoke in a low, melodic tone; a choir of voices all speaking at once.
‘I was called here. Called to relieve this man of his pain. His pain with living. His pain with this shallow, pointless world – a world burdened with the injustice of being forced to exist long after it’s to do so has gone. He asked to be taken away, but things are never that easy. I granted his wish, but told him the price: that this place, and everyone in it, would be forever shrouded in darkness. They may never leave, and never be seen. If he was willing to pay this price, then I would take him. If he would curse hundreds of his own kind. And he did.’
The creature remained fixated on Sam, the room pulsing in time with a demonic breath. Sam remained silent. His head was turning in on itself, swimming amongst a maelstrom of fear and desire to fight. ‘These people will never return?’ he asked, finally.
‘This place will always be in darkness, until his debt is paid.’ The creature remained silent for a moment, considering Sam with eyes that he could not bear to look into.
‘ I also know you. And I will be watching you, Sam Blackwater.’ With that, it began to fade, dissolving amongst the increasingly acrid air. Sam rose to his feet.
‘Will we meet again?’ he asked, breathlessly.
‘Oh yes. We will’


Detective Blackwater Goes To Hell

Entering the apartment building, he found himself in a cavernous lobby, ominous and grey, where the dirty light cast flickering islands of light upon the floor, darkness constantly scratching at its edges, protesting it’s invasion. It didn’t seem like a place it where people lived; rather it seemed to be a place that was found somewhere between existence, where the fact that people lived here was only dimly implied, somehow lost amongst the cracked walls and the winding corridors. Sam glanced over at the doorman’s desk as he passed, where a large pile of newspapers had accumulated. The paper on top was current, but unread. He was aware that the building was unnerving him; a vague and ill-defined fear had begun to creep up his spine, causing him to hurry in his steps. A patrolman appeared from the gloom. Seeming relieved to see another person, his eyes flicked around the lobby, as though he feared the building itself was watching him.
‘Detective?’ he called, as he moved closer, cautiously navigating the steps leading down from the hallway.
‘ … Detective, is that you?’
Sam reached for his identification.
‘Yes. I received the call about twenty minutes ago. Are you the only one here?’ he asked.
‘Sorry, I can’t see a damn thing in here. Blackwater right?’
‘Got a call from this location about a disturbance in one of the apartments, Number 164. The call was placed from the lobby.’ The patrolman glanced over his shoulder. ‘But it’s strange. There’s no one here.’
Sam paused for a moment. No one being home wasn’t all that unusual, and he begun to doubt the competency of the Officer before him. He did possess a rather slack-jawed quality, and perhaps more incriminating, had neglected to button his shirt properly. You’d think he’d have enough practice at that, Sam thought darkly.
‘No one in the apartment?’
‘Well, there’s a dead person in there. But I mean the building. There’s no one in the building. At all.’
This seemed unlikely, as the building was large enough to easily house five hundred people, and the chances of every inhabitant all having plans to be out at this particular time of night, were very slim. Although, Sam supposed that they could be a community of people who were just very heavy sleepers. Perhaps.
‘No one at all? No one asleep, watching television, playing scrabble? Have you checked other apartments?’ he asked, a tinge of accusation creeping into his tone.
‘Of course I have.’ The patrolman gave Sam a look that implied he took this as a suggestion that he was either blind, deaf or just very stupid. This wasn’t altogether far from being correct.
‘I checked three floors. There’s no one home, at any of the apartments. But lights are on; televisions are on, it seems totally normal. Except there’s no one here.’
With his nerves fraying further with each passing moment, Sam begun to regret taking the call. He could have quite easily have stayed in bed, and cuddled up to his pet beagle, which he attempted to reason was not a substitute for lack of meaningful human contact – merely a convenient source of heat.
‘Ok. I’m going to go up and have a look. Stay down here in the lobby.’
Relief crossed the patrolman’s face. It seemed that going any further into the building was akin to venturing further into hell. Sam turned, and headed for the stairs. Slowly, he started up them, keeping his eyes forward, suddenly aware that it seemed as if the walls were closing around him, causing his breath to sharpen.
‘Oh, and Detective?’ The patrolman called out. Sam paused, sincerely hoping that the patrolman was offering to go in his place.
‘Be careful. This place gives me the creeps. And who plays Scrabble at 3am?’
Not answering, Sam continued up the stairs. ‘I play scrabble at 3am’, he thought.