Sorry for the late post. My day was unexpectedly busy. Anyway, this instalment continues on where the last one left off, in the aftermath of Bernard Haney getting murdered by a big-ass monster.
It was around one a.m. when Karen was awoken by the sound of her work phone ringing. She rolled over and groggily picked it up from her bedside table. She yawned as her hands went through the now automatic tasks of unlocking and answering it.
“Karen here. What’s up?”
“Hey, Karen! Taylor here. There’s been an accident down on the highway…”
“Well, shit on a breadstick! Send the job details to my printer and I will fetch it after I get my kit on.”
“No problem, Karen. Have a safe one out there.” With that, Sargent Taylor ended the call.
She took in the pitch black room. She yawned again and got out from under the warm covers. She felt the cold air on her now exposed skin and wanted to crawl back in. However, work was work.
In the dark room, Karen quickly donned her police polo shirt, cargo pants and dark blue police jumper before slipping on some dark blue socks. She began to hear her brother moving about in his room of the house, likely awoken by the sound of her phone. She pocketed her keys and both phones exiting the door adjoining the sleep-out.
She was greeted by the lanky form of Luke as he wandered out of his own dimly-lit room in a pair of flannelette pyjama pants. His arms outstretched as he yawned out a hello. He was exceptionally tall, with dark brown hair falling past his shoulders. She’d been told by several of her female friends that he was attractive but she didn’t get it.
He was now twenty-nine years of age and uncaringly single. He’d had numerous boyfriends and girlfriends in the past, but none of those previous relationships had led to anything meaningful. He’d simply grown disinterested in putting in effort into finding somebody special.
It had long been her observation that men, in general didn’t seem to feel the cold as much as their female counterparts. Luke seemed to feel it even less than other males as well and she had long joked about him being part-Eskimo. He had always smiled and joked about wanting his very own igloo on several occasions. Her brother was serious as well but had never been able to achieve that dream.
He lazily gave her “first dibs” on the toilet with a simple wave of the hand. Whenever she wasn’t going to some job or working, he deemed in necessary to have some sort of toilet dash competition. Most of the time he won, but she’d recently resorted to cheating. Luke had simply found it amusing.
Not long after that, she had some shoes and a belt on. Luke handed her a cold can of coke as she exited the back door of the high-set Queenslander with a flashlight in hand. She offered a quick thank-you before leaving.
It was times such as this that she was especially thankful to have her younger brother around. Melody was too young to be in the house alone at night and there were often times during the day when he helped out. Simply put, Karen couldn’t do it without him around. Melody seemed to like having her uncle around as well. Most of all. Karen liked the company.
Karen picked up the rest of the necessary notebooks and belt paraphernalia from the police station, grabbing the job details from the printer before locking up. She was grateful that fewer people tended to travel during these colder months. In the warmer seasons, she noticed a steady flow of tourists moving about her piece of highway even late at night. That meant extra business for the twenty-four-hour service station and increased work dealing with petrol drive-offs. It was par for the course.
Karen hopped into her truck and plonked the notebooks and tablet in the passenger seat. She placed the can in the door holder, before taking a deep breath. She flicked on the overhead light, then picked up the printout of the job details and began to read. She frowned as she realised where the accident had taken place.
From a mechanical standpoint, the area would likely have restricted room due to a steep ditch nearby. She was thankful that there wasn’t a lot of traffic around at this time of night.
It was also not far from the turnoff to the road where she’d rescued Sue Williamson the previous afternoon. She was thankful that it wasn’t on the side road in question, but she still found it disconcerting.
She put the printout back in the seat next to her and turned on the car.
Ten minutes later, she arrived at the scene.
Bernard Haney was now dead. He understood from a physical standpoint what that meant, but he now had to deal with the metaphysical aspects of being deceased first-hand. He’d remembered that feeling of drifting upward momentarily just before the monster had dragged his spirit back down with a deep and ongoing growl that severed his natural passage to the afterlife. It resulted in a jarring pop that sent his senses into a whirl. He felt dizzy and soon dropped to his knees next to his former body.
Bernard was intimately aware of the monster several yards away, but it seemed oblivious to his presence. He macabrely wondered if it was even possible for the creature that had taken his life to do further harm to him. He hoped that he wouldn’t learn the hard way.
His body was so close. Large puncture wounds were present where they shouldn’t be. Saliva dripped from the skull, moistening the pools of blood below. As close as it was, it was no longer a part of him.
Not far away, the B-Double truck rolled to a stop in a parking bay. The driver’s door opened, light emanating from the cabin. Bernard tried to yell a warning to the driver, but his voice didn’t pierce the veil. A large rotund man with a scruffy beard climbed down.
The monster looked up from the body and growled deeply. Seeing the creature in the dim light created by tail-lights, the man hurriedly climbed back up and slammed the door shut behind him. The monster looked back down at the body and nudged it with his snout. The driver’s window was opened soon after and a hand came out with something in it. There were several quick flashes before the hand retreated back and the window was wound up. The monster looked from truck to body several times before it stood up. It was now bored and no longer hungry. Moments later, it started toward the side road from whence it came.
It took several minutes before Bernard’s spiritual body recovered enough to stand up and walk around. He felt different. He wasn’t out of breath or sore anymore. He felt better than he had since his youth running around the neighbourhood getting up to shenanigans with several of his friends. He felt stronger as well.
Not long after that, he saw the yellow, blue and white of the RACQ truck drive towards the scene. It parked several meters from the corpse on the road with the headlights on. Then came the muffled sound of his damaged mobile phone before it abruptly stopped. He heard talking from within the car. He considered walking over to see what we happening, but something compelled him to stay close to his body for the time being.
An indeterminable amount of time later, Karen’s car drove in front of the other vehicle. Bernard saw her get out of the car and look around before cordoning off the scene with high-visibility cones. She headed over to where the truck driver sat nervously, eyes moving back and forth to either side of the road. She headed back to the mechanic in the RACQ truck.
Michael was a tall and stocky man in his mid-forties with light brown hair and perpetual five o’clock shadow. His voice was deep and made her think of several soul singers that her parents had listened to when she was growing up. He also appeared to have a clean record. All in all, she considered him to be one of the more attractive men in the region. If she’d been in the market for a man, then the single father of two might have been a good choice.
She began to question him. She quickly learned that he’d been called to assist with Bernard’s car. He had driven up the road and found the car with the driver’s side door open but no sign of Bernie. He had also mentioned large holes and indentations in the bonnet. After she was done jotting down notes, they arranged to talk again the following afternoon. He soon drove away.
Phone calls were made as she evaluated the scene with a flashlight in hand. She scratched her head at yet another oddity, Bernard following close behind. Finally, she went back to inspect the bloodied and broken body. She recognised the dark grey jacket and the stained blue jeans. She looked sad.
“What the hell happened to you, Bernie?” she asked the air, but no answer seemed forthcoming.
Bernard considered his death. It was not how he’d envisioned that he would pass on. No, he expected to die old. He’d pictured his death to be simple, such as dying in his sleep or in a hospital after reconnecting with his children like some television drama. Now, he looked down at his chewed up body as Senior Constable Karen Johnson stood there unaware that his spirit was beside her.
He wished that he had answers but even if he did how could he convey how screwed up the situation was? He’d been killed by something unnatural. He was certain that the monster had stopped him moving on to his afterlife as well. It was bad enough that it had happened to him. However, he knew that others were also at risk.
The question was: How do you kill the unnatural?