Don't Enter a Freakshow Uninvited
Freakshows, I thought those died in the early 20th century but now, they are back and snatch up more victims - yes you heard me right, many children from the city are snatched into the freaks' lairs with promises of belonging and happiness. Those kids, if they do come out, become robots - they act as if something switches them on or off; one minute a kid, usually 14 y.o. can sit quietly and the next, he will yell profanities, spit and claw at anyone daring to approach.
Another strange thing about these kid-robots, they kill themselves if questioned by authorities such as police or psychiatrists - whom they are inexplicably, afraid of. How do freakshows fit into this? Well, disappearances are said to occur after a kid went to a show/party/"rave" at this abandoned theater - invited by their friends. My neighbor lost his daughter this way, he claimed she didn't return last night and when she did, she was lifeless and scared of him and his wife. The poor girl slashed her veins open when a psychiatrist tried to help her.
Working for the government, a nameless organisation that conducts "deniable ops" all over the globe (let's call it that) I had access to all kinds of intel, therefore, I tried to investigate what is killing our youth - no information was found. Talking to my colleagues didn't get me anywhere either, they just waved it off as either an "urban legend" or with a "let the police handle this."
The only way I was going to find out is actually infiltrating the theater - God knows the police's hands are tied due to needing warrants, permits etc; something they won't receive. Would you give it if a cop said he wanted to search an abandoned circus looking for some mythical horrors?! Doubt it. I had to go inside and save any victims that haven't been roboticised.
However, I wasn't going empty-handed; using my high-level clearance and connections within the agency, I liberated some specialised equipment for the job. An FN-F2000 assault rifle modified for close-quarters; under-barrel shotgun, laser sighting, and a shorter stock - this is if things get REALLY bad and a higher rate of fire was needed - in a package the size of a submachine gun. An FN Five-Seven handgun with a sound suppressor, the new and improved prototype of the Multi-Vision Goggles/MVG - these things have night, thermal and electromagnetic vision capability and finally, a Glauca B1 tactical knife (equipped with a window breaker and a cuff cutter.)
Alongside all that, a bodycam to capture evidence for the police. Gathering said inventory and making sure I got the ammo for it, I drove home to prepare and plan; if I was going to go in, I needed to stake-out and tail a possible trapper - I had a few suspects.
Lucky for me, our town had an epic influx of vagrants recently, junkies, drunks and the unemployed who tried to make ends meet whatever way they could - enter my eyes on the street; Fabian, a Polish immigrant who lost his job at the shipyard days ago. He made his living by doing his new country many favors - gathering intel on shady figures he saw and thus, he always seemed to know a thing or two about what I needed.
"There's this kid, about 16-17, he drives to a school nearby in a black Mercedes 4x4 - it can't be rich parents because he dresses no better than me; in rags!" The Pole said as I handed him a wad of 20$ bills, "He tends to give other kids rides and funny enough, those kids end up missing - seen the police question the school caretaker recently." he continued as he counted the money.
"Did you see the license plate and where he parks?" I asked.
"Yes," Fabian coughed as he handed me a crushed note, "here it is and as for parking, he always does in the strip mall nearby."
Shaking the Pole's hand, I walked to my car, an old Ford Sierra which helped me keep a low profile, after all, on paper I was a lowly data collection guy with a funny salary; my East German origins solidified this agency cover. Just a normal guy seeking a job in his field overseas. Climbing into my car, I opened my laptop to do a cross-check on the license plate. Not only has the registration been expired for 5 years but the legal owner was dead.
Pulling up some police reports afterward, his body was found in a sewer - civil engineers called the police who then, concluded that the guy's throat was slashed with a shard of broken glass. Shutting the computer down, I started my car and drove towards a desolate spot to gear up.
My rifle hung on my chest, handgun holstered to my right thigh, my knife sheathed and sharpened alongside my night vision device kept in a satchel slung to my belt. All this concealed by a worn out leather trenchcoat - impersonating a vagrant to track down this kid.
Limping around the school street from Fabian's description while carrying a sign saying "Deaf, Unemployed - Help However you May, God Bless" I scouted out the car. The black 4x4 slowly pulled up to that same strip mall parking lot as described. However, there was a group of kids waiting there, expecting him. The driver showed himself, a skinny, dirty-looking teenager wearing thick spectacles and a washed out band shirt.
"Hey Rat, what's up!" I heard one kid from the waiting group.
"Not much, you ready for the greatest freak show on earth?!" Rat asked with enthusiasm.
Limping to the car, I discretely pulled out a GPS tracking device and as if I was drunk, I feigned nausea and fell - groping and grabbing onto the rear door. The tracking device was black, the size of a pebble and had strong magnets. The owner saw me but he didn't suspect me.
"Get lost, hobo!" he ordered, "GET A JOB!"
I finished phase one, so I obliged and headed towards my own car, parked further away; same limping manner and a depressed facial expression. Hours of tailing, weaving through traffic and studying the route; I reached the final destination - it was a rundown theater that has been closed since the 1960s. On paper, it should have been demolished and rebuilt in 1979 but decades later, it was still here; boarded up windows, sinister aura - the works.
No one was outside, the kids already entered through the front door. Studying the blueprints before the incursion, I used the maintenance access door. The darkness blinded me as the smell of damp wood and sounds of mumbling far away blocked my other senses - calling to the MVG. The device emitted a long beep and I saw what the darkness hid - I was between multiple large silhouettes who looked like they were asleep but standing. Gripping my rifle and slowly adjusting the fire rate to full-auto, I carefully moved across the forest of sleeping bodies - coming closer, I saw that they are unnaturally disfigured; a third eye, ugly stitch on the stomach area, 19th-century medical devices chained to the neck.
Humans don't grow this tall, I thought to myself as I continued moving forward. The place had nothing out of the ordinary afterward, broken furniture and the air smelled of moss and rotting wood but, I heard commotion in the distance; as if someone dragged a shopping trolley - I increased my pace towards the possible presence.
Moments later, like I did many times in the Middle East, I was holding a person at gunpoint asking hard questions and rubbing a hole in the forehead using my gun.
"What do you do here? This place is condemned!" I demanded, pressing the Five-Seven into his forehead, not seeing what my hostage looks like - night vision was off now.
"We live in a world of needs." my hostage stuttered, "THEY NEED TO BE MET!!!"
Tightening my grip on his throat I grilled him again, "Right, and who is working on meeting them?!"
"Stupid kids!" he sputtered, choking in my hand, "They will work whether they like it or not, no escape, no rescue!"
"What about those freaks back there?!" I pressured.
"Failed experiments, we have plans for them too!" were my hostage's last words before I turned him off with a pistol grip bash.
Rifle on safe and hanging, handgun holstered, I listened to the building - listened for more movement; my answer came sooner than I thought; someone was running towards me. Concealing myself behind a derelict vending machine, I listened on, moments later, in a sleeper hold, I caught something that should be in a hospital. The creature looked tortured and confused - a bald human but with wide eyes, sharp teeth in a mouth that was opening and closing akin to a fish.
This person is gone, he thinks he's a fish - trying to free himself with wiggles and bites. Snapping his neck was a hard decision but, it was the only way. A freakshow this place was but, where did they all come from? I'd learn soon enough as I opened another door. Pain and suffering could be felt here as screams of pain and grunts as if someone doing heavy work flooded the walls. The smell of rotten wood was scared away by the stronger odor of rotten mattresses, urine, and medical spirits - the place was less a theater and more an insane asylum/operating theatre.
Jumping up the wall and gripping the overhead pipe - strong enough to support me, I was hidden from plain sight in the ceiling shadows; deciding to watch for movement - it didn't make me wait long.
A door flung open and 2 tall men emerged, they carried a stretcher holding a child's body - it lay lifelessly with large, ugly stitches on its chest. What did they do here?! The body's eyes were wide open with fear as its mouth emitted weak gasps.
"There's another beta!" a voice said from within the open door, "Bring in the next one."
"How many more do we need?" another replied, his words followed by sounds of sobs and sniffles - like a child's crying. This voice was familiar, it was Rat, the kid whose car I bugged and tailed here - he appeared from the hallway dragging one of the kids from school. OK, I found myself some kind of twisted human trafficking ring, therefore, everyone here is hostile, I thought to myself.
Rat shoved the kid into the door where the first voice came from, more crying ensued, followed by the smacking of shackles, clanging of surgical tools and buzzing of electrical equipment. I couldn't afford to wait, God only knows what this poor kid would face. Climbing closer to the door, making sure Rat was under me; I jumped down, grabbed him and using him as a shield, I kicked down the evil door, unholstering my Five-Seven instantly like I was auditioning for a Western.
"HOLD IT!" I commanded, training my pistol on a man dressed in green surgical garb, laser targetting system burning a hole in his forehead. He backed away with his hands in the air - shocked and stunned by my drop-in. Rat was scared, I could feel him shaking as my other arm tightened around his neck - scratching at me in vain.
"You are coming with me!" I commanded the surgeon, "Someone would love to know what you do here!" My Five-Seven angrily staring him down.
"Calm down, officer." the surgeon replied calmly, "I am un-armed!"
His last words disturbed me, it sounded more like, "I DON'T NEED TO BE!"
Holstering the handgun, I pushed Rat into the surgeon; collapsing them on the floor to be cuffed. As I finished the thought and tied the duo in zipcuffs, the reflex I acquired on duty to rapidly target a threat kicked in; my rifle was cocked, set to full-auto and aimed at an incoming chorus of heavy footsteps. Something was shambling here and a horde of them to boot. I was surrounded, those steps sounded like they were all around.
"You will not make it!" the surgeon taunted as he fought his restraints, "They would always protect their father!"
Those abominations I saw earlier, those who slept upright, rushed into the room - squeezing the trigger till the ammo ran dry; they fell and one that remained got a chest full of buckshot from the under barrel shotgun. "Thank God I took the rifle." I mused as I loaded a fresh magazine and lifted my prisoners off the floor.
Those were not ordinary bullets I fired, they were designed to trace the victim's blood vessels on-penetration; banned by the Geneva Accord - they are not getting up from that. It was way easier to exit the structure, especially when my prisoners didn't resist. Some hours later, I handed them over to the police with a few things I took from the lab and footage from my bodycam. Both my prisoners were in temporary cells and I went home.
3AM. I hear scraping on my walls - like someone was dragging a blunt knife across. My pistol was trained to face whatever was outside - someone broke my door down and left me a present. Flipping the light switch, I saw that it was a message scraped with a blade.
"I KNOW WHAT YOU DID. TOO LATE FOR FORGIVENESS!"
© 2018 Jake Clawson