Robbie Redteeth - Part 3/3

Part 1: The Apartment

Part 2: The Precinct

Part 3: The Industrial Park

Roger took his shortcut and arrived way before the cops. The Ludwig Industrial Park was massive; it would take the cops at least twenty to circle the place, much less begin to clear towards Roger.

But he had an inkling, an unfamiliar trust clicking beyond his brain. Roger rolled the truck up to a perimeter chain link fence, threw the driver’s side door open and stomped to the front to the vehicle, smashing at the lock until it thwanged open. With a little shoving, the truck wiggled through the opening. Barbed wire wobbled and chimed its presence; a flailing, noisy handsaw belting a hypnotic tune.

A minute drive down a dirt path through the work in progress renovation on an old factory, Ludwig. Too many times he’d met unnamed dealers in this lot to get his oxys, and the pills pumped and kicked in the back of his neck as he remembered for a brief moment life was like without his sturdy rock, his foundation, without the medication, without the doctor’s comforting prescriptions, a jumbled mess of handwriting and lies, the sweet relief of being your own man and not a burden on the world. He knocked back two more pills from the small bottle in his pocket, hitting plenty of bumps along the way.

No more paths, no more roads. Concrete mixers slept in the still night. His smartphone incessantly nagged at him, buzzing and ringing and beeping. Who cared at this point?

Roger yanked the phone from his pocket to stop the annoyance, automatically opening to his texts. He paused, momentarily forgetting the whole ordeal, Roger’s face illuminated against the smartphone’s intense screen light.

“calling Slater now. ty bradley”

“<3”

“everything fukkin sucks”

“it gets easier, i promise lol”

He shoved the phone back into his pocket. Kevin’s F-150 came to a sudden stop.

Roger brandished the axe and unceremoniously smashed his way into the New Ludwig Warehouse Complex. Dark, unfinished hallways. Desks where receptionists once happily greeted customers. Today, Roger was there to save his daughter.

As he passed the first set of doors, he found himself in a waiting room, a half-demolished lounge, enough to understand the old place. Speakers on the wall were dusty but audibly active, soft static creaking through the metal.

Tinny laughter sprang to life behind crackling speakers, peeling through the warehouse hallways and lounge.

Roger spun around wildly, swinging the axe with reckless strength.

“She’s mine now. You should turn back.”

Roger roared into dark nothingness. “If you touch her I will rip your arms off!”

“It’s too late for that.”

The speakers hummed, anger gripping the back of Roger’s eyes. He was on fire, his soul erupted. He held down the axe, a tight, furious grip, and charged into the darkness. There was only one way in, down the double doors opposite the entrance to the lounge. So he ran towards them. There was no going back now.

Padlocked door. Three mighty chops with the fireman’s axe demolished the doorknob, a length of chain rattled to the floor, and a swift kick sent the door swinging.

The speakers came alive again.

“They made me a monster. You were born horrid. No child should endure the pain you've caused her.”

His eyes widened and wondered.

A sea of hanging knives and foundry shards, dangling from ceiling fans, dormant, catching glints of the night sky through boarded windows. Moonlight shone into the grey chamber, a few old, rotting corpses scattered in the meat-grinder. There was no time to think. Roger rushed forward toward the door at the other end of the room. Power suddenly surged into the fans, igniting a deadly bladestorm, tearing into Roger’s shoulders and back before sending him prone with a crack and a thud. A torrent of chains and metal, a hellish clinking, dried blood chips and shards of metal raining down from above. He still clenched the axe, and sidled up against the back wall barely safe from the home brew terror gauntlet.

His back against beveled concrete, Roger slid along the wall, reaching another padlocked steel door. Peering through the argyle safety glass window, Roger could only make out a metal chair in the distance of a sparsely lit room, a young girl’s legs dangling from the seat.

Again, three chops was enough to open the way forward. Flashbacks to Doom keycards momentarily passed through his mind. Absurd to think about in the moment, his shoulder torn, blood seeping under the layers.

“The agony, the burning, the stress… Do you know what children's narcotics taste like after a grueling day of gum surgery? I know you, Roger. And you know the taste.”

Does a waffle-knit undershirt clot blood better than a regular cotton wife-beater? He should have Googled it before he left. Extra peace of mind.

Darkness. Pain. A wet grip on the axe made it odd to hold, blood quickly coagulating on the shaft.

Roger pressed his back against the cold steel door, preparing to recklessly storm the room. He bellowed into the room. “Samantha!” Echoes bounced into the darkness. No response. He leaned back and the door gave way. Axe swings into the darkness. Wild, frantic swings around each corner, anticipating the ambush. Only concrete. Roger ran for his daughter, reaching the bloody metal chair and whipping it around, instantly frozen when staring back at empty orbital sockets.

Samantha was far from alive. A tormented and tragic corpse, ghoulish in the greyish sense. Her face was bloody but the skin was mostly intact and blood-filled red, stretched and sinewy where Robbie had cut to remove swatches or snip tendons to make surgery easier. Fresh blood pooled in gum sockets, teeth all but removed, only softer pieces from those that broke during extraction. He couldn’t find her tongue. Roger only caught a glimpse of Samantha’s mangled hands before feeling a horrible presence looming behind him.

He turned around and time stopped. Stepping softly from the shadows, Robbie had appeared, wielding a long, jagged hunting knife. A heartbeat, a delicious lick of love, a brain-kiss touched him immediately before the knife plunged deep into Roger’s shoulder. He reeled back, collapsing against the tables and benches and killer’s instruments lining the concrete wall, clashes and clangs as knives and clamps and bloody gauze rained down on his head.

Robbie knelt before Roger, shooting him a soft grin and a defensive look up and down. A sinister end, a wretched smile, his red chin stained with Samantha's gooey-fresh blood. Roger broke and bellowed, crying into his last few moments. Robbie's mouth had been clearly emptied of his natural teeth; dental procedures from long ago removed with rocks and hammers one bleak night. The tanned skin spots and leathery cheeks wrinkled as Samantha's teeth came into view, braces somewhat attached, a spider’s web of steel and dental wire. Barely any white was visible. Many of the roots were still attached.

Two hands reached around and pulled a pistol from the back of Robbie's pants. He held the gun flimsily at Roger, hovering the sight at his face. Roger was silent and horrified, a broken heap, the excessive amount of blood leaking from his wound causing him to drift in and out of his thoughts. His stomach dropped out, everything felt bleak and empty, and yet the pills continued the pace their way through his bloodstream, into his brain and out his shoulder.

“FREEZE! DROP THE WEAPON!!”

He barely heard Detective Martinez above his own pain and guilt. Samantha was dead. Samantha was here because he led her here. Nothingness began to creep in. Robbie quickly turned and opened fire on the detective, who immediately returned with her own destructive force. Shots rang out for what seemed like hours. Robbie hit the floor, bloody and perforated. Martinez was on one knee, her shoulder clipped and one to the chest Kevlar.

She stared at Roger. “Are you okay?” She dropped to her ass with a thud, reaching into her belt for a tourniquet. As she began to put pressure on her shoulder, she noticed Roger sliding himself towards Robbie's firearm.

“Mr. Lauds. Mr. Lauds please.”

Roger couldn't hear her. He failed and Samantha was dead and it was only a matter of time before they all blamed him again. His broken brain, his mistakes could never stop hurting him. The only way out was redemption, and there is no redemption for demons.

“Mr. Lauds. It will be okay now.”

Reaching into his pocket, Roger slowly pulled out his phone, a dimly lit touchscreen already opened to a messaging app. Martinez lowered her weapon and crawled towards Roger. He was frozen, his hand outstretched. Tears drenched his cheeks. Martinez’s eyes widened as the sender and receiver came into view, from Samantha Lauds to Bradley Baker. Roger only wanted to be closer to his daughter. Pits of rationalizing, currents against the dam, it all finally broke.

“How could you have known? You will be forgiven.”

Roger raised the gun to his temple and fired, sending a fatal bullet into his skull. Blood splattered against the back wall and Martinez’s shirt. She dropped her head.

Sirens roared in the distance. Officers came and assisted Martinez, and began to secure the scene. A medic tended to her arm while she made a call.

“We got him. But it’s not pretty.” The radio went unassumingly silent, then suddenly crackled to life again.

“Did Lauds follow you there? What happened to him?” Detective Roons was talking quicker than usual.

“He's dead. The girl is dead.” Ramirez sounded a bit shaken.

“She was dead the second she was in that warehouse and you know it. Good work, Martinez. We’ll debrief in the morning.

The phone went silent. She watched the coroner zip up Roger Lauds. No one would miss him.

But some little girls would be safer tonight.

Robbie Redteeth - Part 2/3

Part 2: The Precinct

Detective Martinez strode elegantly down a hallway; everything felt more intense as the cardboard boxes lining the halls looked more disheveled. They turned many corners before approaching a thin wooden door fitted with the kind of glass that you can hear rattle in the frame when the door is slammed shut. Slapped over the room’s official nameplate was a hastily-made sign, a torn piece of printer paper; written in bold, chiseled Sharpie: Robbie Redteeth.

As they entered the room, Roger saw a map of the Ludwig Industrial Park on the near wall. Two big circles highlighted an old foundry warehouse. He remembered the silhouette, smoke stacks against the sunset, driving his forklift five miles an hour against the oranges and purples and reds. Oxycontin and late night halogen pumped through his veins and corneas. Why was that map significant among the hundred maps wallpapering the room? Roger worked there. Was he a suspect? Suddenly, sweat. He was blind to the rest of the people in the room.

“I demand to know what’s going on,” Roger proclaimed, a last grasp at control, out of nowhere.

His eyes snapped to focus on a woman in the far corner of the room, standing beside a tall Green Bay Packers fan. The jersey gave it away. How sad for everyone involved that it happened to have “Rodgers” expertly stitched into the back above a prominent “12.” There was too much symbolism for the room to hold before the gasket popped.

“What the FUCK is he doing here?” the man snapped.

“Hello Deborah,” Roger said sheepishly.

The tall man in the jersey almost popped a blood vessel in his eye at the sight of his new wife’s ex.

“I don’t want him in here.” Kevin coughed up. Deborah had been crying. A tissue graveyard surrounded her, a crumpled Kleenex mandala.

Roger endlessly stared at his shoes.

“I said I never wanted to see his fucking face again,” Kevin blurted to his wife.

She spoke through tears. “Sweetheart, listen for five minutes. Roger is here to help us get Samantha back and then he’s leaving again for good, right Roger?” Deborah stared at her new husband, only angering him more.

Detective Martinez slit the tension in the room across the throat. “Mr. Caufield, if you are not able to control yourself in my briefing room then I will ask you to leave.” She’d had enough of Kevin Caufield for the night.

“He probably has something to do with Samantha being taken. He probably knows the guy, all these fucking perverts.” Kevin exited the briefing room through the opposite door, slapping away his wife’s comforting hand and a pleading gaze. The door slammed shut.

“Where is my daughter? What’s happened?” Roger spoke between heartbeats. Deborah blankly stared into nothing. Her little girl was in danger.

Detective Martinez moved towards Roger holding a blue folder.

“We are not at liberty to discuss the specifics of the ongoing investigation, but earlier today during your daughter’s fifteenth birthday party, she was abducted by a man who subdued and murdered the two adult chaperones present and evaded police pursuit. You daughter’s cell phone was left at the location with suspicious text messages from an unknown recipient she’s been in contact with for the past week named Bradley, no recorded last name. We have reason to believe that the man who kidnapped your daughter once worked at or is somehow linked to the industrial park where you currently are employed. Your wife also believes that you may have some information pertinent to finding Samantha, and we are working on a short clock.”

“Absolutely… I… I understand… but I’m not sure that I have the information you’re looking for. I’ve only worked the park a few months or so.” Roger was suddenly very confused. His hands instinctively parted the folder open.

“Do you have any idea where your daughter is Mr. Lauds?” The detective was getting forceful for no reason.

“I’m… I’m in the dark here.”

“Have you been in contact with Samantha at all in the past two weeks outside of the jurisdiction of the court orders currently against you?”

“Never would I jeopardize the time I have with my daughter in such a way,” Roger lied.

Roons, a notably chisel-jawed detective, entered the room with more folders, adding them to the piles and retaking his empty seat near Martinez. Roger knew he probably got laid more than he did, an effortless inconvenience, and for some reason that hurt, and during the worst time in his life he felt even worse.

They locked eyes for a second, buts Roons dissolved into nothingness as Roger finally focused on some of the photos plastered across the walls. Blood. Splatters. Human hair. The teeth were particularly appalling, white powder remnants of shattered, dental horrors. Stretched skin. Brutality on horrendous display. He looked down at the folder. Girls. Samantha’s age, he knew. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

He could barely speak, and held back new tears.

“Where is my daughter?”

Detective Roons finally spoke. “That’s why you’re here to help us, Mr. Lauds.” He sounded like a bull horn. His baritone cut through Roger like a samurai sword.

Roons leaned into the question, hard. “Your daughter arranged for delivery and purchase of oxycontin from a dealer named Slater LaMuer, to be brought to her exact birthday party’s location. Have you heard this man’s name before?”

“No.” The lies came quicker and easier.

“Do you know the name of any dealers your daughter has previously contacted or conducted business with to procure oxycontin?”

“No.” The room began to spin. Gurgling in Roger’s stomach began to churn against it’s delicate lining.

“Who is Bradley? Why does your daughter text Bradley constantly?”

“I don’t know.”

Detective Roons closed his eyes and got up out of his chair. He took a long breath.

“Mr. Lauds, you’re not in trouble. Frankly, I don’t know what else I could do to you that would be anything more miserable or destructive to you than you’ve done to yourself. So I’m not going to pretend like we have time to fuck around or poke you for information.”

Detective Martinez finally moved for the door. Roons opened his eyes.

“Do you want me to find your daughter before a madman takes her from you?”

“Yes.”

“Then tell me if you’ve ever purchased oxycontin from a man named Slater LaMuer.”

Roons hated liars.

Martinez began to clock her head around, listening intently.

“I have never bought from Slater. But I know he sells to some others at Ludwig and operates out of the Sheraton off 55.” It was easy to let the truth out. Felt like therapy. Was this what redemption was like? Was all salvation this painful and embarrassing?

“Did you introduce your daughter to Bradley?” This is where Roons left off. He caught a quick glance of Martinez, lost in her own thoughts.

Roger’s heart sank. Bile flooded his stomach, a virulent shame gurgling in his gut. In front of all of these people. Not now.

“Tell us about Bradley,” Martinez quickly interjected.

Roger suddenly couldn’t breathe. Deborah sat uncomfortably watching the sweat pour from her ex-husband’s balding scalp, the pit stains growing before their eyes, sweaty stenches minutes from suffocating the room. She reflexively threw him a lifeline.

“Bradley is Samantha’s online boyfriend or something. She talks to him practically every night, and this sicko knows him. I know it.” Deborah was particularly mean-spirited tonight, but she had every reason to be.

Roger slunk into himself. He could die now; no pain could be worse. Shame gripped his heart. Is this the end?

It finally hit him, why Roger had been summoned to that precinct, with everyone staring at him. Not because of his shame. He wasn’t a suspect. It was worse. Nobody gave a shit about Roger. He possessed the key piece of information in finding his daughter.

Wheels locked and clanged in the back of his brain. His decision was made. He could be her hero again.

“Bradley’s…. Bradley runs for Slater at the warehouse. He must have took her to the Sheraton...” Roger’s oxy-addled brain snapped together puzzle pieces, slowly, deliberately. The Ludwig maps were incomplete. Where was the construction expansion near Dellavue? It’s too easy to hide at Ludwig.

“Have you been fucking listening at all,” Deborah blurted.

Martinez stared at Roger, pitiful, limp, barely alive in the chair. She shot her eyes to Detective Roons, already throwing on his coat. “Take your task force to the Sheraton. We’ve already got squad cars en route to Ludwig.”

They rushed out the doors. Officers entered the room to tend to Deborah.

Roger had more questions, but his brain wouldn’t let him concentrate on them, and nobody cared. Heat stroke hit Roger from a sun hours from rising. Everything set in incredibly quickly. Ludwig was close, only thirty minutes out. He could make it.

Kevin left his keys on the desk.

Deborah got up to use the bathroom. She wouldn’t even acknowledge Roger. The room was empty. No one cared about him any more. She cried into her palms.

Roger snatched the car keys from the table top and slammed the door shut. The small precinct buzzed with activity. He saw a fire axe hanging off the wall and grabbed it as he slipped out of the station and started up the truck.

Continued in 3.

Robbie Redteeth - Part 1/3

Part 1: The Apartment

Roger’s phone began to ring at an unusual hour. He shot upright and grabbed the clunky bakelite receiver off the bedside table.

“Who is this?”

“Who am I speaking with?” Her voice was curt and official.

Who is this?” Roger was groggy.

“My name is Detective Martinez with the 13th Metro Police Precinct. May I please speak with Roger Lauds?”

He sat up in bed. He was still very groggy. Tired. Breathless. 

“This is Roger. What’s going on?” Slits of streetlight shone through dusty blinds. The detective didn’t skip a beat, but a thousand years had passed since the phone woke Roger up.

“Mr. Lauds, we would like to send a squad car to come escort you to the station, if you would please come down to the station. We need you for questioning.”

“It’s… it’s pronounced ‘louds,’” Roger stammered. “What is this about?” He flashed his eyes at the clock; the LED clicked from 2:22 to 2:23am.

“It’s about your daughter, Samantha Ross. We need you to come down to the station and answer a few questions. A car will be outside in five minutes to pick you up.”

Dread set in. She had already been missing for hours, but this was the first Roger had heard of his daughter’s plight.

“I’ll… I’ll get ready.”

She hung up immediately with a hollow click. An old dial tone remained. He took a second and fumbled with his fingers. The heavy receiver clicked loudly into the landline base.

Getting ready meant slapping a tattered pair of New Balance around his ankles and throwing on a stained morning hoodie suitable for dog walks and 7-11 trips, the most he’d been ready for in years. He hurt his back getting out of bed, inevitably. It was already a frightening night. Two oxys and a tall glass of Diet Coke down the hatch and things were bearable again. Roger locked both locks twice, shimmied down the creaking wooden stairs and met the cops who had already parked outside the apartment complex. An ominous ride awaited. He just wanted answers. The officers nodded to Roger as he approached the car, courteously opening the door for him.

Nothing was out of the ordinary for the neighborhood at large. Onlookers in their own stained hoodies didn’t flinch as Roger rolled away, popping their own pills, drinking their own Diet Cokes. Sad, old remains, forgotten men playing dice games outside of housing projects and warning signs targeted at parents: keep out and punishments are doubled here.

The two officers escorting Roger wouldn’t answer any of his questions, no crooked smiles and half laughs about the poor unknowing soul in the back seat, like he feared. They just didn’t know. They just came to pick him up. Radioes blared with codes and instructions. The officers responded in kind.

He hadn’t really spoken to his daughter Samantha in a long time. She was young when Roger made his first mistake, forgetting to ask for identification, and still young enough to forgive when he made his second, finding a prostitute on such an obvious website haunted by the feds. Families and partners can only take so much stress, and Roger laid it on thick. Yesterday, he dropped off her fifteenth birthday card in the mail. Roger hadn’t been invited to her birthday in a long while, and the presents kept being returned to his shitty address.

It was a shorter drive than he remembered, but never a ride he took for granted.

The detective wore a snazzy blue suit jacket; she met Roger at the entrance to the precinct, hand outstretched. He was transfixed on her paisley pocket square, but turned his eyes towards the sky so as to not let her think he was staring at her chest.

“My name is Detective Carol Martinez. You’re Mr. Lauds?”

She had a custom holster. It looked very expensive, the kind you’d get on Etsy from a cabin-dweller in Oregon complete with handmade paper receipt.

“I’m Roger. Where’s Samantha? Where’s my daughter?”

Finally. Someone with answers.

“Come inside and I’ll discuss the situation. We are on a very tight clock.” Martinez did that thing where she tapped her wrist with clamped-together index and middle fingers, despite no actual watch attached to her arm. She ushered him in. There was only lamp light and pitch black outside. No stars. The stars were all gone.

Continued in part 2 

The Black Anchor

The Black Anchor

A black mist calls…

Biting night screams into the dark

A ship enters calmer waters.

Makeshift dock rotten with misfortune

Creaky sounds echo deep…

A black cat crosses his path.

And turns, “I watch the night.”

Eyes light the way, anchors long sunk

Ancient eyes pet his skin,

Creatures come, come faster, eyes

Danger, dangerous eyes

Staring into his soul.

Danger, anchors in the deep.

He is ancient he is eternal

O', am his vessel, I AM GOD

The black anchor sinks into the night

My Fiance Was Killed By Bees

My Fiance Was Killed By Bees

 

My fiance was killed by bees

I sheepishly admit to the group

it’s a terrible way to go

 

A thousand stingers piercing flesh

paramedics stabbing concoctions into ballooning skin

each breath another last

 

Text chimes fall on headphone’d ears

gorilla glass dimly lights her nightstand “Mom and Dad”

But an Arch-Demon is about to fall and I’ve got loot to claim

 

My fiance was killed by bees

when you repeat it, it’s kind of insane

they pollinated this nectarine that I refuse to eat

 

and when all the paperwork is done and filed

Facebook likes and sympathy tweets

what do I have left but the ashes of a woman who was killed by bees?