Chapter Three: The Sinner's Inheritance
“Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they're in the game.” - Paul Rodriquez
Billy was losing patience with the dickhead in front. It wasn’t difficult to purchase a ticket. There wasn’t a range of stops on offer; the ferry went from ‘A’ to ‘B’. Eventually it was Billy’s turn at the kiosk. He felt uncomfortable as he walked. He knew it was down to the suit. Before this morning it had belonged to a man much fatter and taller. He felt like he was a kid wearing his dad's best suit to entertain and amuse visiting family members. He was confident the body that had previously bulked out the suit wouldn’t be found for a while. Hopefully long enough for him to do what the Devil wanted doing.
It had been his fourth kill and he admitted that it didn't seem as big of an issue as he thought it would have.
After the night with the robes and the demons Billy had woken up cold, shivering and riddled with a pain that throttled his naked body from toe to brow. He sat up, trying to remember what had happened the previous night, more importantly what had led to him waking up nude in an alleyway with his only companions being damp pages from old newspapers, crushed tincans and broken bottles. The smell didn’t help, enough piss and puke through the years to stain the brickwork and give a permanent slickness to the ground.
He could remember lying in the lounge, sprawled out and with his legs broken. He looked at his pins and winced. They were no longer broken, that he could tell as he wiggled toes that were painted with dark bruising. Whatever had set the bones had done a poor job of it. There was a kink where each of the bones had been fused slightly out of line. He tried to remember more and it came back to him in little pockets of remembrance. The sight of the carnage as those creatures from Hell had tried to nest in them all. The way it had all gone wrong, the demons ripping their way out, clawing their way to freedom only to wilt and die on the shores of a foreign land.
It puzzled Billy why he'd not been torn asunder. He remembered the pain of something trespassing in his depths. He vaguely remembered the sensation of being stretched and bent, but then it all went black and he couldn’t recall anything after it. The only thing he knew for sure was that he was free and away from that house, small mercies, only small but he was grateful for them all the same.
He moved to the end of the alleyway and poked his head out. He wanted to see what the the world was up to. Traffic was sparse, an odd car trundling down the road. The sky was light so it had to be after six in the morning. He knew it wasn’t a main road with the traffic being so slight and that would aid him, all he needed was patience. He watched and waited, allowing people to pass by the mouth of the alleyway unmolested, biding his time until the perfect target wandered by. A woman with a dog passed, the dog stopped on one side of the opening. It sniffed at the corner, cocked a leg and started to piss and curl one out. It paused, turned its head and stared at Billy. Billy sank back into the alleyway, more watching the woman than the dog. The woman seemed more interested in the rest of the street than in her pet that was laying cable. Billy met the dog's gaze and held it. The dog raised its lips to showcase its teeth. Billy held his breath, waiting for the dog to bark. The bared teeth remained on show but the bark never surfaced. The dog continued its dump, its eyes impassioned and challenging. The owner grew bored of waiting and started walking off yanking the lead. Billy let free the breath he had been stowing, there had been something in the eyes of the dog, a knowing of sorts. He worked his way to the mouth of the alley again, peeped out and saw what was the best target so far. A man dressed in slacks, casual shirt complete with tie and blazer, about fifty and walking behind a pot-belly. He looked the sort of man that would be carrying money too.
Billy bent and picked up a bottle, its bottom half missing. He waited until the man entered his line of sight. He reached out and gripped the man by the throat and without preamble dragged him into the belly of the alleyway. Before the man could scream Billy had the business end of the bottle jammed right up to the man’s throat. "Scream and I’ll fucking cut you." He dragged the terrified victim further into the alleyway so that their business could be carried out in private. Billy pushed the man up against the wall and struck him in the gut with his free hand,
"Get undressed." He ordered. The man was doubled over, both hands cradling his winded stomach. He looked up, his eyes tearing up from terror as well as the winding.
"I said get undressed, don’t get undressed and I’ll kill you, get your wallet, find out where you live and go slice up your wife. That’s if a fat prick like you even has one." and to send home his point he took a step forward and raised the bottle again. That was enough to get the man to start fumbling with his tie. The more his trembling fingers worked at the knot the tighter it became. Billy was running fast out of time and patience. He leant in towards the crying man, slapping away his fingers,
"Move your hands."
The man continued his panicked work.
"I said move your hands!" he slapped them harder, enough so that the man took his hands away like a scolded child. The victim didn’t know what to do with the redundant limbs so he held them aloft as if at gunpoint. Billy used the blades of the bottle to cut away the knot of the tie.
"Now get undressed, quickly." He got the man to his feet before the filth strewn ground ruined what would soon be his only clothes. The man's large potbelly jiggled with the cold and fear. He had his genitals cupped in his hands out of some sort of modesty. Billy looked up and down the alleyway making sure there were no casual observers. He turned back to the man and advanced on him with the bottle.
Billy didn’t get dressed until he had finished slitting the man’s throat. He kicked over a dustbin and tipped out its contents, which proved to be little as anything edible been ransacked by tramps. He stuffed as much of the man into it as he could. Half of the body was still spilling out so Billy spun it so it wouldn’t be seen from either end of the alleyway.
Billy rooted through the pockets, digging out the wallet and opened it. He put a name to the man he’d butchered, one step deeper into Hell. A quick grin spread across his lips as he figured he might as well be hanged for a sheep than a lamb. Albert Masterson was the man’s name, Billy was more interested in the cash, there was enough to keep him going for a few days. He’d have to buy some new clothes, another charity shop would do, they’d think him a homeless man, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth. The plan was simple, just to keep on the move, it was the only thing he could think of seeing as there were two creatures after him now, the Devil and the Police, he wished to give himself over to neither. He set off down the street, trying to walk like the clothes were meant for him.
He boarded a train to head north, hoping Scotland might be a good place to lose himself; it was about as far away from any of the crimes he had committed as he could get. He was stood waiting for the interconnecting train, bored and ignorant of the fading light, for the fraudulent glow from the halogens along the platform prolonged the day. He watched the train pull in and moved to grab the handle when the strange surging he'd felt the previous night returned. It felt like a growth in his stomach, one which swelled and placed hurtful pressure on all his internal organs as whatever was within strived for dominance. He staggered back, the pain escalating. People stared with concern, a couple even moved closer to offer Samaritan help. He pushed them away and ran to the toilets. He burst into one of the empty cubicles, slamming shut the door and kneeling as if in prayer and forced his fingers deep down into his throat, his nails scratching at the soft tissue of his throat as he tried his best to sick up whatever was so rogue within. He heaved and heaved but nothing but bile came free and dribbled in strings from his lips. The agony was intolerable. He took his fingers out and began punching at the walls as the internal struggle raged and the war became one-sided, he didn’t have the strength to win this battle. It pushed and stretched as it made his flesh and bone into its mutt-shape.
Last night 'It' had gifted its host with unconsciousness, but that had only hindered the effort. The man Billy in one day had travelled too far in the wrong direction and would probably keep doing so. It had decided to share its hunting nights with him, perhaps reveal some of the importance, and then mayhap the flesh of the day might work in tandem with the chore and bring its errand to fruition faster.
Billy felt as though his teeth were being evicted from his jaw. The panic was gone. It was difficult to be petrified when all he could think about was pain. The pain departed and Billy’s world felt ruined and condemned. Everything was at a different height and a foreign angle than it should have been, his whole world made retarded.
Sound was thunderous in his new long ears, the din of the platform guard thumping on the door and wanting to know if everything was all right inside the cubicle. Billy wanted to shout that everything was ‘far-from-fucking-all-right’. He had become Alice and the looking glass was a sick and twisted affair. His words only came out as a thought, no sound, he wasn’t in control of anything, not his misshapen legs, of which he now had four, not the now long back, nor the mouth with the crooked sharp teeth. He was a bound rider in the saddle of some hideous oddity. Billy wasn’t alone in this shape, it felt to him like he was sharing an elevator and the other person wouldn’t let him have a go at the controls.
‘Don’t fight me, join me in our common cause,’ the other voice drawled.
"What are you?" Billy demanded.
‘The same as you, a small part of a much bigger scheme, we’re both servants of the darkness, children of the master.’
"I don’t want to be."
‘You gave up that choice when you entered into His service, there is another thing we both have in common.’
‘That we both want to succeed in the task that has been set before us, for I have seen what befalls those who fail, I will not permit you to bring that down upon me. Now tonight there is nothing you can do but watch as I lead the way, in the morning your natural form will return just as it did this day, tomorrow when darkness falls I will return to take up the hunt. You do as I ask and I shall make there be no more pain, deceive me, or fail and ready yourself for a place that you never thought possible, now I must work.’ It didn’t say anything else, it flattened itself upon the ground like it had been punished and cowed. The banging on the door continued. Billy could see the shoes and ankles of the guard. It waited only a moment before throwing itself forward, scraping the flat of its head upon the bottom of the cubicle door. It took the ankle of the guard in its maw and clamped down. The guard screamed and howled as the teeth pierced the skin, stabbed through the flesh and tendons and met with bone. Another few pounds of pressure and the bone exploded within the cur's jaws. It released its bite, its maw still filled with debris. It squeezed beneath the rest of the door and made off. Billy was watching it all through their shared eyes. It was off at a dash, the crowd that had amassed darted out of the way, bumping into each other, felling each other as each stampeded in a bid for personal safety. No one cared about the man on the floor with the tattered leg screaming a myriad of oaths, one second calling for help from God the next moment cussing him.
The hound ran, it’s jumbled shape getting faster and faster as it broke away from the populated area. Striving for the countryside, wanting to be out of the eyes of the public. They would want to hunt it down for fear it was rabid. There had been nothing it wanted more than to change its grip on the guard, swap it from ankle to larynx and work the head loose from the shoulders. It held its restraint for the hunt was bigger than the idle temptations of blood and gristle. Its part was vital in the bringing in of a new era, an era where sinners would not be castrated of their freedom or hidden away in asylums. There would be a new world order, and it would traverse the world like a storm, throwing up the dead wood and paving the way for a period of brutal chaos. Just the thought aroused it, Billy in his detached state could sense the excitement in the thing.
The situation might not have been Billy’s preferred one but he had to admit that loping albeit clumsily through the high grass and cresting easy hills was quite exhilarating. He wondered briefly if it would be better if he was in charge of the limbs, he knew with sobering clarity that the next time he would be in control would be when the moon retired and the sun broke free over the horizon and he would be a hominid again, and naked, he groaned.
They were hunting something, that much he was sure of, but what was the hunt?
"What is it we’re after?" he asked.
"If you do as required then tonight I will tell you, you’ll have earned a little more knowledge." The conversation was over. Billy allowed himself to be dragged along by the thing. The Devil had broken his legs for merely breaking one small rule that had been set out, what would happen if he strayed further? He didn't want to find out.