Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Fields Chapter 6

My cigarette dropped a bit of ash on my mahogany acoustic guitar and I promptly wiped it off. I often had to remind my lips to keep it from completely falling onto my lap. I always smoked and strummed mindlessly on sleepless nights. It's not uncommon for me to have trouble winding down enough to crash and when I do, I tend to think a lot. I think about what I've been doing with my life, specifically if there was any other road I would have taken besides this one, and considering the answer is almost always 'no' I then think about revising my bucket list again. I'm not complicated, I don't need to start a family to feel complete, I just seem to require constant entertainment. I took a drag and propped the guitar up again, strumming along to 'Sweet Home Alabama' from memory.

I am Sierra Fields. I'm the middle child from what could have been a nuclear family, but then again, maybe not. While my sister refused a life of secrecy and combat worship in order to study English literature or whatever, I did my best to stay realistic about the whole thing. I reject the idea put forth by my father and mother that our family will outlast the cursed fate we've been marked with. Instead, I try to live what little life I have.

As soon as I saved up enough money assisting my friend who works in a tattoo parlor, plus other odd jobs I've done for acquaintances, I bought a house. Not just any house, not just anywhere. This house, this is a 'murder house'. It was incredibly cheap, located just near the north edge of Arcata Bay. Most people would shy away from the fact that it is both old and has a history of people killing each other in it, but to me it was just the best way for me to move away from my family sooner. I gutted the old plumbing and wiring but kept the old look so that I can charge people once a year to take a tour, that's a great outcome for all parties involved.

I don't believe in superstition anyways. Well, besides the multiple dimensions thing. Most of that is just what my dad told me anyway. Although I was old enough to retain memories at the time, I can't remember anything. It's so useless to me that I often forget about it. I don't know how well Heather copes with it, I just know she's turned it into a series of published novels. Derek, I feel like I don't know Derek at all.

You could say that I still picked up a few traits from my parents even despite trying to push them away. I have a large collection of weaponry and am probably the most talented marksman out of all of them and I also enjoy destruction in general. I could try to justify it, but I don't think there's any need to. Having a colorful police record is generally not good, but I can live comfortably so long as I am not in jail. Or so I say to myself. The fact that I've been up every night for the past week smoking and eating and playing guitar might say something about my peace of mind, but I refuse to listen.

I pushed myself off the bed, leaving the guitar behind and start dressing up for the night. I didn't have a plan, I didn't need a plan. I'd go set off some dynamite in the forest again, maybe find a fight club I haven't been kicked out of before. However, before I got too ahead of myself, I needed to jump through precautionary hoops. The world is a dangerous place.

I stuffed a loaded stubby police revolver in my boot, a lighter in the other. I strapped a shorty shotgun to my back, then a long sleeved shirt over that, an arm cuff with a hidden semicircle of slugs and I covered that up with my signature brown bomber jacket. Quite literally so, I always carry with me components of quick smoke bombs or anything that might cause a fire. The Anarchist's Cookbook is my bible.

Nighttime drives aren't so bad on their own. The radio usually has some kind of smooth jazz or generic rock playing and I wasn't about to start a fit over the radio, I leave that to the comedians of our world. Even though I drive a van, people typically don't see me as a pedophile or anything because I'm just a young woman. It helps that this used to be the van for the band I was in, Tap Rack Bang, which I was legally forced to scrape the name off of but the logo and disconnected phone number is still there. Of course, what van would be complete with additional hidden compartments and an area I could sleep on if I ever ran out of gas?

There wasn't much hustle and bustle around here, I liked that. I'd rather drive to the fun than have the fun find me all the time, especially if the fun is carrying cuffs. There was a hotel, down the road to the west was a gun club and there were a few wild life reservations. All dead at 4 AM. I rolled down the road past the gun club and continued around the edge of the Bay.

I was just about to turn back and try to sleep again after I fished out my lighter for a smoke break when my eyes flicked over to the curb. Of all the people to be sitting there anxiously at the crack of dawn, it had to be Sarah Lacy. As she trotted over to the car door, I held down the window switch, raising an eyebrow.

"Hey, hi, um, do you think you could help me out with something?" Sarah spoke with a hesitation in her voice which that wasn't very odd for her. She was tightly gripping her shoulders and slightly hunched over, I assumed that when she left the house she didn't have the opportunity to grab a jacket. "I suppose so. Where was your house again?" I asked calmly and quietly, meanwhile my eyes scanned the surrounding streets and houses. All dark, only very spottily placed street lights. Although we bowled together sometimes and I chatted with her online whenever I was bored out of my brain, I didn't think it would be worthwhile to note her address. "Just up the street there, um, then a turn-" Sarah's directions fizzled out while she glanced cautiously all around her, then she simply asked to get in the car and I'd drive. I obliged.

Knocking off some of the ash from my cigarette into the open street, I coasted down the road and carefully turned under one of the few street lights. I decided I'd ask what kind of mess I'd be helping her with today, after all, I think a friend deserves to know.

"What exactly happened?"
"I was home, you know, like always. It, er, there was nothing I could see from my bedroom window 'cause it was so dark. Then I heard, like, heavy boots. Maybe some things getting knocked over, I'unno, I just, you know don't feel safe. I think it's a burglar or, like, a rapist..." As she spoke I glanced over at her. Her head was down, her hair covering her ears. She became more fascinated with warming her hands between her thighs than relaying this important information. This wasn't odd for her either.
"What do you want me to do?"
"Check my house for the bogeyman? I just, I'm sorry, I just figured since you're all-"
"Bad ass?" I gave her a sly grin.
"I was going to say dangerous." She craned her head at me, peering into my face with her big round eyes, "You could kill." Huh. Maybe a little weird now, I thought. No matter, I can get this done and go home before the left over ham sandwich in the fridge becomes irrevocably dried out.

We pulled into the small alley beside the house, a muddy pathway mainly there to space out the houses and for people to put their trash cans. I was surprised the van even fit. I stuck my head out of the window to examine the exterior of her house. It was about the same as every other aging suburban house in the middle of Eureka, the only difference being the second story was built onto it as an after thought. It stuck out a little among the rest of the homes.

I landed in the mud with a squelching sound, followed by droplets of piss water landing all over the ground and rotted wood fence on my left. I advised her to stick by me while I gathered some things, saying things like "If the thieves are still here they're more likely to 'drop the hit on you'" and because she loves to argue I tossed around some words like 'witnesses' and 'blown cover.' That shut her up. I shuffled over to the back of my car to the doors and only opened one of them, grabbing a case squeezed between some other junk. I ran my fingers over the goods inside held in place by cut foam. A 9mm handgun, a suppressor for said handgun, three clips and a tactical baton just in case. In no way would the gunfire really become silent, I knew going in that the police might arrive.

I put out the cigarette with my jeans, clambered the trashcan that insultingly threatened to topple underneath my weight and I exchanged one last glance with Sarah, telling her to wait a minute and then enter after me. She was breathing heavily and even she looked like she was puffing smoke, but that was just the effects of winter air. I pushed open the window, unsurprisingly it was locked, and I swung my body over into the house. Cold air swirled in after me and my boots squeaked against the polished wood floor. Immediately after stuffing my cigarette in a potted fern's recently watered soil, I swept the hair from my face and silently advanced into the foyer.

Sarah must be loaded, or at the least she inherited her house and all the furniture she owned. Top to bottom, it was all crystal chandeliers, china cabinets filled with silver and gold. I could see why someone might want to burgle this place, but I cared more about punching the person in the face and buying a breakfast burrito. Swiveling methodically and threateningly with my handgun, I began by checking the linen closet and guest bathroom. You can never be too sure. Not only were they completely unmolested, they also seemed to have never been used.

Sarah's kitchen is the kind that has a window and little shutters for if you'd like to cook and talk to people while they sit in the living room. Crouching low beside a corner in a position that your body can comfortably slip in and out of supposedly helps you navigate buildings stealthily. I don't know how true that is, I might have just heard it on TV once. The kitchen door had no latch, it was more in the style of restaurant doors which are made so people can carry copious amounts of food in their arms without slowing down too much. Keeping the door from hitting me in the face I pressed my elbow against it in order to look around inside. Unlike the rest of the house, the only light here was above the sink which was just below a window with the classic window sill you could leave a pie on. Deciding that it would be stupid for a criminal to hang around a kitchen, I planted myself in front of Sarah's fridge, eying a particularly appetizing container of egg rolls.

"You find anything?" Meek, patient Sarah nearly made me rain suppressed gunfire on her pale face and neck. You'd think that sneaking up on a heavily armed hungry person might be a poor decision, but then again she does talk to me. I told her to wait a minute, not five, can she take direction? I thought angrily to myself. Recovering from just about choking on a mouthful of cabbage and pork, I swallowed and spoke, "I'm still looking. Maybe you should stay here or something, I can't really have you skulking around while I do this." I popped the rest of my cold stolen egg roll in my mouth and continued through the kitchen to another door. Sarah said nothing, I didn't even hear her sit down.

Through a series of hallways and circling backward from dead ends I ended up finding the entertainment room, undoubtedly not the official name for it but I call it how I see it. The massive 60" plasma screen took up most of the focus in the room, the rest of the space being used to accommodate it. Among the numerous cabinets and DVD players stood speakers about as tall as me, along with racks of CDs standing next to those. For being such an introvert, this girl sure did have a great place for a party. The TV was still on, it was broadcasting the sci-fi channel. Some stupid movie was playing and it made me want to sleep even more now, even though the sun would be shining bright pretty soon. I thought that was enough ground work done now, I'd check the upstairs. Just before I did I whispered this into the kitchen, no response.

Each wooden step creaked under my foot. The top of the stairs was pitch black and for the first time I felt hesitation, that maybe not-so-good things might happen up there. I fumbled in my pocket for the lighter, casting a ghastly array of shadows from the front of my body and giving the wall parallel the bannister an orange tint. As the shadows and improvised light allowed my eyes to focus and the floating dark shapes disappeared, I realized I was staring down a two way hallway with multiple bedrooms on each end. Suddenly I could feel every horror movie I'd scoffed at during my last late-night TV binge scoff back. Thankfully though I heard Sarah cry for help downstairs, so I could pretend that never happened.

When I stomped off the last step to the first floor after creating a symphony of harried foot steps, I realized I had no idea where Sarah went. I used one hand in a vain attempt to amplify my voice, but nothing came of it. That is, until I found the basement door out of the corner of my eye. I like to think most people avoid basements as a core survival instinct, so I didn't feel too bad about missing it earlier. I stumbled down the dark stairwell with its dank scent and chilling atmosphere. "Sarah if this is a joke we are never going bowling together again!" A small part of me felt stupid for saying that, that's the cue for the movie monster to come eat me. I fumbled for a light switch and ended up finding something that looked more like a switch from an industrial fuse switch than a regular light switch, but I suppose it wasn't my place to judge what she is into.

A thick layer of dust coated the cement floor, sprinkled with the remains of some dearly departed rodents and some not-so dearly departed insects. The middle of the room was filled with junk covered in a black tarp and unless that is some artistic masterpiece underneath, I'm going to continue assuming it's junk. A busted black piano sat on the far right of the room. It may have been older than a century, but it was obviously uncared for regardless. I cautiously trotted through abandoned spider webs and the murky stale air it hovered in. Which, funnily enough, made me concern for the health of my lungs. I let out a long sigh mixed with a groan. No silly white girl to be found. Might as well do some snooping anyway, I figured.

Or an ancient door in the back wall could start vibrating. That's a lead for sure. I slowed down, staring at the ground before this mystical vibrating door. The dust had very recently been disturbed. The door stopped moving just long enough for me to kick it in. My face felt the force of a kick followed by a wheezing chuckle, but I saw no one. I gripped the doorway and pulled myself inside.

The room was the size of another basement. I could see a single bulb hanging by a wire paired with its chain switch smack dab in the middle, but that would be the only light the room offers. I started swearing at the darkness and felt a few drops of warm copper liquid drip down to my lips. As soon as I found this bastard, I'd spit in their face. I started catching glimpses of Sarah again, just standing there with a plain grin. I dashed for the light in the middle and was tackled to the ground just after I managed to click it on. I struggled to my back, partially blinded from the light. It was Sarah, no real expression on her face besides mild amusement and she kept coughing in the way someone might if they happen to be laughing hard at the same time. That was it, no more bullshit. I whipped out my baton until it locked in its extended position and I struck down just hard enough to-

She was gone again, standing in the corner and staring at me. For a brief moment it looked almost as if her torso and the air itself in front of her was fragmented and the world just needed a second to catch up with its own visuals. I was starting to think this wasn't just a regular burglar. I raised my gun and shot at her abdomen, but she was gone again and a puff of drywall exploded from where the bullet connected. "Son of a bitch," I exclaimed just before getting pinned to the wall from the side.  My neck felt like it was getting crushed by an from the back but I felt no flesh. My right wrist was slammed into the wall and I couldn't even make my fingers move the gun. I raised my foot trying to dig my hand into the boot. My vision became dotted with darkness and I forgot when the last time I took a breath was. I ripped the police revolver out of my shoe as soon as my finger tips felt metal and nearly dropped it. I crammed it over my shoulder and squeezed the trigger awkwardly, firing at where her arm should be.

When close to death via suffocation, one forgets that firing a revolver two inches from your face in a basement might make you half deaf. The only reason my right ear was even hearing the sweet sound of tinnitus was probably because the worst was blocked by my big ass head. I scrambled to another corner of the room, screaming, I think, and trying to put in my emergency earplugs. Through watering eyes I saw swift dark shapes twist and dance to and fro. Before I could get choked again I detached my shorty from under my shoulder blade and folded the foregrip down. Unfortunately, a mess of pain and adrenaline had my aim wavering uncontrollably. I fired twice at the vague shape of something reaching out for me, sending my shoulder inside of the wall. I'm not paying Sarah to fix this. I sprinted diagonally to the other corner, hitting my face on the now searing light bulb. I heard a whoosh and ducked backwards, crazily falling backwards on one of my legs, so I had to use the other leg to propel my back to the wall.

I groped around under my jacket for my backup shells and loaded the shorty yet again. I lacked a plan and should have ran, but what good would come from leaving this behind? A spindly humanoid shape launched itself at me, now emitting a faint gurgling screech. I managed to hit with one of the shells and black steam erupted from the thing, the other shell however shattered the light bulb and letting sparks fly all over the room. I instinctively dug out and flicked on the lighter. It seemed that the one I hit was down for the count, so that just left one more. By now I was more pissed off than anything, so I decided to Rambo it.

Slugs found themselves in every wall and the retrieved handgun got closer to hitting each time I fired, yet it felt so far. The air was thick with obliterated basement wall and dust, which surprisingly made it easier to detect when this scientific anomaly would show up again. Maybe just to give me a heart attack as its final weapon, Fake Sarah appeared six inches from my face with a grim look on its face. I won't get that image out of my mind for quite some time, but it didn't live to gain pleasure from that. It only took one shot to send bits of Fake Sarah all across the ceiling and floor. I stood up shakily and gave myself an ineffective dusting. I exhaled, then looked to the floor and wall.

Where Fake Sarah 1 and 2 died were now shadows of humanoid shapes permanently etched into the floor, although I wasn't about to touch it to find out how permanent it'll be. When the dust cleared I stared blankly at the wall in front of me that's supposed to be white and bullet riddled.

Instead, the wall had been scribbled on with some kind of writing tool, marker maybe, and despite its hasty strokes the design would have taken anyone a significant amount of time to draw. It looked almost like an outline of a large tree, if trees were made of alien scripture and symbols. I tilted my head back and forth trying to make sense of it. Was it a map? Was it graffiti? A message? The more I looked, the more chilling it became and one lone thought stuck in my mind: Get the camera.

I always kept my camera in my van, it's useful for many things. I also like to have fun with it, but that's not what this is. As I jogged to the front door I took my ear plugs out and heard something strange. Thumping upstairs. I growled to myself, grabbing my baton and running upstairs. I walked into one of the bedrooms, one with a bathroom connected to it. Someone blocked it off and I never even know. I slowly removed the chair from the knob, sighing to myself, hoping there wouldn't be a final boss behind it. I kicked this one open too. Surprise, another Sarah! Although, I instantly got the feeling that this one might be the real thing. This one actually has emotion in her face, even if she looks drugged.

She got all clingy and told me how scared she was. Thankfully she doesn't remember me committing many felonies, unfortunately that means she can't tell me what happened to her. I told her to never go into the basement and that I may need to use it for a while, she seemed to be fine with that even if it's just because she wasn't fully conscious. I even got her to nod which is totally a non-verbal contractual agreement.

I grabbed my camera and documented the weird art. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do, since I really hate having to ask my family for things. However, this seemed too important to ignore. I also heard sirens, so I had to slip out unnoticed if I wanted to stay free.

As I sped off through the alleyway and drove all the way home while Sarah dealt with the police, I started thinking again. I thought about how, although my entire family may be doomed, I can't ignore them forever, even if I wanted to. I thought about whether I found this fun like I find other kinds of danger fun, or if I might be somewhat sane after all. I don't even know if I have the strength to fight this. Oh well, I sighed. The morning sun felt nice.


  1. This chapter doesn't have a title???

    1. The next few won't, but they will again soon when it switches characters.