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February 26, 2024

All-Nighter 23

By Lydia Manx

Episode Twenty Three


Grant made his way outside safely. I immediately went over to the massive control panel he'd shown me earlier in the day, and I watched him quickly get into a sleek BMW that was backed into a corner of the parking lot just in view. He must be making serious coin to get a Beemer like that one. The slick black and shiny chrome enhanced two door car fit him, as I saw him right now on camera, and the other him I earlier detected in the office. The dangerous gleaming car also looked as evil as the shadow of him I'd seen on the wall, that flickered with a promising scent of horror. He scared the crap outta me, both sides of him. To be true, there was something just not right about Grant or his boss. I could hardly believe it'd been just a few fucking hours ago I'd come in for an interview with that Melissa. My stomach did a lurch and my heart raced remembering that cold odd creature. I wasn't in any doubt now that she was some sort of crazy ass monster. But I'd be lying if I just up and quit because she was a monster. After all, it meant a steady paycheck, and if I didn't end up dead I'd take it. West Virginia had broken me into that whole monster crap, so not too much freaked me anymore.

While at the monitor panel, I also glanced at the sleeping shapes in the rooms on the screens in front of me. My heart fluttered hard and fast again as I saw somebody I thought I knew. I shook my head and looked closer. Yup, sure as shit, it was fucking Lindy from my past. She was a crazy ass bitch all in her own right. Unlike the others I'd seen, she wasn't sleeping, she was pacing the room and looked like mumbling something. I found a volume button and heard her muttering, "Damn Sammy. Who the hell would've thought he'd end up in Florida?"

As if she'd felt my gaze on her she snapped up and looked straight at the camera and hissed out, "Sammy, you might as well come knocking. I know you are watching. I always knew when you were watching me even when Ginny was looking at you with her puppy-dog devotion."

I damn near hurled in the trashcan. She knew? What the fuck was this place? I mean, yeah, a sleep clinic for things that go bump in the night, but also it was some hell hole that was the waiting room for death. I shuddered at the anger in her eyes and the chill that ran down my spine. It had nothing to do with the high air-conditioned environment, but bone chilling fear. I was haunted by my past, but my thoughts weren't my main focus right now. I felt something rushing towards me, and it had nothing to do with my weak-ass memories.

Impulsively I flew to the room on the monitor where Lindy was staying and knocked briskly on the door.

She unbolted it and yanked it wide, saying, "What? You don't want to talk about Ginny? Cut too close with that?" She looked older and exhausted but real. This wasn't some warped fantasy but really happening.

I brushed past her and found a local news station.

"Hey Lindy, forget that crap. Looks like Boca Raton is being invaded."

Her head swiveled to the TV while she shut the door, automatically locking and bolting the opening -- she sure didn't miss a trick even years later. If anything, she seemed darker and more angry. Silently she joined me watching the breaking news update. The news desk had only one anchor, and the chick looked like she was fucking twelve years old with a major boob job. Her eyes were huge in her face like a Japanese comic book. Anime or whatever they called that crap.

Looking straight into the camera she said, "This just in to the news center. The interstate is still closed in both directions and at this time there is no word on what the cause is for the shut down. Earlier reports of a possible industrial accident have yet to be substantiated. We have also had phone calls into our news desk with reports of a large spill of carcinogenic liquid. What we do know is that the governor had declared it a state of emergency and blacked out the airspace above the site, saying it was unsafe to be in the area. Please use alternate routes and avoid I-95 until future notice."

Lindy grabbed the remote from me and found another newscast and we heard damn near the exact same thing from some slick-looking dude this time. But then a twist: "We have a live report from Rick at the scene of this unknown disaster. Let's go to Rick. Rick?"

A slightly out of focus picture smeared across the TV and slowly the footage steadied so we could there was a disheveled man holding a microphone standing by a thicket of bushes. Looked to me like a bunch short palm trees but I wasn't sure. Not like I studied up on the local trees and overly green bushes.

"Thank you, Jerry." Rick looked at the cameraman and shook his head. "Sorry to report we can't get much closer. I am live at the site of this bizarre incident. I've been hiding here on the edge and seen unusual activity on the 95 freeway where we have been told we aren't allowed to be due to some toxic leak. As you can see down there," here the cameraman swung the lens towards a group of vehicles all stopped on the pavement scattered like a handful of jacks, "there are a number of people walking without any apparent protective clothing much less even a gas mask."

A pause of silence and the picture grew closer and more distinct. Nope, not a single sign of hazmat suits or breathing stuff. Yeah, it looked screwed up. Lots of men in business suits -- crazy in Florida where it was probably still over eighty degrees if not more -- and a few dudes with cell phones glued to their faces like teenagers at a mall. Toxic spill my white ass. This was so wrong. Glancing over, I saw that Lindy was staring at the view with a disturbingly familiar look in her eyes. She wasn't buying the bullshit either.

The reporter came back into view and said, "Back to you, Jerry. We are still on site and will explore closer to the scene."

Before the anchorman could reply from the studio, something happened. The camera view shifted quickly and there was a riot of screams and what looked like blood spattered right across the lens. The live shot went dead, and then it was back to the studio where the anchorman, Jerry, said, "Technical difficulties. We will keep you informed as we can." His face was a crappy shade of gray that spoke volumes.

Lindy sighed and bit out, "What the fuck? That doesn't look good."

Shaking my head, "Not at all. Any clue what that shit was?"

Meeting my eyes she said, "Deadly, for sure."

She went and pulled a bottle of wine from the fridge. She didn't ask, but poured herself a glass, and when she put the wine back she snagged a bottle of beer and placed it in front of me. Shrugging, I twisted off the top and toasted her with the top of the bottle. With an odd look on her face she lifted her glass in return.

"So what the hell is it with you that every time we meet life turns to crap? Didn't seem like zombies to me but more like vampires or werewolves. The arterial blood was spurting out quickly so I am thinking weres because they travel day or night. Vampires tend to keep out of the lime light, as I've discovered in the past few years." Then she damn near drained her glass as she did a 'sip'. I could see why she wanted to chill somewhere safe. Lindy had seen too much.

Before replying I took a deep gulp of the ice cold beer and said, "I never saw vampires, heard of them. Werewolves made the local news up after the zombie bullshit, but I only saw the bodies torn up, never offed one."

Laughing, "Offed one? Sammy, you are still full of shit yourself! Werewolves travel in packs, my dear child. You'd know that if you had ever run across any. They sure as hell do like to litter the scenery with corpses but that's just marking their land -- werewolves' example of territorial pissing, as it were. I've cleaned out a few of their areas and it's never pretty."

I felt something flip in my stomach, and wasn't sure what I was hoping was coming our way. I knew in my bones what ever the creature or creatures are that they were heading towards us. From the set of Lindy's mouth she had the same gut feeling. Yay us.

Lindy looked to me and said, "So what are the plans here in the event something wicked this way comes?"

Hmmmm, that sounded like a quote, but hell if I knew where it was from, and didn't much care to show Lindy that I was an idiot and ask her.


What the hell was wrong with me? I was sitting around shooting the shit with Sammy while sipping -- gulping -- wine about what was heading for us. I'd take a hurricane over this crap again. Dean and Ginny weren't here to deflect any of the friction between us, not even that alcohol-soaked Uncle Scott. I could tell from the look on Sammy's face he didn't have a clue how bad this could get. Trying to fool me into thinking that he'd even met one werewolf, much less killed anything but my patience and a few zombies back in the days and dark nights in West Virginia. I sighed and got up, refilling my glass automatically as I tried to wrap my mind around it all.

Sammy took advantage of my distraction to chug down his bottle of beer, and grabbed up the remote to flip around the stations until he was back on the anchor gal who looked like a teenager. I rarely watched newscasts with bendable Barbies, as the anchors dressed in clothing tightly fitting at least two sizes too small. There wasn't any more footage from the reporter who'd been near the site of the interstate shutdown. I sort of doubted that reporter Rick was even alive. His cocky grin of complete confidence was probably long ripped off his face if his head was even still attached to his body. I'd seen what werewolves did and from the blood pumping over the lens of the camera I would be shocked it if was anything but weres. It was going to be a long night.

Ignoring Sammy, I went to my laptop and began to search through a few off-the-radar type of websites that catered to folks like me. One or two had made mention of something happening in Boca Raton, but there wasn't anything I hadn't already seen. The news footage from Rick and his camera man finally was on one site, being run as a continuous loop, slowed down and enhanced. There were comments but nothing substantial or even helpful. With the slower, nearly frame-by-frame shots along with the sharpened video I still wasn't able to determine what type of monster was causing the problem. I dug deeper.

Ten minutes later there was a new video being posted.

"Get over here, Sammy. I think I found something," I said while taking another deep gulp of wine. I wasn't going to be driving anywhere and from the looks of things neither would Sammy. This was a game changer.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2016-07-11
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
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