Dodd stopped at the curb beneath a hulk of a tenement
building. The alley was a chasm of dark, the streetlights casting a halo only a
few feet into the space between the two buildings. An iron staircase rose from
the alley floor to an iron mesh landing at a metal door with a mailbox wired to
the railing. A zigzag of fire escape ran the height of the six story brick
tenement. Rain dripped off the corrugated aluminum overhang and chugged from a
gutter pipe beneath the metal stairs.
“Looks like Freddy Kruger lives here,” Drake said.
“Well, let’s check it out,” Dodd took off his seat
“You go,” Drake said and shifted his bulk.
Dodd stopped and gave him a disbelieving look. “We
both have to go.”
“Hey, you know so much about everything, you should
be able to handle a bullshit call like this.”
Together they inched down
the rock walled hall, their bare feet cold on the sandy ground. The house
disappeared entirely as they entered in a sandstone chamber. At an altar was the old man
from the dream, holding a stone knife above his head with both hands. On the
stone was a small boy, limp and dazed. Surrounding the chamber were robed
people of all races and ages. They chanted and watched as the old priest
plunged the knife into the chest of the child.
“God, no!” Albert
screamed and the scene vanished. Confused and shocked Richard and Albert stood
trembling in the living room. Not a stone or grain of sand remained from the
vision. Dawn threw soft light through the windows.
“What the hell just
happened?” Richard blurted.
“I don't have any
Goddamn idea,” Albert said slowly. “That seemed so real.”
"I lost my wife
and child in a car accident." The pilot said sympathetically, "Five
years ago. You probably don't want to hear this right now, but, it does get
better. The pain fades and the memories stay with you."
Charles looked at the
man and could not respond. What pain? Charles felt empty, as if the explosion
in the elevator was all he had. With that spent, his one true emotion purged,
he was a hallow shell.
man said and returned to flying the copter, believing Charles blank stare to be
that of overwhelming grief.
"Thank you." Charles
said with a small voice.
The pilot did not know
he was sitting next to a corpse, a dead husk of a man.