Rain in the Witching Hour

📅 Published on June 11, 2023

“Rain in the Witching Hour”

Written by P.D. Williams
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 19 minutes

Rating: 7.75/10. From 4 votes.
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Rain poured down in unforgiving torrents. The windshield in Darius’ Uber taxi was steamy despite him setting the defogger to full blast. Visibility was nil except for the blurry blobs of streetlights that intermittently illuminated the windshield. Darius was fighting to stay awake in the early hours. He had two options: Red Bulls or thinking about the headless bodies that had shown up over the summer. This was Atlanta, the big city, and there were some sick people out there. For all he knew, the rider he was going to collect was one of them.

“Continue following University Parkway for two miles,” instructed the feminine voice on the app.

“How did I end up like this?” Darius lamented.

It had been his girlfriend Latisha’s idea to have him work a second job. “I’m tired of livin’ with your grandmama,” she’d told him. “Me workin’ at the Dollar Tree, and you washing them cars for Antoine, ain’t gonna get us any closer to gettin’ out of here.” She never said how she would do more to help pay for the move. But that was Latisha: getting drunk on wine while others crushed the grapes. This was one of those soul-searching moments for Darius, as he questioned why he put up with her disrespect and self-centeredness. Perhaps it was his lifelong fear of confrontation that others had beaten into him that kept him chained to her. Or maybe he didn’t want to be alone, allowing her to be his emotional insurance. Whatever the reason, here he was, putting miles on a fourteen-year-old Camry in a God-forsaken downpour in a part of town that wasn’t safe in the daytime, much less at this ungodly hour of the morning. Say, ain’t this the witching hour? he wondered.

“In one hundred feet, turn left onto Dryden Avenue,” said the app.

Darius turned onto Dryden and headed toward the last street displayed on Google Maps.

“Turn right in thirty feet onto Blanch Street.”

Darius slowed down as he drew closer. Struggling to see the street sign, he grabbed a rag from the glove box and wiped the condensation from the passenger side window. He craned his neck, trying to get a better look. “This ain’t much more than an alley,” he said. He looked at his phone’s GPS; this was the right way.

The pummeling rain, together with the furtive look of this part of downtown, gave Darius pause. His instinct was to contact the fare and cancel the pickup, but he didn’t want to hear the man’s voice again. There was something scary about it, he remembered. Something . . . dead. After a pause for consideration, he turned down the dark, narrow side street.

Darius squinted through the streaks on the damp windshield. The street lamp was the only source of light. A vague figure was standing under it, alone and waiting. Darius drove up and lowered the passenger window. “Yo! You the guy who ordered an Uber?”

The person walked to the car, bent slightly, and peeped in at Darius, looking at him for an uncomfortable period. He remained mute as the rain dripped off his broad body. His fierce eyes locked with those of Darius, unblinking and indifferent.

Finally, Darius broke the silence. “Yo, I asked if you’re the person who ordered an Uber.” As each silent second stacked up, Darius became more wary. He was going to roll up the window and leave, but the mysterious man opened the rear door of the car and slid inside.

Darius turned to look at the stranger. He was wide and solid, perhaps a bodybuilder; it was hard to tell under his dark blue raincoat. A short, thick neck supported his enormous head, his straight black hair slicked back by the rain. When he breathed, he sounded like an angry bull preparing to charge. He ignored Darius, looking beyond the side window and into the wet darkness.

Despite his nervousness, Darius addressed the man. “Where is it you—”

“There’s a site called Advantage Storage in the back section of Ansley Business Complex off Stratford Road near Pincott Boulevard. Do you know the place?”

There’s that voice again, Darius thought. It was rough and deep, like the people who drink and smoke too much. “Yeah, I know it. But that’s way across town. You okay with payin’ for that much mileage?”

An ice cooler sitting beside the man drew Darius’ attention. He wasn’t sure why, but the object filled his stomach with a nauseating ball of dread. The man startled him when he spoke.

“The fare isn’t a problem,” the man said in a low, rumbling voice that sounded to Darius like deep thunder.

“Whatever you say, mister.” Darius was afraid of turning his back to the man. A part of him wanted to get rid of the eerie stranger, but Latisha’s voice kept rolling through his head: I’m tired of livin’ with your grandmama. He threw the car into drive, telling himself to stop fixating on the man and the cooler. But as Darius drove, suspicion began snaking its way through his brain like squirming tentacles. Something’s not right, he thought. And it’s not just the dark and the rain; it’s something dangerous. He pushed back against his unease by focusing on his senses. He felt the air from the defroster blowing its warm breath against the foggy windshield. He listened to the percussive rhythm of the swishing wiper blades coupled with the drumming rain. He observed the dancing, shifting shadows created by the roadside scenery. And he breathed in the coconut scent of the tree-shaped air freshener, swaying from the rearview mirror as it melded with the faded fragrances of its many predecessors.

Darius’ eyes shifted to the rearview mirror. The man was scowling through the window as if he were angry at the night. Darius didn’t want to antagonize his passenger, but he didn’t think he’d be able to bear the half-hour journey if he didn’t engage with him. Who was he? Was he dangerous or simply odd? And what was in the cooler? The not knowing was already filling his head with images of psychopaths toting coolers containing body parts. But each time he opened his mouth to speak, fear closed it. Finally, he forced out the words before his brain stopped him.

“This rain is really something,” he began. The man was silent. Darius pressed on. “Maybe what you need is a rowboat, not an Uber, heh, heh.” The man continued ignoring him. Darius’ eyes bounced between the road and the stranger’s image in the mirror. “Sorry, man. I’ll just leave you to—”

“Yes, it’s a wet one tonight,” the man interjected.

The unexpected response startled Darius, causing him to jerk the car a bit. He was relieved that the quiet stranger was content to communicate with him. Perhaps he could extract enough information to help him decide if he had anything to worry about. “It must be something important that got you out at this hour,” Darius said.

The stranger shifted in his seat. “Does your Uber have one of those sliding glass walls between you and the rider?”

The man’s tone was intimidating. Darius gripped the wheel so hard he felt it give a little. “No, sir. There’s no partition in this old car.”

“That’s too bad,” the man muttered, his sarcasm clear. A few miles into the drive, he spoke again. “Pull into that convenience store up on the right. I can use some hot coffee.”

“Sure thing,” Darius said. He entered the lot and parked the car, but left the motor running.

The man opened his door but didn’t get out. Instead, he leaned through the space between the two front seats until his mouth was within inches from Darius’ head.

Despite the warmth of the man’s breath, Darius felt chilled. It was wet and stale, smelling of  . . . what was it? Dirt? Death?

“What’s your name?” the man asked.

“It’s Dari . . . Darius.”

“Darius, are you the curious type?”

Darius’ belly churned. “N-not particularly.”

“That’s good, Darius. That’s good. So, listen.: Can I trust you with my cooler? It might tempt you to look inside. Can’t do that, Darius. That would make for one nasty Yelp review.”

Had the man just threatened him? The icy tingle passing through his body convinced him he had. When Darius finally spoke, his tongue was dry, and his words clipped. “I make it a policy not to bother with a fare’s personal items. Don’t you worry about me.”

The man hesitated.

Darius held his breath.

Several tense seconds passed before the man spoke. “I appreciate your professionalism, Darius.” Then he exited the car and went inside the convenience store.

Darius watched the man enter and make his way to the coffeemaker at the back before switching off the engine. His anxious breathing caused the glass to fill with fog, obscuring his view. He grimaced at his own scent; his shirt was wet with nervous perspiration. What’s the big deal about that cooler? he wondered. What’s that weirdo got stored in there? Darius wanted to know who and what he was transporting. The cooler would likely provide an answer. But did he dare to peek? The man had just put him on notice. What would be the price for disobeying him?

Darius used the fog to cloak the glass and mask his attempt at checking out the cooler. Despite the steamed up windshield, he could still see through the large store window. The man was behind three people at the checkout counter. Darius felt a mixture of fear and doubt, but he knew that if he didn’t look now, he’d never discover the contents of the cooler. Judging by how slowly the checkout line was moving, he figured he might have a couple of minutes. “All right, let’s get this over with before he gets back.”

Darius looked at the storefront again—the man was now second in line. Who knew how long it would take him to return at this point? Darius braced himself, as if he were about to have a dislocated joint popped back into place. Though his insides felt gooey, he went into action. He leaned through the space between the front seats and reached for the cooler.

Darius let out an “oomph” as the tightness of the seatbelt pressed against his body, a consequence of forgetting to release it. Peering through the store’s window, he watched the man hand the cashier money. Panic gnawed at him. Should he give the cooler one more try? He felt the weight of the decision pressing down on him. He unhooked his seatbelt and twisted around, extending his arm to its full length. His fingertips grazed the handle on the cooler, frustrating him. “Oh, come on,” he grunted. He was breathing so hard that he became lightheaded. With one final lurch, he was able to hook his index finger around the handle. “Whew . . . gotcha!”

The jingling bell above the store’s front door caused Darius to jump. Through the clouded windshield, he could see the man coming toward him. He quickly returned to his seat, his body shaking as he tried to hide his nervousness. Darius kept his eyes forward; he didn’t want the man to see the fear they held.

The rear door creaked open and the sound of rain filled the car. The man dropped into his seat, his heavy size causing the Camry to bounce and sway. He closed his door and blew out a breath. “Man, this coffee’s going to go down good.”

Darius acted as if everything was fine and normal. I need to say something casual, he thought. Something to put him at ease. He realized the need to control the tempo of his voice—rambling might rouse the man’s suspicions. “I hope you enjoy it,” Darius said. “Cheers!” He started the car and reached for the gearshift.

“Hold on there,” the voice from the back commanded.

Darius froze. “S-Something wrong, mister?”

The man leaned forward a bit. “Why is your seatbelt undone? Wasn’t that way before.”

Darius had no immediate answer. How could he have been so careless? Run! Run! his inner voice screamed. His left hand crept toward the door latch.

“I asked you a question, Darius. Why’d you remove your seatbelt? What were you up to?”

Darius’ throat locked up, refusing to release words that might save him. He thought of movie scenes where a killer would pop up from a back seat and garrote an unsuspecting victim. His bones shook under his skin.

“Darius?” the man said.

Hearing the imposing man say his name made Darius’ skin prickle. His jaw trembling, he muttered, “I was thinking of getting a coffee, too. I’ll run in and grab one. I won’t be a minute.” He planned to use the opportunity to call for help. But what would he tell 9-1-1? Hi. There’s a spooky guy in the back of my Uber whose cooler is making me nervous. Before he could decide, the man spoke.

“Why didn’t you think about that sooner? I don’t have time to waste. Get going.”

Darius hesitated. Did he still have a shot at running?

“I said get going!” the stranger barked.

Darius reluctantly fastened the telltale seatbelt. Just do what he says, and maybe this will all work out, he thought. Then he said, “Sorry, mister. As my girlfriend will tell you, I’m a bit slow on the draw.”

“It’s alright, Darius,” said the man. “Just keep moving.”

Keep it together, Darius told himself. Don’t make him suspicious. Hoping to keep things relaxed, he said, “I guess I’m a little on edge. It’s just one of those creepy kinds of nights: dark, rainy, and late. Gets a little spooky sometimes.” He waited for a response, hoping the man might show that he believed his excuse. But the stranger said nothing. Darius glanced back through the rearview. The man was staring ahead, trancelike, his fingers drumming softly on the cooler’s lid. Darius wondered which he feared worse: the man’s cryptic voice or his grave silence. He returned his eyes to the dim, shiny street rolling under his car in slow, agonizing miles. When he gazed in the rearview again, the image of the man’s leering face filled the mirror, startling him.

“Come on, Darius. Why don’t you ask your question?”

What’s he talking about? Darius wondered. “I don’t know what you mean. What ques—”

“You know perfectly well what question. Please, don’t insult my intelligence. Do you think I didn’t notice when you were deciding on making a run for it back at the convenience store? I was on to your little act of feigned innocence right off the bat. You’ve wanted this ride to be over ever since I got in. Now ask the question. Ask about the cooler.”

“H-h-honestly, mister, your business is none of my concern. I’m simply driving you to your destination. Nothing more. Like I told you, this night’s got a creepy vibe to it, that’s all.”

The stranger lingered for a bit—although it seemed much longer to Darius—then relaxed in his seat.

When Darius stopped at the next traffic light, he glimpsed a car out of the corner of his left eye. He turned his head slightly and saw, to his relief and excitement, that it was a police cruiser. He hoped the stranger didn’t hear his thumping heart and quickened breath. I’ve only got a minute or so, he thought. How do I get that cop’s attention?

The stranger spoke, breaking his concentration. As if reading Darius’ thoughts, he said, “You’re tense again, Darius. Is it the cop car? Don’t worry. He’s not interested in anything going on over here. As long as you do nothing to draw his attention, he’ll leave us alone. What do you think, Darius?”

The man had made his point. Still, Darius thought of rolling his window down and screaming for help. Maybe he could blow his horn or make a run for it.

The voice from the backseat interrupted his thoughts again. “It’s getting late, Darius. Look, get me to the church on time and I’ll throw in another twenty bucks for the effort.”

Darius was silent, his mind filled with a jumble of thoughts as he tried to decide what he should do.

“Hey, Darius! Do we have a deal or not?”

When the light changed, the cop pulled away, making Darius’ decision easier. “Yeah, sure, mister. We’ve got a deal.”

Darius hoped he could keep the man calm long enough to think of something else. This may be your last shot at this, he told himself. Make it count. He planned to slide the Camry slightly to the right of the squad car, allowing himself just enough space to avoid the stranger’s notice, yet enough room to jump free and run to the officer.

When he joined the cruiser at the next stoplight, he cautiously lowered his right hand toward the seatbelt latch. He set his mental timer and began counting down. Okay . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . Dammit!  Darius didn’t have a favorite color. But from that moment on, it would never be green. He realized he couldn’t waste another opportunity on a red light escape; he’d have to devise another plan. I got it! he thought. Perhaps a young black male speeding past a cop would likely draw some attention. Please, God. Don’t let this cop be woke or stupid. I need him to pull me over.

Darius checked the mirror to see if the fare was paying attention. The sight of the man staring

nonchalantly through his window calmed him. This time, he didn’t bother with a mental countdown. He pulled in a breath, his foot hovering over the gas pedal, ready to make the car

roar. He steadied himself and slowly placed the ball of his foot on the top of the pedal. Here we go!

Darius watched helplessly as the policeman activated his left blinker and turned the corner, leaving him to face his predicament alone. He felt a sudden lurch in his stomach. It was like someone had put him inside a thousand-story elevator and cut the cord. His body slumped and his face slackened. In his disappointment, he didn’t notice the Camry slowing down. The stranger’s voice jolted him.

“Something wrong up there, Darius?” When Darius didn’t respond right away, the man became annoyed. “Yo, Darius! You good?”

“Yes, sir,” Darius mumbled. “It’s all . . . good.”

“Glad to hear it. Now pick up the pace. I want to get my business over with.”

Darius drove wordlessly until they reached the entrance of the industrial complex that housed the storage units. He steered into the middle turn lane and switched on the blinker. Its steady ticking, along with the thudding rain, were the only sounds in the world. He waited, the complex looming in front of him, as the surrounding air grew heavy. His hopeful mind was nagging him, telling him he could still jump from the car and escape. But by this point, he was emotionally and psychologically drained. Besides, an athletic-looking guy like his creepy passenger would likely have little trouble running him down. Then what? There weren’t any vehicles or other signs of activity. There was only himself, the possible psychopath in the rear seat, and the relentless rain that would drown out his screams and cleanse away any evidence. A

part of him became angry with himself. Why hadn’t he acted sooner to get rid of the man? Now he was out of options.

Darius thought of Latisha. Despite her mistreatment of him, he still loved her and hoped that she felt the same way. But reality hit him in his gut, pushing out the air and filling it with sadness. She’d grieve long enough to garner pity, then dump his belongings off at a thrift store the first chance she got. He wondered which was harder: dying in the darkness or living in self-contempt.

He remembered the mantra his old man repeated to him when he was teaching him how to fight off the bullies who were tormenting him. “The Lord hates a coward,” he’d said. But despite the old man’s efforts, Darius never found the courage to act. He had long ago resigned himself to his circumstances. Lord hates a coward, he thought as he hung a left and entered the complex.

The site was as large as four football fields. Steel structures with rusting roofs and clinging business signs took up most of the scenery.

“Where to?” Darius asked.

“Take the third right up ahead by the Advantage Storage sign. I’ll tell you where to go from there,” said the stranger.

After making the turn, Darius rolled past the units, wondering what was going to happen. He’d gone about twenty yards when the deep voice drifted from the backseat. “Pull up along unit #38.”

Darius slowed, counting the unit numbers until he arrived at the one marked #38.

“Turn off the engine,” the man instructed. “I have to take care of something, and I’m not sure

how long it might take.”

Darius did as the man told him. He put the Camry in park and killed the engine.

The man flung open his door and exited the car with a low grunt. “Don’t go anywhere,” he told Darius before slamming the door shut.

The man walked to the locked folding door of the unit and removed a key from his pocket. After opening the padded lock at the bottom, the man lifted the door until it clanged to a stop. He cast a look back at Darius, pointing his index finger toward the ground as if to say, “Stay right where you are.” Then he disappeared inside, leaving Darius to his frantic thoughts.

Darius was nervously tapping his fingers against the steering wheel, a low and indiscernible tune escaping his lips. After a few minutes, the suspense was too much for him. “Screw it!” he said. “I’m looking in that cooler!”

Darius unfastened his seat belt and turned to the backseat. Watch yourself! he thought. He envisioned looking around and seeing the stranger running toward him. The cooler was directly in front of him. Anxiety closed in around him. His hands shook uncontrollably as he felt the fear settle in and around him. He paused, his breath catching in his throat. Darius shuddered at the thought of what dark secrets might lurk in the container. He braced himself for the answer. He stretched out his hands and eased them toward the cooler as if he were attempting to grab hold of a hissing snake.. “Okay, here we go,” he whispered. Darius depressed the small button at the bottom of the cooler’s handle and pulled back the lid.

“What the . . .?” The cooler was empty. Confusion clouded Darius’ mind, accompanied by a sense of foolishness. His body unclenched as he released a deep sigh of relief. “Well then, what’s he here for?”

The car door flew open, and an arm yanked Darius out in one rapid motion. He tensed with terror when he felt the big man’s arm crook around his neck, constricting him like a python. As

Darius struggled to free himself, he saw the attacker’s reflection in the passenger side window. The only thing more horrifying than the look of sinister glee on the man’s face was the machete he was clutching in his free hand. Blind horror like an electrical current shot through Darius’ body as he realized, It’s him! Oh, God, it’s that maniac!

“You want to know what’s in the cooler?” the man hissed into Darius’ ear. “Your head.”

The man dragged Darius toward the storage unit, grunting from the effort of restraining his victim.

Darius pressed his heels into the wet pavement, trying to slow down his attacker, but the slick surface prevented him from finding a foothold. He twisted his body, hoping to break free of the powerful grip of his attacker—his murderer. But the man had performed this maneuver many times on many victims and had always won the battle.

“Stop struggling, you little twerp,” the stranger snarled, as he continued pulling Darius to his den of horrors. When he wrestled Darius into the unit, he exclaimed, “Behold my museum!”

Three six-foot shelves lined the walls, each one filled with plastic coolers similar to the one in the back of the Camry. In the dim of the low wattage overhead light, Darius could see small labels attached to each cooler—the victim’s names, perhaps? His vision narrowed into a wide, black tunnel with a pinprick of light at the end. Please, God—help me! he inwardly pleaded.

As if to answer Darius’ prayer, one of his dad’s defensive maneuvers suddenly returned to him with the ferocity of a lightning bolt. Before his breaths could cease and his strength diminish, Darius threw his head back, smashing the killer’s face with his skull. There was a loud crack as the man’s nose crumpled. The unforeseen strike threw him off balance, causing

him to loosen his grip on Darius’ neck. Darius seized the opportunity to get out of the fight alive. With all his might, he pushed the man in the chest to make him tumble backward. If the tactic worked, the psychopath would end up on the ground, helpless against Darius and his adrenaline-fueled rage. However, the man was stocky and powerful. When Darius attempted to topple him, he stayed upright. “Oh, snap,” Darius said, at his failed effort. He realized there was a reason none of the killer’s other victims had lived to tell the tale: he’d physically outmatched them.

A thin line of blood trickled from the madman’s nose. But he didn’t seem to notice or care, looking more amused than outraged. “I love it when they fight back,” he chuckled. He raised his meaty leg and kicked Darius backward into one of the shelving units, sending some of its contents clattering to the concrete floor. One cooler popped open and the severed head of a woman skidded across the hard surface accompanied by scattering ice.

“Oh, dear God!” Darius screamed. Even if he somehow survived, he knew he’d never forget the look of horror on the poor woman’s bloodless face.

“Your turn,” the killer sneered, as he raised the machete to deliver the first chop.

Darius regained his footing and tried to run past the killer, only to slip on the spilled ice. Now he was prone on his back as his attacker stood over him.

“Well, aren’t you the wascally wabbit?” the man quipped. He lowered himself onto Darius and raised the machete, preparing to sever his head.

Darius felt a surge of courage pulse through his body, providing him with the strength to resist. As the blade of the machete swung down, he jerked his head to the side, the curved iron narrowly missing him. A bright spark erupted when the blade contacted the concrete floor,

stinging the side of his head. While the attacker’s hand was low enough, Darius grabbed his

Williams/RAIN HOUR/16

forearm with both hands.

“Let go, you little prick,” the man growled. Realizing that this victim would not go down as effortlessly as the others had, he began punching Darius in his face with his free hand.

Darius’ right eye was swelling shut. He knew that if the man smashed his nose, the gush of the accompanying blood would pour through his nasal passage, then down his throat, choking him to death. Suddenly, he remembered another of his old man’s sayings: “Hospitals and graveyards are full of those who tried to fight fair.”

Darius latched his teeth on the arm that was holding the machete and twisted his head from side to side like a vicious dog. Warm, salty blood poured from the man’s ripped flesh.

“Aaah!” the man wailed, before rolling off Darius. It was the opening Darius needed. With a loud grunt, he pushed himself up and climbed on top of the murderer, pinning his shoulders to the floor.

The sudden change of events dumbfounded the man. Glaring into Darius’ angry eyes, he growled, “Not gonna happen, Darius; not gonna happen.”

The old Darius might’ve believed the bigger, stronger foe. But this Darius had had enough shame . . . hidden anger . . . disrespect. He wrested the machete from the killer’s hand and gripped it in his own. “Oh, but it’s gonna happen, jerk off,” he said.

“Wait!” the man pleaded. The cold merciless eyes that had made Darius shudder earlier were now filled with something his victims had felt: terror.

“Sorry, my man,” Darius said, grinning. “Looks like I got you to the church on time—for your damn funeral.” Then he slammed the thick blade against the deranged monster’s skull,

cleaving it almost in two, and filling the storage unit with the sound of cracking bone and one short, piercing scream.

Police cars, ambulances, and CSI vans lined up, making the lane of the storage units look like a staging area for a colorful nighttime parade. Inside the disarrayed and blood-smeared unit, detectives directed the forensics crew.

“Tell me something, Mike,” the detective said to his partner. “Have you ever seen such a horror show?”

“Never, Eddy. And I hope I never do again,” Mike muttered, as he watched CSI techs in protective gear examine the gruesome contents of the many coolers stored on the metal shelving units.

“I’m gonna go check on our hero,” Eddy said.

“Make sure you ask him how he wants his name spelled on his Citizen of the Year medal,” Mike replied.

“Don’t I know it? The guy’s a stud.”

Darius was perched on the rear of an ambulance. Despite the blanket the EMTs had draped around him, he still felt chilled. The cloud-laden sky had finally shed its last drops of rain. Oh, now you want to give me a break? he thought.

An EMT climbed out of the ambulance and checked Darius’ facial injuries. “You won’t be winning People’s Sexiest Man Alive anytime soon, but you should heal up fine. Are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital? You took quite a beating.”

“Appreciate it, man, but I’ve had enough excitement for one night. If you’re done, I’d like to just get the hell out of here.”

Just then, Eddy approached the ambulance. He looked at Darius and grimaced. Then, turning to the EMT said, “Is he gonna be okay?”

“Yeah, he’ll be fine in a week or two. If he could survive that psychopath, he can survive anything.”

“Yeah, about that,” Eddy said to the EMT. “Will you give us a minute?”

“Sure thing,” he replied before walking away.

Once Eddy settled next to him, Darius asked, “Who is he?”

Eddy shook his head. “We don’t know yet; there was no ID on him. And you made damn certain that dental records wouldn’t be particularly useful,” he chuckled. “We’ll run prints. Psycho’s probably got a rap sheet as long as my arm.”

Darius’ heart filled with melancholy. “And the victims?”

Eddy sighed, his heart aching in sympathy as he sensed Darius’ sorrow. “As awful as it’s been tracking this sick bastard, the hardest part is about to begin. How do you tell a person that the loved one they’ve been praying for ended up with their head in some freak’s trophy case?”

An awkward silence lingered between the two men, who now shared a lack of hope for humanity.

“I have some questions for you, but they can wait till tomorrow,” Eddy said.

“Yeah, let’s do that,” Darius replied as he pulled off the blanket and stood.

“Why don’t you let one of my officers give you a lift?”

Darius thought the offer over. “Thanks, but I have something I need to take care of.”

“I understand. But before you go, I gotta say you’re one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. What you did in there . . . Let’s just say that you are not someone to be trifled with, my friend.”

Darius smiled and went back to the Camry. He situated himself, drew in a deep breath, and released it slowly into the night. His clothes were awash in crimson gore; he’d likely burn them.

He sat behind the wheel and watched two EMTs roll a stretcher with a black bag on top past him. The body within was huge, pushing against the material.

Warm confidence flowed through Darius. The guy had put up a good fight, but in the end, it hadn’t mattered. He need not have been worried or afraid of the outcome; his old man had taught him well. He’d stumbled upon an inner courage he never thought he had. For once, Darius didn’t feel like a non-person. He’d battled for his life and emerged victorious because his life was worth it.

He threw the Camry into drive and pulled away. He’d talk to the cops and the press tomorrow. Maybe. He didn’t yet know how to tell his story. But for now, he wanted to get home. It was time for Latisha to move out.

Rating: 7.75/10. From 4 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by P.D. Williams
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

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Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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