This is the rest of the story. Click here for the beginning
* * *
Buzz’s heart was pounding as he leapt out of the truck. The driver of the car he’d hit was already out and shouting, which helped fire Buzz up even more. This was it! This hunt was his, and he’d already done the most important thing — bringing the victim to a stop.
Buzz had been on two other hunts, but today he was the leader. That meant he got to drive the truck with its lights off. With the rain pouring down and no street lights that had turned out to be a lot more difficult than he’d expected. He’d had to keep down below thirty and had relied on the rumble strips at the side and the cats eyes down the middle to stay on the road. It was hardly the glorious cruise for victims he’d imagined, and he’d known his standing in the gang was going down with every passing minute.
To make matters worse the rain meant there were hardly any cars out, and the few they’d passed had either not noticed Buzz and the truck at all, or hadn’t bothered to try and let him know he had no lights on. Maybe they figured it was too obvious to need pointing out. Then, finally, someone had flashed, and in doing so had marked themselves and everyone in their car as the victims.
Buzz had yanked the truck around, which wasn’t too hard at such a slow speed and in the wet, and then had set off in pursuit of their victims. Luckily the target hadn’t quite disappeared into the rain so he was able to chase them down without putting his lights on, something that would have lowered his standing still further.
By the time he caught the other car the truck was moving at least twenty miles an hour faster. Buzz yelled at everyone to brace themselves, then floored the accelerator. Moments later the truck’s reinforced front, complete with spikes, smashed into the back of the target car. Buzz had been thrown against the seatbelt but managed to keep the truck under control. The victim had slammed their breaks on and come to a halt. Buzz had bought the truck to a stop nearby and leapt out, the rest of the gang slipping out behind him.
“…compete and utter bastard!” the other driver was shouting. “Look at my car. Look at my car. Do you know how much that’s going to take to get repaired? They don’t make these any more. They haven’t made parts for them for decades. I’m going to have to get the parts custom made. Even then, it’s never going to look the same to me. You’ve ruined my car! You arsehole! You…”
“Jack, please calm yourself down. We do not want one of your turns!”
Buzz stared at the two men. He’d thought the first, the driver, was smartly dressed in his shirt and jacket, but the passenger made him look scruffy. He was wearing an immaculate suit and a deep purple shirt with matching tie. He should have looked ridiculous standing there in the rain, yet he seemed quite the opposite. The passenger seemed taller than the driver, too, but Buzz couldn’t shake the feeling he was actually shorter and just… felt… taller, which was ridiculous.
“Now,” said the well-dressed passenger, turning to Buzz. “The important thing is that everyone seems to be fine, isn’t it? Accidents will happen, especially on nights like this. Let’s swap details and then we can all be on our way. My friend is devastated at the damage to his car, but I don’t believe it has rendered it un-drivable.”
Buzz glanced at the car he’d hit. To his surprise the passenger seemed to be correct. The back end had taken a lot of damage, but the tyres and the chassis looked surprisingly intact. When he turned back the passenger had a notebook and pen in his hand.
“Let me give you my friends details first. Name… Doctor Jake Hill, BSC. Address… Phone…”
As Buzz stared at the man he heard sniggers from behind. The rest of the gang were watching him, waiting for him to take the lead, and he was failing miserably. These men should have realised something was wrong by now but one of them had his eyes closed as he repeatedly counted to ten, and the other was now asking Buzz for his details.
Enough was enough! Jake pulled the pistol from under his jacket, aimed at the thigh of the passenger and pulled the trigger. He was rewarded by a screech of pain from the man. Finally!
“Tiny, Slack, grab the driver,” ordered Buzz. “Tank and Slug, find out who’s in the back of the car and drag them out here. The rest of you, make sure no one escapes. Shoot them in the legs if you have to, but make damn sure you don’t kill them. Yet.”
He was pleased to see the rest of the gang leap into action. He’d half wondered whether they’d just sit back and watch, but it seemed the bloodlust hadn’t completely been wiped out by his less than stellar performance so far. Now it was time to make up for that.
Tiny and Slack grabbed the driver, though they ended up supporting him more than preventing him running away. He seemed to be having some form of fit. Buzz remembered the passenger talking about having turns. He smiled. Maybe that was something he could use to liven up the evening’s entertainment. He had big plans and now he had his victims. They would die, of course, that was the point of the hunt. But they’d die slowly. Buzz wanted to climb the gang’s ladder, to gain more respect, and tonight was going to go a long way towards that.
Tank and Slug had yanked the back door open and were leaning in, trying to drag someone out. Someone who was resisting hard judging by the grunts and swearing from the two gang members. It didn’t matter. Whoever was in the back would be out soon enough, and facing the same fate as their friends. Buzz let himself relax a little, let himself soak up the success so far.
“You absolute cretin! You barbarian! You philistine! Look what you’ve done to my suit!”
Buzz turned back to the passenger, confusion washing through him. The man should be in agony, not standing there… well, swearing. Sort of.
“Do you have any idea how much I paid for this suit?” the man demanded. “Do you? It’s a one off, crafted by one of the greatest tailors of all time. This suit cost me nearly twenty thousand dollars, and now you’ve put a bloody great hole in it!”
That caught Buzz’s attention. The suit had cost twenty thousand dollars? In that case the man must have money on him, and valuables. If his suit cost that much, how much must his watch be worth? He stepped closer, determined to find out, then a commotion distracted him.
Tank and Slug had finally started to shift whoever was in the car. They moved backwards, standing up as they came and…
“What the hell?” shouted Buzz.
What he was seeing made no sense. Both Tank and Slug were big — over six feet tall with muscles to match — but now they were levitating off the ground, their feet floating several inches above it. They floated higher, then things clicked into place and Buzz realised they weren’t floating, they were being held off the ground by the… by whatever was unfolding from the back seat of the car. It looked like a person… sort of… if a person was well over seven feet tall, several feet wide at the shoulders and had skin that was, well, greenish. The jagged scars around the man’s neck and across his face added up to a word that Buzz was desperately trying not to let into his mind — Frankenstein.
“I’m talking to you,” snapped a voice almost in Buzz’s ear. He jumped and span around, finding the passenger standing within a few inches of him. Except… what man had eyes that glowed red? And had incisors jutting out of his mouth and growing longer by the moment? Buzz let out a cry and stumbled back, bringing his gun up.
“Kill them!” he shouted. “Kill them all!”
The others didn’t need telling twice. The sight of Tank and Slug being held aloft like rag dolls had seriously rattled them, as had the shot man apparently noticing nothing more than the hole in his trousers. Buzz unloaded his pistol at the passenger with the glowing red eyes… but the man was gone. The next moment a hand reached past Buzz from behind and grabbed his gun hand in an iron grip.
“Now that was decidedly unfriendly,” said the passenger. “Please drop the gun.”
Buzz did. He didn’t really have any choice. The man had crushed what felt like every bone in Buzz’s hand. The blast of pain made him feel light headed, detached from what was happening around him. He noticed that a dozen rounds at least had struck the giant holding Tank and Slug, but without any discernible effect. The huge man grunted then tossed both men to the side, slamming them into the side of the truck from where they rolled to the floor and lay unmoving.
At least the driver reacted normally when he was shot. He fell to the floor, convulsing and coughing. Tiny and Slack decided to put the boot in, happily kicking the driver while he was down. For few moments that, at least, seemed normal. Then Buzz noticed that the driver seemed to be… growing. For a few moments he thought it was the pain from his injured hand making him imagine things. Then he saw the man’s clothes start to stretch and split, muscles bulging through. There was no doubt that something strange was happening. Something else strange.
Tiny and Slack hadn’t noticed. They were still putting the boot in… right up until the moment the misshapen driver grabbed Tiny’s leg and wrenched it clean off. Tiny’s scream froze the remaining members of the gang. It quickly cut off as the creature leapt up and grabbed Tiny’s throat in a massive hand, squeezing so hard that everyone could hear the crunch of bones snapping.
For several moments the only sound was that of the rain falling, then the man with the glowing eyes spoke softly.
“Well that’s torn it. Do you know how hard Jack has been working on his anger management to keep that side of him hidden? Admittedly not enough to give up drinking the gut-rot that causes this, but still… he’d been working so hard.” He raised his voice. “Stan, you know he’s not going to stop until they’re all dead now they’ve attacked him. Let’s help make this as quick and as un-bloody as possible.”
“Vincent,” rumbled the giant. “You know I don’t like violence.”
“What about those two?” asked Vincent, nodding towards the still forms of Tank and Slug.
“I misjudged. You know how fragile people are. I tried not to hurt them.”
The man with the red eyes, Vincent, sighed.
“Oh very well. Just stay out of the way then. He’s finished with those two.”
Buzz looked back towards the driver. Sure enough Slack now lay on the ground… in several places. It was too much for the rest of the gang. As one they turned and ran, but the driver launched himself after them, moving far faster than they could. Within moments screams were ringing out.
Buzz knew he should run, but his body wouldn’t obey. His mind was too busy trying to deny what had happened. This wasn’t how a hunt went. This wasn’t what happened. The victims should be the ones screaming, not his fellow gang members. How was he going to work his way up the ranks now? What respect would he have left after this disaster?
“This isn’t what was supposed to happen!” he whispered.
“Oh I agree,” said Vincent. “We should be at Markus’ party by now. He is going to be so annoyed with us it makes me tremble inside. Still, at least I won’t be going on an empty stomach.”
Buzz tried to turn back but something latched onto his neck, digging deep and causing agonising pain as his lifeblood pumped out. Within moments the agony had eased to pain and then to a comfortable numbness. Buzz vaguely knew that he was dying, but his only thoughts were relief that he was going this way. He could still hear the screams coming from the darkness. None of the others were getting away as lightly as he was.
* * *
Vincent leant his head back on the headrest and let out a deep sigh. Glancing to the side he took in the state of Jake once again. Jake was back in his normal form, at least, but his once smart clothes were now in tatters and covered in blood. he was sitting on some plastic sheets he’d pulled out of the boot, insisting that he wasn’t getting blood on the seat covers.
Stan was wedged in the back once more, head rammed against the ceiling even when he was half laying on the back seat. His clothes were a little more tatty than normal, with a number of bullet holes, but he was never better than scruffy at the best of times so it would be forgiven.
Vincent didn’t even want to consider the state of his own clothes. Admittedly the only damage was the single bullet hole in the trousers, but still… how could he possibly show his face when he was dressed so tattily?
“I suppose we could just go home,” he said. “We’re going to be really late as it is. We could call Markus and explain…”
“Are you mad?” snapped Jake. “This is Markus we’re talking about. I really, really don’t want to face him… but can you imagine what he’d be like if we don’t turn up? The next time we see him he’ll be… icy… and formal… and… polite.”
Vincent shivered. Jake was right. Bad as facing Markus was going to be, delaying would only make it ten times worse.
“You’re right. Let’s get it over with.”
The three of them drove on in gloomy silence, the carnage behind them forgotten but the prospect of being treated to Markus’ special brand of icy politeness a very real, and imminent, fear.