January 01, 2019 — vee

We'd been pinned down for nearly two hours, before they called in the special forces to ferret us out.

The arena was closed, as it was after hours, so we'd had the whole place to scatter ourselves into. Several of us found our way to an event room. We'd stacked up some chairs, and rolled over a couple tables, so if they got in here we'd have a few seconds to figure out how to react. I have to admit, part of me wasn't expecting this much of a response. We were protesting, but it's not like we're armed revolutionaries. It seems the cops aren't making that distinction.

Things had only been getting worse for a while. They used to shuttle old military excess to the local police. Then, so they could increase the military budget, they dumped SWAT and other special forces into the same money pool. Cops were getting state-of-the-art military gear, and somehow doing it without anyone declaring martial law. Then it got worse.

Now, they've started offering the cops experimental military tech. Stuff that would go against international law to use in the field, but somehow they made it ok to use domestically. On so-called "domestic terrorists". Which was anybody "resisting arrest". Which was anybody.

We'd heard rumors about these new suits that our local special forces had been given to try out. We hadn't been able to figure out exactly how they worked, but we knew what they were supposed to do. Somehow, they made gravity stronger near the outside of the suit. A cop walks up to you, and you're thrown into them like a rag doll. You're stuck to the suit, no escaping. They don't even need to cuff you. They just walk your stuck-ass self over to the cop car, remove the suit with you still stuck to it, and toss you all in the back. That's the theory anyway. Apparently, we were about to find out if it worked.

The banging started at the door to our event room. We crouched behind the tables. Maybe we'd be lucky, and the cops would stick to each other? Or to all these folding chairs? That'd be a sight, a cop buried in chairs, like a life-size Katamari ball. We nervously laughed about it.

The door burst open. Our man Neil was nearby. He'd had a thought, that maybe he could talk to them. None of us supported it, but we couldn't stop him from hanging out by the door. He'd stayed there, even after he tried to talk to them while they were bashing at the door, and they'd ignored him.

A cop in one of those suits came charging in, and stopped flat in front of Neil, about five feet away. The suit was puffy and dark, and somewhat hard to focus on. Neil took one step forward. The cop raised his arms, waiting for Neil to get pulled up against him by the artificial gravity. It seemed at first that the suit wasn't functioning, as if nothing was happening.

Suddenly, Neil slid across the floor. At an increasing rate, he was yanked by the suit toward the cop. The cop reflexively wrapped his arms around Neil, who was flailing and trying to pull back. Neil's face and torso were violently smashed against the suit, and as we watched, a fountain of blood shot up over their heads, only to be slapped back against the cop's visored face by the pull of the suit. As the cop enveloped Neil, we heard the sickening crunch of his body as it was bent backwards, and then disintegrated against the too-powerful suit. The cop was left splattered with blood, and large chunks of what had been Neil's body, clinging to the suit. It was as if the cop was a train, and Neil had been on the tracks.

We were frozen in shock. Neil was gone. The suits were a disaster. We had just seen it happen...

The cop, quickly followed by two more of them, turned to face the upended tables we were crouching behind. We knew exactly what they were thinking. No witnesses. They wanted to keep their military toy budget, at any cost.

With the remains of Neil still continuing to disintegrate into smaller and smaller chunks against the front of the suit, the first cop walked purposefully toward the table. They knew we weren't armed. Someone tried throwing a chair at them, hoping the malfunction of the suit would mean it was absorbing objects that weren't flesh. No such luck, as the chair bounced away. The cop reached toward our man who had thrown it, and from an alarming distance he started to slide inward. With a shriek that was muffled as his face was crushed against the suit and the remains of his friend, we lost our second man.

"There has to be a flaw to that thing," I mumbled. Mind racing, I thought through all of the supposed functions of the suit. They'd catch a guy, and then they'd take it off to put into the back of the cop car with the perp-

"How do they get it off?" I said, to anyone within earshot. Blank stares. I had to try something. "Probably a stupid zipper up the back," I said thinking out loud.

Casey, who was next to me, looked at me with wild eyes, and jumped up. She grabbed a chair, and held it in front of her as she ran toward the nearest cop. This one had a clean suit, and seemed to hesitate. As she was pulled toward the cop, Casey held the chair up at head level, so it would slam into the cop's face. The cop ducked down, and as Casey neared the suit, she reached behind it, seemed to find something, and tugged. She screamed as the skin on her arm was torn by the suction of the suit. And then we saw it.

The blood from her arm was dripping down onto the floor. Those bastards had actually done it, they'd stuck a zipper onto the damn suits. They were somehow cheaply made and overpowered at the same time.

Ignoring the pain in her arm, Casey tore the suit forward, off of the cop. The cop was young, and scared. And unarmed. Frantically, he looked back at the other two, still-suited cops. He dodged backwards to get near to them, forgetting what that would mean. With a surprised shriek, he was pulled sharply into the other clean-suited cop, and with bones cracking was smashed into soup against them.

We all had chairs now. And we were all thinking the same thing. We just killed a cop. No witnesses.

The remaining two cops took several steps back. One of them starting counting down. We looked at each other, and waited. At the end of the count, both cops reached up to remove their suits at the same time. But the cheap zipper on the suit of the cop who had killed Neil failed. As the other cop dropped his suit, his eyes got wide as he realized he was too close, and hadn't thought through what would happen if a suit didn't come off. As the cop who had killed Neil tugged at his zipper, the unsuited cop smashed into him, bending the visor. As we watched in horror, while one cop was crushed against the suit, the cop stuck inside of his suit was slowly pulled through the crack in the visor to the outside, in pieces. His cheek was pulled though, and then his skull popped, and he flopped to the ground, the suit still eating him bit by bit.

"Run!" came out of my mouth, and we fled. Not knowing if we'd encounter more suited cops in the arena, or outside. It didn't matter. As the suit enveloped what was left of the cops with a disgusting sucking and cracking noise, we fled out and into the night.

Tags: fiction, horror

The Person On The Road

December 15, 2018 — vee

Night arrived earlier in the woods. The sun only needed to travel a short path across the sky before it was enveloped by the canopy of the trees. The moon was offered only a small patch of real estate between the leaves to try and shine through. Nighttime in the forest is only for those who can bring their own light, or else can hack the blackness.

The headlights of her car barely pierced into the night, and showed only the road directly in front of her. If only she could afford one of those fancy new cars, with their bright fancy lights. She flicked on the high beams, though it seemed to make little difference.

Suddenly, seemingly of its own accord, her foot slammed on the brakes. Out of the darkness, something had appeared in the road. She crept the car forward slowly, to bring the object more into the light.

It was a man's body.

She tried to make it out in the fuzzy definition from her yellow headlights. There appeared to be a man's head and torso laying in the road, the legs and feet trailing off into the underbrush. She froze. Her leg started shaking and the car inched forward a bit before she could slam on the brakes once more, and put the car into Park.

What now? she thought. It might be a dead body, perhaps someone who had been walking or jogging in the night, one of those idiots who doesn't wear bright colors, and doesn't understand that drivers might not see him. Maybe a dog-walker? She looked around for a dog, but saw no signs of life next to the man.

Clutching the steering wheel, the possibilities raced through her mind. He might not even be dead at all. What if he was hit, and only injured? Maybe she should get out, and try to help him. Though she had heard it can be bad to move someone if they have certain injuries, like back injuries. Maybe she should stay in the car and call 911.

Or maybe it's a trap. The thought came suddenly. Maybe he's alive, and laying in the road waiting for someone to stop, and he has friends in the woods who plan on mugging her and stealing her car as soon as she gets out to help. Quickly, she reached over to lock both doors.

Now locked in her car in the dark, alone in the woods, she stared at the body in front of her. Her breath was shallow and fast, as she remained frozen in indecision.

Her hands gripped the wheel again. What if they are tricking her! Laughing at her, in the woods. Was that movement that she just saw? Is the man's chest moving, is he breathing? Is she being made the fool, sitting in her car, a trap of her own making?

What if she floored it, and hit the guy right in his laughing head? She figured they would never expect that. They're expecting her to get out. What if she takes the initiative and flattens this dude?

Maybe that's what he wants anyway. Maybe he's laying in the road in the dark, trying to get hit, trying to be killed. Maybe she'd be doing him a favor. Her foot reached out for the gas pedal.

No, no, she thought. If she ran him over, her car would end up bloody. Maybe people would believe it had been a dog? No, she would have stopped to check on the dog.

The realization came to her in a wave that she would stop for a dog, but was at this moment contemplating running over a man. Guiltily, she unlocked the driver's side door, and got out of her car.

Slowly, she moved towards the body. Her ears strained to hear any movement in the woods, or any noise from the man. Insects were buzzing in the undergrowth, and an owl hooted in the distance. The gravel on the road crunched beneath her feet.

As she got closer, something seemed wrong. No features were appearing on the man's face. In horror, as she got closer, she realized there was no face. This was no man. This was a plastic man, a mannequin. Fully clothed.

Now certain this was a trap to get her out of her car, she whirled around, desperately searching for someone else. Her car's headlights, as dim as they were, blinded her as she looked back toward the car. She stumbled to her feet, and groped for the front of the car. Fearing someone getting in the car and hitting her with it, she half-ran to the passenger's side, tripping and smashing her face against the car. Blood dripped from her lip. She felt along the side of the car, and remembered that the passenger door was locked. If anyone got into the car, it would have been through the open driver's door.

Clawing her way around the back of the car, still half blinded, she pushed her way into the driver's side. No one seemed to be there. She flailed her arms wildly around the back seats, and found no one. She was certain they simply hadn't had time to get into the car yet, and were on their way from the woods.

Without even closing the door, she threw the car into drive, and stomped on the gas. The car bumped over the mannequin, which twisted the steering sharply to the side of the road. Black spots burned into her retinas from the headlights danced in front of her eyes, and she swerved to avoid them. The car smashed headlong into a tree. She flew into the steering wheel, and crumpled halfway out of the car as it came to a rest.

Crawling bloody out of the car, she managed to get halfway onto the road before she collapsed. The asphalt was cold against her cheek as she saw headlights approaching through her one open eye. What will these people decide, she thought, as unconsciousness enveloped her.

Tags: fiction, horror