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Lawyer

Lawyer: interrogation of John Cardoni by Detective Jones- Campfire Horror Stories

He had always wondered what it would feel like sitting in one of these chairs. The metal felt cold against his skin, despite the jeans that separated them. It certainly wasn’t a comfortable chair, but he supposed that was the point, why they kept them there for hours without resolve, before even considering questioning. It was part of the tactics, part of the breaking down of the walls, while containing them inside walls of their own.

He thought the handcuffs were a tad unnecessary, and they dug into his skin every time he tried to wriggle his wrists into a more relaxed state. The air was tepid and thick, artificial. It entered the room through a grimy vent at the top of one of the walls. The walls were the color of faded limes, same as the floor, like the color of hospital linoleum. That color made him feel queasy in hospitals and it made him feel queasy here, too.

The vent let out a low hum that intermingled with the higher hum of the fluorescent lights, creating a sort of white-noise harmonic. It wasn’t a pleasant harmonic, however, and he felt like all of these factors were calculated for the very purpose of culminating his discomfort.

There was a clock in the room, on the opposite wall to the vent, but he was unsure whether it told the correct time, or if it was correct in its pacing, either. He figured he had sat there, handcuffed, for multiple hours before the lone door clicked and opened abruptly. His elbows were raw from resting on the hard metal table, and his eyes felt the same from staring at his reflection in the one-way mirror.

“Comfortable, John? I brought you some water,” Detective Jones always had it out for John Cardoni, and that fact was written all over his smug fucking grin. He looked as though he was trying to stifle his laughter.

“I know the score, Brad, you know I ain’t drinkin’ that,” John gestured to the cup with his brow, as Detective Jones sat on the corner of the table after placing it in front of him.

“You know that just makes you look more guilty, right?”

“Save the script, Jones. You know I know what we’ve both done to close cases. You recording this, too, right? Bet that won’t make the final cut,” John stabbed at the air in front of him with his hands, “and get these fuckin’ cuffs off me, will you?”

“You’re a person of interest, John, nay, a prime suspect. Why would I uncuff you? You’re deemed dangerous, even when unarmed. Hell, I’m risking my safety just being this clos- this close to you,” he could barely finish the sentence before letting out a spitting, high-pitched laugh.

John narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips, “you fucking bastard, Jonesie, you always had it out for me,” he said with increasing volume while shaking his head, “you won’t pin this on me, I tell ya. You fuckin’ won’t.”

“We got all we need, Cardoni. This is all theatrics and formalities,” he exclaimed with outstretched arms as he circled the table.

“You ain’t got SHIT!” John stood with a vigor that sent the steel chair into the wall behind him. He was playing his own theatrics, just like he’d witnessed every other time he’d been in this very room. It was like walking a tightrope, walking the fine line between letting the truth slip out (at least, the words that could be construed to appear as a confession), and keeping a guise of innocence.

Detective Jones reached into his jacket and produced a plastic zip-lock evidence bag. It contained a twelve-inch, tactical blade. The blade was black steel with a saw-toothed back, and the hilt and handle were gold-plated, aside from the rubber grip, which was also black. It was a seriously nice blade, and John knew it well.

“Now, you know this blade, John,” Detective Jones placed it on the table and tapped it with his index finger, “you know there are only two.”

“We both got awarded one for the Mackenzie case, yeah,” John’s demeanor weakened. His shoulders dropped, as did his face. He knew where this was headed. “I didn’t kill them, Brad. You know I done some stupid shit in my days, but I didn’t kill your girls.”

“We got prints, John. You’re done.”

“How do I know that ain’t your blade?”

“You sayin’ you can’t account for the whereabouts of your own knife, John?” He put his hand into his jacket again and produced an identical knife, unbagged and in a black leather sheath.

John looked at the faded lime linoleum floor, “lawyer.”

“Ah-ha. Are you serious, John?”

“Lawyer,” he looked up from the floor to lock eyes with Brad, “lawyer.”

“You see, there’s a slight problem with that request; we’re not playing that game, John. Oh, no. That’s not how this plays out. Theatrics and formalities, remember? I wanted you to know what it felt like on that side of the table; what it felt like beneath my interrogation. I wanted to hear you confess. . . CONFESS!” saliva sprayed through his teeth as he slammed a hand on the table.

“Lawyer.”

“I told you, John, it ain’t PLAYIN’ that way.” He turned his back and laughed under his breath. “You still think we’re at the station, don’t you?”

The hairs on John’s nape stood up. His skin began to shudder at the thought.

He had buried his blade after he gutted the prostitutes. Perplexed at how Brad could have possibly known where to look, he watched him open the door just enough to reach an arm out and flick a switch. The room suddenly felt much smaller, and much colder. Nauseating white light filled the expanse of a warehouse on the other side of the mirrored window. “What the fuck is this, Jones?”

“Redemption,” he spoke quietly, as he turned around with an expressionless face, stepped forward and thrust his blade into John’s torso.

John felt Brad’s fist hit his diaphragm, almost lifting him off the ground. He felt winded, he felt his lung deflate. His eyes bulged and his mouth called out in silence. It didn’t feel like getting shot, at all, he hardly felt anything but the punch. He was choking on his own blood and disbelief.

“Say hello to my cheating wife, fuckboy,” Brad whispered into John’s ear before letting go of his back and watching him fall off the blade.

John gurgled to the floor and painted the tired lime linoleum a rich maroon.

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Rebel Hunger

They couldn’t help but feel perplexed. It didn’t make sense. It had been two hundred and fifty-seven years since they killed this many people in a single night. They were just so damn hungry. The witching hour was pressing on, and they were getting messy. Red-tinted clothes and smeared shoes. This would not do at all, they thought, not only do I look horrendous, but hideously suspicious, to boot. Nevertheless, I don’t have luxury to change. WHY MUST I HUNGER, SO?

The last victim was just left in the street; a lonely drunk possibly without a home. Probably wouldn’t be missed at all, either. They could still taste the whiskey in its blood. The first one of the night was a dancer that fancied them. They didn’t even have to pay it. A good show and a meal, one could not ask for much more. Except that the meal was unsatisfactory, and this was unacceptable.

Even during the Great Race Wars, they didn’t slaughter out of unquenchable hunger. It was sport, more or less. Some called it pride, and recompense. If all the sides of a conflict call on recompense for every loss, however, then an eye for an eye would leave the world blind. All except the one who deals the final blow. They slaughtered because they wanted to be that one, not for petty recompense.

Sirens began to ring out through the corridors of the city. I’ll have to flee, they ordered themself, there’s no way I can continue feeding here without being found out. They puffed out their chest and let out a heavy sigh. If only I wasn’t so damn hungry I’d be able to escape to the countryside or anywhere else but here. They couldn’t concentrate while the roaring sound of blood rushing through tasty veins echoed throughout the street. There was another sound creeping closer, though. It was the clanging of enforcer’s boots, but they couldn’t make out how many there were. It all seemed hopeless.

There was a half-wall flanking the entrance to a less-than-popular public house. Shame, really, because in its day it was the bustle of night life. Perhaps not the first public house in the city, but certainly the first of its kind. Vamps built it, just like most of the town. Ironic, really, that they should find themself in a situation of inevitable persecution in a city designed for feeding. More so, that they find themself unable to quench the hunger in such a city.

They crouched behind the half-wall and ran their fingers down its face. “Shhh. . . I need your sustenance, human,” it had a gaping jaw and trembling lips, and wells where its eyes were, “I need to taste your soul. I need you to fill my veins with your life and end this aching torture. You don’t understand, how could you? You’re only human. One day has felt like an eternity, and you would hardly know that, either.” They clutched its hair and pulled the head back to sniff its pungent jugular. They tugged with too much vigor and tore out a hunk of hair. The human let out a screeching yelp as they gripped its hair again and yanked some more. It tore out like straw from a scarecrow. They felt good to express such animosity again, but the hunger still raged. And the enforcers still searched.

They covered the human’s mouth with one hand and felt the ground with the other. They ran their nails across the stone. One-by-one their nails cracked and broke. The enforcers must have closed in after that screech. It was as clear as a blip on a radar. Despite pitchforks and torches not being a thing anymore, they still wouldn’t be able to fight off a whole mob of enforcers by themself. They would have to surrender and hope for the best.

At this point, execution is welcome. Anything to end this god forsaken hunger. 

At least twenty-seven enforcers appeared down the far end of the street. The sound of blood was deafening. Saliva was running like a river from their mouth. The best course of action would be surrender, of course, but they weren’t sure if the hunger would take over, which it did.

“I will come peacefully. . .” they tried to call out to the enforcers. The small human writhed about, kicking and flailing its arms. It went limp as they tore its heart from its chest in one swift moment of pure intent. The enforcers descended upon them immediately.

REBEL! You shall perish for your crimes, rebel. You shall be made an example of. Rebels do not belong in our city!”

“I BUILT THIS CITY, HUUUMMMAAAAAAAN!”

“You’re a savage, and a rebel, and your strength will not help you now. Neither will your kind.”

The elders were contacted and set trial for one year. This was not customary, but the elders were curious. What would they devolve into without feeding? Not one had gone so long without food. Not one had ever had insatiable hunger, either.

 

 

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The Best Medicine

strawberries, best medicine, campfire horror stories

They say that laughter is the best medicine. But it’s not. The best medicine tastes like strawberries. Not strawberries, like, real strawberries, but what some white lab-coat wearing men in a food research facility reckon strawberries taste like. It’s thick and gluggy, quite like venous blood.

Blood, of course, does not taste like strawberries. Unless the strawberries were carved out of metal, because blood tastes like a salty coin. I used to put coins in my mouth all the time, but now I’m not allowed. Mother said it’s bad for my fangs.

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22nd District

Dennis, 22nd District, fit into the machine, middle caste, Campfire Horror Stories

The steak was delicious, though, just like the salads were. Josh couldn’t understand why Dennis turned his nose up at him when the words escaped his lips, “we’ll start with the green garden salads, frites and poppers. For the main, we’ll have the eye steak, medium?” His query was directed at Dennis, who only retorted with a wide-eyed snarl. “Medium, and I’ll have it rare. Finish with the pumpkin pie.” At first Josh didn’t even notice Dennis’ body language.

“And to drink, sir?” The waiter asked, without so much as acknowledging Dennis existed.

“Why, your finest champagne, of course. And I don’t want to see our glasses empty, or it’s your tip.”

Dennis shifted his weight in his seat, but not because the chair wasn’t comfortable, it was incredibly comfortable. The cushions were a brilliant blue velvet that was soothing to the touch, and he couldn’t help but stoke it with his index finger as his eyes darted around the room. He didn’t want to be there anymore, much less make eye contact with Josh. He chose instead to admire the elegant carving in the ceiling, and the glowing gold lighting under the bar. They really had done a good job at mixing the old, traditional look of wealth with a new contemporary one. He did, however, wonder how many times the bartender would have to wipe the bar-top, to keep the reflective black free from fingerprints.

The night air was cool, but not cold. It was a refreshing change from the artificial warmth of the restaurant. This was Josh’s favorite time of day; night. More specifically, though, the early night, when the city was still bustling. Later, it would still be busy, but it’s chaotic, rather than the organised cohesion of the early night. Josh prefers order. Everything has its place, and everything works better when it stays in its place. The drunks of the early hours are only cogs that don’t fit into the machine anymore. They drink their last days away before being forcibly escorted into a lower district, where they belong. Dennis could fit into the machine, though, if he stops turning his nose up, and sits quietly in his place. Without Josh, he never would have dined in the 22nd District. He never would have set foot in the 22nd District. And if he’s smart, he’ll take Josh up on his offer for a night-cap, where he can put something else in his mouth, and more champagne.

The 22nd District was for the high-class. Dennis had never set foot here before tonight. He found himself conflicted. He did not enjoy the dinner, and he did not enjoy being treated like a pet. The roads here were so clean, though. They looked like they were made of glass, and you could see your face in the sidewalks. He couldn’t remember the last time he saw a tree in the metropolis. You didn’t even need to walk to the trashcan, because it walked to you. Dennis found himself thinking he should be grateful, and wanted to apologize for his performance at dinner. His cheeks reddened as he looked down at his matte shoes. Clearly not made for this part of the metropolis. Even the driver’s shoes were as reflective as the sidewalk. There were some things that he would certainly need to change as he climbed the social ladder. The cool air slipped down the neck of his shirt and he shivered for a moment.

“It’s okay, Dennis, you don’t have to come if you’d rather go home,” Josh said as he stood on the other side of the car with his elbows on the roof and his face resting on the backs of his hands.

This was, of course, not true. It was a sly statement that actually meant the opposite of what it sounded like.

“No, of course, I know where I fit. I’ve no one to kneel to back in the 42nd. I’m sorry for how-”

“Don’t, I know. Takes a minute for some to come around. Just get in the car.” Josh’s eyes caught the street lights when he tilted his head and flashed a sharp smile. Then he got in the car.

Dennis felt his blood burning through his veins, which made the night air feel even colder. He swallowed his pride with an audible gulp and put on a smile. Despite what he would endure tonight, it would all be worth it.  It was a genuine grin, and he wore it the rest of the night.

Josh had it all: his own driver; a fleet of cars, all different colors of the rainbow; a penthouse apartment in the building he owned; an army of staff that all worked like an automated assembly line. People flocked from all over to stay in his building. It was one of the few that still employed human staff, which served as a luxury niche in the market. He hadn’t worked for any of this, though. Josh didn’t work a day in his life. The staff beneath him work for the company, they would tell you. But Josh would proclaim them his own, of course. This life was his birthright. His father, who also never worked a day in his life, left it all to him. Without the cares or worries of the lower caste, Josh always wore a smile on his face. He did what he wanted, when he wanted. He lived a life of desire. Tonight, he desires Dennis. Dennis, however, does have worries of a different caste.

“Not anymore,” according to Josh, “I’ll take care of you.”

“How very admirable of you,” Dennis said through gritted teeth.

It was sickening, really. How high he thought he was. How did he feel so natural, so entitled to flaunt his wealth? He only lived in the 22nd. It is impressive, sure, but it’s not the top. It’s not where Dennis wanted to be, and it wouldn’t be where he ended his night. He wasn’t going back to the 42nd, either, of course. He had other plans. Orders, in fact. Orders that would see him in a higher caste than Josh. Not that this petty system ever concerned him. After all, he was only playing the 42nd because there was more excitement down there. The trash know how to live, not like the middle caste, who order for their dates, as if they cannot speak for themselves. That treat their staff like slaves. The high caste treat their synths better, for goodness’ sake. No, Dennis never did like how the middle caste decided to treat others or live their lives, but he sure did love how they taste. And the dumbfounded expression Josh had when he realized he’d been lead on.