|The Transformation Story Archive||Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...|
He saw it again as he walked along in front of the store window. It shambled along, exactly pacing him. It's eyes were a rheumy reddish yellow that glittered in the shadow of heavilly protruberant brows. It's skin was mottled and blotchy looking. It was heavy bodied and hunched with a dark undertone to it's cheeks. The hair on the crown of it's head was sparse, but shaggy.
He whirled to confront the beast but it, of course, was nowhere to be seen. He knew it wouldn't be there when he turned, but he whirled anyway, emiting a strangled cry of pain. Why?! Why did this beast hound his nights?!!? What did he ever do to deserve it?
Lee Garnett was a career cop. He had started out as a fresh faced young rookie eighteen years prior. His enthusiasem had been transmuted over the years into a bitter appreciation for the irony of life. He had come, over the years, to be a sensation junkie. An adrenaline addict. A conniseur of crises.
Some cops sought solace in booze, or drugs, or sex from the impossible stresses of a life of unremitting pain and unending solitude...but not Lee. No, he lived for the adrenaline high that came from intense physical action. The long boring hours of patrol punctuated with sudden bursts of heart slamming, adrenaline saturated effort.
He had built a solid career and reputation as the man to call if there was trouble. He would wade in with nary a thought to his own physical welfare. He knew that he would emerge supreme. He could not be defeated by anything born of woman, and precious little else.
He had turned down promotions over the years. He didn't want to be a Johnney Come Lately Detective...called after the action was over to do the endless reams of paperwork. He had no desire to be an effitte supervisor. Sitting on his broadening behind as the "real cops" did all the work. No, he loved being a beat cop. It was life, it was his all consuming passion.
Eventually the promotion offers stopped. With the advent of video cameras and people turning on their protectors as often as not, it seemed that Lee was doomed to go the way of the dinosaur. His kind of cop was no longer wanted. No longer needed in the friendlier, nicer world of "neighborhood" policing.
Now cops spent as much time in the academy learning about social skills and human diversity as they did firearms, mag lights, and hand to hand combat. The "new breed" of cops were all a bunch of wussies, as far as Lee was concerned. Not one was fit to wipe a real cops ass. His was a dying breed.
Lee was a big man. He stood 6'2" and weighed in at 250 lbs. He was a master of the lateral vascular neck restraint, as they called it these days. He just called it the carotid choke, or the sleeper. It worked great. If a maggot couldn't breathe then a maggot couldn't fight. Now the department was outlawing that along with every other truely effective technique available to the street cop. People had suffered permanent brain damage they said. People have died from this cruel and dangerous hold they said. Wussies!
His wife had left him the year before. She had gotten tired, he supposed, of kissing him goodbye as he left for work and not knowing if the next time the phone rang it would be a Department Chaplin saying that he was gone. But he was fooling himself.
His wife left him after he began to drink a little too much, and take his frustrations out on her and his kids. Oh he never hit them, but words could wound more deeply than blows. The last straw was when he reduced his 14 year old son to tears by screaming at him that he was a "little candy ass faggot". The boy had come home in tears from a beating he received at the hands of a neighborhood bully.
Lee had thrown the boy back outside telling him not to come home until he became a man. Lee's wife left and took their daughter a half hour later. He never saw any of them again. He got the divorce paperwork in the mail a month later. She wanted nothing from him except her freedom, and their children. What did he care? Without the brats and the bitch he could concentrate on his job more. Put in ever more overtime. He's show them...he'd show them all what a real man, a real cop was.
A week after his wife left him was the first time he saw the beast. He had just finished beating the crap out of a wino who had passed out in a field off of Palm Beach Blvd. The man was an offense to any decent person walking by. He was dirty and he stunk.
Lee had kicked the alcohol addled man into wakefulness and then proceeded to beat him unconcious again. His report would read that after approaching the man, who was concealed in the brush near a condiminium for the elderly, the man had made a sudden furtive movement of his hand into an inside coat pocket, and then lunged at Lee. In truth the man had grabbed his busted ribs where Lee had kicked him and then raised his hands defensively, pleading for the dark figure standing before him to stop hurting him. It was all in the writing though. A lie was as good as the truth if you got people to buy it. Besides who would take the word of an old bum over the word of an 18 year, highly decorated, veteran cop?
As Lee loaded the old man into the back seat of his patrol car, after tightening the handcuffs about the old mans wrists to the point that nerve compression damage was guaranteed, he saw the visage of the beast. It was leering at him in the glass of the patrol car's rear window. It's teeth were yellowed tusks, and drool ran down it's chin.
Lee had spun around then, as he would many times in the following year, and found the beast nowhere in sight. When he looked at the car window again he was greeted by the sight of only his own reflection. The beast was gone...for now. But it came back more and more often as the year progressed.
At first he saw it only when he had just "popped a can of kick ass" on someone. But then it started to show up whenever he was in uniform. He could never catch it, but it was always there. He shivered with the thought that it might start to show up when he was off duty as well. The next day it did.
"Major Chappelle I want Lee Garnett in here right now!" The Chief's voice thundered over the phone line. Chappelle winced at the volume.
"He's off for the next four days Chief." Chappelle told his irate superior. "At your direction."
The reminder only seemed to fuel his bosses anger further.
"I don't need you to remind me of that Chappelle! But this time he has gone too far. We finally have his sociopathic ass! That kid shoplifter he caught last night...the one he said resisted violently...the one lying in a coma in intensive care right now...has a debilitating muscule disease! He could not possibly have resisted anything to the point where he had to have his head half caved in with a mag light! He could barely walk, and then only for short distances! His parents want blood and I intend to give them Garnett! Now get him in here Major!"
Chappelle hung his head and sighed, "Right away Chief."
As he hung the phone up Chappelle thought back to when he had been a young officer. He had trained Garnett. Garnett had such promise back then. Where had it all gone wrong? What black essence had so welled up that it corrupted his soul and devoured the last of the humanity within him? Hell there wasn't an officer working the east side of town that didn't owe his life to Garnett. What a waste. With a sad shake of his head, Chappelle picked up his hat and headed out of his office. He would not call Garnett with news like this. He would deliver it in person. He had seen officers panick and do themselves injury over less.
When he pulled up to Garnett's house Chappelle saw that all the blinds were drawn. As he approached the door he detected an odor, like rotting flesh. Grabbing his walkie talkie he retreated to his car and called for assistance. If Garnett was dead in there then there was no hurry, if not then Chappelle might well need back up.
Chappelle led a three man entry team through the, unlocked, front door. Three others covered the back and two men each covered the sides of the house.
"Lee! Lee it's me, Matt Chappelle! Lee are you home?"
Silence...No, not quite silence. Somewhere something was breathing heavilly, moving softly. Something large and heavy. The stench was much worse inside the house.
Matt didn't know of any animals Lee kept. The man had no time to properly care for pets. Hell, he hadn't had time to properly care for his family when they were there. He had lived, slept, and breathed being a cop. Whatever was back there it ws no pet.
As Matt rounded the corner, into the hallway leading back to the bedrooms, he saw Lee's bedroom door move silently shut.
"Police Officer! You in the bedroom come out now! Have your hands empty and where I can see them!" Matt shouted as he backed around the corner, using the wall as a shield.
He heard a grunt...then nothing. Signalling the rest of the team with hand signs he moved into position near the bedroom, just to the side of the door.
"We have an unknown subject in the southwest bedroom. Attempting contact now." He breathed into his walkie talkie.
"Police Officer! Lee if that's you inside come on out. Talk to me buddy...it's Matt!"
For just a second Matt thought he heard his name whispered in a gutteral tone. Like an animal trying to speak. Then the door burst open and a huge shaggy figure came at him.
The beast was roughly man shaped, better than 6' tall and very heavy. It was covered with short dark hair. It's face was bestial with widely dilated nostrils, a heavy brow ridge, and a shaggy mop of hair. The arms would have dragged the ground if they had been hanging down. The hands, paws, whatever were curled into wicked talons. Each digit was topped with a thick black nail. The hands were huge and could have easily palmed a basketball. The legs were short and bandy. The feet apelike. The chest was as big as a barrell.
Of course Matt made all of these observations later, when it was all over. Right then all he saw was the hidious face of the creature, yellow inch long fangs displayed, as it rushed toward him with a horrid shriek. Matt fired in instinct. His 9 milimeter, Sig Saur, model P-226 jerking in his hand once, twice, thrice. Three 135 grain hollow points straight into the things chest at point blank range.
Matt rolled the body over and stared at the creature. The smell was coming from it. It was a grotesque parody of a blend between a man and an ape. A horrid beast that seemed to embody all of the worst characteristics of each.
It was when Matt lifted one of the things great paws, to examine it, that he began to weep. There, embedded deeply in the ring finger, on it's left paw was the wedding ring of Lee Garnett. His own personal damnation had finally found him. Maybe now he could rest. Outside it started to rain.
The Beast copyright 1998 by Captain Webster.
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