It Lurks Beneath the Floorboards
Police Chief Russell entered the hospital and shuddered. He had been to this building numerous times in the past, and had never liked it once. The establishment was intended to help the sick and dying, yet whenever he entered, he felt the presence of death. Russell held firm belief in science, and not superstition. Yet, whenever, he came here, he had always felt like death was a ghost and this was his home. He shuddered again and went to the front desk.
“Police Chief Russell,” he announced with authority in his voice, and holding up his badge. “I’m here to see Cameron, first name Ray.”
The nurse looked up, saw the badge, and told him which room he could be found in and what floor. The chief thanked her, and strolled to the elevators. It was rather late at night, and visiting hours were ending in about forty minutes. Russell reached his desired floor, and headed down the immaculately white hallway to Cameron’s room. The hall was completely bare, and reminded him of an endless limbo. Russell shrugged off that thought as well; now was definitely not the time to be daydreaming. He found the room number and pushed open the door. A large man in a doctor’s outfit was standing by the bed, looking over some papers. The man looked up and shook Russell’s hand.
“It’s nice to see you again, chief,” he said in a serious tone.
“Cut the crap, Carpenter,” Russell said coldly. “Let’s get down to business.”
The doctor didn’t seem phased by the chief’s harsh greeting. After all this was serious business.
“He’s doing fine at the moment. You wouldn’t believe how close he was to death, but we managed to cauterize the wound before anything too drastic occurred. He’s in a coma, and will probably be in shock when…if he wakes up. So all in all, it’s a complete mystery as to whether he comes out of it or not.”
Russell glanced down to where Cameron lay, and anger filled his body when he heard the news come out of Carpenter’s mouth. Russell really wanted to punch him, but he restrained himself. It wasn’t his fault Cameron had been attacked by a psycho. But for God’s sake he was their only lead!
Carpenter suddenly frowned.
“You know,” he said. “There was one thing peculiar when I noticed the amount of blood he’d lost.”
Hope welled up inside him and tickled Russell’s stomach, but he kept his cool. “What is it?”
“Well, in my professional medical opinion, due to the amount of blood loss, I’d say he had been lying there bleeding for about a half hour, yet the report said your officers had found him right when the leg had been torn from the body. The only way I can see that working is if some sort of vacuum force just…sucked it out. I’d say the officers are mistaken, or…” he stopped, as if seriously considering what he was about to say. “…you have a vampire on your hands.”
* * *
Kurt Band shook his head at the planks covering the wall in his basement. He was getting glass put in the window the following day, but what was he going to do with the other planks? They were cemented to the wall! Kurt sighed, turned around, and headed up the steps to the kitchen. He went through the kitchen and to the door that led out to the garage. He marched down the wooden steps onto the cement floor. He was barefoot, and the icy cool of the rock floor was relaxing to him.
He reached into one of the cardboard boxes filling the double garage and extracted an axe. He headed back into the kitchen, and back into the basement. He was wearing red and black checkered pajama pants and a gray, Oklahoma University T-shirt. It was late at night (11:37, to be exact), yet the boards bothered. him. He couldn't explain why; they just did. He stood in front of them as a cold shiver ran up his spine and right to his brain. he ran his free hand through his hair, and stroked his light beard, thinking about how he was going to do this while making as little noise as possible.
He took the axe and began using the blade as a saw, cutting through a section of the board nearest to where it had been glued on with cement. After a short while, he had completely cut a horizontal line through the board. He shoved the blade into the crack, expecting to here the reassuring chink as the metal hit the cement wall of the basement.
Instead, it just kept on going. Kurt was startled.
"No way," he muttered to himself. He wedged the axe into the crack, and used the blade as a fulcrum for his lever. He pushed down on the axe handle. The board creaked and protested as it slowly bulged out until there was a loud CRACK! Kurt's heart jumped then stopped as he was startled by the amount of noise he had made. He decided to be a little more careful with the next board. Kurt peered into the narrow shaft he had made in the boards. The dark seemed like a malevolent entity, waiting for the chance to leap at Kurt and consume him in its murky darkness. Kurt shuddered and picked up the axe to tear down the rest of the boards.
Kurt recognized his wife's voice anywhere, yet his instincts made him swivel around, axe ready.
"What are you doing?" she asked, her pink bathrobe on, and she was in the midst of tying it.
"Tearing down these boards. Did you know there's a room behind it?"
Ann looked surprised, and approached the wall to take a look.
"Wow," she said.
"I know. I guess we've found our new storage area!"
"Why is it boarded up?"
"I don't know. The guy who lived here must have been a wack-job."
"I guess. Well, I'm going back to bed. Are you coming?"
"In a minute. I'll finish tearing down these boards first."
She left, and Kurt continued to use his axe as a lever to remove the boards. Yet with every board he tore down, his stomach churned even more with a mixture of fear and dread.
Come on, he thought, What's the worst that can happen?