Fresh Cut – Darkness at Dawn

I’m trying out a new idea. I’m calling it “Fresh Cuts” and they will be brief peeks into something I’m working on at the moment. The Fresh Cut for this month is from my new horror/romance “Darkness at Dawn”. This is what came out when I first sat down to write the story. This Fresh Cut is:

 

* UNEDITED – truly hot off the press!

 

*Contains STRONG LANGUAGE

 

Enjoy!He worked the night shift: twenty-two hundred hours to sunrise. It was the most dangerous shift, with the highest casualty rate, the highest breakdown rate, the highest _turning_ rate. His last partner had been turned. Went missing at check in, never came back. Never came back _human_ anyway. Everson came across him last month and blew what was left of his ex-partner into chunks of ghoul-feed. He told the boss no more partners. Although it was against standard practice, the boss agreed. Everson was almost on his third year on the night shift. Damn near the whole time the squad had existed. He had an outstanding record, and the boss let Everson get away with a lot of things. That was where the trouble started.

 

The dark was still thick, but he could feel sunrise coming. Feel it in his bones. He thought the nasties must feel it the same way, know it was coming and start dreaming of wherever the spent the day, whatever they called home. Everson had his night vision goggles flipped up. It made him much more vulnerable to attack, but if he kept the goggles on too long it felt like the greenish light was burning his eyeballs. His boots didn’t make much noise on the street, but it sounded loud in the silence.

 

A cry echoed from somewhere and Everson gripped his gun a little tighter. It was far away, though. Sounded like one of those bird things. Small but nasty. Another sound, much closer, put him on full alert. A rustle through overgrown bushes off to his right. Everson flipped his goggles down and turned off his gun light. Some nights, things died down about now (ha-ha). Other nights, this was when it got the worst.

 

The rustle came again and he started toward it. The bushes kept whatever it was hidden. A few more steps and another rustle, a little louder, and a snapping twig. “C’mon, you son of a bitch,” he muttered. “Come out and play.” Halfway down the front yard, the bushes parted, and there it was: waving antennae, segmented body, legs like an army on the march, and ten feet long, easy. Everson took two shots and the nasty screamed, flailing. More of it emerged from the bushes and he revised his estimate: twenty feet. The centipede nasty rose up on several segments and then came at him. God, those fuckers were _fast_! Everson put several rounds in it and the thing jittered, slowed, stopped.

He fired a few more bullets into it while it twitched on the ground. All that noise was sure to draw attention. When he was sure the centipede wasn’t going to get up, he glanced around. Yep, here they came. Everson reloaded his gun, made a quick check of his other weapons. All ready. A pair of jackal beasts slinked through the yards across the street. A humanoid shambled down the middle of the street. Something that sounded considerably larger was coming from a block over. Everson brought his gun up again. “Come on, you fuckers!”

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