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13th Precinct: Issue Five
Bob Yosco

Somebody pinch me. All I could think about after I jimmy’d the back door to the Yak Hair Tattoo Parlor was how much it seemed like a bad dream after one serious jalapeno nacho orgy. I’d seen the layout of the place, hell every detective in the squad had made a copy of the floor plans to keep in their files and I really didn’t remember any area designated as hell frozen over.

"Just as I thought." Boyd muttered as he shut the door behind us and we took in the view.

"This can’t be the right place." I began, then turned to my partner to ask what he meant by that.

"They’re getting bolder by the minute, Johnny. That or maybe I’m helping them turn the joint into one of their familiar haunts."

"That’s it, Boyd, I want to know here and now what all this is about and start with the Museum fire that you and your pal busted in on, or I’m calling the house to say I’m sick then driving to Atlantic City." I responded, still not believing what my own eyes were showing me.

It looked like a Salvador Dali rendition of the North Pole; a Grinch town as seen from the mind of a genius or madman. Long tentacles of ice, stalactites of frozen jello in every color imaginable hung and seemed to almost vibrate as they clung to the walls and ceiling. And what should have been a relatively small storeroom was instead a long narrow corridor, the floor littered with rolling puffs of what resembled giant snowflakes, some red some blue, all of them illuminated by an almost dayglo light that came from nowhere in particular but was everywhere.

"That, my friend, is a long story." Boyd said as he reached inside his jacket and took out his ancient .38. "Vic is…was a friend, Johnny. The kind of friend you’d drop everything and go to, no questions asked if he needed a favor. Long time ago he and this other guy had a falling out, and like I’ve told you, every now and again they crack horns. Look at it this way, kid; maybe creation didn’t take six days, but seven. Maybe we were never meant to be the top of the food chain but the next rung down. I honestly don’t know everything, hell, I don’t know squat when it comes right down to it, but there’s people, if you can call them that, who are head and shoulders above us in every way you can count. Vic was one of them. Believe your own eyes, kid, all this is real, or real enough to kill you if you don’t pay attention, and put that gun away, it ain’t helping, not here."

Boyd was dead, but back, so I had to believe that at least some of the things he was trying to tell me were true, but I jacked a round into the chamber of my Glock anyway.

"That peashooter of yours works and mine don’t, and that’s because this is your hometown now and not mine. Okay," I responded as I began to get the jist of the madness around me, "but I feel a lot better holding it so humor me, Boyd."

"Fine. If it makes you feel better then by all means milk the thing, but the walls are solid enough so be careful of a ricochet if you get the urge to snap off a few. Now stand a little behind me and lets see where this hallway takes us and for god’s sake if you gotta shoot the thing try to keep it away from my ears, you know how I hate it when somebody caps around my head."

We walked. Don’t ask me how long, my Casio wasn’t working…digital, and it was froze like I was looking at a picture of a watch not the real thing. One minute my feet were beginning to feel numb from the cold floor that seemed to leech the heat right out of me, and the next they were as hot as if I’d decided to take a barefoot run down Jones Beach in the middle of July. Hot, then cold, then hot and cold and I was starting to get the feeling that my body didn’t have the right wiring to decipher the input. How does a fish feel when he’s out of water, when everything is suddenly dry and alien, when he wants to move and all he can do is gasp and kick and…

"Johnny." Boyd’s harsh whisper dragged me back to reality. Hah. Reality. "Stick with me here, kid. Don’t let it get to you, I think we’re almost there."

Almost there? Almost where? I blinked, I swear I didn’t close my eyes for more than a spilt second and when I unblinked we were no longer in a chilly hot corridor of flaming ice.

"Need my shades." Boyd muttered as he patted himself down, but I could have told him that his sunglasses were back in the car. He always left them in the car. I could have told him if I could have opened my mouth to speak.

Dark blue sand crunched under my feet. Not real sand, more like polished ground glass hammered into fragments the size of sugar granules. There was no sun, there was no sky, just the blue glowing sand and an abyss of nothingness, darker than darkness, that slowly swirled in throbbing ribbons of energy over our heads.

"I got an idea, Johnny." Boyd said as he gestured ahead. "I’ll bet these guys don’t know your gun wont work, so here’s what we’ll do."

Guys? My eyes are 20/20 but all I could see was miles and miles of emptiness all around us.

"Soon as they get a little closer I’ll start dropping a few, and you crank away at the sand in front of them like you’re trying to get the range. Might slow them enough for me to finish the rest, or even chase the frigs away, who knows."

"Boyd, there’s no one…" There. Like a mirage shimmering in a true desert, the area a hundred or so yards ahead became alive with activity. I squinted, rubbed my eyes, but the look of what was heading our way didn’t change.

"What the hell are those things?" I shouted to Boyd as I fired round after round into the sand.

"Beats me, kid." He answered, dropping to a knee and taking slow, careful aim at the charging figures that looked like…like a triple cross between something with a vaguely humanoid head, long ape-like arms, and a neck that stretched up like a giraffe’s. They weren’t very fast for four legged animals, but it seemed like for every one Boyd took down another two did an ungainly gallop at us out of the shimmering light.

"This isn’t gonna work, Boyd. If I cant help there’s too many of them." My puffing up the blue kitty litter wasn’t doing any good and as accurate a shot as my partner was, he couldn’t stop them all.

"Yeah." He grunted as he downed the nearest one that’d made it not fifteen feet away. "Run, Johnny. Run as fast as you can back the way we came and I’ll try and keep them off…"

Up close they weren’t as tall as I’d thought, maybe seven foot, tops, but if those long legs weren’t fast they were powerful as Boyd was kicked to the ground when he stopped to reload. Another one was heading right for me and I flung myself to the side and just managed to roll clear of the clumsy but sharp enough hooves. I couldn’t help, I sure couldn’t just leave him and run, and it was sheer instinct that made me do what he told me not to do. I slapped a full mag into the Glock and forced my shaking hands to center on the creature that had almost run me down.

Somewhere I could hear Boyd shouting "No!" but I wasn’t signing off without doing something so I squeezed the trigger.

Such pretty lights. Man, I never saw such pretty lights.

[ END ]

©2002 Bob Yosco



Bob Yosco - Once again, Bob Yosco takes us on a tour of the strange streets of 13th Precinct...

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