Last Watch

Peter Knowles is a retired New York City Police Officer now living upstate. Reluctant, he finally agreed to talk about his last day of watch.  As I arrive for our interview, what I don’t understand is given his home’s isolation, is why his house has reinforced bars on the windows.  

    A subway had broken down and a busted watermain was flooding the tunnel.  I’ll spare you the details. All you need to know is dispatch was telling us that crews refused to work until officers cleared out whoever was down there.  No passengers were supposed to be on the train. I was hoping that it would just be a homeless man that snuck in thinking that would be a safe place to shoot up.  I wasn’t scared. We were only going in for a look. 

    With the station completely empty, the stink of damp concrete, garbage and piss really hit yah.  From the platform, we called out for anyone to come out. Nothing. So, my partner Ramirez, and I headed in with our flashlights cutting into the darkness.  The bright light they emitted gave me the creeps by casting shadows out of all the water downpour, piping, wiring and ductwork. By the time we reached the train we were up to our waists in water and the smell was worse now.  

    I climbed into the first open door.  The stench inside was worse and it was even harder to see due to the bright light from our flashlights bouncing off the windows and hitting us in the faces.  I took point and Ramirez followed me into the second car. The only noise was that of water drips hitting hollow metal and moisture fizzling out of our soaked shoes.  I shone my light on the floor to look for signs of entry like footprints, possibly a sneaker, or something other than the distinct work boots of the maintenance crew that had been there earlier.  Ramirez broke the silence by shouting out that he got movement. I flipped my head up with my light just intime to get a glimpse of a silhouette booking it out of the car ahead into the next one.  

    We followed into the next car and slipped as soon as we entered.  I shined my light down and saw fresh blood. I moved the beam up and saw more splotches on the floor.  There were also chunks of chewed pulped, what looked like flesh. It was strewn about all over the place.  One chunk with skin still attached to it had a bite marks. You always hear urban legends about things like alligators in the sewers and giant rats.  Only this wasn’t some animal. The pattern of the teeth marks. Those bites were made by a person. 

    Disgusted, I knew that we had stumbled on a crime scene.  Before I could motion to Ramirez to leave. He shouted that he got movement again.  I tried to stop him. I yelled at him to stop but it was no use. Something slammed into him and made him drop his light.  The car went up in a strobe as his flashlight flipped through the air before hitting the ground. 

    I saw something else with him.  I tell myself that it was a person but when I try to remember I get this image of some creature. Ramirez didn’t scream or cry out.  It must have gotten him in the right spot to make him loose consciousness that quickly.  

    I shouted and even started cursing trying to get Ramirez to answer.  Instead, I heard this deep gurgle inner-mixed with loud slurping and tearing fabric.  I clicked off my light and drew my service pistol. The noises coming from the adjacent car were amplified in the darkness now.  Some of the emergency exit lights were still lit. If Hell had a color, it was the red glow from those lights.  

    I did a mental count and moved in light on, weapon up and saw it.  A woman. Hunched over, swatting on her feet, cradling Ramirez’s limp body in her arms with her face buried and tearing at his neck.   I don’t remember how I got her attention, but she snapped her head up and snarled revealing blood caked in her teeth, dripping down over her chin and on her soaked hospital gown. Her skin was pale grey with black veins laced across her face. She lunged at me right before I fired two shots.  One got her chest the other took the upper part of her skull off spraying brains on the windows behind her. She fell at my feet, dead, as black viscous ooze began to pool underneath her. 

    I was alone when it all happened.  Agents of the CDC sequestered me and put me into quarantine for further observation and evaluation.  Observation and evaluation, that’s code for interrogation and brain washing. They had all kinds of ways to make me rewrite my memories and convince me that I saw something else.  I played along. As a cop I know a thing or two about how to talk to people. Once I convinced them that I was on their side, signed my non-disclosure agreement, quit the force and moved upstate.  

    COVID-19 isn’t what they say it is.  Something is coming. Promise me you’ll only share this with the people that matter, because those thugs in in Washington and their media goons have enough resources to do to you what they did to Jesus in the middle of Times Square and get away with it. 

Our Interview ends.  Peter walks me to the front door.  As I make my way to my car, my phone rings.  My publisher is livid telling me to get back to Manhattan as soon as possible and cover the COVID-19 riots happening near Mount Sinai Hospital.  I look back to see Peter still standing in the doorway with a cigarette. He shakes his head and takes a drag before uttering one word. 


2 thoughts on “#STITCHEDSATURDAY – Joaquin Bonel

  1. I love the way you set the atmosphere with sensory descriptions, my favorite line being “If Hell had a color, it was the red glow from those lights.” Fantastic story!


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