Chapter 3 – Nina

The following was found in a Manila envelope that had been wedged in our back door. I didn’t ask for a contribution or a collaboration from anyone and Nina was the last person I expected to voluntarily throw her two cents in.

The following doesn’t exactly paint me in a the best light. However, If I’m being completely honest, it does clear up a lot of things that would otherwise not make a whole lot of sense otherwise.

So, yeah…go! Read!

Chapter 3 – Nina

At first it was just an empty pharmacy at 3am. Then there was static. Then there was Dave. “Fucking Dave…” Nina thought to herself as she wound the video back to the start and played it again.

Nothing.

Static.

Dave.

“Did he come through the ceiling?” she thought to herself. “There’s no possible way he’s smart enough to figure out something that…physically demanding”

She fast-forwarded through what without audio looked like a child of 3’s best attempt at impersonating the cartoon Tasmanian devil to the moment that Dave started having what appeared to be a seizure. She saw herself run back into camera frame and try to check on him and then just like when Dave had appeared, static. Then it was just her standing there looking bewildered. Dave was nowhere to be seen. After years with Dave she knew this must’ve been some kind of trick. Some new elaborate way to torment her.

He hadn’t taken the break up well and had always been the most spiteful and vindictive when they fought. She wondered if her leaving him could actually push him to do something this over the top just to get back at her.

The people from her department didn’t think much of her quasi-supernatural recounting of the incident in her report, especially after the reports given by the other officers on the scene mentioned that she had apparently known the suspect personally. Her higher ups all agreed that the most logical explanation was that Nina had let Dave go and because of this, she had been placed under review pending action.

She’d offered to go and arrest him, again. After all they did have him on camera burglarizing the pharmacy, but she was given instructions not to make any contact with him. Apparently the damage had been done and their focus was on punishing her, not punishing him.

Nina wound the tape back again as the shadow of her commanding officer loomed over the desk. She pressed pause.

“Got a suspect in interrogation 2 needs shaken down about the gang he’s affiliated with. Real nasty motherfucker, face covered in tattoos an’ scars. You want first crack at him” Her commander asked as a leering grin slowly exposed his mangled teeth.

“Absolutely sir!” Nina closed the laptop with a smile and gathered her things. This was her favourite part. If there’s one thing she was good at, it was rattling people’s cages and making them accidentally tell the truth. Years spent working her way through Dave’s labyrinth of lies and half-truths had sharpened this skill greatly.

As they began to walk out of the small office her commanding officer turned around, putting his arm across the doorway blocking Nina’s exit.

“You know, he’s handcuffed, shackles actually. The kind that lock into the table” he informed her.

“Good to know sir. Thanks for the info” she replied wondering why he’d bothered to share this with her. It was pretty standard procedure.

“Yeah, yeah, doors gonna be double locked. You got that reinforced shatter resistant glass.” He continued listing the security features.

“Sir, I’m not sure I follow.” Nina asked, but she knew what was coming next.

“Well, I just want you to be sure you can handle it before I send you in there” his grin was getting bigger now. “I mean, that guy’s going nowhere unless he can teleport himself out of the damn station now is he?” Her commanding officer burst out laughing and along with him 3 other officers who had been hiding behind a cubicle wall the whole time.

“Assholes!” she thought. “Fuck them, fuck all of them. And fuck Dave. This was all his fault”.

“HAHAHA! Don’t worry about it Ramirez, we’re gonna let a cop worth a shit take care of this. I just came down to tell you that a little bird told me about your review, and word has it this time tomorrow, you’re gonna be suspended without pay.” He glared at her with his smug eyes showing off his graveyard smile “why don’t you take off early tonight and let us handle the police work ”

Nina felt that tingling feeling in the bridge of her nose and swore to herself that she would under no circumstances cry. She simply said yes sir and made her way to the locker rooms.

As she changed out of her uniform she decided that she wasn’t going to let Dave get away with this. She’d given too much of her life already to him and his peter pan complex and wasn’t going to let him spoil any part of her future now that she’d gotten away from him. The problem was, she had no idea how to even begin to broach the subject. “Hi Dave, please explain to me how you blinked out of existence after I caught you ransacking a pharmacy, then turn yourself in so I’m no longer the laughing stock of my job”, it sounded crazy. He could just deny it and she’d be left looking like the insane person. No, she needed to plan; she needed to go somewhere she could think.

Nina didn’t want to go home. Home was just an inflatable mattress and boxes of things she’d gotten out of Dave’s house. It was the loneliest place she could think of. What she needed was a familiar place she could sit quietly and think, the Hunters Edge Tavern seemed like the perfect place at a time like this.

It was the bar her and Dave used to hang out, now it was a place that she went to get away from him. He’d been banned from the place after he assaulted a local homeless man who made wacky balloon sculptures for tips to buy drinks with. One day Dave developed an irrational hatred for the guy. There was nothing to it, Dave just suddenly decided he hated ballon art and the artist became his mortal enemy. One night, in the midst of a Tequila fueled rampage, Dave had reached his irrational breaking point and attacked him. She was thankful he had, though she did feel bad for Balloon Guy, she was happy to have a place that was a guaranteed Dave free zone.

The Hunters Edge could host, at a squeeze, about 50 people, but there was rarely more than 10 people there even at the busiest of times. At 4am, there were only 2 cars in the lot and she pulled her squad car up to a front spot with no hindrance. She liked doing this, she knew that every degenerate in this bar all sat up straight going through their mental rolodexes trying to pin point the crimes they’d committed that weeks that would warrant a visit from the police at this hour. Nina laughed to herself as she pushed through the front door.

“Well, well, well! Aren’t you a sight for old eyes!” The regular graveyard bartender, Artie, welcomed Nina in with a smile “At this hour I imagine you’ll be having the usual?” he asked, delighted to see Nina as always.

“That would be fantastic Artie, it’s been a real shit of a day” she made the kind of pouty face a little girl makes after she see’s something like it in a Disney movie.

“Coffee and a bowl of Frites! Your corner booth is open darlin’, I’ll bring it right over” The Hunters Edge had the best comfort food. The frites were Nina’s favourite. Even though she was sure they were just frozen French fries from the grocery store she loved the fact that Artie called them frites and served them with his attempts at different flavoured aioli’s.

Artie dropped the coffee off and Nina stared at her reflection in the dark liquid that filled her cup. She tried to give herself a pep talk but instead the tingling in the bridge of her nose came back and she let a few tears seep from her eyes and roll down to the tip of her nose.

Nina thought about her asshole coworkers. She wondered how they could turn on her so easily? Until this point she’d been an exemplary officer. Back in police academy she came top of her class, excellent in the field, and all her paperwork was perfect. Every time. How does one small turn her into the butt of the entire stations jokes? She cringed at the thought of hearing another one of those pricks ask, “wait, did you used to date this one?” again before she cuffed someone.

She didn’t let Dave escape, Dave didn’t even escape on his own; he vanished Right before her eyes. It was like he’d never been there at all. Then she had to try and explain that to the 2 other officers, which is when her whole life started to feel like there was a building falling on top of it. She wished she’d kept her mouth shut, said he’d bolted on her out of a back door. Maybe then this all wouldn’t be so bad.

“Fucking Dave!” she’d found herself thinking that a lot lately. Each time came with a warm wave of anger that grew larger and larger every time she experienced it. This time the wave was huge.

Nina took being a cop seriously and went out of her way not to truly abuse the power of her position outside of spooking the scumbags at the bar and maybe using the siren to skip through the occasional stop light, but damn it, she was the police, she still had her badge and she still had her a gun. She didn’t have to ask Dave nicely to turn himself in. She would tell him to.

Nina took one last sip of her coffee, left a twenty dollar bill on the table, and took off for the for the door just as Artie emerged from the back with a large steaming bowl of Fries.

“Where ya going?” he yelled to Nina “What about your food?”

“Sorry Artie, I gotta run, something came up” she called back to him “I left money on the table, you have them!”

Nina bolted for her car. She was running on adrenaline and rage, slamming the car into reverse and spinning the tires as she put her foot on the gas pedal. A dust cloud kicked up as she threw the car into gear and took off out of the lot narrowly avoiding a collision with another car pulling in.

As she sped down the road she ran hypothetical conversations in her head, what she would say to Dave when he came to the door. Saying phrases out loud over and over with different tone and cadence.

“NO! You’re coming with me now!” she yelled at nobody “NO! YOU are coming with me RIGHT. FUCKING. NOW!” yeah, that was it. If he tried to protest she’d just arrest him for one of the plethora of crimes he was surely going to be blatantly guilty of when she arrived.

“I don’t care Dave” she practiced “I DON’T GIVE A SHIT DAVID!”

Nina pulled up at the light a few blocks from Dave’s house and continued yelling at an imaginary version of her ex until she was distracted by a middle aged white woman wearing what seemed to be pajamas running through the intersection in front of her.

The woman was clearly in distress, but why? The cop in Nina woke up, throwing the car in park and getting out to investigate. She looked to the right, the woman still sprinting for her life and screaming like a mad woman. Then she looked to her left and saw…

“Bryce?” He didn’t reply.

She knew Bryce through Dave. He was one of Dave’s many many “friends” he used to not pay for drugs through. Outside of that and his name she didn’t know much about him. He moved like he was wasted. She’d seen him incredibly intoxicated at bars before, but she’d never seen him this trashed. He barely looked conscious.

Bryce just sort of stood there slightly swaying from side to side. Nina looked back at the woman who despite her efforts wasn’t gaining all that much ground. Then she looked back at Bryce who hadn’t made a sound, but had somehow gotten about 4 car lengths closer to her in the split second she’d looked away. It was now a mere 20 feet away from her and crouching down on the ground.

“Bryce, I need you to tell me what’s happening” Bryce just stood there, not saying a single word. Nina felt uneasy.There was an unusual clicking sound coming from Bryce’s direction. She couldn’t take her eyes off of him.

Now he was closer she could see him more clearly. She could see that he looked all wrong. Like a bar artist rendition.

Blindly she stepped backwards, into a better position to jump back into the driver’s seat.

“Go.” A small voice in the back of Nina head piped up. It was the same voice that had been rehearsing its skills in intimidation by screaming obscenities at a hypothetical Dave a minute ago. Now it was calm, collected. It came from that place deep inside you that knows you’re in trouble before you do. The part of you that pushes your body to act before your brain ever has a chance to process the action.

“Get back in the car and go. Now.” The voice in her head instructed and she edged backwards even further as the little kid, or whatever it was looked as though it was rearing back.

Nina went for it and threw herself back into the car at the exact second it lunged toward her. She slammed the car into gear, spinning the wheel to turn the car in the direction of the fleeing woman, accidentally turning on the red and blue flashing lights in the process.

As the car corrected she heard a loud thud from behind her and the car shifted slightly. In the rear view mirror she could see Bryce tumbling on the asphalt. At this angle, it didn’t look like a Bryce at all. The limbs were too long and the body too thin. It looked entirely alien, all stretched out.

The car screeched to a stop next to the woman in her pajamas where Nina threw the passenger side door open.

“GET IN!” She cried at the woman whose face was wrought with fear.

The woman took one step towards Nina’s police cruiser when the Bryce-thing tackled her out of view.

It hit her so fast and so hard Nina almost thought the woman had vanished the same way Dave had back at the pharmacy.

When Nina sat up she could see very clearly in the flashing lights that this thing had never been Bryce, it had always been a monster.

The parts of it that had looked like Bryce were all melting away down onto the poor woman underneath it. Nina could make out the shape of her through the dark translucent blob and she could hear her trying to scream.

The car stayed running and the red and blue lights flashed on. Nina’s mouth hung open and her heart beat pounded in her ears. She didn’t want to watch but she couldn’t look away from the macabre spectacle unfolding before her.

Suddenly the weight of the blob shifted forward and a something, presumably woman beneath it, exploded out from under as the heap of slime seemed to be consuming whatever was still trapped inside it.

The monster heaved slightly and something bubbled out from atop of it rocketing out of the slime and cascading through the air until finally landing on Nina’s windshield with a sound that was somewhere between a splat and a thud.

It was the woman’s face. No longer attached to a scull, the fleshy depiction slid slowly without definition down to the wipers leaving a slick crimson trail behind it.

“Go.” The voice in Nina’s head calmly demanded. “You can’t help her. Go.”

Nina pulled the wheel and floored it into a u-turn. The creature gave her and the car little acknowledgement, hissing at her as the car spun around, passenger side door still hanging open.

Nina sped up the street using all her might to not look in the review mirror. She wanted more than anything to believe it hadn’t happened at all.

Running on auto pilot Nina took turn after turn with precision and stability. She focused on breathing in and out, now was not the time to start panicking. Panicking wouldn’t help anything.

When the car came to stop Nina calmly took the keys from the ignition and placed them on the passenger seat then peered out through the front windshield. The woman’s face was still there. Fixed in place with coagulating blood and an oily slime left from being inside that creature. Nina started to cry.

Not the crocodile tears from the bar, this was a waterfall of uncontrollable crying. Her shoulders jerked and snot poured out of her nose.

This was the kind of crying fit you see in infants who have no idea how to express themselves and just explode in the attempt.

She pounded the steering wheel.

“Fuck…” she burbled from behind the tears “Fuck…” Nina hit the steering wheel again before screaming “FUUUUCK!” With the conviction of a banshee and then all of a sudden the hysteria ceased. Her tears dried, and the calm composure from the drive over crept over her like a cold breeze from an open window…or door, as the passenger side door had never managed to latch on the drive over to…

“Dave’s place” Nina looked around to be certain if her location “Nina, why did you drive to Dave’s house?” She said to herself shooting a look of disapproval at the reflection in the rear view.

Dave’s place had been the initial destination, but after what had just happened she needed comfort, some kind of security. Dave was the last thing she needed. This must’ve been some deep rooted symptom of Stockholm syndrome, a reflex she didn’t know she possessed.

Nina looked up the path at the house, the door was wide open and all the lights had been left on. She knew this was very uncharacteristic of Dave and his housemate Buck, who were strangely prudent about home security. It was the last place she wanted to be but it was the only place she had to go. Nina willed herself out of the car and up the path to the door.

“Dave?” She shouted as she timidly approached the door, hand slowly reaching for her gun undoing the snap.

“Buck?” There was no answer from either as she rounded the door way.

The living room was small, space mostly occupied by a coffee table that was covered with various pull bottles and a large old sectional couch that she’d begged Dave to replace. The space left defined a path along the grey tile floor into the kitchen, but the tiles weren’t grey anymore. There was something dark smeared everywhere. Thicker in some places than others. Looking back over her shoulder she could see it led all the way from the turn to the kitchen back to the front door. Foot prints in heading out to the front yard.

She knew what it was. She’d seen this before. One of those things you see occasionally working as a police officer and don’t quickly neglect to recognize, blood, the floor was covered in blood.

As Nina approached the kitchen she took a deep breath, she’d seen enough blood today.

“Go on three” she thought to herself

1

2

3

Nina turned the corner to the kitchen and in a split second she knew she’d seen enough. Spinning back around and vomiting over the arm of the couch briefly observing it pool into the a dent left in a cushion from over occupancy.

There was barely anything left of whoever’s corpse was in the kitchen and she wasn’t prepared to go back in to more thoroughly investigate.

Nina ran out the front door, leaving it open, and back to the squad car with the dead woman’s face staring lifelessly back at her, street lights beaming through the place where eyes and teeth used to be. She started to cry again.

“Dave…what the fuck are you involved in?”

To be continued…

Chaper 2: Beverly Hills Cop 4

Beverly Hills Cop 4…and Bryce

After the pharmacy Buck and me had mostly both decided to leave the machine alone for a while. It was nearly a couple days past now and my eyes were only just starting to return to some kind of normal colour. Thank Christ whatever that fucking machine had done to me was wearing off .

We hadn’t talked about it, but I think we both grasped that this thing was way beyond our current level of understanding, we’d need to do a lot more work on paper before trying anything like that again. Even the base coordinates to the places we’d safely skipped to and from now retained a certain amount of foreboding. I’d gotten off lucky with bloodshot eyes and having to deal with looking like some sort of demon hipster for a week, but what if it had been something worse like my hands, or, god forbid, my cock! I know it doesn’t get much use, but one day, one day I’d really like to put some miles on the little guy.

There was also that whole business with Nina seeing me that I conveniently hadn’t mentioned to Buck. That woman’s not one who takes being humiliated lightly and I was whole heartedly shocked she hadn’t paid me a visit yet. I just told myself that was a bridge to cross when I arrived at it and went on subscribing to the whole ‘no news is good news’ philosophy.

Why the fuck didn’t we rob a pharmacy in another city?! So fucking stupid!

Thanks to the plethora of pills I’d acquired during the whole debacle I managed to will the thoughts of teleportation to a dark room in the back of my mind and boarded the doors shut with as many intoxicants as I could find. Business as usual!

Buck on the other hand; who doesn’t share my love of the emotionless drug induced abyss that many like us choose to call home, he couldn’t stop thinking about it. He had been certain of those coordinates.

Buck’s the frowniest of Frown Lords on the best of days, sometimes a total Fun Sponge, even The King of Carrot Town! He’s guilty of being a lot of things, but rarely was Buck ever guilty of being wrong. Even after losing the coin toss and having to work on sending us to my preferred location (He wanted to rob the local guitar center), he worked tirelessly crunching numbers to make sure nothing would go wrong, and it still went wrong. He took it personally and continued working on the math. I ignored it, as long as the machine stayed packed up in the closet no one was getting hurt. As far as me and my drugs were concerned, we’d waged war with the futuristic concept of teleportation and although we hadn’t necessarily won, we’d come out relatively unscathed. That was enough for me.

It must’ve been Thursday, or Tuesday…definitely one of the T days, when I was brutally dragged from my peaceful abyss by Buck aggressively kicking the side of the couch I’d adopted as my regular sleeping quarters. I sprung awake, feigning attentiveness.

“Whaa,tunn, gobey wa…?” I mumbled gibberish while visibly confident I was making perfect sense.

“You gotta call Bryce, I need drugs” Buck snapped at me.

Realizing I was still unable to make actual words come out I simply gestured with my arm towards the coffee table and scrunched my eyes up at Buck hoping to communicate the annoyed sentiment of “You woke me up for this? There’s fucking drugs everywhere” . You could barely put a drink down there were so many pill bottles.

“Yeah, Dave – Your drugs. I need uppers to stay awake man, I nearly got this thing figured out. I’m exhausted and I need to fucking focus!” he said with a kind of manic, strung out contempt as he moved around front of the coffee table picking up a bottle.

“Benzo’s…” he threw it at me.

“Pain killers…” he threw that one too while I made a pathetic attempt to shield myself.

“What the fuck is this…?” he read the label of another bottle “…dip…hphe…hydo…”

“Diphenhydramine.” I interrupted, peeking out from behind my forearms.

“Is it gonna keep me up?” he asked.

I shook my head no.

“THEN IT’S NO FUCKING GOOD TO ME!” he pitched the bottle square at my head and hit me right between the eyes.

“AAOW!” I exclaimed.

“Call. Bryce.” Buck said firmly.

I nodded and pulled out my phone. Buck wasn’t wrong; I hadn’t exactly gone shopping for anyone but myself at that pharmacy.

Bryce was a Barback at Tack Liquors, a bar I occasionally worked at when they absolutely had no other person to call in and cover a shift. He wasn’t a drug dealer per se; he was just a party machine always ready to get fucked up at a moments notice. He was super friendly with everyone and always had his pockets full of weird designer drugs and things you couldn’t get from the usual scumbags me and buck would cop shit from. Not only did he always have cocaine that was so good it might as well have been scraped right off of Pablo Escobar’s desk, but he also had a closet full of IV saline bags that he’d hook us up to if we ever had a hangover that Pedialite or more booze couldn’t quite overcome. He was a great guy to know, but you really needed to be in for the long haul if you were gonna call Bryce.

I inhaled deeply , took all of this into account, exhaled, and dialed the phone.

“Hey man, what’s up? Yeah? Tight…tight…you should come over to Bucks and mine. You gotta check out our…” I wasn’t sure what to say to ensure his arrival so I just said the first thing to come into my head “…come check out our…our teleporter?” I definitely phrased it as a question.

Buck glared at me mouthing the words WHAT THE FUCK. I just shrugged my shoulders mouthing I DON’T KNOW back at him as apologetically as possible.

I pulled the phone away from my ear as the sound of Bryce’s voice grew out of the phones tiny speaker “BUUUUUUUDDDDDYYYYYYY!” it sounded like I had a Pauly Shore soundboard running at full volume through my phone. Both of us winced.

Bryce frantically vomited audio of what I can only assume to be a sentence then hung up before I could even say goodbye, 15 minutes later he was sitting in our living room crushing up Adderal under a $100 bill with the TV remote.

Bryce had clearly already been indulging this evening and was talking a mile a minute, faster than either of us follow. We just sort of looked at each other maybe waiting to add something to the conversation but Bryce just talked and talked, switching between subjects the way a teenager would flip between radio stations on a boring road trip. I popped a Xanax and tossed the bottle to Buck.

I was walking to the kitchen to make myself a drink when Bryce paused and drew breath before jumping to his feet and snatching a DVD from one of the end tables.

“Buddy, Buddy, Budddyyyyy! Where. The fuck. Did you guys get this?!” he exclaimed, holding up a BlueRay copy of Eddie Murphy’s Beverly Hills Cop IV, a movie that to my knowledge didn’t actually exist. “It’s gotta be fake? Riiight? “

I turned around looking at Buck curiously

“Yeahhh Buck, where did we get that? That not actually being a real thing or anything”

Buck was a pretty matter of fact when it came to being questioned. He never usually had anything to hide, but he danced around my question like Floyd Mayweather.

This was the kind of curio that would appear in our home after one of my benders and I’d just shrug off as being an amusing symptom of my delinquency. This wasn’t the kind of thing that makes its way onto the coffee table at the hands of Buck. He’s not incredibly artsy either, so I knew he Wouldn’t have mocked it up for a goof. I was getting suspicious and pushing for answers.

“Look, I knew you’d get all fucking over dramatic about the whole thing” he said “I knew you’d make a big deal and, Dave it’s just way over the top. So I just went ahead without you”

“What are you saying Buck?” my brain was reallllllllly struggling to keep up “wait…” there it goes “… YOU USED THE TELEPORTER!!” I stamped my foot on the ground spilling some of my drink “We said we weren’t going to use it until we knew what the fuck we were doing! And how does that have anything to do with Eddie fucking Murphy!?”

“Everything you turd!” Buck retorted “It works Dave! It fucking works, and it’s not just North Korea or South America, this thing can go, I dunno how to put it…beyond that.”

As we lay into each other over deception vs progress we all but forgot that Bryce was standing there staring at us while we divulged secret after secret in the form of petty argument. He looked down at Beverly Hills Cop IV then back up at us. “wait, wait, wait…” we stopped yelling at each other and looked at him “…you guys actually have a teleporter?” we both looked at each other, then back at Bryce.

“look man, it’s complicated…” Buck said dismissively.

“yeah, it might even be dangerous” I added.

“Shut up Dave, you’re being a pussy!” Buck quipped at me.

“Don’t use pussy as a pejorative Buck!” I snapped back at him. Luckily Bryce interrupted Buck before he could escalate our squabbling any further.

“Buddy, no. Fucking. Way. You gotta let me try it” he looked back and fourth at both of us while we stood in silence until Buck finally said “…ok, lets do it!”

“Buck, no!” I protested, “This is human testing man. Remember that summer I was vegan? I still believe all that shit man. You don’t test weird shit on animals or humans! It’s like…” I struggled through my cloudy mind to come up with a viable argument “…turtles Buck! This is why we cut plastic rings on six packs! Turtles…”

“Nothing you just said makes any sense man. Less sense than usual actually. Are you sure you’re ok?” He gave me a look of genuine concern, I guess I might’ve been more than a little out of it “…look, he wants to. Let him,” Buck blew me off as he went to the cupboard to pull out all the wires and boxes that made up the machine while Bryce bounced up and down like a kid waiting in line to see Santa.

Buck didn’t really know Bryce that well. It was one of those “that’s your friend” kind of situations. I knew Buck, and I could tell that he saw Bryce’s excitement and willful participation as an excuse to test out the machine on someone other than himself. Let me be clear though. Neither of us were actually that concerned for his safety. We’re not the nice st of people. I just didn’t think any of this could happen…

Sorry I got ahead of myself

I threw my arms up “Fine Bryce, your funeral man, don’t complain to me when you come back missing…” The pile of powder Bryce had made on the table distracted me and i snorted a line quickly before quietly finishing “…all your drugs”. I exhaled in a haze and sunk into the couch, pouting as I examined the back cover of Beverly Hills Cop IV while Buck went about explaining the machine to Bryce.

It credited the entire leading cast of the original 2 movies as appearing and even touted Oscar nods for Best Action and Best Comedy. What the fuck was this thing? I popped in the disk expecting to, on the better end of my assumptions, get Rick Rolled (a harmless internet game where you trick people into listening to the Rick Astley classic “Never Gonna Give”), and at the other end of my assumptions hung flash backs to Mr Hands and Two Girls/One Cup. I shuddered and prayed silently for the former.

The movie opened with that familiar old “Axel F” theme that’s synonymous with the franchise. Eddie Murphy’s name flashed on the screen and then there he was, the real Eddie Murphy as fast talking Detroit detective Axel Foley.

Judge Reinhold was right there with him looking decidedly less like Billy Rosewood than Eddie Looked like Axel. I guess time can’t be kind to all of us.

“What the fuck is this?” Just kept repeating in my head over and over. I pulled out my phone and tapped the title of the film into the search bar. All that came back were rumors of a film in pre production hell, one that would, at best, maybe get turned into a straight to DVD release of a film bearing the name of the franchise, but none of the talent.

Behind me Buck was Duct taping a cellphone to Bryce’s chest with the camera facing forward. It was dialed into a video call showing on a tablet that was propped up on the kitchen table. “I’m just sending you to Symphony Park. You know that little playing field near the outlets. Then I’m bringing you back” I heard buck say “I just have to put in your height and weight here…”

“this is fucking stupid and I want to make it known that I’m whole heartedly against it” I called blindly into the kitchen.

“Buddy! It’s gonna be fine” Bryce giggled back at me before excitedly asking “Buck, can you send me to Burning Man?”

“No Bryce.” That discussion was over.

As buck clicked away at they keypad I became more and more concerned with the existence of this movie. I was as happy as the next guy to finally see some big movie studio deal a deathblow to one of histories last credible action trilogies, but this shouldn’t exist. I started really trying to focus; the pills were making my thoughts fuzzy. It was getting harder and harder to keep things in order.

“If this doesn’t exist…” I thought. “…Then where did buck to get it”. I was making progress on turning the feeling in the pit of my stomach into cognitive thought.

“…But it does exist. It’s right here” nearly there. Nearly… “And Buck went, beyond that…HOLY SHIT!”

To this Day the above reigns as the hardest game of putting 2 and 2 together I’ve ever played.

I leapt to my feet and tried to tell buck to stop but it was too late. POP! Bryce was gone.

I dove across the room to look at the screen on the tablet. All I could see was the clouds. He had to be lying on his back; not every landing was entirely smooth.

“Bryce!?” I yelled at the screen “can you hear me? Are you ok?” there was no response.

“BRYCE!” Buck barked at the screen but still nothing.

We both waited. I was holding my breath until…

“heh heh heh budddyyyyy! I’m good!”

My whole insides dropped with relief, but I was still terrified. In the opening credits of the movie I’d put together what buck had meant. This wasn’t just a machine that could send you anywhere on earth, this machine could send us much further than that…where movie studios apparently have enough Fuck-You money to keep churning out bombs like the garbage fire of a movie was playing on the television.

I know I’d only just gotten through the opening sequence here, but I’ve gone back and watched it since all this happened. It’s fucking atrocious. Apparently it’s from a world with much lower standards. Oscar nod for Best comedy? What the fuck was it up against? Home Alone 6: Marv’s Revenge? Gimme a break.

“Byrce, man, tell me what you see” I said,

“He see’s symphony park, Dave. Look, there’s the colour wall. There’s the highway…”

“Guy’s, why’s it so dark? I thought they’d have the lights on at night?” Bryce’s voice crackled through the speakers.

He was starting to move about. As the camera wobbled from side to side I caught glimpses of the buildings around the park, they were all dark. Their windows were boarded up or were just left smashed in. it was definitely Symphony Park, just not like I’d ever seen it.

“Buck, I don’t like this, bring him back.” I said

“Relax, it’s Halloween, that’s all decoration, you barely even saw…” Bryce cut him off.

“Guys. Hey guys, there’s someone here. I, I think it’s a little kid” the signal was getting weak. We could hear Bryce’s voice but it was marred in static.

The camera swung to the left, it flickered intermittently, but we could definitely make out a shape. Buck leaned in close to the screen then looked back at me.

“He’s right! There’s a kid there,” he said.

“Let me fucking see!” I pushed Buck out of the way to get a better look at the screen and he was right. About 20 feet in front of Bryce stood a little boy. He was about 3 and a half feet tall. His head hung low obscuring his face showing us only his short white-blonde hair. He wore red sweat pants and an oversized blue sweatshirt with arms that hung lower than his hands. He was swaying from side to side, slowly shuffling his way towards Bryce.

“It’s ok buddy, come’ere” I could see Bryce’s hand motioning for the boy to come closer “…he looks scared you guys. I’m not gonna hurt ya buddy. Come’ere”

I leaned in even closer looking at the kid. Was that even a kid? It had the shape of one, but those weren’t the movements of a person. Were they? All of his clothes looked stained and muddy. I thought that maybe he was one of the tunnel people who live in the sewers under Las Vegas. The smell would give it away.

“Bryce? Can you smell him?” I asked, genuinely thinking I was asking a valid question, but clearly I’d given the wheel to the pills for a brief moment.

“Jesus man, we’ve talked about this…” Buck was swatting me away from the screen “…first you think, then you speak. It’s not that fucking hard.” He turned his attention to the static on the tablet screen.

“Bryce? If you can hear me, I’m gonna bring you back. Ok?”

We sat waiting for some sort of confirmation that he’d heard us when the picture clicked back in and…the kid, the kid was down on all fours. He’d assumed a sort of defensive tackle position.

“Buddy I don’t like this, bring me back” Bryce said.

He started backing up, away from the boy when like a rocket it lunged forward, galloping on all fours towards Bryce.

“BRINGHIMBACKBRINGHIMBACKBRINGHIMBACK!” I shrieked at Buck as he fumbled clumsily with the controller, so startled he couldn’t make his thumbs press right button until…

POP! Bryce burst back into the kitchen with a flurry of limbs and screams knocking both me and Buck to the floor in the confusion. Most of the landings are smooth. You’ll wind up a couple inches of the ground, I’ve landed on my ass a couple times, but this was explosive. Bryce and the kid flew across the room smashing into the kitchen cabinets.

The little snot was perched on Bryce’s chest thrashing its arms and gnawing at Bryce’s throat.

We looked on in petrified awe as Bryce thrashed around on his back trying to push it off of his chest. There was a thick black ooze pouring out of the kid all over Him. There was screaming. A lot of loud loud screaming.

I ran in to pull him off of Bryce but the second my hands touched it I was swatted away and sent flying through the air back into the dining room.

Buck tried to help and met the same fate. Both of us had taken hard hits, way to hard to have been hit by a mere child.

It was very quickly made clear to us when we looked back over at it that it was not just s mere child, it have never been a child.

Both his arms were waving as though they had no bones. Impossible elbows bent backwards while they stretched and recoiled.

It was then i notice that the liquid wasn’t pouring at all, it was crawling. It was alive, moving with purpose, and that purpose at present was apparently killing my drug dealer…sorry ,“party facilitator”.

Looking down at Bryce I saw that the kids entire lower half had become a gelatinous blob that was now surrounding most of Bryce’s torso.

The part of the kid that was a mouth fell slack and melted as it made a sounded like someone had shot pressurized air through 500 rain sticks all at once or grabbed entirely too many rattlesnakes all at once.

“Oh fuck this.” Buck said to no one in particular as he dragged himself off the floor and into the darkness of his room, seconds later he reemerged toting a double barrel shotgun pointed straight at the insect. Pretty badass, right?

Buck and me, as two very stoned men in their early 30’s in possession of a Teleporter had grown quite fond of home security. I’d spent a lot of the past few months crafting melee weapons and scattering them around the house. Buck on the other hand went full on Rambo and bought a giant shotgun. I’d nearly pissed myself laughing when he brought the thing home. It was nearly as big as him! Despite all my paranoia of someone coming to aggressively retain possession of the machine, I was pretty fucking certain Buck would never have to use that big fuck-off shot gun. I reminded myself to start taking my paranoia more seriously.

Buck marched to the center of the kitchen and bellowed “HEY FUCKER!” at the creature but it payed no attention and continued mutilating Bryce.

He took aim and with one more split second before pulling the trigger, Buck stepped in the pooling blood that neither of us had noticed covering our kitchen floor. A dark river of red was pouring out of Bryce. Poor Bryce. He just wanted to party. Now he was a wriggling mess of leaking body parts under some kind of possibly inter dimensional!blob monster.

Buck’s legs went out from under him and he flew into the air before crashing down on his back. The butt of the shotgun hit the tile and inadvertently went off in a deafening explosion. It blew a hole in the ceiling above buck painting him in white dust. Buck winced and heaved trying to get breath back into his lungs. Those things were really not meant for inside use.

I couldn’t hear anything but the ringing in my ears from the shotgun blast. The creature was reducing Bryce to liquid, as the seconds went by less and less of him became recognizable as human.

With one last wet crunch whatever was left of Bryce Popped like a meat balloon sending a crimson mist of blood across my face before it sprung up, in a motion that completely defied the physics of what one might assume a life form such as this would be capable of. You know…if you’ve ever seen something like this(I’ve attached contact info, because if you have, me and buck need to talk to you). It attached itself to one of the upper cabinets then launched it’s self through the window and out into the desert night.

What was left of Bryce bore no resemblance to the kid I knew. It was just some skin with no head. Like someone had cut him in half then hollowed him out. I think his spleen or kidney was left, I’m not sure. I don’t know much about the internal organs of a human. I don’t even know why I’d try to speculate?

The ringing started to dissipate and I went over to tend to Buck. Slip-sliding in the blood trying to get to him. I tried to take the shotgun but couldn’t get a grip on it. Everything was slick with blood. Buck just stared me dead in the eyes with a look I’d never seen before. I imagine I had the same look on my own face. It was pure, unbridled fear.

“Buck! Buck!” I yelled but everything was a mess of echos “we need to get the fuck out of here man.”

To be continued…

Chapter 1: The Pharmacy

Chapter 1: The Pharmacy

One moment, it was just an empty pharmacy at 3am. Quiet as a cemetery and just as fucking lonely. Streetlight crept in through the closed shutters and the only things that ever moved were the shadows when cars piloted by probably too-drunk-to-drive bar patrons would pass by.

One moment it was just an empty pharmacy at 3am and then, a fraction of a second later there was me.

Hi! I’m Dave and I am an alcoholic…Sorry, I’ve had to say that so many times It just winds up slipping out whenever I introduce myself anymore.

So there I stood in all my monochromatic thrift adorned majesty casually smoking a cigarette behind the counter like I’d been standing there the whole time. It happened so fast that your brain would probably add a comedic POP! Sound effect every time you tried to remember seeing it happen. It’s that sudden.

You’re probably wondering what exactly is happening here. Your internal monologue is crying out “Why! Why on earth did Dave just appear out of complete thin air behind the register at a clearly shuttered and empty pill boutique?”

Why? Well because this is what happens when you give a machine capable of teleportation to two highly functioning degenerates.

Yes, you heard me. We have a Teleporter. We have the means for instant transportation of a human being to anywhere on the planet…sort of.

My phone buzzed. It was Buck, My housemate. He’s generally the one who runs the Machine and the only other person who knows about it besides me. He pushes the buttons. I call him The Pusher.

I’ve known Buck forever, we were drawn together through my desperate delinquent need to consume alcohol and his ability to buy beer due to him being he only person in our social group who happened to be over 21 at the time. Buck was also in this ripper band that, while I have a forum to bring it up, were genuinely before their time and the fact that I’m not currently suckling from the swollen tit of bucks Success and fame both shocks and upsets me.

“Did it work?” the screen read.

I looked around the room and let an uncontrollable grin etch its way onto my face and replied, “Dude… yes, yes it fucking worked.”

I was excited, and deservedly so. This was a big win for us, and I think both of us were in need of a win at this point. See, we don’t actually know how this fucking Teleport thing works. That’s the hilarious karmic irony of us having this machine. It’s possesses the ability to take me anywhere I want, whenever I want…as long as we read the instructions. Trouble is, we didn’t actually get any instructions. All we got was a series of numbers and a few locations frantically scribbled on the back of an envelope during the final breaths of a speed freak we found quietly bleeding out in the alley behind our apartment.

This posed a real problem. It’s nice knowing that you can get to Moscow or North Korea whenever you please, it’s something Buck and me have really taken advantage of since this thing fell into our laps. We’ve even got the coordinates to a Place in Columbia where I was able to use enough kitchen Spanish to talk my way into a relationship with a woman who vends generic Quaaludes. Quaaludes in two thousand fucking nineteen! What a time to be alive! Trouble is, once you get a taste of all that you want more. You can see the possibilities this thing could afford you if only you knew how it worked. We’ve been doing a little experimenting on paper and this particular excursion was the first set of coordinates we’d managed to work out all by ourselves. Well, Buck did mostly all of the math. I would’ve helped but this was all happening around the same time my on again off again girlfriend left me…again, after deciding I’d made her feel morally compromised. A whole thing about her being a police officer while also being in a romantic relationship with someone who…well, someone whose first thought upon obtaining a device capable of teleportation is to rob a pharmacy. I was preoccupied by gin while buck was working out the math. Whatever. This was a win.

The phone buzzed again and my screen read “10”. That meant I had 10 minutes to stuff as many pills into my bag before he pressed the button and brought me back to my comfy living room with enough drugs to make sure I would never have to deal with allergies ever again!

You didn’t think this was just about getting high did you? Shame!

I’d like to say that I went about looting those shelves with expert precision and the stealth of a ninja, but I didn’t. I pressed play on my “work-out” playlist and the headphones in my ears boomed with introductory horn blasts of Gloria Estefan’s 1985 smash hit Conga and took to dancing about the place like a delirious man possessed by the spirit of salsa (yes, I know that technically Conga was by The Miami Sound Machine, but technically Gloria Estefan was The Miami Sound Machine!)!

I’d begun emptying whole shelves into my bag without even checking what they were. I was drop kicking bulk sized bottles of pills I knew I had no interest in while at the same time trying to catch mouthfuls of the ones I loved as I sent them flying into the air. I was in narcotic heaven.

In retrospect I probably could’ve shown a little restraint, but this is the curse of the Teleporter, a life without consequence. Hypothetically we could run up $1000 tabs at the cities best restaurants and as long as we knew how to set the machine, we’d blink out of existence and anyone present would be left with no way to explain where the two heathen’s drinking Dom from the bottle had suddenly vanished to. I wasn’t thinking about getting caught because as Conga drew to a close all I could think was that I had 5 minutes and 44 seconds left to steal more drugs.

No consequences was the reason that after I did an 180 degree spin move in the throws of the techno intro to another Estafan classic, Turn The Beat Around, I didn’t immediately shit myself at the sight of four police officers pointing their guns at me demanding I get down on the ground with my hands behind my head. Instead I just smiled at the police and let a long drawn out “hiiiiiiiiii” escape from somewhere within me that lacked the fear of being shot to pieces.

I did get a feeling similar to that of shitting ones self when I noticed that one of the officers was my now ex-girlfriend Nina. It was dark enough and I was under my hood enough to where she hadn’t recognized me yet, though her persistent orders of “get on the ground you piece of shit” made it seem a lot like we were still living together at the house.

I figured that as long as I didn’t do anything that might be construed as threatening and kept hold of my bag all I’d have to do is keep the cops at bay for a minute or two and buck would have me home, leaving Nina to explain to her superiors how The Pharmacy Bandit vanished without a trace as they were shoving him into the back of a squad car.

I slung my bag over my shoulder hearing the last few seconds of Turn The Beat Around ebb away knowing that it was a matter of seconds before I’d be out of this predicament.

Nina hopped the counter and started coming towards me, gun drawn in one hand, cuffs in the other. I turned around so she couldn’t see my face, putting my arms out behind me allowing her to cuff me with ease. This really was starting to feel like old times.

A mental countdown started in my head as she approached.

5 – One cuff goes on

4 – and the next one. She hasn’t taken off my bag. There is now a pharmacies worth of drugs literally hand cuffed to my person.

3 – I start to think that getting out of these cuffs back home might actually be somewhat of a hassle. I wonder if Buck still has those bolt cutters in the garage at home…or does CJ still have those?

2 – She’s reading me my rights and I have a frivolous thought about whether or not she’s going to be able to finish before I’m gone.

1 – who gives a shit? I’m about to be higher than horse pussy!

0 – …

“…and if you are unable to afford an attorney one will be provided to you by the state…” my body gets that tingling feeling and it feels like my eyes are sweating. I snap my head around and make eye contact with Nina who is pointing her gun at my face.

“Dave!?” she yells with surprise.

“You know this asshole?” one of the other officers asks, but it sounds like it’s far away, like he’s saying it in another room and the plasterboard is cheap.

“Zero” I mutter. As if saying the number again will make whatever didn’t work start working but it’s no good. Panic is setting in and everything looks like I’m staring at it through a telescope. It’s all so far away.

“Will you ever stop being such a fucking embarrassment!?” I think I hear Nina say before my heart starts to beat out of my chest and it all goes black as I faint into a crumpled heap on the floor.

Back at home Buck was entering a similar state of panic, though scorned lovers were the furthest things from his mind. He was frantically trying to make sense of the long meaningless string of numbers and letters the screen on the Teleporter has started displaying when he pressed the button to bring me back.

It was nearly 2 minutes passed the mark; he knew something had to have gone wrong, but how could it? He entered numbers just like we always did. The only difference was that this time it was our numbers, not the ones the dying guy in the alley had given us.

Buck mashed every possible button on the console and got nothing, the machine was unresponsive and apparently in free fall. Just as he was about to reach for his phone to call me and apologize for the delay it all stopped. The screen turned dark and just flashed the words “REBOOT NEEDED”.

Buck quickly made work of unplugging the four power cables necessary to run the machine in hopes of bringing it back to normal upon the restart. As he unplugged and then re-plugged the last cable the machine beeped it’s two beeps and once again displayed its usual T:/ prompt on the screen. Buck immediately pressed the return button but instead of bringing me back it just screeched like an ensemble of faulty 56k dial up modems “FUCKING C’MON!” Buck growled at the device and as he hammered his fist down onto the table in frustration the noise ceased and Buck pressed the button again.

Back at the pharmacy I was regaining consciousness. I’d been propped up against the counter with my legs straight out in front of me, my hands still cuffed behind my back. All of the police officers had stepped outside leaving me alone. I tried to stand but as I attempted to get my feet under me a pain shot through my head, like it was coming from the center of my brain. I suddenly felt like my whole body was being pulled in every direction by a force that seemed like it could, if it wanted, rip me in two.

I screamed out, the pain was almost unbearable. The pulling switched up and then felt like a push, like I was being crushed. My screaming got Nina’s attention and she began to make her way back inside to check on me. She peered over the counter and saw me writhing on the floor.

I glared up at her, eyes bulging out of my head, trying to say words but no words could make it past the feeling of simultaneously being crushed and torn apart. I felt a cracking, or a tearing somewhere behind my eyes and the world took on a crimson hue. Nina’s expression twisted with confusion, she had no idea what was happening and was as fearful as she was skeptical.

“I don’t know what’s happening Dave, I need you to…” POP! I was gone.

I appeared about 3 feet off the ground in the middle of the kitchen and let gravity pull me down with a thud onto my ass.

“ohhhh, fuck! ohhhhhhh Fuck!” I whined, “What the fuck happened man?” I was trying to get to my feet but my hands were still cuffed behind my back.

“I don’t know man, everything was fine then the machine just went crazy. Why the fuck are you in handcuffs?” Buck aided me in sitting up but backed up in shock as his eyes met mine “Whoa!” he said.

“What?” I asked, “What’s wrong? Not my face!? That thing better not’ve made me ugly man!”

“No dude, it’s your eyes…look” Buck grabbed his phone and held the black screen up to my face and showed me. Both of my eyes were completely red. Not a hint of white remained in either of them. I looked like some sort of other worldly demon, but one who really knew how to put an outfit together.

I shook my head and said, “Ok, that was fun, lets never do that again”.

To be continued…