erefore, I feel that we've wasted wh

The radio crackles to life again.

You awake immediately at the sound of it, the faint whisper of a woman's voice interspersed with unintelligible static. The frequency on the handheld can't be identified, and you're certain if you tried to change it, she would return. She always does.


Sliding to the side of the bed, you stare dead-eyed at the device atop the dusty motel table as it recites an address.

"Lamberson. Lamberson. 2839 Lamberson Avenue."

It's going to keep saying that line over and over and over until you respond, no matter how long you wait. And you have waited before, for a long time, clutching that radio in your sweaty hand for hours on the porch of an old house you hated.

"2839. 2839. 2839."

But now that house isn't yours anymore, is it? No, your bed is 15 dollars a night. Your walls are cheap green wallpaper; your home smells of death with complementary breakfast and color TV.

"Lamberson Avenue. Avenue."

Go on. You're already upright, getting on some ratty clothes before sliding on those crummy old boots. Who's going to stop you? They're long gone.

"Avenue. 2839 Lamberson Avenue."

You may as well button up the remains of your police coat. The puddles in the potholes suggest rain.

Take your gun as well. It's already loaded. You count the bullets meticulously in anticipation of the next day.

But not the cap. Not the badge. They don't belong to you.

"Avenue. Avenue. Avenue."

You look back at the room before you head out the door. Most of your earthly possessions are already on your person— besides some other change of clothes that you don't wear, you're leaving nothing behind. I doubt you'll be coming back to turn in your key.

The radio becomes quiet again. It clips into your shirt pocket and fits snugly like your old radio. This newer one resembles what you had in every way. In fact, it even has the marks where your dog would chew. But you know they are not the same. Maybe in the weight of it, the texture, an infinitesimally small difference you can somehow make out but not identify.

It's something else now.

You walk across the lot to your car. The black Caprice and your pistol are probably the only two things you keep in any reasonable quality. Both are almost as old as you are. Although, you do recall getting the grip changed on your Model 39 not too long before your son was born. Actually, it may have been the day of.

The car door comes open with a minor creak, and the seat cushions you as it should from years of long nights driving. The engine has no issue coming alive with a sound you've learned to tune out. Apply some pressure to the pedal, and you're already on the road.

You consider turning on the car's stereo, but you're afraid of hearing the woman's voice again. The sound of rain would be less disturbing. It's not much more than a drizzle, and you're suddenly reminded of times spent running in a similar storm with a woman you knew.

A scar begins to throb with pain.

Muttering 'Lamberson' to yourself doesn't make it any easier to find it, but you've resolved to avoid making another mistake when it comes to these addresses. Too much time wasted means missing the opportunity the radio is offering.

The simple wooden sign is marked clearly with the avenue you're looking for. Turning down a more rudimentary dirt path causes an uncomfortable sound from your car, but you elect to ignore it.



The scar along your emaciated neck starts to sting.



There isn't much of a building behind the fence, and you can push aside the gate easily enough. The abandoned structure reminds you of old manors you used to drag squatters from. You emerge from your car and make sure to lock it. The pistol comes out of its holster, but you make a note to refurbish the leather later.

A flashlight is unnecessary. Right now, your eyes see more clearly than they have in years- maybe your entire life, barring times like this, the time before.

The emotion isn't excitement. You know it's something worse, that fetish that reared its ugly head when you first beat down some vagrant in a Los Angeles alleyway. The feeling is made more enthralling by the fact that sometimes these things fight back. Your trigger finger begins to twitch. The safety is off.

Movement. Not the corner of your eye, thankfully, but not too far in front of you from beneath a collapsed wall. A blackened limb emerges, the end of which is adorned with horns that drag across the forest floor. Another rises, and the two many-jointed legs pound the soil, scattering soggy autumn detritus across the ground.

It's trying to pull itself out, you imagine. Shooting now means a wound, not a kill, and even then, you want to get a good look at it in the moonlight. The creature makes a cry that sounds something like a bull before it dies— although you try not to recall your time on the farm.

Rubble shifts as an asymmetrical shape breaks out with a drawn-out huff, followed by the wheezing of many mouths. The night sky illuminates a form that could've been a moose if you were looking from further away, but up close, the number of antlers and lack of eyes is a clear indication of its nature.

It bleats twice, the throat of the thing undulating unnaturally. Its jaws slowly close as a featureless, worm-like head turns to face you. Even its massive size doesn't make it look any less pathetic as it tries to intimidate by stomping the earth. It moves like a group of contortionists inside tangled bedsheets.

Its fullness is revealed by the flash of gunfire, three shots exposing the black fur and hollow sockets along the skin. It howls this time, possibly forgetting the proper sound before it collapses with a thud softened by shed leaves.

You don't know where they come from or what they are. You assume other worlds, but you really can't care. The thrill, though, the thrill swells inside your belly and rises in your throat. It's warmer than any drug you've ever swiped from a suspect.

And the radio crackles to life again.

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