Previously on the latest tale of Cassidy & Lloyd.
(If you want, buy their previous rampages for $2 by clicking on the covers below.)
Cover by Jon Hunsinger
Cover by Jon Hunsinger
“Too much apple juice,” Lloyd mutters, rolling out of bed. Scratching his head, he trudges to the bathroom with his eyes barely open. “Light too bright. Rude to wake others. Toilet here, so aim for there. Hear water and all is good. Did I close the door? Too late now. Soap and water is what separates us from animals. Now, back to-”
Standing in the doorway, Lloyd’s eyes finishing getting used to the darkness and lock on Barry’s empty bed. Sneaking across the room, he finds that the sheets are neat and smell like they are freshly cleaned. He feels his foot touch something on the floor and kneels down to find a broken syringe. Not wanting to touch the small puddle and broken glass, he moves away and searches for more clues. Barry’s chart is still in the sleeve at the end of the bed, but there is a stamp on the folder. Holding it up to the moonlight, Lloyd tries to make out the picture that is either a thumb or a turkey. He tosses the file on the bed since it is too dark to read and he already knows that the penmanship is illegible.
Instead of going back to bed, Lloyd returns to the bathroom and takes off the toilet tank cover. Pulling the chain out, he wraps it around his hand before skipping out and slipping into the hallway. Looking both ways as if he is about to cross a street, he frowns at the lack of activity. Tiptoeing to the next room, the serial killer presses his ear to the door, which opens a crack. A single bed is surrounded by machines, the figure inside sitting up and mumbling incoherently. Not wanting to intrude on what is obviously a private conversation, Lloyd heads for a large window that shows a room with six naked women strapped to their beds. He is about to enter and see if they need rescuing when two of them begin screaming, their calls answered from next door. Checking their neighbors, he finds an identical set up, but with naked men and strange devices with nozzles hanging from the ceiling.
Wanting some answers, Lloyd runs backwards until he comes to a corner and stops when he sees the front desk. There is nobody in the lobby and the automatic doors are held tight by chains that are wrapped in barbed wire. Walking behind the desk, the serial killer rummages through the files until he comes across one that he can read. It is nothing more than a declaration of intent, but the hospital’s goals are aimed more toward wild experimentation than curing diseases. He does not find anything about medicines until the third page, but it is nothing more than a single line that comes off as an afterthought. Tossing the file back into the pile, Lloyd sits on a squeaky chair and stares at the fish tank that is across from him. It is a reflection in the glass that catches his eye and he ducks under the desk before the two nurses step around the corner. Wearing masks, the only way to tell the two men apart is that one has a forty-seven on his back and the other has a fifteen.
“Trevor really needs to get the guy under control,” Forty-seven says while checking the front doors. Returning to the desk, he leans on the counter and accidentally knocks over a cup of pens. “Sorry about that. I’ll clean it up when my shift starts in an hour. Not like anything happens over here. What do you do when you get the lobby after hours?”
“I usually take a nap,” Fifteen answers as he settles into the squeaky chair. Opening a drawer, he drops an elevator key inside and puts his feet up on the desk. “The fish can be oddly mesmerizing. Probably not a good idea to do that tonight since Trevor and the founder are both here. Not sure why they’re so interested in that guy since he was only in here for eating rotten food and not drinking for five days. They said something about a control, but I don’t get treated well enough to care. Hey, I’m going to cycle through the video feeds. Are any of the new arrivals worth spying on?”
“Not really, so you might as well stick to the milking rooms,” the other man replies with a grin. Ready to continue his patrol, he stops at the corner and leans back to grab a flashlight off a charger. “I’m going to do a sweep of this floor and then come back. The loons on the second and the vegetables on the third aren’t worth checking right now. Besides, it isn’t like either of us can do anything to help them. Leave that to the dayworkers who actually care about all of these losers. Keep the seat warm for me.”
“Like you did for me two nights ago?”
“I told you not to buy me anything with spinach.”
“Maybe you should see the doctor, Forty-seven.”
“Maybe you should shut the fuck up, Fifteen.”
With a laugh, the man goes down the hallway while the other nurse stretches for the remote to the surveillance cameras. Catching it with his fingers, his chair tips backwards and threatens to go out from underneath him. Fifteen curses when the remote falls to the floor and the batteries pop out. Before he can move, Lloyd lunges out from under the desk and drives a pen into the man’s stomach. The chair topples over and the solid impact knocks the wind out of the nurse, preventing him from screaming. Not wanting to risk an outburst, the serial killer puts his foot over his victim’s mouth and delivers three more stabs. The pen breaks during the struggle, which ends with Lloyd stomping on Fifteen’s throat. All he can do is gurgle and cough, his hands clutching at his punctured stomach.
“Make a wish,” the serial killer whispers before snapping the nurse’s neck. He is about to strip the body when he touches the blood-soaked shirt. “That’s why I took the chain. Well, first time isn’t always the charm. I’ll just stuff the body here, put this hand over here, and the other hand over there. Now, it looks more like a perverse fetish gone wrong than a casual, run-of-the-mill murder. Just going to borrow this elevator key and go hunt down monkey number two. I do so hope his neck is thin and choke-able.”
Unwrapping the chain, Lloyd takes a peek around the corner to see how far Forty-seven has gone. The man is still standing at the window to the room with naked women, but he switches to the one with the men every few minutes. Swinging a thin baton, the nurse continues on his way and whistles loud enough to stir some of the patients. Removing his gown and putting the key in his mouth, Lloyd crosses the hallway to stick to the shadows. He silently moves from one patch of darkness to the other, but doubts that they give him much coverage. Silently closing in on his target, the serial killer uncoils enough of the chain to use it like a garrote. When his victim stops to check another room, Lloyd strikes and gets his makeshift weapon around the nurse’s neck. A firm yank takes Forty-seven to the ground, the rough links digging into his flesh as he struggles to get free. With a twist, the serial killer crushes the man’s windpipe and drags him back to the desk while he suffocates. Stripping the helpless body, Lloyd puts it with Fifteen and arranges them in the weirdest position he can think of.
“Damn, the shirt is a little too big,” he says while he gets dressed. Heading for the elevator, he swipes the card and ducks into the car. “This is only recon. No killing . . . any more. Unless I find an easy target or someone I don’t like. You know, I’ll just play it by ear. Off to the basement of the hospital, which never goes wrong. Not like there are movies, books, video games, and television shows that involve a creepy basement or hospital or both. At least the mask doesn’t have much drool in it.”
The elevator moves before Lloyd can hit a button, so he stays against the wall and watches the floor numbers change. His heart stutters when he goes by the basement level, the display only showing a plus sign. There is nothing on the floor for him to use as a weapon, so he does his best to remain calm. Thoughts of being cornered threaten to stir his bloodlust and he moves to a corner in case he has to attack. Lloyd cracks his knuckles as the doors open and is about to casually walk out of the elevator when Trevor steps inside. The two men stare at each other, neither expecting such an encounter or knowing what to do next. A blood-dripping gurney is pushed between them and the administrator removes the sheet to reveal Barry’s body. Lloyd tries not to stare at the dead man’s skull, which has been opened to remove the brain.
“I thought you were patrolling the upper floors,” Trevor says, moving his stuffed parrot to the gurney. Noticing some blood on his hand, he wipes it clean on Barry’s gown. “Things are quiet tonight, so I assume you finished. Would be a shame if you shirked your duties and let your curiosity get the best of you. Only myself and the doctors have that luxury. So, what’s your reason for coming down here?”
“Thought I forgot my flashlight, but it was in the elevator. The doors closed on me and you brought me down before I could get out,” Lloyd replies in a deep voice. Touching his shirt, he feels the embroidered name and curses in his mind at his mistake. “I managed to check the first floor and nothing strange is going on. Honestly, the loons scare me and the vegetables never cause trouble. I’ll finish my rounds once we get back up. Do you need me to help with this once I’m done?”
“Ambition is an ugly trait from those who don’t know their limits,” the administrator states, disdain dripping from his words. He pulls out a comb to fix his hair and get rid of a few flecks of bone. “We got what we need, so there’s no reason to be cautious. I’ll toss this meat into the basement incinerator. By the way, I don’t see a flashlight in your hand. Lie to me again or avoid your duties and I will hand you over to our founder. He’ll find something useful to do with an idiot like you.”
Getting closer to the gurney, Lloyd bows his head in apology. “I’m really sorry about that, but Fifteen said it was okay. He’s supposed to be covering me since nobody ever comes to the front desk. You know, we might work harder if you were nicer. Maybe put a gumball machine in the lobby or let us watch movies instead of the surveillance cameras. It isn’t like people can get into the building at night.”
“Shut up and know your place.”
“You know what my favorite food is?”
“Should I care?”
Lloyd yanks a loose bar out of the gurney, its rough edge cutting Trevor’s knees as the legs fold. The administrator nearly rips his shirt in an attempt to get at his concealed handgun, but he is not fast enough to draw. With a quick flick of the metal rod, the serial killer stuns the other man and sends him against the doors. Reaching the basement, the elevator opens at the same time that Lloyd drives his weapon into Trevor’s chest. Both of them start to fall to the ground, but the grinning psychopath jumps and kicks his legs at the gurney. He pushes off and uses the extra force to push the bar completely through his victim, delivering a final twist because he feels it is more dramatic.
“Missed the heart, but you’re not going to put up much of a fight, Doctor . . . I don’t think I can use any of those without being sued,” Lloyd says as he uses his foot to move the gurney in the way of the doors. Satisfied that the elevator will not close, he grabs Trevor by the arm and drags him along. “This is going to sound crazy, but I’ve never done the cliché incinerator thing before. I was always more of a turkey dinner type of killer with the carving and telling the family why I hate them. Should probably put all the other bodies in there too. Is there an occupancy limit to an incinerator? Come on, Doctor Dumbass, I’m in foreign territory here. A little help from one psychopath to another would be appreciated. Oh . . . I guess I did get the heart. Well, that’s embarrassing.”