The Hidden: Chapter 1
Tap. Tap. Tap tap. Tap, tap, tap.
The old Remington made its own rhythm as he put the final touches on his notes; he hearing rustling in the background he looked behind him, seeing the curtains fluttering in the wind from the slightly open window. Releasing his breath, he returned to his work. Tap. Tap. Tap. His pudgy fingers flew nimbly over the keys.
Continuing typing, his mind running over the acceptance speech he would make when he won the Nobel Prize.
“They all laughed at me. At my theories, but let’s see who’s laughing after I show them this.”
Tap. Tap. Tap.
“Madman… That’s what they call me………. soon, all those jeers will be cheers, and I will be their hero!” he chuckling lightly as he finished. “Six weeks of hard labor, locked in this shabby room… but it was all worth it,” he said, pulling the last page out of the old machine.
Starring at the words, he read them carefully, making sure that they were exactly how he wanted them. The tattered, sun-faded curtains behind him rose and fell slowly against the sill. Looking over his shoulder, he studied the area carefully. The curtains fluttered again. His heart raced in his chest threatening to push itself out. Seeing nothing, he returned to his papers chiding himself for his paranoia.
I don’t have anything to worry about them, he thought. How could they know about me? I’ve been too careful…. watching my movements. They can’t suspect that I even know about them. Some master race, they don’t know their secret is about to be unleashed on the world.
Yes, he thought, everything would change. His whole life would improve. With the accolades he would receive, he could afford to do anything he wanted and to live in a decent place.
Surveying the room that had been his prison for the last six weeks, he stared at its peeling paint, exposed wires, and a single bare light bulb. The cracks in the linoleum that allowed the bare wood to seep through created a surreal alien landscape on the floor. No more beanie‑weenies, he thought. No, nothing but steak. Big thick ones. Cooked to order: a nice sear on the outside and juicy pink on the inside. If they aren’t, I’ll snap my fingers, and some obedient waiter will come and remove it and bring it back when it is perfect! No, I’ll have my own personal chef and a maid too. Yeah, someone to keep things nice and tidy. I’ll have it all!
The curtains flared again, landing heavily on the sill, forcing him back to reality. Shuddering, he watched as goose pimples formed little mountains on his arms. Deciding to quell the sensation creeping over him, he stood and stretched. It was just his imagination. He had been working almost non-stop for the last four days; sleep deprivation could be overtaking him, he thought.
Crossing to the window, the old flooring made a slight shuffling sound under his feet; the boards underneath creaked belying their age. Pulling the curtains back, he surveyed the outside. Nothing there but the ever-present glow of the refineries illuminating the horizon.
He sighed. Tired of living in this rat hole of a place, he closed his eyes, letting a better previous world flash in his mind. He floated in the surreal world of fame and fortune as it cuddled him and caressed him. The beautiful thoughts holding him, and then gently sliding away.
Reality returning, he stared out into the dark landscape before him. Pasadena, Texas, was indeed the armpit of the world filled with rednecks and ruffians. Yeah, he thought, those do-gooder yuppies had tried to “clean up” the place up, but as the old saying goes, you can take the trash out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the trash.
A nearby chemical plant belched a massive flare of natural gas as he watched. He hated the chemical plants and the smells that dominated the area. Even in the winter, the mercaptan odors of rotten eggs and too sweet aldehydes permeated everything.
Outside the window, the night was sharing its life with the earth. A gentle winter breeze slipped through the window to touch him. Though it felt chilly, it calmed him as it wrapped itself around him. Closing the window and returning to his desk, he saw the first shadow. It moved quickly, but not so fast that he didn’t see it. It wasn’t just his old eyes playing a trick on him; they were here.
Coming at him with the speed of a jungle animal, it was on him before he could scream. He tried to move to avoid it, but it grabbed him by a shoulder, spinning him with the force of a hundred men. Tripping on the rotting flooring, he fell face down with a hard thud, knocking the breath from his lungs. Shaking his head to remove the daze, he clawed madly at the floor, trying to get away from them. The old covering splintered under his fingers, shards embedding themselves into his nails. He felt the creature’s claws as they dug into the skin on his legs, pulling him back. The flesh yielding to the razor-sharp talons, blood pouring from the wounds made the floor even more unforgiving to escape. Squirming to break the grip only enraged the beast. It clawed at him, making more wounds. Finally, sinking its claws in deep, it held his legs and turned him over on his back.
“Where is it, old man,” it said?
He tried to speak, but his breath had frozen in his throat. Spit gurgled from his mouth. The creature took one ankle in each hand, turned them outward, breaking them. Pain welled up in his brain, releasing itself in a long deep scream.
“Ah,” said the creature leaning over him so that their faces almost touched. “I see you have found your voice again. Now tell me, old man, where is it?”
The pain and his terror mixed to form an exquisite emotion.
“You’re the super-beings,” he said, straining for the words. “Guess you’ll have to find it yourself.”
Straddling him, the beast gave him a small kiss on the cheek. It was a female.
“So be it, old man,” she hissed.
He could smell the stench of death and years of rotting debris on her breath. The creature shifted, its weight crushing parts of his body, systematically destroying each inch. For a moment, the surreal world held him again as his mind floated, protecting him from the horror. He saw himself on the stage; arms raised high, carrying the prize. Hearing the cheers of the crowd, he saw the fireworks light up from behind the stage, and a bright light called his name as darkness overtook him.
Dishes and other items flew as they ransacked the apartment. The papers so neatly stacked by the typewriter shredded by their long sharp claws, the pieces floating in the still air of the apartment like snow on a winter’s day.
Together they searched for anything about them turning over shelves until finding his book of notes and the cross. The male smiled. He carefully placed the items in his pouch. Scampering through the window, he motioned to the female to hurry. The night was their cover, and the first rays of dawn were crowning the earth.
The book, its detailed notes, and passages would be studied so that this would not happen again and that their secret would remain safe. Their very existence depended on secrets. Looking over the carnage before she hopped through the window, she knew there would be an investigation. There always was, but humans were a stupid lot and easily distracted. She smiled as she thought of the aftermath of what they had done. There would be the usual outcry, and again it would be blamed on “random crime.” Lone robbers, a gang, a junkie, she loved them all. The story was always the same in the end. No matter, their secret would be safe. Satisfied, she hurriedly joined her partner.