In the waning hours of an uneventful day, Mr. Henderson, a black-haired, scruffy individual, was being pursued by a ghostly figure that lingered at the edge of his vision.
His terrifying ordeal began when he had discovered a pair of sunglasses that allowed him to see into the spirit world. Now trapped in a situation that shattered reality, Henderson bolted through his local street, uprooting angry bystanders who shouted phrases like, "asshole," and "watch where you're going, moron."
The scent of death polluted the air while white-silhouetted spirits haunted the streets. Henderson’s clothes, drenched in his own sweat, gripped his frame like a plastic bag, stifling his escape. The shadowy creature followed him relentlessly, until he tripped on a broken sidewalk and came tumbling to the ground. His sunglasses, the only way to see the spirit world, fell off.
With his heart thumping, Henderson struggled to find his shades and slowly became aware of a ghostly presence. Teetering on the edge of panic, the only thing he remembered was it walking! It only walked with a bat! He knew that outrunning the creature was possible, but he couldn’t see it. Then, an eerie silence fell.
After a few seconds, all hell broke loose. First a chilling voice, like wind blowing across the end of a bottle, taunted him. Then out of nowhere, a hurricane of pain ripped through Henderson’s body as he was grabbed, tossed into the air like a rag doll and dragged through the streets, mowing people over like a bowling ball through pins. The sudden impact with the wall of a nearby shop stopped his howling cries. Stunned onlookers screamed, others fled in all directions. The blood was plastered on the wall like confetti.
Several hours had passed and the immediate area was cordoned off by police cruisers and marked tape. Even though it looked like a normal, run of the mill shooting, a small crowd of curious onlookers gathered along the sidewalk.
An unmarked vehicle pulled up and two investigators stepped out. The first was called Samuel Blake. He was a typical, down-to-earth family man with two children. His partner, Richard Hammersmith, was cockier than most men and would often jump into situations that would require unorthodox methods to bail him out, or so he thought. But now wasn’t the time to dwell on matters like that, as the gruesome sight proved.
Searching for someone to update him on what had happened, Samuel spotted the constable in charge. “So what have we got today?”
“Nothing much. Looks like a run-by shooting. Our investigators are taking pictures of the scene and we’ll have the body loaded within ten minutes.”
Richard bent over and prodded the body with a pen. “Yep, looks like he’s dead, alright.”
“Really?” asked Samuel sarcastically. “And how did you work that out, Sherlock?”
“It was an educated deduction. Anyway…what’s his name?”
“Umm,” Samuel shuffled his notes, “it’s Alex Henderson. He’s thirty-one, from Restmore Crescent.”
“Cause of death?”
“Not sure at this moment; they’re taking the body for an autopsy and should know in a few hours. But initial reports stated he was shot.” Samuel casually walked over to the bloodstained wall and poked the chunks of brain matter with his pencil. He’d seen many crime scenes before and this one didn’t seem unusual, just another senseless killing added to his already overflowing list of unsolved cases on his desk.
Richard interjected, breaking his train of thought. “Anyway, I’ve been researching that problem you asked me to look into.” He pulled out a brown folder. “It looks like your doubts were warranted. I took some pictures of your wife and…neighbour…but you won’t like what you’ll see.”
Samuel took the folder tentatively. He had the feeling that something was wrong with his relationship and the information inside the folder would confirm his fears. The folder was sealed, but curiosity forced him to open it.
The first picture was a high-resolution image taken through the bedroom window. Samuel wondered, for a split second, why he was so close to the window, but then he saw the picture of his wife bent over on all fours, being penetrated by an older man. It was enough to force him to forget everything. He leaned on the vehicle and swayed slightly, handing the files back to his partner. It would be something he’d never forget and his love for his ‘beloved wife’ slowly drained away. Hatred slowly began to fill the void. How could the dirty slut do such a thing? His hands balled into fists. The dirty…!
He promised to confront his ‘faithful’ wife later, but now things needed to be done. Samuel walked over to the body bag that was being shoved in the back of a van, and made some closer inspections. The victim’s personal belongings were stuffed into an evidence bag and Samuel jotted down his grim reports.
“Witnesses stated that he was running away from something,” Richard pointed out as he leaned on the van’s rear door.
“What’s he running from?”
“No one knows. They said he was frantic, chaotic and just plain mad.”
“Huh…that’s probably the entire population of this city.” Samuel glanced at the scene and did some mental calculations. His thoughts were tangled with that of his wife and work. He was a rational man who’d trained his mind to control such hatred. So he closed his eyes and mentally counted to ten.
Richard peered into the van and showed his eagerness to return to the office. “So, any second thoughts on this case?”
“No, just some things that haven’t added up yet.”
“Nothing adds up in this job,” Richard said dryly as he turned away.
“It does help if you do some work.”
“I always work hard.”
“Of course you do,” Samuel lied.
“What does that mean?”
“You need some motivation, Richard.”
“Yeah, I see your motivation…” Richard’s eyes locked on a few young women in the crowd and an ironic smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. “I’m going to take some witness statements. I’ll see you back at the office.”
The precinct was chaotic as people raced around, trying to make sense of the sudden rush of crimes that flooded the offices that evening. Richard leaned on the processing desk and grabbed a brown paper bag that contained the personal belongings of one Alex Henderson.
But when he saw the clipboard of a newly processed prisoner, Richard couldn’t resist a distasteful comment at him, something he would often do without thinking. “Make sure you don’t drop the soap in the shower. We always welcome new prisoners,” he sneered.
He smiled as the prisoner was tossed onto the nearest chair and then strolled over to his partner’s table. Once he got there, Richard dumped the contents over the desk and made himself comfortable.
The nifty sunglasses fell in a perfect position to allow the sun to reflect a slight tint of blue in the lenses. But it didn’t draw the attention of the detectives, not yet.
“My bitch of a girl called me again,” Richard said coldly, shifting several items on the desk. But his partner failed to respond.
After a moment of silence, Richard asked, “You okay, boss?”
“Rubbish, I know you’re thinking about your wife.”
Samuel sat rigorously at his desk, with his back facing the window, on the thirtieth floor. He liked it that way; the fresh breeze would cool his back and allow him to see the rest of the office. He placed his hands on top of the brown file that contained his wife’s pictures and thought long and hard about tossing the whole thing in the bin. After an incredibly short moment, he paused and had another idea; he could use the pictures as proof when he finally went home. As he pocketed the most disgusting picture, Samuel’s attention shifted to the mismatched items on his desk.
“What’s this stuff?”
“Oh, they belong to Alex Henderson…you know… his personal belongings.” Richard turned when a rustle broke out over the idle murmurs of the room. Some prisoners protested about the delay, some just wanted to cause trouble. But it soon became uninteresting and made his attention wander back to his partner. “Yep, another day at the office… So, who’s doing the paperwork on this?”
Samuel studied the remark for a moment and felt his irritation sharpen into blunt words: “You do it!”
Richard sighed disapprovingly and leaned back on the hardback chair. Spotting the sunglasses, he felt a sense of exhilaration as the blue tint beckoned him.
“Wow! look at these. Something for my private collection.” Richard picked up the sunglasses with his thumb and forefinger and extended the temple arms.
His mind drifted, as if he was hypnotised, and with a slow, constant movement, he raised the protective eyewear and announced, “I always wanted to do this… You’ll be term…”
Richard’s sudden silence indicated that something was awfully wrong and he stood there like a stone statue. His smile vanished. His skin changed to a milky-white shade with a sick undertone of green. Then, as if the glasses had burned his eyes, his partner threw them onto the desk and he spoke feverishly, raising a shaking hand. “W-W-What the fuck was that! D-D-Did…?” His hand hovered over the desk. “Y-You better try them on, there’s something you should see!”
Samuel had never seen his friend in such a state. What did he see? Why was he like this? He thought.
With vigilance, Samuel looked at the glasses propped up against a stack of files on his desk and considered wearing them. After all, it’s only a pair of sunglasses…
He leaned forward and touched the glasses. Upon contact, a chill slithered along his arm. He tried to suppress the urge to shiver and a demonic force in the deepest recesses of his mind encouraged his idle curiosity. Put it on! Put it on!
So, without considering the consequences, he slipped them on…
The moment he opened his eyes, the entire room had sunk reluctantly into a slumber of green, with a chilling collection of misty-white figures that haunted their arid landscape like possessed zombies. His colleagues still lingered in the background, unaware of the grizzly sight that occupied their space.
Unable to believe what he was seeing, Samuel nudged the glasses down his long nose and peeked over the top. The room returned to normal and he quickly dismissed the whole hallucination. But when he put them on for a second time, the morbid landscape returned, causing him to stumble back, nearly falling out the window.
Samuel froze, rooted to the spot. It was one of the creatures that drew him in first – it dragged itself through his personal space and then vanished through the outer wall. He turned to the window to catch a glimpse of the creature falling, but the panoramic view made him gawk in shock.
The sun faintly penetrated the clouds, casting strange, leaping shadows throughout the city. The streets were covered in a slurry of moving milk that curled and shifted across the roads. White silhouetted spirits dropped like lemmings out of buildings, merging with the tide on the street. Then something caught his attention. Something threatening, about two blocks away. It looked dark and completely out of place.
Still unable to grasp the view, Samuel removed the glasses and gazed upon the metropolis. Everything appeared normal. However, deep down he knew the truth, the glasses had something to show him, a warning. So he tried them on again.
Suddenly, he leapt into the air. The shadow that had been two blocks away was now at the bottom of the building. His heart raced and his blood pounded in a rising crescendo around his eyes. Clutching the window’s ledge, Samuel’s hands throbbed with terror. He blinked and the creature leapt five floors, closing the gap between his life and impending doom. A few seconds later, the hooded mist wielded a five foot club and used it to climb the building. The urge to blink became so powerful he couldn’t resist. The moment he blinked again, the creature jumped another five floors, as if unhindered by gravity.
Now he felt his heart throbbing out of control. The creature was closer, much closer and it seemed to want him. Perhaps this is what happened to Alex Henderson? His death didn’t make any sense, so was this thing responsible? What does it want from me?
He stepped back from the window and accidentally blinked; something that resembled a demonic hand clung from the window frame and there was little, if nothing, Samuel could do to stop it.
“T-T-The thing… It’s…” stuttered Samuel, eyes locked on the ‘shadowy haze’ that began to crawl through the window. As it came closer, Samuel tumbled over his chair and the glasses fell off. Shit!
Richard nudged forward to help his partner, but before he had the chance to complete a word, he was instantly dragged along the floor at an unbelievable speed, uprooting desks and blowing people over like a storm. Samuel watched in horror as his friend was eventually hurled up the far wall and then squashed into the crawlspace between the floors. Panels snapped, fell to the floor and shattered into fragments.
Samuel found the glasses under his desk and slipped them on. Staring in awe, he could only stand and watch as the creature yanked Richard’s white soul from its body and along the ground in an entanglement of shadows. But the vision that haunted him most was the incomprehensible stare the shadowy giant gave before vanishing through the wall. It had no face, just those red, glowing eyes inside its hooded head.
When reality finally caught up with him, blood rained down from the ceiling and everyone scattered in panic. Individuals stampeded through the exits, others fainted on the spot. But the inspector remained motionless. Then someone nudged him out of his trance.
“Samuel! Wake up, what the hell happened?” His vision unwillingly returned from the shadowy world as his associate tugged on his shoulder.
All around, the remaining people still scattered like frightened birds. Hot blood rained down from the ceiling as the putrid smell of death rose up from the tiled floor. At his feet, Samuel watched his friend’s life’s essence trickle through the tile joints, until the blood came to a stop. He looked at his colleague, but the words he wanted to say failed to come out.
“I-I-Saw something…” He tried to explain, but was cut off when someone shouted an evacuation order that was apparently due to some terrorist attack. A start of a cover-up, probably.
Samuel listened to the tense exchange of words down on the street. Floodlights and helicopters instantly surrounded the building, but he knew it was a lost cause; they could not see the creature.
By now, Samuel knew that something was going to happen. First, this creature probably killed the civilian, Alex Henderson. Then, his partner Richard succumbed to the same fate. It was all linked to the sunglasses that he had in his pocket and there was no doubt in his mind that this creature would be after him next. But his question was, when?
He slipped on the sunspecs and was almost knocked over by the vision of the spirit world. There were thousands of white spirits strolling around like misplaced souls. The very sight of them was unnerving to watch. Samuel removed the glasses but the faint smell of the after-world still lingered in his nose.
It took twenty minutes before the all-clear was given to enter the precinct. At last Samuel could discover what had happened to his friend and find out how much the rest of the force actually knew about this event. As the last of the investigators left the area where the incident took place, Samuel wandered over towards the spot where his friend had been killed. Paths of dried blood slithered across the ceiling, originating from the corner that was Richard’s final resting place.
The air had an eerie chill as he stared at the blood-soaked corner. The stench of the room became overwhelmingly stifling. Memories of the vivid ordeal flooded back and he knew that the creature was still out there. He knew that informing his colleagues about the sunglasses would put them at risk, if they believed his story in the first place. No, he had to do something and grieve his friend’s death at a later date. He held back his bitter sadness and pressed forward.
After talking to a few people, and then some more, Samuel finally decided to return home. At least the battle could be waged in an isolated spot and away from any overseers. He decided to leave a note that would provide all the information the police would need and taped evidence would be set up. His home would be the perfect spot, because his attempts of filming his cheating wife would provide all the cameras he would ever need. Perhaps he could encourage his wife to wear them…
Walking up the driveway to his home, Samuel noticed someone plunging hastily through the local bush. Upon closer inspection, he recognised that face. It was Nick. His own wife grinned and waved that bastard off. Now she looked satisfied, like the cat that caught the canary. No guessing what they’d been up to. Now time to confront her.
He stormed into the house, flung his keys onto the side table and stared at his wife. The scent of semen rose from her short, silky skirt and the tips of her hard breasts spoke for themselves.
“Was that our friendly neighbour out to satisfy your sexual desires?”
“W-W-What? No. What?” She looked surprised, unprepared for his entrance.
“I saw him leaving the house in the middle of the night,” he nudged closer. “And I can smell his fucking scent on you!”
He pulled some pictures out of his pocket. “I’ve also seen these!”
She strolled forward and snatched the images from his hand. Staring longer than necessary, she finally tossed the images back. Sure enough, they were snapshots of her screwing the next-door neighbour. Not any randy shots; these were real, deep, penetrating images showing that she did more than enjoy the ride.
“I’ve seen husbands and wives cheating before, but these? I’ve never seen anything so disgusting. You…” He leaned on the desk, unable to look at his spouse.
She placed the images on the table and finally snapped, seeing no point in holding back anymore. “He’s a better lay than you, and at least he’s always around.”
Samuel released an ululating howl of hate and left the house, striding towards his car. With hatred churning deep within his heart, he hit the steering wheel and finally started the engine, racing out the drive, never to look back. He’d had enough of that woman and that incident was the last straw. But his plan was now messed up. How was he going to record that thing? Samuel hoped there was still enough time to clear his mind and return home for the encounter.
It was while he was driving on the main highway that he noticed the first sign of something strange: just a feeling. He glanced at all three mirrors, but saw nothing. Must be the nerves…he thought.
But when he saw the shades on the passenger seat, the urge to use them came back, more compelling than ever. With his left hand on the steering wheel, Samuel picked up the glasses and realised something. It’s dark. How can I see anything? But the glasses yanked at his hand, pleading to be worn.
Once he put on the sunglasses, Samuel jerked the wheel so hard that his car swerved over all three lanes of the interstate. All around him, white silhouettes of spirits wandered across the haunted road. Mowing through the ghostly shapes with his vehicle, Samuel glanced at the centre mirror and saw them sink reluctantly into the darkness, like shadows in the corner of his eyes.
Nearing the end of the interstate, which branched off onto smaller roads, he noticed something lingering near a lamppost. As he sat in traffic that was leading up to some pointless roadworks, he studied the dark figure.
As children in the neighbouring car stared at him - probably wondering why someone would wear sunglasses in the middle of the night - Samuel clenched his jaw and sank deeper into his seat. When he looked again towards the lamppost, the figure had gone. He surmised that it had been some trick of the light, but the sudden spark from the roadworks revealed it!
First it remained motionless in front of his car. Then it slithered towards the vehicle’s engine block. Those feverish eyes looked at him with such intensity, death hung over it like a shroud. It looked so fiercely at him, Samuel felt the creature pull at the very strands of his essence. He began to hear the thrashing of his own heart and its red, glowing eyes just stared with infuriated power. Then it disappeared.
In the space of just a few seconds, Samuel looked around for the ghostly figure that was nowhere to be seen. But when the workmen released another storm of sparks, the creature jumped out of the darkness like a jack in the box. But this time, it appeared in front of his dashboard. Samuel abandoned his car and legged it down the street.
Time had no meaning; the thing was hot on his trail and every time he looked away, it would jump, leap and hurl itself towards his last location. He would dart up stairs and turn corners, hoping to slow it down, but realism hit him like a hammer blow. The laws of physics did not apply to this creature because it could simply walk through walls and glide up stairs. To make matters worse, Samuel could only see it with the assistance of artificial light. Darkness was the perfect disguise for the creature.
As he turned a shadowy corner, a swarm of people cheered and celebrated the fireworks celebration, completely unaware of the terror that was amongst them.
Clambering through the crowd, Samuel was hot, too hot. He was confronted with the possibility of death and this tugged at his essence, filling his mind with unanswerable questions. Samuel tugged at his collar with sweat dripping from his forehead. Everywhere he looked, people pushed and shoved all around him, trying to get a better view of the fireworks. Samuel knew the horde of people had no idea the entity was following, stalking him.
Fireworks and high-powered lights allowed him to see the creature more vividly than he liked. The inky shadow dragged its heavy bat through the crowd unhindered. Samuel pulled out his 9mm pistol and fired indiscriminately at the nightmare, but the bullets only disfigured, like rain drops on sand. It still came for him. People panicked and ran in all directions, others were dead on the street.
Samuel continued to empty his 9mm clip, loaded another and another until he’d nearly ran out of ammo, but the creature continued on its lethal quest. By this time he’d lost all rationality and was cornered into a high-rise structure. Once the creature showed its emaciated arm through the outer wall, the investigator immediately climbed the staircase. Halfway up, Samuel glanced down over the railing and saw the creature jump, swing and leap from one staircase to the next. He pumped his legs to the maximum, and bolted to the roof.
By the time he got there, a searchlight from a circling helicopter momentarily blinded him. He shielded his eyes and looked up. Then a voice called out for him.
“This is the police, put down your weapon and surrender.”
The chilly air blew in Samuel’s face and the din of the helicopter became disorienting. He knew the creature would come for him soon and the only way it could appear on the roof was through the door he was watching. Yes, he thought, I’ll cover the door. This will be my last stand.
Abruptly, and without warning, the side doors swung open and SWAT teams barged through, guns hissing in their hands. “Lay your weapon on the ground now!” one of the officers said. He edged forward, weapon ready.
Samuel concentrated on the main door; the SWAT teams were little more than dark shadows in the background, just like the white silhouettes that dragged their feet. They were all harmless. I’ll save them from the creature, he vowed.
Teams surrounded the lone investigator, weapons primed for firing. One of the men stepped forward, holstered his weapon and tried to calm the situation. “My name is Carl. I’m here to help you, Samuel.”
Then Samuel saw it. The dark figure slowly, erratically dragged itself out onto the rooftop. First came its huge club, then its wraithlike arm, then a misty shoulder, then the rest of its body covered in darkness, masked by a mist of feverish aura.
The officers remained motionless with their weapons drawn, unaware of the creature that was in the middle of them.
“D-D-Don’t you see it?!” Samuel yelled.
“It’s right behind you,” he raised his weapon, “Look out!”
Suddenly everyone opened fire and Samuel was mowed to the ground in a hail of bullets. He didn’t stand a chance. The pain, twitching and cutting of bones caused the condemned investigator to fall backwards. His pulverised eyes stared at the creature’s hooded head. It’s dark red eyes that were set deep in darkness pulled at his soul. Then he saw nothing as the glasses fell off and plunged over the edge of the building.
Samuel’s body had not even reached the roof’s edge before his soul was dragged into oblivion.
Down on the street, a group of rowdy teenagers, who were up past their curfew, loitered in the ally below. Some talked about girls, drugs and the frenzied police commotion above. Then, one curious teenager spotted the sunglasses rolling off the bins and decided to explore. Thinking they were cool, he picked them up and the blue tint of the lenses beckoned him.