Exhumed bodies piled up around the yards. Anywhere and everywhere the police dug around Malam Bayyad’s farm was a garden of horrors.
In the end, charged with sixty-two separate counts of murder, it was common thought he had a list longer by a large margin than the dead the police so far discovered.
His trial lasted over a year.
Six-months after his conviction and then the prison administration moved him to Death Row. Few people were convicted in recent decades, executions happened quickly. Three appeals, expedited and lasted just two months.
Inmate number DR-1 walked with confidence to the execution chamber. In a glass-walled room with draperies obscured the view to the chamber beyond, the silent guards assigned to his restraint strapped him to a padded, vertical board.
Then they lifted him and the board so that he was in a supine position.
Taking the last bit of dignity I have
He shook his head.
Idiots. They don’t even know what’s coming.
Two days before, his wife paid a visit to him for one last “Conjugal” visit.
His brother passed on to him in a video stored in her phone.
“Courage brother! When they think they come for you, we have an answer.”
The left strap is already loose, it won’t be hard get the arm out.
A chill from the sterile swab then the sharp poke when the technician stuck the IV catheter in the antecubetal space of his left arm.
Dark humor. They think I’m about to die, why did they use a sterile technique?
“Do you have any last words?” A disembodied voice sounded and the drapes opened and showed the gallery of witnesses.
“Yeah. I’m a little thirsty. When the Governor calls, I want my water with light ice.”
The sound clicked off and for a moment, the room was quiet except for the sound of his cardiac monitor that gave off a mosquito-like whine that he could hear.
He could see a different color fluid creep down towards his arm.
They already began the execution and the clock…
The clock! they were late! It’s a fail!
Then the lights went out, only the sun slanted through the high windows in the chamber gave illumination.
Malam opened his eyes, they did not focus for a moment, but there was no noise.
The tape on his arm pinched when he scratched his nose.
Then Malam blinked.
His arm was free! The strap! Unbuckled when guards fled after the power failed.
Cowards! But I have not heard any alarms. It must be some of the drug ran into my arm put me to sleep for a little while. Malam grinned. People think I am dead.
The thought made him laugh when he walked out to freedom.
He already had plans for the judge and his family while he walked to where the body-hauler would park.
The hallways were dark, last rays of sunlight filtered in.
Odd, not even the guards were around, prisoners were gone, too. There must have been a hell of a scare to evacuate the other inmates.
And all gates and doors were unlocked.
As planned, Malam walked free and laughed at the power outage orchestrated by his family.
Even the prisoners bolted, maybe even taken by bus, but no matter.
Screw them all! I’m free, next I will visit Judge Alkar and his family.
Malam looked around and frowned, someone might see him cut across the field towards town, but the power was out and the sun set. Darkness came and darker thoughts about his first grew in his mind. It would be full dark before he got through the open area and to the city park to his cache where he hid his kit.
More laughter as he covered the ground towards town when he tripped and fell into…
Disemboweled, blood still steamed. The coppery smell of the blood that soaked his prison issue shirt to his skin.
“Gawd Dayuam! Dey’s comin’ outta de groun’s Ostus! Der’s anudder one! Git ‘im!”
He kneeled down and searched the body for a weapon of any kind.
The sounds of a head crushed by a baseball bat with a grunt, a wheeze of a death rattle, he realized that whoever it was had not seen him.
He crawled through the grass towards the voices.
His breath wheezed in his ears as he got closer to the voices.
If I could get a jump on them, what irony, I could kill someone while they killed someone.
He could see the top of their heads. They carried bats with nails driven into the fat end.
“No’ so easy ta make a soun’ wit yer throat stuck full’a holes, ain’tit a bish!”
The sound of a bat to a skull and bloody fluids made a mist. Malam could smell the blood in the air and it excited him.
Then he jumped and grabbed the closest bat-man, called Ostus.
He surprised himself, he was stronger than he thought when he broke Ostus’ neck and took his bat. Malam brained the other killer.
Malam laughed while he carried the bat with him and walked towards the town. Another man stood up, also wore standard-issue.
“Thanks, they killed everyone from the prison.” The convicts eyes glittered with a mixture of anger and fear. “I want to kill the judge who put me in there. Then find each and every one of the jurors. I’ve not seen my family for years, they don’t come to visit.”
“Let’s go. What were you in for?”
“They say I’m a cannibal. I’m not, they were chewed on by rats.” The pair moved towards the town. “I’m Skit.”
“Malam. What kind of name is Skit?”
“What kind of name is Malam?” As they walked towards a car on the edge of the field.
Not any car, a cop car. The officers were occupied with someone on the ground when the escapees stepped out from behind the trees.
Malam gasped in horror when the cops turned towards him.
Blood stained their faces and soaked the uniforms in a slick that glistened with coagulated blood.
One officer chewed on what looked like a forearm, the other had a foot.
Frozen in shock he watched the officers dropped the nightmare snacks and began to walk towards Malam and Skit.
He looked at his fellow escapee, the convict stood there, his skin shined with excitement, the big man looked at him with eyes that were all wrong, then reached out with hunger and a snarl.
Malam crushed Skit’s head with the bat and left the cop-things to ponder over the body he left while he ran towards the park.
He kneeled at the base of the tree where he buried his cache dug with his hands.
Those cops… I’ve never seen anyone do that before. That was crazy! Holy crap. Cannibalism? In three of them? I bet Skit was a decoy.
Strange I could outrun them.
That’s bat-shit crazy, cops can run! And they do not quit. And… Where is everyone?
Roads were empty, not a single car to wave down. The town would be quiet at the late hour, but this was a total absence of driven vehicles.
He stood and grimaced at the cold-bloody shirt that stuck against his body and made him shiver.
I need a fresh change of clothes.
People should in the park, the summer’s evening with no power anywhere. I could kill one and take the shirt. He looked around. No, first get out of sight and raid the laundromat. No chance of blood on clothes when I kill someone.
He slipped through the door, among the quiet machines in the dark of the community laundry.
He looked in through the clear windows into the machines, many held suds and water, stopped in mid-wash. A few were dry.
He pulled on the handle and one opened. He found a polo shirt and sweatshirt.
As he dressed, he disposed of the bloody mess of a prison uniform shirt and found a pair of jeans that fit.
A little tight, but they’ll loosen up some.
When he turned, a person sat on the side with their back to him.
He outside and looked at the woman in the light of the moonrise that filtered through the glass.
I think I remember her. Heavy-set girl, tattoos of roses on her neck.
It was a memory, like a faded photograph from long ago. She died pleading that she was pregnant when I tied a plastic bag over her head.
No! Impossible. She is part of my collection.
Malam walked through the shadows, heading to the middle of town. People began to follow him, they walked in an odd stilted way. Some chewed on…
They’re eating fingers! The insane asylum must have had a break out!
Then almost screamed when he heard another scream nearby. A man’s voice plead for help.
He ran away from the sound and looked over his shoulder assured himself that no one followed him.
And into the edge of chaos!
Bloodied, shredded. The burly man used the broken picket of a fence as a make-shift weapon.
Damned good use of a stick! Malam nodded.
The street fighter turned to throw a winged nightmare onto the steel pickets of an iron gate when he spotted Malam.
“Shot! gun! Get the damned shotgun!” He pointed with the stick at the dropped weapon, surrounded by dropped ammunition.
He screamed when he took a step backwards and fell over a curb in mid-combat of a massed attack by the black bat-winged creatures.
Malam scooped up the scattergun and shells and cleared the chamber, stuffed two shells into the receiver and turned the weapon to the mass of bodies where screams of battle filled the black sky.
“That all you got! Take this! AAAH! Bite me! Bite this!”
The shotgun bucked in Malam’s hands and scattered bat-wings and black flesh while he racked in another round.
Second shot freed the big man.
The tatters of his shirt were a uniform.
Cop!? Malam shook his head. I saved a cop.
The officer tried to take another step and looked down and screamed again. He screamed with the sound of a man who saw the unthinkable.
The left leg had been denuded of flesh below the knee, two bones stuck out were his leg had been chewed off and poured blood into the gutter.
He looked at Malam with resignation, the cop was about to bleed to death.
“Run!” He yelled at Malam. “Too late for me, get out of here.”
Don’t tell me twice! Malam ran with his pockets full of shotgun shells and the big pump-action weapon out in front of him.
His last view of the cop was some creature that looked like a cat out of someone’s nightmare on the officer’s head while the man exsanguinated and chewed while the one-legged man fought like a whirlwind of fists.
Then one fist, he
The last Malam saw as he turned the corner was a pile of wings where the cop had been.
Now where to go?
The police department would be a good place to go, someplace safe!
Malam walked around the corner towards the center of town and watched a woman fall under an attack of a pack of skeletonized dogs.
Okay. Police station, good choice. No one will check on me while this shit goes on!
He turned and ran to the one place he swore he would never go back to.
He ran headlong into the glass doors– Locked!
Locked? When the hell does a police station lock doors?
A noise behind him! A horrid, group of people followed his movements on the steps.
In front of the group, he he recognized the lesbian couple, his first hunt!
No. Not possible. They belong to me! He shook his head. Damn, don’t think, run! I have to run! What has happened with the world?
A car, an ancient Ford with the door open sat on the side of the street, he could mess with that and get it started.
Savage panic set in, Malam ran.
He could see more creatures, a cat with eight-legs rose out of the shadows, looked at him…
And screamed his name!
No! Not out of the shadows, out of the ground! It moved a manhole cover and crawled out of the sewers.
He ran like the wind. He stopped in the middle of a park, but not a park, it was the rural cemetery.
How the hell did I get here? He needed to get back to the center of town, steal a cop car if he needed! He counted the shells to the shotgun. Twenty. Twenty shells plus six in the magazine and one in the pipe. Not enough. Son of a bitch.
A hand grabbed him from out of the darkness, felt for a pulse?
He forgot his shotgun, the mind of the murderer had only one thought.
He pulled his hand free- or did it let go?
It did not matter, he ran! Out of the ground they came towards him. He recognized them. People he cut up, ran over, burned.
He needed to find tools! Break into a shed or a hardware store if need be.
They were coming, sibulent sounds of horros that crawled in the bushes, wheezes of these creatures that stumbled, shuffled, walked towards him.
Fuck! I gotta run!
From behind, naked-screaming cats with eight-arms that ended in black hands and needle-sharp claws, lept and swung from trees and skittered like giant spiders over headstones.
Into darkness Malam ran, chased by familiar faces of dead who walked and shuffled after him, creatures from nightmares he never before had.
His mind broke while he ran with the screams that echoed long and loud in the long-dark night.
The execution chamber of the prison, unused for so long, no one could remember how seating was arranged. The sun slanted in and blinded some, overheated the room and it was stuffy and awkward.
The witnesses watched the last breath of Malam Plando.
“I hope he is in Hell and suffers a thousand deaths for each one he committed.” The father of a princess who he gave away to another princess at the two women’s wedding.
He turned and walked out. Yor Bas’chet got his wish in ways he never knew.
Doctor Drake checked for a lack of pulse to match the flatline on the screen nodded then paused.
“I would swear he pulled against my hand.” The doctor leaned over and looked into the dead prisoner’s eyes. “Look at the fear on his face I’d say he was afraid to die.”
“Good for him.” The guard said. “Coroner is here. Let them take him out now.”
“Good, have him sent to Doctor Quincy, I want him autopsied. Someone like this needs to be studied, we will slice his brain up and study it.”
“You’re the doc, Doc.” The Lieutenant nodded and made a notation on the notepad.
In the core of the world, Malam became aware someone spoke of cutting him apart.
Fuck that! I gotta hide!
Malam Plando continued to run.
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