The Failed Getaway
A short story by Dash McCallen
Bodies had piled up around his farm. Malam Plando’s farm was a garden of horrors anywhere the police dug into the ground.
In the end, charged with sixty-two separate counts of murder, it was common thought he had a list longer than the investigators discovered.
His trial lasted over a year.
In the six-months after his conviction and his move to Death Row, his turn came. Few people who the courts convicted in recent decades, executions happened quickly. Three appeals, expedited to last no more than two months.
He, it was his name and he was about to scream it out loud in laughter.
Inmate number 1854X-195S5-1-31E walked with confidence to the execution chamber. In a glass-walled room with blinds obscuring the view to the chamber beyond, the guards assigned to his restraint, wordlessly strapped him to a padded, vertical board.
With some effort they rotated 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 is 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 sting when the technician stuck the IV catheter in the antecubetal space of his left arm.
Dark humor. They were thinking he was going to die, why did they use a sterile technique?
“Do you have any last words?” A disembodied voice sounded and the blinds opened, revealing a crowd sitting in the gallery.
“Yeah. I’m a little thirsty. When you get the call, 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. An old style display 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…
It ticked past the time, they were late! His rescue was not coming!
Then the lights went out, only the setting sun slanted through the high windows in the chamber.
Malam opened his eyes, they did not focus properly for a moment, but there was no noise.
The tubing in his arm pinched slightly when he scratched his nose.
Then Malam blinked.
His arm was free! Someone had released the strap when the techs and guards fled during the blackout.
*But I have not heard any alarms. Some of the drug ran into my arm put me to sleep for a little while.*
*People thought I died when the power went out.*
Laughing, the thought of his walking out of the room when no one was looking tickled his soul.
He already had plans for the judges and their families as he stalked the hallway down to where the body-hauler would park.
Darkness in the hallways, only the sunlight from the outside filtered in, it was 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 the gates were open, no doors locked.
As promised, Malam walked free, laughing at the power outage orchestrated by his family and caused the sheep to run frightened.
Even the prisoners bolted, maybe even taken by bus, but no matter.
*Screw them all! I’m free, next stop, where Judge Alkar Chronqui’s family was. I’ll break into the home and put his head.*
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 was coming and dark thoughts on his first in town grew in his mind.
Malam smiled, 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 of tape, knives, drugs, rope and energy bars.
*The drugs would have expired, I can’t use them on my clients, it might kill them.*
More laughter as he covered the ground towards town when he kicked something in the tall grass and tripped.
eviscerated, still steaming when he stood up. The coppery smell of blood came from his prison issue shirt.
He was covered in blood.
“Gawd Dayuam! Dey’s comin’ outta de groun’s Ostus! Der’s anudder one! Git ‘im!”
He sqautted down, fishing around the body, looking for a weapon of any kind.
The sound of a baseball bat sounded in his ears. A sound of a grunt, a wheeze of a death rattle, he realized that whoever it was had not seen him.
He crawled through the grass carefully, towards the voices.
His heart was standing still, his breath was wheezing in his ears as he got closer to the voices.
If he could get a jump on them, what a wonderful twist of irony, he could kill someone killing someone.
He could see the top if 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 sounds of thumping and the bloody fluids made a mist. Malam could smell the blood in the air and it excited him.
Malam struck, leaping up and grabbing the first one, called Ostus.
His hands were stronger than he thought when he broke Ostus’ neck, taking the bat, he broke the head of the other wannabe killer.
But the look Ostus and his partner had when he came up, bloodied and muddy, they acted as if they saw the dead rising from the graves.
Malam laughed, carrying the bat with him, he walked off towards the town. He saw another man stand up, also wearing standard-issue.
“Thanks, they were doing everyone from the prison.” The darkness hid the convicts eyes, but they glittered with a mixture of anger and fear. “I want to kill the judge for putting me in there. Then find each and every one of the jurors. I’ve not seen anyone for years, they don’t come to visit.”
“Let’s go. What were you in for?”
“They said I was a cannibal. I was not, they were chewed on by rats.” The pair moved towards the town. “I’m N’oi.”
“Malam. What kind of name is N’oi?”
“What kind of name is Malam?”
“It means Evil. It is what my mother called me.” Malam shrugged and the pair moved off into the dark.
A cop car, the officers were looking at something when the pair stepped out from behind the trees.
Malam gasped at the cops when they turned towards the pair’s approach.
Blood stained their faces and soaked the dark uniforms in a slick that glistened in the dark with coagulated blood.
One officer chewed on an object that looked like a forearm, the other had a foot.
Frozen in their steps, and the officers saw them and dropped the nightmare snacks and walked towards Malam and N’oi.
Looking at his fellow escapee, the huge convict stood there, drooling, his skin ashen and made no other human sound.
Then N’oi looked at him with eyes that were all wrong, then reached out to Malam with hunger and a snarl.
Malam crushed N’oi’s head with the bat in a single swing and took off in a run. Leaving the cop-things to ponder over the body he left behind, Malam fled to the park.
He sat at the base of a tree he had marked long ago and dug with his hands.
*Those cops… I’ve never seen anyone do that before. That was crazy! Holy crap. Cannibals? Shit! Shit! Shit!*
And he could outrun them with the power of fear.
*That’s another thing that’s bat-shit crazy, cops can run and they do not give up. And… Where the hell 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 absense of driven vehicles.
Grimacing at the cold shirt that stuck against his body with clotted blood and made him shiver.
*I need a fresh change of clothes.*
Bodies in the park were milling around, a part of the late summer evening with no power anywhere. He could kill one and take the shirt.
*No, first get the hell out of sight and raid the laundromat. No chance of blood on clothes.*
He slipped through the door, among the quiet machines in the dark of the community laundry.
Looking in through the clear windows into the machines, many held suds and water. A few were dry.
One opened when he pulled on the handle and he found two polo shirts and a hoodie 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 will loosen up some.*
He turned around, a person sat in the corner with their back to him.
He slipped out and looked at her in the light of the rising moon that filtered through the glass. He thought he recognized the heavy-set girl by tattoos of roses on her neck.
It was a memory, like a faded photograph from long ago. She had died pleading that she was pregnant while Malam tied a plastic bag over her head.
*No. Impossible, she is long dead. Part of my collection.*
Malam ran through the shadows of the street, heading to the middle of town. Shuffling people began to follow him. Some chewed on finger-food.
*They’re eating real fingers! The insane asylum must have had a break out!*
He almost screamed when he heard another scream nearby. A man’s voice pleading to anyone for help.
He ran around the corner away from the sound, looking over his shoulder and made sure no one followed him.
And into the middle of it.
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 walking 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 shells of ammunition.
A scream and he fell over a curb when he backed up from the force of the mob attack by the black bat-winged things.
Malam scooped up the scattergun 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 scattering bat-wings and black flesh while he racked in another round.
Second shot freed the big fighting 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, this time with the sound of a man who knew the unthinkable.
The left leg was denuded of flesh below the knee, two bones stuck out were the creatures chewed off his leg. The look of a man resigned, he was bleeding 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 was some creature that looked like a cat out of someone’s nightmare on the cops head and chewed while the one-legged man fought like a whirlwind of fists.
Then one fist.
The last Malam saw as he turned the corner was a pile of wings where the cop had been.
*Now where the hell 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 the 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 group of creatures followed his movements on the steps.
In front of the group, he he recognized the lesbian couple, his first hunt!
*No. Not possible.* He shook his head. *Damn, stop thinking and run! I have to run! What is happening 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 coming out of the shadows looked at him and screamed his name!
No, not out of the shadows, out of the ground! It lifted up a manhole cover and crawled out of the sewers.
Panting and sweating like a horse. 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 cold hand grabbed him from a bush, feeling for a pulse? He was on no one’s menu!
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, sibilant sounds of horrors that crawled in the bushes, wheezes of these creatures that stumbled, shuffled, walked towards him.
*Fuck! I gotta to run!*
From behind, naked cats with eight-arms that ended in black hands and needle-sharp claws, screamed like the tortured victims of his shop, leapt and swung from trees and crawled like giant spiders over headstones.
Into the darkness Malam Plando ran, chased by familiar faces of walking dead, creatures from nightmares he never 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 slanting in 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.
Turning and walking 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. “He was a coward in the end, look at the fear on his face, the jaw set and lips pulled back as if he was about to scream, eyes wide open. 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 Sherlock 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.