As Cole closed in on the bathroom, he could see Blackie’s fingers surfing the waves of Red’s body. The lily white skin of her fingers moved around the side of Red’s thigh. “Lucky fingers,” he thought.
As her hand ebbed back towards Red’s stomach, it seemed to be changing color. “…What the hell!?”
And then what had once been the perfect right hand on the perfect woman altered its state into a black sphere or orblike thing. Terror and disgust seared through Cole’s mind, destroying his previous thoughts and emotions. He longed to shrink away from the situation, but he was well-trained enough to internalize his immediate reaction, remain still and focused at all costs. As Cole’s old football coach used to say, “Either you focus or you F*** us, when it counts. It’s your choice.”
As Red’s head flexed backward into the pillow and her eyes rolled along with the movement, Blackie’s hand continued to transform. It reminded Cole of bread dough being kneaded on a big white table by a Frenchman, except in this instance the big white table was a bed with two women searching for ecstasy, sans Frenchman. As the mass rolled along inside itself, a dark shadow seemed to be orbiting around it. The shadow was difficult to discern and like nothing Cole had ever seen before. Was it coming from inside the hand? The outside?
Her hand is getting wider, Cole thought. Was it getting wider? Yes, it looked wider. But why wider? Are those claws growing from the tips?
Feeling proverbially out of water, the dismayed fish of a private eye felt instinctively for his gun. He knew it was there of course, but then again reality had just become a game with new rules. His hand patted it, almost carressed it like a desperate lover. It was there, Cole's rampant running mind pondered, but would it work?
He froze at the thought of his gun not working, and watched as Blackie’s claw-finger-things began to round and her palm grew wider. Cole fought hard for his thoughts not to trip out over his lips as stilted words. Is this...demon...? Oh crap, demons. Maybe she’s a ghost? But I can’t see through her. Crap, then she’s a demon. How do you fight a demon? Holy water, silver, crap, do I need a cross? I don’t have a cross. What the hell am I supposed to do? I haven’t been to church since I was little. Are there demons in the bible? Crap, I can’t remember. What about….The Hobbit, I’ve read The Hobbit. There were goblins, and elves and stuff in that book, but were there demons in The Hobbit…Crap, I can’t remember. How the hell do I even know about demons? What the hell is a demon? Why do I think this is a demon? This could be anything. I need to get out of here. Why the hell did I sign on for this? I didn’t. I thought I’d have to rough up a couple of potheads or a whacked out artist, or something, not a demon. This is not my job.
The hand grew wider and more defined with the passing of every moment. Again, Cole thought, This is not my job.
And with that thought something, somewhere decided to send a little breeze into the building. It came through a window in Ms Johnson’s bathroom, circled passed her radio, and then out of her door and into the hallway. If Cole had closed the door behind him, the breeze would have gone into another apartment, but he did not. The breeze shot into Red’s apartment, passed Cole’s body, grabbed the scent of his aftershave, and went directly into the back bedroom at the same time Blackie was inhaling it to support the rigor of their love making.
She froze. Her nostrils extended disproportionately to the size of her face, her eyes sharpened, and Cole could see some of the black mist escaping from the pockets of her face. Blackie’s head jerked around and looked directly toward the hallway. She was an animal. As her body turned toward the door and her face tightened, Cole just reacted and had no idea why he was doing it. He just was.
Cole had always been a thinker. He knew he had always been a thinker. ‘Think, think, think, some more thinking, and then react’ that was his motto. He had never just reacted and moved in any situation concerning mortal peril. But at this time, he found himself running toward Blackie with his gun drawn, butt end up, ready for it to fall into Blackie's face.
And fall it did right between her eyes. She fell back behind the bed, but not before her mutated hand swung toward Cole’s chest, savagely removing a great deal of his suit and chest hair.
Cole did not wait to see if she was going to get up. He grabbed Red, threw her over his shoulder, and ran for it. While in full stride, he heard a terrible noise from behind and wondered if he would make it to the door before whatever Blackie had become reached him.
Pro Se is excited about its free web pulp
"The Book of Green"
This will run every night "The American" does not.
Written and Illustrated by Fuller Bumpers