Jar sits there staring, studying each of the sheets of paper that are pinned to the wall, each piece, a clue, a tale of death, destruction, and more importantly, a tale of the beast. He doesn’t notice Jimmy make his way into the room, it’s not until he’s beside him that he hears his name being called, and slowly turns, half aware, it’s not until he locks eyes with Jimmy, that he’s dragged quickly back to reality.
“Is everything okay?” He asks.
“N-N-Not really, you need to look at t-t-this,” he says, holding out a sheet of paper.
“Do I really want to see this?”
“I-I, I Think you need to r-r-read it,” he says, Jar takes the piece of paper.
“Is this another story?”
“J-J-Just read it,” Jimmy says again nervously, Jar gives him a look of concern, before looking down at the words, and begins to read.
“You’re misunderstanding what’s going on,” a voice says.
“How am I misunderstanding anything?” Jar says.
“Because you’re looking for an answer when you already have it.”
“Bullshit, there’s no answers here, it’s just all batshit crazy,” Jar says, turning back to the wall.
“Then, be, batshit crazy, if that’s what it takes to start believing, be it. Because you need to get on the right side of the fucking fence, real soon.”
“It’s not that easy believing in something like this.”
“Then let’s help you make it easy,” another voice says. “Look at these stories, not the first chapter, that’s done, it’s going to teach you nothing. And the second, well, you know it, because you were there, so, that’s where you can start believing, but the preludes, they hold the real key.”
“How? They’re all snippets, nothing, each one is a dead end.”
“Are they? Read them again, but look at the likes, look at the shares, look at each person, each character, and you’ll see there’s a match on every single one. The death, then the beast, they’re all connected, like a flowing, ebbing river, and the answer, lies in there, as does the survivor, she holds a key, but hurry, it’s coming.”
“What? It’s coming? You mean that thing?”
“It knows, it’s after us, it’s coming for you, you’re fated to die, we all are, but, explaining it all right now, will just make no sense afterwards. Just remember this one thing, don’t trust her, she lies, the beast, already has her.”
“What? Don’t trust who?”
“Jar?” A voice says, he looks up from the paper, sweat running down his brow, he suddenly feels light headed, pockets of black and white exploded before his eyes, and then, he sees it, the beast, from before, and scrambles backwards, pulling his revolver free.
“JAR!” Marilyn yells, two shots ring out then everything fades away to white, for a moment he stands there, in limbo, until he feels something tightly grip his arm, and pulls him back into the room. But, it’s not the same, or is it, his mind explodes with pain, he presses himself tightly against the wall, sweat pouring from him, his eyes wide with fear, they frantically search the room, desperately looking for it, only for them to find Marilyn, standing a few feet away.
“What the fuck is going on Jar?” Marilyn says, he grabs his head, closes his eyes tightly, and takes several long deep breaths, before opening his eyes again, looking at her once more, her face, shows her concern. “Jar?”
“I’m okay, it’s nothing, just, I’m tired, my mind wandered, sorry, I didn’t mean to,” he says as he quickly turns back to the wall.
“Don’t, okay, just don’t, we don’t have time to stop, she’s dead, that’s all we need to know right now, just like the rest here, just like the others he wrote about. Every single name, every single one.” She places a hand on his arm, and grips it again.
“Jar, do…” he pulls away once more, stepping towards the board.
“Two months before all this started, they began releasing these short stories of people sharing the story, in each story, they get visited by these creepy arsed ghosts, like the freak show we saw, they say their rhyme, a different one each time mind you, then disappear, and that’s when the big hunk of muscle, this Roundhead thing, shows up and kills our unsuspecting victims,” he says as he turns to her, his face, empty, white, exhausted, his eyes puffy, his lips, cracked, dry, he runs his tongue along them, but, his mouth is just as dry. “I mean two months, two fucking months he was writing these things, and this Wilkinson guy, he was sharing images of what he was doing over on his pages for just as long. I mean look, this was the thing we saw wasn’t it?” He says ripping a picture from the wall and slamming it on the desk. “He fucking drew it months before the attacks happened. That means these guys knew that thing existed, I mean, you don’t just make something up like this, not something this fucked up anyway. Honestly Marilyn, if you want my best opinion, these guys, they were touched, really, fucking, touched. But you want to know what gets me, what makes me really fucking curious. It’s that no one ever said anything, he names people, places, other people, how they die, what they do to make it happen, and these people, these fucking retards, they fucking die. But the best part is that some of them, and when I say some, I mean, almost all of them, they fucking liked these posts, the ones depicting their deaths. So tell me, how didn’t they recognise themselves? I mean, how? Is it that insane to ask the question, or are we beyond that?”
“Is insane a word we’re even using?”
He looks over to her and stares at her for a few moments before looking back at the wall, “I guess that’s a fair call,” he says.
“Fair call? Jar, it’s me you’re talking to, get your head out of your arse and talk to me for a minute,” she says as she grabs him by the face and forces him to look at her.
“Look, I’m sorry, but, this case, it scares me, and that thing, whatever it was, is, it’s unbelievable, plus that story, it was me Marilyn, it was what happened, it was my life, and he wrote about it weeks before it happened. Then mix in the dreams, the ones that I had before all this, are now happening, while I’m awake, so, it’s all got me a bit stretched. And that thing, it killed that girl like she was nothing, it could’ve killed any of us, you, me, Jimmy, fuck, even Jones, but it killed her because that’s what the story said had to happen, I mean, is this, us, right now, part of the story? And who the hell is this Mackenzie guy, there’s no record of him, or a crime scene being attacked by that thing, does that mean it hasn’t happened yet, and he seems like someone, important….”
She grabs him by the hand and kisses him, then pulls him from the room, down the hallway, and into one of the interrogation rooms, quickly locking the door behind them.
“Ma…” He goes to say but she stops him with another kiss.
“Shut up, turn the camera off and fuck me!” She says.
Some minutes later he leans back against the wall and stares at her as she tucks her shirt in and tightens her belt, a cigarette hangs from his mouth, unlit.
“We should be working?” he says.
“We’ve been working all night,” she replies with a smile as she finishes doing up the buttons on her shirt.
“We’re still working.”
“If that’s what you call working, I’d love your job,” she says as she wraps her arms around his waist and buries her head into his chest.
“You know what I mean.”
“I know, but can’t we ignore it all, just for a little while?”
“In a little while, once Jones’ people manage to get in the state, they’ll seizing all the shit we took from Towns and Wilkinson’s apartment’s, you know Jones wants his face all over this, the piece of shit, he sees the bigger picture, the world stage, his way up the ladder.”
“And he’ll get it, while we continue to rot down here, in our own personal hell.”
“New Zealand is still an option,” he says with a laugh.
“One day, but you still have to deal with Clive and the kids, he’s not stupid you know, he’d know by now something’s changed.”
“You always know how to bring a woman down.”
“Better to do it after, than before,” he says with a smile. “But, we should go see Jimmy and Clarke, have a look at what they’ve found, maybe we could steal Jones’ thunder, get that promotion ourselves, and leave this place behind.”
“Fat chance,” she says as he reaches up and plugs the security camera back in, they both quickly exit, making their way to the forensic crime labs, where Jimmy sits pouring through all of Towns’ hard drives.
“So tell me you’ve turned up something?” Jar asks, Jimmy turns to them with a frustrated look on his face.
“Not a lot, half the files he has are encrypted with shit we’ve never seen before, so I had to call in a couple of favours from a few sources outside the normal channels, but, as yet, none of them have paid off. And on top of that, he’s got an unusual system in the way he saves things, which is making it hard to work out what’s useful, and what’s not, to the investigation. So, we’ve divided the work, Clarke is running the laptop through the sifter while I’m concentrating on all hard drives and flash disks, which, I might add, are plentiful,” he replies as he throws his arms out, gesturing to all the hard drives and flash cards that sit in front of him.
“No other parts of the story?”
“Nope, only the two chapters and the preludes we’ve already seen, and just in case any of you’ve forgotten, lived through, as that nugget of fuck me I’m in an episode of the Twilight Zone, always needs to be thrown back out there. We also found a heap of poems counting down from thirteen to one that seemed part of the story line maybe, but they’re mediocre at best, with no real information in them. There’s also a shit load of movies, porn, bits and pieces of other stories, a massive series of novels he was working on, and, more porn, but no other part of the Roundhead story, not that I can find yet anyway. But, like I said, I’ve still got a lot more shit to wade through.”
“What about access to the WordPress site, have we got anything back yet?”
“Still waiting on them to get back to us on that, so far all they’ve done is shut it down like the warrant requested, getting access seems to be more of a battle. But, I’m leaving that to Jones, I mean, that’s what he gets paid for, right?”
“So, what you’re really saying is we’re still just holding our dicks?” Jar says.
“Speak for yourself Jar,” Marilyn says as she elbows him in the stomach.
He lets out a small grunt, “Okay, point taken, we’re just holding our nuts,” he quickly takes a step back as she swings a harder elbow his way. He holds up his hands and laughs. “Stand down Sargent, I don’t want to get taken down by friendly fire.”
“Well, keep your nuts in your hands then sailor,” she says with a wry smile.
“Okay you two, behave, if I wanted to deal with bickering children I would’ve stayed at my sisters instead of coming to work. So why don’t we all just look on the bright side, if that’s what you want to call it. Sonia Winters, our busty friend from earlier, who as we know, featured in part two of the story along with all of us, is the last official victim. So, we can at least confirm the site and the sharing of the story was somehow connected to all this shit,” Jimmy says.
“We’ll call it the bright side,” Jar says.
From the other side of the lab Clarke pokes his head out of a small room, his face pale, white and clammy, “Y-you…” He stops and clears his throat before he starts again. “You two picked the most profoundly precise time to stick your noses into our neck of the woods. I-I-I, I think you all need to come and have a look at this!” He says as he disappears back into the room. The three quickly squeeze themselves into the room, behind Clarke’s chair and all look towards the open laptop on the desk.
“Is this where you tell us you found something?” Marilyn asks.
“It’s something, but, more like I just shat myself kind of moment than anything else. Let me start by saying, his file system, is atrocious, to a point where I’d say there isn’t one, that’s until, you get to this folder,” he says as he nervously hovers the mouse cursor over a folder titled ‘Derek Clarke’, they all exchange confused looks before Jar asks the inevitable question everyone’s thinking.
“He’s got a folder on his computer, with your name on it. Is there something you haven’t told us?”
“No sir, I’ve never met this guy before and I have no idea why he’d have a folder named after me on his laptop.”
“Do we know what’s in it?”
“I’ve no idea, I’m too scared to open it. Fuck, after Jimmy read that chapter of his story and then that professor on the TV telling you to shut the site down, I didn’t want to open it on my own.”
“Don’t be a wuss, like a Band-Aid, we’ve all seen your mardi gras pictures, I doubt there would be anything worse out there than that,” Jimmy says as he reaches over, pressing the mouses button, and another screen opens displaying over two hundred video files.
“Okay, I’m not the most computer literate person out there, so you boys are going to have to tell me what we’re looking at?” Jar says.
Jimmy squeezes his way past Clarke again, “They’re video files, and by the looks of it, they’re all date marked, so, they’d have to be record logs of some kind. But, the best way to find out is to open one,” he says as he double clicks on the first file.
Marty sits staring into the camera and nervously smiles, “So, this is entry number one, in what I’m hoping will be the most defining, most… Fuck,” he places his head down and waits for a few moments before looking back up at the camera and smiles again. “Welcome to the first entry, in what will be the defining record of creation, as you’ll journey along with me as I work through the ups, and the down, of birthing The Roundhead. Over the next few months you’ll witness the birth of what very well could be, the next, the next,” he hangs his head again. “The next what? Freddy Kruger? Pinhead? Fuck, they all sound like I’m full of myself, why do I have to compare it to any of those, anyway?” he says as he looks at the screen once more.
“Pause it,” Jar says, Clarke quickly presses the pause button, and a cold shiver runs down his spine as he looks into the frozen eyes of Marty, he slams the lid closed.
“Got the heebie-jeebies?” Jimmy says.
“Yeah something like that.” Clarke says as he nervously shuffles in his chair and looks up at Jar.
“How many files are there?” Jar asks, Jimmy swallows a dried, horrible, mouthful of air and turns back to the laptop, takes a deep breath then opens it again, quickly closing the video.
“T-T, two hundred and thirty-three.”
“What’s that in time?”
“Ummmm, eight hours and sixteen minutes.”
Jar places a firm hand on Clarke’s shoulder and squeezes it.
“I’ll call you if I find anything,” Clarke says.
“Have I told you how much I love you?” Jar says.
Jar leans down and gives Clarke a big sloppy kiss on his cheek, “We don’t need words,” he says with a smile as he and Marilyn leave the two of them in a room, Clarke looks at Jimmy who smiles awkwardly back at him.
“It’s got your name on the folder,” he says as he quickly exits, leaving Clarke alone once more, he turns to the laptop, and opens the video back up, for a few seconds, he sits there, starring at Marty, before he presses play once again.
Go HERE to read part 5.
All artwork by Yazgar, check his stuff out when you can!