Wednesday, January 13, 2010

AN EXCERPT FROM 'Kaiju Soul" (Working title)

Ray Vargas never thought he would find himself looking forward to Monday morning, but here he sits doing that exact thing. It’s safe to say this has been the longest day of his life. Three days ago he was just good old Ray Vargas, the office wiseass with bowel problems and a love for the ladies that are easily impressed. Now he’s...what? He isn’t sure what he is, actually. All he knows is he’s seen some crazy shit these past few days and now he’s hiding out in his boy Jason’s basement, watching some old movie about supposedly forty year old ex-biker gang-members trying to save a campground run by that fine chick from “I Dream of Jeannie.” She’s older in this but he’d still love to take a big bite out of that ass of hers.

The TV movie provides the perfect background noise to what’s occurring inside Ray’s head. To say he is afraid would be doing a disservice to the concept of true fear. There is no part of him that isn’t in danger of shutting down or imploding. Though he tries over and over to reconcile what he has seen as somehow rational in the brand new context of a world filled with monsters, all he can seem to manage is borderline hysteria and shaky hands.

Maybe he would have been fine after what he saw in the bathroom at work if it had been the only thing that happened. He could have told himself there is a demon out there living inside the likeliest candidate and he maybe could have called a priest or something. But once Kareem turned out to be involved and he saw that light that sucked him up into it...well, that was about all he needed to piss his pants.

And then there’s Walter Henderson’s crazy-ass plan. Ray isn’t sure he can go along with it when the time comes. Hell, how could it possibly work without letting everybody know what is going on? Walt always struck Ray as a pretty subtle dude but this time it seems like he wants to set off fucking fireworks for all the world to see and Ray isn’t so sure he’s down with that.

Whatever. Either way, it should hopefully be over tomorrow and that’s all that should matter right now, right?

Ray squints at the screen as a young Patrick Swayze makes a pass at the divine Miss Eden and smirks. This movie is so lame it’s good.

Ray jumps as he hears what sounds like a glass striking the hardwood in the kitchen upstairs. He calls out for Jason a few times, at once terrified and unsurprised by the lack of response. Slowly, he reaches over and picks up the TV remote control, opting to lower the volume rather than completely mute it. He gets off the couch as silently as possible and tip-toes to the edge of the stairs leading to the upper portion of Jason’s house where he cranes his neck and listen for any other strange noises.


But Ray is far from easily satisfied. He knows better than to let his guard down so soon. Without another thought, he takes hold of the baseball bat Jason keeps near his storage closet and holds it at his side. If there’s anybody up there ready to start shit, they’re gonna have to come down here if they want him so badly.

He thinks he hears what sounds like a brief, high-pitched noise, almost as if someone is trying to speak but can’t quite get the air necessary to form words. Ray feels that funny sensation at the back of his knees that usually results from standing too close to the edge from a high point. His palms run slick with sweat and he nearly drops the bat.

“Well, ain’t this a lovely shit sandwich we got here?” he mutters.

He scans the basement for signs of a makeshift exit, eyes coming to rest on a window near the furnace. It’s not very wide, definitely not wide enough for the average adult male, but Ray’s skinny and pliable. His homies used to call him “Rodent” because of the way he could flex his muscles and contract his bones to get under and between shit most people could never access. He chuckles; this would be the first time he uses it for a good reason, though.

He trots over to the furnace, his footfalls light and barely creating any noise. He carries the bat at his side, striking the basement floor once by accident in such a way that he is convinced will provoke whoever is upstairs from coming down. Behind him, the TV movie drones on at a low level, just loud enough to make it seem as if no one has adjusted it. He wishes he could just turn the fucker off but that would be like lighting a fire leading right to his scrawny ass.

Ray kneels down and goes to work on the window which is, of course, stuck shut due to probably decades of no use. He puts his entire weight behind the effort, trying like hell not to make much noise as he does. Now he regrets having turned the TV down at all. After a few more pushes, the stupid window finally gives enough to slide outward with a low grinding sound. He allows himself to rest for a moment, gratified that his efforts have paid off when Jason’s voice comes from upstairs.

“I don’t know what you want!” he screeches. “What do you want?”

This is followed by a scream that is so primal and loud it literally echoes into the basement. Ray feels himself lose a little bladder control as he suddenly renews and doubles his efforts to get that goddam window open. So what if it makes noise? He needs to get out of here now!

Poor Jason. All he did was try to help his friend out and now…No, don’t think about that. Deal with that later. Just get out.

The window opens with a creak and Ray slides out and into the front yard of Jason’s house so fast he actually rolls a bit down the slight hill before coming to a halt along the fence line. He jumps to his feet, realizing he’s forgotten the baseball bat, and quickly convinces himself not to go back for it. Behind him, he hears a door swing open. He doesn’t want to look but something seems to take hold of him and force him to do so

He thinks he sees three people standing there, all of them Asian; Two guys and one chick. The guys look like twins and not in that “I can’t tell them apart” way some Americans claim. They literally look like clones of each other. Somehow he gets the idea that they’re actually triplets.

“Who are you?” Ray hears the panic in his voice. He repeats the question a moment later.

If the three of them hear him, if they even understand what he’s saying, they give no indication. They simply remain in the doorway, standing and…no, they’re not standing at all. Ray’s jaw drops as he realizes they’re floating in mid-air.

“Oh, Jesus!” he yells.

He tries to turn away, to run like hell from these people that aren’t people at all, but he can’t seem to send the message to his feet. A moment later, he sees what appear to be purplish light beams coming from the three of them, snaking across the lawn toward him like snakes. Then the house explodes and everything goes white.

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