Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Read an Excerpt of First Day on the Job by E. Reyes from The Halloween Special

"First Day on the Job" (Excerpt)
By E. Reyes

Appears on E. Reyes's new horror anthology: The Halloween Special


A black Chevelle came to a screeching halt outside of a home on the south side of Devil's Hill. The motor was running, sounding like a beast was breathing heavily under its hood. The windows were down. The driver was enjoying the crisp autumn air as the music pouring out was poisoning its comfortable ambience. Jack Forest was playing “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails on full-blast.

Jack opened the squeaking driver’s door. He reached for the keys to shut the engine off, but what for? This job was going to be quick; might as well let the beast be idle until he returned. He got out of the car, examined the neighborhood—no one in sight, only mediocre houses with Halloween decorations. Jack took one last drag of the cigarette between his lips and blew the smoke out quickly. He flicked the butt and it landed on a pile of dog crap that lay dormant by a mailbox across the street. Jack moved the left side of his leather duster and saw that his beloved Colt .45 was tucked neatly in its holster like a sleeping baby. Jack shut the door to his Chevelle and proceeded to the home he parked in front of.

Walking toward the door, Jack could hear a ruckus proceeding from the inside. He heard something hit a wall and break; the too familiar sound of glass exploding to shards. He heard a string of verbal abuse coming from the male perpetrator. Apparently, the male thought his female companion was a filthy fat bitch, a whore on wheels, a cock sucker, and she was being accused—most likely not true—of fucking someone from Facebook. The female being hammered with said insults was crying and pleading for the male to stop. Each time the female cried out the male would strike her. Back-handed, opened-palmed, or with a fist, Jack didn't know. But he could feel his blood boiling with rage already.

“The fuck is out there playing that goddamn music?” the male shouted. His words were slurred. “That your fuckin boyfriend or something? Meet him on Facebook?”

Jack Forest smiled. He was already almost at the porch when the screen door opened, revealing an average size male in his early thirties. He was covered in prison tattoos with fading ink. He had a buzz cut with a fade, blue jeans, a pair of New Balance shoes on his little feet, and a properly trimmed goatee. 

“Who the fuck are you? And why are you playing that music so—”

With all his strength, Jack raised his leg and kicked the man square in the chest. It was a powerful kick-shove. The man flew back, slamming against the main door, landed on the floor inside his home and banged the back of his head on the tile. A bright flash of white lit up before the man’s eyes.

Jack stepped inside the house. It smelled of stale cigarettes, weed, and hangover farts. The woman was sitting on a couch, hugging her legs and staring at Jack Forest with doe-like eyes, full of fright. She had blood around her nose, and a huge knot on the left side of her forehead. Her wavy, brown hair was a mess; obviously a sign of being pulled. Jack grinded his teeth.

The wife beater groaned on the floor. 
His eyes were closed as he started to feel for the back of his head. He looked at his fingers and saw blood.

“Getting your daily fix of wife-beating, are we? Nah-ah, not on my watch, cupcake,” said Jack Forest. “You see, the rules are: you beat, I beat. But I beat the shit out of you.”

“You a cop or something? Who are you?” the male demanded. “Are you fucking her? Huh? Is that it? Ow, my fucking head!”

Jack smiled, the female thought he looked handsome. “God, no. I’m your worst nightmare. You're going to want a cop after I'm done.”

The thug got up from the floor clumsily, knocking over a lamp. He was heading off to the hallway, most likely for a weapon. Jack swung his leg back and gave a hard kick to the man’s ass with his cowboy boot. 

“Oof!” the man cried out in pain. The woman on the couch yelped. The man struck the wall with his head and put a hole in it. The dry wall fell in crumbles.

Jack smiled at the woman. “Don't worry, darling.” She recoiled and hugged her legs tighter. The wife beater was moaning on the ground. Blood was dripping like a bad faucet from his nose. “Look, I gotta get going now. Just let me—”

The man kicked out and connected to Jack’s ankle. Jack grinned. “You motherfucker.”

Jack stood over the man and started kicking his torso with maniacal rage. The man on the floor began weeping and shouting “stop” when he was able to get a breath in. Jack started seeing a roll of images in his mind; this was most likely something that came with the job. He saw the man striking the woman on the couch’s pregnant belly. One, two, three, four times. She lost the baby at five months. When the images vanished from Jack’s mind, he landed a final kick to the man’s belly. He wasn't a doctor, but he knew something ruptured in him that may have definitely caused internal bleeding. The man on the floor was now sobbing and calling for his wife.

“Ashley! Help me!” 

Jack laughed. “Seriously? ‘Help me?’ Are you insane? Did I mess up your head that much?”

“Ashley, please! My stomach hurts, babe! Call an ambulance!”

Jack shook his head at the woman. “Nope.” He turned back to the tough shit on the floor. “You didn't call the ambulance when you made her lose the baby.” Ashley's eyes went wide and she gasped. Jack immediately regretted bringing up the miscarriage, but he was too angry to think before he talked. The woman started crying, placing her face on her knees. 

Jack wiped sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. “You're gonna suffer like she suffered.” Jack got on his haunches right next to the thug's head. His face was full of blood and drywall. He was groping his stomach in pain. 

“Now can go on beating her, treating her like shit, but you know what happens? I may or may not be back. I'm not sure what happens, but I think someone else comes when a second offense happens. And from what I've seen, they're not human. I would not fuck with them. And if you try to kick me again,” Jack slid the panel of his duster back and revealed his Colt .45. The man looked at it with huge eyes, “I won't hesitate to blow off that ugly little face of yours. I'll tattoo that goatee to the wall. You understand?”

“Y-y-yes. I understand, sir,” said the wife beater. His teeth were covered in blood.

Jack patted his cheek, making the man flinch. “Atta boy! Now, one final thing. This may hurt a bit. I'm not gonna lie.”
Jack placed his right hand on the man’s sweat and drywall covered forehead. His whole hand started to glow a bright yellow from the inside. Jack’s veins, nerves, and bones were visible all through his fingers and palm. The man started screaming in pain. The sizzling sound of flesh being seared was overwhelming. Ashley started screaming too. When the yellow glow diminished, Jack removed his hand, revealing a strange symbol that looked like the number 6. It was branded on the man's forehead. 

Jack winced and whistled. “Don't worry, buddy. Nobody could see that painful-looking mark. That's only for the gatekeeper to see. Your wife can't even see it.” The man put a finger on the singed flesh and quickly jolted his hand back.

“Ashley? Ashley, darling? Can you see anything on your hubby’s face besides the drywall and blood?”

Ashley peeked over at the man and shook her head.

“See! Only you and the gatekeeper can see it. Me too, obviously. Well, he will see it once you die and all that. And make your way down below.”

“The fuck did you do to me?” the man groaned.

“I gave you something to live with until your last miserable breath. Consider that nasty-ass burn on your head a golden ticket to Hell.” 

The man’s eyes were bulging out the sockets. His breath was heavy and wheezing. Tears started dropping from his eyes. He was totally defeated and humiliated; feelings that were all too familiar by his wife.

Jack walked to the front door. “And Ashley? Look, I know you may still love him and blah-blah-blah, but you need to seriously quit this piece of shit. I'm not Dr. Phil, and I can't make decisions for you, but drop the fucker like a bad habit, please.” Ashley nodded and started sobbing. Jack looked over to the beaten man on the floor. “You made me late to my next job, asshole. Be good, or my gun will want to blow you a kiss, sweetness.”

Jack walked out the front door and was greeted to warm October sunshine. Nine Inch Nails was still playing in his Chevelle. He saw a group of kids walking down the street already dressed to trick-or-treat. There was a ghost, a vampire, and Deadpool. The kids walked passed him, headed for the wife beater’s home.

Jack stuck his hand out. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold it there, kiddos. You guys trick-or-treating?”

“Uh, yes sir,” said the little Deadpool.
“Alright. Stay here. I'll go get you guys the candy.”

Jack Forest stepped back inside the home. The wife beater was holding his stomach, his wife was on the phone, asking for an ambulance.

“God dammit, Ashley,” said Jack, shaking his head. “Let this fucker suffer!”

Ashley, looking ashamed, went into the kitchen. The knot on her forehead looked like it was ready to spew magma. 

Jack went down on his haunches and started digging through the wife beater’s pockets.

“Ay, what the hell, man? Haven't you done enough?” the wife beater cried out, wincing in pain.

“Nope,” Jack said flatly. “There's some trick-or-treaters outside. I don't want them to see that ugly mug of yours. And I doubt you have any candy.”

“Ashley bought some the—”

“I don't give a fuck if Ashley bought Willy Wonka and his green haired dwarfs with those Jersey Shore tans.” Jack brought out the wife beater’s wallet and took out three twenty dollar bills. There was ten more. He took that too.

“Ay, man. That's for—”

Jack punched the man's stomach.

Jack stood up and stretched. “Shut up.” He went to the kitchen. Ashely was by the sink, drinking a glass of water.
“Hey, Ashley.”

“Oh!” Ashley cried out, surprised. She clutched her chest.

“Don't worry, darling. Here. The asshole had money in his wallet after all. He was lying.”

She took the money and tucked it in her pocket. “How do you—”

“I just do. Take care of yourself. Call the cops. He will threaten you, he will guilt trip you, but trust me. Call. The. Cops.”
Ashley nodded and wiped away tears from her eyes.

Jack walked outside and handed each of the kids a twenty dollar bill. “Oh, sweet!” said the ghost. “Right on!” said the vampire. “Shit yeah! I mean, awesome!” said Deadpool. They thanked Jack and ran to the next house.
Jack smiled. “I think I like this job.”
It was Jack’s first day as a soul collector for Satan.

Read the rest of the story and even more Halloween tales by checking out The Halloween Special by E. Reyes!

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