A Participatory Story
Evil Is is a serialized story that will be published as individual chapters are finished. While large portions of the story have been written and the plot outlined, much remains to be done. It is hoped that this process will encourage input and ideas from readers.
The story will be offered under the Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike License. Users are free to distribute the story, alter, remix, add-on, and enjoy in any way. It is hoped that readers will enjoy this story ownership and involvement.
The genre is horror, so be advised! This may not be appropriate for younger audiences.
Chapter 1: I Belong to the Bitch
A rainbow mix of neon signs, traffic signals, car headlights and club marquees light a city street. A warm summer night wraps a handsome man and a beautiful woman in a warm, flattering breeze. The man and woman are outfitted in finery that only an urban environment with an active fashion industry can provide. His hair is perfectly cut yet claims to be casual. Her make-up is perfectly tuned to an evening palette. Perfect clothing accent their perfect looks. Nothing is a matter of chance. These are people of breeding, money, taste and style.
The woman wears a bright, flower print dress of fine silk. A wide-brimmed hat hides her eyes, but her long gold hair blatantly flows out from underneath it. On her wrist, a delicate bracelet hangs. Diamonds surround an 18-caret gold nameplate engraved with a script spelling out, “Eve.”
The woman’s companion looks fresh in a crisply cut, broad shouldered gabardine suit. The suit’s sharp angles look at home among the city skyscrapers. The woman looks in his eyes and speaks his name, “Clay.” He smiles broadly into her eyes and then looks ahead to pick their path. “Yes,” he replies while scanning the environment.
The sounds of the city overwhelm their conversation, so she lets it go. They simply enjoy each other’s presence, the beauty of the night, and who they are. They look confident and resolved, but their faces are soft and full of expression. They show trust, liberally highlighted by humor and play. They gain strength from each other.
The couple doesn’t seek attention. Yet, their intense and newly formed love draws the eyes of passersby. They are attractive and compelling to everyone. People stand aside to let them pass. The activity of this street is choreographed around them, and they are the central performers as the scene unfolds.
Behind the couple, a well-appointed van is crowded with dark shapes. Behind the faceless shapes, the interior space of the van fades to oblivion, lit only intermittently by the small blue LED lights of computer electronics. The van speaks of money, attention and care, good things in life. The human shapes inside speak of fear and violence.
The van’s engine is barely audible as it runs. As the couple turns a corner, the van glides away from the curb and follows. If you listen closely enough a hiss of evil and violence escapes the van as it pulls away.
Fifty-three minutes later, the same hot summer night, a disheveled man wearing a stained lab coat, and a harried but perfectly dressed and quaffed woman walk together Theirs is not a casual summer night stroll. As they walk, they are wrapped in the greenish, grotesque, glare of the florescent lights of a hospital emergency room corridor. The harsh light accentuates the pain, tedium and boredom that inhabits it. The colors the light reveals are either utilitarian, tan, white, grey; or a reflection of pain and suffering; deep blood red, mucous green, yellowish infections. The bleak décor of the room amplifies the wounds and misery of the hall’s overflowing occupants.
Around the woman’s neck is a gold chain and, in the middle, a plain gold charm with a single word, “Constance.” On the man’s lapel is a name tag with two words, Julian LaGrange. The “Title” line on his ID tag is noticeable empty.
Communication between Julian LaGrange and Mrs. Constance comes in the form of a look, a nod. A whisper or a furrowed brow, as they walk by the overflow patients parked in the corridor. Their intense friendship demonstrates a trust born from years of shared worry and hardship. The chaos that is constant in an emergency room seems well choreographed and ignores their presence. They are the calm and comfortable in their roles as background observers if they are noticed at all.
The hospital’s urgency overwhelms and swallows this couple’s conversation. They know this environment and are comfortable in the activity that surrounds them. They are not part of any of the individual emergencies, so they all but ignored. They take in the room, evaluate needs and resources available. The search for situations that might spin out of control. These two are people of authority in these surroundings and ready to act, but only if needed.
The lobby area is screaming with pulsating red lights. An ambulance is unloading just outside of the immense glass doors underneath an Emergency sign. The double doors glide open and a gurney led by 3 EMTs grabs center stage. A massive cop leads their entrance announcing, “Out of the way. Now!” No one challenges his authority in any way. The spreading stain of blood is beyond the control of the emergency technicians. They struggle to bring the thrashing man into the hospital.
Julian can see that the man on the gurney has been gut-shot; a horrible, painful injury with an uncertain prognosis. The wail of a man fighting to not surrender to pain makes the room cringe. The smell rising from the stretcher is overpoweringly raw and visceral. The beautiful woman wearing a bracelet saying, “Eve” stands beside the gurney. She is dressed flower print dress with bright red stains blending hidden among the blossoms. Red nail polish is perfectly color coordinated with the blood that stains her hands. She clings to the EMT’s. No tears ruin the make-up on her face her face. She only offers a look of chilling determination.
The EMT’s apply pressure to the man on the gurney’s abdominal wound. An IV suspended above adds fresh blood to replace that lost by the victim, barely keeping up. By all rights and mercy, the gurney passenger should be unconscious, but his thrashing and cursing belies that. His pain is intense. He doesn’t even seem to be in shock. He is conscious and keenly aware of his pain, almost seeming to revel in pain and in this moment, and especially, his central position in the scene. He spews a stream of venomous and disgusting epithets that ensure he has the room’s attention.
He grabs a doorframe and almost upsets the gurney. “Don’t move me. Don’t move me,” he screams. “Let me go.” The strength he uses to hold on causes pain beyond comprehension, and yet he still seems to focus his full awareness on it, gladly.
A wave of nausea comes over the bleeding patient, and he pauses and weakens, but fights the urge to pass into unconsciousness. He seems to lose his thoughts. His eyes soften. He softly whimpers, as his eyes lock on Julian’s. Then he snaps back loudly as he breaks Julian’s stare.
“God DAMN! Get back. Keep her away from me. It hurts. Whatever you do, keep me awake. KEEP THAT BITCH AWAY FROM ME!” The victim looks at Eve. A stare of hate is exchanged, but Eve breaks it off with a soft smile.
This victim’s clothes, though blood soaked, were once genuine urban youth status symbols. Underneath the spreading blood they are expensive; genuine brands, no knockoffs. Sneakers costing in the thousands are now blood-soaked. These are a youth-culture’s uniform indicating a monied, mid-level social rank.
Behind the gurney stands Eve. Her face, as she stares at the man on the gurney, is frozen in a frightening and determined mask of fatal vengeance. The man on the gurney sees it. His fear of her is obvious.
A very young intern, clearly learning quickly, but not fast enough, pushes past the EMT’s. As the inexperienced doctor bends over the victim for an initial examination, from Eve a voice dripping with hate hisses, “Do everything for my husband, please. Keep him alive for me. Please. Do whatever it takes.” She looks away and smiles.
The young doctor pauses in shock, unsure of what to make of the woman’s tone. The man on the gurney stares into Eve’s face, only for a brief second before he is forced to look away. He grows pale and momentarily appears to wish for his own death.
Julian LaGrange’s usually strong legs wobble and he leans against his companion for support. To an unknowing observer it appears the violence and gore of the scene are sickening him. The woman he leans on knows better. She stood by him through many similar visions. “What are you seeing, Julian?”
Julian watches as the man on the gurney’s face distorts, highlighting simian features. His face becomes an angry baboon’s, canine teeth elongate. He screams in fear and pain, lashing out when he finds enough strength.
An ER nurse with a mask over her face, gloves on her hands, cuts away the remains the wounded man’s clothing. The man on the gurney screams from more than physical pain. His fears make him frantic. The locus of his fear is Eve.
“Please restrain him,” the young physician pleads. “Irrigate these wounds a little so we can see what we are dealing with.”
A young uniformed police officer steps from behind Eve, pushing her to the background with unnecessary rudeness. The young doctor leans to obscure the police officer’s view. He tries to calm the bleeding man’s fears by feigning upbeat indifference. The officer moves closer to the injured man as the doctor examines him.
“A bystander called it in on their cell, Doc,” says the young officer. “The woman here says this is her husband. He was shot during a robbery attempt. She doesn’t know by whom. She didn’t see the perp. It looks like he used a small caliber, close range, four to six feet away,” the young cop says in his best detective-to-be voice. “But she didn’t see the skel who did this… yeah, I’m sure of that.”
“He going to make it? When will REAL detectives be able to talk to him?” growls a large uniformed police sergeant, who had stayed in the background. “They’ll have questions. They’ve been called and are on the way. I know I have questions, too. I’d like to question him on my own, before they come and screw it up. Is that possible?”
“We’ll do everything we can. We’re going to treat him first, though.” The ER doctor peers into the wounded mains contorted eyes. “You brought him to the right place, that’s for sure. We got everything we need here to get him through this,” the doctor looks away from the man, his inexperience making it hard for him to tolerate the man’s look of helpless fear. “We’ll give you something to make the pain easier to deal with, right away. Nurse!” He smiles mechanically.
“Nothing to put me out.” The man on the gurney snaps back into the moment. “No pain killers. I can take the pain. Keep me awake.”
Julian LaGrange straightens himself up and away from the support of his companion. Julian struggles to make sense of the vision before him. He fights the instinct to turn away in revulsion and looks into the wounded man’s eyes.
Large insects, with the persistence of hungry horseflies, feast on the wounded man’s flesh. He seems only mildly aware of them, like he has lived with them most of his life. Occasionally, he slaps at one that is feasting on an open wound. As soon as he does, another takes its place on the sore.
None of the doctors seem to notice the swarm of vicious insects. They go about tending the man’s gunshot wounds. Only Julian and the wounded man seem to be aware of their malevolent persistence. But they are not the source of the man’s fear and discomfort.
“Is this woman your wife,” Julian asks to the man on the gurney. He motions with his head toward the woman in the flower print dress.
Julian watches as the flesh on the man’s forearms begins to curl up and flay itself. Blood pools where the flesh is removed. The hungry flies swarm the wounds to feast on the fresh blood.
“Keep that bitch away. Are you a doctor? You better keep her away. I’ll bring this place down if you don’t. I promise. I will …..” The wounded man on the gurney turns to Julian. One look into Julian’s eyes and the man quiets, then quietly begs, “Please.”
“This is Julian LaGrange, and his assistant, Mrs. Constance.” The doctor performs a pleasant introduction while struggling examine the man’s gunshot wound, glad for the chance to distract his patient. “He built this hospital with his own money. She runs it, run’s us all, even Mr. LaGrange. Don’t mess with her. I’m Dr. Merrin. Now we know everyone but you. Can I ask your name?”
“You got the name on my med ID card. You don’t need more than that. Clay something, like a lump of dirt kids play with. …. Cramer, like that screw-up on TV. That’s it. I’m Clay Cramer. I’m the victim here, fix me up” the patient, struggles through his pain.
“Is she your wife?” repeats Julian, as his Mrs. Constance steps forward and takes his arm, lending him support.
The man on the gurney pauses and looks up into the contorted face of the woman in the flower print dress. The hate between them is obvious to everyone in the room. A terrible, threatening, look comes over the woman’s face as she reaches down and touches the man on the gurney with seeming tenderness.
Julian watches Eve’s hands become cloven hooves and crush down on the man’s hands. The man’s bones crack audibly under her pressure. The man writhes in pain. He pauses a second, and slowly forces himself to look at Julian. “Yeah, I belong to the bitch.”
Julian turns and looks into the woman’s eyes. “Is this your husband?”
The woman’s face resembles a goat’s. Small horns have broken through her forehead. Her expression moves from fear to hate to defiance. A lower murmur comes from behind the woman, speaking but in words that can’t quite be understood. As face returns to normal and settles into the emotionless mask of a resolute seeker of vengeance the woman says calmly, “Of course. We were robbed. He was shot protecting me. I didn’t see what happened. I looked away at the time, shopping. … Please keep my husband alive.”
Surrounding the woman is a shadow, black and with an evil presence. It hovers around her, moving in and out of her body as she speaks. Occasionally, a set of red eyes glow out of it and stare at Julian, then fade back into the darkness.
The senior cop, a sergeant, steps forward. He is a huge man who is skilled at using his imposing physical presence to quickly and quietly control situations. He steps between the woman and the gurney, forcing her to release the man on the gurney and step away. The police sergeant gently takes the woman by the arm. A soft moan of relief rises from the man on the gurney.
The cop’s hands are so large they wrap fully around the woman’s forearm. “Ma’am let’s allow the doctors to do exactly that. Mr. LaGrange, is there a room where we can take this lady, where she can wait in a little peace and quiet and we can ask her a few questions? Find out what happened,” he says to Julian.
Julian eyes break away from the woman’s face for the first time since he asked about her marriage. Her face returns to normal. Gone, for the moment are the hallucinations of horror and pain. “Sure Tom, good idea. Mrs. Constance, here, will take you to a private lounge where you can sit and talk.”
Mrs. Constance starts to let go of Julian’s arm, but then pulls him close and whispers quickly in his ear, “I’m not easy to get rid of. I’ll be right back. You’ll stay here. Sit … in that chair there. Get your strength. You’ll tell me what you saw when I get back.”