The woman moaned. This wasn’t fun anymore. Hands gripped her wrists and ankles. She was spread-eagled on a cold marble slab of some kind. She dully felt the man enter her, his rigid cock driving immediately up inside her bruised pussy.

She tried to respond, but she no longer cared. She had met this good-looking guy in a club. She remembered having a drink with him, then another after she came back from the ladies room. After that it was hazy. They had left the club and driven around. She had found herself so aroused. When he suggested they have some fun she was all over him. She had freed his cock from his pants and sucked it like a lollipop. She had reached under her own skirt ands wiggled her fingers under her panties.

He had stopped the car and slipped out of it, teasing her. She had reached out to him and he had taken her hands, pulling her from the car. They had run into the dimly lit building, down some stairs, she thought, and then into this room. He had taken her in his arms and began to kiss her. His kisses had been demanding, almost brutal, but they only inflamed her desire.

He had stripped her clothes from her and pushed her back onto the slab. In one move he had penetrated her, stifling her cries with a deep kiss. He had ground his body against hers, almost battering her with the deep thrusts of his cock. His bare chest had scraped back and forth over her breasts, making her nipples stiffen and become incredibly sensitive. She had wrapped her arms and legs around him and urged him on.

He said not a word. Harder and harder he thrust into her. Her hips bucked up to him, meeting his every movement. Her mind reeling with the sensations, she felt him swell inside her, and she met his blast of cum with an orgasm of her own. He had withdrawn immediately, pulling away from her attempts to hold him.

Then the nightmare began.

Hands suddenly gripped her ankles and wrists. One by one the men circled her, each one taking a turn with her. One by one they forced their way into her, showing no regard for her, as though she was a lump of meat. Her canal filled with cum till it was overflowing.

She wanted to weep but couldn’t. She wanted to resist but was unable to move. She realized she had been drugged. Terrified, she saw the man standing over her head bring the knife up and, breaking the bonds of silence, she screamed as it came towards her…

Sergeant Pat Gibson snapped the disposable gloves on and squatted to lift the cover off the body. Although she had seen a number of dead bodies before, the sight of this one sickened her. She dropped the flap of the plastic bag and stood up.

“The same as the others, Doc?” She asked the tall, thin Medical Examiner.

“The same as the other three, Pat. It appears to be a ritualistic killing of some kind. I suspect I’ll find the same drugs in her system too. The same evidence of sexual abuse. I’ll call you when I have the autopsy report ready.” He hesitated and then stepped to the side, bringing her over with a motion of his hand.

“Have you seen the doctor that Dr Morgenstern and I recommended?”

Pat sighed deeply. “Yes I did, Stan. Thank you, but the answer is the same. Its astounding I was able to conceive Mike, Jr. at all. No more children for Mike and I.”

“I’m sorry,” assured her friend. “Sheila Morgenstern doesn’t make mistakes, but I had hoped.”

“So did I. We wanted another child, but Stan, I have so much to be thankful for already. It’ll be okay.

Pat’s cell phone rang. She answered it. The conversation consisted almost completely of “Yes, Sir and No, Sir.” After ending the call, she looked at the phone and shrugged.

“They’re all over you on this one aren’t they Pat?” Dr. Stan Wisder asked.

“Yes, that was the Sheriff himself, asking if I need any help, assuring me of his support and gently reminding me that everyone’s ass is going to get hung out if we don’t catch this guy. I have four detectives working for me. Every beat officer has descriptions of our Jane Does and instructions to talk to everyone about them. If we could just ID one of them and start a back trail, we might figure this out.”

Doggedly Pat and the officers assigned under her followed the case. They took the pictures of the four victims and made the rounds, showing them to cab drivers, store clerks, gas station attendants, any one who had frequent contact with the public.

“We keep coming up empty Mike,” Pat said moodily one evening at home. “Nothing anywhere.”

“Okay honey, there always is something.” Mike replied. Although his career with the sheriff’s department had primarily been in uniform, Mike had been an excellent detective as a corporal. “what do we have?”

“We have four women, approximately all the same age, same general appearance. The lab reports indicate they were all murdered with probably the same knife, certainly the same type of knife. They were drugged, probably mixed into a drink.”

Mike cut her off. “The drinks, Pat. Hit the clubs in the area they were found. Let’s put some feelers out about the underground clubs too.” He studied the toxicology reports. “What’s this?”

Pat looked over her husband’s shoulder. “Yeah, that struck me too. Traces of a chemical compound similar to a pesticide found on the skin of two of the victims. Somehow, that rings a deep bell, but I don’t know why. And Mike, this has to be solved and soon. The murders all happened in the new moon, and the next one of those is only a week away.”

Pat leaned on the bar of a small underground night club known, rather unoriginally, as The Rave. The uneasy proprietor was protesting his complete innocence of anything to do with selling alcohol without a license or running a business of any kind. Two heavy set bouncers stood nearby. Two equally heavily built uniform officers stood with them.

“I’ve begun to lose patience with you, Ralph. I don’t give a rat’s ass about your business dealings and wheelings. However, I can if you keep evading me. On the other hand, cooperate and you record brownie points good towards your next need for a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. Tell me about the girls.”

“Okay, Sergeant Gibson,” the man sighed. He laughed. “Its true what the word on the street is.” Pat cocked her head and made a come on gesture. “As tough as everyone knows your husband is, they say its worse to cross you.” He held up his hand. “Yes, I know positively the last girl was in here. I remember her sitting at the bar, and the creepy guy who picked her up.”

“Creepy? How so?”

“Just made my skin crawl is all I can tell you.”

“Okay, Ralph. Seriously, here’s my card. Office and cell phone numbers are on it.” Pat laid down a picture of the last victim, showing the wounds she had suffered. The owner sucked in his breath and turned green. “Call me if you see him again.”

“I will.” He looked at the picture again. “You can count on it. Someone who would do that… well, I don’t cover for things like that.”

Four days later, on the night of the new moon, Pat’s cell phone rang, about an hour before dusk.

“Sergeant Gibson? Its Ralph. The guy was in here and he just left with some female. She’s about 25, blonde and wearing a black dress and shoes. I’m sorry, I was back in the storeroom and just saw them leaving. I had Tiny go out after them but they were already gone.”

“Thanks Ralph. You get one big point for this. If you ever need it, call me.” Pat rushed from the office and into her car. She called Mike and told him what was going on.

“What do you think Pat? Where could they be going?”

“Mike, I don’t know.” She paused, “Why does that chemical compound keep ringing in my ears? It means something but I can’t think of what.”

“Talk it through, honey,” her husband advised.

“Okay, its similar to the inhibiting agent found in commercial pesticides. There are traces only, on the skin, not ingested.”


“What is it Mike?” Through the phone she could gear him call to Carol he had to go out. Then she heard first the back door and then a car door slam.

“There’s an abandoned pesticide plant out about 5 miles off State Highway 27. The EPA closed it years ago. How damn stupid can I be?”

“Give me directions and I’ll meet you there.”

Mike and Pat arrived at almost the same moment at the falling down gates leading through the fence line surrounding the plant. Without fanfare they slowly drove their cars through the half ruined factory. Pat suddenly turned into an alley between two buildings. Mike followed and they both got out.

“Fresh tire tracks,” He pointed out.

“And there,” following Pat’s finger Mike saw a high heel shoe laying by a metal door. “Ralph at The Rave told me the woman was wearing black, including her shoes.”

Suddenly Pat shivered. A breeze began to whistle down the alley. She wrapped her arms around herself.

“Mike, is it just me or is it getting colder?” She took a deep breath. “And what in God’s name is that smell? Its not chemicals, it smells like, like…”

“Like dead bodies in an open grave.” Mike answered quietly. “I remember it from the Gulf.”

Pat’s hands shook just a bit as she reached into the car and picked up the radio mike. She was almost relieved to see her husband looked rather pale. Almost. His left hand was gripping the chain around his neck. Pat knew he always wore his Marine Corps dog tags and a religious medal. She rather suspected it was the latter he had in his fingers.

Swallowing hard, her free hand pulled the small silver cross out from her shirt. Pat had not been especially religious for much of her life. After marrying her staunchly Irish Catholic husband, she had started going to church with him and the girls. The cross had been a present from Carol and Stephanie the day they baptized Mike, Jr. Right now she was very glad to have it.

Pat keyed the mike, “Dispatch this is D-David 24.” The only answer was a rush of static. “Dispatch this is D24, respond please.” Nothing.

“Any unit, any available unit this is SWAT 1. Officers need assistance.” Mike was using his walkie-talkie. There was nothing but the hiss of the carrier wave.

“Maybe its the buildings.”

Mike walked rapidly down the alley way. Coming into the open he started calling again. Pat’s radio was mute even from that short distance. She opened her cell phone and pushed the buttons for 911. Looking down she saw “no service” blinking at her. She put it back on her belt. Moved by a sudden impulse she turned the ignition key. The engine sprang to life. Well, something worked.

As Matt trotted back down the alley towards her, Pat found herself up against the far wall, her gazed fixed on the door and her hand on the grips of her sidearm.

“Its in there, Mike.” After a moment she added, “whatever ‘It’ is.”

“Are you alright?”

“I feel like what’s-her-name when she’s surrounded by vampires.”

“Wouldn’t mind her here right now. The character, honey, not the actress,” Mike hastily added as Pat glared at him. He walked to the door. “Its stuck.”

Mike finally wrenched the door open. Pat wrinkled her nose as a cold current of air poured from the doorway. The air carried the foul odor with it.

“Pat, honey,” Mike said quietly. “I want you to get in your car and get the hell out of here. Go for help.”

“There’s no time for that Mike,” she responded. “I’m not leaving you. I never have left you, I never will. And I don’t run from anything on this earth.” She lifted a hand as he opened his mouth. “I know you’re about to say something about the children. I think if we don’t go in there now, they may be facing something much worse than not having us before long.”

“We’re cut off, Mike,” she gestured around them. “No phone, no radio. The cars will start though. Somehow I think we’re being told if we leave now, we’ll be allowed to. But if we do,” she swallowed, “I have a feeling whatever is happening will be done by the time we can get back here with help.”

“You’re right,” Mike admitted. “I hesitate to accept whatever is giving us an out is doing so from altruism.”

Suiting his actions to his words, Mike opened the trunk. He hesitated over the shotgun, then reached far into the back and removed a zippered gun case. He took a dully finished Colt AR15 from it. Inserting a 20 round magazine, he then pulled the charging handle. Placing the weapon on “safe” he shrugged into a black nylon vest and put 4 more full magazines in its pockets.

Pat had brought out a second Glock and loaded it. She attached a clip-on holster to her belt. The pistol rode butt forward on her left side. Mike turned and handed her a spherical object. Her eyes widened.

“Mike, what the hell are you doing with this? These,” she amended as he placed two more hand grenades in his vest pockets.

“Souvenirs from this year’s Marine Corps Reserve training. Be careful.”

“No kidding,” Pat muttered. She carefully checked to make sure the safety wire was around the handle and the pull pin was bent in place. She put it in her jacket pocket. “Ready?”

“I wouldn’t go in there if I was you all,” a cracked male voice echoed through the alley.

Both cops spun around, aiming their weapons at the sound. They lowered them as they realized they were covering a white haired elderly man, leaning on a cane.

“Sir, what are you doing here? This is a very dangerous place.”

“You’re telling me Missy?” The old man snorted. “Weird men dressed in robes, carrying a young woman. Up to no good I can you that. Don’t like that smell, don’t like anything about it. Your man is right there, young woman. You should skedaddle out of here.”

Pat rolled her eyes. “What is this? Male chauvinist day? I took the same oath you did Mike. To ‘Serve and Protect’.” She had a sudden thought and dug in her pocket. “Sir, please take this, its my cell phone. Please try to call 911 and keep trying till you can get through. Give them our location and tell them Officers Mike and Pat Gibson need help.”

The old man accepted the phone, mumbling under his breath about “Youngun’s with no respect for their elders.”

The two officers checked their equipment once more and entered the door, leaving it open behind them. The old man limped slowly after them. He listened for a minute. Stuffing the cell phone unused in a pocket, he followed them in.

The moment the door closed the radio sprang to life. “Dispatch to SWAT 1, Dispatch to D-David 24. Mike, Pat, please come in. You’ve been out of contact for an hour. What’s your 20? Answer, PLEASE.”

Mike and Pat gingerly followed the current of cold, foul air. They went down two flights of stairs, carefully covering each other every step of the way. They were well below street level now. The only illumination was from their flashlights.

They were suddenly brought up short before a locked metal reinforced door. Pat passed her hand over the tiny aperture the keyhole made and shivered. The air was freezing on her hand. Straining her ears, she thought she could hear chanting.

“This is it,” she whispered. She checked both her pistols to ensure a round was chambered and the safeties were off. Mike pulled her back around the nearest corner and took the grenade Pat offered him. He removed the safety wire from the spoon and straightened the pin.

For ten seconds they looked in each other’s eyes. Mike whispered a prayer and Pat answered “Amen.”

“I love you,” Mike said.

“Always,” Pat answered.

Mike pulled the pin, let the handle fly and rolled the grenade towards the door. He ducked back and gathered Pat to him.

The explosion ripped through the old building. Braced for it as they were, the two cops recovered and sprinted for the doorway, now blown wide open. Mike ducked through first, with Pat behind him.

“Everyone Freeze,” bellowed Mike.

The room was crowded with shadowy figures in dark robes. The only illumination was from flickering torches on the walls. The figures standing over the woman being held were motionless, except for the one thrusting between the woman’s legs. He suddenly arched, held that pose for a moment and then stepped back.

A low hiss came from the crowd. The man at the head of the altar laughed and said, “Oh, the police. How nice. Convenient timing too. Too late, as you fools always are, to stop us. But right on time to provide for the master.”

As though the statement was itself was a conjurement, a dark ball appeared in the center of the room. It expanded. The room temperature dropped even farther as though the darkness was feeding upon the warmth there. The indistinct blob coalesced into the vague outline of a human form clad in a black, hooded robe. It seemed to stand on the air in the center of the room.

The entire group moaned fervently and fell on their faces. “Master, master, master,” they chanted. Only the two cops stood. The figure turned in the air and they felt the burning glare of unseen eyes.

“Who dares to stand in my presence?” The voice was resonate with evil. Pat shook, more afraid than she had ever been in her life. She saw Mike was ashen. She touched him. The contact somehow strengthened them and she stopped her trembling.

“They are unbelievers, Master.”

“They WILL believe.” the figure stated.

Both the Gibsons felt the creature’s stare settle on them. Visions swam through their minds. Each saw their heart’s desires fulfilled. Power, sex, authority, wealth; all could be theirs. Base cravings buried deeply in the dark corners of their minds were brought forth, examined and satisfied. The evil voice pierced their thoughts, “All these things will be yours, if you will only fall down and worship me.”

Mike stared at the creature. “I know who you are,” he whispered. “I reject you. You and your promises are empty.” His voice began softly, then rose to the full power it was capable of, “FUCK YOU!” He lifted the rifle he knew was useless, and aimed it at the dark shape.

A shocked quiet descended over the vast room. The hooded creature directed its attention to Pat.

“And you? What do you say? The man won’t be so brave in a minute. If he’s lucky I’ll simply let my servants tear him limb from limb and drink his blood alive. But I will only be that merciful if you come to me woman.”

Pat’s bright contralto voice rang through the dark and the shadow. “And the horse you rode in on, buster.” She defiantly stood beside her husband, both pistols ready.

The dark shape laughed inhumanly. “That two humans think to oppose me! You have refused my offer, take the consequences then. I will strip the flesh from your bones bit by bit, yours and that of your children. Dark and cold will be your fate. You will despair and try to hide yourselves but you will be unable to. Endless night will be your portion. I will…”

“Oh, SHUT UP!”

A deafening silence fell over the room. Trying to keep both sides of Mike covered, Pat risked a glance backwards. Her mouth dropped open as the old man from the alley limped past her. She gestured to him. “Mister, get back behind us, please. We’ll try to cover you. You need to get out of here.”

The old man advanced past Mike. He turned to face the both of them. “You two are good kids. I’m proud of you. Now you handle them,” he jerked his head towards the stunned crowd. “I’ll handle loud mouth.” The old man turned towards the demon. The cane dropped from his hand. In front of the stunned crowd he began to get bigger and brighter. The demon’s eyes widened.



The now brightly shinning figure sprang for the dark one. The sound of their unearthly collision shook the entire building. As they grappled, Mike saw the leader raise the sacrificial knife over his head. The assault rifle jumped to his shoulder and the first shot rang out. The knife fell from a nerveless hand as the target crumpled to the floor.