Jonathan Bannister looked away from the football game on TV when he heard the front door open. A red haired woman, who looked as if she couldn't have been over thirty, approached the check-in desk. Jonathan stood up and slid a sign in sheet to the woman.
"Hello. Welcome to Cradle Inn, a place where you can rest in peace," he said in a monotone voice.
The woman nodded, set down her motorcycle helmet on the check-in desk, and signed the sheet. Jonathan watched her with his good eye as she filled out the sheet. The camera that hung from her neck swung back and forth as she set down the pen and retrieved her motorcycle helmet. Jonathan looked over the sign in sheet, her name was Kim Sanders.
"You here to sight see," he asked.
"I guess you could say that. It's more for work than enjoyment. Sixty five dollars, right?" she responded as she dug into her pocket and pulled out a wad of cash.
Kim handed Jonathan the money and he gave her a room key.
"You'll be staying in room 4377. It's down the hallway on the right, same floor we're on now. You'll be in Heaven before you know it."
Kim thanked him and left for her room. The man made her feel uncomfortable, but she was unsure why. Maybe it was his mismatched eyes or just the way he smelled. Kim did her best to put the feeling of unease at the back of her mind as she looked around the hotel room. The room was average: it had a television, bed, two drawers, a table, four chairs and a cabinet. The bathroom was just as average with it containing the obvious.
Kim set down her motorcycle helmet, camera, and backpack then slithered into bed; she'd shower in the morning. As she laid there trying to fall asleep, her mind began to go over the assignment another time. Kim Sanders had been sent out to Dayton, Utah with instructions to take pictures for 'The Moonlight Report'. The magazine wanted pictures for an article that covered the various murders that had occurred in the area.
Kim was nearly asleep when the door to her hotel room opened and a tall man entered. She let out a scream as she leapt out of bed. The man advanced without flipping on the light, although dark she was able to make out the shape of a knife. Without hesitating, she picked her motorcycle helmet up off the bed side drawer and chucked it at her assailant.
The helmet smacked the man in the face with a crunch causing him to fall to the floor with a thud. Kim grabbed her backpack and camera before she wandered over to flip on the light so she could get a good look at her assailant. She flipped on the light, she was certain that her attacker was the desk man... The man on the ground in front of her was tall, thin, and relatively normal looking with exception to the skin on his face being cracked. As she observed his face she noticed that his nose was missing and blood was oozing out from where it should have been. She followed the blood trail and saw the attacker's nose on the ground.
Impossible, a helmet couldn't have knocked off someone's nose. Kim couldn't believe it, but then she saw the nose, it had a rotten and dead look to it. The photographer did what she did best and snapped pictures of her assailant and the nose on the ground.
I have to call the cops, but I shouldn't do it in here. If he were to wake up while I was dialing, I'd be cornered, she thought.
She took a step out of the hotel room and into the hallway, she was greeted with danger. Two hulking individuals garbed in ski masks were racing toward her. Kim Sanders hastily retreated back into her hotel room, she slammed the door shut as loud as she could in the hope of attracting attention to her situation and locked it. She expected the brutes to bang on the door, but to her surprise, they did not. As Kim stood there thinking of her next move, voices traveled from the other side of the door.
"Hey, you know which key it is?"
"Yeah, give me the keys."
Kim could hear keys clattering together on the other side of the door much to her dismay. She picked her motorcycle helmet up off the floor and put it on her head. The key being inserted into the door could be heard. She ran over to the table and picked up one of the chairs. The tumblers clicked; she threw the chair. The knob began to turn; the window shattered. The door opened and the two brutes entered in time to see that Kim had fled through the window.
Just a little closer and she'd be riding her motorcycle to the police station. Kim risked looking back as she ran, she saw that the brutes were far behind her; she was home free. As she turned her head around to face forward she expected to see her motorcycle, instead she was greeted by a fist.
Jonathan's fist broke through the visor of Kim's helmet and struck her square in the face. She hit the ground with a hard thud. Jonathan Bannister's entire left arm went numb as blood spurted from his left hand. He reached down with his right arm and took her pulse, she was alive. The helmet had protected her.
The two men in ski masks showed up just as Jonathan had made his deduction.
"Pick her up and put her in the trunk. We're taking this one to the Grafting," he barked.
Kim awoke surrounded by people in the middle of a graveyard. Her green eyes radiated with fear as they met with one of the many people present. She shot the man a pleading look. The man smiled as he locked eyes with the prize that sat bound and gagged before him.
"I want one of her eyes," the man exclaimed.
A man in a black trench coat with a bald head, beady eyes, a sharp nose, and a thin mustache walked to Kim with a bag of tools in hand. The tools included: a scalpel, pliers, bonesaw, and forceps. Kim tried screaming, but was unable due to her gag.
"Shh. Quiet dear," said the trench coat wearing individual in a mocking tone.
The crowd stood silent, all eyes were locked on Kim and the trench coat man.
"Custom dictates that we dig up our deceased and replace a part of us with a piece of them. Today shall be a different affair, for the kind Jonathan Bannister has provided us with this young woman. Perhaps we shall finally succeed in replicating what the Kreflim did years ago and achieve power equal to theirs. Do not question your morality, it would be a waste to not use the knowledge that the Kreflim imparted to us. This is the next step in our evolution as humans as it was for the Kreflim. Let us begin the Grafting."
Kim struggled as the trench coat wearing madman finished his speech and approached her with a scalpel.
Police lights illuminated the graveyard and a most grizzly scene. Patrick Stockman carefully stepped over the crime scene tape, taking extra care to not let it touch his suit. The lead investigator: a tall, thin man, with short cropped hair, gaunt cheekbones, and mismatched eyes approached Stockman.
"You're going to have to leave."
Patrick reached into his suit and fished out his ID, "Patrick Stockman, FBI."
The police officers working the scene stopped working and glared at Patrick.
"We've got this under control," the lead investigator replied sharply.
"No, you don't. This is the twelfth murder."
"We don't need your help, this is an internal and delicate matter. We can handle this without you and your snooty bureau of investigation."
"Fine, I can see that you and your department aren't going to cooperate. However, know this: one more murder and I'll be back here quicker than you can say "Federal Bureau of Investigation". I'll also see to it that you are suspended without pay," replied Patrick Stockman with anger becoming evident in his voice.
The lead investigator watched as FBI Agent Patrick Stockman walked away. His blue eye observing, while his green eye sat blind; dead.
Written by Doom Vroom