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The Unsolved

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Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

As they had for so many long hours, the monotonous drops of water from the top of the sewer pipe fell down to the bottom, sounding out a gentle, almost lulling beat. Other than that one sound, the pipe – and the area around it – were both silent.

Typically, the silence was broken. Violently.

A strangled howl of horror sliced through the night air. The twisted ululation continued and raced towards the sewer pipe. Heavy footsteps pounded the ground outside the cement pipe, then splashes as the screamer entered it, breathing heavily. Racing farther into it, he soon disappeared from the view of the three rats that had seen him enter. They were perturbed, in their animalistic, rat-like way, but not enough to drop the tasty scraps of food they had found. What they saw next, though, did more than perturb them. The figure that entered the pipe next was too much even for rats. One died on the spot, and the other two lost what they had eaten before running away.

It did not walk. It did not make any movements of its body at all. Yet somehow it moved. There was a definite... wrongness about it. It was fear, it was madness, it was evil...it was everything that haunts the human psyche. Briskly, but unhurriedly, it moved further into the pipe, still without moving a muscle. It left a trail of death behind it, whether in the sparse vegetation or in the few animals that were unfortunate enough to see it.

-----

Two days passed before anyone noticed Marty Aloginas was missing. As was typical with such under-the-law hoodlums, not much was done to actually mount a search effort to find him safe and sound. The problem didn’t go away, though. Three weeks after his disappearance, he was found by an unwitting young couple out on a romantic date.

At least, some of him was.

----

“Johnny, where are you taking me?” Cynthia giggled as her boyfriend guided her along the dirt road. She had a blindfold on over her eyes, but she wasn’t afraid of falling. Johnny would catch her. Stumbling after she tripped over a stone, her conception of Johnny was stoutly reinforced by his warm, strong hands catching her and lifting her up gently. “You okay, babe?” he asked. “I’m fine,” she answered. “But you won’t be if we don’t get there soon!” He dodged a playful swipe aimed blindly at him, then took her wrist again and began leading her back up the road, where he had a beautiful romantic picnic set up under the moonlight.

Just as they rounded the corner to the area where he had set up, he tripped slightly over something that felt like a log, but it was warm. He froze, thinking he had run over a possum or something like that. Cynthia thought that him stopping meant that they had gotten to where he was taking her, so she reached up and took off her blindfold. The first thing she saw was the buttery-yellow golden glow of candles set up in a medium sized portable gazebo with decorated tarps for walls. She gasped with delight. “Johnny, it’s wonderful! You’re so romantic!” She turned to face him and frowned when he didn’t reply, instead making frantic “hush!” motions. “Johnny, what are you playing at – AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIII!!!!” Her tone changed abruptly as she noticed what her boyfriend’s foot was on.

It was the still-bleeding severed leg of a young man. She screamed again and turned to run. A rustling in the leaves above her made her look up and she did so just in time to have four wet drops fall on her face, then a round, wet and warm object. She caught it and looked at it.

It was the head of Marty Aloginas.

-----

It took three months of therapy before Cynthia began taking any interest again in the world around her. Five more weeks passed before her speech faculties returned. When they did, all she would say was, “It’s a head, it’s a head, it’s a head...” Her parents were furious with her boyfriend for taking her out to the woods; despite the fact that both she and Johnny were over 20, they forbade him from coming anywhere near their daughter. Though there was no proof to support it, the parents held the belief that Johnny had murdered the teenager and staged the scene. Even when it was later proven beyond any possible rational doubt that he was innocent, they never changed their stance.

The police, though they had many questions for the young man, did not suspect him in any way. Cynthia recovered her wits nearly a year after the incident, but for the rest of her life, she never went into the woods again and was timid when outside her home.

The murder, though shocking, soon hit a dead end being investigated. There were no fingerprints, no DNA, no footprints, or even weapon marks on the body. Baffled, the police filed the case under the Unsolved tab.

It wouldn’t remain alone for long.

-----

“Oi. Lenny. Yer blocking the telly,” growled Fred. He threw a beer can at Lenny to punctuate this statement, and went off to the kitchen, grousing, to retrieve another. He cursed foully when he realized there were no more. “Lenny, did yer drink th’ last beer?” Lenny slurred back, “Yeah! S’ what ‘f I did, ye’hve gargled more ‘f ‘em down ‘n I ‘ve.” Fred groaned when he heard Lenny’s voice; he was drop-down drunk, which meant that he’d have to go into town himself to get more beer. Cursing again, he threw on a jacket and walked out the door into the night air.

-----

About ten minutes after Fred left, there was a knock at the door. Polite, not at all like Fred’s insistent banging. Lenny lurched upwards from the seat he had collapsed into and, not even bothering to look out the peephole, opened the door.

He should have checked the peephole.

-----

On the way to the store, Fred had a most unsettling feeling. Like he was being watched. He turned around, but there was no one there. Shrugging and putting it up to the beer buzz that was manifesting itself in his head, he continued his solitary trek.

Three minutes later, the feeling reappeared, this time stronger than before. It seemed unhealthy, almost evil. Fred whirled around and caught sight of something black disappearing down an alley. Cursing yet again, he turned around and made a run for the store. The second he was in, the feeling of being stalked stopped. He let out a sigh of relief and began to browse the aisles to find some beer. He whistled to himself shakily to relieve some of the nerves that the walk had given him. But he didn’t fell relaxed for long. Just as he finished checking out, his phone rang. It was Lenny. Surprised that he could actually operate the phone in his drunken state, Fred swiped the icon to answer it.

What he heard chilled him to the bone.

A wet gurgle, like someone choking, filled the speaker. Staticky pops listed in the background. Then the wet gurgle turned into a wet moaning gurgle.

A cough.

Hissing.

Then nothing.

Fred turned pale as fear clawed at his gut. He dropped the beer, shattering the bottles. Fumbling on his phone with shaky hands, he hung up and dialed the police. The second he knew that they were on their way, he ran out the door like a man possessed.

He never made it home.

-----

The police were utterly baffled by the deaths of Fred and Lenny Reynolds. One died choking on his own blood from wounds that seemed to be inflicted from the inside, and the other was found with empty beer bottles piled around his corpse that was mangled so horribly the M.E had a hard time determining what bone went where. Suspicion quickly fell on the homeless hobo that had been seen wandering the streets that night, disappearing after the murders, but it was quickly dispelled when it was revealed that the hobo had also died – he had been stuffed, piece by piece, into a chimney. His corpse was only discovered because of a foul smell that had pervaded the residential house.

Again, the cases were filed in the same category as the murder of Marty Aloginas.

-----

Enjoy and be scared.