Maw

Holy fucking shit! I don’t even know where to begin with these ones. They’re bizarre and terrifying. And the censorship is something else, though kind of useless when one of the reports is without it. I guess the facts are as good a place to start as any so, I won’t keep you fine folks waiting while I wildly speculate.  

As it reads in the reports, Anna and Clarence were on a stakeout, eating rubbish food and drinking cold coffee. I’d like to imagine it was raining, beating down on the hood of their car, while they sat in waiting. They’d been there for hours, nearly the whole day lost to sitting on their asses just hoping for the dumb-luck chance of JJ coming home. And luck they found. Or did it find them?  

Adam Cooper, not his friend JJ but, their primary suspect himself walks by and lets himself in. Hearts racing, rain pouring, they ran to the house, Anna taking the rear while Clarence beat his way through the front. Clarence rushed in, chasing after the echoing footfalls of Adam. Gun in hand and dripping wet, he followed the suspect down into the cellar.  

Anna, having seen the hurried movement of shadows through the dirty rear window, put her shoulder to door and slammed her body into it till the wood splintered and gave way, paying no mind to the ugly bruise that would come of that. Her gun felt heavy in her hand as she inched her way into the dimly lit house. She called out for her partner and was struck by the impotence of her voice, it sounded as if it was going no further than the very room she was standing in. No cries would be heard from the outside.  

“AAAHHHH!”  

She whipped around, facing the muffled howl. Then through the floorboards and up her spine reverberated the sickening sound of a gunshot.  

“Biron!” 

Anna dashed room-to-room, her .38 swinging from corner-to-corner, following the beam of her flashlight. The sound had come from below, that much she knew; there must be a way into the basement, a way to descend. Caution put aside for speed, Anna started tearing open any door that remained closed. Closet after living room after closet, tearing the doors from their frames and her nerves from each other. And finally, the deep dark descent lay before her. Mildew laden wooden stairs to an earthen cellar. She started down them fighting to suppress her fears. There was exposed backing, each step an invitation to an assault, a hand grabbing around her leg or a blade slicing through her ankle. Anna drowned those thoughts and pushed on. 

Down in the belly of the earth the darkness enveloped her, the flashlight her only tether to the outside world. Water was everywhere, dripping, sluicing, pooling, streaming. Anna’s shoes sunk into the soggy floor, her socks sucking in the moisture sending shivers up her spine.  

There was a desk down there, cluttered and covered with paraphernalia related to the occult; candles, papers and mirrors, shimmering with each pass of her flashlight, it all lay in an odd almost ornamental arrangement. 

Hearing movement, Anna left the scene behind. Outside of that first room lay a hallway, similarly made of soil supported by exposed and sodden beams, a muddy stream running down the center. And there he was, the attacker kneeling over her partner, a blade of mirror in his hand; the men’s flashlights laying in the mud casting stark and obscene shadows behind them.  

“Stop! Get up! I will shoot!” Anna barked out at him.  

The muddied man slowly stood, his back to her, Biron remained on the ground, unmoving. 

“Stay right there, Adam. You’re under arrest.” 

Anna neared with an unsteady step forward. He bolted, dropping his weapon in his sprint for freedom. Her command to stop was ignored and followed by the crack of her revolver.  

Her shot missed. 

He got away. 

The urge to chase after him was powerful but, Biron might have needed aid. She checked on him, he was alive but unconscious. Anna collected the dropped mirror shard and, kneeling there, took a moment to consider the situation. 

Fate gave no more than that. 

The sound of wood groaning and cracking under too much weight rang out through the hallway. The ceiling above them cracked open, the walls sloughed off, and the detectives were covered with a soupy mix of mud and struck by support beams.  

Anna screamed, pawing the mud away from Clarence’s face. Tossing her flashlight back toward the first room, she dragged her partner out of the hallway. She swore and screamed and yanked his bulk inch by inch as the walls and ceiling continued to fall and swat at her. His clothes snagged on the boards, tearing apart as Anna hauled him up the listing stairs.  

Up there the safety of the ground floor had given way to a house of horrors. Pictures had fallen off the walls, furniture had tipped over and all of it had slid or was in the process of sliding down the angled floor. She swore and screamed, straining to pull Biron through the shifting and attacking clutter. 

The floorboards split, revealing a great black maw that started to hungrily swallow the fallen furniture threatening to take the detectives back down into the earth. Anna tossed her partner over the chasm, jumping after him before he was consumed. Pushing through the cracking boards and attacking furniture, clawing and scratching at her, Anna broke through the slanted front door falling down the stoop with her unconscious partner. 

She collapsed, bleeding and bruised, on the front lawn, panting over the still body of her partner as the rain fell upon them both. She checked his breathing one last time as they sat three, waiting for the sirens to near. 

Behind them, the house moaned in pain as the earth swallowed its foundation and split it in half, grinding and chewing its victim down into a splintered and sodden heap. 

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