C. Michael Powers (Christopher Powers) started writing at the age of 16 when his dad and younger brother were out fishing, and he was left alone, with only his thoughts, his sleeping grandfather, and an old typewriter. Since then he hasn't been able to stop. Recently, he has focused his attention on contemporary fantasy; dark, action packed stories, the kind he’d like to read himself. Now, living in his wife's beautiful country of Panama, with she and their four kids, he's finally finding time to write. Living in Panama has given him the opportunity to write freelance about retirement locations all over the isthmus, and has even given him some time to work on his true passion...fiction.
Isabella wasn’t the smallest of women, but when a grown man lays his size thirteen boot heel right into the middle of the door, even the strongest of women is bound to topple backwards. The doorframe shattered and the door crashed inwards on her. Isabella screamed. She struggled to keep her balance and in the process stepped sideways on her foot, popping her ankle. Hot liquid rushed up her leg as she howled in pain and crumpled to the floor.
“You just couldn’t leave him alone about HER, could you?” the man cried out as he stalked through the door.
“Mom!” Joshua yelled. It was the last thing he would get out of his mouth. He instinctively dove at the man, who met him with the knife blade directed straight at his neck.
Huddled in the dark closet, Isabella struggled to remember everything that had happened. It had gone by so fast. She closed her eyes and remembered the explosion of the door as it was kicked in. She remembered the sound of her son yelling, “Mom!” Then her daughter’s screams. She barely recalled making it to the closet in the upstairs bedroom, but that’s where she was now and where she’d remain until the police came or until her husband returned home. Her face twisted in the sudden urge to sob. She closed her eyes, her lips trembling, as saliva settled at its corners, close to running down her chin. Tears streamed down her face. A slight whimper escaped her lips and she cupped her hand over her mouth to prevent it from happening again. She had no idea where the man was now. She had run as fast as she could on the damaged ankle. This was her third hiding spot. Under the bed didn’t seem safe enough and once the lights went out, she was afraid to stay behind the bedroom curtain.
As Isabella remained frozen in fear, the light shining through the closet door slats illuminated her trembling cheeks. Wire hangers scraped against metal as clothes were slid aside behind her. Fear struck at her gut like a dagger as she realized she wasn’t alone in the closet. The controlled breath of someone only inches away sent shivers down her spine. She willed herself to run, to crash through the closet door and do her best to escape, but her muscles refused to react. Her fight or flight instincts were replaced by fear and the realization that she wouldn’t get far on her damaged ankle. She closed her eyes and accepted that she’d be joining her children soon.
Blue light and the shadows between the slivers made the psycho’s face seem divided, like evil had been stacked upon itself, in layers, creating a demented serial killer puzzle of sorts. He inched closer to the woman, his teeth razor sharp and jagged, and his nose crooked, as if it had been broken many times and had never healed properly. A glossy film covered his black, soulless eyes. Hanging around his neck was a leather band with random body parts dangling from it; a pinky finger, a nose, an ear, and other chunks of flesh hung in front of him like a chandelier of horror.
Isabella’s head began to spin and bile rose in her throat as she waited. She knew that her mind wasn’t playing tricks on her. However, the chance that it could be toyed with her. She needed to look behind, to the darkness of the closet, and see for herself. It was either that or force her feet to finally move and do her best to escape the house. Unable to commit to either action, she turned ever so slightly, her head studdering as it moved on her neck. Fear gripped her as out of the corner of her eye, she caught the glimmer in his. She began to scream, but just as the sound escaped her lips, the killer’s cold blade ran across her throat. Her yelp turned to a faint gasp as all sound bubbled out through the new opening in her flesh. His left hand grabbed her neck as if attempting to staunch the wound, but then it squeezed, opening the wound wider. Her blood –and her very life force–poured down to the hardwood floor at her feet.
Outside, four police cars came to a screeching halt in front of the house. Eight uniformed cops jumped out; two secured the perimeter and the other six prepared to enter. The sergeant in charge whispered commands at his people.
“If he’s in there, he’s an animal. He took out eight at his office. The neighbors reported screams, so be extremely aware of your surroundings. Let’s go.”
With the front door destroyed, the cops carefully made their way over the shattered remains and fanned out as they entered. Expertly wielded pistols were aimed in all directions.
“Jesus,” the sergeant in charge whispered as he stared down at Joshua’s bloody body lying at the foot of the couch. His throat had been stabbed several times and he was bleeding from a wound in his side. His eyes were wide open, dead. The two cops who’d gone right made their way into the kitchen, and then one of them stepped back with a hand over his face, fighting back the urge to vomit. Anna’s body was draped over the kitchen island. Blood ran down her bare forearm and dripped from her fingertips onto the linoleum floor. A bloody slash ripped the front of her t-shirt right down the middle. Her left arm was folded across her chest and her middle finger had been cut off.
Upstairs, NicNac was dragging Isabella’s body out of the closet when he heard the footsteps below, and angrily released her feet. He dropped to his knees, yanked one of her canvas shoes off and threw it to the side, then grabbed her foot like a wrestler putting an opponent in a headlock and with a quick clip, her pinkie toe fell to the floor. He picked it up and placed it in his pants pocket.
“For later,” Nic Nac whispered.
He shoved himself up off the floor and made his way into the master bathroom. He could hear the cops coming up the stairs. With no time left to waste, Nic Nac gripped the counter top and leaned in close to the mirror.
“I can’t take it anymore,” he spoke to his reflection.
The mirror began to shimmer and liquefy, and he watched as the face looking back at him began to change. The forehead smoothed out and the nose straightened a bit. The jagged, yellowed teeth aligned and whitened. His reflection’s repulsive features softened and filled out. Within seconds, Dennis stared out at him, looking confused and lost. Nic Nac laughed as he reached through the mirror, grabbed Dennis by his shoulders, yanked him out of the mirror and hurled him onto the hard floor. He took pleasure in watching Dennis curl up into a ball like a scared child.
“See ya later, sucker,” Nic Nac howled just before he dove into the mirror.
The liquefied glass returned to normal and the terrified Dennis glanced all around him. The door to the bathroom suddenly burst open, and there, staring down at him, with guns pointed at his face, were the police.
“Freeze! Don’t move! Put your fuckin’ hands where we can see ‘em!” were just some of the phrases shouted at him.
Dennis looked up at the cops with his hands out in front of him.
“I don’t…I don’t understand. I’m back?” he asked just before they pounced on him.