Else City – Part 3: Suited Not Suited

O’Halligan was told to suit up — to FESS up as they termed it; First Encounter Suit Situation. He hated to think what in the hell it was that they were going out there to look for — he didn’t want to go, but like everything that had happened to him from his death onwards he didn’t have much choice. They had struck it lucky — Langston Through had only had one appointment on the day of his death and the property had been standing empty for a fair while — long enough that something might have been able to lay eggs there and for them to have come full term.

Forbes was all gung-ho about the whole thing; really stoked to have something that she might be able to work her frustrations out on. The way she told it — if they couldn’t immediately recognise the species of whatever it was that had killed the victim and couldn’t establish sentience pretty quickly thereafter then they got to basically pump it full of bullets and do the research later. This kind of shit happened all the time — beings from other levels escaping and making their way here for a snack; sometimes it turned out that it had been sanctioned and these creatures had immunity from prosecution. She was looking forward to finding out what the case was with this one.

The suit was uncomfortable: it was unwieldy and it was hot inside there; claustrophobic. He did not like this situation in the least. They both had their weapons drawn. The back-up team — three examples of varying incapability had just EMP burst the house to shut down any systems that might be operational in there and to open the locks. He got to go in first — a privilege, he supposed, afforded to newbies who were obviously more expendable than an experienced officer, of which there were few.

They stepped inside the house and their visors immediately steamed up, the humidity was off the charts in there and it seemed like some kind of new ecosystem had been established. The EMP had apparently been unnecessary — nothing had been working in here for a while. It made him wonder when was the last time Through had checked out this place. He thought he saw something edge by in his peripheral vision but he couldn’t be sure. He stepped on something, it gave under his foot and burst like a boil, hot gobbets of pus shooting up his leg. He took a step backwards and tried not to vomit inside his suit. The suit’s monitors began to beep — whatever it was that had coated him was eating through the suit.

‘You need to get out of here, ASAP,’ said Forbes ‘We both do. This is going to need the big guns. Look over there,’ she said, pointing.

In the corner, thrown in a pile that nearly reached the ceiling, were human ribcages stripped of meat and to the side of them were the shattered remnants of spinal columns, broken skulls, other smaller bones. He turned and moved quickly towards the door, surprised that nothing had suddenly leapt out at them. He made his way to their vehicle and began to strip out of his damaged suit.

‘What the fuck was that in there, Forbes?’

‘No clue, I suppose we’ll find out when clean-up get out here.’

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Grit – Family Matter 2

He’d been kidding himself if he thought this was going to go smoothly — there were no buried hatchets; or at least not permanently buried ones. Sometimes when people went through a person’s effects they would find something that troubled them and they might see that it was fitting for them to resurrect old ghosts; old vendettas. Guilt made you imagine debts that needed to be paid to the deceased were now owed to you as you had inherited everything else that was theirs.

As soon as Grit laid eyes on Terry he knew that he had been nosing around and that he had found something he shouldn’t have; something he didn’t like. He stared daggers across the church at Grit. He did that most childish of things: gestured with his finger across his throat in a slashing motion. Grit got the message.

When they prayed he closed his eyes. It was out of respect and not out of belief and was one of the few times that Grit would ever close his eyes in a room full of people. The service was short: two hymns and a speech from Terry and that was pretty much it. Grit would not go to the cemetary after all — all it would do was cause trouble and he wasn’t here for that.

‘So, what exactly did your sorry arse turn up here for, eh, you cunt?’

‘Just come to pay my respects, Terry. John was my brother.’

‘And? Didn’t mean much to you while he was dying in that fucking hospital, did it?’

‘I was busy Couldn’t get there.’

‘I know why you couldn’t get there. I know what you did to my father. I know what you owed him and I know what you owe us.’

‘You don’t know anything, son. Don’t go making any stupid mistakes — you don’t know enough about me or about what happened to go getting yourself in trouble over either one.’

‘Don’t call me son. Damn, you come here and you threaten me at my own father’s funeral? You’re a dead man; that’s the only way we can settle this.’

‘Didn’t threaten you. Don’t want any trouble with you — I have no grudge with you. Don’t you think if your father wanted me dead he would have sorted it out a long while back?’

‘I have a burial to go to. Don’t come. I’ll be seeing you soon, uncle.’