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The Last Head Hunters

Hidden Chapter 2.5


Chapter 2.5


Eight hours before Detective Trent Goodwin arrived at the scene

Home City

RNG gas plant

      The gas plant and the surrounding industries operated continually. The nearby port never shut down. The sky above seemed without depth with its haze of low cloud. The dense fog absorbed every skerrick of light. Operational areas were scattered through the darkness and colonised by flurries of moths circling the lights, while the night shift workers scurried below. These areas were lit up with powerfully bright globes; like they’d harnessed miniature versions of the sun to oppose the night. The artificial light allowed the night shift to be nocturnal without even being aware of it — a wonderful manmade illusion.

      The area outside the illuminated zones was a graveyard for old machinery, pipelines, junk, and maintenance equipment. It was all scattered across sections of barren salt-saturated land, resembling abandoned industries and decaying factories left behind long after a war.

      It all seemed uninhabitable except for the rats and roaches that clung to the shadows. Bats littered the night sky, averse to the noise and light created by the industries but paradoxically drawn to the insects carouselling the lights.

It would have taken a keen eye to see the fast-moving cloaked figure darting between the shadows. Moving methodically and wanting to remain undetected, it would have appeared formless — a blur against the silhouettes of scrapped metal and saltbush.

      The cloaked figure scaled the fence of the gas plant and ventured in far from the perimeter, stopping only when voices were heard. It stood so still that if anyone had noticed it, they would have assumed their eyes had played a trick on them and there was nothing there at all. This figure remained here undisturbed right up until the last moment. It was like a spider, hidden and waiting to ambush its unsuspecting victim, waiting until the time was right, then springing its attack and dragging its victim to a violent end.

      A plant technician watched as the security patrol drove off-site. She was walking back inside when this spider attacked. The night seemed to break free of itself and flare around her. Then she was gone like she had been abducted by her own shadow. Once everything settled the low artificial light apprehensively returned.

      Out of the light and in the darkness, she felt a heavy pressure wrap around her throat, blocking oxygenated blood from reaching her brain. She couldn’t move and within seconds she was unconscious.

      Not far away a plant operator turned when he heard movement behind him. Without warning, he had no time to make sense of what he saw. He received one striking blow to his throat. He was overwhelmed by his gag-reflex. Unable to defend himself he was knocked unconscious almost immediately.

      The last of the three plant workers noticed the absence of his colleagues. Leaving his station he was confronted by the horror and sight of the plant operator, his arms tied and eyes blindfolded. Before he had time to react, he was thrown face-first against a wall. The pressure on his throat was like nothing he had felt before. He felt it gripping tighter as it took up all free space around his neck and throat.  His vision speckled just before he dropped to the ground.


The plant technician

      The technician was dazed and groggy when she regained consciousness. Vertigo seized her even though she was seated on the ground. Her wrists were restrained behind her back and she was blindfolded. She was in trouble. She tried to remain quiet so she would not draw attention to herself but panic soon set in. She squirmed trying to wipe her face which was streaked with something more than just tears. But as hard as she tried she couldn’t break her bonds.

      She could only listen and speculate about everything happening around her. Frantic movement and muffled pleading sounded like it was close. Her throat tightened and was thick with phlegm. A dreadful smell hung in the night air, more wretched than the stench of gutting rabbits which she used to do as a child. Even when her knife would accidentally clip the bowel, the stench was nothing like this. Images flashed behind her eyes of what might happen to her and her colleagues; she was helpless. She couldn’t control such horrible thoughts. She felt possessed by a demon, corrupting her, exploiting her weaknesses and feeding on her fear.

      The exhausted technician heard heavy footsteps approach. Her attacker stopped in front of her. Her blindfold was ripped off. The first thing she saw was her two colleagues tied up, equally as helpless.

      Her eyes bugged out of her skull and terror took hold when she looked up and saw her attacker looming over her. She screamed at the sight of those dark sunken eyes, deep behind a mask staring back at her. These eyes fixated on her without compassion. Like a shark, an apex predator that feared nothing. He exuded an excess of power and in that moment he owned them. Cruelty, mercy, or whatever he chose to do next was entirely up to him.

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