These were the cleanest
butchers Jason could imagine.
Petite and cruel with snow-white smocks, bloodless faces and pale gloves -
scrubbing bleached corpses spread out on gurneys of shining stainless steel.
Rich red blood flowed and beaded like
mercury in neat rivers on the polished marble slab. It skinned, started to
congeal and pulse like veins - arteries that seemed about to explode. The image
became pounding in his head, and he woke up, feeling his eyes popping with
A splitting headache, a horrible
drug-cocktail hangover, he opened his sore eyes to a vision of blinding white
fuzz. It spilled into his mind like a rush of nauseating fever and he rose in
dizziness and the reek of his own perspiration.
Jason grabbed the remote and fell back
in his chair. As he hit the button, he saw the fuzz vanish from his wall screen,
then the preset programming started functioning and the channels spun and opened
on a scene of floodwaters.
Waves, debris and flotsam rushed toward
him and became memory returning - last night, Halloween, the square, the
rowdies, the blasting music, the wine, the dancing, the laughter, the girl he'd
kidnapped and locked up in the basement before passing out at the TV. She was
blond, voluptuous. Her image rose in his mind with unquenchable thirst, and like
a zombie ordered by his master he rose, went to the kitchen and swallowed half a
bottle of Coke.
His head cleared somewhat as he sat back
down and his eyes went to his gold watch. 3 p.m. - he'd been out for 12 hours
On the screen the floodwaters were still
pouring. The scene pulled at his mind and grew soothing. Then he saw something
red and dark rising in the rushing murk - a corpse - grotesquely swollen, a
snake of black blood drooling from a ghastly face. There were more of them
drifting like hideous whales. Detached arms, legs and torsos tumbled out of the
foam. A woman's hair billowed in the deeper water, revealing a medusa's visage
of worms and staring eyes, and then the scene suddenly switched to the image of
a Reaper swinging his scythe and a deep voice saying - “Stay tuned for more.”
He checked his control and saw that he
was tuned to web TV – halloween.carnage.com. This was the web channel he'd
programmed to play on Halloween. It’d been listed on his e-reader’s ads; the
offbeat video and text channel from a cult created by weird end-of-the-world
people. People that were pissed at corporations, nations, city governments and
others who refused to cooperate in preparing for the end coming at Halloween
this year. They'd set up a worldwide video network and web site, vowing to
broadcast explicit footage of any Halloween disaster as a way of informing the
public as well as those who wouldn’t listen.
And wow! What a success! They already
had beautiful footage of the dead in a dam burst in Africa. He couldn't figure
out how a bug in some computer chip could pop a dam. And he really didn't care
how it had happened. He just hoped there would be more because he needed more -
always more carnage - because after all, he was Jason, the Friday the 13th
A swig of Coke and the screen flickered
back to the Reaper and stage thunder and lightning. “It seems some of our modern
American prisons did not properly test their digital locking systems for
Halloween errors,” said the Reaper. “Let's take a look at this exclusive footage
from Maryland and see what this can mean.”
Silver flashed as the scythe swung and
an image zoomed in to fill the screen. Some kind of prison, bars, Plexiglas and
a muscled and grinning psychiatric patient wrestling with a guard over a
shotgun. The madman knocked the gun free and managed to slam his opponent into
the wall so hard that blood flew like spittle from his lips. Still, the guard
recovered and stumbled forward, only to find that the man had seized the gun.
The trigger clicked, the camera view spun and a spray of shot, blood, bone and
brains showered the screen. Through the dripping gore Jason saw a long hall and
more armed prisoners running. “Did you check your locks?” the Reaper said as his
face reappeared on the screen? “Here's an instant replay to remind you of what
might happen if you didn't.”
“Holy shit!” Jason suddenly said as he
flew to his feet in fluid motion. “I've got one of those digital locking systems
on the cell.”
Hurrying to the basement door, he
stumbled down the steps and through the cobwebby gloom toward the light of a dim
florescent lamp. He reached the cell and saw his captive crouched on the cold
cement behind the bars. She looked up, her face and hair soaked in tears.
Quickly passing her, he went straight to the door and the lock.
It held firm so it appeared he wasn't a
victim of the Reaper’s Halloween bug. He was about to turn away then it occurred
to him that perhaps the bug only set in after the lock was powered down and
powered up again. Reaching over he hit the wall control panel, only to find that
the battery clicked in and the lock didn't power down. Opening the panel he
yanked out the battery and powered down. The lock clicked open, and he powered
up and it clicked closed. He tried it a few times and as he was finishing the
girl suddenly began to wail.
Jason turned and faced her.
“How long are you going to keep me
here?” she said.
Her face was red, her hair matted with
dirt. Jason felt aroused as he stepped up to her and stared, and then he stepped
away from the cell to a row of lockers. “I'm going to keep you here with the
others,” he said.
“These others,” he said, and then he
opened one of the lockers, revealing a withered skull, moldered body parts, hair
and bones hanging inside.
She began to scream hysterically and he
felt torn between her and web TV. Due to his hangover he decided he'd rather sit
around and watch the latest on the tube.
“Later,” he said, ignoring her sobbing
as he walked away.
The Reaper was back on TV with footage
of rioters and arsonists in Los Angeles, where an earthquake had added its
weight to Halloween power grid outages. The dead littered the highways, and what
appeared to be satellite coverage showed foggy images of marauders gunning
people down on the roadsides. Jason stared intently as the camera zoomed in on a
big man impaled on the spikes of an iron fence.
Minutes later a grisly scene of battered
bodies flying from a train wreck sent lovely shivers up Jason's spine. He saw
the big wheels suck up a body and shower stewed tomatoes on a fleeing woman. A
creaking noise from the house made him jump. “Damn, is this good,” he muttered.
“It's even scaring me.”
“Say, I wonder what's happening in this area?” he thought. “Maybe
I should go outside and see if the social order has broken down. If so I can get
moving with a new scene for my home movie, Friday the 13th episode Jason 1313,
Thinking further, he decided it was a great idea, then he heard another creak
and as he rose something smashed into his head. Blood magma showered in his
mind, a second crunch followed and everything went . . .
Silver flashed as the
and the image of an empty neighbourhood and a small Toronto house
zoomed in to fill the screen. The Reaper grinned morbidly as the camera view
switched to the interior and focused on a bloodstained corpse slumped in a
lounge chair. Its skull was smashed and brain matter had leaked like vomit over
the forehead. A metal hook had bit through the crown.
“Here's a Halloween error that could
happen to you,” the Reaper said. “Another lock failure, only Jason's lock was
Halloween end-of-the-world compliant. He just forgot to put the backup battery
back in and power fluctuations allowed his victim to escape. So don't forget to
power things back up after those tests. Otherwise Halloween spooks might come
early for you and leave you in a bad situation.”
. . . . . . . . . .