Monday, February 25, 2008

"Rainy Night of Fear"

Start: One Rainy Night (Page 146, Copyright 1991), by Richard Laymon
End: Carnival of Fear (Page 164, Copyright 1993), by J. Robert King
The story between them: by Michael Rigg

She heard him sigh into the phone. "Well, look, I don't know what's going on but people are going nuts outside. It apparently has something to do with the rain. The rain's black out there. We just had three people go crazy and come into the restaurant and kill some people."

"My god," Denise muttered.

"What is it?" Dominick asked. He leaned close to her so he could hear Ed's voice through the phone pressed to Denise's ear.

"I don't know what's going on, but you have to get to higher ground," was the next thing Dominick heard, then Denise turned away, told Ed they would, and hung up.

Though he knew, Dominick asked, "What'd he say?"

Denise winced as if the thought of repeating it would hurt. "Weird. Odd. Something about black rain and people freaking out."

"Did he say what we should do?"

Denise went to the armchair and pulled on her windbreaker. "He said we should get to higher ground."

Dominick glanced out the window. The sky toward the city was black with angry storm clouds and the deepening gray around them was threatening a cloudburst at any moment. "We can't."

"Why not? Let's go." Denise grabbed her purse and turned toward the door, but she was stopped by Dominick's hand on her shoulder.


There was something in his eyes that always captivated Denise. But her one-sided love for Dominick was always something underlying and murky. He never knew how much she longed for him, how much she would do for him. They had been friends for so long that she thought he would never know the truth. Now he was looking at her with those green eyes in a way she had always dreamed he would. There was a glint, something--

"Dominick," she said. It was a whisper. It was a soft, pained whisper that said please let that look be more. After everything that's happened today, please let that look mean you-- you--

"I love you," Dominick said. "We can't leave here."

If not for that look, those three words, she would have told him he was crazy, that they had plenty of time to sprint down to the car and get away before the clouds opened up. But she could only drop her purse on the floor and step into him. Her tears were hot as thunder struck outside.

"It's starting," Dominick said, his lips brushing her scalp as she hugged him, her ear pressed to his chest to absorb his heartbeat. She didn't care about the rain, the crazy people, or Ed. She only cared that he said it.

"You," she sniffed. Without moving, without loosening her grasp, afraid she would lose this moment forever, she dared, "You said you love me."

Dominick held her shoulders with strong hands and pulled her gently away from him. Their eyes met. He said, "Denise, I have loved you since we were kids. I just never could say the words."

That was all she wanted to hear. That's all she ever wanted to hear. Even after she left town to attend college and he took over his father's butcher shop, Denise had always longed to return to his green eyes, his smile, his sense of humor. She dreamed of hearing those words. And now....

The clouds burst and a strange artificial night enclosed the cabin as the sky thickened like the underside of a barnacle-choked battleship cruising overhead to drop its depth charges. The black rain came in sheets covering the ground with oily rivers and pools midnight.

As the darkness enfolded them, Denise and Dominick fell into each other's arms and kissed with a passion that had been building for decades. The thunder crashing outside matched the exploding beats of Denise's heart as she peeled away Dominick's shirt and felt him reach for the snap of her bra. His need and hers were in perfect sync. Their blood roared in their ears as lips and hands found places they'd dreamed to touch but never had.

Their lovemaking matched the fury of the storm outside. Each thrust, each pulse seemed to be generating more and more thunder outside. Lightning snapped with every groan and tingling river of energy through their spines.

Eventually, and without words, they fell into a heavy sleep in each other's arms, coiled on the floor of the cabin amongst loose clothes and jackets. The storm also surrendered into the arms of the night, but the black rain continued in torrents.

* * *

She opened her eyes and rolled onto her back. She couldn't tell what time it was because the windows had been painted black by the evil rain.

Pulling her windbreaker over her breasts like a blanket, she rolled to her other side and reached for her cell phone to check the time. What she saw lit her brain on fire and froze her skin like stone.

Her phone was smashed into a tiny electronic pile of gadget guts. Glistening droplets of black water like tiny domes of obsidian covered its screen and the hardwood floor around it.

"Dom--" but her voice choked off as she turned to see him standing over her.

Dominick had changed. Gleaming metal blades jutted from his body everywhere. From the crown of his shoulders down to his bruised and inward-turning feet, the butcher's naked body prickled with blades-long razors, jag-toothed saws, blocky cleavers, curved knives, glistening shears, stilettos.... Hundreds of them emerged from his skin, as though an army inside him were cutting its way out.

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