Dylan had everything. He had a family that loved him, a beautiful girlfriend, and outstanding grades in school. He was a good kid, well liked by his teachers and classmates.
There was one boy who hated Dylan, though. His name was Ike. No one knows why he loathed Dylan with such a passion. Dylan had never wronged him in any way. Yet Ike seemed to believe that his one and only goal was to make Dylan’s life a living hell. For the most part, Ike’s incessant hazing was but a minor annoyance to Dylan. But one day, Ike went way too far.
It was after school, and Dylan was walking in the park with his girlfriend Emma. Just as they were about to cross the bridge over the creek, Ike and his friend Alex jumped out the bushes. They were armed with wicked-sharp skinning knives.
“Haven’t you figured it out yet, Dylan?” Ike sneered, brandishing his knife menacingly, “This town isn’t big enough for the two of us. It’s either you or me.”
Alex grabbed Emma’s arms and twisted them behind her back. She tried to scream, but he clamped his hand over her mouth. He turned to Ike and grinned. “The twink’s all yours.”
“Uh-oh Alex, it looks like our poor friend wasn’t prepared,” Ike said. He turned to Dylan. “Didn’t bring a weapon, did you?”
“I don’t wanna fight you,” said Dylan. “Just leave us alone.”
Ike laughed. “I didn’t ask if you want to fight me, asshole. That’s already been decided. Besides, isn’t this the perfect spot? There’s no one here except for us. And better yet, you brought your girlfriend. She can watch as I gut you in front of her!”
Emma began to struggle viciously against Alex. This just made him twist her arms harder. She let out a whimper.
“But since I like to play fair, and I was expecting to find you empty-handed,” Ike continued, “I brought a third knife.” He pulled the knife out of his pocket and threw it to Dylan, who barely caught it by the handle.
Dylan was getting desperate. He really didn’t want to fight Ike. Meanwhile, Alex looked like he was trying to suffocate Emma, and her face was starting to turn blue. “You’re better than this, Ike,” Dylan said.
“No, I’m really not,” Ike replied. He lunged. Dylan sidestepped and spun around, arm extended. The knife ripped through Ike’s jacket and sliced open his forearm. Drops of blood splattered Dylan’s face.
Then something strange happened. As soon as Dylan tasted the tang of iron, time seemed to slow down. He began to hallucinate, images of bones and human organs flashing before his eyes. It felt great. No, it felt wonderful. Dylan laughed in a way he had never laughed before. His vision came back into focus, and he ran at Ike with lightning speed.
Ike was too slow to react. By the time he realized what was happening, Dylan was on top of him. Ike dropped his knife, and it landed in the grass out of reach. Dylan put his knee on Ike’s chest and pressed the knifepoint against his throat. Alex let go of Emma and just stood there, staring in disbelief.
“Please don’t kill me,” Ike stammered. “It was just a joke, man. I’m sorry!”
Dylan’s face twisted into a horrible smile. “It’s not an apology I want, Ike. It’s your blood.”
Emma ran into the house and slammed the door behind her. She felt like she was going to vomit, still trying to process what she had seen before she sprinted the whole way home.
“Emma?” Her mom appeared in the front hallway, looking concerned. “I thought you were at the park with Dylan. Is everything okay?”
“No, everything is not okay,” Emma said. There was fear and panic in her voice. “You need to call the cops right now!”
Emma’s mom grabbed her by the shoulders. “Baby, calm down. Just tell me what happened.”
“We were just walking in the park. When we got to the bridge, these two guys jumped out at us with knives,” Emma explained. “One of them grabbed me and put his hand over my mouth. The other guy threw Dylan a knife and challenged him to a fight. Then Dylan went all psycho and…” She started crying. “Oh God. Jesus Christ. It’s awful… what he did to them.”
Emma’s mom hurried over to the phone and called 911.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a voice on the other end.
“Um, I’m not exactly sure. My daughter just ran home, totally freaked out, and told me that there was an incident at the County Park. She was with her boyfriend, they were attacked at the bridge by two men carrying knives and… Something about her boyfriend doing something awful to them. She didn’t say what exactly…”
“Ma’am, we will send officers to that location immediately. In the meantime, I would advise you to stay in your house for your own safety. We will have this under control soon—” The line went dead, filling the air with crackling static.
Officer Jacob Clancy stepped out of his squad car and looked around. Tall, leafless trees loomed all around him. He had never seen the County Park at dusk before, and right now he thought it looked a little spooky.
“The woman who called said her daughter was at the bridge when it happened, right?” said a voice from the passenger seat. It was Junior Officer Olivia Ido, who Clancy didn’t respect in the slightest. He found her incredibly annoying in every way.
“Yeah,” Clancy muttered. He wanted nothing more than to get this shit over with and go home for the night.
When they got to the bridge, Clancy held up his hand. “Stop.” He knelt and examined a puddle of dark liquid on the ground. Blood. Suddenly, there was a loud thump behind him. Ido screamed, her eyes wide in terror. Clancy turned around.
The corpse of a teenage boy had fallen from a tree. He couldn’t have been older than seventeen. There was a massive gash in his left forearm, and large chunks of flesh were missing from his face, leaving his skull exposed. He had also been stabbed multiple times in the neck.
Clancy took a clip from his belt and loaded his gun. “Stay close. I don’t know who we’re up against, but clearly they’re not fucking around,” he said, trying to keep his voice steady. It was getting dark. He switched on his flashlight, and shined towards the spot where Ido had been standing. She was gone.
“Olivia? Olivia!” No answer. Clancy spoke frantically into the police radio on his shoulder. “This is Officer Clancy. Requesting backup now! I repeat, I need—”
A blur of motion crossed the flashlight beam. Clancy jumped. He swiveled left and right, his finger poised on the trigger of the gun. “Show yourself!” he cried out. His heartbeat boomed like a bass drum in his ears.
Then the beam of light fell on a rotting tree trunk. A figure in a hooded sweatshirt stood facing the tree, its back turned. It appeared to be eating something. Clancy could hear chewing and sucking sounds. “Freeze!” he shouted, the gun shaking uncontrollably in his hands.
The hooded figure turned to face him. Its grinning face was covered in gore. Clancy emptied his gun into the creature, but the bullets ricocheted off of its skin. It reached him in two long strides and grabbed him by the neck with cold, clammy fingers. Clancy could see every one of its bloodstained teeth.
“Good evening, Officer,” the creature said in a deep, gravelly voice. “My name is Dylan.”
Authorities found the mutilated bodies of Ike, Alex, and Junior Officer Ido at the County Park the next morning. Officer Clancy and Dylan have been reported missing. A search is still in progress.
Credit : M. Hostetter
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