Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Charles/Doris, Carter Baum, Harold Rienecke, Mel/Johnny
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: Challenge, Holiday, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction
Rating: (this chapter): R
Warnings: Please note that this story will contain gore, violence and character deaths. Each chapter will have their individual warnings. This chapter: Gore, character death, cannibalism
General Summary: On Halloween, the Bankers Building becomes a literal House of Horrors.
Chapter Summary: Mel and Johnny are trapped.
Date Of Completion: October 13, 2011
Date Of Posting: October 29, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1400
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for my 2011 Guns_Fedoras Public Enemies Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. Option 1: (Elements of Halloween used set in or around Halloween: Pumpkins/Jack O’Lanterns, Black-And-Orange, Monsters).
All chapters can be found here.
BLOODY, BLOODY NIGHT
Never give up the fight.
Streaks of red
Herald the dead
As they bled.
Sergeant Jack O’Reilly
The Fighting 69th
"Bloody, Bloody Night"
Doris grabbed Carter’s arm as confused agents and policemen milled around outside the Bankers Building. “Carter, where’s Charles and Mel?”
“I don’t know.” Carter looked around. “They didn’t get out?”
Carter turned back and tried the revolving door but it wouldn’t budge. Neither would the doors flanking the revolving door.
Doris bit her lip. So many of the men had been able to get out when the building had shaken. She had thought it was an earthquake, but only the Bankers Building had trembled.
He was red-faced from exertion and anxiety. “We can’t get in.”
Doris felt a growing horror as she realized that the men she loved were trapped inside with a maniacal killer.
Mel and Johnny clung to each tightly, their hearts triphammering. When the elevator doors opened, they stumbled out and ran into the office of Mellon Investments, closing the door behind them. They both tried to catch their breath and wait for their pulses to stop racing.
“Sugar, what’s goin’ on here?” Johnny wiped his brow with his handkerchief. “Why are we seeing refugees from Universal horror movies running around here?”
“I don’t know.” Mel sat down in a chair. He removed his fedora, running a shaking hand over his eyes. Johnny stayed close, well aware of how nerves ate at his Sunshine, and he couldn’t blame him. “It’s definitely a horror movie.”
Johnny rested an arm on the counter, his legs shaky. He had seen a lot of things in his time, but nothing like this.
“I’m sorry,” Mel said softly.
“For being glad you’re here.”
Johnny smiled. “It’s okay, Sunshine. I wouldn’t want you in this alone.”
“I should want you safe.” Mel took Johnny’s hand. “I still do.”
“I know.” Johnny brought their joined hands up and brushed his lips over Mel’s fingers. “Same for me.”
“Not exactly the Halloween you envisioned,” Mel said ruefully.
“Well, there are monsters afoot.”
Mel laughed. He drew Johnny down for a kiss.
“Mmm, you’re still sweeter than candy corn.” Johnny’s eyes sparkled.
Mel stood and they embraced tightly, then Johnny made sure that his lover sat down again. Mel was strong, possessing grit and determination to rival any of the men Johnny knew in the underworld, but there was a fragility to him that brought out all of Johnny’s protective instincts. Mel was like a thoroughbred, high-strung and skittish, and sometimes needed gentle handling. Johnny stroked his shoulder and turned on the radio on the counter. He kept the volume low.
“Professor Max Brankowitz of M.I.T. claims that an object from space crashed in the North Woods, creating a crater of incredible depth and length. He is not certain if a meteor caused the damage, but reports of metal buried deeply in the crater are causing speculation.
“In other news, there are strange reports concerning the Bankers Building in downtown Chicago. When we receive more news we will pass it along.”
Music played and Johnny shut off the radio. “We were talkin’ Flash Gordon. Guess we can add some Buck Rogers, too.”
“Damn, that was one strange report.”
“It reminds me of H.G. Wells.”
“H.G. Wells and his science fiction novel, The War Of The Worlds. Martian spaceships landed on Earth and began conquering the planet. They arrived in metal cylinders coming down like shooting stars from the sky.”
“Honey, you don’t have a fever, do you?” Johnny asked worriedly. He knew how susceptible Mel was to fevers.
“I’m not crazy. There’s something weird going on and we need some sort of explanation.”
“Crazed murderer isn’t enough explanation for you?”
“Think about it, Johnny. Did those monsters look like cheap costumes?”
“They did look authentic. And that smell…” Johnny shuddered, leaning back against the counter as he folded his arms.
“Exactly. They all smell alike, and a strange smell of decay at that.”
“We’re being hunted by a gang of decaying monsters?”
“Or one person.”
“One person? The change of costumes would be too time-consuming, and the make-up…”
”What if it was one person, or creature, who knew our Halloween archetypes and is…what was that word I read in that Heinlein story…shape, uh, shape-shifter? That’s it!”
“C’mon, Mel, aliens from outer space? Shape-shifters? That’s Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.”
“This whole night’s been crazy. Got any better explanations?”
“Well, this is Halloween, the night when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, right?”
“You mean the supernatural?”
Johnny nodded. “The supernatural is just about as logical as aliens, right?”
Mel smiled. “I guess it did sound crazy.”
“Well, one explanation is as good as another.”
Mel put his fedora back on. “How are we going to get out of here, Johnny? The laws of physics aren’t working. We should get out of here through the lobby doors, yet we can’t.”
“I don’t know…wait!” Johnny grinned hugely. “We call the police.” He picked up the phone. “Damn.” He slammed the phone down. “It’s dead.”
Footsteps sounded out in the hall.
God, I hope we’re not next.
Harold Rienecke felt safe in the interrogation room. He had spent many a satisfying hour here beating up suspects, the best part of the job, in his opinion. He sat by the window and fiddled with his tie. The Wolfman would be caught and he could go home. So what if Rorer got killed and he ran? It was every man for himself against that crazy killer out there.
He froze as he heard heavy footsteps shuffling down the hall. Fear rose up in him as the footsteps came closer. He jumped and grabbed a chair, shoving it against the door.
Whatever was on the other side pounded on the wood, loud growling chilling Rienecke’s blood. He shoved the table up against the door next, frantic as he realized the he was trapped. He backed away just as a fist smashed through the door, wood splintering as the Monster shuffled in. Rienecke screamed.
Mel and Johnny helped Charles into the office, grateful that it was him and not the Monster or some other thing. He was pale as a ghost and close to collapse, his clothes rumpled and bloodstained. His hat and suit jacket were gone and he carried no weapons. They ushered him to the chair that Mel had vacated.
“Charles, what happened?” Mel swallowed as he saw the blood spattered on Charles’ shirt up close.
“We saw Dracula.”
Mel and Johnny exchanged worried looks. The cowboy sounded dazed.
“Yeah, like…like Bela Lugosi.”
“Sounds like his mind’s fogged up,” said Johnny.
“That’s what vampires do.”
Johnny shuddered and Mel couldn’t blame him. Gently the agent asked, “Where’s Doc?”
“He’s in shock.” Johnny grabbed a Dixie cup from the dispenser and filled it with water from the water cooler. “Here, drink up.”
Charles obeyed. Mel felt unsettled. Seeing the highly competent Charles Winstead as a shaky, shell-shocked man was difficult.
“We’d better get down to the squadroom. Any agent or policeman left in the building would make their way there.”
Johnny nodded. There was no use hiding. They were all in this together now, G-Man and gangster alike.
“C’mon, Charles,” said Mel, and he and Johnny helped the older man to his feet.
They rode the elevator to the nineteenth floor, apprehensive as the doors opened but the hall was deserted. They cautiously entered the empty squadroom. Mel was disappointed that no one was there and said, “I’ll go check down the hall.” Johnny nodded and helped Charles into his desk chair.
Mel started down the hall, nearly falling as he slipped on something wet. He groped for the light switch and turned it on, gasping as he saw the pool of blood seeping down the hall. He looked up and saw the splintered door and smelled decay.
“Johnny, take Charles and run!”
He turned just as Frankenstein’s Monster appeared in the doorway gnawing on a long bone that he tossed over his shoulder. Roaring with anger, the Monster lurched forward as Mel ran, slipping on the blood. He fell to his knees and desperately started to rise when an inhumanly-strong hand grabbed his right arm and pulled, flesh tearing from bone as Mel screamed.