It started out as a routine affair. I never knew how to say no, especially to a pretty woman. I’ve known Grace for a while, and even though we just pretend like nothing happened, we both know the effect she has on me. And also the effect I don’t have on him, but that doesn’t stop me from believing it. So when she asked me to investigate the disappearance of Lilian and Carmen Bauer, two twins from her class (she’s a teacher), rather than telling her to go to the police, I promised her to meet me a little, when I would have finished my day. After all, I’m a detective.
It was dark when I pulled up in front of the Bauers. I didn’t try to be discreet, I wasn’t hiding. By reflex, I checked that all my night equipment was in place: flashlight, professional license and firearms permit. And gun in his holster. I had never used it, but I felt better with it than without, when it was dark. I walked down the driveway that led to the Bauers’ house. The automatic lighting has been triggered. A minivan was parked in front of the garage. Two car seats were installed in the back seat, it was in all likelihood the family car. But the Bauers had been able to leave with a second vehicle. Hard to be sure of anything, but I was starting to feel something weird, like a slight uneasiness. When I rang, no one answered. I walked around the pavilion, even in the dark I saw that the garden was really very well maintained. I tried to see something through the windows, in vain, the curtains were too thick. The bad feeling has not left me.
My tour of the house finished, I rang again. I was about to leave when, in an almost unconscious reflex, I grabbed the handle of the front door. To my surprise, it was open. Obviously, I entered, preceded by the beam of my lamp.
I was immediately hit by the smell. If you’ve smelled carrion once in your life, you’re unlikely to confuse it with anything else. My hair stood on end, but who knows why, I didn’t turn on my heels, slam the door and call the cops. I took out my gun and went in search of the corpses. I knew it was bullshit, and even if I had little chance of finding the murderer, I was going to massacre the crime scene. Because I had no doubt, at that time, that I was at a crime scene. The entrance opened onto a fairly wide hallway. There was a small piece of furniture and a wall coat rack. On the right wall, the cold light of my lamp revealed a family photo: we saw the two little ones, and the parents, blond, beautiful, slim, smiling. And a huge dog, a kind of Great Dane, all in muscles and jaws, lying nonchalantly in front of the children. I told myself that you had to be damn determined to tackle a family with such an imposing dog.
I kept moving forward. The hallway led to a large living room, I immediately noticed the mess. And the blood: on the ground, it was like a giant, horrifying and grotesque smear. And there was always the smell, which filled everything, almost material. I threw up. I had to get out of there, but the macabre power of what I saw and the hope of finding someone alive kept me from running.
The parents’ bodies were behind the sofa, at the foot of the stairs leading upstairs. The murderer had attacked them savagely, it was as if they had been devoured. I retched again.
That’s when I heard the growls. It was coming from above. It was clearly an animal growl, so I thought back to the big dog in the photo, and connected it to the savagery of the scene, and started to get a good idea of what might have happened. pass there. I hadn’t yet completed the mission Grace had given me, so I went upstairs.
I tried to walk quietly. The staircase led to a hallway decorated with children’s drawings. And there was blood, again, and pieces of something that I didn’t try to identify. Everything suddenly became silent. I stopped, listening. The silence continued, then the growls resumed, coming from a room to the left.
I moved slowly, the gun pointed at the door. The growls stopped, again. I walked past the door. She was ajar. From inside came an infernal chewing sound. I pushed open the door, and stepped back, illuminating the interior with my lamp.
It was not what I had imagined. The two twins were there, leaning over what was left of the big dog. The boy looked up at me, and he started to growl. His sister remained focused on her task, her head buried in the disembowelled carcass of the mastiff. I got dizzy, and all I could hear was the sickening sound of the kid’s jaws. Finally she stopped, and they both stared at me, their faces smeared with blood and raw flesh, with a look a little sorry, like two children caught stealing candy. I was not prepared for this. I had a second of hesitation, and the boy took the opportunity to attack me. The little bastard was fast, and he had time to bite my left hand before I blew his skull off. The bang stunned me. The little girl let out a scream and tried to get up, but she slipped on something slimy. She tipped back, her head hitting the corner of a chest of drawers. There was a sharp crack, and she went limp. Her body sagged slowly against the piece of furniture on which she had just broken her neck.
The house fell silent again. I caught my breath, and I remained without doing anything for several minutes. Dazed, I went back downstairs and left the house. Only then did I put my gun away, lit a cigarette, and started shaking.
I was in shock, and even though the brat hadn’t bitten me very deeply, my hand was hurting the hell out of me, if that expression was appropriate in this case. I couldn’t call the cops, I couldn’t. So I did the most ultimately stupid thing of the evening, during which I had nevertheless accumulated world-class bullshit: I went to Grace’s.
She took good care of me, as she always had. She took care of my hand. But after that, while I was drinking a pick-me-up, I felt a terrible twinge, and it was as if my arm was covered with molten lava.
Everything got confused, the pain pierced me, I became pain. And something else too. Visions of the two cherubs devouring the dog assaulted me. It was very real, and the smell was there again, in Grace’s living room, all around me. So I wanted her. Not sexually. Well, not just sexually. I took a step forward. She took a step back. Then I threw myself on her.
You might think that I no longer have any lucidity, but that is not the case. Unfortunately. I am still perfectly conscious, and I remember everything. On the other hand, I feel that my own will and my free will are diminishing as the hot lava from my bitten arm pours into the rest of my body. I know what I have to do now that everything is in writing. I still have four bullets in my magazine, that’s way more than I need. I’m gonna put an end to this dirty business, it’s the least I can do for Grace.
But before, I’m going to take a last bite, all that really made me very hungry.