The story so far:
(The introduction to the ‘Penny Dreadful’ crime story. Rated R)
The opaque blackness, an evil crawling thing engulfed her entirely, body and soul. Fluid tendrils, not unlike liquid electricity, rippled and flowed over her naked flesh in wave after wave of stimulating fervour.
Probing and exploring, the ebony tendrils were unhurried and methodical yet as gentle as a lover’s hands and as tender as a lover’s kiss.
Her name is Jackie Corrigan and soon she will be dead.
‘This must be a dream,’ Jackie thought to herself, ‘surely it can’t be real.’ She felt the tendrils wrap around her breasts. A few of the tendrils kneaded the soft flesh gently, while others ‘tasted’ the darker skin around her nipples teasingly without touching the neglected buds.
A sharp breath filled her lungs. Like a cool breeze on a hot, sweaty night, her nipples hardened, sending a tingling sensation throughout her body. She felt more tendrils snaking almost imperceptibly along her inner thighs, a spider’s dance or a snake’s constantly flicking tongue. The subtlety just enough to send another enjoyable tingling sensation though her awakening body. 'Oh god, this isn’t happening.’
Jackie’s breathing deepened. The evil crawling thing had her completely at its mercy as even more of its electric fingers made their way down to her navel, her belly and her aching clitoris. She could feel the tiny muscle spasms starting deep inside as hundreds of the fluid tendrils drowned her in incredibly pleasurable kisses and caresses.
Jackie was heading rapidly to an uncontrollable yet unbelievably powerful climax, unlike any she had felt before, when a blinding light above her burnt the tendrils into little more than wisps of evaporating darkness. “Ah, we’re awake then I see,” the cold voice said almost spitting venom.
Deep in the back of Jackie’s mind, she vaguely recognized the voice somewhere from her dark, murky past. The disembodied voice spoke again. “Oh my, we’re a little moist aren’t we? Have an interesting dream did we?” Jackie tried to focus on the origin of the voice but there was something wrong with her eyes. She could barely see a hazy silhouette out of her right eye, but couldn’t see anything at all out of her left. “Don’t worry, we’ll see soon enough,” the malicious voice stated matter-of-factly.
Jackie tried to move, to sit up and look at the face of her tormentor but couldn’t, she was completely paralysed.
With every ounce of strength she had, she tried to move her eyes. Her right eye turned in towards the bridge of her nose, only to see the unmistakable graded Pyrex tube and surgical steel plunger of a small syringe jutting from the centre of her left eye. She tried to scream, but her throat was tight, burning and dry. A strikingly beautiful face started coming into focus just above her. "Impossible,’ she thought, but there it was, the same dark hair, deep green eyes, aquiline nose and full red lips. Jackie was looking at her own face.
‘No! I held you in my arms as you died,’ Jackie tried to scream out. ‘Ten years ago...you’re dead...you’re dead...you’re dead...how can you be so cruel?’ Her thoughts turned to painful memories. Turned to that day when the sniper took her twin sister away from her. Just a random killing, as senseless as it was sadistic. Seventeen they were, her sister pregnant. Two bullets, one in her sister’s stomach and the other in her head. Two lucky shots that murdered her sister, and slaughtered what would’ve been her niece before she even had a chance to experience life. Two devil-spawn daemons straight from the pits of hell, taking her only remaining family away from her so callously.
“Memories can be so vicious, can’t they sis? You have no idea just how lucky you really were that day. You didn’t feel the bullet as it entered the soft flesh of your belly, didn’t feel the warm, trickling blood as it ran down your legs. You didn’t feel your unborn baby screaming and twisting in agony. Oh no, not you, you were right behind me, out of the bastard’s sights, safe and protected. Do you know I actually saw the second bullet coming straight towards my head, all in wonderful Technicolor and slow motion?
I saw it spinning, saw its vapour trail, and watched as the searing red-hot death came closer and closer towards me. The blackness was instantaneous as the bullet sheared through my skull. Oh yes, I’m dead all right, so is my baby. Do you want to see her, then again perhaps not. You’ll see her soon enough.” Jackie’s sister disappeared from her limited view after that, leaving her alone in the threatening silence.
Trying to come to terms with what was happening, unsuccessfully, the sound of tiny scurrying feet commanded her attention. The sound came from somewhere to her left, her blindside, and was closely followed by a desperate scratching then a piercing squeal. The abrupt silence was only broken by an even more abrupt laugh. A hideous laugh, so bone shattering and bitter as to tear her spine from her back and scrape her every nerve. The beautiful face of her sister appeared above her own again, but this time her sister’s luscious red lips were dripping blood.
“Nine years now Jackie. For nine years I’ve had to live on these disgusting things.” Jackie’s sister waved a small blurry shape above her supine body. Regaining focus in her good eye, she saw that it was a black rat, still twitching grotesquely whilst impaled on a sharpening spike. Her sister bit its head off and started chewing on it like a cow, her jaws moving from side to side in a macabre grinding motion, and all though Jackie couldn’t feel it she knew that the rat’s blood was dripping all over her stomach. Her sister’s sickening crunching and sucking was disgusting her, making her feel extremely ill. Jackie tried to close her eye to the abhorrent spectacle but couldn’t.
“The first one is always the hardest. As soon as I got it down it came straight back up again, but after a while they weren’t too bad. They taste like chicken...oh dear, you’re covered in blood, I’ll fix that.” Jackie’s sister started licking the blood off her stomach, tiny lapping slurps like a cat. “Yum, you taste good.” She playfully took a bite of Jackie’s left breast. “Nope! Time for that later.” She ran her hands all over Jackie’s body. “You know what sis; you always have had a slightly more perfect body than me . . . BITCH!” With that, she dug her nails into Jackie’s lower belly and ripped viciously, leaving five straight gashes from one side of her body to the other.
The blood welled and flowed slowly. Jackie couldn’t feel it of course, but saw the tatters of her own flesh beneath her sister’s nails. “I’m sorry sweetheart,” her sister said too sympathetically before again lapping at spilled blood with predatory zeal. Apparently satisfied, her sister’s face once again came into view. Just for a split second, Jackie saw a twisted leer scarring her sister’s blood-caked face that froze her heart and soul. So intense, so murderous and so evil. Just for that split second, then her sister’s face mellowed into an almost mischievous smile again before pulling the syringe out of her eye. “Whoops! Sorry sis, but you won’t be using that eye anymore. Never mind, back in a minute.” Once again, a moment’s empty loneliness and threatening silence.
Jackie started feeling a dull throbbing sensation. It was spreading rapidly, her toes, her calves and along her thighs. She felt an almost imperceptible tingling sensation around her clitoris before being stabbed mercilessly by a sharp pain from just below her navel. Her sister’s face came into view again. “Oh dear, we can’t have that now can we. This stuff is good, it’ll make all the pain go away, you’ll see.” As Jackie’s sister forced the new syringe into her neck, she looked deeply into Jackie’s good eye and smiled. “I bet you have a million questions don’t you sis? Like how can I still be so beautiful after having the back of my head blown off, and why am I putting you through all this?”
Pausing to withdraw the syringe, and to allow the drug to take affect, she hummed a tuneless little song then started flicking Jackie’s left nipple with the side of her thumb. “It’s quick, isn’t it?” She looked deep into Jackie’s eye again, could see her pain and anger, her questioning and failing to understand, her pleading. She could see the tiny tears trying to well up and overflow in a torrent of salty bitterness. She laughed. “Your questions just aren’t important sis, sorry.”
Jackie’s heart felt crushed by Death’s own hand with the coldness of her sister’s statement. As she looked into her sister’s empty green eyes, she was suddenly overcome by a sense of total guilt. If only she had jumped in front of her sister after the very first shot was fired. If only they had taken a different route to the baby shop, left earlier or even later. If only she had acted on her premonition instead of ignoring it. Twenty-three people were shot that day, fifteen died, and Jackie watched it all happen the night before in her dreams.
Her very first premonition, many years ago, resulted in the death of her parents. Jackie tried so hard to make them believe her, god how she tried, but they just wouldn’t listen. After all, why would they listen to a six year old? ‘Just a bad dream,’ they would say, ‘that’s all, just a bad dream.’ They didn’t even get the chance to avoid the truck as it came veering towards them after losing control. They died instantly and horribly.
Her second premonition involved a school bus. It resulted in her spending a few years in a psychiatric hospital. One child survived. The bus plummeted off the edge of a cliff due to a blown tyre. Crashing to the bottom in a tangle of twisted metal and thrown bodies, it exploded into flames. Jackie saw it all, heard the children’s terrified screams, walked amongst their burnt and broken corpses as if she was right there in the midst of the chaos.
The following day she heard it on the news. The survivor, a little boy, was found sitting amongst a pile of charred, twisted bodies with a smile on his face and the devil in his eyes. The camera froze on the child’s eyes. So empty, so green. Jackie would wake up bathed in sweat and screaming, pleading for it to end while she was in that hospital and her sister would always be there, by her side, a cool hand stroking her fevered brow, always staring down at her lovingly with her beautiful deep green eyes.
Sitting up terrified, Jackie would bury her face in her sister’s breasts sobbing deeply. It was the images, those horrible images. Seeing the bodies flung about like a lamb in the jaws of a pack of ravenous wolves. Hearing the crunch of metal bonding with shattered bones as the flames licked at their young flesh. The odours, the screams, and that wasn’t the worst of her agony. She was tormented by one particular nightmarish vision night after night for three years – a young boy with evil, impenetrable green eyes, a grotesque grin on his blood-caked face eating the charred, bloodied and broken bodies surrounding his tiny body. Three long years, yet every night, her sister Simone would be there with her, trying to soothe her pain.
Why, in god’s name why didn’t she warn Simone about that final premonition?
After their parent’s deaths, Jackie and Simone became inseparable. They had no one else. When Simone’s abusive boyfriend got her pregnant and abandoned her, Jackie vowed one day to get revenge for the way he treated her sister. Vowed that if god didn’t punish him, she would. She never got the chance. He was found not long after Simone’s death gutted and beheaded. He apparently owed a considerable amount of money to an impatient gang boss.
The police found him crucified in an old abandoned warehouse. God’s justice had been served and Jackie had been denied the pleasure of a cold, calculated vengeance. “You’re thinking about mum and dad, that evil child and my arsehole boyfriend aren’t you sis?” Jackie’s thoughts distracted, she looked up into the eyes of Simone. She could see the tears welling, the sorrow and pain in her deep, beautiful green eyes. With a blink of those eyes, it was all gone, replaced by the same impenetrable evil as the eyes that had haunted Jackie for so many years. “Well sweetheart, that answers a few of your questions, doesn’t it!” Simone disappeared again, leaving Jackie to wallow in her own self-pity and guilt, her own regrets and anguish. She wanted to scream, to beg her sister’s forgiveness, to purge her tainted soul but she couldn’t. Her oesophagus was constricted, she felt like her throat was being shaved by broken glass. She was helpless and desperate for some form of closure, some tiny hint that all will be forgiven. It would never come.
An eternity, the empty space between the ticks of a clock, seemed to pass before Simone appeared again. She looked burdened as if she was carrying something in her arms. Her beautiful face came into focus again above Jackie’s own. “I’m dead and cold sweetheart, but you’re alive, warm. Please, I beg you, look after your niece – my daughter – give her the life I can’t.”
Simone’s heart-rending plea and sorrow-filled eyes enfolded Jackie with the one thing she had coveted so dearly for so long – a sister’s love, need and warmth – so much so that she didn’t fully comprehend the spoken words. Stroking the side of her face tenderly, Simone looked down at Jackie and whispered. “I’ve missed you so much. Endless nights and infinite prayers, empty tears and a barren womb. God how I’ve needed you sis.” She leaned down and gently kissed Jackie one final time. A hint of evil flashed across her deep green eyes, a hint that Jackie didn’t want to acknowledge.
A brief glimmer of metal and a bloodied tear from faraway eyes; Simone too had inner conflicts. Full comprehension stabbed at Jackie’s undying love for her sister repeatedly, and although she couldn’t feel it, she heard the unmistakable sound of a blade or a scalpel cutting deeply into flesh, slowly, meticulously. She began feeling weaker instantly. She knew that the weakness was through blood loss, knew what was actually happening, but she couldn’t accept it. She refused to accept it. Her vision started fading quite rapidly. The last thing she could make out, just vaguely, was her sister Simone rubbing a number of even more imperceptible things all over her naked body.
Silence! Darkness! The opaque blackness, an evil crawling thing, engulfed her entirely, body and soul. Jackie’s final thought pierced her mind like a dagger of bitter regret. ‘Why?’
Down in the small god-fearing town not two miles away, a brooding figure nursing a pint of dark ale browses the pictures laid out in from of him as he sits within the warming radiance of a large open fire at the local pub.
The pictures – all victims in varying stages of mutilation and torture, most in the final throes of death and sent by the twisted psychopathic beast itself. The brooding figure – Detective Inspector Malachi Darkheart, commissioned to the case because of his rather particular and somewhat unique interests.
Outside, the icy night air chills the hearts of the townsfolk. They know it’s all about to start again. Crossing themselves, they pray for the lost souls as they glare up towards the silhouette not two miles from town.
A multi-edged dagger piercing the black sky mercilessly, it stands there, as it has for countless years in eternal silence. A monolithic edifice from a forgotten history. An evil black thing. A monument to the vilest of tortures, to suffering and humility, to the most heinous of cruelties man can inflict on his fellow man.
The mountain edge crumbles in disdain at its hateful burden as the enraged sea spits its contempt with a million acidic drops.
Deep in the bowels of the accursed thing – once the most trusted of hospitals for those that were terminally ill before the darkness seeped into its very foundations – Simone removes her wig and face, discards the skin suit and lights a long black cigarette. A twirl of thick, acrid smoke funnels upward from between pale, twisted lips. Simon LeBonepierre surveys his conquest one last time as he walks backwards to be engulfed by the opaque blackness. His sinister laugh resounding throughout the empty halls of the Maison De Sante.