Stranger Then Fiction
Brian Conley

Some kids were lucky. Some kids got beat by there parents. Others got tumors.
Not this kid.
No, this kid definitely was not lucky.
Well, it started out good. He had a big sprawling backyard, a whole bedroom for the boy and his friends, and more importantly, two parents.
Why did it change? When did it change? How did it change?
It was, in the boy's mind, when that man called.
What was his name? Baker?
He called up one day. The boy heard the excitement in Daddy's voice, and quickly ran to the kitchen to pick up the extension.
"Yeah? Who is this?"
"Danny, it's me, Baker."
"Baker? Oh, shit, you still alive?"
This is where the boy picked up.
"Ha, yeah, still haven't got shot yet. Anyway, I have a reason for calling you."
"I read that the mills down there just got closed."
"Yeah, it's tough. When the Mill that you've been working in for ten years ups and closes, it gets rough."
"I would think so. How's Lorraine, by the way?"
"She's good."
"And Ben? How's he growing?"
"He's a strong five year old boy."
"That's good. Anyway, Daniel. There is a new opening on the force, and, I was wondering if you want the gig. I mean, you would have to move up here, but the job is mint."
A long pause almost made the boy hang up, but his father spoke again just in time."
"Isn't there training involved?"
"A little bit. But, the pay is worth it."
The boy lost interest after that, and left the phone off the hook for his mother to pick up,
That's where things went sour, however. After that conversation.
And that Baker.
They moved to a big, noisy city, in a cramped apartment, where the playground was a cracked sidewalk out front, and a rusty jungle gym down the road. The boy had to sleep in a old army cot next to a noisy water pipe, and with boxes underneath him.
Daddy was never home, never had time for the poor boy anymore.
Mommy was home, but she was always on the phone or talking to strange men.
The boy was dependent on the TV to keep him in check.
Five years of that.
Then things twisted. Again.
At age ten, he could get a better grip on things.
Some kids are lucky, he thought. Some kids get to live in a real house.
The boy thought longingly about the house that he was torn out of oh so long ago. He thought about the green grass, and the joy of going out on the lawn for a game of catch with his dad.
But that was a mere pipe dream.
Then Mommy left.
First there was the screaming and yelling.
Daddy tried to relax, but when Mommy yelled at him about how she was sleeping with other men, Daddy couldn't take that.
The boy wanted to just leave it all behind, to escape.
That's what school was.
He learned as much as the bad school system let him. But it didn't matter.
He learned about the cell, and about the Mitochondria, and about what the significance was.
Lord knows he would need to be smart to escape.
But then Mommy really did leave. She yelled about how Daddy could keep the boy, then left.
The boy suddenly became a latchkey kid.
Daddy worked, the boy had a frozen meal for dinner.
Daddy worked, and the boy watched TV.
But then it happened.
It was Christmas, what year? 1998? There was a show being put on in Central Park, and the boy was hyper about going.
"Are you sure?" Daddy asked, as he handed the attendant a twenty.
The boy said yes. This was his plan.
Mommy would be at that show. And now, so would Daddy and him.
Maybe, the boy thought, just maybe, I can fix this.
The show was one day away, and Daddy was working harder then ever.
It seemed that he had a new case to keep him busy.
Something with a woman named Melissa.
Great, another person to steal Daddy from me, the boy said to a stuffed bear.
The boy worried that he wouldn't be able to get Daddy to go.
"Well..." He said aloud. "Can't hurt to try, right?"
Liar. If Daddy says no, the boy didn't know what he would do.
Cry, most likely.
He had a plan. He was on Christmas vacation from school, so he would go to Daddy's office earlier in the day, and remind Daddy about the show.
He opened the giant oak doors to the precinct with a grunt, and proceeded to head into a long hallway. Not many people were around, and there were many doors.
So, naturally, the boy got nervous.
He was, after all, only ten.
He grasped the white paper ticket in his left hand, breathing slightly, nervously.
That's when the boy met his hero.
She ran up the stairs on the left, and spotted him immediately. She walked over to him, and with her creamy white hands on rounded knees; she leaned over to bring her sea-green eyes to meet his.
"Hello...Are you lost?"
The boy took a minute to answer, and to look at her glowing, caring smile and her short-yet-flowing dirty blonde hair. He could smell the leather of her tight-fitting jacket, and see the tears in her worn jeans.
"Ben!" His father deep voice yelled from down the hall.
The girl stood upright, and looked at the boy's father.
"So this is Ben?"
He ran up to his son, and kneeled down to talk to him.
"Daddy, I came to remind you about tonight..." The boy said, breaking his gaze from the woman.
The boy held up the two tickets he had been holding on to for at least a hour.
"Oh, yeah...the concert..." His daddy said, "Listen, Ben...Daddy's real busy, so..."
This is what the boy had feared.
Tears began to swell under his eyes, and he dropped the ticket on the cement floor.
Well, he really tossed them down as he yelled at his father.
And, not know what else to do, he ran. He ran as fast as he could. His lungs stung as the air emptied from them.
This is what true pain was. Having your father dump you.
Some kids are lucky. Some kids get to be put in foster homes.
The boy leaned against a brick wall, and clenched his fist.
"Damn it." He thought. "Damn it all..."
He sat there, leaning against the wall outside of his apartment for hours, until Mommy pulled up in her run down Station wagon.
She smiled at him, and then patted the seat next to her, inviting him in.
And they were off.
The seats at the concert hall were made of Hard plastic, and not very comfortable.
But he was with mommy.
In the back of the Boy's mind, he thought that maybe Daddy would show up anyway.
Yeah, right.
The curtain rose, and it was empty. But then she came on.
She was in a red tattered dress, and had giant, clawed hands. The boy squinted at the woman, and saw that rather then legs, she had a blue spike protruding from her dress.
And she was...floating?!
Must be a stage trick.
She looked out on the audience, and smiled. The boy sighed, and looked at Mommy, who was sitting next to him, entranced in the show.
"Mom..?" The boy said.
She stayed quiet, candle in one hand, her gaze fixated on the stage.
The boy raised a finger and poked his mother in the arm.
Nothing. She didn't even raise a hand to bat his hand away, like she normally did.
The boy went quiet, and then sighed. If he was going to salvage his plan, he had better leave now, while his mother was in her trance.
And to make things worse, now his stomach hurt. Not a dull pain, but a searing pain ran through his gut. He had to go though, go find Daddy.
And for the second time that day, he ran until his lungs burned.
He ran to the police station, then to his apartment, then finally back to Central Park.
But he was nowhere to be found, his father, that is.
The boy was about to give up hope, but then he heard the small howl of a police siren coming from the other end of the park.
It was a small noise, but the boy heard it clearly.
And again, the boy ran. He ran all the way around the park's perimeter and around to the
And he saw him. His father. When he saw his father, all the pain in his stomach vanished. Then the boy realized it had been ebbing away slowly ever since he left his mother in the park.
"Dad!" The boy yelled.
His father turned to look at his son, then exclaimed, "Ben!!?"
He ran into his father-outstretched arms, and smiled.
"Why are you here, Ben?" His father asked.
Ben pulled away from his father then looked up at him.
"Mom was acting weird, and I wanted you to come to the show, so..."
His father took a deep breath. And looked at Ben like he had just lost his voice.
"Loraine..." He said, under his breath.
And they just stood there, until the dispatch called in over the Radio in the father's car.
"All units, report back to base...I repeat...all units...back to base."
It was a very quiet ride back to the police station, then back home.
The next morning, Daddy took the boy to work with him.
He placed the boy on a wooden bench with a comic book he had bought him.
But that only kept him busy for so long.
Soon, the boy was wandering again, around the hallways of Precinct number seventeen
He walked around and talked with a few people. He ran into a guy with biking gloves on, named...
What was it? Wayne?
And he met a girl named Cathy.
She was nice. Blonde hair, a blue standard-issue police shirt.
She was nice, but not as cool as that other girl.
What did Daddy call her? Aya?
Cathy talked to him as she walked him back to the main hallway of the building.
As they walked, Daddy came in through the big oaken doors.
He saw the boy, then kneeled down to face him.
"Ben, Daddy has to go out for a while, okay? He has to go and get the thing that hurt Mommy."
Oh, yeah. That. People tried to hide it, but the boy was no idiot. He snuck around and listened to people talking about how everyone at Central Park had died.
That included his mommy.
He wanted to cry, but he knew strong people never cried.
"Hey, Cathy, watch the kid, will ya?"
Cathy nodded, then turned to the boy.
"Hey, Ben, you want to meet the coolest police dog in town?"
The boy nodded, then smiled. He liked dogs.
The two of them walked down the same set of stairs that that Aya girl ran up before, when the boy came to find Daddy. They turned down another hallway at the bottom.
"Can we see this dog?" Cathy asked the cop sitting in the kennel , keeping one slender hand on the boy's shoulder.
"Sure." The cop said, and grunted as he stood up from the metal chair he was sitting in.
"You got a visitor." The cop said to the German shepherd lying on the floor inside a chain-link pen.
As soon as the officer opened the fence, the dog leapt out, and leapt towards the boy. Fear shot through his body as the dog knocked him down to the ground, and brought its mouth to the boy's face.
But then it froze, and started licking the boy's face.
The cop laughed, as did Cathy.
"Her name is Sheeva."
The boy smiled, and started rubbing the dog behind the ears.
He liked this dog. So sweet, so kind. Offering heaps of unconditional love at every turn.
Cathy soon sat down and become engrossed in a newspaper, and the other cop left for the day.
The boy sat on the floor and played with Sheeva for hours. When he was sure that Cathy wasn't paying attention, he would whisper his troubles into the dog's ears, knowing that the dog would never tell anyone.
"I miss mommy..." He said.
"I wish Daddy would spend more time with me." He said, only tearier.
The dog just licked his face and chased after the ball that the boy had found.
This dog...was his friend.
Then cruel fate backhanded the poor child once more.
One hour after meeting the dog, and growing to like it, it turned.
It started small, with a few coughs and a peach-colored ooze flowing from the dog's eyes.
The boy just brushed it aside. After all, the dog was still acting normally.
And then it turned. Letting loose a ferocious howl, it leapt over the boy, and onto the chest of unsuspecting Cathy.
More peach-colored ooze splattered everywhere from the dog's mouth and nose. The dog rebounded and landed near the door. It shook his head violently, spraying more and more ooze all over the tiny kennel.
Then it ran.
The boy looked back to see a unconscious, or dead, female officer behind him.
He ignored her, and chased after the dog.
He chased the dog up some stairs, then up some more stairs, past two police officers, one balding with a orange mustache, and another with a generic blue suit on.
"Whoa!" One of them yelled, as the boy pushed past him.
The boy kept running, having to keep increasing his speed, to keep up with the animal.
They both whipped around tight hallway corners, and past countless doors.
Then Sheeva stopped. She stopped, and whipped her head around like she was trying to contain something within her self.
The boy stopped next to the dog, and with heavy, panting breath, he wrapped his arms around it.
"What's wrong with you?" He asked the animal.
Gunshots came from down the hallway, from a office that the pair had passed.
This caused Sheeva to push forward, knocking the boy to the ground, it howled again, then ran. The boy shot to his feet, then started after it.
"More running..." The boy thought.
Sheeva hobbled up a flight of stairs, and then body-slammed the bottom of a door, forcing the lock to snap off.
The boy hesitated at this sheer display of power, but only for a moment.
The room that Sheeva had run to was a large room, with wooden panels and sheets lying around everywhere. Ben glanced around for a minute, then focused on Sheeva once again. She was now in the center of the room, her eyes wild, and her eyes and mouth now bleeding peach puss more then ever.
"Sheeva...are you ok?" He said, once again leaning over her, hugging her.
"BEN!" A strong voice yelled from the front of the room. The boy hardly had time to think before a pair of arms wrapped around his stomach, and lifted him off the ground.
"Get away from her, Ben!" Baker yelled, as they ran to the far side of the room.
"Let GO!!" The boy yelled, "Can't you see Sheeva's sick!?"
Baker set the boy down, then fished around in his coat pocket for his gun.
"NO!!!" The boy yelled, "Don't hurt Sheeva!!"
The boy tugged at Baker's shirttails, tears welling from his eyes.
"That's not your Sheeva, Ben. Eve's turned her into a monster!"
Eve. The boy heard that name before.
The girl at the concert hall where Mommy...daddy was talking about how she was called Eve.
The boy stopped all thinking and covered his ears when a bullet went flying from Baker's gun. He kept his ears shielded until Baker had emptied the clip.
"Damn...out of ammo!" He yelled.
Baker took a step backwards, and placed a hand on the boys shoulder.
"Don't look, Ben...close your eyes."
Lord knows the boy wanted to close his eyes, but he couldn't. His mind wouldn't let him.
Sheeva twitched her head again, then the skin on top of her head split, revealing what looked like spikes. The dog's eyes bulged, and its flesh torn apart. From the skull of the once-innocent German Shepard, three heads split, with another mouth spawned in the center. The dog's body ripped apart, tossing the flesh and fur to the floor. Spines lined the new creature's back, along with pulsing muscles and tendons.
Then it turned to them.
"Oh, shit!!" Baker yelled at it. "GET AWAY!"
The dog sent a gigantic clawed paw at Baker, striking him in the leg. Ben cringed as he heard bone snap, and flesh tear. Baker yelled, then collapsed to one knee, pushing Ben farther behind him. The dog took a thudding step forward, and open it's mouths, puss and ooze falling to the ground.
The boy felt tears start to well up, but was too scared to cry. After all that life had given him, this is how her would die.
And he never even had got to tell his daddy he loved him.
But then, she showed up. In her black leather jacket, and tight jeans, she came barging into the room. Her eyes opened wide at the sight of the dog, and her rifle raised to point at it.
"Aya!" The boy yelled, remembering her name, "Uncle Baker's hurt!"
He saw her take a deep breath, hand over her chest, and then take a step forward.
"It's ME YOU WANT!" She yelled, baiting the dog.
The monster let out one more howl at the its two prisoners, then turned it's body around to face Aya.
The boy pushed himself against the wall, and watched.
Aya took a step backwards, then raised her gun, and fired. The creature shrugged it off, then launched at her. She nimbly leapt out of the way, and put three more bullets into the dog. The dog stumbled back, and the boy saw one of its heads droop down, as if it had died. Aya ran at it, firing shot after shot into it's oozing flesh. The dog sent a clawed paw out after her, and hit her in the side, knocking her to the ground.
"Aya!" The boy yelled, afraid that she had been killed.
But she got up, and with her eyes closed, amazed the boy by making her flesh wounds vanish. From the look on Aya's face, the boy thought that she had willed them away.
A few more bullets to the head on top, then she tossed the gun to the ground, and pulled out a small pistol from inside her leather jacket.
Shots rang out as she kept assaulting the beast, all the while dodging its onslaught of blows.
The three heads all had drooped down, their life ended.
But the monster still lived, and it charged Aya. She dodged out of the way, then closed her eyes, as if concentrating. Eyes still closed, she ran up next to the fiend, then jammed her pistol into it's flesh. .
The boy heard a loud screech, and a large purple beam shot through the monster, and slammed into the wall not even ten feet away from him.
Then he had to close his eyes and ears.
Glass exploded over the floor and outside as the beam hit the wall, and blood shot across the room.
A few minutes later, the boy looked up.
Sheeva was gone. Vanished. Evaporated. All that remained was the splatter of blood when Aya disposed of it, with that ray.
And then Daddy came.
"Ben!" He yelled, barging into the room.
"Daddy!" The boy yelled, smiling. He ran to his father, and gave him a hug.
His father looked up from the boy, and looked at Baker.
"Sir...thank you..."
Baker laughed. "No...just call me in the old times..."
The boy's father let go of him, and stood up. He walked over to Baker, and put his arm over his shoulders, and used the other arm to help him to his feet. Together, they limped out of the room.
The boy stayed behind, waiting until his Daddy and Baker left the room, and it was just he and Aya.
Then Aya turned to leave.
"Aya?" The boy said, walking up to her. She turned to him, smiled, and leaned down to face him, her hands on her knees.
"The thing that did this to Sheeva..."
The boy took a deep breath.
"You'll get 'em, right?"
Aya nodded. "Yeah..." She stood up straight, and nodded again. "Yeah, I will."
After that, things got better for the boy. Things finally changed for him.
Daddy told uncle baker to take him to the boy's old house in the green field, out in the country.
And that's where he stayed. He played with his old friends, he ran out in the open fields, enjoying life.
Sometimes Baker would walk with him, slowly, with his cane in hand.
It was the good life.
A few weeks went by, then Ben and Baker went back to the city. The statue of liberty had been knocked over, and the bay was in distress with remains of battleships floating everywhere.
But he didn't stay long. He went to see a opera show with Daddy and Aya, then he left.
Well, him and Daddy.
Back to the countryside. Back to the green lands.
Some kids were lucky.
Some kids didn't have to live through the terror that this kid had to.
But he had learned from it.
And it made him better.