It had been one month’s time since I started my investigation into what I shall now call the Roxley cult, when an anonymous tip sent me to a burned out apartment building on the lower eastside of the city. I stood with shotgun poised, first in a row of FBI agents. If only I could have known the chaotic spiral into darkness that would follow this catalyst moment. Perhaps I wouldn’t have blasted out the hinges and kicked in that door.
But I did. Next I quickly stepped aside, with the ringing of the two shotgun blasts still in my ears, and let the next agent in line through the doorway. Finally I followed the last man inside and we raced through darkened and decaying hallways and abandoned apartments; there were squatters in some of the rooms and they shrunk from our flashlights, terror in their faces as they were pushed face down in the filth and handcuffed.
We moved on and it wasn’t until we reached the basement that the rush of adrenaline was edged out, the fight response very nearly overridden by a primal instinct for flight. There, in the damp dimness, were horrors not meant to be witnessed. The papers would later call it Ritualistic Human Sacrifice. It was a headline I found somewhat redundant and misleading.
To my eyes it seemed more like human experimentation. One victim was vivisected with several organs removed and placed in jars filled with a thick, viscous liquid. The containers in turn where hooked up to some kind of life support system. The part that cruelly gouged into my brain was the fact that the organs seemed to be still alive. The heart pumped vigorously and the lungs swelled and fluttered.
There were other grisly Easter eggs to be found; a row of large drums stood against the wall, tops open and the discarded remains of countless human carcasses stuffed inside. The smell was beyond evil and it gave my gag reflex a workout, two of the other agents actually vomited. The room was deathly still for several long moments, almost pitch save the searching beams of our flashlights; this made each horrific discovery all the more nightmarish.
A sound came from the far end of the basement, a place none of my men had ventured. A flicker of movement in the dark caught my peripheral vision or perhaps it was paranoia for when my flashlight beam caught the place I thought I had seen the motion, there was nothing. A couple of the other agents shone their lights in the direction of mine, but I couldn’t be sure if they had heard the noise too or were merely reacting to where I pointed my light.
The hair on the back of my neck pricked up as another sound echoed from deeper back in the darkness and this time I was sure the rest of the men heard it; Thompson submachine guns were raised and pointed.
It could not be mistaken that someone or something was down here with us.