Skin


It was around one in the morning and I was doing my last patrol through the second construction site. Since my last encounter, I had begun parking in better lighted areas, not that it would help much other than to lessen my anxieties, which were practically off the charts.

As I pulled up under the street light down the street from the site’s entrance, I reached back for my lunch bag, only to be interrupted by the radio.

“We have a silent alarm in the southwest corner of Building ‘B,’ at Site Two” the dispatcher said.

I sighed and replaced my lunch, slipped the vehicle into drive and headed towards the site, “Damn it! And I jus’ check that area.”

As I pulled up to the front of the building and opened my door, Charlie-dog bolted from the cab, racing right over me. I shouted for him to stop, to come back, but it did no good.

“Shit,” I thought, “Now I’m out here alone with those things.”

Then I heard the sound of growling. It wasn’t jus’ any growling either; it was the type of sound that a dog makes when it has it’s teeth clamped tight on on something and is tugging at it.

I quickly hurried towards the sound.

But by the time I located it, Charlie had someone by the throat, savagely thrashing back and forth like he was trying to rip the person’s head off. Meanwhile, the guy was trying to push him back, but Charlie kept lunging in at him whenever he lost her grip.

By the time I pulled Charlie off the man, I was certain he was going to die from his injuries. But the guy clambered to his feet, even though much of his skin was ripped away and hanging along his right shoulder.

How he was still conscious, let alone alive, I had no idea. Then man started fingering at the torn skin around his neck and shoulder, peeling it away.

As he pulled and the skin came away, he continued down his right shoulder and then along his arm, until he had peeled away much of his chest. Underneath was another skin, this one a pale-gray, slick with blood, and fitting closely to the body.

The outside skin fell to the cement floor, sounding like a wet diving suit fresh from the ocean. As I recoiled from the sickening sound, and continued to struggle with a nearly wild Charlie-dog, the creature bolted into the darkness.

Bodily picking Charlie up, I rushed back to the truck, tossed him in the cab, climbed in behind him and drove out of the lot. It took me several minutes to compose myself enough to radio in that I found nothing, though I was sure I’d ‘heard a dog trotting around the area.’

Later that morning, I switched on the clock-radio by my bedside, listening in surprise as the woman announced, “Area law enforcement are busy this morning responding to reports of missing persons. So far nearly 100 reports have been filed.  They also say that a rash of strange, what are being described as skins, have been found in various locations throughout the region. It hasn’t been confirmed or denied if the two situations are connected. In other news…”

Shutting off the radio, I set my alarm then patted Charlie-boy, as he lay snuggled up against me on the bed, whispering, “You’re a good boy, Charlie.”

His tail thumped softly at the sound of his name.

5 thoughts on “Skin”

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