6: Red mist

It was a massacre.

Kay Bailey dropped to the ground after her bloody rogering to a chorus of screams and cheers from the wide eyed onlookers. The unicorn bucked, stamped on the news icon’s limp corpse, mashing what remained of her head with its hoof, then charged down the hill into the crowd.

Jack watched it all through his lens. Somehow the camera mounted on his shoulder separated him from the carnage, allowed him an emotional disengagement from the reality of the horror he filmed. He was a professional, recording events, not part of them. It protected him, for a while.

Men, women, children, the white demon cared not, all were just meat under the horse’s thunderous hooves. It galloped into the mass of onlookers, tender rabbits in its speeding headlights, transforming the congregation into a circus of flying limbs and splashing gore.

It ran them over, it speared, it sliced, but worst of all, it encouraged. Something strange happened to the crowd as the unicorn cheerfully butchered all across his path. Amidst the wails of pain rang laughter, joy at their own murder. Those that weren’t mown down by the wild horned beast began attacking each other. A father swung his baby as a club on his wife, screaming with merry lust, children stabbed at fallen elders with tree branches, sisters took turns to beat each other with rocks, a man clawed out his own eyes and shoved them up his backside. He had a smile on his face before the unicorn took his head off with one piercing lance through the neck.

Jack kept filming. It was all he could do, he daren’t look away or stop. The Dartmoor fog turned red with the blood, scarlet powder silvering the air with apocalyptic breath. Then, almost as quickly as it had been unleashed the screams turned to groans, as the last gasp of brutality waned, a girl stamped on her baby brother’s head then fell to the ground with her mother’s knitting needle in her eye.

Jack was the last man standing, the only one left alive. He span around, searching the grue stained moor for the equine murderer. Then, suddenly it roared above him, knocked him into the air, and the camera flew from his grasp. He fell on his back, winded, and the camera landed some ten feet away. Miraculously it was undamaged, the green light showing it still recording, and pointing straight at him. He was filming himself without even trying. For a moment Jack congratulated himself for accidental professionalism.

The wild stallion’s hoof stamped onto his groin, all the way to the boggy floor. Reflexively his mouth opened wide into a silent scream, just in time to catch the demon’s feces down his gullet, as the horse squatted over his quivering head and defecated onto the hapless journalist. Jack gagged and choked, but the animal didn’t stop. The torrent of excreta grew and grew, stinging his eyes, covering his head, pouring into his belly, suffocating him. His flailing arm clawed helplessly for mercy at the air before…

Rebecca Banks paused the footage, and left the image of the human dung pile beneath the horse’s torrenting bowels on the screen as she turned to her audience. She was Newscorp’s chief editor savant, infamous for her determination to destroy lives as the whim took her. Now, her steely green eyes beneath a flaming ginger mane fixed on the single invited guest to her Canary Wharf office.

“True professionals to the end,” she said. “They died as they lived.”

Buggered senseless and drowning in shit, thought Hennessy. He didn’t say that though. “Tragic,” he growled. It still sounded sarcastic.

Rebecca’s cold eyes glistened as she looked at the surly Scot. Her perpetual smirk betrayed neither humour nor sadness, just permanent malice. Normally, the gaze elicited more of a response from her victims. Hennessy just stared back. This man was meant to be the best in the business, his business being anything required. Maybe he was.

“Can you find the horse?” said Rebecca. Blunt was the way forward.

“You want the beast killed, police’ll do it for free. Lot cheaper than me lass.”

“Kill it? God no, Mr Hennessy, this isn’t about childish revenge because some employees died. I don’t want it dead. I want you to catch this beautiful creature, and bring it to me. That’s how this story goes.”

“If this thing’s as dangerous as they say, catching it may not an option. Being realistic, that is.”

“Anything can be caught, just like anyone can be bought.” She smiled at Hennessy, enjoying his slight bristle at the suggestion. Everyone had a tell.

“It’ll cost you,” he said.

 

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