A Lastings Effect
His mother called for him softly. She had lived a long life filled with cigarettes and whiskey so by design the cancer had taken most of her voice. Nevil was downstairs watching television. The volume was up considerably loud but he could hear her. Nevil had a way of tuning in to the important things. He could hear a mouse scramble inside the walls. His ears were funny that way.
He loved his mother fiercely so her voice penetrated through the volume of the television. As she spoke his name, it was easy for him to hear her. Her voice was the most important voice to him. He got up from the chair and walked towards the stairs. Before he ventured up, he grabbed a glass of water for his mother. He knew she’d be thirsty.
After pouring his mother a glass of water, he made his way upstairs. Nevil placed each footstep carefully and softly. He hated the creaking sound the stairs made when people ran up them so he walked slowly. He looked down at his feet before each step while gripping the glass of water. He didn’t want to waste any of his mother's water. It took several steps to reach the top of the stairs.
Nevil paused for a second when he got to the top. He turned his head and looked to the left; then to the right. His mother’s room was at the end of the hallway to the right. There was something else entirely at the end of the hallway to the left. He wanted to turn left but his mother needed him. Nevil smiled because he knew he had more than enough time to come back. The surface of his skin warmed with goosebumps and his heart rate increased. The thought of what was at the end of the hallway to the left excited him.
Taking a left down the hallway was where he had fun but Nevil decided to tend to his mother first. He walked a bit faster so she wouldn’t yell at him for taking so long. He approached her door. It was closed. He knocked on it gently before entering.
“Mother,” he called out while opening the door.
“Nevil? Is that you?”
Nevil had proper manners. He was very respectful of people. He opened the door and saw his mother. She was sitting on the edge of the bed looking at a tall mirror. It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon but she was still in her nightgown. Nevil placed the water on a small nightstand. It was the only place he could put it before having to put it on the floor. His mother had several glasses of water throughout her room. There were glasses of water on the windows sills, dressers and on her foot stand.
“Mother. Why are you not drinking?”
She didn’t answer him. She just stared at the mirror. Nevil looked at each glass of water as he always had. He knew she wouldn’t drink them but she always complained of being thirsty. So like a good son he would bring a glass each time.
“Nevil, do you remember what I said?”
“Good. You’re a strong boy now. Real strong. There’s no more hiding and keeping things. Do you understand?”
“I’m not disappointed in you Nevil. Your father and I are proud of you. God rest his soul. He wanted this for you. I wanted this for you. Yesterday’s mistake wasn’t your fault. But now they’re coming. All of them. You’ll be ready when they come won’t you?”
“Go over to my closet and get my suitcase. I want you to open it.”
Nevil kissed his mother on her forehead before grabbing her suitcase from the closet. She and his father kept a lot of family heirlooms inside of the suitcase. Nevil had never been allowed to take anything from the suitcase. But this time was different. His mother wanted him to be prepared for the guests that were coming.
He carried the suitcase over to his mother. She had a necklace on with a key attached to it.
“It’s time for you to use this key Nevil. This suitcase is filled with all the tools your father and I used. They’re special, powerful tools. You understand?”
Nevil took the necklace from around his mother’s neck. He used the key to unlock the suitcase. When he opened it, he saw the collection of tools. His family was in the food business and kept plenty of cutting tools for meat.
“You can pick whichever one of these you want. Take your time. Some of them have been used and are a little dirty but they work.”
“I like these,” Nevil said as he picked up two curved- edge knives.
“You make me want to cry Nevil. Those were your father’s favorites. Do you remember Natalie?”
“She was right where you’re standing. She looked at all these just like you are now. She didn’t have the smile that you have though. She was scared to death. I tried not to laugh at her but your father had his ways of putting a smile on my face right before he used them.”
Before his mother could finish reminding him about Natalie, a voice and its echo came through the house.
‘Nevil. Nevil Lastings.’
The words penetrated Nevil’s ears and began to upset him. He looked at his mother to reassure her that he wasn’t going to leave her side. She couldn’t hear the echoes anyway. The cancer had taken most of her hearing as well. But Nevil could hear it. Despite the voices getting louder by the second, he continued with his mother.
“You look worried dear. Are you afraid?”
“Good. There’s nothing to be afraid of. All Lastings men spit at fear. Do you understand?”
“Come over to me Nevil.”
Nevil put his head in his mother’s lap. He knew he had to leave her soon. As much as he tried to ignore the distractions around the two of them, he kept thinking of the other end of the hallway. The excitement he felt when he stood at the top of the stairs looking left hadn’t gone away. He clinched his mother’s legs and spoke.
“I have to go now. I have to remind them about the noise. I have to keep them quiet like you said. But I’ll be back.”
“I know you will Nevil. You’ve always been the smartest boy. Your heart is as pure as I’ve ever known. You’re such a good boy. You’re the best boy any mother could ever want. I know what you have to do. Go on and finish it son. You go kill every single one of them! Do you understand?”
Nevil looked up at his mother and saw the cold in her eyes. He rose from her lap and kissed her on her cheek. He picked up the curved-edge knives he chose and walked out of her room. His smile grew larger with each step as he set course for the other end of the hallway.
‘Nevil. Nevil Lastings.’
The sounds and echoes of the voices grew louder. Nevil grew angrier and angrier as the volume increased. His mother didn’t enjoy the noise. He wanted to find out where the noise was coming from but he already knew. Instead of going back downstairs to tend to the noise, he kept going down the hallway to the left.
When he got to the end, there was another door just like the one that lead into his mother’s room. He put his ear against the door to listen. He heard them. The tears were hard to ignore.
“Calm down … calm down. I promise I won’t hurt you,” Nevil whispered through the door.
The sounds from inside of the room got louder. They knew he had returned. Nevil opened the door and looked at the four large, cherry-wood posts in the center of the room. Each pole had a body bound and tied to it. There was a Caucasian woman with long, red hair on one post. She had on a nice blue dress. Her left hand had two fingers missing. There was a Cuban woman with short, black hair on another post. She had on jeans and no shirt. Her left hand had three fingers missing.
The other two posts had an African American man and a Caucasian man on them. Both men also had fingers missing from their left hand. The blood from each person’s missing fingers had painted the floor. They had been there for quite some time. Nevil stood above them with an even wider smile. They couldn’t see him because of the masks they were wearing.
“I told you I would be back and I wouldn’t leave you,” Nevil said in a boyish tone. “I always come back. Mother wants me to go ahead and kill you now.”
‘Nevil. Nevil Lastings.’
The repeated blasts from the noise came rushing upon Nevil's ears again.
‘This is the F…B…I.!’
‘Open the door! We have a warrant for your arrest for the murders of Natalie Dunn, Rebecca Martin, Greg Parker, Gabrielle Jackson, Stanley Winston, Derek Morgan, Vanessa Martinez and your mother, Charlotte Lastings.’
‘Nevil. Nevil Lastings. This is your last warning! Come out or we will come in!’
The FBI burst through the door with their guns ready to shoot. They had been building a case against Nevil Lastings for a while. More than a dozen agents sprinted across the kitchen, dining room and den. Another dozen agents headed upstairs to search for Nevil. They were desperate and eager to find him. Their guns were at the ready and their fingers were intent on exacting a sort of unspoken payback.
When they got upstairs a group headed towards the right and another group went left. They entered the room at the end of the hallway to the left. Nevil wasn’t there but what he had done remained. The four bodies were mutilated. He had untied them and placed them side by side on the floor. Each of them had a word etched on their chest. Nevil had used the tools he got from his mother’s suitcase to carve a warning.
DO – NOT – GO – RIGHT
“What does this mean?” asked Special Agent Folsom.
Each agent looked down at the horrific display on the floor. They were confused. Suddenly they heard the screams of the other agents fill the hallway and it was clear what the warning meant. Special Agent Folsom and his team rushed out of the room towards the other end of the hallway. The sounds were deafening as the screams grew louder. A horrible stench filled the air as they got closer to the other door. It was a stench even worse than death.
Folsom called out the names of the agents who had gone into Nevil’s mother’s room.
“Lee?! … Pruitt?! … Walker?! … Foard?! … Ransom?! … Sloan?!”
None of them answered. It was too late. Folsom had his gun pointed and ready to fire before he walked into the room. His finger was on the trigger and he was ready to squeeze at the first sign of Nevil. He looked down and saw the blood of his friends. The blood started from the base of the door and colored each wall inside of the room. Blood was everywhere. He looked at the floor and saw blood flickering out of multiple severed arms.
Folsom was in shock and he was frightened. The bottles of water that were all over his mother’s room were broken. Folsom’s eyes followed along the floor as he stepped over several pieces of broken glass and the limbs of his friends. He cautioned the remaining members of his team not to come inside.
When he got to the center of the room, he saw what he didn’t expect. He saw Nevil’s mother. Her skin was pale and wrinkled. Her face was covered in blood. Agent Walker, or what appeared to be, was in the bed with her. Nevil’s mother had Agent Walker’s neck in her mouth. She was gnawing on him while looking in the mirror next to her bed. Bite after bite she took. She was enjoying the act and the spectacle of watching herself commit the act in the mirror.
Folsom’s pupils expanded looking at the gruesome scene in front of him. Agent Walker was motionless. He was dead.
“What in God’s name are you?”
She looked at Special Agent Folsom and he saw her cold, colorless eyes. Her tongue and most of her teeth were missing. She swallowed the last bit of Agent Walker’s neck she had in her mouth. Folsom looked directly in her eyes. Nevil’s mother began to make a disturbing hissing sound. She displayed no fear of him. She only saw someone else she could feed on. Folsom didn’t care if she was afraid or not. He already knew what he was going to do.
His finger pressed down on the trigger and he fired a symphony of rounds at Nevil’s mother. The bullets tore through her and carried parts of her body towards the wall behind her. Folsom fired until his clip was empty. He looked on the sides of the bed and saw the bodies of his friends stacked alongside the edges. One by one she had eaten them. He had never seen anything like this before. His brain couldn’t make sense of it.
Along the window sill were a couple of glasses filled with blood. Folsom looked at the other glasses spread across the room that weren’t broken. Each of them were filled with blood.
“Sir ... what … what is this?” an agent asked from behind him.
“Hell,” Folsom replied while picking up one of the glasses of blood. “This is hell.”
“What was she sir? Why would anyone give her glasses of blood?”
“I don’t know. But that’s not what worries me.”
“What do you mean sir?”
“If this thing was his mother, then what the fuck is Nevil Lastings?”