|The Media Murders
Author: Wolf Queen 001 PM
It was a pleasant evening the night the family gathered for their weekly television viewing. Nothing seemed unusual about the program they were watching, but then everything changed.Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Tragedy - Words: 2,692 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 02-27-07 - id: 2325928
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Media Murders
In the house a family of four sat watching T.V. It was an innocent task, one which brought the family closer together. By sitting together for half an hour, watching their favorite program, a family bond can be achieved, a bond that takes one's eyes away from the realities in this world. But this night, all of their lives were going to change forever.
Sunday evening, 5:00 p.m. The family gathered round the T.V. set ready for the activity they all anticipated. The parents sat on the couch while the children sat on the floor, all the better to view the program. It was an interesting program, one that captured the family's attention and would provide a topic for discussion during mealtime. But just as the show was about to end, something happened…
There was a log cabin in the background with trees behind and a grassy plain in front. The main character had gone off-screen, perhaps to reveal the next plot advancement. But during this time, a new figure appeared. He was not of the usual program, and the children watching it knew this but said nothing, for part of them hoped that this was just a new part of the show. The figure was dressed in all black, save for the white shirt he wore underneath his black vest. He appeared to be one of the villains seen in old Westerns, but this man was different. He seemed darker, eviler, more villainous than any in the films. But still, none of the family said anything, still anticipating the new development that was sure to come.
But when it did, it was far different than what they expected.
The screen blurred for a minute, shortly after the figure appeared, then sounds unnatural to the television program could be heard. It sounded as if someone were hacking a tree with an axe, except that the impact sounded less hollow… almost as if the hacker were chopping up a body… All of this occurred within the span of a few moments, and none of it could be seen, for the screen was still washed out, as if the show were censored. When the screen finally cleared up, the figure solidified once more, only this time, a malevolent smile crossed his face, and in his hand he held a bloodied hatchet.
The girl in front of the screen screamed, knowing full-well, despite her young age, what had happened. The horror of it shocked her and the rest of the family, for no one else seemed to move. The parents just sat there, mouths agape, while the girl screamed and the brother trembled. The main character was surely dead, but what this meant no one knew. All they could figure was this was not supposed to happen; something had gone terribly wrong.
When all had gained their composure, the father remarked, a slight quiver in his voice, "Now… Don't be afraid… Maybe it was just an accident." Though, even he knew that his comment was not true. It seemed unlikely that the T.V. station would produce something like this, especially for a kids' show.
The mother quickly turned the channel, to a news station, speaking only to her children, "Julie, Mark, go upstairs and find something to do… Mommy and Daddy will figure out what happened, alright?" The kids nodded quickly and scuttled to their rooms, too terrified to disobey.
Apparently, this incident was seen across the country, for the newscasters were reporting on what just happened. "Earlier today, a strange occurrence appeared on the television program Into the Wilderness. Apparently, people heard strange hacking or chopping coming from a previously unknown figure. The man could only be seen briefly as the screen blurred out seconds after his appearance…" the anchorman was saying.
Inside the house, safe from the world outside, the parents of Mark and Julie discussed this strange event. "Shawn, I've got a feeling there's something more to this," said the mother, a worried expression on her face.
"I know what you mean, Dianne, but I don't know what it is… Maybe we should stop watching T.V. for a while, though…" replied the husband. There seemed to be a cold drift in the air, despite the fact that it was the end of August. Neither perceived its meaning, if indeed it had a meaning; their only reaction was to shiver as the chilled air passed over their bodies.
Suddenly, a new report came on the news. "We have breaking news for all those watching this program… We've just been told that an elderly couple has been found dead in their homes. Sources are unsure of the cause of death, but some suspect their death may have been caused by the strange phenomenon to hit the television industry. The theory cannot be proven, however, so until then, their sudden death will be considered a coincidence," the reporters were saying. This report did not lighten the mood, certainly not for the two parents who had kids to worry about.
"Come on, dear. Let's turn this off… Maybe it really was nothing," urged Shawn. He reached for the remote, but his wife stopped him, placing a hand on his wrist.
"Wait a sec," she said. She seemed to be entranced by something, but what it was he did not know. Looking at the television screen once more, however, he soon found out. The strangeness of a few moments ago was happening again, but on the news station. "Oh, dear…" was the only thing Dianne could say to what was happening. Once more, the screen blurred out, but this time, no odd character could be seen with malicious intent. But just like before, everything was heard… The sound of someone chopping or hacking a human body emanated from the speakers, and when the screen cleared, the news crew was gone… The only thing that remained of them was the random streaks of blood that appeared around the studio. Blood was sprayed in splotches on the walls, streaked on the desks, and pooled around the floor from what the cameras showed. The only other evidence of this apparent murder came in the form of furniture arrangement. Chairs were overturned, paper strewn about the room, wiring and other necessary telecasting equipment were splayed about, as if there had been a massive struggle. The parents watching this gasped audibly, too horrified for words. The scene was so appalling, so revolting that no sane man could ever commit such an act. But then, before the studio could be examined further, the station went off-air, the all too familiar crackling of snow reverberated throughout the room, much louder than the actual channel volume.
The two parents sat bolt upright. Both were just stunned, too stunned to move, too stunned to speak, too stunned to even breathe. After several seconds of shock, though, their bodily functions began operating normally, and they began to speak again. Shawn slowly rose to his feet, turned off the T.V. without opposition from Dianne, and dazedly walked outside, probably to smoke a cigarette. Dianne didn't blame him of course; after that, she seriously considered smoking again… She, too, slowly got up, but instead of going outside to smoke, she went into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of ice water. Maybe later she would go out for a beer.
Exhaling slowly, she carefully walked outside with her drink, hands shaking, and found her husband. He was sitting in the shade under a broad oak tree, reading the paper and smoking a cigarette. There was nothing in the paper about the last hour's occurrences, not yet, and there was nothing the two could do about it now. Neither was in any position to solve a mystery, and neither even knew where these murders took place. So, with no way of helping their community, state, or country, they waited anxiously throughout the evening and most the night, making a hasty dinner for the family in the interim, then finally going to bed at around 11:30. Neither could sleep very well that night; the horror of the bloody newsroom still fresh in their minds.
For the next two weeks, nothing happened. Dianne took Mark, age 6, and Julie, age 8, to school every morning before heading to work, just as if nothing had happened. Shawn slept in most of the morning, for his shifts were in the evening, and usually he didn't come home until roughly 1:00 in the morning. The whole family acted as if life were normal, the only difference in their routine came on Sundays where instead of watching T.V., they played board games. In a peculiar twist of irony, Mark and Julie's favorite game became Clue, a fact not gone unnoticed in the eyes of the parents. When this trend first appeared, the two glanced at each other nervously, unsure of the kids' reasoning for the choice.
But all did not remain normal for long. On Monday Morning a fortnight later, Dianne was listening to her favorite talk radio station when a sudden news bulletin interrupted. "New leads have surfaced in the T.V. murder case. An anonymous source has led police to an abandoned house on Hutchins Avenue. It seems that the house was empty except for the bodies of six corpses. It has been confirmed that two of these were the bodies of the elderly couple mentioned two weeks earlier. As we reported earlier, the bodies had been abducted from the morgue a week ago for unexplained reasons. It was assumed that the T.V. murderer was behind the mischief, and now with this new lead, that assumption seems to be correct.
"The other bodies are believed to be four members of the television staff and crew of News Channel 5, the leading news network reporting on this mystery. Their bodies were found with multiple stab wounds as well as severe lacerations across the abdomen. Medical personnel say that several of these people's organs were taken shortly after death. Still, the executor of these crimes has not yet been found, and it seems that there are no new leads as to where to find him."
With the newsflash now over, the talk show resumed its normal schedule. One of the host's guests was stating his opinion on religion in the world, an opinion that would probably anger many people who heard it. The discussion went on for several minutes, the two guests on the program debating furiously the former's beliefs. By the time it was time to cut to a commercial, Dianne had reached the highway, now just ten minutes from work. The host, after just barely restoring order in the studio, said briefly, "…and we'll be back with more on the true nature of religion in a few min…" he stopped suddenly, having not yet gone off-air. His voice returned a few seconds later, shock and surprise etched in its tone, "What the…? You're not supposed to be here! What are you–?!" His exclamations died away, replaced instead by a loud shriek. The screaming voices of radio host and guests could be heard along with the familiar hacking of an axe or knife or other sharp tool. But this time, the screaming and other sounds of murder were accompanied by a long, malicious laughter, the laughter of a raving lunatic.
Dianne shakily turned off the radio and reached for her cell phone. She was going to call Shawn and tell him what just happened. But as she dialed the number, foolishly looking at the keypad, she did not see the large minivan stop in front of her. She did not stop in time. The car impacted the van at fifty miles per hour, sending Dianne face-first into the windshield. The force of the crash was so great that even the seatbelt and steering wheel could not hold her back, though they did lessen the blow somewhat. She arrived at the hospital moments later, suffering from major internal bleeding in the abdominal area as well as broken ribs and a mild concussion. The doctors could not stop the bleeding in time. She was pronounced dead at 8:32 a.m.
Shawn, who was fast asleep at the time, barely got to the phone before the last ring. The voice on the other side sounded serious, rattling off the details of the accident and medical response afterward in an unaffectionate monotone. The only sympathetic words came at the end of the conversation. "We're sorry for you loss," was all the man uttered as consolation. The phone clicked dead, and Shawn slowly hung the receiver. He was awake now, and he felt that he would not sleep anymore that day. So, with no knowledge of what his wife had heard before her demise, and with nothing else to do, he drove around town, looking around at the scenery. He was in no mood for work, so, using the cell phone in his truck, he called in, telling them the news he had received. When he was through, he went to the local tavern to kill time until the kids got out of school.
A rerun of an old sporting event was on the TVs in the bar, a fact he noticed upon entering. Approaching the barkeep, he said in a plaintively, "Turn those off, please… Haven't you heard the news?"
The bartender smiled kindly but only said, "Sorry, no can do, sir. This program was requested on the behest of everyone else here."
Shawn sighed, took a seat, and hid his face in his hands. The bartender, seeing the man's grim mood, asked in a serious whisper, "What's wrong? Did something happen?"
Massaging his temples as if he had a headache, Shawn replied slowly, trying the best he could to keep his voice under control, "No, John… My wife just died this morning. Car accident. The doctors don't know what caused it, but they believe she may have been trying to call me. Her cell phone was in her hand when they extracted her…" Unable to speak anymore, he folded his arms on the counter and laid his head on them. He didn't know whether he'd weep here in front of everybody, but if he did, he was going to at least be discreet about it.
John just nodded, understanding the man's ordeal, and turned the channel of one of the televisions to the local news station. There were reports of some bizarre phenomenon possibly related to the television murders a couple weeks ago. Only this time, they occurred over the radio. Despite his despair, Shawn still heard these reports, and upon hearing that the murders occurred on his wife's favorite radio talk show, he immediately put two and two together. Suddenly, he bolted upright, stunned by the revelation, "She was calling me about the radio… That bastard must've gotten to the radio, too!" He shot up out of his chair and bolted for the door. He was at his truck in a matter of seconds; he had to tell someone… the police, anyone about this revelation. He wasn't sure what they could do about it – in fact, it was entirely possible that they already knew this – but he felt that the news could still help somehow, and besides, now he had to do something about this murdering genius.
But as he was about to open the door to his truck, he heard rapidly approaching footsteps from behind. He turned his head to face the approaching figure and gasped, "…you?" Then, there was a flash of silver and a jolt of pain, and suddenly, Shawn's world came crashing down around him.
(A/N: This story did have an ending, but from what fellow classmates have told me, I chose to keep it out of this submission. I can expand the story into something larger, if it is so requested.)