Retribution

Retribution

"What's that?" asked Guido as Benny came walking into the foyer with a small, wooden box.

"What the hell's it look like, ya schmuck? It's a package for Mister Gambia," said Benny as he sat the mini-crate down on a table.

"Who's it from?"

"Will yous give me a minute?" asked Benny, eyeing Guido with annoyance. "Says here that it's from the Metropolitan Museum of History."

"That's a fancy place," noted Guido. "I took a date there once."

"You took a date to the Metropolitan Museum of History?" asked Benny, surprised. "What, was she one of dem snooty bitches?"

"Hey, I dinna know that when I met her."

"Humph."

"So what's in it?"

Benny pulled a switch blade from his pocket, popped out the blade, and went to work prying the lid of the wooden box open. The blade was very sturdy, which made it easier for Guido to use on people, and soon had the lid pried open to reveal the contents. Inside, tucked safely in wads of shredded paper, was a black, hand carved doll of some sort of primitive hunter.

"What the hell?" muttered Benny, examining the doll.

"That thing's fucking ugly," added Guido.

The doll was roughly a foot tall, and was nearly solid black in color, the only exceptions being its eyes and…its teeth. The teeth were glaringly white, spattered with a very few fine drops of red, and were pointy and sharp looking. In the doll's right hand was a spear, tipped with sharpened stone, and hanging over its shoulder was a bow, a quiver of arrows on its back.

"It looks like one of dem African warriors," said Guido.

"What the hell would someone be sending Mister Gambia this for?" wondered Benny.

"Maybe he bought it," offered Guido. "He collects art."

"Yeah, art," countered Benny. "Not fuckin' ugly statues, yous moron."

"Oh, you gots a better idea?"

"Ouch," cursed Benny, pulling his finger back from the tip of the doll's spear, blood forming a little spot where his finger had been pricked. "That damn thing's sharp."

"Benny got a boo-boo?" joked Guido.

"Shut your yap," growled Benny, setting the doll down on the table with such force that the gold chain dropped from its waist. "Come on, let's get something to eat before the boss gets home."

"Where is he, anyways?" asked Guido, his voice fading as he and Benny walked down the hallway towards the kitchen.

"Who knows?" replied Benny. "As long as we watch the house, he don't tell us shit."

As the men's footfalls faded in the distance, the doll made a growling noise that would have been barely audible had anyone been around to hear it. Moving slowly, stretching like someone that had just had a long sleep, the doll looked about the cavernous room that it was in. A voice spoke in its head, the voice of the one that had summoned its spirit, and it snarled in rage. While it looked forward to the hunt, to the thrill of the kill, it also longed to return to the deep slumber that it had so long been a part of, and it knew that the sooner it completed its task, the sooner it would be allowed to return to the slumber.

Leaping from the table, grunting lowly as it landed, the warrior made tiny squealing sounds as it looked about for a place of concealment. There were men in the domicile now, not the one that it was intended for, but ones that would be a threat anyhow. It would hunt them first, eliminating the danger they posed, then it would set a trap for the one that was its main objective.

Scurrying across the carpet, its feet moving silently, it gnashed its teeth in anticipation. The hunt. The kill. The blood. The slumber. All these thoughts ran through its being as it made for the wide hallway that the men had exited through, eager to begin the hunt.

From the corner of his eye Benny would have sworn he saw something, and he turned his head with bits of salami and bread hanging from his mouth as he tried to see what it had been. He looked about the kitchen floor, certain that he had seen something go running by, but he saw nothing except for cold, white linoleum.

"Trixie's at the vet's, right?" asked Benny, still looking about the kitchen, wondering if the Gambia's dog was back home.

"Yumph," was the muffled answer that Guido gave, chomping away on his own sandwich.

Shrugging, Benny turned back to his sandwich, dismissing the thought of having seen something, and froze as he swore he heard the pitter-patter of tiny feet on linoleum coming from under the table. He looked to Guido to see if his friend had heard anything, the man was busily cramming the rest of his sandwich into his face, oblivious to anything else but his food.

"Dinna you hear that?" asked Benny.

"Whaph?" came Guido's mangled reply.

"Owwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeee!" screamed Benny, jumping up from the table and knocking his chair to the floor. He hopped around on one foot, holding his other foot around the ankle, and blood could be seen seeping through his fingers.

"What the hell's wrong?" asked Guido, rising from his own chair. "What the hell happened?"

"Something bit me!" growled Benny, parting his hands just enough to see the ragged tear in his leg, just above his shoe. "Jesus, it took a hell of a bite!"

"There ain't nothing here," said Guido, looking under the table.

Neither of them had seen the black shape that darted from under the table to circle around the cooking island in the center of the kitchen.

"You think I'm fucking lying? Look at this shit!"

"That's bad," noted Guido, eyeing the wound as Benny uncovered it.

"No shit."

"Come on, let's get it cleaned up," said Guido, directing Benny towards the downstairs bathroom. "You need to put something on that."

"I need to find out what in the hell bit me and blow a fucking hole in it," growled Benny. "If it's that damn mutt, then it's going to have an accident real soon."

"Hey, I told yous, Trixie ain't here."

"Then what in the hell was it?"

"How should I know?" asked Guido, opening the door to the bathroom. "Just wash it off, and I'll see if I's can find some Band-Aids."

"Band-Aids? I need a damn tourniquet!"

"Jeesh, what a baby," muttered Guido, leaving Benny alone to wash off his ankle.

During his first life, the warrior had scaled many trees in his homeland, honing his skills as a great hunter, able to strike from any place that was necessary. In his new form, his cursed form, he still possessed those skills, and scaling cabinets and furniture was nothing to him, just an obstacle to be conquered. He darted along the counter tops, keeping himself to the shadows underneath the cupboards, and made his way to the items that he had spied from below.

The large knife slid easily out of the block of wood that held six of the weapons, and the warrior looked it over with approval. It was nearly as large as himself, and just a bit awkward to handle, but it would be a mighty weapon. Slinking back into the shadows, the warrior snarled as heard the approaching steps of one of the men, and he prepared to launch his assault.

The darkness in the kitchen had become deeper with the setting sun, and Guido reached for the light switch to dispel it so that he could search the cabinets for some medical supplies. He knew that the Gambias kept a first aid kit around here, he had seen Misses Gambia use it on little Tony's knee when had wrecked his bike. Absently reaching for where he knew the switch to be, Guido recoiled in pain as something sliced into his hand.

"Shit," cursed Guido, the amber glow of the evening giving him enough light to see the deep slit across the back of his hand, spilling blood.

"Aye-aye-aye-aye-aye-aye," came an unearthly cry that sent a chill through Guido, deep through his very soul.

"What the fuck?" admonished Guido, seeing the thing on the counter.

It was the doll from the box, screaming that chilling cry that was sending waves of fear through him, and Guido's eyes shot wide as he saw it lunge for him. The thing had moved with incredible speed, carrying a large butcher knife with it, and it leapt from the counter with a ferocious war cry.

The warrior struck true to its aim, the blade burying it self deep in the neck of the man, and the warrior hung on with all of its strength as the man thrashed about the kitchen, grasping for the knife. Every time the man's hand got close, the warrior would snap at it with its teeth, often taking a chunk of flesh from the hand. Finally the man crashed to the floor, the gurgling sounds he had been making ending as his life ebbed from him, blood pooling thick on the floor about his head.

Making strange, eerie sounding cooing noises of satisfaction, the warrior tugged the knife free of the man's throat and began licking the blood from the blade, drinking in the essence of his victim. The man had also been a warrior, though of a different breed and time, and it could feel his power blending with his, making him stronger.

Eager to finish the other man in the house, the warrior leapt from the chest of the one he had just killed and raced down the hallway, intent to have him out of the way before the other arrived—the one he had been summoned specifically to kill.

"What the hell took yous so long?" demanded Benny as the bathroom door opened with a creak.

Benny was setting on the edge of the tub, his foot propped up on his other leg as he held a towel to his wound, and he looked up in time to see the warrior doll throw its spear. His mind had no time to make sense of what he had just seen, the spear striking him in the right eye and setting his senses ablaze with pain.

Standing up, screaming in agony as he plucked the spear from his eyes, Benny left himself wide open for the next attack. The warrior charged, knife in hands, and drove the blade deep into the man's shin. The renewed screams that Benny had been issuing died out as he fell backward into the tub, striking his head on the wall and knocking himself out cold, settling into the tub in a crumpled heap.

Leaping upwards, the warrior grabbed a hold of Benny's foot and pulled himself up onto the man's leg, giving him the vantage point he desired. Withdrawing the knife slowly from the man's shin, not wanting the pain to awaken him, the warrior quickly had his blade free, and slithered the length of the man's body to arrive at this throat. It was easy work, ending the man's life, and the warrior let the flowing blood splash over him as he drank in the fallen one's power.

Reveling in its new strength, filled with blood lust from the kills, the warrior hurried to prepare for his next kill, for the one that was his soul purpose for being. It would set a trap for the next, springing it quickly so that it could finish this business and return to the limbo that it so missed.

EPILOGUE:

One week later…

The Metropolitan Museum of History…

Kimberly Miles looked up at her boss, Stanley De'Bliss, with a smile on her face, and a glint of anticipation in her eyes. He carried with him a small, wooden box, similar to the ones that the Museum used to ship small items.

"It seems that the police have found your missing Zulu Fetish Doll, Kimberly," said Stanley as he sat the box down on her desk.

"Well, that's a relief," replied Kimberly, opening the box with forced excitement. "I never thought we'd see this little fellow again. Where did they find it?"

"At the scene of some gangland killing, apparently," he answered.

"A gangland killing?"

"Yes. Tony Gambia. I assume that you've heard of him?"

"Who in New York hasn't?" she shot back at him, playing out the part she had been practicing all week.

"Well, it seems that he, along with a few of his men, were savagously murdered last week."

"I'm sure that it was nothing less than they deserved." She quickly added, "if the stories about them are true."

"Yes, well, that's neither here nor there. That little fellow seems to have quite a history in death, turning up at the strangest of times. Let's see if we can't keep him under lock and key this time."

"Oh, don't worry," said Kimberly, slipping the top back onto the box after verifying that the gold chain was back around his waist. "I'll see to it personally this time, Sir."

"Yes, thank you, Kimberly. Oh, were you ever able to track down anything in regards to his origins?"

"Just a little. The Zulu legend is that he was once a great warrior, but that he betrayed the Chieftain for the love of a woman. He was supposedly killed over the course of a week, his spirit imprisoned in the doll to carry out acts of revenge, or justice, as the Chieftain saw fit."

"Too bad that's only a legend," offered Stanley, smiling softly. "You could send it after the men that killed Adam."

"It's been three years, Stan," said Kimberly. "I've been able to move past that."

"Yes, well, he was a good friend."

"And a good husband," said Kimberly, smiling.

A/N: If any of you have seen either Trilogy of Terror, or Trilogy of Terror 2, then you know about the Zulu Fetish Doll. Both were tv movies, the first back in the 70's, and the second in the late 90's, and both were written by the great Richard Matheson. If possible, try and check them out. I don't remember squat about the other two stories of each trilogy, but I'll never forget that little doll.

Thanks to Mister Matheson for such a devilish creature.