After being dazzled by the pumpkins, they noticed the walkway and stoop they were standing on had been washed down with strange smelling water. One officer bent down to identify the substance just as another pushed the doorbell.
David paced the ramshackled house. The place was just as Johnny Pumpkin had described it, a menagerie of broken glass, beer cans and spray paint. David knew in his heart a confrontation needed to take place. His message had been misunderstood. The public had turned his warnings into fast money. They were selling Mr. Halloween t-shirts and masks. He read that even a movie was in the works. He hated it all, it meant starting over. He would use the police to send a message. He was a spoken legend, not a commercial icon. He would have to re-train them.
He took the girl as an afterthought, it added motive to apprehend him, a time frame that would make the police hasty. In addition, he hoped seeing one of their own men, gutted like a pig, on the hood of his police car would make them careless and vengeful which was just what he wanted. He doubted the full FBI forces would show up in time.
The house was set. It had more booby traps than a Saw movie, ‘Oh yes, there will be blood’. Now all he needed to do was wait. He let the fat cop dial 911 before he killed him. If the cops were smart enough to use the GPS on the phone to locate the caller they would be here soon. David stopped his pacing. He took a step back into the shadows and crouched down, it was nearly game time.
Emma had finally begun to calm down. She thought it was because she was getting used to her captivity. She still missed her parents but realized her best chance of survival was escape. The boogeyman had only checked on her once. She could hear him somewhere down the hall pacing back and forth in some deep seeded thought. This had given her time to explore her new surroundings. In the closet of her room she had found the door to a crawlspace. She looked inside, it was a small 4×4 corridor, a tangle of wires leading into the darkness. It had a damp earthy smell. Emma did not find the crawlspace inviting. She wished she had a flashlight. It took nearly ten minutes to convince herself that crawling into it was better than waiting around for the boogeyman to return. This could be life or death. Halfway down the miniature hallway she ran into mice. She wanted to scream but didn’t. It took all her might not to reveal her new location to the boogeyman. The mice left her, moving ahead, announcing her presence to the others. She hoped the crawlspace would lead to an exit. She pushed onwards, tears rolling down her cheeks.
As soon as they turned onto the block John knew this was the place. The police had closed down access to the block after they found Al The Picker’s body. They were in the process of a door-to-door search and evacuation when Pete Dixon and John Gacy arrived. John got out of his cruiser and took out a pair of binoculars, he looked at each house then stopped when he got to the darkened house with the elaborately carved pumpkins. “That must be it”, he said out loud as he watched a group of unsuspecting policemen approach the house. They’re dead meat he thought. John whirled around and found Pete Dixon in a crowd of uniformed men.
“Pete, you’ve got to get those men away from that house! That’s where he’s waiting! It’s a trap!” Pete nodded and grabbed the first available walkie-talkie but it was too late. The men had reached the front stoop, a bunch of sitting ducks.
The group of five policemen faced the front door of the pumpkin-laden house completely unaware of the horror that lay before them. Rookies on an evacuation detail, not one of them on the job more than a month. After being dazzled by the pumpkins, they noticed the walkway and stoop they were standing on had been washed down with strange smelling water. One officer bent down to identify the substance just as another pushed the doorbell.
In the attic, a mechanical sprayer came to life spraying an accelerator through a crack in the floor. The policemen outside were quickly doused with lethal liquid.
“What the hell? Gas?”
A walkie-talkie sprang to life just as a blue flame appeared under the door.
“IT’S A TRAP! GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!”
The policemen shot up in flames, their flesh burning so hot and fast it looked like candle wax in front of a flame-thrower. The funny smell had been rocket fuel and by the time the police were prepared to respond, the men were little more than broken humps on the sidewalk.
Mr. Halloween watched the police burn with glee. He was slightly annoyed that the media was not present to film the event but he knew this was only the beginning.
Pete Dixon had never seen a human being burn so fast. He wanted to vomit. Did he order those men to death? Was he responsible for Johnny Pumpkin? The internal questions startled him. He was ‘rough and tumble Dixon’, he was always in charge but for the first time Pete was unable to respond.
Luckily for Pete, John Gacy was prepared for battle. He grabbed Pete and turned him round. “We’ve got to bring in the SWAT team Pete. We can’t afford to wait him out. When the media shows up, he’ll up the ante. I wouldn’t be surprised if he kills the girl!”
Pete eyed the other man, Gacy seemed keyed up. He was like Dr. Loomis raving about Michael Meyers. He was staring at the house intently, Pete was sure the man hadn’t blinked.
“The house is bound to be booby-trapped John, we can’t send in the SWAT team blind.”
“Maybe we won’t have to”, replied John. Pete looked in his direction and saw a tiny figure emerge from out of an air vent on the side of the house. He knew it must be Emma McKenzie.
Emma ran towards the police lights as fast as she could. In her ears she still heard the sounds of the dying policemen, first cries of pain then a sickening boiling sound. It made her uneasy but she knew this was her only chance to escape. She had been stumbling along blindly in the crawl space when she heard the sounds of crying men. She had followed the sounds of the men. It led her to a vent which she had finally managed to pull off to get outside. The musty smell now gone, Emma wondered if her parents missed her. She wanted to get home to her bed and her teddy bear, she’d had simply enough of the boogeyman! She hoped the police would blow him to bits. Emma made it to a huge burly policeman who scooped her up into his arms. Safety at last! Despite the death of four of their own, a few of the policemen cheered when the girl was brought to safety.
Mr. Halloween was enraged. That little girl had ruined his plan! He wanted to run out after her and smash her little skull but he knew the police had sharp-shooters waiting to take him out if he came outside. His brains would be on the grass before his body realized it, better to wait. Now that he had no hostage he figured they would probably send in gas, try to smoke him out. Eventually, they would storm the place and kill him. If he died now, he’d be nothing, a slug soon forgotten. His fifteen minutes up in a cloud of tear gas. Not a lesson would be learned, his message would lost in a cloudy translation. He’d be written off as a maniac who got lucky for a while. Mr. Halloween could not let that happen. He refused to let that happen. He started trashing the place, punching holes in walls, kicking down doors in a rage of fury but all the while his mind was working. If there was a spirit looking out for him this was his time of need, what was the answer? Almost instantly an insane idea began to formulate in his mind. He began to think about every horror movie he had ever seen where the killer gets away. His rage began to slow as David developed a plan worthy of the big screen.
He waited until the cops got tired of waiting and decided to use their gas. Using a wet towel strapped to his face, he managed to fabricate a makeshift gas mask. He knew he only needed it to work long enough for him to open the front door and grab the body of a nearby policeman. He needed the tear gas to provide him with cover. The man he secured was similar in build, he was lucky this body was not completely destroyed by his attack. He pulled the body inside and left the front door ajar.
Detective John Gacy tried to penetrate the tear gas with his binoculars but was having little luck. He saw the front door open and an image flash but it was too hard to tell. It could be the killer trying to escape, it could be something else. The sharpshooters on ‘fire at will’ orders had refrained from shooting, obviously having no better luck. He turned towards Pete Dixon and noticed the man was putting on a bulletproof vest.
“I’m going in there with the SWAT team John.” He announced, his mind made up. He ordered those men to their deaths and he ruined the life of Johnny Pumpkin, he needed revenge.
Gacy let out a sigh. He could see in the other man’s eyes, responsibility and death. He’d seen careers lost on decisions less rash, he had to try talk sense into this man. “Pete, you’ve got to stop. Let the SWAT team do their job. They don’t need you.”
He felt like he was talking to a mannequin. Pete stared at him as if he wasn’t even there.
“I sent those men, I’ve got to go, what if… someone’s alive?”
John was still reluctant “Be careful, Pete.”
Pete nodded and headed off to join the SWAT team.
John watched him go, partially awed, partially disgusted.
Mr. Halloween prepared himself for stage two. He quickly dressed up in the dead cop’s uniform then hacked the body into little bits with an axe, tossing it down the basement stairs. By the time they figured out who it was, I’ll be long gone he thought. He had already packed the basement with gas cans, the place would blow up in no time.
The hardest part of his plan was to come next. David lit the blow torch and studied the blue flame. He would have to burn his face off if he wanted to pull this off. It would take extreme concentration not to lose consciousness and remain plotting despite the pain. If he succeeded Hannibal Lecter would surely be proud.
Pete Dixon felt more than just out of his element. He felt like he was stepping into a life not his own. His mind seemed far away from his body. He was faintly aware he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. This plan, a wild quest, was his only hope at redemption.
As the SWAT team members moved silently and swiftly with hand signals towards the house, Pete Dixon brought up the rear. His eye was bulging from his head because he was using every ounce of strength left in his body to keep himself from yelling out to the bodies strewn down the sidewalk. He wanted to help. He wanted this to be over. The past two hours had literally changed his life. He had more than the burden of solving a Halloween slaying, he had the blood of his fellow officers on his hands. What would he tell their wives, girlfriends, even children? There would likely be an internal affairs investigation and even though he knew he wouldn’t be found guilty, seeing those men burn was an image his mind could not shake.
The SWAT team leader motioned for them to stop. Pete tightened his clammy hand on his weapon and waited for the signal to proceed. The leader was looking at the house with a pair of binoculars. He waved Pete over. “Sir, there’s a fire in the basement. It looks self-set. In these types of scenarios, it’s likely the target has terminated himself and is attempting to obliterate all signs of occupancy.” Pete cocked an eyebrow. “Meaning, if we don’t find any bones, we will assume he may have gotten away?” The leader nodded. “Mr. Halloween lives on, isn’t that cute!” said Pete. A small explosion erupted from the basement. Pete looked from the fire back to the policemen lying on the sidewalk. Dead or not he needed to get those men out of there. “Let’s get what’s left of the boys out of here before this whole place explodes!” The leader nodded. He signaled to his men. Moving in unison, at an uncanny speed, the SWAT team members approached the front of the house and begin to evacuate the bodies. Pete checks the pulse of each man as he is pulled away. Every single one is dead, what’s worse, he knew the funerals would have to be closed casket.
As the final body is taken away, Pete cautiously approaches the front door of the house. He watches the billowing white smoke from the fire mixed with tear gas as it escapes the front entrance. A well-timed wind flushes out the doorway momentarily revealing a policeman in uniform lying in the hallway! Pete is about to run inside but the SWAT team leader grabs him.
“Let me go! That man could be dying!”
The leader pushed him away. An image flashed in his mind of the Halloween killer waiting on the other side of the door.
“Let me make sure it’s safe!” The leader takes out a long thin pole with a piece of mirrored glass on the end, he wanted to see what was on either side of the door. When he was satisfied this wasn’t a trap he allowed Pete to enter the house.
Pete Dixon’s heart is beating a hundred miles per hour, the pulse was weak but the man was still alive! It seemed that someone high above was giving him a chance at redemption. He must make good on it. He looked over the man’s wounds, the face was horribly burned but the rest of the body seemed unaffected. He must have been standing just underneath the device, a few more inches back he’d have been a piece of toast. Pete shook his head, this man must have an angel looking out for him. He turned to the SWAT leader, “I’ve got a live one, scramble me an ambulance and get a chopper on line. This man has some serious facial burns.” The team leader nodded and moved away to make the call. Another member arrived with a makeshift gurney and helped Pete load the burned man onto it. The clumsy SWAT team guy nearly dropped the man, who groaned out in pain. Pete scolded him. “Hey! Watch it man! This guy’s been through a lot!” He leaned in and grabbed the injured man’s hand. “Hang in there buddy, an ambulance will be here soon.”
An ambulance arrived just as the Halloween killer’s hideaway went up in a bursting ball of flames. John Gacy spit on the ground in disgust. “There goes our last chance for forensic evidence, fingerprints, everything!” Pete Dixon was barely paying attention. His focus was entirely on the man who lived. He didn’t know who it was. The officer’s name tag must have been lost in the ruckus. He could see where it had been torn away from the shirt. Maybe the Halloween killer took it as a memento, leaving the poor officer for dead. The SWAT team had just found out the basement held access to the sewer system. They were sending men down now to check the pipeline but Pete believed, as John did, Mr. Halloween was probably long gone. He had set the fire to distract the police and it worked. He helped the paramedics load the burned officer into the back of the ambulance. At the last second he decided to ride with the man down to the hospital, “Wait, I’m going with you!” This man was facing a life and death battle alone, all he had waiting back for him at the station was a shitload of paperwork, possibly his resignation but he’d think about that later, after he knew the man would live. He nodded to John Gacy as they closed the doors. “I’ll take it from here” the man said. The ambulance began to take on speed. The paramedic went to work. “We’re not taking him local, there’s a burn unit in Walkersville, we’re meeting a chopper at Grant Park, ought to have him in the air in eight minutes. I’ve got to stabilize him now.” He pulled out a syringe to inject the patient when the man suddenly came to life. He grabbed the paramedic by the head and pushed in the man’s eyes. He took the syringe out of his hands and injected the screaming man in the throat. He shoved the man aside and grabbed Pete Dixon. Pete finally realized who this man was just as Mr. Halloween snapped his neck! David found a scalpel just as the ambulance driver opened the back door to see what was going on. He forced his bloody face into the small square window. “Pull over, that crazy cop just attacked your partner!” The driver screeched to a halt. He could hear the man jump out of the vehicle and start towards the back of the ambulance. He readied himself out of view, a knife ready to stab his unsuspecting victim in the head. A grotesque smile broke across David’s face. I’m going to get away he thought.