The Tall Policeman
By Void Munashii
*contains adult language*
Randeep Singh knew his doorbell was going to ring before it did; he had seen the man walking up through his security cameras. There was one thing that bothered him though: He had not seen exactly where the man came from.
Actually, to be honest, there were a number of things that bothered him about the man about to ring the bell: He was a police officer, he was freakishly tall, and his uniform was blue instead of the black the local cops wore. All of these things set off Randeep’s internal alarms, but the fact that there was not a police car, or indeed any car parked in front of his house, was what had him mentally going over all of the places he had guns stashed.
By the time the doorbell rang, Randeep was already standing on the other side of it, easily in reach of the shotgun hidden under the coats on the coatrack. He was afraid to answer the door. He had been waiting for this moment for years, for the moment when the government would come for him.
The tall policeman knocked on the door authoritatively. “This is the police, I need you to open the door! We have been receiving some complaints from your neighbors!,” the tall policeman said in a voice just as authoritative as the knock.
The X-Files theme flowed from Martin’s mobile phone, letting him know that it was Randeep on the other end. They had met a decade ago at a comic convention, and, though they had been there for different reasons (Martin had been there looking for comics and toys, Randeep had been there looking to back up his theory that real space aliens would attend conventions because they could blend in with the cosplayers), they had hit it off. Martin tolerated Randeep’s eccentricities, and assumed that Randeep felt that he was giving the same courtesy to Martin.
Martin snatched the phone off of the table and accepted the call, “Hey Ran, what’s up?”
“I need you to come over. There is something I need to show you,” Randeep replied.
“I cannot talk about it over an unsecured line,” Randeep answered, but Martin mouthed the words along with him, having heard this many, many times.
Martin glanced at the clock, quarter past three, and then contemplated the forty-five minute drive out to Randeep’s place out past where civilization ended, “It’s kind of late, man. I have work tomorrow.”
“This is important, Martin, I really need your help.”
“You said that last time, man.”
“I mean it this time. This is some really serious shit.”
Randeep was not normally one for foul language. Martin did some mental math, figuring that if there was no traffic, and he did not stay for more than an hour or two, he would still be able to get to bed at a reasonable time, “Fine, but if this is about that kid down the road playing with his ‘spy drone’ again, I am going to make you eat your Art Bell picture.”
Martin had mixed feeling about going out to Randeep’s place. On one hand, Randeep had a nice chunk of land with no neighbors for a quarter mile in any direction, it had been part of a larger farm at one point in history, and Martin’s entire apartment could probably fit quite comfortably into the living room of Randeep’s house. On the other hand, the directions for getting there involved the phrase “turn off the paved road”, which was never a sign of a convenience.
Randeep had explained that part of the reason he liked living out there was that no one could sneak up on him because their car would kick up dust that would be visible a soon as they started down the road towards him. Martin had never pointed out that someone approaching on foot through the fields behind the house would not kick up dust, nor would there be any in the rain; he knew better.
By the time Martin’s dust-covered Ford Focus pulled into Randeep’s driveway, the short, skinny man was already there, pacing a short, tight course.
“Okay, so what’s the big national secret this time? Did the Reptilons replace your mailman again?”
“You tell jokes, Martin, I will make you eat those jokes this time!”
Martin’s eyebrows raised. Randeep was really worked up this time; whatever he thought he had discovered had brought him to a plateau of mania that Martin had never seen before.
“Alright, what is it?”
“It is inside, come on!”
The short, skinny, dark-haired man led the taller, pudgy, light-haired man up the walkway and onto the front porch.
Before even getting to the door, an odor assaulted Martin’s nose. He was used to unusual smells in Randeep’s house from the unfamiliar spices the smaller man used in cooking, and while they often smelled odd, but ultimately tasted good, this smell was just bad, “Good God, Ran, what are you cooking in there?”
“I am not cooking anything; it is what I wanted to show you.”
“You’ve discovered an incredible smell?”
Randeep lead Martin into the house. Martin glanced at the pictures in the front hall as he entered; they were some of Randeep’s most treasured possessions: framed pictures of him with Art Bell, Whitley Strieber, Linda Moulton Howe, and Stanton Friedman. Randeep had told him multiple times how he had met them at various conventions over the years, and Martin sort of figured that they were Randeep’s equivalent to meeting George Lucas and Stan Lee.
The smell grew stronger as they entered the living room. Randeep stepped aside, giving Martin a clear view of a body on the carpet. It was lying facedown in a puddle of black liquid, and there was a ragged, black hole in the back of its dark blue shirt. Martin noticed that the body was wearing a black leather belt with compartments on it, and a holster.
“Holy shit, Ran, did you shoot someone?” Martin starts to back towards the door, “You wanted to show me that you murdered someone?”
“It is not a person, Martin.”
“Is that a cop? Did you shoot a fucking cop?”
“It is not a cop,” Randeep’s mania starts to even out, as if seeing Martin losing his cool calmed the smaller man down, “The police here wear black. It was a fake cop!”
“So, what, it’s the NSA? CIA? Did you murder a government agent? Is that better somehow?”
“It is an alien! Look at his blood.”
“Randeep, and I say this as your friend, aliens aren’t real! All that Art-Bell-alien-abductions-conspiracy-theory stuff is just bullshit. I knew you bought into that stuff too much, but… you murdered someone, man!”
“Not someone, something.”
“Yeah, keep saying that; maybe they’ll just put you in a psych hospital for the rest of your life instead of lethal injection,” Martin said, having now backed his way into the entry hall.
“If this was a policeman, then where is his car?”
This caused Martin to stop; there hadn’t been any cars outside when he drove up, “Okay, yeah, maybe he wasn’t a real cop-”
“He was not.”
“-and he walked here for whatever reason, but you can’t just kill him.”
“He teleported or something. I did not see him walking up. He came around the side of the house; out of the fields; I checked the cameras. It is as if he appeared out in the field.”
“Did he attack you or something?”
“He was going to… here, help me roll him over and I will show you.”
Martin, much to his mind’s surprise, found himself walking over to the corpse. Without having any conscious control of his body, Martin was able to dedicate his higher brain functions to trying to figure out how much prison time he would be liable for in this, and figure out exactly why he was not driving away in his car while calling the police.
The tall policeman was heavy, heavier than he should be by Martin’s estimation, and it really did take both of them to roll the man onto his back. This gave Martin a clear view of the dead man’s front.
“Holy shit,” Martin screamed in a girlish pitch, and staggered back, tripping over the coffee table, and landing between it and the sofa, his head on the cushions. He scrambled up onto the sofa, nearly overturning the coffee table in his effort.
It is not the shotgun-blast hole in the center of the tall policeman’s chest that had so disturbed Martin so, although he would normally be disturbed by that, but the small pair of multi-jointed arms to either side of the wound; arms that would have been obscured by the shirt. The skin on those arms was not the colour of any human flesh that Martin was familiar with either: it was a dark grey.
Moving up to the tall policeman’s face, also skinned in grey flesh, revealed to Martin four glossy, orange eyes, and a mouth that was too large. The mouth was open, frozen in something that vaguely looked like an expression of surprise, and it exposed way too many teeth for Martin to be comfortable with.
“What the fuck is that?”
“I told you, it is an alien,” Randeep looks more than a little proud as he said this.
“Why did you even let that into your house?”
“It did not look like this when I let it in. It was wearing this,” Randeep plucked a pinkish, flesh-coloured scrap from the floor near the body, just beyond the edges of the black blood pool, and holds it up. It was a human face that looks like it has been sliced off of someone’s skull, but the back of it does not look bloody at all, “It is some sort of mask. It is how they blend in with us,” he tossed the mask down onto the coffee table.
“Okay, so why call me? Why not call your MUFON people, or something?”
“You are the only one I can trust with this. I am sure that any group I could go to for help has been infiltrated. No one can know about this.”
“What do you mean no one can know? You finally have honest-to-God proof of aliens, and you don’t want to tell anyone? You’ve been looking for this your whole life.”
“I never needed proof, and I do not want to disappear, thank you very much. I need you to help me take it out back and bury it.”
“I am the first guy you think it when it comes to disposing of bodies?”
“I have heard that a true friend will help you bury the body, and I consider you a true friend. I will owe you greatly for this.”
“How did this even happen?”
“The policeman came to my door, but I knew he was not a policeman because his uniform is the wrong colour, and also I had not seen him approach on my cameras. He just sort of appeared at the side of the house.
“He asked to come in because of complaints from my neighbours, and I did not know what to do, so I let him in. He said something about this party not being loud enough, and music started playing from somewhere, and he ripped open his shirt and pulled off his face.”
“Music? It wasn’t attacking you? It was a stripper! You shot and alien stripper!”
“A stripper? Like it thought this was some sort of alien bachelorette party,” Randeep motioned to the large, decidedly un-party-like room around him.
“Maybe this is what alien parties look like, I don’t know,” Martin suggested, “Okay, what do we do? Uh, first thing we need to do is move the body, we need to wrap it up.”
“I can get a tarp.”
“No, just get a boxcutter; we’ll wrap it in the carpet.”
Martin cut a large rectangle of carpet around the body of the tall policeman, careful to make sure that all of the blood pool was included, and together the two of them managed to roll the body up in it like a space alien taquito.
That is when they both noticed that the body’s black blood was still oozing through the carpet, so Randeep got a tarp from the basement anyway, and that re-wrapped the whole mess in that.
By the time they dragged the body out of the house and into the field just past the edge of Randeep’s property line, the sun was going down and Martin’s hopes of getting to bed early were going down with it.
It was late by the time they shoveled the last spade of dirt onto the body. The hole was not as deep as Martin would have liked, but neither he nor Randeep were particularly burly men, and the ground was hard and dry from a lack of recent rain.
Filthy and exhausted, the two men collapsed onto the couch, looking at the patch of bare floorboard that was stained with the tall policeman’s blood.
“What do I do about that?” Randeep asked, pointing to the stain.
“That’s up to you man, disposing of alien corpses is one thing, but getting bloodstains out of wood is completely out of my league. I think you might just need to replace the floor.”
“Yeah, that is a good idea.”
“Damn it,” Martin cursed, “we forgot to bury the face,” he points to it lying on the coffee table.
“I think I will keep that. Maybe I can figure out what it is made of.”
“Oh, so that you want to ke-” Martin never finished that thought, as that was when the doorbell rang.
The two men looked at each other, “ What do we do?” Randeep asked.
“We answer it. I mean, it’s not like it’s going to be more alien policemen strippers, is it?”
They approached the front door, Martin looking back to make sure the bloodstain would not be visible from the entry hall, which he knew it would not be since he had not seen it when he first entered either. There was nothing to be done for the smell though.
On the front door stood a pair of men, tall men, freakishly tall men. They must have been twins, because they had identical faces; the face looked a little familiar to Martin, but Randeep recognized them at once. The smaller man’s face paled dramatically.
“Hello?” one of the tall men called through the door, “We apologize for disturbing you so late, but we are looking for our employee. He was supposed to… entertain at a different location, and we think he may have come here mistakenly.”
Martin suddenly realized why he did not recognize the face immediately: he had not seen it on a head before.
“Well shit,” Martin cursed tiredly.
The challenge prompt for this story was "A very close, long time friend asks you to help them bury a body," but it is only one of the three scenarios that were available.
If you liked this story, head on over to Clever Fiction, and see what other people made of this challenge's prompts! Heck, even if you didn't like it, head over there anyway, and maybe you'll find something you like better.
Thanks for reading, and until we meet again: don't trust the darkness.