The Death Statue
Let’s get this straight right off the bat: I am not in Special Ops or Clandestine Ops or Black Ops… not really in ops at all. I’m a detective. I don’t have awesome ass-kicking skills and I’ve never shot anyone. I am good at figuring things out. It’s usually a simple job. Someone suspects this guy or that girl is involved in some kind of scam or anti-whatever group which might one day put a bomb in a school or mosque or meat factory. There are all sorts of crazies these days. So I go and stakeout the guy, follow him, find out who his friends are. Then I write a report. That is how I spend about half my time. Writing reports. What I do isn’t usually dangerous, but I do have a gun. Yes, it’s a Walther PPK. Yes, I carry it because that’s what Bond carried. No, I don’t think I’m James Bond. I couldn’t buy an Aston Martin with 5 years salary, and as for sex with hot ladies on the job? In my fucking dreams. Literally.
This time, however, I brought a gun. I’m on a job finding out what some group of end-of-the-world religious wackos are up to. Apparently they are predicting the destruction and ruin of the world starting in New York City, down to the exact date, which is this week. I haven’t seen anyone buying fertilizer or chemicals to build a bomb. I haven’t seen anyone with a gun or even a switchblade, but I did see some weird shit last night. I saw these nut-jobs sacrifice a bunch of goats. Where do you even get a goat in Manhattan?
I was able to see this because I figured out where their little clubhouse was (an old, boarded up church) and stuck a little spy camera facing through a hole in the boards across a window. It was weatherproof, the size of a matchbox and it broadcast live to my laptop at the other end of the block. What it showed me a bunch of seemingly normal bible thumpers change into animal skins and do a funky tribal dance while a guy wearing an alligator-head headdress sacrificed goats. I thought it prudent to bring the gun this time.
So now I am sitting in my car, watching more video of these Cult of Cthulu wannabes. This time they aren’t dancing though. They are on their knees bowing and scraping while the same alligator priest from the night before mixes goat blood with clay. I stare incredulously as block after block of clay is kneaded and turns pale red-brown with swirls of bright red. Then one of his assistants drops it into a wheelbarrow. Some more chanting ensues and then everyone stands up together. My boss is going to love this report.
The worshippers all seem to be leaving, but not the way they came in. I need to see where they’re going. I drive down the block until I see them. They’re leaving through a door in the narrow alley, but going straight across the alley and up the next-door fire escape. The next building is a warehouse, slightly taller than the busted old church. The warehouse is an artist studio / living space for a bunch of college dropout art students.
It looks like these weirdos are invading the second floor, and I‘m not going to get to see why. My report would have been enough to show my boss that these guys weren’t planning on bombing anyone or kidnapping the mayor’s kids or anything like that, but by now I’m fascinated by these guys. Firstly because I still want to know where they got the goats, and second because you don’t get to witness the private weirdness of these places unless they go Waco.
I park the car and run up to a loading bay door. Locked. I pull out some lock-picking tools that I had only practiced with. It takes me about fifteen minutes to get the door open. Inside I see lots of crappy murals on the wall as I’m running through towards the only staircase. I try not to make noise as I go up, but soon I can tell it doesn’t matter. The chanting was happening again. I get to where I can peek into the room and see that they’re all on their knees again, chanting while doing a creepy version of the wave. I see a smaller side room that is glowing like it’s on fire. And then I see what the glow is falling on.
Five men are giving the priest a bulky clay shell. Two are packing it on, and three of them are… what, sculpting? He is up to his waist already. The detailers have his legs and feet looking like some kind of dragon’s with scales and clawed feet. Between the rhythmic ups and downs of the chanting, the pulsing red-orange glow from the small room, and the pure, unadulterated weirdness of it all, I’m hypnotized. I watch for a good hour from behind the throng. No one notices me.
When they get to his neck they stop, and the priest’s body is like a brown lizard man. Then two guys bring out his alligator head crown, except it’s covered in clay and has horns. Not many details added, but it looks mean. Really mean. They place it over his head and the statue is finished, complete with a warm and gooey priest center. Then they push him, apparently whatever he is standing on has wheels, into the small room. I don’t get it. The chanting is now getting very loud and I go back down the stairs. I am dumbfounded and still partly hypnotized. I get back to the loading dock door and head to my car.
On the way home it hits me like a bucket of water. It was a kiln. They are firing the clay to make it a solid statue… with the priest inside.
I go straight to bed when I get back to my place in Jersey City. I can’t think anymore.
I wake up the next morning at five and wonder why I am up so early. I think I have enough for my report, but even if I don’t, the cult doesn’t meet until night. I turn on the TV and the first thing I see makes my heart freeze in my chest. The Statue. Except, now it isn’t a statue. It’s alive, it’s moving, and it is fucking big. The shot is close enough that I can make out some details. Clawed feet, clawed hands, mean-looking alligator head. It’s detailed enough, because it would have to be pointed the opposite direction to miss the thing. It towers over office buildings in the Brooklyn neighborhood it is currently turning to rubble. The thing looks like it could hop the East River like it was a puddle, but the really scary thing is the way it moves. In Godzilla, the thing just lumbered along causing lots of collateral damage. This thing is big and thick, but it moves like an NFL linebacker. Not graceful, but powerful, quick, and dangerous.
I’m not sure how long I’ve been staring at the TV in disbelief, but I watched long enough to see some serious shit. The thing swatted down fighter jets like flies, I saw at least fifty massive explosions hit the thing and it didn’t even flinch. Or slow down. I saw it punch the middle of a skyscraper and the top half just fell.
I turn off the TV. That thing got hit by missiles and hardly noticed! I need to get the fuck out of here. No, shit, that’s what everyone will be trying to do. The highways will be jammed. Then it hits me. The statue!
I jump into my car and get to the highway as fast as I can. The streets aren’t as bad as I expected, most people aren’t up at 6 AM on a Sunday, even during Godzilla attacks. The 78 and the Holland Tunnel are at a complete standstill, but only outbound from the city. The words “Speed Limit” never even enter my thoughts as I rocket into the city. When I get stuck in traffic about 20 blocks away, I don’t even hesitate to throw it into park, jump out, and sprint the rest of the way. Fortunately I had grabbed the gun without thinking, because as soon as I get to the end of the block with the warehouse I hear a gunshot and see a hole appear in the pickup truck next to me.
Arms on the hood of the pickup, I aim and fire. Adrenaline must help you aim, because my 2nd shot took down one of the guys and my 7th took down the second. I empty the chamber and drop in a new mag. I knew there would be more guards so I sprint around to the loading dock. I start to hear explosions in the distance and an unearthly, unbelievably loud primal shriek, and I know the monster is in Manhattan. The door from the loading dock is still unlocked and I charge in. By the stairs are two more guards, but I come up so fast they don’t have time to react before I plug them both. With the explosions outside I don’t even worry about anyone else hearing. I come up the stairs and am standing behind the same crowd, still chanting, still groveling at the ground, and the Statue. The statue stands by the wall with an evil red glow. Fuck that.
I empty my last five bullets into the statue. The head bursts apart into dozens of clay fragments. One hit by the shoulder drops and arm to the ground where it shatters. The chest gets ripped into chunks that crash into the ground and break with obscenely loud crashes as the crowd is stunned into silence. They turn and there is an angry rumble coming from them now. I charge back down the stairs, and the last thing I hear before the crowd catches me is an earth-shaking boom. The sound of a falling giant.