"Although Sebastian hoped he would have a restful flight back to California, it was not so. First, his pager startled him and he looked at the number. It was Memorial Hospital and the extension was Deanne Newman. Perfect, he thought. What could she want? Then drifting back to sleep for the journey home, he envisioned his latest of nightmares in the deepest of recesses in his mind. Sebastian had gone to church and was praying before the minister. The priest had crossed Sebastian and offered him a drink from the chalice saying, “This is the blood of God.” Sebastian accepted without question as he always did. Going to Mass every Sunday was nothing out of the ordinary. Drinking from the cup and expecting the sweet taste of red wine to fill his mouth, the flavour somehow was different. Sebastian had to cover his mouth with the back of his hand, forcing himself to swallow the bitterness, which lingered. Even the after-taste felt odd and suddenly Sebastian heard giggling coming from above him. As Sebastian raised his head, thinking he would now be accepting the bread of God; he saw the priest smile and start to laugh aloud, pointing to him like some foolish child. Sebastian stood tall and swivelled to view the congregation, which sat behind him, but all he saw were dead corpses, dried bodies in the colour of ashes wielding smiles and hollow eyes, mimicking the priests’ movements by pointing to Sebastian in utter arrogance and mockery. Whipping his head back to the minister, Sebastian witnessed the same. Other than the cassock, the priest’s eyes were bleeding and pointing down at him. Sebastian’s last attempt was to look at the pose of Christ behind the Alter, in hopes that in this place of worship, he was safe. But all he viewed was Jesus’ eyes bleeding and a great smile upon his face. “The Bible won’t save you!” The minister leaned as close to Sebastian as he could get. Sebastian Masters woke with a jolt, but it was just the touch of a flight tenant; placing her hand on his shoulder and mentioning to him that he should buckle up and be ready for the descent, but also asked, “Are you okay?” “Yes, I am,” he replied wiping sweat from his brow. After the plane landed, Sebastian grabbed a cab to his house and saw the police parked in front. Two squad cars and the Police Chief all waited for him. “Is this you?” The cabby looked back at Sebastian as a queer look overcame his face. “Yes,” Sebastian replied and paid the driver in cash, stepped out and approached the first officer he saw. The officer had placed a hand up practically stopping Sebastian in his tracks and asked, “Are you the owner of this house?” Sebastian nodded in acknowledgement, not really wanting to saw anything just yet. Sebastian wanted to see Police Chief Hobs. “May I see some identification, please?” The officer demanded. Just then the Police Chief walked up from behind the officer and brushed him aside and said, “There’s no to be rude!” The Chief then turned to Sebastian and asked the same question, but more politely. Handing over his wallet to Chief Hobs, Sebastian felt eager to enter his own house and asked, “What happened?” Chief Hobs looked back at Sebastian without question and returned the wallet back to him, then said, “Since you’re a doctor, I suppose you have a strong stomach.” Sebastian nodded again in response and started to follow Chief Hobs to the front door of the house. Sebastian didn’t need his key and when he saw the main floor of the house, everything looked just fine. Nothing was out of place; nothing was disturbed, and he called out for his kittens in Spanish. All six kittens racing from his bedroom and nearly came to a dead stop at his feet, curling their tails around his legs and purring loudly. One by one, he started picking them up and carrying them in his arms as best he could. Sebastian placed his kittens down by the food and water bowls and said, “Comer, mi mininos!” Looking at Chief Hobs for further instructions, Sebastian told him the English translation but Chief Hobs got the just of it by the actions of Sebastian. “Please come with me,” and Police Chief Hobs had led the way down the basement to the scene of what was some kind of crime scene. The tape blocked off the stairs, which by a pair of scissors had to be snipped. Handing back the scissors to Sebastian the stench of the entire area hit, them both like a brick wall; like that, wall of heat when you exit an air-conditioned shopping mall. Not the pleasant of feelings and Sebastian immediately held his forearm over his mouth, trying to safeguard himself from any smell entering. However, it was no use. The smell of decay and rotting flesh had filled the air. “You do not open windows?” Sebastian tried to ask through his clothed arm. Chief Hobs looked back in question but explained, “This is where we found the body,” he pointed at the charred floor and continued, “She wasn’t identifiable until her boss told us her name,” Chief Hobs observed the disgusted look on Sebastian’s face. “Are you alright?” “Can we get fresh air?” Chief Hobs led Sebastian the way back to the main floor and continued, standing in the kitchen while Sebastian grabbed himself a glass of water. As Chief Hobs was explaining the events as they thought happened, Sebastian raised his hand in a ditch effort to stop him from going on any further. Placing the glass on the counter, Sebastian had that utter feeling of losing his lunch hanging his head over the sink and creating gagging sounds; which to Chief Hobs defined as ‘a weak stomach’ despite having Mr. Masters a medical doctor. It appeared to Chief Hobs that instead of a professional doctor, Sebastian had looked like an intern fresh out of medical school who couldn’t hack the first sign of any type of trauma injury. Chief Hobs tried to take Sebastian by the shoulder, but Sebastian held up a hand; stopping the man in his tracks and said softly, “No.” Noticing that nothing was coming from his mouth, Sebastian started to feel relieved and rested his forearms on the edge of the sink, lulling his head in pain as any other person would after vomiting. Sebastian knew that dry heaves were worse than the actual liquid spewing forth from the mouth. The gut-wrenching feeling of trying to have something solid or liquid eject tortured his abs. “Perhaps we should take a break outside,” Chief Hobs suggested, thinking of Sebastian’s best interest and started his way towards the door, as Sebastian stood upright and followed the Chief to the front door. Once outside, Chief Hobs asked if Sebastian was feeling any better and was able if he were able to make a statement at the police station. They both approached his vehicle and Chief Hobs opened the passenger door. “Are you sure you’re ready?” Taking the seat Sebastian nodded, but did not bother saying anything. The feeling of tossing still lingered in his stomach and managed to close the door, as Chief Hobs took the wheel and brought his car to life then drove off in the direction of the station, occasionally glancing at Sebastian and asking if he was going to be all right. Sebastian never answered verbally, but just answered with a nod. “Shall I drive slower?” Chief Hobs asked. The motions suggested to Sebastian Masters did not matter: slow, fast or a normal speed, it all felt the same to his stomach. Eventually he asked, “What happened?” “We’re going to let the corner figure that out. In the meantime, I need a statement from you, and I hope you don’t plan on leaving town soon,” Chief Hobs made a sharp left turn then said, “We may need you to come in again and possibly identify the body...if that’s possible,” he trailed the last three words off like an after-thought."
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