The Monkees/Kolchak: The Night Stalker/Perry Mason
Lullaby of Silence
Notes: The characters are not mine and the story is! The chant in the prologue is the prompt that is inspiring the entire story. I'm told it's from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called Hush. Regardless, I took it from the Livejournal community Sharp Teeth, provided by Trillianastra as a prompt for a gen horror fic. Horror, particularly psychological horror, is one of my favorite genres to write in. I'm very excited about this fic (and yes, it will be a crossover between three of my favorite shows!) and I hope it will unsettle, disturb, frighten, and most of all, please! It takes place after the other stories I've written about the Monkees encountering Baby Face Morales and his gang from episode 25 of the Monkees' TV series, but they don't need to be read first. Thanks to Aubrie for plot help!
He was standing in a dark void, endless and unwelcoming. No matter which way he turned, it all looked the same. He was alone.
The far-away echo of a child's giggle brought him whirling around, instantly on alert. He was wrong; he was not alone at all. He could not be.
"Hello?" he called. His voice reverberated off the invisible walls and spread out, as though passing through unseen tunnels on all sides.
The giggle came again, from another direction. And there was something else as well—a child's voice speaking in the far distance. He strained to listen, but the words were indiscernible.
A flash ran past out of the corner of his eye. He started, turning on his heel.
"Hey, whoever you are, cut it out," he ordered. He reached for the gun in his shoulder holster, but it was gone. He stared, barely able to make out the empty holster in the darkness. Had whoever ran past stolen it?
The girl's voice was somewhat closer now. If he strained, he could just make out some of the words.
"Can't even shout, can't even cry
"The Gentlemen are coming by . . ."
A chill ran the length of his spine. It was not just the words, but the matter-of-fact, singsong tone of voice that the child was using. She could just as easily be singing about going to the grocery store or walking down the street.
Something darted past again. This time he could see clearly; it was a little girl with curly red hair and a lavender-and-white skirt. Her hands were up in front of her and she was laughing. She was so carefree, so out-of-place in this bizarre scene.
Before he could even ask what she was doing there, the strange chant caught his attention again.
"Knocking on windows, tapping on doors
"They need to take seven and they might take yours . . ."
Now there were other flashes before his eyes. A tall man in a white tuxedo and matching top hat, with a long cape flowing after him. . . . Another, dressed the same, going in the opposite direction. . . . With each swirl of a cape the number of men increased until there were seven in all, wandering the darkness for some unknown purpose.
Whatever it was, it was evil. He certainly did not pretend to be a good man himself, but the worst that he had done could not compare to whatever these strangers had in mind.
An icy hand shot out of the darkness, clapping over his nose and mouth. He gasped, clawing at it with his own hands, but to no avail. Panic swept over him as an arm curled around his chest, dragging him into the increasing black. What was this? What did they want with him? Was he going to die?
He could not breathe. When he tried to yell, nothing came out. His vocal chords were not even vibrating. The silence settling over him was so thick he could almost touch it. As he faded into oblivion, the little girl's chant continued.
"Can't call to Mum, can't say a word
"You're gonna die screaming, but you won't be heard."
Tony Ferano shot up in bed, his eyes wide and filled with horror. He gasped, breathing heavily as he began to focus on the darkened room. There were no running or chanting children, no murderous gentlemen in white, and no frightening sensation of utter, unexplainable silence.
"It was just a dream," he muttered aloud, running his hands into his hair.
Only it was not just a dream. There were things within it that he recalled all too well—the children, the tuxedoed men, the threat. . . . He had seen them all before and had been involved with them and against them. It had been one of the most bizarre cases he had ever been handed as a respected detective in the Detroit Police Department, and it was still unsolved.
But that was years ago. He was no longer a police detective, nor was he even on the right side of the law. Why would he be dreaming of that case now? He had not thought of it in ages.
He threw back the quilt and swung his legs off the mattress. He stumbled out of bed, massaging his eyes with the fingers of one hand. The mind worked in weird ways.
That was the only explanation he could come up with.
Outside of Los Angeles, at Malibu Beach, a figure in white approached a house. It lingered at the window, observing the occupants through the lit kitchen window. There was a woman with dark brown, messy hair, a black-haired man, and a blond man. They were gathered around the kitchen table for a late-night meal, talking and laughing, none of them aware that they were being watched.
The voyeur waited. He was accustomed to that; he did not strike until all but one had left the room.
From the corner of his eye he caught sight of a brunet boy in his late teens or early twenties strolling along the beach. The boy might have seen him as well. In any case, he quickly changed direction and went back the way he had come. Perhaps he was going to call the police about a peeping Tom. That was no matter; it would not interfere with the man in white's plans unless the police came too soon.
As the meal broke up thirty minutes later, he had the chance he had waited for. Everyone stood, carrying his or her dishes to the sink. For a moment they discussed some matter or another, probably who would wash the dishes that night. The brunette woman laughed, waving the others on. Satisfied, they filed out of the room.
He crept closer to the house.
There was no sound, but the woman sensed when someone had come in. She chuckled under her breath, lightly scolding Jeff for returning to the room. But then the cold breeze swept past and she froze. It was not Jeff. Somehow she knew that before she even turned around.
The stranger in the white tuxedo was standing in the middle of the floor. She opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. She gasped, clutching at her throat as she backed up against the sink. "Don't come near me, don't come near me!" she could only mouth in helplessness. As he advanced, she grabbed a large steak knife.
It did no good. His eyes bored into hers as he came closer, stopping directly in front of her. The knife clattered to the floor. Again and again she screamed for help as she fought and kicked against her assailant.
But no one else heard a thing.