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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Stivers Dick
 

«Army of Devils», Dick Stivers

1

A machete slash severed her hand. Blood pulsed from the stump to splash the sorority-house door and security chain.

Peggy Miller, an eighteen-year-old freshman student of cinema at the University of Southern California, daughter of a New York advertising executive, stared with disbelief at the wound. As a lifelong television and movie addict, she had seen uncounted thousands of murders and mutilations. As a devotee of the horror genre, she had already made films of the macabre and terrifying, sometimes appearing in front of the camera, other times writing the script or operating the camera or serving as a makeup artist to create the images of suffering and mutilation and grotesque death.

Often she had giggled at the sight of movie blood splashing. She had twisted her face into a mask of manic rage and hacked at the other actors and actresses with plastic knives and axes. After the scene, they all laughed, the syrupy blood sticky on their bodies. Once, she had endured ten retakes of her own murder as the student director struggled to capture the veriteof vivisection by electric carving knife on Super-8. That evening, Peggy and a handsome young actor ended the shooting day with a private orgy in a Jacuzzi, licking away the sweet phony blood caking their hair and bodies, their lovemaking leaving a puddle of sweat and cinema blood on the tiles.

But now, a real wound spurted blood. As the image and the first horrifying sensations of pain registered in her numbed mind, she saw her hand on the floor. Fingers curling upward, the hand lay on the Persian entry carpet, its dead flesh a startling white against the colored designs of the hand-woven carpet.

The machete blade hacked again and again at the security chain. But the chain held. A voice that came from a throat that could not be human made a low, bestial grunt, then the door splintered. One attacker after another crashed through the broken door.

In the last seconds of her life, Peggy Miller faced a gang of punks beyond the imagination of any casting director. They wore the uniform of the streets: boots, black jeans, black nylon jackets, bandannas tied over their faces and hair. Their eyes stared out from the gap between the bandannas.

Psychopathic hatred raged in those eyes.

Even as her reflexes raised her arms to push away the monsters rushing her, as a scream rose in her throat, Peggy Miller surrendered to death.

They reduced her to a headless, armless corpse kicking with nerve spasms. As two punks continued hacking at the body, more of them rushed into the other rooms of the sorority house.

One punk ran into the white tiled kitchen. A young woman in a purple silk kimono turned from the refrigerator. Before her scream came, a machete blade axed through her brain.

A blaring stereo led two punks to a first-floor bedroom. Snapping the lightweight bolt with a kick, the punks saw two forms in two beds. The awakened sleepers jerked upright.

"Get out! What..."

"Who..."

Machetes ended the protests of the young women. Not content with murder, the gang boys continued chopping at the naked girls. Laughing as they hacked, they reduced the bodies to an intermingled mass of meat and entrails.

A scream pierced the rock and roll. In the living room, a young woman in a red velour sweat suit ran for the stairs. A shotgun blast tore her legs, throwing her down hard on the carpeted steps. Clawing at the carpet, she screamed when she attempted to crawl on her shattered legs. She suffered only a moment longer.

Rushing up to the bleeding young student, the masked punk pumped the sawed-off shotgun's action. She screamed at the grinning monster. He put the muzzle of the 12-gauge shotgun to her face.

Brains and bone fragments sprayed the stairs. Laughing at the gore, the gang punk sat down on the blood-soaked carpeting of the step. He kicked the headless body away. Taking a hand-rolled cigarette from his jacket pocket, he pulled down the red bandanna from his face.

It bore the scars of innumerable street fights. The young black man's front teeth had been knocked out by fists. Scar tissue hooded one eye, giving him a permanent squint. His breath whistled through a smashed nose. A knife slash had scarred his cheek and ear, the straight line disappearing into the matted hair under the bandanna that covered the top of his head.

Lighting the cigarette with a silver lighter stolen from a tourist in downtown Los Angeles — he sucked down a long drag of the drug. His eyes closed, his face went slack. The cigarette clung to his lip as he fell back against the steps. He exhaled and pulled down another drag.

For seconds he lay motionless. The glowing point of the cigarette burned into his chin, but he did not move. Finally, his breath escaped in a slow swirl of smoke.

One hand caressed the shotgun. His eyes opened. A piece of skin came away from his chin as he took the cigarette from his lip. He carefully stubbed out the half-gone cigarette.


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