It wasn't the foul odours or cold chills every time he stepped in the main upstairs bedroom that sent a shiver down Hondo's spine. No, there was something else, something that felt an awful lot like rage and unbridled hatred that forced him to pause in the doorway. Mrs McClarence, the old lady who'd watched him grow up and glared at him from her porch, had died a few months ago and since then the house had been abandoned.
Daniel, you idiot, he scolded himself. It was probably just kids playing pranks, but his peace of mind was at stake and frankly he'd sleep better knowing that the lights he occasionally saw in the window were only flash-lights. Sweat beaded on his nose and forehead, his pistol was strapped to his right thigh, and an odd feeling of being watched began to seize his attention. This is the part of the movie where the black guy normally gets killed.
He was armed and wearing his flak vest, but what good would that do against something he couldn't touch? A million thoughts ran through Hondo's mind as he reached the bottom of the stairs that led up to the first floor. The wood was old and liked to creak. More than once he'd thought it would give way and he'd end up falling toward the floor, yet each time something seemed to keep him alive.
A Hail Mary wouldn't go astray right now, Hondo thought. His fingertips brushed the worn wooden railing and he tightened his grip around it, taking one step at a time. Keep your eyes open. The team's not here to back you up.
"If anyone's upstairs, this is LAPD," Hondo called out, keeping his voice level despite the tremor that was beginning in his hands. Out of the corner of his eye, there was a black mass; it'd been following him since he checked the kitchen. He knew how that shit worked: if you acknowledged its existence, it acknowledged yours and added you to its list of targets. Then you were screwed. Nope, he wasn't in the middle of the fucking Exorcist, this was just an old house in Los Angeles and he was a good cop doing his job and making sure his street stayed trouble free.
"My name's Sergeant John Stewart." He knew that rule too: you never gave your real name to anything you weren't sure was human. Least that's what his dad had taught him. The old Taiwanese lady who ran the corner shop had told him that too. Something about mountains, demons, and kidnappings. "If anyone's there—"
Silence encompassed the house and Hondo paused on the second step, resting his hand on his pistol. The black mass was moving again. Getting closer this time, like it was No Face trying to give him gold. "You've got five minutes to leave the house or I'm calling for backup."
Maybe he'd come back another day, or never. Daniel turned on his heel and moved off the stairs, walking calmly towards the door. Whatever the hell was going on in here, it didn't feel right. Every alarm was going off in his head and every hair on his body now stood on end. It ain't your problem, D. The door was just feet away now, staring him in the face. On the other side of it would be blinding sunlight and fresh air. Safety too. Leave it for Deacon to deal with. He's the Catholic.
He turned the knob, stepped outside, and found darkness instead. His car still sat where he'd parked it, but nothing felt right. It'd been just after midday when he went into the house, now it was well after sunset. Please don't let it have been fairies, Hondo prayed as he climbed in his car, anything but fairies or little girls in red dresses.