“Self Conscious” by Chris Holland

-Breaking News – July 27, 2013-

A third murder occurs at a luxury hotel just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. The victims where a mother and her alleged son, little information is known about either of them, or the murderer at this time. Police will continue investigation while the hotel remains open for business. The only sure thing that has been publicly announced was a statement from a house detective staying in the hotel at the time, he said:
“It is all strange to us, but one thing is clear: they were all running, or trying to escape, this tells us a lot about the killer.”
More details will be available at the end of the week.

That house detective was me, Jim Gauller. I had been sent to this hotel after the first murder to watch and ask around about it. By the time the second occurred, it was clear that this criminal knew what he was doing. Now a third that involved two people… I could not understand how this could all be done so quickly so that nobody ever saw anything. I’ve written all my thoughts, theories, ideas, questions, all in my room in the hotel, where I am living at this point, since there was no show to an end to these murders.
I was “stationed” in room 604, sixth floor in an 8-story building. It was a nice hotel, save for the murders. I have always had a certain way about my investigations, I have always searched for consistency, something the killer or his victims always did. I knew well that any criminal, especially murderers, had a specific style to their work and if you can pin down something that all the victims had in common, in life, or in their death, you could eventually figure out who was doing it.
The only thing I could find for sure is that all murders happened in or around the hotel, so there is a good chance the murderer is in the hotel. All the victims seemed to have been running… The first was partway down the stairs, his room door left wide open. However, the strangest thing about this series of “hotel murderers” was that it had all happened before; first in a hotel in Miami, then just two years ago in a hotel in a drive-through town in Alabama.
I spun my chair to meet my desk with all the papers, and occasionally I would stare out the window, more out of paranoia than boredom, and began to write these newest facts. I was deeply immersed in my own writings when I heard a shriek from what sounded to be the other end of the hall on his floor. I shot up from his seat, the screams were of terror and they didn’t stop, but instead, only seemed to get closer. I shuffled to his door and, without a second thought, flung it open to see a man, maybe 30 years old, running down the hall in complete horror. I reached out my hand to give the man a secure place to stop… Why didn’t he stop…

-Breaking News – July 29, 2013-

Another death has occurred at the luxury hotel outside Las Vegas. A man is found on the ground at the foot of the hotel, with the 6th floor window shattered. A house detective, on the floor as a witness at the time, says:
“I offered my help, safety, but he didn’t want it, he only wanted the window. I saw nothing on the other end of the hall, but I do know that it takes more than the fear of death to make a man take his own life.”
More details on this, as well as the previous murder that occurred just two days ago, very soon.

What I had said was true. I had once met a man, or more of, been assigned to him, to take care of him. He was completely insane, constantly speaking of various visions telling me that he “knew what imagination is” and “this is real.” He was a very messed up person and shot himself and his kid because of reasons unknown.
Anyway, I was now on high alert. This was the closest he had ever been and now, it was not only clear that whoever was doing this was in the hotel, but on this floor, or at least moving floors. There were too many things I was unsure about, as I looked down at all his papers and research… there was nothing. Obviously there were my papers, but they meant nothing. Nobody cared where this murderer is, only who it is, and how it can be stopped.
I heaved a heavy sigh of despair…
“Well,” I stated bluntly to myself with a sigh.
“Nothing good was ever accomplished after midnight.”
I had heard my father say that hundreds of times when I was in college. I climbed in bed, and pulled the covers over myself, hoping to get some sleep, and get that horrible scream out of my head.
That was not a dreamless night. I dreamed that the man that had gone out the window climbed back up. I was standing in the hall facing the shattered glass and his arms, then body were pulled up. His mangled limbs swung and shifted as he stumbled towards me. He grabbed me with an arm that seemed to appear out of nowhere. I expected him to say something, but he only open his mouth and let out a breath filled with the smell of blood.
I was abruptly awaked later that night by more shouting at my door. I feared the worst and grabbed a 9mm handgun before going to the door. I said nothing as I stood a safe distance away from the door, listening intently for the person which I knew was there.
Suddenly, the person started slamming against the door, sending a fearful jolt through my entire body. I feared for my life at this point, so I held the gun up to the door.
“What do you want?!” I shouted at the rattling door.
“It’s coming to get me, RIGHT NOW!” the man on the other side responded, as he then started to kick and scratch at the hotel door.
“What is?” spoken more calmly this time.
The man on the other side stopped all the noise at once.
“I saw it… I saw it…” he repeated.
After a several times of hearing this dreadful phrase, I shouted for him to stop, only to be met with another hair-raising scream, this time, not of terror, but of… pain.
I crouched and went dead silent in the room, listening to the man outside the door be scratched at and slammed around. I heard a struggle for only the first few minutes, then, whatever was doing this, just continued for… fun… The man was dead, but it kept ripping and gnashing away at him. I was disgusted, but remained silent in fear for my own life. I had a gun, but by the sound of the horror on the other side of the door, it would be useless, I would be just as bad off as… whoever that was.
Over an hour passed by before I had determined that whatever it was, it was gone. I picked up the hotel phone and called a close, ex-war veteran friend. When Justin finally answered there was no doubt he was in Vegas by the background noise.
“Hello?”
“Justin, I’m in a hurry, listen up-“ I began
“I’m always listening for sum’n to shoot.”
“Good, come to my hotel, we need to evacuate it, we need to get everybody out.”
“Why- what happened!?” he was clearly more alerted now
“There’s a dead man outside my door, whatever killed him… is ruthless, the floor needs to be evacuated and I don’t want to do it by myself!”
I hung up the phone angrily. Justin would come, that’s no question, but I knew that I needed to venture out of my room. I walked up to the door, 9mm in hand, and reached for the door-handle. I then pulled on the door slowly, only to have the crap scared out of me by an arm, falling down through the opening… I kicked the dead arm back to the body of the man, and stepped out of my room, checking all sides of the hallway. The man looked much younger than he had sounded, black, short hair, and a wedding ring on his left hand. Jim sat against the wall of his room until he heard-
DING-
A few seconds later Justin ran up to him from the elevator.
“Holy-“ Justin was cut off by me standing up and grabbing him.
“This is why this hotel at least NEEDS to be evacuated.”
Only a nod came from Justin, before following to the first door to the left, room 606. Justin knocked three times. I’ve always been a fan of useless details.
“Who do you think is doing this?” Justin asked, to break the silence more than to get an answer.
“I’m having a hard time believing it’s a ‘who’ anymore, Just-”
An older businessman answered the door.
“I’m sorry sir, but we have to ask that you gather your things and leave this floor quickly, there is a police investigation going on here.” I commanded, very officially, even though neither of them were technically cops.
They continued this procedure, through the next many rooms, all the while talking about who, or what could possibly be doing this.
They finally got up to the last door on this side of the hallway, instinctively, Justin knocked three times then continued to debate with me.
“What was done back there was not human, only a demonic… thing could do that…” I was getting quite short on words to describe what I’d heard.
“What could it have been other than a person, a lion?” Justin remarked mocking my logic.
“Oh, I got it!” Justin said sarcastically.
“It was a polar bear!”
I, after knocking again, got right up to Justin.
“Listen, I don’t know for sure anything any more bu-“

Knock… Knock… Knock…

We both turned to the door in true fear. After just a few short seconds the door opposite to the one that shad just knocked back flung open and I only managed to turn fast enough to see my friend be grabbed into the room, before the door slammed shut again.
I ran up to the door, slamming and screaming to Justin, hotel guests started to come up behind me before running down the stairs and away from the hotel. I could hear only agonizing moans from the other side and knew I HAD to get into that room fast. I backed up, pointed the gun, and fired at the hinges and lock, then kicked the door down as best I could.
There Justin laid, on his back, not breathing, and over him hung the attacker. It looked tall, but hunched over to make itself no taller than five feet, its hands had long, thin, but strong fingers with claws on the end of each one capable of cutting through human flesh with ease. It turned to me, the darkness covering its eyes, but its teeth clearly visible. They where long as well, pointed and outlined with red. It stood straighter now, to reveal its massive height, just before lunging out the window behind it.
I knew Justin was dead, so I ran. I ran back to my room to collect my data and get the hell out. I got up to his room, only to see the front of his door, which he had somehow missed before. The side of the door that the man had clawed at so violently. There, written in red, blood-filled scratches was a message:

“Self conscious”

A chill crawled its way through my body, I had seen it… It was coming back. I stood in complete paralysis before hearing-
DING-
The elevator. I heard a heavy, limped walk and a deep, voiced breath coming closer behind me. I ran into my room, slammed the door shut and locked all the locks. I then ran to my desk just as the first slam came from the other side. I searched frantically and nervously for a paper and pen, when I had found them I began to… write. I was going to die that much was certain, but I must let others know, everyone needs to know!

-Breaking News – July 30, 2013-

The house detective sent to investigate multiple murders in a hotel outside of Las Vegas was found dead this morning. His body was found broken and almost on recognizable at the bottom of the fire escape with a piece of paper clenched in his hand with unreadable words and seemingly meaningless phrases. More details as they are available.

Original Author: Chris Holland
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