The Big Bad Wolf

Sometimes people will go to any lengths for success. But how far is too far?


1. The Bunker

The girl was perfect for killing. If there was one thing they’d learnt over the last 10 years it was how to pick a victim. They had all seen her backstage after shows on more than one occasion during the tour. She was one of the new bloods that loitered around outside stage doors waiting for her opportunity to get in. Sometimes a crew member would let them in if they thought they were pretty enough or one of the experienced groupies would take them under their wing and show them how it all worked. They usually did that because they saw something of themselves in the fresh faced virgin and they were in a good mood. If they were in a bad mood they’d tell the newbie to run back to mommy and daddy and think themselves lucky. Unfortunately for this girl she’d been taken under a wing and she would die because of it...


Charlie stood in the doorway of the concrete bunker he called home and slit the chickens’ throat without ceremony. It had been this way for six years and Charlie still considered the act and the manner in which he performed it as the biggest indication of just how pathetic he'd become. But given the choice of what he had become and what he had once been, Charlie Costigan would still choose Reclusive Chicken Killer every time.


As chicken blood spattered onto the concrete floor of the bunker entrance, Charlie recited the same incantation he always did in the hope that it would do what he had read it would. Part of him still believed it was nonsense but the overriding superstition that had taken over his life always insisted that the incantation be read in the same way a tired and cranky child would insist on sucking on a pacifier. This ingrained superstition would now see Charlie through the next hour of his life as he made his way deeper into the bunker, reciting his rites, making sacrifices, casting spells until he reached the inner sanctum of the bunker and sealed himself in.


Charlie threw the sacrificed chicken to the floor and turned to the giant lead lined door that would seal him into his self-imposed prison. Charlie hated this moment the most. Especially after the door had been open for a brief time during the sacrifice and gentle sunlight had teased him with the desire to feel its heat on his skin. The deep boom of the closing door sealed his fate like the sound of a Judges Gavel sealing the fate of a criminal but essentially wasn’t that what he was?


Cold hard light flickered into life from the overhead strip lights and the vestibule was revealed to Charlie as it always was after the door had shut. The vestibule had once been a grey, sterile, concrete tube thirty metres in diameter that lead down into the bowels of the cold war shelter. Now its walls were daubed in runes and symbols – the graffiti of Charlie’s paranoia. There were several rites to be done here. All of them protracted and complex based on rituals taken from myriad religions, cults, sects and beliefs. The sun whose warm rays Charlie craved to bask in every day would have sunk below the horizon by the time the rites had been completed. Charlie’s life was a monastic one, the bunker his monastery. His dedication to the rituals in his life were a penance for his sins.


Once the rituals had been completed in the vestibule, Charlie hopped onto his golf cart and started the long journey down into the bunkers dark heart. The concrete tube of the bunker lead off and down almost a mile into a main complex. Here was where Charlie spent the majority of his time, holed up in his inner sanctum amongst the detritus of his life, his past. Here was where he spent countless sleepless nights terrified that the awfulness he laboured constantly to protect himself from with the embarrassing hoodoo he’d found on the internet, would find him and find a way to defeat his spells and potions and finally claim him after all these long pointless years. People would ask if they knew what Charlie had been doing for six whole years why he didn’t just kill himself. But Charlie was and always had been a prolific coward. Wasn’t that the reason why he’d done what he’d done? Cowardice. Cowardice pure and simple. And Charlie was a master of it.


The main living quarters of the bunker were a mess. Charlie had neglected the place to the point that it looked and smelled more like the municipal garbage dump than somewhere fit for human habitation. The room in which he lived, ate and sometimes slept had once been some type of control room. When he’d first bought the bunker he’d gutted the large circular room of all its clutter and had replaced it with every gadget and mod con he thought he would ever need. Over the intervening years they had become so much junk gathering dust scattered amongst the empty bean tins and discarded food cartons.


With the rituals done, Charlie moved to a pile of magazines and CD cases and began sweeping them to one side until he revealed a crusty looking leather sofa beneath. As he sat down amongst the detritus one CD caught his eye. Slut Monkey by Permanent Damage. A young and totally not paranoid Charlie Costigan stared at him from the safety of the garish cover. He shared the cover with two others. He’d called them his brothers a long time ago. Now they were more partners in crime. The fact that Billy Standish and Rob Young were probably dead and dead in a way Charlie didn’t want to comprehend always left a hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach. He contemplated their likely demise with a certain detachment. At least it started that way. It always ended with Charlie having a panic attack while he ran to get his rapidly diminishing stash of weed from the fridge.


The panic started to rise as Charlie continued to stare at the cover of Slut Monkey. He grabbed the case and threw it like a Frisbee across the control room until it met a wall and shattered into pieces.


No sooner had the fragments of CD hit the floor a blaring klaxon began to bleat, bleat, bleat in the control room. Charlie leapt into the air thinking for a moment that the bunker was chastising him for his destruction of 1989’s highest grossing album worldwide. The reality was much worse. A blaring, bleating klaxon meant only one thing. A perimeter breach.

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