Officer Boyle took a moment and stood looking up at the great house before him, a daunting structure with a chimney that pierced the roof directly through the centre. The whole house was covered in century-worn blackened pebbledash, most of it wrapped in dead strings of ivy, giving the old place a look of something trapped.
Minutes ago a call had come over the radio, screaming heard by the neighbours - another domestic, he suspected. Now, here he stood - his shadow casting a blue, intermittent silhouette on the brown water-damaged door in front of him - becoming wary of something more than familial disputes.
With one hand on his holster, he pushed the doorbell with the other. No sound came. As he went to knock, the door creaked and parted from the frame. A shadow scurried across the stream of light from the open door, causing him to jump forward into the house and draw his gun.
Standing in the darkness he was sure he could hear low whispering voices coming from all corners of the house. “He’s here!” “He’s here!” they said, over and over.
He began to walk the corridor in front of him. At the end of the hall a phone sat on a table with the receiver stretched off the edge, the rear end touching the rotting carpet, giving it a limp stance.
When he got to the end of the hall he carefully turned left into the next room. The dim light of a half moon shone through the window, showing a large dining room table.
“I’m so hungry,” he heard a louder voice say. It seemed to come from low to the floor.
Fear grew in Officer Boyle, prompting him to flail towards the wall in need of a light switch. He let out a whimper of relief when his fingers found it. A smile found his lips as he flicked the light on. The room exploded in light.
He turned back to the table, and he felt his throat close and his heart skip a beat. Sitting at the table were what appeared to be people, yet one could look right through them. All at once those spectral heads turned toward him, aiming hollowed eye sockets in his direction. Each of these things had its mouth agape and their faces contorted into screams.
“Get him!” he heard among the sharp shrieks, yet these screams came not from their mouths but from all over and closing in upon him.
Back down the corridor he ran. There, blocking the front door, were the source of the voices…rats. Hundreds of rats, all the size of small dogs, backs arched, teeth bared and sweeping slithering tails as long as their bodies.
They all proceeded towards him in military fashion. He felt the ones from behind him bite first; the flesh was taken from his calf, and immediately his sock filled with blood. On the other leg he felt the large body squeeze and scurry its way up his trouser leg, so big and determined that the seam of his trouser burst open as if an invisible scissor was run up the leg.
Just as the bite came into his thigh he looked up, to see a black wave dotted with red ravenous eyes hit him like a wall. The last words he heard before the pain stopped were something about who gets the eyes.
The next day Boyle stood in the dining room. His badge and hat lay among a pile of bones under the table. He looked down at his hands, and through them.
“What the fuck?” he said to himself. Nothing escaped his mouth, yet he heard the words come from nearby. Looking in the pile of bones he glimpsed a moving ball of pink skin. Officer Boyle let out a long, bellowing scream. The scream from the newborn rat was all that he heard.