His eyes snapped open, the sound of his beating heart all that he could hear pulsating in the darkness. The bloated shadows swallowed the world around him as his head pounded in the darkness. He laid his head in his hands, the swollen skin of his eyes plump against his fingertips. Crusted blood flaked away from his touch as he reclined. How long had he been down there, days? He rubbed his temples as more crusted blood fall to the ground as he swung, twisting his body through the air, his ankles tied to a thick rope anchored in the ceiling. He rocked himself back and forth from his position as a pendulum, pushing against the walls to feel the boundaries of his prison.
His mind was foggy from drowsiness, and yet he recounted his moments before falling asleep.
Brandon stirred in his tent for a long time, the night sky was clear. The sagebrush rustled beyond the campsite. He rocked back and forth, remembering the sight of the eyes watching him.
She rolled onto her side, her ribs burned in her chest as if they were on fire. She could feel the blood dripping from her side. Despite the screaming pain inside, she gripped a jutting rock on the wall and pulled herself from the ground. She braced herself until the wobble in her legs settled.
How many days had it been?
She traced the hash marks she’d scratched into the wall of the cave before she clutched her side.
“Two hundred and forty-one.” She quietly sighed. Blood dripped from her side.
From down the hall, slow, methodical scraping echoed to her room. She took a sharp stone into her hand and waited.
He reached downward, his eyes adjusted to the darkness by then. The room he had been hung in was small, sheer rock walls surrounded him, covered in a slick liquid that ran down from his feet tied to a metal hook hanging from the ceiling. He’d tried to snap the rope but his pockets had been wiped, which meant his knife was long gone. He closed his eyes, pushing the searing pain in his head to the back of his thought as he swung again, pushing off from the wall as hard as he could as he arced out, his skull only a few inches from the floor. He swung back and slammed against the wall, he braced himself and pushed a second time, arcing further upward. The cool damp air around him rushed past his face as he sailed back against the wall. He bounced off of it and shoved with everything he could muster as he arced up a final time, and at the apex, he pulled his legs toward him, and the tension in the rope released. The rope slipped from the metal hook and he fell, crashing onto the ground. His head smacked against the cold stone as he bounced against the ground as the wind knocked from him. He was free.
His head pounded as he worked the rope from his ankles, the knot a tangled mess that came undone easily. If he’d been able to reach it from where he hung he realized he’d have been able to untie himself there. He kicked the rope away as he scrambled to his feet. His head spun, his feet and legs ached. He fell to the ground as his legs grew numb. He gasped for air as he laid on his back and closed his eyes.
“I will not die here.” He muttered, before passing out.
“So you’re telling me that Annice has been gone almost a whole year?” A stately, plump man in a fine suit sat across from her, repeating her comments over and over again. Likely he’d say it was for clarification but it didn’t make it sound any less patronizing.
“I’m telling you my daughter has been gone for a year and the City Police haven’t done anything.” Tonya rolled her eyes at the suit sitting across from her, who scribbled a note on the paper in front of him.
“Well, do you have any idea where she might have gone? She was in her twenties, you sure she didn’t just… go on vacation?” The man across from her checked over his shoulder. Another man stood behind him shaking his head in exasperation. The man in the back sighed and stepped forward.
“Ma’am, we are investigating in their stead. I apologize for my partner. He is… having an off day.” The second man, much thinner than the first with short brown hair gently smiled, bending the scar on his upper lip as he did so.
“I hope so.” Tonya rolled her eyes. “My baby belongs at home.” She turned toward the larger man.
“And to answer your condescending question, no, she didn’t just take a trip. A trip is eight days. Not eight months.” She leaned back into her chair and affixed her eyes on the view from her front window, which displayed a large pasture and grazing cows. The men glanced out the window with her briefly.
“So, Tonya, where was she last seen?”
The older woman sighed and closed her eyes. “She went out with some friends, on the other side of town.” Her eyes grew glassy as she recounted the last moment she’d spoken to her daughter. “That night they had some work party for the new year, afterward she said she was staying over at a friends house and that was the last I’d heard.”
“Do you have her friend’s name and address?”
The woman nodded. “Danielle Burk, she lives on the North side of town.”
The men nodded as they took down the address and thanked her. The thinner man extended his hand to shake. “It was nice to hear from you. We will go ask Danielle some questions, and will update you if we discover anything.”
Tonya took his hand and began crying.
The men left the house and quickly made their way to their vehicle. As the thinner man climbed into the driver’s seat, the larger man had trouble getting in himself.
“You’re getting too big.” He commented.
“What do you mean, Bryan?” He remarked, stuffing himself into the car like a lump of rising dough.
“I mean, if you intend to keep yourself hidden you should refrain from expanding when you’re right in front of a human.”
“You’re a human.”
Bryan rolled his eyes.
“You know what I mean, get in the car, let’s go.”
Bryan backed the vehicle out of the driveway and began moving down the drive. His partner deflated.
She scrambled across the room and backed into a corner opposite the cobbled-together wooden door that had been barred from the other side. The shambling thing on the other side scraped against the stone and paused outside of her door. She saw through the thin slits in the wooden palette, rotten skin draped over a hulking skeletal frame. The bones had ripped through the skin in places and stretched out like spines. It turned to look at her through the slits in the wood, black beady eyes set into a long face as if it had been stretched out and tied around the skull.
She shivered as the beast looked in at her for a moment, then turned and continued making its way down the hall. Long spined bones scraping against the wet stone with each lumbering step. She scrambled to her feet and approached the door, the blisters in her feet stabbing at her with each step as she peered down the hall as the thing turned down a far corner.
She breathed a sigh and relaxed as much as she could. She tried the door another time with no luck and returned to her place in the corner where she took the stone and scratched another hash-mark.
“Two hundred and forty-two.” She closed her eyes and leaned against the wall. The dripping of liquid echoed in her chamber still, the only thing that’d kept her company.
He awoke a second time with a start. Remembering that he was no longer hung to the wall, he scrambled to stand and looked around the room, finally, having adjusted to the world around him, he made out the dark affixes within. The room was large, but he’d hardly call it a room. He found himself inside a cave with one poorly cobbled together door. The thing barring him from the outside was built out of scrap wood and sheet metal, tied together with thick twine and driven into the stone. He pushed, but it didn’t budge.
“Of course it’s locked.” He sputtered through a heavy breath. He realized then that the back of his neck was wet. He reached to feel and when he returned his hand, he sniffed the liquid. Blood. He reached to the crown of his head and pressed as the rough texture of bone covered and slick blood rubbed his fingertips. He grew lightheaded as if the realization had stolen his energy from him and he stepped back. He sat against the wall and recounted the last things he could remember as if his prying could change his predicament. He remembered someone approaching the campsite and blowing some powder into his face as he sat by the fire. After that, his memory was black.
He rested until he’d regained his breath and returned to the door. Ever-present to the burning sensation from the back of his head as he carefully examined the twisted knots and cords that held imprisoned him. He knelt and found a sharp stone on the ground and put it to a piece of twine, and began sawing. No sooner did the twine snap that a piece of the door fell loose. A chunk of wood fell free from the twine and slapped against the cold stone, echoing into the rooms beyond him. Panic gripped his heart as he realized what he’d done, and he began sawing faster.
Another piece dropped inside his room, then another in the hall outside. Before long the door, if he could call it that, was a skeletal frame that hung in the cave entrance with only a thick piece of wood barring his exit. He stepped back and braced himself, feeling the cool stone on his bare feet as he set his eyes on the wood and braced himself.
He raised his leg and kicked the center of the wood as hard as he could, pain shot through his leg, and rocked into his hips as the wood cracked beneath the weight of his blow. He shoved on it through an opening in the door and it fell from the latch outside. He winced and pushed the door open.
He’d barely stepped out into the hall beyond his cell when he heard it, a familiar, harrowing howl that echoed through the halls that stretched into darkness on either side of him. He picked a path and began running.
The drive to Danielle’s house was relatively silent beyond the sounds coming from his partner, gentle rhythmic humming as the small creature worked over the barren skin laid out in the passenger seat.
“I have to be honest with you, I hate that you do that.”
The thing wiggled and rotated to look at him. A small stone hung suspended in the center of a thick blob of jelly.
“Would you rather I appeared like this?”
Bryan rolled his eyes. “It just doesn’t sound normal.”
The thing wiggled again, offering the closest thing it could to a shrug as it continued about its business, rolling up and down over the face of the man he’d been wearing until he had smoothed out the imperfections. He hummed the whole time, accenting the faint sound of squishing on the leather seats.
Bryan continued driving.
He bolted through the hallways and flew by door after door as the scream-howl drew closer to him. From behind him deep in the darkness, the dreadful scraping of bone against rock followed. He didn’t turn to look, he only ran. He twisted through the contorted halls of the cave prison and wound around through small rooms and back into more sprawling caves before he started to feel the sting in his lungs. He tried to ignore the feeling of fire in his chest, the thing in the dark nearing with each wasted step. It screamed again.
He whipped to his side and threw open a cell door, pulling the makeshift lock in with him. This one a rigid metal pipe. The cold steel in his hands as he turned to face what had pursued him. He stared, waiting for it to open the door and reach into the cave. His hands were tight on the pipe. He cleared his mind, feeling the blood on his scalp drip down his neck.
“Don’t have much time, if any.” He whispered.
The thing slowed down the hall, its breathing labored as it paused. A sharp crack echoed through the halls and sent a chill down his spine as he tightened his grip on the pipe. From behind him, someone spoke into the damp air.
The raspy voice, barely above a whisper called out to him.
“Get me out of here.”
He glanced over his shoulder and found a man crumpled in the corner of the room, clutching his head.
He didn’t turn back. The thing slowly passed by the door, carefully inspecting it for a moment before it moved on. He could barely make out the form of what had chased him as the shadow lumbered past. The footsteps continued down the hall he remained still, and watched. When the heaving steps of the beast had left earshot he dropped his guard and lowered the weapon. Behind him, the man began groaning.
He whipped around to face the crumpled man and gripped the pipe.
“Be quiet.” He spat a whisper into the darkness and noticed the man leaning forward as his groaning grew louder. Down the hall, the howl erupted out once more.
He threw open the door and kept the pipe as he left, turning the way he’d come, away from where the thing had gone and moved through the halls. He’d passed into a small central hall when he’d heard the thing’s footsteps once more. Something wooden splintered in a nearby hall and a man began screaming. He slammed his eyes shut and fell back onto the wall, squeezing his mouth closed to keep from making noise as the man’s scream warped and twisted and erupted into a carnal roar.
The door on the opposite end of the hall slammed open.
Somewhere near, a scream of pain and more howls of the beast reached her through the darkness. She palmed the sharp stone and pushed herself further into the corner of the room as another scream rang out. Higher pitched and… human.
She stood, rushing to the door as a wooden bang echoed against the stone and a man’s voice screamed as he drew nearer to her. She felt a bead of sweat trickle down her forehead as she wrapped her hands around the tangled exhaust pipe that had become a reinforced bar for her prison. She shook the door softly, trying for the hundredth time to knock the bar loose, but she knew it was no use. She took a long breath and closed her eyes.
The rapid footsteps of the man running down her hall drew near to her immediately, she heard others stirring in the small rooms beside hers. Separated by stone, they woke as if in unison and began whimpering.
“Two hundred days…” She muttered to herself. “And someone got free.”
The man came running down the hall in a full sprint, and she caught a glimpse of him. His skin horrid and pale, his head covered in blood as he sprinted past her door. No great distance behind him, the thing clawed through the stone halls as its spines scraped the walls and ceiling. A horrid stench broached her nose as it approached. Something she hadn’t smelled in some time…
The thing clawed past the door in all of its intoxicating horrors. She gasped as it whipped around the corner, and glared at her through the crack in the door. Her stomach churned. It dragged its body past her room and the door rattled as the thing crossed to the opposite end.
The thing was gone as quickly as it had appeared, leaving a trail of viscous liquid behind. She rushed back to the door, praying that somehow this time would be different as she shoved against the mess of wood and metal, and against her belief, the door sprung open. It swung wide as she paused to take in her surroundings, just beyond the doorway she saw the exhaust pipe that had barred her in for so long torn in half and lying on the ground.
She sucked in a breath and ran down the maze-like halls away from the beast.
“So, Danielle, if you don’t mind us asking you a few questions about Annice we’ll be on our way.”
The girl across from them was bundled in a big blanket, tightly wound around her. Mascara had smeared down from tears, and she stared ahead as if she wasn’t listening to Bryan’s words. His partner stood behind him, appropriately rotund in the skinsuit he wore.
“Sure.” She didn’t look at him.
“About a year ago, a little under, you and some of your friends went out drinking and then came back here. One of them, Annice Garfield went missing shortly afterward.” Bryan checked the notes that his partner had taken and rolled his eyes. The notebook in front of him was covered in doodles of the skinsuit he’d been wearing.
Danielle sat quietly for some time while he linked his fingers together and sat, looking at the distraught girl carefully.
“It’s happening again.”
Bryan shared a look with his partner. “What’s happening again?”
She shook her head quickly. “Annice, it’s happening again. My friend Austin… he went missing a few days ago.”
Bryan flipped to an open page and began taking notes. “How many days, where were you?”
“Camping.” Danielle’s face wrinkled with a frown as her eyes glazed. “We found his hair on the ground a couple of miles out of camp.”
Well, missing hair doesn’t mean good things.
Bryan nodded, biting his lip. “Can you tell me anything about Annice or Austin, if there is any connection?”
Danielle shook her head. “I don’t think so.” She paused, and for the first time, all afternoon looked him in the eyes.
“What if you go there, maybe you can see. The police didn’t help us.” She shivered.
As she continued speaking, Bryan kept a close eye on her. The small red mark on her collar bone seemed to pulsate as she spoke.
“You should go. We were three and a half miles north off of the main street, there was a clearing by some trees that we’d parked at. We only spent one night.”
Bryan made a note about the sudden change in her demeanor. She straightened her back. Her eyes had glazed over.
“We can do that, do you remember anything specific about Annice? Anything she might have said to you that night or before then? Someone wanting to hurt her, anything?”
Danielle didn’t reply. She blinked a few times and then turned her gaze away. Her eyes regained their regular glassy appearance.
Her mother approached from the other room. “I think you gentlemen should come back another time. Austin was a good friend of hers and she is struggling.”
Bryan nodded in acceptance and closed the notebook. “Please, call me if anything else comes up.”
He slipped a small card from his pocket and left it on the coffee table. She forced a smile and took it as Bryan and his partner made their way out of the house.
On the street, they shared a look.
“Campsite?” his partner smirked.
“I guess so. Didn’t so much want to take you out to the field this early, but I guess we don’t have a choice.”
The man hopped a bit, his skin deflated slightly as he popped open the door and climbed in before deflating all the way.
Bryan rolled his eyes.
You couldn’t wait until we got away from people?
He closed the door and pulled away from the curb towards the North, hoping to find some answers.
She ran, blindly, down the hall through the darkness. She turned randomly down various halls, whichever path took her further away from the snarling of the thing behind her. She’d been running for a few minutes and lost track of her place in the complex tunnel network. Each stretch of stone and hobbled doors appeared the same as the last. Even the moans of the people inside began to blend in some dreary chorus. She’d passed a metal pipe and picked it up.
“Light.” She mumbled. She paused for a moment to listen, searching for the sounds of the thing that paced the halls. All was silent, for the time being. She turned to one of the doors and jammed the pipe between a gap between two planks and pried with all of her strength. After a brief struggle, a chunk of wood splintered and snapped free. The crack echoed through the halls.
“Time to go.” She snatched the wood and kept moving.
Some time had passed in the depths of the halls before she started to make sense of where she was going. She plucked a handful of rocks from the ground in one of the larger rooms and began wedging them into every third door of a hall she’d been down. She repeated this over and over, wedging 48 rocks by her count. Each time she drew nearer to the sounds of the thing in the dark, she turned back and made her way to another hall. Her process worked and she followed the path she’d made for herself until she passed into an unmarked hallway and found another open doorway. She gripped the pipe and crept towards the darkness. She squinted and stepped in, not finding anyone within. She perused the area, hoping that there was anything of use scattered about on the floor, but she couldn’t make out anything among the piles of rocks and water pools. She leaned against the wall and closed her eyes for a heartbeat, pressing her hand on the spot beside her when her fingers felt something.
Tiny ridges carved into the stone. She traced her fingers over the lines and counted them out
Two hundred and forty-two.
His feet throbbed, nearly worse than his head as he ran down the hall. The thing continued pursuing him. However far behind him it was, he pressed ahead. He’d considered a few halls back that the thing didn’t want to catch him, if it did, it would have long ago. Which left him with two options. It couldn’t fit well enough in the halls to chase him, or it was toying with him.
He prayed for the former.
Still, he continued pressing through the darkness, ignoring the groans of the rest of the people who’d been locked away.
How many people has it taken?
He shook any thought that wasn’t dedicated to his survival from his mind as he paced halls, running still. He burst through a larger room and slipped, his hands caught on a rock wedged into one of the doors, near the handle. Blood trickled from his hand, but he didn’t stop. Down the hall, he passed into a larger room where he found a small bookshelf and a sloppily constructed bench on the opposite wall. As he approached, he made out a familiar form lying on the table.
Liam’s rifle and a few rounds.
He closed his eyes and sighed, taking the rifle around his shoulder as he loaded the clip. Beside the rifle, he found a small pile of items he recognized. Among them, his knife, and his lighter. He glanced behind him as the snarling beast approached and tore into his shirt. He took a splintered piece of wood from the bookshelf and tied his shirt around it quickly, igniting it with his lighter. The flame took and he gasped. He squinted as the dim fire erupted like a spotlight in the small room and the beast paused.
He didn’t waste time to see it beneath light as he started running down the opposite hall. Under the glow of his makeshift torch, he realized that there had been rocks placed in every third door on one side of the hall. He noted it and continued moving.
Place markers? Keys?
He kept moving. Being there long enough to understand why there were rocks in the doors didn’t sit well. He made his way into a hallway with no more stones in the doors and turned to follow the new path. The creature had slowed its pursuit considerably after picking up the torch but he continued moving. Down the hall, he found himself upon an open door. From inside, the sound of a woman crying reached his ears.
Bryan climbed out of the car as his partner hopped across the dash outside of the skin and jumped onto him. He shivered as the thing rolled up his back and perched on his shoulder.
“Just like she said.” The thing’s voice rang out in the basin with a metallic tone.
“Sure enough.” He looked down over a clearing between a few trees where the ground had been littered with empty beer cans and bottles that looked fresh.
“She said the police weren’t doing anything?” Bryan knelt and inspected the footprints scattered around the dirt.
“What she said. Yeah.” His partner rolled down his shoulder, the stone pulling the gel as it spun on an axis to the top of Bryan’s hand. “So, what do you think happened out here?”
He remained on his knees for a while as he inspected the area. No signs of struggle, no residue from anything he’d recognize. Barely any signs of activity at all, outside of the boot marks that trampled everything in the area.
“Think she misled us?” His partner voiced, rolling back up to perch on his shoulder.
“I think it’s possible, Vidten”
“Think there might be something out there?” The gel around the stone began to shape itself into a spike, pointed out towards the other side of the trees, and toward a small cave. Bryan stood and made his way through the sagebrush as he approached the cave.
He was a few yards away when the smell hit him. The stench of rotting blood entangled with desert plants erupted from the mouth of the cave.
“I think this is the place.” He grimaced and pulled a bandanna from his pocket to shield his mouth.
“Nowhere to go but down, I guess.” His partner flattened itself against his body and wrapped around his ribs, the warm stone against the center of his chest. He sucked in a deep breath and stepped into the mouth of the cave.
Outside her cell door, it approached. Slow, careful footsteps that were hidden by the sounds of scraping and groaning. She backed into a corner near the door and gripped the pipe close as she watched it take its first step into the room. A man’s leg stepped in as light bathed the cell. She lunged forward and slammed the pipe down at its leg as the clawing echoed through the halls. A man’s voice shouted as he limped through the doorway and turned to face it, aiming a rifle through the entrance.
She pulled back her arm to swing a second time and paused. It was the boy she’d seen before. His scalp mangled and crusted still with blood, and the torchlight did him no favors.
“Careful, I could have shot you.”
She backed away from him. “Why aren’t you?”
He rolled his eyes, lodging the torch in a crack in the wall. “Because I’d rather not kill the only other person wandering around in here.”
She gripped the pipe as the scraping drew near, the heavy breathing of the thing hummed gently beneath the sounds. She closed her eyes and raised the pipe.
The boy didn’t take his eyes from the doorway. “Want to focus on the bigger problem right now?”
She stared at him, silent. Two hundred and forty-two days.
The air pulsated with each step of the thing. The horrid scraping of bone against rock roared through the tunnel as it paused in front of the door and peered through. A tangled knot of exposed muscle and rotting skin stood on the other side, seven arms protruded from the torso of the body, which reached into the doorway as the thing’s long neck swung through the door and stretched toward them. The long-horned skull like that of cattle protruded in their space, and in the flickering torchlight, she saw the face of a man stretched across the thing’s pointed skull and hooked into the horns. Her hands began to tingle.
Stretched as it was, the face of the man remained barely whole, though the skin around its eyes and cheeks had ripped.
“Shoot it!” She yelled at the man who’d had a gun trained since it showed itself. He didn’t pull the trigger.
“My chest…” He muttered, lowering the gun. She looked at the thing quickly as the man stepped back, the tangled mess of flesh and limbs fought to enter the cave room, its hands grasped at the air around it. The deep rumble of its growl echoed in the stone enclosure. She reminded herself how long she’d been there, and slammed the pipe down into the thing’s skull. It howled as it pulled its head away from her and the hands began slowly drifting towards her. She jumped out of the way as the man began screaming. The rifle clattered to the ground as he collapsed, clutching his chest.
She slipped the pipe through one of her belt loops and picked up the rifle, after she checked for bullets, she fired at the thing four times. Each shot sprayed through the flesh mask and blew chunks of bone away from its head. It reeled back briefly each time before it returned to squeezing its way through the room. The man had begun howling in pain and clutched his chest as he laid on the floor.
She continued firing, emptying the clip into the thing’s head. With each fired bullet, she heard the man’s scream of agony grow more and more desperate, but when she’d finally emptied the clip the thing began to retreat.
She rushed to his side and rolled him onto his back. He was breathing, but barely. The scraping of the spined bones retreated into the darkness as she lifted the man’s head into her lap.
“What is wrong?”
The man coughed. “I don’t know.” He clutched his chest and tore open his shirt. “It hurts so bad.”
She looked down upon his exposed chest and revealed a large irritated lump beneath his skin that writhed. She stared at the thing as it moved beneath the surface, every time it bent the man screamed in pain.
“Kill me.” He mumbled, his eyes glazing over as he looked at her.
She shook her head. He clutched her wrists. She lifted him onto his feet and began dragging him out of the room as he groaned. A gunshot echoed through the tunnels. Then another. Then, the creature screamed.
“What’s your name?” She asked, dragging the boy through the darkness.
“Austin.” He gripped his chest and howled alongside the creature.
She kept moving. “Austin, how long have you been down here?”
They continued as more gunshots went off, and the creature howled more. Austin then howled himself. Sweat trickled down her back and Austin clung to her as they navigated the tunnels she’d marked, making her way to the gunshots. She turned and twisted through the complex tunnel system. In between gunshots, in the distance, a man was shouting.
“Someone is here!” She patted Austin’s side, who had given up on speaking and had fallen to quiet groans with each new gunshot.
She made her way to a new hallway, one nearer to the sounds of the man. This one was decorated and carved, compared to the previous tunnels that had just been dirt and rock bored through, this one was completely stone and filled with various herbs hanging in bundles. The walls were etched with images of things like what she’d seen, each one more horrifying than the last with multiple limbs and tangled masses attached to them with muscle and sinew. She tore her eyes away from the images as the hall opened up into a grand chamber beneath the ground, lit by dim candles. They’d emerged on a balcony that hung above the circular chamber, in the center she once more saw the thing with the stretched face and a man in a tan overcoat with a pistol in his hand. She dragged Austin around the balcony and found a staircase down to the lower floor where they were, and laid the boy to the ground.
She knelt and peered over the hewn stone banister as the creature and this man danced back and forth. His gun fired, Austin groaned and the creature screamed. It stretched its neck out towards the man and he’d duck, loading it with holes.
“You’re resilient.” He commented and ducked beneath one of the creature’s many limbs. Another gunshot. Another groan. “I’ve spent way too long with this.” He mumbled. “Don’t you think?” A second voice replied. “Finish it then, if you’re so tough.”
The man holstered his gun and jumped backward, he knelt and slammed the palms of his hands against the creature’s body. He lowered his head and quickly chanted something in a language unlike any she’d heard before. Beneath the creature, the stone of the chamber floor erupted in a great spire and drove through the meat of the thing, pulling it off of the ground as it screamed in pain.
Behind her, Austin let out a likewise horrific scream. She turned back to see his chest burst open from the risen wound as blood gushed from the exposed mark. As the flow of blood cleared, she saw a large hole had been torn through Austin’s body, as if it mimicked where the beast had been punctured.
The man stood and clapped his hands together before drawing his pistol once more.
“Stand up and come down here, with your hands up.”
He pointed the gun at her and she dropped the pipe. She descended the steps with her hands raised as her stomach churned.
“What is your name?” The man stepped closer with his finger on the trigger.
“Annice Garfield.” She mumbled, watching the men’s eyebrows raise as he holstered his gun.
“That was easier than I anticipated.” He nodded. “Bryan Robertson, I was hired to find you.”
“How did you know where to look?” She fell to her knees as her eyes flooded.
“It’s my job.” He put a hand on her shoulder and knelt.
“Let’s get you home, Annice.” He wrapped an arm around her as she began crying, light from the surface spilling into the chamber below.
Behind them, the creature groaned.
Robertson aimed his gun one more time and pulled the trigger.
There will be no end to the screaming.
Thank you, for coming to hear a new story from the Otherwhere. This is only the beginning. I hope to see you back over the next few days until the end of this year. These are not only retellings of a world long ago. They are a recorded history, a warning for all of us. I am merely the vessel they are speaking through. I hope you share these warnings with as many as you can. The time is not long now. Do not be afraid of the shadows.
I’d love to hear from you on Social Media if you have it, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed thus far. I’ll be back with more.
See you soon.