The last story for my Halloween celebration, unfortunate that I couldn’t get a story out ever day but I’m happy to have tried.
With November’s arrival, I’ll be trying my hand at NaNoWriMo, I’d like to come out of the experience with a first draft for a full novel. I’ll be trying to get out blogs chronicling my experience as well as short stories from the three series’ I’ve already started, it’ll be a tough goal, but I’ll do my best.
Hope you enjoy it,
“You can’t escape us forever, yknow!”
It glares up at me, crowing imperiously. Steadily I increase the force of my heel on the carapace-like resistance I feel within the shadow. Disgusting creatures, their confidence is unfortunately not without merit. Despite outward appearances, theirs is the boot grinding me into the dirt.
Weak, but defiantly without fear, the it’s guttering tendrils of manifest shadows writhe like dying flames from the creature’s body. Vaguely humanoid within it’s eldritch caul, I can’t help but feel contempt, disgust and fear, at it’s mere presence.
“Did you hear me, you walking corpse! We’ll find ya!”
The ritual complete, I stomp heavily with my booted foot. The monsters chitinous skull shatters beneath my heel, releasing a thin tenebrous mist and dissolving the thing’s physical form as it is banished back to the abyss.
I’ve got to move quick. They move in pairs, and it’s never long before more show up. The pale grey tint on my visions gives the train station the appearance of one of those old detective films. It’s fitting, the men in those movies always die at the end, too.
I take the concrete stairs two or more at a time, thankfully the place is mostly empty at this time of night. Ahead a handful of young guys, drinking rambunctiously by the exit. I keep my head low, desperately wanting to avoid a confrontation, but I should have known better than to hope. If I’d been just an ordinary person, these guys probably still would have started something with me. They’re young, dumb and full of piss and vinegar, while I on the other hand, am old and tired.
Unfortunately for them and me, I’m not an ordinary person, and If I can’t get past them quickly, it’ll be worse for all of us. Keeping my head down I quick my pace to try and rush past but the nearest of them steps suddenly into my path, bumping me and sending me sprawling.
“Hey, watch it.”
I mumble something I hope sounds apologetic, scrambling to my feet. Already the four of them are moving to surround me, I recognise from their body language they plan to pin me in and either harass or assault me. The one who bumped into me isn’t tall, but he looks strong and postures like a kid with something to prove.
I can feel my shoulder and shin, where I collided with him, burning. The heat slowly being drawn through my body and pooling in the side of my neck. Still cool, I note, there’s a chance this won’t go any further.
Suddenly I feel hands roughly shove me in the chest, slamming me into the brick wall behind me. The air is knocked from my lungs, and I realise while I’d been distracted by my thoughts, I’d ignored the kid say something. A bad mistake.
“I said, what are you going to do about bumping into me like that, old man?”
Heat from my chest and back, collects beneath the mark on my neck. It’s warm now, distressingly so. Regardless, this time I hear him. From what he’s said, I suspect he doesn’t want to fight, just look tough.
I notice a spilled drink on the ground where we’d collided, unlikely related to our collision, it’s something. With shaking hands I reach into my pocket, pulling out my wallet and offering it’s contents, “Did I knock over your drinks, fellas? I’m sorry, this should be enough to replace them, shouldn’t it?”
The boy understands me, and I understand him. Underneath his arrogant veneer, he’s relieved that he’s saved face without actually having to hurt me. He sits the lowest on whatever social ranking this group has, he’s not a bad kid, just trying to impress them. With loud, drunken cheers, the other boys cheer him on as they roughly jostle me out of the circle.
My neck is hot now. Painfully so, each shove forces more heat until I can feel myself reaching my limit. I need to get out of here, but if I shove past them or run, there’s no way I’ll avoid clashing with them. Searching for a serene place in my mind I try desperately to drift through them like a leaf on the water.
Just as I’m about to be clear of them, the biggest of them shoves me hard. Once more I find myself on the floor, this time my palms scraped and bleeding. My neck is on fire. I pray for just a little bit longer, then all at once. I’m cool.
Time freezes in that half second of relief. I’m filled with absolute ecstasy, the kind I could never hope to describe. More visceral than sex, deeper than love, more thrilling than victory, it’s like a every drug imaginable, all at once.
Then comes the fall. I am made of brittle ice and I shatter, releasing all the demons of hell to frolic like a forest fire. The four boys scream in terror, then agony. I close my eyes, unwilling to look at them. I pray, reciting the prayers my father had taught me when I was young, the ones I’d never listened to back then, the ones my brother knew far more of than I ever had.
For an eternity I’m forced to listen as the boys die. Only once forever has ended am I brought back to the train station. Wearily I stand. The four boys are cowering at the far side of the station, watching me like I was the devil himself. I suppose to them I might be.
I want to say something, do something to help them. But there is nothing. They have been judged and punished, and my pursuers are already nearby. Kneeling down, I take back the money I’d given them, having been dropped in the confusion. I needed it more than they did, after all.
Stepping into the night beyond, bright with street lights, I can see the familiar shift in the darkness across the way. I want to sleep, but with tonight’s sin, I must be like a beacon to them. So I run. I run like hell.