Thanks to my friend Konnor for sending this to me. I hope you don't find out about the other sites I've posted it on......
I felt my feet step down one at a time, walking in the direction of my home after yet another day of school. Each foot dropped, creating a splash in the ground that had already received rain this morning and was now getting another layer for the next set of pedestrians to splash their way through.
With each step I realized just how hard it was raining. I noticed the pitter-patter of rain on my umbrella overhead; the sound of each drop almost blurring together to form a sort of white noise. I trudged forward, trying to keep a steady pace so that I wouldn’t be entirely drenched when I made it to my home. I saw a small park on my right side and decided against sitting down on one of the dripping wet benches.
With a deep breath, I turned my head to the sky, which was now covered by my rain-soaked umbrella. I closed my eyes for a moment, and then looked back down to see a familiar face, that of which belonged to one of my closest friends, Elizabeth.
“Hey there,” she remarked, seeming to be a bit downcast from seeming to be drenched to the bone. “Mind if I step under there?” she asked, pointing to my umbrella. I nodded, her stepping close to me, and both of us slowing our pace to match one another. We walked in this sort of silence, one that was a sort of peaceful lack of either of us having anything to say. After about five minutes or so, she decided that it had gotten a bit too thick and decided to break it.
“So, where were you planning on heading?” she asked, the look of something more in her eye being something I immediately brushed off as being me overthinking things.
“Probably just going home, drying off a bit and figuring out what to do later,” I replied, an answer that couldn’t be any closer to the truth.
“Sounds exciting,” she remarked, with a sarcasm that seemed about as friendly as she could manage. “Any other plans?” she asked, her best attempt at small talk yet. “No, not really,” I replied, “what about you?”
“Probably the same thing, maybe work on a few homework assignments just to get them out of the way,” she replied, the entire sentence almost seeming like a sigh. With nothing left to talk about, we continued down the street.
We continued our earlier silence for a small bit longer, neither of us having anything all that important to talk about. It was a peaceful feeling for the few more minutes it lasted.
The silence was broken by the screech of tires from just down the road.
“Someone must be in a hurry,” she remarked, still not really caring.
The sound stopped and the screech died down a bit as it was drowned out by the sound of a revving motor, as a car sped toward the both of us. Instinctively, I pushed her out from under the umbrella, and felt impact.
I felt the cracking of bones coming from inside my chest, my chest collapsing in on itself. I felt my back slammed against a concrete wall and my eyes slowly decided that they wanted to take no part in seeing the rest of the scene.
Screams were heard around me, and eventually sirens, almost mimicking the screams. Voices surrounded me, becoming more and more distant.
Eventually, no sound came to me at all.
Chapter 1: From Bad to Worse
I felt consciousness slowly return to me, my eyes still tightly shut, blocking out anything I might have seen. I reluctantly opened them to see the wall of a bathroom stall, and felt the tile of a bathroom underneath me. I slowly got my feet under myself and stood up. I took a quick look at myself in the dirty, grimy mirror. I saw myself, wearing a sweater with the hood up over my head. I saw the straps of the backpack I was wearing, feeling its lack of weight more than anything else. I turned to my right, and found the door. I opened it up and walked out into some sort of restaurant, looking entirely deserted and with very few tables still upright and with their original tablecloth on them. They looked to be like they might have belonged to a fancy, aristocratic restaurant for only the wealthiest of people.
I moved past them and over to the glass door, which thankfully gently opened up to my touch. A cool blast of air moved over my face, and let me out of the small building that I awoke in.
I looked up to the sky to see it was night, and the sun had retired perhaps a few hours ago. I felt my pocket and thankfully, felt my phone still there. I took it out and pressed the button to turn on the screen. 8:31, which would explain why it had gotten dark by now.
I figured that my best bet would likely be to get a feel for where I was.
I placed it back in my pocket, and looked back into the restaurant. Perhaps there was some sort of flashlight I could find in there that would allow me to see where I was going while I walked around at night. I pushed the door back open and stepped back into the stuffy little room. It was a lot smaller than most of these fancy restaurants.
I stepped around the counter and looked to see if there was any sort of flashlight to guide me through the darkness of the night. After seeing a whole lot of nothing, I turned around to see what appeared to be a kitchen. Thankfully, the town I lived in rained a lot, so power-outages weren’t exactly a rarity. After a few minutes of searching around in the kitchen, I found my prize. It was a large, pipe-like flashlight that could be adjusted to either fill a room or be pointed at something specific. I went for something that was in between and walked back out of the room, stepping past the tables and back out into the night air, my newfound flashlight in hand.
It appeared to exit out into a small street lined with cars haphazardly stopped in the middle of the road. I looked in one of the windows, only to realize my efforts were in vain. The car’s interior was destroyed, even if I could get into it, it’d still be useless. I tried this several times, realizing that all of them were in someway irreparably destroyed, whether it was missing a steering wheel, tires, or engine. I walked over to a bus stop bench and sat down for a moment. What the hell had happened? All I could remember from today was rain.
As soon as I’d thought of it, I’d seen the first drop fall upon the glass top of the bus stop. I took the backpack off of my shoulders for a moment and looked into it. Sadly enough, there was no trace of anything to keep me dry when I walked out from under the canopy of the bus stop. Thinking of the bus stop for another moment, I turned to look at the bus map. After a quick inspection, I realized that I was nowhere near where I lived. I lived across town, in the suburbs, whereas this was in the middle of the city.
I turned back to the rainy street behind me. This was going to be a painfully long night.
With a sigh, I zipped up my bag and put it back on. Before leaving the little bus stop, I noticed something I didn’t quite notice before.
A gun was sitting on the bench next to me. It was right under my backpack the entire time. I picked it up for a moment, examining its details. I wasn’t too familiar with guns, but it was fairly light and had a single full clip in it. I decided that, for some reason, it’d be better to have than to not. I unzipped my bag again and… stopped myself for a second. What if I get into danger? This thought slipped into my mind for a second, and as I turned it over in my head a few times, I realized that my paranoia is going to get the better of me anyway, so I decided to put it into my pants and cover it with my shirt.
I stood back up and looked both directions. To my right was a bus that was blocking my path, and to my left there was a street that seemed to be populated with cars. I looked straight ahead and saw a low, concrete wall with some iron bars on the top of it. It seemed to have an entrance on the left, and also seemed to go around the bus. I stepped through the little hole in the concrete and walked into what appeared to be a small park. Nothing out of the ordinary, but the park wasn’t exactly inviting at this hour, and especially not with this kind of weather. I walked through it to the other side, to find that cars blocked off this side of the road as well. But I did notice a small door open a crack.
I walked towards it and inside. It was quite dark and every door was locked. After walking up a few stairways and trying every door, I finally reached the top floor and a door that was unlocked. I didn’t see anything inside it, but I saw a window that has been broken open, and decide to climb out of it. I walked across the small awning and jumped across to the small space on the other side. It led to a catwalk, which led to a ladder, which I climbed. I hopped down onto a lower part of it, and jumped across to another building. I walked around a bit of roofing, and then jumped across another gap to the apartment building from before. I walked around the edge of it until I reached a ladder that led up to the roof. I climbed it and looked out onto the roof itself.
I saw something in the middle. Yanking out the gun, I aimed it at the movement I had seen. There it was, a teenage girl with long blond hair, somewhere down to her back, and a little black hair bow in it. She let out a small giggle before falling backwards, off the rooftop. I ran over to the edge, only to see what I had feared the least. There was nothing. Not a body. No blood. It was as if I had imagined it all.
Chapter 2: Stranger and Stranger
I sat down on the edge of the building, lost in thought. I didn’t care at this point that I was getting soaked in rain; I just kind of wanted to think for a second. Who was that girl, and why did she just let herself fall off a building that is easily high enough to kill her? More importantly, why wasn’t there a single trace of her being there afterwards?
After about ten minutes of deep thought, I decided this is too much to question about now. I should really just try to get home. I stood up and looked down below me. Thankfully, since this was all one building, I hopped back down to the awning below and got back inside through the broken window.
After going back down through the apartments, I got to the bottom and did a quick inspection of the ground that the girl should have landed on. It was completely barren, still devoid of life just as it was earlier.
I walked back through the park to the side that the street was blocked off by. It extended on a bit, and I decided that my best option would be to climb over the cars and trudge on towards the subway, in hopes that that would be a little more populated than this street. I walked up to the line of cars, and heaved myself onto the hood of one, walking across the tops of them and stepping off on the other side. This side of the street was a tad darker due to the lack of streetlamps, but I decided not to let that discourage me. I turned on my flashlight once again and began my trip toward the subway.
With each step I heard a splash that was all too familiar to me. I couldn’t really remember anything, but I knew that that was a sound that couldn’t ever be unheard. It rained frequently here, and that was really all that I knew. Rain was a peaceful sound, a sound that could get annoying but not bother you at the same time.
I turned the corner and continued walking down the street, one that was equally as laden with cars. Thankfully, this road actually had streetlamps, so I turned off my flashlight after a minute’s worth of walking, putting it back into my pocket. My thoughts lingered back to that rooftop. For some reason, I couldn’t stop remembering her. All I knew her by was the sound of a giggle, and then she went and walked off a building. Why did only a giggle cause me to remember so much about her that I probably didn’t even really know? My thoughts chased their tails like this for another few minutes, not reaching any sort of conclusion whatsoever. All I knew was that she was familiar and that I had to find a way to figure out why.
I continued walking down the street until I noticed a small hole in the ground that was illuminated by a street lamp overhead. It was a staircase, with tiled walls and flooring further in. I had reached my goal.
I stepped down the stairs, going further into the ground to find the subway. Inside, there was one of those ticket booths in the center, with turn-styles leading off in either direction. I took the stairs on the right and walked down into a much larger room with two sets of tracks on either side, which I couldn’t really understand considering how very little I knew of trains. I heard the sound of brakes, and watched as a train pulled in from the left tunnel. As it stopped, the door opened to let off its only passenger.
The blonde girl from the rooftop.
She slowly, carefully stepped off of the train, and as she did, I noticed her eyes were shut tight. “HEY THERE,” she said, in a voice that was much more of a growl than a voice, and watched in horror as her pale skin slowly turned into small flakes that fell off of her, revealing a body that was just as tall as hers, but covered in dried blood and wearing a blindfold with two circular spots of blood in the spots where her eyes were supposed to be. She was completely naked and looked like a ragdoll or mannequin, having none of the correct features of a human being. I ripped my gun from its spot in my pants and pointed it straight at her, firing shot after shot at her head.
Three small bullet holes appeared on her head and more followed as I continued my onslaught.
I slowly stepped backwards, noticing how very little it was affecting her.
Adrenaline filled my veins as I noticed her head slowly tilting, and the line where her mouth was noticeably sewn shut began to curl into a disgusting smile.
I stared on in horror at the thing’s lack of response to anything I could do.
I stopped in my tracks.
No. It can’t end this way.
I looked at the gun, almost as if questioning why it had to do this to me now. I didn’t know anything about guns, but I could visibly tell that the part on the top was stuck backwards. I dropped the clip from it, and looked in horror at the empty clip.
I stared at the blindfolded… thing.
I decided that fighting simply wasn’t an option at this point. I ran around it and entered the train before it, and luckily, the door shut itself before she could get on. She turned around in anger and began banging at the door, and the train slowly began its journey, starting off into the tunnel and leaving her behind. I slowly let my body relax; knowing that I was now out of danger.
That was until I heard glass shattering from the car behind me.
I shot upwards, as it followed with a thud. Ten claws pierced their way through the door.
I went to the back of the train, opened the door and moved to the next car, continuing on to the last car before I came across a locked door, likely due to the fact that this was the last car before I got to the conductor’s car. I saw another door ripped off its frame and tossed out into the tunnel.
I looked onward as I came to a stunning realization.
With a shout, I ran forward and slammed my body weight into the monster, shoving it forward and onto the balcony between cars. With all of my strength, I pushed her off the balcony and over the edge of it, causing her to fall off the train altogether.
The train quickly moved away from her, and I heard her screech ring out throughout the tunnel and out into the night sky as the train crossed the river.
Chapter 3: Isolation
After a few minutes of catching my breath and making sure that thing was really gone, I went back the car I started in and sat down. I placed my head in my hands, trying to recuperate after what happened just a few minutes ago. I blinked a few times and noticed something else.
All the doors were back on their hinges.
I looked back at the door that was just previously torn off by the hands of some monster I didn’t even want to know existed. Why was it still perfectly fine, like nothing had ever happened at all?
Why were things that were happening just reversing themselves seconds afterward? Is this some kind of a prank?
“What the fuck is happening!?” tears itself from my throat and out into the open air of the train car. I realized that, while no one else was around to listen to my yelling, I should probably not be so loud.
With a sigh, I sat myself back down and put my hands into my sweater pockets. I’m probably just hallucinating was the only thing that came to mind as a proper explanation, which scared me more than any of the others. I took the gun out of my pants once again.
With a click, the clip slid from its comfortable little spot in the gun and into my hand. It was still empty, which made me wonder all the more as to what I did in the past few minutes. I took my backpack off and shoved the now useless gun inside, in case someone happens to give me some ammunition or perhaps leaves loaded clips around the city.
Eventually, I shoved this thought out of my mind and sat back for a minute, wondering what I could possibly do at this point. I closed my eyes and let my mind drift back to one thing that’s been haunting me.
That blond haired girl that keeps following me around.
What could she possibly mean?
If I am hallucinating, then, like a dream, it must have something to do with something my mind isn’t telling me. Perhaps this is all one lucid dream I’m having. Maybe I’ll wake up when I either die or get home.
How could I possibly get home at this rate? If I am hallucinating, then why would I even, if I’m just going to imagine that there is some sort of hell beast sitting in my bed?
What could possibly come of me if I get home and there just so happens to be that blond haired girl sitting on my roof, giggling at me like a little school girl, then disappearing as if she were never there?
I’m thinking way too far into this.
I felt myself fly into the chair in front of me as the train lurched forward, throwing me over the seat and down to the front of the train car.
After a minute or so of regaining my thoughts, I sat up. I felt a distinct lack of feeling on my shoulders, causing me to feel for the straps of my backpack. Apparently, it must’ve been the thing that created the hole in the window that’s a few feet from where I sat. Thankfully, though, the luggage that was underneath the seats fell in a way that I might be able to climb. I grabbed onto the pole that could be used for anyone that was forced to stand, and used it to haul myself up from what was turned into impromptu flooring. I grabbed onto two different seats on either side, and used the leverage to push myself up and sit on the backs of one of the chairs.
Okay, so perhaps the train isn’t doing as well as I’d hoped. But still, I must not be far from home now, right? I must be able to get there soon, I must be able to—
A massive, rusty creaking sound was heard from up above. I remembered my immediate surroundings for a moment. This won’t hold for much longer happened to be the first and last thought to shoot into my head that forced me to keep climbing. After climbing past a few more seats, I managed to get up to the top and haul myself out of the train car. I then jumped over to the train tracks just in time to watch the rest of the train slowly fall into the river with a massive splash.
I looked back to see a forest, with the train tunnel almost a distant memory. I slowly walked over to the forest and between the track and tree line until I found a satisfactory opening. Thankfully I still had my . . . flashlight. I reached into my pocket and tried to turn it on only to realize its bulb must have been destroyed in the crash. Thankfully, there was a conveniently placed lantern sitting next to a door I didn’t want to go in, so I walked back to the end of the track.
Why did the track just end like this? I thought, almost questioning whatever I’d earlier written off as a hallucination as a simple hallucination. There was no chance a monster managed to destroy this, it ended too cleanly, like a knife cutting through meat. It was far too precise to be something that was destroyed. I guess all it takes to derail my only hope of getting home is a simple lack of a bridge. I sat down at the end of the bridge, hanging my legs off the side and staring into the waters below. I saw the blond haired girl stare back at me, wink, and then dissipate, as if it was just my imagination. I knew it was, but I almost wanted it to not be, just because I wanted some answers.
And I was going to get them.
I stood up, taking one final glance out over the water, seeing the lights of the city expanded out before me. I didn’t really know what was waiting for me, but at the very least it was going to get me somewhere.
I walked back the part in the tree line, walking over to the door and clutching the handle. I took one last glance at the forest, then at the ground. I saw a little tree branch, looking very sturdy, on the ground. I took my hand off the handle and picked it up, swinging it in front of me. “Well, it’s better than nothing, I guess,” I said, as I grabbed the door handle and threw it open, ready to bash someone with a stick in one hand and a lantern in the other.
With a newfound motivation I walked out into more forest that was blocked off by that small door and the walls around it. I then stepped off into the dark woods, hoping for a way back towards civilization. Whatever problem I faced, I would take it head on.
Chapter 4: Forestation
I walked along a small, wooded path through the forest in near silence aside from my own footsteps and the sounds of forest creatures that I really hoped weren’t wolves. Thankfully, the path was lit by small lanterns and led me on a fairly relaxing route; aside from the sounds of the forest giving me what I hope was just paranoia. After a few minutes of walking, I saw the trees thin for a second, one way continuing on the path, and the other ending in a massive building with a concrete wall surrounding it and a large, iron gate connecting both the wall. I gingerly pushed it open, resulting in a rusty creak that caused me to jump for unnecessary reasons.
There were a few park benches on the inside of the walls, but aside from that, the only important thing I noticed was the man in a white lab coat pushing his way into the building. “Hey, wait, stop!” I shouted, but he did not seem to respond.
My only option was to go inside and follow him, which was possibly one of the worst ideas I could’ve had. I pushed the doors open to see a hallway and several doors lining it, doors appearing from left to right and having numbers on each one. I recognized this to be a hospital of sorts. After going through and trying every single door, all of them were locked, so my only possible option was to go upstairs. After going around and trying all the doors up here on the right side, I finally went over to the left and found a door with light coming from under it. I heard muffled chatter from inside, so decided to press my ear up against it to hear more clearly.
The first was a female voice, obviously distraught and perhaps crying.
“W-will he ever wake up?”
The second was a male voice, much older than the first, which perhaps belonged to a teenager.
“We don’t know, miss, but we’re trying everything we can.”
The room went silent. I slammed myself against the door and it opened easily against my weight.
It was entirely empty, except for what appeared to be a hospital bed that may not have been so previously. All of it was a hallucination, all of it was false. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
None of it meant any thing, none of it was real.
Maybe I’m starting to go insane.
I looked up the stairs one more time. I held my lantern high and walked into it, seeing that this was probably an attic. It had a code door, one that didn’t look very necessary, but truthfully was probably for the best of the patients. I walked back down the stairs and to the other side of the second floor.
This one had a door at the end of it that was very clearly opened. It had a telescope pointed at the other side of the building, one of the windows. I looked into it, only to find a slightly lit-up room with numbers on the wall. I went back up and typed them into the code door. It made a beeping noise and the door unlatched, allowing me access. I opened it up and walked up some more stairs that led into the attic.
It was a simple design; very traditional, wooden attic with boxes piled everywhere. In the back of the room, there was another gun; a glock pistol, just like the one I had had before taking the train. This one had five clips I could use, each with fifteen bullets in them. It also had a small tactical light attached to it. I picked it up and put it into my pants, then put all the clips in my pockets.
I opened the door and slowly walked back down the stairs and out into the night once again. I continued down the path, my gun drawn and used for its tactical light to light my way, my lantern left to fend for itself back at the very strange hospital. As I turned another corner, I came to see yet another nightmare.
The blond girl standing there, staring at me from about ten feet away, she stood straight as a board, no emotion on her face. She stared at me for about a minute before cocking her head to the side, a tear drop slowly sliding down her face and falling off of her chin and to the ground below. I stood there speechless as I watched the spectacle, neither of us daring to move.
Then finally, a large scar formed on her forehead moving downward, over her eye and down to her cheek. Then, another scar did the same, except starting on her chin and moving up and to her forehead. She cried a bit more, unblinking in a manner that didn’t seem like it was possible for her. Then, she reached her hand up, slowly and carefully, almost like she was calculating every movement of every single muscle in her arm. Then, in one motion, she grabbed the skin on her forehead and ripped her face off.
I vomited at the sight, falling flat to my knees, coughing and gagging as the sound of ripping flesh penetrated my eardrums.
I slowly stood back up to face her, slowly removing more of her skin as she finally showed off a faceless monster, with bloodshot, empty eyes and a nightgown. “WHEN WILL HE BE WAKING UP?!” is screeched at the highest pitch whatever voice there is in that beast can create. “WHEN!?” It shouts again, this time louder and angrier than it was before. It then split, dividing into two complete clones, then again, and again, until I was surrounded by these horrible nightgown wearing nightmares. I pointed the gun at the first, then the second, and kept following until I didn’t know which one to shoot.
I then got an idea that may have been the most brilliant epiphany I’d had all night.
If they couldn’t be affected by bullets hitting them in their heads, then would shooting their legs out from under them help at all?
I slowly got the idea, and pointed my gun down at one of the knees of the monsters, which lead to a foot that wasn’t really a foot and just a leg that ended in a spike on the ground. I fired one shot at the leg, causing it to fall onto the knee. I then fired another at the other knee, causing it to land on its knees and fire off a powerful screech. I ran at it, kicked it, and jumped off of it, then running off into the forest. There was no way I was going to look back, so I didn’t. I kept running until the hospital was out of sight and walked on through the rest of the forest.
Chapter 5: Bridge over Troubled Waters
I finally stopped, placing my hands on my knees and gasping for breath after that little event. After a minute of wheezing, I looked back up to see a sight I couldn’t have welcomed more.
It was the bridge that people could walk or drive across to get to their homes on the other side, just like me.
I walked up towards it, almost questioning whether it was going to be swallowed up by some sort of monster in the next instant. I stepped onto it. Nothing of the sort happened, so far.
I took a glance at a bus stop on the left of the bridge. There was a small map which I ran up to and inspected. It appeared to be a fairly straight shot to my neighborhood and then through the cul-de-sac to my home. It wasn’t nearly as far away as I’d anticipated.
As I stared at this, I noticed something else. It had stopped raining a while ago. And not only that, but the deep black of the sky was no longer black and now a navy blue, brightening with every passing second. I looked off into the horizon to watch the sun rise over the trees. Morning had finally come, bringing pink and orange to the sky, making it like a painting that changed every minute.
I began to walk slowly towards my house, my earlier tense pace slowing to almost a saunter as I calmly began walking back home. I’d been out the entire night and was finally getting to come home. I needed some sleep.
I continued with such relaxation I didn’t even notice when the blond haired girl sat on a mailbox, watching me walk. I didn’t even notice when she began to transform once again, this time becoming much bigger, so big that her skin would no longer fit her and was shredded, revealing a tall, slender being with long arms and what appeared to be the remains of an IV stuck in its arm and a mask used for breathing assistance on its face.
I looked up at it, almost wanting to be horrified, almost wanting to run away like a little boy crying to his mother. That was done with.
I raised my pistol. He looked down at me with tired eyes and a look of depression on his face. He didn’t look like he was out for blood; it looked like he just wanted to rest; to be left alone for a little bit.
He let out a roar of anger as if he’d been disturbed from his sleep. He ran at me, each step making the ground shake, each footfall causing the ground to form little webs of cracks around his feet. I ran, looking over my shoulder to see how close he’d gotten. He wasn’t far, but he was close enough to shoot at without having to really aim. I took one last glance as I took my pistol and fired it at his knee. He looked annoyed by it, but he was far too big to be harmed by bullets that came from a gun that’d likely be a toy to someone of his size. He continued after me, making large swoops with his hands, like trying to swat a very low-hanging fly. He continued the chase, picking up a small car on his way, and tossing it at me. I jumped and rolled out the way, watching as the vehicle bounced and crashed into a house to my left. I ran into a random house on my right, thankfully uninhabited, and ran out the other side, narrowly avoiding another car being thrown straight through the house.
As I continued across the backyard of the home, I hopped the fence and ran into another house. I saw an item that about piqued my interest, a ladder.
I grabbed the ladder and used it as a battering ram to get the door open, then hurriedly rushed it outside. I felt wind at my back as I narrowly avoided a swipe from him, and rushed around the house to a wall of it. I set up the ladder and ran away from it, hoping to lead him away from it. Thankfully, this monster wasn’t nearly as intelligent as the others, and angrily ran after me. I quickly found a rock and threw it in another direction to get its attention away from me, which it easily did just that. I ran under him and over to the ladder, climbing it as fast I could manage. I fired a shot into the air, piercing the sky like a rocket, which quickly got his attention back. He stomped back over, swatting at me with one of his large hands. I grabbed onto it and hung on for dear life, getting the tree branch I had earlier and using its sharpest end to stick in and use to climb. I climbed up to his shoulders, holding on for dear life, and shot a few times in its thin neck. I emptied one clip, then another, until finally there was little enough neck for me to rip off with my bare hands. I tossed his head downwards, letting it hit the ground with a thud. The creature fell over, lifeless, me still on top of it. The first creature I killed was about three times my height.
I continued on my way towards my home.
Chapter 6: Finally Home
After about ten minutes of walking through the neighborhood, I found my home, painted red with curtains drawn. I opened the door and walked inside, setting my gun on the table with all of its clips. That’ll be a great little memento to explain to friends. I walked over and sat myself down on the couch, finally able to relax after so long. I take a second to look for the remote before—
A sharp knocking sound comes from the door.
It comes again, this time slightly quieter. I only take a second to question who could possibly knock at about 5:30 in the morning, but I open the door anyway. I see a blond-haired girl standing before me for about a second before she wraps me in a tight hug, crying into my shoulder.
“I-I thought you’d never wake up…” she said, obviously trying to gather her voice through tears. “I-I thought that the accident had killed you,” she said, memories flooding back to me like water rushing through after a dam had been broken.
“Wh-what are you talking about?” I ask, trying to get a good look at her.
“Don’t you remember? Y-you got in a car crash and went into a coma—“
My thoughts come to a screeching halt.
I remember walking, rain, screeching tires, rain, a crash, rain, screaming, and voices, all of those things I remember.
But it wasn’t me in the wreck.
“Someone must be in a hurry,” she remarked, still not really caring.
I wish I could still have that apathy.
The sound stops and the screech died down a bit as it was drowned out by the sound of a revving motor, as a car sped toward the both of us. I felt myself pushed out of the way of the car almost instantly, flying from her and my umbrella falling to the ground.
I heard the sound of bones crunching and blood came from the body of Elizabeth as she was smashed into the wall behind her, which, just to make matters worse, was a concrete edge.
Screams were heard around me, and eventually sirens, almost mimicking the previous sounds. Voices surrounded me, becoming more and more distant.
I felt myself pass out on the street.
I felt myself wake up, sitting in a chair that wasn’t exactly considered comfortable, my neck sore from sitting in that position for too long.
I was sitting in front of the bed of a hospital, with someone apparently sleeping in the bed.
I gingerly removed the covers from the bed to see a blond haired girl sleeping there, looking almost too peaceful to be alive. I could tell she was sleeping by the way her chest moved; up, down, up, down, slowly, as if mimicking some sort of unheard beat.
If she was the one that was in a coma this entire time, why was she the one that told me to wake up?
Chapter 7: From Bad to Worse
I felt consciousness slowly return to me, my eyes still tightly shut, blocking out anything I might have seen. I reluctantly opened them to see the wall of a bathroom stall, and felt the tile of a bathroom underneath me. I slowly got my feet under myself and stood up.
I took a quick look at myself in the dirty, grimy mirror. My long, blond hair fell onto my shoulders, which were covered by a loose black sweater. I also noticed the strap of my bag, which I noticed had a distinct lack of weight to it. I reached into my sweater pocket to feel my trusted switchblade, the keys to my home, and about sixty-three cents.
I pushed the door open and stepped out into a well-lit restaurant with tables nicely set, looking about ready to serve whoever were to step inside. I took a glance inside the kitchen to find a small flashlight sitting on the ground, small enough for my hand to cover up all but the bottom and the top bit that casted light. I stepped back out into the restaurant itself. I weaved past the tables and pushed open the door and out into the cool night air.
It looked as if both streets were blocked off with various cars and buses. I stepped over to a bus-stop to check a map. Thankfully, it had a map of the city and every store within it, highlighting the routes that the buses took in red. There was a small art gallery that I knew I could take a shortcut through, and from there I could probably take the subway.
A good question came to mind at about that time.
How did the hell did I get here? I thought, trying to mentally retrace my steps. I knew that it had rained quite a bit earlier today, but I knew for a fact that there was no sign of that now. The only puddle to be seen might where a man threw his drink away.
I shook the thought away from my mind as I felt something cold and wet on my head. And then another. And finally, they multiplied time and time again until it began to rain.
I stepped under the protection of the bus stop canopy and opened my bag to see if I could find any protection. Sadly, though, there was none to be found. Though, that art gallery from earlier wasn’t too far away, so if I was fast enough, I could probably make it there before I got too wet. I was just about to set out once again before a quick swoop of my bag sent something heavy and metal onto the ground. I bent down and picked up the source of the sound, a small handgun.
I wasn’t exactly gun savvy, but at the very least I knew how to fire one and had done so before. I popped the clip out and checked how many it had; a full clip of fifteen bullets. I turned in the direction of the art gallery, placing the clip back inside the little metal weapon and getting ready to run through the rain.
I darted off, out from under the canopy and through the now pouring rain, getting me quite a bit wetter than I’d expected in a matter of minutes. I vaulted over a car and regained my balance after jumping off. Up ahead was the art gallery, which was thankfully lit-up. I pushed open the door and stepped inside, allowing myself to drip off on the little mat on the floor. I took a glance around the room, eloquently designed with beautiful paintings adorning each wall, and a glass case with some sculptures in the center. It was quite nice, really, and distracted me from the overall loneliness of the room. I stepped up the wall on the right side for a moment to admire a rather dark picture, with a figure adorned in red carrying a massive axe in the air, looking as if he were about to strike. He had a large raincoat on and had his hood over his eyes, making them just little red lights that shined at me, almost as if the painting itself was creating the light. I was so invested in the painting I almost didn’t hear the small knock on the glass door.
I turned just in time to see a small child, looking very pale and wearing a nightgown staring back at me, their long black hair draping just over their eyes, making it impossible to see them. I took a slow, hesitant step toward the door, trying to see if it even moved. I got about an inch away from the glass, looking straight at him, moving my lips slowly to ask, “Who are you?” The child didn’t answer, still not moving at all. I took a long look at their chest to see if they were even breathing. My results came up inconclusive.
Almost hypnotically, my hand reached toward the door handle, as if I weren’t even paying attention to how bad of an idea this was. I pulled the door open sharply and looked out to see nobody there, as if he’d been entirely fictional.
I breathed a heavy sigh of relaxation, realizing it must just be my imagination. I closed the door and turned around to see a man in a large red raincoat with its hood up staring at me with glowing red eyes and a massive axe that looked as if it could split straight through my bones and cut me in half.
I drew my pistol and held it to his face, trying not to look frightened by the man that was at least twice my size. I drew the trigger back and let a round fire into his face. He recoiled, not expecting the blast from the gun. Feeling a bit triumphant, I held the gun out in front of me and fired two more shots at him, each causing him to fall back onto the glass case, which surprisingly hadn’t broken. I stepped closer towards him and fired a last shot into his face, which I couldn’t see, despite the lights from the ceiling pouring down onto it. He almost seemed to get lighter; perhaps even float for second as small flakes of his raincoat fell away and burned, as if he were turning to ash; then he was gone. Not a single trace of him to be found. The art gallery fell back into its earlier quiet. I sat down on the glass case and caught my breath for a moment, looking back at the painting of the man in the raincoat, which had now turned out to be a painting of two, one boy and one girl, both embracing one another in a field. I wondered in silence for a moment where the original might have gone.
Chapter 8: Artsy
I placed my gun back into my pocket, now four bullets poorer, and stood up, taking a quick glance down the corner, which was another hall lined with art and sculptures. It was very nice to be distracted from the run-in from but a few minutes ago.
I noticed a little glint of light from under the glass case in the next hallway, and my attention was caught, bringing me closer towards it. I reached under the glass container to feel a metal handle with a rubber grip, which apparently belonged to that of another gun. This one appeared to be a magnum, with six little bullets sitting in their places, ready to be fired. I took another look under the table to find a box full of more of these bullets, which brought the question of why such an unbelievably convenient item would just be sitting under a table in an art gallery. I quickly shook the curiosity off and admired the new gun, gently letting the barrel rest on my right hand.
I quickly took the previous pistol and shoved it into my bag, as an emergency use weapon. I took the magnum and put it in place of the other pistol, then poured six extra shots into my pocket and put the rest of the box into my bag, now only carrying thirty-four extra bullets. I stepped forward through the gallery, partly hoping I wouldn’t have to use it again and partly hoping I would just to test it.
I slowly and calmly stepped through the rest of the building, which thankfully had a side-door on the other side of it. I pressed my face up against the glass and watched rain soak the streets that were dry not but a half-hour ago. I watched, wondering how I could possibly get through the rain without getting drenched and listening to the small knocking at the door.
I looked down at the glass door to see the same small, grey-skinned child standing outside staring blankly inward towards the well-lit diner. I still couldn’t discern its gender, considering its hair was short enough for a boy but long enough for a girl. I decided that it didn’t really matter and opened up the door to reveal an empty street, devoid of any life and especially of any small children wearing nightgowns.
I looked across to the entrance to the subway; a small stairway with rainwater dripping down into it. I decided my best option would be to run across and get down as fast as I could before getting soaked, which I did, and surprisingly went off without a hitch. I stepped down some stairs and into a lit room, with turn-styles on either side leading down some steps and into bigger rooms, and two ticket booths in the center. No one appeared to be selling tickets, so I just went up and took one off the counter.
I stepped down the stairs and stopped for a moment, to listen to a sound I’d barely noticed just a second ago. There was a very fast breathing, like that of a scared man. It was very quiet and sounded like it was coming from across the room and on the other side. I drew my magnum and quietly stepped down the stairs and into the room, looking across to see a circle of men, all with very scraggly, messy hair, bloodied shirts, and pale faces, standing over a man that was sitting on the floor, hugging his knees. The men standing over him seemed to stand so still I could figure whether or not they were breathing, which they weren’t.
“Hey! Leave him alone!” I shouted across the subway, catching the attention of all the men. The standing men looked upwards, staring straight ahead and looking as if they didn’t move any muscle in their bodies except the ones that were absolutely necessary for moving their heads. They turned around to face me, staring at me with empty, black eyes and blank expressions. I held the magnum out in front of me, trying to be courageous, trying not to look scared, regardless of how scared I was. They turned their heads toward each other, half of them on the left looking at the half on the right, being perfectly symmetrical. They looked back at me, and all let out a horrible screech, all in unison, all terrifying, like the death throes of someone in extreme pain. They ran towards me in jerky, unnatural ways, as if their bones were placed inside of them in ways that they weren’t meant to be put in. I fired a shot at the first, also being the closest. He flew backwards and into a large, concrete support and slumped to the ground. The second did the same, except falling onto the tracks on the right side and rolling onto his stomach. The third and fourth fell over on top of each other in a neat little pile over on the left, and the fifth and sixth just kind of stumbled backwards and fell to the ground, six shots; six dead.
I popped the cylinder out to the side, gave it a gentle tap and all six shell casings fell to the ground, completely useless to me now. I popped six more in from my pocket and put another six into my pocket for extras. I couldn’t believe how lucky I got with their numbers. I turned back to the man; facing towards me, but staring down at his knees and not moving, besides breathing and shaking from fear. I walked over to him and asked him, “Are you alright?” I tilted his head up to reveal a face with spaces where his eyes and mouth should be, except are replaced by empty, black holes that seem to stretch into eternity.
With a yelp, I jumped backwards and dropped his head. He fell backwards and seemed to never have been breathing in the first place.
As the train pulled in, I stepped on and had a seat at a booth with a table, to set down my lovely little magnum and hold my head in my hands, supported by arms that leaned on the table. I didn’t know what to think at this point; I could only thank that they were weak enough for me to kill. With a sigh, I found the train moving, swiftly and quietly rolling along the tracks and out into the night. I sat back, looking up at the roof of the train. I had to wonder why I was going home anyway.
What would it solve? Monsters would probably still roam the streets; people wouldn’t just come back. It would bring me safety; comfort, I suppose, but why else would I possibly think of doing anything of the sort?
I shook it off, my curiosity distracting me from the small, almost inaudible shatter coming from the train car behind mine. I stood up, grabbing my magnum. I shoved it back into its little space in my pants and started slowly, hesitantly walking towards the car. I stopped to notice a small duffle bag with a note stuck to it, saying “Find a trophy for me”. I didn’t know what that meant and assumed someone wanted to win something. I didn’t know and didn’t really care.
I opened up the door to the car, stepped through, opened up the opposing door, and stepped through. Inside was a car almost identical to the previous one, table seats looking fairly scarce, but looking comfortable all the same. I walked through for a moment until I saw a small, red, round thing come flying at me. I jumped back as it hit the ground with a squishing noise and looked up to see the source, some sort of creature that had smashed its head through the window and was now staring at me. I ducked behind a seat and removed my magnum, preparing myself.
I jumped out from behind the seat and took a second to aim, then fired at the monster. It removed its head with a cry. I walk a few steps forward to find another one of these creatures bursting its head through the window. My arms shoot up to let my magnum speak for itself, sending a round right into its face, causing it to back out of the now broken window. I continued walking, firing at creatures as they came. After about three more of them came, I got to the end of the car and walked into another, being the last car on the train. I looked back to see a rotting body, sitting against a wall with flies circling it. I slowly stepped forward, waiting for another one of the beasts to burst through the window. I got up to it, crouching down to see it. It looked almost as if there was something buried in its head. I leaned in closer to get a better look.
My heart jumped and I screamed and jumped backwards as it screeched something unintelligible at me as I quickly brought my magnum forward and shot the thing in the chest. It seemed to slowly quiet down and go back into its previous comatose state. I breathed a sigh of relief.
My mind went back to the note, saying “Find a trophy for me”.
Find a trophy…
I pulled out my switchblade, opening it up and seeing it glint from the lights overhead. I looked back at the corpse and had one of my worst possible ideas yet. I raised the knife to its neck and began sawing, back and forth, back and forth.
Eventually, I sawed through and cut its head off. I took it by the hair on its head and made the calm walk back to my car.
I walked up to the duffle bag and placed the head inside, zipping the top shut.
I felt the train slow to a stop at our station. I made sure I had everything, and stepped outside, popping the cylinder of my magnum out, tapping the back of it and letting the empty brass fall to the floor. I placed six new shots in and another six in my pocket. I looked up at a map that I had walked up while I was reloading and immediately hit my face with my hand as I’d realized what a terribly stupid mistake I’d made.
I had boarded the wrong train and now had to go twice as far to reach my home.
Chapter 9: A Walk in the Park
I sat down on a bench and held my head in my hands. I couldn’t believe I had made that unintelligent of a mistake. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the ticket. It even stated on the ticket that this would lead me to the other side of town. I couldn’t believe I didn’t even read the ticket. I stood back up and looked to the map. Thankfully, there was a park that would lead me a little ways toward my home without having to take any shortcuts through art galleries with paintings that just decide to attack me.
I walked back out into the cool night air and looked around. I wasn’t exactly familiar with this part of town, but at least it was a bit less dangerous to be out at night than the southern district. I looked off in the direction of the park, which couldn’t quite be seen, but thankfully was straight down the street from the subway exit itself. I gently rested my left hand on the handle of my magnum and my right hand went into my pocket as I walked in the direction of the park.
It was a nice night. With a look up at the night sky, I noticed that the rain had stopped while I was on the train and the clouds had moved aside to reveal the full moon, reflecting the glorious light of the sun right onto our little planet and lighting the way for me. I looked back down at the ground and saw the street out in front of me, strewn with destroyed and abandoned cars and lamp posts that illuminated the path beneath my feet.
I looked on towards the entrance to the park; a large gate that was cracked open and revealed a path very similar to the one I was walking on, except there were no cars and the street lamps were much nicer, not leaning over the street below it, but casting a light on the top of it out in all directions, like a lighthouse that never moved. There were some wooden park benches here and there, and a few small ponds and fountains around to make it look like a large garden rather than a park.
I stepped over to the gate and removed my right hand from my pocket to gingerly push it open. It let out a loud, metallic creak as it revealed the park, like a small forest except without so many trees and the obvious intent of making it look as beautiful and relaxing as possible. It was a goal that seemed to have been achieved.
With a sigh, I stepped through the small gap between the large, iron-wrought gate and the wall and let it close again. It wasn’t exactly beautiful, but it certainly allowed me to relax once again after heavily chastising myself for not reading the ticket, nor figuring out that the train I was boarding was the exact opposite train I actually wanted.
I continued walking, staring at the path on the ground and generally not noticing the off-beat footstep that followed mine. I barely noticed it, but it was as if my footsteps actually had a bit of time to reach me, which would be scientifically impossible considering the fact that I’m about five feet above my feet. It was like watching a video with its audio out of sync; it was barely noticeable, but once I finally did I couldn’t stop noticing.
I ripped my magnum from its makeshift holster in my pants and pointed it directly behind me.
With a sigh of relief, I saw nothing but the path trailing behind me and the other various features of the park. I turned back around and kept walking, noticing that my footsteps now matched my feet perfectly, as if they had fixed themselves. I shook off the thought and shoved my magnum back into my pants, resting my hand on its handle, in case something strange decided to happen. It’s all in your head, I told myself, it’s all in your head.
Before long, I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed earlier. There was a panting sound. I stopped and listened for a moment. No sound came from anywhere except the sound of my own breathing.
I continued walking, hearing the sound of heavy breathing start up once again. I stopped, this time; my weapon was slowly pulled out and put in my hand, as I tapped the barrel of the gun against my right hand and looking around for any sort of noise. Again, the only sound that I could hear was the sound of the wind softly blowing through the trees, making a little whistling sound, but nothing more.
I began walking once again, this time not stopping when I heard the panting. I just kept walking, and eventually whipped around with my gun in my hands, pointed at whatever horror of the night would be there, waiting to receive a prize right between its eyes. “Show yourself!” I shouted, shattering the peaceful silence of the night. With a frustrated sigh, I lowered my weapon and turned around to come face to face with the horror of the night that’d apparently been following me.
I stepped backwards to see it, its massive, spiderlike appendages stretching to the trees on either side and holding it up right, being its means of silently transporting through the trees. I noticed two small spidery appendages that looked like arms holding up bloodied shoes, looking just as small and noise-making as mine were. I looked into its eyes to see its face, or rather its lack thereof; the spot where its face was just a few slits that were obviously sewn shut long ago. Regardless, it ripped through the thread on its lips with a disgusting tearing sound, and revealed a set of teeth that looked like razor blades.
“I’VE BEEN HERE ALL ALONG,” it said, a sort of high-pitched shouting that seemed to bring a grin to its face, a grin that would’ve looked like a scowl in any other lighting. The sound of its own voice seemed to bring joy to it, as it raised itself high up above me and cackled out into the night sky. Its two arm-like appendages tossed the shoes off into the grass and it looked back down at me, bringing its face so close to mine it looked like our faces could touch. Its tongue extended and I leapt backward, aiming the gun right into its disgusting face that of which was like a mix between that of a grasshopper and a human.
I fired a round, slamming right in between its eyes and drilling straight into whatever brain such a creature should possess. It let out a cackle into the sky above once again, and then looked back down at me in a condescending manner.
“SHE’S A FEISTY ONE,” it shouted at the rest of the trees, as more creatures that looked like this one emerged from the foliage above. They were of different colors, shapes and sizes, and all of them had this distinct, large abdomen that connected all of their appendages, like some sort of hideous, deformed spider. I aimed my revolver at the abdomen of the first I’d encountered, and fired a round off at it. A transparent, dirty liquid slowly dripped down from it, like some sort of slime that was not supposed to be released. I fired off another shot next to the first, then another, until a large whole ripped in it that seemed to drop some kind of egg-sack. I fired another shot at it, letting loose the contents of its abdomen and causing it to fall limply to the floor, joining its innards. I fired off another two shots at the nearest spider-creature, and quickly stepped away to replace the old shots with new, unused ones. I slapped the cylinder back into the gun, spun the barrel and fired off another shot at the latest wounded spider. It collapsed to the floor, joining its ally. I repeated this several times, killing another nine or so before I faced the last of them, staring me in the face, looking very angry at me for killing its brothers and/or sisters. I raised my magnum one final time, aiming at its abdomen and…
I stared in shock at the magnum, forgetting that I had run out of ammunition killing the last few of them. I decided it might reconsider if I tried again.
I suddenly remembered having a glock pistol earlier that I retrieved from a bench, and I feverishly unbuttoned the bag and ripped it open, only to find a flashlight that I had earlier discarded for later use because it was very bright.
I then felt something small brush against me from my sweater pocket.
I reached in and found a small switchblade. Coming to the only conclusion possible, I let out a cry and ran at the monster, jumping at it and grabbing onto its abdomen. I took the switchblade and held onto the abdomen with my legs as I slashed the abdomen, each repeated motion causing a sickening ripping sound as I ripped the knife across its abdomen.
I finally gave one last stab and felt the creature above me go limp, feeling the innards slide out and myself falling into a puddle of slime and monster innards.
Chapter 10: Awakening
I lifted myself up from the puddle and decided it would be best to just take a shower when I got home, instead of taking a dip in one of the park’s ponds. I lifted up my bag, the same one I had earlier dropped when I defeated the last spider, and placed the magnum inside of it, now nothing but a souvenir of a night I never wanted to remember.
As I walked on, I noticed the sky was no longer its black color, but now maintained a dark blue color, one that lightened moment by moment, starting off over the horizon. I watched as the sky began to tinge with yellows, oranges and pinks and the white clouds overhead were illuminated to be more than just a grey in the night sky. I watched as the sun arose from behind the horizon and began a new day. I began walking once again as I heard the chipper sound of birds chirping and chattering away to one another. I gingerly pushed open the gates of the exit to the park to reveal my neighborhood, showing just how large the park actually was. I was currently only a few blocks away from my home, so I decided I would probably just get home, take a shower and go to sleep.
I walked home, calmly listening to the sounds of birds chirping, and enjoying the peaceful silence that was not interrupted. I reached into my pocket, pulled out the key, and jammed it into the keyhole, giving it a twist. I opened the door to my quaint little home, and headed straight for the bathroom, setting my bag on the couch.
After my shower, I put some clothes back on and walked into the hallway, staring into my room.
Inside was a hospital bed, with someone sleeping under the covers. I stepped inside and pulled them back, revealing a blond haired girl lying under, looking exactly like me…
I watched as the surroundings broke away from me like glass shattering. Everything slowly floated away from me except the floor I was standing on, leaving me standing on some tiled flooring in the middle of the pitch-black void.
“Hello?” I called out into the darkness, confused and scared. I watched as a teenage boy floated by on some tiles of his own, his head bowed. I looked on in confusion as he slowly floated away, off into the darkness. Behind me, some more tiles appeared, giving me a path that eventually turned a right corner.
Thankfully, I hadn’t yet gotten rid of my switchblade, and took it back out of my pocket and opened it up. I stepped slowly along the tiles, seeing multiple bloodstains splattered along the tiles. I rounded the corner to see a door, just sitting there, with no lock, no key, no nothing; just a doorknob, waiting to be turned.
I walked up to it, hesitantly placing my hand on the doorknob and giving it a slow, gentle turn. It opened up to reveal a massive room, with tiled flooring and walls, looking completely sterile. I looked on to see a blond-haired girl, looking exactly like me, except her eyes were black and empty, and she looked like she was crying, but she stood as straight as a board, staring back at me with whatever sight she had in those completely black eyes.
I took a few steps forward, looking at her in shock. I decided against just staring at her in silence, calling out to her with a trembling “h-hello?” She didn’t react, seeming not to respond to my worried question. I called out once again. “Who are you?” was the only thing that came to mind, and as I said it, she still seemed to not even be hearing me. I walked up to her, standing about a couple feet away. “Are you me?” I asked, gaining a little confidence as I asked each question, which did not make much sense, considering she had not answered any of them, and met my newest question with the same response from before.
I took a step forward, reaching out towards her, only to watch as she grabbed my wrist and tossed me back over to the door I had come in through. I slowly picked myself up, feeling my thankfully unbroken wrist as I looked back at her. She obviously didn’t want me here, and obviously didn’t want me touching her. I looked back at her, both a bit angry at her tossing me across the room like a ragdoll, and at the fact that she wouldn’t even respond.
“You were not supposed to be here,” she said, her voice monotone and uncaring. “You were never supposed to see this. You were never supposed to come into this room. You were never supposed to come home. I tried stopping you. I tried letting you live, letting you sit in comfort and explore the world I had created for you. But that was too good for you. You had to come home,” she said, all the while the wall behind her slowly broke apart, tiles falling off of the wall and breaking apart to reveal a massive, empty space outside, with a massive version of herself stepping in, wearing a bloodstained hospital gown, mirroring her every movement. The bigger version of herself picked the smaller version up and put her on the bigger version’s shoulder.
I looked on in horror as some deformed version of myself stood, staring at me and looking down upon me. “But now that you are home, I have to make you leave,” the original said, then allowing the larger version to take over. It walked up to me, and then crouched down, staring at me with blank, white eyes. It picked me up, and threw me into the wall on the right side.
I felt an aching pain inside my body as I felt the impact of the hit. I fell down and landed on the ground next to a sight I thought I’d never need again; a .357 magnum with my bag sitting next to it, which was open and filled with ammunition. I quickly picked the weapon up, shoved some new rounds in the weapon, and fired directly at the original sitting atop the giant. She did not seem to take notice, and simply made the giant walk towards me, making large, booming steps. I fired two shots at each eye of the giant, blinding it as it held a hand to its eyes and making it reel and let out an ear-piercing shriek of pain.
I another two shots at each knee, then reloaded again, placing another six shots in the weapon as the giant approached. I ran between the monster’s legs and ran over to the other side, revealing a path that I hadn’t seen before, a path that led out of the massive room and onto a platform that was, unfortunately, big enough for her to walk on. I took the opportunity and ran out across it. I fired another few shots at its knees, showing obvious signs of them weakening, and continuing to lead the giant out onto the walkway. I continued leading her out there, firing shots at her knees, but mostly focusing on the left knee.
After an onslaught of ammunition hit her, she finally fell off into the void.
Or at least the giant did.
The little one had somehow managed to jump off at the last second and walk towards me now. I took aim and pulled the trigger.
I tossed the gun at her, realizing that I was out of ammunition and it had to be at the worst possible moment for it. She grabbed it and threw it off the platform, following the giant off into the void.
“I apologize I haven’t made you leave faster,” she said, not looking nearly as sorrowful as she probably intended. I wondered if it was meant to be sarcasm.
“You have outstayed your welcome,” she said, as she drew a small knife from behind her back, covered in blood.
I drew my switchblade, still covered in the slime from the creature I had fought earlier.
We both stared down at one another, knives drawn and both of us trying to figure out a weakness of the other. After a few minutes of this, I noticed her take a step forward. Almost without thinking, I had mirrored it, taking a step forward with the opposite foot. We repeated this, step by step, until we were within arm’s length of one another. Without any further deciding, I ran forward with a cry, beginning the battle myself. Realizing she’d probably done the same, we clashed knives, and then she went for a strike at my chest. I blocked and went for her jugular, which she ducked under and went for a stab from under me. I leapt backwards, and we paused for a moment.
After a moment staring her down, I ran at her, clutching my knife in a slashing position. She quickly dodged right, crouched down and stuck her leg out, ready for a trip. I managed to jump over it and roll back up to a standing position, before running at her with the knife. I managed to tackle her, knock her over and get on top of her, holding the knife just over her chest. She held both my wrists, pushing them away from her, keeping the knife just over her vital organs, almost managing to push in. “What the hell are you?” I yelled at her, trying to distract her for just a second.
She took the bait, with effort, saying, “I... am... you!”
As she said these words, I managed to find the strength to shove the knife into her chest, causing everything around me to glow brighter and brighter, until finally, even my vision went completely white as I fell unconscious.
Chapter 11: Rebirth
As my vision returned to me, I found myself lying in a bed, staring upward at the fluorescent lights on the ceiling. I was lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm.
I turned on my side to see a boy, about my age, bowing his head and standing over me. I didn’t really know him, so I decided to speak up. “H-hello…” I said softly, my voice barely audible to even myself. His eyes opened up, lighting up like someone had lit a small fire inside of them. He wrapped his arms around me, holding me very tightly. I had no idea what to say, so I just sat there, allowing him to do whatever he pleased. He let go, and then ran outside, shouting some things I couldn’t hear through the door. I looked back to see a chair, sitting next to a table with a laptop computer sitting on it, apparently plugged into a free wall outlet just below it.
I watched as he and a doctor, as well as a few nurses burst in through the door, running in and doing some gently taxing physical exams on me. After they were finished, the doctor came and asked me, “Do you remember anything?” he said, as if there was something I was supposed to remember. Remember anything . . . .
“Someone must be in a hurry,” I remarked, still not really caring.
The sound stopped and the screech died down a bit as it was drowned out by the sound of a revving motor, as a car sped toward the both of us. Instinctually, I pushed him away, the cover of the umbrella leaving me to the rain, and felt impact.
I felt the cracking of bones coming from inside my chest, my chest collapsing in on itself. I felt my back slammed against a concrete wall
Screams were heard around me, and eventually sirens, almost mimicking the previous sounds. Voices surround me, becoming more and more distant.
Eventually, no sound came to me at all as I passed out.
“I remember a car… it was raining…” I trailed off eventually as I realized I was out of things to say.
He stood back up and said some things to a nurse.
I slowly leaned back and closed my eyes, taking a moment to relax, as this was quite a bit to take in.
As I reopened them, I looked up at the strangely tiled ceiling, with each tile resting on some sort of frame. Our science teacher had said something about this roofing style; it was to absorb excess sound, so it would be heard only by the other people in the room. It was very popular in buildings such as schools.
I looked back at the man sitting across from me, who was sitting across and watching me as I lay across the comfortable little lounge chair and laced my fingers together across my stomach. I decided to speak up once more.
“Sorry, I must’ve zoned out . . . what was I talking about?” I asked, looking at him somewhat apologetically.
“You were telling me about your coma dream. You had said something about a train?” he asked, looking ready to take notes once again with the pen and clipboard he had in his hands. I continued my story, telling him of how I’d forgotten to look at the ticket and was stuck about twice as far from my home as I was before.
I continued, beginning my memory of the park, when a small buzzer rang out, signaling that our time had passed quite quickly.
“I’m sorry, Elizabeth, but I believe our time for today has run out. Your next appointment is on Thursday, yes?” Dr. Rönnberg asked, lowering his clipboard and raising his head to address me directly.
“Umm… yes,” I said, after a moment’s hesitation, allowing myself to refocus my thoughts on the next appointment. “Good,” he replied. “Then I will see you then.” He finished off, giving me the usual smile as he stood up and gave me the soft, friendly handshake that came with every session.
I turned around and walked out of the building, walking back toward my home in silence.
I stared out the window, watching as Elizabeth slowly and casually walked back to her home a few blocks from me. I figured she was coming home from her therapy session, so I didn’t plan to step outside and talk to her or anything. I simply watched as she walked, an extremely slight difference from the girl I knew before her accident; her shoulders slumped, her demeanor just a little less inviting then it usually is, like her entire frame was a door that had decided to shut for one final time.
I shook myself from my little reverie and walked back to reality, looking out the window to see the streets being soaked once again with rain. I hopped off the windowsill and walked back into my dining room to set about the homework that I had put off until just now.
After about fifteen minutes of boring and unchallenging tedium, I finished the homework and placed it back in my bag, ready to be received the next morning. I walked over to the stove to check the time; 7:26. With time to blow, I decided to go outside for a walk in the rain, making sure to grab an umbrella so I wasn’t exactly soaked by the time I returned.
As I stepped out into the night, I noticed that it had been raining for quite some time, as the streets had already had about a half-inch of water covering them. Admittedly, it was somewhat expected, considering the sidewalks were curved inward towards the street. The water hadn’t really gotten up to the sidewalk yet, so I doubted there would be any real flooding. I then took a moment to consider why I cared in the first place; rain in this place never really gets all that high, and when it does, it’s simply a matter of finding ways of avoiding floods. “Whatever,” I muttered aloud to myself.
I looked to the left to see the little cul-de-sac that this road ended in, the same little roundabout that Elizabeth lived in. I turned to the right and looked up the street, where I would likely walk around for the night. I began my stroll up the street, looking up at the sky that had now turned to a somewhat darker blue as it became dusk.
After about an hour or two of simply walking along the road, I finally found myself back at my own home, unlocking my door and stepping through, only to lock it back up and flop down on the couch.
What had I even done today? Had I even really done anything, aside from going to school and coming back here, only to waste a few hours, do some homework and then go walking up the street?
I figured I just needed some sleep.
I checked my watch to reveal it had gotten quite late in the time I was walking and that now would be a fine time to go to bed. I went about my nightly routine before tossing myself in bed and falling fast asleep.
Chapter 12: School Days
I woke up, the sound of the alarm jolting me from my peaceful slumber. I stood up, walking over to the bathroom, brushing my teeth, and doing the rest of my morning routine before shouldering my bag and starting towards school.
As I walked, I noticed the blond-haired head of Elizabeth sitting at a bus stop and reading a book. I walked up to her and gently placed my bag on the bench, which got her attention, but not enough to cause her to look at me directly.
“Hey,” she remarked casually, staring down the road toward the direction our bus was supposed to come from. “When did you get here?” she asked, finally looking toward me, giving me a blank look of curiosity.
“A minute or two ago,” I said flatly.
“Ah,” she said, looking back toward the bus stop as I joined my backpack on the bench. “Funny how that works,” she said.
“What?” I asked, looking at a stop sign and noting the lovely bit of graffiti on it, as someone had wrote “DONT” just before it, in the least readable fashion possible.
“I don’t know,” she replied.
“Hmm” was the only reply I could manage to think of, letting the bone-crushing silence reign over the both of us once again.
As the bus came trundling up the road, I hefted my backpack onto my shoulder, and began to wait for it to pull up. I stepped past Elizabeth and over to the door to the bus, watching her sit and stare off into space. She jerked back into reality after a moment, grabbed her bag and walked up the stairs and took a seat at the back.
After school, I stepped off the bus at the regular stop, watching as the rest of the kids piled off and left. I didn’t really want to go home at the time, so I shouldered my bag and headed off towards the old apartments. I’d known the way for a long time now, and since it was a little ways away, I had gotten there by the time it was dark. I had to wonder why I decided not to take the bus.
I went inside the building, the man at the front desk giving me a nod as I made my way up the stairs and up to the top floor, opening a door and climbing some stairs before making it up to the roof.
I opened the door to the fire escape to find the rooftop of the apartment building. It wasn’t that tall of an apartment building, but as building’s go, it was around six stories, so it was fairly tall. I had a view of the most of the city, or at least as much as there was with the clouds around, making the already dark night sky even darker.
I sat down on the edge of the building, looking off over the side and taking in the rest of my surroundings. It was quite a sight, but I was used to it. I heaved a sigh, breathing out the semi-polluted air of the city. It was a nice night, but the weather was never really nice here, just a little less rainy than usual.
I heard the sound of the metal door to the fire escape being opened, which caused me to turn around to face the person who’d opened it.
I saw the blond-haired head of Elizabeth turn around to face me.
“Hey,” she said to me, looking back at me, quizzically. “What are you doing here?”
“I don’t know,” I replied, looking back towards the city down below. “I mostly come up here just to... sit and think, I guess,” I said, a statement that couldn’t have been closer to the truth.
“I guess I do the same,” she said, her footsteps approaching the spot where I sat. “It’s a nice way to get some peace and quiet around here,” she finished off her statement as she plopped herself down on the ledge next to me. She let her legs hang for a few seconds, but then seemed to decide against it and pulled them back up, crossing her legs instead.
I heaved a sigh as I looked back out across the city.
“Something wrong?” she asked, a worried, yet quizzical look being sent towards me as she looked at me.
“Not really,” I replied, “just....” I trailed off after a moment of trying to find words that simply weren’t there. I wasn’t used to coming up here to talk, and it was normally a sort of way of finding out what I wanted to say. How ironic, I thought to myself.
“I see,” she replied, perhaps as deep in thought as I was, but it showed on her face that we were not thinking about the same thing.
We sat in this silence for a long time, both of us gazing out over the city without giving any thought to the idea that the customary thing to do would be to talk to one another, considering we sat not more than a foot away from one another.
After a while of zoning out, getting lost in my own thoughts, I noticed my legs were now weighed down by something, as if someone had placed their baggage right down on my legs. It wasn’t exactly heavy, but it was certainly noticeable.
I looked down to find the head of Elizabeth, who had apparently fallen asleep awhile back and had now decided that the best option would be to use my legs as a pillow. I lightly shook her, trying to wake her up, as the best option for us at the moment would be for both of us to get home.
“Hey,” I said, my words as soft as I could manage.
She took a moment and opened her eyes, finding that we were both staring at one another, our eyes locked together like we had both simultaneously decided to turn to stone.
She sat up, rubbing her eyes for a moment, and then going back to looking at me. I could see something in her eyes, a look that was indisputably something, but I’d be damned if I knew what.
After a few more seconds of this, I swung my legs back over onto solid ground and told her, “We should probably get going.” I almost saw a look of disappointment in her eyes, but it passed almost as quickly as a hare running through bushes.
“You’re right,” she said, wiping the sleep from her eyes once more, grabbing her bag and heading toward the door. She opened it up for herself and left me alone to the rooftop once more.
Chapter 13: For Better or For Worse
The next day went by almost uneventfully, the old routine allowing me to let myself work in autopilot for the first hour or so, but something seemed inherently off.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but as I stepped onto the bus, it felt like something was tugging at my chest, like something had decided it wanted to take no part in the activities I was about to partake in, but had far more urgent matters to attend to. I shrugged it off and went on without noticing again for the rest of the day.
But as I stepped back on, it came back, and I wondered it felt like I was missing something vital, like asking someone where one of your belongings was, only to remember you just gave it to charity.
But as I pulled the keys to my home out of my pocket, it hit me like a freight train speeding through a village.
Elizabeth. She never got on the bus today. She never came to school today.
Now, normally, this would seem like the most normal of coincidences; perhaps she just came down with something and forced her to stay at home, but this time it was different.
She had an attendance record like no other, and I can’t think of a person with an immune system stronger. I’ve seen people cough not but inches from her face and have her not get even the tiniest sign of a sniffle. There had to be something wrong.
As I came back to reality, I’d noticed my keys were on the ground. I bent down, picked them back up, turned in the opposite direction and shoved my keys so far into my pocket I felt the cold metal of the key jab straight through my pocket. I couldn’t have possibly cared less.
My feet flew across the pavement as I shot towards Elizabeth’s house. I couldn’t have given less of a shit about my lungs feeling like they were on fire from running so fast and so far. In retrospect, her home was around a mile away, so I could have perhaps taken the bicycle I kept sitting in my garage for so long, but I was too busy thinking about what could have possibly happened to her. I thought back to last night. Was it something I did? I thought to myself, going back over the events of last night in my head as quickly and thoroughly as I could. I couldn’t remember much of anything.
I felt myself begin to slow down as I approached her home, the rather small house not too far off in the distance. I did a quick walk up the front door and gave a very rapid knock on the door.
After a few minutes of no one answering, I tried again. And again, and again.
“Goddamn it, open the door!” I said, almost kicking the door in before I thought of something.
I grasped the doorknob and gave it a swift twist. It was unlocked.
Oh no, was the only thought that actually managed to process itself as I slowly stepped through the door, glancing around the room. None of the lights were on, and this did nothing to help my nerve.
I slowly closed the door behind me, stepping through the hallway and looking around for any sign of life whatsoever. The kitchen was fairly messy, leaving food out and a carton of milk had been spilled across the table.
I took a few more glances around before I noticed the hallway that led to Elizabeth’s room. There was no light on, but a shadow did loom out of the doorway. I could only hope for the best as I shouted toward it.
“Elizabeth! Thank god you’re—“
I stopped dead in my tracks as I came around the corner. My mouth hung open, unable to formulate a single word, much less a sentence. My brain had stopped functioning at this point, I felt like I was shutting down, as I looked onward into her room.
In front of my lay Elizabeth’s room, neat and tidy as she had always kept it, but I could not say for a lot of it, as it was blocked out by the horrifying visage of Elizabeth’s corpse hung from the ceiling fan. I felt my knees collapse under me, and I felt darkness rushing up to block out what there was to see.
Hours later, I felt consciousness return to me as I sat on the edge of a cot inside of an ambulance. The paramedic working inside didn’t seem to notice me sitting up, and since I was not strapped down to anything, I felt myself stand up and walk outside of the ambulance. I felt my legs carry me away from the scene, away from the flashing lights of the other cars there and away from the houses on the street.
My legs carried me forward for about an hour or so, as they had finally decided to stop moving forward on the sidewalk outside of a somewhat fancy restaurant. I had been there before, but I forgot the name now.
I stepped inside, as there didn’t seem to be anyone there. I did forget not to walk through the glass though. My mistake.
I felt legs push forward, my arms assisting in getting me inside the bathroom at the back.
I went into the closest stall and felt my insides empty out as I leaned over the toilet bowl.
I felt myself stumble out of the stall, bump into the sink, and fall down, lying against the dingy bathroom wall as I passed out once again.