On February 29, 2008, a man by the name of Norman Welk was on a back road driving to his family reunion in the barren north of Nevada. He had been driving for two days now, and just filled up the tank of his weather-beaten '02 GTO when he looked to his dashboard and saw that it was past midnight. He drove for three miles past the gas station and found a small motel, called the Walpole.
The place looked old from far away, but the closer he got the more the modest establishment seemed to bloom, or clean itself up. Maybe it was a trick of the moonlight. Maybe his brain was ignoring what seemed like a stained, broken building. Whatever it was, he decided to pull up and see if any rooms were available.
He walked up to the door and noticed there wasn't any sort of lock, just a stationary knob. Now that he was under the fluorescent light in the front of the building, he saw that the door was very dilapidated. He didn't look at any other features of the building, just the scratched, stained, loose door. With a sigh, realizing the motel wasn't as good looking as he thought it was, he reached for the tarnished brass knob and pushed.
The door seemed to resist for a second, almost like it had muscles and was pushing back against him trying to open it. He figured it was rusty, and that maybe he was weak from exhaustion. He finally got the door to move and saw a chip of rust drop from the top hinge, which was almost broken in half. With a sarcastic grunt, he muttered under his breath, "Well... at least it's not the worst piece of shit in the state..." and swung the door open, eager to at least get a bed to sleep on, no matter what shape the building was in.
When he entered the lobby he was amazed at what he saw. The inside of the motel was drastically different than the run down outer shell. Only a step into the door, he was blinded by clean linoleum, white eggshell coat walls, and working electric lights. There was even the slight warming breeze of central heating, with three separate vents in the front room alone. He walked up to the counter in euphoria and asked for a room. That would be his worst mistake.
He paid the owner the twenty dollars requested for a room (which was awfully low for such a nice interior, but he wasn't going to question his fortune) and was led down a hall with the same decorations as the lobby, plus a two by two foot mosaic tile in the center of the halls to three room doors; 11A, 12A, and 13A, on the east side (A) of the first floor. The owner stopped exactly in the center tile of the mosaic tile, which had a swirling pattern of black and red ceramic pieces and a small dragon head in the center with fluorescent green eyes. Norman found the mosaic interesting, but somehow out of place for such a motel, off the beaten path, where nobody could ever see it. He ignored it and entered his room, 12A, thanking the owner.
He closed the door and looked around. The room had a twenty-one inch flat-screen television, silk furnishings, a king sized bed and two nightstands, each with a carving of the dragon from the mosaic. "A little creepy, but this place has a nice theme to it... I should get to bed, it's almost one..." On one nightstand, Norman noticed that the owner had set down a card with, "Have a nice stay!" and his name written on it. Oddly, the owner had written his name backwards on the card. Studying the card for a second, Norman came to see that the name seemed to read, "Nog Ardkalb." Ignoring the name, Norman slumped into bed and dozed off into a well-needed rest.
"What the hell was that?"
The noise had woken Norman from his sleep, and spooked him quite a bit. It sounded almost like a human foot landing, but somehow heavier, and wider. The low sound had almost left Norman's thoughts when he heard it again.
It came twice this time. And it was much louder than before. Norman sat up in his bed and backed against the wall, when he remembered the knife he carried. He had brought it with him everywhere since his late grandfather willed it to him, and it came with a note reading, "I will always protect you, Norman." Norman had always wondered why it was willed to him and not his father, but he didn't care as it was a beautifully adorned knife, with an ivory grip and a ruby embedded in the bottom. He gripped it and held it close to his side, wondering if someone had come in to kill him, possibly having killed Mr. Ardkalb already, to remove him as an obstacle.
Thump Thump Thump.
The thumping was deafeningly loud this time. Norman shook as it kept sounding off, only feet from him in the hallway. He tensed up and stared intently at the door, waiting for some sickeningly loud, bloodcurdling scream to rip down the hallway, just as his door bursts open, spreading wooden shreds in his face, blinding him of the thing about to eviscerate him.
After ten minutes of the thumping, he lunged forward, threw the door open, and thrust his knife as deeply as he could down the hallway. He opened his eyes to see if he had hit anything, and saw a large, shadowy black form taking up most of the hallway. A strange sort of macabre light shone from the figure, and wisps of black and crimson smoke curled around its body, swirling in perfect orbit. He looked to the ground and saw ten menacing four inch claws, five on each hand, with the first two fingers on each shredding hand covered in small, tense barbs. The last thing Norman noticed was two large green eyes, leering down at him from near ceiling height, piercing his own vision, corrupting his mind.
Norman swung again and again with his knife, and never hit the thing. He thought he missed, and in his frustration lost more and more aim with each attempt at striking the creature. He then realized he was perfectly on his mark... the knife had gone right through the monster, and even some of his arm! He looked behind himself and saw that his room door had disappeared, leaving only the ornate wall of the hallway. Norman dropped the knife and fell backward to the floor, shocked and scared, with no options other than accepting his fate.
It took a step closer to him, and stared deeper than ever into his mind, absorbing anything left of his psyche. It then leaned in and licked up the side of his cheek. Norman shook and winced, as the saliva from the creature was acidic, sizzling away the top layer of the skin on one side of his face. The creature took the two barbed claws on its right hand and placed them on Norman's forehead, in the location of where his "third eye" would be. Norman then succumbed to unconsciousness, slipping away from the waking world, feeling almost at peace in the gaze of the creature's eyes.
He awoke, in some sort of dark, macabre purgatory. Everywhere he looked were dead plants, black scorched earth, and the bodies of all the animals he could imagine, and some he couldn't. He tried to scream, but he couldn't create any sound at all. He even smashed in the skull of a horse with a rock, and there wasn't a single crack heard. He was completely silent. And completely alone.
He walked to the west, judging his direction by where the moon sat in the sky. After walking for what seemed like days, he saw what looked like another human. He had found help! He had his freedom! He had someone who knew what was wrong with him. He wasn't alone anymore. He stepped closer, eagerly.
When he met with the figure, he found it wasn't human. It shook with an unholy epilepsy and had no facial features other than a large, toothy grin and one bloodshot eye, both barely poking out from behind a disheveled, bloodied bandage that wrapped across its entire head. It also had no arms, only hands attached at the shoulders, sewn on, in what looked like human sinew.
Norman froze, and could only watch as the "person" inched closer, taking sprawling steps across the littered terrain, moving nearer and nearer to him with each step of its shambling gait. It was less than a foot away from him before he realized he had infinite space, and could easily outrun this thing. But it was far too late for escape, not that he would survive in this land if he did get away.
The thing snatched at his chest with its hands and caught him, then turned him until they were face to face, only two inches apart. Its sole eye darted across his face, pulsing, studying him. After about a minute of frantically looking around his body, it spoke. Its voice was that of a thousand screams, and it spoke only three sentences, then disappeared into smoke.
"Nog Ardkalb will die!"
"Fear the black dragon!"
"Save thy fate from which I suffer!"
Norman shot up from the worst nightmare of his life. He ran to the bathroom and vomited, nausea overtaking his already shaking, frightened body. He looked up into the mirror to see the card had been moved onto the bathroom counter, with the owner's strange, backwards-written name displayed on the glass. That's when Norman discovered the truth. The name which had read to him as "Nog Ardkalb" now spelled out, in the mirror, "blakdra gon". He reeled back in his realization, and flew out of his room door. Looking out a window, he saw that it was still early morning, around 4 AM.
Norman caught a movement from the corner of his eye. He swung around and saw the figure again, and noticed something he hadn't before. The creature was a large black dragon, the same as the mosaic and decorations. It looked him in the eye and screamed in a corrupted, slithering, reptilian version of Mr. Ardkalb's voice. "Leaving so soon, Mr. Welk?! You haven't received your room service yet!!!"
It lunged at Norman, and he bolted out the door. He looked back to see the motel covered in blood and bodies, literally a dumping ground for human flesh, most likely its earlier victims. The dragon burst through the door and chased Norman, clawing at his back and spewing sulfur onto him from its nostrils. He barely escaped from the dragon, and drove the rest of his trip thirty miles per hour over the speed limits, determined to never see the horror again.
When he arrived at his reunion, smelling of burning and blood, he tried to relate his story to his family and friends. Rather than believing him, they shunned him and called the police. He was questioned and gave out the address of the Walpole motel, where he had stayed the night before. When they arrived on the scene, the building was leveled and contained signs of a chemical bombing, as well as more than twenty human bodies.
Norman was sentenced to life and execution at sixty-five in Georgia's Blackfield Asylum, far from his family and his "crimes". Nobody believed him, and he was put in solitary confinement to silence his nonsensical attempt at escaping the facility. Norman looked to the floor of his room, and noticed the shadow of a tree coming through his window. The leaves seemed to be in a familiar pattern, but he couldn't describe it. The leaves then formed the mosaic in the lighting of his room.
Norman looked behind him, to the window. He saw the dragon standing behind him, smiling, baring its fangs. He solemnly looked to the floor and stepped into the smoky body of the dragon, slipping into the plumes of smoke that made up its musculature. He reached an inert state of euphoria fusing with the dragon's mind, his bones twisting and cracking to fill its body. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and reopened them, to see his vision clouded by a film of green. They were now one.
March 1, 2008 - West Nevada News Corp.
This is Todd Siesmann reporting for the West Nevada News Corporation. Today, a man by the name of Norman Welk escaped from a mental facility in Georgia, and was noted by one surviving ward guard that this dangerous, insane man was heading toward the West Nevada area. It is advised to stay inside, lock your doors, and take precaution when traveling on back country roads through the desert. You can read more about this on our website. Stay tuned tomorrow for any updates that our- . . . . (newscast abruptly ends and goes into static).
Written by Eculeus666