A darkness so complete.
He felt cold. Looking all around, there was nothing to see. He could not even see his hands or his body below him. He felt as if he were a solitary eye floating in ink.
A darkness that breathed.
This will be my first and last entry, I don’t have much time left. I don’t know when he will be back. So I will write as much as I can. From the start. I hope my phone has service enough to tell this tale.
I was hiking out in the woods, I took a semester off to be alone and take some time to myself. Finally put those old Boy Scout skills to the test. When I left it was a warm day, and the trees welcomed me into their fold. Being alone is one of the most therapeutic things to me, and so is being away from the hustle of day-to-day life. Something about how the emanations from old trees wonderfully change and and renew a weary spirit, so Robert Louis Stevenson said.
I hiked for a long time, far away from the small mountain town whose name I forgot. Damn my short term memory and my almost childlike excitement. No one will find me now, I’m sure. The bleeding has slowed, so I will live for a while longer I think. Panic is getting harder to fight off, but I have to recount this story. I must.
Birds flitted about the trees, strange modern dinosaurs screeching and cackling into the theater of the wild. Most probably begging for sex, but it was still awe inspiring. So inspiring that I did not watch where I was going. My right leg landed squarely in the middle of a large bear-trap. The crunch of bone was quieter than I expected, the steel instead clanging loud enough to send the birds into flight. Blood squirted into my eyes and I stared in disbelief at my mangled leg, splintered bone poking out of my shins and the ancient, rusty trap digging hungrily as tight as it could. I did not feel it at first. Shock, probably. But after I fell to my ass and stared at it for a while, the pain was immeasurable. I cried out into the forest for help, I don’t know how long I screamed. I didn’t even think about wolves or bears or anything but my own desperation. This trap had been here for a while, it seemed, and I was afraid I would have been forgotten out there. I didn’t leave my family or girlfriend on the best terms before this little adventure, yet my screams searched for their help. To no avail.
Time crept by, my breathing was labored after a while and I was in shock. I could feel the color drain from my face and my anger bubbled up in a dream-like fury. How could someone leave a trap out here in this day and age? It was illegal, after all. As an environmentalist I knew more than most about random laws germane to protecting this planet and ecosystem. But right now, on the border of this small field surrounded by pines, I was mortified at becoming a lower rung on the food chain. My phone had no service at the time, calls failed as I frantically slammed digits and prayed for an electronic blessing. To no avail. I waited, and watched blood trickle into the leaves and grass and dirt. Dizziness set in as the sun began to fade behind the trees of a mountain and finally disappear. Fighting off the horror of the wild was nearly impossible, and the only thing that kept me from screaming more was how weak I was. And the knowledge that if i screamed more, it was more likely a wolf or the like would come and gnaw at my stomach as I laid helpless on the ground, entrails chewy and gristly on its large and happy teeth. I knew my last view would be the dead eyes of some animal who found an easy meal.
I must have fallen asleep, because when I woke it was morning. I began screaming anew, panicked at my own passing out. I could have died then. I must stay awake. I screamed and screamed as birds screamed and screamed and the horrible morning cacophony echoed into the warming light. A crash in the bushes off to my right and across the field caught my attention and silenced my cries. An orange hat poked above the bush, and a man’s face was underneath it, calm and clean-shaved. An orange vest appeared as he stood, draped over a green shirt. He was cradling a large rifle. A hunter. My fear gave to anger as I assumed this man had set the trap and was coming back to check on it.
“HEY!! Don’t you know that it’s ILLEGAL to set this trap here in the mountains?!??!?” I screamed at him as tears fell over my pained face. One fell into my wound and the salt burned, but not as hot as my fury. “YOU HAVE TO PROTECT THE ANIMALS!!”
The man walked through the bushes and trotted over silently, seeming to ignore my angry accusations. His footsteps made loud thumps onto the damp morning flora as he came to stand over me, examining me. A chuckle came as he stoically looked down at me with eyes impossibly dark.
“But I’m a cannibal”
I must have been knocked out, because I woke up chained to a metal pole holding up the wood floor above me. It’s dark here, and the room was a basement carved into the earth, dirt walls and floors. My eyes have adjusted so I can see old saws with thick tines and strong handles on a pegboard to my left. A table with dark stains. I know this is my last chance. I have one bar. To my family, friends, and my girlfriend: I’m sorry. I can hear him coming now, and i have to hide my phone again.
The lock turned on the wooden door as the rain began to fade. A dull roar reduced to a whisper. Stepping away, he tried to control his heart’s violent thumping against his ribs, aching with each breath. The door pushed open with horrifying slowness, opened just wide enough for the man’s words to come into the room.
“Maintenance? Maintenance. Sorry for coming so early but… uhhh… the water is out. Still… uh… trying to find the problem” He trailed off awkwardly. “Are you awake, mister?” The door opened a bit wider so that the top of his head could poke in and look at Robert, who had just finished rumpling the bed to make it seem slept in. Like a bed should be when one has paid for a hotel stay.
“Yes, I’m awake now” Robert dourly spat at the handyman. Exhaustion had whittled away at his typically affable demeanor, exposing the irritable asshole that lives within us all. “Hurry with whatever you need to do.” The man paused in the doorway after sliding in, looking around the room sleepily. Robert watched this with vexation and repeated: “Hurry.”
“Fine, fine, jeez. Sorry. I’m still half in bed. I’ll get out of your hair as soon as I can, buddy.”
Robert was filled with a subtle fear. However, the bile of irritability was thick in the sea of his emotions and he could not help but think:
I’m not your God-damned “buddy”, guy.
Taking his tool kit along with a new found irritability that Robert gave him, the handyman moved past Robert’s grim face and crossed arms without a glance. Getting into the bathroom, he had a passing thought about how bad moods spread quicker than the common cold. Facing away, Robert looked through a crack in the curtains at sunlight finding its way into a new day. Warmth. A distinct pleasure spread into Robert’s bones. But it did not last. Relief was fleeting, as that familiar tingle of ice wormed into his body. He knew he could not stay here with the man so close by. It was only a matter of time until the shadows grew a horrible cloud in the space around the stranger, an impossible geometry of spiraling ink that spread its tendrils around whomever it needed to use to get to Robert. The word’s of his old friend, who had been consumed by a skillful demon right before his eyes without him even noticing, crept into his thoughts again.
“We are everywhere.”
Robert James felt his stomach writhe hungrily within his gut, searching for food that wasn’t there. He decided to leave without a word to the man who’s face he had already forgotten. Besides, the room seemed like it was growing colder already. Darker, even. Jingling on the end table, the room key barely came to a rest when the door slammed satisfyingly shut behind Robert and he walked out into the breezeway. The ground was slick with a rain that now was being pushed away by the warm eastern zephyr of the rising sun.
He stood for a moment looking at the parking lot, as steam began to twist off of the gray asphalt, curling between a few cars that braved the storm from the night before. One in particular caught his eye, a dark blue sedan with a white top. and white-walled tires. A real looker of a vehicle. Robert gave a long and admiring gaze at that car, as the sun almost made it glow with an aura. One imperfection caught his eye though. A cluster of thin parallel lines ran along the length of the car; a light color against the dark blue. Like scratches in the paint. From claws of onyx.
His stomach groaned again and he turned to the diner, which was surprisingly open at this early hour. Eggs and coffee and bacon wafted into the warming air, and Robert walked in again to see the same bubbly brunette with the shining smile.
“Good mornin’ mister! What can we get for you?”
“Cupocoffee” Robert mumbled, with a weak smile as he looked around him at the counter. Mostly clean, a few big stains that surely had been scrubbed hundreds of times to no avail. The main faded hue was a sad-looking tan. It was a shame, Robert mused, when a business either doesn’t care or can’t afford to keep up appearances. Glancing at the mostly empty restaurant, his eyes found a sight when they came upon an aged man with a shock of white hair on his head and a long white beard; An over-sized, worn and torn brown jacket covered his broad body. Blue eyes staring right at him. Robert sat up with a start as he stared back at the frozen eyes staring ice through him. Into him. A blink and the man had vanished.
Robert whipped his head around at the waitress, who was grabbing creamer from underneath the counter. She obviously didn’t see what happened, and he asked:
“MISS! Who was the man sitting in the corner over there, just a moment ago?!” She stood up quickly in surprise and looked at Robert’s wild eyes and tired face.
“Man? Which man?” She pondered, putting a finger to her chin and looking around the place. “Him?” Robert turned to look at a different man, a much younger one who was clean shaven and was actually Jim from the repair shop, face down gobbling up a plate of eggs and hash browns with a ridiculous amount of ketchup. It was as if he actually added hash browns to a plate of ketchup, instead of the converse. Strange. Robert turned and shook his head, sipping carefully the cupocoffee that the nice young lady gave him. She apologized for her memory and shrugged, going about her duties. He gulped the hot liquid down painfully, a fire brewing in an empty stomach, and he realized he should eat something too.
“Miss, sorry, but could I also have a bagel with cream cheese?” He said sheepishly. Jim had paid and waved as he stood to leave. The waitress went to prepare the modest breakfast and Jim walked over.
“Hey, R.J.! Should have gotten the eggs scrambled with onions and peppers! Real good here. Anyway, that starter of yours should be coming any time now, them boys out west get up earlier than me!” He gave Robert a pat on the back, and they smiled at each other.
“Great! Thanks again for helping me out, Jim. I’ll be around here somewhere, maybe I’ll find a nice spot in the shade to slee — er — sit in… for a while.” Robert’s eyes were still heavier than anything he had ever lifted before. Despite the coffee. It takes a while to kick in, really. A bagel magically appeared before Robert, along with a smiling waitress telling him to enjoy it. It quickly began to vanish as Jim disappeared out the door and into the waiting day. It was going to be a big one for Robert, and one filled with mystery. The darkness waited for him out there, in the hot sunlight.
It hid between molecules within the air, hoping to snare him around the throat and whisk him into itself. Pushing the empty plate away and putting money on the counter, Robert thought of the darkness as a horrible, amorphous mass of squirming serpentine shadows, red eyes appearing and disappearing all over the quivering horror. It grew, and pulsed. The air swirled colder inside the diner, the curls of the young woman’s hair suddenly appeared darker under the fluorescent light that flickered above. She was wiping the counter, and Robert stood to leave with his eyes locked on her as she suddenly froze during her cleaning rhythm. He whirled around to leave, thinking that he saw her eyes flick up at him as he turned. The door was heavy as he pushed his way out, and he turned to his right walking along the side of the restaurant. As he walked past the last booth that was by the window, he turned to look in at a single coffee cup resting on a barren table. The place where that strange man sat, eyes blazing cold fire into Robert’s mind. Some strange sense of… urgency? Staring from the corner of his eye was a new gaze. He looked over his shoulder as he walked away, the waitress stoically stared after him as Robert fled from her sight.
He trotted a fair ways behind the diner, the dirt giving way to taller grass and the trees stretching to the sky. The shade was still a bit wet from the night before, but not as hot as the sunlight.
This will be a good place to wait.
The waitress never emerged from the restaurant. The imagination plays terrible tricks on a tired mind. But the coffee cup… That stood out to Robert. The bubbly young lady said that she did not remember, but how do you forget someone as distinct-looking as he was? And how did he vanish? He thought hard about what he saw, and he rushed back into the restaurant. There was a napkin there, by the mug. Something was written on it. His feet flew over the ground and into the diner again, breathing hard he moved to the booth where the waitress was finishing cleaning up. The napkin was on the tray behind her, resting on a table while she worked. He took it and read it to himself. The short chortle of disbelief came from his mouth, and he crumpled it up and threw it back down.
“Dream to escape.”
Tell me something I don’t know. Waste of — wait.
The man had vanished into thin air like demons had. And had an obvious interest in him. Who was this man? He left something behind – a message – to reach out to Robert James… What could this mean? Why did he stare so coldly, with such ice? Robert shivered as the shade of the trees fell over him once again. He stood with his back to one, and crossing his arms he looked at Jim’s place. This would be a good place to wait. Clouds slowly wafted overhead as the sun continued its march higher into the blue sky, a grand illusion.
It wasn’t long before a truck rumbled into the parking lot of Jim’s. Robert stared as the dust cloud that once trailed behind the hauler now filled the air around it coming to a rest. One man hopped out of the large truck while the other stayed inside with it idling. Jim came out to meet them, a handshake and a smile produced a signature on a clipboard and a wave goodbye. A sequence of actions as old as commerce. Starting slowly, the giant truck lurched forward and gained speed away from this glimpse of a town. Jim was unaware that Robert stared from afar as he rolled his tool box out by Robert’s new truck. The starter is easy enough to replace, since he was done faster than Robert expected. 30 more minutes in the shade alone was almost therapeutic to him; the air idling between trees and leaves was clean tasting and invigorated his spirits. The long walk across the grass made him think of childhood gambits as a knight, cardboard shield poised to defend. His eyes were achingly tired and Robert had to consciously focus on holding them open sometimes, but he now felt a kindling of small fire within his soul. He was this much closer to his wife, and he knew that he had no idea how to protect her, but maybe he could keep her safe somehow. Move her around from town to town, give her a bit of excitement. He stifled a chuckle and began to walk inside of Jim’s cluttered office, greasy footprints lining the concrete floor.
“Hey! Thanks again, Jim.” Robert shook Jim’s hand as he rose to greet him.
“No problem at all, R.J.! Be safe out there!”
“You too!” The door shut behind Robert and he nearly sprinted to the black truck. It was pretty clean on the inside, despite some usual wear and tear. The engine started and he rolled out back onto the road, pulling the motor for all that it was worth. A new exhilaration found its way into his body, forcing a smile of clenched teeth to appear. The highway stretched itself before him again, and he flew down it toward his home, to his great love. He had to get back and he knew he would finally be where he belonged. To the woman who – for whatever strange reason – accepted him. Loved him. Believed in him and supported him for no reason other than love. He could never repay her for all the support she gave. He had once found her platitudes about finding a new job obnoxious and annoying, but he knew she was doing all she could to support him through his overwhelming depression. Love. They say it makes the world go around, and that may be true. But love undoubtedly was the reason for Robert’s life.
Someone once said that we live life in the pursuit of beauty, and all else is just a form of waiting. Robert knew all those years ago, when he fell in love with her, that he did not have to wait ever again. Not as long as she was there by his side. The fire burned strong in his soul again, like it did when he was a younger man under the stars on a beach at night. The truck barreled down the road, passing cars fast and pulling the world underneath it. A billboard stretched out on the right up ahead, and Robert stared with disbelief. Alone, framed by a piercing clean white, were black letters that read:
Fury forced the truck faster down the road, and soon he passed another billboard, reading:
His chest was burning with tingles of love that quickly caved to the overwhelming fear. A fear that comes from facing a universe filled with a vile darkness permeating the physical world with its evil will. A darkness that defies logic and reason, a darkness with intelligence. A darkness that has hunted Robert. Stalked him. Anger brewed again. The anger of being toyed with by something beyond your control. Imagine being an ant that is being fried by the magnifying glass of a horned demon-child with the shadowy cheshire smile of madness. A siren came up from behind him along with the red and blue flashes of a police officer. He was being pulled over, and looking in the rear-view mirror he saw red eyes and fangs that stretched over darkness. A blue hat rested on its head. A blink and a glance brought a normal human into frame, motioning to him to pull over. Robert’s hands gripped the wheel and he squeezed them as hard as he could, knuckles growing whiter with each passing moment.
Click HERE for the part before.
I’m writing this in the lobby of a Starbucks. I’m not sure how much time has passed, but I need to make a record of this before I finally lose my senses to the fear that is lurking behind my eyes. Or they catch up with me. My wife has left me and its my fault, all my fault. I’ve become obsessed. I should start from where I left off. Looking back at what happened there is so much gray, and not enough black and white. The people here are casting odd glances at me, they must think it strange for a homeless looking man to have a laptop and to be typing furiously while stifling the crazed laughter that keeps bubbling up into his mouth. No matter. Who cares what THEY think?? Th0ey have no idea of what lives out in the untouched woods east of this town.
OK, I need to focus. Focus.
I went back to the house. The house on the left, where the old man was, was embalmed with yellow CAUTION tape. Wind made it flutter and sound like some leathery wings above the din of the trees that swayed and twitched in the heat that blew through them. The humidity was so thick that I felt as if I was wading into some great, invisible sauna. The strange, seemingly empty house on the left stood silently. Staring. The trees all around us, being fairly far into the countryside, towered into the sky as they moved with the wind. I thought about how I wished I had enough money to buy a pistol. Buckshot and slugs would do.
I was going to move without hesitation today. I was going to finish this. It was going to be easy. I could corner them here and finally finish this. Oh, to be finished. Were that I could be and not a raving man holding on desperately to the cliffs of sanity — trying to save myself from the black waters of madness frothing below. I have to push their strange ritual out of my mind. That dark altar in the woods. Forgotten… Demanding attention.
Wait. The beginning.
I was about to re-enter my old home, the one that I had fallen in love in. So many memories were held within its walls; pale echoes of laughter glowed in my mind as I went to slide the key into the lock. The key barely touched the brass when a quick clamor and came from inside and I whirled to the window next to the door to see my white curtains obscuring my view. Shadows were all I could see, and one moved into the hallway and out of sight while another stealthily slithered to the kitchen on the right. A trap was in the process of being set and I had stumbled upon their devious workings. I would not become the next skull on their filthy shrine, cut into that wet colon of the earth. I would not be another trophy to be polished and displayed carefully in the foul darkness while they cleaned their rotting teeth with a splinter of my rib bone. I would not be, as it seemed more likely now, a sacrifice. It did not matter. I would not become another victim. Not today. Or ever.
I put a chair under the front door to keep it from being opened. Leaving it locked, I doused the front of the house in gasoline. Even the windows were covered in dancing flames as I moved around to the back. From the hole in the house foundation, rats came squeaking out into the dirt and into the underbrush. Then a black-nailed hand – elongated in a disgusting strangeness – pulled a pallid beast out as it gripped the dirt. I shot it and it wheezed and looked up at me as it gave its last repulsive breath. Hatred brewed in those obsidian orbs that stared unblinking as death filled its new corpse. Another came, and it was so fast!! It crawled out low to the ground as if this was another natural way that they moved — on all fours!! In one motion it had come out of the hole, and pulled its revolting counterpart over itself like a cloak. I fired 3 rounds into it, the buckshot only slightly penetrating until my final round – a slug – tore through them both and it fell into a steaming hump of grey flesh half into the brush and half in the dirt. Dark red blood began to pool and be absorbed by the planet. Mosquitoes and flies landed instantly on the macabre pile. A wafting of horrible smells from the body blended with the natural stink of a swamp. My house was engulfed in flames behind me, and while I was far enough away from the main part of town for it to take some time for police to get here, I had to work quickly — I knew I had to I had to finish them off now and here and forever and then leave this place and never talk again. There could be no more rituals. I had no clue – at the time – that these horrors were nothing compared to what I would find later. The blending of onyx and green in the moonlight… No. Not yet. I must write it all.
The house that had seemed vacant next to me all of those years was not, and the fire had grown out of control with the wind and spread to it. I checked inside the shed to make sure that my rudimentary barricade had held, which it did. A loud crashing and cries of the beings who had long been hidden echoed out. Melancholy and angry, animalistic and frightened. Unnatural, and yet… human. Almost. I moved just in time to see the last of them tumbling over each other into the forest, screeching and clicking and talking to each other… Maybe to me. Fragments of half-words and almost familiar tones drifted into my ears. I did see one that sat, staring at me from across the small field. It saw me, too. I raised my gun to fire a slug I had loaded, but it was gone. I knew that I could not leave them free in the forest, I could not pass the buck on to some other unsuspecting soul.
They were my responsibility. They were mine to kill.
I left the inferno raging behind me, screams of the damned erupting from the yellow blossoms of their funeral pyre. I crashed into the underbrush, and ran after the creatures. The fauna was thick on the ground, cutting and pulling and tearing at my arms and face and clothes. Ahead of me, I could hear the stampede of the hominids running through the forest. I caught glimpses of them standing upright, and I fired at them, missing. I don’t remember how long I chased them, my breath burned in my lungs and my legs were aching when I finally slowed down. It could have been an hour. Maybe even more. The adrenaline was endless, and my heart fluttered like a captured bird in my chest. I managed to slow my breath after a time, and listen. The sun was beginning to fall already. How long did I run? This part of the forest seemed untouched by man. A forgotten swamp. I began to walk, hearing silence around me. My crunching was stifled by the mud, for the ground had become much more damp. My eyes investigated every leaf and bush, tree and branch. I saw no signs of animal life in that place. No paths cut by boars in the brush. No scratchings from deer. Even the insect life was drained from this place, as the sun fell behind a clouded horizon. There was darkness now, and I was lucky to have packed a flashlight.
I moved through muck now, my boots almost getting sucked off by their sinking into a mire of ancient land. Spanish moss was thick in many places, choking the life from parts of thick oaks. Slopping through more and more, I was worried for gators, but saw none. I thought myself lucky for it, and stopped my breathing and strained my ears to focus on a sound I swore that I did not hear. But I did hear, and to think of it now makes me want to scream out at these fools around me who have no fucking clue what lives east of their suburbs and lattes.
The sound was chanting, words that I had never heard and wish to never hear again even if it means I have to take a spike to my ears. Half-human tones and alien syllables distantly found their way to my mind. Words meant to remain unheard — but I must try to make some sense of it all! some record so that people can know and avoid and perhaps… No. There is no defeating it I suppose. The dreams made it clear. The voices blended and clicked and did not make sense but here, I will try:
I heard these mumblings and moved closer, that is when the words became more clear to me. They chanted low, just above a whisper, and yet being in that strange silence of that old land it reverberated into my bones with every vile syllable. I moved quietly closer to observe a horrible sight and strange things that disappeared when I went back to look for them. I combed that same area for days and could not find anything. That glade was still there, a str a n ge island in the swamp with a river gliding around it murky and brown. It was still empty, when I went back. No animal life. But the shrine was gone, or invisible. Yes… The shrine.
The creatures swayed grimly chanting around a monolithic structure around 8 feet tall. Fires surrounded it, layers of sticks blended with a few headless corpses that crackled and popped and made me nauseous with a stench of charred flesh. The stone towered and was an odd color. Black and green and… yet not. Not obsidian and emerald though, it was almost as if the green had blended into the black, a disgusting and unknown color. Strange carvings were visible, unexplainable hieroglyphs and a malevolent etching of some strange being I cannot describe. Something from the sea. I stared upon the horror of this evil ritual, and raised my gun to fire. Slugs ripped into one and it fell suddenly, like a repulsive rag doll. The others looked around frantically and screamed with an overwhelming hatred as I fired again, and again, pumping rounds into the bush next to me. I think it was then I went mad, as some picked up strange amulets or totems from around the shrine and took off into the night, leaving the horrible fire burning flesh under the stars. The night was silent again, and I blacked out.
I woke up several days later, for I had grown a beard and bug bites covered my body. Maybe I came back into rational thought again, and repressed the time spent insane? I found my way back to that place and it was empty, no green/ black monolith jutting from the earth on that strange old island. Not even evidence of burnt grass. I laughed into the silence. Just empty dirt filled the island, and not even footsteps remained. I must be insane. I went back to the town, and I found that my wife had left the hotel without a forwarding address. Her number was disconnected. Her family’s was off. And so I went to look again at that place. It must be there! But, there was nothing. I hunted in those woods for anything now, no boar or deer or ancient subterranean human cult lived there anymore. I googled my home address in the news just now. People disappeared 20 years ago from there, almost to the day. And 40 years before that. I have to leave now. The police are on their way, apparently. Something about arson. More like some sort of cover up. The people are whispering around me and I have to leave.
Hours passed. The light began to flicker in the lamp behind Robert. Stopping his nervous tapping on his legs, he turned to look at the chaotic strobe. The room was in a state of flux between darkness and light, each flicker an explosion of lightning in the empty room. Suddenly, one of the flashes revealed a shadowed figure in the center sitting on his bed looking at him with a predatory smile — God, those teeth! Shooting up, he knocked the chair over and almost fell over it as he stepped back. Robert was stumbling as the impending darkness washed back into the room, like a wave crashing onto the shore. His heart was cold as he reached for anything he could use to protect himself, blindly grasping at the scratchy curtains and the end table. All was deathly quiet now, save for his scrambling. The light crackled back into the room as he fixed his eyes on an empty bed. Perfectly made. Untouched.
Moments passed as he flicked his eyes around the room, assuring himself that his mind was playing tricks on him. The lack of sleep was not helping his nerves, and neither was this spastic lighting. He walked over, and adjusted the bulb so that it sat better within its home, and clicked the ceiling light on as a backup. Considering how heavy his eyes were, brighter was better. Anything to help keep him awake. He thought about the bathroom, and the shower that was sure to be inside. Walking across the light brown carpet, he opened the door to the modest restroom and flipped the light on. It was what you would expect: A decent sized shower with white-tiled walls and a tacky shower curtain with a flowered pattern commonly found in the homes of the elderly. The mirror and sink were clean, and he looked at the tired-looking man staring back at him. Big bags drooped under his eyes, and his clothes were rumpled looking. The suit that had been so crisp and clean had been turned into third-hand clothing within 24 hours. He shrugged at his reflection, and went to relieve himself in the toilet. A wave of ethereal relaxation rushed over him, and he remembered he hadn’t had a chance to do this in forever. It was almost too euphoric to handle, and he chuckled.
Upon flushing, he noticed that the water pressure was quite weak as it refilled the bowl. Trying to wash his hands, he saw that the water was now nonexistent in the pipes.
Damn. I really needed a shower, too. Would have helped pass the time.
He glided back out into the bedroom, beginning his first lap of pacing back and forth. Step by step he had to hold his eyes open, feeling the strength draining from his body. He let himself close his eyes – thinking that if he relaxed them while he walked that he could get a second wind. Fatigue does this to people. It tricks our trains of thought onto the rails of foolishness. However, Robert was correct in thinking that he would find his second wind. It was from a different source, to his dismay. Sometimes when we first begin to fall into sleep, there can be an uncontrollable jolt of raw fear. A powerful sensation of falling can snap us back awake whether we like it or not. Many find it an inconvenience. After the initial shock, Robert was relieved by it. He had almost fallen asleep while pacing on the floor. Legs like jello, arms like cement. Robert was afraid that he could not keep himself awake. Raising his arms out to his side, he opened his palms and began to smack the shit out of himself.
“Stay – a – WAKE!!” Each syllable sounded in time with a quick smack on his reddening cheeks. Smack. Smack. He paced across the floor in time to his new found rhythm. Robert tried his hardest to push the horrible reality of why he was doing this out of his mind. Gleaning the tiniest bit of humor he could, he held on to this and forced an internal laugh.
Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself.
That bully he knew would have found this hilarious, no doubt about that. He was confident that he was awake. For now. A stinging heat welled on his face. His eyes were tired, but his mind had hardened itself. It had to. Oblivion was within Robert, and it waited with a hungry maw just behind his eyes. He knew it was there. Licking his lips and staring out of the thin part of the curtains through the window outside, Robert knew this was a healthy fear. Like his stomach groaning into the silence, it would help keep him awake. Hopefully. Maybe more fear would add to the mental bulwark against the black. He could study the evil, perhaps. Gaze at it with steadied eyes, and see if he could understand.
There was something important he forgot, though. All know this to be a truth somewhere deep down inside, no matter their culture. No matter the philosophy or belief. It is a law, one that has been etched into the definitions of existence.
Those who study Evil, are studied by Evil.
This was something that could not be helped. Robert cracked his neck, twisting it to one side in a habit he had since he was a child. It felt great, tiny pops of pleasure amid a body of creaking bones and tight back muscles. Staring out into the night, he tried to remember the moments in between the worlds he saw. A dark hallway filled with dots of light, the obsidian hole he fell into filled with vile eyes that gazed into his soul. Did he see any hints? Anything that could help him understand? There were whispers, he remembered. Whispers of some enigmatic language he had never heard before. What were those strange words? His mind focused on that memory, pushing into the past with prying sight. His ears tingled for a moment, and he stared at shadows on the parking lot darker than the night sky above.
Lano kala bo’shar lanu novala
These words burned like fire into his mind and felt as if they were whispered loudly into both of his ears. He whirled around and stared at the empty room. The lights both flickered weakly and went back to normal, as he felt for spit on his ears. He could have sworn someone ha –
Pharom car’ana mokkada bah’jah ko se
Tears welled in his eyes as he spun around again, he could hear the tongues clicking in his ears and he could feel the spit of the hissing whispers without question, and yet he was alone. He fell to his knees, knocking over the end table in the process. The Gideon’s bible fell from the drawer onto the ground in front of him, and he was struck with a thought.
Maybe this will help!
One hand brushed tears away as the other turned pages.
The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not… want
He sniffled a bit, and read the rest of the passage as quick as he could. He felt much calmer now. A deep breath after each few lines brought his heart rate down. Turning the page to continue, he stared in horror and could not help but read this next part out loud. Weakly, he whispered to the empty room.
“Go to sleep, Robert.” Printed alone, and centered on the page. And the next page. And the page after that. Robert continually read it aloud, turning the pages faster and faster and reading it louder and louder. Yelling out into the hotel room he gave the book a cathartic throw and it slapped heavily on the wall, then dropped to the ground with a soft thud. He began to cry heavily, labored breathing in between sobs. Finally managing to calm himself down, he sat with his back against the bed. The clean linen scent wafted into his nose as silence echoed into the room. Only the soft hum of electricity accompanied its melody. He stood up and moved back to the window and sat down, tapping a different beat cautiously on his knees. Tap. Tap. Grimly he thumped, shadows outside waxing and waning as clouds passed quickly over the moon. Seemed like a storm was coming, the trees swaying in the passing moonlight. Black clouds rolled in from beyond the horizon, covering the land in a pallid shroud the color of coal. Low rumbling filled the room with static buzzing invisible through the air outside. Any minute now it would pour.
As a streak of lightning traced across the sky, the parking lot was illuminated with a clear light. Enough for Robert to see several shadowy hominids crawling low to the ground, only to be swallowed up by the darkness as the lightning turned into a growling roll of thunder. He pulled the blinds shut and squeezed the curtains together, eyes bulging from his skull. Backing away, he turned and looked around for something he could use as a weapon. Three loud knocks rapped on his motel room door, and lightning crashed outside. Robert could barely breathe now, horror clutching his throat with its strong hands and squeezing him with fingers of terror. He was frozen solid. Whispers spoke again into his mind:
Ko’se lano makora kojani noss’e
Three more knocks, louder than before. Urgent. He was surprised that the beings did not force their way in by crashing through the window. He could imagine the storm blowing wind in through the shattered glass as the demons crawled closer toward him, their hellish teeth bared in the cheshire smile of a hated creature, twisted by time. Three more knocks, a pause between each distinct thud on the door. Against his better judgement, he walked to entrance and looked outside. Standing there in the storm was Don French! The old man had his brown coat drawn tight against the wind. Making a frustrated gesture toward the door he began to walk away. Robert watched his back as he shuffled weakly around the corner. The wind was pushing and pulling his body in a way that made him look like a drunken man finally stumbling home.
Robert slunk back over to the window with all the stealth and precision he could muster, and looked back into the parking lot. The various blacks and grays swirled together, shadows dancing wildly as the wind flew violently through the trees. The gusts were so strong that even the cars swayed lightly on their chassis. A lightning bolt crackled through the clouds above, tracing its way across the sky. It was enough to restore his view outside, and Robert stared at nothing but an empty landscape being buffeted by the storm. No demons, no black tongues curling between spiked teeth. No apex demon with the horns of a ram that looked doused in fresh blood. A shiver found its home in his shoulders as he thought of the various creatures he had seen. His eyes were heavy still, and heavier by the minute – but his fear helped keep them pried open. Like a device used to peel your eyelids back. But instead of cold metal prying into his skull, he had the whispers and an ancient evil that was stalking him. This room had kept him safe somehow, despite the horrors that unfurled their tendrils within his thoughts.
Because I am alone here? Do they need a… vessel?
The storm roared outside as he glanced at the clock, the strong white numbers stood out against the black tiles they sat on. They flipped, and showed that it was so much closer to morning than Robert would have guessed. His heart twinkled in his chest for a moment, and in that tiny time a small smile toyed at the edge of his mouth. He had stayed awake this long, he could make it for a while longer. He began to tap an upbeat rhythm on his knees now: Tappity-tap-tap-tappity-TAP! Robert felt a warmth in his stomach, and its rumblings had calmed along with his mood. The storm was beautiful, a wild force of nature whirling overhead. Chaos raged in the heavens and with each bolt of lightning and crack of thunder his hands tapped to the beat. He felt strangely happy suddenly, all things considered. He was closer to home. His wife was sleeping now, probably listening to the same storm buffet against her window. Clouds almost as black as her hair, that pure raven shimmer of beauty. His minds eye painted a picture for him: framed by the white of the bed and the clean sheets, her lovely face softly sleeping with the glow of an angel. Robert’s blood ran icy in his veins as he felt the air of a whisper slither into his ears.
Kaa…La — K’osst AMOJANN!!
Each syllable was stressed with the flinging of invisible spit into his ears, and he involuntarily wiped at them. There was no rest for the weary, and definitely not for him. He paced. Thinking about going to sleep for the smallest second he shook his head violently and smacked himself in the face. No sleep. This was his one chance, as far as he knew. Robert might not make it back to this frame of existence again. He had to take this chance as far as it would let him go. As far as the darkness would let him. Robert stared at his hands, and turned them into fists. Nothing would stop him, and he found a new conviction in spite of his fear. The storm raged on in the sky outside, the electric air buzzing and rumbling. A roll of thunder almost drowned out a new knock at the door, a shave-and-a-haircut pattern. Robert went and looked through the peephole at a different man than he expected, as it was not Don French. It was a stranger, someone he had never seen. He had a toolbox, and he did not look happy at all. It was early morning now, and Robert supposed that he was not the only tenant here that had no water. Why did he need to get into his room? Robert decided to let the man knock uselessly, there was no way he was going to open the door. Spending time with anyone inevitably led to their being engulfed by the tentacled cloud of shadows.
The knocking continued, turning from the amiable pattern into the typical three loud knocks of someone in a hurry. They shot into his room over the rumbles from the sky, and then Robert thought he had gone away. A lull in the chaos made for a deafening silence, and the sound of a key sliding into his lock sent a numbness into his body.
His heart pounded in his chest. The lock turned, and the door handle began to twist.
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The horns were all Robert could see for a moment. His eyes focused on the demon perched on the back of the Harley roaring toward him, shadows swirling violently behind it. There were two sets, one beginning from the being’s brow and extending back, with only a slight curve inward toward their tips. Perfectly symmetrical. The second pair came from just behind its cheeks, and curled over like the horns of a ram. Like some horrible helmet. They were blood red and shined with polished brilliance, reflecting the light from the sun glaring down on them. Robert tried to swallow, but he couldn’t.
He and the shadowy demon flew at each other, alone together on this stretch of highway. Heart pounding in his flesh, he stared at the face of the darkness. The smile stared at him harder than the red eyes that sat above, unblinking. The teeth were perfectly straight, sharpened to points. So symmetrical. Robert was paralyzed, he could feel his eyes bulging out of his head at the horror. Smiling ear to ear, the mouth wrapped around its black head. It tossed back, laughing wildly at everything. Shadows whipping around like tentacles flapping in the wind. So close now! Robert could not move, and he felt that he was watching himself from somewhere deep within his body. Like those terrifying dreams we have from time to time, a strange cursed passed down through history. A sensation of paralysis and gripping fear that may permeate into our waking state. A brush with hell.
Numb to the world, he could not feel his hands clutching the wheel. He squeezed so hard that pain echoed in his metacarpals; bones that broke when he was a kid and never quite set back right in his hands. He stared at the being bearing down on him with intent to kill, and he thought of Linda. His wife’s face blinked into his mind, a breath in his ear, the smallest whisper. A reassurance. The words that were whispered are words we all wish to hear, the most comforting phrase a person can know. These are, all at once, words of forgiveness and trust, loyalty and joy. Words that are as old as humanity. Words necessary for life to continue:
“I love you.”
At the moment before the impact, time slowed down. All in one second he stared, noticing the being reaching out for him, one arm stretching out with onyx claws. Within this moment, the claw melted into a black-gloved hand. It was rising to shield the face of a human in black, slamming into his car. The creature had abandoned this husk within a fraction of a second. The man was tossed into the windshield, tumbled over the roof, and thudded on the road behind Robert losing control of his car. Slamming into a tree, he managed to slow it down enough that he wasn’t knocked out, while protecting his head with his arms. He always wore his seat belt, and it cut into his chest with burning force. The horn exploded past the ringing in his ears, droning out into the sky. The car was totaled, at least beyond what Robert could repair. Bleeding and groaning he spilled out of the car onto the grass.
He managed to get up, his left leg shouting out in pain to his brain. Both the motorcycle and his car were wafting black clouds of smoke lazily into the sky. Finally, the car horn was fading down into silence. Robert limped over to the man in black, laying face down in the middle of the road. Blood pooled underneath him, thick and almost reflecting the serene sky above. His head was cracked open, and Robert remembered something similar from when he was a child.
The memory rose to the surface, where back in his home town where he was teased by a bully, and Robert challenged him to a bike race down a steep hill. Robert was eager to put that giant of a kid into his place. The bully naturally accepted and rode to the appointed place. Robert prepared by going home for his favorite shirt, and he made his way there. But not before his mom made sure he ate a big lunch. She thought he was just going to play as usual, and he needed the energy.
The sky now was the way it was then, blue with only a whisper of clouds high in the sky. They were like white feathers up there in the light blue hue. Robert won that race, but his opponent had lost in the worst possible way. Halfway down, he lost control of his bicycle and toppled head first onto the asphalt. The blood was thick, and almost reflected those celestial feathers hanging in the blue. The smell was the same too. Copper laced with something else. That big lunch his mother made for him – salami on rye – made a surprise appearance that day. As if on cue.
This day though, his stomach was cast iron. He did not feel queasy at all looking down at the dead man. Relieved, he began to limp away down the long highway flanked by trees. He was hungry and tired and his body ached with every step. Birds called out their songs to the sky, intermingling with a wind that traced its way through the trees. The breeze was cool, and he raised his face to the sky for a moment before continuing his walk. He felt like some great weight had been removed from his shoulders.
His leg had mostly stopped bothering him, and sticking to the shade he began to walk briskly down the road. Nervously he hummed to himself as the trees helplessly listened.
After what seemed like forever, he happened upon a small town. It was the type you always pass on the way to somewhere else, and if you blink twice you’ll miss it. A gas station, a diner, and a small motel were the only establishments that he could see. All of them seemed very old, like folks haven’t passed through in a long time, and it was only by the grace of God that they managed to stay open. The gas station was the first he came upon, a place named “Jim’s”. A small mechanic’s garage was attached, where a man was underneath a black sedan that looked completely shot, and a small truck was parked next to the wall outside. Robert swallowed, and hoped this fellow took credit cards.
“Hey there!” Robert said amiably, walking up to the mechanic now rolling out from under the car. Tools were littering the ground, grease seeming to cover everything.
“Hey there, mister. How can I help you?”
“You must be the Jim. I’m Robert, Robert Lowman. Call me R.J.,” The salesman in him was coming out again, and he smiled at Jim’s face covered in the grime of hard work.
“Say, does that truck happen to be for sale over there? My car just got wrecked a ways up the road, and I have to get somewhere.” Hiding his unease, Robert was in a hurry to escape for a while. He needed to get away from the eyes of strangers. He felt extremely paranoid even talking to this man for a moment.
How does the darkness find me?
“Actually, I have been trying to get rid of that thing for a while. Some guy came here, asked for it to get repaired, and then just disappeared. Strangest thing. So yeah, you can have it budd — er — R.J.!” Jim was visibly pleased with how has day was turning out. He was thinking of maybe getting his son that bike he wanted. Robert moved in with a fair offer, uncaring of running his credit up. Thoughts of holding her in his arms again made financial worries seem distant.
“Sure thing, sir!! Thanks for not low-balling me. Let me get your information then I’ll get the keys.” Jim wiped grease from his hands onto the grease on his overalls, and the exchange went quickly. Robert was eager to get on the road again. He was completely exhausted and felt that he would fall asleep if he kept his eyes shut longer than a blink. Hopping in the truck, he put the keys into the ignition and the engine just made a strange clacking sound.
“Starter’s out? That’s strange… I just replaced that the other week. No matter, should have another one in the back somewhere. I’ll get it swapped right away.” It turned out that he did not, and after looking for several minutes apologized and said that he ordered one from a store up the road. They were going to drive it out in the morning, so Robert was stuck in this glimpse of a town. Robert normally would have felt frustrated or angry, but he knew he did not have the time for that. Walking toward the diner, he could swear that he could feel the man began to be framed by swirling shadows. He whipped his head back around and looked at a normal Jim walking back inside his shop. Trees stood tall around the town, and stared at Robert, who shivered as he began to navigate around rusted out cars with tall grass growing out of them. An ancient refrigerator was yellow in the partial shade, patterns of leaves dancing across its door.
Better get some food to go. Can’t spend too much time near people, obviously.
The diner was almost as dirty as the garage, and he would never have eaten here if he was not starving. When he grabbed the door handle, he also grabbed a fat round roach that crunched in his hand. Normally it would have startled and made him disgusted. Today, he just wiped it off on his pants and walked inside the restaurant. He could feel the eyes of patrons looking him up and down, and he buried his anxiety with the perpetual smile of a salesman. He ordered a burger, fries, and a Coke from a bubbly young waitress with bouncing brown curls. Sitting at the counter, he tried to read a newspaper someone had left behind but could not focus with the eyes tracing over his body. Suddenly he stood up, deciding to wait outside for his order. The uncut grass was safer company than that of strangers.
Finally the girl came out to him, white teeth shining with youthful optimism.
“Have a great day, sir!!” He took his bag and walked to the motel without a thank you or hesitation, taking long strides. A nervous pace like walking through a parking lot late at night. Crunching through some grass for a few seconds, he stepped onto the pavement of the motel’s modest parking lot. It looked like it was well taken care of, unlike the rest of the town. Freshly swept and windows washed, and a clean bell tingled in the air as he walked into the small office. An old man tended the counter, and cheerfully greeted him.
“Hello! My name’s Don French, and this has been my family’s motel for a long time. You look like you could use a good night’s sleep!” He gave a strong chuckle despite looking very frail, his white hair thin on his head. Wrinkles carved strong lines all over his face.
“Hey Don! This place is a sight for sore eyes indeed. Got a room?”
“I got a whole bunch! Let me get your card and information here,” He said with a smile. Soft music buzzed from a radio that seemed to match Don’s age. Robert scribbled his information with intense speed, his hand aching from the tenseness of gripping the pen. The exchange was quick, both men practiced in the process of buying and selling. A few smiles and a key let Robert into a motel room, with a very comfortable looking bed that Robert knew he could not sleep in. He promised himself to not even touch it, no matter how inviting it was. Even the smell wafting up from it – fresh linens – could not coax him into its soft promise of comfort. He understood that even a wink of rest would fling him into a river of oblivion, filled with its currents and eddies and sharp rocks.
Robert stared out the window, looking outside on a world that appeared bent on catching up to him somehow. A strange chase that was chilling to think about, the darkness hiding in the universe itself searching everywhere all at once for a single man. Could the plaster in the walls sense him? The lamp, or even the light itself that radiated from it? The shadows that stood tall on the wall behind him?
“We are everywhere.”
Robert tried to think which word of the phrase was the most horrifying. “We” implies numbers, possibly great ones. A whole team of shadow beasts with some devious objective. “Are” cements the fact that they exist. And reinforces the “we” from before, and with confidence. And “everywhere”? Well… One finds it easy to think of those implications. Robert’s legs twitched with an anxious tic.
The wind blew briskly outside as the sun drifted lower in the sky. Shadows cast from the trees grew longer, and darkness crept over the land. Robert’s stomach rumbled, and he appreciated it. The hunger should help keep him awake. He played a tune with his hands on his knees, an ancient rhythm that has been played time and time again by those familiar with struggle, or with a battlefield. The beating of drums that came from his hands was the song of nervousness, of anxiety and a lingering fear. It had played in the hearts of those who have stared death in the face, and lived. Lived to know that one day they would have to raise their sword again against that Black — the Nothingness. Raise their sword and watch it disintegrated by the scythe of Death as it cuts down to push them into the darkness of Shakespeare’s “Undiscovered Country”, from whose borders no traveller returns.
But Robert’s tune was somewhat different. He had the knowledge that there are fates worse than death. The madness that he had felt in those spaces of time, those places darker than black. The whispering tongues that wagged in the darkness. A place that ripped and pushed into his mind and abused his senses with overwhelming inputs of emotion and physical horrors. Madness. Robert shivered, and tapped his hands harder, faster.
He had to stay awake. He had to make sure his wife was safe.
It was going to be a long night, he mused.
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Never kept a journal before, decided to start because my Grandfather died, the man who raised me. He died on the old farm that his Grandfather bought all those years ago. Our family broke and tended to this land for generations, growing all manner of crops. But now that Grandfather is gone, its all mine now. No problem really, its what I’ve been bred for. Plus there’s plenty of help from the farmhands. But there was one responsibility that had been hidden from me, out on the far corner of our property. The one small barn that was a fraction the size of the main ones, hardly more than a tool shed. I was never allowed in there. Not until I found his note, with the key.
Life after life, we pass this down. A duty passed from father to son.
Go to that shed, you will learn how.
I thought it was the weirdest damn thing I ever read. And I’ve read a lot for a farmer. So I thought I would go out to the shed and see what all this fuss was about. I was never really curious about it, to be honest. The building was just an old run down-looking thing with some old wood rotting away. Sitting in the middle of a field you would have to walk across to get to it. Not a pleasant walk either because that sun gets hot. But I went out anyway, taking the pupper along with me. But when we got closer to it, the old coot started acting strange. Barking like mad, that dog refused to cross the field to the hut. So I sent him on back and kept going. Dog never spooked easy, but who knows what dogs think about anyway.
But one really strange thing was the squirrels. There were 3 sitting outside of the building and facing it, un-moving. I thought they were dead because they were so still! Normal squirrels would be long gone by the time I walked up. But they just sat like they were frozen solid. I shouted and they turned and looked at me, and for a long time too. And I looked back at them real awkward-like. Then suddenly they went their way, scurrying about all normal. Strange as hell. Kind of got a chill from that but I brushed it off and opened the door.
The place was mostly empty, but there was a big ol’ rock sitting in the middle. That’s all. No grass around it either, just a dirt floor. Dark as night in there, the odd place actually was sealed up pretty tight i guess. No light came in. But… there was something about that stone. It was sleek, once I took a good look at it. Real nice to look at. Real pleasing to the eye, something about the smoothness of it. It was black. A deep black. I got this really weird feeling that came over me as I looked at it, and I started looking around, looking for how I was gonna learn how to take care of this damn thing. For what do do with it. But there was nothing else in that place. Nothing but that sweet-looking rock. Pointless thing though, no idea why they would keep it here. But it was so nice to look at! Maybe it was some sort of family shrine. It was light before I went in there, but it was dark outside somehow, I must have lost track of time. So I came back in to write this. That’s why I felt like I needed to write this down for someone, because there was something wrong with how time passed in there. Better get to bed, gotta do a literal ton of work tomorrow.
I keep going out to keep the dirt in the shed the way it is, picking up any weeds that might have sprouted up and taking the rake to it so the dirt looks real nice around that stone. I don’t know what I am supposed to do out here, but for my Grandfather I would do anything. I felt compelled to just keep things nice like the way I found them. I mean that thing really demanded my attention. His tombstone is on the other end of the property, but there is something about this place that makes me feel closer to him, and my late father. I know they all took care of this place and kept it the way it was, so I must too. Besides, it was nice and cool in there, the air slightly drafty somehow despite it being shut up in the dark. Even the lantern I used never seemed to get warm. I cleaned the door as much as I could on the inside, and the walls too.
I polished the rock for the first time yesterday, and it was extremely satisfying to wipe the soft cloth over its smooth surface. Even bought some nice cloth to use for it, out of respect I guess. It deserves more than just an old rag. It deserves more. I made it shine, even in that dark! Every once in a while I see some squirrels trying to get in to see it, so I shoo’d them away as usual. Weird little critters. Last night I couldn’t sleep though, I kept thinking about those curves on that strange stone, that altar! There was something about polishing it that was amazingly satisfying, like scratching an itch that you cant get to without exhausting effort. I could not shake the thought that I missed a spot! I tossed and turned, could not get comfortable to save my damn life. Frustrating really. My folks always raised me to be thorough, and my Grammy always told me “if you do a job, do it right!” So naturally I got up in the moonlight, threw my boots on, and got on out there to clean it. Man its a sight to behold, this night it seemed even darker than black, like it was swallowing light around it. Thats how good I polished it. Can almost feel it thanking me. Feels warm sometimes too. THe more attention it gets the better it looks so I have to make sure to keep checking on it to keep it all nice for my family. Maybe one day my kids can take care of it too. When I was done, it was morning. So I came in and decided to just eat and stay up and get the days work done.
Something weird was happening, and I just noticed it today. THeres dirt all around the shed now, a perfect circle going about 10 feet away from the structure itself. Some sort of wood rot spreading to the plants, or some science stuff. Should go away soon enough. But while it was thhere, I defcided to start just raking it again like I do to the inside, gotta keep the ground fresh! Makes it look amazing, the smooth cuts into the earth. THe patterns.s. Dream about them sometimes too. I feel like I need to rake in a certain way and I do, and it looks strange but… right somehow. But that rock is just getting nicer and nicer. I wish I could share it with the world, but somethign tells me to keep it a secret. For now. Sometimes when I am out there polishing it, I hear some squirrels outside trying to get into it, I feel like they know that theres something interesting in here. THey go away though. But I keep polishing. Sometimes I stay out there all day, and just hire another fellow to help the guys down in the fields. My responsibiliy is here now, just like my Grandfather’s was. But I never noticed him coming out here to take care of it like this. Maybe he did it at night, when we all slept. He never liked wasting time. I(‘m sure he knew this Stone needs attention, and as much as it can get. Whenever I am away from the Stone, I feel like it is calling out to me, telling me to come take care of it to make sure no dust settles on it. I have to go to it, even when I am at the store getting goods, I feel drawn back to it.
I hear them sometimes when i am away from it, but always when I am around it. Comforting me. I feel like it is my Grandfather and those before me, but I cant quite hear them. Whenever I polish the Stone they are the loudest but only slightly above a whisper. They do not come from the Stone, but from the air it seems. From the constant draft in that place, swirling. It’s soothing to me, like I’m back sitting on the porch with Grandfather. And I do not feel that hollow pain when I am there. I cannot understand what they sa y but something tells me that I must keep cleaning. I must keep the stone pristine so that I can hear more and understand itwhat they are trying to tell me. I must. I h a v e to. There something for me to know, something that only I can discover, It needs me to take care of it it needs me to listen and be ther for it so thats why I decided to hire another full time manager to take my place. Sure it hits the budget a bit but we can take it besides I have to take care of this old thing out here in the field. Only I can. I dont know why but the whispers are not scary to me, I can hear them now tickling me, almost makes me want to giggle. Wait, The Stone. More whispers?, calling at their dependable friend. it is time again, it needs some more loving. It needs to be darker.
So clean, so tended to. Like an impeccable zen garden. But this morning was amiss. I must ha dve left the door open, becaduse I could see it open from far off whispering to me telling me to take care of it. I look inside and among the whispers and the dirt surrounding the Stone was a circle of squirrels all looking up at the Stone like little minuature druids, identical each other all frozen stand still like statues worshipping maybe.. or perhaps the stone opened the door because it wanted more attention. It was stronger now. Good. I shoo’d them off, but with that they only backed up a bit enough for me to clean so it was enough I listened to the whispers well and they let me take care of that beautiful black smooth Stone throbbing with darkness. I felt a hum from within almost like a purr I swear thats how good I clean it. Ill keep cleaning until it purrs again because that felt so good and so satisfying like when a kitten purrs and you want to hold it closer because its s o sooothing and nice and comforting to me like it fills a hole that I never knew that I had. The hole my Gr an d father left perhaps. the dirt outside was bigger now so it took almost constant care but I dont mind I have the time I have the guts to take care of all this. The tree nearest to it died so it could make room for more dirt. Pulled it out with my truck to make room for more dirt. Sent all the men home, no t hi ng to tend to no more. Combed it over the spot real nice so it looks like nothing was ever there, nothing but the pattern, zig-zagged into squares. Hope Grandfather is proud of me they never got it to be like this to make such sounds and emit such feelings. How did I never know this art was here? doesnt matter I know its here now and I will tend to it, alone. Gotta keep it safe from others, who knows what other people would think?: what would it want if others saw it and didnt want to admire and respect it? ? why would they do that I have no clue but no risk will be taken. No one can see it but me. And the squirrels too they know they understand what the rock is. I know what it is. It is so old, and so lonely. It needs more and more care forever, and its ok I will always be here.
It Rumbles each day now, and the dirts swell and fill the farm!! I had other workers destroy the fields and raze the trees and leave nothjing but the topsoil! Perfectly tilled like a giant zen garden Glorious in the light, the Great Rock now stands open without that stupid barn around it. No idea why they kept it there, the old fools. How could they not know that it needed to be f re e? Something weird about keeping it hid? it NEEDS to be free it yearns to be free and it needs all the room it can to grow. It needs the dirt. It rumbles each day now, echoing into the home. It wants me to get rid of the house too. No matter. I will live by it with a tent and a small mess. The whispers are constant, comforting me god I love them. Its amazingly Black, that Great Rock. Even with the sun on it there is no issue with it being darker than dark. It absorbs the light around it with ease and on a s u per sunny day the light diffuses by it making shadows leap into the sky sometimes, jabs back at the sky vibrating around it waves of shadows emanating off in such a beautfiul way. GOd theres nothing like it why did my folks keep somethign so awe-inspiring hidden? The squirrels even come in numbers around it, surrounding friends who had died in solemn reverence to their Elder. I keep polishing it and making sure that there is no dust on it. Not one grain. It ne e ds to breathe. The earth rumbles and I know it is connected to this stone, this ancient thing, and that the earth knows that I tend to this place. This paradise. An old responsibility I have, that I will always do. The rumblings grow so loud now!! Amazing. It knows I am wasting time with this journal. THe earth shakes!! Its beautiful and horrifying and humbling and I am its servant, it needs me to grow stronger.
The Ground rumbles with anxiety, I can see the trees on hills offf in the distance quivering with the reverberations from the grouund. I think I am mad, because the landscape is qu iveringd and waving like waves on an ocean sometime, I kept polishing and the rumbling gets so LOUDthat it fills the air, the birds in flew off long ago, and up and high in the sky circling, all of them, a cloud. But there was no sound of life but the life within the land here that i have nutured and cared for this primeval being I know now that It was my duty my destiny to care for and be here for the Stone of the world, the Stone that stuck from the earth that shakes every minute now of every day. I cannot stay much longer I think or I could be swallowed up byh the planet
The squirrels have all died, their skeletons sucked up by the dirt they died on, disappearing into the dust, i cleaned it more, but the rumbling has become so violent that I couldnot stay so crying i left, I could not become like those tiny rodents so loyal to the forgotten One here in this place.
I walked to my truck and drove it off onto another hill where I could see this event and now that I was farther away I know that I have done something.. unnatural.. and wwrong. The whispers were loud enough that I could hear that they were Words that should not be spoken, Words forbidden by time and forgotten on purpose. They were gleeful now… As I watch the earth buckle and pulse, something rising up out of the ground where my family farm once stood pulling itself out and I want to keep typing but id ont think I can anymore there’s some darkness coming from the planet, a massive pulsing earthen hell pushing its way from the crust and breaking free from the plates where it had been kept a secret. I see it’s hand, the size of a hill. I know I will die.. I’m sorry. I have ruined it all, and I was not smart enough to stop myself. The whispers are laughing now, softly in my mind. Taunting. They know that the ancient One has finally been freed, some primordial Titan that ancient magicks had sealed away or ancient tribes buried in the dirt or God or the gods themselves had pushed back down into the crust. It should have stayed forgotten.
Its free now, dear God. It sees me. Im sorr
Click HERE for Part 1
I heard something heavy on the roof, crawling above us. I went outside to get a look at the thing, and I peered into the shadows above my house, trembling. An overwhelming sensation of being watched came upon me, stifling my breathing. I gazed upon nothing. But that feeling of being quietly observed made me sick to my stomach. There was nothing on the house… Not anymore.
I quickly went back inside. Bolted that door tight again. Moved the couch back in front of it. I wasn’t going to risk going outside again, not after what I did. Not after what happened. There was something primal about our interaction, like a story that had been told too many times already over the course of history, Us versus them. I can’t explain it, but there is a hostility innate to the interaction between us. Like homo sapiens forcing homo erectus into extinction. Who would have thought my high school biology class would become useful to me?
After the roof scare, we decided to take all of the animals and just go into the bedroom for the night, since the doors were locked and blocked. My wife took a pill to help her get some rest since she is a schoolteacher, and she can’t miss work since tests are coming up for the kiddos. I stayed awake, clutching my Mossberg. I felt pretty confident that all of the barriers that I made in the shed should keep the creatures in the ground. But as I sat there in the darkness, I found myself thinking of their eyes, glittering in the dark looking up at me.
None of the descriptions you folks suggested really looked like what I saw. The rake’s hands are much too big for this. These things had more… dexterity. Nimble fingers. And the eyes were not dark, at least not with a light shining at them. Seems more like some forgotten link between us and the primordial soup.
My thoughts were a whirlwind as sleeplessness began to catch up to me in a wild delirium. The faintest brush of a wind in the bushes made my heart flutter, and my muscles tense. And that FEELING! The one of being watched. Even the walls of my home seemingly could not keep those prying humanoid eyes from whispering into my mind. The darkness itself seemed to hold them. The shadowy corner, black in the room. For all I could tell, there was something crouching in my room now —
Scratching began anew.
The location made me feel a new fear. The walls!! The WALLS!! I have heard rats in walls before in apartments I lived in during my youth. Light scratches and tiny scuttles. This, was completely different. It must be Them. Scraaaaaaatch scratch. Scraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatch. Long, subtle scratches. Like dragging long nailed fingers lightly over drywall. I could picture the creature, skinny enough to slip into the frame of my home, grey skin pallid in the dusty darkness. I loaded my shotgun with buckshot. There was no question in my mind now, that there was something there. And it was the thing that I saw. There are no coincidences on a moonless night like that one. There were no cute mice in my wall. I knew. I could not bring myself to pump shells into the walls, lest it let the creature spill into the bedroom. Luckily my wife was out cold, but the dog was whining and growling again — like before. I sat on the edge of my bed, feet hanging over the side to the ground, cradling my shotgun at the origins of the hellish sounds.
When the scratching first stopped, I went out into the living room to see the other side of the wall, to make sure it was within the thin frame and it hadn’t gotten into the home itself. Surely, it was where I suspected. But this gave me more scares. The angles that strange body would have to twist into to get to where it is now are wholly unnatural. It took all my strength left to not vomit, thinking of the disgusting being covered in dirt that had lived so close to me for so long. And then I noticed that the cat had come out with me, and was at the window looking out intently at something. I slowly walked over and I swear I caught a glimpse of a face peeking into my home. A face not devoid of reasoning. A face looking for something, someone. Me. As I got closer it was nothing but reflections and shadows…
I waited all night for something more. But the scratching would stop, I would begin to drift off to sleep and then they would begin anew. Toying with me. As if it could sense my sleepiness and was playing with my mind. Psychological warfare. It is now almost 8 am, and the scratching has been gone since just before the sun rose. They must be nocturnal.
I sure hope so.
I am going to take a quick nap, then go out into the shed.
If my hands will stop shaking.
Click HERE for Part 3
I haVE to type this quickly, please just give me a chance to explain. I told the police what I am about to tell you, but they refused to believe me. A friend told me that you folks might have some idea of what I am dealing with here. In my backyard.
The yard is overgrown, there is an old shed that we haven’t had access to for years. Peeking inside the single dusty pane on the garage, there is nothing remarkable to see: Tired old tools, shelves, and spiders skittering into the darkness.
My wife and I have a Shiba Inu, a very cute dog and also very intuitive. It knows somehow when anyone is sad or even slightly stressed, and he will toss his body onto you to comfort you whether you like it or not. We always just let him go running out into the yard to let him do his thing, and he always comes running back. He loves crashing through the overgrown backyard that our landlord refuses to cut. Ferns and bamboo mix to create a veritable Vietnam, especially on hot nights. Like last night.
To write as clearly as I am, it is taking all of my focus. What I saw makes me laugh and cry at the same time to think of and I couldn’t sleep at all because of it. I kept my shotgun with the rack open next to me in bed, and my wife did not even protest. She did not see, but she could hear. And the police thought we were pranking them. So much for protect and serve.
I let the dog outside as usual, and he ran into the underbrush with a hop and a skip. But as I closed the door behind him to prevent the cloud of mosquitos from coming inside I heard something else out there with him. Thinking a possum or the like, I stuck my head outside to call the dog back inside, but he was waiting for me already at the door. I have never seen a dog afraid before, not outside of the movies. He stood there shaking, and whimpering. Tossing nervous glances outside as I began to shut the door. Strange. As we walked away, I heard something scratching at the door I just shut.
Thinking it was just an outside cat, which we have, I ignored it. Best thing to do. But the scratching did not stop for an hour. My eyes locked on our ceiling fan spinning for eons as scratch scratch. Scraaaaatch scratch scratch. Over/ and over and over and eover and over
I finally got up to go kick the kitty off the steps but it stopped just as I strode over. But then as I turned to walk back to bed there was more. I rushed the door and opened it.
By the time I could see, all I caught a glimpse of was something like a pale hominid, crouching unnaturally as it crawled into the bushes. A distinctly human looking head, but somehow elongated and sloping back. Long arms. The poilice wouldnt believe me. I stayed up all night clutching my gun, sitting in the kitchen facing the back door. Time to to time, the scratching would begin again. And then subside immediately as I stood to open the door. I could not get the courage to go out and find the creature, even with the cold steel at m side. Somethiing about the darkness was different that night, obsidian without a moon. That pale grey skin, stretched over strange bones, seemed powerful despite its emaciated appearance.
I called off work the next day to use the sun to boost my strength. The heat was oppressive, beating through the leaves of the trees and onto my clammy skin. The dog would not go out, he stood in the doorway whining and tap-dancing nervously which only added to my blood pressure and apprechension. I could see a single footstep in the damp dirt outside the door, a shape that made me sick to see since I knew this was something beyond the realm of normal understanding. Long toes, wide feet. Like a simian, but with obvious abberations. Swallowing my fear I delved into the greenery.
With each slow crunch of my feet going through the ground, my heart skipped a beat. I could feel something watching me. It brushed my arm and I turned to fire and looked at nothing more than a bush. My nerves were shot. I peeked into some bushes, moving slowly around the yard. Then the shed came into view, and my heart stopped in my chest and tried to crawl into my throat.
The shed door was OPENED. We were told that it could not open and they were going to demolish it once we were finsihed with our lease. I entered with the gun raised ready to rip somethjing in half with a fleet of lead friends. But there was nothing. Tools, shelves, and dusty old spider skittering off to shadowed corners.
Nothing except for a rug upturned, and a trapdoor exposed by it. Taking my phone, I lifted it open quickly and shined a light down there.
Several pairs of eyes glared back from the dark, and i fired without thinking into the black and shut the door immediately. Chilling cries spewed up from the dirt basement, and loud crashes pushed wildly up against the door as I stood holding it shut slipping into insanity I could not push the eyes from my mind – they looked animal because they glowed but also they had an intelligence to them. Some were scared some were angry what the fuck was living in my back yard this whole time. Maybe it was not the posssums that were eating the stray cat food i leave out maybe it was them and their young creeping onto the porch each night it makes me sick to think of their long fingers shoveling dry kibble into their rotting mouths dear god I am going to be sick writing this
i turned a heavy tool chest over the door, and a shelf, and everything in the garage on top of it. There was no way they could get out. I cannot bring myself to try and kill them, they might get me… No one will believe me or even come out so I can show them this hell. Not even my family. My wife just laughs nervously when I try to bring it up and says i was seeing things. But she wont go out and listen, or look. I cant say I blame her. I did not sleep again. I don’t know if I ever will.
Even though there is no more scratching at my door.
Got home from work, luckily everything was fine but I have to update. There is scratching again. The sun had been down for a few hours now, and my wife and I were dozing on the couch when it started. The cat and the dog both started acting unusual, the cat scampering away into the house somewhere, and the sheebs just whining and grunting and growling at the door. I stood up and paced quickly to the door, and it stopped. I slowly crept toward the door, step by step lightly setting my feet on the ground with great care. I put my ear up to the cold wooden door, hoping to hear something. There was nothing. Crickets droned on in the background. I came back and sat down to upadte thi
There is somethiing on the roof now. I have to go.
Click HERE for Part 2
It was as if he continued to fall. Even after the explosion of pain from when his head smacked into the roof of the car. Falling, falling through a darkness that watched him. He could feel something vile looking into his mind, its evil tenacity prying past his eyes and into his brain relentlessly crushing his will, peeking into his body and violating him. A sensation of spiders covered in oily hair that were crawling inside of his skin and skull. Gnawing, scratching, nibbling, tickling. Laughter erupted from the greasy arachnids, their mandibles quivering with devilish glee and dripping with saliva. He fell into the black screaming, crying and clawing at his eyes scratchi —
A solitary heartbeat, thumping in the darkness.
Glasses clinked. A toast. Familiar music fuzzily found its way to his ears, that haunting tune:
“Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
Well, I got down on my knees (got down on my kneeees)
And I pretend to praaay…”
Robert’s eyelids were heavy, and he blinked away the sleep. He sat up and looked at a darkened bar, men leaning against a wooden wall talking. A dart thumped into a board amidst mixed cheers and groans, and R.J. wiped at his eyes. He felt like he was drugged, or still drunk from the night before. A nausea twinged in his gut as he smelled himself. He looked down at the ragged suit he was wearing, tattered and stained. He really smelled like something that had died and sat in the sun for too long. Robert mused about the witty comments Linda would have made if she could see him now. The faint smile disappeared from his face as his past experiences came rushing back to him. The bloody mess in the forest, the vacuum of space, the post-apocalyptic hell all filled his mind’s eye.
Where is this? Seems… Normal enough.
There was an empty glass on the table in front of him, sitting on top of a newspaper that read the date. Robert’s heart skipped a beat and he stood up with a start, looking for the bartender. He noticed that his cheeks itched as he strode across the dark wooden floor. A thick beard has found its home where his clean-shaven face used to be. Odd.
“Say, barkeep…” Robert said with a wave of his hand as he sat at the counter. The man turned and hesitated before walking over. Picking up a glass to clean, he looked at R.J. and nodded.
“What city is this?” Robert asked, barely able to hide his hope.
Laughter swelled in the tavern as the bartender told him, and Robert’s eyes lit up with joy. He was home! Well, almost home.
“Pour me a cold one, friend.” Putting a bill on the counter he smiled at the fellow, and the fellow could not help but smile back at Robert’s happy face. R.J. had one of those types of smiles: rare, but when they came you HAD to smile back. Perfect for a travelling salesman. He had closed a few big deals with this talent before. The man poured R.J. a nice cold beer with a modest head, and he took a sip. It was impossibly refreshing to Robert, and he felt he could cry he was so happy. Finally he was safe. Suddenly, the bartender’s smile became stretched almost… like a caricature. His eyes narrowed and changed somehow.
Did it just get darker in here? Or…
“You… do not belong.” The barkeep said with an ominous monotone. The voice was distorted and had undertones of static. Invisible ice crept over Robert’s shoulders and shot down his legs as the man leaned toward him threateningly. Now Robert could see that darkness was emanating from the space around the being. The shadows were pulsing, bubbling out from nowhere, and R.J. felt like he was making eye contact with it. As an elongated tongue curled from the being’s mouth Robert leaned back from the demon barkeeper in awkward horror, and he looked to his left at the man sitting two chairs away. The jovial fellow did not seem to notice this petrifying thing pouring drinks! Robert felt as if he was freezing solid, and leaping from his bar stool he made his way to the entrance, clumsily weaving past people as they enjoyed their night. Passing back frenzied glances at a thing of madness.
“YOU CANNOT ESCAPE.” A roar blew from the darkened space swirling behind the bar, framing the shadowy humanoid. Robert noticed how unnaturally tall it was, and that everyone around him seemed to not notice anything. Talking and laughing, blissfully unaware that something had consumed the…barkeeper? With the blink of an eye the devil vanished from existence, the darkness resting for now. Glasses clinked again and conversations blended into a chorus of humanity. Maybe he was seeing things.
A bell chimed as he left the bar, twinkling in the doorway with warmth.
So much for not escaping.
Considering where he woke up the last few times, Robert felt at ease despite what he saw. He looked at this old city, one he had grown to hate, and saw a paradise. It’s amazing what peering into hell can do to your world-view. It was a nice day out, and Robert walked briskly through the crowd with ease. Folks were avoiding him due to his odor and appearance, and a light laugh came from his chest. There was a homeless man in the window pane next to him, smiling back and wearing the same tattered rags. He couldn’t let his beautiful wife see him like this! She would make him sleep on the couch and bathe in tomato soup for a WEEK! Her smile, with those ridiculously perfect teeth, filled his head with feelings of longing. The beard could wait, but he needed new clothes. Luckily his wallet was still hanging in the clump of threads that used to be his back pocket. A storekeepers eyes changed from suspicious to thrilled quickly with some clean green bills.
As he walked out, buttoning his black suit coat, he could feel the owner watching him. Casting a glance over his left shoulder as he strode away, he caught shadows of darkness surrounding a figure wearing the smile of a Cheshire. Robert’s blood ran cold in his veins despite the sun shining onto the city streets, and he picked up his pace. He felt his paranoia was getting the better of him. Thinking back as he walked, he thought that this really must have all been some strange drug induced amnesia. Robert felt certain that all that had happened had been just dreams, and he felt braver because of this. Finally he was on his way home, to his wife who must have had every cop in the state looking for him. He turned down a block and he could see the park that he went to each morning and —
My car!! Yes!!
He produced car keys from his coat pocket and trotted to his sedan. Amazed that it could still be here after what seemed like forever, he stood and looked around at this day. It really was a lovely one. Birds sat lazily on a wire, watching people going about their lives.
“Hey, R.J.,! Is that you?” A voice shouted out over the hustle and bustle of the city. Robert turned quickly to look at an old friend. The doctor he met once during a sales call, and R.J. tried to get him to buy several vacuums. Several!! At the time, Dr. Charley was incredulous to the point of hilarity. He instantly had a soft spot for this bold salesman, rattling on about how useful it would be to have several vacuums — one for the house, the practice, and back-ups just in case the others broke! Ridiculous! Yet there was logic in his rhetoric. And the only reason Robert did this was so that he could negotiate down to just the two. Start high, they always tell you, set a high benchmark to set the tone of a negotiation. Robert smiled at him as he walked over through the crowd.
“Barely recognized you with that beard, R.J. Lowman! What are you doing with one? Found a job that let you keep it?”
“No… Just…” Robert paused and looked up to the sky. A crow was flying against the wind, struggling and getting nowhere. But it was beautiful, he supposed. Sighing, he looked back to his friend:
“I’ve taken some time off, I guess. From the search. I’ve been meaning to ask you about those sleeping pills you gave me, are you sure that they were OK?”
“What do you mean?” Dr. Charley tilted his head and crossed his arms. He looked as if he was still in the office, wearing his lab coat and stethoscope.
“I had some very strange… dreams, and I don’t remember the last…” Robert sheepishly looked to the ground, “… I don’t KNOW how long.” A moment of silence passed.
“That’s just too bad.” Dr. Charley replied flatly. Robert looked at him in surprise.
“What do you mean, ‘that’s too bad’?! You’re a doctor! Sort it out!” The doctor burst into loud laughter at him, gregariously throwing his head back. After a moment he calmed down and caught his breath, wiping the tears from his eyes.
“Robert, do you still think that I am Dr. Charley?” He looked at the smiling doctor, who watched him with the gleeful curiosity of a child. A bitter cold spread itself through R.J., tracing its path down his back to his feet. He felt weak.
“We are everywhere, Robert. You cannot escape us!” At this, Robert backed up, reaching behind him for the door handle — eyes locked onto his friend.
“What are you talking about? You’re Doc Charles!” The doctor stared back at him in disbelief. He chuckled and shook his head, looking down at the ground as if remembering some punchline to some joke. Robert was horrified. He knew now that what he looked at was not his friend. There was no doubt. He felt the tingling of fear again, surprised he was not desensitized to the feeling. In one swift motion he swung himself into the car and shut the door, turning the engine on. Dr. Cha — something leaned casually onto his car and stared into the window, looking right into Robert’s eyes with a knowing smile. Like a friend would.
“Try as you might, but the cycle must continue, Robert.”
Robert slammed on the accelerator and peeled into traffic. Glancing into the rearview mirror he could see the fake doctor, standing there waving at him with one hand while the other was tucked into his lab coat. Robert whirled his car around the corner, tires squealing over the black asphalt. Pedestrians threw themselves out of his way as he raced out of the city. He had to get home. He had to get to his wife before they did.
” We are everywhere.”
The city finally began to grow smaller in his rear-view mirror, and R.J. breathed a sigh of relief. The radio quietly comforted him as did the dull roar of his engine. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel over-zealously to the rhythm of the song, the same evocative tune from the bar:
“You know the preacher like the cold (preacher like the coooold)
He knows I’m gonna stay (knows I’m gonna staa-aaay)
On such a winter’s daaay”
He drove for a while, and stopped for gas. As he pumped he noticed a man sitting by his motorcycle in all black, watching him. Dark sunglasses hid his gaze, but Robert could feel eyes on him. R.J. cut the pump early, and got back into his car to leave. The man kicked on his bike and sat on it as it rumbled, glancing at his watch. Robert carefully turned back onto the main road, and got up to speed as fast as he could. He felt uneasy after what happened in the city, despite attempts to calm himself down. The rear-view mirror held no dark motorcyclist. He breathed a sigh of relief, but still his heart pounded in his chest. Thumping against his ribs.
The reflection off of the motorcycle’s chrome flashed in his mirrors. The man in black was coming up on him. Robert accelerated, pushing the gas down and shifting into gear. There was no way that he could out run the bike, he knew, but maybe somehow he could cause him to wreck. The man was barreling up the road, coming closer and closer. Robert felt his heart in his throat beating mercilessly. They were on a straightaway now, and the man in black flew up behind him, and passed him without effort. Then he kept going. Apparently, the only thing that man was looking for was the open road. R.J. felt like a nervous fool.
But then the motorcycle stopped off in the distance, and turned around. It looked like the exhaust was pumping out black smoke but he was surrounded by that darkness. The same thing that consumed the others. The motorcycle roared toward Robert, some kind of demon flying toward him with the throttle pulled back. Robert pushed further on the accelerator as he wiped the sweat from his palms.
He had never played a game of chicken before.
But nothing was going to get between him and his wife.