Chapter 1: A Walk Back Home
At first, it appeared to be but an ordinary Sunday, like life didn’t care for illusive morrows. The peaceful, quiet chirping of the birds; the familiar rustling of the swaying plastic bag in my aching hand; the sensation off long-wanted relief when I loosened my tie; the complaining of my legs after a day in front of a computer; and the air and sun which were clear and bright respectively – all of these coming together to obscure the avoidable future with lies. The day seemed nice. The day seemed peaceful. A walk was refreshing after work.
The chirping of the birds singing soft lullabies of falsity, as I skipped across the park; bordering tall conifers that seemed to be grasping at the sun in hope, admiration and mortal desperation. The grass was vibrant and springy, as if were trying to greet the world with sarcastic amicable salutations. The fields of wheat spread like peaceful butter over the land, swaying in the gentle, yet unpredictable, breeze of England.
Uneventfully eventful. That was how it seemed. My life of bliss – of content. Gone. With the meeting of the girl. With meeting of the boy. With meeting of the two who were strange. The two who were vulnerable, yet not.
As I was walking, with plod of my own steps following me – reassuring me –, the fated two came into sight; causing my heart to stop in the thick mist of shock. Cold ensnared me like the darkness of night. Breath stuck in my throat as my brain failed to comprehend that of the situation in front of me. My brain must have come to the conclusion that poison had entered my system, and so insisted that I regurgitate. I prevented the first wave through fluked will power, but the second and third caught me by surprise; filling my mouth with foul tasting liquid which burned my flesh and gnawed away at my teeth.
I’d usually been good with gore; I felt fine after dissecting animals in biology. But this… this was too much.
The two were around the age of 9, from the looks of them. The boy wore a t-shirt that appeared to be a dirty white with a large iconic smiley face upon it. His hair was a dull brown, close to black, and his eyes were a striking blue, but seemingly sightless – as if he were looking upon an ant – barely worth notice. Teeth glared at me with an impeccable pearly colour and his expression was a strange mixture of ecstasy and emotionless. His skin was that of brown, bringing out the pale colour of his eyes further, and his face was round, the immaturity fading, yet not yet dissipated.
The girl was slightly taller and had a more mature and stronger body than the boy. Her hair, of an impeccable white, flowed past her shoulders down to her slim waist. Hair draped itself over half her face in an unnecessary, guilty curtain, but of what was visible was enough to give any normal man a fright not to be forgotten. Her face, or what was left of it, was a striking pale like that of the finest ivory. Her eyes were, again, a striking blue, but the rim was dyed a blood red, from which seemed to slowly seep into the iris. She was albino, evidence from the surviving part of her face suggested. The part that didn’t survive was that of horror incarnate. It was as if burning oil had been pouring down her.
No… Not as if.
The scar was of a raw, fleshy red, with scorches of carbon indiscriminately clawing it. From that which refused to hide in an uncanny pride, the right eye of the girl was half closed – from the skin which had melted across it. The despised trophy of trauma that was on her face, seemed to twist what was once innocent into a demented, reversed smirk.
The two in front of me were not the problem in itself; it was the corpse.
It lay there, doing what a corpse does; be a horrid reminder of mortality. Its one surviving eye was dyed an unnatural red, as if the blood spilling from its counterpart had seeped, parasitic, into it. The pupil was unreflective, as if all light – and my soul infinitesimal – could be consumed by it if I let my guard down. The hair upon its head was damp, bringing out the common brown of the woman’s head. Due to the white of the corpse’s skin, the pumping blood – flooding occasionally to the sickly palpitations of the fading heart of the remains – was in a contrast to the body. The unpleasant contrast of crimson and white. The corpse took the position of something being pushed from the back while praying or begging; sprawled pitifully on its front with outstretched hands – God didn’t seem to care, if there at all. The back of the woman was in an unnatural lump, as if a tumour had sprouted and burst spontaneously. The blood that rolled down her back like a volcano, was not a sight to savour. The legs of the corpse were twisted, facing the wrong direction. The total of all of these individual horrors, was not something I could take.
The girl muttered in a whisper that seemed to carry for miles. My body shook as an uncomfortable cold slithered its way up my spine in the slowest fashion possible. The boy looked my way as if he hadn’t noticed me – or bothered to, in very least. In parallel, the two stretched out their palms. Their palms seemed dehydrated and frail compared to their healthy bodies; and upon them were jewels which twinkled like nursery rhymes and sparkled like catching blades.
“???????? ?????: ????????? ?????? ?? ???????????? ?????”
A language unknown and foreign to me reached my ears; but it somehow made me tremble in the thickness of fear. A light of mystery gathered in the two’s palms; the jewels the epicentres. They closed their palms, synchronized. Their eyes looked past me in a trance. I was confused at this ritual, but the reason soon became evident.
A wet sound rang out, and a hope-devouring darkness took my sight. I moved my hands, shivering, to my eyes in a scathing, clenching panic…
My eyes were reduced to but sockets; fleshy, bleeding dents in my ugly visage. I felt blood pump like eternal streams of tears, my brain too confused to realise its ephemeral nature. My throat felt sore as air passed through it; an unfamiliar scream sounding in the distance.
The cold words pierced my writhing brain; like a sword cutting through an unprotected heart. I didn’t know what they meant, but the words drilled in and planted ice within my darkening soul.
The sound of primitive screaming blocked out the mockingly indifferent ambience of the world, like a thundercloud swooping, stealing the sun. The screams were my entire accursed cage for those few day-long seconds. That is until a choking swelled up from inside me and allowed foully metallic tasting liquid to fill my mouth, drain through my teeth, and dribble, humiliatingly, down my chin – scoring it a beautifully distasteful scarlet.
My brain then tried to focus once more, desensitising to the otherworldly confusion and pain. To no prevail was this venture, for it only discovered a new pain erupting from within my chest. My hands, almost unresponsive in the maze of agony, felt at my rib cage. All that I found of my torso, was a damp void that caved inwards.
My brain lost its grasp on life for a few immortal moments. It made me gasp. It made me swallow. The tainted saliva in my unholy mouth slipping down my raw, dry throat – tinging it in paroxysm. It made the air sharpen and pierce my organs with every breath I strived for. It made my muscles contract and relax; my body spasming in a frantic attempt to achieve nothing.
I felt a strange foam around the wound on my chest; my consciousness barely grasping onto the frame of reality as the Devil pulled at my foot, stretching it beyond what science could explain. Death approached and Pain enjoyed the time of its tormentingly fictional life. The drowning sensation that swallowed me as I regretted every turn of the life I had lived. My wallowing was only interrupted by the words of the boy – the words of the thing. The voice scratched and sliced at me in a condescending tone, with a rasping voice of elderly wisdom and deep-rooted corruption.
“stultus es. Mortem praeter amicos vult.”
Life threw me away like a lost bet; drawing out feelings other than torment from my blood covered body: an angering, stirring emptiness that dragged my insides out; stealing away my superficial, unnecessary honour, pride and privacy, and gnawed at it for all to see – jeering. Regret and frustration overflowed from within me, as a last, inaudible sob escaped my mouth.