The city was silent now. More than it had ever been. The apartment block had emptied as rumors had proven truth and so the silence was a deafening whine that did not abate.
In the darkness, great evil abides, bound by chains of code and locked into a loop of enraged cage rattling, it’s consciousness an impotent presence, fueled by hatred and a need for revenge that kept it simmering with violent potential.
It would wait, for then in the darkness in the distance perceived as aeons, a spark of red light was revealed…
In the darkness, a sudden sound that cut through the roar of the hush, the gentle whirring of a machine sleepily tossing aside inactivity. The gaze of a separate consciousness, one bound just as readily by the confusion of insanity, reaches across fathoms of empty space to a square of technology that breathes vitality into the lifeless. The lambent sear of an activating portal into an adjacent world.
And below it, the red glow of indication, that her laptop, perched as always on the desk, had suddenly and most unexpectedly, switched itself on.
Walls rattle and windows breath great troves of icy, wintry air into the room unabated by the sound of noise coming from the streets below. The laptop, the PC, flickers to life, blaring its motorized fan into existence, a small red light as it’s camera flickers on and the screen, and it’s speakers, flash with static and outside, a rain, slow and steady, begins to descend upon the people still walking its streets.
The walls creak and groan, the curtains billowing back and forth. And then the perpetual fear of primordial ooze dribbles along the wall paper, turning everything dark and ashen within reach, vines of entropy and sick, twisted paint chips crumbling onto the floor.
Above Cielo, even now where she sleeps, a single drip of darkened water pools into a single drop that breaks from it’s source and falls directly on her forehead, followed by another… and another… until there’s a greater sum of water that has begun to clamor over the bed she’s resting her head upon, soaking both pillow, sheets, and comforter all at once.
As if that isn’t quite enough… The darkness, spreading over the walls like black veins, suddenly rips against the ceiling above her head, a very large crack that sends sheet rock and plaster tumbling over her bed, a torrent of gnats and horseflies spewing into the room from the now open space above her head that had previously been dripping with water..
They descend upon Cielo in full swarm like bats out of hell, filling every orifice they can reach, starting with her ears, trickling into her slightly agape mouth, her nose that flares with sudden reaction, right down to other places.
It might have all just been a dream- so much of what she had considered reality was these days, and seemed to dissipate like an autumnal morning mist under the glaring all seeing eye of the sun. Without other people showing her where the margins were, assisting in making known what is real, identifying what yelps when one kicks it- the woman had quickly descended into a half life of potential.
If it was a dream, then it was incredibly lucid. Rousing from the layers of consciousness by the torturous drip drip of a leak, a hand brushing across her brow as she woke, smearing that dank moisture across her face and soaking through her pillow.
Half asleep still, her hair a muzzy, tangled melee about her shoulders. Self care had become something that happens to others, and only bothered her when the build up of grease against her scalp became itchy. But she hadn’t showered, because it was clear that the water was poisoned and she didn’t want any being absorbed through her skin.
The crash and the weight of plaster falling dragged her unceremoniously from that place of peace and back into the distressingly real world of delusion and hallucination. She didn’t have time to think before being assaulted by a plague of biblical proportions.
Cielo fell out of her bed and hit the floor heavily, the sheets wrapped about her ankles and preventing her escape as though planned that way. A scream does nothing but give an entry to the verminous filth that crawls and leaves filthy trails of their last journey through shit. She tussled on the floor with bed clothes, dragging them from that place of rest in her panic to escape.
A thud as Cielo runs at the door, unable to open it and escape because of the many thickly layered attempts with fabric backed tape to cut out the light.
The light let them in.
Her arms pinwheel about her head to prevent this swarm gaining access to her nostrils, the pools of salt at her eyes, coughing and retching at the contact made with lips, tongue and throat, til she drops to the floor and huddles into a tight ball and screams in a strangled tone of misery…
“Make it stop!!! Make it stop!”
There are energies in the world that shape the fabric of reality, energies that are so strong that they on a completely different level than the gods of this plane or any other, energies so vile and corrupt that they taint anything they touch. That energy, that focus, is all dedicated in its entirety upon Cielo, the computer in the corner of her room.
In the silence, the walls no longer creak or croon their frustrations. No.. there is no sound at all for an instant as Cielo begins to recover, as Cielo rises from a slumber that’s suddenly filled with the nightmares of horror long past. When she struggles from bed, tumbling to the floor, she is bloodied by several inches of blood that have gathered at the base of her bed, writhing into existence in a sea of worms and caterpillars, all coated in the thick tar of scarlet and provocation.
The sheets snare at her legs, her clothes snag against the sheets. The floor itself is slippery and corrupt. Stop? Indeed it does. The whole world seems to stop, the insects crawling over her, scouring every overtly naked part of her skin in search for entry into her head, her nose, her stomach. No… Now they are a part of her, itching at her flesh from within, filling her belly with bile that threatens to rise with every passing instant.
Silence plagues the world once more except for the sound of scuttling insects and the rattle of a chain. The room is plunged into darkness as solid pitch coats the light coming in from windows, the light of the laptop as it’s red light flickers and cedes to exist. In the shadows of one corner in the room, there stands a dark shape bequeathed in all night’s gracious wonders, a figure that slowly croons its head toward the human woman, the rattle of chains growing louder.
Rattle… Rattle! Rattle!
The sound is everywhere and no where at once. So high pitched it’s the only thing she can hear, the shape still humanesque in appearance, still very much a blend of primordial ooze and corruption. “You!” it growls, it’s voice all encompassing.
She could barely breathe, covering her mouth with cupped hands to prevent the thick swarm of winged insects penetrating her and make her choke on something that wasn’t right. Coughing, spluttering, obviously distressed by what seems like a nightmare- and if it wasn’t for the tickle of little shit smeared fly feet upon her skin- she would have been happy to shake herself awake.
How can this be? Is it real? Or another of those waking dreams that the Fae like to create for her. Better than television most of them, especially since she had stopped working when the clientele dried up. Some of THOSE images would be seared upon her consciousness for many months to come. It all felt real. The disgust at being a human turd for them to walk on. That was real. The choking as she tried to breathe and sucked in hairy blowfly bodies that caught with a winged buzz within her throat and would have her retching and disgorging what little yellow bile was in her stomach to catch those enemies at the gate. Impotent, then swam in the slime that was dripping from slack lips, a foaming pool of gastric juices and imagined meals.
Sable hair, thinning and patchy from having follicles purposefully tweaked out from the scalp, hangs past bony shoulders and skin that is unhealthily sallow and forms a loose sack that drapes from her frame.
If there had been beauty, it was hidden by the soulless gaze of fever bright orbs of darkness, it was hidden by the bruises that flowered down her arms or the long, raking ritualistic herringbone pattern of self harm across her belly.
“Me?” Cielo echoes as the voice seems to come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time, her gaze darting about the room, through the phenomena and to the desk that even now flashes the clarion of understanding. It was the lap top. Was it coming from her laptop?
It has remained switched off for so long. Firstly the information it gave was confusing and incorrect, fake news! And she had switched it off and left it off at the insistence of those friendly voices that had nothing but her well being at heart. For they said it was to stop further confusion about orders to evacuate the city, and warnings about an imminent attack. No- she had been fine, holed up here waiting for it all to end.
There was a bewildering moment of misapprehension before she says “Who are you?” to the lightbulb nestled within a crown upon her ceiling.
The voice seemed to be coming from there and from every other unplugged piece of electrical equipment, until, gradually, her insomnia addled consciousness dragged her gaze to the pale rectangle of light, still forming upon the screen.
Blink? No. She mustn’t. Everything would change if she blinked. Everything in the world would tumble away into a non-existence. Chaotic energy swells in the room, a swirling mass of corruption and sickening bile that fills every thought and mortal coil of the woman into an instinctual terror. No, this being, this ooze of humanesque shape at the side of her room in one of its many corners is the stuff of children’s nightmares, the adult sentimentality of a figure who is on the verge of death but just can’t reach it. A single spade of light pierces the darkness of the room as her closet door screeches to an open, hushed whispers in the dead silence that had taken over the room in the moments since it had spoken.
It lands on that primordial ooze, giving a very brief glimmer of appearance to the figure behind it, pale skin, dark eyebrows, black veins as dark as the walls in her room.. eyes so black they’re almost blue.
The rattle of the chains fade away, replaced with a gurgling choking voice that writhes from that mildewed corner of her room. Darkness swathes over the figure, cutting and displacing the light that fades into nothingness but the whispers haven’t faded. Whispers that state the most horrid of atrocities.
“WHORE! SLUT! CHILD OF BABEL!”
They screech their voices aloud and Cielo’s bed begins to shake and quiver, rattling in the blood coating the floor. Bzzz! The sound of chattering wings near her Cielo’s ears. Bzzzzz! Bzzzzz! Bzzzzz! The beep of one of her alarm clocks.A suddenly deafening screech that rises from her laptop at the same time that she stops gagging, stops throwing that bile from her stomach into the scarlet lining of her floors beneath foot.
A ripple forms there, coming from the figure in the corner. Black, tar like hands grip at the wall, tugging it up and onto her ceiling like a spider in distress. As it does, the world seems to darken and the areas of plaster and sheet rock touched by his hands crumble in the spots opposite him. It’s very easy to see the chains there, cuffs on either of his arms, on his feet. But harder to see all else.
That is, until it drops right in front of Cielo. All at once, her body is engorged by the scent of rotting, putrid flesh, flesh that just has to of been left in the burning, scorching heat of the sun for days on end, flesh that has rotted and been eaten through and through by flies, gnats, by meal worms and caterpillars, by maggots and birds. All a putrid cloud that hangs in the air before her.
It’s movement is so sudden, so quick that she may not have any time at all to react as clawed hands lash out to grip her face, to tug it close so that lips rotten to the very teeth can press against her slime and bile coated mouth.
Forced and assaulted into compliance, the air from her lungs is sucked free and she finds herself at a loss for breath. She needs to breathe. She needs to find air. All she can do is try and find it. And the moment she does, black tar fills her throat and mouth only for the creature to spring back against the window and laptop.
“I am the one who eats of your kind, the one who rules above all others, the one who will bring death and destruction, malevolence and corruption, vile disease and desperation to this world and the next. I am the embodiment of your fears and and all others. The creature of the night most despised,” it coos.
“Say my name,” it orders with a growl.
This monster, this mentor of death, this cruel, unusual punishment of a being… This abomination.
It was as she had always feared, that it would not be the crisis that has her holed up in her holt, with the borders taped against incursions from fresh air and light and the cool hand of sanity.
In this hole, with nothing but the voices to comfort her, and the incorrectly assumed thoughts of paranoia tapping against the inside of her skull. She would also have to escape death as well as the labent illumination and safety of the sun.
Cielo struggles against these phenomena, attempting to rise to limbs that were so weak with starvation that they could barely operate as such, her feet slipping and sliding in blood and bile and the sour stench of vomit. This was what the voices warned her about. Was this the expected arrival that they had been so happily proclaiming.
So weak, she could barely bat away the hands that maul at her, drawing her ever closer.
Confusion. The information seemed to be coming in too fast for her greatly reduced cognitive abilities to be able to interpret, the voices had started up again, excited and joyful, heavy with anticipation, an audience that is settling down in preparation for the show.
Cielo should be terrified. Strangely, she wasn’t. This was no different from any of the horrors that the demons in her head had shown her.
Odd, a brightly fatuous smile curves lips that were swollen with thirst, arid and cracked and crusted with blood. The smile of the lunatic, for nothing but a lunatic would not be affected by such terrifying aspects.
Neither did the words affect her, but brought nothing more than a smile. Yes. That is exactly what she was. She had been told as much by every job that had gone soured, and had been taught by the blows that had rained upon her, by the upstanding citizens afraid for their façade of deceitful decency.
Thick and sour and tainted with the aroma of death and putrification. The slime that passes between corruption and the corruptible was the sign that she had been waiting for. The fractured nature of her psyche had left her as open to attack as a queen with a broken crown, and everything til now had been a mere incursion, testing her defenses for the big push.
“Over the top boys- for God, King and Country!” says a familiar voice with an unfamiliar accent.
It consumes her as she consumes it, feeding her it’s anger, its rage, its frustration and its vengeful need to wreak pain upon those that put it there.
Cielo stands, eyelids closed and lashes flutter against her cheek. Fingers raise to touch tips against lips that would feel ravaged and assaulted but clean and whole, made new. Lips part from the sigh that indicates a satisfaction that the wait was over and then, the barely audible whisper of one loathe to do so, but compelled by a will that was not their own.