Sensations pt. 3

The metal walkway creaks underneath your knees as you pull yourself up from it. The light from above continues to illuminate only a scarce section of the twisted column that you’re stuck in. The grated path that spirals up only offers three paths: towards the light, back the way you came, and down into darkness. With heavy breaths each step feels heavier than the last and even the first flight of steel steps has your knees knocking together. The adrenaline pumping through your system was wearing off and fatigue began setting in and setting in fast. After that final step your body hits the cold, unyielding steel of the second platform and your eyes close for what feels like the briefest of moments.

Your eyes flutter open and the blackness that surrounded you has been replaced with a dull red glow. Your nose is hit with the horrendous smell of rot. The light above still shines bright but the area around you has drastically changed. The walls, once blackened with steel, show wet, pulsating muscles covered in blood. It drips onto the walkway and through the holes in the grate. You scramble to your feet and press your back against the now warmed steel. The wall in front of you starts to undulate with slow pulses and push more blood out from the wall. The pace of the pulsating tumor on the wall continues until it explodes in a spray of blood, nearly blinding you as a hand penetrates through and reaches out to pull you into the writhing mass by your shirt.

Your body jerks and your hands punch at the bloody appendage. After several strikes of your fist against that wet, squishy arm a piece of your shirt rips away and the force sends you stumbling towards the railing. You catch yourself and turn to run. The metal underneath your feet shakes and squeaks with every landing your feet make with the surface and as you bound up the stairs the wall grows more and more of those nasty tumors and hands jut out from every one trying to grab onto anything they can.

One hand almost catches your ankle but swiped just against your foot. It wasn’t that offsetting of a swipe but it was enough to slow you down. Regardless you’re able to avoid getting snagged again but a new sound catches your attention as you make that desperate attempt to climb higher.

The ringing and grating sound of steel mashing together fills the entire metal hallway. The gnashing and grinding is coming from below and you steal a glance downwards and you nearly freeze in terror. Rows upon rows of teeth as thick as your arm slam shut and open from below, devouring everything above it. It scrapes the lining of the wall and something wailed all around you, crying out in pain as the teeth continued to move up towards where you were running.

That light looked impossible at this point but your legs still pumped. The momentary freezing had faded and while still dodging those bloody arms bursting from the disgusting walls you come closer and closer to that blinding light. You can even feel the subtle heat from whatever is above hitting your flesh as the dull, red room turns pink in the glowing light. You’re almost there.

The massive maw speeds its pursuit. It tears away every single piece of platform from the wall you’ve been running on up until the point you feel your own area shaking from the devouring beast below. You stumble a bit but catch yourself on the railing and use your arms to pull yourself back to that sprinting pace you’ve been keeping up for what feels like forever. Foot after foot, yard after yard you continue to climb with that maw gaining on you but that light is so bright and so close. You can feel the heat even more.

Your head pops over the ridge and you feel a hot breeze hit against your forehead. You throw the last of your energy into diving into the light and outside of the column you were in right as the teeth gnash in the light. It doesn’t come through and you’re on your stomach on concrete. The concrete is warm, too warm, and the summer day above beats down on your back. Whimpering you roll over onto your side and see those nasty teeth still chomping, but unable to move further out. After a few moments the teeth descended back into the darkness of the square hole you popped out of.

Tired, yet again, you poke your head up and look around. The wind blew hot and there was not another soul in sight. Trees and bushes surrounded the concrete slab you currently lay on but the clearing around it was sizable. How you ended up there is still a mystery; one you’re unsure if you want to solve or not. You push yourself up from that slab with aching muscles and start to shamble into the woods.

Do you find salvation, or will the nightmare continue?

Sensations pt. 2

The massive bang shook you to the core. Your hands slipped from untying that knot for the slightest moment as another room shaking slam rattled the floor. Your fingers pry at the last bit of rope around your ankles and quiver at the mere idea of what could be causing such a racket behind the steel door that kept you inside of that god forsaken room. The idea of whatever is behind that door trying to break in, however, is far more frightening than the blood-soaked sacks and black goo that decorates the confines of that dank, dark room. The flames in the middle of the room illuminate just enough to show the steel door becoming more and more bent and splintered with every harsh slam from the outside.

The steel door splintered and burst open with the metal screeching against the floor. A dull light poured into the room but the shadow cast against the ground came from a beast of unimaginable horror. The black ichor on the ground skid towards the monster that knocked the metal door to the ground and became a part of the hulking mass of black muscle and sinew. The creature, in its hunched state, had no skin to it what-so-ever and jutting out from various parts of its body were sharp fragments of a reflective material which made the beast appear as though it was on fire from the pit in the middle shining off from that unique material.

The beast lunged. It’s claws and maw ripped into the nearest bloody sack that hung from the ceiling. It crashed, sack and all, near the fire where the black ichor crawled away from its skin. You watch from above, dangling from the very same rope and hook after the quick decision to climb up that bloody sack and up to the ropes above. That rusted hook threatens to break away at any moment if any more of your body weight is placed on it while you hang on for dear life.

You witness the creature tear into that bloody bag. Flesh and crimson are torn from the sack and no screams are offered. The body inside had been dead for days and the new smell overloads every sense. Even the sounds of its teeth gnashing on the broken and ripped flesh is enough to make your head spin. There are only two choices to make and staying put may just involve you passing out from the smell and sounds from below.

Carefully you lower your body down from the rope above. The creature is in front of you munching away without a care in the world. For a moment you can see yourself in the reflected shards in its muscular body and freeze. The realization that it is not the creature’s eyes sinks in and you lower yourself to the ground. The muscles in your arms strain against the rusted hook while you try to land without making a sound.

Unfortunately your heels make a splash in the blackness that feared the fire.

The creature’s head immediately spun from its meal. The hollow sockets where eyes would rest starred blank at your body. Your throat closes and your chest seizes before your legs kick back out of reflex and your body turns violently to the right, shifting around in one hundred and eighty degrees before your once silent endeavor becomes nothing more than thundering stomps to escape from that terrible, terrible room. The sticky ichor gripped your shoes and ankles, yanking back against your attempts to escape but did not impede your progress in getting out from that deathtrap. Your shoes tear through the blackness and your body lunges through the door. Your shoulder smacks painfully against the hallway wall on the other side and your head whips to the left and to the right. There is only one option, to your left, as there sat a single door almost an impossible distance away. Light bulbs attached to simple wires dangle from the dark ceiling above and lit the path to the windowed door nearly half a football field away.

A roar and snarl, powerful enough to be felt, echoed from the room you were just in. Your legs start pumping and your body is fueled with pure adrenaline as you dash to the door at the end of the hallway. There is a loud crash behind you but you don’t turn to look knowing that the creature could be right there inches away. Your legs cycle faster, each step feeling lighter than the last as your mind goes blank. All you feel is the sweat and the heat of breath on the back of your neck as you run faster than you’ve ever ran before.

You crash through the doorway and find nothing but blackness in front of you, but your waist hits something hard. You cry out as your body flips over a railing and your hands slip from the top of it. You grasp for dear life on the iron rods that hold the railing up when that black, muscular animal crashes over your head through the gate. Screams fill your ears again as you fall but your flailing leg wraps around another iron railing, twisting around in it and swinging your body back. Pain shoots from your back as your spine smacks against the steel platform. You’re upside down once again, dangling and watching that creature fall into the darkness below. Though it is not all darkness. You can see that the iron rail your leg is tangle in is attached to a spiraling walkway that leads down into nothing but emptiness. Above, however, is almost blinding. Actual light poured from the top of the spiral walkway. Your muscles burn and your stomach cries out in pain as you pull yourself up from being upside down again and fall to the walkway below. As you lay there breathing hard you know that the light above is the only way out.

Sensations

The first sensation you feel is the taste of the acrid, thick humidity around you. With every deep breath taken with parted lips the lingering taste of something metallic becomes more and more pronounced against the buds in your lips. Moments later the second sensation fires up through your nostrils. Something rotten lays close by. The strength of the smell is enough to make your stomach churn but the sudden, yet dull throb in the back of your head distracts from the bile building up inside. You reach up to feel but your limbs feel heavier. In fact everything feels heavier.

Finally your eyes open and the blurred environment around you looks wrong. A fire in the distance burns upside down and the smoke from the fire appears to be floating down towards the ground. The flames reach a few feet down and your mind struggles to comprehend what you are looking at. Though that is when you feel the sweat drip up from your lips and chin to your nostrils and over your eyes. Your hair stands on end and the pressure inside of your skull finally smashes all the clues together.

You are the only thing upside down.

Your blurred vision finally focuses and the fire in the room illuminates just enough space to show that the floor is tiled and covered in black pools in various areas. Finally the sensation of panic grips your chest, hugging tighter than any embrace of a loved one. You squirm in the air and you muster the strength to flex your abs and hips to bend upwards and see your feet bound by rope and hanging by a rusted metal hook before your muscles give out and you fall back and swing back and forth.

The momentum of your body swinging back and forth pushes your back into something hard, yet squishy at the same time. Something rubs against your back and sticks to your shirt before it peels away. With a grunt and a shift your body twists on that hook and you get a momentary glimpse of what you bumped against.

If it wasn’t for your parched, dehydrated throat you could have screamed. Nothing escapes but a whimper after your eyes captured the sight of a very bloody burlap sack that was on its own hook behind you. Fresh blood trickled from the bottom of the bag and dripped onto the ground. The sudden realization of what must be in the bag was enough to send your stomach over the edge. Craning your head the best you can nothing came from the dry heaves that overtook you. The force of your episode was enough to bump your body against that sack a few more times. Despite a million thoughts and fears racing through your head, instinct and survival smash through the rest. Your body rocks back and your hips turn again.

Your hand lash out and grip onto the bloody, slick sack and you pull upwards with all your might. You keep a tight, almost nail breaking grip on the sack with one hand and wrap your arm around the disgusting object and hug it tighter than ever before. Your muscles and lungs burn with the exertion and exhaustion of the activity but the goal is just within reach. Climbing slowly up that nasty bag your body is forming almost a perfect V and one arm stretches upwards, gripping onto the slick hook that held the bag. With every burning fiber of your being your other hand leaves the bag, stretching out to the hook that your feet are roped to. Slippery fingers fumble around the rusted hook but latch on, never letting go.

With a grunt and cry your hips arch and your knees contract. You fling your legs upwards and extend your knees and suddenly gravity becomes your worst enemy. Your hip and elbow cushions the fall to the ground but the pain is immense. Nothing is broken, thankfully, but the wind certainly was knocked out during that seven foot fall. Your hands slide against the black goo that the flames had shown earlier and nearly stick to the ground because of it.

Keeping them on the ground for a few moments longer you are finally  able to climb to your knees and finally your feet.  You place them near the fire to see what it was that had covered your hands and undoubtedly your front side. The black, ichorous substance felt like glue but when exposed to the fire it…ran. The blackness peeled itself away from your clothing and hands and slid back against the floor. There was a perfect circle around the fire where the blackness just ceased to venture any further. The ooze retreated into the shadows of the room that the fire did not dare to venture. That is also when you realize, in your shaking nerves, that your feet are still tied together by that rope which was long enough to allow you small steps to that fire in the first place.

As you kneel down to try and undo the knot something bangs in the darkness. The sound of flesh meeting steel echos through the room and it is clear that the nightmare has just begun.

Something light to get things started

Janey was a woman who was oh so sweet

Though she was always sending out a tweet

They were always so hollow

Until a person, a follow,

Started to meander down her street.

 

The moon that night shined so bright

So beautiful no one expected a fright

“OMG I’m so bored!”

Janey abhorred

Until a boom outside ceased the light

 

Her cell phone screen was a glimmer

The situation couldn’t be dimmer

Janey’s biggest fan

A psychotic woman

Invaded her home with a hedge trimmer

 

Janey hid in her closet so shaken

Her address, the authorities, had taken

Then up popped a tweet

“Hey I see your feet!”

The trimmer turned her insides to bacon.

 

 

 

Hello Again, Old Friend.

Hey there. Can you hear me? I might not be as loud as some but I hope you can still make out what I have to say to you. I know your chest is tight and the edges of your eyes are moistened but I am telling you it is okay. You can relax. You’re stronger than this. Clear your throat and stand up. You’re not done yet and it’s because you’ve never been done. You are still alive and still breathing and if you have even an ounce of breath left in your body you are stronger than you could ever realize.

You can feel it now can’t you? I’m right here with you. I’ve always been with you. Your heart is slowing down and your legs feel a bit stronger now don’t they? They are wrong. Everyone has been introduced to that pain at some point in their life but they have had to been introduced to you. I have always been here. I have been here since the day your heart started to beat and I remember every single moment since then even if you can’t. When you scraped your knee and felt that pain for the very first time we were there together. We got through it together because I helped you back to your feet. I take that back. You got back on your feet by your own.

I know how much it hurt to have someone laugh in your face, to ignore you, and to feel like you were nothing. I was with you that day they walked away but we both knew that wasn’t the end. That was on them, not on you. They lost out. You gained. The fact of the matter is for them to cast you away like that wasn’t them throwing you away, that was them losing the opportunity for something special. Something that was right in front of them that they could have needed in their life but perhaps their own darkness had control. Perhaps they were the ones too afraid to take you on. To have some happiness in their own life. The other side is powerful, there is no doubting that, but it is not all encompassing. You choked that day but eventually you were able to swallow it down, to move on.

You carried it with you but you still lived your life. That new kind of pain was terrible but in the end you are still alive. Still breathing. Still laughing. Still crying. That is what matters. I was with you and you didn’t even know it. I lent myself to you not because you needed me, but because that is what you are. You survive.

Everyone is struggling just the same as you are but take comfort in that. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. You have never been alone. You care. They care. Everyone cares. We just believe sometimes we are strong enough to shoulder the burden on our own. I am telling you it is okay to rely on others. It is okay to cry on a shoulder every now and then and let everything wash away. That isn’t giving up, that is fighting back and there are others who will help you fight back.

I know things only get harder in life. As you get older those insecurities of your childhood and of your adolescence echo in your ear like a taunting jester who has its royal highness strapped into their very own throne. Every now and then a bad choice is made and terrible feelings are felt. You may feel like you are wasted and that no one would or should ever love you but they do. People do love you. Even if you can’t see it at the time and drive yourself deeper and deeper there are still those out there that want nothing more than to take your hand and pull you back to the surface and they will feel honored for doing so.

Even if you cannot see the hands that wish to raise you from the darkness you’ve descended into that is fine. Those hands are never judging and always forgiving regardless of whether or not you take them. Though you don’t really need to take those hands do you? You’ve been here before. You’ve skinned your knees, you’ve fallen down, and you cannot imagine anything worse than what it is you’re going through. You’ve been here before. How did that turn out?

You rose. You pushed yourself up from that pain and pressed on. You’ve done it thousands of times in the past and you’ll do it a thousand times before. You’ll finally see that you can be happy. That you deserve to be happy. You’ll finally understand that it takes something special to allow yourself to be happy. With anyone or anything. You will shine brighter than ever before and you’ll shine someday soon.

I can say this because we’ve been a team ever since your heart first beat. It’s always been you and me.

Courage.

It’s So Nice to Meet You.

Hush. Do you hear that? The little knocking in the back of your head? That gripping tightness around your heart? That bile that rises just enough in the back of your throat that you can taste it but never expel it? That’s me.

I’m what causes your arms to seize up. I’m what causes that rubbery feeling in your knees whenever you stand toe-to-toe with me. I find it amusing how much control I have over your life now that you’re an adult. I never thought I’d have any control when you were a child, no, you were much too stubborn for that.

But that was until you scraped your knee one day. You could have fallen from a bike. You could have got it by tripping over yourself as you ran, laughed, and played with other kids. They didn’t know me either. You do now. That pain is what introduced us. It made us best friends. Sure as a child you shrugged me off after a good cry but I was always there. I watched you grow and develop and with it I grew stronger.

I was with you that day you stood in front of that special someone, the person that causes your chest to tighten whenever you see them. I was there as you opened your mouth to say something but nothing came. They laugh at your cheeks turning red. That’s when you knew that I was there for keeps. That paralyzing force that turns a once wet mouth into ash. That feeling of needing to swallow but that lump just chokes and chokes and chokes any hope out of you. What makes it even worse is that somewhere along the lines of the skinned knees and elbows someone put a thought into your head. A hurtful thought that just allowed me to grow exponentially up until this point.

They walk off. Tears brim your eyes. I just only grow stronger. Oh but I overestimated you. Yes I did. No longer are you the child that would sometimes avoid the jungle gym with memories of those skinned knees haunting you . . . no . . . You don’t care about the skinned knees anymore. You’ve learned that emotional pain is much greater than a broken arm or even a dreaded paper-cut. Those heal. The pain fades. The memories remain but that pain is fleeting.

You’ll carry this pain with you. All because I get to take in the pleasure of knocking at the back of your skull. I get to twist and dig my fingernails into your chest whenever you feel anything for anyone. You’re never good enough. I own you. People don’t notice though. People don’t care. They never care. It’s a strange thing from my perspective because I am in every one of them as well. Knocking and knocking and gripping and tearing. They are all just like you. Too stubborn to know any better. Too stubborn to admit they have no control over their lives. Too proud to admit they are a slave.

By the time you’re old enough to make your own life choices I am strapped in. I twist you in every terrible direction I can because I know I can. What does it do to you? Do you feel worthless now? Do you drift through life just praying and hoping someone comes along to save you? Never going to happen. I won’t allow it to happen. I. Always. Win.

I like to see you suffer though. I like it when you have hope. Every day you smile and enjoy your life I relish in it because I know it will only be a matter of time before that hope and that joy you feel will be crushed by me when you least expect it.

Though you’re special. You can’t really get rid of me. You can try but I will never fully go away. Your hope. Your salvation could be a few feet in front of you reaching out for you to grab its hand and you will pull away because you have grown so used to me being in the back of your mind like some ichorous cancer that cannot be cut out. You pull away from that hope because you think in the long run I will just destroy it like I have so many other things. That’s how I feed and you taste so very, very good.

That’s when you finally shut down. Physical pain and emotional pain are one in the same. You grow numb. You don’t even need me anymore to ruin everything that was good or ever will be good in your life. I win. You drift and that is all you ever do. You partake in fleeting pleasures that mean absolutely nothing and that just feeds my gluttonous ego even more. You give into your anger. You give into your jealousy. You give into your laziness. You give into lust. You topple.

You can’t understand what anyone will ever see in you. You’re as far as you can go and trying is no longer an option. You’re too weak. You start asking “what if?” like it even matters. There are so many things in the past you wish you could have changed and it all started with that one shitty day you scraped your pitiful little knee and felt that pain for the very first time.

The day you met me.

Fear.

Tick . . . Tick . . . Tick . . .

The evening had been quiet and that wasn’t an unusual occurrence in the small town of Bast. When I was first transferred from the police department in the cities to the smaller town I had my hesitations; I didn’t want to be that kind of officer of the law that would uphold justice by tossing the town drunk in confinement every night. I wasn’t a fan of the Andy Griffith show to begin with and reenacting it for my career was not in my best interests. Lo and behold the job didn’t turn out that bad. It was boring, sure, but the town drunk only went on a rampage about once a month.

What won me over the most was how clean the air is in this town. There are a few factories around but they are so far off from the city limits that their pollution doesn’t matter. There is never an odd smell carried over like there was in the city. It felt as though my nostrils were put through a desperately needed intervention. This is the kind of place that a person could settle down and make a decent life for not only himself but a family as well. Most of the land is flat, prairie and farmland status, and the town itself has about five thousand people living in it and a good chunk of the population lives a rural life. At any given time there are only four officers on duty if that. It stays quiet.

The first call came in at around ten at night and I was the second cop around the area where the call came from. Dispatch informed us that it was a four-one-five coming from 615 Timber Avenue Even though I wasn’t the closet officer in that area I knew that 615 Timber Avenue calling in for a disturbance didn’t sit right.

615 Timber Avenue belonged to Gregory Heimsworth and he was the only one in the town who had enough money to afford a security system. In fact he owned a pretty large home in the middle of no where.

We knew who the home was registered to but no one on the force, or really anyone around town, knew who Gregory Heimsworth was. All they knew was he had money and he was a paranoid fellow. Which made sense considering his home security system was not needed in the least, as the disturbance call was made from his cell phone. Dispatch explained the situation to myself and Officer Flemming, an older cop on the force but all around a good guy, which involved a garbled phone call and the sound of objects breaking in the background. Flemming was about ten minutes from the scene and I was fifteen minutes out. I flipped on the sirens, turned on my lights, and felt some sort of semblance of shock that there was an emergency.

When I pulled up in front of the house Flemming was parked and out of his vehicle. He was a heavier set man with rough skin and eyes. His trademark mustache, salt and peppered like his short hair, had recently been trimmed.

“What’s the deal? I didn’t think we actually had anything like this happen here; that’s why they send the near retirement folk like yourself out here.” I said as I got out of my own vehicle after killing the siren.

Flemming huffed and crossed his arms, “I got ten years before retirement asshole. Regardless I am glad you were in the area because this place is too big for one person to go in alone. That and I don’t hear the security alarm system going off in any way,” he began and pointed to the large house, “That and there isn’t a light on in the place.”

I looked up at the two story home and couldn’t deny that the imposing home looked that much more intimidating without any lights on. “I was going to call you a chicken shit, Flemming, but I have to admit you made the right call not going in. I haven’t heard anything back from dispatch either.”

“About that . . .” he paused, took his cap off, and scratched a balding head, “. . .The radio is dead in this area. At least to dispatch. That’s another reason I held off going in there by myself. I didn’t have a clue whether or not I could get back-up.”

I reached up and clicked my own radio, “Test. Test two-three-four.” I was greeted with the sound of my own voice coming from his radio during my test. I let go of the transmit button and reached for my gun, “Well our radios work and that’s what matters right now. Let’s get in there and figure out what is going on.” I suggested as my hand unclasped the harness to my holster. “It sounded like something was going on during the call.”

Flemming nodded and the two of us ventured up the cement walkway towards the large home. From the front we could see that there were at least five windows we could look in to the first floor rooms and three on top. The second story of the house was more narrow and held only two windows at the top of the triangle shaped roof. The front door wasn’t kicked in and I reached to the knob to see if it was unlocked. My hand turned and the door creaked open.

“Great. We both know Heimsworth is a hermit. He wouldn’t open his door to anyone.” I said as my other hand went for the Mag-lite on my belt. Flemming drew his weapon and flashlight as well since we were greeted with a darkened hallway. It was quiet inside of the home and our lights bounced off some gaudy pin-striped wallpaper. The floor shined with freshly waxed tile and the sound of a grandfather clock’s pendulum swinging back and forth was the only noise offered while we crept through the first floor.

The first room was to my left and I peeked my head around the corner and then pivoted my body, scanning my flashlight quickly across every part of the room, “Clear,” I whispered and stayed by Flemming’s side.

We checked every room on the first floor in pairs and found nothing. No signs of Heimsworth and no signs of forced entry or a struggle. The two of us made our way to the staircase that led either up to the second floor or down into the basement of the home. We both looked at each other and back to the staircases.

“Alright should we stick together or rock, paper, scissors this?” Flemming asked.

I shook my head, “We should stick together. There isn’t any sign of Heimsworth and we don’t know what he was calling for. Hell the crazy old fuck could have finally went off his rocker entirely.” I muttered while we stood at the two paths. “Regardless we should check the basement first. If there was someone in the house I would imagine he would hide down there rather than go upstairs.” I suggested.

Flemming nodded and flicked his flashlight up and down a bit, “I’ll cover you.”

I rolled my eyes and opened the door that led down to the basement.

A blast of cold air shot out through the door after I had opened it up. It hit against my exposed arms and formed goosebumps across my skin, “Holy shit!” I shouted and shivered, “The fuck is down there that would cause that?” I knew Flemming had felt it too. The breeze kept up for a few moments before it died down, or I got used to it, I didn’t know. When we were comfortable I lead the two of us down into the darkness of the basement. I reached for the nearest light switch my flashlight had caught and gave it a few flicks.

“Should I be surprised right now?” I asked when no lights came on at all. The creaking sounds of the staircase echoed through the basement as we made our way down to solid ground. When we got to the bottom we knew something wasn’t right.

Flemming sneered as the palpable humidity in the basement made our skin crawl, “This isn’t right. It’s gotta be eighty degrees down here. That isn’t possible,” he said with sweat starting to run down the sides of his head. He had to wipe his forehead with the sleeve of his uniform and we had only been down there only a few minutes.

“Maybe his water heater blew and he didn’t know who else to call?” I suggested but even then there was no fog or smoke to suggest that there was overheated water down in the basement. The cobblestone foundation around us looked sticky and grimy. With every step the air got thicker, choking the both of us with no signs of fire or any distress to the building.

Flemming stopped and placed his hand on the wall, “Fuck this. There has to be a gas leak or something down here. That’s not our problem anymore,” he said, coughing hard into the crook of his arm.

That’s when we first heard it. It was a ticking noise much like the clock that was upstairs but this was coming from the walls itself. Despite the thick air in the basement we heard it clearly and from all around us. It came in waves of three. Three ticks, silence, and then three more ticks. The both of us scanned our flashlights towards where we thought the sound was coming from but found nothing. The walls, however, appeared even stickier and slicker while we were down there.

The ticking came faster as the moments passed. The silent breaks between the three ticks drew short until there was nothing around us but the sound of something ticking. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end and my attention shifted to Flemming when his hand went to the back of his neck.

He rubbed the back of his neck and brought his fingers to the flashlight. I caught a glimmer of what was on his fingers and it looked white and bubbly. “What the hell?” He asked and both of us took our flashlights to ceiling.

As soon as our flashlights hit the ceiling we both screamed. Above us was a ceiling of moving flesh, limbs, and faces. The ticking sound had come from the sewn up mouths of whatever it was above us. Drool had hit the back of Flemming’s neck. Bodies were fused together above us, melted to one another and kept alive in ways my mind couldn’t comprehend. I stumbled backwards and onto the hardened basement ground and my flashlight bounced from the ceiling back towards the staircase we had come down from.

The light captured a mass of limbs and teeth gnashing up and down. The eviscerated remains of Gregory Heimsworth bounced up and down in the maw of the twisted creation. It was the size of a recliner and the many teeth that made up a large portion of its mass were as long as my hand. It was an enigma of human body parts and faces like the ceiling above us, but only this one used its mangled arms and legs to shuffle down the stairs onto the floor of the basement.

“F-F-Flemming . . .” I choked out in barely a whimper. My mind was staring at something it could not logically figure out. Even with my arm extended and shaking my muscles couldn’t perform the necessary actions to pull the trigger of my weapon.

It took my senior officer a few moments to draw his attention to where I had my gun pointed. His instinct was much keener than mine and he wasted no time drawing his weapon at the thing at the foot of the stairs.

A moment later his upper body was gone.

Blood splattered the walls and most of my body when the creature launched itself from the place it was sitting and turned itself sideways in the air. It’s giant mouth wrapped around Flemming’s torso all the way up to his head and with one powerful snap of its jaws bisected the older cop in two. It flew past me in its lunge and took its meal with it; leaving Flemming’s lower body to seizure and spasm before falling to the ground.

I was frozen in my tracks for only a moment but it felt like an eternity. Arms stretched from above, pawing at my hat and my shoulders. The clammy feel of a finger brushing against my ear broke me out of my spell and I screamed. I kept a firm hand on my gun but knocked the arms away from my body the best I could while I scrambled on shaky legs towards the stairway. The ticking wouldn’t stop and the sound of flesh and bone tearing and crushing was added to the unholy symphony around me.

My lungs burned. I hadn’t heard myself screaming but my throat burned in a way that only a forced sound could make. My hand reached the railing of the stairs and I turned my body just enough to see the beast finishing Flemming’s off and turn its attention towards me. I blindly fired several rounds towards it as I did my best to run up the stairs. The door above was shut.

I slammed my shoulder into it and turned the knob several times with shaky hands. I growled when it wouldn’t open and slammed my shoulder into it a few more times. I used my bad aiming hand to point my gun back at the creature that turned into the staircase and fired three more shots at it. The bullets appeared to knock it back a few times for each shot and it gave me enough time to power through the door. I scrambled through the door frame and my heart sank.

The walls, floor, and ceiling were nothing but the same mass of flesh that was down below. Ticking mouths shouted at me in gibberish while grasping hands tried to get a firm hold on me. I ran as hard and as fast as I could for the exit to the home while avoiding those grabbing hand. My legs were on fire and I knew I had lost most of my equipment thanks to those hands. My gun had been knocked away as well as my flashlight and the clinking of my keys in my pocket were the only thing keeping me going.

Two hands wrapped around my ankle as I neared the door. The vice like grip made me scream as I felt my ankle crack. I grit my teeth and launched myself off the ground with my other foot, yanking my other leg up as well. My body went crashing through Heimsworth’s front door and onto the hard pavement itself. What I wasn’t prepared for was what was on the other side.

I had hit my head on the ground hard when I exploded out of the house. I rolled onto my back and all I could see was bright lights and shadows and the muffled sounds of shouting. There was perhaps gunfire as well, I couldn’t tell. All I could hear beyond the muffled sounds was tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .