Tidbits from Gary

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Whispers in the Darkness, part 3

"Whispers in the Darkness"
a short story
Gary Baker, March 2013
(part 3 of 3)

The screen flicked on. A dark, scratchy scene glazed in apple green.
A lone bed along the back wall hung by steel chains and ceiling bolts, hoisting a decaying mother and fetus for all to see.
A smashed lamp beside the bed lay like a fallen pillar with it's tungsten wire dangling in just the right position to create constant sparks. Each spray of light gave truth to the insanity that was the floor coloration.
Bloodstains coated the floor like an intricate abstract painting.
Even Jackson Pollack would have been envious of this existential display.
Quietly the camera turned to the blonde reporter back on her chair, her eyes seeping with disbelief, horror, and grim self loathing. Her hair had turned darker over time, mostly grease and bodily oils combing through and adding tones through her life-sentence.
She shuddered violently. Her body had become an earthquake more terrifying than anything plate tectonics could muster alone. Her teeth grit fiercely, she forced her eyes open to stare wicked daggers into the lens with all that she had in her. "That man." Anger consumed her features and her hands clenched until her nails began to open passageways for blood to flow. "Last night he attacked me - another human being forced me to... to... to-"
Unable to hold it back any longer, she threw herself onto the counter and burst into heavy gasps and tears. Her whole world had just broken down around her and left her to tell the tale as her only way of coping.
"What have I done to deserve this?" She convulsed as more fits of absolute degradation passed through. "What has any of us done to deserve this?"
She lifted her head just enough to look longingly at the still-sparkling lamp, where long orange-peels of glass lay where they had landed not long ago.
"Every day those shards become more appealing than the alternative," the reporter groaned. Her eyes twitched and she drug her arm across her lips to wipe away dripping mucus.
Then she looked to the camera, staring into the lens as though into the eyes of someone viewing it however far away. Her voice barely registered on the audible scale, "but there is no god... there cannot be."
With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.
The screen flicked on. A dark, scratchy scene glazed in apple green.
Along the back wall hung a prison-like bed where a woman's carcass slowly melded with the sheets, the flesh hanging from her bones like gruesome left-over party decorations. What skin was left had a colorless-green quality to it, her ever-open eyes leaning forward as if to soon drop from their sockets and lay with the thinning lump of flesh in her bony hands.
The camera turned as a sharp gasp came from the wall nearest the door. As the ghostly blonde woman came into view, several forms in the distance could also be seen staring toward the sound.
Someone shrill gasped again, this time followed by a grunt and sounds of a struggle. "Stop!" Came a woman’s voice, more struggling, and finally a harsh slap that brought out utter silence.
The reporter covered her eyes with one hand and turned the camera toward the noise of more shuffling, where the recording light illuminated the brute with the scar forcing himself on a now-unconscious brunette who lay face down beneath him.
It was visceral, obnoxious, and unending.
By the time the woman was coming to again, the brute already had her more than pinned. She could only protest as he kept on.
Her tears gave new meaning to the darkness around them all.
There would never be hope for them again.
Already facing the camera to avoid the victim's pleaful gaze, the reporter clamped her teeth together and shut herself off from what still went on behind her, what still played on in the eerie background beyond her left shoulder.
"I cannot go on like this," the reporter told the camera. "I just can't do it."
She looked over her right shoulder to the shards of glass in the flickering electricity.
It took serious concentration and effort to pull herself back to the camera where she winced and lifted her arm above lens again.
With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.
The screen flicked on. A dark, scratchy scene glazed in apple green.
Along the back wall and beside the flickering remains of a still-powered lamp, hung a bed with the sheets nearly black in the green overtones. The full-sized carcass of an adult woman had been shoved aside and to the sides, creating a loathsome throne where the man with the rake-like scar sat hunched over, gnawing on the bone of another of his own kind.
He just sat there, tearing oozing flesh from blood-stained bone without any sense of humanity left in him. He had become an animal by any definition possible.
The camera kept focus on him, even as the reporter's raspy voice trailed in from the side. "No one can move," she began, motionlessly indicating the dwindled number of other people still huddling against the walls, "he senses our fear... but it doesn't make sense."
Something shook in her voice, a need for an end as bright as the flashes from the humming of the live wires. "And the shards," the broken glass of the light bulb still lay beside the bed, beneath and around the buzzing wire, looking like pale peelings of an oversize orange, "they're too close to him...."
As she trailed off, a man just barely in view on the left side of the screen shifted slowly and almost yelped when the man with the scar grunted. As the lesser man eased his eyes out of the locked stare that the brute had him in, his would-be attacker glared and wrapped a hand around his extended self.
Again the man with the scar lost himself to the darkness of animistic instinct as he began stroking himself faster and faster. His eyes never left the lesser man who cowered in the corner.
With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.
The screen flicked on. A dark, scratchy scene glazed in apple green.
Along the back wall hung a slim bed furnished by no more than blood-stained sheets and the displaced corpse of a woman in her late twenties. The sheets had been pushed back, along with the limbs of the deceased, to create an oddly grim throne-like seat, currently unoccupied.
The man with a scar like a rake wound paced the center of the room, wielding a human arm like a club. Some pieces had been torn free, letting the skin turn to peeling off where the deep crimson flesh appeared black by the green overtone.
Now and then the man paused to lift the arm to his face as he ripped flesh from bone as though eating from a massive chicken leg. As he ate, his eyes watched everything, flashing in the recording light and flickering live-wire.
Slowly, so terribly slowly, the camera turned from the bed and the brute, until it faced a point of bleak oblivion and began to tilt toward the floor.
There under the plane of the desk, sat the reporter with wild eyes and unkempt hair. It was obvious by the way he huddled herself against the wall, in the shadows of the desk's side, and how she shot her eyes to the cannibalistic brute that she thought herself hiding.
She winced as he turned toward her, froze like a deer in headlights for the several seconds that the man took to turn back to the bed and pace away from her again. With his back turned, she regarded the camera with a glimmer of hope, though dampened by something unseen. "He killed another last night," she whispered almost inaudibly.
He turned back toward her at the end of his route, and began his pacing again. It seemed to take several minutes for him to take those five steps in her direction before he turned once more and began back for the bed. "He tore their arm off and let them bleed to death." She cringed as though remembering the horrific screams, "he's been eating the flesh ever since."
In an uncontrolled gesture, the blonde wiped her face with a stained cloth before bringing it to her lips to try to lap up the moisture. When nothing came from it, she tried again to no avail.
Finally she gave up and watched the feral human-being turn away once more. "I haven't eaten in days..." her eyes dropped to the cloth and she hefted it as an example, "I can only drink what liquids I can get my hands on... but even these moments have turned savage."
She shuddered and convulsed as though crying, yet no tears fell from her eyes. Aside from the motions and lines of stress evident on her face, nothing could have told if she were in a fit of sorrow or extreme joy.
But it was more than obvious; nothing was joyous here.
The reporter clenched her eyes tight as she seemed to ward away another ghost. "It got so bad that last night - I think it was night - I was forced to drink my own vomit."
She found her eyes slowly turning to focus on the shards of glass beneath and around the raw energy coursing from the still-powered broken lamp. There her gaze lingered for a painfully long time. She was leaning forward, her body ready to sprint past the brute for that final release, when she caught herself and shook her head violently.
"No... I can't do it." Her eyes sought the cynical friendship of the camera lens, and with a quoted chant she told herself "I won't do it."
With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.
The screen flicked on. A dark, scratchy scene glazed in apple green.
The camera sat facing the reporter hiding in the corner between the desk and the wall, with some extended floor laying within view.
She cried silently to herself, rocking to and fro on her heels while clutching her knees. All the while she chanted to herself "they're coming, they're coming" to the point where her voice had gone raw. The others nearby watched her with wary unease, clearly unsettled by her lack of mental clarity.
Just then the doors burst open and the shadows appeared in the light again.
In response, the inhabitants screamed and crawled into dark corners furthest from their attackers. All but the man with the scar. Instead he alone stood like a beast with his territory under siege, growling much the same.
It was then that the shadows fearlessly stepped in through the doors as though nothing were unusual about the feral man and his temper. As he charged with a deep battle cry the shadows didn't even seem to notice.
It was only when he raised his fists to the lead shadow that the others reacted, splitting up to convene at the man mere inches from the lead creature. They held him as he thrashed, as unphased as statues. These were not beings to be crossed, it seemed, even by one with nothing so much as one's own humanity to lose.
It was a brutal trick. They almost appeared to have done this to the man on purpose, just for the sake of what they were about to do.
Which is when they fell on him, amoebic silhouette arms rising and falling like energy signatures, his cries bursting from him like shotgun fire. With each blow, the others could only watch as his blood was flung high to splatter here and there on hard stone-like flooring.
Nothing could stop them.
It was even more clear that no one would even try.
Moments later the bloodshed ended with one final wet smack from the shadow closest to the feral human-being. His body lay more than unconscious on the floor, bones jutted from his flesh like the hull of a broken galleon, and in the green overtone a pool of murky black began to consume the floor nearest the doorway.
One shadow looked to another and some unspoken command was given just before they all slipped back out of the room, dragging the new corpse with blood still flowing into the cell like water from a spigot.
The door slammed shut with startling clarity. A bang that almost depicted the death that had just occurred.
As soon as the silence returned, the blonde woman along with several others whom still lived slinked across to the pool and began to lap away like dogs. Only one human failed to follow this carnal instinct, and instead sat with her back to the wall while blindly smearing her own excrement across her calves.
At long last the reporter made her way back to the camera and stopped suddenly, looking to the camera with her hair and clothes newly dyed by congealing blood. Shame took over her features, her brow dipping in anguish and her eyes alight with clear self-annoyance.
She snarled at the camera then, shouting into the darkness between her and the lens "I had to!" She looked violently into the red light above the recording lens, "Don't judge me!"
The blonde cursed under her breath and turned to set her back firmly against the wall beneath the counter. She sat there for a moment, whispering to herself about indecencies and hypocrites, before cursing once more as she reached her arm toward the camera.
With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.
The screen flicked on. A dark, scratchy scene glazed in apple green. 
Near the door hung the obvious shadow of fear over the large bloodstain with two trail marks that coursed beneath the metal door itself. The camera came to focus, facing once more the slate-gray desk alit by the recording light with total darkness beyond.
With a soft scratch, the camera turned and tilted up to face the blonde woman looking confused and caught unaware.
"I keep blacking out," she told her closest friend. She pulled her shirt out just enough to let the light fall upon the blood stains and traces of gore. "This isn't mine. My shirt, yes, but not my blood."
Suddenly the blonde scrubbed her face with her palms and fingernails as though to try and erase all memory of the capture from her mind. When nothing came of it aside from reddened eyes and an even more weary look, she winced to the camera. "This last time I woke and found... god, what's his name, um... well whatever it was, the man with the nasty scar was gone when I came to."
She heaved a sigh and sat down on the chair that had been found once more. "What must have happened to him?" Leaning onto her uplifted left palm, she winced in pain of her own doubt, "I wish I could say he got away... but I know that isn't the case."
Turning in her seat, she looked around the room with longing clearly written across her face.
"There are only five of us now..." back to the camera she didn't even try to hide what it was they were all asking themselves "who will be next?"
As suddenly as if the door had broken open, the reporter shook her head with enough force to cause some damage if she chose to keep it up. When she ceased at last, a smile moved over her lips and she breathed a shaky laugh, "no, no, nowhere to go!"
Her wiry laugh pierced the darkness like a spotlight.
With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.
The screen flicked on. A dark, scratchy scene glazed in apple green. Near the door hung an obvious shadow of fear over the large bloodstain where two trail marks coursed beneath the metal door.
The reporter fell heavily into the chair at the counter. Her messy blonde hair intermingled with thickly-collected strands coated in congealed blood like gory hairspray.
Her eyes held no light of hope, bags of darkness beneath them seemed to exude their own bags, and those bags subsequently seemed to have their own. Her cheeks appeared to be more than capable of covering her bones with plenty of room to spare; ridges revealed where substance had once held secure to the muscle beneath and dark lines indicated tiny veins that had dried up over time.
She looked cryptically old, as though she'd slept in a tomb for the last century.
The reporter mumbled aloud as though talking to someone inches from her lips then startled, noticing the camera, and lifted her chin to speak up.
“They came again!” She moaned, “they came in and took the others!”
She broke down then, losing herself in waterworks that wouldn't come upon their insistent summoning. “I'm the last. I'm the last. I'm the last....”
She clamped her eyes shut to ward off the silence of her torment, her head shaking to and fro as though this alone could save her. After a moment of nothing she slowed her shaking and hesitantly began to open her eyes. This was it, now or never. If the others were still there and that this had all become some disillusion of a fractured mind then surely they would be in her cell after a fit like that.
The reporter let her eyes be drawn by her nose and soon she was peering this way and that with fearful worry plain on her face. Seeing nothing around her but the desolate waste of her bloodied cell with nothing but a carcass-strewn bed and the broken lamp to keep her company she fell forward onto the counter again and became a constant tremor of remorse.
“I saw it all,” she wept, “I saw it all but couldn't do anything!”
The reporter lifted her head to face the camera lens as a sudden sense of clarity took over. “I'm losing my grip, I'm losing my own self!”
Before she could change her mind she threw herself from the chair and let it tumble into the bed frame behind her as she grabbed a long, curved shard from the midst of the broken lamp. Instantly the shard was upon her wrist, pressing into her skin already as though eager to see the final end of a human life, eager to taste what it had been beckoning for some time now.
At the last moment, as a trickle of blood made its way down her palm from where the reporter had gripped it too strongly, she lifted her gaze to the camera in one final plea.
“God help me.”
The slice was quick. The glass drove into her flesh like a loosed hound thirsty for blood, and her face contorted in horrific pain.
It was unending. Her scream broke the barriers of silence around her like a high-pitched gunshot, and she fell upon her spraying limb with eyes turned back. She lay there moaning, calling out uncertainties blemished by pooling slurs of turmoil, crouched onto her knees like a fanatic in deep worshiping prayer for an eternity and a half.
Finally her moans fizzled into breathless panting, and her panting into the last gasps of a fish out of water. She fell to her side, then, pushed by the last of her will and energy to allow herself one last glance at her one friend through this all. Eyes set upon the camera lens as though upon the very sanctified image of hope, she lay there in her own expanding pool of blood before finally whispering one last “goodbye”.
Then her breathing slowed. Her eyes glazed over. Her free hand fell limp to the cell floor with the echo of the splash that it made upon colliding with the portal of gore.
Moments passed and her eyes lost their color. Her skin began to fade white while her shirt took it like a sponge, the darkest tones still staining in the deep paint. Then her wrist stopped pulsing, no longer pushing the occasional tidal spout of blood out and over her skin.
Nothing moved. Her splayed hair became one with the grim portrait where nothing but the molecules hanging in the pool had the indecency to make light of the situation by shifting now and then. But even then they too eventually stopped.
Her blood slowly became a large rug of gelatinous red; no longer alive, and no longer imprisoned.
The reporter's eyes held to the camera lens like ropes. Even as they lost their once-glorious blue tones, the blonde reporter seemed to stare into the lens through death and beyond.
Then a light struck the scene from the side, an arch of white that glimmered on the surface of the red. The light grew larger and larger, then, until a shadow could be seen to the far corner of the view standing over the reporter's body demeaningly.
The bipeddaled being stood at her feet in long, billowy robes of silk-like fabrics, watching her as though waiting to see her rise again. When nothing happened, the being turned to the camera curiously and tilted it's head to the side.
It paced over the pool of congealed blood to reach the counter where it quickly knelt from it's indeterminable height to peer wonderingly into the lens. It's face was hidden in the shadows of it's hood, but the recording light shone upon gleaming black eyes like those of a deep-sea predator, and skin wrinkled like the hide of a jaded rhinoceros.
"Mānusēra parīksā, nambara 37: byarthatā..." the creature let out air in a heavy sigh while it reached a long cloaked hand to the side of the lens, "ābāra."
With a loud scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.

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