Tidbits from Gary

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Whispers in the Darkness (complete, final)

"Whispers in the Darkness"
a horror
Gary Baker, Winter 2013
Word Count: ~7100

The screen flicked on. A scratchy scene glazed in apple green.

At first all that was visible was a blank wall to one side, the slate grey tones lost to the discoloration of the video feed. Midway along the wall stood a sturdy colorless lampshade without cords, yet still light emanated from it like any other. Along the back wall, just beyond the lamplight, hung a common unfurnished bed held to the wall by bolts with taught chains that kept the outer edge from falling.

People huddled together on the mattress pad like fear-struck pests lost in a catacomb of burrows. The unseen farmer had the plow running, now the inevitable loomed before them as the blades picked up their whir.

Suddenly the camera turned on it's axis, rotating away from the wall to bring a woman's freckled face into view. Her cheeks were full, lit as though in some film noir movie, with tints of white in her neatly plaited blonde ponytail.

Behind her even more people huddled together with visible chills running through. A child here, a man there, three businessmen near the light of the doorway, with a woman with her swollen belly revealing a pregnancy two-thirds over laying out on the open floor.

Race was a sideline issue here. Mixed like fruit in a salad, no one seemed to care about human differences when something much worse had been written across their faces.

The woman nearest the camera sighed audibly with her head in her hands.

"Something happened," she breathed. "We were taken, that much is certain."

Something emanated from the group, a sense of disbelief hung in the air like rotting pea soup. Sour faces pulled at laceration lines on several, others lost themselves in the sight of something unseen.

Her fist struck the counter top with a loud thud. "Dammit, I'm a reporter!" She scowled at the camera as though looking at the face of a lost child. "If you get this, if anyone sees this, know this: I will find out what is going on. I was born for the details..." she trailed off, whispering to herself silently. "I was born for the details."

A sweaty heavy-set man against the side wall wearily fell against another, startling even as the leaner man's fists began to clench.

"Get offa me!" The brute snapped.

Heavy-set's eyes fluttered. "Shit, man, it was an accident, I didn't mean to-"

"Quit swearing!" Came the muffled feminine voice of one beyond the sight lines of the camera. "There are children present!"

A brawny man in the middle of the room grunted, looking to object when something made them all nearly jump from their skin. A reverberating crash echoed into the silence, followed by the guttural notations of an inhuman dialect. It resembled a mix between Arabic, Russian, and the gurgles of a drowning dog.

And it gave all the heartwarming sensations that came with such a grim sight.

No one moved. The women clutched the children, even when they looked nothing alike, and the men turned pale as ghosts. So many people, and yet it seemed as though every membranous cell had frozen in fear. 

The silence of death drew out, the clashing pattern edging closer and closer until at long last it reached an apex. No one breathed. The brawny man licked dry lips, with eyes like disks of moonlight in the shadows. Everyone had eyes on the cell door.

With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.


The screen flicked on. A scratchy scene glazed in apple green.

Before the feed enhancers kicked in, all that was visible was a blank wall to one side, the slate grey tone lost to the discoloration of the video feed. Along the far wall stood a colorless lampshade like a sentinel where, just beyond the lamplight, a common unfurnished bed clung to the wall by bolts with taught chains.

If not for the sallow cheeks and grim stares that people gave, it would have appeared to be some sort of smuggling operation out of Cuba or Mexico.

But there was no hope of a better life here.

The pregnant woman on the bed cradled her swollen belly with her eyes cinched shut, warding off the evils of the unknown by closing her mind to it. A man on the mostly open floor caressed photos in his wallet, the last connection to those he'd been taken from. His cheeks glistened with grief.

Then the camera view turned sharply with a loud scratching echo, to reveal a woman with plaited blonde hair and freckles across her worried expression. She blinked faintly, trudging out of her mental stupor, then lifted one side of her lips in a poised smile.

"I miss the trees," she whispered, "I miss the sound of the wind through the maple leaves back home, and how the autumn breeze would make them rain down over the fields of barley..." Her eyes refocused and she shook herself out of it, "but none of that exists any more. None."

Others eyed her warily. Change was something they clearly needed, and this escapade of the reporter acted as a beacon of hope for those close enough to listen in. Perhaps these recordings might reach help in time... and perhaps it would be these recordings that saved them all. Yet in the distance, across the few body lengths of empty space that few seemed to venture, a bearded man watched her with fire in his eyes.

Seldom moans broke free from the silence, children toiling in their own sleepless nightmare. Occasionally a near-breathless whisper echoed out as one person or another spoke to their own unseen ghosts.

"They've left us," she grunted with the physical twinge of a foul taste. "Whoever or whatever these things are that took us, they've left us."

She turned away from the camera to look about her surroundings.

It wasn't long before the woman turned back to the camera as though seeking a friendly face and anguish set in along her eyes. "We're starving and haven't done anything... it was days - I think it was days, maybe a week...? - since we last heard them beyond those doors."

Her eyes flickered with hope. "Perhaps they've abandoned us, left us this whole place while escaping someone coming to save us!" Then her eyes went dark again, "or perhaps they just forgot we're here, with no way out, no way to sustain ourselves...."

A man sitting on the ground to her left eyed the camera and her with annoyance, then shifted away to lay in darkness again. He had a scar on his cheek like the lines of a rake in sand.

The woman fell back into her thoughts as though imagining what would happen if the worst were true. "Heaven help us," she breathed.

With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.


The screen flicked on. A scratchy scene glazed in apple green.

Along the rear wall a prison-cell bed hung by thick steel chains, covered in people like a leaf in the rain. Off to one side stood a plain lamp without cords, illuminating the room with slight ambient photons.

The camera panned right, followed by a loud tearing echo, to face a woman with her blonde hair falling out of a once-neat plait. Her freckles hid bags beneath her eyes, and accentuated the ever-dripping streaks of mascara.

"I haven't slept in days," she groaned. "Any time I feel my eyelids beginning to succumb another scream wakes me." She sat upright, determined to face her recording device with a forced heir of dignity. "There are others out there - others like us, others in cells with nothing but each other for company..." She trailed off with a distant look in her minds eye.

"...and some of them have seen our captors."

The woman sighed and trailed her fingers across her lips to wipe away a slip of spittle dripping down her chin. Her eyes glanced down in embarrassment with a mumbled "sorry", before she glanced around to see who'd noticed.

"No one knows what happened to our captors," she smirked, "maybe they forgot us... maybe they purposefully left us to starve...."

The woman heaved a loud grumbling sigh and lifted her arm toward the camera. 

With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.


The screen flicked on. A scratchy scene glazed in apple green.

Along the back wall a bed hung by chains, holding a woman with a swollen abdomen breathing in heavy gasps and pants. Her legs had been propped up and to the sides where a bald man with dark skin knelt between as though looking into a television screen.

"Look, Kara," the man paced with his words while he wiped his forehead with the back of his wrist, "I need you to keep breathing and stay calm until the contractions start."

A woman with her blonde hair a mess stood from the pregnant woman's side and stepped to the counter top. The camera turned to face the woman as she sat down. Her face was sallow and her eyes deep with shadows. "Kara is in labor," she stated. A twinge crossed her face and she leaned into her uplifted palm to rest her chin. She seemed on the verge of tears, the corners of her eyes shuttering with hints of liquid breaking. "God help the newborn."

A scream broke the sullen silence. Two people behind the blonde woman, both along the wall nearest the cell door, startled from waking dreams. A select group of people watched intently, the rest avoided the bed at all costs. It was the few who knelt and leaned closest to Kara that seemed the most worried.

As the blonde woman looked on, one of the helpers nodded. "Got it," he said, then paced a few steps back and bent over to drag shriveled-yet-hydrated bodies out of the way. 

"They died of starvation," the woman closest to the camera shook her head from side to side with tears threatening again. For the camera she motioned to the bodies. "The smell is the worst part."

An impossibly baritone moan broke the otherwise eerie calm, sounding out the pain of the universe trying to stave off it's eventual demise. The voice shuddered and broke into a vicious scream.

The woman shot her gaze to the bed and the woman in labor. "Kara I'm coming," she called just before her hand reached up to the camera.

With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.


The screen flicked on. A scratchy scene glazed in apple green.

The lone lamp in the room stood like a sentinel to the left side, illuminating the nearest space despite a lack of cords. Along the back wall hung a prison bed with people watching the lone woman enrobed in darkening bloodstains.

Her fierce tears kept others away and left the space for herself.

The woman's arms cradled a lump of what should have been purple flesh if not for the green overtone that turned it black. Her eyes never left the babe's rounded head, while her free arm caressed the places her tears fell upon. Her voice echoed slightly, the anguish plain in her tone while she almost chanted "I'm sorry" as though with each newly spoken line another chance at the baby's life was given. But no matter how many times she said it, the newborn's eyes wouldn't budge.

Suddenly the camera turned on it's axis to face a blonde woman, her hair unraveled into segments with blood streak highlights. Fear shone in her eyes like light from the lamp. "Our captors are back," she wept without tears, though her eyes seemed ready to flow like the falls of Niagara. "The dying moans echo to us each and every waking moment." She shook her head and wiped mucus from dripping over her lip and her voice cracked, "the screams are maddening." The blonde woman looked around sharply to peer at any close enough to hear her. "...and some of us have already been lost to them."

With a heavy exhale, she let her face fall into her open palms then sat there staring at the camera for several moments before she blinked and refocused her eyes. "Kara's baby was stillborn," a quick glance to the mourning mother on the bed, "maybe it's for the best...."

The blonde distractedly rapped her knuckles on the counter top  Her forehead wrinkled in thought, "and it sucks that she won't last long anymore... she was one of the best of us...." She shrugged slightly. "Simply stated: it's obvious that she lost too much blood, and by her constant whimpering her afterbirth must be causing infection."

The blonde woman reached for the camera then slowly turned it to face Kara, still voicelessly whispering her sorrows to the fetus.

"She's been like this for more than a day, by my guess." The woman closest to the camera whimpered to herself, "...won't be long. Oh god, it won't be long."

Then a hideous scream broke out, an echo to curdle the blood followed by the sounds of men and women in their dying throes mixed with more guttural barks.

The camera forgotten, the reporter froze with her eyes locked to the side, toward the door where the noises came in from. More violent screams, that of full disembodiment by what could only have been limbs being torn from their living counterparts, and gurgles of voices choked in liquid.

The woman's skin went sheet white, and her breathing rose rapidly. "Oh, god," she breathed fearfully, "that was no more than two cells away!" She reached back to turn the camera to face her, leaving her hand at the top of the view, as her pupils dissolved her irises. "We're next...."

People on the floor crawled over the starved bodies to get further away from the doorway.

"...I just know we're next."

With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.


The screen flicked on. A scratchy scene glazed in apple green.

Along the back wall, a flat bed of steel covered by a slim mattress pad hung by thick chains with the slumped body of a woman and her dead baby. The mother's eyes held onto her kin even after death had brought them back together.

A featureless lamp stood to one side with it's light reaching out to make deep pits of the mother's eyes. Despite the number of starved people that clung to the light like a fountain of life, the lamp stood as sturdy as it ever had.

Even the death of a mother and her infant couldn't move this beacon.

As the camera turned to face the reporter, the door burst open behind her. There in the light of the open airway beyond stood several massive shadows, featureless as clay thrown together last minute. Something came over the people within the cell. Something hit them more brutally than had their abduction and subsequent starvation. Then the shadows moved as if to come in and the inmates panicked.

In mass understanding, the human-kind within the cell scrambled over bodies living and long-gone to reach the safety of the light. If anything could save them, clearly it was the sentinel of a wireless lamp. Nothing else mattered. They threw each other out of the way to get there first, smashing fists and heads in the process.

The shadows grabbed the slowest and tore them from the floor with hideous gurgles. Flesh flew, trailing crimson mist through the stagnant airway. But it was the thundering tones of the shadows as they seemed to enjoy their carnage that struck chords much deeper than the antecedent howls of human horror.

And just as quickly as it had begun, the shadows were gone. The door slammed shut and left them in absolute darkness. Somehow, in the heat of the fray the last beacon of hope for them had been taken.

The camera's recording light illuminated the reporter's face as she leaned close to the lens again. In a panic, she had lost her chair and now sat on her knees to reach the camera view. "They took John!" She shivered  a new sense of cold coming over her as she wept over the man who'd helped birth Kara's child. "Oh, why did they have to take John?"

She turned to face the remaining people crowding the wall furthest from the door. In the sheer darkness, the recording light indicated details as far away as the bed.

"I have to stay strong," she wept, "I have to stay strong. I have to stay... oh, god why?" She broke down then, weeping into her elbow as shudders of trauma took over.

With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.


The screen flicked on. A dark, scratchy scene glazed in apple green.

Along the monotonous back wall lay the remains of a smashed lamp with people cowering against the nearest corner. Two of them held each other, shivering dramatically as their weary eyes darted about as though watching flies.

Suddenly the camera slowly turned on it's axis until it faced a blonde woman with her hair a mess and the bags beneath her eyes taking over her cheeks.

On a bed behind her, one held up by thick steel chains attached to the ceiling and bedside, lay a ghostly sight of the former mother, Kara, and her stillborn child. The blood had turned black long ago, and her skin had gone pale.

Nothing could wake them now. Nothing could change the way their eyes seemed to stare out and bore into those nearest the bed.

It appeared that this was the reason why the others avoided the bed. Even those nearest the bleak furnishing looked anywhere but toward it. The bed had become the obvious sign of what it was that they would ultimately become.

The woman closest to the camera winced, looking longingly around at her companions' dwindled numbers. A child leaned against his mother's emaciated living corpse to the woman's left, with a multitude of others huddling against walls for support. Finally the blonde woman spoke up, clearing her throat before speaking though her voice still rasped like a lifelong smoker. 

"We're starving," she breathed, "why wont they feed us?"

In the background, near the cell door, a lean man with a scar on his face like that from a rake scowled at the man next to him. After the lesser man wouldn't look away, the man with the scar let his fist rocket into the smaller's face.

A loud crunch foretold the whimper and spray of blood that followed.

The injured man jolted his hands to his nose as he quickly dragged his sorry form deeper into the darkness across the floor from his attacker.

Another whimper echoed out as the smaller man audibly attempted to realign his broken nose. The whimper turned sour when another crunch emanated out, and quickly became wails of horrific pain.

Like a snake the brute vaulted from his wall position and dove into the darkness. The injured man screamed in fear, and was drug out from the wall and into the camera's sight where the larger took the smaller man's neck in hand, twisted sharply, and let his victim fall to the floor with a sickening smack.

The blonde watched it all from beside the camera, her eyes transfixed on the freshly deceased man's gaping eyelids. In the light of the recording indicator, two dead irises gleamed like gems stuffed into an over-sized human doll.

"The aggression is getting worse," she told the camera as she turned back to look her lifeless companion in the lens. "It feels like we have become animals, wild and insatiably savage."

As if on cue a terrifying, hideous, high-pitched wail echoed into the cell through the door window.

Someone was being attacked in another cell out there.

Several other screams sounded out, some men, others clearly women, but all invariably human in origin.

The blonde woman gasped with a hand to her mouth, panting breathlessly. "Oh, god, they're coming back!"

She turned back to the camera with a pleaful wince as her hand reached up to the side of the screen and noisily felt around in the dark.

With a soft scratch, the scene suddenly snapped to darkness.


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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