The Dorley Cycle VII

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories, The Dorley Cycle with tags , , , , , , on 12/04/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

TO START THE CYCLE :  Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Part V ;  Part VI

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhu3

VII

I knew that Dorley was incorporated somewhere in the 1600’s by some European fisherman and established as a town in the 1800’s, and all that it used to be in its earliest days was probably written down in one of the records in the archive. All the memories of my youth in Dorley are of struggling to spend a summer vacation in a fishy little town with a small harbor that held few solid fishing boats.

Inside the archives room was a metal shelf that ran from one side of the wall to the other and stacked some fifty yellow record boxes labeled with a red marker. There were a dozen brown boxes tucked into the corner of the room.

I knelt bringing my flashlight to those, first starting with their content.  I pushed the lid off of the first one and took out a thin file that bore the police department’s sigil. I went through three or four reports, all recent and all of minor violations from the outside regions. I pulled another box towards me. There was a moist scent soaked into the cardboard, the smell of old age and dark rooms and when I tore the dried glue and pulled the first file in had the same authentic stench of decay plastered onto it. There was a picture clipped to the first page. I brought my light to it, looking at a crime scene photo of a naked girl, arms, legs spread on the beach and a circle drawn around her. My heart sank as I recognized the markings on her body, dark, swollen all over her shriveled skin. They were identical to those of the two teens laid on the beach. I took away the light and stared into the darkness, rectangles and bright spots swimming before my eyes. The 86’ murder had fallen into my hands with a picture of the body of which the local lore spoke to have been missing and never found. I took the photo out and put it in my pocket without a second glance. The page underneath was smoke soaked and the ink was smudged in redoing the bleak writing, but I read the year all right, and the name of the girl – Anne Henderson, 17.  The rest of the file however was empty.

A voice above me hissed like a rattle snake in the quiet and the hiss sneaked to the pit of my stomach where it curled.

“The department archives got flooded couple of days ago, so some of the files were moved in here till’ the leak is fixed.”

I turned my light on Paulie’s face seeing the deep sores on his cheeks and the broken teeth in his limp mouth.

“Security will be here any minute. Got what you was looking for?”

I felt the picture in my pocket and nodded. All I needed was it, a verification that Dorley had secrets and someone was willing to sacrifice lives to keep them.

Outside the gulls were loud in their pathetic attempts to keep off the cold. The night had grown the wicked cold of the wind that came from elsewhere and it kissed my face in its harsh unwelcoming way, like a lover no more.

Whilst I shivered and cursed the change of heart of the weather, Paulie stood proud against the temperature, comforted in its embrace. I guess he was local after all.

“If you ain’t got a place to stay and do your thing while you’re here the place I rent in my room has an empty one just across mine.”

Paulie swallowed a big gulp of his frozen saliva and looked at me with his green eyes half-closed. He looked shit tired.

“I suppose I’m going to stay for a while after all, yeah.”

The building he led me into was one of the more luxurious, and few apartment buildings Dorley had built for the rich tourists that it never had. It looked less shiny today and with its glamour, its clientele had gone to waste.

“Landlord sleeps like a deadman, he’ll do you in the register tomorrow. I gots a spare key here in case someone comes and he ain’t around to serve.”

I was beginning to think Paulie was the Keymaster from Ghostbusters. Heck he even looked a bit like him.

“Paulie, do you know that murder from 86’ that was never solved? The upstate girl on vacation here?”

He gazed at me again with his sea deep eyes.

“I remember it. She was a pretty one, auburn hair and hazel eyes. Never found a body though.”

“Do you remember who led the investigation?”

“Chief of police Frank Wyman. Solid motherfucker.”

“He still around?”

“Chief then, chief now. He’s a righteous man and he’ll do his job.“

I nodded and bid him goodnight.

“It’s very strange how the mermaids got extinct and then the sirens stopped singing. I think scientists would say its total bull, but I go with the Old belief that the two species are very much important to one another, you know for their survival. This one guy in the pub said,” you want mermaid meat you gotta cut the tail with a diamond sharpened blade” and another said “behead the siren if ya want to use the feathers for the hooks.”

His words bubbled up and he laughed with his teeth clasped together. His eyes were mere dark slices that stretched along the sides of his face. I thought again how much I hated the tales and how much those people loved them.

“They will come you know.”, his hiss pierced my ears and itched down my system, putting needles in my guts.

He closed his door and locked it.

I sat on my bed feeling the cold wool cover, not wanting to get under it and shiver through my nightmares. So I left as quiet as possible, patting the inside of my jacket for the Smith & Wesson feeling its weight reassuring. I hoped chief Frank Wyman was a solid motherfucker as Paulie had said.

The Dorley Cycle VI

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories, The Dorley Cycle with tags , , , , , on 05/04/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

To start the cycle: Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Part V ; 

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhu2

VI

My thirsty mouth was lapping of the oily waters, an answer of filth and shit scrambled in the accents of comers and goers, and deafened by the police sirens and the nearing helicopter flashing its light on all coastal beauty. I loathed Dorley more than before.

Now I looked upon the town with new eyes, a vision that left me less than a minority amongst a vast population of strangers, half of which my new idea proclaimed involved in the weird stories Dorley kept telling. I was a mentally instituted spear archer with some clarity of dimensionality and a head loaded with loony sounding proof, but I was alone in a fight beyond my grasp and I didn’t like that.

I went down by the harbor, taking the worn flight of steps in two quick descends and walked the groaning planks struggling to read names of gently rocking boats in the dim light, searching for my uncle’s old one, hoping to see Eli around it. A part of me wished the kid was far off here, but the wish soon died and was replaced with a sort of comfort.

He walked straight for me in the company of two veteran ship-owners who chimney smoked above his head. I kept myself to the shadows. They walked past me before parting ways.

“Hey…”

His head span in my direction and he stopped in his tracks. Eli was looking shocked.

“What the fuck are you doing here?”

I knotted my eyebrows.

“Still holding that grudge from the funeral?”

He gripped his backpack strap tight. I could hear his teeth grit inside his clenched mouth.

“Wasn’t until you showed up. I remember why I wanted to hit you.”

“Listen, Eli, I didn’t come to fight. I wanted to see how you were doing and apologies for disappearing like that.”

“You ran away from a mental institution, Jackson. I have my doubts about trusting you and your words.”

“I had to go. They were going to lock me up for a long time and I couldn’t let that happen. There are things happening in this town that..”

His voice, low and shaking cut me off.

“You decided to tell them you killed a mermaid and a siren instead of the truth, whatever it was. What did you expect was going to happen?”

“Dorley is a bad place kid. I need you to understand that. There are things beyond my or your control at power here.”

“Yeah?” his voice threw a mocking tone at me and I nearly lost it again.

“I came back to sort things out.”

“Good luck with that. Don’t come looking for me again.”

He turned to walk away, but then stopped and faced me..

“You know, I feel sorry for you Jackson. I’m sorry that what happened to you messed you up like this. But it has nothing to do with me.”

I let him run up the road and stood reliving the echoes of his rejection ringing in my ears. I realize Eli never liked me, never thought of me as family. I’d say likewise, but more than ever I needed someone to rely on.

“Ey bud, got a light?”

I squinted my eyes at the fella approaching me. He had a slight slur when he spoke and when he came closer I saw his jaw couldn’t close all the way up, leaving his mouth ajar to spit saliva every now and then. He brushed it off with his sleeve and nervously tucked his hand behind his back.

“I don’t smoke.”

“Oh that’s good, I’sppose. Would’ve been for me too, but keeps my throat dry, so I’sppose it’s good sometimes.” He slurped his fluids back in and looked around for someone else.

“Hey man, sorry I can’t help. Maybe if you try the bar.”

He shook his head at me.

“No biggie friend.”

He then stared at me for the longest time and I cleared my throat.

“I’m Jackson.”

“I’m Paul ‘Paulie’ Glass. Pleasure. I’ve always wanted to be called something else, like Victor Frankenstein or any other character from a horror movie. You like horror movies? I prefer the classics myself. The 30′s and 40′s.”

“I’m not much of a fan, not really. “

Bubbles formed on the corner of his lips when he tried to laugh. His laugh gargled in his throat. I shivered.

“You ain’t keen on too much stuff are you?”

“Maybe not. I’m really interested in Dorley though.’

“Is that so?”

“Mhm. Traveling and exploring is my thing and I’d like to know Dorley.”

“Are you a private investigator or something? Because of them kids that died?”

I swallowed down my “no” and waited for him to scream police, aiming to put him down before he gets too loud, but he took my silence in his liking and pretended he hadn’t asked that question.

“Well, all you wanna know about Dorley is in the council’s archive. I work there part time cleaning, sometimes on the weekends when I’m not down here scrapping the dirt.  I could you know, hook you up, that is let you in to have a quick look.“

This guy was harmless and friendly and perhaps a bit careless for his own good and without questioning him again I rolled out a crumpled fifty dollar bill pushing it into his shaking hands. Buy all the lighters and cigarettes you want, just lent me access to a small portion of Dorley’s secrets written and printed, and I might win after all.

He handed me a long and heavy flashlight from the emergency kit.

“There ain’t no security right now, but he’ll step by here around 9. I don’t know why they need patrolling security when they put one of them burglar alarms.”

He unlocked the door and put in the numbers. I went in, turning my light on, gliding it inside the room, finding a glass door in the far corner with brown folio letters spelling archive. The sea groaned inside me again, the salty and moist feeling returning with the same rage that put those creatures to sleep forever. I was going to put them all to sleep forever.

Dr. Jekyll shares some quotes for #NaNoReMo

Posted in Books, Non-Fiction with tags , , , , , , , on 30/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

As promised in the process of reading “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”  I’ve taken out a few quotes, which by the way was a difficult job since the novella is full of great, great lines, atmospheric and strong words sewn into terrifying or heart aching sentences.

As March tilts to its end, and #NaNoReMo is about to be concluded for this year, one tribute before the finale.  If you find any of the following as spoilers, I apologies. No such intention to those who haven’t read it.

 

****

 

 

And yet when I looked upon that ugly idol in the glass, I was conscious of no repugnance, rather of a leap of welcome. This, too, was myself.”

-          Dr. Henry Jekyll

 

Between these two, I now felt I had to choose….To cast it in

with Hyde, was to die to a thousand interests and aspirations, and to

become, at a blow and forever, despised and friendless.”

-          Dr. Henry Jekyll

 

“…. no, it was in my ownperson that I was once more tempted to trifle with my conscience.”

-          Dr. Henry Jekyll

 

If each, I told myself, could be housed in separateidentities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable; the unjustmight go his way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of hismore upright twin; and the just could walk steadfastly and securely onhis upward path, doing the good things in which he found his pleasure, and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands ofthis extraneous evil. It was the curse of mankind that these incongruous faggots were thus boundtogether—that in the agonised womb of consciousness, these polar twins should be continuously struggling.”

-          Dr. Henry Jekyll

 

A great chocolate-coloured pall lowered over heaven, butthe wind was continually charging and routing these embattled vapours; so that as the cab crawled from street to street, Mr. Utterson beheld a marvelous number of degrees and hues of twilight; for here itwould be dark like the back-end of evening; and there would be a glowof a rich, lurid brown, like the light of some strange conflagration;and here, for a moment, the fog would be quite broken up, and ahaggard shaft of daylight would glance in between the swirling wreaths.The dismal quarter of Soho seen under these changing glimpses, withits muddy ways, and slatternly passengers, and its lamps, which had never been extinguished or had been kindled afresh to combat this mournful reinvasion of darkness, seemed, in the lawyer’s eyes, like adistrict of some city in a nightmare.”

-          Utterson

 

 

The Dorley Cycle V

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories, The Dorley Cycle with tags , , , , , , on 29/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

To start the cycle: Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhu

V

Behind the police line its dark, an infinity seeping out of a black hole,somewhere in the back of my head; it’s stretched to all sides but ahead, where the projectors illuminate the sand and the camera flashlights blink two at a time. And I am standing in that infinite darkness, body cold, but mind ablaze, insides burning up as an infection spreads and consumes me into blindness far thicker than the night, and so much wider than the sky; I dwell in it, floating without mass as only dead fish do. Raging is the memory. Painful is the comeback.

And I have comeback to Dorley, my universe, my anchor.

My eyes are pools which drown the image of the two deformed corpses laid side by side. I recognize a pattern, a similarity in the atmosphere. Can they not see it?

I pulled aside from the bystanders peeping for a look at the macabre scene making my way through police officers pushing watchers and reporters away. I had seen enough.

“Can I get you something?”

The bartender dragged his rusty voice over my ears and it felt like razors twisting inside my brain. I flinched and closed my eyes letting the mental attack pass away before pulling a ten dollar bill and passing it to him.

“Scotch, single, whichever brand.”

He nodded and took the money, shooting me a suspicious glance. Bartenders always do that, especially when they have a guy looking like me sitting at their bar. I felt his eyes glide over the scars on my forehead and smirked to myself for having grown a thick beard to somewhat conceal the ones on my cheeks.

My flaming senses began to calm and I relaxed my shoulders, breathing out the built up tension. I was succumbed to my thoughts, sunken to my past, and then again, I was back in Dorley. I was excused for having any mental breakdowns. I felt a void like a draft come inside me, blowing away my confidence to specks of dust. After two years of nothing and growing fond on the idea of it all being big bullshit, here it was again, the unmistakable sign that Dorley was a whirlpool spitting out monsters.

The glass was put in front of me and I took a sip. Even if the majority of the town was changed to fit the seaside resort criteria, the Old Side had kept the same shitty charm it used to have before, only now having the society in a tighter circle made it twice worst to be around. The absurdity of the place now collided with the surrealism of it.

I took in my surroundings not really remembering being inside this bar. The people clinging like moths to light, sat with their beers and their card games, heads bobbing up and down, dirty nails scratching sun-kissed faces. Sailers, fisherman, laborers, the lot of them. It seemed to me, having a classy hotel and a Ferris wheel pier made no difference to them. It didn’t work for me either, only set a slight unease; I knew there were winged and fishtailed humanoid skeletons lying at the bottom of the sea. So much for vacating safely. But they didn’t know.

There were times I wished the construct of my thoughts couldn’t reach past a barricade of the deepest ignorance. I was initiated by the revelations forced on me into something I didn’t and still don’t fully understand.

But thedead boy and girl, those two strange carcasses were my new enigma; they were pieces of my puzzle and they fitted in perfectly. They welcomed me back to my mythos. Whatever had done that to them was speaking to me and I would be rude to not respond back. I would slaughter again.

I emptied the glass, grabbing my jacket.

“What’s with the sirens outside?”

I looked up half thinking the bartender had gone all soft on me, but it was a middle-aged man dressed city-like taking the sit next to mine. A man in a checked red shirt, shuffling a deck of cards had called him up.

“Someone died I hear.” He said as he took his drink and untwisted the beer bottle’s cap.

“Yeah? Local?”

I eased on my sit, pulling out another tenner and gestured to the bartender.

“Can’t say. They won’t say. Would be in the papers though. It’s down by the old fisherman’s cabins.”

The checked shirt man nodded and went back to his game.

“Though what I hear is, two kids got overdosed on something.”

“You reckon some junkies?”

I eyed the guy.

“What else would it be?”

“Murder.”,  I filled in.

The city man said nothing, only took a large gulp from his beer, but I could feel the fat card player’s eyes on my back.

“There haven’t been a murder this side of town since 86’ boy.”

I spun on my chair giving my full attention to the checked shirt man.

“What happened in 86’?”

“Well”, he mashed up the deck of cards once more, “some local youngsters fooled around with upstate teenagers on a camping trip here. They were suspected of, what they call it…yeah, ritualistic murder, but they were never convicted. Some poor gal went missing, but I don’t think they ever found her too, only some weird markings on the beach. So that’s that. But Dorley is a good town with good people. There are no murderers here.”

The door of the bar slammed behind me. What a pleasantly fucked up seaside town Dorley is. I left here, fleeing in fear and anger, and I returned terrified of what I might find instead of closure. And oh, I need closure. 

They took a wrong turn, they all did, including me and they deposited into this scheme bones and blood. Years and years the defense of their isolation had kept the eyes of the world from their deeds. The people of Dorley. Could I believe they didn’t know?

Passerby

Posted in Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , on 19/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

My unease mostly comes from the horrid assumption that my right eye fails to see what the corner of it does. That is, when I turn my head I see the ordinary, a simple object, an inanimate figure, but just before that I know what the corner caught and registered – an entirely new image of motions and attempts of greater such, unlikely to the nature of its original character as seen by my full eye. Oh, no I am not mad; I am simply worried that I might be going so.

Today the corner of my eye filtered a different abnormality as the by-street disappeared from my peripheral vision and their substitute rose with tall black rocks that were the foundation of a palace of sorts, but which was in a monotonous decay, crumbling into a blacker mass of liquid denser than water and infested with golden sinking monuments of befallen, ungodly creatures of proportions unknown and terrible to me. The motion of this transcendental spectacle was falling in rhythm with my own motion in the known to me world and I genuinely feared I might find myself prisoner to this abandoned city and far-off world exciting in the corner of my eye.

My eyeball twitched inside its socket, the forgotten palace becoming blurred as tears formatted in the corner of my right eye and dripped down my cheek. A blink and the vision was gone forever, leaving me a stranger to my own world and a permanent mental inhabitant in that other, the kingdom of crumble and decay.

With “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in #NaNoReMo update

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , on 18/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

“If he be Mr. Hyde,” he had thought, “I shall be Mr. Seek.”

And that dear Utterson you somewhat became. Innuendos here and there, terrible, dark, tempting, throughout each page which brushed against my fingers with the coldness of those later London evenings, so beautifully distributed with rich vocabulary and haunting imagery.

There is a great deal to be said about “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and I will create a longer post with my thoughts on the whole work after I finish it, but to this stage, and I leave the mark somewhere before the chapter titled “The Last Night”.

Thus far not only have I enjoyed the traumatizing experience of a very sensible man chased by very real and agonizing doubts about his dear friend and an upcoming peril, but I’ve undoubtedly loved the carefully sewn bizarreness of this misshapen and unearthly personage that is Hyde, and the ungodly secret that unfolds by the words and the witness of a friend, and friendship is a mighty powerful thing. I’m excited as I read and I only suffer from the short length of the novella, deliberately slowing its finale, taking in each page in its fullest, dramatizing over it as much as possible and drawing out that unsettled feeling of uncertainty and unsure horror that seems to pervade the atmosphere, the very essence of each scene.  Even when Henry Jekyll is himself, it is a brief occurrence, rapidly pushed aside by a new attack of solitude and nightly weeping and I love that, because even with the few let-us-know paragraphs of Jekyll’s usual nature and connection to other parties, it’s still enough for me to get the idea in my head that whatever is happening to this man is brutal and disturbing in every possible way and it should seek solution, which I as the reader want as well. But Hyde is spectacular, for he is in pain whenever and he is in suffering. The characters not being able to pinpoint, if that’s the word, his exact facial expressions, or his figure in detail is remarkable, because it makes me think of something out of their world, out of my world that is there but shouldn’t be there and its contorting the basics of human conception of how things are to be. Hyde is rendering their perception and triggering their curiosity in parallel with their repulsion of his soul, not only his visage, but the core of him, oozing through his voice and his gestures. It is brilliant this battle of souls precisely, though it is quite egotistical of Jekyll to force upon his friends his death penalty or his life renewed, but hey what are friends for? It’s the oldest war between Dark and Light, but with a slight twist as it goes. It’s the early science of substances controlling the human emotions and drawing out unknown demons and manifesting their face upon that of their owner, colliding two personalities of the same roots and seeing whichever overpowers and to what extent its own decisions and cravings lead.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote an incredible treat for the readers offering a different perspective and a different angle of storytelling. It feels amazing to read.

Richard Mansfield in the stage adaptation (opening in London in 1887, a year after the publication of the novella)

I’m also going to do a short post with some favorite quotes some time during the week, so watch for that. As always I’d be glad to hear from you and your thoughts on the novella if you’ve read it, and if not, I’ll persuade you otherwise. Also, how is your reading going?

The Dorley Cycle: Prelude

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 15/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

THE DORLEY CYCLE

fishtail4

 

Dorley, Massachusetts

2 years later

The tourists took the flyers from their hands reluctantly, many crushing the colorful piece of paper into a ball and shooting it at the bin, and some others threw a glance at the written text “DORLEY – THE BY THE SEA RESORT YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR! COME STAY WITH US AT THE MERMAID GRAND HOTEL!” and again crushed the offer, not needing another advertisement being pushed in their hands.

The summer workers, as their mentors referred to them, kept on their pretense smiles and stomped their weary feet up and down the fully restored pier which the said tourists loved so much, taking selfies and long and dramatized sunset and sunrise photos with the Ferris wheel in the back – Dorley, the resort you had to visit before you die.

Darryl counted the remaining flyers in his stack – he had about thirty left and without giving it much thought he pushed the majority of those in his pants handing the remaining ones out fast.

“I’m all done losers!”

Megan tilted her head at him.

“Cheater. Really Darryl if Benson finds out he’ll be pissed.”

Darryl shrugged.

“It’s a crappy job and you know it. Handing out something no one gives two fucks about and boiling under the sun. I should have been a life guard at the hotel. Give me a pool and drowning chicks to save.”

“More like limb numb grannies.”  Joe laughed as he pushed his hands into his pockets and retreated towards a weak shadow to have a sit.

“You all done?”

Megan and Darryl looked at him suspiciously.

“What can I say, I get the job done, I get to run the Ferris wheel tonight.”

“You little shit.” Darryl punched him in the shoulder and sat next to him. He watched as people paced down the white-painted pier, the waves of the summer sea  brushing against the pillars underneath their feet, making the sound of creaking planks inaudible. It was a beautiful pier for sure and the wheel made a nice touch to it, gathering souvenir shops, sweet corn and all kinds of candy stands around it. The Grand Mermaid Hotel though was where the money came from, and being a valet or a pool boy, or hell any kind of working boy in there made the summer work much more profitable and practical. Darryl however hadn’t made the cut, and was assigned to maintaining the pier. That did not give tips.

The rich hotel was built last year after a few controversies over the ground on which it was supposed to be built. They had to move the old cemetery to make place for the hotel as that point made for the best possible view over the sea from any floor. The road was redone and swerved down to the coastal line and the pier. Darryl traced it up to the hotel which windows reflected the late sun.

“I’m going to have a smoke.” Megan announced and roamed through her purse. Darryl snapped out of his thoughts and jumped to his feet

“Spare one? I forgot mine.”

She nodded and led the way. Joe shook his head and Darryl flipped him a bird.

The safest place to smoke without being scolded were the old fisherman cabins down at the Old Side beach. When the town began its renovation, parts of it were left out after numerous protests from the fisherman society, the old folks born and raised here with beliefs and traditions no law stood up to. It split the town in two, the main area getting its renewal, and what was left becoming a remote fishing harbor maintaining the traditional business and soaking the air with cheap beer and dead fish.  The cabins were deserted now, all rotten wood and broken windows.

“There are some rumors about this place. Sometime back this guy supposedly killed a mermaid and then went seriously mad after hearing a siren sing to him. He drowned himself. Or went to a madhouse.”

Megan lit Darryl’s cigarette and leaned into the sidewall of the cabin. He shifted uncomfortably when she didn’t say anything.

“What are you planning to do after the summer is over?”

She made smoke rings.

“University I suppose. You?”

“I’m saving up money so I can travel a bit before getting into life.”

She laughed and her eyes glimmered.

“Maybe I’ll tag along.”

His jaw dropped. He was a shy guy in front of girls he liked and Megan, he definitely liked. She put her smoke out and moved closer to him.

“Would you like that?”

He nodded.

“Yes, a lot.”

Something made the door of the next cabin slam open and shut. Megan jumped and pushed into Darryl who clumsily grabbed her shoulder for balance.

A single brief gasp tore from her lips as she was taken by surprise from behind and thrown against the side of the cabin, crashing through the wood. Darryl spun around but a strong hand gripped at his throat and began crushing his windpipe. His vision blurred in and out, the figure before him unclear and he felt something sticky and sour penetrate his nostrils. It made him very dizzy and he found he couldn’t move a muscle. But he heard a voice ordering him and he found himself obeying.

Open wide now.”

The grasp eased and his mouth swung open, saliva bubbling up inside and spilling from the corner of his lips down his chin. The attacker’s hands moved to his shoulders to steady him. Something thick and slimy licked at the tip of his tongue and was rapidly and forcefully pushed in his mouth, moving itself down his throat, gagging him. Thorny hooks clung to the sides of his mouth forcing it wider. His eyes whitened as a second parasite invader probed the gaping void of his mouth and nestled itself inside him, sucking at the core of him, making him empty. He could feel such things crawl upon his face and over his eyes and around his ears, little suction disks planting on his skin before he dropped dead.

Megan stumbled to her feet, her wrist aching, blood on her forehead and her eyes darted around before settling on Darryl.  She screamed. For a brief moment she couldn’t breath and her voice died in her throat when she tried to call him, so she ran, tripping, in the opposite direction away from Darryl’s body, before the same sour smell breathed into her face, sticking, and she fell back, the late summer sky blurring crimson red and burning orange.

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