Suggested Audio Candy:
John Harrison “Creepshow”
The sun has bled away into the horizon leaving behind its burnt orange hue before the blackness begins to creep in for the night. It is around this time every night, like cruel clockwork, that all manner of ghoulies, ghosties and long-legged beasties make their appearance. Each time night falls, they are present and correct, creeping from the undergrowth to welcome me back into their spindly arms. I cannot appear to evade said freaks of nature and fall under their spell repeatedly without choice. It has become a past-time for which I have long become accustomed and, despite my very best intentions, sometimes the best thing to do is to simply roll with the punches.
It begins with faint tugging at my ankles, at 6″1 I overhang my bedstead and they see this as an opportunity to make themselves known to me night after night. The little blighters know my name and whisper it incessantly until I am adequately awakened from my slumber. Once they have my full undivided attention they set to work and invite me to join them in the dance of the macabre, if it sounds nightmarish then that is because it is indeed. We creep without so much as a sound, lurking in any darkened recesses we come across and pilfering souls wherever we go. By dawn they are gone and our demonic work has been done, if you suffer phantasms then it is because it is us who craft them. So without further ado, let me introduce you to my unholy entourage.
There are four terrors which inhabit my dwelling place and each is more heinous than the last. Firstly there is Scamp, a diminutive darkling who stands no taller than a cat on its hind legs. He looks relatively harmless at first glance, little more than a domestic gremlin, but looks can be rather deceiving as I have begun to discover. You see, Scamp suffers from a relatively horrendous case of ‘little man syndrome’ and suffers fits of bloody rage that belie his meek standing. I’ve watched this little heathen strip a carcass to its marrow in less than a minute and his claws are razor-sharp and capable of atrocities the likes of which are rarely seen. His stunted physique lends itself well to him skulking the shadows and often there is no indicator that he is even present as he prefers to bask in darkness mostly. If you listen intently you can discern his short sharp breaths but, should you hear these mutterings, the likeliness is that it will be the last audio you hear.
Next up is Slurp, entirely lacking in vertebrae, she consists of little more than a serpentine tongue with no limbs. This elongated licker moves swiftly and with great purpose, once Scamp has torn away any epidermal protection it is Slurp who writhes into play. She likes nothing more than to get intimate with folks’ life essence, siphoning it from the gristle around their bones and bleeding them dry in the process. Once she has fed adequately, she slithers off to break down any light sources consumed and transform them into blackened darkness which she spits out for the other terrors to feast on after the act. Her part in the process is distinct, her tongue both burly and nimble. On occasion she drains just enough to leave remembrance of her visitation and, when she does, her quarry can still feel her wriggling below their pelt even after she has taken her fill.
The third is the hired muscle of the group, an arch angel cast aside by those above and left to fester in the pits of hell perpetually. Its name is Berserker and it consists of dead cells which reanimate each time the sun sets. Each feeding grants it further strength and its size and weight fluctuate depending on the regularity of the gorge. Berserker can pull a cadaver apart with its bare hands and comes into play when nightfall has reaching its inked apex. It is difficult to explain its look as it transmogrifies with constancy, one night it may possess rows of teeth, all regimentally fashioned which love nothing more than the tang of fresh cruor whereas, others, it is all flailing tentacles, each armed with small sucking devices. These enjoy nothing more than to suck eyeballs from their cavities and any masticated peepers deepen its perspective. Traditionally almost blind, it can sense movement effortlessly and is absolutely deadly, make no mistake.
Every group needs itself a leader and the night terrors have one to be truly reckoned with. Bastian is a fallen warrior and inhabits both the earthly and spectral realms in precisely the same instance. He manifests through blackened portals which are energized by his compadre’s nourishment. He is ordinarily the last sight which your eyes will fix upon before being drawn from their hollows and the last few droplets of blood syrup lapped up. The top half of his torso will wrench itself through said portal and stare into your soul with its cold dead eyes. “Nicham”, which is Hebrew for sorrow, is the solitary word it utters before plundering your dwindling life force and its metallic breath is lacking in any remorse or comprehension. It is the harbinger of anguish and harvester of souls, passing them to incorporeal planes where more minions of torment are crafted with regularity.
I am one such henchman, torn from my slumber and visited by these night terrors, they saw fit to leave me animated after unveiling something within me of dark prestige. Scamp had his fill with my gizzards, wrenching them around as he forged a pathway to my vital force. Slurp infused me with her overcast essence and quenched my darkness in the process, in return for any hopes or dreams previously held. I know already of my eternal fate, hell fires await and I’m assured that it is something of a holiday home in comparison with any false heavens prophecized by the ill-advised. Every night I feed, banish the weak, fortify our growing dark army and I do so with unswerving purpose and candor. I have been given the name Quietus by my fellow terrors and, I have to say, it fits rather snugly.
As Quietus, I select our quarry. In daylight hours I wander around, inconspicuously, tailing those who warrant inspection. My appearance is akin to any other man my age, nothing remarkable or outlandish. Once night falls however, the abdominal track left by Scamp opens wide and spews forth my associates’ liquefied madness. I’m their GPS basically, leaving signposts to any potential game and re-birthing their nocturnal entity night after night. I have never been one for regrets and take whatever path has been selected me without a quibble. Being perpetually baleful is not without its benefits, I have always been something of a night crawler only now I have added calculation. Should you fear me? Well that all depends. If you haven’t seen my face amongst the crowds while going about your daily routine then I would say no. If however you have caught glimpse of my blackened figure, loitering in the shadows, then best sleep with the light on.