Suggested Audio Candy
Ellie clutched her ankle in discomfort and continued her attempt at alerting her brother.
“Andy where are you? What’s going on Andy?..ANDY!”
Nothing, except for a few erratic movements emanating from the darkness beyond her line of sight. Something was evidently moving but it didn’t sound like her brother. She started to whimper as the audio continued to intensify. It was some sort of labored groan, more of a guttural growl than anything even vaguely consoling. She perched herself against the wall and stifled her displeasure as best as she could until she felt a hand on her shoulder and prepared to react accordingly. It was Andy. He covered her mouth with his right hand and gestured for her to remain deadly quiet. Once satisfied that she wasn’t going to give away their position, he released his grip and looked her dead in the eye.
“You’ve got to stay quiet. Can you do that for me?”
“Alright, now listen. There’s something else down here with us”
Her calm stance was compromised by this fresh intelligence and he muted her a second time.
“If you pull that shit again, we’re in some serious trouble. I need you to relax okay?”
Again she nodded, although this didn’t fill him with confidence.
“I’m going to try and move you. It might hurt a little but i need you to stay quiet. Can you do that for me?”
“I wanna go home Andy”
“I know. So do I. I’ll get us out of this. But I need you to be strong. What do you say?”
He continued stroking her hair with his free hand until which time as she began to calm down a little.
“Good girl. Now can you stand up?”
“I don’t think so. My leg”
“I know sweetheart. Look, grab my shoulder and hold on. I’m going to try and move you now. Keep your weight off that leg and hold on tight”
Andy pulled Ellie to her feet and she instantly winced as the pain shot up her side.
“You’re doing well. Come on, let’s get you out of here”
“Where? We’re locked in”
“Anywhere but here. You heard that noise right?”
“What the fuck is that?”
“I don’t know. But I don’t fancy sticking around to find out. There’s another room behind us and it’s got a door to shut ourselves in. I’m going to try to move you there now”
Andy maneuvered the pair along the partition until they reached the open doorway to the conjoining room and set his sibling down gently as he secured the door. As he did, whatever was lurking outside in the hall became aware of their presence once again and let out a godless gargle.
“Did you hear that? Tell me you heard that”
“Loud and clear”
“We’re going to die down here aren’t we?”
“Don’t. Don’t say that. I’m not going to let anything happen to you alright. Mom’s on her way. She’ll get help. I just need you to stay with me”
“Well I’m not going anywhere am I?”
“You know what I mean. Hold it together. We’ll just stay here until somebody comes for us. Shouldn’t be too long. Let’s sing a song or something”
“Not feeling much like rejoicing right now Andy”
“Alright, bad idea”
“You’re never short of bad ideas. But that may well be your worst”
“Ssh. Can you hear that?”
“It’s outside the door. I can hear it breathing”
Whatever had decided to join them was evidently not in the mood for shits and grins. It sounded tormented and undoubtedly inhuman, judging by its almost reptilian movements. The pair huddled against the wall as they marked time for the audio to subside but the quadruped had already picked up on their scent and was investigating the trail of blood which led straight back to the robust fortification. Andy still had his flashlight although it was barely operational and unable to cut through the tenebrous mist which engulfed them.
After a few moments which felt like an eternity, their aggressor’s interest waned and it scuttled away back into the gloom.
“What is this place Andy?”
“Looks like some sort of fucked up torture chamber or something. You don’t want to know what I saw out there. Let’s just say it weren’t pretty”
“And you’re doing a bang-up job of keeping me calm I might add”
“I’m sorry. But that’s why it is imperative that we don’t move a muscle”
“And this room’s safe?”
“I can’t tell you that. Hardly had time to scout the place beforehand”
“Then that thing, whatever the fuck it is outside, it could get in here?”
Andy began checking the back wall. There were no doors or ventilation shafts and it appeared their cubby hole was secure, for the time being at least.
“I think we’re all good Ellie. Hold on, what’s this?”
He spotted the wall began to concave at the bottom and shone his feeble light down to reveal a small rotted portion of the foundation at ground level, just large enough for something to crawl through.
“What is it?”
“I don’t know. I’m just checking now”
He knelt on the floor and prodded his flashlight through the fissure. To his discontentment, it offered a direct route through from the other side. Furthermore, he could discern migration again from the other side as a shadowy figure began to slink towards his vague light source on all fours. Hurriedly, Andy rose to his feet and grabbed the nearest object to hand, a length of corroded steel pipe. As he stepped back away from the cranny, the creature began to wriggle its way through, dislocating both shoulders to afford itself access. It looked up at Andy with its charcoal eyes and parted its jaws wider than anything human could ever achieve, six-inch piked tongue flapping around its teeth wildly as it let out a gargled groan of intent. Andy had to think fast as it forced itself through and began advancing towards Ellie. He rammed the pipe through its back and twisted, pinching its spinal column against terra firma as it tore itself in half before his eyes.
“I’ve got it”
The animate top section continued to resist against him and eventually prised itself free from his grasp, jaws now fully retracted as it prepared its oral attack on the injured girl. Andy lifted the pipe a second time and brought it down on its cranium, crushing its skull and provoking a high pitched wail as any remaining life drained out of the creature’s mouth in a definitive hiss.
“It’s alright. You’re safe. I’ve killed it”
“What the fuck is that thing?”
He checked over the corpse and it appeared one part human but the other part was unlike anything he had ever seen.
“I honestly haven’t the faintest idea. I’ve never seen anything like this. But it’s dead now, I think I killed it”
He inspected further and this revealed two regimented rows of miniscule legs protruding from both sides like a myriapod. Presumably this is how it propelled itself with such haste. Turning his attention to its sheared lower torso, he discovered what looked like an embryo sac of sorts spilling from its rectum.
“Holy shit. This thing is messed up”
“You sure it’s dead Andy?”
“Oh it’s not going anywhere”
“And what if there are more of them?”
Just then, Andy discerned movement once more, from beyond the fragmented wall. This foul incubus evidently hunted in packs and, what’s more, its stablemates had received intelligence of its recent resolution and were beginning to cautiously cluster around the entry point.
“There are more of them aren’t there?”
Rapid reconnaissance with his flashlight revealed at least half a dozen similar entities circling their coordinates with gnarled intent. He frantically fed the fallen creature’s bottom half through the cavity and it was swiftly retrieved by grabbing talons and pulled off into the corner, where they commenced feasting on its remains. Their barbed incisors tore through the flesh on its bones, making decidedly short work of the carcass, and commenced licking up any leftover pulp.
“We can’t stay in here”
“I’m not opening this door Andy”
“I mean it. In a few seconds this place is going to be overrun with those things and they don’t look best pleased”
Ellie pulled herself clumsily to her feet, propped against the mortar and still wincing. Ground level suddenly wasn’t looking like the safest sanctuary, particularly given the fact that the upper segment of the brute still had its lifeless eyes firmly fixed on the girl, despite being clearly spent. Andy held onto the pipe for safe keeping and turned the handle to afford them escape, peering through to make sure there were no more revelations in front of them before advancing.
“It’s clear. Come on”
He led Ellie through and any adrenaline was now countering her pain, thus she offered more assistance this time. He secured the door behind them and they continued deeper into the bunker, this time coming across what appeared to be an abandoned ward of sorts. There were steel bed frames either side but no linen, giving the room a cold inhospitable appearance.
“Too open. We’ve got to keep moving”
“What is this place?”
“I have no fucking idea. But I’m guessing whatever went down here wasn’t pretty”
He marched them through and towards a bottle neck into a dank corridor at the far end. His flashlight finally gave up the ghost at this point and its remaining gleam seeped away, plunging the pair back into baleful darkness. Andy used his hands to pilot them forward and found an opening to their left which he proceeded to lead them into. As they entered the chamber, both of them lost their footing and tumbled down a rocky landslide into a gorge of disgusting sludge. They were separated on the way down; Ellie clutching onto the uneven ground on the bank while Andy slid straight into the sediment.
He instantly returned topside gasping for clean air and instead receiving two nostrils of the most despicable odor imaginable for his efforts. Wading through the human stew and up to his neck in dated feces, he gagged as the heady aroma began to incite imminent pass-out.
“I’m…right here. I’m coming”
It took three attempts at levering himself from the pool as the surrounding clay fell away in his hands, before finally Andy ultimately located a foothold to propel him forward and onto the bank alongside his sister.
“I don’t think we’re safe here either Andy”
“No shit. I’d say things just got a lot more fucked up”
Although neither had any visual of their surroundings, the sound of slithering from the walls either side supplied fretful audio. She grabbed both his hands tightly as they waited for further intelligence. Neither were feeling particularly buoyant.
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014