Suggested Audio Candy
 Jared Thibault “Psychotic Break”
 Lionel Schmitt “A Nightmare in Blood”
“Whatever you do, don’t make a noise”
“How are we going to get out of here Andy?”
“I don’t know yet. Can you see the doorway up there?”
“That’s good enough. How’s your leg feeling?”
“It still hurts but not as bad now. You want to try and make a run for it?”
“Not run no. Those things are too fast, they’ll have us before we get up there”
“Crawl on our bellies. Real slow like. I’ll be holding onto you okay, you just need to take my lead”
Andy fumbled around above them for something to attach onto. Most of the ground was moist and unstable but there were small piles of rubble which appeared to offer decent leverage so he gripped the first and commenced pulling them forward. Above their position, the creatures appeared unaware of their efforts and continued to slither from crevasse to crevasse unperturbed.
“It’s working. How are you feeling?”
“Me too but we’re almost there. Got about another twenty feet to go. You feel up to it?”
“If it means getting out of this hellhole then yeah, I’d say I’m ready”
They shuffled up to the next ledge and continued their ascent, speaking only in hushed tones so as not to alert any unwanted attention.
“Why aren’t they attacking us?”
“I don’t think they can see us and the smell is so godawful it’s probably keeping us camouflaged. We’re going to be fine. Long as we keep it real slow, we’ll be out of this soon”
“What about mom?”
“She’ll probably be here now. When we get to the top, I want you to turn right and run as fast as you can. If we get to the ladder, we can get her attention. These things seemed to have lost interest for the time being so we should get a clear run of it”
“What if she’s not there?”
“I hadn’t thought that far ahead to be honest. Look, she’ll be there. We’ve got to stay positive. Oh and Ellie?”
“For dragging you into this. I didn’t mean to…”
“I know that. Forget about it. Just focus on getting us out in one piece alright?”
“God as my witness”
“Don’t think he can hear us down here you know”
“Always the pessimist”
“Always the asshole”
“That’s the spirit. Bottle that shit. You ready?”
They both summoned any remaining strength and dragged themselves up through the sludge toward the open doorway. As Andy reached for the summit and pulled his sister to even ground, the creatures above began to stir, aroused once more by the trail that they left behind them.
“They’re coming Andy”
Two of the quadrupeds dropped into the murky waters and began scurrying toward the bank, jaws fully retracted and vile lickers splashing hungrily about their expansive oral cavities. Both Andy and Ellie knew that their anonymity had been compromised, so hurried to assume standing position and procrastinated not in shuffling off back to the abandoned ward. Overhead, all the remaining creatures had been made aware of their coordinates and relinquished their grasps on the stalagmites, dropping back to the uneven ground, where they immediately resumed the hunt.
Ellie kept glancing back although light was insufficient to offer her much enlightenment as to their positions. She could however, still hear that miserable audio and it appeared to be gaining ground on them, intensifying with each tired step.
“We’re not going to make it”
“Yes we are. Don’t you fucking give up on me now. This way, come on. We’re almost there”
Just as Andy reached the last of the steel bed frames, something swiftly knocked him to the floor and he relinquished his grip on his sister’s hand.
“Run Ellie. Get out of here now”
He tried to move but was heavily restricted by the first of the drove of advancing dwellers.
“What you doing? Run!”
All at once, those numerous undersized legs once used as a means of transportation turned into sharp stabbing weapons and inserted themselves into both his sides. Andy let out a hefty wail and frantically attempted to dislodge them but they just hooked into his skin further. The creatures dislocated jaw clamped around his face and its licker began slurping at his eyeballs, sliding behind their sockets and pulling them free into the path of its incisors while its tongue continued its path inside his frontal lobe. If there was one thing Ellie should have been grateful for it was lack of visual although the audible intelligence of her brother’s cruel demise was still ringing in her ears as she left him behind and cantered back down the corridor towards the hatch, screaming uncontrollably the entire way.
Andy’s final brotherly act was to buy his sister a little time. His hunters were unwilling to pass up an unscheduled meal ticket and stripped him to his bones, where they commenced to lick away any stubborn marrow. Within seconds there were a dozen fighting over any scraps and none were the slightest bit interested in tracking her. Yet. Thirty yards in front, Ellie felt her way back to the entrance and grabbed at the makeshift ladder. Upon her arrival, she received confirmation which replaced a little of the stolen air in her lungs. It was her mother, moreover, she wasn’t alone. She had recruited the next door neighbor Steve for the expedition into marshland.
No reply. She clambered up another two steps and attempted a second time to grab her attention.
Still nothing but Ellie could hear her clearly.
“I don’t get it Steve, he said it was right here behind the willow tree”
“There’s nothing here Kris”
“There’s got to be. Keep checking. Look, I’m so sorry to pull you into this at this hour. I didn’t know what to do. Andy’s such a troubled boy and it’s hard when Nigel always seems to be working double shifts nowadays”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m a night owl. Never in bed before one at the earliest. I’m always up for an adventure me”
“You’re so sweet. How did Linda come to the assumption that she’d be better off without you? She had leave of her senses if you ask me. I’m sorry but I never liked her much Steve if I’m honest”
“Nor did I. That’s the thing, our relationship got physical before we could suss out that we actually despised each other. Hoodwinked. You wouldn’t be coming onto me would you Mrs. Atherton?”
“In case you’ve forgotten, my kids are out here somewhere. But, to answer your question, yeah maybe a smidge”
“You are incorrigible”
“Look who’s talking”
“MOM! MOMMY PLEASE! MOM!”
“I used to see the way you looked at me and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get myself off the moment I had some alone time”
“You little minx”
“Doesn’t mean I’ll be acting on any of these impulses before you start getting ideas. I’ll just wait until he’s asleep next to me and touch my pussy with you in my head”
“Mom, I’m here. I’m right here. They’re coming back, I can hear them. They’re coming back!”
“Jesus Christ Krissy. How am I supposed to do this with a boner?”
“Just keep it holstered private. But when you’re tugging off in your bathroom later, I’ll be up against the wall cumming. Now, about my children”
“They’re not here. I’ve checked top to bottom and there’s no hatch. Must be another tree out here. Let’s keep moving”
“Mommy no! I’m here mommy”
Ellie’s attention became divided in this moment as she heard talons gripping the bottom rung and felt tepid breath against her ankle. A burly tongue began to slide up her trouser leg, grabbing an exclusive preview of its next meal. She clamored one last time for the hatch cover but her fingers met only soil. There simply wasn’t a hatch any longer. Her grip on the ladder ultimately slackened and she fell headlong into a pool of baying jaws. Topside, her mother and Steve vacated the contorted willow and continued deeper into the mire with their fruitless search.
“So as you were saying”
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014