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HAUNTED

In Excerpts of Prose, HAUNTED, NEW!, Uncategorized on November 20, 2009 at 4:55 PM

I saw them. Emerging from where the wall meets the ceiling. It was late at night in the hotel room. Was I awake?

Thick, like black oil, their robes spreading as they came outwards and down. As if rising up out of still water. A lake under a moonless sky or the dead calm from a windless night.

I was awake, watching, as this darkness expanded and grew hungrily, moving out and then down towards me. I lay on the bed, conscious that the heaviness had come, the injection of something evil, smothering my breath, my movement, everything. Paralysis. They were moving closer. No scream would be heard.

Even though inside I could feel every instinct curdle in horror, I had no power. I had nothing but my eyes to see them come from the walls. There were four, without faces, in robes and they had come for me.

Part One of Round Robin by GidgetWidget

CONTINUED BY SIMON SCOTLAND

They moved in complete silence, no sound of footsteps as they approached my unmoving body. Then they leaned towards me and whispered from the darkness, a quiet sound but one that shook me to the very depths of my soul, ”the keys shall remain lost” I could not tell if the words were spoken out loud. Then they embraced me into the darkness.

I died.

Life…returned…slowly…painfully

I breathed once more.

I opened my eyes as my lungs screamed for air. I felt a sheet,  covering me from head to toe. It reminded me of silk, a face from my past flickered across my memory, I smiled for the briefest of moments. I tried to remove the sheet but as I tried to stretch my arms, I found that I could not. I seemed to be in some kind of box.

My mind struggled to come to terms with what exactly was going on. Thoughts of the dark figures flashed into my head, but I had no time to contemplate about who they could be and what their words meant. Before I could answer those questions, I had to deal with the matter of my own survival. All I needed to know at this moment in time was; I’m in a box and I need to get out.

But that wasn’t all. The box (a coffin?) was being moved.


CONTINUED BY FM

I tried to slow my breathing. Then I realized I wasn’t sure I was breathing at all. Thoughts and pictures spat through my brain, fragments, each carried on a jagged chunk of emotion. Was I asleep? Was I dreaming those horrid morning dreams you can’t crawl out of because your arms are dead, leaden things? My brain crawled down to the terror in my guts and in the midst of all the cacophony of cruel, soft voices, all the creeping dread that twisted my lower spine, I tried to remember my last meal, the last taste of water on my tongue. One of the voices whispered a name in to my ear. Her voice repeated a name, steady, a solemn metronome. She said the name fondly, not like a robot or a ghost or a scold, but her rythm, her tone, it never changed. The cloth pressed lightly to my ear, wet, moving with her lips as she ended the name, each time, in a kiss.

The name, the name, the name.

It wasn’t my name. I couldn’t remember my name.



CONTINUED BY GIDGETWIDGET

Dear God, please let me scream. I tried to breathe deeply and let it out, felt my mouth open, body strain but no sound. Nothing released. Inside my mind was on fire.

Cold. Suddenly. As if ice surrounded and soaked the sheet. I began to struggle again against the box. Claustrophobia, unable to move beyond an inch. Dear God, let me scream in horror.

The muscles in my feet seized and spasmed, pain searing through my arches and up into my legs. Finally, that scream released. Violently, it crashed from inside me and exploding outwards, drowned the voices, drowned everything except for the memory of the keys and a name, Madison.

The scream died down and I stopped thrashing. The moment of peace was fleeting as I realized the movement of the box had stopped. Still ice cold, my body began shivering. I searched for my voice to shout, “Let me out,” but all I could muster was a raspy croak.

What if I pound on the box? With all my might I tried to move my right elbow to hit the side and pound it in case any one could hear.

The sheet. The sheet was not a normal sheet. It held my elbows against my ribs. God, and my head, it held my head down against the floor of this “box” if it was really a box at all.

You don’t know what fear is. You don’t understand. I was fully aware that my body had been tied down and restrained. At that point, a volcano exploded in my mind, the terror, overwhelming. And with that terror, the molten lava of dread came, bringing with it a flood of the voices, shouting at me, screaming but not a single one was comprehensible in the din.

I am not sure how long this lasted. I think I passed out and woke again in a fever sweat. The noise that awakened me was a heavy bolt being unlocked. Could I move? No. But the box did and with it, the screeching of rusty wheels on a rail. Like a mortician sliding a corpse into or out of the morgue’s storage unit.

Madison, I thought. Madison, I am sorry I lost the keys. Into the black abyss of unconsciousness I slipped before hearing the knock on the outside of the box. In a dream, I thought I heard a familiar voice first muffled and then close to me again.


CONTINUED BY SIMON SCOTLAND

I strained to hear what the voice was saying. I could only hear the occassional word…dead….missing….find….crowbar….Madison

On hearing the name, I felt a chill in my bones. My mouth was dry and my heart started thumping. I realised that I hadn’t taken a breath since I heard the familiar voice. My head  began to swim and I felt nauseous. Oh please God, don’t let me die a rock star’s death I thought as I tasted the rising bile.

Ghostly faces swam  about in my head, they flitted around like butterflies, refusing to reveal themselves until one face came into sharp focus. The face belonged to the familiar voice. It was someone I had trusted, thought I still could. But no, it couldn’t be them, could it?

I felt a hot tear escape from my eye. What had I done? Another tear followed and soon small pools of tears was forming in my ears. I’m sorry, Madison, I’m so sorry.

The box was moved once again, the voices had a clarity that had been missing before. A loud thump sounded, as something slammed against the top of the box.

“Careful” said the familiar voice, and I knew now who it was.

There was a wrenching sound as the crowbar pried open the box. The sheet was pulled clear of my face. My tears and the  time spent in complete darkness made the  light blinding. I blinked away the tears and turned my head to look at my captors.

CONTINUED BY GIDGETWIDGET

“All right, all right, lie still. You know the routine. You’re not going anywhere until these are undone.”

“What’s his pulse?”

“I’m reading 90. Some minor fibrillation but that’s to be expected.”

“Keep an eye on it, then.”

“Can you hear me?”

There was a pause and the sheet loosened around my elbows and legs.

“If you can hear me, I want you to answer.”

I moaned.

“All right, all right, that’s good enough. Easy does it now. I’m assuming he doesn’t have to go back in?”

There was a pause.

“How long has he been in the Tank?”

“Four hours, twenty minutes.”

“Jesus.”

“Give him the medication and send him back to his room. I want him on full watch.”

“All right, all right.”

All of this happened very quickly. There was a bustle around me. Three, maybe four, people. I heard footsteps leave the room.

“Madison,” I whispered.

“Are you apologizing to Madison again?”

I blinked and saw the old, burly face of Charlie staring down at me.

Charlie. Yes, I know Charlie. Dressed in white and holding a syringe, peering at me over his small glasses, he said, “All right, all right, you’re starting to come out of it. This will help. You were in there a long time, buddy. Things aren’t going to make sense for awhile. You might start to remember so just let it happen as it will. Now, this will pinch a bit.”

The needle stung. A burning sensation entered my veins and went slowly up my arm. The pain was enough to draw the tears back into my eyes and make me aware that I was THERE. The Hospital.

Like a train wreck, the memory came back. Reality groaned. Each heartbeat brought an image and each image, each memory, made my heart beat faster. But that was what the drug was for. A tranquilizer of some sort. I was fading fast.

“Charlie, what happened? You have to tell me what happened. Please.”

CONTINUED BY FMCharlie’s face shattered. Arctic wind struck my face, its ice crystals shattering to molecules. I could feel every last one of the crystals, every last one, individual, miraculously different in shape. Sharp little Exacto blades that broke against me and disintegrated across my cheeks, my lips, my open eyes, bringing no pain.

 

I have never known pain.

I dove, the furnace in my chest pulling me earthward, slave to my will. I dropped, a thousand times faster than gravity’s paltry pull could have begged for.

The clouds parted.  My flight leveled off. A living rocket, I took it all in with the pleasure of a boy at play:

A virgin landscape rolled to meet me, a blur to human eyes, but not to mine. I could see everything, every pellet of snow, every defiant ridge of ice. Nothing could escape my vision. As easily as I could see a frozen mountain loom in my path, I could see through it, I could see eternity.

The snow and ice and stone shattered against my fists. Not wavering in my path, unimpeded, I drilled through the mountain  as effortlessly as  a bullet shot through a wedding cake.

I hovered, dancing on the air, and smiled at my Fortress. It gleamed in the sunlight, a thousand feet tall, cold blue, shafts of impervious glass that erupted from the earth, the last fragments of my long-lost birth home.

And there, beneath me, THE KEY.

THE KEY. Huge as a freight train, heavy as a city block. My feet grazing the ice beneath it, I raised it high.

My feet left the earth. The Key was no burden.

The Lock to The Fortress waited, cavernous, for The Key to my Fortress.

Cavernous. You could drive a battalion through that preposterous lock.

Preposterous.

Nothing but a memory from a child’s silly comic book. Not real at all. Silly. As silly as the red Roman cape that draped my shoulders.

A dream. A dream brought by opiates, by Charlie’s opiates. Utter nonsense. Only the Key had any tether to reality, and that was only because of the burning memory of Madison’s keys. A cartoon metaphor for keys that were not really keys at all, not in the physical sense.

I was a helpless husk of a normal mortal man lying flat on his back, blind, helpless.

I tried to rub my tongue against my teeth but I could feel neither. I couldn’t feel my lungs, my heart, that swollen muscle beneath my now-nonexistent scapula. I tried to wiggle my toes, but I had no toes.

I had no body.

What is life, what is thought, but electricity, dancing from one synaptic spark plug to the next?  Had all my physical sensations been only an amputee’s delusional memory? Was I just a brain in a bottle? Was I just somebody’s stupid, bad dream?

The opiate kicked in harder, a steel fist in a glove of velvet.

I ceased to exist.

 

T O   B E   C O N T I N U E D

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  1. Fantastic suspense can’t wait for the next part. Keep up the great work G. ; )

    Like

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