My footsteps echo in the emptiness of the building, the damp and dank of the salivating concrete walls setting my teeth on edge. I don’t know how I got here, where here is, and my blood is coursing through my veins like sludgy rain. I hate being afraid and I am, terrified and for no good reason, there was nothing here except the rats and me, and the silence. A scuffling from my left stops me dead in my tracks, my muscles thrumming under my skin, my ears filled with a heavy bone vibrating buzz. “Hello? Don’t hide in the shadows, come face me.” Rustling, a breath, a grating footstep from behind me and I whirl around, expecting to find someone there, and finding empty air instead.
Ahead I see a dim exit sign, a signpost to the world beyond and I start off at a light jog, desperate to get out of here. It smells terrible, stagnant water, decay, a gorge rising stench beneath it all that makes my eyes water and my guts twist. I knew that scent, deep in the recesses of my mind I was the centre of a dead circle, corpses putrescent and runny, trapped with no way out, again.
Someone is running behind me, heavy and determined, full tilt. The world moves as though I am underwater, my head turning slowly bare seconds before my shoulders, my body shivering and shaking and my breath in a choke hold. Falling, arms around me and I’m falling back, met with a terrifyingly handsome face and teeth tearing at my throat, everything turns bottle green….
Panting and soaked in sweat, I open my eyes, my naked body covered in goosebumps and a fear chill. My dreams were plagued with visions of the greenest eyes I’d ever seen, and the intense and almost devouring stare as his teeth found my skin at my throat, every time, left me cold and shivering in the oven that was my bedroom. I glance up at the thermometer on the wall….it was 102 in here, and I was freezing, huddled under the blanket as though it were mid winter.
I need help. what few hours of sleep I am getting are exhausting in themselves, filled with obvious signals and neon signs, my twisting and turning in my sleep often pulling the sheets from the bed entirely. It’s been months, every night the same man, the same eyes, the same end, in various entirely benign and scary locations, each one getting darker. I grabbed my phone from the nightstand as I rubbed my eyelids with my finger tips, trying desperately to clear my mind.
My phone screams in my hand, reminding me that I really must change the ringtone. Death screams are frowned upon in polite society, I’d been told, my dark sense of humour unappreciated, though the few crooked grins and out right laughter did more to encourage than discourage. I tap the button and yawn, “Hello?” into the caller’s ear, kicking myself for answering an unidentified number and shrugging it off all the same. “You taste great. I’ll be seeing you soon.”
“What? Who is this?” I stammered, shaken by the cold and heartless tone in that voice, and disturbed by my body’s response to the vaguely erotic undertone. I received no response but the muted beep of the disconnected call. What the fuck was going on? I dialed my doctor’s office, haranguing the receptionist into creating an appointment for me at 9:30 this morning. I’m delusional, its clear that I need my head looked at, and there was no way I was going to have that dream again tonight, or ever if I could avoid it.
I stare at the screen, my thumb nearly touching the mail icon, something telling me that I needed to look at my inbox and yet holding back. I needed a something stronger than a cigarette, and it was too early for a drink. Sliding from my bed and wincing at the burning sting as the soles of my feet touched the soft carpeting, I walk to my dresser, sighing as my thumb hits the icon.
The room is soon filled with the pungent smell of King Solomon’s Herb, the smoke hanging in the air as I inhale deeply, filling my lungs and head with the clarity I required. I exhale as I walk into my large en-suite to run the shower, glancing as I scrolled through the emails that had come in overnight. It could all wait, nothing urgent demanding my attention, I placed my finger on the top button to shut off the screen, when I saw something that titillated and intrigued. It occurred to me that I should be afraid, that no doctor’s opinion could refute the reality that call happened.
6:13 AM – Unknown sender
Can’t wait to hear you scream. See you tonight. Wear red.
So I’m not delusional. That leaves two options. I’m sane, or I’ve gone mad and no one noticed. I felt a little advanced hurt over that, should it be true. Still, here it is in writing, and I don’t feel like I’ve taken the Train to Crazytown. I crush out the joint, and step into the spacious shower, shivering as the stinging jets of water hit and bounce off my skin. Pleasure pain, for it brings me both, even more as I turn the knob too hot as far as it will go and relish in the scalding water sluicing over my head and breasts, the near silent hiss a soothing balm to my lunatic internal ravings, as I soaped my body with the most pleasant smelling soap I could find and let the world go for a time.
My skin hurts, a deep itching burn under the sunburn sting. If only it were a sunburn, I could deal with it, but this is due to my own stupidity and now I must pay the price for it. I’m sure I have 2nd degree burns, all due to me drifting off into my own head and staying under the too hot water too long. I’m bare under the soft red jersey dress I wear, my flesh unable to tolerate even the straps of the softest bra and I routinely went without panties, so that was no issue. The soft puff of breeze that tousled my hair went through my dress, leaving behind a delicious shiver that soothed my aching body. “stupid stupid stupid,” I mutter to myself, dreading the elevator ride. Those damned things were so often crammed full like a can of sardines and I did not wish to endure 10 floors of people banging against my already tender disposition.
“Come with me, you look like that elevator will cause you more problems to take than not.” I look up into the smiling face of the concierge, who held his hand out for me to walk with him. “Thank you. Really,” my smile sat easily on my lips, as I followed him to a freight elevator off to the side and hidden from view. There was another man waiting, and though he smiled at us both, it never reached his eyes. I hesitated, looking at both men, and considered taking the stairs, though I was unsure if my skin could take 10 floors of it. “It’s alright. He’ll make sure you are safe.” Again that smile, this time his eyes crawled all over my face and breasts, making no effort to hide his interest, or arousal. Just ten floors. I could take ten floors of ogling.
I carefully stepped into the musty smelling lift, offering my thanks once again before the cage dropped on the doorway and the heavy steel outer doors closed off my sight. I could feel him behind me, the somehow furtive rustling giving away his position and I glanced over my shoulder to ask him what he was doing when the lights went out. “You wore red,” he snarled into my ear, his breath hot and heavy and I pulled away, banging into the door. His hand was in my hair, stroking it gently as he pressed himself against me, pinning me against the bars. “So beautiful. You tasted so good last night…are you ready? Stop thinking you are imagining it. It’s real, Allison.”
He knew my name; he knew who I was. I was trapped and there was no escape unless I could get the drop on him somehow. He was so much bigger than me, had four inches at least and at least seventy pounds. No match in strength, I could feel the power in his thrumming muscles as he pushed against me, stealing my breath, the rigidity of his arousal let me know exactly where I stood. Raising my hand, I stroked his round and stubbly cheek, the feeling of the bristling beard under my palm awakening other, more disturbing desires. He jerked back slightly, before snapping at my fingertips. I heard the bony click and the brush of his lips against them in the dark. This man was all but attacking me and yet I felt a dampness between my thighs, an all out arousal. “At least tell me your name. Don’t I deserve that for doing as you asked?” I asked, dropping my tone and volume as my hand travelled down his chest to grip the hardness of his member, “Isn’t this what you want? Tell me your name.”
“Not yet,” his cold voice growled into the tender flesh of my throat, as his hand twisted tighter in my hair, teeth nipping hard enough to hurt, gently enough not to draw blood, then pulled back. “First this.” He yanked my hair hard enough to hurt, leading my head towards his, close enough to feel his breath on my face, and slams it back into the bars. White light and a skin crawling ringing sound explode in my head as I drop to the hard floor. His hands found my throat, thumbs digging into my windpipe as he increased the pressure, and the ringing intensified with the closing of my airway. “See you soon,” he whispered, as I drifted away.
The current was pulling me down, as though there were a creature beneath the surface pulling me down to the depths. Small fish were biting at my wrists, their teeth snapping and tearing at my flesh each time I moved to attempt to keep myself afloat. A cold and somehow slimy fluid is falling on the top of my head, drooling down my hair and face. I look up and scream, though my voice has shattered into a million pieces, my eyes hardly able to contain the hideousness of the creature looming down on top of me. I screamed, and my mouth filled with bile and salt water as I gasped and
Woke with the scream in my chest, unable to breath, the bitter bite of the wind freezing my howl of anguish. I couldn’t open my eyes, they felt sewn shut, a strange pulling sensation tightening almost painfully around my lashes. It smelled like winter in a dead land, what should be crisp and fresh was instead redolent of grave dirt and decay. My lids parted slightly, the light like twin icepicks into my brain and I raised my hand to block out the mind screaming brightness. “Where the fuck am I groaned as I sat up, feeling my stomach lurch as I did so, and I closed my eyes against the nausea that threatened to overtake me.
The ground was littered with rubies, oddly shaped and sparkling in the dimness of this place. I picked one up with the tips of my fingers, and placed it in the warmth of my palm. It glittered, icy facets gleamed, it seemed alive in my hand. The were scattered in a large spray across the floor, a red carpet I thought and snickered. My hand felt wet, and I stared down at my palm in horror. It was full of cold and slushy blood, warming slowly as my blood froze in its place and I flung it away, disgusted and more than a little scared. I hated to be scared, with a killing passion I despised it and its weak sister ways. They were blood rubies, the spray of small red jewels was perhaps arterial spray and the strong smell of rot invaded my nostrils making me gag.
I began to cry then berate myself for doing so, there was no time for tears, looking around, I felt my skin crawl and bile bubble up my esophagus. This was a house of the dead, and I had been lying next to a corpse, the uncomfortable bump under my back it’s arm, a man, his torso sliced and with precision from neck to nuts, his innards placed around his body, and intestines wrapped tightly around his neck like a desiccated rope, and I turned to vomit, unable to hold back. The exit sign glows like a beacon in the deepest, blackest night and I took off at a run, determined to get out of this Hell.
Footsteps scraped along behind me, slipping in the gritty dust on the floors, a seemingly never-ending hallway of doors and a heavy choking miasma that shrouded anything more than shadows. Fingertips stroked my hair, the feather light touch made me shriek and speed my steps. I Had taken about five strides before I whipped around, expecting to be attacked and finding the hallway dark and deserted behind me. I exhaled, not realizing I’d been holding my breath at all, and turned back, my mind already on that egress to Heaven,
Shaking slightly I quickened my pace, a creepy crawly buzzsaw of shiver rattled my bones as I continued on, my ears listening hard for any sound, “Allison,” a hot breathy voice whispers in my ear bare moments before a sharp pain interrupts my ability to stand and I falter, my breath stuck in my chest as a strong-arm enfolded me, his lips brushing against my ear, “you’re going no where,” his voice snarls, the hand around my throat tightening further, holding me upright as he spun me around, affording me the first glimpse of my would-be suitor. He laughed as I burst forth with peal after peal of terror, my mind unable to process such beauty and evil in one face, before kissing me soundly, dragging me down into unspeakable terror and delight.