Otherside

Thunder rumbled in the distance; the sound reverberated in my eyes, before slowly dissapating into silence. I opened my eyes. The clouds covered the sky, like a rolling soft blanket. But this blanket was dark grey, uninviting. My brain began to work at once, asking many questions all at the same time, overloading my thoughts.

Nothing came to me, it was as though someone had shut off all of my memories. I could only remember my name, Tim, and my age, forty two. Everything else was a blur.

The thunder rumbled again, deep and threatening, yet still distant; still far from where it could act on it's threat, soaking me with it's foul tears.

I sat up, looked around, began taking in my surroundings. I was in a field, that much was clear to me. It looked like some type of open farmland, although there were no crops growing, just tall dead grass everywhere, rustling in the wind that accompanied the distant storm. I turned my head to the other side, more dead grass again, but this time, wait, a fence. As my peripheral vision began to clear, more objects came into view beyond the lonely fence and dead rustling grass. A run-down barn, a penned-in area spanning around the back of it, and an old, victorian-style, farm house that was boarded up. There were no signs of life, no movement at all. Just me and this abandoned farmyard.

I searched my memory for recognition of these two structures, this land. Still, in the dark pool of water that had become my memory, nothing floated to the surface.

I looked down at my clothes, they were at least suitable for the environment; jeans, a faded plaid shirt, and some old lace up boots. I couldn't remember much but I did remember that these were not the type of clothes I was used to.

Standing up, I dusted myself off, and checked my body for any contusions or abrasions. It felt almost like this was something I would do regularly. It was as though I were being given a clue towards my memory. The feeling soon faded though and I continued the scan. There was a lesion on my right cheek, small but painful, and I had a bruise on my right arm and leg. This made me think that I may have fallen, possible I had hit my head. Although, when I checked my hair for blood or cuts, I found nothing. This mystery was no further to becoming clear to me.

I decided that standing around in this unknown field would not help the situation. I needed to investigate and see if I could find someone to take me back to civilization. With my mind set straight I moved forward toward the deserted farm, hoping to maybe find a passerby, or even a road.

On the walk to the farm I noticed two things: the storm appeared to always be a certain distance away, it never moved any closer or further away from me; I could see this from the lightning that lit up the clouds several hundred kilometers away. The second detail was that I never appeared to hunger or thirst at all. Even when I had awoken, I did not crave any sustenance. Also, I did not appear to be getting tired or even a little uncomfortable walking in the cumbersome boots.

This thought, however, quickly passed, along with any other rational thoughts I was having. It was as though my mind was telling me to forget everything I knew about human anatomy, physics, life. Just go with the flow, that was the major thought that kept coming to mind. Before long, my mind once again shifted back to the trivialties of scouting out another person. As my mind clouded again, I realized that I had reached the fence, and the barnyard was now within my reach.

Before dipping my head under the wood, I ran my hand across it. It was cold, strangely, as the air seemed humid. It felt like wood, it was grainy and rough to the touch, but cold still. On an impluse I reached down and felt my clothing. Smooth and soft, but also cold, like the wood.

Once again my mind clouded; find someone, get a ride. The wood now forgotten, I dipped under the plank and into the penned-in yard. Here the grassy terrain changed to muck, dried over despite the apparent humidity. It was hard to walk on, lumpy and arduous. Still no discomfort to my body, however, no feelings of fatigue. I continued my journey onwards, I would examine the inside of the barn first. It was possible that there would be someone inside, a traveler like myself, looking for company or shelter.
I was halfway across the hardened mud when a scuffing noise drew my attention. It was coming from behind the barn. I froze, looking towards the side of the barn, where the fence stretched beyond my vision. It was entirely possible that there was a beast trapped within this pen. I began to question if I should move back towards the fence again. I looked at the barn, I was exactly the same distance away from it as I was from the fence. I could continue my trip towards it, but it might bring me closer to whatever was behind the barn.

It was clear what my decision already was, I had come this far, and although I could just investigate the farm house, my mind was set on the barn and that was where I was going. I continued on my journey.

The scuffing came again, and this time, with it, came a smell I would never forget. It was as though some animal had died and slowly rotted away leaving a putrid stench behind with every stage of rotting. I began to wonder why this farm was deserted; it was possible the livestock had died off from disease. It was also possible the owners had left the dead carcasses behind. The smell was getting stronger with every step I took toward the barn. It was quite apparent to me now, that the sound, was coming from behind the barn, where the penn fence disappeared from my vision.

Scuffing again, this time accompanied by a pounding noise, as though something heavy was ramming against the side of the barn. The sound echoed across the yard, and around me. It surrounded me, making it sound like I was inside the barn with some unknown beast trying to get in.

The pounding suddenly stopped, and my ears, once again, were greeted with silence. My mind had overloaded with fear at this point, my vision became cloudy as I tried to come to a decision about what to do next; go into the barn or try to make a break for the fence. The stench of rot was overwhelming my olfactory, I covered my nose but I could taste the stench in my mouth; there was no escape from it's tendrils.

My ears were invaded with a new noise. The sound of footfalls on the mud from behind the barn, coming closer to me; heavy footfalls of a very large man possibly. I was filled with hope, maybe this man could tell me how to get into town, or even give me a ride. My hope, however, was quickly twisted into horror as the footfalls produced a sight that would haunt my nightmares for the rest of my life.

From around the side of the barn there came an abomination that was surely a creation of the devil himself. It had, at one time, been a bull. Although, it now was something completely beyond recognition. Its flesh, or what was left of it, hung down in tattered shreds from yellowed bone, as though designed by some twisted gothic party planner. The bones were visible everywhere, in fact there was more bone than there was flesh. One leg still remained covered in flesh and fur, but the other three were forgotten memories. While one was completely bone, the other two were covered in what was left of it's muscles, and a yellow puss which oozed onto the ground. Entrails joined the legs, dragging along the ground, still somehow connected to the rest of the insides, which were clearly visible through the animal's naked ribcage. Flies buzzed around the beast in the hundreds, and the pathetic leavings of the tail, swishing this way and that, did little to stop them.

However, most horrific of all was the head of the animal. My eyes took it in, but it was hard to completely see it all. Its head was half skin and bone, one eye socket was a black void, and on the side that was bone, a large crack and hole gave way to grey matter, with a strange liquid dripping down in rivers from its half-decayed surface.
I felt as though I should vomit, but my stomach gave no signs of heaving. The creature stopped and stared me down with it's one eye. The horns that remained were slick with a sticky red substance. It's half-remaining muzzle sniffed the air, and then gave way to a large snuff as it breathed out the invading scent. I watched as blood and mucus mixed together in the outward spray, and landed on the ground not far from my boots.

Thunder cracked loudly in the distance, though the sound echoed and vibrated my skin. The abomination reared back suddenly, the sound disturbing it, and then landed back on its four legs heavily. I expected the bones to give way to the weight, but they held firm. The beast, still shaken from the noise, wasted no time and burst forward, in an instant accumulation of speed, toward me.

I had no time to think, and, acting purely on instinct, I dove to the right, narrowly dodging the bloody horns. The beast clammered a few feet further and then came to a stampeding hault, turning itself slowly toward me again. I had just enough time to stand up before, again, it came at me. I spun around and instead of diving I ran to the right, making a break for the fence. The lumpy ground would not allow for me to run in my large boots though, and I tripped, sprawling into the dirt and stirring up a great dust cloud around my body.

The beast, as well, had stirred up a large amount of dirt and my visibility was strained. I heard its roar and then the heavy falling of hoofs as it ran towards whatever direction it thought I was in. In seconds it's hulking, decaying mass came barrelling through the settling dirt cloud and before I could react, it caught me on my side with its brunt head and sent me flying to the ground once more.

Instead of charging it came back and started to stomp the ground near me with its hooves, intending to crush me under its weight. I crawled away and got to my feet, this time doggedly jogging towards the barn. I was in pain now, it had hit me hard in the side of the chest, and every breath I took felt like an explosion of fire in my chest. Somewhere in the rush of excited thoughts, I knew that I had sustained a few broken ribs.

Arms flailing I came up against the barn finally and searched for the door. My search was becoming a lost cause, for it seemed that I was on the wrong side of the barn; it was all just a wall here, cold planks of wood, painted blood red.

The sound of pounding hooves stopped, as it seemed the abomination had realized I was no longer within its reach. I spun around my back to the wall of the barn. The dust cloud had finally settled and the beast now had me in it's sights once more; there was no escape. I was too badly injured to make a good run for it, and the fence was too far from me anyways. As the beast hurtled towards me one final time I closed my eyes, my hands flew to my face in terror, and I screamed.

The End

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