Shadow of a Monster

"There... is... no... time".  The words seemed to stretch over him. They came from nowhere, everywhere.

The man in the slick black suit lay bleeding, his glasses splattered with a fine mist of red dust, his arm in a folded pile by the side of him, curled up, no longer attached to bone.  His teeth were scattered like pebbles on the floor, only a few still clinging loosely to the root of his mouth. He spat, mostly coughed up blood from his punctured lung, heaved and sighed, laying flat against the hot pavement, while he was gradually enveloped in an expanding circle of crimson.  He gazed blankly skyward.

It wasn't meant to happen like this, he'd thought as the deep blue clear summer sky swooned in his vision, warped and shimmered, the sun beating waves of warmth into his unmoving body.  He could feel the blood drying against his exposed skin.

Disappointments and regrets visited him like concerned relatives... What would Rachel do now without him... would she grieve over him, suffer nights of misery... after what he had done to her? When did he stop loving her?... he couldn't remember... he cried anyway. 

It wasn't over her, but the thought of what he had lived and died for - life's expectations and disappointments, a high speed train collision in which the end result was a violently colourful mess of emotions.

Blood and tears morphed into each other, cooling his face.

The people on the other side of the street stopped and stared, aghast but intrigued and unable to look away.  The Police Lieutenant, a short, amiable man who had been on the scene when drama spilled over into mundane life, waved his gun apathetically at the crowd.  No one noticed.  A number of people in the crowd were now concealing their own firearms.

"Nothing to see here," Dan said sternly, meeting their gaze. The man in the suit was quiet now. His shallow breaths has stopped.  Dan closed his eyes temporarily when he noticed; almost instinctually.  Just another fatality on the job. But something about this one seemed to have a greater relevance; he could feel circumstances were out of the ordinary, could sense it in the air. In the people. In the fact that time seemed to have stopped.  He knew that feeling this way seemed silly, but thats what he felt, within and around him. 

When he opened his eyes again, he looked up and met the crowd.  They looked pale and tired, but disturbingly there was blood-lust in their faces.  They had seen death and wanted more. Some people were shaking, shocked, but something in them twitched and needed sating.  Some sense of otherness crept among them, and crawled through their veins.

They gathered in a group, unnerved and keeping close together, although they had been strangers with nothing particular to bind them before.  And although no one was really sure of what they had seen happen, they spoke in hushed tones, a a tiny flicker of excitment permeating their voices.  "The skinny man", they said.

"Dead black eyes."

"Grin a thousand miles wide, sharp teeth."

Someone older said he looked like he had worn death proudly on his face, a banner of glee in the setting of despair.  But, in the end, no one had known what it was or where it had gone.  It all seemed so long ago, but it was just moments past.

In retrospect, what people did remember, like a flashback to an old dream, was seeing a small dark shadow, the size of a fist at first, bloom and grow, seemingly amorphous, from the middle of the crowded town square, then gain momentum and shape and size as it sped through the stupefyed public.  OAP's and college kids, the suited ofice workers rushing frantically and irritatedly through their lunch break, the single mums and their disobediant young; it passed through each one of them and continued to grow, expanding, rising, ethereal shoulders appearing, broad but immaterial, spilling darkness through the town like an overturned pot of ink over paper, its mouth a wide, sharp, monstrous grin. 

Then the man had screamed and something speared his body, he had twitched and jerked, fell on his knees.  Then collapsed on his back as his face caved in, as something invisable semed to explode in front of his face, creating a riot of broken glass, flesh, skin, and bone, blood and teeth.  A defeaning roar, like thunder, had consumed everything and everyone for one moment. And then it had been quiet, and the sun had shone brightly again. 

Afterwards, when things had returned to normal, people awoke from their comatose state.  But nobody there looked quite the same ever again.  They looked haunted.  Like the hunter and the hunted.

The End

9 comments about this story Feed