I was debating about whether to develop the story further, or to finish it like that. Any suggestions please?
Boy, I’m dark. Black as night, black as the stars in my non-existent, abyssal sky.
I’m in a cave.
No, not a metaphorical cave, like the shit-arsed psychologists wanted me to believe. A real life, dark, cold, hard cave.
No, I’m not crazy. I’m hiding. From who? Them. Who’s them? You’ll find out about soon, in fact, riiight about...now.
Chaos ensues. Screams. I’m not the only one left. Yet. Footsteps crunch the ground, bones shattering. I keep to the wall, ignoring the cries, blind to pleas for help. Shadows are best. They can’t see you there. Ripping sounds. More screams. Flesh meeting teeth. Teeth meeting flesh. The screams subside, the sound of death echoing through the cave, mingling with the unnatural dripping sound. Horror movies. That’s what this is. A fucking melodramatic, second-rate horror movie. You know the ones. With the predictable endings? Except this is real. And I don’t know the ending. I think they’ve gone, for tonight. I can’t hear anything. They’ll rip you limb from limb if they catch you, grind your arms into stumps of flesh and gristle. That’s what I’ve heard, anyway. Never actually seen one.
I was lucky to escape on that fateful night. I AM lucky. That’s right, I’m Lucky.
Lucky Bastard. That’s my stage name. I am, was, a magician’s assistant, on the knife-throwing, people-sawing, what’s-that-a-pound-behind-your-ear-missus section of the circus. It was one of those knives that saved me, when they struck. Lights went out. Tied to the spinning wheel ‘of doom’, ‘doom’ being the appropriate word. Used the knife to cut myself free and scarper, leaving the screams and melee behind as I jumped heroically through the trapdoor (used for the disappearing act), and behind stage. What a fucking hero. Always wanted to be centre stage. Look where that would have got me. Gone. Dead. Kaput. The whole shebang.
Went to the cave, flew nearly, the pace was that quick. They couldn’t catch me. Bloody tried to though. Could hear them scrabbling up the hills and screeching in pain as they fell back down. They’re stupid, see? Follow the scent of humans, and rip them to shreds. Blind. Like Lear. Nothing else. I won’t use the Z-word, but that’s what they’re like. They’re definitely human. Homosapiens. The people. Not anymore, to me.
Tired. Constantly tired. But I can’t sleep, show weakness. Dreams filled with nightmares, of them, of the darkness, of pa. So I stay alert, eyes propped up with matchsticks. Ears peeled, grated with the harsh sounds of destruction. My nose, kept prepared with the grisly stench of death. Even my sixth sense is at panic stations.
Never really been scared of the physical things. Not of the dark when I was a kid, not of the dark cupboard they used to shut me in, not of the darkness of living. ‘It’s every man for himself in this world, Lucas, and the sooner you get that through your thick skull the better,’ me old pa used to say before he beat me in a drunken stupor. His fists hitting me, feet kicking me, mouth screaming, swearing at me – that didn’t scare me – but the malicious glint in his eyes; the look of terror and despair in ma’s tear-stained eyes, eyes that could see but not comprehend. Eyes, eyes, eyes...that’s the most terrifying thing on the planet. Blindness is bliss, ignorance ecstasy.
The cave. Dark, constantly. The perfect hiding place. A game of hide-and-seek, cat and mouse, Tom and Jerry. I always win though. They haven’t found me yet. I ran in with a couple of people. Derek and Linda, I think their names were. Both gone. Deaded. They told me about them. Kill first, ask questions later was the general consensus. They were there a couple of nights. Wanted to move, thought it was unsafe. They were wrong. Everybody is. Was. Dark is always the best. It’s like being blind, blindfolded, like the act. The surge of adrenaline, the rush. It’s what I lived for. Now, the darkness is paying dividends for me.
More screams. Someone else hiding. They’re not gone yet. Heart pounding. They’re getting closer. They smell blood. Mine. It’s my turn to act, it’s my roll of the die; take my chances or die. I creep out of my shelter, breaking into a run when I hear their excitement, their eager anticipation, their bloodlust. My legs are tiring, filled with lactic acid and absent of energy. But still I press on. More are following. Footsteps getting louder, faster. I turn, run into a wall. An explosion of pain my temple. Nothing compared to if they get me. I’m cornered, backed into the wall, cowering. Smaller surface to get their inhuman hands on. This is it. The finale. But with no encore. No tumultuous applause, no admiring audience, just me. Alone. One against a million.
I hear their laboured footsteps, smell their rancid breath. I look up. I can’t move my eyes away. They can see more than me. Pa, eyes white with rage. Ma, eyes white with fear. And then myself, illuminated in those pupil-less, useless eyes, white with the terrors of the past, the present, the future.
Now THAT scares me.