Tuesday, June 26, 2012
A Man and His Friend
Hello, world. What follows is the first in a series of very short stories I wrote a few years ago, based off of nightmares that would plague me with annoying regularity. This is my first foray into the realm of horror, so be gentle with the critique. Enjoy.
The bedroom was entirely dark, save a tiny candle on the floor; the light of which cast strange shadows onto the face of the man kneeling before it. His face was pale and gaunt, and the brown eyes within their sunken sockets were wide open as if in shock or fear, although within them there was nothing that betrayed emotion.
Across the candle say the man's friend. He could see it very clearly, though if another person were to enter the room they would see only a spot of darkness on the floor that was unnaturally darker than the shadows that surrounded it; a darkness that did not yield to the light of the candle's flame.
The man's friend did not hide itself from his eyes, though. It sat opposite to him, kneeling in fashion similar to the man with its hands folded neatly in its lap. It had its head bowed as if in prayer, though after a moment it slowly looked up and met the man's unblinking gaze.
With a modest pass of its hand, the man's friend moved its long, dark hair away from its face. Its features were those of a beautiful child, fair-skinned with shimmering blue eyes like stones cut from a glacier and a grin of youthful mirth painted on its lips. As they sat there it whispered softly to the man, though its mouth remained motionless.
"You've been a good friend."
The words had a strange and confusing echo to them, a swarm of mental bats that bounced violently through the channels of the man's mind. The words came seemingly from everywhere. His friend laughed innocuously before continuing.
"You've listened so very well," it said in the sweet, breathy voice of a child, "and you've done everything that I've asked of you."
At this, the man's friend blinked quickly once, and when it opened its eyes once more they were a bright yellow hue, their pupils so small as to be barely visible. Its grin grew ever wider as it continued.
"But now, my good and dearest friend..." it said to him with laughter in its voice, "I don't need you to do anything else." As it finished, the man's friend began to reveal its true appearance to him.
The creature's fingers slowly grew longer, the bones and knuckles popping and crunching loudly as they shifted beneath its skin. The fingernails became black and claw-like, and stretched outward to the point that they almost matched the length of the spidery fingers they sprouted from. The man's friend reached up toward its face and, as it placed a jagged claw in either corner of its smiling mouth, began to tear ragged slashes up through the flesh of its cheeks to the place where its jaw hinged together. There was a terrible ripping sound as skin and muscle and tendon gave way to those abhorrent, black claws.
The man could hear the vividly audible pop! of the thing's jaw as it was dislocated, growing and stretching open to an impossibly immense width. Its teeth turned black with rot and fell out one by one, replaced by countless thin, grey needle-like fangs that emerged from bleeding gums. The monster made sickening choking noises from deep within its chest as more and more of the nightmarish teeth filled its ever-widening maw. The man remained motionless, though now his eyes darted about in every direction. As he looked on in terror, the man's friend rose upward and forward, its spine snapping and fracturing in countless places as it stretched far past its natural length and brought the thing steadily closer and closer to him.
The last glimpse that the man had of his friend before its monstrous form passed over the candle and silently snuffed out its light was of a creature that seemed to have been stitched together from the fabric comprising the darkest corners of his nightmares. Its chin had stretched so far down that it reached the center of the beast's chest, and thick runnels of bright crimson blood ran out of its mouth and spilled onto the floor, passing between endless rows of thin, terrible fangs on their way. His friend's eyelids had peeled away from its face, and the monster's terrible yellow gaze was set upon him like that of a predator savoring the meal to come. The long, bony claws that had before been the delicate hands of a child twitched eagerly as they reached out to grab him, and with a sudden forward lurch of the creature's spine the room was plunged into ethereal darkness.
On the roof, an audience of crows that had gathered to witness the macabre events of the night suddenly took flight and dispersed in fear, as a petrifying scream of utter and absolute horror resounded from within the man's house. The scream abruptly changed in pitch, becoming lower and then shifting into a guttural roar that echoed over the rooftops of the surrounding neighborhood. Then, all was silent.
A moment's eternity passed, and at length a faint glow was once more visible through the thin curtains of the man's window. Inside, the man stood up and looked around; the dim light of the candle reflected in his bright, yellow eyes.