Ever since I could remember I knew I had the power to be more, more than the kid on the bus or the guy in the suit trying to make a living. And right now, here in the mall heading towards its giant glass façade I knew that whatever torment I had witness in that place, I was now free.
I wanted to feel the sun on my skin, the breeze of life in my hair but there would be no escaping this beast, we both knew this.
Its jaws parted and the five things dropped limp to the ground, half chewed yet still alive and in agonising pain.
“Jesus…” Cook gasped in prayer for escape from the dire terror he had endured in all his time in this forgotten and trampled world.
We stumbled backwards with the wolf like beast standing facing us, growling — proud and menacing.
In what felt like an eternity, we stood facing each other. Man versus beast, eye to eye –waiting to for it to launch at us, waiting to die.
It watched us with such a confusion in its eyes, as though it had never before seen human kind. It was studying us and we simply stood frozen in fear – knowing that we would never escape or outrun this colossal dog.
Just then, from all around the trees and shadows, the gargoyle like creatures propped down onto the beast and began stabbing at it with sharpened sticks and branches, even biting at it. As the scuffled raged on only feet from us, I grabbed his arm and we slowly began to move backwards. These demon like things were plentiful. More than I had even anticipated and within seconds the muscled hound was on the ground with them all over, like a million bees on a single rose.
“We have to go!” said Cook escaping his frozen state and heading through the brush, away from the blood bath.
As we stealthily rushed away from the roaring, yelping and squawking we heard a grumbling on the ground and we pressed down beside the blackened trunk of a tree as three more giant wolves paraded past us, towards their falling friend.
We got up slowly from behind the ashen tree, a battle of the beasts was underway and the air was filled with tormenting screams and yelps.
Before we were even able to gather whatever precious thoughts of hope we had left, we had to gain enough courage to make a run for it, run before these wolves or things noticed our departure. We had to run now, this was our only chance to escape this place before the followers regrouped, and as Cook and I dart through the forest of malice again, I realized how exhausted I had become and I felt my legs weakening beneath me.
I knew I had to press forward, to keep moving because the beasts' deathly eyes were still upon us. Although we were already running, their eyes pierced through us so sharply and we could not go forward in this endless conveyor belt of death and fear as the brush lay almost blocked off ahead of us with fallen debris.
As the sounds grew distant, we came to a stop, collapsing on a clearing of dark ashen soil. Moments went by where we pant breathlessly, dire thirst strangling us as we lay on the ground desperate to regain control of our breathing and pulse again. It grew silent and for the longest while I could only hear our gasps and panting in the silence of the shadowy grey forest.
I shut my eyes, allowing my racing soul to take control because my mind was no longer in charge of anything. It felt like dying, being overwhelmed by fear and terror to the extent where my own panting was about to murder me.
I was alive, clean and groomed in the world I left the moment I entered the dark passage.
I had my jeans and sneakers on, standing in the mall. There were people all around me, shopping and selling, living in the hustle and bustle of the city I grew up in.
In my hand I held a paper cup, coffee from Dom’s on the second floor. I would always buy that when I was at the mall. I felt a smile on my face. As I slowly walked along the mall corridor I knew I was alive, free of my misery of that place where everything that could be was in chaos. The smell of the mall and the life inside it was sending my soul into the light again, a feeling I had almost forgotten since I found myself here.
I felt warmth, in my hands and throughout my body again. I felt light on my skin, the smiles of those passing me felt thrilling. It was normal, it was my life before I stepped through that door that brought me here.
Carefully, taking in everything I had thought I would never see again – I head towards the malls giant entrance. I had to see the sky again, my blue and wonderful world I had taken for granted all my life. I wanted to feel the sun on my skin, the breeze of life in my hair.
Ever since I could remember I knew I had the power to be more, more than the kid on the bus or the guy in the suit trying to make a living. And right now, here in the mall heading towards its giant glass façade I knew that whatever torment I had witness in that place, I was now free from whatever nightmare I had just suffered. That I was alive, I was here with a chance to be more – born to be whatever I wanted to be with the power to be it and never let anyone or anything stand in my way.
We are born with the passion to be and exist in any way we are free but life, life takes us and we forget that, we doubt it.
I was close to the large glass entrance of the mall, and I raised the coffee to my mouth. The putrid smell made me stop and looked into the cup.
It was dark and thick, with a smell that made me gasp and drop it to the floor. The thick ooze blobbed everywhere and I immediately looked up to the mall around me, sure that someone would see this strangeness and come to my aid.
But the mall was empty, the halls and corridors, shops and stalls silent. I felt myself spinning around, my eyes all over the mall at one time.
The paint on the walls, signage and pillars began to fade, the colours growing gloom and grey. The stalls turned to ash, the windows eroded in front of me and the air suddenly began to thicken and choke. I hurried backwards, knowing the door was just behind me and as I reached it I spun around – stopping with a jolt mid sprint.
The sky was dark, with the same ominous redness as a violent storm brewed above. The parking lot was ages, centuries old. Everything that was, lay now in ashen and dire ruin.
I heard growling somewhere in the hazy grey of the lot filled with mist and shadows and I ran back inside as fast as I could, tears running down my face. Blind by despair, I failed to avoid the blob mess from my cup and I slipped.
My body hit the dirt with a thud and I gasped, rolling to my side where I saw Cook staring at me in utter alarm when another growl echoed around me and I spun to my feet.
We stopped abruptly, the 3 wolf like beasts drooling and snarling as they approached.
I knew Cook was behind me, and I just kept moving backwards slowly – to engulfed in primal fear to think about my apparition of the mall.
The wolves moved carefully, one giant paw in front of the other.
With Cook now just beside me, we remained fixed on their movements, sure that these things could taste us in the air.
They stopped about 10ft from where we were, snarling angrily and smelling us.
We stared into their eyes, finding nothing but darkness, an unforgiving darkness of something that should never exist.
“Rek.” Said Cook softly, “To the left on three.”
I moved my eyes to the side where a nook lay in the blackened debris of fallen trees and wood.
“No.” I said, barely moving my lips, knowing that these things would make one leap and have us.
They growled and equally moved forward, growling savagely as though they knew our plans.
“Now!” said Cook, grabbing my trembling arm and we ran towards the side, ripping through this tiny hole in the brush into the other side.
One of the beasts pillaged directly into the hole after us, tearing it down with its immense body while the other two leaped over, their clawed paws tearing and ripping into the dirt to gain speed after us.
We ran, fearing the inevitable truth that we knew we could not outrun them.
Cook grabbed me to the side towards a large blackened tree. In those split seconds his actions all made sense — our last hope was to climb on of those blackened branches where at least we could regain some sort of strength in this dead place.
The beasts congregating around the base trunk, leaping up with their immense claws, trying to climb behind us, but the ashen trunk broke away with their weight and they toppled down, choosing to wait impatiently, wait for us to fall.
Breathlessly, we continued upwards until finally finding a core hollowness between branches wide enough of us both to sit. Almost 17 feet above the malice wolf like beasts below us, we yet again caught our breath as they clawed and tried repeatedly to follow up the deteriorated tree.
“What was that?”
“What?” I frowned. “What was happening to you back there?” he said, his eyes dark and almost apprehensive of me. “I don’t understand? What do you mean?”
Something groaned around us, the wind suddenly picked up and we gripped the branches nearby. Moaning and wallowing groans filled the air and the beasts below began to howl.
There was something with us up there in the trees, causing the wind to stir and the dark ashen leaves to wisp.
The air had changed suddenly, it was dark. I stood up and began to seek the root of this, but everything in these giant trees seemed to be alive with shadows.
I wanted to be back in the mall, with coffee in my hand and the sun within my grasp. No more terrors, no more nightmares, no more fear.
“What do you want?” I screamed, calling out at the top of my lungs.
The branches groaned and the air fell calm, the wolves below spiralling around the base of the tree as silence befell this dark forest again.
“What the hell is all this about?” he said to him angrily, “Why the fuck is this happening! I need to get out of here!”
“Did you do that?” he frowned in alarm, when whispers circled us.
Evil had spread through its veins and owned it now.
All around the thick tall trees, whispers loomed.
"It’s coming from the trees..."
I shut my eyes and huddled down close to the centre of the tree as the wolves disappeared into the brush. I could not take this anymore, and I knew it was not going to end.
It followed me. It was inside of me now.
We sat there, high above the ground as the howling, moans faded into the air – the entity we both had felt watching us since we entered this place of black…
To be continued.....part fifteen coming soon.
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