I'm here with yet another short story! I lost inspiration to write not too long ago, so I went back and started re-reading some of the stories I wrote in High School. From one of them, "Shades", I pulled this short story about my first original character. That being said, this is not an Elder Scrolls based/fantasy based story. It exists in a world of my own creation and falls more along the lines of sci-fi/apocalypse genre.
This story contains my attempt at horror and gore, so it might have possible triggering content for some people. Please read with discretion. As always, let me know what you think! If enough of you like it, I might be tempted to move some chapters of my original story over to the Forge as well. ;D
Shades: A Short Story
Complete and utter silence.
I dreaded that moment- the way it caused my stomach to twist into knots and my throat to turn dry. It felt as if a hand reached out of the grave to wrap around my skull, trying to drag me back into the fiery depths with it. My idle hands had to pry each other off of the loaded pistol they had been playing with, just to keep from firing. Oh that silence did things to me that the other terrors could only dream of.
It was because it was always so sudden. Sudden, but expected. The voice on the other side of the door just simply stopped responding. Midst a conversation, the voice choked itself out, like a flipped switch on a radio. It always did, and it always made my heart climb into my throat. My own words escaped me for many moments, until I had to force myself to make sure the inevitable had come to pass.
“Trix?” My whisper was a clanging gong in the dead silence. From where I sat in that old hallway, I could see right under the door. The candlelight peeked through the crack, blocked only by the looming shadow that neglected to answer me. It swayed slightly, rocking to the beat of it's own wild thoughts. “Trix,” I tried in optimistic vain, “You have to answer me.”
“I'm here, Riven.” A choir of voices responded in song-like unison, but the noise was anything but soothing. It purred with feminine coyness yet I could taste the venom that seeped from its fangs. It allured to the senses, drawing you in while simultaneously crawling beneath your skin. It spoke ice and needles with each syllable, thriving on the fear it created with simple utterances.
I tried not to let it know how it made me feel. I held in my quickened breaths that would have echoed in the silence. My trembling hands wrapped firmly around my gun to keep from nervously tapping the walls and floorboards. I stayed seated, when all I wanted to do was run, simply staring at the swaying shadow in the room across the hall.
It rattled the doorknob, no doubt trying to make its way towards me, but the bolt held firmly. The metal shaking grew louder and louder as it tried harder to turn the knob before silence fell once again. “Riven,” it whispered to me, “open the door.”
I exhaled slowly, my breath freezing in the air in front of me. “Give her back,” I said, trying to keep my tone as even as possible. It must have faltered just enough. A maddened giggle radiated from behind the door, chilling my already freezing skin. “Now!” I demanded more fiercely, but I was answered with a loud bang.
The repetitive thrumming of metal became rhythmic as it pounded on the door, trying to tear through it by force. I wasn't afraid it would make it. Trixie and I had worked diligently to build the door, lock, and frame strong enough to keep it locked inside. It couldn't escape that way, and it knew it. “Door!” it shrieked in a hair-splitting chord. “Open the door!” Taking my silence as a reply, it began searching for another way out. I watched its shadow dance from under the door as it ran to each of the windows, trying them for weakness. It giggled louder as it grew more desperate. We had barred them shut as well. There was no escape. “Let me out, Riven!”
My breath hitched when it launched itself at the door again, pounding against it with hands and feet. All the while, it laughed at some unknown joke, as if it knew something I didn't. I stayed silent, unable to do much but watch the panicking monster tire itself out. The laughter turned to sobs as it finally sank to the floor. Its fingers wrapped around the bottom of the door, trying one last time to pry it open. I whispered to it softly, my voice a defeated sigh, “We've beaten you this time. You won't hurt anyone tonight. You might as well give her back.”
“Give her back...” It repeated, chortling as its nails scratched into the metal before withdrawing to the other side once more. “No, no, she is mine tonight. We will have blood, even if it be our own!” My eyes widened as it ran from the door, screaming in a pain-filled agony as the sound of breaking glass erupted from the silence.
Unable to see, I could only reason it ran for the mirror, shattering it into a million crystalline pieces upon the vanity and floor. Short cries of distress intermingled with its maddening giggling as it sifted through the pieces. “No!” I cried out, fear driving me to my feet. The keys were already in my hands when I stopped myself. I stared down at the shaking metal between my fingertips. That thin silver was the only thing stopping it from unleashing a night of terror upon my city. Despite my own worries, I had to pocket the keys again.
I paced the hall for what felt like an eternity, listening to the monster behind the door laugh and scream, splitting its skin to soothe it's own bloodlust. I choked my own sobs in the sleeve of my leather jacket. I couldn't give it the satisfaction of knowing it tore me to pieces as well. It would only thrive on that misery. It would whisper threats that I couldn't ignore.
The falling half-moon outside the hall's shattered window was my only indication of time. Minutes turned to an hour and that wretched moon slowly sank behind the distant skyscrapers and massive trees. Twice a month it visited, and twice a month it brought with it the hell that I hid behind that door. It mocked me just as loudly as the taunts of the monster.
My attention snapped away from that horrible ball by the silence once more. It lured me quicker the devil's voice ever could. Its deafening whisper ushered me to the door, and staring beneath it, I found the shadow no longer shaking. I placed my hand upon the freezing metal, tapping it softly with my finger to prod a reaction. Yet silence had taken over.
“Trixie?” I asked again, whispering her name with a desperation that I myself didn't even expect.
“I'm here,” she whispered in return, soft and broken. “I hurt.”
That simple response sold me. I wasted no time in fumbling for the keys and opening the door. The room was a mess. Blood dripped from the walls and shattered vanity, highlighted by the candlelight reflecting from the slivers of glass. In the middle of the ritualistic display, a feminine form stood on her hands and knees. Blood dripped from her crimson stained blue jeans and green jacket. Her raven hair was equally drenched in sweat and the foul liquid. In her shredded hands, she still held tightly to glass.
I started for her immediately, but grew hesitant with each step. She cried softly, but each exhale from her lips echoed of the chorus. “Show me your eyes,” I demanded her, my hands already reaching for my holstered pistol. She gladly obliged.
Her beautiful emerald irises were muddied with a red film. Her gaze tore into me, cutting deeper into my core than any weapon could go. Her smile was twisted into a sickening grin, sharp canines still dripping blood her tongue lapped from her own flesh. Her mouth opened as the spine-tingling giggle left her throat in gurgles. “I hurt,” the choir of voices mocked, Trixie's voice at the forefront of their blow. “You are so weak for her. So predictable.” Frozen in fear for just a moment, I watched her rise from the floor, swaying to the beat of it's melodic voice. “Is this what you wanted, my love? Do you like seeing her like this?”
The moment I regained control of my senses, a curse left my lips. My hands instinctively, expertly drew my holstered pistol, but as trained as I was, I was no match for its speed. It launched itself upon me, the glass in its hands digging into my chest as I hit the floor. The cry of fear and pain that left my lips was covered by its insane laughter. It drew the shards from my chest, raising them again only to shove them back down. My trembling hands managed to catch its wrists. Its laughing stopped just a moment as I twisted its arms backwards, shoving it off of me far enough to get back to my feet.
As it collided with the wall, I ran. The blood from my shirt tingled my skin as the mix of warm and cold spread down my chest. I panted heavily from fear, a fatal error that allowed it to track me. I heard it barreling through the darkness behind me. Its feet sounded heavy enough to break through the floorboards. Its nails on the walls ripped through the wallpaper. The unceasing chortling echoed around me, feeling as if the infinite choir embodied the house itself.
Up the stairs to the third floor, I bounded towards the balcony. I shattered the glass as I crashed into the door, shoving it out of the way in my desperate attempt to put distance between me and the monster. A jump from that height would have been just as deadly, so I simply looked for anything to defend myself.
“Riven!” The monster sang my name as it launched itself at me again. I threw my arms up to defend myself, but the force knocked us both to the ground. I punched, kicked, and shoved the terrifyingly strong creature off of me, but its energy was boundless. I felt it's sharp canines dig into my shoulder, tearing through my shirt like razors.
With the scream that left my lips, I gave a final shove. It flew off of me, taking a chunk of my flesh as it hit the outer ledge of the balcony. I gave it no time to recover before I attacked in return, pinning it beneath my heavier weight. My hands found their way to its throat, wrapping around and finally putting an end to its laughter. Fueled by my pain and anger, I mustered enough strength to subdue it beneath me, staring down at its twisted grin.
Each gasp for breath became more desperate, eventually its grin disappearing as it gave way to panic. There was a joy in watching it struggle, in seeing it be in the same fear and misery that it liked to cause. I felt myself smile for just a moment, until I saw the red eyes fade to green again. The harmonic gasps changed to one tone. It retreated back into the depths, forcing my love to the surface. As Trixie stared back at me, I immediately released my grip.
She choked for several breaths, as the monster took hold once more, a weak giggle leaving her lips. “Go on,” it taunted me. “Kill us. Kill her.” It knew I was defeated, what I wasn't capable of doing. “How long will you play this game, sweetest Riven?”
“As long as it takes,” I responded, glaring down at it. “Until I fix her- until I kill you- I will do this every time.”
It squirmed beneath me, but I managed to keep it pinned. As it glared up at me, grinning once again, it whispered, “Then you will lose every time.”
“Not tonight,” I gloated, finding some strength to smile down at it. Its grin faltered as it finally took note of the time. Above the trees, the faintest hint of light told of morning. It shrieked angrily, twisting beneath me as it tried to free itself, but I didn't allow it the opportunity. Accepting it's defeat, it finally withdrew, the body beneath me growing incredibly still.
Certain the terror was over, I climbed off of the woman. I pulled her close to my chest, allowing myself to sob unconstrained. Her breathing was shaky, but I was just thankful she was alive. The bruises on her neck were the only bits of color on her pale skin. It made me sick to stare at them, the one ailment that I had caused. I could do nothing but hold her close to me, as I did so many times before. Each time was worse. Each time I got closer and closer to killing her.
I felt her shift in my arms as she regained consciousness, a shaky cry leaving her lips. “I'm sorry,” she uttered like a broken record. “I'm so sorry.”
“Don't start this,” I told her, trying to sound teasing though it was impossible through my weeping. I looked down at her, sighing in relief as her bloodshot green eyes stared back at me. Tears rolled endlessly from those eyes, but they were still the most beautiful I had ever seen. “I'm okay. We're okay. They're gone now.”
“You should have killed me,” she whispered suddenly. “We have to end this. They're going to hurt someone again. If... If they kill you-”
“Hush,” I stopped her sobbing rambling, kissing her forehead softly. “We're going to get you better, right? We're so close now.” I looked over her shaking form with a small nod. “We just learn and move on. We do better next time. Don't let them tell you otherwise.”
She nodded slowly, hiding her face in my chest and wiping her tears on my shirt. “I'm still sorry, Riven. I'm so so sorry.” Her arms wrapped around my neck as she hugged me tightly. We simply stayed there, on the balcony, as the morning sun rose, trying to recover mentally before attending to physically. Over the sound of her shaking breathing, I could hear the first of the songbirds and the freezing November wind whistling in the trees. It was a relief to hear. Greater still, the sound of her voice as she whispered, “I love you.”
It was her voice- just hers.
It was a sound that erased the fear of silence.