Fela had always thought he would die peacefully in his sleep at ninety like his grandfather had.
Boring – yes, but it would have made up for how hard and fast he’d lived his life.
He had not expected that at age thirty, he would be running for his life in an unfamiliar town with a claw wound in his side. No, he wasn’t crazy, he’d been stabbed just underneath his left ribcage by a monster.
The thing had looked human at first and Fela had not been concerned when a bald man with unnatural pale skin and bulging red-rimmed eyes, dressed in a robe of rags had sat beside him in the corner of his cell. He had thought he was just another one of the many malnourished captives cramped up in the dimly lit dungeon-like cell. A putrid odour had emanated from him but Fela had convinced himself that the man probably had an infected wound under the dirty robe. Besides, he was sure he stank as well, he hadn’t had a bath or a change of clothes since he’d been taken. So, he’d paid him no mind.
By the time he figured it out, the thing had dragged him by the collar of his shirt and yanked him to his feet. At first, Fela struggled against him, not understanding why a fellow captive was harassing him. Then he noticed how unnatural his red-rimmed lid-less eyes were. Its mouth hung open to reveal set of sharp tiny teeth – hundreds of them, while thick saliva drooped from the corners of its mouth.
Fela’s hands fell to his sides in horror, he looked to his fellow captives for help but they were huddled together in a corner as far away as they could get from him and the monster. The horrified look on their faces mirrored his own – he would not be getting any help from them.
A sharp pain in the left side of his stomach brought his attention back to the monster. It had stabbed him with an extended claw from its rubbery fingers.
“Run,” it had commanded him. In a whispery snake-like tone. Fela couldn’t tell if it was the crippling pain in his side as blood gushed out of the wound that planted his feet to the ground or the overwhelming stench that came from the monster. He just couldn’t move.
“If you want to live, you will run.” The thing hissed again. It sounded patronizing as its eyes darted from side to side. Fela wasn’t sure but it seemed giddy with excitement.
Then Fela saw them, coming out from different corners of the dungeon – materializing out of the darkness – humans at first then they shape-shifted into monsters with varying forms. The only thing they had in common were their bulging, lid-less red-rimmed eyes. Baring their fangs and snarling, they walked tentatively at towards him ignoring the other captives, they zoned in on him like a hunter stalking his prey.
Fela understood then. The one who had stabbed him had melted into the stumble of monsters now coming for him. An opening in the wall to his right appeared suddenly – a doorway of some sort, without considering his options – not that he had any, he’d made a run for it.
The howling, shrieking and growling of excitement that came from the monsters as he ran and the pain that was making its way to his brain from his wound, immediately told him it had been a bad idea to run because he was never going to make it.
He stumbled several times but managed to keep himself upright. The snarling and grunting of the monsters behind him were enough motivation to keep him going. It might be pure sport for them but it was his life on the line.
The dark sky was filled with stars and he might have considered it a beautiful night, if he didn’t have the monsters from hell on his tail. The tarred street was empty, save for a few parked cars and he couldn’t see any light in the houses that lined the street.
It was unnaturally quiet. He had no idea what time of the night it was but the sounds coming from the monsters and his frantic call for help was enough to wake the dead, so why wasn’t anyone coming to his rescue?
Then it hit him that none of it was real, the cars, the houses, the street and maybe even the night sky. He could be running around in circles inside the dungeon for all he knew. It could all be an illusion – a sick game the monsters were playing with him and it made sense because it was a struggle to breathe as sharp air filled his lungs and it was almost impossible for him to keep his eyes open and he wasn’t that fast. So, why hadn’t the monsters caught up to him yet? They were toying with him, teasing him because they knew he wasn’t running to anywhere.
He should never have run but now that he had, he couldn’t stop – wouldn’t stop. Illusion or not, if they wanted to eat him, they would do so only after he had collapsed with no strength left in his body – he would not be an easy prey.
As if the sky was mocking his resolve, it began to rain. Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled as it poured down heavily, blinding him and before he knew it, he went face-first into the ground. Slowly and painfully, he turned to face skyward, lying on his back as the rain beat down on his face.
This was one huge joke but he couldn’t find the nerve to laugh.
In a matter of seconds, the monsters would be upon him. Tears slid down his eyes and into his ears, it was warm against his skin compared to the harsh coolness of the rain.
How had things turned out this way?
He had never doubted the existence of the supernatural, he just hadn’t thought he would find himself caught up in it. All that had been on his mind a week ago had been to secure his position as the next director of the art gallery where he worked – his life-long dream. Instead, he’d gotten himself kidnapped and was about to be torn to pieces by monsters.
Lying there in the rain about to die and he still couldn’t wrap his head around the whole situation.
And then, he noticed the silence.
It was still raining but he could neither hear nor feel it, he couldn’t feel the pain from his wound either and most of all, he couldn’t hear the monsters.
Was the numbness he felt a sign of his impending death?
The answer came to him in the shape of a woman shrouded in a cloth of light, she crouched beside him and stroked his forehead lightly – the stroke of death. The warmth that emanated from her replaced the numbness he had felt and the cold that had come before it.
“Come with me,” she whispered into his ear. Her voice poured light and peace into his soul. He didn’t mind that it was his mind playing tricks on him in the last moments of his life, he yielded to her caress and closed his eyes in complete surrender.
To be continued next Friday at 9 pm. Don’t forget to follow my blog to get notified when a new episode is uploaded. Also, subscribe to my Newsletter to get juicy updates, sneak peeks and giveaways.