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|Title: Screams in the Night||Author: Scifiteki|
The first thing that hit Bob when consciousness flooded back
into his tired body was the light. It was everywhere, blasting his
senses with a continual stream of painful brightness. His skin felt
like it was being roasted alive, tortured under a giant heat lamp. He
squeezed his eyes shut and covered them, hoping to gain some respite
from the incandescent rays, but it was no better. The light still
filtered through, scarring his eyes, burning his flesh.
Desperately, he threw himself forwards, groping for some form
of sanctuary. He tumbled head over heels until he slammed against a
wall, shaded from the unyielding brightness. The wall was soft,
pliable, and he bounced off it almost comfortably. The air here was
cooler, safer. With a sigh of relief, he opened his eyes to take in
Immediately, he closed them again. He might have been out of the direct path of the light, but it still reflected off the floor and walls, making them glow with radiant, painful light. The opposite walls and floor were not that far apart, though. Wherever he was, it had little in the way of space. Cautiously, he turned, and opened his eyes to the wall that was not coated in light.
To his surprise, what greeted him was not solid grey wall.
Then again, why was that surprising? It seemed important, but he
could not be bothered to reflect on it now. Instead of comforting
grey blankness, the wall was bumpy, covered in thousands of ridges,
the colour of pale flesh. As he watched, glistening trails of some
sort of liquid trailed down the walls. He reached out to touch it,
and found it was uncomfortably warm and slimy. The wall itself
throbbed slowly and almost imperceptibly, in time to some far away
Looking down, he saw that the floor was made of the same material, fleshy and wet, pulsing continuously. What was this place? How had he come here? It all made no sense at all. Almost unconsciously, he reached down and touched his chest, trailing his finger over a circular insignia. He started. What circular insignia? He looked down, and saw that over the faded green material of his flight suit was a small emblem, of a circle within a circle. He brushed it lightly, almost trying to bring out the memories with the tips of his fingers.
Nothing came. The little symbol seemed remarkably important, a link to another world of memories, but they would not come. It just sat there, almost taunting him, mocking the spaces where his memories once were. He felt the liquid on the floor seeping through his pant onto his skin, sending shivers up his spine. He thought briefly about standing, but quickly decided against it when a quick look revealed the source of blasting light just a few centimetres above his head.
Despondently, he sat back down, trying to remember something,
anything, that would reveal the nature of this? cell. Yes, that
seemed the right word. But who would imprison him? What had he done
wrong to deserve such a nightmarish prison? His head throbbed
angrily, sending distant pain shooting through his body. Timidly, he
reached up and touched his head, knowing already what would greet
him. His hand came back sticky with blood.
So, that was why he couldn't remember much. In fact, when he
thought about it, he couldn't remember much at all. Just his own
name, Bob. Yes, Bob. Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob. He repeated it over and
over, a litany of one word. He wrapped himself around that single
word, a lone candle against the night of his memories. Bob? And
screaming. Screams of pain in the darkness.
Screams? Why were there screams? Were they why he was here,
trapped in an enclosure of flesh? Whose screams were they, anyway?
They were not his own, that much seemed clear. His friends? Yes, that
sounded right. Why had his friends screamed, screamed out loud in the
darkness, calling for help? Help which never came? Why had it not
come? Too many questions, all rolling around in his mind, all surging
and coursing through looking for answers that were not
Wincing, he sat back, making sure not too look at the other side of the room even with his eyes closed. Remembering was so hard, a struggle for something that might not even be there. Better just to sit, and rest for a while. Until something came to him.
His eyes closed reluctantly, and he sank back into the spongy
wall, waiting for sleep. It did not come for a while, not matter how
hard he tried. Something always bothered him, the slippery walls, or
the aching in his head. After what seemed an age, sleep finally
advanced towards him, reaching out to over his eyes with blessed
Then something woke him, jarring him out of his rest.
Something was shaking. It was not the regular beating of the walls,
in and out. It was something else, something different. He touched
his hand to the floor, and found it was vibrating lightly. Confusion
crossed his features, clouding his mind. What was this new torture?
The vibrations grew stronger as he pressed his hand against the pulpy
floor, jarring his hand. His vision began to shake, and he grasped
unsteadily as the whole room began to shake, stronger and stronger.
The convulsions grew more and more violent, until the entire
room seemed to be shaking itself apart. He curled up in a little
ball, the tremors shaking him apart, rattling his bones around like
stones in a sack. The pain grew unbearable, his teeth rattling
uncontrollably. Then it stopped, and the room was plunged into total
Cautiously, Bob lifted his tired head, his aching bones
creaking, expecting the violence to start again at any moment. But
nothing happened, and all that he could he see was black. It was
total, enveloping. Where there had once been a stream of excruciating
light, there was nothing at all. Just empty blackness covering his
vision. Nervously he unfolded, steading himself against the dripping
walls, waving his hand in front of his face. But he couldn't see a
thing. The only colour he could see was the afterimage of bright
sunlight on the inside of his eyelids, a dancing, splotchy pattern of
yellow and red.
He swore, and punched he spongy wall angrily, what little
force he could muster rebounding off the fleshy facade. What was this
place? Why had he been thrown in here and left to rot? He glared into
the unfathomable darkness, imagining some unknowable captors laughing
at his fate. Breathing out tiredly, he sat back down, trying to
Still, nothing came to him. Except? The darkness stirred
memories deep in the recesses of his mind, dragging them reluctantly
forwards. Memories of long, dark corridors half-lit with flickering
lights. Grey walls, splattered with blood. And running, always
running. Why he had run, he couldn't remember. All that was clear was
the swift movement of bare feet of cold, unyielding floor, rooms
flashing past, breath heavy with tiredness.
It made no sense, no more than anything else. Had he been
caught? Was that why he was here, a prisoner of a living nightmare?
If so, who had caught him? Who could be sick enough to create this
mockery of a place, with fleshy walls dripping with slime? Once more,
the questions roiled, a boiling sea of unhappiness. Quickly, he shut
them out, draining away the sea. The questions just hurt, and got him
nowhere. Better that he just not thought at all.
Slowly, gradually, the room began to drift into focus. Over
what seemed like hours, he made out the features of the room once
more, lit by a faint white light that still spilled through the
window. It wasn't much to see by. He could barely make out the bumps
on the floor and walls, their edges glimmering lightly. Nevertheless,
he could still see.
Curiously, he looked up, to the other side of the room that
had once been hidden by a wall of light. It was pretty much
unremarkable, made of the same dull pink flesh. Interestingly though,
almost hidden by shadow, there was a shallow depression in the wall,
about the size of a door. And escape, perhaps? Cautiously, he sat up
and started to crawl over to it, one hand at a time.
The floor that he had once been cringing on was still warm,
from it bath in radiance. He paused briefly, letting the warmth seep
into his tired body, filling his weary bones. It faded quickly
though, a fleeting glimpse of pleasure flying away into the darkness.
The unpleasant, faint, sticky heat replaced it, and with a shudder he
moved on, up to the depression.
He reached the depression, only to be perturbed. The
depression was only around a centimetre deep, and was joined
seamlessly into the wall. He ran his hands along the edges, looking
for some catch, some opening that he could jam his fingers into and
wrench the whole thing open. He found nothing, just a continuous line
of light red meat stretching all the way around. Desperately, he
shoved his finger into the join, trying to scratch it open. His
efforts were futile, scrapes against steel.
Tears streamed down his cheek as he sank against the wall,
beating it uselessly. Why was he being trapped here? He hadn?t done
anything wrong, had he? Nothing he could remember. Or had he? No, no
that couldn't be true. He wouldn?t do something so bad as that would
require someone to shove him in this cell. Or would he? His memories
whisked around the edges of his vision, taunting him. Why couldn't he
Frustrated, he turned his vision to where the source of light
had been, up high above his former resting place. It was some sort of
window, looking out into? Space? That seemed right, but not
comforting. Why was he in space? The view was spectacular, a
multitude of stars all clustered together, almost merged together in
a single wall of light. Yet as wondrous as it was, it provided him
with no comfort. The stars seemed wrong, somehow, as if he should be
seeing something else. He couldn't remember what, though. All that he
knew was that the arrangement of stars should be telling him
something, something too terrible to even consider.
He slid down, lying against the wet walls. He closed his eyes
and sighed, wiping the tears away from his eyes. He was too tired to
think of all these things. What he really needed to do was just
sleep, regain his strength. Perhaps then he would remember the things
that eluded him.
Sleep did not come easily. The wetness seeped into his
clothes, covering his back. The bumpy surface provided no comfort,
only annoyance. And the memories still poked him, prodded him,
unsettling him. He spent what seemed like hours just shifting
restlessly around, trying to get a better position, trying to dispel
the shadows in his mind. Then sleep fell on him like a stone,
covering him completely.
He found himself once more in the cell, surrounded by the
throbbing pink flesh, dripping with moisture. But it was different,
though. The cell was bigger, wider, taller, larger, greater. The
throbbing was more intense, pushing the cell walls in and out, in and
out. He felt small, pathetic, worthless. The walls towered above him,
cowering him into submission.
He felt something sticky under his hands, and looked down.
There, pooling beneath his fingers was warm, fresh blood. Repulsed,
he stood, pulling his hand away. The pool of blood just grew larger,
spreading across the floor. Desperately, he looked around the walls,
only to see more and more blood pouring in everywhere, from the
walls, and the ceiling. It rose higher and higher, overtaking his
ankles, soaking into his feet with sticky warmth.
He screamed, but no sound came out, his mouth gaping soundlessly. The blood rushed ever higher, covering his legs, his stomach, his chest, a neverending sea of dark blood, choppy and violent. It pulled on him, dragging him down into its depths.
It was so hard to resist, to keep his head above the surging tide. Perhaps it would just be easier to surrender to it, sink into the blood, be subsumed into the sticky warmth. Yes?
He woke from his dreams of blood with a start, pulling his
head up. His face was sticky with fluid, no doubt from rolling around
on the bumpy floor. What had he been dreaming about? He shook his
head. This place was going to drive him slowly insane, if he couldn't
at least remember something.
A faint chittering noise started him, freezing him in place,
sending a chill to his very core. He knew that sound, better than any
other sound. It was the sound of fear, of that which had pursued him
down the long corridors. His hands shaking, he turned his head ever
so slightly to the side, fearing what he might see.
His breath disappeared as a thin grey leg with a three-toed foot came into vision. No! It couldn't be, not them, not here! But? Who were they? He strained against the chains of his amnesia, struggling to catch a glimpse of what it was that he feared. The only thought that consumed him was that whatever they were, they were worse than the things of his darkest nightmares. He looked up hesitantly, but could see nothing more, the shadows thankfully covering everything. Everything except three glowing red eyes, set in a triangle, staring balefully at him.
Another chitter, and a thin but unnaturally hand shot out and grabbed his hair, long fingers digging painfully into his head wound. The pain caused him to gasp, his eyes widening in shock. What was going on? What were they doing to him? For the millionth time, he asked himself what he had done to deserve this. But his memories met him with silence. Then something hit him in the back, hard. >
Pain shot through his body like a thousand lances, all
spearing him at once. A burst of light flashed across his vision,
blinding him. The agony was overwhelming, setting his entire body
ablaze. Then something hit him again, this time in the head. Another
starburst of pain slashed through him, ripping him apart. He tried to
scream, but his parched throat made only a whisper. His sight washed
with waves of pure white light, intense and unbearable.
Then they hit him again, and again, and again. Torment cut
through his arms, his legs, his neck. Something smashed into his
stomach with the force of a hammer, making him double over. His
stomach, heaved, and he retched uncontrollably onto the floor, nearly
choking. Then they hit him again, and he slipped into
unconsciousness, blessed peace against the nightmare of pain.
He was no longer in his cell.
Standing on cold hard ground, he realised that he was in the
dark corridors and rooms of his memories, covered in grey. The room
he was in was huge and empty, lit with steady white lights. He tried
to take a step forwards, but he found he couldn't. He was trapped,
but nothing he could see or touch. He felt something warm against his
hand, and looked down at his hands. They were covered in
The blood streamed off his hands, dripping down onto the floor, always falling and falling and falling and falling?He shook his hands, trying to dispel the unnatural blood that would never go away. But it stayed, mocking him, laughing, the laughs echoing off the hollow walls. He looked up, and realised that it was not the blood that laughed, not alone. In front of him, behind him, all around him, were people, disfigured by wounds, their faces bloody and beaten. Some had no arms, others no chests. They stood around him, laughing, their blood-soaked limbs shaking with amusement. Then the moved inwards, towards him.
Then he noticed the spikes. They were all holding them, all pointed towards him, like primeval hunters. They held them steady, pointed towards his chest. Even the ones with no arms. He tried to run, but felt chains pulling him, keeping him still. He looked down, and saw he was held in place by dark chains, the fetters of his memories.
One of them threw his spear, and it landed with a solid thunk in his chest. He felt nothing at all, only emptiness. Another spear landed, and then another, and then another, and then another, ripping him into tiny shreds, tatters of worn-out flesh, too tired to go on.
He sank to his knees, feeling the chains pulling ever tighter, hauling him towards the ground. A woman came towards him, her eyes torn out, bloody holes where they once were. Blood dripped down out of the empty sockets, streaming like tears. She spat on him, her face twisted into a grimace of hate. Then another man came, with a deep hole where he stomach once was, and he spat on him as well. And then others came, all deformed and covered in blood, all spitting on him.
Their hate flowed onto him, covering him in a tide of hate, burying him in a flood of disgust. And then there was silence.
The first thing that Bob did when he woke was sneeze. The
dust tickled his throat, provoking one sneeze after another. He
pulled himself over, lying on his back, so that the dust didn't get
in his mouth. He distantly recalled that he'd always been allergic to
lots of things. It didn't really seem important. Then it hit him, the
realisation more stunning than any blow.
He was no longer in his cell! He laughed, uncontrollably, his
body shaking on the dusty, dry ground. He was free! No more of the
pink flesh to taunt him endlessly! He wasn't sure how he'd got out.
Truthfully, he didn't care. All that mattered was that he was out,
free, away. Reasons were unimportant.
He sat up and looked around at his surroundings. The place where he'd been dumped was not exactly picturesque, but pure beauty compared to the cramped monotony of his cell. He was lying on the floor of a long canyon, which stretched up at least a few metres. The walls were made of some sort of reddish-grey rock, spiky and unpleasant-looking. The dusty floor of the canyon was the same colour, littered with sharp fragments of rock. The sky above the canyon was bizarre, unfamiliar, a swirling tapestry of purples and reds, odd-coloured clouds twisted into strange and fantastic shapes that seemed impossible.
The air was crisp, with the smell of dust, but the faint hint of the kind of aroma that you smell just before rain. It didn't seem very likely that there had been any rain here in quite a while, judging by the sandy soil. It wasn't hot, but not really cold either. The wind blew erratically, swirling in every different direction, tossing his hair left to right.
He reached up to touch his hair, expecting to feel pain, but nothing came. His head was whole once more. How very odd? He felt something, but he couldn't really put a word to it. He felt wrong, tainted, like he had felt when he saw the stars out the window. He couldn't place a reason to his feeling though. It was just there, hanging in his mind.
He dismissed the thought. It probably wasn't important. No
need to worry. He stood, and for a minute he just stayed there,
feeling the cold caress of the wind brush his face clear of worries.
He had nothing to fear. He was no longer in the prison, and wherever
he was, he'd find a way to get by.
Off in the distance, at the end of canyon, he could see a
huge plain, which stretched off into the horizon, the same colour as
the rocks and the ground. The wind pulled at him, brushing his
clothes. The plain seemed like the right place to go to. Yes, that
was it? He would go to the plain, and then? He wasn't sure. But he'd
figure it out.
He stepped forward, slowly and unsteadily at first, then more confidently. He strode forwards, through the winding, close passages of the canyon. The wind blew again, teasing him onwards, faster, further. He stepped cautiously out of the canyon, and into the sunlight.
The plain was bigger than he had first thought it was. It seemed to stretch out in all directions, off towards the horizon. He appeared to be at the top of a gradual hill, which lead down into the main basin of the plain. The plain was littered with thousands of fragments of stone, broken apart by the forces of wind and tide long ago.
Down at the flat part of the plain, far off in the distance,
he could make out a small building, a grey box against the endless
red-grey plain. An unfathomable longing welled up inside of him,
consuming his thoughts. He had to go to that building. He couldn't
say why, or what he might find there, but the need was overwhelming,
stronger than anything he'd ever felt in his life. He must go
down to the building.
He broke into a run, tramping down the hill, across the sharp
stones. He kept running, onwards and onwards, across the plain. He
pushed himself ever harder, straining his legs to put in just a
little more speed. He couldn't say why he needed to go there. It just
seemed absolutely necessary. Reasons had fled his mind long ago.
As he sped over the plain, his legs pumping furiously, trying
to push just a little bit more speed into his pace, the building came
into focus. It looked like some sort of communications installation,
with all the satellite dishes packed onto it's roof. He could see
figures striding around the roof, human shaped figures. As he raced
ever closer, he could see they looked just like him, with the same
flight suits with the insignia over the chest. People just like him!
Joy and relief spread through his mind, calming. He had been right,
this was the right place to be!
As he came closer, the doors of the facility coming into view, some of the figures noticed him, and waved. One of them shouted something. He wasn't listening to them, but staring intently at the huge metal door as he ran towards it. He absorbed its edges, its curves, its extrusions. It was the most magnificent thing he'd ever seen in his life. It called to him, soft and sonorous, enticing him closer, to touch it's cool surface. The shouts of greeting became shouts of anger, as he stopped in front of the door, marvelling at it. Desire swept through his spent body, enshrouding his mind and soul. He had to touch the door. He must. Nothing else mattered, only the door, and the feeling of flesh on cold hard steel. Never before had he been so absolutely certain of anything.
He reached out to touch the door, and the light that had been
growing at the edges of his vision expanded to cover his vision. As
he slipped beneath the light, one thought went through his
His name wasn't Bob. That was just a nickname. His real name was Bernhard.
Then he slipped beneath the waves, and was gone.
As was the facility.
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