Friday, February 1, 2008

Chapter 9: Third Night, Part II

Yawning, he tilted his head back and squinted at the light fixture in the ceiling. Two bulbs shone through the frosted glass. Amazing that such a small thing could be so important. The light burned brighter for a moment, then dimmed to less than a quarter of its previous intensity.

Shadows washed across the room like a slow tide. The room was darker at the edges, except next to the bathroom and where light came in across the kitchen from Alexis' room. The window to his left might as well be an opening on to some far corner of space. Weaker shadows pulled at his clothes and raked across his face. Something barbed stabbed through his right earlobe and tugged. Vernon hissed and jerked his head left; pain tore through his ear. Blood dripped on his neck and shoulder. Blackness pulsed in the window, pushing its way further into the room every time it surged forward, past the desk, over the edge of the couch, reaching for them.

Holding Raymond tighter to his chest, Vernon snatched up one of the flashlights by his side and clicked it on. He shifted that one to the hand holding the baby, keeping a light trained on him. He grabbed the other flashlight, turned it on and waved it around. Shadows to the front and right side retreated from the lancing beam. The seething dark to his left paused momentarily, then continued its tidal advance. It rumbled as it came. Vernon could feel something like amusement from that side of the room. He rolled off the couch and sprang for the patch of light near the bathroom. His foot landed on the edge. He teetered and fell hard on his shoulder, knocking the wind from his chest and the flashlights to the floor. Ray woke at the impact and started crying. Bright spots of color danced in Vernon's vision as he tried to breathe. He grabbed the baby and shoved him as far into the light as he could. Red faced, Raymond screamed louder and waved his arms and legs. Thank heaven he can't crawl yet, Vernon thought as he climbed to his hands and knees.

Something wrapped around his ankle like a cold python and pulled. Vernon fell flat on his chest with a yell. He sneezed from dust kicked up off the floor. His fingernails dug into the carpet as he slid backward. Looking over his shoulder, he saw night had swallowed half the room. Tentacles as thick as his thigh waved back and forth, visible against the weaker shadows slapping and clawing at him as the darkness dragged him further from the light. One flailing hand slapped down on the barrel of a stray flashlight. His fist closed on it just as the world turned upside down.

"What?" he shouted, trying to understand why he saw the floor above his head. Ray still screamed, flailing arms at the ceiling now underneath them, but Vernon could barely hear the baby over the thudding pulse in his ears. The shadow shook him like a dog with a rag. His arms flapped around his head, throwing wild arcs of light around the room. His knee popped and pain shot through his hip. He felt himself lifting higher in the air and craned his neck. The soles of his shoes brushed the ceiling.

The dark had withdrawn its other tentacles and pushed itself further into the room. Soon the only bright points would be around the bathroom and his second flashlight laying on the floor. Vernon pointed the flashlight at it. He heard a slight hiss, but the beam barely penetrated. It's too big. But what else can I do? Sweat stung his eyes as he swung the flashlight in a double-handed slash at the arm holding him up. The grip on his ankle lessened. He slipped a fraction of an inch before it tightened and swung him toward the black mass. Light shaking in his fist, he pointed it straight at his ankle. The hold on his leg evaporated. He crashed to the floor. Tendrils whipped toward him.

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Part III coming Monday!


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At February 1, 2008 4:52 PM , Blogger Bret Jordan said...

Enjoyed the read, Jeff!
Can't wait to see what happens Monday!Conter Strike KEYGEN  

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