Friday, February 8, 2008

Chapter 9: Third Night, Part IV

The fixture spread uneven light across the room, weakest in the corners. Shadows congregated there, writhing and sliding up and down the wall like black amoebas. Every so often, one would stretch out until it turned a pale gray, then snap back and resumed its race up and down the wall. It wasn't until he caught sight of another shadow mirroring the movements in another corner that he realized what they were up to. They're trying to band together. The room held far too much light for them to succeed, but he found the sight fascinating and disturbing. They looked to have a bottomless reservoir of patience, trying an endless parade of shapes to find one that would work. He stared at them like an unfamiliar machine, wondering what made them tick. Are they independent, or part of the darkness outside? That seemed unlikely; he had barely escaped in the back room, but these shadows hadn't once tried to attack him or Ray. Then again, their movements were far too organized to be a collective of individuals. And they didn't stand a chance if those patches of darkness actually succeeded in overpowering the light. Is it just a change in tactics? What's controlling them?

He twisted his head and stared at the closet. No movement visible there, but the shadows inside had deepened. He could barely see the clothing anymore. The darkness radiated a sense of brooding. Hope I don't have to go back in there any time soon. He glanced at the light. Had it just flickered? He stared for a few minutes before deciding it had not. Still, I need to go ahead and go get those things. Spine crackling, Vernon sat up and scooted to the edge of the bed. He grabbed a flashlight, stood, stretched and turned to go when movement outside the window caught his eye.

It was Cheryl. Not a fully detailed figure, but much more so than the previous night. He could make out the lines of her clothing and the ghostly sketch of her face. She smiled and spread her arms, beckoning him to come join her. He took one step forward and slammed his shin into the metal bedrail. He stuffed a fist into his mouth to muffle a yell. Raymond cried out and jerked his arms, but did not wake.

Cheryl still stood there when he looked up. Her smile had faded, and she waved franticly, as if telling him to hurry. Vernon turned to walk around the bed to the window and fell when his right foot refused to move. The flashlight dropped to the floor and rolled.

Shadows under the bed had grabbed the toe of his shoe and the first couple rows of laces. He felt a tug, and he slid a fraction of an inch. More darkness jumped out and latched onto the sole. It pulled again. His foot disappeared to the ankle. He pushed with his hands and braced his left foot against the bed frame. Cold crept up his leg, and his pants rippled across the calf. Shadows filled the holes in the denim except where light shone directly on the skin. Another wrench on his leg, his left heel slipped, and he skidded a few more inches. His leg wedged mid-shin, but the pressure kept building, and the icy grip crawled toward his knee. His calf muscle ached with the strain, and he thought his injured hip might pull free. I can't fit under there. It pulled again, and he flopped on his back. Grimacing, he looked around the floor. Not in one piece, anyway. The flashlight lay to his right. He grabbed it and clicked the switch, shoving the light under the bed to shine on his foot.

Vernon pulled free and stood. Cold still climbed up his leg. Shivering, he hooked his fingers through holes in the fabric and ripped the fabric. The tear spread around his thigh, and the pants leg came free. He yanked it off and tossed it on the floor. A dark arm shot out, grabbed the denim and dragged it under the bed. He looked out the window. Cheryl was gone.

"Not again," he muttered. Why would she leave just as I got free? Tears trickled down his cheek. He would have thought she'd wait for him; she seemed so frantic. Unless she was just trying to distract me so it could grab me under the bed. He shook his head, but the thought refused to leave. Everyone says that's not really her. What if they're right? What if she's just some sort of illusion?

"No," he growled. "That's my wife and daughter out there, and I'm going to get them back." Raymond woke crying. Vernon suppressed a groan and lifted him from the bed. "Let's go, buddy."

_____Sothink SWF Quicker v.1.1 zip

Part V coming next week!


Sothink SWF Quicker v.1.1 zip