AN EXCERPT FROM THE
SPECULATIVE FICTION CENTRE
(see speculativefictioncentre.com for more details.)
Darkness loomed over the small alley between Tuxes Nail Salon and Doctor Mammal’s Animal Hospital. A small security light on the side of the clinic was the only glow that kept the alley from resembling a cave. Propped against the hard brick wall below the light, Vay Gerard waited. Running was futile and he didn‘t have the energy to spare. His heart pounded as he reached deep inside the part of his soul that would calm his nerves. Total peace was far from his reach, but prayer did wonders for him; something he wished he had tried so many years ago. Slowing his breathing, he waited for that one thing that had caused his adrenaline to flow in the first place.
Around the corner it bounded, skidding like a car doing a three-sixty. Vay grimaced as he caught a whiff of its odor, like rotting meat mixed with burning brimstone. The smell scorched the insides of his nostrils and he winced at the physical pain it caused. Forcing his eyes to stay open, he watched it overtake the darkness, gobbling it whole as if it were something that could be ingested. The sight sent a shiver down his spine.
The edge of on-coming blackness brought a gloom that nothing human could break through; misery and savagery were its life-force and to look into the bowels of it was to look upon the one ugly part of what lay buried deep inside humanity. The gloom became tangible as a shred of it touched his skin. It slithered against his flesh like a serpent weaving its way around its prey. The sensation was cold and unforgiving, filling his very soul with a sense of foulness he could never attempt to describe. Sliding down the wall, he felt the rough brick rake against his temporarily mortal skin as the t-shirt he wore was pushed upward. Vay wiped the sweat from his face as he thrust his mind into overdrive, focusing all of his energy and concentration on the one thing he knew; the only true thing. The thing that warmed the remnants of his shallow heart and exuded throughout his entire body.
Mere feet away, the center of the darkness revealed itself. Legion. No introductions were necessary. Vay recognized it by sight and smell. The psychotic powers it held over its conquests were legendary as was its historical damnation. Shadows beyond human comprehension thrashed wildly about forming a monstrous figure without true form. In its massive ever-changing grasp, one of many foul creatures that created its appearance unhinged a reptile’s jaw to devour the man that sat down before it. Vay prayed for God’s will to be done as the warmth that burned through him made the film of cold misery leave his soul long enough to send the gaping mouth slithering back into the void from where it had crawled. A scream, more shrill than any banshee from eternal torment could make, echoed around him and Vay covered his ears as the vibration of it promised to take what little hearing he had left.