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Gothic Beauty Magazine

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Willow Creek Chapter 8

Sean crossed the hallway quickly, leaning far backwards to avoid touching the Demon, now showing his true form. Once past him, he straightened up again- Andrew’s breath panting moistly on the back of his neck- making his stomach flip over. He pushed the door open quickly, whirling to put his back to the wall as the Demon gamboled past, his long tongue flicking left to right. Andrew snickered at his reaction, stopping to lean far down and peer into the long, slitted window of one room. He jerked up quickly, whipping his head up so fast he hit it on the ceiling. He shook his head- and for the first time, Sean noticed his ears. They sat nearly on the side of his neck- long, stiff and pointed. “Don’t look in there.” Andrew advised, carrying on down the hallway to the next door. Sean, curious, turned his head to look in the window. “What did I JUST say?” Andrew asked his head turned around to see the human man. Sean snapped upright, studiously ignoring the door as they passed. Andrew turned his head back around, watching the end of the hallway. A tall, metal, double door stood there. It looked, Sean thought, like an operating room. “no,” Andrew said suddenly- “it’s a Dining room.” Sean shuddered- not only at what the demon had just said- but the fact that he heard the assumption at all.
Andrew stopped suddenly, Sean accidentally passing through the back of his skinny leg. He shuddered, repulsed by the tickling feeling of wet cobwebs, passing over his skin. Andrew lifted his arm up as Sean darted out from beneath him, shuddering. “Watch where you’re going,” Andrew said, clicking his large, clawed fingers on the floor. He leant down, looking into the window of the room he had stopped by. Sean leaned far to the right, peering in, too. There, on a table, her non-existent heart beat and breathing monitored lay Anna. Beside her on the counter, her purse sat- soaking wet and her ruined heels were there too. The incessant tone of the monitors left no doubt; the body was definitely dead.
“How do we get her out?” Sean asked breathlessly, his eyes wide. “Like this.” Andrew said, and suddenly, he simply walked through the wall. Sean bolted after him, opening the door quickly and sliding in. just as they disappeared, the man in the suit appeared out of one of the rooms. In front of him, he pushed a man- he lay on the tray, his bare chest exposed. The man in the suit whistled as he wheeled him obliviously past the room where Sean and Andrew hid, using the end of the table to easily push open the dining room’s swinging door. Andrew watched him through the door’s slatted window, his huge eyes even wider than usual. “Ohhh, no…” Andrew suddenly shrunk down to half the size, turning quickly to swipe at the tubes and monitors that were attached to Anna. “What is it?” Sean asked, his voice louder than necessary- earning him a hiss from Andrew, who now seemed to completely have dropped his human fa├žade. He moved with unparalleled speed, flitting all around the table, pulling, ripping- detaching things. “A lot of demons are coming.” He said his voice barely above a whisper. Laughter suddenly sounded in the hallway. The two skittered to the edges of the room, terror keeping them silent. “Well, I think the fresh one would have been better.” Michelle’s voice filled the room- her haughty tone returned, now. “If you hadn’t messed things up…” a little girl’s voice sounded, too- right by the door as the pair passed. “At least we’ll get to eat the noxious bitch he was dating.” Michelle said, he voice fading slightly as they passed. “Do you think Andrew is done with him yet?” as their voices faded away to nothing, Andrew suddenly waved Sean over to the table. “Pick her up, carry her.” He hissed, skittering to the door. Reaching over, Sean grabbed her shoes, shoving them into her purse. He put the soaking purse across his body, the long strap barely sufficient, and picked her up easily, draped across his arms. Andrew stood tensely by the door, looking through. The energy in the room was tense, dense- almost liquid, pouring itself down the back of Sean’s throat and filling him with fear. Suddenly, more and more voices sounded in the hallway- some laughing, some joking- dozens of them, and their shadows passed before the door, revealing their numbers. Andrew, his whole body tense, seemed to be shaking. Finally, when their voices had died away- when all had been silent, for at least three minutes, Andrew turned to Sean, held a finger to his lips, and with a look of intense concentration on his face, he opened the door. Sean darted out beneath his arm, running as quickly and as silently as he could towards the end of the hallway. Just as Andrew left the room, a voice sounded from the other end of the hallway. “HEY!” Andrew skittered around, his body arching in alarm. The man in the suit stood there, fury raging plain across his face. “Put her back!” he screamed, running at Andrew, his fists raised. Andrew snarled, swiping out with one hand. As his palm flew past the man’s face, his whole body seemed to pull forward- his head tossing back, his eyes widening in alarm. A strange rattling noise came out of his throat. With another swipe, Andrew threw him bodily, through the dining room doors to hit the opposite wall. Questioning voices sounded inside the room, and 48 eyes suddenly looked at the demon in the hallway. 24 demons stood within the room, grouped in a tight bunch around the man that had been wheeled into the room. He no longer resembled a man; he was more raisin, dried out, wrinkled; aged before his time. They stared at him silently; the only sound the man in the suit, groaning in the corner. After a few moments of silence, Andrew simply turned, and ran- leaving them, with their meal, in the damp, consuming hotel.
Sean blasted across the lobby of the hotel, looking back for Andrew. The demon came gamboling through the door, already changing from the terrifying figure he had taken on. His body shrunk rapidly, his back straightening until he ran on two legs instead of four. He shrank down and down, back into the little boy he had formerly been. The two ran across the lobby, colliding with the glass doors at the front. “Andrew?” a little girl’s voice came, from far down the hallway. “Andrew, are you okay?” Andrew hopped up and down furiously, reaching for the button the taller woman demon had reached so easily, earlier in the evening. Finally, his fingers met the red circle. The doors swung open, and Sean ran out first. The little girl walked to the end of the hallway, just as the glass doors swung shut. The lobby stood empty. She stood for a moment, staring at the empty room. Then, she walked down to Andrew’s room. The door was shut tight- but inside, as always, when he wanted to be alone, Andrew’s radio was playing. Reassured, the little girl returned to the dining room, telling the other demons that nothing was wrong.
Anna ran across the street in front of them, far from where Andrew had told her to stay. “Anna!” Andrew said sharply, his voice still the rumbling growl of his true form. He grabbed her hand, dragging her along with him. The three people- one, still separated- ran down the town street. It echoed with emptiness, no one there to see the friends running along, from streetlight to streetlight. Finally, three doors down past the movie house, Andrew stopped, pulling on Anna’s arm to indicate she should, too. Sean stopped just short of running into Andrew, still holding Anna’s listless body close to his chest. “Okay, now get in!” Andrew said- as if she were simply jumping in a car. Sean held the body towards her, and suddenly, Anna heard the warning of the man again; “you’ll just be trapped in a rotting sack of meat.” But Andrew was looking at her, his bright eyes blazing in triumph, and Sean was standing there, having risked himself to save her, and in the face of all of it, her worries died away and she reached out, tentatively, to touch the body she had once called home. As soon as she touched her own skin, she felt the pull at the centre of her being, and she slid, once more into her familiar, living shell. Anna gasped, her heart thumping a beat as her consciousness slammed back into position, her nerves tingling all over as her brain jumped back to action, checking- all circuits operational. She felt gravity take over, again- anchoring her down to the earth. She suddenly regained her sense of proportion; she realized, with a start, how small Andrew really was. She breathed in, and the lovely living cold rushed into her body, clearing the cobwebs from the bottom of her soul. She breathed out, and the pain she had experienced in the room came out all at once; disappearing, like icicles on a summer night. Andrew grinned at her, joy shining from each line in his face. “You’ll be okay, now!” he said happily, sitting down on the end of his coat, as if exhausted. Sean put her down carefully on her feet, hardly able to believe what had just happened. His numb senses raged suddenly in the face of the fact that he had just felt a dead body come to life. Anna breathed deeply, concentrating on the feeling of life; on the energy that ran, from her heart, through her veins, to her mind, and down, to the ground; into the earth, and into the stream of power that runs, incessant, around the world. She could feel, easily, the energy of her friends; Andrew’s dark, strong, solid power; Sean’s bright, shining light. Not far from here, something dark, and strong, breathed- hidden. She opened her eyes, to find Andrew standing, suddenly close, smiling up at her, patiently. “How do you feel now?” he asked, swinging his arms. “alive.” She said, her voice coming from deep in her stomach. “Good!” he said, reaching out to grab her hand. His cold, dead fingers slid into hers; and she instantly recoiled, but just for a moment- remembering her promise, she held onto his hand, just as she had done before. “So what now,” Sean asked, sitting down heavily on the bench that stood nearby. Andrew, looking only at Anna, smiled brightly. “Now,” he said, his eyes gleaming red in the light from the streetlamp, “I help you get out.” Anna’s stomach sunk down into her legs, as the full meaning of his words sunk in.
Look out for another chapter in next week’s Darkness Reigns Newsletter.