Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Beter Nate Than Lever....

Hell A

Chapter 3

It was already well into May, but there was still a chill in the night air. Johnny shivered beneath the blankets, his sleep fitful. The smell of Jasmine filled the air. Its presence tugged at him, nearly bringing him out of his dreams.

He needed to rest; his mind was playing tricks on him. He could practically her Jenna’s laughter in the other room. As he curled into a ball, gripping a pillow to his chest, he had the sudden sensation of falling. The sensation was a familiar one. He willed himself to wake. It happened often when he had trouble sleeping, weaving in and out of a dream state. He gasped with surprise when his body smashed into something unyielding. The darkness was all but absolute. He held his hand over his face, barely making out the shape of his fingers. He could feel dampness soak into his nightshirt. He turned his, causing tiny tendrils to caress his cheek. The smell dew wafted up as his movements shook it from the blades of grass.

What the--? How’d I get outside? He sat up, his eyes adjusting to their new environment.
He squinted, peering into the darkness. Something moved out there. He held his breath, watching as the darkness folded in on itself. The black mass rolled and contorted, growing exponentially. Johnny felt thunder vibrate the ground as the center of the twisted cloud ripped open. Yellow light spilled forth, making the grass around him look blue. He had nearly mustered the courage to run when a pale arm snaked out of the hole. The long curve of a woman’s calf quickly followed. Bouncing curls, the color of honey, slipped through with the other arm. The hole closed behind her as she fell to her knees in front of him. When she looked up at him, his heart lurched. Her eyes, those beautiful baby blues, held something in them he had never seen there before: A hunger for something he was afraid to guess.

“Jenna?” His voice sounded weak even to himself.
“Of course, silly. Who else would I be?”
“How are you doing this?”
She stared at him, head tilted, eyes narrowed. She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth, released it.
“It’s your dream,” she finally answered with a shrug. “Are you going to waste what little time we have together wondering how I got here or do you want to come play with me?”
“A dream?” Johnny looked around the murky landscape. “But everything feels so real.”
“Don’t all your dreams?”
“I don’t know.” He couldn’t help but laugh. “I can’t remember most of them.”
“Well, I guarantee you’ll remember this one.” She extended her hand to help him to his feet. “Come on. I have something to show you.”

As she pulled him to his feet, he began to believe he truly was dreaming. At six four, two hundred pounds, he was by no means a small man and she was barely a buck twenty soaking wet. Yet, she lifted him from the ground with ease.

“Where are we going?”
“You’ll see--,” she said, tracing a vertical line in the air before them.
Light danced out of the air above her finger, illuminating her trail. Johnny felt moist air wash over his face as the hole widened. The smell of Jasmine nearly choked him from its intensity.

The walls inside the hole moved, pulsating as if to some unheard sonata. Jenna ducked as she stepped through the fissure. She smiled at him over her shoulder, extending her hand back for him to grasp. He entered and nearly fell in the soft floor of the tunnel. He instinctively reached for the wall to steady himself, but recoiled in horror when a body writhed up against his hand beneath the thin film of the wall. He fell to his knees, staring at the spot his hand had touched. He could just make out a shoulder, an arm…a face, then it was gone. He stared down the expanse and the realization fell on him like a bale of hay; the wall wasn’t pulsating, it was lined with countless bodies pushing against the membrane that separated him from an insanity he could only guess at.

He stood to run, but Jenna grabbed him by the arm. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you. It’s not far.”
Her voice echoed in the small space, but it was the only sound he could hear. Whatever those things were doing, they were doing it with an unearthly quiet.
“What the hell is going on?” He swallowed hard, trying not to see the hands stretching the walls toward him. “Screw this…I’m outta here.”
He turned away from her, ready to bolt. The hole was gone. Only those things were behind him for as far as he can see.
“It’s too late for that now. There’s no turning back.”
“I’ve gotta wake up,” he panted, his breathing as troubled as his mind. “This place is seriously messed up.”

“Come.” She took his hand again. “Let me get you out of here.”
Johnny squeezed his eyes shut. He couldn’t bare to see those wretched creatures any more. His only comfort was the warmth of her hand in his. He struggled to focus on that rather than the squishing of his footsteps along the soft trail.
They walked for what felt like an eternity. When Jenna stopped, Johnny nearly ran into her. The floor beneath him felt firmer, but he refused to open his eyes to see where he was.
“We’re here,” she whispered, pulling her hand out of his.
“Where’s here?”
“Take a look,” she suggested with a laugh.

Johnny swallowed hard and let his left eye open just a crack. Seeing no moving walls, he let his open fully. He was in a bare room with cinderblock walls. A single light hung from the ceiling, swaying. It’s caused the shadows in the far corner to ebb and flow with its motion. He jerked his head to the left, to the right. He spun in a quick circle. The shadows only lurked in one corner. He stared into the darkness. What the hell is going on?

“Relax, he won’t hurt you,” Jenna assured him, placing a hand on his forearm.
“Who--” he began, but fell silent as eyes appeared in the corner.
The shadows swirled and drew in tight around the eyes before floating to the floor. What ever it was, it had the shape of a man, but the only feature Johnny could discern were those beautiful eyes with the golden irises. The shadows parted below them, revealing two rows of pearly whites. Is it smiling at me?

Johnny watched in quiet horror as the canine teeth extended into sleek fangs. He tried to back away, but Jenna’s grip on his arm tightened.
“Let me go, Jenna.” Johnny turned to her the plea in his eyes as strong as the one on his lips. “We have to get out of here.”
“But I haven’t introduced you yet. He has a wonderful surprise for us.”
“He’s a vampire!”
“There’s no such thing as vampires.” Her ensuing laughter made him flinch. “He is going to set us free.”
“Damn right.” Johnny growled, jerking free and running for the tunnel behind him.
“Johnny, wait!” Her voice floated just behind his ear.
“I’ve got to get away from that thing!”
“You’re making this much harder than it has to be.” She shoved his shoulders, sending him sprawling face first.

“Are you one too?” He didn’t dare turn to face her for fear of seeing fangs.
“Baby, don’t fight it. Give yourself to me. I miss you.”
“I don’t want to be a monster.”
“Then you had better come rescue me,” she teased, her voice cold.
“How do I get home?”
“You’re already there.” She covered his eyes with her hand. “See you tomorrow.”

Johnny lurched, tumbling from the bed in a shower of sheets. He gulped in air as he looked around the familiar shapes of his darkened bedroom. Sweat rolled into his eyes. His entire body was soaking wet. He wiped his face with the edge of the sheet. He needed to see, needed to be sure he was safe.
“Christ!” He took a deep breath in an attempt to calm his nerves. “What a nightmare.”

As he replayed the events in his mind, the smell of Jasmine faded from the air.


At 10:36 AM, Blogger lime said...

funky stuff. i love how well you describe such odd happenings. i'm there.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Thank ya, kindly. :D

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Bernita said...

"Christ! What a nightmare..."
pretty well sums it up.
You manage the real/non-real quality very well, James.
And this sort of scene is not usually done as well as this.
Perhaps it's the interaction, rather than the usual technique of recounting, which makes this vivid and so effective.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Thanks, Bernita. I wanted it to have the "nightmare" feel to it, but just enough reality of senses, to leave the reader wondering if it were a nightmare, the start of something horrific...

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Bernita said...

"...the start of something horrific..."
You were successful.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger James Goodman said...

I appreciate that, Bernita.


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