Freak – Part Six
“Do you think we should help him?”
“Nah, its just that kid from third hour — you know the one. He’s always staring at you.”
“I know … but he just seems so helpless.”
“Well, I’m open to any suggestions. The car can only hold so many people and there are plenty of others injured — others we can trust.”
“I know, but…”
“Listen,” the second voice now getting louder and more intense said, “maybe if he showed any signs of life we would take him, but look; he hasn’t moved this entire time and I’m not sure if you were smart enough to notice but he has a gaping hole in his leg and his left hand is slashed open. If he’s not already dead now, he will be pretty soon. And we don’t have enough time to waste it standing out here arguing about some soon-to-be-dead kid. It’s only by some miracle that the bombs haven’t landed already — only god knows how long that alarm has been howling for. If we want to have any chance toward making it to the vault, we need to leave now. We need to get there before the people from the city those poor scum drive in or ride the bus down and take up the rest of the spots.”
The first voice must have consented because the sound of their conversation grew dimmer and dimmer until they were but a whisper and he couldn’t understand them anymore. But that last thing the second voice said was very important: they were going to the vault. And they were going to leave without him; it would be the second time he was left for dead today. He wouldn’t tolerate it — not again. This would be the last opportunity he would have for survival and he wasn’t about to squander it. Lifting his head was a chore but it had to be done. The blood that now pooled on the cement coming from his nose was sticky and acted as a weak adhesive pulling weakly on the flab on his cheek. The will and power to lift his head was gone; he gave up and let himself wallow in his own juices. He screamed out an incoherent cry of alarm and desperation the hurt of his body helping it along. Everything he had left was put into this wail. He wailed until his lungs deflated, and his throat felt battered. He wouldn’t know if it worked out not because his short moment of having consciousness was lost once again.
He was being sent up toward heaven, he thought; the wind was flowing through his hair and he could sense no pain. It was a magnificent feeling knowing all his worries were gone — no more pretentious people, no more psychotic family, and no more trying. It was just as beautiful as he had imagined it would be: large pillars of white marble stood before buildings of magnificent sizes and architecture. A grand fountain stood glorious, water erupting from its pool into the sky and cascading downward around prancing angels dancing and laughing. He had never been happier before in life; death seemed to be the greatest thing that ever happened to him. He now stood upon pillows of white cloud yet his feet didn’t fall through in the slightest; it held firm like any floor would.
As he stepped forward, he noticed that his limbs and his body were fine they didn’t hurt and he had no reason to walk with a limp. He held his chin up high as he alone approached a massive gate, a white wall attached to either sides not having a visible end in sight. A man sat at a table papers thrown all about, he seemed disheveled.
The man’s hair was a tangled mess, his sleeves were pushed up to his elbows. The front part of his shirt had a splotch of blue ink and so did part of his table. Some papers covered the floor a few feet away from him residing near a spot next to a small waste basket labeled “Nope.” The man looked up slow and lazily seemingly irritated about being disturbed from his work. The man’s eyes were a solid black and they didn’t blink — they were empty voids that wanted to consume him, but this was heaven so how could he be afraid. This was supposed to be a sanctuary for those that were good of heart and did no wrong.
“What do you want?”
The man’s voice came out as a ragged gasp; it didn’t seem like a humans voice at all it much more resembled some type of awful beast. The man continued his penetrating watch waiting for a response to his question. He couldn’t hold the man’s gaze for any longer; he had to look away. It was then he noticed the small sign placed on the front of the men’s table: Cerberus. Where had he heard that name before? He raked his mind for the answer. Cerberus, Cerberus, Cerberus … it sounded so familiar but it didn’t ring any bells; all he knew was that the name definitely had some significant weight to it.
The man stood up from the table a lot taller than he had first appeared. He had a stout neck and giant shoulders so large that they looked like hunchback size lumps on both sides of his head. The man’s arms rippled with muscle, and his chest stood out making him a frightening figure.
“If you make me ask you one one time I’m going to rip your heart out.”
The man uttered that line with a sick anticipation as if he was eagerly waiting him to give himself some type of excuse to carry out the threat.
“I, um, I, just, uh, wanted to … get in?”
The man gave out a terrifying laughter like thunder being blended in a tornado. His arms were held across his stomach and he bent himself over his cackle was so severe.
“That’s a new one … you actually want to go to Hell?”
The question threw him for a loop. How could this be Hell? It was so beautiful…
He turned his head sideways for a better look through the gate and before his eyes the scene changed. The angels were now devils dancing in a fountain of blood, eyeballs bobbed up and down as their hooves irritated the liquid. The marvelous white pillars were no longer constructed from marble but now from bones. From the normal femur and the likes belonging humans to bones that must have belonged to some horrifyingly terrifying creature. The buildings no longer existed in their stead — now large gaping pits with a dingy staircase spiraling downwards. He looked down and he was no longer standing on puffy white clouds but mutilated bodies; bodies that filled the air with their revolting odor causing him to gag in his throat. The man at this point composed himself and stood up straight, his hair seemed longer and his arms were now matted in hair. His mouth opened and his lips raised to form a snarl uncovering rows upon rows of sharp teeth. A growl seemed to escape from the man yet where the sound came from was not yet apparent.
He didn’t wait another moment, before he turned tail and ran. He needed to get away. He didn’t deserve this. He had been a good kid. This type of place was reserved for murderers and rapists, of which he was neither. Behind him rang an unnatural and terrifying howl. He couldn’t allow himself a glance or even a moment to look backward. Whatever was coming for him he didn’t want to know what it was. Hell outside of the gates was just a plane of corpses and a deep red skyline. Where is the end, he thought to himself. His limbs began to feel heavier and more and less responsive. The turrian was a difficult thing to manage running over the uneven surface of lumpy bodies.
The figure sprinting behind him seemed to be picking up its pace, the sound of quickly moving footsteps getting louder and louder. He had never been a very great long distance runner, favoring laying down and playing video games instead of playing any kinds of sports. He wouldn’t be able to keep his stride for very much longer.
And as it turned out he wouldn’t need to.
The right side of his body was crashed into by some heavy object and he was thrown toward the left into a pile of arms and toes. He laid there, his body feeling numb; he didn’t have enough time to get up and begin running again until a giant paw rested onto his chest. The pressure it enforced made him think that his ribs were going to cave in; he couldn’t breathe in in the slightest. In his desperation, he lashed out against the giant paw on top of him until his left hand caught itself on one of its claws slashing it open. It was then that the paw released him from the ground he had only a moment to collect himself until a giant mouth bit his left leg and lifted him from the ground and into the sky. His blood ran downward and into his mouth and into his nostrils; it was almost as if he were waterboarding himself.
He swung his fist trying to lash out at anything he could but all he managed to hit was air. The next thing he knew, he was being flung in the air once again — but this time, he was offered an image of the beast attacking him. It looked like any normal dog, only this dog was the size of a median household and on either sides of its middle head was two others. He landed with a splat onto more squishy bodies, just as he was about to lift his head in order to see the advances of the oncoming dog. His head was pulled backward, and then his legs and both of his arms. An arm came into his sights and then an ear, next came a skull, half of its face was ripped off.
The bodies were going to consume him and there was nothing he could do to stop it. He thrashed about as violently as he possibly could but the things holding him were too strong. He could hear nothing but his own screams as he was led to the abyss.
previous: Freak – Part Five
more by FRANCISCO LEYVA
photograph by Sarah Babineau
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