Short Story By Miro
What a treacherous dreamscape I’m plunged into; rolling hills of a deep maroon, as far as the eye can see, and one can only assume what horrors lie in their depths. Brooding monstrosities lurking at the gaping mouths of the screaming mountains, the rock faces petrified in an eternal terror, almost as if warning me, contradicting my every action.
Above my existence is the sky, stained a viscous red and infested with long, drooping tendrils which threaten to swoop on me should I let my guard drop too far. Nestled behind the deep entanglement of disembodied appendages is a sun, one which resembled an over worked, blood-shot eye. Never blinking, always watching.
This world is barren, devoid of any life capable of sheltering my fragile, human body. The air tastes foul and poisonous, and the surveying sun is radiating pure dread itself. The wind is sharped and edged, cutting into my skin. On the wind rides a slew of demonic spores, burrowing into the flesh; cultivating and consuming like the executioners of a
scaphism, leaving my wounds to fester and rot.
In an act of self preservation I brave the tenebrously dark cave entrance. I hesitate, but after hearing the leafless bushes whistle uncannily in the wind, I dive into the bowels of the cave like a happy pill sliding down the throat of a grayed, depressive man.
Panicked but reserved, I calm myself to a walk, anything more than that would be to in-dignify myself and give power to the encroaching darkness. So I walk alongside the pointed rock walls, carefully choosing my footing by the light of the sinister blood roots feeding on the sanguine soaked air.
Hearing a sound directly behind me, I jerk my head rapidly, but I see nothing; the light on the far side of this ravine is negligible at best. I return all of my focus to traversing the rough cavern, not giving the incident much though. This was hard enough without some fiend at my throat, so I buried the thought quickly, hoping that it would do the same
and leave me to my own devices. Is that so much to ask for?
Apparently so, because within seconds I hear the scuttling of small feet on the black basalt all around me. By the glow of phosphorescent fungus I see it, immediately wishing I hadn’t. At first glance it seemed nothing more than a crawling child, but upon further inspection I notice some abnormalities; It’s fingers were elongated, most likely to assist in
scaling the rugged cave walls, and it’s head represented an eggplant: Oblonged and deformed. Resting in it’s sunken sockets were dark, bloated eyes, more likely suited to the dank, shadowy nature of the abyss.
I know I’m surrounded by these beasts, like a wounded animal in a pool of piranhas, left dead in the water. I take a step forward in anticipation, readying myself for conflict. In unison they begin shrieking, creating a symphony of screams and screeches, circling me like a hurricane of sheer terror.
My thoughts, all incoherent except for one: If I stay here, I’m going to die. The one thought broke my paralysis, and within seconds I kicked the ground beneath me, thrusting myself further into the monster’s den.
I broke into an awkward run, grabbing at the walls constantly to balance myself. My hands, a bloody pulp from the sharp stalactites lining the walls, only encouraged the mouth frothing troglodytes in pursuit, starving for their next gorge.
One made a move, leaping from the tall ceiling, attempting to swing onto my back. I clumsily side stepped, missing it’s grasp by only mere inches. I hear an unceremonious splat on the ground behind me, trying to not give it much thought.
The oncoming horde didn’t seemed deterred, no, they seemed encouraged, almost strengthened by their comrades fall. They
started leaping in groups, and as more and more of them piled onto my back, beating my spine with their ghastly fingers, it became harder to move, harder to escape.
But I kept trying; To stop and fight would be pointless, there’s no way I can overcome them all, so I insisted on keeping my pace, hoping that some other eldritch monstrosity further in the chasm would come to my aid, and not to my demise.
Estimating at least three piggy-backing me, more and more keep trying to get a grip, to bog me down. I can hear the sounds of those who fail behind me, impaled by the stalagmites below.
I can no longer move, there are too many of them beating and constricting me. I try to grab and pull them off of me, to rip off their grips, but it’s no use, and with my focus elsewhere I take a misstep, sending me and my huggers plummeting into a seemingly bottomless pit. Like lemmings, the rest follow without thought.
We fell for what seemed an eternity, but their rage was unaffected and they maintained their onslaught, flailing at me with their disproportionate limbs, and smashing their elongated heads into my body.
And finally we hit; it wasn’t quite a solid surface, but it felt like one, and I myself would be nothing more than a phantom if it weren’t for my attackers taking most of the impact. Slowly regaining consciousness, I gaze at my new surroundings.
I was in an underground grotto, now in a lake. Floating only feet away from me was a pile of the fiends’ corpses, and I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of empathy for them; they were only hunting to feed themselves, but when I recalled that I was the prey, the pity faded and I proceeded onward, not sure where I was going, but very sure that I couldn’t stay
here. There’s no knowing what hideous realities our commotion could have awakened.
Lifting myself onto a ledge and out of the water, I see a faint, pulsing light in one of the tunnels before me. Without thought, I start moving towards it, most likely a lure to my own demise, like a moth led to a flame.
I pass through the winding tunnels slowly, my legs still functional but barely, are horribly warped from the fall, and my hands are caked with fetid, crusty infection, most likely lethal (I know not what ghastly disease this land has), but I doubt I’ll live long enough for it to kill me.
Turning the final corner, I enter the ominously lit room. I find myself in the chest cavity of this living mountain, because before me stands a massive living, beating heart.
I am fortunate that my voyage through the tunnels was uneventful, but my luck caught up to me as I heard a cacophony of other-worldly noises, steadily gaining on my position, like anti-bodies pursuing an infiltrating virus, ready to neutralize the threat.
At once it became obvious what I needed to do: Kill the heart, the life of this mountain, the source of this horrible existence. In an instant I put all my effort to snapping off a wall spike, and once succeeded, donned it in both arms, stabbing and slashing and twisting the point.
Out of the heart poured maggots and puss, and the aroma of it alone was almost enough to overpower me, but I kept attacking with my remaining, depleted energy.
The first responders were on the scene now, showing their indescribable faces and their undefinable carcasses. They were
coming for me, and I knew I had only seconds before my minute existence was ended.
In one last savage attempt, I sink the stone deep into the heart, hitting an artery, and within moments all goes dark, the beating heart stops, and my surroundings grow lifeless.
I sit up straight in my bed, drenched in sweat and housed in a horrid odor. I groped the wall for my lamp and sit in silence for a few minutes, waiting, contemplating.
I slowly transitioned back into bed; the long, powerful claws of exhaustion drags me back into the world of my own darkness.
I sleep better this time; the maggots in my mouth and throat squirm comfortingly, and the exposed bones of my fingers feel nice against my still heart.
What a nice dream that was.