Serial and Milk: Available Darkness – Chapter 3
(Serial and Milk: Available Darkness is a serialized horror story co-written by David Wright and Sean Platt. A new chapter appears here each Friday. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them here.)
A shrill scream, infused with terror, woke him with a start and swamped his mind’s eye with the horrifying image of a woman in distress. His eyes shot open and he thrust himself sideways, spinning to avoid whatever might be lurking in the dark.
He was alone on the floor of the shed.
“Get out!” the woman screamed again, shattering the stillness of pre-dawn. His eyes followed the cry until they fell on the house in front of him. He cautiously moved towards the shed’s open door. It was still dark outside, but the night seemed somehow more alive than he remembered.
Did I sleep through an entire day?
He could clearly see inside the large window at the rear of the house. The blinds were open to showcase the source of the scream, a thin woman wearing a tee shirt nearly as black as the hair that spilled just past her shoulders. She thrust a finger into the face of a bald man who seemed about the size of a linebacker. He appeared terrifying from the back; the man in the shed could only imagine the atrocity of his face.
“Get the fuck out!” she shouted, her voice betraying a bravery she pretended to have.
The bald man swung one of his beefy arms, as though it was a bat about to crack a ball, and sent the woman sprawling to the floor like a lifeless doll. She fell slightly out of frame and the bald man grabbed a fistful of the woman’s hair and dragged her the rest of the way.
The hulking steroid case then did something that surprised the man still standing inert at the threshold of the shed. He began to wail on the woman, blow upon blow, only elbows flying into sight as he bellowed an incoherent mix of cursing and angry, random words.
He’s going to fucking kill her.
Without thinking, the man in the shed ran toward the sliding glass doors at the back of the house. He found the first one locked. The second one was not. He shouldered through the verticals and into the family room where the bald man was still battering the woman. She was pleading through thick sobs while shielding herself from his fury. Her arms had caught the brunt of the attack and were fire engine red from their effort.
The bald man was busy with the beating, allowing the interloper plenty of time to search for a weapon. He scanned the space, decided on a wooden chair from the adjoining dining room, then grabbed the chair, hoisted it above his head and charged towards the monster like a train off its tracks.
His footfalls were a siren to the bald man who spun around —Oh Christ, that face— just as the chair came crashing down, crashing into the man’s head with a sick, wet thump.
The wounded man fell back on top of the woman as his hand reached out and grabbed a leg of the chair. He wrested it away from the intruder and flung it aside, regaining his footing.
The behemoth rose like a sleeping bear, his eyes a mix of confusion and cold, dark, predatory rage as they locked onto the stranger. Sticky crimson and chunks of fatty tissue poured from a wound on his pit bull of a forehead and dribbled into his mouth; an angry maw of bad dental work. He was easily a foot taller and a buck fifty heavier than the amnesiac, but the stranger stood his ground.
The bald man did the unthinkable by giving vent to a dry and heaving laugh, then swung a lumbering punch that connected hard with the smaller man’s jaw. The intruder fell back, a shattering pain shooting through his mandible. He was certain the bastard had broken his jaw.
The bald man grunted as he lurched forward intent on crushing the little pissant’s windpipe.
As he seized the man’s scrawny neck, the behemoth began to violently convulse.
“What..”, he sputtered, “the… fuck?” his voice garbled, eyes bulged wide as his hands shook uncontrollably. He tried to let go of the stranger, but couldn’t, his thumb and fingers instead pulled taut.
The intruder seized the man’s arms, attempting to break free—but fate had a different agenda. He felt a current of energy shoot through his body, as though he had wrapped his hands around a live wire. An invisible explosion of energy burst from the bald man and into the intruder’s fingers, flooding first his veins before his soul.
His body felt ablaze, though the fire did nothing more than tickle his nerves for a few flickering seconds before twisting into an incredible feeling of impossible strength. He watched, as if a spectator in his own body, as the horrifying scene unfolded.
The bald man continued to convulse, his skin bubbling as though a thousand different currents writhed like snakes just beneath his skin. His eyes were hollowed out holes of dark liquid as thick ropes of blood gushed from his mouth. He tried again to break free from the intruder, but only continued to twitch.
If he’d still had eyes, the last thing the bald man would have seen, would have been the color of his skin burn ashy gray as the last of his life fled from his body.
“Oh my God!” the woman wept behind him as she let out an unearthly wail.
The stranger looked back just as the woman flung herself toward him in an effort to save her dying abuser. She tripped instead, falling forward into the intruder’s arms. The second their skin touched, her body started to shake as a new fire began to blaze.
The intruder panicked and tried to pull free. He didn’t want to kill her, but could do nothing to break their connection. He fed off the fire, feeling it flood through his body, like the pure adrenaline of infinity.
He was alive like never before. Energy pulsed in his veins, radiating through his muscles, bone and skin. He felt every pore of his body suddenly alive like never before! His mind soared, up and out of his body, and spiraled into the heavens above.
He floated above the earth and surveyed the neat rows of houses and trees below. The night was teeming with life. He closed his eyes, feeling the vitality of a hundred thousand living things below as surely as he felt the cool breeze whip past the body of his floating ghost.
His eyes flicked open and he found himself back in his body, staring down at the mosaic of two withered corpses.
What the hell am I?
To be continued…
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