Serial and Milk: Available Darkness – Chapter Six

serial-and-milk-button-225x225(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.)

Almost four hours earlier…

The man without a name stared down at the burned bodies in disbelief. He no longer bore any of the scratches, scrapes or cuts that lacerated his body just minutes earlier, but he also felt impossibly alive; a new tempo seeming to beat in the blood beneath his skin.

Inside his mind, he was still feeling the staccato of shock from the murders he committed. He wondered again what the hell happened? And more importantly, how? He could not get his brain to embrace the arctic truth lying in ash before him.

In a vain desire to resolve his numbing questions and the enigma of his own identity, he slipped into a downstairs bathroom and finally came face to face with his disquieting reflection.

The face that stared back was young, with only two tiny wrinkles yet to flirt with the corners of his full mouth. His long dark hair and indigo eyes were no more recognizable than a stranger off the street. He leaned in close, examining his features as though they were harbored behind glass in a museum. The image blurred like a breaking wave, causing him to lean even closer before the hair on his neck rose to the sound of water running from a faucet he had not turned on.

What the?

Suddenly, the mirror image was gone, replaced by a mug he’d seen just minutes earlier – the angry face of the bald man.

He fell back against the wall, before realizing his reflection hadn’t changed. He wasn’t looking through his own eyes; he was peering through the eyes of the dead man, images caught in a previously deceased moment when the man had been shaving his head.

A single beat from the false reflection’s appearance and it was gone, replaced with the wide eyed stare coming from the hollow eyes of the amnesiac.

Without warning, the world disappeared again, and the man found himself staring into the approaching fist of the bald man. A split second shattered along with the impact and the amnesiac felt like a dull echo of a faraway sound. The bald man landed another blow and he felt it, like a phantom pain in an absent limb. The amnesiac screamed in a voice that was not his own, but that of the woman who had suffered the beating he was now experiencing.

Reality returned and the amnesiac fell to the ground, shaking, gripped by vertigo. Then the ride kicked into motion again.

A million memories seemed to tear through his skull in a sudden chaotic burst of flashing images and cacophony of sound. It was too much; the man’s head felt as if it were expanding rapidly, unable to contain all these alien thoughts. He reached up as if squeezing tightly enough would be enough to keep his skull intact.

More images swam through his mind in a dizzying current in which he was cast adrift. Understanding drowned him with the sick realization that he was somehow infected with the memories of the people he’d killed.

Voices grew louder — snippets of conversation, sounds of music, stolen thoughts, growing louder and faster; both cold and sharp like the blade of a dagger, digging into some deep part of his brain like a worm turning towards the center of an apple. Should that worm burrow to the core, the man shuddered with certainty, that it would plunge him deep into a madness from which he would never ascend.

Whatever traces left of his life before waking in the tomb were now drowning in chaos as he struggled to find some tether back to reality.

The whirling world flickered in and out of existence, one second displaying the reality before him and the next, the unnerving world behind the eyes of the dead.

He couldn’t fight anymore.

He let go and slipped into the darkness.

_____________

His bedroom was impossibly dark. Even the moon hanging fat in his window held no reign here. Downstairs, the boy’s father raged. But it wasn’t his father that held his attention or commanded his fear. It was the visitor in his room.

The shadow that was not a shadow, but not quite a man.

The boy thought he might be dreaming. He rubbed his eyes and opened them again, attempting to discern the shape, or rather shapes, moving in the darkness of his room.

“Hello?” the boy asked.

“Hello,” a voice whispered back. “I’m sorry it took so long.”

_____________

The amnesiac woke to the sound of pounding.

His eyes shot open as he leaped to his feet in a single fluid motion, fists clenched tightly at his sides, palpable waves of electric currents arcing around them. He was ready for whatever was coming.

But nothing came.

He looked around. It was still dark outside. He quickly ran to the blinds and closed them to prevent the entry of unwelcome eyes. He thought of whoever had buried him in the woods and that perhaps they were outside, waiting to finish the job.

He listened. The pounding returned, a soft tempo drifting from upstairs.

Another memory flashed — closet door — unlike the barrage of visions that nearly drove him mad, this one flared and faded quickly. Just long enough to send him up the stairs, hurried but uncertain of the door’s significance.

As he hit the landing, the pounding grew louder.

“Hello?” the amnesiac’s uncertain voice wavered through the still.

“Help, help!” came the shrill scream of a terrified child.

The amnesiac raced into the master bedroom and saw the closet door. The pounding continued louder. He threw open the closet door and flicked on a light. Boxes and clothes, but no child.

“There’s a lock, open it,” the child cried out, pounding at where the lock was.

He tossed boxes aside and saw a lock with a key in it, turned it, threw it to the ground and then pressed against the wall which was a door.

And then he saw her. A girl no older than 12, dark hair hanging over her large wet, dark eyes, her mouth wrenched open in an agonized wail mixed with relief.

“Abigail” a memory whispered just as the girl reached out to hug him.

A spark shot from her skin to his, and suddenly, a barrage of images he would never be able to unsee, pierced his mind; the horror of what the bald man had done to her. The memories flickered away and were replaced by reality as he saw their arms locked, her body convulsing and pupils rolling back into her skull..

It was starting.

This murderous energy was going to take her as it had done two others already.

A terrified scream fled his throat as he pulled back with every ounce of his strength to break the connection. They both stumbled backwards.

She retreated into her dungeon like a wounded animal, shaking, as he put distance between them.

She wasn’t dying.

“Don’t …touch me,” he gasped, fear choking his voice. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

She stared at him and then brushed her arms where they had briefly touched. She looked as if to ask what had he done, but instead said something else.

“Did you kill them?”

“Yes,” he said, about to explain he hadn’t done so on purpose, when she interrupted.

“Good,” she said.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Got any comments or questions? Post them below. We’d love to hear what you think. Also, please tweet this post and help spread the word about Available Darkness and nurture online fiction.

24 responses to Serial and Milk: Available Darkness – Chapter Six

  1. Trina

    I. Am. Breathless.

    OK, your timing is impeccable, both in what you delivered and when (early – yay)

  2. janice

    If this was a book, it would be scoffed in an all-nighter. Well done, guys! This is better than what’s offer on TV over here on Fridays. Rogue&Wolverine, Sam Winchester, Angel/Blade, a character from a Maeve Binchy romance novel who got memories from a blood transfusion, dozens of kaleidoscope images that are in my head but getting drawn into this and projecting it on to my own in-house cinema screen. Loving it!

    janice’s last blog post..How to Harness the Power of Authenticity in Your Writing and Your Life

  3. Kool Aid

    I just can’t see where this is going and I LOVE it!! I wish this were a book to take with me on vacation. Can’t wait for the next chapter!

    (Sorry about the excessive use of the exclamation point, WD, but I just felt it)

    Kool Aid’s last blog post..Quote of the day

  4. Marc - WelshScribe

    Week in week out I come and think this is going to be another great chapter such that words just won’t do it enough justice.

    I mean what can I possibly say other than “I want more.”

  5. Lori Hoeck

    How fun! I agree with all the other comments — as a book, it would be consumed in a night’s reading, I’m delighted to not know where it’s headed, it’s better than any Friday night TV fare right now, and I want more!

    Lori Hoeck’s last blog post..Defense Against the Dark Hearts

    • Sean

      I want more and I’m one of the writers. : > )

      I love the mystery. The story is ALL Dave, so it’s rewarding for me to feel its richness as well.

      Sean’s last blog post..The Sands of Time

  6. Mary Anne Fisher

    Oh. Mah. Gawd. This just gets better and better… and worse and worse! I, too, would inhale the *book* in one sitting.

    But nothing beats the fiendishly sweet agony of murderous anticipation. Keep it coming! 😉

    Mary Anne Fisher’s last blog post..Who’s Number One?

    • Sean

      Just like the serials of yesteryear. If there’s a cooler Friday feature online, I’m not sure where it is. : > ) Thanks for being a part of it, Mary Anne.

      Sean’s last blog post..The Sands of Time

  7. Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)

    This chapter is excellent. Nothing like I could have imagined. There is also a building eeriness. I found this description to be unique:

    “He leaned in close, examining his features as though they were harbored behind glass in a museum. The image blurred like a breaking wave….”

    Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)’s last blog post..Doodling My Way To Creativity

    • Sean

      That description is a PERFECT example of the two of us writing in harmony; impossible to break apart to find where one of us ended and the other started.

      Sean’s last blog post..The Sands of Time

      • David Wright

        It’s funny that a few of the lines which people have picked as favorites were lines which we both contributed to. I find it odd since there are large chunks of text where it’s either you or I unfiltered, but when one of the lines which is both of us gets attention, it is doubly rewarding.

      • Sean

        I totally agree. What’s REALLY awesome is going back to the original chapters. I have no clue who wrote what. There are a couple of phrases where our individual ticks are there, but overall it’s blended so well and there’s been enough distance that I honestly don’t have a clue. THAT’s collaboration.

        Sean’s last blog post..The Sands of Time

  8. David Wright

    I’m glad everyone is enjoying the story. This chapter in particular was a thrill to create with Sean. The deeper into the story we get, the more I want to put words down on page and get it out to you all. It is only by sheer restraint that I am not driving this train faster.

    Does anybody frequent horror web sites or forums? If you do and you can mention this story in a non-spammy way, I’d love it! Sean and I are definitely going to be pushing this for publication and may have an in-road in that department (crosses fingers). Every bit of help we can get to help publicize this story will only serve to make it better.

    Thank you for reading and showing up here each Friday.

    Oh, while I have you, is there another day of the week you’d prefer to read this? I sometimes wonder if Friday is a good day because so many people have the weekend on their mind and are probably not looking to escape into another 1,200 words of dark fiction. Of course, I could be wrong.

  9. Online Fiction - Available Darkness

    […] Online Fiction: Available Darkness Part I Online Fiction: Available Darkness Part II Online Fiction: Available Darkness Part III Online Fiction: Available Darkness Part IV Online Fiction: Available Darkness Part V Online Fiction: Available Darkness Part VI […]

  10. Michael

    It’s an eerie 3:30 a.m. here as I reread this chapter for the second time. It has staying power, that’s for sure! There’s a lot going on and I can’t wait for Friday’s edition. By the way, I like Friday’s because even if I can’t get to it that morning I still have something to look forward to over the weekend. There’s always room for a little dark fiction, David!

    Michael’s last blog post..Picture This: Day 4

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