Available Darkness: Chapter 14
(Serial and Milk: Available Darkness is a serialized thriller 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.)
Abigail lifted her head and opened her lids to a swath of angry shadows and blood-red blur.
She was sitting upright in a chair, arms fastened behind her and thick cord chewing at her ankles. Somewhere above her, soft cinnamon lights cast the dark room in a sinister blush. She saw the hazy image of someone sitting directly in front of her, also bound.
She pretended not to notice the other person, while slowly attempting to calculate her surroundings before her captors grew wise to her awareness; a lesson well learned during her time in the monster‘s closet. Her new cage was small; the only sticks of furniture being two chairs so old, Abigail could clearly see the paint peeling even in the shadows.
A dull ache shivered through her shoulders, hands and ankles from whatever had been used to bind her. Only once her mind’s fog had started its recession did she realize the other prisoner was her own reflection in a large mirror that ran up and down the length of the wall. In the reflection, she saw another smaller mirrored window and a door with no knob on the wall behind her. Just a deadbolt.
A prisoner once again.
The last thing Abigail remembered was the van door sliding open. Immediately before that, the thing she would never forget, the deputy’s head blown clean from his shoulders. She remembered looking down and watching in horror as his blood stained both her arms and the front of her jacket. The jacket was now missing. She was in the tee shirt and pajama bottoms she’d been wearing, with the stench of sweat and blood coating her like dry mud.
Abigail struggled to loosen her binds, but her muscles spasmed in painful protest. She wiggled her toes against a cold floor which had neither tile or carpet, dressed instead in the slightly powdery feel of unfinished concrete. Using her toes, she found just enough leverage to rock her seat. The chair screeched, and she was certain whoever was watching her, probably from the other side of the mirror, had captured the sound.
She looked directly into the mirror and smiled. “Well, what are you waiting for?” she asked in a voice that wore an unwavering veneer of false courage.
Silence met her facade.
A sudden fear rippled through her body as Abigail wondered which would be the worse fate, to be left alone in a room to die or held prisoner by the men who stole her. She had only seconds to stew in the alternatives before the telltale sound of keys jingled against the silence from the other side of the door.
The lock clicked and the door swung open.
A bald man wearing nothing but black materialized in the reflection. He appeared to be in his late 30’s, but truth is always more difficult in the dark. His face harbored no color and his cheeks were sallow. Two black pits bounced against the mirror toward Abigail from the grey pools sunken in the man’s face. He smiled, perhaps the creepiest smile she’d ever seen, a near impossible blue ribbon considering her past.
The man in black disappeared from the doorway for a moment before Abigail heard a long, drawn scraping sound coming up the hall.
She watched the mirror, her heart beating loud enough to echo as she tried to imagine the source of the din.
The man reappeared, dragging a heavy looking black wood chair slowly and deliberately behind him, his eyes never leaving her reflection; the crooked smile never leaving his face.
“Hello,” he said, his voice smooth and almost soothing, a well rehearsed repose that only added to the menace.
The scraping grew louder as he circled her with the chair before coming to rest just a few feet in front of her. He yanked the chair up, surprisingly quick and Abigail flinched. His smile widened.
He then slammed the chair down with a loud thud which echoed off the walls. The chair back faced her. the man sat down, also facing her, legs straddling the seat back and arms draped almost lazily off the back of the chair, his fingers dangling just inches from her chest.
“Cat got your tongue?” he asked, “I said, ‘hello.’”
“Hello,” she said, her bravery evaporated.
Abigail’s heartbeat seemed to carry the decibels of thunder in the confinement of their narrow space. Somehow, the man not only seemed to notice her quickened pulse, but appeared to take great pleasure as well.
“And what is your name, sweetie?”
She saw no sense in lying, so told him in a whisper. He extended his fingers, gesturing a hand shake before pulling them back, as if he had absentmindedly forgotten that she was bound.
“My name is Jacob,” he said, “and I’d like to ask you some questions about the man you were with.”
Abigail hesitated then said, “What man?”
Jacob — if that was indeed his name — cocked his head to the side. The same smile that had haunted his face a moment before returned, though wider and this time more terrifying.
“Listen, Abigail,” he said from behind his teeth, “I am going to ask you some questions and it would be in your best interests to simply tell the truth.”
She stared at him, silent. She wasn’t trying to be defiant, but rather trying to buy time while she thought of how she would answer his questions about her angel.
Jacob leaned in to Abigail until his fingers were a mere inch from her face. A blue spark shot from his skin to hers and she jumped back with a squeal.
He pulled his hand back, tilted his head slightly and furrowed his brow.
“Oh, I’m quite sorry,” he said, wearing sincerity like an ornament, “I really didn’t mean to do that.”
He stood up, then faced away from her and into the mirror, where his eyes met Abigail’s in an embrace she couldn’t break.
“You see, sometimes I forget…” he trailed off for a moment, lost in thought, “I certainly don’t wish you any harm. You are only a child, after all. A poor innocent child caught up in something far beyond her understanding.”
The sincerity on his face seemed to deepen alongside Abigail’s confusion. She began to wonder if maybe this man could help John. Perhaps the two of them were friends?
“Unfortunately,” Jacob said, still staring in the mirror, “my friend here doesn’t have the same compunctions about children.”
A sound snapped the unsteady quiet behind her and Abigail watched in horror as something unthinkable suddenly writhed through the door; something so wretched it devoured the image of the deputy’s head exploding.
An almost skeletal woman entered the room, nude and hairless, her skin almost featureless, save for a nearly translucent membrane of skin that glistened in the glow of amber light. She looked, in a word, undone. Her breasts were two small sacks with nipples absent. Her face wore the landscape of a nightmare, lacking eyes, ears or even a mouth, constantly changing as bones or something shifted beneath the skin as if in a blind attempt at completing its form.
And the sound, the crunching of bones beneath the monster’s flesh, reached into Abigail’s gut and twisted like a blade.
The minion moved slowly, long, skeletal fingers, without nails, reaching out to feel its way around. At first it felt the doorway and then reached out, into the room, as it stepped forward with trepidation. Its footfalls slapped like wet fish against the floor as it moved forward. As the creature’s impossibly long fingers felt blindly around the room, Abigail spun her head back, eyes dilated in trembling terror.
“No, don’t let it touch me!” she whimpered, struggling to break free her binds at the demon’s approach.
Jacob held up a hand, almost casually, and the creature recoiled, its limbs flying over its face like a scolded child, or misused animal. An unholy shriek filled the room, though the thing had no mouth. Abigail was pretty certain the shrieking was not something she heard with hear ears, but rather her mind.
“Go!” he commanded and the shrieking stopped instantly.
The creature retreated, its hands finding the doorway before leaving the room.
Abigail was still shaking and shame flushed her face as she realized she had pissed herself.
“Remember now,” his smile lit the room. “No lies.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
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