Stull Cemetery (PART 6)

Her hand, despite being burned beyond recognition, was still glued to the wall. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something crawling down that wall, advancing towards the bumpy, ragged lump.

I couldn’t turned my head towards it. I had become a stone statue, unable to move independently.

My right eye closed on its own, shifting the focus to my left eye. It quickly identified the movement on the wall as a smooth crimson mass moving at a constant, steady velocity. It was a liquid, thick and heavy… Blood.

It approached the remains of her hand. It crept over her fingers and inched up her arm. It made its way over her body until it coated her like a second skin.

The hot, sticky, thick liquid solidified over her like a layer of glistening crimson glass. It was malleable, like a knight’s armor.

Her hand separated from the wall. There was no sound as her armored fingers pulled away from the grey stone.

She pivoted towards me and stopped, standing as straight as a flagpole. Her hands were trapped at her sides and her chin was raised slightly.

Lori didn’t look human anymore. The thing before me didn’t look like Lori.

She had become a blob with no distinguishable features besides her clothing. Every inch of uncovered skin had become covered in the blood armor, like a grotesque demon from some horror movie.

In the flashlight’s flickering glow, I realized that’s exactly what it was; a demon.

That realization alone should have been enough to send my paralyzed body running for the hills.

It wasn’t.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had convinced myself that I had made this up. The scene before my eyes even had that sense of distance I associate with dreams. The sense you feel when you’re staring out a  window, daydreaming instead of listening to your teacher lecture in a monotone voice.

The flashlight died less than a second later, sinking between my fingers like a coffin. It clanged to the ground, resting its head on my foot with an inaudible sigh. It nailed my toes to the ground.



The voice was not mine. The voice was not Lori’s. It did not come from me. It did not come from Lori.

The voice, soft and rough like a mountain, croaked my name with a slight lisp. It echoed between my ears until the syllables no longer made sense.

The voice did not come from me. The voice did not come from Lori.

The voice came from the wall. It came from somewhere beyond the grey stone. It came from somewhere beyond this narrow, suffocating space. It came from somewhere hot, hotter than this. It came from somewhere with a putrid stench that fills every cubic centimeter of the air. It came from somewhere that holds innumerable screams of agony; of pain; of eternal death.

The voice did not come from me. The voice did not come from Lori.

The voice did not come from m-

The voice came from Hell.

The invisible cement around my ankles crumbled to dust, finally freeing my numb feet.

Adrenaline replaced the blood in my veins. It propelled me forward as I turned towards the stair, tripping over the first step. I felt my entire body pitch forward in the complete, suffocating darkness. The oppressive darkness blinded me. I couldn’t see the steps as I stretched out my arms to halt my fall.

Two fingers on my right hand caught the grey stone. I heard a loud, sharp snap that sliced through the air like a knife.

I expected pain. I expected a scream to burst from my mouth.

In the next second, as both my elbows and both my knees crashed to the ground, everything disappeared. There was no pain. There were no stairs. Just me and Lori.

For a moment, everything grew silent. I was crouching on the ground that was and wasn’t there.

I stood, walking up a step that did yet did not exist. Then another. And another. In a second, I was running. I could feel vibrations in my joints that told me my legs were moving, but I wasn’t sure I was really going anywhere.

I could not see the stairs beneath my feet. I could not see the walls at my sides. I could not even see my hands as they tried futilely to push away the thick, intangible curtains that blocked my sight.

I heard nothing; not my footsteps, not Hell’s voice, not even the frantic beating of my heart. Total silence deafened my broken ears.

The adrenaline numbed my limbs.

The only sense that still worked was smell; and I really wish it didn’t. The putrid stench around me was something between rancid meat and boiled gasoline. The air was so cold it stung, sending the stench into my bloodstream like a drug.

I felt her, no, it following me. Its eyes were glued to my back. Its footsteps matched mine with perfect sync. Its hot breath sank down my neck.

Ages passed. I can’t tell how many steps I climbed; if I climbed any at all. I can’t tell if my lungs and limbs still functioned by the time I finally saw it.

It began as a tiny speck in the middle of my vision. I’d assumed I’d imagined it; I thought my starved brain had created the sweet relief as a final attempt to keep me sane.

Then it grew larger. I could almost feel the comforting warmth of the sun I’d missed. It seeped through my skin, wrapping around my bones and enveloping me in its sweet relief.

I felt like I was breaking through a tinted window as the stairs  beneath my feet were replaced with crunchy yellow grass. The shards cut me, sending pains from my twisted fingers and bruised limbs through my body. My eyes closed tight against the burning light. I instinctively raised my hand to my face, but only got halfway before a sharp jolt ran up and down from my shoulders to my fingertips.

My arm fell at the same time as I pitched forward. The last thing I felt before the darkness suffocated me, was the rough texture of the dried grass.


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