A Pile Of Dust

page 6

by K. Kylyra Ameringer

She awoke some time later with a start; she had no idea when she'd fallen asleep. The quietness of her surroundings reassured her; she was still safe. Sighing, she stiffly uncurled herself to lie on her back.

BAM! Cre-e-e-eak. The sound came from directly over her head. Margaret tensed all over, staring in the darkness up to the ceiling.

BAM! Cre-e-e-eak. Dust floated down on her open face.

BAM! Cre-e-e-eak, scri-i-i-itch. She smelled a rotten odour oozing from every corner of the room.

BAM! Margaret held her breath, waiting for the creak. As the seconds beat by and no creak sounded she realized she was hearing something else: a muffled slithering. She sat up as she felt something touch her left ankle. Her foot jerked reflexively but the thing already had a hold, grasping firmly onto her ankle with a sucking strength. More things reached out of the darkness to grab her other foot and her hands, and with little struggle Margaret was securely bound and tied on the bed.

She began screaming in earnest then, screaming like the devil himself were in the room, which was true for all she knew. The things holding her were tightening their grip, squeezing her old flesh and clamping down on her brittle bones. Her right wrist snapped from the pressure and the pain was nearly unbearable as she felt the thing continue to twist and squeeze.

Her cries were cut off as something foul slithered up the bed and into her open mouth. She tried to close her mouth too late; the thing was already inside, worming its way insistently down her throat. She began to gag as it pushed its way down her esophagus, spreading further through her.

Thrashing violently, she felt tears fall from her eyes, hot and wet. There was light in the room now; eerie blue green light that emanated from the ceiling. Looking up through her tears Margaret saw the spider web of cracks glowing and pulsing like phosphorescent blood pumping through some beast's veins. It was enough to see a bit of what had hold of her; several thick ropy cords the sickly colour of maggots had her firmly tied down.

The thing in her mouth inched its way down a little further towards her stomach as a skunk striped head appeared in the corner of her vision. A screech echoed around the room and Margaret held a brief hope that the thing that had hold of her would let go to grab onto the newcomer. Her hope was dashed as her former tenant laughed softly.

"Margaret. Hello," the woman said pleasantly, conversationally.

Margaret thrashed and choked on the thing in her throat.

"Please don't get up," the woman continued in an amused voice. "I'm sure you're wondering what's going on." The timbre of her voice changed, it took on a singsong quality as she quoted,

'Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night
That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate's team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic: not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow'd house:
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.'

"Unfortunately, I carry no broom, nor am I here to sweep," the woman said with tinkling laughter. "But dust you will be. My brother and I are tired of hiding in darkness. This midsummer's night we made sure the door between our worlds would stay open." Her head turned and Margaret followed the movement to see the creature with the pink eyes and red pupils creep to her side. "I believe you've already met my friend."

The creature scrambled up on the bed, on top of Margaret. It's rotten flesh looked sickly in the blue green glow and the smell of it would have made her throw up if she'd been capable of it. Margaret watched with terror as the thing bent over her, bringing its head close to her own. Its hair whipped around frantically, darting closer and closer to her face.

She felt the sting of one of its hairs hitting her cheek, attaching itself to her flesh. In a moment four more hairs had bitten her, and in her agony she could feel tiny razor-like teeth chewing deeper and deeper into her skin. She gagged and struggled futilely. The creature was breathing heavily, a crude grin slashed across its face. It was obviously enjoying her pain.

Margaret's eyes stared at two ropy hairs that still hovered above her eyes. They twisted, rolled, and danced like snakes, their heads poised to strike. The last thing she saw were needle sharp teeth from tiny, gaping mouths at the end of the ropes before they dove and attached themselves to her eyeballs, popping them efficiently and lapping up the ooze that dripped out.

She heard the woman laugh from some distant place. "Drain her dry."

A Pile Of Dust by K. Kylyra Ameringer


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