House of Memories 8

Horror story written by aussj4link on Wednesday 11, November 2020

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Description
A man seeks to find clues about several disappearances in a remote area. He finds them.

Overall Rating: Not Rated

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8: Rage
Alan had never really given much thought to the idea of science fiction during his life. He always saw it as a pointless distraction from the obligations he had and the things he knew to be real. Alan prided himself and built an ego in the idea that he could always explain everything by just keeping a level head and staying rigidly rational. For the first time in his life, he found all of that pride crumbling beneath him and his entire focus and composure melt away until all he felt like doing was falling into the fetal position and staying there forever. He didn't know what kept him going now, but he didn't give in to the urge to give up. He no longer had the hope and idea that he could prevail over anything so long as he stayed strong in his rationality, yet he found himself rising to his feet from his chair, he felt adrenaline begin to course through his veins with the pain of his leg barely registering. A new sense of conviction, it's origin completely alien to him, now rose up in him as his fists tightened, almost involuntarily. The others seemed to be surprised with his sudden ability to stand. As he reached an uptight position, the group of people he had seen on the monitors before, were suddenly at the door, standing in the entryway. Alan didn't even notice the pain of his leg and shoulder as he turned to Melinda and asked with a tone of strength he didn't know was even possible for him, "What happened? I need to know everything you do." 2 YEARS LATER Alan sat at the desk, his hand rapidly tapping away at a small device in from of him as he listened to a methodical series of beeps and tones in response to his. He watched the monitors in front of him as a group of four people escorted a fifth person across the massive bridge. As the group reached the next checkpoint, he looked up to the monitor directly above and saw a group of orbs searching aimlessly with their beams of light around several vehicles that were set ablaze. One's light suddenly turned red and all the others around it did the same and immediately aiming their lights at the same point somewhere underneath one of the vehicles. They had found something. A small cat darted out from under a burning truck that was crashed into a light pole just off the road. Alan cringed as he knew what was about to happen and wished the group had made sure there were no animals inside the vehicles before setting them on fire. The small animal tried to flee but suddenly stopped in midair as if frozen in time. The red lights beamed directly at the cat as its blood began to separate from its body, being pulled directly from every orifice and even through it's skin and through its fur. The blood then drifted off into the air and rose in a stream into the sky. The cat's body then turned grey and dropped to the ground, lifeless. The lights then turned back to their white color and resumed their aimless search around the fires. Alan always wondered why the bodies of animals never joined with the human bodies in the sky. Alan relayed a few more simple messages via Morse Code, letting the group know they were clear to make it home. Alan leaned back into his chair, relieved that another scavenge went well and this time, no one was lost. Alan decided he would be getting drunk that night in celebration and for the first time in a while, he actually felt justified in doing so. Though, it never really needed to be justified before. Alan had come to teeter on the brink of alcoholism over time. The one abundance the group had always seemed to find, was alcohol. On one of the monitors, Alan saw the area he made it to when he first arrived in this world two years ago. After Alan had shown that some of the cars still had some supplies, the group he was now with began raiding them whenever they could. It took a lot of time however, as there was no good way to search the rusted vehicles without making too much noise. They used diversionary tactics to distract what they came to call, "Takers". This was costly, but the gamble proved worthy as they found quite a lot of useful supplies and some bits of food and water that kept them going through the difficult times. Though in the beginning, they lost a few good people due to poor planning, the group had managed to establish a strong foothold in their survival, so long as they played it safe. Alan learned that in this world, some kind of apocalyptic event happened a few months before he'd arrived. As far as the survivors knew, the event was world wide, though there had never been a way to confirm it. It happened in the middle of the day during the beginning of Spring. One clear and bright day, while everyone was going about their everyday lives, a sudden and complete solar eclipse covered the sky. In less than a few seconds, the day went from a very bright almost blinding amount of color in every direction, to a darkness that even nocturnal predators would have had trouble navigating. The sudden unexpected darkness caused mass mayhem and panic. Many people likely died or were seriously injured on the highway as most drivers simply didn't have time to react and turn on their lights except for the few that had automatic lights. The ones that didn't were likely the causes of many of the worst wrecks Alan had seen when he first came upon the bridge. The crashes and panic did finally quiet down a few minutes later. People had begun using their lights and listening to emergency radio broadcasts that instructed people to stay indoors and not to turn on lights. As confusing the instructions were, most people outside simply didn't have time to make it to any sort of refuge. This told Alan that officials of this world very likely had information about this apocalypse that they kept hidden for unknown reasons. In the 2 years he had been there, not once had they ever come into contact with authorities of any kind. The emergency broadcasting was not effective and far too late. Anyone who was in any kind of light, was suddenly pulled from wherever they were, phasing through objects and even their own clothes. People screamed in agony as if the process was incredibly painful as they were pulled up into the sky. After a few minutes of this, a red light had begun to emanate from a point in the middle of the sky where the sun originally was before the blackout. Turns out, when Alan first hit the shore of this world, it wasn't night at all. True night here was a pitch black darkness, aside from the Taker's lights, of course. Over the course of a year, Alan and the group he was with watched as all life that happened to have blood, was killed and the blood extracted, adding to the huge sphere just in front of the Sun. Everyday, for about two hours, the Sun would show through the giant blood sphere and cast a red glow across the land. It wasn't much, but it was just enough light to navigate and search for supplies. No one dared use an artificial light source of any kind outside the bunker, as doing so seemed to always ensure the Takers would find them. Sound and light seemed to be how the Takers found their prey, so no one dared use either outside. The group returning now, had successfully broken into a department store several miles away due to well coordinated distractions and a timing of the Sun with Melinda to guide them. They were headed back with much needed food, water and supplies and now that the store was breached, they would be able to return there many times over the coming weeks. This would have been done a long time ago, but for whatever reason, the rust had built up to incredible degrees, turning basic metal doors, into impenetrable walls. Even stainless steel rusted into blocks of red incredibly tough barriers halting the group nearly everywhere they could potentially find supplies. Finally, after many months of scavenging, and losses, the group had found a portable cutting torch. They simply had to adequately lead the Takers away from the store and keep them distracted long enough to cut through the door. While the wounds Alan suffered in that child's bedroom had proved to be non fatal, the damage to the tendons in his knee caused permanent damage. With no real doctor in the group, they could only keep his wounds clean and bandaged while he healed naturally. As a result, he now had a permanent limp and his travel speed was severely reduced. He quickly found himself taking to other jobs that didn't require fast movement and learned Morse Code using the text books they had found in the bunker. Alan was asked specifically to man the cameras and radio. His predicament would have been reason enough for him to get the job, but they actually asked him to do it for a different reason. As alien as everything else had been thus far, he learned of something that was much more difficult to wrap his mind around. Melinda was homeless before the apocalypse hit. She had been living under the bridge with other homeless people and when everything began she, and the others around her had managed to break into the bunker door. Luckily, the place was originally built to house people in the event of a nuclear strike during the Cold War. The place was severely under maintenanced and a simple crowbar, was enough to break into the first door, the second door had not be properly sealed and the final, much larger door was left wide open, likely so survivors of an attack could get inside easily, provided someone had the keys for the first two doors. Melinda had been diagnosed with severe PTSD and a schizophrenic disorder before everything and was living off disability and the life of a beggar. She had been a heroin addict waiting for her next disability check to buy more of the drug when the sudden eclipse hit. Of the people that first made it into the bunker, a few had died in the following week due to severe withdrawals and virtually no medical attention. Melinda had been lucky to have survived, but her mental illnesses stayed with her. After a few weeks, the few still edible foods they had found in the bunker ran dry and they were forced to resurface. They searched around in the darkness, using sticks and sounds like the blind. However, those with mental illness seemed to be able to see to some small extent with those who were worse mentally being able to see better and better. This was still only while the Sun shown through the blood sphere. So, in a sense they had to rely on the crazy in order to navigate outside. Fortunately, the cameras had an old form of night vision. Interesting still however, was that despite the lack of color the cameras had, the mentally sick could still see the red of the blood sphere on the monitors. Though many avoiding looking at it as for whatever reason, it would cause strong headaches when viewing it. When Alan first landed, it took his eyes a moment to adjust, but once acclimated, he was able to see rather well. Alan had never been diagnosed with any kind of mental illness in his life, and yet he found he could not only see better than anyone else in the group, he found he could even hear when the Takers were moving. This was something that Melinda thought she might be hearing, but to her, it was so quiet, it was almost not there. On top of this, Alan could hear their movements even when deep into the bunker, behind several feet of reinforced concrete. Alan became the group's alarm system telling the group when they were close to the bunker. Of course, with the idea that mental illness gave people extra sensory abilities, many thought that Alan's clarity signified he was crazier than everyone else by far. It took two full years for the group to fully trust him as a result and they started considering the possibility that mental illness was not the only variable here. Melinda for one, actually believed Alan when he said he was from another world. In fact, Melinda was often his advocate over the last couple of years and Alan had grown to care about her more than he had cared about anyone in a long time. Melinda was part of the group outside now, leading them through the wastelands and back home. They kept hold of a tether made from a series of ropes and key chain buckles that could be easily released in the event of an emergency. This way, the group could stay together in the darkness without the need to make sounds. The group now was less than a mile from the bunker, Alan was looking forward to food he had not had for over a year, and toilet paper. That was when he started hearing something. It was a familiar sound he had not heard in all his time in that world. Rain had started in an almost instant downpour as rapid taps could be heard echoing from the outer door to the main entrance to the bunker. "What the Hell?" Tom said as he heard the sound and watched the monitor's nightvision show now that rain was everywhere, on every screen they had. Tom was the door guard for the camera room, but he had become Alan's assistant and friend over time. Alan began furiously tapping on the Telegraph that was broadcasting to the radio of the group. He instantly realized that the downpour could and likely would put out the fires. He raced to tell the group they must make haste. The group was already somewhat exhausted, but their pace quickened until they reached a part of the trail that crossed by a slope leading into the waters. The path had already been washed away by the sudden torrent, forcing them to have to go around a large hill that separated them from where the Takers were and outside the view range of the cameras. Alan watched his fears become confirmed as the vehicle fires used to distract the Takers, went out one by one. Upon the last fire extinguished, as if someone had an on/off switch for the rain, the rain suddenly stopped. "Oh fuck." Tom said as he put his hands on his head. The group went off the trail, likely to go around the washed away path. This also meant they were out of sight of the cameras, so Alan no longer knew what they were doing or where they were. Alan grew increasingly nervous and almost into full blown panic when he saw the Takers leave the vehicles and begin moving in the direction of  where the group's path was. Alan rapidly sent a message to the group, informing them of the incoming Takers. As it was far too risky to speak into the radio, Alan could send messages, but he couldn't receive them. Alan watched every monitor intently, hoping to the see the group reappear back on the designated trail with each second becoming slower than the last. The Takers were closing in on the area where the group should have been by now. Still, Alan saw no sign of them and began nervously tapping on the desk. "Where are-" Tom was cut off by the booming sound of a gunshot not far from the bunker that echoed across multiple monitors. Before now, no one knew the monitors even had sound so the sudden echoing boom startled everyone. Then Alan saw a man from the group dart into view of one of the cameras closest to the bunker. He recognized the man and saw that he had lost his haul of the supplies and was frantically running for the bunker entrance with nothing but his clothes and a handgun. Alan immediately knew it was the same gun he had found two years ago as they never found anymore in all the scavenging since. The area they were in had outlawed firearms with severe and rather extreme penalties for possession, so firearms in this world had become extremely rare. Two more shots rang out as the man fired at something off screen blindly as he continued desperately trying to get to the bunker. Alan hoped she was still alive as he sent another message to Melinda, telling her to stay away from the man with the gun and hide. Alan felt his heart fall as he thought of the possibility that she may not make it back. Alan quickly turned to Tom and with one glance, Tom knew what he had to do. Tom left for the bunker entrance to prevent the Takers from getting inside, no matter the cost. Looking back at the monitors, Alan saw the man with the gun, now within a few hundred yards of the bridge. He was nearly there when suddenly a beam of light was on him, first white then turning red. The man began to scream out in clear agony as his body seemed to almost freeze in place and begin lifting off the ground. His clothes began phasing through his body and slowly falling through him to the ground. Then Alan saw Melinda run into camera view coming from the far side of the bridge. She had managed to go around the man with the gun a well as the Takers and was with several others from the group. They were now only a few hundred yards from the entrance and Alan saw a hope that they would make it back. The man with the gun had now dropped the weapon but continued to rise into the air as if the red beam of light on him was someone lifting him. He kept screaming and Alan had to turn the audio for the monitors off just to think. Alan realized in that moment that the danger the group faced may be his fault. He didn't know how the man had gotten the gun, but he knew if he had not brought the gun in the first place, the man would not have had it. Alan dreaded the idea that anymore death this night may be his fault. He sent one more message to Melinda, letting her know that the Takers were on the other side of the bridge from her and to move quickly. Alan wondered if the man had sacrificed himself for them, or if he panicked and put the group in jeopardy. Within moments, the man had been lifted into the air and off screen. Alan could still hear his muffled screams echo throughout a few more of the further away cameras. The Takers still had their red beams aimed at the man as he rose. Looking over to the other monitors, Alan watched Melinda and the group run along the shoreline. They were now less than a hundred yards away. "They're going to make it." Alan thought with some heavy relief. The group made it to the area right in front of the base of the bridge. Melinda looked back for a second to make sure everyone was close behind. As she did this, Alan saw her eyes widen as the familiar red beam of light suddenly hit someone behind her. It was another woman Alan had partially known named Rebecca. She was much older than Alan and Melinda but was still able to hold her own in the group. Alan felt a pang of grief mixed with despair and yelled at the screen, "Move! Go, god damnit!" Melinda paused however and the rest of the group broke into a full sprint towards the bunker entrance. Then, before Alan could see anything else, the power suddenly went out. Alan found himself in a silent darkness that was quickly filled by the sounds of people in the large room behind him panicking as people started fumbling in the darkness trying to find flashlights and other stand alone sources of light. "No!" Alan said as he couldn't see anything that was happening outside now. Alan's flashlight was on the desk to his left. He grabbed it and got to his feet as quickly as he could manage and walked to the door, turning on the flashlight as he went. Other flashlights turned on in the common area as he opened the door to hear people moving about in almost a state of panic. Alan heard someone say, "I'll check the generator." As they ran off into one of the corridors. Alan limped to the beds where several people were unable to do much except lay bedridden due to injuries and illness from past scavenges. "You guys okay?" Alan asked. "There should be plenty of fuel left. What the Hell happened?" An old man said from his bed. "I don't know, but I have to get to the door." Alan responded. He then headed in the direction of the corridors leading to the front door. This was also the direction of where the generator room was. He had made it half way down the first hall when he heard a scream that made him abruptly stop. The scream came from a little further down the hall from where he was. It was that of a man and the familiar screams of agony began to fill the hallway as Alan now knew the Takers had made it inside somehow. The Takers had never been able to pass through solid structures before, therefore Alan realized the front door must be open. And if that were the case, Melinda was likely dead and that Alan and everyone he had come to know in the last two years was likely next. Screams of panic erupted behind Alan in the common area and he was about to turn around and head back when he saw a beam of a light coming from around a corner up ahead. For an instant he thought it was a Taker, but the beam moved erratically and he realized it was a flashlight and someone was running down the hall in his direction. They would very soon turn the corner and meet with Alan. He found himself hoping more than ever that it was Melinda. Then Alan saw her, she rounded the corner and they both locked eyes filling Alan with a kind of relief and joy that he was wrong about her fate. Then everything went into slow motion as the red beam hit, suddenly covering her from somewhere behind her and down the bend in the hallway. Immediately, her expression turned to that of incredible fear and agony as she was pulled away. The screams of many now flooded the halls, coming from every direction. In a Tony fraction of time, Alan found himself at first dazed by the screams, then despair, and finally, all in the blink of an eye, he was filled with blind fury. Alan, filled with adrenaline and a sorrow fueled anger, gritted his teeth and broke into a sprint. His limp gave way to excruciating pain and he briefly felt something in his left leg pop as the leg moved correctly for the first time in two years. In a couple of seconds, he rounded the corner Melinda had just been taken from and saw her being pulled to the open front blast door by the black sphere Alan had come to only know hate. Alan continued at full sprint towards the Taker, screaming at it to let her go. His words did nothing. Melinda's body blocked out most of the red beam, but small parts of it passed around her, grazing Alan and burned him like random kisses of fire as he ran at full speed. Alan's sprint was fast enough that he caught up to them and grabbed Melinda around her waist, trying to pull her away. His arms were now in the direct red beam and he began to feel an intense searing pain, as if he had just put his bare arms in a fire pit. His rage and adrenaline made him push through the pain and with everything he had, he pulled, screaming both in pain and grit as he did so. He felt himself making a tiny amount of progress as his desperate acts were just barely working. He was slowly pulling her away from the beam and a tiny shimmer of hope crept into him, giving him even more power as he pulled. Then he felt a hand on his shoulder and he looked up to see Melinda looking down at him. And time slowed. She was beautiful. Her eyes seemed to have a glow about them that's beauty became compounded by her smile as she gazed at Alan. Then time seemed to stop. He realized in that moment, that he loved her. He could have existed happily in that moment for a thousand years. There wasn't the slightest indication of pain or fear in her face.  Then, a different emotion washed over him. "No." He heard himself say as he watched the light from her eyes fade, and in slow motion, he felt her blood begin to leave her body and the crushing of his resolve broke his strength as the muscles of his arms began to crumble. The echoes of all sound had muffled and became distant and he felt Melinda's body begin to phase through his arms as if she was liquid. Alan's arms fell to his sides and he  watched helplessly as Melinda was pulled from him and up into the ceiling, passing through as if it wasn't there. Then, without warning, he lost himself. Almost as if on some kind of fury induced autopilot, Alan watched from behind his own eyes and felt from under his own skin, his body lunge forward at the Taker. Alan still had the flashlight in hand and he flung it at the black sphere. It passed through the sphere just as everything else they had ever tried in the past did. A wall was directly behind the Taker and the flashlight shattered into pieces of plastic and glass, extinguishing the light instantly. One of the things that came from the destroyed flashlight, was it's batteries. Alan moved with an anger fueled now by pure hate that drove him faster that he had ever been able to move. Still, it was like watching a movie that he could feel. Before the Taker could react, Alan was upon it, he had no idea, no plan, no thoughts at all beyond wanting to destroy the thing that had taken the only one person he now knew he loved away from him. At the same instant his hands reached into the darkness of the sphere, one of the batteries from the flashlight entered the sphere and in that instant, Alan felt a slight electrical jolt. The Taker also exhibited a reaction and for a split second, had turned a different, grey color. In that tiny moment, Alan felt something solid, and instinctively grabbed hold of it. Now with something he could feel in his grasp, he gripped down and yanked at it with all his might, violently pulling something out. With the sounds of snaps and what he could feel that was like that of ripping multiple wires out of a computer at once, he now held in his hand, a solid black human heart. It beat very slowly in his hand, expelling a black liquid from it's torn open arteries that now covered his hand and leaked to the floor. Alan looked back at the sphere to see it begin rapidly vibrating and collapsing into itself and without warning, exploded in front of Alan, sending him flying into the adjacent wall and knocking him unconscious.
   

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Comments

    "an uptight position," - I think you mean "upright" here.

    The plot is coming along nicely. Interesting twist at the end. Please continue.
    Yep, you're right. I dunno how I missed that lol.