House of Memories 10

Horror story written by aussj4link on Friday 11, December 2020

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

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10: Move
Alan felt the bar protruding from his left side now with full clarity. The pain was unreal as his awkward position put stress on the wound and due to gravity pulling him down away from the bar. Almost instinctively, he tried to prop himself up toward the bar to relieve the stress. However, he was unable to find anything he could push off of to accomplish this and so, he felt the bar pull at his wound, ensuring it stayed open and wide, causing the bleeding to become even worse. His chest began tightening as his breathing started to become more and more labored. He knew then, he was going to die. Just when he had made so much progress and when he had a sense of hope surge through him for the first time in many weeks, he was going to die down here anyway. Tears started to fall from his eyes. The pain he was in was immense, but these tears were for the life he wanted so very much that was now being stripped from him, and he only had himself to blame. He felt his muscles begin to weaken and his head become dizzy. His thoughts began filling him with regret as he wished more than ever, that he had just lived some boring, average rich life instead of seeking to feed his desire for adventure. Then he heard movement. The sounds of the metal around him moving fast told him something was moving it, but before he knew what was happening, he fell unconscious. His dreams were shattered into pieces. Random memories of childhood came in and out with no discernable direction or pattern. Then, at some unknown point, he heard his mother say, "Giving up already?" It had come from an old memory when he was very small. He remembered climbing a set of monkey bars at a park among many other children. His arms were tightly latched onto a ladder only a few rungs high. He was deeply afraid of heights, but he had wanted to follow the other children up to the top. Instead, paralyzed with fear, he clung to the ladder, unable grab the next rung. "Keep going, Honey. It's just a few more steps. I'm here, I'll catch you if you fall." His mother said. Alan turned his head to his left where his mother was. But, instead of seeing her, he saw only a red beam of light and a different fear swept over him that made his fear of heights nothing by comparison. Alan woke in the darkness once more. Within seconds, the pain began to register throughout him. Once again, he was confused as to how he was still alive, how had he not bled out. He reached his hand over to his side to feel the wound and to his surprise, the bar was gone and the wound was sealed. The flesh around the area felt burned however and to top it off, there was no way the rust hadn't entered his bloodstream. Just that alone should have paralyzed him. He now noticed he was also laying on the bare concrete floor, instead of laying atop the pile of rusted metal wreckage from when he had passed out. He tried to move his body but the pain of his wounds, along with bruising and possibly broken bones, stopped him from doing much of anything. Alan realized someone must have helped him, but he had no idea who possibly could have. By this point, it was inconceivable to him that he had missed someone down here in the weeks as he had explored every room. He'd even set small traps in various places around the shelter in the form of broken glass in front of doorways, this way he would hear if someone else was with him. In the time he was there however, he never once heard the crunch of the glass. He thought they must have come from above, but how they got down to him with the entire stairwell destroyed, he didn't know. Another question that came to him, was if they had come down and saved his life, why didn't they take him out of the shelter? And finally, had they even left? The air was growing colder by the minute, indicating many hours had passed. Alan had his jacket on as well as many layers of clothes, but if he didn't find a way to get back to his bed and under the blankets, he would likely still freeze to death. Without moving most of his body, he used his arms to search around him. His left arm hit something first, instantly he recognized it as rusted metal. Reaching further over the metal, he only felt more, that was when he realized it was a pile of metal and he assumed it to be the pile he had fallen with. This meant his savior had not moved him far. With the obvious care of which he had been given, he knew it was risky to make noise, but he wanted to confirm that he was still in the stairwell shaft. He snapped his fingers and listened to the echo. As expected, it went straight up and then back down, confirming that he was in the shaft and that somehow, all of the metal had been neatly piled off to the side. This idea immediately put a sort of fear in him. The heap of metal, no doubt, had to easily of been several tons. It would have taken many people to move it all like that in the short period of time he was unconscious. Alan decided to find out if they were still here. "Hel- hello?" His voice echoed into the darkness but after several moments, he was met with only silence. The prospect of finding someone else was both exciting and frightening. He had grown lonely, but at the same time, he was now paranoid about finding another person in this darkness. His right arm stretched out as far as it could, but in every direction, he found nothing but the bare concrete floor. Alan was weak from blood loss as just moving his arms had put him out of breath. He felt himself becoming dizzy and nearly passing out again. He didn't want to stay here and freeze, so he forced himself through his pain to roll over. If nothing else was accomplished, he had to find his bag, that is, if his saviors didn't take it from him. The pain he pushed through was immense, and he felt he may even reopen the large wound in his side. However, the pain also had the benefit of reawakening him as his need to pass out suddenly faded. He felt his heart begin to beat harder and his breath grew in speed and depth. It took more effort than he knew he was capable of, but eventually, he'd made it back over to the far wall. From there he used it to prop himself up into an upright position, straining as he did so. He kept using his hand to check his wound after each strain, and fortunately, it didn't break open. He sat up against the wall and took a break, catching his breath and letting his heart rate lower. Planting his left hand down, he felt rough fabric. Grabbing at the object, he realized it was his bag, and its weight told him there was still things inside. He let out a small laugh of joy as he quickly pulled it to him and pulled the zipper. The zipper had rusted in his time asleep and so the zipper no longer worked. Fortunately, he knew when he left the shelter that this was a possibility and had left a small hole at the other end of the zipper where the teeth could be pulled apart. He yanked the zipper teeth open and the small joy turned to disgust as a putrid odor exploded from the bag and filled his nostrils. He immediately put the bag down and away from him as the clear smell of rotten meat permeated the air. He let out a small gag as he thought to himself wondering how anything could have gone bad in this short time. The MREs still had a shelf life good for years. He did have an open one that he hadn't finished, but he was certain it was sealed and it shouldn't have rotted this fast. Certainly not in the hours he had been asleep. "It has been hours, right?" He thought to himself. He believed there was no way it had been days. Had he really laid on that concrete floor like that for days? It would better explain how the metal had been stacked, but it still left the questions of why he was still there and why he was still alone. Also, it would mean that he wasn't in danger of freezing to death. He knew that the one open package was rotted, but he believed that surely the rest of it was fine. He picked the bag back up and put his hand inside. However, instead of feeling MRE packages, tools, and the open package like he expected, he felt something that instantly disgusted him far more than if he had put his hand directly into the rotten food. Whatever he touched, was wet with something that was warm and almost had the consistency of slime. The object itself squished under his hand and he pulled back reflexively. His hand now had the slime-like substance on it and he dropped the bag yet again and hastily wiped his hand on his pants trying to get off as much as possible. "What the fuck?" He said as he gagged yet again to the point of dry heaving. His dry heaves showed him every point of injury he now had. Most of the pain, aside from his pierced side, came from his back and neck. He couldn't believe his seemingly endless luck for survival and how he didn't break his back or neck in the fall. The stench that came from the bag didn't appear to be wavering. He brought his jacket up to his mouth and nose, covering them against the smell. Now, he found himself with even more questions. The first, of course, was why would they save him if they were just going to take his stuff and leave him this disgusting object? If nothing else, he now knew his saviors were not benevolent. Alan found himself falling into intense exhaustion once again. Yet again, he forced himself to move, bringing forth the pain and the heightened alertness that came with it. It took him many minutes, but eventually, he met with the door that lead back into the facility, and back into his monitor room with his bed and blankets. Feeling the outer doorway to the vestibule was a relief, but that relief quickly turned to a lump in his throat when he realized that the door was closed. Yet again he found himself shocked as he had known the cave-in of concrete to have prevented the door from closing, and yet here it was, not only closed, but upon attempting to turn the handle, it was locked, or at least rusted shut. The realization hit him all at once, he was trapped. He was now a prisoner and subject to whoever had saved him. He couldn't imagine what they would have in store for him. This definitely was not the work of the Takers. They had never once shown any hesitation in killing whoever they found, much less taking anyone prisoner. Someone appeared to be treating Alan like a lab rat or a torture subject. Eventually, on the cold concrete floor, he drifted back into a deep sleep. In the coming days, Alan recovered to some slight extent and was able to search the room more thoroughly. There was no food and the only water came from some kind of leak that ran down a wall in the far corner from the door. Alan suspected it was coming from some kind of plumbing pipe that was broken open when the stairs collapsed. Fortunately, it did seem to be clean water, and not wastewater. The water would then drain into a corner of the room that Alan didn't know where it went from there. His jailers had still not shown themselves or any sign they had come when he was asleep. The only thing they left him with, in that dark pit, was his bag with what Alan suspected to be a rotting human heart. The stench that was put off never wavered in the slightest in the two days he had been trapped. Alan now had his shirt covering his mouth and nose perpetually. While water wasn't a problem, hunger was beginning to take hold again. Before, he had gone a week without food, so he knew he could last at least that long, but if the ones now responsible for his hunger didn't show themselves soon, he knew he would only grow weaker. Perhaps that was the point. They would wait until hunger made him weak and desperate and then turn him into their slave or some other purpose that required his obedience. Every moment that passed in that place only gave him more dreadful thoughts and he knew just those thoughts would be enough to break him. "What do you fucking want?" Alan screamed upwards through the darkness and toward the bunker's entrance, the only place he figured they could be watching him from. No response came other than the echo of his own ragged call. Weak and tired from the lack of food and his slow recovery, he soon fell back to sleep. In the coming days, no one would ever show their presence to him and his hunger and weakness only grew. Unlike when he went a week without food, he had actually been pretty well fed and so the fasting wasn't so bad. This time, only 5 days in, he found himself in a state of desperation he had never experienced before. Alan drank water to fill his stomach and slightly reduce his hunger, but often times he found himself vomiting the water. His muscles began to ache and his breathing became more difficult with each passing hour he lay in the cold dark, alone and unbelievably hungry. And still, the stench of the rotting heart never lessened. It still permeated the air with its foul odor that even now, after 5 days with it being open to the air, made Alan nauseous. He had moved the bag as far away from him as possible, but despite its distance, the constant air flow coming from the door at the top of the stairwell, and closing the bag as much as he could manage, it was just as pungent as that first day. When he wasn't longing for food and warmth, he was always reminded of that damn heart. That was when the thought passed his mind for the first time. So very briefly. An instant of thinking about what it would be like and the following instant of pure revulsion. And then the thought that maybe that's what they wanted hit him. "Fuck you!" He pushed a yell of anger through his raspy, dry, and painfully cold throat. In the coming hours, he would be assaulted by his own thoughts. Unable to push away the idea more and more as time went on. Alan did everything he could to change his thoughts, to stop them, to quiet them, but he had no control whatsoever, and a sort of madness began to grow in his mind. In one moment, as he fought his thoughts in futility, a new thought slipped in, one that would be the downfall of his struggle. "It... It doesn't smell that bad, actually." Alan screamed into the darkness and found himself weaping as he held his head, digging his nails into his scalp wanting the pain to make his mind stop these thoughts. Instead of the pain helping to mitigate the never ending flow of damning thoughts, he only vomited. All that was in his stomach was water, but now, there was nothing, and the hunger of a truly empty stomach reached into him like a jagged knife. He began losing seconds. In one moment, he was laying on the floor up against the wall, and in the next, he was sitting up. Then he was on his knees. Then his hands were on the floor and he was on all fours, pointed at the empty darkness. His shirt had slid down off his mouth and nose, and now the full power of the odor filled his nostrils. In the next loss of time, he had moved forward and was gripping one of the rusted metal bars in the debris pile. He was now half way across the room, the heart was only about ten steps away now, and the smell was no longer that of rotting flesh, but almost resembling a steak, fresh off the grill. "No, no, no..." he mumbled to himself, unable to elicit any self control as he moved toward the heart. Within an amount of time he couldn't recall, he was now looming over the bag. Powerless to stop himself, he rolled the bag over and pulled it open. Despite the darkness, his mind's eye gave him a perfect view of what lay before him. The odor was now nothing like it had been before. In fact, it was now the best thing he had ever smelled. He reached into the bag, and touched the still moist, still soft... and still beating heart. The wet, soft, senewy feeling did not repulse him as he gripped it with both hands and lifted it out of the bag. One last coherent thought entered his mind, "Why?" before giving in to madness entirely. Involuntarily, he brought the heart to his mouth and sunk his teeth in. The taste was by far the greatest he had ever known and the moment it touched his tongue, he was thrust into a frenzy, devouring the heart in huge bites, barely chewing before swallowing, consuming the heart like a starving beast. The beat of the heart never ceased in his hands as he tore it to bits with blood running down his arms and face, forming a huge puddle of blood that shouldn't have been possible, as if the heart somehow contained gallons of thick, hot blood. After a few minutes, the heart was completely consumed and Alan stayed knelt in the puddle of blood that's surface area must have been covering most of the room. A feeling of satisfaction washed over him for a brief moment before suddenly, his stomach turned into a huge knot. Regret now replaced the relief as he doubled over in pain, losing his balance and face-planting himself into the blood. Instead of his face smashing into the concrete floor under the blood, he went into it. Like entering a deep pool of thick hot oil, he fell and fell, the pool enveloping his entire body. In the shock of what was happening, he involuntarily inhaled blood, filling his lungs. The pain of drowning now drove him to flail violently as he tried to turn his body right side up and rise up and out of the blood. Before he could resurface, something familiar happened to him. The long fleshy tentacle had wrapped around his leg this time, and pulled him deeper into the impossible depths of the blood. His lungs painfully convulsed violently in his chest, desperate for air as he was pulled deeper. On the verge of passing out, he felt his body being pulled faster and faster, until he was being pulled so fast that the sheer gravitational force was enough to force his arms to stretch out above his head. Then, without warning, he passed into unconsciousness. No dreams came this time, only the dark void of nothingness along with no sense of time, or sense of self. Eons of empty time could have passed, and he would know nothing of it. But still, in that void of nothing, he did feel one thing: an expanse of infinite stretching in all directions. Like he was growing in all ways and forms and the growth was never ending. Then, a billion eons later, or perhaps only a few milliseconds, or anything in between, he opened his eyes. For the first few seconds, pure white was all that covered his vision. A low hum of something mechanical rumbled in his ears, it's source coming from somewhere to his right. As his eyes adjusted, and details became more clear, he saw that the white was a tiled ceiling and a large light fixture that gave off a brilliant light. He felt his breath come in quicker as he was seeing again for the first time in so long. The mechanical humming took his attention and he strained in the process, but he managed to turn his head in its direction. It appeared to be a set of medical machines. Behind the machines was a large window that let in sunlight. He wasn't aware of it before that point, but in that moment, he realized just how much he had come to miss the sun in the last two years. The sight of the brilliant light pouring into the room filled him with a joy that he had completely forgotten he could experience. He felt tears roll down his cheeks in response to the powerful emotion, and for a moment, he felt like all that he had experienced was just a bad dream. "Hello." A woman's voice came from his left. Alan turned his head as quickly as possible in his weak state to see a woman in a doctor's coat with a name tag that read, "Dr. Ke'Lyth". The woman was very tall and thin with long black hair, appearing to be in her late forties. She had a clipboard under her left arm and a palm sized flashlight in her right hand. Her left hand also appeared to have a thin leather black glove, but her right was bare. Alan thought this was a bit strange, but the relief of not being in that shelter anymore kept him from dwelling on any of the slightly odd details around him. "You're at Seven Hills Hospital. You've been in a coma for the last eight months. And, as foretold, you have awoken." She said with a smile, clearly happy in saying the last bit. Alan then began putting together things almost involuntarily and in moments, a sense of familiar dread filled him as he realized he was not back in his home world, and that this was yet another alien world the tentacled monster had thrown him into. "My name is Dr. Anderson." She said as she brought the tiny flashlight up to Alan's eyes, partially blinding him for a few seconds. When he realized he was not home, she must have seen his facial expression change as she suddenly said, "It's okay, you're safe now. Whatever happened, was meant to happen." Alan wasn't really paying much attention to what she had just said but instead, what caught his attention was her name. He looked at her name tag again and this time it read, "Dr. Anderson" just as she had claimed. He thought back and was certain he had read it as something different, though he couldn't remember what it was. "It's going to be a long road to recovery, but the old ones have assured us, you are everything we've been waiting for." She said as she wrote something on her clipboard and then before Alan could respond, she followed up with, "Please, save your questions. Rest now. Tomorrow morning, we begin renewal." She then gave Alan a large reassuring smile and walked out of the room. It was clear to him that he wasn't back in his world and likely in yet another world that was alien to him. This time, despite the strange way the doctor had spoke, at least he seemed to be in a world that was not destroyed and rought with danger around every corner. At least, that's what he hoped. He thought back to his last memory before waking here and for a fraction of an instant, he remembered the heart he'd consumed and the memory of its taste and feel hit him, making him cringe at the thought. Now, with his mental facilities in much better shape, he knew there was no way that was just some rotten heart he'd eaten. Almost reflexively, he grabbed at his stomach, half expecting the heart to still be in him, still beating, but instead, there was nothing. His stomach was as still and settled as normal, and the pain from when he first consumed the heart, was gone. Alan wanted to sit up, but even to attempt such a trivial repositioning was more difficult than he was prepared for. Instead, he decided to just turn over on his side, if he could manage it. With great difficulty, he turned over to face the window. Seeing sunlight again for the first time after becoming so accustomed to the darkness, was intoxicating, and he only wanted to enjoy it as much as possible. Now that his eyes had had time to adjust, and he was seeing much more clearly, he saw many details outside the window. The first thing that caught his attention, was an adjacent building, not far away. The building perhaps was even connected to this one. He didn't know however, because it appeared he was high up, likely close to the top floor of this hospital. To the side of that building and further off in the distance, were roads with vehicles driving on them normally. He saw green grass and well maintenanced trees along the road sides. Then he saw a few people walking along sidewalks. Off further in the distance, were many more structures, some very tall buildings and many smaller ones that looked like residential areas. Looking down and closer to the adjacent building, he saw a large working fountain in the middle of a small plaza just outside what he suspected to be the building's entrance. Seeing all of this gave Alan a sense of joy and relief he'd not felt in more than two years. He found himself thinking that even if this wasn't his world, he would be more than happy to stay anyway. Then something briefly brushed across the top edge of his peripheral vision. Something at the top edge of the window, just barely out of sight. The sky was a clear light blue. He didn't see anything in it from his angle, but he couldn't see most of the sky from his position on the bed. He was rather certain however, that something did move across it, and now his curiosity was peaked. Alan briefly considered that he had just imagined it, and that it was simply a side effect of waking up for the first time in eight months. And so, his curiosity lessened and his eyes began drifting away from the top of the window and back down to the scenery that brought him joy for the first time in so long. As his eyes fell half way down the window, once again his peripheral picked up something move a cross the top of the window. This time however, his eyes darted back up to the top just in time to see whatever it was for just a tiny fraction of a second. White and long with a curved angle. His position on the bed was just not adequate in seeing beyond the top of the window and now, not only was his curiosity peaked once more, but now a small amount of dread crept up in him as he had brief thoughts about what was wrong with this world, despite everything appearing so beautiful. Alan needed to know what was in the sky. With everything he had, and now something of motivation that was clearly better than just turning over or sitting up, he brought his right arm under his side side to prop himself up. His arm was very weak however, and so pushing up his own weight took everything he had and with a shaking wobbly arm and several grunts, he had sat up. His legs now swung over the side of the bed as he sat up on the mattress's edge. Alan found that just that simple act had knocked the wind out of him and now he paused to catch his breath. One of the monitors he was hooked up to began beeping loudly. He looked up at it to see the heart rate monitor and the number in the bottom right turning red while slowly increasing. His chest did feel a bit strange and he knew that nurses or that doctor would likely be coming back very soon. He didn't have a single reason to trust them and he had to know what was in the sky. Before he could catch his breath fully, and let his heart slow back down, he pushed off the bed with both hands. He hit the floor with his feet, but completely underestimated how weak he really was as his weight instantly caused his legs to buckle forward and he came crashing to the floor and onto his back. The impact dazed him and he felt something rip out of his right arm and begin bleeding. The heart rate monitor had been pulled from his finger and now had a constant tone, very loud and dull. Alan didn't hear the nurses rush in, but in one moment with his eyes shut tightly from the pain, and in the next opening them, they were right there at his side. There appeared to be three female nurses in dark pink scrubs, all trying to talk to Alan at once. He couldn't make out much of what they were saying, but he wasn't very interested either. From his position on the floor now, he would have had much more view outside the window and into the sky, but one of the nurses was blocking the window as she knelt over him. The nurses had clearly been trying to get him to answer their questions, but with no response, they gave up and started to pick him back up. A fourth nurse had now joined and all four surrounded him to lift him back onto the bed. As they began to lift, the nurse that was in the way shifted just enough to see around her and out the window. Alan went cold as what he saw, was thousands of octopus like tentacles. They easily covered the sky with every tentacle varying in size. Each one moved and twisted slowly throughout the blue sky like some kind of living spaghetti. Their color was mostly white but Alan knew the reason for this, was because of the light blue contrast of the sky in front of it. He was seeing this impossibly massive monster as it existed... in orbit.
   

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Comments

    weaping should be weeping
    senewy should be sinewy
    rought - How about fraught, or, even better, filled?

    Very interesting ending. I did not expect it. Good job.