Discovery

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 10, 2018

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Submitted: August 10, 2018

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The desert sand patters against my face in the wind like hail as I follow the map being livestreamed to my tablet. A mile above, a drone tracks my progress, keeping track of me via heat signature, which now shows on my tablet to be surrounded by unfelt radiation, the area’s temperature going down to a shocking 70 degrees.

I retrieve my flip phone from my pocket in an effort to consult the search’s leader, but to no avail, as the the sandstorm is too thick to acquire a signal.

Technology was always too fuckin’ weird for me, anyway.

With nothing else to go on, I decide to move onward, searching the immediate area for clues that might lead to a hidden catacomb entrance.

Sifting through the sand, I am deeply surprised when my fingers wrap themselves around a metal handle, which upon pulling I find to be attached to what I think may be either a floor, fallen wall, or maybe even a trap door!

I expect the sand to hold it down, but am taken completely by surprise when some kind of air expulsion system clears all sand within a 60 foot radius, and then shifting open on its own, revealing a rusty ladder. What the hell could this be?

A quick glance across the trap door’s frame, and I notice it to be surrounded by hieroglyphic inscriptions, as well as the solid forms of stones surrounding it.

Climbing down, I find myself within a small confined place which can only be described as some sort of control room. Swords lie on the floor, and arrays of strange symbols, tubes, and shackles are attached to countertops.

In the center of the peculiar chamber lies an altar, and as my eyes adjust, I realize that there is a mummified corpse is lying upon it, its shriveled head cracked open like a melon. New tubes protrude from this opening, leading to masks attached by tubes to other bodies, these being shackled into their metal seats along the strangely decorated walls. Each masked face wields an expression of angst and madness; a madness I have only seen before in the eyes of African tribes-men.

With my eyes now completely adjusted to the darkness, I soon realize that a second, separate room is concealed behind a brittle, rusty door.

Disregarding any and all rules of safety or sound archaeology, I kick open the door and begin my exploration.

The first thing I find equally ridiculous and dreadful is that this room is full of lit candles, implying that this place has been recently occupied, and I can only hope that I am standing in the aftermath of some bizarre grave robbery. The room’s walls are covered in grotesque drawings and murals of cannibalism and human sacrifice, among other unmentionable things.

Going around a rusty chair in the center of the room to get a closer look at the candles, I am terrified to be met with full eye contact, another shriveled face moving just enough to stare right at me.

He trembles violently for a moment as we stare upon each other in mutual shock until his rotten limbs struggle and snap from the arm rests they had bonded with so long ago, and within seconds he jumps up and begins to strangle me, tightening his vice grip until around me fades to black.

I awake to the sound of the ceiling’s hatch being slammed shut, and find myself incapable of movement. An awful shriek escapes me upon the realization that I am, indeed, shackled at the very place I had seen the body with the open skull. The altar.

The sleeper who had been unrestrained now begins to jostle the bound ones from their eldritch slumber. Their mouths open as much as their masks allow, belting out screams which no human should be capable of.

If not for the mouth piece permanently separating my teeth and tongue, I would surely be making some noises of my own.

I do not know where from, but my captor has now retrieved an insidious looking tool, and this observation is followed by the sensation of my being recklessly cut apart at the top.

My screams are muffled by the mouthpiece, fading even then as blood and brains are slowly sucked out of my skull by newly attached tubes leading into the masked corpses’ mouths.

After ten or twenty minutes of this, I am shocked to still be completely lucid and aware, including a miserable sensation of emptiness within my head. How am I still alive?!

As the last of the chunky fluids find their way in their stomachs, the sounds of their blood-curdling screams are replaced by the sound of vomit; an awful, disturbing sound as throats once dry for centuries froth over with thick, bubbly liquid.

The blood flows out of a second tube protruding from their masks and into some place neither living nor inanimate.

An atmosphere of dread has filled the room, and instills fear even in the dead thing which paces about in his separate room.

I shake violently from within my shackles as the sound of a single razor sharp fingernail scratches across the surface of the hatch in the ceiling, almost like an animal attempting to open a door.

This scratching carries on for what must have been an hour until the unrestrained one slowly ascends the ladder, and pulls out the various locks and pushes it open.

Blood splatters down from where it stands balanced, and now the mummied assailant is thoroughly covered in an awful presence I can feel but not describe, just as one can feel the wind but not see it.

The thing’s appearance is enshrined in a red filter of mist, with flashes of rainbow shapes and monochrome bubbles, and his eyes also now glow with a blinding static like that of an old television

He climbs the rest of the way up the ladder, and is never seen again.

The silence in the following hours is deafening, only interrupted by the occasional moan of the things shackled down in their metal chairs as their lungs and vocal cords collapse, and I eventually fall into a fitful sleep.

I dream of hideous landscapes of oceans of oil and mercury and cathedrals carved from the very cave they lie within, housing hideous orgies of creatures that may have once been human.

The very last image is that of an enormous, faded red curtain, where those creatures who abstain from the acts of those around them kneel and whisper in languages long forgotten.

My dream-eyes strain me away from passing the curtain, and I once again find myself in the shackled altar, the four things around me now returned to their natural state of death.

My eyes now see as clearly in the darkness as day, and it is after this revelation that I look down upon the spectacle that is my hideously deformed body.

My fingernails have darkened to a gray crimson, and melted into my fingers. My skin, now shriveled and covered in protruding veins, feels as if it is on fire. I open my mouth to scream, and my teeth tear apart the mouth piece like a piece of paper mache, my enormous frog-like tongue flicking about zealously.

My arms and legs stretch out to enormous lengths, and my shackles shatter into a thousand pieces.

Dread fills my heart as with no other options, I slowly approach the open hatch and climb the ladder, completely unprepared for what I see.

Oceans of oil and mercury slop about lazily against a rocky shore of gravel and brimstone, and carved boulders depict images of a civilization which had once thrived on the surface world; the greater majority of the city beyond illuminated by some unseen light.

The very creatures of my dream are now crowded about me, taken back by my revolting complexion, and scatter like insects as I slowly approach the massive city.

I soon notice that the gutters of this city are filled with some sort of molasses-like substance which slowly flows uphill towards an unseen exit, like blood would flow up a vein, this stinky line of gutters leading towards a cathedral.

Some follow me closely along the hastily paved streets, while others jump from rooftop to rooftop, watching me with unseen eyes, following me until I reach the temple’s front doors, and at this point, they all disperse.

Swarms of them lie about within, engaging in sexual acts too vulgar to describe; though upon my arrival, they soon stir in a nervous anticipation of some sort, creeping towards me on all four limbs as I near the faded red curtain.

Part of it looks damaged, as though it had once been torn down but sown back into its place, and their countless stairs urge me on to remove it once more.

I wrap my fingers around its edge, and with awful hesitation…

I rip it down from its place.

A smorgasbord of sensory stimulation overwhelms me, and an endless labyrinth of ashy-grey tree bark both surrounds my reality and ceases to be within it; its skin-like pores dripping with the same substance as that of the city gutters, countless eyes both everywhere and nowhere all at once look upon me in pure disinterest, an apathetic horror which could erase my existence with the flick of a finger.

But it doesn’t do this, and simply continues to gaze out into its massive spider web of time-space, contemplating things beyond any human’s capability of understanding, or even acceptance.

One of the rubbery black man-creatures grabs my shoulder from behind, and whispers softly into my mind; uttering in a language I have never heard but instantly comprehend;

 

Drink the blood-sap, wanderer.

 


© Copyright 2018 Zach Reynoldson. All rights reserved.

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