short stories

Story Saturdays – Replay

I’m here again. My feet, like always, are bare. I can feel the cold, bumpy bricks lining the walkways and roads of the town that is far too old. The fire lamps line the street. They don’t do as good a job as the electricity that I know and miss, but they work well enough. The flickering lights cast haunting shadows across the bricks and up the walls of the houses. They leap toward me, then retreat, attack, retreat. Attack, retreat.

I know I don’t have much time to wonder how I end up here, or why this happens so often. I know what’s coming next.

In the blink of an eye, all the lamps in the town go out. There’s no moon or stars showing in the sky, even though there’s not a single cloud covering them. It’s darker than sticking your face in an ink well, but I know where I’m going.

I try to move to get a head start and I can’t. I never can. I have to wait for it, whoever it is this time.

Screaming comes from the other side of the little town, and I’m off. Able to move, I run as fast as I can, hoping that perhaps this time, I can change it.

Down the alley, across the street, house after house flying by, unseen as I run through the streets in this forbidding and strange darkness.

The screaming continues. Only six more turns.

The person screaming is getting more frantic. Five.

Four more turns, there’s silence. It’s probably covered their mouth.

Three, can it change the outcome?

Two turns. What if it kills them before I get there.

One turn. I need to stop it. How can I stop that thing?

I turn the corner and stop. I can sense the thing. It’s huge, hulking frame not too far away. The wicked knife, I could see every detail in my mind. The darkness is still over taking everything. I can’t see, but I can hear the muffled cries of the victim.

The light appears. An etheral light with no apparent source. It only lights up the alley we are in, and is especially bright around the monster.

There it stood, victim in hand. It stood nearly nine feet in the air, massive both in height and frame. My brother held aloft by one of the massive arms, while the hand of the other is planted firmly over his mouth. The hand was so large that it covered nearly half his head. I was afraid he might not be able to breath at all, but there it was, his chest rising and falling. So full of life that I am never able to save.

The creature throws it’s massive, hooded head back and laughs. A screaching, growling, terrifying and inhuman laugh. The pleasure this… thing, got from harming was beyond sickening.

It takes it’s hand off my brother’s mouth, and points directly at me. It laughs again and taunts me, one finger beconing toward itself. I run toward the monster. It screams, or growl, or yells, I don’t even know what you would call it, and it puts it’s whole hand toward me, palm out. I stop in my tracks, unable to move. It laughs again.

It’s hand moves, though I still can not, and it grabs the knife from the sheath attached around it’s massive biceps. The knife comes out, metal on metal sound ringing down the alleyway, bouncing against the buildings. I struggle against whatever it is that holds me to my spot. Move! I command myself. This has got to be a dream, you can control your dreams, fucking move! As hard as I try, as much as I yell in my own head, I can’t move an inch. It’s going to happen, again. There’s nothing I can do, again.

The knife moves slowly toward my brother. His eyes strain to see it in the corner of his eyes. They widen even more, and he struggles even harder. He’s so scared and defenseless, and I can’t come to his rescue. The guilt is crushing. All I can do is watch, and I don’t even have a choice on that. Just as I can not move my legs, I can not move my head or my eyes either. I’m stuck in the ultimate deer in the headlights train wreck syndrome from hell, of no will of my own.

The knife comes to my brother’s throat. He’s whimpering now. I start crying. Tears fall, soul crushing and silent. It’s happening again.

The tip of the blade pierces his skin, a small trickle of blood starting down. He struggle with his lower body, his upper body held fast by the monster. I can feel it smiling, I can feel the joy in this twisted game of torture.

In it goes, moving through like a hot knife through butter. He screams as the blood comes faster, the skin and tendons being severed. The muscle being split as though it was being filleted. Suddenly the scream turns to a whistle of sorts as the knife opens the wind pipe, disconnecting his lungs from his mouth. His fight was quickly leaving him. The blood was squirting now, reaching feet in front of where my brother hung, dying.

Finally, his body hung limp, and mine, no longer controlled by whatever it was, dropped to the ground. I couldn’t watch anymore. The creature laughed again, more manical than before. I heard movement, then a sickening thump as he throw his limp body against the wall, then another, softer but no less sickening, as he hit the ground. My poor brother, like all the others. This wasn’t the first time for him, nor would it be the last.

I look up, to find the monster had vanished, the lamps had come back on, the ethereal light was gone, but my brother’s poor broken body remained. I ran to him, turned his pale, lifeless face toward mine. Stroking his hair, rocking back and forth.

“I’m so sorry.” I can’t do anything but repeat those words again and again. The lights start fading, I can’t see anything anymore. The weight of my brother’s body disappear. I don’t feel as though I’m kneeling anymore.

I’m here again. My feet, like always, are bare. I can feel the cold, bumpy bricks lining the walkways and roads of the town that is far too old.

All I can do is wait and question, who’s going to suffer in the next replay?

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