Shauna Lopez

Jo Scott-Coe

English 11 Th. 6-9

Short Fiction

Andrew's Demise

I gently caressed her naked body and leaned down to kiss the strawberry birthmark on her shoulder. I wondered if her husband knew where she was. Did he know the pleasures he was missing out on being away so often? I didn't really care, I was just glad he was away often enough that I could enjoy her myself. Despite knowing her disturbed past, and the fact that I was already married, I felt myself falling in love with this beautiful creature. I knew she had killed a man and fled. But she refused to tell me how, saying it was more than I could understand. I didn't care anyway, so I never pushed. I hated to see her in pain. She punished herself so much, for something she claimed was beyond her control anyway. And when we were together, I knew there was a part of her, somewhere, that was good.

Ciara stirred out of her dreams and opened her crystal gray eyes. She saw me staring at her and blushed. I chuckled and leaned in for a kiss. Passionately, I trailed kisses down her neck and across her collarbone, sucking her salty scent deep into my lungs. She wrapped firm porcelain legs around me and a wicked smile played on her lips. I smiled back and entered her. Feeling her tightening around me, I moved faster, thinking she was enjoying it as much as I was. She squirmed and pushed against me, her hips digging into mine. I grabbed her by the shoulders, pressing her closer. I looked into her eyes, and I froze, terrified. The gray of her eyes was draining into her pupils, like wine out of a bottle. Her soft face contorted and a soul aching scream burst out of her mouth. A symphony of metal on metal and wood splintering under fire pulsed and moved around me. I watched as the scream pushed the light out of the room. My groin started burning and fire ran down my legs. I smelled burning hair and struggled to get away from that scream. I didn't even look back as I flamingoed across the room trying to put my pants on and get out.

The next day, I was terrified to even leave the house. I didn't want to hear the rumors at work, I didn't want to know if Ciara had died last night, or what they might have discovered when they found her body. I was so preoccupied with what might have happened, I didn't notice that the rash I developed last night was getting worse. I tried so hard to look like nothing was wrong that I am sure I looked guilty as sin. I managed to make it until lunch time without anyone asking me what my problem was, and I had yet to hear any word on Ciara.

Out of the cool shade of the apple orchard, and into the hot unhindered sunlight, I felt uncomfortable. The people milling about the dusty dirt roads in town pushed in on me. I thought everyone that looked at me, knew. Knew what I had done with Ciara, and knew that I had killed her. Shaking my head, trying to fling the voices from my mind, I wiped the sweat from my face and settled down on a stump to eat my lunch.

I was always amazed that the crops and orchards could stand such heat and produce anything for the harvest in the fall. But Alyag had very rich soil, the richest anywhere. Travelers from all over would come to Alyag to store up on fruits and grains for the winter. In the center of the city, they grew the apples, corn and oats. Farther to the West, closer to the ocean, they grew the sweetest snigberries. Something about the sea breeze just made them plump up fatter and sweeter than anywhere else.

Half way back to work, I turned a corner, and I saw her on the other side of the road. She looked up, and when she saw me, stopped dead in her tracks and turned back the way she came. If it hadn't been for my friend John walking out of the general store and nearly colliding with her, I would never have believed she wasn't a ghost.

The nightmares started that night. Faces of those I didn't know, and some that bared a striking resemblance to Ciara, floated in and out of view. Memories I couldn't grasp onto filled my mind, always staying just out of reach. Red and yellow bursts of light flashed off in the horizon, and with each explosion blinding pain flowed down my legs and up my stomach. Just as the stream of images started to begin to piece together, Ciara's scream ripped through my mind again, spinning me out of my dream and throwing me back into my bed. I yanked my pants to my knees and stared at the green and purple fingers creeping up my stomach and hips.

I couldn't believe how fast it spread; I had hoped it would fade in a few days, but it didn't. By day four it was weaving a drunken-spider web pattern in array of blues, greens and purples. Climbing up my stomach and arching over my hips, it wrapped around me like a lover's embrace. It wriggled its way up my spine, lurching and stretching. It ached and itched, spreading like maggots trapped under my skin. It was nearly covering my chest, its barbed fingers laced under and over my ribs, digging for my heart.

The nightmares got worse, more violent and painful. I kept seeing another man; he had the same purple web creeping up his neck. Every night, for a week, I watched him march closer to death. Or was I watching my own? My mind started playing tricks on me, or maybe it was really happening. At this point, I was so sleep deprived, I couldn't really tell. I heard whispers and cackling when there was no one there. Thoughts that weren't mine filled my head. Anger and fear of things I didn't even know existed invaded my every waking hour. Somehow I knew I was running out of time.

While I was working in the orchards, I would see things, out of the corner of my eye, closing in on me. They were black hooded, angelic figures, with marble smooth bony hands, reaching for me. Were they real? Was it the poison in my veins polluting my mind, or something more? My heart would quicken and I would feel the thing under my skin pull deeper.

After another nearly sleepless night, I pulled open my weighty eyelids and instantly felt the demons circling me like a pack of rabid, hungry wolves. My eyes darted around the room, and I caught twisted shadows retreating out of my line of sight. They were toying with me now, laughing at my terror, and I was helpless to stop it. I knew that soon they would have me, but I was terrified to think of what would happen when they finally pounced. I still couldn't quite figure out if they were really there, but it didn't much matter. I could hear their laughter; feel their sweet breath rolling down my neck. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and like a frightened rabbit I ran; not knowing it would make their hunger for my tainted soul even greater.

I didn't dare stop. It was nearly noon when I finally crashed into the apple orchards, gasping for breath. But I couldn't rest for long, my mind was filled with their voices, and they were very close. I began to run again, frantically, going any which way I thought would save me, and they enjoyed it. The sun made shadows to chase me, the wind moved the branches to block my path, and the roots reached out to trip me. My legs were rubber, my lungs fire, begging for rest and oxygen. But my mind was screaming louder and I didn't dare stop. I saw my friend John. He must have been searching for me all morning. I saw him waving at me to stop. I ran toward him, blankly reaching for any shred of hope, hearing the demons right behind me. Long frozen serrated daggers sliced through me, and I felt something settle into my bones. Reaching John, I watched as my possessed hands grabbed him; ripping apart his flesh, like teeth in a peach. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't stop. All the horrible feelings and evil thoughts Ciara had given me were now in control. I felt the muscle on John's arm give way beneath my fingers, and warm blood splatter my face. I heard his bones crack, tendons sounding off like popcorn. But I didn't hear John begging me to stop, I didn't see the puddle of red molasses growing beneath his mangled body. I felt myself collapse and I watched as my soul was ripped from my body. Cackling, they feasted on it, tearing it apart. They leered at me, their mouths full of the milky white substance that had given me life. And with my last ragged breath, I heard them all laugh. They had taken my soul, and they enjoyed it.