The Black Lights of Bulgaria
I did not wish to reveal the terror which I have witnessed to the internet, but I felt I had to. The radioactive green. The claws. The moth-like wings. The tentacles. They all contribute to the grimace I saw before me so long ago. I hoped not to tell anyone of the horror that I had seen, in fear of causing utter insanity within them.
It happened last year. It all started around an hour before we board the plane. We've been waiting for this day since the day we met all those years ago. We made a promise when we were thirteen, Maria and I. A promise that one day, Maria and I will spend at least a week in Bulgaria where Maria comes from, and we'll spend it sightseeing, eating the local food, and maybe, just maybe, going to the aqua park!
Now we're sitting in front of the boarding gate, chatting, and making up an itinerary for the next two weeks. "No, we should go to the aqua park on Thursday," I said, "we'll do a quick sightsee around Sofia once we drop our stuff off at the flat after we land, then a proper sightsee tomorrow after we have a rest."
"What about Monday?" Maria asked.
"I don't know," I replied as I took my mobile out of my pocket. 'Going to Bulgaria. Can't wait!' I typed then posted to my Twitter feed.
"How about this? We go to Plovdiv on Monday. It's only about two and a half hours by train. We could spend the whole day there, looking around the Old Town," Maria said.
"Good idea. But what'll we do on Tuesday and Wednesday?" I asked, placing the phone back in my pocket. There was a pause as we both took time to think.
"We could go and watch a movie?"
"Yeah, all right. I'm gonna take a whizz." I replied, getting up and making towards the toilet.
I got to the toilet door just as someone else was leaving. They had almost whacked me in the face with the door, but I didn't care thanks to the excitement pumping through my veins. They must have not noticed me as they had a blank gaze to their eyes. As I watched them walk away, I saw that they had a moth-like wing growing from their back. No, it's just me hallucinating from the lack of sleep I had last night. I paid it no mind and went in to do my business.
"No, I have it worked out!" Maria exclaimed as I returned to my seat. "On Tuesday, we'll go to the mall where the cinema is. We'll watch the film, then go to the arcade opposite the cinema," my interest piqued at 'arcade'. "Then food shopping."
My stomach rumbled. "Yeah, we do need to eat," I replied.
"Then, of course, the second week will be spent at the beach in Varna."
"Ooh, beach…" I repeated.
"The gate for EasyJet flight 3579 is now open," said a voice from a speaker, "The gate for EasyJet flight 3579 is now open."
"That's us!" I squealed, accidentally hitting Maria. It was the first time in all of my nineteen years of life that I'll be on a plane. Maria kept patronising me about it, asking questions like: "Are you scared yet?" but questions like that will not unnerve me.
"Come on!" I wailed, "I want to get on the plane," dragging Maria over to the gate by at this point.
"Okay, let go!" I did what I was told.
We got on the shuttle bus to the plane, even though we could have walked to the plane ourselves. I looked out of the bus window during the journey and could have sworn that the sky was malfunctioning. Skies aren't normally a pure, brilliant white, are they? And a glowing black ball took the place where the sun should be. It was only for a moment before: "Are you all right? You look pale. Nerves getting to you?" Maria enquired.
"Me? Nervous? No- well, just a little- no, it's just the-" I looked out of the window again. The sky was normal with the sun beaming down on the runway. "Nah, never mind."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm okay." I asserted.
The flight was three hours from take-off to touchdown. I figured that I'll catch some shut-eye during that time. The same dream, well, nightmare had been plaguing me for the last three nights. I kept dreaming of a world, far unlike our own, where the sky was white and the sun a menacing black. There were no clouds in sight. The rocky landscape was filled with buildings that should not be possible under the normal laws of physics. Inverted triangle buildings; buildings that stood on the tip of the triangle- not the base. Other buildings looked like what a performer used in a spinning plate act, the buildings really looked like a plate on a stick. Another building looked like a ball on top of a steeple. All of them seemed to be carved out of the rock, not bricks like our buildings. I was scared that they'll topple over any second. And the people, or inhabitants can only be described as alien. There's no other way to put it. They seemed to be humanoid terrapins- not tortoises- but terrapins. The ones with the characteristic stripes, with distinctly octopus tentacle-like hands, and humanoid feet with claws on the end of them, and moth-like wings on the back of their shells, not unlike the person I saw earlier. I usually tend to forget my dreams upon waking, but certain things are impossible to forget. One of the 'aliens' turned. It was staring right at me. It took a step closer, but I could hardly move.
A sudden jolt woke me up. "What's going on?" I asked.
"You were snoring," Maria laughed.
"No! What's going on now?"
"It's just a bit of, what's the word?"
"Begins with 'T'."
"Oh, turbulence," I corrected.
"Yeah, that. You can go back to sleep if you want."
Luckily enough, I was sitting in the window seat overlooking the wing. I gazed out towards the sky and clouds. A single tentacle sprouted from one of the plane's engines. It flopped towards the window. "Wha- hey!" I yelled and flinched back towards Maria.
"What's the matter?"
"Oh, nothing. What's the time?"
"Still an hour to go."
"Oh, okay." I tried to go back to sleep. Again, I was shaken awake. "More turbulence?" I moaned and rubbed my eyes. A green light flashed within the cabin.
"Such as the power of K'l Syr." Maria said in a monotone voice that was not her own.
"Maria?" she was carrying the same blank gaze as the person from the toilet. "Maria!" I shouted, shaking her. The blankness in her eyes disappeared.
"Yes? What's the problem?"
"Never mind," I replied. She must've been daydreaming, Maria must be tired as well.
That doesn't explain the green flash.
"Wait, Maria? Did you see a green flash a couple of seconds ago?"
She doesn't remember?
"Why? Maybe it's just you. Maybe you're seeing things because you're tired." Maria said. I nodded.
"Maybe you're right."
"Why not try going back to sleep?"
"What's the point? We're landing in a minute." Maybe it was my fault for choosing and booking a flight that took off at six a.m. Maria rested her head on my shoulder and I placed my own head on the window and we closed our eyes. Sleep reached Maria but it didn't reach me.
"We will be landing in ten minutes," the pilot said over the speaker. He repeated it in Bulgarian. "We will be land-" it then cut out. I shook Maria awake, my right shoulder was dead now.
"What do you want?"
"The speaker cut out!" I squealed.
"Maybe he just dropped the talking thing."
"Sorry about that, ladies and gentlemen, again, we will be landing in ten minutes." Again, he repeated the phrase in Bulgarian. The stewardesses took that as their cue to stand and say something in Bulgarian. "What'd they say?" I was planning to use Maria as the translator for the holiday.
"They said to push the tray up and to put your seatbelt on."
"Oh." My seatbelt was already on and I never used the tray. "Done," I joked.
The plane's landing was imminent. My ears popped as we landed. All I wanted to was to get off the plane. I was so excited, as it would be the first time I set foot on foreign soil.
"Come on!" I whined.
"Calm down," Maria said. This time, we didn't use the shuttle bus to get back to the airport, instead, there was a corridor leading from the plane's entrance. It was only a small plane anyway. We then embarked on the journey to the luggage carousel. The corridor from the plane to the main airport was long, I'm not the fittest of people, but the walk wore me out.
"How much longer?" I huffed.
"Not long now!" Maria said, cheerfully. The luggage carousel took ages. I was afraid that they left the suitcase at Gatwick. It spun and spun, but our case never showed.
"There it is!" Maria pointed at a gigantic pink suitcase.
"Ok," I replied and swung it off the machine. "I may have mentioned it to you back in England, but why did you choose pink? Of all colours!"
"Because it's easy to see."
I scoffed at the remark, "Yeah, and pretty embarrassing as well." My legs were aching by the time we got to the airport's exit. "Now what?"
"We wait for a taxi?" There was an uncertainty to Maria's voice. We hadn't thought about what'll happen when we got off the plane. But Bulgaria was warmer than the UK, that's for sure. I had to take off my jumper and tied it around my waist. I thought that it'd be pretty sunny so I craned my neck up to look. There was no sun, the sky was white. Must be cloudy.
"Is it always this cloudy here?"
"Clouds?" she asked, then she looked up at the sky as well. "I don't see any clouds."
Maria stopped looking at the sky and looked at me. "It's sunny," she said. Then she paused for a moment before asking "Are you ok?"
"Yeah, fine!" Maria's face gave a look that said that she didn't believe me.
"Ah, the taxi's here!" she pointed out.
"Right," I stopped looking at the sky and saw a busted old Volvo pull up at the pavement. I was unimpressed. "Is this it?" I whispered as to not let Maria hear.
"Nothing," I said, getting in the cab.
I always look out of the window when I don't know where I'm going. The buildings looked like those from my dreams; rocky and defying gravity. "Maria, your buildings are amazing and a little scary."
"What are you on about? These are just slums."
"What are you on about? These are no slums! There's a ball balancing on top of a pyramid!"
"No, they're slums. Look," I looked out of Maria's window. These buildings do look like slum buildings, just off-white from dirt and pollution and many of them falling apart. The sky behind them blue and sunny, completely different from my side.
"But over here, on my side, look," I show her the window on my side.
"Still slums," Maria sighed, "look." Dilapidated buildings and overgrown plants appeared in the window on my side. It looked like a good location for a zombie movie.
"But the sky! The buildings! They were-" There was another blinding green flash, followed by a bang. However, the car didn't crash and we were still driving. "What's going on?!" I shrieked.
"Such as the power of K'l Syr," both the cabbie and Maria chanted. Maria's eyes took on the same blank gaze as before. I waved my hands in front of them but she didn't notice that I was there. I looked out of the window again. It was there. Every time something weird happens that same black light is dangling in the sky. "Such as the power of K'l Syr," the voices repeated again, and again, each time the voices get more creepy and demonic.
"Shut up! Who is this 'kill sir'? Sir who?" I yelled, having finally given up looking for any logical explanation of what was going on. Pointing at Maria, I declared, "You're crazy! You are fucking insane!"
Then something happened that I couldn't explain. Maria smiled, and lifted up her hands and placed them around my neck while continuing to chant the demonic phrase. I cursed her and that black light as my consciousness slipped away.
"Thank god! You're awake!"
I surveyed the place surrounding me; I was tucked up in a bed in a room in what looks like an apartment. "Where am I?" I asked, weakly. Maria was bent over me, looking at my face and holding a thermometer.
"In my bedroom, well, old bedroom. In my old flat." The room was plastered with W.I.T.C.H posters. W.I.T.C.H was a cartoon from when I was a bit younger, about nine or ten. I shook my head as I never liked the cartoon myself. Maria leaned forward with the thermometer in a bid to take my temperature.
"No!" I cringed. Who knows what she had done to me when I was unconscious. "No!"
"Look, you collapsed in the taxi. You were having some fit or something-"
"I know perfectly well what happened in the taxi. You were freaking out, talking about some 'kill sir'. Then you tried to kill me."
"Kill you? What are you talking about? You know what? Just get some rest," she said, making towards the door.
"Fine," I grumbled and turned inside the sheets.
"Soon the sacrifice will be paid. K'l Syr will have his blood…"
"Excuse me?" I asked. I could have sworn that was Maria's voice.
"K'l Syr will have his sacrifice."
A chill shot down my spine, making me sit up in the bed. I then noticed that the bedroom has a door that led to a balcony. I think I need some fresh air. The landscape of my dreams greeted me. The same carved out rocky buildings, the same physics and gravity defying architecture. The sky was a paper white while the same black light was there. The same black light that follows me everywhere I go. "What's going on?" I mumble. A terrapin-human hybrid trudged out of one of the buildings. It seemed to scour the area, as if it was searching for something. What was it searching for? Tiptoeing backwards, I hid back in the bedroom, in case it was searching for me. I peered out of the window. Strange. The creature's gone.
"The sacrifice's blood must be spilled. Such as the power of K'l Syr!"
The bedroom door creaked open. "Maria! Thank goodness! I heard this voice and-" I turned to face the door. The monster looking at me was not the creature. The thing was not Maria. Well, I think it could've been Maria, but it couldn't be. The being shared Maria's face. Its eyes were as black as the light in the sky. It was taller than Maria and was lanky. Bright green wings had sprouted from its back like those belonging to a Forester moth. It smiled and took a step toward me. I crept back out towards the balcony.
"The sacrifice's blood must be spilled. Such as the power of K'l Syr!" The being's voice was demonic and not of this world.
"You are not Maria. Where is she? I just want to say that this holiday is now officially crap!" The being's smile grew. Grabbing onto the balcony rail, I looked down towards the floor. 'I'm only two floors up. I can make this,' I thought and climbed over. Then I let go of the rail.
Black. It's black. Like the sun. The black light. T-the black light will consume all. Such as the power of K'l Syr.