Finale, A tale of The Figure.
Written by Joseph Ratchford.
The rain crashed down to earth like Satan from heaven, it would not stop. Though The Figure wished it would, his arms pushed against the sheer power of the flood, he felt as if he would lose consciousness any millisecond, yet he continued to fight the numbness that enveloped his body, not daring to stop. Mountains taunted him from far away, beyond his reach, beyond the threshold of his weakened body. His leg, burning in the water, had almost stunted his progress, it would not move, despite his desperation, his hat had fell off his head, it floated peacefully in the water, almost taunting him. He let it lie there, at peace. His determination not wavering, he continued.
The house lay behind him, dormant and seemingly docile, he did not even consider turning back, not after what he had seen. His hearing had disappeared again, shielding him from the pain of the noise the endless wind made, he could feel it, hitting his face like knives, the pressure tearing the skin, blood ran down his chin and checks, his balding scalp dyed crimson. His mouth gasped for air, needing whatever energy he could get. The Figure could feel his arms finally give way as he submerged in the water. With his demise near inevitable, The Figure finally feared death.
His eyes were wide as he held his breath, he wouldn't die. He couldn't die. A sudden adrenaline encapsulated him, the pain in it forgotten, his broken leg moved for dear life, knowing it would not last, The Figure swam a graceless stroke, he was aware how his swim was more akin to a pathetic flailing. But he did not care, he needed to survive. The mountains were closer, but so was the pain in his leg, getting stiffer by the second as the adrenaline wore off, his eyes darted to a smaller mountain, closer by with a cavern, a shelter in it. It was not too far from the rapidly raising sea level, The Figure was far beyond caring, he needed shelter, he needed to count his remaining supplies, he needed so much in such little time.
The pain had almost returned fully, The Figure could feel his conscious just holding on, everything was blurred, he felt what he was finally recognising as blood loss coming from his broken leg, he had a suspicion of why it was bleeding, but he would have to check when he found shelter. It seemed further away than ever, the wind blowing the everlasting storm into a frenzy, he could notice a wave, higher than the highest dune. A wave that was travelling in his direction. The Figure found it somewhat ironic. A high, squawking, inhuman noise came out of his mouth again and again uncontrollably, The Figure was laughing for what he assumed would be the last time in his life. As he continued to push into the wave's maw, he realised that it was no longer there. The wave had disappeared. However, The Figure did not dwell on this, only relived somewhat by the wave's disappearance.
Panting for energy like a mad dog, The Figure's blood had found itself in his eyes as nearly everything had gone a shade of red, Tears flew down his face, trying to bleed out the red. It was failing. The Cave seemed a little closer, yet further away, like the horizon it would allude his grasp, a numbness, enveloping him, gave him little strength as his joints stiffened, fighting for movement, fighting to live another second. The Figure could have stopped there and then and have a fast, merciful death. It would have been the sensible thing to do.
The Figure was a lot of things; unfortunately, sensible was not one of them.
It seemed closer, he could see the inside of the cave, A short swim, and a short climb. It defiantly would not be safe for long, but it would be enough, The Figure hoped. The adrenaline in him boosting slightly with a chance of survival, he continued his graceless swim, flapping in the water. He could see the smooth, sloppiness of the once-mountain that he would have to climb. He did not think of the difficulty ahead of him, determined as he was. When he could feel a solid rock in front of him he almost cried out in joy as he reached from a handhold, seeing one reasonably close to his target, he reached with his deceased arms, rejuvenating themselves for the task ahead. He pulled upwards, trying to get a grip with his worn-to-pieces boots, his fear pushing him as hard as possible, The Figure jumped in order to reach the cave, praying to himself for mercy. He fell back in the freezing maw of the water, rejected by the cave.
The Figure was not the sort of person to cry. Yet, tears of fear and misery streamed down his face as he tried again, he held on, slipped, jumped and felt a hard, cold, somewhat dry surface. He had a handhold. He pulled his other arm onto the rock, then his healthy leg. When it came for the broken leg's turn, he felt a scrape of what felt like dry rock scrape painfully across the mountain. The Figure's suspicions were confirmed. His bone had been forced out of his body like a nail in wood, it was bloody and ridged, the ligaments worn off, it was orange, dyed by the blood and water that had captured it for however long. A gaping hole was at its perimeter, blood running like a river out of the bone.
The Figure was getting rather sick of blood. He crawled deeper into the cave, not trusting his legs to hold his body weight, having to feel the friction of the solid rock against his calcium-depraved bones, sparks flying for every centimetre he moved into the infinite darkness. He could see nothing, hear nothing, and feel everything, and he could feel very little that wasn't his infinite suffering, that had started to dull somewhat, he guessed it was due to blood loss. Not even a rat abided in the cave, The Figure felt completely isolated at last.
A light could be seen, a dull, mediocre grey. The Figure decided to continue towards it, not having the energy to turn around. The blackness became a dark, smoke-like grey, while the dry rock became damp as The Figure dragged his barely conscious body onto the wet rock, his blistered, scabbed hands with open cuts absorbing into the rock carrying the way, The Figure's vision just several shades of grey. He had just wasted vital time and energy in a tunnel. The pain must have made him delirious, he would have thought if he was any less desperate. He put one arm to his right to feel the smooth, damp wall of the hollow, he crawled up to the wall and with all his strength, pathetically slumped his body across the wall, feeling somewhat defeated.
He brought his attention onto the lightest shade of grey, surrounded with blood, he assumed it must have been his leg, searching the pouches on his belt and his pockets, he could feel an abundance of loose, rough strands in one of the pockets, he took it out to see an entangled mess of what was once his bandages, water poured off them like rain. The Figure's outlook went from desperate to aggressive. The rain had done this, it had taken his freedom, it had taken his mobility when it was most needed and it seemed poised to take his life. He wouldn't give it the satisfaction.
An all-consuming cold captured The Figure as he, with his strength fleeing, pushed the loose bone back to its rightful place. The blood that made up the perimeter of the bone leaked onto his hands, leaving all he could see of them was a bright crimson that leaked onto the floor, only to disappear as soon as it made contact. He grabbed the heap of wet bandages and forced them with all his remaining effort onto the wound. The sensation of both pain and healing forced its way through the numbness that had filled him, The Figure started to relax slightly.
He was aware that he needed more than bandages to save himself; they could not completely stop his remaining blood from draining like a reservoir. Remaining desperate, but more hopeful than before, The Figure checked his inventory for some sort of disinfectant. In his pouches he felt a plastic satchel, it was smooth to touch; full of liquid, what that liquid was, The Figure did not know; he had not recalled having any plastic whatsoever in his inventory. He attempted to gracefully raise it up into his line of sight, only to crush it, unable to control his strength thanks to his refusal to sleep, not knowing if he would wake up.
The liquid exploded over The Figure's coat, causing it to erode at a rapid pace, tearing the coat to pieces, he saw this with a look of horror on his uninteresting face, the coat had been his faithful companion since the beginning; he could not lose it. Not now. Not in the cold and wet jaws of the tunnel, which grew darker by every second he lost inside of it. He reached for his coat, holding it as it eroded away, it's material did not even have enough time to fray before all that was left in The Figure's loving arms was dust. He felt blunt to the outside world, not even to the wind; continuing to cut him open. He clutched at the remains of his coat as the storm claimed it, blowing the ashes away from him, tears burned at his face as his coat joined his hat in the flood, lost forevermore.
The electric blue of lighting filled his vision; its beauty and danger stunned him momentarily as it struck the head of the mountain where he kept refuge. The Figure could only stare as the mountain's head, rigid and broken fell gracelessly. It fell in slow motion; his vision became better than it had ever been, as he could see the falling head, an ovular hole at each end, both with a brilliant green moss in their centre, each strand of moss symmetrical, and in the exact same direction. The direction of The Figure.
'Run.' The only thought that would enter his head, the only impulse that he had, was to escape from the head and it's disappointed eyes. Yet, he could not move. Not as the head of the mountain fell into the water, that exploded everywhere. Terrified, The Figure fought to move but his body refused the command as the water level rose as the head fell, sinking as grey, foamy waves exploded around the head's perimeter, all over him, not that it made much difference. The eyes stared at him, straight into The Figure's soul. He understood.
The colours became muddled, they all mixed together in his eyes, texture faded from lines and cracks to just dull colours. Mostly grey. The colours all span in a circular fashion as the water level rose at unbelievable speeds, The Figure's vision constantly became blue as lightning continued to strike, he turned around, to see the tunnel. Out of options, he crawled into the blackness, not wanting to damage his leg any more that he could.
He felt a liquid drip on his wet, sweat-stained shirt. It spread all over the shirt, dripping all over him, he didn't feel any different, however, feeling numb to the liquid. it started to rain onto his face, this confused The Figure, seeing that he was inside a tunnel. He caught some in his hands and brought them to his dry, chalk-like mouth and took a sip. It was blood. The Figure was disgusted. However, he needed to quench his thirst. He searched the bone-dry and complete darkness of the tunnel for a crack, finding a slightly damp bit of the tunnel, he found a small crack. He brought his mouth to it, suckling the blood like a baby. It tasted healthy, full of protein. He thanked himself for his luck.
He started choking, his throat tightened, his eyes watered as a thick puddle of phlegm and blood spluttered all over his shirt, absorbing into a mixture of stains. He hoped that he had at least swallowed some of the blood, as he crawled onwards. Each rock he put his hands on felt damper then the last, the smooth, untouched stones, slowly became sharp, eroded puddles, The Figure assumed that, with the puddles he must be closer to the exit, but he saw no light. Surrounded by darkness, with only blood for company, he crawled as quickly as possible, his hands opening up more, he was determined to see if he could find the light again.
He felt the bandages around his leg gracelessly scrape off, falling off to release a warm sense of feeling, the feeling was an inhuman cold as blood and water became conjoined, yet The Figure still felt numb everywhere else, his movements fought his brain with fatigue and contempt with being alone in the black hole that was the cavern. Each push was a chore; he stayed edging the end that may never come anyway, walking the line between determination and insanity as the puddles got larger and larger, each crawl he took, more of his arms were submerged, he could feel the water clinging to his skin further and further, it was warm, welcoming in comparison to what he had suffered. He smiled as his torso made contact with the water. All numbness and pain instantly evaporated, almost as they had never been there at all, replaced by a wild burst of joyful energy that would have, once upon what felt like an eternity ago, made him suspicious. But it did not. Because, finally, The Figure felt alive.
He calmly wallowed in the sheer bliss of the water, sighing in relief as his muscles calmed, falling apart from the tension that he had dragged them through. He looked upwards, seeing only darkness that appeared to circle around him, as if a dance it would pirouette and form into shapes, the circles became triangles, that mutated into what he recognized as ovals, the shapes came together like a puzzle; fitting together perfectly until, staring at him was a face. He did not recognize the face. It was clearly a young woman, slightly pudgy in the face, that was covered in gravel bruises alongside crimson cuts of leaking blood, her eyes were a softer rock. Her face was a permanent scream, her mouth only a black hole. The Figure had a slight sense of déjà vu.
More men and women formed above the floating Figure. All of them, he pretended that he did not recognize, though some of them lay in his head like a shipwreck He was slightly unnerved by a large amount of people with 'our saviour' etched into their forehead. One was more peculiar, he had a head of tumours and lumps, all squashed together in a bizarre and ugly mixture. "Noah," The Figure thought, "His name is Noah." All the faces had the same gaping hole for a mouth, all silently screaming. The faces would not end. Some, from his life Before, he did not recognize whatsoever, some were more familiar, some he could even name, slowly, The Figure looked over at the hundreds of people lined up against the ceiling, he made a horrifying conclusion.
They were the faces of all the people he had killed. The people he didn't recollect. The part of The Figure, the part he liked to forget, returned to his body, and it was horrified. Tears fell directionless from his eyes, his knees knocked constantly. His mind reacted somewhat accordingly, yet his mind remained perfectly calm.
Then his hearing returned, with a pop, but for a few seconds, all he could hear was more silence, then the screams began.
They were all perfectly comprehensible, each note of the screams of their eternal pain could be heard by The Figure, and it was painful. Each of the strange, inhuman sounds of agony found their way into his head, battering at it like a firing squad until they could kill it. They were in his brain, and they did not approve. Each of their lives entered him, no matter how much he would struggle and attempt to fight, but he could not fight what he could not touch. The pain wasn't enough, they remembered. They remembered their lives before, at least willingly, and they remembered him. How he had murdered most of them in cold blood, believing them to be threats, or at least wanting them to. Each memory of each kill was groped, his victims taking the numbness away from his memories, showing him what truly happened, what he truly was.
"No!" He screamed in the claustrophobic, crowed confides of his head. "No" "No!" "NO!" The Figure could not feel his body as he fought the faces as their screaming continued to destroy him again and again, his legs frozen. He could only watch their faces, now cold reminders to him and what he had done. He could only listen to their cries, a cluster of pitch and tempo that caused blood to drip out of his deceased ears. He could only feel them inside his head, taunting him. His tears deepened the puddle that he lay in, it rose to his malnourished, tired torso and he could do nothing but breathe deeply as it reached his head, quickly rising as the once warm and welcoming water became cold and distant swallowed him whole.
The blackness of the caves rippled to white, to grey as The Figure's vision slowly lost texture, the detail of the faces faded into blocks of stone-grey and then nothing. The water was nothing but an impossible black, no texture, no features, no light, the ripples he had seen had ceased to exist. Just him and the dark. He did not feel as if he was drowning, he felt like nothing, he could not feel himself breathing, yet he was still alive, the overwhelming coldness of drowning was not there. All there was, was nothing at all.
Alone, The Figure reflected, contempt at last.