Bogleech.com's 2017 Horror Write-off:
I AM AWAKE
Submitted by Kira M.
I lived on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon for most of my life. I worked a few odd jobs but had recently started work at an upscale sushi restaurant. The pay was good and allowed be to support my modest drug habit and pay the various bills and shit that come with the glamorous life of being a freelance artist. I was content for the first time in a long time. I had even met a woman and was seriously considering going clean for her. Maybe seeing a doctor about my self medicating bullshit. Anyway... One night after my shift I was walking home in the pouring rain. It was well after midnight and I remember looking at the wet pavement, glistening with the reflections of the street lights and neon signs; stuff like that always made me feel like Harrison Ford in Blade Runner. But I walked the two blocks without incident. I stopped and pressed the button for the crosswalk when from behind I felt a hand on my shoulder.
I slowly turned around to face the chest of an extraordinarily tall person, wrapped in what I can only describe as layers upon layers of ragged black cloth. Like a bad grim reaper Halloween decoration. The figure loomed over me and easily stood nine feet tall. It had no face that I could see, it was just covered by a huge hood that hung loosely. I immediately turned back around to face the the crosswalk sign, ignoring the situation.
The crosswalk lights blinked off and on, and I rushed crossed the street with the towering figure, clad in midnight, holding onto my shoulder. The headlights from the waiting cars cast only my own shadow over the pavement. This observation caused a thought to float into my head:
I'd always heard that people know when they're about to die, like there's some sort of ten minute warning or maybe a grim reaper who used to play basketball grabs your shoulder, and I figured that this was my time. Looking back I realize that I was just incredibly high and should've done something other than be led like a lamb to the slaughter. We walked for several minutes before the towering figure subtlety guided me into a dead end ally, then spun me around to be face to face. The first thing I noticed was that the rain had become torrential, yet the figure and I remained dry; and I could just barely see an empty section of space above us that hissed with steam as falling rain struck it. The figure let off my shoulder and pulled back the enormous cowl that had covered the face, revealing a mask. It was bird like with a long curving beak and its head was topped by a huge black flat brimmed hat. A classic plague doctor outfit. I smiled briefly thinking it was some sort of prank (it is Portland, weird shit happens here) before the doctor opened his huge cloak to reveal six spindly arms that were as long as he was tall.
He removed something like a gigantic pocket watch from his cloak and flipped it open. I remained motionless. It shone a bright purple beam of light which the doctor used to scan my body, then suddenly one of his arms pricked me with a syringe; usually I'd be grateful for anything in a syringe or to shoot some shit into my bloodstream... The doctor held the odd looking syringe up to his eye holes while another of his arms rubbed the where his chin would be. Some type of holographic display appeared from the device and the doctor seemed to watch the flashing symbols intensely before shoving it all back into an unseen pocket. A male voice that seemed to echo as if the speaker was thousands of miles away in a cave erupted from the doctor, it was so deep with bass it made my rib cage thump as if a pounding parade drum was beside me.
"YOU... ARE... JAKE?..."
I feebly nodded.
"YOU... ARE... JAKE..."
We stood there in silence for what seemed like an hour before the doctor took a few steps backwards, adjusted his hat, then started moving his arms so quickly I swear that I don't even think they actually moved. He began making bizarre gestures with hands that could palm a beach ball, contorting his bony fingers into some eldritch sign language. Occasionally, a small glowing rune would appear from one of his palms and lazily drift through the air before sizzling out. The brick wall behind us shimmered with a soft white light, and the punk band posters that covered the wall started to curl and blacken as they turn to ash, mixing with the rain to form a grey sludge. Before I could say anything the doctor's six arms are wrapped tightly around my body, and we lunged head first into the wall. I prayed with conviction and hope for the first time in my life...
We are violently whipped around in pure blackness and traveling at a tremendous speed. The kind of speed were simply breathing becomes close to impossible without choking. Sometimes we stopped dead and change directions. Forward for a while, then left, down, diagonal... We seem to be journeying through a labyrinth with invisible walls, a path that only the right person can take; if you're not then you get lost in the world's most elaborate tumbler lock.
And then I suddenly see something; it's a star like our sun. We're in outer space. The star illuminates a purple cloud, the swirling gases of a nebulae. Far off in the distance I see a huge feathered serpent chasing a golden deer. The enraged serpent is snapping its jaws madly at it's intended prey. The deer leaves large swirls in the nebulous gases as it gallops, causing the eddies to glow with an eerie green light while the serpent accepts defeat and starts to eat its own tail. Then we become numerical information. Suddenly I met an equation that said extremely rude things about someone named Fibonacci before it started to cry on my shoulder, and I felt genuine sympathy for a math problem who was just lonely and missed his husband. Everything goes black for a moment, then terrible metallic hisses and twangs roll through my skull. Sounding like two robots having a lovers quarrel in a prehistoric language made up from radio static. I yelled in pain as my ears pop while it caused all my teeth to hurt, teeth past and present
"SOMETHING IS WRONG, WE NEED TO STOP HERE. PLEASE HOLD ON."
There was a grinding wail as something important broke down. We were froze.. I guess. We stop moving and we're inside some kind of house, but it smells like fish and there's sand everywhere. Time has apparently stopped here.
I see a monstrous crab in a bathrobe drinking a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper, called Recrabplican Burble. Some of the paper reads:
SEN. KRaRHYBH 4 CLAW CONTROL? FOUNDING SPAWNERS INTENDED 2nd AMENDMENT, OUR RIGHT TO OWN ASSAULT CLAWS! GRAHHGH BBUBHB! President ALEX JONES declares war on Common Sense; General KRAGGGKYB unsure if metaphysical representations of collective perception and judgement can be nuked, will try anyway. Radical Lobster Athletes continue to kneel for Crab National Anthem (The Star Gurgled Burble) many saying it disrespects the troops, some say white crabs missing point of Coconut Crab brutally against Lobsters, others hold funeral for racial empathy & decency. GRUGBPRK! BURBLE. Global Warming proved to be hoax, Crab Gore arrested; scientists and defense experts believe the mysterious Myrtle Beach Boiling Massacre, which left 139 innocent crabs, crawfish, lobsters and sixteen unaligned ears of corn boiled alive was a terrorist attack perpetrated by Radical Molluskism group INKY. A suspiciously brown octopus and two nautilus have been chosen to take the blame.
Pg. 2. Police Raid Homosexual Frog Hangout! Stone-Lily Pad Inn, inciting riot; 12 Sissy Hoppers Jailed, 300 gallons of fluoridated water confiscated. HAARP Temporally Taken Offline, **REMEMBER TO BUY GOLD FEIGN INTEREST IN CHRISTMAS STAR WARS IS GREAT ENJOY MARVEL MOVIES DRINK MORE COKE**. HAARP's outage is causing thousands of schizophrenic crabs to create support groups to help yell obscenities and bizarre things at each other till the regular voices return. Shell Jacking Crimes Skyrocketing in Hermit Crab communities on border of Decapodixco; foreign Fiddler Crabs likely the blame, says painfully stereotypical redneck sheriff, there's renewed interest in building the Border Net. Despite record low levels DROOGHBBUK! of vaccination (7.2%) autism continues to affect the world, however stocks in leg braces, sales of iron lungs and claw crafted consumption rags skyrocket. President Jones says Dysentery, Cholera and Alzheimer's are "Sissy boy diseases" and is just lack of testosterone, urges citizens to buy his male supplements. Study finds crystal healing is a fact, definitively cures lack of owning crystals and bloated bank account syndrome.
Five Day Chemtrail Effect Forecast:
M- Sadness, hunger for plankton pizza, complain about liberal media
T- Fear, consider getting concealed carry, Remember the Crabamo
W- Fear, worry about transgender crabs watching you pee, stub claw
Th- Trepidation, nightmare about seagulls, say something blatantly racist
F- Happiness, end of week antidepressants will be sprayed. Pray to Crabus.
"YOU DIDN'T TOUCH OR READ THAT NEWSPAPER, RIGHT?"
"GOOD, LET US CONTINUE."
Then we are became both wave and particle as we glide above a huge city made of solid light, which then gained sentience and cried for my future. It slides away from view like water running across an ink writing, then a black cube exploded to create my neurons. We're in a desert and a giant centipede pops into existence beside the doctor and I. It screams orders to stop and remain still, but before we can respond it turns to stone. I watch the stone centipede as time accelerated to impossible speeds, desert plants explode and disappear repeatedly, like chlorophyll fireworks. Time and wind slowly eats away at the statue until the last wisp on stone vanishes into the endless desert. My personality and ego disappear and turn into a parasitic fungus while the latter turns to a Creepy Crawlers oven momentarily. For three seconds my arm is able to move in nine dimensional space, and I understand probability. My vision shifts and I black out.
As my eyes come back into focus I see we're standing in a disgustingly filthy room. Sickly turquoise floor tiles seem only to exist as canvases for the Jackson Pollock inspired phlegm and mold splatters. A pile of flabby flesh the size of a pumpkin trash bag, like the ones people use for Fall leafs, throbs nearby; it sizes me up with a single melon sized eye that's yellowing with jaundice. A security guard's hat slopes from atop its uneven body while a trudgen lays uselessly on the ground, perhaps there just incase it develops a pair of arms. A CRT television flickers in the corner while playing those kinds of ancient cartoons that for some reason always induce déjà vu. Bare filament light bulbs hang from the low ceiling but it's still very dim as they're seemingly placed at random. One of the bulbs sways gently as the doctor pushes it away. He grumbles about having to stoop over and he instantly becomes a lot less menacing. This is a waiting room... just without the chairs. There's also a lovely pile of reeking porno magazines and winter coats with a sign beside it that says: UNISEX BATHROOM
The smell of cigarettes, sickness and rust is an all but overpowering aroma. I hear a woman's voice call out.
I look around the empty room, and the blob guard rolls his eye and jiggles as if saying 'that's you dummy, you're next.'
The doctor is still clutching me firmly from behind as we waddle up to a sliding glass window that apparently doubles as a spittoon. On the other side is a small woman in a nurses outfit; the uniform doesn't appear to have been created with the intention of ever taking it off, there are straps visibly attaching it to her skin. The once white garment is yellow with sweat and crusted over with black and red stains. The lower portion of her face and jaw is constructed from some kind of brown leather that contrasts her waxy yellow complexion. She smiles at me. Her teeth are bright like polished aluminum. She brushes a few strands of frizzed red hair behind her ear and looks at a clipboard in front of her.
"Well, you must be Jake. We've been waiting for you. Took some time to figure out which time line he was in, I presume?"
"YES... MY APOLOGIES..." The doctor's voice echoed.
"No worries, just check in with Sam before you leave, doc. As for Jake... Ah, yes, I believe the theatre is already prepped and waiting for him. You can go ahead and take him, make sure you or Sam get him ready for sowing. Nice meeting you, Jake."
The nurse smiled at me with her metallic teeth and waved goodbye. The doctor adjusted his wide brimmed hat walked me straight ahead and he pushed through a swinging double doorway. The door's hinges squeaked like trampled mice. In front of us now was the longest hallway I'd ever seen, at least a mile long. The other side was visible only because of a bank of halogen lights at the end. Above us the lights flickered and I noticed that the doctor finally had more than enough room to stand straight up; he was even taller now, an easy eleven feet tall. I briefly wonder if he was shorter when I met him earlier because of squeezed dimensional space... His skeletal fingers let go of my hand, and we slowly walked side by side. I feel like I'm dreaming this, it doesn't feel real at all.
"W-what is happening... what are you going to do to me?" I finally murmured. "I'm dreaming. Or in a fugue state. Maybe a psychotic break?"
We walk along in silence for a sold fifteen minutes before the Doctor reply's to my comment. Again, I wonder if he and I are perceiving time, space and everything else completely differently. Everything he does, the way he speaks and moves, it all seems meticulously thought out.
"YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN AWAKE. WE ARE FOLLOWING IN THE PATH OF OUR DESTINIES. ALL THAT MUST BE DONE WILL BE DONE AND HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE. WE ARE MERELY COGS IN THE GRAND ORRERY OF LIFE. THERE ARE MANY POSSIBILITIES YET NONE AT ALL IN YOUR WORLD; OUTSIDE OF THIS REALM, CHOICES ARE SIMPLY THE ILLUSION OF FLAWED PERCEPTION. YOU HAVE NEVER HAD A GENUINELY UNIQUE THOUGHT OR IDEA. YOU LIVE IN A WARM FUZZY HAZE, NEVER SEEING THE TRUTH, BUT EVERY SO OFTEN COMING TANTALIZINGLY CLOSE. IT MUST BE NICE TO LIVE LIKE A HUMAN, COZY IN YOUR WORLD OF DREAM... WE HAVE ARRIVED."
Now at the end of the hallway, we stood in front of a gigantic iron door with a single round porthole near the top. The color spectrum here seems fixed on browns, oranges and reds, because like everything else metal, the door is thick with oxidation. One the doctor's hands appeared and with a six inch knuckle he knocked, sending flecks of rust falling to the ground. Several moments later the door slid open with the screeching wail of rust on rust, to reveal a rather normal looking person, or person shaped thing, wearing a rather long white lab coat. They were slender and maybe five and a half feet tall, with long pen straight black hair. Goggles and a surgical mask hide the face as they ushered us in. Still, most of the doctor's hands are gripping me tightly. It was pitch black inside but it had the resonance of a huge auditorium. Our host pulled down a gigantic knife switch on the wall, which threw a shower of sparks dancing across the floor. One by one lamps started to flicker on high above us and suddenly I knew what the nurse had meant by a theatre...
It was an operating theatre, complete with decked seating that seemed to continue on up forever and out of sight. In the middle of the room was a huge operating table that had dozens of straps and restraints hanging loosely from its sides, carts topped by trays full of hideous looking tools to chop, cut, slice and tear (plus a can opener and a tenderizing mallet), three buckets that were labeled Keepers, Toss 'Em, and Ohh What's That? respectively. An assortment of pressurized gas cylinders that included Oxygen, Nitrous Oxide, Xenon, Chlorine and Purple. And a dozen colossal operating lights that came down from a ceiling that was too high up to see; giving the impression of some kind jellyfish or nightmarish Big Fin Squid.
"MS. SAM, THIS IS JAKE. HE IS SCHEDULED FOR A ROUTINE CHECKUP BEFORE HE IS TO BE PREPPED FOR SOWING AT THE LONG FARM. DO YOU REQUIRE ANY ASSISTANCE FROM MYSELF?"
"*Did you just call me Ms. Sam?* Hm... I'll have to remember that during the next evaluation... " she looked be genuinely disappointed
"But, um, yeah, could you go and grab the transfusion machine from building 738? It's on the sixty third or fourth floor, I think the Society Of Cephalopod Higher Education was using it last. Tell Professor Cuttlefish that I need it. Then get several gallons of Type PKD ichor from the greenhouse? Make sure it's fresh though. That'll be all... Stretch."
Whatever the offense in calling her 'Ms. Sam' is I couldn't possibly imagine, but it seemed like something that she didn't take lightly. The Plague Doctor tensed up immediately, and his hands trembled. The mere mention of this "Evaluation" terrified it.
And 'Stretch' was apparently not a name the bird doctor liked to be called, because the robed figure visibly flinched at it, and hung his massive beaked head down; he was suddenly very interested in counting floor tiles. Despite having a voice like monotone thunder, he actually managed to mumble his next words, but even his version of mumbling was like the low rumble of a distant storm.
"AS YOU WISH, SAM, I APOLOGIZE FOR THE INAPPROPRIATE WORDS. I WILL BE GOING NOW."
The looming Plague doctor bowed to Sam, then tipped his hat at me. With a turn on his heel, he swiftly walked away while his ripped and ragged black robes flowed around him like a flame made of ink. The doctor swayed from side to side as he moved, like a penguin on land, and shuffled through a door on the other side of the massive room, and it closed with a thud. I was now standing alone with the one known as Sam. Only Sam, definitely not Ms. Sam... She removed the mask and goggles then tussled her hair a bit, looked me up and down, and sighed.
"Why don't you run? Try and escape. I'm sure you could make it with old Stretch not here. I'll say my attention just slipped. Go on. Plenty of room to escape." She theatrically gestured at the entirety of the room with her gloved hand, while a slight grin formed at the corner of her mouth.
I looked around at the impossible size of the theatre; it was completely empty and lifeless except for the two of us. An entire country could fit in here. The small operating pit was dwarfed by the many seats and desks surrounding us in concentric rings. Tiered gradually, there's actually so many of them that they begin to tower above every thing else, forming a literal small mountain range in the distance. There's even clouds forming at the higher levels. It's impossible, but something tells me the auditorium goes on forever, off into the blackness of space.
It wouldn't surprise me if in the higher levels giant prehistoric beasts still exist and are hunted by uncontacted tribes who's ancient ancestors were simply looking for the bathroom and became lost. The thought occurred that this place wasn't built with hammer and nails; rather it was created by some unknown natural phenomena, like the way wind erodes boulders into gravity defying sculptures and spires. The concept made my stomach churn...
"And where the fuck would I run too? I don't know where I'm at... I hardly think I'll run into any sympathetic... creatures or people, or whatever the hell you things are, that'd help me escape. You're toying around with me..."
She stared at me for several seconds longer than what felt comfortable, her face totally expressionless the whole time. My hair stood up on end and felt a chill across my body. Her lingering stare and blank face was terrifying, it was like being watched by a viper in a lab coat... It wasn't merely watching its prey, but worse; this viper was contemplating, researching and studying its prey. She suddenly looked away and slithered over towards a small cart with folding chairs, grabbed two and walked back and hand one to me. She sat down, and I did the same.
"So, the mouse has looked over the edge of the maze, discovering that there is no cheese. This is a first for me, everyone runs when I give them the chance. You sir, are a party pooper." She reached into her lab coat and pulled out an old fashioned metal cigarette case. She popped it open and selected a cigarette, and I watched as she flicked it up to her lips with one smooth motion, like some party trick. Sam pulled her hair back into a loose ponytail and then she began rubbing her thumb and index finger together rapidly. To my amazement after a few seconds the tips of them started glowing a cold green light, and she proceeded to touch them to the cigarette and light it. She took a deep drag from it and crossed her arms, then shot me a look.
"Oh, do you want one?"
After she lit mine, she leaned back and looked at the me.
"You seem like a nice person. Smart too. It's a shame that we have to do this to you." She exhaled a thin blue cloud of smoke.
"Do what, exactly?" I asked while trying to keep my hands from shaking.
"Eh, can't tell you, but it's got to be done. Fate of the multiverse depends on me following my orders, and my orders are to prepare you to be Sown, and I don't question it. Then you're on your way and you never see me or this place again, and I keep doing what I'm doing. It won't take too long. You're an addict, right?"
"Um, yeah. How did you know that?"
"Don't worry about that. Do you want some morphine? It's probably been a while since you last dosed up. Hold on." She pulled a device out of her pocket that looked like an original Gameboy, the giant blocky ones, except it was bright orange and had a QWERTY keyboard on the front. She flipped a switch on its side, and the screen buzzed into life, and she quickly started typing something into it. She held in a button and to my amazement a holographic three dimensional molecule of morphine spun softly above the screen. Then a message appeared asking to confirm it, she pressed yes. Suddenly the device made a loud whirring noise like an ancient hard drive, and a vent on the back of it wheezed out a plume of acrid black smoke. A tiny bell sound rung as the side of the contraption split open with a hiss and pushed out a syringe. She took it out, then carefully turned the device off and put it back in her pocket. She fished out a rubber hose tied me off and shot me up. I blissfully slumped in my chair, smiling like an idiot.
"Feeling better I assume?" She grinned at me, and for the first time I noticed her teeth; they were triangular and sharpened like a lizards. Without warning Stretch burst in through a pair of doors that I know didn't exist thirty seconds ago, pushing a gargantuan piece of machinery covered in wires and tubes that looked vaguely like a reel to reel tape player with a jar on top of it. He pushed it towards the operating table, and while untangling some of the machines tubes he simultaneously grabbed two yellow cylinders from his back using his other pair of arms.
Sam clapped her hands together and rubbed them. "Right! Let's get this over with. We've got more people to work on today. He's doped up so he won't fight."
Stretch picked me up, totally unresisting, and placed me on the table. His six arms worked in synchronized beauty as they placed the restraints onto me and tightening them. Not a single part of me wasn't being held in place. But I was too high to give a shit. Fuck it. I can't do anything. She offered me the dope as a ploy, she'd planned it. They unstrapped my arms and two metal bars appeared above me, which they tied my arms to in a reaching overhead position. Stretch connected the yellow tanks to the machine, then placed a metallic gauntlet like thing over each of my arms. The gloves were connected by tubes to the machine.
"ICHOR REPLACEMENT MODULE IS READY, QUANTUM FLUX LEVELS ARE DECREASING RAPIDLY, HE IS MOST ASSUREDLY THE RIGHT SUBJECT. I WILL CONTINUE ON YOUR MARK."
Sam leaned over me and looked into my eyes. Her face was savage and animalistic, her contorted smiled was like a rusted saw blade while her green eyes sparkled in delight. She licked the front of her top teeth and hissed in my ear.
"Have fun on the farm. Start it up."
The gauntlets vibrated and suddenly both of my forearms were racked with pain as hypodermic needles of indiscriminate gauge slid into my veins. The machine started humming like a charging air compressor, and now my right arm felt like it was being sucked dry; I watched the various tubes rattle then fill up, and like racing crimson snakes they drained into the large jar atop the machine. Then my left arm burned as a bright green liquid was pumped into me. The ichor was replacing my blood. I could feel my own blood leaving, my body's cells gasping in raw pain for oxygen, only to be singed in agony by the new artificial life force. My entire body was screaming, and I was suddenly thankful for Sam shooting me up. I can't imagine how much worse it could've been. The machine sputters to a stop, it's goal complete. Sam gives me that Viper look again. She smiles.
"Here's some more morphine for the road, it'll last much longer with your new blood. Goodbye, you beautiful quantum disaster."
My vision dims, and I black out...
When I wake up, I don't hurt anymore, I actually feel fine. I try to move around and get up, but I can't. For some reason I'm buried a little past my waist in dirt. Well, not even dirt really, it's like mud. And I'm swaddled tightly in a white sheet up to my neck. A length of rope is looped several times around my chest for good measure. As my eyes start to refocus I'm immensely confused by what I see. I'm in a huge barren muddy field that's covered in an incredibly thick fog. I can barely see more than a few feet. A cold burst of wind blows some of the fog away, and I see them. There are other people here, half buried like me. All bundled tightly in an immovable sheet. Some of the men and woman have their heads exposed like I do, but a couple have sheets completely wrapping their heads and body; they also have much more rope around them. I wiggle my legs but the ground doesn't budge. The fog is still extremely thick, but I can make out at least nine other people around me. Everyone is at least twenty feet from one another and we're not placed in any particular way or pattern, just sort of placed randomly around each other. With the morphine still in my system, I am probably taking this all a little too well... I decided to chat with my neighbors.
"Hey, hi, uh, can anyone by chance tell me what's going on?"
No answer. Another gust of freezing cold air blows by, causing the fog to make bizarrely familiar patterns and nightmarish Non-Euclidean shapes.
"Does anybody know what's going on? Please?"
Still no answer. I can only see the backs of some of the people in front of me, but a few visibly start to tremble and lower their heads in attempt to ignore me and disappear. I decide to go for broke.
"DOES ANYONE KNOW WH—"
"Yes! Keep your fucking voice down, you jackass! Just shut the fuck up! Nobody wants to talk, okay? Just be quiet otherwise we're all fucked! The more silent and still you are, the better your chances are of living here for more than a day! Not that it matters, we always come back thanks to the ichor." Said the bald man. He was angled weird and I could only see the side of his face.
"Shut up shut up shut up! Shut up, you fucking cunts!" Said an unseen voice from behind me.
"Nononono, it'll happen again! I can't do this anymore I want to go home! I want my mom! Mom! Mom! MOM!" The other unseen person became frantic, crying out loudly and screaming. He seemed to set off a chain reaction.
Several people started to wail and sob, while others simply screamed. A few shouted to shut up again. But now nearly everyone I could see and even more that I couldn't were screaming; not yelling but a guttural primal scream that is something born from sheer terror. Then I felt it...
The ground shook. Then again. And again. Something was moving around far out in the fog. Footsteps... Whatever the something is, it's absolutely behemoth. Whatever it is takes another step. Everyone grows extremely quite now. Another footstep and the fog moves slightly. There's hushed whimpering from behind me while someone else starts praying. That's when one of the few people who're completely shrouded by their sheet simply goes ape shit. He screams at the top of his lungs till his voice cracks, sobbing the entire time. He wiggles around fruitlessly. Two other people start horrified shrieking.
The fog gently rolls around and out of the way for the colossus. Someone screams again. It comes closer... Deep out in the fog, someone screams, and then suddenly it's stopped short. Silence for several minutes. Then, an almighty sound, like sniffing is heard. It's like a sewer pipe sucking up slime. It snorts. It lets out a deafeningly low moan. More crying and shaking. BOOM. BOOM...
And finally I see some of it. From high above and out of the fog, a paw the size of a house lands some two hundred feet away. The paw has long scythe like claws the size of a bus. I can barely make out the leg supporting this beast, but it's hairy, with gray, black and white fur covering the giant red wood sized leg. BOOM. It's other paw lands nearby in the distance. BOOM. It takes another step towards the screaming veiled man, oddly it seems to be walking on its claws like they were knuckles.
Another step and the scythed paw crushes at least four people that I can see. The screaming man continues. Most people hold their heads down and sob gently, weep or murmur. Then from hundreds of feet above us, the haze parts slightly, and a monstrous curved pipe covered in short fur appears. It looks like a pipe, or huge gray pointing finger. The thing starts sniffing again, sweeping the area back and forth till it closes in on the screaming man. It stops, and hangs the finger thirty feet above him. Everyone is silent now, absolutely still except him.
Too my horror, something slithers out from tip of the finger like a pink snake. Slime drips from it and lands with a sticky splat in the dirt, the smell makes me want to vomit... The phone pole thick thing writhes around aimlessly in mud till it slightly touches the man. Then it carefully wraps around him, and jerks him out of the ground with so much force it tears him in half from the hips. The flailing man shouts but he suddenly disappears inside the pipe.
In a morphine induced epiphany I realize that this is a two hundred foot long mouth. The claws, the mouth, the tongue... It's some kind of...
Anteater... .so this is what being awake is like.
Personally, I prefer the dream...
((**Authors note. ** Another aspect of this that makes it horrifying is the unique biology of the giant anteater. The anteater's jaws have completely fused shut from millions of years of evolution, and it therefore has no teeth. Because it cannot chew it must swallow the ants and termites it feeds on alive. And because it can't chew, it has a rather extraordinary digestive system. When agitated ants and termites release formic acid as a defense; and the more of them spraying it, the more they release. The anteater however doesn't mind that the living bugs in his tummy are spraying his innards with acid; in fact that's what it wants them to do. With such a specialized diet and no teeth, somewhere along the evolutionary line anteater's lost the ability to produce their own stomach acids. But since the bugs release so much acid, they have no need to make their own. In effect, the ants will slowly die and then be digested by the same acid they hoped would save them. If one where to eat humans alive, I'd imagine that you'd die surrounded by corpses, and would simply rot until a slush of putrefaction. Incidentally, giant anteaters supposedly have some of the worst smelling excrement among all animals.))