- Forsaken -
I am uncertain if someday this will be looked upon as actually shedding light on the transpiring of certain events. It’s hard to discern how society will view things years from now, decades from now; centuries from now. That is assuming there even exists a human civilization; someone alive for this to fall into the hands of.
Perhaps it will be uncovered thousands of years from now and be inadvertently worshiped as gospel. A testament to the creation, or death rather, of life and the world we knew as Earth.
Fuck, that would be hilarious. At this point, though, it wouldn’t surprise me. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit. Out of all the fucken bullshit our race has chosen to believe and worship, why not my ramblings? It has got to be more entertaining than a book.
In the end, we thought we had it all figured out. God created the Heavens and Earth and said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. In those next following days, seven in total, God created everything that was ever to be known to man. We knew all this how? A book. The book. A goddamn relic proclaiming scriptures inspired by the word of God. Written by whom? Man. Someone not much different from you or I, except their words are holy and blessed; claiming God spoke to them.
Well, they say God is vengeful; a jealous fellow. We must have pissed him off something righteous, because his wrath was unleashed. Roughly shy of two millennium after the death of his son, God said, “Fuck you all,” and we were fucked.
After all the wars; All the pain, death and suffering. After all the human race has endured in its limited life span on Earth. All we are currently enduring, fighting to survive his newfound cleansing; I can’t help but think to myself...
Fuck you right back.
* * *
The man slammed up against the wall, pain coursing through his body. It was a dull pain; felt distant. He attempted to move down the hall, but was unable to stand without support; feebly offered by his deep lean. He wasn’t sure how it was possible, but his feet began carrying him forward. His left shoulder slid along the wall and he would periodically pause to rest. He became aware of a wetness accompanying the deep burning.
Precariously, he pushed off the wall with his right hand revealing red. A glance back showed the red patterned his brief rests; a pooled blotch followed by straggled smears dragging across the wall. The further back the trail went, the more thin tendrils of red dripped down the white surface; racing to pool on the floor. The contrast of red on white entranced him a moment. A soft pitter patter drew his attention down to his left hand. Matching interlacing tendrils adorned his bare forearm. Creeping down and pooling at his fingertips, his lifeblood stretched until embracing gravity and falling to the linoleum.
Dizziness overcame him and he, once again, leaned against the wall. There were two things he was aware of; he was tired as hell and he was dying. Beyond him the hall stretched out in white, drowned in an ever brighter white light. Follow the white light, they always said. What a load of shit. He had no doubt he would soon be slipping over to the other side, though.
Continuing to push himself down the hall, another discerning realization came to him. He had no idea where he was. The smells around him were reminiscent to that of a hospital. Sterile. Another dizzy spell, and another frustrating thought. Who, the fuck, am I? The attempt to focus sent stabbing pain through his skull and he let out a moan. His teeth clenched and face twisted into a grimace. He resisted the urge to press his right hand to his temple.
Just keep moving. That sounded like a good plan. Only a few feet later, though, an overwhelming desire to slump to the ground overcame him. Maybe a quick nap is all I need. The fluorescent whiteness couldn’t force back the growing darkness inside he felt building in strength. His blood falling to the linoleum made a soft rhythmic melody. Almost soothing. He felt certain he could just drift away to it. Drip... drip. Play me that song, Harbinger of Death. Carry me home.
Taking one forced step after another, the man’s eyelids drooped and became harder to open each time he closed them; each time he blinked. Just ahead, the doorless hall split into a “T.” Even the process of deciding which way to go seemed heavy; weighed on him. All he wanted to do was sleep. To disappear from wherever he was. Go somewhere he wasn’t bleeding, somewhere he knew who he was.
His free hand idly groped at the jacket he was wearing. It seemed to move with a mind of its own, trailing along the thick, padded inner-lining just inside the left breast. His fingers brushed against something hard sewn into the material. He traced the outline of the stitching until finding a hole. His finger slid in, grasped the lining and, without thinking, gave a hard pull. The stitching ripped easily, as though it was meant to break away.
Puzzled, he paused and looked down, still fondling the flap of a hideaway pocket; the hard object revealed. It was about the length of a pen but thick. It looked like a metallic test tube strapped into the pocket. Use in case of emergency. The statement floated through his mind from some distant time. With a sigh, he withdrew the object from the pocket to examine it more closely. About a third of the way down was a thin seam encircling the tube.
He brought the top end over and grasped it in his trembling left hand. He attempted to pull on the object above the seam, thinking it was a tube that could be opened. The man’s blood stained hand made it near impossible to get a tight grip. After failing, he felt frustrated and wanted to throw the object down the hall, but felt lacking the energy to do so. Where the hell am I? What the fuck is going on? In a fit, he squeezed his fists around the tube and twisted. To his surprise, the tube twisted in his grasp. There was a dull pop, followed by a faint hum. In a matter of seconds, though, the hum faded to nothing. Silence.
The man, still pressed against the wall, gave up on anger; it was too much effort. He returned the shiny, silver tube to it’s pocket, strapping it back in. He looked at his hands, dirty and calloused; one painted red. He blinked, but his eyes remained shut. Keep moving, he reminded himself. He continued down the hall, not so much walking as dragging; his feet sometimes never even lifting. Once again, he stopped to rest. The end of the corridor was just feet away.
There was a sharp, clicking sound.
The quick, metallic click would have, in other circumstances, been barely audible. Within the silence of the hall, it resonated clear as day. Strangely, the man found some comfort in the sound. Familiarity. Someone was about to interrupt his bloodlet tap dance, and force their own brand of music on to him.
“Dutch.” The voice of the newcomer was smooth, but menacing. It echoed throughout the hall. Again, a familiarity struck him. He was certain he knew who the voice belonged to, but was unable to place it. It stirred something within him. A resurgence of anger. “Where are you going? We were just starting to have some fun.” The stranger’s statement was laced with sarcastic amusement.
Prick. The bleeding man chuckled. At least I know my name now. So left or right? Dutch contemplated the choice, but again that stabbing pain began to intensify. He had almost forgotten about the next musical act that had just been prompted. Embracing that flared anger, Dutch pushed off the wall and made a sudden sprint down the hall; covering the last ten feet. In almost unison, a loud thunderous blast rang out. Then another; it was almost deafening. The second bullet just missed Dutch’s skull as he turned the corner. Left it is. He was annoyed that he was rushed into a decision, but there was little option.
Dutch pressed his back against the corner of the wall, attempting to catch his breath. He looked over and, had he been able to take a right, there was a short hall with a few doors; a window at the dead end. Looking to his left, he saw another window and a corner leading to the right. Trying to make it across to the other side seemed like a death warrant. Not that it likely mattered in the end with all of his blood loss. He made his way to the window behind him.
“Dutch, why make things more difficult? Are you afraid to grasp the ultimate truth?” The man continued to taunt him. “Your God has forsaken us, forsaken you.” The stranger’s footsteps echoed as he leisurely made his way down the hall. “You don’t have to be afraid of anything anymore. No reason to fear for your passage into Heaven. Judgment has already been cast. You are in hell. Accept it,” there was a brief pause before adding, “embrace it. Accept there is nothing to fight for any longer. Embrace the Mark.”
Holy Jesus fuck, this guy is fucking crazy. Where the fuck am I? Dutch reached the window, a newfound energy fueling him; his earlier fatigue and pain placed on standby. The plan to go out the window was not only aborted because of how high up he was, but also because of the view before him.
Sprawled out in front of him, under a blazing sunset, lay a city in ruins. Skyscrapers ripped in half and blown out, their inner guts exposed revealing raging fires within. The ash covered streets below filled with abandoned vehicles and littered bodies. Everyone was dead. Something living was out there, though. He could see them moving; some running, some shambling among the dead. What the fu... before he could take it all in, a pungent smell assaulted him, and movement to his right caused him to instinctually turn.
Something he couldn’t quite define was almost on him. An icy feeling washed over him and he felt frozen in place. It was larger and thicker than a human, the color of its skin a dark green with mottled brown; hairy and bestial in nature, but it was wearing clothing. Belts were strapped around its chest, and on one breast a holster concealing what looked to be a massive blade. It wasn’t quite running upright, it was moving more like a gorilla; beefy, green knuckles launching him forward. The beast stopped short of him, towering, red eyes assessing him.
The creature inhaled, puffing out its chest and let out a guttural scream, spittle flying; the stench of rotting meat and decay bellowed out. Dutch felt himself go light. It wasn’t fainting, but rather almost a dream state. Shock. Doing so, though, allowed his instincts to engage. Without thinking he lurched forward, ripping the blade from the sheath on the beast’s chest; it was solid and heavy. Whatever the thing was, it seemed to be surprised at the assault, because it didn’t move. Dutch seemed to have an unexpected advantage, which he wasn’t about to waste. In the same fluid motion, he turned the serrated blade downwards and plunged it into the creature’s chest; just above the sheath.
Its skin was notably thick and rough, but the blade still pierced it. Dutch could only manage sinking it in about halfway. He let go of the handle and backed away a few steps, trying to be mindful to avoid being against the wall. The creature looked to the knife protruding from his chest and then back to Dutch. It threw its massive arms out to the side and let out an even louder growl.
Then Dutch was running, taking advantage of the adrenaline rush, and attempting to cross over to the other side in hopes of an escape. Maybe, the stranger would be distracted by whatever was chasing him.
The thought of just crashing out the window, at the opposite end of the hall, seemed logical at this point. This can’t be real. What the hell is that thing? Running. Painless and numb, nothing from his wounds registered. They no longer existed. No longer mattered. Running across the gap where the halls joined, he avoided looking to see where the lunatic was. I just need to get the fuck out of here.
A third thunderous blast rang out.
Dutch felt himself pivot and twist, his back slamming against the wall behind him. Everything seemed to slow down. His legs wanted to give out from beneath him, but he forced himself to remain upright. The gunfire caused his ears to ring and he was unable to think. He felt that wetness running down his other arm now, and could see the beast coming for him in his peripheral vision.
His eyes focused on the deranged stranger, opposite of him, who was continuing down the bloodstained corridor. That nagging of familiarity toyed with him again. The man had thick, raven-dark hair stretching down his back. He wore a dark leather trench coat which almost swallowed his slim frame. He found it hard to focus, but he couldn’t avoid the twisted smile offered to him. Dutch locked eyes with the man, who seemed to be talking, but he couldn’t hear any of it. None of it mattered.
Finally, through the disorientation, numbness, and his dreamlike state; a moment of clarity. With that clarity came anger. So deep and profound that it felt like it would instantly consume him; engulfing him, leaving nothing but a pile of ash. Veris. The name played through his mind some and he wished to vocalize it.
“You,” Dutch whispered harshly. It was all he got out before he became lifted from the ground.
The hunter had found its prey.
Dutch felt the monster’s arms wrap around him, lifting up, and carrying him with its forward momentum. From the looks of it, it didn’t plan on stopping either. Once again he would be slammed into a wall, or perhaps thrown out the window. The repulsive, rotting smell was even more potent while pressed up against its flesh. Entangled in it.
He was determined to at least inflict some pain and fight before he was crushed to death. He twisted in the beast’s grasp and was able to wrap his hands around the hilt of the blade still embedded in its chest. Mustering what energy he could, he gave a sharp twist while attempting to bury the knife deeper. The living hulk of muscle almost completely stumbled over itself. He felt himself twisting with the beast, but the rest was lost to another deep shriek; and an explosion of glass, wood, drywall, and brick.
That was then promptly replaced with the rush of wind and sensation of falling fifteen stories.
* * *
Let’s start from the beginning...