It’s been aching and eating at him. Feels like there’s just a hollowness underneath the skin and in the bones. Sitting up, standing, walking, moving his arms…it’s all an effort, like dragging lead weights.
Most days, he doesn’t want to get out of bed.
Today he does. Like every other day, eventually.
Today he goes and takes the strongbox down from the top shelf in the closet, sits on the bed and unlocks it, opens it, hands shaking slightly (which he curses). Then he stares for a long time.
He blows out a brief sigh through his nose, which motivates him enough to reach in and draw out a heavy, black handgun, already loaded for just this moment. He grips it tight, finger caressing the delicate trigger. Clicks off the safety. Draws back the hammer with a quiet noise that does not match the immense weight of the action.
Wraps his lips around the cold barrel, tastes the bitter oil. Thinks better of it and presses up right up under his chin instead, pushing it, barrel hard and chill, painfully up into the soft flesh until it hurts.
He pulls the trigger.
The pain is a flash of agony he won’t remember.
But at least it’s something other than despair.
So he is surprised to wake up.
Piercing agony like a white hot rod through his brain.
It doesn’t go away.
Compounding his confusion, reaching in through pain so intense he is nearly blind from it, is the unfamiliarity of his location. Something about it he can’t put a finger on–clutched as those are around his bowed head.
It eventually came to him.
There were stars…no, that wasn’t it. There were…things. That were not trees. That were not hills. That glittered with gold and silver filigree beneath a smoothly polished surface, the precious threads pulsing slowly darker then brighter like veins to a heartbeat. And the moon was the wrong color…the wrong moon.
This is hell, he thought, and sought escape from the wicked light of the alien moon, slowly crawling to his feet, then stumbling towards and into the gaping black mouth of a cavern in the not-hillside nearby, into the comforting blackness where the moon could not see. Therein the the darkness swam with a foetid breath, and something sighed; the strange light reflected dimly from blunt stalactites spaced like teeth…
…that ground him up, slowly, wrenching muscle from bone, squeezing blood from flesh and spraying it down a dark gullet accompanied by screams of agony and the snap of cracking bones.
Under wicked light from an alien moon, something that is not a tree or a hill shudders as if caressed by a passing wind otherwise unfelt in the silent night.
Copyright (c)2011 Raven Daegmorgan