EP 2 – Naked and Afraid

The taste of mud seeped into my mouth. Icy torrential rain beat down upon my bare skin. I awoke, naked as the day I was born, in the middle of a field. In the middle of a downpour. Of course.

The earth was soft. Becoming like oatmeal in the rain. Swallowing up my feet just past the ankles. Some places swallowed much more. Even if I had been wearing my boots, they’d be ruined.

Save for the city lights in the distance, I was surrounded in pitch black darkness. Lightning burned across the sky lighting the night in a sudden strobe of blue-white light. I caught a momentary glance of the abandoned mill. Rather it’s silhouette. A towering frightful thing.

“Shit.” I said.

Shivering. Teeth chattering. Covered in goosebumps with nipples hard enough to cut glass, and my boys drawn so far up my body I could feel them in my throat, I had to make a damning decision – to walk clear across town to my apartment, or to walk a mile and a half to take shelter in the creepy ass mill.

Another arc of lightning ripped across the sky followed by a deafening thunderclap. The roaring sky rocked me to my bones. I could feel the electricity teeming in the air, the smell of ozone thick. I knew I had to get out of the storm as quickly as possible.

“Fuck.” I said, walking hesitantly toward the mill.

#

The rain had washed the mud from my body by the time I entered the mill. Unbelievable as it might be, it was darker inside the mill than out in the storm. As if the mill had been hoarding the darkest nights since its abandonment.

All the better to hide its monsters with, my dear. I thought.

Foolishly, stupidly, in typical white-guy-in-a-horror-film fashion, I wandered deeper into the abyssal dark. I had hoped the darkness would conceal me as it concealed its secrets. What was I thinking? Everyone knows in order to hide from the Boogie Man you had to be in a bed completely covered by a blanket. Unless there was a bed with a blanket in the mill, I was fucked.

Arms outstretched like antennae on an insect I traversed the inner dark by braille. Feeling for support beams and god-knows-what-else I might otherwise collide into. I wracked my brain trying to remember how I had ended up naked in a field on the outskirts of town.

I remembered the funeral. My father’s wake. That was it. Everything else – a blur. Dream like images and lingering anxiety over missing fingers. What had happened? Something about being chased?

Odd the memory lapse might have been, important the missing moments might be, my attention was drawn to the task at hand. Not freezing to death in the rain, and not being rip to shreds by some imaginary serial killer.

Flap-flap-flap-flap.

I nearly pissed myself at the sound of wings flapping overhead. I stood still. Held my breath. Waited.

Flap-flap-flap-flap.

The fluttering overhead scared the shit out of me. My hands instinctively closed into tightly clenched fists. My knees bent slightly in anticipation to hit-and-run-like-hell.

“Who’s there?” I called. “I’m naked, and I will hit you with my dick!”

Nothing. No reply. Only an agonizing silence.

Caw! Caw!

The cawing crow was the last straw. I ran through the darkness as fast as my hefty build would allow. Hands outstretched thinking somehow they’d protect me from – I bounced off a wall and rounded a corner.

I could hear the crow cackling in the distance. A light shined somewhere down what I could only assume was a hallway with offices on either side. The light was bright, but focused like that of a flashlight laying on the ground.

To be Continued…

Episode 1: The Problem with Fingers

It’s difficult to pick up your own fingers. I knew opposable thumbs were important, but I had always taken them for granted. I regret that.

I scrambled in the middle of the sidewalk attempting to scoop up dozens of misplaced digits. How many were there supposed to be again?

Thirty? Seven? Nineteen?

Did it matter?

Didn’t it?

No matter, there wasn’t time. Crow mounted rats were swarming toward me wielding salad forks and chanting something about a weenie roast.

I counted forty-seven fingers and four thumbs. Close enough. I had to get to a seamstress!

Beneath my feet the sidewalk warped and twisted, becoming a funhouse reflection of itself. The cement sloshed underfoot as I ran from the chattering horde.

A glance back confirmed my fears – the crow mounted rats had boarded Nordic longboats and were rowing gracefully over the wave crested walkway.

I was in need of an escape. A hiding place. Anywhere I could dodge the longboat sailing carnivorous rodents.

There! Mere feet away stood a black goat with the words “free candy inside” painted across its ribs.

“Please!” I begged. “Can you help me? I’m being  chased by -”

Behind me the longboats had slowed their pursuit. The beasts were engaged in a battle among themselves. Heaving large rotten heads of iceberg lettuce at one another.

The goat, too, saw the odd battle.

“Can you help me?” I said.

The goat nodded and opened its mouth.

“Geh ihng!” It said.

“What?”

“Geh ihng!”

“Oh! ‘get in.'”

The goat nodded.

“I don’t think I can fit.”

“Ho ong.” The goat’s jaw unhinged. Opening as wide as a doorway. Its tongue curled into a staircase.

“Thank you!” I said running up the fleshy steps and diving down the mucus slick gullet.

The entrance closed behind me. Gravity pulled me at breakneck speed down the slippery tube. It took everything I had to hold onto my forty-seven disembodied fingers and four thumbs.

I spilled out onto a white marbled floor. Stone pillars stretched out for miles on either side. Stained glass windows depicting some fanciful war between Heaven and Hell rose along the walls reaching up to a ceiling lost somewhere in darkness.

“Oy! Who are you?”

I hadn’t noticed the five pixelated thugs standing in the middle of the room. They looked like sprites from the old Super Nintendo game, Maximum Carnage. As if they had somehow jumped off the screen into the real world. Two held lead pipes, one a knife, another brass knuckles.

Their leader, the one who had challenged me, held a slingshot. The purple mohawk, t-shirt tucked into ripped jeans, and leather biker boots made it extremely difficult to take the guy seriously.

“Oy! Didya not hear me, son?” He said stepping forward.

I had heard him, but I was having a hard time remembering. I didn’t know how to answer the question. Who was I exactly? I didn’t have time to figure it out before the guy shoved me into a pillar.

Fingers and thumbs spilled out onto the floor. Bones snapped. Blood spurted. The strange sprite stepped through the appendages pointing his slingshot in my face. If I was going to salvage my poor flanges, I had to act.

It was go time.

I sidestepped the slingshot and drove a knee into his ribs. I felt bones crack. I assumed they were bones. I wasn’t sure what sprites had beneath their visible layer. He doubled over and I drove another knee into his face. The snap of his nose and neck echoed in the room.

One of the pipe wielding thugs leapt forward. He must have been a lower level sprite. His swings were predictable. Slow. His two dimensional form limiting his reach.

Like a skilled dancer, I moved in as the pipe arced froward. My fingerless palms guiding the arc into an over extension of the sprite, throwing him to the ground. I used my weight to break his arm at the elbow.

His scream was sudden and frightful. I drove my foot into the back of his skull. The screaming stopped. The remaining three sprites ran out of the room the same way I had entered.

I managed to salvage thirteen fingers and seven thumbs from ground. The numbers seemed off – didn’t add up right, but I didn’t care. I needed to find a seamstress to reattach the fingers to my hands. I still wasn’t sure how they had fallen off.

A few moments were spent exploring the cathedral-like room. Not surprising I couldn’t find any sign of free candy. I did manage to find Pac-Woman hiding behind a pillar. I convinced her the thugs were gone, and she could go free.

She left. The room was strange, and I was ready to leave. Certainly the caterpillar riding rabbits had moved on in their airship.

I started to leave when I heard a long drawn out moan. Or sigh. Or maybe a one of those yawns caught somewhere between a moan and a sigh. Regardless, it was loud and got my attention.

Behind me has stood, or rather floated, a semi translucent man in a pair of overalls and a hardhat. He had an ample beer gut and unkempt hair.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

“You – you can see me?” he asked.

Answering questions with questions was going to get us nowhere, so I decided to answer his question straight. “Yeah, of course I can.  You’re standing right there.”

“And you can hear me?”

“I mean, you’re talking kinda loud.”

“It’s just that no one’s ever seen me before!”

“Do you hide from them?”

“No.”

“Then how do they not see you?”

“Most of the living can’t see us.”

“Living? And who’s us?”

“No matter! Help me! Please! I need your help!”

“Uuuh…okay? What ya need?”

“My family has no idea where I am. They’ve look for me for years! Please! Tell them my body’s in this pipe! Please go to them! Their last name is Elton.”

“Oookay. Where do they live?”

“On the family farm, of course! The Elton Farms? On Fargo? Have you never heard of us?”

“Not really.”

“No matter. Please! Go find them! Find them!”

“Okay. Okay. I need to see a seamstress about these fingers, first.”

“What about your fingers?”

“I need them sewn back on.”

“Look at your hand.”

Holy shit! There they were! My fingers reattached to my hands! It was a miracle.

“Holy shit! My fingers! My beautiful fingers! Look at all…one…two…three…ten! There are ten of them! Where did the others come from?”

“Others?”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“Please, go! Help me!”

“For saving my fingers – anything! Right away!”

TO BE CONTINUED…