bottomless.

| Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The winners of Writtenwyrdd's Spec Horror contest have been announced, so I thought it safe to post my piece here now :) I did not win, but it was a whole lot of fun and I enjoyed it bunches. Congrats again to the winners!

Here's my entry.


***

I have been falling for ages.

It began as these things often do – mind elsewhere, a stumble, a collapse. My throat had gone raw from screaming and vomiting before I realized there was no end. The world was ink, gravity was of no matter, and death was coming. Perhaps not in the way my crazed mind had anticipated when the ground first broke beneath me, but it was coming nonetheless.

Several hours may have passed before I was able to adjust to the sensation of constant freefall, and several more went by before I understood that I was not alone in my fate. Debris and creatures rose and fell around me, seemingly oblivious to the laws of physics. The world is strange, but stranger still when darkness and the downward pull are all that keep the crawling, wretched beings at the edge of thought from reaching out to pluck you, allowing you to hang, gasping and broken, before they devour you.

A day might have gone by when my drive for survival kicked in. Hunger and adrenaline had made me weak, and I began to listen. The coiled, venomous, slithering things surrounded me. I could hear their hissing and sense their ooze. By this time, I had spread my body wide and fell belly-down, adopting a lazy spin, and I waited. I learned about them, these falling things, and my hands clenched and flexed. When the moment was right, my fingers burst into the darkness and closed on something surprisingly dry and unsurprisingly serpentine. The devil was between my teeth before my revulsion could cast it away, and I gorged. It may have screamed; I do not remember. All my memory holds is gritty organ and salty flesh.

The fall stretched on. I’ve no idea where I managed to find the fluids to survive. There must have been enough in the life and blood of the tunnel beasts I could get my claws on. I urinated and moved my bowels when necessary; the stink never lasted long. Sometimes I slept the restless sleep of one who knows their predator rests close by. One fateful morning (as I began to think of them), my arm struck an outcropping and shattered. Oh, how I howled. I sang to the terror-fish and horror-snakes to distract myself as I bound the ruined limb with cloth stripped from my flapping shirt.

In time, they began to understand me, these things of anti-gravity. They understood that I needed them to survive, and they moved closer to confide that they needed me. There were great secrets to share; incredible information they had held in their whirling minds for eons. My singing was greatly admired, and often my performances were greeted with the slap and hiss of applause. One of the largest, who I had feared from the beginning, wrapped me in flat, sheet-like arms and whispered great knowledge to me – solutions to the ailments of the world that were so painfully simple I could not fathom how I had never considered them before. We fell together, he and I, his soft, dry skin protecting me from the elements and cradling my destroyed arm.

There came a time when a villain, a jealous rat with a slimy tail, decided to destroy me. He felt me an outsider; unworthy to taste the flesh or hear the whispers of his brethren. As the wind whipped by and I fell, deep in discussion with a bold creature, he floated behind me and sank his vicious teeth into my good arm. I clawed at him, reduced him to shredded hair, but his poison had taken effect. He has driven me mad, that rat. The comforting darkness is gone, replaced by burning light. No more do the whispers of my companions lull me to sleep; now there are only moans and howls. I am confined, and I scream for my sanity yet.

And still I fall.

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