My first Short Story

Here’s a short story I wrote a long time ago. It’s my first short story ever, first time writing horror, and first one I wrote in first person.

I’m posting it here just for fun, but feel free to comment on it.

Characters inspired by some of my friends, and the plot was inspired by a real scene featured in the story itself. I actually have the idea for the full novel following this start, but alas, other ideas took priority.

Wordcount: around 5500

Genre: Horror

 

 

The End of the World as I knew it

 

One of my last happy memories was of sitting on a low stone wall at a viewpoint on Mount Ucka, Croatia. The city of Rijeka and the whole Kvarner bay spread in the distance below. I shaded my eyes as the sun’s rays glistened off the sea. With not a cloud in sight, and the air crisp and clear, the view seemed endless as I gazed at the Adriatic and the surrounding islands. A smile of delight sat upon my face as I breathed in a deep breath of fresh mountain air mixed with the scent of sea carried by a soft breeze. The fragrance reminded me of immortelle and basil with a touch of pine.

My legs dangled over the wall, much to my girlfriend Petra’s dismay, a steep decline under my feet with sweet chestnut and pine trees scattered below.

“You know I hate it when you do that, Eva,” Petra mumbled into my ear. “It’s a long way down.”

Arms wrapped around me, she rested her chin on my shoulder. Petra held me tight to share warmth, and to keep me from toppling over. Even though the March sun shone brightly, patches of snow still defied its warm rays and the chill of the mountain air reddened my cheeks.

“Nothing will happen… Because you’ve got me.” I beamed back at her and she rewarded me with a sweet peck on my lips.

“Hey guys. Imagine this…”  Ivan said as he took a drag from his cigarette. The smoke swirled around his face as he exhaled slowly, prolonging our anticipation.

“How cool would it be —” he continued, “— to see Cthulhu rise from the sea and crawl out over the city. The ground shaking under our feet as it smashes down a tentacle, so it could drag its body out of the water… its squid-like head would follow the tentacles, appearing out of the water with slow deliberation while the sounds of the sirens and screams reach all the way up here, with the smoke and fire rising over the city.” The storyteller and game master in Ivan came to the fore, and his poetic voice had us all looking towards the bay, watching and waiting, as if it really was a possibility.

The music playing from the car in the background added to the effect. It was that creepy, foreboding song from the Hush episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A shiver snaked down my spine, giving me an uneasy feeling.

“I’d love to see that!” David broke the tense silence and breathed out a wistful sigh.

“Of course you would D.” Nina bumped his shoulder. “You’re in love with everything Lovecraft.”

He grinned at her, a mischievous twinkle in his brown eyes.

“What are you up to?” Ivan narrowed his eyes at David who pushed forward small twigs and stones with his foot, creating a pattern on the ground.

David looked up and answered with a freshly lit cigarette hanging from his mouth. “You’ll see.”

Petra walked off to get her hat from the car. I turned around, swinging my legs over so I could see my friends. Ivan was in one of his brooding moods while he looked towards the sea, eyes narrowed in thought. He ran a hand over his short-cropped black hair and then took a long puff from his cigarette.

When Petra returned, her lips softly touched mine, making me smile.

“David…” Nina’s voice drew my attention. “You’re not doing what I think you’re doing, right?” She pushed a lock of auburn hair behind her ear as she looked down at David’s creation.

“Oh, come on. It’ll be fun. Here…” David flicked his cigarette and with the other hand pulled out the iPhone from his coat pocket and handed it to Nina. “Film me. I’ll put it on my vlog!”

Nina sighed in exasperation but took the phone and with a few swipes of her fingers she turned the camera on.

David had our full attention. He held the cigarette between his lips as he took his coat off, and laid it down on the wall next to Petra and me. He rubbed his hands for warmth and then took the cigarette out, holding it between his fingers.

“Okay. Ready?” He graced us with a familiar impish smile.

“Ready… aaaand camera rolling!” Nina played along.

David faced the iPhone in Nina’s hand and said, “My dear followers! We have gathered on this glorious day to call upon the Great Old ones to grant us powers of Gods.” He stretched his hands towards the sky, still not parting with his smoke.

“As you can see,” he pointed towards the ground at his improvised pentagram made of twigs and stones, and Nina followed with the camera, “we have found an ancient forgotten ruin—” Ivan snorted, but David carried on unperturbed, “— which can be used to communicate with Cthulhu himself.”

Nina aimed the phone back at David. “Now, for the ritual,” he continued. “I have memorized the long forgotten words–”

I scoffed and chuckled at that, how can one memorize forgotten words?

 “Are you done interrupting me?” David asked and used the opportunity to take a drag of his cigarette. Petra chuckled along.

“Yes. Please continue!” I waved him off.

“Where was I?” David blew out a puff of smoke, and the music in the background neared its peak.

“The words of power?” Nina reminded him.

“Ah, yes! Now, the ritual. You should feel honored to be witnessing this greatness.” He stretched his hands towards the sky again and chanted,” Ia, Ia Cthulhu Fhtagn! Ia, Ia Shub-Niggurath!” And then, the prancing started.

David danced around his made-up pentagram ruin, waving his hands in the air and the ashes of his smoke floated around his head. “Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn,” he chanted louder, a serious expression on his face with eyes narrowed at the twigs and stones.

 

“Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!” he repeated and threw the cigarette butt onto the pentagram as a finishing touch to his ritual.

A few seconds later, the song ended with the final beat of the drum and the whole pentagram burst into fire. David and Nina scrambled back.

We stared at the dancing flames with stunned expressions. My heart pounded and I clutched Petra’s hand in my own. We waited. And when the fire died down, I let out a breath of relief.

“That was—”

I spoke too soon as the earth trembled beneath our feet.

 

h

 

The ground shook hard. The earth’s furious roar followed the quake, an almost deafening thunder. Petra and I jumped to our feet, arms flailing around, trying to keep our balance. The panic in her eyes mirrored the fear coursing through my veins.

When the shaking ceased, my pulse thundered in my ears as unease fluttered in my stomach, and my eyes widened in shock.

“What the fuck?” The swearword slipped past my lips unhindered. “Are you okay?” I turned to Petra and held her face in my hands. When she nodded, I kissed her forehead and hugged her tight.

“I couldn’t have done that,” David mumbled while he stared at the charred pentagram.

Nina opened her mouth to answer, but Ivan spoke first, his usual cool demeanor now nonexistent. “Guys…” We turned to see what held his attention.

 

In the distance, the sea rose in angry waves. At first I thought a tsunami was forming as a consequence of the earthquake, but when the sea parted and a gigantic, portly tentacle appeared, I realized I was mistaken, very much so. Despite the distance, we saw it clearly. I could only imagine the sheer size of it.

“Did you two smoke pot again or something?” Petra spoke as we kept our eyes glued to the tentacle which slowly crawled up the marina and into the city. “Did we somehow get high on your fumes because that—” she pointed towards the bay and the emerging monster, “—is not happening… that’s just ridiculous.”

“We didn’t and that down there… that’s impossible!” David said. “It’s not… I didn’t…” He shook his head as he paced about.

The same song started playing again and it made us jump up in fright, distracting us from staring at the unimaginable. The music unnerved me.

“Don’t be a fool D. It’s not your fault, because it’s not happening… Seriously? Cthulhu rising?” Nina grasped David by his shoulders. “It’s not real! Mass hallucination… probably something like that, or a dream. In any case, I want to get away…” She shifted her gaze at me since I drove the car.

“I agree,” I replied.

“Wait, look!” Ivan said pointing towards the creature again.

Two tentacles crawled further into the city, but there was no smashing, and out of the water, something else emerged. I had to squint and shade my eyes to try and make out what it was.

“It’s teeth!” Ivan squeaked.

I saw it too then. Teeth the size of cars, a speck from this distance, but there yet again. Soon after, the mouth appeared as well. It looked like a giant Langolier, a big head of a worm with nothing but teeth instead of a face. Another one emerged right next to it.

“Ghatanothoa,” David spoke in awe. He walked back to the low wall and stood between Ivan and me.

“What?” Nina asked as she squeezed herself between David and Ivan. We beheld the unbelievable sight in front of us.

“It’s not Cthulhu, it’s Ghatanothoa,” David whispered.

I didn’t want to know what that meant for us. We couldn’t see the people, but we heard the sirens and saw flashing lights of the police, firemen and EMTs.

When the third mouth emerged, the first ones opened wide and black spots flew out. The wormlike heads with jaws full of knife-like teeth seemed a part of the same body mass. It crawled forward and into the city, even more tentacles pulling it along.

“What are those?” I said.

A few moments passed while we tried to make out what the black dots were. I counted twenty of them, and twenty more appeared from the second mouth.

“Oh my God!” David yelled as he turned away. “Don’t look at the big monster, I just remembered!”

My eyes shifted to him. “Remembered what?”

“I’ve read it can petrify people! I mean, people can be paralyzed just by looking at it.” He picked up his coat and walked away towards the car. “Just don’t look. We need to go.”

“You’re not still on about how all of this is real. Must be some fumes or… or something. But I do agree we need to go,” Nina said and followed David to the car. “Who knows what else we’ll hallucinate if we stay up here… I just hope you’ll be able to drive.”

I nodded. “I’ll be careful.”

“Some of the dots are coming our way.”

“What did you say, Ivan?” I let go of Petra’s shoulder and took her now cold and clammy hand in mine.

“Some of the dots are coming our way fast. We need to go!” Ivan said and ran for the car. “I don’t know if it’s real or not but I don’t want to risk it.”

I ran for the car as well. At least I tried, while holding onto Petra’s hand but she didn’t move. “Petra, we need to go. Don’t look at it.” I tugged her hand again, and she still didn’t budge.

“Petra?” I asked in a soft voice, my words laced with apprehension. When she didn’t respond, I walked to stand in front of her.

I shuddered in horror at the sight of her. She stared without seeing towards the bay. Her face drained of color, lips parted in an unreleased gasp. My hand recoiled when I touched her cheek. Her skin felt like brittle leather under my fingertips.

How… What? I gulped. “Petra? Sweetie? What’s wrong? Look at me!” I grabbed and shook her shoulders but she was stiff in my arms. “No, no, no!”

“Eva… hurry up!” Ivan yelled from the side of the car, holding the door open, ready to bolt in.

“She’s not responding! This is all insane!” I cried in panic. “Petra! Snap out of it!” I tried, yet again, to shake my girlfriend out of her stupor.

“Holy fuck!” Ivan said when he reached me and noticed Petra.

In the background we heard David saying, “We need to go! We need to run away! It’s all my fault! The Old Ones are coming!”

“Shut the fuck up!” I screamed at David, tears streaming down my face. My voice reverberated through the surrounding forest.

David stopped his frantic rocking. He covered his ears and continued to mumble under his breath. Nina sat next to him, gripping the door handle on her side with eyes darting around as if expecting an attack.

“We can’t leave her, Ivan!” I brushed the tears from my face with the back of my hand. “Please snap out of it, Petra.” I begged holding onto her shoulders and peering into her empty eyes. My heart thumped a rapid beat, the adrenalin and terror flooding my body.

Ivan pushed me out of the way and slapped Petra hard.

The sound made me snap my head towards him. “What the heck are you doing!?” I pushed him away from my girlfriend.

“She didn’t even flinch… didn’t even move.” Ivan looked from his palm to Petra’s cheek.

“We have to get her into the car,” I said and tried to lift her up, but it was difficult with her being completely rigid. “Help me.”

Ivan glanced over my shoulder. “We don’t have the time. We have to hurry, Eva. Something’s coming… and we can’t fit her into the car like this.”

“I’m not leaving her!” I screamed at him. I couldn’t pick her up. “Please somebody, wake me up!” I wanted the nightmare gone. I had never dreamed that something like this might rip us apart.

Rustling behind me drew Ivan’s attention and he looked down the steep decline.

“Eva! Now!” He grabbed my hand and dragged me towards the car. I fought him the entire way, trying to break free of his grasp but he proved stronger than I ever expected him to be.

The turmoil inside me overwhelmed my mind. The feelings conflicting; the fight and flight instincts battling against each other. I didn’t want to leave her, yet I wanted to survive. “No. We can’t leave her Ivan… I can’t leave her.” I sobbed as I dropped onto my knees, preventing him from dragging me further.

Ivan slapped me and my shocked gaze met his pleading eyes. “I just want us to survive. Look at it. We don’t have the time. We have to go.”

I glanced over my shoulder, past Petra’s still form, at the sight beyond. Ivan was right, there were more of the black specks… no… black figures, over hundreds of them flying around, few heading in our direction as well. But, that sight didn’t persuade me, it was the flutter-less wing which rose over the wall.

Ivan grabbed my chin, making me shift my eyes to him before the creature revealed itself. “Don’t look at it… Run!” He grabbed my hand again, pulled me up and ran the last few steps to the car. My flight instinct took over and I followed.

I turned the key with shaking hands and started the car, peeling away without looking back. I couldn’t fight the tears pouring down my face while my heart shattered to pieces at what I had just done.

I left her behind.

 

    h

 

“Eva, watch out!” Ivan shrieked from beside me. I had almost missed the turn. My sight blurred from the tears and sobs wracked my body while I fought to get precious air into my lungs.

“Damn it! We’re not getting away from whatever it is back there, only to die in a car crash! Get it together!” I was surprised by how rational Ivan sounded. “You’ll cry later… Now, breathe.” His voice softened and I latched onto it as if it were my last thread of sanity. I took a deep breath, and brushed away the tears from my eyes to clear my vision. “Just get us down safely.” I nodded. We would not lose anyone else.

A short lived silence descended upon us until the same creepy song started playing for the third time.

“Turn it off! Turn it off!” David covered his ears, and rocked back and forth again.

I turned off the player but the music continued. “It won’t stop playing…” I shared a look with Ivan.

“I’m still waiting to wake up…” Nina said as David kept mumbling about wrong locations, harvesting brains, and suffocating guilt.

“Me too,” I said.

“We’re so stupid,” Nina spoke again, and I glanced at her through the rearview mirror. She dug through her bag. When she pulled out a phone, I really did feel dumb. We should have called for help as soon as things went wrong.

“Who will you call?” Ivan took out his own phone.

“Emergency… then my parents.”  Nina unlocked the phone and cursed, “Fuck! No signal… nothing.”

“Nothing on mine as well,” Ivan confirmed. “Do you think this is like… like The Cabin in the Woods or something… the government experimenting on us?”

“I’d prefer if it was all a dream… then Petra…” I choked on the words, trying not to cry as much again.

Ivan nodded in understanding and the further silence consumed us.

 

 h

 

An eternity later, we finally reached the highway.

“Where do we go? The tunnel or back inland?” I stopped the car at the intersection, not noticing the quiet, the lack of traffic or even the few abandoned cars on the side of the road.

“I don’t think we have much choice,” Nina answered. I glanced to my right, at the road leading inland. Three hooded, humanoid forms floated towards us with five misshapen creatures following behind, and ten or so people walking behind them like mindless zombies.

“Shit!” I said.

“The tunnel!” Ivan bellowed.

Tires screeching, I veered us to the left, speeding along.

“Hurry! They’re following us!” Nina kept her gaze on them.

I pressed the pedal all the way down and the car burst through the tunnel toll ramp.

“I’ve read there are caves in this mountain. They should be connected to the tunnel.” I suggested. “We can’t go back and we know what we’re driving towards. Maybe we will find another way out.”

Ivan and Nina nodded in agreement.

I drove further, putting more distance between us and those creatures.

“Where is everyone?” I asked as I drove around abandoned cars.

“Who knows what happened while we were up there,” Ivan said and then added, “Pull over, here.” He pointed towards the door at the side of the tunnel.

He shot out of the car and checked the door. “It’s unlocked.” He peeked inside. “It’s a passage… leading somewhere. And there’s more doors.”

“Let’s go for it. Maybe we’ll find someone to help us or a place to hide.” I turned off the car, unbuckled my belt and popped the trunk. “We need some things.”

Nina got out too, but David stayed inside. While I rummaged through our stuff with Nina’s help, Ivan coaxed David out. We took the backpacks, quickly dumping what we didn’t need and putting in the drinks and snacks we had in the car.

We armed ourselves; Ivan took the wrench, Nina my sturdy samurai umbrella while I grabbed the crowbar. The two flashlights were divided between me and Ivan, because Nina was going to drag David along who had stopped mumbling his words of doom. He just stared now, face devoid of any emotion. As if all we were left to deal with was a desolate and detached shell of a man. He had lost hope.

“Hurry up!” Ivan led the way. The emergency lights flooded the hallway with a cold blue hue. We tried different rooms. Some were locked, some unlocked, but we didn’t find anything useful, so we rushed along. One of the rooms, Ivan didn’t let us look into. The sight had left him pale.

Another haunted-looking passageway later, we found a way to one of the caverns. I took the lead as we walked into a natural tunnel and had to file into a line. The ground beneath our feet was smooth and evened out, with the sides and the ceiling made of rough stone supported by steel beams. When we reached the cavern itself, darkness enveloped us. We turned on the flashlights and moved along slowly. I was thankful for the railing which protected us from falling over the edge. The chasm in the middle seemed endless.

I led the way down, clutching the crowbar in one hand and the flashlight in the other. Nina pulled a very obedient David along, right behind her, while Ivan took the rear.

The eerie silence made me miss the creepy music until a claw burst from the wall in front of me. I screamed and my voice echoed throughout the cavern. Another claw burst and I could hear the same happening behind me.

I raised the crowbar and pounded on the hands, one falling limply as the bones broke. I continued to beat the clawed limbs of the creatures trying to break through. I dodged one going for my head, but another sliced open the sleeve of my thick coat. The sounds of thumping and scraping mixed with our pants and yelps echoed through the cavern.

The streams of light from our flashlights danced around in uncontrollable patterns, worsening the disorienting situation. One moment I saw pale grey hands reaching for me, the next I was blinded and then I was in complete darkness. The process repeated itself, making the whole fight seem like a blur of motions.

I heard a scream behind me and chanced a glance back just in time to see David fly over the edge as Nina struggled not to follow in his path.

A creature clawed its way out in front of me. “Retreat!” I yelled.

My flashlight illuminated the creature’s features. The sheer size of the unwholesome beast, so much bigger than an average human, with its grey and rough skin, made my breath hitch and adrenalin surge. Its nose appeared cut off, its eyes a pearly white, and its head bald. When the monster opened its mouth, showing off a row of sharp teeth, it let out a thunderous roar.

I sprang into action again, fighting for my life.

Nina tugged me backwards. “Come on, the way back is clear.”

I moved faster, I only had to keep back the monster in front of me… and the others coming out behind it.

The creature swung its clawed hand towards me. I deflected the attack with a blow of my own, smashing the crowbar against its hand. It hadn’t expected me to fight back so I used the moment of surprise to swing my weapon high, hitting its ugly head. Losing its footing, the creature stumbled and toppled over the railing.

My relief was short as another burst through.

“Almost there!” Nina called to me.

The creature sniffed the air and turned its head towards us. It advanced on me, ready to pounce but before it could reach me I was pulled back and the door slammed closed in front of me.

“Run!” Ivan exclaimed running up the hallway. Nina was quick to obey. I didn’t hesitate either, sprinting as fast as I could. My breaths came out in labored pants and my footsteps pounded along to the rhythm of my heartbeat.

Ivan took a sharp turn, Nina right behind him. When I rounded the same corner I crashed into Nina and looked up just in time to see Ivan’s head explode.

The blood and brain matter splattered the walls and all over Nina and me. Some bits got into my mouth and I could do nothing but stand paralyzed. The bile rose in my throat and settled back down, burning my esophagus on its way.

Nina froze in place as well. I couldn’t move my eyes while I watched the cloaked creature approach us.

It seemed humanoid until it removed the hood and an octopus-like head appeared. It had four tentacles which squirmed around and crawled against the wall, picking up pieces of Ivan’s brain and bringing it to its lamprey-like mouth.

When it spoke, the voice and words hurt my ears. I couldn’t understand what it said but my body obeyed the command.

We were trapped inside our bodies with no control over our actions. The crowbar and flashlight fell from my hands, clanking when they hit the floor. 

What the…? My mind was reeling, not comprehending what had just happened to Ivan.

The monster had control of everything; my muscles, my bones, making me breathe evenly while my heart beat a steady rhythm. The subjugation made me panic as the only things I was left with were my emotions, thrown into chaos. I was overwhelmed by terror, anxiety, heartache, disbelief, and helplessness.

I felt hot breath brush the nape of my neck. On instinct, I tried to close my eyes, but couldn’t so I braced myself for my imminent demise.

But the merciful death never came.

The dark creature in front of me screeched at the monsters behind me and I heard them shuffle back. The squid like monster narrowed its eyes at me, turned, and glided away.

Nina and I could only watch as our bodies moved to follow.

 

   h

 Outside the tunnel we joined the group of monsters we had been running away from. There were now four squid-like creatures and eight misshapen followers; their bodies similar to that of a praying mantis, but black with spiky features and bat-like wings on their backs, seemingly useless. They had bulbous heads covered by numerous fuzzy antennae, and gnarled arms and legs with sharp claws.

When we joined the other people, I realized there were now more of them. We were all under the creature’s oppression, forced to trek down towards the seaside.

Petra… I could do nothing but think, as silent tears rolled down my face in mourning.

Hours later we reached the city of Rijeka. We couldn’t look at anything except what was in front of us. The desolation on the streets and the eerie silence added to my despair.

They led us into underground tunnels of an abandoned warehouse. Four floors below, we entered a vast, dug out hall. Standing side by side like abused soldiers, our minds were probed again. I felt a pinch in my brain. I winced, and then realized I could understand the monster’s garbled speech.

They gave us minimal control over our bodies and separated us into two groups. From what I understood, one group would be brain food. Literally have their brains eaten by some of the monsters. The other group would either have their brains harvested for other purposes or their bodies would be used as breeding facilities. I preferred to be eaten.

They forced Nina towards the second group. Before my turn came to be categorized, a new hooded creature in a deep purple robe entered the room. The other monsters bowed their heads in submission. This one was larger, the confidence and danger oozing from it made me shudder.

The new creature talked. Their voices no longer hurt my ears. I picked up bits of the conversation, about breaking and training a new slave because last one hadn’t made it. One of the squid-likes responded and pointed at me. The superior monster’s scrutiny had an instant effect on me. I gulped, felt my palms sweat and I barely held onto the control of my bladder.

The mere fact my body had been commanded to stand still was the only reason I didn’t scramble away from the approaching, looming figure. It stood in front of me and my breath came out as stuttering pants. I wanted to turn my head away but couldn’t.

Four tentacles slithered out from under the hood. They squirmed towards me and touched my face. I closed my eyes in anticipation of my brain exploding or being eaten. I wished for that to happen, so I could die and be rid of this nightmare. I realized how lucky Ivan and David had been.

The creature entered my mind and I could feel it strolling around and having a look. It eased my emotions, calming me down. I didn’t like it, but couldn’t fight it either. I was going to go mad from everything, my sanity slowly leaving me. He withdrew with a final caress of my mind as his approval. My feet moved to follow him through a hallway. I still heard his soothing voice in my head; I now knew it was a he. The fact I found his voice calming unnerved me even more. I never knew I could handle such a mess of emotions surging through me.

I was grateful for the bit of freedom he gave me, because I could move my hands and finally scratch the itch that had been bothering me the whole day. Free to look around as well, I perused my surroundings.

We passed a room with large double doors, and I couldn’t help but peek inside as we walked by. I regretted it though. Five people stood to the side, wearing identical deep red robes, chatting as if nothing apocalyptic was going on. My attention shifted to the drawing on the floor in the middle of the room; a big pentagram with a flaming eye in its center and some foreign symbols written about. Large candles stood at each point of it and right next to them laid small lumps of bodies, the dried pools of blood evidence of their slow demise.

Once I passed the room, I realized the small lumps were children. I wanted to scream in anguish and disgust. I burst out laughing when I came to the conclusion; Poor David, it really wasn’t your fault. Now that was a fucked up coincidence.

 I followed the monster into a chamber. The surrounding darkness made me nervous. What will he do to me? My feet moved as if they knew the way. I was stopped, heard a metal clank, and then a click of a lock.

“Wha… What’s going on?” I stuttered.

I didn’t get an answer as numerous candles burst into life, illuminating the room with soft yellow light. The room was artificially made, being so far underground, the walls rough and made of stone.  It had simple furnishing; a bed, desk and chair, a wardrobe and on the wall across me, shelves filled with odd knick knacks and… and jars with brains. My eyes widened and I shuddered. One of the brains was in glass container with coiled electrodes stuck into it, all hooked up to a machine that looked like an amplifier.

I stood in the corner of the room, in a steel cage of my own. I glanced behind me and saw a mattress on the floor, with a blanket and a pillow on top of it. At the foot of the makeshift bed was a toilette and next to it a shower stall. And that was it. No!

 “I said… What the fuck is going on!?” I grabbed the bars and tried to shake them. I was surprised by my freedom of movement, but the cage didn’t budge one bit. “Let me out!” I screeched. “Let me out or kill me now!” I demanded with a tight grip on the bars.

He just stood there and watched me having a fit.

“And get the hell out of my head! Get out! Get out! Get out!” I screamed and fell to my knees, clutching onto my head. “Please get out!” I sobbed, tears and snot running down my face, but I didn’t care, it was meaningless.

He departed the room.

“Eva?”

At the sound of Petra’s voice, my head snapped up and my watery eyes scanned the room.

“Pe… Petra?” I asked, wiping away the tears and snot from my face with the sleeve of my coat. “I’ve really lost my mind…” I shook my head.

“No, Eva… I’m here.” Petra’s soft voice repeated, filled with sadness and despair.

“I told you to get out of my head.” I yelled at the door.

“Eva…” The exasperation in her voice helped me ground myself again.

“Are you really here? Where are you?” I stood on trembling legs and looked around again.

“Right across you,” she said.

I looked towards the shelves, my forehead scrunched in confusion. I saw a few books, the jars with brains and various tools and odd bits. Most of it I didn’t recognize.

“A bit to the left,” Petra instructed and my eyes moved to where she told me to.

“There,” she said when my gaze settled on the brain in the glass container which was plugged into the machine. Two eyeballs floated in glasses filled with some sort of jelly next to it, all connected to the container.

“Petra?” I narrowed my eyes.

“Yes.” I could imagine her resigned sigh.

“And here I was thinking that things couldn’t get any worse or weirder.” I snorted.

“Yeah… I guess we really were meant to be together no matter what,” she added, followed by my hysterical laughter bouncing off the walls of the small room.

 

THE END