The room spins, he tastes the saltiness of blood on his tongue, he tries to move, but the pain that rips through his body, is agonising, paralysing him to the spot. Seconds, soon turn into minutes, as he lies there, starring up at the ceiling, before finally, trying again. This time, he manages to push past the pain, and forces himself up from the floor with the help of a chair, he clenches his teeth together in anger, his body is like one massive, tightly wound muscle, that refuses to obey his instructions. He grabs at his belly, feeling the wound, and presses against it desperately, in a bid to stop the pain. He remains there, for more moments than he wishes, but, his eyes are invaded by pockets of black and white flashes that make it almost impossible to see, he lazily attempts to swat them away with a wave of his hand, and he feels the warmth of it splash against his face. He looks down at his hand, and although he sees little of what’s before him, he can make out the rich, red blood shining in the light of the city that comes through the window.
“You’re dying,” a woman’s voice says, one he recognises instantly.
“S-S-Sam, y-you came back?” He says, as he squints his eyes, searching the room, it takes him several passes before he sees her silhouette, standing in front of the windows, and clenches his hands together, into fists, biting into his bloody lip. “I-I-I, I’m so sorr…”
“LIAR! How could you leave me there, to that thing?”
“I-I-I, I didn’t know, if I did, I-I…”
“Don’t,” she says, stepping into the light, he can see the red glistening, wet, vibrant, dripping, the impact of the drops hitting the floor vibrate like waves hitting the shore, in his ears. “I’m not the only one you failed tonight, I’m not the only one you fed to the beast.”
“Not her you fool, she was its play toy from the beginning, before this story was words, I’m talking about her,” she says, he sees another shadow move from out of the darkness. His head throbs, his eyes pop with flashes of red and whites, and then, her face, becomes clear, Sonia Winters stands before him.
“You could’ve saved me,” she says, as she steps towards him, he can feel her coldness, an electrical charge passes between them. “You could’ve saved me from it, you could’ve saved us all.”
“H-How? That thing, it was too fast, i-it…”
“No, that’s not what happened. You were too worried about her, too concerned for her, like it wanted you to be, like it needed you to be,” she says, he feels her hand strike, his stomach screams in pain. “Now, it’s time for you to see, what we see, down there, in the coldness of it’s belly.”
He screams in pain, his head breaks open and then, he’s alone. His vision explodes in and out of focus, his head throbs as his world spirals, and then, everything stops, he takes an agonising, slow, step forward. Actually calling it a step is a lie, it’s more like a shuffle, one that you see zombies from the old horror movies do. Then he sees it, a flash of light coming from the ground, followed quickly by music, and his eyes tighten as he tries to focus on the phone, a few feet away. He takes another step, and then another, letting out a cry of agony, as he falls to his knees, he feels his innards move, and then something tugs on his groin. An uncontrollable shaking feeling begins to flow though his body, followed quickly by a coldness, he looks down, and, even though his vision is still impaired, he sees his stomach, intestines, and other bits that should be on the inside of his skin, hanging to the floor. He feels something rush up, along his spine, then crash into the back of his skull, followed by a warmth that envelopes his head. After a few moments of silence, a hand grabs him by the throat, and he feels the slimness of her tongue run up, along his neck, coming to a stop at his earlobe, then bites into it, he’d scream if he had the strength to.
“It’s over lover boy, it’s won,” she says, her voice, distant, lost.
“Because we’re all a part of its story, make believe characters living lives that just don’t exist, our words, written by someone else, for someone else to read. There’s no life in this flesh, not ours anyway.”
“B-B-BULLSHIT!” Jar screams.
“I’m sorry, but it’s true, isn’t it? Or are you going to hide in the shadows, like the coward you are?”
“You’re tainted, and you’ve ruined this, we could have stopped it!” his voice says, from the darkness, Jar’s eyes grow wide, and dart around the room, looking for the newcomer, or, maybe he’s not new, maybe, he’s always been here.
“Don’t you see, what you’re trying to do is impossible, there’s nothing you can do, nothing you can change, no matter whose skin you hide in, the story, will end the same, the way it wants it to.”
“Bullshit, it’s my story, I’ll end it the way I want it to end!”
“Stop your lies, the beast has already won, can’t you see, we’ll all end up, down there, inside, where our sins are as one,” she says as she violently rips back on Jar’s neck, a popping sound can be heard, and he hits the floor, lifeless, still. She leaps to her feet, twisting her body, then crouches like an animal, ready to attack. “Show yourself tool, the master wants you to stop running, it’s time you came home.”
“My sin, belongs to me!” He yells as a blade tears through Marilyn’s neck, removing her head from her shoulders. Her body drops to the ground with a thud, thick, black ooze gushes from her decapitated corpse and he lifts her head up, in the air, starring into her dead, empty eyes. “Let he who has no sin, suffer eternal, beast you will not win.” The darkness of the room is broken by a light, quickly followed by music. “He’s not going to answer,” he says.
“Answer your fucking phone!” Jimmy says as he slams his onto the desk and looks back to Clarke.
“You know neither of them answering is weird, right?” Clarke says.
“So what do we do?” Clarke says as he looks back at the screen and stares at the frozen image it.
“I guess we press play, and see where it goes while we wait for one of them to get back to us.”
“You press play,” Clarke says, Jimmy gives him a look of concern and then leans across, pressing the space bar. The video continues with Marty spinning around to look behind him. He turns back to the screen and runs a hand nervously through his hair, then slaps himself, before he looks back into the camera. “They won’t call back,” he says, Jimmy feels a cold shiver go up his spine, as does Clarke. “The words you’re both looking for is, what the fuck? I mean, that’s what I’d think you’d say, if I was writing your characters, which I am, or have, or will, fuck I’m not sure anymore. Everything’s falling to pieces, what was, is not, what is, was not, it keeps trying to stop me, it keeps countering everything I try to put in its way. The only thing I know for sure, right now, is that Jar, Javier, Havier or however you pronounce his name, is dead, and Marilyn, she’s been the beasts for longer than I realised. One of its pawns, it put in place to stop me, to distract me, and him. But we don’t have time anymore, it’s coming, it’s trying to stop me, you, us, from finishing the story, which’ll continue just after the pause that follows with you two looking at each other after I say this line,” he says, Clarke and Jimmy nervously exchange glances before they look back at the screen.
The screwed up piece of paper crashes against the wall and bounces into the waste bin as Steve McKinnon raises his hands up in the air, celebrating his victory.
“And McKinnon does it again, still the undefeated champion!” he yells proudly.
“Turn it off Steve you tosser, you just got lucky and anyway, you missed all the craziness that was going on, I’m coming to the end of a twelve hour shift, while you’re just starting, so, you’ve got an unfair advantage,” his work colleague says sitting in front of the cubical next to him.
“Fuck off Patto, there hasn’t been a call relating to any of that shit in over seven hours, so mate, you turn it off. And anyway, once is lucky, three times is skilled mate, so pay up.”
“Double or nothing?”
“Fuck off, you’ve already played that hand, I’m happy to just coast home on my winnings, let the fans sit and salivate for my return.”
“See, and that’s why you’re a tosser,” Patto says as he turns back to his desk.
“Sore loser,” Steve says as he stretches in his seat with a wide grin of satisfaction, a signal pulses over his head set, and he prepares for the incoming call to come through.
“This is Police Emergency, you’re talking with Steve at Sydney City Local Area Command, what is the state of your emergency?”
“It’s coming for me, it’s in the house, it killed them and now it’s coming for me,” a woman screams frantically on the other end of the line.
“Who’s coming for you Ma’am?”
“It is, it’s coming for me, you have to help me, you have to!”
“Ma’am calm down, that’s what we’re here to do. Now, in order for me to help, I’m going to need you to answer a few questions so I can make sure we get assistance to you as soon as possible. Can I start by getting your name and address?”
“Sandra Nevil, 32 Chenternut Apartments.”
“Thank you for that Sandra, just so you know, I’ve sent your address through to dispatch and they’re sending someone your way right now. Okay, next question Sandra, who else in is the house with you?”
“My brother and their two girls, but it’s, it’s killed them already. You’ve got to hurry, I don’t know how much longer I can stay hidden from it.”
“Sandra, help is on the way, they’ll be there soon, so don’t you worry. Now where are you hiding?”
“I’m in a small room that comes off one of the bedrooms.”
“Is there only one entrance to the room?”
“Yes, the door is hidden behind a cupboard in the girls room… Oh my god, that thing, whatever it is, it killed them, it ripped them apart like they were nothing, oh god, please help.”
“Okay Sandra, you need to stay calm and keep your voice down, do you know where the intruder is at the moment?”
“No, the last time I saw it, it was down stairs, it attacked my brother and I ran up here. Oh god, I ran, I left him to die, my own brother!” She screams.
“Sandra, do you know where they are now?”
“I-I-I, I don’t know, maybe I heard it in the room before, I’m not sure, everything seems confusing.”
“Okay, now Sandra, I’m going to have to place you on hold for a moment while I pass this information on to my supervisor, so we can make sure you get looked after correctly.”
“No!” she yells, “Please Steve, don’t leave me, it’ll get me, I know it will, I don’t want to die alone!”
“Okay Sandra, okay, I’m not going anywhere, and you’re going to die, not while I’m here, so you just hold on. I’ll keep the line open so you’ll be able to hear me and I can still hear you. But I need to check with my supervisor to make sure people are coming for you, to keep you safe, okay?”
“Please, just hurry.”
Steve turns around in his seat to be met with poking, prodding eyes watching him, a set of those eyes belong to his supervisor who stands a few feet away, rubbing her neck in anticipation, she nods to Steve and turns quickly, picking up a phone.
“How are you doing Sandra?”
“Losing my fucking mind, it’s going to get me like the rest, like the stories all over the news.”
“What are you talking about? You’ve got to tell me everything if I’m to help you, everything you tell me is vital to us making sure you get out of the house in one piece.”
“The murders that’ve been happening, the Roundhead killings, that thing, from the videos, it’s real!”
“Sandra, please, listen to me, whoever’s in your house, it’s not this Roundhead thing from the news reports, that video was said to be a hoax. The Prime Minister announced hours ago that all the people involved in the killings had been apprehended and all the killings stopped. So, you just stay with me, and I’ll make sure you get out of this.”
“Easy for you to say, you’re safe in some fucking office somewhere, so of course you’d think that. But I’m telling you, it’s fucking real, it just killed my brother and his family and now it’s going to kill me, while you sit there on your high horse talking down to me, drinking your fucking coffee!” Sandra screams.
“Sandra, please, calm down, if there’s someone in your house they’ll hear you.”
“If? What you don’t believe me now, you think I’m crazy?”
“No Sandra, I never said that, I’m sorry if it came across that way, but please believe me, I only have your safety in mind.”
“My god, do you hear that?”
“Sandra what do you hear?”
“Can’t you hear it?”
“Sandra, stay with me, what do you hear? Tell me?”
“Oh my god, no, no, not you, please, NOT YOU!” She screams in terror and then the phone crashes to the ground.
“Sandra?” Steve yells as her screams get more volatile and he can hear what he can only assume is Sandra’s body being thrown around the room, “Sandra!” he yells, and then her screams stop and everything goes silent.
“Sandra! Answer me, Sandra!” Steve yells into his headset, but the silence is the only answer he receives, until finally after what seems like forever, he hears the phone being picked up from the floor. “Sandra?”
“Close your eyes, and pray that no one dies, because you’ll all be dead, if you meet ROUNDHEAD!” a gravelly voice screams through the other end of the line, Steve jumps frantically to his feet and rips his head set off, throwing it to the ground, he stands there for a few moments in shock, his heart in his throat and he begins to perspire uncontrollably. From the corner of his eye he notices the rest of the call centre sits in silence, with everyone’s eyes on him. Then he feels a coldness run through his body, an intangible feeling that he finds the answer to when he sees her, standing a few feet away, pale and lifeless, with her dead eyes glaring straight at him.
TOMORROW IT ENDS
All artwork by Yazgar, check his stuff out when you can!