“I’ve lost count how many times we’ve done this part, where I tell you what’s taken place, how many times that thing has taken my life, and taken me back to the start, back when this all began. Always, like a film, it rolls, some things are exactly the same no matter what I try to do, where others, they unfold differently every time, and the closer we get to an answer, the further away we become. I guess it’s the head, it becomes jumbled, confused, but, that’s what it wants,” Marty says tapping his forehead, Jimmy and Carter sit there, speechless, staring blurry eyed at the screen.
The lights flicker as the dead girl stares towards Steve, he can feel beneath his feet, a light tremor, as she opens her mouth to speak, “Its power grew strong from the words that were written, read and spread, so strong that the beast broke free of it cage, now the stories no longer hold it at bay, for the world knows it by its name, so dare not say it for it will come, dare not hear it for it will know, dare not see it for it will be, say it once and you will see, come now say it with me, The Roundhead, The Roundhead, THE ROUNDHEAD!” She screams before disappearing like all the other heralds before her. Sweat runs down Steve’s brow, his eyes dart around the call centre, and he can see the fear, the panic, in his colleague’s eyes, then, the screaming starts, for it is here. He smells it first, before he feels it’s hot, rancid breath on the back of his neck, everyone begins scrambling away in panic, and Steve, slowly turns around, starring into its dead, black, soulless eyes.
“It’s coming, the beast, that thing, it’s making its way towards us from a few levels above, so, we’ve got to act fast, if we’re going to stop it, this time, or last time, or, next time, if need be. I know what you’re thinking, I know you’re wondering how’s this possible? I really fucking wish I could give you the answer, but, I don’t, I can’t, fuck, I don’t even believe it myself. Not anymore, if you really want to know,” he says as he runs his hands through his hair, grabbing two handfuls and pulling, before he looks back to the screen.
Its teeth grind against each other like fingernails down a chalkboard and it lets out a low, inhuman growl before it attacks. The pain is everywhere, all at once, as it rips one of its massive hands through his chest and wraps its powerful, fingers around his insides, he convulses, the beast tightens its grip and then, he flops forward, silent, void of life, as it crushes his heart, lungs and most of his rib cage, then tosses his husk to the side. It looks around the building, stalking its prey, then attacks, like a rampaging bull, storming towards the fleeing crowd.
“I don’t even know if this is real or I’m just talking to myself, but if I’m not, and this is happening, you’ve got to finish the story, you’ve got to finish it my way, not its.”
Jimmy looks to Clarke as he chews nervously on his fingers. “This is some of the weirdest shit I….”
“You’ve ever seen,” Marty says interrupting Jimmy, his mouth opens wide in shock and he tightens his grip on the back of Clarke’s chair.
“Y-Y-You can hear me?”
“This can’t be real, it just can’t be real!” Patto mumbles to himself as he sits, huddled underneath his desk. He flicks his phone on and fumbles with it, as his shaking fingers fail to follow his commands, but, finally after a few frantic seconds, he manages to dial triple zero, and he sits, waiting.
“Police, fire and rescue or ambulance?” the voice asks on the other end.
“Police,” he whispers.
“One moment,” the woman replies, seconds pass and the line begins to ring, as does a phone two desks away.
“Fuck!” He hisses as he hangs up and redials again, suddenly the desk is ripped away, it stands, looking down at him, and growls.
“No, I can’t hear you, I just know what you’re going to say, when you say it, because, I wrote you saying those words, fuck,” he says with a laugh, “I even wrote my words, I think. Honestly, this never took place originally, not in its version. You see, Jimmy, you died back at Sonia’s and Clarke, you never existed. But I had a problem that needed someone to fix, what I needed done, so, I made a few changes at the last minute. Changes that will throw its plan sideways, I hope, I mean, I’m not sure anymore what it really is capable of, all I know is we have to disable it’s power, it’s strength, trap it, somehow, and then deal the blow we need to deal, that’ll break the chain and release the world from it’s hold. Listen to me, talking to you like you can actually talk back, which you can by the way, but, I control what you say, well, sort of, in a way, maybe this is the final version of it all, maybe this time, we stop it,” he says as he looks through the screen at them. “Anyway enough about me, we only have a short time left before the beast gets here, or not, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes, he distracts it long enough, other times, he’s trapped too long down below, and it gets here early. But, this conversation always happens not matter what, so, what do you want to know? Or should I just give you the answers?”
Three Minutes Ago
“What the fuck is this?”
“The other place, the world where the beast was trapped, where it stores our sins, locking us away, so we can’t be used against it.”
“How is any of this possible,” Jar asks, as he tightly clutches his forehead and squeezes.
“How is anything possible?”
“That’s not an answer.”
“It wasn’t meant to be, you have to understand, when we first realised this wasn’t just a story in Marty’s head, we were too far gone,” Gareth says. “Marty, he told me more times than I remember that it was real, and each time, every time, I convinced him otherwise. But you see, it wasn’t me, I wasn’t ever given the chance to take in what Marty was saying, and it wasn’t until I realised, until I saw it in the mirror, hidden, deep in my reflection, that the beast had infected me, like it did Marilyn. I was its tool, it used me to control him as it used Marilyn to control you, each time it felt threatened, the beast used it’s tools to control those it did not have total power over, those who were outside it’s realm. But now, again, it’s time to go stop the beast, it’s time to…”
“It’s time to do nothing, it’s time this story finished, once and for all,” she says, slithering out of the shadows, her large, black, dead eyes almost glow within the darkness, her mouth, ripped into her dead face, with rows of razor sharp teeth, her snake like tongue flicks like a whip, as several more, demonic, dead souls comes from out of the darkness, towards them.
“I guess, we’re going to be late for our date again, sure hope she doesn’t get made at us,” Gareth says reading himself, as the dark heralds, attack.
It pulls Patto’s limp body into the air and with one squeeze of its massive hand, crushes his skull, his legs quiver around like a fish out of water, then, flop lifelessly down. It tosses his corpse to the side, as it takes a gigantic step forward, and another, before the beast turns, its soulless, empty, eyes, come to a stop over one of the cubicles where a couple have taken refuge. The woman lets out a scream as it looks straight towards her and the man grabs her from behind, desperately shoving his hand over her mouth, trying to muffle her cries, but, it’s too late. The beast rips the cubicle apart around them, until there is nothing between it and them. They both cower before it, begging for their lives, then, just as it’s about to strike, it stops, and slowly, the beast turns its head, looking away from them, letting out a low growl and smile. “Your words are as dead as your pawn, now, there is only, The Roundhead.”
“How do we stop it?” Clarke asks.
“The perfect question, in fact, the only question worth asking. When you ransacked my apartment, you removed this,” he says, holding up a red flash card. “This little drive will change everything, I had a friend code it with a little program, that’ll, well, it’ll set off a chain reaction that should, if it works, put an end to this story and that thing. You took it from my computer and sat it out with all the other junk you brought back with you, you need to get that drive.”
“Give me a second, I know exactly where it is,” Jimmy says as he runs out of the room and Marty looks directly at Clarke.
“Jimmy’s about to scream, because it’s here, hunting for the one thing it knows will stop it. Now, this is where it gets real fucked up, if you can call it anymore fucked up than it is. But, that’s neither here, nor there anymore, just don’t run out of the room straight away, count to thirty and then run out. When you get out there, grab the drive from Jimmy’s dead hand and bring it back here.”
“Are you…..” But, he doesn’t get to finish, as Jimmy screams out from the other room and Clarke instinctively gets up from his chair.
“Count to thirty remember, then run out, grab the drive, run back here, plug it into my laptop, and that’s all you need to do, it’ll do all the rest. But, just so you know, it’s going to kill you as well, regardless of what you do. You, you’re the biggest threat it has, you’re an anomaly, you never existed, and it knows it. So, don’t fail, we can’t let it win, everything ends if it does, everything.”
Clarke swallows a mouthful of dry air as he slowly counts under his breath.
“NOW!” Marty yells, Clarke jumps up, and runs out of the room, he stops, frozen, as Jimmy’s disembowelled body lies at the feet of the beast. Clarke locks eyes with it, and it’s deep, black, endless eyes slowly, begin to drag him in. He desperately pulls his eyes away, and sees the drive in Jimmy’s hand, frantically he makes a dash, grabbing it, but, he slips in the pool of Jimmy’s blood, crashing to the ground, and the beast, lunges for him. He somehow manages to scramble to his feet and runs back towards the room as the beast follows close behind, once inside the door, he grabs the laptop, shoving the drive into the USB port as the beast grips him by the leg and pulls him out of the room. He looks, desperately, one last time, at the screen, and into Marty’s sorrow filled eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” Marty says as the beast rips Clarke in two, like a wish bone, then, there is silence, and the beast, smiles. Suddenly, the lights flicker as they begin exploding all around it, then, it appears, a pale, lifeless image, and it speaks.
“I am Sonia Winters, know my name,” she says, the beast lets out a low growl as another flickers into existence.
“I am Sally Donnellson, know my name,” she says and then another and another, until the room is not just full, but overflowing with the ghosts of all who it has devoured. The beast lets out a roar as it rips it’s massive, clawed hands through the images, but they pass through. Unable to inflict damage, the beast screams with anger, as the thousands, upon thousands of voices repeat the same words over and over again, and slowly, it realises what is at play here. Slowly, it feels its power draining away, it stumbles backwards, and, then he appeared, the first soul taken, his father, and his dead, black eyes look into the beasts.
“I am Marty Towns, know my name beast, for this is my story and there’s nowhere else to run!” He says, and the beast screams as all the souls he devoured, all the souls he sucked within himself, all the souls that gave him power, fight back, with one purpose, with one desire, for the world to forget the beast and to remember who they are, who, they were. Across TV and radio station’s, through internet connections and phone lines, blanketing any technology that it can touch across the entire world, their cries, their names, their call, is spread. It screams in agony as it slowly begins to be ripped back, from this world, and back, to where it came from. It lets out one, final, vicious scream, and then, it is gone, leaving only the chorus of souls, who now themselves, slowly begin to disappear. Their words still repeating, over and over again, ‘know my name, know my name, know my name,’ until, there is only Marty left. He stands there, in the centre of all the carnage his story created, then, he looks towards you, and he speaks, “My names is Marty Towns, know my name, for this is my story.”
He leans back in his seat as he reads over the stories last paragraph, and lets out a satisfied release of air as he presses down on the enter button, scheduling the final post for his Halloween masterpiece. From the corner of his eye, he sees a notification pop up in the top portion of the screen, telling him that the first chapter had been posted and he smiles as he switches off the monitor.
“Think you know how it ends, wait and see, you piece of shit,” he mumbles to himself as he gets up from his seat and looks over to Abby, “You hungry girl?” she wags her tail, jumping up from her bed, he smiles as they head out into the hallway, into the kitchen, and he reaches up into the top cupboard, grabbing a can of dog food out. He stops in his tracks, as he feels something sticky on the floor and flicks on the light, his eyes grow wide, and drops the can, as he finds himself standing in a puddle of red liquid that has seeped out from underneath the pantry door. Slowly, he reaches out, gripping the handle to the door tightly, then, slowly opens it. He feels the blood drain out of his face as he takes a step backwards in fright, before him, stuffed into the shelves of the panty, are the broken, bloody bodies, of Clare and his two girls, then, Abby starts barking uncontrollably, and he catches a whiff of a rotten, foul smell….
All artwork by Yazgar, check his stuff out when you can!