|Who's Eating Eric Lynch?
Author: Dr. Self Destruct PM
Hi. My name is Eric Lynch. Depending on how much you value your sanity, you may or may not want to click this link. I wouldn't if I were you, though. Just saying. /SKoW Best Non-Romance Nominee/Rated: Fiction M - English - Humor/Horror - Chapters: 30 - Words: 100,808 - Reviews: 521 - Favs: 72 - Follows: 67 - Updated: 05-23-13 - Published: 05-15-12 - id: 3022881
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Still somewhat blinded by the sand, I felt around on the ground for something to help pull me to my feet. My fingers fell on what felt like cloth, maybe denim, and I went rigid when feeling a leg underneath.
Running my hands a little further, I discovered an ankle, then a shoe. The skin was still warm, but rigid. I blinked a bit more, gave my eyes time to adjust to the darkness, and saw the outline of a shadow collapsed next to me, an even darker puddle surrounding him.
It took about three heartbeats for me to realize it was a headless man's corpse marinating in a pool of blood.
I tried to scream, but my throat clenched. I covered my mouth, bile rising. When looking around me I saw he wasn't the only victim.
There were corpses everywhere, some of them torn to pieces, others still intact but covered in blood, and even more were lying in piles of five or six with their twisted limbs sticking out in every direction like skeleton trees. Puddles of intestines trailed along the ground from one heap to the next, multiple organs tangled together like a fucked-up rubber-band ball. Some of the faces had hunks of skin and meat missing, and others had one or both eyes hanging loose from their sockets. Some didn't even have heads, only bone jutting up from the base of their necks.
I tried my best to hold it back, but I ended up on my knees, vomiting between my hands. I hurled until my throat was raw, until tears trailed down my cheeks. With a shaky breath, I pushed myself back onto my haunches and wiped my hand across my mouth. Thankfully the aftertaste of puke helped drive away the stink of death—because it was so thick it was like a coat of tar on my tongue.
I don't know how many people there were. I didn't get the chance to count, partly due to terror, but also because I was distracted by the green light again. This time it was smaller and more concentrated.
After my fall, I ended up behind one of the locomotives. I pressed my back against the cold metal, vines brushing my shoulders, weeds tickling my feet. The light was coming from the other side, so I inched to the edge of the car and peeked around the corner, hoping I'd find some type of explanation as to what the fuck was going on.
There used to be a parking lot in front of the station's lobby, but it was long ago covered by sand and rocks. I saw a silhouette standing on the edge of the parking lot, the size and shape of a man, his arms outspread, face tilted upward and pointed at the moon. Behind him was what appeared to be a portal, and that's where the green light originated. It throbbed and churned, an emerald orb about five feet in diameter and suspended a foot off the ground.
I couldn't see much of the man's face because he had his back to me, but I could see the blood dripping from his fingers. He wore a trench coat that was tattered at the bottom, a mass of dreadlocks falling to his mid-back. The shadows caressed him, wrapped around his arms and legs like wispy snakes. He was half bathed in a moonbeam, and his flesh glowed pale and lifeless, like it belonged to a corpse. I also saw a line of stitches circling his elbow, as if everything below his forearm was stolen from another person's body.
I was about to turn and run home (even if it meant going back through those spider-infested woods), but the man spun and looked at me.
Looked right at me.
It was like he knew I was there the entire time but chose to ignore me until I made my decision to run.
My legs froze. I couldn't move. All I could see was his golden stare, those honey-yellow eyes drilling into my brain, his pupils slit like a cat's. Even though he was a good twenty feet away, I could still see those glowing eyes. I could feel them scrutinizing me, the sensation identical to the scratchy legs of a cockroach crawling from toe to forehead.
Not to mention the smell. As soon as he looked at me, that's when the odor struck. Death and sulfur mixed together in a cocktail of stench. It smelled like I was standing in hell's outhouse with a toilet that hadn't been cleaned in decades, piles of endless shit building and building right under my face. Almost able to taste it, I about lost it, stomach threatening to heave.
He took a step toward me. The green light grew brighter, as if personifying his appetite—
"Oh, come on! This is such a load of bullshit," Owl Girl says, then scoffs and shakes her head. "I don't fucking believe this. You guys totally dissed my haunted house story so we could listen to this?"
As she makes a sharp gesture toward me with both hands, I clear my throat and lean back into my beanbag. Everyone else stares at me, giving me blank looks like they just woke up from a dream. Both Baggy Pants and Jersey are leaning forward, hands clasped in their laps, eyes so wide they're bugged out of their sockets. Ashley's hand slowly made its way onto my leg during my story, her fingers now digging into my jeans. Sam still has his goofy grin. Leaning back in his beanbag, he takes another hit from his pipe.
After seeing her interruption goes unnoticed, Owl Girl flops back into her beanbag and purses her lips, says again, "I don't fucking believe this."
Baggy Pants rolls his eyes. "Shut up, woman!"
"Yeah, bro, I wanna know what happens next," Sam says, and he nods his head at me, motioning for me to keep going.
"Wait, let me guess," Owl Girl says to me. "The dude grabs you by the neck, strangles you until you pass out, then you wake up the next morning in your bed. You got no clue if it really happened, and the only evidence is the dirt on your feet and the bug bites on your skin—"
"You don't need to get all salty because no one wanted to listen to your story, sweetheart," Jersey says.
The following argument erupts out of nowhere. Owl Girl jumps to her feet. She's clearly outnumbered, and even though I'm the one she's being a total asshole to, I have to admit I respect how she doesn't back down. Her voice carries above the others, and I pinch the bridge of my nose between index and thumb, clench my eyes shut while trying to block out their voices.
Since the first hit I took from Sam's pipe, my surroundings have been slightly hazy, a veil of disconcertion spread across my senses. Now that my brain is being bashed by their argument, the effect grows worse. My stomach feels sick, like I drank sour milk. Wiping my hand across the back of my neck, I find it covered in a sheen of cold sweat. The red and gold abstract pattern on the carpet starts to twist and curl together, looks like it's reaching for my boots.
Honestly, I'm kind of glad she interrupted. I don't know if I could've kept going without hurling.
A peculiar sensation overtakes me, a feeling of vertigo mixed with dread. My heart starts to hammer. I feel like someone has me by the neck, holding me over a cliff with jagged rocks at the bottom. Gnawing my lip, I try to get to my feet but flop back down into the beanbag. After a second push, I end up on my hands and knees, then use the wall to struggle to my feet. I lean against the wall, rest my cheek on the cold surface, and close my eyes.
The feeling of someone tapping me on the shoulder. I turn around, but no one's there, just the attic window. I turn back to the others, watch them argue.
Seconds later I feel the tapping on my shoulder again, this time almost painful, like the finger has a claw. The wound on my arm begins to throb. My eyes lock with the attic window, and a familiar compulsion to approach it seizes control over my legs.
The hair on my nape stands.
"Do you guys hear that?" I ask, but my question is drowned by their conversation.
As I begin trudging toward the attic window, my hand on the wall to keep me from collapsing, Ashley asks me where I'm going and if I'm okay. I barely hear her words, as if they have to travel through a puddle of muck before they reach my ears. I try to reply, move my tongue to respond, but my lips won't part. I turn to look at her, and the room swims. My eyes roll. I feel like I'm underwater, the gloom of the ocean making it impossible for me to tell which way is up, the current threatening to sweep me further away from the shore.
Stop struggling, Eric. Don't fight it. Just go with it.
I feel like I'm thirteen again, drawn to the attic window and gazing out at a tree-line in the distance. This time there's no green light, but the thumping persists, so loud I feel it in my brain. It originates from my forearm, pulses of agony coursing through my body. At first it burns, but then turns into a tingling of pins-and-needles centered in my arm. Rubbing it, I feel something wet, but I can't stop staring out the window to see what it is. Considering the sticky texture, I'm guessing it's blood seeping through the bandages.
"Do you guys hear that?" I ask, this time louder.
I hear their arguing halt when Ashley shushes them. I can't move my neck, so in my head I picture their aghast expressions. Wide eyes. Darkened brows. That chill of paranoia enhanced by marijuana. Ashley grabbing Sam's arm, clinging to him like the end of the world is outside their window. (Which it very well might be.) And then I imagine Owl Girl with a curled lip, incredulous expression wrinkling the corners of her eyes.
"What, bro?" Sam says.
"Do you guys hear that?" I ask for the third time.
The trees begin to sway. I hear hushed whispers behind me, Baggy Pants and Jersey speaking rapid-fire to each other under their breaths.
"I can hear it, man, I can hear it!" Jersey says.
Baggy Pants gasps. "What the fuck is it?"
"A thumping, dude. Like a pulse or something, I think," says Jersey. "Just like what Eric was talking about in his story."
"No way, man, no way. Are you fucking serious?" Baggy Pants says.
"Maybe it's just the pot," Jersey says.
"Yeah, man," Baggy Pants says. "That's it. Just the pot, man."
"Calm the fuck down, assholes," Owl Girl says. "You're acting like a couple of retards. I don't hear anything."
I wish it was just the pot.
He's coming, Eric.
But from the way my gut twists, I know it's not.
He's here, Eric.
It can't be just the pot.
And he's hungry, Eric.
Oh, God. I'm fucked now, aren't I?
You should've left when you had the chance, Nerd.
There's someone standing at the edge of the yard right outside the trees. Now that I'm directly in front of the window, I can see him. He's a black blot against a background of shadows. He's evil incarnate, bringing with him a thousand horrors birthed straight from hell. Although an entire lawn spreads between us, I can still see his glowing eyes. His glowing yellow eyes dipped in honeyed madness.
The moment his chin tilts up and he looks at me, everything makes sense—all the strange shit I've seen throughout my life, and all the voices inside my head.
It's all because of him.
Ding ding ding! Looks like we have a winner! Why don't we show Eric what he's won?