By Insanity Lord
Chapter 3 – We all fall down!She sat in the corner, rocking back and forth.
"Ring around the rosy, a pocket full of posies…ashes! Ashes! We all fall down!"
The room was small. Just four walls, a door, a bed, a small table, and a large window made from acrylic glass to prevent her from breaking through the window to the world outside. But she never looks outside…never glances at the window. She never does anything…
She only sat in the corner, rocking back and forth, singing nursery rhymes.
A child's giggle, innocent, sweet…but it scared her. It scared her more than anything. Death would have been a blessing if it meant escaping the terror of that sound and the meaning behind it.
"Who are you?"
The child stops dancing, stops singing, stops giggling as the cat enters the hallway. She stares at the cat for a long moment. It sits there, staring back at her, its odd, silver eyes staring at her.
The child backs away, whimpering. The cat steps forward.
"This ends now."
The child screams, shadows dancing around her, winged monsters forming as they shoot out to try and strike down this cat that frightens her so. The cat sits there, passive as it watches the monsters draw close.
The cat begins to glow with a bright silver light. The light pierces the shadows, destroying them. The child screams again as the light pierces her body.
There is one final, heart-stopping scream as the child is destroyed by the light…
Doctor McKarmac was once again sitting with Rosie. She had calmed down a great deal since their last session, and was once again sitting in her corner. As always, the young woman did not seem to acknowledge her presence. Rocking back and forth, singing…
Then Rosie stopped singing, staring past the doctor, out into the hallway.
McKarmac looked back, not seeing the silver cat sitting there, staring at Rosie. Awaken.
McKarmac checked her watch and stood up. The session was over. "Goodbye Rosie," she said, turning and walking out. Rosie, as always, didn't say anything. She watched the cat enter the room, walking up to her. It's strange silver eyes stared into her own.
And she did. Slowly, the fear that had enveloped her mind faded. With no fear in her mind, she was able to, for the first time in two years, take note of where she was.
Shadow Creek cannot harm you now.
She stared at the cat, for she knew that it was somehow talking to her. "Weird ass cat," she muttered, standing. "So…what? I'm in a mental institution?"
The cat stared at her. "…I'll take that as a yes."
She walked over to the window, tapping it. "Acrylic glass. This isn't going to break easily."
Wait. The time will come soon for you to leave.
Rosie turned to the cat, finding it gone. Shrugging, she sat down in her corner, legs drawn up to her chest, humming to herself.
Ceria tossed and turned in bed, finally sitting up and glaring at the far wall. "Damn it, I can't sleep!" she said. "3 AM…."
She sighed and got out of bed. Maybe some tea will help me sleep, she thought, heading to the small kitchen that had come with the dorm. Still…that dream I had that's keeping me awake…what was it? That weird forest…
She sighed again. Damn that McKarmac…that stupid 'report' she gave me has gotten me thinking about Shadow Creek. It's not even a real place, damn it!
She filled the kettle and put it on to boil, staring at a tiled wall and idly noticed that one of the tiles was cracked. "Going to have to get that fixed," she muttered.
As the kettle began to boil, steam rising out of the spout, a shadow passed by the window, unnoticed. In the night, an owl hooted and a dog began to bark somewhere in the distance. Ceria took out a mug, a teabag, the sugar, a spoon, and a bottle of milk as the kettle stopped boiling. She put the teabag and two spoons of sugar into the cup and poured the water into it. She was about to pour the milk in and start stirring when she noticed something that should have been impossible.
The water was ice cold but there was steam rising off of it. Curious about this event that broke the laws of physics, she put her spoon into the steam, blinking when it was frozen solid.
"This is impossible," she muttered. "Absolutely impossible. Steam can't rise off of ice unless heat is applied and heat hasn't been applied…"
At least, that's how she thought it worked. Science had never been her strong point.
Before she could think more on the subject, she heard the dorm room door opening. Cynthia's finally back. Geez, did she spend the night at another club? I enjoy going out to clubs too but she's overdoing it. We're here to learn not party.
She dumped the frozen beverage – mug and all – in the sink and turned to face her roommate as she walked in. "Hey, Cyn—"
She froze at what she saw. It clearly was not Cynthia. It wasn't even human…except in shape and even then it was vague. Its skin was black. Not African American black, not charcoal black…but as black as one would expect a black hole to be. It had only the vaguest resemblance to the female form, though the breasts and hips were no more than outlines.
The hair, as black as the rest of the creature, went down to the floor, and appeared to be bleeding…
Well that's pleasant, Ceria thought, backing away towards the knife draw. The rest of the…thing…wasn't pleasant either. In fact it was downright sickening.
It looked like something was squirming beneath the skin, writhing. The creature took a step forward, and Ceria noticed that ice formed on the ground with each step the monster took. It wasn't that it was a scary monster, not at all…it was just kinda creepy.
Since the thing had no eyes, Ceria was certain it couldn't see her. She opened the draw and pulled out a knife, thankful that Cynthia had the habit of sharpening them every week whether they needed it or not.
The creature took another step. And another. Ceria lifted the knife from the drawer…
The eyeless monster immediately stopped and focused its attention on her. Ceria froze in place as the flesh on its chest seemed to rip, black and red blood spilling forth from the tear, a single, black eye opening and staring at her.
Ceria paled. Oh god, oh god, oh god…what is that thing!?
The creature leaped forward, arms outstretched, ready to rip her to pieces.
Rosie was awake, standing at the window and staring out at the night. The silver cat (she had named it 'Silvo') had visited her again several times, and the dark spirits that had haunted her for so long were finally gone. Banished by the silver light that the cat emitted.
The orderlies had already made their rounds, so she knew she wasn't in danger of being discovered sane. Not yet, anyway. She looked down as Silvo appeared next to her. "Hey there," she said with a smile, kneeling down and stroking him. "I owe you a lot, you know that?"
The cat, despite not really being a cat, purred as she stroked him. Picking him up, Rosie stood up…
…and found herself staring into the face of a monster. Well, she would be staring into its face if the thing HAD a face to look into. The 'face' was featureless, but the large eye in the chest was staring right at her…
"Oh come on!" she said. "I'm finally sane and Shadow Creek comes AFTER me?!"
"Do not worry," Silvo said. "Shadow Creek cannot harm you."
"That won't stop them from trying," Rosie muttered, looking around the room. "Yep. Definitely trying to get me again."
As she watched, several things in the room changed as the power of Shadow Creek manifested around her. The bed sank into the ground as hands covered in familiar pulsating flesh reached out of the ground and pulled it down. The same pulsating flesh soon covered the walls, floor, and ceiling.
"Ugh…the Screamers are back," she muttered. "That's just…ew."
'Screamers' were what Rosie had named the faces that appeared just beneath the pulsating flesh covering the walls. They tended to scream if you got too close, and bled if you managed to cut them, just like the flesh itself.
She looked at the door, not at all surprised to find it gone. In this twisted world, if Shadow Creek wanted you to go somewhere…it made you go. With a shrug, she walked out of the room and back into the world that had driven her mad. Back into Shadow Creek.
Ceria, having nowhere else to go, drove the knife into the monster's throat. It staggered back, its hands going to the handle of the weapon, gripping it momentarily before it simply fell over, twitching as its one eye closed in death. Ceria watched in morbid curiosity as it simply…melted into the ground. The knife remained behind, so she picked it up.
"What the heck was that thing?" she asked, walking out of the kitchen…and freezing. As she watched, the entire room changed. Pulsating skin grew from the ground, covering everything in the room. The walls, floor, and ceiling were covered in it. Faces appeared beneath the flesh on the walls. Approaching one, Ceria jumped back in fright as the face screamed.
It wasn't an ordinary scream. It was the kind of scream that made the blood turn to ice. It didn't stop until Ceria backed away a good three feet, her heart racing, her face pale. What is happening here?
A sound from behind her made the girl turn, knife raised. "What…?"
Standing behind her was a little girl in a white dress. She was no more than seven years old, with long beautiful blond hair and a smile on her face that could have been considered beautiful if it weren't for the bleeding cracks in her flesh around her mouth. She had her eyes closed, but soon she opened them…
They were empty. Bloody sockets stared at her, and Ceria had the distinct feeling that, despite the lack of eyes, this creepy girl was staring right at her. Leaning down, she picked up the report on Shadow Creek and walked up to Ceria, the bloody smile on her face as she handed her the report.
Ceria stared at the girl as her sightless eyes stared at her. The child stepped back, giggling and dancing in a circle.
"Ring around the Rosie, a pocket full of posies…ashes! Ashes! We all fall down…" she sang in a childlike voice. It echoed in the room as Ceria stared at the papers in her hand. Blood washed over the papers, covering the words only for new words to form, stark white against the crimson liquid…
Welcome to Shadow Creek.
The child faded from view, her giggle echoing in the room.
To Be Continued
Author's Notes: Chapter three of Waking Nightmare. Was it a good one? Comments please!