Friday, September 2, 2016

Under Starry Skies Above

July 29, 2016

"Wrong," said Sheila. She stared at the sky. No big dipper, no Orion, and the moon, which earlier had been casting a silvery light on the crusty snow, was nowhere to be seen. Instead, an oil-slick colored nebula dominated the night sky.

Sheila had never experienced her hackles going up - she'd read the phrase, seen it happen to her dog when there was a possum on the porch one night - but the sensation of the hairs on her head lifting simultaneously as she looked at the sky was almost as terrifying what she was seeing.

"Jesus Christ, she turned to go back into the house, her feet crunching on the rime of ice. All of the lights were out, the door itself was gone, leaving a gaping hole into the dark interior. Everything about the house looked wrong somehow. Flat, like a movie prop.

She took some shaky steps onto the porch and peered into the darkened building. It was empty.

"Phil? Dawn?" she called, and her voice hardly more than a whisper, but it seemed to ripple and echo off the walls. She groped for the light switch, and found nothing. Just a smooth pale surface. It felt hard and slick, like the surface of a tooth.

A chittering sound could be heard deeper in the strange building. Something with claws walking on the strange surface. Clickety-click. Clickety-clickety-clak. Click. Click.

"Oh, Jesus. Oh, God. Oh, Jesus," she whispered and turned to leave. Even the sky with it's stars that weren't her's was better than staying with whatever was waiting for her in this house that wasn't a house. Panic darkened her peripheral vision, and adrenaline pumped through her veins - the door was gone.

"No, no, no," moaned Sheila.

Clackety-clackety-click-click. Clickety-clackety-click. So much closer now.

A hallway that would have been the wrong shape to fit into the house stretched out to her left and she began to run. Run without plan or thought into the grim darkness that didn't hold the clicking noise, her heart hammering in her chest and blood pounding in her ears.

The darkness was so complete, she slammed full-force into a wall. Her nose smashed, her lips shredded, and broken teeth clattered from her mouth made their own mocking clicking sound on the floor. All of her breath had whooshed out of her lungs, and bursts of light sparked and exploded inside her head. Sheila would have fallen, but walls were suddenly tight about her. Coffin-size. She could hardly turn this way or that. She breathed in to scream and choked on her own blood, causing her to spasm with coughing.

Her fear was such that no words could form. She just began to scream and claw at the walls. She pounded, as much as she was able. Bruising her hands. Small cracks formed in the walls and in the bones of her hands. She didn't stop. Broken hands were nothing in the grip mad fear. The cracks in the wall spidered out, and she was able to make a hole.

Outside, the sky - horrible and alien still loomed. A hysterical thought wormed its way into her panicked mind: Just a little more.

She slammed her fists, and began to throw her whole body into making the hole bigger. She was able to get her arms out, cutting gashes along her arms and torso as she hauled her self out of the too-small hole.

Sheila landed on the icy ground, bleeding. She looked at what had been the house. It was like looking at a broken monitor screen. Reality fractured.

She laughed. And laughed. The stars looked on with no pity.

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