What would you do if faced with a decision that would leave you dead either way – one by your hand and the other by someone else’s? You may think it a fairly easy choice to make, after all the outcome is the same. But if you really think about it, really picture yourself facing that choice, what would you do?
To do it to yourself would be quick and easy (depending on your methodology), but if I were to put a gun in your hand (whilst, obviously, pointing one at you) and told you to shoot yourself in the head – quick death- would you be strong enough? You may decide not to and to leave it to me to kill you, but would I make it quick? I think not.
You see, dear reader, I would take my time over it; make you suffer; maybe even let you bleed out from the wounds I’d inflict. It would depend on what mood I was in and how you responded.
So, going back to my original scenario, I think I should rephrase it. I think it would be relatively easy to decide what to do, but extremely hard to actually do it……unless, of course, the option was represented to you part way through my torturing of you. Then I think you wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
With this is mind, let’s return to the dungeon and, more specifically, to door number four, which you are currently sitting staring at. You are still massaging your neck, wondering why the wound inflicted by Antony Cardover has healed. Did I really help you? Does that mean I’ll always help you? That you can brazenly throw open all the doors, knowing you will not be harmed? Well that, dear reader, is up to you, but I would point you back to the discussion at the start of this blog before you make that decision.
You stand up and roll your shoulders back. You’ve survived one encounter with a deadly adversary. You feel equipped to survive another. You stand before the next door. It looks different from the rest; less solid. You look more closely and see holes where the wood has rotted through – you think; you hope. Or could it have been smashed? A tremor travels around your body, but you ignore it and open the door.
The room before you is empty, the floorboards scarce, the ceiling just bones. A window is to your left; the panes of glass broken and jagged. Through it you can see a star studded sky; a full moon; a wolf moon. A moan comes from the right and your heart lurches. You lean into the room and see a young woman slumped against the wall, balanced precariously on the barely present floorboards. She moans again and opens her eyes to look at you.
‘Help me,’ she says before her eyes close again. You react. You don’t think. You step through the doorway. You realise what you have done and turn to retreat. There is nowhere to go. The door is gone. You’ve stepped into the scene. You are part of the story. You remember a film, an old film – Waxwork. Fear grips you and your skin turns cold and clammy.
‘Help me, please,’ she whispers and you turn round to look at her. Her face, in the moonlight shining through the skeleton above, is pale; her eyes sunken. Dirt and blood have formed streaks down her hollow cheeks. She reaches a blood soaked hand out to you and you go to her. You can’t stop yourself. She needs help. You crouch down, straddling on two beams, the void below sure to kill you, if you let it. You look down at her other hand which holds a blood soaked wad of material against her abdomen. You reach out and gently pull the pad away so you can take a look. Your gag reflex kicks in and you turn and vomit into the void. You press the fabric back and pull her other hand to it, applying more pressure to try and keep her intestines inside. You cannot help.
‘Who did this?’ you say between gritted teeth, as you try not to be sick again. She doesn’t say anything, just looks at you and you swear her face looks fuller and more alive than a few minutes ago.
A deep guttural howl emanates from outside and you feel hollowness in the pit of your stomach as you realise the scene you are in.
‘They did,’ she says, her voice much stronger, as more howls join the first.
You walk the tightrope as you cross a beam to the window and look outside. Down below, just visible at the edge of the woods, you see movement. As you watch, they emerge one at a time, until eight large wolves stand looking at the house. One of them looks up towards the window and you draw back, your foot kicking something and sending it crashing to the floor.
You squeeze your eyes shut tight, your heart pounding. Did they hear? Slowly, you slide along the wall and peek out of the window. Eight sets of eyes stare back at you. Shit! You slither down the wall and reach your hand out to try and find what fell. Your fingers hit something and you look down to see a shotgun illuminated in the moonlight. You pick it up. You have no idea how to use it. You hear a noise and look up. The young woman is gone. You hear movement downstairs and you look out of the window to see a wolf padding out of the house towards the group. Now there are nine.
One of the pack steps forward to meet her and they both turn to look up at you. The leader then turns to the rest and nods. They all start forward towards the house; towards you.
You look at the gun. You look at the holes in the floor. You look at the vacant doorway across the room. You look back outside. They are gone.
A crash sounds downstairs, making you jump and you look down to see them all loping into the hallway below, heading for the stairs.
You brandish the gun in front of you – you don’t know what you are doing; you’ve never used a gun – bracing yourself. One by one they enter the room and fan out; the barely covered floor no hindrance. You swing the gun left to right. They watch you. The leader is the last to enter and it walks to the centre of the room and fixes its glowing eyes on you.
It growls. The pack crouches. You fire.
A yelp confirms a hit and you turn and fire again, fuelled with confidence. You miss. They move forward. You panic and step back. Your foot finds only empty space and you fall backwards. The gun drops to the floor and bounces through the beams, crashing to the level below.
You feel your bowels release. You smell ammonia as warmth spreads down your thighs. Your breathing is ragged. You whimper as tears fill your eyes. Your fear is palpable.
The leader sniffs the air and then launches itself towards you. You scream; screwing your eyes shut tight; curling into the foetal position to protect yourself. Yet, you know, that nothing can protect you from this.
You wait for the impact. You wait for the pain as teeth and claws tear into your flesh. You wait, but nothing happens.
You feel the cold seeping through your clothing into your back. You open your eyes. You are in the corridor of the dungeon; the now solid door closed in front of you. You straighten yourself up and look around. You are alone. You touch your jeans. They are dry. You look to your right. Another door awaits you.
Well, I couldn’t kill you off could I, dear reader? Not just yet, anyway. For your journey has barely begun.
May fear protect you when the darkness comes.
Til next time.