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Something Wicked



 
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Yule

The star-studded night draped low over the marshlands, layering shadows within deeper shades. A heavy silence hung like dewdrops on every leaf and blade of grass, creating a stillness so complete even the wind did not sigh through the trees. Thick, gray mist rose to drift and roll through the quiet, carrying with it the sense of foreboding and winter frost to taint the wee hours of the late-August morning.



For a moment, all the world seemed to hold its breath. The cicadas stopped their chatter, the crickets ceased their creaking song, the night birds broke short their lilting lullaby, leaving behind only the weight of waiting. And then that silence shattered, the creatures of the earth beginning to scream, as an incorporeal creature slipped through the marsh, out of the trees, and into the cobbled streets of a city, bringing the mist with it. It happened so quickly that the cold and frost it brought with it dissipated, melting away, as soon as it had appeared. But the insects and beasts knew with a certainty humans could not, that something wicked had come to their land.



The city streets were absent of night activity, a rare thing even this early in the morning. The spirit and fog followed the twisting alleyways and winding streets, searching them with a predatory intensity, until at last it came to a halt outside of a dark oak door. If there had been anyone watching they might believe that for a moment the form of a woman swayed in the mist before leaning forward and slipping through the door, vanishing.



She drifted up the staircase and down the hall to the left, passing the first and the second door until she came to the third, entering in the same manner she had the first door. She found herself in a threadbare apartment in need of repair. Empty bottles littered the low coffee table in the living room that held little else besides the beat up couch and some haphazardly placed cushions. The short hallway held two more doors, one a bathroom and the other – which the apparition slipped into – a bedroom.



A mattress with no boxspring sat on the floor against the two far walls, near the only window in the room. And upon it, tossing and turning in the mass of a ratty comforter, was a woman. The spirit moved closer and the woman whimpered, the sound thick with sleep and fear. Feather-light, the creature brushed her fingertips against the woman's forehead, and crawled into her nightmare.



The woman ran through the dense trees, her feet catching on roots, skin torn by bramble thorns, as she stumbled and staggered deeper. Still, she traveled on, pushing herself forward, searching for a way out until at last she came upon a small clearing with an inky black pool of water. And beside the water, sitting on the trunk of a felled tree, she saw someone wrapped in furs and feathers, masked and motionless as a statue.



“Who are you? What do you want?” She called, taking a step back towards the trees in preparation to run again.



The creature did not speak, but she could always hear the creaking as it turned its head to focus shadowed eyes on her. She took a second step back and, in the brief moment it took to blink, the being went from sitting across the clearing to standing mere inches from her face. Startled she fell back, scrambling towards the treeline, but her entire body stilled when the creature began to speak.



“I am here to help you.”



The woman shook her head, clutching the root of a tree behind her as if it might assist her somehow. “Help how? With what? Who are you?”



“Give me form.” It said, voice ringing hollow as the breeze. “Grant me substance and I will free you from the monotonous suffering you endure day after day. I will help you to forget your pains and sorrows, to move beyond them.”



“How?” There was something strange about the sound of the being's voice, a quality in it that caught hold of the woman. She shook her head, trying to clear the confusion she felt, but instead ended up tilting her head, angling her body, leaning closer to the creature.



“I can create within you a wondrous change, give to your body a power you have never known. I will grant you a fresh start, the opportunity to start over in life. But I have been so long without form that I cannot do it alone.”



“Why me? What are you? Some sort of guardian angel?” The woman's voice slurred slightly, took on a dreamy quality as her eyes dilated and became heavy-lidded.



“Perhaps you, as a mortal, would see me that way. I have heard your sorrow, your pain feeding the night, deep seated and biting. Not the loudest perhaps, but the best suited for my gift, I think.”



“What do I have to do?” She asked sleepily, noticing for the first time there was a pleasant buzzing on her skin, like the way the vibration of music feels.



“All you have to do is agree. I will take care of the rest.” The creature held out a pale hand with black smudged fingers, offering it to the woman. “Will you take my gift?”



She forgot to think, could not recall if she was within reality or dream. But it didn't matter. This being had come to save her from her sorrows. To save her from herself. And so the woman reached, closed her warm hand over those icy fingers, and then she began to scream.




The woman woke thrashing in her sheets. Throwing herself into a sitting position, as if her body was pulled by strings, her mouth opened in a silent wailing that could not reach beyond her throat. She choked, groping for her neck, clawing at the flesh frantic with the need to get it out. Get it out, get it out, get it out. But it was too late.



She fell back into the sheets, her body becoming still, her breathing ceased. An hour passed, two, and then at last she drew in a shuddering breath. When her eyes opened they gleamed golden in the darkness before fading to green. There was a tense moment in which she counted her heartbeats, making sure that the organ was working. And then she pushed the thick, dark hair from her face, tilted her head back, and laughed. The sound rose high, jingling like a rain of broken glass.



At last, at last she had found a body. It was not hers, not yet, but it would be soon enough. I will take this new name. She thought, rooting through the memories of the woman, even as that mind was fading. “Yule.” She rolled the name across her tongue and smiled. There was the smallest bit of fight left in the girl, pounding with increasingly weak fists against this invading mind.



”You lied! You lied!”



Yule smiled. “I did not lie. Perhaps you will find less sorrow in your next life. I have given you the opportunity to start over. Use it well.”



One last burst of outrage and fear, one last scream echoing, grating within her inner mind, and then silence. The woman was gone. And this creature was at long last returned to The Realm. Land of the dead and the dying, the murderous and mad, the deadly and the depraved. Only this place, where monsters were free to roam among men, could be called home for such a creature as she.
August 22, 2019 01:35 pm

Yule

 

Yule spent some time lying in the bed, counting the slow beating of her heart, reveling in the feeling of being alive. The ticking of her pulse, the sound of blood rushing through a body, the night's warm, heavy air pressing against her skin. It had been so long, too long, since she could feel the weight of her own body. It would take time for her to adjust, she knew, returning to the living was no small task.

So why had she returned? She hadn't been called back by family or friends. She was sure that the amount of time she had been gone meant that those people no longer existed. She wouldn't weep for them, not again. Life and death were ephemeral for Yule, a fleeting transition from one to the next and back again like changing trains. Though there could be nasty side effects included from time to time, and they varied with each death and resurrection, it had never been such a permanent thing. Just the opening and closing of doors, endless doors with no real destination. No rhyme or reason for it...

She derailed that train of thought as quickly as it started running and sat up, shaking off the sensation it left behind. Instead, she untangled her legs from the sheets and blankets so that she could get to her feet and decide what she would do from here. The camisole she was wearing had seen better days as had the, she assumed, once matching shorts that hung on the bones of her hips. They certainly weren't up to her usual standards but then there wasn't much she could do about that now.

It didn't take her long, as she rustled through the mostly empty dresser and equally desolate closet, to notice that pickings were slim. At the bottom of that closet she eventually found a pair of jeans that looked like they didn't have too many holes in them. Some of them even seemed to be intentional, curiously enough. The shirt took a bit longer. It came down to a black tank top with enough holes in it to expose bits of her midsection or a t-shirt that read in big black letters “I <3 NYC” complete with garish red heart.

Her lips curled up in a silent snarl and she wrinkled her nose at it. Snatching up the tank top instead, along with the jeans and some underthings from the sparse drawer that seemed to be in alright condition, she headed for the bathroom. Flipping on the florescent light – and watching it flicker a moment before finally giving off a steady glow – Yule set the clothes down on the counter and took a good look at herself.

The frown returned and she thought, perhaps, she should have spent some more time shopping around before choosing a body. She had been too impatient, she decided, looking at the malnourished woman in the mirror. Still, it didn't seem like this human would be missed over much at the very least. That would have to be enough for now.

Turning away from her reflection, Yule stepped towards the tiny shower stall in the corner and cranked on the water. Blessedly she wasn't going to have to kill anyone for a hot shower even if the water's pressure was well below sub-par. She shed the sweat soaked clothes from her body and stepped into the scalding spray. Yule scrubbed herself down, removing the stink of fear the woman had left behind, and then pressed her palms against the chipped tiles and submerged her head beneath the spray until it ran cold. Admittedly, it didn't take very long, but she couldn't remember the last time she'd had a shower in water that
was hot, so she wasn't complaining.

She remained there until goosebumps began bubble to the surface of her skin and then Yule turned the water off and slipped out. Roughly toweling her hair, she braided the dark locks in tight twists that hung down the middle of her back, and sincerely hoped it wouldn't take long before the body was her own. Yule finished drying off, despite the towels lack of absorbency, and tugged the clothes on before heading back into the bedroom.

In the closet hung a black leather bomber jacked, probably the only decent piece of clothing this poor girl owned, and tugged it on. As she was turning away from the door she happened to glance up at the upper shelf. A smile tugged at her lips, her hand reaching up to snag the black string of a masquerade mask from where it was tucked in the corner. Amusement flashed in her eyes as she turned it over in her hands and then brought it up to her eyes, tying it in place. A bit gaudy perhaps, but the quality was good and it suited her mentality well enough for the time being.

Snatching a cellphone with a broken screen and its charger from the nightstand beside the bed – along the empty wallet containing only an id – Yule strode out of the bedroom. In the entrance by the front door she tugged on a pair of black, wannabe combat boots. Then she glanced around to make there was nothing else of value to take with her (of course, there wasn't) and slipped out the front door, leaving it unlocked as it swung shut behind her.


Tucking her hands into her pockets, she moved along the hall, passed the first two doors, down the stairs, and out the door she had entered from. The moment she was outside, she stopped, tilted her head back and drew in a deep breath of congested, city air. It filled her lungs with heat and humidity, the scent of baked blacktop from the daylight hours mingling with rust and exhaust, rotting wood, and mice. And it was the most intoxicating thing she had smelled in ages. With a cold smile curling the corners of her mouth, Yule made her way onto the sidewalk and stepped into the sleeping city, a gnawing hunger within her.

August 22, 2019 09:51 pm

Yule


Twilight was creeping across the sky by the time Yule finally found something to eat. A shadowy spirit wandered through the graveyard a few yards away from the marble statue she lurked behind. It wasn't the best form of sustenance, but she hadn't managed to find anything else nearby so it would have to do. How quickly hunger can make one forget their own frailty.

Yule attempted to launch herself at the spawn at a speed this new body couldn't handle and for a moment her brain had trouble processing this information. After all she had done the same thing not a day before and it had been a piece of cake. But that, unfortunately for her, had been when she didn't have this sad excuse for a body weighing her down.

Losing her footing during that moment of confusion and internal exasperation, Yule staggered, throwing off her center of gravity, and pitched forward. She landed with a wicked sounding
THUMP and slid forward along the damp grass, the air knocked out of her lungs. Incomprehensible pain welled up within her as she tried to suck air into her constricting chest. The Shadow completely forgotten, Yule attempted to blink away the black spots blossoming within her field of vision.

It was at that moment, of course, that the Shadow – having seen her throw herself on the ground – descended upon her. The Spawn's clawed hands slashed across her abdomen, creating a new set of ragged tears on the cloth of her tank top. She thrashed beneath the creature, spitting curses in every language she knew, as she kicked and snarled. Flipping over, she pulled herself forward, clumps of dark grass coming away in her fists as she used it as leverage.

Just as the Shadow grabbed Yule's ankles, her fingertips caught hold of one of the stepping stones used to mark a path through the cemetery. She dug her fingers under the grass, feeling one of her nails split, but holding on as the creature yanked her backwards. The momentum and force of the pull allowed her to pull the stone with her and as she came up towards the Spawn, she swung with all her might. The stone connected, with what she presumed to be the beast's face, and the creature released its hold on her. The angle was all wrong as she fell, landing hard on her back, the stone landing on her torso. The Shadow snarled at her and then faded away, deeming her too troublesome a meal, she imagined.

Yule just lay there, dazed and aching, cursing this pathetic body. She wasn't certain how long she remained in that position, but it was long enough for the morning birds to herald in the sunrise. It was the sound of shoes scuffing on stone that made her open her eyes a fraction. An airy gasp sounded to her right and then a shadow was hovering over her, blocking out the light.


Deary, are you alright?” An elderly woman leaned down, dressed in black from head to toe despite the heat of the morning already beginning to rise. The lady leaned down, intending to help Yule up, no doubt. “Should I call someone? 911?” Her papery voice was a little frantic, a bit breathless.

Yule just smiled, blood coating her lips and teeth, and said softly, “Thank you, ma'am.” Before she shoved the stone forward, cracking the woman in the face.

An inhuman rage filled Yule, fueled by the hurt and the hunger warring over her body for precedence. That rage propelled her forward as the woman fell back, allowing Yule to land atop her. She snarled at the woman who was bleeding from the nose and mouth, and then caught a glimpse of something glinting in front of her. A cold, calculating smile twisted Yule's mouth as she reached forward, wrapped her hand around the end of a rusted fence post, and pulled.

It took her three tries, but on the third attempted the piece metal broke loose. Panting with exertion, blood and saliva dripping from her lips, Yule took the bar in both of her hands – raising it high above her head, and plunged it forward – sinking it into the woman's chest. The woman screamed, a short, piercing sound, and then she was silent. So, peacefully, silent. Yule used leverage and the metal post to crack the woman's ribs, prying her open like a freshly steamed lobster, and then she ate.


August 23, 2019 01:30 am
1
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