ModeratorMay 24, 2021 at 10:23 am
The pain is unrelenting. A burning that engulfs my senses. Is it the agony that paralyzes me? Am I in shock?
No. I couldn’t have these thoughts. I wouldn’t be able to. Has my training kicked in? Am I able to analyze what’s happening to me?
God, the pain is excruciating. The training never prepared me for this. Am I dying? I’m not dying. I wouldn’t be standing.
But I can’t move. Everything around me has stopped. Or has it? I can’t move my eyes. Can’t blink. Nothing in my peripheral is moving. My gun is in my hand. I’m aiming forward, but I can’t move it. Help me. What’s wrong with me?
A scream. Jesus, it’s a horrific shrill. Violent. Completely caught me off guard, scared the remaining life out of me. But I can’t even flinch. I can’t find cover. I want to hide.
Someone grunted. It’s fading now, no, not fading… dying. A gurgling end. I’ve heard men make the same retching sound as they choke on their own blood. The final fight for breath is unmistakable.
There! Across the room. A heaping mass just crashed to the ground. Knocked over a pole. A sign? A construction sign. “Mythos…?”
Wait. What fell? Is that a body? It dropped something, but I can’t… it’s like a pipe… decorated with a silver star! Oh God, no. The star rests on the stock of a Remington model 870. I know that gun. Nicholas. My comrade. My brother. What happened? Why are you lifeless on the ground?
Why can’t I run to you? Why can’t I help you? I’m completely frozen in time. A witness to the world around me but not a participant.
I have to try, try to … remember. Remember. What in Hell is going on?
What is that?
What’s that sound?!
Something’s moving. Sliding across the floor, no, slithering. Like a snake. The lumbering pace… it’s heavy. And now another sound. This sound is subtle, like a hollow pipe venting air. But the air is moving, going in and out of the pipe… the pipe is breathing.
But, are there more?
Hold my breath. Listen.
Yes. It’s minute, but it sounds like there are many. I have to run. Get to Nicholas and… the sign! “Mythos” Yes!
Now I remember…
We’re at the Mythos Inn. They were having renovations, something about getting this ancient dump up to par with the fancy hotels in the area. My team was called in when all Hell broke loose and someone started killing indiscriminately. Some-thing. Whatever it is, it’s down here in the basement. And we’re trapped down here with it. It won’t let us go. And most of my team is now dead.
Gunfire! Erupting in fully-automatic bursts.
Get it! Kill it!
That piercing shrill again. Something small just flew across the room, splattered against the wall. Another weight just crumpled to the ground but I can’t see it. It’s to my right. I just-
Sweat is dripping in my eye. I still can’t blink. More burning, on top of the fire racing through my nerves.
I hear it again. The slithering. The heavy creeping is getting closer. I can hear the pipes again. Their breathing intensifies as they get closer. My own breathing is hastening. It’s the only thing I can do. I must control it! Pretend I’m not not here…
It’s behind me. The convoluted pipes breathe on my neck. Tens of them.
Something’s touching my arm. It’s cold. Rough but damp. I can’t see it clearly, but it’s getting sharper. It’s, oh no, it’s sliding up my arm! I can feel it ripping open my skin on its slow, agonizing path up my sleeve. My arm is draining onto the floor. I can hear the droplets turn into a steady stream.
Now something’s on my leg. It’s wrapping itself around my ankle. Climbing my thigh. It’s squeezing. I can feel the pulse in my leg is being tested.
Wet sandpaper is brushing up my neck. A heavy pant tickles the front of my ear while the slightest of nips pinch the back. I feel an uncontrollable bile rise up in my mouth. This is Hell.
Steps! Coming down the stairs. No! Don’t come down here! Run! Wait. They aren’t stepping. They’re rolling. I see it ahead, a metal ball rolling down the staircase.
The pressure on my arm and leg are gone. The lumbering mass is ignoring me! It’s charging toward the stairs, but I can barely make it out in the shadows.
A flash at the bottom of the stairs. A deafening pop. Through the blinding fire, the serpentine body of my tormentor is finally clear. But, that makes no sense. It has no legs. It’s just a thick tail drawn by a massive naked body. Grotesque and covered in scales, it’s stumbling! It’s confused! Mammoth arms are flailing. It’s hair stands, moving on it’s own, like individual fingers lashing out at the bright light.
It’s… defending itself? From what? The ringing in my ears is subsiding. Gunfire! Thank God! Holes are erupting throughout the creature’s body! They got it! I’m saved!
Positive ID. Serpentes Gorgonea, ladies and gents. First catalogued sighting in over a thousand years. Dammit. I would’ve loved to have it in my lab. You know, with a pulse.
Rules of engagement dictated putting it down.
Jesus. These bodies are everywhere.
Maybe I can clone it.
I know right! Talk about needing a cleanup on aisle fu-
Stow it. I think this one’s alive.
I am! Help me.
Damn. Dude’s seen better days.
Let me get a look.
Is he breathing?
Yes… But other than that, he’s unresponsive. Brachial artery is nicked, he’s lost a lot of blood. He doesn’t have long.
Help me. Please.
Son of a- put him down and get a team in here for cleanup.
What? No, I’m still here! Get that gun out of my face!
Stop! Save m-
ModeratorMay 27, 2021 at 10:14 pm
I really like the immediacy of this story. The present tense works well, and I think you are at your strongest when you zoom in on the small details, the breath on the neck, etc.
I found the shift in the last third to be a bit jarring. I wonder what would happen if you interspersed those italicized interjections more evenly throughout the story (but perhaps still with greater frequency toward the end).
Also, this is a second draft/revision thing for sure (something that I wouldn’t expect in a first draft), but I think you have a great opportunity to defamiliarize the opening, instead of “The pain is unrelenting” try to describe that pain with specific details or an unusual figure. Show vs tell.
Overall though, great first draft. I’m excited to see how this develops going forward.