Stairwell of Death
December 31, 2012
This Serial Began on 9/13/12
Dark and weeping tendrils dripped down along the fire escape stairwell. Jack paused for a moment, assuming they would soon be reaching out for him like the tentacles of some lovecraftain beast. When they failed to assault him, Jack leaned in for an examination. They appeared closer to corrupted veins than anything else. Grey fluid pumped through these sick arteries. The foul, viscous substance headed downward into the impenetrable darkness below.
“Looks like I have another reason to go up,” he mumbled to himself. He still expected an attack, but not came. Moanings and dark horrid shadows continued to confront him. At times, he was tempted to close his eyes as apparition after apparition haunted him. Dark ghosts melted into visions of dying men and women. Children leapt at him screaming. He would flinch, but instinct took over and every time he lashed out the vision retreated, before decaying into an image of festering death and rot.
“I almost can’t blame these guys for trying,” Jack said through clenched teeth, as he swung his morning star through a blood covered specter that blocked the staircase with its crucified body. “Any normal person would have run out of here long ago. I guess I’m not that smart.”
Looking over, he could still make out a large number four painted on the door to his right. “Half way there.”
And that was when he heard a banging coming from the basement below. Something rattled loudly and dozens of metal objects were spilled over a stairway. These noises sounded different that the ghostly moans that had plagued him. He clenched his weapon tighter when he realized the apparitions had faded. Only the muted pulsing of the sickly fluids could be heard.
Then there was a flap.
Jack started moving.
More flapping, like slabs of wet meat were being flung at the stairs. They were drawing closer—coming up the stairs after him. Seconds later, they began to move at impossible speeds.
Jack paused at floor five to look down and all he could see was a streaking grey blur.
He started to run.
He had made it past the sixth floor when something blocked the corridor ahead of him. It looked like a giant, bloated sack of flesh. Easily a dozen feet in diameter, it blocked his passage only yards short of his goal.
Turning, he freed his sledge hammered from where it was slung on his back. Setting his morning-star against the wall, he clutched his hammer with both hands and braced himself. He didn’t wait long.
The frenzied flapping drew near and then slowed. Pale arms reached over the lip of the staircase. They wobbled and blurred like reality itself became distorted by their presence.
He waited and then had to bite his lip to keep from crying out when an elongated neck topped by a half rotted head came into view. More skull than man, this obviously dead thing, leered at him as it moved onto the landing. It opened it mouth and let loose an eerie moaning that sounded worse than a graveyard full of sinners tumbling into Hell.
Jack’s answer was to heave his sledgehammer into the thing’s face.
It might not have expected such a sudden attack for it failed to block to blow and the lower part of its face shattered in an explosion of brittle teeth. With a manic cry, it charged him. Fingers extended, like claws, as it rushed forward.
Jack went to grab his morning star, but the fat sack of flesh burst and a wave of puss hit him like the waters from a released dam. Both he and his weapons were pushed toward the stair. The fiend levitated over the spray and clawed at his face as the liquid filth pushed him under the Xemmoni. Jack blocked one attack, but the other ran long gauges across his right cheek.
He cried out, but quickly had worse problems at the wave sent him down the flight of stairs. His body thrashed and fought back as laughter echoed down from above. The laughter was short lived however, for as Jack whipped around another landing, he heard the undead thing utter another insane scream as it floated toward him.
“Screw this,” Jack yelled and his foot shot out into the doorjamb. The grey liquid had thinned and he was able to stop before the next flight of stairs. He struggled to right himself as the glowing thing floated closer. “One can never have too many weapons,” he growled as he pulled a hand-axe out of his jacket. His left hand drew out his dagger of Yig and then it was on.
It came at him, clawing and rending, but Jack did some rending of his own. He tried to tuck in his head and feed the floating Xemmoni his leathered shoulders. This along with his protection from Yig kept him from being racked apart instantly.
Jack plunged his dagger into the center of the things chest. “That should keep you in place for a second!” Then Jack hacked at the thing’s right arm. It took three blows, but soon the appendage fell into the glistening muck below. The thing began to fight and kick, but Jack maintained his grip. He was halfway through the thing’s other arm, when a blow from a cold foot sent his hand-axe toppling over the rail and down into the darkness.
Moments later, the skullish face tried to latch onto Jack’s skull, with the remains of its shattered teeth.
“Oh, I don’t think so!” Jack yelled, as he grabbed the thing by the neck with his free hand and then with a mighty push slammed the undead head-first into the cement wall. The skull broke into a hundred pieces that were quickly swallowed by the slime below. Jack wasted no time tossing the remains of the body over the stairwell.
He spend a minute looking for his missing weapons, but when more sounds echoed up from below, he gave up the search. Keeping his war dagger in one hand and he drew a throwing knife and approached the area that held the bloated lump of flesh.
Its emptied form hung loosely and it was a simple matter from him to cut through the thin layers of half-decayed flesh. He reached the eighth floor, his mother’s floor. “You creeps better pray to your dark gods that nothing has happened to her,” he whispered under his breath and then opened the door.
To be continued next Monday