Carnival of Blood Part V
July 8, 2013
Jack had reached the second floor of the Haunted Funhouse and for the present nothing threatened him. He took a moment to check on his wounds, focused his Ki, and used a small slice of his mystical skills to heal the worst ones. He still felt fresh and ready—although the fact remained that he was just one man facing a Xemmoni infested carnival that had most likely claimed the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of victims over the years.
The room had four exits and he picked the one he sensed went west.
He wondered how many people had perished that had chosen west. Attempting to do what hundreds had died trying to accomplish hadn’t slowed him down before, so after drawing a deep breath, he pressed on into the billowing darkness.
And dark it was. A muffling blackness surrounded him. Not only did it seem to absorb light, but even sound. Soon he couldn’t even hear the sounds of his boots connecting with the floor. It was like he floated in space, groundless. An uncertainty enveloped him, like he hung suspended in space with no up or down, no direction spelled safety.
Just to assure himself that he hadn’t lost his mind, Jack called out. Nothing. He tried to speak louder. The silence remained. It was tempting to scream, but he didn’t want to give them the satisfaction.
He tried to move, but again it was like he floated in air and was unable to make contact with any surface.
Is this what being dead is like?
Am I dead?
He tiffed, angry with himself. I need to concentrate. He flexed his fingers. He could still feel the knife in his right hand. He punched his own chest with his left. There was no sound, but is still hurt. He still existed. His body existed, even if they tried to make it seem otherwise.
He slashed the air before him, but made no contact with any substance. He tried to kick below him, but all that did was cause his body to sway in a manner that churned his stomach. He growled, but of course the noise remained unheard.
Then something was heard. A clicking sound and it came from behind him. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up like a cold breeze had hit them. Something moved in the darkness. It came for him from behind and he was helpless.
Grinding his teeth, he figured, I can’t panic. That’s what these bastards want me to do.
He stabbed upward with the dagger and felt resistance at the very end of his thrust. The clicking got agitated and hurried toward him. It grew louder, like dozens of long nails being dropped on glass.
He stabbed upward with all his strength. This time the dagger embedded into the ceiling and he grabbed hold of the handle with both hands. Whatever it was rushed at him, but he used his grip on the dagger to ground him and kicked back with both his feet. He cried out in pain, although his anguish remained silent.
He might as well have kicked a cactus with six inch thorns for his feet became pincushioned with spikes even through his boots. However, he might have knocked the thing over for an explosion of scratched and scrapings were heard. Lucky for him, the spikes tore free and didn’t remain in the soles of his feet.
Jack swung forward and then swung back again. Behind him the creature sounded like it had regained its footing. Jack swung forward again, but this time let go of the dagger. For a moment, he swung weightless and he wondered if the gravity well would draw him back in. Instead he was suddenly falling. The unexpected impact with the floor drove the air from his lungs.
His head turned and he took in his foe. It was some sort of mangled cross between a bear and a porcupine, with perhaps a dose of zombie thrown in. It stank as bad as it looked and he wondered why he couldn’t smell it before.
His primary weapon remained impaled in the ceiling, so he grabbed his hand axe out of his leather jacket just as the thing charged him. Jack dove to the side—careful to avoid the churning silent darkness. The thing was awkward at best and missed him. The Stalwart gained his footing before the thorned monstrosity charged him again.
Figuring he wanted the beast no where near him, Jack hurled his hand axe at its face. The thorns slowed the impact, but he did draw blood on the creature’s cheek. It remained silent, but looked at him with dark eyes that blazed with hatred.
Circling the darkness, Jack headed back the way he had come. The walking cactus pursued him, but slowly. Jack wondered if somehow its mass had been increased so it could move through that gravity well, but such matters of physics remained far beyond his education.
Looking behind him, he saw that the manhole cover he had just passed through had stayed closed, but he hurried into the room and searched for a switch. The buttons on the floor that had closed the passage, did nothing to open it and Jack started to feel dread as the lumbering thing drew near.
Only then did Jack notice some toggles on the wall. “This had better work.” He said out loud and suddenly the thing stopped and began to wail. “What’s the matter? You don’t like noise.”
A keening low pitched cry answered him.
“Well screw you then!” He yelled.
The beast fell to his knees.
“So how many people have you killed and tortured, you ugly freak?”
It wailed louder.
Jack drew two throwing knives out of his jacket and ran them over the metal walls while screaming. “DID YOU HURT THEM THIS MUCH OR MORE?”
The beast toppled over and even though Jack knew the horror had murdered countless innocents, its pitiful state left him feeling sick. He sung his favorite DOA song at the top of his lungs as he drew near the cowering creature. In what he figured was an act of kindness, he drew his knife across the thing’s throat.
“One more down,” he grumbled, as he returned to the room of silence. He had hoped the darkness might have been dispelled, but he wasn’t that lucky. His knife would have to remain there. Retrieving it could be too risky. His hand axe was recovered and rested in his hand as he continued deeper into the Haunted Funhouse.
To be continued next Monday