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1/1/1- The Beginning

Posted: April 2, 2011 in Read this story first!
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Blood. All around me. The scent is so thick I can feel it on my tongue, that unmistakable taste of iron. How can this be? I live alone, so it must be my own blood. Did I cut myself? Did I bite my lip in the night?

I open my eyes and it’s light out. I missed my alarm by at least two hours. I’ve slept at least a couple extra hours, yet I feel tired, heavy, like I haven’t slept much at all. I don’t want to get up. But the blood. I must know. I feel no pain, not like I’d expect with the strong scent I smell. I sit up and look around.

The blood. I can smell it, feel it all around me, like the afternoon humidity. With a quick check of my body and bed, I have eliminated that it’s my own blood I smell. I’m not sure if this is worse. I’m relieved that it’s not my own, but whose could it be? And why don’t I hear cries for help? Why didn’t I hear them in the night?

It’s difficult to tell what time it is. The power went out in the middle of the night, so my clock continuously blinks 5:26, yet I know it’s not that early. The sun is warm, bathing me in light through my window. Something else I notice is the stillness. There’s very little activity around, no car horns, no vehicles passing by, no dogs barking. It could just be that it’s later than normal and everyone has moved on to where they intend to be. But that can’t be it. Not everyone gets up and goes to work at the same time. I should still hear something… people, machinery, animals. Something. How badly did I oversleep?

I swing my feet over to the side of the bed, slide my sandals on my feet and attempt to stand. Dizziness overtakes me and I slump back down on the bed. Am I that tired? Can oversleeping do this to me? I attempt to stand one more time and the dizziness is gone. I’m sore all over, like I have the flu. I don’t feel sick; I have no cough or runny nose, but I feel hot, like I have a fever. All of my muscles are sore, like I did a full-body workout the day before- after taking a long break from exercise. And I am ravenously hungry. For the first time, I notice that I have started to sweat. Did the air conditioning go out? I hope not. I don’t know anything about that. It’s going to cost hundreds to fix, I’m sure of it.

I put on some pants and an old shirt and work my way around my small bedroom to see if I can tell from where that smell is radiating. It doesn’t seem to be any stronger in any part of the bedroom, which tells me that whatever- or whomever- it’s coming from has been that way for a long time, possibly all night, and the entire apartment will smell this way. How could I not have heard a struggle? More importantly, how did they get in? Is the attacker still here? Am I in danger? After listening closely for a minute or two, I don’t hear anything, so it must be safe.

Nothing in the hallway or the bathroom. Everything appears normal and in order. No broken glass, overturned furniture, or marks on the floor or wall. And no blood. Anywhere. Not even in the rest of the apartment. But the powerful scent is the same. I’m getting used to it now, but it is just as strong as when I first awoke.

How am I getting used to it? That makes no sense to me. It’s blood. I think I should be terrified. I know there is blood around and it’s not mine. Something happened and someone is possibly dying or dead. I should be more fearful, more cautious. My senses are lying to me. I smell blood, yet I can’t find it. I feel the scent, but it’s nowhere. And everywhere. And I am hungry. I have to get out of here. I must eat, but there’s nothing in the kitchen that I want.

Just eat something. My normal breakfast. Should I even be eating breakfast? What time is it? At the other end of the counter, I find my watch, wallet, cell phone, and car keys exactly where I left them. Untouched. No struggle here at all. And no blood. Anywhere.

It’s 2:42 in the afternoon. The power went out at least three hours later than my alarm should have sounded. Did I miss it? I never miss it. How is this possible? And why has no one from work called me to question where I am? Oh no. Work. I am not at work. I cannot miss a day. I don’t have the sick time or vacation time to spare. Not to mention that I haven’t called in at all. I will certainly be written up for this. But the blood. That has to be an adequate excuse. I’m sure they’ll understand about the blood. I must find it. I must know.

Outside. That must be where the blood is. It’s nowhere in the apartment, so it must be outside. I must go outside to find it. My desire to understand far outweighs my immediate, famishing hunger. The blood is my new hunger, my new goal.

Slowly, I open the door- expecting an ambush. And it comes, in a way I do not expect as I am virtually overcome by a wave of various smells. But the strongest is the blood. The aroma of blood is much stronger here than in my apartment. This calms me, yet makes me stronger, and makes my desire to know more formidable. Going outside was the right action to take. With every breath, I am confirmed in my desire to find it. I am a man possessed now. Nothing can stop me.

I step outside my door and look around. No one in sight. Several other apartment doors are also open. I have had no interest in my neighbors and today is no different. But for the first time, the scent seems stronger in one direction. I’m not sure how I know this. But I know it. Deeply, more than I have known anything. I can smell that my neighbor’s apartment two doors down is the source. Almost without thought I am moving toward the door. I don’t remember making that conscious decision, but I’m certain I would have. I am getting closer and my desire is overtaking me. I have never felt this way before. A part of me thinks that something is wrong, but then I inhale and I no longer hear it.

The door is closed, but I must get in. I must know. I must see the blood with my own eyes. The pounding I hear is not just my own heartbeat in my ears, but my fist on the door. At first, slowly, but as scent grows stronger, so does my pounding. This is pointless. He will not come to the door. I must go in. I must get through this door. I must have the blood.

The handle is locked and as I twist it again, it breaks off in my hand, which surprises me. Still, the door does not open. I push with my shoulder. Once with no effect. Once more. Harder. Again. Harder. A cracking noise, but it’s not the door. My arm hangs uselessly. Once more and the door starts to give. Once more and the door splinters away at the lock.

There he is. But he is living and not bleeding. Not what I expected. I can see the fear in his eyes. He did not expect to see me come through the door. I attempt to speak to reassure him that everything is fine, but as I inhale to do so, the scent of his blood overtakes me. He is the source. The blood is inside him. And I must have it. I don’t understand why, but I must have it.

He attempts to turn and run, but I am too quick. He has no chance. He is saying something, screaming perhaps. His hands flail about uselessly, as though he is trying to push me away. Why is he so weak? His strikes and slaps mean nothing to me. His hand is in my way, so I grab it and pull it down, out of my way. I hear a snapping noise and more screaming. He is weak. It is easy to pull him toward me and my fingers dig into his useless arm as I effortlessly draw him closer. The closest part of him to me is his head. That is good enough. My teeth tear at his scalp and I see blood! I smell the blood. I taste the blood.

I have found it. And I must have more of it.

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