Nightmares From The Deep

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PROLOGUE

PROLOGUE

In the shadows, he prowls, a predator, infinitely waiting. – Bloodsongs


THE NIGHT WAS BLACK, BLACK AS THE WINGS OF RAVENS. The thin crescent was beaming, a narrow silver light, that fought with the hands of darkness and failed, miserably. Ariana McCannaugh stood in a deserted alley, trying to find her way back to wherever she had come from. She had no idea where she came from, though.

All she knew was she shouldn't be here. She should escape the suffocating stench of death in the air and the overwhelming darkness. She turned around and around, trying to find a path with the help of the emaciated moon. If it became any darker than it was now, she’d forever be lost – lost in the inky blackness, never finding the light.

As if someone had heard her thoughts, the half crescent that beamed low switched off. The stars burnt off. It was a blind man’s land. The black was thick that Arie stumbled on nothing. She was sweating, and could feel the fury of the night in her bones.

Heart tumbling down in panic, Arie turned around. Deep in her bones, she knew she’d forever be lost in this nothingness, where the only noise would be her wheezing breath and her roaring heart.

Something touched her toes. She jumped back, but the thing followed her, determined. It was cold, icy. A web, slowly weaving around her toes, fingers feet, legs, knees.

What stretched in front of her as a dead, deserted alley was turning into a massive pool of water. The dark bleeding water slowly mounting. Higher and higher. Stomach, chest. It was glacial, her bones were frozen with fear, throat dry with a scream that wouldn’t leave her lips. Neck. She swatted her hands, trying to ward off the water from reaching any higher. It climbed up, dogged, further up. Mouth.

She had to move her body, or she'd die. The water was lapping against her, licking at her with its icy tongue, as if it was feasting on her flesh and fear.

I know how to swim. I am the captain of the swimming team, I have won medals.

Even as she thought it again and again, her legs and hands refused to obey. They were lead. Frozen solid. The swimming she had learnt for so long, since she was three, it was of no use. All she could do was thrash and turn. Water entered her nose, mouth, blinded her vision. Her breathing become labored and then shallow.

With a sinking heart, Ariana, the future hope for her school's swimming team, watched herself gulp cold, cold water and drown. Her blue eyes were dead and snow pebbled the veins of her eyes.


ART HENNESSY DIDN’T know why he was running, but there was urgency in his steps. Thud, thud, thud. The sound was so solid, but the pavement was moving beneath his feet. It was oily, slippery and he didn’t give a damn.

He had to reach there... Reach where?

He had to save... Save who?

He had no idea, but the need in his bones was fire, hot, prodding him to quicken his pace. A little bit faster, he needed to be a little bit quicker. His lungs burned from the effort. He couldn’t see anything in the dark, but he continued to run.

The moving pavement started to thrash beneath him. Spurt of water emerged from the broken cracks of the earth, like oozing blood from the wounds. It was slimy, greasy. He waded through the slippery water, but knew he had to swim to reach there. Reach her. He had to swim or she’d die.

Who is she? He muttered to himself as he readied his body to float; he spread his hands, lifted his legs and started to swim with the same hurry. Water glided past his fingers, his hair, cold and disgusting.

Even as he swam, it occurred to him that he had never learnt swimming, never knew swimming and he was afraid of moving bodies of water.

As if the oily waves heard his pounding heart, the waves grew stronger, bigger, closing in on him.

His legs turned rock. His body went limp. He shouted for help, his voice urgent, pleading, and scared.

As he started to go under, he saw a man materializing in front of him. He was shadowed against the black, but his golden eyes burnt like the torch.

Do you want my help, little boy? The man’s voice was velvet. Soothing.

He was going to die, but even then Art knew, this man's help was not welcome. This man was not his friend, but his enemy.

“No.” Art shook his head.

The man laughed, his laughter echoing around Art. “Then die.” He lifted his fingers and then with one last laugh disappeared into the mist of darkness.

Water gushed into his mouth, nose. Weighed by the water, Art sunk, down and down.

His green eyes stared in to two blue green orbs. He smiled into those frozen eyes, and died.


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