0 - Prologue
He was coming. Fast.
The pain in my left shoulder throbbed relentlessly as I caught my breath. I was running away from the onslaught that was happening in the hotel where we were staying. The smell of blood and flesh had clung to me. I feared that it might linger on until my last breath.
I stubbed my toe on a rock, tumbled on the muddy ground—face first—and swore. I brought my right elbow at my side and pushed myself up, hardly noticing my quivering fingers, only to stagger at my left side and drop on my knees. Even with how groggy I felt, I still forced myself to crawl forward. The winds were blowing angrily; a premonition that it would happen to me as well. I’d be next.
And then the gruesome scenario flashed back.
Everything played in reverse and I was stuck on my knees, finding it hard to get up. I pounded the ground, splashing mud around and onto my face, and screamed out loud like I didn’t care anymore if he’d catch up. I couldn’t believe myself that I left her—that I left her with him.
God, please, not her.
I collected myself and gulped everything down. I had to escape. I had to tell someone.
Then I sprinted toward the woods.
What made escaping hard was my left arm; it was gone. He ripped it out if I was to say, but the way it happened in which I noticed with both my eyes was too impossible. He only left me with a blood-soaked shoulder and a broken bone protruding from it, and I left a trace of blood on my tracks, which would surely hint my pursuer.
My shoulder kept on throbbing. I could feel the blood trickling down my side as I dashed off haphazardly, not thinking too much where to go as long as he would not reach me.
This was not what I wanted. This was not the honeymoon I had pictured in my head when I planned everything.
I couldn’t believe myself that I left her. I hoped she had escaped somehow.
My wife and I were ecstatic about this trip: we were beyond elated! Everything was planned already and we were expecting things to happen smoothly and with few surprises if any.
But all turned to a one-eighty.
It was already midnight and the cries and screams of people from the hotel could still reach my ears even with how far I already got. The smell of death now clung in the air.
I plunged to the outskirts of the woods and forced my way through the shrubs and thick foliage in the darkness; however, it was not as dark as how one would imagine it. The whole place was strangely luminous: the trees emitted a kind of purple light that simmered around the area, making the night less dark, or as what a carnival at night would look like. I could still see the ground that I was trekking on. I was afraid he might be able to follow me quicker than I thought.
I stumbled upon an opening through the trees and pushed myself a little more to pass through. I paused and heaved and winced. I was losing a lot of blood. I had to at least send the word to the outside world before I’d die.
I limped my way through a bleak and ghastly shore with no one else around. My vision was treacherously thinning the more I lost blood. I took off my shirt and wrapped it around my amputated shoulder to slow down the bleeding.
I found a small cliff at the far corner of the shoreline and dashed to it. My phone still had one bar when I got it out, thankful that I could still use it to find help. However, my hopes shattered once I found out there was no signal.
“Hey, weren’t we having a little fun earlier? Why did you run off?”
The shrilly voice behind gave me horror and goosebumps; his stealthiness, uncanny. I didn’t even notice per se that he already caught up.
He stretched his arms and grabbed my bed hair; then slammed my face onto the rocky cliff. I felt some of my teeth come off as soon as he lifted my head with one arm. The strength that he possessed was otherworldly.
I lost my sight on my left eye and somehow knew that my face was damp with blood and sweat. The plutonian night aided in blocking almost ninety percent of my right eye vision. I couldn’t even see the expression he was wearing as he kept on slamming my broken face onto the ground a couple more times, but I somehow knew that he was having fun based on his demonic laughter.
Finally, maybe with satisfaction, he stopped. He was now dragging me somewhere, off the sandy shore, toward the grassy soil. He ceased walking, and then he hung me from a protuberance by the hole in my left shoulder that he just punctured by his touch alone.
No effort, no force applied.
Just his touch.
I could barely feel the pain anymore because my body started becoming as numb as hell.
“Hey, you’re not even screaming, and your expression starts to bore me. Can you at least whimper for me?” the lunatic asked in a forlorn voice as if disappointed by me.
I moved my lips in a grand effort and managed to utter some words, “... she... o... kay...”
“What? What, what, what?” he asked repeatedly with a tinge of fake curiosity. I couldn’t see him anymore, but I could still sense the mockery in his voice.
“I... said... she... okay...”
“Hey, you’re talking gibberish. Oh, how ’bout I burst your feet? Would that give you enough motivation to speak more?”
He grabbed my left foot without waiting for my confirmation. It splintered within seconds, definitely spraying blood and tissues alike around the perimeter. He laughed diabolically before proceeding to the other foot.
It gave me an unprecedented splurge of pain, which made me scream my remaining air out of my lungs.
He then went to my side; he lowered me down a bit and whispered something in my ear with as much joy as he could manifest. “Hey. Now. Talk.”
“My... wife...” I stopped midway and coughed up blood.
I felt him leaning closer. “Oh, your wife?”
I didn’t respond. Rather, I couldn’t respond anymore.
“Well, it wouldn’t hurt to tell you now. It’s my little gift for you before you’ll be gone off this world. We let that bitch off the hook to lure the second set of subjects who might carry a creator with her. We didn’t find the person in your group in the hotel.”
He leaned closer; his lips almost touching my ears. “Oh, by the way, we erased her memory of yours. She now thinks that she’s married to another man. He’s one of your friends in the hotel. You know, just for fun.”
I growled and shook my entire body, wanting to lash out at this lunatic. I couldn’t even spit on his face. I pitied myself for dying in such a sorry state.
He heaved and threw me on the prickly grass and kicked the back of my head, which gave me a concussion. He snatched my other arm and ripped it off my shoulder. Then, he punctured my chest and grabbed a hold of my heart.
“Now, any last words?”
There was a pause before he added, “Oh, yeah. You don’t like to speak.”
With one solid motion, my heart burst without even applying any force onto it.
Just before I submitted to death, he touched my head in a way that was too promising not to hurt me any longer. It exploded into tiny pieces of meat and blood milliseconds later. I somehow knew this because my consciousness held on for a little longer—longer enough for me to feel it.