Chapter 14 "The First Challenge"
Silence... silence... and more silence...
Though you haven’t been gone for very long, not being able to sense you at all is taking more of a toll on me than I’d even care to imagine. I’m having memories of us flashing in my head; that first time I saw you, I was glued. The way you walked, behaved and dressed was like a desperate cry for me to take you. And I listened. Oh did I listen...
You were wearing a white tank-top that barely fit you, and those skin-tight jeans... Your hair was down and a mess. I opened my window and pulled a chair up to gaze at you as your boyfriend helped you take things out of your car. You were moving in. Every time you looked over in my direction, I slowly smiled, but whenever you got close to him, it fell flat... to a more interested, curious glare. I needed to dispose of him; he wasn’t going to get in our way.
The breeze blew through your hair and the perfume and shampoo you used was- I lick my lips. I can still remember it. I can still smell it, and... this brings me back to my first taste of you. I let my head slowly fall back with a long, lustful moan and sigh. I can still taste you. Addison...
I’ve taken the lives of many, many women-so many, I’ve lost count-and you were no different from them, really-until now. Reuben... has chosen to take you from me. Of all the women he could’ve plucked from the earth to implant his next ‘project’ in, he chose you. He’s been watching me Addison-monitoring me-ever since Jack left. This... particular ‘game’... he started it the moment you entered my life. He’s made my existence a painfully slow walk to the gates of hell, and now suddenly, just when I was about to turn and look for him, he’s shoved me full force through them.
I open my eyes to the bright, flickering light in the ceiling. Then I hear slow footsteps to the left.
I peer out of the corner of my eye and see a shadowy silhouette of a man wearing a fedora hat walking out of a passage in a different wall. Who is this? There’s more than one passage?! He’s moving very smoothly-very smoothly... I tilt my head as I stand up and face him fully. He stops in front of me, as high as 8 feet tall. I look him up and down with a straight face. He’s a solid black mass. He’s unmoving and not making any sound whatsoever.
“State your business here. Who are you?” I say. He doesn’t do anything. I stare at him hard, then I slowly start walking around him, examining him. “Where did you come from?” I stop in front of him again. He lowers his head at me and suddenly shoves his hand out, snatching my neck with long sharp claws cutting into my skin. I breathe fast. I didn’t expect this! The feeling and thought of someone actually trying to harm me, however, becomes amusing. He squeezes tighter, then he throws me up into the ceiling, forcing a grunt out of me. When I hit the floor, I’m annoyed and split myself apart into mist and whirl around him. “WHO ARE YOU!” He steps back as I make myself appear to grow taller than him. “TELL ME!” I shout. He throws his arms out with his claws extended and starts slashing at me. I dodge his every move. He’s very quick and skillful. I break my mist into many more parts; some of me blocks out the light and other parts of me race around the room. “What will you do now, mystery man!” I laugh darkly. He can’t see me. But I can see him.
I swirl around his head and then crash down on him like a giant ocean wave. He tries to slice me in half many times as I pummel him. He can’t stop me. “Minion of Reuben?!” I yell, “How intimidating you are!” I shoot my arms into his nose and mouth and worm around inside, strangling him. “CONFESS!” I get a flash images of your face in agony, pictures of the halls you’ve run through in the asylum and then I see you on a bed and Reuben is standing by your side. You’re looking at me pitifully, begging me to save you. I yank my misty arms out of him with a loud gasp, eyes large in terror. He falls to the ground, dead. I look down at my hands and arms, finding blood on them. Black blood. I smell and taste it. Vampire blood...?
Slowly, I look down at him again. His face is changing. He’s starting to look quite a lot like... “Jack?!” I fall beside him, “You-... No, you’re an IMPOSTURE! YOU CAN’T FOOL ME REUBEN!” I shoot up and flick my hands out. “You think this will destroy me?!” The room is back to that same silence. I can’t stand it. I pace around the room, glaring at the walls and looking up at the ceiling; “You think killing Jack would destroy ME?”
There has to be a way out of here. That shadow man came in here the same way Scarlet did-from the other side. With the next thing he throws at me, I’m making a run for it. Then... I will hunt him down, and find you Addison. Killing him will be more of a challenge than I had imagined. You stay where you are - wherever you are. I was too anxious and swift to find you last time. This time, I should... most definitely have this all tied up into a little fine bow.
“Come with me. You have to eat.” Reuben takes my hand and leads me down the long wide corridor. The corrupted hospital staff and patients are all doing something either disgusting or watching me with those dead foggy eyes. The patients are throwing up on the floor and wiggling around in their mucus while laughing and making strange noises, and the nurses are shooting themselves up with medication, contorting their arms and legs, and pulling their hair out. I see one nurse take medical scissors and cut half her tongue off. Blood pours out of her mouth and she doesn’t even react. I instantly double over, vomiting on the spot. Reuben stops and pats me on the back, “There there... it will be ok.”
I wipe my mouth and hatefully look up at him, “It will be ok... IT WILL BE OK?!”
I jerk away from him, “Either you take this thing out of me now or I’ll find a way out of this myself! I can’t take this! You do it or I WILL KILL IT!”
He only looks at me with an impassive expression.
I shove him back, “I was just a young woman living a normal life-and you take it all AWAY FROM ME!”
“You are not normal. You will be the mother of a new species. Embrace it Addison - embrace it. Now come on.” He grabs my hand and pulls me along. I try to break free but his tightening grasp is too strong. “No! NO! LET ME GO!” I scream.
He takes me into the stairwell and I see the plaque on the wall says we’re on the second floor. As he’s forcing me down the steps, I almost fall a few times. It doesn’t stop him once.
When we get to the bottom, he opens the door to many visitors mindlessly walking around without making a sound. They’re all looking at the ceiling - all of them. Like zombies. And they even smell like rotting flesh. I cover my mouth, coughing.
He guides me out of the stairwell, down a narrow hall and turns into the cafeteria. What I see absolutely paralyzes me.
The lights are flickering, the food smells like trash left out for days, there’s slime seeping out from many cracks in the walls, and the people are the same as out there. The cooks’ eyes are all sunken into their skulls and their skin looks mummified. I nearly collapse but somehow stay up. The baby is moving as if it’s excited. Yet another tear trickles down my cheek. I can’t... I can’t do this.
“Please... I’m... not hungry.”