The sound of death.
"Don't leave me! Monster! How can you abandon me like this?!"
The sound of death...only lasts a few seconds. It will end soon.
"Don't let me die you bastard! Come back here!"
Only a little while, then it will stop.
"I hope you get eaten alive! I hope they eat your organs whilst you still breathe this god forsaken air!"
The sound of death.
"Aaaaah! Ah, stop! Help me, it hurts! Aaaaah! Aaaa-"
Ah. It stopped.
My name is Rei Dreimon. But names are but a thing to call after each other as you watch their fleeing heels. Or a thing to call out in a prayer as the cold hands of death grasp hold of your soul. A mere thing that people call you before they are lost in the bloodstained abyss that we're all trying to avoid falling into.
Names are not a thing of beauty in a world such as ours...
I am aged around 15 or 16 I reckon by now. Honestly, there's no way to tell time anymore, as you sleep when there's chance and the times above and below ground are all randomly timed.
When you are below the rough, jagged surface of rock and dust, all is dark and time becomes something foreign and strange. You can spend your life down there and not know it. Days, months or even years.
Years...I don't know how many have passed anymore since that day. To tell you the truth a day in this living nightmare feels like a thousand years. Like it will never come to an end. Day or night it's always the same.
Screams that echo in the emptiness that used to be your mind, haunting your broken and shattered frame. The sound of bones snapping beneath your feet, and your breath short gasps for air, for you never stop running. Your stomach is noisy too. It complains and growls for food, like a starved animal.
The hunger bites and stings your belly, and makes you want to claw your insides out to make the incisive emptiness in your body stop. Everyday you receive bruises and cuts, like trophies for surviving this long. Your body becomes a canvas of blood and burns, your skin painted with wounds.
Dying comrades and the sound of their last breath leaving their trembling lips resound throughout the land, and you can never get away from this noise. This atmosphere that clings to everything like the snares and thorns of poison ivy. It's very noisy and loud this sound.
It's the sound of death.
I hear screams everyday. The screams of children, women, men, the elderly. All those screams, wether I try to push them to the back of my mind always find a way to break my sanity. Maybe it's the scream of that small girl, who's hands were torn to shreds by one of those creatures. She used to play the piano, but scarred hands like those won't ever bring forth the lovely sounds of that instrument ever again. A thing, pure as music dies away, the only sound left that of death and destruction.
Maybe it was the scream of the young man who's wife lay unmoving on the frozen tundra, the tips of her bare toes turning as blue as the frost itself, a mirror image of the cold, lifeless ice. A fragile thing such as love, has no chance of survival in a world where all that is good is snuffed out like a candle...
Maybe it was the scream of the old lady that used to share her bread with me, even though her body had become bony and frail. I could only pray that her death was swift...kindness will get you nowhere in the horrific present that plagues us. It's better for the people around you if they could hate you. No lingering feelings or sorrow for the person who dies...no regret...
No. It was none of those screams that tore through my heart, and left me thinking that I couldn't breathe. That left me choking on my own spit as I tried to hold back the bile that had risen in my throat. I could not afford to vomit the little food I had eaten...
No, none of those screams made me feels sick and dizzy, or made me want scratch my own eyes out. None of those screams made me want to pull my fingernails till they were torn off, or made me want to stick rubble and debris in my ears and see how fast I would go deaf.
No, it had to be the first screams I heard. The first sounds of death.
It all started when I asked a naively innocent question, that was too gruesome for a child like me to realize what it actually meant...
"Mommy, why is Daddy sleeping with his eyes open?"
I was only 7 years old, my mother recoiling in horror at the sight of my father, his eyes like that of a dead fish and his limbs twisted and warped to look like the barren branches of a tree.
Before my mother had time to say anything, an abomination that can only be described as a grotesque figure of flesh and bone, raised it's foul head to meet my gaze. I stared into pitch black, soulless eyes that swallowed all the light in the room, reflecting the sudden fearful expression that colored my face.
Silence. A sweet, bitter silence filled my body for a mere second. A second of tragic peace. Before I heard it. The sound of death.
My mother's scream was cut short, blood spewing out from her mouth, and trickling down her neck. Lifted off of the ground, she hung from the creature's claws like a decoration, her body pierced with holes.
Before the creature opened it's maw to reveal thousands of white daggers for teeth, it's long purple tongue snaking out between it's fangs, my mother mouthed a single word.
I focused on my breath, trying to make it the only sound I could hear. I tried to make my breathing as loud and exasperated as possible, to block out the noise of bones crushing and flesh being ripped apart. I tried to ignore the sound of the creature swallowing bits and pieces of my deceased parents, the grunts and slurps of the creature devouring them making me grit my teeth as I tried not to throw up. I tried to ignore all of it.
I desperately tried to ignore the sound of death.
I ran and ran but I felt I'd never get away. My legs burned like they were on fire, and my feet were numb. My heart was rapidly beating against my chest, as if it was trying to break free from the horror that lay between my ribcage. The horror that lay in my tattered and forever now traumatized heart. Everything blurred and hazed into each other, and I could no longer tell where I was going. All I knew was that I had to run.
Run forever if I must, I just had to get away from those sounds of death.
I couldn't eat meat for months after that. I knew the importance of eating, even though it reminded me of the red chunks that dangled from my mother's skin, but it was useless. Whenever I tried to swallow and force the sustenance down my throat, I would end up spitting and vomiting everything I'd eaten over the last week out.
Now I am running yet again. Running once more from the sights and sounds that ruled over this land that was even forsaken by god it seemed.
I had left so many bodies behind. Ignored the sounds of them calling after me. Ignored the disembodied heads that stared and pierced my skin, as if they were cursing my name in their heads. Ignored the crimson planes of land that was painted with the spattered blood of these people. Ignored the decaying and rotting bodies that filled the sky with a foul stench that made me choke on the very air I breathed, the miasma suffocating. Ignored the screams, the shouts, the pleas and prayers, the bargaining the begging. I ignored it all.
Because she told me to run. She said run, so I would run. Run and run, and ignore everything like I had ignored her. Like I ignored them. Like I ignored the sound. Like I ignored, no, like I tried to ignore the sound of death.
"Arg!" I cried out as my knees buckled underneath me, my whole body jolting in pain. I fell to my knees in the red dust that settled over everything like a blanket of ox blood, the dirt stinging my eyes. With trembling hands I lifted my ragged shirt, resisting the urge to shut my eyes to the repulsive fate that lay beneath the tattered black material of my clothes.
The flesh of my belly had a sickly dark green color, blisters and bruises coloring my skin a deep shade of purple. Pus filled boils littered my skin, the dead tissue spreading towards my chest. The mawkish piece of flesh that lay before my abhorrence filled eyes, repulsive and nauseating, only left me with one unwholesome thought.
I was infected.
One of the atrocious creatures had the nerve to leave it's teeth indentations on my skin, their fangs laced with toxic bacteria. It was a matter of hours before my skin was tainted, and my flesh started to fester and waste away.
I had been eating Threadberries daily for three weeks now. A type of fruit that came along with these vile creatures, usually found near spiderwebs. It was not something you'd gladly eat though, for it contained slow, and deadly toxins . The poison had been slowing the infection down, preventing it from spreading towards any of my vital organs. But at the same time, I was gradually killing myself.
This was just a slower death, a less painful death. A more, delayed death if you will. As soon as the infection were to reach my heart, I would die. I was already decaying, rotting away.
A walking corpse.
The poison would make me feverish and inflamed at night, my whole body scorching hot. I've been tormented with powerful hallucinations that would send me into a suffering spiral of confusion and alarm.
I've also been experiencing insomnia that kept me from sleeping for days on end. And in extreme cases, paralyzation of my entire body, leaving me defenseless and feeble . It's only a matter of time before my mouth starts foaming like a rabid dog...
A wave of intense pain washed over me, and I cried out in agony. My stomach was eating away at itself like acid, my own body starting to reject me. A burden so fearsome that my whole figure was enveloped in violent shaking and my vision blurred into fractured shards of my sight.
The sound of death echoed even deeply inside of me...
But a sound even more daunting made me bolt to my feet, as I tried to bite back the tears that gathered in the corners of my eyes. It felt like my stomach was being clawed out, the pain becoming almost unbearable.
I knew that sound. Everybody knew that sound. It was the sound that brought about the massacre of thousands. It was the sound that left carnage and bloodshed in it's wake. The sound that made up the filth of this land, splattered gore and guts following shortly behind. The very sound that brought the slaughter of children, and the butchering of my kind. The sound the wrecked havoc and mayhem, and shredded the little peace that we had left into millions of misshapen pieces. The sound that murdered. The sound that exterminated, that annihilated.
The sound of death.
It was the song of these creatures. A melody of fear and dread, a composition of unease and apprehension...a lyric of death itself. A song, so aptly named...
It started with ticking, as if abandoned clocks were scattered all around you...
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Closer and closer.
Hickory dickory tock, the endless ticking clock. The clock struck one, when the creatures come, hickory dickory dock.
That song had warped into a grim lullaby that mothers sang to the unfortunate babes that were born into this post apocalyptic world. To teach them that a clock ticking was the sound of oblivion. No one needed to tell time anymore...ticking didn't signify time of day, it only told the time of your demise. The time when you would receive a bleak reminder of your mortality. After the ticking, their horrific, hauntingly ghastly song would start. The reaping...
It's hard to describe what this song sounded like. Almost like a thousand birds screeching, and the sound of metal scraping against steel. It was a combination of hissing and a sort of raking noise, like someone was dragging rusty nails across a chalk board. These sounds all combined together to make an austere, grisly noise.
Their song was like a manifestation of all the fear that had gathered over the years, a disheveled reminder that we would all die. Merciless and hopeless, it battered and pounded your being with the ice cold feeling of panic. Your mind going into a turmoil, unwanted and unanswered thoughts swarm your consciousness, like the relentless flapping of a thousand bats.
It had been a few weeks since I last heard the reaping...how painstakingly nostalgic...I chuckled morbidly, the somber atmosphere almost deafening.
I could hear their claws scrape against the dirt, the howling of these creatures proclaiming their identity as hunters. Open plains stretched out before me, shelter no where in sight. I told myself not to look back.
Not to look at the sound of death.
But my instincts worked faster than my head, and I turned my head to look at the monstrosity that were but mere meters away from my heels.
Thousands upon thousands of mangled, mutilated bodies were swarming on each other, like an ocean of deformed and garbled carcasses. Their jaws snapped open and close, hungrily anticipating the meal that was desperately trying to escape. Desperately trying to escape the advancing sound of death. They stretched out their ripped wings, and I thanked the very stars that the bony membranes were not strong enough to lift them into the toxic air.
I could hear the thundering of paws and the clack of their hooves. Their tails sliced through the air like knives, sweeping and slamming into each other. It was a split second before I turned my gaze back in front of me, resisting the urge to stay frozen in place after seeing such a frightening sight. I could hear them getting closer, feel their breathing on my neck.
I could sense the sound of death drawing near.
I screamed at the top of my lungs as one scratched my arm, urging my legs to move with the wind. Their excessive panting and gargling was ringing in my ears, my whole body trembling in fear. Get away, I had to get away. I didn't want to die, not like this. I would face the same death as my mother and father, the same death as everyone.
This wasn't a battle, to win back our home, or a war to send these beasts running to where they came from. It was a fight for survival. A struggle to keep breathing, an assault on our lives. My breath caught in my throat, my heart thrashing against the sides of my ribs. I was scared.
Scared of the sound of death.
I don't want to die. I don't want to die.
I kept thinking that over and over again, like my brain was a record on repeat. My sanity was being scratched and gashed apart, my entire being screaming the same thing again and again.
I didn't want to hear the sound of death anymore.
I gritted my teeth as I felt their claws and spines cut my back, their weapons of torture and torment turned against me. Tears streamed down my rough cheeks, and scattered into the wind. Oh god no, please no, please make it stop.
Rapid breathing, running with all my strength until it felt like my legs were breaking. I was shouting, screaming out to the heavens yet no answer came. Instead it only replied with the sound of death. I cried out for mercy, for a quick release from this nightmare, but was left running.
My foot snagged on a rock, and I was flung onto the unholy grains that lay beneath my feet. No no no no no no, please oh god no, this can't be happening. I tried to get up to my feet again, to start running once again. But I knew. I knew that I would not be fast enough, that there was no chance of survival left. I would try though...I would not give in to the sounds of death. Not willingly.
The little pride I had left would not allow that.
Ah...sweet silence. A mere second of silence and bliss...how I had missed it. Only a second before they were on me, and the bitter silence was dashed away, lost to the sound of death...
I screamed as I felt their claws. Their teeth. Their spikes and their weapons. I shouted out to the gods that had cursed us, that had forsaken us. That had left us to die, that had left us to rot and wither away. That had left us to wilt like the dying flowers that were no more. They had left us to listen to the sound of death....
Grabbing the gun from the leather holster that rested on my waist, I furiously fired at the creature's heads, taking a small amount of delight of seeing their purple blood splatter across the dirt and sand. I fired mercilessly, until I had the chance to stand up again. Anger...more than all the fear and remorse that was stitched across my mind, I felt a burning hatred towards these foul creatures. A malevolent force that drove me to slaughter these beings.
Dropping the gun, I pulled out the long blade of steel, that seemed to glint with excitement at the blood that was about to be spilled. I was about to wield the very instrument of hunger and greed. A hunger for death.
Slashing at the creatures, a manged to lop off their disgusting heads, and slice their bellies open. Carnage and gore painted the earth, and my clothes were marked with their stench. I allowed the amused smirk to claim my lips for a second, finding the sound that my blade made when it dove through skin and bone music to my ears. My blade sung the sound of death for me.
But my short lived victory did not last long. For they overwhelmed me, and I was once again pushed to the ground. My weapons far from reach, I prepared myself for the excruciating pain that was about to engulf me, like flames of a hungry fire engulfs the dry and withering leaves. I prepared myself to listen to my very own, sounds of death.
I could feel them eat at my flesh, and feel them clawing away my humanity. Feel them make a carcass out of my once breathing body. I could feel them, mindless beasts, prey on their victim. I was a victim, a victim to the sound of death. I kept thrashing and screaming, even though it would have been easier to patiently wait for death. But I felt the need to fight. Fight even though I was already being dragged down to the bottom of the underworld. Fight even though I was already a forgotten pawn on this board of bloody chess. Fight even though I could never escape...
I could never escape the sound of death.
How I had fought...it was all for nothing. The wounded people I had pretended to be blind to. The screams of the people I had pretended to be deaf to. The unanswered questions I had pretended to be unable to speak to. All the suffering I had pretended not to notice...I was a selfish, greedy burden upon humanity...
I deserved to suffer...
It was painful, more painful than anything I could have ever imagined. Being eaten alive, this was my punishment. This was what I deserved. Clenching my teeth, I endured. I stayed awake for as long as I could, felt the pain for as long as I could. I owed the people that much. I let the creatures engrave the pain of being alive into my body, and let them etch the punishment of leaving everything behind into my soul. I let them eat away at my heart, that had already decayed like the rotting bodies of this world, a long time ago. I let them play me, the song of death...
I was barely awake now...people say that everything looked blindingly white when they died, but I could see only darkness. In the corner of my blurring vision, I saw the dark wings of ravens, all swarming towards me, hearing the sounds of their caws. I though for a moment, that they looked like fallen angels, come to claim my stained and filthy soul. They pecked at the scraps of unwanted, unneeded, and unnecessary flesh that was left on my dying body. I decided to laugh with the little strength I had left, as I felt tears that I had no right to, roll down my hollowed cheeks. I laughed at the gods above that had sent these birds of reaping, to reap the last little bits of my life I had left.
These fallen angels, that came to sing the sound of death to my fading ears...
The sound of my bones crushing.
The sound of my blood flowing.
The sound of my flesh torn apart.
The sound of them snarling.
The sound of them howling.
The sound of them devouring.
The sound of wings flapping.
The sound of ravens laughing.
The sound of beaks snapping.
The sound of the gods laughing down at a mere mortal like me.
The sound of death drawing near.
The sound of pain.
The sound of suffering.
The sound of slavery towards this plague.
The sound of humanity dying.
The sound of our mortality wilting.
The sound of our kin withering.
The sound of our brethren rotting.
The sound of my last breath, swallowed by these fallen angels.
The sound of ice, filling my soul.
The sound of darkness.
The sound of oblivion.
The sound of nothingness.
The sound of pure silence.
The sound of torment.
The sound of unending torture...
The sound of death.