‘Was he telling the truth?’
That was the only query dominating my frenetic thoughts, circulating inside my head as I crawled my way out of the desolate street, holding one wall after another, supporting my weight that my own legs refused to carry, on inanimate objects.
‘Was he really protecting me? Was there really someone who was worried about me all along?’
Leaning my head against the rough bricks, I looked up at the inky sky with a desperate gaze. Even the celestial bodies seemed to have abandoned me. It was a moonless night, and despite it being a town famous for its beautiful farms and clear skies, the murkiness created by some wandering clouds had shadowed the smaller stars, turning the heavens above my head into a big scary black-hole, painting a similar picture to that of my life since childhood, a big meaningless smudge holding the power to engulf my insignificant existence any moment.
The only source of light guiding me through the sea of blackness was a single lamppost located at the far end of the street, casting a dull yellowish glow on my hazy surroundings, providing enough light for me to pave my way out of there.
“The scary figures, it wasn’t me. It was the other creatures trying to obtain my soul out of you.”
Hysteria’s voice was still ringing inside my head, making me turn my head side to side, every other moment in fear of an unknown creature jumping at me out of nowhere. Every single horror I had faced in my life seemed to be playing in my mind like a reel making me wonder what the portentous night had in store for me this time,
“It’s okay. It’s fine.”
Rubbing my sweaty palms on the rough surface of my washed jeans, I repeated the same words that my mother had told me when she had found me hidden inside the sink cabinet, covered in a mixture of my own vomit and sweat, screaming at her to get rid of the crawling doll.
The urge to run towards my old house and snuggle into her warm arms was too strong, but I knew I couldn’t do it. Not for the night at least. Not since I saw a creature, imposing as my mum, slicing its own throat open with a wicked grin.
A shudder passed through my body as I unknowingly recalled the awful memory.
Heaving an exasperated sigh out, I tried directing my attention back towards my unusually quiet surroundings. I had gone through these streets before yet the place appeared to be unnaturally silent, no sound could be heard except for the crunching of my worn out sneakers against the gravel as I tried to get towards the light source as fast as possible.
‘Just some more steps,’
I was more or less ten steps away from the street lamp, almost feeling relieved for having left the darkness behind when a low groan reached my ears, turning me stiff in my place. It didn’t sound like a pained groan, it was more of a grunt. Similar to what I had heard two years ago on the night of my first Halloween party.
My heart was hammering against my rib cage as my brain started playing images from that day before my eyes, flashing them in front of my vision one by one, making me recall the whole event when I had made a fool out of myself in front of the whole college.
It was definitely the same sound which came out of that decomposing corpse’s half-eaten lips when his decaying cheek had fallen just above my breasts.
‘Oh, God! Please let it be a dream.’
I had heard no footsteps yet the sound seemed to have come closer,
I almost jumped out of my skin as I felt a cold breath fanning across the back of my neck. Cold sweat beads forming on my forehead had started trickling down my temples. My breath was coming out in short erratic puffs of air, hurting my chest more with its unruly spasming. My condition had certainly worsened more than when I had first seen Hysteria.
‘He’s standing right behind me.’
Clenching my clattering teeth, I tried my best to keep my breathing in check as I slowly lifted my gaze, rotating it sideways to steal a quick glance without turning my head completely.
‘Don’t be there. Don’t be there.’
Just as my eyes settled on the heap of my own raven locks flowing down the tip of my shoulder, a festering head appeared out from behind my shoulder, scaring the daylights out of me.
A loud scream tore out of the back of my throat as the head gave me a gruesome smile before falling off its neck, rolling over my shoulder and eventually settling near my feet.
I hadn’t even been able to recover from the shock when a set of putrefying arms wrapped around my torso, trapping me in my place.
Continuing to let out loud screams, I thrashed around wildly in the corpse’s arms, trying desperately to break free. I was jabbing my elbows in its rotting ribs, scratching the already broken flesh into more shreds yet the corpse’s hold on me didn’t seem to be getting any weaker. The new behavior had baffled me. These things, they tormented me, chased me, ran after me, but they never touched me, they had never physically harmed me before.
‘Hysteria was telling the truth, these things didn't attack me before because of him.’
The mortifying realization was cut short as my frantic eyes settled on the head lying face first on the gravel near my feet suddenly started vibrating, producing weird buzzing sounds whilst jerky movements kept getting worse and worse with time. It almost looked like the head would end up exploding any moment,
A creepy high pitched voice was coming out of the bobbling head, making my attempts to break free turn more frantic than before,
I knew there was no point in saying this yet I couldn’t succumb to their tactics completely. I felt too powerless, too human.
“Let me go!”
Abruptly, the arms holding me from behind crawled over my shoulder to reach up and grip my neck in a vice-like hold before tackling me down to the ground with a sudden jerk. My spine collided with the rough asphalt, making stars appear in my vision. The disgusting creature hadn’t shown any leniency to me. He had went all out in throwing me off balance and the proof of it could be felt forming on the tender muscles of my back.
‘What is happening? What the hell do I do?’
My berserk efforts at freeing myself abruptly came to a halt as I witnessed the head which had been buzzing furiously stop its frantic spasm, turning deathly still on the ground,
‘It doesn’t look so good.’
Slowly, the head came back to life as it rolled over to the other side, providing me with a clearer look of its face which I had failed to see before. It had an eye gauged out of its empty socket, its skin was covered in a dark black soot appearing gangrenous, patches of it missing from place to place. Its decomposing lips were stretched into a crazed triumphant smile which seemed to get bigger and bigger in size.
That’s when I realized that the head wasn’t get big in literal sense, it had just started rolling closer to me.
A loud cackle broke out of it lips as the head increased its speed, rolling over with more speed to hurriedly lessen the distance between us.
“Get away from me! Get away!”
My throat had turned raw from all the screaming I had been doing for the past few minutes. Some would think that while experiencing it for so many years, I should’ve learned some tricks by now, should’ve been prepared somehow but no matter what I did, it never seemed to be enough. These creatures were always a step ahead of me.
These creatures which I had thought to be Hysteria’s doing.
Unexpectedly, his name had appeared to be like the first ray of sunshine at the end of a darkened night— dawn of hope.
‘No, I can’t call him. I can’t lose.’
The head had crept past my abdomen by now, its decaying lips were directly resting above my heaving breasts,
‘Is it saying heart? Does it want my heart?’
A black colored sticky liquid was dribbling out of its half parted lips like Saliva. I was anticipating it to stop near my ribcage yet it continued rolling forward until its disgusting saliva was trickling down onto the pavement right beside my head. The rotting smell of death had filled my olfaction, making it almost impossible to keep breathing, getting hindered more so when I saw it nearing my lips,
‘Why is it leaning down towards my mouth?’
I watched with my breath stuck as I saw it opening its mouth abnormally wide, the upper half of its face was almost hanging back like the lid of a trash bin, exposing its pointed charcoal teeth, their tip reflecting the light coming from the lamppost, glinting like the edge of a sword ready to sacrifice the goat at the altar,
Everything happened in slow motion as I saw a shiny pair of black leather boots suddenly entering my peripheral vision, taking their sweet time in trudging towards me whilst the cackling head, unaware of other presence who had decided to join us, kept nearing my face.
Just as its teeth were about to land on my lips, one of the muscular legs, clad in a pair of black leather pants, raised up high before kicking the amputated head far away from face. The kick was so powerful, I could see specks of dust, previously resting on the dirtied street, getting displaced all over in air.
“Missed me, darling?”
My watery eyes slid up the leather pants, trailing over a fitted tailcoat, its collar adorned by a white colored ascot, resting directly beneath a skull painted face which was peering down at me with its familiarly burning amber eyes. A large puff of air that I didn’t know I had been holding suddenly left my parted mouth as I closed my eyes for a moment, letting a series of hiccups wash over my writhing body. The corpse’s hands were still holding me down, but I had become uncaring of it. The near death experience had rattled my senses. The deceptive freak that I used to despise had turned into my solace at the time of need.
“What did you say, darling?”
He was clearly having the time of his life.
“Uh huh, everything comes with a price.”
“What do you want?” I had finally managed to keep my stammering under check.
He must’ve seen the baffled look on my face because of the way his lips stretched into a full-blown smile as he tilted his head letting his shoulder length jet black locks fall to one side before completing the rest of his sentence,
“… to share the lost part of my soul with me.”
A cackling sound resounded through the empty streets, filled my vision with chilling scenario that I had encountered mere moments ago. My eyes wandered to the side to see the concrete beside my head laced with sooty saliva dribbling out of that thing’s mouth. Its pungent odor was still lingering in the air.
Hysteria continued looking down at me with his head tilted while producing ticking sounds of a clock out of his mouth.
“Less staring, more work, darling. Someone’s getting impatient,”
Hearing that ominous voice once again ringing through my ears made my skin crawl with disgust,
“I told you it’ll happen after the kiss. Hey! I just realized a word of your interest that also rhymes with toc.”
I didn’t know I would ever be thinking this but his meaningless chattering was still better than the corpse’s weird noises.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a dark circular blur rolling towards me with an unnatural speed, inching closer and closer with every moment I spent making my decision. I could see it leaving a black trail after it on the asphalt as its multiple pointed teeth took turns in glinting under the dull glow coming from the lamppost. The creature was going to devour me.
Their unsynchronized voices had managed to produce an ear shattering cacophony, wreaking havoc inside my jumbled mind. Hysteria had given me three chances but the creature, once it gets its hands on me which ironically were already holding me in an ironclad hold, was not going to spare me. There were no second chances with the rotten corpse.
The deranged head had come extremely close to me. I could see it opening its disgusting mouth in advance, getting ready to pounce on me again.
A sudden whoosh of air accompanied his nonchalant remark before I saw a katana appearing in his hand out of thin air, slashing through the corpse’s body before impaling the bobbling head with the sword’s sharp tip. Right in front of my eyes, he held the impaled head close to his face, a sinister glimmer passing through his amber eyes for a small moment before he smashed it on the pavement making black gooey mess fly out in every direction; a lone eye landing right near my foot.
Unbeknownst to me, a shriek found its way out my wide hanging jaw, making me rapidly crawl away from the horrifying scene.
“Eyes on me, darling.”
Big warm hands lightly touched my cheeks, turning my head away from the oozing eye lying near the place I was previously sprawled on.
“W-Who a-are y-you?”
My voice had yet again transformed in a stammering mess of words as I gawked at the man who had slashed the powerful demon with a mere blow.
'I hadn’t been able to get out of the weak creature’s hold. How am I to escape the clutches of this insanely powerful entity?'
Suddenly a warm pad of a thumb rubbed the skin under my eyes, wiping the patches of transparent liquid flowing down my cheek, hindering my thought process, rendering me unable to reason anymore. A low voice was whispering something in my ear, but before my mind could comprehend the meaning behind those words, a pair of soft lips started tracing a path down to the corner of my trembling lips, covering them swiftly without any warning.
I had expected the paint on his lips to taste like chalk yet it didn’t. The paint wasn’t smearing my lips either. It almost felt like a part of his skin. His lips on the other hand, they felt sweeter than any fruit I had ever consumed. His thumb and index finger was holding my chin in its place, guiding my face to suit his lips’ chaste movements. Contrary to my expectation, his touch was way more gentle than his colorful personality. He was kissing my lips as if they were made of glass.
The sweet torture of repeated small hot pecks went on for some moments before he applied pressure on my chin, urging me to part my lips and the moment I did, he slipped his hot tongue inside my drying mouth, claiming it as his own territory.
Soon, another sensation started taking over my body as I felt him sucking something more than my tongue; I could feel him sucking something out of me. My body was getting weaker by the minute, and by the way he used his free arm to wrap around my waist, I could tell he was aware of my deteriorating condition as well.
Just as I was steps away from losing my consciousness, he separated our perfectly joined lips before bending forward to carefully lie me down on the hard ground. Hovering over my face to give me one last look of his crazed smile, the man whispered the same words in my ear that he had before he had captured my mouth with his own,
“You know me, darling. I’m your Hysteria.