Nestled in the peace and serenity of the countryside not far from Stourbridge, lay Harrington Hall, a retirement home for Gentry folk. The former country pile sat hidden amongst its mature gardens and well-manicured lawns. A lake, complete with a large ornamental fountain, shimmered in the moonlight as a gentle breeze rippled across its unbroken surface.
Sliding soundlessly across the well-trimmed lawns, leaving a glistening trail of fluorescent slime, was a creature from the depths of Hell, a mutant that not even the deadliest of radiation could have produced. It glided silently up the wide stone staircase to the formal terrace and on towards the open French windows.
Back across the lake, the dying screams of the night creatures filled the air. Bushes shook violently to the death struggles taking place there. From the horse chestnut avenues leading down to the lake, the deer park became a slaughterhouse, as red deer, with their fawns, fell victim to the creatures. Soon, a heavy silence descended upon the estates grounds.
Margaret, a retired piano teacher, was dozing off in her comfy chair by the open French windows. She loved to look out over the terrace and gardens and slept there most nights as the fresh air helped her breathe, that and the fact her arthritis made it too painful to get in and out of bed.
Margaret shifted in her chair, trying to get into a comfortable position. She let out a small cry of pain as her arthritic hip twisted. Gazing out across the gardens and a lake that was bathed in bright moonlight, with the garden lights all lit up, she thought it looked like a fairy-tale garden.
She’d had to sell her beloved cottage to be able to pay the high fees, but it afforded her a lovely high ceilinged room at the back of the house, and on nights like this with a full moon and the gardens looking so beautiful, she considered it worth every penny.
Settling back in her chair she rested her eyes and was soon dreaming, but the dream turned into a nightmare. She saw creatures, horribly deformed things that could only have come from Hell. They were attacking people and devouring them, then their bodies and grotesque limbs stretched all out of shape, forming into larger and more evil abominations.
They all turned to look at her. Eyes like red coals bored into her. She turned to run but her feet seemed incapable of carrying her away. The creatures advanced, saliva dripping in long sticky strands from open maws that she knew would devour her, body and soul.
She awoke with a start, her hips sending waves of pain throughout her body. Her heart was beating a fast tempo inside her chest and sweat was running down her face in rivulets.
Gripping the arms of the chair as her whole body trembled in the aftermath of the nightmare, it took a while for her to calm down, but once she had re-gained her composure she sat up and reached over to the little table; the care assistant always placed it by her chair containing all the things she would need during the night.
As she pulled some tissues from a box she suddenly froze and looked around the room. She felt she was not alone. She could sense another presence in here with her.
The French doors were still open and the room had become cold and dark. Margaret reached over to the small table to switch on the lamp. As her trembling arthritic hand fumbled for the pull cord she heard a wet sucking sound coming from the far corner of the room.
Something bumped into the dresser. She found the pull cord for the lamp but in her frightened state she tugged it too hard. The lamp came on but toppled over and rolled off the table.
What little light illuminated the room created deep shadows, frightening Margaret even more. She leant forward and looked over to the corner where the noise had come from. She could see a darker shadow over by the far wall, it appeared to be rocking from side to side.
‘Who’s there?’ She whispered, though she didn’t know why she was whispering.
‘What do you want with me?’
No answer came back, just a wet sucking sound that was getting louder.
Still shaken by the nightmare, she drew on that old reserve she used to teach the children to play piano.
‘Come out of the corner so I can see you,’ she called, her voice raised and stern. ‘Stop this nonsense now. You shouldn’t be in here. Show yourself.’
A tall darker shadow slowly detached itself from the surrounding darkness. It moved in a gliding motion towards her. As it came into the pool of light from the fallen lamp it stopped moving.
Margaret screamed. Her arthritic hands rose to cover her face. She turned towards the table where the emergency buzzer was located. As she reached out her hand to press it, the creature moved swiftly and silently across the floor towards her. Margaret’s head turned quickly around, causing a sharp pain to shoot down her back. The sight of the monster that had come from her nightmare into her room brought a strangled cry to her throat.
The thing was huge and hideously deformed, its head scraping along the ceiling left trails of slime that dripped down onto the carpet. With writhing tentacles and a thick elongated neck which carried an enormous bulbous head, it slowly lowered a gaping maw filled with long sharp teeth that pointed backwards into a dripping cavern. A deep gurgling sound came from its throat.
Margaret tried to rise from the chair, her hips sending daggers of white hot pain through her sides. Her mouth opened to scream again as the creature’s head lunged forward. Its huge mouth opened impossibly wide, swooped down to where she was sitting and engulfed her head and shoulders, trapping her arms to her sides.
Into the darkness, inside the creature’s cavernous mouth, Margaret screamed for God to help her.
The creature slowly crushed the top of Margaret’s body until the razor sharp teeth sliced her in half. Her hands, the knuckles swollen and distorted, no longer attached to her arms, dropped to the floor with a slight thud.
It’s head rose to the high ceiling and Margaret’s head and chest slid easily down its throat. The head lowered again towards what was left of the lifeless body still sitting in the chair. Its tentacles reached forward and wrapped around her waist, squeezing blood and shit from the open torso as it closed its grip around her. As it lifted the remains up to its mouth a thick rubbery tube extended outwards into the gaping hole of the abdomen.
It sucked up through the tube what was left of Margaret’s organs, and as if raising a glass to get that last drop of precious liquid at the bottom, it raised it to the ceiling and shook it over its open mouth, the legs flapping around like a rag doll. Blood and excrement dripped down over the creature’s already glistening head and body.
Lowering what was left of Margaret, just a pair of legs and an empty flapping abdomen, it dropped the remains back on the chair, where it slid to the floor to join her severed hands.
As the creature backed silently out through the French windows and into the night, the house became filled with screams of terror and pain as more of the creatures attacked and tore apart the residents and staff.