Wounds that will not heal (fan fiction)

Lightning lances across the darkened sky, briefly illuminating blackened clouds and a roiling sea, booming thunder follows, rumbling continuously after, as if reluctant to fade away. As it finally ebbs it mingles with the other sounds, the rhythmic crashing of waves as it hits the side of the ship and the hiss of the foam and spray washing over the sides, interspersed with the low creaking of the vessels hull as it endures the stresses of the weather. The metal deck plates are slippery under my feet, the saline ocean spray stings my eyes as I struggle to grip the sodden, icy cold handrail, the thin metal barrier all that keeps me from the raging abyss. The lightning splits the sky again, illuminating the sodden dark metal of the deck and then I see it, a figure silhouetted against the sky by the flash, standing maybe a dozen meters away from me. The glimpse is brief, but it fills me with a chill supposing that even of the freezing seawater. It’s hard to tell but from what I saw, the figure does not look human. The build is too stocky and heavy, like a gorilla or some other great ape, stooping, and yet still taller than me, seemingly unphased by the pitching of the ship, its body covered in matted seaweed and other detritus. I cry out to the being, it’s doubtful it can hear my voice over the noise of the storm, let alone the actual words. Lightning flashed again, the thing has closed the distance, it’s upon me! I yell out and stumble backwards, raising an arm, the thing lunches and slashes at me with claw-like hands and for the first time I see it’s face clearly, it’s human, or rather, it was.

I woke up in bed, cold sweat coating my body, the same dream, the same goddamn dream. I glanced over at the illuminated display on the alarm clock, 4:27 dammit, well, no getting back to sleep now, not after that.

I climbed out of bed and scrabbled at the coffee table, flicking on the television, anything to break the late-night silence. It’s some 24-hour news station, I didn’t bother to flip channels or check which one, they all sound the same anyway. I head into the bathroom, flicking on the light while the TV’s playing in the background, only half listening. “-rising tensions between the US and Chinese governments, Chinese authorities still deny any connection with the disappearance of the vessel almost a week ago.”

The buzz of the electric razor muffled the broadcast as I turned my attention to the mirror and started to shave, squinting from the relative brightness of the light, letting the monotonous drone of world events calm my mind.

When I’d finished, I filled the sink with cold water and absent mindedly reached down to scratch the bandage on my arm, the thing still itched like hell. I was tempted to rip it off and dig my nails in, even though the doctor had advised against it. I reached down and splashed the cold water over my face, it was colder than I expected, and it stung my eyes. I fumbled for one of the towels and glanced into the mirror and froze.

There it was, that face, staring back at me. Pale, sunken skin, looking almost half melted and loosely stretched over the skull, in which was set large bulbous milky white eyes, staring back at me like a dead thing. I yelled and stumbled back, grasping wildly and grabbing a hold of the electric razor, hurling it at the hideous visage as I turned and stumbled out of the bathroom, the shattering of glass behind me. I pressed myself against the wall, covered in a fresh cold sweat and breathing heavily, straining my ears to hear anything other than the mindless droning of the television, staying perfectly still.

A minute passed, then two, then five, still nothing. Gradually my breathing slowed, my hearts pounding ceased. I managed to peak around the corner into the bathroom, there was nothing there but a shattered mirror and my own, nervous reflection, slick with sweat. God dammit, I yelled and took a kick at the coffee table, sending it flying with a crash, what the hell is wrong with me.

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Authors note: This was originally my entry for the writing contest but since I’m not amongst the finalists I figure its safe for me to post here, feel free to leave your comments and thoughts below.

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