They are here and they have found him. Marc finds himself closing his eyes of his own volition, to shut out that first glance. Now he kids himself he is alone in the darkness; that the hunger does not stalk him, though he feels – or thinks he feels – the shadow across his eyelids, despite the fact that they are squeezed tightly shut, scrunched together as hard as he can manage. White patterns dance in the darkness, with intermittent spots of blue.
Marc knows what they are; knows how best to deal with them, as do they all. They have been schooled in their methods, the theory of the practice, many times since the first disappearances began. His breath is laboured, as he seeks to still it; air whistling past his teeth in ragged rattle before blow. Too fast, too quick! His heart picks up pace – pitter patter – as he realises, before he can calm it and he knows he is lost. He feels the hunger latch on to him, home in, creeping, crawling towards him. Coming. For him. For him alone. Tonight.
There is no avoiding it, now the process has begun – he knows it. He was ill prepared for how it would feel; the reality of them. A second and he is caught, though he finds himself putting foot in front of foot, running blindly towards homesteads through scratchy shrubbery and resistant branches in the hope of chancing upon familiar faces. He knows he won’t make it. The thought hits him hard, though he seeks to still it, box it away, before he can process it properly. Too late! It is upon him and they are on it, with it, with him, getting closer, as he fights for calm, to control instinctive reaction. An impossible task and he knows it, as the adrenaline created by his flight pumps through his body, muscles tensed – and they are riding the thought and towards him, closer, still nearer. Marc thinks perhaps within reach - and again, the chill runs right through him, hairs standing on end on his arms, as he brushes them briskly. All so inevitable now. He should never have been out after dark, though they hit without notice, where and when they will. Daylight, dark, seek and find a susceptible target – a moment of weakness and gone! Perhaps he has lasted longer than most. Again, his pulse races, the jump of the heart. Slow, Marc thinks. Slow!
He thinks he should pray, though he knows there is no mercy here. Not now, not ever. Simply for something to do - to fill his mind with words over thoughts, to stop them riding rough shod over him; through him; in him. Marc knows the prayers of those who went before him went unanswered – and there have been many, too many, of those. So few left now, in reality. He is cold now, through to the bone, though the evening was mild before, he thinks. He finds he no longer knows, for definite. Finds he cannot run; not now, not any more - body encased in an ice of fear, impossible to break through; chip away at. With that, he is done, dealt the final self-inflicted blow, sinking to the sodden ground beneath him. He is lost and they will find him. Marc finds himself closing his eyes of his own volition, to shut out that first glance.
A brief breath of wind announces their arrival; the silent stalking assassins. They are here and they have found him. He finds he cannot help himself, again, that one last time. Marc opens his eyes.
Another piece for this last week's Mid Week Blues Buster. This came second this week. The music prompt was Gary Numan's "Here In The Black".