He could smell it; the unmistakable scent of living human flesh and he sensed an opportunity to feast on something warm, rich and satisfying.
He lumbered down a road that was somehow vaguely familiar, the street lights in the darkness casting eerie shadows but he did not notice – he was unaware of the environment.
A movement in a room, the hurried extinguishing of a light inside, he became aware that the smell emanated from within so he followed his instinct to the house; glass doors were no obstacle and he easily found his way inside.
The smell was stronger now and he followed it up the stairs; somehow he knew where he needed to go.
A scream, “No Daddy!”, then eerie silence before the satiation.
She sat cross legged on the floor. A smashed lamp was crumbled beneath her hand, sharp edges tinged bright red. Her hair was in disarray and she stared at some non-existent something many yards beyond the facing wall. She had been like this for hours now, motionless, soundless, devoid of emotion and unaware of the world moving forward without her.
The day had started well enough. Naturally bubbly she had chatted carelessly with friends and strangers at a local coffee shop and had made small talk with the cashier at the local supermarket before she had taken that bike ride.
The lamp was not the only thing that was crushed; her spirit had been ripped to shreds. In the canyon her world exploded, dreams and hopes replaced by horror and emptiness. The evil was consuming her, sucking the life from her and replacing it with darkness. Her soul, beaten and violated was so far within that even she could not reach it.
She had no idea how she had managed to get home. None of it mattered anyway – nothing at all was important now. Or perhaps it was important but she didn’t care – she didn’t know. She was utterly and completely lost.
She was in agony. Pain wracked her body in never ending waves. Her face was clenched in a grimace that sharply expressed the nerve-induced horror that she was enduring and sweat glistened in tiny beads on her forehead. “Breathe” I said.
She looked at me, pleading to me with lightless eyes that cried out for help in ways that her voice could not otherwise express. Her hand gripped mine with a ferocity that revealed the terror that she must not face alone.
She breathed out, long and slow, closing her eyes and letting the exhale drive the smallest portion of tension from her. She relaxed slightly and breathed in, drawing the cold air deep into her lungs. As she settled back down into her pillow a little color returned to her grey, drawn face and she opened her eyes; “Thank you” they said.
And then once more the agony returned.