Thomas knew immediately everyone here would perish. He looked over his shoulder to see everyone now stood frozen, staring at the abomination. They’d heard the same voice in their thoughts.
“You do not cower in fear like your fellows, necromancer.”
“I know what you are,” stated Thomas. “You should not be.”
“I can see in your thoughts, you are an educated man. Long has it been since I talked to someone who didn’t fear me.”
“What are you doing here? This is a place of life.”
“Oh, every place is a place of death. You know that. You know death as well as I.”
“I know the circle of death which feeds life. You feed nothing.” Time, he must make time. “I notice you wear the robes of the living, even though you hate all life.”
“I wear them to remind myself that life is weak. Death takes all. And I rule death.”
“I can do what you do, you know that though, don’t you?” He took a step toward the bulkhead and now saw it to be made of bones. “But, in that rising I do, there’s no spirit. No spark of humanity.”
“I’ll give you that,” came the woman’s voice. “But there’s absolute order in what I bring. There’s no pain, nor strife. I bring peace.”
“But…” He looked again at the pinpoints to find they had grown. In the malice there, he forgot what he thought to say.
Time ran out.
Screams of terror and pain brought him back from a precipice. The sound of sick, wet tearing made him close his eyes and he tried to block out his friends’ deaths.
* * * *
Christina sat next to him on their favorite peace of driftwood, eating the crust of bread she always saved from the day before. The men of the village were walking by on their way to the beach for their usual pre-dawn inspections of the boats. Christina nudged him with her shoulder and smiled in the soft, white light of the setting moon.
“Coming to the sea with us this morning, Thomas,” asked one of the men.
He looked, smiling at the morning joke to see one of the men glaring at him with round eyes, one taking up half his face. With a smile that showed pointed, irregular teeth, the man laughed. Christina nudged him again with her shoulder, and he looked down at her.
“I love y—”
A dozen tiny hands grabbed her by the hair and jerked her off the seat and across the giving sand. He dove for her feet, but only his fingertips touched her. Scrambling to his feet he chased her into the dark, but his name, coming to him in screams, faded quickly into the distance. He fell to all fours crying out her name in breathless sobs.
* * * *
The sun shone bright in the clear, blue, noonday sky. The surf broke on the yellow-brown sand of the beach. He felt as if he had just awakened from a long, deep sleep. Only a dream, only a dream. He sat up and wrapped his knees to his chest with his arms.
A low moan came from behind him and made him turn.
There, held with arms outstretched by tiny, grey-skinned hands against the rocks of the cliffside, was Christina. Jagged metal fishing barbs protruded from every inch of her naked body, with strings dangling from them. A small pudgy grey-skinned thing sat on her head holding two strings attached to barbs pulling her eyelids open so he could see the pain-filled pleading.
Another little pudgy creature’s head emerged from the rocks beside her and giggled a high-pitched laugh that reminded him of an insane child. With one of its small hands, it grabbed a string and pulled down.
His Chris opened her mouth to scream, but another of the hands formed into a fist and punched it down her throat. Tears rolled down her cheeks and sobs racked her body.
He tried to run to her, but couldn’t move. Looking down, he saw the same hands latched onto his clothes, he felt them stretching his mouth and pulling his hair. With that same insane giggling, they pulled him back and out over the water. Farther and farther out, until the land became a haze on the edge of his vision. Shadows swam below him, just under the surface, waiting for the hands to drop him into their deep terrifying home. One of them looked around to put its white-eyed face in his. With its razor sharp teeth, it bit savagely into his nose. He screamed and they let him fall. For an impossibly long time the water grew closer. He screamed more as the shadows below gathered for his plunge into what he somehow knew to be an icy death.
* * * *
Thomas landed on hands and knees, but instead of the water, he was on the smooth, black floor of the cabin. A drop of bright red liquid dripped onto the floor beneath his face.
“That’s how I’ll turn you,” said the feminine voice in his head. A deafening laugh that blocked out all else.