Dance macabre, flesh and bones, lay silent as I have. Despite being dead to the world, she was alive, sleeping in peace. Here, in this gap, I hide from this misery, for there is no shelter from such indignity. It is only in my mute dream that I can lay sheltered from the shadows that haunt these grounds from the darkness of the world. In this place, there was no one who could harm me. Wistfully, I knew I needed to wake up once again to the crumbling dawn. Inhaling a deeply fetid aroma, I rise up to the surface of the real world. My eyes slowly opened as I looked around the dumpsters where I had settled. The surroundings are filled with filth and trash. It was this dull reddish purple sky I fell asleep under that I gazed up to meet this morning.
After rubbing off the deep slumber that had covered me, I let out a yawn and spread myself like a cat. As I curl into it, I feel my back’s strain release and become considerably more comfortable. In exhalation, I released the tension in my muscles that had been held in for so long.
“You have something that belongs to me.” I froze as I heard the statement. There was a noticeable youthful quality to her voice, in a way that was unsettling. While my instincts didn’t want me to look, I couldn’t trust the voice at the same time. As far as I’m concerned, it sounded human enough, but if experience has taught me anything, it wasn’t. My head twists as I consider an amalgamation of components. As my eyes swelled with repulsion, I felt my stomach turn. Despite having a human head, an adolescent’s head to be precise, all conventions ended there. In addition to that enamel face, ram horns, and long ears are also present. In spite of its primitive nature, her collar had a fur shawl that I suspected had been torn from something else. Her long hair was braided in the front and rolled like embers in the back, like the blaze from a midnight fire.
Her presence causes me to cower down. In the wake of her neck, the thing evolved into something even more grotesque. “I… I… I don’t swear.” She has four arms that come off her like braches. In each case, they were distinct from one another. They resembled human arms, except for one which had a blade sticking out of it. The trim on her body was bone-like with open sores, and her arms were covered with armor.
As for her other two arms, they resembled bones mixed with mechanical parts. The fingers on each of them were adorned with razor claws. An array of bandages and harnesses encircled her breasts.
Pins were fastened to her torso, and mechanical parts were attached to her abdomen. Her exhale seemed to move them in sections. Walking up along the pavement with her four cloven hooves, the monster was a sight to see. Her torso seemed to be riding another beast. It was impossible to miss the massive skull at her crotch, which was attached to her body with muscles clearly visible. In addition to the ram’s jaw being absent and its fleshy tethers forming the legs, the skull sits between another skull divided down the middle.
Several polished rings of alloy surround her waist. The metallic piece was encrusted with onate patterns. There were fleshy tethers moving down to each of her goat’s four limbs, as well as shields. In addition, she had two enormous bone-like wings without feathers, like an owl. Several trinkets were attached to her tail. As far as height goes, she stood about ten feet tall. Strange pumps and devices covered her body, and bones protruded from them.
The vibrations she produces dwarf me in stature and make me wince every time she treads. “Please. I don’t want any problems.” The gaze of her rosewood eyes turned towards me. Watching as her elegant lips spread into a grin, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of fear. “Just let me go. Please.” She grips my shirt with her human hand. As the boney fingers push me against the wall, they lift me off the ground. Frightened, I kick my legs to get away from the monster.
It seems that something is amiss about you,” she proclaims with her eyes fixed on mine. Until I can no longer fight, the clutch strangles any fight I have left in me. My hopelessness drove me to give up. It wouldn’t have mattered how hard I fought since my efforts would not have measured up to her. She pressed my cheek into the wall. Having been entertained by her analysis, she helps me get back on my feet. The farther I slip away from it, the more I stumble as I give up and force myself into the nearest wall. “Tell me, what are you?”
It was as if she stole my tongue in her presence. Although I had every intention of responding, my speech was shaken by my struggle. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I should answer. As far as I could tell, she seemed rational. On the other hand, she was uncomfortable to look at. I squeaked, “Human.”
“Interesting. I will have to assimilate you.” she released veined cables that stretched out from her frame. The creatures looked like long worms with cavities at the ends. Like vermin, the tethers move slowly toward me. I kick at the six leeches and corner myself against the wall to avoid getting bitten. In response, I simply receive a slight smile from the thing in front of me. As a result, I was stranded with nowhere to run.
My fear overwhelmed me and I collapsed to the ground in fear. “Please don’t do that. My blood,” She squinted her eyes at me as she reared up one thing with its snarling mouth to my face, “It will kill you.” From the crumpled hold, I could see the girl retract the cords back into her torso. As I spoke to her, she listened to me. There is a possibility that I can persuade her. “You, your, not going to kill me, are you?”
“Should I? I was not planning on it but hey you know how those things go.” Looking around me, I see a mangled piece of glass on the ground. As I leapt over my shoulders, I snatched the glass, throwing myself to the ground on my knees. With the glass at my fingertips, I press it against my skin. The pride that filled me bubbled up as I held down, providing a sprinkle of blood.
“Get away from me!” I screamed, using the wall to create distance between us. In the machine’s hellfire eyes, there is nothing but a blank stare. As a result, it stepped away from me, making me feel much more comfortable. “I am warning you. If I bleed on you, you’ll melt.”
An amicable snicker escapes the girl’s lips. “Aren’t you an imaginative one? Where in the world would you get an idea like that?”
There was no way I could bring myself to mention the name Hellibore. There was truth in his statement. “I have seen it.” I whimpered.“He injected himself with it. I… it killed him. He died in front of me.”
Her response seemed to elicit a moment’s pause. “What a fascinating discovery, isn’t it? You are empty.”
“Empty? What’s that mean?”
“It means you have no machines,” she explained to me. “Only the ones you stole from me.” As she stares down at me, she carries an expression of indignation in her eyes.
“I didn’t steal anything. I don’t know what you mean.”
“We have decided not to assimilate you.” Hearing this made me shiver a bit. Even so, it brought me some relief as well. “You should drop the glass, it would not save you, anyway.” It is clear that she is looking directly into my eyes. “You do not pose an actual threat to us and I am curious how did you survive this long outside of stasis.”
My fingers just went limp as I tried to grasp the glass. “How did you know?” My face was filled with shock.
“Stasis. You are young, you could not have gotten here without being in stasis.” the creature told me.
“I… I… there was a colony. It’s dead now.” I replied. In releasing myself from my guard, I find my fear slowly slipping away. “Do… do… you have a name?”
“We have many names, my name is Velora, my name is Erianthe, my name is Livius, my name is Ravener, my name is Bree, my name is Marionette, my name is Novella, my name is Vanity, my name,”
“Stop!” I shout. “You are not Vanity.”
“I am not, Vanity is us though. I assimilated her. So her arm which you possess is mine by right.” She said without hesitation or emotion. Holding Vanity’s arm tightly, I rear up with tears streaming down my face. Taking a step closer, that hideous creature extends its goat-like limb toward me. “Don’t cry.” she towers over me but gentles herself down to the ground. As she presses her hand against my cheek, I feel the warmth of her boney fingers. My face is pressed against the razor as I stare up into her eyes. In spite of this, I did not perceive any malice. It was gentle, and with a squeeze, my scalp could be stabbed effortlessly.
“I understand. Please… don’t take it.”
The demon says, “Parina, I know you.” I shake my head at her. The horror I am witnessing is not Vanity! That’s impossible. Clearly, she is trying to fool me. She is deceiving, she is a swindler. It is not okay for her to do that, she is evil, she is wicked!
“You killed her!” When I push against her arm, it flies away, allowing me to escape.
Her gaze is disheartened as she peered at me. “Vanity is not dead, she lives in me. To you, I am Velora, a human name.” That is the last thing I want to see in her sick and twisted mind. Ricocheting down the alleyway to get away from that thing, that thing took her away. Stole her… it’s a monster. It’s a devil that is far wickeder than any other.
As I scurry through the streets like a mouse in a maze, I find myself inside the remains of this old city that had once been vibrant; now it’s all about terror. No matter where I ended up, as long as my feet weren’t here, it didn’t matter. Staying didn’t come with any prizes. There is nothing more to this gruesome place except its propositions. The more I wandered, the more I saw my humanity peeling off of me, metaphorically discarded on the ground.
She killed Vanity; what a horrible thing to do. Here, leniency wasn’t an option. As things stand, that’s the way they are. I was never even considered in terms of whether or not I would be okay with what she was saying. To whatever was out there, I was just another sack of flesh waiting to be eaten. In the end, I finished my tour outside of a grocery store. It was obvious from the hologram of a woman driving a shopping cart. At least, I think that’s what it’s supposed to be. On the building’s side, there are pieces of flesh sticking out. This landscape of sinew gave me a feeling of insecurity, as you might imagine. In spite of this, I continue through the parking lot, despite its derelict state.
As this decay progressed, automobiles were left to decompose and rust. Nodules of tissue even swallowed some of them. A number of those human-like creatures were wandering around. It was unclear whether they had spotted me yet, but if they did, they would certainly tear me apart. Looking around, I seek out a place where I can go without drawing attention to myself.
My feet shuffle back behind the building as I walk around. Compared to everything else in this old grim town, it isn’t very different. The echo of my footprints was the only thing keeping me company. There was a hound-like creature plunging from the roof of the food mart. As it landed on all fours, it turned to look at me. With metal on its body and a shifting face, it looked like an alien. I was beyond my comfort zone when I saw the dog’s long, stretched-out neck. The animal swings its head to reveal man’s face. My heart sank as I screamed.
My little scream must have shocked the creature. In response to the dog-like creature’s gaze, I withdrew slowly. There was a thick coat of saliva dripping from his jaw and he showed signs of being battered. No noise is made, no sound is heard; it just peers at me; it doesn’t move, doesn’t say anything. At first, I thought I could walk away, foolish me. “Aaaaahhhheeee.” The dog man said softly.
As I look behind me, I see the doorway to the grocery store. Hopefully, I will be able to barricade myself in there if I can just get there. With its guttural growl, the thing prowled closer to me, revealing its vicious nature. Every tooth was exposed as drool pooled and gushed out at its mouth’s sides. Metal formed the gums of his mouth. It was also possible to make out cables enclosed in metal around his mouth. There was a sense that his muscles were strung together and he was a machine. The movements of his body were broken, as if he had once been a well-oiled engine, but is now decaying.
My back was against the wall so I just had to open the door. However, the dog thing was extremely close. My hands were gripping the knob of the door. Bracing myself, I took a long deep breath. After jolting the door open, I hurled it as hard as possible behind me as I plunged into the chamber. My stomach was churning, “That was a close one.” Drooping against the floor, I look up. It must have been the office door that I took.
The relief was short-lived, however, as I heard the dog man gnaw at the door, scrape the door with its claws, and ravage the door. Before I even got to my feet and began jumping back, light from the outside had already come pouring in. There wasn’t much time left before the dog came inside.
There was a rumble coming from the room down the hall that made my skin crawl. In response to the crash, I spun my head. There was nothing I could say other than “No.”. I heard something getting closer as it thudded and thumped. It wasn’t long before I realized they’d pinned me. “Aoooaaahhhh.” a high pitch wail rang from the room. A limb pokes its head out of the doorway. In the front there is this thing with a body like a busted up torso that keeps limping out. My first thought was that it reminded me of a chicken, without the feathers, but human. Several low moans were delivered by the head that popped out of a cavity in its body. I watched the living thing begin its journey down the hallway while hunched over and menacing. Between the two, I am almost in full panic, pushing my back into the door, hoping to keep the dog from breaching it.
An exit gap had formed as the hound ripped at the exit. My leg was grazed when its tongue came out. There was something disgusting about it. It was difficult to get away from his slimy lick as I toiled to the side. “Stay away!” I screamed. My gaze is drawn down as I watch the dog rip through the doorway with its claws. An instant later, its head appears and nips at my leg. As I struggle to keep the dog’s head from biting me, I whack its head away. In the hall, there was a roar coming from the other creature.
My focus shifts to the organ thing that resembles a chicken as I recede around the corner. As the creature sluggishly moved, pus and slime filled its veins. This is not the way I want to die. As the dog man carries a piece of me, I imagine the strange creature chewing on my arm. “Ban!!! ” Outside, an enormous figure moves. As quickly as it happened, the dog was ripped from the doorway. Outside the door, something far grander and fiercer awaits.
In terror, it howls “Ahlahw.”. It then vanishes. I’m suddenly considerably less scared of the strange monster in the suite. As it took off, the monster was obviously in agreement with me. A feeling of anxiety overtook me as I contemplated what was about to happen.
A number of arms could be seen grasping it through the holes in the doorway. Their ripping of it to pieces sent my jaw crashing to the ground. A red glare obscured my vision at such speed; it captured me as if I had been nothing at all. My throat convulsed with a yelp of fear as I was tossed into the air. My attempts to escape its grasp are desperate, but I only succeed in making it worse. It is only when I pull my eyes away from the creature that I can make out the familiar red eyes of Velora’s bitter face. In the midst of feeling the blood drain from my face, I become white like a ghost. Nonetheless, she sets me on the ground next to her and walks off without saying anything. It took me a while to get over my shock when I first saw her.
“T-hanks for sa-ving me.” Besides the fact that she didn’t want me hurt, I wasn’t sure what to make of that. There’s no doubt about it. When I looked over to the wall, I found the dog person spattered against it. As soon as the juice from the puddle hit the ground, the tentacles were already thriving. As the tentacles grabbed at meat and the rest of the body, they pulled it back together.
The words “Follow me” snapped me out of my trance. I nodded. “Understand.” I shook my head. “Good, now, follow me.”
As a result, I pursued Velora and followed her in whatever paradise or purgatory she might have waited for me.
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