The Ancient

Marcus is on the run from Them. No matter where he hides They seem able to find him so Marcus never stays in one place for too long. But with the violence that follows everytime Marcus has one of his blackouts maybe They should be on the run from Marcus?

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1. Them

 

He didn’t know how, but They had found him. As Marcus frantically ran around the motel room to collect his belongings and jam them into his canvas duffel bag he cursed himself for not keeping a low enough profile to avoid being spotted. He’d been so sure he’d been careful. He’d hardly left the Motel room all week and the guy on the desk had barely looked away from his little black and white TV when Marcus had checked in. Bay Watch could still pull in the viewers.

Marcus bit at his lower lip absently until the bitter taste of blood brought him to his senses. He was at a loss. How could they have found him so soon?

The queasy swoon of fear took him then. He sat down hard onto the lumpy bed with its scratchy woollen blankets and wafer thin, grubby pillows. He let a long deep sigh escape his lips and looked around the room. His eyes moved to the bedside table where he’d placed the oily black automatic the night before. He hated it’s presence in the room. Hated it’s presence in his life. Maybe if it had made him feel safe he could have tolerated it but he knew full well that it was useless. Useless against Them. He’d come to the conclusion long ago that the only reason he kept the gun at all was purely for a time when his only option would be to take his own life. He was sure that time would soon come. He’d even carved his name into a bullet which he kept in his pocket at all times. That had been a strangely liberating experience for him. It had given him a feeling of control he hadn’t felt in months. He smiled at this as he stood up and reached for the gun. Maybe the time HAD come? But then his gaze fell upon the bunch of keys he’d laid beside the gun. A Troll key ring sat atop the bunch, seemingly watching him. His daughter had given the key ring to him six months and a lifetime ago. Ever since then, the Troll had become a talisman of hope to him. The portent of the gun and the Troll constantly weighed heavily on his mind.

Marcus became conscious of his dalliance when he heard a commotion outside his motel room window. The fear returned in an instant accompanied by a sharp hit of adrenaline. Were they here already?

Marcus grabbed the keys and the gun and put them into the pockets of his sport jacket. Swiping the duffel bag from the bed he made to leave. As his hand reached for the latch, someone began knocking violently on the door.

Marcus stared at the door in horror and stood frozen in the middle of the motel room. For a brief moment his mind was completely silenced by fear. Then the adrenaline began to set alarm bells ringing and Marcus became aware that he was simply standing like a statue whilst They were trying to beat the door to his room down. He quickly scanned the room in a futile effort to find a place to hide before heading for the bathroom. He’d take his chances escaping through the bathroom window. He closed the door to the bathroom behind him and turned the lock to buy him a few more seconds. The window looked terribly small. Maybe too small. Marcus climbed into the bathtub then placed his feet on the edge nearest the wall and reached for the window. He pulled at the latch. It was stuck fast. He pulled again. The latch failed to move the merest millimetre and as Marcus realised he was trapped there came the wrenching sound of the motel door being torn from its hinges with the dry snap of splintering wood. Marcus began to feel the panic overwhelm him. He reached for the gun in his jacket pocket. He jumped when They began to bang incessantly at the bathroom door. He turned to face the sound and shakily aimed the gun. Beads of sweat broke out on his forehead and his stomach lurched. This was it. It was time for the bullet with his name on it. He knew the gun was useless. Knew it would do nothing to stop Them. There was a pause in the banging. Then a succession of heavy thuds began to shake the door in its frame. They were charging the door, desperate to reach him.

Marcus fell to his knees and began to weep. He would never see his wife and daughter again. Never hold them in his arms and receive their love.

There came another thud and the door split along the middle and began to bend inwards. Marcus felt for the bullet, found it and began loading it into the gun. He freed the magazine, fed the bullet into the clip before returning it to the butt of the gun. He pulled back the chamber to load the bullet and put the gun to his temple. He’d imagined this moment many times. Had tried to imagine how it would feel. He had never thought that a conscious decision would still terrify him so much. The fear he felt as he began to squeeze the trigger almost outweighed the fear he felt as They feverishly attacked the bathroom door to get to their prey. His whole body began to tremble as the door shattered into pieces and showered the floor in splinters.

Then it happened.

 

The pain hit him, a white searing heat emanating from the centre of his brain outwards. He knew the pain well. He knew it intimately and yet he was still never quite prepared for the intensity of it and he knew he wouldn’t be prepared for the consequences of it either. Marcus sank to his knees and clutched the sides of his head with his shaking hands. He rested his chin on his thighs and began to rock slowly back and forth. His nose began to bleed profusely and this, Marcus knew, meant he would pass out very soon. That was what frightened him the most: The things that happened whilst he was unconscious.

His vision began to fade, the floor of the bathroom greying out and followed quickly by an all consuming black. Marcus slumped to the floor.  

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