THE DESCENT

She had awoken, her long blondish hair curled beside her warm breath. As she had gasped over and over again for the same satisfaction that the others were given. She was given no word on whether she could awake or even die. She was told multiple times, over and over; ‘You will not leave this place.’ The words echoed in her encased mind. Her skull was covering up the words she wished to speak. Being held back for so long, is it any wonder why she couldn’t speak? Perhaps not. She awoke with her hands fiddling together whilst she smiled with her beautiful lips touching once more. She grasped her pillow with frustration and threw it to the other side of the room. As the pillow landed, the white door sealed with barbed wire had opened.

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9. CHAPTER 9

- CHAPTER 9 -

Sleepy head dreams when you’re awake. Sleepy head sees you when you’re semi-awake. Everyone’s eyes become a faded image of two pupils pushing against molten lava. As the eyeball melts, so does the rest of the shield. The glimmer and the glamour fails to show itself. It becomes dreary and falls through open space. A large enough eyeball that manages to rotate like an owl, it watches you. It watches them. Sleepy head

The little girl looked up at the rooftops; all formed so perfectly, pointed corners and sharp edges. The moonlight shined through the thick fog, as more and more shadows became visible to her eyesight. Sleepy head didn’t see the little girl crying in the corner. Her panting became a little more controlled. As if the little girl could conquer her fear over the unnatural. The fog and the moonlight blended together like jam and peanut butter. As it became a little weird how such a strange atmosphere could reveal so much to her. She rubbed her eyes, feeling tense and trying to get a grip of the outside world beyond her memory. ‘Forgotten’ was a word. It was more than a word. It became the name of someone.

“Sleepy head . . . oh dear, you’ve fallen out of bed.” The voice continued throughout the unseen nights. “If you had to bother, please, please . . . don’t put me to b-bed.”

The voice sounded strange. It was hard to describe, she couldn’t get a grip on the emotion behind the voice. It was as if Sleepy head was more than a lost soul. Someone trapped inside several floors, screaming ‘help!’ no answer. It would always be no answer. Sleepy head would have a moment where her voice creaked the floorboards from underneath the grounds. Soon, the little girl would hear the same sound she dreaded years ago . . . a squeal, a scream, the slam of a door. A shadow man walking inside with his hat looking quite fine. Before she can even speak. The voice enters and the emotion drops. Not much is known, she had thought. Although, it is nothing more than a phantom of some sort.

The little girl held her knees together. Looking up at the moonlight, it reflected so much emotion in one ray of light. She wiped her eyes, clear and blue. Although, he body felt quite dead. Her memory was known as deceased. Anything that had ascended such a frightful place would become the vulture who surrounds the space. Before she had a word with her loved ones, whatever that meant. She would cry in the corner, looking down at the floorboards. Feeling a little dead. Feeling the need to rest her head. Before she knows it, she ends up back in bed.

“. . . I’m not alone, you know. I’m practically you. I mean, you have the nerve to come meet me.” Sleepy head continued speaking.

The little girl couldn’t take much more. “Stop it. You obviously know me.”

“Little girl, I don’t mean to be rude. Everything you see, everything we see . . . it’s all a mess. Jumbled up images, jumbled up words. Mixed up minds, and you know what?”

“No. What?” She asked feeling frightened inside.

“Those shadows you meet. Whatever that is. The things you follow. They’re leading you backwards, but they say its forwards.” Sleepy head cried in agony. “You don’t know me. GET AWAY FROM ME!”

The voice continued screeching. The little girl tried to reason with the good-side of the beast.

“Don’t mind that. Honestly, I’m not afraid of you.” She groaned in pain. “It’s just your face. It feels so normal . . .”

The little girl tried to sneak away from Sleepy head. She wanted to leave and never return.

“. . . If you stay, I can tell you everything you want to know.” Sleepy head moved her arms near the little girl.

When the little girl looked up, she could see Sleepy head. What it really was trapped inside a shadow-creature? The arms were not human, it looked as if a spider had crunched up its body and stuck it to a human body. Forming a spider-queen abomination. Shadow dust surrounding the arms and body like flames from a fire. Every time the creature spoke, the little girl could see the pain inside her. Bleeding out all over the floors.

“. . . I don’t play games with them. I’m not even one of them.” The voice became clearer, less screechy.

“Oh my god . . . y-you are like me. Why don’t you just let it out?”

“. . . You can hear me?” It asked. “Nonsense. The shadows are cleansed inside everybody. You don’t have darkness around you. It feels strange, you know? Like someone is pulling you but someone else is also ripping you apart. Many hands all go up to me. Why are you not helping them?”

“Sleepy head. I don’t know, but I know that you know . . .”

“Know what?!” It roared. “I’m sick of you, you are all the same . . . always trying to find some kind of DARKNESS inside us all . . .”

The little girl spoke out randomly: “Sorry. There was once a little girl who followed her shadows. Breaking reality because of her dreams. Her life had ended before she even met that life. A helping hand pulled her out, pushed her in but wouldn’t let her shout. Her voice became faded, her body dissolved in an acidic world, a place full of Hell. A world where one could speak but another could not.”

“SHUT UP!” Sleepy head clawed the little girl.

“Sorry. The girl lost her ways, her arms and her legs. Her body removed and her hair had bloomed. A pale face remained, it was the end of her. The end of her race. Her eyes gobbled up by a widow. The woman had nothing more than a perfectly puffed pillow. She murmured, she cried. She lost her baby but not her side. Cut down the middle, she was removed. Her heart remained locked in a room.”

“The fog . . . you can’t be serious. Why are you joining the foggy areas, huh? IS it because I’m not like you?” Sleepy head became corrupt.

“Never mind that. Listen to that, did you hear that?” The little girl whispered.

“Chanting. Is that really for me?” It asked. “W-why would you do this—“

“I didn’t do anything. It’s all you. Really . . .”

Sleepy head had lost almost all her blood. She had crept out of her lair, and with that being an event. She lost half of her face. Her skin dissolved into shadowy jointed body parts. Her eyes glowed yellow, and her spider-like legs began to crumble underneath the flooring. The fog faded away her personality, her appearance became real. Half of the creature was standing and the other had fallen to the side. The little girl almost fainted, her head became full of memories. Too many at once. She could barely take it, half of the creature stood staring at her.

“Let me ask you this . . . b-before I fade away . . . did the little girl ever have a heart?” Sleepy heads’ other half spoke.

“W-what does that mean?” The little girl lost the virus controlling her.

“. . . I t-thought so. Why, why, why, why! Why must you hurt me? Why are you asking me the questions?”

Sleepy heads’ other half sunk deeper into the flooring, her spider-like legs became shards of compacted dust. A whole fragment of dust that locked in place, forming a strange-looking crystal beneath her feet. The little girl stared at Sleepy head trying to take all the pain in her head. She stood tall with one side of her body wanting to fall down and sleep. The other side of the brain and body wanted to stay awake. Sleepy head screamed in agony, the scream echoed throughout the foggy hallway. Every floor rumbled into strange-dusted sands. Her legs became twitchy. Sleepy head held her face with her spider-like legs. Covering up her whole face, blocking out the sight of another little girl.

“I’m sorry . . .” the little girl kneeled down, letting the other side of her body take her down.

“I-I don’t see you. One… two… three… I’m sorry for letting this happen. Mother, please! Let me go to sleep . . .”

Another voice entered the empty atmosphere. “Sleepy head, rest your sleepy head.”

The little girl didn’t feel intimidated by this new voice. It didn’t sound familiar but she knew that it was safe to talk back to. Her little hands formed into dusted bandages. Her hair dropped down in-front of her face. It was as if a warm hand had pushed her hair forward. Soon, she could feel the warm hand brushing her face. She smiled at the sight of a screaming little girl. Sleepy head had dissolved into a pile of dust. The only thing that remained was her ribcage. Wedged between the rib bones was nothing but a note. The little girl finally gave into the need to sleep. She had fallen head first into the sludge below her. Little did she know that Sleepy head was the key to the next floor.

Background voices grew around her.

“We should leave her. There are too many dying down here . . .”

“Are you crazy?” Another voice shouted.

“No. But if we leave her in the sludge pits. How do you think she’ll find us?”

“There is no us. There is only you . . .”

The little girl awoke to the screaming voices of two slightly older children. She looked up and noticed that the faces were covered by masks. Halloween-like masks, a Scream mask. A pumpkin head stuck to her face. She couldn’t tell whether they were really children. They had clothes on, but the little girl’s memory slipped back into place. A memory that reminded her that she was naked.

“Oh . . . goodness, I didn’t expect that.” The child gasped.

“Calm down, I don’t think she’s even human . . .”

“I am human. I’ve seen others too. My name is . . . I don’t know.”

“We could name her. Maybe, she could live with us.”

“Never. She won’t survive. The others are barely surviving, they’re eating each-other. Sludge pits are becoming filthy.”

“Excuse me? Don’t I have a say in this?” The little girl blurted.

“Ha, ha. Of course. Why not, she is the guest.”

The little girl stood up covering herself up with some sludge. As she stood up, the children pretended that they hadn’t seen her naked. Standing up and looking right at the masked freaks. She was oblivious to the knowing of the world. Before she had chance to brush off the sludge from around her mouth. A familiar face had appeared. Standing tall behind the two masked kids, the Top Hat Man had returned. Holding nothing but a golden-silver cane in his left claw. In his right claw, an old-looking lantern. As if they had gone grave digging.

“Ah . . . look who it is. It certainly seems it, at-least.” The Top Hat Man whispered.

“Do you, I’m sorry. But you do know this girl?”

“Very well. Yes. She is very brave for her age. I’ve seen her survive the widow from above. She has even taken on the heart of a dark creature. Not only that, she certainly knows how to push the boundaries.”

The masked child gasped. Behind the mask, the child smiled. Happy to know that a younger person had survived through the dangers above. Knowing that he wasn’t the only one. He was very proud to have witnessed a young girl survive and not sink into the sludge pits.

“We should take her back to the others. She might want to meet them—“

“No. Child. I don’t want any more guests. You’ve fooled them so many times, bring back the pets, and bring back the food. Now, you just want to take a random little girl to your own home?” The other masked kid spoke.

“Whatever you do with her. Be warned that she is smart. I mean, if she didn’t sink. What does that tell you?” The Top Hat Man smirked.

The little girl made a random action, an attempt to hurt the Top Hat Man. She lunged at him with her hand shaped as if she wanted to punch him down into the ground.

“Oh, wow. Temper, temper, we certainly have room for one more. Tell you what, take her back to your home. Devour her soul, make her feel welcome. Her head is so corrupted. No wonder she hasn’t made it out. With every floor, she seems to learn more.”

“Tell me your names. I’ll beat you all to the ground!” The little girl cried out.

The two masked kids felt threatened to even reveal themselves to her.

“You see, we don’t tell anyone our—“

“Names? Well, little girl. Their names are quite simple. Joe and Joanne.”

“You idiot!” Joe shouted.

“Never mind him, Joe. Just take her back to the house. We’ll look after her there. This freak, he can just get out of here!”

The Top Hat Man smirked again. “Very well. Have fun being devoured, I’m sure you’ll be nicer to me next time. Whether you had it in you or not. You really could’ve hurt yourself back there. Self-harm, doesn’t sound like you, dear.”

The little girl dragged through thick puddles of sludge, the masked kids; Joe and Joanne dragged her away into more darkness. Before she knew it, she could feel several more hands pull her to the side. She even felt some of the parts she tried to cover up being ripped from her body. The hands surrounded her, and strange pale faces stared at her. Joe and Joanne covered their eyes with sludge and ignored the dangers ahead.

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