As the boys both lay smiling amongst the waste that was left by the explosion, they felt triumphant. “Did you think that would have worked in the real world,” Mick Asked.
Edgar remained staring at the ceiling, “we’re already one for one after the dud bomb. If someone were keeping score, I’d say we’re up after being able to keep our heads about us,” he said, his nose still bleeding and his face coated in a thin layer of dust. Both the young men started laughing, but Edgar paused for a moment when he started to see the ceiling shift slightly.
Edgar couldn’t tell whether he had fallen asleep and started dreaming or was simply imagining it all. The ceiling was shimmering in the darkness, like the water on the floor. He admired something for being so beautiful for a few more seconds before realizing what it could actually be.
“No—you wouldn’t,” Edgar muttered unbelieving to himself. He lifted to his elbows again and squinted, seeing that the shimmer had actually been a wriggling. He picked his penlight back out of the water and pointed its flickering beam to the ceiling.
Hundreds of worm-like growths were slithering towards the far end of the hall. They were shimmering like a black ink.
“Mick, wake up,” Edgar said flatly.
Mickey was hardly shifting; he grumbled like a child having to wake up for school. Edgar kept his head tilted, and although reluctant, he followed the small, ink-like slugs to the point where some had stopped entirely to drop on the spot while others had continued down the sides of the wall.
In the distance, Edgar saw the only thing left, or what he thought was left, of the black mass. The creature’s massive eye, red with irritation and exposed as if in a permanent state of shock at what had happened, as would anyone who had recently gotten blown to pieces.
The eye started to rise above the water it was floating on; as the smaller pieces of him reformed his massive, slug-like form, Edgar saw the black, ink-like substance that now made Norman Eldridge a monster form an expression of pure anger around its iris. Any hope of being granted a swift death was extinguished with such an expression. It wasn’t out to simply kill them anymore; the creature wanted vengeance.
Edgar punched Mick in the leg. “HEY,” Mick said lifting his whole torso out of the water in a single motion, “what’s your prob—–oh.”
Mick saw the black mass regaining enough of its visceral muck to start forming arms again. He sighed, “This is such bullsh—-.”
The black mass grabbed Mick before he could say anything else and began shaking him like a child with a piggy bank. Edgar rose to a knee and started measuring again; only this time he had nothing but hope for a new plan.
The beam from Edgar’s penlight had stayed in place, illuminating the black mass and it’s soon-to-be chew toy. Edgar ran to the side of the creature, and past its shadow.
Mick couldn’t believe his eyes. “Don’t wait up,” he pled, hearing the fear in his own voice. he had died less than three weeks ago, and now he was going to die again. Only this time he was going to die alone.
The black mass was starting to regain his teeth in such a horrible way that it had made Mick more nauseated than he had already been. He could smell the years of decay on his breath as the creature’s teeth came from every direction on his body and formed, one by one, the same sinister, saw-like smile he and Edgar had seen before. As if it couodnt habe been worse, the saw-like teeth began rotating.
The black mass began to squeeze Mick like a man-sized burrito that was destined to habe a giant bite taken out of it.
Through a tightened expression, Mick started his real plea.
“Norman, please. I’ve fought off pizza demons that were steaming piles of horror, but I don’t want to go out this way, man,” Mick said. Through creature’s sinister smile, although Mick thought it couldn’t have gotten any worse, a guttural sound was emitting through the creatures mouth, giving of a sound of a low chuckle.
“HEY NORMAN,” a voice from down the hallway called. Mick knew who it was immediately. The black mass shifted aside, still holding Mick as tight as ever. Mick craned his neck over, nearly unconscious from the lack of blood getting to his head, to see Edgar with both of his hands behind his back.
Norman peered from Edgar, to Mick, and back to Edgar, this time returning Mick to the floor by dropping him to his back. Mick could see that Edgar was smiling. He could only think to himself, if only not to avert the creature’s attention, ‘you’re screwed now, you slug.”
The black mass, although large in size and having been just blown into pieces, was rocketing down the hallway as if friction had no effect on it. Edgar stayed his ground and smiled as the creature drew nearer.
Mick, looking on and losing sight of Edgar as the creature’s hulking shadow covered Edgar’s thin frame, shouted, “KILL THE BASTARD!”
Mick had almost stopped breathing when he saw the creature stop dead in its tracks. He thought at first that he shouldn’t have said anything, but the creature didn’t give but the slightest twitch. Mick, propped on his side and wincing at a sudden, splitting pain to his side, saw Edgar at the end of the hallway, looking as if he had learned+ a lion tamer’s neat little trick.
Mick saw that Edgar was holding out his hand to the black mass, as if telling it to halt, but instead of his hand signaling the creature to stop, it clutched something, something that was now embedded in the creatures massive, abnormally acidic looking eye.
Edgar was twisting a silvery wire around it that outstretched to his other hand and leading the creature in a one-eighty turn around.
‘If it can’t see you—‘ Mick thought, watching with intent as Edgar released what held the creature’s eye very cautiously. He slowly walked backwards, unspooling the rest of his wire as he did. The creature stayed in place. As Edgar made his way back to Mick, he turned and gave his friend a smile. “He can’t chase me,” Edgar said.
Edgar wrapped the remainder of the spool tightly around a door handle in the hallway let it go to tend to Mick.
“I think he broke some of my ribs,” Mick said. Edgar pulled him up by an arm and wrapped it around his neck to help carry Mick away.
“We’ll get you fixed up soon, bud,” Edgar said reassuringly. “What about our friend,” Mick said, pointing down the hallway at the halted, but swaying creature.
“He’ll be fine right where he is,” Edgar said. “Now let’s blow this place. Mick didn’t speak but instead gave a brief nod.
The two young men grabbed there penlights and made their way through the double doors that Norman had come through and saw a stairwell. The lower half was flooded, pushing water to the top step and providing the hallway with its shallow pool.
“Guess that way is out,” Edgar said to himself casually. He took Mick, looking up the stairwell with another bit of confusion. There was light up there, not just a regular light, but a bright and vibrant white light.
The young men made their way up the stairs and after two flights saw a door that led into what had to be a hallucination.
Edgar, still shouldering some of Mick’s weight, pushed open one of the door’s and the two friends walked forward into a hospital hallway that immediately opened into a waiting area.
This wasn’t the water laden floor they had just come from; this was a hospital from medical catalogues. Well-lit, matte white surfaces coated nearly everything. What wasn’t white coated looked, and smelled, like it had been sprayed with disinfectant well over a hundred times.
“Wha–,” Edgar started confused, but collapsed onto the floor.