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12+ Violence

tomorrow, yesterday, and today

by 0ctopusPhilosopher

I. The thing and everything it is not

It’s hard to find context for this because I myself cannot recall how it happened or how any of this came to be. I do not know when it will end because for all I know there was no beginning to it and there never has been. This existence is one that we must endure: this is how I rationalise the pain and my lack of willingness to try to escape this place. Assuming it is all I have ever known, it is all I ever will know.

What came before is hazy. It is a wash of watercolour coating the page; the finer details and the refined shapes become last in the wash of muddy colours. I remember there being others. However, I regret to inform you I cannot recall their features only the basic outline. They remain as blurry shapes in my mind. Also, I would like to emphasise that there could have been others here with me- unfortunately at this point I am not sure of what is real and what is just a fabrication created by whatever is here with me.

It has been here as long as I have. At first we did notice its presence. We were not aware of how it hid under our fingernails, camouflaging with the grime and dried blood. We were not aware of it clinging to the moisture congregating on the ceiling. We were blissfully unaware of the creature (If you can even call it that) lurking where we could not see. Whatever it is, it has stayed while the others slowly went. With each loss it became more bold and it showed more and more how it took pleasure in our suffering, toying with our senses and distorting our minds. Where is it now? I do not know, like I said before I do not know when this began. As more of our members dwindled and as loneliness wrapped its arms around me and cloaked me in its stifling body, I became more aware of the presence that hung in the shadows and danced along the walls, mocking our inability to see what was in front of our eyes. If it can hide in the darkness pooling at my feet like dark oil then it is only logical to assume that it exists within our shadows as well. That offers an explanation for how I know it is watching me now.

II. The first event that marked our demise

Whatever this thing is, when it arrived (assuming that it was not here already) it brought madness on swift wings which swept through our final stand. The details (as stated previously) are fuzzy, the sounds are not. Ghosts of their screams haunt my ears no matter how much I claw at them and beg for it to stop. I still am not sure how I managed to avoid succumbing to the madness, although it is not clear yet whether I have already given up. This account is the last of my sanity scraping up the fragments of my consciousness which are smeared across the ground in front of me.

There is not much that remains from before, of course stating that there was ‘a before; suggests there was a start to this which I cannot (as previously stated) say there was. There is only ‘now’: the constant pain.

The sickness that came next took up residence in the cavities that the madness left behind. The rot and decay that remained ached, begging for some relief- I thought that was what arrived next. At this point, I have been wrong so many times I should stop expecting to be right.

III. Sickness and Health (the latter we did not experience)

I think that I have made it known by now that whatever came before is hard to remember, but the sensations still remain. They cling to my skin and hug close to my body. These memories dig their fingernails deep into my skin as if they are holding on for dear life. The feelings that remain on my skin, coating it like a thick glue. Vivid memories of the pain that tore through and ravaged our bodies are contained within every touch. Sometimes something will brush against my form and a flash of hot shooting pain will blossom from that point. I struggle to find the words to describe it but this account will be the last thing left of me once my bones break and as my flesh decomposes. I can feel the decay eating away at the enamel of my teeth and my gums breaking down. The blood that fills my mouth and chokes my senses is evidence enough.

I hope that is how I leave this place, drowning in my own blood; that would be a fate preferable to the ones that I have already witnessed.

When I close my eyes (assuming I can still do that) I can make out the images that plague my mind. They are only stills of memories. I can still smell the stench of blood as it coated every surface. The reek of rotting flesh remains long after the bodies decayed into dust that gathers in the corners of this room.

I don’t know how I survived.

God (if there still is one), why was I the one to be kept alive to be tormented more? Why must I be the one to carry what they left behind after their skin melted, their features distorted and their nerves disintegrated?

IV. An unexplainable event

By now I’m sure it has been made obvious that I have grimly accepted that eventually I will die. Whatever is here with me will be the one to kill me when it eventually becomes bored of toying with my senses. I am the last to go. I hope that the end is near.

How can there be an end to something that never began?

Time has passed (I assume) . I’m guessing some time has passed because the cut on my hand has faded from a deep red gash to a pale purple line of jagged skin. It is something that I have been focusing on recently because it is something I can confirm is real.

There is something different and that never happens. I can see her in front of me, sitting on the deep red ground. She is the first real thing I can see. The first real thing that is not part of this entity. She is not an outline or a blurry photograph; I can make out the details of her face.

I am not alone.

I am not alone here anymore.

I run to her, despite the pain that explodes every time I move my limbs, and sink to my knees. Her blue eyes shine with life. As much as I have tried to accept that I am already dead, I know that there is a chance of survival. It has been a long time since I cried; I became so desensitised to the violence that I dissociated from it. I thought my humanity had broken down a long time along with my hope for some change. But slowly I reach out to touch her hand and I meet warm flesh (real, living flesh). This is something real, for the first time that I can definitely confirm this is something real. Joy: that is the word that describes this warmth in my chest- I am not the last one; I am not alone… not anymore.

She blinks at me with those endless blue eyes that stretch out like an endless sea.

We sat for some time. It could have been minutes, hours, or days. I grip her hand, holding on to the wisp of life and the scrap of reality. In this state of calmness there is no madness or plague. The images that have haunted me for as long as I can remember fade away. She brings her lips to mine, which are cracked and rough. I can feel my heartbeat again, I can feel the air in my lungs, and the rush of blood in my veins.

V. The end

I can’t breathe. I’m choking. It is choking me. It is filling my throat and cutting off the airflow. My eyes shoot open frantically to stare at her form which is crumbling under my hands. This is what has stalked me, tortured me and now it is melting into my body and becoming one with me. Tears stream down my face. The final blow is betrayal. I believed in my survival again and that is exactly what this creature wanted.

My blood boils in my veins. My skin peels. The air does not reach my lungs. I am consumed by this creature as I consume it. My body crumples. My bones shatter; the shards slice open my veins and break through the thin layer of my papery skin. The pain sings and it does not end because, for all I know, it never began.

All I can do is scream, but no sound escapes because my larynx was torn apart long ago.

I want it to end. An end will never come. It slowly consumes me.

VI. The beginning?

My body convulses as the suffering continues. This will never end because there was never a beginning. There is only now- the constant pain and suffering.

(I will wake later knowing that suffering is about to start again although I cannot say anything. I will look at the people around me and I will try to discern their features . If there still is a God, I hope he grants us mercy. The suffering is about to begin again, the madness will be the first to arrive. There is no end; there is only now)

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Tue Apr 30, 2024 9:11 pm
Messenger wrote a review...

Hey there and welcome to YWS :)

It has been here as long as I have. At first we did notice its presence.
I believe you meant to say that at first, you did NOT notice its presence.

How can there be an end to something that never began?

This is one point where it seems odd to say this, because while you aren't sure *when* this all began, it does seem to have a beginning, as referenced with the cut to the hand and the dwindling of foggy members in this place.

We sat for some time. It could have been minutes, hours, or days.
[/quote]This is the only time where you slip out of the present tense and into the past, so I assume you just need to correct "sat" to sit.

One last potential nitpick: for your section titles I would suggest making them stand out more. You could use bold or italic font, or simply make them all capitalized, which seems a bit too loud for this piece of work. I say this because especially the first line had me thinking it was a sentence that the POV was thinking.

Overall, I loved this piece. You create such a heavy and discombobulated atmosphere that still somehow keeps us rooted in enough of reality and space to follow along despite details on where we are, what we are seeing, or what has come before or is basically non-existent. There is a beauty in the inevitability of coming death and the resilience that the MC shows.
I think that a stronger ending paragraph that creates a more solid loop is the only narrative choice I would want to see. The prose is strong throughout, and there is this feeling of a time loop of sorts, an eternity in this place, or perhaps the cycle of becoming the very thing that devoured the MC, but the last paragraph, in parentheses no less, really weakens the overall momentum as it is speaking of the future and the horror that this is truly going to keep happening.
But that's about it in the corrective department. I think the imagery is just enough to keep us as hazy as the MC while pulling us into the psych of them. You have a really wonderful way of writing that is both sophisticated and simple to understand at the same time. I've read just a handful of stories with this sort of ethereal feeling and I love them so much every time.

Hope this helps,

— Rudy (Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality)