As with most things, I seem to have underestimated how long it would take to finish this tale. I plan on concluding it with part 4 this Thursday, when Third Person Thursday is supposed to appear. Catch up on parts one and two before reading this installment.
David had a nightmare. In it, he was being chased by an amorphous shadow. He could not see a face or any definable features, but he was distinctly aware that the large, dark mass meant to hurt him, kill him even.
When David ran from the terrible thing, his feet felt heavy. He could not run as fast as he normally would and the presence grew ever closer behind him. Still, he was slowly reaching the front door of his home, where he knew that he would be safe. Somehow, knowing so little about what it was behind him, David knew that the evil thing would not be able to cross into his family’s home.
A moment of hope and relief swelled inside of David as the door came within arm’s reach. He stretched out and grabbed the doorknob without daring to look behind him to check how close the shadow was.
But the door was locked.
David screamed for help. He shouted shouts that could not reach the volume he had hoped so he then began pounding on the door and shortly noticed movement in a nearby window. When he turned his head to look, there was his younger brother, Oliver. He stood in the window, holding the curtain aside.
“Please, Ollie! Please let me in,” David pled. “It’s after me! Open the door!”
Oliver did not move. He stared at David with black, lifeless eyes set in a gaunt face. The person in the window barely looked like his brother.
All hope sank from David and it dawned on him, as the sense of doom overtook him, to check on the proximity of the dark shadow. He spun around and threw his back against his front door. The mass was upon him and already starting to wrap itself around his body as he stood on his front porch.
A pitch-black appendage extended around David’s chest. It began to squeeze and David felt his breath becoming shallow. More extensions from the blackness reached toward his face and made their way into his mouth and nostrils. He was being suffocated.
The last thing he heard before waking with a start was a voice. In his left ear, he heard his brother whispering, “I’ll fix you, David.”
When he opened his eyes to the ceiling of his darkened bedroom, David gasped for air. He was terrified to find he could not get a full breath. When he tried to sit up, he couldn’t. In the darkness, he felt as if something really was squeezing him around his chest. He began to think the nightmare had been real. Maybe the darkness was suffocating him.
“Hold still and let me fix you,” came Oliver’s voice beside him. He turned his head and saw a figure kneeling beside his bed. It was wearing their father’s scuba diving wet suit, thick rubber gloves tucked in at the sleeves and a beekeeper’s hat. Through the mesh, David could see Oliver’s face. He was kneeling beside David’s bed and tightening a chain of belts hooked together, run beneath the bed and across David’s chest pinning him down with his arms held at his sides.
“Oliver, please don’t do this,” David whispered. “Please don’t. I’m your brother, Oliver.”
The strangely garmented boy looked momentarily surprised to see David awake. He dropped the end of the tightened belt system and picked something up off the floor.
“I know you are, David,” said Oliver and moved his hand toward his brother’s face. “That’s why I have to do this.”
As David opened his mouth to yell for help, Oliver shoved in a balled up pair of socks. David thrashed about as best he could on the bed, but his thrashing could barely be called such as it only amounted to turning his head side to side. Oliver had apparently scrounged up nearly every belt in their house and had fastened David to his own bed with numerous connected lengths of them.
Oliver grabbed David’s left arm with one hand to steady it, retrieved something else from the floor and leaned in close to his elbow. “Now hold still and left me fix you,” Oliver said.
David closed his eyes and screamed into the socks, briefly noticing that they had at least been washed recently as he caught the scent of laundry detergent. In his mind, he imagined Oliver cutting him to pieces as he lie there, awake on his bed, starting at the elbow joint. Eventually, he would probably pass out form the overwhelming pain. He guessed he would never awaken, having been hacked up and his body parts hidden in various places by his own little brother.
They may never find you, said the other voice in his head.
David thought of the horrors that were to befall him and began to feel an intense pinching at his elbow. He’s starting with the arms, came the voice as his heart thumped furiously in his chest. He began to panic. This is it, he’s going to kill you. And it’s going to be slow and painful. Some brother.
Then the voice suddenly gave way to his own thoughts. If I ever make it out of this, I’m going to kick his little ass. I’ll teach that stupid wimp to mess with me. Try and kill me when I’m sleeping. I ought to…
“There,” proclaimed Oliver. He held up a small shiny metal object before David’s face. It was the first thing he saw upon realizing his arm was still intact and opening his eyes. “Do you feel any better now?”
David’s heartbeat slowed. He was able to catch his breath, even through the socks. He focused his eyes on what Oliver presented to him and saw it was a pair of tweezers. Oliver shone his flashlight on it and clamped between its ends David could see a tiny black stick. It looked like a sliver of wood.
“It stung you,” Oliver said. “That’s why you’ve been so afraid. You were even afraid to tell me. That’s what it does. It makes people afraid. But now it’s out. Do you feel better?”
David glanced around the room. He recalled barely being able to fall asleep earlier in the night, seeing danger and evil in every shadow on the wall, the outlined shape of every object on the shelf. Now, the surroundings of his and Oliver’s room comforted him. It felt safe and familiar. David nodded.
“Good,” sighed Oliver. He sat down heavily on the edge of David’s bed beside him and a smile spread over his face. “Now promise you won’t be made at me, but I have to leave you tied up for a little while.”
David groaned through the sock and watched Oliver curiously. Oliver pulled their father’s waterproof boots over his feet and wrapped them at the top with duct tape as he explained.
“I don’t think it can come out of the attic. At least not yet. One of us has to stay here where it’s safe. Just in case.”
David tried to ask, “Where are you going?” It sounded like, “Meer rar roo mrone?”