October 19, 2014

Tenants Harbor [Teaser]

[Posted by Ted H]

I've explained the process of how Demons Ascension came to be, right? An idea, left to marinate in my brain over the coarse of a few years before it can come out in the form of some coherent story.

...Well back in 2010, I put an idea into my brain to cook and until recently, nothing good came out. I took a week long trip to Maine and was struck by inspiration based on where I was staying. I wrote notes for most of my time there and attempted to pound out a story from it. Ten words in I realized this wasn't gonna work. I still wanted to write the story, but I wasn't going to force it. Fast forward to 2014 and I finally decided to try a short based on the idea from back then.

My original plan was to make "Tenants Harbor" my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel. Unsure about if I could knock 50K words out in a month for the story, I decided to write this teaser to see if the story was ready for writing. Eventually, I got this short done, but decided it took way too long to get done for the overall story to be viable for NaNoWriMo. Maybe next year.

Soon I will announce what I'll be really writing for NaNoWriMo 2014, but for now enjoy this. I figure the teaser is a perfect fit for Halloween anyway. Next week will be nothing, because the following week will be November.


[Tenants Harbor - Teaser]

Trevor slowly groped his way along the hall for the bathroom, half drunk and half awake. He still was a bit foreign on the general layout of the house but he felt he still had a good enough idea where the bathroom was suppose to be. Inside, he felt around for the light switch before closing the door. He was unsure of the hour, such concerns seem trivial when one awakens suddenly in the middle of the night needing to heed the call of nature.

            As he did his business, he wondered if anyone else in the house were awake. He was one of the last to turn in for the night, but that didn't mean everyone went right to sleep. Maybe someone was still awake and game for more drinking since Trevor knew for a fact that there was at least half a bottle of vodka left. He thought better of the idea when a growing pain surfaced in his mind and caused him to wince at the light in the room.

            "Christ, my heads about to explode," he mumbled to himself as he splashed water in his face. It did little to alleviate the pain in his head as he propped his elbows on the sides of the tiny sink and held his head by the sides as he looked at himself in the mirror. His eyes were bloodshot in the reflection and he was uncomfortably pale looking. A soft ringing began in his ears as he adjusted his hands to cover and rub his eyes.

            "Darkness," he said softly to himself, trying to wait out the pain a little before making his body move for the return trip to his bed, the promise of the quiet, pitch darkness that awaited him there already making him feel up for the task. His eyes readjusted after being rubbed and he began to turn around when something caught his eye in the mirror.

            In the reflection, standing right behind him, Trevor saw a figure; An unknown woman who looked like she had just stepped from the nearby ocean with her head tilted to the side and mouth open wide. The sheer shock of seeing someone in the bathroom with him caused Trevor to spin around quickly, momentarily disorienting his taxed mind, as he raised one arm up to defend himself by instinct. Lowering his arm, he saw no one was there. He checked the mirror and back again to confirm this and breathed a sigh of relief.

            The shock caused a bit of adrenalin to coarse through his body and Trevor's headache seemed to subside, even for just a moment, because of it. This allowed him to piece together what he saw more clearly. The woman had looked soaked, with her dark hair slicked down all around her head with her face showing through as if the hair were a curtain. She had both eyes open wide, but only one eye to see with; her left eye merely a dark void in her face.

            Her entire face had looked puffy, almost as if it was waterlogged. The most unsettling feature though was the dark marking on her neck. Trevor first thought it a necklace, but it was too strait and the marking featured so stark a contrast to her pale skin that he knew better. Trevor gave off a long and heavy sigh as he composed himself. He was tired, he knew that much. The fatigue and pain in his head alongside the dark of this house had caused him to see something. He laughed a little as he finally calmed down and his headache began to return.

            "Drunk nightmares," he said to himself dismissively as he stepped away from the sink, then stopped dead, his blood growing cold. His foot had stepped into something wet. His heart started racing again as the cold water seeped into his sock. Trevor could hear something in the hall, the sound of someone struggling to breathe, someone out there giving off short, almost gargled gasps. The light from the bathroom offered little aid as Trevor looked out into the hall but couldn't see anything, save for the reflection of light off a wet set of footprints leading away into the darkness.

            "Not going out there," Trevor decided as he reached for the door and closed it slowly. His mind grasped at the idea that someone was playing a prank, but he wasn't laughing. He wasn't able to close the door, the latch became stuck and wouldn't allow the door to remain shut. "Seriously?" he asked aloud as a cold bead of sweat began to trail down his forehead and the sound of struggled breathing became louder.

            He tried pressing the latch deeper, hoping it would pop back out but to no avail. He shook the handle, gently at first but soon it became a frantic rattle as the breathing grew louder and closer. "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon," Trevor repeated to himself as he tried in vain to free the door latch so he could lock himself in, the breathing in the darkness growing more and more close until he could swear it was right on top of him. At that moment it ceased and Trevor was alone in the bathroom, the only sound being his own stressed breaths.

            A moment passed and Trevor did nothing. The door latch then popped free and he stared at it in disbelief. He glanced back up and into the darkness, wondering if whatever was out there was still waiting for him. The light from the bathroom extended well into the hall but he never saw anything despite how close the unknown breathing had been. He then felt something drop onto his head. He reached up and felt something wet as another drop fell onto his hand. "What the..." he said as he tried to examine the water before he felt something brush right up to his ear and the gargled breathing resumed right behind him.

            Trevor sprawled out of the bathroom and into the hall. He looked back just in time to see something disappear from the light and up onto the ceiling. The struggled breathing echoing through the hall as something crawled around all over the hallway ceiling. Trevor crawled to the wall and attempted to see in the dark but to no avail. The breathing stopped again and all other noises ceased. Whatever that thing was, the woman in the mirror or otherwise, it was somewhere in the dark, waiting for Trevor. He briefly wondered if he should try the bathroom again before the light coming from it began to flicker and eventually go out, leaving everything in pitch black.

            He braced himself against the wall as he rose to his feet. His room on the far end of the hall, Trevor began his slow trek back, keeping an ear out for any hint of the woman in the mirror. What before seemed like a short trip now from his room was an unending march back, the hallway seemed to grow longer with every step forward and Trevor wondered if he'd even make it. The occasional gasped breath of something unknown causing him to occasionally freeze and wait. Somewhere behind him was the sound of falling water, dripping from the ceiling as something crawled along.

            Even in the darkness Trevor could spy the bedroom door. A sense of dread grew within him when he began to wonder if this door would have the same trouble closing as the bathroom. All thoughts ceased at the sound of something wet smacking onto the floor not far behind him followed by heavy strained breathing. Loud, wet footsteps sounded as the figure quickly approached. Trevor took off in a dead sprint to cover the last several feet to the bedroom ,a quick glance behind revealed a dark figure with outstretched arms making for him.

            Trevor barged into the bedroom then slammed the door shut behind him. The door had no lock, so he braced himself against it as the woman reached and began to bang furiously on it. Trevor laid his full weight into the door to prevent the woman from entering as she continued to pound, her gargled and strained breathing becoming wails. The door bounced under him with each furious strike and Trevor wondered if the door could even hold up.

            Suddenly, the pounding stopped and the wailing ceased, and all was quiet again. Trevor dared not look out into the hall or even move from his position blocking the door shut. He pondered how long it was until morning or at least how long until someone else in the house would be up. "As long as I stay put..." Trevor began to say, attempting to calm himself, but stopped when he felt drops of water fall onto him from the ceiling followed by the sound of strained breathing above him.

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