Shadow Crawlers. Part 33.

Hope everyone had a good week! It’s gone by fairly quickly really. I didn’t get as much as I had hoped done, but I made some progress so that’s something.

I’m working on something that’s slightly (ok, completely) depressing. There are fun bits and serious bits and I thought I’d focus on the serious bits for a while, but I can’t seem to get myself started on it. I feel bad for putting the character through these things. It’s weird. I mean, I know she isn’t real and I know that I’m not really doing anything, but it’s kind of shitty. I didn’t just decide to put the character through these things either, she just showed up in my head with all her baggage on the back of a really cool idea. Freeloading cow.

I guess to some extent it is my fault,  but at the same time, it wasn’t a conscious decision, I wasn’t deciding to do these things to her (bad family life, drugs, etc) it was more like uncovering another part of her that already existed and as soon as the thought appeared I knew it was correct and not something that I could change without changing who she was completely. For example, lets say you’re digging up a fossil, with each bit of dirt, you’re revealing more of the structure and shape of the fossil, it’s like that. I feel like I’m discovering the character rather than creating.

I’m not sure if that makes a lot of sense, but let’s just pretend it did. I’m also going to stop here, before I sound completely and utterly insane.

On with the show!

______________________________________________________

Part 1, Part 32

Brett stood in the shower, washing the blood from his face and hands. His clothes were sitting in the tub, he’d have to throw them in the wash. He intended everything to be swift, easy, but he had gotten carried away. Not that it was unexpected. He had suspected it would happen but he had tried to contain himself. Jack had tried to argue with him, Brett had convinced him to leave, but when he met with Jack again, Jack didn’t want anything to do with him. He tried to get him towards a secluded area but Jack wasn’t having it. He shouted and yelled, attracting attention. He had given in then, fast and messy was better than slow and clean. It hadn’t taken him long but he revelled in every second, every flash and flare of pain, ever drop of blood that spilled. Jack wouldn’t be found, or, if he was, he would never be identified. Brett was sure of that. Rose had probably spotted some of the blood, but he could explain that away easily enough, say someone attacked him, some junkie. He suspected that Rose herself was up to something. She had carried shopping bags, no doubt something had happened and she was trying to cast suspicion away from herself. She was always like that. Brett didn’t care, not if she cleaned up after herself. If it was done well, no one would be any wiser that she had done something.

A sudden spike of pain burst through Brett’s head, he shuddered, the collapsed to the bottom of the shower, his body jerking and shivering. When it passed, he lay where he had fallen, trying to get his breath back. The water was cold and helped wake him up. He got to his feet carefully, making sure he wasn’t injured. It had happened much sooner than he expected, he thought that it would last for another few months at least. Damn. He shut his eyes and breathed deeply, finding that small lock box. He cracked the door open and a rush of air hit his face, the air was thick and fetid, he tried to close the door, but the flood of air prevented it. It dwindled to nothing until finally there was a faint, pleasant smell of cinnamon, behind that was oregano and the smell of the forest. When it stopped, he opened the door fully, there was no point in being careful anymore. He stepped into the room and looked at the cowered husk in disgust. Goddamn it. The body couldn’t exist without a soul and he wasn’t technically a soul. Now that it had fled the body it would start to change, weaken, decompose. He only had a week, week and a half if he was lucky. He should have been easier on Brett in the beginning, but he hadn’t expected to need the body for a long time. He’d need to have a chat with Simon, see how he got the host to last so long. Brett stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around himself, he still felt a little shaky. He dried slowly, trying to keep calm. He’d need a new body soon, he didn’t know how to explain that to the others at all. He’d have to tell Rose, no doubt she’d lord it over him and mock him relentlessly for being so careless.

Dressed in clean clothes, he found Simon, who was sitting outside, Joey was no where to be seen. “Simon. I have a problem.”
“So do I. The police are going to be searching for me and Joey by now, I’m surprised there’s been nothing on TV yet but it’s only a matter of time. I’m only staying here because I can’t go into hiding, you both know that won’t end well for myself or Joey, we need to have a plan of attack.”
“We’re making one, but we have to move slowly.”
“Why? Why can’t they know the truth, they won’t care, they’ll just want to save their own lives. I know people better than you do. Hell, I’m basically one of them. Once it’s over they might feel guilt or horror but they won’t care otherwise. I don’t want my son to die because you lot are fucking around. Time isn’t endless. I can’t just hop from one body to another. I need this body.”
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Good, so we have a plan?”
“No, the other thing. The soul has died. I need to switch.”
“So? Just do it.”
“How am I going to explain it to them?”
“Don’t. Have an argument with Rose or something. Loud with lots of yelling, storm out and come back in a new body, be a friend of Rose’s or something. It isn’t that hard.”
“They’ll suspect something and they won’t want to stay in this place without me.”
“They’ll manage.”

“How do I explain my disappearance or the new body having the same name?”

“That’s not my problem. Is it?”
“It is if you want our help. You’re relying on us  to help you protect your son.”
“Don’t threaten me like that. You need me as much as I need you. Besides, I could easily go inside and tell the others what we all really are. Hell, I cold go inside I kill them both. Where would that leave you?”
Brett clenched his hands. This isn’t what he wanted.
“I’m sorry. I’m just stressed.”
“I can’t believe I use to think I was better than humans. We’re just like them you know. You won’t believe me, I know you wont, but it’s true. If you were superior, you wouldn’t get angry, you wouldn’t plot and backstab. We don’t feel remorse but that doesn’t mean we’re better than them.”
Brett shrugged. “I really am sorry.”

“But you’re not. You just don’t want me to storm off or do something stupid.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Exactly.”

Brett shook his head, “it doesn’t matter why someone apologises, it’s all the same. The point of it is to stop someone leaving you or betraying you. Why else apologise?”
“Because you feel bad about it. Never mind. This is stupid.”
Brett let it go, he didn’t particularly understand, nor care what Simon was getting at. It didn’t make a difference if he felt remorse, he suspected he did have the capacity, it just wasn’t as strong as the one that humans had.
“I wanted you to tell me how you got your body to last so long.”
“Well, how did you treat him? The hosts soul?”
“The usual. Locked in the box so he couldn’t get out and annoy me. I’d muted the noise from him, maybe if I hadn’t I would have heard him dying and been able to stop it.”
“Humans need more than a small, dark box. Simon is currently playing games in my head. He had a large enough space, catered to his imagination. He does what he likes and plays his games. It keeps him sane, well, saneish, and he is enjoying himself to some extent. When he’s in his fantasies he doesn’t remember reality. It keeps his occupied and happy. He has something to live for. Besides, he was young when I got into him. Young people bounce back from things easily. They don’t have a rigid view of the world. It makes it easier to cope with some things.”

“So…treat them ok?”
“Yeah, don’t strain their minds too much.”
“Oh. I may have done that in the beginning.”
“What did you do?”
“Tortured and killed his family in front of him. Also the usual torment.”
“Obviously he wasn’t as strong as you thought.”
“People were made of stronger stuff back then. They could handle it. These people, they’re soft. Weak.”
“They’re stronger in different ways. Pain and death aren’t a common way of life for a lot of people now. Death is distant.”
“They’re weak. It happens.”

“Have you told Rose yet?”
“No. I’ll tell her soon. I want to think about her reaction for a bit first. Try and figure out how she’s going to try and use this to her benefit.”
Simon nodded and put his hands into his jacket pockets.
“Do you really think we have a chance, at all?”

“I’d say yes, but you’d know it was a lie. We don’t have a choice. That’s what matters. Either we go down fighting and hopefully earn some respect so it goes easy on us, or we give in and roll over and endure what ever tortures it had cooked up.”

About Alan James Keogh

My name is Alan James Keogh and I am a 22 year old writer with dyslexia. I am doing a Masters in Creative Writing in U.C.D (University College Dublin). I also write a blog in which I post new short stories every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, that's right, three new short stories a week, every week. They can be viewed at https://AlanJamesKeogh.wordpress.com I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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3 Responses to Shadow Crawlers. Part 33.

  1. Harliqueen says:

    Sometimes you got to put a character through hell to get across the story! Brilliant read :)

  2. Pingback: Shadow Crawlers. Part 34 | Alan James Keogh

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