Shadow Crawlers. Part 58.

Part 1, Part 57

Brett lay on the bed, breathing slowly, heavily. He felt tired, weak. He needed a new body, he needed a way out of this rotting cell that he had found himself trapped in. He started shaking, uncontrollable shivers raced along his arms and legs. He concentrated, trying to stop it but nothing happened. His body finally stopped and lay still, breads of sweat stood out on his forehead. He felt cold, clammy. His stomach clenched, Brett rolled over slightly and heaved over the side, thin mucousy gruel hit the floor with a faint splatter, he hadn’t eaten yet today, nor had he drank anything. His stomach clenched again, he started to dry heave, again and again until his stomach was sore and tender. When it passed he allowed his body to relax, stretching out on the bed. He knew he should try to drink something, he was probably dehydrated, but that wouldn’t solve his problems. Nothing could be done for this body, he needed a new one. The shakes started again. He’d never been in a body this long, either it was killed and he left, or he left long before it got to this point. He didn’t know what would happen inside this place, he couldn’t leave the body voluntarily, what would happen once it died, would he be trapped, immobile inside a rotting corpse? Or would he still have control of it, creating a shambling nightmare. He struggled to leave the body again, but what ever had been put in place to stop him held steadily. There was no escaping the body. He was stuck.

 

“We’re getting a bit worried about him, he’s been unwell though we can’t tell what’s wrong with him. He won’t speak to us, or he can’t, we’re not sure which. He occasionally shakes his head or nods. Maybe you can talk to him? You do control him?”
Frank looked at Brett through the mirror. He didn’t control Brett as much as he should, Brett still had fight in him. He watched as Brett shook, then threw up. They’d have to get someone in to clean that sooner or later. As far as he was aware, they were immune to diseases, so what ever Brett had would have to be either insanely strong, something he produced himself, or something that only affected his kind. Perhaps it was some kind of last resort, kill the body and spread disease. Frank frowned, it didn’t seem like something Brett would do. Sure he enjoyed pain, but sickness was different.
Frank donned a mask and entered the room, he was wearing blue surgical scrubs and foot coverings. Inside Brett still lay on the bed, he was pale and shivering. The nurse that had been in to check on him said he was running a high fever.
Frank stood over him for a second, “What is wrong with you?”
Brett didn’t respond.

“Answer me.”
“Sick. Dying.”
“You don’t die. Stop lying to me.”
“This body. Dying. Need new one. Can’t leave in here. Stuck.”
Frank nodded. They’d need to get him a new body, but he needed time to think, Brett was far to wilful to be outright trusted.
“I will bring you out of here. Give you a new body. Are there any requirements?”
“Not a child. Someone. Anyone.”
Frank left the room. They could use one of the employees, but some of them were getting friendly with the girls and he didn’t want someone slipping up and letting them know about that. No, they’d take someone from outside, someone homeless maybe. Someone who wouldn’t be missed.

 

While he waited for a body to be found, he wondered if that was truly the best way to go about it. He could let a staff member be taken, claim that Brett had done it, told Frank that he would only take the body he was given, no one else. He discarded the idea, it was too dangerous, the girls would start questioning their control over their creatures. It wasn’t worth the risk. Better just to find someone from the outside and get it over with. He smiled as a plan suddenly formed in his mind. It would be perfect really.

 

The team stood around Frank, though he though it a little ridiculous, it wasn’t like they could have done anything to stop Brett. They had strapped him down on a gurney, Frank looked at him, Brett appeared to be unconscious. Frank slapped him hard across the face. “You will not leave that body until I give you permission, when I do you may only enter the body that I indicate, none of my staff will be harmed by you, understand?”
Brett murmured something faint, Frank slapped him again, this time he could hear the faint “Yes.”
They put him into a van, then drove a short distance, Brett seemed to have passed out once they left the building. Frank tried to appear calm, confident, but his heart was beating rapidly. The van turned into a building, inside was a large open garage, the van stopped and the gurney was rolled out, a man, perhaps in his twenties, was sitting against one of the pillars, he was unconscious. Brett stirred feebly.
“You may take that body sitting against the pillar, no other. Do it.”
Brett’s body started to convulse, straining against the bonds. Brett left the empty shell behind, he was free. He gave a snarl of triumph, Frank looked at him, pale, the men around him raised their guns. “You may not leave this building. Take the body against the pillar now.”
The shadow flowed across the floor smoothly, pouring into the man against the pillar. His clothes were ragged and dirty, his blond hair greasy and clumping together. He opened his eyes, the pupils were dilated. The body shook, eyes rolling. Then it stopped. The body lay still. Frank looked at the man for a moment, then indicated to his staff to switch it with the corpse. They unceremoniously dumped the corpse off the gurney and onto a white sheet, they wrapped it, covering the body, then carried the unconscious Brett to the gurney where they strapped him down. A thick, heavy stench started to fill the room, the white sheet started to fall slowly, stains appearing as it sunk. After a moment, there was nothing but sludge and bones. Frank turned and got into the van. The gurney was placed in after him. They had drugged the junkie they had found, Brett wouldn’t wake until he was back in his room.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. 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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