A Thing? | Teen Ink

A Thing?

December 17, 2019
By Peryton, Daytona Beach, Florida
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Peryton, Daytona Beach, Florida
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A strange, pulsating light beat rhythmically behind my eyelids, thumping in sync with my own frantic heartbeat. I open my searing eyes, taking in the unusual surroundings I now found myself occupying. I was in an extensive tunnel, its roof arched above me in a sort of majestic glory. Silvery, vein-like roots clung to every surface and with each beat of my heart, they emitted a light so ethereal I was mesmerized. Strange plants seemed to grow from these roots, their limbs and foliage all seeming to reach in an endless attempt to see a sun they will never know. They even seemed to reach for me as I passed them, tiny arms desperate to cling to something that was alive. In my daze, I finally noticed the two strangers who dragged my limp body deeper into the depths. They wore billowing capes adorned with thousands of golden feathers that glimmered under the pulsating light. Under the cloak, they wore plain ivory jumpsuits that seemed to be made of a peculiar, silk-like material. Their faces were obstructed with ornate, intricate masks made of the same golden hue as the feathers. They spoke in hushed, raspy whispers that were too jumbled to understand as we continued our descent. They looked back briefly at me and saw me awake, their murmurs becoming no more.

We journeyed for what seemed to be hours. The deeper we seemed to go, the more clustered and thick the roots became. The constant thump of light left me with a dull pain humming behind my eyes. There was a distant echo of chimes that bounced throughout the halls, their origin completely unknown. As we continued to move, chants soon filled the empty space. They grew louder, more forceful. The voices were beautiful, voices that belonged in the balconies of a church, not echoing throughout the yawning cavern. I closed my eyes, welcoming the curtain of obscurity that shielded me from the outside world. In mere moments darkness consumed my every thought.

I awoke in what I assumed the heart of the tunnels. Every surface of this hub was covered in glittering white. Above the pulpit I found myself resting upon, a grand, crystal heart fluttered. Particles of light drifted down with each beat, showering the room in a soft snowfall of radiance. An aurora borealis cascaded around the alluring heart, its edges delicate and ethereal. I thought for sure this was my heaven. The masks men were organized around the room, creating a perfect circle that encompassed me. I had no escape. They raised their arms in joint unison, reached up towards that great crystal heart. Their voices began to sing their foreign song, the lights making their existence seem otherworldly. Louder and louder, they continued on. The heart beating faster and more violent with each rise in volume.

The chanting voices were rising ever yet, their song becoming more frantic and rushed. My head was spinning, a deafening buzz filled my ears. It was too much. I felt a scream rise from my throat as I slammed my hands over my ears in protection. Tears were streaming down the planes of my face, hitting the stage in pitiful drips. I thought for sure I’d die in that very moment, lost and unknown, my existence unraveling. 

The song abruptly stopped, the vacuum of silence it left behind unnerving. It felt like thousands of eyes watched me with morbid curiosity. I removed my hands carefully away from my ringing ears. Bright, twinkling, crimson blood rested in the palms of my hands. I felt the bile rise in my throat as I watched my blood begin to drip upwards, now reaching for the ceiling. Gravity seemed to no longer affect it. I felt a choked sob escape my lips as I raised my eyes towards the now silent heart. For a pregnant moment, all seemed fine, the heart lay dormant now, almost as if it were resting. The moment didn’t last long however, as the sound of glass crunching and shattering rang throughout the cavern. The crystal heart shattered into thousands of shards of light, raining down in heavenly glory upon the people of the cathedral. 

The shards pelted my face, leaving violent cuts across every plane. Heavy pools of blood drained from the cuts, it having the same distaste for gravity as the blood on my hands. It seemed to whisper faint secrets as they raised up. For a moment I am paralyzed as I watch in awe at the scene above me. A creature of pure light, rested in the cradle of the heart, its very existence embodying the unknown. It was humanoid in shape and a pair of sprawling wings rested on its back. It peered down upon us, though its eyes showed no emotion to them, pure indifference. Electricity seemed to crackle throughout the air, the air within everyone’s lungs stalling. There was a moment of pure silence as we all gazed upon each other. Then the first cheer sounded, followed by hundreds more. The voices bounced and echoed, all ringing into my buzzing ears. The noises became muted as I gazed upon the creature, it met my eyes. It was like a whip had snap across the room, every hair stood up on my body as a frigid gust of wind began to blow across the room. It felt like something was poking and prodding my mind, trying to crawl its way into every memory and every thought. My heart began to boom in my chest as my arms began to raise up on their own accord towards the winged creature. It was like my body wasn’t my own anymore, I was trapped within my own mind. The creature  began to lean down from its perch, reaching down towards me with a hungry eagerness in its cold eyes. I heard a shout to my right, followed by heavy footsteps rushing towards me. I felt my body snap to the side as one of the masks men shoved me off the podium just as the creature would have reached me.It was like a cord had snapped, I was suddenly free from the creature’s gaze. I heard the sound of bones snapping, followed by the strangled cry of the man. He now rested in the clutch of the creature instead of me. He began to laugh, speaking in breathy tongues as the creature brought him closer. I looked above and watched in horror as the creature began to tear the man apart by his arms and legs. The crowd below it began to cheer even more animatedly, their delight drowning out my silent dismay as we all watched the creature begin to feast on the man’s dismembered body. I began to scream as I attempted to crawl away from the scene unfolding in front of me. Nearby fanatics noticed my struggles and began to convey towards me. They began to grab at my arms and legs, pinning me down and smothering my wails. As the world around me began to grow fuzzy and dark, the last thing I perceived was the glowing eyes of the creature peering down at me.

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