Ravage: The Beginning
A work of original fiction
When you consider what does and does not disturb the average person, most will respond with standard fears: Spiders, Clowns, Heights, Small Spaces, etc.
Those common answers are best described as superficial fear, or that which can be overcome through sheer force of will.
Normal people are often acutely aware of what they fear, what frightens them.
However, fear is much, much different than terror. Clowns wont cause that limbic system paralyses resulting from being witness the terribly indescribable and not being able to put it into words.
It is much more than not being able to breathe because of dark and lamenting pressure on your heart and lungs.
Terror is your bête noir.
It is a horror so upsetting that you can never escape from it. It is the demon who forever travels on your shoulder. Time usually heals all wounds, but for those who have been met that demon will never be able to totally settle again. They are less, some say in the soul others just say they are less.
Writing, when appropriately done (ala King, Poe) can successfully disturb its reader. It can viscerally connect the reader with such intensity that the events on the page are permanently scarred into the brain. Change patterns of behavior, or cause mania.
As you make the conscious choice to continue into the following pages you are in fact completely accepting being ok with the disturbance its pages contain.
This is a story which will effervescently sting the senses of your brain and body, and leave scar tissue.
You are already less.
Know that you were warned.
Chapter One- The pretense of madness
Greg was acutely aware of the room in which he resided, in spite of his imposed visual impairment. The room was definitely an inside space. He knew this fact because there was no mellow breeze which seemed to accompany every day of July in Pittsburgh. It was a breeze he knew well, as any 13 year old boy would; from long bike rides, Boy Scout summer camp, and a general resistance to being indoors.
No, he was most certainly inside, but what wasn’t so easily discernible was the aesthetic of the interior he found himself trapped within.
Was this a cave or the interior of a natural feature which he had been dragged into during his bout of unconsciousness?
No, he thought, he knew those places from his several visits to the Laurel Caverns south of Pittsburgh by about 40 miles.
The caverns were a place where the tour actually took you deep into the catacombs of the earth. Spending an hour or two living among the stalactites and stalagmites.
He remembered how excited that place had made him feel initially. How some of the other children had been outright terrified at the small spaces and the reality that any shift of the earth would trap them forever.
“I heard if this cave gives way and we get trapped, you become one of those stalactites” one of the older boys had said. He continued confidently “the ground just wraps itself around you and bam consider yourself stuck for eternity as a rock.”
“Bullshit,” Greg had told Tad Wilkerson, the older malevolent brother of one of the kids in the tour who seemed dead set on panicking the younger boys on the tour.
While Greg had responded confidently to the attempted assault on his cool, the statement had a lingering effect internally.
He quietly feared the rock formations after that, swearing on a stack of bibles, that he heard the murmurs of former guests trapped inside those rocks. Permanent residents of this black hole in the earth.
No, he wasn’t going to give him that, fuck Tad getting the satisfaction of seeing him terrified, no he would be tough.
He spent the rest of the tour avoiding closing within 20 feet of those strange natural rocky triangles.
As a result the final 25 minutes left on the tour were agony. Greg would forever remember two senses from that tour. First was the smell of the air, tinged with sulfur and salt, it smelled worse than the occasion which he left the “jar of many mixed liquids” in his locker for the better part of a school year. He and his friends had dumped every type of liquid they could find into that jar at lunch, even some solids. A teacher had vomited when it was found, right in the hallway.
The second sensory perception was that the air was as humid as the air of Disney World in Florida.
What he wouldn’t give to be in Disneyworld, having to take picture after picture with his parents like a loser. He would trade anything for that.
But his forced darkness was a keen reminder that this place certainly wasn’t where dreams come true.
Where ever he was now had a very specific smell, thick with a mildew stench and stale air that is only gained one town over by those ancient decrepit abandoned buildings you see in Bethel Park’s Coverdale section, buildings that he had explored with his friends two summers ago.
Not only was this smell specific but the temperature was oddly and uncomfortably cold. The house may have smelled ancient, but its air conditioning was better than what his house on 350 Turngate Drive could produce.
Greg could hardly even fidget to try and stay warm, his hands were bound with plastic by what he guessed were zip. The same type of ties that his dad used when he locked the backyard shed in the winter.
Now what he guessed were those same ties had his hands bound behind his back and then connected somehow to his feet to his feet. He felt like a steer that had been roped by one of the cowboys on the Professional Bull Riding circuit.
That competition was something he had seen on late night TV during a slumber party. He remembered being amazed with the speed and control that the cowboys roped those calves, and held on to the mega sized bulls.
It was a sight which made sense of most young boy’s obsessions with cowboys and the old west. These cowboys were tough and relentless, with no hint of fear. That was the one trait Greg, given his current situation, wished he shared with the tough cowboys from the PBR, no fear.
For what it was worth the real deal was much more painful than it looked on TV. His hands had thankfully gone numb from lack of blood flow, but his shoulder and knees were screaming in agony. It was a perpetual pain, not in waves, but like when you drank a slushy too fast, constant and fully in focus.
He also sensed that he was not alone in this space, there wasn’t any obviously audible sounds, just a sixth sense feeling that he was being carefully watched and evaluated. The way his mom would evaluate a package of steaks at Giant Eagle grocery store.
No, actually this feeling had that same lingering suspicion as when Ms. Crowe, Greg’s fifth grade teacher, was hell bent on busting up the cheating ring that was rumored to exist during spelling exams.
Although she nary said a word during those exams, you could feel her piercing gray eyes all the same, watching waiting, almost wishing for the smallest tell, so she could unleash the full fury of rage that could only come from 30 years as an underpaid public school teacher.
Her wrath was a terrifying thought and one that the cheating ring, which did exist but only during math exams, had never tested.
Greg heard about her eventual death, which happened while teaching fractions to a particularly difficult class last year. The 59 year old woman had dropped dead from what his dad told him was something called “a stress induced heart attack”.
Ominously in this situation Greg felt that same terrified feeling, as if there were eyes similarly glaring and scanning him. If his suspicion was correct he also knew these eyes weren’t looking to give out detention, they were searching his soul for pieces to eat.
Maybe Ms. Crowe had returned from the grave to take her rage out on him, and steal all his joy forever. He would have almost preferred that, as he knew how to kill a zombie from watching his favorite TV show the Walking Dead.
Of course he could not verify any of these theories, he was after all hog tied with zip ties and blindfolded with the crustiest, most disgusting smelling rag he had ever had come into contact with.
It smelled like someone had soaked it in diarrhea for days. It made him want to puke, but in his prostrate position on floor, laying on his side, in this unknown room he couldn’t muster the ability to utilize his gag reflex.
Greg wanted to shout, wanted to struggle to fight and escape, but something told him that any effort exerted now would be potentially catastrophic to efforts to get away if the chance presented itself.
So Greg just resigned himself to laying on his side, bound and sightless patiently waiting for this shadowy presence to reveal himself.
It was after what felt like hours filled with ominous silence, it happened. The sound was not a low rustled growl as he had expected of the monster who had him at his mercy, but a calm cool pleasant made for radio voice that happily said “Greg, they call me Astor, and I am pleased to tell you that this will be a glorious day for you.”