Something Wicked in the Darkness
Written by Karina Dănilă
October, just a regular dark autumn evening. She’s on her way home from college. It seems as though there is no one else around, but this fact doesn’t bother her at all. She’s listening to the whirling leaves’ rustling dance caused by the gentle whisper of the wind. She arrives at the block she lives in and absentmindedly enters the elevator, automatically pressing a button. Except for the sound of the ascending machine, she’s enveloped in silence. A few seconds pass and she hears a soft dripping sound, but can’t put her finger on where it comes from, so she pays no mind to it. The light starts flickering and the elevator stops abruptly. “It’s probably just a brief power shortage. I’m sure they’ll fix it in a couple of minutes”, she thinks as a powerful repetitive hammering shakes up the box she’s caged in. She starts to panic and curls herself up in a ball in one of the corners, arms covering her head while the pounding persists and all of a sudden something bursts down the roof of the elevator. As the trembling of the bulbs lit the cabin once again, she dares to look at the sharp object hanging from above: a blood drowned spear. “What in the world is going on?!” she manages to murmur chokingly. She forcefully presses her hands on her ears, the sound made by an unforeseen screeching unbearable metal friction and as she looks up she sees a sharp stone cutting though the ceiling. She’s sweating profusely, her heart races and she feels as if it’s soon going to rip her chest open. Then the audible torture meets its end soon to be followed by a thump. She’s afraid to look, but does so any way and what she witnesses robs her of any mobility she might have left. The cadaver of a person lay before her feet and stains the ground in viscous red. She covers her mouth and lets out a short muffled scream. As she realizes the possible danger she could be in, she can’t voice anything anymore, starts heavy breathing, tremblingly steps over the corpse and hastily pushes the button assigned to the floor her apartment is located on. The doors open, she rushes towards her place, pulls the keys out of her purse with a fast movement and tries to push the key in the keyhole with both her shaking hands. She hears a loud jump in the elevator and can tell that whatever it was, it landed on all fours. Heavy steps rush in her direction, but she manages to open the door and arrive inside just after catching a glimpse of the naked humanoid creature running towards her like an ape and producing low guttural noises while holding the spear like a cane. It was something that resembled one of humanity’s ancestors and it was frightening her to the bone. As she pressed her body against the door she realised that in her hurry she left the keys along on the outside along with her purse which she didn’t even realize she let fall on the ground in favour of more mobility. She felt that she had no escape whatsoever. There simply couldn’t be a way for her to get out alive of this nightmare. “This can’t be happening… This can’t be real!” she declares attempting to convince herself that all was just a fever dream and that she’d wake up in her cosy bed in a few moments. But now the Neanderthal or whatever it is, because that’s the only type of ancient human she remembers from History class, is banging on her door with immense force. She starts helplessly crying and looks around the room thinking if there’s anything that could help her. She looks at the window and an idea pops into her head. “This is the third floor… I could end up dead. Well… it’s worth a try. Either way, the end result will be the same, but this will be less painful, I suppose.” She counts to three, leaps in front of the window, unlocks it and jumps out right when the door jolts wide open. She knew how to land and rolled on the shoulders, not receiving meaningful damage. Her shoulder blades and spine took a harder hit on the concrete, are probably wounded and bruised, but she quickly gets up. The furious creature is bellowing as it agilely climbs down the building. She started running down the street. How come there is no one around, no one that could save her or that could call the police? She keeps looking back and notices that some people who must’ve heard the noise turn their light on and look outside their flats. A woman whose window was open starts screaming in terror. The ape-like being is gaining up on her. She could never outrun him. Just as this thought leaves her mind, she exhaustedly stumbles and falls on her elbows. The Neanderthal throws the weapon at her and in that fraction of a second time itself stops for her. She twists to the side, avoiding a fatal hit, but still gets her left biceps grazed, plasma oozing out of the laceration. With her right hand she picks up the sharp tool and directs it towards the creature. The moment it swung itself in the air over her she launched the lancet with an unbelievable impetus piercing its sternum and propelling him backwards. She stands up and watches as he wriggles in pain, pulls the spear out of his chest and strikes him again in his neck. She holds the position until she knows that he is gone for good. She takes a step back and falls on her knees nervously laughing which turns into wailing in a matter of seconds. She stretches out her tired body on the cold trail and closes her eyes. It slowly begins to rain and she picks up the distant sirens of the police cars closing in.