"The shadows and the damned, they lurk in the corner of existence, your vision, your eyes.
A cold presence with the formation of an endless skein slowly wrapping around your heart, tightening as you crumble.
" These are the words a man once told me, a man who is no longer a part of this world. A man who was found mutilated in his home 3 years ago today.
The colossal slam as the letterbox closed almost sent me through the roof. "Bloody ridiculous" I muttered to myself as I ventured down the hall towards my front door.
I'm not sure why, but I can't explain the feeling I felt when his letter came through the letterbox. No matter how hard I try.
Sadness? No that's not it, I don't think there is a way to describe how I felt in words. I just stood there staring at the decayed and putrid envelope as I was engulfed by its horrific nature.
"Shit," I said to myself. "These fucking kids."
I had fully convinced myself that this was some sick animals idea of a joke, I could not have been farther from the truth.
After a long day at work, I arrived home, drenched from the unforgiving "Mother Nature" as they say, but that's life I suppose, yeah, life.
Settling down with a bottle of beer and my favourite T.
V show I heard something fall off of the table behind me, it was the letter, it lay there still and damp yet I felt it call out to me, pulling me towards it.
As I bent down to pick it up after my long journey from the couch I felt as if I would vomit,
it had only been 9 hours since this morning yet the smell had grown thicker and the touch had become grimier.
Opening the envelope without ripping it was a mission but I eventually got there, God I wish I hadn't.
The letter lay on the table in front of me, it was just as damaged and wrinkled as the envelope was,
a lot of the writing was smudged but one word that stuck out to me was "Branch" A name I had earned after falling from a tree back when I was deployed in Afghanistan.
My heart sunk at the site of this, to you it may seem like a funny joke or a game, but my squad-mates were the only ones to use that name,
the same squad-mates that were slaughtered by enemy forces leaving 2 alive, me and. Him.
I stood there for a while, thinking back to all the horrible memories I wish I could erase, but it is in the past.
Terrified, I finally decided to read the letter after a long silence, as I said though, a lot of the words were smudged and incomprehensible but this is what I got from it.
Hey, it has been a while, how are you doing? I know the last time we spoke it ended rather bad, but I just want you to know that I really do care about you.
Look, something is happening and I don't know if I am losing my mind or this is some joke but, they won't go away.
I see them in the corner of my eye, sometimes standing still and sometimes sprinting towards me, but when I turn towards them, they are gone.
They look like shadows but there is something about their eyes, red, glowing.
Shit, I think I may have even seen Fergus and Bubbles earlier, just standing there in the very edge of my provisional vision, whispering.
Hell, maybe I am going crazy, it really is like being back in those bunkers, you think you see someone but when you look, no one.
I don't know what is going on but the police won't do anything and I can't do very much in this old wheelchair of mine, come see an old man will ya kid?
Even if it is just for a couple of hours, I would really appreciate it. I have several lifetimes worth of beer and I'm sure Milly and the new pup would love to see you too.
Thank you for sticking with me this long kid, after everything that's happened, you have no idea how much it means to me.
The first time I read this my eyes had already swelled up and I was in tears, one of my best friends was calling for help and I never knew, he was played with, then murdered by thugs.
I never even thought to ask myself how it took 3 years to travel a 3 hours trip and that was the biggest mistake of my life.
Once I had washed my face and calmed down a little bit, I heard footsteps. quiet, but audible, right behind me.
An overwhelming sense of dread filled the air, the room still and silent.
A distant voice in my head protested every thought that came into my mind and so I stood there, entirely mute until, they froze.
At that moment, my head acknowledged my urge to see who stood beyond and well, you probably guessed it, it was no one, not a soul,
the only thing remaining being the never ending hallway leading downstairs.
After reluctantly jotting it up to stress and my mind playing tricks on me I headed to bed, that was one of the most regretful decisions of my life.
Those nightmares, flashes of lights, visions of dead relatives, even myself.
But that sound, god that fucking sound, an ear-piercing low yet high pitched moan, it filled my ears, my head, it was unbearable.
I started to sense wetness on my arms and legs, it was, blood, my skin seamed to peel back,
splitting at the seams slowly transitioning from my body to a foundationless heap of flesh on the ground. I could not move nor speak, all I could do is merely watch as finally, my face ripped.
What used to be covered by the surface of skin began to boil, a horrendous sensation of what felt like I was being showered with acid, corrosive liquid digging through me,
seeping through every crevis, melting bone and destroying everything within reach. With all of this, paralyzed I remained.