Albey hated walking back from work. It wasn’t from laziness or tiredness or boredom. No.
It was the fact that when ever he seemed to be walking back from work, the night seemed to be that little bit more dark.
The trees were taller and shadows thicker, if he got to close, Albey would sometimes feared he may drown in them.
He held his breath when walking across the thin pathway that edged the dense Forrest, purposely keeping his head turned away. The bark exhaled cold, leaving his left side chilled, almost numb.
“Excuse me?” He halted. Did he just... no. Albey was mistaken. “Hello?” Albey exhaled, hand trembling as he clenched his coat. There was someone talking to him.
“Can you help me?” Albey faltered, thigh clenching to take another step forward yet with the childlike voice ringing between his temples, he couldn’t bring himself to do so. “Please.
Please, can you help me?”
Albey swallowed. “Help you?” He whispered, reluctantly turning his head into the direction of the murky abyss.
“What is it, what’s wrong?” He moved his foot forward, the tip of his toes scuffing the soil, breath stuttering in his chest - something gripped Albey’s forearm. His eyes went wide.
What ever it was hauled him backwards, leaving him with flailing legs and scrambling arms. Albey caught himself on a broken street lamp, stopping himself from tumbling onto the ground.
He slowly rose his chin. A man. Whatever had just hauled him back was a man. A peculiar looking man at that. All curly hair, huge eye balls and juxtaposed mismatched clothes.
He looked like a sort of... crazed philosopher. It was then that Albey’s ears tuned back in and he could hear is own rasping breaths and slammed his mouth shut, jaw creaking.
He moved his mouth to speak, to question him, to curse this random stranger for man handling him in such a way.
“Please. Help me.”
The odd man’s huge eyes somehow grey, a smile with to much teeth stretching on his strange face as he spun on his heel, arm outstretched and finger pointing at the dark murk.
“Help? Ah, some how I believe that isn’t what you’re really asking for.” Albey pulled himself away, hands fumbling at his pockets, hoping to find his phone.
The odd man glanced at him before waving him down. “Now, now, don’t be silly. I just saved you from a horrifically demeaning and a frankly embarrassing death, so, please, give me a moment.”
“Death?” Albey rasped, the London in him coming out. “S’kid in there, no bloody death mate. Probably just lost or somethin’ - ”
“Lost. Yes. Very lost. Very far from home.” The odd man rose his chin and pulled mobile from his pocket. Albey frowned. That was, Jesus, that was his phone.
How in hell - the man swiped on the glass, flickering the bright torch on. He turned back to look at Albey nodding him over and for a strange unknown reason, Albey found himself following.
It was as though the stranger had cast a spell on him, as though he was enchanted in some way. Albey craned his head over the tall man’s shoulder. He recoiled.
He could see, plainly now, what it was that had been speaking. Luring him in. That was no child. “Well? Do you have a name.”
“Earth.” It spoke. A different voice from before. It sounded like a hum in the wind, unnatural, struggling to be heard.
The stranger quirked an eyebrow. “No. That’s not your name. What are you called? And who’s voice have you stolen, what pair of lungs.”
“Well which is it?”
“Two male. One... not male.”
“Ah the lungs.”
Albey felt like retching. His nostrils were flared, expression grim yet he could not tear his eyes away from the grotesque face before him. “Earth. Earth and bodies. Bodies. Bodies.
” The being begun to say. It sounded like a broken record, scratching and rippling. “Bodies.” It said again.
Albey turned to the stranger. “Why can’t it speak? It was talking fine earlier.”
“Those weren’t his words,” he murmured, “bodies? What about bodies?” He yelled, voice raising.
Albey watched that black gaping mouth suffering around the vowels, it’s blunt teeth grinding behind its thin chapped lips. “Oh, I see.” The strange man exhaled. “Bodies.
You wanted the bodies, I doubt the lungs were all you took from those poor people.
You’re not familiar with human biology though, are you? Decomposing is bound to take place, even if the host is currently a parasite.” The insidious mouth seemed to bubble, out of anger perhaps.
“That’s right, no compatible bodies here.”
The figure seems to twitched, it’s limbs convulsing,
face heaving before it shrouded itself in ash that dribbled from his raw skin before the thick dust blacked him out completely before the ash dropped, falling away,
leaving nothing but trees and grass shadows. The figure had gone. Albey took a step forward, eyes wide. The ash itself wasn’t even there. “Where did it - ” he spun around.
The man, the strange man with big eyes and curley hair and that looming physical voice had gone. Both of them. Just gone. Like dust in the wind.