Basketball

Thud. Thud. Thud.

The beat coursed through Dylan like his heartbeat, the pulse driving his every move. He bobbed his head from side to side, his hands slapping down hard on the ball. It bounced in time to the music, its rough texture like an old friend against his skin. Dylan closed his eyes, his body jerking with the rhythm of the drum. Music was his drug, his fuel for his sport, and as the volume increased and the tempo became more frantic, he clenched his entire body, preparing to leap as he waited for the moment.

The silence.

The break came and Dylan jumped, throwing the ball high. Just as he had planned, it hit the board as the music started up again. He fell into a squat and watched with tense glee as the ball rolled around the rim of the net, before slipping in.

“Yes!” he exclaimed, pumping his fist in celebration. Dylan paused, waiting for the yells that would pierce through his music. They never came. Sliding off his headphones, he glanced up towards Angry Girl’s window, furrowing his brow. Was she getting better at ignoring him?

Dylan jogged over to the ball and scooped it up, bouncing it harder. He threw it into the hoop a few times, aiming it for maximum noise. Still, she did not appear at her window. Dylan had always thought of their relationship like an inverted Romeo and Juliet. He got her attention with noise; she came to her dorm window and screamed abuse at him. Angry Girl always had some kind of exam going on, and she would let him know about it with as many expletives crammed in as possible. But she was cute, and Dylan had seen her checking his ass out post-rant when she thought he wasn’t looking. It had become their thing, somehow. But had he gone too far today?

Dylan decided to push his luck. Taking aim, he launched the ball with care, making sure it had just enough power to reach its destination, but not too much so it would cause damage. It smacked into the window, going straight through with a crash. The noise made even Dylan jump. He watched carefully. A hand appeared at the window and pressed itself against the broken glass. Then it slid down the pane and out of sight, leaving a dark ooze on the shards.

“Angry Girl!” Dylan cried, not bothering to consider how stupid the words sounded as they left his mouth. He ran at the wall, managing to scramble up onto it, and crouched down. Dylan then made his way along it, eyeing the window warily. It occurred to him that no one had been milling around the dorms today. The place was as still and quiet as a graveyard.

Closed curtains prevented Dylan from looking inside the room, but the smell was enough to send him reeling. He gagged and almost lost his balance, but saved himself at the last moment. Fear was rushing through him; the room smelt like death and decay. He hesitated, suddenly afraid to see what was inside, but Angry Girl’s face suddenly surfaced in his thoughts. She could be hurt…or worse. He had to go inside. Taking a deep breath, Dylan edged himself over the broken glass and into the room.

Flies swarmed the room in a hellish swirl, crawling over every inch of a figure on the bed. Dylan froze, staring at the scene, his mouth open in horror. Amidst the blood-stained sheets, there lay the body of a girl. Her ribcage had been cracked wide open to expose the fleshy organs beneath. Or it would have done, if any remained. It was as if someone had carelessly scooped out her innards, leaving only partially chewed scraps behind. Her jaw was slack, her face half twisted in agony. Big, fat flies crawled across her eyes, and into her nose, ears, and mouth. Trying desperately not to retch, Dylan slipped off the desk he had climbed onto, and glanced around.

Fuck, fuck, fuck!

Had a wild animal gotten into here? He turned to the desk to see if anything was behind him, and then noticed an open diary. He was clearly in imminent danger. There was something here. And yet curiosity pulled him towards it. Dylan took a small, quiet step towards the book, keeping an eye out for any sudden movement. He picked it up and flicked the book to the front cover, noting the name.

Jenny Simmons.

Suddenly, he heard a noise behind him. Before he could turn, a pair of hands grabbed him and pulled him back. Pain flared through him as a strong pair of jaws clamped down on his neck. Blood gushed out and he screamed, trying to pull away. He didn’t want to be eaten; he wanted to live. Dylan wrenched himself away, the meat on his neck being ripped away by the thing’s teeth, and fell to the floor screaming. He rolled over, ready to kill it, and saw that the bed was empty. Jenny had stood up, and she was coming for him.

“No, you were dead!” he cried out, pushing himself up against the wall as far as he could go. His head was spinning as blood continued to run from his neck. Jenny fell to the floor and clawed at his legs, trying to bite him. With a strangled cry, Dylan kicked out with his free foot, catching her in the jaw and snapping her head back with a crack. She kept on coming, getting closer and closer, pulling Herself forwards by clutching at his trousers. He tried to push her face away, and she bit down hard on his fingers, severing them. Panic took over, and he began to thrash from side to side as Jenny’s teeth found his stomach and began to tear her way through.

Basketball, hate, ass

I’m not entirely happy with this one, but I’d hit a writer’s block wall and wanted to try and get past it as best I could.

Connor

Freefall was a beautiful thing to watch, Rachel thought. The way the object tumbled and rippled in the wind as it picked up speed was almost mesmerising, and it seemed to fall forever. Well, perhaps beautiful was not the word. The effect was somewhat ruined by the object being a living, breathing, human being. And even that was up for debate.

Rachel hugged her legs, burrowing her face into her knees. The bones of her kneecaps dug into her forehead, but she clung to them anyway. At that moment, it felt like they were her anchor, all that held her in reality.

It was all such a joke. A cruel dig at her expense. He had been the only person she’d seen in over an hour that hadn’t tried to eat her and she hadn’t even been sure if he was alive. If he hadn’t been dead at the time, he most certainly was when he reached the ground. An image of a big balloon filled with thick red liquid surfaced in her mind, and she clutched harder at herself as nausea rushed over her.

A scuffling noise sounded outside, and Rachel glanced up, her insides tightening with fear. She waited in the silence for what felt like an age, and then eventually relaxed. Rachel rubbed her arms, trying to ignore the pain in her palm, and also the dried blood that coated her skin. Her hair and clothes were caked in it, too. When the man had…reached his destination, he…

She swallowed and winced, her throat sore from her earlier hysterical screams. She had been close by as he had met the road, and…

Unable to hold it back any longer, Rachel scrambled to the corner and began to heave. Sweat trickled down her brow, her entire body trembling, and cold shivers pulsated through her. The pain in her palm was getting worse, and she cried out as it peaked, before subsiding. When she had finished, she collapsed down next to the puddle of vomit, too weary to move away. The acrid smell made Rachel’s nostrils twitch in disgust, and she put her head back against the wall, eyes closed. She concentrated, listening to see if she had attracted unwanted attention, but heard nothing. Rachel wiped her mouth with a shaky hand, noting with some relief that the burning in her palm was almost gone, and tried to think about anything but the man. However, he would not leave her mind.

Who had he been? The explosion from the top of the building had drawn her attention to his flight. She’d caught a glimpse of fiery red hair and a smart suit before he…he had…

“He’s dead, Rachel,” Rachel hissed to herself. “Dead. Accept it.”

Before he had died. She’d caught a glimpse of fiery red hair and a smart suit before he had died.

The breath she had been holding was slowly released. Somehow, she now felt more at ease. Acceptance, maybe? Rachel didn’t know. She wondered why he had decided to take his own life. Well, besides the obvious explanation. Rachel decided his name was Connor. Again, she felt more comfortable. She wasn’t even holding her knees anymore, though the shivers were becoming more intense.

Rachel had tried to imagine why Connor would do such a thing earlier, after she had stopped screaming, but her cries had attracted other…things. They’d almost overwhelmed her, trying to bite her. She wasn’t entirely sure how she had gotten away, but she had. And now she was here, hiding. Plenty of time to think before everything was fixed and back to normal.

So why did Connor choose to die? Had he been bitten? Rachel glanced at her palm and then shook her head. No, that was too…minor. The news had mentioned a cure in the works shortly before the television networks had cut out. They were going to sort everything and she would be fine. Of course she would be fine. Why wouldn’t she be? Why would she think something like that?

Rachel was shivering violently now, fresh, cold sweat breaking out on her skin. It cut through Connor’s dark red blood and left smudged rivets. She shook her head and wrapped her arms around her legs again, rocking.

Connor.

Yes, think about Connor. Think about…

Think about…?

What had she been thinking about?

Oh. Yes. Connor. Rachel squeezed her eyes tightly shut, trying to concentrate and push her way through the murk that was clouding her mind. Connor. Connor. Connor.

Perhaps…Connor must have lost his family. His wife and child. Connor must have been a nice man, to care about his wife and child so much that he couldn’t live without them. Connor. Connor. Connor.

Save me, Connor.

Rachel was getting hungry. So…hungry.

You saved yourself, Connor. Why didn’t you save me?

Rachel stared down at her hands, barely aware of the bite mark on her left palm. She licked the dried blood off her hands, sending a shock of excitement through her. Oh, how she’d love to taste Connor. Not just his blood, but his flesh. His bones. His skin, his sweat, his tongue, his eyes. Her mouth began to salivate and her eyes rolled back into her head.

Connor. Connor. Connor. Connor.

“Connor,” Rachel moaned as she slid down the wall and straight into her own sick. It bubbled at her cracked lips as she muttered her last words.

“Connor…”

This week’s keywords were given to me by a friend, so I named our main character after her. I’m sure she will love the thought of dying in her own vomit. 😀

I also hadn’t been planning on linking the characters across the stories, and yet somehow this felt right. Maybe I’ll make this an ongoing thing with the characters.

Words: anchor, palm, freefall