“You must find a beautiful flower
A fine delicate lily to please it.
Do not stir its wrath by disobedience
What The Thing has demanded, you must give!”
―Elder Divali, Grandmaster of The Scions
* * * * *
They had said it would come when the moon kissed the Fourth Star. They had told her it would rise to take her when the wind began to call it from the deep waters. Upon chaining her protesting feeble hands to the iron bed, they had brought out the big rats from their filthy sacks, dipping each in fresh blood and leaving the floor scattered with their mangled lifeless bodies.
The wind was howling outside and all she could feel was her heart hitting forcefully against her ribcage. The cool breeze that streamed in from the opening by the left of the room brought no comfort, but only combined with the strange sounds the wind was making to weaken her bones. The two powerfully built men who had tied her up had been fierce, and their fetish tattoos, broken teeth, bad breath and cackled laughter had since become a vivid blend of images tormenting her mind. And strengthening her fears. Still she knew it was The Thing and what it might do that was making her shiver so. They had told her the rats on the floor would make it do terrible things. Very terrible things.
Then she heard it coming.
They did not tell her what it looked like. They did not tell her what it would do to her. Her mind was forming dark images to prepare her for the sight of what was making for the room.
Pause. Why did it stop?
The door broke away, flew across the room and shattered to pieces on the opposite wall. She screeched, burying her head in her armpit as she rapidly chanted a myriad of words she could hardly understand but knew where aimed at rendering some form of prayer.
It stopped. Finally.
She slowly rose her head to face her new visitor and upon a split glance of what loomed large before her, she let out a sharp strained cry, twirling with wild haste towards her chains, clawing and pulling madly at the rings with her fingers, breaking her nails and drawing blood―unmindful of the pain her wounds were sharply pushing through her body―as she clawed on in a desperate but hopeless attempt to release herself from the ominous captivity of the metal that bound her. Her wildly kicking legs did nothing to emancipate her, for they could not reach the chains―and if they eventually did, what could they do to set her loose? What power had they against these mighty chains? It was hopeless. Her fate was sealed. She stopped screaming. She began to whimper, unmindful of the scattered strands of her hair the streaming tears were lightly bathing. Then she had an epiphany.
The expectation of pain could be probably worse than the pain itself. All that is required is a better conditioning of the mind.
She would face her dread, she resolved, and with that she turned around. Slowly. With fortitude. To defy this horrible guest of the night.
There, at the centre of the room, stood a living breathing slimy mass of what seemed to be a legion of mighty flies densely pressed against each other, buzzing mildly. The Thing had pores―they were the size of bath-tub drains―scattered over it, oozing thick green fluid. Its seven arms, every one the length of a tall man, tapered outwards, each ending in three long antennae that spiraled slowly. The arms were wavering around, touching and then splashing the walls and floor with the green fluid as though they were looking for something. Something that must be found and taken. The Thing had no head but only a large blob that held all the arms. It was impossible to know where it was looking. What it was thinking. When it would strike.
Then it touched one rat. Then another. Then two others. And then it froze.
In a flash, The Thing swirled towards the bed and grabbed both her legs, each with an arm, curling them tightly and spreading them wide apart. She shot out a streak of hysteric screams as she struggled to wriggle her legs free, but the force with which they were held allowed for no movement. The smell of this creature was bad. Terrible. Much like rotten eggs. The awful odour was brewing agonizing throbs within her. A banging pain in her head. An unbearable rumbling in her belly. The smell was very very bad.
Then it stretched a third arm towards the centre of her legs, moving slowly and at random as if unsure of what it wanted to do. Her screams were louder now, and as it drew closer to that private spot, three bugs―They were very much akin to the form of cockroaches but twice larger―crawled out of the pores and headed for the tip of the outstretched arm. Just when it was some inches close to her centre, the arm stopped moving, suspended in mid-air. Her screams ended at the same time, her mouth still wide open with dread. She was not sure if her screams were encouraging this beast’s revolting interest. Suddenly it lifted the outstretched arm and darted at her face, quickly feeding all three bugs into her mouth.
She instantly responded with a violent puke that heavily splattered her body and the arm of the Thing, stretching out as far as her feet. The bugs were unyielding, remaining in her mouth, the force of her vomit not enough to send them away from their new haven. So they crawled their way towards her throat, artfully dodging the spirited attempts of her tongue to flick them out of the pink environment that now sheltered them. Soon she felt their sharp legs clawing their way down her throat and into her belly. She could feel their antennae stroking the walls of her throat as they navigated their way down. Sickened by the happenings, she managed another forceful puke from her now violently jerking body, but the distressing sound of the action was the only testament to her effort. They were now in her belly―this bugs, their drones louder. Her voice was cracked at this point and her body weak from fighting. She was heaving at the chest and shuddering. Violently.
It was not to end that way, for it was with the quickness and precision of the former deed that The Thing yet drove two more of its hideous bugs into her, through that sacred gateway positioned between her legs. They clawed through―these bloated things―in the darkness of her pink tunnel, staining it with the green slime on their exoskeletons, and propelling random bouts of pain through her body. They crawled further into her, guided by their scratching antennae and the drones of their kind in her belly, forcing out of her a crescendo of tired shrills―but who would hear her screams? Who would hear whatever sharp cries she gave from this dingy cabin on the lower deck of this shack of a ship that was seven hundred and fifty nautical miles away from the closest landmass? Who would hear her when she was the only one on this ship―at the mercy of this thing that had summoned the wind, the night and the sea to the side of evil? Who would help her?
“Somebody, please help meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”
* * * * *
“Rape is a crime against sleep and memory; it’s after image imprints itself like an irreversible negative from the camera obscure of dreams. Though their bodies would heal, their souls had sustained a damage beyond compensation.”
― Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides