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In the landscape of his mind, Eddie could see the room around him. He knew that Mira was still by the door out of the room and the thing that was no longer him had retreated to the end of the bed away from him. And he lay on the floor.
He had fallen at the door into the room he had awoken in, his legs past the threshold into the room again. His mind screamed with psychic rage and pain from the lashing he just experienced. And no one had moved.
The room had gone still when he first noticed a vague shape move in the hall just outside the doorway. He couldn’t quite describe it, couldn’t quite see it. The black shape had twisted and turned and begun to coalesce into something almost human in appearance. Even then it left an oily like memory in his head.
Eddie didn’t understand the effect of the presence. Though it hadn’t come all the way in the room, he could tell that it wasn’t entirely human while at the same time it had coalesced into something that made his skin crawl. And then he saw it, saw it through the strangeness of his mind. In that moment he knew he would not be able to resist the creature who controlled the group of them.
“What were you thinking?” Mrs. Green said to Mira. “Have you forgotten what’s at stake?”
Lightning fast, inky blackness slashed out and struck Mira across the face, then again. She screamed at the touch and fell away from the creature. The thing that was no longer Eddie shriveled into itself. Its trembles sent off shock waves that rippled through Eddie’s odd vision.
Mrs. Green shambled into the room. He was sure that if he could see with his old eyes, it would have looked like something different, something human. But he saw more than he expected, more than he could comprehend in this new body. Eddie wanted to crawl away. He wanted to find something to hide behind where this woman would not find him. But it was too late.
A tendril of blackened mist reached out and caressed his cheek. “What have they done to you? Are you hurt?” The voice purred at him.
As much as he wanted to back pedal away from her, he felt the compulsion of the voice. He wanted nothing more than to be in her care. Even as the touch repulsed him it sent chills down his spine. He craved to feel it again. He felt the movement in the hall as Mira stood up.
She stood in the doorway, looking in on her mother and Eddie. “He can’t stay here,” she said. “We have to let him go, mother.”
The temperature of the mist changed as it shifted its focus back toward Mira. “I’ve worked too long for this. We will finish it.”
He wanted to fight it, wanted to break free, but her words had chained him to the room far better than physical chains ever could. Eddie was lost to her words. Mrs. Green’s voice had a power over him unlike anything he had ever experienced and it had grown stronger with the change.
They had left him in the room he had awoken in. The door had been shut and with it his access to the world beyond. The changes to his body had left him without hands to turn door knobs, though he was certain he had become stronger than a standard wooden door. He could crash through and win his freedom if only he could break free of her commands.
Shortly after he had been left in the room, he had heard a few screams. His thoughts had turned to Mira and her bid for his freedom but he could see nothing beyond the door to the room. The thing that was no longer him, had moved out of the room next door. At least he could no longer sense its presence. Things had changed for everyone around him, but he remained a prisoner.
After some time, there came a knock at the door and then it cracked open a little. Fresh air rushed into the room. He hadn’t noticed how tight the space of the room had become. Mira pushed the door open far enough to allow herself into the room. Her movements had changed, slower, more deliberate. There was a forced grace that he had not noticed earlier.
“I’ve brought you some food,” she said. She set a tray down beside his bedding on the floor. “Be sure to eat it all. You will need your strength.”
He bounced to his feet, faster than he had once thought possible, and caught her at the door. Mira flinched at his touch, but made no sound or movements to get further away.
“What’s all this about?” The words scraped against his throat as he fought to release them.
She didn’t look up, didn’t look at him. “If we had gotten out of here earlier…”
He slammed the blade of his right arm into the edge of the door and knocked it from her hands. “What the hell is going on?”
“She chose you.” The girl’s voice had become little more than a squeak. “I tried to get you out. This wasn’t the first time. But I can’t anymore. This was my last chance to save you.”
“Save me from what?” He realized that he had begun to sweat as a powerful heat built, first in his chest and then it traveled through his limbs.
“I… I… can’t,” she said. She ripped the door open and slipped away as the door closed with a crash behind her.
Nothing had changed. He lacked the tools to reopen the door.
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