Here it is, the final installment of the long story we have been a little lost in over the last month. Seems crazy to think that we are finally to that last bit. Though it does slip into the very strange at this point.
Anyway, reacquaint yourself or catch up with he rest of this story at these links. and then jump into the next round with the Edge of the Abyss
Moon Light on the Midway
Something Amiss in the Space Station Lounge
Hammer out the Flames
Burning Kiss of the Captive
Edge of the Abyss
Edge of the Abyss
The first snakes that circled his body, were harmless. Garter snakes and small constrictors trickled into the room. They ignored him as he jumped up from the floor and climbed onto stack of boxes. In the darkness he couldn’t see them, not clearly, but there were enough slithering across the floor that it appeared to move.
Hank climbed as high on the boxes as he could. The snakes he felt and could still account for weren’t climbing the boxes after him, but they remained in motion. He could hear them in the hall outside and in the other room. A cacophony of hissing, and scraping across the cold cement floor.
And then he heard the rattles. A jarring sound that ripped the air louder than the rasp of scales across the cement four. The beasts in his room slithered out to make way for the more dangerous reptiles, their rattles crept toward the doorway into Hank’s room.
“Jen,” he called. No answer came back to him. He wasn’t about to jump down to the floor again but his curiosity dug at his resolve. He climbed down and stood in the doorway. Moments before the floor shivered and slithered with snakes of all sizes, now it lay flat, formless. But the rattle continued, grew louder as he stood in the doorway. Along with the rattle something heavy scraped across the floor, not far and in an irregular pattern. Hank couldn’t fight it anymore, he stepped through the doorway and into the other room.
A couple of the storage shelves had fallen over, away from the center where the dead man had lain. The body was gone though the candles remained, their flames still burning bright. The biggest change in the room was the large lumpy body of a snake, larger than any Hank had seen, even on television.
In the snake’s center mass had grown misshapen with a lumpy form. As it moved part it shifted into the light and skeletal features pressed against the snake’s stomach muscles. The tail thrashed against the bottom of a shelving unit to the beat of its rattle. But even this did not give him pause. Not till he found the mouth of the snake. Jen had found herself stuck halfway into the beasts mouth, trapped at the waist. It must have suffocated as it choked on her and she died from its poison at the same time.
Her legs were deep within the creatures throat and her visible body had grown swollen and purple from the venom. Hank circled around for a better vantage point. He stood back, out of reach, but he still wanted to confirm that Jen was dead.
As he circled around the creature stirred. Sinewy muscles pulsed and contracted as the snake changed position. Jen’s eyes popped open and she lifted off the ground. Her middle and the snake’s mouth fell into the light and Hank realized that he had been wrong. The snake and Jen had fused into a single creature. Her forked tongue shot out of her mouth as she scented the air.
“You left me,” she said. The words drifted across the air, soft and ephemeral, like a hiss. The thing shifted as its serpentine body twisted over and around itself. The constant movement allowed the top half to follow Hank as he finished his trip to the front of its body. “Ssstep into the light. I have ssso much to ssshare with you.”
He scanned the room. The room offered few options for weapons, and the door to the outside was across the room on the other side of the Jensnake. Her bat, the one she tried to bash him with, the one that had bashed Jerry to death, lay a short distance away. He could at least give it a good thrashing before she crushed and ate him.
The creature spun in place, searching the room. It must not have seen him, though it could smell him. He was sure she would strike out at him if she knew exactly where he stood. He knelt down, and grabbed a hefty book from a box that split open with the shelves fell. When he stood up again he hefted the book away, toward the door to the world outside. It crashed into another broken shelf and created a ruckus that pulled Jensnake away from him.
As the creature raced toward the sound, Hank raced to the bat. He swung it into the air as he tumbled behind boxes. In that moment the creature had turned back to where it started from. Its belly muscles twisted and twitched as it slithered back. It snatched at him as he jumped behind a different wall of boxes.
The creature ripped at the boxes and pulled them away from its prey. Hank had braced himself and prepared for his one shot at the beast. It reached down to pull away another set of boxes and Hank jumped, the bat in a power swing. The metal smashed into the base of the creatures neck with a twang, and though his hands shook from the impact he swung into the beasts neck and the back of its head several more times. He kept swinging till the creature fell to the ground in front of him. Even then he beat against its skull a couple more times after that.
When the beast twitched no more, he dropped the bat and fell to his knees. The adrenaline drained away and left Hank in a state similar to a puddle. He was afraid to turn away from the creature, dead in front of him. If he lost sight of it it could shift and change and would become just a figment of his imagination.
Morning came, light from a gray dawn filtered through the rooms windows. The creature still lay in front of him, a creature that should never have existed, not in the world he lived in.