by Vonny O’Sullivan
(Scheduled for release in 2019)
A shiver nibbled its way up his spine like a rat accustomed to dark places. The Guides had brought him here. He would never have come on his own. Never.
Holding up the flickering candle, he surveyed the secret room—solid concrete walls, splotchy black with wet scum and mold; no windows. The room was underground; no lights, no electricity. He will fix that before he brings her here.
The cloying atmosphere, undiluted by freshness, clamped itself to his skin. Was it the very same air he himself had breathed here all those years ago?
“There is much to do,” the First Guide said.
“And little time,” the Second Guide said.
He was glad the Guides had returned. They had not spoken to him in fourteen years. He feared they had abandoned him. But no, they were just waiting for the time to be right. All would be well now.
The stale air slithered into his lungs. He coughed. The candle flame fluttered, almost went out, then, tentative, flared again. He put his hand behind it to shield it.
There was blood on his hand. How had that gotten there? He looked more closely and saw the deep gash slashed across his palm. He did not remember hurting himself.
“When did that happen?” he asked, but when he looked back at his hand, the gash and blood were gone.
“It’s a sign,” said Guide, the Third.
“Yes, a sign,” said Guide, the Second.
“A sign of what?”
“That you are one of them,” said Guide, the First. “An immortal.”
“An immortal? Really?”
The Guides did not reply as he contemplated the meaning of immortality, the limitless opportunities to do his work. He gazed around the secret room again. He would begin here, where his life had ended. And this time it would be good. Yes, very good indeed.
I’m hiding. I found a dark corner in my brain and curled up here. I need to rest, to think—but there are “things” here. Scary things. Why didn’t I know about them? It’s MY brain, right?
He has taken over completely, I think. I must not allow that to go on, for I will disintegrate, melt away into nothing. Already I feel myself getting smaller.
He seems to have forgotten about me. All of this seems surreal. I’ve had so many secrets for so long, and now I AM a secret. I don’t even know how he did this to me!
He’s been talking to the ones he calls the “Guides.” They’re planning something, going to destroy something. I think they’re going to destroy me. I need to find a way out of here, but if I leave, he wins.