The Watcher Ch. 04bySecondCircle©
Here is the conclusion. Its long and took a while to find the time around a hectic schedule, but hopefully none of that dulls the flavor. Thanks for reading.
The house was lit only by a few candles in the sparsely furnished living room. Much of her surroundings appeared to her as a dark blur, though Jenna had no trouble seeing the sickly looking young man standing before her.
"D-Danny... what's happened to you?" Jenna asked.
Shifting his weight from foot to foot, Danny shook his head. The simple motion itself seemed wrong somehow, or unnatural in some way that Jenna could not quite grasp He held his long crooked arms close to his chest, his nearly skeletal fingers groping and scratching at his wrists.
"You shouldn't be here," he repeated.
Jenna glanced at Matt, who seemed unaffected by his brother's strange appearance. Instead, his large bluish eyes were trained upon Jenna, or more pointedly, at her chest. Looking down, she became aware that her shirt was still filthy and wet, and that her erect brown nipples were plainly visible through the thin fabric that clung to her breasts. She crossed her arms over her chest and timidly backed away from the brothers.
Danny watched her closely with his sunken unblinking eyes. Again he licked the front of his teeth habitually. The image of the horrifying thing in her bathroom surfaced in her mind. A discomforting thought entered her head.
"Danny... was it you?" Jenna said. "Was that you in my house?"
"It was never him," she heard a voice say.
Jenna turned to find a figure emerging from a door that led to the kitchen. Her heart lifted when she recognized his face.
"Blake," she breathed.
Rushing over, she flung her arms around him. She felt as though seeing Blake alive was the only thing that had happened that she could take real comfort in.
"My god, I didn't know what to think," she said trembling. "I-I thought you were...."
Blake chuckled and gently pried her away from him. When she looked up, Jenna saw that he was holding the back of his head, and she spotted a dark red stain in his short hair behind his ear.
"Are... are you okay?" Jenna asked him.
"Yeah, he did a pretty good number on me, though," Blake replied.
"He's out of control!" Danny hissed.
Jenna glanced from Blake to his sickly brother. Blake's eyes studied her curiously before wandering down to her chest, as Matt had done only seconds before. Again the feeling of discomfort came over her, and she returned her arms to her breasts.
"What is going on?" She asked them weakly. "Who are you talking ab-"
"You know I never wanted you to have to meet him, Jenna," Blake answered suddenly. "I was gonna go about this differently, but you sorta screwed all of that up."
The three brothers watched her in the dim room, and Jenna began to feel trapped beneath their oppressive gazes.
"What are you talking about?" Jenna demanded.
Blake grinned. "Man, you must have really given him a show, girl. He's taken to you."
A hard lump formed in Jenna's throat as a feeling of dread welled up inside of her. Her eyes began to instinctively search for an escape route, but Matt stood before the front door, and Blake was between her and the kitchen door.
"Who are you people?" She asked with tears burning her eyes.
Blake snickered. "We're just like you, Jenna. Just regular people trying to make a life for themselves."
He took several slow steps toward her, and she backed away on shaking legs. Her calf bumped an old couch, one of the only objects in the sparsely furnished room.
"You know, I never knew why they all hated my mother," Blake said with his eyes cast down. "I was too young to understand then. Ethan probably understood everything, and Danny, too. They're the oldest. You probably took me for the oldest, huh?"
Jenna remained silent, watching Blake warily like a cornered animal. Still, she could not deny that she thought him the oldest of the brothers, judging simply by the way he carried himself and the manner in which he always spoke of his brothers.
Blake shook his head and flashed her a broad grin. "I'm the baby boy. I'd never really heard the words they called my mom... whore, slut, heretic, witch... it didn't make sense to me. Of course, as I got older, I began to understand. I can't count how many nights I would lie awake from all the sounds I'd hear in the next room, from all her meetings."
His eyes dropped to the floor. He appeared to be in deep thought for several moments.
"I don't know what our father was," Blake said. "I don't even know where he is today, but I know we all have his blood. And it's starting to show."
Jenna felt her blood run cold. For a moment, she thought that she had not heard Blake correctly.
"We'll all look like him one day," Blake said, looking over at his brothers. "I'm guessing I have a few more years. Matt has already started to change, but it happens differently to everyone. I expected his eyes to show first, if anything, but who would have guessed his tongue would be the first to change."
Blake chuckled and shot her a glance. "I guess you've already seen how talkative he is."
Jenna looked at Matt, who stood glaring at her calmly, his face contorted in the same scowl she had always seen him wear. Her mind was racing to keep up, though truly, she felt as though she could not bear to hear more.
Blake motioned toward his other brother.
"It's really starting to show in Danny," he said.
"Blake, stop," Danny hissed.
"I don't even know how long this stuff is supposed to last," Blake said, ignoring his brother. "Even Ethan isn't completely there yet, but he's near enough to scare the shit outta someone, though."
Though Jenna was still stricken with fear, she could feel the animosity building within. Her lips tightened and she spoke through gritted teeth.
"Who are you talking about?" She asked. "Who is Ethan?"
Blake blinked at her, as though he had forgotten she was there.
"He's my brother," he told her flatly. "The one that's been watching you."
Jenna's mouth hung agape as she began to understand. The hideous grinning face of the creature she'd seen in her house flashed in her mind. She shook her head, refusing to accept such a thing as reality.
"B-but you... said that Danny-"
"Didn't you hear me earlier?" Blake snapped suddenly. "I lied. It was never Danny, it was him."
Jenna stood speechless, trembling from the cool air inside the house. She wanted to protest, to tell Blake that he was wrong, or that he was insane. She searched for the words to say, but she couldn't muscle past the sick feeling in her stomach.
"When I was little, my mom used to tell me these strange... stories," Blake said. "It wasn't until I got older that I realized they were all true. Then, when the day came that they hunted her down and...."
Jenna watched as his eyes dropped to the floor. She could see his teeth grinding behind his cheeks.
"Well," Blake continued, "on that day, she gave me a job, a task. Mom told me how much she had sacrificed to bring our father to this side, and why it was so important. Because I was the youngest, and the last to change, she entrusted the future of our bloodline to me. I was to make sure that our seed was planted amongst humanity to grow, so that when the time was right, we would be ready. Something about, 'the race that will reign when the world is ablaze.'"
Jenna had heard enough. She frantically dashed toward the front door intending to shove straight past Matt, but his long arms scooped her up as though she were merely a toddler. His arms hugged her to his chest tightly, and though she clawed and beat at them, Matt seemed to hardly notice. She howled in frustration, shaking her head and kicking her feet.
Blake laughed as he walked over to her. Her chest heaved and her heart raced within. She looked toward Danny desperately. He stood to the side, with his crooked arms still folded and his long bony fingers scratching his chest. His large eyes darted this way and that, like those of a frightened animal.
Blake stepped up close, and Jenna drew back from him as much as possible. His warm breath brushed her tear streak cheek as he leaned in close. She glared as fiercely as she could manage into his tiny blue eyes.
"What the hell do you want from me?" Jenna sobbed angrily.
A look of genuine sadness formed on Blake's face as he studied her.
"I'm afraid I don't want anything from you anymore," he told her. "It was supposed to work the same way as any other place. We hit a bar or a club, find a few junkie whores or maybe some drunk daddy's girl that wouldn't remember much of anything, and move on. It's just getting harder as we get older. And who would have thought that someone so beautiful as you would be living next door. I could have taken care of you smoothly, no harm done. But now he's caught your scent."
Jenna stared back at him, appalled by what she was hearing. Blake shook his head and chuckled.
"Damn, Jenna, you must have given him quite a show," he said. "There's no way to keep you safe or quiet now. He almost cracked my skull open back there. He'll probably try to kill me if I keep you from him."
"Blake, don't do this!" She heard Danny hiss. "It doesn't have to be this way."
Blake glanced up at Matt and gave him the slightest nod. Then, he turned and headed into the dim kitchen, and Jenna felt herself being carried after him. Her breathing became erratic as she began to tug and claw at Matt's arms again. She saw Danny's stooping form shift into Blake's path. His rolling lidless eyes glared down at his brother.
"You are losing it!" Danny said in his strangely hissing, grumbling, and whining voice. "Think about what you're doing. This is murder!"
As Blake shoved his deformed brother aside, Jenna began to panic worse than ever. She screamed and tried to plant her heels on the floor, but her wet feet slid along the linoleum. She drove her elbows back, kicked at Matt's feet and shins, and beat at his face. When she opened her mouth to scream again, she felt his large hand clamp down over her mouth. Instinctively, she bit down on his hand, and immediately regretted doing so. The taste and the smell of his flesh was so acrid and repulsive that Jenna coughed and gagged.
At last they came to a halt in a dark hall. Cutting her eyes as far over as she could, Jenna could make out a white door that had several padlocks from its top to bottom, which looked as though they had recently been installed. She heard the jingle of keys and saw that Blake was working to unlock each of the locks.
"You know, you've kinda become a real pain, Jenna," He said. "I mean, do you know how hard it was to find a house with a basement nowadays? Now we'll probably have to pick up and move in a day or two, look for another vacant house for sale."
As he removed the final lock from the bottom of the door, he rose and turned toward her.
"You probably thought we bought the place, too, huh?" He smiled. "Just because we took the sign out of the front yard."
He opened the door wide, and a draft of cold air washed over Jenna, filling her nose with a putrid odor. Her eyes went wide as Blake brought his face close to hers. His blue eyes and handsome grin now appeared menacing and heartless to her. With a single skinny finger, he brushed her wet stringy hair away from where it clung to her forehead.
"I wish we could've had that drink, Jenna," Blake whispered. "We could have had a great time together."
His eyes bored into her own, and Jenna found herself frozen with fear and uncertainty.
"Now, you belong to someone else," he said, "and I can't be sure what he'll do with you."
Before Jenna could do anything or cry out, Blake nodded to his brother, who began to drag her toward the door. Blake disappeared and her eyes fixed on the darkness beyond the threshold in front of her. She wailed into Matt's palm and thrashed about frantically. As they neared the door, she flung her legs out desperately. She managed to plant one of her feet on the door frame, and she pushed away from it with all her might.
It made little difference to Matt. He flung her through the door and into the darkness, and her leg buckled under the force painfully. Jenna found herself sailing through the dark. She yelped briefly before landing violently on what could have only been stairs. Her arm twisted beneath her, sending a white hot flare of pain through her shoulder. Downward she tumbled, her every limb assaulted by the steps as she fell.
When at last she reached the bottom, her back slammed against a hard, unforgiving wall. The back of her head smacked the surface with a sickening thud. Her head felt as though it had suffered an explosion within. Jenna distantly heard the garbled sobbing utterances that came from her mouth. All she could focus on was the pain. She blinked and tried to allow her eyes to adjust to see something, anything at all, but it was useless. Jenna was in the darkness, and it hurt too much to move.
She was vaguely aware of the moment she sank to the floor on her side, before her world slipped into a hazy oblivion.
Jenna felt her eyes open, though she was not sure what had stirred her awake. Confusion clouded her mind as she struggled to gather her bearing. She shivered, feeling the icy touch of the floor beneath her. In the dark, she could only make out a few shapes and shadows.
She lifted her head from the floor and sat upright, but immediately regretted doing so. The world spun and seemed to rush away from her with a strange sense of vertigo. Then, the overwhelming throb in her head ebbed like a colossal tide crashing on the shores of her brain.
She fell back against the unseen wall behind her and rubbed at the back of her head. When she did, she gave a hoarse yelp at the tenderness in her shoulder. It was then that the memories came flooding back to her. Her heart sank in despair as she remembered where she was. Jenna wanted nothing more than to be sitting safe in her house on her couch, to be bored and watching television, but it was useless as she glanced around and realized the truth of her terrible situation.
Jenna blinked, trying to survey the scene around her. She wished that she had her glasses, but they were lost to her now. Peering through the darkness of what she knew was a basement, she could not make out anything discernible. Her world was a blurred mess of black and grey obscurities, and undefined objects lurking in the abyss before her.
She sobbed hopelessly. She was in pure shock of how fast everything had happened, of how her perfectly normal existence had gone sour. Jenna only vaguely recalled the details of the story that Blake had told her, but she could not forget the terror that it had instilled in her. Remembering the impending fate that had been intended for her, she glanced around the dark room again, desperately searching for a reason to hope.
Then, as she craned her neck around to the side, her eyes were blessed with the sight of a large area of bluish white light. Turning so that she could find its source, she spotted a large square window in the foundation of the house at ground level. Jenna tried to picture the street in her head, and noted that there was a street light not far from that particular side of her neighbors' house.
As a small glimmer of hope caught fire inside of her, Jenna willed herself to stand. Her knees were sore and bruised, and there was still a dull pain in her upper arm. She winced from the pain but lifted herself up. Again she shivered, for her bare legs felt as though they were coated in ice, and her soggy shirt that clung to her body was useless against the chill of the basement.
Jenna took a few steps forward, her eyes scanning the blurred darkness around her fearfully. She felt a hard stone floor beneath her feet. Extending her arm out in front of her, she felt her way through the shadows slowly. The window was only a few yards ahead, though to her grief, it looked to be a foot or two higher than her head. It would not be easy to reach.
She suddenly ran into something large and metallic in her path, perhaps an old stove or washing machine. Clutching her hip and grimacing, Jenna stepped around it only to bump against a heavy object that hung from the basement ceiling. As she made contact with it, the object swayed before her. Startled, she recoiled from it, her eyes searching for its shape in the gloom. The object moved between her and the bluish light ahead, and Jenna cried out in shock.
While much of its features were shrouded in the dark, Jenna had no trouble discerning its overall shape against the light. There was no mistaking the silhouette of human hands and legs dangling limp from a lifeless body above. She lost control of her breathing as she panted in short gasps. It was then that the smell hit her, akin to that of a dead animal carcass baking in the sun.
Clamping her hand over her mouth, she absently wondered if her eyes had begun to tear up because of how frightened she was or from the stench. Looking away, she continued on, cutting a wide path around the body. She fixed her eyes on the light from the window. Jenna thought that she could see some sort of latch that she could possibly reach, but she couldn't be sure.
Just as she quickened her pace toward the window, she froze in her tracks. Her vision was impaired, but at that distance she could see plainly enough. Something had moved from the light, fading away into the dark. It terrified Jenna to know that she had been staring at whatever it was the entire time, but had only noticed it when it moved away. A burst of fear shot through her body, and her skin suddenly tingled as though a million spider legs were crawling all over her.
There was something in the room with her, of that she was certain. Jenna wanted to run, but she had nowhere to go. Her only option was to make a mad dash for the window and hope to reach it. There would be no time to search for something to stand on, not if the being in the room was who, or what, she suspected. The thought made her tremble.
Then, from just beyond the light that cascaded in through the basement window, Jenna spotted two pale green discs shining reflectively. Immediately she thought of the night she had seen the eyes at her window, and dread filled her chest, choking the breath from her lungs. The eyes floated slightly toward her, and the light from the window illuminated the face that came into its path.
Jenna was locked in the gaze of its wild lidless eyes as they studied her eerily. She recognized the wretched grin and hanging jowls as when the creature stepped into view. The few dead strands of grey hair that hung from its head shined brilliantly in the light, giving it a strange but terrible glow. Its long fingers worked tirelessly, feeling and groping at the air. The familiar wheezing and growling of its breath was just audible to her.
Jenna's mounting terror grew to an unbearable level. Without thinking she dashed toward the window. In an instant, she was at the window and clawing to get a grip on its ledge to pull herself up, but she was not fast enough. She felt a hand, albeit a rather large and oddly shaped hand, slip through the strands of her hair and pull her back.
Jenna screamed as she lost her balance and stumbled backward towards her attacker. Her feet kicked and stumbled along the floor. The roots of her hair hurt so badly that she feared her scalp would be torn from her head. Though the hand did not release her, the pain subsided and she found herself on the floor staring up at the thing that had grabbed her.
She stared up the length of its long bent legs, studying the creature in horrified awe in the light from the window. Its torso was a strange sight to behold. The abdomen was sunken and almost skeletal, with large folds of loose porous skin dangling down. The chest, however looked altogether different, for it was rather bulky and defined. The flesh there was stretched and thin. She stared at the arm that was curled close to its chest, and the elongated hand with its black fingers scratching at its chest.