Eve OF Grim: Chapter Six

By Leilani Raven Katen

Chapter Six

The whispers grew louder the deeper we traveled into the dark, mysterious forest. Finally, Tommy leads us to a large tree in the woods. Its black roots were giant. It stretched high like one of the buildings found in New York City. Tommy started to climb the tree’s origins; suddenly, they began to move and shuffle under as I watched him climb higher and higher. Finally, Tommy got to a formed hole. He stood in front of the hole like a controlled zombie; black vine-like tentacles shot out of the hole, pulling Tommy inside. I watched the tree instantly light up, growing another branch. Its color changed from black to red, then again to a bluish-black color. Dust particles, vibrant ruby red, floated in the air.

Suddenly, I heard movement in the trees in every direction. I hid behind one of the large black roots lying near me. Coming out of the darkness of the dense forest, Creatures I’ve never seen before. Tops of their heads were black, and their skin was gray. Their eyes were enlarged but human-like. They had broad shoulders with long torsos. I could distinguish between the males and females. They made long and high-pitched screeches. As I peeked over, I looked around, observing the creatures as they interacted with each other, rolling on the ground and growling. Razor white teeth flashed in their blackened mouths. There was an entire tribe of them.

I noticed two of them were significantly different from the rest.

The male was bigger by size, proportioned like a bodybuilder. His eyes were aquatic blue. The female also had an athletic body, with rounded buttocks and a slender waist. She had oceanic blue eyes. They were the color of the blue flowers scattered around the trees and the ground. They both had strange black symbols decorating their bodies head-to-toe. Unexpectedly, the alpha male seemed to have caught the scent of something. He growled, and the others looked up and around, hissing and growling at the air. Their screeches sounded like a broken violin being played on repeat. Long and sharp tones hit my ears, and I quickly covered them. I continued to watch them, the alpha male flexing his shoulders, thrashing around as wings grew out of his back. His Jaw ripped open as his mouth expanded with large angling teeth, and his sunken blue eyes shifted to a ruby red.

Rumbling rocks shifted above me. I spotted a youngling staring at me from the corner of my eye. Her eyes were smoking white. She hissed and growled at me, drawing attention to where I kneeled. Every one of the creatures was staring at me—eyes filled with a black abyss. I quickly ran in a direction as they began running after me. I could hear their footsteps gaining on me. I ran as fast as my legs would let me. Suddenly, distracted by the rushing footsteps behind me, surrounding me everywhere I turned. A black root appeared before me, tripping me to the ground. I turned, and the alpha female was an inch close to my face. She stared motionlessly into my eyes; I could see her nostrils flaring. She began to smell me, examining every part of my body.

“Who are you?” spoke the unfamiliar feminine voice in my head. Her lips did not move, but it was as if she were talking to me. She kept the others at a distance by hissing at them as they attempted to come closer. Uncertain of my presence. “You are not like the others. The others were filled with fear. You are neither here nor there….” Her voice in my head was intoxicating. The trees weaved left and right as the alpha male swooped in, dropping an unconscious man to the ground; He looked like a cave explorer; the harness wrapped around his waist was broken, and torn rope hung. The alpha Grabbed the alpha female and pulled her away. The man, unconscious on the ground; coughing; struggling to get up, pushing up off the ground, was shoved down by the sizeable barefoot alpha male. He was hissing and growling at him to stay down.

I recognized the man. Dill, aka Dillian Miller, from high school; he also attended the police academy with Victoria and me. We got close while we were in training. We did everything together, ate lunch, and had the same classes.

I noticed something different, and Dill started to avoid me one day. Victoria was busy with her training, and so was I. But it was like a shift of awkwardness between us. It wasn’t like Victoria, and I excluded him from anything. I was in love with Victoria, smitten. She was strong and beautiful. She was intelligent and funny. She had wits about her, which sometimes got her in trouble. But that’s why I liked her so much.

One day, after Being assigned my duties, all of his stuff was gone, and his dorm room was cleared out. I asked around to see what had happened. No one had any answers to his whereabouts. There were missing poster signs everywhere around campus and the town.

Dillian slowly lifted his head, “Johnny how?” Dillian whispered. 

The alpha male creature growled, and the others shuffled away into the trees. All who was left with us was both the alpha male and female. I saw from the corner of my eye a small youngling with white eyes hidden, peeking over a giant black root. 

“He is perfect…I will possess this one. You may eat his soul now. I don’t want that getting in the way…” spoke the alpha male creature to the female. He kept his eyes on Dillian. He called the female to come. She walked closer. Her footsteps never made a sound. As Dillian struggled under the alpha male’s foot, pressing down on his back, I could hear his bones cracking under pressure. The alpha female looked at Dillian and then back at me, smiling. “You are next…” she declared as she began the ritual. Dillian tried to reach his hand to me; I inched closer to him while the creatures were distracted. 

“Johnny! Help me, please! Find Vic! She’s here somewhere! We fell through a pocket in one of the caverns we were exploring.” So pleaded Dillian as he struggled, even more challenging to get out. I tried to grab him, but I couldn’t. My hand just went through him like a ghost. 

Victoria? Why was she here? I thought. I tried to figure out where in time I was, considering Dillian and Victoria were here. Then, I realized there was something Victoria hadn’t told me back then, was she seeing Dillian? What was she doing in a place like this? 

I tried to speak, but the words wouldn’t come out. We were both shocked and confused. Then I realized the alpha female said, “You are neither here nor there…”. What did she mean? She hovered her hand over his body; strange music began to come from the blue aquatic flowers. 

Vibrating rings weaved in and out in a rhythmic pattern. The alpha female moaned, breathing in and out in short breaths. I felt the ground shake under my feet. A light began to surround Dillian. Dillian’s eyes dilated. He stopped struggling and lay there stiff as a board. The light surrounding Dillian had now become a blue aquatic, liquid substance. It lifted him in the air; a ball of bright clear water surrounded him. A ball of light emerged from within Dillian; suddenly, Dillian became lifeless, floating in the ball of liquid. The alpha female slowly grabs the ball and consumes it with one bite. The Alpha male then climbs into the surrounding ball of strange liquid. The ball of once clear blue turned black, bursting instantly after. Dropping to the ground, landing feet first, the alpha male had shifted into Dillian’s body. He moved his arms and legs, ensuring the connection had been successful. “May I eat the wonderer now?” her voice rang in my head, and I knew I had to make my move now. I caught movement from above; Victoria was signaling me to run. I did as she asked, and she slowly crept in the same direction. Suddenly she slips, drawing attention to the male. He lets out his primitive call, warning us that he is on the hunt. The female followed his example, clawing her way up the rooted black tree, gaining closer to Victoria. Victoria quickly attaches a harness and rope to one of the ledges nearby. She swung down and caught up to me. We ran side by side; she looked over at me, “Hey, Johnny! Always going towards danger…” She said as we ran through the trees and blue flowers. We could hear them coming closer. I was stopped by a dead end. Victoria looked around, squinting to see any openings up above. Suddenly Victoria is thrown into the wall by the female, then Dillian walks out from the darkness of the trees. 

“Victoria!” my voice shook the ground, then suddenly the female lets go of Victoria, she then surrounded Victoria in a ball of the same strange liquid ball. I had to act fast. As I ran towards them, Dillian then stopped me with an invisible wall. Victoria began to glow like Dillian had before the male possessed him. I pounded the invisible wall as hard as I could. Victoria looked like she was drowning in a floating ball of water. She punched and kicked the walls trying to get out but failed each time. Finally, the female jumps in the floating ball with Victoria as she tries to escape. The female then grabs Victoria, hugging her. Suddenly the ball turned black, instantly dropping to the ground, exploding; the strange black liquid ran under my feet. Victoria stood up from the ground; a deep dark abyss filled her eyes. Victoria smiled at me. 

Dillian asks Victoria, “Have you connected to the vessel?” He asked, caressing her cheek. Victoria looks up at him slowly, placing her hand on his chest. They both looked at each other tenderly, then back at me. Suddenly I felt everything shake and become hazy. 

Was this a forgotten memory? I struggled with figuring out what happened to Victoria. Finally, everything began to dissipate, and I fell to the ground, the ground collapsed, and I entered a dark hole. I started to shiver from an unexpected coldness. I hovered in the air for a few seconds, trying to see if I could see anything. A ball of light appeared before me. It was warm. I stared into the ball, catching a version of myself staring into a mirror. I touched the ball of light, shooting me up and out of the darkness.

I returned to the sound of a roaring toilet flushing from a few stalls away. I stood in front of the mirror, drenched in sweat. A middle-aged-shaggy-haired man with surf shorts and a lab badge on; his loud sticky flip-flops stepped out of the stall, surprised to see me. He looked awkwardly at the sweat dripping down my face. “Woo, dude…you are drenched….” He said, nodding as he washed his hands. The man smelled of heavy weed and suntan lotion.  

“Yeah, hangover…” I say, trying to catch my breath. I gave him a thumbs-up, indicating I was okay. He walked out, and I overheard Teresa talking to him. 

I quickly wiped away the sweat, stepping out into the hallway. I stepped out, accidently running into Teresa. I gripped her waist, catching her. ” Were you about to come into the men’s restroom?” I asked Teresa, amused by her impatience.

Teresa pushed my hands off her. “Where the fuck have you been?! You’ve been gone for over three hours”, Teresa shouted, annoyed.

She continued. “Gregory found something. You have to see this! What were you doing in there anyway? Taking a poop?” She asked jokingly.

“Yeah, shitting…I rather not explain. Can we just go see what he found without you asking a million questions?”. I said as I followed behind Teresa back to where Gregory was. I was uncertain whether or not to share; what I went through a few moments ago. It felt like I was only gone for a few minutes. Three hours had come and gone. How long was I standing there? Was I even standing there? I had so many questions. What were Vic and Dillian doing down there? The creatures, where did they come from?

Teresa rolled her eyes at me, ” Fine.” She says, leading me to Gregory.

We walked in to find the body of one of the victim’s chest cavities cut open, revealing glowing blue aquatic flowers with black vines. “I’ve seen these,” I said as I looked down at Teresa’s face, her eyes wide at the flora growing out of the decomposing body.

” What do you mean, you’ve seen these?” Teresa asked. Both Gregory and Teresa looked at me, puzzled by the news.

” It’s hard to explain, but we must return to Camp Eve,” I stated, looking back at the beautifully arranged flora. I looked up at the wall clock; it read quarter to 10. “I’ll call Detective Santos to join us. I had him help me with some research. I hope he found something useful.” I said to Teresa. We thanked Gregory for his assistance. As we began to walk out, Gregory stopped us abruptly.
“Would it be too troubling if I tagged along? I can have my assistant take over for a couple hours? I promise to not get in the way. Perhaps I could assist in the case? I do have inciteful knowledge in decomposition, like did you know? Taphonomy is from the Greek word Taphos, meaning Tomb?” He asked, smiling. Teresa giggled, amused by Gregory’s fascination and eagerness to join our journey.
I let out an annoyed sigh,” I guess, just don’t talk too much…” I said, walking out. Gregory quickly slipped off his lab jacket and grabbed his shoulder bag.

We walked into the elevators, and it was clear that Gregory was excited, “How exhilarating…” He says, expressing his anticipation. Teresa smiled at him, amused.

I looked at both of them, annoyed,” I already regret the decision…” I said, letting out a sigh.

To be continued…

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