"Sated"Submitted by OathMeal at 2017-03-28 18:29:28 EDT
Rating: -0.34 on 6 ratings (6 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
They say that strange things happen in the city at night, and it’s always a good idea to be extra vigilant when a strange wind blows. Shadows never thank the sunlight and demons can be hiding in some of the least obvious places.
Sometimes you can just tell that the night doesn’t have anything but evil in store, and it’s wise to heed the warning.
The year was sometime in the early 2000’s.
Jessica Bentner owned a small studio apartment in Manhattan where she lived with her small dog and her sometimes-there, sometimes-traveling boyfriend, Jarod. It was two weeks deep into October and the pep in Jessica’s step told those around her that life was very, very good.
She had been very fortunate mostly because she worked hard and learned quickly. Having a father with a lucrative corporate finance career didn’t hurt things, either. It was at such a time as this - when life couldn’t seem more secure - that fate would deal a particularly severe blow to Jessica’s normal, predictable, everyday existence.
That day it was fitting that the sky would be adorned with brooding, sloth-like clouds that poured forth a kind of morose, sickening sadness as they crept along with the wind. This day had a certain attitude about it, and Jessica stepped cautiously through the evening on her way from work to the subway station just a few blocks down. Occupying her mind was the prospect of leaving work early tomorrow in order to be home in time to surprise Jarod for his birthday.
Traffic was light and instead of getting a cab, Jessica opted to get a little exercise in by walking briskly along the street. The weather was turning damp but there was a good chance she’d be able to get home before the rain started. It wasn’t supposed to really come down until later on, anyway.
“Excuse me, you dropped this,” Jessica said to an older gentleman whose umbrella had found its way to the ground ahead of her.
“Thank you, dear,’ he replied, bending over slowly to recover the umbrella. Without losing eye contact with her, the man’s face slowly contorted into a menacing, strange visage. His thin, feeble back arched in obvious reluctance to being bent. After returning to a standing position, the man lifted his chin and looked down his nose directly at her, piercing Jessica with his bizarre gaze.
He spoke uncommonly slowly.
“I need this for all the death coming to us all, from above. And all around. You are not stupid enough to deprive Master of what he demands, are you?”
Jessica looked quizzically at the old man. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
It was then that she noticed that she was suddenly alone with this man at the mouth of a deserted alley, and her subway station was still two blocks away. At the far end of the street was a band of ‘caution’ tape sealing off a construction zone. If she needed to get away from this creep, she had the alley and the street as her options. That was it.
In one brisk motion, the man pivoted and suddenly began shuffling towards Jessica with a twisted, eager look on his face. A spreading grin that revealed a row of rotting teeth grew across his face as he took quicker steps in her direction. She looked behind her before taking a few steps back while trying to make sense of this situation, one that was now clearly growing in danger.
“Wait…” the man croaked, as his lips began to quiver and color began to fade from his face. Jessica was just about to break for the street when the man dropped to all fours and began chasing her like an animal, with speed most uncharacteristic of men in their 70’s. Between the street and the alley, Jessica chose the street and found herself running as fast as she could, only looking back every ten strides or so just to find the man not losing any ground on her.
“Help me!!” Jessica screamed as loud as she could. The rain was coming down now in force, and the sound of it muffled most of the volume of her cries. Seeing that she was running out of street, Jessica desperately looked for a way out. Just then the heel on her left shoe snapped and sent her barreling forward toward the caution tape marking off a 50-foot deep construction pit. The old man, still on all fours, slowed his cadence and watched intently.
“Who are you? Get away from me!!” She cried. A deep gash in her thigh began to bleed onto the ground beneath her.
The gaunt old man returned to standing and began walking slowly toward her. His head shook as if he had a permanent neck tremor, and the grin on his face never left as he spoke.
“I had asked you if you were stupid enough to deny Master. It looks like you are, and for that I am most sorry.”
In one swift movement, the old man drew back his right leg and sent it forcefully into Jessica’s stomach, immediately crippling her with pain and forcing her lungs to expel every last bit of air they had in them. Her eyes bulged in their sockets and she heard the snap of at least one of her ribs breaking. In that moment she thought of Jarod - why couldn’t he be there to help her? Tears of pain welled in her eyes.
Jessica managed to roll onto one side and she found herself mere inches from a precipitous drop into the dank, flooding construction zone. There was only one obvious way out of this predicament, and that was to take the risk of falling at least two full stories, and finding a way out from there.
Through clenched teeth, Jessica said to the man, “Go to hell, you won’t get away with this!”
The man dropped down again and began to claw at Jessica’s clothing. He lacked the strength required to keep Jessica’s body weight from pulling her over the ledge, and she continued to rock herself closer and closer to the point of escape from this insane, raving lunatic.
With all the effort she could muster, Jessica threw herself from the ledge she was on. She fell twenty feet before landing onto a bed of debris consisting of wood planks and twisted steel rebar. A section of sharpened wood jutted into her neck from below, breaking her jaw and completely silencing her voice. She could still breathe, but only through her nose and while wheezing through blood pooling around her nostrils.
She briefly lost consciousness but snapped back into awareness within a few seconds. The dull ache coming from her flesh wounds kept her from being able to stay knocked out for too long. Soon, the pain was replaced with frustration - Jessica couldn’t stand up and there wasn’t enough leverage to move into even a crawling position.
After the initial impact, there was no sound but the falling rain and an ambulance siren far off in the distance. Suddenly, the old man’s voice came from above.
The man then cackled and his hoarse, dry laughter trailed off as he began walking away from the scene. It was clear now. Jessica was being left for dead.
The rain mixed with the blood that was now streaming profusely from the wound in her neck. Panic mixed with agonizing pain as she tried to reposition her body in an effort to stand up. These efforts were voided by a shift in the materials beneath her, rocking her body forward and ripping her jaw from her face.
Suddenly Jessica felt the sensation of vomiting, but she now had no mouth and so the fluid spewing forth from her severed esophagus simply bubbled out and cascaded all over her torso, covering her entire upper half. It was an even mixture of blood, bile, gastric fluids and rainwater. The sight was bordering on ridiculous. A human being without a jaw while suffering from extreme internal bleeding and multiple lacerations would have made for quite a sight for whomever might have stumbled upon this gruesome scene.
But instead, it was just Jessica and her surroundings. There were no bystanders. There were no emergency responders and there certainly were no good samaritans within earshot.
The voice of the old man returned. This time, Jessica could hear him clapping his hands as he spoke, kind of like how a 5 year-old might clap when getting excited.
“So much rain!” The man shouted, “So much pain, rain and death! And Master would have it no other way, don’t you know this?”
Jessica attempted a response. Instead of producing anything resembling a voice, a coughing, gargling sound emanated from her throat. This seemed to only entertain the old man, who laughed heartily in response.
“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue? I can’t seeeeeeee you down there but I can tell you’re having a good time! Master should be along any minute now,” the old man finished.
Humming a song to himself, the man could be heard walking away. This time it sounded like he made it far enough away that Jessica could attempt an escape.
She could still manage to move her arms. She brought one up to her head and felt the empty space where her jaw once was. There was no feeling and instead of touching her lips, she only touched hanging, pink flesh and torn facial muscles. For a moment it was completely surreal - the fact had sunk in that Jessica was going to die here after having half of her face ripped off.
The only sense that served Jessica now was her sight. Judging from the volume of blood around her, she knew that she couldn’t stay where she was and hope someone would find her in the morning. She had to find a way out, and so she began crawling.
The heap of construction debris was difficult to negotiate. While traversing a section of jagged concrete, Jessica lost her grip and slid down into a wedge of metal, carving a 5-inch long laceration into her shoulder blade. Her body was fighting for every last bit of energy now, and with so much blood loss, there wasn’t much hope of survival. Taking a deep breath, Jessica began to close her eyes and accept the end.
She saw her father’s face just as she remembered it from her childhood. She heard his voice, and she could almost smell the coffee brewing in the kitchen as she had her breakfast before school. She thought back to the days of first dating Jarod, and she experienced a sudden pang of regret that he would have to learn about his fiance dying horribly in a freak accident right in the middle of the city. The thought made her weep as she fought exhaustion just to maintain consciousness.
Just then, she heard what sounded like a jingle of keys. No...not keys. It was...a chain.
She opened her eyes fully and saw standing just a few feet from her a grizzled, gnarling dog with huge patches of baldness and weeping sores on every limb. The dog was hunched into a pre-launch stance, apparently waiting for the moment to leap. Instead of attacking, the dog slowly walked toward Jessica and began to smell the blood coming from her. Saliva began dripping from its mouth onto Jessica’s fresh wounds.
The dog’s eyes were not normal. There was something unworldly about this creature, but Jessica couldn’t quite place it. There was a knowing intelligence in its eyes. It was almost as if the dog could see the suffering that Jessica was experiencing, and loved it.
It’s breathing became heavier and louder. Soon it was clear that there was no escape. There was only one prospect now, and that was the prospect of death.
Just then, Jessica found that she was able to read what was engraved on the dog’s tag, which was hanging from an old rope collar tied tightly around its neck.
It was only one word, and it was written in all uppercase letters.
She said the word out loud as the dog began devouring her flesh.