Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #96
The Climber panted as he kneeled in the snow, slowly propping himself up as he gingerly poked at the tender, purple spot on his chest. He could see the edge of the thick roiling fog before him, and as he picked up his pack that had been knocked to the ground from the small scuffle, his shoulder sent sharp daggers of pain spiking down his side. A sudden chill rolled over him, sending ripples of gooseflesh prickling around his spine, making the hair stand up on his neck. It was an almost primal instinct that sent fear and adrenaline coursing through his body, pumped by his ever quickening heart. He spun around, expecting something titanic and menacing, and he swore he could have seen something large and black that blotted out the sun… But all he saw was a ragged man, obscured by fog. There seemed to be something inherently…wrong with him. Perhaps it was the way he seemed to move as if tugged by strings, or the tattered clothes that he could just barely make out. The Climber was too wary to go any closer, trusting his instincts. Instead, he called out to the man who was hanging his head low.
“Hello? Are you lost? No, wait, that’s a stupid question, uh, what’s your name?”
The man lifted his head, and the fog made a whooshing sound as it rushed away to make a clear path from the figure to the Climber, akin to a certain Biblical figure parting the Red Sea. He was horrified to see he recognized the figure as he stared at its macabre brilliance. A half mask that once could have been as pale as the moon was cracked and stained with blackened blood, and between the large cracks a black, viscous liquid oozed out in a stomach-churning fashion. His arms had been twisted and broken in so many places they resembled modern art more than actual limbs that should belong on a human, but instead of seeing protruding bones or pink flesh, the layer beneath the skin coursed with the same inky black ooze. A single milky white eye peered blindly outwards, the nose now a seeping crater, and the mouth stuck in a perpetual, bloodstained grin. The Climber stood frozen as the air seemed to rush into those horrid nostrils, and vocal cords that by all means should be dysfunctional gurgled into life.
“I… Smell… Me.”
The Climber watched, almost as if in slow motion, as the man’s skin burst open and released the huge thing he had been containing inside his frail body. It was like a large wall, or a miniature mountain of shivering pustules and gnashing mouths filled with rows of sharp teeth. The Climber suddenly felt a huge heat wave wash over him, melting all the snow in the local vicinity, and a voice seemed to echo from all of the mouths in unison.
“You were there, I remember you. You stood and watched as I was thrust into the deep pits of warmth, how I, B’Harat the great were defeated? Now look on mortal. Gaze upon my awe-inspiring mass and BURN in my scorching heat. I am nowhere near my original power, but that will come later. I must feed.”
The Climber was frozen, his limbs that were previously wound tighter than springs, and just as ready to jump into action, were now paralyzed and seemed to be made of heavy stone. Dead weight. This was not the first time, he grimly remembered, thinking back to the battlefield where he had given up his humanity. How his gun barrel had been shaking as he had pointed it at the man’s head, unfiring, the voices in his head telling him to pull the trigger, but there were more important things that were presently looming over him. A snaking tentacle was darting for his leg, sharp teeth gnashing along its sides as tiny eyes blinked lazily on its glistening surface. It readied itself like a viper, flaring right before it struck.
This was the exact moment a grenade flew through the air and lodged itself in one of the many open crevices that opened and closed on the wall of rotting, charcoal-black flesh. The explosion a split second later sent the abomination reeling backward. Gunshots rang through the thin air as the soldiers in the fog opened fire. The Climber looked back and saw something amazing, the nightmare from his past was laid out before him in the thick haze, still bleeding, unblinking corpses lining the trenches, however, all the soldiers sent to fight had now banded together against the common enemy. At their head was an all too familiar face, his own. It directed the others, shouting orders and frantic hand gestures waving through the air.
An eye popped and sagged, leaking brown fluid as the mass gave an undulating screech not too dissimilar from someone drawing fingers across a blackboard. Pustules burst and sent caustic pus shooting into the air to rain down onto helmeted heads. An idea popped into the Climbers head as he went searching for the unstable, explosive crystals that had been slipped into his pack.
End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #96