Terror By Night... Or Aichear: Part Two
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To continue, click here>>> PART THREE
From the looks of his brother’s faces, he could tell what interest he’d gained thus far was starting to waver. He had to move on with the tale fast. He needed action.
Without warning Damhán grabbed the pillow from underneath Ciarán’s head and flung it at Bran, hitting his second-to-oldest brother square in the face. Bran yelped and leapt up, flinging the pillow back at Damhán. “What the heck Damhán!”
“Without warning he was hit square in the face with something soft and squishy!” Damhán yelled. He jumped to his feet, flailing his arms. “He stumbled back, blinded, grabbing and yanking at the object on his face. He could feel it biting him, biting at his eyes and nose. But it was stuck on his face, like a suction cup. He couldn’t get it off! Rowan fell backwards and felt himself run into a large object, something that moved. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t see, he couldn’t do anything. The next instant he was being dragged by the leg, something having latched onto his foot with its teeth. He tried to scream but he couldn’t, the squishy object was attached firmly to his mouth, his nose. Breathe, breathe, air, air! his lungs screamed. Pain in his leg, his lungs, his face. It was being ripped off by the squishy thing, while something else went to work on his legs, ripping at his clothes.”
He had it now. Everyone was watching him with rapt attention, save Aichear who never had any expression on his face anyways. Damhán picked up the pillow and held it with both hands, holding the silence for a good twenty-five seconds before continuing in a low voice, “Rowan thought it was the end. He blacked out for a couple seconds, the pain and lack of air too great for him. He came to again, long enough to know if he didn’t get the creature off his face he wouldn’t stand a chance. Something had latched onto his shirt and was trying to drag him away from the beast who had his leg. He was literally almost being ripped in two. With one final burst of energy, he tore at the squishy thing on his face and ripped it off with all his might. The creature screamed in rage, Rowan threw it against a tree. At the same time, his eyes now finally free and able to take in the other two beasts, what he saw made his heart stop. Literally. His heart stopped and he fainted.”
Good, good. No one had said a word. Bran had sat down. He would win this game for sure!
“When he came to, Rowan was alone in the clearing. He sat up in a daze, the terrors of earlier coming back to his memory like a flash of lightning. He remembered throwing the creature at a tree, and what he’d seen above him and at his legs. His cow, Lucy.”
“At his feet and head?” Breandan inquired.
“Yes.” Damhán stared at Breandan. “In half.
“Rowan sat up with a cry in his throat, hand going to his face. To his shock he didn’t feel a thing. Not a single bite or missing piece of flesh. His hands traveled down to his legs, his head, his shirt. Nothing. It was as if nothing had touched him. Rowan’s breath caught. He got to his feet and looked around, only to find there was no evidence of anything around him. Had he dreamed it, imagined it, he wondered? It was then and only then he saw the green slime on the tree he’d thrown the creature. He came closer and found written in the slime Next Time.”
Damhán stopped talking, sucked in a breath, and let out a low chuckle. “Needless to say, Rowan never went back to the forest at night again, not for a very long time at least. To this day he doesn’t know what attacked him, but he knows it really happened. Everything I told you is true. I heard it all straight from the man himself, last week. He believes with all his heart he is a marked man, that whatever cut his cow in half and attacked his face is coming back for him. It’s only a matter of time. The end.”
With that he flopped back down on the floor, laughing. “Told you I could tell a good scary story.”
Aichear was the first to reply. “That… was stupid.”
Damhán glared at him. “I thought you were supportive of my tale telling skills.”
“I wanted to hear it through. It was stupid.”
“I thought it was pretty good,” Breandan admitted.
“Eh,” Ciarán murmured.
“Not scary enough, Damhán.” Bran sneered. “Going to have to do better than that to scare us.”
“Well if you’re all so smart and good at telling scary stories, why don’t you have a go at it!” Damhán challenged.
Ciarán sat up a little. Damhán’s mouth fell open just the slightest. Breandan turned on the couch. Bran blinked in disbelief.
Aichear stepped forward, the light from the lamp on the reading table casting an eerie glow on his face. The light glinted on his glasses, he came to stand in front of his brothers. “And my story,” he glanced down at Damhán, “happened to me.”
“Anddd somehow we didn’t hear about it?” Damhán shot back. “I’m pretty sure anything scary that happened to you, Aichear, you would have told us by now.”
“Would I?” Aichear cocked his head, eyes cold and unreadable. “Since when?”
True. Aichear didn’t talk about much of anything. Unless asked a question, he rarely started any conversation and preferred to listen to everyone else instead. It wasn’t that he was shy, he was just…
Aichear. And Aichear was weird.
“It happened a little over four years ago.” Aichear came to the center of the living room, towering over his seated brothers. He reached up for his glasses and pulled them off, rubbing them with the corner of his sleeve. “I was alone.”
“Really?” Damhán voiced sarcastically.
Aichear either didn’t hear him or ignored him. Most likely the latter. He pushed his glasses back up his nose. “It was to be a routine stop, nothing unusual. I was headed for Han’s Warehouse to pick up some much needed supplies.” The oldest Mornelly took a seat on a lone recliner positioned next to the couch. He rested his foot across his knee, leaning back in the chair with a menacing look. Damhán had to admit, he did hold a rather terrifying composure with that low, quiet voice of his and scary disposition. “I saw nothing strange, nothing that would have even lent me a hint as to what was to take place next.”
“And what was that, big brother?” Bran raised an eyebrow.
“A tremble. Wrinkle. Dimensions colliding. I found myself thrown from ours to another,” Aichear responded simply.
“Without us?” Breandan pointed out. “Since when did that happen in the last ten years? I don’t remember this.”
Aichear cocked his head a little. “Do you?”
Damhán frowned. “Come to think of it, there was that one time we were separated from you just a little over…” He trailed off as he connected the dots. Four years ago.
His oldest brother studied his eyes, never blinking, unmoving. “Naturally I was concerned. The area I’d manage to get myself propelled into was unlike any I’d seen before. My one mission held firm, though, I was determined to find all of you.” He said this with a gesture of his hand around the room. “The surroundings in my immediate vision were unusual. Strange, to be more accurate. Perhaps even other-worldly. The ground was hard and bare of any vegetation. The sky dark, almost reddish. I found I was uneasy and on edge, this was not right.”
“We never saw anything like that,” Bran retorted.
“Naturally. You weren’t caught between two dimensions.”
Damhán narrowed his eyes, locking gazes with Aichear. “Are you saying you didn’t get thrown into the third dimension?”
“No.” Now Aichear leaned forward in his chair, putting his hands together in such a way he would have made the perfect villain. Gaze unwavering, he took in his four younger brothers with a solemn, almost creepy look. Creepier than normal, that is. “I didn’t understand where I was. What had happened. The entire spectrum of the situation, or the dire need to keep myself hidden. I was disoriented, I suppose a bit in shock. Nothing was as it should have been. I felt like I’d been thrown into the Abyss of death itself. Red, lava-appearing rocks were everywhere, some towering like melted skyscrapers. It was wrong. All wrong.
“Ah, but then, who should I see but Damhán! A welcome sight to any unsettled wanderer, no matter how annoying.”
“Exxccuuussseeee me, but I’m pretty sure I would remember if I’d been in such a place like you’re talking about,” Damhán objected.
The look in Aichear’s eyes was enough to silence anyone. He didn’t say anything for a good thirty seconds. Then, he leaned back in the chair once more, gripping both arm wrests. “No, you would remember. And you do.” He paused. “Your alternate, at least.”
No one said a word. Damhán tried to wrap his mind at what Aichear had just proposed. “My alterna-”
“It wasn’t until I had approached you that I sensed something was wrong. Damhán turned and met my gaze head on, but instead of the eyes of my brother I saw something else. Someone else. Another man entirely. A man who had no conscience, no care, and no qualms about killing me on the spot."
To continue, click here>>> PART THREE