A Magpie Stories Tale as seen in Door of Words Fiction – Door Of Words
Edward awoke into darkness; this was not anything new. God only knows that in the middle of winter it does not get light till well after the alarm sounded. This was different. This was proper darkness. The kind where it does not matter how much time you spend allowing your eyes to adjust, you cannot get used to it.
There was a funny smell, of varnish and polish and something woody, like when he had been in design and technology and he had used that sanding wheel too much. He grinned inwardly, he had even persuaded his friend to try and smooth out his nails on it, it had ripped the nail right off causing a wail and blood. He had felt the stirrings of something exciting rise up within him. It was not the feeling of guilt as most would have, but the sensation of having successfully manipulated someone to do something so out of character.
Slow terror infiltrated from his pores and crept into the fibres of his being, making him feel cold, confined and out of control. That was the real reason to panic, the loss of control. He just needed to sit up, to throw open the curtains and turn on a light; to banish the darkness to where he could gather himself and get control.
Edward’s eyes rested straight ahead. His body did not respond, this had happened before on several occasions. It was sleep paralysis or something the doctor had said. He had done some research, well Googled it and seen pictures of little demons sitting on people’s chests in those paintings that hung in museums and stately homes. He never told anyone, not even his mother that this terrified him. It was his biggest fear, being trapped and unable to move. “Help!” his mind screamed and repeated. No sound passed his lips, nothing did.
His unblinking eyes felt dry, not painful but wrong. Even if he were in his room, surely there would be light from something, even the blip of occasional green light that showed from a phone revealing it was charging. Something anything. If his body could have responded his eyes would have opened further in fright. He could not sense space; it was as if the walls were closing in.
He did not remember going to sleep. Sensations along his body made him keenly aware he was fully dressed. Normally he would sleep in a tee shirt and boxers. He could feel the longer material of trousers, the scratchy feel of one of his school shirts even the constriction of a blazer. Why the hell was he fully dressed and how had he fallen asleep in this state of dress?
His thoughts flicked around, it was his twelfth birthday, or it had been. The last thing he remembered was the little conversation he had had with Tom in the boy’s bathroom at school. God, he got pissed off when one of the blows he landed on his dickhead cousin must have caught a button funny and it really hurt his knuckles. He would take out the feeling of inadequacy and fear he had on that little shit later. Aunty Victoria and his own mother thought the sun shone out of Edward’s arse anyway. He would always get away with it. This thought caused him enormous satisfaction. He forgot, only briefly.
Then that realisation he still could not move brought back the panic. He could hear muffled voices from somewhere outside. If only they would come closer and help him. The stupid bastards were outside and still he could not move, surely, they must realise and help soon. Even his stupid mother would get him soon. Edward tried to calm himself and counted backwards from fifty. As he got to thirty, he realised the muffled voices were actually one voice, there was an unnatural cadence to it, pausing that seemed odd, this was not natural speech, not a normal conversation.
The ground moved suddenly, there was a rhythmic and gentle swaying. His whole body felt it, leaping and surging, his stomach feeling strange. He was still powerless to do anything. There was a coolness to the surroundings he was in and he focussed on the pillow, firm, too firm for his own. His hands moved slightly from the swell of motion, banging into something covered but hard. What on earth was this space? It was not his own room.
The gentle swaying was, for a second stopped as a hard knock jolted through him, his head dipped like on a rollercoaster. There was more noise from outside, deep intakes of breath and a shout of something. It sounded like Tom.
Tom, Tom that bathroom. His crying and pleading. The figure of his cousin rocking like those religious people at that wall in a country that looked hot. The desperation. The desperation had called that thing that had come from shadow. From nothing.
Minutes rolled by the movement stopped and the intonement of that monotone voice was frozen. There was music, some god awful ballady thing. A motion again, his mind likened it to shopping on a conveyor belt. Then the sound of roaring wind. Heat.
No, no it could not be. His fixed eyes saw something. A lid. A lid above him. He screamed without sound. It was heating up and he could feel it. If he could have moved his nails would have furrowed the wood in desperation, he would have banged on the lid in panic. He would have been heard, they would have stopped and helped. Inexorably no one did.
The memory of the bathroom jolted again into his mind, of long powerful fingers and nails rending him. In the darkness he knew something watched gleefully.
Trapped in the box of wood in the mouth of flames he realised. Though already dead, he felt the burning and the sensation of his mortal remains being consumed. His punishment scarred onto his very soul. No one, not even a bully like him deserved this.
The wind roared, a devil of burning flame. Maybe, Edward sobbed in silent prayer, it would be over soon. The very last thoughts he had had as a living barely twelve-year old boy in a bathroom not many days, in fact, before this very moment.