V. Inside out

I’m walking alone down the hallways of an impossibly large, fancy, abandoned hotel. I pass by gothic columns of ribbed stone, and ornate stained-glass windows. Walls are the color of egg whites going bad. The half-light is darting, violaceous. My footfalls echo oddly, as if the susurrations are thudding into things I can’t see and being catapulted all cattywampus. Then that sensation bristles in the divots where my neck and shoulders meet; it runs down my arms, hairs jumping static-rigid… no, I’m not remotely alone.

And suddenly, there are wraiths everywhere. They’re in long white hospital gowns or loose white t-shirts and drawstring pants. Women, only women. Some have full tortured expressions, or just lugubrious eyes, or cheeks long and flat with indifference. They carry tattered dolls, or books, or miscellaneous blunted instruments. My mouth has gone to cotton. My heels will not lift from the floor. However, it soon becomes apparent that the apparitions are either choosing to ignore me, or do not perceive me at all. They float to and fro, swaddled in their individual preoccupations.

Finally, my heels release. I turn gingerly down a narrower, lower-ceilinged corridor. I see no spirits around here. Softly, softly I pad in bare feet over the gelid marble. Then, I spy her. She is slouched on the ground against the wall, negligibly clothed in dark unraveling rags, more solid-looking than the other phantoms. In each hand she grips, by its tangled hair, a small child’s head. They are gory and leaking blood from their severed necks… I try to sneak by but she is already leering at me in the most deathsome way, her gum-loaded slash of mouth twisting up at one corner…

She pounces, and we are wrestling, wrestling, wrestling to my death or her godknowswhat, and she is trying to turn me inside out – to peel my skin off and around, invert me like a reversible sweater. In a second long as a year, I look into her eyes: her pupils dilate until there is no white left, the sockets windowing on depthless holes. I grab stringy chunks of hair and pull with the strength of wan blue terror. To my stupefaction, her whole head peels down into two halves – so I keep on pulling until it is she who’s been stripped inside out.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I awake to my heart clobbering against lungly cages like a zookept animal.

~ by kingzoko on May 17, 2015.

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