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Deep inside the burnt tower, I cannot see the light. The only sense of any kind that I have about me is hearing, which allows me to pick up on the sound of her cackle in the dark. The cool air blowing through the cracked stone walls whistles to me, and chills my bones.

I sit and shiver, feeling the tightness of the leather on my wrists. I have been bound to this chair in the abyss of soundless confusion. How long has it been? Days? Weeks? I stop thinking as soon as footsteps clatter in a familiar rhythm above my head. My body shakes more violently now to ready me for the impending torture. I hear the clatter closer now, and I know what's to come. All I want is freedom.

I hear the cackle, the dreaded sound ringing in my ears and, due to the lack of sight, I hear a light dragging sound behind each dreaded step. The clicking is as close as it can be and I feel hot breath on my face. The smell is of rotting skin and alcohol and it comes in waves of nasty warmth; she is just inches from my face.

"I brought your dinner here. Eat up, pet! You'll need your strength soon." Her tone more ominous than I've ever heard.

My strength? What for? I nervously think to myself imagining all of the possibilities, and swallow them down, slowly burying them in the pit of my sour stomach.

She loosens the straps on my arms and legs, breathing her hot death upon me. My wrists and ankles burn with an itch, my raw flesh touches the cool air. My meal is a freshly killed animal, possibly a deer, and I rip the fur off with my gnarly, mangled fingernails. Blood soaks my tongue and teeth as I force the uncooked meat down my throat.

When I had arrived here, dragged from my bed and into this charred nightmare, I fought when I was freed. A mistake on my part, I found very quickly. With a cackle and some audible strain, she took control of my limbs, tossing me across the dark stone hallway and forcing me up a wall. "You are my pet," she had said. "You will eat, and if you don't...." Her wicked sharp nail sliced like a freshly sharpened knife against my skin causing blood to spill onto the stone floor. I was dragged back to my chair, my limp and crippled body sliding across wet ground, and strapped back in. What had I done to deserve this?

That was so long ago.

I wake in the morning to the dripping of water from the ceiling to the floor. Three seconds separate each drop. Each drip makes it harder to think, each drop splashing louder than the last. Counting the seconds of my life away, hoping it will be the last to end this fear. I hear the cackle repeating across the walls, bouncing around and back. This time I'm not being fed. I hear buzzing sounds surround me in the darkness like horrific music being played on an un-tuned violin growing faster and faster. A horde of wasps? It's screaming now as I tense my entire being in preparation for my flesh to be torn apart by insects. Just as it grows its loudest, the sound disappears as quickly as it started.

What was wrong with me? What had she done?

Suddenly I see light, beautiful rays of yellow stretching across every inch of the sky shining in different patterns and directions. In the distance I see my home, and I run as fast as I can toward it until I can't any more. I look down to catch my breath, and that's when I hear it, the warmest voice in the world.

"Daddy! You're home." Her little blue eyes watering and reflecting the colors of the sky, her little smile missing the two front teeth.

"I'll never leave again Jules, I promise." I feel warm as I hug her tight, and I'll never let go.

A dreadful cackle rings through my ears and the sky swirls into a tornado of charcoal.

Smoke surrounds me and I'm lost in a giant field of fire and wind. I scream for her to return, she's all I've ever had.

I see a silhouette walking toward me through the smog slowly getting closer. My daughter walks through the flame, completely unharmed. She looks at me with empty eye sockets, and grey translucent skin wraps around her bones tight. I can see all of her veins pulsing black blood throughout her body.

"You need to come home, Daddy." Julie's gaze of black hypnotizes me for a moment, a deep sour feeling hits my chest. She stretches out her arm to point behind me and I look. "Beware the moon." She says and giggles.

The sky is a flurry of stars in between the rising grey mist, and I see that shining bright above them is a full moon.

I look back to my daughter, puzzled. "Why honey? What's going to happen to the moon?"

"Nothing is happening to the moon, Daddy," She giggles again and covers her mouth to muffle it. "It's what is going to happen to you."

Her neck stretches out toward the sky and twists, followed by an awful snap; the crack of broken bone. I scream like a wounded animal and she falls to the ground, neck twisted backwards. In my grieving I try to scoop her up. Her still body turns to ash in my arms, sifting away like tiny grains of sand.

I wake screaming into the endless black that surrounds me.

I am alone. I fall back into sleep.

"Tonight is the night, pet!" I hear her voice echo from the long black hallway, grating my ears and sobering me from my sleepy stupor.

Sweat beads down my brow as I start to think of the horrible things to come. Ants crawling in my ears tearing apart pieces of my brain? Hot wax poured in my eyes burning them and forever blinding me?

Suddenly, I hear a gear reeling pulling something overhead. I see the roof open above and see the moon, it blinds me with its intensity and everything is illuminated at once. I'm no longer in a dark room, and I was never alone.

"Beware the moon, Daddy." I hear whisper behind me.

Bodies dangle stapled in grotesque fashions. Dead eyes staring, screaming for help. Different sections, dismembered limbs. Hands, arms, and even ears are nailed around the intestines of others strung up like lights on Christmas lining the walls in bloody horror.

I hear growling close, and heavy footsteps instead of the typical clicking of heels I had become accustomed to. Just then I see a silhouette of a beast, drool glistening between gnarled jaws and steamy breath. The jaws open to speak.

"Good night, pet." I hear in a mix of deep screeching voices before the claws of the beast come across my chest, ripping my flesh and scraping my bones.

A spray of bright red is all I see before I'm welcomed back into the black abyss.

Written by Ye Ole Fire Chief
Content is available under CC BY-SA