It has been two grueling weeks since he has passed. Such a shame for a boy as young as fourteen to be taken from me so quickly. I try to remember everything positive about him, but it’s hard to defeat the mental blockage that is him in the grueling state he was in just before he had died. I had visited him only naturally, being his best friend. But I could barely bring myself to look into his eyes. His yellowed, pus-spewing eyes.
I remember his last day as if I had been in his room yesterday. And the beast that has haunted me ever since.
“Casey, how are you feeling?” I asked as I strode quickly into his room. Of course, when I had said this, I had not even come past the doorway and hadn’t seen his face yet. When I did manage to push one tired foot forward so that my right foot passed the golden-colored door stopper into the thick, sickly-sweet smelling, moist air, I heard the rattle of his breaths. Slowly, ever so slowly, I peered into the room at his bed. I was afraid to see the truth. Afraid to see what had become of what was once my strong, proud, best friend. He had always kept his head high through the toughest of times, and was at the top of his class. Yes, that was what I was truly afraid to see. I didn’t admit it at first, for it was just a slight ringing in the back of my mind. The boy I’ve known so long to never give up, finally giving in.
My heart plummeted to my stomach and back up when my ears comprehended the rumbling sound of phlegm as his breathing. It wasn’t until I saw his face did the tears come. Casey’s once relatively dark skin was almost as pale as my own. Patches of his black hair were missing. Only one of his eyes was intact. Where it had been was a deep, cavernous socket rimmed with red and covered with blisters as it spread out from his eyebrow. Some of these blisters spewed liquid pus .His other eye had a yellow tint, and his once brown iris was black and tiny. He cried tears that were translucent and specked with blood, they ran down his face with the viscosity of honey.
I was initially speechless when I had entered the room. I first stared at him with a hand clasped over my mouth, then at the nurse standing at his side. I must have stood, my feet rooted to the ground by the weight of my initial sickness that seemed to rest on my toes, for a good three minutes. My eyes darted back and forth from him to the nurse, taking in the damage. Finally, after what seemed to be like hours, I took one shaky step towards the bed. I kept urging myself onwards, one slow step after another, until I was at his side. His remaining eye rolled up to look at me. No longer was the confidence I had loved so much present there in his spirit. His body was a husk, merely a limitation of him reaching his salvation of whatever horrible disease had crippled him so quickly.
With what seemed to be the last of his strength, he jerked his hand up with the speed of blood flowing across a table. I shuddered as the first tear rolled down my cheek. “Casey…” I muttered. I had actually quickly drawn my hand back at first; afraid to touch him and contract whatever ailment he contracted. I looked at the nurse, and she nodded at me with such understanding. I could see tears welling up in even her eyes. Shaking lightly, I laid my smooth palm in his own callused one. This seemed to be the only place on his visible body that wasn’t milky white and laced with blue veins. The moment my skin touched his, I felt his suffering conveyed into me. I knew he wanted to die.
He wanted to die as soon as possible.
My dear, strong Casey. Gave up.
I held his hand for a whole hour, kneeling by his side. At last, Casey gave one last, shuttering breath that sounded like the start of a car, peered at me with his glazed eye, into the very corners of my soul. After a millisecond that seemed like an eternity, his lone eye shuddered in its socket and its gaze fell on the floor. His huge hand fell limp in mine, and I grew stiff. His arm slowly slid from my grasp and thumped heavily against the bedpost. His face went slack as he was saved from his damnation. He gasped outwards, and it was over.
I stood up, glance once at the nurse, and ran as fast as I could out of that place. I didn't bother to look at Casey-no-that thing once more. What was Casey is gone now.
I reached for the door handle, but I paused as the light outside grew dim for a second. I thought a cloud had passed over the house, and hoped that a shower would wash away the death here. Regretfully, I pushed the door open and breathed in the fresh air that did not smell of rotted flesh. Hands in my pocket, I crossed the street with my back to his house. I decided to pay my last respect to him by glancing at his window. I turned around.
And alas, what had loomed over his house was no cloud at all.
It was huge, or should I say, she. She was the size of his roof, an ethereal being. Her skin was pitch black and consisted of wisps of fog, mist, or smoke- I couldn’t tell. Her eyes were simply two round holes that shone with a radiating white light. The thing’s hair curled around her, occasional puffs blowing away with the breeze. Her clothes looked like a lace pattern, but because she appeared to be made of smoke, it was indistinguishable whether it was supposed to look like that or if the wind wove in and out of her torso stubbornly. Besides her eyes, her face was blank. Her lower body, everything below her rib cage, was hidden from view by the house. Her most striking feature had stopped my heart mid-beat. Her hands hovered over the roof of the house like burnt umbrellas.
They were the only part of her being that did not blow away with the breeze. They seemed to have flesh, black, taught skin that stretched to paper thin over her knuckles. Her fingers were all the same length, and her thumbs twitched with anticipation. They were each as long as her head, and hung down like the branches of a weeping willow, but with the sturdy steadiness of a tree branch. The all-gray sky was broken in a spot behind her, and the sun shone directly on her back, making the edges of her wispy form look darker than night. Around her was a halo of light created by the glare, I could not distinguish whether she were an angel sent from heaven to carry Casey away with her, or Beelzebub herself coming to drag him-or me- to the very pits of hell.
Her white sockets stared ever forwards, even as she extended her claws to their breaking points to cast her shadow over his roof. Then, she chanted with her eyes-yes, her eyes opened and closed like mouths-
Body rotting from within,
Don’t fret child,
The time is near,
Your time of dying is finally here.
Her voice sounded hollow, like a person yelling into a tin can. Then, in my frozen, awestruck state, I saw something that would haunt my mind even when I’m old and my brain is falling apart. His front door opened, and out stepped a perfectly healthy Casey. I trembled with tears and croaked out “Casey! Look out above you!”
But he payed no attention to me, as if he were deaf. The creature slowly jerked her head down with a series of bone-chilling crrrracks! And then her hand scooped him up like lightning. She held him in her monstrous fingers and then tilted her head back, her wisps of hair fanning out around her. She dangled him above her eye sockets, and then dropped him inside. I blacked out from that point forwards, the horrific scene too much for me.
Now even today I remember grimly, that when my time of passing arrives, the Spindle Woman will come for me, as she came for Casey, and she will come for you. There is no escaping her keen eyes, she cannot be evaded. Her slender fingers will reach you, too. Like coming clouds over the horizon. Beware; as your room darkens for a second or two, she is nearby. Growing closer, and ever closer, to you…