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Broodlings of Eihort 29

Chapter 1[]

The town was abuzz with the whirring of cars and the ceaseless hustling and bustling of busy bodies so obsessed with their routines, they would unknowingly let life pass them by and miss out on the simple things. Several people chatted loudly as they crossed the streets on their way to work. Suffocating, black smoke from many a car’s exhaust pipe permeated the air and polluted the sky with clouds of smog. Rats scavenged for food and left trails of wet, goopy trash along the walking paths. The unsanitary conditions would lead to the spread of several pestilences leading to the town’s hospitals becoming clogged. A clap of thunder eviscerated the sound barrier accompanied by the steady drizzle of rain.

I watched the town fade from view as I rode the public bus. As any who was familiar with this form of transportation could attest to, the bus was congested to the brim with several passengers all with varying characteristics and hygiene. Due to the tight, cramped build in the bus’s structure, many passengers were sandwiched together, some packed together like a can of sardines. And they certainly smelled like it too.

Greasy, slimy sweat rolled down the forehead of a large, burly guy I was forced to sit by. He had sweated so much, his white, buttoned shirt was see-through. His foul, decaying stench wrinkled my nostrils with the urge to gag becoming harder to suppress. His whiskers were wild and unkempt. His eyes so wide, they could have burst from his sockets. When he stared at me, the best I could do was offer a lighthearted smile.

“Well, good afternoon to you, sir.”

He stared at me for a minute not saying anything. His discolored eyes peered in opposite directions as if he was staring into infinity. After nothing of note happened between us, I tried to focus on my trip. I held the handle of my briefcase with some hesitation. The town soon became a dot in my eye before sinking into the inky abyss. This was it. It was really it.

I turned my attention back to the ride. To think this was the last time I would be seeing this town. Sure, it had one school, a single grocery store, and police station, but it had its charms such as its park on the western side of the town. I gazed at the man beside me again, but he was still in his own little world. I tapped the handle a few times as I watched the passengers start to settle down into their seats. Those that could not depend on their handgrips. They stood there shaking slightly any time the bus made a stop.

Even then, it felt like the bus was not even close to thinning out, instead becoming more inflated by the minute. Every now and then, I looked up to see passengers trickling out. I did not know how they could handle being nearly suffocated by the claustrophobic crowds. It reminded me of the droves of people at auditoriums watching ball games. The air became hotter from the body heat and warm breath radiating from the travelers.

During the third stop, the heavyset gentleman finally left his seat and walked away without as much as saying goodbye. Not that I was intending on saying goodbye anyway, but it would have been thoughtful. A trace of the fat man’s putrid stench lingered in the air. I sighed to myself and plopped the briefcase on the seat. My fingers strummed the side as a twinge of doubt arose within me. It will be a couple hours until I reach my destination. Three hours give or take. The town did not have the best reputation, but my company insisted that I move there.

“Pardon me, my good sir, would you mind if I sat there?”

I shook my head clean of the thoughts and looked up. There stood a well-dressed man wearing beige slacks and an overcoat. He wore a matching top hat on his head and boasted a thin, brown mustache that twirled at the ends. He withdrew his hat and tipped it to me in a friendly gesture.

“Oh, uh, sure. Be my guest.”

The gent elegantly found purchase on the seat and watched me fiddle around with my luggage. After what seemed like an eternity of him staring me down, he reached into his pocket and withdrew a business card. “My name is Jacques Skinner. Private Investigator.”

He placed the card in my hand, and I flicked it around in my hand to analyze it. “Seems legit. What are you trying to solve?”

Jacques smiled at me, revealing a small space between his two front teeth. “Ever heard of a man named Walter Bean?”

Walter Bean. The name sounded familiar. I rummaged through my mind for a few seconds. “He was the owner of a furniture company, right?”

“Aye. 68-year-old Walter Bean, a CEO and a family man, was the owner of a huge corporation. He was last seen two weeks ago. He apparently was looking to expand his business in the town of Vicksburg. But... well, after he made the business trip, he never came back. Which is where I come in.”

My eyes widened. “Vicksburg? That is where I am going as a matter of fact.”

Jacques’s eyebrow arched his interest peaked. “Really? That is quite the coincidence.”

He withdrew a picture of Walter Bean. He was a slightly portly figure with a balding head and spindly mustache. Walter wore a red, 3XL cotton shirt and khaki pants. He had a half-grin on his face as he stood in front of his office. Jacques rubbed his chin and probed me further.

“Why are you going to Vicksburg if you don’t mind me asking.”

“Business trip,” I explained, “they said it was nonnegotiable.”

“Perhaps. But I am certain you have heard of the story behind the town and why it is held with such disdain?”

I shook my head. “I know that the town is worn down and practically a ghost town, but I am not afraid of any ghost stories.”

He laughed. “Okay then. Legend goes that during the 1770s, the town of Vicksburg was once a prosperous place with friendly faces everywhere. People openly shared with each other, and no one was left without. A real utopia, I guess is the term.”

I quietly listened to the private investigator as he further lectured me on the town’s folklore.

“That was until there was a certain woman who grew up with nothing before marrying into a noble family. She was beloved by her husband, but she had one fear that is universal to everyone regardless of their status: the fear of death. So, she conducted research into the dark practices meeting an undead cultist who indoctrinated her into the worship of the gods of old. She summoned a demon from the bowels of the Earth to grant her the gift of eternal beauty and life. The demon fulfilled that wish, but it required sacrifices from the living.”

“Sacrifices? Gods of old?” I stammered.

“Are you telling the story, good man?” Jacques asked me somewhat annoyed but still smiling.

“Sorry. Just got entrenched in the story. Do go on.”

“One by one, the woman led her family into the Mouth of Hell starting with the servants and then her loving husband and their four kids. From there, more and more of the townspeople disappeared in thin air and in their place... well, let’s just say that demons are the residents now.” He chuckled to himself and returned the photo of Walter to his pocket. “Or that’s what I have heard.”

My mind was awash with a surge of thoughts. “My... that is quite the story. And you are saying that Walter went to Vicksburg?”

“Him and three more gentlemen as well. Either it was because they wanted to expand their businesses, or they were selected almost at random. The previous three had vanished for a few months now. It’s peculiar that they would all leave without telling their families that they should not expect them back anytime soon.”

We talked a bit more about the missing cases. Much like Walter, some of the men missing were the heads of different corporations ranging from furniture to oil. They were all gradually lured to Vicksburg through whatever means and were never heard from again. Eventually, the bus made a stop and the private investigator got off. He waved goodbye to me tipping his hat once more. “Do keep me updated if you find anything peculiar in Vicksburg.”

My eyes were glued on the man as he left the bus and continued his way without looking back. After he left the premises, the bus resumed its designation.

Chapter 2[]

The tires on the bus screeched to a halt signifying that it was my time to get off. I collected my things and exited the vehicle. The nauseous fumes spewing from the exhaust pipe wafted in my face and nearly knocked the air from my lungs as it sped off leaving me alone. One look around at Vicksburg and I could see why its reputation was not the best.

The town was an ancient relic of the past: dozens of houses were dilapidated with speckles of paint chipping away and flaking off like dandruff. The walls had caved in over time to where the roofs were barely hanging on by a thread. I passed by buildings that were scorched down to the wood and abandoned to the wrath of Mother Nature. Moss grew along the sides of brick walls and rats ran rampant through the streets. The cold, crisp air smacked me on the nape of my neck sending a shiver up my spine. The grass in the city was totally dead and blackened. Any scarce shrubs and trees there were, they were winding and fatally emaciated.

I had arrived at Vicksburg at around 4 in the morning, so my best initiative was to find a place to stay. I walked down an isolated road with the slightest sense I was being watched from afar and anytime I tried looking in the opposite direction, they would scuttle off. It was hard to believe that anyone would live here, let alone that Walter and the other gentlemen would be compelled to come. Columns held buildings up but the slightest poke would make them crumble. Mud and other debris were flung on the windows obscuring me from peering inside. Almost as if they wanted it that way. The state of disrepair also extended to the roads and walking paths with spindly cracks scattered throughout.

I traveled down the square of the town seeing several small businesses denoting some of the products you could expect to purchase like canned goods or bread. The light posts were faintly lit reminding me of twilight with the sun’s rays partially illuminating the atmosphere, a “perfect” combination wherein it was neither too dark nor completely lit.

In the middle of the square was a large fountain with the sculpture of a scantily clad woman calling to mind those Roman statues. Despite being made from stone, her long locks of hair flowed in the wind. Murky, tarry water poured down from a pot she was holding. Upon a closer look, tiny hints of algae coated the rocky surface adding to its prehistoric state.

After taking in the whole picture of the fountain’s condition, my attention became directed towards the hotel. As with the other structures, the hotel had seen better days having long since fallen into a decrepit state of disarray. Its name rubbed off the sign to where I could vaguely make out a few letters. The paint peeled away from the foundation giving it a hideous, ghastly appearance. Newspapers padded the windows and nasty smoke drifted from the chimney. There were a few areas where the bricks were punched out and smashed on the ground below.

With nowhere else to turn to, I entered the establishment. The scent of decay slammed into my face like a sledgehammer to the head. So much dust accumulated on the furniture and doors, it shot up in the air. The musky debris made my nose recoil in disgust. Coughing, I scanned the surroundings. Two chairs with bare backs lined a shaggy rug that became green from the moss residing on it.

Photos decked the walls, some dating back to the 1800s and eroded over time due to the improper maintenance. I approached the service desk spotting a book on the desk. Heavy layers of dust coated the surface. I looked past the desk noticing copious amounts of cobwebs dangling from the bookshelves and ceiling. A small bell lay beside the journal. Weighing my options again, I tentatively pressed the knob.

Ring, ring, ring.

Hm. Nothing. I tapped my fingers on my briefcase and waited a few seconds. I rang the bell again after ten seconds passed. Still no one stirred from the faint sound. I stared at my wristwatch seeing that it was almost 5. Perhaps if I was more assertive, I could somehow convince a citizen of this town to offer me a place to stay. As I turned to leave, I finally heard a commotion.

“Good morning, sir.”

I turned to the desk again my eyes beholding a peculiar man. Strange... I did not hear him walk behind the service desk and, judging by how sudden his appearance was, he practically manifested or, could he have been hiding on the floor the whole time?

I internally understood people’s apprehension for the physical features of a Vicksburg citizen: the gentleman was pale, deathly so. His skin lacked any ounce of pigmentation, looking more like a reanimated corpse. Not one speck of hair was on his slick body with his cranium briefly illuminated under the faint light. His eyes, however, were the most jarring attribute: they were as black as a starless sky, darker than the pitch-black void. I was uncertain if it was a result of his pupils expanding to collect more light, or if his irises were naturally black. He seemed to notice my repulsion of his peepers, so he... tried offering me a smile.

Except it was the furthest thing from a smile, more a poor man’s replication of one. He possessed a row of sharp, jagged teeth that, when parted, only revealed a jet of inky nothingness at the back of his throat. He spoke in a low, guttural voice somehow sounding distant and yet, still close. He arched his head to the side, analyzing the subtlest of my movements. “Welcome to our town, sir.”

There was nothing more that I wanted than to end the conversation and get the hell out of dodge, but where would I go? I tried to muster up as much politeness as I could. “I would like a room.”

The enigmatic man’s eyes widened more. I felt that he was staring into the recesses of my soul and got his jollies from frightening me. “Very good, sir.” His long, skeletal fingers groped the journal.

“How much is a room for the night?” I asked.

“Oh, no need for payment” he chuckled. Purple goo glistened on his yellow-stained teeth and landed on the desk. “You don’t have to pay a single dime.”

“Really? That would be great.”

Not once during our discussion did the gentleman ever blink. If anything, he would freeze up temporarily and just glare at me like a record that has the issue of skipping before resuming. His body moved in a wobbly, drunken stupor with his knees buckling and jerking. Did he even have a pair of feet hidden behind the counter? He pushed the journal to me and handed me a pen.

Once I opened the book, I immediately knew something was amiss. “Walter Bean?”

The employee froze in place. “Ah, yes. He visited this same hotel. We like to keep their names and addresses for documentation.”

“Well, it says that he signed this exactly two weeks ago.”

“We like to record the names and addresses of our guests,” the man replied, somewhat forcefully. His tone sank to a deeper octave.

“Walter has been missing for a long time. This was the place he was last seen, isn’t it?”

The man leaned in looking at me with his black holes for eyes. “I assure you that you have nothing to worry about. For all intended purposes, we are not allowed to disclose our clients’ private information.”

Drat. He was not budging. I could argue with him for hours and hours, but I was not mentally willing to do so. I shrugged and sighed in defeat. “So, just sign my name and address, right?”

“Very good, sir.”

I jotted down my signature and address and closed the book. “This town is... something else.”

“Whatever do you mean?” he asked.

“Just... in a total state of disrepair. Hardly any birds or other animals aside from rats and... everything seems so... bleak.”

He chuckled again hearing my complaints. “You sound like you are starving for some entertainment.”

Without saying anything further, he disappeared almost as quickly as he did manifest. Before I could question him on his sudden interest, he returned holding a flyer in his hand. “Tell me... are you alone?”

“Alone? Why is that crucial information?” Normally I would be put off by that sort of invasive question, but I decided to play along. “I am single, yes.”

The gentleman’s smile widened, purple fluid rolling down his mouth in thick layers. “Perhaps... this would be of interest to you?”

He handed me the flyer. My eyes skimmed the piece of paper the words “Vicksburg’s Annual Mix and Mingle.” My eyebrows stretched in surprise. “A... dating game?”

He jerked a bit, giving a firm grip on his arm. His frail fingers reached out for the flyer in hopes of reclaiming it, but his grip tightened forcing him to reel back. There was visible hurt on his face as if he was conflicted with revealing the occasion to me. He hissed under his breath before the internal conflict resolved itself. “It is a tradition we have here in our little town.”

“And... is it the only thing to do here? Nothing like a movie theater or anything else that grandiose?”

He did not know what I was blabbering on about. “Never mind. I’ll keep this in mind.” The tips of the employees’ mouth curled. “You won’t regret this.”

With nothing more to say, he pulled a key off the hook and dropped it in my open palm. “Enjoy your stay, sir.”

Nodding, I started the long ascent up the stairs. While I left, I heard a shrill voice whispering maliciously at the man. It was so low, however, that I could not make out what the heated words were. Come to think of it, I didn’t recall seeing anyone else at the hotel.

The wooden planks creaked under my feet while I approached my room. More dust settled along the rails of the stairs. While I waited for the man, I did sneak a peek at one photo that said the hotel was established three centuries ago. You would think that during all that time, they would consider some renovations. From the erosion over the centuries, large gaping holes formed on the floorboards threatening to swallow up any poor sap unaware of their presence.

“Room 3.”

I opened the door and in doing so, several cockroaches scuttered out. Peeping inside, it was a relieving sight to see that room, even though it was old, looked presentable. I settled down on the bed’s cover not daring to even see what was underneath. Later that day once I had settled in, I would have to meet up to discuss my business with the higher ups. While thinking about it, my eyes wondered back to the flyer and Walter’s disappearance. I knew damn well that the employee was lying through his mustard teeth. Thinking back, not only was Walter’s name and address listed, but so were the other men that Jacques had reported missing. All of them arrived at the hotel at some point only they never checked out.

“I’ll contact the private eye soon.” As I settled into bed, my mind continued to whir at the thought of partaking in the annual dating game. Why was the man so insistent on me attending it?

Chapter 3[]

I let my curiosity about the dating game compel me to consider attending it. I did not expect much to come from it, but it should be fun. Besides, I could learn more about the town’s history and potentially gather some information pertaining to Walter’s disappearance. The meet up was in a large auditorium wherein several of Vicksburg’s populace were present. My curiosity slowly subsided when I noticed how every resident was draped in brown cloaks obscuring their pale, hairless bodies save for their hands. Their eyes were downcast and, much like the employee at the hotel prior, they moved in a drunken stupor with their legs knocking and wobbling about, reminding one of those trapeze walks at the circus.

It did not help that the lights were faint, making me bump into things. The raspy, gruff drones of the residents reverberated through the room sounding pained and congested the further they lumbered along. They did not pay much attention to me when I first entered the establishment making me wonder why the man running the service desk was so insistent on me attending. The building was also unbelievably cool but that was to be expected from the town’s ruined state.

Rationally, I considered leaving then and there, but I ended up going along with the “dating game.” I sat at a table when the first option reared up. It was a rather short woman who leered at me with those same unblinking eyes of coal. I giggled nervously in an attempt to break the ice. “So... uh... what are you interested in?”

She opened her mouth letting a low groan leave her lips. Ooze dripped from her lips. “Okay... could I ask you a question?”

The pale woman was too invested in a huge, hairy cockroach scuttering across the table. Before my eyes, she grabbed it with her open palm and took a huge chomp out of the insect. Her canines ripped clean through the bug, her lips parting as she stretched the roach between her teeth as if the roach was string cheese.

“Thanks for the introduction. But... I have to respectfully decline. Next.”

Another woman sat down this time being taller with a hint of moisture behind her eyes. “I was wondering if you know of a man named Walter Bean? He went missing in your town weeks ago.”

The woman leaned in grinning. A mysterious fluid gushed from her lips when a huge smile spread across her face. Her eyeless sockets bore holes in my body. Her body trembled with pangs of hunger. “Heh, heh... he is here. With us. All are one within our god.”

“God? What are you...!”

Before I could probe her further, the woman lunged at me and pinned me to the ground. Her jaws unhinged and I peered into the depths of her mouth. Slimy drool dangled from the ceiling down to the base of her tongue. In desperation, I tried retaliating, but the taller woman was stronger. “Soon, you too will become part of our god.”

I closed my eyes fully expecting her to bite me in the neck. However, a few solid seconds passed. I reopened my eyes seeing that the woman reeled herself back and clutched her head. “Can’t...hurt...” A shrill voice crawled out from the bowels of her gut making her upper body spasm. “No... yes...! No... get out of my head!” Her head bobbed back and forth with her fingers tightening around her head.”

I became petrified, but now that she was distracted, I took the opportunity to knock her off. With one swift push, the woman fell to her side still in an eternal battle with herself. A mob of Vicksburg residents staggered forward and dragged the woman away. Gasping on the floor, I slowly collected myself. Coming here was a mistake. I was only here because of a business trip so it was in my best interest to pursue it. Maybe once I get that done, I could leave this godforsaken town in the dust.

“Oh my... that was quite the experience, wasn’t it?”

My eyes leered a young woman. What a sight she was. Blue eyes; a flawlessly silky skin complexion. A low-cut red dress and ample bosom. And a dark blonde bob cut with matching piercings. She strolled over to me and knelt at my eye level. “Welcome to Vicksburg, sweetheart.”

She extended a hand to me and, with little consideration for my own safety, I took her hand. Her palm was warm and cozy to the touch. There was something about her that seemed... soothing. “We haven’t had that many visitors to this town in a while. Pray tell, why are you here?”

My mind became a total blur. “I... um... I came here for business, yeah, that’s it.”

The woman laughed to herself. Dimples formed at the corners of her mouth only accentuating her wholesomeness. I got up from the ground, my eyes wandering back to the strange woman. “You seem... normal.”

“Normal? Well, I certainly hope so, darling.”

“It’s just that... the other residents here are... somewhat peculiar.”

“Ah, that was my reaction to when I first moved here.” She looked me over, her smile widening. “My name is Narcissa Witwe. Judging by your appearance, you must be the one who was invited to Vicksburg.”

“Yes. My boss had connections in this town and had me come as a representative. Funnily enough, I never met him in person.”

Narcissa nodded. My god, I fell further ensnared by this mystery woman. If I had to wager why that was, it was definitely her voice. Her lipstick popped like precious rubies. Her plump, luscious lips were like hot butter with how flawlessly she spoke. I slowly forgot the horror of being nearly ingested by a psychotic woman. The more she talked, I felt myself falling deeper for her. “You... happened to be invited to attend this occasion?”

“Why, yes. I thought it would be pretty interesting. Vicksburg has this as a tradition. I was honestly getting bored out of my mind, my dear... but you made this more fun.”

I looked down and twiddled my thumbs. “So... you are willing to try this date out?”

“I would love that.”

We ended up talking for hours far past the time limit. Narcissa was truly an interesting individual. She had an extensive knowledge of the town and other subject matter. I found myself further wowed by her effortless recounting of historical events providing me with such an elaborate description, I was wondering if she witnessed any herself. She claimed to have family back in some city and was intending on returning there after the business trip. That infectious laugh of hers was music to my ears. I shared some of my personal information with her explaining the extent of my job and my interests. I have to admit that my eyes had a mind of their own. I gazed at her cleavage any time she bent. She propped her head on her hand and lovingly stared at me.

“Come to think of it, there was something that I was curious about. Have you heard of a man named Walter Bean?”

Narcissa squinted her eyes shut. “The name does ring a bell. Why do you ask?”

“It’s just that he’s been missing for quite some time.”

“Hm... perhaps he left the town and just neglected to inform anyone?”

I shrugged. “I suppose so. Sorry to spring something that deep on you.”

“It’s quite alright. After all, I am sure you heard of the rumors permeating the town?”

I nodded. “Yeah, a private investigator told me of them.”

Narcissa frowned. “It’s just so terrible, isn’t it? That a loving wife and mother would sacrifice her own family for eternal youth?”

“Yeah, but it’s a story. We shouldn’t fret over some myth.”

A smile canceled out her frown. “You’re right. Shall we... take this discussion elsewhere?”

Chapter 4[]

As my time in Vicksburg progressed, I met up with Narcissa more and more. Her cutesy yet mature, witty personality was her signature charm. She filled me in on the origins of the myth again with such vividness, it was like she was there. She expanded on Jacques’s relaying of information explaining how, according to ancient cults, there were once several inhuman, otherworldly gods that made the Earth into a festering cesspool and were worshiped by the cultists until the day the primal threats were sealed away in ancient tombs left to rot. That is, till the day they will arise and treat mankind as an insignificant bug.

“As you know, there was once a woman who was so afraid of death, so she called on the gods to preserve her youth and gain eternal life. She wandered down into the depths of the Earth to beseech an Old One. And the god she sought out was none other than that Pale Beast, the God of the Labyrinth, Eihort. But, as with anything, there was a price to be paid.”I quietly listened. Who could have fathomed that there were so many hidden societies dedicated to worshiping these unknowable, eldritch beings, and for what cause? Are they obsessed with bringing about the apocalypse and practice their perverse religions to summon them? What ancient books did they have in their possession?

“And you say that this woman found an undead cultist who gave her secrets to communing with Eihort? What did she have to do?”

“Reprehensible acts that went against natural law and would damn her very soul to the darkest pits of Hell. She knew the secrets of where the gods of old lay dead and where they would once more trek. She uncovered the truth behind our known reality and peeked her eyes into infinity. With the assistance of that Pale Beast, she could even travel dimensions without the need of ever leaving home. Life itself was an illusion, a cheap replica of what eternity felt like.”

My heart sank into the depths of my body. Cults. An ancient, primal god. My mind connected the dots back to when I first took part in the dating game. All the citizens of Vicksburg wore cloaks, something that I should have correlated long ago. That woman insisting that Walter and the others were all one in the god she worshiped. I had become ensnared in a tangle of webs.

Screw everything. I had to get out.

Narcissa stared at me her blue eyes reflecting her concern. “What’s wrong, darling?”

“I... just feel a little flushed.”

“You don’t have to lie to me. I can sense how uneasy you are about the cults I mentioned. But don’t worry; there is nothing to be concerned about. I am sure you noticed that the townspeople wear those garments. It is not what you think.”

“Then... why do they wear them?”

“It is rather simple; the people of Vicksburg have a weakness for sunlight. Tell me: have you ever seen any of them walking about during the day?”

I thought back to my previous encounters with the townspeople. Truth be told, they were able to freely shuffle around in the auditorium because of an artificial light. Even the hotel I resided in was dimly lit. “Then... what about when that woman attacked me? She seemed... conflicted about it. It was almost like two halves were fighting each other.”

“Perhaps a temporary bout of madness,” Narcissa casually explained, “besides, Vicksburg hardly has any outsiders visit their town; she was probably just overcome with astonishment.”

I did not say anything to further rebut her. “I... am unsure if I should stay here.”

Narcissa’s eyes lowered in a crestfallen fashion. It nearly pained me to see her upset. “Is that so?”

“I have spent about two weeks here and I was never able to find the people who wanted to do business with me. To be completely frank, I believe that it was all a ruse to make me look like a fool.”

The blonde woman paused and thought intensely of her next move. “If that is the truth, then I may as well explain why I am really here.”

My curiosity piqued in that moment. “What happened?”

“To tell you the truth... my life back home isn’t good. I... have a husband who is a raging alcoholic who would beat me unconscious every day he came back from work. If it wasn’t me, he would go after our two kids. One day, he beat me up so badly. I...” she paused, tears rolling down her cheeks. “I was in the hospital for three months. After that, I somehow managed to escape his wrath and ran away from home.”

She covered her eyes with her hands and bitterly wept into them. Her breathing became staggered the more she let her raw emotions loose. “I know I shouldn’t have abandoned my kids with their father... it was a moment of weakness!”

I didn’t know what to say at that instant. It was quite the bombshell I was handed. Without thinking heavily on it, I gently embraced her. She was startled at first, but she slowly melted into the hug, clasping my back. “I’m... so sorry to hear that.”

“You shouldn’t be. It is not your problem to deal with,” she replied.

“I’m planning on leaving Vicksburg tomorrow. If it is fine with you, would you care to accompany me?”

Her eyes widened in surprise. “Are you sure? I don’t want to be a burden on you.”

“No, you won’t bother me at all. It’s the least I could do.”

Her smile poked through. “It’s a deal.”

Chapter 5[]

It was approaching nighttime when I returned to the hotel. I approached the counter and hit the bell. “Sir, I’m informing you that I will be leaving first thing tomorrow.”

Much like the first time I arrived, the employee did not come. I tapped the dusty counter with my fingers in irritation. “Sir, let’s not do this again.”

I allowed some more time to pass, but the man still did not show up. “Is that how you are to treat a customer?”

Refusing to wait any longer, I climbed over the counter nearly getting tangled in cobwebs. “Bleh! Yuck! How can anyone live in this kind of condition?”

From the way the lights were dimly flickering, I was forced to collect as much light into my eyes as I could. As expected, the room was in total disrepair. Books were lying in piles beside the bookshelves. Webs coated furniture and tickled my nose. I fought the urge to sneeze. The floorboards creaked and moaned under my weight. The further I went, the light diluted into beams. “Sir, come out now. This is getting ridiculous...”

Finally, my eyes settled on a heap of clothes. He couldn’t. Could he? The thought of the peculiar man parading around in his birthday suit was burned into my mind. A ruffling of the clothes knocked me out of my train of thought. I slowly advanced towards the clothes with it becoming evident that the man evaporated. Before I could theorize what happened to him, dozens of small white objects erupted from the clothing and scuttered around like cockroaches dispersing when a light is turned on.

“What the?!”

The millions of spidery, bloated beings crawled on the walls and up my clothes. In a panic, I scrambled over the counter, the wet squelches of crushed younglings making me squeamish. Debris rained down from the ceiling as a sudden earthquake surged. I could have sworn I heard something writhing in agony from the bowels of the Earth. The foundation of the hotel shook incessantly and groaned with the death of each abomination suggesting a possible link between the two. The stairs finally dissolved and exploded into splinters.I covered my head as best I could, but the monstrous arachnids kept pursuing.

Squish, squish, squish.

The wet, gooey bodies of the monsters popped under my feet like overripe grapes. I had the sinking feeling of some of the residue getting between my toes. Eldritch ooze clung to the soles of my shoes restricting my movement. Each time I tried to move, the runny, stringy substance came into contact with the floor and formed a strong adhesive.

And those legs. So many legs. Hundreds of thousands of marbles with an unnatural number of appendages crawled on my body. They creeped their way up my pants legs, with some slithering beneath the fabric. No matter how many times I tried to bat them off, these abominations latched on my body. The hairs on my body rose on end from the impression that I was being licked by the millions of spiders. My skin felt violated from the endless probing and pinching. I grabbed my ankles and continued my mad attempt to free myself.

“H...help...”

A faint, weak murmur caught my attention. I darted my eyes back and forth in search of the scream of urgency seeing no one until I directed my sight to a hideous event. The white, pulsating blobs with stalks for legs linked the innumerable limbs together in huge, grotesque lines and did the most harrowing of things any sensible man could anticipate: they started to move in a single motion multiplying and expanding until... something ghastly was taking form.

The gunky paste on the soles of my shoes finally gave way. However, when combined with the invasive pests crawling all over me and making me squirm, I fell on my rear. The monsters kept feeding into the growing figure. Much like a well-oiled machine, the beasts kept feeding themselves into each other. “Help...”

With all of the beasts working together, a human shape came into being. They moved in a swimming motion shifting their icky legs to a side to mimic the gesture of limbs. The dread welled up in the pit of my stomach and crawled up my throat. The insidious spawn multiplied further, breaking apart and restructuring themselves until a vaguely humanoid shape took form. However, its skin became melty and ran like a lit wax candle.

My eyes became bloodshot. It was the employee. Except now, it was clear to me that what I was speaking to in my entire stay in Vicksburg were millions of blotches who hardly could pass themselves off as human. The piercing assaulted my ear drums calling to mind a nail scratching a chalkboard. The man, nay, the creature, moved about miserably dragging its upper body along the floor. Its mouth hung agape with a hazed wheeze spewing out. Almost every slight movement brought unending suffering for it, it seemed.

The humanoid anomaly held out its hand to me, gesturing in a hopeful fashion. It jerked itself closer to me, moaning and shuffling just to stay in its form a bit longer. I became frozen temporarily, horrified at the unholy display which violated the laws of nature that every being under the sun had to follow. The hotel continued to collapse around us shaking me out of my terror. I slowly backed away from the monster, but it somehow sensed what I was intending to do and clawed its way towards me. It hissed at me, destroying the illusion it was desperately clinging to.

Before it could strike, a plank fell from the collapsing ceiling and pinned it. It let out a high-pitched, hellish shriek, but there was no way I was going to humor it. I rushed to the door, the wet squelches of the broodlings I had killed echoing.

Chapter 6[]

I succeeded at escaping the hotel as it suffered its final death throes and went up in a heap of primeval dust. As it cleared, all that was left of the establishment was a pile of bricks and smoking debris. My mind was still wrapped around the surreality of the situation. The pale, hairless appearance of the man. All the residents of the town’s bizarre skin complexions. How that woman fought herself when she was deciding whether to eat me or not. None of them were humans but arachnid, hideous carbon copies that struggled to be approachable. I shook my head. Whatever the case, I had to leave Vicksburg, but not before taking Narcissa with me. After all, I could not live with myself if I knowingly abandoned someone in this wretched town.

High-pitched screams filled the empty air alerting me. Crap. More of the “neighbors” were coming, obviously because they heard the collapse of the old building. Without much contemplation, I hid in the alleyway and bit my lower lip. Their gravely, guttural voices were like waterlogged bodies with their constant squelching and damp noises.

Cautiously, I peered from a corner of an abandoned store seeing four cloaked Vicksburg citizens staggering on their legs. If only I could decipher what they were saying to each other only for curiosity’s sake. As they chatted, one of the hooded figures stopped and slipped his hood from his bald head. I heard what sounded like mandibles clanging on each other when I noticed he was getting closer.

I backed further into the alleyway out of concern that he had seen me. The hissing reached its apex with his long, spiderly fingers scraping the edge of the building. I shimmied down to get as close to the ground I could. Even though it was nighttime, the creature’s glare burned holes in the back of my head. He entered the alley sliding his appendages in the dark void. We were so close; I smelled his pungent breath.

Eventually, something else caught his attention and he left with his group. I wiped the sweat off my brow and sighed in relief. With them distracted, I could make my escape attempt. However, before I could continue the next phase of my plan, a feminine voice echoed through the streets. My eyes widened in shock.

“Narcissa!”

I peeped from behind the dilapidated wall and almost doubled over. Narcissa was captured by the Vicksburg anomalies with her distress. Her arms flailed around with the feeble hope of striking one of her threats. I... had to do something. But what could I do?

I rummaged through my mind for a solution, but Narcissa’s screams were making me anxious. Swallowing my pride, I sprinted towards the assembly and balled my fists. I swung wildly in the air smashing my knuckles over and over their gelatinous mass felt like I was punching raw meat.

The more I railed against them, the Vicksburg anomalies gradually lost their corporeal forms and disintegrated exploding into millions of skittering spiders. Narcissa glared in absolute horror upon seeing these humanoid beings dissolve into pulsating, rampant marbles on thousands of stalks.

“What… is this?”

There was no time to explain. I grabbed her wrist and urged her to move. Her warm, silky hand felt amazing to grope, but I threw that thought to the back of my mind. My heart galloped behind my chest as my breathing became taxing. My lungs wheezed and buckled beneath my rib cage. The sound of thousands of bony, fleshless legs scraping the ground reverberated on the streets. “Everyone… in this town… all those monstrosities link together mimicking the basic movements of the human body.”

Narcissa shared an equal look of dread. “What should we do?” She grasped my arm and squeezed up against it. Her soft breasts felt amazing around my wedged arm, driving me crazy. Her warm breath sent a chill down my spine. Even when she was being terrified, that statuesque build and her intense glare of hers made her impeccable.

“We have to find a place to hide and wait for things to blow over.”

The blonde woman scratched her head. “If we are looking for a refuge, I know just the place.”

Chapter 7[]

I let Narcissa lead the way, happy that she knew the layouts of the town. Throughout the whole secretive walk, we did not speak a word to each other. The air around us became thick enough to slice with a knife. After about two seconds into it, I tried to break the ice.“So... we have been traveling for a while, haven’t we?”

She did not respond. That night was especially breathtaking. The moon was in close proximity to the Earth resembling a polished pearl. Narcissa used the light radiating from the celestial body and led me further away from the town and into the rough thickets of the woods. The forest was completely bereft of noise. No owls screeched in the night; if there were crickets, they were deathly silent. Narcissa gently tugged my arm deeper in the neck of the woods until we stopped at a cave.

At the entrance, Narcissa withdrew a torch and lit it. She then beckoned me inside. I was not thrilled to be entering into a dreary, claustrophobic area, but those cultists could still be on our track. Soaking in my fears, I entered the cold and dreary cave. A pungent, repulsive smell, that of decaying matter, drifted from the entrance. The odor of ages long passed was not lost on me. I stared at Narcissa wondering how she was holding up, but she was unbothered. “Let’s go. We don’t have much time to waste.”

She flicked her finger through her bangs before leading me further into the maw of the cave. It was silent aside from our footsteps and the soft dripping of moisture in the distance. Water sparkled on the stalactites like beads of diamonds and trickled into an underground pool. I confused the stalagmites for razor, jagged teeth from the erosion over the years. Behind us, the entrance disappeared into the void as shadows encased us. The wind whistled into the cave adding onto the ambiance. If... I was being accurate in my description, I could have sworn I heard the cavern breathe.

And the cavernous walls appeared to twist and contract like a living creature.

My paranoia became flared. I wanted nothing more than to leave, but the exit was nowhere to be seen. Besides, if I left on my own volition, I would have become stranded and made to wander in the dark until the end of time. My breathing hazed and goosebumps flared on the surface of my skin. Fluid fell on my shoulders from the stalactites making me wriggle in displeasure. Eventually, Narcissa led me to an opening. “What is this place?”

Narcissa didn’t reply, merely goading me in with her finger. Seeing no reason to doubt her, I entered the area. The secret location was decked in heavy sheets of cobwebs which dangled down from the ceiling. It was also inexplicably damp and the disgusting, the putrid scent of decay even more prominent. My eyes settled on discarded skeletons with their wrists restrained in chains protruding from the walls. They were likely down here for centuries judging from their aged, worn features. Whatever they had witnessed, they died in total fright. Their lower jaws were stretched as far as humanly possible to where they became unhinged. Over the years, the only thing keeping them suspended was the webbing.

The more I soaked in my surroundings, I became aware of the purpose the location served. There was a huge slab situated in front of a bottomless pit at the base of the cave. Arms made from wedges of stone stretched from the structure. Dried blood and viscera were stained on the flat surface of the instrument. I desperately looked at Narcissa with the hopes she was as confused as I was.

However, instead of a detection of fear... Narcissa’s facial expressions shifted to one that was apathetic to the whole thing. I watched her stride over and light a crucible underneath the stone slab. The gaseous, nauseating fumes wafted in the air smelling like rotten flesh and scorched ashes. Her once beautiful, hypnotizing eyes transitioned to a pale blue as if her energy was sucked from her body.

“Hundreds of years ago, the great Old One Eihort first manifested in the town of Vicksburg. This cave is the exact place that, according to folk tales, a woman who came from an impoverished upbringing, made a deal to the gods for eternal beauty and youth.”

“Narcissa? What are you suggesting?”

I felt a wet, slick object grasp my shoulders. The cultists’ voices gurgled and wheezed. Before I could try to fight back, two of the worshipers lifted me off the ground and directed me to the stone slab. I kicked and thrashed. I flailed my arms around. Nothing happened. They tossed me on the hard surface with such force I felt my spine buckle. My wrists were tightly tied to the arms of the instrument, the ropes eating into the tender flesh.

Narcissa stared at me for a few seconds. She was no longer the woman I thought I knew for a duration of my stay in Vicksburg. She strolled over, kneeling and staring at the primitive skeletons. “And once again, my god will have a sacrifice.”

Sacrifice? The word bounced around in my head. Everything was happening so fast. “You... know an awful lot about that myth.”

She laughed. “Well, yes... after all, how old do you think I am?”

I strained against the tight binds to no avail. “The town and its conditions. It was always you.”

“Hundreds of years ago, the town of Vicksburg was once a prosperous area. It was a massive trading town where corn, pumpkins, fabric... you name it were traded and sold. I was born to a poor family, but I was considered the fairest of the town. Of those a nobleman took a liking. After meeting him on several nights, he popped the question to me. And, I said yes.”

I grunted under my breath. “Then why did you betray your own family?”

“What do you think is the one fear that all humans share?” Narcissa asked, though it was clear she did not care what my answer was. “Death. Humans have had several accomplishments when they crawled out from the festering, primordial cesspool. And yet, despite all those achievements, the one thing that they failed to conquer was death.”

She casually pried the skull off a skeleton and flicked her fingers through the jawbones. “I knew that one day... I would die. But... I couldn’t live with that harsh truth. Not someone who is as gorgeous as me!”

Narcissa tossed the skull aside and spoke to the cultists. “You think that you saved me from earlier? Don’t you realize that the people of Vicksburg follow my commands?”

“So... then that means Walter...”

Her eyebrow perked. “Is dead? That should be obvious. I thought you of all people would be more intuitive. He was but a sacrifice. One I lured.”

“That explains why I was told to come here... so the dating game?”

Narcissa hushed me. “A ruse, sweetheart. How else was I supposed to meet up with you?” The cultists backed away from me and collapsed on their knees in a praying stance.

“My fear of death became so great, I called on the God of the Labyrinth to grant me eternity. Which he did. However, I had neglected the fact that Eihort himself had his own terms. He asked me to foster his brood. Not thinking much about it, I accepted. They are squirming around within me as we speak in a larval state. But... once I realized his brood would eat their way out of my body, it was then that the truth became clear. He merely extended my lifespan, but in order to avoid missing his quota, I had to resort to drastic measures.”

“Your husband and kids... how could you...”

“Necessary sacrifices. After them, I did the same process to the rest of the town. Some would go missing for weeks locked away in my lair with their bodies being dissolved and eaten from the inside out. Curiously, the Broodling acquired memories of their hosts, sometimes effortlessly mimicking their voices. I saw that happen with a young 32-year-old I lured. The Broodling demonstrated mannerisms he himself had. Perhaps when a host perishes, they are never truly gone but exist as bodiless spirits attached to the Broodling.”

It made a considerable amount of sense despite the bizarre nature: the hotel worker and the woman I had met at the dating game. Their essences were still present within these anomalies, and they were crying for release. Narcissa cleared her throat and walked over to caress my cheek. “Shame... you were really nice.” She chuckled again. “Eventually in my haste to stay alive, I accidentally destroyed the town. I tried any solution I could think of like introducing interbreeding among the Broodling, but after a few centuries, that was not enough.”

“What... are you getting out of helping an Old One? You know the risks these unspeakable monstrosities have for the Earth.”

“The God of the Labyrinth shall once again be free to rule this world. I intend on becoming a lower royalty once the ancient crypts are opened. I already have served Eihort faithfully as his high priestess for centuries. I am not some lowly, weak, insignificant human. I have ascended to godhood, and I believe I deserve my dues. Wouldn’t you?”

My eyebrows furrowed. “After I comforted you about the abuse you suffered....”

“You BELIEVED that story?” Narcissa’s chuckling became louder and echoed throughout the cave. “Gods... you are as pathetic as all those other humans who I tricked into loving me.”

I snarled. “You’ll never get away with this. I will escape and tell Jacques all about what I learned. This town will be demolished faster than you could even blink.”

Narcissa’s grin stretched around her ears. “Need I remind you that the Broodling follow my commands because of the spawn that are swimming in my stomach? Through Eihort, I have eyes all over the scope of this world. Let’s just say he was paid a very special visit.”

I wanted to say more, perhaps call Narcissa every name under the sun, but I froze when a series of tremors shook the cave to its very core. Narcissa maniacally snickered at me, relishing in how utterly defenseless I was. “Now... time for you to make the choice so many before you have.”

My fear bubbled from the deepest regions of my stomach, but there was no one present who could help me. The ceiling quaked as a series of cracks formed. Stalactites of varying sizes crumbled and fell around me. It was as if legions of freight trains collided all at once in a massive collision of biblical proportions.

Chapter 8[]

Eihort

And then... I caught a glimpse of those... legs... hundreds of thousands of rigid, bony legs rose out of the hole, scraping and clawing the ground for leverage. Larger than a public bus. Beads of sweat trickled down my forehead, the color draining from my face. Eyes upon eyes where such features should not reasonably be. Peepers so horridly massive they eclipsed the eyes of the largest known species on this planet. Its pale, gelatinous mass bubbled to the surface resembling a disgusting, pus-filled pimple and its abdomen. Good god, its abdomen. It was shaped like some overgrown olive with eyes bulging all over every surface of its great body. The God of the Labyrinth towered over me with his unholy glory.

My blood ran cold, and I was at a loss for words. Eihort moved in an abnormal, hypnotizing motion, swaying back and forth with nary a bone to be found on its gelatinous build. I immediately understood what Narcissa meant when she said she had eyes throughout the world: the multi-legged abomination’s “labyrinth” expanded across the globe granting it the illusion of being omnipresent. At any time, some hapless sap could end up lost in the cavernous walls and encounter this Old One. It unnerved me how easy it was.

Narcissa cackled, her smile becoming more twisted. “I have done what you have requested of me, my god. Please, bestow me with your blessings!”

Eihort shifted its many eyeballs to what I assume was his chest. It spoke with the same gravely, gurgled voice its offspring shared. Its voice... was not what I was expecting for a creature as huge as a boulder. Its tone was distant, bizarrely cordial. Despite its terribleness, the Pale God was patient. Unspeakably so.

“I’m afraid you misunderstand, mortal. Your time as my high priest has reached an unfortunate end.”

Narcissa’s eyes widened in horror. “But... my lord...! Have I not faithfully served you for centuries? I have provided you with the best sacrifices to meet your quota!”

“You are such an insignificant, incompetent waste of filth.” Something shifted within Eihort’s indescribable mass and stretched and twisted indefinitely into itself forming a colossal fist. “You have forgotten your place, human. You may have an extended life in comparison to the rest of your kind... but you also forget who it is who can take it away.”

Narcissa clasped her hands together in deep prayer. “No, Eihort, please! I am sorry for speaking out of turn! Please, let me serve you for eternity! I will kill whoever I have to in your name if you jus-!”

Without warning, Narcissa keeled forward grimacing. Her eyes bulged upon the realization of what was happening to her. Dozens of Eihort’s brood squirmed and wriggled from within her body ruffling her outer skin. She clutched her midsection between her arms letting rip a haunting, agony-filled moan. Yet, no matter how much she begged, her desperation fell on deaf ears. Narcissa’s face contorted into a twisted scowl with ludicrous tears streaming down.“No... my lord....”

A deathly cough started to choke her out. Gagging profusely, streams of white, spindly critters wriggled free. Her eyes disintegrated as the insidious creatures chewed their way out. Her sobs of pain transitioned to wet squelches and tearing of flesh. The brood slashed their way through her lungs and turned them to slush along with her other vital organs. Narcissa’s once glamorous, flawless skin bubbled and popped as thousands of spawn made a mad dash. Even her skeleton dissolved into more nutrients for the hungry infants. Within three agonizing moments, Narcissa was gone. All that was left of her were her favorite dress and ear piercings.

I struggled to breathe after being born to witness Narcissa suffer a form of divine punishment. However, I faced the horrific reality that I was now alone with her murderer. Eihort’s arm twisted and shifted, moving from one side of his body to the other as if he was contemplating when an appropriate time was to drop its mass on me. Its myriads of eyes settled on me. Even without the Old One talking, I knew how lowly he thought me.

“Fear not, my dear human” it whispered. Once more, its voice sounded soothing, but I realized that it was not because of true benevolence but rather manipulation. “I shall give you an offer, and I am certain that you will not choose poorly.”

Everything that I thought I knew disappeared in an instant. We, as humans, were so convinced of our place in the universe, but there existed things, horrible, reality-breaking things. Things that no one of sound mind should fathom or search for truly existed. We are but a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things, and the Old Ones thirst for release.

“You will gestate my brood. Otherwise... I have no further use for you.”

My lips were dry. I... did not know what I should say at that moment. My options were limited considerably: should I agree and allow Eihort to gestate me with his offspring, I didn't think I would be getting off that easily judging by what happened to Narcissa. But...seeing that titanic fist hovering above me, swinging back and forth like a pendulum, was also a situation I wanted to avoid at all costs.

“Unless... you wish to become my Chosen?”

“Chosen?” My mind worked into overdrive to comprehend the offer. That must have been what Narcissa was. If so... if that entails sacrificing the life of someone else for my own safety was not only an irredeemable act, but also very cowardly. After mulling it over, I came to a decision.

“I think I know what I want...”

Narrations[]

"Something_Sinister_Has_Visited_Vicksburg"_Creepypasta_Scary_Story-2

"Something Sinister Has Visited Vicksburg" Creepypasta Scary Story-2

Vicksburg-_Chapter_1_-_-creepypastas-2

Vicksburg- Chapter 1 - -creepypastas-2

Vicksburg_-_THE_AWARD_WINNING_CREEPYPASTA_HORROR_CLASSIC-2

Vicksburg - THE AWARD WINNING CREEPYPASTA HORROR CLASSIC-2



Written by AustinDR
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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