Brown Shadow

Despite the faint glow of candlelight in her eyes. Conjunctivitis seeped up from her bone marrow. He could see traces of the disease flicker in the dimness, thriving. Her skin seemed to be melting as anxiety took over reason. Their plotting and light hearted musing diminishing with panic and fear. The bank probably does not even exist he thought. Maybe it was all a ruse set up by officials to entrap their minds only to discover a link to something to incriminate them.

“What the hell is going on?” she barely whispers, gripping the edge of the counter top between them as if dangling from a cliff.

“It’s ok. I think it’s ok.”

“ffuuuu” she could not finish the word that would otherwise so perfectly punctuate the moment as if it alone encapsulated everything between them.

“Listen. We need to stay calm and wait for a moment. Maybe no one is really at the door?”

“But I heard it loud and clear.” she replied with a voice trailing off and skipping lines between reality and obscurity. “I don’t know if I can stay put. This is not cool. Go find out what the hell.” she pleaded with drool pooling up in the corner of her mouth like the last drops of sanity holding on.

“Just wait.” He had not moved from his position for what seemed like hours, still crouching, frozen in place with his pistol gripped in one hand while the other steadied himself against the island. Low light might preserve their cover, but he heard the knocking too. Normally, he could tell when he might just be tripping, but this was either some outstanding shit or they were in deep.

The scented candles cast flickering shadows across the kitchen. Through the leaf window dark was setting in fast now and distant lights shimmered through the trees like tiny stars, or eyes peering up in the mountains and through the trees and across the window pane.. staring at him. The air was pungent with smoke causing things to move along the corners of the room like the house was coming alive, taking each one of his breathes. His thoughts pulled away and returned to the prospect of someone needing help, but he knew he was in no place for it. They would have to just leave. But the house creaked with opposition and brought to life fears that boiled deep in his gut, spreading through his arm and down through his bent hips that ached from crouching. Fear spawned spasms to curl through his body without control till his ankles and toes were cramped with indecision and paralysis.

“Jack?” her voice sounded harsh, afraid.

“Ssshhhh. Wait.” He could barely whisper, his throat parched as a corpse. He knew he had to  do something. He had to move somehow. He thought about turning the kitchen light back on but could swear something was lingering in the hallway just around the corner. What if he went for the light and something reached around and grabbed him and started tearing him apart? What if he could not react quick enough? Bugs were starting to crawl up his pants leg.

She suddenly gasped gripping the countertop with both hands. Her knuckles were glowing in the soft illumination, twisting with disproportionate mutation and contorted skin ripping. Rather than crying out, she marveled at the absurdity. “Look, Jack. Do you see it?” She lapsed from fear raising a hand up to better see it in the candlelight. “Holy shit. It doesn’t even hurt. What is going on? I am like a shape shifter. Maybe I can turn into a mouse and get in to the bank totally undetected?”

“What? The bank, are you serious? We are in deep shit here, Diana! Look at your hands, man. That is not normal. It’s like your hands are turning inside out. What the hell is happening?”

Diana just stared turning them in different angles.

Just then something smashed into the front door. This time it was like a gigantic fiery fist of hell plunging into their home with the hatred of a million souls sent to steal them.

The front room went pitch black. Kitchen candles flickered ominously. Diana grabbed at the counter again.. hands still turning. Jack fell back on his butt with a thud, legs sprawled out in front of him, hunched trying to see if he still held his pistol. He tried to make himself small, both unable to move, petrified, silent.

“We need to get out of here, Diana.” he was not sure if he actually spoke, but he could feel his lips forming the words that he was thinking.

“I can’t move. Oh my god, I can’t move.”

Sliding his knees under himself, Jack scooted around the back of the island away from the black chasm of space that led to another dimension where something waited. He got himself away and over to Diana. He began to slowly peel her fingers from the cliff edge. She painfully moved her head inches per hour, slowly as if not moving at all.

Her eyes finally came to see him, but he was not alone.

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