“Memoirs of the Fallen”
Omnia quae incipiunt finem habent.
Everything that has a beginning has an end.
Dim light from outside was shining through the mildly transparent curtains. Maybe it was the moon or the street lights outside that made it happen. Where ever it might have originated it now gave a slight light on the interior of the room and the two people inside it. Chris had fallen asleep earlier and the dim light rested on his shadowy figure sitting on the comfy armchair. The light lingered also on Alex’s face that was sleeping under the covers. Her dreaming seemed restless and sweat drops were on her face. Her forehead was wrinkled and she was tossing her head from side to side.
Alex trembled and whimpered in her sleep. Her heart was beating faster by the minute. What was happening behind those closed eyelids that were moving from side to side?
Alex didn’t saw herself in the dream but she saw what was happening around her. She was surrounded and engulfed by fire. It was burning her skin off little by little while she couldn’t breathe. Her lungs were burning from every breath. The fire and smoke made her eyes water. The noise what the fire was making filled her ears like storm. Even with all that something made her walk forward while she was burning like a witch from old tales.
The fire was everywhere. She tried to look from side to side. She even turned around fully to find a way to escape but there was only fire. Then her friends started to appear to the flames. One by one and they were all screaming and burning alive. Alex covered her ears from the screams and she closed her eyes. Still a whisper drilled through her hands and it was getting louder. It was calling for her like an ominous chanting. All it was saying was: “Alex, Alex, Alex… Alex, Alex, ALEX.”
Alexandra turned and ran. She ran and ran but she was not getting anywhere and the voice got louder. Two deep staring eyes were haunting in her mind and when she turned her head to look over her shoulder she saw the same fiery monster walking behind her and gaining up on her. That made her trip and scream awake from her dream and she slapped the oxygen mask away. Also her bed sheet burst into flames and she rolled off from it and on the floor. Chris jumped awake when he heard her scream and he quickly pulled up a blanket and put out the fire from the bed. Alex stared at Chris and she was pretty badly shaken up.
She felt something metallic in her hand and she opened it. She was gripping to a lighter from her pocket and when she noticed it she just tossed it away so that it slid under the bed and near Chris’s feet. Alex crawled backwards to a corner and she hugged her knees. Chris felt the lighter hit his foot and he leaned to pick it up. Alex stared at the lighter and her heart beat was pounding in her ears.
The fear what was going on hit her thoughts. What if she was seeing things? What if none of it was real what had happened in these couple of days? What if she had done this to herself? All the things that were supernatural returned in her mind and they changed. The meteors turned to her falling asleep and dropping down on the floor. There were no weird faces on people and no fiery demon haunting her. She had slept walked and used the lighter to light up the bed. Every image twisted in her mind. Alex gripped her hair with her fingers and the images kept swirling in her mind.
Chris: Alex, did you do this?
He demanded and dropped the blanket on the floor. He walked to her and lifted her to stand from the floor from her elbows. Alex tried to avoid the eye contact and Chris shook her a bit so she would look at him.
Alex: I – I don’t know! I must have sleep walked… Did I?
She sounded like she was really out of it even from what was happening now.
Chris: You shouldn’t have left the hospital. You might have post traumatic stress. This was stupid! I shouldn’t have agreed on this.
Lisa and their children Sophie and Holden ran to see what was going on but Chris stopped them with his hand movement and ordered them away.
Chris: Everything is fine. Go back to bed!
Sophie: Is Auntie Alex alright?
Chris: She is fine sweetie.
Chris: I will be with you later. Take the kids to bed. Please, Lisa.
Lisa picked up their son and took a hold with her hand on their daughter’s hand. She vanished from the doorway to the corridor. Alex made herself ready to make her statement and exit so that Chris wouldn’t get a word between nor stop her from leaving.
Alex: No hospitals… It was an accident. I really need to get back home. Take a shower and get back to work.
Chris was having none of it though.
Chris: Really? Listen to yourself… To work? I knew you would do this so I called the chief and got you two weeks of sick leave. You are not well Alex! Even the toughest of us need to rest sometimes.
Alex: You had no right to do that… I need – I need to work Chris.
The room smelled like smoke and burned hair. Alex tried to walk past him after sounding desperate but Chris caught her from her shoulders and proceeded to give her his usual bear hug. Alex tried to resist but her tries were futile. She trembled and brought her arms around his waist and rested them on his back. Her face she hid on his chest.
Chris: Why? I know something is bothering you… Putting your life and others to jeopardy is not the way. Just tell me what is wrong. You know I am here for you.
Alex: There is nothing wrong… I just need to work.
While Chris tried to be gentle towards her with his act and words, the next sentence that left his lips sounded harsher than he meant it to. He knew his friend was lying and that she didn’t want to tell him. Maybe that disappointment and that she didn’t seem to trust him to tell what was bothering her made him lash out.
Chris: I told you. You will not. You will rest and that is an order.
This time Alex was able to push him away. She was angry at him or was it more to herself and she didn’t like when Chris talked like this to her. She slipped past him and ran down the stairs. Chris followed her down holding on to the railing and trying to reason her still.
Chris: Alex… Alex! Come on… Stop!
He was right behind her when he gripped her wrist and she twisted it away turning towards him. Alex was not listening to reason and Chris was worried and strict from his eyes and that she couldn’t handle. She felt pressured by Chris and it wasn’t even his fault. He had no idea what was going on.
Alex: I don’t need your help.
She said it in a strict tone and she snatched his long jacket to her hand from the hanger. She flipped it on and put her shoes to her feet. She tossed her hair over the collar and pulled up the zipper. Then she made a stare at Chris who looked pretty frustrated at the moment. She took a hold on the handle, opened the door and she ran out of it not looking back.
He took a hold on the upper part of the door and he watched her running away. Lady had heard Alex’s voice so she was making ruckus at the back yard by barking and jumping against the fence. Chris sighed and closed the door. Lisa was watching at him from the top of the stairs when Chris glanced up at her.
The streets of Chicago were lively as usual in this time of the morning. Alex ran as far as she could and finally when she glanced over her shoulder and saw she was not followed she slowed down to jogging and then to walking. Her eyes stared down on the pavement while she tugged in the collar with her hand. She felt like people were staring at her even if they probably were not.
Also the whispers came back. She was hearing them weakly at first but the voices were getting stronger. It is a scary thing to fear for your sanity and why it is happening. Was it because she feared of dying? Or stressed that she are ill? Or because she was bearing it on her own shoulders. The whole weight of it? Was this all happening because she got a nervous breakdown after all of what had happened?
She had felt so strong few days ago. Most of her life even. From the past she begun with making her foster parents proud by studying hard because she was glad they took her and welcomed her to their family. She kept herself in straight path. She helped people as a firefighter to keep their family and loved ones. She loved her work and now. She only felt weak and scared.
She wanted to scream. She also felt out of breath like someone was choking her. It was just too much. Only grim thoughts went through her mind but those thoughts were put on a halt when a loud screech noise woke her up. Alex covered her ears because it was hurting them and then she noticed where she was. She was standing in front of the same building they had cleared from fire. Chills went through her spine.
The structures were covered with ash and coal. The building was more or less in ruins. Alex glanced around and few of the faces that she saw from people got twisted with black goo flowing from their eye sockets and mouth. Some that she saw were gray and she felt threatened and surrounded. Alex let out a gasp and she closed her eyes. When she opened them all was normal but still the building was calling for her.
The voices were driving her insane and when she had opened her eyes and walked forward her walking resembled more like she was drunk or high. She walked to the doorway and gripped on it to steady herself. Her head rose from bowed and she eyed the stairs. The vertigo made her see the stairs slide towards her at the same time like she was sliding towards them but remaining still. Alex leaned to the doorway to take a breather. She ripped the tape that read “Do not cross” and walked slowly forward. Two rats ran squeaking away from her path when she headed up.
The building wasn’t stable and every step she was taking might make it crumble down in ruins. The wind whistled between the walls and hall and then suddenly everything went silent. Alex turned around a 360 and spread her arms to be ready whatever was coming. She eyed all around and then she ran and grabbed a broken glass piece to her hand from the rubble on the floor and she gripped it so tight that it penetrated her hand palm and begun to bleed.
Then she heard it. Behind the brick walls she heard slow crawling sounds and breathing. A loud screech filled the air and then she saw the fires. They were growing until they revealed to be human forms which appeared behind the walls and they were crawling on them. Their head were having fast whiplash effects and static. Alex’s eyes widened and she backed away slowly.
Alex: This is not real… This is NOT REAL!
The fiery beings stopped and they were staring at her until their head snapped to watch to the other way. Smoke floated in the hall and from the rooms walked out those nightmarish creatures that were black and white. Their figures were like skeletons and black goo was all over dripping from them. These had grey ripped clothes and long sharp nails on their fingers. They walked like zombies and even sounded like them.
Alex: This is not real…
Her voice broke and turned to a whisper. The creatures had bowed and tilted heads and even if Alex whispered they heard her. All of them snapped their heads and stared at her with their white dead eyes. Alex screamed and turned around only to bump into one of the monsters and it slashed the nails towards her. Alex was just in time to lean back but still she got a cut on her cheek. The other four quickly attacked Alex too and she was spinning and aiming her weapon to the monsters to slice and dice them. Every time she hit one it vanished with smoke only appearing again close by.
The nails hit Alex multiple times and her chest got a deep slash wound and her thigh. Also her arm and the side of her torso got sliced. She had no other choice than ran through one of the ghosts and try to escape. She heard and felt they were following her. The creatures had turned more skeleton like and their faces were twisted in anger. Alex knew she can’t look back but everything she had gone through had its toll and she tripped and fell down the stairs.
Quickly Alex stood up and she backed away towards the doorway. She was out of breath and her heart beat was like cannon in her ears. The smoke lingered down the stairs while she was backing away. And then a hand landed on her shoulder. Alex did spin around in reflex and slashed forward with the glass shard. She couldn’t stop her movement anymore when it sliced the hand palm of the person who put it up to guard his body from the defensive attack.
The person gripped her wrist with his other hand and he shook the shard away.
Man: Stop! Miss, calm down.
Alex looked at the man and the sun flashed on his priest collar and hit her eyes making her come out of the dark place her mind had wandered. The shadow formed into a figure and a worried face and the black shirt got Alex to focus more on him. The father was about thirty, medium build and had short brown hair. He wore light glasses in front of his grey eyes and his outlook was clean and tidy. His height was about average maybe a little taller.
Man: Is someone after you?
The priest glanced down to the shard.
Man: Did you do this to yourself? Tell me what happened.
Alex gripped the priest’s hurt hand with her bloodied hand and she only uttered two sentences before pushing the priest to the side and running away.
Alex: It is not real. I’m sorry, so sorry…
Again she got frightened looks from people walking on the streets. Some even tried to stop her as she was wounded but she dodged past them.
Everything happened so fast and while Alex was running away the priest looked up the stairs and saw a flash from the aberrations. His reaction was like any normal human being’s as he leaned back in horror. But the vision was as fast gone as it appeared for him. He glanced down to his bleeding hand and tied a handkerchief around it. A woman ran to him from the street that was carrying a bucket of flowers.
Woman: Father Samuelson! Father Samuelson, are you alright?
She touched his arm and took a hold on it. Samuelson must have looked pretty spooked on that moment.
Samuelson: Clara, it’s alright. I’m… I’m alright. May I help you with those?
He said and nodded towards the flowers.
Clara: But your hand…
Samuelson: Its nothing. Now, may I?
Clara: Yes, thank you. I was heading to the graveyard anyway.
Samuelson picked up the flowers and he seemed slightly distracted. He glanced to the direction the woman had vanished. Who was she? What was going on? What was that what he saw? He pondered all of this while he walked forwards with Clara who was talking to him the whole time.
The ruins were left behind. They were empty and sorrowful to other people, destroyed and blackened by the fire. Only for the two that left from the building it was disturbing and they saw something that others couldn’t. One was running away thinking that she was loosing her mind and the other doubting what he saw and what it means for his beliefs. Samuelson wanted to find out answers and that meant that he needed to find her.