- Runner-up for Most Frightening and Most Gripping Suspense-thriller '04
~An unpleasant often strong emotion caused by expectation or awareness of danger~
"Fear is an uneasiness of the mind, upon the thought of future danger likely to befall us." Locke
It only just starts out as fear. As the body awakens, after each second of time that passes, it grows into something much more.
Noises, both far off and yet very near at the same time. Clanks of metal on metal, dull alarms giving a sense of panic to the small dark world.
Senses grow stronger and the mind awakes the body, details become more clearer than ever before. The sounds of the alarms becoming sharper and piercing to the ears. The darkness is given form every few seconds of being bathed in a blood-red light.
Dulled voices became shouts of panic, terror, mercy.
Darkness eliminating the sense of sight, heightens others. The ears pick up sounds of running, getting all the more closer. They pick up the pleas for mercy on life.
The alarm is now almost unbearable, adding to the many noises.
The sense of smell picks up the scent of the very familiar drift of smoke. It was heavy in the air, so very hard to breath now. Have to stay low to the ground so as not to fill the lungs with the smoke, the poisons of burning metal, plastic, and who knows what else.
In a small hallway like this, the ceiling, walls, and the floor seemed to press in from all sides. The screaming was getting closer, yet the voices could not be separated. The pounding on the metal ground was many, as if they were being chased.
And then, silence.
Suddenly that alarm didn't seem so loud. It was as if time had frozen almost.
A sudden sound, very close. A sense of terror surged through my own body, came out my pores and bathed my body.
*Clank Clank Clank*
I scrambled backwards, shooting up to my feet, inhaling the thick air while my eyes pried through the shadows, looking for anything that moved. My chest convulsed, wanting to expel the terrible smoke, but fear clamped a hand over my mouth.
Trying to prevent the noise that would surely draw attention.
My body wouldn't have it, my chest heaved once more…and I sputtered a cough.
*Clank Clank Clank Clank Clank*
The noise once more stopped, leaving me alone in the silence. My heart pounded inside my ribcage, I thought it would break. My breaths were labored, I could hardly breathe as it was and the smoke didn't help.
I backed up again, but I was stopped. Feeling behind me, I realized I had backed straight into a wall.
A dead end.
No where to go, I was trapped.
I sucked in what little air I could as my eyes darted around the area ahead of me. A warning light flashed to the right, a couple spaces ahead on the wall. Every few seconds the area was given form. But the light was poor, I didn't know if I could see anything. The worst part about that light, every few seconds if left me stranded in the darkness. In my terror.
Light on, the hallway showed nothing but eerie ghost-like shadows all in red.
Light off, once more I was left in the dread of what was to come forth from the hallway and strike me dead without so much a look at my own attacker. The cause for the terror spilling from my very being.
Light on, nothing still, just dark shadows moving across the walls…wait, what was that…
Light off, was something there? My eyes widened in an attempt to see past the darkness consuming me.
Light on, a shadow now formed in the light. It had not been there a few seconds ago. This was something large, danger seeped from it. A foul smell hit me harder than the smoke could. What was it?….mech fluid? I shuddered.
Light off, there was no hiding my terror now. Something was in front of me, death reeked from it causing me to scramble to a corner as far away from it as I could get.
Light on, the shadow had removed itself from the light. I searched for it with my eyes, but I felt the presence of this large monster before I saw it. A deep chuckle emanated from somewhere above my crouched form. Did I even dare look up to see the face?
Light off, wait…the light didn't go off…no yes it did…there was a new light…. I chanced the look and my gaze drifted upward to find a pair of evil green optics locked onto my small frail human body.
I was trembling now, those eyes…
I pressed myself against the wall, wanting nothing more than to get away, "Please…." My own voice came out nothing more than a pathetic whimper, "leave me alone…"
That laugh again, it filled the area, chilling the very air.
Light on, just long enough for me to see the creature smile wickedly upon me.
Light off, he spoke, "Time to play…"
I fell out off bed and landed on the floor that morning, "Stay away from me!" I screamed waving my arms around me in protection.
The air was fresh, not heavy with smoke, no smell of death. No screams of mercy. I could hear nothing but the sound of my blood pulsing quickly through my head in its panicked state.
I took deep breaths and looked around, yes, I was back in my own bedroom. Nothing around that could harm me. I fell back onto the floor, "What a dream…"
I stared up at my ceiling, I watched the fan slowly turn. What a dream indeed. Never before had I had a dream quite as detailed as that… or as freaky. The weirdest thing was that it seemed to have taken place in the Transformer's timeline…I could have sworn that freaky monster dude had been Rampage.
Almost, not quite, he didn't have his crab mode.
I shook my head, "Just a freaky dream."
I pushed myself off the floor, stealing a glance at my little clock beside my messy bed, nearly nine. Crap, I was late for practice. Eh, I might as well take my time.
I gathered enough stuff for a morning shower and Saturday practice clothes. As I headed off to the bathroom, my mind lingered on the peculiar dream. I shuddered as I recalled every scream, every noise. The smell of burnt plastic.
By the time I returned home from practice, shadows were already hugging the tree line of the forest behind my house. Were it not for the security light which hovered in the driveway, the house would have been consumed with darkness.
I slammed the door of my car shut and headed for the house, not really noticing the crickets had stopped their singing on this moonless night. I looked around for my dad's truck, relived in finding it wasn't there.
He had gone off to work for the night.
My mother and sister had gone off to Indianapolis for the weekend. Alone again.
I locked the doors and reset the house alarm once I was in. After flicking on a few well placed lights to chase away the shadows that encased the room, I yawned loudly in mid-step as I headed over to the kitchen to find something to eat.
I was so tired…so much more than I usually was. I pulled open a cabinet and looked around at the selection and pulled out some wheat crackers. Had I really lost so much sleep over that dream?
I shuddered as I recalled it, now fuzzed over by the work of the day. Another yawn made it past my lips and now my eyelids drooped.
This was silly, forget the crackers, I'll eat after I've rested up. I pulled together my focus to drag my heavy feet over to the couch in the living room.
It was bathed in the shadows from outside. I usually was comfortable sleeping with the lights out, but something urged me to flip the switch on the wall.
With the comforting light holding the shadows at bay, I fell to the couch and felt sleep reach to take me.
A sudden fear grew within as I saw the shadows come out for me. Darkness had found the moment it was waiting for and descended upon my weak form. Things grew blacker than black as if the shadows were from the very depths of space, consuming everything in its path.
My eyes closed completely and I was so very alone again.
Time to play…
I was falling into darkness, my destination uncertain. I felt sick almost, moving so fast and not knowing if I was falling down…or falling up…
Almost as suddenly as this began it ended. I landed hard on my hands and knees. Instantly pain shot up through my wrists. My face twisted into a grimace as I rolled over and curled up, clutching my hands to my chest in a poor attempt to stop the throbbing.
The sudden pain brought tears to my eyes and I just stayed in that position for a bit. My senses, fuddled by the fall, returned slowly as the sharp grip of pain released me and fear embraced my form.
Everything felt so real…the cool metal that surrounded me, the pain centered around my weak wrists…
It wasn't really…it couldn't be…
I glanced around the hallway. For the second night in a row, I found myself alone in a metal corridor. Only this time there was no fire…just gunfire. Not just any old gunfire, this sounded different. There was a hum of energy in the air and the sound of the gun being fired.
No bullets though, if that made any sense at all.
Pain forgotten, I crept to the end of the corridor and glanced out. It was a long hallway and I was in the middle of it.
I looked to the right. Lights were flickering as they got further and further away until they just ended in a sea of shadows.
My stomach did a flip-flop as I saw still forms laying sprawled on the ground, half covered by darkness. Each form surrounded by a large puddle of what seemed to be a silvery substance that shined in what little light there was.
My breath grew short. It's just a dream…it's just a dream…
Where was I, what was going on? An entire fleet of questions batted at my brain, yet I could not think of any answers.
I glanced to the left and once behind me to make sure I was alone. If I was being watched, I had no way of knowing except for a gut feeling.
My legs took shaky steps towards the forms on the ground. As I neared the closest one a sour sweet scent washed over me like a wave of water.
What was the smell coming from? One more step and I saw. My eyes widened and I took a step back, my stomach tying itself into knots. I knew where I was… I was in the Transformer Universe…. That's where my dream had taken me. The being on the floor was a Cybertronian…a very dead Cybertronian.
I gagged, had I eaten anything it would have been on the ground.
The silvery goo on the floor….mech fluid… It was pouring from a gaping hole in this transformer's chest plate.
I staggered back, my mouth moving but no words, or sounds for that matter, came out. Another moment of staring in complete horror and I found my voice, "H…his spark…."
His spark was gone!
Completely. There were no traces of it anywhere. I clasped a hand to my mouth as I realized what I was seeing. His spark had been literally ripped from his chest. The Cybertronian’s face was contorted into an expression of pure horror and fear.
My gaze drifted past this one poor soul, into the dim darkness that lay beyond and my heart skipped a few more beats. My face took on its own look of terror.
There were more. Many more transformers just like this one. Every single one of them with a mangled gap right where their sparks should have been. Each one of those sparks missing…
I stumbled back, tripping over my own feet and landing on the hard floor.
Scrambling up, I turned and sprinted for the hallway I had appeared in.
I wanted out.
I bolted down the corridor, not having the slightest idea of where I was headed. At that moment, I didn't really care where it lead so long as it was away from the massacre.
Time didn't really matter here, so I didn't know how long I had been running when I finally slowed to a stop, my energy spent.
Lights above that had once been secure and bright, had now turned to wavering and dim. I would soon be in darkness.
As I pressed up against the wall, I realized that the gunshots were no more. They had all ceased and I had to wonder if I was the only one left.
I pinched myself, hard. When it felt real and I didn't wake up, I panicked. Why couldn't I wake up?
My heart continued to pulse wildly in my ribcage. I was alone…alone with whatever had done all this…this murder.
It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop….that terrible silence that had consumed last night's dream. Right before those piercing green eyes appeared…was it really Rampage?
I stumbled backwards away from the sound, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. A fresh burst of fear washed over my body. Adrenaline pumped through my veins faster.
What was that?
I glanced around. It had come from the end of the hallway…almost like something large hitting the wall…
Rooted to the spot by fear, I didn't know what to do anymore. I couldn't wake up, couldn't run away...
I couldn't die in here...could I?
Now a new sound reached my ears. Like a muffled pair of voices.
One sounded deathly calm, but with a hint of mock. The other just sounded plain angry. The strange thing about the voices was that they sounded familiar...
Before I could stop myself, jellied legs started taking steps towards the dark void from which the voices emitted. A cold chill washed over me with each step, but I couldn’t find the will to stop.
As I went on, the voices grew stronger and the lights grew dimmer. I was soon encased by darkness and my steps were no more than little scuffs as I tried to resist. I felt along the wall on which I was pressed up against as flat as I could be.
My fingers moved across solid metal taking a sudden sharp turn. I had reached another hallway, this one seemed to be where the two voices were.
“...re one sick piece of slag.” A familiar voice. I knew who it was, my eyes widened in shock and I clasped a hand over my mouth to prevent unwanted attraction to myself.
I inched my head around the corner, fear still holding me to it’s will.
Laughter followed, it was low and dark. It made me cringe, “Now now, is that anything to say to a guest?”
A hateful growl answered. More laughter.
It seeped down into my bone and chilled me to no end. I wanted out, the sickly sweet smell of mech fluid hanging in the air like a thick perfume. It was so strong...
But that small noise came at a price.
“Well well, it seems as though I missed a playmate...”
My eyes went wide and I scrambled back, but tripped. There was movement from the small hallway.
“Leave them alone! You’re fight is with me!”
A couple of clangs and then a large THUD followed, “Jealous? Don’t worry, this won’t take long.”
The steps continued, heavy, slow, and deliberate. Each one sent a wave of ice from the very top of my head to the soles of my feet. I couldn’t move.
My eyes skimmed wildly over the shadowed area in front of me, but even when those sharp, green eyes appeared I wasn‘t ready. He was very close...
I clenched my eyes tightly closed and opened them again...no he was still there, “This isn’t real...”
My voice came out nothing more than a small squeak.
The laugher filled my ears this time, my eyes were fixed on his and filled with fear, “I can sense your fright, little one, it feeds me.”
My body went numb as a deep chuckle emitted from his form. I couldn’t move away as I just watched him come closer.
He extended his hand, reaching for me. A terrible feeling settled in my stomach, screamed at my head just to move. To do something!
I resisted the urge to gag again as I realized the horrible fact that mech fluid was dripping off of that hand like water. It’s sickening scent enveloping me and I felt faint.
In fact... the moment he should have reached me, wrapping those fingers around my neck to choke the life from me, everything turned fuzzy. The transformer in towering over me gained a most interesting confused look on his face and tried to grab me with both hands. Still nothing.
Except everything was starting to turn blacker and blacker, “It’s...not ...real...” I gasped out before everything was gone.
School the next day was murder.
I couldn’t focus on the subject being taught, teachers pulled me over at the end of every class and in the hallways, asking if I was all right.
I had problems at home, I won’t lie to you. Those kind of problems, the really big ones like that, I kept them well hidden from others. They were easy enough to hide by just putting on a false face for everyone to see.
Lose a little sleep and everyone notices.
I had dark circles under my eyes, muted a bit by a little smudge of face makeup. It was a revelation, I never wore makeup except for really special events, like prom. My clothes were last minute throw-on stuff. Bum clothes, my favorite.
Baggy jeans and a nice comfy t-shirt with a transformer logo on the front. A nice fluffy sweater to top it all off. The only backset with this particular set of clothes was that it made me want to go to sleep and I was starting to fear that more than the test coming up tomorrow morning.
I blinked my eyes open as I trudged into the science class room. It was a downgrade, me a senior in high school mixed in with freshmen and sophomores, but all my credits were filled and this was an easy grade.
Slumping down into my chair next to the window, I waited for the teacher to come in and start the lesson for the day. The sky had grown dark, and large foreboding clouds ruled the skies.
There was a flash of lightening and a crackle of thunder. Everyone in the class awed at it as if it was the first storm they had ever seen. I loved thunderstorms, but I kept my joy locked away, enjoying what I could in silence.
I crossed my arms and leaned back in my chair, propping my feet up on the little bar underneath the desk in front of mine. It was nice and warm in my little world and before I knew it, my eyes started growing heavier.
Quickly I blinked, I didn’t want to go to sleep here, who knows what would happen. What if I screamed out loud the dreams were so bad?
Reason didn’t seem to be with me as my eyes dropped like lead. Darkness surrounded me once more and took me far far away from that tiny classroom.
“...must be destroyed!”
I couldn’t see anything. Darkness continued to surround me, concealing everything from where I was to the ones who were speaking loudly.
“The experiment has failed, but no one can ever know that he ever existed.”
A familiar feeling swelled in my chest, the unpleasant sensation of fear. It tightened on my lungs and squeezed what little air there was from them. A slow panic set in, where was I?
“We will place him on the Axalon, an exploration ship. No one will know of his existence. No one will suspect anything.”
“Only a few select members of the crew will know of the truth. They will make certain that Protoform X is deposited on an uninhabited planet in stasis lock....”
The whole universe started shaking and my fear grew. I could only breathe in small gasps, everything fuzzed over. The voices grew to an unbearable quiet.
“...for all time...”
My senses slowly returned, the hold fear had on me let go. The world was still moving...
“Jenny, wake up,” Someone was shaking my shoulder, “The bell rang.”
I blinked and sat up rather quickly in my desk, “I’m up,” I muttered weakly as I gathered my books. These dreams...what did they mean?
I poured over my thoughts as I exited the classroom and headed for my locker. All of them of transformers, every single time when I even thought about sleep...
Later that night found me at my computer, staring hard at the illuminated screen, a cup of coffee rested by my hand. It was nearing midnight and I was determined to stay awake.
Oh how I wanted to have sleepless dreams. Not to have to worry about the terrible images that awaited in the darkness. It waited for me to falter and succumb to exhaustion of my body.
I chanced a glance at the clock. Ten past midnight. At this rate I would be asleep by one. But it wasn’t sleep... I didn’t sleep...did I?
A little ding brought me out of my thoughts and back into reality. I focused on a blinking IM message that had popped onto the middle of the screen, “Wha...”
I read the name of the sender, “Kismetstar...” Recognition set in and I clicked on the little flashing box and started typing.
HackerSBRE: Sapph, you are crazy...what time is it there? It’s gotta be around 6am....
kismetstar15: yup, I couldn’t sleep
HackerSBRE: bad dreams for you too?
kismetstar15: How are you?
How was I? Really, extremely tired...but could I tell Sapphire what was really keeping me up? She was one of the few people I could trust and surprisingly we could relate to each other a lot.
HackerSBRE: I can’t sleep either, bad transformer dreams for three nights now
kismestar15: DC die?
HackerSBRE: no...but a lot of.... death and destruction...
HackerSBRE: I think it might be rampage...I know it’s rampage.
I blinked, my contacts were dry and I was having trouble keeping them open, as if someone had strapped lead weights to my eyelids. I sipped at my coffee, hoping that the feeling would pass quickly as I waited for a response.
A chill ran down my back as I recalled the strong emotions I had felt in the dreams...stronger than normal dreams...so much stronger.
HackerSBRE: There was also a lot of fear, well, sheer terror. I could feel it. Almost as if the whole thing was...real.
The computer screen glowed bright as I waited some more, sipping away at the java in hand and paying no mind...
That is until I realized how quiet the house around me had become. The hum of the heater couldn’t be heard nor the creaks and groans of the house.
It was dead quiet.
I stared back at the screen as Sapph sent me her reply...was the screen glowing brighter....
...or was the room getting darker?
kismetstar15: Hacker...dreams that show us death and destruction. Dreams that reveal to us that of what we fear the most...
I frantically glanced around, the room was growing darker. The shadows were claiming the room....claiming me. I looked back to the little IM window for help, comfort...anything!
kismetstar15: ...they are not dreams...
My fingers moved like molasses as I tried to type a message to Sapphire.
The shadows reached me, embraced me. They spun my world upside down, I thought I felt myself attempt to get away. I didn’t want to go back. I fell out of the chair and lay helpless on the carpet as the darkness washed over me...
kismetstar15: ....but nightmares...
My sense returned much more quickly than my other three visits. The first thing I sensed was a very large being very close. Someone or something wasn’t very happy. I could make out a loud garbled speech becoming clearer every passing second.
I tried to focus, but I was so tired.
I froze, I knew that voice.
The cold of the surroundings chilled me to the bone. The metal floors, walls, and pretty much everything else, it was all so cold.
I cracked my eyes to a bright light forcing me to shut them again. I tried once more, but I was sorry I had. I singled in on the item that was pointed at my face.
A very large gun with two barrels.
My eyes opened fully to connect with a fierce set of bright red optics. My insides did a flip-flop and my mouth was moving away, “H...how did I get here?”
A sharp reply came almost instantly, “I was going to ask the same thing. There are no humans on Cybertron,” He kept the gun steady, “So what are you doing in my quarters?”
I was at a loss for words, my brain was all a mess. It’s not real.... I stared at the weapon. If it’s not real then it can’t harm me...
The transformer grew impatient, “You forget how to speak?”
I numbly shook my head, “I don....I don’t know how I got here...”
I thought back to all the other times I had come, why did I focus on transformer dreams? I really didn’t know how I ended up here, “Just like the other times...”
Something happened then, Depth Charge’s eyes went wide and a flash of something passed over them. Like...realization almost. His gun faltered, “....you....”
The gun lowered completely and he turned away, “You were the one from...before,” His shoulders slumped slightly right before he whirled back around to face me, “What are you?”
I sank back against the wall from the sudden snap, “I...I don’t understand!”
He scowled down at me, though at the same time he seemed to be struggling for the right words, “You...you were there four stellercycles ago, but then you vanished...like you weren’t part of this world. What are you?”
His harsh voice and raised tone bothered me, but I understood what he was trying to ask, but had four years really passed? He was referring to when Rampage had made to kill me. His hands had passed right through me, I wasn’t real so he couldn’t harm me.
“I’m...dreaming,” I managed to get out before I realized how ridiculous it sounded.
“Dreaming...” He echoed after me, “What do you mean “dreaming”?”
“I’m sleeping... I went to sleep back in my own world and I woke up here. Therefore this all has to be a dream!”
He watched me carefully for a moment, neither of us saying anything. When I’d thought the dream had maybe frozen up, he turned away once more and sank on to his metal bed to stare at his large hands. He wouldn’t look back at me, “A dream...”
His deep voice grew quiet and frail, “I wish it all had been a dream...”
I was shocked...there was such a tone of sorrow in his voice. A pain welled up in my chest, I remembered all the death I had seen... I couldn’t imagine it being multiplied a thousand fold... It must have been horrible for Depth Charge, those mangled transformers had once been his friends.
This was a side of my favorite transformer I had never seen before. On the show he had it all covered up with anger.
I had no idea what to do now. This was all just some huge elaborate dream, wasn’t it? This dream was a great improvement from the previous ones. Here I didn’t feel that terrible sense of fear all over. However, the fear had been replaced with a deep sense of sadness.
My lips formed words but nothing came out. I took a deeper breath and tried once more. It seemed the like the only reasonable thing to do until I could wake up was give him someone to talk to. Even if this was a dream, I could still give comfort, right?
“What’s your name?”
Days went by since my last visit to the dream world. Regardless of that fact I was unable to get a good night’s rest. Things were becoming a haze and everything felt as if weights had been strapped to my arms, legs and head.
Depth Charge and I had talked for most of my time in the dream. I had dared to ask what he planned to do about Rampage. Already knowing what he would do, I wanted to see if there was more information I could uncover. His reply was as expected, an outburst of anger of how the decision of the council could be so blind as to not see the danger the project had been. How they could not see that the only way to put a final end to the terror was to destroy what they had created. It all reminded me distantly of the classic story of Frankenstein with a sick twist.
The weekend came and as happy as I was to have the break in my schedule, I wasn’t happy to be at home with nowhere to go. Long story short...
I was stuck at home with someone I’d rather not be with. The slam sent off alarms in my head... the person who had slammed the door was now a symbol of danger. I would have to get up if I wanted to make sure that he didn’t come near me.
Darn, so much for watching wallpaper dry...
I rolled over on my messy bed and out of my carefully made nest of covers and pillows. I sat up to glance at the numbers illuminated within my clock.
Five till ten.
Rubbing my sore eyes, I decided contacts were out of the question for today, I would stick with my pair of slim glasses. I reached into my bedside drawer and pulled out a bra to put on under my long-sleeved night shirt.
Ah, the joys of being a woman.
Deciding that it was cold, I would keep my top on. However, I switched out my pair of shorts for a nice pair of jeans.
Just as I snapped the button into place, another door slammed. This time it was closer. Loud footsteps followed it up the stairs until it was right outside my door.
My head cleared very quickly of the morning fuzz I always have. My own personal fears rushed to hit me hard as the angry parent pounded at my door. Sadly, the one lock on my door was poorly made and the door banged open.
I involuntarily took a step back, I could no longer stand to be with this man who called himself my father, “What do you want?”
“Don’t take that tone with me, I have already done so much for you, you should be grateful. You wouldn’t have a computer if it weren’t for me,” He snapped back. His attitude I hated...I loathed it, “Your mom wants the dishes done before she gets back with your sister.”
“I just got up, you do them,” I wish I could have kept a clamp on my tongue for that one. This guy was crazy and here I go and tell him no.
“What?” His tone was deathly quiet, a hint of pure anger laced through it. What had I done?
Everything happened in slow motion, but then too fast for me to do anything about it. I saw his hand come back one minute and the next....I was reeling back, heat surging to my now bruised cheek.
I was numb all over and I vaguely remember falling back against the wall behind me. He was speaking, but I couldn’t hear a word being said.
I was in a state of shock. The one place in the world that I had called safe was now gone.
My own father...
Surges of emotions hit me like a wave of water. Betrayal, anger, disgust, shock, an immense sadness I had never known before.
But the worst of all...
I was afraid.
I was terrified of what would happen now. I didn’t want to be here anymore. Everything looked as if it was a frozen picture. My mind rolled over the image of the hit again and again. Tears rolled down my face, stinging as they ran across the darkening patch of skin.
So very terrified of what I had once called a home.
I wanted out...
And then very suddenly...
I woke up.