Condemned Darkness - IC
The scorched earth was crispy under Sophia's body. She fluttered her eyes feebly open, looking with her heavily blurred vision at the group lying around her, a stabbing pain spreading in the back of her eyes. She let out a long groan, closing her eyes to hide them from the pale firelight. As she moved her arm towards her upper body, the full impact of pain hit her. She let out a long sustaining groan of agony, a splitting pain erupting somewhere deep in her brain, surging in tendrils throughout her body. She shuffled and cringed heavily, before simply rolling onto her back, and sitting up painfully. She blinked her crystal blue eyes open again, strands of stuck-together hair falling down to dab her already bloody face with more blood. With a gasping cough, she spoke in a raspy voice: "Any... Any of y-you... a-aliv-..." She stopped cold as she saw the bus driver. With all the pain and now the horrific sight, she doubled over, releasing the welling up food from her stomach. As the puke hit the ground, ashes stirred up and splashed around, sizzling into a weak flame to her right. She gagged out the sentence again. "A-Are any... o-of you a-alive...?"
The area around the group was covered by a thick treeline, they were obviously in a clearing. It was hard to judge much of anything in the darkness... they'd have to get up to see anything properly.
Alekzander heard a ringing in his hears and his vision was blurry, and he could feel as if a massive amount of pain had been dealt to him simultaneously to that moment. Last thing he could remember was being on the bus, and a little bit of shaking, a bump, and that's as far as his memory could go. He then heard a few sounds. Upon slow and painful examination, he saw the burning mass of what would have been called a bus at one point, and not far from it the mutilated and decapitated body of the driver. The sight made him shiver a bit, meeting with his pain over his body to create a sickening feeling. He then heard a voice- a feminine voice. It was blurry the first time around, but the second time he could hear it clearly. Alekzander looked around, and saw a person across from him. It was the girl; Sophia. Alekzander used his elbows as support to pull himself up a bit, but with no great avail. "I am..," he managed to spit out, batting his eye as blood flowed into it from his forehead. He looked around, and saw the bodies of the others, scattered around and injured. The sight was sickening, and he quickly realized that they had crashed, and were now in what appeared to be a forested area. "A-Are you okay?," he asked, looking to her from his slightly propped up position. She didn't look very okay, upon closer examination. Though, none of them did.
Sophia glanced hopefully towards the voice, before her face contorted violently in a cringe, and she slowly shook her head. She coughed, a small splatter of blood escaping her lips to the ground. She took in a gulp, the metallic taste of her blood stinging her mouth. She felt her bloody leg, looking over to Alekzander with a whimper. "N-No... but... n-none o-of us r-rea-really are... are we...?" She closed her eyes, trying to calm her breath as she felt blood trickling along her cheek. Her hair felt matted and dirty with blood, and the stench from the dead bus driver burned her nostrils. The smoke made her cough again, lungs squeezing a little too tightly and inflicting a good amount of pain. She looked to the others, who all seemed to still be out, then locked her terrified eyes with Alekzander's. She managed to whisper some words just loud enough for him to hear. "I'm scared..."
Alekzander shook his head no, and said, "N-No, it ap-appears not.." He looked around once more before moving himself some more, bringing himself to his knees. That alone took a great deal of effort to do, and a lot of pain to withstand to perform it. He sighed, and breathed heavily, his lungs straining themselves from the thin air, and even more so from the smoke and stench of the dead corpse. Alekzander turned his gaze from it, and back to Sophia. He had heard her audible, but quiet, whisper, and nodded. He then went over to examine the others. It was hard to tell if they were unconscious or dead, and truthfully it was a thin balance between the two in this situation.
Alekzander looked over to Sophia after wiping blood out of his eye so he could actually see. His vision had cleared, and he saw just how she was injured. Alekzander examined her wounds lightly before saying, "You should find a way to stop the bleeding so you don't bleed out," he advised, and then looked to the others. "While you do that, I'm going to see if any others survived." Alekzander then went over to the nearest body and examined it. His vision was being constantly blurred by blood and lack of oxygen, and was hard to see what was two or three feet in front of him.
Sophia gave a gulp and slowly nodded. She looked around in the darkness, before she pulled off her hoodie. The white undershirt was soaked with blood. She used the hoodie to wrap around her woended area, and took the sleeve in an off hand. With incredible difficulty, she managed to rip the sleeve off her hoodie and wrap it around her arm's wound. She tied it up tightly. Her hands found their way up to her cheek, rubbing over the glass shards there, causing her to whine in pain. Using whatever nails she had left, she began to pluck them out, completely focused on that.
If Alekzander was paying attention to anything other than the bodies, he would hear a twig snapping rather loud in the forest, as well as a soft snort. Sophia was far too occupied with fixing herself to notice.
Alekzander was studying the scattered bodies over and examining them before he heard a twig snap, followed up by a soft snort close to an animal, but not quite. He looked around carefully, looking for the source of the sound, before slowly backing away and staying closer to Sophia. When he got to her, he crouched down, and still examined as he said, "Did you hear that, just now? It kind of sounded like a wild animal.." As Alekzander said that, he heard something like it again, this time a snort and a sniffing sound. "Can't you hear that..?," he asked to Sophia. Alekzander, besides the increasing heart rate, was almost completely still as he looked around for the cause of the sounds. Unable to find anything, he sighs, and turns to Sophia. "That should stop the bleeding. Good." Alekzander didn't know what was out there and what could possibly be making those sounds, and it didn't settle well with him.
Sophia listened intently, confused as she shook her head. "Hear... Hear what...?" She shook her head clear, nodding to Alekzander. "Right... What... what do you think w-we... should d-do..?" Her entire body was shriveled and she was obviously in a lot of pain as she plucked the final glass shard from her cheek. She stuffed the hair from her face behind her ears, looking at the fires around the clearing. She spoke to nobody in particular. "Something isn't right... we w-were... on a r-road... and n-now... here... a clearing... S-Something i-is making m-my stomach upset... I-I can't think straight... s-something's o-off here..." Her voice sounded truly terrified, shaky, as if she might burst into tears at any moment.
A shuffle was heard from the treeline, before a low rumbling growl erupted. It sounded animal-like, but it was far too deep for even a bear. There was the sound of swiftly shuffling leaves, footsteps becoming further and further away, before they vanished in the night. Sophia's eyes welled with tears at the noise, body scrunching up in pure terror as she whimpered, muttering out over and over: "Something's... n-not... right..."
His head spun as Daniel lifted his upper torso off of the ground and let out an exhausted groan of pain, his body aching in all of it's entirety and his cheek bleeding from a deep cut centered squarely between his left ear and nose. His head was throbbing so bad it felt as if it were about to split in half, and he was covered in scratches of varying size and severity from head to toe. His clothes, which had previously been neatly tucked and styled together, were muddy, worn, and ripped – his pants stained with blood from a gash that lined his leg from his hip to the top of his knee. Luckily enough, the wound hadn't been particularly deep or placed too dangerously; somewhere in the back of his mind he knew his situation would have been far worse if it had been.
It had all been so fast – the bus, the storm, the disaster that had lead to his being here; all of it seemed to have passed in an instant. He certainly hadn't expected it, nor did he quite realize what it even was yet. As Daniel sat there in the mud, his eyes fixed lazily on his feet and his arms straightened to support his back, he realized that he'd devoted at least a minute to simply pondering the events of the last ten or so minutes. He couldn't confidently order the events – what, exactly, had happened? Emotion seemed to flood back into his body as he finally gathered himself, and he shook his head in annoyance. He knew there had been a storm, and – yes, lots of lightning, but surely a storm couldn't have caused such cataclysmic damage!
Daniel thought carefully and began to remember the facts that had proceeded the horrific event. He'd been traveling with his brother, Alexander Williams, to a college campus just several hours away from where they had grown and spent most of their lives. They had both entered a program that promised preparation for the hardships college had to offer, thought merely as a result of their parent's constant hounding. The two off them, if it had been their decision, wouldn't have bothered. It simply wasn't necessary, but, sadly, their parents had insisted. The hell with it, they'd thought, what's the worst that could happen? Looking back now, he couldn't help but regret that statement.
Following the instructions he'd received for signing up, Daniel and his brother had attended a small meeting at the town hall just a few blocks from their street. He was especially excited to attend, though he knew Alexander could care less; the only reason he'd even come was to get his parents off of his back. Daniel's brother was a particular kind a person – a kind who cared little for anything besides his appearance and stature. It was ironic that the two were even related, he thought absent-mindedly, for their personalities had been dire opposites from the day they'd been born.
Nevertheless, the two had arrived and been herded onto a mini bus to be taken to a college campus not too far away – only four hours time at a decent pace. Daniel had known all this before hand, from the ad he and his brother had examined before signing up, so it wasn't of much surprise to him. Nothing was, really. Daniel wasn't easily surprised; he had been from birth a man open to the many possibilities life had to offer. Though, even Daniel hadn't been ready for the storm that had whipped the bus he had been traveling on into the air like a pathetic toy and then slammed it back down again with twice the force.
Now he was here, sitting haphazardly in the mud and trying to get a grasp on the reality of it all.
For the first time as his senses came back to him, Daniel had begun to take in his surroundings. A trail of mud extending from the bus to where he sat informed him as to how he'd ended up in the dirt, and he was surrounded by crisp, black grass that smelt of ash and death. The bus that he had traveled on was about seven feet to his right, he judged, and was covered in all sorts of dents, bruises and scratches. Under it was a trail of some sort of thick, red substance that he quickly identified as blood. The trail led strewn with bits and pieces of raw flesh several feet away to what seemed to be the mangled lower torso of another man. Daniel froze in horror as he realized what he was looking at: The bus driver, who had brought them into the forest, was dead.
Fighting down the instinctual rush to scramble to his feet and run away from the entire situation as it stood, Daniel slowly lifted himself the rest of the way off the ground and took a step back from the body. His eyes were still fixed on the bloody mess, and his mind worked tirelessly to process what exactly was going on. He stared for a good minute, his body frozen in fear and shock, before a voice sounded off to his side, alerting him to the oresence of other possible survivors. “Any... Any of y-you... a-aliv...”
Daniel's body went rigid, how could he have forgotten about the others? An imagine of his brother passed through his brain, followed immediately by the mangled corpse of the bus driver, and suddenly he was frantic.
”A-Are any... o-of you a-alive...?”
The voice sounded again, and he looked over to where a women lay amongst a pool of vomit and blood. He recognized the girl from just an hour or so earlier on the bus – before all of this had happened. She was a nice, pretty lady, by the name or Sophia, with whom he'd had a decently long conversation with about the human psyche and the way humans naturally dealt with stress and hard work. Daniel had been simply curious. After all, the workload and stress concerned his future carrier opportunities. Engineers were hard workers, and their work load was loaded with stress. The two had talked until his brother had pulled him away to talk about some other business, the likes of which he couldn't quite recall at this moment. It was a shame, he thought, that such an intelligent and beautiful women had suffered this fate, and for a moment sorrow filled his blue gaze. He was about to call out to her when another voice pierced the night sky, this time clearly male. "I am. A-Are you okay?”
Daniel took the response as an excuse to keep quiet, and turned his attention away from the two survivors. There had been several people on the bus, including him. If two survived then it was completely possible that the rest might have as well. Again the picture of his brother appeared in his mind, and he felt a tinge of fear begin to creep back into his body. What if something had happened to Alexander? He thought. What if he had suffered the same fate as the poor bus driver?
He pushed the thought to the back of his mind. He had to keep hope – his brother was alive, and there was no force strong enough to keep him from finding him. Taking a few painful steps forward, he surveyed the clearing once more. The bodies of the rest of the survivors were scattered amongst the clearing, all in various states of consciousness and well-being, but Daniel couldn't worry about them now; from what he could tell, there were no vital wounds on any of the them, and that made Alexander a priority. Scouting closely, it didn't take long for him to spot his brother's plaid styled shirt lying amongst the burnt grass.
His eyes widening in content, Daniel raced across the clearing and lowered himself to his brother's side. He was laying face-down in the dirt, his breathing shallow and blood oozing from a long gash along the length of his shoulder. He reached out to put his hand on his brother's back when a strange sound froze him where he crouched, one knew on the ground and the other supported by his firmly planted foot.
The sound was definitely organic and alive, though he couldn't completely determine it's origin. When he had been young, Daniel had been quite the cub scout, learning much about the calls and sounds that various animals made in the woods so that he would be able to identify them and react accordingly if ever the situation presented itself. At the time he had thought it a useless skill, but now, as he knelled, fearfully staring out into the dark trees, he thought twice. The odd scuffling sounds that seemed to emanate from the forest around him were completely alien – belonging obviously, to him anyway, to no natural, native creature. Fear pierced his heart and he began to back away from the treeline, which hovered a dangerous few feet away from his brother's unconscious body, when the sound rushed, peaked, and faded. Letting out a sigh of relief, he resumed him place beside Alexander.
He glanced at the two other survivors from earlier, and noticed in relief that they were huddled together, momentarily safe and... alive. His body shivered as he remembered the dark scuffling sound that had come from the forest, and he gazed out into the trees once more. For what seemed to be less then a split second, Daniel thought he could make out the outline of a creature amongst the clouded ferns, but with nothing more then a blink he found himself looking into nothing but darkness once more. He shook his head and pulled Alexander several feet back from the treeline, toward the center of the clearing, and looked down, his eyes blue and round with concern.
“Alex. Alexander, wake up!”
Alec half awoke frozen without the energy to open his eyes. He just took in the surrounding sounds a muffled fire crackled near by, The rustling trees as the wind hit them and a couple of voice but he was unable to make out anything they were saying. he tried to listen but the throbbing in his head made it to hard as every time he tried to concentrate it hurt some more. He just lay there for a short while gaining what little energy he could listening to his surroundings. ''Alex. Alexander, wake up,'' A not to far off voice spoke this was much clearer but it was still fairly muffled.
Alec managed to force his eyes open but his head was throbbing the tightness causing him much distress. He was still unable to move over lack of energy or will. The flames of the coach flickered in the night sky sending little pieces of ash off into the darkness. Out the corner of his eye he could just about see the owner of the voice knelling over someone. Turning his head slightly he just watched the figure checking over the person trying to wake him. Taking a deep breath he managed to pull himself up right even thought it did make him very light headed. He just sat like this for some time taking in his surroundings with his blurry gaze.
His eyes fixed on the fire that burned off into the night and slowly made there way down to the mangled remains of the coach they were inside not an hour ago. As he scanned the coach his eyes meet with the mutilated corpse of what was there driver. Alec brought his hand to his mouth at the sight as the man was missing part of his body and a trail of blood lead off towards it. It was a horrific sight that would have made many people throw up but Alec managed to hold back his stomach contents.
He took another look around him taking in the scene before turning his attention to his wounds which due to the adrenaline of the situation he hadn't felt till now. looking down at his jeans he could seen the left leg was soaked in blood, Closer investigation showed a few fairly large gashes running across his leg. Upon moving his left arm to check the injury to his leg he felt great pain. His left arm of his jacket was blood soaked and torn. Pulling back the sleeve he could see the elbow was swollen quite bad and bruising on his shoulder. He must have fallen on his left side in the crash quite bad as most of his injuries seemed to be on that side of his body. He sight placing his palm across his face to wipe the blood away and felt the cut across his face.
He looked up at the the mangled coach as he slowly climbed to his feet. When he was fully stood up right he started to check his pockets for his phone. He had no luck but found his sun glasses in his right pocket, They had been slightly bent out of shape but had held up quite well. Letting out a sigh he looked around first to the man knelt down on the floor, ''Hey you, Where's your phone?''. Before even waiting for a reply he looked over towards two other figures shouting to them over the flames, ''Hey anyone got a phone''.
Sophia slammed her eyes closed tightly,trying to forget the situation and imagine herself back home. Slowly, the smell of her mother's cinnamon candles flooded her nostrils, a warm maternal presence being projected by her mind. She gave a gentle smile, her body growing fuzzy and pain-free. She could almost feel her mother in the darkness behind her eyes, the entire world around her seeming to vanish. Her body felt as if it were floating in endless happiness, before a voice broke her from the dream: "Hey, anyone got a phone?" Her eyes ripped open, pain coursing through her veins with her blood. The feeling of pure terror settled back over her, face expressing said fear. She looked to the projector of the voice, it was one of the men from the bus; Alec, or something. She shook her head, whimpering out a faint "Y-Yeah..". She slid her hand into the pocket of the wrapped up hoodie, feeling inside before removing a small pink phone. She flipped it open, a light shining onto her face from its miniature screen. There was no signal according to the phone. As she went to close the flip-phone, a single spark escaped the back, and it shut off. The crash wouldn't have caused the phone to break so far after it. She threw the cell down, it simply lying on the ground in the ashes afterwards. She looked back towards Alec, sighing, before letting out another faint whine of words: "Nope...". Her body began shaking lightly from pain and pure terror, a light wind stirring the ashes and flames, howling into the night as it passed the clearing's treeline.