See Previous Chapter: Stranded: Part V
“Should we take him now?!” a voice hissed.
“Patience. We’ve been following him for days, why would we ruin our hunt when it’s not even the right time?” another voice, sounding similarly the same, responded.
“But I’m hungry! If we wait any longer who knows what will get to him. We both know what stalks these woods…We’re not the only hungry ones around, remember?” the first voice said laughing all the while.
Unlike the first encounter with these voices, Kellen could hear them loud and clear but had no earthly clue as to where they, or it, were coming from. The only other thing he knew was the pounding noise coming from deep inside his chest. If it wanted to eat him they would have to face him first.
Kellen continued to make his way through the forest, eyes peeled to the outlining of the trees, never once forgetting his military training. The voices had all but stopped but that wasn’t what was worrying Kellen; the fact that they had stopped meant they he had no way to gauge where they were. From listening to the conversation he had gathered that there were at least two of them and they were starving for his flesh. Never having had to deal with cannibals before, he found himself on edge.
Gun still drawn, he took a step over a log and immediately stopped midway. Not but 30 yards ahead of him was a figure; this time much larger than the first and more distinct in its appearance. It was about 6’5, bone dry of any meat on its body, open flesh wounds covered its entire chest. Whatever this beast was, it had certainly been out here for a long time and hadn’t had anything to eat…Kellen raised the gun up to eye level, prepared to gun down the creature. All of a sudden the creature stretched out both arms and pulled two more people out from behind the trees; his wife Janae and his daughter Rebecca. Kellen couldn’t believe his eyes. For a moment he stopped breathing and couldn’t even let out a scream.
“How…How did they?” His mind raced with his questions on what he was seeing.
He had to have been dreaming…there was absolutely no way that his wife and daughter had ended up on the island; yet here they were. Kellen began to see distinctions in all three of the faces. The creature had wicked sharp teeth stained red from previous victims. His face was jagged, every bone protruding from his blank, grey face. His wife and daughter stared through his soul with black, lifeless eyes. Their jaws lay hanging open as if they had been disconnected at the joint.
“Daddy, don’t you love me? Why won’t you come and save me?” his daughter said as tears of blood streamed out of her open eyes.
“I do love you! I’m trying! Just hold on, daddy’s coming!” he screamed back.
“Don’t even think about trying to play hero. You were never there for us! You were always gone, forcing me to take care of everything! I raised this child! I dealt with her handicap! And what did you do? Nothing!” His wife spewed the hatred.
Kellen now knew that this couldn’t be real. Nothing was making sense in his mind. This must be a nightmare; it had to be.
The creature continued his torturing execution by putting his family into a deathly chokehold. Screams echoed through the forest as the creature’s pressure intensified on their throats. Kellen felt himself go numb as he watched the creature decapitate his family.
Rage consumed his body. He rushed at the monster with the intent to kill. The bodies of his wife and daughter had all but disappeared but Kellen had lost his mind. He no longer could draw the line between reality and nightmare. His present circumstance dictated the horror inside his brain. This island had brought his worst fears to life. At this point he didn’t care if he died here. He had lost everything important to him. He no longer had any purpose.
He let off a quick shot but his recent expenditure against his demonized father exhausted the majority of his ammo. This didn’t stop him from executing his attack. Hand-to-hand combat didn’t cause Kellen to pause. He threw a flurry of fists to the monster’s face. It didn’t stir. In fact, the creature stood there laughing maniacally. Kellen continued to unleash his assault but the monster did something he never expected. As he was throwing his barrages the creature opened his mouth and began to speak with the voice of his father.
“Hit me again, boy. Just like that night. Hit me again.”
Kellen stopped in pure fear, stumbling over in exhaustion.
“You’re a waste, son. Always have been and always will be. Couldn’t protect yourself, couldn’t protect your wife, and you couldn’t even protect your daughter.”
The lifeless eyes of the creature were bearing into him, piercing into his deepest fears. The sky turned black, lightning flashed through the trees setting the forest on fire. This was a literal hell.
Kellen was now scrambling backwards on all fours against the forest floor. The creature was continuing his descent to Kellen and now there were more voices assaulting his fragile psyche. His wife and daughter joined the assault as they blamed Kellen for their death. Out of the mouth of this demon came a myriad of weighty accusations. The voices of his nightmare caused Kellen to let out a scream as the blazing fire and creature surrounded him. Kellen was now backed up against a tree, nowhere to run, blood streaming from his face and hands. The creature stooped down to Kellen’s level, wrapped his mangy fingers around the helpless man’s throat, and raised him up seven feet in the air. Kellen felt the desperation of suffocation, the heat of the fire, and the overwhelming burden of failure. Reality slowly faded to black but the voices only got louder.
“You failed us.”
“You failed us.”
“You failed us.”
Kellen kicked and thrashed, desperately trying to escape the clutches of this demon but nothing helped. The creature pulled him away from the tree and threw him against a boulder ten feet away. Kellen’s head bounced against the top of the rock knocking him unconscious.
Check back on Wednesday for Stranded: Part VII