I was on my back porch, sitting in a hard plastic lawn chair on top of an old musty cushion watching as a veil of smoke-like clouds roared quickly across the otherwise crystal canvas. Fast as a passing train it encapsulated the tender turquoise of the heavens with a penumbra of its overbearing essence. A wind carrying unusually cold air blew wildly shaking the trees in a symphonic, bone-like rattle. Then, as if done by a switch, a veil of rain cascaded down onto the earth pummeling the tarp above my head violently. Impromptu puddles opened up amongst the lush grass of my yard and a relief filled me as I wouldn’t need to refill my above ground pool. A small stream formed in the pathway leading through my back garden into the rest of the yard washing away the filth that had accumulated in it over the past couple of dry weeks.
It was another summer storm, which appeared rapidly and disappeared just as quickly. The atmosphere of the storms was always uncanny because it created such a strange feeling in my stomach. It felt that for a brief moment that I was looking into another, more somber world and this guided me to assort of serenity that I could not attain elsewhere. These used to be my favorite part of the summer, except this one was different.
Early on into the storm, a strange splatter erupted from just beyond my tarps cover. It startled me initially but I simply figured it to be built up water tumbling from the tarps loose membrane and once again set back to my enjoyment. Then, as I was looking down the meandering path into my yard I heard another strange splatter and saw it erupt in a peculiar lotus, and it was soon followed by another further out by the garden’s edge. Curiosity came over me and I bemusedly emerged from my cover, bare feet embracing the slick path while letting the violent rain pelt my body as I walked over to the source of the noise. A bolt of lightning antagonized the sky like an errant firework, leaving the brief impression of golden roots among its drab canvas.
What I found was a small pearl object, round and otherwise unremarkable. I debated it was some sort of seed or an egg dropped by a seagull or herring. I picked it up, feeling its slimy outer coating in my hand and suddenly my head received a sharp pain which felt like a nail being driven into my sinuses and my eyes were forced shut in agony.
When I reopened them, I could no longer feel the rain and was instead inside of a strange rust covered tunnel. The walls were made entirely of thick layers of pipework that appeared like interweaving tissues of muscle. A deep hum oozed from them and a thick humidity filled every breath. I still held the seed in my hand and, reeling from the pain it seemingly caused, dropped it.
Then I was back where I stood, the seed being washed away from my feet by the small stream at the bottom of my steps. I followed it, still harrowed by what I had just hallucinated. Another set of strange sounds burst from the surrounding puddles. At first one bounced off the side of my pool. I ran over to observe it and noted that along where it impacted a strange, viscous slime was being eroded away by the rain. At first, I thought it to be a trick of the light but when I reached out to touch it had a definitive, sticky texture. It’s tacky nature resisted my release and an undue amount of pressure was required to remove myself from its grasp.
Another splashed by the base of the old oak tree, now barren and dying thanks to countless years of gypsy moth infestations. A small cluster of the seeds, suspended in the sticky substance like an amphibians eggs sat intermingled among its roots. My chest began to twist in irrepressible ways and a sharp itch formed on the back of my neck.
Back where my pond, a small vernal pool which during the summer heat often dried out was now suddenly filled to the brim with fluids. I approached its shore and noted a vast array of seeds sat in an eerily still manner. I also could see that the rain clearly struck the outer surface of the pond, yet no rings formed at its places of impact and instead glistening puddles formed like the surface of a tarp.
Against my better judgment, I Reached out to touch one of the seeds, except as I approached the water’s surface it felt strange. It resisted my touch like a type of jelly and as soon as my fingertips made contact it recoiled in a ghastly manner. I reeled back in horror, feeling my skin become ensconced in a dead heat as the surface of the pond shifted uneasily. By the shore, a tendril-like stream crept in a menacing, serpentine manner, within it an array of seeds that appeared to be interconnected by a small thread. Bizarre electricity pulsed through the thin tissues, illuminating each seed they passed through.
Soon the entirety of the body rose in an imposing, amorphous manner and began to assault the shore. It moved towards me reaching its tendrils slowly as to block my path. Thankfully its lumbering nature was of no consequence for I could easily outmaneuver it and as a result was yards away from it in a manner of seconds.
A sudden, adrenaline field plan flashed through my head like lightning. I was to grab my car keys and then leave promptly, never to look back at whatever that thing is. As I trod away, however, I felt something roll beneath the arch of my foot as it sunk into a squishy pile. A sharp and familiar sting split my head.
I was back in the infernal tunnel, unsure of what to do. I tried to run, feet battering the floors forcing the rusted over panels to chatter loudly. Yet no matter how far I ran the tunnel was all the same. More pipes, more rust, more humming. My body quivered and raged as I continued on futilely. Suddenly a strange heat formed at my feet. It was like being submerged in boiling water. Soon a sensation that felt like a razor was being run across my flesh afflicted me. The feeling soon crept up my legs and torso as my skin felt as if it had been cast into a fire. I continued to try and run but the raw feeling overwhelmed me and I collapsed in my tetanus infused prison hopelessly crying out only to be answered by my own ragged echo.
My face soon became enraptured in an unseen pressure and I could not breathe. I felt like I was suffocating although nothing blocked my air. The strange place became hazy and darkness rolled in around my vision. I felt like prey, strangled to death by a serpent, still conscious still programmed to fight but was resigned to helplessness as all life was drained from it by the primal, crushing force of its predator. As my eyes closed for what I thought to be one last time, I heard a strange guttural noise echo from the shadows.
To my surprise I opened them again, finding myself wrapped amidst the ghastly creature’s body, submerged in its membranous figure as it quivered and emitted a low whimper. It suddenly ejected me, thrusting me onto my back into a puddle. I looked up to see the clouds beginning to part and the golden glow of the sun bursting through, its intense heat beaming down on the creature as it retreated for the tree line heading for god knows where.
I got up and ran through my back door and through my house, grabbing my car keys. My body was drenched and while and my skin had been turned red as if sunburnt. I loaded myself into my car and screeched out of my driveway speeding down the slippery roads. First I would go to the hospital to treat a mysterious rash. Then I would stay with family claiming a burst pipe and all the while I would search for an apartment. My home as far as I was certain was gone for even though I had the fortune of being released from the beast’s gelatinous clutches who knew if it was truly gone. Perhaps the terrible abomination stalked the woods hunting small creatures and unfortunate hikers. Or perhaps if I returned home I would find it cast out on my floor in a dormant mess, waiting to pull me in once more.
I would need to move far, far away so as to feel safe again. At one point I considered returning home except my hopes of doing so were dashed due to the news of a neighborhood child vanishing one day while exploring the coast of the nearby reservoir.
I don’t care what that thing was, I pray to dear God and Heaven that I never see it again and that I may forever cast it from my memory.