Diego A. Peña is a Script Consultant, Content Editor, Developmental Editor and comics writer from Venezuela. He moved to the USA at the age 17, with very little knowledge of the language. Now he holds a certificate in Academic English, and a BFA degree in Creative Writing. He has a passion for fun and entertaining dialogue, psychological stories, character interactions and romanticized structured descriptions in both English and Spanish. He writes across multiple genres, but mainly on dramas and science fiction.
Back in 1995, there was a forgotten town down the south of England. Old and quiet, the town consisted only of a few families, one hospital center and a University with a vast collection of books. Within the solitary library, there was someone that seek to much knowledge.
Lightning bolts illuminated the room of the old library. Deep inside, a man looked at his reflection on the window as he talked.
“I’m Professor Richard Grant recording note 447. Last summer to the north of England, a group of people dove into a lake in the search of a treasure. They found an old chest that contains a very peculiar book. The book is now in my possession, and if it is what I think it is. It means my research will be over,” he stopped the recording, sat down and said, “And I will be at peace.”
Richard opened the book with an immense excitement that immediately after turned into disappointment. The black and golden book was full of black mixed white pages. He looked in every corner for something, a name, a mark or anything that could give meaning to the years of research wasted. Engendered with rage, Richard ripped the pages out of the book, dropping tears of fury with each page. As he kneeled down on the ground, the thunderstorm got louder and louder.
At the top of his lungs, Richard shouted, “Why won’t you let me do this God?”
Silence and darkness covered the library when the lighting stroke.
“Is anybody there?” Richard tried to look for a lantern, but behind him a sort of light glowed. “Oh, thank you for the li—” Richard turned around to see that nobody was there. The light was coming from the white pages and the black pages expanded covering the windows.
The pages on the floor lit up, bright as bonfire generating a huge shadow behind him. Out of the shadow came a voice with distortion in a very high pitch. “Richard—” the shadow said, but Richard froze at the shadow’s voice, it vibrated through his body.
The shadow to expanded wide behind Richard. On his back, Richard felt the crawl of a thousand spiders on his back kept his position while the shadow continued to call upon his name with more consistency. “Richard—” the name slowly became crystal clear and so his heartbeat increased.
Richard put all his strength trying to turn his back and see what was behind him. What he could see was the shadow expending, covering the light of the endless and empty place he is in.
“W-What are you?”
The shadow, now a full tangible creature came close to Richard. He laid his slimy skin and some fur on Richard’s shoulder. The creature struggled to speak, breathing and breathing harder next to Richard’s ear. The shadow covered all the light, and one by one let out dots of light that flashed with an extraordinary energy. It formed a mouth, soon to bite Richard.
It was once said that ignorance was a disease among men. That it was an island in the midst of a vast ocean. The ocean, full of knowledge, seemingly infinite and mysterious. Only the weak perish below the deep ocean in their journey for insight.
Richard slightly opened his eyes and at the sight of the ceiling lights and some shadow, he screamed, immediately he felt the cold sweat traveling across his back. Richard as he hyperventilated, he realized the familiar room he was in and the woman in the corner terrified by him. He was in the hospital room, one that Richard knew better than he could wish to know.
“Richard, are you good?” the Doctor asked as he approached Richard.
“I don’t know, Howard. Do I look good to you?” he asked in return as he lays down and points his whole body.
“It’s nice seeing you again. Although, not on these circumstances.”
“Yeah, I never guessed that I’ll be back at this hospital, especially like this,” Richard said almost mumbling and pointing on how weak he looks.
Howard read the papers he had in hand and asked, “Richard, do you remember what happened two days ago?”
“Wait, what?” he said with confusion. It took him a while to process what Howard said. “Wait, are you saying that I’ve been here for two days?”
“Two whole days,” he took a pause, “You know, I was very worried. When you got here, nobody knew what happened to you.” Howard grabbed Richard’s test results and read it, “No alcohol, no drugs, no cerebral damage. You were perfectly fine, healthy as a 50-year-old man can be. Then for some reason, you passed out for 2 days. Do you recall anything from that night?”
The question pierced Richard’s mind, within seconds flashbacks of that night came back to him. The voice, the touch and the light, in the moment those memories passed by, the heart monitor spiked. “I-I don’t know, the last thing I remember was working on usual. I know I saw something, maybe it was too much stress.”
Howard check the monitor, “Stress? Richard, there is something going on with you. Everything is perfectly fine in the exams, but you don’t look good,” Howard said as he showed the test result to Richard.
“Could you just do a quick test again and let me go? You know I hate hospital for more than one reason,” as they talked, Richard tried to get up.
“Let me check your eyesight first,” Howard pulled out a small flashlight and said, “Tell if you see the light.”
Like static, the room was changing. The lights were flickering, and a distorted version of Howard’s voice resonated in Richard’s mind as if he as far, far away. The room went dark, all the light was consumed, the people were gone, and roots claimed the concrete building. The atmosphere got even heavier from before and the same distorted voice was calling for him. Richard from his bed looked the opened a dark door. The voice grew stronger, it approached the door, the light became brighter. And it said--
“Huh? What happened Howard?”
“What happened? You space out for 2 bloody minutes, while I was checking your pupils you lost all vital functions,” he showed the small lantern and put it away. “You scared me.”
“2 minutes, huh? That doesn’t sound too bad,” Howard with worry looked at the pale Richard. “Oh, come on, Howard. I’ll be fine, just let me go before you know who, comes.”
“Fine, one more night, you’re staying here. I need to run some more exams on you. Oh, and you have visits, they’re waiting for you since earlier this morning.” He pointed at the door.
“Great,” he said with disgust.
The door opened and two little kids ran directly at Richard.
“Uncle Richie!” both kids shouted.
“I’ll leave you guys alone,” Howard said as he left the door.
“Off, you gremlins, I told you not to call me by that name. You learned that from Arthur?”
“Sorry, Brother. It’s just that I can’t stop calling you by that name. It fits you so well,” said a tall and well-dressed man.
“Tobias, what did I tell you to teach your kids inadequate language?”
“Inadequate language? That’s so cruel from your part Richie, that’s the nickname I gave you when we were young. I wish you could give me a nickname too.”
“That’s not going to happen, dear brother.”
“Carmilla, Julius could you please go and play outside the room?” The kids nodded. They ran outside, laughing, and Tobias closed the door.
Arthur opened his mouth, but before he could say a word, Richard stop him, “Arthur, please don’t say it. I won’t agree, I said no before, and I’ll say it again.”
“Why not? Richie, it’s obvious that you’re having problems on your own. Look at you, you look terrible. Everything since what happened to Maria you—”
“Don’t you dare say that name,” Richard took a pause. “You’re not allowed to say that name.”
“I’m so sorry, Richie. But, you need to stop living in the past. That’s why you ended up like this. You haven’t shaved properly; you barely talk to me, and now you’re in a hospital for unknown reasons. For God’s sake, you even live in a library. That’s not healthy.”
“I don’t care about health; I won’t accept the help of your dirty hands nor a job at this pre-cemetery. This place is cursed for me.”
“Stop with the name Arthur, I always hated that name.”
“Fine then, I’ll come to see tomorrow morning. Carmilla and Julius wanted to see that they have an uncle.”
“I’ll take them to the library; I won’t allow you to keep them near this horrible place.”
“That’s enough for me. Please reconsider my offer, I'll bid you farewell brother.
I was told that the seek for knowledge was only for the brave, just like the men brave enough to sail into the unknown sea. I was told that curiosity got the best of many men. That anybody, who dared seeking something beyond his understanding could change humanity. And so, it happened.
Sun went down, the silence plagued the hospital and the moon illuminated the room. Richard filled with fear, his body refused to go to sleep. Until he couldn’t resist anymore, collapsing into a deep sleep. Within this dream, Richard hope for peace, he wish for everything to end in tranquility. However, he found himself yet again with the same creature behind him breathing and whispering nothing more than his name.
“T-Tell me, what do you want?”
The creature grabbed Richard as he moved around him, pulling him towards the center of his stomach.
He couldn’t move a single muscle, the tension in his body wouldn’t let him. Even though he used all his strength to get out. He screamed, to the point of damaging his lungs while the lights daze him.
Richard yowled while his body contorted. The bed soaking with sweat, and his breath out of control. He woke up in the hospital he encountered before. Darkness consumed the room, and the lights completely dead. The dirty floated in the air, every electronic equipment seemed rotten and the whole room covered in roots. From the door came a bright reflection, and some footsteps from the hallway. Each bigger than the other, Richard went out to investigate, ask for help. Each footstep became closer and closer, a weird sound echoed the hallway. Richard approached the door with caution, the firm footsteps he heard before became a mix between firm and something sticky very viscous.
He opened the door and went outside, and he encountered something beyond anything he could ever imagined, something horrifying and mentally scarring. The lights came from the insides of those creatures. Finally, something triggered inside Richard. He couldn’t scream anymore, he couldn’t cry, but he could move at last. He broke out of his panic attack running as much as possible.
Richard became pure adrenaline; he couldn’t think properly. So, as he saw himself being ambush by the creatures, out of the heat of the moment, Richard launched himself against them. Kill them with his own fist. He fought until he noticed how the more creature kept coming back. A man’s mental state broke tonight by the terror he witnessed for hours, the dark blood all over him and the unspeakable knowledge he acquired. So, with the only pinch of reason left in his mind, he ran.
He ran across the dark and rotten hospital to find an exit. However, behind the door three more creatures were waiting for him. One of them, very tall and the other two smaller, but Richard didn’t question anything. He just went on the tall creature.
As Richard punched the creature to death, and something like the sun, has risen. The dark sun then became a normal sun gave light to this dark world. Slowly, the sunlight revealed the horrific truth of the world. He punched to death his younger brother in front of his kids. He became one of them, a horrendous creature, full of eyes and hair. Unable to scream, he agonized tarrying apart his clothes and skin. He cried his heart out.
Back in 1995, in a forgotten town down the south of England. Old and cursed, the town plagued with several houses with monsters, an empty University with a vast collection of books and a hospital full of sorrow. They say the creatures took the appearance of men, that they are now everywhere. Whatever they say, the truth remains, I lost my father to a man obsessed with the knowledge of God. And you could be the next.