Feathers and Ash

As I step away from Max, I need to get away. The girl is gone and…

My foot bumps into something.

“Bitsy, don’t move,” Colin says with one hand outstretched as if wanting to catch me. He is too far away though.

Whatever I have hit is soft but firm and it seems to be moving. I let out a small whimper. Max looks to his right and I follow his gaze. Another pile of sheets is moving. Max meets my eyes and he looks panicked. He nudges Colin and he points. We all start to look around. Everywhere there is movement.

The thing I am near moves and I feel something try to grasp my ankle through the sheets. It is hindered by the cloth. Involuntarily I let out a yelp and jump forward. The creature under the sheet screams. It is a horrifyingly loud sound that reminds me of a toddler’s tantrum and a sick animal. It makes me want to help. The sound stops me moving out of the way and I can even feel the pull to turn around.

“It’s hurt,” I mumble and at the same time inside I scream to run. As I turn, arms grasp me around the waist and pull me back. Max has me.

The place I had been is suddenly filled with billowing sheets. I can just make out the shape of a human form but it’s as if a graceful dancer is performing in front of us, except the hurt sounds are wrong. The whole thing is wrong. The figure is somehow aggressive and the most horrifying thing I have ever seen.

Colin stoops and runs forward. He grasps the sheet and pulls. The sound of ripping fills the air and the figure is briefly illuminated with arms outstretched, a parody of a cheap Halloween costume. Then he screams, a sound filled with rage, and he is gone.

I blink back the ash. There are feathers in the air as well. Something small lands at my feet. It must have once been a pigeon but now looks more like road kill.

“Where…?” I ask.

“He was holding it,” Max says. His arms are still around me and for the moment I stay there.

“Looks like he mauled it,” Colin says.

Abruptly Max releases me and steps to one side, throwing up. I move away. Colin is glaring at Max. He is about to say something when a mewling sound reaches us and I see that most of the sheets in the car park are moving. Clenching his hands into fists Colin gives Max’s back a look of pure hate.

“We need to find somewhere safe.”

I look to the hospital and then back to Colin. He follows my gaze and shrugs.

“It might give us some answers.”

“It might,” I say quietly.

“Or he might,” Colin adds, nodding at Max.

Max is still bent over. He wipes his mouth and nods. We don’t say anything else. Instead we start walking toward the hospital, weaving in and out of the obstacle course that is the car park. We are silent and stay well clear of the twitching bundles of sheets. As we go I count them. Twenty five I can see. Some large and some small. Maybe they all don’t contain a thing but they are all moving so I think it is likely.

Colin reaches the doors and flinches when they swish open silently. The smell of blood and chemicals hits me, the metallic scent coating my tongue and making me taste it. There is no sound from the hospital. We step into the gloom and I feel a little relief from the sun.

“Wait,” I say.

“What?” Colin asks, but Max ignores us and steps forward, allowing the second set of door to open.

“The sun,” I say. “They are hurt by the sun and…”

I don’t finish. Inside the hospital a body rises and looks toward us. Max has stopped, holding the inner door open. He then steps inside. The door silently closes after him leaving Colin and I in the space between the doors. Max turns and motions us in. I point behind him.

“Run,” I scream and the sound seems to spark the creature to run. It moves fast. This is no zombie. It runs full pelt, mouth open too wide and teeth gleaming in the fluorescent light.

Max screams and backs to the doors. This time they don’t open.


About Kate

Kate Murray has recently completed her Masters in Creative Writing and is currently working as an illustrator and writer. Her first anthology of short stories ‘The Phantom Horse’ was published in December 2013 and she subsequently has had another anthology published by Raging Aardvark; “Love Just Is” looks at the truth of love, in all its guises from romantic to obsessive. She is currently working on an anthology of ghost stories which should be published at the end of October 2014 and is also writing her first novel. Kate runs two blogs, one is about her life as a writer (kate0murray.wordpress.com) and the other is a serialisation of a novel, “The Gone”; a disaster hits the world while Bitsy is on a flight from Italy. She lands to find that the world is completely altered and she must learn to survive in a place where everyone is not who they appear to be (thegone.wordpress.com). Kate has had short stories published in magazines and e-zines, including ‘The Lampeter Review’, ‘Jotter’s United’, and ‘What The Dickens’. She has had short stories included in the ‘Twisted Tales 2013’ anthology published by Raging Aardvark, and the ‘Busker Anthology’ and ‘Spooky Tales Anthology’ published by What the Dickens. Kate’s artwork has been exhibited at the Museum Of Modern Art in Machynlleth where she was selected after entering the art competition and at Aberglasney Gardens as part of the Mid Wales Art group. Her artwork has been published by companies from Norway to Australia and her latest works will have illustrations in it. She has also had a series of line drawings published by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust in their biodiversity action plan. Kate currently works in the foothill of the Cambrian Mountains where she has a purpose built workshop that she affectionately calls her ‘house’ as she spends far more time in there than anywhere else.
This entry was posted in Chapter 4 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Feathers and Ash

  1. Kate says:

    Reblogged this on Kate Murray and commented:

    Sorry about the wait for the next bit of ‘The Gone’ but I have been ill. Getting back on my feet now so here it is – the next installment. Will Max hold the answers Bitsy and Colin are looking for.

  2. Eilene says:

    More please! 😉

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