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Bodies are Like Velcro
The icy cold sweat felt like long fingers trailing down Santo’s neck. He knew it was his own sweat, but he couldn’t help reaching upwards to make sure they weren’t the fingers of the monstrosity. He knew the creature was after him, even the underworld feared it, he included. And now he was in it’s dwelling, about to become its next victim. Every loud step he took across the gritty concrete floor felt like a jump into a pit to hell. It could be anywhere, and the longer he spent in the hellhole he awoke in, the higher the chance it would find him.
His heart pumped in his ears as the horror stories of what the monster did to his victims pushed their way back into his mind. How the remains of the victim could be found spread over several city blocks. He was foolish to become involved in the affairs of the monster known only as Erebus. But he needed the money back then, and he had no idea he’d find himself in a dungeon of a room. He wouldn’t even be able to see Erebus until it was upon him, shredding him apart.
Panting heavily, Santo held his hands out in front of him as he wandered in the dark. He was certain he was in a room of some sort. It didn’t have an echo, so it couldn’t be a hall or a tunnel. Santo was in a small confined space, which mean there must be a door. How else would he have been placed in there?
Santo made a pact with himself as he walked through the room that he would not be another body. Hell no. He was going to leave here in one piece, perhaps flee the city and relocate in another. Chicago was well out of Erebus’s reach. It would be a fresh start, a few robberies and some carjacking and he would be living well enough in less than a week. It was a good plan. He would be free.
“Hello Santo,” the dark voice sounded like it was directly behind him. Santo turned and fell to the ground, scurrying away from where he heard it. “What’s the matter? Not afraid of an old friend, are we?”
“Get the hell away from me, Diablo,” Santo said, attempting bravado but only achieving a meek whimper.
“Diablo?” Erebus asked, the raspy chilling sound came from above him. Or was it to the side? Was it right in front? “My dear friend, I’m not the devil. Do not insult me.” The last sentence was thick with spite. Santo did not find comfort in the creature calling him friend. If anything, he felt worse.
“Y-you said I did well!” Santo felt his whole body tremble. “I made a mistake, but you said I still accomplished your task. You paid me, remember?” The young Latino had never been so terrified, not even when his father used to take his belt and beat him.
“Of course I remember!” the voice shook the very room, Santo was certain the floors vibrated. “Did you honestly believe I forgot?! Do you think me so insane that such an occurrence could slip my mind?! I have five trillion times the brain capacity in one cell than you have in that entire puddle of diarrhea you call a brain! Do you understand?! Am I even getting through to you?!” Flecks of what Santo assumed to be saliva sprayed onto the young man’s face.
“Y-yes,” Santo nodded his head profusely, even though he couldn’t even see one inch in front of him. But he somehow knew Erebus could.
“Good,” the creatures voice unnaturally changed to a mellow tone. “Now that we both know I’m not insane, let’s get on to your execution.” The sound of knuckles cracking was the only noise in the room besides Santo’s heavy panting.
“Wh-what? B-but, I did good,” Santo scooted his body further away from it.
“No Santo,” Erebus reminded Santo of kindergarten teacher speaking to a child who believed puppies were kittens. “You did very bad. You made a mistake by not killing the girl. I made a mistake by trusting that your actions would still bring about my desired result. So we both deserve to be disciplined.”
Footsteps approached Santo and the man’s heart beat faster with every footfall. Tears slipped from his eyes, and his mouth peeled backwards in a horrified countenance. Desperate for escape, Santo began blubbering discord. With the vain attempt to bargain for his life.
“I’ll give you anything! Please! Just let me go!”
“We both know you have nothing to offer,” Erebus stated matter-of-factly. “Now please, stop scurrying, you’re embarrassing yourself.”
“B-but what abo-about you?! If I’m punished by dying, what about you?! How is this fair?!”
“Oh, but it is fair, Santo,” the voice cooed. “I too will be punished. I’ll have to clean my clothes.”
Santo tried jumping to his feet to run, but as he turned his head bashed against a hard surface. With one hand gripping his head in pain and the other feeling the wall, Santo was caught unaware when hands grasped his thick neck and another grabbed his arm.
Struggling like a trapped animal, Santo thrashed and squealed as the hand squeezed around his throat. The grip made it difficult, but not impossible, to breathe. However, Santo felt his arm being pulled one way and his neck the other.
“I’m guessing you’ve heard the stories about how I tear my victims apart, yes?” It was rhetorical, but Erebus still paused for an unknown reason. “Well, did you know that when the skin of a young man, such as yourself, is torn that it makes a noise? It’s true. Not a loud one of course, more like the mixing of Velcro and meat being pummeled, but quieted down. Most of the time I don’t even here it. Do you want to know why?” Again, another pause. “Because the victim is screaming so loudly that it’s hard to focus on much else.”
Santo began whimper as he felt his arm being pulled further than ever before. His arm had long since been dislocated, but he lacked the air for a decent scream for Erebus’s hand was still gripped firmly around his neck. The lack of oxygen made his head swim.
“No, no, this won’t do,” Erebus said in a pout. Santo felt hot breath on his face as the creature said, “Scream, Santo. Shredding people is no fun without the shriek.”
Erebus let go of the Latino’s neck, forcing the air to rush back. Even though he was lightheaded, Santo still just barely heard a soft tearing noise. And as the pain flooded through him, Santo let out a howl until he ran out of air. From that point on, he only heard Erebus’s laughter.