Hands, slender and long-nailed with ghastly white skin reached out for the terrified face of the man whose words had sealed its fate. His eyes were wide with terror, and his mouth opened in a silent scream as those deathly hands gripped his face and held tight, not allowing him to move from his place in the high backed leather chair he graced as if it were a throne. Holding him still, the wild eyed creature climbed up on to the wooden surface of the desk as bony fingers slid back, wrapping around the sides of his neck, finding their way in to the hair there that seemed to thin rapidly with every passing second.
As items fell from the desk, scattered to the floor like so many forgotten pieces of refuse. Papers fluttered through the air as bare feet kicked them aside and the hunkered form continued its predatory climb up, across, and onto the creature’s prey. Stringy hair a mixture of white and black and stained with something that resembled old blood hung in to those wide, intense eyes as the hollow-cheeked abomination crouched there on the desk. “Look at me,” the voice was a hiss, too reptilian to be human but too clear to be animal, and jagged nails dragged across the man’s face.
Blood gathered rapidly at the surface of his skin before beginning to run down his cheeks, pooling in the place where the nightmare’s hands pressed to his skin. His blue eyes continued to stare off in to the distance, not focusing. He wouldn’t… No, couldn’tfocus. It would seal his doom, he knew it. An angry sound left the creature, as if air were rapidly escaping between its pointed teeth and the stench of death flowed over his face. “Look. At. Me!” the voice insisted again, and he felt his head being squeezed in warning, as if it were going to be crushed like a pimple.
Still he resisted, but when the abnormally, inhumanly strong hands shook him hard, making him feel like a rag doll despite being rigid with terror, his fight fled from him. “Look at me!” He looked. His blue eyes met those rage-filled ones and he was aware for only a second that the creature had one. Pale, thin lips stretched over jagged, dangerous teeth in a cruel smile and a sound that rumbled like a hiss and a growl in the back of the creature’s throat sent terrified chills down his spine. “You broke your word,” the creature whispered in that deathly voice as it leaned in closer. He could feel the moisture of its breath now, could hear the promise of violence in every uttered syllable.
Nails dug in to the skin beneath the hair on his neck, blood gathered around the puncture wounds and began to drip from there, sliding down and staining the collar of his once clean white button-up shirt. “You broke your word and now you have to pay. Now you have to suffer like I suffered.” Little more than a terrified whimper left him at those words, and the creature let slip what could be assumed was a laugh but was too malicious to hold any mirth at all. “You smell like fear. Are you afraid? Yes? Good. Let me show you what happens to betrayers.”
Hissing again, the creature stood on the man’s desk, spindly legs unfolding until it stood straight, simultaneously lifting him bodily from his chair until he hung from the creature’s grip, his toes nearly a foot from the floor. Two easy steps carried the monster to the edge of the desk before it jumped down and dragged him, still holding his bleeding head in its hands, to the tall mirror on the far wall. Thrust before it, the creature stood behind him, peering over his shoulder and grinning a feral, murderous grin. His reflection was pale, and growing steadily more so, his eyes were wild and terrified, his hair was thinning and growing out, his teeth were rotting and breaking until his gums were black and the teeth themselves were jagged and terrifying. He seemed to be growing thinner and thinner as the creature watched, the human in its hands rapidly seeming to mimic its looks.
As he watched in horror, his mouth opened to let loose…
A wretched scream left Dr. Jacob Ryan’s throat as he arched and writhed, fighting against the restraints that held him down to the bed. The saddened green eyes of his once-colleague looked down at him while a male orderly delivered another tranquilizer shot to his thigh. As he began to calm, he murmured incoherently and Rebecca Mardsen waved the orderly away. “You can go,” she said quietly. She wanted to be alone with her newest patient.
When the door to the cell-like room closed behind him, Rebecca leaned down to lift one of his eyelids, looking at his dilated pupil for a moment before shaking her head and standing. Looking down at the file in her hand, she frowned. The last file Jacob had begun had been on himself and it contained a paper he’d begun working on just days before falling ill. The title ‘Contagious Psychosis’ was typed neatly across the top of the paper in bold font.
Shaking her head, she turned to leave the room as she began to read, and just before she cleared the door, she heard an odd sound from behind her. The malicious half-hissed laugh sent a chill down her spine, but when she turned to look back at him, Jacob’s form was still and the sound was still echoing through the room. Frowning, she stepped in to the hall and pulled the door shut firmly, trying to shake the feeling left behind in the silence after the laugh stopped abruptly.