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The Wandering Soul
Michael Adams was a tall, wide shouldered, caucasian, homeless veteran of the Afghanistan war seeking shelter north of uptown Chicago. He was once a celebrated war hero awarded the silver star along with the purple heart to commend him for his efforts. After returning from the war, he came home to his family, only to discover his wife left him for another man in his time of need. She took everything, leaving him on the streets. He spent endless nights shewing maggots, roaches, and rats from his frost encased makeshift cardboard castle under the crumbling Torrence Avenue Viaduct. “I” am Michael Adams.
I roamed through the city in search of an abandoned hospital named ‘Dredgewater Asylum’ I’d heard rumors of. I came upon it two hours into my scouring of northern uptown. Graffiti concealed the walls all along the outside; a carpet of shattered glass littered the area; torn drapes hung flailing in the wind through numerous sizable windows; the building released a low howl as wind blew throughout it’s void cavities. My lack of fear for the otherworldly pushed me into the structure.
I made my way to the residential area desiring more suitable bedding than blood and urine stained cushioned torture chambers. The sound of heavy breathing interrupted my distorted thoughts. A large, wicked, misshapen being swiftly passed by me slashing through my forearm. Long before I located where it had vanished to, I collapsed to the ground, paralysed. My awareness faded as an enormous dreadful feeling of sleep spilled across me.
I woke drowsy and began wandering through the single continuous hall of the vacant Dredgewater Surgical Asylum For The Criminally Insane. My mind was foggy as I attempted to recall the events that had transpired leading me to aimless drifting between rooms. In my hazy fog, I was unsure if the contorted spirits whirling around me were real or part of some inner delusion. The ghosts faded from my vision as I moved into a surgical room. I entered with no intent to disturb anything that may dwell within.
After cautiously treading into the room, I began searching frantically for a clean needle or suture to stitch the massive gash that extended from my wrist down to my scarlet dripping elbow. Joy radiated through me as I discovered a first aid kit tucked into a slime covered drawer. I clasped onto it peeling it from the drawer, the syrupy liquid stuck to the first aid kit stringing behind. Unzipping the kit I was relieved to see a needle and medical suture. I threaded my needle with spare medical suture, clenching a bandage betwixt my teeth to endure the oncoming agony. I began stitching my skin back together. I wrapped my wound in the bandage as a small pool of blood dripped beneath my blood soaked hand. Ever so slowly, I emerged from the room, peeking out for the colossal manlike creature that wounded my arm earlier.
As I stepped out of the room, my foot was met with the grinding crunch of glass under my shoe. For a moment nothing but eery silence followed. Then, a monstrous beast slammed through a nearby door, releasing a gut wrenching screech, storming towards me. I veered in utter terror... just to face a wall of writhing darkness that devoured the entire hall as it raced toward me. Lunging into the surgical room onto my stomach, I rolled over to witness the beast being enveloped by the black wall, vanishing almost as soon as it had appeared. Sitting up in shock, I sat there for what felt like an eternity. Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me.
With only my head poking out from the room, I looked to my right which was the direction the wall had slithered. What started only as a glimpse... grew into a stare as I watched it’s black razor-edged tendrils lacerating the body of the fiend, consuming it in some freakish manner. My ears rang while I watched. I found my hand resting upon a surgical tray that balanced along the edge of a shelf. When I slowly raised my hand away, the clinking sound of the metal tray colliding with the ground drew the attention of the massive void. The obscure demon lashed out at the tray, piercing through it and shredding it to pieces. It slowly absorbed the metal, oblivious that I stood mere inches from it.
Slowly I made my way across to the opposite wall, passing over a multitude of severed limbs and crimson pools of blood. Gently I turned the handle of the door fearfully waiting for the click. My severe nervousness came to a head as an ear piercing shriek was let out beyond the door I stood against. Moving quickly and quietly, I crouched into a corner whilst trembling. The mass of tentacles shoved its way through the first door into the surgical laboratory devouring the second door along with part of the wall as it exited.
Traversing the hall, I entered a small storage closet. I sat along the wall, closing my eyes attempting to mentally focus. A growing warmth of thick slime crept down my spine. When I finally opened my eyes, I looked toward the ceiling only to see it intertwined in veins that pulsated and oozed down the walls toward me. I looked across at the vacant rusted shelves wondering if the rust was truly rust, or the dried brittle blood of those who had been swallowed by this hellscape.
Rising to a stand, still leaning against the blood drenched wall, I made my way to the door. Carefully I stepped from the room and looked down an endless hallway. The overgrowth had transformed from what it had been prior to me entering the closet into a now gruesome scene. Heaps of intestines littered the floor. The corpses of countless people were strung along the walls gutted from the abdomen to the sternum. The remains of a man were crucified upon the wall, his ribs were protruding from his hands and feet, driven into place like nails. Other major organs still hung from the bodies continuously gushing blood. Innumerable war crimes felt more like childsplay in comparison. Atrocious bodies leaned closer dangling from the walls; staring at me with skin that slid across their dead skulls and empty sockets in the places of eyes. Thousands of murmurs called out for an end to the suffering. Soon they turned into screams, begging for an end, but alas I could not extinguish an agonized soul. I became deaf to those in misery in my distraught state, drifting down the river of blood. The scenery reverted back to graffitied walls and overgrowth when I rounded a corner. Soon I realized the exit lay just beyond a doorway, not fifty yards from me.
Overzealously, I made a mad dash for the exit. Rejoicing, I stepped into the light of day, bathing in the warmth of the sun. I stood there grinning, until piercing pain and the sound of pulverized bone emanated from my chest. Looking down, it was difficult to discern my chest from the ebony tendril that squirmed, puncturing through. Enclosed in dozens of tendrils, I was wrenched instantaneously back into the building. All the light grew dim, darkening into an overpowering inklike blackness.
Michael Adams was once a good man. He had gone to war, lost his family, but eventually gave up on life. He tried to survive, but life made decisions he couldn’t influence. In the end survival may have been his goal, but life always did it’s best to defeat. “I” was Michael Adams.