The deafening volume in the hallway was cut short by yet another scene of ruthlessness.
Terri was pulling a math book out of the bottom of his locker when something heavy crashed into him, driving his head into the corner of the metal enclosure. The pain ringing in his ears briefly consumed him as he collapsed to the tile floor. Not again, he pleaded inwardly as he pressed a shaky hand against his forehead to stem the flow of blood.
Regardless of the countless times something similar had happened, he was yet again flooded with humiliation, anger, and a desire to disappear; it was overwhelming. He bowed his head and turned to the side as he bit his lip in a useless attempt to hold back tears that only served to incite his tormentor.
Nothing halted the insane volume of background noise that filled a school like the promise of violence. But the silence never lasted, and his latest tormentor, one of his regulars, filled the empty space with ugly taunts.
“Hey Fairy,” Eric yelled. “How many times do I have to tell you to stay out of my way?”
He pulled his hand away from his forehead and a stream of blood poured down his face as he glanced at the onlookers. The sight was familiar – a hungry crowd wielding phones that recorded the show in high definition. Undoubtedly, many were already thinking about the comments they would upload along with the footage.
Most people in his position would at least look at their attacker, but there was no need. It wasn’t because there was only one possible aggressor; the list of bullies was long. It was because this asshole was one of only three that called him a fairy, and Eric’s oddly high-pitched voice betrayed him immediately.
“Look at me, you sack of shit!”
Eric slammed a meaty fist into the side of Terri’s face, rocking his head side to side. Jeers and taunts erupted from the crowd as Eric’s football buddies cried out for more. Waves of darkness edged their way into the periphery of his vision, but he kept his eyes on the crowd. It was easy to gauge how bad the beating was going to be by the behavior of the audience.
The crowd was quickly getting bored; it was obvious he wasn’t going to fight back and the excitement ebbed away. The other students started to wander off. He closed his eyes, tried to stop the tears, fought the urge to pass out. He found himself wondering for the millionth time why none of the others cared, why none of them stood up for him. Even the local Emo kids shunned him. What was left of his ravaged heart ached.
“You got off easy,” Eric said as he rubbed his sore fist. “Keep quiet about this or I’ll take it to a whole other level of ugly.” The jocks walked away with their chests puffed out, almost as far as their egos, each boasting about how much they had lifted in gym class, somehow sure this equated to dick size.
He sat for a minute and waited for the hallway to clear before he slowly picked up his backpack. He would have given anything for a sympathetic ear, or a caring shoulder, but he knew reality was nothing like the Lifetime Channel. It would be a mistake to think he would get support or comfort anywhere, not even at home.
His father always insisted the beatings were his own fault for being a pansy that didn’t understand how the system worked. Dad frequently told him that his life would be punctuated by failure and misery, and the rotten bastard was right so far.
He started to walk, unsure of where he was headed, knowing it didn’t really matter. For too many years he planted hopes, wishes, and dreams in his conscious mind like a starving farmer plants the last of his seeds. He watered them with desperation, fertilized them with as much bullshit as he could muster, but the field of his soul was still a desolate, ugly place. Why? The truth was simple. Hope was snake oil. Wishes? Wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which fills up first. Dreams? Those were the equivalent of a carrot on a stick held in front of a mule headed to the glue factory.
There was no such thing as good in this world. It was as mythological as a unicorn, just more useless. Since there was no good, there could be no evil. There were only varying levels of pain and anguish that were blissfully interrupted by the oblivion of sleep. He frequently dreamt of sleeping eternally, wishing for nothingness to absorb his worthless existence.
In the end, it all came back to the same question. Would he be perceived as selfish? Perhaps, but nobody cared enough to notice, much less think about him if he were gone. It was time.
He reached into his backpack and pulled out the knife. His throat felt tight, and as his resolve strengthened, tears of a different kind slipped from his eyes and mixed with the drying blood on his cheek. He knew better than to think this was a form of happiness, that shit didn’t exist. This was relief. Yes, it was time indeed.
He dropped the pack and made his way to the auditorium. The assembly was probably under way by now. He had wanted to do this in private, but something deep inside urged him to do it in front of a crowd.
“I’ll give them something to post,” he whispered as he opened the back door to the stage. The darkness calmed him. He took off his shirt, then his shoes. He parted the closed curtain with the knife, and stepped into the blinding light on stage.
At first, all he heard was a booming voice echoing through the speaker system, but then came the hushed whisper from hundreds of students. His eyes had begun to adjust to the light when he heard Eric’s telltale voice shout out.
“Look! It’s Terri the Fairy!”
Laughter filled the vast space. One last tear fell; it went unnoticed by the crowd. The laughter continued until a cheerleader in the front row screamed something about him having a knife. Her scream was followed by a few more, but the hushed awe from most of the students was enough to encourage him.
Terri pressed the sharp edge of the knife deep into his left wrist and slowly drew it upward until it reached the inner part of his elbow. Bright blood flowed from the gaping wound; his bright eyes stared out over the sea of confused faces. He took the blade and pushed it into his shoulder until it hit bone, then cut downward through his chest until the blade was sunk deep into his abdomen. Blood started to pool around him, its darkness reached outward.
The spectators, usually keen on gore, were at a loss for words. Some screamed, some retched, but all remained in their place as a new reality debuted before their eyes. Terri started to feel weak as his heart quickly pumped blood from his body, he also felt peace deep within. Peace and something else–something less kind.
Terri sensed movement at his core. It was growing at an incredible rate, but it felt neither foreign nor strange. The growth pressed against organs and caused him to purge the contents of his stomach, as well as his bowels and bladder. He dropped the knife as the change touched his consciousness.
The continued growth started to bulge against his skin, press against his extremities; it fed on him internally. Eldritch bones and musculature sprouted painfully as Terri grew. Tentacles dug their way out the sides of his face; they tore at his flesh to birth the otherworldly being within.
Students woke from their stupor and fled; they trampled one another in blind terror. Terri’s conscious melded with that of the Other, and he gloried in his becoming. He also hungered. Nearly ten feet tall and growing quickly, he reached out for the nourishment that floundered nearby.
Clawed hands covered in a new and loathsome skin plucked the writhing teens from the floor, piled them within reach of the tentacles. He smelled their fear and knew true ecstasy. The tentacles grabbed the students and stuffed them into his now colossal maw; one, two, three at a time. Their screams mixed with the sound of crunching bone. It was musical perfection.
His growth had just started, fed by dozens of the two-legged cattle he’d already consumed, but he found it difficult to move within the confines of the auditorium. He emerged from the remains of the building as it seemingly shrunk beneath his reckless growth.
Terri gave corrupt birth to the profane, was one in heinous thought with the abyss, and demanded eternal retribution. Words poured from his mouth with blasphemous splendor and filled the air with dread.
Arcane incantations of power echoed across the doomed city as he opened the way for many more of his kind. Yog-Sothoth and Nyarlathotep moved through monstrous dimensions beyond time and entered a world that would soon know despair. Oblivion was not his to experience, but his to create.
~ Zack Kullis
© Copyright 2016 Zack Kullis. All Rights Reserved.