The Goat (Part 84)

I don’t know if you remember the two abandoned cats I wrote about a while ago (the ones we tried to rescue, and who put my mum in hospital…) but I just thought I’d post an update: they’ve been at the National Animal Welfare Trust for a couple of months now, and thanks to the wonderful care they have received they are both in excellent health – and ready for re-homing! It is astonishing how well they look; just check these photos of how they were when we found them, and how they are at present:

Cuddles: Before and After Ozzie: Before and After

I do hope they can now enjoy some comfort in their old age. Should you happen to have a warm space in your life for an affectionate cat, they can be adopted here: Cuddles, Ozzie

And on a completely different note… Don’t forget that it’s International Amiga Day this coming Sunday (31st May). The A500+ was my lifeblood as a child, and I still consider it to be the best computer ever. You simply have not lived unless you’ve completed Monkey Island 2 and Beneath a Steel Sky from floppy disk on an Amiga. Those loading times and disk swaps made me the man I am today. (But oh, how I lusted after a 20 MB hard disk… I did get the 1 MB RAM expansion, though…)

My A500+ – and my CD32 – still work just fine (and are ready for action come Sunday!) but I am currently eyeing with considerable interest the Armiga Project

But enough of that. Let’s get on with the story: (Apologies, but it’s a bit short this week – I did write more, but wanted to pause before entering the home straight…)

I sat watching as a nest of limbs unfurled and reached towards me: fold upon fold of articulated segments each longer than my arms, stuttering and snagging as they dragged across the carpet. Even as they touched my feet I barely could flinch, my body slack and useless… yet every nerve felt amplified, acutely sensitive to the bones slithering upon my skin, the insectile crawling of feelers up my legs—

It entered me.

I managed the faintest hiss of a gasp as spurs like meat skewers slid into my thighs. For a moment there was only a tugging sensation, a numb throbbing pulsing with my heartbeat… then pain exploded, my throat bursting with the effort to scream.

But I couldn’t let it out. The pressure just grew, mounting inside me as my heart spluttered, as the creature rasped against the bones in my legs… and more than the pain, it was the helplessness that ruined me: the feeling of lying on the autopsy table, frozen yet awake as the blades sank in…

Oh please, I begged. Please, please—

It was all I could think, my thoughts so splintered—but the creature had no pity. I felt the heat of its black contempt as flexile members peeled from its limbs, rising cocked like mantis forearms then plunging forwards: the tips stabbing half an inch into my chest then squirming against me, probing like worms as they pushed between my ribs—

Oh God, I cried. Please God no—

YOUR GOD FORSAKES YOU

KNOW THIS AND SUFFER

I felt the jarring thuds in my chest: a dense popping as tendrils broke through the cartilage and muscle, the tips expanding to caress my lungs—

ALL THAT YOU LOVE IS DEAD

KNOW THIS AND SUFFER

The weight of its voice buried my soul, leaving me to madness as barbs gouged my internal organs—as tentacles wrapped and squeezed my heart, blood welling in my throat as they breached my lungs—

YOUR WORLD ENDS

KNOW THIS AND SUFFER

But the pain was fading, my thoughts floating as everything inside me began to shut down… my pulse slowing, idling to nothing as shock drained the life, the essence from my body—

Sudden contractions arched my back as the power blasted into me, burning in my chest: racking convulsions that clenched my heart, every muscle in my body, coursing through me like electrical discharge—

YOUR DEATH IS MINE

AT MY COMMAND

I screamed at last: every fibre of my being taut with pain, my senses flaring so sharp and bright as the tendrils gripped, wrenching inside me to drag me forwards—

THE SLOW DEATH

I felt it compelling my heart to beat, my lungs to inflate—forcing me to live, even as it killed me—

THE CREEPING DEATH

The pain stripped me, reduced me to a child—screaming at agonies I couldn’t comprehend—

FOR YOU

A THOUSAND YEARS

OF DEATH

No, I shrieked, my voice drenched in a foam of blood. Stop it—Stop it—Stop it—!

But my thoughts shattered, the pain of my body at once submerged in the excruciating torment cleaving through my brain: the creature inside me, the vastness of its consciousness flooding my head with its alien blackness. I felt it destroying me, raping my mind: my memories dismembered, my dreams, my desires torn and twisted into things of nightmare, my innermost feelings molested, defiled—

I cried a terrible, animal sound as my mind dissolved, losing its humanity: my spirit dying as the creature broke me, ripping out everything that made me who I am…

But in the tattered kernel, the spark within me, I felt it slowing: the claws of its consciousness sticking in my mind, straining as though caught in connective tissue…

A decade’s exposure to the Zen-like tedium of fixing computers; the autistic endurance of a thousand OS installs—of watching the progress bars of twenty thousand malware scans…

My work had toughened me, callused my thinking—

The fathomless mass of the creature’s mind pressed down upon me, cracking my resistance then crushing it entirely. I lost all reason as the taint poured through me, laying waste as it bored into my brain: my soul disbanding, the strata of my consciousness charring into refuse, sloughing into darkness—

Yet as it dismantled me, paring away all the years of my life until it pried at the heartwood, the core of my existence, again I felt it hesitate: snagged inside a memory—

© 2015 - J. D. G. Leaver

To be continued…