The Sitter
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Author Topic: The Sitter  (Read 516 times)

Jun

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The Sitter
« on: June 18, 2020, 09:00:25 PM »
Cue Queue had an aim in mind, and when she had an aim in mind, she did not often stray from her route. But a clearing full of fillies and colts and foals pressed together was difficult to miss, and even she had to halt her step and catch a hushed whisper drift fearfully across the evening air. Spooky stories, eh? She hardly thought back to her childhood fondly, but for this, perhaps, she could make an exception, those dark, clinging nights where she and Death tried their hardest to scare each other - or at least, Cry - half to death by word alone. Those dark, clinging nights…somehow it was always Cry whose tale would silence their squabbling and send them off to a restless attempt at sleep, eyes wide open in the dark. It was such a tale of his that she turned over in her mind now, breaking off her journey to slip noiselessly amongst the young. And such a tale that it held her even now, despite his very dry way of telling - but she knew how young minds eager for fright worked, and as she leaned into the circle, heedless of their wary looks, she knew just how to make it all her own…

"Perhaps you are too young yet, and have not felt its blow," she started without fanfare, "but perhaps you have heard of your father tell, your mother tell, your brothers or sisters tell: when you are settled in, late at night, as sleep steals upon you, or when wakefulness starts to creep into your eyes before first light. Suddenly, swiftly, without warning, it comes. You were asleep - and now you are awake. Wide awake. Painfully - excruciatingly awake. Excruciating because your mind is clear, your eyes are bright - and you cannot move.

"Some will see it, some will not. Some will hear it, some will not. Some can feel its catching claws, its rasping pants hot against your cheek, others still will only feel its terrible, unbearable, inexorable crush. That unyielding crush, harder, harder, heavier, heavier, pushing down upon you, all of you, pushing you down into the earth - and you cannot move. You cannot stir a muscle, cannot twitch a hoof. You scream - you try to scream. You cry - you try to cry. Your breath catches in your throat, whirs and rattles in your throat, but no other sound comes out. All around you, there are your brothers, your sisters. All around you, they are sleeping, sweetly. But right on top of you - there it looms, pushing, pushing, crushing, crushing - crushing you. Some call it…the Nightmare. Some call it the Sitter. Some call it, simply, your Doom.

"What is it? There are kimeti who say it is a deadly creature that crawls from the deep, deep, depths of the swamp, steadily, steadily, stealthily, only in the dark of the night, when kimeti lie secure in slumber. They crawl and they crawl, till they chance upon you, a plump, tender morsel, perfect for a meal. Then they creep upon you, and crush, and crush, until breath no longer comes, and there - they drag your lifeless body back into the depths, and when your brothers and sisters wake, they find you never more. But they are easily startled, and vanish like lightning in the blink of an eye, so lucky kimeti, saved by some errant rustle of leaves, or the pitterpat of a mongoose's paw, live to tell the tale.

"And then there are kimeti, who strike hotter yet, and say it is…a demon. A monster, born from the darkness…of your heart. That craves not for your body, but your soul. Every little guilt, every single sin, every black thought that you've ever had - this is the weight that it uses to press down upon you, pressing, pressing, pushing, crushing, until you gasp your last and expire without a passing cry, buried under the sum of your own base wickedness. So remember to be good fillies and colts," she added boredly, if dutifully, rather breaking the flow a little, as a fleeting afterthought, "and don't think bad things about others. But anyway.

"These kimeti are all wrong. The truth is much - much - worse." She paused here, sweeping her sharp eyes, eerily bright set within her inky pelt, across the huddled collection of little faces. Satisfied with what she saw, she finally unveiled the horror: "the truth is nothing less…than the betrayal of your very body."

At this, she lowered her eyes, allowing a tiny shudder to run down her spine. This - this was always the moment that unsettled her; in all her years, all her journeys, she had never encountered a scarier tale. To have your body betray you? She would rather die.

"Yes - your very body. Your vessel. Yourself. The one element in this vast, haphazard world of which you are in perfect control - or should be, but you are not. For at these times when you slowly fall to sleep, or you slowly creep to wake - it happens, and your body is no longer your own.

"You see," and she had assumed a slightly more pedantic air, recounting the lecture her scientifically-minded brother, Cry, had given her, "your brain, here up in your head, moves your body by sending it commands, that your legs know to run, your teeth know to bite. But when you dream, naturally it ceases, so that you do not run into the water and drown yourself in your sleep. When you are almost awake, or almost asleep, though - that is where the danger lies. Are you awake? Or are you asleep? Your body does not know - and so it does not listen. You must run, you must hide, you must scream, you must cry - it does not care, it is dead to you. Your body is dead to you, and you can only lie there, swinging wild eyes, thinking wild thoughts, being crushed, crushed, crushed under the weight of your very own betrayal. Unscreaming, unmoving…until, perhaps, a passing alligator stops and takes pity on you - by eating. Every. Last. Bit. Up."

She did not wait to see the looks on their faces. All this talk of traitorous bodies had rather disquieted her, and, while she would never admit it, she was rather glad to unfold her limbs and assure herself of their unerring compliance as she made her way to her intended destination. The caves weren't too far ahead by now, and a brief smile flitted across her lips as she thought of what may lie within. She did not care much for spooks and ghouls, but, ah, perhaps more lethal creatures, ready for a fight, may prowl in that dark. A bit of adrenaline certainly wouldn't hurt to make her feel - alive!



END

(Originally told in Halloween Colors Event: Spooky Storytelling)