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Bad Wolf Prey

By @Val

It must have been the darkest night of the century. No moon. No stars. Only the whisper of gentle wind and the haunting chill of a black wasteland. Mark laughed. He hadn’t a clue what to do next or where to go. The only conscious direction he had was forward. Keep moving, or die. Those were his options. He laughed again.

His eyesight was useless in this complete darkness, but his feet were not. They found marks in the ground of a well traveled path. He decided to follow them, hoping they’d lead him home. He couldn’t tell how far he traveled or how long he was out in the elements. The footsteps had no clear direction, and he sensed that whoever, or whatever, was watching him would no stay distant for long.

Mark laughed for the third time. This was not a good situation. He decided it was time to run and to run fast. Except it was hard to run fast when following an unseen footpath. He tripped twice, lost his way once, and only barely found his way back to the path. He resigned to continue walking which at least kept him moving.

This was madness. Mark laughed. Complete madness. He stopped, sinking his feet in the foot hole before him. That’s when he heard the whispering. He couldn’t make sense of the words or the voices. They were just an unintelligible hiss in his ears, one that would not go away even if he covered his ears. He tried yelling to scare them off. This didn’t work. He tried screaming to drown them out. This too failed. He took off again on the path. Perhaps he could outrun them.

The whispers were mocking him. Mark could sense it even if he couldn’t understand the words. They were teasing the way he walked. The way he looked. The way he couldn’t see. “Stop that!” He bellowed. There was a momentary silence before the whispering returned. He quickened his pace.

Mark was laughing again as he walked. He couldn’t stop it. Something about the darkness and the whispering was making him nutters. Of course they were whispering about him. He was acting crazy. Aware of his mental deterioration, he attempted to civilize himself. He slowed, cleared his throat. “Hello there?” The whispering continued. Agitated, he called, “I said, hello there?” The taunting continued. “Cut it out! I said cut it-” Mark was cut off by a laugh-his own. He couldn’t subdue it. He was losing control.

Mark lashed out, meaning to strike the whispering voices. To his surprise, his hand struck something solid. A person? A monster? A big bad wolf? Mark couldn’t tell, but whatever it was it hurt his hand.

He aimed to strike again but something took hold of his arm. He laughed. If it wasn’t for this **** darkness, he could see just what was holding onto him. Then he’d be able to fight them off. Then they’d be sorry.

But the wasteland held no light, and Mark knew no way to respond to his captors. They held him in a tight grip. There must have been many of them. He thrashed and jerked, but received no freedom. Instead a sharp pain in his neck, like a needle, and then he was asleep.

“Poor Mark,” the first nurse said. A second nodded. They watched as the orderlies carried him back to bed. He usually wasn’t violent, but ever since he started circling the halls he’d become aggressive.

“I’d go nutters too if I lost my sight,” the male nurse commented from his desk station. He shuffled his paperwork, trying to remember which file he had been working on before Mark began his routine of madness.

“He really was the sweetest boy,” the first nurse whispered. They always talked in whispers around the unstable patients, fearing their outlashes. The second nurse only nodded. She thought about Mark’s deterioration from the time he’d arrived three years ago. He was rushed into the trauma center, blinded by a homemade grenade. It hadn’t even been his. He was only a sweet little boy, his sight stolen by the older kids who decided to make their own little bombs like the ones their papas used in the war.

Mark often talked about these boys and the accident they caused. He called them wolves. “The big bad wolves got me. They got me. They got me.” And he would laugh. “The big bad wolves and their big bad bomb. Got me. Got me good. Got my eyes and my ears. Got me good.”

Mark would laugh himself to sleep sometimes.

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