Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
Despite the frost on the windows or the biting chill in the air, Ethan still refused to adorn his heavy coat. After minutes of attempted persuasion I gave up, deeming it useless to try and convince someone so stubborn as Ethan to do anything he didn’t want. Driving down the road I noticed that the farther we drove, the colder it had become. The temperature gauge on the dashboard read 67 degrees, yet that was not possible. My hands, almost frozen in a cold grip on the steering wheel, were pale blue. I retrieved my gloves from the large cup holder and put them on, my hands warming almost immediately from the contact. Even though I wore a insulated coat over my windbreak I still felt sharp stabs of invasive cold. Only my feet, protected by my tight fitting work boots, were protected from the harsh weather. Yet the gauge read 67, which makes no sense at all. It had to be at the most 40 degrees. Going down the seemingly endless stretch of road held no visual interest or required much concentration, so I stole a glance toward Ethan in the passenger seat. Our black Dodge Calibur had just enough room to fit all of our equipment in the back seats, so Ethan studied for medical exam on his laptop. He wore a navy blue t-shirt with multiple tiny holes from bite marks from our dog, Runner.
Ethan either paid no attention to the cold, or simply did not feel it. This worried me, because usually he constantly complains about something being too hot or cold. Another thing that seemed odd was that he wasn’t actually typing anything, just staring blankly at the screen, which displayed nothing but the white of a blank Word document. I glanced back at the road to make sure I stayed steady, then returned my gaze to Ethan. “Hey bud, what are you working on?” He didn’t reply, just sat there, glaring at the screen. I had never seen my little brother act so weird in all of the sixteen years of his life. Taking my right hand off of the steering wheel, I gently poked Ethan in the shoulder. A feeling of sheer dread overcame me. Ethan was cold, but not just what you would expect from the weather, he was DEAD cold, as if his body had been locked in a freezer for hours. I felt the cold, despite wearing thick padded gloves. He did not react at all to my touch, so I grabbed his shoulder and shook him. He again made no acknowledge of my presence, but instead closed his laptop and turned his gaze out his window.
I felt the car veering toward the left into the incoming side of the road, so I turned my attention back toward driving and aligned the car correctly. One thing that I had noticed about this otherwise uninteresting and mundane drive was that I had seen no other cars, behind, in front, or incoming on the road. Not a single vehicle had appeared since we took the detour from the highway. This barren stretch of road surrounded by woods was like some sort of dead zone. I had not seen a single animal or person either. Ethan had began to grow quiet and detached the farther we drove, which honestly freaked my out a bit. I know it was a boring drive, but the way it happened, the way he sort of lost touch with his surroundings was creepy. Both hands back on the steering wheel, I tried to just focus on the road ahead, and get out of this seemingly endless stretch. Everything looked the same, the same dead trees protruding from the same dark bushes. Both sides of the road we identical, and I guess that driving the opposite direction bore no difference than the direction we were traveling. “Andrew, have they found us yet?”. Ethan’s voice startled me, as I had become so used to the silence. I turned toward Ethan, who now had his hands pressed against the window, as if he were trying to absorb the cold. “Uh, what are you talking about bud?”, I asked, bewildered by his odd question. He laughed, a deep callous laugh that sent shivers through my body. In a harsh raspy voice he spoke, “Who do you think you idiot, THEM, the ones we’ve been running from our entire lives, the ones whom we are born of”. Ethan then returned his gaze toward the window, hands firmly pressed against the glass. I sat in shock, in complete disbelief. The ones we are born of, what does that even mean? Was he talking about our parents? That makes no sense, both of our parents live in Wyoming, and we were in no way running from them. We had just visited them last week for Christmas. Taking a knowing glance toward the road, nothing had changed, as expected. I decide to try and get Ethan talking some more, figure out what he meant by his crazy speech. “Hey Ethan, are you talking about mom and dad, the ones we are born of?” My voice sounded shaky and scared, and I was. Whatever Ethan was talking about, the way he said it, was very unsettling. That coupled with this odd drive had me wondering if we should have just stayed on the main road. Ethan’s gaze never left the window, but he let out that deep bellowing laugh once again. This time, his words were mocking and cold. “You fool, do you really not see what has become of us? Can you not see the doom, the horror, the bleakness that is our future. We are finished, everything you love will be obliterated, yet you still cling to this broken, corrupted reality. Mother and father are nothing, peons, worthless organisms good for nothing. I speak of the Procreators, our true kin. They have arrived, a great purge will occur, you will see soon enough.” Ethan then pressed his face against the glass, and inhaled deeply. His faced remained there, unmoving. I felt ill, sickened by his words. I couldn’t believe what he said, the words he spoke, the way he sounded. He sounded so.. Evil, maniacal, insane and disturbed. I had no idea what he was talking about, who the Procreators were, and I knew that this wasn’t just another dumb joke of his. I knew he sincerely believed the things he was saying. I was not going to try and question him further. I had heard enough of his ridiculous rantings, and wanted some silence so I could think. The drive had not changed, and glancing at the clock, twenty-five minutes had passed since we took this detour. Twenty-five minutes of uninterrupted weirdness. The unchanging road, Ethan’s sudden strange behavior, and the steadily dropping temperature. I couldn’t bring myself to look at Ethan, so I stared ahead, hoping to see some sign of change ahead in the road. After what seemed like ten minutes, I glanced at the digital clock. Shockingly, it still displayed 3:27pm, the exact same time from when I last checked it. I had to have been driving for at least five minutes, yet the clock still showed the same time as before. What the heck is going on. We had took the detour at 3:02, and the last time I checked it was 3:27. It still displayed that time, even though I had been driving for minutes. Something was wrong, maybe the clock was frozen or broken, because It is impossible for that time to be right.
Looking through the rear view mirror, I saw our luggage clumped together in the back seats. Ethan’s coat lay slung over the right rear seat. Since he wasn’t using it, I thought about pulling the car over and putting it over myself, trying to add another layer of protection from the pervasive cold. Somehow stopping seemed like a bad idea, so I dismissed the thought and turned my attention back on the road ahead. Checking the clock again, it still displayed the same time, 3:27pm. I assumed the clock was broken and ignored it. From my peripheral vision I could still see Ethan pressed against the window, unmoving, as if he were in a trance.
I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t think of anything but the multitude of questions forming in my head. I didn’t want to encourage him any further, his cryptic responses frightening me. Before I could decide what to say, Ethan spoke: “Are you scared brother? Do you fear the imminent extinction of your kind? There is nothing left for you, nothing to hold onto. Accept the end.” He spoke without turning away from the window, his breath fogging the glass. I didn’t respond, I couldn’t, there was nothing I could say to him at this point. Whatever morbid fantasy he was captivated by was something I didn’t want to get into, so I kept my mouth shut and focused on the drive.
There was something strange about the road ahead. The air seemed to get thicker, and a visible fog had formed. I turned on the high beams, and slowed down from 60mph to 50. Still, my visibility of the road ahead lessened, and eventually I had to squint to see anything. I slowed the car to a stop, sensing something was wrong. Even though the temperature gauge read 60degrees, it was freezing inside the car. I exhaled, and my breath became visible, hanging in the air before dissipating into nothingness. Ethan paid no attention to our stopping, leaving me wondering if my brother had somehow gone insane during our trip.
just as I was about to make one more attempt to get Ethan to put on his coat, I noticed something moving ahead on the road. I couldn’t exactly make out what it was due to the fog, but the way it moved it appeared as if it were a person. A vague human figure became clear as it got closer. Something about the figure was unnerving. The way it moved, walked, it seemed to be walking at a slow pace, yet was gaining distance far more than someone moving at that pace should. As it got closer, I could make out features about it that were abnormal. It seemed, at least from my view, to be missing hands. Its body seemed sickly, like someone suffering from malnutrition. It also seemed to lack a face. Despite the ever decreasing gap between it and the car, I made no attempt to move or communicate with it. I was transfixed by its abnormalities. The car’s headlights shone directly at the figure now, yet the lights had no effect on it whatsoever. It had stopped walking, and now stood about ten feet away from the front of the car. I could make out its features clearly now, and I felt sickened by what I saw, or rather lack thereof. As I had observed previously, it had no face. It stood astonishingly around seven feet tall. It was completely naked, no sort of clothing or garments despite the chilling cold outside. Also as I had previously observed, it lacked hands. Only mere stumps were present where its hands should be. It had feet, but the toes seemed to be webbed together like that of a duck. It had no toenails. Its skin was a faint gray, almost white, with dark splotches of an almost purple tint scattered about its body. It was very vascular, yet lacked any visible muscle definition. It had a rounded belly, which extended slightly in front of it, as if it were pregnant. Its faceless head was angled slightly to the left, as if somehow observing the vehicle, despite its lack of eyes. I sat, unable to turn away from this strange being, not exactly afraid, but intrigued by its abnormal appearance. To my right I heard a grunt, and I realized I had completely forgotten about Ethan in my daze. He sat upright, facing straight ahead, staring directly at the being in front of the car. A mischievous smile spread across his face, and then he turned to me and began laughing. “Do you see now brother? We are at and end. Only Abysmal awaits us now, the Revenant our messenger. Come, let us descend.” As he spoke, a chill ran through my body. His words were piercing, each syllable making me physical wince in some inner pain. He then unbuckled his seatbelt, tossed his laptop to the ground and opened his passenger door. I couldn’t move, somehow paralyzed by his words. I watched as he got out of the car, making no reaction to the cold. He began walking toward the figure, leaving the car door open. “Ethan, please, don’t’ do this. Come back!” Even though I shouted, he made no response to my pleas. The figure did not move, simply stood staring directly at the car. Directly at me. Ethan in front of the figure, stood there a moment, then embraced the figure in a tight hug. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, it was as if I were in some surreal dream. Ethan stood, still embracing the figure, who paid no attention to Ethan, as if Ethan didn’t exist. With his arms still around the figure’s torso, Ethan’s head turned around and he stared at me. The smile still across his face, he began to speak. “Brother, it is time, relinquish your petty feelings of love and attachment. The Revenant needs only physical contact, only our presence to be combined with his. Come brother, Abysmal awaits. His words were clear despite him being outside of the car. As if he were still sitting next to me. After he spoke, he turned his head back into the creatures torso. He then let his arms drop, and stepped away from the creature. As if some sort of shock was sent through its body, the creature came alive in a frenzy. It glared down at Ethan, who passively looked up at the creature. The creature hunched over so that its head met face to face with Ethan. It then forcefully grabbed Ethan by his shoulders, somehow picking him up despite having no hands. Ethan did not struggle or make any signs of protest. A sharp distinct cracking sound became audible. The creatures blank surface where its face would be began to splinter, a long crack running down the center. The fissure reached its chin, and then its whole face erupted, becoming a growing hole in its head. Somehow its head began to expand, growing to inhumane proportions. Ethan began laughing, like a child laughs at someone making a funny face. A gaping void now present where its face would be, the creature began angling Ethan’s head first toward the void. In one quick motion, it forced Ethan into the void, until Ethan was no longer visible, completely consumed by the creature. The creature’s body began expanding and contorting to accommodate the extra mass, and its head began returning to its previous normal state. The creature now stood as It had moments before, no sign that it had just consumed a sixteen year old child. It took a single heavy stepped toward the car, before shattering into millions of shards of glass. The shards hung in the air for half a second, before dissipating into nothingness.
What just happened? My brother, my sixteen year old brother, had just been eaten by a strange figure, who then turned into glass and vanished. The air from outside flowed into the car, making me shiver. I glanced over at the seat Ethan had been sitting in minutes ago. Tears began streaming from my face. I can’t believe he’s gone. Whatever happened here, what ever had just occurred, was far beyond my understanding. Ethan somehow knew, somehow understood what that thing was and why it was it. He called it the Revenant. A word I had never heard in my life, nor the place he referred to as Abysmal. Like an animal sensing an imminent attack from a predator and fleeing, I knew I had to get as far away from this road as I could. Starting the engine and reaching over the close Ethan’s door, I thought about why this happened. Ethan had been perfectly fine before we drove onto this road, no mention of any of this crazy stuff before. I put the car in reverse and drove slowly, periodically checking the front of the car for any signs of Ethan or the Revenant. Turning around and driving forward seemed like a bad idea, as if I would end up in some loop the events happening again, only this time I would be taken. I knew I didn’t have to worry about any other cars coming down this road, this place was somehow disconnected from the reality I once knew. Ethan had been taken, and I wouldn’t let myself go through the same ordeal, the same unbelievable insanity again. I could not see the road meet up with the main road where he had first taken our detour, but I was determined to push on until I got there. A thought exploded in my head, almost an epiphany. Somehow, somewhere, I would see Ethan again, but on terms I would not enjoy. I had a feeling one of us would die then.
The Revenant awaits, stoic and alert, deep in Abysmal.
Credit To: BryceArtzUnlimited