Today’s piece of flash fiction is brought to us by Phil Rossi. A writer, a musician, and an embracer of new media, he has a passion for story-telling matched only by the pleasure he derives from keeping his fans awake at night. Crescent, Rossi’s debut novel, was originally released as a podcast in 2007 and has since lured 20,000 listeners into a dark, twisted world of nightmares and things that go bump in the night. Phil Rossi’s writing has been paralleled to Stephen King, Philip K. Dick, and HP Lovecraft. He has a flair for vivid and often chilling imagery that lends itself to engrossing narratives and an undertone of inescapable, creeping dread.
Phil is a professional singer-songwriter in the Washington DC metropolitan area. His unique brand of Alt-Country/Rock and Roll, combines influences from 80′s New Wave to Blue Grass. In 2003, he was nominated by the Washington Area Music Association for Best New Artist. Phil lives in outside of Washington, DC in Virginia with his wife, daughter, and menagerie of rescued animals. He believes the need for sleep is a myth.
Love, hate, pain, and loss radiated from her like microwaves. Raw and unfiltered, the cast-off emotions were damaging, like ionized particles—Jonas could feel each one like a white hot poker stab to his heart, but he felt none of his own. The biological imperative for survival had a stranglehold on the very feelings that made him human. Because to feel would lead to hesitation, and just one tiny crack in his resolve…No.
The moment had arrived at last.
He focused on his fingers, splayed across the glass and glowing pink. The chamber beyond their touch pulsed with such brilliant urgency that it penetrated his flesh. Each surge of luminance was a lifetime.
And he saw his Emma, soulmate and best friend, in the depressurization chamber.
Crouching amongst heavy drilling equipment, she looked like an angel that had just landed in the wrong neighborhood.
She was naked.
Her skin was smooth, her bones and organs still on the inside, against all odds and recent ravages.
His own reflection in the glass was slack when it should have been wearing a mask of torment, regret, and panic.
The abomination. Anamelech, from the abyss. Hunched, with its one massive, glaring black eye full of infinite hatred. Twin fans of serrated bone rose like the wings of a beetle, covered in viscera from the purple flesh of the beast’s back.
The beast. Ejaculate from the dark side of the moon.
By will alone, Emma, sweet, lost Emma, had dragged herself into the depressurization chamber, despite the consuming presence of the beast that had claimed her flesh. And it was Emma’s unbreakable will that allowed her to close and seal the exit before Anamelech could become aware of what was happening.
All around Jonas, alarms screamed like the voices of the orbital outpost’s dead crew. Were they trying to convince him to act? Or not to act? Jonas was about to send his wife into space, and still he could not feel.
They all equated to doom. A voice that did not sound like his own warned from a distant place:
You’re waiting too long.
Another minute and you’ll feel something.
Send them into space.
The rest of the universe should have mattered more to Jonas, should have caused a greater sense of urgency, but of course it didn’t. The smeared leavings of a soul forever lost, a streaking handprint on the inside of the glass told him that nothing mattered anymore. He was the lone survivor and if he didn’t blow sweet Emma into space, a rescue team would arrive in three days, find her intact, and ferry her back to Houston. The lone survivor of a mysterious disaster and her secret passenger.
And once on humanity’s soil…
Emma’s hands slapped against the glass and Jonas did not flinch. He looked at her palm, trying not to remember how her delicate, slender fingers felt when they stroked his hair. He placed his palm against the glass. It wasn’t time to remember. It was time to pull his hand away and get to work. The hatch release, protruding from the wall dug into his waist. Not far. Drop your hand. Pull the pin. It’s that easy.
“Don’t release the hatch,” Emma pleaded, her voice sounding very much like her own through the overhead speaker grate. The beast is good at deceit.
Jonas closed his eyes, his hand fell, and his fingers wrapped around the cold emergency release.
He pulled the pin and the air temperature plummeted almost instantly, the glass frosting over and obscuring his wife’s screaming face. His feet lost contact with the deck but his mind clung to the living world for longer than it should have, allowing a glimpse of his hands, which weren’t hands at all, but fleshy hooks. The screaming continued, but it was the shared voice.
The voice and the rage of the beast.