The Bengal Beat

Come Find Me

He+knew+he+should%E2%80%99ve+been+sleeping+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Pixabay%2C+photo+credits+to+Free-Photos+%2F+9114+images%29.
He knew he should’ve been sleeping (Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to Free-Photos / 9114 images).

He knew he should’ve been sleeping (Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to Free-Photos / 9114 images).

Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to Free-Photos/ 9114 images

Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to Free-Photos/ 9114 images

He knew he should’ve been sleeping (Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to Free-Photos / 9114 images).

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Matt checked the time. It was 11:54. He sighed knowing this was going to be one of those nights. Those nights where he tossed and turned, constantly shifting positions, trying to find the one, over and over and over again. He would inevitably give up on sleeping and mindlessly scroll through his phone, likely watching YouTube videos or thumbing through any of the countless social media feeds he felt like. He’d arrive at school the next day, bleary-eyed and exhausted. He’d be subjected to the endless “you look tired” and the “how’d you sleep last night?” with each and every question he’d bite down the urge to reply sarcastically. This was the norm or the norm ever since Josh disappeared anyway.

One thing Matt could have never anticipated was a text from Josh. When it buzzed at the top of Matt’s screen, interrupting the umpteenth conspiracy video, Matt was completely taken aback. He bolted upright in bed with a flood of countless different thoughts in his tired mind. How could? He’s been missing for months. It’s just a prank. It has to be. There was something particularly odd about this message, besides the fact that it was after his disappearance. It read: I need you to do something for me. Before Matt went any further, he texted his sister, Taylor. Hey, Josh just texted me, don’t tell anyone. He needs me to do something for him. I just wanted to let u know. With that taken care of, Matt decided to send Josh a reply. He typed: R u OK? I’ve been so worried about u! As soon as the message delivered, a lightning fast answer appeared. No time for that! I need you to do something for me. Matt, annoyed at his lost friend’s evasiveness, fired back accusingly. NO! U owe all of us some answers! Me, Sarah, Everyone! Where r u? R u OK? What happened to u? Josh replied: I NEED YOU TO DO SOMETHING FOR ME NOW! Hoping to demystify Josh’s disappearance, Matt relented. Fine, what is it?  Josh replied. Come find me.

Just as Matt grasped the complete and utter ridiculousness of what was going on, something stranger still happened. A mad cackling filled the room and freezing cold hands wrapped around Matt’s neck. Matt frantically clawed at the icy hands clamped around his throat, his legs flailing uselessly through the air. He wheezed and sputtered. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he hopelessly struggled. As inky blackness overtook his vision, Matt ceased his struggle. His hands landed defeated onto the bed. He was left only to murmur and cry as his life slowly slipped away. There was nothing he could do, this is where it ended. He whimpered one final time.

CRACK!

Light streamed into his eyes. Matt lazily opened them and was completely flabbergasted as to how he was still alive. He frantically patted himself down and assured himself that, yes, he was indeed still alive. But before he could relish in a newfound appreciation for life, a new and somehow more horrifying realization hit him. Something was very, very wrong. He looked around him and took stock of his new surroundings.

He was in a forest. The earth around him was smooth and glassy. It was covered by massive, black trees, as if they were carved from volcanic obsidian. They were as tall as skyscrapers and almost as thick. As he gazed upward, he took note of the off-colored canopy. Atop the colossal trees, lay an indescribably complex tangle of branches densely populated by ashen white leaves. If the trunks were carved of obsidian, the leaves would be of stark, white marble. The most disquieting aspect of this forest lay in the bark of the trees. Every so often the smooth surface of the bark would be interrupted by a face. These faces were contorted into expressions of insanity, silently screaming into the void. Matt could feel their manic eyes trained on his each and every move.

Matt clamored to his feet clumsily. The moment he did, a path formed beneath him. A bright orange streak shot outward from his feet. It continued out of sight. Matt decided he had no choice but to follow it. As he put one foot in front of the other, he took note of the total lack of sound his steps produced. Despite his abandonment of the faith, Matt prayed that if any being could help him in this moment that they would do so quickly. Alas, it was for naught, he was in its territory now. Nothing could save him.

After what felt like an eternity, Matt came to an old mansion. It was the kind of mansion that had seen countless sultry southern nights. It was three stories tall and it was three times as wide. It had a grand porch that stretched across the face of the house, the kind where you would normally sit and drink iced tea. But there was nothing normal about this place. Where the windows should’ve been, there were none. The frames were there, but there was no glass. It was as if someone just stapled window frames onto the wall. The door swung open, beckoning Matt inside. Before he could weigh his options, it happened again.

Ha-ha-ha…ha-ha…ha…ha…ha

It was the same voice as before, but this time the laughs were jagged and missing inflection. It was like someone was fake laughing. Matt spun around and almost fell backwards from the shock of what he saw. He saw a marble statue in a charcoal suit and scarlet tie. It was standing about thirty feet from him. It was looking down as if it was racked by sobbing. A terrifying realization struck Matt. The statue wasn’t sobbing, it was laughing. Matt blinked and suddenly the statue was within arm’s reach. It looked up at him, and it was grinning widely. It had the look of a child who’d just received a new toy. It had teeth like a shark, rigid and innumerable. Matt dashed for the open door and slammed it shut behind him.

Oh, come on! We’ve just begun, there is much more fun to be had.

Matt heard it bellow. Its voice was that of a televangelist. It was as smooth as glass. Under normal circumstances, it would have been charming but under these, it was chilling. Matt frantically searched his surroundings for some place, any place, to hide. He quickly found some stairs and dashed up them. In his haste, he had no time to contemplate the contorted, hellish furnishings nor the incomprehensible tangle of hallways and rooms. He only had time to note the danger of the situation. As he bolted from room to room, that thing continued to taunt him.

Oh, where did you go? I just want to have some fun Matt!

Matt flew into a bathroom. Suddenly the statue appeared in the mirror. Matt flung open another door and sprinted into yet another hallway.

No need to be such a spoil-sport!

At the end of this hallway was, a library. Matt knew that any confined space like this would be a death sentence. Just before he started to run again, the statue appeared in front of him. Before it could speak, Matt stampeded past it.

Oh, come on Matt! I can’t be that ugly!

As Matt flew from room to room he realized he couldn’t keep running forever. He needed a place to hide now.

You and I both know that no one is coming to save you!

He finally came upon what seemed to be a bedroom, with a large oak wardrobe and a small bed. It was just big enough to hide under. He dropped into a crawl and slid under the bed.

Where oh where could Matt be? Hmm… However, do I to find you?

Oh, I know!

With a thunderous crash, the bed rocketed into the wall. The statue was looking Matt dead in the eyes. As Matt scampered to his feet, the statue clamped its hand onto Matt neck.

No running this time! Ha-ha-ha! You are all mine!

As Matt was lifted into the air and tears welled in his eyes, he realized that while he couldn’t escape, it left enough room for Matt to breathe. It wanted him to scream and sob, it took some kind of perverse pleasure from his terror. Matt decided not to give it the satisfaction and dried his eyes.

Don’t worry! I’ll make you squeal!

The fingers on the statue’s other hand elongated into daggers. It pushed them into Matt’s struggling stomach. When Matt felt the excruciating pain, he couldn’t help himself and screamed like a child. Warmth flowed down Matt’s legs like crimson rivers and the air in his lungs filled with a metallic scent. He wailed, and eventually gurgled as impossibly hot blood filled his throat.

That’s what I like to hear!

Matt felt the darkness calling to him. He let it take him and his whole world went black.

As the clock chimed twelve, Taylor’s phone lit up.

I need you do to do something for me.

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