City of Bones

by Dexter F. I. Joseph

We all walked noiselessly along the long dark hallway, only for a second, until Michael stepped on something which made a crushing sound. It was a bone. Everything was made of bone: the walls, the markings on them, and the broken statues standing around the entire building. We had walked through the building for more than an hour, fearful, tired, but alert, our eyes heavy but sleep keeping a distance away from all fifteen of us. We had come to this new world excitedly, but right now, no sense of ebullience or thrill filled my nostrils or those of my colleagues. Just sweat, dirt, fear and more fear.

We called it The Rift, a strange electromagnetic energy found at the hidden section an ancient cave discovered a few weeks ago. Thrilled by this revelation, twenty one of us were selected to survey this new discovery, and it had led us like a pathway into this place, a different world, a different place from what we have known. A new realm theorized to be merely resting on our own.

What was here? It was not much science or mysticism; there was just a dark kind of nature littered everywhere. Trees and stems all seemingly alive and dangerous, those and endless bones of various haunting sizes and shapes, and then there was just but ten of us remaining now.

There had been no escape from what seemed to be hunting us, whatever they were, so swift on foot and loud as alarms of screeching demons. Where were we? At the center of the realm, built within the gigantic bone- claws of something monstrous and long dead, its width stretching meters and long in length, the walls were tall and formed a large looking castle, strong but looking old and ancient, with cracks littered around it. Cracks, old swords, spears and more bones.

The bones littered everywhere, even as we ventured into the scary building looking too deathly to be treading advisable, yet we had not ventured in but for lack of choice. In search for a means to prolong our lives, long enough to find a way out of this city made of bones, built on bones, and disseminated with bones.

“Luke’s getting heavier.” James said through the darkness. I couldn’t see much of his face through the darkness nor could I tell certainly what emotion he wore above the blood stained face, but I was sure he felt exactly what I did: weak, in pains, blind to the darkness, and frightened to my wits. “With my injuries, I—I can’t carry him much longer.”

“He’s getting heavier because he’s losing consciousness. He’s lost lots of blood….” I panted, struggling to breathe as well as hold in the pain I felt from every scuffle I made against the bare floors. I looked straight ahead and at the front, just before me walked Frank. He had not said much since we began shuffling through the passage way, through the half darkness which our torches could do little damage to, through the rusty smell of death and dust and bleak abandon. Just like the other ten, he moaned and scuffled with each step.

“You think there’s an end to this stupid passage? A doorway, maybe? Another Rift which could take us out of this death trap?!” Lemoha snarled, cursing with every strength he could think muster. He had lost an eye already, an arm too. It was surprising that he still was walking….. and cursing.

I called them Crawlers, creatures different from every other thing we had seen since we arrived a day ago, which had been nothing but odd, unbelievable and bloodsucking. They were indescribable, without much to take note of, because they were faster than the eyes meet. They had piercing screeches which came behind them as they rattled around in hunt and conquest. They glowed bright blue and never feared anything we showed to them: the guns, the lasers, the knifes. Nothing. Their skins felt scaly and tough, and could scrape through anything it touched.

This was all I knew, and was all the others could describe too. Regardless, they were ruthless, and in a matter of hours, had devoured twenty one members of the expedition. And they just kept coming back, attracted to maybe blood, maybe our meaty skins, maybe our fears, maybe the bones we owned, like every other one lying around the city made of bones, city of bones as we called it on arrival.

“That doesn’t worry me as much as the fear that these creatures, these crawlers are like right here, right behind us, or ahead, waiting for us to walk into our very deaths.” Sarah breathed out, her voice was shaky, husky like she had screamed all morning, and she had. “I knew this was all a bad idea”, she muttered.

Indeed she had stated from when we walked through the Rift that her coming was on compulsion on her part and us venturing into something so dark and beyond our understanding was wrong. She had said it as an opinion then, now it was more or less a haunting reality. Then we heard a heavy thud against the floor, following cracks of bones.

I turned like the others, faced my torchlight towards Luke and James, and there they were, James kneeling, and Luke lying motionless over the floor. Five others hurried over to them both. One placed his hand over his neck for a pulse, then came a sigh of disappointment.

“He’s… He’s dead.” He said.

I shut my eyes in pain as the news burned through me. He was a good friend, humorous, lively…. now dead. Almost immediately, we heard the distant cries from far behind, at the dark end of the long hallway. Only it wasn’t dark. Just at the distant glowed a bright blue light, following the rattling of a dozen stomps, low distant grunts. The bones and stone fragments beneath our feet began to crepitate…..

They were coming.

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