The Sleeping Lands
Sunday, February 11, 2007
She awoke to the cacophony of unsettling sounds. She was not a woman easy to stir, she was not of boundless and bundled nerves. Her gait was of determined steps and her movements of the most precise and definite. She was of savvy and not flights of fancy, for that of which her sister was guilty. A trait she can only with passing, endear her sister all the more for. She lay, with patulous lids drawn, discerning the cause of her alarmed rousing. She sought first the culprit most credulous: That of debris, wild and whipped from the stables by the wind, flittering against the glass of her window pane. This thought terminated as abruptly as it had occurred, sure as she had become it was not this discord that had awaken her to nervousness.

It was then, through firm scrutinizing, that she heard the efflorescent labored whimpering from her sisters chambers. She slued her fair delicate legs, as grace and poetry from under the bedding. Her nightgown pattered as she bent forward to light her carrying lantern. The last of her matches had been used in the birth of the eve when she was taken of insomnia. Where in sleeps stead she read of a maladroit letter, januis clausis, by the tawny light of that once glorious lantern that now sat cold and indifferent.

As of that maladroit letter, upon which her mind has circled as a buzzard of carrion does assess the smells and sights of its ultimate desire. For its simplicity, it was all the more heart achingly beautiful, those letters from the young man whom she had left in Novgorod.

Those streets of Novgorod so full of pestilence and death for a young lady and man in love. Plague and vermin cared not for the simple emotions of man and woman. There was, what little could be drawn , incentive by decree of the sons of Russia, in the inelastic lands of north Siberia, cold Siberia, stagnant Siberia of dark and lumbering and sleeping lands. Where the sons of Russia did banish their Gorgons and Hecatonchires, to a domain of interminable death and monstrous cold. Free settlement to those Gorgons, to those Hectonchires of the sons of Russia. For the gluttony of land, their unquenchable demands, the seizure of Siberia would be made by these creatures repugnant and devoid of moral. Through reigns of colonization of this vast land both wicked and majestic would Russia grow.

Yet these malefactors, unruly and obstreperous, they knew would be tamed only by the arable flesh of an inamorata. The sons of Russia gave incentive to those dainty and fair who sought amelioration. So did they come from Russia and sought something of future in vast Siberia. She began entrainment with the lone cortege of her sister, of nascent womanhood, to this land of dancing dusky phantasms upon the blanched Champaign.

For where in Novogrod she had want, here in the land of wanton, all was fait. She chose to bridle her hearts desires, for the alms of survival of her sister and she. Such a noble thing to be done, to wed a gorgon, bountiful with land free, and for behavior commendable, a sentence in the Gulag ephemeral.

Her husband, slumbered beyond the purgatory of the sitting room, complementary to the chambers of either sister. He was of thirty, stark, and held a cold pestilence in his watching silent eyes. He beset the quarters of his wife, only when his manhood was ravenous. It was thought to be, that her sister, upon advent, would too enter into wedlock with one of these beasts of the settlement. Through the passing summers and the winters, she could not bring herself to damn her sister to be scoured and pitted such as she had endured. So her sister became a precious and guarded altar.

It was her sister, of vaginal naiveté, that her mind was concerned at present. Her mind as definite as her gait. With arms lengthened she began to grope in the obscurity of nights void. Passing the foot of her bed, her hands met clumsily the door jam and the knob with a clatter. In the emptiness of the air of the hall she considered her sister, the lone thought that her husband had taken weary of her, and sought the spoils of her fresh and virgin sister. He had never before in their residence done as such, though she could find no other plausible cause of the eerie and dire whimper. Still permeating each crevice of the old house. Still unrelenting from her sisters chamber.

Through the cold and dim hall she ambled. Lit only briefly by the faint dancing beams of moonlight that snuck solemn from an open door at the halls end. She felt no anger, nor jealousy, only morose, at the horror she had herself released upon her dear sister. For she was certain it was her husband who had stole across, and into the boudoir. Yet, as she came upon the door ajar, it was not her husbands form she discovered in horror.

She was rapt by the unutterable spectacle; a husk, both gaunt and leathery, with a sheen most inhuman, hunched over her sisters lower extremities. Her sisters limbs jerked fiercely in an interminable convulsion. The torso flopped as a fish upon a trawlers dry deck. The night gown terse against the stomach and breast.

Her sisters face was rigid with terror, contorted and jerked away and upward to the farthest degree from the thing that feasted on the fresh and delicate groin. It was a tremendous fight to flee that had been lost, yet still was fought defiant. Her sisters mouth, a ghastly instrument of heart wrenching whimpers and tones. Faint and piercing yet so low as almost inaudible.

It was these sounds that had stirred and summoned her to the room. The thing feasting upon the convergence of the inner thighs was not of the night, nor was it of this world. Its flesh hung from its bones. The muscles of its neck worked and throbbed with strenuous animated motion. It became aware of her presence in the doorway, lifting face from feast, unperturbed by an audience.

Its eyes were large smooth coals. Two slits for its nose, with flaps of opaque milky skin hung over them. Its mouth, was something indefinable, an open maw, where lips should be was in their stead a ridge of scarred and perforated tissue, ovate. Its tongue, moving wildly inside the concourse of its suction cup mouth, was sharp and pointed. Its tongue gave the only signal of life to the stoic and indifferent thing.

It returned to its barbaric banquet, its mouth applied securely to the contours of the pelvis once more. She focused on the ocean of carmine stains upon the bed linen. Rushing forth from the hole the creature had made in her sisters womanhood, as it had moved its head to observe her ubiquity.

The very being of her skin overcome with a light tingling, her heart beating boldly. She fell, it seemed, in her trance of terror, down the length of the hall into the sitting room. Her left hand tore ornaments from the relatively barren walls, as she sought balance in her dash towards her husbands bedroom. Her gown churned violently in her frantic commotion. Thoughts darted through her mind, muddled and incongruent. Had he fallen to the voracious mandible? Was she subsequent? Had there been any mercy on the settlement?

The commotion of her harrowed passage through the sitting room brought her husband to the door, sliding quickly his jacket and trousers over himself. She fell ill-at-ease into his arms from her furious pace. She kept her head trained upon the sitting room, panting and inarticulate.

His questions met with no resolution, to no avail. He let her slip from his arms down upon the floor, stepping back into his room, he seized his musket. She scrambled upon the floor through the expanse of the open space, the vulnerability of which spurred her towards the bastion of nightstand and bed. She was resistant to consolation, as the only words she uttered were her sisters name. He inquired if they had been seized by a man of the settlement. She tensely shook her head.

He galloped into the sitting room, and vanished into the oblique hall. She sat cradling herself. Her sisters ominous haunting whimper endured.

Moments later her husband advanced, at such a speed as to terrify her ever further. He rushed into the room, procuring a subordinate jacket and dinged slacks. He grabbed her arm from under and jerked her to her shaky feet. Pushing her through the door of his bedroom, thus into the sitting room, they exited from the kitchen entrance. He slung the supplementary jacket and trousers to her, as he propelled her forward with a massive shove, his eyes watchful upon their retreat. She scoured the settlement madly, open doors rattled in the wind, a Hectonchire lay in blood soaked snow, his body a mangled undecipherable catastrophe.

Her husband herded her towards the stables. They sought a strong horse for which to pull a carriage. He made her change into the trousers as he looked for a steed. His search ended when he discovered all of the mares and all of the studs had been mutilated in a horrific fashion. Their bellies and their genitals had been cut with what seemed the precision of a surgeons scalpel.

He called her name firmly yet with a disquieting tone. She ran towards him, stepping from the gates of the stalls, he thrust her in the direction of the back entrance of the stable, away from the dazzling bloodshed.

They tore through the field, toward the boreal forest. It was known to both that past the wood, there sat a KVD station. Those watchers of the settlements. If they did not find assistance there, then at the very least, it would be further ground between them and It. The thicket and branches of the forest aggreived their vulnerable flesh and resisted their entrance. As if boding them not to encourage the evil they had witnessed into its tranquility.

As they bounded over fallen trees, her foot turned as she slipped upon a patch of frost, she slid treacherously to the bottom. The ravine welcomed her, the night gown garments bundled in her arms wafted towards the snow below. Her husband skirted down the side of the incline towards the ravine in which she lay, He reached for her arm, but was engrossed by observance of her night gown and garments upon the sterling white embankment. He reached for them, and attempted to sage the modicum of blood upon it. Had she wounded herself in her fall? She shook her head frenzied to his inquisition, clawing desperately to get to her feet, her leg injured and un-abiding. She reached her hand out to him, weeping and calling his name.

He realized at once, by the telling of the stains placement, what it indeed was. His brow lowered from concern to disgust, he hurled the garment at her, tersely blaming her and her sister for bringing the beast to their settlement by way of their catamenia. He relinquished her to the night, loping up the ravine as with evanescence into the night.

For moments afterwards, she could hear the snapping of twigs under his boots. Soon they too faded. It was silent, and all the more painful for her. She sat shivering, her ankle screamed of agony. She fought every inclination to move. To abate her breath, to exhale as quietly and softly as possible, but the more she fought her breathing, the louder it appeared to become. She was frozen with fear, and this fear made her unable to even turn her head, to move her eyes, for she felt it would alert it of her nook. She knew her damnation ensued.

The menses continued from her pelvis. She choked the tears and kept the curses contained to thoughts. Every sound in the forest seemed to echo, every bird seemed to lumber, every nocturnal creature seemed to tumult.

Her eyes remained transfixed upon the incline's top from which she had slid, no more than a man and a half's height above her. She imagined what the thing would look like suddenly appearing, attempting to brace herself for the startling revelation. She continued to picture its visage floating into view.

Nothing she imagined had prepared her for the actualization of these fears.

As she blinked, its head appeared at the distance, looking down upon her, those smooth coal eyes devouring her soul as an appetizer to oblivion. Her throat tensed, closing with each inhalation, she choked each time, only her desperate exhalations escaped. Her chest and head shook wildly from this action. She still lay still, afraid any movement would encourage its encroachment.

They stared each other down, she felt the moment as infinite. It ascended the incline, suddenly its head jerked upwards, its tongue jetted out of its maw, and flicked and danced frenzied in the air. It rattled its head in strict movements, and finally, it shrugged its bony promethean shoulders, and its leathery draped hide rustled with the sound of a mass of winged creatures, as it shot up the ravine and into the dark.

She lay there, the cold slowing her blood, her mind ravaged and wrecked. Her thoughts were distilled, and she was left swimming in the memories of a warm afternoon upon her grand fathers farm, a field of flowers, yellow and orange warmed her fractured mind, through the remainder of the night, and into the first rays of light. Her eyes were void and empty, the only sign of intelligence was the constant and unceasing sound that emanated from her turquoise lips, it was the sound the thing made in its flight into the cold deadly night from above her.


"What news of the settlement?"

"Its, unfathomable. it's a perverse massacre. Words do it not justice, and eyes should not behold it. I do not relish the report we must compose. Id just as soon forget the spectacle. It looks as though one of the convicts went into a blood lust. Not even the horses survived. Except, strangely, all of the settlements canines, in their pens, are alive, the only living creatures left behind.

What have you?"

"We found a woman, not far off from this body. She was alive, I don't think she will ever be the same, besides necessary amputation of her right arm, and both of her legs, her mind is gone. She's taken with delerium now. If you can call that living, then we have one survivor, we'll have to look at the records to identify her. This one, though, is peculiar. He left the wood, at a break neck pace, coming towards the clearing, and down that steep hill, he lost his footing, if you note the skid marks here. See. He then fell, here is a jutting slab of ice, he tripped upon that, and when he landed, he impaled his shoulder upon the jagged remains of this stump."

"Do you think He was the one who killed all those people?"

"No, signs of distress in the snow here, show, that while the wound was gaping and bleeding profusely, partly due to his attempts to continue moving, he managed to pull himself off of the stump and got to his feet. He was trying to get away. Back there, he dropped his musket.

These puddles of blood are from that wound. Theres four puddles, see. Then his efforts stop drastically, he just drops right about… here. While that's a fair amount of blood there, there should have been more, considering no blood remained in the wound, or in any other portion of his body for that matter. One of our officers made an incision at several points, nothing.

Not a drop.

Its as if he was sucked dry."