Corse Party: Black Heart

Chapter Two

I whimpered quietly. The darkness was all around me and suffocating. My breathing became involuntarily heavy, and my chest began to heave. My breath turned into mist in the cold, thin air. I turned round and tried to feel for the door, but I couldn't find it. Panic seized me and I began to cry. All thoughts of the girl and her companions fled from my mind, as pure fear flooded my brain and took over my body. Shivering violently, I felt my knees begin to give way.

Suddenly there was a huge shudder beneath my feet and, with a cry, my weak legs gave way and I landed heavily on the floor. My eyes squeezed shut, as my limbs made a fleshy thud on the floor. I groaned, as I felt my legs twinge with a pain that promised bruises. When I opened my eyes, I was relieved to find that I could see. There was a dim flickering light coming from the centre of the room. I peered at it, my eyes still adjusting to the sudden light.

The source of light, as it turned out, was a number of candles upon a large wooden table, surrounded by eight figures. I gasped, as I realised they were children.

"You came. Good." I turned my head, as the little girl I had chased appeared behind me. "Now we can start our game."

I stumbled onto my feet, on limbs that felt like lead. Panic was bubbling in my chest.

"Y-you! What is this?" I demanded shakily.

The little girl stepped further into the light. Here, I could appreciate how ragged and dirty her red dress was. Her bare legs were covered in dirt up to the knees and her dark hair was matted and tangled. She stared at me with gray eyes, which were so very cold. She was no longer smiling.

"This is our game. Come...meet my friends."

As I froze with fear, the little girl reached forward and grabbed my hand. My eyes widened and I whimpered. Her hands were as cold and dead as ice. She dragged me towards the table, with inhuman strength.

"No." I whispered "No, no! I want to get ou-"

My voice stopped abruptly, as the girl released my hand at the edge of the table. My throat went tight as I realised the children I had noticed earlier were all staring up at me.

They were all standing upright, and their heads and bodies were covered with blankets, so that I could only see a portion of their faces. Except for one of the children, directly opposite me across the table. He, or she, was covered in what looked to be a large gown with long sleeves and a hood which covered their entire face. It seemed to be a dark shade of purple, although in the dim light I could not be sure. This particular child's presence disconcerted me, although I could not say exactly why.

The girl in the red dress turned to me.

"Now we can begin."

She placed a small paper doll under my nose.

"H-huh?"

It wasn't anything special, just a white paper figure.

"Take it."

I looked into the little girl's face. Her gray skin stretched tightly across her jaw, as she stared at me intently. I was certain now that something was very wrong, but I knew that if I tried to leave, she would not let me. And judging by the strength with which she had pulled me across the room, there would be little I could do to stop her. A shudder coursed through my body as I realised that this little girl and her friends were trying to perform black magic.

What should I do? What should I do? This was more sinister than I had predicted. But, if I could not leave, then what could I do? Should I continue to try and help her? Should I make a break for it? Into the park? Into the darkness? No. I was certain I would not make it that far. The only thing I could do, was continue, and hope that the children meant me no ill harm.

I would have to play the game.

With shaking fingers, I reached out and took the doll. It creased where my nails dug into its shiny, white surface. The girl let go. I swallowed.

"Hold it out." She whispered hoarsely. I couldn't tell but I thought she was getting excited. With my right hand, I held out the doll in front of me. Almost immediately, the children surrounding the table reached out, and grasped a side of it with a forefinger and thumb. The child in the robe reached out with a hand which was covered in a blotchy, red glove. It grasped clumsily at the paper, before achieving a grip with its entire hand.

I glanced around again. To my immediate left there was, what appeared to be a girl, with messy curls of hair escaping from her blanket, and to my right there was a tall boy. From his hood there was a glint of light which suggested he wore glasses. Both of them were facing me, and I couldn't help but get the impression they were smiling.

For a moment nothing happened. I stood awkwardly with my hand thrust in front of myself, clutching the doll. Then, I started, as the second body to my left, a girl, began to speak.

"S-sa.." she slurred in a croaky, high-pitched moan "Sa-achi-ko."

In the flickering candle light, I saw a wide smile appear on her face. It was framed by dirty, spiky, dark hair. Her teeth seemed small and sharp in the gloom.

"Sa-chi-ko!" From my right there came another cry, this time from a boy with pale blonde hair.

"Sa-chi-ko! Sa-chi-ko!"

The girl on my left joined in. Then the boy across from me, and the boy in glasses, and a smaller one, and another girl, and then the figure in the long gown, with a sickening, wet mumble. The children crowed the name, over and over, filling the room with sick, screechy cries.

"Sa-chi-ko! Sa-chi-ko! SA-CHI-KO! SA-CHI-KO!"

I began to panic, as the cries intensified. I couldn't understand what was happening. The noise seemed to seep into my brain, echoing cruelly in my skull. I brought my left hand to my head, clutching at my ears, but it didn't drown out the screams. I tried to tear my right hand from the doll, but I couldn't seem to move it.

"Stop it! STOP IT!" I cried "STOP! PLEASE STOP!"

"SA-CHI-KO! SA-CHI-KO! SAA-CHII-KOO!"

I screamed. The pain was too much to bear, taking over my mind, driving me insane. I screamed long and loud, but I couldn't even hear myself over the excruciating din.

"STOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPP! PLEASE STOP! I BEG OF YOU! STOP!"

With a terrible rip, that punctuated the noise, the paper doll tore into pieces. The children were silent, as each hand returned with a paper scrap. Panting and shaking, I stared down at the paper head I held in my hand. It's innocent, white face shone in the light.

My heart was thudding in my ears, the shadows of screams echoing in my mind. My mouth was wide open, and I was breathing heavily. I tried to drop the head, but I couldn't. My fist curled around it. I tried to step away, on trembling legs.

"No. You can't leave yet." The little girl was still here. She had not been chanting, but she was still behind me. "You will not leave."

Two hands shot out and grabbed my wrist, those of the girl and boy to either side of me. I gasped, as their cold, fleshy hands, clamped onto me. I tried to run, struggling in their grip, but they were too strong. They held me in place, and I was unable to move.

"What are you doing?! Let go! Let me go!" I cried.

All the children were smiling.

"You know you'll never leave." I shivered. The girls voice was in my ear, but I felt no breath, only a cold presence. "You see, the game is only just beginning."

The walls began to tremble, and I felt the ground beneath my feet shake. A terrible rumble built up in the air. I began to scream again.

"AAAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH !"

The little girl began to laugh, a sick high-pitched giggle, and I spotted her terrible, cold, dead, gray eyes in the corner of my vision. They were blazing. The children began to join in, wildly, and perversely. I watched, horrified, as one by one, they began to remove their hoods.

The girl to my left, with dead, gray hands, pulled down her blankets to reveal a gaping, mouth, saliva dribbling down her face and past her neck which bore a painful, red mark around it. Her eyes were also gray, and filled with madness.

Then, past her, the girl with spiky hair did the same. My breath caught in my throat as she revealed two bloody, gouged-out eyes, with tears streaming out of them and onto her wide, stretched smile.

Next, a boy, who seemed to bear no mark until blood began to spout down his face from a head wound. And then, a girl and a boy, both of whom were slashed into pieces, the long, red cuts decorating their body, and splitting their smiles in half. The boy beside me, had blood flowing steadily from behind his glasses. Then a little girl, smaller than all the others, with deep cuts all over her face. Finally, the child in the hooded gown, pulled the cloth awkwardly off its face. I gagged, as pure revulsion and horror made bile rise in my throat. A bloody mash of guts and skin, dripping and pulsating, had been sculpted into the crude figure of a human child. Empty holes and a long, thin, hollowed out smile were all that remained of a face. It opened its mouth wide and began to laugh, with a wet, sticky sound. The remains of a tongue were still visible, as blood splattered from its mouth. The creature reeked, it's scent making my stomach churn, causing me to gag violently.

The ground shuddered more violently, synchronizing with the children's evil, wicked laughs. I screamed louder, until I retched, and then screamed again. I couldn't stop. The horror I was witnessing, my mind simply couldn't take it in. The screams. The laughter. The quaking earth. And the blood. These children, these...monsters, they were covered in blood. So much blood. Too much blood.

The little girl's laughter was shrill and loud, as she clamped her cold, little hands onto my shoulders. She grinned as her nails bit into my flesh..

"NEVER LEAVE! NEVER LEAVE!" she crowed.

There was a great cracking noise, and I stared in horror as the splintered, wood floorboards of the hut began to split and fall away, leaving a deep black darkness underneath. My screams intensified as the boards beneath my feet fell away.

I clenched my body, as I prepared to fall. I was surprised to find myself suspended in mid-air. The table and the children, were likewise, hovering above an cold, empty abyss.

I stared down. It was pitch black, but I could feel a chill emanating from its depths. My screams had stopped and, unable to tear my gaze from the blackness, I whimpered quietly. Its darkness seemed to be sucking me in, drowning me.

My nightmarish revere was interrupted by the sudden silence of the children. My gaze slip from the depths to the figures still surrounding the table. They were smiling widely, but saying nothing. I realised, with a jolt, that the only thing keeping me from plummeting into the abyss was the grip of two, inhuman children. My heart sank.

"No...please, no..."

The grins only seemed to grow larger, sharp little teeth gleaming in the darkness. Tears rolled down my face.

I had never felt this way before. Never felt the grip of pure fear, like a fist curling around my heart, squishing it until the breath left my body at the sheer pain.

The little girl, who I had met, and chased and tried to help, and who ultimately I had been captured by, the inhuman little child with the burning gray eyes and her ragged, red dress, stepped into my field of vision. She stared at me long and hard, smiling wickedly, savouring my pain. Fresh tears dribbled down my cheeks.

"...Please..." I whispered "..please, don't do this.."

Slowly, she reached out, and touched my face. I shivered as her cold, clammy hand caressed my cheeks. With a finger, she brushed away a tear. She brought her hand back to her face, and grinned as she placed the tear in her mouth. Still with her mouth wide open, she began to gurgle. Little globules of spit and blood appeared at the corners of her mouth, and I could see that she had no tongue, only a grated, bloody stump. I began to sob, as she laughed cruelly.

"Please, no-"

I didn't have time to finish my sentence, as, with a shriek of laughter, the children gripping my hands let go. I felt the cold air whip at my skirt and hair, as I flew down, the table and children grew smaller and smaller. But their laughter still echoed in my ears, as I spiraled deeper and deeper, until the light above me vanished, and I was surrounded by darkness.

I could not scream, as there seemed to be no air in my lungs, no air around me. I stared upwards, paralysed watching my tears float above me like a sparkling trail. I felt my consciousness ebb, and a terrible pain spread through my chest. I had just enough time to think about Will, and wonder if she would worry about me, before the blackness closed around me, swallowing me whole.