What Lies Beneath

By Brian Hrischuk (Sun Valley High School, Aston, PA)

I could hear the multicolor leaves crinkle beneath his feet. I knew he would be here soon, he would find my door. I heard the loud whine of it opening, and I saw the bright sunlight of a mid October morning. Then, the loud bump of his first, second, third step. I fell from sight behind a root. His hair was long and brown, wearing a blood red shirt and shadowy black trousers. He padded across the floor right past my spot in the dark. Soon after I watched three more pass by, two boys one young and one a teenager, then a teenage girl.

I tracked them through my tunnels until I heard them speak.

“We should split up and see if we can find anything,” the man said.

“Okay but Jared, who will Tyler go with?” the girl said motioning to the young boy.

“I’ll take him,” Jared responded walking down a tunnel with the boy.

I decided to follow the girl and as she walked no more than thirty paces we heard a flutter of wings. A hideous form dropped from the ceiling, my brother.

He cracked his hideous neck and stood up to speak, “hello,” as he flicked a fat fly from his wart covered face. “My name is Bertrand! I am what you little piglets call a fairy!” He flew at her and pushed her to the floor standing before her. “And what would your name be hun?” he said as he drug a dirty finger from her neck down to her elbow.

She shivered as she choked out “E-Erin,” and pulled herself back away from him.

“Hold on hun. I just want to have a little taste of that there neck, after that you can have a nice long nap,” he said bringing his blade filled maw closer to her neck.

I ran at him, my feet leaving the ground and my shoulder just missing his elbow. I slammed into him and we tumbled to the ground, his sharp fingernails digging into my flesh.

“Randall, mind your own damn business!”

I jumped back off him as he slashed at me again. I shouted, “We cannot break the laws set in place by the elders for dealing with the humans! We cannot harm them.”

He chuckled before replying, “Oh, but brother they only apply when we are on the surface world, we do what we desire here.”

I charged at him but cut my run short, twisting around after hearing a scream. I watched as the other unnamed man slumped to the ground blood dripping from his lips and flowing from the open rip in his neck.

“So tasty. He is right Randall, we can feast down here,” my sister gristle slipped out between chews.

I shook my hairless head and screamed, “I don’t care! Leave them alone!”  I helped the girl up and told her to run and get away.

She took off, in the opposite direction from the exit passing by a stunned Bertrand and smiling back, “I’m sorry but I got a job to do down here Randall.” I knew my back would be sore as I felt a sharp pain in the back of my head and my vision went black.

I awoke to the dim light of a flame. My father sat in his throne, my siblings at his sides.

Raspily he spoke, “Dear son, I am told you betrayed your siblings, and for a human no less.”

I stood in silence.

“You dare play silent? Bertrand, seventy lashes.” Father said directing to the whipping room.

Later that day, I awoke from my pain induced slumber to the thin rays of light coming through the grate above, it was obviously getting late, I could not lose them. My back sore and bleeding I looked and saw the man Jared standing before me. “Oh hello Jared, what’s wrong?” I asked seeing his odd posture. I gasped as I noticed he was hanging from a rope wound around his neck. They had killed him. I had to hurry and save them. They were so special, so human.

Running along I heard a loud bang. I found an enraged Bertrand bombarding himself against a door.

“You little pig! I’m going to eat you like dessert!” he wailed as he continued.

I couldn’t believe my luck, I had found the kid in less than ten minutes.

Bertrand continued, “Little piggy! Little piggy! Hey Randall, use your knife on the door lock.”

 I knelt pulling my knife out and getting ready to break the lock when I pretended to slip and sent the knife into his fat gut and opened him up as he spilled out onto the floor. “Wish you luck brother, do better there than you did here,” I said opening the now unlocked door.

The boy and I ran for what felt like hours when we stopped hearing some angry grunts. I peeked around the corner seeing Grestle. I dodged down and shoved Tyler into the closest room which happened to be mine. “Stay here, and don’t touch any of that stuff, I found it all on the surface,” I said pointing at a crude workbench covered with human junk.  I stepped back out and saw Grestle.

She asked, “You find either of the kids yet?” I shook my head as she snorted, pushing me against the wall. “Scum.”

She began to trot down the hallway when I stuck my knife in her back and cut through her while catching her and setting her slowly on the floor.

“You…” She sighed as she grew eternally silent.

I returned to my room to find out that Tyler had run out and was bringing his sister back. They went into my room and walked over to the bench.

She smiled and picked up a picture frame.

“Hey! That’s mine.” I yelped grabbing it from her hands.

“No, it’s ours, look at it, it’s our parents.”

I peeked at it and noticed it was them. I handed it to her and I led them towards the door to leave.

A tear crept down my cheek as I watched them open the door, leave and say goodbye forever. I wished I could go with them, but in a way I was. I began to dream as my father’s sharp nails dug into my neck. Smiling, I started my eternal sleep, following my brother and sister. 

Meanwhile Erin stood staring at the picture as she noticed a corner bent, she pulled it out fixing it and seeing a small bald humanoid standing beside her in the picture. There was a note written as if to reassure him.

“I will be one of you in another life. -Randall”

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