The Last Step

I pinch my arm in disbelief.

Carnage. Slaughter. Evil. I try the feel of each word on my tongue, but none is adequate to describe… “this”.

I find myself surrounded by bits and pieces of human flesh and bones. The once green forest floor now painted red.

The gore is scattered here and there, but concentrated at the cavern’s mouth.

Who or what caused this nightmarish scene… humans? beasts? or more likely perhaps, something out of this world. Let’s find out.

I inhale deep to muster the courage, but it has adverse effects. The stench of fresh human meat makes my stomach tumble and rumble.

First step. Drip says the detached leg up in the tree… blood falling onto the forest floor in a steady rhythm — the rhythm of death.

All wires are tripped, survival instincts screaming at me to turn back.

Should I?… No, I have to get to the bottom of this.

I move further in among the dead, careful not to trip on flesh nor blood, and determined to make sense of my world again.

There lay a torso… or at least I think that’s what it is. It is barely recognizable at this point. MOVE.

Another step. *squish* I jump up and almost trip over my feet as I feel something unpleasant underneath my right foot. A hand marinated in blood.

I slowly lift my foot and make the rest of the way into the cave, mindful of the gore and doing my best not to throw up.

Torches are aligned along the cavern wall. I wonder if someone got here before me? It might just be survivors…

As I reach deeper into the cave, I notice a small girl wearing a tattered dress. She is trembling and has a frightened look on her face… the sole survivor of this carnage?

I put on a friendly and hopefully confident facade. “Don’t worry now, my lady, we will soon be out of here.”

She looks at me with teary eyes. Must be traumatized, poor girl. I almost lost myself while merely viewing the aftermath of this hellish event, while she likely saw it happen.

“Now, come here, take my hand. It will be fine.”

Her small feet move across the cavern floor, slow but steady. I take her hand into mine and try to keep myself from trembling. Hmm. Her hold is very strong for such a small girl.

Oh god, it hurts. My hand is becoming redder by the moment, the grip tightening. I look at the girl again and see that what I mistook for a frightened look, all that trembling, was actually her trying to restrain herself.

PLEASE NO. I manage to take one step backward, her mouth growing wide and saliva dripping down from rows of sharp teeth. I manage to take one more step away from her before she begins to feast upon my body.

The Last Step.

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