Jason tried to move his hands but couldn’t. He attempted to move his legs, but they too held fast. His eyes were open, but he saw nothing but darkness. He heard whispers.
“Do I have company?” someone asked. “Ooh, I do. I do. I can hear you.”
Jason tried again to move, but he couldn’t lift his hands. He knew he was on all fours and his straining eyes told him the darkness was absolute. Whoever just spoke was close, maybe mere feet away. It was a male voice, although high in pitch. Jason said nothing.
“The itches come like insects,” the man in the dark said. “Biting and nipping at you, but you can’t scratch them. Oh no, you can’t scratch them. I pulled my arm free, but my hand stayed behind… Look! Oh no, you can’t look. You can’t see. I can’t see. I try to scratch, but my stump is awkward.”
Jason heard a tapping sound followed by manic laughter. He remained silent.
“Why don’t you speak? I know you’re there. I… can… hear… you… breathing. Yes! Yes, I hear you breathing. You’re friends with the darkness, be friends with old Jake too.”
“Where are we, Jake?” Jason asked, expecting to be attacked at any moment.
“Yes. Yes. Oh, yes. That’s me. Are you a lazy retch too? Lazy, that’s me. That’s what I am. So stay here is what I do. Remain in the dark, Jake. So that’s what I do. One down, though, three to go. My arm has escaped. She thinks I can’t, but I can. I did. Look! Oh, no. No looking, no seeing. But three more and I’m free.”
More laughter and more tapping.
“Jake, where are we?”
A woman’s voice called out in the darkness. “Jason?”
“Jason, it is you. Where am I? I can’t move. Oh, God, I can’t move,” Zoe screamed.
“Yes, scream,” Jake said. “She likes it when we scream.”
“You’re in hell, Zoe. Why did you do it? Why?”
“Hell? What did I do? Oh, baby, what did I do?” She screamed again between her tears. “Jason, I can’t move. Help me!”
Jason felt warm breath on his face, and he could hear panting. “You know what you did. Christ, Zoe, you killed Emily. We’re here because of what you did.”
“What? Emily? Who’s Emily? I haven’t… I haven’t killed anyone. What are you saying?”
“You killed our daughter, Zoe. Madness or not, you know what you did.”
More tapping, then Jake said, “Not long now, and the other one will be free too. Oh, yes. You beauty. Come on now. Up you come.” Tap. Tap. Then a crunching, grinding sound.
“Jason, please, help me. I’m scared. I love you, baby. Please. I don’t know where I am. Why can’t I move?”
“Welcome to hell, Zoe. Don’t worry, it gets worse from here on.” He no longer felt the warm breath on his face but could still hear something panting. No, not panting, something was sniffing… It sounded like… Hobs.
Zoe screamed, “There’s something touching me… No!” Her voice became frantic. “There’s something touching my stomach… Our baby. Oh, God. My baby… I can feel its teeth.” She gasped and then screamed again. “Help me!”
Jason’s right arm broke at the wrist as he attempted to free himself.