Return of the Demons

By George Woodruff


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The day was overcast, the sun's harmful rays shielded from the earth by a thick cover of clouds. He moved along the walkway, avoiding those who gave him an uneasy feeling. He looked about himself, at the towers that reached into the sky, great monoliths and monuments to his race's architectural ingenuity. Somehow, he felt no satisfaction with them, perceiving them, as some small creature must view tombstones as it wandered through a deserted cemetery or necropolis. He shivered as the thought sent a chill down his back.

He heard his name called and turned, seeing some of his friends down a side street, he changed his direction and made his way towards them. There was a peculiar look about them, a sense of worry and dread that he too felt, like there was some impending doom looming over them or lurking about the fringes of their perception. He came to a stop at the edge of the small gathering, exchanged greetings in the customary fashion and waited for the conversation to resume.

Fear, speculation and unease were the substance of the conversation. Rumours of strange things, creatures unknown to any science had been seen. Hideous and revolting in appearance they were described, when any description could be got from an actual witness. Too often those who had seen the beasts had been driven mad, gone completely insane at the sight of these rumoured beings.

The powers that be of course denied their existence, calling them fiction, fabrication, superstition and the figment of hysterical malcontents. They, the great ones, the rulers assured one and all that this was just not possible, that theirs was a nation, a race supreme in the universe. That this world was theirs, and that tales of eldritch horrors from beyond the gulfs of time were just fancy. They denounced the ancient, half forgotten legends as myth and old wives tales. Stories of bogeymen meant to frighten the young and foolish.

He spent the afternoon, or what remained of it, with his friends, listening to the stories, finding credence in them, a veracity that the Elders could not dismiss with their lofty pronouncements. He feared for his people, his race, for this, his nation. They had ruled the earth for ever it seemed, yet inside he knew, he knew without a doubt, that there had been others, different people, a species not like his, that had roamed and ruled the earth before theirs had claimed it.

He had read the forbidden texts and manuscripts, found mouldering in the forgotten stacks of ancient libraries. Seen the artefacts hidden away in the crypts and catacombs of the archives. Things that were of hellish design, with a geometry that boggled the mind, made his skin crawl and shiver. Things that no one in their right mind would have devised, or even dreamed of, things found in the jungles and deserts of this world, things that tempted his mind with madness.

He left his friends to return home, to dine alone, as was his wont. He could not stomach eating if the conversation were to continue as it had all day. He needed the peace and quiet of his home if he was to dine. He read a little after returning to his sanctuary, setting his mind at ease as he did so. Then he dined, simply. Food that would not excite his stomach either, and then returned to his books to while away the evening.

There came a sound at his portal, he could hear, from beyond the doorway, something moving, crawling and an odd mewling sound. He rose and went to the entrance, his mind filled with the conjured images born of the day's conversations, coloured by the topics discussed. Steeling himself, he flung open the door and looked into the darkness that stretched beyond, engulfing the corridor in Cimmerian occlusion.

Out of that malevolent blackness he saw emerge one of his friends, mewling and crawling his way toward him. Blood flowed down his face, which was misshapen and ravaged as if by some horrid beast. He ran to him, lifting him from the floor, barraging him with questions as to what happened, how this had come to pass, what had assaulted him. His friend could only mewl piteously and gesture weakly yet wildly down the hall.

He lifted his eyes and looked, trepidation flowing in his veins, like water coursing down a stream and felt his mind go mad as they came loping and running out of that horrible darkness. One phrase rocketed in his mind, echoing over and over again as the monsters bounded out into the light that spilled like a small shower upon the hall floor from the sanctuary of his home. "They're real!"

Over and over it bounded about in his mind, rending sanity as it went until he too was gibbering and mewling like his friend as they pounced upon him. Their hideous features sending his mind flying in horror, their filthy paws defiling him and his friend alike. Blood flowed and mad screams filled the air as their lives were wrested from them. Then it seemed it was over. He lay there, his life ebbing from him like some cosmic tide and he heard the monsters speak.

"Well Fred?"

"Yes Dave?"

"These brutes aren't so tough, we'll take back this planet again in no time."

"Yep Dave, I think you're right. And to think, these are the descendents of those demons that drove humanity from the earth." Fred chuckled.

"Yep," then Dave leaned close to the dying thing, "Goodbye ya bug ugly bastard, the Earth is ours again, the Humans have returned!"

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Return of the Demons ©2003 by George Woodruff

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