A chill coursed through Mary’s body. She shivered, this time nothing to do with the cold. Something told her instinctively that all was not right her, that something was desperately, terribly wrong. Staring at the shadow, she realised that it was growing, and that it was from there that the coldness emanated.
She began to struggle again, her efforts spurred on by terror. The amorphous blob of darkness in the corner was taking on shape now, its formless outline rippling and coalescing into something new and infinitely more terrible.
The jagged end of one of Mary’s ribs finally punctured her lung and she shrieked. Blood filled her mouth and she coughed, spraying the sheets with a mixture of blood and spittle.
Her moans of pain were cut off when another sound cut through her terror. Turning her head, she stared at the corner and began to whimper. The shadow had taken on its final form and she stared at it, unable to take her eyes from the monstrosity that stood there.
It had taken the shape of a cowled figure about seven feet tall, its hands clasped in front of it. Mary thought absurdly of a cross between a monk and a praying mantis. It was colourless, except for two sparks that glowed like red hot coals where the eyes should have been.
Mary’s mind teetered on the edge as a thick, clotted voice oozed form it. It seemed to sound in her mind first, a split-second before it reached her ears. She’d never heard anything so full of evil before.
“SO, IT IS AS WAS PROMISED,” gurgled the voice. The figure moved forwards, gliding sinuously across the floor. Its hands – if they could be described as such – unfolded, and there was a silvery gleam in one of them.
As the figure reached her, Mary tried to scream; but her voice failed her. She was finding it increasingly difficult to breathe; each time she exhaled, a fine mist of blood settled on her cheeks.
“Please,” she sobbed. “I’m hurt. I need a doctor.”
A hideous laugh issued from the figure. “YOU THINK YOU ARE IN PAIN?” Again, the figure emitted that choking, gurgling rasp. “SOON, YOU WILL KNOW WHAT PAIN TRULY IS.”
A hand grabbed her arm, encircling her wrist in a vicelike grip. Its touch was at once both freezing and burning hot. Mary screamed, spraying blood.
The other hand appeared, bringing the silvery object into view. It was some form of sickle, wickedly curved and razor sharp on both edges.
Mary’s mind tried to take refuge in insanity; but It had her now. There could be no escape for her. She would feel every nuance of pain It inflicted upon her, suffer every torment It was capable of subjecting her to.
Then, It would feed.
Slowly, fluidly, It brought the sickle to bear. The point touched the skin at the base of her little finger, sinking effortlessly into the flesh. Mary screamed in agony. Pain engulfed her as the blade sliced around her finger, severing nerves, tendons and blood vessels with ease.
It raised the sickle, then brought it down in a harsh slashing motion. The blade sliced through the bone and severed the finger. Blood gouted from the stump, staining the white sheet crimson.
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