Earworm: Part 64 — Into the Heart of Horror

EarwormContinued from: Earworm: Part 63 — Frenzy

William couldn’t believe she’d done it. And now he felt his thoughts and emotions running away from him. Something taking over in him. Anger hijacking control of his mind, and where it was taking him, he didn’t quite know. He only knew that he had been in control of this situation a moment ago. Literally having Joel underfoot. Joel being little more than a doormat at that point, the corpse and python having taken any fight Joel might have had left in him. And as far as William was concerned, Hope’s screams for Joel to wake up might as well have been the useless cheers she was so good at. Ra-ra, Joel, he’s our man, if he can’t wake up, no one can. It had been a beautiful irony attacking the real Joel Fitch with the same corpse that attacked Joel in Hope’s prior dreams. And the python was an extra nice touch. Joel’s latent childhood fears even providing the thing’s face and yellow eyes. But it was the rats William liked most. William pulled that fear from the deepest depths of Joel’s subconscious, digging and prying into Joel’s mind like the great and terrible Oz searching his bag of tricks. He opened the fabric of the dream—a difficult task, holding two minds at once—and there they were, a wave of squirming rats flowing onto Joel like a tsunami.

William had felt a bit dizzy—struggling to hold the illusion together—and he feared for a moment that he might lose Joel, or that the big oaf would at least be able to buck William off of him. But William shook off the dizziness and focused on the battalion of teeth and fur as the rodents gnashed and gnawed, the football star flailing comically. William thinking, Still think you and your buddies are gonna mess with me? How about your buddy Guard? He want to challenge me in here? But then something tapped him on his left shoulder.

He turned but saw nothing there. Then, turning to his right, he saw Hope, her mouth determined, eyes hateful, arm cocked with a fist like a wrecking ball. And that’s when she did it. She let that fist go, snapping back William’s head. And in the tug-of-war over Joel’s mind, William’s grip loosened and Joel gave one final jerk for freedom.

Joel disappeared beneath the carpet of rats. The rats scurrying about, confused and disoriented, searching for their victim until their dull, gray color faded to a polished, shiny white as they melted into the marble floor.

William touched his chin where Hope’s fist had connected. Hope screaming, “You freak.” The novelty of hearing such hatred spew from her made the words even that much more hurtful. She lunged forward and pushed William onto the floor.

A jolt of pain ran through his spine, his teeth rattling with an “Umf.” And as he watched Hope run off through the castle, William felt two things. One: with Joel gone, his grip on Hope was tightening. And two: he was losing control of the castle’s landscape, it was changing into something else, and Hope was running deeper into the heart of it.

Continued in: Earworm: Part 65 — The Gargoyles

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