You know the drill.  Go to Channillo.com to check it out.  Here is the first scene…


“I have something he needs,” the old man says over his shoulder.  He stares at her with pale blue eyes, almost gray, “But more importantly, I need something from him.”  Slow as dripping tar he turns away from her, puttering at an unseen device on a workbench, and she sniffs stale air.  Musty and old.  Dank and fertile with the smell of soil, stone, and mold.  When he turns back, his face is no longer kind—no longer human—and he takes two menacing steps to where she lay unable to move.

“I have other uses for you, as well,” his voice gurgles, lips slavering.  She tries to turn in her disgust, but cannot.  The old man leans close, his breath hot and acrd, and it burns where it touches the exposed skin of her neck.  The heat travels upward, invading her brain, and an explosion of colors follow.

I can taste…blue, she thinks, then her world fades again.

Like a rose unfurling its petals, Amber wakes in stages from a cold, gray sleep.  The dream seemed so real, and she withdraws from it slower than she would like.  She struggles to sit up, pain from stiff joints and atrophied muscles making it difficult.  How long have I been out?  Days, at the very least.  When she places her bare feet on the hard floor, the cold surface shocks her senses, waking her fully like a slap across the face.  An itch causes her hand to react, and she feels a small circular bandage on the side of her neck.  She moves her hand to her face and rubs her eyes; they’re gummy and she has trouble opening them, but when she does, her face falls.

The room is a bare brown box—not much larger than her bathroom—containing nothing more than the bed she is on, herself, and a door.  Cinder block walls, painted a dull mocha—what her daddy would have called “shit brown”—weep moisture like sweat, and the paint peels in spots near the floor.  A single bulb hangs in the center of the high ceiling from an aged cord stiffened by dry-rot.  A rusty pull-chain dangles beneath.  A basement, she thinks.  But not in a home.  Those have much lower ceilings.

She tries to stand, but her legs aren’t used to the effort, and she falls back heavily to the bed.  The paper hospital gown she wears billows as she lands, and the springs under the mattress squeal in distress.  She thinks, This room is too small to be a whole basement, and she decides it must be a side room.  Something partitioned from the rest.

“Either way,” she says, her voice harsh and almost unrecognizable, “this place is older than I am.”

Much older,” a voice says, seemingly coming from the walls.  “But you have wakened sooner than I expected, and we can’t have that.”

“Who—?”

The transition is faster this time, leaving no time to smell the berries.

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