Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sleestak's Pulp Meme
Time passed. Seconds, hours, perhaps even days. She didn’t know how long, and she didn’t care. Butgradually she became aware of a growing quietness and coolness. She pulled herself to a sitting position and found that somehow she had come into the shelter of a bluff. It loomed hugely above her, an ancient hill, striated by winds, rid of its gentle slopes, and pared to an inner core so that it rose abruptly from the prairie. In its presence she felt protected, soothed, comforted.
It wasn’t long before she rose to walk closer, and as she approached, she saw that the face of the bluff was less regular than she had first imagined. Partway up, just slightly above her head, was a large cave. Where once there had been a softness in the core of the hill, the elements had carved an opening, and when she saw it, she knew this is what she had been running toward. This is what she had sought--and been terrified she might never find. Within the cave would be an embrace of peace and protection. Everything would be taken care of once she was inside, all pain relieved, all worry and fear turned aside. Although she had never seen this place before, she knew that she was almost home.
She reached up for the cave the way a child reaches up to be lifted, and she was vaguely surprised when no one bent down to help her. She began to struggle to pull herself up, clawing for a fingerhold, straining her arms until she felt the muscles start to cramp. And then, just when she thought she couldn’t make it, she managed to get a leg over the lip of the opening, and with a final, aching effort she was up, rolling into the cave. She came to rest on a rocky floor, and in an ecstasy of relief, gave herself over to the darkness.
But suddenly she knew she wasn’t alone. No sight or sound told her, but she knew with every atom of her being that someone or something was with her. The knowledge immobilized her. She didn’t move. She scarcely breathed. Not because she thought she could hide her presence. It was too late for that. Whatever was in here had to know she was here too. She didn’t even hope to be ignored; she was simply paralyzed by the stunning realization that she was not alone, locked in an unreasoning atavistic response.
Her heart pounded wildly. In a moment, she dared move her eyes, and she let them follow the floor of the cave to deeper within. Accustomed to darkness now, she saw the body. Even as the paralysis broke and she scrambled toward it, she knew who it was-- what it was. Helen. She looked down at the broken figure on the cave floor and saw her sister, Helen.
Horror engulfed her, counterpointed instantly by a paroxysm of terror running up her forearms like an electric current, seizing the muscles of her neck, forcing her head up to what she already knew was there. Gleaming animal eyes. Black lip curled back to reveal white fang. Carcajou! Carcajou!
Spawn of the devil. Destroyer of life. The animal screamed, and she called out its name:
This excerpt was not written by me, but by a Ph.D in English!. (Her real name is on the book jacket above.) It is my answer to Sleestak's pulp meme which can be found here, and Dr. Zaius' entry, which can be found here.
The original book art is here.