Incessant. The dripping. It’s… incessant. Oil. Or perhaps blood. I can’t tell from so far but it’s far too thick to be water. And far too dark. Everything is dark. Except – I can see. I can see in the dark; luminous emerald visions. I can see everything. I can see…
They cannot see me. Ghastly elongated figures. Human. Monster.
Sulfurous redolence encompasses them and wafts into my nostrils. Beings erratically twitch about on legs half bent, and arms twisted into irregular angles like broken tree branches. A gorge yawns where mouths should be. Alabaster barbs for teeth.
A whisper drifts to my ear.
A scream catches in my throat. I whirl about towards the voice; a mirror image.
“That’s what they all are. Puppets.” the living reflection breathes.
He takes a step forward. I shuffle back against a contorted leg and fall. My hands graze the ragged, cold floor, slick with the same thick liquid dripping in the distance. I scramble away from the hissing creature as it lunges for me. Then away from the advancing man who shoves the creature aside with casual grace; it hisses at him but he is unperturbed as he stalks closer. The replica. Me.
“Careful. Don’t get too close again.” He warns casually. I bump into another of the creatures. Its stench washes over me and I gag at its split feet; gnarled leathery claws. The creature swipes at my head with root like fingers. I watch. Fascinated. Horrified. Awed.
Pain splits across my face.
Emerald vision doubles, spilling flamed streaks. A cry escapes me and fills the void.
Blurred limbs languidly twist towards me collectively. They lurch towards the sound. Towards me. Floundering mutant abnormalities; what are they? What are they!?
They drag towards me.
I steal glances towards the man bearing my face and the limbering monsters. I see him/me watch with intrigue.
“Stop!” he suddenly shouts.
The creatures halt in mid stride. A hiss escapes their agonized mouths in coiling ropes, distinctly crimson even in my green-amber-hued vision.
The man steadily marches towards me, almost robotic in his irregular gait. He kneels before me.
“The problem with puppets” his fetid breath explains “is their lack of humanity. But you…” crooked fingers caress my face, the sound like two pages rubbing, the sensation like wet used sandpaper, still rough yet sickeningly smooth. And damp.
“You are my perfection. A gift from the aether. Mechanical as you are mortal. Soon you shall be complete and my soul shall replace the void that inhibits you.” The fingers graze my neck, slip around and rest on a bone on my spine. A toothless smile grows on the scaly lips.
“Rest well my Pinocchio. You’re gonna be a real boy.”