By Casey Douglass
as part of #fridayflash
The figure under the heavy duvet groaned and rolled onto his side. The air in the dark room was stuffy and oppressive, the kind that hinted at antique oxygen that was captured many weeks ago. The only illumination came from the faintly buzzing digital alarm clock, its digits declaring 01:17 in a ghoulish green light.
A tiny breeze fluttered at the tattered posters on the wall before all became still once more.
‘According to the manifest, this one sleeps like a log.’
Another swift movement of air billowed gently and faded into nothing.
‘Ugh this room stinks!’
‘They all do, to varying degrees.’
A tall stick-like figure moved out from the deepest patch of darkness and approached the bed. ‘He sleeps like he welcomes the oblivion.’
A smaller figure joined the larger one, its hands clasped behind its back. Both were cloaked in black material that shifted and swelled as the eye roved over it. The material hid their contours, their only visible body parts their hands and faces. Over-large foreheads squatted down on beady eyes, the nose in between looked stretched and pulled, the tip hanging just past the chin over mouths that were just a dark ‘O’. The larger one spoke again:
‘You are happy with your assignments?’
The small one nodded.
‘Do you have any questions?’
‘You understand the ramifications of failure?’
The small one looked up at the tall one. ‘Yes Sir.’
‘What is your task?’
‘To manage and harvest my allotted cell, to utilise the energies within in furthering the goals of the movement, to stay hidden and nameless.’
‘Very well. You seem to have a firm understanding of your role but I think that perhaps a little test is needed. Why do we not like night workers and what do we do about them?’
‘We erm, we don’t like night workers because they are awake at night, going against the grain of the majority and denying us their sleeping energy. We manipulate their bodies to hasten poor health which will make them give up that kind of work or die, restoring the balance.’
‘Excellent! Question two. Explain Mardum’s principle of manifestation and tell me what your assignment is with ten sleepers.’
‘Haha that’s an easy one Sir. Mardum’s principle states that every sleeper generates five unnims of dark-wave energy. To derive your manifestation powers, that is your solidity, stability and reality control, you simply multiply the number of asleep by five. As far as my task with ten sleepers, that would generate fifty unnims, which would be...erm...information gathering from electronic devices, such as computers, tablets and phones.’
‘Very close. Fifty unnims just pushes you into your next grade of action, which in this case is modification of ventilation and air systems to force them to sleep longer and more deeply. If a little toxic gas gets into the atmosphere, it can push them into a deeper level of sleep. How much energy will they generate from this Kinnar state?’
‘Two extra unnims each.’
The tall figure ran an alabaster hand over the head of the shorter.
‘You are very young, too young really, but needs must. Our people are fading down into the nightmare plane again, which is why it’s all hands on deck, so to speak. If we can’t infiltrate this world and make it our own, we are finished.’
‘I know Dad.’
‘Can you do it? Manage this ten story dwelling and get the energy you need to further our aims?’
A mumble came from the bed followed by a dry cough. The two figures looked at each other as they began to fade.
‘See you at home son. If you get there first, make sure you wash properly. I know we will have to get used to the stink of this world soon but there’s no reason to bring it back with us before we have to.’
The smaller figure blinked out in a quiet pop of air. The larger one lingered a few moments longer. He appraised the room around him. ‘Animals,’ he whispered, before imploding into nothing once more.