Yellow, viscous sludge dripped down the rough stone bricks and forming a seeping pool in the hallway. The mess attracted flies and gave off a burning, repulsive odor. The hallway was mostly dark but beams of white light shone blindingly through several openings in the rock, making the shadows that much darker. Sebathan moved down the hallway, in and out of the light, his head a mangy skull with only small patches of skin and hair. His eyes were piercing however and his ivory teeth gleamed. He led the girl by her wrist down the putrid hall. The girl, Darcy, had been working at a coffee shop in Dallas until 10 this morning and still wore her apron. Somewhere along the line she had lost her shoes and she now dragged her bare feet through the yellow sticky fluid that spread across the stone tiles. “This way,” Sebathan hissed but she resisted when she saw the sludge flowing down the stairs and all the flies. “I ain’t goin up there, no way,” she said.

The skeleton tightened his grip on her wrist. His wide grin appeared to become even wider. “That’s the only way,” he replied. He jerked her arm but she jerked back. “What is that stuff?” she demanded.

He stared at her with his glittering eyes. Then he gave her a fierce tug that pulled her off her feet and she fell into the gooey mess. He dragged her further and further down the dark hallway as she slipped and slided, trying to get back up.

Finally she got to her feet, dripping with the yellow dreck, and she tried to pry his fingers loose with her other hand. Then she clawed at his cloak he turned to grapple with her, getting a hold of her other wrist with his sharp, bony fingers. She kicked his shins repeatedly until they both tumbled into the yellow soup. As they rolled in the muck, she pressed her knees into his chest and heard bones snap. He released her wrists and she went for his neck, causing his head to pop off and roll into the shadows. The headless wraith battled on, even more viscously, and soon Darcy’s clothes were torn and bloody.

Their struggle continued over by one of the openings in the wall but Sebathan began losing bones. Soon Darcy was wrestling an armless torso adorned with torn, bloody rags. She grabbed the rib cage and threw it out the opening into the blazing sunlight outside. The remaining bones clattered around and she threw these out too, one by one. Finally, only the skull cackled in the dark. She grabbed it and pitched it out the window. Then she collapsed on the sill, filthy and bleeding. She got to her feet and went back down the hall, breaking into a run, crying.

When she got back to the coffee house it was dark and everyone had gone home. She stumbled behind the counter, tracking blood and filth across the white floor tiles. Then she brewed herself a very strong cup of coffee. She sat alone on top of the counter and sipped her coffee, swung her feet, and enjoyed the coffee aroma.

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