Fool’s Hand: Part VIII

Baethan sees what the Corruption has done to his mother

Fool's Hand: Part VIII


The girl had bitten into the poisoned apple. The Corruption was consuming her.

Black veins were spreading over the girl’s entire body and rippling like infected wounds. The girl’s mother threw all of the contaminated apples to the ground as she dropped to her knees and pulled her daughter into her arms. From his place in the woman’s mind, Baethan could see the girl’s eyes had turned completely red.

“I’m so sorry, baby,” the woman said. “I just wanted you to eat something. I didn’t know. I’ll make it better. You’ll be fine. I promise.”

The woman suddenly heard a faint sound in the distance. Baethan could tell it was the sound of something sharp scraping against a wall, and it was getting louder.

Then the woman saw a tall figure out of the corner of her eye – a figure with elongated limbs, skeletal claws and a gaping mouth. The woman’s voice was bound by fear just from the sight of it. She lifted her daughter and backed away from the creature, never taking her eyes off of it as it slowly crept toward her.

“No, this can’t be!” Baethan exclaimed. “How could The Corrupted have gotten in?”

“Perhaps the same way this woman was able to go outside to retrieve those poisonous apples,” Charisma said. “They can slither their way through any opening or crack that they can find. They can never be halted for very long.”

The woman had backed halfway down the long hall when she abruptly froze in place. She could sense something else standing behind her. While the creature in front of her advanced ever so slightly, the woman turned around to see what it was.

It was another creature, identical to the one that was following her except for something that Baethan saw dangling on its chest – it was rectangular and silver, and it looked exactly like a playing card.

“This can’t be right,” Baethan said. “My mother was the last one to have the necklace. This thing must have stolen it. Right, Charisma? It took it from her, right?”

Charisma stayed silent.

The monster reached out and extended its claws toward the woman. She could not move at all, trapped from both sides of the hall by the beings.

The woman looked down at what was left of her daughter. The blacksveins had completely coated her body. All of her teeth had fallen out and left her mouth empty. Blood had fully clouded her eyes. The woman cried as she stared at the thing in her arms.

“I’m so sorry, baby,” she said.

Baethan cried out as the creature circled its claws around her neck and he felt flesh being torn from bone. In a moment, Charisma had extracted his mind and placed it into another’s subconscious.

He was inside the mind of the chief officer of the prison. He had barricaded himself inside the meeting room with all of the televisions showing the security footage. Each screen showed people running from The Corrupted as they slaughtered the survivors one at a time. Soldiers were trying to stop them, but it was futile.

The chief officer shook violently as he held a revolver in his hand and listened to The Corrupted raking their claws against the door.

“Do you still underestimate His power, child?” Charisma asked. “Do you see how He can always find a way to spread His chaos? Even as I speak, The Corrupted are laying waste to many fortresses and sanctuaries around your world. Would you like to see for yourself the true extent of His destruction?”

Baethan did not answer. He was thinking only of a memory – a memory of his mother as she gave him a silver playing card necklace a long time ago.