Penance

Establishing shot of a dark alley at night. We loom overhead, watching a man run in from the street. Police sirens sound off in the distance, howling over the big city traffic.

Close-up on the man’s upper body, but we can’t see the upper part of his face. He’s breathing through his mouth. There are bloodstains on his shirt. His footsteps echo through the dingy sidestreet.

He comes across a door. He frantically tries to get it open, but it’s locked. The sirens get louder.

Desperate, he starts pounding on the door. He constantly keeps taking looks out towards the main street. He manages to kick the door in and hurries inside, slamming the door behind him.

It’s pitch-black inside. He can’t see anything, and neither can we. All we can hear is the sound of his panicked breathing and the muffled noise of the world outside. The sirens get relatively louder, and then fade away. His breathing slows down. He listens a little more to make sure the police are gone. There’s nothing but the hum of traffic and the roar of a passing motorcycle. He’s safe.

We hear the clicking of the doorknob. Just his luck – it’s jammed. He pounds against the door in frustration and yells, “GodDAMNit!”

He takes a few seconds to gather his composure, and then we hear the striking of a match. It bursts into flames, providing a tiny bit of illumination in the room. He lifts the match close to his eyes and starts looking around. “Never a fucking light switch when you need one,” he mutters.

He tries to gingerly find his way through the abandoned unit, tossing away a match each time it begins to burn out and then striking a new one. While the fourth one is lit, he gives the matchbox a shake. It’s empty. The match goes out. “Now what?,” he asks in the darkness.

A flame suddenly starts from behind him. Was that last match still burning when he tossed it? The fire starts to spread towards him. In its hellish glow, he can make out a staircase. He runs towards it. Maybe there’s a fire escape he can run to.

As he makes his way towards it, fire begins to move down from the staircase. He watches his best chance at a way out become congested with flames. He retreats and searches frantically for another way out. He looks back and sees in abject horror that the flames are following him. He looks back to where his feet are taking him. There are flames coming from that direction, too.

He falls backwards to the floor, shielding himself from the raging fires. Then, with a look of terrified disbelief in his eyes, he watches as the flames circle him. He’s trapped.

Amid the chaos, we hear heavy footsteps echo through the burning apartment. They get louder and louder, accompanied by the maddening rattle of chains. The man looks up and sees, walking through the flames, a somber, almost apologetic-looking motorist in a leather jacket.

As the motorist walks closer, we see that his eye sockets are hollow. The flesh on his face is slowly burning and falling off, bit by bit, replaced by fire leaking from within. The man yells, the fear of mortality shaking in his voice, “W-What ARE you???”

The motorist stands above the man and lays his hands on his clothing. Embers continue to fall from his face. With unnatural ease, the motorist lifts the man up until they can see eye to eye.

The last vestiges of humanity leave the motorist’s face, leaving nothing but a skull engulfed in flames. It speaks in a voice that could come only from the bowels of Hell, in response to the man’s question, “Vengeance.”

A white light glimmers in the void of the motorist’s eye sockets, growing until everything is white.

The man now stands alone in a vast white emptiness with nothing else but his shadow. Startled, he tries to get his bearings. What just happened? Where is the creature? Where is he?

The motorist’s disembodied voice drifts through the white oblivion, “…Know the suffering you have caused…”

Suddenly, the man’s shadow stretches away until it is completely separate from him. It distorts and solidifies, transforming into a frightening, featureless mockery of its creator. The man tries to run from the shade, but it raises a hand, materializes the shadowy form of a gun in it, and fires it at his legs. He crashes to the ground, blood spilling onto the white floor as the shade begins to stalk him.

An ebon hand grabs him by the hair and slams his head onto the ground. The man is barely given a moment to recover before the shade does it again. The brutal assault happens four more times until the shade stops to rest, sitting on his limp body. The man’s face is horribly disfigured. He chokes on his own blood, adding to the gruesome stain below.

The shade’s body contorts into unnatural angles, going into spasms as another pair of arms begins to extend from its back. We watch as a second, identical shade begins to climb out of the first.

The man lies pinned to the ground by the first shade. The second stretches out the man’s left arm. It forms a hammer in one hand and then drives it into the man’s elbow. We can barely hear the bones snapping over his pained screams.

We focus back on the first shade. It leans its head down towards the man’s head, and starts lustfully licking his ear. In the background, we can see the second shade starting to spasm, forming a third of its kind. The first shade jams a thumb into the man’s mouth. We can see its other arm moving, but we can’t tell what it’s doing. We hear pants unzipping.

The man is forcefully turned over onto his belly. He gazes in horror as he sees his pants land in front of his face. In the background, more shades are forming.

Tears flow from his eyes as off-screen thrusts jolt through his body. The many hands of the duplicate shades begin to knead his back and face, defiling him. We see another hand grab him by the hair.

We establish a close-up slightly above where we left off. The man’s head is yanked up just so we can see the front-most parts of his face and neck. He whimpers, knowing full well what’s coming next. “Please… No more… Please…” A black knife is drawn across his throat; blood gushes in its wake.

The scene fades around him, but we’ve still got the same view of his face. He’s back in the burning apartment, lifted off his feet by the demonic motorist. His injuries are gone; they’d never existed in the first place. The most disturbing part, however, is that he’s still begging the motorist to stop, as though he were still being assaulted. His eyes are frighteningly wide-open, staring into the motorist’s gaze.

We switch views to the floor. The man is dropped down in front of us, his eyes frozen open and staring straight into the camera. He continues to beg, “Stop… No more… Please…” The motorist’s work is done. It walks into the flames and disappears from sight. The fire dies down to tiny flames, showing there’s nothing left in the apartment. All the while, the man keeps staring at us, whimpering.

The room collapses back into total darkness, and we are haunted by the man’s cries.

“No… No… Please… No more…”

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