Crash of the Crown
Thomas King woke up with a snort. His head felt fuzzy, and his mouth tasted of something chemical and astringent. He didn’t remember falling asleep and, judging by the throbbing in the back of his head, had not done so voluntarily. He was too groggy to panic just yet, which allowed him to survey his surroundings without his veins pulsing and nerves electric. He was on the top of a building. The air howled around him, cold and sharp, and the sound of honks and movement was muffled and distant. In front of him, the city loomed large and bright, beacons of light piercing the night. Numbly, he looked down and saw he was sitting on the edge of the rooftop, his feet dangling precipitously over the streets below.
He drew to full wakefulness immediately after seeing that and the expected rush of adrenaline nearly drove him to pass out again. Seizing his faculties with as much strength as he could, he tried to pull himself away from the edge, only to find that his hands were bound tightly with wire. So tight, in fact, that his wrists had leaked blood and dried before he had even woken up. He began to scream for help but was met with the silent indifference of the big city. He struggled against his bonds, but to no avail. He was trapped.
A hissing sound behind him drew his attention, though he could not turn around. Acrid, rotting breath curled around his face and made him wince. A voice in his ear, low, hissing, ancient. It whispered of vengeance from ages long since past. A debt centuries in the making and the cost was now due. He argued but a cold, skeletal hand clamped across his mouth, silencing him. The voice told him of his escape from their clutches. The rituals ruined, the lands scourged with blight and drought. It snarled as it explained how the entirety of the populace succumbed to famine, starvation, and ruin. He had fled, the voice told him, because he was a coward. It had taken them countless years to find him, but now they had come to extract their revenge.
He pleaded with them for mercy. He begged for his life. He tried his best to explain that he was not this person they were looking for. That he was just a grad student. He was only 24. Hell, his NAME was Thomas King, but that didn't make him a king. Could they not see that? Could they not understand?
There was a pause then. A sharp cut on his cheek made Thomas cry out and blood trickled down to his neck. A finger, all bone and rotted flesh, touched the blood and drew some away. A pause as the thing tasted (?) it. Then, it said the words Thomas had hoped not to hear.
A foot impacted the back of the hidden king and he felt himself go weightless. He closed his eyes. And waited.
Here is where I''ll post random stories that aren't, as of yet, in a larger book. Call it a free ride into the mouth of madness, yo.