Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 1/29
Fever Bleak: a fan fiction
by Morgan Null

Chapter 1

Jason jolted awake, the steering wheel twisting under his fingertips. The eight-year-old sedan jumped half a lane to the left before he got it back under control and blinked his way to a state of calm. How long had he been driving for?
01:42 AM - Jan 30, 2024
Avatar Avatar Avatar
0
8
15
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 2/29
Better question: how long could he actually go before his mind or body caved to the exhaustion? He ground his teeth for a minute before reaching for his cell phone and doing a quick map search for a hotel. There were several results up and down the highway, but the nearest was "Norman's Motel".
01:42 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
3
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 3/29
Okay Norman, hope you've got a vacancy.
01:42 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 4/29
Streetlights seemed few and far between, long stretches of frigid hard dirt field punctuated by old yellow sodium bulbs. The weather had been fair, but frost collected on every spare surface. The motel ahead wasn't an exception, the sign made pale and almost illegible.
01:42 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 5/29
But the "NO" was dark next to "VACANCY" and that was promising enough that Jason rolled into the lot and brought the car to a gentle stop. Inside, a guy in a cheap beige cardigan was reading a paperback novel. Jason joined him.
"I need a room for the night, please," Jason said.
The man looked up.
01:42 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 6/29
"Rate's 98 bucks before tax, check out is 11. 20 dollar hold. That okay?"
Jason nodded. "I'm falling asleep out there, anything's fine."
The clerk cracked a wry grin. "Rate's 198 then." Before Jason could react, he waved a hand. "I'm fuckin' with ya. Deep breaths, kid. Credit card machine's there."
01:42 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 7/29
Card processed. info plugged into an aging computer. blank paper key packet slid across the counter. "Room 23. Have a nice night."

Jason grabbed a duffel bag from the trunk and dragged himself to the door. It opened without issue, seeming to suck the outside air in as it went.
01:42 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 8/29
Why did it feel colder in here? He dropped his bag on the table and checked the thermostat. 68 degrees. Didn't feel it, but okay. He cranked it to 72.

Phone flashlight on. Inspect the room for other tinier 6-legged occupants. Nothing. That was good at least. Jason sat in the desk chair and exhaled.
01:42 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
3
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 9/29
A shower first, he decided, then bed. It was a modest comfort, getting some of the cold off his skin, but coming out after sent the chill deeper, right to his bones. He crawled into a long sleeve tee and sweatpants. It didn't help. He crawled into bed. That didn't either.
01:44 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 10/29
He shivered miserably, starting to fall asleep again and again. or maybe he only dreamed he kept waking up. He couldn't be entirely sure. The curtains made strange lights play across his face and the walls. A dash of crusting iron odor in the air.
01:46 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 11/29
And all too sudden, the light was everywhere, piercing from front all the way into the back of his brain like a knife. A whopper of a migraine that threatened to show him just how empty his stomach was.

Dawn had showed its stupid ugly face. He rose, still shivering, now aching.
01:48 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 12/29
Regardless of how he felt, it was time to hit the road again. He had a lot further to go to reach his mother and no idea how long she'd last.

He packed his bag again, gulped down some water that had a worrying metallic tang, and tried to ready himself for whatever temperature it had reached.
01:50 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 13/29
The door didn't want to open. He pulled harder than he thought reasonable before it finally suckered itself free. A gust of stale air swam in. It was definitely warmer than what he'd slept in. Thermostat must have been broken, he figured. He stepped out into the misty morning, squinting for his car.
01:52 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
3
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 14/29
Where

the fuck

was his car?

For that matter, where were the sodium lights or the barren packed flats? Instead he found himself in what felt like a small suburb, a few shops and a few houses speckling grassy stretches. They seemed to leer out of the fog, watching this intruder study them back.
01:54 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 15/29
He walked for the front office and found the door locked.

His head throbbed in frustration and he slid to the ground. Okay. This is fine. My car was stolen. I was tired, I didn't pay attention to where I was, and my car was stolen.

He checked his phone. The screen stayed stubbornly dark.
01:56 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 16/29
The speaker gave a faint persistent whine. Jason licked his lips and tried to figure out a plan. He dropped the key packet in a slot on the door and started looking around for the police station or someone who could point him in its direction.
01:57 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 17/29
Hoofing it wouldn't have been so frustrating if he didn't have this stupid bag, but what else was he supposed to do with it exactly? It was all he had right now and he sure as hell wouldn't be leaving it to be stolen too.
02:00 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 18/29
The fog made it nearly impossible to see what a building was unless you crossed the street to it. He found himself ping-ponging back and forth, a tedious zig-zag in search of someone that could help. Hell, he'd settle for a Tylenol.
02:01 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 19/29
When he reached a crossroads, he made a left onto Koontz street and continued the pattern. There was a school and a hardware store and a fancy candy shop but no sign of a fucking police station. Bile climbed his throat. He tried the way he'd come.
02:02 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 20/29
The other side of Koontz street wasn't much more promising, but he spotted a neon OPEN sign glowing harsh burnt orange ahead and began a study trudge toward it, whatever it was. This was the most promising lead he'd had in almost an hour.
02:03 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 21/29
It turned out to be a diner, and the relief was palpable when the door opened. A little bell jangled its charming alert and he followed it with the somewhat customary, "HELLO?"

The only answer was a metallic clang as something heavy fell in the kitchen.
02:05 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 22/29
"Hey, my car got... stolen? I need the police," he added.

No further sound. He looked around, grabbing a seat at the counter to wait. There was a little window into the kitchen. He watched it patiently.

A shadow rewarded him.
02:07 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 23/29
It moved slow and sullen.

"I see you back there. Can you just help me please?"

It slid out of sight- but toward the only door separating the two rooms.
02:07 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 24/29
Jason didn't speak again. He watched the door warily. Who would be in the kitchen and not reply? Where was a waitress? Or someone eating?

His heart quickened and he could hear its new rhythm in his ear, feel it in his neck.
02:09 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 25/29
The door shifted. A hand gripped its edge. It had no fingernails, its skin harsh and scarred. A rasp hissed out and Jason couldn't be sure if it was the door or whatever was moving it.

He slid back off the stool, hand tightening on the strap of the duffel.

A tickle in his throat.
02:11 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 26/29
He could see an eye now, peering from the kitchen directly at him. What was left of it was red. What was left of it was alert. What was left of it gripped his soul like a vice. He found his feet walking on their own, backward, carrying him away from whatever this was.

It decided now was the time.
02:13 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 27/29
He fled, breath hitching and lungs burning. Head swam. All pain and heat. The thing seemed a beat behind, a terrible whistling as it made its pursuit. He jumped a low fence that outlined a house, falling flat on his face as the creature- surely that was the only word- slammed the chainlink.
02:15 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 28/29
It snarled and began to try to climb. He didn't dare look. He continued to run until he was sure he'd lost it.

He pressed himself against a dumpster now in an alleyway, a scent of rot coming off it that he hoped might hide him further.

He was lost. He was scared. he was sick.
02:17 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
2
Null (ze/zer)
A
thread 29/29
He needed more than ever to find the police station, whether or not there were police in it to help him. And then he needed to get the hell out of this shit hole, whatever it was called.

That would be a secondary task, he decided. Find this town's name so he could avoid it the rest of his life.
02:19 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
3
hmmwrites (Heather's version)
A
In response Null (ze/zer) to their Spout
Null, this is so good!

And deeply creepy, which is totally not my thing. Give me sunshine and unicorns, please and thank you. But still, so good!

(excuse me while I wander off to have a nightmare...)
04:02 PM - Jan 30, 2024
1
1
Null (ze/zer)
A
In response to hmmwrites (Heather's version).
If I play my cards right, it will get MUCH creepier before getting anything like better. :3
05:50 PM - Jan 30, 2024
1
1
Caroline Calcote
A
In response Null (ze/zer) to their Spout
Loving it! 😊
06:39 AM - Jan 30, 2024
1
1
Null (ze/zer)
A
In response to Caroline Calcote.
Admittedly I'm very excited to work on this more.. 😁
07:00 AM - Jan 30, 2024
0
1