This story has a soundtrack. Could enhance the experience.
No one was around when Jocelyn screamed. She didn’t hold back. She couldn’t. There was nothing special about that moment, but it hurt so much. She didn’t know why it hurt so much and she didn’t care. There was no caring. There was only the pain, as all of the dull edges of crystal growing inside of her these last few months suddenly turned, and sharpened. She felt them cut every part of her being, her mind, her soul, her memories. She’d been barely keeping it together, but now she was alone and there was no distraction and no consolation and they were sharp and there was nothing but pain.
So she screamed. She lay on her bed and she screamed and screamed and screamed even though no one could hear her and her throat went raw and she ran out of breath and she started to go dizzy from lack of oxygen and she just kept screaming. It didn’t lessen the pain. It didn’t dull the edges; it honed them. They were sharper, their amethyst edges clearer, more bright. But at least it was hers. At least she was in control. Her scream went on and on and on and seemed to echo around her.
It filled up every crevice of her being, blurred her vision, resonated throughout her bones and her skull and the fillings in her teeth. A violet scream, blasts of pulsating light that stabbed into her retinas. It was so intense, so all consuming, that she barely noticed that it went on too long. Impossibly long. Her lung capacity should have faded a long time ago. She barely noticed that as the scream stretched on it was no longer her that was screaming. It was everything.
It was almost a moment of calm, that revelation. But there could be no calm in such a place, where the walls of her room had been replaced with crystals, throbbing with hungry purple light. No calm, but clarity. She was someplace different, now. The entire world around her had changed. It wasn’t just in her head. It was everywhere.
Inside the scream. Inside all screams. It wasn’t a single sound, she realized. Everything around her, the glassine structures that jutted out of every surface, they all cried out. Their screams mingled and blended in a massive harmony of dissonance. It should have blown out her ear drums, drown out her thoughts. But this was normal, here. This was how it always was.
She stood up. The ground was not flat, and the jagged crystalline floor cut into her exposed feet. The sound of the cry beneath her changed as it soaked up her blood. It sounded satisfied. Its hunger sated on her fluids and her pain, just for an instant.
“Where am I?” she said out loud. Her voice rang out clear amidst the cacophony. Like it was on a different wavelength.
“You are in Amethyn,” said another voice behind her. She turned.
There was a man. A large shard of purple stone impaled him through his chest, but as she watched he pushed himself up and off of the spike and onto his feet. The stone sang its disharmonious longing at his absence. It left no wound.
“Amethyn,” said Jocelyn, tasting the word on her lips.
“Amethyn,” the man said again. “The Echo Chamber of Insanity. The Land of the Hungry Screams. It calls to us, when we are too much for the rocky, quiet world.”
“It calls to us,” Jocelyn said.
“Will you feed me?” the man said. He stretched his hand out and stepped slowly towards her.
“Will you feed me?”
Jocelyn looked the man in the eyes. In much the way his voice reached her ears through all of the howls, she could seem him clearly even over the violent purple light that pulsed out from every surface. He looked like a person, only something was wrong. On his face, on his exposed chest where the crystal had torn open his shirt, on the flesh of his outstretched hand, there were…things. Tiny black things. Like the mandibles of bugs that were nestled inside of him, and had gotten trapped in his skin while trying to escape.
“I’m so hungry,” he said. “So hungry.”
He was only one step away from her. How had he gotten so close. He didn’t rush. He didn’t attack. His mouth merely opened. Then it kept opening, and opening, until it was larger than his head. His teeth were sharp and black. Like onyx, glinting in the amethyst light.
Jocelyn responded without thinking. Her own jaw detached, and stretched open. It hurt. Everything here hurt. But it wasn’t a bad hurt. It was right.
The man’s eyes widened for the tiniest moment as Jocelyn’s mouth spread to engulf his body. Surprise, for a moment, and then resignation. No, not resignation. Defeat, utter and complete, without resistance. A moment later and her teeth pressed up against his bones, her tongue wrapped around his neck to snap his spine. A moment later and she swallowed him. He dissolved in an instant, and a shock of agony spiked through her nerves. Perfect agony. It was beautiful.
“John,” she said out loud. “His name was John.” And it was. All that he had been was within her, now. The torment of his conflicted life. The tall man whose scorn had broken his will and sent him to this place. His months of wandering the crystal chambers, scraping discarded screams off the stone to ease the hunger. To quiet the screams.
But he didn’t understand. The hunger never eased. The screams never quieted. He had been weak. He fought the hunger and cowered from the screams. But it didn’t matter. He was in a better place, now. Or at least, a truer placer. Part of something greater, and Jocelyn would not waste his torment. She would not cower. This place called to her. It needed her pain, her strength, her screams, just as she needed them.
She stood and walked off into the violet. There was much to do, and much to discover. She was in Amethyn, now. She was home.