Story: Among Us in The Wheel | World Anvil

Story: Among Us

Chapter 1: "Among Us, Unseen

Oscar, the Carpenter
The first to change was Oscar, the village's trusted carpenter. No one could carve wood like Oscar; his craftsmanship was renowned far and wide. Yet, he had grown strangely distant. Oscar's warm laughter that once echoed across the village square was replaced with silent nods and half-hearted smiles.  
Evelyn, the Herbalist
Evelyn, known for her soothing teas and remedies, was next. The kind-hearted herbalist, who held a profound understanding of the flora around their village, began to mix strange concoctions. Some claimed they saw her wandering the woods at odd hours, gathering unusual plants. She dismissed it as mere curiosity, yet her once comforting gaze held a detached chill.  
Eli, the Mayor
Then, Eli, the village's mayor, a man celebrated for his leadership, was afflicted with an unsettling alteration. His speeches, once filled with warmth and empathy, became cold and impersonal. He appeared to forget the names of villagers he'd known since childhood, and his once vivacious personality was subdued, his jovial spirit extinguished.   In their place stood figures that wore their faces, shared their names, but were, at the core, different. The villagers whispered among themselves, concern growing like a shadow creeping across their once tight-knit community. Despite the creeping dread, life continued. After all, everyone has their off days.   Yet, the nights in the village started to grow colder, the wind seemed to carry eerie whispers, and a vague unease gripped the hearts of its people. The moon, usually a radiant silver orb, was often shrouded by ominous, fast-moving clouds. An undercurrent of unease swirled through the village, chilling hearts more effectively than the harshest winter.  
The Unraveling
On a night when the moonlight was swallowed by the heavy clouds, and a chill wind blew, strange events began to occur. People vanished, their homes left as if they had simply stepped out for a moment. The town's animals grew restless, whimpering and avoiding the ones they once adored. Children's laughter was replaced by hushed voices and fearful glances.   A dreadful realization dawned upon the villagers. The friends and loved ones they thought they knew were replaced by others—entities that were not them. They began to see the changes, the uncharacteristic aloofness, the subtle shifts in behavior, the strange fascination with matters that held no previous interest.   The Sibilith, shadowy agents of the Tsuthar'Chor, had infiltrated their settlement, replacing key individuals one by one. The seeds of fear, uncertainty, and mistrust took root, cracking the strong bonds that had held the village together.  
In the end, the village stood deserted, a haunting testament to an unseen invasion. The village's heart, once brimming with camaraderie and joy, lay silent. Houses stood empty, their hearths cold. The echoes of laughter and cheer were replaced with an unsettling quiet, only broken by the howling wind.   The Sibilith had accomplished their task, their purpose fulfilled. They moved like wraiths in the shadows, leaving behind an eerie silence and a ghost town that was once vibrant with life.   A dark tale was etched into the annals of the village, a chilling reminder of the fear that the unknown instills. A fear that lurks beneath the surface, threatening to swallow the unsuspecting. A fear that strikes at the heart of human understanding, baring our deepest, cosmic dread.

Chapter 2: "Among Us, Changed"

The Ascent
They awoke to a world turned upside down. The familiar sights and sounds of the village, the comforting touch of warm sunshine, the wind rustling through trees, were replaced by a chilling silence, darkness, and the eerie calm of deep, unfathomable waters.   Their bodies ached with an alien pain, a burning sensation that coursed through their veins. The once cheerful villagers looked at each other through terrified eyes, their vision distorted by the underwater expanse. Their throats constricted with panic, only to find they could breathe, their lungs inexplicably adapting to the cruel twist of fate.  
The Descent into Horror
Their new reality was a haunting realm beneath the ocean, an abyssal city forged from mind and nerve tissue, grown and shaped by the will of the Phrexian Minds. An eldritch energy pulsed from its walls, the chilling hymn of the Tsuthar'Chor reverberating in their minds.   They were not alone. The Kyrothen moved amongst them, their bioluminescent bodies casting nightmarish shadows on the cold, flesh-like walls of the city. These grotesque sentinels of the deep herded them, their hulking bodies a constant reminder of their predicament.  
The Transformation
Slowly, as days turned into weeks, their bodies underwent disturbing changes. Scales sprouted from their flesh, their eyes adapted to the darkness, their fingers elongated and developed webbing. Each morning, they awoke to find their human forms slipping away, replaced by something other, something monstrous.   The horror of their transformation was amplified by the mental invasion they experienced. The psychic echoes of the Phrexian Minds bled into their consciousness, indistinct whispers that gnawed at the edges of their sanity. The villagers, now prisoners and playthings of the abyss, were becoming less themselves each day. Their laughter, hopes, dreams, memories, all were getting drowned in the dark cold of the abyss.  
Endurance and Hopelessness
Despair hung heavy in their hearts. The familiar comfort of their human lives was ripped away, replaced with a reality that mocked their very existence. Each passing day stripped away another fragment of their humanity, leaving them hollow and desolate. They clung to each other for some semblance of comfort, their shared misery the only connection to their past lives.   Hope was a rare commodity in the abyss. Yet, in the hearts of the villagers, a tiny flicker stubbornly refused to die. In whispered conversations and shared nightmares, they held onto their humanity, clinging to the thin strand of hope that maybe, just maybe, they could return home.   But deep down, beneath the waves and their transforming bodies, they knew the truth. There was no escape, only the ceaseless flow of time carrying them deeper into the abyss of their new existence. They were not humans anymore, not as they used to be. They were the changed, the lost, the prisoners of the abyss - eternally trapped in the eerie silence of the undersea city, the once tranquil lullaby of the waves now a haunting requiem of their former lives.


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27 May, 2023 17:48

I'm a huge fan of the weird and wonderful - or horror, whatever people want to call it. This was a really neat short story and the way you had it chopped up and 'titled' was a different, but interesting, delivery. It bumps the eeriness along without getting bogged down in wordy transitions.   One of the things, and it's not exactly a unique problem here, is that there can be a repetition of certain words that then lose some meaning. Or, in the repetition, it is more jarring than it is helpful. There were a couple of times 'eerie' and 'abyss' were repeated 'too close'? For lack of a better term. Something to watch out for, maybe, but nothing that is especially damning. Example :   The villagers, now prisoners and playthings of the **abyss**, were becoming less themselves each day. Their laughter, hopes, dreams, memories, all were getting drowned in the dark cold of the **abyss**.   I always like and appreciate when people can come up with these dark and almost abstract concepts of what is scary. The displacement of what you know, the slow, inevitable loss of self... There are monsters, sure, but I think it's that which is the real terror. A monster is just gonna kill you. But this? This is a sort of living horror that has to be endured until... when?   Really, spot on. A joy to read.

What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark?
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27 May, 2023 20:30

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and especially for leaving feedback! After reading your comment and going back over the story you are absolutely correct about the repetition! I didn't notice it before, but it's obvious now. I think I will leave this one as it is, but try to pay attention to it in future stories. Hopefully then I can see some progression in my writing.   Thank you again, I appreciate your time and advice!

27 May, 2023 21:31

I *totally* understand not catching it until it's pointed out - honestly, I do the same friggin' thing in my own writing and it isn't until someone is like "btw..." XD I had hoped it wouldn't be too obnoxious. I don't think it's bad enough to require a rewrite or anything, it was just the only thing of note I thought to mention on the 'negative' side?   I'll have to tackle the others when I can fumble over the time. Do you have one you'd recommend as 'next'?

What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark?
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28 May, 2023 03:56

Depends what your after! Echoes from the Abyss (there is that word again) is more of this style again.   But I'm also quite fond of A Dance Through Time.