Praeoccupor Morte

by Tara Blue

Author's Website:

Disclaimer: They're not mine.

Author's Notes: Okay, so all these scary stories popping up on Serge as of late have inspired me to try my hand at it. For Sylvie who issued the challenge on the Serge Mailing list in the first place. For Karra who's question about fears got me thinking.

Thanks to Megan who can always be counted on to take the time to read over my stories and kick me in the head for my grammatical errors.

Feedback is always worshipped.

Story Notes: Warnings: This is a horror story. As such, there's death and violence and all that kind of thing.

Ray Kowalski blinked.

And blinked again.

And forced his eyelids open as far as they would go, hoping to catch sight of some tiny fragment of light. Some pale, diluted glimmer, more shadow than illumination. Anything.

There was nothing.

He tried not to panic as he felt the darkness pressing against his skin, his eyes, crushing his lungs until it was hard to breathe. The rustling of his clothes was loud in his ears as he abortively twitched, wanting to run. The urge was old and primal. Run. Run away. Run as fast as possible to get as far away as possible from the danger, the fear.

But it was everywhere. The blackness, so complete, hid a multitude of dangers.

What was that?

Nothing. Just the sound of his own heart, loud in his ears, pounding in his chest.

Where was Fraser? Fraser would protect him. Fraser was safety.

Ray made as if to call his partner, then cut the sound off before it could leave his throat. No, he mustn't. He couldn't give away his position. He had to hope that what ever was out there was as blinded by the lack of light as he was.

No, he was being ridiculous. Surely. There was nothing out there. Just him.

And the dark.

There it was again, that whisper of sound.

He felt a sheen of fear sweat break out across his forehead, his upper lip, down his back. He breathed shallowly, trying not to think about things that could smell fear, smell sweat. He strained to listen.

There, closer.

No, no. It was his imagination. There was nothing out there. Nothing. Just his stupid, over active imagination playing the same tricks on him that it always had when let loose. Like when he'd been just a kid, huddled in bed under a million blankets, afraid to stick even a single limb out into the cool night air, despite the fact he'd been nearly dying of the heat. Afraid of what was out there, lurking in the night.

But he was over that.

There was nothing out there.


He'd definately heard it that time.

A quiet footstep. A faint clicking. A damp, indrawn breath.

It was close. Mere feet.

Ray began to shake. His breath came in great, loud gasps as he tried to force oxygen into the fear constricted lungs. He fumbled instinctively for the gun that wasn't there, panicing, unable to think. The darkness invaded his mind, clouding his thoughts, pressing at his eyes from within as well as from without.

Unable to control the instinctive urge to run any longer, he whipped around and made a break for it. Behind him, he could hear more soft footsteps. No longer quiet, but muffled. Heavy breath.

And the dark, pushing from all sides.

Ray thrust his hands out in front of him as he ran, stumbling and blind. His foot hit something soft, heavy, and he staggered, his knees buckling. He recovered, not falling, taking a great step over the unseen obstacle, running on.

Suddenly, painfully, the tips of his fingers rammed into something. The jarring impact ran up to his wrists, but the mere presence of something solid in the nothingness served to calm him, despite the still advancing footsteps rapidly advancing.

The calm was momentary, as Ray realised that the wall was long, unbroken. Barracading.

There was nowhere left to run.

The thing in the dark was mere feet away, mere feet. Ray pressed himself against the wall, convulsive shudders wracking his body.


There, beneath his fingers. A light switch.

He flicked it.

Bright light, as blinding as the dark. Grunting, he refused to blink, forcing his watering eyes to adjust.

He took in the scene before him in seconds.

A long hallway, painted hospital green. No windows. Fluorescent lights casting a harsh, unforgiving glare.

At the other end, Ray's gun.

Closer, Fraser, lying on the floor. Red Serge and red blood. Glassy eyes staring unflinching into the blinding overhead light. His throat...gone.

Closer still, Dief.


Head cocked to one side. Eyes reflecting yellow and orange in the light. Claws clicking against the tile of the floor.

Lupine grin ringed with bloody foam. Red tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, swaying gently with each damp sounding pant.

The muscles of the wolf's hind legs bunched as he prepared to leap. In that moment, Ray found his voice. He screamed, high and thin.

The sound cut off with a wet gurgle.


End note: According to the online Latin-English Dictionary (which can be found at, praeoccupor morte means "to fall prey to death."