/r/HorrorWorkshop

Photograph via snooOG

HorrorWorkshop is a place to go to get constructive criticism on your horror writing. At some point, we may start holding contests, too.

Rules (To be tweaked as needed):

  1. Don't be unnecessarily harsh. Keep in mind that this subreddit is about helping people improve their writing skills.

  2. If you're posting a story and it's NSFW, please tag it as such.

  3. If your comment doesn't contribute to the discussion in some way, don't post it.

  4. Be respectful of others. Honestly, this shouldn't real even have to be said.

[More sidebar coming soon.]

/r/HorrorWorkshop

233 Subscribers

1

Craven(Working title)

I watched the wretch crawl pitifully to an escape that would never come. His mixture of sorrowful agony and weightless promises of cooperation was like sweet honey to my lips. I ran my tongue over them, savoring the remnants of his blood as I made my way to finish the deed. This one would, I hoped sustain my cravings longer than the last. His sins were egregious, both in scale and tally. Even now, as he vainly begged for mercy, the malevolent essence blanketed him like a fog.

“Why?! Why are you doing this?”, he bellowed, coughing thick globs of blood in the process.

I carefully pressed my foot on his outstretched hand, reveling in the sickening crunch of small bones along with his roar of pain. I kept my foot in place while I knelt, and, taking a fist of his once beautiful brown hair, raised his gaze to my own. I drank in his terror, his indignation, his hate.

“How many? How many asked you the same? How many young girls with tears and blood trailing down their battered faces begged to know why you chose them? Why on the night that you satisfied your depraved desires would be the last time they drew breath? How many souls have been robbed of life because a damn stain like you walks the earth? You wish to know why?”

I saw it then. The realization that sparks in their small, self-absorbed minds that someone they didn’t plan on was privy to their sinfully naughty secret. It was truly the delightful part of all this. It was a mix of unbridled fear and outright denial of guilt.

Who are you to judge me? Should I lie? Tell them you got the wrong person. I didn’t mean to do it! I’m sick, I need help. Maybe I can make a deal. Yes, I could read all of this in that look, how you might ask. Well, simple really. Those usually were the next words to fall from their lips. Tragic really. I don’t bargain with dinner. However, this entree would prove different. To this day, part of me slightly regrets killing him, only slightly.

Holly awoke the next morning, groggy and disheveled. Her norm for the past 8 months. Half conscious, she lumbered her way to the shower, growing pleasantly excited at the prospect of the warm water washing away the night’s gruesome dreams. At least, that’s how she rationalized it to herself. Every other night was a new victim? Target? She wasn’t really sure how to describe them. All were horrible people: murderers, abusers, rapists, all scum of the earth. In these dreams, she watched, as if part of a camera crew of a 1st POV horror film, as she stalked each of these evil creatures. Following them to their place of work, favorite bar, and even their kid's football game.

Although under the steaming rain of the shower, a shudder came over Holly. The ones with families were the worst kind in her mind. She couldn’t fathom how someone could hold their child so lovingly with the same hands in which they sodomized and murdered another’s. Ironic, seeing as how she did the same. Her case I’m afraid is a tad different than those of my prey.

Holly’s dreams are as she says, except, they’re not dreams, not really. They are our memories. More so my memories while I control her body. An unsanctioned commandeering in which neither of us has any say. And in my defense, why would I protest? The hunger must be satiated. Even she has witnessed the consequences we go too long without feeding. It nearly killed us both! Hence, why I made sure to get her to discard that putrid medication. The fact the doctor who prescribed it at the time was someone that often took advantage of more than a few of his desperately ill patients, was simply icing on a very bloody cake.

You could say I’ve grown quite protective of my host. She is a very pure soul, if not remarkably naive. And being the natural beauty she is, she has more than once been the object of many’s lustful wishes. Unfortunately, I cannot just take control whenever I please. For my emergence, Holly must come in contact with someone who has committed heinous acts of cruelty to another. People who do such things, especially with no remorse develop an essence. This ink-black substance ferments in their bodies, growing with each crime committed. As it does, it creates a festering stench of malice, that is invisible to most humans. Many recognize it as an uneasy feeling or a slight sickness in the pit of their stomach letting them know something is not right. Animals however can sense it immediately and react appropriately. For me, however, it is the decedent aroma of my next meal. It does come with some effort. Extracting the essence from a person is not easy. They in a way, must be made to repent for their actions or received just punishment.

Such was the case of last night’s quarry. After hearing that I knew his dirty laundry, he told me to, and I quote, “GO FUCK MYSELF”. I found his response so amusing, I couldn’t stop laughing! All the while, he went on and on about his little men’s club was going to find me, that they’ll give me the punishment I deserve. It wasn’t until he made the comment about watching from Hell as they rape and torture me that my laughter ceased. The look on his face spoke volumes, he had made a remarkably fullish mistake. I saw the reflection of my smile in his eyes. On Holly’s delicate feminine features, the ranks of dagger-like teeth grinning ear to ear certainly had to chill the blood solid.

“Hell? Oh, no my dear friend, there will be no fiery welcome party for you. No, no”, I tutted as I slowly rose. Taking a few steps till I was parallel to his hip bone, I continued, “Your judgment has already been decided,” I purr just before whipping around to slam my right heel into his groin, crushing his manhood. His shriek of pain reverberated throughout the house like Habanera at the Teatro de Colon. The whaling soon converted into a distinct retching. Not soon after that, I gained a most delicious feast.

Holly finished her morning wash and was preparing to set out for her uniquely boring life in this modern world. On her way out the bathroom door, however, she paused. Turning back to the mirror, she peered fiercely into its depths, searching for something. For a moment, we were both startled by what peered back! A being radiating the same malevolence of the craven I hunted so vehemently. It was gone long before Holly’s mortal senses could register what she had seen, I, on the other hand, was certain. That figure could only have been one thing, something that in the eons of my existence, I have never once experienced.

That entity was me.

Please let me know what you think. Like it, Hate it, Love it. Tell me how I can improve.

0 Comments
2023/06/28
18:14 UTC

1

The Sound of Silence

Introduction

It was the 4th of July 2019. The fireworks were going off at my neighbour’s house just 2 doors down, so as you can imagine, the noise was unbearably annoying. I looked down at my watch, it was only 10:30pm. The realisation suddenly hit me like a tidal wave; I had a long night ahead of me.

I looked out the window to see if I could gage any indication of how much longer I would have to sit and suffer. I unlocked my sliding glass window and lifted it as high as it could go, all the while holding back my inner rage, and peered out toward my neighbour’s garden.

As I dipped my head out into the warm July air, I heard a loud crack right next to my ear. I raised my hand to my head as I grimaced in pain. A loud, constant ringing began to emerge, taking over the consciousness of my brain. I could feel the control of my body, slowly slipping out of my grip, as I tumbled out of the window and onto the concrete patio below.

Chapter 1

“Wh- where am I?”

All I heard was silence, followed by a deep rumble of sound waves piercing my ear drums. I could tell it was a person’s voice, but I couldn’t quite make out the words.

“He’s awake! Oh my god he’s actually awake!”

The words were muffled, barely intelligible, but I could just about make out my sister’s tone of voice. The panic and urgency in her voice filled me with dread, but I simply didn’t have the energy to show any emotion.

A man in a long white coat then appeared before me with a big cheesy grin on his face.

“Welcome back buddy.”

The words created a strange deep buzzing effect, penetrating my brain and filling me with rage once more.

“What happened to me?”

I could remember the fireworks and even remember falling out of the window, but I had no recollection of how I got here.

I was sprawled out on a small hospital bed, with what seemed like 50 wires wrapped and contorted around my body. Bright flashing lights pierced my eyes as if they hadn’t seen the light of day in years.

“You’re in the hospital Matt. You had an accident, but everything’s okay now.”

The doctor spoke in a condescending yet narcissistic tone, as if I were a child he had saved from a burning building and he was the hero… and didn’t he wanted me to know it.

Although I could understand the words, they were still muffled and difficult to comprehend. The doctor mentioned something else, his tone slightly more serious in nature.

“Sorry, what did you say?”

*Inaudible muffled sounds*

The doctor’s face had changed from a lovesick puppy to that of a disciplined soldier, as he rushed out of the room with one mission on his mind.

I looked to my sister who appeared incredibly concerned. Her face was white, and eyes wide. I noticed my mum standing next to her, she looked exhausted. Yet through the dark circles around her eyes, I was able to notice they too were huge, and filled with worry.

Just as I was about to speak, a nurse sprung into the room with a strange tool in hand. She stared deeply into my eyes upon entering the room and hurried over to the side of my bed. The last thing I remember, was the thrust of the sharp tool viciously sliding into my left ear drum, almost as if it was injecting pure anxiety and dread directly into my brain.

Chapter 2

*Thudding noises*

My eye lids burst open as a pulsating thud threw itself at me. I followed the vibrations, and they led my sight to the bathroom door which stood closed with a constant tremor, almost as if someone, or something was trying to get out.

It was at this moment I realised; I was no longer in the hospital.

Instinctively I rose to my feet, flinging my bed covers onto the floor and grabbing the first thing I could find. I now found myself in a stand-off, and my weapon of choice… a plastic nightlight, which remained on my bedside table despite years of telling myself to get rid of it. I guess deep down, I never did move on from my fear of the dark.

A loud bang caused the bathroom door to shudder in terror, causing me to reactively take a step forward. I was violently pulled back by the trapped nightlight wire still plugged into its socket, which brought me to the floor landing directly on my lower back. The pain was excruciating, but I couldn’t take my focus away from whatever darkness was lurking behind that door.

I jumped to my feet and lunged towards my wardrobe. I kept a baseball bat hidden down the side for emergencies. Not that I would have been very effective against anyone with it, I couldn’t even make my school’s reserve team last year. But at the very least, my small 5”7 frame would appear more menacing to whatever was in my bathroom if I had some sort of actual weapon.

I slowly approached the bathroom door, beads of sweat dripping onto the bed covers that laid beneath my feet. When all of a sudden, the thudding sound stopped.

As I lifted the baseball bat above my head, I took three more steps forward, nervously gulping as my focus switched to the bathroom door handle. I gripped the handle with my left hand and began to slowly turn it without creating too much noise. I felt the familiar click of the door latch exiting the door frame throughout my entire body.

Impulsively, I flung the door open, immediately killing the suspense that was building up inside of me. But what was awaiting me on the other side of that door, I could never have been prepared for. What I saw standing before me, could only be described as the encapsulation of absolute terror in its purest form.

0 Comments
2023/02/12
01:54 UTC

1

Pancakes

“I’ll have the Banana Bust ‘a Nut pancakes.” said Trevor, handing the menu back to the waiter.

Sam barely heard him. He was still gawking at the menu. Although he had never been to an IHop, he hadn’t imagined ‘Breast Milk Pudding’ to be listed as an appetizer.

“Would you like another minute?” Asked the waiter politely.

“Uhh. Uhm. No… I'll have the…” Sam scanned the menu quickly. In a nervous haste he landed his eyes “I’ll have the Beef Curtain French Toast with the…” Sam paused for a moment. “Period Blood Drizzle.” He added slowly. He just couldn’t believe what he was reading.

The waiter leaned in to grab the menu and in a drawn out, deep whisper, he said,  “That one’s my favorite.” He looked directly into Sam’s eyes and licked his lips. Sam shuddered, starting to regret his choice.

“The reason I asked you to lunch,” began Trevor suddenly, “is because you haven’t been acting yourself lately.” He leaned in closer. “Your productivity is down 13% from last quarter, your co-workers note you never leave your cubicle during break, as if you are actively avoiding them, and everytime I walk by you just look,” He stopped. Sam could tell he was about to say something personal. “depressed.”

Sam knew he was saying this out of genuine concern. Trevor was a good boss. He actually did care about his employee’s well being. But Trevor was also a businessman, and Sam’s falling numbers looked bad for the both of them.

“I just want you to know that I’m here for you, man.” Trevor laid his arms across the table beckoning Sam. Sam looked at him confused for a moment then took his hands. He almost pulled away at the ice cold touch.  "Tell me what's wrong."

"I… I don't know." Stammered Sam. Tervor  continued to stare into Sam.  Sam looked away, he was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable. No one had asked him how he felt before. In fact he had never really had anyone to talk to. His parents were long dead and he had no girlfriend. Hell, he had never actually been on a date. The freezing sensation in his hands was withering away the shock of the personal question. He began to feel calm

"I guess, I've just felt a little lost lately."  Started Sam, "Work has become boring and mundane. It feels like…" Sam was searching for the right words, "It feels like I wasn't meant to do this. Like, I’m supposed to do something else with my life. Like, right now I have no..."

Before he could finish his sentence the waiter came over with their food. "Banana Pancakes for you." He set the plate in front of Trevor. “And french toast.” he handed Sam his meal. 

Despite the grotesque names, the food actually looked quite delicious. The pancakes were a perfect golden brown, and the french toast, fluffy and crisp, had a perfect amount of powdered sugar dusted over top like newly fallen snow.

Sam looked around for some strawberry syrup when, seemingly out of nowhere, the waiter jumped up onto the table and dropped his pants facing Trevor, exposing his bare ass to Sam. The waiter then started ferociously masturbating. With each pump of the wrist his muscles contorted then relaxed. The moans of passionate sexual pleasure pierced Sam’s ears, paralyzing his brain. “What the fuck.” Was the only thought Sam could conjure, stuck in his head on repeat like the catchy chorus to a new pop single.

Sam was finally able to subdue his shock just enough to look at Trevor. He was just sitting there, patiently, smiling up at the waiter as if waiting for something. The moans began to reach a higher pitch. With a final ear ringing scream the waiter ejaculated. His sperm rained down onto Trevor’s pancakes soaking them in a creamy white syrup. “Thank you.” said Trevor passively, grabbing his knife and fork. 

The waiter then turned violently toward Sam. Sam looked up. His eyes widened in horror. Where there should have been a penis, there was only a red mess of a vagina. The waiter stepped out of his pants towards Sam. He slowly squatted over Sam’s french toast. If Sam would have been looking at the waiter’s face he would have seen an expression of dull pain, but all he saw was blood starting to drip onto his food. The dripping turned into a steady flow, then a torrential downpour. The stinging smell of iron overpowered all of Sam’s senses. “WHEN!” the word found Sam’s lips before he could even think it. The flow stopped immediately. 

The waiter stepped backwards into his pants and pulled them up, fastened his belt, and stepped off of the table. Bowing he smuggly said, “Enjoy.” before walking away.

“What was it you were saying?” asked Trevor, devouring his pancakes while looking at Sam. Each piece he dipped into the thick ivory sperm that had pooled on his plate.

Sam didn’t answer. He was still staring at the gory massacre that was once his french toast.

“Eat up. You might find your words in your food.” Said Trevor, almost like a loving grandma that thinks their grandchild is too skinny. 

Sam was on autopilot. The insane turn of events he had just witnessed broke him. Without thinking, he picked up his knife and fork and began eating. The food was sublime. The metallic tinge of the bloody condiment perfectly mixed with the powdered sugar and egg battered toast creating a flavor that was absolutely euphoric.

“Feeling any better?” asked Trevor.

“Not really.” replied Sam. He had somewhat regained control of himself, but was still in a stupor.

“This should help.” Trevor looked above Sam and nodded. All of a sudden Sam was restrained. He couldn’t have moved, even if he wanted to. The waiter had snuck up behind Sam and put him in a hold. Trevor climbed up onto the table and came toward Sam on all fours. Looking at Trevor, Sam saw an expression of compassionate concern. Trevor’s face was now just inches from Sam’s. “Just let it happen.”  Trevor whispered into Sam’s ear.

Trevor slid a few fingers of each hand into Sam’s mouth and pulled his Jaw open. Sam didn’t resist. He was petrified from the shock. Trevor opened his own mouth and began gagging. With each wrench of the gut a gurgling sound croaked from Trevor’s throat. Suddenly, a laminar flow of bile, partially digested pancakes, and semen, spewed from Trevor’s mouth, directly into Sam’s. Sam’s throat opened on its own, as if welcoming the sick.

After a few seconds Trevor closed his mouth, wiped it with a nearby napkin, and returned to his seat. The waiter let go of Sam. 

Sam could feel Trevor’s essence creep down his throat deep into his stomach. He sat there in stunned silence. All of a sudden he felt a punching sensation from inside. “More of a kick.” The thought flashed in his mind before he looked down and dropped his jaw.

His belly had swelled as if a cancerous tumour had been festering inside for months, untreated because, well, he had come to care for it. Loving the tumor as an extension of himself. Loving it more than himself.

A jolt of intense pain raced through his body. His breath quickened. He looked up to Trevor. “It has begun.” Trevor brought the knife to his own throat and ran it across.  A fountain of blood came pouring out. Trevor gave one last gurgle before collapsing on the floor. Lifeless. 

Another jolt of pain. Sam instantly forgot about Trevor. That wasn’t important right now “Whoooo. Whooo. Who” The pace of Sam’s breath quickened. The pain was becoming more frequent and more violent. He couldn’t take much more of this. It had to stop. Sam stood up. His feet were soaking wet. His whole leg was wet. A sudden realization hit Sam like the wakening from a nightmare. He collapsed.

Sam awoke screaming in agony. He felt his sphincter stretch to an unnatural diameter. The tearing pain raced through Sam contorting every single muscle in his body

“Push!” screamed the waiter, standing at Sam’s feet.

Sam looked around. He was lying on the table he and Trevor had been eating at. Trevor’s lifeless corpse lay crumpled in a pool of blood stemming from his throat.

“Push!” the waiter screamed at Sam again from between his legs. Sam instinctually pushed. Trying to force an impossibly large foriegn mass out of his comparatively small asshole. The pain was too much. He just wanted this to be over.

“I know it hurts, but your body was made for this. You have to push. It’s almost over.” pleaded the waiter, but to Sam he may as well have been speaking Latin. He was in too much pain to listen to any kind of instructions. It was the desperation in the voice that finally got through to him. With an ear shattering scream Sam gave one final push. He had never felt so much pain and so much relief at the same time. A slimy mess of blood, after birth, and something else withdrew from his body. 

Sam’s vision waned going in and out like a strobe light. The waiter wrapped something up in his arms from between Sam’s legs wiping it down thoroughly with a blanket. Sam heard a cry. He blacked out

When Sam came to, he was still lying on the table, The waiter stood over him with a bundle in his arms. “Oh look daddys awake.” said the waiter in a quiet voice. “Would you like to meet your son, Sam.”

Sam gently took the bundle without question. In it was the most beautiful thing Sam had ever seen. A life. A purpose.                                    

  

0 Comments
2021/02/15
16:29 UTC

1

I need some assistance

I want to start one of those horror twitters but my ideas feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel. I’ve been thinking maybe like an ominous tower?? Idk any ideas to help this writers block?

3 Comments
2020/07/03
12:07 UTC

1

Workshopping “Locked Chambers”

0 Comments
2020/02/18
02:32 UTC

3

Starting an independent venue for gothic horror stories. Needing early submissions!

Seeing as there are no rules listed on this community, I'm going to assume this kind of material is acceptable. As the title implies, myself and some other like-minded individuals are starting a fun little online magazine to help give horror writers a place to sell their stories. It would help us greatly if members of this community would submit their stories! If you're interested, take a look at the "Submit" section. It'd be helpful to have a backlog of stories for when we get the website off the ground.

Again, this is a small, independent project, but I have high hopes for it in the future. If you enjoy writing gothic horror or any subgenre thereof (including cosmic horror. Lovecraft for the win!) then this is the place for you!

https://danceofdeathpublishing.squarespace.com/ (site is a work in progress.)

1 Comment
2020/02/17
02:40 UTC

1

Close The Gate!

0 Comments
2019/12/18
00:43 UTC

1

A visitor at the Gate

0 Comments
2019/12/16
23:04 UTC

1

Watching me sleep/ true story.

0 Comments
2019/12/16
16:29 UTC

1

Untitled - My first attempt at writing.

0 Comments
2019/03/07
22:19 UTC

1

Transit: The 333 [NSFW]

Today was strange. Very Strange. I would go as far as to say it was probably the strangest day of my life, and I've spent a day with an autistic mime before.

My car's been in the shop for a few days now, and I've been taking the bus to, and from work; that being said I've never been one for public transportation. Bus 333 takes me right to the parking lot of my office, and drops me off only a block from my house; no transfer, so it could be worse. The last few days have been pretty uneventful, but I'm definitely missing my vehicle. I'm a friendly person, however I hate sitting with strangers. Forcing small talk, or being forced to participate in it, drives me crazy.

My work day ended, and I was waiting at my stop with a rolled newspaper under my arm, when the 333 came rolling up; it was a little early today. The rickety doors swung open; I made the small climb, paid the fair, and scanned the bus for an empty seat. it was unusually crowded today as well, and only one spot was available; the very back, next to a clean cut looking man. I nodded to him as I sat down, giving a casual smirk; he reciprocated, then continued looking out the window, as the bus came back to life with it's pneumatic hiss, and pulled away from the curb.

I didn't really feeling like talking, so I unfolded the newspaper I stole from the lunchroom at work, and examined the front page. The headline read "Middle east crises could spark world war." I sighed derisively, and shook my head; "When is it gonna stop?" I thought to myself. The clean cut man glanced down at my paper and quipped "Not a fan of my work?"

I snapped my head towards him, with an eyebrow raised "...What?" I asked; the disapproval in my tone, seeming to delight him.

"My work." he said, with a toothy grin. "It's a hellish job, but somebody has to do it, right?" he chuckled, then stared at me; anticipating my pending response.

"Right." I said slowly, folding my paper, looking for an empty seat I might have missed.

"I'm making you uncomfortable." he said still dawning his macabre smile. "My apologies, I do forget my manners." He extended his hand towards me "Nice to meet you Cory, I'm the Devil."

My eyes fell towards his offered hand, then back up to his seemingly sincere smile. "How do you know my name?" I asked, inching towards the edge of our seat.

"I'm the Devil." he said shrugging his shoulders. "An omnipotent being, not unlike...you know?" his eyes gesturing towards the sky.

I fixed my gaze on the back of the seat in front of us, "This is exactly why I hate taking the bus." I said shaking my head in disbelief; then noticed he was still holding out his palm. "Uh, I'm not going to shake your hand man." I snapped.

He looked disappointed, then asked "Fist bump?" as the smile returned to his face.

"No." I answered turning away from him.

"You know Cory, it's not wise to be rude to the Devil." He said, his hand returning to his side.

"Yea? One could argue it's not wise to shake the Devil's hand either." I remarked, feeling clever with my response.

The bus began to slow, and a elderly lady a few seats up from us proceeded to make her way off the bus. I stood up, and glared at the man "Look, I don't know how you know my name, or what the hell is wrong with you, but you don't wanna fuck around, okay?" I looked him dead in the eyes to prove my seriousness, then moved to the now vacant seat.

I sat down, and looked towards my new seat mate; I couldn't believe my eyes...it was him. "Fuck around?" he asked, returning my glare "I thought we were enjoying a friendly conversation, but I suppose I understand your skepticism." I swung my head around towards the back of the bus; the elderly lady that just got off the bus was now sitting in back, where we just were.

The man began to laugh to himself, finding amusement in my confusion. "What the fuck is going on?!" I demanded, jumping to my feet.

"Sit down, Cory. Just relax, let's have a talk you, and I." The man said crossing his legs, and resting his manicured hands on his lap.

I quickly moved towards the driver, and asked him to stop the bus; but it was like I wasn't even there. "Hey, can you stop please? I'd like to get off now!" I pleaded. The driver continued to ignore me, it was like he was in some sort of trance.

The man just watched as I begged the driver, all the while elating his eerie smile. That's when I noticed that everybody on the bus was in the same trance like state; it was like this man, "the Devil" was the only one who was aware I was even there.

"What do you want?" I asked, keeping my distance from him at the front of the bus.

"Just to talk." he replied. "It's a long ride, and I do so enjoy a good conversation; you know? To pass the time." he then then patted the empty seat beside him. "Come." He beckoned.

I didn't know what the fuck was happening, but decided it was in my best interest to humor him. I made my way towards his seat, waving my hands in the faces of the other passengers in a desperate attempt to get any kind of response; it was like I was a ghost. I know it sounds weird, but even during this bizarre situation, I never felt like I was in danger; I was scared for sure, but I truly felt he didn't mean me any physical harm.

I took a seat next to him, and muttered, "So, what do you want to talk about...Mr.Devil?"

He laughed, throwing his head back, and slapping his knee. "Lucifer is fine, Cory. No need for the formalities, we're not here on business after all." He said pulling on his lapels, adjusting his suit jacket.

"Okay. Then why are you here?" I asked, looking at him through the corner of my eye.

"Well, you may not like talking with strangers; but I find it humbling." he said with a sense of pride. "It keeps me in touch with the common man, let's me know the kind of impact I'm making."

I really didn't have a reply, I was starting to wonder if I'd died or something, and was on the proverbial highway to hell. I began to fidget with my fingers, and repeatedly bounced my heel off the floor. I said "I'm sorry, I have to ask..." he looked at me inquisitively. I continued "Am I dead?"

He giggled, "Of course not, Cory. Why do you ask?"

"Well, what the hell is wrong with all these people?" I gestured towards the other passengers.

"I don't like people eavesdropping, I thought we'd talk in private." he then ran his fingers through the hair of a woman in front of us, with absolutely no response from her; then turned to me, "So, you're not a fan of war?" he asked.

"No." I replied coldly, "I'm not a fan of war, hate crimes, domestic abuse, rape, or anything you probably find...I dunno amusing."

"Amusing?" the man asked with a hint of offence to his tone. "What kind of being do you take me for? I admit, those things do bring me a great deal of satisfaction; but to find it amusing..." he sat up a little straighter in his seat, before finishing his thought, "Well, that's just plain sick wouldn't you say?"

I squinted confusingly, giving him a long stare, "Are you sure you're the Devil?" I asked, "Because, I'm pretty sure he's into that kind of shit."

"Your opinion of me is so Hollywood, Cory; red pajamas, and pitch fork" he said rolling his eyes, "The truth is, I don't care for that type of behavior, or even partake in such brutalities." He then stared me dead in the face, and said, "However, they are necessary."

I snorted softly, then rolled my own eyes, "And I suppose you're going to sit here, and try and justify these things to me with some sort of morally grey logic, is that it?"

"Morally grey" he delighted, "I like that. You have such a way with words Cory, so clever, so..." he began snapping his fingers in an effort to find the words, "...sagacious."

I shot him a facetious smile, and crossed my arms in an effort to project my discomfort; uttering, "Thanks."

He kissed his teeth, realizing his platitudes were ill received, when a confident smirk grew across his face; He asked, "Cory? Do you know who Friedrich Nietzsche was?" rising to his feet, taking hold of a hanging bus strap.

"Yea, he was a German philosopher." I replied.

"Right!" he exclaimed, seeming surprisingly impressed. "He believed morality to be a fiction, used by inferior people, to hold back the few superior men."

I stared blankly at the man for a moment, then asked "Didn't he die of syphilis?"

The man chuckled, as he replied "Well, yes..." caressing the cheek of an attractive woman gazing out the bus window; admiring her beauty, "...hell of a time though, wouldn't you say?"

I stiffly placed my hands on my lap, and leaned on them, biting my lip, "That's a load of shit!" I replied "The whole; if it feels good, do it attitude is dangerous, and selfish. If everyone in the world just did whatever felt good to them, we'd have nothing but drug addicts, and chronic masturbators!" I waved my hands at him dismissively, leaning back in my seat.

"That's where you're wrong." he hissed. At that moment all light from outside the bus was quickly extinguished, we were bathed in darkness. His once smoky blue eyes, now a luminous red; focused solely on me. "Most people of today do in fact adopt that philosophy."

Light began leaking back into the 333, the window’s shimmering with what appeared to be television static, giving a more isolating feeling then before. Once seemingly workaday passenger’s, were now rotting bodies of daemonic entities. I glanced down; the man was barefoot, his feet unwashed, and beast like. The floor of the 333 was seemingly alive as it crawled with a sense of dread, now filling every space between us. As he fixed his collar, he prepared to deliver his imperious speech.

“Do you have any idea how many people pray to me, Cory?” he asked, as he meandered down the aisle of the 333 towards the front. “It’s not just gothic Satanists, or troubled emo children. No. These days it’s Presidents, Prime Ministers, CEO’s, judges, members of congress, and the Vatican itself. More people believe in me, love me, and ask of me more than the one you call…” he spat on the floor, “God.”

As I sat among the theatrical horrors, his face grew more intense as he continued, “God. He’s no savior. He’s a Goddamn spectator! A sadist! You’re his entertainment, all of you! This world is a fucking reality show to him!” He shouted, waving his hands wildly, emphasizing his statements. “Not me, Cory! I love man, I always have! I don’t make any of you do, the fucked up things you do; I simply allow it to be done. God only gave you instinctual behaviors, I…foster each, and every one of man’s sensations! I'm simply the director of this reality show, this stage.” He slowly raised his hands in the air, and held them there. “The means to an end, if you will. I don’t interfere with free will, Cory! There are no deals with the Devil; because I answer no prayers.” He began to march down the aisle, towards me, “This is my time now, I am your Government, your religions, your wars, your secret societies, all of it! Because anybody in a place of power believes in me, not him.” He then crouched in front of me, placing his hand on my shoulder, “You know this to be true.”

As he stood up, and turned away from me, he said in a softer tone, “You need to get with the fucking program, Cory.”

Rage began to build inside of me, “So, why me?” I demanded.

“Why are you telling me all of this?” I rose from my seat, puffing my chest in anger, my heart beating like a jackhammer.

He smiled that same crooked smile, and said, “You came looking for the Devil, Cory. This is exactly where the rabbit hole leads.”

I chocked on my own reply, uttering a stammering, “Uh…”

Then I thought, “My God…he’s right.”

“Ah, the epiphany.” He voiced, slowly clapping his hands, for his own self indulgence. “I always enjoy the dumbstruck expression, of self realization. I mean, how humbling is that?”

I was lost in thought. Puzzle pieces I’ve slowly gathered over the years, began falling into place; revealing the truth of human nature, like a tapestry of corrupted will. It all made sense.

“Yes.” He said, laughingly. “Yes. The researchers, and journalists are usually among the firsts to figure it out, granted they’ve been looking in the right mirror.” He said, running his fingers against his tapered beard.

“I get it now.” I said, hanging my head defeatedly. “From the newly unveiled, Baphomet statue in Detroit, to Bohemian Grove’s Owl of Wisdom.” I slowly raised my head, my eye’s finding his insidious stare; I continued, “Satanic churches are sprouting across the world, while one half of it starves to death, the other, obesity runs rampant. Mainstream music is rarely insightful, or profound; instead it promotes a materialistic, hook up culture. Social media connects more cultures than ever before, yet races are more divided than ever. Wages are at an all time low, poverty an all time high. Governments don’t promote peace, they wage constant wars; while arming, and funding both sides of them. Scores in public schools continue to drop, while the price for education continues to rise. Tax exempt bankers receive government bailouts, and struggling families receive home foreclosures. Fast food poison fits a struggling family’s budget, but nutritious, organic food isn't affordable. Diseases are only treated, and not cured; in the name of corporate profits. We give away our god given freedoms, for government control; in the name of terrorism. We fight a constant war on terror, but with its ever expanding definition, it’s a war that can never be won. The reason for all these things comes down to one point, and one point only; one percent of the nation, controls ninety-nine percent of the nation’s wealth.”

He nodded his head, agreeing with my statements; then gestured me to continue with the circular motion of his hand. He wanted me to say it.

“God doesn’t live here anymore.” I practically whimpered the words; saying them winded me, like a punch in the stomach.

The man roared in his sick delight, raising his arms triumphantly, “There it is! Now, don’t you feel better?”

Better? How could I? Look. It doesn’t take a genius to realize there is something very wrong with our world. This being, has led us all off the path of good; into temptation. You hear buzzwords like “Illuminati”, “Skull, and Bones Society”, or “Cremation of Care” and you think; “Aw, it’s just a conspiracy theory.” Then your curiosity begins to peak, you start digging, and you quickly realize that any answers, only lead to more questions; stranger questions. Almost without exception, your own research leads you to a satanic cult, or daemonic cabal, or some kind of weird shit like that. You start to wonder if there’s something to this Devil craft; I mean if the elite believe it, and practice it, there has to be…right?

Well, here I was. On a bus with the Devil, telling me that he is the reason for all the misery, and evil in the world. Sounds like a no brainer, but it always seemed too easy to just blame it on the Devil, a convenient scapegoat. I’m not religious myself, I’m sort of agnostic; so in my eyes, “The Devil did it” was more of a metaphor, then a literal truth.

We just sat in silence for a few moments, the 333 slowly transforming back to its original form, along with its passengers. The light of the day found its way back in, while the sound of the city resumed its symphony of commerce, and capitalism.

“Don’t look so disappointed, Cory.” He said, “It’s not like it’s a big revelation; after all you always knew on some level the balance was skewed in my favor.” He placed his hands behind his head, basking in his ill gotten glory.

I replied, “So, if you are indeed the real deal, then by that logic God also has to exist.”

“Naturally.” He quipped, with a quick raise of his eyebrows. “But who’s the one who took the time to prove his existence to you? Hmm? If he really gives a shit, then…where is he?”

“I don’t know.” I answered quietly, resting my chin in my palm; falling back in my seat.

“You now have to make a choice, Cory.” He said, leaning forward admiring the shine of his polished Wingtip shoes. “You can embrace chaos. Lie, and fuck your way to bliss; stepping on the oblivious, and unremarkable alike, securing a foothold in this…amusement park. Or. You can continue to follow the rules, living paycheck, to paycheck, telling yourself, that one day your hard work will eventually pay off, simply for its merits.” He began adjusting the cuffs of his suit jacket, then continued, “I’ll leave you with the same words I bestowed on Eve…eat the apple.”

The 333 began to slow, it was my stop. As the bus doors opened, I began to make my way towards the exit; I looked back to the man before I descended the few steps, but he was already gone. As I walked the familiar block towards home, I noticed the sky didn’t seem as vibrant as I once knew it be, the clouds didn’t seem as soft, I even felt numb to the kiss of the evening breeze. What a day.

Today was strange. A conversation with the Devil has a way of taking the wind out your sails, and the optimism out of your outlook on life. So, I have a question for you. If you met the Devil on a bus, and he told you how the world really works, and pointed out the only way to success…what would you do?

0 Comments
2019/02/27
17:53 UTC

2

Wolves of Autumn Past

He watched his feet as they treaded over crunchy brown leaves and bright red winter berries. It was beautiful, he thought... Or would have thought, if his brain was able to process anything other than the pain, the regret and the sadness that always came with the daydream or rather, mental mirage of the beautiful and vibrant girl who once called him, her one and only.

It had been a year since he last saw her in person. Their last meeting, she had told him everything he had wanted to hear, that she was sorry for being difficult, that he made her a better person and that she was willing to do anything to make it work. This meeting had ended with the same brand of make-up sex that had become an addiction to both of them.

The bigger the fight the better the sex. As equally addictive were the apologies that followed... "Finally, she's showing reason, logic and empathy. Finally she knows what she said wasn't fair. Finally, she's a new person", but it was never true. Another fight always followed. "You're being a hypocrite" he once told her. "I'm a girl, I'm allowed to be a hypocrite" she replied, deadly serious.

A cool fall breeze rustled the leaves by his feet, turning his attention from his heartache, back to the beauty of his surroundings. When things were still, his mind went back to the blonde haired girl he missed. How many times had he thought, if only he could go back in time, if only he could tell her how much she meant to him before she disappeared. If only he could be with the girl who caused him so much anguish, yet brought him so much love and genuine affection.. If only.

Fall was his favorite time of year, and had his thoughts not been encumbered by grief, he would have found this particular day to be endearing. The sky was the perfect shade of blue and the sun wasn't blazingly shining, hurting his eyes as it had the past three weeks. It was just under seventy degrees and there was a feeling in the air, the same feeling one gets when they roll down the windows of their car while driving at night.

The dark chill of night was all around, while the sun still illuminated the sky. It was October in Pennyslvania, and this feeling was like a beloved family member who only visited one month out of every year. The precence of Fall wrapped him in its crisp embrace, but his cold heart couldn't let it in. His body was numb to the cool and caring touch of mother nature.

The crunching of leaves continued even as his footsteps ended, followed by the crunching of sticks that the oak trees had discarded along with their leaves. The young man now stood alert, his mind no longer stirring in a soupy abyss of darkness, his thoughts now turned to what was outside with him.

All sounds ceased. Nothing was left except the gentle clapping of the branches and leaves that remained atop the massive trees. He waited, looking out into the cluster of forrest before him, waiting for whatever that was following him to reveal itself.

The breeze continued to rustle leaves, then the sound of more twigs cracking underneath something's sizable weight. Then, then the sound of a snarl, thick with saliva. The snarl faded into the steady and unsettling low rumble of a growl. As the young man searched for what he hoped to be a lost and confused dog, the source of his anxiety showed itself.

The creature stood on two legs, hunched over and baring it's teeth. It was covered from head to toe in beautiful golden fur, that looked too groomed and too emaculate to belong to anything that lived im the wilderness. There was something wildly feminine about this wolf like girl... And something familiar.

It was too late to react. The young man gauged his choices and his instincts told him that running would mean instant death for him. Instead, he put his hands out defensively, took a couple slow steps backward and tried to communicate with it.

"Easy, d-don't... What..what do you w-want?". The girl stopped showing her teeth. She brought her hands slightly down and laid them awkwardly at her sides. She now looked like something pretending to be human, like how a dog might look if it mocked its master.

They stared into each others eyes, and for a moment, her eyes changed from those of a deranged canine... Into soft grey saucers. They reminded him two little moons... Just like her eyes used to. Just like the blonde haired girl who disappeared with his heart, one year ago. They were the same eyes...

Taken by surprise and overwhelmed by the realization, the young man trembled and tears welled in his eyes. "Megan?.." he choked out. The girl took a human-like step towards him. She opened her mouth and a human voice came out of it.. A sweet, familiar... loving voice. "Danny-boo, I'm so sorry. I've missed you so much". Shocked and now weeping, the young man collapsed to his knees.

"What happened to you Megan? Oh my God... What happened to you?" He wailed. "It doesn't matter Danny. I'm here". Her voice faded back into something that wasn't human, and before he could say anything else, she embraced him in a hug. For the first time in a year, he felt loved again. He hugged her back, and pulled her furry, muscular body into his. They held onto each other, in the peace of a perfect October afternoon. And then there was pain. The pain of an over-extended jaw gnashing down on flesh and arteries. The flesh between his neck and shoulder was ripped away and before he could even scream, his body lyed pale and limp on the leaves.

The girl curled up next to him, and spooned his lifeless body. When the air got colder and the sun retired, a beautiful glowing white full moon took its place. The moonlight spilled over the forest and eventually landed on Danny. His eyes blinked in his head, and life soaked back into him like a sponge, followed by a terrible pain.

His body writhed as new flesh began growing over his former body, and long thick hair that had laid dorment in his human genes for over a millenium, began sprouting all over until there wasn't a single bare patch of skin on his entire body. His old teeth fell out as new sharper ones took their place. His muscles bulged and body morphed for minutes. Finally it was over. The pain was gone.

Danny stood up, in awe of his situation. He had died a few hours ago and then had been reborn as something stronger. He felt adrenaline, amazement and happiness flow through him like a galaxy of stars. He looked over to Megan, who now looked as viscious as a Pomeranian in his eyes. Danny panted in excitement, he knew that he and Megan never had a chance of working as humans, but as wolves, their relationship had potential.

0 Comments
2017/10/12
00:54 UTC

3

Logan (working title)

I began writing this earlier today. It's the first thing I've written in over ten years. I started writing first, and now am starting to outline. Not 100% sure where I'm going with it yet. I have a few ideas. Any criticism or suggestions of how to continue it is really appreciated. (Also, if reading about a severed dog's head bothers you, read at your own risk. That's as gory as it gets)


His hands hovered over the keyboard. He looked up at the screen, down at the keyboard, back up again. His frustration building. The memories are clear, but how to put it into words?

“Last night I saw them in the woods…

Faces covered in hoods

Dark and brooding moods…”

Again, his hands hovered. He cleared the page for the tenth time.

Frustration building to its breaking point, he shoved the computer chair backwards. Running his hands over his face, he felt like letting out a yell. He had to get this out. He had to describe what he saw. It was so real. “It had to be real, right? My mind isn’t capable of playing this big of a trick, no matter how fucked up I was.” And he could still smell the stench. “I tried just describing it, writing it like fiction, and now a goddamn poem,” he thought. It felt like something was physically stopping his hands from typing it out.

He limped through his dark, dingy house, his ankle wrapped in a bandage. His tv stand covered in dust, dirty dishes filling his scum covered sink. The sun had just started to set. He opened his freezer and poured a glass of 5 dollar rotgut whiskey. As it burned its way down his throat his eyes watered. He sat at the table and thought back to the night before.

Despite his drunken, drug induced stupor he knew what he saw was real. “The hooded figures, the snarling faces, the clawed… could they even be called hands? And my God, the smell,” he thought.

Olivia had already left in disgust at another evening of finding Logan already completely inebriated. Depressed and lonely, Logan stepped out into the night. The air was already starting to become crisp. Fall was fast approaching. The leaves hanging from the trees forming the forest behind Logan’s dreary home had already started to change. He stepped up to the treeline and peered into the woods. Logan had spent a lot of his childhood playing in those woods. It was a much happier time. It felt like a different life to Logan. Maybe even as if he had dreamed it. His parents were still alive and the home was clean and taken care of.

The home and everything in it was all his parents had been able to leave him. It, and the land, had belonged to his mother’s family. Financially they were never comfortable, but they survived. His mother worked at the country grocery while his father was a local handyman. It was obvious from the state of the house today Logan hadn’t inherited his father’s natural talent to fix things. He worked at the same grocery his mother had, making enough money to cover his food, booze, and whatever mind altering substance he could afford or find.

Logan stepped up to the trees. His memories of bright Spring mornings spent in the woods quickly faded as he saw the state of the woods today. Grey, dead trees laid fallen on the forest floor. The brush was brown and crumbled at the touch.

Walking much further into the woods, he found a clearing. He was confused by what he saw at first. He thought it was a dog, sitting at a rock. But quickly his mind processed what it was. It was the severed head of a mutt, placed on a large grey stone. The stone was covered in markings he couldn’t make out. Blood ran down the side of the rock. Behind the rock was a makeshift effigy. It was a symbol he didn’t recognize.

He felt frozen on the spot. His mind was racing, but his body was still. He stood there, staring at the rock and the dogs head, its tongue hanging lifelessly from the side of its mouth. Suddenly, a loud rustling came from deeper in the woods. His eyes shot into the direction of the sound. All he could make out was the shape of what seemed to be a large group walking in formation in his direction. He spun around and finally his body let him move. Even with all the alcohol and pills in his system he shot like a bullet back towards his home. The formation behind matched his pace. As he reached the treeline, as if he was in a bad horror novel, he tripped on a root and landed face first in the grass. His ankle was throbbing and possibly felt broken. Petrified, he rolled to his back. As he opened his eyes he saw a group of nine hooded figures, walking out from the woods. Their robes looked torn and as if they would disintegrate. Logan couldn’t remember having ever seen anything that looked so old. Again, he felt frozen on the spot. And even if he could move, he really doubted his ankle would get him very far. Cruising the failure of his fight or flight response, he felt as if this was how his pitiful life would end.

As the figures grew closer, a stench unlike anything Logan had smelt filled his nostrils. It was so horrid and rancid, he turned his head and vomited up the remaining whiskey in his stomach. Looking back, he saw their faces. Rigids on their foreheads, dark brown skin, glowing orange eyes, small protrusions near the hairline that resembled horns. Their faces were snarling, showing saw like teeth. Suddenly, the snarling stopped. One hand reached towards Logan, pointing a clawed finger at his face. The last thing Logan remembers of that night was one of these creatures walking up to him, bending down and examining his face. The creature’s face was only two inches from his own. Logan blacked out.

The next morning, Logan woke in his bed. Upon waking, Logan felt his ankle throbbing. He pulled the covers back and saw his ankle was one big bruise. Black, blue, and purple. Quickly memories came flooding back to him. The dog’s head, the robes, the creatures. That God awful stench. He leaned over the side of his bed and vomited again. Wiping his mouth, he sat up and grabbed for his pill bottle. Only two left. “Shit, of course right now”, he thought. He took the last two and laid back in bed.

He tried to wrap his brain around what had happened the night before. He tried to think of a logical explanation for it all. Not being a man of angels and demons, he thought “This can’t be real.” Maybe teenagers playing around with the occult? But that wouldn’t explain the smell. He got a close enough look to know it was not makeup. Hollywood monster makers couldn’t make something look that real, that up close.

Suddenly, he thought of Olivia. She lived on the other side of the woods. He fumbled for his phone. She had texted him a few hours ago. “Thank God.” he thought. Despite everything, Olivia had always been there. When everyone else left, she was there. Friends since childhood, Olivia helped Logan keep going after his parents’ horrific deaths.

Looking back at his ankle, he knew he had to have it checked. “Maybe some normality will help clear my head and think this through,” he thought. He texted Olivia, asking her if she could pick him up.

“Liv, I had a fall last night while in the woods. I need to get my ankle looked at.”

“What were you doing in the woods, Lo? We haven’t been in there in years.”

“I don’t know, I just felt like going.”

“What happened?”

“I just tripped over a tree root.”

“Have you been drinking yet?”

“Not a drop. Just a couple of pills.”

“Okay, be there in a few.”

0 Comments
2017/07/06
04:27 UTC

3

The Cruelest Mercy

He was grateful when they took his eyes.

They had already seen too much.

He no longer knew his name. The needles, wires and clacking surgical machines had seen to that.

In fact, large swatches of his past were gone- burned away like a frame of film exposed to too much heat, leaving only black voids ringed by singed embers.

Sadly, those images he wished erased the most were still there, worse than the pain of the ragged, bleeding holes in his psyche.

He could still remember the day they came.

It had been bright (noon? morning?) and the sky had been blue and endless. Not a single cloud. He'd been on a street with a woman... Dark hair... Eyes dark green yet still seeming to sparkle like diamond in the sun...

She'd been laughing about something and he had felt a... closeness to her, some emotion now beyond his grasp. When he reached for it, the word 'love' bubbled into his mind, but there was no feeling left to associate with it.

It had been bright.

That was why it had taken him by surprise when the sun had simply gone out, the streetlights around them springing on as day turned instantly to night.

He had time to register the terror in the Woman's (wife's? sister's? who was she neither word makes sense anymore) eyes before he looked up himself.

When he did, he knew his own face held an echo of her own fear because there WAS no sky anymore, only a vast, unending field of dark, twisted metal- a motionless, infinite latticework of twisting, unfeeling darkness that had become the sky, the horizon, the entire universe.

It had arrived silently, as though it always had been there, and they had simply been blind to it. There had been screams then, and he had looked down as the noise of crumpling metal echoed through the previously silent street.

A car had swerved from the road and crashed into a storefront, but not before plowing into a teenager who had turned his head skyward, drifting obliviously forward on his rollerblades as the blackness above stole his attention. He could see one leg, still clad in a rollerblade, on the pavement next to the smear of red where the boy had been, but when he looked to see the driver, he was gone.

Not fled, but simply gone.

The driver’s seat was empty, as though the car had been driving itself and had simply decided to swerve, ending the young boy's life.

He noticed in a detached way that the seatbelt was still engaged, and as he marveled at this, there were more screams from the street.

At first he thought they were reacting to the accident, for all its horror almost a banality compared to the monstrous thing in the sky, but a quick squeeze of the Woman's hand had brought his attention away from the still-spinning wheels of the boy's skate.

On the far side of the street, an elderly woman was calling out in confusion for someone named 'Roger.' She was in mid-yelp when suddenly, she was no longer there.

There had been no sounds or lights. She had simply ceased to be with the same shocking suddenness with which the thing above had arrived.

Now, more people were screaming, panicking. Some tried to run, only to vanish midstride- one foot leaving the ground and never returning to it. Others simply popped out of existence as they stood there, wondering perhaps if they were dreaming.

He had looked to the Woman, ready to ask her what to do. As he opened his mouth to speak, he felt the warmth of her hand disappear from his, and he suddenly found himself looking at the storefront across the way.

He had stood that way for a while, the screams thinning out around him- cut off mid-note or fading as they receded into the distance- before he slumped to the ground, sitting like a lost child waiting for his mother to return.

When his turn came, it happened quickly.

The streetlamps around him had gone dark and he had the barest flicker of disorientation- the sinking sensation of nodding off, followed b the sudden snap of catching himself before sleep could claim him.

His ears filled with a roaring sound and he tried to stand, only to find that he was already upright, but also somehow immobilized.

As his eyes adjusted, he saw that he was in a vast, open space between two walls of the same black metal he had seen above him on the street.

What had taken the sky from them had now become his entire world.

In every direction, the chamber curved into darkness, far beyond what his eyes could distinguish, and he could make out what seemed to be hundreds, maybe thousands of metal threads stretching from one wall to the other. He struggled to move his hands and fear blossomed in him as he saw they had been strapped to some sort of vertical platform, metal shackles binding his wrists and ankles.

On either side, there were other, identical restraining devices- the one to his left still vacant, the one to the right occupied by an old man, eyes closed, muttering something through his beard that might be a prayer as they trundled along a mechanized track that connected their 'beds' conveying them further into the dark. It was impossible to hear him over the sound in this place.

The roaring grew louder. Familiar yet alien, it swelled in his ears until he was startled by the realization of what that throbbing, pulsing, omnipresent din was.

Voices.

What he had first mistaken for a single sound was more than that, it was a collective NOISE made by hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of people all screaming at once, more adding their cries every second.

Each of the myriad threads stretching into infinity was a track, just like his.

Suddenly, the sheer, maddening scale of this place, bigger than the grand canyon, bigger than anything he had ever seen struck him. He realized each track must be miles long at a minimum.

(enough for an entire world) he had thought to himself, and before despair could overwhelm him, a new sound had cut through the cries of the damned, a new voice immediately to his left.

It was the Woman.

By whatever strange means he had arrived, she had suddenly found herself in the restraints to his left. For a moment, he was almost relieved, until he saw the reason for her screams.

She was not alone.

Hovering in front of her was a device- a single electronic eye surrounded by a dozen mechanical arms tipped with buzzing, snipping equipment. Every inch of it was covered in blood, and he noted with horror that there were several plastic bottles or containers hanging from the underside. He recognized what looked like severed fingers in one, and the others with less recognizable but still... human... trophies.

He had cried out with her as one arm darted forward, pinning her head and jaw in place. In a blur, the other tools moved forward, and there was more blood as they cut, cauterized, and excised.

Then it had pulled away, adding a human jawbone to its gristly collection, leaving him to scream into the dark.

After that, things had become a blur. The metal surgeons came and went, stopping seemingly at random, taking biological components here, forcing technological replacements there, no two alterations alike.

His left arm had been the first thing to go, and its replacement- a boxy, metallic thing laced with dozens of wires and tipped in fine, almost delicate armatures- would occasionally twitch through no impulse of his own.

Occasionally, he would wonder why. Why any of this? Was there some higher purpose? Some reason they were being converted a piece at a time? Or was it random? Some terrible thing that had started long ago, and had long since lost its purpose. As unpredictable as the machines that had continued to visit them, replacing the old mans voice box with some electronic thing that let out a constant low drone. Which had bored into his skull, taking his name, her name, and more from him.

So, when the whirring machinery- shining blades, scoops and needles made dark with the blood of hundreds (thousands?)- came for his eyes, he was not afraid.

There was only relief, and a prayer for the moment when the needles would pierce his skull again, and take away the rest of his self.

0 Comments
2017/03/13
11:32 UTC

2

Specter (A novel in progress...if I ever finish it. ) NSFW

*Note: Not strictly horror, but macabre humor and overall cynical darkness. It's not much, but is this one worth the effort? Rough draft, so pardon any spelling or grammatical errors)

Chapter one: Edward (Stevens?)

My therapist is going to kill me. I did it again, and this time, I may have succeeded. I stand over the little old mare, wondering if she was lonely or if her kids or grandkids thought to visit and change her shit filled diapers. She is clutching her chest, mouth agape and drooling, and her eyes are frozen in fear while I grin ear to ear under shroud, which is modestly made of my victim's off white egyptian cotton bed sheet, which I have cut two eye holes from the fabric, and in doing so, fashioned a rather humorous “ghost costume”. I finally did it. I frightened somebody. I scared some poor old soul to death. But I still felt that I had not done my fantasy justice.

These were cheap scares, and although I wholeheartedly appreciated the tongue in cheek garb I had fashioned for myself (thus providing challenge to my games), but this woman was no young filly. She most likely suffered from a preexisting condition, and her heart was more likely than not to give out if given the spook of an invader wearing a costume from Great Depression Halloween and screaming “BOO!” like a madman, with clouds of rank, chemical waste fuming from my hidden lips as I exhaled a hit of crystal, which I procured at “work” earlier from Karl, who is my coworker and the closest to an actual “friend” that I have ever had in my miserable, nihilistic and meaningless existence, but we will get to him later.

I squat on my haunches and stare into the corpse's pupils, gazing in marvel as they dilate and fix, glossing over and dulling in sheen and color, while retaining the final moment of terror just as it had before my “prank” sent the light from those gorgeous orbs, which I might had, held a profound beauty and visible wisdom that can only come from age: sights one would marvel to behold, and others that one would weep to capture; moments of sweaty, filthy ecstasy, and timeless instances of clean, unadulterated pain, which left the taste of saline and the prayer for morphine on the tongue. With my right index and middle fingers, I closed the expired lids, bent down whilst pulling away my cloak with my left hand, kissed her lips tenderly, and whispered in sincerity found only in marriage proposals and confessions of lurid infidelity with the underage babysitter: “Thank you.”

It is not that I do not value life. I have no regard for the act of dying aside from my own simple artistic and pleasurable ventures, but I did NOT see the woman laying before me a worthless life to be snuffed out at leisure. This was a moment of profound intimacy, and the fact that I, contrary to what you or my therapist might believe, truly VALUED her life...a myriad of senses, tastes, nostalgia, regrets, memories, loves and losses...made this all the more near perfect, and I say “near perfect” as this was art, and I was an artist who had once again failed to achieve my creative potential. She was easy, and I felt a pang of regret in knowing that I had stooped to such easy prey.

I had merely walked into her front door, as she had left it unlocked upon leaving for church one sunday, and I simply hid inside of her closet, leaving only when she showered and went out to rummage through her belongings, hide her keys, stack her furniture in bizarre ways, and turn every crucifix inside of her house upside down. She never thought to call the cops, but I nearly was captured when a priest she had summoned to “exorcise” my presence smelled the vapors of the amphetamines I was vaporizing in her attic as the ritual continued, which luckily, he attributed to “sulphuric fumes of hellfire”. I nearly thwarted my lucky slip with my laughter.

I would hide her medication, plant dead animals from the highway under her floorboards, so the scent of “rot” would permeate the house. She would pray and pray, and I would lovingly answer her prayers by filling her bottles of holy water with an acidic compound, apply a basic varnish of my own recipe to her floorboards, and stifle my giggles as she soiled herself to the sight of the holy water sizzling and “boiling” on the surfaces of her home.

Finally, just as I had driven her to tears when I poured pig's blood into the back of her toilet and applied a customized filter to her faucets to give the impression of water turning to blood, I awaited until her prayers turned not to God, but to her deceased husband for guidance, and as she beckoned forth a ghost, I so obliged. With a loud, drug smoke filled “BOO!”, she clutched her heart, eyes wide and filled with dread, and fell to the floor like a frail and wrinkly sack of potatoes.

But she was easy. She was old. I needed FRESH blood. I need fear of a younger, more primal source, filled with adrenaline and a will to live. I needed the skills to deflower the “terror” which lurked within the minds and hearts of that demographic, and those skills were a goal to be strived for, unlike Karl, who had mastered the art well since his teens. His eyes were that of death, and his presence felt like the whistle of an incoming atomic bomb. He would be picking me up soon for work, and then I could study his ways even more, make a few grand, and continue to film school only to start anew with a new prey of arthritic bones, sagging flesh and feeble mind.

I didn't bother disposing of the body, and I simply left it for the authorities to discover once the smell had permeated the residence. I gathered my supplies, turned off the lights, took one more drag off of my crystal and lit a cigarette before exiting the residence into the cool spring sunrise on outskirts of Spokane, WA.

Don't ask me why I do these things. I stopped asking a very long time ago. I am an artist, and fear is my art. If you want proof, just observe my work, as you very well might if you are of a certain calibre of fetishist.

I am a film student, but film school is expensive, and so, like others, I found a job. Most say to do what you enjoy and get paid to do it. I can't fathom any other way to do it. I gained my employment through Karl's brother, Dmitri, who was a Capo in the local chapter of the Ukranian mob. It paid well and it allowed me precious experience behind the camera, and allowed me to watch the normally jolly European who was once Karl transform before my lens and eyes into a monster of unrivaled beauty as he sodomized drug addicted whores who got in too deep with the sharks, only to open their throats or cut other orificices anew for the pleasure of our clients, who often had very, VERY meticulous standards which we catered to, but generally were all what the outside world saw as “Snuff”.

I walk out of the front door, pick up the freshly dropped newspaper, carefully maneuver it out of its plastic wrap shell, which is smeared with spicy mustard yellow dog shit. Upon freeing my parchment, I stuff my “ghost garb” under my shoulder and peruse the pages, taking note of any updates the police may have in regards to recent burglaries and “paranormal” related activity and deaths among elderly women.

Also noteworthy, in my momentary glimpse into the outside world, was the disappearance of a local celebrity, some singer with pink hair and an attitude problem who had far too much money to stop caring about what her ex boyfriend or girlfriend did to her when she was sixteen, broke and willing to go down on a record executive to get a deal. My heart flutters in excitement. Now, THIS was a life. Rich, materialistic, empty, yet filled to the brim with longing, desperation, addiction, and a survivor's grit waiting to be brought forth and utilized now that her vices had hopefully caught up with her. She looked like a cokehead, and Dmitri ran that. He was called “the weather man”, as his business was the “snow” and the “ice”, and once you got in too deep with that, that's when the rain would come down HARD. If you were stupid enough to get hooked to drugs that you could not pay for, and assumed that your cute ass would do the trick, then you deserved every moment of agony you received in one of Karl's “Red Rooms” (a term we coined LONG before ISIS and the “Deep Web”'s big reveal, however, our organization has very well utilized such technology, mainly to cater to our customers who simply want one viewing, either for revenge, too much money, or lack of creative energy, and for a few thousand bitcoin, we could put on a show, even if the real money was in tapes).

I light up a cigarette and begin my walk down the street and I retrieve the phone from my right pocket, and I dial Karl's number. It rings twice before his gruff voice sounds off with an air of excitement and false innocence. “Come to dock now. We have special work. Come now or hold your load!” He could barely contain his excitement. And of course I laughed at his lewd comment. It was a steaming piece of shit in regards to higher humor, but you ALWAYS laugh at Karl's jokes. Karl was somebody who you would vastly prefer gaily dropping vulgarities to angry. Or horny. Karl was both when on the job, and I, having pieced together today's news in regards to our pop glitter trash heroine's vanishing and Karl's hurried glee about today's work, was starting to get a hard on, myself. I never got hard anymore, unless, that is, I was working, and these erections simply became a side effect in being the face behind the lens creating the final frontiers of pornographic art: La Petite Morte, meet La Grande Morte. I take a few puffs and begin trudging along the Spokane road to meet our turgid member'd star so that the day could properly begin.

Within thirty minutes or so, I am putting my costume in the trunk of Karl's piece of shit Pintof parked outside of the docks, where we chit chat momentarily before our trip to the warehouse district. I catch my reflection in the passenger side mirror as I get in, and grin to my unassuming exterior, satisfied that I am not one to look “dangerous”, and you could probably kick my ass. I would let you. Then I'd make a few phone calls, smoke some ice, set up a camera, and then two ukranian behemoths escort you into the room, black bagged and wire tied, and I make sashimi from your hide. That ghost garb is a joke in and of itself: That sheet is the real me, just as the camera lens. It is only when the sheet comes off, and I look up from the camera, that you see your “real” ghost.

“This 'vun you will like...she is...you know? A poppy girl?”

Yes. God, motherfucking damn it, yes. He could only mean a “pop star”, and his broken english had just sent waves of pleasure and excitement at the sheer amount of potential this could mean for me. It would pay vast amounts of bitcoin into my account, I would get a little higher on the totem pole, we'd drink vodka and spin the bowl, and maybe, just maybe, this film could be different. This film, this fear, this total reduction of human life into commodity and, on a more artistic note, this statement: it could be my masterpiece.

We are driving all too fast, and smoking way too many drugs to responsibly make it to our destination without hurting anybody. It just a fact of life. We smoke around three points of high grade crank while blasting music so loud that Karl's speakers, which were once of very high quality, would crackle and it would feel like little needles were jabbing your eardrums, searching for a vein in your ear, injecting the crunching, banging, heavy industrial metal directly into our extremely altered minds, and I would hit homeless people and crackheads on the head if they happened to cross our speeding vehicles film, and Karl had the wheel with his left hand and a small video camera in his right, laughing hysterically the whole fucking time. And why not? An hour of footage was easily a grand, and you know you've seen the videos. Or at least heard of them. Odds are, at some point, you or somebody you know has seen my work, perhaps even me, in some online video, which at one point was pay per view, where one of the stars isn't breathing at the end. And like a some sort of phantom, you vanish after viewing, process the vile content, and either repulsed or aroused you will feel as though you didn't just contribute to a murder. You feel innocent. But you know damn well why sick fucks like me are out there, making these films: We enjoy what we do, and there will always be sick, demented, sociopath fucks like you who will watch it. It's really that simple. We are both ghosts haunting a dead world by making death immortal through film, internet, money and art.

Chapter 2: Mandella

Finally, I mutter to myself, as I retrieve my cell phone from my purse, which is now vibrating and playing “Ghosts of Boyfriends Past”, a poppy and plastic textured dance track and personal favorite of mine by my favorite artist, Kayla Pearl. However, despite my repeated joy upon listening to the track numerous times, I feel only annoyance to see that the message is from Edward. He's getting a ride from my brother in law, Karl's house, where they had had a “Sleepover” (which raises question as to my sensitive art student trophy boyfriend's true nature, the question of why else grown men would have “slumber parties”, and the prospect of a “Karl and Edward” gay fantasy to play with myself to in the shower to) and were now on the way to the tech school, where Edward's latest “masterpiece” would be squirted out stillborne and unimaginatively for his Professor to Baptize with a bright red “FAIL. Or maybe they were fucking. Edward would so be the bitch, although I could see Karl as an occasional power bottom. Perhaps I could even write another piece of erotica and get a few new shoes if it was good. I have to unfortunately pose as a 22 year old gay man from Nebraska, as female writers of male on male erotica has been saturated. The real money is in gay stories about gay sex for gay men BY gay men, and I play along happily, as the flood of nude photos of gorgeous men from all over the world, under the impression that I have a twink's body, a philosopher's soul, a writer's wit and an eleven inch uncut cock, perpetually arrive as expected, along with gifts of money, love letters, fan-fiction, and even dildos (which sometimes are of the pricier variety, which I keep, while simply sending the reject dongs back to their senders after dipping them in the toilet and claiming in the post script that I had used them on my “sweet, muscular, virgin ass”. I still get a laugh out of that, but I've been thinking of far more sinister pranks lately.

I can only play my games while poor, fragile Edward is away at school or work or hanging out at Karl and my sister, Sarah's place. Lord knows what they do in there, and I certainly refuse to go there, what with Sarah doing drugs all of the fucking time and blaming her dealer's violence on poor, simple Karl. He is an enabler, but he is too simple to resist her addicted manipulations. He doesn't speak much, but you can see it in his eyes that he is hurting and only wants the best for her, and I find it all too depressing to be around, unlike my “true love” (what a laugh), probably hangs out with them in their broken home for “research” for his next piece of angsty shit he dares call a “film”. He honestly might as well be filming plastic bags in the wind while trying to fuck Kevin Spacey's daughter. Luckily, he is going to be gone for a few hours at the very least, so I disrobe and, as predicted, masturbate while showering to the image of my boyfriend taking Karl like a little whore, all the while humming and moaning the lyrics to some Sunny Day Real Estate song and being reminded of a poem or something while ounces of Ukranian seed spill onto his lower back. I am still unsure as to what turns me on more: The idea of my Edward taking it like a bitch, or the FACT that he is one while doing so.

Why the deprecation and degrading comments about my dear, sweet, emotive and creative, Edward? I'll tell you: He naturally acts the way I pretend to be: harmless, gentle, timid, shy...and the reflection is not pretty. I have successfully hidden my darker aspects of my perceived humanity thus far, but I am experimenting with my ability to stifle emotions and gain pleasure from darker things at a more frequent pace, as Edward has given me more than enough time to myself, and I don't work as Edward's job as a wedding photographer for Karl's cousin Dmitri pays for his wasted time in art school as well as our home, and my extracurricular homoerotica is sellable when I feel like shopping a bit or want to go clubbing. Perhaps I use the money to buy puppies and kittens from the pet store to play with until I'm finished with them.

You heard me correctly. I approach my “study”, where I mostly write my erotica and masturbate, but when Edward is with his boy toy, I have my fun. I look at the kitten in the cage, and for a moment, we lock eyes and I see the fear and knowledge of impending death. It mews as if pleading with me, but I ignore it. I don't feel any empathy, regret, or remorse. I do this because it feels good, and perhaps I shouldn't judge Sarah so harshly for sticking her arms like pin cushions, as she most likely wants to feel good too. However, in her addiction, she surrenders power for pleasure. In my “hobbies”, I gain power. I am a goddess. I am an angel of death. I am pain and I am release from pain. I am the heroin flowing in Sarah's veins. I am the blade that opens the veins of small animals. Edward is a camera, taking in life without any power exchange whatsoever, as I believe his cowardice lies in that he wishes to view the world and not be in it. I might help him with that once I “graduate” as a budding psychopath and end his miserable existence. I might even film it.

I pick up the kitten, and I pet it, cooing to the little frightened ball of fur, calming it so that I don't have scratches and bite marks to explain. Edward once thought that I was cutting myself, as I was covered in cuts from three kittens I had drowned in the tub. He tried to get me committed, but my anger was subdued by the hilarity of the irony that anybody would insinuate that I was cutting myself rather than other things. They really all are oblivious to my nature, and I appear as weak and shy as Edward, but I smile when my enemies smite me. Go ahead. Fuck with me. I will be by your house in a couple of days with some Choroform and a few handy tools. Then, and only then, will I accept your apology and end your misery. I am merciful, but I am not lenient in these matters. I am simply growing into the person I was meant to be: an evolved creature, absent of humanity, empathy, and emotion, which dwells the earth to sow discord and reap the benefits of the seeds I discard into the lives of the worthless masses.

The kitten struggles, but I grasp it tightly before kissing it on the head. I whisper “Thank you”, and I begin my work. Edward should be home in a couple of hours, but I will have enough time to clean up, dispose of the remains, and play the “innocent girlfriend” until he goes to sleep and I write more smut about his adventures with Karl. I know that what I am doing is wrong in most eyes, but my eyes are the only view of this world that matters. The kitten expires, and I am God and the Devil for a moment, only to contemplate how the “rush” would be with a human being. I am patient, and I have much to learn, but what I will unleash upon the world will be something worth remembering and dreaming of in the slumber of my traumatized congregation of victims. So I hide in the dark, growing, my soul rotting while growing cold and even more jaded, but keep in mind, that you might be waiting, too. I could be the girl next door, and you could be the missing person on the signs posted on street corners. But patience, as in good time, all will be completed, and whether or not you are a part of my “transformation”...sleep on it. Dream wild scenarios of fucking the girl next door only for nightmares to consume you and leave you awake at night wondering if you locked the door or if I could possibly get it. But no matter. It could never happen to you, right? Just like the now motionless feline, stiffening from rigormortis, you will never see me coming if I even come at all.

Chapter 3 Sarah

Karl is finally gone to pick up Edward and get to their “job”. I know that he is up to something, but I am in no position to ask what it is. Questioning Karl's word was a punch to the jaw and no “boi” for four hours, and that hell is not worth the time and effort to stick up for myself, sadly. I sit down on the couch, pull out my works, which I store in an eyeglass case. I dole out a couple of points from my daily ration of heroin, and I put it in the spoon, adding water, heat, cotton, and then draw it up. I insert the needle in my vein, and I fail to hold back a tear. I hate heroin. I hate the feeling, the rush, the “high”, the itching, the pins and needles (of both types), but my body now cannot function with out it. I've tried weaning off once before, but Karl discovered that I hadn't used in a day or so, and he was furious. Screaming Ukranian obscenities, he punched my in the jaw, knocking out on of my teeth. Dazed, I lay there as he pulled out a syringe, already loaded, and shot me up, despite my protests. Great. I'm a junky, and I don't even like junk. I am a prisoner, and if I try to leave, I have a distinct feeling that Karl will hurt me in ways that I do not dare imagine. I snap out of my dazed sadness, pull the plunger back, watch as my blood blooms like a rose in the golden brown solution, and I drive it home. I hold my head and breath slowly as I try to ignore the hauntingly pleasurable and devastatingly dirty feeling coursing through my body, and I simply sigh as the withdrawal fades.

I have to inject this filth every four hours just to be “normal”. It's almost pure, and no detox will accept me, as Karl has influences that extend beyond the evils he does daily for money and power. I begin to nod off, and thank god my sister isn't seeing this, as the shame of this affliction is only stimulated by Mandella's criticism, which is sharp and cold and has no solution...no advise, but rather a comment on a life that is in ruins. She believes fully that I became an addict out of choice. Addiction is only a choice on the first use, but I never had that first choice.

When I married Karl, he was everything and more to me. However, our wedding night was not filled with love making, but rather, a rough, hateful round of fucking, and the clear warning that I was not his wife. I was his toy…a dog...a used tissue grabbed out of lack of fresh toilet paper after making a mess. I tried to leave, but he already planned a leash for his “dog”...He first stuck me in my exposed buttocks while he pounded away, and after thirty minutes, I was unconscious, and he continued to fuck my limp body, periodically injecting drugs into me to keep me limp and cold, but never enough to overdose. Karl has never fucked anybody that was mobile and awake, and although these rapes have taken their toll, and even made the disgusting sensation of heroin a release for the pain and shame. I am his slave, and if he only drugs me into sleep before fucking when he is pleased with me, then I am too terrified to see how he would touch me if I made him too angry...he would kill me, and nobody would care, as my family, Sarah, and all of my friends know me as a “junky” and see Karl as a model citizen who cares for his pathetic, addicted, self mutilating (via HIS fist) wife.

1 Comment
2016/05/23
19:26 UTC

1

Mindy (x-post from r/darktales)

I'm hoping for feedback. I'm not wild about the title, and I think the pacing's a little on the slow side. I'm open to any and all suggestions. Thanks!


In his most desperate wishes, he and Mindy Feldman were heroes. When he replayed the event in his mind, he found himself substituting what he wished had happened for the real thing. In his perfect version of the incident, he and Mindy saved the day, working together like a well-oiled machine.

His dream unfolded exactly as it had in real life. He and Mindy sat on the floor in the library, cozily tucked away behind a massive bookshelf. Mindy wore that long, flowy skirt she loved so much; the one that fell nearly to her ankles and had Vincent Van Goh’s “Starry Night” printed on it. She wore high-heeled sandals, and her toenails were painted blue.

She sat cross-legged on the floor beside him, her skirt smoothed over her lap, swallowing her skinny legs entirely. Her head was bent, and he could faintly smell her shampoo. It was something familiar and floral, something half the girls in school probably used.

Ever-patient, Mindy spoke in a low whisper. She pointed to the open calculus textbook on the floor in front of them, calmly telling him where he’d messed up and how to fix the problems in order to get the right answer. Mindy never flat-out told him the answers; she gently prodded until he figured it out for himself.

His dream continued as it always did. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew that he could just end it with him and Mindy sitting in the library, going over calculus, and it would be perfect. Some deep desire to see himself and Mindy Feldman as heroes kept pushing through, because in his dream, he allowed the gunman to enter the library.

When the first shot had gone off, he had, absurdly, thought that someone had popped a balloon. He hadn’t realized that he was hearing gunfire until the second or third shot. The first thing he did was look over at Mindy. In his dream, it was to make sure she was OK. Mindy sat, frozen, her face the color of the crisp white calculus textbook on the floor in front of her. The gun popped again, closer to them this time, and he realized for the first time that Mindy had blue eyes.

Mindy moved suddenly, slipping her little black sandals off. She set kicked them aside and began untying the drawstring around her skirt. She slipped it off, wiggling out of it without standing up. He gawked at her stupidly, unable to comprehend what she was doing. She tore the skirt along the seam; the ripping fabric sounded like a whisper amid the constant pop-popping of the gun.

Absurdly, he found himself thinking of the persistent rumor that Mindy Feldman was gay and wondering why a lesbian would take her clothes off in front of a boy. He was about to ask her when she leaned forward, placing her hand over his mouth. Her palm was dry and chapped, and it made him realize that his shirt was completely soaked in sweat.

“He’s coming this way,” she whispered. “I’m going to distract him, and you’re going to tackle him. I need you to be brave.”

She turned and stood up, crouching slightly even though there was no possible way to see her over the bookcase. He stared at her, dumbly wondering how she knew that the gunman was getting closer. He watched as she began climbing the bookcase, scrambling up with her torn skirt draped over her shoulder like a cape. She was wearing bright blue panties, and he found himself wondering, of all things, if she had painted her toenails to match them.

She clambered to the top of the bookcase, her thin white legs sliding up and over the side. The bookcase was thick enough for her to stand on, but instead she knelt, crouching on the very edge like a gargoyle and holding her skirt.

He stared up at her for what felt like eternity. The popping sound continued. It was now accompanied by screaming. He recognized a handful of voices. Garrett Parker was shouting, “come on, man, don’t do this. You don’t want to do this. Let’s talk about it, man,” before a deafening POP silenced him. Jeanie Smith and Carly Thompson were crying, and Martin Harper was making a low moaning sound.

“Hi, Ryan.”

He turned towards the voice and saw Jared Pickman standing in front of him. Jared’s eyes were bloodshot, and he was holding a handgun in one hand. It reminded him of the gun in Dirty Harry, and he found himself wondering if Jared would ask him if he felt lucky or not.

He wanted to tell Jared to stop, to beg him not to shoot, but the words clogged his throat as if they were coated in honey. Jared raised the gun, pointing it at him, and he felt the front of his pants grow warm and wet. In his dream, this part did not always happen.

He stared confusedly at Jared. Mindy’s long, flowy skirt was falling now, gliding down lazily like an autumn leaf. He didn’t hear her yelling at Jared, nor did he realize that she was now standing on top of the bookcase and waving her arms. Jared turned his head, tilting it up to look at her, just as the skirt landed on him, draping itself gracefully over his head.

Jared stumbled back, firing wildly into the air. He flailed and screamed, pawing at the skirt as if it was covered in battery acid. Over Jared’s confused wails, he heard Mindy shouting.

“GET HIM, RYAN!” She screamed. “GET HIM! TACKLE HIM!”

In his dream, he lunged at Jared. He moved fast and without hesitation. He didn’t freeze. Jared didn’t have time to tear the skirt off his head, aim the gun at Mindy, and call her a dyke before firing at her. In his dream, Mindy ducked, pressing herself flat against the top of the bookcase. A bullet didn’t tear through her shoulder, and she didn’t topple. Her body didn’t make a wet crunching sound, because it didn’t hit the floor. Her neck remained unbroken.

He didn’t pause, not for an instant. He didn’t let Jared shoot Mindy because he was too shocked and scared to move. He tackled Jared. Their bodies collided and the gun went flying, clattering harmlessly to the ground. He landed on top of Jared, battering his face and head with his fists. Jared remained wrapped in Mindy’s torn skirt, fumbling blindly as Ryan hit him as hard as he could as many times as he could.

Sometimes in his dream, he killed Jared. Sometimes he pressed his arm against Jared’s throat, pushing down against his windpipe. Jared’s mouth opened wide as he tried desperately to breathe; all he succeeded in doing was sucking Mindy’s skirt into his mouth. Most of the time, the police arrived and stopped him from killing Jared, just as they had in real life. He stood and watched as Jared was led away in handcuffs and Mindy’s skirt was folded and placed into a plastic evidence bag.

In his dream, Mindy clambered down from the bookcase on shaking legs, her face flushed and pink, beaming at him. She hugged him, and he gave her his letter jacket. He didn’t see her on the other side of the bookcase, lying on the ground in a sticky red puddle with her head cocked at an unnatural angle. Her arms and legs weren’t bent awkwardly, as if they’d been cut off and re-attached backwards. Her blue eyes were open, but in his dream, they were shiny and alive. They moved and blinked and told him that she was proud. They didn’t look like cold blue marbles set into vacant eye sockets.

He’d later learn that the fall from the bookcase had been what killed Mindy; if she hadn’t plummeted headfirst onto the library’s cement floor, she might’ve survived.

He and Mindy were always heroes in his dream. The media treated Mindy with decency and respect; articles never mentioned that she’d helped take down a mad gunman wearing nothing but a white tank top and a pair of bright blue panties. When the Lifetime channel made a movie out of the event, the actress playing Mindy threw her sweater at the actor playing Jared. There were no gratuitous shots of a young girl climbing up the bookcase in her panties.

His dream never ended with him and Mindy dating. They never married and had babies. They remained the closest of friends, platonic soulmates. He aced his calculus test at the end of his dream, and Mindy gave him a big thumbs-up.

“I knew you could do it,” she told him.

In the real world, out of his hazy, happy dream, a memorial service was held for Mindy and the other students who had died in the library. There was some chatter amongst the students about putting a plaque on the bookcase to commemorate Mindy. He was stunned to learn that her name was really “Miranda”; everyone had called her “Mindy” since kindergarten. He found himself lying awake at night, wondering what else he didn’t know about her.

The fact that she’d ripped off her skirt and died in her panties without any sort of dignity was common knowledge, but if anyone snickered at her, they did it in private. Martin Harper made some joke about Mindy being horny for Ryan and giving him a blowjob before she climbed up the bookcase. Ryan had broken his nose before reminding him that he’d shit his pants when he saw Jared shoot Garrett Parker.

The media called him a hero for tackling Jared. He told whoever would listen that the whole thing was Mindy’s idea. He started turning down interviews after one reporter kept asking about Mindy’s sex life. The reporter kept trying to make him say that Mindy was slutty.

He didn’t start seeing Mindy until after the media hype had died down. He woke up one morning to see that the news van that had been parked in front of his house was gone. Mindy stood in its place, staring emptily up at his bedroom window. He could see the ragged bullet hole in her left shoulder. Her tank top -- which always remained white and pristine in his dreams -- was splattered with a dark reddish brown substance. Her arms hung limply by her sides, as if she didn’t realize that her blue panties were still exposed.

Be the time he got dressed and ran outside, she was gone. He looked for her frantically, running down the street and calling for her. He stopped when he noticed his neighbors peering out at him through their closed windows, shaking their heads in what looked like disgust masquerading as pity.

Mindy never appeared in the library. He sometimes hung around the bookcase that she had climbed, but he never saw her there. He’d always assumed that ghosts liked to stay near where they died. He knew, though, that if he’d died in the library, he wouldn’t want to stay there for the rest of his afterlife.

He sometimes saw Mindy at the grocery store or in his living room. He’d catch her standing on the opposite side of the room out of the corner of his eye. Every time he tried talking to her or approaching her, she vanished. Most of the time, she would turn and walk away, passing through the wall as if it wasn’t there. Once or twice, she just disappeared, melting up into the air like a cloud of dust being sucked up by a vacuum cleaner.

She started appearing in the hall at school a week before finals. She wandered in and out of classrooms in a way that was almost aimless. After seeing her casually walk through biology and Spanish class, he decided that she was just checking on him. He was tempted to talk to her, to tell her how sorry he was for letting her die, and to ask her to forgive him, but she never appeared when he was alone. She always showed up in the middle of class. Sometimes she would stare vacantly at him for a few minutes before leaving, but most of the time she would sit at an empty desk.

He tried not to stare at her when she did this, but he caught himself glancing in her direction almost constantly. Sometimes she would turn and look at him, her face blank and her eyes unblinking. Sometimes she would be looking at the teacher, her head tilted slightly as if she was paying attention. Once, he caught her absently scratching at the bullet hole in her shoulder. Her fingers came away from the wound sticky, her fingernails crusted with congealed blood. He barely managed to make it to the bathroom before vomiting.

There were no empty seats in his calculus class, so Mindy would sit on the counter beneath the window. Sometimes, she would swing her legs, and he would see her bare feet pass through the solid cabinet as if it wasn’t there. Since there were no assigned seats in calculus, he tried to sit close to her. He wrote the words “I’M SORRY” over and over in his notebook, hoping that she’d look down and read it.

Sometimes she would look down at it, tilting her head in a gesture that seemed exaggerated. She never reacted to the pages full of his apology. Her face remained blank and calm, her eyes never blinked, and she never spoke. Sometimes he wanted to scream at her, to just forget about everyone else in the room and tell her how sorry he was. She had to be mad at him. It was his fault she was dead. When he had clammed up, he had let Jared Pickman shoot her. He had let her fall to the floor and break her neck. He had let her die in her panties, undignified and obscene. She had every right to be mad at him.

He almost didn’t notice Mr. Shapiro handing out the calculus final. He’d been frantically scribbling in his notebook, writing a long and elaborate apology letter to Mindy and hoping that she would look at it. He didn’t notice Mr. Shapiro standing over him until he leaned down and placed his hand on the notebook.

“Ryan? Are you alright?” Mr. Shapiro’s voice was so soft Ryan almost didn’t hear him. Mr. Shapiro was glancing down at the notebook, reading the scrawled apology. He had been the one to arrange the tutoring sessions with Mindy. Mindy had been the smartest girl in class, and although Mr. Shapiro never tried to play favorites, Ryan had always suspected he’d make an exception for her.

“Do you want to go to the nurse, Ryan?” asked Mr. Shapiro. “You can make up the exam another time.”

Ryan glanced over at Mindy. She was leaning forward, resting her elbows against her knees, and watching him. Unlike earlier, when she had looked blank and vacant, her eyes were full of concern. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew that she wanted him to take the test.

He closed his notebook and slid it into the metal basket under his seat.

“No, Mr. Shapiro,” he said. “I can take the test.”

Mr. Shapiro seemed to hesitate for a moment before placing the small packet of papers on Ryan’s desk. Ryan watched as Mr. Shapiro made his way to the front of the room and told the class that they could begin. Ryan stared down at the test. The numbers seemed to swim across the page. He took a deep breath before looking at Mindy.

Her mouth was moving. Ryan strained to hear her; every pencil scratch seemed deafening. He nearly lost it when Kelly Andrews got up to sharpen her pencil. Mindy raised one thin hand and pointed at the test in front of him. She continued talking, her mouth moving wordlessly.

Ryan looked down at the test. The numbers had stopped swirling around and were starting to make more sense. He could see Mindy out of the corner of his eye. She gestured with her hands, moving them the way she had whenever she tutored him in the library. Her face was calm and patient, just as it always was when she helped him work a problem out.

Ryan picked up his pencil and began the test.

0 Comments
2016/03/14
20:07 UTC

1

The left hand of Aux-Çevoires.

(Posted for critique and comment)

I went up to see him, like we all did, strapped into his swinging gibbet-cage on top of Dancers’ Hill. The thin, withered corpse naked but for a wrapping of black iron banding, its bald head angled back in a scream of agony – or of fury – with eyes plucked from the sockets, left hand hacked off at the wrist.

The left hand of Aux-Çevoires, the Alchemagos. The Poisoner of Melhaut, the Breathstealer, He-Who-Walks-In-Fog. The hand that I had seen only once, when he jabbed its discoloured fingers at my eyes before leaping through the stained glass of Our Lord Abiding’s rose window and down into the canal below.

So I went up to see him, like we all did, but I went at dusk when the night-mists begin to settle in the hollows and the sounds of the City are softer, distant. I went at dusk, to be alone.

I went at dusk, like a fool.

The walk is not long, but it is hard. Dancers’ Hill rises quickly from flat moorland on the far side of the Choke and its cover of thick gorse is left to run wild as a deterrent to the casually morbid. In the slow darkening of dusk, and as your breath begins to catch from effort, it feels as if your own life is ebbing away with every step of the climb. Yet suddenly, always suddenly, you are stood on the small tonsure of bare ground at the hill’s crown. Behind you the City’s lights glow amber and ignored. In front of you is the Dancing Master; the bent and blackened tree, impossibly ancient, that stretches out one arm to dangle the final home of the treacherous, the wickedly insane or the simply evil.

Aux-Çevoires was all of these so we hunted him down, across decades, until a time when the Dancing Master could offer him a lesson.

Nobody knows when he came to the City but it is likely that it was during, or sometime immediately before, the White Plague of AB412. Perhaps he was a young man then. Perhaps he has always been as old as he looked when I last saw him alive. Perhaps he was never even a man but simply a husk, animated by something unthinkable. Whatever he may have been, he was a murderer. A vampire, feeding off the fear of his victims.

The infamy of Melhaut is well-known; the bloated victims leaking and bursting as they staggered drunkenly in the streets; the escalating quarantine measures that couldn’t stop their screams echoing through the night; the very buildings themselves infected with malignancy, even all these years later. I remember hearing a shout go up and seeing the figure of a woman, still in the early stages but obviously lost to infection, run howling along the shallow incline of a gambrel roof. A Boxer took her with a shot from a trycklock and she burned as she fell into the streets.

Yes, Melhaut is well-known but Melhaut was a war and its atrocities on a scale that made them mercifully incomprehensible. It is the smaller crimes that make my throat burn with bile and wake me in my sleep; the candlemaker, almost suspiciously healthy in himself, whose corrupted sweat caused every 18th candle to gout yellow, choking fumes when lit; the mother who unwittingly killed her babies, driving herself into collapse as she tried to feed them more and yet more but ignorant of the fact that it was her own tainted milk that poisoned them; the sewerman, no longer aware of the difference between night and day, who went to work as the full moon rose and was found, reduced to a small pile of teeth, by the morning shift.

Yet the worst crime he ever committed was to kill the hope, the peace of mind, of thousands. The backstreet jack-a-knife can be avoided or struggled with. Hunger can be prevented with hard work or thrift. Even old age can be balanced against a life well-lived or the sight of a grandchild. When all this can be taken away on a whim, without reason, then life becomes meaningless. He killed many without lifting even a finger of his filth-stained hand.

So I went up to see him, like we all did, just to make sure that it was actually him, that it was finally over.

I looked up at him as I thought all this and realised that I’d been holding my breath. I let it out and with it came all the horror of the years gone by, all the faces pleading with me to save them when I couldn’t. I wept and howled, beating the cage with my fists until my strength left me and I fell to the ground, into blackness…

I awoke to cold seeping into my bones and a bright half-moon hanging high in the night sky, silhouetting the gibbet above me. Something tugged at my hair. A rat, no doubt, drawn by the smell of decomposition. I clutched at it, flinging it from me. Its claws raked out, leaving sharp lines of fire across my throat. I cursed it, I cursed the foolishness that had drawn me here and I cursed, as I had cursed so often before, whatever passed for the soul of Aux-Çevoires. I turned to spit but my throat was dry, hoarse with curses, so I simply glared up at the corpse.

And that is when I heard it. Under the whispering of a night-time breeze, under the creak of the settling gallows-tree, even under the distant murmurings of the slumbering City was a sound like dust falling on paper. I became silent, immobile and focusing every ounce of concentration on that sound. It became rhythmic, rising and falling like far-off waves. Like a memory of breathing.

Or of laughter.

Another sound, louder now and close by, made me spin around to see the vague smear of something crawling in the shadow of the Dancing Master. The rat I had flung into the darkness? No! Not the rat but a spider, bloated and dragging itself along the ground. Dragging itself out of the shadows and into the light…

I howled denial into the cold, uncaring night as the moonlight shone down on the horror that crept towards me. There had been no rat. There had been no spider. Crawling slowly, impossibly, in jerking movements and with fresh blood, the blood it had scratched from my throat, glistening on its talons was a blackened, distended hand.

The left hand of Aux-Çevoires.

I fled, crazed and unthinking, as the paper-thin laughter echoed in my mind. With no distinct direction to follow my limbs took me home, back into the City. I should have disappeared into the Fen, taken this death out to the monsters and abominations that haunt the horizon. But I did not, and now I am too weak to move. Fire fills my head and my eyes steam like coals. My lungs gurgle with every breath. My hands are bound tightly with cloth but still they swell and drip with thick, grey fluid. Soon I will no longer be able to hold this pen. Soon I will be dead.

I write this note as an apology. I caught the Alchemagos, brought him to trial and to punishment, but I am his final victim and, in being so, I continue his work. I will die. I will seep foul fluids into my clothing and belongings, tainting them irreparably. I will blossom spores into the air of this room that will waft through cracks and crevices, into the lungs of others. I will be found and will be removed, spreading the infection like the soft touch of autumn mist.

It is a mist that preludes a storm, ushered in from beyond death itself by the left hand of Aux-Çevoires.

Apparent final note and confession of Procurator-Medico Alnstein. Found amongst personal effects, post-mortem. Immediate quarantine procedures instigated on discovery. 1,203 related deaths confirmed as of time of report, including 57 officers and related auxiliaries. 721 further possibles. 3 Boxer units subsequently deemed inoperable or lost-in-operations.

Recommend noted area be sanctioned Red/Black immediate, full disassociation.

0 Comments
2015/10/28
14:03 UTC

1

Lily, A WIP Novel of Psychological and Supernatural Obsession [Part 1]

Tristan Tzara said in his 1918 Dada Manifesto : “… [A]rt should be a monster which casts servile minds into terror ….”

“Evil recognizes evil, and the recognition is always painful.” - Marquis de Sade

The wind was cool and crisp that October afternoon, when I rescued Mina from the dark confines of my suitcase, intent on using her mercilessly, as I had so many times before.

I settled down in my office chair, preparing to tackle the blank page as most writers do. A cup of coffee to the left and a flask of whiskey to my right. Depending on what frustrations the blank page had in store, I was armed either way. As a lover told me long ago: you'll never be prepared, but having the weapons of choice at the ready sets the mood. To which I sarcastically scoffed and added a few witty lines of my own.

"My weapon is my mind and the drink, my trusty steed. Like a poetic knight riding drunkenly, to rescue her in need."

Truth is, sometimes the knight needs rescuing, an inebriated mount gallops astray, and often.

Alcoholic irony aside, I would write. In the words of my publisher it was all I could do. My purpose. Of course, he didn't care for my style just that it sold well. ANOTHER BYRON KING TALE OF TWISTED TERROR.

How many times had that been splashed upon my covers? Countless times. And each one more magnificently quoted than the last. I told Mort Davies that although I appreciated his enthusiasm, his blatant approach to advertising was amateurish. As a publisher he was great. As a friend, his bottom line was exactly that. The bottom line. Still it paid my bills. And he took a chance when others didn't. So, while I was appreciative, equally I remained wisely skeptical.

After a two year break from writing, Mort needed something. Contracts aside, five novels later, he said the world was curious to see if I "still had it" after the accident. Although, catastrophe is a better term. How did it affect me? Was I nervous to write again? Rabid horror fans and general journalists alike. Same interviews. Same questions. And me? Same answers.

"Trauma is brutal. A harsh mistress . It either spurs you on, or incapacitates. I assure you. I'm only on a leave. Just like those demons I tuck you into bed with every night... I'm only in hiding. Always contemplating of when to strike again. And when I do, those wide eyed screams will be my lullaby. And in those blood-soaked sheets, I will finally rest. Sweet dreams."

I guess the reason I judge Mort so harshly, is because I sell myself much better than he could. The fans ate it up, too. I was quite proud of my interview that day. The internet was lit up with that quote. The Good Reads website added the last bit to my author page within 24 hours, as well.

I stared at the blank page, squinting a moment, then relaxing my eyes, and sighed. I couldn’t believe it had been so long since Mina and I had collaborated. I named my typewriter after the heroine in Stoker’s Dracula, since I had always fancied myself a fan of horror, and from the moments my fingers had touched the keyboard, I knew she would be mine. An Olivetti MP1, manufactured in 1934, in the rare sky-blue shade. Mina was a beauty still today. She had been a gift from my grandfather on my 9th birthday, once my mother spoke of my interest in the writings of Stoker and Lovecraft. The man died of lung cancer just a year later, but his enthusiasm at having a writer in the family, and his Christmas present of dear Blue Mina, started a relationship that has been with me 30 years on, despite the advancements of word processers and laptops. She was mine, and we were old friends. A few short stories, even more novels, and my mistress through and through.

Leaning forward in my chair, I gave her a loving stroke of the keys, closed my eyes, listened to that harsh yet soft sound of the pads being pressed, and we danced. We knew this dance well, and our reunion would be joyous, despite the years neglected.

We danced until the afternoon shrank into darkness, as my heart shifted there as well.

Asleep at the keyboard, leaned back in my chair, empty flask in my lap. The majority of my misadventures with Mina ended this way. Tonight, I smiled, realizing that despite my neglecting of her the last few years, our chemistry was still uncompromising and dangerously invigorating. 5,000 words of foreboding preface and characterization achieved in a mere evening. While I wasn’t sure of every detail, the mind raced with the possibilities.

I awoke to the sound of the telephone, and groggily fumbled with the flask, nearly dropping it on the floor. I placed it on the writing desk, with a little shake. Empty, as usual.

I walked to the right side of the room, glancing into the mirror a moment along the way, and towards the clock above the small minibar I intended to visit momentarily.

11:23.

I picked up the phone, with a sigh. “Hello?”

“Byron, it’s Mort. Calling to see how the writing is going out that way. Hopefully chilling. Bankable? After such an absence I can’t imagine it not being.” He chuckled at that last part, and then, upon reflection, steadied his tone. “Sorry. That was inconsiderate. I’ve been in work mode waaayyy too long this week.”

“I’ll let you beg forgiveness once it’s finished, Mort. Until then just let me admit that while it took a few days to get into the groove again, I firmly believe I am back. And the seclusion of this little cabin suits me fine. Thanks for asking. Had my doubts with the price of this place, but nestled away far enough from the wilder sections of New Orleans, it was a good decision. I’ve had beachfront property, and now, lakefront property. Nothing as flashy as my beach house in Florida, the view suits me at the moment. I sit out there often, reading or just contemplating. It’s a nice change of pace from Chicago and Florida. ”

“I have to ask, and pardon my bluntness… invited any ladies to take a swim in that little pond with an American icon? You remember that little blonde on your final book tour? A little obsessed, but that look in her eye. Hell, I was wishing I were you that week. ”

I winced at that. Perhaps it was a good thing that Mort was only a publisher. If he had any talent as an actual writer, he would have fathered half the east coast by the time his paperback rights had been finalized, and blown those checks on hush money for the rest. I laughed at that, then repeated it to him. His response, as usual, did not surprise me. Seven years of phone calls like this, ever since my first bestseller, have made him even more predictable, and laughably so sometimes.

“True, but let’s face it. YOU are a literary icon .We both know my novels would be smut. And the sluts that read that kind of erotica, you don’t need a million dollars to sleep with.”

“As always, your vocabulary and wittiness are profound. What’s today? Wednesday? Tell you what, I’ll call with a small excerpt this weekend, and you can judge for yourself. And my love to Ellen, that lucky lady of yours. She’s made you the gentleman you are today.”

Somberly, Mort changed tone again. “And you. Don’t drink too much. Especially all alone. Get out and enjoy the people. The sights. The atmosphere. When you write this horror stuff, I know you get wrapped up in it. Plus, ever since that August in New York…” His voice trailed off.

“I don’t blame you for that day. It happened. It’s been two years. I’ve chased those demons, drowned them accordingly, and they taught me a few things about the psychology of trauma and loss. It’s just my job now to implement that knowledge in the next book. The Devil’s in the details, and while I still have moments… I’ve got this particular devil, meticulous bastard he was for quite a while, beaten. Relax.”

“Sunday.”

“Yes. Oh, and I’d like my personal photo for the new book to be of me by this lake, perhaps on a full moon evening. Spooky trees and all. Sounds childish, but trust me. The way the moon hangs low, and the shadows play. Quite the atmosphere. And the old one, iconic as it seems, doesn’t seem appropriate any longer. Have a good night.”

Hanging up the phone, I poured some more liquor into my flask, slipped on my shoes, and grabbed a cigarette. A nightly stroll was just what I needed, and the cool air would do some good. As much as I love sequestering myself in a room, pounding the keys, I also know the dangers of becoming a recluse while doing so, and this retreat was a rebirth of sorts. One can’t be reborn if the habits that caused the need for such worked their cold, dead fingers into that very process.

Mort had one thing right, though I would never admit it aloud. The subject of August still affected me, possibly always would to some degree. Best I had let some enticingly beautiful scenery whisk me away from August and everything after.

The moon, although partially obscured in slight fog, mingled with the trees and their branches playfully, a game of hide and seek to my slightly intoxicated mind. Oddly entrancing this visual was as I stepped from the porch, so much so that I took a misstep as I came down the steps. I laughed, knowing to an outsider, I probably appeared much more affected by the drinking than I actually was.

The grass was damp beneath my feet, my sneakers sliding a bit with each step. The air had cooled quite dramatically as well, and a low layer of fog seemed to roll in from the south. I could hear the faint sounds of distant revelry and mischief, but those were of no interest to me. The calming sound of nature was my only concern.

I focused on the breeze, the air faintly echoing a scent. It was earthy, strong yet delicate all the same. It reminded me of something distant, something I couldn't recall. My eyes glanced around casually, spotting an insect here and there, watching small streams of light invade through the low-hanging branches, casting dark shadows around me. I sparked the lighter, inhaling slow, my breathing and the slight movement of nature drowning out the rowdiness of drinking and partying a few mere miles from this sanctuary.

I closed my eyes, took a sip from my flask, and started to remove my shoes. I suddenly felt the urge to let my legs lower into the water, feel that cold water against my skin. A few quick drags on the cigarette, a giant gulp of whiskey (writer's courage, I've been told), I quickly rolled my pants to just below my knee.

As I stepped forward, the scent became stronger. It wasn't overwhelming, but it did seem to make me a bit weak. My stomach felt as if butterflies had nested inside, then restlessly tried to get comfortable. A slight motion sickness as if on a boat. A floating sensation though the pond was still a few steps away, and hadn't even submerged at all yet. As that thought crept in, I slipped again. Perhaps I was more inebriated than I dared admit.

I regained my footing and steadied my breathing. The shadows seemed not a play of the branches or lights anymore, but those of a photo with too much contrast now.

I felt naseous again, gagging instantly. Then the scent changed a bit, and the air seemed less thick, the water's edge beckoning me closer. I lurched forward, falling to my knees, hands planted in the thick mud. My face was inches from the water now, and I grabbed a handful, splashing it on my face.

In doing so, ther naseua subsided. The water felt good, soothing, and though the smell was still there, it again changed. It was subtle at first. My stomach calmed, and I sat up on my knees.

I sighed. Perhaps too much whiskey, but I sincerely doubted that. I felt light, like waves of water brushing around me, as if I was floating, even as I clenched the dirt and grass around me. The breeze quickened, raising the flesh on my arms as it did. A warmth then rushed through me, my heart thudding in my ears.

I felt as if I would lose my collective mind, and the lake's cool water, as it beckoned me closer, was the only cure. Honestly, as mad as that sounded, I began to believe it.

I took in a deeper breath, and I caught the difference immediately.

"Lilies...." Clarity rang through my weakened mind with a crash, my gut churned, then slowed. I crawled as if a child, to the water, sliding my legs out and into the shallow depths at the edge, and laughed.

It felt like home. Tears formed at the corners of my eyes at that thought. Relieved. Comforted. Whatever it was, these strange moments that had occurred between Mina, the pond, and myself, it felt necessary. I laughed again, and the fragrance of dead earth and that sweet white flower came again.

This time, my stomach was iron and my nostrils were titilated. My mind reeled with story possibilities, scenes playing forth at an incalculable rate. I laughed. I felt drunk, yet keenly aware of everything. No confusion. At peace with it all.

I let out a final sigh. It was time to take the old girl confined in my cabin for another spin.

I felt rejuvinated. I brushed my knees as I stood, and gave the pond one final glance. Shadows danced again through the trees, small ripples lapping at the edge as if waving farewell, wishing me good luck with Blue Mina and our love affair.

I smiled. "I don't need luck, just a little writer's courage, and my girl." I waved the flask gingerly at the water.

At least, that's what I would've done, if I had the chance to.

When you have hands coiled around your ankles, pulling and groping, beneath the murky waters of the marsh, it becomes rather difficult to stand.

Instead, you scream.

A writer's courage really only carries a man for so long.

0 Comments
2015/10/08
09:26 UTC

2

Oz: Chapter One: Kansas

Chapter One: Kansas

 

 

My name is Dorothy. I live in Garden City Kansas, my little slice of hell in the middle of nowhere. Not that I’m complaining, it could be worse. Just wish it wasn’t so God damned depressing. Aunt Emma and Uncle Henry took me in after my sorry good for nothing mother got caught blowing her boyfriend next to her home chem lab. The sheriff doesn’t quite like it when people, who couldn’t pass the sixth grade decide to play at being chemists, by cooking up a batch of meth in a double wide. I have to admit it is nice not sleeping with one eye open to see if mom’s current fling had gotten bored with her and wants to move on to her daughter.

 

Aunt Emma and Uncle Henry were as good of people as I have ever met. Their hygiene and home training leaves something to be desired, but good people none the less. Unc drives cross country in his rig named Lola. Aunt Em ought to be jealous. He spends more time in Lola than in her. Not that the old woman ever thought about such things. She is happy cooking meals the dog won’t eat and watching her stories, on a TV so old I’m surprised it is colored. I spend my days waiting for the next to come in the unextrodinary procession of monotony from the heartland. I feel as though I will die never knowing anything beyond this rusted trailer park. Live as my family has, expecting nothing but to wake up to another abysmal day. Watching the wheat grow and my face wrinkle.

 

Toto was my only companion in this grey world of boredom. I found him wondering the streets one night. I figured him for a pit. Little did I know the bruiser he would turn out to be. A hundred and thirty pounds of a mastiff brute. He is a handful but a big ol teddy bear. He was an ash grey color, blue they call it, with a matching nose, large white patch on his chest, and the brightest blue eyes I have ever seen. They are like the blue found deep within the glaziers from the arctic I saw in a magazine. From the first time we met he fallowed me everywhere. Aunt Em said I couldn’t keep him. He just never left. It’s fine by me. I needed someone to talk to anyway. Life here would be unbearable without the old mutt.

 

This was my life, until one day when the drunken bitch from next door took a notion to come stumbling over to our palace of rust. She was the park’s tramp. Most folks refered to her the mattress behind her back. She was homely and smelled of stale booze, cigarettes, and mouth rot. I knew what she wanted before she belched her request at my aunt.

 

“Em you got any money? I’m a few dollars short on getting a pack. You think you can lend it to me till I get my husband’s crazy check?” she said hardly able to stand.

 

“I’m sorry Almira I don’t.” my aunt said taken the clothes off the line.

 

“You ain't got no money?” she questioned, stumbling a bit as she put her hand on her hip.

 

“No I don’t” Aunt Em said still fussing with the clothing.

 

“You don’t have a couple fucking dollars?” shrieked Almira.

 

I knew the old whale could get nasty if she wanted to. “That’s what she said. So why don’t you carry your broke ass back over to your crazy husband and wait for that check.” I said stepping between aunt Em and this cow with a bad perm.

 

“D!” cried my aunt. She didn’t like the woman but she couldn’t abide by my rudeness.

 

“What did you say to me you little slut.” Growled Almira glaring at me.

 

“You heard me. Get back over to your rust bucket or find someone else to leech off of. You won’t find charity here.” I said challenging the old witch to retaliate.

 

As I half expected she lunged at me. I stepped aside and she went tumbling over herself into the dust. Aunt Em dropped the clothes basket and ran to help Almira up. I felt a little swell of pride watching her scramble to stand in the old moo moo she wore. She cursed and fussed the whole way up. I couldn’t help myself, I began laughing hysterically. As she got to her feet, more my aunt’s doing than her own, she lunged again. This time she made contact. She dug her claws into my shoulder. I fell back under the weight of her momentum. We both fell hard. I could not believe the old drunk got the better of me. Trying to push her off was useless, she was far heavier than anything I had every lifted. She had me pinned good, her breath smacked into my face like a brick.

 

“Get the fuck off of me you nasty bitch.” I yelled. Holding tightly to her wrist.

 

“I’m going to kill you, you little slut.” She said struggling to grab my throat.

 

At that moment I heard Toto come growling up to the commotion. He began barking ferociously at Almira, who wisely rolled off of me; and away from Toto’s teeth. I got to my feet and grabbed his collar. The brute was hard to hold back as he kept lunging after her. Almira got to her feet, dusting herself off.

 

“YOU FUCKING BITCH!” Almira screamed with every ounce of rage she had. “I’m going to get you for this, and your fucking dog. You haven’t seen the last of me you little cunt!” she shuffled back towards her trailer keeping an eye on Toto and I. Aunt Em grabbed my shoulder and turned me to her.

 

“What were you thinking? Dorothy if you were a little girl I would have you over my knee for this.” She said wagging her finger in my face.

 

“Well I’m not. And that old woman can eat shit and die as far as I am concerned.” I said turning to the house. I have to admit my feeling were a little hurt at my aunt’s disapproval. Had I not stepped in she might have do the same thing to aunt Em.

 

“The OLD woman’s son is a sheriff officer. You think she won’t have him throw you in jail for this?” Aunt Em said with tears in her eyes.

 

“He’d have to put her nasty ass in there first. She attacked me.” I said rolling my eyes at the absurd thought of going to jail for pissing off a drunk woman.

 

“He won’t see it that way. Whatever she tells him he will do. He’s a mama’s boy with a badge.” Barked Aunt Em as I went inside with Toto.

 

By the afternoon I had half let myself forget about the events of the morning. Toto and I laid on the couch watching Jerry Springer. Toto didn’t care that I used him for a pillow. He was just happy to be inside, away from the summer heat. Aunt Em was in the kitchen burning lunch. All was quiet again in the trailer park. I had just started to fall asleep when I felt Toto tense beneath my head. There came a knock at the door. It shook the trailer it was so forceful. Aunt Em cut me a sharp look and went to the door. Another knock and a deep voice made aunt Em flinch in fear. “Police open up.” I sat up on the couch, cursing the old woman in my mind. Aunt was right. Oh well wouldn’t be the first time I went to jail. Aunt Em opened the door. Toto let out a low growl. The officer came up to the top step.

 

“Good afternoon Ma’am. I received a report earlier today…”he was cut off by my aunt who looked over at me.

 

“I bet you did.” She said stepping closer to the door blocking him.

 

“Yes Ma’am. I have a warrant to remove a dangerous dog from your home.” The officer said. I felt my stomach sink. That bitch.

 

“That Bitch!” I couldn’t help but yell. I stood up and went to the door. “Toto isn’t dangerous, he has never hurt anyone.” I said further blocking the door.

 

“That’s not for me to determine young lady. The judge will determine if the dog is dangerous or not. But I have to take him.” He said motioning to the animal control officer behind him to come closer.

 

“You are not taking my dog.” I said moving between Aunt Em and the officer.

 

“I have a warrant here to…” he started to say.

 

“I don’t give a damn if you have the President out there. You aren’t taking my dog.” Trying to slam to the door closed. The officer caught it and pushed it back open. He rushed in and pushed me towards the kitchen. Toto was up and moving towards us barking. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. The officer pinned me to the wall of the trailer and I watched helplessly as the dog snare slipped over Toto’s head. He was yanked towards the door.

 

“Please! Please no! He didn’t do anything. Don’t take him.” I begged the officer with everything I had. “That bitch attacked me. Toto did nothing but bark at her. Let him go!” I watched Toto be dragged from the trailer. My stomach sank and I lost it. I began to kick, punch, and bite anything to get away from the bastard pinning me to the wall. I had to get to Toto. He was going to pay the price for what I had done. I couldn’t let that happen.

 

Then I found it. The sweet spot that would release me from the bastards grasp. My knee came up hard in his crotch. I have to admit I enjoyed watching that big man fall to his knees. I grabbed the taser from his belt, Aunt Em’s truck keys from the counter, and made for the door. Aunt Em screamed for me to stop, but it was too late. Once I attacked the officer I could not stop. Toto and I both would be behind bars and I would not be able to do anything about it. I aimed the taser and fired. The barbs hit the animal control officer in the ass. He fell to the ground in convulsions. Toto ran to me still dragging the snare behind him. I removed the snare and we were off. We ran to Aunt Em’s old red truck. I heard the officer yell for us to stop but I didn’t. Not to even glance his way.

 

Toto and I were in the truck and gone but the time he made it down the steps of the trailer. We left those bastards in the dust. I kept my foot on the gas until we hit the main road. We headed north, to the endless sea of fields. If I had to I would ditch the truck and hide in the wheat fields. Past the escape I didn’t have a plan. I had no money, or place to go. That didn’t matter. I had to leave. For Toto and for me.

1 Comment
2015/07/15
16:13 UTC

2

[incomplete] Writing very 1st creepypasta and need help finishing, critique and ideas

THEY CAME SWIFTLY AND SILENTLY Based off of Dead Space Written By Shadownight5150

Brian was an engineer for The EarthGov Construction Company. He was a portly man of about the age of 55 and showed signs that the years were starting to grow on him. He had been a loyal employee for 20+ years, even though his personal and home life was in shambles. Brian had just signed the papers to finalize his divorce with his wife of 12 years. He also had been hitting the bottle pretty hard for many years. But with all that he tried to not let that affect his work.

One day he was called into his Bosses office for a meeting. His boss a young man named David. “Brian come in and sit down I have some very serious business to discuss with you”. “Yes, sir” said Brian. “What did you want to discuss with me?” “Brian, you have been with us for many years. And in those years you have done an amazing job, but as of late I am starting to notice you are slacking in the morale department.” “Well, David I can Explain.” “Brian I already know of your situation, thats why I asked you to come see me” Said David. “Now I have a huge job that just came across my desk, and I would love it if you were to command the Construction Team I have gathered. But I will only let you on this job if you can promise me you will take this very seriously and put in 100 percent”. “I will sir you have my word” said Brian. “And that means NO DRINKING, do you understand?” said David. “Yes, sir you have my word, and thank you” eagerly said Brian. “Be sure to report to substation 6 tomorrow morning at 8, it'll be a tough job but it'll be worth it in the end”. Brian headed to leave then swiftly turned around to face David one last time and asked “David if you don't mind me asking, what kind of job is this?”. David Chuckled “Well you see Earthgov just contracted us to help with the construction of a new Planet-cracker which they named the Ishimoura”. “Interesting name” Brian said. “Interesting or not they are paying us big bucks to help with the final steps in its completion, so we gotta be swift, in and out if you get my drift” said David. “so it sounds like a pretty simple job if you ask me” proclaimed Brian. AS Brian was almost out the door David yelled. “HEY, um there is one thing I forgot to mention, so you will be in charge of the second team I have sent up to that ship”. “and why are we the second” asked Brian. “Let’s just say the 1st team had complications” said David. “What kind of Complications?”. “Well, they were doing a good job installing the electrical in the ship when out of the blue they all at once quit and found an escape pod and left the job site, and since then no one has been able to locate them” said David. “So they deserted the job site while in mid job” said Brian. “Um yea pretty much”said David. “Well, don't worry about that happening this time, if anyone tries to desert on my watch they'll be sucking the emptiness vacuum of space before they do”. And with that Brain left to get ready to go to space and up to the Ishumura.

Back at Brians apartment he sat in darkness flipping through channels of his TV. As he was flipping he stopped on the Unitologist Channel. There was a man standing in front of a statue of a red Spiral of some kind preaching the word of what his kind call “The Marker”. The man was a Preacher and he went by the name of Simon Stripman and he was as corrupt of a man as you could get, some say his church was no more than a glorified cult. “THE MARKER IS LIFE, THE MARKER IS FREEDOM, THE MARKER WILL LEAD ALL OF US TO SALVATION BROTHERS AND SISTERS.” Preached Simon. “SOME NONBELIEVERS SAY THAT THE MARKER IS NOTHING BUT FICTION, BUT I BROTHERS AND SISTERS HAVE DISCOVERED EVIDENCE THAT THE MARKER IS REAL AND THAT WE AS UNITOLOGISTS HAVE SACRED RIGHT TO THAT OF WHICH WE HAVE…”. Brian turned of the TV “Bunch of superstitious Bull Crap if you ask me, if they really found the damn thing why aren't that all ascended to heaven or whatever”. Brian Yawned and got ready for bed. As Brian laid in bed he started to think “I wonder if that other crew really did desert their job, or if there was some other reason, it all seems a little strange to me.” And with that Brain fell asleep.

Morning arose and Brian really wasn't too thrilled for this job, but the pay was good so he couldn't complain. He walked into the kitchen a got him some breakfast. After that he went and got dressed for work and headed out the door. As he went out the door he though to himself “man this sure will be a pain in the ass to babysit a bunch of newbies, but hey it's not everyday you get to go into space”. He boarded the train that would take him to substation 6, he sat in the crowded area wondering what these new recruits would be like. As he got off the train a man in a suit greeted him “Hello you must be Brian, my name is John and I have been appointed by EarthGov to escort you to substation 6 where you will be outfitted with all the protective gear to make sure you get into space safe and sound”. Brian responded “Oh, well thank you, this will be my 1st time in space”. “oh we know that Mr Brian, we have read your file”. “umm ok then," Brian found that to be a little strange but didn't think anything of it. They arrived at what looked to be a military base, it was heavily fortified and seemed to be located in the middle of nowhere. The place was huge with giant aircrafts everywhere, “You guys go all out don't you” said Brian. “Well, we have to, this isn't a mom and pop organization, we are EarthGov and are the best of the best. But anyway we are here to meet your team so lets get to it.” They arrived at a warehouse look building with two rows of soldiers all in uniform standing in formation. They got out of the car and walked to the beginning of the line of soldiers, as soon as Brian was about to say something a door bust open and David along with five other people behind him came into the room. “BRIAN, JOHN, Glad to see you both, hope the ride here wasn’t too much of a hassle”. “No sir the trip was fine, and I got him here in one piece” said John. “I can see that, thank you John we will no longer be in need of your services.” David then asked a soldier to escort him out of the building. 	

“Well, now that thats done I would like to introduce you to your team”. “sounds good, I hope these rookies are up to the job” said Brian. “Oh trust me they are up to the job, anyway let me introduce to you Alpha Team 6.” Brian observed his so called team, it consisted of five average looking individuals consisting of three males and two females. “Let me first introduce you to Luke” said David. Luke was a a man in about his mid 20s he had Blond hair and a spunky attitude, an attitude some would say borders on arrogant. “ I look forward to working with you, just don't slow me down” said Luke. “Cocky little bastard” Brian thought to himself. “Next member of your team is Derek” said David. Derek looked to be a quiet but intelligent individual, he had thick black rim glasses, black hair that covered part of his face, and blue eyes. “um hi I'm Derek I hope ill be useful in some way”. “Geez this kid looks like he is about to piss his pants”. “Our next team member is a fellow named Dylan”. Dylan was pretty average looking nothing real stood out about him, he was all about work and doing a good job no matter what it took. “Hello my name is Dylan and I am ready to get to work”. “I think I like this guy”. “Now one of our female members of this team is Lucy”. Lucy was a fiery redhead who has spunk but was also not too bad to look at. “Hi I'm Lucy and I look forward to get to work, I just hope I don't leave you boys in the dust hehe”.  “After this is over maybe this one can be the next Mrs. Brian haha”. “And now our final member Nicole.” Nicole was real anti-social and just wanted to get this done so she can get back home. “Hi I'm Nicole, lets just get this done or whatever, I got things to do.” “Well, she sure brightens up a room”. “Well, now that introductions are out of the way its time to suit up”. 

David took the team into a room fill with lockers and benches, “Wow its like I am back in school hehe” said Lucy. “I will pay you $10 to shut up” said Nicole. “Hey you two shut it or else” Screamed Brian. “Here are your space suits” David opened up a locker and pulled out a space suit, “these are the newest state of the art suits and will protect you from any outside environments and even some light projectiles”. “hmmm these things kinda look ugly," said Luke. “Dude quiet these are probably real expensive” yelled Derek. “Oh one more feature, there is a health indicator on the back of the suit to let your team mates know if you need any aid or not.” “I guess that could be useful at some point” said Nicole. “Well, enough gawking around lets suit up” said Brian. “ok” “all right” “sure” “Let do it” “Whatever”. The team suited up. “Man this makes me look bad ass,” said Luke. “Ok everyone now lets get you to that ship, if you will, step onto the transporter and you'll be instantly transported to the deck of the Ishamoura,” Said David. “Cool just like that movie that was later a tv show,” said Derek. “Ok everyone onto the transporter, lets do this,” Said Brian. “Oh I almost forgot to tell you, there is a talk back system built into your suits so you all can be in constant contact with each other at all times, and i can communicate with you if needed. Anyway good luck and lets make EarthGov proud,” said David. The team stepped onto the transporter and in a flash, they were gone. David stood there for a bit, then picked up his phone. “Hello, yes, I haven't told them a thing, yes i agree. This little experiment should be quite interesting ill say. Anyway step one is complete so we can now move onto step two, and i believe the projected numbers you predicted should be right on track, for now.” David hung up the phone a smiled, and said, “Hail Father Stripman for giving me such luck, this should be a day of rejoice for us Unitologists.”

The team arrived on deck like predicted, everyone looked around and the ship seemed to be in good condition, but something seemed off. “um wheres the crew,” said Dylan. “I dunno, that does seem a bit strange,” said Brian. “Maybe they are all on vacation,” said Lucy. “Maybe they’re all dead,” proclaimed Nicole. “Geez I sure hope not,” said Derek. “Hush it, they are not dead. They might be asleep or something,” Said Brian. “Now that i look around here it is very strange that there are no lights on. Hmm maybe that has to do with the power issues as well?” “Well what do you suppose we do?” said Lucy. “well first would be to find a way to turn the power back on then find the missing crew”, Said Brain. “But i think i should radio in to David so he knows what is going on and maybe give us some direction in terms of what we need to do.” Brian pressed a button on his helmet and radio’d to David.” “David? DAVID?. can you hear me this is Brian.” “Ah Brian, how are you, i can tell everyone made onboard safely. So what do you need?” “Well David we got on board and there is no power at all on the ship and not a soul to be found, we though you might have some advice for us.” “Oh yes (chuckles) what you can do is…then….by….that….(Static)”. All Brian heard from that point was the hiss from his radio. “SHIT, well guys looks like we are on our own, i just lost contact.” “Well thats just great,” said Nicole. “shoot we don't need him, we can do this all by ourselves ha,” said Luke. “Well i think we should split up into teams of two,” Said Brian. “Now lets see, Luke you are with me, Derek you are with Nicole, and Lucy you are with Dylan.” “So what exactly are we doing or looking for” Said Nicole.  “We are looking for are the crew and to try to get the power back on so we can finish our job and go home,” said Brian.
1 Comment
2015/07/04
19:47 UTC

1

Triangle (x-post /r/DarkTales nsfw)

Just joined reddit a couple of days ago and I'm quickly becoming hooked. There are quite a few people here with a penchant for the peculiar. This is my first story and, although I've gotten a few up votes, I haven't received any comments. I'd really appreciate some pointers from writers with more skill at making skin crawl than me. Thanks, and sweet dreams.


  When I say that our torrid love affair was red hot with passion, what I mean is that we fought hard and fucked harder. For four years it was a roller coaster of shit hitting the fan, and sperm hitting the ceiling. Every attempt at a breakup was met with a sticky makeup. I'll never know how she truly felt about me, but I was crazy for her, and even crazier because of her. My self loathing masochism and fear of the mundane made for a perfect storm for her to steal my soul. Then things got really fucked up. 


  My band had just finished up a mini tour of the seediest joints in the southwest. Coming home from these meant that I would either be met at the door by an out-of-her mind paranoid alcoholic wielding a frying pan, or the sounds of her best cowgirl impression coming from the bedroom. But not this time. The silence was so deafening that it threw off my equilibrium. 


  As my eyes adjusted to the pitch black of the entry way, the pale light from the bedroom upstairs crept into my field of vision like the fog in a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story. Somehow my weak knees and shaky hands got me up the creaky staircase. I made my way to the door where fingers of light were begging to be released. As I stepped in, the scene hit me across the face like a shovel. My stomach emptied its contents of Jack &Cokes and fast food in a pile next to the pool of blood. 


  In the cool night air, steam seemed to rise from the wounds on her wrists. I resigned myself to the edge of the bed, sobbing, trying to compose my thoughts before calling the police. Sitting there, head in hands, the knife that opened her veins was plunged in my back. Straightening up from the surprise, I could feel warm fluid filling my lungs. Knowing this was the end I slouched forward again, fell off the bed, and smiled. 
0 Comments
2014/09/26
06:30 UTC

3

[Monthly Contest #1] Doors were made to be closed

This has always happened to me during my entire life, but these past days have been a lot more ... intense. I have this strange obsession of closing doors. I never fully understood this, but there is something in the back of my head that always tells me “Close the door”

There is also something strange about this obsession, it only happens at night. During the day, open doors don’t cause me any trouble, but when it starts getting dark, I get this primal instinct, almost involuntary, to close the door. I guess during my entire life, I always slept with the door closed.

Until a few days ago.

I came home late from work, and was completely exhausted. I opened the door to my bedroom, changed clothes, and went to bed. I suddenly awoke at 3:25 am, and tried to go to sleep again when a thought hit my mind.

I left the door opened.

At first I didn’t make a big deal out of it, but then ... To this day I still don’t know if what happened was real or was just the product of my hyperactive imagination.

Every little noise I heard, the house creaking, my sheets moving, or just the cars driving outside would send my mind into a state of extreme paranoia. For all I know, it could have been anything and everything.

Until I heard it.

It was so faint, I don´t know if it was just the buzzing on my ears, but I swear I heard footsteps, coming from outside my room. I started to sweat profoundly, I couldn’t handle the heat of my winter sheets. Every step it took towards my room, I got more and more paranoid. Then, my heart stopped for a second.

It walked into my room.

It stopped at the doorway, but it was so close, I could hear its breathing. It was heavy, like of a big animal. At that moment, my body froze even more. If I couldn’t move before, now it felt like my muscles were made of concrete. Anyone who saw me could see the terror in my face, but inside, I went on a complete rampage. I thought about everything to distract my mind about the thing, but it was useless.

It started to walk, until it stopped right at my side.

If I was in panic before, now I was in complete brain meltdown. I don’t know how it didn’t notice I was awake, my sheets looked like an ocean of sweat and the smell coming out of it would make anyone throw up.

Then, as if it knew I was suffering like a poor defenceless animal, it walked away.

I heard it go out of my room, and sure enough, it was gone.

As soon as I couldn’t hear it, I turned on the lights, jumped out of bed, locked the door, and stayed awake until it was day.

After that event, I developed insomnia. The next day I couldn’t sleep at all. I took my coffee machine to my room, locked the door once again, and waited for the sun.

But before I could see the safety of light, at 3:25 am, I heard a knock on my door.

All the feelings of fear, paranoia and dread of the previous night came rushing into me.

It kept knocking and knocking, until eventually, it stopped. I knew I couldn’t keep going like this, I had to put this behind me.

Today I will try to sleep and forget about this forever.

I did what I always do, as soon as I got in my room, I closed and locked the door. I took my sleeping clothes from my closet and went to sleep.

I awoke again in the middle of the night. I didn’t want to see the hours, but I knew it was 3:25 am.

Then, I heard it.

Not only did I hear that breath, but I could also hear a growl accompanying it, and with that only one thought came to my mind.

I left my closet door opened.

3 Comments
2014/04/15
14:00 UTC

2

[Monthly Contest #1] The Knocking.

Knock, knock... Knock, knock, knock. KNOCK!

The sound echoes through the hallway at exactly 11:33 PM. Always the same pattern of knocks. This will fortunately be the last night in this hell house.

I bought a new apartment for the little money I got after my rushed sale to the first buyer that called.

Why don't I answer the door? Because how many times I do there never is anyone there.

It all started after I stole this beautiful brass door knocker from an old abandoned house I found during some urban exploring.

Shit... The house was falling apart and it would look so fantastic on my own door instead of rusting away. That was the reasons I gave myself.

3 weeks straight now, every night. I would probably have killed myself if I hadn't managed the sale so quickly. I tried to remove it the fifth night when I understood that I wasn't being pranked. When I touched the metal it feelt like I got stabbed in my guts and got forcefully knocked down.

Just tonight....

All settled now, I got the essential furniture set up and the rest storaged. I'm finally getting to sleep again. Just out of forced habit I lay awake and watches the clock turn 11:33 PM.

Silence.... I close my eyes.

Knock, knock... Knock, knock, knock. KNOCK!

0 Comments
2014/04/14
03:03 UTC

4

Monthly contest #1

Intro

So it appears to me that I won't have the time to do weekly contests, so I think I'll try monthly contests. Given that this subreddit has a budget of exactly zero dollars, the prizes for winner (and possibly honorable mention) will be special flair. There may also be some sort of anthology (ebook, hard copy or both) that I would consider putting together to compile all winning and honorable mention stories in a year or so. Any sales would go towards getting prizes for future winners if I do this. One winner will be voted on in a comment thread in next month's contest, and I may pick an honorable mention/Judge's Choice entry.

Contest

Many of the scariest horror stories, on /r/NoSleep and beyond, take an innocent object and turn it into a symbol of fear. An especially popular example is the series starting with this post, written by /u/inaaace. This month's story should make the protagonist, and by extension, the reader, fear some sort of everyday object or occurrence.

Prizes

-Flair!

-An e-book copy of /u/vincent_vena_cava's book Decomposing Head: Frighteningly Funny Tales That Will Rot Your Brain, donated by the author.

The Rules

  1. All entries mus be your own, original work created for the contest.

  2. To enter your story, post it here on /r/HorrorWorkshop and put the [Monthly Contest #1] tag in the title. You will also need to link in in the comments section of this post as a top-level comment.

  3. All entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday, April 30, 2014.

  4. Each entry must be written in response to the prompt under the "Contest" header

  5. One entry per person per contest.

10 Comments
2014/03/20
21:22 UTC

2

[Feedback] Home Series on /r/NoSleep.

Hi everyone. I'm starting to get into writing as a hobby, and right now I'm working on a series for /r/nosleep. I'm not getting a lot of feedback there, though. So...

Thoughts? Questions? Smart remarks?

Leave your constructive criticism in the comments here.

4 Comments
2014/03/14
03:20 UTC

4

A Favor For A Favor (Part 3)

So this is the last part of my story. Same as before, the text in bold is stuff that I am not 100% sold on yet. If you have any sort of critiques, analysis, or even spot typos I'd love to hear it.

This is the part of the story that I think needs the most work. Don't mind the double hyphens that look like this ( -- ). That's just a reddit formatting thing.

Part 1

Part 2


Even though he wasn’t in the car with me while I drove over to Pastor Alonso’s home, I knew that I was far from alone. Every time I doubted my sanity, every time I started to question if what had transpired was even real, he was there. Standing on a street corner, waiting at a bus stop, even watching me from the windows of other cars as they passed me by. I realize now that he was keeping an eye on me, making sure I didn’t get cold feet. It came as no surprise to find him already waiting for me on the front steps of the pastor’s massive home when I pulled up.

He spoke some final words of encouragement to me as I approached the house. “Do it for your children, Jacob.”

From the moment I nudged open the pastor’s gaudy, oversized, front door, I could hear him and my wife wailing away from the bedroom upstairs. I drew my gun and followed the moans up the steps. The boy was standing next to the bedroom door by the time I reached the top of the staircase.

“Jeez, Jake. It sounds like a couple of pigs getting slaughtered in there. Is that what it was like when you two used to bump uglies?”

I brushed off his inconsiderate quip and leaned against the door. The boy was licking his lips in anticipation. It seemed as though he wanted them dead worse than I did. Doubt began to seep into my mind. I was no killer. The very thought of murdering the mother of my children was beginning to make me feel sick.

Perhaps sensing apprehension, he started whispering in my ear, “Do it Jake. Send them to hell.”

His words were easy to ignore. I was too busy thinking about my children. Could I really take their mother away from them? Even though I had let the boy manipulate me that evening, I still had my free will. I knew that I had the power to walk out the front door if I wanted to. No one would have to die.

“He who hesitates is lost, Jake.”

How could I even pull the trigger? For God sakes, I still loved the woman. That’s when that dark unexplainable feeling that had been growing inside me started to dwindle. In its place I felt hope. Hope that maybe if I could talk to her, even hear her speak, I would come to my senses. Almost on cue, her voice rang out, resonating through the air like a magnificent melody plucked from the fingers of a master harpist.

“Fuck me preacher man!”

I kicked in the door.

**

My gun had six bullets, but it only took me three. It would have been two, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to relieve the pastor of his holy scepter. It’s strange how draining murder can be. All I did was point my gun and pull a trigger, yet my body felt like I had just ran a marathon.

“I knew you had it in you, Jacob, but holy hell, I didn’t expect you to blast off the mini-minister too!

It wasn’t his wisecrack that startled me. His voice had changed. It was deeper than a teenager’s now, more dignified too. Perhaps most alarming, was its familiarity. It was a voice that had filled my ears every Sunday for years. One that belonged to Pastor Alonso. I whirled around to see the man I just shot smiling at me from the doorway.

“Relax,” he said as he entered the room, “It’s just me, Satan, King of The Underworld, Father of Lies, yada yada yada.”

I looked back to see the pastor’s body still laying motionless next to my wife and atop a set of blood-soaked silk sheets. “Wh-why did you make yourself look like Pastor Alonso?” I asked.

“Why does it matter? I do as I please.”

Before I had a chance at a follow up question, the thunderous sound of the pastor’s front door being slammed shut carried through the house and up to the bedroom. My heart began to race as a bevy of heavy footsteps made their way up the stairs.

“What the hell is going on!?” I demanded, but he didn’t answer. The wicked grin painted across his face sent a wave of panic through my body.

“Do you know what they’re going to do to you in prison, Jacob?” he said. Two uniformed police officers strode into the room.

As the policemen made their way towards me, my panic began to intensify. All I could think about was wasting the rest of my life away in an orange jumpsuit and playing housewife at the behest of my cellmate -- a tattooed skinhead named Knife Face.

I still had three bullets left and I knew there was one way out of the situation. I raised the revolver to my temple as the cops marched towards me. I don’t know if I really would have pulled the trigger had they tried to arrest me. Thankfully I didn’t get the chance to find out because instead of drawing their guns or reading me my rights, the cops brushed right by without saying a word. I watched in awe as they started wrapping the pastor and my wife’s bodies in the soiled tacky sheets. To my surprise, they appeared to be cleaning up after me.

You-Know-Who fell to the floor and began howling.

“HA! Now you really do look like you got caught with your dick in the family goat!” He pointed a finger into my bewildered face. “I’m just joshing you, Jake! These fine gentlemen are with me.” He motioned over to the doorway, "Them too." Two more men I hadn’t noticed before, wearing plain clothes, but still brandishing badges were standing by. “Jerry, come over here for a second!”

The older heavyset man sauntered towards us. His somber face and reluctant gait made him look like a kid who just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. The No-Longer Baby-Faced-Demon placed a hand on his shoulder, “Do you know who this man is, Jacob?” I shook my head. “Jerry here, is the head of the police department. That means he’s very important.”

“Pleased to meet you,” I said. I really wasn’t, at that point all I wanted to do was distance myself as far away from the pastor’s house as possible and forget the whole night ever happened. The police chief remained silent. The shame and discomfort in his eyes told me the feeling was mutual.

The demon gestured over to the other man still waiting by the door. “That guy over there just made detective.” He turned his head in the detective’s direction. “Congratulation’s on your new promotion, Bill!” The man looked away to avoid eye contact. Once again he focused his attention on me. “Guess who’s going to be heading up your wife’s murder case?”

“What about the Pastor?” I asked, “Who’s going to be looking into his murder?”

He stretched his arms out and twirled around as if he was showing off a new outfit. “What are you talking about? Pastor Alonso wasn’t murdered? He and his wife just decided to move away so they could do missionary work in Africa. See? Everything wraps up neat and tidy and you get off scot-free. Now Jacob, before you leave tonight, I wanted to speak to you about that favor.”

“What?”

“You know? We talked about this. I said that maybe one day I might ask you to return the favor I did for you.”

“Yeah,” I said, “I remember. I guess I didn’t expect it to come so soon.”

“Well, life’s funny like that sometimes. Don’t worry though. It’s really nothing you can’t do in your sleep! I’m not going to ask you to pick up and dispose of dead bodies like these guys.”

“What do you want?”

He leaned in close to me, a solemn expression painted across his face, “Listen to me, Jacob because this is the only favor I will ever ask of you. It is imperative, that you never attempt to contact Darcy Alonso. Do you understand?”

“What?” his request had left me puzzled for numerous reasons, “But Darcy Alonso has cancer. She’s dying.”

A devilish smirk crept across his face. “Well, let’s just say I did her a little favor.”

“What are you going to do with her?”

“What’s it matter to you? I do as I please.”

I waved my finger at him, “But you said I’m not obligated to listen to you right? If I wanted to, I could go over to the hospital right now and tell her about everything that happened tonight.”

“Of course you can, Jacob! Like I said, there’s no binding agreement between us. Your soul is yours and you’re free to do what you want with it. As a matter of fact, I stake no claim to any of these men’s souls. They’re just people who were kind enough to repay the favor I did for them!

I’ve done favors for a lot of people, Jacob – cops, judges, lawyers, even pedophiles who derive pleasure from the rape and murder of children. Do you understand what I’m getting at here?” And when he said that, he looked me right in the eye. It was as if his stare caused my mind to play out a thousand different scenarios, each one more heinous and vile than the last. It was like looking through a window into Hell. “Darcy and I are going away,” he continued. “All you have to do is forget about her. Forget about this entire night if you want! But don’t forget that I’m always watching you, Jacob.”

He didn’t need to say another word. The message was clear. I turned and exited the pastor’s house without looking back. The next few hours were a blur to me. I remember driving back to my home, vomiting in the kitchen sink (that Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger finally did make its escape), and passing out on the couch in my living room.

**

My wife’s body was found 48 hours after I shot her inside of a liquor store dumpster. Just as he said, I was never even considered a suspect. Her murder was pinned on a 19-year-old kid from the barrio. It took no more than a week for the jury to reach a guilty verdict. He was sentenced to death. The kid is currently incarcerated and trying to appeal the jury’s decision, but something tells me he won’t have any luck. I have a feeling that I’m not the only person who has a favor to repay.

Darcy Alonso checked out of the hospital that evening and was gone by morning. Word around the church was that she and “the pastor” had believed her miraculous recovery to be a sign from God so they set out across the globe to spread his message. Something tells me that story’s a bigger load of bullshit than a politician making a campaign speech while rolling in a pile of fertilizer. Two weeks after they left town, the Alonso's home was put up for sale.

It was hard for my children to lose their mother at such a young age, but they’ll learn to get along without her. I like to think I’ve been doing a hell of a job as a single parent, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of them. It took a while for things to start to get back to normal for us, but the fact that they’re smiling and laughing again makes me think that they’re going to be ok.

About a year after everything happened, I received a green envelope in the mail. I didn’t think much of it at first. It was the middle of December and I had already received dozens of Christmas cards. It wasn’t until I tore open the letter that I realized the dark unexplainable sensation had made its presence known once again in the pit of my stomach.

The card said, Marry Christmas From The Alonsos, but it wasn't the title that made me feel sick -- It was what I saw when I opened it.

The message was just one sentence long, but it hit me harder than anything I’ve ever heard or read before.

The doctor’s say we’re due to have the best Christmas ever!

Attached to the card was a picture of Darcy and "the pastor" wearing ugly Christmas sweaters and grinning from ear to ear. Darcy’s sweater was pulled up past her midsection, exposing a big round belly. She looked to be about nine months pregnant.

1 Comment
2014/03/05
04:42 UTC

3

A Favor For A Favor (Part 2)

Hello All,

This is part 2 of my story A Favor For A Favor.

Part 1

Part 3

I'd love to get some feedback on this. I put in bold parts of the story that I think may still need work. If you have any critiques whatsoever I'd be happy to hear it (I have some of my own, but I'll keep them to myself because I don't want to influence your analysis). If you spot any grammar errors or have any suggestions on how to improve the story at all, I'm all ears. I will be posting part 3 tonight too.


(part 2)

They say that he who hesitates is lost. In short, the proverb means that spending too much time deliberating on an important decision can ultimately lead to disastrous consequences. Although in my case, one tiny minute moment of pause may have actually prevented said consequences and saved my life. The cold metallic taste of the revolver’s barrel on my tongue caused me to question my actions for only the briefest of seconds, but sometimes even that can be more than enough time to change a man’s fortunes. As I sat there, trying to talk myself into pulling the trigger, the telephone in my motel room began to ring. I slid the gun out of my mouth, sat good old Jack (the only friend I had left) down on the nightstand, and answered the phone.

“Hello?” I said in my best possible not-about-to-kill-myself voice.

“Jacob! I’m so glad you picked up!” I had no idea who the voice on the other line belonged to. I never heard it before, but whoever it was, they seemed to know me. “Listen, Jake,” he continued, “before you go and…redecorate the walls with the inside of your skull, we need to have a talk first.”

I hadn’t told anyone where I planned on being that evening, but this guy not only knew my name, and location, but also the fact that I was contemplating punching my own ticket to that big toga party in the sky. Had he been watching me? I needed some answers. Using every working brain cell in my head, I came up with the most rational, thought-out, intelligent question I could construct.

“Uhh…what?”

“I said we need to have a talk, Jacob. Now sit tight, I’m on my way over to your room right now.” And with that he hung up the phone.

I stared blankly at the wall, completely dumbfounded – my mind still trying to process what happened. I wondered for a moment if I had just been the victim of a prank call. It seemed from our short conversation, that the guy on the other end of the line had been watching me. My first inclination was that he might have been some sort of pervert. After all, the motel wasn’t exactly a four star accommodation and I did notice that the place seemed to be a magnet for weirdos, freaks, and other types of shady folk when I checked in. I took a swig of liquid courage. For some reason I always felt braver when Jack was around.

Knock Knock

The knock on the door nearly caused me to lose control of my bowels (that Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger was coming out one way or the other). I tried to convince myself that I was just being neurotic, but something about the call made me feel uneasy.

I had become aware of a dark unexplainable feeling that began expanding from inside me from the moment the phone first rang – an awful combination of dread, fear, hate, and a myriad of other terrible emotions all simmering together into some kind of unspeakable brew.

“Who is it?” I called out. No one answered. I waited for a response and then tried again, this time with a little more base in my voice, “Who is it?”

Knock Knock

I stood up from the bed, tucked the gun into the waistband of my pants, and zipped up my jacket, making sure it was properly concealed before making my way towards the door.

Knock Knock

“I SAID WHO IS IT!?”

“House keeping.” The voice on the other side of the door sounded like it belonged to an elderly Hispanic woman.

“Oh,” I chuckled at myself for letting a maid get me so riled up. “Please come back later. Thank you.”

Knock Knock

“House keeping.”

“I said come back please.”

“I clean now?” I was not in the mood to be dealing with the woman. Either she didn’t speak English or she was a complete moron. “I come in?”

“There’s a sign on the door knob! Can’t you read!?” I swung open the door, ready to give the woman a piece of my mind, “It says do not dist – ”

There was no one in the hallway. I leaned out my room just to make sure I didn’t miss the lady, but the corridor was as empty and barren as a Blockbuster Video store. Convinced that I had officially lost my marbles I retreated back inside, closing the door behind me, and making sure to lock it.

Knock Knock

Not a second later the knocking started up again.

“House keeping.”

“GO AWAY!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. Where had she come from? Just moments earlier there was no one in the halls.

Knock Knock

“I change towels?” she said.

“Listen, please just leave me alone,” I begged. “There’s no way in hell I’m letting you in.”

It was getting harder and harder to ignore that strange dark sensation that was still stewing inside me.

Knock Knock

“I SAID GO AWAY!”

Once more I opened the door and once more there was not a cleaning woman in sight. This time, however, I was not alone. Doubled over in laughter before me, was a teenage boy, no older than sixteen. He was wearing a forest green hoodie and a matching flat-billed baseball cap tilted off to the side – a fashion choice that made him look spectacularly douchey. His baggy jeans sagged halfway down his ass, exposing a pair of striped boxers and accenting his douchiness even further. A black bandanna hung out of his back pocket as if he was some kind of gangbanger. I found this to be particularly stupid since he appeared to be type of suburban white kid whose mom drove him to soccer practice in a minivan.

“Can I help you!?” I said. I was about ten seconds away from ringing the little twerps neck. By the way he was convulsing in laughter, it seemed as though he was the mastermind who had been tormenting me.

“Ho-ho-ho man!” he managed to squeeze out between breaths, “You should have seen yourself. You look like you just got caught with your dick in the family goat!”

“What?”

The boy wiped a tear from his eye and took a deep exhale in an attempt to rein in his laughter, “Damn, did that go over your head? Sorry, now that I think about it, the expression is a little before your time. It originated in Scotland in the mid 1700’s. A lot more people owned goats back then so I guess it used to be funnier. When you’ve been around as long as I have, it’s hard to stay caught up with the latest lingo. What are all the kids saying these days, Jake? Is YOLO still a thing? You know what, never mind. I came here to talk to you about something else. May I come in?”

“No, you may not,” I extended my arm across the door frame to block the entrance of my room, “Why don’t you get the hell out of here kid? I’m busy.”

“Oh yes, I can see that, but I’ll only take a minute of your time.” The boy ducked under my arm, scrambling past me before I could stop him. Once inside he paused for a moment, surveying the room, and smiling snidely to himself. “Jeez Jake, this place is a dump! Why the blazes would you want to blow your brains out here? I personally would have chosen the Ritz Carlton uptown if I was going to off myself. Oh, but not before ordering some of those delicious sweet potato truffle fries from the bar in the lobby!”

“You’ve got about three seconds to get out of here kid!”

“I’m shaking in my boots.” He giggled to himself briefly before continuing, “Honestly man, intimidation is not your forte. I promise I’ll leave in a second, but as I said before, I wanted to have a little chat first.”

“What do you want?”

“To help you out.”

“You can help me by getting out of my room.”

“A bit snippy aren’t we? Jacob, I know you’ve had a rough day, but it doesn’t have to end the way you think it does. So what if your wife hurt you? Buck up! There is a way to remedy this situation.”

It was then that I realized the darkness inside me had never gone away. Instead it had been flourishing, spreading from the pit of my stomach, as it pervaded throughout my body. How did this kid know so much about me? For a second time that evening I was so rattled I could barely spit out a sentence.

“Wh-who are you?” I said. He leaned in and cupped his ear like an old man who’s hearing had waned over time. “Were you w-w-watch – ”

“Was I w-w-watching you? Is that what you were going to say? Learn to ENUNCIATE man! Sorry to interrupt, but if I let you do all the talking we’re going to be here all night and believe me when I tell you, I’ve got other places to be. Now then, why don’t I answer your second question first? Yes, I was w-w-watching you, but not in a creepy staring at you through the window kind of way. You know, like Ryan Gosling in Drive? Did you ever see that movie? It’s surprisingly good. And that Gosling, he’s got chops I tell you! The guy is so damn handsome too! Some lucky bastards just hit jackpot in the genetic lottery, am I right?”

The kid was giving me a bad vibe. I slid my hand into my jacket pocket and felt through the fabric for the handle of my revolver. All the while he continued to blabber senselessly about how The Mickey Mouse Club was the greatest thing to ever happen to the entertainment industry. I needed to somehow get control of the situation.

“Shut the hell up kid! You better give me some straight answers right now. Why were you watching me?”

The boy’s smile quickly disappeared. He scanned me up and down, probing me with his eyes as if he was examining every inch of my body – a look of utter disgust on his face. It was bizarre; his very stare made me feel ashamed and violated. “More questions, huh? First off, you should probably make sure the hammer isn’t cocked on that little lemon squeezer of yours. You’re going to shoot your dick off and then you’ll really have a reason to kill yourself.”

Somehow he knew about the gun I was hiding under my coat. I unzipped my jacket and pulled it out from my pants. He was right. I had left it cocked.

“I was watching you because I saw a doomed soul – a lost spirit so to speak, who was about to let the bad guys win and I just couldn’t bring my self to allow you to do it.” He moseyed over to the television and dragged his finger across the screen, leaving a small spotless streak across the otherwise dust-covered glass. “Take it from a guy who’s been there before. I know exactly how you’re feeling right now. I too have been betrayed by someone I loved – cast down and thrown out in favor of another.”

He paused for a moment, looking at the dust that collected on his fingertip when he wiped it across the screen. “But I haven’t answered your first inquiry yet, have I? Who am I? Well, that’s a loaded question. I’m a man of many epithets. Over the years I’ve been known as The Bearer of Light, The Son of Perdition, even The Proud One. In a story he once wrote, Washington Irving referred to me as Old Nick. I have been anointed a prince while at the same time branded a beast.”

“You’re telling me that you are The – ”

“Please to meet you! Hoped you guessed my name!”

“But that’s impossible.”

“Why? You go to church, don’t you? Is it so hard to believe that asinine little book – the one you people so arrogantly proclaim to be God’s true word, actually got something right? Don’t go patting yourself on the back for being a Christian though. The bible’s filled with more half-truths and garbage than a supermarket tabloid.”

I was completely taken off guard by what the boy was saying. A couple minutes earlier I was getting ready to lodge a bullet in my brain, now I was talking to a teenager who had just declared himself to be the embodiment of evil.

“If you’re the devil,” I asked, “then why do you look like a kid?”

“Why not? I do as I please. I can appear as whatever or whoever I want. You think this is weird, once I made myself look like a snake just so I could get close to a hot naked chick.”

“Yeah, but it doesn’t make any sense.”

“Neither did Carlos Mencia’s comedy career, but it happened anyways. By the way, I assure you I had nothing to do with that.” He shook his head, “I suppose it’s proof you require, eh? I miss the old days where you people would blindly take me for my word. It was so much easier to cheat at poker back then.” The boy gave me a mischievous wink. “Alright, why don’t you pick up the phone? There’s someone who needs to speak with you.”

Not a second later a shrill, earsplitting, sound cut through the motel room. The telephone on the end table was ringing. I shot a skeptical look over to the teenager. He was holding his hand to his ear as if there was an invisible phone in it.

“Hello?” I said as I picked up the call.

“House keeping. I clean now? As the boy’s lips moved I could hear the cleaning woman’s voice over the telephone. “No hablo Ingles. I come in?” He burst into a fit of laughter.

I was floored. I tried to play it cool, but I’m certain he could read the shock on my face.

“Check this one out.” He cleared his throat. “I’m leaving you, Jacob.” Now he sounded like my wife, “Pastor Alonso has a bigger house than you. As a matter of fact, that’s not the only thing that’s bigger.” This sent him into another round of giggles. After he had his laugh, his voice returned to normal. “Not bad, right? I mean, I’m no Danny Gans, but I bet I could still play The Nugget.”

And when he said that he smiled, but it was just a little too wide – wider than a mouth should stretch. Ever so briefly I caught a glimpse of his teeth. It was as if hundreds of tiny daggers were protruding form his gums. He shifted his head ever so slightly and his peculiar facial features appeared to have disappeared. Once again he looked like a typical douchebag teenager.

“You can’t have my soul,” I said, “It’s not for sale.”

The boy scoffed, “Come now, do you really think I just go around buying people’s souls from them? Ye have little faith in humanity, Jacob. Most people are too smart to fall for that kind of thing. What’s a lifetime of happiness compared to an eternity in hell?”

“Then why are you here?”

“Like I said before, I do as I please. And it would please me very much to do a favor for you. No contracts or souls involved. Honest Injun!”

“What kind of a favor” I asked.

He turned and started out the door. “Why don’t you accompany me for a walk and I’ll explain? Oh, and bring that little pistol with you.”

As the boy exited my room, I picked up the phone again and held it to my ear. I didn’t hear a dial tone so I followed the cord only to find that it wasn’t even plugged into the wall. Jack was still sitting on the nightstand, waiting to provide consultation to me if I needed it. He was going to have to wait just a little longer. I trailed the boy out the door.

**

I caught up to him halfway down the hall and together we headed down the rusty metal stairs that lead to the parking lot.

“I see that you’re in a bit of a bind, Jacob. You’re wife of fifteen years is leaving you for that idiot pastor, and taking the kiddies with her. What were there names again? Oh yes, Hunter and Elizabeth. Such darling children – ”

“Leave my kids alone!” The mere thought of him mentioning my son and daughter sent my anger into a tailspin.

He stopped halfway down the stairs and jabbed a bony finger into my chest.

“Listen here, tough guy. Just because I look like I belong in a boy band, doesn’t mean I won’t turn into some sort of ten foot tall Lovecraftian monstrosity and bite your legs off if you continue to disrespect me, capiche?” I nodded my head. “Good, I don’t know what all the fuss was about anyways. I love children. I’d have one of my own, but it’s so hard to find a suitable candidate to bare the antichrist. There’s something about heralding in a millennium of Hell on Earth and bringing about the apocalypse that turns most women off. The only people whoever volunteer for the job are nut-balls and whackos. I don’t want no baby mama drama anymore than you do!”

I think he was making a joke because he paused for a second and glanced over to me as if he was expecting to hear laughs. He continued talking once he realized I didn’t find him amusing.

“If you ask me, you have three options.

Option number one: You go back to your room and blow your brains out. You never see your kids again, and your wife continues fucking the pastor.

Option number two: You don’t do anything like a pussy and go back to your boring and now lonely existence. You’ll see your kids the second Saturday of every month, and your wife continues fucking the pastor.”

“I suppose this is where you tell me about option three?”

When we made it to the base of the stairs, he gestured towards the parking lot indicating the direction he wanted to walk. “Smart man,” he said. “Option number three is this. You take that 32 caliber Smith and Wesson over to the pastor’s McMansion tonight. You’re wife’s there right now, discussing church business.” He made a set of quotations in the air with his fingers. “I’m sure he’s got her down on her knees taking communion as we speak. You know? Accepting the holy body inside her mouth and all that – ”

“Ok, ok, I get it, but that’s a terrible joke. We aren’t even Catholic. What are you trying to say? You want me to kill Pastor Alonso?”

“Kill the pastor, kill your wife – hell, kill his annoying little shih tzu while you’re at it. You have to kill them, Jacob. Don’t let them take your children from you. End their lives for trying to ruin yours. I’d do it for you, but no killing is one of the few rules I’m bound by on this miserable plane of existence.”

I have to admit, it was an idea that had crossed my mind earlier that night – more of a fantasy than anything. I never actually considered going through with it. “But that would be a sin,” I said, “Now that I know Hell exists, there’s no way I’d do anything to risk damnation.”

“Look who you’re talking to, Jacob. Don’t you think I have a little bit of pull down there? For this one particular night I will absolve you of your sins. Think of it as a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. And don’t worry about the fuzz either. I have friends in high places. You won’t even be considered a person of interest in the murder investigation.”

I couldn’t believe I was even entertaining the idea. I had become so engrossed in what the miniature Kevin Federline was proposing that I didn’t even realize he was leading us to my car until we were standing right in front of it. “So if it’s not my soul you want, what are you getting out of this?”

“Ah! I see my reputation precedes me. Like I said before, I’m just doing you a solid, man.” He stuck his fist out waiting for me to bump it. I left the devil hanging. “Maybe one day in the future, you’ll repay the favor…or not. You certainly wouldn’t be obligated to.”

“What kind of favor?”

“I don’t know, pick up my dry cleaning? I haven’t thought of it yet. Who cares? I may never even bother you after tonight.”

I was hesitant. I reminisced back to when my wife and I were young. We were so in love. Now I was standing under the neon lights of the worlds dirtiest roach motel letting the baby faced demon talk me into murdering her. How did it come to this? “She’s my wife,” I said. “Part of me still loves her. I don’t know if I could do anything that would harm the mother of my children.”

He rolled his eyes, “Oh and clearly she loves you right back! Why else would she be on her back right now letting that idiot pastor plow her into next week?” And when he said that his voice got deeper – a thousand octaves lower than anything I’d ever heard in my life. The sound was maddening. It made me want to bury my fingers into my ear canals until my eardrums burst. “You’re adulterous whore of a wife sins with that slimy, two-faced, sorry excuse for a human being as we speak! If that wasn’t enough, she plans on ruining you and taking your children! And for what? Because you don’t have a big house or a fancy car? She used you, until something better came along and he did the same thing to his wife. Hell is filled with men and women like them! Send them where they belong.” It felt as though his voice was microwaving my brain from the inside. I grabbed my head and fell to my knees. “That pastor sins in God’s name. HE SINS IN GOD'S NAME! And you’d really sit there and do nothing!? Send them to hell, Jacob! Send them to me and I will make sure they suffer until the end of time!”

“OK! I’LL DO IT!”

“Excellent!” his voice had conveniently returned back to normal. “Let’s get started, shall we? I’ll meet you at the pastor’s house. I’d ride with you, but I’m The Lord of Fucking Darkness and you drive a Prius so…you know.”

3 Comments
2014/03/05
02:11 UTC

3

[Critique] The School Building

Hi guys! I'd really love to hear your feedback on this story I'm working on. I'm mostly concerned with the plot and pacing, whether everything makes sense, flows well and feels effectively spooky. Smaller grammar/syntax corrections are welcome of course, but I'm not quite as worried about those at this stage.

Oh, I'd also appreciate some help thinking of a title that doesn't suck!

(Story contains bad language)


“The rumor is that this guy made a fake Myspace profile,” Matt told me with a certain unsavory glee. “He’d message girls and talk them into coming and meeting him in an abandoned building, and then he strangled them.”

“How many did you say he killed?”

“Six.”

“Weird how I never heard about it on the news.”

He glared at me. “The company that owned the property covered it up.”

“Or, you’re full of shit.”

“Whatever make you less scaaaaared”

I snorted and aimed my flashlight at the door of the dilapidated school building. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little freaked out. Matt was always more into this stuff than I was, and he was the one who insisted we come here at night “for a more authentic experience.”

There was something deeply unsettling about seeing a building that looked so familiar in a state of such disrepair. I noticed as I swung my flashlight around that there were still bulletin boards hanging on the walls in the entryway. Most of the tiles had been torn off the floor and many were missing from the ceiling; the aftermath of a half-assed renovation that had stalled in the middle due to a lack of funding.

“I am suing you for all of my medical bills if I die from asbestos poisoning or whatever,” I said, aiming my flashlight up at the exposed silvery air ducts.

“You can’t sue me if you’re dead,” said Matt. “Plus there’s no asbestos, I googled it.”

I decided not to bother asking him for specifics. The entryway was in the middle of the building, right at the junction of its two main hallways. The school was shaped like a sort of elongated cross, with short hallways branching off from each main hall and leading to the classrooms. To our right was the entrance to the cavernous cafeteria, which was full of refuse and old furniture. Behind us was an old administrative office, which was locked.

Matt looked excited. “I’m gonna go this way. Which hall do you want to take?”

“You want to split up? Are you crazy?”

“I thought you didn’t believe in ghosts.”

“I believe in getting murdered by homeless people!”

“Do you wanna be here for twice as long, then?”

I didn’t. The building had an admittedly cool post-apocalyptic thing going on, but my fascination wasn’t quite enough to outweigh my nerves.

Matt was already heading down one of the wide corridors, the darkest and creepiest one. “Yell if you find something cool,” he called over his shoulder.

Reluctantly, I headed in the opposite direction. It was an easy enough floor plan to navigate. If I needed to get back to Matt I could just turn back and find him. The halls themselves were devoid of windows, but moonlight was streaming through several open classroom doors. I must admit, I was partially just eager to head towards the light.

The lockers that lined the hallway used to be painted purple. Some of them were hanging open, and I made sure to aim the beam of my flashlight inside each one just in case someone was hiding in there. From what I could tell, each small offshoot hallway was identical, consisting of a classroom on the left, a classroom on the right, and an outward-facing window in the center. I took a deep breath as I tried the first set of classroom doors. One was locked. One was completely empty aside from a broken bookshelf.

Next hallway. One room containing a folding table and several plastic chairs. One room completely dark, thanks to boards over the windows. The flashlight revealed scrapped ceiling tiles on the floor. Nothing interesting so far.

My sense of unease was growing the further I got from Matt. Maybe I just played too many video games, but the more rooms I found empty, the more I expected to find something terrible behind the next door. The next offshoot led to a set of bathrooms instead of classrooms. They were windowless and pitch-black. No way was I going in there. I was giving one of them a half-hearted sweep with my flashlight when I heard something.

It was a long, low scraping sound, like something being dragged across the floor. I froze, ears pricked, but several seconds ticked by and all I heard was my own restrained breathing. I managed to convince myself that it was just something outside, maybe tree branches dragging along the side of the building. As I continued, though, I felt my nerves fraying with every step.

I investigated two more classrooms, one with the furniture in place, one with a damp carpet and leaves on the floor from a broken window. The atmosphere should have been cool, but I was very uncomfortable in those classrooms and I couldn’t figure out why. I decided that I was going to hurry back to the entrance as soon as I made it to the end of the hallway and wait for Matt. The next rooms were both locked. I heard the scraping sound again, faintly, but as soon as I stopped to listen it was gone. It was definitely inside the building. Maybe a raccoon or something, or some of the rubble shifting around.

When I reached the last set of classroom doors, a sense of dread was hanging over me so thickly that it was hard to breathe. The tiles were almost completely gone here. The floor was covered in cheap plywood, which was warping and pulling up where it had been stapled down. It looked like a great place to get tetanus. The floor groaned and splintered under my feet.

One of the last classrooms had its door propped open with a chunk of wood. I approached it with the stiff deliberation of someone struggling against the fight-or-flight response. There’s nothing in there, I told myself. It’s empty like all the others. I peered through the doorway, flashlight in hand. Part of the floor had been torn out, but the rest was still dull linoleum. Desks had been stacked up in a sort of pyramid against one wall. The room was darker and colder than the rest, the windows covered with boards.

There was a sudden, high-pitched noise and I felt a hot ripple of panic go through my entire body. But I realized as I stood there frozen that it was only my phone playing its little power-down song. I pulled it from my pocket and mashed unsuccessfully at the buttons. Dead battery.

“God damn it,” I said out loud. My voice sounded thin and muffled in the stillness of the room. It was getting harder to see, and I discovered why when I turned my flashlight towards me and saw the dimming bulb. I tapped it against my palm to try and jostle it back to life, but it gave a dangerous flicker. I knew the batteries were good. I’d taken them out of the package that same evening. Annoyed, I unscrewed the cap of the flashlight, but my hands were still trembling and the little piece of spring-loaded plastic shot right between my fingers and skittered off across the classroom floor.

I scurried after it, muttering some more choice words. The cap had come to rest just under one of the desks, so that I had to get on hands and knees on the filthy tile. Matt and his stupid ideas. I was getting my flashlight and I was going home, and if he wanted to know what was in the last classroom he could go there himself.

There was a scraping sound, louder and closer than before. A rough, splintery dragging. It was in the hallway, where I’d just been. Something moving over the exposed wood. I grabbed the cap and stood as quietly as I could. Whatever was out there, it was following me into the classroom. I could heard it catching and skipping on the edges of boards, growing closer and closer.

My eyes darted around the room. Aside from the desks, it was gutted. There was nothing to hide behind. The thing in the hallway was approaching my only exit. Wave after wave of paralyzing terror was scrambling my brain. A figure began to emerge from the dim light of the doorway. A silhouette- almost human but with an oddly-shaped head. I realized that once it turned the corner it would be blocking my escape.

I drew on my few survival instincts and made a run for it. With a yell, I pushed the thing aside, and felt it grab at the fabric of my sleeve. I held the useless flashlight aloft like a club and whirled around, heart pounding, to find myself face to face with…

A teenaged girl.

“What the fuck!” She yelped. I realized the reason her silhouette had looked so strange was the hood of her sweatshirt, which was yanked up over her hair. I felt dizzy. She aimed a kick at my shins. “You asshole, you scared the shit out of me!”

“I scared you?” My initial panic was melting into confusion and anger. “what are you even doing here?”

“Uh, I could ask you the same question.”

“I’m with my friend, he’s down the hall.” She just stared at me, and I felt a little embarrassed admitting the next part. “We were seeing if we could see anything creepy.”

“What are you, the fucking Ghost Hunters?”

“Well what are you doing here?”

She narrowed her heavily-lined eyes at me. “I’m meeting someone.”

“At one in the morning?”

She didn’t answer me, just glared. I sighed in exasperation. The girl looked to be in high school and was dressed almost entirely in black, with fingerless gloves and heavy combat boots. Her long, light brown hair was parted in the middle and she looked royally pissed off. I wondered if she was sneaking out with a boyfriend, or I had accidentally ruined a drug deal.

I heard someone calling my name. Matt must have heard me yelling. He was not going to be pleased that some Hot Topic teenager had ruined our adventure. My ears were ringing, my shin was throbbing and I was freezing. I was more than ready to get out of there.

“I’m coming!” I yelled, and looked back at the girl. “You’ll have this fucking place all to yourself, don’t worry.”

She shot me a nasty, sarcastic smile and I turned to walk away. But as I headed out of the classroom, I remembered the sound I’d heard.

I spun around. “Was that you before, making that noise?”

“Doing what?”

“That noise. The scraping noise”

“I didn’t hear a noise.” She still looked annoyed with me, but with a touch of confusion.

“It was loud. Like something dragging on the ground.”

She rolled her eyes. “Quit trying to freak me out.”

I opened my mouth to retort, but Matt gave another yell. I shook my head, resigned. “Over here,” I called, and trotted towards the center hall. Just as I saw Matt rounding the corner into my hallway, I heard it again: that long, low scraping sound. It was right behind me, and loud enough that the girl couldn’t possibly have missed it this time. I turned to see her reaction, but she was gone.

No way had she run off down that creaky, decaying hall without making any noise. Confused, I turned back to Matt, who was white as a sheet. “Matt, what’s wrong?” I said.

“Get over here right now.” His voice was tight and shrill. “We’re leaving.”

“What-”

“NOW.”

I tried to explain that he shouldn’t be freaked out, there was someone else exploring the building and it was probably her making the noises. He just shook his head wordlessly. He practically dragged me out of the building, and I saw his hands shaking as he put the key in the ignition.

“Matt,” I said, concerned, “Calm down, just breathe for a minute. I heard the noises too, but it was just-”

“It wasn’t the noises. I heard those too. I thought it was you.”

My stomach sank. “Did...did you see something?”

“It was right behind you,” he said quietly. He remained pale and tight-lipped for the entire drive back, and it wasn’t until we were a safe couple of miles from the school that he told me exactly what he’d seen on the stairwell:

It was a girl, head lolling to the side grotesquely as she hung from an extension cord around her neck. I stared at him, stricken, sure he was just messing with me, but I’d never seen him look so terrified. He told me her face was a horrible dark purple color and her tongue was swollen and hanging out. He had to stop and take a deep breath before he continued, his face in his hands.

He told me she had long, light brown hair and I felt a fresh, hot bolt of fear in my gut. He told me she’d been wearing all black, maybe a hoodie. Fingerless gloves.

Matt looked like he was trying not to cry, and I didn’t blame him. I felt like all the strength had gone out of me, and my face was burning and freezing at the same time. The last detail though, that was the worst. Even though she was hanging from the ceiling, he said, she was following me. And as her heavy boots dragged along the floor, they made a long, low scraping sound.

I never told Matt about the girl I met in the school. In fact, I’ve been trying as hard as I can to forget that awful place. But I can’t shake it, not totally. I can’t help but picture that girl strung up from the ceiling. And even as I sit here typing, I can’t ignore that soft, hushed sound out in my hallway, like boots dragging across the carpet.

2 Comments
2014/02/25
21:40 UTC

4

Little help with a story [Critique]

I was going for kind of a dark humor noir vibe here. This is only the beginning of the story. Sometimes it feels a bit clunky to me. Let me know what you think. Any advice about how to streamline the narrative would be greatly appreciated.

Part 2

Part 3


A Favor For A Favor (Part 1)

It must have been the most run-down, filth ridden, motel room I had ever seen – the kind of place where cockroaches didn’t feel the need to scatter at the flash of a light bulb. I wouldn’t be surprised if a whole civilization of the nasty things were living between the walls, laying their repulsive egg sacks wherever they pleased, and multiplying faster than an Asian kid on Adderall. I was seated at the edge of the bed, shifting uncomfortably atop its warped and misshapen mattress while trying to ignore the rank funk radiating from a pile of unwashed sheets bundled up in the corner. It was the type of room people did everything but sleep in. That was fine by me – I didn’t come there to get some shut-eye. In my left hand was a half drunken bottle of Jack Daniels. In my right was a 32 caliber Smith and Wesson.

The extraordinarily depressing location was poetically fitting in a way – I was extraordinarily depressed after all. My wife was the cause of my misery. She had broken my heart and left me with nothing but a vacant grief-stricken soul, like a teenager who listens to Fall Out Boy and writes poetry on Tumblr. For a while suspicions of infidelity had loomed over our marriage, but I had always chalked up my conjectures as nothing more than paranoid delusions. They say denial is the best remedy for heartache. It wasn’t until I stumbled across a series of implicitly sexual emails between her and the pastor of our church (a married man in his own right), that I was faced with the morbid reality of my wife’s secret sexcapades.

Pastor Alonso was a slick, fast talking, cut-throat, shark who dressed more like a politician than a man of the cloth. He pulled in a far bigger salary than one might expect for a pastor. The preaching business can be very profitable, especially when you head up the 2nd biggest mega-church in California. Alonso had a taste for life’s opulent luxuries and wasn’t afraid to flaunt it. It wasn’t uncommon for him to drive a Mercedes Benz to church or showoff his collection of Rolex watches during Sunday services. I guess that’s why my wife gravitated towards him. She always did have a weak spot for material things.

There was one thing that all the pastor’s money couldn’t buy him though: kids of his own. His wife, Darcy's, on again off again battle with the big C had thrown a monkey wrench into his plans to start a family. Recently her cancer had taken a turn for the worst and while she lied up in the hospital on her death-bed, the pastor and my wife were getting together for some "extra bible study sessions”.

When I confronted my wife about the emails, things got ugly. Names were called, expletives were hurled, and threats were thrown out (by her mostly). My wife told me that the pastor had invited her and the kids to move in with him once Darcy passed and my "better half" had accepted. She agreed to give him the family that he’d always wanted. My family. I didn’t have the money to fight a long drawn out custody battle or hire big time lawyers, but Pastor Alonso did. Couple that with the fact women usually win these kinds of disputes (even if they don’t always deserve it) and you can see why things were looking so bleak for me. Another man had stolen my wife, my children, my life, and there was nothing I could do about it.

The room slowly began to spin and I realized my good friend Jack was up to his old tricks again. Nausea had started to settle in and I didn’t want to spend my last moments alive vomiting the Carl’s Jr. cheeseburger I wolfed down an hour earlier so I decided to stop stalling and finish what I came there for

I placed the revolver’s barrel in my mouth and rested my finger on the trigger. In case you were wondering if my life flashed before my eyes, allow me to be perfectly blunt – it didn’t. I was thankful for it too. I’d have rather taken a bubble bath with Bruce Vilanch and Ron Howard’s little brother than relive all the agony that woman had put me through. I shut my eyes as tight as possible in preparation for the bullet to pass through my brain.

2 Comments
2014/02/23
19:48 UTC

3

[Critique] Yes, Jay

This is a story I wrote in less than 24 hours. I have never written before. I don't know where to post this so please tell me a subreddit. /r/nosleep won't work because of the way it is written.
“Why do I have to walk the dog, mom?” She’s yours!”
“Why can’t Kayla do it?”
“Just because she’s your little sister doesn’t mean you have to make her do everything!”
“That’s the way it’s supposed to be.” I said as quietly as possible.
“I heard that. Now just do it, Jay! You could have been halfway down the road already.”
“What if she gets more ticks?”
“That’s why we put medicine in her food. Stop procrastinating and go do it!”
“Fine!” I said, knowing that I had already lost this battle. I put Marley’s leash on, got the flashlight, and walked outside. It was almost pitch black, why couldn’t we live in the city? I walked down the dirt road making sure there weren’t any stray dogs to attack us.
In the corner of my eye, I could see two red eyes near the ground. I almost pissed my pants. I turned my neck so quickly I think I got whiplash. I was able to see those two eyes staring back at me, they got nearer, and as they did I could tell it was just Old Lady Agatha’s tabby cat. I held on to the leash tighter so Marley would run after it.
Even though I hadn’t walked all the way down the road I decided I had been outside long enough and my mom would believe me. “Come on, Marley.” I said as I lifted my right foot to start going back home.
“Okay, Jay. Whatever you say.”
I turned around to see the leash wrapped around a naked man’s neck. He was covered in blood. I ran home and locked the door. I slid down with my back on the door, and started crying. I don’t what happened. Maybe it was a prank.
“Why are you crying? Where’s Marley!”
“Marley got hit by a car.” I didn’t tell her the truth because I knew she wouldn’t believe me. I didn’t even know how to tell her.
It’s been four days since then. I decided to go back. It was a foggy morning. I was a few feet from where the man stood. I could still see a little blood left. As I got closer, I could smell something horrible and I knew it had to be Marley. I saw a few flies hovering over a ditch. My curiosity to see her got the better of me. I walked over towards the ditch expecting to see Marley. But to my surprise, I didn’t see Marley, I saw the man. He had more blood on him than before and he had white fur stuck to the dried blood on his mouth. It must have been the tick medicine inside Marley that killed him.
I went home and never told anyone. I didn’t look for Marley because I don’t want to see her after what he could’ve done to her.

3 Comments
2014/02/19
19:37 UTC

Back To Top