Stay Off Of The Naughty List

On the night before Christmas, all through the house, only I was stirring; a scream trapped in my mouth.

Santa towered above me, Father’s head clutched in hand.

“You’ve been a bad boy!” he bellowed. “I’ll make you understand.”

Fearfully, I stared as he mounted Father’s head on top o’ the tree.

“You’ll behave next year, I wager,” he announced. “For if not, I’ll do worse to your Mommy.”

That evil elf stomped to the chimney and rubbed his nose.

Finally I screamed, as he merrily rose.

I’ll be good, so hopefully he won’t do what he said he would.

Time Will Tell

An endless wall of trees flashed by as the car cruised along the highway; Walter stared forlornly out the passenger side window, looking more like a condemned prisoner than a beloved elderly parent.
They were too far away from home this time, and running away would no longer be an option for him.

“Oh c’mon, Dad,” Chris said, briefly taking his eyes from the road to observe his father’s disposition. “You’re going to a retirement home, not to the vet’s to be put down.”

“It’s so far away, you may as well just pull over and leave me by the side of the road to die,” Walter grumbled. “Ungrateful is what it is.”

“Ungrateful?” Chris snapped. “You’re joking, right?”

“You know I’m not,” the old man replied, refusing to look at his son.

“Dad, Karen and I have taken care of you for several years, visiting you every weekend and holiday, paying off all of your bills, and searching for you every time you wandered off from what, six different homes you’ve been placed in?” Chris stated. “How is that ungrateful?”

“You and that wife of yours live in the house that I built with my own hands, and all I want to do is die there, and you won’t let me,” Walter countered. “That’s ungrateful, if you ask me.”

“Dad, I’m just trying to make it so that both of us can live our lives,” said Chris, exasperated. “You could have another twenty years of contentment in one of these homes, but you just keep fighting me on it.”

“Contentment?” Walter cried. “I’m not some cow you can put out to pasture!”

“You know what? I’m done with this conversation,” Chris spat. “You’re going to live at Sunny Horizons, and that’s the last word on the matter.”

“It’s so far away,” Walter murmured.

“If you hadn’t worn out your welcome at the others, you’d still be close to home,” Chris said. “You only have yourself to blame.”
The two drove on in silence for nearly two more hours, when the turnoff for that would take them to the Sunny Horizons retirement home came into view. Walter felt the anger boiling up within himself with each passing moment. How dare this little shit, that he had raised, fed and clothed, put him away in such a place, rather than let him live out his days sitting on the porch that he had built, sipping lemonade and remembering the past?

I built that house for his mother, Walter thought. But now she’s gone, and he wants to get rid of me too.

“Christopher,” Walter began.

“What now, Dad?”

“Once you sign me in to this place, I want you to leave and never come back,” Walter said, softly. “If you can put your name on that contract, you’re no son of mine.”

Chris exhaled deeply. “Fine, Dad. If that’s what you want.” They made the turn, and the gate for Sunny Horizons loomed before them.

“Welcome to Sunny Horizons,” a friendly female voice said, through an intercom. “How can we help you?”

A moment later, a buzzer could be heard, and the gates opened.
The grounds were lush and well-kept, with apple trees and brightly colored flowerbeds; Walter saw only prison walls, and loneliness. Chris parked the car, and got out to help his father, who refused aid as he struggled with his arthritic body to bring himself to a standing position; he still refused to look his son in the face. A young, auburn-haired woman, clad in a nurse’s uniform, approached them; she was infinitely more attractive than any nurse either of them had ever seen at one of these places, with her hair done up in a throwback fashion reminiscent of the 1940’s, and for a brief moment, Chris forgot that he was a married man, dropping his father off into this woman’s care.

“Well, hello there,” he said. “What’s your name, miss?”

“I’m Rebecca,” she replied, warmly. “I’ll be your father’s guide on his first day.” She offered her arm to Walter, who grudgingly accepted. “I think you’ll enjoy you time with us, Mr. Bascombe.”

“What makes you think that?” Walter growled.

“Dad!” Chris snapped.

“Oh, it’s quite alright,” Rebecca said, sweetly. “Your father’s is not an unusual disposition for newcomers, but they always come around. That’s what makes this place so special.”

“You may find my father to be more of a handful than some of your previous residents,” Chris said, doubtfully.

“Stop calling me that!” Walter demanded. “You leave me here, and I’m no longer your father!”

Rebecca gently patted Walter’s hand. “Mr. Bascombe, you have the strong hands of a man who used to work hard for a living. What did you do before you retired?”

Though he was clearly still upset with his son, flattery from such a young, beautiful woman was enough to cause Walter to crack a smile. “Why, I was a carpenter and mason, dear.”

Chris was instantly impressed at the ease with which this young nurse had defused what would have been a much more vitriolic outburst from the old man.

The three of them made slowly their way to the Administrator’s office, while Walter told his pretty, new admirer of the many projects he’d worked on throughout the years, as Rebecca demonstrated her interest with remarks like “You built that yourself? That’s so impressive!”, and “Sounds like you could show the repairmen around here a thing, or two.”
Inside, the facility was extremely clean, yet homey, though Chris noted that he hadn’t seen a single elderly person since they’d arrived. “Excuse me, but where are all of your residents? I didn’t see any on the grounds, and I haven’t seen any in here, either.”

“Oh, they’re around,” Rebecca said. “Some go for walks out back, or take art classes in the East Wing. There are so many activities that our residents enjoy, that they’re hardly seen for most of the day.”

“I see.”

“Sunny Horizons is not your average retirement home, Mr. Bascombe,” She added. “Our residents are given a new lease on life, and they all seem to take to it with enthusiasm.”

They parted ways at the Administrator’s door. Rebecca took a much gentler Walter for his tour, while Chris went on the meet Mr. Eden, the director of Sunny Horizons. He smirked when he overheard his father say, “You look a lot like a girl I knew when I was much younger, before I met my wife.”
Mr. Eden was a tall man presumably in his 40’s with salt and pepper hair; his office was appointed with fine victorian era furniture, and a very comfortable atmosphere. He took Chris’s hand and shook it with a firmness that was both genuine and friendly. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Bascombe.”

“Same here,” Chris replied. “Nice place.”

“I would hope so, we’ve worked hard to make it as inviting as possible,” Eden said. “However, you and I have some paperwork to fill out, I believe?”

Chris had expected the usual question and answer session, while Eden tapped away on a computer, but was surprised when a simple, one page contract was laid before him, with an old fountain pen.

“Everything alright?” Eden asked.

“No, I mean, yes,” Chris stammered. “I guess I’m just used to the more antiseptic approach of other retirement homes.”

“Well, Sunny Horizons isn’t your average retirement home,” Eden replied, smiling proudly.

“Yes, your nurse said the exact same thing.”

Eden’s smile broadened. “That’s because it’s the truth, Mr. Bascombe. Your father is going to be made truly happy here. Our methods differ greatly from those practiced in other retirement homes, but they’ve proven most effective.”

“I hope so,” Chris said. “He hasn’t been happy in years. At least, not since Mom died.”

Eden opened a folder that had been laying on his desk. “Yes, I’ve read his file. Seems he also no longer wishes to see you, is that correct?”

“How the hell would you know that?” Chris was stunned. “He only just told me that in the car, and that was because he was angry about me bringing him here.”

“Mr. Bascombe, your father has felt this way ever since you put him in his first retirement home. Perhaps he’s simply never had the nerve to say it plainly to you before today? It’s all right here,” he pointed to the folder.

“May I see that?”

“I’m sorry, but I’m not permitted to share a resident’s information without their prior written consent.”

“He isn’t a resident until I sign this contract, Mr. Eden,” Chris said. “So, I suggest you let me see it.”

“Mr. Bascombe, are you feeling alright?” Eden replied, looking concerned. “You already signed the contract.”

Chris looked at the contract on the desk, and his signature was definitely on it. He just couldn’t remember picking up the pen, or actually signing the document. “What are you trying to pull?” he demanded. “I never signed this thing!” He reached for the contract, which was quickly snatched up by Eden, and placed into the folder he held.

“Mr. Bascombe,” Eden said, officiously. “I think that it’s time for you to leave the premises.” He pressed a button on his desk. “Have Mr. Bascombe escorted to his car, please.”

A moment later the office door opened, and the beautiful nurse Rebecca was standing beside an oddly familiar, muscular man in his early 30’s, wearing an orderly’s uniform, who grabbed Chris by the arm with vice-like strength, and lifted him to his feet. “Time to go,” he said, as he half-dragged Chris out of the office and toward the main entrance.

Though he struggled, Chris was unable to break free from the orderly’s powerful grip, and the orderly seemed strangely pleased by that fact, saying things like “Not so strong now, are you?”, and “You’re not in charge anymore.”

Before he knew it, Chris was slung into the driver’s seat of his car, and the door was slammed shut. The orderly stared in at him with a wide smile and said, “Go home to that wife of yours, Christopher.”

He was about to get back out of the car, and go find his father, when Chris noticed that the orderly’s name tag read ‘Walter’, and he recoiled in shock, “Dad?”

The orderly stepped back, still smiling, and said, “Don’t bother visiting. I’m happy here,” he then turned and strolled confidently back to the awaiting Rebecca, and they stood together, holding hands and watching Chris intently.

Not sure of what was really happening, Chris was at a loss as to what he should do. Slowly, he turned the key in the ignition, and began to pull away from them. The more he stared at the orderly, the more certain he was that he was looking at his somehow younger and revitalized father. After a few moments, Walter and Rebecca turned and headed back to Sunny Horizons; realizing that regardless of how he felt about it, or what he thought was going on, there was clearly nothing else he could do; who would even believe such a story? So Chris turned his car around, and began the trip home, during which he would have plenty of time to sort through the unbelievable events that had just occurred.
As Walter and Rebecca entered the main lobby, Walter took in a deep breath, and shook his head in amazement.

“Feels strange, doesn’t it?” she asked. “It did for me.”

“Yeah, but does it ever wear off?” Walter asked. “I mean, am I going to grow old again?”

She pulled him close, “Not as long as you stay on these grounds, Walter,” and she gave him the slightest kiss on the tip of his nose. “But if you ever decide to leave, you will age normally once again.”

“If I do ever decide to leave, would you come with me, Becky?” he asked, raising an eyebrow, and pulling her even closer. “I should have never left you behind, all those years ago.”

“Time will tell, Walter,” she said, smiling. “Time will tell.”

The Sounds From The Cellar

The two boys stood, rigidly staring down into the pitch-dark cellar; they each knew what they’d heard, but neither could manage to vocalize it.

No one else was home, and calling for help would reveal them as cowards; they could never allow that.

Hearts pounding, they looked to each other for courage, but the fear was clearly evident in each pair of adolescent eyes.

In agonizing silence, they debated which would lead the way; Chris was the elder, so it fell to him.

The old wooden stairs creaked as they crept slowly into the abysmal unknown that awaited them.

Suffering Overdue

It’s been a long time since I last stood here.

Feelings of anger and resentment flood my heart in a deluge of accusation; it wasn’t an accident, or miscalculation; it was a purposeful stride taken along the path to spiritual immolation.

I wanted her to burn; to have the threatened wrath of God become manifest through my actions.

I wanted her to pay for her sins.

Just three short feet below my shoes she lay, and I yearned to know whether the punishment was being meted out as promised, but the obtuse soil held its tongue, taunting me with silence.

Source: Suffering Overdue by Jason Mott [F4A] | Drablr

Only Thirty Seconds Left

Perspiration beaded on Frank’s brow, as he watched the clock on the wall tick away the seconds.

Thirty more seconds, and then it’s all over, he thought, anxiously.

Whatever the outcome, he’d done his best; no one could ever take that from him.

Twenty seconds to go; all bets were off, and if he’d made the wrong choice, this was going to blow up in his face.

Ten seconds.

He rubbed his sweaty palms on his legs, rocking nervously. He’d never made dinner for his girlfriend before, and combining it with his planned proposal had made this venture unbearable.

Ding!

Source: Only Thirty Seconds Left by Jason Mott [EW8] | Drablr

Where The Dead Wait

In every home, there is a place where the Dead wait.

They wait, while we go about our insignificant lives, and worry about insignificant things.

Then, when we are gone or asleep, they come out.

We all know where that place is in our home; that place where we dare not tarry after doing whatever it is we need to do.

While we may not know for certain why we cannot allow ourselves to linger there, we know that we must leave as soon as possible.

That is why that place was chosen as the place where the Dead wait.

Source: Where The Dead Wait by Jason Mott [EU8] | Drablr

Reconciliation: Delayed

I went to the cemetery today.

There was a funeral being held, with many black-clad mourners sniffling, and weeping as the Minister spoke words from the Good Book.

I’ve never been one for funerals, and would usually avoid them, but I found myself drawn closer to the service instead.

They lowered the casket, and the crowd dispersed; only my son remained, staring intently into the hole.

I hadn’t seen him in a couple years because of a heated argument, and wanted desperately to reconcile with him.

He wouldn’t look at me, but kept tearfully whispering “I’m sorry, Dad.”

Strange.

Source: Reconciliation: Delayed by Jason Mott [EI2] | Drablr

The Man Sitting On The Stone Wall

There’s an old man who sits on a stone wall in the middle of the woods; silently, he stares into the distance.

His clothes are antiquated, faded by the sun. How long has he been there?

For nearly forty years, I’ve failed to get him to move or speak, by guessing at his name.

Until today.

His name is ‘Jebediah’, and I know this because when I spoke that name, his gaze locked onto mine with frightening speed, a tear running down his dusty cheek.

I don’t know why he’s there, and I’m not sure that I want to anymore.

Source: The Man Sitting On The Stone Wall by Jason Mott [ETW] | Drablr

Buyer Beware

Furniture moves across the room, propelled by an angry, unseen force.

Curtains billow in a nonexistent breeze. Cries of despair echo from the attic above; chains rattle and a door slams.

In the basement, hungry howls call to the world above, as something claws at the door, desperate to escape.

Maniacal laughter flits from room to room, followed by the heavy footfalls of some damned thing.

Suddenly, all falls silent.

The front door opens, and a real estate agent enters, followed by a young couple.”It needs a little love, but I think you’ll be thrilled by the asking price.”

Source: Buyer Beware by Jason Mott [ETX] | Drablr

Mother’s Love

When I was ten years old, I went through a period during which I would huddle in bed, trembling with fear of the ghostly visitations.
And every night, my mother would come to my bedside, and run her fingers through my hair as I shivered, attempting to soothe me.
When that didn’t work, she would whisper into my ear, “Mommy’s here. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
She’d do that right up until I passed out from sheer exhaustion, and then she’d leave.
All of that would have been helpful, if my mother hadn’t died more than a year earlier.

One Last Caress

I’ve never done anything like that before.
You entered the room, resplendent in your new lingerie, purring that you’d bought it to please me.
Little did you know, I saw you and your “friend” today; I left work early.
It began as a caress; my hands on your arms, and then your shoulders.
Before long, I was stroking your long neck, and looking into your deep, deceitful blue eyes.
Had you said no more, the urge would have passed, but you just had to confess your love and devotion to me, didn’t you?
That was when caress turned to strangle.

The Dream

“La, la. La, la-la. La, la. La, la-la,” the little girl melodically intoned, as the thunder rolled outside.
Horror filled me as she backed slowly up onto the sill of the towering window, her hands and feet spreading to the frame, bracing her silhouetted figure in the center.
She hoisted herself in an arachnid manner, higher and higher; that grotestque, childish singing filled the room.
Something crashed against the room’s door, promising to break in at any moment, but my attention was locked on the hypotic movements of this hellish Alice, this predator from within the looking glass.

Seventy Percent of the Earth’s Surface

Treading water, Greg could see Sarah gathering their belongings. She wasn’t fond of the water, so his last swim was solo.
Shadows began to grow along the near-empty beach.
Playfully, he kicked at the seaweed licking at his toes; he loved the ocean, and Sarah would need to change her attitude if she wanted a commitment.
He stared at the horizon, as the setting sun set the water ablaze; the seaweed suddenly felt thicker.
The first tug startled him; the second, pulled him under.
Before the water turned crimson, he gazed upon the jagged-toothed horror that ensnared him.

What’s in the Crate?

In the darkness behind her, a door opened; heavy footsteps approached the gagged, and blindfolded woman struggling with her bindings.
“Save your strength,” a deep voice said. “You’re gonna need it.”
With a click! a single bulb was lit from above.
A large, locked crate could be seen behind the robed stranger; a guttural cry emanated from within.
“You’re wondering what’s inside the crate,” he smiled, “aren’t you?”
“Time to find out,” he said, producing a key from within his robe.
With the lock sprung, he shut the light, and left the room.
Terrified, she heard the crate creaking open.

The Nine-To-Fiver

“Jerry? Hi, it’s Bob. Guess what, jerkoff? I played the lottery this weekend, and won. Take your job, and shove it up your ass!”
As he ended the call, Bob smiled at the winning ticket in his hand.
“My ship has finally come in!” He hooted through his cracked car window.
The first thing he wanted to do was buy a new car; his heart fluttering as he decided which dealership to go to.
“Bob!” Jerry’s nasal voice ended his reverie. “If I find you asleep at your desk again, you’re fired!”
Bob silently, sadly, wiped drool from his chin.

The First Timer

As I sat filling out the paperwork, the realization kept popping into my mind:
I had sex for the first time tonight…
I know I’m a ‘Late Bloomer’ when it comes to carnal knowledge, being in my thirties and all, but I’m still kind of proud of it.
Unlike those I’ve tried with in the past, she didn’t resist me at all, and she’s sobeautiful, that I’d like another go.
I really need to finish this paperwork; if my supervisor gets in and I haven’t filled out ‘Cause of Death’ for my new girl, I’ll be reprimanded for sure.

Utopia for the Masses

The loud knock on the door halted dinner.
For a moment we sat, each dreading the door being answered.
The second knock snapped Father out of his seat, and he rushed to answer it; allowing a third was unthinkable.
We could hear Father speaking with a man in uniform, attempting to appease him; the official was cold and distant.
Several armed men entered the house and began to search, turning over tables and pulling out drawers.
We knew what they were looking for, and each silently prayed it wasn’t found; possession of a bible was considered both subversive, and treasonous.

Waiting To Die

They huddled in the glow of a single incandescent bulb dangling from the ceiling; there hadn’t been a sound from outside in a while.
The cramped supply closet afforded them modest shelter from the thing that slumped through the corridors looking for them; and it would continue to, if the door holds up.
They tensed; It was approaching the closet again.
A shadow appeared at the doorjamb; It didn’t move away like last time.
The door frame shuddered; hinges groaning against the force of the first blow.
The door itself began to splinter from the force of the second impact.

Remembering That Last Walk in the Woods

With its brilliant hue and wispy clouds, today’s sky reminds me of the day you and I escaped the house and went traipsing through the nearby woods.
“It’s so beautiful!” I recall you saying, as you plucked a flower from its stem, deeply inhaling the aroma; the sunlight imbued your hair with an angelic quality.
I’ve never felt so at peace as I did that day with you in the woods.
Little did I know that it would be our last day together.
As you twirled in the grass, I thought of you with him, and that’s when I snapped.

Preparation Is Everything

The smell of corruption filled our nostrils as we made our way deeper into the crypt; the moment of regretting this decision had passed long ago.
I gripped the haft of the stake with one hand, and my flashlight with the other.
Before us, the vault seemed interminable.
How did something like this come to be underneath a shopping mall?
Foot by trembling foot, we ventured forth; knowing that each step brought us closer to Him, and to sunset.
“Ah, You’ve come at last!” he said, satisfaction -and hunger- in his voice.
Today was Daylight Savings, and we’d all forgot.

Poker Face

“Beat that,” Jack said, smirking at Helen’s expressionless face.
He had a full house, and knew she didn’t have the cards to beat him; in five years, she never had.
“I don’t know why I bother playing with you, Helen,” he said, shaking his head as he collected the winnings in the pot. “You have the best poker face a person could want, but the deck hates you.”
He snatched Helen’s cards and examined them. “Helen! You had four of a kind!”
“You know,” he mused, “you were a lot more fun to play with when you were still alive.”

Stay for the Night, Stay Forever

Terror gripped me as I felt my way along the abandoned hospital’s dark corridor; of the nine in our group, only I remained.
My breath caught in my throat when a broken bottle scuttled across the debris-strewn tile floor as my foot made contact.
If I was heard, I’d never make it out of here.
THUMP, THUMP, THUMP.
It’s coming!
I frantically grasped for any opening in the wall, hoping to find a hiding spot.
I need to hide, NOW!
THUMP, THUMP, THUMP.
Suddenly, the air turned frigid; Its malevolent presence surrounded me.
Hiding was no longer an option.

So You Want To Write A Novel… (Just a little encouragement)

Like many other writers, I have wanted to write a novel for a long time. Also like many other writers, I have sought the advice of those who have managed to do just that, and guess what? Some of that advice helps me in my efforts, and some of it doesn’t.

For a little background on myself (and I’m sure you’re all just dying to know more about me, right?), I am the type of person that does, rather than the type that plans before doing; I tend to open my word processor, and write. That’s it. I don’t outline, or create background stories, or spend any time developing characters.

What has been the fruit of this method of mine? Short stories, that’s what. No novels, no epics, just short stories and drabbles.

If you’re a short story writer, please do not take offense to my remarks; there’s plenty good to be said about short stories. In fact, I enjoy them immensely. The trouble is: I want to write novels.

So how does someone who doesn’t plan, edits as he goes, allows new story ides to cloud his concentration to the point of writing them in the hopes of not forgetting them, and lets the story take him to its conclusion, rather than him taking the story to its conclusion, manage to write a full-length novel? The answer is: He doesn’t (at least in my case, he doesn’t).

I have spent too many hours, days, and weeks cobbling together incomplete novels that had to be shelved due to my own loss of interest, to assume that my (up until recently) current method of novel writing is actually conducive to novel writing.

I’ve searched the internet, read the blogs, nodded my head in agreement to the oh-so-simple tips handed out like candy at Halloween, and then … did nothing with them (after all, I can write a story! Anyone can, right? Anyone can form an idea, and then write it down, so why would I need tips?), and continued to wallow in the mire of half-written stories and ideas.

That’s what has happened, until recently. In my pride, I had refused to give up ‘my way’ of doing things, and suffered the consequences. Well, in my most recent attempt to write a novel, I threw away the notion that I didn’t need to change my ways in order to complete a novel, and actually wrote a brief story line, character descriptions and histories, and guess what happened? You don’t really have to guess, because I’m going to tell you.

I have managed to pen 60+ pages of a novel with little to no struggle, in a matter of a few weeks (not months, weeks). Can my efforts be put in the same class as those renowned literary classics of our time? No, not even close, but I’m not trying to be the next Dickens, or Twain, or even King; I’m trying to be the first ‘Me’.

The experience with this latest work has me convinced that not only will I finish this novel, but that there will be more following it, and that confidence allows me to smile when I think about my writing.

Although I have not yet finished my novel, I am going to give a bit of advice of my own to those aspiring authors out there that are struggling with similar issues in their methods: Don’t be afraid to change (just a little bit) to achieve your dream, because that fear is what is truly holding you back.

All Apologies To John

The music grew softer after ‘Last Call’ was announced, and drunken tavern patrons slowly stumbled outside into the night.
Danny sauntered up beside me, with his planned bed-mate by his side.
“I’ll be right back,” he slurred, before dashing to the bathroom.
After surveying his prize, I shook my head; he’d reached a new low.
“What’s taking him so long?” she impatiently whined, her cold sores showing through her spotty make-up.
“If John Thomas isn’t hearing a sincere, protracted apology, then I’m betting your date’s passed out,” I replied, bluntly.
“Who’s John Thomas?” she asked.
“Certainly not mine.”

Nosferatu

A shadowy figure flits across the village’s main thoroughfare; darkened windows hold candles that were extinguished hours ago.
It halts before a particular door, sniffing around the jamb.
A growling sound emanates from its empty stomach.
There’s an infant in this house, It thinks, smacking its pallid lips.
Infants are best.
Taking care to remain silent, it turned the doorknob; the opened door creaked slightly.
The child’s scent grew more potent as it stepped into the main room.
It howled in agony, as a silvery, moonlit blade cut through the darkness, wounding the creature deeply.
There’d be no dinner… tonight.

The Drenched Man

She awoke, screaming and gasping; she was covered with perspiration. 
It was worsening, each time she slept. 
A drenched man stood in her doorway, staring with milky eyes, ashen complexion, and a gaping, water-filled mouth. 
Each night, he appeared closer and closer to where she lay. 
Tonight, he was staring down at her from a mere foot away; she could feel the damp cold of his presence on her face. 
She turned on the light, stood up, and was suddenly face-to-face with the dripping apparition. 
The light went out as a scream still formed in her throat.

Scar Tissue

The moment the little boy’s eyes met his, he knew that the world was a sick place.
The child disappeared beneath the crushing weight of the MRAP’s wheels, and though the vehicle had no problem rolling over this tiny obstacle, his mind registered a small bump.
Standing orders were to never stop the vehicle for anything, and he had obeyed those orders.
What kind of person did following those orders make him?
“Sir?” the clerk asked.
“Hmm?”
“Paper, or plastic?”
The young boy that had triggered his horrid memory, had left with his mother a while ago, groceries in tow.

Bugs Under My Skin

I can feel them; burrowing, biting, eating my flesh.
The doctor said that I was imagining it. What does he know, anyway?
They’re mischievous, though. I’ve cut myself, trying to get them out, but they always seem to move to a new place, once I’ve pulled the wound open.
They move quickly, too. My right arm is nearly flayed, and yet they’ve escaped again.
That’s okay, I’ve got the determination to see this through.
They think they’re so smart, moving to my abdomen.
There’s a lot of flesh in there, but this fresh razor blade ought to make things easier!

Before The Storm

The blade keenly zipped through cold flesh, freeing the shoulder joint from its fleshy confines.
“This choice cut will better serve you, my child, than it did its former master,” the doctor whispered.
With practiced precision, his needle and thread pierced lifeless skin, attaching the appendage to its new host.
“Your strength will be unrivaled.”
His chest swelled with pride as his eyes ran over his creation. “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
Everything, except the brain; that was the final piece of this grisly puzzle.
He shuddered, imagining the potential for greatness, which lay before him.

Saucy Jacky

Crimson pearls fell to the ground as she clutched at her throat; the only sound, an incessant gurgle.
Her knees buckled, and she collapsed.
The coppery scent of her blood filled the air, as the meticulous hands of her dark assailant went to work; his breathing was harried, and manic.
With silent satisfaction, he stood back, and observed the macabre spectacle that he’d created.
The hoofbeats which signaled the approach of his cab, sounded slow, and hesitant; his driver did not approve.
Calmly, he straightened his cape, and hat, for there was more work to be done on this night.

The Scribbler

“Don’t get too comfortable, Dave,” Karl said evenly. “With ideas like yours, they’ll fire you soon enough.”
Dave endured such comments from ‘Star Employee’ Karl Manning, daily; that would end, today.
Focusing intensely, Dave doodled a stick figure in his favorite notepad.
Underneath, he wrote ‘Karl’, and in a crude way, the figure did resemble his abusive co-worker.
Sweat trickling down his brow, he drew an exploding heart in ‘Karl’s’ chest, as the real Karl clutched at his chest, flopped to the floor, and died.
Dave smiled, closing his notepad.
Another rung in the corporate ladder had been scaled.

Daddy Knows Best

“Daddy, I heard it again,” Lindsay complained.
“What’s that, sweetheart?”
She sighed. “The crying! It woke me up!”
“Lindsay, you were probably just dreaming.”
Unsatisfied, the child finished eating, and grumbled all the way to the bus stop.
Back in the house, sipping his coffee, he heard the faint sound of crying, coming from below.
“Damnit!” he exclaimed, heading to the basement.
A young cheerleader was chained to the wall.
“Wake her up again, and I’ll cut out your tongue, and sew your mouth shut!” he hissed, tightening her ball-gag.
“Raising little girls is tough, and you’re not helping.”

The Legend of ‘Walter’s End’

“I’ll teach those damned kids!” Walter grumbled in the darkened intersection, leveling his shotgun.

Usually, the drag racers would decelerate, and hurl insults at the crazy old man; this time, his shaky grip resulted in a blast that blew out the right tire, causing the car to plow into ‘Crazy Old Walter’, killing him.

Locals believe that ‘Crazy Old Walter’ never left that place, and any speeding vehicle’s right tire will be blown out, causing an accident.

Strangely, ‘Walter’s End’ has been the site of many fatal crashes over the last seventy years.

That is the legend of ‘Walter’s End’.

The Insomniac

When I close my eyes, and drift off to sleep; that’s when he comes.
Stalking the moonlit streets, dealing death to those that he takes a fancy to.
The police believe that it’s me who’s doing it, but it’s not.
I would never do such horrific things as he does to those poor souls.
I’ve done my best to keep him at bay. I haven’t slept in a week, but I’m so goddamned tired!
It would be so much easier to deal with, if I had just a little bit of sleep.
God, forgive me.
I’m just…
Too…
Tired…
To…

New Year, New You

Every year, he goes through this. Resolutions are nearly impossible to stick to, but he intends to do it this time.
The wall is covered with trophies; remnants of the pattern he intends to leave behind.
With the gentle hand of a museum curator, he wipes dust from one of them.
“It’s time for a change,” he says, scanning for any other foreign matter on his prized possessions.
Satisfied his collection was immaculately clean once again, he heads out of his den, leaving the row of severed male heads staring blankly at the walls.
“This year, I’m switching to women.”

Always Flush First

Few things are worse than waking at 3am with a full ‘poop-deck’.
The urge struck during what I considered to be the ultimate erotic dream, and that was just unfair!
I shambled downstairs, bumping into walls on my way to the toilet, cursing the need to void the remnants of the evening’s dinner.
After assuming the position, I heard a ‘scittery’ sound coming from below. True concern eluded me, until it became persistent.
Fear gripped me when sensation replaced sound, as a foot-long centipede shot between my legs, and onto the floor.
I’d found something worse, after all.

Celebrity

She offers herself up freely to the massive horde. After all, it’s expected, isn’t it?
Like wolves, they tear her to pieces, relishing each viciously rending strike.
As their prey falls helplessly to the ground, they continue to pull flesh from bone, as a multitude watches on, hungry for their turn to feast on her remains.
Limbs are triumphantly paraded about for all to see; there is no shame in this. They wouldn’t know what to do with shame, if there were.
This wouldn’t have happened without her willingness, then again, we all offer ourselves freely, when we click ‘Tweet’.

M.A.D.

“We got lazy,” he thought, as he casually strolled through the radioactive wasteland that had once been a bustling metropolis.
The cold, gray sky allowed no sunlight, as the wind funneled airborne death through the ashes of civilization.
He couldn’t recall where he was when it all went down, but he could recall the aftermath just fine.
Millions vaporized, cities reduced to rubble.
He shuddered as his thoughts conjured the images of those that managed to survive the attack.
“Such a waste,” he thought. “A pointless, pitiful, waste of life.”
“Mercifully,” he mused, “I was killed in the first blast.”

Check Out My Currently Available E-Books, and Paperbacks!

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Jason’s Available Books

 

Writing is not an easy craft, and writing for an audience is much more difficult. I do it because I love it, and with every review, critique, and ‘thumbs down’, I grow as a writer.

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Barbara

“Who’s that?” she mused, observing her reflection in the mirror.

The luxurious locks of her hair, gone. Her figure, withered to skin and bones.The brilliant hue of her eyes, faded; a sign that her journey was ending.

Every treatment has failed, the doctors have given up, and she was left contemplating what remained of her future.

“You’re not me,” she accused the stranger looking back. “Never were, never will be.”

To her surprise, her reflection began to restore itself to beauty, and radiant wings appeared on her back.

A tear of joyful relief fell, as her spirit left her body.

‘Season’s Greetings’ From Ferguson, MO.

Tear gas fills the air, and protesters fill the streets. They cry out for justice, while victimizing their neighbors, and breaking the law.

Candlelight vigils devolve into full-scale riots, as those who’ve lost a loved one stoke the flames with vitriol.

Talking heads fill the boob tube with rhetoric, and personal agendas, while blood is spilled by those listening to them.

They dance around the flaming wreckage of what was once a small bakery, and beat an old man to death, while claiming that they are the real victims.

The ‘Racial Divide’ has become impassable, and no one cares.

Running Late

“Where the hell are they?” he bellowed, as he unceremoniously cleared his desk of papers, and garbage.

“I know I left them in here!”

Doubting himself, he left his office, stormed through the living room, and began tossing the pillows, and cushions.

“Damn it to hell!”

Then, a lightning bolt of clarity struck him; he ran to the basement.

After clearing the remaining limbs of his latest victim from the second-hand examination table, he found his missing keys.

“Thank you, God!” he proclaimed, before running to his car.

Someone’s got be on time to teach Sunday School, after all.

Them. (From Dark Musings, Special Edition)

Kevin McCauley entered the front door of 23 Orchard Street and said aloud “Mom, Dad, I’m home!”

He sighed as he told himself it didn’t matter. They were gone now and he owned the house.

As he turned to close the front door, Kevin noticed a weathered newspaper sitting on the front step, he glanced at the headline as he turned back into the house and closed the door and read: ‘3 LOCAL CHILDREN DEAD OF HEART ATTACK. STATE SURGEON GENERAL WARNS PARENTS OF SYMPTOMS IN KIDS’

No shit…,” he said to himself as he tossed the paper into the wastebasket. He had no children, and a full plate of his own to deal with, with an inherited home to prep for the market and very little vacation time to do it in.

Kevin’s mother Edna had passed away in her bed of pneumonia just one week prior and Kevin felt the guilt of not having visited her recently, he’d called her of course, but driving 45 miles from Whitendon to Godfrey was out of the question with his limited time off.

It wasn’t that he didn’t care about her welfare, it was simply that life had gotten in the way and drawn him in other directions.

He put his suitcase down in the entryway of the house and began to walk around and take inventory of his alien yet extremely familiar surroundings.

He passed through the kitchen and looked at the appliances that had all been in the exact same condition and positions when he was a child; the refrigerator was covered with notes and magnets and a Bargain-Mart calendar that his mother no doubt had put up long before she’d died.

Died. She was gone. He paused as the memory of his mother bustling about the kitchen making dinner and reminding him of his chores swam into his mind.

Well Ma, I guess I’m gonna have to remember to clean my room on my own now,” He said to no one.

His wanderings took him into the master bedroom where his mother had died in the bed that his late father had shared.

His eyes fell on the dresser, still crowded with his mother’s jewelry and pictures of siblings long passed; An invisible hand clenched at the base of his throat and he choked back a sob.

I can’t sleep in here.”

With a feeling of loneliness, Kevin turned his lean, six foot frame in the doorway and made his way up the stairs to the room he would eventually choose to sleep in, his.

The two twin beds were made as they had been for years. Mom was always ready for me to come home.

It was the other bed in the room that brought more memories swimming into his waking thoughts. It had belonged to his older brother, Michael.

Mikey had been an admirable brother, he was always looking out for Kevin.

When he’d died in his sleep 30 years ago, Kevin had been at summer camp while Mikey had been condemned to summer school for poor grades and couldn’t go that year.

Kevin remembered being called into the head counselor’s office and told that he had to pack his things because his parents were coming to pick him up.

There had been a “Family emergency” and he was going home.

It wasn’t until he’d been told to sit down at the kitchen table by his Dad that Kevin realized his brother wasn’t going to be a part of this discussion, at least not listening to it.

Your brother died, Kevin. He went to sleep and just, he just didn’t wake up son,” his father had said while choking back tears.

He remembered that his mother hadn’t been able to get herself to sit down with them for that talk.

Heaving another sigh, Kevin entered the room and lay on what had always been his bed. Folding his arms behind his head he stared at the ceiling and let the flood of memories pour over him.

Kevin! Michael! Dinner’s ready! Okay Mom, we’re coming! Make sure that your room is clean and your hands are washed! Okay Mom, Gosh!

Hey Kev, wanna see something neat?

Here Kev, Dad showed me this, move your hands up the bat a little bit. Like this. It’ll make you swing faster.

A single tear ran down his face as Kevin allowed emotions long suppressed to overtake him and then, he fell fast asleep.

Kev, make sure you keep a flashlight under your pillow. It’ll keep Them away if you need to pee or something at night.

Who’s Them?

You know how when you wake up in the middle of the night, you can hear stuff in the room?

Like things moving?

That’s Them. Don’t you EVER let them see you Kev. If they see you awake, they can get you.

What’ll they do to me Mikey?

You don’t wanna know. Just don’t ever let them see you awake ok?

Promise?

I promise.

Kevin awoke with a start. It was now late afternoon and he’d been asleep for a couple of hours.

Shit. I must’ve needed that.”

Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, Kevin got up and headed to the kitchen to make something to eat.

His thoughts wandered to the dream he’d had while he put peanut butter and jelly onto some bread.

He remembered odd childhood conversations with his brother about Them. Who were they? What were they?

30 years had sliced and diced his recollection immensely, though he did remember sleeping with a flashlight under his pillow for years.

Sitting in the living room as he ate his sandwich, Kevin decided it was time to go through the house and look for anything that he could donate or give to more distant relatives.

His childhood curiosity was piqued as he considered the different areas of the house that he hadn’t seen in decades.

I’ll go through Mom’s stuff later. I just don’t think I can do it right now,” he said to his invisible audience.

God, it feels like I’m on a sitcom or something, the way I’m talking to myself out loud. I guess it must be one of those coping mechanisms you read about or something.

After deciding that the most logical and least taxing place for emotions would be the attic, Kevin swallowed the remainder of his sandwich with a flourish as he had always done as a boy.

Kevin Daniel McCauley! You’ll choke if you keep eating your food like that!

I’m fine, Ma!

Don’t you sass me!

He smiled at the memory as he made his way to the attic entrance in the center of the upstairs hallway ceiling.

The cover to the access door gave a small fight as he tried to force it passed years of paint melted together over innumerable summer days, but finally, it gave way.

The attic ladder hadn’t changed. It was still the type of thing you looked at with caution as you pulled it down, always fearing a powerful shot to the chin.

CREEEEAAAAK! The ladder was down with that final complaint. Kevin examined it for a moment to see if it looked worthy of his size.

Satisfied that the old thing looked stable, he slowly made his way up into the attic.

The air was stuffy and warm, and it was nearly pitch black. Kevin felt around for the pull chain of the single light bulb which hung above the ladder.

With a click, Soft yellow light poured over the attic and Kevin could see dozens of boxes littering the eaves all the way around the perimeter.

He glanced around until his eyes fell upon some boxes labeled ‘The Boys’ in magic marker.

Bingo!” he exclaimed as he moved towards the boxes.

Opening the largest box, he discovered a large pile of toys, many of which he had long since assumed had been thrown away.

He fumbled with a few G.I. Joe figures making soft pew pew sounds mimicking gunshots.

Growing more enticed, he rummaged through another box labeled ‘Michael’ in his mother’s black marker handwriting.

Inside, he discovered several artifacts that spurred memories to life. His brother’s favorite baseball cap, music tapes and a tattered looking notebook.

The notebook had no title, but it was filled with pages upon pages of writing.

It didn’t take long for Kevin to realize that his older brother had kept a sort of diary and with just a moment of doubt, Kevin began to read.

June 10, 1984

So, I can’t go to camp. The teachers said I didn’t pass physical science, so that means I have to go to summer school. Bummer. Kev’s going to camp, and the little brat’s gonna tell me all about it when he gets back, which is gonna piss me off.

I guess I have to just buckle down, as Dad says, and get through this.

This went on and on with Michael extolling the famous lines “I’ll never use physical science in real life.” and “They just don’t understand me.”

Kevin skipped ahead a few more entries until he came across the following:

July 13, 1984

I had to buy new batteries for my flashlights again, and Mom’s getting mad every time I ask her for money to get them. She doesn’t know how bad I NEED them!

They come every night now, and they know I’m awake. I hide under the covers with a flashlight, and when I hear them, I turn it on but they don’t run out of the room anymore. They used to. I think they’re just waiting for me to mess up so they can get me.

I wish Kev was here. He’d at least be someone I could talk to. They come in through the closet door, I think, and then they go around the room moving stuff, and sniffing the air. They’re looking for me, but the blankets protect me somehow.

I even heard them kind of talking to each other. They don’t sound like us, though. They sound kind of whispery, and creaky. It’s really weird.

Last night, I heard one of them UNDER MY BED! It was scratching around, and I felt it push on the mattress. I almost pee’d my pants.

I turned off the flashlight to see if they’d notice, and one of them touched my blankets near my head! I turned the flashlight back on, and it screamed!

How come no one ever hears them but me? Mom and Dad never wake up, no matter how much noise they make.

I have no more money for batteries, and I know the flashlight is going to die tonight. If they get me, I hope someone reads this, and gets Kevin out of this room, because they will come after him next.

A box of toy guns fell off of the heap nearby and startled Kevin out of his reading.

Holy SHIT!” He hollered into the darkness.

Holding onto the notebook as he tidied up the pile of boxes Kevin decided to give it another look later and he headed back down into the house.

He had broken out into a full-on sweat and the cooler air of the house turned every pore from water to ice.

Memories of conversation with Michael came flooding back and Kevin recalled his brother’s episode of night terrors which had begun at an age where most kids were growing out of them.

I wonder what scared him so much to make him think THINGS were after him?

Kevin wondered as he made his way back to the bedroom. He didn’t like to think that his brother had lost his mind, but what else could it have been?

It was growing dark outside and he knew that he still had a lot of work to do in the house, so he prepared to go to bed.

Sleep wasn’t easy to come by though as his mind raced with memories and theories about his brother’s fears and his death which, even in those days was a bit of a mystery.

How does a healthy 15 year old die in his sleep?” Kevin said aloud as he lay in bed wishing he could fall asleep.

And Mikey WAS healthy; he was an athlete and a good one at the time, Dad always said that it was a foregone conclusion that Michael was going to go to college on a sports scholarship, it was only a matter of which sport it would be.

So, how in the world did he just die like that?

Thinking about family members who’d died gave Kevin enough reason (he thought) to make a mental note to visit his own doctor as soon as he had some time.

I guess you just never know.

Finally exhaustion won out and Kevin put down the notebook filled with his late brother’s horrors on the nightstand and shut off the bedroom light. He fell asleep almost instantly.

Kevin found himself gliding through the house and floating up the attic ladder. The attic was brightly lit and the boxes were all organized perfectly. Sitting at the far end of the attic near the box labeled ‘The Boys’ was Michael.

Michael looked as he had the last time Kevin had seen him alive, his favorite 49ers shirt and cut off denim shorts, His brown hair flowing into a feathered mullet. Looking as real as ever, except that his skin was very pale and he looked almost haunted with dark rings under his eyes and his lips were just a shade above blue.

Mikey? Is that you?”

It’s me Kev. Come here for a second, I need to tell you something important.”

With no effort on his part, Kevin glided over to his brother’s side and seemingly came to rest as he felt a box give a little under his weight.

Mikey, what’s this all about? This is a dream isn’t it?”

His brother looked very seriously at him, peering into his eyes, and said “It’s about Them Kev, it’s about Them.”

What about Them?”

They want you Kev. They got me, and they got other kids too, three of them, just a couple weeks back, but they want YOU now.”

How’d they get you?”

Michael shifted in his seat as if to get more comfortable, and then a very dark look came to his face.

They scare you to death, Kev. They reach into you, and stop your heart. They feed on your mortal soul.”

Michael held up his notebook, and said “Read it all, Kev. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck here with me, and trust me, it’s no fun.”

For the first time, Kevin noticed the blue veins throughout his brother’s flesh nearly on the surface. He looked young, and yet, old and very tired at the same time.

Come back with me, Mikey. I’ll get you out of here.”

His brother shook his head with sadness. “You just don’t get it do you? They ate my soul Kev. I can’t leave, ever. The others found that out, too.”

Where ARE the others? I only see you here.”

Michael looked down, and muttered “They couldn’t fight Them, and now they’re gone. They have them down there,” His finger was pointing straight down. Not at the floor, but far beyond that, to a place that Kevin knew he could never begin to visualize. “I hear their screams.”

Grabbing Kevin’s shoulders, Michael looked urgently into his eyes. “Stay under the covers, Kev! Don’t come out if you hear Them! If you do, they’ll get you! Do you hear me? STAY UNDER THE COVERS!”

CREEEAAK!

He awoke to total darkness as he realized his blankets were over his head. He started to pull them down when he heard it again.

CREEEAAK!

Instantly as though he was 10 years old again, Kevin pulled the blankets back up until they were securely over his head.

He sat there petrified as sounds of movement appeared to come from all over the room around him. He then began to hear what sounded like voices, not human voices, but voices that were guttural and creaky.

It sounded like they were calling his name! He listened as the sounds came closer and closer to his bed, when they had come within a foot or so, he heard their rattling breath around him.

They’re looking at me! He could feel their eyes on him, hungry, evil eyes.

Then one of them spoke almost clearly “Come out, Kevin. Come out so we can play with you.”

He felt warmth spreading around his lower body as he realized he had wet his bed in fear.

This is bullshit! I’m sitting here in my bed hiding under the covers and pissing myself in MY own home?!

Kevin tried to regain his composure since he’d realized he was shaking like a leaf and then there was a deep inhalation of air to his left.

He wet himssself,” one of them said. “Nasssty boy!” another cackled in response.

Feeling his anger rising, Kevin was about to lower the covers and confront these voices when he heard his brother’s voice, clear as day.

STAY UNDER THE COVERS, OR THEY’LL GET YOU!”

Kevin stopped lowering the covers and decided to yell as loud as he could “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!”

There was utter silence as his voice seemed to echo in his ears.

He usesss naughty language.”

He’sss a bad boy who peesss in hisss bed!”

He nearly jumped out of the bed when one of the voices spoke into his right ear “come out and play with usss, bad little boy!”

He felt a slight tugging at his toes as something was trying to grab them through the blanket.

Instinctively, he pulled his legs up and assumed the fetal position under the covers.

There was more shuffling and rasping throughout the room and then with a soft creaking sound, there was silence.

The only sound was the beating of his heart in his ears and it was apparently under the impression that he had been running for his life.

Kevin lay in his bed unmoving. He wanted to sit up and turn on a light, but he didn’t dare reach out from under the blanket.

The stink from his urine was starting to get to him as well and he longed for a shower and a fresh set of sheets.

After what seemed an eternity, the light of dawn began to shatter the darkness of the room and Kevin could see it through the blankets.

He didn’t know how he knew, but he knew it was now safe to pull down the covers.

He blinked into the morning light and then looked about his room, he couldn’t tell if anything had been moved or not nor, whether someone or some thing had been in this room with him or if he’d dreamt it all.

This is crazy! I HAD to be dreaming all of that!” he said sitting up.

He knew he had to get out of his shorts and get his bedclothes into the laundry before they stank up the whole room, but he hesitated as he swung his legs over the side of the bed.

He realized that he was afraid to put his feet down on the floor so close to the bed, and he remembered his brother’s journal mentioning one of those things groping and scratching underneath his bed years before.

He’d never see the hand or claw or whatever reaching out to clutch his ankle in time to stop it.

So like a child, he leaned over the side of his bed, performing an act he hadn’t performed in decades and peeked under the hanging sheets. There was nothing there.

Hopping out of bed, Kevin opened the shades to let as much light into the room as possible, and began to strip his body and the bed of the sodden fabrics.

He spent the day going through closets and bookshelves and packing various items for disposal, for relatives and for his own use, he did not venture into the attic or the basement and he avoided his brother’s pseudo-diary.

Occupied though he was, Kevin could not shake the feeling that he was being watched while he went about his chores; the unnerving effect of this feeling combined with his apparent exhaustion was getting to him.

Maybe I should take a nap and get my head together. I’ve never had a dream that messed me up like this.”

He laid himself on the couch in the living room and quickly fell asleep with the noonday sun beaming through the bay window creating a bright rectangle of warm light.

He woke with moonlight filling the living room. A glance at the digital clock on the VCR which read 1:30 am, he realized that he’d been asleep for at least 8 hours.

Christ, I need to get my shit together,” he mumbled while running his fingers through his graying brown hair.

Fumbling for the light switch he froze when he heard movement in the room directly above where he sat in the living room. His room.

He quickly snapped the living room light on and bolted for the stairs, hitting the light switch for the hallway as he ran.

When he got to his bedroom doorway, he peered inside and found it empty.

I know I heard someone up here!

Flipping the switch at the doorway the room lit up and Kevin entered.

The room looked normal, as it always did, except for one thing; his bed, which had been neatly made earlier in the day, was now a mess of sheets and blankets. As he examined his tattered bed, Kevin heard a soft hissing sound behind him, spinning on his heel, Kevin glared around the room but found nothing at first glance. Noticing that the closet door was open just a crack and collecting every ounce of his resolve, he walked over to the door, placed his hand on the handle and pulled it with strength.

WHO’S IN HERE?!” he hollered to a crowd of jackets and sweaters that were hanging in the same places that they had when he was a teenager.

With some unnecessary embarrassment, he moved slowly into the closet shoving aside clothing he used to think was ‘Cool’. As he looked around the closet, the door behind him slammed shut leaving him in utter darkness.

His disorientation was powerful enough that he managed to lose himself inside the closet, he couldn’t locate the doorknob and then the hair on his neck stood straight up as he heard a hissing sound directly behind him.

Hasss he come to usss?” it said.

Kevin reacted quickly, as he felt a clammy hand clasp his forearm, his other hand found the dangling chain for the closet light. CLICK!

There was a blinding light and guttural screaming as the hand let him go and suddenly, he was alone in the closet again.

Kevin found himself hyperventilating with his heart pounding hard enough to burst.

What? What the hell was THAT?” he exclaimed as he clutched at his chest.

Exiting the closet, Kevin slowly moved to the bed and sat down and attempted to catch his breath.

What are they? Why do they want me?”

Glancing at his cell phone, he saw that it was 2:45 am, he entertained the idea of calling someone, but who on earth would believe him?

How long had he been in that closet? He wasn’t sure, but he knew that there was plenty of night left for Them to come back and he needed to come up with a way to deal with them.

He was considering various ideas when it occurred to him to look in his brother’s notebook for tips.

Leaning over, he grabbed the book and opened it only to find that most of the pages that dealt with the night terror incidents had been torn out.

Sonofabitch! There was something in there that they didn’t want me to see!” he said, tossing the now useless notebook aside.

He began to formulate a plan for dealing with these… things.

He went throughout the house gathering any flashlights he could find, which amounted to one crusty 20 year old thing that looked like it was purchased when Reagan was still in office; It had batteries, but he searched for others as backup, and he managed to find a few.

Then, reaching into the closet again, Kevin pulled the light chain and turned off the closet light and slammed the door shut making sure that it caught. Heading to the bed, Kevin rigged his blanket over his bed with a few others he had dug out of the linen closet to make what he had called in his childhood, a “Fort”.

He moved the table lamp into his patchwork fortress along with the jars of peanut butter and jelly, a butter knife, a loaf of bread and the largest kitchen knife that he could find, he then prepared himself for a long vigil.

As Kevin lay in silence and darkness in his blanket fortress, he could hear sounds, very faint at first and then growing louder from the direction of the closet.

They’re coming. He says to himself, They’re fucking with the wrong guy!

And then he heard it.

CREEEAAK!

He felt his entire body stiffen as he waited for his visitors from the closet.

The shuffling began softly, as sounds spread around the room.

Items were being moved and he heard hissing moving closer to his bed. He continued to wait.

Let them get closer he kept telling himself I need them to be closer.

He felt a tug at the blanket which overhung his patchwork sanctuary, then he heard the hiss near his head.

He’sss her,.” a slithery voice said.

He felt sweat beading up on his forehead when another voice joined it.

Let usss sssee,” it sounded excited, hungry.

Still he waited.

We mussst get him, but he hasss the coversss,” disappointment registered in the first voice.

We wait for him,” a third, more sinister voice said.

Kevin could feel them bearing down on him, watching his every movement, listening to his every breath.

He knew that the time to act was now. With one swift movement, Kevin yanked the covers down around him and with his other hand snapped the light switch.

Plink! There was a bright flash as the bulb burned out instantly.

Kevin saw three grotesque white faces, humanoid in form with bright opaque white eyes and needle sharp teeth filling gaping mouths.

As total darkness enveloped him, he began to scream and swing the kitchen knife in all directions, not sure where he was aiming.

There was hissing and screeching all around him.

Suddenly, he felt a cold clammy hand grasp his knife-wielding hand, its claws dug into his skin as another hand pulled his knife away.

Swinging wildly with his free hand and screaming at the top of his lungs as cold, invisible hands grabbed him and began to hold him down, Kevin felt a strange oblivion closing about him followed by nothingness.

Kevin knew nothing more.

Flashes of light filled the room as a medical examiner’s crew worked over the bedroom of Kevin Daniel McCauley (Deceased).

A police officer approaches a man in a ty-vek jumpsuit.

Any idea what the C.O.D. Is?”

Massive coronary. This guy didn’t have a chance.”

The officer looked confused “What do you mean by that?”

If you’d seen his face, you’d know. He looked like he’d been scared to death and his heart practically exploded inside his chest.”

No shit,” the officer started shaking his head. “I worked a couple of those kid cases last month. They went like that, too. People need to take care of their hearts, man.”

You got that right,” said the medical investigator “You sure got that right.”

Trick Or Treat

Peering out my window, I can see the parade of little ghouls, and ghosts making their way through the neighborhood.
They collect their treats, and watch their bags swell with each visited house.
I clutch the bowl to my chest; waiting for my turn to bring my brand of Halloween into their tiny lives.
Here they come! A ballerina, is it? and a ninja turtle; how adorable!
“Trick or treat!” they cry happily, as I open the door, and dropped my treats into their bags.
I cackle, thinking of their expressions, upon seeing the severed fingers among their candy loot.

Happy Birthday, To You

“…Happy birthday, to you,” he sang, as he carried the tray bearing the candle-covered cake.
An unused game of ‘Pin the tail on the donkey’ fluttered against the door as he passed.
The children sat, party hats on their heads, as he distributed each frosted slice to its appropriate place.
Dressing as a clown was meant to be entertaining, but these kids were each ten to twelve years old; had he made a poor choice in doing so?
While taking pictures, he silently hoped that the cemeteries wouldn’t trace the missing bodies to him, until the party was over.

Paying The Rent

The sickly sweet aroma filled his nostrils, as he seared the meat on the stove.
Work’s been slow, he thought, There’s not much else I could’ve done, right?
His ears delightfully devoured the sizzling sounds emanating from the pan.
Not many people dine at expensive restaurants in a recession, do they?
The main course slid dutifully onto his plate; he garnished it with cilantro.
How was I supposed to pay the rent with no income? he reasoned, as he sat down at the table.
He relished the meal, even though his landlord would’ve tasted better with apple rings, and parsley.

‘Two Shakes’ Is More Than Enough

Alan awoke in the middle of the night, feeling his bladder’s oppressive weight.
Each step, a test of his bodily control; the impact of foot-to-floor threatened to ‘burst the dam’.
After an ‘eternity’, he stood dazedly before the toilet.
With the ease of a practiced professional, Alan removed his ‘Little Fella’ from its cottony confines.
Urine began to flow, and Alan’s head lolled; he relished the relief.
He didn’t notice when the stream began to turn crimson, and he never would.
Eight pints of precious fluid left his body without his knowing, leaving behind a dry, withered husk.

The Old Man In My Closet

It’s 3AM, and I should be asleep, but there’s an old man in my closet.
Each night, he scratches at my closet door; if I’d known the scratching’s origin, I’d have been alarmed.
As time passed, I grew more comfortable, and was able to sleep; that is, until I awoke to find him standing over me, staring with milky eyes.
Apparently, he cannot get to me through my blankets, so they’re my nocturnal shield.
The scratching’s stopped, in it’s place, husky breaths fill my ear.
I dare not peek, for fear of his intentions.
Dear God! My feet are uncovered!

The Story Of How I Died

We sat in the deserted subway station, he and I.
He looked normal enough, so when he approached, asking if I had a light, I thought nothing of obliging.
“Sucks that they’ve essentially made smoking a felony nowadays, eh?” I quipped, pulling out my lighter.
“Smoking’s not a felony, but this definitely is,” he replied, as he drew a gun from his jacket.
Why?”
Prior to that bullet passing through my skull, the last thing I can recall, was his smile, illuminated by the gun’s muzzle flash.
That’s the story of how I died, and I still don’t know why.