Swamp Thing

There’s a certain stench that accompanies stagnant water. Waters that have risen and fallen with the same stretch of green floating across the top. With the same moss hanging off the trees. With the same plants rooted in the muck. There’s a certain stench to swamp water—waters that don’t churn very often.

And the stench is horrendous.

Uncomfortable.

I claws up, into your nose, whether you like it or not, and it tends to linger long after you’ve left the swamp. In the smell, you can sense the old age of the water, the different types of mold that creeps along tree roots, the green muck that adorns the backs of the gators you pass by—their beady eyes lit up in the light of my lamp, glowing like dying coals.

Swamps, to put it nicely, are disgusting. Places to go and stay stagnant. Places to be when one wants to smell what dying is like. Places that have nothing new to offer.

Places that hold old, old waters.

And the old beasts that come with them.

Continue reading “Swamp Thing”

Time’s Loss

I remember heaven.

I remember the glory that reigned there. The peace of it all. I remember being so fulfilled that I thought about nothing. Wanted nothing. Needed nothing. I remember sitting in the mouth of heaven, laughing for no reason at all, other than to let some of the light out of my soul.

But then…

I remember hearing it.

My name.

I remember heaven.

And I remember heaven cracking.

Remember hearing you calling me.

I remember the moment I remembered that I used to be alive. That I used to have a life. That there were people I loved and respected.

I remembered, then, that I used to have you.

That I left you.

And I remember a voice gently calling me. Asking me if I wanted to try something.

Just for a little while. Just for you.

I remember the day heaven let me go—just for a day, mind you—just so I could visit.

So I could comfort you. Continue reading “Time’s Loss”

Dark Horse

They say he means death.

That seeing him ends your life. Or means that you’re going to die very, very soon. If you can hear his gallop, or can see his silhouette, it’s best if you get your affairs in order.

That’s what I’ve heard.

The tales they’ve always told about the black horse. The one that vanishes before dawn. He has no rider, and they say its because he’s only an omen. Only a warning.

He comes back later, they say.

Rider on his back.

And, guess who they say his rider is.

Guess who they say he belongs to.

Continue reading “Dark Horse”

Faint of Heart

“It’s… eerie.”

Fog coated the ground, oozing from some unseen place. Skirting along our feet as it snaked its way over the dead, dry ground. Souring the earth further with its muggy breath, leaving a chill to nip at my spine as leisurely as it pleased.

I hated it.

Honestly, I did.

This place…

You could hear something in the air. Whispering to you. Or maybe it was something yelling. Screaming. I couldn’t be sure. It was just a whimper of a sound, nothing more. Skating by my ear so quickly, so quietly, that I couldn’t be sure what it was.

Except:

It sounded pained.

Agonized.

The trees here were decrepit. Creepy. All gnarled, knobby branches. Naked and lifeless. Dragging their twigs across the air like tiny, desperate, old hands. Clawing their way out of the bark—

It was eerie.

Very eerie, indeed.

At my remark, The Master scoffed. His glowing purple eyes were hard to decipher usually, but, in that moment, I saw something clearly within them.

Doubt.

“If you find this eerie, you’re going to want to stop now. There isn’t a single thing about what I do that isn’t eerie, creepy, or grotesque. You might as well quit while you’re ahead.”

But…

I didn’t.

Instead, I straightened my shoulders. Ignored the voices. Got a firmer grip on the bag I carried.

And followed The Master into The Grave. Continue reading “Faint of Heart”

Strength of Spirit

It isn’t about how strong the thing is.

It’s not about the body. Not about the mind. Not about the heart.

It’s not about that at all.

Soul.

It’s all about the spirit.

Strength of the spirit, to be precise.

How strong is a thing’s spirit? That’s what decides what it becomes. Who it becomes.

Who it challenges.

Who it takes.

Who falls for its cunning.

The strength of your spirit decides whether you fall for the voice.

Or not. Continue reading “Strength of Spirit”

Glimmer of Moonlight

I thought it was…

Amusing.

Cute, in a way.

She stood with her shoulders back, braced for anything. Ready to get hit with rejection, to get hit by a gust of wind, to get hit with a tree that I conjured from the ground.

In that moment, she was ready for anything.

Except:

Acceptance.

“For now,” I say, leaning over my boulder, elbow resting against the rock as my palm props up my face. “You may be my apprentice.”

And so it began.

Our spiraling stars.

Sputtering, glowing.

Burning out.

Giving all that it can give.

Giving all that I can give. An exhale in the dark. A whisper that tapers into echoes. A single word given.

And it’s all that I am.

What a glorious night. Continue reading “Glimmer of Moonlight”

We Wicked Few

You could hear it.

Thumping along the tracks. Churning out noise, cracking along. Rattling wood, bones.

Chains.

“Sing louder,” I muttered.

They’re coming.

The train—

It’s almost here.

I can feel it rocking the building. A great beast that comes calling. That roars, again and again, every week. Knocking into our shack, demanding to be heard—that it not be ignored.

It’s coming.

Sing louder. Continue reading “We Wicked Few”

Ghost Fire

It was on fire.

Again.

In an instant, the smoke alarm was protesting. Yelling at me from above. Judging, like a tiny, angry, petty god. Screeching before I could fix my mistake. Refusing me a chance to right my wrong.

Waking my mentor.

Disheveled, he burst through the door—his bluish white hair all askew, and his beard half-smushed from sleep—his eyes going wide when he saw the scene before him. When he saw the flames, and smoke, and chagrined look on my face.

“Damnit Beatrice, I told you: no summoning fire-sprits! And definitely not in the house!”

“Yes sir,” I intoned, saddened as he grabbed the fire extinguisher.

And, with one blast of continuous white fog, he put the fire out.

Dispelling the spirit. Continue reading “Ghost Fire”

Haunted Nevermore

There are cracks in the wall.

I can hear the creaking of the floorboards. See the rot from the water that leaks in. Here, the floor isn’t sturdy. You could fall right through—the boards are as thin as wet paper. Here, there isn’t much shelter from anything. This old, desolate house. Oozing and creaking and moaning along with the things that fill the walls.

Where do you think the cracks came from?

Obviously, they came from them.

They spill out some nights. Flooding the house, over and over again. Playing like a song on repeat. Scratching and screaming and scurrying over the ceilings. Wailing and terrorizing and eating away at the souls of others. Desperate and jealous. Creatures that haunt, that steal, that kill—all for pleasure.

These ghosts…

I was raised with them, you know.

I grew up here, in this house.

It screams at me.

These monsters…

And I hear the rhetoric again. The chanting that always filters through the screams. Words that float through the panic, through the muck, through the mire of spirits unrested. I hear their demand. The threat of what’s to come if I don’t heed them, if I don’t obey. I hear the words, carrying from the house to this faraway place, and I suppress a shudder.

Protect the ghost. Continue reading “Haunted Nevermore”