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”

Consequences

Whiskey burns the back of my throat as I exhale, settling my gaze on the placid man before me.

A shadow of what he was before.

Because, before, he had light. Had life. Something to look forward to. Something to hold on to. Back then, he thought he was tough-shit. Thought he was the bee’s knees. The cat’s meow. Thought he was something better than the rest of us, stepping on anyone and everyone to get his way. Rabidly pursuing any who thought differently, who dared to try and make him face fact.

Before, he was confident.

Stood proud. Stood tall.

But, now…

Now?

Now he cowers, a glare dying in the corner of his eye. Weak, because he knows.

I am the one who snuffed that light.

The one he should’ve left alone.

The one creature that he wasn’t tougher than.

I was the one who showed him that he wasn’t anything special. That he was no bigger than a sneeze. And, I’ll be the one to seal his fate, too.

To steal the son. Continue reading “Consequences”

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”

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”

Nightwalker

The thing about being a Nightwalker is:

You have to face the terror.

Visceral, pounding blood. Bones that crack beneath the weight of too much adrenaline. An impending knowledge that you, among these toothy tombs, are as strong as a twig against a mighty wind.

You are a Nightwalker. One who walks through the dreams of the despairing. Who can clamber up, and down—move among the dwelling horrors of the twilight hour.

A Nightwalker sees a nightmare.

And he can’t look away.

A Nightwalker, in order to survive, must keep moving. Must keep burning. Must keep fighting.

You must face the terror.

Or:

Perish. Continue reading “Nightwalker”

Beware the Trees

There are rules to dark forests.

Rule number one: never take directions from an owl. Trust me, just… don’t.

Rule number two: never stoop to pick up anything shiny. If it’s not a trap, then the shiny thing is almost certainly cursed. Either way, it doesn’t end well for you.

And, rule number three:

Never turn your back to a dead tree.

Continue reading “Beware the Trees”

Splitting the Difference

When the cat split—it’s head growing, morphing, slowly tripling all of its features—that’s when I realized:

It probably wasn’t a cat. Continue reading “Splitting the Difference”

Lingering Awareness

Awareness is a commodity. Not something that everyone has. It’s a skill that can’t really be learned, so much as grown. If you aren’t born with an innate sense of awareness, then it takes years—years—to cultivate. And, believe me, it’s a skill that you want. Something you should aspire to acquire. A skill that is quite useful.

How so?

Well, the very nature of awareness is useful.

Awareness is the feeling of someone’s eyes watching you. Knowing there’s something lurking in the shadows. Awareness gives you sense enough not to walk into a dark alley in the middle of the night. To keep your distance from groups of strangers. To cross the street when there’s a ruckus up ahead. Awareness is the thing that keeps you—in most accounts—alive. If it weren’t for awareness, you’d simply walk into any dark corner and never make it back out. Awareness is knowing that you are not always the hunter. Sometimes, you are the prey. Awareness is what gives you a mind to think proactively in your own defense.

Quite a useful thing, if you ask me.

However.

There is a point.

A threshold.

A place where awareness deepens. Sinks into the very fabric of your soul. Causes your sense to dive further.

Awareness can keep you alive, yes.

But.

It’s not always a gift. Continue reading “Lingering Awareness”

Consuming Silence

The landscape is loud.

Riotous.

Colors and shapes and shadows all merging together. Creating one giant, mess of a landscape. Vomiting rainbow pastels and flowers that bloomed with a literal burst. Busying your eyes with trying to sift through the strangeness. The colors this planet tries to portray as “natural”. Bright blues, and vivid pinks. A forest that visually screams.

This place feels so…

Loud.

And yet, as I walk on, I can feel it. It’s palpable. If I wanted to, I could reach out and touch it, that’s how strong it is. How apparent.

Silence. Continue reading “Consuming Silence”

Night Drives: Tips and Tricks

My grandfather was a trucker. Often, he’d be on the road for days at a time, sleeping in his truck for the sake of saving a penny. He traveled from coast to coast, in places that are well-known, and places that are completely unknown. From New York to the River Canto, sitting outside of Third City’s walls. My grandpa was a great trucker, and a well-versed traveler.

Well-versed indeed.

He took some notes about driving at night—doing long hauls. He wanted to make sure his family knew the dangers of driving at night, as well as the importance of a few—at the time—little-known tips and tricks.

Here are his notes:

Continue reading “Night Drives: Tips and Tricks”