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.
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”
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.
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”
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.
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”
Glowing yellow eyes.
Glistening teeth set to snarl, to snap.
Fur bristling, angry to the touch. Pointed, directed. Speaking clearly.
It bunches up its shoulders, the massive beast. I see more pink flesh as its lips pull further back, pearly in the moonlight. It’s jaw is slightly ajar, drool beginning to pool at the sides of its mouth.
Against its tongue.
Dripping from its massive, sharp teeth.
It snarls again, the sound jagged as it rips through the air. Warning me once more.
The beast’s claws snap a branch, reminding me that there’s more to him than fang and fur. More damage he can do. More ways than one to skin a cat, so to speak.
But I see what lies under the snarls, too.
Under the bristling fur, there’s a softer coat.
Those eyes that rove the landscape behind me, that sift through the trees, they’re not just suspicious, not just threatening.
They’re scared. Continue reading “Chimaera”
There was an island.
Lonely, isolated. Off to the east, right before the world dropped, there was an island. A waypoint.
Last Hope, they called it.
A place where one could turn back, turn away from the edge of the world.
If you let yourself survive it. Continue reading “Last Hope or the Edge of the World”
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.
Perish. Continue reading “Nightwalker”
When I was younger, the sea terrified me. Almost always, but, especially:
It seemed so… endless. So dark. Like a void had opened at the other end of the horizon, and, should I decide to set sail, I would be the one falling end over end into oblivion. When I looked at the sea at night, I could see nothing but dim stars. Heard nothing but never-ending waves, an ocean that never relented. Out there, on the open ocean, you were at the mercy of the dark sky. Completely at a loss should a storm sweep you under its wings.
And that’s how scared I was before I ever thought about what was out there. What could be lurking beneath the waters. What horrors sat under the surface, waiting for a chance to strike.
When it finally occurred to me, my cowardice increased tenfold.
The sea, and its monsters…
They were fierce, I knew that.
Back then, when I looked at the ocean, all I could feel was the fear. Overwhelming. Suffocating.
When I was younger, I was terrified. Too terrified to ever leave my home. That sinkhole of an island. Back then, I thought the quicksand was safer.
These open waters?
These lurking monsters?
This black hole horizon?
They will be mine.
Continue reading “Sea Monster”
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”
Rough, I guess.
That’s a light word for it, but that’s the only one I can think of. Scars dragging along his face, shattering the color of his eyes. Creating the most piercing stare I’ve ever seen, all wrapped up in sharp teeth and a snarl.
“You the new rider?” he asked, voice rumbling like a rock falling off a mountain.
“Yes,” I told him levelly. Proud of myself for looking him in the eye.
He snorted, though I’m not sure what it meant.
He said, “Then I guess I’m your wolf.”
Continue reading “Battle Hound”
The landscape is loud.
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…
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”