Bring the night. Continue reading “Hunter, Oh Hunter”
Bring the night. Continue reading “Hunter, Oh Hunter”
A dark story about murder, and also, complacency.
The first time I saw him for what he was, it was nighttime.
I was out for a smoke on the porch. Enjoying the summery breeze. Listening to the cicadas scream and the owls give the occasion protest. I was smoking, imbibing in my worst habit.
One of my worst, anyway.
When I was halfway through my smoke, he pulled up in his red pickup. Pulled up, parked, turned off his headlights. Got out with a fire under his ass, moving real quick, his movements clipped in a way that showed his focus. His extremely narrow intent.
He pulled something out of the back. Slammed the tailgate down, dragged something out, then slammed it back up.
And dragged it.
A burlap sack that was large. Quite large. Probably weighed a buck fifty or so. Maybe more. A sack that, as he dragged it up to his porch, was illuminated by his motion sensor light. A sack that, once in full view, looked as though it might stand at about five foot five. A sack that looked long as he dragged it. Lumpy. A sack that was not just the dingy brown of burlap.
But it was blotched with shades of red.
Red that ran out of the sack, up his porch.
Red that stained the ground with dark streaks of pooling liquid.
Red that was coming, most certainly, from whatever was within the sack.
I saw what he was then.
Saw him for what he truly was on that humid summer night.
At his front door, he paused. Turned sideways. Noticed me.
I nodded to him, nearly done with my smoke.
“Hot out tonight, ain’t it?” I asked him.
His face was… hollow then. Shut off. As if none of his skin were real. All of his bones were blades under the thin facade.
He nodded to me. “Too hot, I’d say.”
“Definitely,” I agreed. “I best be getting inside, much too hot out here for me. Not like anything interesting is going on anyway. Goodnight.”
I put my cigarette stub in the ash tray.
Locked my door.
And, that night, I shut my eyes. Went right to sleep. Because, even though I saw him for what he was, I figured:
Why poke the dragon? Continue reading “Dragon’s Fire”
Nobody outside of the community would know, because there’d be no way for them to know. This curse is ours, and ours alone. No other land sees the creature—no one else has to fear it like we do. Our ancestors spilt the blood on this land, and this land makes us pay for it.
And over again.
When the crops rise, and the harvest moon peaks its bleary eyes out over the night sky, we know.
It’s almost time. Continue reading “Part of the Crop: A Tale of Harvest”
A magical device meant to ward off evil. Send the unwanted away from your person. Hide yourself from the gaze of the undead. From the gaze of those that would hurt you. Masks, back in the first days of All Hallow’s Eve, were meant to keep you safe. Protect you from the unknowns of this world. From the evil that surely lurked in the shadows, that came out to play on this one night every year.
They were a magic like no other. A warding off of evil. A way to protect yourself.
Masks were a sanctuary that not even the dead could cross. A facade so believable, even the monsters are fooled.
A way to engulf yourself so fully that you’re never found.
I wonder why we think things have changed. Continue reading “Hollow Masks”
I’ve never understood this town. Lived here all my life, and still, I don’t get it.
What do they expect?
This town is right on the edge of Dead Forest. They know that bad things come out of those woods. They know about the dark magic lurking in the pines. They know it drives men mad.
They’re mad at me.
I seriously don’t understand this town. Continue reading “Dead Forest”
It wasn’t raining. Wasn’t night. The sun was shining through the window, beaming through the curtains to bring him the slightest ounce of light.
He didn’t want it.
He had no right.
A monster, a beast. The blood stained his house, beckoned at every door. He’d hunted, and he’d trapped, and he’d ripped them to shreds. Threw out their peace to bring favor for their dead.
The light was not his. Certainly, he had no right.
He picked up his pen, squinting at the sun. The thoughts haunting him, the terror of night.
And with his thoughts swirling, the dead rising in their call.
He began to write:
Journal entry 74, book 1189.
More than likely, this is my last entry. I hope to survive this ordeal, but I don’t believe I will.
If God is true, and just, and mighty, then I will not.
If God is truly mighty, then surely:
I must die. Continue reading “Bone Reckoning”
It was my father’s. And it was his father’s. And it was that man—the man that fathered my father’s father—it was his, too.
Never step foot inside.
Never peak through the window.
Never light the hearth fire.
It calls and it comes. It sleeps and it wakes. It watches.
And it waits.
Waits for the one who will break the rules.
What is it? I remember asking my father that over and over again as we stared at the house. As I gazed on the rotting boards and the crumpling paint. As I watched its shuttered eyes wink at me.
And he told me it was a secret. A secret that no one could know.
How far should you go for a secret?
Or, is it more important to ask:
How far are you willing to go for a secret? Continue reading “Secrets For Secrets”
There was a trick to it. There must be.
Or there wouldn’t be so many.
Stories can’t all add up to nothing. Neither can missing people. If something is out there, it’ll drop hints. Leave clues. It won’t go unnoticed. It might stay mysterious, yes, but it won’t go completely unnoticed. Everything leaves a trail.
And this one? This trail?
It’s going to lead me to the jackpot.
There are no pearly gates. Not for me. I already know that. But there won’t be a hellfire either. No mouth swallowing me whole. Death will reach for me…
…and he’ll miss.
If only I can just get this right. Continue reading “Metal Eternity”
“Do we have to bring another one so soon? These bodies get heavier and heavier every time.”
“Shut up and keep hauling.”
“Ugh. Fine. But you’re taking me to get an ice cream after we dump it.”
“Don’t say that.”
“‘Dump it’. Don’t say ‘dump it’.”
“It’s so… irreverent. Like we’re common crooks or mafia thugs or something. Like we’re lowly peons.”
“Aren’t we lowly peons? I mean, we’re dragging a body, and it’s not for our own sakes. Right?”
“We’re not peons.”
“Then what are we?”
The night grew thick in that moment. As if a spirit-filled fog settled between the two quarrelers. The more convicted one looked to the complainer a moment. Looked to him and decided that, yes. Maybe the fellow next to him was, in fact, a peon.
But he, himself, was more.
So much more.
He looks away from the fellow. A dark pooling sensation settling in his stomach. Gurgling and oozing. Hiding what was beneath the surface.
Looking away from his companion, he says what he’s thinking out loud.
“I’m not sure what you are, but I know:
“I’ll be the one that wields the beast.”
Maps have always been used to find the way. To pluck out the wrong roads and toss them aside. To find the correct avenues. The roads that will take you somewhere you wish to go.
To take you places.
They’re strands. Tiny lines that intersect. Tiny lines with mysteries, marvels. That contain whole worlds without our notice. That lead to “x”s and treasures and gold.
Maps are so much more than they appear.
Why wouldn’t it be the same with our DNA? Continue reading “The Mystics of Maps”