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”

Wash Out

I can feel you blinding me.

Brilliant, bright light. White against my eyes. Draining the color from the world, eating away the perspective. It seeps, that fluorescence, dragging my vision out from behind my eyelids. Merciless, as you try to disarm me. As you try to cripple me. As you try to force me to yield.

As you force me to face the light.

It’s…

Deplorable.

Senseless.

You suck the color out of everything.

You know that, right?

It’s harrowing, what you do. Pointless.

Cruel.

I’d much rather have washed out colors than this. Rather have nothing—have total darkness, because at least darkness can have variation. At least you can adjust to darkness.

This complete white-out though…

It’s tasteless.

A dull, pale void.

Don’t you think?

I know why you do it.

To desensitize me.

At least, you try.

I think that, in the end, it does the exact opposite of what you intend it to do. Rather than let it wash over me—bleed me out, make me blinding as the sun, blinding as you are—I cling tighter to my shadows. Grip tightening around the dark.

When you combat me with that vivid, piercing light, I don’t give in. Not an inch.

I fight back. Continue reading “Wash Out”

A Call From the Dark

For a long time, I tried not to remember. Because remembering was dangerous. Could lead me back to it. To that lurking feeling. What waits in the shadows. That knowledge.

It was him.

It is him.

He’s here too.

For a long time, I tried to forget that.

But sometimes…

Sometimes he just…

He takes over. Continue reading “A Call From the Dark”

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”

Strange Machines

There is no ash. No burning buildings. No roaring fires or people choking on waste.

It’s the end of the world and yet…

The world seems fine.

Absolutely fine.

Aside from me, it turns on. Keeps plugging forward. The newest, most horrifying machine.

The end of the world has come and gone and yet…

Does it even miss us?

What was the point of it all?

…what’s the point?

Continue reading “Strange Machines”

Fearful Friend

They had always warned me about the forest spirits. Some called them faeries, some simply called them spirits, and others refused to speak of them at all. But they lived in the forest, and no one doubted their existence.

They were real alright.

They were fearsome creatures. That’s what I’d always heard. They could tear you to pieces, mentally and physically, in the blink of an eye. They were not to be trifled with.

Not to be trusted.

But, I’ve always been a little hardheaded. A little stubborn.

So, of course, I went looking for one.

And I found one.

Oh, I found one.

At first, I thought it was wonderful—to be friends with a faerie.

But now?

…I’m not so sure.  Continue reading “Fearful Friend”

Wings of Disbelief

If there was one thing in this world that I believed, it was:

Nothing should be believed wholeheartedly.

If you believed in something with all your heart—be it someone else, like a friend or a spouse, or be it a creature like the Loch Ness Monster, ligers, or the Tooth Fairy—it made you a bigger target for hurt. For disappointment.

Never believe in something with all your heart.

It’s safer that way.

Plus, who believed in anything with all their heart? That’s just… weird. Bizarre. A completely foreign concept.

How could anyone be so confident?

So wholly certain?

You have to have a little bit of doubt… right? Continue reading “Wings of Disbelief”

Man of the Shell

I knew a man who made a deal with a turtle.

It was just one deal. Just once. He never spoke to the turtle again after that. Never went back to see how it turned out for the turtle. Didn’t care to.

He made a deal with a turtle.

He traded the turtle his house for the turtle’s shell. The turtle wanted more stability, the guy said. Told me it was easy to talk him out of his shell. Talk him into that place instead, that place of brick and concrete. So, so easy.

And, once the deal was done, the guy moved on. Took the turtle’s shell, and went out on the road.

And the guy never did look back.

He was too content.

I often wonder if the turtle felt the same.

Or if, sometimes, he thinks about it. Thinks about his old shell. His mobile home.

I wonder:

Does the turtle see it the same? Continue reading “Man of the Shell”

King’s Jungle

I don’t understand it. Not at all. Not in the slightest.

And still

I can’t ignore it. Can’t.

Not when it calls. Not when it’s waking me up in the middle of the night. When my body is on fire, and my sheets are soaked in sweat and heat. When it calls, it doesn’t do so gently. Doesn’t whisper for me to wake, or rap on my door.

It screams.

With the breaking of bone and burdening of blood, it screams.

How can someone ignore that?

And when it wakes me, and it calls, it also reaches.

It beckons.

It beckons me.

And when the blood is like a river, my body a volcanic mess, and my rest unsettled like a rough wind.

How can I say no? Continue reading “King’s Jungle”

Silhouttes

The red ran from his fingertips, dripping onto the pavement.

It wasn’t that they didn’t deserve it. In all honesty, they probably did. What were the odds that I was the first to pass by here? That I was the first person they attacked? First person they tried to…

Well.

It was over.

For now, I had to push it out of my mind. Get home. Then I could let it sink in. Let the beast of memory burden me with bite. But, for now, I was still in an alleyway.

An alleyway with bodies in it.

I shuddered at the thought.

It wasn’t me who did this. And, upon inspection, I doubt anyone would think of this as something a human had done.

And they wouldn’t be wrong. Not really.

No human did this.

No human could do something like this.

No, it was definitely not a human.

It was him.

He drops his hands to his sides, and they drip. Oozing at first, and then tapering off into small smatters.

Looking at me, he cocks his head to the side, curiously.

I shudder again.

But not because I fear him. It’s for something else entirely. A nagging in my mind that I can no longer ignore.

I need to get home. Continue reading “Silhouttes”