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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Devil’s Well

I’m not a people person. Everyone in this desolate wasteland of a town knows it. It’s glaringly obvious. Like an old oak standing alone in the desert. This town is small enough that they all know I’m gruff. Grumpy, even. A little surly. But, that’s only because I don’t interact with people much. I’m harmless really, but still.

Yeah, I’m not a people person.

But, who can blame me?

When this is the price to be paid for interacting with others…

If this is what comes attached with people…

Why would I be a people person? Continue reading “Devil’s Well”

Man In The Clock

Tick, tock.

There’s a man in the clock.

The clock strikes one…

The man frowns.

Tick, tock.

Man in the clock.

The clock strikes two…

The man comes down.

And down.

And down.

Tick, tock.

Please.

Stop the man in the clock. Continue reading “Man In The Clock”

Hunter, Oh Hunter

Hunter, hunter.

Taking flight.

Hunter, hunter.

Roaring might.

Hunter, hunter.

Devour light.

Hunter, hunter.

Bring the night. Continue reading “Hunter, Oh Hunter”

Spirit of Halloween

Cold wind bristles the trees. Leaves scatter as the children move like sheep, walking from house to house. Collecting their treats.

Not understanding.

Cute princesses and adorable pirates. Kids dressed as faux vampires, scruffy werewolves, and pop-star zombies. Silly costumes, trivial things.

Things that won’t trick.

Not in the slightest.

They’ve no idea why they’re dressing up. What the goal is.

But I do.

I know.

And I partake properly.

Not because I’m stingy. Or because I’m some crazy “purist”. But because I know.

I believe.

Tonight—and tonight only—it’s happening. They’re here.

They’re out.

Continue reading “Spirit of Halloween”