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”

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”

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”

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”

Mournful Bones

On Halloween, I met someone special.

I met a skeleton. Continue reading “Mournful Bones”

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”

Undead Truth

People are foolish.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my thousand years, it’s that.

People will believe anything they want to believe. The truth can be staring them down, ready to eat them, and still.

They’ll believe what they want to believe.

A plague of their own. A curse that they consistently choose:

Ignore the ugly truth.

Not that I’m complaining.

Honestly, it makes my job a whole hell of a lot easier. Continue reading “Undead Truth”

Leading Ghost

Chill stings the back of my throat. A shudder rippling down to my toes. When the wind walks, it walks swiftly by, speaking in a whisper. An urgent, unavoidable whisper, and I know.

I must follow the ghost. Continue reading “Leading Ghost”

Rest in Peace

“What’s the best method then?”

She sighed, and her earrings fluttered with the movement. The beads and pearls shaking as her head wobbled.

“I’ve no idea. There are just… so many ways we could go about this. Picking the best will be difficult.”

“Then what would you go with?”

There was silence in the room. Silence, except for the screaming.

Though, Jethro assumed only he could hear that. After all, the spirits were only in his own head. Trapped there. In all likelihood, he was the only one who heard the screams.

The lady scratched at her arm.

“I’d go with an ax.” Continue reading “Rest in Peace”

Spirits May Tell

No one wanted to tell him.

And I don’t blame them.

Not even I wanted to tell him.

Clearly he wasn’t thinking right. Wasn’t in the right mind anymore. Something in him broke, a switch flipped, and, suddenly, he wasn’t the same king anymore.

Such a shame too.

He was such a good king. And he was so young.

He was kind and gentle. Wise and just.

And he was my friend.

But sometimes it isn’t enough.

It wasn’t enough. Continue reading “Spirits May Tell”