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”

Ghost Fire

It was on fire.

Again.

In an instant, the smoke alarm was protesting. Yelling at me from above. Judging, like a tiny, angry, petty god. Screeching before I could fix my mistake. Refusing me a chance to right my wrong.

Waking my mentor.

Disheveled, he burst through the door—his bluish white hair all askew, and his beard half-smushed from sleep—his eyes going wide when he saw the scene before him. When he saw the flames, and smoke, and chagrined look on my face.

“Damnit Beatrice, I told you: no summoning fire-sprits! And definitely not in the house!”

“Yes sir,” I intoned, saddened as he grabbed the fire extinguisher.

And, with one blast of continuous white fog, he put the fire out.

Dispelling the spirit. Continue reading “Ghost Fire”

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”

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 in Progress

“Ugh, disgusting. It smells like a thousand pigs ate a bunch of muck, died, and then gave birth to zombie-rats.”

Honestly, it was a fairly accurate description.

I nodded, wading through the muck. Listening intently for what I was looking for. Not wanting to disturb the sewer more than we already had.

But, of course:

The rookie was completely unaware.

“So, what are we looking for, exactly? I mean should we—”

I spun. Heel digging into something grotesque as I did. Shotgun pointed just to the left of the newbie.

I sighed.

A sound that became menacing through my mask’s filter.

“Listen Bucky, I know this is your first time out in the field, and I get that you’re excited, but, do us both a favor: zip it. Alright?”

He looked a bit hurt at that, but said nothing.

Good.

“Just take note of everything you see, and I’ll take questions at the end, alright? I’ll tell you what’s important afterward.”

“Uh, okay?”

“It’ll be a good way to tell if you’ve got what it takes to stay alive in this job, too. So don’t flub it up,” I ordered, turning and marching off into the muck.

“Wait,” I heard him mutter. And then, louder—in a faux-whisper—he said, “What does it take?”

“Details,” I muttered, intent. Listening.

Ah.

There.

A sound ricocheted off the wall. Pricking my ears with alarm.

I cocked my gun, pointed it like a bloodhound on the trail.

“And guts,” I finished telling him.

Before I marched further into the sewer.

Continue reading “Hunter in Progress”

Zombies Everywhere!

When it started, it seemed like there was no end. No stopping it. No cure.

When it started, people were devastated. Lost. When the dead shuffled up to their door, into their houses, what could they do?

They started firing.

And I can’t blame them.

When they swarm, it’s hard not to shoot. Impossible to get away unscathed. Because, even though we know now that there’s a cure—a way out—it doesn’t change the fact that the unaffected are in danger. That we might become prey.

That we might just…

…lose our heads. Continue reading “Zombies Everywhere!”

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”