Cold Comes the Lie

It was a leaf.

One singular leaf.

And it fell.

Speaking only in a whisper as it went. Its last cry carried on the wind that took it from its place, its home. It was just the one leaf, falling through the breeze. Calling to me, warning me, as it did.

He is not the same.

That’s what the leaf said.

He is not who you think him to be. 

Was the echo the wind gave. Words that spoke of fall, of seasons changing. Words that carried truth to them. A resounding, hollow ring.

I will tell you something that few know:

A forest on the verge of death can only speak truth. It has been that way since always. Since forever. An ancient law, as old and bright as the sun. Which is how I knew:

He was not who I thought he was. Continue reading “Cold Comes the Lie”

Nightwalker

The thing about being a Nightwalker is:

You have to face the terror.

Visceral, pounding blood. Bones that crack beneath the weight of too much adrenaline. An impending knowledge that you, among these toothy tombs, are as strong as a twig against a mighty wind.

You are a Nightwalker. One who walks through the dreams of the despairing. Who can clamber up, and down—move among the dwelling horrors of the twilight hour.

A Nightwalker sees a nightmare.

And he can’t look away.

A Nightwalker, in order to survive, must keep moving. Must keep burning. Must keep fighting.

You must face the terror.

Or:

Perish. Continue reading “Nightwalker”

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”

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”

Be Still, Dark

Falling through the dark.

Face-first. Arms out. Stretching forward. Wanting to go deeper. Willing to dive further.

I didn’t fall as it wanted me to. As it’s tried so hard to get me to do. I didn’t stumble into the dark. Didn’t trip my way into this void. No, I didn’t fall.

I jumped.

I jumped into the darkness.

When it threatened to swallow me whole, I didn’t dare back down. Not this time. Not ever again. This has been going on for too long now. Weighed on me too heavily.

But no more.

I will not be afraid.

Continue reading “Be Still, Dark”

Rider

I heard the thundering off in the distance. The rolling percussion that signaled their arrival. That sounded the alarms. That started the wave of panic.

They’re coming.

The Four.

Today, they ride.

They ride. Continue reading “Rider”

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”

Grim Light

I have wandered. For my whole life, in fact. First through the mountains, then down the river, and now, I’m here. In the dip of the valley. Huddled between two mountains. The night greets me as it always does—as it always has. With silence and shadow. Places to run, to hide.

I never meant to come out of that darkness. To step into the beam of light.

But…

She was hurt.

The small thing without fur.

On a cold night, she shivered against the itchy, dead grass. Life spilling from some spot on her body. The mountain cat still lingering nearby, frightened, though it’d done so much damage. Though it had fought—and won—against such a small, frail thing.

Silly cats.

Always so skittish.

I offered to take the small thing from him, and he quickly gave me permission. Gave me his thanks. Ran off, back into the higher parts of the mountain. Where the pinkish things didn’t often tread.

I never meant to step into the light.

Never.

But that night, because of that foolish scaredy cat, and this dying little furless thing…

I did.

And it seems to have shaken me to my core. Brought me from the shadows into a place where light can touch. Where things are not what I’ve thought. A place of reality, and yet, it feels like an illusion.

A place with flesh-things. Continue reading “Grim Light”

Burning Oceans and Scorching Seas

A blinding light that takes over the horizon. That singes the sky. Smoke tendrils curl upward, clawing at the night. Blotting out stars with its thick, angry grasp. With its red hues that dust the bottom of the skyline. That, when followed to its source, turn into something brighter. Something insistent.

Something more.

This is what we’ve avoided for so long. These burning seas and darkening skies. This lethargic smoke that curls slowly, cruelly, toward the heavens. Humans have steered clear of the edge of the world for so long. Have been afraid of it.

And this is why.

What can we do against seas of fire?

Against black angry skies?

What can we do with such light?

What can we do?

Is it worth it? Whatever lies beyond, is it something to be used? Something we’d want to find?

Who can we find in the throes of this hell? Continue reading “Burning Oceans and Scorching Seas”

Rise, Helsing

Knowledge is power.

That’s what my old man would tell me, right before he went off to fight. To claim back “what was taken”. To push back against evil. It was the last thing he told me, right before he never returned.

Knowledge is power?

What a load of crap.

Knowledge isn’t power.

Just because you know those lights at the end of the tunnel are a train doesn’t mean you’ll be saved. Knowledge isn’t power.

It’s knowing.

There are things in this world coming for you. Things that are nearly impossible to stop. Knowledge just lets you know. Makes you understand exactly how much fear you should have. Continue reading “Rise, Helsing”