The Travelers

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The traveler showed up at the town riding a great grey horse and wearing a black coat and a wide-brimmed hat. The youngest children, who were too young to help on the farms as of yet, ran after his horse as he rode into town. The traveler tossed them candy from his saddlebags. He rode to the mayor’s inn and leaped off his horse. He walked into the inn’s parlour and took a room, paying his fare to the mayor and promptly disappearing into his room. He did not appear again until dinnertime, where he entertained the townspeople and fellow travelers with sings and wit. Early next morning, he was riding off on his great grey horse, tossing candies to the children and bidding farewell to the adults. He rode off in his black coat and wide-brimmed hat, humming to himself, and the townsfolk wished him well.

Another traveler rode up a few days later on a sturdy bay, wearing a grey coat and a well-worn boots. He disliked the appearance of the townsfolk, their children had bulbous, fish-like eyes and he could have sworn that some of the adults had sharpened their teeth and had hands like lizards’ claws. The mayor had a snarling visage and an uneven gait, as if he was walking on goats’ hooves instead of human feet. The traveler bought a room nonetheless, for he was tired, but when he heard the townsfolk gathering outside his door that night, he crept out of the window, leapt atop his horse and rode off as if old Lucy was after him.

After a few more days, another traveler rode up on a prancing dapple in a fine red coat and red-heeled shoes. The town was as empty and haunting as a rotting coffin. Everything was as if the townspeople had left in a great hurry, or been forcibly removed. Food was rotting on the table, beds were unmade, and milk pails were halfway filled. There was no sign of man or beast, but in the cellar of the inn, there was slime everywhere, as if a million slugs had traveled through it, and a terrible stench, as if a million slugs had died. The traveler could hardly bear the smell, and getting in the saddle of his prancing dapple, rode off from that place, wondering what could have happened.

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It’s been a while since I wrote prose, (unless economics tests count, ugh) feels good to be writing some. I wrote this in a fairytale fashion, without going into character or setting too much. Hopefully still creepy  and interesting enough. Also got some sketching in, lost some sleep to do it, but necessary I guess.

Music Credits:
Left Hand Path by Entombed
Cirice by Ghost (this is one of my favorite bands, really happy they got a Grammy for this song.)
Wasted Years by Iron Maiden (I always start listening to this classic when it comes close to the end of the year. Yeah, I’ve wasted a lot of time, but it’s no use searching for those wasted years.)

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Snakes in the Tall Grass

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Two men stood beneath a blazing Louisiana sun on the edge of Walmart parking lot, smoking cigarettes. A big brown dog walked around them. They stood on the strip of grass on the side of the store. A few feet behind them, the ground dipped and the grass grew tall and thick over a small swamp of murky water where the sewer pipe had broken and nobody had bothered to fix it.

“Don’t let your dog go down there,” said the older man. “There might be snakes in the tall grass.”

The younger man, who did not know how to talk around a smoke, pulled his out and called to his dog. “Here Reno, get out of there.”

The big brown dog ran to him and sniffed his leg.

“I don’t have anything for you,” the younger man said. “Don’t go begging for anything.”

The dog crouched beside him, smiled, and observed him through half-lidded eyes.

“How are things going on the homefront?” asked the younger man.

“Shit,” the older man said around his cigarette. “Last I checked, my old woman wanted a divorce, and before that, she was fucking a deacon.”

“Shit,” the younger man agreed. “You got any kids?”

The older man shook his head.

“That’s good. Divorce is always harder on the kids.”

“You read that in a book?”

“My parents divorced.”

“Well, it ain’t true for all. I couldn’t have cared less when my parents copped out. My stepfather was a dick, but I didn’t have to put up with that motherfucker for long.”

“Good choice of words, ” the younger man said, smiling.

“I guess it won’t be too bad,” the older man said. “Won’t be tied down as much. Back on the road again, like the song says.” He laughed, mirthlessly.

The younger man tossed his cigarette on the pavement and crushed it. “Where you headed next?” His eyes followed a woman across the parking lot.

“New Orleans. Apalachicola after that.” He spit out over the pavement. “Why would they name someplace in Florida after the Appalachians?”

“I don’t think that’s why,” said the younger man. “My route changes next month. A northern route, Washington, Oregon, all that stuff.”

“Huh. I always wanted to see Seattle.”

“I never did. Always thought it was a dreary place.” He checked the time. “Well, I’m off. See you some other time, yeah? Reno, say goodbye.”

The dog walked over to the older man and licked his hand. The older man scratched him behind the ears. The younger man and the dog walked off, and a few minutes later an eighteen-wheeler’s engine started up and they were gone.

The older man stood there for a while longer, inhaling and exhaling, watching a couple and their son walk across the parking lot. Then he dropped his cigarette onto the pavement, crushed it, and walked to his truck.

 

WENDIGO

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Wendigo

Wendigo

In Native American mythology, the wendigo is a terrible creature that is birthed during the long winter months, when food is scarce and the hunger pangs set in. When a starving person sinks to the point of consuming his fellow-man, he, in turn, is consumed by the wendigo, a tall, gaunt monster with blood-stained claws and the touch of frost. The wendigo is born from the man’s hunger and is never satiated in its lust for man-flesh. The original victim, the one who birthed the wendigo and was consumed by the demon of his own self, lies trapped within the wendigo’s heart of ice, consumed by his own lusts, conscious only of a hunger that is never sated…

“The only things left of the corpses was blood, bone, and clothes. The police are calling this a ‘brutal cannibalistic attack.’ The perpetrator of this terrible, terrible crime has not yet been found. The statewide search has been temporarily halted due to weather conditions. The state has declared a state of emergency, and the FBI will be taking over the investigation as soon as the weather clears up. Back to you, Anderson.”

You get up off the couch and head into the kitchen and check the cupboards and fridge. Cheese, ketchup, and spices are all that greet you. Glancing out the window, you see that the snow is still falling. Earlier, the weatherman said that it was three feet, five in some areas. He was quite adamant about not leaving the house until the next day. But you’re starving. The last time you ate was this morning. Sighing, you head back to the den. Maybe a movie will be on somewhere.

Your stomach growls loudly. You try to ignore it, but it does it again. You think about the cannibal who’s out there somewhere. He could be crouching at your door. Your stomach growls again. You think about your brother, sleeping upstairs. You’re stomach rumbles again, really loud this time. It sounds like some great monster. You are very hungry. Again, you think of your brother. Asleep. Upstairs. Your stomach snarls viciously. You are very hungry. You begin to sweat.

Dastville

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It was in the summer of 2011 when Brendan, an old acquaintance, emailed me concerning a strange family matter. Brendan and I had known each other during high school, though we had never become close friends. His father had recently died, and in their will, had told him to heed the instructions of a visitor who would come upon a certain date. The visitor arrived on time, and it was this incident that caused his calling. He did a thorough search for me on the internet, and coming upon some page in the deep recesses of the web, found my email and contacted me.

He told me little of what actually transpired. Indeed, it was this very fact that disturbed me. It was the manner in which he babbled, speaking of a thousand and one other things, like his upcoming marriage, his pet cat, and his professorship, which had absolutely nothing to do with the matter at hand. It was near the end of the email when he finally asked me to come see him so we could talk about the matter.

I paced about my den in deep thought. I knew of the manner in which he wrote, the way he talked continually about nothing, having seen it in many of my clients. He was scared. Something had put him in a severe state of fear and anxiety, but he did not know what. Deeply concerned, I donned my hooded trench coat, armed myself with my trusty Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum, called Mitch to keep my dogs, and set out to my meeting.

As I drove down the highway alone heading north to state of Virginia, grim clouds came about the skies. There was no crack of thunder, though, just a plain, grey, gloomy, incessant rain. Being of a different state of mind than many others, I have often hailed the rain as a friend, but the greyness and the fact that there was not a single vehicle along the road as far as my eye could see, brought to my thoughts the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, and the twisted arts of Zdzislaw Beksinski and H.R. Giger. I thought of Cthulhu rising from the corpse-city of R’lyeh, and of the terrors that could lie beneath the surface of other worlds. I wondered if Lovecraft knew how true the nightmares he wrote of were. I cut off this line of thought, and stopped at a wayside gas station to grab a snack. The cashier was cheerful, like most cashiers are, and I remembered the times before I came into my business, when I was oblivious to terror. I cut on some upbeat songs to keep my spirits moderately high until I came to my friend.

It was bright and shining when I met Brendan outside of a cafe in Chesapeake. He greeted me with a smile, and having sat down and ordered, he began to speak rather aimlessly of various things. We continued in small talk until I managed to get him to address the purpose of his calling.

“Actually,” he began, “I’m ashamed of calling you here. It is nothing, really – a temporary onset of fear. Silly, I know.”

But his eyes told me that he was still very much in fear of something, and I pressed him. He finally said, “Well, after the funeral, my father’s lawyer read the will to us all. He left money for our mother and us, just generalities. Then he told me to follow the instructions of a man who would visit my house. My mother says she knows of the matter, but only told me to do what he said. The man came, and -” – here he shuddered – “he told me that I must go to a nearby town, Dastville, on Thursday, and meet him at 143 Tanner Street. He assured me about my father’s message, even showing me a note in his writing. But there was something about him, about his face -“

“What?” I asked, leaning forward.

“His eyes. They were all black, and they filled the entire socket. In fact, I don’t remember any distinction between the pupils or the iris or the whites either. They were like…”

“Insect eyes?”

“Exactly! Like the eyes of a bee, or a fly. They were unnatural in his face. And I don’t trust him. I mean, he was friendly enough, but there was an…air about him. I feel as if he had something to do with my father dying. Not that he murdered him, just that he knows where dad is.”

“He ought to be in his grave.”

“I know…it’s just all so confusing. I just feel something strange about him.”

There was silence for a few moments. I watched the people pass by outside.

“Well?” he asked.

“You can’t go.”

“Why not?”

“I can’t tell you. Just trust me. It’s best if you do not heed this last command of your father.”

“But my mother wants me to go. She told me that she knew of it, and that I should go.”

I finished off my tea. “If you are set on going, I’m coming with you. The man said nothing about taking no one else, did he?”

“No.”

“Very well then. We will both go to Dastville on Thursday and meet your man.” I did not tell him about the gun.

As we rose to leave, thunder boomed outside. The skies were turning grey again, and people were unfurling umbrellas. I pulled up my hood, payed my fare, and took my leave. Wandering about the city and its environs, I ended up looking over Lake Drummond, part of the Great Dismal Swamp. Well named, I thought. It certainly looked dismal in the weather. I knew of the ritual the insect-eyed man had called Brendan to. I did not know of Dastville, but I had seen these types of towns before – old, half-rotting, shadowed and surrounded on all sides by thick woods. I already knew what Dastville would look like.

On Thursday, the weather had not changed, except that the rain had stopped. Indeed, it seemed greyer than ever. All was silent as Brendan drove to Dastville, with me in the shotgun. I fingered the handle of my handgun, hoping I didn’t have to use it. Probably would, though. As I looked out the window at the thick twisted trees and undergrowth, I felt certain that something was watching – a creature of hate, watching and waiting, knowing someday it would have he power to punish the mortals who entered it’s domain. I have friends deep within the woods, but he who thinks he can tame the trees, befriend the beast, dance with the dryad and the satyr, knows nothing. The wild has little love for us.

As soon as we got out of Brendan’s car, the air seemed to gather around thickly. It had the smell of something ancient, ancient, something from before the settlers came over on the Mayflower, something from before the first Indian arrived on America, by what means no one knows, something before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, something, perhaps, that was older than the pyramids of Egypt, something that lay beneath the earth before we came, and will lay there after. Brendon sensed it too, and his eyes spoke of fear, fear of the unknown thing that sees us as insects, to be crushed beneath a boot. I had loaded my gun with silver bullets, more effective against these eldritch abominations than lead.
Silver had many uses for folk in my line of work. They weren’t just for killing werewolves.

We proceeded into Dastville. It was as I had thought. Not a man nor woman nor beast were to be seen. Any half-witted animal would have fled this place long ago, and so would any humans, had they not been in league themselves. The buildings looked like relatively modern suburban houses, but they were dark and rotting. The trees swayed without any wind, and leaves lay thickly on the ground, even though it was August. We continued to the address that had been given us, silently and fearfully. We knocked on the door.

The man opened the door, and I knew him immediately. Not by name, but I knew his kind. He knew my kind, too, as he observed me with his huge insectoid eyes, even though he greeted me as friend. We walked inside after our host, to a large room, set up as a normal middle-class American living room. He motioned us to chairs and books, and brought in glasses of lemonade and cookies. We did not touch them. The books were all silly modern novels, of neither style nor substance, such as you would find in the den of an American family. He left through the front door, shutting it, and I believe, locking it, silently behind him.

We sat in gloom. Brendan said something about cutting on the TV, but we did nothing and said nothing. The clock turned, and we were surprised when it struck 12. The insects began their nightly noises outside. Insects were the only animals left here. Anything else, dogs, deer, anything else had fled this accursed denizen of the damned. We waited, and the clock struck one, and our host returned.

He said nothing, but beckoned us. We rose and followed him outside in the dark. It was not dark for long, as our host produced a flashlight. We followed him, through winding streets and back alleys, until we came to the graveyard. I stuck my hand in my trench coat pocket and gripped the handle of my gun tightly. I would most definitely need it tonight. Other figures were gathered. Some came forward. “Brendan,” said one. “M-mom?” gasped Brendan. But the insect-eyed man viciously held a finger to his lips, and we were silent. Two figures came forward, with shovels, and began to dig at a location that had no headstone. When they were finished, they bent down, struggling with something. Then they both leapt out of the hole, melting into the shadows. Then they began to file into the grave, I hung back to the last, keeping a firm grip on Brendan’s arm, though many of them beckoned to us to come first. We went down a rough-dug tunnel that was all mud and slime and filth and wriggling things. Down, down, down we went, until we lost all track of time and space, doggedly following the little light of the insect eyed man. Down, down, down we went until I knew we were in the very bowels of Dastville. Down, down, down we went, until I felt sure that we had crossed the limit were even earthworms dared dwell. Then we came out into an open space, and the light came bobbing down the line, making sure everyone was still there. Then the flashlight went off, and we were left in the dark. I let my night vision adjust, and saw we were in a wide cavern, the height or width of it I cannot say, and a fetid, bubbling, slimy, pool, the like of which ought not to be on this earth. Silence swept over us, and with it terror seized me, but I steeled my heart and my hand upon the gun. Beside me, Brendan was quivering, his eyes bulging, and staring all about him. The liquid, that abominable phlegm of Nok-Ataur, shook and swelled, and out of it arose something I cannot say. It was all tentacles and twisting appendages, and it’s face, if it had any, was covered in worm-like growths. Slavering and slithering it arose out of the pool, it’s great arm rising out and reaching out, reaching, reaching, reaching for the man beside me. As the thing approached us, the spell of terror broke. I thrust Brendan away from me, as he screamed, covering his face. I pulled out my gun, one, two, three shots I fired. The monstrous aberration recoiled, but the figures around us turned, howling and screeching in inhuman fury and anguish. I seized my ward and dragged him away after me, fleeing from the crazed horde behind us. I burst out of the grave of horror, running like a madman, not looking back, for we were not safe until that whole dominion was left behind forever to rot in the woods. Apparitions, spectres, shadows, all seemed to leap out and assault as we passed through that dark town. But pass through we did, until I found Brendan’s car, pushed him in the back, and taking his keys and leaping into the driver’s seat, I started up the engine and turned away forever from the unholy town of Dastville.

The following notes were hastily written in Casefile #341: At hospital. Client asleep, snuck in & stole a few secs, long enough 2 erase his memory. Won’t remember that now; best 4 his marriage that way. Checked out Dastville during the daylight. All sunk. Finished here.

Four To A Cafe Table: a meaningless story

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I had to write a descriptive writing during spring in my English class and decided I might as well put it up here.

ZXJG-999

 

The Monday morning crowd rushed through the cafe doors in a breeze. The Monday morning crowd consisted of the same people who made up the Friday night crowd – businessmen and businesswomen, interns, news anchors, college students, teachers and professors who were as late as their proteges  – one and all came to the cafe for their morning fix of coffee and doughnuts, coffee and cereal, coffee and pop tarts – what came with the coffee differed from person to person, whether it was black coffee and honey, coffee and creamer, coffee and milk, black coffee and Stevia for the health nuts or creamer and sugar with a tip of coffee for the sweet teeth – but there was always coffee and sometimes only coffee, no matter what.

The Monday morning crowd was very large, which meant that four people had to jam themselves at one tiny cafe table, and that meant fights for space would start up. Squalls broke out in nearly all parts of the cafe, and hot tempers had to be cooled by the waitresses, who handled such matches with a coolness that said “I’ve done this a million times before”, and several obliging table sitters who threatened to attack the other rioters with scalding liquid shells from coffee cup cannons.

But let us now go to a corner of the cafe. Here the noise seems to disappear, because of four coffee-drinking folk who sit around a tiny black table that is much too small for them and the things they have on the table. The four coffee cups are at constant risk of spilling their contents. The laptop seems aware of this fact, for it looks down at the cups with a mixture of fear, displeasure, and impatience. These four have not said a word to each other, and this is their first time having seen each other, yet there is an amiable spirit around this table and there is no fighting for space.

The woman sitting with the laptop is undoubtedly an introvert, as we can see by the thick headphones, the focused air about her, and the aura of Calliope, Clio, Erato, Melpomene, and Thalia, the five Muses of epic poetry, history, lyric poetry, tragedy, and comedy, which all scream “writer” at the top of their lungs.

The woman opposite her is intently looking at some papers which have to do with the latest trial in the city. This, and the legal air she has proves to us that she is an acclaimed attorney. She wears a beige suit and, even though she doesn’t seem like a proprietor of folly, wears a pink coat. Strangely enough, she has something of Terpsichore, the Muse of dance about her.

The young lady sitting at the end of the table which is closest to the door is an eighteen-year-old, fresh out of high school and enjoying her few months of freedom before she is swept into college and into the rigorous schedule of classes, tests, studying, parties, burning the midnight oil, and thick textbooks.

The twenty-something guy sitting opposite the young lady is obviously a nerd, which is shown by his nerdy hairstyle, his glasses, and that detached look in his eyes which shows that he has perhaps spent too much time in Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, and the Elder Scrolls, and is likely to get Varian Wrynn mixed up with Barack Obama and Northrend mixed up with Antarctica

The Monday morning crowd begins to rush out with a breeze and our specimens rise, leaving their payment and tips on the table, and then rush out with the rest.

The waitresses wander through the cafe, gathering dirty coffee cups, bowls and money. And outside, the Monday morning crowd disperses and gets mixed in with all the other Monday morning crowds. Each of them enter his or her own car, some catch buses, taxis, or subway trains, while others exercise their legs and walk. But with all of them, life continues.