Tag Archives: Writing

Feathers in the Night

This story is one of a number of stories I wrote as part of a writing experiment over on my other blog. The rules of the experiment was that I wrote a list of 20 “Starting Emotions” and 20 “Horror Sub-genres” and attempted to write a story based on the combination. This was the combo of Drunk and Animals.

Feathers in the Night

I felt fine before I left the bar. More than fine, fantastic. When I left the bar, not so fantastic. Overwhelmed. The evening air made my head spin and my guts churn violently. I didn’t think I’d feel this bad until the morning at least. Maybe that last vodka was one too many. Odd numbers aren’t good, especially nine. At least I think it was nine. My stomach growled, demanding some greasy late-night food. I thought maybe that will settle my stomach, or at least provide some interesting texture when I see it again, hunched over a toilet bowl. I staggered down the street, glancing in the doorways of chip shops and kebab shops, looking for the perfect one. Perfection being the low bar of 1) Can I get served quickly? and 2) Is it free of drunken nutters who will knife me if I look at their girlfriend?

I finally settled on a chip shop with just a couple customers who were already served, slumped over a table, picking haphazardly at a portion of chips, cheese and gravy. I made my way over to the counter with as straight a b-line as I could muster and with a heavy slur, made my best efforts to order a burger. There were some follow up questions which I answered with a quick series of affirmations before taking a seat at the nearest table. I slumped into a comfortable pose, face pressed against the cold window, arms crossed tightly against my chest. My head was spinning so I closed my eyes to find some reprieve. Opening them again I had the feeling I was being watched, and glancing over at the other two customers I found that I was correct. A young lady was staring at me, face peeking over her boyfriend’s slumped body. I gave her a “what are you looking at?” glare. Apparently it didn’t register because her facial expression, as much as I could see of it, hadn’t changed. I was about to get up and see what her problem was when I heard a noise coming from the other side of the window.

Outside the window there was a good view of the road populated by all the drunken revellers, on their way home, or to the next stage of their inebriated adventure. Not far from where I was sitting there was a guy being hassled by seagulls. Odd but not unheard of, the seagulls were aggressive at this time of night. The number of people staggering about, dropping food, meant the seagulls were out in force. The guy was lashing out at them, swinging his arms, trying to kick any that came near enough. He didn’t seem to be having much luck though, in fact he seemed to be attracting more. Maybe his violent movements were causing him to drop more food. I couldn’t get a good look. What I did see was a big, mean bastard of a seagull swoop down and hit the drunk straight in the face. He stumbled back and lost his footing. He hit the ground hard. The girl behind me gasped loudly. I turned to look at her. She was no longer hidden behind her passed out boyfriend, but was almost right next to my table. She wasn’t alone, One of the chip shop workers was also watching the spectacle.

When I looked back at the scene, there was two other men trying to help but they were being pecked too and the guy on the ground wasn’t moving. Maybe the fall had knocked him out. The big gull was standing on his chest and smaller gulls were moving in too. I could see blue police lights flashing in the distance, but they didn’t seem to be getting closer. It was a late booze-fuelled Saturday night, the police were probably busy breaking up fights, gull attacks far from their main priority. Trying to look further down the street, towards the flashing police lights, I could see the shape of more flailing people and small swooping figures. I squinted my bleary eyes in a vain attempt to make out more detail and jumped at the sudden sound of a scraping chair. The girl had her boyfriend slumped against her, his arm around her shoulder. They swayed and stumbled as she dragged her lad from the shop. I followed them as far as the door, accompanied by the chip shop guy. We watched as they got maybe 20 feet down the street before the gulls set upon them too. She tried to fight them off, before dropping her boyfriend and making a run for it. His head bounce off the concrete and she didn’t make it much further before the gulls took her down.

I rushed back over to the window. The vantage point was better from there. The flash of blue lights in the distance seemed to have increased but the distance looked about the same. If there was help for this situation, it was too far away to be helpful. I pulled my phone out. There was no way I could walk home with this anarchy going on. I scrolled through my contacts and dialled the number of a taxi company. An engaged tone beep loudly. Thinking little of it, I scrolled to the next one only to be surprised that it was busy. A third and a fourth proved to be equally fruitless. I thought for a minute that I could possibly phone my dad for a lift but I assumed waking him at this hour might result in some grumpiness that I couldn’t deal with in my drunken state. Looking down the street I could see that the rooftops were lined with seagulls. Crows too. I wasn’t much of a bird watcher but I could see a few recognisable birds, magpies, pigeons, blue tits… I giggled to myself at the thought of “tits” and then scolded myself internally for letting my mind go off track.

I only lived a few streets away, it wasn’t that far if I ran. That girl ran and it didn’t seem to go that well for her. I pondered for a second and the thought that I was still waiting for that burger shot through my head. I was going to complain but I reconsidered, there was more pressing matters at hand and there was a bag of frozen nuggets in the fridge that seemed pretty appealing at the moment. I thought that if I was going to make a run for it, I’d need a weapon. Looking around the chip shop there were some potential weapons but I was pretty sure they wouldn’t let me take any of their knives or chairs. My eyes caught sight of something under one of the tables. I staggered over to the table and ducked down, there was an umbrella lying on the floor. It seemed like a good plan, the umbrella would protect my face and I could swing it at any birds that got too close.

With umbrella in hand, I made for the door. I popped open the umbrella and it made a loud clunk as it sprung open. I made it a couple yards up the street when I felt the first bird bounce off the umbrella’s canopy. It’s little talons scratched across the fabric and I heard it squawk as it landed on the ground behind me. There was two more bumps as I made it further up the street. A gull on the ground pecked at my ankles as I passed and while trying to kick it away, I almost stumbled on the boyfriend from earlier. He was motionless and there was a lot of blood coming from a nasty looking head wound. I couldn’t stop to check if he was alright, I couldn’t let my guard down for a second. I ducked and dodged down the street. The umbrella was less practical than I previously assumed. It was catching the wind, slowing me down and after a few more aerial assaults, the birds were making some bad tears in it. I spied a small lane that would take me to the next street over. I tripped on the kerb a little as I ducked into the lane.

It was quieter away from the panic on the street but I could hear various bird calls coming from the rooftops above me. A crow cawed loudly, like it was alerting it’s allies to my location. I crouched as I ran down the lane. I retracted the umbrella as I ran, the lane was too narrow to have it out properly. When I got to the next street over, it was just as manic as the one I had left behind. The flashing blue lights were closer, I could see a police van not too far away. The van seemed deserted, maybe the police had fled. Truncheons didn’t seem too helpful right now. A gull swooped down at me and pecked my ear as it flew passed. I clasped my hand to it and was surprised that the attack had drawn blood. I tried to pop open the umbrella again but the rips in the canopy had got tangled in the mechanism. I clubbed another swooping bird with the ruined umbrella before tossing it and making a mad dash for another lane. I wheezed as I entered the lane, another momentary safe haven from the bird-on-human violence.

My flat was on the next street, about 30 feet from where the lane let out. I was so tired. My head was still spinning and my guts were still making threats of vomiting all over my nice shoes. Whatever buzz I had had was gone and all I had was a hangover and the murderous attention of several hundred birds. I looked round for another weapon to replace my lost umbrella but the most I could find was an empty bottle from a recycling bin. I gripped it tight as I got close to the end of the lane.

I stepped out onto the street, ready to run. Unlike the last two streets however, this one was quiet. There was birds on every lamp post, post box and all around the roof tops. They were all over the street too, some perched on still bodies. My eyes moved between the birds and the glowing sign of a 24 hour shop that was right next to the front door of my flat. I considered running but the eerie calmness of the birds made me think that the worst thing to do at this moment was to startle them. I moved slowly and carefully on tip-toes. The glowing sign gradually growing closer as feathers ruffled around my ankles. I was just inches away from my door. I looked back across the street at the distance I had covered when I felt something under foot. I had stepped on one of them. It called out and the others squawked and cawed. The sound was tremendous and only got louder as they flapped and fluttered. Pecking beaks jabbed at my legs as I bounded towards the door. Wings slapped at the back of my head and I slapped back at them. I pushed my way inside the door and slammed it behind me, falling onto my ass in the process. I lay down on the cold floor of the corridor, listening to the birds scratching and bumping the door. The night was over, and so was the nightmare. I just wanted to go straight to bed, I wasn’t in the mood for nuggets anymore.

Me Time

This story is one of a number of stories I wrote as part of a writing experiment over on my other blog. The rules of the experiment was that I wrote a list of 20 “Starting Emotions” and 20 “Horror Sub-genres” and attempted to write a story based on the combination. This was the combo of Comfortable and Home Invasion.

Me Time

The warmth enveloped me as I lowered myself into the bath, easing into the hot water. It had been a long, excruciating day in at the office. I could already feel the hot water soothing the tension in my back. This was exactly what I needed. The bathroom was lit by two large vanilla scented candles and the flickering light danced to the chill out playlist that was playing on my phone, which lay on the counter by the sink. I felt like I had escaped to a zone of pure relaxation. My phone chirped, momentarily disrupting the music, the rest of the world reminding me that it still exists, pulled me away from the relaxation zone a little bit. I resented that but let it slide. This was my time and I was in no rush to read messages from the outside world. I was much too comfortable to even consider the idea.

Soon the water began to cool, one of the candles had went out and my playlist began to loop. It was time to get out of the relaxation zone. The bath water drained in a quiet roaring slurp as I dried myself with a towel, warm from the radiator. As I dried one of my feet I heard the unexpected sound of keys turning in the front door. I almost lost my balance in my surprise. My flat mate had been away a few days and wasn’t due to be home for another two hours but I assumed that they had been allowed to leave early. I wrapped a towel around myself and peeked my head around the door. “Kate? I didn’t think you’d be home so soon.” I shouted out. There was no response but I heard a shuffling noise in the kitchen. I tried to think rational thoughts. Maybe she had her headphones in, she often listened to music when she was travelling. I quickly moved through to my bedroom to throw on some clothes before going to see Kate. I put on some jeans and an old t-shirt and I could feel the moisture soaking in from the bits I missed drying.

I flicked on the hall light as I walked through on my way to the kitchen. I flung the door open, a smile ready on my face to welcome Kate home. My smile shrank a little as there was no sign of Kate in the kitchen. I was sure that I heard her. The pile of letters I had arranged carefully on the counter top had been left undisturbed, including a couple parcels from Amazon which I was sure she’d be eager to open. Perplexed I thought she might have gone into the living room. I closed the kitchen door behind me and absent-mindedly walked a few steps down the dingy hall and into the living room. The TV was on but still no sign of Kate. The TV was on the menu for all the shows we had recorded. One of Kate’s documentaries was highlighted and ready to play. If Kate was here, why hadn’t she come to say hi first? I figured she must have gone to get something from her room or maybe I had just missed her and she had went to see me in mine. It wasn’t a big flat but it wouldn’t be the first time we had walked around without seeing each other.

As I turned back into the corridor, I noticed how dark it was, except for the sliver of street light coming through a crack in the front door. I moved quickly and confirmed that the door was open, Kate’s keys still in the lock. Was she drunk? It was a bit early for that, but it would explain why she was acting so strangely. I pulled her keys from the lock, closed the door and locked it from the inside. I flicked on the hall light. Turning away from the front door I noticed that there was something lying in the middle of the hall. It was small. I was hoping that the neighbours’ cat hadn’t slipped in and left us a little dead thing as a present. I winced as I edged closer. I sighed and smiled as the little dead thing was actually a small teddy bear. Grabbing it, I noticed a small tag. It had a note, ‘Just wanted to see you’ scribbled in marker. A bit cutesy for Kate but it was nice. I went to put it in my bedroom when I heard my phone chirp again from the bathroom. The harsh light of the phone screen contrasted with the soft light of the candles as I grabbed the phone. I blew out the candles and checked my phone as I walked to my room. Two messages from Kate. The one from two seconds ago read “Train’s delayed. I don’t want to keep you up. Gonna crash at my sisters. Cya tomorrow :D” The other “Can you see if my keys are in my room? I’m sure I had them. Brainfart. Keep the door unlocked for me? I’ll be home soon x.”

I looked down at the Teddy bear in my other hand as I heard the kitchen door creak open.

Little Devil

This story I wrote for Inkitt.com’s The Darkest Place horror writing competition.

Little Devil

The whisky and ice rattled softly in the glass as I stood over Thomas, fast asleep in his little bed. His face hidden under a mass of raven black hair. I took a sip of whisky and sighed. This wasn’t the first time I had watched him at night, drink in hand, pondering just how this little imp got here, into my home. He was almost four years old now and his occasional presence was still a source of confusion and disbelief. I had met his mother in a similar haze of alcohol, and it was under that same haze that I’ve been told we conceived this little gremlin. I stepped carefully out of Thomas’ room, my old gym room. I stepped over his discarded toys, trying not to stir him from his sleep.

I slumped down onto my recliner in the living room, the ice clacking loudly in the glass. I took a long draw from my whisky. I was lost in an existential sea of bad memories and moderately priced alcohol. Caught in a trap with no idea which limb to bite off and escape. If only I fought harder when Thomas’ mother came to me, swollen with pregnancy, with her accusations towards my busy sperm. I didn’t know her, I still don’t, not really. She wore me down, got me to doubt myself and what I might have done. I drained the last of the whisky from the glass and set it down on the floor next to my recliner. Old blues songs rang through my head. Songs of suffering and pain, cheating wives and hopelessness The suffering of others did little to put mine in perspective. I sighed heavily, surveying my living room while I mustered the motivation to get up and pour myself another drink. A pile of toy cars rested on a play mat of streets that had replaced the rug which was now rolled up against my wardrobe. That rug really tied the room together, and now I had a tiny city to walk all over.

I got up from my recliner and laid down on the floor, getting up close to the play mat city. I had one when I was Thomas’ age, it could even be this one for all I knew. I picked up at some charity shop one day in hopes that it would shut him up for five minutes. It was a bit worn out and stained but the kid seemed to enjoy it. I picked up a toy car and pushed it down one of the streets. I crashed it into another at a crossroad and wiped them both out. A dark thought ran through my head, wishing that maybe Thomas and his mother could meet their fate like this on their way home tomorrow.

“Is that what you really wish?” A voice whispered in my ear, a deep voice that slithered into my ear like a snake. I frantically got to my feet from my prone position on the floor. There was nobody there as I looked around the room, or in any of the rooms as I searched for an intruder. I checked the front door, which was still locked, before returning to living room. “I can make that happen for you…” I froze in place, questioning my sanity at that moment. A small flame ignited on the play mat, on the crossroad I crashed the car. I looked at it bewildered for a second before leaning down and attempting to extinguish it with my thumb. When I touched it, my hold arm felt like it was burning, like it was going to melt off to nothing. I reeled and the voice laughed. The little flame danced in time with the laughter. I got back down onto my stomach to have a closer look at the fire, It wasn’t spreading, it just sat there bobbing around as it laughed at my pain. I inhaled deeply and then tried to blow it out like a birthday candle. As the room retuned to it’s darkness, I let out a little shriek as I saw what stood in the place of the flame, a tiny devil.

I could feel his staring eyes like knives as the devil looked up at me. It’s presence weighed heavily on me. “You wish for the woman and child to die in a car accident?” the voice came again, smooth and slithering.

“No, no…” I stammered “I don’t want them dead, I don’t think I could bear having that on my conscience…”

“But you’re happy enough to fantasise about it” I couldn’t see his face but I was aware of the smug grin that came along with his words.

“I just don’t want to be around them, I want my life back. I wish he was someone else’s child.”

“Really?” His voice drew out the vowels as he asked, like he was toying with me.

“Yes.” I felt guilty but there was a feeling of relief that came with admitting out loud. There was a flicker of light as the devil’s flame reignited on the little play mat street, extinguishing again seconds later leaving a small mark like a cigarette burn. I lay on the floor for a while, consumed with my guilty thoughts before making the resolute decision that another whisky was the only way to make sense of this evening. Returning from the kitchen with glass in hand, I sat on the recliner with self-made promises to forget whatever mental break I had just experienced and with the remote in hand, turned on the TV. Channel hopping to find something to take my mind off it, maybe an old movie or if I was lucky, anything with half naked women. I was changing channels rapidly before something took my eye and I tapped the back button. 24 hour news, a woman crying, it hit me like a heart attack. Thomas’ mum. “Someone else’s child” had been my words and now there was someone else’s child asleep in my old gym room. Police were looking for Thomas. I dropped the glass of whisky onto the floor as my brain exploded with panic. Thoughts of life in jail chilled me to the bone.

I rushed to my bedroom and threw on some proper clothes and my jacket before quietly navigating the toys and silently picking up Thomas. I carried him with care out to the car. The streets were quiet, I just had to drive 20 minutes from here to Thomas’ house without any attention. I started the car and I could barely hear the motor over the sound of my heart beating in my ears. I prayed at the lights to stay green. With each one I passed, I felt a little safer. My heart sunk when I noticed that the next set of lights was by a bar. Drunks stumbled outside and I knew there had to be some police nearby to keep them in line. The light turned red and my eyes darted quickly between the lights and a drunk who was edging closer to the car, probably mistaking it for a taxi. He grabbed the door handle and it rattled in his hand. The light turned yellow and I floored the accelerator. The drunk screamed at me as the car drove away. He clutched at his fingers in the rear view mirror. Thomas stirred a little bit but quickly started snoring again.

I parked my car a street away from Thomas’ house and moved quickly while trying not to look suspicious or wake Thomas. I looked around for any signs of being watched as we came towards the house. I seemed to be in luck but I stuck to the shadows. In front of the house was a little fenced garden with a rusty gate that would probably wake all the neighbours. Instead I lifted Thomas over the fence and put him down on the grass. The cold would soon wake him and either he’d let himself in, or his crying would bring his mother. With Thomas safely placed in the garden, I slinked away. The temptation to burst into a run was overwhelming but I kept my cool. I got to the car and I could have screamed in relief, but I held it in, I didn’t feel safe yet. It was only once I was home that I felt safe and after all that I just wanted to sleep.

I don’t know when I managed to drift off to sleep but I woke up in the afternoon the next day. I had missed calls from work which I returned, claiming I was ill. I took a bin bag and collected up all the artefacts of Thomas from around the house before sneaking them into the neighbour’s wheely bin. I checked the TV for news, and breathed a sign of relief as it seemed I was in the clear. Thomas never saw me when he was someone else’s child so I guessed he had no memories of me. A little pang of sadness accompanied that thought but I soon forgot it as I reclaimed my life.

I spent the next couple weeks throwing myself into work, and down at the pub in the evenings. I felt liberated, not a care in the world. I was getting home from the pub late on Saturday when I sat down on the recliner and began flicking through the channels again, too wired to fall asleep. I almost cried when I saw her again, back on the 24 hour news. The reporter stood outside of Thomas’ house, men in white suits and masks behind her, flashes of blue and red lighting the house. She was dead and apparently not the only one. A local man had been found dead a few days before. His photo filled the screen, the drunk. My eyes were fixed to the screen, and my heart pounded when the door bell rang. I sat quietly, praying they’d go away as the bell rang again. I got up and moved quickly to the door, taking a deep breath, trying to think up excuses for the police. When I swung open the door, I thought for a second that they ran off. A prank. Something grabbed my leg and I looked down to see Thomas there, his mass of black hair clung to my leg. I didn’t know what to do, but there was no one else in the street and I took him inside before anyone could see us. He walked his wobbly little walk through to the living room and when I followed him through, he was sat in my recliner. He laughed to himself as he wiggled on the seat and pointed at the TV. It was still on the news, still reporting about his mother’s death. A chill ran down my spine. I rushed over to the TV to turn it off. Thomas’ laughing echoed in the room, gradually deepening into the laughter I had heard two weeks before. “Someone else’s child.”

I bolted from the room and down the hall, out into the street. I didn’t know where to go. Whatever was happening was insane, I prayed I was still drunk, that this was all a bad dream. There was a church a couple streets from where I stood and it seemed like a good idea to run in the direction of it’s spire. I ran down the road frantically but I lost my footing and stumbled face first onto the hard tarmac. Deep laughter boomed from yards away and I felt the stabbing pain of the devil’s gaze upon me. He walked towards me with Thomas cradled in his arms. The street lights blinked out as he came closer.

“Is this what you wished for?” His voice rang with smug pride.

“NO! I JUST WANTED TO GET MY LIFE BACK!!” I sobbed.

“Life is what you are given, we are just God’s play things.” The Devil turned his back to me and began walking away. I started after him when I was surrounded by light, and then pain as two cars smashed into me from both sides.

Some Kind Of Gas

I wrote this story late last year, and this is another story that hasn’t been posted online before. Perfect story for those with dentist-based paranoia.

Some Kind Of Gas

Sitting in the pristine waiting room, the old magazines seem antithetical. The worn-out pages in a state of slow decay, smell hidden by the clinical scent of industrial strength bleach. My hands dripping with sweat, soaking into the pages of Better Homes that I’m nervously thumbing through. I wonder how many other people’s hands have left their stain, blurring the photos of upmarket loft conversions. The filthy magazine’s misplacement hints at the true nature of what goes on here. It’s a place of sadism and perversity. My hands flick through the pages quicker. I’m not even looking at the magazine. I’m just trying to keep my hands from shaking.

My heart is pounding and I’m considering making a run for it when a slender hand lands on my shoulder. It feels like my skeleton is trying to escape when I whip my head around. The dental nurse smiles at me and tells me they’re ready for me now. My shaking hands fumble with the magazine, returning it to the well organised rack that I found it on before solemnly following the nurse towards the room. The kind of room that brings me so much dread. The placard on the door reads “Mr Sharpe: Dental Practitioner“. The name brings forth imagery of gleaming medical tools, drills, picks and scalpels. Dentists have always made me nervous, not just for their gristly vocation, but also for the fact that they’re not “Doctors”, they’re “Misters”. I can’t bare to think about their lack of qualifications as they go to work inside my mouth. Inside my head.

Mr Sharpe stands with his back to me as I enter the room, probably deciding which of his shiny tools to inflict upon me first. I uneasily lower myself into the chair, trying to find a soothing thought to calm my nerves. A wave of panic shoots through me as the chair starts to recline back, the procedure starting. The bright spotlight glares at me. It feels like the beginning of a puppet show and my mouth is the stage. The rest of the room seems dark outside of the spotlight and Mr Sharpe appears out of the shadows. He explains the procedure. Telling me that I’m in a lot of pain like I don’t already know. That due to my history of outbursts, I will be sedated during the procedure. Some kind of gas. Over before I know it he says. He retreats back into the shadows before returning, nozzle in hand. I can hear the quiet squeak of the valves as the mask is placed over my mouth and nose. The hiss of the gas and instructions to count back from one hundred. The shadows outside of the spotlight turn to liquid and start to move in like a tide, washing away the light. The light that beams off of Sharpe’s teeth is the last I see before being swallowed by the darkness.

I hear an echoed countdown fade into obscurity as my vision returns. I’m still in the chair but the rest of the room is gone. Instead there is a void. Black as far as I can see except for a small rectangle in front of me. I reach out to touch it but it’s further than I thought. I reach my feet out into the void and feeling something solid I stand up from the chair. The rectangle grows as I stride through the void until what was a foot tall is now 8 feet. A large puppet theatre, striped in red and white. The curtains are drawn shut and I can hear faint sounds of life inside. A chill runs down my spine at the sight of this strange stage and I step backwards to return to the chair.

A quiet squeak starts as the curtains part. The inside of the puppet theatre reveals itself, large pearls the size of bowling balls line the edges of the stage. I step forward again to see if I can see anyone inside. As I near the lip of the stage, a large wooden face bolts out from inside, startling me and knocking me onto my backside. The figure laughs raucously as I pick myself up. His hinged mouth flaps open and shut with a clacking sound. I cringe at the sight of this strange puppet. It’s old and the paint on it’s face is flaking away, revealing an older layer of paint and older layers beneath that. I can’t decide what it’s supposed to be, maybe once a clown. Now it just bobs around mocking me with it’s impression of laughter. I try to speak to it to find out where I am. It just dances infuriatingly. I approach the edge of the stage again and it’s flapping mouth snaps in my face. I swing my hands up to defend myself and my fist strikes the puppet. It flies off the stage and falls down passed my feet, disappearing into the black void that I assumed was the ground. I reach down to pick it up but it’s gone without a trace.

Drops of water drip on my neck and back as I’m hunched over. I straighten myself up and another drip strikes me, this time on the side of my face. I turn back towards the stage, the lost puppet’s true form on display. It thrashes around, lunging out from the edge of the stage. The pearls around the stage are twisting around to show indentations. Giant pearly teeth around a beastly thrashing tongue. The stage mouth gnashes at me as I edge away but my legs begin to shake. I wobble as the void moves around me, gravity changing direction, pulling me towards the hungry stage.

I tumble forward, narrowly missing the crushing teeth as I fall down into an unseen gullet. I hit whatever floor there is with a dull, painless thud. Still inside the void but this time the only sight to be seen is the mouth above me. The pearly teeth glisten above me like a ring of stars. A distant halo drifting lazily above me. Suddenly one drops down. A buzzing sound like that of a fishing reel accompanies it as it lowers down to me. It hangs in the air in front of me and I can see my face reflected in it’s polished ivory. I’m taken aback by a loud cracking sound from the other side of the dangling tooth. Quiet cracks continue to emanate from the unseen face of the tooth. I see something slowly sliding round the sides. They look like thin, hairy fingers at first but then they stretch too long. A loud pop rings through the air as the appendages snap into place. They begin to writhe and flail before the tooth drops to the ground and presents it’s new arachnid features. A large spider-like creature with a giant molar for an abdomen. It hisses and lunges forward, it’s mandible’s snapping at me. I kick it back to try and scare it off. It just flails it’s front limbs angrily before hissing at me again. I turn away and flee, praying that somewhere in the darkness there’s somewhere I can hide.

I run and run and while I manage to put some distance between me and the tooth creature, I don’t seem to be going anywhere at all. It feel like I’ve ran miles but the halo still looms above me. Exhausted and frustrated, I rub my eyes. With my head in my hands, I hear it. The buzzing reel. Louder this time. I quickly look back up. The halo is falling, cracking and unfolding in the air. I run again, lactic acid burning my muscles. Peripheral glimpses spy stretched out spider limbs ready to snatch me up. I duck and dodge as the hissing and snapping jaws of a beast narrowly miss me. They are close and all I can do is keep running. I think I’m starting to get away from them when my footing becomes uneven. The ground is spongy and I fall to my knees. Touching it, the ground is wet. Suddenly there’s a rapid movement and I’m forced to cling on.

I’m flung to and fro but I manage to hold my ground. I notice a new landmark has appeared on the horizon, a spot of light too far away. The spot of light starts to open wide, bathing the rest of the void in light, exposing everything hidden in the darkness. I find myself clinging onto a gargantuan tongue, trying it’s hardest to buck me off. Spider creatures rappel towards me from the light as my grip begins to weaken. The creatures are almost upon me, hungry mandibles seconds away. I push away from the tongue as it flicks me backwards, away from the light. I hit the ground face first and once again I’m in the darkness.

My eyes flick open and I’m back in the chair. The spotlight burns my retinas a little as my eyes adjust. Mr Sharpe smiles down at me as he tells me we’re all done. My hands are balled up in fists and soaked with sweat. I wipe them on my jeans as I pull myself up from the chair. My mouth is still numb. I smile weakly at Mr Sharpe as his nurse hands me my bill and tells me to pay the receptionist on my way out. I still feel a little out of it as I stagger out of the room. I wobble on my feet a little and a chill runs down my spine when I hear a buzzing noise. I pray it’s a drill but I fear it’s much worse.

Neighbourhood

Another old story, although unlike the last two this one has never been posted anywhere online before.

Neighbourhood.

My eyes flicked open in the pitch black darkness. The only indication that my eyes were actually open were the neon numerals of clock on the bedside cabinet. I’d woken due to a chill running down my back. Half of the bedsheets were bundled up over my legs and the space that Leigh usually occupies was vacant. I’d assumed that one of the girls had gotten up from a bad dream or something and Leigh had gone to deal with it without waking me. I sat up and swung my legs out of the bed. The door into the hallway was open and empty. No light or shadows, not a peep or a squeak. It was rare for a family home to be this peaceful and there was something unsettling about that. I rubbed the crust from my eyes as I made my way out of the bedroom.

At the end of the hall was the girls’ room. A dull beam of light peered out from the edge of the door. The little plug-in nightlight that kept my girls safe from their own scary dreams. I expected to hear my wife’s voice offering soothing reassurances as I got closer to the door adorned with “Jenny” and “Carrie” in large glittery letters. Not even the sound of little girl’s snores. The silence was only interupted by the creak as I pushed the door slowly, carefully in an effort not to wake them. The bunkbed that dominated the pink room with the floor that was more doll than carpet was empty. There was only the same bundled blankets that mimicked the one that had taken over half of my bed. I could feel dread deep inside me growing. I couldn’t help but begin obsessing of the worst. We had argued like most couples but Leigh had never threated to leave me, and that just made my thoughts more dark and terrible. Thoughts of abduction and home invasion raced through my mind.

My eyes were locked on that empty bunkbed, or at least it was until there was a change in my peripheral vision. Movement in the hallway. I moved quickly but when I reached the door whatever had been there was gone. Just a dark hallway. I edged towards the light switch. Light entered the room, a beam of light. The kind from a flashlight. I retracted my fingers away from the switch. Those thoughts of home invasion reverberated in my mind. I crouched down almost instinctively yet continued cautiously forward. Curiousity drove me towards the source of the light. It was coming from outside the house, through the frosted glass on the front door. The beam seemed to be intensifying, like if someone had just pulled their car into the driveway outside, except it was far too quiet for all that. The front door was to the right of the hallway, just around a corner where I had managed to conceal myself. I peered round but all I could see was the light, although it wasn’t just coming through the window. The door had been left open just a crack. I wanted to make a run for it, just close it and lock it. Put a barrier between myself and whoever was outside. But what if it was just Leigh and the girls? Maybe some noise from outside had stirred them awake and Leigh was just showing them there was nothing there. I felt ridiculous. I took a deep breath as I stood up from my crouching position. I shook my head and made towards the door.

The cold night air that leaked through the doorway felt cool on my bare feet. The beam of light was directly in my face as I swung the doors open. It moved forward quickly but it lowered away from my eyes as it drew closer. It was Harrison from across the street. We had been round to have a barbecue with him and a few of the neighbours a couple weeks back. His wife Gerri stood a few feet behind with a kind of deer-in-headlights expression across her face. Harrison didn’t say a word as he moved towards me. I opened my mouth to speak but before a word left my mouth he struck me. The flashlight was one of those big heavy-duty deals and it was being slammed repeatedly into the side of my head. I quickly lost consciousness.

As I stirred awake I slowly felt so many painful sensations. My head felt like it had swollen three times bigger and was throbbing. My muscles were tight, I tried to move into a more comfortable position but learned quickly that I was bound. My hands had been wrapped in bags and tied together. My ankles were digging into each other, tied tightly by ropes. While everything had been dark and generally absent of life before Harrison had attacked me, now was a direct contrast. From what I could see from my position in the grass of my front lawn, the street was awake. Lights on in every house. My ears were ringing from the pummeling I had taken. Thankfully Harrison had stopped, I thought that maybe one of the other neighbours had intervened. Talked Harrison down while the cops were on their way. It was hard to tell lying belly down.

A crowd had formed on the edge of my property and I could hear muffled conversation through the ringing. Calm voices. I felt a tugging at my feet, grass moving underneath prodding into my chest, then the rough texture of concrete. It grazed and cut into me but as we moved I managed to spin round onto my back. Harrison was pulling me along by a length of rope attached to my bound ankles. The other neighbours walked alongside. I yelled, trying to gain attention, an explaination. I didn’t even recognise my own voice through whatever damage that had been inflicted to my hearing. Even if they did acknowledge me, which they weren’t, no answers were coming my way. I tried to focus away from the grit and gravel that was shredding my back. Racked my mind at what I could have done to deserve this. I wasn’t a model citizen but I was no worse than average. My mind thought back to the barbecue, any drunken behavior that might have insulted Harrison or anyone else. My head bounced off the curb as he dragged me further down the street, towards the park. I thought of my wife and kids. I treated them right, didn’t I? This didn’t make sense. I screamed in frustration, but the procession of neighbours barely blinked an eye.

I struggled in my bindings. I’m an innocent man. I volunteered, I recycled, I was polite. The gate to the park creaked open and soon I was being dragged across grass again. I shrieked at the crowd and looked around for a merciful eye anywhere I could find it. Not one. I knew these people or at least I thought I had. Old ladies that I had helped with their shopping. Young children who had been round to play with Jenny and Carrie. They just stared up ahead. The dragging stopped and my feet hit the ground sharply. My body was surrounded by shadow in the moonlight. Harrison had stopped in front of a large tree, his hand planted firmly on the bark. He turned to his left and beckoned members of the crowd to move closer. Familiar figures breached the crowd. I recognised Leigh’s golden blonde hair immediately. This didn’t make sense. I flailed about and I could feel the rope cutting into my wrists and ankles. The girls were at her back and they stood calmly, staring as if waiting for a show to begin.

Harrison threw the length of rope around a branch and with the help of a few more of the neighbours, began to hoist me up. I could feel the blood drops rolling down my back and dripping from my shoulders as I was lifted entirely off the ground. I expected ceremony, some grand sermon to begin. Harrison to justify this act of cruelty. To let me in on my despicable acts. I strained my ears, trying to hear beyond the ringing for accusations, a list of my crimes. I looked around for moving mouths to attempt to lip-read about my abominable behaviour. Nothing. Calm staring faces. The throbbing in my head intensified with the blood pooling in my brain. An unbearable pain, quickly matched with another. Leigh had plunged a knife into my side. Tears streamed from my eyes but her face was blank from any expressions of malice. A teenage boy from down the street followed her actions, another knife penetrating my leg. I screamed out. My throat was raw. Peter, a retired man who had babysat Jenny a couple times a few years ago was making way through the crowd. As he reached the front I could see that he had a gas can in his hand. The liquid burned as it splashed into the cuts and grazes and in my eyes. Even with my eyes blurry and my ears ringing, I saw that little flicker of orange and yellow. The striking match. There was so many questions and no answers but it didn’t matter at the end of it all. All that was left was pain.

Failed Rituals

In 2010 I published my second story, Failed Rituals over on Creepypasta.com. It was translated again over on YouTube, This time into Spanish.

Failed Rituals

I really wish I had left that fucking light switch alone. Who would have thought the flick of a switch could mean the difference between life and death. Actually everyone’s thought that. That’s why I turned it on. Stupid little rituals that we take from childhood. The light will chase the monsters away, the blanket over your head will save you from the boogie man. And you just get more of these rituals as you get older. As long as you lock the doors and turn on the home security system, you can rest your head happily in your cozy little fortified home. No killers or psychos, monsters or boogie men.

But it doesn’t work. None of it. We always slip up some how. The one time you forget to lock that door. That’s when they get you. I would have been sound asleep if I hadn’t been woken by the loud slam as the front door blew open. I stumbled out of bed and down the hall to see it swinging back and forth. I moved quickly down the hall to secure it. A moment of panic swelled inside of me. My home felt like a crime scene. It wasn’t my safe little sanctum anymore.

Despite the overwhelming feeling of intrusion, there was no sign of disruption. Just the door. Just my careless mistake. I couldn’t comprehend it at first. It had to be a burgler or some psycho. I looked around the rest of the house. Checking every cupboard, every crevice. Nothing. I felt stupid but relieved. I just wanted to get back to bed, to forget this whole embarrassment. I flung myself back down on my bed, closed my eyes for just a second. I sat back up. There was no way I’d fall asleep unless I double-checked that I locked the door this time. I mean I was sure I had done it this time but I felt this was justified paranoia.

I got to the door and twisted the handle roughly about a dozen times, each time feeling the resistance of the lock. I smiled. Safe. I turned on my heels to go back to bed. But it was just a glimpse, a flicker of something in my peripheral vision that sent me swinging back into a panic. A shadow from the kitchen. I rushed in only to be confronted by my normal kitchen, bathed in moonlight. I sighed, questioned my sanity and decided that this, the longest night of my life must end. I went towards the bedroom once more. Another odd shadow crossed my path. As a shiver travelled down my spine, my tired mind braced apathetic denial and decided that it was probably the neighbours cat passing by the moonlit window.

I sat wide awake in my bed. Trying to lull myself to sleep. Counting in my head until I might eventually nod off. But everytime I closed my eyes that feeling of intrusion was still there. The hands of something unseen looming above my head. Every creak and every shadow filled my mind with the dread of my childhood. Those nights after being tucked in by my parents. Those same fearful thoughts of lurking terror. But it was nothing… right? More creaks. More movement in the shadows. I turned and pushed my face into the pillow. I felt something brush passed my foot which stuck awkwardly out from under my blanket.

I jolted upright, looking deeply into the darkness. Swirling shadows. The monsters. The boogie men. I felt around sheepishly for my phone. The dull light of the screen could put me at ease. Nothing on the nightstand and when my fingers roamed around the edge of the bed, instinctively I retracted them for fear of the unknown. I was alone but in the shadows I saw them, the monsters. Inky abominable beasts.

It was the only thing I thought could help me. I lunged from the bed directly at the switch. My palm slammed down on it and the room erupted into light. My eyes burned momentarily and I glanced round the room. Empty. Safe. Just paranoia. I shook my head and hit the switch once more. Climbing into bed in the pitch black. No shadows without my nightvision. But now I hear them. I can’t see them now. I don’t know what they want but I know I can’t leave. The rituals have failed. They’re on the other side of this blanket and all I can do now is hope that they’re gone in the morning.