Tag Archive: horror


Lochlin, Shona, & Barlow

Much thanks to the great Tim Burton who created such wonderful characters. All rights to owner.

Much thanks to the great Tim Burton who created such wonderful characters.
All rights to owner.

“Did you hear that they are making a movie about Maple Lane,” Janine said with just a touch too much excitement in her voice for a Monday morning.

“No. That can’t be right.”

“Swear to God Lynn.” Janine looked around to make sure her slightly raised voice was carrying. “You know I watch The Morning Cup news religiously because Teddy, the lead anchor, is just cute enough to get out of bed for. Right? Well he was interviewing some hag in a bad skirt suit this morning, and she said that our community would be playing host to some real life Hollywood producers.”

“Why,” Shelly asked.

“Well why else,” Janine said pausing for dramatic effect. “The Maple Lane Massacre.”

“The what?”

Janine sighed and then rolled her eyes over to Lynn. “Look I know your new-ish to town Rob, but really. The Massacre is the only movie worthy thing to have ever happened here. Just, at least, tell me you’ve heard of the Tough Triplets.”

Rob’s shrug and the various head shakes throughout the group only bolstered Janine’s showmanship. “Lock, Shock, and Barrel?” Janine had asked the question innocently and acted aghast when there was no collective head nod of understanding. “You guys should really bone up on your local history. I mean, don’t you think it would be important to know that only 50 years ago three of the Tough family’s hoard went on a killing bender up and down Maple just becu…”

Janine’s voice dropped off as she made eye contact with the latest edition to her audience, Jackson Tough.

Rob was the first to turn and see what had stopped Janine. “No way! Jack?” The hurt in Robs voice was obvious as he asked, “Is this true?”

“Don’t let me stop you Janine,” Jack said his eyes never once leaving hers, “I recall how much you use to love telling this story.”

“We would all love to hear your take Jackson, at least, I know I would,” Janine said to his back as he passed her by. “I’m such a sucker for back story and… the inside scoop.”

“Would it be the facts or the story your after Janine?” Janine barely had time to purse her lips before Jack continued. “Facts? Lochlin, Shona, and Barlow Tough, not Lock, Shock, and Barrel, were arrested and charged with the murder of 13 people on October 30th, 1948. They were found guilty. Lochlin was sentenced to death by hanging as an 18th birthday present and Shona died in prison last winter. Barlow is still serving his life sentence.”

No one even coughed as Jack spoke either too mesmerized or too afraid. “The story,” Janine asked as she made a give me gesture.

Jack took a deep breath. “On the day before Halloween, over 70 years ago, the three youngest Tough family children were searching for decorations in order to festoon their front porch.  Flour sacs were found for ghost faced masks and the scarecrow was misappropriated from their mother’s garden, along with a gourd or two.  While Barlow worked on his Jack-O-Lantern and Shona her mask Lochlin went off to see what he could find in the attic.  When he returned it was with a large egg crate labeled All Hallows’ Eve.  The three eagerly examined the contents, which must have belonged to the house’s previous owners, and were happily surprised.  Inside were handmade costumes complete with painted masks.  Some were beautiful others horrible to behold, but all of them painstakingly crafted.  The crude sac masks forgotten, each child picked their favorite outfit and tried it on.

The pieced together theory on what happened next was that the three had gone trick-or-treating sparing those who treated and killing those who required tricking.  Whatever actually caused the incident though is still as mystery because all Lochlin, Shona, and Barlow have ever said since that night is…

             Trick or treat,
              Smell my feet,
              Give me something good to eat!
            If you don’t,
             Please beware,
             Else all will know, that we were there!

No one knew what to make of it really.  Maybe if they had chosen to be the friar, puppy dog, and angel rather than the witch, devil, and skeleton nothing would have happened.  But they didn’t and something definitely happened.  Thirteen people died that night and16 lost their lives. ”

Janine had no follow up and as she tried to think of anything to keep her co-worker’s attention she realized Jack had won, if you can call it winning, because she was never going to be able to tell that story again.

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In the Flesh

I am alone.  Well almost.  Let me clarify.  It happened in the blink of an eye.  One day the cities, streets, country was filled with my kind.  My figurative brothers and sisters.  Next thing you know their everywhere.  Destroying our society, tearing apart my friends and family, a plague upon my way of life.  We ran and hid, but groups are slow moving and we were easy targets.  So we separated hoping the day would come when we would see each other again. 

I can barely remember their voices.  Only the wind through the trees moans my name calling out to me.  Their faces are flashes behind my eyelids in the dark that visit me without granting comfort.  As I sink my teeth into my last few meager bites of food I remember our last feast before the world went sideways.

The night was awash of terrible sounds; hungry flames, angry chainsaws, and the thunk of dull objects cracking skulls.  However, all I remember is the taste of the warm bloody leg I was eating.  Fucking humans.  I liked them better when they were just fast food.

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As seen on Walking Dead

The Howling

Andi’s heart was beating out of her chest, her bare feet ragged and torn, and she was nearly choking on the hot liquid copper tang of blood.  She had been racing through the woods since the moon rose luminous and full in the clear night sky, and the night was almost spent. 

In the early pre dawn silence the only sound was her heavy uneven breathing.  Hearing the unsteady sound Andi tried to stifle the ruckus hoping to not draw unwelcome notice to herself.  Not when she was this close.  The road couldn’t be more than a hundred feet away she thought quickly scanning her surroundings for headlights or people.

The hair raising sound of a lone howl rent the night.  Her hand shot to her mouth and her body froze in place, back to the road, something dark and akin to fear coursing through her.  As the adrenaline surged and Andi’s body screamed for her to flee or fight she used the back of her hand to wipe away the worst of the gore, threw back her head, and returned the call. 

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As seen on Artflakes

*****

So, I am a major Florence + The Machine fan and after hearing their song Howl this October I couldn’t help myself.  I hope you enjoyed my werewolf  interpretation, they may not be as hot as vampires right now but they deserve some Halloween play time too!   Δ Δ
                    ^^^^^
                                                                                                                                      

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It followed her out into the dark of the night.  Growing with each tension filled step.

It hung in the air as her screams died away.  Echoing in ominously empty tones.

It rested on the lips of an onlooker.  Turning a blind eye on an unspeakable deed.

It filled the ears of the madman.  Deafening reason, logic, and sense.

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Julia's Place

The prompt this week is: Silence

The rules:  Now this is a little different as I don’t want you to include the word but write about silence – what it feels like, evokes etc.  As usual you have 100 words. Please keep your piece suitable for a PG certificate. The link will close on 9th Sept.

The Midnight Listener

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Shower scene from Psycho

Sofia had no idea what had woken her up, but based on the fact that the TV screen was showing nothing but blue she must have been out for quite awhile. A muffled snore to her right suggested that Drew hadn’t made it through the movie either. Sure enough Drew was reclined in his favorite armchair, head back, mouth open, remote hanging by a pinkie. Sofia smiled and shook her head shifting to grab the thing before it crashed to the ground scaring him awake. As she snatched her prize the coroner of the afghan that remained covering her legs slid into the puddle of brightly colored yarn already on the floor. The shiver that ran up her back was so sudden she nearly dropped the remote herself. With a quickness at odds with her supine position Sofia managed to juggle the stupid hunk of plastic onto the coffee table without a sound, but the damage was done. The warmth of her spot had immediately vanished in the fractions of an inch she had moved. Another shiver racked her body this time causing her shoulders to lock and her head to tilt to the side. The sheer yellow curtains, which looked a sickly green in the TV light, billowed away from the wall on an icy breeze.

“Damn it Drew,” Sofia swore under her breath, “it’s almost October you know.” His unconscious body gave no indication that he had heard or cared. She practically ran to the window, then shut and locked it in one fell swoop. Chafing her arms Sofia tip-toe danced over to the armchair and softly said, “Hey Drew, baby, I got too cold with your fresh air window open; so I’m going to take a hot shower before I go to bed.” Her only response was a gurgling snore. “Drew!” This time she punctuated the word with a rough shake. His sleepy eyes lacked focus as they fluttered open, “Whadiya think of the, the, the movie?” She had to smile at that, he hadn’t even stopped while yawning. Already he was turning over just seconds from his next REM cycle. “No, baby, wait a sec,” Sofia grabbed his face and waited till his eyes opened again, “I’m going to take a shower why don’t you just go to bed.” Drew blinked twice and nodded, “Probably a good idea, Sof,” he said, “or I could join you.” She threw him a wink as she handed him his scruffy green housecoat, “Sounds good to me,” and walked into the bathroom.

The white tile floor stole the last of her heat reserves as she turned the shower on, but in just minutes Sofia could feel the steam start to stick to her body. She quickly undressed and slipped under the boiling hot shower water. Her head fell forward and she just stood there letting the deluge of warmth wash over her. Till the sound of the door shutting startled her. With water in her eyes Sofia groped for the opening in the shower curtain. Eyes streaming she saw a blurry version of Drew’s robed back heading for her vanity chair, “Jesus Christ Drew! You scared the life out of me,” Sofia shrieked as she closed the curtain angrily and placed her hand above her quickly beating heart.

He scoffed with a quiet laugh at her exclamation.

She took a deep breath and rolled her shoulders relaxing again in the muggy waters. “You know this is kinda nice, we haven’t had a shower chat in years.”

“Uh huh.”

“It must have been all the way back when we first moved in together,” Sofia mused aloud. “I remember thinking that if we passed on any chance to spend time together that I was somehow sabotaging the relationship. Can you believe how dramatic I was?”

“Hmmm…”

“Oh you have to think about it huh?” Sofia flicked water over the top of the curtain and giggled. “Well I just think it’s sweet that you came in here to check on me, it’s almost as if you still love me or something,” she joked.

His sigh of, “Mmm huh,” was his only response.

“Mmm huh to you too baby,” she said imagining him head in hands doing his best to not fall asleep. “You must still be half asleep Drew I don’t think you’ve managed a complete sentence since you walked in.”

“Eehh.”

“Then go to sleep baby, I’ll be there in a minute. I think I’ve finally warmed up.” He didn’t say anything but Sofia could have sworn she felt his hand brush across her shoulders through the curtain. When she looked he was gone.

As she opened the bathroom door not even the steam behind her could stop Sofia from gasping in the cold air. Afraid that she hadn’t shut the window as well as she had originally thought Sofia went back to the living room before heading to bed. The first thing that registered in her mind was that Drew was exactly how she had left him, asleep in the armchair, but not the robe. Rather, Drew’s robe hung from the handle of the sliding glass door which was not just slightly ajar but wide open to the dark and chilly night.

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Working on Cadaver Alley was many things, intriguing, almost always, entertaining, more than you might think, but never fun.  As an assistant M.E. Phil prided himself on on being un-shockable he had no queasy feelings when they rolled in, anymore, or shaky knees during autopsy.  Perhaps that was because Phil worked the third shift, to thoes in the know this shift was often reffered to as the graveyard shift, and as apropos as that seemed it fell a little short in his mind.  Phil had chosen third for three specific reasons; firstly he was a night owl always had been and he found that working at night relaxed him, secondly his sleep wake schedule gave him a built in reason to miss any family event he chose, and finally though most relevent was that crime happened at night.  What this most commonly meant was that said person would die at night, be found in the morning, catalouged by day shift, then processed by swing shift, and mearly watched by graveyard.  He often joked that he was a highly qualified baby sitter.

But that was before today.

Today at exactly 12 noon Esmerelda J. Wakefield had been struck by lightning from a clear sky and pronounced dead at the scene.  She had been catalouged by swing and now awaited processing.  Due to his so often avoiding processing it took Phil quite a while to A) remember what needed to be done, B) find the necessary tools for the task, and C) actually proccess poor Miss Wakefield.  However, by his first break he had finished prelim and was now well versed in who Esmerelda was from a statistics and measurement standpoint.

With her file in hand he walked out to the break room to warm his hands around a hot chocolate or coffee sludge which ever appeared fresher.  Sitting down on the threadbare couch he tapped off the t.v., a curiously uncharistic motion from Phil, and began going through it aloud.  Having read it cover to cover he was nothing if not confused.  “How does one go and get electrocuted to death by lightening without a storm, huh Esme,” he asked glancing over his shoulder towards the glass wall which separated the morgue from the break room.

His cup slipped from nerveless fingers as Phil shot into the air, “What the …”  Running to the employee entrance he continued to shake his head and swear, but when his hand reached for the key pad just inches from the panic/emergency button everything went still.  He took a deep breath, “What are you going to tell them, when they get here?  She was watching me!  Who the hell is going to believe that?  Just go in there man you probably set the block wrong.”  Three minutes later and with arms in a defensive position Phil entered the morgue once more.

Esmerelda would have been described as having piercing eyes he thought to himself as he once again meet her stare with eyes so deep set and dark green.  A shudder ran through Phil forcing him to step towards her table.  Sure enough her head had slipped.  So after a moment of silent thanks Phil went back to work.  Now Esme rested beneath a crisp white sheet, “You have no secrets from me now my dear,” he said as he walked to the faucet.  Phil knew it was silly and unnecessary but he still warmed the water against his wrist.  Satisfied with the temperature he turned back to Esmerelda in time to see her hand fall gracefully from under the sheet and seemingly point to the floor.  “Not…possible,” he yelled as he moved to garb her arm with one hand and to pull back the sheet with the other unawear that he came to rest where she pointed.

“Not out of secrets,” Esmerelda whispered as the sheet fell away and she grabbed Phil’s arm.

                                                                             ***

Beth screamed bloody murder as Mike grabbed her wrist.  Laughing he let go to protect himself from the barrage of blows Beth was attempting to land on his head.  He stopped laughing and held his hands up in surrender, “Fine, fine I deserve that…but I got you so good,” Mike said still smiling.

“You ass,” Beth said shooting Mike a withering look.  As they both quieted down the night sounds came back locust in the trees, bull frogs on the lake, and the crackel of logs in the fire. 

Then from the cloudless night sky a bolt of lightening.

The Price of Peace

Trusali while important was not well known to many outsiders.  At first glance it was nothing more than a small, quaint, town.  Located far enough from any city, so as to be considered out of the way, it boasted a mine, fertile farm land, and not much else.  Perhaps the most important good Trusali could offer the world were its people, who were both hard working and capable of collectively keeping the secret.  That was the real surprise to all branches of the government; that unanimously the people of Trusali had chosen to take on the secret.  For the good of all mankind they told themselves indoctrinating the young rather than allowing their noble purpose to become diluted.  So the work continued, though the risk was high, and so far the people found the price of peace worth the cost.

Life went on as usual, mostly.  Children ran to school late with the ringing of the great brass bell, hardworking men and women worked the mine and associated plant, and life, loosely defined, continued on. 

In Trusali each day started with the sounding of the air raid sirens.  This signified the beginning of production in the plant.  Unless you were currently working in the mine or plant what was actually being produced was largely misconstrued.  In the school kids were told that their parents were heros striving to bring a lasting peace to the world, rather than the truths about what exactly was being mined from beneath their fine town. 

For the people of Trusali, though life ran like clockwork, it was the siren not the tolling of the clock tower bells which dictated life.  While the plant was in production mode none entered or left the grounds, but in the pre-dawn darkness curious children would meet at the town center and watch as the adults filed wordlessly past.  From this vantage point the brave ones would bet and dare each other to sneak inside the mines or look into the windows, which leaked  flickering grayish light before the sun rose high enough to mask the weird glow.  Until this night no one had been so foolish as to go more than a few steps onto the plant’s grounds, but Trish, feeling bold in the face of her 18th birthday, had more than just peaked in a window she had slipped inside the plant.

As the door clanged shut behind her an awful sense of foreboding stole over the girl. Trish who only moments ago had looked and felt so alive, as dark strands streamed from her ponytail and light reflected from her bright blue eyes during the mad dash from the gazebo at town center to the well hidden back door, but now the gray light washed her out and dulled her young features. Contemplating either the stairs to her left of the long hallway before her she stood frozen, folded nearly in half, with caution and fear. The sound of someone in the stairwell decided her. Trish, once again determined, started down the hallway, unaware that the person from the stairs was diligently making his rounds to secure and lock all exits.

The hallway had been uneventful, though she had paused and listened at every doorknob there had been neither movement nor sound, which only caused her curiosity to pique. After what seemed and eternity of intermittent tiptoeing and pauses Trish finally neared the end of the hallway. Rather than bursting out into the open space of the lobby she hugged the wall and waited. In the eerie quiet she heard the clock tower bells chime the five o’clock hour and visibly relaxed, knowing that by now all workers were inside and that production was still 30 minutes off. The loud click and whirl of an old fashioned movie projector drew her into a main corridor where she quickly dropped to the floor in an attempt to avoid being seen. Rather than moving through the corridor of windows to the plant, which must lay beyond it, she stopped realizing that she had found the source of the flickering light.

It was an old black and white news reel, the kind which was interwoven with public announcements. Trish was in no risk of being spotted as every set of eyes were glued to the screens at the opposite end of the room. Without the sound she could make out very little of what was going on but to her it looked like something the very first plant workers would have watched to convince them of the good they were doing. Shaking her head Trish moved on, but was disappointed to find that the movie was the only thing happening no matter which corridor she ventured down or which windowed room she peaked in. Standing at the end of one hall she considered making her way back to the stairway, then a series of events occurred so quickly she barely had time to react.

The monotone dong of an electric bell sounded, a horrible hissing sound filled the building in time to the windowed rooms filling with greenish-yellow gas, and the factory, a windowless pit of a place dead just moments ago, whirled to life in a mess of random moving part sounds. Just as quickly the bell toned again, the gas cleared, and the doors opened.

The sound of the air raid siren cut through her confusion and sent the girl into action.

Trish, finding no other options, crouched beneath a wooden bench doing her best to calm her heartbeat and steady her breath. Her eyes, shut tight in an automatic response to fright, were forced open as she heard them and their uneven gait scraping ever closer. Trying not to move an inch Trish scanned the room for an exit, even an improbable one, but in every direction she was met with horror movie images. Her family members and friend’s parents were no longer recognizable with their gray skin, yellowed eyes, and blackish drool as they made their way with single minded intent towards the plant.

A scream caught in her throat nearly broke free and the strangled sound was enough to have diverted a few of the “workers” from task, they moved towards her bench blindly searching for sound or smell to identify the anomaly. Television sets she hadn’t even noticed click into life, a repeat of the film from earlier, catching the attention of those “workers” not yet in the plant. So terrified by recent events Trish stared at the floor hopping a very young hope, that if she could not see those around her that perhaps they would not see her either. Finally the slow sickening shuffle of the “workers” couldn’t be heard anymore, but the propaganda film continued on even without its captive audience.

Unable to walk away from such horror without answers Trish stood and listened to the clean cut man in the nice suit talk.

“The world was brought to the brink of annihilation with nuclear war threats. Parents and children alike in a state of constant fear, but fear not people of Trusali for your government has found the answer.

Peace.

Peace is an element that in its raw form, which has been found within your mine, can be processed in such a way as to put you, your town, and our lands well outside the reach of nuclear fear forever. Sound too good to be true? Well it isn’t.

All we ask of you and your fellow workers is devotion to our cause, career long devotion, and daily aerosolized vaccinations, for your own protection of course. By taking these vaccines you will be able to work with the element as it is converted into its final stage without any fear of harm to yourselves or your families. The reason we are asking this grave favor from the people of Trusali is because without your help…”

Trish never heard what Peace could do for the world nor saw what the finished product looked like. Because while watching the t.v. she had failed to notice the high sharp sound that kept her motionless or the gurgling “worker” moving towards her with slow awkward intent. It was not till the thing had its hand on her shoulder did she awake from the trance, and by then her ability to care was lost in a spray of red as the thing feed.

That day the other children whispered possible scenarios to one another about what Trish might have seen and how much trouble she would be in when her parents found out what she had done, but none were brave enough to look for here even as the sun started its decent and the end of day siren sounded.

Kell stood near the entrance to the room waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dimness. Not for the first time he wondered to himself how he had gotten mixed up in all of this. Scanning the room he had to suppress the shiver running down his spine. These were not your typical let’s hang out Friday night kind of people these were the “walk into my parlor said the spider to the fly” types. He chose to believe that these were all willing flies, but if he was honest more than not the people had those dead eyes that would suggest otherwise.

The guy in a black slim fit tee with bulging rope-like neck muscles nodded him over to the bar. Kell walked with a feigned nonchalance trying not to notice what was happening in the booths he passed.

“Hey Nico, am I on…or?”

“Kidding me? You were on an hour ago. Not that I see how your dance card keeps filling up so fast, but it sure does,” Nico said with his version of a coy smile. “Don’t stray far kid, it’s going to be a long night.”

Kell moved slowly past the man mountain, doing his best not to run, so it took a long time for the beat neck’s laughter to die away under the thump of techno music. He ran a hand through his dirty blonde hair as he walked back to his booth taking soothing deep breaths the whole way.

Even in the smokey semi-dark he could make out the gleam of the lacquered black 43 that marked his booth. Kell closed his eyes in the millisecond of silence during the song change before disappearing into 43. There sat a man who had visited 43 before thick and clumsy he played with the candle in the center of the table, Kell leaned against the door frame waiting to be noticed.

“Forty-three, you startled me,” the man said trying to right the over turned pillar candle. “Sorry for being early, do I need to step out?”

“No, I’m no fuss remember, besides it’s your dime I’m the one should have been early.” Kell smiled and the man stopped fiddling with his hands. “So did you wanna chat a little, or…?” The question hung in the air while he sat down on the opposite side of the booth. The man immediately went back to wringing his hands.

“So, you look different, what have you been up to,” Kell asked. Nico didn’t get it but this was why 43 never sat empty for long, it was the soft smiles and friendly chitchat that made this all seem less like the freak show it was. He didn’t even really have to listen if he didn’t want to just laugh at the right moments and slap his shoulder encouragingly and the man would feel like he had a friend. Though Kell was never completely sure what the person across the table would want this one was easy because he never asked for what he came for.

It hadn’t even been 15 minutes since thick and clumsy left before the next one sat down this one was new. All thin sharp lines Kell disliked the woman instantly. Even more so when he realized her type, controlling.

Her demands didn’t stop till Nico hit the knocker, at which point Miss Obey Me Now packed up her little bag of tricks as prim and tight laced as she arrived, other than the slight flush in the apples of her pale cheeks. Nico must have hit the buzzer too as an iced bottle of still water arrived just seconds after the woman left.

“Ever think about changing it,” he asked while pretending to care more about the dance floor than what Kell’s eyes said in that moment. Such a vague question anywhere else could only mean one thing here, your wills and won’ts.

“No, not ever.” Kell watched as Nico left as baffled as always. He understood why, as most booths had specialties and regulars, but not 43. Here nearly anything was possible with only one item in the won’t column. If he had any question as to what had spurred the brief Q and A the next person cleared it up completely.

“Good evening, Kellan. I hope you don’t mind I just find the numbers to be so impersonal and it wasn’t in your wont’s.” The smile slid off his face like ice.

There was no doubt that Kell was well over his head with this one, but he had left no room for wiggling out. So he settled into his friendly, though blank, mask of a face and waited guard completely up.

With a slight inclination of his head one of the less than willing flies entered, her hair falling past her down turned face to the number 5 which hung on a cord around her neck. None of the others had ever entered his booth and Kell found himself both curious and repulsed.

“Elodie here regularly sees to my needs, and well I must add, but recently I have been hungering for something more.” He paused for effect Kell was sure, but it had the desired effect, his interest was piqued. “None of the other specialists wish to branch out leaving me to ask the anythings to participate. Which brings me to you.”

Kell opted for bravo, “How exactly can I be of help?” It had all sounded to easy and even as jaded as he was he had been too naive to catch on to this guys nuances. So, he played his part touching, caressing, and generally getting number five all worked up. The whole time the man watched and waited, and with only a slight lift of his index finger the game changed.

The girl had moved from Kell’s side to the man’s. He was holding her hand close to his face breathing her in deeply. He moved closer in along her neck line, then suddenly a line of crimson welled up along her clavicle. Even as Kell’s hand moved toward the panic button the thought crystallized that this must be hematolagnia. Just then the man locked eyes with him as he slowly ran his tongue across five’s neck. The process was repeated numerous times and each time Kellan felt more of his soul tear way countered only by the rising gleam of passion in the man’s eyes. At the end of their time the girl wobbled from the both but the man remained.

Silent they stared at one another, till satiated on whatever else he had come for the man rose. “Till next time,” he said with such hunger in his eyes that Kell looked away.

Terrible images flashed through his mind making him question his only won’t, and again making him think about how he had gotten caught in this web of his own devising.

Leaving the Memories

Toby blinked in the gloom, as if awaking from a dream.  Even in the shifting light of the large wood burning oven the liquid pooling ever closer to his feet sparkled ruby red.  His head snapped back quickly at the sound of a tremendous amount of ash falling as the contents of the oven settled.  As the fire licked through the grill on the door light flashed from his closed fist.  Toby glanced down almost surprised to see that he still clutched the silver blade.

He opened his hand and really looked at it; it was the most decorative one he had ever seen, long though not as heavy as it looked, and warm.  As if the thought had burned him Toby gasped and let it clatter to the stone floor.  Shaking his head he started for the stairs his shoes squelching with every step.

Deep red marked his progress through the house where he snatched the coppers and gin he saw on the way to the shop.  Toby paused and debated going upstairs, but the thought made his stomach roll so he walked to the door instead. 

Toby crossed to the corner and glanced over his shoulder, “I thought the good Lord sent you to me,” he said to no one.  Looking straight ahead he walked brushing a tear from his eye, telling himself it was the stench in the smoke nothing else, as he put the memories of Fleet Street behind him.

Monster Chew

It was everything candy should be; eye catching colorful packaging, fun name, and it came in a variety of fruity flavors like Grapeula, Frankenlime, and Zomberry.  With it being only weeks till Halloween no commercial campaign was necessary just well placed cardboard displays at store fronts and Monster Chew bubble gum was sure to be a hit this holiday season.  So it was no surprise that Katie and her best friend Brittney, from Sacred Hearts Academy, were mesmerized as soon as they entered the ShopQuick.  Katie’s favorite color was blue and as such she was immediately drawn to the gum with the pale blue ghostly specter with the curious flavor of Boosenberry, while Brittney picked up the one sporting a hot pink witch.

“Which one are you getting Kate,” Brittney asked as she started walking to the counter.

Katie fallowed her looking longingly over her shoulder at the comic book bubble showing the price, “I can’t get one, I spent my extra lunch money on that Carmel apple today,” she said kicking at a nonexistent dust bunny.

“I’ll share some with you,” Brittney said while they walked out the door.  She made a big show of opening up the foil pack and sniffing to see if it would really taste like the name suggested, but then she paused.  “I don’t think we can share this,”  Brittney said shaking a small amount into her palm.  It was powder.

“How is it gum?”

But Brittney was reading the back of the package and ignoring her as they continued on their walk back home.  Then out of nowhere, “Okay, it says here that it works like magic.  Just pour the powder in your mouth and start chewing, add more powder to intensify flavor, and get this it say at the end of every bag is a magical surprise.”

“A what?  There’s no room for a surprise you would see it or feel it through the bag.”

“It probably just paints your tongue, or switches flavors or something,” Brittney said all garbled.  Sure enough she was licking the powder off her fingers and then dumping more in after.

“Brit, you look ridiculous trying to turn that powder into gum.  Maybe the surprise is lockjaw,” Katie said striving to be humorous while still feeling rather jealous.  Brittney just waved her off and continued down the street to her house.

Throwing her book bag on the bed Katie looked into the mirror and promised herself that even if she went without lunch next Friday she was going to stop first thing Monday morning and buy some Monster Chew.
                                                                                                           ***
Staring at her phone and willing it to ring Katie debated her options; she could go with her family to a cousin’s football game, stay home and watch movies by her self, or call Brittney even though she was supposed to call her.  Desperate to avoid the game she dialed, and was greeting by, “Chom, chom, chom…yeah.”

“Britt?  Um…did you want to come over and rent a movie or something?”

“Can’t, chom, chom, chom.”

“What, why?  What is that sound?”

“Chom, chom, chom, haven’t gotten to the surprise yet.”

“How much gum are you chewing, I think I can actually hear you chewing that powder.”

“Gotta go, chom, chom, chom, talk later.”

Katie sat there staring at the phone listening to dial tone. 
                                                                                                              ***
Laying in bed Katie stared at the ceiling and thought about what had happened at the game.  All night long she had heard that awful chewing sound as everyone seemed to be trying out Monster Chew, but on her way to the concession stand to buy some, for her and her brother to share, she had seen what looked like boy with a greenish tint to his skin sitting in the shadow of the marry-go-round tearing through a bag like an animal.  Even though Katie was sure she hadn’t seen what she thought she saw it decided her against the stuff.  As the game wore on all the chewing sounds went away with all the children to the poorly light playground, and while that concerned Katie her mother didn’t even seem to notice.  So here she was worried about her friend for no reason.  I mean gum can’t hurt people you don’t even swallow it, Katie thought to her self as the sound of shattering glass rang through the night.

She jumped out of bed and ran to her window barely brave enough to peak through the blinds.  Huge dark things were prowling the street smashing into cars and houses alike, but it wasn’t until one stood beneath the light at the end of their driveway that terror truly set in.  Before her very own eyes stood a large, hairy, snarling werewolf.  Katie gasped and slowly back away from the window unsure what to do next.  When her door swung opened she screamed, but it was only her mother and brother, “Watch him Kate.  Stay here and hide do not come out for any reason, I’ll come back for you.”. Then she was gone?

The smashing sounds were getting closer.  The closet wasn’t deep enough to be a good hiding spot and under the bed was an obvious choice, but nowhere else would fit them both.  So it was under the bed pressed back against the wall that the two clung to each other when she heard it.

Chom, chom, chom.  Then the front door splintered inward.

Chom, chom, chom as the monsters made their way down the hall.

Katie clasped a hand over her own mouth as well as her brother’s as her door slammed open, ricocheting off her foot board.  From under the pink dust ruffle Katie could see only feet as the things from nightmares entered her room, and hear only the pounding of her heart which seem to beat in time to the chewing.

Chom, chom, chom…

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