I I am uh ch charlie a uh and th I I know y you won’t bu buh believe me but I need t to tell s s someone um so it uh it was with my family and oh my god it was so awful it oh god I have to start from the beginning so we were st stay staying a at the e the elm manor a and th the no in the summer so school was out a and w we were on a t trip in Ohio the morning middle o of no no nowhere I was actually really bummed cu cause I wa want ted to h hang wi with a all m my fri frien friends and so we went it was a three hour c car ride ride it was over overnight a and so we got there a and it wuh was so so ordinary looking it was like the wo worst ho hotel r room e ever an and it was all wh white with cra crappy a art work um uh and so we stayed there for a while and it was so boring and normal I was so bummed and I was like why are we even going and my mom told me to stop complaining I should have listened oh god so okay I was bitching about it and my mom starts yelling at me and so soon a man comes up and tells her to shut up too and she yells at him oh my god I was so embarrassed so we got kicked out of the ho hot hotel an and oh god please no I mean wait I’ll keep going so I we ended up going to another ho hotel and thi this one was cooler it um uh looked so uh cool and um well it was like a haunted hotel from a movie it looked so fun so we went in and paid it was super cheap and everyone acted really weird they told us curfew was at ten and lasted until six am and and and and we had to be silent or else well and anyone who broke it would be fined a thousand dollars ma promised we wouldn’t at looked at me I looked back and oh man I was like woah a thousand bucks that is so much and why would they do that it seems so extra but anyway so then we get to our room and it has some really cool paintings of cat castles and it is still boring but I am so glad we are here and not at that other place so then it’s really late so we start getting ready to go to sleep and when I get in bed it is 9:57 and my parents are talking and I am laying in bed staring at the ceiling and then a female voice comes to our door and sa says th that okay so she says tha that cu curfew is n now and so we can’t talk anymore so everyone is quiet but I am still awake and now it doesn’t seem cool anymore ma no no way it it is way way way way t too creepy creepy man too creepy so um well I listen to the click it sounds so loud in the silence and I can’t fall asleep because it is just too too w weird ma man it is so so so so so so so so weird oh man and then oh god oh god oh god anyway so then and then at midnight I hear my mom and dad talking again an and I do don’t kn know wuh why but I feel so scared I want to yell at them to stop don’t you know we need to pay a fine but I don’t I’m too scared but then I hear a knock at the door and my bones freeze in in in in in inside me it’s like so scary man I have such bad goosebumps and I am so scared we’re going to get fined and pay a thousand dollars okay so I know a thousand dollars isn’t a lot of money to adults but it is to me cause I only have a hundred dollars and I’m saving up for a bike and the bike I want is a thousand dollars so if I have to pay money then I I I will end up being broke and in debt but maybe mom and dad will pay it they have jobs and stuff so a thousand dollars is probably o o okay fo for for them to pay but still they are going to get fined at least they aren’t talking anymore they are staring at the lock and I close my eyes and hope they don’t see that I am awake oh god I am so scared I don’t know why it’s just so weird this place is weird so weird I we shouldn’t h ah have cu cu come here becau because there is something evil but the knocking is back and it’s louder and oh god my heart is pounding why did we come oh god we won’t escape well we will be eaten and we will die and no one will miss us and we will be ghosts trapped here forever the person at the door is yelling now trying to get us to come out it’s a guy he is yelling get the fuck out of there and pay your fine mom and dad are scared too they stare at the door with shining eyes their eyes are so wide they are so scared then I hear a horrifying sound the jungle of keys and oh god he’s coming in so I roll over and close my eyes and vow not to move until it is morning when there is light because right now it is dark and my eyes are shut and I am hearing sounds I don’t know what they ar are but I know they will realize I am awake eventually I am staring at the blood spattered wall at some point something came in one one of tho those thi things th that makes the weird noises and then my mom screamed and then my dad made a gurgle sou sound and so then uh um oh oh god oh gu god I can’t okay but I have to yes anyway so then I look and there is this thing this it looked looks like a human but but it’s sk skin is so so so pale and it’s so weird it looks like a walking skeleton covered in plastic wrap oh god any anyway so so so um well then it turns around and I close my eyes and I hear my mom and dad scream more and then I open my eyes back up and my mom and dad are hanging from the ceiling like okay so this one time my dad took me into his butcher shop and it scared me so bad cause there were was all this de dead meat hanging from the ceiling and it smelled so bad well that was now and they are all bloody my parents are all bloody their chests are sliced open and they are all red oh no god I have to puke but I can’t bec because so anyway they are all torn up and I wa want to to lo look a away and um well then I shut my eyes buh buh becuh because so the monster is coming again and so I squeeze my eyes shut and oh god it’s so scary so then now I open I open my eye eye eyes and there is the monster face it is so disgusting it’s rotted and fleshy and white and carved into the flesh where the eyes should be is the number ten but it has no eyes just shallow ditches webbed over with white skin and grayish patches of skin are falling off it and it has a a a nose like a snake and and and it has no mouth either just a slit that is a smile cut into his skin he’s the reason the curfew is ten he he is the reason he is so scary oh god I’m so scared tears are dribbling down my face and it looks at me and smiles and it says you’ve been a good boy you followed curfew you are a good boy and then it looks at me so since you’re such a good boy you have to join us and then my eyes shut and I was asleep and when I woke everything was normal we are back at home me and my family and my dog and then I woke up today and looked into the mirror and my mouth is gone it’s just a slit and my skin is fleshy white and then as I watch the disease creeps up my face and my eyes go da dark bec because I I don’t ha have any eyes to see so that’s why I’m recording this on my ta tape and oh I hope someone finds this I am so alone and I’m back in the hotel and I can see but I can’t control it and the disease I kill people oh god they are everywhere there is so much blood and I thought that a thousand dollars was enough to keep them away and oh god I’m only eleven and why can’t they just listen to the people they need to be silent after ten it’s not hard oh god I should never have come to this hotel and they need to up the price maybe a million then maybe they’ll listen or maybe just I don’t know but oh god it’s almost ten again I have to go out and hunt again I can’t control my body anymore I can only do things when it is daytime and I have to hide out of sight out of the light the light burns but please someone come and put me out of my misery I am in Ohio at please come it’s nine fifty nine the address is....
*hears screaming in background*
*audio recording ends*
You mean a bear?
You think I care?
than any beast.
I will never
be the least.
I will fight,
count on that.
If it tries to harm me,
be it bear, dog or cat,
I will bite it.
And use my claws.
Finish it off,
and fill my jaws.
Big City Nights
The transition from the pulsing strobes and pumping electro-rythmic DJ beats into the deserted city street was sobering. It was like passing through a wormhole into another world. She had stayed longer than she intended. She supposed it was that cute kid’s fault. Because of him she hadn’t noticed the thinning dance floor, nor the empty tables and bar stools that preceded the “last call” for drinks. It had been years since she had screamed along to, “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire...”!!! Wasn’t it amazing that they still did that!
This business trip had given her a chance to cut loose one more time. She and Andy never went out anymore. She realized now how much she loved it, at least once in a while. Tonight had been a blast, up until now that is, but now it was quickly growing serious.
She pulled up. Maybe she should go back inside and call a cab, or an “Uber”, but it was only three or four blocks to the hotel. She focused her eyes until the blurriness that was her phone screen cleared. Shit, she was drunk. It was almost 3:00 am. What the hell was she doing? She wasn’t in college anymore! Christ, she was thirty-five years old, plenty old enough to know better. At least she had been sober enough to decline the kid’s invitation to go back to his place. It had been flattering, that’s all. He was simply affirmation that she still had ‘it’!
She had liquidated her cash into Jager shots. If she called someone she would have to pay with a card. Andy would see that. He would wonder about a 3:00 am bill when she had a fucking presentation to give tomorrow morning.
The street looked like a movie scene, like a deep, urban canyon with ancient streetlights dimly illuminating bumper-to-bumper lines of neglected, outdated cars. Steam flowed like smoke down its center from strategically spaced manhole covers. She could still get three or four hours of sleep if she got back to the hotel quickly. She would walk. She glanced left, and then right. She was a little bit mixed up. Was it left?
Left. She was sure it was left. She had made only one turn to get here, hopefully she would recognize it. She started out with shaky confidence. Her heels clicked loudly on the sidewalk, echoing from the concrete and brick. Anyone could hear her coming from a mile away. She started to take the annoying shoes off, but the concrete was filthy. She was being silly. It was only a few blocks!
Up ahead the traffic signal clicked loudly as it switched from green to red. She had never noticed how loud those things were! She tried to walk faster, but found herself weaving from the Jagermeister. On the next block, across the street there, a shadow moved. She crossed slowly at the walkway, giving the shadow time to go where-ever it was going. Her eyes darted this way and that. There were shadows everywhere. Deep shadows. The shadows would provide perfect cover for someone who wanted to... well, for someone bad. She didn’t want to think about someone like that right now. She had never been in a city at night. Not alone. She didn’t like it. She realized her vulnerability. She was not accustomed to feeling weak. She started walking faster again, damn the weaving. She imagined dangers now in every shadowed spot, and behind every lampost, or stoop.
The sounds of a couple fighting fell from somewhere above her like rain, soaking her in their fear. She heard their shouts plainly, then a feminine scream followed by breaking glass. A dumpster lid clanked down a darkened alley. Her heels clicked hard and fast now, like her pulse. This was stupid, she shouldn’t be here. She didn’t belong here. She looked down at her short dress, and her bare legs below it. She would go back to the dance club. She would get a cab. Screw Andy and his fucking questions. She hadn’t done anything wrong, had she? Just a regrettable kiss that had tasted of stale tobacco. She didn’t count the way she had grinded herself against that kid’s pelvis... that was just dancing, wasn’t it?
She turned to go back. She had come further than she thought. A block and a half away a knot of young men were gathered beneath a street lamp outside the club. The kids who had looked “cool” earlier in their knit caps and tattoos looked menacing now as they smoked their cigarettes and looked up the street in her direction. She turned back around, back toward the hotel. It was only two more blocks, but the very air around her reeked of garbage, and gasoline vapors, and people. Foolishly, she began to run.
The shoes were not made for running. The woman wearing them was in no condition to run. The combination was fatal. She was doing fairly well until she heard footsteps behind her, footsteps coming fast, slapping aggressively on the sidewalk. She tried to run even faster, but a stiletto heel struck a crack, an ankle turned, and the race ended with a thud, and in a bloody heap along the curb.
She gave up. She could hear him coming. She curled herself into a ball, the tears streaming down her face. He was going to kill her. She probably deserved it. She was acting shamelessly. This is what happened to people like her, wasn’t it? She watched movies, and she read the “Times” best-sellers. She just never thought it would happen to her.
She was lying in a ball when he came up to her, her body bathed in the neon light of a closed pharmacy. Her knees were scratched from her fall and the palms of her hands bloody from catching herself on the way down. Her dress was hiked up around her hips, exposing pretty thighs and panties. “Here, let me help you up.”
”No! Don’t touch me!”
”It’s ok! It’s me, Antonio, from the club?”
”Leave me alone.”
”I don’t think you need to be alone. This is not a good place. I’ll take you to your hotel.”
She rose slowly, testing her bruised and skinned body. Through her tears she saw the kid from the night club. He circled a comforting arm around her shoulders, “Come on, I know a shortcut. You can trust me.”
She put herself in his hands, giving in to her helplessness. She closed her eyes, letting him guide her where he would. He spoke soft, comfortable words as they walked. She laid her head on his shoulder.
It came to her as a shock. She realized it had been there for a while, she just hadn’t paid it heed in her exhaustion, and her need. His hand was cupped on her buttocks, gently squeezing. Her eyes flared open to find he had led her into a darkened alley. The fears flooded back. She gazed at him through lamb eyes, wide and round. Damnit! He had told her she could trust him!
He no longer looked like a kid. Young maybe, but he was tall, much taller than she was, and muscular. He stank of tobacco, and whiskey. She looked into eyes slanted and yellow.
”It’s a short-cut, Pretty Lady. Relax. Trust me.
Let’s dance one more dance.”
The Monster Returns
Once a year the monster emerges from the shadows, silent and invisible it stalks us biding its time before going in for the kill. It always seems to take the best of us, the strongest and fastest males. Luckily the creature seems to hold little, if any, interest in our females and young. Years ago it took my father, this year I know, it's coming for me.
I can still remember my fathers death, he was always so vigilant but the creature kills so quietly father was gone before he even noticed its presence. The rest of us ran away in terror, I was young there was nothing I could do at the time. When we returned all that remained was blood on the ground and the scent of death in the air. I refuse to suffer the same fate, I am faster, bigger and stronger than he ever was I truly believe I stand a chance. Unlike those taken before I will not be dragged to the monsters lair and devoured, I will fight.
This I believe until the monsters roar echoes in my ears. They all run and I try to follow but instead collapse to the ground, my life-force pouring out into the grass. This is how father went and only now do I realize he, and I, never stood a chance. I can see it now coming towards me, emerging from the brush with odd legs and a single long claw. It's smaller than I thought but more hideous than anything I have ever seen. As I fade away it makes sounds I hear but do not understand. Then I see its eyes on my pride, that which probably doomed me to this fate, my spectacular antlers.
A dreary night cascaded over a cold day somewhere deep in the American mountains. The air still save for a light breeze over the ground. Amidst the pines and creeks stood a cabin surrounded by finished and unfinished woodcraft. The man who lived here had settled here after the city, now far from here, had taken nearly everything from him. In response he had pushed everything away, including anyone who had tried to get close to him and had never succeeded.
Paul was a solitary man. Never had he seen the use for pets or comforts of the kind. It was loneliness he desired, and loneliness he had paid for. Little did he know, loneliness couldn’t have been further away…
He hunted for his food. Purified his own water with fire. Picked berries. Killed wolf, bear and often bird alike with his bow and arrow and roasted them in his kitchen, a room with a large fire pit under a second chimney he had built himself. It only took a month.
But tonight, as fate would have it, he did not hunt alone. About a mile from the cabin, he came upon a wolf bleeding into the ground before he found it. Anger rose in him, but suspicion beat it’s progress to the surface as he approached the carcass.
What had done this?
What was obvious was that it had been torn apart by tooth and claw. A bear perhaps, but a bear would use claw alone, and no beast he had tracked before could leave teeth marks like this. A clean tear from the body, the mouth far too wide from the look of what was left. Chunks missing from the shoulder and paws completely missing as was much of the left leg.
Of what was left, Paul carried back to the cabin. When he returned to hint in a days time, he brought a dagger in case he was surprised.
It came as little shock when he found another wolf carcass. Attacked similarly, and eaten more completely than the last. Hind legs missing and eviscerated, the smell permeating Paul’s lungs as he hauled the body into a sack and once again brought home dinner he hadn’t quite properly earned.
What did give Paul a pulled jaw and a staggered step was the day he found what remained of that pack of wolves. This time it was only a half a mile from the cabin. Drawn by the smell, a sign that the thing had struck again, he had brought his sack along, but was unprepared for the sight he met.
Half-eaten wolves were one thing, but this was a massacre. For each wolf was missing it’s head, and what was left made Paul sick to think of what if any sort of meal this was. It made him sicker to know that for a fact, this thing was getting too close to his cabin.
Hoping that a monster like this was only interested in four-legged creatures, his senses were heightened as he retreated from the scene, wanting no par in it’s horrific detail.
On his way back to the cabin, he removed his footprints and repaired the path he had taken toward the smell. It was nightfall when he returned to find his back door wide open, a fire going in his kitchen.
But when he entered his home, an arrow tucked between his fingers as he swept from room to room, there was no sign of anything, or anyone, amongst the heat from the large fire in the kitchen pit.
Paul didn’t wait for caution. It was going to be him or whatever beast awaited his arrow in their heart now.
The wolf killings were all he had to lead him to the beast. First, he had to collect wolf’s blood and draw the beast into open land. There he would find out what it was. There he would end the menace for good.
Smelling his way back along the trees, half a mile from the cabin, landmarks forming along his way, he found the place easier this time. But when his eyes found the ground, they met only dried blood. Nothing resembled the scene he had encountered hours ago. It appeared that not only had the beast fed on the rest of his kill, but that this also meant, to Paul’s horror, that the beast was still close.
For a moment he stood there and quivered. A branch snapped in the distance. Paul swiveled. His bow shaking. The arrow almost falling as he gulped for air, desperate all of a sudden for sustenance.
Then it hit him. Hard as stone on his skull. The beast had drawn him out, not the other way around. But as he thought, he fell, and all was black.
Paul awoke right where he had fallen. Regaining his senses, he felt the back of his head and found blood there. Rising to his feet, he felt dazed and disoriented. He slowly forced his focus to return. It was then that he remembered… but his weapon was gone, along with his load of arrows.
He had brought just one bow and had to force himself not to search the area for the beast. Or whatever it was that hit him… and could have eaten him… His theory of the beast only having the taste for four legged creatures became more reasonable. Relieved at having escaped death, he set off quickly for the cabin.
When he arrived, quickly closing the door, he caught his breath in the living room before grabbing a new bow off of the vertical beam that began the staircase. On the floor were fresh arrows, and he was armed again.
The door began to pound behind him. Someone was banging on it from the other side. As Paul fixed an arrow to it’s string, the next series of bangs sent him to the floor. Apparently the beast was not only strong, but angry. Somehow Paul found his feet and retreated up a few steps as it was only a matter of time before the door lost its structural integrity and broke apart under such treatment. As he wished he had put a chair underneath it, the door broke apart inward and the beast came tumbling through.
It was surprisingly quick how fast the thing moved through the house. In a few short moments, Paul caught a glimpse of a short greenish man with short arms, long pointed ears and a fat head. It was also skinnier in the legs, and strangely, had a torso much like that of a starving child. All over his green skin were bumps and boils, while at his waist was worn a torn cloth. Without noticing the stairs or much of the cabin’s interior at all, the beast zoomed back out of the hole he had made of the front door. Leaving Paul awestruck behind him.
Shaking off this shock, Paul realized this was his chance. Jumping off of the stairs, he gave pursuit. Outside the cabin he saw it running through the trees. He cast a warning shot above the beast’s head that thudded into a tree instead but the monster ran on.
Paul picked up his pace, firing off an arrow every few steps. After a few minutes, the monster climbed into a tall pine and out of sight of the forest floor. Paul stopped below the tree and began to circle it, looking for the color of his enemy.
He spotted the beast feeding on a hawk as if nothing was wrong. It took a well placed arrow to not get caught in the many branches between them. But Paul found his angle, and shot.
The beast swayed where it sat, the shaft protruding from the back of its neck, and started to fall. As it’s limbs hit the first few branches, Paul moved clear of the base of the tree. Moments later the beast hit the floor in a heap of bird feathers and green boiled skin.
Paul took the fresh carcass by the feet and flung it over a shoulder. The fire in the kitchen pit smoked up the forest and surrounding patches of land as Paul was once again safe in his cabin, free to hunt wolf, bear, fowl, and if he ever met another,
I awoke to find my skin complexion had changed
In what seemed like an abandoned schoolhouse
My clothes were that of somebody that had attended church the night before
Tattered enough to presume I had been in a fight
This school house had been turned into something other than its appearance. Old hospital beds filled the classrooms.
Dilapidated were all aesthetic aspects of my surroundings.
Windows through which rocks have been thrown.
Dingy white sheets on all of the surrounding beds starting to develop mold spores.
Indicating mid summer of some where that was extremely humid. The thought of Louisiana instantly fills my head with no basis.
I stand up in order to feel my legs.
Something simultaneously runs up to the window.
Catching me completely off guard and triggering the fight or flight response.
My legs have yet to formulate a response that agrees with my brain resulting in my loss of balance.
I suddenly fall to my knees catching myself on the bed frame.
The onlooker appears to be unaffected by my actions as he silently watch’s me from outside of the window.
I stare at the outline of his figure for thirty seconds.
Seemingly harmless I divert my attention back to standing up.
Grabbing the sheets along with the bed frame I notice the sheets on my bed are clean.
Quickly I double check the room confirming my earlier observation.
Now my legs seem to have feeling in them as I wiggle my toes left to right.
I begin heading out of the classroom into the hallway finding the ominously outlined figure by the double doors closest to the cafeteria. I look in his direction, then to the left, which reveals a problem for me. The set of doors on the left lead outside proposing this question. How did the figure get inside? Looking back at the figure the hair on my neck begins to stand up, so I start taking steps back into the classroom. Right as I set my foot into the classroom someone begins to tap on the outside of the window. Turning around as fast I can, only to find the figure outside the window as if he had never left. Immediately I look back towards the cafeteria now missing the dark figure. The tapping slowly increasing in strength, also starts to effect me. With each tap my motor skills begin to decrease. I stumbled into the lockers in the opposite direction of the cafeteria. Using the locker as a sort of crutch I look to the double doors to find three dark figures outside of them. At this point, with each tap I begin to slightly lose consciousness. I turn around, in a falling motion, to head back into the classroom. Except the figure that was tapping on the outside of the window is now at the doorway of the classroom. He taps on the doorframe one final time, paralyzing me. I regain consciousness as I’m being drug into the woods, but just as quickly losing it.
Finally, I awake in the middle of an old fashioned church surrounded by the figures.To my left, to my right, in front, and behind me.There is also one of the figures on stage as if he were preaching.
Displaying the body language of a lively preacher, without the noise. The preacher goes on with his sermon for another ten minutes, during which I remain paralyzed from the neck down. After the ten minutes he dramatically closes whatever book he was reading. The other four figures then stand in sync, all grab me, and begin carrying me towards the stage. They throw me in the tub behind the alter. I am still paralyzed from the neck down, so I begin frantically trying to get my head out of the water. There I sit struggling in the tub for three minutes and twenty five seconds. The entire time they didn’t move whatsoever, but for the last fifteen seconds of my life they began screeching this terrible noise. A noise, even after having woken up from the dream, I have a hard time shaking. It’s as if the noise originated from the back of my eyes, then clawed it’s way out of my head while simultaneously breaking the last of my spirit. Resulting in my full paralysis, leaving my motionless body to submerge into the shallow grave that was the tub.
Army scouts watched the sun rise over an unknown man rumbling down a rocky hill. The scouts took note and returned to their camp. Weeks more went by before the scouting report would be interpreted. It was determined that the unknown man on the hill was a person of interest, so orders for a search and rescue were sent to a platoon of Rangers from Camp Blessing, patrolling just three klicks from the location.
By the time the Rangers had been sent in, Captain Repass had been MIA for seven months, alone, not by chance but choice. He was the third generation of Repass men to be captain, but his path was longer and more difficult than the one taken by his father or his grandfather, and it showed through his scars and disfigured bones. Seven months ago, in the middle of his company’s operation within enemy territory, he stood in the mouth of a dark cave that he had discovered earlier that day, and radioed in for air support, dropping one hundred and fifty-five millimeter rounds of pain and anger on the head of his men.
The Ranger platoon that was sent to find him walked up and down several hills around the valley for hours until they found boot prints leading up to the cave. They immediately recognized the rank smell of sweat and blood. While the rest secured the area outside, three Rangers went in.
They were greeted by neat piles of flayed human skulls, smiling, and staring back in gleeful surprise of their unexpected visitors. In the middle of the floor was a smoldering fire and a foot roasting cheerfully above it. There were hundreds of bones, everywhere, charred and flayed, splintered and crushed, scattered throughout. When the human flesh was discovered, hanging on wooden racks to dry, the Rangers raced for the exit to escape the revolting stench.
In the distance Repass watched the Ranger platoon through his rifle scope. On a tanned and muscled bicep he sported a tattoo of a skull, with glaring eyes, a dagger in its teeth, and the words Paladin and Knight written on red banners above and below it. His tired face was darkened and dry from too much time in the sun, and shaped into sharp points by hard winds and morbid diet. He aimed his rifle at the radioman’s head. When the Ranger started talking into his handset Repass knew he’d lost his cave.
“Die, you piece of shit,” he muttered, exhaled and took a shot.
The shot was off by yards. In frustration he stared up at the sun as if seeing it for the first time ever, he raised a hand to block its light.
“No more,” he said. “No more.”
#literature #fiction #microfiction #military #challenges #monsters