Farewell Friends, by P.L. Cobb. EMP is coming to a close.

Farewell Friends!

Farewell?

Yes, it is with great sadness that I write this: EMP is coming to a close.

It’s been a scream, and you’ve all been like a sweet dream to us here, but it is time for us to move on. Earlier this year I started down a new path, one which has been leading me further away from the monster.

I will still be on WordPress, however. In fact, I started a new blog earlier in January. This one actually has regular posts (on Wednesday and Saturday), and is a bit more true to what I want to write about.

I love horror, but I also love quirky stories, word-salads, art, etc. I like sparkly shiny things along with the gory and grimy things. Variety is the spice of my life, and I’ve become addicted to that spice, even though it won’t aid me in navigating the cosmos (read Dune, now)!

When I started EMP I had no idea that I would lose all sense of what we were doing. Things got crazy, things got weird. In the end EMP was still a project, but also an excellent learning experience.

And I learned A LOT! Everyone, who was a part of the project did, I think. If it weren’t for EMP I would have never known that you’d love my rage poems, but in 2015 I did it! That was the best year for this blog! I also had a fantastic job, and all the creative energy anyone could ask for in 2015!

But all good things come to an end.

And the monster went back into hiding.

All along, I was trying to capture that elusive beast. Damn. I always missed the mark after 2015. That’s how it seemed at the time.

Maybe I couldn’t find my monster because it had evolved with me. Again: damn. How could I have been so blind? I may not know what makes a monster, because in truth anything can be a monster. When everything is monstrous, suddenly the idea behind a monster loses its mystique.

I would go on, but I think you get the idea. The monster dances to a new tune these days.

Thank you for sticking with us for the past three years.

Keep it monstrous!

Pride–It's What Drives You and I. A short, sweet piece of speculative creative writing written just for the Enigmatic Monster. This story features a couple thoughts on Pride: who it sleeps with, additional names, and how to use it against someone.

Pride–It’s What Drives You and I

Pride–it’s what drives you and I. Here are my thoughts:

Ambition and Pride

Ambition and Pride share a bed, so to speak. Pride is a thing which you can give, take, or swallow. What’s with all that ambition though? Well, Pride is also a feeling, isn’t it?

Yes.

And if the feeling is so good it’s considered a sin if you overindulge. “Don’t become a glutton!” That’s what the older folks used to say, isn’t it? Ambition is desire, drive. Another thing. It results in success. Success equals pride.

The good feeling it gives you, that sweet nectar which lights up your life–how long will it last? Longevity always relies on other factors. Doesn’t it depend on the person, too?

More, more! A tiny voice will say to you. This feeling is not enough. It can’t end! More!

Ambition and Pride lust for one another like dogs in heat. If they can’t find one another, then they’ll go on to the next best thing.

A Rose By Any Other Name

The Thesaurus and I spend a lot of time together. Jealous? Resentful? Envious?

I think not!

Self-esteem. Self-love. More words for the thing called Pride. They’re wonderful things, in just the right amounts. It’s just not socially acceptable to love yourself too much. Too much of a good thing isn’t so wonderful. It’s selfish, arrogant. Sinful.

We’re like containers. Jars, bottles, cans. Some have holes. We allow ourselves to be filled to the brim. If there are no leaks, we become insufferable. But too many leaks and there’s a problem. Dried up we look for a refill. Maybe a refuge.

A friendly face answers our call. The Other.

Not all those who seem friendly, are friendly. How do they say it? Pride goeth (or cometh) before the fall?

This leads us to to the next thought.

Social Warfare

Remove our pride, our armour–our shield–and suddenly whatever ambitions we had can wait. A weapon, wielded by the other, the erosion of our pride–or self-esteem– has a crippling effect.

Give us a taste, watch us puff up. Suddenly we take space. Then prick us. Draw blood and watch us shrink.

Parents are an exceptional example of this. When proud of their children, they heap them with love, praise. The child can’t help but feel good, feel proud of themselves. Why, they deserve it! But, when a parent is the opposite of proud, or simply withholds love from their child–if a parent hurts the self-esteem of the child–it’ll appear as if they’ve really deboned a fish. What good is a person without a spine? With nothing to feel good about, the child will shamble along: pitiful, mad, hungry, like a junkie.

Without pride we’re naked. The problem with this is that we grow up entitled, but stupid. Some people were never taught to think for themselves. Likewise, some people were never taught to love themselves. People become dogs. Dogs are ever loyal to their masters, obeisance demonstrated through fear and adoration; they endure the gaslighting for those sweet, delicious morsels. Pieces of meat …

Good things to be proud of, confident of.

But don’t blame Pride! It’s our responsibility, after all. The onus falls on us. We must stroke our own egos. Don’t give that power to the Other. They’ll take advantage of it, and they’ll abuse you like a privilege.

But they gave us the world! They catered to us! They wrapped our world in brown kraft paper, the same kind that the butcher uses to wrap up his meat. Therein lies the problem: in being given the world, we’ve let go of ourselves. And we are all the weaker for it.

Pride isn’t the monster in this story. As a person, it’s simply the spectator.

 

Anger-It Might be Cliché, written by P.L. Cobb for the Enigmatic Monster Project, an original horror blog.

Anger–It Might Be Cliché

It might be cliché, but hey: anger is a part of our life now.

It’s bad, but can be good, somehow. Good in the way controlled fires are. Left alone, and who knows what chaos it shall mete out. Destruction by the metric tonne.

Also, when driven by anger, you are master of none. No one. Zilch, And there’s no way to change that.

When anger owns your ass, you’re better off as food for the worms, or the grass.

But it all depends, and in the end isn’t that all we can hope for?

If I could pay my bills in rage, perhaps I’d be less than poor. But loathing takes its toll, and always asks for more. So much so that every inch of me feels sore. It’s as if anger has had me whipped, saying: “This is it, bitch!”

Bleed me till I’m dry, let me spend myself until I’m empty. Strip away all my layers, questioning why I pretend to be so complex, so human, when I am really Anger’s whore.

In the end, isn’t that what we all are? Whores?

And then the Spider Came Along, by P.L. Cobb. A supernatural horror short about a widower who comes face to face with his wife's killer.

And then the Spider Came Along

It was a long, dark night. The kind of long and dark where one is lonely. Loneliness was known to cause insanity … But it was also a beacon for other strange things.

He, recently widowed, sat hunched over his desk, carefully carving a squiggle into the wood with a knife. A soft whisper tickled the back of his neck; it was very slight, but still it prickled his skin. Immediately he turned around to find the source. The last thing he wanted to see greeted his wide-eyed stare.

A spectre. No–a ghoul, a mocking visage of his wife was in the room with him. It hurt him to see her decomposed body. It enraged him. Once dark skin was now maggot-white; her hair hung limp around her head like a veil. A death veil.

The ghoul was not truly looking at him, but its pale eyes were pointed in his direction.

In life those eyes had been hazel-green, he reminded himself.

The spectre, the ghoul–whatever it was–raised a hand to point at something behind him. There were, he noticed, puncture wounds running all the way up to the thing’s elbows.

Puncture wounds. His dead wife. Carefully he turned around. Above his head was the creature known as the Spider. It clung to the place where wall met ceiling, hidden in the shadows.

Slowly he stood up, and backed away from the desk. Within a clenched fist the knife felt reassuring. He had always known that the Spider would return, had counted upon it, but never suspected the time to be so soon. I buried her last week! Pure loathing, mixed with fear, set his pulse racing. They seldom have any decency.

There were things which lived beyond the scope of human understanding; the Spider was one amongst many. These beings flitted in and out of time and space. Sometimes they walked between worlds. None of what they did made any sense, save for one: they all had to feed. Hunger, even for a god-like creature, was an instinctual need. Emotions, particularly from organic life, intoxicated them; greed drove them to seek out the choicest individuals, and people died.

His wife was just one amongst many, and the Spider would not stop with just her. A vision flashed before the man’s eyes: of people running, panting, through gloom-laden woods. It had come for both of them on a camping trip. Who would have suspected that a long weekend could go to hell so quick?

It didn’t move from its perch, but it watched him with all eight of its eyes. And he watched it as it began to click its fangs.

He held up the knife, hoping against hope that his plan would not go to hell as his life had. With an unsteady hand he began to carve a sigil onto his free hand. Spider, spider on the wall. Spider, spider in the hall. When you hear the raven’s call, back to your hole you shall crawl. 

The rhyme was stupid, but it steadied his nerves. If an alien god was going to kill him, then he would invite another to kill it. When he finished carving the mark, he managed a weak smile. “I hope you don’t mind me inviting a friend!”

The Spider, the Golden Spider, held no love for the Red Raven, and vice versa. He did not want another juggernaut in his home … But what choice do I have?

The Red Raven was punctual; it answered his call immediately. Another spot of darkness filled the small office. Suddenly, the air became thin. Space became scarce as the two gods sized each other up. Before they clashed, the man ducked out of the room, shutting the door behind him.

Recalcitrant, They Call Me; a poem written by P.L. Cobb for the Enigmatic Monster Project.

Recalcitrant, They Call Me

Adjective |rəˈkalsətrənt|

  1. having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline.

And this is how my story begins,
Not with a bang, no glamorous symphony orchestra
But a sad whisper, a murmur upon the wind:
The shocking tale of a deadly sin,
Wrath is his name–and the love which my mother, and him, must have made
To warrant me such an illustrious name …

Yes, they call me Recalcitrant.

My mother, she must have been the demon of Pride,
For my reputation has superseded me, far and wide!
And I cannot help but gloat.
For it must have been Wrath and Pride, combined
To have created the likes of me.

I could wax on, but that is all, there is no more to see!
And as you go, remember me …
Wherever there is life, I am eternal;
I am recalcitrance: a thing infernal.

Recalcitrant, they call me!

Can I? Written by P.L. Cobb

Can I?

Can I,
Chew my way out of this cocoon,
This thing in which I’ve been marooned,
Or can I,
Join the birds–might I fly
Into the lonely void of the sky?

Or must I remain
Trapped, to grow insane,
Or may I walk free
Beneath the churning seas?

Is it solace I seek,
Or is it vengeance to be eked
Out from this miserable soil?
My cup is so full, it overflows, and boils.

I am wild rage, encased,
The result of a fair lady disgraced.
If I must, I shall wait within this cocoon,
For it would not do to taste the sweet honey of your judgement … Too soon.

Mossy, photography by Mitchell Stoycheff

Puppeteer

A smiling face hides more
A facade that one can front
Various tricks can a smile implore
Where truth will only stunt

There is a curtain that hides the plots
A veil of devious mind racing
How can we withstand the onslaught
When we don’t know who we’re facing

Lives are wasted, to men who hold the power
Where what is precious is profane
An obstacle to simply conquer
Until to ashes we all remain

In the end we are tied to falsehood
Forced to hide our truths within
How many waves have we withstood
When we are constantly searching to begin

How can we find the solace
When we don the masks we admonish
How do we wipe clean the canvas
To cut the strings and vanish