The Mask, by Mitchell Stoycheff; art by P.L. Cobb

The Mask

Deception smiles behind its mask
A facade of joy; a troublesome task
Lying dormant: calculating
As it waits to strike, unsuspecting
Gazes flicker behind the mask
Beware: for in the glory which you bask
For vivid tales can not atone
And towers crumble from single stones

A Portrait of Lust

A Portrait of Lust by Mitchell Stoycheff

Ember flowers

All these lost and hopeful desires

Drift like tufts of dandelion

Wayward dreams, whose light expire

Settle like ash on crumbling bastions

Voices scream aloud for answers

Pleading cries in the breeze

Like flowers of burning embers

They are lost among the seas

What Evil Lives In The Shadows...

What Evil Lives In The Shadows…

Night comes to envelop you in your sweet slumber. The cool winds outside rattle the windows. The lights go out and only the shadows are there to comfort you as they slink across the floor and come out of hiding from their safe havens. They live and breathe in those dark corners of your room where dust and other evil things lurk.

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As a child I would always linger in my doorway. The closet had to be securely shut. I would peek under my bed, which rarely housed anything but dust. I never wanted to give the monsters a reason to come back again with food or toys. I would jump into my bed. Run and jump in.

My sheets still tucked under the corners of the top mattress. I didn’t believe in god but I prayed. Prayed that I would make it through the night and the monsters would stay at bay or bother someone else. I would wiggle into my bed sheets, pull them up to my neck, and wait for my mother to come in to tuck me in. She would check the closet, check the corners, and check under the bed. She would tuck me in and leave the night light on and the door open.

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My imagination would play tricks on me. Forever would I hear noises that I was certain bared teeth and glowing red eyes. Not once had a monster ever visited me, but that never stopped me from keeping my feet and limbs from hanging off my bed at night. You just never know!

As an adult I just don’t see the sense of taking an unnecessary chance.

Sweet dreams!

From your,

Riveting Jacked-In Dreamy Mind-Bender

R. J. Davies.

Afternoon, by P. L. Cobb

Anxiety Evolves Into Something Else

This is part of an ongoing series exclusive to my Patreon: A Huntress of Beasts.
The entire series will be available to patrons only.
You are currently reading draft 3, any suggestions for edits are welcome!

She left her body, dazed, confused. At the other end of the room her body was slumped against the wall. A bright red gash stood in stark contrast with her lemon yellow shirt. From her left ear all the way down to her navel oozed a line of blood onto the bleached-white linoleum. Her face was blurred, as if it had never been.

It was odd how one could feel so free and yet so unfinished at the same time. The body had served as a varnish for her soul; from the corner of her eye she caught herself in a mirror. A shadow stared back at her.

Having the ability to feel things outside of her body was different. Right now she felt a level of anxiety that was so much more intimate with her than if she were alive. Now that everything was bared for the cosmos to gawk at, there was nothing to hide, and Anxiety–pure emotion personified–was given free reign over her. Slowly it began to break away from her corpse, a distinct hum radiating from the thing as it crawled to her, the spirit. A morbid fascination stole over her as she watched.

When It was close enough it began to grope her.

And then it began to dig inside of her.

The Anxiety moved with a such a violent fervour that she was forced to dart away. Running was a mistake. It was useless because there was no where to go, which served as encouragement for the rabid beast. Anxiety just came back again with renewed vigour.

Then it reached the the spot where the choicest of morsels hid–the place where every unsavoury aspect became her–in a crack upon her soul. She did not relish that, in fact it tasted sour, like acid. And she hated it. All she could do was flit back and forth, not unlike a caged bird.

Anxiety’s mouth grew wide, a hiss escaping its great maw, conveying deep-seated frustration. For the first time it had been forced to show something other than its namesake. The creature hunched in on itself, quivering with rage now. Rage coloured the creature, who had been no more than a grey shadow moments before, into a poisonous shade of blue. Blue became purple and purple became red. Then without warning the colour shift began anew, this time erratic.

As the changes slowed to a stop Anxiety’s hunch became severe, more akin to a folding-in on itself than a hunch. It was creating a cocoon. In the flickering lights of the kitchen she saw the cocoon shell glitter, obsidian-like. Beneath the shell she caught a flicker, the creature inside very much alive. She inched closer and spied the outline of a nymph.

For the first time since she had died she could breath. In its frenzy Anxiety had given her the chance to escape. There was no doubt in her mind that it still lusted for her, nor was there any doubt that it would violate her if given the chance.

For the second time since her death she looked into the mirror. Why did she have a mirror in the kitchen? She couldn’t recall. Deep within the glass was the shadow.

The shadow was her.

Without the glamour of flesh or bone she was grey, the same grey as a pigeon. In the kitchen light she even caught an iridescent shimmer.

Was being grey so bad? When she was raised she had been raised to believe in absolutes, blessed truths and abject lies, black and white . . . When she could think for herself she realized that it was all a lie. Life was not black and white. Sometimes it was the shimmering green of a hummingbird, the fiery orange of a tiger, the brazen sheen of an eagle’s eye . . . And sometimes it was a muted grey, like a pigeon.

No. There was nothing wrong with this.

She gave the obsidian cocoon a farewell glance. When she had said her goodbyes she kissed her body on each cheek, and found the open window above the sink. She flew into the night sky, free for the moment. She knew that as soon as Anxiety emerged it would be on the search for her. It was not a pleasant thought. Even more unpleasant was knowing that it would not be the same: Anxiety would evolve into something else.

Anxiety always did. After having its fill of angst it would crave something of more substance. Before it killed her that had been the air from her lungs, the hormones of fear, the tissues of her brain, and then her blood. Perhaps that was why she saw no face, because there wasn’t one to be seen. What had she kissed then? Her skull?

She shivered.

In all of this there was something which was not quite right. Throughout her life she had always experienced Anxiety as a feeling. Feelings didn’t kill, they didn’t lust after you. Whatever had attacked her–

–No. No! A new breed of thought–tasteless, ominous–reared an ugly head at her. None of it stuck, as if she were incapable of comprehension. Fear made her waiver in the sky until all control was lost to her and she dropped like a rock. The thought of closing her eyes did cross her mind, but when she saw the woman below her she couldn’t. A woman below her, looking up at her, and a black aura.

No, not just black. The aura radiated from the woman, much like sun rays, only with an obsidian glitter, eerily cocoon-like. Even with her lack of body she still felt the instinctive tightening of her chest. I can’t breath!

Go on, lover.

Go On, Lover

Go on, lover,
lift up my skirts
feast your eyes where the sun never shines.

Who is it going to hurt?

People like you, they complain
about the agenda of the gays.
“They’re nothing like you and I, beautiful!”
Or so you claim.

I disagree with such statements
false as they are.
In saying them, what do you gain?

They’re almost like me, darling.
They want to love, they want to live.
They want to eat, darling!

You became a part of my agenda
the moment you fell victim to my sultry gaze,
lover.

So go on, lift those skirts.
Let me show you what I live for.

Go on, lover!

I’m gonna eat you up,
maybe more.
Go on, lover, feed this whore.

Licking the Softness, by P.L. Cobb

Licking the Softness

Licking the softness,

tasting the sweetness–

that sugary goodness–

“Oh, sweet flesh of mine!”

(Devouring)

(Engorging)

Licking and sucking,

greedily lapping

warm bodies quivering–

“Oh, you spoil me, Richard!”

(Licking)

(Licking)

(Licking)

Sanguine streams flow lazily

across eyes rolling crazily–

(Biting)

(Sucking)

(Lapping)

“Oh, I could eat you up, Richard!”

Licking the softness . . .

 

West Coast Adventure by R.J. Davies; photography by Mitchell Stoycheff

West Coast Adventure

Bea felt like she was on top of the world. She had just moved to Vancouver after mulling it over in her head for months. Her worldly belongings were packed. Then Bea did the unthinkable and moved across the country to a city she was a stranger in. Her daughter was off at college in Montreal and Bea needed a distraction, an adventure. Ever since the divorce several years ago Bea wanted to do something … She hadn’t known what but knew she needed to mix things up for a bit. Bea decided that the move would be temporary; she’d stay out on the coast for a year and then return to her home town.

What she hadn’t counted on was Jarrod.

Ten years younger than her, two feet taller, and the body of a god. Turning the coffee on she stopped and wondered again what he saw in her. She was pretty, but he looked like a model, the type of person who could have anyone they wanted. They had been dating for three weeks. When they were out in public women were swooning over him, slipping him their numbers–but she noticed he had eyes only for her. Bea felt special. It was something she hadn’t felt in decades. He made her feel young, vibrant and sexy. He was exactly what she needed. In the back of her mind she heard her mother’s nagging voice, he seemed too good to be true. Too perfect … Was he? Nah, she was just lucky to find this amazing guy.

“Coffee’s on,” she called out to him.

“Thanks babe!” he shouted back.

He was in the bathroom. She strolled down the hall to check up on him. It was something she did every so often. Checking her good luck out. Sneaking peeks of him when he wasn’t looking. Looking for some tell tale bad habit to prove the nagging voice in the back of her mind, something that would show that he wasn’t perfect, but he was a lovely in every way. She leaned against the wall and watched him brush his teeth. He didn’t see her watching. He rinsed his toothbrush. He picked up her hairbrush, slowly raised it to his face, and inhaled deeply. A grin creased her lips. God he was so sexy. Then he carefully pulled the hair from her brush, gently holding it in his hand he pulled out a plastic bag and stuffed it in. A knot in her stomach told her that was an odd behaviour. Kind of. Wasn’t it? Maybe he was saving it … To take with him … For what?

“Hey babe I didn’t see you there,” he came out grinning at her.

“I was watching you brush your teeth.”

“Yes all the better to eat you with,” he laughed as he wrapped an arm around her waist scooping her into a warm embrace as he nuzzled her neck. She suddenly forgot what she was concerned about.

Picking her up he carried her back to the bedroom where they had just finished marathon sex. Going in for a replay was so exciting. He had an insatiable appetite that she found overwhelming and exhilarating. They spent the rest of the afternoon wrapped up in each other, corporeal, hungry, experimenting with Karma Sutra moves that left them drained and tired. He pulled her close and nibbled an earlobe.

“You are the most exciting woman I have ever met,” he whispered.

She moaned in agreement.

“You are the only one who gets inside my head and gets me. I have never felt this way with anyone.”

She grinned. “I feel the same way baby.” Bea felt content in his large muscular arms. Jarrod held her close to his sweaty hairy chest and it felt like heaven. She had never felt safer in her life. The little voice in the back of her mind whispered, We don’t know him that well, don’t be so trusting, you’re always so trusting Bea!

She was heading home from work and felt the little hairs on the back of her neck standing on end. The unsettling feeling of being watched haunted her all day long. Working for a bank at the customer service counter she was openly visible to everyone that came in. Bea loved her job and the customers that she dealt with on a regular basis. Today she felt edgy, apprehensive and nervous. She kept watching the clock and couldn’t wait for her shift to be over. At times she was even a little jumpy. She didn’t like that feeling. In all honesty she couldn’t wait to get back to her apartment and close all the curtains. It was the oddest feeling … She hadn’t noticed anyone giving her any extra attention … Nothing more than normal. It could have been that there was another missing woman reported on the news this morning. Same height, hair colour, complexion, and age as she was. People were getting a little anxious: it was the fourth one in the last three months according to the news.

Trying not to give it any thought she stopped at the little corner store. Outside there were bins of fruit and a basket. Picking up a basket she surveyed what was available. She grabbed a pineapple, some strawberries and bananas. Then went inside. The bakery section was all homemade fresh pastries and breads made by the storeowner’s wife. She picked through and found some tarts and a loaf of grained bread. Near the back of the store was the meat section. One of the greatest things about living in the big city there was a slaughterhouse just down the road and the meat in this store was sold cheap. Jarrod actually worked for the place, she could have went there and picked it up directly but this was more convenient. Picking out some beef and chicken she headed back to the check out.

“Hi Bea, how was work today?”

“The usual. How was business today for you?”

“Steady, so I’m not complaining.” He laughed.

She passed him some money and he handed back her change and bagged up her goods.

“There is going to be a street festival tonight maybe you can bring your guy down to that. They will be closing off the street, there will be music, drinking, and a lot of partying.”

“Well, count us in,” she laughed and gave him a wink.

Heading back outside she walked two doors down and entered the door that led up to her apartment. She hurried inside and locked the door. Sighing she looked around her apartment and heaved a sigh of relief … Safe, she was safe. Home safe. No eyes watching her here.

“Hey babes,” Jarrod came out of the bedroom. She screamed.

She nearly dropped her bags. Laughing, she looked at his startled face. “Sorry baby, I didn’t know you would be here.”

“Let me help you with those.” He came over and took the bags.

“There’s a festival going on downstairs tonight. Do you want to go check it out?”

“Sure.” He began putting things away for her.

“How was your day?”

“It was alright. Nothing eventful, how about you?”

“Same. I’m going to go grab a quick shower and change.”

“Sure I’ll make us something to eat.”

The hot water felt like heaven on her tired skin. Bea let the day wash down the drain. She was at home, safe in her apartment, Jarrod was there and making dinner. What more could a woman ask for?

The thought of someone watching her began to feel absurd. An over active imagination … Maybe it was watching too many of those CSI shows. The thought of watching Jarrod take her hair and put it in a baggie popped into her mind. Why would he do that? She laughed at the thought. Was he being romantic? Perhaps she should just come out and ask him. What if it embarrassed him? She knew from experience that some men didn’t like to be embarrassed. Should she just let it go?

Turning the water off she stepped out onto the bathroom mat and began drying off. Staring at herself in the mirror and decided not to let it bother her. Shake off those weird feelings; unless she had proof of something … Then there was nothing there but her imagination running wild. Taking the blow dryer out she plugged it in and dried her hair. There was going to be a party downstairs, maybe that’s exactly what she needed: to take her fella out on the town, have some drinks and go dancing. It was beginning to sound like a lot like something that she didn’t want to pass up. Running the brush through her hair she pulled it back and tied it up in a knot. Gathering up her cloths she dumped them in the laundry basket then headed to the bedroom. Slipping into lace underwear and her skinny jeans she leafed through her soft satin and laced blouses that hung in the closet. She picked out a soft blue that would bring out the colour in her eyes. Bea slipped it on and joined Jarrod out in the kitchen. He was just finishing up dinner so she set the table.

“Looks delicious,” she sat down beside him. Jarrod filled her plate and then his.

“Thanks,” he began to dig in.

“Did you hear, another woman went missing?”

He nodded and continued eating as if she was talking about the weather.

“Someone at work pointed out that these ladies look like me. What do you think?”

He paused, looked at her and finished chewing slowly. Shaking his head. “No baby they don’t look anything like you. You’re my angel.”

She half smiled, “Thanks baby.”

“Stick with me babes, you’ll be safe.” He changed the subject and talked about a couple new movies that were coming out that he wanted to see with her. She enjoyed the distraction and let the subject go.

They danced and drank with new friends until four in the morning. Dragging themselves upstairs they couldn’t stop laughing. As they stumbled into her apartment, he pulled her into his arms.

“You’re the best time I have ever had,” she grinned at him.

He looked at her like she had just slapped him then his features soften. “I have never been anyone’s best time.” Jarrod danced her to the bedroom and she fell asleep in his arms feeling content.

Rousing awake she felt chilled and disoriented. She tried to stretch but her hands, arms and legs were restricted. Bea’s eyes blinked as she looked around her. She was sitting on a cold floor … Where was she? It looked like an empty cellar. It was a 12 by 12 room, all cement. There was a dim light in the corner, the only light that was provided. She couldn’t see a window, only a large metal door. Bea began to scream but her mouth was gagged. What was going on?

The door creaked open and a large man stood in the doorway wearing a rubber clown mask. The light glinted of the cold metal of the large knife he held. What happen? The last thing she remembered was falling asleep in Jarrod’s arms. Jarrod! Oh god, this man killed him! Her mind was racing all over the map. Jarrod was dead somewhere and here she was about to die. All she wanted was a little adventure. The man came into the room and slowly walked over to her. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she sobbed, pleading with him to let her go. He couldn’t make out what she was saying, a small part of her brain understood this, but she couldn’t stop herself.

He came to a stop and knelt down beside her. The tip of the blade he caressed against her cheek, which sent her into another fit of wailing. He gently dragged his knife down her body to her shirt, cutting her favourite blouse. Blinded by fear and tears she felt the blade caress her breast as he ran it over and down to her lacy bra. With one quick movement he cut her bra. The cool air licked her skin.

He leaned in close to her and pulled the mask up part ways as he licked the tears off her cheek. That tongue felt familiar! Oh god Jarrod? Could it really be him? Blinking back the tears she tried to focus on his eyes.

The man chuckled, “I know you know.”

Jarrod! NO!

He pulled off his mask and her heart sank as she realized that this was her boyfriend. By the look in his eyes she wasn’t leaving this cellar alive. 

Longing

Longing:

The desire for something greater

Imprisoned:

Forever repeating mundane cycles

Stabbed, prodded, pushed, pulled and beaten

Following paths of a decaying heart

It beats in time with cracking ice

So thin its facade of serenity

Lanterns burn black, encroaching the light

It’s swollen pulse pumping it’s black poison

Lost: forever in longing

In shadows that all lead to despair

ABCs of Horror Screenshot

Pity

“How can I ever repay you?”

As soon as the words left her mouth she regretted them.

The demon, however, was delighted. He listed the options on his fingers. “Well, well,” he drawled. “You can do two things for me: bear my child or give me your blood.”

She fought the urge to cringe. Neither choice was pleasant. The last one, though, sounded like the lesser of the evils. “I’ll take option B.”

He gave her a mysterious look. “Pity.”

The Enigmatic Monster Project

Monday, or “This is Not Going to Work Out!”

“I can’t believe you did that to me,” he said in a hurt voice, softly. He hated being this afraid of her. Something had to change if she wanted him to stay.

She turned around, every inch of her slug-like body glistening. Today she manifested herself as a bloody gob of phlegm.

He wondered if he had gone too far this time as her body engulfed him. She was livid. “Why do you always start this before I go to work?” he cried. She knew he had to work! And he also knew that it was useless to ask–she would never tell him the real reason for lashing out like this. He gurgled: “Please stop! Can’t you just tell me why, just this once?”

Depression was a likely candidate. Seasonal depression was common during the winter. Did she have a tough weekend? Or was it about having a baby … She had wanted one for a while, but he was still hesitant.

Whenever he was off from work she disappeared, so there was no excuse for this behaviour. At least not in his mind. If he had to guess she was cheating on him, while he remained the loyal husband. She was an enigma, and a killer, but he had always loved her, which made the what if more painful.

“You’re too possessive,” he told her, sadness painting his features. “I don’t think I can go on with this for much longer. I don’t think this is gonna work out. I–” his voice cracked. “I want a divorce!” The words came out in a rush.

Her massive body began to quiver.”Oh, so you’ve finally found your backbone?” She was mocking him.

Mocking him? Admittedly he had trouble understanding her. Today was no different. “Let me go,” he whispered.

“Hmm, no lover. Not today!” Her body began to envelope him as she pulled him inside herself. “You haven’t given me a child yet!”

His voice was drowned out as she trapped him. No! he said to himself, panicked.

His wife’s habits in the bed were voracious, to put it lightly.

Of Nature, written by Mitchell Stoycheff, art by Penny C.

Mistress on the Couch

Those
thick thighs, her prized
loins, eager and
moist.

That look, those eyes,
which draw your soul
to them.

Two full breasts,
spacious land,
the highest peaks of the highest
mountains.

Spread-eagled mistress
on the couch.
Or is it a crouch?

Eyes gleaming like torches
in the moonlight
as red as fresh blood.

Or as red as your blood?

Mistress whimpers for you,
whines for that
touch.

You drug.

Or you drone?

Is she lover, or
is she Queen?

Nah, you think,
as you give in
to your desires,
so divine!

Her body–she has you
wraps around you,
she is so supine–even lupine.

And then you realize
that the hunter loves
its prey.

The Undying Sloth

A Poem For Lust

Set your gaze upon me

And see what you desire

Feel your limbs grow hungry

As your eyes play and conspire

Do you feel the heat rising?

Do you feel your pulse aching?

Can you hear your body scream

As you drift away in daydream

You sold your soul to taste and admire

Without realizing you’ll only embrace hellfire


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The Enigmatic Monster Project

The Mirror

Throw your woes into the mirror

Teary eyes and laughter

Tell me what you want to hear

The things that you admire

Don’t forget to balm your fear

With softly spoken words sincere

Paste an image crystal clear

And try your best to endear

Throw your sadness into the mirror

As you struggle to find an answer

Scream for the image to re-appear

As you feed this hungry fervor

Sculpt an image, try and conjure

The lies that give you closure

I’ll reflect the image of your ire

As you kill yourself for petty desire

False Promise

A world of promise lays its trap

A flower of beauty to behold and unwrap

Of dreams that entice, transfix and ensnare

Something to catch, our victory to declare

A world of promise is all but lies

A harrowing nightmare with a beautiful disguise

Of dreams that dangle just out of reach

As the world devours us lost from beneath


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Lust: Both Noun and Verb

Lust

noun

1 his lust for her: sexual desire, sexual appetite, sexual longing, ardor, desire, passion; libido, sex drive, sexuality, biological urge; lechery, lasciviousness, concupiscence; informal horniness, the hots, randiness.

2 a lust for power: greed, desire, craving, covetousness, eagerness, avidity, cupidity, longing, yearning, hunger, thirst, appetite, hankering. ANTONYMS aversion.

verb

1 he lusted after his employer’s wife: desire, be consumed with desire for, find sexually attractive, crave, covet, ache for, burn for; informal have the hots for, fancy, have a thing about/for, drool over.

2 she lusted after adventure: crave, desire, covet, want, wish for, long for, yearn for, dream of, hanker for, hanker after, hunger for, thirst for, ache for. ANTONYMS dread, avoid.


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No Retribution, No Honour, No Mercy

No

Retribution for the grave robber

No

Honour for the father of the defiler

No

Vengeance for the son of the pigs

No Mercy for the man

From the clan

That killed our brothers, our sisters, our mothers . . .

Nothing for the rich swine

Let them drink the poisoned wine . . .

Let them eat the garbage

Let them waste away in their luxury–their shit

Bury them all in their stronghold.

These are the dying lands.

Yes.

These are the dying lands.



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After Hours

With a shaky inhale she grasped the wall looking for support. There were some things that humans were just not meant to witness.  Swallowing hard she couldn’t believe what she just saw. No … This had to be some kind of sick prank … It wasn’t real. Closing her eyes tightly she tried to block out the images that came flooding back in her mind. Her heart began racing again. No, this couldn’t be happening. She had to call the police! They would know what to do! Wouldn’t they? What would happen if they didn’t believe her? What would happen if they took too long to get here and he had cleaned up the mess in his office?

Jill reached in her pocket for her phone. She didn’t have it! It was stuck in her purse, which was back in his office, along with her car keys and everything she held dear. Her mother’s voice whispered in her brain … Only the gifted are selected. We come from a long line of protectors. It’s our job to protect the world from demons. Demons? What about psychotic bosses who decided to go on murderous rampages? He wasn’t a demon, but he was a murder.

A loud scraping sound sent a shiver crawling up her spine. He was close. He was going to find her! She had done everything for him. She was his cheerleader. She had followed him around like a lovesick puppy! She wanted to have a relationship with that monster! He was a monster. Jilly knew she had to get out of the building. They were the only two people left here. She just had to get pass him and then run … Run like her life depended on it because it did!

Jill Ombright worked for Frank Gelworth for the last five years. She watched him as he rose in the ranks from intern to upper management in one year. She had been thrilled when she was hired to be his assistant. Jill always felt like there was chemistry between them. It was only recently that she was beginning to see what a leach Frank could be. He was her boss and took credit for her work at every turn. He had her work late all the time and she was more than happy to take on his workload. She was a fool. Never in a million years she would have thought he was crazy. Lazy at times but not crazy!

“Think Jilly … Think,” she whispered to herself. She had to get out and get away from him. Once she got outside she could hopefully find someone who had a phone and call 911. He couldn’t get rid of that mess so quickly. He couldn’t even wipe his desk off when he spilled coffee he would call her in to do it. No, he was crazy but there was no way he could get rid of that mess. There was so much blood everywhere. They had specialists that could find blood even after someone cleaned up a crime scene. Her stomach lurch at the thought, covering her mouth with a hand; she couldn’t afford to get sick here. He would surely hear her and then she would be like the very nice security guard Mike Black. No, she couldn’t risk it! Trying to focus her attention on something else. Laundry–she had a basket full of dirty clothes and if she didn’t get out of here they wouldn’t get done. Her family would come in her home and find a basket full of laundry.

Swallowing hard she peeked around the corner and saw that it was empty. Where did he go?  The stairs were less than three feet from her. If she made it to the stairs and got down to the lobby surely she could get out the front door! The throb of blood pulsing in her ears was making it really hard to hear. Holding her breath she decided to just make a break for it.

Keeping low she raced for the stairwell and as she was reaching for the handle Frank swung his ax at her hand nearly cutting into her skin. Yelping she jumped backwards and stared at it wide eyed. Willing her legs to move she was paralyzed and was finding it hard just to breathe.

“Jilly … Jill, I didn’t give you permission to leave work early.”

Her eyes drifted to his face. He looked the same as always. This just had to be some kind of dream … A nightmare. This couldn’t be happening in real life.

He reached out and put his free arm around her and guided her back to his office. Jill thought she was going to have a heart attack along the way. She wasn’t spared the torture of seeing the remains of Mike lying on the floor in a rich warm red pool of his own blood. She opened her mouth to plead for her life but nothing came out.

“Jill I don’t know what you thought you saw here tonight but I assure you it was nothing.”

She couldn’t take her eyes off Mike.

“Jill, I’m talking to you.”

Swallowing she felt herself hyperventilate. He came over and stood between her and Mike and all she saw was his face. He seemed full of concern.

“Jill can you hear me?”

She opened her mouth again … Gasping.

“Jill you need to calm down. You’re going to kill yourself.”

Her head began pounding clutching his arms for support she couldn’t look at him. Air she needed air. Then everything went dark.

Her eyes fluttered open and she forgot where she was at first. Then it all came flooding back. Her eyes went to the spot where Mike’s dead body had laid. He wasn’t there! The place looked clean! What? How?

“Jilly,” Frank came over to her quickly holding a glass of cold water out to her. “Here drink this” His voice soft and full of concern. Kindness, he was showing her kindness.

“But … But …. Where is … I saw …,” she stammered.

“What is it Jilly?”

“Hey you two still here?” Mike poked his head in.

Jill’s eyes went wide … He was alive! How?

“Hey Mike, yes we’re just wrapping up.”

“Jill are you okay?”

She nodded.

“She passed out.”

“Would you like me to call the paramedics?”

“No,” she shook her head slowly as she sat up. She was sitting on Frank’s sofa. Grabbing her head she closed her eyes. What the hell, did she have a nightmare? A vision? Her mother did warn her that seeing their own deaths ran in the family. Could that have been a vision?

Mike came in the office and rested his hand on her shoulder. “Are you going to be alright Jill?”

She looked up at him and felt her stomach lurched as his eyes were glowing red. Looking over at Frank she saw his eyes were glowing purple. She was suffering a delusion or something.

“I think I’ll be fine I’m just going to go now.” She got up.

“That might be a good idea.” Mike patted her on the shoulder.

“It’s on bitch,” Frank growled.

“I think we should get Jilly out of here first,” Mike snarled.

“Yes, let’s get Jilly out of here first,” she whispered. Her heart began to race as she remembered this was how her vision had unfolded. It wasn’t that Frank was a monster … Mike was one too. She was supposed to be a monster slayer of sorts but she just didn’t believe her mother. Jill wished she had taken her mother more seriously. Just like in her vision she made a break for the door just as Frank attacked Mike with an axe! She was as good as dead. The visions are a blessing and a curse but they are never changing, as her mother’s words whispered in her mind she raced for her life.



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Levee

I once was happy so many years ago

From dawn till dusk I had a smile in tow

Those years of enmity seemed but distant memories

A remnant of the past, water behind the levees

Now it seems cracks have begun to form

Too many waves from too many storms

I hold on to my foothold high above the sea

The groan of the levees call: its fortuitous plea

I gaze above; my freedom in my climb

While the waves below echo darkened rhymes

My past is haunting me, wanting its return

A remnant to made whole, where resentment can burn

All will come crashing down if the levee finally breaks

Will I reach the top or will the torrents overtake



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Sloth

Sloth

Fiendish foe, I do not hear
Begone, do not come near
I shall not sigh nor yawn nor doze
Or evoke your name when you are close
I will not tire nor will I yield
I know your motives, your agenda revealed

“Silly mortal, in your haste
Have you forgotten we’ve already embraced
Can you no longer see?
You’ve long been a victim of your own body”

Hush demon, you speak in lies
You can not hide nor disguise
The truths that lay open, beneath my eyes
For you will not claim what it is you prize

“Mortal look. You stand so still
Your strength is rigid and unstable
By becoming one with your conviction
You’ve granted me a bitter sanction
In blatant fervor did you falter
By throwing yourself upon your alter
Open your eyes, the truth is free
You’ve imprisoned yourself, to flee from me”

No. No, this must not be
I loathe to accept this possibility

“Accept it now or wallow in doubt
Truth is harsh and often tantamount
I am Sloth, the fiend of Stagnation
By remaining constant you granted me admission”


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Anna

Anna

Anna poured herself another glass of wine. Sitting at the kitchen island she was turned to the hallway. There was a mirror hung on the wall and her reflection watched her every move. She eyed the beautiful woman staring back at her. She didn’t remember putting the mirror up. Did Ken do that for her? Poor Ken, he just didn’t understand that pretty people didn’t really have to do anything in this world except let others worship their beauty. Ken her newest boyfriend … Rich, not so handsome, but very doting. He followed her around and did whatever she asked. Up until an hour ago when he left in a huff.

What did he mean by that, ‘What will happen to you when your beauty fades and all you have left is your inner beauty for the world to see?’ She didn’t like it. Not for a minute. How dare he implied that she could lose her beauty. Plain people always used that inner beauty crap as a weapon of choice. They liked to refer to it as if it was something special. Use it as a sledgehammer of sorts in a verbal argument. She paused at the thought … Verbal argument? Sure that was a thing, wasn’t it? Humph … Plain people were not special, they were just there for people like her, to take care of the beautiful people. They were lucky to be graced with such a task.

She sniffed and sipped her wine. Anna felt like she might have a cold coming on. Ken was a dear and did buy her this delicious bottle of red wine … Wine was made from grapes and that was fruit. Fruit was good to have when you might be coming down with something, her mother would always say that. Picking up the bottle and her glass she headed off to the living room and sat down on the sofa. Kicking her feet up she turned on the TV and surfed channels as she continued to sip at her glass.

If Ken didn’t come back to make her dinner she would have to order out. What a shame after they went shopping that he would make her waste their money like that. Anna finally found a fashion show on. Checking out the latest buys she marvelled that she had already had purchased a couple of those outfits last week. Yes, she was on top of it all. Ken and people like Ken just didn’t know how much work it took to look so beautiful. She had to make hair appointments, shop, beauty spas, make up … The list was just too great. No, he had no idea and there was just no way to convey this information to him. Ugly and normal people had it made. Really they did, all they had to do was work for a living. Her tummy growled.

Well, that just settled it. Shame on him for not getting back here to make her food. Now she had to get up and get her cell phone and call for take out. She felt the stress of the burden mounting within her. Anna reminded herself that she really should book an appointment for the spa tomorrow. Stress caused wrinkles and this mad man was making her stress. Ken would just have to pay for that too, after all he should be here for her. Where was he anyways?

Anna took five minutes to hunt down her cell phone and dropped back into the sofa feeling like she just went through a work out. She quickly ordered the usual from her favourite French restaurant, and they would be there within forty-five minutes. Forty-five minutes! Ken was really going to hear about this when he returned.

Anna thought she heard something … Like something clawing at the wall? She was hearing a lot of weird noises lately. She turned the TV off and listened hard. No … No, there was nothing. Looking back at the TV she noticed her reflection was a little distorted. It looked like a shadow running across the room. She quickly turned around but there was nothing behind her. Nothing. Looking back at the TV her reflection looked distorted and very wrong. She didn’t look like herself at all. Flicking the TV on she got up and checked her reflection in the mirror.

Mirrors didn’t lie. Anna looked and saw her perfect reflection. Examining herself from every angle she felt pleased with what she saw. Then her reflection winked at her. Her mouth dropped open. Did she just wink at herself? Or did her reflection winkeat her?

She laughed, “oh Anna you’re being silly.”

Touching the cool mirror … it was solid and smooth. It was just a reflection. She stifled a yawn. Staring at herself for a few more minutes she was pleased that it was just a reflection and nothing more. Turning she slowly made her way back to the sofa and sat down. Putting her feet up she stretched. Watching another reality TV show made her feel feel sleepy and she drifted off.

As soon as her human host was in a deep sleep, the monster within woke up. Grinning she got up and peered at her human reflection. She did wink at the human earlier and was pleased that it made Anna a little uneasy. These fragile creatures were too easy for the taking. Especially the beautiful ones, ones that were vain, shallow and lazy. Perfect for the seizing.

The door opened and in came the human male who was called Ken.

“I’m sorry for earlier Anna,” he presented her with a large bouquet of flowers. Red roses … They were her favourites.

“You should be,” Anna walked out to the kitchen. Ken followed.

“I know you are beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.”

She paused and turned to him tilting her head. “Do you?”

He nodded.

“Am I?”

He nodded again. “I’m sorry.”

“I am sure you are,” she grinned. ‘Oh Anna, you do provide me with the best food,’ she thought to herself.

“Will you marry me?” Ken asked.

“Marry you?” she laughed.

“I’m sorry you’re right.” He got down on one knee and smiled broadly. “Anna, will you marry me?”

“Ken, there is something you should know,” she began laughing

“Anna?” he got up looked at her wondering how to react to her outburst.

She stopped laughing and walked over to him grinning. “Ken, I am going to keep you with me always.”

He smiled taking her response as a yes. Hugging her tightly he kissed her on the lips. She grabbed his head with her hands and held him to her face as she began sucking the soul and energy from his body.

She loved watching the eyes of her food as they realized the kiss was no longer a kiss. That there was something wrong … Something so very wrong going on. She was stronger than she appeared. He struggled to push her away with all his might but it wasn’t enough–she wasn’t human, for the most part she was but this part of her … The demon side wasn’t something the strongest human would want to mess with. His struggling turned frantic as the kicked and punched at her. She devoured him like a bowl of soup. When she was done … He was done. The life had left his eyes. The struggle left his limbs. He slumped, slowing to the floor … Lifeless on the cold white marble floor. Grinning she wiped her lips with the back of her hand.

Sighing with satisfaction of eating a good hearty meal she looked down at the body. The doorbell rang.

Anna felt her human side stirring at the sound. Waving her hand at the empty air near Ken’s lifeless body laying in a heap on the kitchen floor she opened a black portal and rolled him into it. Waving her hand again she closed the portal just as the doorbell rang and her human woke from her slumber. Stretching she yawned. Rubbed her stomach and looked around herself. How did she manage to get out into the kitchen? Sleep walking again? Flowers? Ken was back! Great!

The doorbell rang again. She hurried over to it. Opening the door she found the delivery guy smiling at her.

“Good evening miss Anna. You are looking good tonight.”

“I look good every night,” she snapped. She felt a little irritated and didn’t know why.

Handing him cash she took her dinner and closed the door. She took her food out to the kitchen and left it on the counter.

“Ken?” she shouted. “Ken are you here?”

Anna search for him but found only the flowers and an engagement ring he had left on the counter. Opening the bags up she pulled out her dinner. The food smelled delicious but suddenly she didn’t feel hungry anymore. Why didn’t she feel hungry? Where was Ken? What was taking him so long? He should be back by now.

She took her food into the living room and sat down. Flicking channels she found an old movie she liked. Glancing at the door … She hoped he would return soon. She wouldn’t admit it to anyone but she really liked having him around. Anna sighed and settled in to watch a movie she hadn’t seen in a while. She had a feeling she wasn’t alone and it wasn’t scary. It was comforting.


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Scream.

Sing Your Serenade, Poor Mortal

Sing your serenade, poor mortal.

Sing it out loud for me.

Scream it until you tire.

Till your voice quivers and bleeds.

Now enchant me with your heart.

Let me hear its panicked beat.

That sweet thumping rhythm.

Oh, the sound of its release!


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