The Cult of Acceptance

“I call it the Cult of Acceptance.” Da’kiri grinned. “But it’s anything but accepting.”

“You know how I love catches,” Offrith purred. “Go on.”

His grin quickly morphed into a snarl. “Of course, my lady.”

The lady laughed at his sudden change of character, treating it as if it were something commonplace.

“They preach their acceptance, crusading for anybody, anything; it’s all for nothing though, they never learn. The truth is that they only accept those who think like them . . . Who are them, essentially. When they realize that mistake they quickly become horrified, but it is the other person who is wrong–they are the ones who are mentally ill!” He stopped, cocking his head to the side, as if listening. “In the end they still push everyone to the margins. It’s almost like their cult of happiness . . .”

At this the lady gave pause. “What a bunch of animals. Your understanding of them always astounds me. I gave up on the things a long time ago.” She smiled at that; time was of no consequence to her.

“Understanding them is not always simple,” Da’Kiri conceded.

“That is why you are the king in the shadows though, is it not?” she said in a soft whisper. “You are such a demon!” Her grin turned into a horrible snarl.

coopid

The Inevitable Moment

A child of two worlds can only live in one. That meant two choices that he could make: suffer a life of hardship in this miserable world, or cross over to the next. The second choice was a seductive one, one more preferable than the first one, and it had a catch.

To enter that world, he would have to die in this one. The thought of death was not a comforting one . . . Not after witnessing that of his father. His father had been a good man, but he had taken up with a woman from the other world . . . As soon as the truth had come out he became a dead man. His son would be the next.

“Come join us,” his mother said in her soft voice, reaching toward him. She was offering him a sword. “There is no pain or suffering, no death . . .”

He took her silent offering; then, holding his breath, he did the inevitable: he impaled himself upon the sword, his sword, crumpling in a heap. As he bled out, he realized that there had never been much of a choice.

It was all inevitable.

“Life is a horror,” he thought.

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This is Mine, This Thing

This is mine.

This thing called guilt . . .

Is that right?

You ask: why fight?

Who are you,

that you are always right?

What dark god gave you

all your ungodly power;

tell me,

so that I may kill him.

coopid

Friday Day Dreams

Today was as night,

the two were the same.

There was nothing in sight,

not one thing, for miles on that desolate plain.

Something told me that this wasn’t right

as I stood in the rain.

But there was no one who could listen to my plight.

In the end there’s no point in telling you about this, because there’s nothing to gain.

On a day of night,

there is only yourself to blame.

coopid

 

Seed Clouds

A cloud passes over their faces.

An all-consuming cloud of confusion.

Then the rain starts; it races,

red rivulets like liquid rubies, down their faces.

The cloud is filling all of their empty spaces

with its fell brood.

Only the word fell can describe the feeling

of something beyond comprehension stealing

your mind, and then your body.

You say you’re still you, but I say: “Hardly.”

ashkenaz

A Hunted Man

She gave him a quick side glance. What are you? she thought. This stranger wasn’t like most of the men she met on her daily routine; there was a certain troubled air about him, an apprehension . . . It was in the way his eyes would wander across the street, like he had no idea where he was going, or what he was looking for. He was going through the motions.

What’s more, there was something that made him stick out; she couldn’t place a finger on what that something was. Maybe she knew him? No, that’s a far stretch, I’ve never seen this person before in my life. Maybe . . . The first thought that came to mind when she first saw him was: wow, he’s really old. He looked to be in his mid-thirties, which did little to explain that thought. Who could really tell now, though? Few people she had met looked their age . . .

Still . . .

He ended up seated a few tables away from her, just close enough to keep an eye on him. Who are you? Did you follow me here, after you noticed me watching? Was I really that obvious?

The stranger ate his meal in silence, occasionally looking at the people around him, not quite casually but with a definite questioning look. The more she observed the man the more she realized how tense he really was. He was about to snap.

She stood up to leave; just as she was about to exit the cafe, another questionable man came in. This one was searching the cafe, as if expecting to find someone there.

The other man, she noticed, had vanished.

So, the wandering stranger is a hunted man? Why? The questionable man: he was an enigma. An uncomfortable one. He was an albino, or appeared to be; there was something about the pigmentation in his skin overall, lacking in any of the undertones one would expect. The man was simply dead white.

Like a maggot.

A pair of sunglasses obscured part of his face, but not that pointed chin. He was average height, but for some mysterious reason she kept telling herself that he was bigger than that. After arguing with herself for two seconds it suddenly dawned on her that the albino was not human. Not with those proportions . . .

She walked away without another moment of hesitation.

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Other Things

Marianna chose to ignore him. She always did; she had no idea if she was being delusional or not. Somehow she had convinced herself that pretending like nothing was there would cause that thing to go away. Somehow she still heard him whispering in her ears.

“Am I crazy?” was the number one question amongst a thousand others. Like most of them it also had no definite answers. Lately she had become to doubt the nature of reality. If she ever found the truth, she wouldn’t know what to do about it.

“I can wait,” he said in a soft whisper. “In the end you always come around.”

She sighed.

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One More Time

IMG_0091One More Time

Today we feel so pretty; oh so pretty, and witty . . .

Pretty on the outside,

but there’s no telling about our insides.

Not unless you were to cut us down. Then you may find us filthy.

You can hide, or try, from our good looks.

That’s about all you can hide from . . .

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Lonely Things

Are you like me?

Walking this earth like a silent ghost,

in search of a wayward host?

So am I.

The stakes are high,

when you’re on your own–

you and I, we’re both alone.

Let’s be one, for one night.

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No More Than a Hybrid

All those strangers,

who thought they knew me after no amount of time.

I thought I knew them too.

“We think so highly of you,” they said.

So, now that I have turned their world upside down,

turned it on its head . . .

Do they still think so highly of me?

Now they know, I am nothing more

than human,

a hybrid of good and evil.

Is it me, or is it truly them?

I make no claims to be nothing more than what I am.

So it must be them,

these people who live in a dream land.

It must be nice,

except when confronted with the hard facts of life . . .

I don’t care.

coopid

Seemingly Sunshine

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Seemingly Sunshine

Seemingly sunshine

From above, reaching down below?

Will it penetrate through the deepest

Darkest of crevices in the crust

To reach those upturned faces down below?

Could it touch those glittering

Seemingly luminous eyes,

Highlight those dainty features

Of faces fearsome?

Often I wonder.

My Guardian Has Left Me

My guardian has left me. It is now only a matter of time before my muse feeds upon my soul. The world is a cruel place.

P.S: By the time you’ve found this note, the cat has probably found you. Please take her out of this place.

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Lip Biter

Crack!

The sound caused him to drop a full mug of steaming coffee onto his feet. Ceramic chips and steaming liquid cascaded across the floor; his face contorted in pain, and he swore. Tom was about to let out a frustrated yell when his eyes fell on a small person in the middle of his kitchen. Where a mouth should have been, there was a bloody ring, and teeth. It’s teeth were grinding against each other in a circular motion.

The crack had come from a tooth breaking.

It lay amongst the mug shards.

ashkenaz

Ice

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Ice

ABCs of Horror preview, from the letter I.

Ice forms on the stiff form,

inside and out.

Cold flesh wishing for warmth,

within and without.

Two eyes, frozen shut

and fit to burst.

Fingers covered with smut.

The living dead yet dying of thirst,

caught in limbo, caught within its own sin,

and nowhere to wash those guilty hands.

Cold like ice, without and within.

Forever unforgiven, as it stands.

coopid

Beyond the Waterfall

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Beyond the Waterfall

Up in the forest, in places I used to haunt there was a lake; Lake Nettleton, they called it. Or so I’ve been told. I’m sure the First Nations people had another name for it long ago. It was a small lake that trickled down to an even smaller creek. The creek would have been a river I’m sure, if it weren’t for the beaver dam–if I called it a wall I wouldn’t be that far off the mark, for it blocked one end of the lake forcing the water to enter the creek at a trickle. If I was brave, I would have walked across the dam. As it is, the waters of Lake Nettleton set me on edge.

If you followed the creek it would take you to a small waterfall. I know this because to use the paths that circled the lake one would have to cross a makeshift bridge (which was three wooden planks, courtesy of the neighbourhood) that was literally five meters away from it. The water there was shallow, and on a sunny day it was nice to dip your feet in. Out of concern for my safety I never did; the creek bed consisted of large, slippery slabs of stone, and although small the drop down the falls would have proven fatal.

In the winter there is a drastic change that comes across the land; something that was once familiar becomes alien. When you’re walking alone there is only silence, thick and impermeable. The cold air is like oil. There are no smells . . .

The waterfall was now a wild sculpture, beautiful and ugly. One day I noticed a strange scent around the area. There was nothing like it, and it terrified me. Without even stopping to think I immediately found my way to the bottom of the falls. It was all harsh white and deep blue shadows, and the air was colder. No amount of sun could penetrate the canopy above.

For a while I was content to stare at the cold, cerulean sky. The trees reminded me of bones. The sterile scene was at odds with the mysterious smell, and I soon found myself feeling queasy. After several seconds of searching I found the source. A pile of skin and clothes, and the skin still steaming. Nearby I heard the sound of flapping; it was like thunder, which was then followed by a sharp hiss.

I took care not to throw-up as I backed away.

coopid

The Deep Blue Secrets

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The Deep Blue Secrets

Whether it be of the sea or the sky, there had always been a certain mesmerism that the colour had for him. It came more from the sky than from the sea; he would often find himself alone and naked in a field at night, staring upwards. It was those nights that frightened him the most. The same things always happened: he would awaken from his stupor, assess his surroundings, and then stare down at his body in horror. He would find blood on him, but not his own. With no memory of the event he was would feel empty, hungry for something that he could not quite name; he could almost swear that he saw a veil descend over him when he’d wake up, covering the truth.

Living like this held no charm for him. He could not seek help . . . And who would help him if they knew his secret? Who would believe him, or better yet: if they did believe him, what would they do with him? He was not himself, but then he never truly was.

His only solace was found in his sleep. In his dreams he was free from his cumbersome body, which he shed like a snake’s skin. The true form that hid in the daylight was sinuous, graceful, with a hideous strength. Free from his prison, he would take to the skies, searching, thirsting for one like him. Before the sun rose above the horizon he would return to his body, empty and alone.

coopid

They Sickened Me

Something

 They Sickened Me

I hated my neighbours. Whenever I walked past them in public they would always smile and say hello, then good bye. Just like that. There was no ceremony in it what so ever. You would think there wasn’t a care in the world from the way they acted. It sickened me.

They sickened me. They were the kind of people who thought that every facet of life was a game–no, they didn’t think, they believed. And I hated them for it. Who did they think they were?

The particular couple in question shared the same apartment complex with me, and their apartment was right next to mine. After my first night in the building I had made it a point to change my schedule so as to avoid them whenever I left for work, or returned from it.

It was 2:30 am and I couldn’t get to sleep. I wasn’t accustomed to the amount of noise that the other tenants made, coming straight from a normal household. And no amount of anything will express to you how normal my family is compared to them.

At 2:45 am I began to hear rustles from next door, and then quiet laughter. It continued like that for the next fifteen minutes, until the laughter came to a horrible crescendo. I was like a statue in my bed, stiff and wide-eyed as I drank in the shrieks and screams. The noise was like a horde of hyenas . . . That’s the closest thing to it . . . Until it stopped abruptly. Following that the building was quiet.

Too quiet. My ears still rang with those horrible sounds. At around five I couldn’t take it anymore, and got out of bed. No amount of caffeine helped the situation. All I could do was be thankful I had the day off, and the day after that.

***

I studied Paul’s reaction when I finished my tale. “So, do you still think I’m being harsh?” I asked him. “Is that a good enough reason for you?” The question may have seemed a bit defensive, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. People who didn’t bother to understand my decision weren’t worth the time. Anything relating to the people next door to me was moot, along with my disgust for them.

It was that simple. Hello, good bye, without any ceremony what so ever.

After a minute Paul rubbed his right ear. He had the odd habit of doing that whenever something bothered him. That’s why I assumed he did it so often, I had never really asked. Finally he said: “Yes, that makes a lot of sense.”

I was so surprised at his reaction, I practically spilled my coffee on my shirt. He laughed at me. “Why the sudden change?” I asked him.

Paul paused for a second before replying. “I–wanted to hear it from you. Let’s just say we’ve had the same experience.” Paul lived on the ground floor. Before I could open my mouth he went on. “When I first moved into this building I was in the same apartment as you, and the same freakin’ thing happened.” Paul never came close to swearing, but freakin’ was extreme even for him. His eyes became unfocused as he shook his head. “The storage closet beneath them used to be an apartment too, a family lived there. According to someone on the floor the husband went insane, shot his family, and hung himself. Your neighbours moved in just two weeks before.”

ashkenaz

Friday Confessional

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Friday Confessional

I used to go into the woods–alone–a lot. Sometimes I’d take my dog, and he would spook if a branch snapped. Of course, the dog wasn’t used to being taken out for walks in the woods. I was.

My weapon of choice was a broken golf club (essentially a stick without the club on the end; some kids called it the light sabre), and with it I was invincible. I would bang it on a rock or a tree trunk every once in a while. Some of you may scoff or shake your head, but never once did I see a bear. Once I saw a racoon, but those don’t count.

I made the most noise.

Therefore I was the biggest.

The biggest, damnedest beast in the woods.

There was a lake in the area I once haunted. A small lake, but no less unsettling. It was always eerily quite. The lake trickled off into marshland if you went so far in the opposite direction of it (the lake was north-west, roughly). The lake made me wary. The marsh unsettled me. I avoided it altogether like it was a plague.

One day I decided to try a new path, one that I’d ignored for years. Why not? In the spirit of adventure I took it, finding out for myself where it led. Countless other paths branched off it, some that I took afterwards. There was one path with the largest widow-maker just waiting to fall; it was essentially a third of massive maple that had partly broken off. Racing to get past that was fun. I only did it twice, and then stopped. Common sense, you know . . .

But this story is not about the gnarled trees that resemble humanoids, it’s not even about the small hut beside the lake (which I only saw once, and then couldn’t find afterwards), or the lane of maples . . . or even the oddly placed pile of stones beside the hollow oak . . .

I followed the path until it ended with a curious abruptness. In front of me lay the other end of the marsh, the end covered in shadows around midday. There was no possible means of getting to the other side; no reasonable means I should say. There was an odd hedge of trees which grew in clumps that spanned across to the other shore. I have a thing with dark water, so crossing that was never going to happen. Also I had no canoe.

Any hopes of getting across were quickly ruled out. To be honest it was never an imperative. Who cared if I didn’t get to the other side?

I tried to find a way to a piece of land further along my side of the shore, but it was not going to happen. The mud was thick, and there were no real openings, it was just bush and trees.

I found myself staring at the other shore deep in thought, when I heard a wail. At first I assumed that it was a moose nearby. When it repeated itself, closer this time, I decided to take a look.

Standing on the piece of land I had eyed just a moment before was the biggest, damnedest beast in the woods. It was a huge thing, hairless by the looks of it, with sickly sallow skin that appeared to be luminous in the shade. I couldn’t tell what was head or limb, the thing was just a demented mass.

Somehow I knew that it regarded me. I retraced my steps back up the path. I don’t like to run, but that day was a good day to run.

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The Terrible Tuesday . . .

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 . . . Nothing Got Done

Those responsible for doing things,

Went missing shortly thereafter.

No one had any idea about their whereabouts.

Which was too bad,

Because I had wanted to eat them.

I suppose I shall have to find someone else

With love,

the monster.

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Further Down

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Further Down

I’ve walked down lonely paths; sometimes I miss that thrill of discovery. The thrill of investigation, of exploration, is what fuelled me each time. Further and further I would go, alone in the world. Alone down lonely paths without a care for myself, without fear. Each time I would question what lay beyond.

What lay beyond that lake?

How deep is the water?

Could I skirt along the minimal shore; could I weave through the reeds and rotting wood; could I walk along the thick, unstable mud?

It never mattered how far I could get. Each time I was always left wondering what I would have found if I had just gone further down? The thrill of mystery was always my drug.

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The Bus that Took Her to the Stars

stars

The Bus that Took Her to the Stars

Something was not right about that man. Marianna watched him warily from the corner of her eye. He sat a few seats behind her on the opposite side of the bus. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but it was there. The back of her neck itched from his stare; it took all that she had not to reach up with a hand. It took more not to move. She would have liked nothing more than to do that. But that would mean having to look at him, and that’s what he wants, isn’t it? she thought to herself. Perhaps she could out-wait the stranger? She had already toyed with the idea for the past hour; it was lucky she was on her day off. Lucky! She coughed.

Once she had read somewhere that the thing you were afraid of was the thing you knew you had to do. With an inaudible groan she pressed a button and before she knew it her feet were carrying her off of the bus. It felt as if she weren’t entirely there.

The decision to get off had been rather abrupt.

She did get a good look at the man however. Or a good look at his clothing–his face was buried beneath the shadow of a bowler hat and a thick woollen scarf. Again she had the odd, sickening feeling that she had seen him before. Or, if not exactly him, then someone of his ilk.

A large part of her, the reserved part, raged against the idea that there was a conspiracy against her. Not that would-be friends and family had never done something so ridiculous before, but because absolute strangers doing it to her was stupid, idiotic. Marianna grimaced at the idea. I can’t believe I’m actually considering that kind of bull shit!

Her thoughts returned to the man. No one else seemed to want to look at him on the bus, as if he made them uncomfortable. Even she shuddered to think of the memory. The way he had sat, hunched in as if he were larger, was what caught her attention in the first place, not his unwavering stare. He wore a trench coat, which wasn’t really odd; everything about his dress was normal. The stranger just stuck out like a sore thumb, like he was out-of-place.

“Or out of time. Shit!” It was already late in the evening. I must have lost track of time, she thought. She looked at her watch, then checked her phone. And groaned. Both the watch and the phone were dead.

There is a logical explanation for this, she told herself. Her heart rate increased just a little, regardless. The phone had been left to charge last night, this morning the batteries had been at full capacity. It hadn’t charged properly. The watch on the other hand had been bought brand new, just last week in fact. The battery needed to be replaced. Marianna told herself those two things over and over, as if she were trying to convince herself of the fact.

What the matter boiled down to was coincidence. It was strange, and frightening, but it was still just a coincidence.

The whole time this had gone through her mind Marianna had walked down the street, looking around in every possible direction. With a sickening feeling in her stomach, she realized that she had never seen this neighbourhood before.

This wasn’t even the same town.

She stopped dead in her tracks. Her beating heart was the only thing she heard. Even when the light snapped out of existence, she could still hear the sound of her heart.

Thump, thump, thump, thump. Thu-thump, thump, thump. Thump, thump, thump, thump. Thu-thump. Thu-thump.

Thousands of stars began to wink in and out around her. They were cold stars, hard stars, and they were all grouped in pairs.

Eyes. I can see their eyes. Marianna closed her own eyes against the stars.

She felt her life turn to nothing.

She was nothing.

ashkenaz

The Contest

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The Contest

They sat at the table in the middle of the night, staring at one another under the dim light. The girl stared the creature square in the eye from the other side of the table. “You’ll lose,” the creature told her. It’s eyes were the colour of milk.

“I don’t care, the girl told it. “I’m not in the mood for your games right now.”

“Call them what you will, you’ll still fail,” It sneered.

“I’ll survive!” she retorted quickly. “Failure means nothing to me.”

“Is that so? I’m learning so much about you, Anna. You have no idea.” It made a mockery of a smile on its face.

Her nose crinkled in distaste. “Ugh, don’t do that!” Anna spat. “It doesn’t suit you.”

The creature obliged. It had tried everything, but for the past twenty-odd years Anna had remained unshakable. “Good girl,” it hissed.

Anna smiled.

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The Ego

The Ego

The soul, the heart, the spirit, the body. Humans have this habit of defining everything, splitting it, separating it. Tearing things apart without any knowledge of how to put them together again is dangerous business. Putting things together again without any knowledge of how they went together in the first place, or why they went together, is twice as bad.

Some say that the ego is really another word for the soul. With every distraction and otherwise, humanity has gained a very dangerous ability. The ability to tear their souls away. When the soul has no body though, one must wonder where it would go? There must be a place somewhere, or something. One would assume that.

In truth the soul only has one place to go: the shadow. One’s ego becomes one’s ghost.
If you’ve ever felt that you were watched, followed, it is the you you tore away from a long time ago. The ego is your only friend in the dark places of the world. It’s the only thing that does not seek to devour you. How can the ego eat itself? That goes against basic instinct.

Shadows are a world on their own. They are vast, fickle and fast-changing landscapes for their denizens. The ego rules over them as supreme being, separating them from you.
With all the things the ego does for you, one must beg the question: is it truly separate from you? Did you really tear yourself away from it? Or is it an extension of yourself? If that’s the case, then everything mentioned before has turned itself upside down, inside out. Which means that there isn’t a conclusion to this after all.

These are just notions and nothing more.

ashkenaz