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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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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Ashkenaz, the ever living flame, and jerk

Lucky Boy

Leery of the man behind him, Jason ducked into the men’s room. He had noticed the stranger following him almost immediately. Something drew his attention toward that man, something which made him feel different. It was like a thrill through his flesh. Jason didn’t like it. He had known thrills, and this was not the good kind.

Following a hunch, he hid himself in a stall, locking the door. With his feet he balanced himself on the toilet seat. There was someone in the stall beside him. One second there was just awkward silence, the next the man beside him was screaming. Blood sprayed the ceiling, the walls, the floor . . . Jason stuck his fist in his mouth to keep any sounds from coming out. Then there was a burning. He could feel the heat through the thin wall separating him from the blood bath. Paint began to bubble and peel; at that point Jason squeezed his eyes shut. Blood and saliva ran down his wrist while sweat trickled down his skin. Nostrils flared at the smell–of rot, smoke, death . . .

It was over.

Eventually.

When the stranger was done Jason heard him laughing to himself, a deep chuckle which sounded volcanic. When the stranger left Jason was paralyzed. The janitorial staff were the first to find him. Then mall security, and then the police. From there he found himself at the hospital with no recollection of how he came to be there. His mother was weeping at his bedside, and somewhere he heard vague whispers travelling down the halls.

“Lucky boy . . .”

“Lucky boy . . .”

“ . . . Lucky boy . . .”

Sorry About Your Mom, written and photographed by Penny C.

Echoes

The road hummed quietly underneath the tires of my car as I cruised down interstate 5, the twin lights from my vehicle casting brief reflections on various signs that whizzed by, periodically proclaiming the miles left before my anticipated arrival at Ashland Oregon–my hometown. In the background the radio played quietly the heavy pop cadence offsetting the unnatural silence of the darkness around me.

For the past month I had spent the days hiking the lush national parks of Vancouver British Columbia, seeing the sights and taking in the fresh mountain air that seem to still linger the car. But as vacations always do, they arrive painfully slow and pass much too quickly, and just like that I was back in the car, making my way back home. The ten hour drive seeming like three vacations in contrast to the month I’ve been away. If only the current scenery could offer more to quench my boredom.

On both sides of me a mix of tall trees fought against the concrete river that slashed in the middle of their forest. Leaning over the interstate as if trying to regain what it had lost. It was an interesting thought, the trees taking back what was stolen from them; I’d have to write that down later.

Fiddling with the volume I sang along to a song that I hadn’t heard in a while; not caring if I was off key as the darkness continued to tunnel forward the trunks of trees like the walls of a cave. As I passed a sign announcing the entering of Wolf Creek Provincial Park, and the last milestone of long, yet very boring car ride, my car sputtered into momentary darkness the night swallowing my car.

I gripped the steering wheel in sudden fear and eased on the brakes trying to see in the moonless night. The night seemed to laugh momentarily before my headlights awoke and fought the threatening shadows. I sighed while the radio blared happily. Turning it down, I refocused on the road, thinking about the repairs I would need to do on my vehicle. It was bad enough that it was three in the morning, worse that I was in the middle of a decent sized park.

As I rounded the bend my vehicle sputtered again the lights flickering wildly as my car fought against the night. The radio gave a hiss, crackling and spitting in protest as it struggled to find power to continue. With a final cry it let out a sound akin to that of wet tires on pavement before it cut out with the rest of my car. Guiding my car to the shoulder, my car gave a final lurch and stopped altogether. Wonderful.

I gave a deep irritable sigh my weariness creeping up on me. Fishing my cell phone out of my pocket I hit the button and it flared up briefly before going black. I stuffed it back into my pocket with a pang of frustration. This was snowballing quickly out of control.

Now what was I going to do? The crickets chipped softly in reply.

With a shake of my head I stepped out of the car into night without the normal accompaniment of my interior light which left me strangely more alone. With only an hour left in my drive I felt the weight of the shadows even more. No one would be awake at this hour and I was so close to home. I stared off in the direction of Ashland longingly and then back the way I came both ways were shrouded in darkness, without the moonlight to break it.

I pondered the thought of traversing the interstate at some ungodly hour at night with the possibility of getting savagely attacked and ripped apart by a bear with spending the night in my car. Without much thought you could only guess which option I picked. As I bent to get back in the car two pinpoint of lights flared in the darkness.

Could this be it? Could a moment this serendipitous actually happen? I mean I guess it was possible; after all it is an interstate. Stepping a few feet away from my car I waved frantically the growing orbs of light. Even from the distance I was at, I could hear the pounding music that poured from it, its throbbing drums and heavy electric guitar solo disrupting the quiet.

As the vehicle drew closer I felt myself growing more anxious, the car appeared not to have seen me, its slight swerving a disturbing sign. But At this point I was tired and anxious, and I didn’t want to waste an opportunity, so I waved on doubling my effort trying to call past their blaring music. As I was swallowed in light and sound I watched the car zoom past in a dark blur, watching two red lights now receding.

“Well” I muttered to myself. “That was disappointing.

I watched the car forlornly as it neared the bend in the road where it swerved heavily spinning in a full circle the tires screeching in protest against the night, before in slammed downward into the ditch and into a young but strong tree. My heart pounded loudly in my chest and I found myself rooted on the spot, my mind going blank in the panic.

Finding myself I quickly sprinted forward toward the vehicle. The interior light was flickering and music came in spurts the old rock song fighting stubbornly to finish its solo. As I neared the vehicle the smell hit me. Gasoline. The heavy scent was pervading the air quickly. I hesitated a moment jumping back and forth on the balls of my feet. Cursing I ran forward with redoubled effort, I was wasting time.

In the front seat hunched around a tree branch that gored his shoulder was a man about twenty his sandy blond hair was gelled back in an old style. Ignoring the heavy scent I grasped the door latch and pulled. The door screamed with an angry protest before stubbornly refusing to move. I cursed and looked to the passenger seat where a petite brunette was groaning. Quickly running to the other side of the vehicle I prayed to whatever god was out there. Grasping the door latch it opened with ease. Thank god!

“Ma’am, Are you alright!?” I practically shouted at her in my panic. She groaned incoherently her head rolling to the side as she looked over to her friend.

“Brad?” she groaned. Her voice was thick with pain, and blood was seeping from the gash on her forehead. The scent of gasoline grew stronger its intensity sharp and eye watering.

“Ma’am” I reiterated forcefully trying to get her attention. “Please, you have to get out of this car.” She sobbed softly as he grumbled painfully before letting out a wet cough. I felt a sudden rush of air and the engine gave a puff of black spoke filling the air with its dangerous omen. Cursing I grabbed her arm, her skin ice cold, despite rising temperature. She sobbed harder as I pulled her away from the smoking vehicle. She struggled after me still disoriented but without resistance.

“Brad!” She was crying now, her voice was raw and full of grief. “Brad! I’m so sorry!” The car exploded with an echoing scream of torture. I froze in fear for the peril before me, in grief for the woman, and guilt for the man that I couldn’t save. I watched her collapsed painfully to the concrete road the emotion of the night overtaking her. I could not save her friend, and I could do little to console her, but I could make sure that we were found and headed for safety.

“Ma’am, I’m going to call the police.” I told her running past the burning car the rough scent of metal fabric and flesh searing at my senses making me choke. When I was a fair distance I turned away from the burning wreckage and fished my phone out of my pocket hoping that my phone was back in working order.

Hitting the button my phone flared brightly. Muttering a yes, I dialled 911.

“911 emergency assistance, are you safe and out of danger?”

“Yes” I replied swallowing hard. “I need to report an accident.” I turned back around toward the inferno and froze. The night was one again cool, and the truck and sobbing woman both had vanished, as if they were never there, even the tree that was pulverized by the force of impact was tall and regal.

“Sir?” the woman called urgently. “I’m going to pinpoint your location please stay on the line.” I clicked my phone off absently and walked back towards my car, the interior light flooding outward, my engine purring quietly. What had happened? Was this all simply a hallucination or something else entirely? I gave ragged breath, remembering the anguished cry and the horrible screaming. I certainly seemed quite real. Maybe I needed to see a psychiatrist? Quickly settling into my seat I buckled myself in and drove off wanting to put distance between myself and this horrible memory.

As I passed a few more bends in the road I finally exited Wolf Creek Park when a car quickly zoomed past me an old rock song blaring wildly. I looked back sadly but kept driving, away from the grief that had imprinted itself there.

Zuberi

Written by R. J. Davies, edited by P. L. Cobb

He better show up! She couldn’t believe this. The last twenty-four hours felt like a nightmare, and here she was standing on a ledge. Below her was a blazing inferno, a mess of fire and human souls.

“Well?” he appeared in front of her. Tall, strong and handsome–and so very powerful. In his human form she saw her ex-husband grinning at her.

They had been married for six years before the divorce. Katie had heard her friends talk about what demons their exes had been. But her ex-husband was a demon. Kyle Miller, or that was who she had known him as, always seemed so gentle and attentive to her every need. The downside of their marriage came in the form of strange calls and even stranger visitors; when the long absences started Katie had had enough. Five years of wedded bless went out with a bang during the final year. Kyle had been missing for so long that he was presumed dead. Katie filed a for divorce. She had mixed feelings over the affair. The day when he showed up on her front door had surprised her. When she told him to leave he surprised her again by starting a shouting match. After showing him the divorce papers she woke up to find herself on this ledge. 

“Who are you?”

“Who do you want me to be?”

“What happen to the real Kyle?”

“I made him up.”

“What?”

He nodded with a smile.

“You’re lying.”

He raised an eyebrow, “Am I?”

“Go to hell!”

He laughed, “Oh sugar, we are already here.”

“What is your real name?”

“Zuberi.”

“Zuberi?”

He nodded.

“What are you?”

He smirked, “A god.”

“What am I doing here?”

“You’re my wife. It’s was about time you met the rest of my family.”

“We’re divorced!”

“That’s not recognized down here,” he chuckled again.

“This can’t be real.”

He leaned close to her and whispered, “Then wake up.”

“Am I sleeping?”

He laughed and the sounds ricocheted off the walls as he shook his head no.

Her mother had warned her about him. Why hadn’t she listened?

Allow Me to Elucidate

Or rather, to introduce, as in: “Hello, I am a figment of your imagination–the scourge upon the youth of the nation . . .”

But don’t give me too much credit. My ego will grow to be too great, and will float away. And if that were the case who would believe you?

For three long years I’ve haunted you. Me, myself, and my hallucinations three . . .

Familiar?

Our Overlords, by P. L. Cobb and Jacob Zaccaria

Observe.

Figure 1: In the mighty form of figure one, we observe the lord all mighty. Theo. The monster. Named so because of Gmail. Curses! Our grand lord and task master, forever left to slumber beneath the City of Misery.

Figure 2: Furtive and frightening is it that may not exist. The thing which exists in-between the realm of existence and that of non-existence (and patron god of the ever redundant). Oh holy parasite of dubious goodness . . . Coopid of the many wings. And things.

Figure 3: Cats do not exist, and that is a fact. The master of all arcane science. Ashkenaz the daemon scholar, wreathed in flame. Wherever he shall go you shall remember his name.

Ha, ha!

What is happening to us?

What is happening to me?

What is Death?

Death (and freedom) beckon me,

a mockery of what could be.

I suddenly

breathe, sullenly

the slovenly

spectral people, enfeebled

by what Death could be.

If life is the price, and freedom the payment?

And yet this is the lie they fed to me?

Limbo? Entrapment?

 

To Our Mercurial Saviour

To Our Mercurial Saviour

The liquid drops.

Shifts in heat and pressure tantalize your delicate senses. Titillating sensations run up and down your appendages, and you shiver.

Heat rises and falls, teasing you, mesmerizing you like a hooded cobra. In a show of aggression it bares its fangs, hissing. The bones in your ears vibrate; inside your skull it sounds like miners chiseling away at the foundations of your soul. Digging holes in your sanity.

You shake your body, desperate to make the noise stop, desperate to stop all sensations. It is useless. In doing so you succeed in increasing the frequency of the sounds. Tapping turns into a shrill trilling, causing your eyes to water. Water infuses itself with the oils from your thick hide, and your eyes begin to sting. It’s as if the cobra has spit its venom into your face.

The liquid begins to rise–that’s how it feels to you. An intense pressure begins to bare down on you, crushing you, ripping your skin and snapping your bones.

You suddenly realize that you are angry. You are annoyed. The emotions that were once nameless are now terrorizing you, threatening your very existence. The pressure is building up; you stand, precarious, seeking release, moving. Each movement creates friction. Friction creates heat. A tightness surrounds you, and you realize that you are trapped within something. Or tied to it.

And then you remember. A grand plan, your masterpiece. Below lies your creation, this meticulous masterpiece. Your order out of chaos. Order and chaos bring to mind your plan. To purge the universe with a flaming sword. Then the death of a god. And rebirth.

Without hesitation, you unleash what has been growing inside of you for millennia. A rush of new feelings fill you until you are brimming with joy. You’ve never known the exquisiteness of orgasm until now.

Even as your body is falling apart, you are at peace. A once magnificent form regresses back into formless dust, and a vast consciousness dies.

We, the creatures you had vowed to save, regress back to a primordial state, then to the very stardust we were made with. As our hearts and souls become one, it suddenly dawns on us that we did not save ourselves.

You were us.

Oh, to be as mercurial, and precocious as you are–God!

Did you not send us the heretics and the blasphemers? And did we not cut them down, even as they slept, like the criminals we were?

We live in you, and you die in us. And now are we not one?

It is finished.

Now our great death shall forever attest to your greatness, oh Goddess. Let this be our last, melodious song to our mercurial saviour.

Blessed be!

As our consciousness disperses, we prepare ourselves for a dreamless sleep, secure in the knowledge that we will reform once again. After nameless millennia, when this wretched universe has died, we shall re-emerge as gods–and our realms shall be known as Hel.

Bitterness

Tonight (Poetry with the Voice)

The Enigmatic Monster Project: horror of all flavours

I See You, My Lovely

Written by R. J. Davies Mornix

He held his breath. He wondered what she was thinking. Christie Hart had no idea how sexy she was. It drove him to the brink of madness whenever he thought about it. She wasn’t tall or  thin like a super model, but she was a goddess. He knew she was …  There was just something about her. It was a sickness; he knew it on some level . . . But she was his medicine. Whenever he got close to her, or watched her, he was taking his medicine.

He promised himself that some day he would work up the courage to talk to her … Someday … It had been six  years since he first met her. He had been a passenger in a vehicle that was the victim of a hit and run. Since he didn’t say anything she didn’t really pay attention to him. But he noticed her. The way she walked in that uniform, the way she took control of the scene and interrogated everyone. A male officer had begun to give her a hard time but she put him in his place with a look and a few whispered words. He had always wondered what she had told him.

He spotted her one evening leaving the local gym. Thinking she was headed into work he followed her. Officer Hart was headed home. So he followed her there.

It was just innocent drive-bys once in a while. Then his drive-bys became more frequent. Now he knew everything about her. He followed her as she went through relationship after relationship.  He joined her gym and began working out. The last six months he went from soft and flabby to a washboard stomach. April, another woman who went to the same gym asked him out a couple of times. They went out to the movies once, and he felt like he was cheating on Officer Hart. Once he had worked out on the treadmill beside Christie. She always smiled and nodded. A lump always caught in his throat; his heart would race and his palms would sweat. He thought he was having a mild heart attack. That was the only time he tried to talk to her.

He stuck to just watching. No one that knew him would even guess that he did this. God, if anyone found out he would die of embarrassment. Swallowing hard, he reminded himself of her  garbage bags that he had back at home in the garage. He had started going through her them when his sister had popped by last night.

No … No … He wasn’t ready for anyone to find out about his girlfriend. He liked the privacy of their relationship.

She stood up in her living room and stretched. He watched as she turned off the lights and TV.

He waited. She didn’t disappoint him. She never did. He held his breath until she turned on the bedroom light and pulled out his camera. He watched as she crossed the room, feeling grateful that she lived on such a lonely stretch of road. No one ever bothered him here and she always left her curtains open.

Only for him.

“I see you, my lovely,” he whispered, and then blew her a kiss.

The Enigmatic Monster Project: horror of all flavours

The Pawn

Written by Mitchell Stoycheff

The moves you make belie your emotions

You’re held high from your bastion

So many moves lie before your eyes

An army at your disposal, so many opportunities to try

Here I stand, one pawn among many

Far below, under a king and his tyranny

Tasks set forth, I cannot argue

For death is certain the least I will rue

Knights will charge as your bishops laugh

For we all must wade into the bloodbath

Here I stand, one pawn among many

Stained by battle, a face in an army

The saying holds true, as you laugh in glee

“Absolute power, corrupts absolutely.”

Your castle stands high above the town

Supported by the masses as you polish a blood red crown

The moves you make belie your beliefs

But one thing is certain, a sigh of relief

I’m one pawn among many

Under a king and his tyranny

But there is only one king, one move he can make

And one pawn among many leaves destruction in its wake

The Enigmatic Monster Project: horror of all flavours.

The Adjuster

By R. J. Davies Mornix

Stepping into the room, it suddenly felt like the temperature dropped a few degrees. She scanned the room with precision, knowing exactly whatmore importantly who she was looking for. Once she saw him, she only had eyes for one person. Crossing the room purposefully … Her clicking heels came to a stop as she stood in front of him.

He looked up, smiling, with an approving gaze.

Frowning in response: “Mr. Nettle come with me.” Turning, she lead the way down a  hall and into a vacant room.

“I’m glad to see you, Clara.”

“Have we met?” she asked coldly, pausing only slightly before she came around and sat down at the table across from him.

“You don’t remember me?”

“Should I?”

“Well, I suppose not. It has been some time since high school.”

“Hmph,” she laid her briefcase on the table. She paused as she was about to open it and tilted her head to one side. “I remember you now. You were the first boy I had ever kissed,” she went about opening her briefcase. She pulled out a file with his name on it.

“You haven’t smiled once since you approached me. Should I be concerned?”

“Mr. Nettle, this is a serious matter.”

“Please, call me Eric.”

“Do you understand the money we invested in  you?”

“I do and I intend to pay you back.”

“Really? You happen to have two billion dollars in the bank right now?”

“No … But I can pay you back by making payments.”

“Mr. Nettle,” she began.

“Eric,” he insisted.

“Mr. Nettle, I highly doubt you’ll see two billion dollars in your life time. Then there is the matter of the time we invested in you. The time and resources spent to train you is very valuable.”

“I understand. But I can’t do this. When I signed up I didn’t know what you were asking of me. I didn’t  realize you had intended for the candidates to give up their rights and their lives. You never said that.”

“Mr. Nettle, when you signed up with Xplore what did you think we wanted from you?”

“I was told that I could do the training and if it was something that I didn’t feel I could handle, I could talk with an adjuster and they could process my release.”

“Is that what the nice man told you when he recruited you?”

“Yes,” his eyes narrowed a bit, a little wary of her tone.

She smiled staring at him. He began to think that he liked it better when she wasn’t smiling.

She tapped his file with her long manicured nails. “Well, Mr. Nettle … I am your Adjuster.”

“So tell me, what do I have to do to get out?”

She chuckled. “First let me explain something to you that the recruits don’t tell. When you sign up for Xplore. It’s a one way ticket. Yes, we are partners with the government; they help us with the funding. Yet at the end of the day when you signed your name on the forms: we own you.”

“I’m a human being, you can’t own me.”

She chuckled, “Mr. Nettle, we own you. It’s like you coming into my house and taking whatever you want without asking and then walking out. It’s stealing. You wanting to leave Xplore is like that: coming into my house and stealing from me. Now look at me Mr. Nettle, what have I ever done to  you? Why do you want to steal from me?”

“You don’t own me,” he spoke softly.

“Yes  Mr. Nettle, I do,” Flipping open his file she flipped through a couple of sheets and paused. “Alright,” she slammed her hand down on the table. He jumped.

“Since I like you, I’ll make a deal with you.”

He leaned forward, eager.

“Here are my demands. I want one of your kidneys, three litres of bone marrow, four litres of spermand this could start the processwe want monetary compensation as well: you will owe us until you go to your grave.”

“I’m sorry, I only have the one kidney.”

“Hmm well I guess that is a problem for you, Mr. Nettle. These are our standard demands for an individual to be released.”

“Please, there has to be something.”

“Yes, Mr. Nettle, we are not monsters. You have a choice. If you agree to our release conditions then sign here,” she passed him a form to sign.

“Are you kidding me?”

“Mr. Nettle, there are a couple things that you should know about me. One, I never joke …  And two,  I believe everyone has a right to choose.”

“If I sign this I’m dead. If I don’t, I die in space. How is that a choice?”

“Location.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“We all die Mr. Nettle. But like I said: we own you. And here I am giving you the choice of where you want to live out your final days.”

He shoved the papers back at her, got up, and headed for the door.

“It’s a brave choice, Mr. Nettle.”

“I can see how you got this job … You’re a heartless bitch.”

“I just happen to be very good at what I do.”

King in the Shadows (Reading by the Voice)

The Enigmatic Monster Project

Party Time?

Written by P. L. Cobb

She felt surprised and relieved to find that the front door was still locked. Lynda grunted in satisfaction.

She had been rudely awoken during the early hours of the morning to what seemed to be a wild party downstairs. Lynda shivered at the memory. “It was just a dream,” she told herself in a reassuring whisper.

When it happened again the next night she wasn’t so sure about it.

The next night rolled around, and she couldn’t sleep at all. As soon as the noises started up Lynda began to creep down the stairs. Halfway down she saw her living room swarming with creatures straight out of a nightmare. Her whole body froze at the sight. Lynda could feel the blood draining from her face too. What . . . ? Her mind went blank as her eyes scanned the room.

Was there anything she could do, she wondered, looking from nightmare to nightmare. Some were rather benign, while others resembled the demons pictured in Medieval texts. Others she had no word to describe them with . . .

Who is that? Lynda’s eyes stopped roaming and focused themselves on one of the creatures. He was one of the bigger ones, not the biggest, but still larger than her; he was one of the demonic ones too. What set him apart from the rest were the black robes he wore. None of the others had that. He is rather handsome, she realized, In an odd way.

His eyes met hers and the party came a halt. There were a few awkward minutes that followed, before Lynda worked up the courage to say anything.

“Get out of my house.”

The Enigmatic Monster Project: horror of all flavours

Large White Olive Branch

Written by Jonathan Kruschack

Hello, how are you? Well, I hope. What was your name again, lady? Sorry, I’ll try and remember. I’ve had better days. I think. Thought? It’s hard to remember much since . . . that day. The day, I met that giant. What? Sure, I’ll tell you what I remember, forgive me if it doesn’t make much sense. I didn’t understand it as it was happening until it was over. And I do apologize if I go back and forth with how I describe it with past and present tenses, it just doesn’t seem important now. I’m sure you understand.

The day was going as most of my days went. I was walking along, looking for food and shelter among the green of the jungle, which shaded me from the intense light and heat of the sun. By nightfall, the air was finally cool. I needed to be careful though, even though my armour was tough and strong I am not a fighter. My kind, hide when confronted, curling inside our armour until the aggressor gives up. It works . . . for the most part.

Moving along the dirt I reached the enormous lair of a giant. My kind tells tales of these giants. They are to be avoided. They often attack without provocation, as they are fiercely territorial. I didn’t believe them, though. Why would a giant care about us? And how could they even notice us. I’ve seen them from afar, and even hundreds of miles away they tower over most things, especially us. Hungry, I press onward, climbing the stone of the domicile. It took me hours but I finally got to the first ledge. I could see light, faintly. The ledge was some kind of porthole to the giant’s home. There was a ginormous netting meant to keep my kind out, but it had a tear in it. Apprehensive at first; I thought to run away, the risk not worth it. My stomach growled, though and my foolhardy pride kept my feet planted.

I was brave and I could prove my elders wrong about the giants, maybe even be like one of the truly brave who ventured into other giant’s homes and lived there in secret. Forward went my feet, rhythmically tapping as I scurried along. Upon entering the home, I promptly fell off what I thought to be a cliff. Without time to think about how afraid I was I reflexively hid in my armour, hoping it would cushion my fall. The feeling of the impact was . . . jarring to say the least. But after a few moments not being sure if I was dead or not, I realized I was in fact still breathing. Ceasing my orbicular stance I looked around my surroundings. I was on a ledge again. But the material was different. Not the stone I had climbed or the alabaster wood I’d fallen off of. This was cold, hard and a brownish grey. There was a crevice, which my kind loves as I often seek shelter in them though I could not fit into it. Oh well, what’s over OH NO. GIANT! There is a giant. Oh, please don’t notice me, please.

I had shut my eyes and prepared to curl inside my armour again when I noticed something. I hadn’t been immediately crushed by its mountain-sized fist. In fact, it wasn’t even looking at me. Exhaling, I regained some confidence in my earlier thoughts. It won’t notice me. I’m too small. Laughing at my cowardice, I began to look for food and shelter, as I was confident, not stupid. Unfortunately, there was none. Oh well, plenty of time to SHIT, THE GIANT IS MOVING! I froze. The giant stretched its elongated limbs as it rose from its bizarre throne in front of the light-creating rectangle it manipulated with what I could only assume was magic. The sound of its joints popping was like thunder, and its yawn like the roar of a great beast. Or more accurately, like the roar of a great beast multiplied by a thousand. It stretched its neck to one side then the other, vertebrae grinding loudly. It looked very tired, with its huge eyes barely open. I calmed down slightly but not much as I realized it may just be going to sleep. I resumed moving, albeit very, very slowly. Then the giant turned to face the wall where I was. I watched his brown eyes trail down, again thinking I stature too minuscule for him to care. He seemed very uninterested, which made me feel very good. That feeling died though, as I noticed he was now staring, face devoid of any emotion, at the exact spot I was occupying. Staying incredibly still, the most still I had ever been in my life unless I was asleep, I once more looked at his eyes. They were slowly focusing, fighting his sleepy state. Appropriate, because I was slowly losing any hope of a continued existence, fighting the urge to commit suicide. Please, please don’t see me. I’m not worth it I’m not HE SAW ME! RUN! RUN AND NEVER STOP RUNNING, OH WHY AM I SO SLOW? STUPID, STUPID ARMOUR! STUPID SHORT LEGS! As I cried and cursed myself the giant moved, easily crossing a distance that would’ve taken me hours in the blink of an eye. Panicking, I shut my eyes tight. Hoping for death’s grip to be gentle, quick and painless; alas, he didn’t smash me, though. I opened my eyes. He didn’t look angry. Or scared. Sometimes the giants kill because we startle them. But he didn’t look at me with any malice that I could see. Curiosity? Maybe. Pity? Kind of obligation? Yes, actually. I certainly wasn’t happy. But he did seem as if he had to do whatever he was about to do. I just hoped this task he didn’t like was called ‘Murder The Small Thing’. I saw something I’d never seen before, suddenly. A huge, alabaster rectangle of a soft material. It was flat, and the giant placed it in front of me. Why? I turned away and the giant placed it in my way again. Why, I asked again. He definitely wanted me on it. What could it be? Then I had another one of my great ideas, in a moment of hope. What if it was a makeshift vessel of some sort. A kind of large, white olive branch.

Maybe…maybe I was to be an emissary of peace between our people. Usher in a new age of peace, where we coexist in harmony. So, I stepped onto the white rectangle, finding it very soft. Ah, what comfort. He may not look happy when tired but boy is this giant friendly. He said something, I did not understand it. But there would be time to work out a way to communicate later. Come, my new friend. Let us rest and why is he folding it over me? Oh, he’s sealing me inside it.

I HAVE MADE AN ANOTHER TERRIBLE DECISION! Oh no, oh no, I must find a way out but there’s no way out WHY ISN’T THERE A WAY OUT?! Wait, I know, I’ll just curl into a ball. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. That always works. It has to work. Please, please let it work. He’s lifting me up. Carrying me, but where? I can’t see out. Maybe he’ll take me outside his home and release me? Oh, how foolish I was. He carried me very quickly and then let gravity take me. I fell for what seemed like ages, and then I landed in a lake. At least I think it was a lake. The water was very cold. Wait, is he drowning me? I can’t get out of here and the material is taking on water and HE IS DROWNING ME? Is that why he looked unhappy? He didn’t want to smash me but knew he couldn’t let me live, so he gave me this for a death? A watery grave? THAT DUMB, GIGANTIC BASTAR–what was that noise? Why am I spinning? The water was rising very fast. Oh no, I thought. This is it. With my last gulp of air I curled into a ball but as usual, it did me no good. I was rushed down with the water, wherever it was going. I knew it wasn’t taking very long but when you’re drowning it feel like an eternity. Then, I lost consciousness and true blackness took me.

And when I…awoke, is an appropriate word for this, right? Okay, when I awoke I felt no pain. And there was no water or giants. Only you . . .

Just you lady with your robe and your big grin; I guess I can’t really call that a grin. Yeah, you totally do need lips for that. Oh well, I still like you. Nice robe by the way. I like the way it compliments your sharp, shiny thing on that curvy stick. Thanks for waking me up, by the way. So, what’s this place you’re always going on about? The sunless-lands, huh? Sounds neat. Hey, how come I hear wings?

The Devil's Fork, by R. J. Davies Mornix, presented by the Enigmatic Monster Project

The Devil’s Fork

Written by R. J. Davies Mornix

The elders had whispered about it It took forever to find. Every country, every state or province (depending on which country you were talking about) had one.  It was just never talked about. The subject was forbidden. He had to do this–it was the right thing to do. There was a heavy dew that clung to the air which shrouded everything in a light mist. His car lights were on and it was the only light he had to see by. Why was midnight so damn important? Chills crawled up his sensitive skin.

Closing his eyes tightly he took a deep breath. This was the same road he came out to in the day to check. It was the right place.

This was the right thing to do.

Self doubt began to creep into the back of his mind … Listening hard he ensured that  there was no traffic around; this stretch of road there never saw much much traffic during the day. He wasn’t surprised.

Pacing up and down, not stepping onto the center of the cross road … Biting his bottom lip hard, he could taste his bitter sweet blood. Licking his wounded lip nervously, he looked over his shoulder.

“Forgive me grams for what I’m about to do.”

Holding his breath he rushed to the centre of the cross road and pulled the spade out of his back pocket. Digging feverishly, he hacked away at the soil … The hard clay in the middle of the road meant he had to fight hard towards his goal.

Then the hole was big enough. He took the metal box from his backpack. With shaking hands he gave it a kiss before placing it in the hole. Then he quickly covered up the box with the rich brownish-red clay.

Sitting back on his heels, he frowned and stood up quickly.  Forcing himself to take a couple steps back, he resisted the urge to dig it up.

“What have I done?” he whispered to himself. Clapping his hand over his mouth he spun around to find just himself in the middle of the road.

Something came over him, he took a couple steps back to the mound and stomped on it, pressing the dirt down, then hurried over to his car. Pausing, he looked down at his watch.  One minute to midnight.

One minute to get the box back! One minute to get the box out of the ground and stop this foolishness. One minute to stop the madness …

One minute to save his soul.

“Time’s up,” a soft, sultry voice whispered.

He almost jumped out of his skin. Spinning around he saw the most beautiful raven haired woman standing in front of him. Her blue eyes were so blue they looked like they shone. Her red lips curved into a devilish grin.

“Who are  you?”

She chuckled, “Who do you want me to be?”

“I thought … I thought …” his voice trailed off.

She stepped closer and caressed his cheek with her long, cold fingers. “That I would be what? A male? With cloven hooves, bearing horns on my head?” Tossing her head back she laughed; much like her voice it was hypnotic like a drug.

He blinked and the image of the devil barring hooves and horns appeared before him.

“Is this what you thought I would look like?” a deep raspy voice asked.

He nodded slightly not taking his eyes off her or him. The monster changed back to the gorgeous woman who first greeted him.

“Isn’t this much better?” the deeply raspy voice chuckled.

She cleared her throat. “Well, you summoned me,” her soft sultry voice was back. “I know why but you have to ask for it. Those are the rules.”

“Who are you?” he stammered.

She laughed … Paused, tilted her head to the side and grinned.

“They were just stories,” he gasped.

“Were they?” she whispered.

“You can’t be real.”

“I don’t have all night kid. I’m the devil, and even I have a schedule to maintain.”

“But …. But … But …”

“Say it,” She whispered inside his mind. “Say the words.”

“I need my …,” he words trailed off as he heard  his grandmother’s words warning him.

SAY it,” she stood just inches from him. he could smell fresh baked  cookies on her breath. She  looked like an angel.

“I need my brother back. I want him back alive and healthy like he was before this accident; I want him to be alive and to live a long happy life.”

Stepping back, she had a big grin on her face. “You know the price?”

Swallowing hard he dared not to blink, but only nodded stupidly.

“Good, Jason Mathew Smith, we have a deal. I’ll see you in two years.”

“Two years?” that didn’t sound like enough time.

“Yes those are the terms. Enjoy your life,” she laughed and disappeared.

“Hello?” he heard his brother’s voice calling as he came up the street. “Hello?”

“Joey?”  Jason spun around.

His twelve year old brother came running over to him. “Jay!”

Hugging his brother, he just couldn’t believe his eyes. His brother was alive and hugging him. In two  years when the hell hounds came, he would remember this moment for the rest of eternity.

The Enigmatic Monster Project

Axendough

Written by P. L. Cobb

Prologue: The End Begins

. . . Rotting.

The dreams.

The hopes.

Everything which had been held onto with a feverish zeal was rotting away.

They were turning to dust!

One mistake had ended it all, taken everything away: his life, and then finally his love.

How cruel.

Curses. He had dealt in them before, but never in such a magnitude as this one, and never upon himself. Most had directions. This one was blind. It neither thought nor felt concerning the intended target. The thing, if a thing it could be called, plowed on, aimless. The irony of it was not lost on him.

Silver fluid traced down his hands, falling to the earth.

Her blood.

How cruel.

She had left him. No one had ever dared leave him. They feared him. She had not, but how?

Who knew?

There had been nothing he could do to change that. Now she was gone, rotting, turning to dust.

It was a mistake . . .

Forgive me, was his last thought before he was flung into the void.

A Poem found in one of the journals of Harris A. Clergue,
youngest son of the late Harriet and Patrick Clergue:

Axendough, a legend of old

A monster unspeakable from a realm untold

(Listen to my warning, and let the story unfold!)

As the legend shall go:

His heart was black,

Cold, cruel, and callous.

He wore tattered robes which hung slack

From his frame, a body deserving the gallows.

As tall as a tower,

Endowed with hideous strengths,

In short: a monster.

To what lengths

Would he go to avenge himself?

I pray that we never know,

Nay, not even myself!

With claws like knives,

The shadow in the dark

Preys upon children, men, and wives

Without leaving trace nor mark.

The spell caster casts out his curses

With neither thought nor impunity.

He has been relegated to the tales told

To children by their nurses

But fear him still, yes, for he is here

For eternity.

Who may stop him?

All is futility.

1: House of Bones

“I don’t even know why they want to renovate this place; it’s a waste of time and money!” muttered Len. “Just tear down the whole damn place and build a new house!”

The other man nodded absently. It was no secret that the house frightened Len; it was a joke amongst the other men working for the contractors. “How old did they say this house was?” he asked.

“From what I hear it’s pretty old,” Len replied.

“Too bad the original owners didn’t keep it. This house could’ve classified as a heritage site; and then the family would be rich if they ever sold it. It’d make a nice tourist spot too!”

Len rolled his eyes. “The original owners are dead, Gary!”

Was he rolling his eyes in fear? Gary wondered. He’d been working for the same contracting company as Len for four years now; Len had never acted this strange on a project before. Gary examined the walls.

They were on the second floor, in one of the three bedrooms; the current owners wanted to make the second and third rooms into one large studio area. It would have been much cheaper to tear the place down and start from scratch. Gary wondered if the current owners were going to sell the house once it was finished. They could charge quite a bit.

In order to make the studio, they’d need to knock down a wall or two. Normally he didn’t care, but this house was too old; it made him uneasy. What if the floor caved in? There were more men working below them.

Listening to Len go on about tearing down the house also made him feeling apprehensive. The man’s fear was starting to eat at him. “So what happened after the owners died?” At the time the original owners, the Clergues, had been quite affluent up until their mysterious death. It was all Gary knew.

“After their death, their children left town. No one returned. So basically the house was left to rot.” He plugged the shop vac into the extension cord. “Nobody knew why they didn’t come back to the house. A few years back there was a case of three children who were reported missing in this area though.”

“Okay,” Gary said slowly. Was that what Len was bothered about? From what he knew the nearest house was a kilometer down the road. They were also in bear country. “Get a grip on yourself, Len!” He hefted the sledgehammer.

“It stinks in here,” Len muttered.

Gary rolled his eyes. The room hardly smelled at all. It was one of the better rooms, there had been no furniture or books for the mice to chew on and there was little water damage, if any. At the most, it was dusty.

“There’s something dead in the walls!” Len groaned.

“It’s probably a rat. Shut up.” Gary made the first swing, knocking a hole the size of a fist.

“Wait!”

“What the hell’s wrong with you? Can I do my damn job, please?” Gary didn’t even bother looking at the other man.

“I see it!” It was more of a whisper than a shout; the urgency in his voice was what struck Gary. “It’s looking straight at me, Gary!” Len stared out of the window facing the backyard. All Gary could see was where the forest began. Out of curiosity Gary went to where the Len was standing, just to see if there was something there. Len pointed at a spot. “It’s right where my finger is; I thought it was just another tree. Until it moved . . .”

Gary couldn’t see anything he asked, “What are you on?”

“Life,” Len replied sourly. “I’m not seeing things. Its right in front of that birch tree. How can you miss it? It is right there damn it! Now it’s looking at you, Gary . . . Shit!”

“Move out of the way. Okay, which birch tree are you looking at? There are at least twenty of them.” Gary stood where Len had been. He followed the man’s finger to the exact spot. For a minute he stared hard. All he could see was the birch tree; the bottom half was black, and the rest was normal. Teenagers came out to this place on dares, so it would seem natural for a few to strip the bark off of a tree. He’d never seen someone strip off that much before. It seemed a bit senseless.

“Len, it’s a birch tree. Someone stripped off A LOT of bark. That is not a monster. It isn’t anything.”

Len opened his mouth to protest, he shrugged his shoulders. “You’re probably right. I don’t know what’s happening to me.”

“Maybe you should take a few weeks,” Gary suggested. From what he knew Len was due for a holiday anyways. There were enough men, so he wouldn’t be missed.

“Let’s finish this first,” Len said. He turned his back on the window.

Gary returned to the wall. An odd smell wafted from the hole. “I think a rat died in here.”

A shout rang out, shrill and hoarse, loud enough to be heard from the main floor.

One of the workers looked up to the ceiling. “What–?”

Even before they had thought of posing the question there was a clamor coming from down the stairs, a clatter of frantic footsteps.

“OH SHIT! SHIT! OH SHIT!” was what the two workers were saying, over and over again. Their voices held a hint of terror, even a touch of delirium. Len and Gary burst into the living room area with wild eyes. Len sunk to the floor while Gary leaned against one of the walls.

“You okay?” someone asked.

“What’s going on?”

Slowly, Len lifted his eyes.

“Well?”

Gary began to sob. He started to thump his head against the wall, muttering, “No! No! No!”

Len cast his eyes to the floor. Funny that he should be so calm now. From the corner of his eye he saw the thing again. It stood outside one of the windows. He tried not to scream. His words came out in a choked whisper. “There are bones in the walls.”

Once the proper authorities were called in the house was scoured from top to bottom. Inside the walls numerous skeletons were found; most were estimated to be the remains of children aged three to ten.

The house was confiscated, and then left abandoned . . . again.

2: Always a Sad Shadow

Three years passed by since the grisly discovery at the old Clergue estate. The house had been forsaken this time, left to rot by itself . . . rotting.

The garden out in the front yard had soon grown into a tangled jungle that blocked the wretched place from view. The people who drove by down the road were relieved at the prospect of NOT having to look at the place. By now everyone knew the story.

He, it, sidled along down the dark corridors. They were truly empty now.

What a blessed relief! Oh to be rid of those horrid reminders. But now that the ghosts of the past had vanished, he was all alone.

Atonement. Once seeming ridiculous, it was now an unattainable dream. He would always be a sad shadow. He would creep along in the dark, afraid to show himself to the light of day.

Then he would rot.

Alone . . .

A soft rumbling caught his attention. Looking in the direction of the noise, Axendough let out a soft hiss.

Not alone anymore . . .

3: The Root Cellar

Let’s go for a ride, they had said. Let’s do something different, something cool!

So that’s what they were doing. When asked to be the driver Susan had said sure with a smile, all the while thinking fuck you.

What was she, their chauffer?

She drove down the quiet road hitting ninety kilometers. All the windows were down, and the radio was blaring. It wasn’t that she was bitter . . . just a tad disgruntled. They always asked, because she was the only one with a license to drive.

At least they asked,

The sound of the rushing wind competed with the sounds of Fleetwood Mac. Their older songs, though. They were the best.

“Can you switch the song?” Mark whined.

“No,” said the others, two girls and a guy. Mark didn’t like most of Susan’s music, which was fine because she didn’t like most of his. They were evenly matched in that regard.

Susan caught Mark’s eyes roll into the back of his head. Drama queen! She thought. “Hey, I know what we can do tonight!” she said. “Let’s go to the old Clergue estate! Apparently they found the bones of children in the walls!”

“Oh gross!” Hanna wrinkled her nose. She was a bit squeamish, that one.

“Sweet!” That was Jake. “Its five minutes away, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty close by,” replied Susan. She scanned the fields. The house was hard to miss unless someone knew what to look for. She spotted it on the left. Susan carefully pulled into the unkempt driveway; partway through they had to get out and walk for the remainder of the trek.

Unkempt was an understatement.

The decrepit building loomed up like a giant, bathed in a warm orange light. The sun had already begun its descent. Twilight was fast approaching.

“I really don’t like this,” Hanna whispered.

“Why are you whispering?” Mark asked.

“I don’t know. You know how some people get a very bad feeling about a place?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m feeling it.”

“Sure.” Mark rolled his eyes.

“We’ve only been here for five minutes, Hanna,” Susan broke in. If they got into another fight she’d make them walk home … alone … in the dark.

“You’re serious about this, aren’t you?”

“Yes, Hanna. You don’t have to go inside, you know.”

They came to the old porch. Mosses and lichens covered it like a floral blight and where it had caved in tall thistles sprouted. Stepping around the weeds Susan went up the steps to the front door. The door handle had long since gone missing; she nudged the old wood. It fell right off the hinges with a dull thud. “Geez!” she jumped back a step.

“Maybe we shouldn’t go inside,” Jake began.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Susan agreed. “This place looks like it’ll fall. Where’s Mark?”

“I’m over here!” They all turned their heads in the direction of Mark’s voice. While Susan had gone onto the porch he had explored around the house. “I think I found the door to a cellar or something!”

“I’ll just stay here, thanks.” Hanna hugged herself for warmth. It was beginning to get cooler now that the sun was going down.

Susan went around the house. Jake remained with Hanna. “We’ll wait for you,” he said softly. Why was everyone whispering again?

Mark was crouching over something in the ground. When he looked up at her he said, “It’s hard to see at first, but this is definitely a door.” His voice was a whisper too as he traced the faint outline of the said door. Someone had taken the time to hide the entrance.

Now the question remained: what was it an entrance too?

“See if you can open it.” She was very curious. In the news articles Susan had read nothing about a secret cellar. Perhaps there were more bones waiting to be uncovered.

Mark had to dig in the sod, but he found the latch after five minutes. “Maybe the grass just grew over it?” he suggested. “People forget about these things all the time.” Mark sounded unsure of that explanation.

“I remember they used to teach us about the local history in grade school; no one ever thought that one of the city’s most influential families could do any wrong!”

“Yeah,” Mark nodded his head in agreement. “They won’t be teaching kids about this stuff anymore. At least, not the bad stuff.”

“I wonder who did it,” Susan asked. “Was it the parents, or one of their kids? Apparently their youngest son had committed himself in his forties . . .”

“Wait, what?”

“He checked himself into an insanity ward. There’s got to be some trauma associated with this place.”

“What if it was somebody else stuffing the walls?” Here was a thought. “Maybe somebody was sneaking into the house through this secret cellar at night. They could’ve murdered the Clergues and tortured their kids!”

Susan grimaced. “That would be horrible.” Mark’s idea seemed far-fetched, but it didn’t mean it wasn’t possible. No one had been able to determine who or what had been the cause of death to those poor children.

Finally, Mark lifted the door.

A black, gaping hole stared at them from the ground. Some strange, faint smell wafted up to greet their noses. It wasn’t a bad smell . . . just an odd one. It was unrecognizable.

“Who’s first?” Mark hesitated.

“I’ll go. You found the door, so I’ll find the way.” Susan descended down into the dark cellar.

The air steadily became damp and cool. It looked as if no one had been down here for ages. It seemed as if no one had ever been down here at all. Layers of dust caked and clung to every surface. Thick layers of dust gripped every surface. Susan wrinkled her nose in disgust.

When she came upon a hallway Susan stopped.

At the end of the corridor was a strange orange glow.

“What the hell?” she murmured. Looking up she saw Mark coming down the stairs. He was surrounded by a square halo. She motioned for him to be quiet, and then indicated the light; his reaction was like her own. Could someone actually be down here?

They crept down the hallway. Once they reached the end they came to a room.

At its center was an antique table. It was in mint condition. It was also very old. There was dust everywhere else except on that table. A candle had been placed at the center of the table. The candle was the source of the orange glow a small flame consumed the wick, dancing strangely in the dark. It held an unnatural quality.

Susan put her hand on the table. It was a fine piece of work. Had someone put it there to be admired? It was a small room.

So who else was here?

Just beyond the candles glow she noticed it . . .  a wingback chair.

“Huh.” Something drew her one step closer. Bending forward to investigate–

Mark poked her arm. “Hey! Are you all right?”

No. She was not all right.

Sitting in the chair was it! He . . . the dark shadow! It was not human.

It was too big, too skinny; too long . . . Everything about it was wrong. Leaning forward, as if to observe the observers . . . the thing cocked its head to one side. It turned to Susan. With a monstrously large hand it put something into its face.

It, he, the dark shadow, had put on his eyes. They shone white, colourless in the darkness, soulless.

Mark dragged the transfixed Susan past the table. In his frantic scrabble he bumped into the table, knocking the candle to the ground. Before Susan could blink everyone was thumping to the car like a herd of mad elephants, half carrying her in their arms. As the old house burst into a crackling blaze Jake was speeding away.

“Susan!” Hanna’s voice was muffled.

All she could see were those two white eyes.

What was happening to her?

She blinked.

4: The Beginning of the End

Susan blinked again.

She felt something swerve violently, followed by a sickening impact. A loud whine filled her ears. Someone screamed. Then, all for the whining, it became silent.

“I can’t feel my legs,” She muttered.

No one answered.

“Mark?” her voice was hoarse. Her eyelids fluttered but she could not open them; she whined in frustration. Through her eyelids she saw a dark shadow loom up before her. “Jake?”

No one answered. A sob nearly choked her. Someone touched her waist. “Mark?” The sensation left her . . . What was wrong with her legs?

Then the realization hit her.

“Holy shit, what the hell is that on the road!” that had been Jake. He screamed that before swerving to avoid the thing.

Hanna let out a quick sob, right before the glass shattered her face. “No!”

Yes, there had been the distinct sound of shattering glass. Susan’s body had tensed at that.

The air bags had burst out from the dashboard with a whoosh and a thud. The two at the front would have been dead a few seconds before that.

It was a few seconds too late to save them . . .

Mark . . . He was okay, but unconscious. It was him who had fallen across her legs, cutting off the circulation.

So who was touching her? A pointy object or so it seemed, was placed on her forehead. Was it a pencil?

No.

It was the thing; it was resting one of its long claws on her head.

Susan forced her eyes open to stare straight into the hidden face. Those two white orbs stared at her, or at least she thought they did. It could be looking at a daisy and she wouldn’t know the difference.

“Damn you!” she spat.

The creature, if it could be called such, drew back as if whipped. What kind of monster cringed after it had done something this horrible?

If only Susan knew.

She’d never know that she reminded the thing of someone else, someone he had lost a long time ago. Susan would also never know that that someone had given him the exact same reaction. Now was a different time though. The long years of abject suffering had bludgeoned a once proud and arrogant heart . . .

With something resembling a sigh, the creature turned away. “Forgive me,” it murmured.

“No!” she told it coldly.

The thing let out a piteous howl.

“No!” was its last word before violently dashing itself onto the ground.

The Enigmatic Monster Project

The Picnic

Written by Chelsea

If you’re going out in the woods today,

You’d better not go alone.

It’s lovely out in the woods today,

But suffer to stay at home.

For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain,

Because today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic

Today was the first time little Katie had ever heard the teddy song. All of the other children, her friends, sang it aloud while they played with their stuffed teddies. Oh! Don’t get me wrong, of course Katie has plenty of toys to play with — model trains, colourful balls and pretty dolls — but she has never once owned a teddy of her very own. She has wanted one for ever so long, pleading with her mother and father to buy her one, but they never did, and poor Katie never understood why.

But on this particular day, Katie’s dreams were about to come all too true. Because there, laying in the grassy lawn of her own backyard, was a lonely teddy bear. Katie could barely contain herself, but she was also very confused: whose teddy bear was this? There were no other children around; her friends were off playing with their teddies and toys somewhere else, surely.

She wondered if, maybe, her mother left this here for her to find as a present. Could it really be true?

Smiling, Katie skipped over to where the teddy lay, and before she could say a word, the teddy leapt up and ran off, heading into the woods! “Oh dear,” she exclaimed, “I’ve never seen a Teddy do that before. Come back, Teddy!”

Katie ran headlong after him, not sure if this sort of behaviour was normal for a stuffed Teddy. She was so excited to find her new friend; she didn’t even tell her mother where she was going…

It wasn’t long before young Katie found herself very alone, and lost in unfamiliar woods. She slowed down, and walked along, calling out for her friend, “Teddy! Hello, Teddy?”

The sun was setting, and the woods were growing dark very fast. Poor Katie saw no sign of her Teddy, and she was ready to give up. But where was home?

Panic set in now, Katie frantically tried to retrace her steps. She was running through the underbrush, hoping desperately to see her porch light shining in the dark. Ah! There was a light ahead, dim but peeking up from somewhere just ahead. It was her house, she was sure of it. So she ran as quickly as her little legs could carry her, tears running down her cheeks. Oh, her mother would be so cross with her when she got back, but she didn’t care. She would be home again, warm and safe. Not far, now…

The light was brighter now. Suddenly, Katie found herself in a little meadow. There was a small table, and the scene was lit by a tiny lantern filled with bright fireflies. Standing before her, black button eyes gleaming, was her Teddy. Her eyes went from her Teddy, and back to the little scene behind him. All around the table were more teddies, all different shapes and sizes. She didn’t notice them right away, but as her eyes adjusted to the light, she noticed their faces were… deformed. But her Teddy stood there, waiting for her.

“I found you!” she laughed ready to pick up her Teddy in her arms. But out of the corner of her eye, she sees an empty lantern swinging towards her. After that, she remembers nothing.

When she comes around, she finds herself in a strange bed. She tries to get up, but she can’t move. Just then, she feels something reach around her, and pick her up. It’s her friend, Vanessa. Katie tries to scream, but no sounds come out. Vanessa takes her outside and lays her down in a pile of other teddies they look oddly familiar…

Before she could try to call out once more, a voice rings out somewhere unseen, Vanessa’s mother calling for her to come in for dinner. As soon as the door shuts tight, the teddies begin to move! They get up and stretch. One offers to help Katie up, and takes her by the hand and leads her in line with the rest as they march towards the woods.

Voices now, as some children run through the yard. All of the teddies … Katie included drop limp to the ground instantly.

“What’s happening to me,” Katie thought. She couldn’t make a sound or move at all when there are other kids around, and this scares her. The children play with them until the sun goes down, and they all scurry off to bed, leaving the toys out on the lawn.

With the first light of the stars twinkling high above, the teddies rise up. A supernatural force “pulls” Katie along with them, leading deep into the forest. She finds herself again in the mysterious clearing, the table set with a raggedy plaid picnic table cloth. Each teddy, with their misshapen forms, finds their seat around the table and Katie gets a good look at them all.

On the little log stools they sit on, under them, there are pictures. There’s a little girl about her age beneath one, and then a boy, and another child’s face beneath the next bear, and the next. Six children’s faces beam bright smiles from pictures, and slowly Katie sees their resemblance in the faces of the bears.

There’s one last, empty stool, with a picture lying neatly beside it. Katie stoops beside it, and takes a good look at the photo at her feet. It’s her, right there, all bright & smiling. And suddenly she understands.

The bears are staring at her now they look as if they’re…smiling. One of them points to a message carved into the trunk of an old oak tree where the lanterns hang.

It read:

“Salvation is in the bear

And those who own you, stop you.

Forgive them, and send them to Salvation”

There’s a muffled cry from behind, and Katie turns to see her friend Vanessa struggling, gagged and bound. One of the teddies holds a sharp knife, and offers it up to Katie, who takes it without a thought. Another bear carries fluff and button eyes, glistening in the lantern light. An empty teddy skin hangs on a low bough off to the right.

The bear who led her here shows Katie where to cut, and guides her as she carves out Vanessa’s nerves and organs with precision and care. Soon she will be one of them … another teddy.

Remember, if you’re going out in the woods today, you’d better not go alone…

Broken

Written by R. J. Davies Mornix

She stared at the cup. He had given it to her as a gift; the cup had a picture he had taken of them on it. She had accidentally broke it. Shawn had tried to give it to her as a gift and she had broken it. It was when he had asked her out on a date, two weeks ago.

The cup showed up on her doorstep with flowers and a card this morning.

Looking back at the card she swallowed hard; if only she had met him months ago. It was too late now. She didn’t have the strength to invest in another relationship. Besides, he would probably end up like the others. Allan–she thought he would be different … That he would understand … But he didn’t and now he was gone.

Sarah knew she should just swear off men all together. She had tried a few times. Allan had told her she looked like an angel. Yes, she did turn heads, but lately she felt like she was just going through the motions: smiling when expected, being cordial and kind … It all felt fake. Life felt like a dress rehearsal and she was done with the practising; she just wanted the real deal. To meet the  right person who would look at her … Really look at her and see her … And not run away.

Looking in the mirror she brushed her hair slowly. “Pretty on the  outside … Pure rotten on the inside, ” her mother would tell her that on a daily basis. It didn’t let up as she blossomed in her teens; her mother’s boyfriends would always pay her too much attention, which then spurred the wrath of her mother. It was a no-win situation.

Shawn may be different, a little voice whispered in the back of her mind. He could be the one, it persisted.

Her eyes found the broken cup. Opening the card that came with it, ‘We are all a little broken, it’s having the strength to keep striving for that love connection that makes it all worthwhile. What do you say Sarah? Are you willing to take a chance on me? Shawn.’

Did she dare call him?

She shouldn’t.

There was a knock at the door. Putting the card down she went over and opened the door to find Shawn smiling at her.

“Well?” he grinned.

A smile crept over her lips. If it didn’t work out she could add him to her pile of broken boyfriends  she had buried in the backyard. Grinning she thought, It’s not that many: only six ex-boyfriends and one nosey neighbour. Her flower garden was thriving because of their contributions.

“Come on Sarah, I’m not like all the other guys.”

“Alright,” she nodded. “Let me get my purse and we can take a walk to discuss where you are taking me out for dinner tonight.”

“That’s my girl.”

Silver and Gold

The room was dark, but upon entering it I realized I was somewhere else entirely: an empty cabin. The room was full of dust, the air was damp, and somewhere nearby I could hear the steady buzz of a wasps nest. When my eyes rested on the table I frowned.

Underneath the table an old man was curled up. He didn’t seem to be in pain. He just . . . Stared at me with some unknowable intent. A pair of golden eyes bore into me. I suddenly began to feel uncomfortable.

Sitting on the table was a small black cat. It flicked it’s tail back and forth. The cat was watching me too; it’s eyes were silver.

Perturbed, I asked: “What is going on?”

“I know the hearts of all men,” the cat whispered, if a cat it was. “I know your every desire, your every fear . . . ” it trailed off.

“What is the meaning of life?” The words flew out of my mouth all on their own.

“The hearts of men . . .” The cat crooned. Silver eyes mocked me.

“Happiness, pain, and happiness again,” the old man answered. “Love, hate, and love again . . . A never ending cycle where your kind constantly hungers for what was lost.”

“I don’t understand.”

“To live and die again each day, and never ending the endless search, until what was lost has been found.”

I took a step back. The old man wasn’t human. Gold eyes pitied me. “What did we lose?” I asked him.

“Too much.”

“Too much of what?”

The cat hissed. “The hearts of men miss their power. The hearts of women miss their freedom. Male is female, female is male. Both give and both take, while both whither away into the next life. You’re all guilty.

“I would suggest you start screaming for mercy now!” The cat began to billow out like a cloud of dark smoke.

I found it harder and harder to breathe. In a desperate attempt I turned and ran away from Silver and Gold. Silver began to cackle as Gold wailed.

“Ask for it!” The old man begged. “Just ask!”

Ask for what? I looked down at my feet; they were pumping back and forth, but I wasn’t moving anywhere. A sickening sweet smell began to fill my nostrils, and I gagged. My limbs began to slow down in their movements, growing more and more sluggish as if something were holding them. I lurched forward without really doing anything; the upper half fell while the lower half was glued to the ground. In a desperate attempt I turned back to the old man. “What should I ask for?”

Gold cocked his head to the side, and with a slight smirk shrugged his shoulders.

I sighed, annoyed at the unexpected switch in character; I thought Gold was the good one. They were both rotten. “Can I have some space please?” I wheezed as Silver began to crush me.

Nothing.

“Clarity? Sanity?”

Silver began to chuckle. The sound left a sour taste at the back of my throat.

“Mercy!”

At the word time reversed itself. The cloud or dark smoke let me go, and my legs began move before slowing down. I found myself staring at Gold, who was chuckling heartily. Silver was nowhere to be found, but I could have sworn that I heard him wailing in the distance.

I looked at Gold, my mouth working silently. After a few seconds I shut my mouth and began to leave the room.

“Come back soon!” Gold crooned to me as I shut the door.

No thank you! I thought to myself. A part of me knew that our paths would cross in the future.

photography, writing, horror, weird, fiction

A Spayed Goat

A spayed goat leads the march

of crippling genocides.

My how the times are changing!

Tireless slaves.

Ringing of metal, banging and clanging.

As the grand army marches forward,

backwards progressing.

Who needs a home anyway?

Burn, burn, burn–

–The baby is the devil:

A clichéd mockery; sly, evil,

but twisted nonetheless.

All hail the Salamander King.

Bow before him on backwards knees.

All our troubles starting with

(an imagined?)

Spayed goat?

(It’s more than I hoped.)

Adventure Time

Isolated, by P. L. Cobb

I like Adventure Time (a lot). I am also an adult.

I like Adventure Time (a lot). I am also an adult. I know of other adults who like the show, and I have had others tell me that it’s too much. Does that say more about me or them?

For me it’s the layers that the show has: it’s cute, weird, bizarre, macabre, and Lovecraftian (any episode involving the Nightosphere). If you watch the show you’ll find any number of these things. Re watch the show and you might notice more things in the background. For a cute kids show Adventure Time is . . . Different. For crying out loud, there is a freakin’ Lich King! And. It. Is. Voiced. By. Ron. Perlman! My family would have tried boycotting that. They would have tried to convince me that the show was evil and dark–not that it would have helped; I read and loved the Harry Potter series, it’s no more magical than the Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion, or the Chronicles of Narnia.

While I wouldn’t class Adventure Time as exactly the same as Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings, it is very close. I suppose this means a segway into why you can’t blame a book, a movie, or a cartoon for your behaviour (Clockwork Orange, The Catcher in the Rye), or why you can’t just assume that someone is weird, angry, or undesirable because of a certain thing they like. Now that I’ve said that I suppose this means a segway into people, and the pre-conceived notions that other people have about them. I call them ideas, or odd ideas. They’re odd because you don’t really know the person. Or they’re odd because you don’t fully know the person.

For myself there are several people who have had these odd notions about me; needless to say I never held them in very high regard. Why should I? If you’re not going to take the time to at least try to understand why someone is the way they are (without going overboard, mind you) why the hell do you get offended when they don’t extend the same thing to you? Can you smell another segway? Perhaps I should title this article: Adventure Time Made Me Think About People?

This is either a segway or I’ve unknowingly come around full circle.

Hypocrisy. We all do it. That doesn’t mean we’re all horrible people. At the same time that means that someone does not get to say what’s so because of something else, especially if they are a perpetrator of that same thing. If a nice person puts their foot down, I don’t get to call them out for that:

  1. Being assertive is not wrong.
  2. If that person is putting their foot down, it’s likely because I am an asshole.
  3. I put my foot down all the time; I’ve exploded when people don’t listen.
  4. If I can do it, why can’t they?

If you were wondering what I’m getting at, this is it. Don’t get me wrong, people are tricky; we react to certain things, often ridiculously. We can’t all be like Spock. But the fact remains that we do this; people do it to me, and I do it to them. It’s a never-ending cycle. Sometimes it is spectacularly wrong, vicious . . . And unnecessary. A lot of the time it is unnecessary.

Just as unnecessary as labelling someone. As Coca-Cola said: labels are for cans. I listen to heavy metal and I run a horror blog. But I’m not goth. I’m. Or punk. I watch Adventure Time too, but I’m not really weird. I used to be quiet; some people assumed that I didn’t like to talk to people or that I would never want to travel. The thought that I was just trying to find my footing in a world full of jerks never occurred to them. For the record I love tourism; I enjoy people. I’m a social-introvert. And I enjoy getting away from Sault Ste. Misery. I’m also a graphic designer. Because of that some assumed that I wouldn’t be able to take constructive criticism, but never stopped to consider if they were just nagging . . .

I have had my fair share of wrong assumptions too. To an extent I try to be fair. Not all the time, because it’s not always worth it. Life is just one big grey ocean, and you just have to learn to tread it carefully.

In the end, adults watch cartoons. Not all cartoons are bad, and just because you think Adventure Time is too much doesn’t mean you’re right. It also doesn’t mean I have to quickly adopt your opinions, or you mine.

What it does mean is that there is something somebody put time and effort into that other people enjoy. And it’s not for everybody, which is okay.

Before I go I would like have my last hurrah: this is why I write horror. Horror is the vehicle in which I use to dissect. The nature of people, my own experiences, the experiences of others–this is what inspires me to do what I do. There are more grey areas than there are black and white. Hence the grey ocean. If I sound preachy I apologize, but this is something that I am passionate about. And if I can’t do it then I am going to go out with bang.