Set Fire To Something, by Mitchell Stoycheff

Set Fire to Something

The acrid smell of gasoline was as strong as it was heady. It pervaded the air like a poisonous cloud assailing the senses. My nose burned from underneath it, and my eyes watered as I continued to pour the liquid my hands shaking.

Around me the night screamed in alarm: every bug was a siren; every bird was mortal. They peered out at me through the darkness of the night. Their accusing glares matched the beating of my heart. They were everywhere, and they pounded against my thoughts like hammer.

I focused on my task, the smell of gasoline. The smell of vengeance and the smell of justice. There was nothing left to my world; all obligations forfeit. Splashing the last few drops I tossed the container aside and fumbled in my pockets for my lighter.

This was it.

As I went to flicked it on I looked up to the face of the scarecrow, his split fibrous grin was dark and slick with liquid. Its eyes were unnaturally focused. Could this demon smell it? Did the scent of the gasoline lead it here. I stumbled back slipping in the slick grass, fear bubbling in the back of my throat. It’s head cocked to one side rolling awkwardly.

It shuffled toward me, almost unstably. Its was a game it played. I had seen it move and I had seen it kill. My eyes looked to the gleaming meat hook stuffed in its right arm, recalling how It strung up Sally from the rafters, how her screams were cut short.

My hand clenched the lighter, almost as tight as my chest heaved. There was no time left, no air left. I was going to die. Would it do the same to me as it did to all the others? Would it hurt. My vision blurred, I was the only one left after all, who would bury me?

The demon lunged at me and I screamed and tried to roll away. The pain was immediate. My fingers dug haphazardly in the earth as struggled to pull myself away from the fiend, knowing that I was within its clutches. It tugged, and my left leg screamed in agony. Terror and pain erupted from my lips in an anguished fearful cry. Tears blurred my vision, as I fought its supernatural strength. It pulled again my body sliding in the slick grass with ease.

Twisting I swung my leg at it in desperation. It took the blows with ease, its feral grin unflinching. Instead in leaned forward, tearing the hook from my leg with ease sending shock waves that splintered up my body. I screamed in pain, I screamed for God, even as the black spots formed in between my tears.

Despite it’s blurry form its soulless eyes were in clarity. It was the eyes of death. I struggled backward as it angled itself even closer, the bloody hook dripping with bits of ragged flesh. I whimpered pleas of sorrow as I continued to struggle backward against the pain. The rough skin of the tree ended my retreat, and I was forced to look up to the demon that loomed over me, like a carving of statue whose eyes glittered even in the night.

I had so many regrets, so many plans for the future. None included this haunting menace. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want any of this, but it was all I had left. The scent of vengeance and the scent of justice. Could they be the same, when the nightmares of the world came crawling out. My hand trembled as I flicked the lighter, bringing a spark to the darkness.

The demon pealed, the meat hook flashing brightly in the moonlight, but the flash of fire was faster as it consumed him and tree that tethered the demon to this world.

Truculence: A Definition, by P.L. Cobb. Photography by Mitchell Stoycheff.

Truculence: A Definition

Noun |tru-cu-lence|

  1. The quality or state of being truculent.

Truculent
Adjective |tru-cu-lent|

  1. Feeling or displaying ferocity: cruel, savage.
  2. Deadly, destructive.
  3. Scathingly harsh: vitriolic.
  4. A thing that shares a bed with Wrath, amongst other things.

View our source.

Afternoon, by P. L. Cobb

Anxiety Evolves Into Something Else

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

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

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

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

When It was close enough it began to grope her.

And then it began to dig inside of her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The shadow was her.

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

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

No. There was nothing wrong with this.

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

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

She shivered.

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

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

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

Existence Without Existing

Existence Without Existing | The Red Raven, part 4

What did it mean to exist without ever existing at all? How did it feel?

Is that the illusion of self? A voice whispered.

For a moment Joseph thought about it; it was a miserable moment. Each time he came close to something, he felt numb inside, and it frightened him.

Because he did not understand. Anything. Because he did not know what was happening to him, or what had ever happened to him, or what would happen to him.

Or if there was anything at all.

“Who is the truth?” the stranger asked.

Continue reading

Death, I Thought He Was a Fool

Death, I Thought He Was a Fool

The smell was the most offensive, most horrible thing that anyone had assaulted me with. Before me, on the asphalt, lay the man spread-eagled. The smell was emanating from him.

It was the smell of death.

His breathing came in short, spastic breaths, his chest heaving as if the simple act were killing him too. Tears were streaming down his face, rivulets that cut away at the dirt and grime. A tangled grey nest was his hair, and his clothes were nothing more than rags on a stick-man.

As I leaned in closer the man opened his eyes–they were still no more than slits.

“You. Miss. Come. Closer”

I did as he asked. How did you deny the requests of a dying stranger?

“Please!” he coughed.

“What happened to you?” I asked him. I felt a sickening mixture of pity and disgust within me. I didn’t need to look at myself to know that I was crying.

He closed his eyes again. There was silence, his shallow breathing barely heard.

“What happened to you?” I asked again.

“Please?” he coughed once more. I realized that he was not addressing me, but someone else, someone unseen. As far as I knew, we were alone. I shivered.

The man managed to look at me once more. “I was just like you once. I had a home. My health. Death came to me one day . . . I was to die . . . But I struck a bargain with him.” He swallowed. “I could live–If I accepted a gift of foresight!” The man spasmed, and I jumped back–he ignored me, and continued.

“I thought that I had cheated Death–Death, I thought he was fool! But the gift . . . Was a curse. I. Could. Not. Control it. Each time . . . It came to me . . . And a day of my life was taken away.

“But he did more than that. He. Took. Away. All the things–all the things I loved! I would see them die . . . And then he would take them. I died inside each time, while my days were taken from me. When they were all gone . . . My family . . . My friends . . . He took away my things . . . My job . . . My house. Until there was nothing.

“Until I was nothing.”

The mans breathing became more shallow, more erratic–until it stopped. His eyes opened wide in terror.

And then he died.

Regardless of what I believed, Death had finally taken this man–a man who had taken the gift of foresight to prolong his own life.

Theo_icon

 

logo_2014design_2This short story has been brought to you by Team Monster, inspired by The Daily Post.
Team Monster likes to eat an apple a day, because that keeps away more than just the doctor! Keep it monstrous!

3rd Issue Sneak Peak, Amongst Other Things

Newsbanner

3rd Issue Sneak Peak, Amongst Other Things

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 10.14.11 AM

We could pretend that it’s actually a sneak peek, and not just a reveal of the cover . . .

October 1st is fast approaching, and something wicked this way comes . . . the 3rd issue of The Enigmatic Monster is taking on a new look, something nitty, gritty, and decidedly graffiti! We’ve also made some slight size adjustments to the .pdf document to optimize viewing. Our Wordsmith is looking over our stories, wondering how we stay sane, at this very moment.

For those of you who passionately detest .pdf documents, do not worry, the entire issue will be available online for your viewing pleasure!

Some new developments have come around the corner as well. Team Monster is planning on doing another live reading! This time on a boat, in the middle of the night. We may possibly be pandering trinkets too (tiny little Theos to love and to hug, but never to feed–heaven forbid). Not in the SSM area? Never fear, we’ll be doing a recording as well.

Keep it monstrous!

Theo_icon

 

The Thief, Mr. DeCorvi

The Thief, Mr. DeCorvi

The Red Raven, Part 2

The Red Raven . . . What was it? Where had it come from?

The man wondered as he hunkered down into the bush.

It was an idea–a symbol–an ancient being. In other words, a very good myth. Whatever any of it meant . . . He laughed to himself, a bit on edge.

The Red Raven, it was said, was the cause of dreams, the true king of the dream world. Day or night, it cast out its seeds, good or bad, to be had by the dreamer. Rich or poor, woman or man, the Red Raven cared not. The being was a chaotic agent, and therefore did not care what it did, without being good nor evil. According to many stories, the sovereign had reigned supreme, until its downfall, when it lost its crown . . . Continue reading

To the Sober Eye of Reason . . .

To the Sober Eye of Reason . . .

quote_4

There are moments when even to the sober eye of reason, the world of our sad humanity may assume the semblance of Hell.

–Edgar Allan Poe