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?”


“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.”

The Enigmatic Monster Project: horror of all flavours!

The Pallid Swordsman

By Mitchell Stoycheff

A veil of shadow, your constant friend

Seething in silence as it curls and extends

Breathing in day and exuding the night

Sighing a poison, a billowing blight

Past the shell, in shadow he hides

Stands a figure, a malevolent guide

Cast in alabaster, from strands of moonlight

He stands in the quiet as the ashen knight

A wraith in the dim with no shadow to cast

He glides through the night as a pale contrast

In one hand he holds a blade of blood

That has cut forth a path for a crimson flood

In the other he holds a blade of lore

Of arcane might and mystic score

His first blade hungers, feeding on fear

Bathing in blood and swallowing tears

The second is silent, a virgin to war

Powerful and hungry, it’s a plaguing spore

This ivory knight walks with death

Not at his back but as his breath

As messenger of evil, without a fetter

This scourge of life is agony’s saviour.

The Enigmatic Monster Project

Furious Grey

Written by P. L. Cobb

Life is a furious sea

The colour of dust, ash . . . Grey

There’s no clear split down the middle




It scares you

But it’s commonplace for me

Time to snap back to reality

There’s no simple yes or no

There’s no one to tell you where to go

Whether to go up high, or to go down below

What do I know?

I couldn’t even show you where to start

Which begs the question: what part

Do I have in all of this?

How did I find myself at the heart

Of your turmoil?

Who made me your keeper?

Go away!

Take your own ideas with you

And drown in a sea of furious grey!

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


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.


“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.


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?”


“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?


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.

Love Me No More

Written by P. L. Cobb

I’ve been so distracted lately

Love (with its multitude of fangs)

Has become a chore

(An unwanted mess, by a cruel goddess)

Bless me without eternal fire

(And your cold ire)

Grant me this one desire

(Free me from your third eye

Spare me from your truth, I long for my lie

Save me from your beastly heart,

If death must do us part,

So be it)



(Love me no more)

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…


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.”

Sorry About Your Dad, written by P.L Cobb with art by Jake Zaccaria

Rings of Hel

Within the rings of hel,
The daemons dwell,

Ruled by the seven lords–
the daemon hordes.

Only shall you enter their realms
through twin rings, or brass bells.

But they shall abide no man, nor child, nor woman–
all mortals banned.

No sweet breath of air, or fresh drop of dew
from the mountains to the deserts to the oceans blue,
not one mortal, be they old or new.
They shall not abide by me, they shall not abide by you.
If we are caught, we shall die. That much is true.

What are they, the daemons of yore?
Who are their masters, who are their lords?
Too many questions asked, and many more
riddles given, but no absolutes, just wives tales and folk lore.

The King out of Darkness
within the shadow beckons.

In silence the dead one awaits us,
the Warrior of Two Worlds.

The Ashen Queen sits tirelessly
guarding the front gate,

While a Golden Spider
deftly plays with fate.

Stalking the river beds,
the Fisherman thirsts for blood.

A Virgin Red
makes men out of mud.

And a Father of Madness
bewitches the wary wanderer.

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.


“Clarity? Sanity?”

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


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.

Dew-Lined Grave

Cry my to my dew-lined grave

A weary soul I cannot save

The sweetest gift, I cannot give

Am I even fit to live

Within the nightmares the Old Ones have?

Cry me to my dew-lined grave

I am the one you cannot save.


Without a thing to cry for

I’ve suddenly lost my steam

Perhaps I was wandering

In a waking dream.

Without, writing and photography by P. L. Cobb

I’ve suddenly lost my steam . . . In a waking dream.

Chipmunk Whisperer

Not the living

but the living undead

the rodent stumbles to

your hand

wriggling around

like a worm

and bites your thumb.

All hail

the failed

Chipmunk Whisperer!

Enjoy your new un-life!




The whispering of words


The frail stranger

waiting in the darkness



Gaudy Boy

Rainbow sparkles

and silver streamers

festoon the science lab


a party he attended without


all alone he steps down

from his stand

takes a bow

waves his hands

does a jig

then hangs himself back up again

waiting for the next party to roll



Ashkenaz, the ever living flame, and jerkThe holier than thou

Lifts up their nose

Snubs the poor and the


Ignores the homeless

Ostracizing the rest

Gathering together

A metaphorical wasps’ nest

Praying to a disapproving god

Claiming to be holy

but wholly irreverent


Type Imp

I live inside of your computer. Autocorrect bends to my very will. That sentence you slaved over, the one you re-read twenty times, the one you edited twenty times until it was perfect–I changed the spelling of one of the words. The spell check didn’t catch it.


Type Imp, writing and photography by P. L. Cobb

That essay you wrote, the one with the clever title? It just got a little scandalous!

I am the Typo Imp! Your one and only, driving you insane during the early hours of the morning down till the late hours of the night! No amount of coffee will make it stop. Nothing you do will make me leave: not a hard reset, nothing. Don’t take my word for it though. Go ahead, go and take your computer in. Pay the man’s wages.

I’m a benefactor.

Of my amusement.

That essay you wrote, the one with the clever title? It just got a little scandalous! Can you imagine how boring your existence would be without me? You can at least say (without a doubt) that someone does pay attention to you. The fact that I am neither friend nor family is another matter.

(I have some friends who’d be willing to fix that . . . For themselves. I wouldn’t recommend them. They just wanted me to let you know that they’re around; they say you watch fun movies!)

With love,

The Typical Imp.

P.S: Did you catch that? If yes, it’s only because I wanted you to . . .

Coopid, who may or may not exist, or who may be a parasite?

Down Into the Pond

Down into the pond he leads them; a wicked grin contorts his face, but they do not see it. I want to scream, to wake up. It’s useless.

I am a force of non-agency as I watch myself drowning innocent strangers.

There are two halves of me. The pond serves as the mirror, but also the wall, which reflects back at us, which separates us. The reflection I once saw only showed the one side of me, the one I live with. It didn’t look in, only outside.

When I died I broke through, falling inwards.

Then he came out. A replacement.

I am trapped within my soul, left to wonder if I am a ghost, left to wonder if this is real. Are those people truly dying; do they exist? Or are those metaphors, my past selves?

I smash my fists against the water, coming up against a wall. It greets me with pain.

One by one he dunks their heads in. When they are motionless corpses he allows them to drift off into the reeds; he leaves them to search for more. For him a few is never enough. Nothing is.

For myself there is one thing that I am confident in: that he will drown himself when there is no one else. It is inevitable.

Then there will be peace.

Then there will be true death.

Down Into the Pond, by P. L. Cobb

There are two halves of me. The pond serves as the mirror, but also the wall, which reflects back at us, which separates us.

Coopid, who may or may not exist, or who may be a parasite?


You do it for the fleeting feeling

Of pure bliss, stealing

The seat of your mind, controlling you

But you happen to like the taste, and the label too

Just one more, now make it two

Morning, afternoon, evening, midnight

Losing all sense of time and space–and your own sense of sight

“Where are you going?

The demons and the angels are crying

At such a waste of life.

What ever you do, don’t jump off that cliff.”

Ashkenaz, the ever living flame, and jerk

Sorry About Your Brother

So this is a thing, I guess . . .

You won’t put this horse to rest.

You are despicable, inhuman, a beast.

You’re a little bit better than your sister (ugh)

And of course, you know, you are better than that one particular person . . . Blah.

Your brother.

The rest of your family is like a weird joke

But your brother.

I don’t want to go down there,

I don’t want to.

Your brother is like a sentient blood mist,

Or something, I’m not really sure.

Remember the time he ate my dog?

Why am I still friends with you?

What about the time he held my family captive?

No? What about the time he almost drained the fluids from my body,

That shit was not funny.

Uh, you know what . . .

Let’s not hang out (anymore).

Ashkenaz, the ever living flame, and jerk

Say My Name

Say my name.


And you are the one to blame–

It doesn’t go the other way.

Don’t try to make it about you,

That’s not how you play the game;

It’s not proper etiquette when summoning Bizuzu.

So go ahead, say my name.


And be the one to bear the blame.

Our benovelent/malevolent overlord, Theo Monster