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

West Coast Adventure

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

What she hadn’t counted on was Jarrod.

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

“Coffee’s on,” she called out to him.

“Thanks babe!” he shouted back.

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

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

“I was watching you brush your teeth.”

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

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

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

She moaned in agreement.

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

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

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

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

“Hi Bea, how was work today?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How was your day?”

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

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

“Sure I’ll make us something to eat.”

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

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

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

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

“Thanks,” he began to dig in.

“Did you hear, another woman went missing?”

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

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

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

She half smiled, “Thanks baby.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The man chuckled, “I know you know.”

Jarrod! NO!

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

The Inevitable Moment

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

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

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

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

It was all inevitable.

“Life is a horror,” he thought.

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Esoteric Anecdote

There were seven of them, lords, all of themSome said that the only way to get to heaven–or the underworld, each story was different–one had to go through all seven . . . These gatekeepers, or key holders, whatever they did . . . They were, in different senses of the word (and varying degrees) demons.

So, that one had to go through them was a fact. That it was wise to do so (let alone something that I, myself, would do) was beyond comprehension.

I would never dream of being taken by one of the seven. That is another story altogether.

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A Box Full of Die

When he picked it up, all the die fell out, scattering across the floor. In an instant’s frustration he swore out loud, then bit his lip. The room he was in was dimly lit by a kerosene lamp. He could barely make out what was in the room, a shadow of his own in another world; what lay beyond the perimeter of light was little more than nothing. Again, this was not his world. It was silent and it was always night here.

Originally he had come to retrieve a can full of money. While his partner ventured further into the house he had waited. That’s when the lid of the box fell off. It was lying on the floor, in the exact spot he usually left it when they made these trips. All he did was turn his back. He picked the box up, examined it, and then made to put the lid on, when all  the wooden die fell out of their ridges on the floor.

“Damn it, Scott!” his partner came running into the room. She looked as if she were about to murder him. “Why?” she whispered.

Scott shook his head in disbelief. “The lid fell off when I turned my back. So I went to put it back on, the way I usually do.” The lid always fell off on its own when no one was  paying attention. Nothing like this had ever happened before.

“I’ll put them back,” Maya said in soft voice. “Or try.”

There were forty different die; putting them back into the box could take forever. Even if they did manage to put them all back, there was no guaranteeing their safe return home.

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After All

No one seemed to understand him, which was typical of most people . . . Not that he could blame them, to be honest. He was after all dead.

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An Old Stump

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An Old Stump

When he opened his eyes again, the Wandering Stranger was greeted by the morning sun. He winced. With his bones aching he sat up right, then stood up. He was still soaked all the way through, but it would soon warm up. From what he could recall, the storm had gone on well into the predawn hours. A yawn cracked his jaws wide open.

Looking around, he examined the aftermath of the storm; twigs, sticks, and branches—all of them widow-makers in their own right—littered the ground. Immediately he began searching for a weapon. Casting around for straight, thick branches, he finally found what he was looking for. He needed something that was strong, sturdy. After testing his find, he pulled a knife from his belt. Getting down on his knees he began to whittle away at the knobby bits, then proceeded to sharpen one of the ends into a point. It took him a while, but once he was done he cleaned and sheathed his knife.

Muttering that he had made better, the Wandering Stranger got to his feet. After venturing a few feet he came to the river. Its waters had gone well past the river bank. Solemnly, he watched as bits of debris floated down the choked waters. He looked behind him.

There was no one to be seen, yet there was someone following him, even if they were miles behind. Sometimes he had looked back to almost be overtaken. Shuddering at the thought, the Wandering Stranger set off alongside the river, mindful of keeping a good distance. One false step and he could crash through an overhanging bank. Although he would need to ford the river, he did not want to be near water this deep. He would seek out a narrower, shallower part of the river.

The sun was at its highest peak when he came to a suitable area; here the river was nothing more than a burbling stream. With a wry smile he leapt across. He landed lightly on the other side. It wasn’t much of a jump, really.

His journey had taken him into another wooded area. The scent of pine filled his nostrils. Taking a look around he noticed the start, or end, of a path; judging by the wear and tear of the asphalt the path was quite old, unused even. At least in this area of the wood . . . Travel worn as he was, the Wandering Stranger was not one to give up a good mystery. He was curious as to where this path went. So he followed it.

The pine wood soon gave way to a well manicured park: an open field with few rolling hills, and several trees standing out in the open here and there. It was deserted, but that didn’t surprise him in the least. People were not on his list of things to see. He took a deep breath, and the Wandering Stranger found that for the first time in months he was relaxed; his pursuers were far behind him, following a false lead no doubt, and he could relax. The park was very nice as well. It has a calm atmosphere, and it was quiet; every so often a robin would trill a few notes from a nearby bush.

So far the path he was taking had a bank immediately to his left, overgrown with brush. There were plenty of willow trees as far as he could tell, which meant that there was a creek down that bank. At times the trees would thin, and he could see dirt paths leading down to the water. After an hour or so the path verged away from the bushes, leading the Wandering Stranger down a gentle hill, and then across a road.

He stopped to take in his surroundings. On the other side of the road was the other half of the park. To his left the road ended in a dead end. However, to his right he could see houses. They were probably a kilometer down the road though. He could just pick out a few people in the yards of maybe two or three houses; they were far enough to look like ants.

At one point in his life, he had lived in a house too. How long ago was that?

With a shake of his head he began to cross the road, looking straight ahead of him at the path. Without any warning a loud shriek broke the calm silence of the park, stopping the Wanderer dead in his tracks. Every fibre of his being froze as the shriek painfully died down. It was still echoing in his mind moments after it had gone, replaying itself over and over in his mind as he desperately searched for an answer.

What had made the shriek?

That was the question.

But what was the answer? It had sounded human, but from experience he knew to not to take things at face-value. The world was, unfortunately, not as simple as it appeared to be, and many things could be deceiving. Too many things were deceiving, as a matter of fact. Further along the path, he could see what looked to be a crow or a raven in the distance. The bird was hovering over something.

Gripping his spear in one hand, the Wandering Stranger set off at a trot. He was going to find out what that bird was hovering over.

By the time he had reached the spot, the bird was long gone. What he found was a tree stump.

A butcher knife was stuck in it.

A group of kids could have easily done this as a trick, he mused. They had seen him walking down the path, and on seeing that he was a stranger they had decided to play a prank on him. It was a simple explanation that anyone could think of. It was an erronious one, however. He could feel it in his gut.

On seeing the knife his blood was not the only thing to run cold; the whole air around him was like ice when it had been warm just minutes before.

Without a second thought he wrenched the knife free from old stump, and made his way to the creek, holding the thing away from him the entire time. Once he neared the banks, he chucked the knife into the dense brush, and walked away. As soon as he was back on the path he started to lightly jog. Hunger gnawed at his belly, and he winced.

The food that he purchased before was likely gone, or the little which was left had spoiled from the rain, whichever came first. It was likely that he would have to forage.

All thoughts of food left his mind. Loud rustling and cracking came from the spot where he had chucked the knife.

The Wandering Stranger broke out in a mad run. This time he would not look back. The path lead him into the woods once more, and he followed it, dashing over fallen branches and crack in the pavement. As the woods began to thin once more he realized that the path was leading him back into the small town. Just then a thought occurred to him: he was hungry, and here was a small town; he could easily walk into a coffee shop,  get something to eat, and no one would follow him.

If anyone was following him. The rustling in the bushes could just be an animal, curious as to who had thrown the knife. A small part of him—the logical, rational part—chided him. Pushing that thought aside, the Wandering Stranger did the one thing that he did not want to do.

He thrust his spear into the bush.

It was just as well that he did, for at that exact moment the path was intercepted by another road. Turning right, he left the path. Slowing his pace to a walk he panted for breath. Someone from their house was watching him from their front porch. He stopped to look back at them.

“Afternoon,” the Wandering Stranger began, “I’m just passing through, do you know of any good places to have coffee?”

The woman sat up in her chair. She was maybe in her late fifties. A crochet hook was in her left hand, what looked to be a hat in the other. Looking at him curiously, she answered him: “The Cloudy Cafe; you’ll find it on Wentworth St.” Giving him one last look, she returned to her hat.

“Thank you!” The Wandering Stranger continued on his his way. On closer inspection, he found that he quite liked this town; its inhabitants were friendlier than in some places, for one thing. And the houses were all well kept, each with its own manicured lawn. On the outskirts of some towns the houses were usually run down dumps, the tell-tale sign of a slum. This was a suburb.

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The Golden Disc of the Uncaring Idol

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The Golden Disc of the Uncaring Idol

It was a symbol of something old and dead. We stared at it, wondering how something so insignificant could mean anything at all. They said that the Uncaring Idol, known also as the Smiling God, was the king of liars; with his mouth he would smile, and with his eyes he would devour your body, mind, and soul. When there was nothing left but a husk, he would abandon you. Chaos was his wont, and chaos was his only game. He was the unholy child of the Two-Faced Insanity . . .

The list was an endless one, inevitably. One from our group–a woman who was touched once by the demon–took the disc, and cut it. Thousands of pieces flew into the air, each one a glittering rainbow.

Somehow those rainbows were also the colour of blood.

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The Lonesome Morning

The first rays of sunlight peered through the windows. There was no one living to appreciate the coming of the dawn. For them (on the inside) it was too late. A raven hopped across the porch railings; an old bird, large, with a cracked beak. The residents had called him Pretty Boy.

Pretty Boy regarded the silent porch, then the windows, looking as uncomfortable as it was possible for him. They used to live there, alive and happy, alive and nice. Many days they would give him food, the same way they had done for years. Pretty Boy looked at the windows again. Through the red smears there wasn’t much to see; their bodies had been  dragged away in the night as he watched from his perch on an old tree. It had frightened him.

He let out a dour cry before taking to the air. A figure loomed up in the window he was watching, startling him. Pretty Boy knew who that was.

And he did not like it.

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Smiling God

The words from their last encounter rang in his head. You summoned me. Today was not a good time for this, just like yesterday wasn’t a good time, and likely tomorrow too. In the morning as he awoke the smiling god was leaning over him; in the dim light it appeared as a spectral horror.

As soon as their eyes met its smile widened. The smile was at the point where it was on the verge of becoming a snarl. He couldn’t tell the difference though. It was all the same. On this day the god had said nothing, only faded into nothing. When there was nothing for the horror to say, something bad would happen to him.

Today is not a good day . . . He felt ill.

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You’re Not Real

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You’re Not Real

“Just let me go,” the man begged. “I swear I didn’t mean to do anything! Let me go and I’ll—”

It looked at him with its beady black eyes. From the shadows he could see nothing, except for those eyes. A hissing noise came from somewhere, and then it spoke. “No.”

The man slumped down into a shaking heap, sobbing. To think that this was actually happening. He could barely believe it. That this was a delusion was hard to believe. Delusions certainly didn’t leave real marks on your arms and neck where people could see them. Couldn’t they? Everyone thought he was suicidal, schizophrenic.

And maybe he was.

“You’re not real,” he said.

“Keep telling yourself that,” the creature laughed. “It’s what they all say, before they die.”

“No.”

“YESSSS!” It hissed into his ear, the sound fraying his nerves even more. “I’ll steal your name, like I did to the others. And then I’ll steal your memories. You’ll forget everything, all the good, all the bad; it’s really quite pleasant, actually. Without the memories you’ll no longer have to worry about anything. Think of it as a brief release. And when you die, it won’t mean a thing.”

“You’re not real,” he repeated. The words sounded hollow.

“Who are you?” The thing asked, softly, sweetly.

“I’m . . .” the man began slowly, then trailed off. He fumbled in his mind for the answer, but couldn’t to a conclusion. Who was he? A sense of false security soon surrounded him, calming him. Some distant part of him told him to fight, to wake up, but he couldn’t.

He just wanted to sleep. The man didn’t know, but his eyes rolled up into his head, replacing his irises with white.

“I’m . . . someone.”

A grating laugh came from out of the darkness. “He’s still got some fight left in him!”

“Shut up!” the thing turned back to look at someone.

The man blinked. He didn’t know why, but he felt an indescribable rage well up inside of him. Before he knew it, he was trying to sit up, without really knowing why. What was going on? Why was it dark, and cold? Where had that warmth gone?

The warmth is a lie.

Looking around, the man noticed a pair of two shining lights. They looked like eyes. Before he could think any further his right arm took a swing at them. As his fist made contact with something warm, he began to remember something.

“I don’t know who I am, because you stole that from me. But I’m someone, damn you!”

A chorus of laughter surrounded him, but he didn’t care. “I’m going to take back my name!” he shouted, lashing out once more. Something latched onto his legs; with his other arm he beat down on it. Whatever had taken hold of him began to squeal loudy, like a pig. That horrible sound caused him to wince. Grabbing it, he made to rip it off. A sound of cracking and tearing filled the air.

The laughter was soon replaced by shrieks and shouts. Without any warning, a million of the small creatures swarmed over him. Roaring, the man ran. He flailed his arms about, swatting at the things, which were gnawing on him, biting him; they were literally ripping him apart. He dropped to the ground, rolling over. There were more hisses and shrieks which followed. Not daring to look back, the man scrambled to his feet. He ran despite not being able to see a thing.

And he would continue to run no matter the cost. As long as he was alive and those creatures were far behind nothing else mattered.

“Who am I?” he asked himself. Where he came from, where he lived . . . All of it was gone. “I’ll be a wandering stranger, till I find myself at the very least . . .”

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Not Your Mother

I wish I had never said those words: I want to take care of you. They were, in a sense, used against me by one who should have known better. Now I am left to care for the demonic brats he has left me with. Fool me once.

This role was not something I gladly accepted. I was aware of it at first, but I was blind–I did nothing to stop it. Our lives are separate now, both parties disappointed with the outcome, but for different reasons. I’d bet my life on that.

Thankfully, however, I do not share the same delusions as he does. Just a pair of demonic brats. For the time being they are little more than maggots. When they grow?

They’ll be just like him: beasts.

Nothing more than wild beasts.

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The Birth of Henry

The Birth of Henry

This story is a sequel to Tank Baby, and ultimately a prequel to Apocalypse Man.

Luke walked down the dimly lit corridor at a brisk pace, following the sounds of a shrill chirping. “Here comes the baby!” he said as he opened the door to the dark room. Flicking a switch turned on a dim light. The room was filled with machinery; at its centre there was a tank, where the chirping noise originated. The disturbance was caused by the fetus inside of the tank . . . The one they had affectionately named Henry.

There was a lot riding on the success of this project, with the hope that Henry would grow into a stable adult. Considering his species violent heritage (right down to their own self-destruction), there was no way of predicting the outcome.

Luke sighed at the thought.

Without a second to lose, he called for assistance. As soon as the two nurses arrived they went straight to work. Artificial birth was not a hard process, yet it still required a certain level of precision. It was also tedious. The tank was slowly drained of amniotic fluid, while the fetus was removed by hand–one of the nurses placed their hands around the baby, carefully . . . To avoid being bitten. Feeding tubes and other wires were then removed. Minutes became hours as Luke looked over the newly born baby, going over a mental check list. He’d done this so many times, he knew the process by heart.

Once satisfied, the baby was wrapped in swaddling cloth by one of the nurses and taken into another room. It would just be Henry in that room, as a safety precaution.

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Kept Awake At Night

Kept Awake At Night

That’s a lie, I slept like a rock last night; I had a great weekend, relaxed, ate proper meals, interacted with other human beings. No, I woke up in the morning today, and the nightmare kept on playing out even as I lay awake. It’s like it wouldn’t stop. The thing had its own agenda, and it wasn’t going to change its schedule for me.

Not a chance.

Most dreams don’t bother me. They’re just that: dreams. Once, I heard that if you didn’t dream, you’d go insane.

(A case of use it or lose it?)

This dream though . . . It made me sick. Just the thought of it makes me want to vomit. Don’t worry– nightmares are useful . . .

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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.

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Something Else, But What?

Something Else, But What? | The Red Raven, Part 3

Joseph DeCorvi . . . 

Was how how the letter began. When Joseph had found it tucked neatly into his back pocket a month ago he had been surprised, to say the least. Upon reading it, it had left him in a cold sweat.

I have heard that you are the right man for this particular job, or rather, for a job of this calibre. 

At the time he had been staying at a little inn near the shores of Waridge, an island located right on the border between Cannard and Oursar. Waridge profited from the two countries in trade, tourism, and as an official border crossing (of which only two ferrying companies legally benefited from). Another thing the island profited from was numbers. Its population was comparable to that of Tarano, comprising of many cultural groups.

We sketched a map! Now you can see into the future! Wait . . .

We sketched a map! Now you can see into the future! Wait . . .

Continue reading

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

No Connections Whatsoever

No Connections Whatsoever

Where were they? she wondered as she sipped her tea; a deep orange-red tea, smooth, with a delightful aftertaste. She sat in her great armchair, staring out into the night from the convenience of her living room. It was actually a nice night out for a change.

It was full dark however, and the stars were nowhere to be seen. Which she found rather mysterious, although not for the same reasons others would expect.

“I wonder what could have happened to them?” she said aloud. The steady tick-tick of the kitchen clock answered her.

Tick-tick-tick.

Dead-dead-dead.

And so on and so forth.

She wasn’t bothered too much by the thought. She had never really knew them to begin with, and had held them with contempt. Immediately after giving them rooms she had regretted ever setting eyes on them, so when they left she was immediately relieved.

There was something about them she was not quite ready to concede to herself, something that she had known but had willfully ignored.

Gently setting the tea down, the old woman got up with a great sigh. “I’m getting too old for this,” she muttered to herself. The old inn had been in her care for a long time, and never once had she ever come across such a bizarre case.

Well . . . That wasn’t quite the truth. She shook her head at herself. There you go again, lying to yourself! You old coot! As her feet carried her up the stairs, she closed all of the curtains, the same way she had for the past forty years. A long time for such a practice. The guests had often ribbed her for it; her inn was in a respectable neighbourhood after all, there were no prying eyes, no would-be-thieves . . .

She stopped. For a while she stared at the wall. People often came to her inn, people with something not quite right about them. They always left at dusk, never to be seen again–

–until their bodies were found a week later. It was always a week. She knew what they were doing.

The fools . . .

Willfully sacrificing themselves to . . .

The old woman shook herself out of her stupor. It was time for bed.

Such High Contrasts

Such High Contrasts

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Looking up, at the sun . . . Squinting. There was such a high contrast between light and dark up there, just as much as there was down here. What else was up there, besides clouds, the vacuum of space? Continue reading

The Thing that Crawled Out from the Grate

The Thing that Crawled Out from the Grate

On the floor there was a grate which looked down into the basement. I hated the thing. It was big enough to fall through, and loose; it could be popped up with ease.

Something happened one night that I can’t quite explain. I awoke from an otherwise deep sleep to the sound of tapping.

Tap. Tap. Tappa. Tap.

The sound was quick, irregular. I popped an eye open. The room was dark, but I spied a light coming from the grate. I sat up and stood up on my bed, meaning over far enough to see into the basement. For a while I wasn’t sure what I was looking at–there was just the table covered in tools. When I finally saw it I fell onto my backside, silent and dazed.

Tap. Tappa. Tap. Tappa. Tap. Tappa. Tap.

My eyes wandered back to the grate. A large, elongated something darted its head out from under the grate, swayed into the air, and then snatched the apple I had left out on my computer desk.

“OI!” I yelled.

Startled, the thing darted back into the basement. I jumped up and covered the grate with the closest thing I could find. My heart was pounding in my chest.

The Thing which had crawled out from the grate in the floor . . . was a monstrous centipede.

I haven’t seen it since.