Short Story

Dark

dark hallwayThis is the story of one brave (?) boy and his need to go to the bathroom.

The boy lay in the bed, sleeping soundly. His chest rose. It fell. It rose again. The rhythm of a slow pulse, in and out, the coming and going of waves on the shore. Unexpectedly, a sharp intake of air and his eyes, blurry from sleep, cracked open. He was awake, and dimly aware of  one of the most basic needs; the need to go pee.

The nightlight at the far end of his room shone a comforting light, a sunlike glow across the warm peach painted walls and the soft carpet floor.

First things first, under the bed. The boy carefully got to the side of the bed, and like Spiderman hung his head carefully over the edge of the bed. Unlike Spiderman, he realized he did not have sticky hands and began to slip, causing him to scramble for a handhold anywhere on the loose duvet, which of course he didn’t find. A short tumble later, the boy was secure of two things:

  1. No monster under the bed.
  2. He was very awake.

Carefully picking himself back up to avoid the creaky parts of the floor, the boy snuck across the floor of his room to the door bordering his land, and the land of his brother. He guided the door open slowly. The door made all the noise in the world, much his chagrin, but his little brother slept soundly… for now.

Still, the boy knew what to do. He had a lot of practice with these floorboards, the hardwood a path of solid and creaky places to walk. Imagining himself a dashing adventurer, like Indiana Jones, the boy tip toed across the floor avoiding the noisy spaces like his heroes avoided the trapped squares.

*creaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak* went the floor.

The boy stood stock still. Halfway to the door on the opposite side of the room, and he made the loudest noise he possibly could have, practically thunderous. His brother would surely wake up.

As luck would have it, the brother slept along, and the boy stood still for a whole minute listening to his brother breathe. Just to make sure. Couldn’t be too careful around sleeping people, he thought. When the coast was clear, the boy made sure to be more careful while stepping around.

After carefully navigating the rest of the room with all the agility of a heavy set sumo wrestler on tip toe, the boy finally made it to the door. This part, however, was tricky. Very tricky.

This part had the Dark.darkness-7

On the other side of this door was a long hallway, where the brother’s room was on one end and the parents on the other, both on the long wall. Next to the bedroom the boy stood in was the washroom, not more than 3 feet distance. One small step for man, but several small steps for the boy. During the day, this wasn’t a problem, but at night… the risk was great.

Down the hall, at the very end, lived the Dark. Again, no issues during the day; the Dark had to hide in the closet hidden in the wall next to the parent’s bedroom. This was fine, the boy thought, except it didn’t stay there. At night, the Dark left the closet and swallowed the end of the hall whole, creating nothing but pitch black emptiness there. The boy gently peeked around the door frame, just his eyes, to see if the coast was clear. It was not.

Even in the briefest second, the boy could tell the Dark saw him, and turned its unknowable being his way. It was aware; not only that, the boy could tell the Dark was famished, too.

The boy hadn’t seen the Dark eat anyone. He didn’t need to, because it was obvious to him what the Dark would do to you. The boy broke into a slight panic. He felt very uncomfortably hot all of a sudden, and his palms began to sweat. Unseen eyes stared at him through the walls, making his skin crawl. It was waiting for him.

With all the care he could muster, the boy pulled the door open again, edging towards the boundaries between where it was safe and where he knew it wasn’t. The moonlight from the window across him lazily illuminated the area in front of him, showing the short-but-altogether-too-long distance between him and the washroom door. Sneaking a peek leftwards again, the boy could see the Dark preparing to move. It already lapped greedily at the moonlight, like a cat licking a bowl of milk. Still, its eyes were set on the boy. and the boy knew that once he’d made his move, he’d have to be fast.

Breathing deeply, skin crawling, the boy counted to three in his head. On one, he locked eyes with the bathroom door. On two, he checked the end of the hall to make sure the Dark was staying still. On three, he made a break for it.

He dared not look back as he practically lept to the washroom, and slammed the door behind him. He wasn’t sure, but the boy thought he heard the silent whisper of shadows slashing at the door. After a few moments, the sounds stopped and the house was deathly quiet again.
With that done, it was a normal routine. A wisp of moonlight peeped into the bathroom through a tiny window high up the far wall. The light bounced around the mirrors that covered almost every surface, allowing him to see many versions of himself in a row. Behind him was another version of him, his face unchanging, and another one behind that until infinite. The boy dared not say a word; in every reflection, the dark of another world hung behind the boy like a shadowy pall. He stared down, away from the disturbing mirrors of other worlds. A quick trip to the sink to wash his hands, and then it was time to go back to bed. scary mirror

He crept to the door and opened it a crack to see the end of the hall. The Dark was still there, waiting for the boy to dare to cross its territory. Little by little, the boy could see the darkness move towards him, and the hallway got darker by the second as the light was swallowed by the nightmarish monster.

Although no one else would hear it, the boy heard the Dark make a hollow growl, a tenebrous noise that chilled his heart. The boy had to move. Now.

He threw the door open and dashed for the bedroom. The Dark pounced, its deep murky threat instantly replaced with sharp, pointed malice as the shadow devoured the moonlight in the hall. Sprinting, the boy ran as fast as he could over the creaky floor of his brother’s room. He felt the cold touch of the Dark on his ankle, a near miss. It chased him still, snarling, swallowing any light in its way.

The boy practically dove into his bed head-first, using his duvet to create a protective dome around him, drawing all the little holes closed and securing any possible weakness. Just in time too; the Dark slammed into duvet, repeatedly. In the dark of the dome, the boy was alone, surrounded, and faintly crying to himself as the assault continued for what felt like hours.

Eventually, the beating at the walls stopped. The boy lay curled in a ball, breathing in his own fear and stress. The lack of oxygen was causing him to feel dizzy, but he dared not lift the duvet. He could still feel where the Dark had touched him, his ankle numb, empty and cold from the experience. The boy would stay like this for a while before finally being forced to surface for air, and eventually start the process of falling asleep again in the glow of his nightlight.

The following morning, the boy’s father would get up and walk to the bathroom. He would look at the door, and with an exasperated sigh make a mental note to grab a can of white paint for the three gashes in the door.5jr64

Staring

28626934_a3d3b6647c_oMonsters exist. They’re incredibly real, and if you don’t believe me just ask a child. Children are smarter than they look, and most will tell you first thing: of course there are monsters! Just look in the closet, or under the bed. Only the ‘brave’ ones don’t see us anymore, and the older humans, like you… you forget.

Sometimes though, you remember. Or you figure out you can see monsters. I’m a good example; I drift from shadow to shadow. Unlike other monsters, all I do is observe. Watch. Listen, and wait. I take my time and look at things as they pass by, taking it all in. Sometimes though, you humans see me, and look right at me.

Like, right at me.

And it’s really uncomfortable. So I drift a little bit and find someplace else; the thing is, once you start seeing without your eyes, you keep finding me. And I get really uncomfortable.

I’m not vanishing. I’m drifting from place to place, shadow to shadow, another dark corner to collect my thoughts in peace.

But sometimes, you get too close, or I get way too uncomfortable; so I hide in your shadow. It’s really squished here, and there’s not much room. I’m pretty big. I also fidget a lot, and don’t luck being stuck. Still, you don’t look at me, and you’re moving fast enough that I can go somewhere else and not get bothered.

My favourite place to hang out, and watch the world, is down dark alleyways, or halls. Long places where I can stretch and I don’t have to be so cramped. I get to look at everyone, at you, walk by and… you’re staring.

Stop staring at me please. It’s rude. And I’m really uncomfortable. Would you please..?

Thanks.

Bedridden

monster bedIt’s a shit job, to be sure. You lie down, wait, and wait some more. You sleep sometimes, and that’s a help ’cause the time goes by faster. Still, you can wait a long time before anything interesting happens; in fact, the last time I had anything to do, clocks still made a ticking noise. Now, they just murmur with a small, almost impossible hum as their circuits flare at almost impossible speeds.

When the job’s good though, it’s real good. Nothing better than a job well done. You’re lying there when, for the first time in years, something lands on top of your bed. Then you go through the steps.

First step, wait until night. Has to be nice and dark, otherwise they’ll not see you coming.

Second step, slowly check to see who’s in the bed. This time, it’s a child; 5 years old, no older. This doesn’t happen all the time. If you get someone that’s older than 11, usually it’s no good and you go back and wait some more. I mean, you could try to go to the next step but most times you’ll be wasting your energy. Still, the boy’s 5, and we’ve got a catch.

Step 3, and watch carefully now, you gently grab the kid. If they’re too old, they won’t see you; which means you can’t do anything. Monsters can only be felt if they’re seen, and can only be heard if they’re thought of. Didn’t your parents teach you anything?

So once you’ve grabbed the little thing, you just gotta… there we go, yank them underneath the bed. Our job was easy this time; the bed didn’t have bars at the foot of the bed. We didn’t have to pull the bastard through the bars; I had to do that once, was cleaning the stains off the underside of the bed for a week!

Once you got the kid here, it’s easy pickings, easy to prepare. We’ve got claws after all, and they should be sharp.

You can always sharpen them some more while you’re waiting for the next one.

15 Minute Short Story | Western Apocalypse

The stinging taste of the swill in this joint is like nothing else I’ve tasted.

I take another moment to taste it. Swish. I run my tongue through the fermented juice and recognize it as incredibly old wine, that kind that took a large and wealthy group of people to make. Stuff that can’t be made anymore, because how can you when the rich folks turned into the dead folks?

The shamble we call a bar has a layer of dust about an inch thick, coating the stools with a cushion of sorts. The wooden room, barely a room without a proper ceiling, is full of holes that let the daylight through in beams. With the dust in the air, it creates a really odd effect. The shit you’d see in an old movie to make something look bigger than it was.

I spit the crap in my mouth out on the floor. Not that it makes a difference.

“When did you say this shit was made?”

The tender looks at the bottle, squinting. His eyes aren’t so good, and he struggles with the finer print. “‘Bout thahteen yahs ahgo, son.” He polishes the label again. “O-ah fifteen. Naht ent-ah-rely shu-ah.”

I push the glass away, gagging lightly. “This ‘aint what it used to be. You’ll kill someone with this.”

I toss a couple of rusty coins his way, because at least the thought matters if the currency doesn’t. The way they click and thud on the counter just points out how unbelievably empty everything seems, because anyone else within at least a good 20 meters would have heard it; what’s sad is that just me and the tender heard it. No one else hears things these days, at least since the end of the world as we knew it, about fifteen years ago if the wine bottle is to be believed.

I walk quickly over to my beat up bike. Not exactly glamorous, but it certainly lasted longer than the cars with a lot less oil. Covers a decent distance. The wheels are full of patched tar and barely held together sawdust to keep the tire full of something, if not air then hope. Maybe.

I fix my gaze on the building at the end of the road, about 50 meters away. That’s where I’ll stay tonight, I think. Not that anyone would have words with me about it anyway: what’s the point when the rich man’s gone?

15 Minute Short Story: A really depressing guy with too many first world problems

The day was a rainy one. Tap, tap tap, tap tap tap, went the drops on the pane, the dreary pace of the day elongating with every minute.

A man sat in his study, surrounded by books unread and papers unkempt. He sighed heavily as he looked out the window, his hand swirling a glass of red. It was a stiff vintage, dry. Unfortunately, it wasn’t strong enough to disturb his reverie.

He thought of days long gone by… on second thought, not so long as that, but the time that had passed seemed an eternity. Happy faces on pretty women and handsome men, as he wined and dined them all. Rides on boats, the wind whipping at his face as he shouted and sang for the world. The expidition in the jungle, his feet nearly giving out after a long hike, or his despair as his headlamp went out during a typhoon.

It felt like someone else’s life, he reflected, someone else altogether different. Here he was, sitting in a chair, drinking wine he didn’t even really like. Why didn’t he get out of his chair and do all those things again?

Well, that wouldn’t work for the man. As he thought of it, he remembered that the country whose jungle he once crossed is currently uncrossable, its borders closed. The boat, sold long ago due to fiscal problems. Those handsome men and pretty women he remembered all were in different corners of the world, and long ago had forgotten him or he forgot them. He didn’t think of which was worse.

He sat in his chair, swirling his unlikable wine. He sighed again. What was the point of all this sitting and sipping?

Getting out of his chair, he made his way to the door of the room and opened it, exposing a long darkened corridor. Normally, it was full of vibrant greens and earthy browns, but today, it rained. When it rained, it greyed out all colour.

Walking down the hallway, he turned into his kitchen and grabbed a chocolate bar from the fridge. He liked the chocolate cold, that way it didn’t melt in his hands. Small things like that made him happier but did nothing to repeal the general malaise in his everyday life. Pondering the significance of melted chocolate, if there was any, the man made his way back to the study.

It’s not like I haven’t tried, he thought, to think of something interesting to do. He remembered all the ideas he had before: creating a broadcasting channel, becoming a movie star, attempting to go and travel again… all had met with their end before they could begin. What of his artistic endeavours? He could draw, write, sing, play instruments… he was a talented man, but his taste outstripped his ability by at least ten-fold. Everything he made disgusted him before he could finish it, and was discarded.

To add to all of these first world problems, he had no companion. That was entirely his fault, however, and he knew that. He wasn’t sure of being ready for that level of responsibility, especially not to the people he had met thusfar. He sighed, and sank in his chair much like a bear sitting down on its cave floor.

What on earth had his life come to? Pondering stupid things, and to no end. The rain fell outside, uncaring of his desires.

5 Minute Short Story: 2 Men and a Wall

A man walked by his favourite shops as he always did. First the bakery, with the sweet smells of succulent confections drifting by him still as he passed the deli. The sandwiches there were amazing, stuffed with ham and beef.

And normally the third stop was stopping by the wall. There was a wall separating the deli from the next building, a library of sorts that the local university made good use of. There was something different this time though: there was a man standing facing the wall.

The walking man, named Jeff, stared for a second. Why on earth would the other guy do that? Standing in front of a wall. Its silly! Suddenly, the man started smacking his head against the wall.

Jeff ran towards the man. “Stop! Stop! Why are you doing this?” he asked.

The man gave an angry stare at Jeff. His unkempt beard and scruffy hair indicated that he was a student, and they were going through finals. “You don’t know, man. You can’t know. Things look really bad, okay? I’m going to fail, and it’s all my fault.”

“That’s why you’re smashing you head against the wall? The only thing you’re going to get is a headache!”

The student shook his head vigorously. “No man, this? I need this. Just go away.”

And what else could the Jeff do?

5 Minute Short Story: Incredulous

She stood at the edge of the cliff, the wind blowing behind her. It threatened to blow of her off the edge, but she didn’t care. She simply looked out, over the sea that lay before her.

Her black hair flew past her, her navy blue dress flapping around uncontrollably. Just what did she see?

She remembered seeing a seagull. That much was definitely true. The seagull was prepping to jump off the cliff and fly away. Not unbelievable. But when she swore she saw a leprechaun run past her screaming “IM NOT LATE FOR THE FLIGHT!” she just about lost it.

She stared incredulously after the seagull with its crazy passenger. There had to be a good reason for this, one that made sense. And she just could not think of it.

15 Minute Short Story: Warhammer 40K Part 2

You can check out part 1 here! This might be a continuing story, so keep your eyes peeled.

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The two stood again in a silence only the two could hear, the spatter and blasts of raging warfare still humming away in the the distant reaches of their concentration.

The Ultramarine, pride of Calgar and greatest child of the Codex Astartes, began to circle his brother. “Blind, say you? And what would you say you are brother? I see clearly what once was a foggy vision to me. You are treading a path that leads us all to doom! You are the one who is blind, blind to the kindness of the god emperor himself. He gives of strength, hope, and salvation when your path only offers death and destruction.” He paused. “What drives this madness?”

The white clad marine, the telltale symbols of the apothecary detailing his armour still visible beneath the grime of battle, simply shook his head as he paced in tandem with the ultramarine, the two super-humans moving like twin stars in orbit amongst one another.

“Brother Carius, do you not see what our emperor has done? I’ve seen many worlds, and many places. Like you, I’ve lived amongst the stars like a god amongst men, an angel of death, an instrument of our emperor’s will. All we’ve seen from high upon our perch is war, brother. Bitter, brutal war, and for what? Humanity? The souls that he calls upon to later feed his throne?” He spat in the blood drenched dirt, his face clenched in a snarl. “He is not fit to rule, Carius. He feeds off of us not unlike the Chaos we’ve fought so hard against. He rules us with an iron fist, and brokers no other ideologies. He was mighty once, but now he is a spectre that forces man to writhe in agony, worlds to be broken under, and life to be forfeit before him.”

The apothecary stopped, and looked Carius in the eye. Carius’s face was full of constrained rage, and immeasurable suffering and sadness. The ultramarine shed tears that disturbed the war torn dirt they trod upon, dampening the ashes of a now dead metropolis. The white clad space marine couldn’t help but do the same, his chosen path now crossing way beyond the point of no return.

“Brother Carius. We have known each other a very long time. Lifetimes longer than any man can have the opportunity. It has been an honour serving with you, brother.”

Brother Captain Carius, champion of Ultramar, unhitched his chain sword as it sprung to life, the saw tooth edge of the blade spinning so fast that it stirred the dust on the wind around it. “Brother Lucian, it has been an honour. Our father would be proud of our power.” Carius’s face became stony as he concentrated on one thing only. “It anyone is to end you, your brother in blood will be your undoing.”

As he charged towards his battle brother willing to let Lucian’s blood spill, Lucian hung his head. He unhitched his sword, the sword springing to life as the vibro-metal hum grew to a high pitched whine. He looked once more to his brother now consumed with rage.

“For the Emperor!”

The Apothecary charged forward towards his fate.

“For Freedom!”

5 Minute Short Story: The Man Obsessed With His Housecoat

There it was: a housecoat. He had wanted one for such a long time now!

The elegance of the plaid pattern blew his eyes away. The red crisscrossed pattern clashed with his green smiley faced pajamas, but it mattered not. It was a housecoat, and it was his. He was now king of his house. His  castle now had a ruler with ROBES. How badass was that?

The man reflected for a moment. Very, was his answer. Very badass.

Look at me, he said as he relfected uppon his viasage in the mirror, look at the handsome and devilishly good looking man in the housecoat. It flowed on the non-existent breeze, flapping away in his imagination. His grin grew a mile wide, and he knew what must be done.

He left his boudoir and alerted his subjects to his precence.

“Ladies and gentlemen, nobles and peasants, look at me! Upon my back I wear a MIGHTY ROBE OF AWESOME. It is mine, and mine alone! Now, do my bidding!”

The group of three grown men looked at him, bewildered and exhausted.

“It’s a housecoat. Seriously. you’ve been wearing it for like, a month. It’s time you took it off.”

The man refuised. He cried mutiny! at the top of his lungs, ran forward, and jumped through the window, glass shards badassedly flying all around. He then landed headfirst into the pavement.

Ow, he thought. What am I doing outisde? Why am I coverd in glass?

He look down. Oh right, he remembered, I’m a badass with a badass housecoat. Look at me &$^#, I’m fabulous.