Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Preserve

Esther saw the lines around her nose that seemed crease her face so deep she could barely imagine what it looked like smooth. After purchasing some expensive creams because the celebrities used them and not seeing much of a difference it seemed hopeless.

"You're ugly now", she said.

When she saw some dumb girls smoking and drinking and ruining their beautiful looks it made her want to scream. The high school she lived by was filled with them. Awful shrieking little twits that talked about nothing, did nothing, and were nothing. If Esther had a crystal ball it would show a slack-jawed waitress with a bunch of runts, a welfare queen with even more crotch spawn, and a crack whore. And that was probably being kind.If only they knew they had potential but it never quite seems fair, does it? The minute you realize all the fun and preparation you could make to become a successful adult is when you missed the chance to do that. The moment you know what to look for in a quality man and how to weed out the jerks is right when your own beauty to be the most alluring is fading.

Those lines were just the beginning. Already her eyebrows were drooping and under her chin was becoming its own mass. How gross. Disgusting.

"You're so ugly.", she repeated.

After much contemplating, she devised a plan. It would work. Those girls were the formula. They could become a waste of space or they could become real magic. Better than any cream. Their youthful bodies naturally made everything better than any pill or surgery.

She put an ad out for a babysitter and borrowed her nephew for an afternoon. Nine girls came for the interview but 3 were hideous and 2 looked like they survived on junk, pot, and seemed promiscuous. That still left some beautiful prospects. Their was one named Jess. Her skin glowed and she didn't drown in makeup. She seemed lean and not too fatty. So young and firm and vibrant. Even her voice was pleasant, not that it mattered.

When her sister Angel came to pick up Jonathon, he had eaten a whole jar of Gerber whatever and drank a lot of formula. Under the pretense of giving her some time alone, she got to borrow the baby but now she had to get everything ready. The next day Jess came and it would be a busy day. Poison wouldn't work and knives were too messy.

"Ding Dong! I bought the baby a toy!", Jess said as the door opened.

"Oh, you can give it to him when he wakes up. I think he's still sleeping...can you peek real quietly?"
"Ok, I'll be quiet. Can I watch t-"
Then the thump cut her off. While she pretended to be primping in the mirror and grabbing her bag, Esther caught the girl just as she opened the door. A quick shove to stun her and some solid blows to the throat. She spent all morning looking for her hammer and couldn't find it. Then she remembered that little thing. It was in her car and used to break open the window in case you needed to break out of your car. The other side was even sharp to cut the seatbelt. Not necessary. It still made a big mess but the clear plastic curtains picked up some of it.

The Indians, used to use all parts of an animal they killed. Wasn't that right? Something about how they used the stomach to drink out of and fashioned tools out of the bones. That made a lot of sense. If something givies its life then it only seems fair to use all of it. The fat was cut away and used as a night cream. Some DIY beauty blogs gave great directions on how to make your ingredients last longer. The hair she cut and bunched to make brushes for makeup and especially fan brushes to keep rub her new beauty ointments on her face evenly. The blood would get bad very quickly and stink so she made a bath and froze some for health shakes. Bathing in the blood had to be done very carefully to avoid a giant mess but was very relaxing and she soaked in it for quite a while. The muscles would be cooked though it was tough. So she had to make a stew and try to get it tender. The organs that were not easy to eat were either blended with protein powder or made into topical beauty treatments.

"You look incredible!", Jaime told her as they made their way to their offices.

"Thank you.", she replied proudly.

"Wow. Is it that caviar cream you got? Or did you...", she stage whispered "get work done?"

"Nope. None of that. I've just gone real organic, you know? Eating raw foods and cutting out all the junk from my diet."

"Yeah, I need to watch what I eat more." Jaime nodded to herself and walked away.

It was true. Esther felt radiant. Like a youthful beauty and the mirror told no lies. She was basking in compliments and when she was questioned and went to the police station and courthouse as a witness to the young girl's disappearance she met a handsome man. He was wearing a nice suit and was handsome. He couldn't take his eyes off her. He would always tell her how luminous she seemed. How brave and observant of her to come forward with the information about the sex offender who she saw ogling the girls at the school. While it would take work to keep the affections of  a man like him, she wouldn't squander her opportunities. She would use the whole buffalo to survive. To thrive. To be ravishing.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Haven

He was almost home. It wouldn't be long.  Just keep walking and be alert. So far everything was okay but Charlie could never be too careful. It wasn't like he could call a cop if something went wrong. That wasn't an option. There was no money for cops and it didn't take long for everything to go to hell. Any little vigilante group was very publicly and brutally killed to show what would happen if anyone else tried to protect and serve.
Charlie always lived out of the way. That might have been what had kept him safe for so long. No one bothered with much out here. It used to be an awful long way to get to work but now he was grateful once he escaped the noise and felt a little peace.
Except today something was wrong. Someone was coming up behind him. A quick glance didn't show much but he knew there was trouble.  It was payday. The factory paid on random days to keep their employees from getting robbed. So far this new rule had been working but now he had cash on him. Who knows when he'd get more to buy food for the family. Charlie had a wife named Shelly and two little girls. All the more reason to panic as the sounds got closer.
He looked back once more. Now it was getting louder. There were people here. If he went too much further he might lead them back to his home. The trees and random wildcat helped keep people at bay but now there were people here. If he went around trying to lead them away they might beat him and take his money. He could get killed anyway. Each step took him closer to his happy home. It was not in such great shape but that was good. You didn't want to look like you had anything someone else might want.
 "Please help me!", a girl cried.
Charlie took a long second and smacked the girl as hard as he could. He ran as fast as he could back home tried hard to ignore the yips and yells that he heard along the way. Soon he would be home.
***************

Grace stirred restlessly and opened one eye. The other was swollen shut and she felt like a tender slab of meat on the cold ground. Now she couldn't go back to the sleepless rest but stared out into the night. Trying to move was a painful mistake. She had been there a long time. Not just on the floor but in the exact position she was in now. Hot urine made her cry in pain from the soreness of all the horror her body had endured.
Still she stared out, not really registering what she saw until a much longer time when she finally began to lift herself up. The quiet air was disgusting and she felt slimy and dirty all over but now she couldn't remember what it felt like to be any other way. This was how it was now. So she staggered along and soon kicked off her one show. All she had on was a t shirt but even that felt scratchy. She didn't take it off but stood and stared. These trances were longer and longer and she no longer knew what time it could be. Only dark and darker.
The first was a small animal. Could have been a rabbit but she didn't even remember killing it. Only sinking her teeth into the chewy meat and trying to gnaw on it. She saw small things and would kill them. Some with a big branch and when it was stunned she would tear into it with her hands or her mouth. Once she beat it with a rock until it was just a big pile of mush. A big pile of mush! That was funny. That was really funny and she found herself making a laughing sound.
It wasn't until she came upon a small house that things changed at all. She would watch the house. Sometimes in her standing trances and sometimes looking at what was there. A little girl came out with a doll. Not really a doll with a face or clothes. Just a figure that she played with like a doll. It reminded Grace of the mush and she almost gave in to hysterics again.
Then a man came out. She pursed her lips and thought about what it would feel like to get a big animal. Bigger mush. He was bad. Not as bad as those other...no she brushed that away but still he kissed the girl. Grace grimaced. Oh, he really was very bad and she could get him.
She watched him walk and tried to go after him but her vision blurred and before she knew it. She had been standing there again. Just standing there like she did sometimes. He would come back. Now she had to find out how. How to get him and maybe the big girl too.
It was all a tangle of images and blurs as she tried to think. Grace remembered things as she thought. A pretty dress she used to wear. It had waves in lots of colors. Only inside she wore her nice dress. Never outside.
Then he she heard him. Coming closer. Stopping to look behind then walking again. When the little girl ran out with her doll, Grace ran and grabbed her bony arm. She clamped a hand on her mouth and ran away with her. It was a game and she tried to get the girl to play but all she would do is cry. They were far away that her cries wouldn't bring him out right away. This game made a lot of noise. Soon there was hollering and all kinds of sounds. Funny sounds.
Grace covered her mouth and when she took it off and the girl yelled, she would get a hit. Pretty soon all trying to cry stopped. Then she went back to the house to see if everyone else wanted to play. She wanted the man and the big girl but the little one might be easier to get.
Walking on the hard floor and she saw her. The big girl was walking and yelling. The same word. Over and over again. Dumb girl. No noise. Noise is bad.
*******************
Shelly walked through the trees and called for her daughter.
"Megan!"
The first time a loud gasp escaped her as she got shoved into a tree hard. It knocked out a tooth and the blood gushing from her mouth garbled her sounds. Then she felt slid. She slid and slid across the floor and felt her back scraping on the floor. Her screams were bumpy and when she fell soon her body was heavy. Megan was out here somewhere and she had to try to get up. More dirt kept getting piled on her until she couldn't move. Only scream and even that was getting harder. She cried for Megan and for Charlie. Then she felt more dirt on her face until it was all she could taste.
*************
Charlie felt his heart beating so fast and so hard it might knock him down. The air was thicker and he thought maybe those men had found his house after all. It was a chilling thought. They took his Megan and when he went back to tell Shelly not to move, he found little Janie all alone. He hid her in the closet and ran out to look for his girls.
There were three of them, Charlie thought. Those men and he was going to die fighting them off.
Until he saw her. The same girl he had sacrificed before was standing in front of him staring straight ahead. Standing there and staring until he couldn't take it anymore and fell to his knees. He begged for forgiveness. He cried out for her to just forgive him.
********************************
Janie sat in the closet and hugged her doll. Then the door shut and she kept waiting for her daddy to come and get her. She listened but all she heard was laughter.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Detention

Calvin was always being called into detention. He really wasn't a bad kid. Just sort of awkward. Most of middle school had left him the odd man out. Then one day he wrote a story about Mr. Fredericks having a night life as a pimp.

It was about three pages long and full of imagination. Although it was very vulgar, even the other teachers had to surpress a giggle at the mention of the dark tale.

It did not end with the math teacher. Calvin was picked for the teams in gym class, he had friends. Only after a couple of weeks, nobody cared. So he churned out a few more. Mr. Carlson was a transvestite, the school nurse Edna Pearson was a serial killer. Tracy  Bollis was an alien from another planet and Miguel Perez had a tale and was part fox.

Calvin's stories were unbelievable but still entertaining. As he wrote one about the principal, the tv got too loud. So he turned it off and went to grab a soda. His head hurt from all the noise. When Calvin's parents weren't home he put music on to not feel so alone.

The notebook was nowhere to be found. The one he put his stories on. So he grabbed some of his parent's stationary. Then he got a piercing pain behind his eye. It hurt so much he actually started crying.

The next day he called and Calvin's mom took him to the doctor. The whole day his friends kept texting him to write more stories. He decided to post them online and that way he wouldn't risk get in trouble for using the school printer.

He started having nightmares after that. Mr. Fredericks would show up in garrish attire. His yellow and purple suit bright and shiny.

"Your daddy didn't teach you no manners, son. Only thing worse than bitches is snitches", Mr. Fredericks hissed.

For the next two weeks he was afraid to sleep.

"I'd like you to meet a special guest. Carla, come on down. Walk real pretty for me!"

Right as Mr. Fredericks took an exagerrated bow, Mr. Carlson came out in a red nightgown. He did a supermodel walk and posed.

"Is this what you wanted to see?", Mr. Carlson said as he fluttered his eyelashes.

So Calvin refused to sleep. He would force himself awake only to succumb on the school bus or sitting down for lunch.

At the doctor's office he nodded off in the waiting room. The school nurse jostled him awake.

"You can't miss the show! Don't tell Mr. Fredericks I'm here. It has to be a surprise." , Nurse Edna.

Just as Mr. Fredericks walked in Nurse Edna swung a mallet at his knee. Then she brought it down on his head and was splattered with blood by each blow.

This new addition made his dreams even more terrifying. Nurse Edna would kill both teachers then try to get Calvin. He would startle everyone when he finally screamed himself awake.

He mumbled to himself while he slept so all the people in his school figured he believed his own stupid stories.

During a fire drill, Tracy Bollis told him sternly to wake up. He must have fallen asleep in science class.

"Sit Down, Calvin", his teacher said.

"Did I Fall asleep? I'm sorry.", Calvin croaked.

"Yes, I think you finally are sorry.", she said. Then she opened her mouth wide and her toungue lolled out onto the floor. Unrolling slowly until it reached him. He was too scared to move as it slithered up and wrapped itself around his neck. The wet feeling slowly enveloped him and constricted until he saw black.

He woke up Ms. Bollis was standing over him. As she crouched down to meet his gaze, her body crunched until she hovered over him.

"Calvin, it's not nice to make up stories about people. I know you didn't it, right. Especially not the one about me. Right? You're never going to do that again. RIGHT?"

She lightly flicked his cheek. Stood up and walked away.





Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Witness

I saw the man who took my brother. He had curly dark blonde hair, it almost looked green. His eyes were dark brown and his skin was kind of reddish white.

I swear he looked at me. He looked right at me, but I was too scared to move. I called the police. Mom and Dad came home and they were real mad at me. The police got mad at them for leaving us alone after school until they would get home. It was never said but I knew they thought I could have stopped it somehow. I was ten and Ray, my little brother was six.

They found his shirt out near the park. Dad started drinking. Mom would get headaches and have to lay down a lot. There was always that anger, never spoken but there still.

Life was tough. Dad's drinking meant he lost his jobs a lot. There wasn't always food but Mom didn't notice. She was out of it from pills for her headaches.

My grades weren't too good. I got in trouble a lot and dropped out. It wasn't until I got this janitor gig that I saw him again. He was teaching me the ropes of the night shift before he retired. I recognized that same greenish hair but it was more like a thin ring around his head now. No puffy curly mess on top.

I followed him home. Got on the same bus and walked after him. Except, I'm not too good at following people and he saw me. He asked what I was doing, I said visiting a friend.

He asks if I want to stop by his place for a drink. His retirement party is tomorrow and he insists. So he makes small talk about how the years go by so fast.

The beer is awful. I'm looking around. Maybe there is evidence. When he goes to change out of his work clothes, I walk around.

I ask if he has any snacks. The beer is getting to me. Anything to even out this buzz? He says a frozen dinner. No, that will make me puke. He offers to walk me to the corner store. I hand him a five and ask for chips.

While he's gone, it might be the beer. It might be just me wanting answers. I ransack the place. Turn over the couch. Rip clothes out of the closet, checking the pockets. Nothing in the cupboards, nothing in the drawers. It isn't until I start lifting the bed that I see them.

Little shoes. Lots of little shoes.

I hear a voice.

"I missed You"

Then I couldn't keep my eyes open. My body felt so heavy. He knew. How did he know? He'll see me like this. And he'll smile at me. Again.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bonded

Ginny felt bones creaking and the ache in her back as she got off her rocker. She made her way around the tiny shack and smiled out at the little boy.

"Ginny, can we cook a chicken for dinner?"

"We need the eggs. Sorry."

His little eyes twinkled with dissapointment. But he didn't bring it up again. He had a sweet, kind disposition. After his daddy ran off with some hussy, Ginny just knew it was her and little Matty. Mathew's mom was Ginny's only daughter. Shortly after becoming a single parent, his mom got real sick and died. The cancer killed her quickly. She could appreciate that after a few months of watching her suffer.

So she opened one of her staples. They could have canned greens and maybe soon she could get a chicken for the boy. He was scrawny but strong. She would go down to the second hand shop and get him some clothes. Maybe that little girl would ease off some.

Lily had brand new clothes. Pretty dresses and meat for meals. She never lacked except for the character and sense parents should have instilled in her. Her rich parents had someone to clean. She was always in hobbies and kept out of their way except for dinner time. One could almost pity the girl were it not for that personality.

She would taunt the boy. Shrieking that she saw lice in his hair to shame him. Then she would really get on him.

"Why do your clothes look so funny?"

"My gran made me this shirt.", he replied.

"It's ugly. My mom says you are dirt poor. It's so gross. You're gross", Lily would say.

Ginny told the boy to ignore that hateful little girl. She would wipe his tears and sing him to sleep. That only made it worse. She started throwing rocks and dirt at him. All the while she would chant "Matty's dirt poor!"

Ginny made the long walk to their tidy suburb to ask the parents to speak to Lily. The father simply said his little girl wouldn't do that. The mother said she would talk to Lily but seemed anxious to get away from the ragged looking old woman.

The taunts continued until one day at lunch. Matty ate an apple under the tree in the corner. He never noticed the brick Lily hurled at him until it struck his temple. It hurt and he fell forward and bled. Afraid of getting in trouble Lily rolled him behind the bushes.

By the time a concerned teacher found him, Matty was gone. One of his canvas shoes had come off of his foot.

When the police left Ginny, she was too stunned to react. She had already snapped the chicken's neck but dinner was no longer a concern. After cashing in some cans, she had bought Matty a t shirt and shorts. All at once the tears came and with them a horrible noise. Ginny sobbed until her head throbbed. Her eyes were swollen and her heart was broken.

Then she grabbed the chicken and hobbled into the woods. Any small animal was threatened with her walking stick. It wasn't until a wild gator made a grab at it that the old woman pounced, trying grab at the tail. Ginny was old and pouncing was about all she managed before the hissing gator turned on her.

"Officer, that old woman was torn to shreds."

"Yes, I just saw. Funny thing is there wasn't much left of the gator either."

Even more strange were all the words carved into the trees. FOR MATTY

Right before sunrise Ginny arose from her swampy grave. It was the father who saw her first. While smoking a cigar one late night in the yard.

It was the foul scent that hit him first. Then he turned and saw her lurching.

What the old woman would do to him will never be known. For at the sight of a walking corpse, Lily's father died right then and there.

Lily and her mother had lived well because of the late Mr. Harold Clint.
With few skills, soon they were forced to sell their home. Susan Clint soon found out how easy it was to be dirt poor. Lily's clothes were no longer new and beautiful. They had to ask charity for food and hand me downs. Everyone they knew looked at them with pity.

Sometimes they had the stink of death. Other times they could hear the hiss of a gator. The reminders that it wasn't over. One day the old woman would visit them, and only if they were truly lucky, would they die of fright.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Cowboy

I awoke to my wife sewing my eye back on. Actually it was a button with a bit of Sharpie. The sad creases in her face told me life hadn't been easy since I died. When she came home with my son, he seemed so big. My little Billy was a big boy now. He looked about five.

He smiled and said "Wow! A cowboy!"

The last thing I remember was the car accident. Feeling a lot of pain. Hoping the other driver was insured. Then nothing.

Billy played with me all day until it was time to go to sleep. Hearing him laugh and seeing him again was wonderful. Then I watched my little boy sleep. As hard as it was to believe, I was back.

Sitting there in an empty room for most of the day was the unbearable. It was only when the cat tried to get me that I moved for the first time. It sunk it's teeth into me and I freaked and made an "Aaah!" sound and flailed my arms a bit. Scared the hell out of the cat. Sorry Fizz!

So during the day I would try to practice moving. It wasn't like before when everything was so easy. I had to visualize myself standing up and concentrate on myself propelling to an upright position. It was hard and for the longest time I would sit up briefly only to collapse again too tired to think. The best part of the day was still when Billy came home and would drag me around the house with him. He was getting better at talking every day. He still had a chubby little face but was growing so fast.

One night I managed to get to a mirror and look at myself. I was a crudely made doll with jean fabric and a light brown shirt. Clothes that had been made from my own real clothes.

Soon enough summer was here and Billy was home all day. There was a lady who cleaned and would look after him during the day. She didn't like me and thought I was creepy. So every chance she would grab me and toss me back in the room. Still I knew every day I was lucky just to see my son.

One day the lady's boyfriend came to pick her up. Right away I knew this guy was bad news. The way he leered at my family. I was one foot tall and made out of cloth. What could I do?

As time went on I would still try to move at night. Little noises would break my concentration every once in a while.

Until one day that same man opened the door to Billy's room at night. How did he get in? That same look on his face.I saw him reach for my son and lost it. With all my strength I threw myself at his face. I held on with all my strength while he tried to pry me off of him. It was only when he fell that I saw my chance. I shoved a stuffed panda bear into his face, screaming and grunting, I pushed down like never before. His eyes were wide with fear but I pushed down until he stopped struggling. Over his mouth and nose, until I was sure he was gone.

When the light flicked on and the police came into the room, everything started going black. I lost focus and felt myself leaving with a sense of peace. My Billy was safe.

Friday, April 12, 2013

As You Wish

Jared was only too happy to pass his misery along to others. Like many young men who were very ambitious, he not only had co-workers but underlings as well. They knew better than to look sloppy or yawn in his presence. Even family photos were taken off desks or Jared would make lewd comments about wives and daughters.

His secretary, Samantha was his favorite target. When she wore a skirt, he would accuse her of being sexually provocative. If she wore pants and dressed demurely, he would call her frumpy and unprofessional.

"Are you trying to tempt the men here, Samantha?", he asked.

"No sir."

"The way you dress and act. Do you not care about your job?"

"N-no please don't fire me. I go to the university. I need this job. Please", she pleaded.

"I see. Well maybe we should discuss this after work. I could give you advise. Help you keep your job and make life easier.", he suggested.

Samantha meekly agreed and met him after hours. It was one of the few nights he did force everyone to stay late. Jared locked all the doors and brought to life every depraved fantasy he had ever had.

The next week Samantha was fired. When she refused to go, security had to be called to escort her out of the building. Through fury and screams she made a wish. Not every human whim is granted but that day a sinister force smiled on this vengeful desire.

That night, a large rat made it's way into Jared's apartment. Only when he heard scratching under his bed did he get a bad feeling. But he brushed it off and went to sleep.

As he woke up and opened the door, the destruction was everywhere. The sofa was torn, the dishes were broken on the floor, his clothes had been gnawed.

"Over here.", said a voice. Then a scampering sound.  "Come closer. Come here."

Then it hit him. Samantha must have put some thug up to this.

"I'm calling the police!" , he bellowed.

"Call who you must! Do your best and I'll do my worst.", said the hissing voice.

Not that he could have used the phone. It was in pieces and scattered across the place. Even walking was a challenge in all the debris.

"Did you call? Are they here? You don't play fair. Big ol' you against little ol' me. Not fair. Don't try to leave", the hissing thing demanded. Where was it? "Come here. Come closer. "

As Jared backed himself into a corner the fear set in. Some fiend was going to kill him over a mumbling secretary.

Then the rat approached. A deep hissing cough that might have been it's laughter.

"What do you want?"

"You gonna do what I say. Everything I say. Or you will meet hell sooner than later.", the creature replied.

"No. It's not real.", Jared whispered in fright.

With another sick cough, the creature twitched and jerked. While moving and bending, it began to shriek. Slowly changing form until it had hooves for feet, the giant scaly body of a snake, and resting on all fours it was a gruesome being. The front limbs were clawed and looked like chicken feet. With the head of a lion and other distorted animal features, the creature was terrifying to see.

Jared knew fear like he never imagined. His heart was beating so fast but he couldn't move.

The next day, a teller was pumping hand gel and gagging.

"Did you see that man? He reeked of urine and I swear he had a rat in his knapsack!", she exclaimed.

Samantha would have to find a new place to live and leave the university. The homeless shelter did not have room and she was in tears of desperation. When she heard a knock at the door, it was the last person she expected.

"Leave me alone!", she screamed in frustration.

"Samantha, take this. Please forgive me.", Jared implored.

He placed an envelope in her hand and ran away. All the money in his bank account, everything was hers now. Even his condo, which he had cleaned until spotless.

"What do I do now?", he asked helplessly.

"Let's walk that way. No. That way.", replied the hissing creature.

Sometimes he would walk for miles only to be told to turn and walk the opposite direction. Sometimes people would offer their help to the strange homeless man and his pet rat. After hearing a strange coughing, he would painfully refuse and go on his way.

One day Jared succumbed to his rough lifestyle. He fell to his knees first, then forward and died. A man hiking in those same mountains froze at the faroff sight of a horrifying creature devouring his remains. It looked his way and grinned. When it finally finished and stalked off, the hiker trembled and made his way home. He kissed his wife, he hugged his children and vowed never to speak of what he saw that day. Some creatures should only live in books, he decided.