Death’s Reflection

May 20, 2015 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.6/10 (351 votes cast)

They say a mirror has the ability to reflect part of the soul. Some have suggested that’s why vampires can’t see their reflection; because they have no soul to reflect.

That’s what I was thinking about, when two burly looking men hauled my new floor-length mirror into my new bedroom. “New” being a subjective term, since the mirror was actually said to have been made in the late 1800’s, and the bedroom was made a little after that, along with the rest of the house of course. The mirror was found in the dusty attic when we moved in. It had an intricate golden frame and slight distortion that only an ancient mirror would have. My mother was quite taken with it, but my parents already had a mirror in their room.

It’s just me and my parents now. I use to have a little brother, but he’s gone now. We don’t talk about him much.

We were originally from Australia, but we moved to England for father’s work. More specifically, somewhere in the countryside of Yorkshire Dales. I didn’t want to move. I hate change. And something about this house just doesn’t feel right to me. My room is also way too large for my liking. It gets too cold at night, and the hardwood floors creek under my feet. But my parents don’t seem to care. In fact, they love this place.

“Is this a good place for it?” one of the movers asked, having finally positioned the mirror somewhere in the vast bedchamber, which seems a more fitting term for the place than a bedroom.

“Yes that’s fine,” I replied without glancing up. I was reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula on my antique bed, which is probably why I started thinking about vampires and mirrors.

Later that night, my parents and I had our dinner by candlelight. The electricity wasn’t set up yet in the house, since we were located in such a deserted location. My parents didn’t seem fazed by this however, they thought it was fun.

“It’s like we’re camping!” My mother cheered.

“This is how people used to live you know, India, back before electricity was even invented. Tell me who invented electricity,” my father challenged. He took responsibility for my education ever since pulling me out of school after my brother’s disappearance. He usually looks for any excuse to educate me.

“Thomas Edison, father,” I promptly replied.

“Very good, now let’s eat.”

Later that night, I decided to explore the land a little. There was a small lake right next to our backyard. I sat on the edge of the black water, creating ripples with a stick I had found as I gazed up at the moon. It was full tonight; I could hear wolves in the distant forest, and pretended like they were men whose bodies were being ripped apart as they transformed into malevolent werewolves.

The night air was starting to get a bit chilly. I was about to get up to go back inside when something in the water moved. It’s probably a frog or a fish or something I thought. But curiosity got the better of me. I peered inside the water, whose surface brightly reflected the moonlight. At first there was nothing to see.

Then something round and large slowly rose to the surface. I used my stick to poke at it, and it turned over. I shrieked and jolted up away from the lake, running back into the house as fast as my feet could carry me.

“India! What’s wrong child? You look as white as a sheet!” Mother exclaimed when I came in through the back door.

“Nothing mother, I’m just tired. I’m going to sleep now,” I said expressionless. I needed to be alone.

This was the first night in our new home. It had started pouring rain a few hours ago, and didn’t seem like it would relent anytime soon. I could never sleep when it rained.

I lay in bed for hours, eyes wide open, staring at my dusty ceiling, thinking about what I saw out in the lake…

Just then I felt like something moved inside my room. I jolted upright and looked around, half crazed by lack of sleep. My eyes wandered for a while until they rested on the mirror which the two movers had decided to place in front of my bed. I stared at my reflection for a while, made visible by the pale moonlight streaming in from my open window.

I was about to lie back down again, when I noticed something in the reflection of the mirror. There was a small picture frame hanging on the wall that I hadn’t noticed before. I quickly turned around to peer at the wall behind me, but the picture wasn’t there. Starting to panic, I looked back into the mirror and once again saw the photo. It was a little boy holding up what looked to be a fish on a fishing rod. Startled, I looked back once more, but once more I saw no photo on the wall.

That’s all I remember from that night.

That morning I woke up to a streak of sunshine on my face. Dazed, I sat up in bed and stretched my cramped muscles. That’s when I remembered the picture from last night and quickly gazed into the mirror. There was no photo on the wall. Must have been a dream I thought as I got out of bed.

I found my father in the study after I had finished my breakfast. “What are we studying today father?” I asked him as I took a seat in front of his desk.

“Today will be a history lesson. I thought it would be interesting to teach you about the origins of the house we now live in. I have been doing some research on the topic and think you will find some of it interesting,” he began.

“In 1894, a woman named Charlotte Wentworth moved in here with her 7 year old son. She was a seamstress who did most of her work at home. Her husband had died a year before, but there is no longer any record as to the cause of his death. There is however, a record of the death of her young son. Not long after they moved in, her son supposedly drowned in that very lake outside the house. Some of the townspeople in the village up the road spread nasty rumours about the mother murdering her own child. What was the reason for that particular rumour? Well, she appeared to be psychologically unstable, considering she committed suicide soon after the death of her son. There is no longer any record as to how she killed herself. Isn’t that morbid, India? I thought you might be interested in that, seeing as how you love your Gothic novels and such,” my father concluded, with a smirk.

“Yes father, that was very…interesting,” I replied and left shortly afterward.

That night I couldn’t sleep again. I stared at my own reflection in the mirror for so long my eyes went dry from lack of blinking. A bit after midnight I was staring into the mirror and I could have sworn I saw my reflection blink, although I was sure I hadn’t felt my eyes close. I crept out of bed and threw my bedsheet over the glass. Satisfied, I went back to bed.

The next morning, I woke up to something shining in my eyes. It was a reflection of the sun from the mirror. I groaned and turned over in bed. It took my groggy mind a while to realize what was amiss. I bolted out of bed and scrutinized the mirror. The bedsheet that I had thrown over the glass during the night was folded and lain out on the foot of my bed.

“Mother must have come in here earlier,” I decided. I got dressed and made my way downstairs. My parents were nowhere to be found. After searching the vast house for a while I finally found them in their bedroom. They were both still sound asleep. Feeling a bit disconcerted I decided to make breakfast myself.

I finished my piece of toast and left some for my parents before going back into my room. I took out Dracula and got lost in the world of vampires for a while. I was just at the part where Quincey is stabbing Dracula to death and he is crumbling into dust, when I heard it. It was the faintest of whispering. The source was coming from right next to my ear. I jerked my head to the side but no one was there. I slowly turned back to my book. When I flipped the page, I heard it again: I can’t breathe… a child’s voice was whispering into my ear.

I got out of bed and threw the book at the mirror. “I can’t take this anymore! Who’s there? Is someone there?!” I yelled into the mirror, feeling stupid and frustrated. My door flew open then and my parents came rushing in.

“India! What’s going on in here? Is everything alright?”

“Yes, I’m sorry I woke you,” they were about to turn away when I decided to tell them. “Would you find me crazy if I told you that I have been seeing things? And hearing noises?”

My parents glanced at each other, then my mother spoke. “Well it is an old house dear, the pipes and wooden supports are bound to make noises. But what kinds of things have you been seeing child?”

“Well, the other night I saw a picture hanging on the wall in the reflection of the mirror, but there isn’t a picture on the wall!” I exclaimed, gesturing to the wall above my bed.

“India darling, you know you have quite the imagination. This is what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. Maybe we should put you back on those pills. John, what do you think?” my mother turned away from me and started to discuss this with my father, as if I were a toddler who couldn’t understand.

I knew it was a bad idea to tell my parents. I sighed, picking up my book from where it was sprawled in the corner of the room and began to read.

That night something was different. The crickets were silent outside, and there was no moonlight. The air had a certain restlessness to it. I had decided to light a candle and keep it on my dresser next to my bed. The flickering light cast shadows in the room, and I could see the bright flame in the reflection of the mirror.

I was just closing my eyes to try and fall asleep when I heard heavy breathing coming from the opposite side of the room. I slowly turned to look and caught something in the mirror that made my heart stop.

I sat up in bed, eyes wide and heart pounding in my ears. It was a reflection of my room, but not my room. The furniture was different and there were pictures all over the wall. But the most horrifying thing of all was that I wasn’t in it. Instead, there was somebody asleep in my bed. They were breathing deeply, the kind of breathing that signified deep sleep. I could see my door opening in the reflection, although in reality it remained closed. I was too stricken with terror to do anything but watch.

A woman garbed in a long flowy dress entered the room. She crept up to the sleeping person in bed and reached over as if to kiss them. But instead, her hands grasped their throat, jerking them awake. Only then did I realize that the person in bed was a little boy, like the boy I saw in the picture. Like the boy who died here in 1894. The woman, who I could only assume was his mother, continued to choke him until he ceased thrashing around on the bed. He was dead.

I shrieked despite myself. The woman whipped her head around and glared at me through the mirror. She then stood up straight and started walking towards me.

I scrambled out of bed and threw open my bedroom door. I made it to my parents’ room and knocked frantically on their door. Nobody answered, so I barged in. My parents were lying in bed. I ran over to them and started shaking them awake. But they did not wake. Frantic, I rolled my mother over and screamed in terror as I stared at her face. Her eyes were wide open, with a look of such horror on her face I thought I would die of fright. My father was in the same state.

I fell to the floor shaking in terror. I barely noticed when the door started to open softly. I barely noticed when a pair of pure white feet crept towards me, making no sound on the rickety floorboards. I barely noticed when she touched me. The last thing I remember are how cold her hands were as they pressed against my neck.

When I opened my eyes, I was lying on the floor of my bedroom. I sat up, sighing in relief. It was all just a horrible nightmare. I stood up and turned towards the mirror. What I saw made my knees feel weak and my palms sweat. It was me, but I was lying face down on the ground. My parents were lying on either side of me. I turned around and there they were. The mother and her son, as white as death, staring at me, smiling. The boy reached out his hand for me; welcome, he whispered.

Credit To – Os

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.6/10 (351 votes cast)

The Eye of Ra

May 13, 2015 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.7/10 (188 votes cast)

Jay Bennett hadn’t noticed the chubby man sitting alone in the corner booth until it was nearly time to close. He had been wiping down a couple of pub tables in the bar area when he spotted him, noshing on a plate of Big Buck’s En Fuego Jalapeño Poppers and watching Division III college football highlights play on the television mounted on the wall. There was nothing particularly interesting about the chubby patron. His brown, argyle sweater vest and khaki trousers didn’t exactly command attention and his plain unassuming features did nothing to accentuate his remarkably ordinary appearance. Yet still, there was something curious about the man that Jay couldn’t quite put his finger on.

Closing time meant Jay would soon be spending the next hour and a half mopping puddles of urine off the bathroom floor and hand drying dishes in the kitchen, while Trevor, his nineteen-year-old zit-faced assistant manager, played Flappy Bird and browsed Facebook on his phone. Jay hated closing the restaurant – mostly because he despised answering to a lazy, community college washout almost half his age. From where he was standing, he could see Trevor sitting in the office at the back of the restaurant, staring into his phone and giggling away like an acid-dropping rave bunny at Burning Man.

Any minute, Jay thought to himself. Any minute the little shit’s gonna stroll his pimply ass out here and force me to scrub the toilets ‘till they fucking shine. I just know it-

“Um, Excuse me?” The voice that interrupted Jay’s pity-party was soft and sophisticated. Right away he could sense an air of intelligence in its tone – something not commonly heard at Big Buck’s Wings & Beer. Jay looked up to see the man in the brown argyle sweater vest waving him over to his booth. “Yes, you sir. Excuse me, but may I speak to you for a moment?”

Jay glanced back towards the office. Trevor was busy furiously tapping away at the screen of his iPhone. He let out a sigh and sauntered over to the booth.

“You need the check? We’re closing soon.”

“Not necessary,” replied the chubby fellow. “I already cleared my tab with the pretty young thing who works behind the bar.”

Jay tossed the towel he was holding over his shoulder and folded his arms across his chest like a nightclub doorman. “Then what can I do for you, mister?”

“Well,” the man paused briefly to collect his words. “You’re Jay Bennett, correct?”

Hearing his name come out the mouth of a total stranger felt like an unexpected punch to the gut.

“I am,” Jay said, doing his best to appear unmoved by the chubby man’s inquiry. It was defense mechanism he had developed during his stint in prison. Jay found out very fast while serving his time that the best reaction to an unforeseen predicament was typically having no reaction at all. “And you are?”

“Oh yes, where are my manners?” The man in the sweater vest extended a sweaty palm out towards Jay. “My name is Robert Wilkins. Uh, Doctor Robert Wilkins.” Jay remained silent, stonewalling the doctor, causing him to retract his hand. The chubby man studied the ex-con silently before continuing on. “FYI, I’m not the kind of doctor who went to med school. My degrees are cultural anthropology and archeology – Ancient Egyptian studies to be exact. My colleague and I have published hundreds of papers on the subject. Feel free to look me up if you don’t believe me. A quick Google search should confirm my claims.”

“Honestly, I don’t really give a shit,” grunted Jay. “What is it that you want, already?”

The doctor neatly folded his napkin and used it to dab his brow – a mannerism reminiscent of a 19th century plantation owner. “Right. I suppose there’s no further need for introductions. Might as well get right down to it. Jay Bennett, I’m here tonight because I have a job for you.”

“I already have a job. And if you’re trying to hire me to do something illegal, then look elsewhere. I’m on parole and I don’t plan on going back to prison any time soon.”

Jay snatched the towel from his shoulder and started towards the bathrooms.

“Wait! Please!” the doctor desperately blurted out. “This job pays well I promise!” Jay spun around with every intent to tell him off, but froze when he spotted the sly smile that had crawled its way across the chubby man’s face. “ Besides, it’s a hell of a lot more fun than scrubbing toilets.”

***

The doctor waved a hand, inviting Jay to sit across the table from him. With two pudgy fingers he nudged his plate of Jalapeño poppers aside then bent over to retrieve a black leather briefcase that had been sitting at his feet. Jay scooted in to the other side of the booth. He swiveled his head to glance back at the office. Trevor was still gawking like an idiot into his phone.

“How do you know my name?” Jay asked.

“My associate gave me your information,” he said. “Who you are. What you do. Where to find you. He told me about your criminal record. Twelve counts of burglary, three counts of drug trafficking, and assault with a deadly weapon. He said you beat a man with a crowbar?”

“I was defending myself. The guy shot my partner.”

“Yeah, after the two of you broke into the man’s house. You’re lucky he made a full recovery or else you’d probably still be locked up. I’m surprised you even found a gig at a hole like this.”

Jay glared at the doctor, his lips twisted into a frustrated scowl.

“I’m not here to judge though. Afterall-” the chubby man popped the latches of his briefcase and lifted the lid, “I was hoping to encourage you to break the law one more time.”

He removed a red envelope from his briefcase and placed it on the table, pinning it with his index finger. “What do you know about Egyptian mythology, Jay?”

“I know a little.”

“Have you ever heard of Ra, the sun god?”

“I think so,” answered Jay. “He’s the one with the bird head, right?”

“Very good!” a proud light beamed in the doctor’s eyes. “That is correct. Ra is the most important god in Egyptian mythology. He was believed to have ruled over the sky and earth. And his head wasn’t just that of any bird. Most often, it was depicted as either a falcon or hawk. Now, this was no accident. You see, birds of prey have the keenest of eyesight and legend has it, the Eye of Ra could see all.”

He scooted the envelope across the table towards Jay then lifted his finger, releasing it before renewing his spiel.

“There’s three thousand dollars cash, a photograph, an address, and a phone number in that envelope, Jay. The money is yours whether you take the job or not. If you do accept my offer, there will be an additional $7,000 in it for you. The photograph is of an artifact I’m asking you to steal for me. It’s called the Eye of Ra. It’s a very rare gold coin with an extremely special engraving in it. It was excavated during a dig I helped oversee one year ago and I want it back.”

“And the address is where I can find it?” Jay was already thumbing through the envelope’s contents.

“Yes. It’s the home of an ex-colleague of mine. He’s the one who has taken it. It shouldn’t be too difficult for a man like yourself to retrieve. He doesn’t own a gun and I’m certain he never turns on his home security system. Plus he’s blind. I mean all you have to do is keep your mouth shut and there’s no way he could ever identify you. Call the phone number once you have the Eye of Ra in your possession. We will arrange a rendezvous point and I will gladly pay you the rest of the money when you hand it over to me.”

“This artifact is worth a lot of money?” asked Jay.

The doctor laughed. “No monetary value other than the gold it’s made from, which by the way wouldn’t get you as much as I’m willing to pay. However, for me the artifact is priceless.”

The doctor snapped his briefcase shut, quickly securing the latches before standing up from the table.

“Hold up, where are you going?” asked Jay. “I still a lot of questions. Why me?”

“Every single one of your questions will be answered soon, Jay, but I’m afraid I don’t have time to stick around right now. You’re a skilled thief. This job will be a cinch for you. Call me tonight when you have the Eye of Ra.”

“Tonight?”

The chubby man in the brown argyle sweater vest flashed him a haughty smile.

“Goodnight, Jay. Hope to hear from you soon.”

Jay tucked the envelope into the waistband of his pants as he watched the peculiar patron amble out the door. A shrill high-pitched screech suddenly broke the silence of the now empty restaurant floor.

“Bennett!” Jay twisted around in his chair to see Trevor’s lanky frame hovering in the office doorway. “Big Buck doesn’t pay you to sit on your ass! Get in the bathroom before I call your P.O! I want to be able to eat off those toilets!”

***

The rest of Jay’s shift seemed to fly by as he mulled over the doctor’s proposition. Every now and then he’d run his fingers across his waist, feeling for the contours of the envelope still stuffed inside his pants, just to make sure he hadn’t dreamed the whole conversation up. The doctor had told him the gig paid $10,000 – more money than he made in three months wiping down tables and washing dishes. He thought about how degrading it was working under Trevor. There was only four months left on his parole and he had already decided he was going to quit his humiliating court appointed job as soon as he was out from under the thumb of the justice system.

That kind of cash would go a long way until I could find a new way to make some money, he thought to himself while puffing on his after work cigarette in the parking lot of Big Buck’s.

Jay tugged the envelope from his jeans and searched through it until he found the photo of the artifact. An icy cold chill swept through him as he gazed down to the picture in his hand. The design etched into the face of the coin was breathtaking – a pattern so mesmerizing Jay didn’t even notice the cigarette fall from his mouth while he ogled it. All at once, he felt the urge to hold the coin – to grip it between his fingers.

“The Eye of Ra,” Jay whispered.

His decision had been made. Not more than a minute later he was punching the address into his GPS as he pulled his car out of the parking lot.

***

The clock on Jay’s dashboard flashed 2:00AM by the time he pulled up to the house his navigation system had directed him to. He killed the engine and stared out the window at his target for what felt like an eternity, watching for signs of life. With any luck, the doctor’s former colleague was out of town and Jay would be able to search the residence at his leisure. He slipped his hand into his sweatshirt pocket and gripped the handle of his butterfly knife – a safeguard he hoped he wouldn’t need to use.

Jay exited his vehicle and crept around the back searching for an open window. The home was in a fairly secluded area with no visible nearby houses, virtually eliminating the possibility of nosy neighbors and unexpected eyewitnesses. It was the kind of place that a cat burglar dreamed of hitting.

Jay slinked his way through the shadowy yard towards a wide arched window in the back of the house. With a gentle nudge of his hand against the glass it swung open, allowing him to slip inside.

The doc just might have been right about this being an easy job, Jay thought. This guy doesn’t even lock his windows.

He was now standing in a living room decorated with expensive looking furniture and ostentatious art. Hanging on the wall was a replica of Picasso’s The Weeping Woman. Jay examined it closely, trying to discern if it had any value, even going so far as to lift it from its hanger, before he noticed the Aaron Brother’s Art Mart sticker tag that was still attached to the back of the frame.

“No need to hang it back up, Mr. Bennett, I never liked that piece anyways. My ex-wife decorated the place.”

The voice stopped Jay dead in his tracks.

“Yes, Mr. Bennett. I know you’re down there. Won’t you please join me in my study?”
Jay leaned the painting against the wall, and scanned the room searching for the source of the voice.

“The study, Mr. Bennett! I’m in my study upstairs.”

He located the staircase in the foyer. Without a word, Jay removed the knife from his pocket and tiptoed up the steps. The voice had identified him by name. Panic shot through every inch of his body. Visions of once again donning an orange jumpsuit began swimming through his mind like deformed, mutant goldfish in the New York City sewers.

“Second door on the right,” the voice called out when he reached the top of the stairs.

The floorboards squealed under Jay’s feet as stepped down the dark hallway towards the door the voice appeared to be emanating from. He paused when he reached it and squeezed the handle of his knife tight in his fist. There was no hint of light leaking out from underneath the door. Whoever was waiting for him in the room was doing so in pitch-blackness.

“No need to knock, Mr. Bennett.” answered the voice. “I’m already expecting you.”

Jay pushed down on the handle and cracked the door. Its hinges seemed to scream as he opened it just wide enough to poke his head through. There was no visibility. With his free hand he yanked his cellphone free from his back pocket, turned on the screen, and waved it in front of him, bathing the room in a pale blue light.

Floor to ceiling bookshelves lined both sides of what looked to be an office. At the wall directly opposite Jay was an elegant cherry wood desk. Sitting behind it in a leather office chair was an elderly bearded man. Jay cringed when he looked closer to see the upper half of the man’s face completely wrapped in bandages.

He turned his head in Jay’s direction. “Come on in, Mr. Bennett. I promise I don’t bite.”

Jay pushed the door all the way open and took a couple timid steps inside the room.

“I hear you’re looking for the Eye of Ra,” said the old man – a perverse smile warped on his wrinkled face. “Well, it must be your lucky day because you’ve come to the right place.”

***

“I don’t want to hurt you,” warned Jay, “but I’m prepared to. Just give me the coin and I’ll be on my way.”

The old man scoffed.

“Ha! You don’t want to hurt me!? Unfortunately that’s not for you to decide!”

“Listen-”

“Quiet, Mr. Bennett!” the old man snapped. “You’ll be leaving with the Eye of Ra tonight. There’s no question in that, but I figured I’d at least disclose to you a little about the Hell you’re about to unleash on yourself first. My associate, Dr. Wilkins, already told you about the coin. We excavated it a year ago during a dig of an ancient unmarked tomb recently discovered 53 kilometers outside of Cairo.”

“Dr. Wilkins?” asked Jay.

“Yes, Dr. Robert Wilkins, my associate – the man who hired you to steal the artifact. Who do you think requested him to seek you out? I’m afraid you’ve been set up, friend. I know that must come as a bit of a shock.”

“I’m not shocked,” replied Jay. “I just don’t believe you.”

The old man smirked.

“Oh you will in time. Now, where was I? Ah yes, the dig. Wilkins and I were able to recover quite a bit from the tomb – most of which is currently touring the country, travelling from museum to museum. The exhibit is quite lovely and I’d advise you to give it a visit next time it stops back in town, but that won’t be necessary.”

Jay darted towards the old man and swung his knife downwards, burying it in the desk’s polished wooden face.

“That’s enough! Just give me the coin or the next time I stick this knife in anything it’s going to be your neck!”

The old man opened the drawer of his desk and extracted a small leather pouch from it. Now that he was closer, Jay could make out brown splotches speckling the bandages that covered his eyes – dry crusty blood. It looked like the wraps hadn’t been changed in ages.

“The coin is right here, Mr. Bennett, but I hope you don’t think you’ve intimidated me into giving it to you. It will be yours in time, but I will finish telling you my story first.”

“Listen I don’t care about-”

“Not all of what we recovered from the tomb made it to the exhibit though,” the old man continued. “You see, the coin in this bag conveniently went missing without anyone else even knowing it existed. I discovered it myself, in the hand of one of one of the mummified corpses we found in the tomb – a young priestess no older than sixteen when she was buried. It goes against my code of ethics to take “souvenirs” from an excavation, but the coin…well just look for yourself.”

He reached his fingers into the pouch drew out a gold coin about the same size as a fifty cent piece then placed it on the desk in front of him. Jay held his breath. The design etched into its face was hypnotic – far more captivating in person than it was in the photo.

“The Eye of Ra,” the old man whispered.

Jay reached out an arm, but the old man snatched it up before he could grab it.

“Not yet!” he shouted. “I’m not done with my story! I discovered something fascinating about this artifact very soon after taking it in my hand. It passed on to me a strange ability – a sort of clairvoyance if you will. I could sense things, Mr. Bennett. I knew what others were thinking before they said it – what things would happen before they actually occurred. Soon after, these powers took on other attributes. I learned I could read minds, anyone’s I wanted. I didn’t’ even need to be in the same room as them – hell the same continent even! That’s how I discovered my wife was having an affair.”

Jay tried to say something, but he couldn’t find the words. His eyes remained glued to the coin in the old man’s hands.

“Dr. Wilkins was the only other person I ever shared this secret with, but even he doesn’t understand what my powers would eventually become. He thinks they just drove me mad, but he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand that the Eye of Ra really does see all!”

“Give me the coin,” muttered Jay. “I…I need it.”

The old man laughed.

“Of course you do! I knew that the power was getting to be too much once I realized I couldn’t turn it off. The thoughts of billions of people all streaming through my mind was maddening in its own right, but that was just the tip of the iceberg really. The Eye of Ra’s true power is much more horrifying. Imagine, Mr. Bennett. Imagine being able to see everything! Everything that ever did exist and everything that ever will exist! My eyes no longer perceived the world the way that you do. My mind no longer experienced time in a linear fashion. I’ve seen it all; all the good, and yes, Mr. Bennett, all the evil as well. I witnessed Vikings rape and pillage civilizations that no longer exist. I viewed countless genocides occur throughout the course of human history. I looked through the terrified eyes of a 12-year-old Pakistani girl in the year 2087, as the heat of a nuclear bomb engulfed her and her schoolmates in flames.

The old man whipped his hand up to his face and began tearing away at his bandages.

“I couldn’t take it anymore, Mr. Bennett! I couldn’t bear to look any longer! That’s why I did something about it! That’s why I dug my eyes out of my face!”

Jay recoiled at the horrid sight now in front of him. Two gaping blood caked craters sat in place of eyes on the man’s mutilated face.

“Dr. Wilkins believed he was helping me con you into transferring the curse, but he doesn’t realize it doesn’t work like that. It won’t transfer; it will spread. Even removing my eyes has only given me temporary relief. The visions are already starting to come back to me. Soon, they’ll dominate my every thought again. The only way to be rid of it is to die.”

“You’re fucking insane!” shouted Jay.

“And you’re in denial. There’s no point trying to convince you anyways. You’ll learn the truth soon enough. You see, you’re the next man to bear the burden of this power. I’ve already seen it. That’s why I had Wilkins convince you to come here. There is no escaping time, Mr. Bennett. Tonight you will wield the Power of Ra just as I have and I…tonight I will die and finally be free of this wretched curse!”

The old man stretched an arm out and ripped Jay’s knife from the desk. Without warning, the maniac dove at him, slicing the blade wildly through the air. Jay grabbed hold of his arm knocking the blade away, but dropped his cellphone as they wrestled to the ground. With Jay’s only source of light gone, darkness once again enveloped the study. The old man was stronger than he had anticipated. Jay gagged as the blind lunatic wrapped a hand around his throat. It felt as though he was crushing his trachea. Jay reached his arm out, desperately searching in the blackness for something to strike his attacker with. A hard plastic object brushed up against his fingertips and instantly he knew what it was. Jay wrapped his hand around the handle of his knife then thrust his it upwards until he felt it penetrate flesh.

The grip began to loosen around Jay’s neck and with a thud the old man slumped to floor. Jay could feel the warmth of his blood begin to pool around both of their bodies. He pawed around on the ground for his cellphone, eventually finding it underneath the cherry wood desk. A pale blue light swam back into the room when he powered the screen back on.

The old man’s body lay motionless on the floor, the point of Jay’s butterfly knife submerged deep within the side of throat. Jay leaned against the desk and gasped for air. Under the light from his cellphone the blood still spilling from the old man’s neck took on a deep purple hue. Jay bent over, yanked the blade from his throat then wiped it down on a part of the carpet the old man hadn’t gushed on.

In the dead man’s hand Jay spotted the coin. He pried the artifact from the corpse’s fingers and stumbled out the door. An ice-cold shiver ran up his spine, causing his body to tremble when he looked down to the bewitching artifact resting his palm. There was something strangely comforting about holding it.

When he made it outside to his car, Jay searched through the red envelope the doctor had given him until he located the phone number then dialed it into his keypad.

“I’m sorry, but the number you’re trying to reach has been disconnected. Please hang up and try again.”

Jay cursed into his phone at the automated message. He had been given a fake number. He sighed and started up the engine of his car. At least he still had the doctor’s name. It wouldn’t be hard to look him up. Now that Jay had a homicide on his hands, he figured he’d pay the doctor a visit in order to tie up any loose ends. As Jay pulled away from the house he reflected on what the crazy old man had said to him.

The Eye of Ra see’s all. What a crock of shit. He thought.

A pair of headlights approached in the distance from the opposite direction. Ever so briefly, Jay felt his brain go numb as a static image appeared in his head – a picture he could see in his mind’s eye.

“It’s a blue Dodge Neon,” he unconsciously blurted out.

A 2005 marine blue Dodge Neon drove past his car.

Credit To – Vincent Vena Cava

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.7/10 (188 votes cast)

I found a dead girl’s diary

April 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.0/10 (675 votes cast)

Everybody’s looking for Malinda Paige. The entire town would sling a rope around a tree and clap and cheer as she jitterbugged her way to hell. And the Police, of course. They won’t find her.

I’ve seen her. That’s why I’m here. I need to let it out. I think back to the start of last term, when the three young men that killed themselves. You probably didn’t hear about them. Or about Malinda Paige. That’s the kind of town I live in. The 70s and 80s tore through the region like a disemboweling knife, spilling the guts of industry to dry under the summer sun. A town full of hard people, made so because of the mountains we lived in. Hard of body and hard headed. A town too stupid to know it was already dead.

Exit Malinda Paige. We last saw her in her junior year. School broke for summer and we never saw her again. That wasn’t uncommon. We bled people, year after year. The smart ones would get a one-way ticket out and never look back. We hadn’t figured Malinda for the type. But rats flee a sinking ship too.

Malinda wasn’t pretty. Her eyes had that wet poached egg look about them. The glasses didn’t help. Her cheeks a little too round to give her that hollowed cheerleader look. Her face framed by a headful of lanky, greasy brown hair. This didn’t matter much. She had more than enough jiggle under her sweats during gym class to get the boys staring.

She didn’t have friends that I knew of. The human equivalent of styrofoam package stuffing. Just filling up the space around the people that mattered. There was something a little darker about the girl. She’d walk by the little knots and cliques in the corridor and someone would say slut or whore in a stage whisper, loud enough for me to hear from twenty feet away. Malinda wouldn’t bat an eyelid. It got around that she got suspended for a week for blowing someone in one of the cleaning stores. The type of guy that was part of a supply chain all too common in the town. Adderall, Oxycontin and worse. Apparently Malinda was getting fucked in more ways than one.

That’s why it didn’t blip when she didn’t turn up for senior year. Some things were made to sink without ripples.

She wasn’t the only one that didn’t turn up on the first day of school. Shane, one of the school’s basketball players had quietly slipped away into a shed behind his house, cradling his father’s handgun. He set there for hours before painting the wall behind him with his brains. Things get out in a small town. Secrets seep and leak. Someone’s brother mentions something. An EMT at a bar may drop the worse case he’d ever attended to. Some case like Shane’s suicide, how, perhaps, the bullet didn’t quite take as much brain as poor Shane wanted. How Shane, his eye sockets filling up with blood, screamed, “She sees me!” Over and over, weeping scarlet tears till he repeated it one final time in an exhalation of spit and gore.

This all came out later of course, whispered between shocked students at the cafeteria. Back then it was just the first day of school. Everybody moving up a year, swapping classes, lockers. My new locker bore the scars of some epithet scrawled in sharpie and inexpertly scratched off. I could still make it out.

The diary was sitting in the locker. A plain thing, paper bound in faux leather. A diary was an anachronism. An oddity, just like Malinda Paige. In a world where people posted the shallowest thoughts on Facebook and snapchatted glimpses of nipple to each other, there was something ancient and archaic about putting pen to paper. Something secret. The diary came off the rusty metal of the locker with a soft ripping sound. It had been gummed to the surface by a veneer of soda, a present poured down the top of the locker by one of Malinda’s fans.

I shouldn’t have taken it. Diaries are secret things. Some secrets were meant to be buried. Like Malinda Paige.

#

Where to start when it comes to her diary? It didn’t say where she was. It left me with more questions than answers. Who was Malinda? What was Malinda?

I didn’t look at the diary. Not for a week at least. I was caught up in the rush of the start of school. I meant to hand it over to someone. The school. Her family maybe. It sat on my desk for a whole week. Curiosity is a bitch of an emotion, isn’t it. It creeps. Like a rash you can’t scratch at. One rainy Saturday, tired of daytime TV and bored of the banality of Facebook, I flipped that thing open.

How do you describe the shape of madness? Let me try. Madness isn’t a hundred pages of spidery handwriting. No punctuation. No paragraphs. Madness isn’t series of geometric scribbles, filling up every square inch of paper that didn’t have writing on it. So dense and intricate that the patterns crawled and shifted when you looked at them too close. No, madness was what Malinda wrote.

when did it start i first heard the voices after my second period i remember thinking that i was crazy because thats what crazy people do
-m

There was stuff in there that was just plain wrong.

i thought of dad for the first time in a long time mum fell down and bashed her chin it was the blood i remember when dad used to hit her so bad that she couldnt walk hes long dead why do i still hate him so much
-m

Reading the text was difficult. There were no dates, the only way you knew she’d ended a section was when she left a single monogrammed initial at the end of it.

the voices arent mine i know that now its only when i went to school when it got much worse the voices are from other people i hear other peoples voices not the ones from their mouths the ones which they lie and whisper from their hearts secret voices i know them all
-m

The girl was crazier than I thought. I think some of her words alluded to the start of high school.

i hate it here its even worse than grade school i feel their eyes on me when they look at me i hear their whispers in my head and it feels like cut glass in my tummy and needles behind my eyes i hate them all
-m

Malinda Paige kept score, that was the worst thing. The number of times she’d had sex with an entire list of guys from school. What kind of person does that?

the other girls stare at me but i can hear what theyre saying in their hearts they dont know what its like the pills help but only so much the voices always cut through its only in the afterglow that the voices are stilled if you were going crazy wouldnt you chase after a little peace
-m

There was no clue to Malinda’s disappearance in her diary. That was the strangest of all. If she ran, wouldn’t she have written something, planned something? The last thing she wrote was even crazier than everything else.

im more than a hole for these guys im more than a target for girls to spit on more than just this flesh waiting to rot away theres a bird here in this eggshell skull it needs to be free i want to fly
-m

Nothing about where she went. I put the diary away. The shadows had grown long in my room and the light streaming in from the window had darkened to a dim orange hue. Malinda’s diary set at my desk, pages upon pages of nonsense. It wouldn’t have surprised me that she was mental. There’s a lot of that in the community, broken people, broken families. We just plastered over the cracks and pretended that everything was okay. But the cracks were there and they yawned open under our lies and facades. And then Malinda Paige went missing. I stared at the diary for a long while, the orange light dimming until there was nothing in my room but shadows.

The following Monday, our town had the second of the suicides.

#

Jimmy was well liked. Pleasant looking. Did averagely well in school between band practice and running track. Not rich, but he still hung with the cooler kids. He worked at a pool cleaning company to make ends meet. Not that we had many pools up in the hills. Pools were a money thing and there was precious little of that around.
Pool cleaning means chemicals. Stuff that you need to wear gloves to handle. Not the stuff you chug. When they found him, the pool boy was spread eagled on dry land,drowned in his own blood. He didn’t die easy. He didn’t die slow. He lasted long enough to scrawl she sees me in his own blood. We spoke of this in hushed whispers in school, nobody wanting to link two tragedies.

There was something at the back of my mind, something about Jimmy and Shane. I found it when I got back after school. I found it and something else besides. Jimmy and Shane. Of course, the names were familiar. It was a small town. But I’d seen those two names together not long ago. They were both on Malinda’s scorecard.

There was something else inside that damned book when I flipped the pages. Something that I hadn’t seen when I’d read the diary cover to cover the day before. Past Malinda’s last cryptic message was a single meaningless phrase, repeated over and over.

five went up four came down

There was new writing in Malina’s diary. A book that had been in my room all this while. There was no mistaking the spaghetti scrawl of her handwriting. Or the little smudges across the paper from left to right. Malinda was left handed. Had been.
My stomach roiled at the sight of the text. Malinda Paige was missing. Maybe dead somewhere. Missing girls don’t come to good ends around here. And yet there was a fresh page of her handwriting in her diary. Had the words sprung forth from the paper, seeping out of the pristine white like an old photograph developing? Even worse was thinking that Malinda Paige had somehow been in my room, sitting at my table, penning those words herself. Impossible. I had to swallow twice and take in a huge, shuddering breath before the nausea passed.

I couldn’t help but think of Malinda Paige in the past tense. Something terrible must have happened to her. Broken though she was, she would not have left without that diary. I shivered at the sight of it, still open to that fresh page of text, the edges stained with brown cola from some cruel prank. I had to get rid of it, but it deserved more than simply being tossed into the trash. There had to be a way. Malinda was gone, but her family was still here. I had to give it back.

#

The Paige house was on the outskirts of town, where homes were within the reach of even the poorest in our town. It was better than having a home on wheels, but not by much. Paint was peeling off the walls. One of the front windows had been broken and boarded up instead of being fixed. A collection of dust and dead insects had piled up between the glass and the wood over the years.

I thumbed the doorbell twice. On the second time, the button got stuck and didn’t pop back out. I rapped on the thin wooden door hard enough to bruise my knuckles. Getting Malinda’s address hadn’t been easy. She’d not made any friends in school. In the end, I went up to the school office and said that she’d left stuff in her locker and I’d do the school a favour by bringing it straight to her home. The clerk at the office hesitated at giving me Malinda’s address but gave in eventually. It would have been easier than dealing with another piece of orphaned property.
My assault on the door was rewarded by a slow shuffle approaching. The door squealed open to reveal a stooped lady, her frizzy hair streaked through with grey.

“Mrs Paige?” I asked.

The woman gave a huge grin, revealing a set of yellowing teeth set at odd angles. “Yes, that’s me.”

“I’m Emm, I was a… friend of your daughter. I found something of hers in her locker and came over to drop it off.”

“Emm is such a lovely name. Is it short for Emma?”

I nodded and forced a smile. I hated the name. It was so old sounding. Mrs Paige stepped out of the way and gestured at the open door. “Please come in.”

I already had my fingers around the edge of the book, meaning to hand it over and for it to leave my life forever. But curiosity bit again. Mrs Paige stepped into her home, the bright light of day rendering the interior almost inky dark. I followed behind, too eager to solve the mystery of Malinda Paige. I wish that I hadn’t.

The cool of the house was a welcome change from the spring sun. It took a moment for my eyes to grow accustomed to the dim light. The home was sparsely furnished, a threadbare sofa, the arms scratched and disfigured. The TV was old, even by the modest standards of where we lived. The wallpaper curled away from the walls, revealing pocked plaster. Dust glinted as it drifted lazily in the stifling air.
It wasn’t the poverty that got to me. My family wasn’t rich. It was the fact that I wasn’t in a house. I was in a shrine. Every picture in the house was of a single subject. Malinda Paige. I felt the weight of her gaze from more than two dozen photographs, like the little footfalls of insects on my skin. Pictures hung on the walls, in frames on the tables. She was everywhere in that house. I shuddered and made my way towards the kitchen behind Mrs Paige.

“Have you been in contact with Malinda?” I asked the elder Paige, trying to shake my unease off by breaking the silence.

“No, but she’s not far. She’s never far from me. She’ll be back.” She gave me a lopsided grin, pulling a chair up by a dinner table in the kitchen. There were dark streaks of grease or worse down the back of the chair. I bit my lip and sat down.

“Did you report it to the Police?”

“Oh yes, had to be done. I’m sure she’s alright, she’s so clever and so strong. So hard for a little girl to grow up without a father you know. Emery, that’s the late Mr Paige, killed himself when she was only fourteen. Can’t say I missed him, he was a devil when he was a few drinks in. One day he beat me to within an inch of my life. I’m talking eyes so swollen I couldn’t even see. That day I guess all the bad just caught up with him all at once, so he sat here in the kitchen, had a beer and a cigarette and slit his throat from ear to ear.” She drew one long dirty fingernail across her throat, all the while wearing that off centre smile, delivering her monologue in flat tone, almost a recitation.

“Malinda was right in the room, too. Hiding in one of the cupboards like she always did when he started up with his fists. Poor dear. Oh, where are my manners, I need to get you a drink.”

Mrs Paige walked over to the fridge while I sat, rooted to the chair. She had related the account of her husband’s death with little more emotion that someone reading out a shopping list. It had been a mistake to come. Nothing about Malinda Paige made sense, perhaps the girl was mad, but she was also surrounded by madness. I felt the same lightness in my belly that one got on top of a roller coaster, just before the plunge.

The older lady plucked a can of Coke from the fridge and set it in front of me. The cheery red can bore a Christmas motif from two years before. It opened with a satisfying hiss. The can was warm, blood warm even though it had just come from the fridge. I took a sip. It was flat, even though I could have sworn it was fizzing a moment before. Everything about this house was wrong. Mrs Paige. The pictures. The furniture. The food.

Mrs Paige leaned in towards me, so close that I could smell her breath, sour and warm. She looked me in the eye.

“I don’t worry because I can still feel her out there. She sings me to sleep sometimes. Five went up, four came down. Five went up, four came down. Five went up, four came down.”

She repeated it over and over, an idiot litany. I had to leave. The legs of the chair scraped on the stained floor as I stood. Mrs Paige struck then, her hands as fast as snakes, fingers digging into the soft flesh of my forearm. She pulled herself closer to me, still chanting that strange couplet.

“Five went up, four came down.”

A thin trickle of blood leaked from one nostril. Her nails bit deep into my arm. I tugged backwards, but her thin frame masked a wiry strength I could not overcome. I was trapped.

“Five went up, four came down.”

Our noses were almost touching. Her eyes had a dazed look about them, as though they were focused on something far away. Her voice got louder and louder, until she was nearly screeching the same thing over and over.

“Five went up, four came down. Find me.”

With that, she let me go. I fell backwards into my chair so hard that it slid back several inches. My flailing arms had caught the can of Coke and sent a fan of the sweet drink across the table. Through it all, Mrs Paige just sat there, smiling her broken smile. I gathered my things and fled.

Find me. Not find my daughter. Find me. The Paige household was a faint outline in the distance, but words echoed in my head. Just who had I been speaking to? Malinda had grown up in a household where violence was as common and unpredictable as the storms we got in the mountains. She’d spent most of her time in school on drugs or with a growing number of young men. She was scarred, broken. Five people went up somewhere. Malinda. Shane. Jimmy. They were two of her favourites, according to her diary. There were two more above them in her list. Cliff. Lucas. Another pair of golden boys. Tall, sporty, just the way she liked them. It had to be the five of them. Things were falling together, piece by horrific piece.

But still nothing to take to the cops. Not good enough to speak to Cliff and Lucas. Mrs Paige was right. I had to find Malinda.

#

I spent that evening going through the diary over and over, until my eyes watered. Nothing. No clues could be gleaned from the mess of words. I didn’t even know how tired I was until sleep snuck up on me and stole my last waking moment. I’ll always remember that dream I had that night. I remember it better than the lunch I ate this afternoon.

I knew I was dreaming right away. I knew that from the extra weight on my hips and the extra bounce under my t-shirt. I wasn’t in my own body. There was a thundercloud in my head, dark with flashes of light. There was a desert under my tongue. I knew that I had already taken a little something to calm the voices. I was meeting Cliff today. I liked him more than the others. He had a car, maybe we could go in the woods, somewhere a little quieter than usual.

He led me to his car. There were three others there already. Lucas. Shane. Jimmy. Cliff pushed me into the car. One of the guys was on my left and the other on my right. They were already slick with sweat. Not from the weather, which was still cool. I could smell it off them. Fear? Excitement? The car filled with the musky, animal stink of it as they crowded me in. I smiled at them, the cotton wool between my ears not letting me do much else. The car was unnaturally quiet, none of the banter, none of the jokes. I wore a clown’s mask, my smile tight and unnatural. I looked to the left and the right. Lucas’ jaw was clenched tight, cords sticking out on his neck.

We were out of town, speeding up into the mountains. Rocks, trees whirred by in a blur of grey, brown and green. It could have been hours and it could have been minutes, but the car finally stopped. We were far from town, far from any other human being. They dragged me from the car and pushed me deep into the woods. I thought to run, to flee, but the pills had slowed my thoughts to a glacial pace. We were in a clearing. Strong hands gripped my arms; they didn’t need to. My limbs flailed with all the resolve of a pool noodle. I looked into Cliff’s eyes. Sweet, beautiful Cliff. Always my favourite. He had something dark in his hands. With a flick of his thumb, a bright blade sprang from its sheath.

#

It took me a full ten minutes to convince myself that I had been dreaming. My sheets were soggy with sweat and I had to rub the feeling back into my arms where Malinda had been held. She’d been taken up into the mountains. Five went up. She was still up there.

Her diary was open on my desk. Last I remembered, it had been in my lap before sleep took me.

FIND ME

It had been written in strokes so deep and savage that the paper had ripped under the pen. That familiar script, slanted and smeared in a way only a leftie would know. It couldn’t have been me, not even in my sleep. I’d been right handed all my life. She had been here. She wanted to be found. And under those bold words, a series of numbers. Coordinates. She’d given me coordinates.

#

Many things went through my mind as I searched for Malinda’s clearing. That I was stupid. That I was crazy. I’d been getting so close to the dead girl that I’d finally joined her in her madness. Did I actually believe her diary? That she was some kind of mind reader? Or something more? And yet I was trudging through the forest, halfway up the mountains surrounding the town, on nothing more a feeling in my gut and a dead girl’s diary.

But there was a clearing, just like I’d seen in my dream. In the centre of the clearing, there was a space where the rocks had been pushed aside and the grass was a little greener than the rest of the clearing. The rusted metal of my shovel bit into earth. It was softer than I expected. I’d found her.

The rich brown earth gave Malinda Paige up slowly, her pale flesh seeing the light of day for the first time in months. She should have been a worm eaten mess, a dried out husk. I wish she had been, so that I wouldn’t have had to see what the four of them had done to her. It wasn’t enough that she’d been violated. They’d done other terrible things to body as well. Her hands were gone, both lopped off at the wrist. Her face had seen the worst of it, empty pits were her eyes should have been, horrific damage done to her mouth. No dental records? Even through all that I knew her for who she was,

There was an ugly, black thing sticking out from her torso. It came free with a struggle, the dried blood giving way with a sound like a plaster coming free. This was it. I’d found Malinda Paige. Now I just had to tell the world.

#

I found Cliff leaning against my Dad’s car when I left the forest, his car just slightly behind mine. I thought to flee back into the safety of the woods, but the nights were bitterly cold and I would not have lasted.
He spoke first.

“I know why you’re out here, Emma.”

“Emm.” I said, instinctively.

He grimaced when I said that. “It’s not what you think it is. Lucas killed himself this afternoon.”

“Guilt will do that to a man. When’s your turn?” Perhaps the bravado would distract him. My heart was hammering away in my chest. There was no way past him.

“You don’t understand. We did what we had to. You know she was different, you wouldn’t be here otherwise. There wasn’t any other way to get here. Only four of us knew she came up here.”

“And you didn’t mean to kill her. Just have a little fun but it got out of hand?” I circled a little to the side, trying to judge the distance between the door and me. Cliff played defence for the football team. I couldn’t outrun him even with a fifty foot head start.

“We did what we had to. She wasn’t normal. She was sick in the head. Sometimes she’d talk about how she could hear other people’s voices in her head. You know, after we’d done it. She’d tell me about how the noise nearly drove her mad. But I think there was more to it than that. She didn’t just hear voices. She could could put whisper back. Put things in your head. Make you do things.” He pulled his t-shirt over his head, baring his toned torso. Overlayed on the smooth muscle was a network of pale scars and marks. I recognized the little circular mark of a cigarette burn.

“Look at this. She’d make us do it to ourselves, knives sometimes. Fire other times. And she’d watch and laugh while we did it. It was never enough for her. The sex. The pain. Not enough for us to do it to ourselves. She started wanting more. For us to hurt each other and worse.”

The funny thing is, for a second there, I believed him. The more he spoke, the more animated he got. I saw the fear in the whites of his eyes, the way his voice got higher and higher the more he spoke about Malinda. But he was crazy, just like she was. He was the only one of the four left, if Lucas was already dead. Nobody knew about Malinda Paige, except for him… and me. He wasn’t going to let me down the mountain. Malinda’s grave was big enough for two.

“I don’t even know if we finished the job. Shane was the one who took her eyes and he blew a hole in his head. Jimmy worked on her teeth and he swallowed bleach. Lucas took her hands so that there wouldn’t be fingerprints to work on. You know earlier today he put his arms into a woodchipper? You stand there and believe that’s a coincidence.”

I stared at him, watching the sweat roll down his neck, watching his fingers flex. He was wound up, a coiled spring twisted twisted to breaking point.

“Or it could be that the four of you were sick and crazy and a coward’s death is the only way out.”

“Don’t fuck around with me!” His shout bounced back from the surrounding trees. “She called you here too. Didn’t she? Don’t lie now. We both know it. How?”

There wasn’t a need to antagonise him. “Her diary. She’s been writing in it.”

“How can you be sure it isn’t you that’s writing? Imagine someone that could wear you like a glove. You know something, Emma?”

“Emm,” I said again.

“No. Emma. That’s how you introduced yourself last year in chemistry. You’ve never called yourself Emm. Malinda wasn’t just some girl. She’s not just that mess rotting in the ground up there. There’s something left of her. It got to three of us. It got to you. You’ve been too close to her.”

There was something in my pocket, digging against the flesh of my thigh. A slim block. Something that had been, until recently, sticking out of the chest of Malinda Paige. My fingers closed around it, found the little catch.

Cliff took a step towards me.

#

Cliff’s murder would be whispered about for years. They found him strung up in the woods, a bloody mess, ribbons of his skin dangling off him. The coroner said that the massive blood loss had killed him in the end. Which meant that he’d been alive all the way while someone methodically peeled him. There was a single suspect. A hit on the fingerprints left on the knife stuck in his chest. A girl that had gone missing the year before. Malinda Paige. Or at least that’s what the police thought they found. She’d made sure of that. She’d also made sure that Cliff had left a signed confession, telling about how five people had gone up and only four had come down.

There’s a merciful blank in my memory from that day. I came to in my own bed, clean and changed. There was only the faintest trace of blood under my fingernails. She’d been thorough but not thorough enough. Or maybe it was a reminder for me.

They searched the woods but never found Malinda’s body. If it were ever there in the first place. Her diary I buried in the dirt, without a marking. Life went on.
There are three ways the town remembers the story of Malinda Paige. They are all true. They are all lies.

Ask the Police. Malinda Paige was a normal girl. She was brought up to the mountains and raped. The four young men tried to kill her and thought they succeeded. But they didn’t. Guilt took them one by one until Malinda came back to finish the job and has been on the run ever since.

Ask the dead boys. Malinda Paige was a monster. She wormed her way into their skulls and whispered dark things in their minds until they hatched a plan to kill her. They thought they succeeded. They failed and the whispers continued and they died for it.

Ask me. Malinda Paige was something special. She found another girl, a lot like her, and told her story in the only way she knew how. I’d like to think that she would have wanted me to write everything down.

There’s another story. One which floats in the dark moments when I’m alone. Like when it’s just me and the murmur of the breeze and the thump of my heart beat at night. That the four of them couldn’t have hatched a plan without her knowing. That Malinda Paige was more than just a corpse up in the mountains that refused to rot. That she’d always had a plan, a way to get out and she’d tidied up all the loose ends. That she would never be far from me.

-Emm.

Credit To – straydog1980

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.0/10 (675 votes cast)

Knock Knock

February 6, 2015 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.0/10 (1166 votes cast)

I bolted upright in the bed not sure what I expected to see, but knowing that something had startled me awake. Moonlight filtered in through the window and I shivered despite the unseasonably warm temperature. After a few moments I heard it; a soft tapping of fingers against glass. Slowly I turned my head to the window expecting to see some horrible creature lurking there with sharp fangs and terrible claws — but there was nothing. There wasn’t even wind to knock the branches against the window. Cautiously I slid out of the bed and looked out the window, feeling relieved to see there was nothing outside.

“Just hearing things.” I murmured coming back to the bed. I wasn’t used to sleeping alone but my partner was away on business. Surely it was just the change in routine startling me. Moments before getting into the bed I heard the tapping again, slightly louder this time; less hesitant. I spun around, sandy blond curls sticking to my suddenly sweaty brow. The window was clear. A still and empty sky allowed the full moon to illuminate the ground below revealing no one or thing outside.

This time a loud banging, behind me; llike fists pounding on glass trying to escape. Against my better judgement I crossed the bedroom to the bathroom, resting my hand against the warm wooden door before pushing gently. A bit of moonlight spilled into the room. Nothing different or odd, nothing jumping out but… I shivered again and leaned over to light the candle I knew would be to my left. The warm glow seemed much brighter then normal and I jumped when I caught my reflection.

“It’s just me…” I trailed off as the ‘me’ in the mirror raised it’s hand before flashing white fangs and shattering the glass.

Credit To – TinyBear

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.0/10 (1166 votes cast)

Express

January 8, 2015 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.7/10 (414 votes cast)

By the time Kevin made his way down into the subway station, there was no one else there but a solitary old man, sitting on a bench, using his cane to help him sit up straight. Kevin squinted at the schedule on the wall. From behind, he heard a grizzled voice say, “Whichever one you’re waiting for, you’re at the right station. They all stop here.”

Kevin turned to see the old man watching him. “Even the A6?” he asked.

“They ALL stop here,” repeated the stranger, who appeared to be dressed far too warmly for the season.

“I can’t believe the A6 stops here this late on a Tuesday.”

“Young man, this station is a major transfer point, and I’ve been taking these trains for many years. Believe me when I tell you, all the trains stop here.”

As if in answer, the sound of an approaching train came from deep within the tunnel. It sounded like it was coming too fast to stop. In fact, it sounded like it was running faster than subways usually do. It was only a moment before it went rushing past. But that wasn’t the shocking part. All the cars were jet black, but it didn’t look like they were painted, just…made that way. Every car was covered in the most indescribably horrific graffiti. Wild splashes of red paint decorated the windows. It was paint, wasn’t it? The lighting inside was very dim. All the passengers were shadowy figures who stood, unmoving. None of them were seated. Kevin couldn’t make out any of their features. So why did he feel like they were watching him?

“What the hell was that?” Kevin demanded as the mysterious black train disappeared into the opposite tunnel.

The old man hung his head, almost in shame. “I’m sorry I wasn’t completely honest with you. There is actually one train that doesn’t stop here. Only one.”

“Where does it go?”

“Pray you never find out.”

Kevin stood in stunned silence before the old man added, “By the way, if you’re taking the A6 you need to be on Platform 3.”

Kevin could barely gasp the word, “Thanks,” before walking quickly away.

As he was leaving, he heard the man call after him, “Also…”

He turned to see the man fixing him with a steely gaze that let Kevin know the stranger was about to give him the most important warning he would ever hear in his life.

“The next time you see that train. It WILL stop. Don’t get on.”

Credit To: E. Alan Rahn

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.7/10 (414 votes cast)

Crimson Fangs

December 31, 2014 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.4/10 (291 votes cast)

“I’m so cold.”

This was the first thought that entered into Amber’s dazed consciousness. Her eyelids flickered open to see nothing but hazy darkness around her. Moaning softly, she struggled to raise her body from the prone position she lay in, wrapping her bare arms around herself in response to the strange chill that permeated the air. She blinked several times and brushed a wisp of dark hair from her face as her eyes began to adjust to the ethereal aura that filled the cold, empty room.

“What… Where am I? How did I get here?”

She pushed herself up on one knee and shuddered. The room was cold… so cold. She had no memory of how she had gotten here; no memory of the past few hours.

Slowly, Amber stood and looked around. “He-hello? Where am I? Is anyone here?” she called out, her tremulous voice echoing slightly in the bare room. Her normally active mind was in a blur she attempted to discern what was happening to her, and in her confusion, an icy fear began to grip her. “What’s going on?” She shuddered and wrapped her arms around herself again. “Come on Amber, think; what’s the last thing you remember?” She rubbed her eyes. “Eric… A bookstore… No, I can’t remember!”

Amber peered around again. A strange, faintly luminescent mist writhed about her, giving off just barely enough light to see the shapes of her surroundings. It was by this cold light that she noticed the door and a chill ran down her spine, although whether for excitement or dread she did not know. Amber walked cautiously over to the door and reached out to grasp the cold doorknob. Her mind burned with a strange fear that absorbed her thoughts as she held the handle. “What’s behind this door? What if it’s locked and I’m trapped here? Why am I even here? This room is so cold.”

Her heart pounding, Amber braced herself and gripped the doorknob tighter, slowly twisting it and pushing the door open. To her relief, it gave way; and yet, to her surprise, it made no sound. No squeaking of the hinges, no soft jingle as the doorknob turned in its socket. Just silence.
She swallowed the lump of anxiety in her throat and bit her lip as she pushed the silent door wide open and peered outside. She stepped out of the doorway and looked around. It was a hallway, stretching for many yards on both ends. It reminded her of the halls in those old Victorian mansions, except this one was totally bare. No pictures, no statues, no houseplants, not even wallpaper; just dark, cold walls and doors. Dozens of doors lined either side of the hallway, each one identical and each one as dark and silent as the one she had just stepped through.

Amber shuddered and ventured again, her voice still shaky, “Um… hello? Is… is anyone there?”

There was no answer except her voice reverberating along the dank walls. She clutched at her arms and hugged herself tighter, her heart racing. “Should I try to open one of those doors?”

Taking a cautious step further out, she reached towards the doorknob opposite her. However before she could grab hold of the handle, she froze, and a chill of pure terror rippled down her spine.

A sound had emanated from behind her in the room that she had just exited: a low, sibilant hiss.

A small whine of apprehension trickled from her throat and she turned, her eyes widening and her face turning pale. She began to shiver uncontrollably as she stared into the dark room. At first she saw nothing, nothing but the same cold blackness that had surrounded her. She continued to stare ahead, not daring to turn her eyes away as she waited.

Then it was there.

A tall, lithe form stood, almost as dark as the room it occupied, vaguely humanoid in shape, but otherwise indiscernible in the darkness. Amber slowly backed away from the door, every instinct in her body telling her to flee, and yet she could not. She stood transfixed, gazing back at the shadowy creature in the room.

The low, hissing breath wreathed out from the murky chamber… and it smiled. The darkness smiled, with two rows of long, glistening, crimson fangs.

Amber’s senses were suddenly awakened as a scream tore from her throat and she ran. Her mind became numb with fright, her body bent on survival as she raced down the hollow passageway. She could feel it behind her; it was so cold. Rows upon rows of doors flew by her as she ran, not caring or thinking about anything but flight… and the fangs. Her vision began to blur as her mind raced frantically. “There’s got to be a way out, there has to be some way to escape…”

She could hear the serpentine hiss echo around the halls. It was following her.

The hallway ended abruptly, bending sharply to her right. With no time to slow her acceleration, Amber slammed into the wall and staggered back, not even daring to look behind her as she turned down the other passageway.

Still the hissing followed.

Sweat had begun to drip down her forehead, mingling with tears of terror as she felt the overwhelming sensation of hope and energy draining from her. Her run slowed to a stagger, her mind blazing with a strange, hazy pain. Still she continued on, driven by fear. As she rounded another corner, she saw the unexpected.

A single, desperate ounce of hope sprung up within her at the sight of the small but bright light at the end of the dark hallway; she felt as though it were the first light she had seen in ages. Amber didn’t care where it led, as long as it took her away from here; away from the cold hissing, and from those glistening crimson fangs. With renewed energy Amber began to sprint towards the light.

The hissing continued.

Before she knew it the window of light stood before her, glowing brightly and proving a stark contrast to the dank, gray walls around it. Mustering every last bit of energy within her, Amber leaped, hoping to pass through the light and into freedom… but her hands slammed into a wall of glass.

She gasped and hit the window again, but it did not budge.

The hissing drew nearer.

She pounded at the window, murmuring frantically under her breath. “What’s going on? What is this?!”

It was so cold.

Her brain cleared long enough to notice something behind the window. It was a man, and he was looking at her. Her heart leaped for joy when she recognized him.

“Eric!” she screamed. “Eric, it’s me! Please open the window! Help me!”

But there came no response. Her fiancé simply sat staring at her, his expression one of grief, his eyes slightly misted with tears.
Amber smashed her fists against the window, pleading desperately, “Please, Eric, help me! It’s coming! Please… please help me!”
Still he made no reply.

The hissing…

Amber slumped to the floor, her fingernails scraping against the glass as she slid down the window. Tears streamed down her face and her heart raced like a locomotive as she curled up and wept. “Please, Eric… Save me…”

The hissing drew nearer.

~~~

….beep……beep……beep……

Eric sat in the bright hospital room, listening to the never-ending heart monitor and staring solemnly at the still and quiet body of his fiancée Amber. She lay on the bed, her once beautiful and intelligent blue eyes glazed over in a state of comatose.

It had been nearly four hours since they had found her lying unconscious on the floor in the back room of the old Eldridge Bookshop, her eyes wide open in shock, and a small book resting in her hand. No one had any idea of what had happened to her. The shopkeeper said that she seemed perfectly all right when she had entered, and that she had been perusing through a collection of antique books that they had just received before she suddenly just dropped without a sound.

Of course, there was that book that she had been clutching; that small, strange book simply titled “Crimson Fangs”. What was so strange was that no author or publishing year was listed anywhere on it, not to mention the fact that the pages were totally blank. But then again, Amber liked those kinds of oddities. She was always collecting those rare misprints and old books that were only published for one month back in the 18th century. She was funny in that way. Eric sighed and once again grasped her hand. It was so cold.

For all of the past four hours he had sat patiently by her bedside, staring into her blank eyes and often talking to her, reminiscing about their times together or about her favorite stories; anything to wake her from her state. But nothing helped. The doctors were puzzled about the fact that, other than being in a coma, her body was healthy. Her breathing and heart-rate were normal and there were no signs of a concussion, cardiac arrest, a stroke; anything.

Eric reached out and tenderly brushed a strand of dark, silky hair from her face. She was so beautiful, even with her face frozen in a still, emotionless stare. He wanted to see her smile again.

His thoughts were interrupted when the door opened. The doctor walked over and placed a gentle hand on Eric’s shoulder. “You’ve been in here for a long time. Perhaps you would like a break?”

Eric swallowed back the dryness in his throat and stroked Amber’s cold hand. “Y-yes, of course. I just can’t stand for her to be like this, all pale and…” He closed his eyes and shuddered before standing up. “You’ll let me know if anything happens to her, right?”

The doctor smiled warmly. “Certainly; now go get some rest.”

Eric nodded and turned, with one last long gaze at the motionless form of his beloved Amber before walking out the door.

~~~

Amber sat by the window, staring up into the despondent face of her fiancé. She sobbed and reached up to weakly grasp at the sheet of glass that separated her from the one person that she loved and trusted most. So near, and yet so far.

“This has to be a dream. Wake up, Amber… Please wake up!”

Then he moved. She whipped her head up and stared with wide, desperate eyes as Eric stood and looked at her sadly before-

“No. No, it can’t be! He’s leaving me! He’s walking away!” She leaped up and screamed frantically, slamming her fists against the window, trying to get his attention, for him to finally notice her and save her. “No… No, please! Eric, don’t leave me! Please, don’t leave me!”

But he was gone. The window was empty.

Her breath heavy and her eyes hazy with tears, Amber once again slumped to the floor. Eric, her closest and dearest friend, the one person she could always count on to keep her safe, had abandoned her. Every last bit of hope had deserted her. She was alone; all alone in this cold, dark hallway. It was then that she noticed something was different about her surroundings. The hissing was gone. That horrible, chilling sound… there was nothing. Nothing but cold silence.

Amber held her breath, slowly turned her head…

And stared into the crimson-fanged grin.

~~~

A calm silence filled the bright hospital room, only broken by the steady beat of the heart monitor.

….beep……beep……beep……

Amber’s body lay, staring ahead blankly just as she had for the past four hours.

….beep……beep……beep…..

She blinked. Her eyes slowly shifted to look at the monitor.

….beep……beep……beep…………beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

She sat up, her black silky hair draping around her head like a nest of dead snakes. With one quick, stilted motion, she pried the oxygen mask from her face before her gaze turned to the door. There were the sounds of voices and footsteps outside. The light in the room flickered as a dark, ethereal mist began to writhe up from the floor. The doorknob rattled as it opened.

A low, sibilant hiss rasped out from Amber’s throat… and she smiled, with two rows of long, glistening, crimson fangs.

Credit To – Josh

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.4/10 (291 votes cast)