Martellato

October 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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It was an expensive chair. The leather squeaked as I shuffled in it, betraying its purpose by failing to get comfortable. Disapproving eyes glanced up from the heavy mahogany desk that lay before me. After a pause the solicitor continued reading.

“And to my grandson, Alastair Kincade, I leave a sum of £30,000 and the following items…”

My grandfather Colin died of a heart attack in his sleep, after months of living in a home due to his alzheimer’s. My father tried to care for him as much as he could but towards the end he needed twenty-four hour attention. Dad was still years away from retirement and wasn’t able to give that kind of attention.

“And his violin.” My ears prickled, and I looked up at the solicitor then to my father.

“Violin?” My father, Michael, took the words out of my mouth.

The man sitting next to me, my great uncle Torrance, waved his hand to tell my father not to ask questions during the reading. My curiosity itched and I squeaked in the chair again, the solicitor shooting another look before continuing to list my twin sisters’ lot of inheritance.

In all, my sisters and I received ten percent each of his money, my father and aunt twenty five percent, and my great uncle twenty percent. The house had been sold before he died to fund his care, and numerous items distributed to each of us. I was glad for the money. While I didn’t do badly for myself, the sum was easily enough to place a deposit for my own property: something that has become rapidly more difficult to generate in England the past ten years.

Once we were dismissed, both my father and I pounced our questions upon Uncle Torrance, “I didn’t know Granddad Colin played the violin.”

“Dad never owned a violin, when did he get that?”

Uncle Torrance raised his hands to again wave down our questions, while my sisters headed out of the solicitor’s building to head home. “I’ll tell you… in exchange for ale!” A cheeky grin spread out across his face, the way it always did when he told a story.

Dad drove to our local, The Cattle and Block. Once three glasses decorated the table, my uncle began to tell us the story of the violin.

“You probably know very little of my Grandmother Hildegarde. She died before you were born, Michael. I don’t know much about Grandma Hildi before she married my Grandfather Bhaltair, only the stories she told use before bed. She was german originally, and grew up in the streets of York. She had only one possession apart from the rags on her back, and that was a violin. Grandpap Bhal heard her playing on the street, and fell in love with her instantly. He saw through the dirty blonde hair stuck to her shoulders, the scars and mud around her knees, and saw the beauty she wove over the strings. He got down on one knee, then and there, and told her she must marry him. He told her he could not live another day without that song in his heart. She said yes, and they were married.”

He paused to take another long sip of ale. It was like a fairy tale and it was surprising to hear such a story about my own family. “So it was Hildegarde’s?”

Uncle Torrance nodded and put the glass back down. “Yes. Now, my brother and I were raised by our grandparents. My brother was five when our mother died, during childbirth to me. My father – he was called Logan Kincade – turned up on Grandpap and Grandma’s door step and begged his parent to look after us for a while. He was stricken with grief and needed some time to pull himself together, and figure out how to be a father without my mother. They accepted, and he never returned. We never knew what happened to my father.

A couple of years before your Dad had you, Grandpap Bhal passed away. Soon after, Grandma Hildi passed. You know what they say about a love bird losing their mate. That was when Colin inherited her violin. He always kept it locked up in the attic, I don’t suppose he ever knew what to do with it. He probably sent it to you because you like music so much, Alastair.”

“Wow, it sounds like quite the family heirloom.” Dad said, “Look after it.”

“Yeah, definitely.”

We finished up our drinks and took Uncle Torrance home. As he was getting out of the car, he said, “All the years we lived with Grandma Hildi, I never heard her play it. She polished it, cared for it, but she never played. If I asked, her answer always “Not today, dear.” She never attempted to teach one of us either.” He shrugged and gave his goodbyes.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later when Granddad Colin’s possessions were sorted through and delivered to the appropriate relatives. My father dropped my share of boxes off at my house and quickly moved on the deliver the others to my sisters. The contents of the box were added to my collection of items I had accumulated over the years. I never really took an interest in classical music, or the techniques used in playing and composing – my main interest was in jazz and blues, some rock and roll. I liked soulful music, things that came from the heart, and it fascinated me how pain could create such beautiful things.

The gramophone stood proudly with its collection of records, and the violin case lay before me. I had no intention to learn to play it, but I couldn’t stop myself taking it out the box and give it a spin.

The case was a big heavy wooden box, shaped like a violin, but it seemed a lot bigger than necessary. I unclipped the case and inside was a vast amount of silk cloth. A stunning crimson that caught the light as I placed it on the floor. Underneath, the object of my curiosity. It was worn, some of the varnish chipped in places, but even I could tell the craftsmanship was expert. The wood was a deep colour, and on the back there was a branding. It seemed to be a sigil depicting a swan, bleeding from the neck. I didn’t recognise it, but I know very little about bowed instruments or sigils.

Holding it in my hands, it was a lot heavier than I expected; Hildegarde must have been quite a strong lady. I pulled it up into position on my shoulder and stroked the bow across the strings. I flinched from the screech. I tried again, a little gentler, only to be thanked with another banshee wail. Defeated, the violin went back in the box. Clearly, it took a master’s hand to use it. As I was putting the silk back around it, a small envelope dropped to the floor. Written on the front in black ink, Alastair, in my grandfather’s handwriting. I pulled the note out of the envelope: Burn the violin. With salt. Why would he ask me to do that? Then again, as his mental health declined, he could probably have been capable of any delusion.

I had a vivid and painful dream that night, I stood in the foyer of a house I didn’t recognise. It was grand, clearly the home of a rich family. There were portraits on the walls, soft and elaborate carpets beneath my feet, and an unlit chandelier on the ceiling. Below me, I heard agonising, tormented screaming, punctuated with a heavy wet thuds. Above me, some of the most enchanting music I have ever heard. I can only describe this song in how it made me feel: lost and forlorn, my eyes on the brink of tears. Though the tone of the notes seemed almost harsh, I longed to find them in the halls of this house, I wanted their comfort and embrace.

I moved automatically to the stairs beside me, unable to pull myself away from the siren song, the screams fading into the distance. The chords floated throughout the house, teasing me, beckoning me to their creator as I reached a door at the end of the hallway. The gold painted detail led to the handle, its cool touch swept across my hand. It turned, the latch clicking open, and then I awoke.

The headache sat behind my eyes, clinging to the groggy realms of sleep and the lost call of the dream I’d left behind. It felt as if all the space around my eyes was packed with cotton wool, and a dull throb pushed onto my eyeballs. I took a deep breath and shook my head to find some sense in the morning. It’s not like I have never dreamt before, but rarely did something stick with me in such a haunting way. I felt the song in my bones, the ache to hear the rest, like a story with the ending ripped away.

I dreamt the same thing for a week afterwards. It began the same way, however each night I would get closer and closer to the source, and each morning I would wake up in more and more pain. The migraines got so severe, I spent a lot of time before work vomiting in the bathroom, until my head eventually stopped spinning. Pain killers did very little, and I was drinking extra water to make sure it wasn’t dehydration. Nothing satisfied it.

The night before last, I stood right behind her. As I was lured up the stairs, the song changed as I approached the violinist: playful, like it was teasing me, begging me into a game. She turned her head to the side, just a little, and said, “Not today, dear.”

I suddenly awoke and my legs retracted into my chest for the pain, and I pushed the heels of my hands into my eyes. A small amount of relief from the pressure, but not enough. It took me several minutes to realise I could still hear the music, coming from my collection room down the corridor. My hand was on the door handle when I became aware of the dripping sound. At my feet, dark spots decorated the carpet, and on my bed the same darkness streaked the sheets. My hand rose to my face to realise it was wet. Angry, confused, and scared, I jerked the door open and stormed into the room where the violin lay on one of the display cabinets. The song was a cacophony of agony through my mind, yet it was beautiful.

I held it in my hands unsure what to do. My mind came back to my Granddad’s note: Burn the violin. With salt. I shook it off, it was ridiculous. I pushed it into its case but the song still burned through my eyes, tears streamed down my face. As I piled the silk wrapping on top of it, the music ebbed slightly. I wrapped the silk around again, properly, covering each inch of the instrument and with each binding, the pain faded with the tune. As I clipped the case together, the violin was all but silenced.

I woke up on the floor next to the case with the taste of copper in my mouth. I must have fallen asleep in there, after silencing the instrument. I decided then and there that I was done, I was going to sell it. Whatever madness overcame me, I’d give it someone else. I knew a place in town and, after cleaning the blood from myself, I drove straight there.

I could still hear the humming from the case as I pulled it from the boot of my car. I took a few ibuprofen in preparation. I’d also considered ear plugs but somehow I came to the conclusion they wouldn’t work either.

A bell rang as I pushed the door open.

“Hello!” A cheery wave from an older gentleman.

“Hey, would you be interested in an antique violin?” I set the case down on the counter in front of him.

“Certainly!” His finger rippled above the case before he nimbly flicked open the latches. I braced myself. As he pulled the silk away, the song became louder and all the pain returned to me.

Act normal, just act normal. “I don’t know a lot about it. I inherited it recently. It’s from at least 1880’s, it was my great great grandmother’s.” I sucked a deep breath in to push back the throbbing in my eyes.

“Yes, it certainly is old, not in the best condition, but not the worst I have seen.” He turned it over and I felt a sharp pain across my forehead. Air rushed into my lungs, and I tried to cover the sharp breath with a cough. He gave me an odd look, “This is sigil is interesting. I haven’t seen it before. The manufacture of this is reminiscent of Stradivarius but-”

I didn’t hear the rest of his sentence. Blood pouring through my brain, pulsated through my eyes and my ears. I concentrated as hard as I could on staying conscious. He said some number, I accepted. He said he would get me a cheque, and as soon as his hands left the violin, I wrapped it in the silk. I clipped the case back up and let out a sigh of relief as the pain left me. The man was stood staring at me.

“I’m sorry, I just want to protect it.” I blurted out.

“It’s alright…” He edged to the other end of the counter, take glances back to me and wrote the cheque out. “Now before I give you this, I need some contact information. Just a precaution.”

I didn’t ask why. I didn’t care. I pulled a business card out and gave it to him. He carefully inspected the card, and offered the cheque once he was satisfied.

I hastily took it, “Thank you, thank you.” I left immediately, knowing I must have seemed rude, or more likely mad. I remember the jingle of the bell, and a goodbye before I drove back home to get a night’s rest.

It didn’t last long. Two nights after I sold it, I awoke again to a migraine and the sound of a violin. I screamed in frustration. The melody was coming from outside, from the rear of the house. I headed downstairs to the back door, already the pain spread across my forehead and down my face. I pushed the door open and stared out into the woods that backed onto my house. It was out there and called me. Stuffing my feet into work boots, I went to find it, and I was going to bind it up, and deal with it in the morning.

The pressure in the back of my eyes grew as I stalked down my garden. At the gate, I scanned the woods behind the house. I couldn’t see anything out there but I could feel it in the pain magnifying through my head. Two nails jabbed into my eyes and were slowly being pulled up through my skull. All I wanted was relief as the nails broke my eye sockets and began pulling at my scalp.

After walking out into the woods, it’s hard to remember everything clearly. I remember how much it hurt, and how it kept getting worse the further I walked, to the point where I didn’t know if I was following the music or the pain. I think I almost passed out at one point. I saw bright flashes in front of my eyes, and my vision started fading in black spots. I could have sworn as those black spots started appearing over my eyes I saw the shadow of a woman in front of me.

My vision came back to me when I saw the blood on my arms and staining my pajama bottoms. There must have been brambles scratching me as I pulled myself through the woods towards the song, but I couldn’t feel any pain there, only the persistent and all consuming ache spreading across my head. I could feel through the centre of my forehead intensity as if a vice were applied to each side of my head, forcing the bone into itself.

Ahead of me, the trees broke out into a bank, and some murky, inky water. It was a neglected river – no! An abandoned canal route, full of rotting plant matter and debris. The pain had finished its work on my head, and indulged in exploring my chest. It felt as if my rib cage were being slowly pulled from the rest of my body. The pounding in my chest became a crushing hand around my heart. My legs gave out from under me and I fell, whimpering on ground. I’m not proud of it but I cried. I sobbed into the dusty mud around me, the smell of the water nauseating, and being unable to distinguish between the flies around me and the black spots I was hallucinating.

Eventually, my head slumped to the side and there lay the dark wood case. The tears stopped for just long enough for me to try and pull myself up, pain shot through my ribs as I hauled myself to it. The pain ebbed as I wrapped my fingers around the handle of the case and held it to my chest. While the song still sawed through my skull, the pain waned just enough for me to make it to my feet along the trek back. Perhaps the violin provided me mercy for finding it, or perhaps it was just the relief of finally having an option to end this.

I saw the back gate ahead of me, and as I approached it, the shadows crept back over my eyes and stole vision from me. My boot caught on something and I flew forwards, hands finding the gate in front of me before I crashed into the ground. The impact throwing all the air from my lungs and sprayed blood over my hands. I lay there over the gate, winded, stunned, and a dull throb throughout my whole body, until a light from the kitchen pierced the darkness before me. The pain was excruciating. My face was wet with tears and blood as I came through my back fence. As I was about the open the back door, I heard a voice.

“Are you alright?” My neighbour. I’d forgotten he worked early shifts and would be up in the small hours of the morning. When I first moved in, he came over to ask me to keep the noise down in the afternoons while he slept. “You don’t look so good.” He stubbed his cigarette out against the wall, slipped it back into the packet and came over to the fence.

“Did you hear that earlier?”

“Hear what?” My heart sank a little as I knew the answer to my next question.

“The noise… Coming from… Over there…” I struggled to form sentences. I gestured out to the woods with the violin case.

He shook his head slowly, his gaze following my arm before looking back to me, “Do you want me to call someone?”

“No, no, I’ll just get some sleep.” I pulled the muscles in my face into what was meant to be a reassuring smile. My head throbbed and I gave up on the effort. “Thanks.” He watched me head inside into the house before pulling his cigarette back out.

In my collection room, I lay the case before me. I could still hear the music slicing through my brain. Silk. I needed more silk. I tore every bed sheet from the airing cupboard and threw anything that felt like silk on top of the case. Every shirt, pair of boxers, handkerchief that shimmered and danced through my hand went onto that case. Finally I could hear myself think, and hear my nose dripping again before collapsing onto my bed for the night.

I awoke to a rapid knocking at the front door. I pulled myself out of bed, a small headache still prevailing but much better than it had been. I pulled on a dressing gown and answered the door: it was my neighbour.

“Hey, you’re still alive! I was just checking, you looked rough last night.” A smile of relief washed across his face. I was genuinely surprised.

“Yeah, I’m okay. Thanks for checking up on me.”

“Wife look after you?”

“Oh no, I’m not married.”

“Oh so it was your girlfriend?”

“No, I live alone.”

“Well your guest or whoever followed you in last night.” He said, rolling his eyes. He must have mistaken my confusion for being pedantic.

“What?”

He hesitated, “A woman. She walked up through the back gate and into the house a few minutes after you went in.”

“There’s no one here.”

“Alright, alright, I’ll keep schtum about it. Was just checking you were okay.” He put his hands up defensively.

“No, I’m not… Thanks for checking, I mean it.”

“You’re alright, see you around.”

“What did she look like?”

“Eh? You’re serious, aren’t you? You don’t know what I’m on about?”

I shook my head.

“Well, she was a bit taller than an average lady I’d say, blonde… Very pretty. She was in a white dress, you know like a nightie but an old fashioned one. She walked up from where you came, through gate and in the back door.”

“And she opened the door?” I gestured with my hand, just in case he didn’t know what opening a door looked like. Smart.

“Yeah…”

“She unlocked it and walked in?”

“No, she didn’t unlock it.”

“Excuse me, thank you.” I ran to the back door and checked it. Locked.

My heart pounded in my chest as the sense of reality I had built up over a lifetime began to crack. My first headache without the song pushed into the back of my eyes. I realised then, while I was rubbing my temples, if the nightmares didn’t kill me, the sheer stress would. I finally decided to obey Grandpa Colin’s note then, and burn the violin after my neighbour left for work.

Alarm set for four-thirty the next morning, I went to bed and dreamt. Once again, I stood in the foyer of the strange house and, once again, those screams and wet thuds pushed through the floor below me, and the siren song led me upstairs. However, this time there was a soft sobbing above. The golden trimmed door creaked open, and before me stood the blonde violinist in her nightgown, the low light glinting off the tears on her face.

“Not now, dear. Please.”

The piercing beep of my phone awoke me, and it was time to enact my plan. I flicked the alarm off and claimed the violin from the collection room. With the music muted under piles of fabric, I brought together all the tools I’d need: the barbecue, lighter fluid, and table salt.

The fire made quick work of the silk, surrounding me with the scent of burnt hair and the consuming melody I sought to finally silence, and the agonising pressure across my skull returned. As the flames reached the violin, and black smoke rose from the metal dish, the music began to distort and shriek in protest. Pain swept across my chest. Voices screamed with the violin, pouring into my ears, begging me to save them and make the pain stop. Smoke billowed out around me and stung my eyes and throat, making me cough, and I fell to my knees as the crushing, black cloud forced me to the ground.

I found myself lying in the mansion, my eyes focussing on the chandelier above me. Like so many times before, a woman’s voice screamed below.

“No! Please!”

Thud.

“Why are you doing this?”

Thud.

“I won’t tell anyone if you just let me go.”

Thud. Crack.

Unlike before, there was no music, there was no pain; I was free to move. I stood and looked around the foyer.

Thud.

The paintings in the hall were of familiar faces; the names “Kincade” printed beneath on a brass plate.

Thud.

There were several doors around me, but I knew which one to take. I took the basement stairs.

Thud. Crack.

A small lantern barely lit the room. Workbenches framed the walls, covered in many tools; vices, hammers, spanners, screwdrivers, and drills.

Thud. Thud.

The sounds of the hammer in his hand.

Thud.

Blood splattered his shirt and braces. His dress trousers were muddy and wet. Dishevelled hair fell over his face.

Crack.

The hammer caught that time. It took several tugs to free it from the mess of meat between his knees. Pieces fell onto the tarp beneath it.

Thud.

The face of a woman stared up at me, motionless apart from a twitch when the hammer struck her rib cage which sent her head rolling on her neck. I stared back, at her left side with each rib individually broken, as the man worked on the right.

Thud, thud. Crack.

He sat up and wiped his forehead. Red gore replaced the sweat. There was no satisfaction on his face, no hint of personal pleasure or arousal, like this was just another job that needed doing. After a few deep breaths, he swung the hammer into the skull until the woman’s face no longer looked at me.

He stood, dropped the hammer to his side and raised his head, scanning the basement walls. As his gaze fell upon the stairs, I recognised him from one of the portraits: Bhaltair Kincade. I instinctively ducked, though I had nowhere to hide. His eyes continued past me to the spade in the corner of the room. He took it and began the next chore, digging into the dirt floor of the basement.

I sat on those stairs and watched as he dug out the trench. He sank the spade next to the hole, and wrapped the chunks of meat in the tarp it lay on. In the dim light, I saw a pale hand in the wall of the grave, partially decomposed. As he dragged the body in and began to cover it with the dirt, I noticed the rest of the floor: uneven, some parts freshly dug, others older but the outline still distinct.

Thud.

My attention snapped back. Bhaltair’s foot on the bottom step of the stairs, his eyes locked onto mine, pain shooting into the back of my skull, white light pouring over my vision.

A steady beep, fresh oxygen with each breath, a voice, a woman’s voice. My sister’s voice.

“Alastair!” A hand gripped my wrist. I screwed up my eyes and rubbed them with the back of my hand. The white filled with grey, then the shadows and colours returned to show me her face. “Alastair, you’re awake!”

My head span a little, and I felt like hell all over. “What… Where?”

“You’re in the hospital. You neighbour found you after passed out in the garden.”

The violin. “The fire…”

“Yes, your stupid late night barbecue party for one.” The concern was gone, the familiar tone of lecture mode replaced it. “What were you even burning? There was black smoke everywhere. The fire brigade couldn’t even find what you set fire to, just accelerant and salt.”

“I’m-”

“Sorry? A moron? Trying to kill yourself?” A sharp pain to the side of my head. “You nearly died from monoxide poisoning! Your whole face was covered in blood.”

“Don’t flick me!”

She opened her mouth to say something, but her throat caught. Instead her hand jumped forward and delivered another stab of pain to my temple.

Lilly drove me home later that day, after I was given the all clear. I slept well. It’s been nearly a week since the hospital, and I’ve dreamt of nothing but mundane work-related stuff.

You know the real kicker to this? I had a call from the police on Monday asking me about the violin. Apparently, when the music store owner had come in on that morning, it was gone. He’s reported it stolen, and given my name to the police so they can ask me for information that might help them find it. Damn thing is no end of trouble.

Credit To – Kerrima

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Ochelari

October 12, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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In my room, on my desk, sits a black, plastic casing which holds my glasses.
They have a power of minus 9 and they were very expensive to wear.

When I was younger, my mother used to warn me about sitting too close to the television. She used to tell me that my eyesight would get progressively worse and I’d either end up needing glasses or my eyes would simply be bad enough to make me legally blind.

Being an overly obnoxious nine-year-old, I never listened to her. So whenever my favorite cartoon or TV-show was on I would scurry to the living room and rest my head an inch away from the screen. I figured that the closer I got to the TV, the closer I could get to the show.

Whenever my mother found out about this she would yell at me about how expensive glasses would be and that we couldn’t afford even a single pair. She’d then proceed to slap the back of my head so hard that I would accidentally bite my tongue or unpleasantly acquaint my face with the hard TV screen. It happened every time and I always ignored her.

Until one day she got to say ‘I told you so’ and we were forced to get me a pair of glasses. Because we couldn’t afford to buy new ones, she took me all over the neighborhood to find a used pair that did the job well enough. And so it continued until my eyes settled at a power of minus 9. Finding a used pair of glasses that would suffice was hell.

We eventually spotted a proper pair at an antique store. The store was filled with objects and trinkets that could have come straight out of a horror movie. Most of it, including the elderly woman who was sitting behind the counter, looked fit for use by witches.

The woman was wearing sunglasses that were much too dark for the dusky little store. My mother asked how much they would cost and the woman simply replied ‘very expensive’. She seemed to be blind because she never looked at my mother while they spoke about the price, but she stared intently at me. Even as we left the store I could tell that she was following me with her gaze. It made the hairs on my neck stand on end.

Despite being very ugly, the glasses did the trick. She had to work 7 days a week for months in order to earn back what it had cost, but at least my eyesight didn’t seem to get any worse.

Needless to say that my glasses were a necessity. Without them I was essentially a baby in a suit. I had to look out for every little thing so as not to break or otherwise damage this life-saving piece of technology. Eventually, my girlfriend and I grew tired of having to always watch out for my glasses. And so, after a lot of coercing, she managed to talk me into getting laser eye surgery.

I can’t say that I’ve ever regretted making that choice. It was wonderful seeing things perfectly clear again without wearing my glasses. At first, the discomfort was horrible but eventually it faded and I got my perfect eyesight back. I felt like a new man; reborn with the eyes of a god.

I’m a sentimental idiot and so I never managed to throw my old glasses away. Months and years passed until one day, when we were packing our stuff because we were moving to a new town, I stumbled upon the old, plastic casing of my massively expensive glasses.

Holding them again after such a long time felt strangely nostalgic. They were once incredibly important to me, enabling me to live like a reasonably average human being. I may have actually shed a small tear or two. And in my nostalgia I wanted to wear them again, even if just for a little while.

Looking through glasses if you don’t need them is bad for your eyes, but I figured a quick peek wouldn’t hurt too much.

The moment the pads rested on my nose and the temple tips nestled gently behind my ears, I could feel something wrong. My eyesight wasn’t distorted at all, despite what I’d expected. In fact, when I think back, it might have actually improved marginally.

Naturally, as any sane person would, I was confused and I wanted to take them off to reassure myself that my eyesight was still perfect without them. But they wouldn’t budge.
No matter how hard I pulled, and I pulled REALLY hard, I can assure you, the pads stayed perfectly still on my nose and the entire damn thing wouldn’t move so much as a millimeter.

At this point, I was freaking the hell out. I called out to my girlfriend, who had been in the kitchen, packing our cutlery and plates and such, but she didn’t reply.

At first I figured she must have not heard me, so I launched myself out of the chair I’d been sitting
in, wanting to make my way to the kitchen with all sorts of haste.

Beyond the door, however, was a desolate, empty house where only moments before a vibrant, new home of a loving couple had been. The previously white wallpaper was filled with holes and patches of mold and it slanted away from the wall as if it had grown tired of its own existence.

Behind the wallpaper were cracks in the wall, as if the house had been abandoned for a hundred years. The wooden floor beneath my feet creaked so much I feared it would cave in, and the roof above my head was already partially on the floor.

Through the holes in the roof I could see the sky. Clouds rolled over each other, as if at war with themselves, and in the distance I could see the sun rising, leaving a blood red stain on the deck of clouds as it pierced through them like a knife through soft flesh.

I called her name again, suddenly fearing for her life. My legs were trembling but they obeyed me and moved faster than they had before.

When I finally made it to the kitchen, it was as empty and decayed as the rest of the house had been. The stench of rot and decay penetrated my nose and my gag reflex automatically set in. Panic and fear mixed in my stomach and I ran out of the house into a world that was completely and utterly dead.

There were no people, no animals, no plants. There was no sound other than that made by the wind. I was completely alone in a place that seemed to be rotten and saturated with death.

My fear fueled my adrenaline and with all the strength in my arms I pulled at the glasses, but they still would not move.

I closed my eyes, took several deep breaths and then punched the contraption of plastic and metal and glass that had glued itself to my face and was showing me the end of the world. I punched until I couldn’t feel my face and my knuckles were raw.

Her gasp is what woke me up.

She was standing in the doorway with a horrified look on her face; as if her worst nightmare was coming true. It filled me with worry but the sight of her dampened my fears with love and relief.

I crawled to my feet, wanting to wrap her in my arms and hold her. I wanted to make sure that this was real and that she was safe. But she shied away from me, as if she feared that I would attack her.

Her eyes briefly darted over me before feverishly fixating on my face again. I reached out to her again, hoping that she would understand that I wanted to hold her in my arms, but those very arms were covered all over with a red, sticky wetness. I felt no pain, so that must mean it was someone else’s blood.

Disgust and terror gripped my heart and I frantically ran my eyes over her entire body while she stood frozen in the doorway. The only thought going through my mind was ‘Did I hurt her? Is she alright?’ and I wanted to tell her that I had no memory of whatever had happened and that I would make sure that everything would be okay.

No sound came from my mouth. It was as if there was an emptiness in my throat that swallowed all sound I was trying to produce.

I tried talking again, but all I could hear was a low gurgling coming from the back of my throat followed by the horrific scream that came from the woman I loved. She turned on her heels and bolted away. I started chasing her, ignoring the wet, disgusting feeling on the rest of my body that I’d finally become aware of.

The stickiness didn’t matter. All that mattered to me was to tell her that everything was going to be okay, that I loved her and that we would make it through this if we stuck together.

She reached the front door, pulled it open and ran out before slamming it shut behind her with such a force that it rattled the mirrors in the hallway. I passed them by and glanced, briefly, from the corners of my eyes.

Except there were no eyes.

Two caves of rotting flesh stared back at me, oozing blood that crawled down my face and stained my clothes a dark, filthy red.

My mouth opened in horror but that only made it worse.

In my mouth was an emptiness. My tongue had been cut out and the same disgusting blood was bubbling up and over my shredded lips. I wanted to scream, but I was met with nothing but a gurgle.

I stood still for minutes, staring at the horrific creature in the mirror. Its hollow, bleeding eye sockets stared back at me and in the far reaches of my mind I wondered how that could be. How could I see without eyes?

But then I remembered an old woman who wore sunglasses in a gloomy store, as if she were blind, and my mind made the connection.

Back in my room, on my desk, sits a black, plastic casing which held my old glasses.
They had a power of minus 9 and were very, very expensive to wear.

Credit To – Ouroboros

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The Music Box

October 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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You know how it goes.

When you were a child, your favourite thing was your music box. It would play a soothing yet haunting melody that lulled you to sleep, or provided background noise for playtime.

You had it for years. You loved it, cherished it. You brought it everywhere. Kept it safe. It was your comfort item, one you were proud to show, unlike Billy’s baby blanket.

Your music box kept you safe.

Or so you thought.

Each night you would play it, falling asleep to its haunting tune. But what you didn’t know was that it was always there, poking and prodding at the edge of your consciousness. It controlled your dreams, made you think that the nightmares only came when there was no melody breaking the stifling silence.

No, you didn’t have nightmares with your music box.

It was the nightmare.

It fed off your happiness, your calmness. Oh, now you’re just noticing that you never had to change the battery. It wasn’t an inanimate object. No, it was a living, malevolent creature, waiting.

Waiting.

It’s waiting for that one moment, that one slip up in reality.

It’s waiting for you to screw up, to forget.

Your precious music box will become part of you. You will forget it. You will not remember.

It will control you.

And the only part left will be a faint melody, one that reminds you of your younger, innocent days. What you won’t realize, is that it was it slipping up.

Fight it. Remember. Don’t forget.

Or you will become one of them.

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It’s Not About You

August 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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You and Sarah rush through the doors as Rachel screams. Her cries abruptly cut off as the stone doors slam shut, though you can still hear a faint grinding coming from behind you. At the beginning, there were five, but now it was just you and Sarah. You catch your breath and try to get your bearings.

You don’t know how you and your friends found the cave, you’d been camping in this area dozens of times, but I guess this time your hikes had taken you farther than you’d thought. It was Katie that first discovered the cave, it seemed pretty cool and… why not? You had all the right gear already, so why not scout it out a little? Then you found a doorway, and you went through. It was a small room, with five closed stone doors on the far side, and a single stone pedestal in the middle. That’s where you found the rings… and when you realized you were trapped.

You weren’t going to touch the rings at first. They looked old, maybe a valuable archaeological find, but then someone—Harry maybe—noticed that door you had entered was blocked. There was no handle, just a solid slab of rock. Rachel figured it must have come down from above the doorframe, and that’s when everybody really freaked out. Harry tried his phone: nothing, no signal, no GPS. Sarah even set up the satellite phone, the phone for just this kind of emergency, only to have it fail as well. Out of options, you decided to go check out the pedestal again.

There were five rings—and what do you know—five people. Sitting just above the rings was an inscription: “The One with the strongest destiny shall claim the prize”. That part was kind of exciting, and well, it seemed kind of like your moment. Hadn’t done much else with your life. That degree in psych hadn’t gotten you very far, had it? Maybe you had the strongest destiny. You never really stood out much, didn’t have any major talents or qualities, but it’s the inside, that counts, isn’t it? And you’ve got that in spades.

That was what you were thinking before Katie died, anyway.

As you each slid a ring on your finger they started to glow, each glow a slightly different color. You thought yours seemed to glow a little brighter than the others, but you kept that to yourself. Each of the five rings shone towards a door at the far end of the room. Five rings? Five doors. Without any other choice, you went through. Everyone was starting to get excited. Then the doors slammed shut again. In this room, there were only four doors. Uh oh.

The rings started to glow again, but for some reason, Katie’s went dark. That’s when the floor started to shake. The cave floor was receding! Pulling away from the entrance of the room, and towards the four doors on the far end. A quick glimpse over the edge sent you running for your door. Over that edge was a black pit. A black pit that would fill the room in less than a minute. You, Sarah and Rachel rushed through your doors, while Katie followed closely behind Harry, hoping to get through his door with him. They were a couple after all. Harry stepped through just as the floor under Katie’s feet disappeared. He had her arm! He was going to pull her through and—

The stone door slammed down on Katie’s forearm with a sickening crack. Her trapped arm was the only thing keeping her from falling into the darkness, but everyone’s doors were completely shut now, except for Harry’s. There was no way to save her, or even see her, except for her twitching arm. Attached to that arm was a hand, and on that hand was a ring that didn’t shine. Harry was screaming into the tiny opening, Katie wasn’t responding, and the door was still trying to shut.

Eventually it did. You were now in a room with three doors.

Things followed a similar pattern after that. Harry’s ring went out, not that he cared anymore. You rushed through your door as the room filled with beetles, covering anything without a source of light. Rachel and Sarah tried to pull him away from the door, from the arm, but eventually all that was left of Harry was a crawling, heaving mass. He didn’t even scream. You had made it though, and as scared as you were, something was stirring in the back of your mind. You were starting to feel lucky. The One with the strongest destiny…

Then came the room with two doors. That was just now! Rachel’s light went out. She started to cry, but calmly turned and said goodbye, that you’d always been good friends. Sarah was screaming at her not to give up, but you didn’t want to stick around to find out what was going to go wrong. As you ran through your door you noticed that the ceiling had gotten lower…

And now here you are. One door left. This is it! Your whole life building up to this. Validation. You don’t have the fanciest job, the best degree, you aren’t the most popular, the most successful, but you are going to survive. It is your destiny. The strongest destiny…

Then you look at your ring, and the light has gone out.

Sarah?! No, it can’t be, it’s impossible! Why her? Why HER!! How can she… How DARE she! That ring is mine! Give it to me! It is my DESTINY!

As Sarah turns she sees your rage. Her eyes widen in shock as you scream for what is rightfully yours. Your fist flashes out and knocks her to the ground. She scrambles away as you move closer. She’s crying, begging you to stop. You don’t even hear it. It’s about YOUR life. YOUR destiny!
Nothing. Else. Matters.

And as you’re about to take that final step, when you’re right on top of her, a stone hand grips your ankle. You fall painfully, and two more hands grab your wrists, trapping you. Sarah is getting away! She’s almost at the door! More hands grab your legs, your neck, your ribs, your eyes. Their grips are getting tighter. You can’t see. The pain is unbearable…

And then you hear the stone door slam shut.

And with that sound you realize that you’re not the main character. You’re not special, and you’ll die right here in this room. The world will go on without you. As your senses begin to fade you have one last thought. What about m—

Credit To – Max Watson

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Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

August 19, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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When I was a child my father owned a janitorial company that worked almost every night at our local Showbiz Pizza Place/Chuck E. Cheese’s. He would often bring me to work with him so I could play all of the arcade games without having to wait in line. He’d even spark up the towering animatronics and let me watch them play their “Happy Birthday” songs and other quaint jingles. It was so much fun…until the curtains closed and it went dark.

A part of me hated not being able to see the fake animals, especially the wolf and big gorilla playing the keyboard. It would get so dark once all of those circus lights stopped undulating, but knowing they were hiding behind the curtains severely spooked me. Another part of me was glad I couldn’t see them, with their large plastic grins, bulging eyes and blink-less stares that trapped the false joy of their act. Anything that can remain that happy in the dark, imprisoned by crimson drapes, and frozen in time until the puppeteer presses “go” is just sinister in nature. Even the empty arcade, full of fantastic memories of the day past, sits dark, quiet and abandoned. There is something very unsettling about a place that can bequeath equal parts joy and dread when the sun sets and the doors are locked.

I’ve long since taken over my father’s company and we still hold the contract for this haunted place. Tonight is the first time I’ve brought my young son with me to work so he can enjoy the arcade like I once did. My hope is that when my son finally builds up the courage to pull back the curtain to view those plastic beasts, he isn’t greeted with the same malevolent stare that looked down unnaturally upon me.

_____

Credit To – StupidDialUp (Story)/DeadJosey (Narration)

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The God Machine (Prologue)

July 24, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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NOTE: This is the prologue of The God Machine, submitted by the original author and hosted with permission from his publisher. I have to admit to not having read the book – I haven’t read much that isn’t pasta submissions lately! – but I really enjoyed this prologue and felt it stood well enough on its own that I could feature it as its own pasta. If you feel this will be a problem for you, you have been warned and nobody is “forcing” or “tricking” you into reading this. For everyone else, please do enjoy a prologue that, I think, stands on its own as a fun read.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the water.” – Genesis 1:1

Baitman was uneasy as he got into his spacesuit. “What’s expected out there, Rawlings?” he asked.

“Well, like the briefing stated, we go out there, find out what happened to Fletcher and report back, asap. Other than that, I don’t know. Hopefully we will find him.”

Rawlings gave Baitman a look that expressed more than words could say. The fact that Rawlings was as baffled as he was from it all, made Baitman even more uneasy.

“I told him that this wasn’t a smart idea. Who plans this shit out? They told us to come up here and dig. So we dig. Four damned months we’ve been out here digging in that crater on the dark side where communications can’t even reach and they don’t expect to lose someone?”

“I don’t think they intended to lose anyone, Baitman.”

“No?” Baitman was beginning to heave his words out from his gut, he was getting emotional. “But they expect us now to go out there and find a man that was trained for this shit, just like us. Go out there with the same damned Rig he went out there with, to the same damned place… and we’re expected to come back? They don’t intended to lose us out there either?”

“Baitman, the months out here are getting to you. You need to calm down.”

Rawlings put his hand on Baitman’s arm, trying to comfort him and smiled, “Take a breath and let’s get going. We’ll be back soon, probably in time for lunch.”

“Probably?” Baitman looked at Rawlings in search of the leadership he’d seen from him in the past and was afraid that he wouldn’t find it this time. They had been out here on the moon digging for lunar materials many times over the years and for months on end. Not once has Rawlings ever lost face. Not once has Baitman ever felt that there was something Rawlings couldn’t handle or couldn’t fix.

He remembered his second mission with Rawlings. Two hours after landing, the power in the lunar base shut down, leaving the crew with only a few hours to figure out what was going on and how to get things running again. Power was provided by sixteen solar arrays mounted on an external truss and a few of them were cracked. It was possible that the solar arrays were hit by space debris or that the rare moonquake had occurred to cause the cracks, but Rawlings didn’t think twice about it. He managed to salvage what he could and fixing up two makeshift arrays. He rerouted the power flow to the main life support systems. His fast thinking and hard work bought them a full three days of power, which was more than enough time for a rescue shuttle to get prepared and shot out to pick them up. The crew of three dealt with thirty six hours of pitch black inside the lunar base and suffered hungry stomachs. The only loss was an aborted mission and a year set back.

That’s just how Rawlings was built. He took care of things without a doubt in his mind of weather or not it was possible, he just did his best with what he had to work with. But now, where was that cool and collected man when faced with stepping into the unknown, uncharted lunar surface that NASA wanted them to dig up, without so much as a word to describe what they were looking for. It wasn’t lunar material, the two men knew that much.

“We will be back in time for lunch. Okay big guy?” Rawlings was able to ease some of the thoughts rushing through Baitman’s mind. He could see it in his eyes; he was getting through to him and calming him down. “You know, sometimes I think these six month jobs are too long for you, Baitman. The moon makes you paranoid.” Rawlings laughed.

“You think so?”

“Yeah. You know, I don’t want to imagine what it would be like to be cooped up in here with you for those two year programs the big wigs are talking about. You’d start acting like Hal or something.” Rawlings smiled and slapped his hand against Baitman’s arm.

Baitman let out a small chuckle and started to relax. “2001: A Space Odyssey… I love that movie. Did you know, it was…”

“The reason that you wanted to fuck up your life and get shot out into this black mess we call space to begin with. I know buddy, I hear it every time we come out here.”

The two men finished getting into their suits and set out to the Rig. Scratched into the side of it was Blaster Master III, a name Fletcher gave the first time they were out here on the moon. Rawlings asked him, “How can you just name something, “such and such” three? Isn’t there supposed to be a Blaster Master and a Blaster Master Two first?” Fletcher shook his head and told him it just sounded right.

“Maybe we wouldn’t be going out there after him if he took his favorite Rig, huh?” Baitman asked.

“A mans fate lies with God. This Rig or the one he went out there in wouldn’t have made a difference.” Rawlings said, “Doesn’t matter to think about it anyways, let’s just focus on the job before your mind begins to wonder again, ok?”

Baitman nodded, keeping his cool.

Rawlings got into the Rig with Baitman and started it up.

The Rig was a NASA designed space vehicle, made to travel across a variety of terrains. It was similar in look to an M38 Wolfhound tank from World War II, yet nearly triple in size. Complete with a high powered, reverse circulation drill that can reach 500 meters into the ground and return the drill cuttings to the surface inside the rod.

Rawlings hadn’t driven a Rig in over a year. The last time he had driven one he almost drove it into one of the moons many canyons. He had to wait there for an hour and twenty minutes, seesawing on the edge of the canyon, until Fletcher came to get him and towed the Rig out.

“Maybe this is the balance of things, Baitman.” Rawlings laughed, almost yelling over the loud engine of the Rig resonating in side the cockpit. “Yeah, I bet he’s just sitting out there pissed. Wondering how many ways he can tell a man off for taking his sweet ass time.”

“Well you told him off nine kinds of ways that day. If he wants to keep things original he’ll have to think about it for a bit.” Baitman said. “Of course he has been out there for just shy of twelve hours.” Baitman’s smile began to fade, “The Rig only has about twenty hours of air supply. I bet he has given up on thinking about you and me and is trying to make peace with his maker.”

“His maker? I know I wouldn’t want to claim that piece of work.” Rawlings said jestingly.

Baitman let out an uneasy chuckle and the two became silent. They continued to mock the misfortune of Fletcher in hopes that he really was alright, trying to keep their minds off of the possibility that he was badly injured or dead. Trying to ignore the potential danger they themselves were embarking upon.

After an hour or so, they reached the dark side. The jesting had ceased and their chatter had turned into routine call outs of “Clear.” and “I still don’t see a thing.” The men were on their last string of hope. Traveling in the dark left a horrible feeling inside them both, a feeling that neither of them could shake off anymore. It forced their minds to spin around the thought that here, in this pitch black where even God himself couldn’t reach, Fletcher was dead.

The headlights of the Rig pierced the dark ahead of them. As Baitman looked out the window to his side, he could see nothing, but darkness. He tried to focus on the lit moon surface in front of them to keep his mind off of the darkness that surrounded them. The dark that seemed like at any moment would consume the Rig into oblivion. But, the more he stared at the lunar surface before them the more he got the feeling that the light was leading them both to a hell that waited.

Looking over at Baitman, Rawlings could see the furrows of worry upon his brow. “He still has time, Pat. We still have time.”

“I’m more worried that you’re lost Rawlings. I think you gave up on finding him awhile ago and you’re now just trying to get your bearings to head home.”

“Are you shittin’ me, Baitman? You think I’m lost on this rock after all the years of working her? Sheeeeeit, this place feels more like home sometimes than Seattle does, let me tell ya. And if I’m lost on her…”

Rawlings stopped talking and squinted, peering out into the endless black. In the distance the two men could see a source of light that was barely making the crater it was coming from visible. It was the Rig Fletcher had left in.

“You see that!” Rawlings exclaimed, pointing off in the direction of the light. “That’s our boy!” Rawlings laughed almost hysterically as he veered towards the crater and accelerated.

As they pulled up closer, the edge of the crater became visible. Rawlings slowed the Rig to a stop beside it and looked down into Parsons Crater, a name given to it when it was discovered in honor of the occultist and rocket scientist, Jack Parsons. He saw Fletchers Rig sitting there in the center of it and beside it he could barely make out what looked to be a large rectangular shaped object lying on the ground. In front of the object was a man in a spacesuit. It was Fletcher. A feeling of relief came over them. They had found their co-worker and could soon be on their way back to the base.

Rawlings opened the radio to speak with Fletcher, but there was no response. He tried a few times, but there was still no response.

”Get your helmet on Baitman. We’re going down there.” Rawlings said.

They locked their helmets and stepped out of the Rig.

Baitman turned on the short wave radio communication device in his helmet, “Fletcher, do you hear me?”

There was still no response. The two men started down Parsons Crater toward Fletcher who was facing the object in the center of it. When they got there, Rawlings shined his flashlight into Fletcher’s helmet.

Rawlings cried. “Fletcher! Baitman help me get him back in the Rig!”

Baitman froze at the sight of Fletcher’s face. It was locked in a contorted expression of fear and awe.

“Baitman, come on man! Help me!” Rawlings ordered.

Baitman composed himself enough to look away and quickly grabbed a hold of Fletchers right arm to drag him back to his Rig with Rawlings. They pulled him into the small closet space entryway of the vehicle and closed the outside hatch. Rawlings pulled down a large lever and the room hissed as it was quickly pressurized. The inside door opened and they stepped in.

“Get his helmet off.” Rawlings said, with a cool about him that came naturally.

Baitman took Fletcher’s helmet off and held his upper body up.

As Rawlings reached for the medical kit, he felt a stark hand snag his leg. He quickly looked down and saw Fletcher staring up at him. His face was still contorted and his eyes were sunk deep in his head, as if his life was being siphoned through the back of his skull.

“It’s so beautiful…” Fletcher said, barely able to pronounce the words as he attempted to move his mouth. Each word caused his jaw to pendulate.

Baitman pried Fletcher’s hand off of Rawlings leg, “Easy there buddy, we’re gonna help you, ok? Just let us help you.”

When he finally got Fletcher grip loose, Baitman held Fletcher tight in his arms and looked up at Rawlings, “What the fuck is he talking about? What’s beautiful?”

Rawlings just stared at Fletcher who began to moan and wail in Baitman’s arms, twisting free to the floor of the Rig. Fletcher’s body began to coil around itself, his arms flailing and Baitman backed away from him to avoid getting hit. Rawlings quickly snatched a strong sedative from the medical kit.

“Hold him down,” he said and filled a syringe with lorazepam.

Baitman froze and just stared at Fletcher. The sound of bones cracking echoed with a metallic ping off the interior of the Rig with each sudden twist of Fletcher’s body.

“Hold him the fuck down, Baitman!”

Baitman snapped out of it enough to react. He held Fletcher down and Rawlings injected the needle into Fletcher’s neck. Almost immediately, Fletcher was unconscious. Rawlings sat down in the driver’s seat of the Rig and took his helmet off. Sweat was beading on his face. His voice may be able to remain smooth, his mind keen, but his body couldn’t hide the signs of the stress he was under. His hands were shaking and he tightened them up around the seat of his chair. He held on as if he was worried that he’d somehow shoot off like a rocket. Baitman just sat on the floor and stared at Fletcher.

After a few moments of silence, they heard a voice over the radio in the Rig. “Tartarus, this is Houston. Do you copy?”

Neither man responded. They looked at each other, then over to the radio. The voice came through again, repeating the same words.

“Are you going to answer it?” Baitman asked.

Rawlings leaned over and pushed down the talk button, “Houston, this is Tartarus, we copy.” Rawlings replied.

“Have you found Fletcher?” Houston asked.

“Yes we have Houston. But, we aren’t sure of his current condition and I don’t think we have the equipment up here to take care of him.”

“You are at the dig site?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Have you secured the dig site?”

“Secured it from whom? We’re the only ones out here.”

“Secure the dig and prepare it for pickup.”

“The dig…?” Rawlings became angry. “Are you listening to me? What does the dig have to do with anything right now? Fletcher is hurt, bad. We need you guys to come get him now.”

“We are on our way, Tartarus. But we need you to secure whatever was found in Parsons Crater. Do you copy?”

“You have got to be kidding me.” Baitman said to Rawlings.

Rawlings pushed down the talk button, “We will secure what we can sir, just get some people out here fast.”

”As I said Tartarus, we are already on our way, but we need you to step out of the Rig and secure the dig. Make sure that everything is still intact. It is imperative that you do this, Tartarus. Do you copy?”

Rawlings looked over at Baitman who was muddled by the situation. After a moments pause, Rawlings queued in the radio again, “Copy, Houston, over and out.”

“Secure the dig? We have a man here, a friend, about to break his fucking spine, if he hasn’t already and they require us to secure the fucking dig?” Baitman said, already putting his helmet back on and standing up to move towards the Rig door.

”You know what we do out here as well as I do Baitman. The contract we signed was crafted by the devil himself.” Rawlings attached his helmet to his suit and opened the door.They stepped outside and walked to the large object.
“I’m starting to think you aren’t joking when you say that. You know I don’t believe in that religious crap, Rawlings, but any NASA big wig sure is a fine candidate for the devil. So, what do we do now?”

“We make sure that there is no damage done to whatever was dug up and we do it fast. Then return to base with Fletcher and wait until they arrive.” Rawlings was still angry, “I don’t know about you, but once we leave, I don’t think I’ll be coming back.”

“You will never leave.” Baitman said, his voice crackled a bit in Rawlings’ helmet, buried behind white noise.

“What was that Baitman? You broke up a bit.”

“Huh? I didn’t say anything.”

“Just now, you said…”

“I said what? When I asked what we should do now?”

Rawlings felt a chill down his spine. Being stationed on the moon could get to people sometimes and they could start to hear or see things that weren’t really there. Was he losing his mind? Was this job getting to him? Or was there something more sinister at work? He shook off the thought and focused on the task at hand.

As they drew closer, they shinned their flashlights toward the object. It seemed to be an enormous sarcophagus that was intricately carved out of a smooth metal, almost gold in color and clearly not of the moon. At least not any lunar material they had dug up. It was large, almost forty feet long. Along the sides of it were curious hieroglyphics depicting a story that neither man had the quiescence of mind to try and decipher.

They set up a ladder against the object and climbed up. The top was similarly carved, but the images were clear. It was of a man standing with the sun behind him, in the middle of eight serpents and above the serpents was a two headed eagle that gripped a pine cone in its left talons.

The man appeared to be in a bulky suit with tubes that connected from the body of the suit to the helmet. In the man’s right hand was a bucket. The sun behind him was made out of some type of crystal and the serpents surrounding it had unusual heads crowned with horns. As they walked across the top, Rawlings noticed that the lid to the object was a jar.

“Check this out Rawlings. Where did this come from?” Baitman knelt down and touched a large feather. He smiled, “It’s pretty.”

Rawlings was barely paying attention to Baitman, he shined his flashlight into the opening of the object. “Yeah, it is. She’s beautiful.”

“Hey, I thought you said the dark side was beyond our radio transmissions.”

“It is.”

“Then how did Houston get in touch with us this far out? They can do that?”

“No, they can’t” Rawlings said as he stared at what was inside the giant sarcophagus, “They sure can’t Baitman.”

Credit To – Anthony Genova

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