The Tourist

October 22, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I’d never flown before. It was kind of peaceful, staring out of the little oval window to my right. It was the perfect time to think. I thought about the fight with my step father, and my mom begging me not to take this trip, siting news articles about missing and murdered locals. I thought about how I had pointed out that tourists hadn’t had any trouble. I thought about how I might find happiness and never come back.

We landed in Cardiff International around 9 pm, on time, and I decided to walk to my small hotel. After getting settled I wasn’t ready for sleep, so I decided to walk around for a bit. The streets surrounding my hotel were pretty, enough. Flower gardens along the sidewalk and clean streets.

But the streets just a little beyond were seedier than I had prepared for. The bums were out, occasionally trying to gain my attention, as walked by, in the hopes that the silly tourist had a little extra cash. The streets were lined with small shops, all them closed, and some for good, as well as unsavory looking bars, all wide open. As I was entertaining the thought of dipping into one, and charming an attractive Welsh man with false stories of my grandeur back in America, I heard a crash, ahead of me. It was the sound of a young man, 20, if not a teen, landing on top of a trash can. Trash bin? I made a mental note to ask someone. Behind him a young woman, wielding a wooden bat, and sporting enough tattoos and piercings to make my mother shake her head, was yelling at him in a thick Welsh accent, about attempting to steal, again. The man ran off into the night, the woman yelling after him. The woman abandoned her verbal assault, and began righting her trash can. Trash bin?

I think we both heard it, at the same time. A primal sound beneath a gurgle and the sound of feet pounding the damp cement. The young woman swung around, just in time, to catch the underside of the rabid, bloody man’s chin. His eyes rolled back, for a moment, before regaining his footing, and resuming his attack. I started yelling for help, and police. The girl started bashing the man’s head as he tried to claw and gnash at her. A few stepped out of the bar to catch the actions, and immediately jumped on their phones, calling cops, and taking pictures and videos. It wasn’t until the man laid still, his head like hamburger meat, that the lady backed off, bloodied, and shaking. I ran to her, and grabbed her arm to keep to her still. I asked if she was alright, and she yanked her arm from my grasp, muttering that she was fine. The local police arrived a moment later, and I was pulled several directions for witness statements. After a dizzying list of questions, I accepted a ride to my hotel, and only had enough reserved energy to shower and climb into bed.

My nightmares were dark and full of rabid, bloody people, trying to eat my flesh. I woke up feeling as if my energy was drained while I slept. I could only stomach coffee as I thought about the previous night, and the animalistic man. His dilated eyes and bloody mouth were enough to make me want to run home, but my curiosity about the young woman drug me out of my door. I wanted to see if she was okay, and if she had seen what I remember seeing. As I made my way through the old streets, I noticed they weren’t so intimidating during the day. The bars were closed, and the shops were open, a few people going in and out, little bells ringing. The bums were gone, likely run off by shop owners, and the street had been swept. I found the woman’s shop, open, luckily. I walked in and wasn’t quite expecting the scene. Deep colored walls, and a couple plush, dark, velvet couches, with a large skull-covered hookah perched on a small side table. Racks, everywhere, covered in clothes, purses, masks, and a lot of neon and dark furry things, unidentifiable by shape. Surrounding the check stand was a case full of movie replica weapons, and little racks of buttons and patches. I heard the young lady call, from the back, that she would be out in a moment, and I followed the sound of her voice. As i walked up the archway of the back room, I noticed a small apartment, before the view was blocked by the woman stepping through. Recognition loosened her smile, and she turned slightly sour at my appearance.

“Can I help you?” she asked. The tone in her voice suggested she didn’t care to help me. I wonder if I should ask her about the “trash can vs. trash bin” thing. Just to get the ball rolling. I decided, instead, to jump into it.

“That man, last night. Did you see his eyes and bloody mouth? Or did I imagine that”

“I saw it. Why?”

“Is that normal”

“Yes, all of us are born wild-eyed, and bloody mouthed. Most of us just hide it well” She rolled her eyes and began unpacking some boxes of clothing, behind the register. I think she was hoping I would leave after she made it obvious I was being ignored. I’m not normally so easily deterred, but my coffee filled stomach was starting to bother me, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten in nearly 24 hours.

I left without another word and decided to try the cafe a block from my hotel. I still had so many questions about last night, but the boutique owner wasn’t the best conversationalist. I made a plan to talk to some of the bar patrons, tonight.

My plan was interrupted by a man screaming, just around the corner, ahead of me. Another man came running from the corner, ashen faced, and checking over his shoulder as he passed me. I ran to screams, and rounded the corner, only to get smacked in the face by the most horrific vision I had ever witnessed. A man and woman bent over a man’s body, holding him down and ripping pieces of flesh from his bones, shoving it in their mouths, while the living man screamed in terror and agony. I could feel my coffee coming up, and I let out a small cry. It was enough to gain the attention of the devourers, and they eyed me, for a moment, with curiosity and hunger. The woman went back to her meal, but the man wanted to move to greener pastures, as he lunged forward for me. I turned tail and ran, as fast as I could, back to the only place I knew.

The woman met me with a scowl.

“What the hell do you want, now?” she asked, as I slammed her door shut and spun the lock into place.

“What the feck do you think your doin’?” She shouted, grabbing her bat, and heading for me.

“NO! WAIT! There are more of those people out there! Please, I can’t go back out there, we have to lock the doors!” My defense was validated by immediate pounding and growling behind my back, which only intensified the woman’s aggressive stance.

“You brought them here? You twat! Are you trying to get us both killed?”

“They were EATING a man! Eating his skin while he was still alive! What are they?” I yelled, over the din of the beast just outside of the thick wood door. I couldn’t stop the tears brimming my eyes. The woman’s features softened, slightly, at the sight of my tears, but her voice held the same tone.

“Stop your sniveling, it’s not helping anyone. Throw the locks on those windows” She nodded to one side of the doors and she headed for the other, swinging down iron locks, and pulling the windows shut. I followed suit, and bit back my tears as I struggled a little with the awkward locks I’d never, before, encountered. Eventually, i got all of my windows locked and covered. When I turned around, the woman was back at her counter, hanging up and redialing the phone.

“I can’t get through to emergency services, the line is engaged. Looks like we’re on our own for the time being.”

I could feel the tears welling up, again, and my stomach felt like it was imploding. I couldn’t tell if it was from hunger, or anxiety, now. I went and sat on the purple, velvety couch, and regretted not being able to appreciate the sandalwood smell and soft cushion. I took a few deep breaths and tried to sort my thoughts. We needed a plan. I needed food. I decided to ask if she had food, when it occurred to me that I didn’t even know her name.

“My name is Deanna.” I volunteered, hoping she would return the response with her own name. She shot me an annoyed look, instead.

“That’s nice.” She didn’t look like it was nice.

“What’s your name?” I asked

She gave an exaggerated sigh. “Chloe” she said, obviously not wanting to have a conversation.

I sat in silence for a while, a little afraid to ask for anything. Chloe disappeared into the apartment, but I was afraid to follow. Surviving meant not pissing off my very edgy apocalypse partner. After a while, Chloe returned with two cups of tea, offering me one without speaking. I thanked her, quietly, and sipped it. I wasn’t about to tell her I didn’t like tea. I drank it, anyway, and it helped my stomach, a little. Chloe returned, again, with two bowls of chili, and some bread. I fought my urge to shove the food in my face as quickly as possible. I took great pains to eat normal sized spoonfuls of chili, and chew my bread. I thanked Chloe, and received a curt “Welcome” in return.

The banging had stopped, nearly an hour before, but the screams in the streets were still audible. I didn’t want to look.

“Could we turn on a radio, or something?” I asked, hoping to drown out the noise.

“You want us to draw attention to ourselves? Feck that. You can go outside and hold up a sign that says “Free Food”, but I’m staying quiet.”

I went back to shutting up, and pulled my legs to my chest, tucking my chin between my knees. I thought about the fight with my step-father, and about my mother’s warnings. I thought about my pursuit of happiness, and how I may never come back.

“Chloe? Do you think these things have anything to do with stories about disappeared and murdered people that have been popping up, lately?”

“Maybe. Those stories were in the countryside, though. Miles from here. We weren’t too worried about it.”

“Maybe they just discovered the city. It’s a much bigger…food source.” I cringed.

“You’re probably right. Doesn’t change much, though. We don’t know what’s going on, or why, so I guess we just sit here and wait for the military to roll through.”

“You think they’ll come?” I asked, hopeful

“They always do, in the movies. Only place I’ve seen this kind of thing, before.”

That was fair, I guessed, and warmth of the food in my stomach made my eyes heavy. As I drifted off, I asked “Chloe? Is it called a trash can or a trash bin, here?”

“Bin.” She replied, and I fell asleep.

I awoke, in the evening, to the sound of one of the windows shattering. I saw Chloe, to my left, leap off of her couch, shaking off sleep. She ran for her bat, and began battering the bodies pushing through the curtains. One slipped through the left edge of the curtain, and I recognized the woman from the street. More bloody than before, she ran at me, hands clawed, and mouth wide, emitting the same gurgling howl heard the night before. I ran, my eyes darting around for a weapon. I spotted a replica hatchet, from a movie i didn’t recognize the name of, and snatched it up. I was immediately thankful for how solid it felt. I buried the hatchet in the woman’s unblocked face, but she continued, unaffected. My arm, however, certainly noticed the impact and it took a second to regroup before yanking my ill-chosen weapon from her skull. I swung, again, but my aim wasn’t as true, as the blade slid past her cheek and hit her shoulder. I stumbled away, backing into the counter. There was statue to my right, some kind of Greek or Roman goddess. I didn’t have a lot of options. I could only hope it was heavy enough to damage. It was. I swung, as hard as I could manage, down on top of the cannibal’s head, and she stumbled. YES! I swung, again, and again, until she laid still, her skull cracked, and her brain looking much like this morning’s chili.

Chloe called for me from the window, struggling with the two men trying to push their way in. I jumped into the row, and we managed to beat them back. Chloe yelled for me to her, and grabbed a hold of a large painting on the wall. It was painted on wood, thankfully, and we put it up to the window. With limited resources, we had to wedge it in. but it would do for the moment.

A bloody Chloe, short of breath, stumbled back to her little apartment. This time I followed, feeling a bit more worthy. Chloe was leaned over the sink of her kitchenette, washing the blood from her arms. I noticed the gash in her arm.

“You’re bleeding!” I practically shouted, unsure of what else to do.

“Well spotted.” She bit, sarcastically, wincing a little as the water ran over her wound. “I think I cut myself on the glass, pushing the freaks out. Grab me the alcohol out of the cabinet, will you?” She nodded so a small separated room, which turned out to be the bathroom. I found the alcohol and some rags, and we made a makeshift bandage.

Chloe collapsed onto one of the couches, and reached into the drawer on the table, beside here. She pulled out a gun. The thing looked ancient, and too big. It had one of those chambers that spun around, and the little hammer in the back. It reminded me of something a cowboy would draw in a stand-off.

“It was my grandpa’s.” she said. “It shoot’s.” in answer to my look of doubt. “Here”, she said, handing me the piece, “I’m obviously no good, I can barely lift it. I need to rest, you man the fort.”
She snorted something, almost like a laugh, and with a labored breath, she drifted off. How much blood had she lost? When her breathing got heavy, I left her in peace. I figured I’d look around the shop, a bit, while I had time to myself. I found some matches and a pack of candles in a junk drawer, near the sink. It was a good thing, because the shop was nearly black with the curtains drawn and a window boarded up. I looked at the furry things first. There were vests, leg warmers, hats, and gloves. Some were glittery, and some lit up with rainbow LEDs. In a corner, there was a collection of latex clothing, with hints at BDSM. I decided to avoid that corner. One wall was adorned with gas masks, goggles, and masquerade masks. I tried on an elaborate white mask, covered in feathers and pearls. Who buys this stuff? It was obvious this wasn’t a Halloween shop. I guess I’ll never understand people.

I heard Chloe moan a bit, in the bedroom. I went to check on her. Before I made it to the dimly lit archway, leading into the apartment, I heard a familiar gurgling coming from inside. My stomach dropped. My pace slowed and I drew the gun, pulling back the hammer like they do on TV.
“Chloe?” I called quietly?
I hesitated at the doorway. I was rewarded with a response, but the one I hoped for, as a wild-eyed, bloody-mouthed Chloe jumped in front of me. I reacted by pulling the trigger on the heavy pistol. The impact knocked us both backward, but I was faster to recover, grabbing the door, and swinging it shut, on her. I grabbed a cushioned chair from nearby and wedged it beneath the handle. Chloe howled and screamed from the other side, banging, mercilessly, on the door. Unfortunately, her wild noises drew the attention of her beastly brethren in the streets and they began assemble at the front of the store, pounding on the windows, door, and painting-covered hole. As the board fell from the sill, it ripped the curtain down with it, revealing a few howling silhouettes, and an outline of street lights. I was trapped. I fired at the shadows, knocking one back, and only stumbling from the kick. I was feeling a bit more confident, now, and fired at another, barely losing my footing. I fired again, almost giggling as I hit one in the head, effectively exploding part of his skull, and dropping him. As I sent another bullet flying, it dawned on me that I had only one bullet left. Any hope of ammo was trapped in the apartment with my short-lived companion. As a handful more figures poured through the window, I ducked behind a rack, in the darkness. I had to make a decision. Do I fire my last bullet, and attempt to escape? Or save myself from a long and painful death? As I weighed my options, I heard the gurgling voices multiply. I made a decision. With iron resolve, I pulled my legs to my chest, and tucked my chin between my knees. I put the gun to my head. I thought about my step-father, and my mom. I thought about how I was never coming back.

Credit To – Amanda Lawrence

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Living With The Lewis’

October 17, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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The Lewis’ moved into my home – our home I suppose, although it felt less than homely when filled with strangers – on November 16th without enough warning for me to adequately adjust to the change. The reality of the shifting number of occupied rooms hit forcefully and less than comfortably when I heard the sound of various carriages arriving on our driveway. I peeked out of my window atop the tower where I liked to seclude myself and watched as Father Lewis, both a paternal and occupational title, ventured forth from the transport accompanied by his wife, Violet, and their daughter, Clarissa. She was young, a nine or ten year old child to an early thirty-something pair of parents. Their appearance was not rich, but not poor, more comfortable with room for the occasional luxury which showed in their ability to carry all their worldly possessions from the carriages into the house in two trips. As I observed and formed judgments I expected to hear my name ringing through the old hallways, demanding my presence be made to greet the latest additions and I braced myself for it, holding on to each second of solitude as if it was my last, which it surely would be with Clarissa. I made peace with the idea of her following me around constantly, demanding I read her a book or fetch her one from the shelves that she could not reach in the library – although I wasn’t entirely sure if she’d been taught to read and if not, she would request of me, with no room for refusal, that I read it aloud to her. I practiced blocking out the sound of her tantrums, stomping up the creaking wooden stairs and slamming her bedroom door so hard a painting or two would surely fall off the wall and lose its ancient, dust covered beauty.

What was odd, however, was that I had heard nothing but the Lewis’ voices even after the carriages and long since left the driveway. It was unusual but I paid it no more mind than it deserved and decided that everyone must be in the grounds or in the furthest rooms away meaning they were not made aware of the family’s arrival. This opportunity was immediately taken to mean my avoidance of human contact and potential disdain towards them was allowed to continue and so I picked up my book and continued reading. Hours went by and no one came to investigate my part of the house – I say mine because I was the only one to venture to it except when I was to be summoned and even then my summoner would not stay long; there is a nasty chill in the air, Miss, I do not like it one bit. Now please, hurry yourself to the kitchen and let us eat by the stove so that I may shed this ghostly chill, old Mrs. Norris, our plump-as-can-be cook, would say. I found amusement in her believing the cold air to be that of a supernatural occurrence when clearly it would be due to the window being almost permanently ajar – I liked to seat myself in the bay window wrapped in blankets which kept me mostly impervious to the frosty breeze. Where some like it hot, others prefer it positively tundral.

The low growling erupting from my stomach was not concealed beneath the blankets and so, with an almost completely melted candle, I decided it was finally time to weather the storm and venture downstairs to the kitchen. With a handful of excuses, overflowing amounts of counterfeit apologies and regrets, and with just a dash of physical reflexes in case a ladle was thrown my way, I arrived at the kitchen door. Listening to the voices I determined that the Lewis’ were not sat at the old but sturdy log table where I always took my meals, but instead used the dining room. This was confirmed by the piles of dusty yellow sheets piled against the wall that we used to cover the tables and chairs in there to protect them from inevitable aging. The only time the cloths were removed were when we had important guests so it made sense that the new arrivals would think of themselves as such and wish to dine in such a place. I eavesdropped for a few moments as they ate in relative silence, occasionally one adult enquiring to the other about the tasks that were to be done over the coming days or Clarissa asking a question she could have probably figured out the answer to herself. After coming to the conclusion that they were a nice but boring family, I reserved my ears to picking up the sound of Mrs. Norris or any other staff but nothing was heard and to me this was a sign to leave my introduction to the Lewis’ being left until the next day as we were all tired – there are a lot of stairs up to my part of the house and many words for my brain to comprehend upon each page of my many books. Retiring myself to this decision, I quietly pushed the door to the kitchen open and sought about a bowl in which to ladle some stew into which I then took back to my winter wonderland. However, something caught my ears and stopped me dead out of curiosity and pricked up my ears.

“Father, whatever happened to that family?” Clarissa was not old enough to take note of the severity of the look between her parents. Violet’s eyes made it very clear she did not wish the truth to be known to her daughter who was not at a decently senior age to hear such details, details which I only knew of from overhearing the stable boy and master discussing the matter as they cleaned the stables and took the horses out for one last ride before they were relocated.

“Bad things, sweet, bad things which you need not hear about for a long time.” Father Lewis looked to his wife to determine whether he had avoided the question well enough. He was successful, at least for the first stage of questioning.

“But what if the bad things happen again to us? What if the bad thing comes along and it happens because I don’t know what is good and what is bad like the man in the newspaper who ate that bad plant and died because he didn’t know it was bad.” Clarissa made me feel old and vastly superior with her limited and repetitive vocabulary. Luckily no one heard me sigh at the fourth ‘bad’.

“I can assure you the bad things that happened to them will not be the end of us. You’re always safe when we are around.” For all of Father Lewis’ shortcomings he was surprisingly good at reassurance. I heard later he visited the patients closest to death and the local town hospital when not tending to his Godly duties and helped their passing.

“I’m sure everyone thinks that and yet bad things still happen.” One short coming of the Lewis daughter was that sometimes she became very stubborn and the probability of it happening was always uncertain except when one did not wish her to be. Violet sighed at another family dinner being dampened by her daughter wishing to know something she shouldn’t.

“Sweetheart please, now is not the time to discuss such things. Today is a happy day and your father and I wish to keep it that way. How about we converse over more exciting topics, hmm? What about school, are you excited to attend new classes?”

“I suppose but I’d be more interesting to know what happened h—“

“Clarissa I insist you leave this conversation well alone, you are too young and need not concern yourself with the past now please, engage us as we wish or finish your dinner in silence.” Violet was the steadfast to Father Lewis’ persuadable.

“Yes, Mother.” Clarissa lowered her head and swirled small chunks of stew around her bowl, occasionally eating a few and waiting until a more appropriate time to bring the topic up again. The encounter assured me to not provoke Violet’s short-tempered side as much as I could help it and so I left to eat my dinner in peace before retiring for the night.

The next day was spent like most others; sitting in my bay window reading my books and avoiding all human contact to the point of it becoming a game; I enjoyed the idea of seeing how long I could go without being noticed and so resigned myself to invisibility until I was inevitably called down and scolded for my subtlety. After a morning and afternoon had gone by I found it odd that no one had raised the alarm over my potential disappearance but I just put it down to a simple case of all the staff being busy helping the Lewis’ get settled and, seeing as I have always been the independent sort, I liked being left to my own devices so I did not complain.

Days passed much the same way but I made sure to not be completely silent when I ventured to the more communal parts of the house, just so everyone would know I was still alive and present. On the fourth day after the Lewis’ arrived, it was decided that they would take a trip into the town to investigate and collect supplies, all of which I had overheard while scrounging for some breakfast. I was glad of the news as it was nicely sunny and warm and I wished to take a wander through the nearby forest, as I often did on the nicest days which came few and far between sometimes, and did not wish for my experience to be marred by any immature presence asking questions. The next course of action was to hasten my way back upstairs with as little sound as possible lest I be invited to town and have no excuse to decline, and to keep an eye out from my window until the family carriage was out of sight. My plan was going swimmingly until I heard footsteps ascending the stairs towards my door, a feeling of dread and nausea washing over me as I realised they were not familiar – for I had been in this house long enough to memorise and recognise the sound of each person’s footfalls – and these being rather quiet they therefore belonged to little Clarissa. I held my breath as I heard her wander around everywhere but my room and just as the idea that she may get bored and leave occurred in my thoughts, she touched the door handle and it relinquished its power.

I decided to let her be the startled one, which she sure was as her eyes met upon me sat wrapped in blankets in my window, and I only paid her any mind when she ruined the silence.

“Who are you?” She inquired with no trace of manners or knowledge of how to properly address.

“A resident of this house.” I said with a cool tongue although I was having mixed emotions on the inside.

“But we live here.” She did not understand the concept of joint living.

“I’ve noticed.”

“My name’s Clarissa.” She did not seem frightened anymore and her dismayed look turned to a friendlier disposition.

“Of this I am aware.” I smiled back but kept my eyes cold. More footsteps were heard coming up the stairs.

“You talk funny.” She giggled and it eased me a little more. Her innocence was mildly amusing.

“I’m glad you find me so entertaining.” After this Father Lewis arrived in the doorway and his face turned to only just concealed worry as he gazed from his daughter to the slightly open window by which I was sat.

“Sweetheart, what are you doing up here?” His urgency surprised me enough to close my book. The fact that he did not acknowledge my presence and introduce himself was noted too.

“I was just exploring, Father. This is our new house after all.” Clarissa kept smiling at me and I found myself returning the gesture.

“You cannot be up here, it’s not safe.” Father Lewis went to grab her hand but she halted in place.

“But you said I was always safe with you and Mother. Why is it not safe in here? Is this where the bad thing happened?” At this my book was placed on the ledge ready to have my attention later as it was fully absorbed in the events unfolding in front of me. What ‘bad thing’ could Clarissa possibly be referencing?

“You do not need to know just please, do not come up here, ever. We need to leave for town now Clari so let us go.” Father Lewis tried to turn and leave but his daughter’s feet were rooted to the spot.

“No Father I wish to know, I wish to know what happened to that girl and this room?”

“Darling, is she coming?” Violet called up from a lower level of the house and the urgency increased exponentially in Father Lewis.

“I shall tell you this and only this Clari and then we must leave. A young girl once lived here before us and due to some unknown tragedy, she fell from that window and perished. Now please let us go, your mother does not like to be kept waiting, you know that well enough.”

“Did she look like that girl, Father?” Clarissa pointed in my direction. Father Lewis looked directly at me, through me, yet it was like I was not there and his horror only matched my confusion.

“Clarissa, there is no one there.”

Credit To – WBM

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Foreverness

October 14, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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Eliza was in her bed upstairs. Mother cleaned her up. She made her look very pretty. Like sheʼs sleeping.

I donʼt know why we didnʼt expect this to happen. Not because of the way she was. More because of what we did to her.

My brother James and I, we always knew tell there was something unusual about her. When she was born, she never once cried. Mother and Father thought she may have had scarlet fever. Dr. Coffett, our family doctor, made house calls regularly for the first four years of her life. I overheard him telling my parents what he thought was wrong with her. He called it “Neurasthenia”. He thought it seemed to explain her symptoms: the quietness, the staring straight across the room, never seeming to notice you even if you were right in front of her. And the long bouts of mumbling after Mother put her to bed at night.

I was five when she was born. James was nearly seven. What was odd was that our entire family has chestnut brown hair, but Elizaʼs grew in blonde.

As far as Eliza and I went, we werenʼt very alike at all. Apart from the way we look (my eyes are Kelly green, and Elizaʼs were steel gray, as Father put it), I was always told I was bold, the adventurer type. Mr. Ainsworth, my schoolteacher, once told me, “Martha, you got a lotta gumption. Thatʼs a rare thing for a girl to have. You put that to good use, youʼll be all right.” One of my favorite things to do was climbing trees as high as I could go. Iʼd leave a marker at the spot (usually a ribbon), and return to see if I could climb higher. I always tried to get Eliza to come out to see if sheʼd be a good climber like me, but she’d never listen.

No one in the family knew if she would ever change. We wondered how she would get on in the world as a grown-up if she never spoke to anyone or asked for help. Once I overheard Mother and Father talk about sending Eliza away. To a special school if she didnʼt come out of whatever she was in.

To our surprise, she did. Even stranger than her behavior was how abruptly it stopped after four years. Like coming out of a dream, she transformed. Once sullen and absent, she suddenly became a lively and sociable girl. It was Christmas Day.

Father had gone out all day Christmas Eve, and came back with gifts for the three of us. We were to wait until morning for them. James and I argued. Eliza said nothing.

Christmas morning arrived. The three of us went downstairs to join Mother and Father for breakfast. Ham, eggs, and tea, our Christmas tradition. After breakfast, we went into the living room and waited on the couch. Father had us close our eyes, and placed the gifts in our hands. James was given a brass pocket compass. The arrow quivered as he smiled down at it. I got a jade necklace. The cloudy green stone was sanded in the shape of a heart. I fell in love with it. Eliza, however, did not have anything put in her hands. Father said, “Eliza, open your eyes.” We looked. Father was holding a kitten. Tawny brown, with faded white stripes and gray-green eyes, the tiny thing looked up at Eliza as her eyes filled with tears. “Oh Father, thank you! Thank you!” she sobbed, kneeling on the floor as the kitten tottered over to her. We all looked at each other. We couldnʼt remember the last time Eliza had spoken of her own accord.

As I watched her cradle the kitten, I smiled. I couldnʼt help but marvel at the look she had in her eyes as she stared at the kitten’s gray-green ones.

Sometimes, I would look in her eyes, and see something that made my spine tingle. I couldnʼt always see it. But sometimes I could. It was darkness. Some deep abyss in her black pupils, something that made me think of only one word: foreverness. I couldnʼt stand looking at them for too long. James saw it too. Once, I tried to explain it to Mother. She smacked me on the behind and told me I was a sinner.

But now, watching her, I saw something different. There was some happiness, unearthly happiness in her pupils. The darkness wasnʼt there. In fact, I felt like I could see light coming from them, like a glowing sun.

She named it Eirene. None of us knew where on earth she had gotten the name from. Eliza said she read it at school.

From then on, Eliza and Eirene were rarely without one another. The two would sleep, eat, and sometimes bathe together. Eliza constantly tried to bring Eirene to school, only to be caught by my Mother or Father.

For two years she beamed when she was with the cat, and sobbed when it had to stay outside because it had gotten ear mites or something. In two years, we nearly forget how Eliza used to be. We were happy. Until Eliza fell ill.

Like a plague of locusts, the darkness that once surrounded her swarmed in again. The hours of idle staring, the incoherent muttering, and the sinister, cavernous look in her eyes returned. She began ignoring our parents and had to be forced out of bed to school. The only difference was that the darkness she emitted wasnʼt quite as dark as before. At least not when she had Eirene.
We were quickly trained to respond to her removed looks and sinister demeanor by shooing Eirene into the room, while we watched from the doorway. Eliza would notice the cat, and her eyes would glass over. Her brow uncrossed. She smiled at the little thing, cradling it in her arms.

Dr. Coffett determined her Neurasthenia had been addled by a nasty gastrointestinal infection. He would treat her as best he could, but we were to watch her for signs she was getting worse. Eliza was confined to her bed.

For weeks she remained as she was, never quite cheerful but never distraught either. Eirene stayed upstairs with her, unless she needed to go outside for the bathroom.

It was one of these times when it happened. I was with Mother and Father in the kitchen, while James was in the front yard. Eirene was at the back door, meowing gently. Her brown tail quivered, a sign that she needed to go out. “Martha, would you mind taking Eirene out to the woods?” Mother asked. I got up from my homework and strode to the back door.

At the border where our backyard met the woods, I sat on the grass, looking up at the sky. It was bright blue, almost devoid of clouds. I tried to find shapes every time one happened by. It must have been so warm, the grass so soft, I fell asleep.

BANG

I jumped up from the grass, looking around wildly, to see James near the back of the house. He saw me and grinned. “Hey Martha, didnʼt see you there!” he said.

“James what are you doing?” I yelled at him. “You scared me half to death!”

“Iʼm sorry, but like I said, I didnʼt see you.” He was holding Fatherʼs rifle, the tip still smoking.

“You can be really rotten sometimes.” I glanced over at the woods. “Whereʼs Eirene?”

“What?”

“Eirene, James!” I shouted, a panic rising inside me. “Eirene, I took her out here to the woods! Where is she?”

Jamesʼ face went white. “I…I donʼt know…” He looked over at the woods.

Without another word I sprinted into the trees. “WHERE DID YOU SHOOT?” I screamed, searching the brush covered floor.

“Uh…over there!” he shouted, “Somewhere over there!”

I didnʼt need to look where he was pointing, though. My eyes caught a brown gray mass near the base of an oak tree. I skidded to my knees. Eirene was lying there, panting, red muck clinging to the fur on her left side. Her legs twitched, and her eyes stared up at her forehead. Seeing me, she meowed.

James ran up to my side. “Oh…no…” he said. “Oh no, oh no, what did I do?”

Eireneʼs breathing quickened, became more shallow. We both kneeled there, frozen, watching blood dribble out of her side and disappear under the leaves. She looked up at me. I saw pain and fear there, like a fear of something ominous, something inevitable. Then they lolled back to their place, looking straight ahead, and stopped.

At that moment, adrenaline rushed through me, driving out my frozen shock. I scooped Eirene up and bolted out of the woods to the house. Maybe it was the tears burning my eyes or my concentration on that back door I had to reach, but I didnʼt see Eliza watching me from her bed behind the upstairs window.

*

Dr. Coffett arrived later that afternoon. Eliza had been overcome with a bout of vomiting, only this time she started vomiting blood. Dr. Coffett told us this had to do with ulcers in the lining of her stomach.

Eirene was wrapped in linen and placed in a shoebox. Mother asks us not to tell Eliza what had happened. She didnʼt want her condition getting any worse.

We could smell the vomit from her room. It seemed to float through the entire house. She made horrible retching sounds through the evening. Mother and Father and Dr. Coffett stayed up there with her. We all wondered why she didnʼt ask for Eirene.

At 10:16, and as crickets and peepers chirped outside, Dr. Coffett came down the stairs. “Iʼm very sorry to have to tell you this,” he said to James and I, “but your little sister has died. I know you both loved her very much, and I know she loved you as well.” With that, he donned a black bowler hat and left without a goodbye.

James and I went silently up the stairs to Elizaʼs room. It was just opposite Jamesʼ. Inside, Mother and Father were leaning over Elizaʼs bed, crying. Mother beckoned us in for a final goodbye, and there we all wept.

Sleep didnʼt come easily to me that night. Mother and Father told us they were leaving her in her bed for the night, and would make arrangements for her tomorrow. I laid in bed for what felt like hours, until finally, I slept.

I woke up. Not knowing why though, the house seemed quiet. I stared off into the pitch black, waiting to fall back into sleep.

Martha…

My stomach dropped. Did I really hear something? Was it my name? My spine tingled as I pricked my ears up, waiting for anything.

Martha…

My breath caught in my throat. I heard that, clearly, drifting into my room from down the hall where Elizaʼs and Jamesʼ bedrooms were. A door creaked open, and with it, an acrid smell wafted into my room. I choked. The smell was metallic, like that brown rusty water we sometimes get in the drinking fountain at school. My eyes had adjusted to the dim of the room, helped along by the moonlight casting in through the window behind me. I stared, transfixed, at the open door. Beyond it, I couldnʼt see. But I could hear…something…

shhhook

shhhook

My ears strained to pick up the sound. My sweat chilled me as it soaked the linen of my pajamas and grew cold. The metallic smell grew stronger, stinging my nostrils. I gagged, but my eyes never left the doorway.

shhhook

shhhook

The sound was growing louder. My body was pressed against the backboard, trembling. I tried to scream for my parents, but only a hoarse squeaking left me.

shhhook

shhhook

It was right outside my room. The smell was making my head spin. It was a familiar smell, but worse than I had ever known it. This made me realize what it was. When I realized, I let out a high-pitched moan. My throat dried up.

It was the smell of vomit, saturated with blood.

Eliza dragged herself around the doorway. She was wearing the nightgown we had dressed her in. The white fabric was covered in a gray and red mess. Curdled chunks of food and bits of intestine dripped from her chin. Her face was ashen-white and sunken, and her blonde hair was stuck around her mouth. But her eyes frightened me more than anything. The steel gray irises of her eyes were whited over from the hours of disuse, but her pupils were blacker than anything I could have ever imagined. She dragged herself by the arms along the floor, leaving a trail of steaming vomit and blood behind her. She reached my bed, and slowly pulled herself up over the side, never taking her eyes off me.

Martha…

I held my breath, knowing if I breathed again, the full power of that odor would kill me right here.
She yanked my bedsheets as she hoisted herself on top of me, closer…closer…

Now sheʼs here, inches from my face, that smell of decay burning my eyes, the red and gray stew spilling onto my chest and neck. I stared into her eyes.

In them I saw nothing. I saw the coldest, outermost limits of foreverness. I saw the void.

You…killed her…

“No!” I screamed, “I didnʼt kill her! I didnʼt, please! I didnʼt see James had the gun! Iʼm sorry! I didnʼt mean to let her die! Please! PLEASE!

This last word I screamed. Her pupils grew bigger, grew around me, swallowed me whole, and I fell out of the universe and into the abyss, forever.

“Wake up…” My Fatherʼs voice. “Martha, wake up…”

I opened my eyes. I was staring at a ceiling. My ceiling. In front of it were my Mother and Father. They looked down at me, concerned, as I groggily tried to put words together. “You had a bad dream, sweetheart,” said my Mother. “You were crying.” I swiveled my head. My wall. I swiveled it back. The underside of my bed.

“Eliza…she was here…” I said, trying to fight off dizziness.

“No, sweetheart, sheʼs in her room.” Mother starts to tear up. “I know how hard this must be for you. Itʼs hard for all of us. But weʼre still a family, and we still love each other.”

“Would you like to sleep in our bed tonight?” asked my father. “Come on, honey, letʼs go.” He picks me up, my hands absently reaching around his neck to hang on.

Lying between the two of them, their warm bodies holding me in place, I canʼt think of anything but sleep.

*

Sunlight poured in the windows when I woke up. I looked down to the end of the bed at an unfamiliar wall, and an unfamiliar door. Then I noticed my parents on either side of me. The fuzzy memory of being carried came back to me. With that, the dream came back. Eliza was alive. She was in my room. I fell into her eyes. I canʼt remember anything more than that.

I slid to the foot of the bed, and hopped off, careful not to wake my parents. I tiptoed down the hall, past my room, and stopped outside Elizaʼs. There she was, lying on her bed with her eyes closed, in her clean white nightgown. I sighed.

Turning around, I walked into Jamesʼ room. I wanted to wake him to tell him about my dream, and ask him if he wanted to come with me outside to pick flowers for Eliza before my parents wake up. That would make them happy.

“James, wake up,” I said, pulling off the covers, “I want to tell you ab-”

James was lying on his back. His eyes were gouged out. His jaw was ripped halfway off his face, leaving him with a gaping openmouthed scream.

I stepped back. My knees buckled, and I hit my head on the foot of his bed. The world swam in front of me as I lay there on the floor. I stared out through the door into Elizaʼs room, where I saw her lying there, her head turned towards me. She had a smile on her face, and her eyes were open. In her black pupils I saw a deep abyss. It made me think of a word: foreverness.

Credit To – Colin’s Home for the Damned

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Halloween’s End

October 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The bitter cold of night’s sharp breath covered his grey skin in goosebumps, under the glow of the pale moonlight. He drew ragged breaths that were quickly expelled from his lungs, as if the air was poisoned. Every movement was heavy and his body ached. He reminded himself this was all temporary, and the discomfort of human life would soon end. After all, sustaining himself in this form was only for one purpose, and its time was swiftly coming.

He folded his great pearly wings close to his body and rose unsteadily to his feet, grimacing at the darkness of the deep alleyway around him. This was not the life he was used to, and he was always disgusted by the filth. He smelt the stench of life around him, rotting rubbish, human sweat— it was all overpowering. The many puddles around him helped explain the high humidity, and why the smell was far worse than he’d expected. The last time he’d walked the earth was long before this age.

The drone of air conditioning units hummed around him. He didn’t want to be there, but his mission was too important.

In the distance, he heard rock music and the cacophony of voices in crowds. Laughter, crying, and shrieks of pleasure reached his ears.

“Bless me, heavenly father, for I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil, for you are with me. I will not fail you,” he said through firm lips, bringing a clenched fist to his chest. He began to shiver.

Human life is so fragile, he thought.

Smiling, he felt his heart thump within his chest. He knew he was near mortal, at least for a while. It had been a long time since he’d ever risked living on earth, and it would usually be unnecessary as he could watch from a higher plane with no risk of dying a typical mortal’s death. This could mean the end of him, but if that were to happen, then he’d be reborn in a new, invigorated life.

His death would be a small price to pay if he could save her. The other six archangels had their own missions around the world, but through divine intervention, he was chosen for this task.

His smile vanished the second he heard cans rattle by a nearby industrial bin. He instinctively reached for the sword of light, strapped at his side, then suddenly remembered that he was naked. He knew this journey was fraught with danger. He longed for his ethereal armour, but it was not to be. At the very least, he knew he still had his razor sharp wings, which were stronger than any steel beheld by man.

Father, hear my prayer. Protect me and deliver me from evil, amen.

He heard a desperate, pleading voice cry out from the darkness ahead. “Whatever the hell you are, you’re not of this earth, are you? I saw you appear out of thin air, and I’ve not been drinking tonight. Who are you? What are you?”

“I am known as Barachiel, and from hell I’m not.”

A wizened old man, bent almost double, warily approached him. The man was completely covered in dirt and clutched a woollen, hooded coat.

Lucifer could’ve already seen me through this man’s eyes, in which case it’s only a matter of time. There’s one thing I can do.

He approached the old man, putting a hand on his shoulder, easing out his wings to provide them both with some cover. The man’s eyes widened and a toothless, open-mouthed grin stretched across his face. He held out his clasped hands. The many scars along his arms revealed a plethora of attempts at suicide.

“Oh my god. You’re an angel, aren’t you? I thought I’d heard your name in scripture. Please, I beg of you, take me out of this place. This life I lead isn’t worth living anymore.”

“The scriptures,” Barachiel said slowly, almost in contempt, his voice drifting away as he paused to remember the bibles worshipped in church. “Are the many books of men that don’t contain the truth, despite whatever they chose to believe. They were penned in the name of god, but make a mockery of god’s true self for their own gain. You’re not the one I’m here for, but the end is near, and the day of reckoning will come. Keep your faith, and you will join us in the afterlife.”

He wasn’t sure if he was reassuring the man, but he couldn’t tell him the whole truth. God’s selection for heaven was not judged by going to church, reciting the bible, or putting money in a collection plate. It was by ones heart and actions. This man would most likely be destined for the underworld.

Well, it’s never too late to hope.

“Barachiel, I wish I didn’t have to wait. What end are you talking about? I’ve not seen any signs.”

“The signs are everywhere. Ignore what you hear from preachers, and open your eyes. The great battle to end the war is looming, and this world is the battlefield.”

The chime of the nearby clock tower reminded him of his mission. Earth was not timeless, and the sands of the hourglass were slipping by. Barachiel began to shiver and his teeth started chattering. It was freezing and he needed to find some clothes, fast. He looked into the man’s eyes and concentrated.

A brilliant white light flashed from his eyes, and the old man stood as still as a statue. His face began to twist and turn. The old man’s bloodshot eyes and black pupils confirmed the worst.

A dark voice spilled from the possessed man’s lips. “Ahh Barachiel, it’s been a long time, hasn’t it? I don’t know if you’re brave or stupid to show your face on earth. Tell me, did you come here to die?”

Lucifer!

With one smooth movement, Barachiel launched from the ground with an enormous flap of his wings, pulling the coat off the old man and folded his wings as he landed near the bright end of the alley, toward the Main Street full of people. He covered himself and pulled the hood over his head as he ran through the shadows, heading toward the lights of the crowd. The hisses of the underworld lord dissipated as he blended in with the people around him, slowly regaining his bearings.

The warmth of the old coat was a welcomed change for his freezing body, but it wasn’t enough.

Staring at the clock tower as he fled down the main thoroughfare, he was nearly bowled over by a heavy set man dressed as a vampire, sneering at him. The sight of the man drenched in fake blood was confusing. The costumed vampire cried out, “You! Watch where you’re fucking going!”

The same incredulous vision haunted him, flashing again in his mind like some crazy nightmare he wished would end. He gripped his head and gritted his teeth as the scene played out in his mind. Gunfire was all around and the streets were piling up with dead bodies. The smell of rotting corpses and burnt gunpowder stained the air. Human cries of agony accompanied the symphony of spent shells hitting the ground, and the whistle and thump of every bullet landing in flesh, concrete, walls, everything. It was an orchestrated attack. The demons were everywhere, with bloodshot eyes under white hockey masks splattered with the blood of their victims.

Returning to reality and ignoring the man, Barachiel realised that he was in the city of Brisbane, in that far off land of Australia. He had followed the signs of the vision to appear here. People were everywhere. The sound of laughter filled his ears. The smell of coffee and hot food was a pleasantly contrasting aroma to the rotten stench of the alleyway. Many families and couples walked the streets, but almost everyone was dressed up for the occasion. He never understood this desire by humans to celebrate festivals of the living dead.

Such foolishness.

The smiling faces and joyful laughter of mortals parading the streets brought no happiness to his ears. Soon, they would be dead, every single last one of them, save one. He couldn’t save them all, as much as he would love to try. There’s only so much he could do when the bullets fly.

My mission and purpose is simple, and must be carried out. I can’t save them all, but I may just take some of the sinners with me.

Lucifer, that bastard, has his hand on anything bad that happens. Mass murders, corrupt politicians, pedophiles— the list was endless, all with the hand of the devil himself on their shoulder. The ridiculousness of the bible’s assumption that Lucifer can only be in one place at one time, was so far from the truth.

He could be anywhere and everywhere at the same time, but his influence depends on the weak minds of his victims. He capitalises on the moments where humans are susceptible to his evil. His formidable army of demons relished on played their part on his behalf. They were almost as cruel as Lucifer himself.

He continued racing toward the sign reading, ‘King George Square’, in the centre of the city. This is where it will all take place, and the sea of blood would flow through the streets, or so it was prophesied. Massacres like the one that was to occur that night, would be coordinated all over the world. Such other central locations as Red Square, Manhattan, Havana, New Delhi, Beijing, and Piccadilly Square would all fall under Lucifer’s coordinated and lethal purge. So many souls would soon be flooding into the afterlife.

Barachiel knew that Lucifer counted on his influence in shifting the balance of souls to his favour. They were on the cusp of the earth becoming a hellish battleground. The devil had been busy turning the world into a pool of true sinners. He had created cheats, murderers, rapists— just general degenerates. Some barely needed his influence, and yet he still spurred them on. Those who die violently will most likely end up in between worlds. He would do everything to see that the war is won, but at what cost?

A woman joyously calling over a loudspeaker interrupted his thoughts. “Welcome to the 2015 Brisbane Halloween Festival. Happy Halloween, everyone! The band you’ve all been waiting for is about to take the stage. This is a special performance before their concert tomorrow night at the Brisbane Entertainment Center. Please, give it up for, Metallica!”

The crowd cheered and whistled, holding up plastic lights in the shape of pumpkins and skulls. The sounds of a horrific warzone were slowly overshadowed by the chopped air of a helicopter as if it descended from above. His face paled as he looked around. Surely, it’s not time yet.

It’s the band.

Barachiel narrowed his eyes as he scanned through the crowd. He spotted the old man’s twisted face and bloodshot eyes, standing on a bench under a neon sign, pointing at him. A number of men, women, and children were suddenly possessed. Their heads snapped unnaturally to stare at him, and they charged at his position.

Damn you, Lucifer.

He moved quickly, fleeing through the crowd, dropping his coat to wrap around his waist, while leaning down to disappear from sight.

Some nearby children called out, “Hey man, that’s an awesome costume!”

Ignoring them and turning into a nearby Myer store, Barachiel ran past a security guard who was too busy watching a group of leggy teenage women, dressed as film characters, to notice him. However, people stared at him, a barefooted man with wings in the middle of a department store, but he cared not. He knew that not everyone was susceptible to Lucifer’s reach, and he had to risk it. He had to blend in, and fast.

When I find her, I can take her far away from this forsaken place. I must be vigilant and hurry.

He spotted the menswear section, running in between the aisles and dropping the homeless man’s coat. He grabbed a pair of black business trousers, much to the wide eyes of a nearby female shopper.

“Well, I never!” the woman said, watching him pull the pants on and rip the tag off a nearby belt. He smiled at her, and she stared with flushed cheeks as he quickly dressed.

Now I can move easier, but everyone will recognise these wings.

A security guard approached him and grabbed his arm. “Excuse me, sir, but you have to come with me.”

Barachiel’s eyes glowed, and with a flash of light, as with what had happened with the elderly man, the guard froze, his eyes revealing the terror that had seized him. He hated scaring people, but he had no time to allow anyone to detain him, or have to explain why his wings aren’t part of a costume. It would be seven o’clock soon, and the massacre will begin. The musical chimes of the clock tower would soon play its song of death.

Continuing his run through the store, he grabbed the largest black leather jacket he saw, groaning as he folded his wings as far as they could go to hide their bulk. The wings’ tips were past his buttocks, as he tried to fit into it. Once the jacket was on, the wings were nearly invisible, but now he had the slight problem of a hump on his back.

Perfection is unattainable; it will have to do, given my circumstances. Shoes, I need shoes.

Scanning his peripheral, he saw what he needed. He slipped on a decadent pair of black dress shoes. They were a tight fit of hard leather, but they’d serve well. Heading back toward Queen Street Mall, he picked up his old coat and held it in his left hand.

Everything in this world belonged to god, so it wasn’t a sin for him to take what humans believed to be theirs.

The security guard he’d seen earlier stared at him with a raised eyebrow, pressing the tip of his finger into his clear earpiece. Barachiel turned to him, flinging the coat over the guard as he fled through the security scanners, hearing the screaming siren coming from the alarm behind him.

The Square, I must get to the Square. That’s where I see her, when they all fall.

He turned right, disappearing into the thick crowd, ignoring the desperate shouting of the security guard far behind him. A smiling woman, dressed as an angel with plastic wings, handed him a balloon. She held out a handful of paper masks, and gratefully he reached out for one.

“Here you go, handsome. Happy Halloween!” the woman said.

“God bless your kind heart,” he replied.

He held the mask in his hands, staring at a painting of a devil, grimacing at the thought of wearing a depiction of lucifer. It was the best disguise he could think of, as the real devils would never suspect it. Slipping the mask over his head and adjusting the strap, he continued through the crowd, toward the lights emanating from the square.

The sound of the rock band was getting louder with each step he drew closer. He knew he was heading in the right direction. They were all converging in the same direction, and he stayed in the current-like flow of people.

He heard the hiss of a voice a short distance from him. “Find Barachiel, he couldn’t have gone far.”

It’s working.

The singer’s voice filled the air. “Now the world is gone, I’m just one. Oh God help me! Hold my breath as I wish for death.”

Most of the crowd raised their hands and chanted, “Oh please God, help me.”

Scanning the crowd, he still didn’t see her, but he knew he had to find her. He reminded himself to have faith and believe in his purpose. Many parents near him held their children, some carrying them on their shoulders, as they took them toward the surprisingly enjoyable music. He wanted to save them all, but if he induced panic, then he may never find her again. He had to stay focused.

He pushed through the crowd and caught sight of the stage, and the band’s musicians furiously belting the drums and slashing the guitar to their opening song. He remembered the song that was playing when the gunmen appeared in his vision, and this one wasn’t it. The clock tower was nearing seven o’clock, and he still hadn’t seen her. Straining his memory, he remembered that when he saw her bloodied body on the ground, she was wearing a brown jacket and jeans, and her jet-black hair was tied in a ponytail.

Come on, show yourself. Your salvation depends on it.

The crowd erupted in cheers and applause as the first song wrapped up. Barachiel pushed and shoved his way toward the edge of the Square. His heart raced as he frantically searched the crowd. There were just too many people for him to find her.

“Thank you, Brisbane! Are you ready for… Master of Puppets!”

The crowd went wild and the clock tower bells rang moments before the band’s guitarist began to play. Barachiel’s scream of, “Mary!” was drowned out by the fury of the song’s opening. His heart sank. They were all moments away from massacre.

His head sagged into his trembling hands. It dawned on him that this could be the first time he failed, and of that, he would never forgive himself. But it was not an option— he would not fail, he could not. To reveal his true self would change everything, and although the apocalypse would soon come, there were rules to be followed. His mind raced, and the rock music only loudened. There was no way that she would hear him, and he couldn’t see her.

Father, if you can hear me, now is the time for a sign. Help me find her, I beseech you.

He stood as tall as he could and scanned the crowd once more. The crowd chanted with pumped fists in the air. “Master, Master!”

“Where’s the dreams that I’ve been after,” the band sung.

As the crowd raised their hands and rhythmically clapped, he finally saw her. She was in the thick of the crowd, and he growled as he pushed his way through the crowd, but they pushed back, raising their fists at him. Violence would be a final solution, and he could not harm the innocent.

On the outskirts of the concert, men wearing hockey masks and trench coats surrounded them. They had climbed statues of King George, the lions, and the many benches scattered around the Square. A number of men, women, and children started to run from the crowd, determination clearly painted on their faces. One of them passed him and he saw clearly that they’d been possessed. It wasn’t the innocent that fled the massacre grounds.

The band played on, singing and playing louder. “Hell is worth all that, natural habitat. Just a rhyme without a reason. Never-ending maze, drift on numbered days. Now your life is out of season. I will occupy. I will help you die. I will run through you. Now I rule you too.”

Their ironic lyrics sent shivers down his spine. This was all from his vision, but he could not control what he’d seen. It would all begin at any moment, and he had to save her. It was no longer a choice of how. He never enjoyed spilling blood, but he had to protect his children.

Narrowing his eyes and gritting his teeth, he gripped his jacket and spat out his words. “Forgive me father, for I must sin.”

His eyes glowed as he ripped the jacket off of him, tearing its buttons in the process. He couched down and pounded his fist into the ground, The shockwave sent the nearest idiots flying backward into the bulk of the crowd. He extended his wings and locked his vision on the gunmen as they, in turn, threw off their coats, revealing their body armour. They held M4A1 Colt Carbine machine guns, and chests were full of taped magazines. He had to get their attention, now!

It has begun.

A nearby man cried, “Holy shit! That’s not a costume,” staring at him in disbelief, as others started followed his gaze.

“All of you, run. Save yourselves!” Barachiel said.

The old man suddenly appeared beside one of the gunmen, one again pointing at him frantically. As if time had slowed down, Barachiel launched himself from the ground with unnatural, but self-assured strength. He watched as the men around him took aim with their machine guns, but they were too slow. He suddenly swooped down and reached for the nearest gunman, grabbing him from behind and then rocketing into the sky. White bullet trails filled the star-speckled sky, and his hostage began to open fire randomly.

Barachiel leaned in so he could hear him. “Thou shalt not kill.”

“Fuck you…” the gunman screamed, as Barachiel let go of him, snatching the weapon from his hands. He plummeted through the air, dodging the bullets. The gunman’s eyes returned to normal and his screams continued as he realised his fate, crashing onto the roof of City Hall, his head splitting like a tomato. His lifeless body now a mass of broken bones and guts.

A stray bullet grazed Barachiel’s shoulder, and he cried out in shock, but continued his path toward the swarming and scattering crowd, hunting for his quarry.

She can’t have gone far.

Looking down, to his horror, he saw Lucifer pointing toward the crowd. Some of the gunmen were indiscriminately slaughtering police, and those who’d foolishly engaged them in any manner were swiftly executed. The rest opened fire on the crowd.

God, no!

Thankfully, he spotted her again; she was crouched on the ground, as close to the ground as she could press her body. Barachiel just couldn’t tell if it was either pain or fright.

An image flashed in his mind. She’d die there! He landed harshly on the ground beside her, cracking the ground beneath them. He pulled her close to him as he covered them both in his wings. He knew he could stop the bullets, but also knew his wings weren’t going to cover every angle.

She turned to him with quivering pink lips and a tear-soaked face.

“Am I dead?” she asked.

They must have turned their guns on him, as he groaned with the strength required to hold their position under a barrage of bullets. This was not the first time that he’d seen guns and the death that follows them, and he knew that they had to reload soon.

He looked deep into Mary’s aqua eyes, knowing full well how important she was. He didn’t have time to explain it all.

“Mary, you have to trust me. You’re not dead. Listen to what I say, let me guide you, and you’ll stay that way. Get ready to move.”

She nodded and swallowed hard, gritting her teeth. Barachiel realised that a pool of blood had built beside them and flowed under his wings. Lollies in plastic packets floated underneath their faces. The bullets slowed, and he grabbed her by the hand, walking her away from the Square as he kept his wings around them both. The sight before him was truly horrifying. Everyone in their nearest vicinity had been slaughtered. Women, children, and men were lying in ghastly, unnatural positions, covered in blood. They stepped over the bodies. This was a kind of horror that was truly disturbing to witness. The young were lying prone with bullet holes through their skulls; their insides were spilling to the ground. Some of them were still moaning as they bled out from chest and stomach wounds, calling out for their parents that were already dead beside them.

He could fly Mary out of there, but it would mean exposing their flesh to gunfire. They headed toward the Mall. Through a small gap in his wings, he saw some gunmen painting symbols on the smooth walls of nearby structures. They were painted with their victims’ blood; from the slit throats and slashed chests of the dead, to keep their supply going.

That could only mean they were doing one thing; the realms were merging. Dead souls would be kept here, unable to leave their bodies, but would become mindless flesh-eating creatures. This would be a forsaken place, and the time for the ultimate battle would come far sooner than he’d ever expected.

He crouched down as bullets danced around their feet. He wouldn’t be able to hold out like this for too much longer. His right arm was cradled around a trembling Mary, and his left held the machine gun. Listening hard, he heard the metallic clicks of a nearby gunman reloading, and the boots of others converging on his position.

Breathing deep, he folded his left wing and took aim at the reloading gunman, squeezing the trigger. His aim was terrible, but the bullets sewed their way up the man’s armour, until they tore through his neck and mask, blood and brain matter exploding in cloud behind the man’s head. He turned the gun to another that had drawn a machete and hissed at him as he ran over the bodies as if they were rubbish.

Barachiel narrowed his eyes and let go of Mary for a moment, pushing her down to the ground, keeping his wing over her. He threw the gun with all his strength, connecting with the gunman’s face. His move catapulted the man into the air, snapping his neck in the process, and the freed blade spun through the air.

Catching the machete by its hilt, he plunged it through the man’s skull and heard the popping of another round of gunfire, taking a bullet through his shin as he ripped the weapon from the man’s head, crouched beside Mary, and covered them once again.

He noticed a dying boy’s eyes, completely possessed, through another small gap in his wings. The boy spat his words out. “Barachiel… Do you really think you’ll survive this? You fucking maggot! You serve a god that’s forsaken all of us. This pitiful act of heroism won’t change what will come.”

Groaning, he held his shin, the searing pain making it difficult to concentrate. He began to lose too much blood from his wounds, and started to feel nauseous. There was only so much power he could use to heal himself, and he had to be careful with expending it.

His eyes and hands glowed as he held them over his wounds. A small scar remained as they closed up. Feeling better, he knew there were safe havens they could get to, and one was not too far from the Square, but to fly there would be a risk. It had to be timed right.

He heard the continual sounds of police sirens and the firing of guns throughout the city. Worse, the screams continued, just not right beside them. The entire city was falling, the world along with it. He would know when to send in the army of angels.

“Lucifer, the time has come for your actions to be judged by him. I am just the beginning,” Barachiel said.

“I was like you once, an angel. Hand over the girl and join me. Worship me, and your life will be glorious,” Lucifer said.

Barachiel’s face twisted as he growled, “You’re nothing like me, and I seek no glory.”

“Then die.”

Looking up, he saw that they were crouched below a bright light. The gunmen must have either run out of bullets, or realised that he wouldn’t be so easy to shoot. He heard the stomping of three men’s boots as they charged at him. He rose to his feet, with his right wing still draped over Mary.

One of them swung his blade toward Barachiel’s neck. This was combat he was used to. He expertly spun to his right, bringing his wing up to block the blade with a loud resounding clash. Spinning anti-clockwise, he decapitated the man with a clean swing of his right wing, and threw his blade high, shattering the glass as it smashed into the light. One man had almost reached Mary, and he barely brought up his wing fast enough to stop the blade from crashing into her skull, knocking it clear out of the man’s grip.

He moved faster than any of them could, and picked up the gunman by the neck, ignoring his body blows. With both arms, he swung him into the third attacker, their bodies colliding with a collective snapping of bones.

He looked around to realise that the gunmen were not stepping through the bodies anymore. The hundreds of bodies around him began to move, growling and groaning as if they were animals.

And the dead will walk the earth.

Then it was true, the realms had finally combined, and demons would soon dominate the lands.

The possessed boy had long died, but his cackling laughter was haunting as it echoed around him. “It’s too late for all of you. How will you feel when all of his children are dead?”

Not if I can help it.

He pulled Mary up and held her tight, flapping his wings as hard as he could, rising into the star speckled sky. No bullets followed him, and he suddenly realised why. Lucifer thought he’d already won and the world belonged to him. There was no longer any point of fighting an archangel when the end of days had come.

Time was short, and with Mary sobbing on his shoulder, he headed toward Kangaroo Point Cliffs. Every street in the city was full of death and the undead, people falling everywhere in a vein effort to fight back.

The moonlight reflected off a golden statue in front of him, and as he raced toward it, he saw the long line of Eurocopter Tigers flying below him in a classic “V” formation. As a mass of undead headed toward the nearby Story Bridge, most of the choppers each fired two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles into the bridge’s key structures, while three of their GIAT 30 Gatling guns whirred to life, mowing down the mass of undead in a rain of bullets.

As a squadron of F/A-18F Super Hornets flew over their heads, he spun through the air and quickly regained his bearings as he hovered with Mary, watching their AGM-65 Maverick missiles destroy the Pacific Motorway bridge in the distance. Large concrete chunks of the bridge fell into the river below with great cascades of water erupting skyward. A CityCat passenger hovercraft had been shattered in the wreckage.

The war had already begun.

Mary’s voice rose, matching her thumping heart, as she gripped him for dear life. “Holy shit! The world’s gone mad.”

“Don’t worry, you are safe and I will protect you.”

Explosions were going off around the city, and for a short moment, he believed that the people could win the war on their own. His hopes were suddenly shattered as a number of RPGs were fired at the Tigers, taking out two of them in the process, with a volley of gunfire erupting from the city streets. The undead won’t attack Lucifer’s demons.

“Why did you save me and leave everyone else to die? What makes me so special?”

Barachiel looked into her eyes and scrunched his eyebrows, amazed. “You don’t know?”

She shook her head and he realised she had been telling the truth. He placed a hand on her stomach.

“You’re carrying his son. Jesus will walk these lands once more, and you will lead the war against Lucifer. You play a great part in stopping all this madness.”

Her eyes widened as he flew toward the church ahead of them.

“What? But that’s impossible; I’ve never been with a man. I can’t be pregnant.”

“Worry not, as it will all be explained to you in time.”

“I could have taken care of myself, you know, but not with the slaughter that took place in The Square. Thank you for saving my life,” Mary said.

“I know, and you’re welcome. You will save far more lives in the years to come.”

Their moonlit reflection wavered far beneath them, glowing off the murky waters of the Brisbane River. As they neared the church, he saw that a long line of men were already waiting, wearing SERT police body armour and brandishing Steyr AUG machine guns. They were not at all surprised to see him as he landed in front of them, folding his wings.

“Welcome, Barachiel. We’ve been expecting you both. Mary, come with us.”

He pulled out a 9mm Glock, handing it to her by the hilt. “Do you know how to use a gun?”

Mary smiled, flicked the safety switch, grabbed the slide and pulled it back. The men’s eyes widened at the sight of her handling the weapon. “I wasn’t a weekend warrior for nothing.”

She approached Barachiel and laid a kiss on his cheek. “You don’t need to worry about me anymore.”

“The war for earth has come, sooner than we expected. I must return now, but know that we will return.”

The man approached him, extending his hand. Barachiel took it, shaking it warmly, now clearly understanding the customs of men, however strange they’ve always been.

“We’ve been preparing for this, for a long time now, wondering when the apocalypse would come…..we’ve always kept our faith.”

“And what of the people of this church?” Barachiel said.

The man gritted his teeth. “They understand, and with Mary, and you standing here, they know their faith was well served. We have a network in every city around the world. Lucifer will have his hands full.”

Barachiel nodded, placing a gentle hand on the man’s arm. As he was about to speak, they all turned toward the screams of the hordes of people lined up against the Kangaroo Point Cliff’s walls. As one, they were pointing to the Brisbane River below. Barachiel approached the walls, and saw the swarm of undead running across the Brisbane River as though it were not there, many of them already starting to emerge on the other side.

The soldiers of the Church grimaced and fired their rifles on the advancing horde below, two of them lobbing F1 frag grenades in the path of the unrelenting undead. They cried, “Grenades out, go go go!” then finally taking aim with their own machine guns and mowing down more of the mindless zombies chasing nearby civilians.

“Shit, I’m out!” yelled the nearest soldier, quickly catching another magazine, tapping it on his helmet and loading his weapon. One soldier yelled at the top of his lungs to the nearby crowd, “Get out of here, all of you! Find secure shelter.”

Mary ran up beside them, aiming her gun and shooting the zombies through the skull. “Spread out, we’ll get better coverage! Form a defensive perimeter and retreat to the church.”

The Church’s men were now heavily engaged. Barachiel wanted to help, but knew he was nearly past his allocated time on earth. He now realised that Mary truly no longer needed his protection and he’d succeeded.

“We need reinforcements!” one of the men yelled into a radio. A muffled response came from its speaker, “Roger that, Echo One, hold your position!”

Barachiel heard his voice in his mind once more. You’ve done well, my child. She will save them, and we’ll watch closely. It’s time for you to come home.

He raised his arms, and with a flash of brilliant white light, he disappeared from earth.

Credit To – Peter Koevari

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The N.Y. Subway Deaths

October 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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One of my friends is a paramedic in New York. Don’t ask me why, but it was always his dream to become one, and New York being the big and wild city that it is, he has of course seen some crazy things. He doesn’t talk about his experiences much since they are always very personal and often disturbing, but I know that he has encountered his fair share of gruesome stabbings and gun shots. For example, he told us how one time some kids were playing with a shotgun, and one of them got his jaw blown off. The boy was still alive as my friend rushed him to the ER and eventually lived, but he is horribly disfigured now and has to eat through a tube for the rest of his life. There were other, stranger things. He told us once how he responded to a call where an elderly woman managed to decapitate herself at home alone. They found her body sitting in a chair in front of the TV, which was still on, and her head was laying on its side in the middle of the floor beside a puddle of blood. Her door was locked and all the windows were closed. All they know is that her neighbors heard a loud thud in her apartment and called the police when she didn’t answer her door, but no one has figured out exactly how it happened.

Yet by far the strangest, creepiest story that he ever told us is the one about the mysterious subway deaths that happened several years ago. A few of my other friends and I were hanging out at his apartment one time, drinking and listening to music, when the topic of ghosts came up. We started by talking playfully about “ghost” experiences we had as children – just shadows in the corner of the eye, feelings of being watched, and stuff like that – but then my friend spoke up and said in a very serious voice that he wanted to tell us a story that he swore to God actually happened and freaked him out so much that it sometimes kept him awake and, when he rode the subway late at night, almost gave him panic attacks. We all became serious as he told us the following story, which I will now tell you.

So, my friend said a couple of years ago that the ambulance crews started getting calls about once every week about people found dead on the subway. The deaths always happened between a few particular stations (he said the names, but I can’t recall them exactly, the N.Y. subway system is huge) and always happened late at night when the cars were almost deserted. In fact, the victims were always found alone in the subway cars sitting or lying on the benches, and there were never any witnesses. Another detail is that all the victims were males and died of heart attacks, sometimes even when they were unusually young.

After the calls had been coming in steady for a couple of months, the story started to get some minor attention. The police checked footage from the cameras in the stations, but never saw anyone get on or off the trains regularly that made them think that a particular person was causing the heart attacks with drugs or a stun gun or by some other means. There was no explanation. It seemed that some unlucky guy would be riding a subway car, everyone else would happen to get off, and then sometime when he was alone in the car between stations he would simply have a massive heart attack and die. The newspaper even ran a small insert about the case in the back reaches of the police blotter (perhaps you even saw it) asking for information, yet nothing came of it. But eventually my friend was lucky, or unlucky, enough to get a clue about what might have been going on.

He was on duty one night when his crew responded to a call about one of the heart attacks, but this time the person managed to survive. They picked him up from the platform of one of the stations, where he was lying on the ground with a jacket from a good Samaritan who called 911 under his head. The person who placed the call was still there and said that when he entered the car he saw the man sitting slumped over on one of the benches and gasping for breath, then called 911 when the man indicated that he needed help. My friend assisted in strapping the guy, who was about 40 or so, into a stretcher and was with him in the back of the ambulance as they went to the emergency room. The man was well enough to talk, and my friend listened to him while he did whatever medical things one does in such a situation. Soon he realized that something abnormal was going on in the subway, something that still disturbs him to this day.

The man said that he was on his way home from an exhausting shift at work late at night as usual. There were just a few people in the car when he boarded, and he was very tired and started nodding off as he sat in the car. He said he remembered at one point in between naps that the car became deserted except for him. Then he suddenly awoke to find himself paralyzed. He could see in front of him what was going on, but couldn’t move anything, not even blink. He tried to yell, to moan, to do something, but the only result of his inward efforts was silence. He said that he had experienced sleep paralysis before, usually at home, but it was what happened next that almost killed him.

As he was sitting there paralyzed, the train rolling between stations, he saw a little girl walking towards him. She was neither happy nor sad, he said, just an average little girl like you would see walking down the street, but she was transparent, as if he were watching a reflection in a window. He began to feel extremely anxious as she came nearer but still couldn’t move. She did not look at his eyes, but he said that she looked at him as if she knew him. She acted like it as well. She climbed up into his lap and curled herself into a ball as if to sleep, just the way you often see little girls do with their parents when they are tired. At that moment, he said his heart attack started. The little girl was cold and motionless as she sat in his lap, and he said the cold from her crept over his whole body until it began to feel like someone was squeezing the middle of his chest. He started to lose his breath, but there was nothing he could do – the little girl just sat there in his lap, filling him up with cold. Suddenly the subway arrived at the next station and the little girl “dissolved” (the man’s words) from his lap just before he heard the door open. That’s when the good Samaritan who made the call came up to him, he said.

My friend related that the man survived the incident and recovered fully. The calls about heart attacks continued to come in for another month or so, then mysteriously stopped just as quickly as they had started. No conventional explanation was ever found that could fully explain the incident. My friend offered a couple theories of his own as to what might have happened. First, he said that sleep paralysis is fairly common and often is accompanied by vivid dreams and hallucinations, which could explain what the man saw. Yet it does not explain the wave of heart attacks, all occurring to males alone on the subway, all between roughly the same stations. Unfortunately for the sake of finding the truth, the lucky man was, at least to my friend’s knowledge, the only one to survive, and consequently there are no other stories to corroborate his. The other theory is that there really was a ghost of a little girl who caused the heart attacks on the subway. Like any big city, New York has a lot of domestic crime and many broken families. My friend speculated that she was a girl who was perhaps killed by one of her parents or who maybe died when she somehow wandered into the subway tunnels after running away from home and spent the time after her death searching for her father. Of course, no one knows for sure.

After my friend finished speaking, we all sat there silently, staring at the ground. Some upbeat song played in the background from the stereo, but the mood was dead by now and stayed that way until my friends and I went home. When we did, I don’t think a single one of us took the subway that evening.

Credit To – S.C. Donahue

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Post-Its!

October 6, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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Post-Its!

This is an audiopasta hosted on YouTube. If the embedded video does not display for you, please click the link above to load the pasta on its YouTube page. Enjoy!

Credit To – Ciaran Lovejoy / CreepyPastaSr

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