People

April 1, 2014 at 11:00 PM
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You lay in your bed quietly. Your window is open, a light breeze flowing through. You stare up at the ceiling, watching time pass by. Why is it so hard to sleep? you silently wonder, tapping your heel impatiently, waiting for oblivion to overcome you. You haven’t been able to sleep for ages, and it’s been almost 3 days since you got some shut-eye.

Laying here, your senses are heightened, the quiet rustling and hooting of the occasional owl ringing in hypersound. Your eyes have fully adjusted to the dark, allowing you to see every detail in the bedroom around you.

You suddenly hear a creak. Thinking it’s just your dumb dog walking around at night, you push your head under your pillow and groan.

Another creak, followed by a crash. You jump up, grabbing the gun from your bedside table. “Who the hell is there?!!” You shout, aiming around the room wildly.

There is something out your window. It crawls through the hole, its face white, with singed black brows and a bloody red smile. Its hair is long, black, and matted. It wears a white hoodie, smeared with black substance you can only guess to be blood. It rushes in on you, tackling and ramming you into the bed, hissing 4 words into your ear:

“JUST.. GO.. TO.. SLEEP!”

You look up into the things eyes, and you push yourself up, staring at it. “Who the hell do you think you are?! Barging into my room like this?!”

The thing stares at you. “Wait.. what?”

You stare at it angrily. “And why the FUCK did you tell me to go to sleep?! I mean, for all I know, I might have just been about to drift off, but NOOOO, YOU have to go show up!”

It starts to walk to the window. “I-I’ll just be on my way.. heh–” He dives out the window, running into the night.

You plop the gun onto your desk and lay back down on the bed, sighing and speaking aloud. “Jeezus.. People these days.”

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The Origin 2

April 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM
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January 7th 2007
I have recently discovered the story of a haunting in an old house. A poltergeist, it would seem. My fellow paranormal hunter associates were discussing the matter at lunch, saying how walkers by and neighbours heard muffled screams and growls coming the house, even though it has been abondened for four years. I naturally took interest in this ghastly-going on and asked the where-a-bouts of this haunted establishment. My friend said it was in Liverpool, an old house by a bunch of newsagents and smallish homes. I pondered the sceptic explanations for the stated paranormal events, and the ghostly. I shall do some digging about this house tomorrow.

January 8th, 2007
The fair amount of information I found strongly points to ghostly explanation of this manor. I managed to find out it used to belong to a once wealthy man, who once ran a popular and successful business. Mr Walter W. Parkerson. WWP for short. He married his beautiful wife, Mary. They bought the house after Walters phone shop opened, and two months later had a baby girl. However, when this girl reached two, Mary left Walter, due to his rather un-hinged personality. Walter was an angry man, and snapped whenever something went wrong. He was a loose cannon, bursting in a frenzied rage, unpredictable, scary, sometimes. Mary didn’t want to live a life like this, and left him with her child. Walter tried his best to look after his daughter, but also tried to commit suicide multiple times. He became very un-sociable and bitter, and eventually, he died of unknown causes.
Muffled growls and screams coming from this house suggest the trapped soul of WWP, and I intend to explore the house in a couple of days, first, however, I am to see his daughter, Jenny, tomorrow.

January 9th, 2007
I found out a lot more about WWP today, and went to Jenny’s house and discussed her troubled childhood. She is a fine looking young lady, long sandy hair, healthy body, and a pretty pale face. She seemed very nervous when discussing her father.
“Hello.” I had greeted. “Please, take a seat.”
“Th-, Thank you.” She smiled, sitting as she did so.
“I hear you grew up in the house that has become a paranormal phenomenon?”
“Y, yes, actually.”
“You lived with your father, after your mother left, may I ask how that felt?”
“He was a lost soul, tragic really. He loved me, and my mum, deep down he did, but he had a hard time showing it. Ever since my mum left he slowly went angrier and scarier every day, to the point where whenever he walked past I would flinch.”
She was pulling a half smile now.
“It also says on the newspaper reports that your father tried to commit,” I found it awkward to discuss this in front of her. “Suicide.” I gulped.
“Yes, 3 times actually. It was terrible. The first time tried to use chemicals, but opposed to killing him, it caused him great suffering, it nearly blinded him, and caused his skin to turn into a sickly green colour. The second was drug overdose, which, as you could probably deduce, also failed. It ruined his vocal cords and caused his voice to be deep and throaty, blackening his lungs, and his heart. The third, was hanging. He would have finished off the job too if I hadn’t stopped him in time. It severely injured his neck, bounding him to his bed, shouting out his demands, and would only come out if clutching his cane, stomping and clacking his way downstairs.”
“That must have been terrible.” I added.
“It was, Every day he slowly turned more and more into a monster. My friends called him ‘The Big Bad Dad’, and I had to agree with them. He was barely human anymore, more like a living, walking corpse! I would always try and sneak out the front door to meet friends and actually enjoy my life, instead of caring for my monstrous father, but he always heard me. He’d roar ‘What are you doing?’ I scramble the key into the lock, desperately turning and twisting it. ‘I’ll get you for this, wretched girl!’ My panic would be un-imaginable, as I heard his clacking and clumping down stairs, calling down his threats, and when he finally came down he would…”
She was fighting back tears, hands clenched, head turned. She rubbed a big scar on her arm, and I knew that sentence needn’t be finished.
“It’s okay. It’s okay. Thank you so much for all your help.” I smiled hopefully.
“You’re welcome.” She then tried to change the subject. “I’m going on a date with my boyfriend tommorow.”
“How lovely. I’m sure whoever he is, is a very lucky man.”
She smiled. She showed me out and I ran over my notes. This story was getting deeper and deeper and more scary and exciting for the minute. I am to stay at the house tomorrow for the night, and monitor activity, if WWP does haunt his house or not, I’ll know.

January 10th 2007
As I am writing this, I am observing the house in front of me. It was large and dusty, and made up of red, fading, and crumbling bricks. It has a long, pointing tower at the top, but it is not that high. It has curved, dirty windows, 3 of them, all boarded up with rusted metal and planks of wood. A truly fascinating home. I am to step inside now.
As I stepped inside, the door creaked and dust consumed my sight. The corridor is narrow and the wallpaper is pale and peeled, to my right is a twisted, broken staircase. The house is dark, but not too dark, and a flashlight would fix everything. I shall explore now.
I have examined the whole bottom floor, and it is like a whole scavenger hunt of stories. In the kitchen, are smashed and foul smelling vials, which most likely held the chemicals that WWP had acquired. The cupboards were open and layered with dust, cobwebs and rats resided in it like parasites on human flesh. The surfaces were grimy and greasy, and the table was one feather weight away from falling apart into splinters. In the living room there was a dangling, twisted rope, the one that failed to kill WWP. The armchairs are beaten and battered, and the small television is smashed beyond repair. In the front room, there was nothing except an old pill bottle, and a dead rat, which had presumably met its fate eating the remaining pills, I shall explore upstairs now.
Oh my god. Oh my good god. My imagination is either over-active, or this house is indeed haunted. As I reached the top of the stairs, I turned round to look in the first of the three rooms, and just for a second, I saw a figure, illuminated by a dangling, dim light-bulb above. Brief, as its appearance may have been, it matched the description of WWP greatly. It had revolting, decaying green skin. It looked like a hellish mixture of dark green water-colours and vomit. It had, from what I can remember, twisted glasses and broken lenses, but no eyes to speak of. If anything, although this is a crude example, like Dr. Bunsen Honeydew out the Muppets! But sickly and deathlike. My heart is thudding in my chest, my breath fast and desperate. I shall see it again, I must!
I walk in into the room farthest to my left, and there is nothing except a boarded up window, a badly lit light-bulb and a phone. The phone itself, is covered in dust. I will walk towards it to get a better…
What was that. I heard a creek of the floor come from outside. My heart is beating faster, whether out of excitement or fear, I do not know. I walk slowly to the edge of the door, I shall look now.
Shit! He was there! He was right fucking there! He was walking slowly towards the room in the corridor. I got a better glimpse of him this time, he was wearing a purplish, blackish robe. I have leapt into the corner of this room, shaking and trembling as I write this. I hear another creak, oh no, oh no.
My god, he is walking in. I should be screaming and running, but I am frozen, struggling to breath. He is walking in towards me, no fear of me at all.
He’s raising a hand now, towards the light, I can barely write this. Oh god. I need to survive. People need to know.
CRAP! He’s just busted the light! Its complete darkness except his outline now, and a strange glue blow is forming by his hand.
He, is, he’s staring right at me. I can’t write. My writing is all jumbled. I cannot see my paper. I can’t see him. What, what’s happening? He’s breathing in my face. God, his breath is terrible. It’s a foul stench of decay and m ould.
Wh, what? My eyes are drooping, I’m, I’m falling asleep! I can’t, I can’t write much longer, he’s, he’s going towards the phone now. He’s putting his hand on the phone, the blue electricity forming around it, oh God. The phones working again now. What’s he going to do with that phone, his fingers are dialing, he’s ringing someone, who is he ringing, I can hear a muffled ‘hello’ from the phone, I can’t write, I can’t…

*****

So you’re making out with ur honey, Jenny, and the phone rings, you answer it, and the voice is, ‘What are you doing with my daughter…’

Credit To – YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE USERNAME!

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The Wrong Room

April 1, 2014 at 8:00 AM
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You get back to your apartment after a long day’s work and you want to get inside and rest. You were about to pull out your keys and unlock the door, but you notice it’s open. Turning the doorknob and stepping inside, You notice something different. You stand in the doorway trying to figure it out. then it hits you. this isn’t your room. As you turn and leave, something catches your eye. There is a man hunched over a dish of flesh, eating it with his bare hands, tearing into it as a wild animal would with its prey. Red dripped down the side of his mouth, and the smell that emanated from it was sickening. You were paralysed by the sight.
Unconsciously, you start cover your nose and mouth. This accidentally bumps your elbow against the doorway. You freeze. He stopped eating there was something wrong. Then he looked up and started searching for the source of the noise.
His eyes scanned the room till they found you.
Your legs start moving on their own, and you find yourself running, running away from that room, and the horrors within it.

~~~

The man silently stands up, locks the door, sits back down, grabs another slice of pizza, and mutters quietly to himself:
“Crazy vegans”.

Credit To – Walrus King

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The Absence of Conflict

March 23, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The teacher strode across the front of the room, looking out at her class. “And so with the invention of Concordance 5 true peace finally enveloped the world,” she said with a serene smile. “For one hundred years we have lived without conflict. The dream of world peace that so many strove for before is ours.”

A young man in the front row frowned and raised a hand. “Can you truly define peace as the absence of conflict?” he asked. “If people are not allowed to disagree they are not at peace. They live in constant fear.”

She cocked her head, eyes narrowing. “And so you disagree with me then?”

The young man nodded automatically. “Yes,” he said, and then his eyes widened. “I mean, no, I–” The veins in his throat seemed to bulge and twist as his hands grasped at his neck. He sputtered for a few moments and then fell on his desk.

The teacher smiled gratefully at the class monitor as he removed the body from the chair. “Version 5 is ten times faster than version 4, leaving no time for argument, which is truly key,” she continued. There was a meaty thump outside the door but no on paid it any heed. The janitors would have everything cleaned up before the bell rang. And thus peace reigned over the classroom.

Credit To – Star Kindler

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Hollow

March 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Then

Dark thunderheads blanketed the Suffolk sky, and fat droplets of rain began to spatter the golden leaves scattered across the ground. In the distance, silver lightning streaked between the clouds above, illuminating rolling hills and terrified sheep scampering for shelter.

Jack began to count the seconds as his father had taught him, barely reaching eight before an enormous crack of thunder boomed across the sky. One of the cabinets in the study contained four or five model cannons, and he imagined this was how their functioning counterparts must have once sounded.

He looked over his shoulder towards Nighthill Manor, his home, distant and aloof on the cusp of the valley, unsure if he was expected to go inside now that the weather had turned foul. Although, in truth, Jack didn’t consider it foul at all; a storm like this would be perfect for playing soldiers. Anyway, his father would come and collect him in the jeep if he wanted Jack home early.

He’d been shooting Nazis for about ten minutes when he heard the bleating. It was almost inaudible over the now considerable rumbling overhead, and it took Jack a few seconds to locate the source.

There, just beyond the fence marking the border of King’s Forest, in a dense patch of withered brown bracken. He squinted against the rain, and a pair of twisted horns resolved themselves, curving down around a head covered in shaggy black fur. He didn’t need to see the snapped tip of one of the horns to recognise the visitor.

‘’Sebastian!’’ Jack shouted, dropping his plastic Luger in the grass and hurrying over to the fence, all thoughts of war and soldiers pushed aside by the delight of the sudden reappearance of his friend.

It had been over three weeks since he’d woken up to find the goat absent from its pen. His father had merely grumbled about loose latches and set Maxwell to fitting a new gate, convinced the marauding animal would make its way home in due course. But to Jack, after Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio’s escape the week before, Sebastian’s disappearance had upset him quite considerably.

So it was with no hesitation that he scrambled over the wire fence and followed the retreating goat into the forest.

He’d been walking for quite a while, picking his way through autumnal foliage and around withered trees with only fleeting glimpses of Sebastian’s shaggy head to guide him, when he stepped into the clearing. As he did so, a deafening peal of thunder sounded above, and he flinched despite himself.

Then he noticed the long, low table standing in the middle of the clearing, and when he saw the pair seated at it side by side, he began to smile.

Jiminy Cricket, holding a pink floral teacup in one furry paw, a dark green flat cap cocked back on his head and a yellow scarf fluttering gently in the breeze, and Pinocchio, who looked simply marvellous in a deep burgundy waistcoat, top hat and matching cravat. The hares twitched their heads to regard Jack as he took a few tentative steps across the clearing, and Pinocchio motioned stiffly with a thin foreleg for him to join them at the table.

There were others there who Jack didn’t recognise; a grinning fox whose tooth-filled snout poked out from beneath a black trimmed fedora; a slim white ferret, similar to those that Maxwell kept behind the stables, stared at him with glazed yellow eyes as it sipped from a teacup; something that looked like a small monkey crouched at the opposite end of the table, its humanlike features obscured beneath falls of lace and a frilled pink bonnet.

Jack sat down in the only empty seat, opposite Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio, beside a large badger, its snouted face dominated by pale white eyes, and a tabby-and-white cat with long drooping whiskers. Behind Cricket and Pinocchio stood a huge tree with withered, drooping branches and a hollow trunk. Sebastian’s face was barely visible in the darkened hollow, but his dull red eyes winked in the gloom and Jack waved for him to come out. The goat seemed reluctant to leave, however, and shook its head in response, retreating further into the murk.

Something cold and filthy with bristles touched Jack’s hand, and he instantly recoiled before realising that it was only Jiminy Cricket, reaching across the table to place his diminutive paw on top of Jack’s equally tiny hand. The hare’s mouth pulled back in a lopsided grin, and the boy smiled back.

So engrossed was he as the hare showed him the plates and cups and teapots and cutlery lining the table, that he didn’t hear the dried out leaves crunching behind him.

A gloved hand clamped over his mouth and a strong arm wrapped itself around him, yanking his hand away from Jiminy Cricket’s and pulling him down, down, down into the darkness.

Now

Martin dreamt of music, soft and distant, but beautiful nonetheless.

Faint noises in the corridor roused him from his fitful slumber. Was that a pair of tiny feet slapping against the plush maroon carpet, a slight form running past the slightly ajar bedroom door?

No, of course it wasn’t. Maxwell would have retired to bed by now, and even if he hadn’t the boxer-turned-groundskeeper’s days of running anywhere were long since passed.

Nobody ran in Nighthill Manor’s panelled corridors now. Not for almost a year. Not since Jack. Oh God.

Martin swung his legs out of bed, elbows resting on his thighs, put his head in his hands and began to cry.

He should have sent Maxwell to fetch Jack that day. He should never have let him play so far from the manor in the first place. Without Maria, he hadn’t had a clue how to care for their son. When he was young, his parents had let him roam far and wide, so it was his natural assumption that Jack should be allowed to do the same.

Of course, back then paedophiles and child murderers had been relatively unheard of. The world had changed, but Martin hadn’t changed with it. Raising his head he looked around the room – the Napoleonic oil paintings; the gilded furniture; the gold-trimmed oak panelling. Even this God-forsaken manor house. He’d tear it all down with his bare hands if it would bring Jack back.

Standing, he crossed to the window, which opened onto Nighthill Manor’s rear garden and the valley beyond.

And the woods. The woods where, detectives reasoned, his only son had been stolen from him forever.

Martin’s breath caught in his throat, and he felt as though an ethereal hand had reached into his chest and taken hold of his heart.

About halfway down the valley, moving away from the house towards the woods was a bobbing orange light: A lantern. Martin narrowed his eyes, but was unable to discern the shape or size of whoever was carrying it.

Maxwell? No. The elderly man wouldn’t risk the valley with its holes and pitfalls at this hour; he would know better. There was no need for either of them to go into the woods at all, let alone this late at night.

Martin wasted no time at all in scrambling into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, pulling on his jacket as he hurtled down the sweeping spiral staircase to the entrance hall. On his way to the front doors, he passed a dark shape against the far wall, frozen in a stream of moonlight. The piano. His son’s piano.
Oh Jack, he thought as he pulled on his walking boots. Oh Jack, I’m so, so sorry.

He had his hand on the antique silver door handle when his mind fully registered what he’d just seen. The piano, yes. But he’d actually seen the piano, seen its polished teak surface and ivory keys, bright white like rows of teeth.

Nobody had touched the piano since…since Jack. Maxwell had thoughtfully covered the beautiful instrument with a thick velvet sheet, and that was how it had stayed. Now, the sheet was pooled on the floor to the right of the piano, yanked aside and left where it had fallen.

Rage welled up inside Martin like a ferocious storm. Somebody had been here, in his house. But that intrusion paled in comparison to the fact that the intruder had touched his son’s piano.

He snatched the door open and dashed out into the night.

From the shadowed doorway to the dining room, a pair of burnished yellow eyes watched the man leave. Satisfied, the stoat slipped out the same way it had entered, through the kitchen. Its breathing was torn and ragged, its blackened tongue lolling from a mouth bursting with needle-sharp teeth. The faint groan of shifting wood and the near-inaudible hum of whirring gears followed it through the darkness.

The woods were black as pitch, and Martin cursed himself a fool for not bringing a torch. He’d lost sight of the orange light when it disappeared into the clusters of spindly trees, and now he caught only the merest snatches of its flickering glow in the distance.

His shins were bleeding and he’d cut his face the first time he’d fallen, but that didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Nothing except catching whoever it was that had defiled his precious memories of Jack. The only things he had left.

There was a definite awareness of perception here. He cautiously scanned his surroundings for inquisitive eyes.

Something moved in the bracken off to the left, but by the time he’d snapped his head in that direction the motion had ceased. The light reappeared, directly ahead of him, and he hurried towards it. He kept low to the ground, moving as silently as possible, but was almost shocked into screaming when something sleek and furry brushed past his legs before vanishing into the undergrowth.

Composing himself and breathing deeply, he stepped into a clearing that had once been flooded with yellow tape and ultraviolet light.

There, beneath the eaves of a drooping willow where he’d held a distraught Maria as forensic teams combed the area, was a table. Pink plastic with garish chairs to match, it was the sort one would expect to see at a little girl’s tea party, were it not so stained and filthy.

It wasn’t the table that snatched the breath from Martin’s lungs. Nor was it the chairs. It was the slumped forms seated upon them.

The lantern he’d seen the figure carrying had been placed on the table and its flickering light illuminated his surroundings with sickening clarity. As he stepped closer, Martin raised a hand to cover his mouth. Dear God, the stench was enough to make him vomit.

The warm, welcoming glow of the lantern belied its surroundings. The things at the table were monstrosities. The closest of them was an egregious fox; a fedora perched almost comically atop its head and a grimy plastic fork in its hand. What the devil was going on here? There was a bloody fox in –

About to turn away, Martin froze. Its hand. Since when did foxes have hands?

Against his better judgement, he looked back down. A swollen fly crawled across the small pale hand protruding from the sleeve of the fox’s tweed jacket. The flesh had blackened in places, sloughing away to reveal glimpses of yellowing bone. It had a strange, burnished finish to it.

Steeling himself, he reached forward and tugged the fox’s sleeve back. The wrist – so tiny he could have encircled it with thumb and forefinger – ended in jagged stitches an inch or so from the hand. The remainder of the arm to be seen was thin and covered in glossy red fur. He stumbled away in horror, screaming aloud as he backed straight into the fox’s neighbour, an abominable hare with a jaundiced yellow scarf wrapped tightly around its neck.
It tumbled out of its seat and…hung in the air.

The air itself seemed to pull taut. Wires, so fine as to be almost imperceptible, ran from every major joint of the hare’s body, up into the branches of the willow, suspending it in mid-air like some deplorable puppet. The wires hung from the willow’s branches like a giant spider-web, ascending to lofty heights before descending the trunk and disappearing into the darkness of the hollow.

The scarf slipped from the hare’s neck and fluttered to the ground. Martin fell to his knees and vomited. Its head was nestled atop the stump of a human neck, rudimentary stitching holding the animals furred cheeks in place. Needing to tear his eyes away from the bloodless, marble-like neck, he looked up at the hare’s face.

Realisation smashed into him like a sledgehammer. Jiminy Cricket.

It could be any hare, of course, but Martin knew that it wasn’t. He stumbled to his feet, standing groggily on legs threatening to give way any second.

Pinocchio’s paw jerked into motion, sending a rigid wave across the table to Martin. He screamed and staggered backwards. The police. He needed to call the police.

In the willow’s hollow trunk, twigs cracked underfoot.

Martin exploded over the table in a spray of cheap plastic dinnerware, nausea and law enforcement forgotten, knocking Pinnochio aside and crashing into a monstrous, monocle-wearing pig. He shoved the thing away in disgust, repulsed at the feel of its clammy skin, snatched the lantern from the table and squeezed into the hollow.

The stench was overwhelming. One summer, when he was a boy, he’d visited his uncle’s slaughterhouse. Beneath a scorching August sun, the odour of decaying flesh had infested every inch of the place. This was worse. Martin immediately saw why.

Leaning against the wall was a long metal pole. Impaled upon its tip was a goat’s head. He knew it was Sebastian without even looking. Aligned vertically next to it, a row of wooden levers and cogs; so that was where the wires led.

Dear God, how long had this maniac been watching his family?

He raised the lantern higher and answered his own question. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of Polaroids were pinned to the inside of the stump; Jack laughing and petting Sebastian; Jack standing on Martin’s shoulders, wearing his Spider-Man t-shirt and waving an ice-cream above his head. They had been taken from the edge of the treeline, judging by their angles.

The next photo turned Martin’s blood to ice. Wrapped in a duvet adorned with purple dinosaurs, Jack dozed peacefully. One hand was clutching the duvet. The other was snaked around Martin’s shoulders as the two of them dozed peacefully.

That had been on Jack’s fourth birthday.

Oh God.

He was crying now, tears streaming down his face as he took in the twisted visual history spread before him. Two A4 sized photos were tacked in the center. Martin howled in agony.

The first showed Jack, wearing the same khaki shorts and brown t-shirt as the day he’d disappeared. He was laying on his back, pale and motionless, eyes closed and hands clasped on his chest. Next to him was a pig, bloated and bloody. Beneath them both was a sheet of light blue tarpaulin. Between them, small clear bags of what looked like sawdust, tiny blocks of wood and a pile of miniscule cogs and gears.

In the second, Martin lay sleeping in his own bed. Standing beside him, staring fixedly at his prone form, was a monocle-wearing pig. The photograph was dated September 22nd.

Today.

Something shuffled behind him, fallen leaves crunching beneath its cloven hooves. Martin couldn’t turn to face it, couldn’t even move.

Silence. He stood in the reeking hollow with his heart thudding in his ears. The lantern slipped from his grasp, and something was pressed into his palm to replace it.

Holding the plastic Luger in a white-knuckle grip, Martin sank to his knees.

Small arms enfolded him from behind and a cold snout pressed itself against the back of his neck. The subtle click of hidden machinery was followed by a shallow breath.

From the darkness, a rasping voice.

‘’Father.’’

Credit To – Tom Farr

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TLC

February 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Thomas rose from his modest flower garden and wiped his filthy hands on his jeans. He stood there for a moment, his eyes lingering on the lush blossoms. A sense of accomplishment overcame him. Though the plot was humble, what it lacked in quantity, it was overly abundant in quality. The blooms were vibrant and full of life; the stems and leaves were rich and crisp. Even the dark earth was fresh and moist to the point that it caused his neighbors to envy his garden.
However, very few people knew the amount of blood, sweat and tears that had gone into perfecting his garden. He had prepared the foundation of the plot himself, choosing the strenuous task of double-digging rather than tilling the soil, which loosened the earth even further so that his precious blossoms wouldn’t struggle as they stretched out their roots. After planting the seedlings, Thomas had applied a thick layer of organic compost – ground leaves, banana peels, coffee grounds, and grass clippings – to ensure that the flowers would receive proper nutrition. Atop that, he deposited a thin coat of mulch to assist the soil in better retaining water. Thomas had even insisted on using an organic fertilizer that, as far as he knew, could not be found in stores. The price was dear, but he soon found it was well worth it.
The first time he laid his loving gaze on the pioneer stem that had broken free of the earth’s clutches, an overwhelming rush of joy seized him. He was sure that the feeling could never be surpassed. He was swiftly proven wrong the next day, however, when he was delighted to find that two more seedlings had followed closely behind the first. A childlike joy filled his life, one that he had desperately been seeking.
Thomas was never late to tend to his plants. He was often caught singing to each blossom individually just as the morning light broke over the horizon and bathed his garden in an elegant radiance. At these times, even the dew droplets danced and shimmered like diamonds. It was breath-taking, and he never wanted it to end.
Thomas kept his adoring stare glued to the graceful blooms, even as he heard a faint rustling behind him that soon turned into muffled footsteps.
“Thomas? Thomas Conner?”
As a momentary scowl of frustration passed over Thomas’s tender face, he reluctantly tore his eyes from his darling garden and turned around. To his surprise, he found himself face-to-face with his long-ago childhood friend.
“If it isn’t ol’ Roy Mather!” Thomas chuckled, moving in to greet his old friend with a hug.
“In the flesh,” Roy joked.
“What brings you back to this sleepy town, buddy?”
Roy tossed his hands into the air in mock defeat. “The wife insisted it was high time we came down here and visited the family. Women, eh?” A wily grin cut across his boyish features, but it was cut short. It was as if a storm cloud had passed over him, one which Thomas could neither see nor feel. “Speaking of.. I heard about Tabitha—“
Thomas quickly cut him off, in no mood for an unannounced pity party. “She’s in a better place, Roy.”
Roy seemed uncertain. “I suppose so.. I might complain a lot, but I don’t know what I’d do if I lost Carroll. As sad as it might sound, I don’t think I could properly function without my wife’s constant nagging.” He flashed a half-hearted smirk.
Thomas placed a firm hand on his friend’s shoulder and squeezed tightly. The two stood there for a few minutes in silence, allowing the awkwardness to evaporate until Roy finally broke the quiet.
“Those sure are some mighty fine flowers, Tommy.”
Thomas couldn’t help but feel a sensation of pride. “Thanks buddy. They’re my babies.”
“Carroll and I – well, mostly Carroll – have been trying to grow our own flower garden for over a year now, but it seems we don’t exactly have green thumbs. Could you let me in on your secret? So I could pass it along to the wife, of course.” He beamed sheepishly.
“Just some good, old fashioned TLC,” Thomas mused, snickering at what appeared to be an inside joke.
Slightly confused, Roy thanked him and headed off, leaving the man giggling to himself.
“TLC,” Thomas repeated as he brushed some stray dirt off of a plaque at the base of his garden. “Isn’t that right, dear?”
He ran a dirty finger over the words inscribed. In loving memory of Tabitha L. Conner.

Credit To – Ali Kae

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