Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
I, I’m glad I found you. Sorry for my disheveled appearance, but I haven’t slept well, and when I saw you, I knew I had to talk to you, tell you what happened. Call it ego or hubris, but it is really a burning desire for the truth to be known before it is too late for me, you, and us all…
I’m really a fan of your work on the site. Yes, that one, I’m a writer myself. No, not scoping a story—yes, that site too. Really, listen, I know a good Italian place, great pasta, I’ll treat you, if you would only hear my tale.
It begins with a rather mediocre story, but occasionally in them there rests kernels of truth, like clots in blood. Do not try to look it up on your iPhone. The story was deleted. I’m not sure how it got accepted, considering the strict policy employed by the site, and it was purged by the Wiki during one of their bad story purges. Maybe with that new site for the really bad ones, it’ll be brought back. Don’t. Please.
Not that I blame them–and, no, it wasn’t my story, or else it wouldn’t be wrong, I’ve seen too much –not at all. It was as bloated as a three-day-old corpse, riddled with plot holes, plagued by grammar so bad one expected a phone to eventually show up.
The story, like most bad horror–and some good, admittedly–was less about its protagonists and more about its monster, and the mythology of it. The name of the piece reflects that ‘the Brite Smilling Frend in the Dark wodes’ Random words were capitalized, and there were several misspellings, which again brings to question why this drivel was published, but I wander off topic.
I won’t tell all of the details of the story, the monster matters most, as far as truth and lies go. A depressed drug using–told, not shown–man who lived in a cottage by ‘the dark Wodes’ was lured one night by a figure of an old friend, long dead, into the woods.
It mixes exposition and plot to make a sort of mutagenic, toxic, sludge, and considering that its literary conceit is that the writer is recounting soon afterwards, and dies mid word, it makes no sense, the level of details they toss in like a bag of eyeballs to starving ravens.
The true ‘hero’ of the story is a monster that lives in the woods that, somehow, has lots of people going into it, for no good reason. Daft place to live, daft place to go. Me, I can’t imagine either going or living in the woods, or even the country. I love the city: the sight of concrete, the smell of florid humanity, the viscera of human interaction, the taste, even, of hot dogs from the vender–crap, yes, but it has its own familiarity.
Speaking of that, we’re here; would you like to request the table? I’ll pay. Well, this is a nice seat. I like booths.
So, the idiot went in, he sees the beast, is menaced, manages to escape—despite the power and nature of the ‘smiling friend’ making such escape rather unlikely–and rather than do the sensible thing and exit stage left, he goes straight home to the cottage which is right by the damn woods.
He then types up the account, without looking any of the facts up, apparently, and yet knowing so much, and dies, with a bunch of dots, interrupted another misspelled sentence. Hate the damn story but, well…
I have knowledge that there is some truth to this Smiling Friend story, at least as far as the appearance goes, though considering the story I have to tell, he doesn’t live in the woods, that’s for sure.
One moment. I would like salad for a start, then some Angel Hair pasta with chicken, please. Water, and whatever my friend here will have.
In the story he is described as an ancient monster, of likely high intelligence, or at least cunning, though that is described as slap-shod as the rest. It ‘knows everything’ and is a shape shifting face stealer, capable of imitating the dead and the living, without a known ‘true form’, but with a form it uses on those it kills, usually, and capable of warping time and space, of luring minds to a happy death, of great speed and strength.
Much of that is true, or at least…founded in truth, though most of the weaknesses then enunciated are, from what I’ve seen, lies. The least worthless parts of the story–though still wrong in some places, and badly spelled–are the descriptions of the monster, and the fact that they preserve at least some mystery in how it kills.
Having seen the being myself, seen its murders, not three hours ago, I can say it is more impressive and terrifying than these words can express, but, well, the description has merit, so why not, I’ll summarize it.
Done already, you inhaled it, didn’t you? You want dessert, I might get a dessert, if you–no, well alright. Bathroom? Got it, take your time, I’ll just be eating.
Yes, good, what is tasty here? Oh? Then I’ll have the blueberry cheesecake.
Well, and I think the reason what you hear is so detailed is they must have met someone who’d really met it, or at least seen it at a distant, as compared to the string of five word sentences, the whole thing seemed creepily detailed, harsh, almost—not quite—well written.
The monster had sharp triangular feet, like a spade, the color of clay, and no toes at all. The three tripod legs were long and thick, black-brown, rotting, covered in muscle and bubbles and pustules of shifting pus or fat, which pulsated in time to…I don’t know, its heartbeat, perhaps. The third leg was more spindly than the first two, and if the Smiling Friend had a gender, one couldn’t see it.
An equally ripped torso, just as putrid, but covered in sweat, which had, according to the authors, the stench of garbage rolling off of it. Now, I must say, having been–I will tell the details soon enough–one of the lucky few to have smelled it and lived, I must protest that it really smells like honey and rosewater, given off in all its forms, even the human, and capable–for a time, it does wear off, I know from personal experience–of turning its victims into beings as docile and trusting as a pithed cow.
Where its stomach should have been was a hole lined with some sort of strange manner of pulsating gobs of flesh, like the gums of a tooth, matching in color the pus-bags that also covered the torso, and were black. And it had teeth, hundreds of them, which seemed to grow from the end of long tentacles, each tooth as white as if brushed daily.
The arms, two of them, were curved, without a single straight line and covered in corded muscle, colored a mottled grey and green, except for the ever-present black lumps. Where the hands should have been, each arm ended in eleven white tendrils of worm-like flesh, each of which terminated in what seemed like a dagger-sharp bone, or perhaps it was actually metal. I, personally, thought metal, the writer, from whatever distant echoes of true stories they once heard that inspired this, guessed bone, but I never had the inclination to find out.
The Friend’s face was a flat-faced vertical diamond, as black as pitch, as bumpy and sticky as tar. A huge, white smile, far too wide for comfort, and too toothy covered the bottom half of the face, making, almost, and rounded triangle, contrasting against the blackness. Where its nose might be, there were only two holes of different shapes, and high on its ‘forehead’–it had no hair–are a pair of eyes.
Well, the story just guesses at the eye color, but I know it. It’s a vibrant, lovely, haunting green, like a sick man that won’t ever get better, or grass that has tasted blood. At twice the human height, one has to look up into those eyes, or down at those sharp feet. Neither is a particularly good view.
Now, would you like to go home with me, to finish the talk? Good, ice-cream on the way? That cheesecake was sub-par, that lying waiter. That didn’t qualify as a dessert at all.
Welcome to my home, I know, it felt like only a second ago, in the restaurant, well, you spaced out a bit; you have some ice-cream on the chin. There, that’s better.
Now, that incident.
It happened, oh, about a minute from now…
Did you ever wonder why you so readily went with the homeless looking bum, lost minutes, hours in an eye-blink, traveled miles and didn’t know it? Why you were even willing to go with me?
Time is simple, so is distance.
I am sure you have guessed it by now, but if not: I am called, by some idiots, the Smiling Friend.
You, my good friend, are here for dessert.
But I did promise you a story, and I’m a civilized, city-dwelling monster, and so I keep my word. Forests, bah!
How about the story about the editor who helped spread the truth of the nature of his Friend, posted the correction to those misspelled lies from someone who is now a corpse, before that editors tragic, and mysterious, disappearance? Yes, well, it begins when I say to you, ‘I, I’m glad I found you…’