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The Windwhisper

The windwhisper


Estimated reading time — 11 minutes

There was once a story my mother used to tell me, in hopes I wouldn’t turn out like my father. “Treat your children right, Tommy or the Windwhisper will come to punish you.”

A boogeyman from my childhood, something I thought was just a myth, turned out to be quite real. A being described with immense power, essentially a modern trickster god that taught lessons in exchange for extreme emotional distraught on which it fed.

I may have been a horrible father, but I wasn’t just gonna let the Windwhisper keep my son after stealing him away from me. Leaving my child with that monster would surely result in his death.

It had been a somewhat muggy day, clouds covering the sky like a blanket covers a bed. I had been guilt tripped by my ex-wife to take Andy to a park to play, her words of how “I never spend time with him” burrowing deep into my conscience. I conceded to her nagging if only to appease my guilt.

Andy, a bright, blonde-headed boy with blue eyes, was enthused to be able to spend some time with his dad; after all, little boys like him considered their fathers’ superheroes at that age. I could’ve cared less what he thought of me. The sad truth was that I considered him a parasite rather than my child. The child support I had to pay for him stole most of an already shitty paycheck. Plus, I knew he would soon grow out of the phase where he thought the sun rose and sat in my ass, so what was the point of trying to have a relationship with him? Deep down, I truly did love him, but I knew no matter what, I’d end up getting burned.

I sighed as I shifted the gears of my old beat-up Camaro, pulling into the closest park I could find. It was one of those shitty roadside parks with only a few swings, a slide, and a few rusty monkey bars. Judging from Andy’s excited bouncing in his car seat, one would’ve thought I took him to Disney World. I unbuckled him and helped him out of the car, his overstuffed jacket looking quite ridiculous on his small frame. Andy looked up at me with wide, eager eyes. “So what do you wanna play first, Daddy?”

I avoided his gaze as I searched my pockets for cigarettes. “Right now, Daddy just wants to smoke. How about you go and play by yourself for a bit, and maybe I’ll come join you later?” I responded.

Andy looked down, dejected. “Oh, okay.” He replied, trying to hide his disappointment, and failing. My heart had a twinge of pain, and a part of me almost changed my mind, but I shook my head. What’s the point? He’ll hate me in a few years. No point in getting attached. I thought.

Andy somberly walked over to the slide, his bleak demeanor reflecting the foggy, dreary day. However, he soon began to cheer up, the wonders of a simple slide distracting his childish self from his depressing reality.

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I leaned against the car, blowing smoke rings into the air. I only half watched my child, more so out of the fear of my ex-wife’s ire rather than for the safety of my son. I knew I was a horrible parent, but why should I care? As soon as my marriage crumbled, I lost all hope of having a family again.

The reflection of a middle-aged man in my side view mirror caught my attention and nearly made me jump. However, upon closer inspection, the man was me. Here I was, in my mid-twenties, with severely unkempt black hair, and a fair amount of stubble on my face with more gray in it than I would have ever wanted. I looked like a husk; my dark eyes sunken in my gaunt face.

I was essentially a walking corpse.

It didn’t help that I was still dressing like a teenager, with torn jeans, converses, an obscure rock band t-shirt, and a leather jacket to boot. I groaned, placing my head on my arm as I leaned against the car, turning my back to the park. I was just an old man trying to fit in at this point.

I had kept my Andy in the corner of my eye, watching him play by his lonesome. I took my eyes off of him for just one moment, but that was all that was needed.

As soon as I turned around, I immediately knew something was wrong. The already thick fog had gotten thicker, so thick that I almost thought walking into it would have been walking into a creamy soup. However, the strangest thing wasn’t the sudden thickening of the fog, but rather, the fact that the fog had seemingly formed a large circle around the park as if I was in the eye of some sort of strange storm.

The next thing I noticed was Andy, or rather, the lack of him. He was gone. Despite my perspiration increasing, my blood turned ice cold. I had lost my son.

Why do I care? He’s just some brat I’m related to. An intrusive thought popped into my mind.

To my surprise, I slapped myself, as if there was another part of me that loathed that side of my mind. I shook my head to gather my thoughts.

“Andy! Where are you, buddy?” I called out, wondering if maybe he was hiding on purpose. Maybe he was more upset at me than I initially thought. It wouldn’t be an unreasonable feeling, but it didn’t change the fact I was slowly growing angry.

“Andy, if you don’t come out here this instant, I swear to God…” I shouted, soon trailing off as my eyes first witnessed the coming of the Windwhisper. At first, it was hard to discern the entity from the fog, as his body was mostly ethereal. It was as if the Windwhisper was made entirely of mist, with only his floating, clawed hands and sadistically twisted face seeming to have any actual substance to them. I observed him a bit closer, noticing he had no lower body. In place of legs was only a spectral tail, much like one would see on a cartoon ghost. But that brought no comfort to me, as the rest of the specter was much more disturbing. The claws that sat in place of where fingers should have been were easily a foot long, and they seemed eternally drenched in dripping blood. His face was gaunt as if he had not eaten in a very long time, and he had only a few patches of pale white hair sticking out of his somewhat bulbous head.

The specter at first floated slowly towards me, but when fear gripped my mind and demanded I run, it quickly dissolved into nothingness, only to reappear right in my face, his sinister smile widening.

“Dear God!” I wheezed, falling backward. The Windwhisper lowered his face to mine, never breaking eye contact with me. His eyes were a milky light blue, with tiny, pinprick pupils barely visible, staring straight into my soul. Finally, he spoke, haunting me to my core.

“God?” He asked, then chuckled. He floated away from my face, allowing me to breathe for the first time since I first saw him. The Windwhisper spread his arms, looking to his right, his left, down to the ground, and finally up to the sky. “I see no God. I see no Devil. Only you and I. Thomas Strode, we have much work to do.” The Windwhisper spoke, shaking me back into reality. I was petrified, as every time he spoke it felt as if millions of insects were crawling underneath my skin.

“W-what do you want from me?” I demanded.

The Windwhisper’s smile widened, his literal cheeks splitting at the seams as blood gushed from his mouth. He placed his claws on the back of my head and whispered into my ear.

“It’s not about what I want, it’s about what YOU want. Or are you truly so terrible that you’d just so easily abandon little Andy?”

I paled, with what little color I had left my face. In all of my fear, I had neglected to think about where Andy was in all of this. The poor kid was probably even more scared than myself.

“Where’s my son, you bastard?” I asked, surprising even myself. Seemingly satisfied with my response, the Windwhisper remained quiet, only nodding towards my car. He then vanished, a strong breeze blowing his form away like he was smoke.

Almost immediately I jumped up, desperately rushing towards the Camaro. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I felt as if I would be safer in the car versus outside in the mist. As if to confirm my suspicions, I saw numerous dark figures appear in the fog. They all had disproportionate humanoid shapes. Some had arms that were too long or heads that were too large. The only consistent thing about them was that they all terrified me.

It took me no time at all to get into the car. I wasn’t about to drop my keys or trip over nothing like some horror movie cliche. I thrust the keys into the ignition, and the Camaro roared to life. I actually smiled, something finally going my way. The dark humanoid shadows began latching on all over the car. The one that was on the driver’s door had a huge, lightbulb-shaped head. In place of eyes, there were simply holes, dozens of them. It had a tiny mouth, and when it opened to growl at me, I saw hundreds of straight, stark white human teeth.

The Camaro slammed hard into the asphalt, popping two of the tires. The monsters were lifting the car, and dropping it in hopes to lure me out. I pulled my head away from the steering wheel which I had just slammed into, only for Light Bulb Head to smash its massive cranium into my window. It was attempting to get to me, as were the other shadows. The one on the hood had the shape of a man who was only a torso, but yet it seemed whatever sick being created it placed his legs directly under his arms, giving him the appearance of
some sort of twisted human-insect hybrid. The horror to my left appeared to be some sort of conjoined twin, with the larger head on the shoulders constantly chewing on the cheeks of its smaller sister. It was trying to slide its thin fingers in between the barely lowered window, its pointer finger elongating with sickening cracks as it tried to reach for the button to unlock the door. I quickly jumped to the passenger seat, and rolled the window up, cutting off the fingers of the conjoined twins. It hissed in pain, but its fingers began operating by themselves, writhing around on the floorboard, tendrils erupting from all over, whipping around.

“FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!” I screamed, scrambling back to the passenger seat. The sound of the window shattering behind me made my blood run cold, as I felt the hands of Light Bulb Head wrap around me. It made a groaning noise that sounded like a mix of a woman in pleasure and a building collapsing and then sunk its hundreds of human teeth into my shoulder. I winced, the feeling of my blood being sucked out of my body nearly causing me to faint. Without thinking, I flailed about, until I hit the horn in the middle of the steering wheel.
All of the horrors stopped their attack, groaning a variety of different noises that indicated pain. Thinking quickly, I tore the keys out of the ignition and sounded the car alarm. The monsters hissed in pain, and each began popping like balloons, black sludge exploding everywhere.

Panting heavily, I kicked the driver’s door open, nearly slipping in the black sludge that covered the ground. Out of nowhere, the Windwhisper’s voice boomed across the sky. “Congratulations, you have passed my first trial, the Test of Fear. You have one more.”

I looked to the heavens but saw nothing. “Trial? Test? What is this bullshit? Where is my son?” I demanded. I was tired of playing games with this monster.

“Where is your son, indeed?” The Windwhisper mused. “I could tell, but you must complete my next trial before I reveal your son to you.”

I nearly screamed out in rage, but instead took a deep breath. “Fine, what is it you want me to do?”

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Instead of replying, the Windwhisper simply materialized in front of me and plunged the tip of one of his massive claws into my left eye. I screamed in pain and fell to my knees, just barely able to comprehend what the Windwhisper said next.

“This is your Test of Pain. Feel it, and reflect on what pain you have brought onto the world.” He whispered, and soon I was racked with visions of my past. My abusive and neglectful father beating my mother, until the day I sent him to the hospital for good. The first time I met my high school sweetheart, and the day she had a beautiful baby boy, our baby, Andy. Andy’s first words, his first steps. The day I married my wife. Then our first big fight over bills, which lead to fights over Andy, and then fights about each other. I saw the day I finally just left when she compared me to my father, and so I did what she and the universe wanted. I accepted that role.

But then I saw a memory that wasn’t mine.

It was Andy’s, laying in his bedroom the night I left, crying softly. Begging to God, Jesus, anyone who might be listening to bring his daddy back.

His claw slid out of my eye socket, and blood gushed out onto my face, but I no longer cared. I only wanted one thing.

“Take me to Andy,” I stated. I didn’t ask, or even demand it this time. It was as if I was going to find my son, no matter what say the Windwhisper had to say. Up to this point, I hadn’t been going through this hell for Andy, but rather myself. Now that was going to change.

The spectral monster smirked and disappeared once more. This time, however, the mist finally lifted, revealing the cloudy day that I started with. Without a word, I limped over to my car. The tires were still popped, but they would do until I got where I needed to be.

The Windwhisper hadn’t told me where Andy was, but as soon as I saw the clouds break and sunlight pour out a few miles down the road, I knew where to go.

The roads were empty, and while it was difficult to drive in my condition, as well as the car’s condition, I was able to make it back to my ex-wife’s house fairly quickly. I didn’t even wait for the car to completely stop before I got out. I started limping up the driveway, looking up the hill to where the house sat.

Then I saw him.

Andy, waving to me from his bedroom window, a large smile on his face.

Tears filled my good eye as relief washed over my body.

“Andy, oh thank God, my baby boy, you’re ok-”

I stopped, the cold feeling of horror washing over my body.

“Dear God, Andy, no!” I screamed.

Andy just continued to wave with that same smile on his face.

Except, it wasn’t a smile.

Andy’s lower jaw had been ripped off, and both of his eyes gouged out. His arm had also been ripped off, the bloody stump at the end becoming more visible the closer I looked at it.
But how was he still moving?

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That’s when I saw a face, his damned face, flash from behind my baby boy, his hands operating my son’s corpse like some sort of sick marionette puppet. The Windwhisper’s smile grew with every second it took me to realize what had been done. He finally erupted from the window, dropping Andy’s small body at my feet. I fell to my knees, grasping my son’s corpse with all my might as if I could somehow instill life back into him.

“WHY? Why do this? I did your stupid trials. Why did you do this to him? He was innocent, only a child!” I screamed through my tears. I was surprised. I had forgotten how it felt to have a strong parental urge, but now it was too late. I had squandered my chance with Andy.

The Windwhisper, his smile ever present, loomed over me. “It is simple. I lied. I said that you had only one more trial after your first. That was not true. This is your final trial. The Test of Death.”

I sniffed, hugging Andy’s cold form to me as if I could protect him from further harm. “Why would I want to do another trial if you’ve already killed my son?”

“Thomas, this is your final trial. I can grant your son new life, but such a task is not cheap. To grant life, I must take a life to correct the upset in balance that has been created. The Test of Death is the simplest one, but with the biggest consequence. Can you offer your own life as payment for your son’s, or will your negligence and cowardice get the better of you?” The Windwhisper asked. “Bear in mind, this isn’t as simple as just saying you will trade your life for his. No, I will search your heart and soul to see if you truly mean it. Do you agree to this final trial?”

Those words echoed in my head, the prospect of my death weighing heavily in my mind.
I then thought of all the wrongs I had done, how poorly I had treated my son. If this was my only chance to be a good father, then so be it.

“What will happen to Andy after I’m gone?” I asked.

The Windwhisper looked down at the corpse in my arms. “He will awaken here, with no memory of what happened.”

I gently laid Andy’s body on the ground, kissed his tiny forehead, and approached the Windwhisper.

“Will he know that I loved him?” I pondered, not really asking, just thinking aloud.

“If you pass this trial, he will.” The Windwhisper replied solemnly, his ever-present grin leaving his face for the first time.

I took one last look at my son, took a deep breath, and closed my eyes.

“Fuck it.”

I watched as the Windwhisper ripped my soul from my body. I felt him scour the very depths of my being to find any inclination of doubt in what I was doing, but he found none. As my physical form was eviscerated, and the last bit of semblance of consciousness began to fade away, I saw it.

I saw Andy’s body stir.

And I was finally at peace.

Credit: JPWilliams

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