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Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions

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RabidSquirrelStudios
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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 20th, 2010 @ 04:55 PM

"I've come to end your evil!" He shouted.
"Entertain me with your name, brave hero."
"I am Michael of the School of Light, paladin of my people."
"A paladin, what foolishness; a slave to an even greater fallacy." The man turned to dust again, this time reappearing on the floor, slowly walking towards Michael. "You just don't see how fun the shadows are!"

Michael swung his sword, this time in a faster rhythm. Through the bandages Michael could make out a sickening smile. The priest had stopped his strike mid-air. He caressed the steel, and within seconds, the sword had nothing but a hilt, the powder of shattered steel lingering in the unholy air.

Furious, hopeless and scared, Michael threw a swing with his fist. It collided with nothing but dust, and behind him, now on the front rafter sat the priest, his legs swaying back and forth.

"Dear boy," he began, "allow me to introduce myself; I am Tarvos, priest of the Underworld, or so I hope to be." He pushed himself off the wooden beam with his arms and landed softly on the ground below. "And you're a thorn in my side!" Tarvos picked his pace up to a run, and as he neared the terrified hero, leapt with his shoulder forward.

Michael grabbed his dagger and thrusted it forward, timing it perfectly with the arrival of his assailant. It was no use, somehow his blow did not connect, but Tarvos' shoulder cleanly made its mark. Michael's chest caved in and he flew back, knocking the chapel doors open, landing just outside on the dead soil.

The sky cracked with lightning as rain started pouring down heavily. Tarvos briskly walked towards Michael, slightly limping on his left leg. Michael figured he'd give it one last try before giving in. With a roar, he ripped his necklace off and pushed himself up off the ground. Running forward, the priest dealt with his attack in the same cool and collected manner as he had all the others. Only this time was different; the silver pendant of light collided with Tarvos' stomach and shattered it to dust. The dust flung back and hung in the air, almost as if a godsend. Michael raised his arm higher, and like a knife through butter, the cross cut the priest from his stomach to his head.

He did not bleed, yet as he tore open then bandages covering the old man's face, a red light showered over him, and almost like a smoke, it fell to the floor to be drenched in the rain.

Michael walked to pick up his dagger; he'd dropped it after the last blow. The water poured down, washing away the sin. He fell to his knees and lifted the knife. A soft prayer, beneath his breath:

In the service of the queen, my life I have lived,
Beneath your hand of wisdom, an eternity of glory;
I make of myself a demon, to become an angel,
I turn myself to a shepherd in honour of your name;
And the sacrifice of the fallen, though evil gripped their hearts,
We thank them still for living; for even they are children.

He picked up Tarvos' body and sawed off the head. He would need proof to collect a reward. It was a long walk back, and the night didn't feel any more easy than when he arrived, especially now with the rain, but look at it from Michael's perspective: I'm so fucking awesome

Pocru
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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 23rd, 2010 @ 02:27 PM

Bleeding Wood
(1/2)
~*~

Whats this? How did you get in? No matter... confused, are you? Upset? Feeling cheated? Well, maybe, you don't understand. MAYBE its time I explain myself to you... you... THINGS.

Imagine this, if you will.

Close your eyes and insert yourself into a fantasy, where the world is exactly as you remember it, where the cotton candy clouds still float along a sea of virgin blue, where the singing of birds and the rustle of leaves as they dance in the wind fills the air, vanquishing silence wherever it may begin to grow. See the animals, creatures of flesh and bone, bound through the grass, illuminated in the sun, and colored by the shadows of the surrounding platoons of trees.

Imagine the people, the watchmen of the planet, as they perpetuate their lives as you've always known them to. They get swallowed by metallic beasts, who's roars and muffled cries wash across the landscape with the company of its kin. See them break free of these steel wombs to escape into towers of concrete and glass, organisms who thrive as a community, a city, a world... see the humans, as they go about their days, making war and making love, giving time and taking commerce, progressing, moving, being...

Yet, for all the similarities this dream world shares with the reality you've all grown so accustomed to, make this small adjustment: the eyes. Whenever you find yourself gazing into another humans eye, that pool of color and life, remove the spark. Take that shred of soul, that comfortably familiar, unique, and vivid shine that we all take for granted, and erase it. How would your world change?

Mine didn't. I was never one to notice such things until they were stolen from me, vanishing with a breath of the void that surrounds the world we inhabit. Yet, even though I had only realized this loss in retrospect, I WAS very uneasy that day... I could sense that something was wrong, very wrong, and perhaps I had the slightest of inklings that it would never right itself.

You can open your eyes now, and escape that fantastical prison you build around yourself, tear it down and make room in your imagination for more pleasant realities. But, for me, there was no escaping from behind these bars of delusion and hallucination. In fact, so long have I been trapped within this play, I've forgotten who is an actor, and what is a prop. Who am I talking to now? Is it a person? Or a toy?

I cannot tell. Those painted eyes give nothing to me.

The day after the eyes of humanity were glazed with the dullness of nonexistence, I awoke to find another change in the world, more obvious, more alien... it was strings, I saw. Thin, wiry strings, sticking out of your flesh and extending into the heavens, extending farther into infinity than I could of hoped to follow with my vision. The ribbons were tense, the your bodies pulling down limply upon some invisible hand, who clutched the strings across those artificial humans with such greedy hunger that not one thread ever fell from between this beings fingers.

They were everywhere, on everyone, so many crossing and wrapping within themselves , it looked like a web of rain, falling from the sky, with each drop frozen atop the next in a design so complex it would shame Da Vinci.

Yet, you all moved unencumbered, as if these strings were weightless and you could effortlessly resist whatever way they happened to steer. It was perplexing and terrifying to observe, like watching pigs waddling unknowingly into a butchers shop: you know of the dangers, but the cries and warnings fall on deaf ears.

I tried to push the significance of this out of my mind, to associate these hallucinations with stress and a lack of sleep, yet, I knew in the dark shadows of my heart that those were honey-coated lies to help fight off the bitterness of the truth. It was with much effort that I managed to close my eyes and rest the following night...

But instead of awaking from the nightmare as my eyes caught the rays of sun glistening through the window, I find myself dragged deeper in.

These changes were small, meaningless as events within themselves, yet, as they compounded, the experience simply got more and more intolerable. Unlike the days before, I rose from my bed expecting a change, searching for it: it didn't hide from me long. A wooden skin had wrapped itself around humanity, sheathing them in a bark-like coating that bore the same color and curves of natural flesh, yet was lacking in the warmth and familiarity... like some sick mockery of the human body crafted by a alien creature. I progressed through my day, watching in silenced terror at my fellow man, who's jerky and awkward movements were suddenly treated as commonplace. They'd ask me what was wrong, reassure me with their sickly wooden fingers... apparently they thought it was I who was acting unnatural... had they no mirrors? Had blindness cursed the land and only I was blessed with sight? And why did I get the strange feeling, nagging at the back of my skull, that your blindness still let you see me for who I truly was...?

Stress, I whispered into their empty, tree-born ears. It was only stress. Yet it was the kind of stress which gripped your mind with its menacing claws and squeezed until all your sanity had dripped out like some overripe fruit. I couldn't be their eyes, I couldn't tell them what I see... If they retained any sense of humanity as I understood it, they'd put me away for my clarity, a fate which grows evertempting by the day...

The crows sermons demanded rest, the sun seconding the call. With weary eyes and tired soul I placed my head on the softness of my bed... and sobbed silently in dread. There was something so unnerving about them all... the way they looked at me... their vision was flavored with the most... disturbing spice... they wanted something, I knew it.

The sandman's seal upon my lids were a welcoming sensation, for I feared what sort of perverse visions awaited my eyes to bathe in the light. And as much as it scared me to indulge these horrors with their pleasures, I begrudgingly forced my eyes to gaze at the newest transformation in our tenderly crafted hell.

Joints. Constructed of overlapping wood and slivers of steel, sticking painfully out of your elbows. Your knees. Your ankles. Twisting and restrictive, they prevented all but the most basic of shifts in your movements, which were increasingly dependent on the pull of those accursed strings. Yet, you all acted, perhaps internalizing your new life as puppets to keep sane, as if nothing was wrong...

I realized they were jealous of me... Coveting the man who had been able to retain his own god-given body, to keep the flesh that could feel the chill of the wind and the warmth of the sun... I could see them! Staring at me, greedily longing for the body I inhabit! It all made so much more sense! Why they were staring... why their flat, unfeeling eyes were so fixated upon me.

...I needed to protect it. This gift was meant for me and me alone. My skin and bones were spared the cruel prank for a reason. I couldn't let anyone touch me. They'd steal it. I could almost taste the jealousy in the air, like a thick, disgusting margarine forcing itself down my throat.

Sleep didn't come that night. No matter how heavy my lids became, nor how weary my body had become, I denied it sleep: they were out there. Everywhere. If I closed my eyes for but a moment, they'd take it. They'd tear off my flesh in strips and sew the meat onto their own limbs to try to recapture they life they had lost. I could see it happening, ghastly spirits acted the drama out before my unflinching eyes, in a empty theater with only one stock of human bones to share between the gluttonous seats.

The next day, the spiraling loss of humanity continued. Their limbs grew smoothed and simplistic.

The next, their fingers fused together into single slabs of wood.

The day after, they lost movement of their own power, and the strings were the only force that could move them.

Pocru
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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 23rd, 2010 @ 02:28 PM

Bleeding Wood
(2/2)
~*~

Their petty jealousy was getting worse and worse with each passing days. Sometimes the whole world would stop, a hive-mind snatching control of the strings up above, and the humans suffocating in their wooden prison gazed longingly at my soft body, contemplating how to best rid me of it, before resuming movement casually.

I retreated from this world. I abandoned all pretenses of preserving my old life. I stayed home. Stayed in bed. But whenever I looked out the window, I saw them, huddled in a tightly packed mob, staring up at me, waiting for me to come out like hungry lions awaiting the release of a limping gazelle... but whenever I matched their stares with a glare of my own, they'd turn, trying to escape to the corners of my vision like poorly trained ghouls.

I couldn't live in my room forever. I needed food. But the dreams of attacks on my life grew vivider still: those spirits acts got gorier and gorier, more vile than the last, as they explained to me with unspoken words how those... those... THINGS were becoming more twisted and perverse with every passing day they were denied the comforts of my body. They'd tear out my insides and paint themselves with my fluids, they'd dine on my bones, chewing with their two dimensional mouths... but they always, always, always took care of my flesh... wearing the slabs of bleeding meat like jackets and and bracelets on their wooden wrists.

I need food... but... I can't let them steal my flesh! I'd sooner die and have my body eaten by flames then give them what they've wanted from me all along! They weren't supposed to have it, otherwise it wouldn't of been taken from them! Why didn't they get that? Why don't you get it? So, you see me now? You see what you've forced me to do? Don't hate me because I can see you. Don't HATE me because your painted eyes cannot weep for your loss! Don't punish me anymore!

But do you understand me now? Do you understand now what you see? Why my own bloodied flesh is dangling from my chiseled teeth? I need to keep whats mine! I need to protect it from the harshness of this world! And I will. I will eat until I can eat no more, and then, maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to accept the world now that you've driven the last true man to self consumption! Are you satisfied NOW? Are you glad you came here NOW?

Go away. Leave me. I want to finish enjoying whats mine before the final curtain drops.

DoctorJaevel
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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 24th, 2010 @ 04:57 PM

Escape

I groaned, not daring to open my eyes. Usually, when you wake up with a splitting headache somewhere that's very cold, it's better to keep your eyes closed for a while. I rubbed my head, and felt something warm and sticky in my hair, which was plastered flat to my head. I seemed to be naked, and ice cold air nipped at my exposed my skin.

I decided that eventually I'd have to open my eyes. Resigned to this fate, I grunted and cracked my lids. It was extremely dark out, which made for a more forgiving transition into the waking world. I was sitting in a tiny stone cell, with a rickety bench fastened to the wall. A small barred window behind me let in the cold from a howling, snowy gale raging outside. There was a thick metal door opposite me with a slot in it through which two bloodshot eyes were staring at me.

"A%u043A%u0442%u0438%u0432%u043D%u044B%u 0439!" a voice shouted. I suspected it was Russian. Don't ask why. The eyes moved away, and the slot was closed. I weakly raised myself off the floor, and sat on the bench. I held up my shaking, reddened hands, and pressed them to my face. They were as cold as ice. I then noticed that I was, indeed naked, as I had thought. I was much too cold to feel indignation though.

From through the wall of my cell, I could hear a low panting. Breathing so heavy I could almost feel the air shift with each intake, despite the thick layer of stone between me and whatever it was. I shivered even more violently.

Over the next few days, the slot in the door was opened only twice a day so that a small piece of meat could be dropped through, along with a tiny bottle of water. I ate them ravenously, but somehow always managed to vomit it all back up in barely half an hour, a result of the rancid state of the meat. After several days of this, my ribs were jutting out of my body, and my cell stank so badly that breathing through my nose brought tears to me eyes, and I became dizzy. I held my hand over my mouth and nose whenever I could, but at night it would slip off and I would be awoken from blissful sleep by the stench.

One day, the breathing next to me became stronger and faster. It sounded more like a frantic panting now, and I heard a faint scratching on the wall my cell. It grew louder through the course of the day, until at last a tiny hole opened. Through it I could only see something sharp and metallic that was slowly but surely wearing away at the cell walls.

I sat, curled up in a ball, on the opposite side of my cell. Soon, the hole grew wide enough for me to see into the other cell. There was a face, obscured by shadow despite the light let in by the barred window, with enormous fangs that dripped thick green liquid. Its hands were long and spindly, tipped with wicked-sharp claws made of metal. It looked slightly human, though its skin was gray and cracked. Blue veins showed clearly. It was positively beside itself with excitement at the prospect of getting to me, and it stretched its thin arm through the hole every so often, fingers grasping at me. The long claws took up almost all of my cell as they grabbed at me. One metallic claw brushed my skin, leaving a small cut. I curled up tighter and whimpered softly.

Now the thing was gnawing at the stone with an enormous mouth that seemed to unhinge with each bite. It was close to fitting its entire body through. It reached out with both arms, desperately trying to reach me. One hand caught hold of my ankle, and I shrieked.

At the sound, the slot in my door slid open, and the bloodshot eyes peered through. they widened.

"%u042D%u0442%u043E %u043F%u0440%u043E%u0431%u0443%u0435%u04 42 %u0441%u044A%u0435%u0441%u0442%u044C %u0434%u0440%u0443%u0433%u043E%u0439!" someone shouted. There was a jingling noise, and the door slid open with a clank. There stood a man in a thick fur coat with a Russian hat standing in the doorway. He held a rifle in his gloved hands, and his thick beard reached down to his chest. "%u043E%u0441%u0442%u0430%u043D%u043E%u0 432%u0438%u0442%u0435%u0441%u044C!" he yelled. Without a second's hesitation, I sprung up and ducked under the man's arm. Despite my fatigue, I sprinted like never before down the thin hall, lined with cells. The man had turned to stop me, but at that moment the creature had finally made it through the hole, and had leapt onto the guard. There was a squelching noise as its metal claws tore through the flesh on the guard's chest. His screams echoed down the hallway after me.

I ran blindly, my breathing coming in short, ragged gasps. I glanced back, and saw the beast in the light. It was bone thin, its arms more than double the length of its body. It was hunched over the guard's body, bony shoulder blades jutting out as it crouched over him. Its head was round and smooth except for a crack in the top, through which a twisted horn grew. Its eyes were glowing bright yellow, sunken into its head, tiny and pig-like. Its gaping mouth lowered to the body, and I turned away, retching.

Finally, I found a door that lead outside. Without a moment's hesitation I burst through it, tumbling into a thick snow drift. All around me was white chaos, and I couldn't see an inch in front of me.

The blizzard tore through me. My frail, naked body couldn't take the bitter cold, and I shivered too violently to move. I collapsed into the snow, whiteness swirling above me. I felt the weight of darkness pressing in on me like a thousand warm, fluffy pillows. I hadn't lay down on a pillow for ages.

"Go to the pillows," I said to myself. "Pillows are very comfortable." My vision began to go dark around the edges. The storm around me grew muted, and slowly faded away.

And then there were pillows.

And then there was nothing.

DoctorJaevel
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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 24th, 2010 @ 05:00 PM

EDIT: I realize the Russian alphabet does not show through in the post, so I've changed it.

Escape

I groaned, not daring to open my eyes. Usually, when you wake up with a splitting headache somewhere that's very cold, it's better to keep your eyes closed for a while. I rubbed my head, and felt something warm and sticky in my hair, which was plastered flat to my head. I seemed to be naked, and ice cold air nipped at my exposed my skin.

I decided that eventually I'd have to open my eyes. Resigned to this fate, I grunted and cracked my lids. It was extremely dark out, which made for a more forgiving transition into the waking world. I was sitting in a tiny stone cell, with a rickety bench fastened to the wall. A small barred window behind me let in the cold from a howling, snowy gale raging outside. There was a thick metal door opposite me with a slot in it through which two bloodshot eyes were staring at me.

"Akteniet!" a voice shouted. I suspected it was Russian. Don't ask why. The eyes moved away, and the slot was closed. I weakly raised myself off the floor, and sat on the bench. I held up my shaking, reddened hands, and pressed them to my face. They were as cold as ice. I then noticed that I was, indeed naked, as I had thought. I was much too cold to feel indignation though.

From through the wall of my cell, I could hear a low panting. Breathing so heavy I could almost feel the air shift with each intake, despite the thick layer of stone between me and whatever it was. I shivered even more violently.

Over the next few days, the slot in the door was opened only twice a day so that a small piece of meat could be dropped through, along with a tiny bottle of water. I ate them ravenously, but somehow always managed to vomit it all back up in barely half an hour, a result of the rancid state of the meat. After several days of this, my ribs were jutting out of my body, and my cell stank so badly that breathing through my nose brought tears to me eyes, and I became dizzy. I held my hand over my mouth and nose whenever I could, but at night it would slip off and I would be awoken from blissful sleep by the stench.

One day, the breathing next to me became stronger and faster. It sounded more like a frantic panting now, and I heard a faint scratching on the wall my cell. It grew louder through the course of the day, until at last a tiny hole opened. Through it I could only see something sharp and metallic that was slowly but surely wearing away at the cell walls.

I sat, curled up in a ball, on the opposite side of my cell. Soon, the hole grew wide enough for me to see into the other cell. There was a face, obscured by shadow despite the light let in by the barred window, with enormous fangs that dripped thick green liquid. Its hands were long and spindly, tipped with wicked-sharp claws made of metal. It looked slightly human, though its skin was gray and cracked. Blue veins showed clearly. It was positively beside itself with excitement at the prospect of getting to me, and it stretched its thin arm through the hole every so often, fingers grasping at me. The long claws took up almost all of my cell as they grabbed at me. One metallic claw brushed my skin, leaving a small cut. I curled up tighter and whimpered softly.

Now the thing was gnawing at the stone with an enormous mouth that seemed to unhinge with each bite. It was close to fitting its entire body through. It reached out with both arms, desperately trying to reach me. One hand caught hold of my ankle, and I shrieked.

At the sound, the slot in my door slid open, and the bloodshot eyes peered through. they widened.

"Eto jahana!" someone shouted. There was a jingling noise, and the door slid open with a clank. There stood a man in a thick fur coat with a Russian hat standing in the doorway. He held a rifle in his gloved hands, and his thick beard reached down to his chest. "Octahonse!" he yelled. Without a second's hesitation, I sprung up and ducked under the man's arm. Despite my fatigue, I sprinted like never before down the thin hall, lined with cells. The man had turned to stop me, but at that moment the creature had finally made it through the hole, and had leapt onto the guard. There was a squelching noise as its metal claws tore through the flesh on the guard's chest. His screams echoed down the hallway after me.

I ran blindly, my breathing coming in short, ragged gasps. I glanced back, and saw the beast in the light. It was bone thin, its arms more than double the length of its body. It was hunched over the guard's body, bony shoulder blades jutting out as it crouched over him. Its head was round and smooth except for a crack in the top, through which a twisted horn grew. Its eyes were glowing bright yellow, sunken into its head, tiny and pig-like. Its gaping mouth lowered to the body, and I turned away, retching.

Finally, I found a door that lead outside. Without a moment's hesitation I burst through it, tumbling into a thick snow drift. All around me was white chaos, and I couldn't see an inch in front of me.

The blizzard tore through me. My frail, naked body couldn't take the bitter cold, and I shivered too violently to move. I collapsed into the snow, whiteness swirling above me. I felt the weight of darkness pressing in on me like a thousand warm, fluffy pillows. I hadn't lay down on a pillow for ages.

"Go to the pillows," I said to myself. "Pillows are very comfortable." My vision began to go dark around the edges. The storm around me grew muted, and slowly faded away.

And then there were pillows.

And then there was nothing.

friedrice00
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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 24th, 2010 @ 11:08 PM

Nightlight

A little princess nightlight dimly lit the bedroom. Next to the door was a line of shelves along the wall, each displaying dolls eerily silhouetted by the nightlight. There was a window, but a tree prevented any moonlight from entering into the room.

Lying in bed, a young girl clutched her teddy bear. She lay on her side facing her dolls, her blanket covering her up to her nose. Her eyes were wide, peeled to the contour of the dolls. "Brownie," she whispered to her stuffed bear, "do you remember all their names? There's Kitty... Leslie... Alice-"

There was a sharp movement on the dark floor, and the girl's entire attention diverted to the scene. From the crack of the bottom of her bed, the profile of a hand crept along the carpet; its wrist hunched in the air and fingers sprawled out like a curved tree root digging into the earth. Slowly, the silhouette of an entire arm outstretched from underneath the bed, the thin fingers smoothly slinking along the floor. There was a pause as the arched hand became motionless.

The little girl shook, and everything else in the room became obsolete. The only thing that existed was the mysterious arm that crept along her bedside floor. And once again the hand began to move. The arm curved upward, twisted at the wrist, and the fingers reached upward. Just as the fingers felt along the bedspread, the girl let out a high-pitched scream and quickly cowered along the back wall- Brownie still squeezed between her arms.

The bedroom door opened, and the lamp on the dresser was flicked on. Tears dripped down the girl's flushed-red cheeks. Staring back at her petrified face was her father- a tall man with horn-rimmed glasses. "What happened?" he asked, as he shut the door and rushed over to his daughter.

She tried to reply, but all that came out was a squeak; her lower jaw began to quiver while fresh tears began to stream down her delicate face again. The hand had vanished.

Sitting on the bed, her father gently rubbed her back as she sobbed. "There, there. No need to cry- you had another bad dream?" The girl rested her head on his shoulder, staring intently at the crack at the bottom of the bed; she didn't reply.

Her father put his arm around her shoulders and hugged her. "Look, I know it has been tough since your mother left, but you need to face your fears. You can't sleep in my bed every time you have a scary dream. I love you, but there are some things you just got to get over by yourself. I can't keep coming in here every night."

Again the girl kept quiet; she opened her mouth to talk, but new tears crept down her face, and she began to shake. Still, she just stared at the crack at the bottom of her bed.

Following her gaze, the father smiled. "Did something scare you from underneath the bed?"

The girl vaguely nodded.

"I'll tell you what," the father spoke again, "I'll check underneath and make sure that no nasties will get you tonight. How does that sound?"

Again the girl didn't respond, but she just clutched Brownie to her chest. She sat straight up on the bed watching as her father knelt down on the floor. He winked at her, and then ducked his head beneath. His daughter held her breath.

A deep groan penetrated the silence of the room, and the father fell backwards from where he knelt. Jagged streaks of blood tore into his forehead- the rest of his face a bloody chasm. His skin shredded along the perimeter, and his eyes, half his nose, and upper-mouth were cleanly clawed out; the dark-red liquid simply flowing from the hole in the front of his head. From where his body landed, the bloody wetness soaked into the carpet.

The girl stood paralyzed for a second- her face a reflection of fear and repulsion. Her throat and stomach tensed, and she fell to her knees, vomiting on the floor. She struggled to stand, the room becoming half black as her consciousness began to give way. The fear kept her eyes open, and she stumbled over to the door, which wouldn't budge open; her unbearable cries equal to the unbearable scene. She pounded on the door to no avail, and had no choice but to eventually face the horror of her room. She turned around. The lamp and nightlight were still on and vividly lighted the abhorrence. Her father remained a bloody, motionless wreck on the floor, and beside him was the arm, which continued to arch and creep along the floor. It was pale and bony, and there was a sharp blood-tipped claw at the end of each finger.

friedrice00
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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 24th, 2010 @ 11:10 PM

Nightlight (cont.)

For an indefinite amount of time, the girl sat with Brownie- her back against the door- and finally the hand recoiled back underneath the bed. The girl shook violently and curiously lay down on her side looking underneath, but she only saw blackness. Picking up a rubber ball from inside her toy-chest beneath the shelves, she slowly rolled the ball beneath the bed. For a few seconds the air was tense, and then the ball was spit out from the crack, the rubber shredded and mangled.

A few minutes passed, and the girl nervously sat; the room was still and silent. At last she decided what to do. At first hesitant to move, the girl then searched deep inside her toy-chest and pulled out a red jump-rope, after which she picked up Brownie and her red blanket off the floor. Then she wrapped an end of the jump-rope to the bear and securely tied it in a knot.

"I'm sorry I have to do this Brownie." She whispered to him, and she gave her stuffed toy a long hug. Holding firmly onto the other end of the rope, the girl tossed Brownie at the bed. Almost immediately the hand reemerged and grabbed the bear.

The hand tugged hard on the end of the rope; its strength about equal to that of the girl's who also pulled with all her might. Both eagerly pulled, the little girl straining- her face and neck turning red. She felt herself begin to be pulled forward, slowly nearing the unknown owner of the hand beneath the bed. The girl was dragged halfway between the door and hand, and determined not to lose, she gave one final powerful tug. The red plastic binding attached to the jump-rope exploded, and plastic fragments littered the floor. In a swift movement, whatever was under the bed was pulled outward into the room's light.

A small, pale figure fell before the girl- about equal to the girl's height. Its face was narrowed like a dogs, but it resembled a skinny new-born fetus, curled-up on the bedroom floor. Slowly, the creature straightened up its back and stretched out its bony arms- its claws looking even more razor-like. The monster contorted its back, wriggling like a bug, trying to stand up. And then its eyes met the girl's terrified gaze. Its eyes narrowed up to hers, and the monster opened its mouth displaying four rows of sharp teeth. With an inhuman shriek the creature lunged forward, but the girl quickly threw her blanket over its entire body. The monster quickly hastened about, shrieking due to its blindness. The girl cowered backwards against the door once more- her eyes wide as she trembled. Eventually the creature ran into the dresser causing the lamp to fall, crashing on top of it.

Once again the room became dark except for the princess nightlight. Silhouettes of the girl's toys and furniture once more crept up, and the movement beneath the blanket ceased after the lamp had fallen.

Warily, the girl inched toward the blanket which hid the monster underneath. She stood before it and remained frozen. Slowly, the little girl reached down to remove the blanket from the creature's body; her hand viciously shaking. Her small fingers gripped the center of the red covering, and she pulled upward. The raised blanket revealed the body bit by bit.

Once fully unveiled, the pale monster pounced on top of the girl, causing her to slam into the wall; the entire room shook from the powerful blow. Once more the creature bared its pointy teeth- its rancid breath upon her neck. There was then a sudden creaking from up above.

Each shelf that neatly presented the girl's dolls began to fall rapidly, and the boards crashed one by one atop the monster's head. It stood dazed for a moment, its frail but strong body trying to regain its composure. Thinking fast, the girl used all her strength to pick up one of the fallen boards, and she swung the shelf hitting the creature square in the head. With a sickening crack, the creature fell to the floor bleeding from its scalp. The girl slid down the wall to a sitting position; her face expressionless to the entire scene. She looked around the room.

The girl's father remained bleeding on her bedroom floor- dead. Brownie lay next to the bed, his body dismembered and surrounded by white stuffing. All of her dolls rested on the ground around her; their beady eyes staring upward. The girl stood up, pulled the nightlight out from the socket, and waited for the sun to rise.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 25th, 2010 @ 07:14 AM

I guess you could call this surreal horror, or absurdist horror. Or, well, I'm not exactly sure. But one thing I am sure of is that the bizarre grammar and sentence structures were all intentional.

THE MAN IN THE JAR

Doubt. Do this. Don't do this. Believe in miracles. Don't. Doubt. Dream. Believe. Man in the jar get some water floating words spoken in fish suspended in bubbles rising, your last breath. And the bubbles say "I" "better" "knew" "thought" "you" and "I". In cartoon bubbles they follow a logical progression: "I thought I knew you better." I thought I knew you better than I knew the man in the jar spitting furious foam words that jut out his curled circus mouth in an eclectic electric fashion when he said "maerd a ni uoy wenk ecno I", in the mirror of the glass jar within his voice read: "I once knew you in a dream". I once dreamed of you, I once dreamed of the man in the jar and he sat floating upside down in the water and his own waste and in his chest was embedded a television which displayed a man's face, the volume stuck on maximum, the water warbling his words, and he said something like "I gard berdead I dead end no you", his face big and ugly and folded in upon itself like a baby, and the subtitles read "I can't pretend I didn't know you," and I can't. Doubt. Do this. Believe. Pretend. Man in the jar mirror in his hand looks at his face, as the bubbles rise, cry, cry, high, why, die. And the face that I see is my own.


READ: "A Fear of Great Heights" and other forthcoming adventures right HERE
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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 25th, 2010 @ 09:48 AM

Upon a Fearful Summons

It's midnight. The doors are locked. The curtains are drawn. The house is empty. The only light is the soft glow of the computer screen as I write this message.

They're coming; I know they are.

I try to sleep but all I hear is the sound of beating drums. Every time I close my eyes I fear that it's the last I'll ever see of the world. I feel as if someone has take sandpaper to my heart, and they'll just keep scratching away until there's nothing left inside of me.

"Just one more breath. Come on. One more."

I don't know how long I've been here. Minutes turn to hours. Hours turn to days. Days turn to weeks. I don't know how long it's going to take, but I know what's coming.

The sound is getting louder. At first I could barely notice it; just a soft beat in the background of an empty room, like a ticking clock. They've never believed me. "I can't hear anything," they'd say. Well, I could hear it. I still hear it. It's not going away. They're almost here.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

I haven't slept in days. I can barely eat. My eyes are bloodshot. My mouth is dry. I can barely lift my fingers. I feel as if I am about to collapse at any second, but I know I won't. I can't. The moment I close my eyes I'm gone. I know it.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

I can hear them outside. Shuffling. Murmuring. The sound is almost deafening to my ears. I cannot take much more of this. This is the end, I'm sure.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

The sound stops. It's quiet. All I can hear is the soft hum of my laptop. This is it. I know it.

Ding-dong.

My doorbell rings.

I'm done. I cannot take anymore. I stand up slowly and begin my first step towards the door, taking my laptop with me. The floor creaks under my weight. I'm reminded of an inmate walking the green mile. I hold my breath as I approach the door. My hand slowly reaches out.

Click.

The door flies open. I am greeted by the visages of a thousand angry street sharks. Half of them are on motorcycles. The other half are performing elaborate dance routines from such popular Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals as Cats and Evita. I hear one sing Common People in the voice of James Taylor. Two are playing catch with the ghost of Kublai Khan.

"Hello," they say in unison. "So good of you to join us."

I turn around, and notice a mirror. In the mirror I see a face staring back at me. It is not my face, but the face of David Bowie from the movie Labyrinth. The floor opens up, and I fall through the earth. I see nothing but darkness. A voice calls me by name and I wake up.

I'm in my room, sitting upright in my bed. It was all a dream. It's morning. My curtains are open. The sun is out. The birds are singing. It's a beautiful day. I sigh, and fall back on my pillow.

"What a strange dream," I think. "At least it's over."

I wake up, and it isn't a dream. The titular creature from the movie Pumpkinhead is staring at me, its gaze unmoving. My hands are tied. I try to scream but I have no mouth. I try to tell them I'm popular on the Internet but they cannot hear my voiceless voice.

The world pans upward, and it was all in a snow globe. An autistic boy stares at it. His pupils turn black and he lets out a shriek.

Another autistic boy wakes up. It was all in his head. He was in a coma, and in his nightmares he dreamed of me. I was the doctor. I wink at him and walk out of the room, clutching my clipboard. As I walk through the door, a mist creeps in.

And you were the serial killer.


Aigis - Putting the 'ai' back in 'Aigis'.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 25th, 2010 @ 05:56 PM

this story is actually a recuring dream i had. i edited some parts i thought too weird or too hard for me to explain but in general this is the full story.

The Strange Monastery
As I fly high through the mountain ranges of Strange, a familiar site greets my eyes. That strange monastery, nestled between the jet black mountains that dominate the area, is coming into view. As I drop down on the outskirts of this abandoned looking structure, cobble stones under my feet, the sky has shifted to the dead yellow hue that I have become accustomed to in this dreary land. Dead yellow, like a man whose funeral is a week old and no amount of make-up can change the color of decomposition to his skin.
To gaze upon the monastery itself, is likened to looking at ancient Grecian temples crossed with architecture from Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Masque of Red Death'. The walls are lined with many statues and each statue has an arch above it. The walls that hold the statues also carry extensive vine growth, giving some of the statues a nice hair piece. Yet if the growth was cut back the each figure would show their own personal flavor. One is a mirror image of Da Vinci's David statue, while just beside it is grotesque depiction of a man being split in half by a beast that looks like an ogre from sci-fi tales. The ogre's hand is buried deep into the poor human's chest with a face that looks more like he is searching for something rather than "I'm hungry". The ground is an assortment of grey cobblestones that form a road looking formation, leading me to the monastery. Yet to drive on this road, any wheel or animal's foot would break due to the severe rise and fall of the cobble stones. There is no roof to speak of on the monastery and the shape of the building is a perfect square with rooms that are divided evenly into nine rooms. Each of the rooms has nothing special about them except one in the back of the monastery.
I enter the building with caution. The want not to be seen by the local creatures is over powering. I would call them human but they all stand in a vulture-style hunch that seems unnatural for a human to stand. Plus they show nothing that looks like skin just a magnitude of black cloth that takes the shape of a monk's robe. They are all wearing masks. Masks that are half covered by a strange man-made shadow, so that any newcomer couldn't give full description. Upon entering, they all stop whatever they were doing and crane out their necks (how ungodly long their necks are) to check on this new arrival just to go back to their workings. The creatures group together in packs of seven or eight but no more and no less. They seem to have no desire to been noticed as well, as if the mysterious thing they talk about or work on is top secret. I move on. The further you go, the more you would notice that the creature's numbers begin to diminish. The last room is almost untouched, like very few creatures would enter it.
This room has a very ominous feel. It's as if God himself gave the entity that lives here this place to keep him away from his other cherished creation. It whispers of death and regret, so thick that each movement becomes a fight. From this room, there is a good view of the black mountains I flew over earlier. The black mountains seem to bend to me not to bow but observe as I walk to my unwanted doom. I look away just in time to see the very beacon of woe the fills this room so effectively. A throne. Not just any throne though. It is a golden throne, shaped into eagle claws, grasping and digging it's claws into the skin and bowels of some poor soul, for arm rest. The cushions are a dark leathery red, with ancient text sown deeply into each available inch. The head of the chair is like the sun with light-beams sticking out of the top like war time pikes. In the middle of sun is a sideways eye sleeping in blissful slumber, for it isn't needed nor is it working at the moment. As on the cushions, the strange text is written in neat vertical columns in the center of the sun. At the base of the chair, is a statue of a man lying flat on his stomach, to look as if he was crushed trying to keep up the immense weight of throne up.
The chamber all of sudden stops its mournful whispering to give way to the sound of footsteps. The eye snaps open and displays the red and purple iris; it searches around the room and then rests on me. I feel such deep hate pouring out of that eye as it watches me. Without warning the chair somehow emits a screech that almost bust my ears. I try to put my hands up to cover my ears, but I have black wings instead of hands. I turn to fly out of this hell, but he sees. The king of this place, clothes blacker than night itself, comes in. He has no face. He needs no face, as his void looks at me. His message is very clear: this is my final mistake. I try to cry out, but all I can utter is nevermore.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 26th, 2010 @ 02:51 PM

Can You See It?

It's always there. Just out of sight, beyond the corner of my eye. I cannot escape it. No matter where I go, what I do, I can feel it, watching me, mocking me, tormenting me. It's here now. Just there. I can sense it. Others can walk, oblivious to its existence, unaware of its presence. But not me. I exist under a blanket of fear and paranoia. It is all that I have ever known. For as long as I can remember I have been forced to live with its existence, and over the years it grew stronger. It has waited patiently for its opportunity, and the time has come.

It is close now. I can almost touch it. It's coming for me. And it will come for you.


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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 27th, 2010 @ 07:44 AM

Gift of Nature

Everyday I sit here in my torn, dull chair and stare into the pixilated light of my computer screen. The blinds on my window are always closed, for I have no reason to associate myself with the outside world more than I need to. I find joy and satisfaction from opening my laptop, curling my hands against the smooth, plastic surface of my computer mouse. The world of the Internet is greater than the reality of where I live. I find no joy in talking to the pathetic morons that walk my neighborhood. They are all fucking idiots, every single one of them. The very aura that perpetuates the existence of humanity seems to grow colder, dumber, and more arrogant as time progresses through my seemingly nonexistent life. Ironically, I must force myself out of the warm, inviting world of isolation and make myself presentable for these beings in order to work for them at the place that I must refer to as, "my job". The red glow from my alarm clock stares into my baggy eyes. I head out my door, get into my car, and go into the reality I am forced to live in.

I drive down the open road, watching the trees pass by in a blur of color. Nature has always called out to me, pushing me forward in life, even as I feel nothing but pure emptiness in my heart. It is the only thing that keeps me going. Sometimes I find myself stepping outside to enjoy the sky for a small, relaxing escape. When all is quiet, I go out into the night and walk past the tiny streaks from street lights that paint its strange shadows. Every since I was a little girl, I have looked up into the stars and gazed upon them. The twinkling balls of white cluster together, forming a never-ending universe of bewilderment and chaos. They sit so still in the quiet sky, yet far away on a distant world they may not be there. Their forms travel across the universe, past all of its wonder, and look into my eyes. They smile at me and caress my body. I see them as they see me, and for an instant I am one with the stars.

I like to close my eyes and fly off ahead into the milky shadows. They carry me into their arms, and I watch as the earth below me gets smaller and smaller until it is but a marble in the abyss of the unknown. I float in a never-ending picture of twisting light and forms that piece together everything that once was and will be. They sit, undiscovered, unlooked upon by any eye, untouched by any soul, forgotten and left behind in the dust of space. I reach my hand out and try to hold them against my weak body, but cannot. I am trapped here, inside these bars, looking out upon the stars that confuse my spirits. I wish I could fly.

A tear rolls down my cheek, and I pull in front of the bricked building where I work. I walk through the annoying, automatic doors and am immediately greeted at the register with the start of a conversation from some stranger whom I have no regard for whatsoever. She talks about how it is her grandson's birthday. I don't give a flying fuck. Take your fucking bags and leave. Stop talking. I force a smile on my face and sigh as she walks out the door. Don't get me wrong; I have tried to enjoy these people. I have tried to enjoy my job. I have tried to love. I have tried to like, even. Everything has seemed to decrease down to an immense feeling of annoyance, however, and I hate. I hate the snotty customers who walk in and overwhelm me with their massive, egotistical thoughts, paying with hundred dollar bills and talking about traveling to Rome for the weekend. I hate the drunk customers who slur their words together and spit on the counter, making it impossible for me to understand anything they say. I hate the foreign customers who speak terrible, broken English. I hate the elderly people who are half deaf, making a loud smacking noise with their gums as they talk. I hate my boss, my boss's wife, the horrid, shrill noise of the telephone ringing, and drivers who come in and talk about rubbish. The flickering light of the ceiling screams at me when I try to concentrate. The workers have nothing in common with me. The bathrooms here are disgusting. There are no windows. The air smells like shit.

I stare at my shaking fists. Everything goes black. The world turns around me. The streets outside become covered with a thick, musky blood. Black spiders stretch themselves towards the sky, and begin to devour the essence of everything around me. Buildings float in the air, their boards and bricks bursting into the pitch, black abyss below. Orbs of darkness engulfed the sun. A black hole of purple fire emerges within the earth and devours everything, sucking it into a puddle of black gunk and terror. Screeching noises pour into my ears as the ground shakes below me. Pillars of dead bodies shoot from the ground and surround me. The wonderful witch arrives and begins to destroy me. I fall.

White branches excel themselves upwards, downwards, leftwards, rightwards, and every wards I can describe. Little bugs crawl through the streams of grey and stare at me. I am not welcomed with a glorified hello. I am judged with negative screams and corruption. They jump off their branches, and begin to tackle me to the ground. My eyes melt underneath their acid. My face rips apart from their teeth. Millions of tiny saws begin to chop away at my body as seven billion eyes watch in delightfulness. They laugh at me as I sink into the abyss. I am helpless in their grasps, and they love every moment of it. They love to whisper things into my ear. They enjoy me dead. "Where is your God now?" "The world doesn't need you" "You are worthless" "You will never amount to anything" "Slit your wrists and spray the walls with your blood!" "DIE" "FUCK OFF" "YOU ARE PATHETIC" "YOU ARE WEAK" "YOU WILL NEVER FIND LOVE" "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAA-"

"Excuse me, but I have a question abou-" a man in front of me says. I lift my head up and scream. I grab a pair of scissors and stab him in the face. His eyes close as the blood spits out of his forehead, spraying my body with a mist of red. He falls backwards with the lines of thick muck and collapses with it against the hard floor. A long exasperated breath escapes his throat as he slowly moves his arms through the thin air. A dark, red puddle forms underneath his dying body while his eyes whiten and stare into the plain, dull color of the carpet. I always hated the carpet. Its bland, unexciting colors make me want to barf. The fresh coat of paint that now covered it was a large improvement. I breathe heavily and grind my teeth together. I look up as sweat rolls down my forehead. I hold onto the counter and laugh. For once, I finally feel fucking happy. I feel so amazing. I feel so powerful. I swish my body around, staring at two people who were approaching the register.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 27th, 2010 @ 07:46 AM

Gift of Nature (Pt 2)
I jump over the counter and run at them. Their shocked expressions please me. I rip a metal shelf holding a few books beside me and raise it into the air. The woman stares at the object as it comes crashing down upon her skull. She flies backwards and smashes her head against a copier, sliding her body against it and onto the floor. Blood drips off of the shelf as I swing it again. The sounds of crunching mixed with the yells from people around me are wonderful. I smash her head in. A sharp pain shoots into my back. I spin around furiously to stare into the frightened eyes of a woman. I swing at her with my shelf and knock her to the ground. I reach for my back to find a sharp pencil inside of it. I yell and launch at her with it. It goes through her eye, and snaps in half. She screams like nothing I have ever heard before. I hear her horrible pain and smile as she curls up on the floor, rolling around like a dog. "You like that don't you! YOU LIKE THAT DON'T YOU FUCKER. You enjoy the pain huh? You want more? I'll fucking stab you until you're dead!" I say this as I drop the shelf and fall to my knees, grabbing the pencil and stabbing her face over and over. I raise the broken pencil towards the ceiling and force it into her cheeks. Blood shoots into the air underneath the pale, yellow light of the room. Her neck is so easy to stab. It is so smooth and soft, like butter. I smile as the refreshing, red water splashes against my face. The liquid runs over my knees on the ground. My heart shakes my entire body. I breathe. I shiver. I sweat.

I stand up, balancing myself against the wall. I hear no more screaming. I am alone inside of the building. I feel dizzy. The room begins to spin. I slowly make my way out of the automatic doors that I came in not twenty minutes earlier. The rays of the sun blind me as I step out into the thick, city air. Shielding my face from the heat, I see people running in the distance. They all are cowards. Every single one of them is a pathetic coward. They deserve to die. They deserve to bleed. A scrawny man holding a briefcase looks at me surprised, adjusting the black glasses on his face. He doesn't understand what is going on. He is an oblivious moron. I approach him with a grin as he steps back in a startled gesture. I run and tackle him to the ground. The frames on his glasses crack against the concrete below and slide against the sidewalk as the briefcase opens up, revealing a .44 magnum inside. He rubs his head in pain and attempts to stand on his feet. "My glasses!" he yells. I quickly leap for the gun in the briefcase and aim it at his pale skin. I pull the trigger.

The gun paints the afternoon breeze with a chaotic brushstroke of fire, blood, and metal as the man's lifeless body falls against the cold concrete below. I enjoy the satisfying explosion that I cause and shoot him in the head once more, smiling ever so brightly. An elderly woman turns the corner of the building and stares at the man. I hold the gun tight in my hand and shoot her in the stomach. She closes her eyes and lets out a moan, tripping to the ground. I walk up to her and shoot her in the back three times. The sound of the gun firing is music to my ears. I laugh violently and continue pulling the trigger, but nothing else comes out. I throw it to the ground and wipe the sweet from my forehead. I stop and take a look around me. Everyone has left.

The building I have worked in these past eight years has sat on a large cliff, overlooking a beautiful valley. I never have been able to go there for my lunch breaks because my boss wouldn't allow it, nor have I been able to see it in the daylight because the sun sets by the time I get off work. I don't think anyone will care now. I walk around the building and head up the hill. The grass is so green up here. I walk for about five minutes and reach the top. I stand over the green grass, overlooking the incredible mixture of red and yellow hues that dance over the valley. The sunlight washes over the turning trees as clouds float above me. The wind blowing against my face feels so nice and calm. I look around me, and notice that I am alone. It is so peaceful. It is so quiet. I take a deep breath and lend my arms out to the wonderful isolation. I touch the air. It is great. I close my eyes and smile. This is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life. This is a feeling that I can not quite describe. I have been searching for it for so long and have finally found it. Tears fall down my face and land into the soil below as I glisten my white teeth in the sun.

The smooth wind rushes past my face as I fall into the valley. The world calls me forth, and welcomes me with cheerful arms. Tears fly behind me, disappearing and twinkling into the air. I feel no pain. I feel no suffering. I feel no depression, no sadness, no happiness, no confusion, no bewilderment, no wonderment, no feeling at all except for pure euphoria and joy. I touch the gentle hands of God, and speak to the trees. I see the earth forming, beginning with a wondrous chaotic explosion that turns from ashes to water, from water to ice, from ice to green, and from that comes everything that has ever lived and that has ever died. I see the beautiful creation of life. I see the peaceful tones of death. I smile so fiercely, and grab the dirt below as I become one with nature.

***end***

______________________________

Nature creates life.

Nature creates death.

It is its gift.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 06:53 AM

Untitled

Sitting alone in a dorm room late at night I feel as though something has happened. An eerie calm from outside and in has disrupted the usual banter and boisterous behavior of the students. Something Is wrong.

I stand from my desk wondering what the hell is going on. I begin to panic and breathe heavily. Something is wrong.

I grab my keys and phone then proceed to open the door. Still no one is around, not a stir or a whisper. Something is wrong. I open the door to the dorm common room and step into the hall.

Fluorescent lights cast a white glow down the hall. One of the tubes in a fixture is out, that section of the hall creates a weird sight. Something is wrong.

Sweat beading down my forehead I jog to the elevator and press the button to go down. The button glows red from a small LED. Something is wrong.

No gears shift, no noise from the shaft penetrates the door. Nothing is moving, the button still glows. Something is Wrong.

I step back to allow for other to get off the elevator which hasn't begun to move. My eyes wander to the walls, neutral pastels washed and distorted by fluorescent light. Something is wrong.

I decide the elevator is taking far too long and go for the stairwell. The door swings open and I begin to descend to the ground floor. The grey's and browns of the stairwell are bland and unnoticed. Something is wrong.

I am Finally on the ground floor. All the lights are on, all the doors are closed. Something is wrong.

I step through the front doors into the cool October night. The moon casts a glow over the hills creating shades of Blue and Black. A lamp post a few yards away casts a strong light down upon the cars. Something is wrong.

No Dorm lights are on in any hall, no student is wandering the lots. The moon hangs there, watching everything. Something is wrong.

My shadow is cast lightly against the pavement. It stretches out in front of me towards the lamp post. I walk into the light and stand for a moment. Something Is wrong.

I feel vulnerable under the light. surrounded on all sides by perspective blackness. I feel pressure on my chest. Something is wrong.

Now from panicked to terrified I run to the Hall, Unlock the double doors with my ID, Run down the Pass way, unlock the door and run into my room locking both doors behind me. Something is wrong.

The pressure on my chest increases. My breaths become labored and sporadic, I feel lightheaded. I Black out on the cold linoleum floor...

A warm beam of light lands upon my face. I'm awakened by the sound of students talking, birds chirping, and cars driving by. Just another college day, in another college town, with thousands of college kids. Something is wrong.

With me.

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If you enjoyed this more than you enjoyed my poem I would rather that be deleted so this becomes my official entry.

To be honest I had no idea where to go with this towards the middle and just kind of decided that it would resolve itself where it started.

These are my actual fears if you can find them.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 08:53 AM

WARNING: THIS IS LONG- PLEASE DO NOT POST UNTIL I HAVE IT ALL UP (8 POSTS!!!)

Pico's School 2: Consequences (Part 1/8)

The legs were dangling enticingly, suspended as if from the hangman's noose and awaiting death. Silently, nervously he approached, smoothly slicing through the murky depths. His sleek body left hardly a ripple on the water's surface, the prey unsuspecting. The legs were flapping, kicking spray in all directions, oblivious of the imminent danger. Soon they would be kicking blood.

Carefully he manoeuvred into position, waiting for the killer strike, a knife poised on its razor edge. The scent of his prey filled his nostrils, the water a succulent soup of sweat and smells. Still he crept closer, the moment drawing in like the tide, anticipation coursing through his body like a drug. His heart was hammering like a drum, pounding in his ears as the booming feet of death approached.

He struck, and screams filled the air.

"Bwahahahahahaha" Pico bawled as he shot to the surface of the pool. "What's up Darnell? Looks like you've seen a ghost! You've lost some colour; they'll drop you from the b'ball team if you're not careful!" He was laughing so hard he could barely get the words out, snot and tears mingling as he fought for breath between each hysterical convulsion.

After taking a moment to compose himself, Darnell managed to find his voice, still croaky following the ear shattering scream that had escaped. "That was so not cool, man. I was scared I'd kick your teeth out, you'd be an even uglier mug than you already are!"

"Yeah, course that was what you were scared of. I'm sure that was what you were wailing like a baby about." Pico chuckled. "Trying to act the hard man won't help, Nene saw it all, didn't ya babe"

Nene sat on the poolside, her massive frame perched precariously above the tepid water, a fragile egg waiting to fall from the wall. Drool slowly dripped from her chin and onto her white dress, emblazoned with the text "The Nurse Ratched Institute for depraved, delusional and dangerous children". Her once alive and vivacious eyes were now as blank and unseeing as her mind. Her once curvaceous figure was now little more than a blob.

"I just wasn't sure what you were up to, you psycho. Thought you might want some lovin' with little Darnell here... and anyway, we both know Nene hasn't seen much of anything since that giant Indian broke her window with his water fountain."

Darnell knew that mentioning that incident would turn Pico's attention from him. They didn't talk about how much things had changed since that fateful day at school all those years ago, but he knew that Pico blamed himself for what had happened to them. In particular he felt guilt at the fate of Nene, their best friend, now only useful as a windbreak. Now things were about to change again. This was the final day in the institute that had been home ever since their conviction and diagnosis. After all this was a place for children, and they would soon be turning 16.

Pico had fallen silent, the laughter choked from him as an iron grip descended on his heart. "You know bro, I think we should get inside and get our gear together. It'll take us a while packing for three, and anyway, I'm done with swimming," Darnell said, breaking the spectral calm that had descended over the pool like a blanket.

Pico didn't say a word; he simply moved to the side, dragging his pale but increasingly physical body from the water, leaving without a backwards glance. The world was weighing heavy on him, that was for sure, but Darnell couldn't help but worry that something more was bothering his friend. Helping Nene to her feet, he followed him inside.

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Pico's Journal. October 12th, 2010.

Carcass by poolside this morning, drool on bloated stomach. My friends are afraid of me, they see my true face. The institute is a gutter and the gutter is full of death and misery; when we leave we will take the death and misery with us. Whores and politicians put us here, the accumulated filth their sex and murder taught us, thinking only to save themselves. Tomorrow we will be free, and they will think we are saved souls. We are not saved.

We are broken.

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It towered above them, a black shadow in a darkening world. Crows squawked and swooped between the threatening turrets and towers, screaming for the blood of their next meal. Light flickered from the windows, shimmering ghosts in the wind looking down on the shoulders of its newest residents. There were no windows on the ground floor, only a vast wooden door covered in scratches and dents. It could have been a thousand years old, yet it looked like nothing short of a bomb could breach it. This was not a place people were supposed to leave. Alive at least.

Yet none of this was what struck fear into the hearts of the trio. Where normally you would expect even a brooding building such as this one to have a garden or even a pathway of some description skirting its crumbling walls, even if it was a garden of graves and a trail to hell itself, the sight that greeted them was like nothing they had ever seen.

Surrounding the building was an abyss of such complete blackness it might have been a reflection of the night sky... except at least the sky had bolts of lightning crashing down to brighten it. Nothing could brighten this void; only the crashing of waves far below were there to accompany you on the long plummet downwards.

And yet this was no dungeon. Nor was it a prison, though many would consider it and its brethren as such. This building was one of purest evil; the home of the devil himself. This building...

...was a school.

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"Please, I would like to welcome the newest members of our proud institution". Silence greeted this, the only sound that of the booming echoes chasing each other around the room. Students glanced at each other, none prepared to draw attention upon themselves and risk his wrath. Even the teachers had paled.

"I'm sure you will make them feel most at home here" the solitary voice continued. No speaker or microphone was necessary, even the bats in the tallest tower of the school could hear every carefully chosen syllable of this speech. "While we have all come from difficult backgrounds, we are united here under one common purpose; to make you the best that you can be. So with that in mind, I would like to introduce you to your new friends."

"Firstly we have Nene here. Step forwards please Nene". Even with this polite request the doors shook and plaster gently drifted from the ceiling like a fine powder of snow. Despite this Nene stood completely unblinking, drool pooling gently on the top of her ample chest. Unphased, the voice continued "Nene is here due to her peculiar sexual practices and a penchant for knives. I'm sure she will fit in wonderfully in our sexual deviants' cohort."

"Next we have Darnell. Step forward please." Slowly Darnell shuffled to the front of the stage, his feet feeling heavy and his heart hammering in his chest. "Darnell has a history of drug abuse, but primarily is here due to his enjoyment of watching things burn. He will be joining our pyromaniacs' cohort. Please make him feel welcome, and refrain from setting his clothes on fire..."

As Darnell quickly made a dash for the back of the stage and the wonderful sanctuary of anonymity, his best friend slowly stood and moved to centre stage.


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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 08:54 AM

Part 2/8

"And last, but by no means least, we have Pico". Gasps greeted this announcement, and were immediately smothered by shirt sleeves and in one case a hastily ingested spider. The name Pico was capable of striking fear into the hearts of even the most depraved and violent children. "I see many of you already know of the exploits of this young man. Certainly his story has been mythologised in this and many other institutions. This child will be getting exclusive membership to our most elite club; the cohort reserved only for the most deviant and dangerous individuals. He will be joining the psychopathic murderers' cohort, and I suggest most fervently that you make him feel welcome."

Every eye in the room was transfixed on the scruff of ginger hair and mask of ginger stubble framing eyes of fire, unable to turn away. Pico the vigilante was amongst them. Pico, the bringer of vengeance. Pico the murderer.

"Well that concludes morning assembly. I should remind all of you that leaving the school grounds is strictly forbidden without the accompaniment of a member of staff. Doors will be locked from 8PM to 6AM, and any student caught out of bed at night will be punished severely. These rules are in place for your own good, we wouldn't want any of you to meet with an unpleasant accident on the cliffs." At this statement a number of students shifted uncomfortably in their seats, glancing at each other nervously.

"Welcome to Overlook Rehabilitation School." These words continued to echo around the room long after the students had trooped out.

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Pico's Journal. October 13th, 2010

This school is an animal, fierce and complicated. To understand it I read its droppings, its scents, the movement of its parasites. There is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. So many deserving of retribution... so little time. Darnell is frightened. Frightened of me? Perhaps. His 'Carrie' cohort avoids me, afraid of the face of death. Nene is happy in the 'Buffalo Bill' bunch, if you can call that happy. Fear cannot touch her now. And I find myself alone in a crowd of killers. They think my being trapped in here with them funny. They laugh in the face of the devil, yet do not see his face. Little do they know...

...They are trapped in here with me.

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Days passed for the trio in the torpor of routine and regulations. Each day was split into a succession of periods, each more tedious than the last, and rarely were they given the chance to communicate with each other in their different classes, time to relax being at a premium. Time dragged between morning classes of literacy and numeracy, and then seemed to stop entirely for afternoon sessions of woodwork, bricklaying, and computer technology. Lest the students forget that this was also punishment for their past sins, the final hours of the day were spent doing 'community service' though this rarely involved any community that they could see. More often it was simply hour after hour of digging, lifting, breaking and repeating until their arms were made of jelly and their hands were so blistered they looked like bloody frog spawn.

Darnell had initially tried to keep himself to himself, but was finding that increasingly difficult as he craved the company only friends can give. It had been days since he had last spoken to Pico, who had seemingly fallen into his own world of despair. Or at least that was what he hoped the expressionless face of his best friend meant, though he was sure he occasionally caught a glimpse of fire in the back of his eyes. He had considered approaching Pico on a number of occasions, but each time something inside held him back like a leash; perhaps his own spirit of self preservation.

So instead he had tried to talk with some of his new classmates, though they were a peculiar bunch. Jack, for example, had a habit of bursting into maniacal laughter at any moment, in particular it seemed when a teacher was present. Sonia on the other hand was quiet as a lamb, her eyes sunken and skin hanging from her bones like rags. Yet at the sight of a flame her eyes lit up and glowed red as blood, and a slow smile spread over her hollow face.

The only person Darnell found any affinity with was Carl, a rangy lad a few inches taller than himself, yet with shocking blond hair and a face as white as a sheet. He had been a b'ball player in his youth, before being accused of burning down his elementary school in a fit of rage following rejection from the team for being caught with a bottle of vodka in his rucksack. He had pleaded that his alcoholic father must have put it there by mistake, but to no avail. That was little consolation to the families of the six children who, when found, were little more than blackened ash, or the school principal who committed suicide after his lax safety protocols were so brutally exposed. In Carl, Darnell found a kindred spirit; someone with their own vices and issues, but not an evil person, or one who wished harm on other people.

So it was with Carl that Darnell was talking during community service when he finally plucked up the courage to ask the one question that had burned inside him since he had set foot in Overlook.

"Who was that crazy guy who introduced us on our first morning? I mean, man was he a scary ass fucker; I've never seen anyone shout like that!" The light was fading over the cliff-top road, with the classmates busy digging a ditch to help water run off. The wind was howling like a beast from hell and the rain falling so hard it was almost drawing blood, the occasional flash of lightening helping to illuminate the scene and aiding their work. Darnell almost had to shout for his friend to hear him.

"That would be the principal of this school, mate." Carl responded, a smile on his lips, but an unmistakable look of fear lurking behind his eyes. He cast a furtive glance at Mr. Norman, the only staff member present, and was relieved to see his attention was firmly on Laughing Jack. "He has many names, though most simply refer to him as 'Sir' or 'the Doctor'. I'm not even sure if he is a doctor to be honest, though you do see him with a stethoscope around his neck occasionally. See him for just as long as it takes you to flee in the opposite direction that is!"

"What's with that guy, Carl? I mean, why is everyone so shit scared of him? Sure, he's built like a fucking tank, and his voice could break down a door, but he's still just a teacher, right? I've never known kids as messed up as the ones here to be scared of anything, but nobody will talk about him..." Darnell responded in a shouted whisper, aware of the presence of their classmates and not sure how they would react to the thought of 'him'.

"There are stories about old Doc, mate; almost as many stories as there about your pal Pico!" Carl continued, his hair whipping across his face in the wind. "Some say he snacks on the fingers of children, though nobody here is missing any digits. At least nobody that wasn't missing them already. Others say he keeps a chainsaw and a mask in the closet in his office to deal with students who misbehave. I've even heard that he once took down Chuck Norris with just his little finger! Either way, he isn't to be messed with. Any student that does disappears without a trace."

Darnell had actually started to smile for the first time in days at the crazy rumours about the principal, but as Carl finished his face fell into a precipice of despair. "D... disappear? What the hell do you mean disappear? This is a school isn't it? Sure, it is creepy as fuck with all those empty corridors, cobwebs and weird animal heads stuck on the walls, but it is still just a school!" His voice was beginning to rise into frenzy, and some of his classmates were turning their heads towards them. "Kids can't just disappear, that is fucked up man! Just... fucked up!"


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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 08:56 AM

Part 3/8

"I suggest you take it up with the Doctor if you have a problem, or do what the rest of us do," a quiet voice whispered behind him. "Keep your head down and keep out of trouble."

Darnell turned to find Sonia shaking behind him, tears silently pouring down her narrow face. Never had he seen such fear in the eyes of another person, like those of a deer struck down by a car, the life slowly ebbing from them with each passing heart beat. Terror stilled his heart with a vice like grip.

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Pico's Journal. October 19th 2010

A fat boy mocks me, blubber wobbling with his cheeks. Chris, his name. Chris the cannibal. That rolling flab all that is left of his family, butchered by his greed. Disgusting. I'd have ended him there and then had he not been summoned by the principal. A more fitting punishment, perhaps, awaits him.

Fear touched him as he left. Seems the principal is more than just King of the Vermin. He intrigues me. What sort of man wishes to rule festering waste such as this? A man like me? Interesting thought. Does he think himself safe on his pedestal? It is time for new blood. Fresh blood.

It begins.

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Darnell awoke to the echo of screams, chased down the dusty corridors by the cackles of the crows, their hunger finally sated. Curiosity momentarily overcame the ever present sense of dread that lurked in his bones. Quickly he threw on a shirt and his sneakers, shaking Carl awake in the process. Together they went in search of the screams and wails still rattling through the building, the shackles of fear lifted by the heat of anticipation.

The sound was coming from outside on the main walkway up to the school, where a young woman tasked with delivering milk to the establishment was crumpled on the ground, sobs still shaking her body as if possessed by a demon. It took the pair only a moment to decide that the rules about straying from the school without an escort didn't apply when a young lady was in such distress. As Darnell and Carl approached she looked up, tears pouring down her cheeks in a cascade, her eyes betraying the horror inside. Silently she pointed over their shoulders, her eyes widening as terror gnawed at her soul. Without a word she collapsed in a dead faint, her body protecting her fragile mind from itself.

Slowly Darnell and Carl turned, hearts pounding in unison.

The sight that first greeted them was a whirling storm of black and feathers. Dozens of shadowy figures streaked through the sky, fighting and clawing to get to their prize. Still more lined the rooftops of the building, some waiting for their chance, others already satisfied. A hundred shining eyes stared down at the pair as if daring them to steal what was theirs, willing them to try. There was always room for a second course.

The couple weren't looking at the birds though. Their eyes were riveted on the source of their cackling delight.

Suspended between two of the ancient building's seemingly medieval towers was a figure, his decency only covered by the blood. His hands had been tied to the parapet, leaving his body and legs dangling in the form of the crucifix. What was left of him anyway. The crows had done an admirable job of ripping and tearing his flesh to bloody ribbons. Barely an inch of him lay untouched. One crow was busily pecking at his empty eye sockets, trying to pull out what little remained of viscous fluid that were his eyes. Another cackled happily as it tore away his genitals, fighting its brethren as it made for a perch on which it could consume them. A third was pulling at his trailing intestines, unraveling like a ball of string.

His intestines. It was clear to Darnell that the gaping gash in his body was created by no crow. The poor soul's body had been ripped apart from throat to navel, seemingly with incredible ease. His ribs had visibly been torn apart, exposing his once beating heart in its now silent alcove. It was only a mild relief to know that he had been long dead before the feast had begun. There was no doubt in Darnell's mind that he had still been alive as he was ripped apart, able to see the final sobbing thumps as his heart beat its last.

Carl has already turned away, his face paling to a nauseous shade of green, but Darnell couldn't tear his eyes away. A number of other students had appeared and were now staring along with him at the ghastly scene above, a flock of sheep staring down the growling fox. Only the crows had the audacity to break the silence. Finally a huddled group of teachers emerged from the giant wooden doors, ushering everyone to come back inside and leave the birds to their work. One by one the students returned to their dormitories, Darnell trailing slowly behind them. Who could have done such a thing? He only knew of one person, and a more terrifying thought he could not imagine.

Chris the cannibal was no more, his life of gluttony a hefty meal for the crows of Overlook.

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Pico's Journal. October 20th 2010.

Blood on my hands. It feels good. Too long since the slime of this world met the reaper. They will fear his face now. Fat and blubber under finger nails, sticky and putrid as its owner. Funny boy won't be laughing anymore.

Still, there is something wrong here. A blacker darkness than the filth that breaths and crawls in this place. He is behind it, the Doctor. Thinks himself untouchable. His throne will be trembling now; fear will be touching the beast. Fear of consequences.

Fear of me.

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"I am proud of how we are all pulling together at this difficult time", the vast booming voice belted out across the school hall. Cobwebs were physically trembling in the corners under such an auditory assault. Eyes were once more fixated on the giant figure at centre stage, his face shrouded in the shadows that haunted the building even on the brightest of days. The only thing glimmering in the morning light was the stethoscope slung around his tree trunk of a neck. "We have all suffered a terrible shock at the loss of poor Christopher, and I fully understand if any of you wish to seek solace or guidance by coming to speak to me. After all we aren't all accustomed to death here, despite our interesting backgrounds."

Pico sensed that the eyes of the Doctor had momentarily paused on him at the climax of this speech, though he couldn't be certain. He wasn't alone in feeling this though, as other eyes took sneaky glances in his direction, quickly darting away like frightened kittens lest he catch them in the act. Pico's eyes didn't shift from staring into the shadows where the Doctor's eyes were lurking. He wondered what he was thinking; wondered if he knew or just suspected the truth; wondered if he was scared.

"Anyway, we can't dwell on such issues," the Doctor continued. "Rest assured that every effort is being made to find out how exactly this terrible tragedy came about. Some of you may be asked about your whereabouts on the night of the 19th, and I implore you to be as forthcoming as possible with any information you can give. The culprit will be found, and when they are it will be the worse for them."

"It was YOU! I know it was you! You... you... MONSTER!" A wild shriek exploded from the back of the hall. Gasps accompanied the sound of scraping chairs as every person in the room turned to catch a glimpse of the lunatic who had spoken out.


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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 08:57 AM

Part 4/8

Sonia stood alone, quivering like an autumn leaf but standing firm as every eye in the room turned to her. Her brown hair was thrown back from her face like a mane, hollow face radiant despite the fear clearly lurking in its depths. Anger welled up inside her like a drug, and fire lit her eyes. The students around her had forced their seats away in every direction, panic setting in as they pushed and shoved, desperate to distance themselves from her as if she was a ravenous lion rather than a small girl. She was on her own. Defiantly she continued to stare straight at The Doctor, challenging him to deny her accusations.

The sound of silence fell on the hall as every student held their breath. Fear was mixed with anticipation at the oncoming storm, and tension screamed through every inch of the room. Finally, just when the atmosphere felt like it might explode at any moment, the Doctor spoke...

"Young lady, you demonstrate exactly what I am talking about most beautifully. We are living under the extremes of psychological pressure today, and I am sure you are not alone in struggling to contain your emotions. While I appreciate your concern that perhaps I could have done more to ensure your safety, I am fully committed to protecting both your physical and mental well being. I invite you to come and visit me in my office at the conclusion of this assembly so that we can have a quiet discussion and I can help to put your heart at rest."

While the telling silence seemed to go on for an eternity, in reality the statement was only allowed to hang in the air for a moment. "I'm sorry to say our time is up this morning. Please do your best to make the most of your day at this tragic time, and try not to dwell on the past. Once again I remind you that my door remains open to any who wish to speak to an understanding ear. Teachers, lead the students out please".

With that the spell was broken. The room let their breath out as one, both relieved that the storm had passed and disappointed at the lack of carnage left in its wake. Sonia, still shuddering violently, was helped from the hall by one of the teachers, tears silently trickling down her cheeks and onto her blouse. Gazes remained fixated upon her, unable to tear away from one so brave and yet so fragile.

As she disappeared from sight one pair of eyes lingered on her longer than the rest, glowering from under a mop of ginger hair.

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Rumors abounded about the fate of Chris. It had quickly been discovered that he had paid a visit to The Doctor on the day of his demise, and that nobody had seen him since, alive at least. Common opinion placed the blame on the principal (dubbed, somewhat unoriginally, Doctor Death by some), though none were as vocal about it as Sonia had been. Cowards are common amongst the damned. What most of the discussion was about though was why he had chosen to display Chris to the school in such a way? What could he possibly have gained from scaring that poor girl as white as her milk? Surely he didn't feel a need to be more feared by the students, many of who struggled to even speak when his name was mentioned.

Darnell hadn't been sleeping well the last few nights. He alone in the school did not suspect The Doctor, though he hoped fervently that he was behind the gruesome murder. Certainly it wasn't impossible, but the fate of poor Chris had all the calling cards of his friend; his best friend, who he would have trusted to the ends of the Earth just a week previously. There was something wrong with Pico; he could see that darkness lurking and crawling behind his eyes. Darnell had seen that darkness before. The only words that had passed between them in the last two days had been cursory hellos, but Pico had clearly been distracted and had quickly made off in another direction, making some feeble excuse about work to be done. Carl had joked that Pico was secretly working at translating the Necronomicon into ginger. Darnell hadn't laughed.

Yet despite his suspicions, there was something else that was bothering him even more. Nagging fear had crawled up his spine like a spider and was now chewing at his mind with increasing venom, refusing to let him go.

Sonia was missing, and Darnell was terrified that she wouldn't stay missing for long.

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"Hey man, do you really think that crazy ass principal could be behind Chris's murder?" Darnell and Carl were sitting down to lunch in the cafeteria, students milling around like a flock of sheep, hunting for the elusive seats that meant they didn't have to sit next to a psychopath. As such many resorted to simply eating stood up, a succession of dominoes propped jauntily against the walls, eyes scanning the room nervously for the person who would tip their delicate balance.

"For the thousandth time mate, if the Doc did it I think he would have made more of an effort to cover it up, don't you? While I am all for a bit of gossip, everyone is just guessing about what happened. It could just as easily have been you for all I know! You're name isn't secretly Chuckie is it?" an exasperated Carl replied. This wasn't the first time this conversation had come up. "And before you say it, I don't know if it was your mate Pico either! God knows, I'd probably go on a killing spree if I was ginger too though!"

"But what about Sonia, man? Why has she not come back to class after accusing the principal? Fuck, she isn't coming back. She isn't fucking coming back". By this point Darnell was speaking in a shouted whisper, meant more for his own ears than for his friend's. Images kept whirling around in his head of Sonia's stricken body being pecked at by crows, and no matter how hard he tried he couldn't shake them off. They were like a parasite, eating away at him until there was nothing left but madness.

"Enough already! There is nothing we can do for Sonia, so there is no point worrying about her. I'm sure she is fine, just too embarrassed to come out of her hiding place. How about changing the subject? What did you think of those Lakers last night?" Carl knew that Darnell would respond to a conversation about basketball, even in his current messed up state.

"They looked ok to me" a hesitant Darnell replied, his mind still elsewhere. "I mean, this is no championship side, you know, but they still made those Nuggets look pretty pathetic last night". He was almost starting to smile by this point, recalling the game they had caught on the dorm TV through a haze of static. They might not have been able to make out the ball or players, but it was still better than no basketball! "I mean, it looked like they have a strong D this season, but I don't see them putting enough points on strong teams... I don't know. Hey man, this grub is good today!" This final sentence was smothered by a mouthful of spaghetti and meat sauce.

"You know, you're right mate. This is the best food we've had in weeks here. Maybe things are looking up after all", and with that Carl attacked his plate with fervour, wolfing the food down as if it would get up and make a break for freedom at any moment. "Though I must say, there is a strange crunch to parts of it. I wonder wh..."

"Eeeeeeeeeeekk", a squeal from across the room interrupted Carl mid-flow, his fork half way to a mouth still dribbling tomato sauce from the previous mouthful. Had he known better he would have thought the noise had come from a tall, muscle-bound kid called Dwayne, who was a former football prodigy and resident hard-nut, but he quickly banished that idea. Rumor had it that Dwayne hadn't so much as whimpered when someone had broken into his house when he was just 7 years old and slaughtered his entire family before his eyes, there was no way he would scream at a bit of hot sauce and some pasta.


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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 09:26 AM

Part 5/8

"Aaagggggghhhh!" Spinning around, Darnell was able to catch a glimpse of a large girl who had clearly been enjoying her meal with some gusto appear to choke, before she span round and fled the room, one pillow of a hand covering her mouth, the other clutching her ample stomach.

"Waaaaaaaaaahhhhh!"
"Blaaaaaaaaaarrrgghhh!"
"Uuurrrrgggghhhhhh!"
"Muuummmyyyyyyy!" (Wayne again...)

Shouts of horror and revulsion were going up all around the room now. Some students had fled, faces swamp green and ready to explode, while others had simply let the torrent loose where they sat. Fountains of vomit filled the room, cascading through the air in delicate arcs. Those attempting to escape the mayhem suddenly found the floor an ice-rink of half digested Bolognese.

"What the hell is going on?" Carl asked Darnell, shouting above the chaos of the lunch hall as students fled in all directions, some literally crawling for the exits, hands and knees caked in vomit. "This is madness!"

Darnell looked up, fighting to swallow his last mouthful of pasta as he attempted to respond. It was a shame to waste it after all. "I have no idea man. Maybe one of the big guys let a bad one off over there? Seems like a lot of fuss over nothing to me." He was still struggling to chew as he spoke, spitting flecks of sauce across the table. Carefully he removed the hard lump that was causing him so much trouble and put it down on the edge of his plate. "What you staring at man?"

Carl had suddenly become fixated on Darnell's undulating jaw. His eyes were as wide as the dinner plates in front of them, unable to tear away from his friend's last supper.

"You still hungry? Too late to blag anything off me I'm afraid, but there is plenty more going on the next table. Here, I'll grab you a plate!" Darnell reached over and grabbed a still steaming plateful, long since vacated by its puke-stricken owner.

And at last he realized what was wrong.

Sitting in the middle of the plate, wrapped gently in a nest of spaghetti like a freshly laid egg, was a single, staring eyeball. It was gently oozing grey jelly into the surrounding sauce, the dangling optic nerve gently twirled around the stricken fork. Darnell's appetite suddenly vanished as quickly as the color from his face, and together he and Carl made a dash for the lavatories, leaving their unique hors d'oeuvre to watch them flee.

A half chewed finger nail, daintily painted in red and black, was the only thing left to identify brave Sonia.

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Pico's Journal. October 24th 2010

Filthy pigs didn't enjoy their trough today. Funny, they normally enjoy feeding on the misery of others. On the blood of others. Maybe now He understands what He is dealing with. I noticed his plate was cleared. Perhaps he recognized the crop? Perhaps he enjoyed it...

Justice tasted sweet to me.

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Overlook was a much quieter place with the passing of Sonia. The lunch hall had been the only place in the school where students were able to meet up and chat with freedom during the course of the day, yet suddenly the place was deserted at mealtimes. Seemingly the school as one had lost its appetite. The building had hardly been a place of light and laughter anyway, but now people seemed completely withdrawn into their own shells; molluscs cowering from the sudden winter chill. Many students simply shuffled around staring at their own feet, terrified of any human contact at all in case they became their friend's next meal.

The Doctor had tried to allay their fears with another school announcement, insisting that the culprit would be caught and dealt with 'appropriately', but by now there wasn't a student in the school who believed him. They were certain that He was behind this, punishing poor Sonia for having the audacity to speak out against him whilst ensuring that no other student would dare to emulate her. That is, everyone was sure of this except Darnell. He still had his doubts. Pico was still behaving strangely, though he could hardly hold this against him; there wasn't a person in the school that could be considered normal. Nevertheless, there was still a nagging doubt that just couldn't be shaken off, despite Carl's best efforts, and Darnell became increasingly certain that it was his old friend that was responsible. As such he decided he couldn't pass up the opportunity when a third student went missing, once again sent to the principal's office for a minor misdemeanour.

On the night of the All Hallows' Eve Darnell and Carl crept out of their dormitory in search of Pico, determined to get to the bottom of what was going on.

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The corridors were dark, lit only by the glowering moon firing beams of shadowy light through the dusty windows. Illuminated, the drab walls almost seemed to glow with an ethereal radiance; the school really did come to life at the dead of night. Undrawn drapes flitted from side to side, blown by a wind that spent the night chasing its own tail through the hushed passageways. Spiders were busy crafting their webs, waiting in silence for their prey to slip silently into the swaying death traps. Every nook and cranny had an abundance of eyes peering out for that stray moth or fly that signalled dinner time. At least some in the school were still hungry!

Noiselessly two figures moved through this scene, not needing to speak as each knew the other's intentions. They were hunting not to satisfy their stomachs, but to quell their restless minds. Their quarry had passed through here not moments before, oblivious of his extended shadow, conveniently leaving a clear trail of dusty footprints in his wake. While he had moved with purposeful determination, the pair that trailed him moved slowly, darting from shadow to shadow in what they thought was the epitome of stealth, yet jumping at the slightest breath of air. Tension tried valiantly to restrain them, but adrenaline forced them onwards towards the inevitable confrontation.

As the pair tiptoed from the corridor, stepping lightly onto the spiral staircase that lead to the dungeons, all that remained was their breath, lingering in the air like a cold mist.

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"Psst, Carl; you hear that?" Darnell whispered, clutching his friends sleeve and bringing him to a halt. "It sounded like, I don't know, a grunt or something up ahead". His wide eyes were lit by the only source of light, a river pouring from the crack under the door ahead, but determination still coursed through him to finally put an end to whatever Pico was up to.

"Yeah, I heard it", Carl replied cautiously. "Sounded to me a bit like someone dragging a body..." this sentence hung in the air for a while, daring either one of them to dispute it. They didn't. For a while they both simply stood, unsure of how to continue. While the whole plan had been to catch Pico in the act, both had clung to the hope that he was perfectly innocent and had perhaps been heading down here to rendezvous with a girl. The fact that it might end confronting a killer had never felt like a real possibility, rather a bizarre dream. Now they were trapped in a nightmare, their limbs screaming to turn and flee, yet remaining paralysed in fear.

Finally Darnell spoke, a tremor audible in his voice "W...we have to go in there. We have to, or all this is for nothing. A...are you with me?"

"I'm with you mate", Carl replied quietly, his fear masked with a steely determination. "Just don't wimp out on me when we're in there. You know this might end in a fight, and I know he is your friend and everything, but we need to be together on this. He is... a killer..." These final words were blurted out in a rush, as if he was spitting out the most disgusting and unspeakable words he could think of.


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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 09:29 AM

Part 6/8

"Oh man, what the hell are we doing down here?" Darnell moaned, tears starting to seep from the corner's of his eyes. "What kind of fucking school has dungeons anyway? It's so fucking messed up man."

"I know mate. These chambers were designed to hold students in solitary confinement while the fuzz came to take them away. There are some seriously messed up kids here after all. Seemingly your mate is one of them; perhaps the worst of them."Carl was trying to speak in a soothing tone, but his voice kept jagging in his throat. "Fuck, time we got this over with; on three?"

"Ok, on three..." and with that Darnell clutched his friend's hand tightly, taking a deep breath as he prepared for the plunge.

"One." The tinkling sound of a dripping ceiling drifted down the corridor. One of the vandals upstairs had probably left a tap on.

"Two." Tension built in their limbs. Their lungs felt like iron as they held their breath in anticipation, awaiting the final call.

"Three!" and with that they burst as one down the corridor and through the door ahead of them.

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The sight that greeted them was one lifted from their deepest nightmares. Both stood frozen in the doorway, their momentum halted as they began to comprehend what they were seeing.

It wasn't a large room, perhaps the size of a small bedroom, with a narrow wooden bench fixed to the opposite side with large deadbolts. As such they had almost careered straight into Pico, whose red hair for once did not stand out like a beacon of flame. In fact it matched the room's décor perfectly.

Every inch of the room was smeared in coagulating blood. It dripped from the ceiling, and slid slowly down the walls in thickly flowing streams. Puddles were forming on the floor, darkening and crusting as they grew. The source of this blood was clear; Pico was clutching what remained of the feet, while the arms were chained to the opposite wall. It was plain that he had been struggling to drag the shattered corpse free of its shackles; unlocking them wasn't necessary, there was little left to restrain. What flesh there was left formed a grisly curtain over ivory bones, dangling in sheets to the floor.

"Ah, it's about time you got here ladies, fancy giving me a hand?" Pico said, a crooked smile forming on his lips. "The floor is very slippery with all this blood on it, but it should be easy with some help."

"We've caught you, you bastard", Carl shouted, though still not willing to move forward. "I fucking knew it was you all along. Drop the body and... and... put your hands up?"

"Hahahaha, what the hell are you on about blondie?" Pico chuckled, seemingly enjoying the moment. "You guys really didn't think this through, did you? Coming to apprehend a murderer without ever thinking to pick up a weapon? Fortunately for you I wasn't so stupid; here, take this and keep guard. Darnell, mate, give me a hand with this will ya?"

Carl caught the small switch blade, dumbfounded by the seemingly amiable Pico. Something didn't feel right. Why wasn't he scared? He didn't seem to have any remorse at all for what he was doing, the sick son of a bitch. What kind of killer throws away his only weapon to those there to apprehend him?

Darnell had remained silent throughout this exchange, the color completely drained from his face and seemingly trickling down his increasingly sodden trouser leg. His worst nightmares were being realized, and his conscience was trying desperately to hide in the darkest depths of his mind where the horrifying truth couldn't find him. Visibly straining against his own inner turmoil, his entire body shaking with the effort, he finally turned to confront his oldest friend.

"Pico. It's over. We've caught you red handed, and we can't let you carry on." Darnell began to grow in confidence as the certainty of what he was witnessing grew. This wasn't his friend anymore, this was a monster. Gently, not wishing to wake the beast within, he continued, "This isn't school anymore, man. These kids might be messed up in the head, but most of them aren't evil. Chris wasn't evil. Sonia wasn't evil. The only evil here is you. I'm sorry man, but I'm not going to help you move... that. Let me help you get better. Chase these demons away and come back to your friends." By this point tears had begun to slowly trickle down his cheeks, dripping from his chin and clearing a small splash amidst the blood on the floor.

Pico had stopped laughing. Carl was sure that he was about to launch himself across the room in a frenzy of teeth and ripping nails, and silently moved the knife into his right hand, ready to defend himself. But instead Pico, without a word, simply dropped the corpse's leg, gently stepped over the oozing carcass, and enveloped his friend in a bear hug. Or at least it would have been had Pico not been a good foot shorter than Darnell; instead it looked more like a child holding his father.

"You know, only a true friend would stand by me and try to help, even if they thought I was a psycho. And of course you stood by me before, all those years ago, despite the things I did to those kids. But you have it all wrong, I didn't kill this guy. I didn't kill any of them!"

"What? Of course you did, you bastard! How can you possibly think you can weasel your way out of this, when we have caught you here doing... this!" Carl shouted, unable to hold his temper any longer. There was something wrong all right, and he wasn't prepared to let it slither away. "You must see that Darnell? He's lying, relying on your trust and friendship to convince you!"

Darnell wasn't listening. Instead he was looking at Pico, hope blooming like roses in his eyes. "Is it true", he whispered. "You really didn't kill them?"

"Of course it's true!" Pico said, stepping back a broad grin on his face at the faith his friend had in him. "Here, let me explain. First though do you think you could point that knife the other way? If you don't believe me after what I have to say then I will come with you peacefully." Flustered and strangely embarrassed, a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Carl withdrew the knife, though he kept it at hand just in case.

"Now I know it looks bad, but I didn't kill this guy", Pico began, sitting himself down on the bloodied bench with a sigh. "When I arrived he was chained to that wall, his insides all over his outsides just like they are now. Exactly the same was true of Chris and Sonia. I realize you still may not believe me, it certainly does seem like a strange coincidence, but after all, how do you think I did this with just that knife, and without getting any blood on my top either?!"

"Carl, he's right!" Darnell gasped, the relief pouring out of him in waves.

"But I still don't understand! What are you doing here if you didn't kill them?" Carl was still on edge, but his guard was beginning to relax as the cast iron evidence began to melt before his eyes.

"Well, I do have a small confession to make on that front", Pico responded, the first glimmer of guilt appearing on his face. "I may not have killed them, but it was me that put Chris on the roof, and Sonia in the spaghetti." He didn't give them any time to respond to this, instead rushing on as if trying to distance himself from the unpleasant truth. "You'll have to believe me when I say it was necessary; I had to let the school know what was going on! He has been slaughtering his students and getting away with it! While I can't deny that many deserved it, this school is full of the very worst kind of filth, I couldn't let the biggest shit stain of them all escape unpunished!"


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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 09:30 AM

Part 7/8

"Who, Pico?" Darnell asked, relieved at his friend's apparent innocence, but fear creeping down his spine at the realization that the real killer remained at large.

"Yeah, what you getting at Pico" Carl parroted, still untrusting, but the truth beginning to dawn on him.

"Him, of course!" Pico shouted. "The Doctor!"

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In the end the plan of action was obvious. With three able bodies it had been easy to free the carcass and transport it across the school unseen, with Carl scouting ahead for potential trouble. As such it was less than twenty minutes later when a trio of shadowy figures entered the cavernous main hall, scurrying as fast as they could whilst carefully carrying what remained of the corpse between them.

"Quickly Darnell, grab one of those chairs by the wall." Pico shouted in a whisper, a cold sweat beginning to trickle down his brow. The only illumination in the room came from the open door, lighting the scene in shadows and giving it a macabre feel. "Carl, give me a hand putting it in position; if we don't hurry rigor mortis will make it impossible".

Darnell dashed for the corner, almost falling in his haste. Meanwhile the pair in the centre of the room fought and strained with the stiffening body, remarkably resistant considering the lack of flesh left on the bones. With the chair and body in place, the three friends stood to admire their handiwork. As such they were unaware of the movement behind them until it was too late...

With a crack the electric lights of the hall snapped on, bathing the room in a white glow. As the darkness scampered for the corners, the crime was revealed in all its glory. In the centre of the room stood three blood smeared boys; one short with flaming red hair, one tall and wiry with an untidy blond mop, and the third an African American with closely cut black curls, and a wet stain crawling down his left trouser leg. Between them was a brutally butchered corpse propped in a wooden school chair, one hand raised in a ghostly significance towards the grand stage at the far end of the hall.

And framed in the doorway was a towering figure, a glass of Chianti being gently swirled in his right hand.

"Well what do we have here, boys?" the unmistakable booming voice asked. "Three students out of bed after hours, and to compound that they seem to have done quite unspeakable things to one of their comrades. Tut, tut, what is a teacher to do with such behavior?"

"Don't play games with us, you bastard", Pico shouted, fire welling in his heart. "You did this! You are the murderer! All we are doing is warning the school about the monster in charge!" Trembling with rage, Pico began to move towards the Doctor, a carefully sharpened biro seemingly materializing out of nowhere in his clenched fist.

"Now Pico, you are jumping to some wild conclusions," the principal replied calmly, unshaken by Pico's wild outburst, but keeping a wary eye on the brandished pen. "I might not like my students; in fact I positively loathe them, but I have no reason to go slaughtering them when it is so much more fun to keep them alive!"

"Then why do they keep disappearing?" Carl was now moving forward alongside Pico, the knife held firmly, but a tell-tale tremor giving away the fear inside.

"Ah, now I can see why you might think that suspicious young Carl, but if you will let me I can explain." He was still standing firm; refusing to back away from the two students moving towards him, but for the first time an edge of panic touched his voice.

"Ok, explain!" Pico yelled, pointing the pen at the Doctor's throat, but pausing for the time being, his curiosity piqued. Stretching one arm out, his eyes still firmly locked on his quarry, he caught hold of Carl's top and held him steady. "Let's hear this, I like to hear a good story".

"There was a time when I enjoyed being a teacher", the Doctor began. "I could help the good students to be the very best people that they could be, and I could punish the bad ones who simply needed to be taught manners and how to behave like civilized human beings. My cane was feared across the state and many a night was spent wiping the blood of children from it in time for another day of consequences. As such my students were the best. They respected me, feared me, and that is how I liked it."

"But then the government decided that it was cruel to punish students in this way. My cane was taken away, and with it my power. Suddenly the children ruled the classroom, and in particular the little devils and bastards that had once feared me. My favorites were engulfed by the filth and vermin of the world, their chance at life destroyed by the selfish actions of their classmates. I became a source of ridicule, my classes a zoo, and so I was fired from my position by one of these modern age principals who think that poor behaviour is the fault of the teacher, not the students."

"I struggled for employment after this; no school wants a teacher that can't maintain control. No school except this one that is. This place gave me a chance, and I was keen to take it."

"But why on Earth would you want to come here of all places?" Darnell piped up, no longer scared, entirely entranced by this story.

"I asked myself that many times", the Doctor continued, his rhythm unbroken by the interruption. "There is no question that this place is full of those children that I most hated, and no doubt there was part of me looking for revenge for all the hurt their brethren had caused me in the past. These students deserved punishment; every last one of them, and I wanted to punish them. As such the night before I started here I came up with a plan."

"Yeah, to murder anyone that crossed you!" Pico growled.

"As I said before, death is too good for many of these kids," the Doctor replied, exasperated at having to repeat himself. "No, I didn't want to kill them; I wanted them to suffer, like all those talented students had suffered because of them, and at the same time regain the respect and fear that I deserve!" His voice was starting to rise, causing the windows to tremble. The body in the centre of the room quietly slid off its pedestal.

"I made this place into a living Hell!" The Doctor was shouting now, reveling in the glory of his master plan. "This school is their punishment. Every stone, every spider; this is their torment, and I am its master. They live in constant, never-ending fear. Fear of darkness; fear of each other, but most of all, fear of me! No, I don't kill my students. What I do to them is far worse."

"Then what of all those students that have disappeared?" Carl was visibly shaken by this tirade.

"Ah, now that is my greatest triumph", the principal said with a smile. "A teacher cannot by feared unless his students truly believe that he is untouchable. He must be unchallengeable, and free to do what he wants with those students that disobey to set an example to the rest. Thanks to the government that isn't possible anymore, but it is here. My students don't fear me because of what I do; they fear me because of what they think I will do! I am not a monster, I am a myth; a legend spread by rumours and ghost stories."


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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 09:31 AM

Part 8/8

"The disappearing students; they were simply smuggled from the building under the cover of darkness and returned to whatever dump they came from. None of them were harmed in any way! That is none of them until the last few weeks, when our little vigilante here decided to take punishment into his own hands. Isn't that right Pico?"

"B...but it wasn't Pico" Darnell stammered. "We know it wasn't Pico, he was trying to expose the killer!"

"Who else could it be?" the Doctor shouted. "Don't be so easily fooled by your friend!"

"But they are so easily fooled", a voice said from the shadows.

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"I...I can't believe it", Pico stammered, his face ashen as the true horror dawned on him. "Why would you do this? How could you do this?"

"Why, let me show you..." the oh-so familiar voice replied. "Sorry about this Carl, but they did ask".

"Hey guys, I don't feel too good", Carl moaned, bending over double clutching his stomach, his breath wheezing in uneven rasps. A small trickle of blood was running from his nose in a meandering stream.

And then he exploded. Blood and organs flew in all directions, splattering across the walls and ceiling. A wide cavern was left where his chest had once been, Carl's heart still hammering behind his shattered rib cage. Pico had thrown himself to the floor under the barrage of butchered flesh. Darnell simply stood in shock. Together they witnessed the final beats of Carl's broken core, his eyes glazing over as he toppled backwards into Darnell's arms.

"No!" Darnell whispered, shock robbing him of his voice. "Carl! Come back to me Carl! You can't be dead. You can't be!" By now his voice was rising into a wail. "You... you bitch! He never hurt you!"

Finally the figure in the corner stepped forward into the light, her dress radiant in flowery pink. "He hurt me, Darnell. They all hurt me. You hurt me!" and with that Nene let out an almighty scream, her massive frame wobbling with the exertion.

"All of you! If it hadn't been for kids like Carl we wouldn't be here! We'd have been back at school. We'd have been happy! We'd have been together forever! And you Pico..." she screamed, turning towards her oldest friend, "if you hadn't murdered those kids; if you had left the police to clean up that mess, we wouldn't be here either! We wouldn't have spent all those years locked up in that loony bin, surrounded by rapists and killers!" Finally she paused, fighting to regain her breath.

"But Nene... I did it for you!" Pico cried, stunned by the wave of hate emanating from her. "Those kids deserved what they got; I thought they were going to kill us! I thought they were going to kill you! We're together aren't we? We've always been together! Isn't that what you wanted?"

"No! I want my life back! I want my best friends back! All these years have changed you Pico; you aren't the boy I fell in love with! You're as bad as those kids were! I... I'm scared of you!" Nene was almost in tears now, water welling in the corners of her eyes.

"But Nene...." Darnell said, finally plucking up the courage to speak, "what has happened to you, babe? How did you do... that... to Carl! Where did that fun-loving chick go?"

"Remember that Indian at the hospital? We used to stay up all night chatting about life. He was a wonderful man." Nene replied, a smile spreading on her lips as she recalled better times. "One night I told him about what happened at school; about how those kids were able to throw things with their minds. It was like magic, you remember? Well, he said he knew the secret. Over the subsequent nights he taught me everything he knew; he showed me how concentrating and blocking out the world around me was enough to give the mind enormous power! Power you couldn't imagine!"

"And we thought you had simply lost your mind..." Pico sighed, finally understanding, "but you were in there all along, plotting your revenge. Letting your hate mould and form into enormous psychological power."

"Exactly; and now it is time for you to face the consequences of what you did Pico. You need to be punished for your crimes; for what you did to me! The games are over; it is time for the final move!"

Much faster than her bulk should have allowed, Nene dashed for the door. She had a strange, waddling gait, yet she seemed to almost be floating on air. The instant the last remnants of pink fabric flapped out of sight, the door slammed shut with a crash that shook the ceiling, dust floating down like snow.

"Goodbye, Pico!" a faint voice shouted, and then she was gone.

Pico and Darnell looked at each other, unsure of what was going on. Why hadn't she killed them? What did she mean 'goodbye'? The Doctor, unconcerned by this, was hammering on the door with his massive fists. Despite the mighty blows, the door stood firm, locked with more than a simple key.

A crackling sound was coming from behind them, and with it a peculiar warmth, like a warm hug from your favourite grandparent, enveloped the friends. They didn't need to turn to know what was going on; finally they understood what the consequence of their crimes would be. Excitement mixed with fear in Darnell's eyes, his face glowing as the flames moved closer. The hammering on the door increased in intensity, the Doctor now screaming for help at the top of his lungs. Of course nobody came; who would save a murderer?

The school burned to the rasping screams of the crows. For them alone, actions have no consequences.

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Epilogue

Police Report: November 1st, 2010. Overlook rehabilitation school incident.

Last night, at approximately midnight, a fire of unknown cause began in the main hall of the school. Fire drills were in place, and all staff and students were able to evacuate the building safely. Fire-fighters were able to douse the fire in the early hours of the morning. No part of the building is salvageable, and the institution will have to be shut down permanently. The whereabouts of the principal, a Dr Lecter, is unknown. Two heavily burned bodies were found at the source of the fire. Dental records should enable a rapid identification, though both seemed to have undergone severe trauma before the incident; no internal organs appeared to be present.

No other bodies were found.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 05:22 PM

A Mind Numbing Enemy (Part 1/3)

Word Count: 3,804

I've always known there was a plethora of ways in which to torture a man, to drive him to madness. Most of which were physical, others were merely mental. I had never known that deadliest of these methods required no trigger.

I have met a very horrible enemy, a creature that cannot be called a man. He is no less than the epicenter of all torment, pain, horror and agony that can befall a man. He has driven many men to severe madness, to suicide even. He has tortured men in unthinkable ways. He has shown me what no man should ever see. Why, if I had the chance, I would have stabbed that bastard until he was no more than a mesh blood and bone, and I did get that chance. However, he escaped unscathed. I did not cower nor was I weak. I did not choose to pity him. I could have easily ended his tyranny along which would have ended my on going suffering.

But it's not that simple...

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**

A sudden, long shriek of pain cut through the silence which had lasted for days. I was cut in half, metaphorically speaking. The echoing cry sent waves of fear through my body. It took me moments to realize that it was I who was screaming. My conscious mind could feel no pain but my body was suffering. I felt like a mere observer of the torture, not the victim. It seemed as though my brain could no longer process such immense pain. I assumed that I had reached a euphoric state of painlessness. For a moment, I was as cool as a cucumber. I wondered how long it had been since I was trapped in this wretched place, not even acknowledging the pain anymore. More importantly, I wondered if this state I was in would last much longer.

When the pain subsided, I started to explore the place I was in. It was pitch black, not a single shred of light could be seen. I struggled to get up off the floor. As I used my hands to support myself, I noticed the floor was parquet. Was I in some kind of room? It did not seem like it, I could feel a breeze on my body. "There must be an exit", I thought to myself. I slowly started to walk forward.

The silence was chilling. The silence and the soft breeze made it feel like a horror movie. I've always had an irrational fear of the dark, whether it was simply walking the streets at night, or staying at home when the lights went out. I would always panic and try to find the nearest source of light. I found it odd how I hadn't started to panic yet in this darkness. I vaguely remembered being dragged into some room. Another fearful thought crossed my mind, "What if my captor returns?"

I did not know how I ended up there. As I walked further into the darkness, I suddenly felt a gut wrenching pain in my stomach that made me fall to the ground. My mind began to race. Fear propagated through my body at an alarming rate. It was now fight or flight. Kill, or be killed. The bastard must have come to finish me off. I found myself acting out of pure instinct, as if my body turned on its own motors. I scrambled to get up. I threw a punch halfway as I was getting up. Fortunately, the punch connected with what I assumed to be his chest. The man fell back with a loud crash on the wooden floor. I felt a sharp pain in my hand from the punch. He must have been a very muscular man.

Not wanting to lose this golden chance, I lunged on top of the man, only to fall flat on the ground. The man had disappeared. I listened for any sound of movement, there was none. I was alone once more.

He must have run away then. Did the man now fear me? That was not good. He would come prepared next time. I waited for my heart rate to slow down. It was amusing to find myself right back where I started, on the floor, feeling dazed and not completely aware of my surroundings. I got up once more, and continued to explore.

As my body calmed down and the adrenaline began to escape, the fear I dreaded began to replace it. I could feel my heart sink as I walked in the darkness, hoping to God that I was alone here. I knew I had to move quickly. The man would most likely be back soon with a weapon.

I could feel as if he was everywhere, coming for me. He could come out at any moment and stab me in the back. I braced myself for any impact. I squatted down and continued to walk crouched, hoping this way I would better conceal my location.

I was beginning to sweat now. What could he possibly want with me? Why has he locked me in such a dark area? Why didn't he just tell me his demands? I knew that waiting for the right time before laying out the demands was an interrogation tactic, but I was no soldier. I would have pleaded for my life if I had the chance.

I wondered if he was some kind of sadistic psycho. That was even worse. I dreaded physical pain. I wished he would just drug or poison me. At least I'd have a less painful death. I could feel my heart beating heavily in my chest. My stomach still hurt from the blow I took. I pushed on walking.

I stopped at what seemed to be a strange glass machine. It had wooden projections coming out from everywhere. Each projection was connected to the rest with that seemed to be a network of wooden branches. They were fine crafted and some of them had engravings on them. I could only imagine what sort of alien machine this was. It had no resemblance to anything I had ever seen, or rather, touched.

I began to fear if it was some kind of torture machine. I quickly backed away. I certainly did not want to give my captor any ideas. I still wondered how he managed to get me in this place without my knowledge. I must have been drugged.

As I backed away, my foot accidentally tapped the machine. I believe I must have tapped a switch of some kind, as the grinding of wood was heard, followed by a roaring crash that made me jolt back. I started to run away instinctively. The killer was sure to be coming back for me now.

I quickly decided the best course of action would be lie down on the floor and hope the man does not find me in this darkness. This would have been an excellent idea if I had been able to go through with it. I slammed into a wall head first. I fainted.

I woke up what seemed to be only seconds later. I jolted upwards as soon as I awoke. I was in a shallow, flowing river and it seemed to be raining. It was still pitch black. Nothing was making sense. How could I possibly have ended up there? How could the world be pitch-black? Had I gone blind? That seemed to be the only explanation. I instantly broke into tears. That bastard had taken my sense of sight. Waves of emotions surrounded me. I was covered in a layer of panic, underneath which lay fear, hopelessness and a sense of emptiness. I could no longer see the bright, vibrant world I had treasured so much.

I felt no anger towards that man. I only felt grief over my lost eye-sight. I would forever walk this world impaired, unable to fully experience it. I prayed I would not get out of this alive. Living as a traumatized blind man was un-imaginable to me. I had never even been to a hospital in all my life. I always heard about those unfortunate enough to suffer disease, broken bones, or be handicapped, but I never even imagined myself in any of these situations. I had lived a very sheltered life. It seemed as though all of these serious illnesses were in another plane of existence, they could not possibly happen to me. Now that I had been blinded, I truly felt on the verge of suicide. I merely yearned for a peaceful end now.

I could not get up now. I feared I was not yet accustomed to my disability. I simply remained in the river and lied back. I imagined what it could have been to sit like that and gaze upon the stars. I've always enjoyed nature and know that I may never be able to see such beauty again...

I started to sob quietly.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 05:25 PM

A Mind Numbing Enemy (Part 2/3)

I remembered that I hadn't had any food in days. Or was that weeks? I could not remember, but it could not possibly have been weeks, nor days either. I did not feel hungry. Perhaps my body was simply not functioning right.

I was hopeless; I was blind, lost and alone. I was sure I would die of starvation eventually. I had the sudden urge to run. I did not know where I was headed but I could not fight the urge to escape. I knew I could not escape the blindness or the starvation, but that merely fueled my spontaneous desire to run. I got up, and started to run.

I splashed wildly in the river, almost tripping over some parts. Suddenly, I stepped on what seemed to be the edge of a cliff. I prayed it would be high enough to kill me peacefully. I was going too fast to stop anyway. I simply lunged forward and lost consciousness.

I was unsure when I had woken up. But I seemed to be miraculously back in the room I was originally in. I felt dizzy. I began to fear if this room was haunted. What if that man had been a spirit all along? Had I been a bad man? I remember always trying to do what's right in my life.

Perhaps I had merely dreamt that I was in a river but that could not be. I was very much lucid, and it all felt too real. My clothes were even still wet, that could not have been it.

I lay on the parquet floor motionless. Once again, I found myself on this floor, bewildered. I did not find any amusement in the situation this time. I got up and walked once more.

I walked for a long time, bumping into more of these glass torture machines I had seen earlier. I made a point to back away very slowly from them that time. I finally arrived at some sort of metallic structure. I assumed it was a table. I was relieved to find something familiar in this land of crazy nonsense. Although what I found next made me wish I hadn't found either.

As I swept my hand across the surface, I felt some odd objects on the table. Some were hard, rough objects. Others were slimy and sticky. My hand brushed against several bones as well. I began to fear again as I gulped loudly. I realized the true horror of the situation when I found a container that held human intestines. I wanted to assume it was anything else, but considering eccentric place I was in, there was no other explanation.

My mind flashed with images of human experimentation. I wondered if this had been the remains of a failed experiment. Or worse, was it a success?

I was too frightened to move. My heart rate started to rise. I was finally able to jerk myself away from the table. I staggered back and fell to the ground. As I did so, I felt the touch of a metal object that seemed very familiar; a knife!

I had never been more relieved to see, or rather, feel a knife in my entire life. I brushed against it and heard its metal clank on the floor. I dashed towards the sound, grabbing wilding all around me. I knocked over a handful of objects as I did. I ignored everything, still wildly searching for the knife. I was beginning to lose hope.

A knife would mean so many things. It would mean protection, power and freedom. Yes, I would have had the freedom to end my life there and then.

I continued to search, crawling a bit to widen my search area. As I my hand touched nothing but the dusty wooden floor, I began to lose hope. If I didn't find it soon, I knew it would be lost. I could not possibly map out the area in my mind. I did not know if I was going right or left and I could not backtrack if I wished.

My heart began to sink deeper and deeper until my hand touched my savior. In sea of wood, I found that holy metal I sought! My heart sprang with joy and I felt a breeze of hope enter my body. It felt so amazing after what I had been through. I grabbed the knife and held it tight with both hands. Its plastic handle felt like it was radiating waves that washed all vices from my body. I held it for a long time.

I finally let go of the knife's handle and began to feel the metal. It had a very sharp edge and it was a rather large knife, ideal for my needs.

Before I decided to go, I heard footsteps accompanied by voices. The voices were shouting different things. They were getting louder and louder but I could not make out anything of what they were saying. The voices sent spasms of fear through my body that made me jump. I almost dropped the knife. I held onto it so tightly that it began to hurt. I knew it was the man that had brought me here originally, he must have gotten backup. Was I really that much trouble?

I was sure this was really "kill or be killed" this time. I ran towards the voices. I stopped moments later, confused. The voices seemed to be coming from above me. "What is this place?" I wondered again. I began to spin around in an attempt to locate the voices. The voices just kept on shifting.
All of a sudden, I could not believe what my brain had just processed. There, amongst a sea of darkness, there was light! I could see! I could actually see! It was no more than a faint white light. Perhaps I was only half blind! Perhaps there was still hope!

I did not even try to figure out where the light was coming from, I was merely relieved to see it. However, my celebration did not last long. In front of the light, there stepped three dark shadows. I knew these were the men that had been after me. I knew they were there to kill me. I had one final chance. I ran straight towards the shadows flailing my knife around wildly.

I could hear my stomps on the ground as I ran. I knocked over many odd objects, some of which left a nasty sting as I ran through them. I knew my frail body was taking more damage than it should but I felt little to no pain. I was only focused on the shadows in front as they came closer and closer. I was finally directly in front of them, running at full speed. The moment of impact had arrived.
My knife dove into one of the men, I could not tell who. Despite only lunging at one of them, I heard three shrieks. I instantly pushed the man I had impaled backwards and retracted my knife. I continued to run away, hoping to escape from the scene alive.

Images of the world around me began to materialize. I seemed to be running in some kind of maze of corridors. I turned corner after corner. I began getting that heart-sinking feeling again as the red walls around me turned white. I stopped and looked for anything that seemed like an exit of some sort. I was horrified when I looked behind me.

There stood three figures, the men I thought I had just passed. But that wasn't the horrifying part. I didn't even mind that they had somehow teleported merely a few feet away. The heavily disturbing aspect was that one of them was on the ground, face up. The one on the left of him was kneeling down. The one on the right was looking straight at me.

None of them looked human. Not by a long shot.

This was all I could take. I shrieked as loud as I could as I fell back. I struggled to get up. I pounded on the nearest wall, which to my luck, turned out to be a door. I fell into the room and closed the door immediately. It seemed to be some kind of closet.

I fell to the ground, on my knees. I began to sob again. I held the knife in front of me. The situation seemed very odd. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. The knife, my hands and arms, they all seemed foreign. The world ceased to make sense.

I knew I would suffer a horrible fate in this place. I did not wish to take any chances. I had no more hope left. I held the knife high and jerked it quickly back into my chest. I did it on mere impulse; I did not even consciously make the decision to take my life.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 05:28 PM

A Mind Numbing Enemy (Part 3/3)

I was once again split in half. My body was suffering, I was screaming in pain. But my mind felt no conscious pain. I lost control over my body. My arms and legs no longer responded to my commands. My body fell down, pressing the knife deeper into my chest. My arms were bent, still holding onto the knife. I found it odd as they still felt stretched out. I found it even stranger that I was on the verge of death and I was pondering such questions. Was that how everyone felt on their death bed? Complete painlessness?

It did not take long for my vision to start distorting. I finally blacked out. My suffering had finally come to an end although I was glad that that was not my last hour in the waking world.

********************
November 1st, 2010

Dear Mr. Marshal,

I have investigated the damages caused yesterday in our wedding hall. Our previous theories that it was merely pranksters on Halloween turned out to be very wrong. I have checked the security cameras and discovered some very troubling events.

I watched separate segments of the security recording at first. It seems as though a strange figure vaguely resembling a man had caused all of this damage. The figure acted in ways no ordinary man could or would. It often switched between walking on two legs and on four legs. It seemed to find ordinary objects quiet foreign. It bumped heavily into a chair which it then attacked. It stopped at the glass tables, knocking over the chairs that were placed on top of it and jolting away. It then rammed itself against a wall, walking slowly afterwards, as if in a daze, towards the fountain. The next parts of the video have malfunctioned, but the final segments remained in tact. The man then explored the table which had left-over food from the day before. He seemed to be frightened by it and ran away, grabbing a knife from the floor.

That was when our staff members intervened. They reported a figure rushing towards them as they entered the hall, stabbing one of them in the stomach and running away. Thankfully none of them suffered anything too severe.

We did a search of the building hours later but there was no sign of the man. I am unsure whether this was some kind of disturbed practical joke or not, but I do know that this tape should not leak out under any circumstances for the safety of the hotel's reputation.

I advise you to take caution. I for one shall not be visiting the wedding hall very frequently anymore. You will probably not agree with me when I say that may have been a legitimate spirit caught on tape. That is my report on the damages. Take it as you wish.

Oh I almost forgot. The most unsettling thing about the security video was when I re-watched the beginning. The camera was a little bit hazy on that part, but the man seemed to enter the hall through the walls. There are no doors there as far as I am concerned, except for the main doors which have remained locked until the staff arrived.

Sincerely,
Robert

*************************
I woke up in the hospital days later. I was suffering from severe bleeding and a chest wound. I was told I was found lying outside the Riverbank Hotel in a pool of my own blood. They also found traces of Diazepam in my body.

I realized how I ended up in that hotel, but I was unaware of how I was drugged. I had to laugh at the whole thing. I'm sure the guys that saw the security videos had a good scare.

I assumed my entry there was driving them crazy, I did not bother to go and explain, I probably would have been sued anyway. I knew my hotel like the back of my hand, although the events that had happened that night certainly did not go as planned. A peaceful evening quickly turned into a nightmarish disaster. I still wonder how that drug got inside me.

I was sitting on a peaceful park bench when I realized who my greatest enemy really was. The creature that has caused all this trouble was sitting right on top of me. Fear, agony, pain and all the hallucinations that happened, they had all stemmed from my mind. I believe the greatest adversity that could befall a man is to be left alone, at the mercy of his mind. To do away with this enemy would have truly ended my suffering. And yet, there was still something keeping me from doing that. I think it was those beautiful birds feeding on the bread crumbs a few inches away from me. Or perhaps it was that awe-inspiring sunrise.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 06:29 PM

Buried Dead Part One

"A hand to hold?" cried out a figure above.

Digging further into the pit of the grave, I discovered a most chilling sight, a skeleton hand poking right out of the coffin. It reached out with its dead fingers and its dead skin and the only sight of life upon which was maggots, eating away at the very last crumbs of flesh.

"Nay." I shouted above.

A brave whisper in the wind sounded out amongst the lone summer's night, thousands upon thousands of tiny little etchings of dust and mud sounded off into the night sky as I dug further with my shovel. The moon had seemingly frozen in its own shadow, taking upon itself to become a lantern of the night. At least something in this world had purpose.

Just then, a quiver and a shout came from above, my companion had mumbled.

"For whatever reason do you quimble, Weevil?"
"I do not quimble, Sampson, I am merely talking to oneself."
"Ah, the first sign of madness."
"I like to think the first sign of madness is not inquiring with your own head but it's digging your own grave."

What does he mean? I thought too loudly in my head. Was he aware of what lay under the coffin?

"May I ask, Weevil, how you come about this fact of right?"

I brushed the mud off my forehead with my muddy fingers... afterwards it became apparent it was a bad idea. For a long silence I looked out to Weevil standing above me, his shadow casting upon me. It was dark and grim and only the moon was for illuminating company.

"Your journal, Sampson."

My journal

I drew it out of my pocket, tampering the pages and muddying them up. I realized muddying may appear to be of abstract language but I still thought of thinking of thinking of another word to use. None came to bear lexicon fruit. I rattled my mind while turning these pages, that I was now dying in mud. I came to the latest entry, marking it in the same brown mark and then squinting upon the date.

NOVEMBER 23RD 1863

I'm dead..______

The very last dot of the ellipsis flowed away from the sentence as a scratch upon the paper. Dots of blood peppering it.

"So you know, Weevil?"
"I always knew."

I thought about which clues he may have been able to see. My dire odour, the ripping of my clothes, maybe the giant jagged hole where my heart once was. I tried to hide it by covering it in bacon, quipping out that it was merely a misplacement of one's meat. Maybe he even saw the...

Yeah that was probably it.

The killer, who I did not see because he took one thing from me. He took my left eye. The bastard had stolen my very sight, taking upon himself to rid me of my curse. I'm dead, yes, and somehow my best friend had found out under my very nose.

Under the vein of the night light, I looked upon Weevil's bent and down-trodden top hat. The very top was torn off and lay angled. He was with a rough face, a sort of etched complexion. As if he had been carved out of stone. I on the end looked.. well.. dead.

"So who is in the grave?" he asked, tapping his walking stick on the ground.

Did I mention he had a walking stick? He didn't need one, he just thought he would attract the females more with a disability. Empathy is the purest of arousals, although my deadness surely isn't something to feel empathetic towards. When someone dies you care for the widowers/widows, not their dead loved ones since they're... well... dead.

"I don't know, that's why I'm digging."
"So we just went from your house, to this place, because you fancied a dig?"
"No, I'm curious."
"You fancied a dig, poor squire?"
Poor squire?
"I told you we were looking for treasure."
"You're soul searching."

He was right. I was looking for myself, a part of myself. Somehow I had been killed and then awoken in my bedroom. I remember the morning of the day, upon which I was stabbed. I arose from my bed, walked down the road taking care to wave good morn' to the neighbours. The waved back and I thought nothing of it. I wandered into a little alley and then I decided to write a little note.

I'm dead tired already this morning!

The next thing I know, some masked man has stabbed me in the back and gutted out one of my eyeballs.

I continue digging, as Weevil taps on his walking stick some more. He gets impatient sometimes, and now I'm drawing deeper and deeper under the gravestone. My deathly odour seems to be impeccably balanced in... well... a grave.

I hit the coffin, finally, and I scrub away all the dirt and all the muck. There's a padlock, I smash it using the shovel and I hear a dog crying out in the distance. Weevil's head makes a turn, he gives a confused look and then picks up a nearby rock. He waits and just stands there looking out, then concentrating his eyes into a squint. The dog's sounds become louder and louder, and then he throws it.

He was always a perfect shot.

I tear away at the coffin's door, scratching away at literal self-discovery. For one last moment I look up towards the gravestone, seeing it perfectly reflected in the moonlight.

Here lies Sampson Edward Thompson
1831 - 1863
Blessed are the dead

I don't feel exactly dead.

END OF PART ONE

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 06:31 PM

Buried Dead Part Two

I tear away at the full door and reveal the innards within. They seem to pour out of the coffin as if hiding something. There, lying in my grave is the cold corpse of my very father. There's a sudden shock of the moment I sink to my knees. I hear another dog cry, and look up as Weevil prepares another rock.

My father's cold corpse lays there in complete silence. His eyes are wide open, he looks so alive.

"Boo."

I jump straight out of the coffin and into the back of the pit, hitting my head on the mud and sprawling my legs wide. I look up as my old father springs up from the coffin and laughs at me. His face is covered in white facial hair, as if the moon had already been reincarnated.

"I ask you father, why scare me so?"
"Because, Sampson, you were always the type."
"The type?"

Weevil looks down at my frightened glare.

"You're the type."

My father looks at me, turning his head.

"You look a bit pale son."
"As do you... father."
"I only woke up a few minutes ago, realized someone would be digging me out."
"You old bastard."

He smiled with a grin from ear to ear.

"What on Earth is a stirring, young boy?"
"I have no inkling of the current manner, father."

The dog finally chirps out, and Weevil smirks as he throws the rock.

He was always a show off.

"Could be witches."
"Could be."

Weevil looks down again, kneels down and holds out something.

"Let me lend you a hand."

I look at his hand for a while. There is something awkward, something mysterious. Something which sits at the back of my mind. There is something, something.

I notice it, sitting below his wrist is a shining blade. Then I recognize something, the most plainest of objects sitting right in front of me. I knew something was up, a giant ruse, a con.

Sitting right in Weevil's skull is my very eye. A green and a blue, the blue belonging to me.

My father darts a look at me, and I notice something else. His entire left arm is missing. I turn back to Weevil and notice another rock in his other hand. My father's hand.

Weevil notices that I notices, and he stands up now. There is no explanation of our continual existence. Keeping our bodies fresh for the picking? There was always something weird about him, and now it was in full formation. Weevil killed people, acquired their parts and then moved on to the next town.

Probably.

"You're exactly right, Sampson."
"How do you know what I'm thinking?"
"Your eye."

He tapped on his cheek, showing off his new prize. Then he looked down upon us, smiling. He had gone along with my curious adventure and now... it was at an end.

He shakes the rock he holds in my father's hand, and grips another shovel with the other. He stands tall above us, starting to shovel the mounds of dirt into the grave. My father quivers and shakes, falling into the grave. I try jumping back up, but he now uses the rock he so avidly showed off. I feel my skull crack open as I hit the coffin.

As the dirt clouds my vision I think upon the trivial of things...

I'm dead tired

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 29th, 2010 @ 11:52 PM

Ladies of the Night

It was a cold dark night, the past few days were chilly to say the least, but that was the way I liked it. The strangest things happen when it's dark, and when Halloween comes around. That's when we can walk amgonst the living and it'll look like a costume. The past halloween's I've descided to gather a little get together, for all the women. The past Halloween it was in a human's house, but tonight I decided to place it in a bar, that way we can all walk with them.

I was almost there, I could tell, because the neon lights were flashing on and off. The name of the bar was "Dante
& Leo" but it looked like "ante eo". I opened the door and smiled, I felt right at home. Oh yes, there were friendly faces, both new and old.

I sat down next to Miss Jason Voohras, she was a tall brunette, a giant by my piette size, I ordered a drink, I forgot what I ordered, because I was already getting stronger from the energy they were giving off.

The bartender smiled at me nervously. "Here you go, nice costume." He gulped down some air. "Is that glove real?"
I stared at him then I smiled, and I raised my glove close to his face, "Wanna find out?" I laughed like I haven't done in a long time. I drank some of the liqued and raised my glass,
"I want a toast, a toast to all the women in this bar, to the vampires, to the werewolves, to the killer fairies, the demons, the witches, and to the two zombies in the bathroom. To the ladies of the night," i drank all the liquid that in there.

"Don't forget yourself," Miss Jason Voroohas, or Kelley as she's known in some circles. I laughed, as I said

"Oh, Kelley there is only one of us. No one can replace us, they are just new members of our family. I just love metting new members of our family, don't you Kelley?"

"I don't know Lily, I just want to kill most of them."

"No wonder, you're a perfect match for you other half."

I looked at the clock and it was almost midnight, it was almost time for us to walk amongst them, to blend in so no one would ever notice the bloodbath. Not until the next day. Oh it'll be a day that they will all remember. Well, they will rememeber the act more than who did it. That won't matter. It never does.

All of a sudden Kelley rose up and said "I want another toast, to our other halves, for without them we wouldn't be able to get away with all of what we have."
"Here here"
The bartender looked even more nervous. Beads of sweat were rolling off of her forehead. I knew that look all to often. He was thinking wheather or not any of this is real. He'll find out soon enough.
He smiled at me and went to the bathroom, then I knew it was time to go out.

I stood up and smiled.
"Are we ready to go Miss Kreuger?" I went behind the bar and spilled out some vodka out on the bar, and lit a match.
All the women stood up and walked outside as the bar burned, she could hear the screams of the bartender as he was eaten alive.

"You know if you keep doing that we won't have any where else to go." Kelley whispered to me.
"Would you rather us be where our husbands are?" Kelley didn't answer.
"I didn't think so." And right on time the bar went up in flames.
"So, Lily, what is your plan?"
"To call all the women of the night, to come and scare up some frights, on this cold and lonely night. Come on over for some tricks and for some treats. To show the world that every once a year, that the other halves are here."
I smiled and I walked off with my red and green sweater, that I wore as a mini dress. I tilted my fedora and walked on.

"What the hell was that?"
"In short, it's time to play." I laughed as I walked into a group of little princesses, soon there heads would be filled with nightmares.

Happy Halloween 2010 everyone.


Hey! Look over there, a distraction! *runs away*

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 30th, 2010 @ 04:02 AM

Intangible

Part 1

When he slides into consciousness, he is only aware of the darkness sheltered by his eyelids. He recognizes it as a darkness permeated only by faint phantoms from his mind, a distinct black unlike the bright blindness when the eyelids shield an outside light. He experiences nothing else.

He initially finds nothing wrong with the situation and expectantly waits for his body to transition from sleep to consciousness. He is not without his senses-he hears his steady breathing, feels the small hairs on his feet as they run over each other-but his face tightens when he realizes what he cannot detect. Beyond his own sounds, there is silence. As he inhales through his nose, he cannot be sure he actually is taking in anything. The air holds no scent, no age, no texture. He lies with his back against the ground, but, as his fingertips scrape against the surface, he cannot sense the ground but only the growing pit in his stomach.

He sits upright suddenly, flicking his eyes open. He immediately recoils and shields his eyes with his hands as a white invades his eyesight.

Frozen, he sits, feeling nothing. Cautiously, he parts his fingers slightly. Light does not appear to flood in; instead, a white exists emotionlessly. His pupils dilate and contract waveringly. He drops his hand and grimaces. A groan slips from his mouth.

He finds himself in an endless void of white. It extends to the limits of his vision, but, unable to see any sign of a horizon, he doesn't know how far he sees. The sky and ground-if they exist-bleed seamlessly into each other. Even his shadow is nonexistent, offering him no clue to whether there is a ground or if he simply cannot comprehend his floating state. If he had not been able to see himself, he would presume this hell to be an awful blindness.

He touches his body, attempting to ascertain his existence in any manner. He feels himself but becomes aware that he has no clothes. This seems trite compared to his circumstances, but it further disarms him as his thoughts tumble into each other. First, why is he not wearing clothing? Second, what does he normally wear? Third, and most disturbing, who is he normally?

His hands come to his head to grip tufts of his short hair as he groans again. His thoughts form as a language, and he recognizes that language as English; he grasps basic concepts of logic, math, science; and he vaguely recalls bits and pieces of human history. But his personal life is as blank as his environment. He has no hint to what his life was, or is. He cries and moans, realizing he should have a past, an identity, but he cannot discern anything.

He wipes his tears on the back of his palms, telling himself a grown man does not cry. He cannot convince himself that this comment has any meaning, nor can he even place his actual age to signify he is a grown man. Looking at his chest, hands, legs, and penis, he assumes he is older, but he cannot be sure. He cannot imagine his face (excepting his nose), cannot give himself a physical identity. With an ironic chuckle-for he opts for this instead of a cry-he imagines himself as a headless body with only a hovering nose.

Tentatively, he stands and takes comfort that he at least has this faculty. His environment remains unchanged, a white, encompassing abyss. Staring blankly at what does not exist, he questions what he should do. He feels no hunger, no thirst, no fatigue, but he feels no sense of satiation either. Bleakly considering his epiphanies thus far, the man assumes he will have no desire for anything physical. He wants to understand what is happening to him, but he cannot justify any reason for going to look for an answer. He sees nothing other than white; could it possibly change if he walks a hundred miles in one direction? Calming himself from collapsing into delirium, he sighs and walks forward. He reasons he does it because he can.

This itself becomes a challenge, as he continues to have no sense of the ground. He is able to walk sufficiently, but his mind stresses as he continues aimlessly forward. His feet stop consistently on the same level, but it is as if his feet are dead, wood-like appendages sewn to the bottom of his ankles. In frustration, he jams his toes underneath his feet as he walk, taking comfort as a slight pain creeps along his legs. He is something, even if his surroundings are not.

He begins to count his steps. He weakly hopes this will measure the distance he has crossed, but again, he does not feel any kind of wind as he walks, and he does not know if he is even moving from his original place. Instead, he uses his steps to vaguely measure time.

At one thousand steps, he grows bored and stops counting. He laughs quietly, happy that he still has this emotion. He laughs again, finally realizing he has a voice. Taking delight in this discovery, he begins to rattle off sentences as he walks.

"I don't know who I am. I don't know my name. Perhaps I'm John; that seems like an appropriate name, but it doesn't feel like mine. I don't know what my name should sound like. I don't know a damn thing in this damn place. Damn...damn...damn, damn, damn, damndamndamndamn-"

He stops because the once-interesting word has no meaning. He does not speak again, and he does not like how it felt when he did. His voice was dead. It didn't echo, fade, bounce off anything. It just came and went.

And so he walked in silence. He had very few thoughts to accompany him; he had no memories or images to help him. He only had his immense boredom and his longing. When one feels no hunger, no thirst, no fatigue, he finds himself with no excuse to leave his current path. So the man continues, searching for meaning, finding no trace of it or reason to stray from finding it. He resorts again to walking with his toes curled in, enjoying what pain it offers.

When the red fades into his vision, he yelps delightedly and runs after it. He does not question its existence; there is nothing there to trick his eyes. He ignores the fact that he does not tire from running but continues-stretching his legs as long as possible-and yelps again as the image becomes clearer and more defined. The red separates, becoming a central figure surrounded by wisps.

He does not stop running, but as the image becomes more concrete, his smile fades. His strides soundlessly clap to a stop by the new object. He bites his index finger and stifles a sob.

A bloody human skeleton lies before him. The ribs that remain jut upwards, dangling stray pieces of flesh. The skull, broken from the body and cracked open vertically, sits in two pieces, both polished to a bloody sheen. The rest of the skeleton remains mostly intact, baring strands of muscle and skin but little else. There are no organs. Only the blood still moves, staining the bones and pooling on the ground. It does not dry.

Two paths of pooled blood stray from the skeleton. In one direction, the pools had been separated by equal distances, each forming an oval-like shape. Following a path perpendicular to the first, the pools had been placed irregularly in a mostly straight line. The pools here appear almost triangular.

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Response to Halloween 2010 Lit Submissions Oct. 30th, 2010 @ 04:03 AM

Part 2

With incredible vividness, these images strike the man. They blind him, disorient him. He stands motionless, uncomprehending of his situation. Instead of offering meaning, his first encounter provides him with some awful omen. Suddenly, he feels an urgency, and he could not bring himself to like it.

He sprints away from the corpse, following the oval tracks. He does not know why he chose this path as opposed to the other-why he even chose a path at all-but he runs regardless, hoping this direction will save him.

The wet footprints quickly fade, becoming mere droplets and then nothing. The man still runs, untiringly, praying he is somehow following the same direction. Again, progress is lost to him, and all that is left with him is the urgency. He glances behind his shoulder at one point and discovers he can no longer see the corpse. No faint streak of red, nothing. The footprints have disappeared as well. The white abyss has gained control again, and the man does not know if he should like this.

As he turns his head back to what he assumes is his path, his next stride overestimates the distance to the ground, curling before touching, with his foot connecting with the ground far behind him. He crashes forward, his arms shielding his head as he tosses over himself. He lands on his back, his limbs sprawled clumsily about him.

Besides some dizziness, he feels no pain as he sits up, nothing seems broken. But he does not stand up, cannot bring himself to. Quietly, he begins to cry. He slams his hands against the ground, curses meaninglessly. He looks aimlessly about himself and curses again. The white offers him no sympathy, no familiarity in its absolute similitude.

He stops crying-it doesn't help him-and stands up. Clenching his teeth, he starts walking forward. After a few steps, he stops, turns deliberately, and walks. He suddenly swings his next stride sideways and begins moving in a new direction. He stops. His body-taut-begins to tremble.

The nothingness spans everywhere. He spins slowly amidst it. The white does not blur as it spins, does not change. It just exists, robbing him of his direction, his physicality, even his urgency. Now, he longs to see the skeleton.

Then, the dot fades into his sight. At first, he spins another full circle without noticing it, but on his second rotation, he pauses and follows it with his eyes as his body continues to spin. His body stops once the speck registers. It is a speck, a defined, dark speck. It is something else.

The man sprints toward it, his strides stretched to their limits. His arms churn uselessly at his sides; his neck stretches forward.

The speck becomes larger, elongated. It becomes a man, a dark naked man, clashing with the white. He is running too, more slowly, almost perpendicularly to the man. Eagerly, as he continues to sprint, the man shouts for his new acquaintance.

He is just close enough to see the other man's eyes widen when the other man slows and glances to his side. The other man begins to run faster, away from the man. Confused, the man quickens his pace as well, yelling for the other to stop. The two continue at similar paces, but the man does not feel himself tire and still chases after the other. He notices the other man limps and rejoices when he realizes this is slowing the other down.

The distance closes. Lunging forward, the man grasps the other's shoulder and drags him back. The other man swings around, throwing his right fist toward the man's head. Alarmed, the man barely dodges, the punch clipping his left ear. The other punches at the man again, toward his stomach. The man bats the punch away and grabs the next one coming for his chest. As he struggles with the caught arm, he reaches for the other man's right arm and grasps it after another punch. The man hurls himself against the other, both falling to the ground.

When they land, the man finds himself on the back of the other. He quickly grabs hold of both of the other's arms and pins them down. His face now hangs above the other's scalp. The other twists and fidgets underneath the man's body, and his legs kick backward helplessly behind the man's back.

"Stop it!" the man yells angrily, his voice coming out dead. "Why are you doing this?"

The other does not respond and continues to struggle.

"Stop, please!" the man yells again. "I haven't done anything to you. I need your help. I need to know what is going on here."

The other man again does not respond but has stopped moving. He is crying.

"What's wrong with you? I'm not here to hurt you."

"Get off of me," the other sobs dejectedly, his voice hollow and strange.

Pausing, the man slowly steps off of the other, preparing himself in case the other reacts violently. This does not happen, however, as the other stands and faces him. Although he has stopped crying, his eyes are still watery and flit from one direction to the next. His naked body shudders as if from cold. To the man's alarm, he sees darker splotches on the other's body where blood had stained the skin.

"You killed that person," the man says softly.

The other glares at him, opens his mouth to speak, and groans angrily. Finally, he mumbles, "I didn't kill him."

"Who then?"

The other stares elsewhere again. "Something did. I don't know what it is. We weren't able to see it; it just came and..."

"And?"

The other sobs again.

"And?" the man cries, angrily. He recoils as the other draws closer to him, but, seeing how slowly the other moves, allows the other to grab his hand.

"Look," the other moans.

The man looks down at his hand held in the other's and watches in dumb amazement. He finally recognizes how their skin are of the same color, notices how the hands look identical: the same creases of skin, the same length of the fingers and palms, even the same wrinkles on the palm. He glances at the other's watery eyes and backs away. He cannot bear to look at the other similarities.

His pulse quickens as he rubs his hand through his hair. He looks around himself and back at the other. His words come awkwardly as he speaks, "We can-we can figure something out. We can think-we can think of something."

The other turns away and begins sob more loudly. The man stands motionlessly and stares at the other's trembling back. He cannot think.

The other man is wrenched off of his feet so suddenly the man flinches and screams. The other, too, screams as he flails through the air and collapses farther away from his original position. He tries to sit up and scramble backward, but his left foot is suddenly pulled from him and his body slides forward. His body becomes rigid as his stomach is depressed inward unnaturally. The same section suddenly protrudes and rips from the rest of the body. A flap of skin dangles in the air, and the other man's entrails rise with it in its pinched grasp. Blood sprinkles around his body. He stills cries out, but his face has become expressionless, empty.

The man continues to watch, horrified. Before him, a man was gutted by nothing, and now before him, that man's intestines hang from a suspended piece of skin.