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The Artisan was not dealing with the death of his spouse well, the car crash that killed her had also robbed him of his muse, and the vivacious energy he once felt while working on his sculptures. No longer possessing the desire to work on anything, the Artisan decided to pack up his materials and move to his secluded studio on "Lost Lake".
"Lost Lake" was a small private island in the North West Territories, that the Artisan bought at the pinnacle of his career, the quiet tranquility, and beauty of the forest drew him there. While alive his spouse and him were able to find solace from the pressures of the outside world in their own silent paradise.
During the winter the island was only accessible by boat, as the weather would become too precarious for travel by seaplane. Due to this if one was planning on staying on the island for an extended period of time it was necessary to bring enough supplies to last through the winter. Communication was only possible through a generally unreliable satellite radio, becoming completely impossible during the harsh snowstorms.
"Lost Lake" was at one point home to an ancient Inuit tribe, the reason behind their sudden disappearance lost forever to history and quickly fading into a vapid memory.
The Artisan brought several months worth of food, as he was intending to stay from October until March, in an attempt to find his inspiration, and make peace with what had occurred. The journey by canoe was a cathartic one to the Artisan, allowing him time to pontificate about his life, and his lost love.
It was during this time as he rowed through memories of times past that he felt a feeling long lost to him, the desire to work on something. He decided once he arrived to his studio he would craft his finest work, a monument to his deceased wife.
His studio was filled with slabs of pristine marble, and the Artisan was eager to begin work on the sculpture, everything needed to be perfect, this would be his masterpiece.
The Artisan spent days of consistent work without pause, only breaking for meals, and to go outside to cut down firewood to heat his home once the winter months arrived.
The Artisans work was slow, meticulous, and methodical, every detail he remembered about her body he would work into the marble, her delicate smile, slender fingers, and her long flowing hair needed to be perfect. The days bled into weeks, the weeks bled into months, but eventually his vision was realized.
It was the finest work he had ever done, it looked so lifelike, pleased and at peace he was finally ready to make the journey home. The Artisan had decided to place the statue outside his home so whenever he visited he would be greeted by the angelic smile of his late spouse.
He carefully brought the statue outside placing it on the pathway to his home, and proceeded to lock the door to his studio, taking one last look at his work before making the long walk to his canoe.
The path was long, and the light March snow had progressively become more treacherous, arriving at his canoe the Artisan came to the realization that the ice was too hard, and the snowfall was too thick for him to be able to get back.
The Artisan decided to head back to his home and wait until the weather cleared up before attempting to make the journey back to the mainland. As he started on his way back, he slipped on a rock and his house keys slipped from his coat pocket, falling into the deep obsidian lake. The artisan stood in horror as he watched them submerge into the blackness of the sea.
He walked back to his home exhausted, and attempted to break the door down to get inside; it was to no avail as his old age had made him weak, and frail. He walked over to the statue and stood stoic, attempting to use his radio to call out of help.
He could hear nothing except a static, after several hours he laid on the ground silent, hoping to receive an answer. Hours had past and sunset was approaching, when he heard a voice calling to him from the radio. It was almost impossible to make out but it sounded like someone he knew repeating "In heaven everything is fine".
He stood up as he tried to communicate with the person on the other side, before the connection cut off with an abrupt "Waiting for you"... The Artisan turned and stared at his statue, the stone was bleeding and coming apart; underneath the marble he could see flesh, and stood in reverence as his late wife freed herself from the bondage of the stone.
Tracing the lines on his face with her fingers, she smiled, the Artisan smiled too as the winter snow consumed everything around them, leaving only them in a solemn white heaven.
Part One - The Summons
"There, we're totally dark wizards now."
We chuckled until Jeff's father rushed into the backlot. The man looked harried and scared and said, "Jeffery, thank God you're alright. Give your father a hug."
"Dad? What's going on?"
"It doesn't matter. Come over here, son."
Jeff took a step back.
"Alright, fine", said Jeff's dad. Then his jaw unhinged and he started screaming. His teeth were filed to points.
Still screaming, he produced a straight razor from his pants pocket and began to cut himself in a careful circle around his armpit and shoulder; first the right, then the left. When that was finished, he fished his fingers into the cuts and pulled the skin away with a grotesque peeling sound, taking his epidermis off like sleeves.
At some point during this process, his tongue popped out of his mouth and began to writhe on the ground by his feet. This did not, however, stop the screaming.
Having finished with his arms, the thing that was most likely not Jeff's father reached behind his head with the razor and, cutting to the bone, drew it in a perfectly straight line through his scalp until he met the bridge of his nose. Then he pushed his fingers into the cut again, scraping bone against bone, and this time slowly tore the skin of his upper body in half. Once the tear reached his hips, he stepped gingerly out if the rest of his skin.
The screaming stopped when the muscle-and-bone thing in front of us inexplicably caught fire. The smell of burning flesh wafted over the lot as the squirming tongue, arm-sleeves, and skin suit were consumed by the flames. His eyeballs boiled and burst, replaced with glowing embers as the flames faded.
After the conflagration died out, Not-Jeff's-Dad, still standing, reached up and re-hinged his jaw. While the rest of his body was charcoal gray and flaky, his teeth remained pearly white.
"Well, just what," Not-Jeff's-Dad asked the cowering teenagers before him, "in Hell were you expecting?"
Part Two - The Agreement
"I mean, probably not me, specifically, but you do a Satanic ritual, and you're gonna get something Satanic. Also, a pig's blood pentagram? Seriously?" His voice was high and cackling.
"Not a talkative bunch, are you? I guess I should inform you that I cannot leave the mortal plane until I have performed done task for those who have summoned me. So best hop to it, or you're going to be seeing a lot of me. Me and visions of your deaths. Jeffery, you seem like the idea man of the pack, got anything?" He tapped his foot, seeming to grow increasingly agitated with each second of silence.
After a fit of coughing and licking dry lips, Jeff started to smirk a little, his voice cracking, he said, "Scare Mr. Penworthy."
"Jeffery, there a lot of Mr. Penworthies in the world. Do you want me to pick one at random? Hunt 'em all down, Terminator-style? What?"
"James Penworthy. The one who lives in this city and teaches high school English. Don't hurt him, though."
"Don't hurt him? Jeffery, if it's going to be a good scare, someone has to get hurt. I don't do pranks; I'm not going to jump out of his closet and say 'BOO'. Give me something to work with."
"Don't cause him any physical harm lasting more than a day or two, can you manage that?"
"It's doable. There remains the issue of payment, however."
"Did you think I worked for free, Jeffery? If so, you thought wrong. Although I suspect you didn't do much thinking at all; this whole escapade seems rather poorly planned on your part. That aside, how about your first-born son? A nice, classic agreement, by my way of thinking."
"No, Jeffery? Are you sure about that answer?" The embers in his eye sockets grew brighter.
"Not to scare a teacher, it's not worth it. And I'd rather not see you again later in life. Because you terrify me."
"Aren't you a little flatterer, Jeffery? And I do so love a man who's willing to haggle; it's a lost art in this day and age. You're quite right, I was being unreasonable earlier. I'll frighten poor Penworthy for that book of matches in your pocket. Agreed?"
"Excellent, I'll be off, then. Make sure you have the payment ready upon completion. It's good business manners, Jeffery. Remember that."
He started to walk towards a hole in the fence surrounding the lot, then stopped and turned his head 180 degrees.
"One last thing, Jeffery. I know you were making up your little ritual as you went along, but 'Black Sabbath drestl nth C'thullu' is an incredibly stupid name. Call me Sab from now on."
Part Three - The Fright
It's difficult to say exactly what Sab did to James Penworthy, but it most likely went something like this.
Penworthy might have noticed that his dog didn't rush to the door as he entered, but it's doubtful he thought much of it.
The first thing probably gave Penworthy the idea that something wasn't right was a series of sooty footprints on his carpet. He didn't call the police.
Whether Penworthy was following the footprints or not, when he turned on the light in his bedroom, he saw something resembling a charred corpse sitting on his bed, reading The Road and presumably laughing.
Penworthy might have had some kind of weapon on him; he might have tried to fight Sab. It certainly wouldn't have worked.
After the altercation that may or may not have happened, Penworthy was almost certainly presented with a clumsily stitched-together robe made from the freshly skinned hides of every dog on the street, with Penworthy's featured as the hood, and a burlap sack full of their heads.
It's most likely Penworthy was compelled to strip down to his underpants and don the blood-sticky robe.
It's uncertain what was said to Penworthy directly before he had his anxiety attack, but it is certain he phoned his children every Sunday until his death after the event.
The robe, the bag of heads, and the discarded remainder of the dogs were delivered to three separate houses in the neighborhood, all of them home to at least one child between the ages of four and six.
From one of these houses, an old Super Soaker was presumably taken.
Part Four - The End
Sab returned to the empty lot carrying a Super Soaker. Noticing the eyes on his acquisition, he said, "What? It's damned hard to find these where I'm from."
He didn't comment on the fact that over half of us had run away from the empty lot in the intervening hour or so. He just pointed the Super Soaker at Jeff and said, "You've got the matches, right, Jeffery?"
Their hands touched briefly as Jeff handed over the little matchbook. He shivered.
"You lost out on this deal, Jeffery. You would have had a litter of daughters, but no sons for me to spirit away."
"I can always get some more. But why would you need matches in-"
Jeff was cut off by a blast from the Super Soaker to his face. He retched and coughed. Sab kept the squirt gun trained on him until the stream dipped down and trickled away.
"What the fuck's in there?" Jeff said, his eyes red and teary.
Sab casually lit a match and tossed it at Jeff. The gasoline caught fire with a low whoosh as Jeff collapsed to the ground, screaming.
"Told him he lost out. Toodle-oo, kids. I'll be seeing you all. Jeffery here a little earlier than most of you, of course. Have a happy Halloween!"
He left the way he came.
Here's my submission below.
The following events all occurred on October 1St through October 31St, 1972 in Rowland City. It was 3:00AM when little Johnny Davenport woke up in the middle of the night crying so loud he woke the two other families on Gunrow Street, the McNikkels and the Jacobsons. His mom was waken as well and went to see what was wrong. As she walked downstairs to where Johnny slept she saw some weird things such as crooked paintings and scratches in the carpet. She was to tired to take any real concern. Then on the kitchen floor lay Johnny motionless. She screamed "RALPH!!!!!". Her husband Ralph immediately ran downstairs with a bat for protection. He saw her and slowly lowered the bat. She was crying and quietly saying "Why? Why not me instead?" repeatedly. He saw and almost instantly began to sob. Johnny had died there a little 9 month old baby dead in his families kitchen. The couple didn't sleep for days. They got lots of cards saying things like "I'm so sorry", "It's going to be okay", and "Life goes on". But none of these comforted them. They were both sad but Ralph was nearly as sad as Taylor his wife and father of Johnny was. Ralph not being nearly as sad as Taylor was bothered her. She thought bad thoughts that maybe Ralph had killed Johnny since they couldn't find any murder weapon or anything in Johnny himself. But when she talked to the Police again they reassured her that Ralph would never do anything as evil as that. Taylor still wasn't sure but decided to try to forget this incident. She eventually did until October 6th 5 days after Johnny died her pet dog Buttercup got hit by a black Cadillac. Buttercup lived but the person driving the Cadillac just drove off raged it seemed after hitting the dog like it was a failed hit and run attempt.
Buttercups leg was broken and could only limp around slowly. That didn't bother Taylor much but that did make her think about Johnny again. It also made her remember that Ralph drove a black Cadillac but said he went out for drinks with some friends a little before Buttercup was hit. She just thought about what the police told her that she has no need to worry. Then it happened on October 23rd Ralph was walking from the parking garage to his office and someone ran right up to him and stabbed him 7 times in the stomach with a switchblade. They dropped the knife and ran until Police driving by the scene shot the man in the leg and arrested him after. She was then at possibly the saddest moment of her life. She decided it was best for her to go to court just to hear the verdict. It was death. He was given three options but the options were not released to the public. Only one civilian got to see what happened, Taylor. She was escorted to Rowland City Prison. They handcuffed the man and shackled him. He was sat on his knees in a field. 5 S.W.A.T. team members came out. A 6th member came out and stood and said "Ready", "Aim", and then not knowing what to expect Taylor covered her ears. Then the man yelled it "FIRE!!!!!" All the men started shooting at the mans chest. He didn't fall over until 25 seconds into firing did the 4th man down the row of gunmen shot and the killer fell. She then asked what happened. The man who said fire told her this "He chose to be shot with blanks until one of these men shot him with a real bullet. Only I knew who had the bullet and when this man here was going to die today. Taylor said "Thanks". The man then turned at the mans body and said "God Help You" and walked away. Taylor then went home but didn't not sleep due to that man dying right in front of her playing in her head over and over again. Now it's the 26th day of October 5 days before Halloween. Taylor decided since Halloween was Ralph's favorite holiday that she should go to the party she and Ralph were invited to earlier in the month. She decided not to dress up though since it would remind her of the past Halloweens when Ralph would spend days building his and her costumes. So for 3 days she tried to get back to regular life but her efforts were futile. The party was on the 31st since that was Halloween. Today is the 29th, the day before it happens. Taylor called her friend Emily to tell her she was coming to the party. Emily said "Taylor, I heard about Ralph. You don't have to come if you still feel you need to mourn". Taylor then said "No it's fine. I could use some interaction with someone besides myself ". That conversation ended at exactly 11:37 P.M. October 29th. Now it's the 30th, The day it all goes down. Taylor actually went out shopping for the first time since Ralph died. She bought flowers for Ralph & Johnny's graves. She came home and saw it. There was blood everywhere, on the walls, the door, the ceiling, the floor, everywhere. She was basically scared shitless. She decided to look around and investigate. She saw scratches on the carpet and things moved around. She then went to the basement door and saw it was scratched up from top to bottom and torn off the hinges. She slowly walked down half the steps and then realized she didn't bring a light and then when she turned around the door was back on the hinges and locked when she tried to open it. She then continued down into the basement. When she reached the bottom she heard growling and then she saw the light switch and she flicked it on and then it happened. "Surprise"! Taylor yelled "HOLY SHIT"! All her friends were standing around in costumes and had a CD player playing a growling sound. She said "What's going on here"?!?!? Her friends said "Since you were going through such a rough time we wanted to try to give you a little bit of happiness and so we decided to freak you out so that this would seem better than it actually is". Taylor simply said "Thanks".
Formerly Known As J-Rex
by, Max Eisenloeffel
(September, 1974) Officer Lundy stares blankly, standing on the dead lawn; he observes the ancient house which is the crime scene. The walls were barely standing, the front porch mostly rotted away and one could not see through the windows with them being so stained.
"That crazy, old man finally keel over?" asked a neighbor who was aroused by the commotion of the many squad cars and ambulances. Lundy did not answer, but instead glanced over to the coroner who was wheeling a body bag down the porch steps. Heads were shaken as two more body bags followed in its wake. As they passed, Lundy gagged as the stench of rotting flesh reached his nostrils.
"Jesus..." the neighbor muttered under his breath. Lundy continued to gaze at the house. A shiver was sent down his spine as the coroner closed the front door behind him. Upon it was a rusty crest bearing one chilling word, Ricker.
One month earlier, Cylus Ricker sits in his chair by the fireplace drinking from his whiskey flask. His wife, Lonnie, is in the kitchen making cornbread. This day was not much different than any other day in the Ricker house. However, something was bothering Cylus. As he took a swig from his flask, he nervously scratched at the wooden arm of his chair. There was something dark inside of him that needed to get out. He glanced over towards his hardly-attractive wife in the kitchen and scowled to himself. It was not unusual for him to be generally angry towards everything. It may have been a combination of the teasing he got from adolescent children and his heavy drinking problem that made him so. In an attempt to relieve himself of tension as well as the hot summer air, he opened the front door in hope for a draft. Instead, he was greeted by a pellet from a child's slingshot.
"You damn kid!" he hollered as the prankster giggled and ran off, "I'm gonna fucking kill you!"
Angrily, he staggered to the back yard, where his German shepherd lay resting, and unlocked the door to the toolshed. As the overwhelming sent of alcohol passed the dog's nose, it began to bark loudly and percussively.
"Shut the hell up!" Ricker shouted as he picked up his twelve-gauge Remington. But the beast continued to bark and tugged at the man's pant leg.
"I said shut up, dammit!" he sneered and struck the dog with the butt of the gun. The dog then whimpered and licked its bleeding snout. However, despite the dog's surrender, Ricker swung the butt of the gun yet again. This time, the animal growled and sunk its teeth into Cylus's leg. In response, the man grabbed a sickle from the toolshed wall and with a holler; he thrust it into the dog's neck. The dog finally stopped barking.
As The Ricker felt warm blood rush onto his hands, he let out a scarcely-toothed smile. This is what he needed. The old man realized what he had been missing in his life. His gruesome action made Cylus feel so alive. It gave him such a rush! He needed to do it again. He could not just get drunk every day of his life for this newfound source of adrenaline was much more potent than whiskey.
After quickly stashing the carcass behind the wood pile, he snuck back inside to clean himself off. He then peeked into the kitchen to see if Lonnie was suspecting anything unusual but her mind seemed to be elsewhere for the time being. He looked at his ugly wife and thought to himself, she had to go.
Back in the toolshed, he browsed for a weapon that could quench his thirst for killing. The claw hammer seemed to be the right choice for the job. He silently crept back to kitchen where Lonnie remained making cornbread. Ricker, standing behind her, raised his arm above his head wielding the hammer. Just as she was about to turn around, Cylus lunged the claw into the back of her skull. Blood splattered on his glasses as she turned around to face her attacker. She let out a gasp and swung her arm to retaliate but collapsed to the hard floor and lay there bleeding. The Ricker let out a sadistic chuckle as he could feel no remorse at all.
However, to his disbelief, he still needed more. Killing his wife had not been enough to satisfy his grizzly need. Just then, he realized what he must do. He again returned to his toolshed and fetched his hacksaw. He then sat down on the cold floor of the shed and began to saw away at his own leg. He screamed not, nor felt any pain while he did this for Mr. Ricker was already dead inside. So, he continued to hack and saw and tear and cut away the flesh and bone of his leg until finally, the limb was severed from his body. Cylus then let out a scream of mixed agony and joy and immediately proceeded to his other leg.
After a tide of blood and gore was spilled to the ground, the man was finally finished with his brutal task. Exhausted, he crawled towards the door. It wasn't long before he started to struggle and began to lose consciousness. Just then, he felt what he had been searching for. He smiled and whispered, "I am The Ricker," And was dead.
Just in time. Hope you guys enjoy. (I looked over my writing a few times to make sure I didn't make any weird typos, but I apologize if anyone happens to spot a mistake. I wanted to make sure to submit this before the deadline.)
I sat upright in bed, gasping for air. It took a few seconds before I realized that I was awake.
"What...was that...?" I mumbled to myself. I grabbed the pillow I was sleeping on and hugged it close to my chest. My boyfriend was still sleeping peacefully beside me, undisturbed by my abrupt movements. I was thankful that, for the most part, he was a sound sleeper.
I glanced at the clock. 3:34 A.M. As quietly as I could, I left the bedroom; tip-toeing my way through the door, I closed it behind me, and made my way downstairs, past the living room, and into the kitchen.
My throat felt dry, so I reached into the cupboard for a glass. I filled it with water from the sink, and started to drink.
Oddly, what seemed cool and refreshing at first then started to feel warm. I kept drinking, taking small sips-thick, warm sips, the taste strangely tainted. I pulled the glass from my lips, and turned on a light switch. I looked into my glass-and I immediately dropped it.
It took all my willpower not to scream. I leaned my head over the sink, heaving and coughing until I vomited all of the horribly thick, dark red blood I had swallowed.
"Wh-what...what the fuck..." I muttered weakly, reaching for a paper towel to wipe away the blood from my mouth. I was surprised that nobody had woken up-there were shards of glass scattered on the kitchen floor. Then again, my boyfriend WAS a sound sleeper.
I did my best to clean up the blood, and afterward I reached for a broom to sweep up the glass. As I started to gather the glass shards into a dustpan, the broom suddenly started to bend. It bent further and further, until it fell limp in my hands. I dropped it, and instead of clattering to the floor, it landed with a soft thump-it had transformed into a huge, yellowish, sickly-looking serpent. It opened its slimy-looking mouth wide to bare a pair of terrible, black fangs, dripping with yellow-colored venom, and growled at me.
I didn't think twice about running away; I had to warn my boyfriend and call for help. I made a mad dash through the living room, and down the hall. I made it to the stairs, and gasped-the staircase had grown to be immensely long, long and winding upward in a seemingly endless spiral. But I could hear the yellow reptile roaring behind me, so I started running up. And up, and up. And up.
As I ran, the scenery that would normally be present in the house had changed completely. The walls that were usually a dull white color had now been streaked with twisted, freakish images, things that would be hard to picture in one's head without shuddering at the mere thought of them. I kept running, wondering when I was ever going to get to the top-it still seemed so far away.
Then there were voices. Subtle laughter, at first, but as I made progress the laughter grew louder, and louder, and within that laughter was a cold, sickening feeling-the kind of dreadful feeling one gets as he has been struck with shock at a horrifying event, or has to wait in anticipation of something that he fears more than anything else in the world. The laughter grew so loud I could not block it out. By now I was exhausted, my legs burning with the effort as I took one step after another. My body was shaking, my head was pounding-more than anything I just wanted the horrible voices to stop. I collapsed on my knees and covered my ears, desperate to avoid that disgustingly demented laughter.
Then it stopped.
Slowly, I removed my palms from the sides of my head. My ears were ringing. All was still.
I stood up, and started to walk again.
"Well, I'm glad that's over..."
Then I heard a low rumble from below. I thought it might be thunder from outside. It sounded again. I started to walk a little more quickly, even though my legs ached. It sounded again. Was it getting louder? It sounded again. I nervously looked behind me-Nothing there. Just as I was starting to panic, the noise had seemed to stop. I sighed-
Suddenly, a thunderous roar, unlike anything I had ever heard in my life, rang out tremendously, causing the walls and the staircase to shake with a vibration that nearly knocked my off my feet. Truly terrified now, I started scrambling up the stairs.
I looked back once more to see what could have possibly made the noise. I saw that the area below had opened up, and it had become much more spacious. Even the staircase below me had grown wider.
Apparently, it was now big enough that even a gigantic, hideous reptile-like monster could climb it.
The sickly yellow creature that was chasing me before had grown to over a hundred times its size. The fangs on this thing had grown at least eight feet long. Its skin looked as though it had been rolling around in grease, and its beady red eyes greedily look up at me. The worst part about this creature, though, was the long, slimy, lolling tongue that slid in and out of its mouth, waiting for the chance to wrap around its next meal. The creature let out another growl, inciting me to run faster than I thought I had ever run in my life. My legs ached and burned from the effort, and I knew that, eventually, I would not be able to keep it up.
I knew then that I was going to die.
The air was once again filled with the laughter of a thousand demonic-sounding voices, all in different pitches, all of them hideous and cruel, all of them laughing at me. I stumbled as the yellow reptile, in its booming roar and heavy footsteps, approached close behind me. I wanted to believe that I was faster, that I was ahead of the creature, but I knew that I was steadily slowing down as my legs began to fail me. I desperately looked upward, trying to see if I was getting any closer to the top. But the staircase was winding up, farther than the reach of my vision.
I looked back at the creature-the reptile's disgusting face had gotten much closer, its crimson-colored gaze nearly paralyzing me. It was close enough now that it would be no problem for it to lash out its tongue to snatch me.
I tried to run further, but to my utter dismay, my legs had finally given up the ghost. I fell on my face, my body now drenched in cold sweat. I felt the body heat of the creature, its huge shadow looming over me.
I hesitantly turned myself over, and looked up to see nothing but the pit of darkness that was the creature's jaws opened-wide, and a salivating tongue that slowly reached out towards my trembling frame...
(Will be continued in another post)
(Continued from my first post)
"Baby, are you there?"
I felt a warm hand on my forehead.
"Wake up, honey. It's okay."
I could feel myself returning. The sensation of waking up felt so unreal.
"You're going to be fine...please, wake up and talk to me."
I managed to open my eyes a little. Everything was blurred, and the light was too bright, but after a few seconds, they adjusted.
"Are you awake? Say something to me...I need to know if you're okay..."
I mumbled, "I'm okay". My throat felt very dry and scratchy, as if I had been screaming for a while. My eyes felt swollen, and it was difficult to keep them open. Suddenly, I was being hugged-a very warm, gentle embrace.
"I'm so glad you're all right...I'm...so glad..."
I feebly managed to lift both of my arms, and I returned my boyfriend's caring gesture. We hugged for a long time, without saying another word to each other.
Doctor Johnasson watched the couple through the window, and felt a sigh of relief escape her lips. The girl had been through a terrible ordeal; she didn't know the full story, but what she did know about the attack on her patient was enough to make her worried sick about her, as well as disgusted that something like that had even happened to someone so innocent, so undeserving of such brutality. Her patient had been asleep for a few days, but she had been worried that the shock she had endured might have been coma-inducing. The young man currently with the girl in the room, who happened to be the patient's boyfriend as well as her only emergency contact, had stayed at the hospital until he had gotten permission to see her. Johnasson was glad that, even after enduring such a terrible nightmare, she still had somebody who cared enough about her to make sure that she was okay. She had someone that she knew, loved and trusted, and that was more than Johnasson could say for some of the other patients she had treated. The good doctor could not truly say whether the girl would be all right in the long run, but for now, that was as much as she could hope for.
Johnasson lingered for another minute, jotted down a note on her clipboard, and continued on with her duties.
Our tale commences with a winsome young man named Thomas, he sits in a somber room with his face in his hands, musing.
A cacophonous sound startles him; he turns to his window and sees a horrifying silhouette staring at him, solidified in terror, the male can only gaze at the obscure being.
The horrendous creature pulls his window open and slithers inside, Thomas almost loses control of his bladder when it stands and approaches him. 'Hi, Tommy,' a rotund boy says as he steps into the light, Thomas sighs when he realizes it's his juvenile comrade, Davance.
'Hello, Davance.' he replies relieved.
'Get your things, we're going grave-robbing' the boy demands.
'Today? it's Halloween, people always get murdered on this day,' Tom protests.
'Oh please, no one's going to murder you. Also, I found a really good grave, supposedly stuffed with jewelry, so hurry.' says the kid and exits the room as he entered. Thomas apprehensively follows.
As they race to the graveyard, Tom attempts to reassure himself, 'I'm being ridiculous, nothing ever happens. We'll be fine.'
'We've arrived.' Davance announces, Thomas realizes he's standing over an empty grave.
'Hehe, No one's gonna murder you,' he hits him in the head with the shovel, 'except me.'
He pushes Thomas into the grave and begins to inter him.
"Charlie Ain't So Bad - Part I"
Charlie awakened to the sight of a girl in a white dress, with a white theatre mask, clenching a monkey wrench tightly. Charlie reflexively backed into the nearby chicken coop, defenseless. The girl ambled up to him, hypnotically, and raised the wrench.
"Charlie! Who's your friend? I thought you weren't doing anything for Halloween!" his adoptive mother interrupted from a distance. She waved her plump, white arms.
Charlie stuttered and stammered gibberish, unable to verbalize his tremors. It was the Middle of Nowhere, USA . The October orange heat of the setting sun grazed over the farm and ranch of Maribelle and Eugene Bates.
Charlie's ebony skin glistened under the sun's rays, and his heart pummeled inside him. He looked at the stranger, unable to gauge any facial context clues behind the eerie mask. The mask was clearly humanoid, with the features of a beautiful woman. In its perfect emergence, was something ineffably deformed, ugly, and bothersome. The wrench came down in a mighty and swift swoop, striking Charlie in the cheek, and dissipated blood and anguish.
"You're all the same," she said.
Maribelle approached, sweat beading down her hoary hair. Her face was red and moist, typical results after a day of toil and labor. The stranger was motionless and still, wrench still in hand; Charlie was tremulous and quivering, wiping the sweat from his brow and concealing his fresh wound.
"Charlie doesn't make many friends--maybe it's because we don't get many visitors. At any rate, you are welcomed to stay for dinner, if ya like" Maribelle offered, mannerly. Charlie began "But Ma!" and clenched his aching cheek tightly, wincing.
"Charlie! Don't be rude!" She reprimanded. "I insist our guest stays. Well, now, see you later, in the house!" She trotted off, whistling a tune, blissfully naïve.
The stranger's beautiful dress flowed freely along her contours in the dancing front as she strolled towards the Bates' house and Charlie slumped to the ground, wondering what was happening, tending to his injury.
Charlie, the stranger, Maribelle and Eugene, quickly and discreetly sat at the kitchen table for an early dinner. The stranger was still in costume as the locusts buzzed outside.
"So, what is your story? Are you dressing up for Halloween? Such a lovely outfit" Maribelle commented.
Eugene countered, "Eh-that mask's creepy-take that thing off at the table, will ya!"
"My name is Katherine, and I am looking for a place to rest. I have been through terribly tough times-"
"But, M-ma! Pa!" Charlie sputtered. Maribelle turned to Charlie. "Let her finish her story, Charlie," she scolded. "Yeah," Eugene joined, "Don't interrupt, boy!"
"He's just like them," Katherine said.
"Like who?," Maribelle asked.
Katherine began: "Just like those damned gangsters....
"I am from the poor neighborhood several miles down the road. I held many small, mundane jobs, trying to avoid the ugly scum roaming the streets. I shared a room with my best and only friend, Beth; the room was small and empty, but I was happy living with her. I supported her and provided for her.
"But then, she started dating a no-good gangster, known as 'Loc Boy'. He was involved in many dirty deeds: drugs, pimping, guns, you name it. Every day was a torment of misery and abuse. Beth always came home sobbing, with bruises covering her arms and neck. I tried to console her and convince her to leave that f-damned mutt. But she stayed with that dirty miscreant. I knew, I just knew she was scared of him, so I told her about my plan to run away from that godforsaken jungle. But she stayed with him.
"So I confronted Loc Boy, wielding a switchblade I had. I demanded he leave Beth alone, and to stop bothering her. But, he didn't like that, so he quickly caught me off-guard and forced me to the ground. He pulled out his gun, and threatened my life!"
Maribelle dropped her fork, and lost all the rose in her cheeks. "Oh, my...."
Katherine rested her arms on the table, sniffling very quietly. Charlie bowed his head, and tried to gaze through the mask. Maribelle chimed in, "You're welcomed to stay the night. I'll set the guest room upstairs."
Charlie squirmed in his seat. Maribelle hummed loudly while chewing her food; Eugene snarled quietly as he ate. The stranger cut a piece of turkey from her plate, and brought it to her face, however, the mask was in the way. She tried to lift the chin and sneak the morsel in, to no avail.
"Take that damned mask off, so ya can eat!" He yelled, "Whatcha hiding, anyway?"
Katherine slammed her fist against the table, rattling the dishes and silverware. "You think I'm hiding something? I'm not hiding anything!"
She stormed off, navigating through the quaint living room, and finding her way to the disheveled guest room. Her plate remained full. The family was dumbstruck, and sat motionless.
" Eugene , I reckon we don't say anything about her mask?" Maribelle's distressing wrinkled features became apparent in the dusk's light. Eugene retorted, "It's my house, I'll ask about anything I damn please." Charlie moaned softly.
After the ordeal, Charlie helped Maribelle clean the dishes and retreated to the living room, resting his body on the sofa. His anxiety faded somewhat, but he turned on the rustic television and watched old cartoons. The black and white static covered the screen, with dim images frolicking about, in childish and asinine splendor. He didn't notice Katherine's faint footsteps falling down the stairs.
She approached him from behind, and wrapped her arm around his neck in a chokehold. The young man frenetically writhed in her grasp, overpowering her and sending her reeling backward, as he stumbled forward simultaneously. Charlie stood up, rubbing his neck. Katherine, too, rose to her feet, grabbing a lamp.
Maribelle entered the room. "What's the raucous, children? Supper's ready! Let's eat!" And she departed, humming a familiar tune. Charlie began, "Ma!" before Katherine's fist came upon his face. Before Charlie could even ponder retaliation, she stomped away.
The strike didn't hurt, even though Charlie took the brunt of the blow. He composed himself, and warily entered the dining room.
The family and the girl rendezvoused at the dining room table. A thick aroma filled the room, indicative of the pleasant meal. "Pass the mashed potatoes, please, Charlie,"
Charlie obeyed and handed the mashed potatoes to his mother. Eugene posed the same question: "What are ya hiding from? Ya can't eat with that stupid mask on!"
He received a familiar response: "I'm not hiding from anything. I don't want to accept the fact that I'll never see my best friend again. But are you so different, Mr. Tough-Old-Man? When people don't think you're watching, they show their true selves, isn't that right, Mrs. Bates? I mean, how much food do you need to gobble after skipping your work on the farm?" Maribelle was silent. "Yeah, Mr. Bates, do you think that no one would catch you looking at dirty magazines while you were supposed to be fixing things 'round the house?"
"Why, you ... I'm off to bed. Good night!" Eugene brought his plate down with authority and promptly exited. Maribelle stared at her plate. "I think I've had enough as well, good night." She followed her husband. Charlie sat nervously across the stranger, her menacing stare urging him to finish putting away the plates quickly before retreating to his room. He heard a tinkling of forks and plates as he made his way upstairs.
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"Charlie Ain't So Bad - Part II"
As night reared its ugly head, Charlie walked down the hall, and noticed the guest room's door was cracked a slight inch. Stealthily, he approached the door, and peered inside:
Katherine sat on the bed, hanging her head in a dejected manner upon her hands. She fumbled her hand inside her dress pocket, pulling out an apparent handle. She caressed the item and placed it upon her pillow. She reached behind her head and tugged at the zipper, revealing hair of beautiful bronze. She took the mask off entirely.
Charlie was taken back by how incredibly beautiful she was; her face reflecting perfectly in the moonlight. She laid back in the bed, flipping the handle through the air. Charlie silently watched the girl until she stopped and squeezed the handle, revealing it to be a switchblade. Charlie muffled a scream and froze, watching the stranger until she fell asleep. He creeped downstairs and obtained the set of room keys, and returned to his post. He pondered his actions; Katherine was clearly dangerous, and the knife only convinced him to alert the police. His modest farm did not own a telephone, so he would make his way to the city. He made his way into her room, and stood before her dormant body. He reached for her dress pocket, very gradually, and grabbed the knife, However, the knife triggered open and he retracted his hand, ripping her dress. She woke instantly, but Charlie was out the room even faster. He locked the room and ran to his parent room, locking it as well. Pounding resounded through the house as Katherine and his parents realized they were trapped. The young man fell to the ground in temporary relief, before grabbing his jacket, running outside, and starting his father's truck. The beastly machine turned over as Charlie put it in drive and punched the gas, and the ancient truck coughed forward, towards the city.
Charlie's stomach churned louder than the piece of junk he was in, and stopped by an all-night diner, hoping to receive directions to the police station in addition to a quick meal. He planted himself in a creaky stool and fidgeted with the knife he acquired. A burly waiter recognized it and approached the young man.
"Where'd you get that? You friends with Katie and Beth?"
Charlie simply nodded yes.
The waiter continued:
"They was the sweetest girls in this piece-of-shit city. They was always together, dreamin' things. But then Beth got involved with that gangster, Loc Boy. Katie tried to save her from that crazy motherfucker, and actually succeeded, don't you know? Loc Boy wasn't havin' it, though. The son-of-a-bitch tore the two girls apart and forced Katie to run away. Police in this city ain't no help, boy. It breaks my heart to see friendship like that-and I mean the truest friendship I've ever seen-end like that.
"I still see Beth occasionally, but that friggin' bully is always pushing her around, mistreating her. I wish that I could do something about it, but I'm just an old, dried-up man. Ya must know Katie, and how sweet she is. If you're gonna do something, those sons-of-bitches hang out in the abandoned warehouse downtown, on Main. If you see Katie again, tell her Charles said, 'Yo'. She'll understand."
By now, Charles, the waiter, held his head low. "What'll you have, kid? It's on the house." Charlie ordered a turkey burger, since Katie didn't let him eat earlier.
The waiter returned a few minutes later, with Charlie's, the farm-hand, meal. "Hold on," Charles the waiter muttered, "Lemme give you some napkins. He walked to the register and searched for something below. He returned with a large napkin, with a snub-nose revolver inside. "Tell Beth and Katie I said 'Yo,' and that I'm sorry, alright, kid? It's on the house...," and the waiter vanished.
Charlie was at a loss. He looked at the knife and then the gun. He opened the chamber and revealed six shiny bullets. He walked down the street in a pathetic conviction, reminiscing on Katie's splendid figure and gorgeous features. He dashed behind a car when he heard loud music pursuing him. He hid for a while until a car passed him, heading towards the factory. Charlie followed the blasted music downtown, towards Main.
He remained hidden in the cover of the new moon. The dim lampposts barely illuminated the road as he watched an old muscle car park in front of the factory, along side other modified cars. He noticed a very muscular, vicious man exit the driver's seat. He walked to the other side, opened the door, and held his hand out. A petite hand latched on, and Charlie noticed a stunningly pretty figure emerge. No doubt, he thought: Loc Boy and Beth. Two more figures withdrew from the vehicle and the four made their way inside. Charlie felt a mesmerizing pull towards Beth, and with the confidence of a firearm, snuck around to the factory.
From the entrance, Charlie saw that Loc Boy and Beth were surrounded by an atmosphere of murky haze and delinquent characters. He could see, however, that they entered a room opposite the entrance, and Charlie made his way around the factory, again.
The air was fetidly chilly and Charlie peered into the room, where Loc Boy and Beth sat on the bed. He continued to survey the two, and witnessed the scene:
"C'mon, baby, I know you're upset about your little friend. Let me take care of you," Loc Boy stated as he tried to kiss her neck. Beth resisted. "C'mon, don't be like that. You know I love you. Katie was just straight-up jealous; that's why she left you. Not me, I'll take care of you, baby." He brushed her hair, revealing several bruises along her neck. She pushed him forward softly, and began kissing his, reaching behind him ... and grabbing the handcuffs chained to the bedpost, restraining Loc Boy.
He began yelling and cursing as Beth panicked and grabbed her purse, and the hustled to the door. The door bursted open, and two of Loc Boy's cronies appeared. They shoved her back inside, as one of them pinned her to the ground, and the other freed his boss. "Why'd you have to do me like that, Beth?," he whispered loudly, as he ripped off her clothes.
Charlie ducked and began sobbing. He held the gun and the knife tightly in his hands as sounds of abuse and pain echoed in the night.
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"Charlie Ain't So Bad - Part III"
When he heard the men exit, Charlie peered through the window, witnessing Beth's battered body laying naked on the bed, both arms chained to the bedposts. He rattled the gun against the glass and caught her attention. "Oh God no!" she shrieked. Charlies pulled his index finger towards his lips. He wrapped his jacket around his elbow and broke the window, making his way in. Beth struggled in the handcuffs, crying hysterically. He found the keys on a nearby table and unchained the young woman. She quickly retreated into a fetal position in the corner. "Shh. It's okay," he offered, holding his jacket, and draping it around her. "Charlie said, 'I'm sorry,'" he whispered in her ear, and showed her Katie's switchblade. Beth's eyes lit up, and she hugged Charlie tightly. He picked her up and began for the window.
A strong pound sounded on the door. "Yo, Beth, honey. I'm sorry; I'm a little drunk. Please...," and the door opened.
Charlie instinctively shot two rounds into the door. The room was insanely quiet. However, he heard an unfamiliar click before booms started entering the room. Amid the gunfire, Charlie gave Beth the knife and the gun and the two snuck out the window and Charlie frantically ran towards the diner, carrying Beth in his arms. A heavy, distorted beat entered the dark air as bright lights engulfed the street.
Charlie had carried Beth to the truck, and threw her in the flatbed, entered the driver's seat, and pushed the truck for all it was worth. He only had a headstart on Loc Boy for a few seconds, before the monstrous muscle car pulled up beside him. Four shots rang out and the muscle car collided into a near by hydrant, flipping over. Charlie looked in the flatbed, seeing Beth throw the gun away, curling up. He stopped the truck momentarily, picked her up, and rested her head on his lap as he drove away.
Charlie and Beth returned early in the morning to the farm house. He ran inside and attempted to find appropriate attire for a pretty young woman, among his mother's historic ensembles. He helped Beth to the bathroom and walked towards his parents' bedroom, and unlocked the door. However, his folks were asleep, apparently giving up on escaping.
He walked towards Katie's room and unlocked the door. As soon as he opened it, A white blur kareemed into him. "You bastard!"
Charlie and Katie wrestled on the floor until a familiar voice called out, "Katie!"
The girl turned around and ran towards her friend, embracing her. The two held each other for a long time, caressing each others' tired bodies. "Charlie saved me from Loc, Katie." Katie looked at him in disbelief. Charlie managed an awkward smile. "C'mon let's get outta here, Beth," and Katie led her away, downstairs. Charlie followed the couple and saw them walk away in the morning twilight. Katie's dress waved blissfully in the cold morning, and Beth still wore Charlie's jacket over her get-up. "Hey, you guys aren't so bad, aren't ya, Charlie?" Katie yelled as she blew a kiss from a distance.
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Note: This story was adapted from an episode of "Courage the Cowardly Dog." While searching for inspiration, I saw the episode, and was so deeply impressed, I knew I had to write about it. I tried to remain true to the series, while letting the story be different enough without it being plagiarism....
Giving out writing reviews to anyone who wants them (exception: poems. I'll find you).