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The Open Window

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

You had that dream again. The one where the beast with the drooping hands and wicked fangs stares you down from your window. Except the windows open this time—and you’re awake! What happens next?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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830 Responses to The Open Window

  1. dontaskmewhy says:

    The bile rises in the back of my throat. It is the same dream, the one I’ve been having lately. Although short, it never ceases to wake me from my sleep with a pounding heart and the feeling of nausea. Shivering, I pull my blanket around me, though it doesn’t provide much warmth. There’s something different this time. Realizing that the shakes aren’t internal, I look up and see that the window is open. And it is here.

    I think I try to scream, but nothing comes out. Silenced, terrified, and frozen in place, I wait for the inevitable death. Yet, the beast doesn’t move. Cautiously, I crawl to the edge of my bed, mystified. It’s red eyes glow in the dark night. Snot mixes with saliva down its snarling muzzle. I wonder what keeps it back, always at my window. Curious, I step off my bed and move towards it slowly. The closer I get, the bigger I realize it is. Its teeth are easily the size of my fingers, and its fangs the length of my hand. The beast’s own hands were around the size of my head, curling around my window sill. Standing a few feet from it, fear seizes my heart and I forget how to breathe. There’s something mystical about it. Magical, even. In one daring move, I reach out and touch its nose.
    Everything goes black.

    It’s strange how you don’t die immediately when you’re ripped I half and eaten. Sure, you’re losing blood at an insane rate, but your body still doesn’t seem to register that it’s separated. I think it is suffocation that finally kills me, though by then I had been unconscious for some time. It’s difficult to remember.

    All I know is I’m hungry, and I can’t cross the window without permission.

    Let me in.

  2. ShipsNC says:

    This is the first time I am writing on a public forum. Maybe someone will like my story.

    The open window
    I always had that recurring dream. She always stared at me through that open window. Every time I saw her blood shot eyes, her yellow fangs, her ugly face strewn with despise and her evil laughter, I woke up screaming. I used to call her Banshee and the name befitted her dearly. She was nothing but purely malevolent! She used to torment my dreams since I was a little child and I was sixteen now, this had to stop.
    My room had two beds as I used to share it with my brother Ted. Even though he slept against the window I was the one who used to get up screaming. I was the butt of his jokes at all our family parties. When he moved out of the house I was too scared to sleep in the room. I decided I could not have this anymore. I got money from mother and bought my room real thick curtains for my window. I made it a point to never open the window at night no matter how hot the weather got. I got through a few months peacefully until that fateful night.
    My parents were away and Ted decided to bring over a few of his friends home while he was babysitting me. His friends are real jerks. I hate all of them. His girl Sophie was the worst of all. She used to pester me to start drinking. I do not know what came over me that evening when I obliged in spite of Ted scolding us both. Just one drink and I was woozy. Ted got really mad at me and took me to my room. I do not remember anything more as I just hit the sack. And then I heard her.
    It was pitch black even after I opened my eyes. I could hear her evil laughter. It curdled my blood. It was faint at first and then the pitch increased. I shut my eyes and couldn’t dare open them. I was trembling. I could almost feel her presence in the room. As if her darkness was soon going to engulf me whole. I prayed, I don’t know how long but I just prayed to God to save my soul. The laugh dint stop and it was coming in staccato, taking long pauses in between. I really cannot recollect when I prayed myself to sleep.
    When I woke up the room was lightly illuminated. I turned behind to look at the window. I saw the ray of light streaming in through the sides of the closed curtains. With my heart pounding against my chest I managed to walk towards the window. With one swift gesture I opened up both the curtains. My window was locked! I could not believe my own eyes. I really think I have gone crazy. When will this ordeal end? I cursed myself as I could not escape her. I could not stop thinking about all the nasty things she might do to me tonight as I walked down the house into the kitchen. I saw Sophie and Ted in the kitchen along with Natalie, Sophie’s best bud. I warmed some milk.
    Ted began teasing me. “So baby doll, I heard no screaming last night! How come you slept so well? Maybe the drink did do wonders to you!”
    I absolutely ignored his remark when Natalie added, “Don’t tease her Ted. Some people do get nightmares.”
    “Ya look whos talking”, Sophie cut in, “I recall all the times Nat has come for a sleepover at my place and I ended up having a scare.”
    “Why was that?”, I asked curiously.
    “Ohh Nat has this horrible habit of talking in her sleep. Sometimes she bursts out into this evil little laugh it sends chills down my spine! Hope she didn’t do the same to you last night when she shared your room!”

  3. GrahamDowns says:

    Here’s my attempt (You can also read it on my blog at http://www.grahamdowns.co.za/2014/08/the-thing-in-window.html):

    Mary’s mouth hang open. She wanted to scream, but no sound came out. She wanted to slam the window shut, but her arm wouldn’t move. She wanted to turn and run, as far away from her room as possible. But she didn’t know where to go. The thing would be in the room and upon her before she reached the door. Besides, her feet wouldn’t have been able to move if she tried. She was frozen in fear.
    “Hello, Mary.”

    Mary swallowed hard. “H-how do you know my name?”

    “Oh, we’ve met many times before. In your dreams, night after night. It’s good to finally meet you in person.” As she stared at the beast, with saliva dripping off its fangs, she suddenly knew who it was. “Marty? Is that you?” The thing threw its head back and emitted a deep, slow laugh. “Marty is the name your subconscious gave me, child. My name is Ciz’que.”

    Although still frightened, Mary was beginning to regain her senses somewhat. She knew this creature from her dreams, although she knew him as Marty. He was frightening then, but not overtly hostile, and she felt that if she could defeat him in her sleep, she could defeat him here, in the real world.

    “What do you want?” she asked.

    “My name, child—my true name—means ‘Bringer of Souls’. I want your soul.”

    Mary thought about this a moment, then snapped, “Well, you can’t have it!”

    Ciz’que seemed to take a step back, apparently shocked at the audacity of this child. After a moment, he brought his head through the open window, stopping centimetres from Mary’s face. Mary’s gaze met his, and she found herself unable to move or speak, transfixed by the creature’s glowing yellow eyes.

    The beast opened its gigantic maw and breathed hot, fetid breath into Mary’s face. The stench was terrible, unlike anything Mary had ever experienced before. But as she was no longer entranced by Ciz’que’s eyes, Mary was able to think quickly. She reached out her left hand and felt for the letter opener that she knew lay on her writing desk. Finding it just within arms reach, she grabbed it and plunged it into Ciz’que’s open maw.

    The creature screamed and stepped back. It swiped out at Mary’s face with a heavy claw, running three deep gashes along her cheek, causing her to crash to the floor. Ciz’que reached into his mouth, removed the letter opener and examined it. Blood dripped off the blade. He tossed it away, and leapt all the way through into the room.

    Ciz’que’s massive frame covered Mary on the floor, and once again she found herself unable to move.

    “And now,” he said, “your soul.”

    Ciz’que’s yellow orb-eyes filled Mary’s consciousness. Nothing else existed for her. She opened her mouth to scream—a whooshing sound came out instead. And with it, out streamed a long, black trail. The last thing Mary was aware of was her soul being pulled from her body.

  4. fadia83 says:

    Hello Everyone :) This is my first time participating in a writing community . I’m not a native English speaker , so you will find a lot of mistakes here and there as you read this. Reading my writing and leaving comments is appreciated.

    The Open Window

    “you need to stay here for a while and get better” my father said. I remained silent; I couldn’t hiss a letter out of my trembling lips. I always believed my parents know what’s the best is for me. I never dared to question the decisions they’re making for my life.
    A lady in white came with a kind smile on her face and took me away to my new place . it was a tiny lightless room with no windows . it had one bed, one table and a toilet chair hidden in the corner behind a half-built wall. The oneness of this room was kind of intimidating to me. Unpacking my bags, hearing the echoes of my heart beats, I was hoping to get along with my new world.
    During the day things were familiar. At night things were totally different. Falling asleep was a real challenge that I needed to embrace. Staring at my room’s pale ceiling, in a way, helped me to get few good hours to sleep . I became addicted to this kind of “meditation” as they call it , but I’ve never made it a” perfect” meditation . It seemed to me that every time I start clearing up my mind all the clamorous voices arguing in my head become louder . One night, while staring at the ceiling I saw a light spurting from it , it was more like a mysterious window . A shadow of a vicious creature with fulgurating eyes leaned towards the window. That was the moment I knew I was just dreaming! And I fell asleep thinking deeply of the “other- world gate”. The next night, I was eager to start my meditation. All the voices in my head were mute and I was ready to sleep. The Other-World Gate appeared once again and this time it was wide open. Yes! I wasn’t dreaming! I wasn’t hallucinating! A rainbow flew down to my bed from that gate and a huge furry white monster stoop up on my bed and approached me . I didn’t know what to do, I closed my eyes , my heart and mind froze! .Nothing happened I didn’t hear anything . I blinked !then I decided to open my eyes, I wasn’t sure of what I’ve seen. “OMG!!!” It WAS a furry white monster, a little cute one with shimmering eyes and a huge smiley mouth full of white teeth. I laughed as never before. It was nothing as I thought …. To be continued…

    • usedname says:

      Welcome! Nice take on the prompt, this monster doesn’t seem to be much of a threat but those voices do concern me. Even though there are some parts with weird phrasing it is understandable as english is not your first language. Very good effort. What is your first language then?

      • fadia83 says:

        Thank you usedname :) … My mother tongue is Arabic . Honestly once I started writing tons of ideas popped in my mind , I didn’t take much time reviewing and editing my writing .

  5. Kerry Charlton says:

    Does anyone have any idea when the next prompt’s coming?

  6. I already wrote another take, but this idea came knocking, so I thought I’d give it a spin. Despite earlier posts on the subject, I haven’t really figured out italics. And I think I went over the mark… again.
    ______________________________________________

    “The first of the dragons was dead.”
    I decided that was a good place to end the chapter. With the first. The next chapter, Aryanne would take care of the other ten or so that remained in the labyrinth. Besides, this chapter was already long enough. I mean, it had been full of the other monsters that came before the dragons, which came before those demony creatures that I really needed to think of a name for. But I was tired. They could wait until tomorrow, I thought as I closed the computer.
    Sleep was as elusive as a playful puppy. It came and bit a little, and just as I thought I caught hold of it, it darted away with a mocking yap. So I was still awake, annoyed, thinking about my story, when the clock in the hallway dinged a mournful two o’clock. I rolled over with a sigh, and found myself staring through the open window into glowing blue eyes. Somewhere in my sleepy writer brain I was glad; red eyes for evil creatures are so clichéd, you know? The rest of my brain caused me to scream bloody murder as I foundered in my bedclothes.
    ‘This is a nightmare!’ One part of my brain tried to tell me. ‘Either that or you’re a lunatic.’
    ‘Don’t be an idiot,’ said another. ‘Of course you’re awake. And you’re still sane.’
    ‘Shut up and figure something out!’ screeched another.
    ‘What on EARTH is your boyfriend going to think?’ Asked another.
    Before I could resolve anything in my mind, the monster snarled, revealing long sharp canines and a huge mouth. Somehow it seemed slightly familiar, this monster. Its snout reached through the window, and I smelled its fetid breath.
    ‘You’re going to die!’ my brain shrieked in unison; except for one part. My idiotic writer part was frantically scribbling notes for a future story on the off-chance I survived.
    It growled, then roared to shake the earth. Then it stood on its hind legs and hurled something through the window. I curled into a ball, howling in fear. Through the hands covering my ears, I heard the hurricane whoosh of strong wings, and a fading roar.
    What seemed a few centuries later, when I finally mustered enough courage to look, the monster was gone.
    “I’m… alive?” I gasped. No one answered.
    Lying on the floor was crumpled piece of paper. When I stopped shaking, I crept out from under my covers, grabbed it, and darted back into bed with a cry when a bat flew by my window.
    It was a letter.

    Dear Glenda,
    I wish to inform you that I am tired almost to death of being forced against my will, through your pen, to fight innumerable monsters. Yes, I win. But this does not change the fact that I am still scared out of my wits every time I see a monster or dragon. I heartily hate them, now. I have just sent one (that you yourself created for me to fight) to you. Pleasant experience, ey? Nice lovely shivers of mortal terror creeping down your spine? It’s just glorious, isn’t it?
    But because I am a nice person (thank you for making me like that, by the way), I have not ordered him to even try to eat you. I just wanted to show a little bit of what my life is like (because of you), not give you the real deal. I know, none better, how difficult, stressful and scary it can be.
    So please. I am not asking you to cut out altogether. It helps build character, every now and again. But don’t you think TEN dragons are a bit much after everything I’ve been through? And those demony things after that? Can you just give a little slack? Please? I am NOT a professional monster-killer. I am an art teacher.
    Thank you for reading, and I look forward to viewing your improvements.
    Sincerely,
    Aryanne.

    I sighed. I guess I’d better. She had made a rather convincing case, I had to admit, though of course, I was the one who had given her the smarts for that. What was I to do? I crept to my computer and turned it on. But before I got to editing, I went on Facebook. #writerprobs #Ihatelifesometimes

  7. The Beast
    I awake from the dream with a cold fright. I clutch the bed clothes tight to my goose bump infested flesh. I’m breathing fast and shallow creating a steamy cloud overhead. Apparently the dream isn’t the only thing to have given me chills. It starts differently each evening I go to sleep, but the end had until tonight always been the same. I stand at my window transfixed by glowing red eyes that stare into my very soul. Sharp talons etch spider web cracks into the window between us. A thin piece of glass is the only thing separating me from the malicious intent of the beast. A thick mane of matted hair rustles in the wind, and a blast of heat from thick flaring nostrils fogs the window. Instinctively I try to wipe the glass clear. As my hand rises massive jowls part revealing a cavern of wickedly sharp fangs. From where I stand I can smell the stench on the wretched beast’s breath. It roars a thunderous growl and explodes through the glass and I awake.
    I dare a peek over to the window where my night time haunting usually gazes at me, and see nothing but the pale moon lit meadow just beyond the woods. I exhale another cloud of warm vapor into the cold air and push myself towards the window. I don’t remember opening the window, nor would I have in the middle of the winter. My feet meet the cold boards of the floor and they creak in protest under my weight. I gingerly tip toe to the window as I peer out and almost lament the absence of my nightmare. Reaching up to pull it shut I find it’s difficult to pull down, and after a few struggling moments I’m using my full weight to pry the window loose.
    As I hang just above my toes I smell it. The stench of the beast in my dream assaults my nose. I dart back from the window. It couldn’t actually be… No. The beast wouldn’t come here. It couldn’t actually be here, but as I think it a set of eager talons rest on the prickled bare skin of my shoulders. They sink in and I wail with pain in the night. I am lifted off the ground and thrown across the room. Crashing into the bed I come to a violent stop. I roll over to see the beast. It is every bit the same as in my dreams as it menacingly advances. I back futilely into the wall.
    The beast pauses and teases my face with a claw. Glowing red eyes lock into mine as the head of the monster cocks to the side. Its throat rustles and clears as its jaws open.
    “Release me witch,” the beast croaks. “Have I not suffered long enough?”
    How is the beast speaking?! How is it even here?
    “Your spells are weakening. Your protection from me has waned and I’m only beast in appearance. I’m no longer the mindless monster you cursed me to be. Now please undo this black sorcery. Let me be a man once again, and release my servants.”
    The beast slinked back away from me. Its eyes searching into my own. I regarded the creature now and felt a slight bit of pity for it.
    “I’ve dreamt of you every night for months now. Tonight was the first night you actually broke the glass in my dream. It was an omen I suppose,” I began as I stood back up. “Tell me beast have you learned anything from your time as a mindless monster? Has your outward appearance reflected your actions and careless thought towards me?”
    “How dare you punish me for your perceived slight!” the beast roars. “Because I didn’t return your feelings you curse me and my kingdom witch! How dare you judge me as the monster?”
    “Careful my beastly prince. Your arrogance is still thriving. I can see you’ve learned no humility. Go back to your castle and await the pretty girl you think you deserve. But you must win her as you are. Let her see your true form and see if she doesn’t treat you the way you did me beast.”
    The beast rears back and prepares to lunge letting out a thunderous roar.
    “Calm yourself beast. If you kill me you will be stuck like this forever. Not just you but your servants as well. Think of them if your rage is threatening to overcome you.” I admonish.
    “Perhaps, but perhaps the spell will wear off the way your protection spell did.”
    My eyes widen in fear as I realize the beast has cunningly thought this through. If I’m no longer alive the curse is lifted. Hence the reason for the protection spell. He knew. He only came to call my bluff and has seen me show my hand. As the creature leaps towards me I cannot help but see the window finally drop and the glass shatter.

  8. Observer Tim says:

    And here’s a nice short take for a Tuesday morning.

    WEBSITE

    Gareth looked at the timer on his screen. Twenty seconds left. This new horror website had been trending for the past week. A couple of leaks said it was so frightening it would make your dreams afraid to fall asleep, and that the new 3-D technology would be absolutely wicked!

    As the timer zeroed the site opened. A black screen. That’s it? There must be a trick of some sort, maybe a secondary window. He minimized the screen and there it was. A golden-eyed, droopy-armed monster staring out of his Excel spreadsheet. One of its clawed hands was holding the status bar. As he shifted his head the face moved against the perspective of the spreadsheet. This was freakin’ awesome!

    But it didn’t stop. The creature was moving, watching him. One of its hands gave the illusion of reaching right out of the screen, trying to touch his face…
    _

    In the offices of DarkSoft, Enderby’s phone rang. Hopefully the damned server hadn’t crashed. In this industry it was possible to be too successful, like when thirty million kids hit your sight like a voyeuristic hurricane and blew the server switch. He braced himself for the bad news.

    “Enderby here.”

    “Boss, it’s Andy down in the server room.”

    “How long is it going to take to bring them back up?”

    “The servers are okay, sir. We have another problem.”

    “What, have angry mothers developed teleportation?”

    “No sir. We’re getting plenty of eyeballs here; like thousands or even millions.”

    “So lots of people are looking at the site?”

    “No, we’re getting eyeballs. They’re almost two feet deep on the server room floor, and spilling out into the hallway. And some of them are still looking around and blinking.”

    • Manwe38 says:

      Oh this is just brilliant!

      I needed a good laugh to start my tuesday, and this provided it.

      Well done!

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Gad! It’s 5:34 in the morning and I have to deal with millions of eyeballs two feet deep on the server floor. What did you have for dinner last night? Seriously, if I can take millions of eyeball seriously, this is quite anusing. I have no idea how they’re going to clear up the mess. Front end loaders won’t work because eyeballs bounce when moved. Shop vacs? Possible but you need seven thousand of the big one. It’s too early in the morning to worry about it. Fun take Tim, imagination’s running strong.

    • dowritenow says:

      Up to your eyeballs in … eyeballs. A warning to those who stay up all night wearing their eyes out, staring at their computers. Get thee to bed! And “Enderby”? This is just cracking me up. What an absurd name it is. Enderby.. ha!

  9. (I usually read over each story to make sure I’m not copying someone else’s idea. I didn’t have time to this week, so I apologize if I step on anyone’s toes)

    Relentless

    “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche

    August 4, 2014

    Dear Journal,

    I had the dream again, the one with the monster staring at me from my bedroom window, only this time the window was open and I was wide awake. You’d have been proud of me, because after all these years I finally stood up to it. It’s true – at first I was frozen in fear. Then, as I lay there, I realized it wasn’t moving, breathing, or displaying any other signs of life. It just sat there, in my window, like it was daring me, challenging me to a fight. And that kind of made me mad, so I sat up in bed. Nothing. I moved closer to the window. Nothing. And then I saw what my subconscious, or God, or heaven, or whoever was trying to show me all these years – I saw my own reflection. Yep, I’m the monster. As I gazed at myself I saw the hatred I had for, well, for almost everyone. And I thought ‘wow, this is what I must look like to a lot of people: wicked snarly fangs and grotesque features.’ Then I remembered the look on that chubby girl’s face in 7th grade, when I humiliated her at our talent show. I was too busy laughing at her with my friends to realize she saw me for the monster I was – I am. And that special needs guy I pushed past at 7-11 today, he saw the monster, too. Memory after memory came flying at me like tennis balls from one of those machines at the club. I then realized that I always had the monster dream after I was particularly mean or nasty to someone. I was literally sick to my stomach, remembering all those terrible things I said and did. I was up most of the night puking my guts out in the bathroom. The good news is the monster is dead. I killed it. Actually, I think I flush it down the toilet! Whatever, I don’t want to be a monster, and I don’t ever want to see that monster again. I really believe that I won’t see it anymore, because I’m a changed person. That and I fear if I mistreat anyone again the monster will come back after me with a vengeance. So you’re my witness, Journal. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. xoxo

    • Reaper says:

      Nice Marie. I wouldn’t worry too much about other people’s stories. You are only copying if you see and then choose to. If your idea is original then it is original. I mean there are what, nine stories in the world and Shakespeare found two of them and nobody since him? ;) Pretty original and honestly very well done. I like the quote too. It isn’t often you see Nietzsche as a lead in to an affirmation and empowerment and it was well used here.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a fascinating introspective take, Marie. Your MC has started on a road to self-improvement that will hopefully last beyond when she sees the next person she looks down on.

      Don’t worry too much about cribbing other peoples’ ideas unless you deliberately set out to do so. In that case, the follow-up is to acknowledge their influence or apologize to the reader. Your voice and your takes have thus far been clear and original both in thoughts and in style, so I doubt you have much to fear.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        I liked this a lot Marie. Original take for sure. I like the inner-directed theme you used. Most people have no idea how others react to our own thoughts. You brought that out in a powerful way. Made me stop and think, how many fools did I create in my owm image yesterday? When I reached the number ten I decided to quit Note, Kerry, post to journal today.

    • Thank you all for your comments.

      Since it’s not in me to actually steal another person’s work, I won’t worry anymore.

    • lionetravail says:

      I, too, applaud your take, Marie. if only more people followed the thoughts of your MC, and checked their empathy level for others. I’m convinced that much of the world’s problems could be dealt with if people were unfailingly empathic to others.

      • EverLasting says:

        Very good Marie!

        You wrote this story very well. I wasn’t expecting the monster to be the monster inside herself, but now that you’ve written this, I’m glad you made it this way..

        It made me think about my “inner evils” as well.

        I think I might start keeping a journal now too!

        Very very good. :)

  10. SuzanneIsInvincible says:

    I had that dream again: the beast, with the hands that dangled, piercing nails extending from the end of each bony finger, fangs protruding from it’s upper and lower lips, each huffing breath shaking loose the built up, foamy spittle. In every dream, it was the red eyes that would first penetrate my sleepy site. In every dream, its shape was blurred by the fog its hot breath spread across the pane of the bedroom window. But this time, something was different. This time, the figure wasn’t blurred. On the contrary, its features were crystal clear. And the hot breath, instead of spreading across the glass, blew warm and wet on my face. Slowly at first, and then all at once, two realizations crashed over me; this time the window was open and this time I wasn’t dreaming.
    A scream stifled in my throat as I grasped at Michael sleeping next to me. But each time I reached for him, my hand closed only on cool, empty sheets. I didn’t dare look away from the beast to find him. And finally, when I thought my heart would fail from the strain, the beast looked away. Its head turned and, in an instant, it was gone. Only darkness and the rustle of trees remained. I desperately wanted to look away for fear of seeing it again but I didn’t dare look away for fear it would appear again.
    Finally, I found momentum. I lunged toward the window, wrenched it closed and scrambled back onto the bed. In that moment of terror and indecision, two thoughts held fast in my mind. Where the hell was Michael and I needed a second floor apartment.

    • Reaper says:

      This is a nice intro to what seems to be an action story. If I am not mistaken you seem to be leading to Michael being the monster but that could be a red herring. The writing was nice, the only thing that jarred me was two for fear of’s in the same sentence. Still I am intrigued and loved reading this.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a gripping story, SuzanneIsInvincible. There’s a nice contrast between the description at the beginning and the action at the end. It’s a lovely read.

      My picky comment is about grasping at Michael. Rather than “each time I reached” maybe “when I felt around” would better express her trying to feel for him in her terror.

      When you keep posting (hint, hint), it would also help if you put an extra line break between paragraphs. That makes the story easier on the eyes.

    • lionetravail says:

      Nicely written, and with a cute, trendy twist at the end- i agree, this seems like the opening to a longer story, one with a modern, snarky heroine :)

  11. EverLasting says:

    I stared out the window. Peering at my reflection like I was seeing myself for the first time. I studied my eyes. The same, and yet so different. I could see a new, burning look behind my eyes.

    Bloodlust, Eli told me with a smirk.

    I stared at my newly acquired fangs, which Eli said I would eventually be able to retract. My gums ached….my brain ached….

    My heart ached.

    I imagined the life I always wanted. Settling down in a house far into the country. A house drowned in green fields of daisies and marigolds and sunflowers and other beautiful plants.

    I’d work hard every day in my gardens. Tell my children I loved them every time they ran to the old, slightly rusted school bus. I’d give my husband a kiss every day before he went to work.

    That life was gone now. My future, wiped out. All I had in this world was a murderous vampire, who ironically, was the one that took this perfect life away.

    I hated him, and yet relied on him at the same time. I think he’s in love with me. Maybe that’a why he changed me. But I could never love him. Not after he killed my Mother.

    “Sarah, we have a visitor.” Eli said, his voice rather amused. I sighed and stood. Probably another “Doner” coming in.

    (Doner being a hopeless girl Eli managed to charm into bringing here for blood)

    I turned, plastering on a fake smile, but immediately faltered. Mom.

    “Mom!” I screamed, racing toward her. I threw myself into her arms. My mother laughed suddenly, gently pushing me away.

    Then I remembered. She was dead. I sniffed the air. No blood-smell radiated off her. I took a step back. “Oh Lord. Oh Lord no.” I whispered. My Mother was dead.

    Well, rather, undead. A vampire. Like me.

    “Yes darling. I’m one of them.” She said with an excited grin.

    “How can that be good news?” I yelled.

    My Mother sighed.

    “Well, let me explain. I was at work at the library, when I came across an open book, showing a picture of vampires, and underneath that picture were the words; “As long as they drink blood, and stay away from sunlight, they can live forever. Eternally haunting the night.”

    She paused for effect, then continued.

    “I saw “Live forever” and I knew….just knew, I couldn’t give up without finding one! Eventually I came across Eli, who was, quite frankly, rather eager to Transform me. And you. So I told him a story to tell you that I thought you’d buy and voila! Here we are, darling Sarah!”

    I was frozen, mouth dropped open, burning with anger.

    “How could you. You knew about the life wanted to live. You took it from me. Without even asking, you took it from me.” I growled, disbelieving tears streaming down my face.

    Before I could change my mind, I ran, shoving my Mother aside. Find a stake. A cross. Anything.

    I cant live this way.

    • EverLasting says:

      This is the part 2 of the Vampire story.

      I hope it’s alright. :)

    • Observer Tim says:

      Gripping tale, EverLasting. The mother’s tale is a bit strange, but I’ve known people who came up with stranger notions. I don’t think Mom thought it through all the way.

      Now I wonder if she’s going to use the stake on her mother, Eli, or herself. It could go in any direction from here.

      • EverLasting says:

        Thank you so much Observer. :)

        Yea, the mother’s tale was rushed a little, so I wouldn’t go too far from the word limit. (Which, *cough cough* I went a bit over anyway….)

        I hope it wasn’t confusing. :)

        And no, I don’t think her mother thought it through all the way ether. ;) ;)

        As for the “it could go anywhere from here”, I think I’ll leave that up to the readers. :) ;) ;)

        • EverLasting says:

          I think Vampress And The Beast will be left with a cliffhanger ending. :)

          If anyone who reads this would like to post a speculation of what they think will happen next, please feel free. I’d love to hear. :)

  12. Critique says:

    A gust of wind slapped the heavy curtain against the window frame. I lay as still as a mouse under a cats tormenting stealth. Slap. How could the window be open? The rusted window lock worried me but I had jammed it securely with a rock and had drawn the mouldy drapes tight before retiring. The recurring nightmare – that featured a window much like this one – made me overly cautious.

    A blinding flash of lightning illuminated the floor littered with shattered remnants of wood and glass from the window. I scrabbled for the candle and matches next to my blanket. Thunder boomed ferociously and the house quaked ominously. My hands shook and I dropped the open box, scattering matches everywhere. Silence and darkness reigned.

    A loud thump and a snarl drew my eyes up to the tall rectangle of the broken window. Another fire bolt and I was on my feet staring transfixed at the monstrous apparition I glimpsed leaning over the window sill.

    Terror reigned. I opened my mouth to scream but no sound came out. There was no one to hear anyway.

    How can I describe what I saw? Gigantic spindly hands splayed on either side of the window frame, a yawning mouth equipped with fangs large enough to tear an elephant apart in seconds, and glistening eyes that peered from deep cavernous holes. Lengths of tangled silvery hair whipped back and forth in the gale masking and unmasking the hideous face.

    Now I grievously regretted taking the dare from my compatriots to stay for five nights – alone – in the mansion on the desolate uninhabited island off the coast of South Carolina. I would come away a thousand dollars richer if I could prove that the century’s old urban legend claims were in fact, a myth.

    I could no longer be a doubting Thomas. What I had witnessed with my own eyes was true. The place was haunted. An angry snarl evaporated any lingering scepticism. Would I live to tell the tale?

    My pressing purpose was to make it to the rowboat tied up on the shore. Alive.

    Before lightning revealed me as fair game, I stumbled across the uneven floorboards and escaped into the hall. Feeling my way along the wall a blessed flash from the heavens saved my life when I found myself at the top of the crumbling staircase leading to the front door.

    Outside I ran for my life in the downpour. Falling heavily onto my back I looked back at the mansion and in one glorious blaze, my fears dissipated like water in the sand.

    By the wall next to the window of the room I endeavoured to sleep in, was an ancient cypress tree laden with Spanish moss. It had fallen and the top branches had speared the window. My monster.

    Picking myself up, I decided without a second thought. A thousand dollars would go a long way.

    • Observer Tim says:

      You’ve generated a terrifying atmosphere here, Critique. It’s a lovely story and a great conclusion.

      One question did spring to my mind – if he was running, how did he fall on his back? If he tripped and rolled over a time or two it might better be called a tumble than a fall. Sorry to be nit-picky, it’s just my way.

    • Reaper says:

      Nicely done. Very scary and yet the nice realistic end. This was just wonderful all the way through. And I will say for the falling I would nitpick the other way. You describe a storm that implies rain and mud. Running barefooted in the mud when you slid you tend to fall backwards because your foot shoots out in front of you due to lack of traction. Though maybe a rewording would clarify that.

  13. usedname says:

    “Leave it too late for goodbyes.” I scream, holding my throat, tears blurring my vision. The world feels like it is slowly slipping away beneath me, he is standing there covered in blood, slouched in pain.

    “Leave!” I say again in a tired breath, beneath his moans of anguish. I hold my face away, afraid of the beast I created.

    The shattering of glass awakes me from my sleep. My wispy raven black strands cling to my sweaty face. I turn to the window which now howls with the thunderstorm as its curtains billow about. A crouched figure lays slumped on the sill soaked with rain and blood. Its golden eyes lay upon me with an indignant fury.

    “Jacob,” I whisper, shuddering under my silk sheets. He looks worse. Much worse than before. Now his face garnishes a long scar from his eyebrow to his chin. Wicked fangs barely remain hidden behind his cracked lips. With a soft thud he drops to the floor.

    “H-help, me.” He spits out in a haggard breath, his eyes always seem to find mine even though I cannot match his gaze.

    “Look! Look at me.” He yells anger rising in his voice, ”Look at what you’ve let them do to me!”

    “I-“, I pause, unable to answer.

    Over the hills a swarm of yellow lights starts to glow. It is the burn of torches, they’re coming. I stumbled out of the bed to his side, a crimson lake now staining the floor. My body recoils from him in disgust and shame. I can’t even touch him this beast that looks so much like me, like his father.

    “I- I“ I mumble again helpless, through the rain, I can see the glint of metal. “Guns” I think to myself,”They’ve never brought guns before.”

    In the doorway my young Margaret stands rubbing her eyes,“Mama, I can’t sleep”.

    “Ah!” she gasps holding onto the door frame. Her fear is quickly replaced by concern, “Brother- is that you?”

    “Yes, Margaret it is I- “, he rises onto his elbow and reaches out to her. His eyes soften as he looks at her, ”Please, get help.”

    “No!” I shout pushing him aside. “Get out! Get out!”

    “Leave us! Don’t you see, you can never come back here!” now I’m yelling as I shove him against the window sill.

    “Stop it! Mother!” Margaret wails, tears in her eyes as she pulls at my nightgown.

    I ignore her drawing his putrid face to mine “Don’t you think I know! ” I hiss, “Yes, they are coming for you, but think of your sister!”

    He looks up at me again, this time without his anger. He looks at me without pain or vengeance, but with pity.

    “Leave!” I shriek hysterically as he lumbers off into the shadows. Margaret cries out for him,struggling under my grasp. All I can do is hold her back from following him. Tonight, my nightmare has become reality.

    — sorry for any mistakes just decided to go with what came to me first as i have been on a bit of writer’s block

    • usedname says:

      didn’t mean for it to come out in all italics just the first two paragraphs.

    • Observer Tim says:

      You did a great job building up the emotion of the response, usedname. I can feel the room devolving into chaos with the two kids. The story it self is heart-wrenching, though mitigated by the fact that the son is a monster.

    • Reaper says:

      This reads like Frankenstein to me. While it could be a misread it is the mother that is the monster not the son. It reads like she did something and her son suffered. Much like in Frankenstein where the monster is not the monster, the doctor is. Well done and very good job tugging at the heart strings.

    • usedname says:

      Thanks @observer Tim and Reaper! See u next prompt!

  14. CHAINS THAT BIND

    Every night, the tree branches make marionettes on my ceiling, my life’s story. On the cracked white marble, leaves make people, twigs make buildings, cars, planes, carried about by the wind. I stare up at the show from the bed, huddled underneath the cold covers.

    Brushing back my messy brown hair, I gaze around the small room, spot the pictures on my dresser, the tiny model planes, baseball trophies. The shadows swing back and forth, illuminated through the blinds, scratching the tiled roof.

    I will never know whether my mother crashed the car by herself or not. No one helped solve the mystery, not the robed minister who calmly stood in front of the casket, not the many guests who came and went under the umbrellas, on the grassy hill. My suit was ragged and torn, the tie in a knot, and my father had driven away silently.

    I can see it now, the fresh pain surging to the surface, the moonlight like car headlights swerving into the other lane. When I went to the hospital to see father, lying there in his bandages, teeth gritted in pain, shedding crocodile tears. Whenever she was gone, to the grocery store, my bedroom door swinging open, his frightening smile.

    A storm is coming in tonight, thick brown marshmallows drenched with freezing rains. The thunder starts out low, distant, miles away. But I know it will grow.

    The red shutters begin to clank together, welcoming in that familiar dream, that haunting dream.

    Flash. A forked silvery tongue laps the horizon but for a moment.

    A crackling boom follows.

    I pull the white sheets over my head again, turn to the window, to the army men, the stuffed animals. They can’t feel, won’t see, sleep as black shadows in the rain’s path, and I’m alone.

    Clank, clank.

    Windows bang together like prison chains, wrapping around arms and legs. There’s always the worry, the fear, of his strength and endurance. Every day, there’s a chance of him escaping, of running away from the wardens, from the judges, from the hushed courtrooms, the police officers.

    Here would be the first place he’d go, driven by invisible hate.

    In the darkened fields of grass and corn outside, the monster’s form slides out from the stalks. My heart catches, but I will myself to be still, watching him creep along, oozing to the sill.

    “This has to be a dream,” I whisper.

    But the lightning sparkles through the sky again, and I see him now, hunched over, spotting me with a malicious smile, thick lips curled. My sheets suddenly are entangling as a spider’s web, and I struggle to get out, feet caught. His red eyes chase after me, hot, angry embers.

    At the window now, he grasps for the pane with long wiry tendrils, spreading spindly cracks through the glass. I finally shove away the covers, running off the bed, the old mattress groaning.

    The breeze catches me up like a flying Peter Pan, my clothes rustling. The monster’s arms push the window up, beady raindrops now landing inside the room, forming puddles.

    “You are mine now,” he growls, spit flying from his fangs. Thrusting his legs through the small opening, he stands to his full height, nearly blocking out the window. I can already feel the chilled hands curling around my shoulders like stinging pine needles, hear his soothing tones. Goosebumps spread along my entire body, and I wriggled away, back against the wall.

    “No! Get away!” I manage to choke out.

    The bedroom door slams open, and Fred rushes in, pajamas on, his glasses crooked and flashlight leveled. He takes a knee, mouth open.

    “Theo, what’s wrong?”

    I can feel my stepfather’s brute hands around my neck, fingers slicing deeper, cutting off air. Trying to move my hands, I slump to the floor, tears running down my cheeks.

    “It’s him!” I yell, breath returning at last. Fred’s face pales, the thunder making him understand. Slipping my arm around his shoulders, he lifts me up and puts me back in bed, under the sheets, straightening them, scaring away stray demons.

    “You’ll be all right, do you understand? I’ll protect you, no matter what.”

    I sigh, watch as he walks away, closes the door. The storm lessens, the clouds retreating to the west, daylight coming in its place, yellow banners. I am loved here, yes.

    I sleep without stirring, until I wake up in the morning, looking at the mirror. Four red scars run along my neck, and the sick chill returns, nearly forcing me to the floor, before I recover.

    I go downstairs to have breakfast. Fred already has cereal ready for me, but I’m not hungry.

    GH

  15. darren.white58 says:

    I knew this would happen, one day it was inevitable. Even thought I had prepared for tonight in my nightmares who knows how many times her dilated bloodshot eyes held me locked in terror. Kneeling in the shadows of a pine across from my bedroom window looking up at the silhouetted form of the beast in the ambient blue glow of my computer display I ordered my gently swaying body into rigid stillness praying her vision was based on movement. The churning ache in my stomach increased exponentially as she scanned the landscaped swath below my window, her wild black hair floated ethereally on the gentle breeze framing the sharp features of her pale face. I realized then that she hadn’t seen me yet and was only investigating the clatter from my recent fall out of the tree I was hiding beneath. While usually a path of safe passage back to my warm bed, tonight it had almost killed me as halfway across the branch bent unnaturally from under my foot and sent me back to the ground in an ungraceful heap.

    I am not sure how this dark creature had invaded my father’s mind but after he had invited her into our home, she wasted no time in taking over. The control she had on my father was absolute and any discussion about the true nature of his sinister bride was immediately stuck down with such fervor that knew he was gone entirely and the thrall left in his place was to be considered an enemy. I had tried to fight it; to fight her but a seventeen year old has only so much power against a beast with her wiles. In an act of desperation I turned to my friends for help in extricating this curse from my family. Many of them having suffered a similar affliction, they told me stories of the travesties soon to befall my father and I and it caused the resentful fire in my belly to smolder. Attempting to give me some solace and comfort we passed around a bottle to bolster my courage but in the end I had returned alone for this dangerous endeavor.

    Bringing myself to my feet in the dark shadows of the pine tree I gathered my resolve to throw an initial barrage at the beast, the fiery eloquent string of abuses I had been rehearsing as I walked home that evening caught in my throat and I started to sweat as anger and fear wrestled for control in my stomach. I swallowed my first attempt as speech, forcing the hot bile back down. The gurgling burp that did escape though caught the beast’s attention and she narrowed her eyes, leaning onto the window sill her drooping hands folding together each finger tipped with a short crimson talon. I raised my head defiant and stepping out from under the tree into her withering glare I drew in a deep breath and promptly threw up into the bushes.

    • usedname says:

      I had to read this over a few times to completely get the gist. I like the atmosphere you created but i think your sentences might be a bit wordy. I am curious though as to what this mystery lady’s intentions are if the narrators father is rich or something else. I also appreciated the fact that you used the prompt without relying to much on its set up.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Wow, stepmother from hell or stepchild who can’t take the change? Of course, it doesn’t really matter once the animosity is there. You painted the negative impression very well.

      This is a thought-provoking take, Darren. I like it.

    • Reaper says:

      I personally like wordy sentences being a huge fan of literary fiction. I like the story and that it could be either side that is in the wrong or neither and just a personality clash as often happens with step-parents. There are some missing words that another edit pass would fix. I mostly glossed over them as I read. Your first two sentences were the ones I noticed most. In the first one if you move the comma forward two words it would flow better. The second sentence I read a few times and couldn’t quite get what you were going for. I know there is a powerful thought there but it didn’t translate completely for me. Once I was past those two however I was strapped in for the ride and glad I took it.

    • Critique says:

      I thought it was interesting that the ‘monster – the wicked stepmother’ was inside and the MC was outside, hiding. I liked your descriptive sentences. Well done.

  16. CaitrionaDennehy says:

    I freeze, eyes locked on the creature. It was alluring, beautiful and fierce. Scars ran down it’s arms, out onto sharp talon like claws. It’s eyes pierced mine, blood pooled and maleficent. I dared not move, the cool chill from the window sent shivers down my spine.
    The creature stood, shaking out it’s ragged dirt ridden clothes. Was it human? Was it even real? could I still be sleeping?
    Just then, the odour hit me, sucking the air from my lungs. The smell of rotting flesh and raw sewage.my stomach cried in despair, my eyes watered.
    Should I run? Could I run? I dared not look away from the creature, to see if I left my door open.
    “Caitriona,..” I jumped as I heard my name rasped out, dry as paper. Did it just,.
    “Caitriona,..”
    I take a deep breathe, sucking courage from god only knows where ” Yes?”
    The creature hops down from the window sill an takes a step towards me. It must have been at least 6 foot tall. It’s voice was like nails on a chalkboard. “I need,… I need,…. talk,. I,.. ”
    It etches closer to my bed side, claws drooping by it’s side. I notice a fresh cut oozing miserably down it’s dark face.
    “Talk?” I hope my voice comes across stronger than I feel.
    The creature nods. “Trouble,.. You,.. Dark,.. ” Hairs stand on the back of my neck “Leave,… danger,.. Hunter,.. Hunter coming,..”
    “What Hunter?” The creature is very close now, leaning over my bed. The smell is making my head spin.
    Suddenly the creature’s eyes flash red,. It spins around “Leave!” It screams. It’s arms flay, slicing through my wooden chair. My heart races as the creature shrieks again. “Leave,. been warned,. coming.”
    It darts out into the night.
    It’s quiet. Too quiet. I can’t hear the trees rustling.
    A thundering roar and I shoot up out of the bed. My eyes snapping open.
    Was I sleeping the whole time? Thunder rolls outside.
    I must have been asleep.
    My eyes catch sight of the broken chair,…

  17. Lady Grayish says:

    My first attempt at a prompt. Here goes.

    This is not happening. My dreams are not supposed to emerge from my window and stare down at me in real life, because dreams are realms beyond reality. Or something like that. It’s hard to think in terms of coherent poetic nonsense when one is lying in bed only half-awake, with nerves thrumming from a sudden attack of adrenaline.

    Maybe it was the tacos. Perhaps those delicious little bundles of meat and cheese and other assorted condiments turned my stomach and I am now in the hospital hallucinating my life away. It doesn’t explain the beast with the drooping hands and the wicked fangs, since the last time I had food poisoning I was merely tormented by the ghost of my great-aunt Martha who swore the Mexicans were going to take over the world.

    Dang, that breath is foul. I’ve never had a dream with quite such a vivid odor to it. Or that drew blood when one of those fangs catches my arm when it nuzzles me.

    Nuzzles? What the hell? The purring is unmistakable as the creature curls up against me. I am entirely frozen, which is not a bad thing to have happen necessarily because sudden movements related to a panic attack might in fact startle this critter and that would be bad. Very, very bad.

    I must only be half awake. This is a dog, a stray dog that climbed up the wall and through the window into my bedroom and now wants nothing more than to snuggle with me. And before I know it, I am asleep, and that kind of logic makes perfect sense when a person is only half-awake already.

    I wake up to bright sunlight, my mother screaming bloody murder, and a black beast of nightmares curled up next to me in bed like a giant puppy dog.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Full of humor and satire. Mother’s are like that in their own home.Do you think you might be able to leash train him? Think of the pathways ‘Gore’ could make through crowded stores and sidewalks. And if you attract a second one of a different persuasion you might be able to raise them for profit. You know like a pyramid scheme such as Chinchilla from the fifties.

    • darren.white58 says:

      Great story Greyish,

      It was funny and the ending caught me off guard. Being new to posting here as well I say keep it up you did a terrific job for your first post. One little piece of constructive criticism, I think right at the beginning when you say “lying in bed only half-awake, with nerves thrumming from a sudden attack of adrenaline” This might be just me but I think the imagery here is a bit contradictory. With nerves thrumming with adrenaline can you still be half-asleep?

    • DMelde says:

      Welcome my Lady. Good story. I too believe that tacos attract monsters. Really, what monster doesn’t enjoy tacos? Or the people who eat tacos? Yum either way to a monster. Thanks for sharing!

    • usedname says:

      Really enjoyed that story. It was short but full of flavor.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is very clever, Lady Grayish. It’s told in a wonderfully “just so” voice, and having the monster there when she wakes up is a nice touch.

      I just wish it were longer so it could explore the concept a little more.

      Welcome to the site!

    • Reaper says:

      Welcome to posting Lady Grayish. I liked this story, nice light take that doesn’t feel light through the middle. Nice messages included about judging things on appearances. It was a fun read. There were some tense shifts, some seemed intentional and others not as much. The only real constructive advice I would give would be to remove your first line or make it a title. That second line is a powerful hook and drops us right into the action, making it an amazing opener and the first sentence seem soft by comparison. Not a necessary thing at all though. This was a fun read and I hope to see more from you in the future.

  18. k.spicer says:

    Attempt IV. I had to make up for the darker scenes I wrote. (Atonement?)

    I sit my dinner plate down beside the bed. Why fight it? One can only watch so much late-night television before the inevitable happens; sleep must come, but I dread it.

    I know my sins have been forgiven, I saw to that years ago; I confessed, repented and even turned myself in to pay for what I did. I made peace with my maker, my fellow man, and even the family that I destroyed…It’s me that I can’t seem to make peace with.

    Maybe if I look again he’ll be gone. No, he’s still there; peeking through the window, waiting for me to fall asleep. He’s a very patient demon this spirit of slumber; more patient than I. I thought for years that this demon was waiting to drag me to hell the minute I closed my eyes, but time has proven that wrong. He just waits there…for what I do not know. I just know that he scares me and fills my soul with dread. He must get lonely waiting there in the darkness all by himself.

    Maybe if I pray again the Lord will see fit to remove him so I can rest, so I can be at peace again, even though I don’t deserve it; no more than those girls deserve what they got. I was drinking and driving; yes I know, the very thing everyone is warned about over and over again, but nonetheless that’s what I was doing. I didn’t see that the light had changed. I didn’t see that I was traveling too fast. I didn’t see the girls on the mopeds until they were in the intersection. Now I can’t get their faces out of my mind. When the car finally came to a stop the two girl’s faces were smashed against the windshield, bloodied and staring at me. More than anything I’m haunted by their faces. I panicked, I ran, but I didn’t get far; my conscious wouldn’t let me.

    Kneeling by my bedside once again I weep softly. “Lord, forgive me. How do I rid myself of the enemy of my soul?”

    Rising, I pick up my dinner plate and walk over to the window. Looking into the creature’s hollow eyes I slowly open the glass. Setting the plate on the sill I push it towards him. “Go ahead, I barely touched it.” I say as the demon begins to devour its contents. I sit and chat with him until the food is gone then I take the plate and start to close the window. The boney hand reaches out to stop me.

    “Why?” He whispers.

    I reach down and pat the cold boney hand. “Come back tomorrow night.” I say. “We’ll be having steak.” As I walk past the nightstand I glance at my open Bible. “Therefore if thy enemy hunger, feed him…” I smile as I turn out the lights and climb back into bed.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a lovely story of devout regret, k.spicer. It’s interesting that the monster just watches her and doesn’t attack, even when he has the chance. Of course, maybe now he’s waiting outside her window because she feeds him. Or maybe she just needs to reach out and comfort him.

    • Manwe38 says:

      Loved the Biblical references here, they gave me the chills…kind of reminiscent of The Exorcist.

      Well done story!

    • DMelde says:

      Nicely done k.spicer. This reminds me of the hounds of war. They never leave you. They just follow you around, much like your monster at the window.

    • Reaper says:

      Interesting that the MC considers the monster the enemy when it seems to be driving them towards greater good. I noticed some repetitive words but I think that was intentional as it kind of defined the character. It worked well for this. I did notice you used conscious when you meant conscience. I had to be the English professor at your window for a second there. ;) Good story and very thought provoking.

  19. EverLasting says:

    His ice cold hands held my feverish face, watching me. Studying me. His cold gaze locked with mine.

    His face was as pale as a sheet and his eyes were entirely black with bloodlust. His canines steadily lengthening into fangs.

    I thought he’d been the victim. Coming to me with a story of a violation so heartbreaking….it made me feel so much sympathy. I thought he was placing as much trust in me by telling me his story, as I was placing in him by letting him into my home. I was wrong.

    He had been watching me. Always watching. Just waiting for the one moment. That one, irresistible moment, when I’d completely let down my guard….

    He’d pretended to be my friend when my Mom was killed. But really, he’d been the one to do it. He’d held me in his arms as I cried.

    Had had kissed me once. As if to prove he was on my side. That, or to show me who he really was.

    Because his lips….were covered….in blood. I guess I should have noticed it.

    But I didn’t. In my desperation for someone’s touch and my teary eyes blurring everything out….

    I just let my guard down. Gave him that perfect moment….I froze.

    He’d smiled at me, his pupils suddenly bigger, taking up his whole iris. I screamed. I struggled but he held me tightly is his grasp.

    “Sarah, don’t run from me. I’ve been waiting so long for this….don’t run and ruin my fun.” He whispered in my ear.

    “Eli don’t. Don’t Eli, please. Please!” I cried. As I realized, for the first time in the three months I’d known him….

    Eli was a Vampire, and he wanted blood.

    He grinned and lunged. He shoved me to the couch and shoved me down. He sank his fangs into my neck. I screamed and screamed, but nobody could hear….

    I officially hated neighborhood block-parties. They meant that nobody would be around when you needed them.

    Tears silently streamed down my face as pain shot through my neck and my body started to feel cold. I was dying.

    “I hate you.” Was all I could manage.

    “I know.” Was his only reply.

    My eyes closed….and my heart stopped beating.

    I leaped up from bed, screaming like a maniac. I looked around, screaming and screaming….then I realized. I wasn’t dead.

    Oh thank gosh. I was dreaming!

    Just as I started to calm down….as my fears ebbed away and I started laughing at myself for being so stupid….

    “Your awake! Finally. I’d thought I’d messed up the whole Transformation Ceremony.”

    I looked up. He grinned.

    “Oh God….”

    • EverLasting says:

      *sigh*

      I looked the whole story over, and thought I gotten the writing right, But then I see a double “had” up near the top.

      To correct myself,

      “He had kissed”

      Sometimes I think my keyboard is out to get me. :) lol :)

      • Observer Tim says:

        Don’t worry, EverLasting, your keyboard is out to get you. It’s in league with the ethernet card and the printer cable. Never turn your back on the printer cable.

        • EverLasting says:

          Hahahaha lol Tom.

          Well, you see, I’m actually on a mobile device, but, I can’t really type on either sometimes, so thank you for that info. I’ll definitely keep an eye on my Printer Cable now. XD

          *pauses*

          Uh-oh. I think it’s watching me right now…ahh!

          Lol sorry. Couldn’t resist. ;)

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a beautiful story, EverLasting. As soon as she woke up after the bloodletting I had a feeling this was going to happen, but you presented it so well. I love the difference between her emotionally charged speech and his seeming teenaged nonchalance.

      I do wonder why she thought thank gosh when she first woke up and Oh God later. It’s a tiny continuity thing, but the kind that hits my OCD like a bird hitting a window.

      • EverLasting says:

        Thank you Tom. :)

        I see what you mean on the “thank gosh” VS. “oh God” scenes.

        They were going to be the same, but I didn’t want it to sound repetitive since they would have been so close together, so I changed them.

        But now that you mentioned it does look a bit weird that way. I’ll make them the same next time. :)

    • k.spicer says:

      Nice story Everlaasting. I did noticed the “Had, had”. I can’t believe I’m going to do this…maybe it’s my collage English professor coming out, or maybe it’s my own monster. I thought those sentences should have been combined to form one flowing sentence to keep the tension flowing. For instance:

      He pretended to be my friend when my mother died, but in reality he was the one who killed her. Once, he held me in his arms as I cried and even kissed me as if to prove he was on my side; I think now he simply wanted me to know who he was, that he was my mother’s killer.

      It seems to flow better when you make it one thought. One other thing. Always beware of sentences that start with the word “Because.” That word causes a drag on your sentence and slows down the delivery of your thought. The very next sentence is an example. In stead of starting the sentence with “Because” simply drop it and combine that sentence with the next one to make it flow better. For example:

      His lips were covered with blood; I should have noticed it but I didn’t. In my desperation for someone’s touch I let my guard down giving him that perfect moment.

      It’s your sentence and it is a very good one, it just seems to flow better this way.

      The only reason I say this is that your writing is good and with a few minor adjustments it can flow much better and give that feeling that we all strive for. I have had people tell me similar things that improved my delivery, so I hope this helps.
      Keep up the good work because you write a good story. PS. If you have suggestions for anything I write I’m all ears…we all want to improve. Thanks for the story!

    • DMelde says:

      Good story Everlasting. k.spicer has some good suggestions. My only request is to include her mother in the Transformation Ceremony. I can’t wait to see Sarah’s face when it’s her own mom who grins her fangs and says “congratulations baby girl of mine.” Such a touching reunion…

    • Reaper says:

      I don’t know when the next prompt is coming but I wanted to say I loved this. I noticed the double had but it was an obvious editing mistake. The double shoving was weird to me. He shoved me to the couch and shoved me down. Seems like it could use a pushed me down or something like that. At the end I would say gosh and God are a taste thing. I found the difference good but not because of repetition. To me it read the first one was the innocent girl inside speaking, thankful it was a a dream and then bam reality sets in and the grown up starts talking.

  20. Reaper: I was at with my family and caught a commercial for some show called Matador. The new episode sounds eerily like “My Participation Trophy” part 1. You should check it out.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3652662/ I don’t know how to find the commercial, but I’m sure it’s somewhere.

  21. cosivantutte says:

    Twenty-One Years

    Arbor watched Jim Harver change his clothes. Shirt off. Slacks off. Pajama bottoms on. Pajama top on. One. Two. Three. Four. He never changed up his routine. And he never looked at his bedroom window.

    What would he do if he saw me sitting here? Would he be happy? Or would he be afraid? He’s always afraid when I visit his dreams. But maybe that’s because of the distance. I sit here behind this glass and he lies so still in his bed. So far away from me. I want to know the feel of his pajamas. His hair. His skin. I want to see him seeing me, the real me, and be unafraid.

    Jim Harver turned on his nightlight, shut off his ceiling light, and ran straight-line to bed. He covered his head with his blanket.

    Arbor waited until the green glow of deep sleep seeped through his blankets, lighting up the room. She closed her eyes and entered his dreams – like a gannet diving into the sea.

    The dream began as it always did. Jim Harver sat in a canoe in the middle of a pale pink lake. A fringed canopy floated above his head. A yak circle of curtained windows surrounded him, protecting him.

    Does he feel safe or isolated? Arbor trudged through the ankle deep water to the nearest window. He doesn’t have to be alone. She raised her long, curved hands and tapped on the glass.

    The curtains parted. She saw him and he saw her. She smiled, baring her fangs.

    His eyes widened in fear as they always did.

    “Jim Harver.”

    He tried to paddle away, but the pink water held the canoe firmly in place.

    She tapped on the glass again. “Jim Harver.” There was so much she wanted to say to him, but she could only say his name. Can he hear the longing in my voice? “Jim Harver.”

    He threw the paddles at the window and jumped overboard. The water splashed like thick pudding, filling the air with the scent of artificial strawberries. He struggled to swim through the water. If he could get past the windows, he’d find clear water and freedom.

    But, night after night, he failed. Arbor watched as he failed again. She left his dream and opened her eyes. Twenty-one years of the same dream always ending the same way. He could stop it. So could I. She smiled. “So, I could. So, I will.” She tapped on the glass with her long talons.

    Jim Harver woke up and uncovered his head. And, for the first time in twenty-one years, he looked at his window.

    The curtains parted and the window rose. She crawled through the window.

    He gasped. “You.”

    “Jim Harver.” She approached him. Her long black hair clung close to her face. Her back claws clicked on the hardwood floor.

    His eyes widened in fear. “You…you aren’t—”

    She stopped beside his bed.

    Words failed him. He could do nothing but stare fearfully at her.

    This was a mistake. I shouldn’t have…She touched his face.

    He promptly passed out.

    She smiled. No. This wasn’t a mistake at all. This is just right. She scooped him up in her arms and carried him back to the window. She looked down at his face. Jim Harver, I’ll finally tell you everything I’ve held inside for twenty-one years.

    • Reaper says:

      Nicely written and a very nice take on the prompt. I think the creepiest part of your monster is her inability to say anything but the man’s name. Not sure how she’s going to get past that.

      • cosivantutte says:

        Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. I wrote it as a messed up version of Little Mermaid.

        Poor Jim Harver. He is such a wimp compared to my usual guy characters. I felt bad making him faint so easily, but, story-wise, it just had to be done. :D

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a touching gothic take on the monster, cosivantutte. You did a great job bringing out the monster’s profound sadness and longing. I hope she manages to get through to him.

  22. snuzcook says:

    For anyone interested, additional segments to the story EXCISION have been posted as comments following the original story below.

    • snuzcook says:

      To find it without a lot of scrolling, just do Ctl F to open a search box, type in ‘excision.’ The drop down arrows will take you to each instance when the word appears.

  23. Observer Tim says:

    And this one is finally done; again its way over the word limit, but there was no place to break it.

    Foothold
    (Part 2 of “Reborn”)

    The lights of Calgary shine like incandescent jewels below, while the other stars –the ‘real’ stars– glisten above. The cool breeze makes the drapes billow inwards, one side wrapping seductively around the post of the elegant lamp. I wish I could be out on the balcony feeling the caress of the night air, but I believe my guardian would kill me herself if I tried a fool stunt like that.

    She puts her hand on my shoulder and I feel her soft flesh as she glides silently by me. This year I’m following her lead and forgoing the clothing. Nothing lasts when the hurricane starts anyway. I glance over at the clock when it buzzes and clicks. The red LED’s show eleven twenty-three P.M. If that’s accurate the show begins in less than a minute.

    Fylax begins her song soft and low. The words are similar to Ancient Greek, but a form which has not been made by any lips but hers in eons. Her skin begins to shine and the brass of her spear reflects an otherworldly light.

    The window frame begins to emit a phosphorescent glow. Normally I would never spend a night like this beside a window this large, but tonight we need it. It has been seventeen years, to the minute, since my mother brought the Seed of Atlantis into the modern world, and it is time for that Seed to fully germinate.

    The lights of the Stampede City fade, washed out by the silvery-white glow of the Moonlight City. The gateway is open: the zephyrs of ten thousand years gallop into the room like wild horses, whipping and tearing at everything present. Electrical devices scream, flare, and go dark.

    The demons can figure time just as well as we can; two of them dash for the window as soon as it opens, baring their flesh-stained teeth as they race toward us. Fylax flicks her slender arms and the spear describes a deadly arc, separating two heads from bodies. The heads hit the carpet with a dull thud and explode into foul vapour.

    Fylax turns to me; her song continues even without her to sing it.

    “Are you certain of this, Mistress Elfida?”

    “I am. It is time to start reclaiming the city.”

    “As you will.”

    She raises the spear to let me pass, though not before dispatching another fell shadow. I step forward onto the balcony, knowing that if I fail the spear will find me before I’m allowed back into the modern world.

    A dragon-shadow rises before me, its huge eyes glowing yellow like the sun and claws as long as my forearm dripping blood. While I am unclothed it is not until this moment that I feel naked.

    It speaks to me in the old tongue. “A mortal Atlantean. This is a wonder not seen in ages. How did you come to be, mortal?”

    I answer in English. “None of your damn business, lizard. I’m here to reclaim what’s mine.” They’re not exactly the formal Words of Challenge, but the message is clear enough.

    It blinks. Twice. I begin shaping the spell.

    “What do you offer for the return of the Foundered Continent, Mortal? How do you plan to bargain with us for this land?”

    “I offer you nothing. I’m here to take.”

    “Ho ho! It shall be sport, then!”

    He rises up so I can see his full shadowy glory. A hundred feet of winged serpent, six legs bristling with claws, plates so heavily armoured that no weapon of Atlantis can penetrate them. I feel a tiny shred of doubt but push it down. I have to do this or I’m dead; it’s as simple as that.

    He actually waits while I finish forming my weapon. His eyes narrow as he stares at it, then he bursts out in laughter to shake the world.

    “That is your weapon? It’s so tiny! How do you expect to hurt one such as me with it?”

    “Like this.” I raise it and pull the trigger. There is a thunderous boom and his chestplate is starred, cracked, and holed. His eyes widen.

    “What manner of sorcery?”

    “This is a Smith and Wesson Model 500 revolver. It has a muzzle energy of over three thousand foot-pounds. I broke my arm the first time I fired one. Guess what’s going to break this time.”

    My arm jolts again as the second 50-caliber armour-piercing round penetrates his chest. The dragon roars and swirls into motion. He’s already hurting, but this is going way too slow. Only three rounds left, and I don’t think he’ll pause while I conjure up more. I wait while he flies a tight circle to bring himself back into attack position.

    The next shot goes wide and I duck as his claws bisect the air where my head had been a fraction of a second before. He coils on himself and dives straight at me.

    Bad move. My fourth shot nails him right between the eyes, and the fifth follows a second later. His body feels like a wash of thin dust as it strikes me in mid-disintegration. His soul crystal, the egg-sized diamond that’s my real goal, drops neatly into my sore hand.

    I whisper my name into the crystal. It means ‘hope’ in Atlantean, you know? In a flash of silver light this part of the city is mine. I smile as I watched the puffs of smoke from demons who hadn’t been quick enough about fleeing.

    I look back at Fylax in the hotel room.

    “That’s one.”

    “That’s enough, Mistress. You will be able to expand your work at the next conjunction.”

    She smiles and holds out a hand as I step back through the hotel window.

  24. sjmca1966 says:

    This one just popped into my head.

    Sir Lancelot –

    I was pulling more and more of my top bed-sheet to my face. The beast was edging its way through the window, its talons scraping paint from the wall under the sill, its eyes of hell glaring at me with intent.

    The bedroom door flung open and the heavenly Lance from next door entered atop a majestic white stallion—his blond shoulder-length locks flowing in the breeze. He dismounted and pulled his gleaming sword from its leather scabbard. The beast lunged at Lance, but he was too swift. In one swooping motion he rolled to the floor and brought the sword plunging up into its belly. There was a long piercing screech, the beast then fell to the floor in a pile of dust.

    Lance rushed to my bed and held me tightly in his arms. When he released me our faces were no more than two inches from each other. Was it finally going to happen? Trembling, I closed my eyes and pursed my lips

    Knock, knock, knock! “Alison . . . Alison!”

    I lifted my head from my pillow, “For Gods sake, Mother! What the the hell do you want?”

    “That’s enough of that young lady. . .that nice young lad from next door is here to see you.”

    I sprung out of bed, “I won’t be a second!”

    I had my jeans half-way up when I stumbled and hit the floor. On my knees I lurched forward and yanked at my knicker draw. I ripped my night-shirt off and put my bra on inside-out. I knelt in front of my mirror and started brushing my hair. I took a deep breath, Be cool Ally, be cool.

    When I finally had myself together I walked nonchalantly into the hall. I lifted my head and flicked my hair with the back of my right hand.

    “Hey, smelly Ally.”

    My heart dropped through my butt.

    It was Lance’s younger brother Luke. A smell of rotten eggs consumed the hallway. He pulled his right hand from inside the back of his trousers, “Do farts have lumps?” he asked.

    Lucas Mucous, we called him and with good reason. I raised my index finger to the cleft under my nose. He didn’t get the hint and thought I was intimating for him to kiss me, “Back off dick-wad, there’s a booger hanging from your nose.”

    He poked his tongue out and formed it into a valley. He brought the pink abomination back towards his top lip and slurped the nasal build-up down his gullet, “Mmm,” he said, “You gotta recycle. Keep the planet green.”

    I was retching when I ushered him out the door.

    When I stormed into the kitchen, my mother was rolling on the floor in fits of laughter.

    “Why Mother, why?”

    “I asked you to get up an hour ago. Serves you right.”

    “Oh. . .My. . . God! The guy is a living nightmare.”

  25. Observer Tim says:

    Warning! Highly suggestive content (but not enough to preclude it being used on prime-time TV.

    Monsters and the City

    “Becky, you look like death warmed over. I’ve never seen you this tired. Was that your date with Steve?”

    “Yeah, sort of. It wasn’t quite what I expected.”

    “Tell me, girl.”

    “Well, you know how he likes practical jokes and stuff. About eight o’clock I was just finishing getting ready. I wore that little black dress, you know, the one with the hemline about to here?”

    “Daring.”

    “Yeah. Well, I was choosing which heels would go best with it when I saw something move in the window. It looked like Steve had got some silly demon-monster suit on and was climbing in. It was good, I have to admit. He had scales and hair and glowing yellow eyes and everything. And I do mean everything: the suit was anatomically correct.”

    “OMG! Really?”

    “Really. And a lot better hung than he normally is. The pump was primed, too.”

    “What did you do?”

    “Well, I figured he went to all that trouble, you know. And I was kind of curious about the animatronic jewels. So I tossed the shoes and the panties and called his bluff.”

    “You didn’t!”

    “I did. And let me tell you, Cass, he surprised me. When I pushed him to the floor he got this look on his face like he’d just won the lotto. He grinned from ear to ear and then came at me with his forked tongue.”

    “Forked tongue? He went all out, didn’t he?”

    “Definitely. We Frenched for a while and then he did oral on me.”

    “Steve? He never did that with me; said he wasn’t into it.”

    “Well, this time he was. And afterwards he put that prosthetic to use. I rode him, he rode me, front and back and some positions I’d never even thought of. It lasted for hours and he never let down once. It was like he’d OD’ed on Viagra. By the time three a.m. rolled around I was nothing but sweat and quivering and limp muscles and he was still ready for more. I finally had to stop him, which took another half hour. You know what he did then?”

    “What?”

    “He told me he had no idea who Steve was, but that Steve was a lucky guy. As he got up he asked if it was okay if he came back tonight for more.”

    “Really? What did you say?”

    “Well, there’s no way I could take another night of that, at least not so soon, so I did the only thing I could. I gave him your address.”

  26. sierrais says:

    I was looking at the window again, or rather through the window. It happened every time I went to sleep, a mosnter would stare at me through the window. These nightmares had started months ago and had become something of a norm for me. When the dreams had first started I would try to move my paralyzed body only to fail miserably and smend the rest of the dream staring at the monster in fear. Now I just stared at it, demanding answers with my eyes, the only response that I ever gained was a blank stare.
    Today was different though, I could feel it the moment I had opened my eyes and looked at the window. I tried to move my fingers as I tested to see the mobility of my body as I did everytime in the begining of all my dreams. In response my pointer finger twitched, it seemed that this time I wasn’t paralyzed by some invisible force so I sat up slowly, wanting it get a better look at the perpatrator that had made my sleep restless for all those nights.
    The moonlight just bright enough to see the most basic details of the beast-like creature. The first thing I noticed was the fangs, they were about the length of my head and looked sharp enough to slice through anything with ease. It’s sharpness seemed to be unparrallel except for the claws at the end of its humanoid hands.
    Before I could gather more detail in the dim light I saw it bring up one of its droopy arms and knock on the window. Each knock seperated by a long silence which only emphasized the sound. Another knock. Normally this was where I woke up, sweating in my tangled covers so I closed my eyes but when I opened them the monster was still there, still watching with its blood red eyes. Another knock. I pinched myself, trying to force myself awake, even if it was a dream I didn’t want to know how it ended. Another knock. The pinch was slightly painful, only comfirming the suspicion that this wasn’t a dream.
    Instead of a knock this time a scratching noise could be heard as the beasts arm slowly came down to the bottom of the window. It was aganizingly slow but I was still trying to grab the concept that this wasn’t a dream. The window budged slightly, but my body felt numb. The beast managed to get a good feel for the window and started to raise it slowly. I could feel a warm liquid under me and I was too afraid to even feel embarrassed. The window was fully open and the monster was coming in, I forced myself to move. Just as the monsters bulky leg touched the floor I managed to take control of my body once again and I bolted.
    I ran out of the room and to the front door hoping to get out of the house and anywhere else but there but as soon as I opened the door I saw the beast. It was standing in front of the door staring down at me and so I did the only thing I could; I slammed the door on it. The next room I went to was the kitchen but it was there too. I went from room to room but every room the monster was there.
    It was when I got to the living room that I started to realize the uselessness of my actions, out of every door came a seperate beast. At that point all hope was gone; I was surrounded. I backed up until my back hit the wall and I slid down slowly, my legs no longer able to support me. A salty liquid exited my eyes, I was crying every last tear I had at this point. It was the biggest one, the one who had come from my room, who took action first. Closing my eyes was all I could do as I finally accepted my death. When nothing happened for a minute I opened one eye and saw the boss holding out a pamphelt.
    “Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior, Satan?” The large beast said in such a voice that my very soul quaked. It wasn’t until I awoke the next morning that I realized I had blacked out. The only thing telling me that the night before really happened was a pamphlet talking about Hell and a wet stain on my bed from the lack of control over my bladder.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Brilliant, sierrais! I was wondering if someone was going to do this take on the prompt. You took it masterfully. Your style captured the tension and the MC’s fear was palpable.

      There were a few missed words and misconjugated verbs, but those could be caught on a later editing pass if you decided to take this further.

      My eyes would like to ask if you could sneak an extra blank line between paragraphs, provided your editor allows you. It opens up the text a bit and lets me read a little more easily.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      Great take sierrais. You just can’t escape those dam pamphlet pushers.
      I cracked up at the end. Nice job.

  27. Russ says:

    I sat up in my bed terrified, paralyzed with fear.

    I looked at my window and stared at the wolf-like creature staring back at me. Its face was inches away from the window.

    Its large fangs protruded from the mouth, and its eyes were wild and big. Its hands were in sight and were drooping downwards, and the claws were sharp and several inches long.

    It just stayed there silently. It stared at me and I could see it was breathing due to its heaving chest.
    Every once in a while it would take a brief look at the rest of the room and then look back at me. It must have stayed there a few minutes. With amazement I thought I was dreaming again.

    Then with a human-like quality it started trying to open the window. As soon as it did this I ran for the door, but it was locked from the outside. I struggled and struggled to kick the door down as the wolf-like creature violently and loudly tried opening the window. I grabbed a bat in my room and I started beating the door. I was able to make some holes and dents, but I still couldn’t get through. Eventually I saw the wolf opening the window. It climbed in like a snake and walked towards with a gait similar to a person’s. It stood a foot in front of me, and its height was near mine. It paused there, its eyes looking hellish and wild. It looked down at my foot, and I could make out a smile. It then cut off my leg with its claw. I fainted. It sat there eating my leg, looking around him anxiously. After it finished it cut off my head, took it, and crawled back out of the window.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Nice one, Russ, and vivid discription of the action. I can just see the camera panning back at the end to find the narrator is a severed head, sitting on a pike and telling his story to the other severed heads on pikes. ;)

      • lionetravail says:

        Agreed. Only suggestion – the story is presented like a ‘this is just happened’ based on the tenses. It flows, but your narrator is almost matter of fact about the horror happenening. Id love to see more emotion from the character to really bring home the terror, helplessness, and the dread. Good story.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      Nice write Russ. I like that the monster looked around anxiously, he knew he was doing something wrong, that’s something redeeming at least.

    • Reaper says:

      Nice writing. While I would agree with the idea of a little more emotion I love the overall style. The one place I would look is the beginning of your second to last paragraph. You have some very intense imagery and that is the one place where your description is a bit drier when you are talking about the heaving chest. Otherwise I can agree with the tales from the crypt idea of one severed head telling the story to others.

  28. rle says:

    Two things, first, due to the large number of posts this week, I probably won’t get a chance to read all of them this time around. Please accept my apologies. Secondly, My response this week isn’t even in the same zip code as my comfort zone. I feel that dark and creepy things should be left in hands more capable than mine(I’m thinking Reaper and Jay in particular). My only other attempt at dark was way back in Frozen Solid so I thought maybe I should give it another whirl.

    ————————————————

    David Masters has not had a restful nights sleep in almost twenty years and it is all my fault. I feel bad really, but then again I do not feel really bad. You see, twenty-five years ago, David took something from me that I could never get back, something that was mine and that he had no right to; her name was Cindy. She was my one and only love and after David impregnated her with his child, I knew she would never again be mine. So, in order to show him how ungrateful I was, I decided to take everything he had.

    Now, when David sleeps, he dreams of me, my image etched into his brain. Dream really is the wrong word I suppose, because the feeling he gets when he sees me in his minds eye is anything but dreamy. I suppose when they locked me up, David thought he had won in some small token way, but you see, he will never win. Every time he tries to put me in the past, I am there, tapping him on the shoulder. He cannot shake me. I have won all battles and I will take one final victory with me.

    I do have to give dear David a measure of credit though, he tried to move on, start a new life in a new town. He even had a nice new wife for a time, but she could finally no longer bear the baggage he carried. Terribly sad really, yet I cannot help but smile when I think of how I ruined his life, just like he ruined mine.

    Now poor David lays alone, mostly fighting sleep, but he knows it will eventually come. When the Sandman finally pulls Davids eyes closed, it is then that his real hell begins. It is only then that he sees me standing outside of his bedroom window, glaring in at him, wielding the bloody hatchet I used to butcher his family. It is a bit peculiar why he fears me so. After all, I sit here twenty-two hours per day, cooped up in an eight by eight pen like livestock. It must be my mind he fears, because it is very much like his own. It only stands to reason though, we are from the same sperm and the same embryo. He knows I will not be contained forever.

    Tonight is the very night I shall be free, but it will only be brief I fear, so I must not tarry. Once they realize I have breached these walls, they will know where to find me. I will not be able to enjoy breathing in the crisp night air, nor will I be able to take in the majestic beauty of a harvest moon or listen to a night birds chorus.

    Tonight when David sees me peering in his window it will not be a nightmare and he will not be asleep. It will be reality and yet he will not know it. Even as I shatter his window and storm into the bedroom, his mind will still not perceive the threat. Not until I have clutched his throat with my cold pale hands will he realize the torment is nearly over. As he gasps for a final few shallow breaths of life, he will stare into the depths of my eyes, frantically searching for the soul that is no longer there. In the moment before his world goes black, he will remember why it came to this; why I am here. Tonight, my brother will finally rest.

    • k.spicer says:

      Good description and story rie. And you said you don’t do dark? Well done!

    • kittycat4ever says:

      I’d say you succeeded. :) It was wonderfully dark and thought provoking.

    • Observer Tim says:

      For someone outside your comfort zone you created a chilling take, rle. Just how horrifying would it be for your stalker to be your own identical twin? You did a great job of painting the reasons behind the coming bloodshed.

      My only criticism is that I can’t see why the MC would care whether David went to rest; it strikes me that the last sentence might be more chilling as “Tonight I become an only child.” or something equally heartless.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        I don’t think you missed anything here. It is chilling, especilly since it was a horror for so long. Revenge was sweet? I wouldn’t say so. I would think the mental turmoil increased with the kill. Only nothing-ness could release the pain.

        You wrote a great story here.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      You captured this perfectly rle. Nice tense build up and reveal.
      Well done.

      • lionetravail says:

        I read it twice, RLE- it’s dark, sinister, and the quintesential tale of revenge. The singlemindedness of the narrator is frightening in intensity.

    • snuzcook says:

      I think that the very fact that you don’t normally go for the dark side in stories makes it all the more powerful when you do. There is a disturbing way that the darkness is entirely created by the MC rather than belonging to the story without him. A powerful tale, rle.

    • Reaper says:

      I think your hands are pretty capable. Though outside your comfort zone I think you do well with living there on occasion. This is dark and delicious. I was a little thrown off by the amount of really’s and some similar words until the end. When you revealed the twin thing it was amazing and then that last line made him human. The voice became clear, he was convincing himself he was the good guy, and good enough that he would finally not only have his revenge completed but put his brother out of his misery. There are two sides to this MC and it makes him very creepy. Amazing writing.

    • That was satisfying, and although you stopped, I would’ve really loved to see it continue. More than that, you told a gripping, chilling, and fantastic tale from the killer/hunter/brother point of view, but may I make a suggestion? Retell this story, but do it from the other brother’s point of view. There is nothing more terrifying to us humans than fear and fearing what may come. Leading us through the other brother’s insanity as he deals with his psycho brother’s BS would be amazing, especially if you keep the reveal hidden until it’s just right.

      For being outside your element, you did a good job! if you ever get the wild hair to write something scary, don’t hesitate. :D A job well done.

  29. k.spicer says:

    Attempt III. Help! My head’s spinning with different takes on this prompt!

    The darkness was thick, like blackberry marmalade. I could taste the sweat that ran down my face as I stopped to catch my breath. It couldn’t have gone far; it only took me seconds to reach the open window where it was half leaning in. I’m sure it wasn’t expecting an axe to slam down on those long bonelike fingers it was scraping across the window sill; I’ve had enough. I’ve spent my last night cowering beneath the sheets waiting for it to go away; my last night trembling like a little child praying for mercy, hiding from those hellish yellow eyes. When I catch it, I’ll put an end to it forever.

    A sound of moving brush twenty feet to my right sends me moving through the darkness like a leopard for its prey. Limbs pelt my face as I close the distance between us and I can hear its heavy breathing as it desperately tries to get away. Briers rip at my flesh as I close the distance; its panicked gasps grow louder as it realizes that I’m upon it.

    Spilling out of the darkness of the woods it rolls several times across a smoothly trimmed field of grass and before it can regain its footing I swing the axe over my head bringing it down on its exposed haunch. The blood curdling scream wakes everyone within earshot as lights begin turning on in the rows of houses along the wood line.

    Pulling the axe free of its haunch I move to take another swing and it rolls several more times. As I approach, the beast covers its greyish hairy face trying to hide itself from the coming onslaught; to me it showed no mercy, nor will I. Pulling back the axe I swing it down hard striking it on the thickness of its neck. Blood sprays in all directions as the creature pulls away nearly yanking the axe out of my hand. Pressing my foot against the beast’s chest I pull hard and the axe head slides free with a loud sucking sound.

    It grabs and claws at my leg with its useless bloody stubs forgetting that those were the first victims of the axe and were left back at the window sill. As I lift the axe over my head the creature makes a futile attempt to cover its face with its bloody stumps as I begin hacking it repeatedly, stopping only when I was too exhausted to continue. I look up to see the entire neighborhood standing around in the moonlight staring down at the creature.

    “You killed it.” Someone says. “You actually killed it.”

    A small old woman steps forward and looks upon the beast’s mutilated body. “That creature’s haunted me for thirty years.” She said shaking her head. “What will you do about the others?”

    I look around into the woods where she was staring and the axe drops from my hands; everywhere I look, I see hellish yellow eyes.

    • Observer Tim says:

      I like this, k.spicer. It’s a great reverse-take on the slasher film, and I felt the MC’s triumph when the monster was destroyed. The twist at the end was wonderful.

    • lionetravail says:

      Nicely done. Maybe the birth of a von Helsing, or maybe just the death of one guy with the courage to stand up.

      Love it.

    • snuzcook says:

      The reversal here is intriguing, and the ending nicely haunting. The idea of an entire neighborhood haunted my monsters, and one person taking action. Begs the question where will it lead?

    • Reaper says:

      Really nice take. I loved where you started it and going from the strong sense of accomplishment to terror. This works well as a stand alone horror story of the beginning of a longer action piece. Beautiful no matter which it is.

  30. Susana says:

    They say that you can’t dream while you are awake, but you can, I am living proof of it. I am sitting straight up in bed; I pinched myself hard on the arm just to make sure. I see the beast on my windowsill; don’t know if it’s a she or a he, but the beast is about to come into my room. Sadly I am locked in, and the only escape route is through the window. Mom said she could not trust me anymore because of the times I keep sneaking out of the house. I try to explain myself to her, that I don’t sneak out of the house on purpose; that I have no recollection of even going outside. She does not believe me and so I am now trapped in my own room.
    I wish I were asleep because I can always get away from this beast because I tell myself that its just a dream, monsters are not real. When I wake up, I am drenched in sweat, my breathing is so labored that I may be hyperventilating and tears are running down my face and I am never in my room or in my bed. I am all of the sudden outside, or in the garage or down the street sometimes I even venture into the woods across from the house. Mom finds me and accuses me of sneaking out, she decided that for my own safety she will lock me in my room; she doesn’t know that tonight I will be eaten by the beast; I just know it.
    His eyes glow in the dark, his talons are long and they seem to hang over the windowsill. Is it a ‘he’? I guess I can just refer to the beast as ‘it’ The full moon casts a shadowy of light, it looks like a gargoyle, the ones that hang on to the ends of old churches, with long ears and scales. I can see puffs of smoke emitting from its nostrils, I fear that it will open its mouth and fire will come out of it. Is it planning to roast me? I am terrified, so terrified that I run quickly into my closet and crunch up in the dark corner. I know my closet, I pull my clothes on top of me thinking maybe it won’t find me or maybe I can poke him in the eye with a wire hanger. I close my eyes and grasp the hanger with both my hands I plan to jab it as soon as it opens the door. Hey, can it open the door? I ask myself as I hear the beast’s nails tap across the room. Tick..Tick, Tick..Tick, Tick Tick, and I hear myself screaming as he lunges towards me.

  31. kj6hvc says:

    Been a while since I’ve posted. Real life & a job where I travel 3 weeks at a time make it hard to get my writing practice in. :-) So anyway, here we go. Came in a bit over the 500 word mark, so apologies in advance for a longer post.

    “Sleep Enough to Dream”

    Sleep eludes me. I don’t want much of it, only to rest. I can’t afford sleep enough to dream. I have not slept in three days. And yet, tired as I am, sleep holds back and keeps her sweet embrace from me. The room is dark enough–too dark, really. No light floods through the open window. The darkness is deepened by the clouds–heavy, thick, and menacing. The clouds hide the stars and quiet the moon. Suffocating, I thrash and kick the bedsheets and covers to the floor. The lie there in a crumpled heap. And myself, I lie awake sweating, my eyes wide and bloodshot. The heat is oppressive; even inside the hotel room, the air is thick with warmth and humidity.

    I would be awake and sweating even if the air conditioner worked: the air in the room is as heavy and claustrophobic with my fear as it is with the heat. That dream. I imagine Sleep as a being, and I think perhaps she stays away from me as a kindness. That damnable dream. Always the same dream, only I know it’s not a dream. It’s coming for me; it always has been.

    I was a child of only seven years the first time. I remember my lungs heaving; I remember I couldn’t see the moon. I remember the dream. I remember the Beast. I remember it’s hands, massive and drooping, the claws tapping on my window sill. The Beast smiled when I screamed. Those massive fangs. I always scream; it always smiles.

    I had the dream every night for a month. My parents took me to a psychologist. When the dream stopped for a while, I pushed it to the back of my mind, and life went on. Then in high school, the Beast returned. The dream returned. The dream haunted my nights for a longer time, and then went away again. And so it went: each time, the Beast would violate my dreams longer. The times of respite shorter and shorter.

    The last time I knew peace, I had only a week of unfettered sleep.

    When the dream returned four days ago, I knew somehow, intuitively, that this would be the last time. No more days of respite. The beast would haunt me every night until I could resist no more. And then it would have me. And so I ran. I ran so far. I have done all I can to stay awake. Three days. I want only to rest. Three days of driving with no sleep have taken their toll.

    Have I run far enough? Can I rest now? Have I outrun the Beast, outrun the dream?

    Sleep comes to me, her face soft and sad. How strange and sorrowful, that the thing I need the most should be so tragic. I drift asleep…

    I awake to the tapping. I do not know how long I’ve slept, be it seconds or minutes. It doesn’t matter. I hear the tapping on the window sill.

    The Beast is come.

    Inevitably, I turn on my side to face the window. I can see the Beast’s hideous form, a silhouette against the blackness. Somehow it is darker than the night. Like always. This is the dream, the same damnable dream again. Only I know it’s not. I dream no longer. I roll onto my back again, and I blink. In that instant, a hole has broken in the clouds. Light from the moon bursts into the hotel room, to warn me. And looming mere inches above me: the Beast. No longer a shadow. Now fully defined in the moonlight, I can see the texture of it’s skin: dry and cracked and putrid. There is a stench of foulness. The Beast raises it’s clawed hands. Those massive, drooping hands. One of the hands slams down onto my chest; I feel the claws dig into my flesh. The other hand moves towards my neck.

    I scream; the Beast smiles.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      I liked the way you told the entire story in anticipation which of course makes the horror more alive and real that the climax at the end. The reader keeps hoping it won’t end the way the MC predicts, but as the beast hovers above the MC, the reader knows all hope is lost. Good job on the prompt. And written true to the cause.

    • k.spicer says:

      Those smiling beasts are the worst! Good job.

    • Observer Tim says:

      I agree with Kerry; building the tension by anticipation is a great touch, and you did it very well. The imagery is very well-portrayed. All in all this is a very enjoyable horror take.

    • Reaper says:

      Glad to see you back. Man this week is full of returns that I was wondering where they went. Also glad to see you have not lost your stride. Beautifully done, powerful, and in a slightly different voice than previous but still in that same style that is so compelling and intriguing. This is one of the scariest things I have read in a long time.

  32. Kemter says:

    I believe certain situations require a dammit. A good, hard, smiting dammit. Because some situations require you to drop the righteous saintly vow of clean language to embrace your better equipped, not-so-saintly, fighting self.

    For instance when I received a Marking Dream from the Leviathan—just the strongest, cruelest, and most cunning demon in this infested world—you better believe I let loose a little dammit.

    Don’t mistake me, not every demon is kind enough to give you a warning before they set out on a Hell bent mission to tear you specifically limb from tooth. Truthfully not all demons are willing to commit to a hunt that ends in either their dinner or their death. But the Leviathan has a funny Code to Kill; and they stick to that tighter than some people stick to religion.

    My lovingly given nightmare came for seven days as part of that Code. A full week of seeing the luminescent bulb eyes of the monster at my window before waking up in sweaty sheets with a vivid image of how I would be torn apart. Points to the demon for sleep deprivation, points to me for using time to stock up.

    I amassed forty wood and iron stakes, thirty three knives of varying sizes and blade styles, a katana, ten gallons of bleach, a squirt gun, a bronze crossbow, a shotgun with five hundred rounds, and salt. Take all of that, add advanced monster killing since kindergarten, and the fact I planned to fight the demon no human alive had ever defeated, then multiply it by the stack of sympathy cards in my fireplace and you have the chances of me surviving at about 2%.

    Therefore, when the eighth night arrived and I found myself looking out the window to see death staring me in the face with a fang toothed grin, you should know I let out a whopping make-some-angels-cringe DAMMIT!

  33. sjmca1966 says:

    This is the final part. I had no idea where I was going with this when I started and I’m no expert or even a huge fan of the genre. I hope it hasn’t been too long winded.

    Night Moves – Part 5 -

    I kept returning to the kitchen from the garage to check on the clay molds. After an hour I removed them and carried them to the workbench. I’d stripped the silver with my acetylene torch from every trinket in the house I could find, there wasn’t nearly enough to make six bullets.

    The garage door started shaking violently, “I know what you want!” I cried out.

    I rushed to my bedroom and stood for a few seconds in front of Rene’s chest of draws. I slowly opened the top draw. I closed my eyes tightly when her aroma hit me. Before I drifted away I opened my eyes and lifted up the the Jewelry box from within.

    On the way back to the garage, I grabbed Jules’s badge from under my bed.

    I fired up the acetylene torch again and started melting selected silver chains and earrings into a cast iron ladle. I poured the the molten liquid into the hole in a clay mold that I’d made with the nose of a bullet from my fathers gun. I managed to fill three more molds before I ran out of silver.

    I went stumbling back against my car when Trixie-Belles body suddenly appeared at the garage window above the work bench. Her stomach had been sliced open and she was been suspended from the roof by her entrails.

    My resolve intensified. I took the silver necklace I’d given Rene on her thirteenth birthday and proceeded to melt it. I then stripped the coating off Jules’s badge. I was still short. I removed the necklace from around my neck and placed the ring at the end of it in my pocket. I soon had all six bullet molds full.

    I’d filed away the bullet heads from six casings and when the new heads were ready I inserted them. They weren’t a perfect fit so I sealed them in place with candle wax. I prayed they would work.

    It was just after three when I was finally ready. I sat up on my bed waiting. I’d slid the window open. The taunting had stopped.

    I rang my mother to put her mind at ease, I’m pretty sure it didn’t work.

    It was just going dark when he finally jumped up on the window sill. I took a shot and hit my target. I heard a thud as he hit the ground. I then heard laughing, “Where did you get your silver from? Walmart?” In one bound he landed in my room.

    I took four more shots in quick succession. He lay on the floor momentarily before rising up to his full height. He was standing at a good seven foot. He shook his head in disdain.

    I remembered back to the day I’d finally saved enough money to buy Rene the necklace I knew she wanted. I’d hoped it would let her know I wanted to be more than friends. If the last bullet didn’t work I’d been ripped off all those years ago.

    As he lunged forward I fired. He slumped to the ground at the foot of the bed. When I leaned forward and looked down the dog that lay there had tears in its eyes. They then closed.

    “I jumped when my phone rang,”Hey Mom, it’s over.”

    “Oh, thank God. We may have another small problem,” she said, “Your daughter just bit your father.

    The End

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a very satisfying ending, sjmca. Bullet molds, I get it now. Too bad he didn’t have a good set of sterling silver (or is that Serling silver) cutlery; he could have used a machine gun. Isn’t it annoying when werewolves come into your life and start killing people. Nice twist at the end with the daughter.

      I can see why he preferred to own small dogs; I can just see the were-chihuahua running around nipping at peoples’ kneecaps. – bad brain! bad brain!

      Overall it was a very satisfying read.

    • Reaper says:

      I like it. The story was good and held me all the way through. There are certain points of chaos where I spend a few seconds going, wait, what? Then realizing it was an aside which takes me into the characters head. When it comes to horror there is a school that I respect a lot where even the happy ending is not a happy ending. Unfortunately that often leads to sequels insisted on by publishers and studios instead of artistic drive. Aside from that one drawback it is a beautiful way to end a dark story and I love that you followed the tradition here.

  34. derrdevil says:

    MONSTERS 3

    “You was dreamin’ again, kid.”

    “Nightmares,” Sofia said, sitting up from her bed, Joel hunched over on the far corner. He was puffing away on his pipe, his massive form outlined in the shadows by the dull glow of the bedside lamp. It was late, or early – which ever way you look at it. “How long have you’ve been sitting there?”

    “Some time now,” he shrugged, flaming his pipe again. Puffs of smoke billowed out around his ugly mug and stewed into the thick cloud above him. “Your momma’s out. So I’s watchin’ over you.”

    “So you’ve been watching me all this time like some creep? God, Joel! Why are you even in my room?” Sofia swung out of bed, throwing the covers over. Joel’s eyes flared up. He pulled the pipe from his mouth.

    “Best you stay in the room, kid.”

    “You can’t tell me what to do in my own house.”

    “You don’t wanna be goin’ out there,” Joel was more commanding this time as he pocketed his pipe and stood up, his hulking frame towering over Sofia like she was a toy.

    She took his action as a threat. “And why is that?”

    “Told you. Momma’s out.” His face blank, showing no hint of emotion. Sofia paused then whimpered. She looked like she was about to bawl.

    “What did you do?” she ask in a soft moan, her lower lip scrunched up. Then, like a rocket, she bolted for the door. But Joel was too quick for her. He reached out and grabbed her in his massive paws and raked her in. But not quick enough. She managed to kick the door open.

    She remembered screaming at the sight of her mother. She was in the middle of the living room, splayed out on the carpet, swimming in a sea of blood. A kitchen knife embedded in her chest. Her eyes cold and empty.

    Somewhere in-between the kicking and the screaming, Sofia had passed out. Joel placed her in her bed again. “Told you, kid. Momma’s out.”

    Sometime passed, daylight had crept into the heady room, before Sofia woke up. She had got up with a jolt, her mind reeling, wondering if it was all just a bad dream, but the overwhelming stench of smoke in the air told her otherwise. Joel wasn’t in the room anymore. Just her thoughts accompanied her along with the vision of her mother’s dead eyes. It was a memory that was just beginning to ingrain itself in what was left of her fleeting innocence.

    When she built up the courage to step into the living room, she saw Joel slouched in the single seater, puffing away on his pipe. Joel. How could you just sit there in the same room with her, she thought. What kind if a sick monster even does that?

    Her mother lay lifeless, her mouth wide open, eyes revealing the pure shock she felt, branding the last emotion she had endured. It was all very real. She began to cry. At first it came out as a soft weeping, then it turned into a raging torrent. A howling of emotions as she wrung out the last of her innocence in a river of tears.

    When she finally dried it all out of her, and built up enough strength to fashion a complete sentence, she turned to Joel and, with her fists clenched tight, she gritted through her teeth, “Why?” The silence hung in the sordid air with a menacing scowl. Sofia had a dangerous glaze to her eyes.

    “Don’t look at me like that, kid.” Joel warned.

    “Why’d you kill her?” she demanded, not interested in his threats anymore.

    “Me?!” Joel replied, a confused look stretched across his face. “No. Wasn’t me, kid. Was all you.”

    • kittycat4ever says:

      I liked this one. I keep wondering what happened and what Joel is going to do now. He has a dead body and a little girl that isn’t his. What now?

    • Observer Tim says:

      Our third painting for this evening is of a simple home scene; a babysitter watches his charge sleeping, but then in the middle of the night she wakes. But Norman Rockwell his nowhere in sight in this image from the Night Gallery.

      Then Rod Serling’s voice fades and the scene opens. This story is beautiful in its undestated darkness, derrdevil, and the twist at the end is quite satisfying.

    • Reaper says:

      Nicely done. I like that despite the shock I am left wondering if he is telling the truth or not, since if he is that is still one messed up sicko with everything you described.

      • derrdevil says:

        Hehe I’m going to be cruel and not tell you what I was thinking when I wrote it. I’ll leave it purely to your imagination. I will however say this: the prompt is about monsters, isn’t it. :)

        I will say this also: Joel, if he didn’t do it (there is evidence that suggests he may have had nothing to do with it: his confused look, although that could be an elaborate cover up) then he would be playing the anti-hero in the story.
        And if he did do it: OMG! He’s trying to blame it on a kid! (Evidence: It is eerily odd that he’s super calm throughout it all, or maybe he’s one of those hard boiled types that behave been through it all and totally desensitized from the world).

        I have been reading Sin City comic books lately and had a lot of badass old world noir in my head. I guess it helped with these prompts. I really enjoyed this week on. Thanks for the comments, guys :)

  35. ISTANBUL AUTUMNS: Parts One & Two
    (Disclaimer: This is for last prompt, a little pet project of mine. I was at summer camp so I got way behind.)

    September, 1920

    I was on Tersane Courtyard, in the doorway of a jeweler’s shop, listening to the uproar in the streets. Crowds gathered to protest the occupation of the city, British troops pressing them back, yelling urgently.

    There was a light tap on my shoulder, and I turned around to see a dainty Italian with green eyes peering up at me, a red jacket wrapped around her.

    “Excuse me, sir, where is the post office? I’m unfamiliar with this…. area.”
    I hesitated for a second, then pointed to my left, away from the yelling.
    “Right that way.” I turned away from the street in a trance. “What’s your name?”

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Cold water rushed by, the white foam billowing past the bow of the boat, but it forged on through the Bosporus, past the tiny buildings. And she was there, standing near the rail, my strong arms around her.

    “Look at the view!”
    She eagerly pointed out the towering mosques with their many minarets. I nod, smiling back, but not concentrating on the view.

    “I know,” I reply softly, breathing in the fresh salt wafting up. “I grew up here. This is my city. My friends and I… we roamed nearly all of Galata District on foot.”

    “Same here,” she laughed, “but in Naples. And we had bicycles, to escape the dogs.”

    The boat slowly rounds the Golden Horn, the elegant palaces coming into view. Coasting into the dock, the deckhand secures the ropes and lowers the plank.

    In the streets, as we walk back, more soldiers march into view. I pull suddenly into an alley, my head down, hearing their stomping boots, and I rub my chest, holding her hand again.

    She doesn’t say anything, doesn’t know.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Back braced against the bathroom door, I examined my smile in the mirror. Heart pumping harder than normal, I remember her lips on mine, as a soft cloud, a warm slice of sun. It was a surprise, a solitary delight.

    I walk back out to see her sitting in front of my chest, pulling out items and gazing at them. My old rifle, helmet, campaign medals are placed on the floor.

    “Jessica, put those away, please. Come back out here.”

    She placed them back, an unsaid question forming. The rest of the evening passed quickly by, and she seemed to forget.

    “I’ll see you in two days,” she said, her hand on the door. The sky was completely dark but for the streetlights. I watched her walk home, my hands in my pockets. Only when she’d turned the corner did I relock the chest, pushing it into a deeper corner of my room.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    It’s in the solace of sleep, in my black slumber in the uncomfortable sheets that the past returns. Under a dome of flying shells our army scurries like ants through the vast countryside. My pack cutting into my broad shoulders, my gun in my hands, lying down as a sewer rat.

    Heavy artillery is rolled up, blasting at far-away targets. The British come up, menacingly, in a long tan line, through the fading curling smoke. Willem, my German friend, sits behind the machine gun, his face woven into tired creases.

    Their line advances, and a certain pain develops in my chest, a sudden stab at my heart, my hand clutching my muddy uniform. Willem glances at me with piercing blue eyes, his jaw shaking.

    “Here they come,” he whispered hoarsely.

    I can see faces now, just 500 feet away, hair and moustaches, steel countenances. They raise their rifles at our line, and the chill returns, the possibility of imminent death, before Willem opens up.

    They’re caught as he unleashes a wide swath of lead. Faces contorted, they drop like children’s dolls. Willem fires again and again, the jolt of the machine gun making his entire body convulse, hot yellow smoke emanating from its chamber.

    Their faces… even now….. the mask of death dragged over eyes once full of life—my cross.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    The whole next week is cold, the clouds covering every bit of blue. Soon, snow will begin piling on the marble mountains around us. Wrapping my heavy coat around me, my shoes click on the hard pavement.

    An old friend by the name of Bajram runs a café on the corner of Tennure and Keramet. As I approach, I see her talking with him, now seeing me and smiling. I smile back, but my breath is still ragged.

    “How are you doing today?”
    I sit down in the booth, a breeze rattling the umbrella.
    “Very well. Bajram, the usual.”

    He smiles, rushing back to the kitchen. Jessica turns to me. We talk until the food arrives. It’s only then that I confront fate’s ugly presence, my feet iron pillars on the patio.

    “I’ve received orders. The army moves out in two days’ time.”
    I cough, avoiding her eyes for the moment. A queer silence ensues before she nods.

    “I understand,” she replies. “Do what you must.” But there’s a sense of finality, of closure, to it, and when the meal’s over she steps out of the chair and disappears into the crowd.

    The wind returns without warning. I look back to stare at the hotel a few blocks away, where my army jacket was hung up, my shoes shined. Feeling like ripping myself away from reality, I calmly get up, slip on my jacket, and stomp upstairs, before riddling the bathroom door with bullets, it crazily leaning on one hinge, my gun a dull thump on the ground before the pillow comes sharply, sickeningly.

    I often wish for that same Istanbul autumn, when I lie in my tent at night and remember her magnetic eyes, her smile. But when the morning comes, all that is forgotten. Following my commander’s harsh bellow, I stonily raise my musket at another man’s heart—and fire.

    And so, on war goes as an untamed monster, tearing apart love and life in its savage wake.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Powerful imagery, Bilbo. As I’ve come to expect from you, I feel like I was there. This is a touching description of one tiny slice of a part of the world that’s been at war for centuries.

      Welcome back.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        It’s a hypnotic read. I like the way you handled the intervels. Didn’t bother the flow and allowed more story told in the 500. War is hell and senseless, everybody knows. Reading your story, drives the thought home with a slice of realism. I also echo Tim. The way’s it’s written, takes the reader dirctly to participation.

    • Reaper says:

      I will add to the statements on how well written this is. Often I find something new about your writing. Or rather something you seem to focus in on and highlight. In this case it was the emotion and the message. I love what you did here.

  36. seliz says:

    My name is Belle and I’m paying for my father’s sins.

    Even as I lay in bed, I am not safe from this living nightmare.

    I know when I open my eyes, I’ll see yellow eyes and brown lips around a set of wicked fangs. The creature—for he cannot be called a man—will be at my window, watching me.

    “I know you’re awake.”

    His low voice is guttural, sending chills down my spine. When I don’t answer, there’s a thud, then the padding of his feet on my floor.

    It’s no use. I can’t pretend he’s not real. He even haunts me in my dreams.

    With wary eyes, I watch as the beast advances towards me. Fur covers his muscular arms. Long nails hang from his massive hands.

    “Leave me alone,” I say.

    My fake bravado doesn’t fool anyone, my shaking voice betraying my fear.

    Hot breath presses against my cheek as the beast leans in close.

    “Oh, little lamb, you know I can’t do that. Not until your precious father pays me what is owed.”

    I frown.

    My father is no longer precious to me. I despise him for stepping into this cursed castle to seek help from the beast. He had to know that the beast came from the depths of hell. No ordinary man is as wicked and powerful as the beast.

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I say, twisting away from him.

    Rough hands find my throat, as the beast forces me to look at his cruel face.

    “You know what was promised. You owe me a child.”

    “I-I can’t give you that.”

    The beast’s roar is deafening, his massive jaws flashing before me.

    “Infertile,” he says, ripping down a painting with a massive hand. “Your father will die screaming, I swear you that. I will rip him limb from limb.”

    I want to beg him to let me go. That it was my father who made the promise—not me—but fear keeps me paralyzed.

    “No matter. His life is forfeit. As is yours, little lamb.”

    His words crash over me. I just want the nightmare to be over.

    “Kill me,” I whisper.

    The beast doesn’t turn around, his broad shoulders only twitching at my words.

    “No,” he says finally. “You will stay here as a reminder to those who think they can cross me.”

    “For how long?”

    I already know the answer, but I need to hear it.

    “Forever,” he snaps, before moving to the window with long, quick strides. With one fluid motion, he jumps from the window and begins climbing down the towers side.

    “There is a door,” I mutter to myself, as I lay back in bed.

    “I can still kill you,” the beast calls up.

    As I drift to sleep, it’s not despair that takes me. It’s the knowledge that the beast could have killed me and hasn’t. And that means there is still hope.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a powerful psychodrama, Seliz, and you did a good job bringing it to life. I can feel the tension as she verbally spars with the monster. I wonder how this is going to be resolved. It’s not like a handsome prince will just ride in out of nowhere… oh, wait, this is a fairy tale. ;)

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        This is one of my very favorite stories and you’ve done an excellent start. Your Belle is so real, she jumps fom the screen, asking for help. I’ve half a mind to jump through the screen with my light lazer and answer the call. What fun for six in the morning!

    • kittycat4ever says:

      This is my favorite. I loved Beauty and the Beast as a child. I love the new take and the gritty realness of it, and yes, its darkness.

    • Reaper says:

      This is a pretty dark take on Beauty and the Beast, I assume intentionally because of the name. I love the story and the angle. Very nicely done.

  37. sjmca1966 says:

    One more part to come after this. Then I’ll catch up on reading and commenting.

    Night Moves – Part 4 -

    My mother and I were gobsmacked by the words that came out of little Greta’s mouth, “My God, Baby. He didn’t touch you did he?” I asked.

    “No Daddy.” There was now a tremble in Greta’s voice, “He’s always gone when I wake up.”

    “What the hell is going on Son?”

    After I’d explained the situation as best as I could, I saw my mother was having second thoughts about me taking Dad’s gun. I just didn’t have time for an argument.

    When I reversed into my driveway, I scanned the environment while I waited for the garage door to raise. I stopped halfway in. There was an object on the floor that wasn’t there when I left. I hopped out and moved to the back of the car. I stopped breathing momentarily when I bent down to retrieve the object. It was the charred license plate from Rene’s car. BULLITT, it read. To say Rene had been a Steve McQueen fan would’ve been an understatement.

    The beast was sending me a message and I was now pretty sure I knew what it was.

    I went to my room and opened the wardrobe door, there was only one shoe box sitting on the top shelf. I lifted it down and emptied its contents on my bed, I went down on my knees and lifted the duvet, I grabbed Trixie-Belles lifeless corpse and quickly placed it in the box.

    I returned from the backyard having buried Trixie-Belle and emptied a shopping bag of excess soil into the kitchen sink. I looked up when I heard light footsteps go racing across the roof of the house. I didn’t deviate from what I was doing.

    I ignited the gas oven and turned the temperature control to full. I returned to the sink and started washing the dirt. I was soon left with about three fistfuls of clay, I placed it in a mixing bowl and covered it with warm water before I started kneading. Placing the resulting slush in a tea towel, I rung it out to remove as much water as I could. I grabbed a muffin tray from the warming draw at the bottom of the oven and scooped the clay into the six pockets.

    I heard scratching on glass coming from the lounge. I kept working. I couldn’t help looking up again when a light thumping started coming from the roof above me shortly after.

    To be continued. . .

  38. vaderize03 says:

    All right, one more for this week :) .

    * * *

    “Shame”

    My eyes flicked to the crack at the bottom of the door as the last rays of light vanished from the hall. The Housemaster, done making rounds, would go back to his room for the rest of the night, taking his ruler and Bible with him. And that meant only one thing: it was time for release.

    A smile tugged at the corner of my mouth as I slid a hand down and grabbed on for the ride. It was amazing how relaxing a few strokes could be, how perfect an antidote for all kinds of stress. I may have been young, but I was already hooked by orgasm’s power. During the day, they could yell all they wanted, but when the sun went down, then my time would come. In here, I made the rules. In here, I was king.

    I turned my head towards the window, my eyes half-closed, and then I saw it: misshapen head, angular jaw, pointy ears that glinted in the moonlight and flopped like a dog’s. With a yelp, I pulled my hand back; I had no idea what it was, but I still didn’t want to get caught in the act.

    I sat up and faced the wide-open window. “What are you?” I asked.
    It hopped off the sill and hit the floor with a thud. “Something that was once pure.”
    “And now you’re not?”
    Its laugh gurgled from a throat that might have rinsed with lye. “Look at me,” it said. “What do you think?”
    “What happened to you?”

    “I broke the rules.” The creature sighed. “I wandered too far, and got caught by the Shadow.”
    “Then what?”
    “Then this.” It looked down at its twisted body. “All because I had impure thoughts.”
    “I don’t understand.”
    The creature cocked its head. “The Shadow can’t create, only mock. If you’re rotten inside, that’s what it brings out.” An oily tongue flicked out and moistened its lips. “Then you change.”
    “Into a monster?”
    “If that’s what you are.”

    I frowned. “You said you were pure.”
    “That’s what I thought, but I guess I was wrong.” It grinned. “What about you?”
    “Excuse me?”
    “What’s your sin?”

    A ball of pure ice formed in my gut, as if winter had suddenly come to my bowels. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
    “Of course you do,” it said. “Everyone has one.” His eyes wandered down to my crotch, where the tower of flesh continued to pulse. “Ah, now I see.”
    I grabbed the blanket and covered it up. “What did you say your name was?”
    “Orc.”
    “And that is?”
    “A former Elf.” The grin was back. “Don’t despair, young man. I thought I was good, but we share the same sin. When the time comes, it will betray you, as well.”

    The words tumbled out before I could stop them. “What sin is that?”
    It rose to its feet on double-jointed legs, then a sharp-clawed hand flew to its groin. The smile was wide enough to fall into, yet colder than midnight at the top of the world. With a juicy crunch, the fingers squeezed shut, and the festering mouth uttered a single word:

    “Masturbation.”

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is nicely written, and you’ve captured the teen boy attitude quite nicely. Bit of a taboo subject, but that looks like what you’re practicing this week. Good job!

      I’m surprised the monster wasn’t one-eyed…

      Remember the problem with “shock” writing is that it sets the expectation that the next shock will be worse. That’s the way the human mind works, so be prepared for it.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Though I really like the message that we become what we sin.

    • vaderize03 says:

      Yeah, I don’t know what’s up with me and the darkness this week. It’s weird, because I generally don’t consider myself a “shock” writer, yet I’ve been in a brooding place this entire week.

      The concept of sin has always interested me, especially given that in the Abrahamic religions, humans are created in the image of God, who is perfect, yet always seem destined to fall from grace. I liked the concept of presenting a ‘higher’ being (hence the Elf) falling into disgrace…although the sin was somewhat nasty.

      Then again, on some level, we are what we sin.

  39. icandootoo says:

    “Hello, Howard,” I sigh and sit up in bed. “I see you’ve decided to pay me a visit during my waking hours.”

    Howard simply smiles and wipes a sticky thread of slime from my windowsill.

    “I’m actually rather glad you came,” I say. “I’ve been meaning to speak with you.” I slip my feet into my favorite bunny slippers and standup. “You might as well come in and have a cuppa. It’s rather cold out.”

    Howard follows me into the kitchen.

    “We’ve got to establish some guidelines, Howard,” I begin, carefully avoiding his upper right incisor while setting down his tea. Howard takes a slurp and tea spills down his robe. I groan and reach for a towel.

    “I think we’re in a rut. Every night, for months now, it’s been the same thing – pound on the glass, drool, and growl. And while it’s gotten a bit boring, I could accept that perhaps this was the extent of your abilities. But you see, the thing is: the past three nights, you haven’t growled, and last night you barely bothered to tap on my window. I’ve been pondering how to tell you this… I just don’t know how to say it….”

    Howard tilts his head.

    I take a deep breath. “It’s just this: you’re just cutting it any more. And if you’re not going to be a proper monster, then I’d really appreciate it if you’d just let me sleep. After all, I do have work.”

    A large tear rolls down Howard’s fang and burns a hole through my tabletop.

    “I know, I know. It’s not going to be easy for me either. But I think perhaps we’ve gotten used to one another. I don’t excite you – no! don’t deny it! I can see it in your eye! – and frankly you just don’t scare me like you used to.”

    Howard growls.

    “No, I’m sorry. Showing up while I am awake was a very nice gesture, but…well, it’s just too late for that, now, Howard. I hope we can still be friends.” You can’t really call a nightmare a friend, but even though I don’t mean it, even though ‘constant companion’ is probably more accurate, I say it, because Howard is such a nice monster, all things considered, and I really could use a few good nights’ sleep.
    I reach out a hand toward Howard, but he bats me away.

    “Listen, Howard, I only want what’s best for you!”

    Howard shakes his head mournfully. Another large hole appears in my formica.

    “It will be okay, Howard, truly it will! Listen, I’ve already scouted the neighborhood, and I’ve found someone I think you’ll really like. “

    Howard looks up, his eye brightens.

    “Her name is Sally Pritchard, she’s eight years old, and she’s terrified of the color green.”

    Howard blinks. Howard smiles. Howard eats my favorite teacup.

    I walk Howard to the front door and wave goodnight.

  40. Dennis says:

    (I was inspired by all the multiple postings so here’s another little ditty)

    Again the enlarged monster face appeared across the TV screen, which promptly hurled Fred out of his nightmare. Fred wiped the sweat from his forehead and worked out the kink in his neck.

    “I’ve gotta stop falling asleep watching those B horror movies,” he thought.

    Fred got up and poured himself a nightcap. The thought lingered in his brain at how the movies somehow soothed the loneliness he felt, the worlds within them felt real, as if some part of him belonged. Even the nightmares gave him a similar feeling. He shook his head. “Maybe I’m just going cuckoo.”

    As Fred sat back in his chair he saw a movie he had not seen before airing on the TV. A dark entity, nebulous in form, was moving quietly down a street until it seemed to find the apartment building it was looking for. To Fred, the apartment building looked very familiar.

    Inside the building the entity made its way up several flights of stairs. Engrossed in the movie, Fred noticed the lights in his apartment began to flicker periodically, sending a chill up his spine. The entity stopped in front of an apartment door. Fred noticed the noticed the number.

    “No shit. That’s my apartment number!”

    Now Fred’s eyes were glued to the TV. The entity slowly entered the apartment, approaching the seated man. As the camera angle changed, Fred’s jaw dropped. There he was, on his on TV. He immediately stood up and turned, just in time to see the entity launch at him.

    Not a trace of Fred was left and no witnesses to see his limp body being dragged across his TV screen. And that is how those late night B movies are made.

    • Observer Tim says:

      I love this sort of reflexive horror take, Dennis. I find it very creepy when done right, and you did a good job.

      Whenever I see this though, I wonder why the person doesn’t jump up and wave a the camera, so their last words would be something like “Hey ma, lookit! I’m on TV!” That’s what I’d do.

    • k.spicer says:

      When Fred jumped up he should have yelled “CUT!” He may have lived for at least another take. I like the idea of him watching his approaching doom on his TV screen. Sort of Twilight Zone!

    • Reaper says:

      I think my favorite part of this, and it is all good, is the third paragraph. There are some simple but powerful truths of the human condition in there that you express well. That seems to be the building block of this story.

    • snuzcook says:

      I totally see this as a commentary on passive TV viewers. Fred still sat, glued to the screen, waiting to find out what would happen until the all too late last minute. Sorry, Fred. No commercial break to save your butt!

      Great take on the prompt, Dennis!

  41. DMelde says:

    In my youth I was the emperor of dreams, moving freely through worlds of fantastic dreamscape. Then one night a demon came to me. He challenged me, and I knew him to be my enemy. I sensed an ancient evil inside of him and I swore to kill this demon. I pursued him through countless dreamworlds, but the demon remained untouched, staying just outside of my reach. It was as if a wall stood between us and all I could do was look upon him from a distance, as if I were gazing through a closed window. I vowed to do whatever it took to tear down the wall and open the shut window.

    I used all of my skills to catch the demon. I flew like an eagle through the sky. I hunted like a tiger in the jungle. Nothing I did brought the demon any closer to me. Then one day I felt myself grow thin, not in a physical way, but spiritually. I felt as if my spirit was being stretched, and over time I felt my soul grow weaker. It was then that the demon attacked me. It was he, not I, who tore down the wall and opened the window. He grabbed onto me with long, powerful hands and he ripped out my soul with his vicious fangs. Then the demon left, and he took my soul and he put it on display for all to see. He mocked me by doing so, and he dared me to save my soul.

    For years afterwards I wandered lost, a shell of my previous self. I tried to recover my soul but the demon stood guard, ever vigilant, and he defeated all of my attempts. Then one of the elder dreamers took pity on me. He was a teacher with hair gone white. He told me of an ancient book, a book that was guarded by wraiths who feed upon the souls of others. He told me it was my only hope of ever defeating the demon and of regaining my soul.

    I traveled to the Palace of Kings in Olite and I descended down into its catacombs to a musty, abandoned room. As I expected, wraiths attacked me. They swarmed all around me and they howled with rage when they couldn’t feast on my soul. They clung to my back and clawed at my chest but I ignored them as I read through the archaic tome. I learned how to bond the demon and I soon left that haunted place.

    I gathered what I needed for the binding, oak and silk, and I deceived the demon into pursuing me to a field of granite, hidden away in a secret cove. There, I spoke the power of the golden oak and used the strength of the spider’s silk to bind him to the immovable granite. The demon, at long last, was trapped. I’m finally free to go back to where my soul awaits.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      This story speaks volumes to me. It’s almost written in code for the reader to unweave. I have my own thoughts of what the story means to me. I’d like to hold them close and see what others might think of. The symbolism of the thin for example, I’ll give you one. To me it refers to the lost soul giving up all material things that have taken him astray.Only then could he build back his faith, and search for his soul again. It’s a work of passion and understanding of the human spirit. It is a beautiful piece of literature, DMelde.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is really good, DMelde. I’m not sure whether the MC is moving through an allegory of growing up (finding out they’re not invulnerable, then gaining the strength to recover) or a really interesting dreamscape story. Or, like many dream and monsters scenarios, perhaps its some of both.

    • Reaper says:

      This is amazing. It reads like a fairytale but in the voice of the Native American myths. A combination of two very powerful things that I love separately so seeing something that brings them both together is wonderful. I am actually curios if your binding materials were based on anything in particular or random choices that you like.

    • DMelde says:

      Thank you all for your great comments. This story started as a retelling of a dream about a dead man (the monster) who came after me. He actually challenged me with a stare. We battled and in the end I died. I never saw the dead man again, although I’ve seen other recurring people in dreams. I had to leave out a five year old girl dream friend, the birds, the spiders, the cave troll, the water rocks, the other oak, the other dream friends who were afraid of the dead man and the dream garden. By the time I cut and slashed to get down to the 500 word limit I had a story about youth and the feeling of invincibility, which I believe all of us has had at some time in our lives. All ideas about silk and oak come from dreams. The thin is the loss of the spirit. People lose it for different reasons and the aftereffects of growing thin varies from person to person. Some people seek redemption, some fall into madness. Kerry did a good job of describing an example of it . I’m glad you liked it. Thanks again!

  42. k.spicer says:

    Attempt II. I wanted to try this from a different approach from my last posting.

    A cold breeze blew through the castle window. I wait in the shadows with my sword drawn shivering in silence. It was close, I could feel it. The dragon was still young but wanted revenge. Somehow it blamed me for the slaying. I admit I was there, I even participated, but it wasn’t I that slayed that foul fanged creature’s mother; I was merely the bait. The fact that the ploy even worked surprised me.

    I hear scratching as if something were clawing its way up the surface of the stone wall; this is it. I brace myself for whatever may come.

    It doesn’t seem fair that I would be the target of its revenge. I merely jumped out of the path of the creature’s lunge; an act of self-preservation. The waiting spear was Sir Galahad’s idea. It was pure luck that the spear somehow found its way between those monstrous hardened scales and impaled it. I was nearly killed before I reached the safety of the rock ledge from all the flames the creature spewed as it lay there dying. When it stopped struggling to free itself from the barbed spear and collapsed I came out from behind the stones. I stood awestricken at the size of the monster as it lay there with its huge white fangs protruding from its snarled leathery lips.

    That’s when it saw me. I only caught a glimpse of it as it scurried back into the brush but I knew from its eyes that it had marked me as the slayer. Everyone was so busy looking at the slain dragon that they hadn’t notice the cub looking out from the tree line. I didn’t say anything for several days, I suppose I was stricken with trauma from the episode but when I did mentioned it they said I was seeing things or that I had merely dreamt it.

    To tell the truth I’m not sure myself; my dreams have been filled with the creature’s face ever since that day. Dream or no dream it would seem that I must pay for the sins of others.

    My heart pounded in my chest as the scratching became louder as if right outside the window and suddenly it came to a stop. The creature’s head jutted through the open window sniffing the air with its forked tongue and although it couldn’t see me in the darkness it knew full well I was here. Its eyes glow red as if embers from hell and its breath smelled of rotting meat. I gripped my sword and before I could even think I sprang forward thrusting the doubled edged blade into its soft glowing red eye. The response was instant as the creature let out a blood curling scream and fell backwards out the window disappearing into the darkness below.

    To this day no one believes the story, but from time to time there are reports of a one eyed dragon which seems especially frightened when approached from behind.

    • EverLasting says:

      Hahaha!

      I sort of feel sorry for the dragon, but, oh well. :) lol

      Good job!

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is nice, k.spicer. I love the way you built the tension. The dragon may have been wrong seeking revenge at first, but now it has its own injury to drive it.

      I must admit I have a particular soft spot for dragons. It’s right below the rib cage where all the juicy abdominal muscle meat is. I hear they find that tasty.

  43. derrdevil says:

    MONSTERS
    Part 2

    “I had that dream again. The one where the beast with the drooping hands and wicked fangs stares me down from the window. Except the window was open this time. And I was awake.”

    “You can’t go on like this Johnny,” Jesse says, still groggy from her deep sleep. She and all her devilish curves roll over to look at the bedside clock. “Jeez, it’s 3am for Christ sake!” She sighs, a deep breath, one that raises her mighty chest through those thin sheets. “You gotta get out of this shit somehow. You can’t go on living like this. Not with all that on your mind.”

    “I’m tryin’, babe.” I reach over to stroke her leg but she knocks my hand away.

    “I’m serious, Johnny! You’re not just gonna get yourself killed. What about me?” She’s adamant. What about her? She’s always been concerned with herself. High priority dame like her, I should have known better. But I don’t blame her. These reoccurring dreams have been racking my brain ever since I put her other half six feet under.

    She kicks off the sheets and gets up from bed, the moon bouncing off her supple skin siluetting her exquisite shape against the stark dark night. She walks off into the motel’s bathroom. Damn, that walk! I’d do anything for that girl. God knows I’ve done plenty already.

    “Might as well get out of this heap while we’re up,” she says. She’s right. They’ll be searching here soon. Best to get a head start.

    I reach over for my Camel’s and flame one. I inhale deep and watch the smoke rise up in suspended animation. I look out the window and wonder how’d my life get so fucked up. I never thought I’d be here again. Not since I let the monster out the last time.

    The last time. I was as good as dead then. Reckless, my mind on the money and nothing else. I never saw the dame coming. A girl gives me the slightest hint of attention and all’s fucked up. And I remember nothing else. It’s always the dames. I’d do anything for a class dame. And Jesse’s the same. 100% femme fatale, that one. I had no intention of killing her man. But he got in the way. And now his goons were after us. I never saw it coming.

    I throw my legs over the side of the bed thinking might as well get ready. I ain’t going back to sleep now. “Where’d you throw my pants?” I ask her but she doesn’t answer so I decide to join her in the bathroom. I’m sure I can fit one more session in before we leave this dump.

    When I get closer the cigarette falls from my mouth. She’s lying on the cold tiles, eyes wide open, her neck rubbed raw, a monster hunched over her.

    Too late. I never saw it coming.

    • That monster… his monster? Is there really a monster? Is it the one inside him. I thought perhaps this was a continuation of the last one you wrote for this prompt, but I don’t see the connection, that’s kind of why I didn’t comment on that one, so you get a twofer here.

      This story feels like it might be missing a heap of back story, but the intent of the current story remains unhindered. He’s running from a monster of some sort (whether internal or tangible is unclear), and the things that happened in the hotel room are a good start! I liked it well enough, and the MC had adecent enough voice to carry me through the whole thing. :)

      The previous story I read about the marine was interesting. He sees monsters, and Bill–who turned out to be nothing more than a fleeting character in his life–was there to protect him from the monsters in his life. A role model to the boy that was growing up, but not necessarily a good one. He taught the boy that Bill was his protector instead of teaching the boy to stand up for himself. Wasn’t there a story about fishes and men eating them or something?

      Anyway, good job! Thanks for sharing.

      • derrdevil says:

        Thanks Doc! I added part 2 in the title as a continuation of the theme and tone rather than the story. I’ve never written 2 prompts to 1 before. I see now how confusing it is. I guess I’m all about the confusion this week. Sorry about that, my friend.

        This story was meant to miss a lot of back story, but I was hoping Johnny was strong enough to carry it through. And the story about the marine, you’re so right about Bill. He was never a real father figure, nor ever was he going to be.

        This theme was about monsters. People as monsters. The monsters inside us and around us. The ones we are and the ones we become. Thanks for your comments, Doc. They’re always so helpful.

    • Observer Tim says:

      You had me a little confused trying to fit this together with part 1 until I read your response to Jay. The story is engaging and vivid (though I thought he might have spent a bit more time describing Jesse’s … positive points … as she walked away). I think that would be cleared up if you didn’t identify it as Part 2. The tale certainly stands on its own.

      Now I’m wondering which will prevail – Johnny or the monster?

      • derrdevil says:

        Haha, maybe you can fill in the blacks and spend some time imaging Jesse’s ‘positive points’.

        Thanks for the comment. And sorry about the mix up. I wrote another, but again, no way is it a continuation of the characters. Just a whole bunch of monsters.

    • Reaper says:

      This is a nice piece. I can say the seemingly missing back story didn’t bother me because this read like the opening of a longer story about redemption and seemed like that would come with time.

  44. EverLasting says:

    I screamed. The terrible beast stood above me, acidic saliva dripping onto the covers beside me. It’s breath smelled oddly like Peppermints, it’s eyes looking straight at me.

    I screamed again and grabbed a book from my nightstand, swinging it blindly and catching the giant monster on the cheek with it’s hard cover. He roared and stumbled back, falling off the bed with a thud.

    I ran to the bedroom door and opened it. I leaped out into the hallway, and slammed the door behind me. Why did this have to happen the one time Mom and Dad let me stay in the house by myself? (Fourteen and this is the first time. Sigh.) I ran to the phone, and debated on wether or not to call 911.

    I wondered if they would even believe me. Maybe I really was just dreaming, then woke up and found myself at the phone? I have sleepwalked before….Of course, this could be a dream phone…I hesitated. Fine. One more look. If that….thing….is still there, I’ll call the police.

    I took a hold of Daddy’s pistol he stashed in the closet and loaded it. (I know what your thinking. Little girls shouldn’t play with guns. Well, I’m not little, and I do. Deal with it.)

    I flipped the safety feature off and walked up the stairs. I grabbed Mom’s “gardening hat”. (Its more of a headband with a light on it. You know, like spelunkers use?) and I slipped it over my head slowly, and clicked it on.

    Going over situations in my head, I finally opened the door.

    I ran inside, giving a war cry to hopefully startle the beast. But it was gone. After searching the house I confirmed he was definitely gone. I sighed in relief and embarrassment.

    But then, just as I had placed everything back where I had gotten it, and went back to my bedroom….I spotted it. A letter. Laying on my literally bloody bed.

    I screamed and looked myself over. Nothing. Thank God. I walked over to the bed warily.

    In rather childish handwriting, the letter said this;

    Hi….I’m Ernie. The monster that was perched over your bed? Uh yeeaa, I’m really sorry about that. but I could really use some help? I got bitten by a mean collie dog.

    So….could use help me? I promise I won’t eat you. Humans taste terrible. Not, that, I’ve ever tried one, but, you know….I’ve heard.

    Hopefully still alive; Ernie.

    I laughed out loud.

    I turned to the window and saw a pair of yellow eyes staring back. I reached over and opened the window, and grabbed the first-aid kit from the bathroom.

    Now, my only problem….how to explain Ernie to my parents?

  45. The Demons Among Man

    Three weeks ago, the monster came through her window. Three weeks later, his toothy and sharp grin still haunted her. Three weeks later, she could still feel him… still feel the aftermath… still smell him.

    Most of what she’d experienced was just recollections. She usually had a shitty memory, but she remembered everything so vividly. She guessed trauma had a way of making things stick, and stick they did.

    That night, she could smell him again. The stink of his sweaty, sticky body mixed with cheap cologne. She could feel him, too… but this time it was he who had an unpleasant look on his face. It was he who would forever remember her.

    The duct tape on his lips kept him from screaming or pleading, and though he wanted her to remove it, she didn’t There wasn’t anything he could say. The tape on his wrists and ankles pinned him to a chair and kept him from running.

    It was his house she’d broke into. Through his bedroom window, but she did it while he was gone. He’d come into her life through the window while she slept, but she had things she needed to get just right. It didn’t matter though, as long as the result remained the same.

    She moved behind him and tipped the chair forward. His face slammed against the concrete floor. No doubt, he could smell the motor oil puddled next to his face. That was probably the least of all his concerns, though.

    The bottom of the chair had been removed, and before he woke from the ether nap she placed him under. He was also stripped naked, and that was hard for her to do. She didn’t want to see his body again. Didn’t want to see even a bit of his pink flesh, but she pushed through.

    The determination for revenge was strong in this one. She’d dreamed many nights about how she might bring the man to justice. Tell the police? No, because she didn’t want to be called a victim. Didn’t want her story leaked and broadcast to the world. She wanted to feel empowered, isn’t that what woman are supposed to do after someone rapes them? She didn’t know. She only cared about how she felt, and she was feeling better.

    Her only resolve was to make him feel as she felt. Make that violation of human decency, that violation of her something he could understand.

    She picked up a small but thick silver ribbed rod, and it gleamed from the fluorescent light. His eyes widened, and he shook his head, pleading for her to stop whatever she might do with it. After positioning herself behind the chair, she—

    —good didn’t quite describe how she felt when she left that house. His tearful cries along with his pleads for her to stop had satiated her needs. She still felt him, and would feel those memories for years to come, but just then—and for a long time after, she suspected—she felt strong. Did her wrong make a right? Her father might disagree, but damn did it feel good.

    • I was almost proud of myself for staying under 500 words, but then I recounted. 521… I still fail horribly at keeping it short!

    • vaderize03 says:

      Eh, don’t let the word count keep you down.

      Nicely written, and very enjoyable!

    • k.spicer says:

      Yet again you wrote a masterful piece. The feelings were all there and the scene was right out of a novel. Well written Jay. I try to stick to the word count myself but not for the story’s sake, I’m trying to learn to trim my writing down to the bare bones. I have a tendency to over write scenes. I would guess that is why they put the word limit there more than anything, it forces you to trim, trim, trim. But sometimes a little fat is good!

    • Observer Tim says:

      Revenge is a hollow reward, but sometimes it’s needed. I’m surprised she didn’t publish her actions to some form of social media to ensure he was sufficiently embarrassed (pun intended) and humiliated.

      Great story, Jay.

  46. jhowe says:

    I hate these dark damp nights. I hate my grimy fur and filthy claws and my slimy fangs dripping with gunk. I hate sitting here watching the little girl tremble in a restless sleep because of me. I hate all things pertaining to monsters which must mean I hate myself, which I’ve known for some time to be true. But most of all, I hate Theodore. I wish it was Theodore laying there in the small bed with the pink lacy spread. I wish it was him I was here to torment. But alas, there she lays, innocent and sweet, about to wake up when I make my presence known. I hate monsters.

    It is Theodore that we all fear and loathe. It is Theodore that we all would devour if it were possible. It is Theodore who made us what we are, robbing us of a life we would all prefer. I recall vividly the night my parents surrendered me to his care. They pretended to feel remorse but mutants are not desirable. Mutants are not meant to grow up to be anything but a monster, thanks to Theodore.

    The little girl is standing there in front of the window. In my laments I did not notice she was awake. She looks into my eyes with a blank expression on her face. She puts her palm on the glass and to my surprise I mimic her. I feel a warmth being transferred through the pane and something hurts deep in my chest. I turn and run, oblivious to the bushes and tree limbs tearing at my flesh.

    It is time. It has been time, but now I will act. Tonight one of us will die.

    • dowritenow says:

      The Reluctant Monster. There are so many who could relate to this story… transgendered infants in some countries, heck … normal girls in some, kids packed off to boarding school as punishment. “I feel a warmth being transferred through the pane and something hurts deep in my chest.” Like this. “Tonight one of us will die.” I’m guessing the “us” refers to the monster and… Theodore. Okay. Good, story. Thanks.

    • snuzcook says:

      I like this — interesting and entertaining perspective, jhowe. So much story told in the short piece here, and so much more story to come. The little girl was sweetly handled, the glass clearly preserving her as the monster goes off on his new agenda.

    • lionetravail says:

      Nice flavor, Jhowe, and though it’s a short story, it seems to leave a lot of room as a longer, more involved and interesting tale. Well done (again!)!

    • k.spicer says:

      At first I was thinking Monster’s Inc. but by the end you gripped my heart. The little girl did me in…I have one of those and she melts my heart too. Well done!

    • dedewitt says:

      This is really great. I want to know more about the monster, this little girl, and Theodore. I hope this is a full story someday.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        I liked theb story jhowe, especially the mystic of Theodore. Part two might develop Theodore’s back story. How he was given the power to create monsters,

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is quite powerful despite its brevity, jhowe. I am impressed. I hope Theodore gets what’s coming to him, though I am kind of curious as to how he ruined it. I think dowritenow got it in the first comment.

      But why this window? Is the monster her mutated brother?

    • Reaper says:

      This is deep and powerful. Nice take on how monsters come to be. The little girl looking and not being afraid was wonderful. I love this as a stand alone or the opening to a longer piece.

  47. dowritenow says:

    Ever notice how they always look a little like something you can recognize?

    Mile long talons filed to razor tips. Not too different from human fingers. Second cousins, at most. With a not insignificant amount of inbreeding.

    Then there’s the blood. Lots and lots of deep, red, viscous, blood. One hundred percent human.

    How else could it be?

    I mean, who’s going to scream at five octagons covered in blue gum, right? Craft class or what.

    And so there it was parked outside my window, the MONSTER checklist all ticked off.

    Not saying a word.

    Doing a flawless rendition of “Show. Don’t Tell” at 2 A.M, in the freezing cold.

    My window. My open window. Odd.

    What was the oozy bastard waiting for? An invitation?

    It stirred. I prepared to pass out.

    Another thing. Have you ever noticed how they wait for you to wake up before making their move? It’s like they want you to come out and play. Or maybe they just can’t get into the act without your help. Yeah, an unresponsive partner can totally kill the mood.

    “Like Gareth?”

    Yeh…wha??!!!

    The damn creature was feeling chatty. Great.

    Gareth. Good cop. Four drug thugs. Fourteen bullets. Should’ve been me.

    The talons spilled silently into my room, leaving red trails on the carpet.

    Could’ve been me. But I’d rolled under the bed. Watching. Unresponsive. Bad cop.

    A faceless head filled the window cutting off the moonlight.

    I miss him.

    A wet, sucking sound started up from somewhere.

    But I’d made my peace. Nine months of Writing Therapy will take your mind off anything. If all else fails there’s always Carpel Tunnel Syndrome to keep you focused on the here and now. So yeah, I was good to go. Had been for a while, now.

    The head retreated, talons in tow.

    It resumed its position at the sill.

    Well. Well. Wellaa. Had I just cracked the Creepy Crumble Code?

    “I think you’ll always be a bit …average.” It was doing a spectacular imitation of my mother’s kindly, contemptuous voice.

    Right. Yeah, so my heart shot to the floor and the years of choking self doubt came running back like an out of work old lover.

    Did I mention it was faceless? It wasn’t, not anymore. A mouth had appeared. The better to devour you with, my dear….

    Average or not, mom had given me an excellent education. Had to give her that.

    The mouth faded.

    Ah hah!

    “Baby…”

    Seems the shit-pile was carrying a file on me. I closed my eyes. Yeah, so I’d suffered a miscarriage. Had been through the whole I-was-never-good-enough-to-be-a-mom routine. Horseshit. I swore an oath to protect perfect strangers. Do the same for my kid.

    Pppppfffffffttttthhhhhhh!!!!!

    I sneaked a look at the window. Nothing. Nada. Yeah. I blow a mean raspberry.

    Misery. That’s what gives shape to them. The axle that makes the fear wheel turn. Clean up and there ain’t nothing getting past that window.

    I slept with the windows open that night.

    • jhowe says:

      This warrents another read, or maybe two. There’s a lot going on here that I want to figure out. Great writing and a very cool story line with lots of little gems dispursed throughout. I’m ready for my second read now. Thanks for the ride.

      • dowritenow says:

        Thanks, jhowe. I would’ve like to italicize some portions, the monster’s little jabs, for instance. But with the”preview” button nowhere in sight …. next time.

    • snuzcook says:

      I love the way this progresses, checklist fashion, through the MCs neuroses and guilts. It’s almost like a graduation exercise or a final exam for someone who has gone through some serious therapy. So many pieces with which the reader can identify. Well done, dowritenow!

      • dowritenow says:

        Thank you, snuzcook. I hadn’t considered that aspect but you’re right … It makes sense that once you’ve worked through your challenges .. made some progress … you’d be tested in some way. Maybe examiners do temporarily acquire monster attributes! :-)

    • Observer Tim says:

      I love the way your MC went after the monster tropes. Then, to paraphrase the Muppet Show (Fears of Zero), “she counts them and compels them, and quickly she dispels them.” This was hilarious, dowritenow.

      • dowritenow says:

        Thank You. Yup, laugh or pass out. Should’ve included the other senses, smell, sound, taste. Well, maybe not taste. There just isn’t enough data on the subject. “His nearly frozen tongue made a quick stab at the monster’s third left shoulder. It was as he’d suspected. Phlegm.”

    • Reaper says:

      This is amazing. A very interesting take on monsters having power only if you let them and a psychedelic romp at the same time. Very strong and sympathetic character. I loved the monster pointing to things and seeming to go, still bothered by this one? Just amazing. Your opening line was amazing. It was like a gut punch that made me just need to keep reading.

    • WritingKittenOfLoki says:

      I love the feel the.short sentences gives it. Well written, dowritenow. I really really really like it. Was Gareth a friend or a character that she thinks she shouldn’t have killed off? Awesome MC, she has a great calm attitude.

      • dowritenow says:

        Thanks for reading, WritingKittenOfLoki. Glad you liked it. She is a cop and Gareth was her partner. Hmm … guess that didn’t come across too clearly. Thanks for the helpful pointer.

  48. Reaper says:

    Okay, this one just seemed to need to be written. A little more fun from my point of view and I don’t know if anyone had done it or something like it yet. I just know nobody has to the point I’ve reached in the reading.

    Echoes of Legend

    The world used to belong to us, but then monsters entered the night. One of the in particular is the thing you use to scare unruly children. He brings death with no conscience or regret. It is he that so often haunts my nightmares.

    I look up to see him crouched on the sill just outside the window. Murder resides in those cold eyes but the most horrifying thing is the smile that graces his alien lips. He enjoys this. He loves the terror he brings to those like me. There is glass between us but that would not stop the likes of him. Thankfully there are bars between the two of us as well.

    He is known as the Brother of the Book and he believes he is righteous. In the dream he leers down at me with the implements of death hanging from the ends of his hands. The bigot truly believes we should die because we are different. My skin is different than his. I eat different foods. I see the world in shades of grey that his black and white mind cannot tolerate.

    When will people learn not to judge on things like that? Why does he wish to harm us because we are different than him? Do we not deserve the chance to live and thrive as much as anyone? If I were to ask him he would scream, No, no, no! Then he would end my life.

    The dream comes at least three times a week. In the end he is always tapping at the glass and I wake with a scream in my throat.

    Tick, tick, tick. The sound of metal on solid glass causes my eyes to pop open. My stomach turns to water as I see the monster of my nightmares in his customary place outside my window. This time he has set tools of homicide aside and used a torch to cut through my protective bars however. With that done he is hammering at the thin layer of glass that will not keep me safe for long.

    I have a moment to lament and grow philosophical. It is a short moment as the glass shatters, spraying inward to litter the room. He will not waste words, he never does. Shooting through the opening he follows the shards down to land near my bed.

    I think of how it used to be. When we ruled the night, when we were legends. Those were better times but then men like him came. They determined my kind must be exterminated for the good of others. If only he could see, if they all could. Those things the condemn us for are what they have become.

    Those are my thoughts as his cheap cologne fills my nose, the crunch of broken glass reaching my ears. Then he is nailing me back into my coffin with silver. Hunters will never change.

    • Observer Tim says:

      There’s been a take or two where humans are the monsters, Reaper, but you’ve grabbed the idea and truly made it your own. I love the mood you’ve created. When you write about the things that go bump in the night I always know it will be entertaining.

    • jhowe says:

      Reaper, you have a flair for this genre as your name suggests. You seem to be able to bang these things out at will. Very commendable. I also wanted to add that I for one really appreciate the hard work you put in every week with reading and commenting on other stories. Your words are always thoughtful and helpful. I wish I had time to do this, maybe some day. My wife says I can retire in a few years but she continues to spend money so we’ll see. Great job on your stories this week.

      • Reaper says:

        Thank you for those kind words both about the stories and the comments. One of these days I’ll get a job again or focus in on writing I’m neglecting that I want to publish and I will comment less but for now I love doing it. I’m glad they are thoughtful and helpful, hearing that means a lot to me.

    • timelessfloetry29 says:

      intense !! I loved it! I was very upset when the prompt ended, it left me wanting more.

      • Reaper says:

        Thank you very much for that! Brother Book is a kind of ongoing character in a couple of stories, he’s actually in the novel I’m currently working on, actually he is the MC of that novel but it has a very different feel.

    • snuzcook says:

      Well done, Reaper! It is a worthy concept, and you created the story with great skill and made it your own. Though the punch line was suspected, I got the satisfying ‘ah’ at the final paragraph.

      • EverLasting says:

        Wow! Very nice Reaper!

        I feel bad for the (possibly vampire?) monster.

        Dang humans…We went and chased em all under beds and in closets.
        Shame on us. (Lol)

        You really did make the take your own. Amazing. :)

      • EverLasting says:

        Wow! Very nice Reaper!

        I feel bad for the (possibly vampire?) monster.

        Dang humans…We went and chased em all under beds and in closets.
        Shame on us. (Lol)

        You really did make the idea your own. Amazing. :)

        • Reaper says:

          Thank you so much everlasting. Revenant was the particular monster I was going for but the way of eliminating them is relatively unknown and does lead to thoughts of vampires too. Horrible horrible humans.

      • Reaper says:

        Thank you snuzcook.

    • k.spicer says:

      This was well written, as usual Reaper, and thought provoking to boot! I really thought you were going to show a person with bigoted views of everyone else at the end of this, like some sort of Aesop’s Fables. Good job.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Your story is like layers of fine wine to be tasted with each sentence or perhaps a paragraph. In my opinion, you have written a multi layered puzzle of the human experience. Those who bump in the night is just one layer. There are four distinct prejudices or discriminations high-lighted here.

        • Reaper says:

          Thank you Kerry. I’m glad that shows through since as I mentioned in some other comments Brother Book is actually the hero of most of what he is in. The current work has him starting off with a rage about how everyone wants to believe monsters are the good guys. So I was a little worried about putting him in here unsure if I could get that to come across. Glad it seemed to work.

      • Reaper says:

        Thanks k.spicer. The hunter is a very bigoted person when I write from his point of view but only against the monsters. He is completely unrepentant about it.

    • vaderize03 says:

      The metaphor here is simply mind-blowing; you turned the concept of perception right on its head.

      You also had me feeling sorry for the vampires; your MC came across as nostalgic and actually quite sympathetic. I didn’t think, as a human being, I could feel sorry for blood-sucking monsters, but you made me feel pity.

      Nice!

      • Reaper says:

        Nice! Thank you for those kind comments. Turning perceptions on their heads is awesome. Never feel sorry for vampires though. While I definitely wanted to write this as a metaphor I share the character’s view that monsters are evil and over romanticized in modern works. If the humans felt sorry for Dracula things would have gone very badly.

    • dowritenow says:

      Mood all the way! I like the “The world used to belong to us, but then monsters entered the night.” Can imagine people sitting around a fire listening to an old storyteller speak these words. And so “the hunter becomes the hunted”. A cautionary tale. Reminds me of the danger soldiers on the front lines face. You have me wondering what the hunter’s response might have been had the vamp shared its dying thoughts with him, this part in particular “Those things the condemn us for are what they have become.”. Thanks for the read.

  49. Reaper says:

    So I am insanely slow on the reading this week between trying to finish the Sammy part of this, and a few very strange ideas on the prompt running around in my head. I will catch up but either this prompt is popular or I’m very slow with this and other writing. For those still wanting more of this, enjoy! Two more chapters for Sammy and then another switch. Lots of voice exploration on this one for me.

    A Saner Boss IV

    I was on a roll. I had begun to enjoy the work early on. The next stop was personal and I was glad for the distraction. I would let out the monster so it could be caged again soon.

    I was in flight to Moscow when my wife reached me. She was all tears and lament over a phone that should probably have been powered down. She told me what had happened to her. More importantly she told me what had been done to our son.

    I couldn’t believe Sebastian would take it so far. He knew the rules. He knew how I did business. Then it occurred to me. He thought I was the one that had done his little girl. He thought I had broken the rules.

    Well shit. That made it business didn’t it? One thing you learn early on is don’t take business personal. Someone was going to have to pay though. I felt the old Salamander crawling around in my stomach wanting revenge.

    I couldn’t blame Sebastian. He was family and he had been misled. Besides, Samantha had some things to settle with him. I was going to have to be calm and forgiving. The same did not hold for the man I was about to pay a visit upon.

    This goomba came to my city after the fall of the Soviet Union. He’s ex-KGB and now some big man in the Russian Mob. What a stupid idea. I mean you turn mobs into unions, not the other way around. So he comes to me and says he is going to set up in my town.

    He offers me a piece of his territory back in the red waste as compensation. I says to him, no thanks, it’s too cold for me there. I counter by offering to take a piece of his pie. He’s not happy with that but he sets up shop anyway.

    After some mayhem and some bloodshed he cuts me in but not for as much as was my due. Suffice it to say I held a grudge.

    I decided I was going to regain my Zen in the heart’s blood of the wicked as it were. I was on a schedule but I decided I could make time for this one.

    I sat in his apartment with the lights off. He made me wait forever. So I was in an even fouler mood when he popped in. The last words he heard were, “Remember me fucker?”

    _____________________________________________________________________________
    Samuel went to work on the Russian with his favorite razor. It took hours and the man screamed. Moscow shares a trait with New York though. As a survival mechanism citizens hear nothing. They were not interrupted.

    When he left Samuel had regained his composure. He would mourn his son in time but that time was not yet. He left his diamond pinky ring, a gift from his first wife, on the chest of his victim. It was a not so subtle calling card. In the victim’s blood he also left a simple message on the wall. Glasnost and Perestroika was all it said.

    When he called his daughter that time his conversation was terse. She shared the blame for her half brother. He would forgive her eventually but the wound was still raw.

    “Tokyo then home. Talk later.”

    • Observer Tim says:

      This just keeps on excelling, Reaper. When it’s done I’ll have to gather it all together and read it like a novella. You’ve created an interesting cast of characters and filled their world with raw retribution.

    • vaderize03 says:

      Dude when you are going to release this as a single work?

      It’s just beyond awesome. I absolutely love the voice here, and its cold, calculating nature.

      The line about Moscow and New York citizens being oblivious was classic.

    • Reaper says:

      Thank you Observer Tim and vaderize03. I am working on voice with this one. So Sebastian’s chapters are completely first person, and Samuel’s are mostly first with a third person part. I have an idea for to more characters one being all third person and the final one being the opposite of Samuel. I have two more parts to do for Samuel. The rest will have to wait a little bit as I do want to compile it all but it will require waiting for some stuff I’m working on to be done or another prompt that inspires more of the story.

    • WritingKittenOfLoki says:

      I must have missed – or forgotten – something thing from a previous part, ’cause here I was thinking Samuel did kill Sebastian’s daughter. Or am I confused in thinking I should have known that?
      Anyway well done as all ways! Looking forward to the next part.

      • Reaper says:

        It was a reveal in part six which was One Alone. Samuel’s daughter Samantha was the original intended bride of Sebastian that he ditched out on when he got into soccer and started his family. She’s the one that killed Sebastian’s daughter but in true order that wouldn’t be revealed yet since these chapters would come before one alone so the confusion is a bit warranted and now I just turned this into a soap opera in my mind.

  50. Observer Tim says:

    This is extremely long, but I wanted to highlight the florid prose style as much as anything.

    Reborn

    After much searching I’d found a place to stay on Besserer Street, a three-story house dating from the 1700’s that normally boarded students from the University of Ottawa. It was when that special measures bill was being debated on the Hill and every place in every hotel was booked. I was lucky to get even that.

    Mme Delacroix, the housemistress, introduced me to the students at dinner. There were Claude, Edward, and Gaston on the second floor, and Chantal on the third. As another female, I would also be on the third floor. Gaston and Edward shared a room; from the looks they gave each other it wasn’t platonic, but it also wasn’t my business.

    Chantal was a bare wisp of a girl, studying vocal music for her Master’s. Since she barely spoke any English and I barely any French there was no real conversation. Mme. Delacroix told me Chantal often practiced late into the night, but that I should just roll over and pay no mind to it. She even offered earplugs should I need them.

    I had just gotten to sleep that first night when the sound of singing caused me to awaken. It was so soft I should not have noticed, but somehow the foreign melody pierced my soul. What struck me most though was the language. It sounded nothing like any French I had ever heard. It was more an echo of a faraway and ancient tongue, casting images in my mind of lost histories and forgotten lore. I lay awake listening, unable to coax even a moment of sleep for the entire night.

    I asked Madame about it in the morning and she told me I must have been dreaming. But the song haunted me throughout the day, and since I was only staying two nights I resolved to get to the bottom of the mystery that very night.

    It was just nigh half-past eleven when the song started; I studied the hallway until certain that none were watching, then crept to her door. With exaggerated care I turned the handle and looked in.

    It should have been the darkness of night, but the room was bathed in a silver glow emanating from the open window. The curtains billowed and flared in otherworldly light and a scent not totally unlike apple blossoms filled the room and my senses. Beyond the window I could see a broad city lit in that ethereal light, its golden spires and broad streets flooded like some otherworldly Venice. By some unknown agency I knew I was gazing beyond the Pillars of Heracles into the kingdom forever lost.

    But it was not unoccupied. Monsters flew beyond that portal, swooping down and striking at creatures unseen in the light. Creatures unseen, but where each of these horrors struck its claws returned dripping blood.

    A gale blew through the room save for a single stillpoint: Chantal. She stood naked, bearing only a silver spear which she held defiantly against the window. When a demon came too near the spear would flash out and impale it, its corpse dropping beyond the luminescent door.

    And her voice filled the room; her silver voice in a song not heard by others in countless aeons. Yet somehow it was burned into my soul. She was Fylax, the Watchdog, standing at the door of Atlantis. None may pass.

    Yet I was drawn to the window, enraptured by that radiant glow. I stepped forward, felt resistance, threw it off. Soon I stood before the window, naked in the gale. I placed my hands upon either side the window, climbed up and through.

    He was silver and transparent, barely a shadow formed of the light of that place. Yet in that instant he came to me. His touch was ecstasy and rapture; I screamed for joy as his body came to mine in the way that man has come into woman since the dawn of time.

    All went dark.

    “What have you done?”

    I leaned against the now-sealed window and looked at her. This young girl, yet somehow ancient, stood glaring at me, light and spear and song now vanished. Her shoulders slumped. She spoke in a tongue I did not know, yet somehow understood.

    “You have doomed the human race with your curiosity, woman. You have breached the portal, loosed the Seed of Atlantis. In time the demons will return.”

    I fled the room and returned to mine. I could already feel the seed growing in me, though it would be months before coming to fruition.

    And that, my little Elfida, is how you came to be conceived. I have carried you from first spark to birth; you will never know your father, for he is lost to the depths of time. Your alabaster skin and silver hair will set you apart from others, but you shall bring an age of glory to the world. Let the demons come, we will be ready this time.

    Atlantis xanagenniétai!

    • vaderize03 says:

      This is why I’m so attached to Tolkien (and writing LOTR/Silmarillion fanfic); old languages and legends have always grabbed me, and you did an incredible job of creating the mood. I was right there with your MC, watching the action. I felt her wonder, longed to stand there with her and share in her experience.

      Just awesome!

    • DMelde says:

      Great imagination in this story. Epic in its possibilities. Evil unleashed. A mother’s love. A guardian’s quest. Very well done.

    • timelessfloetry29 says:

      wow ! loved your spin on the prompt!. Very nice read

    • snuzcook says:

      Wonderful images, O.Tim! The haunting music drawing the MC forth, the ancient conflict being revealed to her uninitiated curiosity. A Pandora story, I think. And what of the words of doom? Is Elfida to be a protector, or the cause of humanity’s downfall? Can’t wait to find out.

      • EverLasting says:

        Definitely my favorite story on this prompt so far.

        I felt slightly confused when she started going toward the portal, because I felt like Fylax would have stopped her,

        But other then that, awesome read. Good luck Elfida in saving the world!

        But uh, if you are going to destroy the world instead, I’ll have to take my “good luck” back… Because of self-preservation reasons… :)

        :) again, awesome job Observer Tim. :)

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is what I get for starting a course in 1st century Greek. Here are the originals:

      Fylax – φύλαξ

      Elfida – ελπιδα (‘π’ is changed to ‘f’ because it sounds better in English)

      xanagennietai – ξαναγεννιέται

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        There is a mystic charm to your tale, I can hear the music and when I hear the music, I fly into the winds of yesteryear like a wandering soul stuck in the twenty first century. I would much prefer to be in Camelot, where knights were bold, women fair and the world was young.

      • EverLasting says:

        oh ok.

        Lol thanks for clearing that up Observer! I get it now lol.

        Again, Great story. :)

    • Reaper says:

      Great story Tim. For me the guarding things coming in but not going out made sense but I think that is a feel thing. You have a great combination here of Greek myth, classic fantasy, and epic poetry. They all flow together and I just read your unstated part because it just fit that weird amalgam. This was breathtaking and well worth the read.

  51. pinkbamboo says:

    Not sure if anyone remembers me but I’ve been away for a while, feeling a little uninspired. Came back to try this prompt. Hopefully it’s not too cheesy.

    ***
    “Jean!” I hissed as my trembling hand reached out for her.

    “What?” she sat up angrily.

    “Shut up. There’s a monster outside the window”

    Jean wanted to say something but all I could hear from her was a gasp. She grabbed my hand in the dark and held it in hers. Silence. I could feel the monster breathing heavily outside the window, looking at us. I knew if I ran, it would come after me and with its long legs and sharp claws, I’ll be torn to pieces.

    “Tina, I thought the monster was not real”

    “It was not real. It was from my dream. How can it be real now?” I whispered as tears fell down my face.

    “What are we going to do?” she tugged on my hand again.

    I shook my head. I have no idea. I glanced at the monster again, still standing there with its mouth wide open and drool dripping all over floor.

    “Jean, I’m sorry I was a jerk to you during the budget presentation yesterday” I turned to her. I saw her eyes widen as she shook her head.

    “Tina, what the hell. You’re not allowed to talk..”

    “Face it Jean. We’re going to die. I need to tell you this because you’re my best friend”

    “You’re my best friend too. I’m so sorry for those times we fought”

    The monster opened it’s mouth and licked its lips. I could hear my heart beating like crazy. We’re never going to survive this. I moved my feet closer to my body and I could feel his eyes looking at us. It was getting closer to us, the heat radiating from its body was getting nearer.

    “Jean, I’m sorry for asking Jeremy out when I know you liked him” I bit my bottom lip as I looked at my best friend.

    “That’s okay T. I’m sorry I tore your dress by accident”

    No time to lose. The creature was getting hungry and impatient. I wiped my tears and inched closer to Jean.

    “That’s okay Jean. I forgive you for the dress. I’m sorry I was so pissed at you back then, now it just seemed so silly” I glanced back at the monster.

    “Tina, you’re my best friend. I would never hurt you intentionally” Jean started crying.

    I nodded and wiped her tears. “Same here. I would never ever hurt you and I promised I’ll always be truthful and honest and I treasure our friendship”

    The monster roared and inched closer. It was standing in the room now and I took a deep breath. Its eyes were big and black, his body covered with brown hair and it’s teeth were long and sharp.

    “You know what Jean. I’m going to distract him and you run downstairs to get the lighter, maybe we can burn him” I tried to get up but Jean pulled me back.

    “T, are you crazy?” she hissed at me.

    “It’s the only way. Go, run!” I stood up with my back against the wall. The creature looked at me as I moved to the corner of the room.

    “T, I .. have to tell you something. I was the one who ran over your dog. I’m so sorry. I was rushing to work the other day and he ran out..”

    “Why? Why is it you? Jean, you’re my best friend” I frowned.

    “I know .. I’m so sorry and I’m sorry for saying it was Mrs Peterson who did it. I panicked and I ..” she was speechless.

    I was scared, angry and disappointed at the same time but all I could do was shook my head and moved away from Jean.

    “Tina, talk to me”

    “What do you want me to say? You saw how I woke up with nightmares night after night ever since I lost him. You knew how much I hated Mrs Peterson because you told me she ran him over. You’re my fucking best friend” I shouted at her.

    “I’m sorry! I was afraid of telling you and he was your baby and I .. ” she looked sad and helpless.

    The creature looked at me and I looked away from them. For a while, I forgot we were still trapped with this monster. I could feel his breath now coming towards me.

    “T, say something” Jean stepped back towards the corner of the room, her eyes focused on the creature.

    I moved to the other corner of the room but the monster kept his eyes on me. I took a deep breath, a glance at Jean and then I smiled.

    “Buster!” I shouted at the creature and pointed at Jean “fetch!”

    • Observer Tim says:

      Very dark, PinkBamboo. So her friend committed the one unforgivable sin. I love the way the girls escalate their confessions to each other over the course of the story. It’s amazing how much that builds the tension.

      Welcome back; may you find every prompt from here on out inspiring.

    • timelessfloetry29 says:

      wow !! that ending just made my mouth drop !. Just like Observer Tim stated i like how the confessions progressed, I never even saw the ending coming. Excellent job!

      • EverLasting says:

        Nice job Bamboo!

        I almost actually laughed when I read “Buster! Fetch!”

        I will admit, you almost lost me though when I read; “was not real!”

        Maybe its the modern day hipster in me, (lol) but I was sort of thinking; aw man, is this going to have a bunch of proper sentences in it? Because if you get too proper, the story feels unreal and bland.

        But you instantly pulled me back to the story, and it wasn’t unreal or bland at all. Great job.

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          Hello pink, the geezer here. I was waiting for the shoe to drop as I read barely the first third of the story. You dropped clues everywhere like flashing lights of ‘Fetch.’

          Running over one/’s dog is the ultimate sin in my book. A tasty meal, I hope she was. I thought, a very clever story. On to the next one pink or we’ll come back and get you.

          • pinkbamboo says:

            hehe Kerry, I’ll be back. I hoped she was a tasty meal as well. I should have included a scene where Jean ran over the dog and left it alone, that would be a brutal scene.

        • pinkbamboo says:

          I can’t write proper sentences when there’s a bunch of dialogue involved – like you mentioned, it might sound bland. Thanks for reading :D

      • pinkbamboo says:

        I scribbled the story after I thought of the last words of the prompt. I hoped you enjoy it :D

    • Reaper says:

      Pink! You have been missed and demerits have been added for the truancy! How could anyone forget you? I personally have not had enough love, betrayal, and all around evil women in my reading with your time away. I will be with Kerry coming to get you if you disappear again.

      This is classic, and very dark. For me it’s not the running over the dog that is unforgivable because accidents happen, but the lying about it. I loved the friendship and the escalations throughout and you ramped the tension very nicely. An amazing return for you and not too cheesy at all.

  52. sjmca1966 says:

    Night Moves – Part 3 -

    I don’t know whether it was the Fluvoxamine, the alcohol, my police training or a combination of all three, but when I sat up I felt no fear.

    “Why me?” I asked.

    “Your bitch took the love of my life from me. She was with child.”

    “What the hell. . .”

    It then hit me. The night Rene died, she’d unsuccessfully tried to avoid a dog in the middle of the road. She’d just come off an eighteen hour stint at the hospital, she and her classic silver 68’ Mustang had ended up unrecognizable after the fire.

    “Your bitch took the love of my life from me, she was also with child!”

    The beast spread its arms and raked the curtains to the floor. It flicked another object on my bed before it disappeared. The star and crescent badge of the New Orleans Police Department had the number 2209 indented in it. That was Jules number, she had been buried wearing this badge. I grabbed it and tossed it under the bed.

    I leaned back and lurched to the side to grab my cellphone, I pressed speed-dial-two, number one was no longer in service, I hadn’t been able to delete it though, “Hello there.”

    “Hey Pop, is Mom there?”

    “Margaret, it’s for you!”

    “Hello? Jenny speaking.”

    “Hey Mom. Is Pop’s revolver still in the house?”

    “Yes and that’s where it’s staying.”

    “I’ve had a death threat. This one’s serious, they’ve killed Trixie-Belle. I’m on my way over.”

    “O-o-okay, Honey you be careful.”

    There must have been something in my tone that told my mother I wasn’t playing games. My relief was immense to hear trust in her voice.

    I replaced my sweats with a pair of jeans, stuck my wallet in my back pocket and headed for the half-empty double garage. It had been a while since I’d driven and I took a second behind the wheel before I cranked over my ‘74 Camaro. By the time the garage door was fully up, I was ready.

    I’d always reversed into the garage, it was a cop thing my father had taught me to do in case of an emergency. I gave the accelerator pedal a little bit of toe before I engaged gear and exited the building.

    When I entered my parents home, Greta came hurtling towards me, my mother had unselfishly broken the bad news to her, “I don’t want to love anyone new anymore.”

    “I know Honey, I know.”

    I walked to the kitchen and gently placed Greta down. I picked up the white plastic bag off the bench that my mother had prepared. Greta then unfurled the fist of her right hand and released a bunch of coins in front of me.

    “What’s that for?” I asked.

    “The swear jar,” she replied “I’ve met him and I want you to kill the motherfucker!”

    To be continued. . .

    • Observer Tim says:

      Always disturbing when Grandma fills the swear jar…

      Anxiously awaiting more.

      • EverLasting says:

        Uh, Tim….I don’t think that was Grandma. I think that was Baby Sister! 0_0

        Sjmca, I’m not entirely sure I understand whats happening here.
        (Though I’ll probably reread it later and be like, Oh, I get It now!)

        The MC’s dog caused the monster’s wife to die because of a wreck, and he wants revenge, but who is Jules? The monster’s wife? And Trixie-belle is who?

        A little bit more of an explanation might help, but what I took from this was a interesting story about ready to unfurl. :) good job.

        • sjmca1966 says:

          You may like to check out Parts 1 & 2 somewhere down below. lol.

          • EverLasting says:

            OH.

            So sorry!!

            I didn’t see the part 3 thing until now actually. Lol!

            I shall retract all the questions I have asked for when I find the first two parts. I’m on a mission now!

            Sorry again!!

    • WritingKittenOfLoki says:

      Wow. Keep it up, sjmca1966. With what you have here out could write a full-fledged novel,
      I think you should. Usually I would be saddened at anyone swearing, and appalled if a child did so, but somehow it doesn’t bother me too very much that Greta did, how does that work? You must’ve weaved some spell into it. :)

      • WritingKittenOfLoki says:

        *you* not *out*! Ahh! Annoying kindle auto correct!

      • sjmca1966 says:

        Thanks so much WritingKittenOfLoki. I am currently 60k into my first attempt at a novel – a psychological thriller.
        I found it quite funny that after been here for seven weeks, my first F-Bomb was dropped by a cute little four year old girl. Don’t kids say the darndest things? Lol.

  53. igonzales81 says:

    It loomed in the window before me, a creature from my worst nightmares. Bloodshot eyes stared unblinking at me over a mouth full of sharp, jagged fangs. Two hands rested on the sill, motionless, long claws stained with red.

    I’d had this same nightmare every night for a week. It just came to me: I’d be sitting in bed, and I’d look at the window, and there it would be.

    This time, however, I was wide awake, perched in front of my computer, trying to type out an essay for my history class. I was quite certain I was awake; when I first saw the thing standing there, I dropped a heavy text book on my foot. It hurt.

    So, with no possibility that this was simply another fabrication of my overworked and sleep-deprived mind, I pondered what I should do next. Screaming for help seemed like a good idea, but I wasn’t sure who could help or what they could do to help. I lived alone, and no one I knew had a gun.

    Dimly I was impressed that I could be thinking so calmly and rationally while being confronted by such a horrible apparition, but it hadn’t actually done anything to me yet, nor had it done anything to me in my dreams. The creature might have been nothing more than a picture on my window for all it was doing.

    I swiveled my chair slowly, angling for the door. The thing’s eyes tracked me. It was no picture.

    Maybe I could throw something at it, get away while it was busy shredding a cushion or book. But I really didn’t want to do anything that might make it angry. Or angrier; something about it made me think it was pretty ticked.

    Then it leaned forward, and with a shock I realized that the window was actually open. I’d left it open while I worked because it was so hot. A bad idea, in hindsight, but no one ever expects some terrifying monster will show up at his window.

    It loomed over me, so close that I could hear its rasping breath and smell the sickly sweet odor that clung to it. “I’ve been looking all over for you,” it hissed.

    I swallowed painfully. “For me?”

    “Yeah. Saw you in my dreams, thought you might have what I’m looking for.”

    I didn’t know whether to hope I was that person or not. “And what are you looking for?” I dared to ask.

    Its mouth curved in a horrible caricature of a smile. “Some Grey Poupon. They always taste better with Grey Poupon.”

    • Observer Tim says:

      Great story; I love the way you built suspense, igonzales. But the last line made this piece. Who would want to eat a succulent little human without Grey Poupon?

    • moscoboy says:

      Just when you think that you’ve been handed a ‘tired’ prompt along comes your story. Great last line.

    • Reaper says:

      I think the best part of this was the no one ever expects some terrifying monster will show up at his window. That summed it all up for me. The writing was good and a nice story with a lot of subtle tension in part because of the constant hope.

  54. I may have gone a little over the word count with this one…

    Terror.
    According to the dictionary, it means intense fear. But to anyone who had felt it, it doesn’t, it is too much more than that.
    It means your muscles freeze. It means your heart goes into overdrive. It means you want to run, but can’t. It means you brain is locked into one thought, one exclamation, usually “Oh my God”. It means you can barely breathe. And it usually means it makes an incredible story later, but one that will always fuel your worst nightmares.
    It is the feeling that, since you aren’t yet, you are on the verge of death, and there is no hope.
    They say the worst dreams are the ones where you can’t wake yourself up. I disagree. The worst dreams are the nightmares that become real.
    This occurred to me later. All I knew at the moment was terror as I clutched the comforter to my chest and stared at the monster, knowing this real and wishing it wasn’t. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t go over and close the window that was open. I couldn’t even faint. All I could do was stare at the apparition, that looked as if it had been spawned and spewed out of the darkest corner in hell. Its cold obsidian eyes never blinked, never shone except for one red spark of hellfire far in its depths. As I clenched my teeth to keep them from chattering, it licked its dripping teeth, and gave a horrible grin that drew its fleshy lips all over its muzzle. One clawed, slimy, webbed foot reached through the screen and ripped the frame of the window out. Even this couldn’t move me.
    Raising its head, it shrieked to the skies, the sound of tortured animal made harsher by it’s own cruelty, mingled with the sound of nails scraping over glass. Finally jolted by the awful sound, relieved by the withdrawal of its eyes, I reached for the bow and arrow I had laid by my bed in preparation for its coming. My hands shook as I drew the string back, aiming right between the monster’s eyes. It seemed that my will had turned to dust; it would not work to force my hands to still, and I feared I would miss.
    Murky water rose from nowhere, obscuring everything but the horrible, lifeless eyes, and I felt myself foundering, trying to swim with the bow in my hand, until with the chilly blast of wind my head broke the surface and my window banged in the wind.
    Though my head still spun, I knew this: I was now awake. The dream was not real.
    But I knew it would be, someday. I knew it would come, slowly but surely.
    One hand fumbled for the light by my bed, and the the other checked to make sure my weapons were there. Both came back to rest on my forehead in relief. That’s when I looked up, and saw it. Obsidian eyes colder than Antarctica in winter.

    When I came to myself, I was clasped in the arms of my brother. He was rocking me back and forth and singing softly.
    “What happened?” I moaned. I felt like meat must feel after it’s been pulverized, and there was a stickiness on me that I slowly realized was blood. I looked up at him and he smiled.
    “You killed the beast.”
    I sighed in relief.
    “Happy?”
    I nodded.
    “Don’t be.”
    I looked at him sharply. “Why not?”
    “Not everyone can kill one of those beasts. You are now marked by its blood. That means that its owners will now try and kill you, because only someone who has killed their beasts can kill them.”
    “Wha…?”
    He had begun to tear up. “That’s what happened to Dad, when you were two.”
    “But what happens now? I just get killed?”
    He smiled again, but it was a grim sort of smile with tears still in his eyes, a smile that frightened me a little. “Not if you don’t want to. I suggest you run for your life.”

  55. derrdevil says:

    “You had that dream again?”

    “Yeah, I guess.” I sat up from the bunk bed, brushing my palm through a sweaty head. Jimmy had woke me up, kicking the mattress from the bunk below. Apparently I was having a nightmare again. Damn nightmares.

    “Dude, why’d you join the marines if you can’t handle it?” Nick asked with genuine curiosity. His voice said it all. It was a question he had asked often, but this time I could hear the fatigue in his plea.

    “I’m a fool,” I said with a smirk. “Always wanted to be like my dad.”

    “Your old man, huh?”

    “Yeah, toughest S. O. B. I ever knew.” I catch myself there and pause. I never knew my dad. He never existed.

    “Oh, yeah? Go on.”

    “You don’t wanna know,” I tell him, lying back down into my bed.

    “We got nothing but time, bro.” Jimmy was always right. The next shift was hours from now and I couldn’t sleep. Not now. And besides, a good story was all we ever had in these lonely barracks. So I cradled my head in the palm of my hands, crossed my legs and began to tell him a long one. A real one.

    “Well, as a kid, for as long as I could remember, I had always dreamt of monsters. Just nightmares, mother would say. All in my head. But still I dreamt of them.

    “It got so bad that she had to take me to see one of them head doctors. Made me look at a bunch pictures that, even without no drawing skill, looked like I could draw ‘em. He asked me what I thought of ‘em. What I saw in those scratchy blotches. Ha! I remember looking at him like he was the crazy one. The guy prescribed me a bag of pills I couldn’t pronounce. From anxiety pills to sleeping tablets. All were useless. The doc and the pills. Still the monsters came.

    “It was hard growing up with just mum. Dad was in the war, she said. I’d never seen him. I always asked but mother never talked about him. But I imagined he was this great big war hero with huge cannons like Hulk Hogan, and smoked cigars like they were illegal or something. A real bad ass. Nothing like the reality of it. Nothing like the men she brought home every night. Sleazy fuckers! I could hear them. At night. That’s when the nightmares started, I guess.

    “I guess mum had to find a way to make things work. But in school, the other kids would tease me. Call my mother a ‘whore’. Jeers and jabs. Went home with a new bruise every day. I remember changing schools a few times. But still the same types would show up. Beat me to a pulp and run off shouting ‘your mother’s a slut’ like it was my fault.

    “There was one time, when I lashed out. At the landlord’s kid. The only time I ever hit back. He went running to his dad, screaming that I was gonna pay for it. And his dad came after me. He was wearing a mean look with his belt wrapped up tight around his fist. I’d never been so scared in my life. That’s when Bill showed up. Big Bill. Built like a tower. Stepped out of the shadows and gripped the puny cunt around the neck. ‘How about fighting someone your own size,’ he told him. I swear the landlord shat his pants more than I did. I never seen any of the other punks around mum after Bill was around.

    “There was one night, when I woke up in shock. I saw Bill sitting on the side of my bed.
    ‘Werewolf,’ I said.
    ‘I know. Saw him,’ he told me.
    ‘You saw him?!’ I said, genuinely surprised at that.
    ‘Yep, knocked that bastard square in the jaw. Don’t think he’ll be coming around anytime soon.’ And with that, he got up and walked out the bedroom.

    I never dreamt of monsters again.”

    “Wow!” Jimmy exclaimed. “That’s a good story.”

    “Yep, he was some guy.”

    “What ever happened to him?” Jimmy’s asked.

    “Dissapeared into the sea of other men.” Like every other man.

    “Though,” Jimmy paused as if thinking how to phrase it, “he wasn’t your father.”

    “Yeah,” I sigh. “But the closest thing to one.”

    “And the nightmares are back,” he stated, kicking my mattress again.

    “Yeah,” I look out the barracks tent into the smokey night, the distant skyline glowing in a lethal halo of orange and red, I hear bombs echoing through to the valley. “Bill’s not around to chase these monsters away.”

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a brilliant story, derrdevil. The monster protected him as long as it could; now he’ll have to either find a new monster or become the protector himeself. As a marine he’s well on the way.

      • derrdevil says:

        Oh snap! Just re-read through it and somewhere along the line Jimmy turned into Nick then shapeshifted back to Jimmy. My bad. There are only supposed to be two characters in present tense conversation. Sorry for the confusion.

        Thanks for the comment Tim. Bill wasn’t supposed to be a monster. Maybe I should have detailed it out a bit clearer. Bill was one of the men his mother used to ‘enjoy company’ with. But I like how you summarised my take on the prompt. I went a bit off and a bit long but I guess a good prompt inspires the ‘write’ kind of juices to flow. Thanks again.

        • EverLasting says:

          Great job Devil!

          You tell the story of Nick The Marine well. So lifelike!

          I was a little thrown off off when I read “werewolf”.
          Is this supposed to mean the Landlord was a werewolf?
          That’s definitely different, but, good story!

          And lol I only saw that “Jimmy to Nick then back again” morph after you mentioned it. :)

          I sort of thought big Bill was his Father for a minute.
          Coming home from the War, appearing out of nowhere protect him like a Guardian Angel. :)

          But him being one of the many men “walking in and out of the house” at night makes it more interesting.

          Good job!

          • derrdevil says:

            Thanks mate! I enjoyed this prompt so much I wrote another.

            Sorry about the rough settings. I should have added a bit more to the story or edited it better. When I mentioned the werewolf, it was when he was dreaming, having a nightmare. A werewolf, in my idea, was a monster. But on second thought, maybe I should have just said monster since saying werewolf adds another dimension, adds to the clutter and confusion.

            Glad you managed to whittle through my mess. I really appreciate your feed back!

    • Reaper says:

      Wonderful story. I took the switch as a third voice in the story which made sense with it being a barracks but also makes sense with there only being two not that you explained it. I liked the werewolf comment personally because it read like a it was a werewolf this time but other monsters other times. So the acceptance of it and the I saw him was perfect. Just overall interesting and well told.

  56. rosmid says:

    THE MONSTER

    He was there again. I sighed. I pulled up the covers and walked towards the window. I pulled up the shade and let him in.
    The beast slumped towards my bed. He was a thick and hairy beast. His fur was mottled and his claws scratched my wooden floor. He climbed up on my bed and sat there. The dirt from his fur fell onto my bed. I put on my moccasins and sat next to the beast.
    “Hello again, Monster.”
    “Hello, Russ” he grumbled. “You got a cigarette?”
    I reached in my dresser and pulled out a pack of Turkish Golds and a lighter. I handed him a cigarette and lit him up. He had some trouble maneuvering the cigarette through his long wicked teeth but he eventually took a long drag. He turned to me with tears in his eyes.
    “What’s wrong, Monster?”
    “I can’t scare anyone anymore.”
    I patted him on the back. “Hey, don’t say that. You’re plenty scary.”
    “No I’m not.”
    “What makes you say that?”
    “Well, you know the kid next door? Michelson?”
    “Yeah. Kid’s a dick.”
    “Right? I tried to scare him. I crawled out of his closet, my fangs dripping in blood. I sat at the end of his bed and whispered dark secrets into his ear…”
    “And what happened?”
    “He actually enjoyed it. He stood up and started playing music to accompany my howls.” The monster sighed. “You know, it’s really hard to scare people these days.”
    “I agree. Want a sandwich?”
    “Sure.”
    I went downstairs to the kitchen. The Monster had started visiting me more recently. At first I was scared but then I took a good look at him and realized he was hurting, honestly hurting. So one night as he growled and hissed at the foot of my bed I offered him a cigarette and the relationship just kicked off from there.
    I wondered if it was all in my head. I supposed it could be. I did have a history of mental illness. Diagnosed as schizophrenic as a kid and refused to take medicine as an adult. It wasn’t too bad, really. I mean, I know I sound crass saying that but for me it’s true. My life is pretty normal, aside from the Monster.
    I opened the can and spread the tuna on rye bread. I put the small sandwich on a white plate and walked upstairs.
    The Monster was lying on the floor, his arms and feet sprawled out. I gave him the sandwich, which he swallowed in one messy gulp. “Thanks, Russ.”
    “Anytime, Monster.”
    “So, I’m going to head out.”
    “Really? You sure.”
    He hung his head. “Yeah. I have to go back to Hell.”
    “So you’re a demon then?”
    “Yeah.”
    “I always wondered.”
    He shrugged. “Lesser demon. Not one of the higher ups. It’s a rough life but someone’s got to do it, right?” He gave a small laugh.
    He crawled out my window and disappeared into the night. I sighed and got back into bed.
    Everyone needs a monster sometimes.

  57. timelessfloetry29 says:

    This is a kind of continuation on another prompt I did. Its also a snippet of something larger I am working on. Each prompt helps me find inspiration for what I’m working on. I love it!. Sorry if this one is confusing. Poor Lynn is not all there in the head =]. Enjoy ! Also i do these in word document then copy and paste. If its hard to read please let me know!

    3 Days Ago

    “’ I swear to you its real”
    “ It’s not real Lynn” my psychiatrist says casually as she crosses her legs and writes notes in her tablet.
    “ The dream about the baby looking like him, the coffin, the black hole, to now a fanged Dracula..”
    “ Werewolf” I cut her off and explained.
    “Excuse me, Werewolf, it seems to me your subconscious mind is trying to protect you from something, but your heart may be poking holes in a world that you have created. Basically, your heart is trying to make you face the truth”.
    “ So where does that leave me” I mumbled with as much anxiety and curiosity I could muster.
    “It means you confront it head on” She declared with triumph as she placed her tablet on the oak table and stood.
    This was my que it was time to pack my bags and leave. Our session was definitely over.

    Fast Forward to Present

    It’s finally come, as I looked toward the window and felt the bone chilling presence of not being alone. My dream has finally seeped into reality. No longer covered by my minds way of protecting me, the sincerity and realization of what it about to take place almost consumes me. I have to be strong, I have to fight this. The more I looked at this werewolf, this thing that had haunted my dreams; I realized my psychiatrist was right. The fangs are not fangs, but in fact normal teeth turned up into a scowl that presents them as being sharp. The droopy hands are not droopy but in fact normal, just large and bent inward as if to hide them from my view.
    My heart pounds against my chest like a drum marching soldiers on to war. If my ribs could tumble under the weight of my beating heart, they would be no more. The intensity of this situation is over whelming.
    As we continue to have this stare off, we both anticipate who will make the first move. You are unaware that I would be awake; I know you notice that now I can see right through you, you’re scared and it gives me strength. Your eyes travel to the undisturbed glass of milk you brought to me and I finally get it. I wasn’t crazy. You just were not stupid.
    Before I can even second guess myself I’m leaping toward you, toward my fears, my disappointment my anger, every let down, I’m finally confronting you. And it feels so good to see the man in the mirror finally disappear as I stand there unharmed yet brand new.

    • Observer Tim says:

      I like the psychological aspect, timelessfloetry. Lynn is aware of her problems and that they are hers alone, but she must still stand and defeat them. Wonderful message.

    • Reaper says:

      I like the very mental take on this and you wrote it really well. You portray your MC not being not all there in the head very well. The sudden use of second person in the last two paragraphs is, I don’t want to say jarring but shocking which I believe was your intent. A very interesting read.

  58. Daenerys says:

    That night, like many other nights taking precedence, appeared near impossible to submit to a dreamless slumber. No matter how many times I closed my eyes or altered my positioning on the bed, or even willed myself to sleep- insomnia would simply not let me be.

    Yet, I wonder if it weren’t for the better. The rare occasions that finally offered me respite, seemed too cruel of a joke to only be repossessed in a tormented and agonizing nightmare that only aimed to suffocate me further.

    In the dream, a shadow demon with drooping hands and wicked fangs glistened its shards at me in a snarl that promised retribution. It seemed to pace back and forth waiting for an opening; a fault in my resolution.

    The night proved to be another incubus of sanity- so much the fine lines between my dream infused state and my cold reality had begun to significantly dwindle.

    There I laid with my blood-rimmed eyes trained on the high ceiling of Wodhull Manor – not quite seeing it. Sweat oozed from the sides of my temples, my naked chest, and forehead and trickled on the already dampened bed. And beads of saliva gathered about my lips and the corners of my mouth -all testaments to the chronic feverish hells I was being subjected to nightly.

    “Please, …don’t…I’ll do anything…but don’t…please!”

    The room began to spin at the sudden recollection. I shook my head vigorously trying to suppress it. No, not now, I thought.

    “Please- oh god- no, “ she sobbed brokenly- her eyes a mixture of fear and helplessness.

    My face was a portrait of pain as I convulsed on the bed- the images seeming to have a mind of their own.

    A slight tremor ran down my spine as I soon became aware of a shadow looming behind the curtains in the dark of night. But I refused to give it credence by looking over though it demanded acknowledgement.

    No it’s not real! None of it is!

    “Nooooooo!” she cried in an almost ethereal cry before her blood splattered like heavy droplets of thickened rain.

    I quickly sat up on the bed with my hands jammed on either side of my head causing my shaggy mane of hair to fall mutely on my gleaming forehead; my veins pulsing. I swayed in a rocking motion trying in vain to erase the memory. But the rise and fall of my chest was a quick, rhythmic series of palpitations that made more damage then I was willing to admit.

    My fingers tingled from an obsession that I’ve given up for months and for which I have paid the price duly for. The itch of a fresh kill seemed too much to bear. It’s been three months since my last victim in my attempt at reclaiming some means of my humanity, some means of what was expected of a proper gentlemen; much more of an earl. But it seemed each night was a losing battle.

    The grating metallic sound of a thousand mountains being shifted at once imploded in my self- conscious.

    A shooting pain sizzled in my cerebrum which jerked my head back slightly. It took a moment to discern its words.

    You cannot run from this- from me. Cease your refusal and accept me!

    ‘Just a figment of my imagination and nothing more. Nothing more,’ I told myself with a shake of my head.

    I’m as real as you.

    I squeezed my eyes shut. I can’t do this anymore, I thought.

    Then give in to me.

    “Please don’t kill me. I’ll do anything. NOOoOooooo!”

    “Leave me alone!” I yelled loudly. “Stop it! All of it! I am going mad! Haven’t you tormented me enough?”

    Accept me and your suffering shall be appeased. We’re one and the same. Admit it! You love the thrill of hearing your victims cry out for mercy, to see their limp bodies -”

    “Oh god.” I pressed my fists to my ears and repeatedly banged them against my head. The faces of the victim one by one flitted across my vision; seeing them as if they were in front of me. And I found myself disgusted by the thrill I felt through it all.

    “No. no . no,” I whispered brokenly. “You cannot force me- not without my consent.”

    Oh, but I can and I will. I have found a way. We shall again be one.

    A strong breeze yanked the windows off its hinges and scattered the debris on the ground. When I looked up to ask what it meant, the shadow demon was gone.

    Slowly, I vacated the bed and walked towards the window only to find that it was really gone. I stuck my head outside of the window searching. My eyes scoured the garden below, fully immersed in the pale fingers of the moonlight. But seek as I may, no demon lurked.

    Aimlessly, I sat on the armchair by the foot of the bed and stared out the window. I shivered-a feeling that had nothing to do with the cold and more to do with the demon’s last words.

    We shall again be one – my last thought before sleep consumed finally me. And for once, in the last painful three months, not a single nightmare found way to terrorize me.

    And when I woke up morning the next, I felt more alive than ever. The adrenaline was back pumping my blood in full motion. I was free at last from all of my demons.

    ———————-
    ***
    Special thanks to Jay “The Doc” Wilson for the italics’s guide. My story would be confusing without them :)

    • Daenerys says:

      Ugh the italics didn’t work as great as I thought. But here goes! hope it is not confusing.

      • We’ve all been there, Daenerys. We’ve also decided that there are WD Gremlins that like to mess with our prose. :)

        Your story is interesting, takes a moment to really understand what’s going on, and I see what you mean about the italics being important since, I believe, the MC is fighting with the monster within. A timeless tale told many times, but yours is a fun take to the tale. Thanks for sharing, sir! (or ma’am! I won’t presume haha)

        P.S. Italics belong in a zoo.

        • Daenerys says:

          Thanks for reading! I figured the overuse of the italics would take away from the story as this was intended to give voice to a tormented serial killer who is also an earl with an image to uphold. Therefore, he attempts to give up his dark ways for a more conventional lifestyle but his inner demon is stronger than him. So yeah…curse the italics! Haha

          P.S. Lol I’ll say. I am a young woman so ‘miss’ or ma’am, I suppose is the correct title.

    • lionetravail says:

      Very interesting story- I agree, the italics distract a little bit, but only because it didn’t differentiate between dream and awake states for me, and probably created a little confusion for me between the first person and third person references. But it is an effective tale about inner, rather than outer, demons.

      There were also some tense changes, present to past in the beginning, but editing should handle those :)

      Nice take on the prompt!

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a lovely tale of redemption, Daenerys. As a sucker for happy endings, I love that the MC managed to defeat his demon. I know where you were going with the italics, so I read it into the story.

    • Reaper says:

      So you see Daenerys, in this case there are no gremlins. I have just paid the site to torment you in punishment for you being away. Good to have you back.

      Nice story and it has that amped up tension and amazing language that are your trademarks. This was very well told. I do find it strange that people interpret a happy ending. You left it open for that but everything seems to come together for me to the idea that his demon is taking over in his sleep and he doesn’t remember it so he can be happy because the urge is fulfilled and the image is safe at the same time.

      • Daenerys says:

        Reaper, it’s good to be back! So you can tell WD to cease their awful torments.

        And Reaper, I am not sure if it’s because you are accustomed to my way of writing, but the ending is not a happy one at all. Actually, the demon and and him became one. He’s happier only because he has accepted his darker side and that gives him room to be free. In other words, he is “free” from his demons only because he has become the demon! So it’s refreshing to see that you have deciphered my true intent. ( I was already over the limit so I made do with this ending instead.)

        Thanks for reading!

  59. lionetravail says:

    “Win Some, Lose Some”
    (continuation from the last prompt about Istanbul- it’s the same genre for me :))

    I hadn’t slept well since Istanbul, despite meditation, over-the-counter sleep aids, and even a potion which Eibon himself recommended in his compendium on dealing with the Eldritch horrors of yesterday and today. Neither had Cerise.

    “Look here,” she said, tapping at the table in front of her.

    I stood up from the bed and looked at the clock before moving to where she sat: 3:04 AM. She had a star chart spread on the round wood table of her bedroom, and superimposed upon it were Eibon’s relevant diagrams stenciled on a clear plastic sheet.

    “The next conjunction remains months away, my love,” she said, pointing. “The forecast has not changed.”

    “An interlude of months,” I mused. “And the next battle?”

    “Ithaqua; far north, but we have time to prepare,” she said.

    “I’m so fortunate to have you, my love,” I said, and put my arms around her.

    “You are,” she said, smiling. She had dark circles under her eyes- ten days of my nightmares had taken their toll on us both.

    I kissed the top of her head, and drew her to her feet. She turned, and her lips parted and met mine. I felt something unclench in me, perhaps some magic or alchemy her love worked in my soul, and we went back to bed.

    Sleep came like a sledgehammer between the eyes, only it didn’t last. The dream began again- I heard the same scrabbling from the window, and my breathing sped up. I looked, as always, and saw a protoplasmic horror with multiple, gleaming green eyes, fangs drooling acidic slaver which burned at the wooden sill, and odd, drooping, clawed hands which looked like they had two extra joints in the wrist.

    Then I experienced the ultimate shock.

    Sacre merde, it’s real?”, Cerise breathed in a horrified voice from my right, and I realized that this was no dream.

    The thing came through the window like it didn’t have to obey gravity. I scrambled out of bed barehanded- I’d returned the emerald dagger to my Turkish governmental contact before I’d left Istanbul. I spoke a hasty incantation for strength, but missed something crucial in word, gesture, or will and it failed. The creature swiped at me but I dodged left, wrenching my spine. Some of its acid spittle struck me, raising tiny scorch marks along my arms as I cast about for a weapon.

    Too late, I realized its attack was only a feint to force me aside. The thing flowed around and past me and onto Cerise, who was still under the blanket.

    “No!” I yelled in terror even as she screamed, and saw its clawed hands strip the blanket away from her. There was a sickening bloom of red on her chest, seen only for an instant as I threw myself onto its back. Frantic because I knew she’d been hurt, perhaps badly, I struggled to get purchase on its slick hide. It ignored me and dropped its head forward towards Cerise’s face, and then I heard a sickening crunch.

    My hands tore at the thing in my panic, and ripped out chunks trying to tear it away from Cerise. It flowed off the bed suddenly and dragged me with it, and struggled to get free of me. It dug its hind claws into my stomach, and I felt them tear into me with a sharp, icy pain.

    My grip weakened. It pulled free of me and flowed up the windowsill, leaking ichor from its own injuries, and our blood on its muzzle, claws, and back. Its mad eyes met mine. “Tekeli-li,” it warbled in a hideous voice, and flowed out the window and was gone

    I looked down to see a loop of my own intestines poking out the gash in my side, and I pushed it back in with shaking fingers. I moaned as I shoved my fist in to keep them there, and forced myself up to my knees.

    Cerise lay on the blood-soaked bed, unmoving. My vision blurred when I saw her torn-open chest and the top half of her head missing, and then the room tilted around me and I fell.

    The pain in my belly was impossible, but the agony in my heart far outweighed it. Something or -one had sent a Shoggoth to hunt me, and to hurt me, and they had.

    Au revoir, ma chere Cerise, I thought, as my tears and blood flowed onto the floor of her desolate bedroom

    • vaderize03 says:

      Brutal and wrenching, but excellent.

      Loved the imagery here, and the reference to ancient signs and beasts. It gives the story a timelessness.

    • k.spicer says:

      Great scene. Detailed and moving. The fact that we don’t know for sure the fate of the MC at the end leaves us with the story playing out in our minds. Some may assume she dies while others like myself may see someone coming in and saving her to fight another day (do I see revenge coming?) well done!

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a lovely sequel, lionetravail. I feel sad that his lady-love had to die.

      It has also spurred an idea – more to come.

    • DMelde says:

      This reminds me of the old stories and old gods with names that are said in hushed tones for fear of attracting their attention. “I struggled to get purchase on its slick hide.” is excellent in tone and use.Great enjoyable story.

    • lionetravail says:

      Thank you everyone! I wanted to try a bit of action in this one, and have a balance to the MC’s success in his mission during the Istanbul story :) I appreciate every comment!

    • Reaper says:

      Excellent follow up. Same genre but a very different feel and style to the telling. The descriptions were amazing in this and it was a very tragic story that managed to touch deeply.

  60. CongenialityM says:

    The beast looks down at the open window and smile. He’s places a hefty foot on the ledge of the window then the other. He stands there a minute, tainting me with his man like frame and scaled skin. I try to scream but it’s masked by the lump of terror that settles in my throat. I look over at my sister who is sleeping peacefully.

    I pray something stirs her so she can help me fight this beast that haunts me when I close my eyes. She doesn’t move. I try to slide out the bed, maybe I can run for it. But my legs feel like cement and he’s getting closer. He points at me with long, black fingers and ragged nails. “Thief!” he roars. His voices shakes the wall of the tiny bedroom my sister and me share.

    My heart begins to race as he takes a deliberate step toward me. “But I didn’t,” I stutter.

    “I saw you,” he screams.

    “What?” I shriek, pulling my hello kitty blanket up to my neck, My denial begins to infuriate him and he takes three, determined steps toward me and stands at the side of my bed.

    “Give it back!” he screams. “Now!” My heart races as his eyes turn scarlet red. I feel his breathe scorch the side of my face. I don’t dare touch it. I shrink into my tiny headboard and that’s when it happened. Like a five year old, I wet the bed. The warm liquid causes me to jump and I’m free from the paralyzing feelings that allowed the beast into my comfort zone. I jump. My eyes fly open and I’m awake but I can still feel the beast lurking behind the shadows.

    I jump out of the bed and reach for the flashlight I keep on my dresser. I turn it on and shine the dim light across the room. The beast is gone. I sigh, holding the flashlight up to my chest. I take it with me as I pull the wet sheets off my bed and stuff them in the closet. As I stuff them at the bottom of the clothes hamper, I feel the hard cover of a book. I pull it out, glancing over my shoulder to make sure now one was looking.

    It’s my sister’s diary. I remember borrowing it yesterday. I take the book and tiptoe across the room. I open her drawer and slide it back where I found it. As I tiptoe back to my bed, I pass the window and see that it’s open. I run over to it and close it. I secure the latch while I scan the back yard. Just beyond our property line I see red eyes watching me. When I blink, they are gone.

    I scurry back to my bed. I shudder, pulling my blanket up to my neck and closing my eyes. This time, sleep comes a little easier.

  61. Note: Snuzcook, I saw your plead for something you can stomach, and I have a feeling you’ll enjoy this one. :) I hope so, anyway!

    Tap. Tap. Tap.

    The glass sounds thin and loose as the creature’s blackened claw taps upon the window.

    Tap. Tap. Tap.

    I keep my eyes closed, wishing it away as the boys from It had wished away Pennywise. Over and over in my head, I chant for it to leave my nightmares and find some other place to be, a mistake I never should’ve made.

    I expect the tapping to continue, but I get nothing other than silence. I don’t know if I should open my eyes or leave them closed until morning. Something about monsters makes them seem innocuous when you can’t see them. I suppose it might be that I don’t know how close or far it is from me or if not being able to see the malevolence painted on its face like the evil upon remorseless killers made it easier to deal with. Whatever it is, I keep my eyes shut, and try to ignore it as best I can.

    Pop!

    It’s the sound of splintering wood and the brass lock giving way. My body tenses.

    Reeeeeee!

    The tortured scream of wood against wood erupts, but I do not open my eyes.

    Am I awake? Am I still in my dream? I don’t know. How could I? The vivid nature of my dreams has often confused me into believing that what I felt in them is a reality, but is it? I’ve heard that reality is nothing but perception, and if so, does that make my dream, in essence, a reality?

    I feel a presence next to the bed, the way you feel when you’re walking alone at night and you sense someone following you or the chill you get when a ghost caresses your soul from the other side. It’s hot, too. The warmth on my left arm lets me know that the creature is close, and I suddenly begin to smell the hot fetid breath chuffing from his likely gaping, razor-sharp maw.

    I can’t handle it anymore, so I open my eyes. The monster is as I had always dreamed. Its black leathery skin is wet with some kind of thick oily substance. Its silver cataract-clouded eyes blink with two thin mucous-like eyelids, and it hunches over like an evil Quasimodo. Then, it screams.

    The ululation is dark and separated binaurally as if two beasts sing a song of my inevitable death. It raises its sharp trident claws, and assumes the position to slash me open and likely feed on me while I’m still warm.

    That’s when I see him. From the corner of my room, Mr. Muggles appears from the shadows and jumps onto the bed. His fluffy brown nylon fur glistens in the moonlight, as does the small but sharp sword carried in his left cotton-stuffed paw. His black beady eyes stare at the monster without fear.

    The creature lunges for him, but Mr. Muggles is fast. He jumps onto the beasts head, and stabs the sword into its skull. Another scream erupts from it, but this scream isn’t of hunger but of pain.

    The beast and Mr. Muggles drop out of sight, and I scurry over to the edge of the bed to see what has happened to my best friend. I see nothing but a cloud of fog that slowly dissipates, and Mr. Muggles standing alone.

    He jumps onto the bed, and we stare at each other for a moment. I smile, hoping he understands how grateful I am. The sword in his hand dissolves into smoke, and he takes a seat upon my comforter. I pick him up, and he feels as he always did: without breath, without heart, without mind. Yet, he feels like a champion with both compassion, fearlessness, and a bright soul, one that saved me from a monster that surely would’ve indulged in killing me, and I so I snuggle him close.

    “I’ll never get rid of you.” I tell him, and lay down to finally get some rest.

    • snuzcook says:

      Thoroughly enjoyed, Jay!
      Hurray for champions, patronus-like, we summon in our hours of need!

    • lionetravail says:

      Great story, but I absolutely love some of the descriptive terms in this Jay- ‘chuffing’ is perfectly evocative, and its awesomely literate.

      The only suggestion I have is that, if this is a child (as Mr. Muggles seems to point to, but you’ve left it wonderfully vague), telling this in first person, some of the vocabulary of the child seems perhaps too complex; binaurally (I had to look up), malevolence, ululation.

      It was gorgeous prose though :)

    • vaderize03 says:

      Agree with all that was said, not to mention the ‘Pennywise’ reference.

      Go Mr. Muggles! (you made me think of my two young boys with that one).

    • k.spicer says:

      Love the story Jay. I related to the MC, as a kid I had big brothers that did everything they could to scare the #**## out of me. I had to find ways to cope. Mr. Muggles would have been a big help to me then! Thanks for the happy ending! Loved it!

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is a really great story, Doc. There have been many times in my life where I could have used a Mr. Muggles. Is there a version that can take care of big sisters?

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Loved the story Jay. Descriptions very powerful for the story and Mr. Muggles was Braveheart. I had my oewn Mr. Muggles as a kid, but he was real. My older brother and I shared the same bedroom and when the monsters came on a regular basis, my brother protected me from evil, usually by saying, “Go to sleep you little brat or you’ll have me to deal with.” Warm and fuzzy he was and still is. Mr. Personality!

    • WritingKittenOfLoki says:

      Beautiful Jay. :) love it. :) Mr. Muggles is a wonderful hero. :)

  62. Observer Tim says:

    Time to interrupt the stories for a plug. That book up top there – “A Year of Writing Prompts” – is excellent. I’ve only taken 3 so far (July 28, 29, 30) and so far two of them have become introductions to larger stories that are piquing my interest. The third one is posted at the top of my site because it inspired something short.

  63. sjmca1966 says:

    Night Moves – Part 2 -

    The curtains parted revealing the beast of my dreams, it was staring at me with a grin on its face. Trixie-Belles eyes were impaled on the inch long finger nails of the index and middle fingers on its right hand and her diamante studded collar was been worn as a bracelet. It kept smiling as it made the peace sign to me. It then placed the eyes in its mouth and slowly bit down. I could hear two pops in quick succession and a puss-like liquid came firing across the room, landing on my left cheek..

    “What do you want from me?”

    The beast turned and bolted off down the back yard. By the time I got to the window it was bounding over the back fence into the neighbors yard.

    I placed the body of my angels puppy under the bed, downed the two tablets, struggled into my sweatpants and calmly opened my bedroom door.

    “I am really, really, really worried now, Daddy.”

    I lifted Greta up and kissed her on the forehead, “I’m on the case baby, there’s no need to panic.” I hated lying, but it just wasn’t the right time.

    I carried Greta through the house and opened the front door to greet my mother, “Grandma, Trixie-Belles missing.”

    “Oh, little dogs love to play hide-and-seek, I’m sure she’ll turn up.”

    “Hey Mom,” I said, as I transferred Greta into her grandmothers arms.

    “How was your night sweetheart?”

    “The usual.”

    Mom had been all a mother should be since Rene’s accident, I knew her heart was breaking to watch me go through–what could only be described as eighteen-months of hell.

    “How’s Dad?” I asked.

    “He called me Margaret this morning, she was his first girlfriend in high school.”

    “Ouch.”

    “The doctors warned us he could turn into an asshole.”

    “Ummm! A dollar for the swear jar, Grandma.”

    “Sorry dear. Lets get you ready to go and see Grandpa, shall we?”

    “What about Trixie-Belle?”

    “Daddy will call us when he finds her.”

    It was forty-five minutes before I was alone. I showered and brushed my teeth. I reached for the full bottle of mouthwash and consumed it in one motion, crème de menthe wasn’t my tipple of choice, but it was easy to conceal. I placed the empty bottle on the bathroom vanity and stared at myself in the mirror. I hated the man looking back at me and wanted him gone.

    I walked back into my bedroom and flopped down on the freshly made bed.

    Tap, tap, tap.

    He was back at the window, “Not very nice now. Is it?”

    To be continued. . .

  64. snuzcook says:

    COMMON GROUND

    The girl looked up at two yellow eyes regarding her silently from the darkness of the open window. The full moon behind gave the creature a wild, wolf-like silhouette. She gasped from surprise, then stared back, indignant. ‘Why are you staring at me?”

    “I am trying to decide,” the creature answered in a throaty, malevolent rasp.

    “Decide what?”

    “Decide if I will eat you.”

    “Eat me?”

    “Does that frighten you?”

    “Yes, a bit.” She narrowed her eyes shrewdly. “Do you really eat children?”

    “Well…”

    “Have you eaten other children?”

    “Let me see…”

    “Have you eaten any other little girls, little girls like me?”

    “No, I can’t say that I have.”

    “Little boys then, have you eaten any little boys?”

    “Not that I recall.”

    “Have you eaten any children at all?”

    “There was a child in Chicago, a boy. He was very annoying.”

    “Did you eat him?”

    “No. I did not eat him.”

    “Then I don’t see why you would want to eat me. I should think you had too much to worry about without that.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I mean, coming to people’s windows in the middle of the night. Snuffling and sneaking around. You’re just lucky we don’t have an alarm. Or a big dog. My uncle has a Rottweiler named Bruno. He would eat you in two bites.”

    The creature blanched.

    “Or a shotgun. My father has a shotgun he keeps in the cabinet in the den. He says he keeps it loaded for bear. If it’s loaded for bear, I bet it would make short work of you. You’re only half as big as a bear, maybe only a third as big.”

    “I’m not afraid.”

    “Maybe I should call him then. He’s very protective of me, you know. I’ll call him and he can deal with you.”

    “No, please don’t.”

    “Do you promise not to try to eat me?”

    “I promise.”

    “Then why are you here?”

    “I am your monster, your night fright. I am here to give you bad dreams.”

    “But why?”

    “Every child has to have bad dreams. If they have only good dreams, then they never know fear. And a child who has never known fear can never know courage—they can never learn to be brave.”

    “But I don’t want to be frightened.”

    “It is absolutely required.”

    “What if…what if I’m already brave?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “My mother tells me I’m brave, and Dr. David and Nurse Amy say I’m brave. And even Ned the Needleman says I’m brave—I never cry, not once, when I have to get stuck.”

    The creature looked around the room for the first time. He noticed the hospital rails on the bed, the trappings of illness among the stuffed toys and pony posters.

    “Well, then that’s different.” The monster turned away at the window, a little sad.

    “Don’t go. Stay and play with me. Okay? Sit here. We can have a tea party!”

    The monster sat hesitantly, hunched in a child-sized chair at the table by the window. The little girl bustled around the room in her pajamas, gathering her toy tea set in the middle of the night with the wide moon watching through the window and her parents asleep in the quiet house. Her illness was forgotten in the excitement of having a new friend.

    “We have to wear hats if we have a tea party. Which one do you want, with pink flowers or yellow ones?”

    “Oh, the yellow ones,” the monster rumbled. “They match my eyes.”

    • snuzcook says:

      This story actually is based, in a sideways manner, on a true experience–but that’s another tale.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is ADORABLE, snuzcook! You got the girl’s precocious voice perfect, and it’s such a wonderful twist on the prompt. I can see where a little girl who’d been through whatever medical hell she’s endured would scarcely be afraid of a mere monster. And I love the way the monster finally gives in but doesn’t quite admit that it’s all a bluff.

      This would make an incredible children’s picture book.

      I could go on for days showering you and this story with praise, but I don’t want your head to swell too much. It’s just fantastic. :) :) :)

      • lionetravail says:

        Everything OT said goes double for me. Wow. Great voice, what a lovely surprise to catch early on the first day with any time to look.

        I think that, for a book, you cpuld run with these characters, or tell the story of several different children, each with different problems (may require research): like, autism, other challenges, each with their own monster and means of handling it. Maybe even a “bad, selfcentered’ kid, who learns his or her lesson.

        Snuz- really high marks for this. I repeat- wow.

    • timelessfloetry29 says:

      loved this !!! Great job!

    • Pete says:

      This is easily my favorite of the bunch, wow, the back and forth was so natural and then, Boom, come to find out she’s sick but brave and then you go and top it off with the tea party. Bravo!

    • What a delightful tale, Snuz. The dialog is fantastic, and the twist was gooseflesh worthy. :D Thanks for sharing!

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        This is one of the sweetest tales I’ve ever read. Made me feel warm all over. Your voice is so magical and beautiful in this story, it almost made me sad, but then I realized how much fun the little girl would have at her tea party with her very own monster friend. One word comes to mind, snuzcook…….Precious.

    • derrdevil says:

      This is a true gem, snuzcook. Thank you for sharing. I loved how easily it read, and it’s poignant message. And most especially so the way you’ve finished it off. A perfect children’s story!!! Perfect! Best story I’ve ever read on these prompts, btw.

    • Daenerys says:

      I agree with Observer Tim, I thought you mastered the voice of a little girl really well. In my mind, it was no doubt a child speaking.

      This story took me by surprise in a good way. I was saddened yet reassured at the little girl’s bravery. I mean she sees a monster and though frightened, she hammers questions at him about whether or not a child has been the blunt of his savagery.

      I also loved the dialogue and how it gracefully took us through the story and oh, so much more. I can go on and on, how amazing this is. This is my favorite so far, I hope I’m not too hated for this comment. But this story rubbed me some way, I can’t explain. My heart swelled when she tells the monster how brave she is and when it realizes that she is fighting a terrible battle, a sickness- which makes her oh so brave. There was a magical feel to it as well. It’s ironic how a monster who has come to scare her ends up being her companion in the end- even is willing to play house.

      Snuzcook, I’ll stop gushing now. Thanks for sharing!

    • dowritenow says:

      This is wonderful. Thank you.

    • Dennis says:

      Very enjoyable. A great story for young and old alike. :)

    • Reaper says:

      There is little I can add. Everything said so far is true. This is amazing and made me tear up in a good way. It is a perfect expression of the innocent acceptance and beauty of a child’s life, especially one who has suffered. I stand in awe of you with this and would love to see this made into a children’s book. I can’t think of a word strong enough to describe how wonderful this is.

    • snuzcook says:

      Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful comments ***/\_/\*** and suggestions. Sounds like we have a project worth continuing!

    • WritingKittenOfLoki says:

      Cute! I Love it! The little girl is soo adorable! :) Wow snuzcook, I want to meet this girl, I think she and I would be great friends. Could you possibly write about her (and maybe her monster too) again sometime? ~ sincerely, this story’s biggest fan.

      P.S. I think maybe childhood monster got lost before he found me – or he just never managed to penetrate my dreams – I don’t get bad dreams, but can get plenty frightened without them!

      • WritingKittenOfLoki says:

        P.P.S. I agree with ALL praise others have poured on this! :)

        • WritingKittenOfLoki says:

          P.P.P.S. Definitely my favorite so far. And I don’t think anything can top this.
          (No offense to anyone is intended. Please don’t get upset.)

      • snuzcook says:

        Thank you, WKittenOL! I’m really glad you enjoyed the story. I think these characters will be fun to write about again.
        I know what you mean about not needing bad dreams to be frightened. I think we all find our chances to learn to be brave.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      This gave me the warm fuzzy-wuzzies (or should that be snuzzy-wuzzies?). I melted snuzcook.

  65. Kerry Charlton says:

    AND THEN THERE WAS NONE

    The year, 1876, the place, Philadelphia. William Charlton a prominent contractor, engineer and real estate investor had risen in power of the Republician party which held a strangle hold on the city’s political scene. He lived on Garrard Avenue in a three story mansion with his wife Jane. His three children, a daughter and two sons had made their own way in life.

    William’s passion lay in owning one of the fastest carriages in the city, powered by a pair of spirited horses. One day, he was thrown from his seat and suffered a serious head injury. As a result, the dream started.

    It was always the same. He found himself in a long, narrow hallway. A ceiling of crumbling plaster, oozed drops of blood, occasionally landing on William’s shoulders and face. Three walls consisted of rushing vertical panels of turblant water of a dark green nature. His feet shuffled in an uncontrolled manner across ancient, slippery cobble stones leading him toward the fourth wall, which consisted of a solid eight inch slab of amber glass.

    Clawing at that glass, was a half human, half monster with an over sized head, long protruding fangs, dripping of blood, one eye burning into his soul, the other looking in a different direction. Hairy arms, ape like in nature, descended to the floor and dragged until the knuckles bled as the aberration paced back and forth clawing at the glass. The dream ended and William found himself covered in cold sweat in his own bed, his wife Jane unaware of his condition.

    William’s mental state continued to deteriorate from swelling of his injured brain. The dreams proceded toward mental horror. With each recurring dream, the monster’s face started a slow procedure of rot, eyes sunken deep in it’s skull. The glass at the window shrank to a size that shook with blows emitting from the corpse like figure trying to break the glass, William was forced to stand in front of.

    During his conscious hours, William fell into fits of rage to the point that he jumped in his carriage early one morning and rushed to city hall in Philadelphia. He bolted from the vehicle, broke past the police guarding the front door and yelled in a loud voice,

    “Bring forth Mayor Stokely for I want to shoot him.”

    The city was well aware of William’s condition and escorted him to his carriage and drove him home. His wife, Jane was to the point of her own mental collapse. One night William arose fully awake, finding him self in the narrow room in a full conscious state. He thrust his hand through the raging wall of water on one wall and withdrew it immediately as his hand had turned to solid ice, causing four fingers to fall toward the floor.

    As his feet drew him closer and closer to the glass, William himself broke the quarter inch plate that had shrunken and confronted the aberration who had become death itself in a living form.

    “Who are you?” William cried out.

    The monster staggered forward grabbing William by the throat with his huge hands.

    “Do you not know who I am?”

    “God, no, no, Lord help me.”

    “It is too late to repent” the monster said. “Look deep into my eyes. Look into my soul, for I am you.”

    Eplogue: In the spring of 1877, William Charlton of Garrard Avenue died yerterday from paralysis caused by hydrocephalus. He age was reported at 46 years.

    • snuzcook says:

      Good tale, Kerry. Your manner of telling it reminds me of something written in the late 1800s. A chilling story to be shared on a bleak, stormy night.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you snuzcook. This isn’t my strongest area of writing. I’m way out of my range with this, but I thought was good practive for me. Thank you for your comments as always.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Very nice tale, Kerry. It’s nice how you relate it to his condition and that the events get more serious as it progressed. I find myself asking why they didn’t try trepanning (drilling a hole in his skull to relieve the pressure), but there are many potential reasons.

      Is this a real ancestor or a fictionalized one? I kind of hope, given the tragic nature of the story, that he is fictionalized.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Tim for your critique. The doctor’s hadn’t diagnosed my great grandfather correctly. The story I’ve written here is true except of course for the prompt area, A fourth cousin currently living in Philadelphia, ia a detective on the police force and has researched William Charlton for over twenty years. There are many articles in the archives of the Philadelphia Inquirer including the actual story of William threatening to shoot the mayor.

        It took ten years to identify photos we found in my Father’s file cabinet as to what he looked like. He was a fiercely, powerful and attractive man, not at all anything like Frank Charlton, my grandfather. And then my Father came along, looked like William, carried the same name, acted like William senior. I never understood my Father until I read all the research on my great grandfather. Two peas in a pod, they were.

    • lionetravail says:

      Great fictionalization of historical account, Kerry. We forget how far medicine has come in a short time, and take for granted the expectations of a long life. This story brings home for me how unique, and precious, the human experience is.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thanks David. When I think about my great grandfather passing at the age of 46 and my grandfather leaving this earth at 36, I wonder who was taking care of whom? My great, great grandfather Francis lived to be eighty. Sturdy stock from Ireland.

    • That was a good story, and though you say you were outside your element, I think you did well. This is a fantastic read. :)

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thanks for the kind words, I’m a novice in horror. I had enough of Dracula. Frankenstein and the the Wolfman as a kid to last a lifetime. Give me Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, and Margaret Rutherford? any time.

    • vaderize03 says:

      This felt very much like a period piece. The writing was crisp and the descriptions drew me in. I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of mental illness as an underpinning to the story.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you vaderize03. I wrote as closely as I could in the language of the day. I believe some writers on the forum think I voted for Linvcoln in 1860 for president. But don’t believe them. It was his second term I voted.

    • DMelde says:

      Good story! I liked the clinical approach to telling a horror story, as if we were all watching the monster through a closed window, staying clean yet growing horrified at the same time. Great job!

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thanks DMelde, Now that I think about, it was rsther clinical rather then third person past. But then I wouldn’t have wanted to enter my great grandfather’s mind in the condition he was in. I’m glad you liked it.

    • Dennis says:

      I really enjoyed your use of imagination in describing the dream and the way you mixed fact with fiction. I think the real horror story of that age was the still archaic medical practice as well as the handling of the mentally ill.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Dennis, you hit a raw nerve when you mentioned mental illness. I’ve been studying nineteenth century Philadelphia becaure I’m fifth generation. My great, great grandfather left Ireland in the 1830′s and settled in Philly. I have 150 pages of historical facts of Philadelphia in that time frame, one of which was the city boasting they had built seventeen large insane asylums, scattered acoss that historical city and they were actually boasting about the quanity.

        I have twenty pages of personal history on William Charlton mostly news articles in the Philadelphia Inguirer. For I intend to write the book. Not much information until he was twenty but after that, details after details. I even have photos of his horses. The house on Garrard Ave, photos of his coal yard, the church he attended. Turn me lose! Almost forgot, he entered the Union Army in 1862 as a lieutenant, Mustered out in 1863 as a private. Way to go William!

    • Reaper says:

      I am finally this far up Kerry and I can see what you mean about a connection. Your story has a much more personal feel to it. The language is beautiful and well done, and the feeling of detached narration but intensely felt and understood emotion is amazing. The juxtaposition between the two is so well done. You say horror is outside of your element and I understand why but when you delve into it you are amazing. Many focus on the monster and the mayhem but the great ones never do. You focused on the man, the experience, the reality. There was a monster in it but that was secondary, a device for your story as it should be. As I read more of your work I find that I believe you shy away from horror not because you aren’t good at it but because you are too good. You have this connection to your story and your characters that makes me sure you feel every little thing they go through. With that in mind writing horror must be a terrifying experience for you, especially when you are fictionalizing something from your family history.

      I’m glad you took on this exercise because the story is wonderful and brilliantly written. It also proves even outside of your comfort zone there is nothing you can’t do. Thank you for this and after reading it I am honored you made any comparison to my story.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Reaper for your wonderful thoughts. I had to run to the garage and tie some weights to my shoes so I didn’t float away. I am not a natural writer like you and so many others on this site. It’s a matter of write, think, wonder, [Does it have any merit?] Then worry, worry, worry.
        Pause.
        Back to rewrite, ponder, ponder, rewrite, rewrite, post, despair, wait, surprise, more surprise, think geezer [they fell sorry, I'm so old] Then finally realize, I may be learning enough from this site to run in the crowd.
        As Tim told me, many prompts ago, “This is not a contest, Kerry.”

        But then, one thing I am, [fiercely competitve] kicks in and I jump to the next, [I can do better on my next one.] Then wait,wait, wait for the next prompt.

        Start over, [It's a matter of think and so [on and on.]

        You might wonder [am I confused?] = Yes, always have been and always will.

        [Do you think this might be an essay on geezership?]

        • Reaper says:

          You deserve all of them and are always running at the front of any pack you join from what I have seen. It may not be a contest but a perfectionist and a competitive person is always competing with himself. You do that well and I think it inspires you to keep climbing higher. So nothing wrong with that.

          It could be an essay on that. I think the way to tell is find out if AARP has a magazine and submit it. If it is accepted and published you know it is such an essay.

          • Kerry Charlton says:

            Good idea Reaper! AARP has a magazine with a thirty million print. Movie stars and muck muck’s grace the pages with articles. What the hell, it’s worth a shot. I do have a parachute if I’m shot down.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      There was an authentic mood to this piece Kerry. I like the beast being from within. Great take.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you sjmca. My thought exactly, the beast within. And no one knew how to help. Seems a horrible way to die, esecially at the age of forty six. He was however, a ‘scally-wag’ of a man. Probably, someone would have finished him off anyway. When is the last time anyone ever used ‘scally-wag’?

  66. snuzcook says:

    If I don’t get to all the stories, please bear with me.
    I appreciate all the fabulous talent represented here, but
    I have a low threshhold for this genre, and I think I need to go scrub my brain.
    Dorothy? Toto? I’m coming…

  67. moscoboy says:

    The Man in the Window

    I was a reoccurring nightmare. A hairy Monster with sharp protruding fangs and ape like arms reached out through my bedroom window to garb me and eat me. I always woke up as the creature’s sharp nails were within inches of slicing me open. I always made sure my bedroom window was locked. After every nightmare, my routine was to sit in my desk chair and stare out the window to see if the monster would return while I was awake; he never did.

    I was the sole beneficiary of my father’s estate. My brother shunned me, which added to my angst.

    Months passed and the nightmare was a constant reminder that my mind was being stalked and I had no control over the frequency of incidents. I began to lose weight and I could not concentrate on my work due to insomnia. I spoke to friends for advice on how to deal with my mental issue. I went to a psychiatrist and was prescribed an antipsychotic and Ambien to help me sleep. I walked around my office like a stoner. My boss called me in, and before he could produce a disciplinary memo, I showed him my medications and he gave me a pass on my lackluster performance.

    Two weeks elapsed without nightmares. I cut back on my meds and was my old self again. I was out the door for the evening, but I forgot my jacket. I went in to my closet and retrieved my car coat and there was the hideous monster from hell standing outside my window. I was close enough to notice that the monster’s hair was red and matted with leaves and twigs, but it was the red bulging eyes and the snapping fangs that made me sweat blood.

    I remembered a mantra my psychiatrist made me repeat. “You are not real, this is not happening to me. Leave me in peace.” I repeated the phrase ten times to no avail. The monster ripped off the window screen with one swipe of his large paw and put his right leg in my room when I took out my 9 mm Glock I had in my car coat pocket.

    My training kicked in and I took a steady aim and fired off a double tap to the center mass of its body that sent the monster back out the window onto the lawn. The creature from hell started moaning and went silent.

    I was frozen in my shooting stance when the police came in and grabbed the gun from my hands. It wasn’t a dream; it was my cousin Ralph in the hideous costume. My brother Vinnie had recruited Ralph to participate in a cabal to make me mentally unstable so my brother could take control of the trust fund. Today was Ralph’s day to wear the costume and die.

  68. “Um hi dude.” The young woman said, surprisingly not frightened in the slightest. She stared at the beast somehow reassuringly knowing that she would not be hurt. The Beast stared back not saying anything in response. His fangs ached and his paws were pulsating and hurting due to the long trek he had made to get here. They remained silent after the first initial attempt at conversation and just looked at each other for minutes. Truth was, the beast was trying his best to speak elegantly and carefully as to not scare away the young woman. Finally he spoke and said, “Hey listen, I know what your thinking and you might be right but why not give it a chance OK. I’m might not be the most ideal candidate but I do love you, deeply. So deeply that I’m willing to break the confines of my imaginary existence to see you. I’m breaking barriers here. Please Angela, will you go out with me?”
    Angela answered immediately by saying “Nah, I’m good thanks.” Then proceeded to curl up, fall asleep and explore other facets of her dreamscape.

  69. k.spicer says:

    My eyes open. Did I hear a sound? There’s a cold breeze on my face and it’s coming from the open window. My heart is pounding; that window was screwed shut. I think I may have wet the bed; my pajama pants are soaked and I’m trembling and out of breath. Ever since the local news began covering those women’s murders I’ve been having these dreams, but they haven’t been this bad; I’ve never wet the bed before.

    I sit up on the side of the bed and reach for the flashlight; my hands are shaking.

    “Herald.”

    I freeze. “Who’s there?” My voice trembled and was barely audible. I look toward the dark corner from where the voice seemed to have come.

    “It’s me Herald.”

    “Who are you? What are you doing in my house?” I reach for the lamp but knock it over onto the floor. The bulb explodes.

    “Herald.”

    “What do you want?” I grab the flashlight and jump up pointing the light toward the corner; there’s nothing there. I spin in a semi-circle shining the light across the darkened room. “Where are you?” There’s nothing but quiet.

    I feel a drop of moisture spatter on my bare foot and I point the yellowing light down. Blood; I freeze in place.

    “Herald.”

    Spinning the light toward the voice I strain my eyes to see in the fading yellowish beam. “Who are you? What do you want?” But it’s quiet. I turn the dimming light back to my feet and realize that my pajama’s are soaked, not with urine, but blood. “Oh, my God…What have you done to me?”

    “I’m making a man of you Herald.”

    “What?” I point the dim light back down to my torso.

    “That’s right Herald, look. I’m making a man of you.”

    My hands tremble as I pull back the elastic on my pajamas and look down at my exposed genitals; a sigh of relief, lots of blood but nothing missing. I release the elastic and it snaps against my belly. “Who are you?” My voice seems stronger. “What are you doing here?”

    “I need you Herald.”

    “You need me?” I slowly move toward the dark figure. Through what’s left of the glow of the yellow beam I can barely make out an outline. My hands quiver as I approach the darkened form. “I’m dreaming again aren’t I?” My voice was shaky and unsure.

    “Let’s go Herald.”

    “Go?” I can almost make out the face, it’s strained and horrid looking and is covered in blood. “What do you want with me?” My voice nearly cracked.

    “You’re so weak Herald. I’m going to make a man of you.”

    The voice was close and sounded like fingernails scraping sandpaper. I could feel the voice; it was coming from my throat. “We still have time Herald.”

    “Time?” The dim light illuminated the mirror in front of me.

    “Time for one more.” I said. Wiping the blood from my brow I turned and squeezed through the open window.

    • snuzcook says:

      EEEWWW!
      So many ways you have written an really great and creepy story, KS! I love the repetition of the name–really creepy. And the unexplained blood–really, really creepy. And the dim flashlight that finally reveals the reflection–[shudder] really, really, really creepy.
      Well done! (Did I mention creepy?)

    • Observer Tim says:

      Okay, this definitely gives me chills. I have dreamed of being the monster and you’ve managed to capture that feeling so well, especially the horror at one’s own actions. It’s very well-written, but very disturbing too.

    • lionetravail says:

      So easy to imagine this as either external demonic forces or internal, with a split personality/psychosis going on. The lack of settling the question adds to the appeal of the story :)

    • DMelde says:

      We have met the monster and he is us. Great story. I agree with snuzcook, repeating the name Harold sent the tone of horror deeper and each repitition added to the tension. Well done!

    • Reaper says:

      That was inspired. Very well written. Others have mentioned how the repetition of the name amped up the tension and I agree with them. What I loved is the single word answers when I went back and looked were all accurate to the question before it, or at least one of them. Amazing and truly creepy.

    • Dennis says:

      Great writing. It felt like the peeling of an onion, layer by layer, revealing the true monster. Great technique for this genre.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      Great work k.spicer. Some great descriptions and use of dialogue.

  70. Amyithist says:

    ***This is my first attempt at itallics. I hope it goes well. If it does not… I sincerely apologize.***

    Moonlight trickled in through the slats of the wood blinds, illuminating the bedroom with silvery pools of intermittent light. Her breath caught as she sat up in bed, hovering somewhere between wide awake and dead-to-the-world asleep. She’d had that dream again…the one that always managed to take her from professional business woman to scared child and leave her questioning her own sanity. The one with the horrible, hideous creature standing outside of the dense forest; watching. Waiting.
    She felt ice prick up her spine as she stood and she quickly realized that the window was wide open. Her heart stalled as she approached. She fought to remember if she’d been the one to leave it ajar… Outside, the trees swayed against an autumn breeze. The air was crisp and light; as though it were made up of thousands of microscopic ice crystals.
    As she stretched her hand out to close the window, she paused. Something in the distance caught her gaze; a movement against the silhouettes of trees… She leaned out into the chilled night, shivering beneath her wispy nightgown. What was that? She thought, squinting into the dark.
    Another flash of movement, only this time it was further away from the stretch of woods and deeper into her own backyard. There! In the cluster of oak trees she’d played in as a child!
    What is that? Another breeze danced through the fire-hued foliage. The gentle rustle of the leaves seemed to beckon to her: Close the window and get back into bed! NOW!
    She reached further toward the handle of the window; but just as her fingers grazed over the bar, another dash of movement caught her attention. She gasped as the mass stepped out into the moonlit grass. Its hands seemed to hang at its sides like dead branches clinging to a lifeless tree. Its mouth snarled open, revealing rows of sharp, jagged fangs. Its eyes glowed red like embers from a fire.
    It stared at her from its position in the yard; gripping her in its gape. She tried to pull away; tried to turn back into her room and run deep into the entrails of her home…but the creature had her locked. She was frozen in place with terror.
    “Come here,” it hissed. Its words carried on the breeze.
    Without hesitation, she climbed from the window. Her feet scraped against the shingles of the roof as she walked aimlessly toward the creature. She reached the edge of the roof but continued to walk until the sharp bite of the gritty tile gave way to air.
    Suddenly, she was suspended; floating on a stream of atmosphere, pulling down toward the earth and creature alike. Her nightgown undulated around her; as though she were gliding through water. She touched down to the cool grass, laid out like a sleeping babe in a meadow. She couldn’t move. Her body was limp and paralyzed. It was though the ability to animate herself had been revoked from memory.
    The creature approached her, lingering over her like a predator might prey. “You belong to me, Alexandra,” it hissed. “Everything you are, everything you do is all for me.”
    She heard herself respond: “Everything. For. You.”
    Its teeth glinted in the moonlight. It snarled and howled as it tore at her nightgown and positioned itself above her…
    Alexandra screamed, reaching out into the night. Her heart thrummed. Sweat drenched her body. Her breath heaved against her chest. “Oh my…” She sucked in a deep gulp of air, trying to steady herself.
    It was just a dream! As she threw the covers back, another reality suddenly crashed into her. She stared down at herself. Uncertainty and panic tore through her psyche. There, in the moonlit bed, crumpled against mud-laden sheets, was her nightgown; torn and streaked with grass and dirt stains…

    • Amyithist says:

      They went crazy on me! Darned itallics. :( I’m so sorry, guys.

      • k.spicer says:

        Good story, great detail. I really liked it. Don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight though!

      • Observer Tim says:

        No need to be sorry; they run away from us all from time to time. That’s why I wish we had a preview or edit button.

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          All I could think of as I read your story was I wish I had been a white knight aboard a gallant silver steed galloping through the moon light to rescue Alexandra and leaning over my horse to sweep her away from danger, her arms around my waist, her head resting on my shoulder as we rode back to Camelot.

    • snuzcook says:

      Well written and very descriptive. I like the metaphor of the house as a living body as she attempted to seek refuge in its entrails.
      I’d love to see Alexandra be something more than victim–there’s a lot of suspense but almost no conflict because once the beast speaks, she simply submits and awakes to the consequences.
      That said, it could be a great beginning to the story of how she (or the next generation?) takes control of the situation.

    • Observer Tim says:

      I’m glad I read this in the morning rather than at night, Amyithist. I had a kind of dread sense where it was going and kept wishing for Alexandra’s sake that she would somehow stop it and come out all right. But that doesn’t always happen.

    • lionetravail says:

      Yes, the italics blurred the lines between dream and reality; the last paragraph would have been with her awake, I presume, and back to regular print? Reading it that way, there’s no confusion.

      It’s a lovely take. If there were one suggestion, I’d like to know where her bogeyman came from- even a line of back story that it was something half-remembered from childhood, or something that she’d suppressed from back then, remembered because of the new shock…. it’s a cool premise- I love the malignant nature spirit feel to it.

    • Wow, Amyithist. You left me with so many questions about her owner. lol I want to know mroe, are you going to continue her story?! :o

      Very detailed, and nice descriptions! Thanks for sharing. :D

    • Dennis says:

      Very vivid story that kept me riveted as to what would happen. It definitely left me wanting to know what happens next. As I was reading the interaction with the monster, I was thinking you might be making this a sort of metaphor of your own past. That’s the feeling it gave me, whether that was you intent or not. As always, I enjoy the way you write.

    • Reaper says:

      You always have the amazing details and you cranked it up a notch with this one. That seems to be one of the main focal points of this story. You started strong with them and then wove the images throughout like a true artist. I loved the feel of the monster and while I might normally echo a desire to know more this read like social commentary and reading it that way I liked that you left it out. That might be me reading into it but it doesn’t feel like it. My only wish is that I could see where you intended the italics to really be since I have a feeling that adds something to the story you were telling.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      This is fantastic Amyithist. I was left with an Emily Bronte taste in my mouth through your impeccable prose.

  71. Dennis says:

    Personal Demons

    Dean sat in his recliner, doing everything he could to stay awake. For weeks his dreams had been haunted by a horrible monster, one that first appeared when he was a boy. Now it was back and wouldn’t leave. The same dream occurred with the monster trying to get into his house, peering through the window. Just the sight of it woke him up in a cold sweat.

    All Dean could think of doing was to drink enough to pass out and hope he slept through the night. This helped, but then he was exhausted the next morning having bypassed REM sleep. He felt he had no choice and so poured himself some more scotch. Nothing was going to haunt him tonight.

    Waking up in a fuzz, Dean looked around and realized he passed out in his chair. “Did I make it through the night,” he wondered. It was only 2 A.M. Then he noticed a window was open and an inner chill ran through his body. He didn’t remember opening it and that was the same window the monster peered through. “No, it couldn’t be. I’m awake.”

    Dean hesitantly looked around the room, not really expecting anything, but then almost jumped out of his chair. Behind him stood the monster with fangs glistening in saliva and claws ready to strike. Dean winced preparing to be struck but the monster just stood there. In a moment of self-preservation, Dean ran to his bedroom, slammed the door, and curled in a ball in the corner, shaking uncontrollably.

    In what seemed like forever, Dean finally calmed down as the monster had not entered the room. He pulled out the cell phone still in his pocket. Searching for his sister’s number, he could he barely see straight with his hands shaking so much. The number rang.

    “Come on, pick up.”
    “Hello,” said a groggy voice.
    “Hey sis.”
    “Dean, are you alright?”
    “It’s here, the monster’s here.”
    “What do you mean? You’re awake.”
    “I saw it after I woke up.”
    “Then you know what you need to do.” Dean was afraid she would say that.
    “Don’t know if I can do that.”
    “Don’t worry, I’m here with you.”

    Dean slowly opened the door and walked out to the living room. There stood the beast, just staring at him.
    “H H H H ello Bobby.” The monster immediate changed into the eight year old form of his brother Bobby.

    “Dean, it wasn’t your fault.”
    “We shouldn’t have been on that ice. I couldn’t save you.”
    “You did your best. I know that.”

    Tears rolled down Dean’s cheeks. All of the self-hate he had buried resurfaced and seemed so unbearable. Why now, why this?

    “I don’t know what to do Bobby?”
    “Time to move on.”
    “But I miss you.”
    “I’m always with you.” Bobby’s image faded.

    “But…….” Dean sat on the floor and cried for some time. He then became aware of the calling of his name from the phone.

    “So tell me what happened.” Dean proceeded to do so.
    “So what now sis?”
    “I’m sure there will be more to deal with, but what you did was big. We’ll talk tomorrow, ok?”
    “Yeah, sure. Thanks for being there.”

    Dean was still in a haze about what just took place and wasn’t sure he was ready for more. But for the rest of that night, he slept a deep, peaceful sleep.

    • Amyithist says:

      Wow! This was a very unique, touching and heartwrenching take on the prompt. What a concept; the monster being one’s own guilt and pain. How incredibly accurate and sad. Thank you for the touching take!

      • Dennis says:

        Thanks Amyithist. I didn’t want to do the normal take on the prompt this week and that was the first thing that came to mind. I’m glad it was able to move you.

    • vaderize03 says:

      This was a powerful story. You portrayed your MC’s inner turning point exceptionally well. Sad but moving. Well done!

    • k.spicer says:

      Great take on the prompt. I was surprised when the change took place. Good story. Well done.

    • snuzcook says:

      This strikes me as a great story independent of the prompt, Dennis. It has its own legs and a deeply intimate message about grappling with our own demons. The warmth between the MC and the sister gives it the right grounding to stay this side of thriller. Well done!

      • Dennis says:

        Thanks Snuzy. I didn’t want to do the traditional monster tale and so monster translated to personal demon. I’m glad that you probably didn’t have to scrub your brain after reading mine. :)

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is haunting, Dennis (pun intended). I love the way the ghost story was told in dialogue, and how Dean has been put on the path he needs to come to grips with his loss.

      • lionetravail says:

        The story is escellent… for me the opening 2 paragraphs introduced the story, but did so in ‘exposition’… telling us stuff that’s important, but in a less powerful and intimate way than the conversation and character interaction after it.

        I think you could make this even more powerful than it is by roping us in from the very beginning, letting us empathize with, wonder about, and feel for the MC at the get-go.

        • Dennis says:

          Thanks Lionetravail for your feedback. I wasn’t too happy with the first couple of paragraphs either and probably should have started with the third, weaving in the info of the first two. I have been working on my openings and should have known better,

      • Dennis says:

        Thanks OT. I liked how I used the dialogue for once. I don’t feel that is one of my strong points.

    • Reaper says:

      Not much I can add here. This is a wonderful story and very unique. I loved your voice on the exposition, but then I’m one of those weird people that thinks exposition, when done well, is like polka and puns. Much maligned and primed for a comeback. :)

      • Dennis says:

        Thanks Reaper. Looking back, I see the opening needing some editing. Sometimes I resist those hook openers but have been working on them more. Definitely don’t count polka out, or at least accordion music. Here in Sonoma County there is an Accordion Festival every year and will be happening in a couple of weeks. He knew so many still played. :)

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          Having an older brother who looked after me when I was young, brought me close to tearing up, thinking….. How would I have felt if he had been in trouble and I wasn’t able to help him.
          It;’s very touching. and I also think introducing the pain of the loss, earlier in the story would be a wonderful asset.

          Try a small rewrite and save it for an intro into somrthing bigger. I always rewrite, even if just a few words or lines as the prompt comes to a close after reading my comments. You’d be surprised at the results.

          • Dennis says:

            Thanks Kerry for the input. I definitely need to rewrite the beginning and hope to do it this weekend. I still need to go back and rewrite a few of my others. Where does the time go?

    • sjmca1966 says:

      Wow, Dennis. Great take and very heartwarming.
      One suggestion I would make is not to use the MCs name quite so much, ‘he’ would have sufficed a few times and improved the flow.
      I really took a lot from this. Thanks.

  72. JRSimmang says:

    DAY ONE

    Mother said that our lives are messy homes. Sometimes, the doors to the rooms are locked. As we travel through the rooms, learn them, clean them, we find the keys to doors we knew were locked. They will open for us (but not until we’re ready), and on the other side we’ll find another dirty room that needs us to straighten them up.

    I’m in the kitchen, the heartstone. Mother left clues for me. I found the key to the kitchen in the living room, under the broken brick in the fireplace. She said that’s where I first landed when I was learning to fly. I sat down in the middle of the floor, exhausted and perturbed. I had to think. Think. Think.

    Then it hit me. The refrigerator magnets. I stood up almost too fast; the blood rushed from my head. But I could see it there shining and perfect, and I plucked the key from the refrigerator door. This one would open my bedroom, the last room. I’ll come back tomorrow.

    I turned to lock the front door and add the new key to my key ring, which was starting to get heavy. As I walked off the stoop, I made sure to check my window. He was still there, staring, watching. He’s given up on the window. It’s been locked for as long as I remember.

    “Good morning, Russel,” Dr Grisson said as he prodded my eyes with that bright light. “And how did we sleep last night?”

    ” Better.”

    “You’re making progress, I assume?”

    “Yes. I found the key to my bedroom.”

    “Good. Good.” He always repeated good to ensure me that things were certainly… good. “So your treatment seems to be effective.”

    “I suppose,” I answer, not sure if it was a question he asked.

    I dither about my day, walk through the gardens on the premises, speak to the other patients, play some chess with Yusef the Yeller.

    As soon as the sun sets, I’m back in bed, swallowing my pill, remembering everything Dr Grisson has taught me.

    I’m back at my house, but it takes me longer than usual. I see myself getting out of bed and having to walk there. The treatments must be working because these dreams are becoming more and more real, which will certainly help me identify who I was.

    I turn the corner down the street, pull out my keys, and walk the short distance to my house, the one with the hand-painted numbers, the peach tree in the front yard, and the dead Mercedes in the driveway. The key goes into the door with little trouble, as always, and I step in.

    Mother also said there are some doors that should remain locked, doors that can take you into someone else’s house. I’m certain there are none here. This is my house.

    I clean up the living room briefly, sit on the couch, and pull out the key to my bedroom. I stare at it for several minutes, gaining the courage to open it. Tonight could be the night I wake up with my memory.

    I climb the stairs, passing the pictures of my family. Mom and Dad, Mom and me, Mom and my brother, Dad with me, Dad with my brother. We’re all smiling. The top of the stairs is the family portrait, all of us dressed in ugly winter sweaters with our faces as ridiculous as we can make them.

    I approach my room, and I can hear it breathing on the other side, waiting like always. What it is, I didn’t know. Perhaps it is some manufactured metaphor for my childhood.

    The key fits. I turn it slowly, my breath rattling, my heart’s pace quickening. When I hear the click, I open the door. My room’s immaculate, not like the others. And it’s there, at the window, panting loudly. It slowly faces me, and whispers something. I swallow, blink, and it’s in front of me.

    I slam the door shut.

    Run down the stairs.

    Run out the front door.

    And stop on the street.

    It’s there, staring at me, watching.

    And the window moves up.

    Up.

    Up.

    I swallow. I blink. It’s in front of me.

    This is the first time I can see it close. They aren’t fangs, they are teeth, burned beyond the gums and lips. The eyes spin in their sockets, death is on its breath. The fingers drip flesh.

    It’s muttering. It’s saying, “Fire killed us.”

    Then I am engulfed in flames.

    The pain is sublime. I will awaken from this. I will once again be in the comfort of the hospital bed. As my clothes shed, and my flesh began to melt, the neighbors open their doors. Some have phones.

    Then I become aware of this sensation. It is awakening. It is dawning. And that day I stood over my family with the gasoline in one hand and a lighter in the other brings me to the ground and turns me into ash.

    -JR Simmang

    • Amyithist says:

      WHOA. Just…whoa. Words seem to elude me right now. This is stunning and captivating and has left me in complete awe. JR Simmang, you did wonderfully. This was truly amazing.

    • snuzcook says:

      JR, your story very effectively cultivates the sympathy of the reader for the MC. We cheer him on in his quest, his necessary progress in healing. He is vulnerable, wounded and we want the best for him. Then the ending demands us to confront our judgement even as he is consumed by his own guilt.
      Well written and memorable.

    • Observer Tim says:

      This is very, very dark, JR. It’s a look into the depths of what the human mind does to protect itself. I hope he wakes up with a sense of regret, but somehow I doubt it.

    • lionetravail says:

      Gorgeously written, JR… Wonderful story. Nice twist in the nature of the monster, and the twists and turns through a really twisted sensorium and psyche.

      Deftly done.

    • Dennis says:

      As others have said, well written. The first paragraph is very profound. Then off course there is the question of what led the MC down that road of darkness to begin with.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      This is simply chilling JR. I loved the comparisons of the psyche, revealing and yet mysterious (If that makes sense). Well done.

  73. thepenassassin says:

    The windows flew inward, banging against the floor as the hinges broke against the stress of going the wrong direction with the sound of shattering glass. I backed away, dreading the next moment, knowing what was coming, but hoping that I was wrong. Unfortunately, I was not.
    The long green snout poked through the window, just as it always had in the dreams, fangs following the 3-foot length, venom dripping from each fang and landing on the floor, hissing as it began to burn its way through the hardwood. Crimson eyes peered through the ruined window at me, and the phrase “If looks could kill” came to mind as the eyes narrowed to thin slits.
    I thought that my heart would stop. Every night for the past month, I had experienced this dream, and I always awoke in a moment, when…yes, sure enough, the monster is opening its mouth. Now I can wake up.
    I closed my eyes, and opened them once again, but the monster remained. Panicking, I pinched myself, but nothing happened. I suddenly felt a warmth down below, and looked down to see a puddle forming at my feet as heated air came from the monster’s snout.
    The monster growled, and pulled its snout from the window. Its eyes widened back to normal, and I found myself taking a step forward. I could see now that the monster was a biped with two stubby arms that reminded me of a Mr. Potato head. The monster took a step back and opened its snout once more.
    As the snout opened, a sound came from the monster that resembled a kitten’s mew, and I fell out of the window, laughing, as the monster stepped forward, the light disappearing around me as I fell into his open mouth.

    • Amyithist says:

      Thepenassassin, this was wonderfully done. Short, sweet, scary and humorous all at once. I tip my hat to those who can stick to the 500 words or less bit. I always manage to go over. Well done! :)

    • k.spicer says:

      Different. I liked it. Wonder what my old psychology instructor would have to say?

    • snuzcook says:

      Interesting vignette, theopenassassin! If find myself thinking of Monty Python animations. Weird and funny and disturbing all at the same time.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Very strange, thepenassassin. I would also laugh at an animate Mr. Potato Head, and probably end up dying too. This tickled not only my funny bone, but also the one behind it that reacts to weirdness. :)

      For my eyes’ sake, I’d love it if you could put an extra line break between paragraphs, just to open things up a bit.

      • thepenassassin says:

        Thanks to everyone. It was my first attempt doing one of these, so I was a little bit nervous. Thanks for the tip on the extra line O. Tim. I hadn’t thought about doing that, but i will from now on

    • lionetravail says:

      This is one of the best possible opening lines to a story, and should be an example for me and everyone else of EFFECTIVE use of that first sentence.

      Bam! The window flew open…. We are smack dab into the story and scene at word 4, and already moving full tilt. Maximum acceleration, brilliantly done. Forget introductions of the character, their state of mind, the room, what things look like… Awesome!

    • Reaper says:

      First I will say welcome to the prompts. Wow we have a lot of new talent this week. I love your opening. I have a hard time with that opening hook into the action so I have to say I respect someone that can do one like this.

      I think dark comedy is hard to do but you nailed it here. The MC falling to their doom because of that laughter. Very different kind of monster and just wonderfully done.

    • Dennis says:

      Very well done. It kind of reminded me of an Alice in Wonderland type story where everything has some larger, metaphorical meaning.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      A great, short, rollercoaster of a story. Some great touches thepenassassin. I really enjoyed.

  74. dsjarvis says:

    Yellow:

    The creature peered through my bedroom window for the third consecutive night. Except this was no ordinary creature. My classmate from Ms. Johnson’s English class, Jerry Collins, had become a werewolf.

    During the day, Jerry appeared as a typical high school student; however, I noticed one glaring difference that nobody else picked up on – his yellow tinted eyes. I tried to tell Ms. Johnson, but she ignored me. My parents wouldn’t listen either. Only I knew the truth about Jerry.

    On the fourth night, two creatures peered through my window. And on the fifth night, five of them were gathered outside. They just stared at me, like I was a grand meal yet to come.

    At school, more and more students had yellow tinted eyes. Because Jerry was the first, I figured he was the leader. I just couldn’t pinpoint how and where he was turning the others into werewolves, and why I hadn’t been chosen.

    Everyone in town was oblivious to the impending danger – or were they in on it too? Mr. Bronson, the owner of the General Store, also had yellow tinted eyes. It seemed like I was the only one who wasn’t turned. This only meant one thing: I had to slay the werewolves.

    I started with Jerry. I followed him home from school on a Wednesday afternoon. He entered his home through the garage door, but as it was rolling open, he dropped something on the ground. When he reached down to pick it up, I made my move.

    The hammer made a loud thumping noise when it struck the back of Jerry’s head. I pulled his unconscious body into the garage, shut the door, and hacked off his head, arms and legs with my father’s machete. Jerry’s blood splattered all over the concrete floor of the garage and all over my favorite T-shirt.

    Next was Ms. Johnson. I once read somewhere, or maybe saw it in a movie, that fire was a full-proof way of killing a werewolf. I waited until late that Wednesday night (there was no full moon, so it was safe), and pried open her back door. She was sound asleep when I arrived to her bedroom.

    I poured two gallons of gasoline over her sleeping body. When I finished, she woke up and screamed louder than a newborn infant. I hit her with a baseball bat to shut her up. I then lit the match, dropped it on the bed, and watched her burn.

    I walked outside her front door and was tackled by several police officers. When I stood before the judge a few weeks later, he said I was mentally unfit to stand trial.

    They placed me in a tiny room with white-padded walls. My arms and legs were constricted. One night, they poked and prodded me with needles, despite my protest. The next day I saw my reflection in the tiny window on the door of my cell. I had yellow tinted eyes.

  75. keyhonay says:

    Seconded try, I don’t think the first one posted. :|

    Perched

    On the window seal it sat, perched looking in at me. Only its silhouette was visible but I could make out its long legs and large paws. With the window open and a light breeze from outside I could smell it. Its musk was thick and seemed to coat the air like smoke from an oil fire. Its claws dug in to the window seal and the wood snapped. Its body seemed to grow with each breath it took. Expanding so large it seemed like it would start to break through the window seal.
    I had stopped breathing, as I watched the thing. When I finally gasped for air, it moved or rather its head seem to broaden. The silhouette grinned, revealing rows of sharp teeth that appeared to glow with their own internal luminescence. The beast was now a silhouette with sharp white shards of glass for teeth. I dare not close my eye or even blink. Knowing if I did I would never open them again.
    The thing rolled its shoulders and I could hear its joint pop. A sound of long nails slowly being pulled from a dry wood filled the room as the thing pulled its nails out of the window seal and stepped on to the floor. Its claws scratched on the hardwood floor as it stalked closer to my bed. It hopped up on to the foot of the bed and I could feel the bed sink as it stepped on to the mattress. It walked a crossed the mattress towards me. Its eyes never leaving my face as it came closer. It stepped on one of my legs and the weight of it felt like it would crush the bone to sand. Then it stepped off and I almost gasped in relief. As it stepped on to my stomach, I felt like my inside where being pushed out both ends. I couldn’t breathe to even scream the thing was so heavy. It crawled on to my chest its weight pressed me in to the mattress. I held my breath forcing my chest to remain expanded, knowing if was to exhale, the weight of this thing would not allow me to take in another breath. On my chest it sat and looked down at me. A frail cry came from the thing. The sound was of a thousand tortured souls burning in hell. Suddenly without want or warrant I reached up with my pointer and index finger, I scratched behinds its ear. For a moment its eyes slowly closed as if it was in sudden ecstasy. As I started to smile, the thing opened its eyes with a flash and bit my hand before jumping off the bed and running to the bedroom door. I picked up the pillow from under my head and hurled it at the thing screaming “dam Cat!”

  76. keyhonay says:

    Perched

    On the window seal it sat, perched looking in at me. Only its silhouette was visible but I could make out its long legs and large paws. With the window open and a light breeze from outside I could smell it. Its musk was thick and seemed to coat the air like smoke from an oil fire. Its claws dug in to the window seal and the wood snapped. Its body seemed to grow with each breath it took. Expanding so large it seemed like it would start to break through the window seal.
    I had stopped breathing, as I watched the thing. When I finally gasped for air, it moved or rather its head seem to broaden. The silhouette grinned, revealing rows of sharp teeth that appeared to glow with their own internal luminescence. The beast was now a silhouette with sharp white shards of glass for teeth. I dare not close my eye or even blink. Knowing if I did I would never open them again.
    The thing rolled its shoulders and I could hear its joint pop. A sound of long nails slowly being pulled from a dry wood filled the room as the thing pulled its nails out of the window seal and stepped on to the floor. Its claws scratched on the hardwood floor as it stalked closer to my bed. It hopped up on to the foot of the bed and I could feel the bed sink as it stepped on to the mattress. It walked a crossed the mattress towards me. Its eyes never leaving my face as it came closer. It stepped on one of my legs and the weight of it felt like it would crush the bone to sand. Then it stepped off and I almost gasped in relief. As it stepped on to my stomach, I felt like my inside where being pushed out both ends. I couldn’t breathe to even scream the thing was so heavy. It crawled on to my chest and its weight pressed me deep in to the mattress. I held my breath forcing my chest to remain expanded, knowing if was to exhale, the weight of this thing would not allow me to take in another breath. On my chest it sat and looked down at me. A frail cry came from the thing. The sound was of a thousand tortured souls burning in hell. Suddenly without want or warrant I reached up with my pointer and index finger, I scratched behinds its ear. For a moment its eyes slowly closed as if it was in sudden ecstasy. As I started to smile, the thing opened its eyes with a flash and bit my hand before jumping off the bed and running to the bedroom door. I picked up the pillow from under my head and hurled it at the thing screaming “dam Cat!”

    • snuzcook says:

      Catzilla strikes again! I have shared a house with a beefy-boy kitty and can completely relate to the ability of something apparently so agile as a cat feeling part hippopotamus when it’s breakfast time.
      Very entertaining, keyhonay!

  77. vaderize03 says:

    This is not as dark as my previous effort; I need a break from the heavy writing :) !

    * * *

    Oh no, not again.

    I squeezed my eyes shut as the shadow fell over my face, blocking out the moon’s ethereal beams. It had been over an hour since Mommy kissed me goodnight, and the unwelcome visitor was right on time. It had come every night for the past two weeks, but had yet to make its intentions known.

    What did it want? Why was it here? I wanted to ask, but my tongue wouldn’t move. Inside my chest, the fleshy pump that glued me to life galloped away like a horse on speed. I couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, couldn’t scream.

    Mommy, where are you? You promised, mommy. You promised sweet dreams, not giant monsters. You better get in here, and do it quick–if it leaves, then away goes my proof.

    But what if she couldn’t see it?

    I didn’t know how it could be missed, with its glinting eyes and curving fangs. Its breath, a hot wind from a bottomless pit, reeked with the stench of rotting meat. No, if she was here, she would see; the only challenge was bringing her in. There was only one way, and I had to be quick. But first, a check on my nemesis.

    Ever so slowly, I pried open an eye, and swiveled it towards the waiting window. The shape was still there, hovering, silent, but as I squinted in the dark, I suddenly realized something was wrong.

    Gone were the dark scales and rubbery wings, replaced instead by a smooth metal sheen. Its skin still shone, but not with the oil that came out of pores. Instead of claws, its arms now ended in two skinny guns, whose barrels were pointed in my general direction. Across its face, a glowing red globe swung back-and-forth in a dizzying arc, scanning the room. The stinky wind that lived in its mouth was also conspicuously absent.

    I frowned; this wasn’t the right monster. My heart began to slow as its adrenal masters let up on their whips, and I pushed back the covers. My lips parted, the muscles now thawed, and I took a deep breath. The air whistled in my throat like the wind through a cave, but I knew I could talk.

    “Who are you?” I slid out of bed. “What do you want?”

    Silence. The eye continued on its wayward course, but otherwise, it didn’t move.

    All right, enough of this. I was more than tired, and ready for sleep. If it couldn’t be social, it was going to leave.

    “Get out,” I said. “And don’t come back.”

    The guns retracted into hidden slots, and its arms slid noisily down to its sides. The metal head swiveled a bit, then a synthetic voice spoke three grinding words:

    “By your command.”

    • Amyithist says:

      This was very interesting. What was the new monster? This was a pretty unique take. Very well done!

    • Observer Tim says:

      This was really cute, Vaderize. I loved the little Cylon.

      BTW, did the new series Cylons also say that? I’ve been meaning to watch it, but I was way to big a fan of the one from the 70′s.

    • vaderize03 says:

      Thanks man!

      Yes, they said it at the end of the pilot, but only once, as a tribute to the original.

      The re-imagined series is far darker and more interesting than the 70s one; I would highly recommend checking it out.

    • Reaper says:

      Very nice. I found myself tensing up and then very happy at the end. The only thing on this one is the voice has these drastic changes. Part of what made it both tense and heart warming was the child voice wanting his mommy and saying she better get in here right now and talking about promised sweet dreams. Those moments are perfect but then there is this other voice, a very adult one that uses two dollar words. While I love them it doesn’t track like one child so the first person and the combination is a little jarring. I found myself wanting it all in that childish voice because it was sweet and you did it well.

      • vaderize03 says:

        I realized about halfway through there would be voice issues.

        What I was aiming for was a child who gets angry, and the anger then puts his mind into an almost adult-like focus. I should’ve portrayed the transition more clearly, ie having the MC go from scared to “pouty”, rather than “adult angry.” I agree that it is a little jarring; it’s a lesson for going forward.

        Thanks for reading, and for the feedback!

    • Dennis says:

      Very interesting story, quite different from your first. I remember the original Battlestar Galactica, which seems so long ago that it was on.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      Nice story vaderize03. I knew the last line, but could’nt quite place it. I loved Battlestar original and really must catch up with the re-boot. Thanks for the memories :)

  78. sneak210 says:

    Sam ran into his room clutching a box. This was something that he had been waiting for the whole day. He climbed onto his bed and opened its side drawer. He flipped over the “Best Conduct” certificate from school and drew out his lens. He took it and his box to his study desk. He took the fallen “Happy eleventh birthday” greeting and stuck it back on the wall above the desk. “You are the best child that a parent could ask for” His father had told him that week. He had always been a favorite everyplace right from school to his neighborhood. Sam then switched on his study lamp and tuned it to full intensity .He then emptied the contents of the box, tiny beetles and ants. Sam then put them under the lens with the lamp above it. He watched as the tiny beings struggled and moved to escape the harsh rays. After watching their agony for sometime he decided to go to bed. He took a paper and cleaned his table of the mess and threw the insect corpses out of the window. He climbed onto the bed and prayed and fell asleep. But woke up after some time hearing some knock on the door. The clock showed 12:36 and he wondered what made his parents wake him up at this hour. But as the cold breeze touched his face he realized that it was the window opening and there stood a figure which brought his heart into his mouth. It had the darkest hair all over its body and green eyes with slit pupils. It had the saddest expression on its face. There was no possibility of a human to be that tall to reach Sam’s window and stand outside a window that had no platform under it. The wolf like ears were moving slightly as it entered the room. They hadn’t broken eye contact the whole time. Sam was horrified. The first thing that comes to mind when a calamity strikes is ”Why is this happening to me?”. Sam was no exception. He had always been a good boy. Never had he had any negative remark from any elder. His friends loved him and he was always helpful to them all. But then why is all this happening to me? Why me? he thought. Then as he looked into the devil’s eyes he saw himself stamping on ants, crushing a spider under a rock and burning the small creatures under the lens. He knew judgment was on him. The devil came close to him that he could hear it breathing . It then dug its claws in his chest and closed his mouth with his other hand. Sam was losing his breath as the claws dug deep. Sam woke up with sweat all over his face. It was a dream after all. He looked at the clock. It showed 12:35 and he heard scraping against the window.

    • Amyithist says:

      Oh my gosh. I knew it! All those bugs I’ve killed…I was always a monster to them! :(
      Well done, sneak210. This was creepy and thought provoaking. Very good.

    • Observer Tim says:

      So the “Ant Bully” gets his comeuppance at last. This is very well told, sneak210. Welcome to the site!

      In future, if your method of posting allows it, some paragraph breaks would come in handy, if only to make it easier on the eyes of muddle-aged guys like me.

    • Reaper says:

      Welcome to the site sneak210. This is well written, and scary with its intensity. Very nicely done. Other than the paragraph breaks there are some tense shifts but those are the only two things I saw that I can mention other than the fact that I loved this.

    • Dennis says:

      Nice creepy tale and liked the ending that leaves one guessing what is really going on.

    • sjmca1966 says:

      Welcome sneak210. I enjoyed this take although I’m now contemplating ditching the fly-spray.
      Well done.

  79. sneak210 says:

    Sam ran into his room clutching a box. This was something that he had been waiting for the whole day. He climbed onto his bed and opened its side drawer. He flipped over the “Best Conduct” certificate from school and drew out his lens. He took it and his box to his study desk. He took the fallen “Happy eleventh birthday” greeting and stuck it back on the wall above the desk. “You are the best child that a parent could ask for” His father had told him that week. He had always been a favorite everyplace right from school to his neighborhood. Sam then switched on his study lamp and tuned it to full intensity .He then emptied the contents of the box, tiny beetles and ants. Sam then put them under the lens with the lamp above it. He watched as the tiny beings struggled and moved to escape the harsh rays. After watching their agony for sometime he decided to go to bed. He took a paper and cleaned his table of the mess and threw the insect corpses out of the window. He climbed onto the bed and prayed and fell asleep. But woke up after some time hearing some knock on the door. The clock showed 12:36 and he wondered what made his parents wake him up at this hour. But as the cold breeze touched his face he realized that it was the window opening and there stood a figure which brought his heart into his mouth. It had the darkest hair all over its body and green eyes with slit pupils. It had the saddest expression on its face. There was no possibility of a human to be that tall to reach Sam’s window and stand outside a window that had no platform under it. The wolf like ears were moving slightly as it entered the room. They hadn’t broken eye contact the whole time. Sam was horrified. The first thing that comes to mind when a calamity strikes is ”Why is this happening to me?”. Sam was no exception. He had always been a good boy. Never had he had any negative remark from any elder. His friends loved him and he was always helpful to them all. But then why is all this happening to me? Why me? he thought. Then as he looked into the devil’s eyes he saw himself stamping on ants, crushing a spider under a rock and buring the small creatures under the lens. He knew judgment was on him. The devil came close to him that he could hear it breathing . It then dug its claws in his chest and closed his mouth with his other hand. Sam was losing his breath as the claws dug deep. Sam woke up with sweat all over his face. It was a dream after all. He looked at the clock. It showed 12:35 and he heard scraping against the window.

  80. jhowe says:

    Zaltana opened his eyes in the pre-dawn light and rose from the canyon floor. He shrugged off his course wool blanket which was damp from the morning dew. He spread it across some rocks to dry in the approaching sun. He picked up the coffee pot, turned it over and shook it. He had not been pleased two years ago when a fully brewed scorpion ended up in his morning coffee cup.

    Zaltana stirred the ashes from last night’s fire with a stick, coaxing some glow from the embers. He added kindling and blew the smoldering collection into a small flame. He added fuel and soon had a suitable fire going. He walked down to the stream, filled the pot and washed his face and hands. The water was cold and it helped him shake the sleep and unease from his mind. Zaltana set the pot on a flat stone next to the fire, added ground coffee beans he had purchased in Mexico and waited.

    The dream he had during the night was not unfamiliar. Once again Zaltana was near the mouth of the Jocko River in Bitterroot Valley bending over the corpse of a bald eagle. He prayed for the soul of the magnificent creature and plucked the revered tail feathers from the bird. He sensed a darkening shadow over him and heard a mighty screech. Zaltana ran as giant talons closed on his biceps, lifting him into the air.

    At first Zaltana struggled against the superior strength of the colossal eagle but ceased when the fear of the obtained height surpassed that of the bird’s merciless talons. Zaltana’s fear of heights had persisted since childhood and this dread now caused him to pray the eagle would not let go. But it always did. The fall seemed to go on and on as the canyon floor approached and Zaltana would wake up shaking and sweating just before he hit the ground.

    This time though, the eagle did not let go. It held firmly to Zaltana’s arms through the window of his mind as it neared a steep, rocky precipice. Nestled into an overhang was a large snarled nest of sticks and grasses with three screeching young eagles the size of men struggling for position as Zaltana was deposited into the cavity of the nest. The young birds eyed Zaltana curiously but did not devour him as he feared. Instead they toyed with him, prodding him with their sharp beaks. Two birds kept him immobile as the third bird approached from behind and Zaltana’s fate soon became apparent.

    As the scent of brewing coffee reached his nose, Zaltana poured a cup and contemplated the dream. He rose and took a small leather pouch from his traveling bag. He released the contents into the wind and watched the sacred herbs float away. He took his carved wooden pipe out and broke it over his knee and threw it into the fire. Never again would he partake of the ceremonial herbal concoction he had become accustomed to since he became a man at the tribal Peyote Worship. He again contemplated the dream and at last he knew why he had been called Zaltana, which translated from the Mohawk tribe to Fucking Eagle.

  81. Observer Tim says:

    I don’t know if other people have daydream-nightmares, but I do. I have them often enough that I’ve coined a term for them – wakemares. This is one that happened while ruminating on this prompt.

    Wakemare

    I hear the slow scrape of the window sliding open. I’ve been in a writing trance for a while, but that only leaves me susceptible to that sort of thing. I glance over, then do a double-take. The window is open and it’s sitting on the ledge.

    I instinctively freeze. Any sudden movement could cause it to spring. I’ve been seeing this thing in my dreams for a while now, but this is the first wakemare it’s been in.

    I shouldn’t really say ‘it’; after all, it’s a her. Exaggeratedly so. I’m sure if I told a shrink about her they’d say it was unrequited lust or something like that. She’s staring at me with her eyes wide and her mouth in a slightly-open pout, revealing needle-sharp fangs. Her fur is ruffled a bit, standing up on her hackles as she looks at me. Her claws are out and ready to dig into any flesh that gets too near. Her tail is swishing gently back and forth over entirely too anatomically-correct parts.

    We stare at each other for a silent moment. I mouth her name and she squints. This could go either way, and we both know it.

    I inch closer to the window, never breaking eye contact. In this sort of situation you never break eye contact. I reach out blindly and locate the stick I normally use to lock the sliding window shut. I don’t know how it came out, but it has to go back in. That protective sheet of glass is absolutely necessary.

    She leans toward me, tongue darting out between her teeth. She sniffs, oversized nostrils tasting the air of the room. She bats at the stick half-heartedly, but I still touch the window slider with it. A quick flick and the window closes.

    She stares at me as though I’ve somehow betrayed her, but when I reach out my arms and pick her up she doesn’t resist. By the time I hold her to my chest she’s nearly my height, standing on two legs and purring.

    I stroke her soft fur and make wordless comforting noises, then slowly push her back into my chest. Her claws touch my heart, which jumps just a bit when she does, and then she slides the rest of the way into my soul. That beast is tamed again; I hope none of the others got out.

    • Pete says:

      Enjoyed this one, it was vivid and realistic and had me on edge when you went for the stick. Loved the descriptions too!

    • DMelde says:

      Wakemares, or as I call them, daymares, the sudden shudder of your spine that makes other people around you ask “what’s wrong?”, the razor’s edge between heaven and hell where angels and demons gather in your mind. Yes I’ve experienced them. Great descriptions of a wakemare. Great story.

      • Observer Tim says:

        Thanks, DMelde. I have to distinguish because I have both.

        What I call daymares often occur in the surreal state surrounding a panic attack; nothing new is added to the scene, but everything around me suddenly becomes sinister in its implications.

        In a wakemare I am fully aware that I am perceiving or imagining something that is not there, like when you’re in a room and feel a soft touch on your shoulder. I know the image is in my mind but that doesn’t make it less real. Also, these apparitions are surreal but not necessarily frightening.

    • snuzcook says:

      Wonderful, O.Tim.
      Great lines, including: ‘I mouth her name and she squints. This could go either way, and we both know it.’
      I love the way you fold and stretch reality in the last paragraph to make a neat resolution.

      • Observer Tim says:

        Thanks, snuzcook. Folding and reshaping reality is the only way I’ve found to deal with these things. I like “her” because she can be corralled with tenderness, usually.

        Other Tim (see the Chore Strike prompt) generally has to be outsmarted, which is harder. He makes my life a living hell sometimes, since his visits can last for hours.

    • vaderize03 says:

      I’ve had them for years, and this was an awesome portrayal of a sometimes very scary occurrence. You gave me the goosebumps with this one. Loved the ending as well.

      Nicely done!

      • Observer Tim says:

        Thanks, Vaderize. When “she” visits, I’m most often left with a sense of profound sadness. There are several others, each of whom usually ties to a particular emotional response. They’re not real, but sometimes I wish they were.

        • vaderize03 says:

          I feel the same way about them, and also any time I have a vivid dream, which often. The most painful are when I encounter dead relatives, and then I have come back to reality. It usually evokes tears.

    • Amyithist says:

      Observer Tim,
      I find it incredibly interesting that writers often experience panic or anxiety. I think we are more in tune with our feelings and our surroundings; which often makes it hard to stay in the reality we know. I, too, experience wakemares. Sometimes, my mind gets so lost in them, when I come out of one, I’m not sure where reality ends and thought begins. I’m glad I’m not the only one who experiences these little blips of insanity. ;)
      With that being said, this was magnificent. You really did well by adding a dash (or a heaping tablespoon full) of yourself. I thuroughly enjoyed it. :)

      • Observer Tim says:

        Thanks very much, Amyithist; having the little bits of your background that you’ve revealed makes me honoured to share even a mental quirk with you. Also, it’s extremely heartening to know that I’m not alone in this. ;)

        I’d have to say it was a dash of myself, but a dash of from very near the core. Glad you enjoyed it.