My head felt like the ocean, like tidal wave after tidal wave was crashing against my skull. My eyes were reluctant doors on rusty hinges, but once they opened, I wish I had kept them closed. There were holes everywhere. Grotesque circles, roughly the size of marbles. Continue reading
She appeared every night. She stood at the foot of his bed and watched him sleep; weekdays, weekends, holidays. No exceptions. He didn’t know her name. She never spoke a word as she glared down at him, unblinking, not moving a muscle.
On the first night she appeared, Peter had just come home from a night at the movies with some friends, drank a steaming cup of cocoa, kissed his mother good night, and went to bed like he always did. He took off his watch and put it on the dresser, in the same place he always put it. He changed into his pajamas and put his clothes in the hamper the same way he normally would. He wriggled under the blanket and went to sleep immediately, just like always.
He didn’t dream that night. His sleep was more for rest than entertainment, so only the darkness behind his eyelids greeted him. At least until the middle of the night.
His eyes popped open, and that was the first sign something was wrong. On this night, his eyes were panicked and paranoid, desperate for an exit.
2:13 AM flashed on his alarm clock. He had gone to bed only three hours ago, so why was he already awake? Something trickled down Peter’s brow and he reached a hand to wipe it. Why was he sweating? He wiped his wet hand on his bed sheets and noticed that there was someone else in the room.
An old woman with skin like a weathered plastic bag stood at the end of his bed. Her eyes were abysmal, and if you stared too long, they would probably suck you inside, never to be seen again. Her mouth was a violent line and her nose was shaped like a fishing hook. Her moss-like hair hovered just above her bony shoulders. The woman reeked like a New York City dumpster, ammonia, and gasoline. Peter’s body tried to gag, but couldn’t.
“Who the hell are you!?” He tried to say, but no sound would come from his mouth. His eyes darted, horrified as he tried to repeat the question, but the words died on his lips. The woman and her abysmal eyes stared back, still as a statue.
“ARRRRRRGGGHHHH!” He tried to scream at the top of his lungs, but his voice box failed him. This was unreal, he had to go get help. Peter tried to sit up, but his body remained pinned to the bed like it was tied with ropes. He tried to swing his legs over the bed, but they wouldn’t budge. Panic set in. He couldn’t leave his room and nobody could hear him scream. His windpipe tightened. It was like someone was choking him; hard enough to watch him suffer, but soft enough to keep him alive.
Who was she? Why was she there? Would she kill him? Sell his organs on the black market? Steal his soul?
But she just stood there. Blue electricity radiated off her figure and adrenaline vibrated through Peter’s body.
The minutes and hours moved at a snail-like speed until the sun shone through Peter’s window. The incoming sunlight flooded the room and the old woman vanished into thin air. Her disappearance left Peter gasping for breath. He put a hand to his chest and felt his marching band of a heartbeat, relieved that his body could move again. Shaking, Peter swung his legs around the edge of his bed so he was sitting. He collapsed his head into his hands and sobbed.
Of course, his mother didn’t believe him. She said something like “That’s what you get for watching those horror flicks, it’s all in your head,” but he knew the truth. No matter how many times he told her, she wouldn’t understand. He couldn’t tell his friends either; they’d just say he was imagining things and tell him to “Man up, dude.”
Ever since that first time, Peter awoke every night to the creepy old woman at his bed. He never knew her name. He never knew why he couldn’t breathe or why he couldn’t move. He never knew what she wanted with him. But one day, that woman would speak, and her words would change Peter’s life forever.
I can´t remember the last time I slept. I think I live a normal life, like everyone else. I’m a regular woman with regular hair and regular friends. I have a regular job, with a regular car, and a regular apartment. I don’t party often and I live in a quiet neighborhood where police cars are as uncommon as four leaf clovers. But I will never sleep again.
I can’t remember when the nightmares started, but all I know is that they never stopped. My mind loves to torture me with many levels of hell and to sleep is like playing a game of Russian Roulette. I’ve been eaten by goons and goblins. I’ve fallen down an abyss so dark I couldn’t see my flailing arms and legs. Strange creatures break down my door and carry me off to strange lands where I’m forced to forever serve them. I see myself killing without control, for no reason whatsoever, as if I need a fresh coat of blood on my hands like my lungs need oxygen.
I wake up screaming every morning and for the last few days, my nightmares have followed me in my everyday life. I can’t help but check over my shoulder every few seconds for goblins and gargoyles. I don’t eat steak with knives anymore, as I’m afraid I might have murderous thoughts.
I’ve thought of getting help and seeing a psychiatrist so I could get some peace of mind and some shuteye, but that would do more harm than good. They’d think, no, they’d know I’m crazy and they’d send me to live in some nuthouse in the middle of nowhere. I can already feel my neighbors’ ridicule. “You remember Janice down the road? Well she went mad and claims that ax murderers had been stalking her. I always knew that owning so many damn cats was bad for your health.”
The best thing to do is stay awake. The nightmares have started to creep into my day, but that’s nothing compared to what I go through when I close my eyes. For now, I have a cup of coffee and a three month bulk supply of 5 Hour Energy.
I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure I never sleep again. If that even means cheating death, so be it.
The following story is inspired by this poem by Markus Røe:
Life is a funny device, the way a simple action can complicate everything.
There was a clown living in my closet. A clown, a real clown. It walked and talked, hell, it even breathed.
I always slept with my back to the closet, but ignoring the clown only served to make things worse.
The skeleton under my bed groaned and rattled its shattered bones, screaming and begging for mercy like the day I took its life.
Weeks prior, I sat in a dark room, tears staining my shirt. The light bill wasn’t paid and I had to carry a candle everywhere. I drowned in debt, and the danger of eviction hung over my head. The landlord pounded on the door like a one man SWAT team. I didn’t have the money, and asked him to give this starving artist some more time while my paintings sold. He stormed his way into the apartment, raising his voice and making threats. After that, I just… lost it.
I googled “How to get away with murder” and did what the helpful articles instructed. And that’s how I wound up with a skeleton in my bedroom.
The clown in my closet might have been a sign I was crazy, or a slice of karma there to bite me in the ass.
Although the landlord was no more, his skeleton was very much alive. It taunted me through the day, but that was nothing compared to my trouble at night. When I tried to sleep, the moans and groans grew louder, even louder than the day I killed him.
To achieve sleep was to win the lottery, but I never escaped the nightmares. Blood blinded my vision while bloodcurdling screams of loved ones deafened my ears; Family, friends, and children alike. Unbridled rage consumed me and I killed them all. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. I awoke the same way every time, my bed a swimming pool of sweat and the skeleton rattling with laughter.
And then one night I couldn’t take it any more. I shot out of bed, the floorboards squeaking as I approached the window at the far wall.
I kicked through the window and peered to the New York City lights below me. The wind violated my clothes as I jumped off the ledge.
My body was a potato splattered on the concrete, awaiting the flood of news cameras and police tape that were sure to follow.
There’s a boy in my village who behaves like an old man. He sits, silent and reserved in a corner, looking toward the village gates while other children run and play, causing mischief.
I do not know his name, nor do I believe he has one. I have never spoken a word to him, and I doubt he even knows who I am. I watch him twice each day as he goes to the beach and stares out to the ocean for two hours and returns to the village with his head down.
He does this when the sun comes up and when the sun goes down, every day without fail, rain or shine. He stares at the waters as if waiting for something – or someone.
I watch as he removes a golden locket from his neck and stares into it, tears flowing into the sand. Even a hardened old bag of a man like me gets choked up from the sight, especially since I’m the cause of the boy’s pain.
You see, normal people walk by and think nothing of the boy with the locket, but they don’t know his story. Not like I do.
I am not proud of my past. I was the saltiest pirate of them all, or at least I wanted to be. Since I was a child, I admired a band of pirates in the village. When I was 30 something years old, I worked up the courage to approach them. I can still feel my nervous knees shaking from that day. They were a rowdy bunch who never smiled and looked at me like I was the scum of the earth. But the captain was different.
He put an arm around my shoulder and blew cigar smoke in my face. I choked and fought every urge to cough the smog from the lungs. He told me I could join his crew, but I had to go through an initiation.
We sailed out that same night. We anchored behind a boulder and watched as a young couple said goodbye to their son on the shore, likely promising him they would return in a few hours. They sailed off. We followed.
The captain handed me a knife and jerked his head toward the ship. His desires didn’t need explanation.
I dove into those waters, invaded the boat, and climbed back on our ship, covered in blood that wasn’t my own. The men slapped my back and cheered. We celebrated and I ate more that night than I have in my life.
The happiness faded when I returned home and saw the boy. He seems to appear wherever I am, as if by chance. My heart drops whenever I see him. He never speaks to anyone, and only indicated his desires with hand movements and shakes of the head. I can never stand to be in the same room with him. I watch him from afar instead and although it was so long ago, I still feel the weight of his parents’ blood on my hands.
I’ve thought of approaching him on the beach to tell him that his parents would never return as they promised, but I can never bring myself to do it. I’m afraid of something that I can’t identify. Is it the ghosts of his parents or is it the little boy himself?
My past haunts me in my nightmares, and when my eyes are open. No matter what, I see the boy who waits and wishes for a dream that will never come true.
I would like to thank you for all the wonderful comments and support. You are limitlessly fantastic and I hope you know how much you’ve made me laugh, smile, and beam with pride from your wonderful words.
I’ve gotten requests to write more short stories here on this blog and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to post much more frequently throughout the week with new flash fiction pieces. I’ll still blog a few rants and observations about life, reading, and writing, but this blog will now feature more stories than ever before.
If there’s anything you’d like me to write about, please leave a comment below, I would love to hear your opinion.
There will be a brand new flash fiction piece tomorrow, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before, so I’d love to know what you think of it.
Once again, thank you for being the supportive fantastic creature you are. I’m amazed at how far a few words can travel across the world and reach us all. Stay tuned, we’re about to have all kinds of fun. I hope you’re having a fantastic day.
Hello. My name is Wendy and I was a victim of domestic violence.
Noah and Terri bobbed their heads while the wub-wub-wub-wub of dubstep from the stereo shook the car with each thunderous wave. The picnic basket for the day’s festivities sat between them. They had been driving for what seemed like forever; Terri kicked off her sandals long ago and had her freshly manicured feet protruding from the opened window. After a week of her boss’s bullshit, she needed this little vacation and had to practically beg Noah to take her out on a picnic. And now here they were, not a care in the world, due for a day of fun and relaxation.
Grace sat at her desk scribbling away at what she hoped would be the next big hit in Barnes & Noble. She occasionally paused to dip her fountain pen into the tub of ink next to her (it made her feel Shakespearian). With careful strokes, she lightly swept her hand across the sheet of paper.
A noise quickly swept her out of her writing trance. First it was a gentle pitter-patter, then it was like someone had turned on the shower, but from outside of her window. It could only mean one thing… Continue reading
Ian fixed his gaze across the table at Marsha. And who could blame him? She was possibly the most beautiful woman ever created. Soft skin, pearly whites, curly hair running down her back, and not to mention the rack of a goddess. Tonight she wore a pearl necklace, a red dress, and heels to match. Sure, she has more hair on her arms and legs than most women, but nobody’s perfect, right?
“Ian.” Ian blinked out of his trance. “I’ve caught you staring at my chest all night, this is the fourth time.” Marsha said from the other side of the table.
“Sorry, I can’t help it, you’re so gorgeous.”
“You’re just dating me so I can be some showgirl on your arm. Is this what this is about? asked Marsha, glaring at him from the other side of the table.
Marsha was indeed beautiful, but Ian had been asking questions all night, trying to get to know her better. Maybe she didn’t trust him on the first date? But how could she not trust him, they had been coworkers for the last five months.
Ian fidgeted in his chair nervously. He needed to think of something to calm her nerves or the situation could get hairy. It had taken him so long to ask her out, there was no way that he’d ruin this opportunity. Ian put down his shish kabob. He had an idea.
“Look Marsha,I think we’re really connecting together. You know? We have great food, great conversation. Check this out, I have another treat for you,” Ian pointed a finger up at the night sky. “It’s a full moon tonight. What’s more romantic than a full moon?”
Marsha’s eyes grew wide at that moment.
“I’m sorry, but I really have to go.” Marsha said, quickly grabbing her coat and purse as she left the table.
Ian took a while to react, but rose out of his chair just as quickly. Why did she just get up and leave? Was it something he said? Ian juked past the other tables as he tried to catch up with Marsha. He paid no attention to the angry waiter cursing him out for not paying the bill. When he got outside, Ian saw Marsha hurrying down the street at a blistering pace.
“She moves so fast for somebody wearing heels.” Ian said aloud, already a block behind her, panting under his breath.
After two more blocks of cat and mouse, Marsha made a left, turning into the woods. Ian didn’t know why a woman in heels would go into the woods, but followed her inside anyway.
Inside the forest was dark and quiet, the air still and chilly. Ian slowed down, hoping to catch his breath after what felt like an Olympic race. Twigs and leaves cracked beneath Ian’s feet as he dodged branches from nearby trees. There was now a pain in his chest, like a stabbing knife, but he kept moving. He looked around the forest, trying to figure out where Marsha could’ve gone. He heard a rustling in the nearby bushes and turned his head, trying to see what it was.
Through the shrubbery, Ian saw an alarming number of yellow eyes, glowing in the moonlight. He turned away from them, avoiding the bushes and noticed a path of footprints ahead. Maybe that was where Marsha could’ve gone. Ian sprinted down the path, inspired by the new hope in front of him.
There was a figure standing in the open part of the forest, staring at Ian as he ran up. Ian stopping dead in his tracks, frozen by fear and curiosity of what he was looking at. The figure was about six feet tall, with a long torso and arms extending to its knees. It was wearing Marsha’s red dress, along with the heels and necklace. It has the face of a wolf with claws, teeth, and thick black fur covering it body.
By this time, other figures began emerging from the woods, forming a circle around Ian. Just like the first creature, they were covered in fur, wearing human clothing, and had the heads of wolves. Drool dripping down from their snouts, they walked menacingly towards him. Ian’s eyes darted left and right, looking for a way out, like a fly in a spider’s web.
“M-Marsha. I-is that you?” Ian asked the first figure.
He would never get an answer, The last thing he saw was the first wolf raise a clawed finger to him and the others leaping on top of him. He heard howling, followed by the sound of tearing flesh. Then everything went black.
© Daevone Molyneux, 2013