Strawberry Perfume

Hello. 

That’s the only word I can ever manage to say to her, but it never gets a response. She floats by me every single day as if I’m a ghost or something. I know she sees me, but for some odd reason, be it egotism or repulsion, she refuses to even spare a glance my way. I’m not one for love and I’m not the kind of guy to chase women, but I want this one. No, I NEED this one. I utter my “Hello” as usual, but the girl with the blonde hair and strawberry perfume just floats on by.

What the hell, man? Is she a lesbian? Does she have a boyfriend or something? Well today we’re going to find out. I’m not one to chase women, but that’s all about to change. 

She exits through the door and I slither my way through, keeping just enough distance to see her and not be seen myself. The door shuts behind me and I’m outside, surrounded by the thousands of New York City skyscrapers, rude pedestrians, and honking taxis. The girl crosses the street and the crowd swallows her whole. Damn it, I’ve lost her. 

But wait… it’s in the air, I can smell it. That unmistakable scent of strawberries. I follow the scent and make my way across the street as well. I can see the mane of blonde hair flowing down her back and tossing through the crowd. She’s moving quickly, as if she’s afraid of something… or someone. Has she noticed that I’ve been following her all this time? Maybe, but it’s unlikely considering that she seems to be running to a particular place. She zigs and zags through the crowd and makes a sharp right turn through the double glass doors of a building.

Her perfume is my guide as I zig and zag through the crowd. I slam into a photographer and he falls backward into the crowd of people and many of them fall like dominos. Finally, I find the door she went through and push my way through. I’m standing in a lobby and I can see an elevator across the hall that’s just started closing. I can barely see her as the doors close shut. The indicator on top of the doors says that she’s traveling to the fifth floor. 
A security guard near the front door asks if I need help, but just as he utters the word, I spot a door leading to a staircase on a nearby wall. I have no time to waste. I push the door open and storm up the stairs. I’m skipping two, three stairs at a time, and I almost lose my balance, but I keep moving to the fifth floor. I push through the doors just as her elevator opens and she makes her way out and down the hall. She pulls out a key, goes to a door three rooms down, and opens it. Now is my chance. I sprint down the hallway and stick a foot in just as she closes it. I push the door back and step inside. Her face is a mask of surprise. 

“Who are you, and what the hell are you doing here?” She asks. Panic explodes in her eyes. 

“I say hello to you every single fucking day, that’s who I am.” I respond. My voice rises uncontrollably, but I don’t care to adjust it. 

Suddenly, she smiles. A devilish little smile. Behind her lips sit two rows of razor sharp wolf teeth. It all happens so fast. She morphs and her ears become pointed and dog like, and her body grows dramatically. Her clothes shred and fall to the floor, replaced by hulking muscles. 

My eyes grow wide. No, no, please. No! I run for the door, but she knocks me off my feet and pulls me back by my legs. She looks me in my eyes. “Hi.” she says. 

The last things I remember are the scent of strawberry perfume and two rows of sharp teeth coming for my neck. And then everything goes black. 

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Broken Bottles

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

Never Sleep Again

  

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. 

Old Man In The Park – A Short Story

  

There’s a guy sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper…

I’ve lost track of how many days and weeks I’ve followed him. At first glance he looks like an ordinary gentleman – bowler hat with a feather sticking out, glasses pushed to the tip of his nose, and a wrinkled face like an antique leather sofa. I watch his eyes scan the paper; he occasionally raises his eyebrows before flipping to the next page. He seems so innocent and elderly, but things usually aren’t as they seem.
My photography background for The Daily News has taught me the best positions in which to stay hidden from a person. My lens is trained, taking in his every move. He can’t even rub his eyes without my notice. I refuse to let him out of my sight. I’ve spent time in his garbage can, peering through his curtains, following him to his job on the subway, and even joining him for prayer at his neighborhood synagogue. Wherever he goes, my camera and I follow. 
 Now, you probably think I’m mad or something, but let me explain. I’ve seen some… things this guy can do. The first time I laid eyes on him, he was crossing the street when a car ran a red light and missed him by a few inches. The driver never stopped and kept speeding, but something strange happened. The old man gave him the middle finger and BOOM the car burst into flames. 
Since that moment, I’ve followed. I’ve seen him heat a pot and cook a warm meal with his bare hands while his electricity didn’t work. He walked into a bank one rainy April morning, strolled to the back and emptied drawers of money without using a key and no one noticed as if he wasn’t there! I swear, one time he vanished out of thin air, only to appear on a rooftop above me. I’ve observed him in a restaurant, ordering a glass of water, and then whispering to it and it turned into wine. 
Every time I capture one of those moments with my camera, something mysterious occurs. Exactly one hour after the picture is taken, it disappears like it was never there. 
I do not know his name, or if he’s even human. All I know is that one day, one of these photos has to stick. One day, this stranger will make me rich. I won’t take my eyes off him until he does. 

Southern California Rain

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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

Coffee Shop Surprise

coffee

Louis’ button-down was wrinkled, and his face unshaven. He stroked his bird’s nest of a beard thoughtfully with one hand. In his other hand was a pencil, scribbling across the notebook in front of him. He had been sitting at that table for what had felt like forever, experimenting with ideas for his new novel.

The numerous paper balls next to him represented his failure. Writer’s block. As much as he hated the term, it was time to admit that he was a victim.

He scratched his head, mumbled something, and wrote down another idea that came to mind. Soon enough, he tore out the sheet of paper, crumbled it up, and tossed it to the side.

“Excuse me sir.”

Louis flipped to another page in his notebook.

“Excuse me sir.”

He had an idea. His hand moved faster than he could’ve imagined. One word at a time, he jotted down this brilliant idea.

A tap on the shoulder interrupted his progress.

“What the fuck do you want?” He shouted, and turned around.

The waitress flinched and nearly dropped the tray in her hands.

“I’m sorry sir, but your cappuccino is ready.” She handed him the steaming mug off the tray. He snatched it with a dirty look and turned back to his work.

Louis took a sip from the cup and tried to gather his thoughts. The characters were forming, but his plot was still a bit shaky.

“Come to me.”

Louis glanced around him. There was nobody within speaking distance. Who said that? Shrugging, he went back to his work.

“Come to me.”

There it was again. Louis looked at his cup. Was that where the noise was coming from?

No. This was surely his mind playing tricks on him.

“Come to me.”

Finally, Louis put down his pencil and peeked into his cup. Staring back at him was a man. Not his reflection, but an actual man, standing in his cup, looking back at him.

“Give me your hand.”

Was Louis going crazy? Surely his imagination was running wild. Abandoning his beliefs, he put his hand into the steaming cup, anticipating the burn.

Strangely, there was no burn. But even stranger than that was the man grabbing Louis’ hand and pulling him inside the cappuccino’s depths.

Louis blacked out for a moment, but he woke up with his hands and feet hog-tied. He was somehow inside the cup, but there was no coffee surrounding him. It was like a room, and when he looked up, he could see the café outside of the cup. The man who had pulled Louis inside was standing over him with a grin.

“A life for a life.” He said, and leaped out of the cup.

Louis watched the man leave and walk away from the table where he sat just a few minutes ago. He wanted to chase after him, but felt the ropes around his hands and feet.

This would’ve made a great story. If only he was able to write it…

© Daevone Molyneux, 2013

A Bloody Masterpiece

masterpiece

I am the female Pablo Picasso. At least, that was according to a news headline on my wall. It was just one of many I had all around my sleeping space. I had everything from medals, trophies, certificates, and other braggerific stuff like that. On this particular day, the Channel Five news was coming over to do an interview, so I was on the floor finishing another painting. One stroke at a time. Up and down, down and up. I was in my zone man, nothing could break my focus – nothing.

At least, that was until I heard glass shatter and my parents shouting from upstairs. I tried my best to stay on task, but the noise kept teasing me. Doors slamming, shoes stomping, constant banging. As I put down my paint brush and stood up, I could feel my legs aching beneath me. A genius like myself shouldn’t have to put up with such distractions.

Oh great, I could feel a headache coming on as well. I took a look around my room and realized something. My recent paintings were totally different than the ones from a few months ago. The past few months had been putting such a damper on the quality of my art. The fights between my parents were getting under my skin. Almost everyday there was an accusation, a pointed finger, or something like that. Come to think of it, times were much simpler before dad got laid off. Since the day he heard that the factory was letting him go, he was never the same. He began to drink, get high, and even leave the house at 2 in the morning without saying a word.

I took my eyes off the paintings and went into the living room to clear my head. Going in there didn’t help at all because waiting for me were dozens of overturned beer cans, disarrayed seat cushions, ashes left and right, and a musky smell in the air. Ugh. I walked across  the living room, sidestepping the mess beneath me, just trying to find some peace, somewhere. I found it when I looked at the mantle. Well, not necessarily at the mantle, but more so at the pictures perched on top of it.

As I walked towards it, a bunch of photos caught my eye. Specifically the ones of mom, dad, and I laughing together at Disney, and the ones from our trip to the lake. No matter the setting of the photo, there was a constant theme – happiness. This new dad was a stranger compared to the man I saw in the pictures. He doesn’t shave, his breath smells, like Vodka, and with that new gut, he looked just as pregnant as my mom. I felt cold tears streaming down my face as I remembered what used to be. I missed those times of peace and love so much that I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew what I needed to do.

I walked over to another room down the hall and stood at the door, my body leaning against the frame as I looked inside. That room was pure in every way, from the flawless blue walls to the crib in the corner and the rocking chair on the rug. My baby sister shouldn’t come into the world with negativity waiting for her at the front door.

I entered the room, made my way over to the closet and opened it. Inside were the usual knickknacks for a baby – diapers, stuffed animals, packs of pacifiers, you know, those kinds of things. But none of that stuff mattered at that moment. I was focused on the suitcase laying on the closet floor, buried beneath a mountain of Huggies diapers. I threw the boxes onto the floor, uncovering the hidden suitcase. I reached down to open it, my hands trembling around the zipper. I flipped open the top and pulled out the one thing in its depths – dad’s PA-08 shotgun. He thought it was a clever hiding spot, a tool of death hidden in a room of life. I exited the baby’s room and walked to the stairs, gripping the deadly weapon in my hands.

One step at a time I ascended, the wood creaking beneath my feet. Mom had been the supporting wife she always was. Her love was consistent. A stay-at-home housewife who cooked and cleaned, rain or shine. She deserved better than this. She deserved better than to have a sloppy drunkard as a husband.

I reached the door of my parents’ room and stood frozen for a few minutes, listening to the screams behind it. The sounds from the other side paled in comparison to my heart, raging inside my chest. Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom. Like a drums-only marching band. I reached out to the door knob. My hand trembled as I turned the knob and pushed the door open. I saw a sight I would never forget.

Mom was on the floor, sprawled against the corner like a discarded rag doll. Her screams of terror echoed around the room, black and blue bruises staining the canvas of her face. Dad stood over her, yelling things that no man should ever say to his wife. I noticed broken glass on the floor, from my mom’s vase, but that wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye. To my horror, my father was stomping on my mother. The atmosphere in the room was so intense that neither had noticed me come in. I clenched the shotgun with both hands, the icy steel sending  a chill up my spine. This bastard was going to pay.

I ran towards my father and struck him in the back of his head with his shotgun. The metal clanged on contact, and there was a rumbling sound as he hit the floor. He laid there on his back like an overturned turtle, staring back at his own daughter. I looked him in the face, my eyes meeting his. His eyes were watery, like two puddles. It was as if the liquor ran out of room in his body and rented out his eye sockets. I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my body and welcomed the rush that came with it.

I gripped the gun tightly in my hands once more, this time with a finger on the trigger. I steadied my hands, the barrel pointed at his head. His face showed no expression – his mouth slightly agape as he stared into the face of death. He would never lay his hands on my mom, never again. Chick-boom! Splat. His blood splattered around the room, it was the loveliest shade of scarlet an artist could ever ask for. It was over. I had done it. Peace at last.

I turned to face my mother, dropping the shotgun at my feet. Her eyes were wide and her mouth opened when she realized what had happened. I began to feel a queasy feeling in my stomach. Did I do the right thing? To my relief, she gave a smile and a nod my way. Mission accomplished.

The silence in the room was refreshing like cold water on a summer afternoon. Mom and I stayed there for a few minutes, not a word spoken between us. I helped her back onto her feet, and we talked about what we would do with the body. We decided to throw it in the closet under the stairs, since nobody used it anyway. We dragged the lifeless body down the stairs and locked it in the closet, just as planned. It was now time to clean up all the beer cans and not to mention the blood upstairs. The news crew would be here soon.

An hour later the door bell rang and we welcomed Suzie McMahon and her cameramen inside for the interview. Mom and I stood there smiling at them, a mother and her artistic daughter. Everything was picture perfect.

“What happened to your face? Are those bruises? Are you okay?” asked Suzie McMahon to my mother.

“Oh, I have a terrible allergic reaction to cats. It’s nothing really.”

Suzie McMahon shot my mother a look of disbelief, but then shrugged her shoulders. Whew, we dodged a bullet right there.

The night went smoothly. We finished the interview and the crew did a segment on my latest art work. It felt great to be acknowledged as they showered me with praise for my latest creations. The interview ended and mom and I let them out of the door with a smile. I couldn’t help but feel sad that they wouldn’t see my latest masterpiece. Locked under the staircase, never to be seen by the human eye. What a shame. It was an absolute work of art.

– © Daevone Molyneux, 2013

What did you think of my story? Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to see more. Thanks for reading!