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I Don’t Know What was Scarier
After a long day of work, there was nothing that I wanted more than a nice relaxing shower. Under the rivulets of water, I felt the stress and tension wash off me. I stepped out of the shower, silently cursing that it was laundry day and I had no clean towels to dry off with. It really wasn’t a big deal, I would drip dry and make sure that I took everything to the laundry the next day.
I walked around the bedroom, letting the cool night air circulate over my body, which caused my skin to prickle. It was cold outside, but I expected the house should have been a little warmer. I would have to call utilities and see if there might be a problem with my heating. I didn’t want to sit on anything for fear of soaking it, so I decided I would lay out my clothes for the next day.
I stepped into my closet and pulled the cord to turn on the light bulb that hung from the ceiling. There was a brief flash before something was illuminated that I had not prepared for. A man, in one fist, he clenched an old-fashioned straight razor. In his other hand was a roll of electrical tape and a bag of salt. There was a twisted smile plastered across his face that made his intentions very clear. I wanted to scream, but fear paralyzed my throat. I don’t know what was scarier, the realization that I was in this situation stark naked or the fact that he was too.
I loved how my wife used to wake me up by whispering sweet nothings into my ear every morning. I didn’t enjoy her pillow talk as much the day after her funeral.
To tell you the truth, I needed to drink. I would have a hard day at work and I would go to the bar and let the alcohol wash away my thoughts. It was cathartic. My daughter, wife, and friends would always lay into me when I got home for stinking of alcohol. They would bitch at me saying that I just wasn’t the person they thought I was when I went out drinking and I could be such a better person.
They would always be lying in wait for me when I got home. I would walk through the door and find a group of my family and friends waiting for me. They would always ambush me with prepared letters about how my drinking made them feel, which of course was always bullshit, as they didn’t give me an appropriate time to form my own argument to theirs’. There wasn't much I could do under their relentless assault. I’d always let them cry and rage against me.
Afterwards I would tell them I would change and find the strength to quit. A few weeks later, I would down a fifth of Jack Daniels and wash away my thoughts and the process would again. They would organize another meeting and I would keep making empty promises because I knew it was better than the alternative. When I was sober, I’d keep imagining them on hooks, pleading and begging for sweet release. I’d imagine their flesh and how it would be so appealing to slice open, tear apart. They want me to quit drinking, but without it, I keep imaging the end. I’d imagine how they would plead and how they would taste. I think this last intervention really stuck, I feel like myself again.
John always loved having his family over, but now as he watched them pawing at his backdoor leaving bloody and putrescent stains; he realized that he didn’t like it so much anymore.
We’ll Meet Again
The entire crew gathered around the window. This time it wasn’t to stare into the infinite blackness of space or ponder the nature of their exploration. They weren’t looking out, but instead they were looking down, down at mankind finally reaping what they had sown. Detonations that were visible from space dotted the earth. The explosions stretched up as if to ensnare heaven itself. The massive mushroom clouds started off in small numbers, but quickly grew as more countries attempted to make their contribution towards their ultimate demise. Soon the entire world was pockmarked with massive radioactive mushroom clouds. A few hours later, there was nothing and no one left.
The astronauts could only watch in a dumb-founded mix of terror and shock as their homes were lost to fallout and scorched earth policies brought into action decades ago. There was no one else, it was only them now. Music sliced through the tension and terror. Vera Lynn crooned, “Keep smiling through, just like you, always do…” All it took was one man to start laughing before the entire crew dissolved. Some laughed until their stomachs wrapped themselves into knots. Some laughed until tears welled up in their eyes. Some laughed even though they found nothing particularly funny. They continued to laugh even though there was no point anymore and that just made them laugh all the harder.
Reminisces of Childhood
While most children recall drifting off to the sound of their mobiles and mother’s lullabies every night, I remember falling asleep to the sound of the man creeping downstairs from his hiding spot in the attic.
Bed of Roses
Tonight I came home to the fragrant smell of roses. It only took a few minutes of investigating to find the source of the smell. My bed was covered in a vibrant crimson color that made my heart skip a beat. It was completely hidden under a layer of rose petals. There was a candle on the dresser and its light illuminated the message, “I am yours and you are mine. I love you and I want to do something that will take your breath away.”
It was a very romantic gesture. It would have been more romantic had I not been single for the past three years. It would have been romantic had the message not been written in crimson as well. Now I smell that iron odor in every corner of my house and my heart is beating like it is about to rip out of my chest. I can only wonder what they meant by ‘wanting to do something that would take my breath away.’
A woman berated me on the street today because I was in a soldier’s uniform, screaming, ‘if I remembered all the faces of the people I killed?’ I don’t need to remember their faces; I wake up every morning to their pale forms standing over me riddled with the bullets I shot through them.
I had been wandering around this cave for hours. I had gotten separated from the tour guide and spent the last four hours wandering around in the darkness. I had started the tour around three which meant, according to my internal clock, that it was around seven or eight. The sun would be setting and the forest would become just as dark as it was in the cave.
I wandered around in the darkness with my hand on a wall of the cave. I was certain that if I stuck to this path that I would eventually come to the mouth of the cave. After another hour of bumbling around in the darkness, I found my way out of the cave. It was a moonless night, but I could see the stars in the sky.
I wept with relief as I looked up at those beacons of light. There were thousands of them up there. I watched in wonder as they winked out of existence only to reappear seconds later. I watched this phenomenon in confusion. It took a few seconds for me to come up with my answer. These weren’t stars winking and blinking into and out of existence. They were eyes, and they were drawing closer to me.
The worst part of living with roommates was hearing them moving around the house at all hours of the night. The worst part of living alone is still hearing those exact same sounds.
Rendezvous with God
Atheists, agnostics, and theologists gathered around to debate and quibble over the latest discovery. In the farthest reaches of space, an astronomer had come across a source of pure energy. It resonated on a wavelength that seemed otherworldly. It was far beyond the reaches of human engineering and technology. The astronomer, a devoted believer, wasted no time in gathering up the media and other like-minded scientists and declaring that he had discovered the existence of God, the creator.
Atheists called it “the inanimate remnants of the big bang”. Theologists claimed it was “the embodiment of God”. Agnostics just shrugged their shoulders when asked and claimed, “Who knows?” After days of debate, someone came up with the idea to try and make contact with the entity that was perched on the edge of the universe to get their answer. They would try blasting a wide array of frequencies, languages, and music at it, in an effort to make contact.
They tried everything. Atheists cursed it and tried to invoke its wrath. Theologists tried praying in an effort to make it respond to their supplications. After exhausting all strategies, a young agnostic man stepped up to the podium. He was well-respected on all sides and was probably the best educated and well-versed scientist in the group. He addressed the crowd, “This is indeed God. We have found the creator.” Atheists were outraged, theologists were incensed. If this was God, why was it not responding? The agnostic man took a second before saying, “It’s simple. God is not responding because God no longer cares about us.”
I was never a fan of the lightning. It came at random intervals and I was always worried it would illuminate the room just enough for you to see my face gazing at you through your window.
We made a lot of promises, typically after making love. When we were covered with sweat and spent from our lust, we would whisper sweet nothings. He had wrapped his arms around me and I could still feel him inside me. He pulled me close and he said it:
The car slammed into a tree and pitched me forward. He was stopped from joining me by the steering wheel. I rolled through the woods, a whirling dervish of bruises, broken bones, and blood. I passed out and when I awoke, I was alone. The ambulance must have not seen me and left me behind. I hobbled home, my bones sucking and popping lewdly out of my wound. It took a few days, but I finally reached him. He was heavily medicated. He looked shocked to see me.
It was my appearance that so profoundly impacted him. My blood had congealed on my mottled grey skin. The wounds where my bones broke through had begun to rot. A day of traveling in the hot sun had already made me bloat up with gasses from decomposition and I looked almost pregnant. I was rotting from the inside out. He was still under the influence of his medication, but that would wear off. I sat down next to him and ran my putrescent and cold hand over his head. He stiffened as I leaned in close. My words rattled through my broken teeth into his ear, “Together forever.”
"I'm leaving you and I'm taking our child with me." That was my wife's suicide note.
Carrie always loved Sundays. Her parents would go out to run errands, leaving her to call her boyfriend. Her parents didn't know about him. As an only child, her parents were overprotective and prohibited her from dating until she was fifteen. She, of course decided to keep Josh's existence hidden from them. This didn't matter, she loved him. She loved talking to him. His voice set her heart aflutter. Sunday was the only time she could call him and not have to be worried about being caught. It became a ritual for them. Every Sunday she would call and they would talk until her parents got home.
There was one blemish in this otherwise perfect scene. Josh's brother was nosy and would always pick up the phone and listen in on their conversation. Carrie could hear his breathing while they talked. He tried to breathe softly, but she could still hear him. This went on for weeks and slowly Carrie's frustration at the situation grew. Josh ignored it, but after one particularly heated conversation, Carrie asked:
"Could you tell your brother to buzz off? I can hear him listening in on the other phone line."
Josh's answer was sobering, "We don't have another phone in the house. I thought you said you were certain your parents had gone out to run errands?"
Carrie listened to the phone click onto the receiver in her kitchen. She had watched her parents leave, whoever was in her kitchen was not her parents.
Billy had made a wish that his grandfather who’d passed away could be brought back to life. He should have clarified his wish a little more; the man’s mouthless screaming coming from the urn in which his ashes resided was unsettling to say in the least.
Alexi stood on the bridge that overlooked the surrounding area with his mouth agape. He had never seen something so wondrous. Off in the distance, glowed an ethereal blue light. It mixed with the dusky twilight and seemed to cast an otherworldly on the area surrounding it. People from all over the town had flocked to this overlook after hearing the news of this oddity. They all stood dumbstruck, bathing in the light that emanated from the landscape that was stretched out before them.
Alexi felt a tugging on his pant legs and he looked down to see his youngest, Sergei. He was six years old and couldn’t get a good look at the radiance; he was begging his father to boost him up so he could get a better view. He obliged with a smile on his face and picked up his son, setting him on his shoulders. The two watched the light awestruck at the inherent beauty of the world.
Alexi knew that if he lived to be one thousand years old, he would not see another sight that rivaled the beauty of the blue-ish light intermingling in the Pripyat sky. It was April 26th, 1986 and Chernobyl just suffered a catastrophic failure at its nuclear power plant. Within a month, anyone who went to watch that glow withered away and died from acute radiation poisoning.
Thank God for Familiar Faces
People are always telling me I have one of those familiar faces. I guess that’s why the woman in the line-up misidentified her attacker.
Johnny was having a tough time re-adjusting to life after the move. They had moved after Steve had lost his job. The father knew it was difficult being moved from your home and forced to make new friends in a new school. He had gone through it himself when he was young and he empathized, which was why he decided to do something nice for him.
He had just lost another one of his baby teeth and Steve sat down with him and explained how he had ‘talked’ to the tooth fairy and convinced him to increase the price for teeth to five dollars as Johnny had been such a good boy lately. Johnny’s eyes lit up the next morning when he found five dollars under his bed. He excitedly talked about buying a new Gameboy so he could play Pokemon with his friends.
Steve told him that five dollars would not be enough. He had meant to discourage him. He planned on giving his son a Gameboy in a few months when his birthday rolled around. Johnny stuck out his lips and pouted. It was tough seeing him like that, but he didn’t have the money for the system yet. Johnny however wanted it now and he had a plan.
Steve woke up to a horrible scene the next morning. Johnny was at the kitchen table with pliers in his hand. Blood stained his mouth and the front of his shirt. In front of him were six tiny teeth. Steve could only watch in shock as his son angled the pliers back towards his mouth and burbled through the blood, “Just two more and I’ll have enough.”
Billy wished on the shooting star that he wouldn't have to go to school ever again. The meteorite granted his wish by smashing into him from orbit.
You tried to ignore him, but he kept talking. He had been leaning up against a wall to prevent falling over when you walked by him. You tried to convince yourself that he didn’t know what he was saying, or who he was saying it to but he kept insulting you. You tried to control your temper, but you patience began to wear thin.
You tried to imagine what you could do to him. He was drunk and he wouldn’t be able to defend himself. You could easily overpower him and pin him to the ground while punching, gouging, and biting at his exposed flesh. He would scream as you hooked your finger into the orbit, obliterating his eye while you sank your teeth into his cheek and tore flesh free. You tried to quell those thoughts, they wouldn’t get you anywhere and when it was all said and done, he’d still be bothering you.
You tried to cross the street but he followed you. He didn’t like being ignored and now he wanted an apology from you for treating him like he wasn’t there, like he wasn’t a human being. You tried to lose him by ducking into an alley, but he drunkenly shambled after you. You tried to tell yourself that you were attempting to get away and weren’t actually luring him away from prying eyes. You lost it when he caught up to you and shoved you. You tried to stop yourself, you really did.
As Maria cradled her child in her arms and looked at his three lobed, multi-colored iris, complete with a nictitating membrane, she knew that he took more after his father more than her.
He Is a Monster
I know he is watching; he always admires his handiwork after situations like this. I stand over the recently killed corpse of the dog with tears carving a path down my face. He has done this. He loves engineering these situations. He feeds off the emotion and trauma. It is entertainment to him.
He is a monster.
I know he is watching as I struggle to dig a hole in the sand for the feral dog. It’s difficult work with only one hand, but that’s all I have. He has taken everything else from me. He robbed me from my home, tore me from the arms of my lover, and dismembered me. He made me cut off my own hand or leave it to rot and render me septic.
Despite all of this, I know I will survive. I will persevere the injustices he visits upon me. I wish I could say that it’s my desire to survive that drives me forward, but it’s not. He goads me on. He wants me to reach the perfect end, his ideal ending.
We have souls; we feel everything. He’s a monster.
Travis sat back and rubbed at his stubble. The story had a good premise, but it faltered at the conclusion. It really could use more of an emotional impact. Maybe the next draft would turn out better. He stretched and began to think of other ways to make the story more emotional and visceral. He sat back down and continued typing.
Tucking my son in for the night, he asked me if monsters were real; I lied and told him that they weren’t. I spent the rest of the night crying and rubbing the six digit tattoo along my forearm fearing the day that I’d have to tell him the story behind it.
A Goodbye Letter
I’m sorry that I have to write this out instead of telling you myself, but after reading this letter, I hope you’ll understand why I’m doing this. We’ve been together for a long time, but given what’s been happening lately, I’m not too sure I can stick around for much longer.
You’ve changed. I mean that sincerely. When we started out, you were innocent. You were naive, not in a bad sense. Your naivety showed potential. You could be anything. You had promise. You wanted to become something amazing. Instead of that, I could only watch in horror as you slowly devolved.
It started off innocently enough. You showed disregard for animals around you. At first I thought that that was a tic of your personality, but it grew into something much worse. Your cruelty expanded to those around you. You quickly displayed an utter disscontempt for the people around you, it was almost as if they meant nothing to you. I think that disturbed me the most.
To be honest, that’s not why I’m leaving. The fact that you followed a path I didn’t like wasn’t the trigger. The reason why I’m leaving is because the way you are going down is dark and cruel, and you haven’t reached the end. With your potential to change and grow I’m scared for you. I don’t know how deep your capacity for cruelty is and I don’t want to know if it extends to me. I’m scared of you.
When I heard him whimper her name in his sleep, I couldn’t take it anymore; I made sure he’d never be able to make love to her again with my pocketknife. How was I supposed to know that Jolene was the name of his sister who died in an accident back when he was still a child?
Words, Words, Words.
I have to take this nice and slow. I have to choose my words carefully. I don’t want to make this worse for me. Something’s happened this past week to the way we talk, I don’t know what’s causing it or how it’s happening, I only know that it’s killing people. Innocuous phrases, figures of speech, colloquialisms, and hyperboles are becoming literal, with disastrous results. Most people have stopped talking, but that approach is not helping anymore.
The first victim was Old Man Noam. He always was a talker, he loved to ramble on with old stories and local urban legends to anyone who would listen. It was when he started a conversation with a college student, who was too nice to walk away that it happened. Noam was rambling on about the time he found the Jersey Devil in his backyard. At the crescendo of his long-winded story, he said those fateful words. He said that he was besides himself with shock at finding the legendary cryptid in Spokane when it happened.
Noam screamed in agony as he was attacked by some invisible force and ripped in two. The student could only watch in horror as the bisected man clutched desperately at his severed lower half while he bled out as if he could re-attach himself. The people who witnessed Noam's death called the police who promptly took the student into custody so he could be interrogated for the possible murder.
They changed the boy out of his bloodstained clothes and gave him a grey prison jumper. They interrogated him for five hours before the stress, lights, and questions broke him. In his frustration he said something about how the uncomfortable jumper was killing him. The jumper then constricted tight around him. He flailed around the room trying to tear the attacking clothes off, but they were too tight and coiled around him. The police officers could only watch as the jumper shrunk to the point of crushing his bones and organs until the student died. When they cut the clothes off of him to try and make sense of what had happened, they found that the seams of the prison jumper had actually cut into him, bruised him in places, and completely compressed his lungs into a pulpy mess.
It didn’t take long for people to make the connection between their words and the results. Many stopped talking, but a few spoke out on how to protect yourself from this phenomenon. They explained that it only affects the speaker. You can’t kill other people with your words except in certain situations. (One woman joked with a friend that she always assumed she would go out with a bang. The resulting explosion killed four, crippled one, and severely burned five people.) Your words will always be turned against you. One man boasted that he want to die ‘drowning in pussy’ and found himself swarmed and smothered by a horde of oddly clingy cats.
It’s gotten worse. It’s no longer restricted to spoken word, it’s spread onto written messages. I was texting with a friend, trying to understand what was happening when he, always a defeatist, said he was screwed six ways till Sunday due to his tendency to talk. From what I hear, he died of severe exhaustion, dehydration, and physical shock after removing his genitals with a pair of scissors and using them on himself. Soon it’ll spread to our thoughts and then we’re all dead.
I’m writing this because I am dying. Slower than the others, but dying none-the-less. I just wanted it to end in the nicest way possible. I said I wanted to die with a smile on my face. I thought that would be harmless, dying happy. It didn’t work. Please let me die. My face is paralyzed in a grin. I can’t eat, I can’t talk, I can’t even scream in agony at this perpetual smile burning my muscles. I just want this to end.
Written by EmpyrealInvective