“Wake … up … you must … wa-“. That’s when it stopped. Those were the last words the tall, dark figure spoke to me when a white curtain fell over all that I saw, covering the previous scenery with an endless sea of snow.
My pupils slowly started to open, only to see the full moon’s reflecting light upon my pale face. I started to shiver, the ground felt cold against my back, my head ached terribly and my hands were all covered in blood and mud. I freaked out, I couldn’t remember anything, and how the hell did I end up in a forest? My heart started to pound like a big bass drum, but – to my surprise – the anxious beating pattern didn’t last long. It’s funny that even though I can’t remember my own name I could still recall my chickenhearted disposition.
Darkness can be really terrifying, especially when you’re alone… or in a forest… or in a forest all by yourself where the pine trees stretch out as if they were trying to talk to the ricochet of stars in the sky. Finding myself all alone, I decided to find the nearest road out of this hell, but for a moment I was unsure whether this was truly Hell or not, because normally, under these circumstances I’d be scared to death, but strangely enough, I somehow … felt to be “in the right place”.…
I can hear the screams of men, and gunfire. I can smell their fear. They know something is in the dark, something strange, menacing, and very, very hungry.
Oh God-blam-the fuck is that-blamblam- It hurts-blamblamblam-please don’t-blamblamblamblam-Noooooooo- blamblamblamblamblamblam……
I wake trembling in a cold sweat, sheets tangled around my legs. A few feathers drift lazily through the air from where I can see my pillow ripped open, lying against the far wall. I look across the bed to the nightstand, the green LED lights telling me it’s 4:30 A.M. It was the dream again, the same dream. I glance reproachfully at the remains of a fifth of whiskey and a half empty bottle of sleeping pills lying on its side by the clock. They’ve never kept the nightmare from me before, but I still have hope that it’s just a question of finding the right quantity.
My hands still slightly shaking; I grab the bottle and take a healthy swallow, then drop it empty to the puke-green colored carpeting that passes as decoration in my bedroom. It burns, but that’s just fine. Knowing I will never get back to sleep and with only another thirty minutes before I had set my alarm to wake me anyway, I throw on coffee and jump into the shower.…
Of course everyone claiming residence in Arthur’s Wake knows tales associated with the Wicker House. It seems that every small province plays host to some structure of ill repute which, as if by supernatural magnetism, draws rumor of ghosts and bogies, wrapping the timber and stone of its foundation in a shroud of darkness and horror. In Arthur’s Wake, the Wicker House fills this odious task.
Scant days after arriving in town, while taking the time to familiarize myself with the local watering hole and its residents, I became introduced to the well known superstitions surrounding the Wicker House. As a man of science, I knew any truths to be found in these outlandish stories were likely embellished to points unrecognizable. Nothing was first hand; all experiences were from a friend who knew a fellow who may have seen something. It is the provincial mind which transforms wild dogs into wolves that walk like men and interprets astronomical phenomena as harbingers of certain doom. Still, my curiosity sufficiently piqued, I endeavored to better inform myself upon the subject through more objective means. To my great surprise, while failing to confirm the more supernatural claims of the tales, the town records in the basement of the local library did provide aspect to a most sinister reality all their own.…
My eyes shoot open as the tapping echoes throughout the room, scanning every inch of my dark bedroom for something that should not be there.
Shit. No. No, no. Not now.
Every shadow, every dark corner stands out in my mind as my imagination screams horrifying possibilities what could be lurking in the blackness. My entire body tenses. Closing my eyes, I try to force myself to calm down.
Just ignore it, I internally whisper to myself. Just ignore it and it will go away.
But it doesn’t. Not a minute later, three slow knocks against wood reach my ears. My heart begins to pound as I realize that it was louder this time. It’s getting closer.
Now, instead of opening my eyes, I squeeze them tighter, resisting the urge to once again scan the shadows for the thing I know is coming for me. God, I wish Isaac was here. This never happens when he’s with me. But he had to take a night shift at work, so he won’t be home for hours. But, despite the extreme urge to beckon for his help, I refuse to let myself call him, to tell him to come home. He doesn’t deserve to have to face this horror.…
Sweat trickles down my forehead; I don’t bother to wipe it away, and my eyes sting from staring at the monitor screen for far too long. The office room I had rented for the short amount of time I’m living in this city was cluttered, and the mess almost filled to the maximum capacity of the room–files and recording tapes everywhere. Stacks of loose paper and documents threatened to topple and create more disarray in the ridiculously small room. But my busy mind was focused on the bright screen: watching, recording, and analyzing the data as I scroll down. Homicide recordings and death rates were unusually high in this particular area of the country, and I am sure I wasn’t the only newspaper reporter who noticed the spiking percentage of murder. Finally, I lean back in my office chair as I looked at a blurry photo of a man, supposedly taken by the victim at the crime scene. Or if it the subject in the photo was even human at all.
Lately, I’ve begun to notice a trend among the photos of the murderers, or at least among the ones I could manage to gather. They were always blurry, and most had traces of static or were distorted to a certain degree, but surprisingly, the photo I had in front of me was probably the clearest out of all the photos I had.…
It hasn’t been long since the outbreak began, it was originally simple. A few bad cases in Africa and Asia but then it seemed to spread into Europe very quickly. Being a new scientist I am to record the examinations and… Morgue reports of the victims who arrive and to discover what this virus might be. Since I was just invited to Europe they instantly quarantined me and are keeping me in this non-contaminated environment. The walls are a sterile white and the only exit I have is the door which of course is locked to prevent spreads into the work zone. They’ll be calling me out soon to do some recording and I’ll try to write down some things in my journal as well though it may never see the light of day since all of this is so hush hush.
God it’s horrible, the first thing I had to do when they made us leave the room was see the first stage of whatever they’re calling this new sickness. The patients were crowded in a gigantic cell, it smelled like vomit and blood. They brought 7 other scientists as well. 5 had to leave because of how graphic it got near the 3rd stage but I’ll get to that later.…
“I hope this thing is on. I still don’t know how to work it properly.” *THUMP THUMPTHUMP THU-THUMPTHUMP* *BREATHING INTO THE MICROPHONE*
“Here we go…
Some would say what I did was wrong. I don’t care. It was what I had to do. It needed to be done. Things never work out like the story in a book or the plot of a movie. Happy endings aren’t real. Even if they were you could never tell if they were the end. Most tales end with the hero getting his revenge or his prize at the end. Not this one. This is a story of pure non-fiction. This is real. The following are extracts from my journal which I will read to you now. “
This is the first time I have tried to do a journal. I figured I would see how long I could stick with it. That’s why I started this as close to the new year as possible. I just moved into the new house. It’s rather big to be all to myself but when the price is right then I can’t argue. There are still some boxes left in here from the last occupants but I was assured that they would be picked up later.…
Edgar raised his head up from his chest; back pressed firmly into his favorite recliner, his entire body drenched in cold sweat. He stared into shadows at the edge of the living room, eyes welling with tears as he lifted the revolver slowly and deliberately to his temple. “Seventeen”, he whispered to the darkness.
The index finger of his right hand had already found its perch on the trigger during the weapon’s ascent, during which he had hesitated no more than a second, his only concern ensuring that the angle he chose would prove fatal. He clenched his left hand into a fist at his side, steeling his will. He inhaled sharply. And with further need of neither breath nor will, he clenched his right hand.
Darkness flashed brilliantly to light from the barrel of a .38 Special, as the gunshot’s dull thunder echoed around the room. The remains of Edgar Freeman slumped sideways in what had once been his favorite chair. The other man with him in that chamber smiled softly, the one in the shadows who had been briefly illuminated by the muzzle flare, that sallow man in the dark suit with the pale blue eyes. He smiled as everything turned gray.…
The dust was whirling behind their car as they sped down the gravel road. Dust and dirt swirled behind them like a dark cloud gaining on the small car.
David glanced at the dash board to see how fast he was driving and it showed sixty-eight. He wasn’t sure why he was driving so fast; they weren’t exactly in a hurry.
He and his friend, Ryan, were heading across the state after fall break to their school. They were both freshmen at Crestwood University.
Both of them were failing their classes due to all of the initial partying they kept doing. They didn’t care. To David, the thought of being an accountant like his father was like the dust behind them, waiting for them to take a wrong turn so it could catch up with them and choke them out.
“So dude, check this out. Do you remember Amanda Lytle? The blonde chick that used to hang out with my sister?” Ryan asked him.
“Is she the one who posted that video of herself on the internet playing hide and seek with a carrot?”
“Yep, that’s her. I ran into her at Johnny’s party Friday, and I’ve gotta say, vegetables aren’t her only talent.”
They both laughed and continued the topic of choice for awhile.…
Very seldom does it happen that a young person enters a nursing home. Mostly we assume that nursing homes are for the elderly. Those who are too fragile or infirm to be without twenty-four hour care, those with a broken hip that won’t heal or with too many illnesses to count. A few who will recover and the rest left here as a last resort. But occasionally a child inhabits a room at a nursing home. Here is the tale of one such child, and the impression she left behind.
Molly had never been what her parents would consider a good little girl. She was constantly fighting with her mother and attempting to harm her baby brother. Even keeping her medicated, they weren’t able to keep her under control. There were many instances when someone ended up being hurt. It was one of these times that ended with Molly in one of the sick rooms at Riverwood. She had started a fire in an attempt to kill her family, but had instead almost killed herself, after becoming trapped in her room. There had been no real explanation for it. She had just felt compelled to do so.
When they had finally been able to pull her out of the fire, most of her hair was gone; some areas of her body were burned almost down to the charred bone.…