Day of Reckoning: Chapter 1

(Click here to read Prologue 1 & 2)

 

Chapter 1

Captured

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Portrait of The Burlap Mask- from Grim Stitch Factory

 

Amy opened her eyes to total blackness.

She was confused.

She tried to rub them thinking she could rub away the dark but her hands were bound behind her back.  A wave of panic surged though her body.  She tried to scream but could only mew like a kitten.  Her mouth was sealed with a sticky substance she knew to be duct tape.  Her breathing came hard and ragged in and out of her nose.  The sudden loss of carbon dioxide brought her to the break of hyperventilation.

She tried to slow her breathing but cold fear tightened around her neck like the grim reaper, threatening her life.  Fearing death immenent, she made herself concentrate on each breath until it slowed

Again, she tried to move but to no avail, except for a slight sway back and forth.  To Amy’s horror she realized she was hanging upside down.  Warm liquid, she knew to be blood, ran down her legs from her shackled ankles.  The shackles that bit hard into her flesh had been tightened by a horrific man with super human strength.  The pain was almost unbearable and Amy did the only thing she could…cry.  Silent tears dripped to mix with the blood and cold earth below.

Tonight, Amy’s naked body hung helpless like a piece of meat awaiting the butcher’s saw.

***

 

He was confident she wouldn’t be able to escape.  The shackles he used were old but solid, and he had added a bit more force when clasping them to her ankles.  He smiled beneath the mask and whispered… “There’s no way the bitch can get out of them.”  He hadn’t wanted to leave her alone in the root cellar but there were things to do…items to prepare before they could spend their first night together.

It had to be perfect.

The cabin was cold and full of cobwebs but that didn’t bother him.  He busied himself making a fire in the old stone fireplace and unzipping the mummy sleeping bag that would serve as embryo for Amy’s naked body.  He placed it close to the fire…after all he wanted the womb to be warm and life-giving.  As he tidied the place of birth, his stomach growled with hunger pains, but he cursed them knowing eating would have to come much later.  He knew Amy would be hungry as well, but what did he care…after all it was her soul he was trying to save and not her body.

Her body was beautiful…he would have been an imbecile to not notice her womanly curves and toned physique.  He knew she would be fit even before he took off her clothes, after all he had spent hours watching her and her friend run every morning at 6 am.  Amy was a creature of habit and that had made his job so ridiculously easy.

When he thought of how careless she was it made him angry, but he was a teacher…so he would teach, and she would learn.  Would she learn the easy way or the hard way?  Well…that was entirely up to her, but he hoped for the latter because he was prepared for the challenge.  He glanced at the freshly polished tools lain neatly beside the sleeping bag…oh yes…he was prepared.

He had practiced and practiced a lot.  All the other girls had been unworthy but necessary.  After all he had had to learn, and learn he did.

Amy would be his masterpiece.  Of this he was certain.

***

 

Amy floated in and out of consciousness as she hung in the dank root cellar.  Exhaustion and pain, from gravities pull on againist her own body weight, made even shallow breathing near to impossible.  The vessels in her brain bulged heavy with blood, so no matter how hard she willed herself to stay awake, she eventually could do nothing but surrender to the darkness.

In those short waking moments, she tried to remember what had happened to bring her to this place of hell.  Memory came and went in flashes, and the very moment she thought she understood, darkness clouded her mind and once again she fell into unconsciousness.  At first this was frustrating, but then, in a sick sort of way, it became a game of cat and mouse.  Amy conditioned herself to capture, hold, and tuck away every memory from each awakening moment.

Conscious once again, Amy began to sort the snippets of memory she had collected…a cabin…a phone call…Rudy…barking and growling…utter fear and confusion…

Slowly, ever so slowly, the pieces fell into place and Amy was able to remember the sequence of events that had led her here…

 

(six hours ago)

Amy and Rudy finally arrived.  The snow storm had made the roads treacherous, so the two-hour trip had turned into four.  Amy, checked her phone for a signal, and was relieved to see at least one bar, so she called Sky, not wanting her to worry. 

Sky’s voice greeted her after the third ring…  

“Hello!  Unfortunate for you I’m unavailable, but if you leave your message, “yours truly” will call you back…if you’re lucky!  Beep Beep!”

Amy rolled her eyes.

“Okay…the greeting is getting a little old…why don’t you change it already…”

“Listen,” Amy continued, “I didn’t want you to worry.  The roads were hellish, but Rudy and I made it to the cabin in one piece…errr…maybe I should say two pieces.” She looked at Rudy’s hassling pink tongue and smiled.  “Anyway, we’re here, we’re safe and sound.  Try to be good while I’m away.  I know for you, that’s quite the challenge!  Call me when you get a chance.  I love you, babe…bye.” 

In spite of herself, Amy smiled, and tossed the phone into her handbag.

Rudy, eager to escape the confines of the car, licked the closed window.  Amy reached for the passenger’s door handle, “Poor baby, how dare mama keep you cooped up for so long…”

Rudy jumped into the undisturbed snow and rolled vigorously.

Smiling, happy to see her golden so excited, she gathered her handbag, suitcase, and easel and trudged through the deep snow towards the log cabin, she and Sky had built together. 

The musty air, that had been trapped inside for months, assaulted her nose, causing her to pause for a moment, but Rudy nonchalantly padded past her and went inside.  He busied himself sniffing here and there, as Amy opened windows to let in the fresh air.   A cold snowy breeze rushed in and Amy breathed it deep into her lungs. 

Looking around at the rustic walls, she felt a peace she hadn’t know for a long time.  Secretly, she thanked Sky for insisting she take this week to rest, recover, and perhaps begin a new painting.  God knows she needed recovery, after barely surviving the horrors of the previous months… Immediately her mind began to replay each horrific scenario; the letters, the calls, random gifts…the home invasion.

“Stop it Amy!”  She chastised herself and willed her mind back to the present.

Rudy, sitting on his haunches, stared at her and shifted his head sideways trying to understand what, “Stop it Amy” meant.  Amy noticed his quizzical look, laughed and ruffled the golden locks atop his head.  All at once his confusion dissipated.  He gave her hand a quick lick before padding away in search of stinky new smells. 

The cabin, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, was so isolated that cell phone reception was hit and miss, and often became the dream that never came true.  So, Amy, a lover of antiques, had purchased an old rotary phone, from a local flea market; and hung it on the wall, beside the entrance that opened into a small but modern kitchen. 

The entire cabin was small; other than the kitchen, it contained one bedroom large enough for a king sized bed and dresser, a bathroom with shower and double sink, a cozy den with a plush sofa and huge stone fireplace with cedar mantle that covered an entire wall, and a front deck complete with hot-tub and many pots that would filled with ferns and flowers come Spring.  It was a perfect weekend get-a-way for her and Sky.  With only a two-hour drive, the cabin became the magic elixir needed to de-stress from the cities rat-race that dominated their lives.  Their goal was to eventually live here, but for now their jobs kept them tethered to the city.

Rudy barked, startling Amy.  He anxiously scratched at the screen door that led outside.  Thinking he had to pee, Amy opened the door to let him outside.  Simultaneously the phone hanging on the wall began to ring.  Amy knew it was Sky returning her call.  She picked it up on the fourth ring and immediately said into the receiver, “Hey babe!  It’s beautiful here!  You should see the snow!”

The voice on the other end replied, “Amy, listen to me…lock the door!”

Amy recognized Sky’s voice, but Rudy’s incessant barking garbled the message.    

“Damn it, Rudy, hush up!”

In response, Rudy’s barking deepened with guttural growls, making it impossible for Amy to hear Sky. 

“Wait a minute…let me see what the hell Rudy is barking at. I’ll be right back,” she said into the phone and laid the receiver down and walked toward the screen door.  Amy didn’t hear Sky’s voice begging her to lock the door.  

The screen door squeaked when she opened it.  Amy stepped outside to stand on the deck.  Rudy, only a few feet from her, crouched low and snarled baring his sharp canines.  Amy felt a wave of uneasiness, for she knew Rudy…her happy-go-lucky retriever, rarely growled.

Amy scanned the edge of the woods looking for anything that would explain her dog’s vicious transformation.  Seeing absolutely nothing, she knelt and began to coax Rudy to come to her.  “Come on boy…it’s okay…”

A shadow, flickered quickly past her peripheral vision, before she could turn to see what it was, Rudy lunged in her direction.  Gnashing teeth, unbearable pain, and a deafening BANG were last things Amy remembered.

Afterwards, came the darkness.

Afterwards came hell.

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day of Reckoning: Prologue 1 and 2

Prologue 1

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 What’s the phrase?

“Looks can be deceiving…?”

Yes, that’s the one.

From a bystander’s point of view the cabin looked innocent enough.  It had its walls, windows, rooms, and door, but that’s where the similarity ended.  This cabin was old…ancient, and it held within its walls secrets…many bad secrets.

No one knew the cabin’s origin.  Old mountain folk claimed it had always been there just sitting and waiting and waiting and sitting.  Of course, the locals knew better than to enter, but every once in a while, out-of-towners made the mistake of thinking it a nice place to set up camp.  They entered through its only door, the front door, and they were never seen again.

Superstition past down from generation to generation claimed the cabin was the epi-center for a demon virus that infested the surrounding forest.  Everyone took the long way around…it was a gamble no villager was willing take.  In fact, the fear of the cabin seemed to be intrinsic to each child birthed within the area.  There was never a need to say, “Stay away from the cabin.”  No, somehow…somehow, they just knew.

Of course, many a ghost story was spun down through the years.  They were told by the light of a campfire, and always barely above a whisper for they feared the wind would carry their voice to the haunted forest and deliver it to the cabin.

One such story tells of a father who is distraught that his son has caught “the fever.”  In that day there was no cure for the fever, and most who caught it died.  The father makes plans to take his son to an old hag that slept in the cave located on the other side of the mountain.

The old hag, known as Old Mad Molly, spent her days foraging for plants, that others tossed into the fire, to be burned as weeds.  The sanctimonious, and “good people” of the village shunned the old woman.  They called her witch by day, but at night, under the cover of darkness, the very same took their sick and begged her to heal them.

The father held his son close to his chest, and set out into the night for the old woman’s cave.  The path led to outer reaches of the forest that surrounded the cabin, and when the father realized this he stopped.  He could go around the cabin and its god-awful forest, but there was no time as his son was near to death.

Fear gripped the father’s heart like a vise, and his knees buckled beneath him.  He was paralyzed, afraid to move.  He called out to Old Mad Molly; his cries echoed long into the night.  No one was certain if the old hag had heard his pleas, but everyone knew she never came to help.

The father looked down at the dying son in his arms, and he listened to a tiny voice pleading, “…papa please…I don’t want to die.”  But the father was too afraid to go any further, and so he held, and rocked his boy until the cries for help ceased.  Like a zombie, the father rose, and took his son’s lifeless body home.

The father laid the pale body on an old cloth.  The boy’s eyes were open in death and they stared at the father as he rolled his son into a sarcophagus of burlap.  He placed the body inside of the hole he had dug and began to cover his son with the freshly unearthed dirt.  With each shovel full of dirt, the father heard the ghost of his son begging, ‘…papa…no papa its cold…please papa help me…”

When the last shovel of dirt was tossed, the father went home and hung himself.

Now, the old folk claim on certain nights when the wind blows just right the boy’s cries can be heard screaming within the haunted forest.

“Papa it’s cold down here…papa…papa…”

 

(Fast Forward to Present Day)

 Today, the cabin was hungry.  It had been long since it had eaten the bones, and drank the blood of a fresh kill.  The hardwood floors were dry and cracked and ached with thirst.

The cabin, like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, was in desperate need of a Renfield.  Renfield, Dracula’s insane but loyal servant, guarded his master’s coffin by day, and at night brought tasty treats to satisfy his master’s blood lust.

The cabin was confident it had finally found its Renfield within the body of the abomination.  The abomination had worked diligently to prepare the cabin.  Today he completed the finishing touches by polishing the silver “tools” and laying them neatly beside the chair he had bolted to the floor.  The leather straps at the end of the chairs arms and legs were crisp and new.  They needed breaking in, he thought…his mind went to his prey and he smiled.

He walked slowly to the bathroom and looked at his reflection in the mirror.  He watched his face disappear as he pulled the mask over.   The sinews of the burlap snaked their way over and around the contours of his bony white face…the jagged slits fit perfectly over the red eyes that stared back at him.  The burlap was so old its tattered places were stitched from the hide of pig that had been slaughtered years ago.

The abomination smiled beneath the mask.  He was happy with his new face.

Another pair of eyes, hidden behind dusty rafters, had witnessed the transformation.  It blinked and refocused its black eyes upon its Renfield, and then a rotted smile split its face.

 

Prologue 2

 The Abomination

The abomination grunted and almost fell beneath the weight of the naked woman he carried over his shoulder.  She was drugged so her body hung like a rag doll…her dead weight made heavier by gravity’s pull. The forest floor was littered with amber, red, and yellow leaves, and dried branches and acorns crunched harmoniously underneath his black boots.

Finally, he reached the sacrificial spot so he dropped the woman and postured her in a sitting position with her back against an ancient oak tree, and her legs he crossed Indian style.    A rope was tied tightly to each of her wrists and pulled snug around the tree like a pair of shoestrings, and tied together with a double fisherman’s knot.  Her head hung limp between her breasts, and her long blonde hair acted as a cover to hide her nakedness.

The abomination sat crossed legged in front her…his face so close to hers that their noses would touch if she lifted her head.  There was nothing left to do but sit and wait until the drugs wore off.  As he waited, he adjusted the burlap mask so the eye holes were in perfect position.  He wanted his view unobstructed because he knew the fear on her face would be delicious and he wanted to relish every second.  He sat in front of her patiently waiting for over an hour in which time he never blinked even once.  When he finally sensed the faint stirrings of the woman his lethargic heart quickened, and his pants tightened with the beginnings of an erection.

The woman moaned and his pants tightened even more.  Semi conscience she rolled her head left and then right.  She wondered why her shoulders ached and why her world was black.  Her mind grasped for any sense of reason and as the cobwebs began to clear she realized her world was black because she had yet to open her eyes.  Ever so slowly she began to open them.  At first the view was blurred with hues of brown and red.  She blinked several times to clear her vision…with the last blink she let them fall open.  Only inches away two red eyes, glared at her.  They were so close she could have licked the burlap that shrouded them. His glare bore deep into to her reaching the inner most part where she hid her soul.  Her soul filled with horror and it tried to escape with the scream that parted her lips.  The scream was so deafening the birds scattered; however, throughout the duration of the scream his soulless red eyes never blinked but grew wider in excitement.  Finally, the woman’s lungs begged for air, and so her screams turned to raspy gasps desperately searching for her lost breath.

The abomination waited patiently until the woman gained some sort of composure.  With his red eyes-only inches from her blues, he recognized what he had longed to see…her surrender.  He watched as her eyes welled with tears of acceptance, and he knew that she knew it was over.

“There now,” a sinister voice spoke from underneath the mask, “…isn’t it better when we agree?”  The woman knew this was not a question to be answered but rather a proclamation of his victory statement, and so she remained quiet, resigned to her fate.

“We both knew the day of reckoning would come.”  He chided.

“The Reaper has been waiting, and he’s anxious to begin.”

 

(Click Here To Go To Chapter 1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Amy Met Sky

original_artificial-daffodils-in-glass-vaseAmy looked around the room, and for the tenth time wished the floor would open and swallow her whole.  Being an introvert, she hated parties because she always felt awkward, and never knew what to say.  After the basic niceties of “hello…and, how are you…, she drew a blank, and usually stood looking at the individual like soon-to-be roadkill caught in the light.

“Ugh…why had she come?”  She wondered.

But Amy knew why she had come.  She had promised Rose, and she didn’t want to let her down.  Rose, her best friend, and fellow colleague from the university, had worked hard the set up this party.  In fact, for the last two months that’s all she had talked about on their morning runs.

While jogging in place at one stop light, Amy learned there would be tiny finger sandwiches filled with chicken salad and pimento cheese, and the platter of these would rest upon a daffodil table-cloth that had once belonged to her grandmother.

Then the light turned green and they would run quietly until stopped at the next light, at which time Rose picked up the conversation where she had left it at the last stoplight.  “…and of course there’ll be crystal vases of freshly cut daffodils on every table…” Another green light and off they’d go.  Amy couldn’t help but smile at her friend’s chatter.

Amy looked around the large room, and saw the mental image she had imagined for the last two months.   She knew it well and felt she could navigate the room blind, without a seeing-eye-dog.

The thought of the dog caused her to smile.  She liked dogs.  In fact, she liked them better than people.  They were loyal and you could always…always be yourself around them. They never told you, you stink…even if it had been three days gone since the last shower.  Amy giggled.  On the other hand, most people were happy say, “…you stink”…but she supposed that could be a good thing.  Amy giggled, again.

In her 32 years, Amy had also found people to be far less accepting.  At least not the ones in her life, save for Rose, of course.  Rose was different, she had listened to Amy’s story without judgement, and for that Amy had been grateful.  Other than her family, she had shared her “secret” with no one but Rose.  Rose was the first person to cry with her, and the first person to love her unconditionally…no strings attached.   Her family…not so much.

“Amy!”  “Look at you!”  “Oh my God, you’re beautiful!”

Amy looked up from her reverie, and saw her best friend coming towards her with a gigantic smile, and arms wide open.  In that moment Amy was glad she had come.

Amy returned the smile, and barely got out “Rose” before she was engulfed within Rose’s warm embrace.  Rose always gave the best hugs.  She held you tight like she’d not seen you in years, you could actually feel her heart quicken, so there was no doubt of her happiness to see you.  Amy felt blessed to have Rose in her life…a life that had once been drab and lonely.

The two loosened their embrace, but still clung to one another.  Rose surveyed Amy, and Amy surveyed Rose.

Rose’s orange hair, usually in a pony-tail, hung loose around her pale shoulders.  The freckles splashed across her nose were practically invisible, but Amy knew they were there.  It was only yesterday the two had run four miles under a bright sun, and the baseball cap on Rose’s head had helped to protect her delicate skin, but the freckles on her nose had been angry, and protested against the sun’s hot rays.  Rose always hid them with makeup while teaching at the university, but by the end of the day, the coat of foundation she had bathed them in faded, so that they were visible for all to see.

Amy loved Rose’s freckles because they so aptly fit her green eyes, and bubbly personality.

Rose pulled Amy close again, and kissed her cheek.

“I’m so glad you came,” she whispered.

Amy lied, and said, “Me too.”

“C’mon I’ve got someone I want you to meet.”

Rose took her hand and led her deeper into the crowded room.  Amy inwardly sighed.  She knew the real torture was about to begin.

Almost everyone called out to Rose as they passed.

“Great party Rose!”

“Hey Rose, you got to see this…”

“Rose, who catered?  The food is…”

“What’s the DJ’s name…DAMN he’s cute!”

Rose smiled at each, and held up a number one with the pointer finger of her right hand.  Everyone knew it meant, “in a minute,” and so they drank more wine and waited patiently for their turn.

Rose and Amy stopped abruptly, just short of the bar. A rowdy raucous between a big burly man, and a slender blonde was playing out in front of them.

The woman’s frame was small, but very athletic.  Both were sitting on the bar stools, and both were holding a filled shot glass in the air.  The bartender slapped the bar and said, “go!”  The woman downed hers first, and started on the next one, of the four set before her.  She finished the second as the burly man was turning his first shot glass upside-down, and reaching for his second.  The woman wasted no time in downing number three, and paused for only a second to burp.  After the burp, she threw down the contents of the last shot glass, and slammed it down hard upon the bar.  By the time the woman yelled, “DONE!,” the man was just reaching for his fourth glass.  He cursed and set the filled glass back on the bar, spilling some of its contents.  Disgusted, he walked away.  The woman smiled.  She reached for his last shot glass and wasted no time tossing its contents down her throat.  Again, she burped and then said, “Who’s next?”

Amy stood, stunned.  She couldn’t take her eyes off of the woman at the bar.

Her athletic build was clothed in a white Oxford shirt, faded jeans, and black boots.  Tanned arms escaping the rolled-up sleeves were lean, each muscle well-defined.  Her short blonde hair was spiked on top, not in a “Mad-Max” kind of way, but just enough to command attention.  Amy noticed the woman smiled and laughed easily, and her blue eyes sparkled, not the least bit dulled by all the booze she had downed.

“Who in the hell is that?”  Amy whispered.

“That’s who I want you to meet,” said Rose.

As if she overheard, the woman at the bar turned to catch Amy staring.

The woman smiled at Amy, and Amy felt as if she would fall to the floor.  They held each other’s eyes for what seemed forever, before she stood, and walked towards Amy and Rose.

“Rosie!”  The woman gave Rose a quick kiss on the lips.

“How the hell are you?”  The woman hugged Rose and added, “It’s been too damn long!”

“And whose fault is that?” asked Rose.

“The road’s fault of course.” the woman said without hesitation.  “Mid May to mid August the damn thing has a habit of taking me all over the states!  But…I guess I could have called…sorry…”  she tilted her head and asked, “still friends?”

Rose pursed her lips as if she were trying to decide.

“C’mon Rosie…Pleeeeeeeeeeeese,” the woman begged with a million-dollar smile spread across her face.

Rose burst out laughing.

“Sky…how the hell can I stay mad at you?”

Amy thought it impossible, but the woman’s smile grew more radiant.

Rose noticed as well and said sternly, “…wipe that damn smile off your face!”

They both laughed and gave each other another hug.

Amy stood watching, feeling a bit like a third wheel.  As if Rose had read Amy’s mind, she turned to Amy, put an arm around her, and pulled her close.

“Sky, I’d like you to meet a dear friend of mine.”

Sky looked at Amy and winked.  “I thought I’d already met all of your dearest friends…?”

“Seeeeeeee what can happen in only a few months…”  Rose chided.

Sky looked chagrined for only a moment, then stepped closer to Amy and gently took her hands.

“Forgive me, I’m Skylar Shannon, and I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance.”

Amy stared into the blue eyes looking at her.  No words came to her mind, so she just stood… staring.

After a brief moment of awkwardness, Rose came to Amy’s rescue,

“This is Amy!  Amy Merrigan!  We only met a few of months ago, but I feel as if I’ve known her all my life.  She’s an artist extraordinaire, a damn good running partner, and a very VERY special woman!”

Amy flushed, and heard her heartbeat echoing within her chest.  She wondered if they could hear it as well.

Still holding Amy’s hands, Sky smiled into the brown eyes staring back at her.

After long awkward pause, Amy finally found her voice and said,

“Uh…I’m Amelia Merrigan, and I teach at the university with Rose.”

***

He watched the two women laughing in the luminescent light.  He couldn’t watch them without gritting his teeth.  For a moment he feared someone would hear his teeth grinding, but a quick look around assured  him he was alone in his dark corner of the room.

“Amy…you know better…” he muttered through clinched teeth.

“You were raised better than this,” he added, and then cursed under his breath.

He heard the women laughing, and saw the blonde reach over to take Amy’s hands in hers.  Hot anger flowed through his body like lava, and for a moment the thought of spontaneous combustion entered his psyche.  At that, he almost laughed, but a quick hand clamped over his mouth and snuffed it out.

“…probably not a bad way to go,”  he pondered, “…talk about going out in a blaze of glory…”  Again, the hand covered his mouth…  but, oh…how he laughed inside…heartily and robust he laughed and laughed.  The hilarity was so deafening he thought his head would explode.

All the while he sat quietly in his dark corner, gritting his teeth, and plotting his evil plan.

***

To read more about Amy and Sky visit my other blog Creepy Reflections

 

The Cabin in the Woods

Today’s two word-prompt combination:

[WordPress:  Candid]  +  [Writer’s Block:  Virus]  =

The Cabin in the Woods

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***

The cabin appeared innocent enough, but to be candid, it too was infested by the same demonic virus that ran rampant in the woods.

What’s the old idiom..  “…looks can be deceiving…” ?  

Yes, that was the one.

The cabin was just like any other cabin with its walls, doors, windows and rooms, but that’s where the similarity ended.  This cabin was old…ancient, and it held many secrets…many bad secrets…

No one could attest to the cabin’s origin.

The old mountain folk claimed it had always been…there.  There had never been a time before the cabin.  The horror of the cabin seemed to be inborn within each child birthed into the area.  There was never a need to say, “…stay away…”  No, somehow they…well, somehow they just…knew.

Of course many ghost stories were spun, down through the years.  They were told by the light of a campfire, and always…always told barely above a whisper.  They feared the trees around them would steal their voice and carry it upon the winds of the haunted forest and deliver it to the cabin.

One such story whispered in the night, tells of a father who is filled with grief  over his son who has caught “the fever.”  Knowing there was no cure, the father plans to take his dying son to an old hag that slept in the cave located on the other side of the mountain.

The old woman of the cave, spent her days foraging for plants, that others tossed into the fire, to be burned as weeds.  The sanctimonious, and “good people” of the village shunned the old woman.  They called her a witch by day, but at night, in the cover of darkness, the very same took their sick, and begged old Molly to heal them with her powers.

The father held his son close to his chest, and began his journey to see the old woman. The path led to the outer reaches of  the cabin, and when the father realized this he stopped abruptly.  He could go around the cabin and its god-awful forest,  but there was no time as his son was near to death.

It is said the father fell to his knees and cried  for old mad Molly to come and save his dying son.  His cries echoed long into the night.  No one knew if mad Molly had heard his cries, but everyone knew the hag never came to help.

The father looked down at the son he cradled in his arms, and listened to a tiny voice plead…

“…papa…please…I don’t want to…to die.” 

But the father was too afraid to go any further, and so he held, and rocked his boy until the cries for help ceased.   Like a zombie, the father rose, and took his son’s lifeless body home.

He laid the pale form down upon some old cloth.  The boy’s eyes were open in death, and they stared at his father as he was rolled into a sarcophagus of burlap.

Then he laid him inside the earth, and began to cover him with the freshly dug dirt.  With each shovel full, the father thought he heard his son’s pitiful cry…

…papa…papa please…it’s cold …papa…papa please…” 

When the last shovel of dirt was emptied, the father went home and hung himself.

Now, the old folk, claim that sometimes at night, when the air is just so… the cries of the boy can be heard riding the upon the winds of the haunted forest….  “…papa…papa…please…I don’t want to die…”

***

Today, the cabin was hungry.  It had been long since it had eaten the bones, and drank the blood of a fresh kill.  The hardwood floor, dry and cracked like the sands of a desert, ached of thirst.

The cabin…like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, was in desperate need of its own Renfied.   Renfield had been the vampire’s insane but loyal servant, who guarded the coffins at day, and at night was ever faithful to prepare for his master tasty meals.

The cabin was confident it had finally found its Renfied within the body of Thomas Cain.

Thomas, also the loyal servant, had worked hard to prepare the cabin.  Today he completed the finishing touches, by polishing a bag of silver “tools” and laying them neatly beside the chair he had bolted to the floor.  The leather straps at the chair’s arms and legs were crisp and new.  They were stiff, Thomas thought…they needed “breaking-in.”  He thought of Amy, and smiled.

He walked slowly to the bathroom, and looked at his reflection in the mirror.  Thomas pulled the mask over his face.  He watched, as the sinews of burlap snaked their way over, and around the contours of his face, taking care to etch out the jagged openings needed for his eyes, nose and mouth.  The burlap was old, and so it stitched its tattered places with the hide of a pig that had been slaughtered many years ago.

Thomas smiled, again.  He was happy with his new face.

Another pair of eyes, hidden behind dusty rafters, had watched the transformation.  It blinked, and refocused its black eyes upon Thomas, and then a rotted smile split its face.

Soon, the fun would begin.

***

 

The Face Behind A Broken Window

So, I continue my quest to combine two prompts, one from WordPress (WP), and the other from The Writer’s Block (WB).  The intent is to create an interesting challenge that will entertain the minds of my readers.

This is the equation of today’s combination:

 

[WP = Brilliant] + [WB = Write a story about the images on a roll of film] =

The Face Behind a Broken Window

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Photo from Grim Stitch Factory. Handmade and hand-painted by Cameron Scholes.

 

Amy’s heart beat loud against her chest, and her hands trembled as she handed the clerk a twenty dollar bill.  The clerk noticed, and looked questioningly at Amy, but said nothing during the exchange.

Mindlessly, Amy thanked the clerk, and grabbed the envelope which contained the photos developed from the roll of 35 mm film, she had submitted earlier.  Automatic doors opened, and she stepped into the howling of winter’s wind.  She was oblivious to the cold, for her mind could think of nothing but what she held within her hand.

Amy opened the door of of car, and slid into the driver’s seat.  Not willing to wait until she got home, she ripped open the envelope and begin to rifle through the photos.  There were many pictures of Sky and Rudy, and on any other day, she would have paused to gush over the images of the two loves of her life; however, today was different…

Today she searched for the face of her stalker.

Finally, she came to the photos of the old abandoned farm house and barn.  Amy, an artist at heart, had taken these with the intent of putting them to canvas.

She had been alone the day she took the pictures.  With Sky at work, and Rudy at the groomers, she had, had time to kill, so, she grabbed her camera, and drove deep into the loneliness of rural Virginia.

She had spent over half an hour snapping shots, of the abandoned structure.    Wondering what it had been like in it’s heyday,  Amy felt nostalgic, and her hand itched to hold a paintbrush.

Later that night her phone rang.  She picked it up and put it to her ear.

Amy listened to the silence from the other side of the connection.  Finally, she heard her stalker’s breath waxing and waning in an almost poetic rhythm.

Amy felt her knees buckle, and she reached for the counter to keep from falling to the floor.   Abruptly, the breathing from the other side stopped, and after a long pause a raspy voice whispered…

“…I watched you today.  Paint for me…paint for me, Amy…”  He held her name for a long while, and then the line went dead.

Now, as she sat in her car, she searched the photos of the dilapidated barn, and could find nothing out of the ordinary, until she rested her eyes on the small broken window, surrounded by planks of rotted wood.

From the window a face stared back at her.

She quickly put on her glasses, hoping for a better view, but the exposure of the photograph was too dark.  She looked at the next photo, to find it bathed with brilliant rays of sun, that had escaped the grays of the clouds overhead.

There was just enough light to capture a perfect image of the face looking at her.

The face was cloaked in burlap, and could pass for any scarecrow strung up to frighten birds of the field.  The mask was stitched with what looked like leather twine, and its cutout eyes were black.

Amy stared at the face behind the broken window, and her blood ran cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please Help Me Decide

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I have a dilemma and I need your help!

 I love Jesus but I also love horror.

The dilemma:  Should I create a new blog for my horror writings or should I continue to compile the two genres within Redhead Reflections?

My faith is very important to me.  I enjoy writing daily devotions of inspiration.  I’m learning so much from my series Walk Through Psalms, and I want to continue the journey.

I’ve been busy writing a short story called  Zombie Island.  I truly thought it would be finished by now but the thing just keeps growing…almost as if, it has taken a life of its own.  I’m currently at 5000 words and still going strong.

I enjoy learning and writing about the paranormal. I’ve always had a keen interest in it  as far back as I can remember.  I have so many ideas rolling around in my head about future horror projects…just to name a few:

  • Ghosts, hauntings and witches from the Bible.  What kind monsters live within our sacred scriptures?  What stories have been handed down generation after generation from ancient times?
  • True horror stories of the Shenandoah.  In this series I will actually visit and photo the site as well as write the stories.
  •  Write horror short stories using random writing prompts.
  • View and analyze creepy art…even my own.
  • Current horror and paranormal happenings
  • Much…much more…

 

Please help me decide.  

Should I have two separate blogs or Should I keep it all together as is?

 

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MeditationWithGodInMind

 

 

 

 

 

Together or Separate?

 

Once Upon an Island

 

The thing hid behind trees and watched as fresh meat disembarked the yacht.  It had been weeks since the last shipment, so the creature could barely contain the blood lust raging within its decomposing body.  The thing growled and pulled against the chains holding him in place.  Its brain could no longer reason.  It only understood his ravenous need for human flesh.  The drive was constant, even after it had feasted, it still hungered. It was never fully satisfied.  It lunged its body again and reached a skeletal hand toward leaves, wafting in the warm tropical breeze.  Only a lone finger-bone  escaped the cover of foliage.  If the “fresh meat” had looked in the direction, at that precise moment, they would have seen the bony finger with its sagging, putrid skin.  Perhaps it would have been their salvation, but perhaps not… as the trees were quite some distance from the yacht.

Four teenagers laughed as they balanced the plank resting upon a weathered pier.  It wasn’t as stable as Kimmie would have liked, so she held tightly to Ted’s hand.  Ted, sensing her fright, gallantly turned his body to welcome his girlfriend safely into his arms.  Kimmie, much smaller than Ted’s athletic frame, felt engulfed within his embrace and she liked the feeling.

Carol, quite the opposite of Kimmie, jumped from the rickety plank and practically landed on Kimmie and Ted.  All three fell together to land in a heap upon the graying boards; luckily, each one had managed to avoid a plethora of jagged splinters.  The wood was old and so the pier quaked from their sudden weight.

A raucous laughter emanated from the heap,savage glow while Mark stood alone on the plank, holding all four backpacks.   Mark, feeling excluded, couldn’t help but wish, Carol, to be more like Kimmie.  What he would give to have her fall into his arms…

Like that would ever happen… thought Mark angrily.

Carol, boisterously called to him, “Hey pretty boy…get down here, already!”

Mark, shrugged off his anger, slowly smiled, and headed toward the laughing heap.  Offering Carol his hand he winked and said, “Yes, I am a pretty boy…and don’t you forget it!”

 

 

…to be continued…

[The preceding has been my  participation in the Sketch-a-Day event and also the  Weekly Horror Tales challenge, of which I host.  If you’re a fan of horror, please join me in this frightful challenge.  Believe me, it would totally make my day!]  [PS- The present horror prompt is as follows:  Write a story about a group of party-goers that sets sail on a yacht for what they believe to be a pleasure cruise. Except the captain was paid to scuttle the ship off an island populated by cannibalistic natives.] 

Daily Sketch/Zombie Abstract

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This rendering is my participation in the challenge called  Sketch-A-Day.  Also, it is to promote my new blog challenge:  Weekly Horror Tales   This challenge invites the writer (hopefully you) to weave a spine tingling tale with a prompt that is posted every Sunday.

The rules to this challenge are near to none, as I don’t want to hinder your creative inspirations.  So make it as long or as short as you like and post it by Sunday at midnight.

My first story in this series is called The Book.  It’s a creepy tale about a lonely librarian, who’s looking for love in all the wrong places.  To read it click on the category entitled Weekly Horror Tales, or just scroll down a little.

Please come and join me on this “horrific” challenge.

 

The Book

The following is my participation in Weekly Horror Tales & Dark Side Thursday

0707ephr9_600x5461 Tuesday began as any other boring day in the life of Annie Smith.  The alarm clock rang at exactly 6:45 am which gave Annie at least two wacks at the snooze button before she had to be up promptly at 7 am in order to make it to her job at the Martin County Public Library.  As usual, she stumbled to the shower for a quick body rinse to begin the awaking process which ended after her second cup of coffee.  Coffee, toast and one boiled egg and she was out the door of her small apartment, down the three flights of stairs, to slide into the torn seats of car 52-A of Carolina Cab Company.

Sure enough the drab Library was just where she left it the night before.  Annie inserted her skeleton key and thus began her lonely 8 hour shift.  Annie had always been an introvert, so this job suited her personality; however, as of late, she’d been experiencing a feeling…something akin to loneliness.  As much as she tried to shake the alien feeling, it clung to her and periodically invaded her thoughts throughout her 8 hours as librarian. The feeling, like an intrusive grain of sand in her shoe, pestered her ever so softly, just enough for her to know it there.

Yesterday, while at work, Annie had been so irritated by the feeling that she found herself in the romance section scanning the books on the shelves.    She noticed one particular book was jutted out a fraction more than the others.  Annie reached for that book and whispered the title  aloud in the empty library… “I Have Come for You”  She had opened the book’s worn cover and read the first sentence of chapter one: “Annie, oblivious to the precipice before her, fell head long into a seduction that would forever alter her lonely life.”   Shaken by such a personal application, her hands that held the book quivered until the book fell to the floor.  She stared at the open book, lying on the floor, for what seemed like hours.  Finally, she bent down to retrieve the book and saw that the left page of the book was blank but the right page contained the heading for chapter two which read… “There is no escape…I will have you.”  Annie had laughed nervously, and then shook her head in unbelief, as she put the book back into its place upon the shelf.

Today, as Annie passed from one computer to the next, making sure each green light was lit, the whole scenario from yesterday seemed ridiculous to Annie .  What an absurd idea that the book had been personally speaking to her.  She giggled loudly with the thought.  Startled from the sound that had escaped her lips, she quickly put her hand to cover her mouth.  She looked around to see if anyone had slipped in through the front door.  No, the tiny library was as empty as when she had walked inside a half an hour ago.  For some reason Annie was frightened by the sound of her own laughter.  She couldn’t help but think that the shrill cackle had come from the lips of someone going mad.   No one else was here, so it had to have been her laughter.  Surely, she was not mad.  The thought rested uneasy within her psyche.

“Oh Annie…don’t be so stupid…,” she nervously berated herself and walked rather jerky to toward the comfort of her plush office chair.  The chair was one thing she had insisted upon when she took this job.  It was soft and firm where it needed to be to conform perfectly to her slightly overweight form.   Annie placed the palms of her hands on the desk and began to sit, but before she completed the final descent into the beloved chair she noticed something out of place.  There, lying atop the keyboard of he computer, lay a book.  Her faced blanched white because she knew it was “the book.”

“What the fuck?”  Annie never cursed but the word had come from her mouth as if she had been saying it all her life.  Her exclamation was loud but she didn’t care.  She didn’t care if someone was there to hear her profanity because nothing mattered to her except the book lying on her desk.  Slowly she picked it up and instantly felt compelled to turn it’s pages to chapter three.  She did.  Glaring at her from page 117 were the words… “Don’t look behind you…” Annie’s heart quickened in her chest.  She desperately wanted to turn around, just to prove that they were only words on a page, but she dare not. Her heat began to beat even faster and once again the cackle of laughter filled the library. Annie heard it but was unaware it belonged to her.  Her mind raced with fear and wonder as to what the book would say next.  Slowly she turned the pages of the book until she came to chapter four.

Annie closed her eyes, too afraid to look.  She squeezed her lids so tight it was painful. She wouldn’t look…she couldn’t look…NO, she told herself…but alas she was overcome with curiosity and so she opened her hurting eyes to see a blur scribbled across the page.   Her heart beat wildly as she waited for her eyes to focus.  Finally her vision cleared and she read the sentence, “Annie…can you feel my breath upon your neck?”  The words brought on chills that crawled all over her body.  Tiny beads of sweat covered her already clammy skin.  She could feel a rhythmic draft of air upon her neck.  It touched her and then it was gone…touched her and then it was gone… Each time it came back to her it was warmer.

Something inside, perhaps sanity, told Annie to burn the book.  It pleaded for her to “…take it outside now, strike a match and burn the fucking thing before it was too late!”   But the breath kept touching her. It slid down her neck to caress her breasts.  Her nipples hardened and her heart beat even faster.  Again the voice inside pleaded with her to burn the book, but Annie turned a deaf ear.  The breath was too warm, too erotic.

There were two more chapters left in the book and Annie knew she was destined to turn to each one.  Desiring more of the feelings that hugged her body, she turned to chapter five with fervency, wondering where the breath would take her next.  Under the heading of chapter five she read,  “Annie…feel my hands touching you…”  Annie gasped as the breath upon her body became hands wooing her to ecstasy.  Deep inside her she heard the remnants of a distant voice saying something…something she barely recognized as…matches…or…fire?  Annie didn’t care. She only cared about the hands stroking and begging her to turn to the last chapter.  When the thought of…yes I will…formed in her head, the book fell open to the last chapter of it’s own accord.

Annie’s eyes were closed but this time she didn’t need to read the words on the page.  The words of the book became sound and spoke to her in a man’s voice.

“I’m here for you.”

His voice was smooth as honey.  His hands, still warm upon her body, slowly turned turned her around.

“Open your eyes.”

And so, Annie obeyed.  She opened her eyes to stare into a hooded black hole.  The hole, shrouded by the hood, was so dark that she thought it to be empty, but then it smiled.   The white of its teeth broke the darkness and slowly morphed into a “Cheshire” grin of jagged fangs.  Her desire instantly turned to terror.  The thing gnashed its teeth, taunting her.  Annie screamed into the shrouded hole and her heart burst red with blood.  Her last thought was, …the book…I should’ve burned the book.  

One month later:

“Yeah, they said it was’a heart attack”  Roger scratched his head and added, “…hmmm…but I ain’t so sure.”

Katherine, the new librarian,  looked at the janitor,  “What do you mean, you’re not so sure?”

“Well, I ain’t never seen a face of death quite like that one…sum’ing just wasn’t right.  It was like she’d seen…” he paused a second to shake his head slowly, then spoke in a hushed tone,”…it was…it was like she had seen sum’ing that scared the life right out’a her.”

Katherine smiled kindly at the janitors whispered words, and tried her best to quell his fears, “Don’t you worry, Mr Roger, I’m sure there’s nothing at all to be afraid of in here.” She let her eyes scan the mundane emptiness of the library and added, “nothing at all, except maybe, boredom.”

“Yes, ma’am, you right about that…this place can get kind’a lonesome.”

Katherine watched as Roger shuffled out the front door leaving her alone in the library.  She wasn’t afraid of being alone.  On the contrary, the introvert inside her welcomed the solitude…just more time for reading, she thought.

Katherine stretched within her comfortable chair and stifled a yawn.  Wondering what the thermostat was set on she got up to check but stubbed her toe on something beneath the counter.  She looked down to see what it was but nothing was there.  Figuring her toe had shoved whatever it was further under the counter she got on her hands and knees to  see.  Sure enough lying in the dusty darkness was a book.  Katherine seized the book and rather clumsily stood to get a better look.  Turning the tattered book in her hands she read its title, “I’m Here for You.”

“My goodness!  How long have you been hiding under there?”

Forgetting about the thermostat, Katherine sat back down into the plush chair and blew the dust from the book’s cover.  As she stared at the book she felt something akin to loneliness.  Quietly she whispered, “What the hell,” and opened the book to chapter one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mark of the Beast

Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers…each week we are given a photo and allotted only 175 words to construct a story.  Below is my response to this week’s “Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers” 

 

The Mark Of The Beast

She watched him from her place of containment.  Sure enough, he had “the mark” and so she fled her confines to mingle amongst the merry crowd.

She felt his stare.  Knowing this to be her cue, she covered the ten steps, separating them and asked with a timid voice, “Care to dance, handsome?”

As usual, the stranger’s eyes filled with suspicion, but once he saw her shy smile, he tossed doubt away, and  accepted her soft hand.  In an instant their bodies melded and he was consumed with unquenchable lust.  He wanted her, but the intense craving terrified him. Sensing his resolve, she crushed him closer and huskily growled, “My poor…poor beast..not used to being controlled…”

Slowly she pulled away…but only enough for him to look into her black eyes.  In them, he saw the innocents he had raped and they were coming for him. Terror squeezed his heart until it burst.

She dropped the corpse and then faded into the picture hanging on the wall.  The caption underneath read, “Angel of Death”

(Word count 175)

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Photo by Etol Bagam