*Author’s Note: This post will serve a dual purpose. One, to satisfy the word prompt for today’s Write28Days Challenge (Glory). Second, to participate in WEP’s February’s Story Challenge (theme: 28 Days).
Glory fingered a loose strand of black hair as her green eyes stared outwards. A warm breeze caressed her petite body as she sat on the wooden steps of the white porch. The air carried a mild scent of sweet honeysuckle which she slowly breathed in.
“Enjoying your final day?” Came a husky voice from behind.
She turned partially towards her housemate, an aging, thin man, sitting in the rocker, and nodded, “Yes.”
He leaned back as he took in the mountainous view spread before them.
“It’s a shame you couldn’t be granted another twenty-eight days here,” he said as his colorless eyes scanned the horizon’s deep purple and pink hues, “it makes no sense at all as to why they couldn’t allow you to remain here indefinitely.”
“You know that’s not how it works,” she muttered as her arms wrapped around her knees.
“Yes, but it is unfair, not to mention unjust,” the man tapped a finger on the chair’s armrest.
With a shrug, she replied, “I’m just grateful to have had this one last wish before it’s all over with. I mean, goodness, I had the chance to see all of my friends and family, to say my good-byes…even if none of it was real…it was nice. Really nice.”
The man scowled as he nodded, “Yes…yes.”
“I know you try to understand, Jessup, and I appreciate it very much,” Glory said as she glanced down the expansive meadow where she could see the shadowy forms of buildings that made up her childhood town, “but you don’t have to stay any longer.”
Jessup let out a long exhale, “Yes, but it doesn’t feel right to leave you to -eh- to face your end.”
She smiled, “You are too thoughtful, but I will be okay.”
His eyes swept over her before he bowed his head, “As you wish,” and within seconds, his body dissipated into a thin cloud of mist.
Glory studied the empty chair for a moment before returning her attention to the sky. The streaks of purple and pink were quickly transitioning to layers of dark blue and black. The usual nightly orbs obscured by a looming menace in the heavens where billowing sinister clouds barely concealed an enormous fiery mass barreling towards her.
A shiver ran through her body as she closed her eyes.
Will I feel any pain? She wondered as waves of heated air brushed over her.
The earth beneath her rumbled as the roar grew louder and louder until her body shuddered right off the porch, and on the rolling ground.
Crackling and sizzling filled her ears as she opened one eye to see where the fire was when she realized the sounds were coming from her skin.
Just as the burning grew unbearable, everything went dark.
Bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep.
The blipping line on the monitor instantly became a steady line.
A tall man in a white jacket stood staring at the screen for several moments, the bushy brows burrowing which revealed the deep lines around his brown eyes.
“Dr. Cruz?” came a woman’s voice from the nearby console.
“I will never get used to this,” he said, “extinguishing lives all for what? Profit? So that our government can repay its debts?”
“No, it’s mankind’s next step in its evolutionary process. It has also helped science learn much about the human’s consciousness,” the same woman replied.
He bowed his head for a long moment, eyes closed as he pondered on her words. Then, he shook it.
“Those are just the Company’s taglines. We are nothing more than an assembling line for repurposing human bodies for those who can afford them. For the few who want to extend their own selfish, futile lives.”
“Dr. Cruz,” the woman’s tone now stern, “I wish to remind you that everything said and done here are being carefully monitored.”
He clenched his jaw, “Time of conscious death, 23:02,” his fingers tapped hard on the blue-lighted tablet’s screen.
To his left, the woman in a white jacket turned to focus her attention on the various displays of electronic devices in front of her.
“Closing the file for collateral number 230645 aka Gloria Swann,” she said as she pressed on the glowing screen, “body already prepped and ready for shipment to recipient number 02A02,”
Ben was resting in bed, perusing a Road & Track magazine, when the first blast shook his quarter.
Damn crane must have dropped another casing, he thought casually and went back to the article.
But, when the second blast reverberated through the rig, he knew something was wrong.
As he pulled on his sneakers and life-jacket, an enormous explosion blew the heavy-duty door off its hinges like it was just a piece of cardboard; only it didn’t feel like cardboard when it smashed against his stocky body instantly knocking him unconscious.
Somewhere in the murkiness, a familiar voice floated to his ears.
“Do you love me?” It was Mia’s, his high school sweetheart. She leaned her petite body against the blue sports car.
He was bent over the 8-cylinder engine, his hands fingering the spark plugs, “Course I do,” he said.
Mia let out a chuckle, “Liar. You love your car way more than me. ‘Sides, my Daddy won’t let me marry you anyway.”
She let out a squeal which strangely morphed into a high pitch ringing.
“Warning,” echoed a female computerize voice, “proceed immediately to the lifeboats. This is not a drill.”
When Ben opened his eyes, at first he thought he’d gone blind but realized the lights were knocked out. Back up on his feet, he steadied his shaking body and assessed the situation.
The white strobe lights faintly flickered through the thick, black mass pouring into his sleeping area. His head throbbed as something warm trickled through his lips.
He could feel the entire rig rattling and groaning as one word penetrated the deep fog within his mind.
“Oh, god,” he said.
When he stepped out in the dark corridor, the scent of burning oil nearly overwhelmed him as he bent over to gag and cough.
Got to get to the lifeboat.
The trek to topside was met with twisted steel and thick smoke. Twice he had to seek out a new direction. On his last attempt, the heat was so intense he could hear the soles of his sneakers sizzle with each step.
Sweat streamed down his smoke-grimed face as he quickened his pace up the warped metal stairway. Another voice wormed its way into his head. His father’s. They’d gone fishing at Pilot Pond that last time–just before the fatal heart attack.
“Son, every man needs to decide the kind of road he’ll travel. Whichever one you surrender to will rule you for the rest of your life.”
It was an odd conversation as Dad was never one for offering advice of any kind, it was as if he knew his time was nearly up. Ben hadn’t grasped what the elder meant…until now.
The closer he moved to the surface, the louder the roar and screams grew until he broke through, and entered hell.
Surrounded by towering flames and billowing black smokes. he sought out familiar shapes or bodies. Nothing appeared like it normally should only melting steel structures and burning debris falling from above creating blockades everywhere he turned.
Where’s the damn lifeboat?
His tearing cobalt eyes searched through the hellish scene for the section where a lifeboat should have been. He saw nothing.
As he stood near the edge of the platform, the realization that he’d been left behind coursed through his body as his eyes surveyed what lied below.
“Oh, sweet Mary!” He croaked.
The water was on fire.
Mia’s face filled his mind. Her mesmerizing chocolate eyes, the ones he always lost himself in.
“Why wouldn’t your daddy let you marry me?” He’d asked.
Those eyes narrowed and seemed sad, “He said you’re too much into the things of the world, and that you’d value them over me.”
“He’s wrong,” he replied.
“Liar,” she laughed softly, ” and you know it.”
Another explosion ripped through the rig as the heated blast slammed into his body, and sent him flying in the air. As he landed on the steel landing, he felt all the oxygen whooshed out of his lungs.
Was this how he was going to die? Here, on this fiery rig? In all of his twenty-four years, he’d never truly done anything worthwhile except work on that worthless piece of metal on wheels. His father was right, and so was Mia’s.
Ben wanted to change that.
Grunting loudly, he pulled himself up off the hot steel surface and looked out over the blazing sea.
*Author’s Note: I’m re-posting a story from one year ago. This one was based on the very first short story I wrote as an eleven-year-old and of all genres I naturally wrote a horror story. 🙂
Penny, the new kid on the block, stood in front of an old, rickety house along with two new-found friends.
She swallowed hard as she stepped up to the front door.
“Don’t be a scaredy cat and go in!” Darla called out.
Inside the dank-smelling entryway, cobwebs littered every nook and cranny. Dark and not a living soul present as the young girl walked down a hallway.
A movement on her right caused Penny to pause.
On the long, narrow table sat a huge glass platter with a steel cover. The cover rattled ever so slightly.
She slowly reached for the metallic lid and lifted it.
The first thing she saw was the wrinkled balding head, and in a great start, she released her grasp on the heavy top which landed on the hard floor with a thunderous clang that echoed throughout the building.
Her brown eyes widened as she stared at what sat on the glass dish.
A head of an elderly man who appeared to be asleep. His skin pallor and sunken except for one eye where folds of flesh drooped.The sight had her rooted to the spot as she held her breath fearing that any noise would awaken him.
Suddenly, his eyes sprung open. Black as coals they completely mesmerized Penny…
Until the mouth opened and an evil cackle bellowed from it.
She turned and ran screaming out of the house, and didn’t stop screaming until she reached her friends down on the curbs.
What dismayed her further was that they were laughing.
“It’s not funny!” She said.
Darla, the brunette, giggled through her hands but it was the blondie who spoke.
“If only you could have seen your face!” Roxie said as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
Penny glared at them. “You knew about this?”
“Oh yeah.” Darla finally replied. “Old man Marco’s been doing this every year for years.”
The red-head folded her arms at her two so-called friends. “And where does he usually pull this prank?”
“In the kitchen. On the table with the red cloth.” Roxie answered.
“Well, his head was on a platter in the hallway between the kitchen and living room,” Penny stated. “And it did NOT have ANY tablecloth.”
Roxie and Darla looked at her.
“Go on.” Penny pointed to the house. “Go check on the old man!”
Clasping each other’s hand, the two girls walked across the front yard, and through the doorway disappearing into the murkiness.
Penny continued to stand with her arms folded and waited.
Moments passed before screeching screams sounded through the house, and the pale-faced girls galloped outside, nearly colliding with Penny.
Unmoved, Penny asked, “Well?”
“Th-that wasn’t Marco!” Darla said. “And-and there was no body under the table!”
“But the head was real, right?” Penny asked.
Both girls nodded in earnest.
All pairs of eyes turned to the house just as the front door creaked shut.
There is a lot to learn from inquisitiveness. And as you look through the binoculars, you find out just how much.
It was just a stupid dare.
I was visiting a friend who lived near the coast. Crissy. We hadn’t seen each other since high school. I was on break from college, and she had a day off from work.
We were on our way to town when she took a detour out in the middle of nowhere.
“Hey, where are we going?” I asked.
“There’s someplace I want to show you first.” She said.
And pulled off the graveled road. All I saw was this open grassy meadow only I couldn’t see very far as it was covered in this heavy fog. In the distance I could hear a low roar.
“Is that the ocean I hear?” I asked.
“Yep.” Crissy replied.
“So, why are we here?”
“There’s this local urban legend about this place.” She said.
Oh, great. She hadn’t changed much at all since high school.
“Crissy, I don’t want to do this.” I remembered all too well the last time she did this to me.
“No worries, Bec. I promise you won’t end up in the ER this time.” She smiled.
I rolled my eyes at her, and then let out a loud sigh. “I give up. What’s this local urban legend?”
“Some years ago, twenty I think, police picked up a man roaming this field.” She began. “He was shoeless, and mumbling about a girl haunting him. After further prodding, the police learned that a year prior this man had kidnapped a girl, raped and then killed her, and dumped her body into the ocean nearby. He claimed that every night since she would climb up out of the ocean, and go after him in his dreams. He returned to look for her body, but couldn’t find it. He begged the police to help.”
Crissy paused, and looked over at me.
“Did the police help him?”
“Yes, they called in a crime unit to search up and down the coast, but they never found a body.”
“And what happened to the man?”
“The police had him committed to a psyche ward.” Crissy said. “He died a few months later. He was found in bed, strangled to death.”
“Creepy.” I said.
“Yeah. They say that if you come to this place on a foggy day, and look towards the ocean, you may see a girl climb up from the ledge, and then disappear in to the fog.”
“Here.” She handed me a pair of binoculars. “I dare you to look.”
“This is crazy, Cris.”
“I double dare you.” She said with a grin.
I yanked the item from her hands. “For the record, I didn’t want to do this.”
“Be a good sport.” She said.
“Whatever.” I muttered and looked through the binoculars. All I saw was this thick white mist, and nothing beyond. “I can’t see a thing. Now, can we go?”
“You didn’t even really try.” She said. “Scared you’ll actually see something?”
“No, just bored.”
This damn girl…if she wasn’t a friend…
“I hate you.” I said, and stormed away and out in to the meadow.
I walked until I was completely enveloped in the mist. The roaring now much louder. I dared not to venture any further for fear of falling off the ledge.
Crissy loved doing these sort of things to friends. She get off on them mostly by our reactions. Being the only child, I’m sure she did these kinds of stuff for attention since her parents rarely paid any to her.
I took a deep breath, and looked through the binoculars once more.
This time the fog diminished just before the drop off to the expansive ocean where the rolling gray water spread as far as the eyes could see until it met the sky.
I saw nothing else.
Yet, I couldn’t remove the binoculars from my eyes as I continued to stare out towards the horizon. Morbid curiosity pulsed through me as I remained rooted to the spot.
I closed my eyes for a moment.
One more look and then I’ll head back to the car.
Opening my eyes, I scanned the view ahead.
A pair of dirtied hands appeared on the ledge, grasping at grass and dirt.
Photo Credit: unsplash.com
My god…oh my god…
My hands shook as the binoculars shuttered on my face and the view blurred.
No, I don’t want to see her face.
I spun around and jogged back to the car. Crissy sat on top of the hood. I could see a smirk forming on her mouth.
I shove the binoculars at her. “Yeah. Now it’s time to go.”
*Author’s Note: I wrote this short story over five years ago. It’s dark. It’s creepy. It’s one of my secular, mainstream stories that I decided NOT to submit for publication now on Wattpad.
Leesa, a mother and wife, contemplates on the undesirable state of her life…but one should be careful, you might just get what you wished for in the most unexpected of ways.
Shadows wavered in the expansive backyard as the woman peered through the round window in front of her. The reflection within the twilight didn’t reveal a happy face. The skin under her brown eyes, fixed on the deck that spread beneath the small set of panes, sagged with a purplish hue. Premature wrinkles lined her eyes and mouth. No, she definitely wasn’t a happy person. Her hands mindlessly moved each dish from the stainless steel sink, rinsed under cool water, and then carefully placed in the racks of the dishwasher. She then reached for the knife and grabbed the wrong end.
“Damn it!” She recoiled and placed the bleeding finger into her mouth.
Nope, it’s been the week from hell, and this was just another reminder that it hasn’t end yet.
Voices drifted into the room from a nearby television.
“Here are our top news of the hour.” A male news anchor said. “State and Federal law officials are investigating multiple cases involving children who have gone missing in the past three days. In every cases, each child reported to have disappeared sometime between bedtime and morning…”
“Frank.” She turned her head towards the living room. “Please turn it to something else.”
“Yes, dear.” A man’s voice said.
A click sounded and a commercial about a brand of soda came on. She went back to rinsing a coffee mug with the uninjured hand when the floor board creaked. She turned and smiled at her four-year old daughter who stood, wearing a pink nightgown, at the entrance of the kitchen.
Renee. The small child was the only source of joy in her otherwise joyless life.
“What’s the matter, Renee? Did you have a bad dream?”
The girl shook her head, locks of blonde curls waved over her petite shoulders. “No, mummy.”
Mother picked up a towel to dry her hands. “What’s wrong then?
I have two other short stories also on Wattpad. These two have been previously published.
His world was ending. How will he choose to go out? (Click on image to read the story)
Four college-aged people are dead on an island. The killer? Unknown, but definitely not human. Anna Mae Hart and her partner are called to help with the investigation and things get bloody from there. (Click on image for story)
*Am starting a new story, an interactive kind, which means feedback from readers will determine the direction of the story. Read the first chapter, and then answer the poll. Your input will determine the story’s results! Enjoy 🙂
Fluffy white flakes drift from the sky on to the urban landscape below. Mazes of paved and cemented pathways spread across the city like a grid, nearly all are inhabited by flickering white and red lights. While the heavens fill with solemn hushes, the earth brims with noise and movements among the living and their worldly gadgets and possessions.
On a particular street level, two women walk briskly, huddled deep in their coats and scarves. White mists emanating from their faces as they huffed.
“I can’t believe you talked me into going out tonight!” The shorter woman says.
“Nonsense, Laura.” replies the other. “You work too much. Besides, I haven’t seen Brad in years. I’m curious to see how rich and successful he became.”
“Really, Julie, you’re just too shallow.” Laura scoffs. “There are more to men than sex and money.”
“Don’t forget power.” Julie raises a hand covered in a black leather glove.
“You’re one to talk, dearie.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Laura smirks.
“Okay, how about Scott Mendler?” Red ringlets flickering across her cheeks.
“Him? The Pharmacist? Oh, c’mon! He didn’t know right from left!”
“Oh? Let’s try this one…Frank Aleman.”
“Computer repairman. Too boring.” Laura says.
“Kissed like a girl.”
Julie stops suddenly. “And you know this how?”
“Kidding!” Laura grabs her friend’s arm to prod her along once more. “I still don’t see your point.”
“My point is that you’re just as shallow as I am when it comes to men.” Julie says.
“Are you saying we’re hopeless?”
“Nah, just haven’t found the right ones.”
Laura shakes her head. “I’m starting to believe there’s no right one out there.”
“Perhaps we’ve been looking at the wrong ones.”
“Or perhaps I need to shorten my ‘qualities desired in an ideal mate’ list.” Laura frowns.
Julie suddenly stops. Again.
“Now what?” Laura asks.
Julie glances behind them. “Been having this feeling that someone’s following me all day.”
“Halloween’s long over.” Laura says.
“Yeah.” The red-head turns back around. “Probably just my imagination.”
“Comes with the territory for being a horror writer.” Laura replies.
“Well, that’s not all I do, honey.” She sneers.
“That’s even creepier.”
“Yeah, whatever, speak for yourself.” Julie pulls at her friend’s arm. “There it is. Let’s run…I’m freezing!”
The two women carefully jog across the icy road hopping from one section of tire-tread pattern on the ground to the next to keep from slipping. Once they reach the other side, they stood briefly at the wooden door with “Carroll’s Diner” etched in it.
And pushed it opened to enter inside.
Carroll’s Diner’s rustic interior immediately warmed up the women as they peer into the dining section for familiar faces.
“I think I see Brad at the bar.” Julie says as she immediately heads in that direction with Laura following close behind.
She quietly approaches a dark blonde-haired man and taps him on the shoulder which causes him to stir instantly.
“My god! Isn’t it jolly ol’ Julie!” His hazel eyes twinkling as he pulls her in to his arms for a bear hug.
“Easy there, Brad. You might break some ribs.” She giggles into his musky-smelling neck.
“Sorry, my bad.” And moves her to a more steady position, standing in front of him. He then notices a woman besides her. He blinks a few times before speaking. “Laura Hines?”
Laura smiles sheepishly. “Yeah, that’s me.”
Brad cocks his head slightly as he takes turns studying both women. “Friends?”
“Hard to believe, Bubba boy, but yep, we’re good friends now.” Julie smiles widely.
He shakes his head slowly and let out a low whistle. “I thought you two hated each other during college.”
“Old history.” Julie replies as she winks over at Laura. “It’s a long story.”
“I’ll drink to that!” He turns and picks up a shot glass and downs it in one gulp.
“Hey! Not so fast!” Julie pouts as she makes herself comfortable on a high stool. “I’ll have what he’s drinking.” She tells the bartender.
“Make that two.” Laura says as she sits on the other side of Julie.
Julie glances around Brad. “I thought there were two of you.”
He nods. “There is. He had a call but should be back any time.”
“Who’s back?” Comes a husky voice rich in accent.
The women both peer around Brad to see a gorgeous man taking his seat at the end of the counter. Golden brown skin. Dark black hair which even partially covers his face, but one could still spy the dimples in his cheeks when he smiles.
This time it would be Laura speaking first.
“Oh. My. God. Eddie?” Her voice rises several decibel.
“Hello, Laura.” His smile held as his deep hazel eyes meet her blue ones. “It’s been a long time.”
She shifts in her stool but never moving her gaze away from his face. “Yes.”
“Hello? Pheromone city!” Julie butts in effectively slicing the momentary connection. “You two know each other?”
Laura’s smile wavers as she fingers her glass that mysteriously appeared seconds earlier. “College.”
“History?” Julie whispers close to her ear.
Laura nods once.
“Well, I’m Julie Yourdon.” In her next move she turns to the dark hair man, and gives him her most alluring smile.
“Eduardo Santa Perez.” He bows his head to her. “A pleasure to meet you.”
“Pleasure’s all mine.” Julie mutters under her breath as she sips her liqueur.