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 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 and cause 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 fact 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’. They’d always just ambush me and I wouldn’t have any time to prepare my defenses. 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 was 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 family over, but now as he watched them pawing at his backdoor leaving bloody and putrescent stains; he realized 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. Explosions 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 its ultimate demise. Soon the entire world was pockmarked with massive radioactive craters. 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 home was 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 warbled and 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 in laughing 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 covered in 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 smell 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 that 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 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. ‘’Together forever.’’
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 had taken him 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.
I held my hand to the handprint that was on my bedroom window, my hand fit inside the palm. As I removed my hand, I saw that I had smudged it and realized that whatever had made the handprint had left it inside my room.
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 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.
Written by EmpyrealInvective