Mutilation- Horror Flash Fiction

Content Warnings: graphic descriptions of cannibalism

Her face is the prettiest when rusted with blood. 

She’s wearing a clear raincoat, the cadaver within like meat bleeding out of a plastic bag, folds of fat and lumps of muscle seared with wounds cut against the grain. Her teeth peek behind her crusted lips craned in a smile, her breath the smell of pennies as I put my fingers on her chest and monitor her pulse. Her heartbeat is slow, stagnant, staccato. A red sonatina orchestrates around her as I lap her up, notes of silver on my black tongue. 

I am an ugly man. My hair is an oil spill, my eyes are shadows without brows and my high cheekbones are riddled with acne. My image is a descendant of a Chippewa chieftain, but my skin is pale and rather sickly. The shirt I am wearing is of a metal band since I was unable to find Mozart in the thrift shop, and my jeans have the texture of bandaids ripped off the skin. The fabrics loosely clothe my rotten skeleton underneath, stripped bare of any muscle. I say this all objectively; my bathroom mirror cannot lie. 

Before I depart my city-suburban home, I slide into my mother’s heeled boots and clomp out of the building. I am 207 centimeters with them, a behemoth to be revered as I march down the Tittabawassee and as the homeless saltines snap their necks to watch. If they can admire me, they can also cower before me. But when? 

I dream of the day when the sun ripens into strawberries over the humble buildings and melts the mud-drifted snow, and when I can write stories about Saginaw instead of detailing the abandoned buildings and businesses, and when an ugly beast crawls into this empty husk and devours the bodies of all people inside. When blood rains from the sky and the citizens enter a dancing plague to entertain him. And of course, the beast shall be me. 

Someday. 

I go to the local Walmart and trudge my cart through the parking lot, wheels trilling upon the patches of brown ice on the pavement. The people are vacant souls, any shred of personality being frostbitten by the blistering cold, yet are oddly proportioned just like me. It is off putting. To remember that the wrinkled middle aged Bump-It wearing blonde barbies aren’t satire, that the men who are insanely obese bean bags aren’t Hollywood actors in fatsuits, and the children wailing aren’t in a fire, although I would very much like them to be. 

The pretty people are even weirder; I am convinced they come here to look at us like zoo animals. I know that the white girls with tattoos on their lower backs and their waffle fried boyfriends slung around their waists aren’t here for groceries. They are here for Youtube videos and plan to film us like Animal Planet, taking turns riding in the carts and licking ice cream from their compartments and putting them back. 

Those are the people I would like to eat the most. Their meat is moist and tender, young and soft like baby goats and when spiced and well done they are the most satisfactory. Especially when watching television. They provide a healthy change to the programming: the star football player absent from an integral game or the prom queen going missing at midnight. Anything to get this drab Midwestern town to show any signs of color. 

However, I shall hold off for today. 

There is a meal awaiting me at the rear end of the store, next to a dumpster filled with the remains of what people don’t want to buy. Marked down Ben and Jerry’s, holy pantyhose, paperback classics and a dead body. 

I will name this one Sheila in my mind, but will never say it aloud. The moment the sound comes from my lips, the taste leaves my tongue. It would be such a waste. Her parts look delicious. 

~

There is blood on my chin. The police have arrested me and the news is filming me like a movie star on the red carpet. They survey every detail: my pale skin, the band Death Grips on my t-shirt, my skeletal figure and construct a bildungsroman of my wretched character- the perfect outcast to villain story. I smile with red crusted teeth and make sure they get a good look.

They ignore the girl behind me, don’t even bother to say her real name and keep crying Shattered Sheila- a marketable catchphrase for the media. The moment the killer comes on screen, they don’t care about the victim. 

They only see the ribbons of blood pooling, the lacework of guts on the concrete, the object of their fear. They only see their mutilation. 

Cameras flash and snap like the jaws of Dobermans, silhouettes of reporters behind them as the cops cuff me and show me off like I’m their prey.  Ironic.

I take a bite of Officer McKinley, his name and taste on my tongue, teeth digging into his buff upper arm. Red cascades down his skin and flattens his grey body hairs as he lets out a howl under the full moon. He faints and aches in pain, the wound revealing the ivory shimmer of bone. The reporters back away: click, click, click, snap, snap, snap- eating up seconds of the scene before the other policemen can restrain me and stuff me into their childish metal contraption. I wave bye bye and imagine how fearsome I shall soon be.

The dancing plague shall begin on TV screens, all of them watching me. Watching me as I feast. I know…

My face is the handsomest when rusted with blood. 

McDonald’s Soda- Horror Flash Fiction

You slump down my throat as my taste buds pop with your frigid snakeskin. Shangri La.

Well, not exactly that. You’re an ice-tuned McDonald’s soda, diluted ichor of the gods on this hot as hell day. My solace as the deviled sun blazes onto the field and stilts the freckled dry wheat-grass. My solace as I drive along this lonely road, to escape the fires before me. 

“Ah-”, I pant like a dog, “the weatherman wasn’t kidding when he said 115 degrees, huh?”  

I’m in a navy pickup, one out of country songs, and today the radio twangs a sour melody. The seats are muggy leather and the steering wheel is a lava stone, my clammy hands upon it. My sweat beads upon my brow and gashes my underarms. Heat sears through the window and threatens to set fire to the carcasses of fast food amassed at the bottom of the car, to send me hurdling into an abyss of crop circles, but to my dismay, it doesn’t happen. 

I continue to drive away, hot coals in my throat, as my eyes dart to the empty street behind me. No one is there. Not yet. 

I take another sip. 

Your delicate plastic orifice is bristled against my thinning mustache. You’ll make it grow again, right? Thick and bushy as it once was? 

I drink you more and continue down the long wandering pathway, you occupied in my left hand in a warm bear hug. My fingers oscillate upon your cardboard skin as my wide cuticles divot your golden arches. I sigh in delight. 

You are cold. Ice Christ cold. You take me away from the barrel bodies in the trunk, from the raw flesh-acetone scent and their bones that click together, tick tock tick tock. Time ceases when I am with you. When I take another sip. 

I swear I’m not crazy. But you know that. I am just a common man, overweight with fried foods and existential thoughts. I swear it. 

“Would you like another kiss?” I look behind us again, to make sure no blue clad men are looking in. None. 

“I love you.” I confess, “There is a fire in me; the heat of the sun.” 

I gulp you down. The liquid stops. You let out a dehydrated croak. 

Of course, I crush you under my boot, Just like the rest of them. 

Ice cracks. Blood seeps out. 

Butterfly Effect

Warnings: mental illness, animal and child abuse, graphic gore

~

I examine the butterfly pinned on the table: stained glass window membranes, mushy eggplant guts and midnight seaweed skin. Its legs still writhe. My fingernails sear the edges of its wings, cuts them fresh off. Its legs still writhe. I pluck the antennas like eyelashes, squish the eyes like globs of ink-oil, and tear the body segments apart onto the rough-soft paper towel. Disseminated. Dead. Its legs are still. 

One day, I’ll do the same to you.

~

I am a mother. I live in a cottage. There are rolling hills of sweet grass, hair dried willow trees, and kids whose imaginations have run far away. Schizophrenics- that’s what the doctors call them, but I call them the Lost Boys. Perhaps, that makes me Peter Pan, to lead them through their fantasies, or Wendy to sing their delusions to sleep. 

I don’t know. I’m not familiar with fairytales. Can you tell me one? 

~

I asked you that on the morning you arrived on my doorstep. 

You were a pale faced child who took on the spirit of a butterfly- the same ink-oil eyes, delicate antenna lashes and a mosaic of a mind behind the flapping six-year old arms. You have your hair pulled in a tight blonde braid and you wear a sky blue dress as you prance about. Your lips flutter with teensy giggles. I want to catch them in the air. 

And pin them to the wall. 

~

Junonia almana

The peacock pansy, with fuzzy mustard wings and those cocoa hue owl eyes that watch me through the glass. It is framed on the basement drywall, in a new place, rearranged with the others for a new blank space- approximately 50 by 150 square inches in area. There are larger pins. Bolts. And rope. 

Just like your pretty little braids.

~

I comb your frayed locks, free from those little ginger roots. You gaze into the mirror, bite your nails and curl up in your seat so your knees pillow your chin. A cocoon. I tug on your longest lock, what you think is a silkworm shaving.  

“Don’t-” I say, “we’ll go to bed soon.” 

You water your eyes at me, lips in a red larvae pout.

I yank the hair from your head. The wailing takes a while to settle.

~

I sew your silk back on the next morning. Your glass eyes are beading with crystal, and your nose blushes with rosy sniffles as you wince at every prick of the needle. In, out, in, out- skin and blood and dandruff and tousles of rope thread hair. 

“It hurts,” your tears pool on your cheeks, “Can you stop, Miss?” 

“No,” My lips thin into a straight line. 

I can’t let the doctors know. 

~

The doctors flood into the cottage. They take the lost boys one by one, cultivating caterpillars into their nests. Some are bribed with leaves, others simply slink in, and all of them leave slimy paths behind. Good riddance. 

I only think of the white coat, white mask doctors, and their syringe slits of eyes that scan us with pinpoint precision. I clench your hand tight. 

I’ll never let them have you. 

~

We run down the dark stairway, slipper flats and baby bare feet tip-tap against the ashwood. We spill out into the basement- the clothes I scrimmied off you splayed on the tile floor. You shiver under my touch, as my cuticles indicate lines upon your back. 

I drag out my butterfly canopies from the closet. Layered blankets: monarchs, swallowtails, painted ladies, buckeyes, blue sulphurs all weaved together. 

Remember the fairytale you told me? What if I said I could make it come true?

~

“Miss, I-” 

“Hush.” 

I sew the quilts onto your back, stitching them to the skin with black thread. In, out, in, out. My needle is diligent, but my eyes are disorderly. They look at places they shouldn’t. They linger as I work. In, out, in, out- eggplant mush and seaweed skin and a set of prismatic wings, spread before me like Neverland. 

~

My butterfly.

Teeth- A Short Story

So, I’m back after a long time of school hell! Piles of homework, AP tests and an (almost!) failing grade in Calculus later I survived the perilous trials of school and now I am ready to embrace the summer. I wrote a gothic short story a couple months ago, and I thought it would be a good thing to start consistently blogging again with a spooky tale.

~

The true form is long and slender, a crimson string serpentine within a cage of flesh and fanged ivory. It is tweezed from the set of marble gargoyles in her mouth as scarlet blood drivels down her chin.

Raven is the cathedral. Her body is arranged on the bleached lily sheets, rigid in a boned corset as her stained-glass eyes dilate at the sight of her messiah’s altar –a cluttered rosewood desk. Upon it are scalpels, knives, blades, pliers, needles, and scrapers, all crusted with remnants of red. The tooth in question is gutted out with a minuscule wrench, two millimeters of metal budding a pinprick of torment.

Tears touch Raven’s irises and yet, her body refuses to writhe. She is chain locked, trapped under the rule of her new god: Scarlett Stone.

The woman is a wraith in a gentleman’s lab coat, with bladed eyes under a pair of silver spectacles. A cheshire smirk emerges beneath the lacquer of her lips, crooked as she places the ivory into a frosted glass vial.

Despite her pained position, Raven sips at the dripping nectar of her own hollowed tooth slot, taking pleasure in it like a foolish child. Her tongue silks around the space as it agitates in pursuance of the holy hotbed of bare flesh. She finds the sweet spot, and sucks it, answering Scarlett’s violent tooth-picking plea in ecstasy.

“Release them,” Raven refers to the rest of her canines, whine-whispering her words, “Take me away, my dearest Scarlett. Let me feel numb.”

“Shall I?” Scarlett asks, not for the judgment of her beloved, but rather her taxidermized “friends” in the midnight suite.

A red-eyed raven on the dresser. A two-tongued snake on the windowsill. A wolf who growls, gums expanding in an unruly garden of dentition. There are roses and violets of teeth, ivory blooming into different shapes with each consecutive set. It is a hundred-tooth monster; Scarlett’s life work on a macabre mural, angel fangs, and devilish flats upon sinews of meat, a gaping vortex parting its shadows for a spindly tongue, oozing with sticky spit.

All the creatures are animated in the moonlight, yet only the rugged black fur beast dares to howl to the crescent of the scientist’s mad mind, declaring his fate: a smile with Raven’s perfect teeth, strung with the other rows, seated sparkling in the front. The finishing touch to his collection, the smooth ivories of a human. That shall be my victory.

“What do they foretell?” Raven asks.

“To continue,” Scarlett murmurs, teasing Raven with her scalpel, “I would love to do so, but your pain hurts my heart.”

“The pain keeps this damn carcass of mine alive.”

“May I alleviate it?”

“I intend to be awake.”

“No,” Scarlett leans closer, summoning her puppet to rise with a soft indication of her hand, “My care is a selfish desire; it is for my lips to be upon yours in your last moments with a mortal mouth. I am sorry, for my love threatens to tear the seam of our promise, for you are so-”

“Shh…” Raven takes her request, tongue brimming underlip, “I have apprehended your taste.”

Their kiss is deep, a melting candle wax tryst, the reassurance of those crystalline whispers they had of their twisted passions before. The atmosphere is sweltering, flames in their chests as ashes cobweb their lips in the heat of the endless embrace. Their hands paralyze, holding hair in tangled clumps, as Scarlett bites the skin and Raven sucks the saliva, romance fluttering away to reveal the scorched image of lust. Raven steals the last affirmation and severs the neck of her prey with blistering lipstick, a headhunter as she yanks Scarlett’s raven locks and places a tiny peck upon her chest.

With the action, Scarlett is either engulfed in flowers or flesh; it is impossible to tell if it was a virtuous kiss or a violent scar upon her sternum. Her heart stings yet swells with overwhelming senses she cannot even begin to place. All she could ponder in this abyss was Raven.

“Love… will it be forgotten amid this cursed night? Will it not fade from your memories once all is complete?” Scarlett questions.

“I will miss you,” says Raven, “Nevermore, we are broken souls. Nothing will be fixed until we uncover ourselves, despite our perversions.”

Perversions– the statement pangs in Scarlett’s psyche. This is not love. Their affections are nothing but a mirage, a chain-linked deal gilded with roses that sought to puncture their skins with thorns. Tangles of lust, a thread of flirtation, and nothing more.

“May you take out the left molar next?” Raven inquires, “Leave the right one for last.”

“Oh… yes.”

The taxidermist retrieves her scalpel, this time sporting a blade of four millimeters instead of the usual two.

“Open wide, tongue down, and for the love of our blessed Father, do not move again.” She says.

Scarlett’s gloved hands shake as the scalpel uncovers the mysteries of the cavern. Her tongue was snaking inside it seconds prior, but she had sparing experience with live specimens. Raven is also uneasy, her tender skin blush-warm under the facade of her rigid-cold expression.

The bladed sharp-edge roots itself at the end of the set of top teeth, provoking the molar into submission. Raven squeaks, her tongue quivers, and she is scarred by the knife, red tears lining her cheeks. She bites her lip, ravaged by the kisses they fancied before.

Scarlett mumbles, pulling out the tool, “My apologies.”

“It is simply the punishment of your scalpel.” Her syllables crawl around the loose tooth of hers, clunky in execution, “You are impartial to it, I know.”

“Well,” Scarlett picks up the pliers, a brute set meant for declawing wildebeests and mauling the fangs of foxes, “I enjoy these more. They are therapeutic, my savior for when I must slay a beast.”

“What beasts?”

“My wolf. He was not always so kind to me,” Scarlett’s voice cracks, crumpled paper around the edges, “but I tamed him.”

“Shall you do the same for me-?”

Clearing her throat, Scarlett drives the two tools into her mouth, targeting the precious molar. The pliers clutch the tooth and the scalpel pushes it from the side. Raven blinks when it is pulled, numb at first, but then it erupts with aching pain. It is out. A smile and frown fight at her lips; she is not sure which one wins out until her lover regards her.

“Was that better?” Scarlett asks, the tooth pristine in her hand. It is as long as the last had been, but now the base is larger, the muscled ivory bumps amusing to Raven as it was too weak to stand the tiny metallic tools her “dentist” had at her disposal.

“Yes,” She chuckles, blood teasing her gums, “I will take delight in sucking it dry. Perhaps, we can exchange another kiss?”

“Of course.”

“My mouth will be a redesigned creature, a new experience every time.”

“Are you asking for-”

“A softer staircase to my demise?” She is giddy.

Scarlett kisses Raven’s nose, trailing to her lips in quick succession. Her tongue flicks the space of the left molar, causing her lover to laugh once again.

Time whirls, teeth clicking into glass jars, and kisses being shared to numb the scars. With each passing extraction, the two grow lighter, drunk on the dead hours of the night and due to the lust-love they carve out, their passionate blood shadows dancing on the green woodland walls. They are overgrown, unruly as the teeth on the wolf-beast, strung to each other in a twisted tsunami, a blossoming daze they have yet to awaken from. Emerging from the cyclone, they are a quarter-way finished, the calcium tops of Raven’s mouth half gone, revealing a zip of the jagged bottom teeth.

Scarlett releases her love from another kiss, skin matted with sweat, and says, “I miss your smile.”

“Already?” Raven asks, “I do not.”

“I desire to see it again… It was so lovely.”

Raven’s teeth sink into the upper gums, as they gush with aches, carving the flesh with fingernail imprints. The white edges magnetize to the pink, pain not allowing her to pull them apart. Akin to the sensation is her chest convulsing, ripping as the pages of a secret diary. I love her, but she loves someone else; she loves an image of stolen beauty, not the wretch I truly am.

Scarlett is supposed to be her solace -her Romeo romantics are comforting- but, she always sees her teeth first, then her face- God knows if she even sees her beating heart. Downtrodden, Raven turns to quit the suite, her lover questioning her departure.

“Why must you leave? We are not finished.”

“I must think,” Raven’s voice is muffled, “I will be back.” She takes a long jacket off a hanger- a long black cat crossdress.

“Alright…” Scarlett is a whimper of a wolf pup, slumped on the bed with her ghost of a lab coat. Her lips quiver and Raven angles around, tempted to give one last kiss, but she lets go, plodding into the thunderous night.

Lightning cracks onto the backbone of the black boulevard as rain patters down into the edges of soil between the brick. The atmosphere is weighty, curls of must and worm-wash lapping the air as Raven is at a standstill, considering her heavy thoughts. Her eyes wander through the willows of the gothic church houses and mansions, ardent in searching for an answer to her dilemma. They dart to the intricately designed bedroom windows of the higher class, importance on the frames rather than the people sleeping away within, wishing to target a sight, but nothing provides her solace. Nothing but her loving Scarlett two floors up.

Temptation riddles within Raven as she dares to run upstairs and confess her love, to mangle with her morals once again. Her slender hands cradle her face and she imagines her dearest Scarlett placing a delicate kiss on her lips, repeating “I love your smile.”

The lie tears into her, perverted thoughts of keeping her beloved close injecting her blood with doubt.

This should be my death, right?

She gazes at her reflection in the puddles, a calm vision of her beautiful expression. It is not so true to life.

Then why am I so infatuated with my noose?

An electric bolt seizes the sky. The rains gollup, distorting her image in the flanks of filth-water.

Her true form feathers in the liquid, her skin bone-white and cracked, her eyes sunken vortexes punctured with stabs of red. Her horns are those of a ram, twisted fangs of scarlet sewn onto her forehead and her teeth are those of a wolf with long, slender canines under the pulp of her lips. Raven is a demonic creature to be sent back to hell, to burn for an eternity, to die as a wretch who attempted to masquerade as a mortal. She is to be stuffed, never loved, and forgotten in the endless galvanized monsoon.

~

New moon.

Scarlett’s teeth are sprawled upon the hardwood floor. She is unaware of how it happened. Her tools are clean.

The rattlesnake splatters as the window shakes. Thunder rumbles outside, a furious white and grey jumble of gauze in the sky, a riff-raff as the fabric rubs against itself. Lightning lashes as a whip, between the low trenches of whale-sound and the graveyard spirits of grey cumulus clouds. A coward in the storm, Scarlett retreats into her coat carapace. She retreats into the image of Raven.

Scarlett remembers the stormy night when she retreated into the cathedral, her senses a blur when she tumbled in, the red glow of the hollowed church bowing under the other woman’s silhouette. She had an exodus of raven billowed hair, with a divine ink-black dress, a simple figure underneath swimming layers of caged fabrics. The tresses were gaudy, golden designs of roses upon the weighty velvet as the structured wall of the gown blocked the altar, the ruffles upon her chest fluffed like a bird’s plume. All the towering stained glass windows stood on guard of their queen and signaled Scarlett red in their reflections.

Despite their warnings, Raven twirled around.

Her countenance was blinding, her blistering eyes, the slope of her nose, and her apple-tinged lips in perfect proportion, for she was an idol in the marrows of the church. A red sea carpet connected the two of them, and a fire erupted in Scarlett’s soul, flames wilted as she dared to take a look. The goddess was too powerful; her everlasting stare buried the mere taxidermist in an abyss of unknowns, an endless valley that pricked in the realm of her tired mind. Raven was an ideal Renaissance painting, but she was uncanny, too good to be true.

Scarlett’s fingers wrung together with sweat. “M-may I draw you?” she asked.

“You are an artist?” Raven questioned, a polite façade, “My, that is grand. Go ahead, dear.”

“Yes,” Scarlett flushed, sitting upon the benches. Her heartbeat hands carried her supplies out of her leather satchel, as Raven posed mimics of poised style journals. A side profile. A curtsy. A hand that lifts her skirt.

The artist furrowed her brow, “Be natural. Do as you please.”

“Oh,” Raven scuttled down on all fours and bit a nail, “Is this adequate?”

Scarlett gazed upon her, absolutely horrified. “Perfect,” she said.

Currently, in the realm of the present thunder, the recluse hugs her four-pawed wolf within the womb of her ghastly cloak. Her digits tremble on the warm tufts of fur, his skin breathing underneath her fingerprints, her arms imprisoning the unmoving relic as the downpour heightens. The rains roar like the jittery woods, like a cry for help, and her lip bleeds with worry.

“Will Raven be alright?”

The girl never drowns. You know that. The wolf murmurs.

Despite his reassurance, Scarlett peers outside at her beloved’s silhouette, her cloak blending in with the midnight hue of the setting. She is consumed by rain.

More teeth on the floor. Ivory cherubs.

~

Waning crescent.

The cloaked figure is the storm. Her guilt drowns the landscape, damp and humid under the endless waves of rainfall. She burrows into her heavy rain jacket, pulling it over her head to protect her raven locks. A gut reaction to preserve her beauty, shackling the beast inside. Was she a monster or an innocent girl of dreams?

Her existence came in two phases.

Raven was born in insectile netting, an irritant to the skin; it was gauze that attracted termites, dirt, and decay. A spider web.

Her home was a wooden hobbit, a blemish upon a rich family estate which was centered around a colossal mansion with magnums of Corinthian columns, statues of Romans in every garden, and fragrant flowers thriving in empires of manicured hedges. They were given care and tended to under the breezy whistles of wind and the canary blanket of the afternoon sun.

They were unlike her, who lived in the dark, discarded like a forgotten bloom as she wilted away. She was a rose, crusted dry petals and brandished thorns, as she hunted for dead rodents under the rickets of the floor. Blood upon her cursed claws signified a feast, but when retracted it was a signal of hunger- gentle calloused fingers, almost human, but uncanny.

Her eyes scanned the rackety walls, spotting a miniature chink in the locked door. Sometimes it would be white- a hollow circle etched on a floor with a claw, other times it would be black- a void filled in. Six pairs of these moons were sketched in, with no one to retrieve her from this vat of murky dark.

On the seventh day, light poured into the shack and quenched Raven’s thirst. The whiteness was pierced by a feminine silhouette, her voice a sing-song hum as she tumbled in. Her countenance was even brighter than the sun outside. She was encased in what Raven regarded as an oddly beautiful cocoon, black mats, and frills as she presented a plate of dinner scraps to the demon and smiled.

Raven grinned back.

The maid recoiled.

“Take it,” She said, plate shaking. The monster did not comprehend.

The foodstuffs were neatly arranged, almost as a proper meal, but the discarded chicken bones, the halves of vegetables, and the butter-water mush of eve-eaten potatoes proved otherwise. With caution, Raven stabbed a piece of chicken, her teeth grating against her talons as she consumed it.

She spat it out, tasting blood. The vomit was a wad of wet meat, with a greasy brown membrane and hacksaws of calcium that protruded from it. Disgusting.

Her company made some more noises, ripping away her frill-skin to remedy the demon’s bleeding tongue. The maid patted it, the fabric soft and lush as it soaked red saliva, her fingers trembling in the jaws of the beast. Raven knew not to bite down. She instead opened her mouth wider, revealing another set of tiny layered canines as she steadied her caretaker’s hand.

“Thanks,” The maid smiled as she found the cut.

The cloth blushed, as did Raven.

~

Half moon.

The cloth blushed, as did Scarlett.

She is washing up a puddle of blood on her desk, chagrin by her foolish actions as barbed wires of hurt tangle into her mandibles. The ichor was equally unpleasant, leaking constantly as a poor man’s shack on a rainy day. She fails to understand Raven’s pleasure in these extractions; how could she simply do away with her ivories?

Teeth are a symbol of power; they are Romans in Trojan horses and they are a Stone family crest. She came from a long heritage of dentists, tough men in white coats that promised to preserve the smiles of millions. Scarlett could not fulfill that promise.

Instead, she plucked the teeth out, selfish as she followed her senses, searching far and wide for a creature she could call her own. She found it in Raven.

She gazes at the portraits of her beloved on the wall, melancholy as the storm rattles their cracked surfaces. It is a timeline of their love, a collection of captured moments as she tracked the hunt. The artworks had frantic energy with the playdates of light and color, surreal on the canvas as her depictions danced from scene to scene. They were flat dabs of paint, yet caught the day-to-day realities of Raven- as she ate a croissant, or tightened her corset, or bit her nails at a dinner party- all through intricately designed windows, importance on the girl within rather than the frames.

With every canvas, Scarlett would chip away at her mystery, convinced she found the answer, but the clues still sat idle on the wall without conclusion.

One painting crashes on the floor- the only artwork of her lovely muse in silks. With tremulous hands, Scarlett clutches it. Her cuticles pin the frame and in seconds, she guts it out, eating the paints in a fit of rage.

Why did I tie the rope?

She destroys the canvas with her knee, leaving a violent gash of paper and oil paint between the wooden frame.

To fucking hang myself?

Her teeth secure themselves on the painting’s skeleton, bloody as they attempt to splinter through it. She is a lunatic who lost her way, hiding in a woodland madhouse as her teeth imprint themselves in the wood. They are stuck on the frame rather than to the gums. With the hideous pain, she whirls towards her wolf, pulling her cloak over her cranium.

“I caught you, I caught you, I c-caught you…” She repeats it as a holy chant, as an old man with his wrinkled hands in prayer, “I killed your wr-retched soul, but why do you still haunt m-me?”

I desire my victory, He growls, not your love story.

In her delirium, Scarlett looks out the window again, spotting her love in the same area as before. She would be the key to end all of this, to end the nightmares and the self-inflicted pain. Irene was an angel, a savior, and her only smiling hope in this twisted world. Her teeth were pearls, perfect shells in the sand, and she was the innocence the devil would prey on to finally get his fill as he did with her family long ago. Perhaps, that would grant her solace.

The sea salts Scarlett’s under eyes and the echoes of those she missed lull her to sleep.

~

Waning Gibbous.

The sea roared, waking Raven up to a lukewarm summer night. Her caretaker was the boundless ocean, for she had frills of waves, the smile of a seashell, and the ticklish manner of the bubbly suds of saltwater dashing onto the ankles. However, the two were not on a beach; they were on the steps to the estate mansion, having explored the red velvet guts of the expensive palace. Despite its gilded guise, nature was what brought them both solace, the eye of the three-quarter crescent just waiting to reveal itself in its full grandeur.

“Do you feel alone?” The maid asked. It was a sudden blip in conversation.

Raven nodded yes, but answered, “Not when I with you.”

“I like that answer.” A cheeky smile.

“Not true. I am monster.”

“Oh?”

“There is no one like me.”

“Well, I feel the same. My family regards me as nothing but a housekeeper, as a maid. They have me make their beds, unclog the toilets and do all the chores while my sister studies away. They even forgot me on our forest vacation!”

“Hmmm.”

“Am I cursed because I was born to a different mother? Are you cursed because you are a monster?” The maid declares.

“Yes. I am cursed with love for your beauty.”

“Aww…” she ruffles the demon’s hair, giggly again.

Raven leaned upon the maid, holding her hand tight in the cold breeze. It was warm as her silk cocoon, but it was not an irritant for it was smooth and graceful, fingers delicately wrapped around hers as they enjoyed a sleepy haze. The human’s amethyst necklace glinted in the limelight, as did her countenance, everlasting in its pale appearance- the full moon.

~

Raven stole her mask the next morning.

Fabric frills, clack-click buttons, oily plaits, and a sweet apple scent. She was the only human who regarded her form with kindness, only to be repaid with killing kisses as Raven ate her corpse.

They were both in a marbella lavatory, speckled red peels of blood seeping into the faint grey veins of the washtub as she consumed her core. The maiden’s cries reverberated upon the walls, but no one could hear as the monster devoured her body, limb by limb, organ by organ, shriek by a shriek. She was tenderloin muscle, flabs of fat and scurries of flesh, delicious livers Raven had craved and nothing more. Her jowl lurched upon the skin, red spritz upon the stone as she bit into the human, the lacework of her tethered gores being holed and ripped by the treacherous demon. The screams haunted the succubus, but she could not halt; her love was too much.

At last, Raven leaned into her sweetheart and her wolfine canines dug into the vellum of her tender head, hooking the undereye bags with the juicy pop of eyeballs. She extracted the gums and teeth, kissing her love before she slit the tongue.

She placed the jaws on her head like a crown. Her victim’s teeth were dominos, the calcium forming the monster’s renewed appearance as she pulled them out one by one with metallic spiral claws. She counted:

“1…2…3…

Her horns shrunk and her skin warmed.

“14…15…16…”

Her eyes emerged from the blackness.

“30…31…32…”

Raven’s newborn countenance was the most divine. She was sculpted yet organic, sun-kissed porcelain dressed in a butcher’s bedgown, a gentle dove who had just eaten the innards of a raucous rat. Her ivories were unsharp, her features a delight in the mirror ten steps afar. The maid was a tousle of skin, blood and bone, a deformed wretch of meat as a lamb at the slaughter.

She hung her victim on the door. The body was a martyr, for the father, son, and holy spirit of Raven’s eyes, nose, and lips.

Now, drenched in rain, she looks at her stolen reflection in the wine-water. It is perfectly human. No wrinkles, no pores, no imperfections, but it is unnerving. Her form is an eternal nightmare. She is not a cathedral, but a tombstone, holding a lost life.

~

Scarlett lays on the bed.

Her mind is a blood moon night, the stubble of evergreens and a thick fog coursing through the dark expanse of the forest. Blooms of blood color the campground, arms, legs, and heads severed. Her sister’s pretty doll dress soaks up strawberries, and her father’s rich cloak is shredded at the tips, cotton edges like parchment, hardened with grime. The grass beneath her is an itch, needles into her goosebumps as the woodland shadows close in.

Her eyes skitter in panic, and she winces at every slight sound, at the creak of twigs, the howl of the wind and the wretched growlings of the monster rippling through the trees. Her family is faceless, nameless, massacred, and she is the only one left alive, shackled in her mental tortures.

She does not know what it is- only that it assumes the form of a wolf and that it has extracted their mandibles, leaving them intact with the gums. The jaws are crowns on the grass, perfectly donned upon nature’s unruly kingdom.

They grin.

Scarlett recoils.

The wolf bustles through the timbers again and she tastes copper as her survival instincts kick in. For a flash, the beast morphs into a silk demon, a dash of white-silver before it changes into a charcoal black.

Wind dashes her hair. Fur touches her skin.

All the teeth of her family vanished. Scarlett bites down to assure hers are still there and they ping with pain at the pressure. She grits them, the nails-on-chalkboard sensation being the only comfort she can manage to provide herself. Despite it, her fear amounts as the beast circles around one more time, waiting to pounce at any given moment.

The body parts disappear.

Scarlett takes that as her cue to run, dashing through the barbarous trees, bone-cracking leaves under every step. Her father’s cloak soars upon her shoulders as the shadows of the forest intertwine, ropes of the forgotten ghosts trying to force her into the black cauldron of death, to poison her limbs with acute soreness, but she instead speeds quicker than ever before. To halt is not an option.

She reaches the estate. The marbella house flashes with a strike of lightning, the first thunderous orchestra hit before the rain downpours in a sheet over Scarlett’s locks. She cannot discern her tears from the weather, and panics in search of a place to hide.

In the end, she finds the blemished shack. Rains trickle from the roof like blood from an old open wound, thick and mud-caked, as they threaten to ruin the only memory of her father. She is warm in the lab coat, warm in scientific certainty. This did not happen, it is all a dream, right?

Scarlett examines the cobwebs of silk in the corner, which crawl with termites eating away at the plastic strings. Their pincers suck at the thin ropes and nibble on the minuscule cilia upon them, the bedbugs squirming in her psyche as she recalls the warning her dad had given her prior. Reason critters away to a bedtime story:

The m-monster lives inside the s-shack. Never go in there.

The door pounds. Her heart as well.

No. No. No.

It creaks open.

“Ms. Stone?”

The taxidermist heaves a sigh. Raven.

“Are you alright? You look very pale.”

“I am fine- unfine… I have awakened from the most frightening of dreams– an endless nightmare.”

“Tell me everything. You may hold your fears with me.” Raven takes Scarlett’s hands, thumb gleaning over the skin. Her nail nicks the knuckles.

“Ah- I shall not worry you. Your mind must be tangled with thoughts, walking down the spiral staircase of your goodbyes,” Scarlett leaves the wound unattended, “My dream does not matter.”

“What is yours to burden is mine as well-” Raven sees her missing ivories and pauses, “and are you alright?”

“Please, rest! You already have much to burden.” Seulgi commands, soft when caressing her lover’s cheek, “You look terribly ill.”

Ill?

Raven takes a peek at her image in Scarlett’s dresser mirror, gazing at her wilted white skin- reminiscent of that devil’s appearance. There are gullies under her eyes, which are tempted to erupt with fire at any given time. Her nose is a crooked beak, her hair is disheveled, and her wolfine teeth are beginning to bud from the tops of her gums.

A line of rose blood marks where Scarlett touched her, and her hideous appearance blushes. She tries her finger upon it, and sucks her nail, intoxicated with the appetizer. Terribly ill, the concern echoes in her consciousness, She cares for me too much.

“Do go to bed. I will extract your teeth tomorrow morning.” Scarlett says.

Raven refutes, “No, finish. Be quick before I starve.”

“Starve?”

“Of your love, darling.”

Scarlett grins, holes in her bridgework like the floorboards of the hobbit Raven lived in prior. She imagines insects crawling out and she wants to crush them all red, to devour their sweet taste. As had been done with the illustration on the wall… probably one of her fits again.

“Say aah-!” The taxidermist was glad to have her angel back.

Raven chuckles, “Do not baby me; I am not a child for you to pander. Tug them with no mercy. Let me feel pain.”

“Then why are you so lit-“

The wolf girl targets her.

Scarlett shifts to her desk and retrieves her tools, quickly hacking out four ivories without any hesitation. She is focused on her work, dry of emotion as she clears out the mandibles, in a flow state. Raven is just another animal, a bear, a bird, or a wolf and is close to death, haggard and lifeless as her eyes wrinkle in the twilight hours of the night. Scarlett can see the prick of each extraction, the peculiar chaos in her subject’s mouth, but the taxidermist refuses to halt. Panic suffocates her.

21..22…23…

“I am eshaaausted,” Raven is a neanderthal with her words.

“Do you want to go to bed?”

“Yesh.”

“Whatever you say,” Scarlett gives her a wistful smile.

Her love takes bedrest and buries herself under the frost tipped sheets, pulling them close as they embrace her with warm passionate spirits. The pillow is a feathered icebox, cold comfort and raindrops as she dozes off into a peaceful slumber.

Scarlett watches her in the marble bath, head bobbing upon the water as her eyes roll back. Her porcelain surface chipped and the water roiled of pearl dust fog. Raven was an oyster, to be hacked open, to drown in the poison of her sins, but she never had been.

The taxidermist was present at the ritual drowning this afternoon, when sun prismed and thin shadows twined upon the open washroom. Her love was a divine sight behind her canvas, a glass girl in the ocean, fading away in her web of lies. Impressions of light and shadow cascaded her form, dignifying her as a classic. Venus of Urbino. An honor to paint, and in the near future, an honor to stuff.

Of course, what Raven was doing was an oddity, mysterious as usual. Sister Joyce had said it was baptism, a refreshing daily routine, and Sister Yvette had said it was a curse, one that she always had to clean up after. The artist saw it for what it was behind the curtains of courtesy: a suicide attempt.

Raven had always counted to thirty-two twice; it was an odd even number, double of the sixteen lustrous parties she hosted this month, half of the sixty-four gowns the guests wore to each and the exact number of human teeth in their fake smiles. In a way, the water was her own fancy, gossips whispered from the tendrils of hair that floated above. Her nose was strangled in a liquid choke of soap murmurs, mouth silenced in fear of the ocean’s inquisition. She kept her eyes open, bitter and burning, to gaze at the chandelier above, crystals of color that blurred under the sea. Was this what she saw when she died? Was this her god?

Raven never answered the question.

She would always rise from the water in a fit of coughs, a flop in her loose drapery of silk, but on that day she arose to see Scarlett staring. Her eyes were mirrors, her presence like a gentle tide during forceful winds, Irene’s appearance a haze within them. Paradoxical.

“You did it again,” Scarlett whimpered.

“Why are you here, my love? Do you not have some other fucking shit to do other than stalk me?” Raven’s rude words scribbled across her canvas.

Scarlett went cold, skin prickled with goosebumps.

“Sorry, I was harsh…” Raven attempted to thread through them. Needles. “This is typically a private time.”

“Should I leave?” Scarlett asked.

“Join me.”

Scarlett shed her lab coat like a snakeskin, slithering into the bath, water drained to the ankles. Like the beach. Like the waves that threaten to swallow me whole.

She huddled into Raven’s side, nose buried in the cape of her neck, the cold metal of her spectacles grazing her beloved’s chin as she stole a kiss. Raven chuckled, gazing down at her as the Virgin Mary. Their love yawned with steam, humid as they pulled closer, faces sculpted by the early morning light. They ate breakfast, impolite, mouths open rather than closed, their affections muted chews with the sudden ivory scratches of silverware, jousting as they motioned against each other. Scarlett hummed, sun on her tongue as she burned bright with Raven’s love. Their delirious dream of love.

Silks fluttered by Scarlett’s wet fabrics, mopped upon her pillowcase shirt and tight black pants as Irene laughed, splashing vapors onto her cheeks.

“I want to die,” Raven said, “My happiness, my luxury, my -you…” she caressed her lover’s countenance, “is not deserved.”

Scarlett squeezed her arm, “Why is it not?”

“You hope for a lie,” Raven declares, “A lie that would take the universe to unwind. A lie that has seeped into every kiss I have given you. No matter how I try to run away, to claw, to waltz, to drown, I will never be free. Unless you release me.”

“Raven-” Scarlett let go of her.

“I want you to accept this,” She whispered, handing her a tube. Cyanide.

The silver vial now rests in Scarlett’s palm as she lays by her sleeping beauty, unsure of what to do. She is encapsulated in tangled locks, damp with bathwater sweat as she gazes towards the eve of Raven’s back. A bite is what the artist desires, but she shall not make haste. She instead reverts to her duty and takes the tweezers, sliding the vial onto her bedside table. Slowly, she parts Raven’s lips. Her metallic pinchers click upon the last tiles of teeth as a mallet to a xylophone as she plays an ominous tune. She is ripped between two options: Either keep her teeth until the morning, or pull them out, right at this moment.

Scarlett’s mind crawls with termites, Her death will be soon. You will keep the promise this time.

She eyes the vial again and grabs it off her desk. The poison roils within the glass upon her heartbeat hands. Her whole body is in a tremor and her brows furrow in the earthquake, a tremendous force that only affects her in the aftermath of the rainstorm weaving away. She is sick; there is a certain canine trying to claw his way in again. She tries to breathe, to stay calm, but her breaths only suffocate her, as she inhales hacks of sharp air into her fragile lungs.

The vial crashes upon the floor, glass splintered as her teeth before. Or the other way around. He knocks on the door, a constant beating in Scarlett’s tell tale heart. Louder. Louder.

The beast ripples through the trees. Louder. Louder. Louder.

Thunder booms once more, strings of the rains in a rising crescendo, her heart fluttering as a flautist’s trill as thousands of faint reflections stare at Scarlett through the shards. The teeth are in crooked grins, cascading by the frosts of cyanide.

Louder. Louder. He howls in her head. The beast circles around her legs and snarls at her, soap frost poison burbling upon his jaws. His canines remind her of the forest again, the rows of evergreens as the shadowy sinews close in. She runs. Louder. Louder. Louder. She shutters towards the mirror, knuckles gasping at the edges of the dresser as she takes in her being- cracked chalk skin, voracious gullies beneath her florid eyes, and the canines that once belonged to her wolf.

I am terribly ill. Terribly, terribly…

She is choked in the noose of her own identity- a mangled sketch of her “sister” and “father” whom she barely knew but only stalked in the night, rippling through the trees.

Silence. All is still and Raven is coddled up in the bedchamber, undead.

Scarlett makes haste over to her lover’s side, brushing away the bothersome flings of hair to reveal her forehead. Her pinky nicks the skin.

“I must tell you of my deformity,” She leans over Raven’s skull and gifts her a small kiss on the scar. A crescent moon cut.

Raven awakens, soft despite the irritation, and gazes at her lover’s blood lined lips. Her eyes trail up Scarlett’s jagged claws, the glints of her fangs and the bog willows of her ruffled locks, only to find her own reflection staring back at her. She repositions herself to sit on the bed, the last of her canine teeth jutting out. The only copper words Irene dares to whisper are, “You have the illness…”

“Indeed. I am an untrained medic,” Scarlett laughs bitterly at her own joke.

Irene cries, “Why did you keep this away?” Tears sting her lashes, as a single ashen droplet slivers down her sunken cheek. Her weeps morph to howls, “Why?”

“Why did you?”

“I-I- …I am so sorry.”

“Give me no apology,” Scarlett quotes her, “After all, a lie takes the universe unwind.”

“And once it is unwound, what is left?”

Raven gnashes her teeth, and bites into her beloved’s crimson lips as she finishes the sentiment. Scarlett snaps back.

They both bloom like roses, blurred maroons and blood moons shifting over them as they parse out each other’s bodices and eat the tender flesh inside. Fangs line their multiple layers of jaws and spike the canals of midnight-hued gums, spiral stairways to endless dark. Scarlett hooks her prey onto the sheets, as she capers away at chunks of flesh. Corpa, venter, pectus, humerus, collum, oculus… She memorizes her and ravages her body, part by part, preserving the delicate center for last.

Raven snaps hellfire. Her teeth sink into Scarlett’s stomach, gouging her way up the torso as her sabers plunge into her body and scratch the skeleton. Raven’s scissorhands sever the skin with scars as the membranes swivel around her lover’s bare-bones, organs juiced and devoured in her jaws. The fruit of her love.

Blood stains the bed, now weighty with the liquid, mattress sloshing in the rickety wooden frame. The monsters are kneeling upon it, talons at each other’s cigarette scarred chests.

Scarlett croaks, “Ms. Wick…”

“What is left?” Raven guts her beloved and holds her heart, “Answer me!”

“Are you hurt?” Scarlett rambles. She carves out her lover’s heart with soft gestures, her scalpel like pinky claw imprinting the skin.

Raven’s eye widens, since the other was holed, “I am. It hurts, but it is the truth- my heart on your rosewood desk.” The organ flops onto Scarlett’s claws.

“But, now that we are wretched beings… what is left for us?” Raven asks.

“Love is left.” Scarlett grins.

Raven grins back.

Neither of them recoil.

~

The dawn breaks and sunlight filters through the window onto their human figures. It outlines them, their forms dipping in light and shadow, defined yet blurry in the midsummer’s rays. They are in a soft embrace, as Raven’s lips smile into Scarlett’s shoulders and the warm lily bleached sheets blanket them together. Their scalps both share a single pillow as their hair sprawls and swirls upon the bed, lashes crusted before the birdcall of a new day.

“Stoneeee…” Raven yawns, hot air upon her collarbone, “Morning?”

The sheets fold a “yes” as Scarlett nods. She takes hold of Raven’s small hand, kisses the fingertips, and bites the cuticles, hungry from last night. The moon scar still marks her hand, now an ashen symbol as she motions for a peck. Irene delivers, and it glows red around the edges and she gets up, stretching. Scarlett watches as the muscle of her tender back expands, corset loose around her ribcage.

Raven gazes back at her love, face painted by shadow. “Come,” she says, “Embrace me some more.”

“Here you go…” Scarlett’s voice is gruff as she wraps Raven in a bear hug.

“Go on,” Raven dares her to come close, “I bite.”

Scarlett takes her request and kisses her lips once more. It is not grandiose nor explosive- it simply is. Blissfully light, as the flower petals in the wind, as the light cascading upon the dewdrop mansions outdoors, and as the people inside unaware of the thunderous storm the previous night. It foreshadows the white heavens which would welcome them as the sand does the sea.

Raven pulls away, giddy as a child as she takes Scarlett’s hand and says, “We can go outside, if you desire to. If you are not afraid or-”

“I can,” Scarlett puffs out her chest in a juvenile show of bravery.

They button up angel wing coats before Raven tugs Scarlett away and clicks the door to a close. The martyr is hung upon it, bloody remains and organs as the forgotten body threatens to wither away. Scarlett follows her as they pass through the hall and stairway, blooms of blood upon the floor, arms and legs obstructing the path. The outdoors are breathless, clouds whipping the sky in light strokes, a graphite sketch of churches upon the street under a pale moon-sun. All of the gothic cityscape is drawled out on white parchment as the light consumes them.

Their white dusted figures flock to the cathedral nearby, hands interlocked as they look upon the building. The stained glass windows beckon them to hurry inside, a curious eye watching over them, eloquent rays of light casting illustrative designs upon their faces. Raven and Scarlett look at each other, at once agreeing to proceed.

They flutter through the barracks of benches and bibles to the altar, to see the Savior upon the Catholic cross. A gruesome sight- rose thorn crown, bolts in the palms, and the expression of anguish on his countenance as he bears the weight of all of humanity’s sins. The shadows flank him, and squares of light illuminate the girls in the ultimate reversal. The two devils smirk; he was not going to rise up any time soon. Judea had won.

Raven and Scarlett embrace each other, in a reverie, gazing longingly into the crystal twilights of each others’ irises. Their eyes are orbs of glass.

~

A tooth is not the stubby stump a child finds under a pillow.

Its true form is long and slender, two of them strung upon a serpentine string of endless lies. Two of them mangled corpses, bloodied, bruised, and feasted on, drunk on saltwater cyanide.

The Cat Lady | Short Story

November 28

To My Dearest Diary,

I thought Emperor Mozzarella loved me, at least as much as my other cats do, but clearly, I was wrong. He vomited all over my most cherished rug and completely ruined it! I can’t believe the Emperor would do such a horrible thing! I thought he respected me. I suspect it was revenge for giving Cherry the Cheshire the fancy cat food instead of him. But Cherry the Cheshire, the poor dear, is at the end of her life, and she needs a little coddling in these last months.

It really was a marvelous rug: very plush and very beautiful and very white. I inherited it from my mother. I was pleased when that abhorrent woman died because it meant I could have such a wonderful rug. 

I wanted to publicly shame the Emperor for destroying that magnificent rug by forcing him to give a stand-up comedy routine in front of the other cats. I expected him to embarrass himself, and I even gave the other cats permission to fling rotting vegetables at him. But he once again disappointed. He’s surprisingly skilled with cat puns, and the bucket of rotting vegetables remained unflung. Even I couldn’t prevent a small chuckle from escaping. My punishment was a failure. I’m afraid the Emperor rather enjoyed it. But don’t worry, I’m still holding a grudge. I will eventually have my revenge.

November 29

To My Dearest Diary,

James called and that good-for-nothing son-of-mine said he’s coming over tomorrow evening, despite the fact that I told him I’d rather he didn’t. He’s so inconsiderate. But the child said he’s “worried about me” and that I need “human companionship.” What did I do to make him think he’s worthy of my companionship? He’s not worthy of the floor I walk on, and I thought I’d made that clear. I don’t understand why he can’t be more like his sister. Even when they were kids, I always told James to be more like Mary Sue, but he never did listen to me. And now look where they are. Mary Sue lives in The Big City and is the CEO of Really Fancy Tech Company. James, on the other hand, has done zilch with his life. He’s a failure. A nothing living in an average suburban home with an average job and an average wife and horrid children that shower him with their sickly love. But Mary Sue. She’s made it in this world. Her name is known. She has power. She’s successful, and I’m proud of her.

At this point of my speech, James usually rolls his eyes and points out that Mary Sue is unhappy, goes through men like normal people go through waffles, and she hasn’t called me in five years, while James, the angel, has checked up on me nearly every day and “actually cares.” However, his points don’t make any sense and his argument is as stupid as he is. I’ll concede that Mary Sue is unhappy, but happiness doesn’t relate to success and is therefore unimportant; I am allergic to waffles (I do love a good pancake though) and therefore I do not eat waffles (because they would kill me and I rather like life) and therefore Mary Sue’s relationship with men is perfectly healthy; and she hasn’t called because she’s successful and successful people are often too busy to call their mothers. I’m so proud of my little girl.

James, though… I do not appreciate it when he calls. If anything, it only inconveniences and irritates me. James fully knows this and calls only to spite me for loving Mary Sue more when they were children (and now). And I know for a fact that he does not “actually care.” If he did “actually care” he would blindly follow whatever I say, wouldn’t he? This is why I prefer cats to people. (And diaries to cats.)

November 30

To My Dearest Diary,

I’ve been thinking about what James said yesterday, about how I need more friends. After a significant amount of thought (I wasted thirty seconds of my life thinking about what James said. I can’t believe myself), I’ve come to the conclusion that he has once again proved himself to be incompetent.

I’m anything but lonely. I have so many friends! There’s Cherry the Cheshire, Sweet Milly, Tibby the Tabby, Colby and Jack, Margaret, Cheddar the Yellow, Emperor Mozzarella, Tommy—I haven’t seen the poor dear in ages. I wonder where he’s gone—, Reina the Yellow, Raisin the Bald, etc. So many friends! Except for Emperor Mozzarella. We’re currently not on speaking terms.

James, that filthy clod, repetitively commands me to find friends. He doesn’t think my precious cats count. He says I should “be friends with things that can speak.” That narrow-minded lump can’t comprehend the fact that my cats can speak, at least to me, and are the only friends I need. What more could I want? Other than Emperor Mozzarella, they are doting and kind and so, so sweet—qualities that he himself does not possess! And he insults my friends?

And I have you, Dearest, as well, don’t I? You’re my best friend, and even better than the cats (don’t tell them I said that). I do love the cats, but sometimes on the longer days, it becomes all about me, me, me, and it becomes tiring to pretend to care about all their yowling. Raisin the Bald, especially, is quite narcissistic. Sometimes they don’t worship me the way I want them to. But you, Dearest, are wonderful in ways the cats could only dream to be. You listen so well. I can tell you all my secrets and never will a word of it reach the others. I confided in Tibby and Tommy once, but the poor things love to gossip. I gave Tibby and Tommy the silent treatment for three days. They learned their place after that.

Dearest, you understand me like no other can. You love me like no other can. You never want anything from me. Oh, the cats are good company, but they don’t compare. It’s constantly feed me, change my litter, love me. They expect so much from me! Is it wrong to sometimes take instead of give? Is it wrong to sometimes want things for me instead of always living for others?

November 31

To My Dearest Diary,

James visited yesterday. It was rather unpleasant, and his voice provoked a terrible ache in my left ear. He brought hot chocolate, which was nice. I made some for myself, but when I sat down on the couch across from him, he eyed my hot chocolate like I should have made him some. The nerve! If he had wanted hot chocolate, he should have kept it at his house. He gave it to me as a gift, and since it’s a gift, I have the right to do with it what I please. And I’d rather not waste hot chocolate on ungrateful little urchins.

James kept trying to make small talk. I detest small talk. I remained silent and glared at him until he left. That made me feel successful.

Then I had to go lie down because of my ear.

Wait a moment, Dearest, would you? The phone is ringing. It must be my darling Mary Sue.

November 31,

To My Dearest Diary,

Dearest, I’ve returned! Did you miss me?

James called again. I apologize once more for giving birth to such a barbaric son.

He sounded horrendous. I’ve always told him to enunciate, but that boy never did listen to his wise mother. And he wonders why I think he’s stupid. 

He seemed worried. About Mary Sue of all people. I don’t understand why anyone would even think to be worried about her. She’s perfect! There’s no aspect of her life and/or personality that could be any cause for concern.

He said she’s lonely and upset. I told him he was speaking nonsense and to get off the phone. That arrogant child ignored my command and stayed on the phone. He said he’d tried inviting her for dinner, but she refused to come over because she didn’t want to see James’s wife because she gave Mary Sue a ceramic catfish for James’s half-birthday three years ago. Which is absurd because Mary Sue has never held a grudge. I suppose she hasn’t talked to me since I gave her a glass flounder for Christmas five years ago, and I suppose other people would call that a grudge, but I promise it’s not a grudge. I don’t know what it is, precisely, but I assure you it’s not a grudge. She has always been such a sweet-tempered girl. She was frequently nice to the other children and she was so funny! She’d make her classmates weep with tears of joy. The teachers said she was aggressive, but they didn’t understand. My Mary Sue is an angel.

Anyway, I’ll send her a cat to keep her company. It’s worked so well for me. Probably Emperor Mozzarella. It’s a brilliant plan. I won’t have to deal with the Emperor anymore and James can’t pester me about Mary Sue’s supposed loneliness either because at least I tried.

Emperor Mozzarella is getting out of hand. On top of defecating on treasured rugs, he is now picking fights with the other cats. He ate all of Cherry the Cheshire’s fancy cat food and has sparked a war between the two of them. I usually stay neutral in my cats’ affairs (to keep up appearances as I supposedly love them all equally), but, due to prior infractions, I find myself inclined to support Cherry the Cheshire in her endeavors. All the cats will say their goodbyes to Emperor Mozzarella tomorrow. Personally, I will be saying good riddance.

November 32

To My Dearest Diary,

Everyone said their goodbyes to Emperor Mozzarella today. It was a sad occasion for the cats. There was much weeping. Despite their differences, the cats love the Emperor. I don’t understand them. How can they forgive his faults and choose to love an inconvenience?

I was planning to cut Emperor Mozzarella from our family. I wasn’t going to give him a way to contact us again, but Sweet Milly begged me with tears in her feline eyes to give him a stationary set. Either Sweet Milly is kind to everyone, or she and Emperor Mozzarella are in a secret relationship. I can’t wait to give the announcement to all the cats! (You can’t tell because you can’t see because you’re a book and therefore don’t have eyes, but I’m waggling my eyebrows suggestively.)

November 35

To My Dearest Diary,

Mary Sue, the darling, sent me a letter today.


To My Dearest Mother,

I know I’m currently not speaking to you because of that atrocious glass flounder you gave me for Christmas a while ago. Don’t let this letter deceive you because I’m still not speaking to you, and I’m definitely not forgiving you.

You have angered me and I know it was revenge for cutting ties with you. I’m scolding you because how can a mother so gruesomely spite their own favorite child? It’s cruel. You are a horrible woman and I hate you.

I got a box in the mail from you the other day. I thought you were finally making up for that failure of a Christmas present. I thought you were finally considering my feelings. And then I opened it and you know what I found? NOTHING.

You were seeking revenge against your own daughter and you toyed with my emotions.

I don’t appreciate that. How many times do I have to tell you? You never listen.

You know, it was always like this when we were children and you were middle-aged. You were always making promises and never following through. For example, that &$@%ing parent-teacher conference. You promised you’d be a good mother and be quiet and not embarrass me, and what did you do? YOU YELLED AT THE &$@%ING TEACHER and made the rest of the year #*$$ for me. You embarrassed me. Precisely what I told you not to do.

You’re a disgrace of a mother and I am ashamed of you.

With Love,

Mary Sue


To My Dearest Daughter,

You are such a sweetheart. You bring excitement to my dull, cat-filled world. I am so proud of you and all your accomplishments. Take pride in the knowledge that I love you more than James.

I am so sorry that the box arrived empty. It was not my intention to spite you. When I originally mailed it, there was a lovely cat in there, Emperor Mozzarella, who was sent to be your friend. I love my cats so much and I wanted to send you my love in the form of a cat. He must have run away. He always did want to conquer kingdoms and form his own empire. It’s why he demands that everyone call him the “Emperor.” It’s really quite pretentious, isn’t it?

Love Always,

Your Mother


Emperor Mozzarella must have run away (and—oh, dear—Tommy, too). I’m so disappointed in him for disappearing. I thought he was better than that. Maybe I went too far when I forced him into the stand-up comedy routine. He must have been angrier than I thought.

I haven’t seen Sweet Milly for a few days either. She most likely ran away, as well. Probably because I refused to give Emperor Mozzarella a stationary set. She always did have a stubborn streak. This is unfortunate. She was my favorite, but don’t tell the other cats that.

November 41

To My Dearest Diary,

I’m far angrier than what’s considered an acceptable level of angriness. I’m angry at James, angry at myself, angry at my cats. &$%@, I’m even angry at Mary Sue. And now I’ve written “angry” so many times it’s lost all meaning, and I’m angry at that too.

Mary Sue has left already, but James is still in my living room like a cloud of stink you just can’t get rid of. I left him alone. He’d better not ruin the coffee table.

Margaret died just now. I am sad. 

It makes me feel melancholy. I have the strongest desire to constantly sigh gloomily. I’m upset with Mary Sue. She made me feel this way.

It was awful, darling. She was a hurricane. She stormed in and you could see the smoke pouring out of her pores. The world shrunk in her presence, like she took up more space than she should (despite being a relatively short person). And she brought the box.

The one I sent Emperor Mozzarella in.

And then she started screaming absurd things. She claimed that I’m an awful mother, that I sent her an empty box to toy with her emotions, and that I mailed her a letter afterward to mock her. I strongly disagree with all of these accusations. I am an amazing mother, just ask any of my cats or my children. I sent her a cat to make her happy, as if that can be considered “toying with her emotions,” and the letter I sent was completely honest.

I took offense.

James, that disgusting sea lamprey of a son, just sat there, letting his dear mother absorb insult after curse after insult, and did absolutely nothing to defend my pride. I blame him entirely.

Mary Sue, in a final display of dramatics, flung the box at my feet. It tipped on its side and spilled tens or hundreds of decorative fish, clearly revenge for my supposed allegations. Margaret, the poor dear, happened to be napping on the floor when the box fell on her and crushed the life out of the poor thing.

She’s dead now.

I, as any sane person would when their cat has just unexpectedly been crushed to death by a large box of decorative fish, both screamed and generally panicked.

James, of course, reacted in turn by unnecessarily demanding that I tell him what was wrong. As if I owe him an explanation for anything.

Mary Sue just stood there looking stunned and a little bit peeved at my ruining of all her theatrics. The poor darling was always a bit delicate. Endearing most of the time, but never good in a crisis.

I don’t quite remember if I told them that Margaret had died, or if they intuitively guessed, or if they’re secretly psychics and they read my mind. But either way, this lead to the most absurd accusation of the night.

Mary Sue began to speak. “&$@%, Mom. What are you—”

James, that rude little boy, cut her off with a glare. He faced me and said with a strange look on his face, “Mother, you know your cats aren’t real. You have allergies.”

Dearest, can you believe it?

They’re so silly. Of course my cats are real. I’ve had them for years. Children do tend to weave the most fanciful lies, don’t they? Lies so absurd they couldn’t possibly pass for the truth. And besides, I’ve had my cats for years! They can’t be implying that I’ve been imagining them for years, can they? That means they must be real, doesn’t it? They are real, aren’t they? I’ve had them for years… Are they real? Tell me they’re real, Dearest. Dearest? Answer me! Don’t ignore me!

Dearest… You’re real, right?


Photo by Immortal shots from Pexels

The Keyboard

To create a story is to create a world and characters so vivid that the reader cannot bear to accept it as only fiction. To create a story is to allow the reader to breach a space that fundamentally belongs to the writer, and as they peer into its depths, it becomes its own reality. I’m awed that it is me who lurks behind a keyboard and builds worlds, that it is me who toys with the nonexistent reader’s emotions and plays god to my characters. Despite being wholly unqualified, I try to create stories that will entrance readers and lure them into the make-believe.

The story’s foundation is built in the writer’s imagination, in isolation and darkness, hidden and inaccessible. It begins as an idea that is so easily blown beyond reach. The barest brush at the edge of one’s consciousness and then nothing at all, a wisp of smoke, a dying flame, a final breath. The idea is sneaky, a small mouse hiding and darting across the edges of vision when no one’s looking. To capture the idea, one must be constantly vigilant, hunting and prepared to pounce. The pen sets the trap. At the briefest whisper of an idea floating by, the pen is touched to paper. It rips across the page. It constructs an inescapable prison to store the idea so it will never be forgotten. The keyboard bides its time in the background, preparing for the war it anticipates.

Once captured, the idea is welcomed into the brain. In the mind, the idea festers. It swelters and parasitically feeds on thoughts, leaving no space for anything else. It grows like a fungus, and you allow it, nurture it, cherish it. The idea is a needy infant. It requires constant care and attention to grow. The mind is the mother, willingly throwing all of herself to the idea. It soon eats too many thoughts and is too large to contain within the mind anymore. Pieces of the idea overflow and escape and the mind frantically tries to recapture them, but there is too much. The idea can no longer be contained. It demands to be free, yet the keyboard continues to lie patiently in wait. Brief notes are scribbled, but the keyboard remains mostly untouched as the idea grows into something worthy of it.

Pen cannot keep pace with the flood of ideas that pours from the mind during the exodus. Something always escapes while the pen is preoccupied with decadent flourishes. One must turn to the keyboard to find what the pen lacks: speed. There is something beautiful about the pen, about thoughts flowing in one’s own hand, but as speed increases, legibility is sacrificed. Even the most perfect words are worthless if they cannot be deciphered. The keyboard is cold and mechanical, but endearing, as it never once falters at the barrage of letters that spill from the fingers in a hurricane of story. Every flailing limb of the idea struggles and pushes to escape first. They tug and demand and pull the consciousness every which way. The keyboard is attacked, the fingers venomously striking the letters, matching the speed of the rushing ideas and the keyboard’s hunger for words. Clicking fills the air and becomes music.

The idea is sloppily captured on the page in the rush. Word vomit is splattered to the edges of the sheet, contradictory and directionless and pointless. There are ugly words and cloudy images that must be refined or excised. My mind changes from a loving mother to a soulless surgeon. The love I felt for the leaching idea becomes clinical detachment as I appraise the words with a critical eye. With cold efficiency, I slice into my story, butcher it, maim it, the backspace pummeled, even as my heart cracks and shrivels. I raze my story, decimating the contradictory, the directionless, the pointless, with knives and guns and bombs and keys blazing. It becomes a war zone. Unrecognizable. I assault the keys, my anger expressed through the ferocity of the frantic strokes. The keyboard finds a cruel joy in the vicious destruction of all the words it ever loved.

And then I slow and melt from the violence-starved butcher to the artist. I paint over the fractures with beautiful words. The keys are pressed slowly, gently, each letter carefully considered and caressed. The furious typing is replaced with a graceful dance as the story grows. I nurture the story, feed it and love it once more with beautiful words until it blooms into something lovely, but this time my love is requited. The story sheds its ravenous hunger. It is content and complete. It no longer impedes on my every thought. It settles, finally placated. I breathe a sigh of relief, the battle over and casualties counted.

All throughout the creating and expelling and destroying and rebuilding of the story, the keys clatter. It’s deafening. It’s a wild dance of only the hands. A key is pressed lightly and the finger moves on. There is no proof that the key ever changed except for the letter that has burst into existence like a firework. The letter’s moment of glory is immediately surpassed by the next letter that appears, then the next and next, like bullets fired in quick succession. It quickly becomes nothing on its own, insignificant, but powerful taken in tandem with the other letters. The keyboard hungers for these words. It will become enamored with a beautiful turn of phrase, a romantic. It will encourage a mediocre one to flower, a friend. It will ruthlessly slaughter an inadequate one, a slayer.

The keyboard, a thin, unassuming sheet of squares, is so much more than what it seems. It houses the twenty-six letters, a meaningless jumble of symbols that combine into an innumerable number of words, which are combined in endless, infinitely different sentences and paragraphs and pages and stories. The keyboard allows stories to be told, to exist. It allows worlds to be created and demolished. It is the conduit through which stories can leave a writer’s mind and come alive. And yet, unlike the story, the keyboard does not gloat nor posture. It elegantly accepts praise and continues to work, bearing the vicious tirade of punching fingers as it destroys and creates from ruins.


Connect with me on Twitter @arachnid_weaver.

The Sleepwalker | Flash Fiction

Hello, peeps of the universe. Today, or tomorrow, or whenever I find the time (what is time, anyway?), I’ll be doing a writing prompt! (Is “doing” an accurate verb? I’m not really “doing” a writing prompt. I’m writing an explosion based on the fuse that is the writing prompt. But actually, I’m just rambling.)

This writing prompt will be done with no prior planning. Basically, it will be word vomit. But hopefully, it’ll be entertaining word vomit. Either way, it will help me sharpen my writing sword to a lethal point so I can viciously stab all the fictional villains. [Insert mental image of Arachnid trying to press buttons on her laptop with a ginormous sword.]


The prompt: What started off as a sleepwalking problem leads to a night of adventure when Dane gets behind the wheel and does what he was too afraid to do when he was awake. (This prompt was stolen from BookFox.)

Diana carefully watched Dane across the table from her in the small cafe. It was nearly closing time and there were no other customers, only a waiter cleaning up the nearby table and willing them to leave so he could go home.

“Look, I love you, Diana, but you have no idea what you’re talking about. So what if I sleepwalk? I don’t have a problem. It’s harmless.”

Diana leaned forward, her voice dropping to a whisper even as anger laced her words. “Harmless? Do you even know what happened last night? Have you seen the news?”

Dane slowly shook his head.

“An unidentified man let all the butterflies out of the zoo.”

Dane barked a laugh. He had braced for something terrible to come out of Diana’s lovely mouth, like vandalism or arson or murder. “That’s all? So what if a few more butterflies are flitting around the city? Let them be free.”

Diana shook her head in disgust. “You don’t understand. It always starts small, and you tell yourself it’s nothing, and maybe it is then. But it escalates and you don’t even notice. This is bad, Dane. You need help. You could do something you’d regret.”

He drank the rest of his tea while Diana’s words rolled around inside his head. “Diana, trust me, it’s nothing.”

She abruptly stood up. “It seems you don’t have to even be asleep to say things you’ll regret.”

***

Hours later, the night was blue and sleeping. Dane was only a lump under the covers, Diana’s scathing accusations forgotten in the fog of sleep. The world breathed softly, the wind brushing the curtains in greeting, and the floorboards creaked as Dane’s feet thudded softly against them.

He didn’t fit neatly in the world anymore. He was outside of the calm and his body outside the control of his mind.

***

The garage door rumbled open. A car rolled out, Dane behind the wheel. The car lurched onto the empty street, weaving in and out of the lane like it was drunk, occasionally careening onto the sidewalk.

The car coasted to a stop after a while, half on a lawn and leaning against a precariously tilting mailbox. Dane clumsily stepped onto the pavement and stumbled to the door. He rang the bell, and when no one answered, he rang it again. Again, the door remained closed, the night still and quiet. He broke the silence and pounded against the door.

A moment later, Diana opened the door, wearing purple pajamas and glaring both furiously and sleepily. She rubbed her eyes. “What do you want?” She noticed his glassy-eyed stare. “Dane.”

Dane dropped to his knees and pulled a slightly squished cinnamon bun out of his pocket and held it out to Diana in an offering. He mumbled, “I love you. Marry me?”

Diana, usually unshakeable, was shocked. This was unexpected, to say the least. She thought that his sleepwalking would culminate in various criminal activities, not a proposal. “What? No. Goodnight, Dane.” She closed her front door, rolled her eyes, and went back to bed. Dane could find his own way home, as he had every night for the past few weeks.

***

Diana slid into the chair across from Dane the next afternoon and folded her arms. “Do you know what you did last night?”

Dane looked surprised. “I sleepwalked again? But I woke up in bed this morning.”

“You proposed to me. With a cinnamon bun.”

Dane flushed. “I—You were dreaming,” he spluttered.

Mirror, Mirror || A Very Short Story

  1. Mirror, Mirror: What if your mirror started talking to you? What might the mirror say?

Jenny stood in front of the mirror, adjusting her makeup, when her reflection screamed. Jenny, of course, screamed in return. And cursed a bit as well.

“You look atrocious!” the mirror exclaimed.

Jenny, bewildered, couldn’t form a reply.

“Well, come on, don’t just stand there like a pebble or a lilypad or some other immovable object. Don’t tell me you’re incompetent as well as ugly!”

“What are you?” Jenny breathed, concerned that she might be going crazy.

“This is unbelievable. You really can’t recognize me?”

“Well, you look just like me…” Jenny replied.

“You’re very good at stating the obvious,” her reflection replied.

Jenny rolled her eyes. “You haven’t answered my question.”

“You still can’t guess? I’m your self-esteem.”

Eye Contact: A Writing Prompt

  1. Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.

 

The park’s loud, but the only thing I can hear is the scratch of my pen and the distant echo of an epic dragon war. There are knights with clashing swords and a blazing fire and medieval princesses that save themselves, and then the knights. It seems like most people need absolute quiet for their writing. And honestly, maybe if I was writing in a silent place, my stories wouldn’t be so horrid, but it’s not like I’ll find silence anywhere at my house. The park’s not quiet, but it’s the kind of loud where you can’t hear anything. Which is an improvement.

Currently, in my head, the hero is standing in the dragon’s jaws, about to retrieve the queen’s crown from its stomach (which is where the dragons in my story hide their hoards. It’s like a weird second stomach. More like a pouch or something, I suppose, since there aren’t any digestive juices.) But. However. My pen’s run out of ink.

I’m rooting around in my bag in the hopes that I brought another one (which I know for a fact that I didn’t) when a roller skater, screaming/laughing (I can’t really tell) jumps/falls/crashes into the bench. Like the comet in my book that started the fires the allowed the dragon population to explode. But on a smaller scale and less catastrophic.

But still kind of catastrophic because all of my papers fly everyone and rain all over the place. It’s not windy, luckily. But ughhh. It’s going to be a pain to reorder everything. I should’ve added page numbers.

She pulls herself off the bench and brushes some dirt from her shirt. There are grass stains on her knees. I don’t think this is the first time she’s fallen. She sticks out her hand to help me up. I wasn’t planning to stand up, but what is one to do? Be excessively rude and not take the offered hand?

“Sorry. You wouldn’t believe how many times this has happened. I must be setting some record. I’m exceptionally bad at skating, but I decide to do it anyway, all the time. I have no idea why. Am I talking too much? I feel like I’m talking too much, especially since I just ran you over. Sorry. I like talking. And skating. And writing. I just felt like putting a third thing in there because it seems evener. Even though three is an odd number. And you were writing, and I like writing. So I feel like we’re connecting. We’re basically best friends already.”

I don’t think she takes a single breath, and she talks in that too-much-sugar sort of way.

“Hi,” I say.

She’s picking out some leaves that got tangled up in her hair, but then she looks up and meets my eyes and I get kind of distracted. She has very big, very brown eyes.

She’s an exact replica of Naila, the knight-saving, dragon-fighting princess from my story.

Halloween Horror Story

Hi peoples!

Happy spooky day!

It’s my favorite holiday. I LOVE Halloween.

What are you going to be for Halloween? I’m a cactus.

SHORT STORY!


She woke with a choked gasp, her fingers clawing at her throat, before she fell back into her pillows, realizing that she was still in her bed. She waited for her heartbeat to settle, gloomily accepting that she likely wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. She curled up and tried to get warmer beneath the mound of blankets, the nightmare already slipping her mind.

She was in a daze, in that quiet space between waking and sleeping, when she heard a soft creak, like footsteps on old floorboards. It must’ve been imagined. It must’ve been the first whispers of a dream. But she was alert now, listening and tense beneath the sheets, her eyes still closed.

What am I doing? she thought, with a short burst of laughter that more resembled a sigh.

A door slammed.

Whispers rose.

The footsteps came faster. Quicker. Urgent.

She rose slowly out of bed, wrapping a quilt around her shoulders, letting it drag on the floor behind her. She went downstairs, listening looking terrified. She flicked on the light, prepared to find something sinister and relaxed a bit when there was nothing. She was about to go back upstairs, to write off the sounds as figments of her imagination, when she heard a voice in her bedroom and froze, her foot hovering over the stair.

The sound wasn’t in a language she could recognize. It flickered at the edges of her mind like she should’ve been able to comprehend it. Yet it didn’t sound completely right, either. Something was off. A hissing undertone that wasn’t possible on the human tongue.

She climbed up the stairs, softly, slowly, coiled up and ready to fight or flee as soon as the cue was given. She flipped the light switch in the hall. She breathed a soft curse as light didn’t flood the hall. A moment later, the light at her back from the kitchen plunged into darkness, leaving nothing but shadows and silvered moonlight.

The quilt drifted to the floor behind her as she used touch and memory to find the hall closet. She pulled out a flashlight, praying it to work as she switched it on, and a dull glow filled the hall.

She followed the sound of the whispers, the sound rising and falling in chaotic waves, to her bedroom. To her bed.

She fell to her knees and pressed her face to the floor. Her hand shook against her will as she directed the flashlight beam underneath the bed.

The darkness seemed to swallow the light.

A solid mass of shadows.

Roiling and swallowing and shuddering.

Consuming.

She squinted and pressed closer. It couldn’t be. The light. The darkness. Her imagination. Her eyes. They were lying.

Her eyes widened.

A gasp escaped her lips. What did she see? What did she see?

She scrambled backward, lunged for the door.

Something pulled her back.

Something took her.

Something swallowed.

Something consumed.


© ARACHNID WEAVER 2018

Everything Must Fall || Short Story

Heyo, peoples!

This is a short story I wrote last year for an English assignment about 9/11 from the Twin Towers’ point-of-view.

Also, the title sucks. Do you guys have better ideas?


I stand tall above the gridded streets of New York, breathing in the smoggy air weighted on the city like a smothering blanket. The roads are choked with dust and traffic and cars and litter. But this high up, I have an unobstructed view of the clouds roaming through the blue sky and the birds flapping about.

I am the tallest in the area and I truly scrape the sky. The others jut out of the ground beneath me, like sparkling stalagmites in an urban cave. Only my twin, the one who shares my design, comes close, six feet beneath me.

From my place leaps and bounds above the tiny people, I watch the city grow and breathe. The seasons come and go, snow covering the cityscape in a layer of frosty white powder, and the lone flower pushing its way through the concrete at my feet.

Towers rise and fall. The city is always changing. Always in perpetual motion.

I feel the wind blow against my sides, trying to pull me from the ground. And I feel the rain beating down, flushing the people from the streets of my city into the protective arms of inside.

The days are sparkling and bright, the sunlight bouncing off the cresting waves in the water and the glass city. The nights are effervescent, like a glass of champagne. The people are owls, never sleeping. They roam my streets.

New York at night is a city of starlight. Like the night sky itself had descended and decided to call my city its home.

***

The day of my Collapse was unfitting for the destruction of such a lovely creation of glass and steel. The skies were a perfect blue, like the color of dreams, with puffy white clouds floating through like the sails of ships flying somewhere far away.

It was the day of Collapse and Destruction and Fire and Death. The sky should have cried for us, the fallen.

But my faithful friend, the sky, didn’t cry. He stayed bright and beautiful, hovering over the city. It was a day that shouted that nothing could go wrong.

Until the sky was choked by smoke and ashes from the burning ruins of my city, the collapsing rubble smoking and burying my people alive.

***

I don’t know if I saw the plane coming. Or if I saw it, I didn’t notice it. It was nothing special. Another bird, another plane, another cloud in the big blue sky. Planes passing overhead was a normal occurrence. It had become mundane. A routine. A fact of life.

I didn’t see it until it came too close, its wingtips blazing in the morning sun. Even if I had seen it before it was far too late, there is nothing I could’ve done but await my Collapse, for I am rooted to the ground.

I think it would’ve been harder if I had known what awaited my fate. To stand there and know what was to happen and do nothing. To be helpless in the face of demise.

***

The plane was a pinprick in the sky. Nothing but a dollop of color in the painting of the city. But it grew larger and larger as it came closer and closer. It took on the sharp teeth and claws of monsters. The horns of demons. The shadow of death. And I took the fear it doled generously like candy at a fair.

I think the first impact was the worst. See, I cannot feel pain as humans do, for I am constructed of imagination and glass and steel and I am nothing but a building. A mere structure to raise and level. But I am so much more. The people make lives inside me. Lacing my insides with love and hate and joy and tears. And although I cannot feel pain, I can feel the horror that comes with the sight of a plane crashing into me.

I feel as the steel of my spine folds into itself, folding like a sheet of paper being made into a bird. My glass shattering, raining down on the people below.

I feel the screams as the people inside of me try to flee, but they are trapped in my too-narrow stairs. I feel as they are crushed by me, the building they trusted to keep them safe from the rain.

A pillar of smoke rises into the sky, ash raining from the sky like the tears of flame. I breathe in and dust coats my insides. I watch as pieces of me fall to the streets, shattering into a million pieces and disappearing forever.

People pour from my doors. I watch them leave in masses and think of the ones still trapped in me. I can feel their hurried footsteps, their quick and frightened breaths. I urge them to go on. To leave me behind and be saved. Saved the way I know that I cannot be.

Some of the courageous fight against the river of people, struggling to get inside me. To get others outside, to the idea of safety. Even though they know that the last sky that they will ever see was full of smoke.

The fire rages, and the glass of my windows warp and twist. The glass no longer crystal and beautiful.

I thought that I would never fall. One of the only buildings in the city that the people could never bear to part with. I would live in the city forever, watching as it changed around me. But the change never touching me.

But here I am, falling. I fall in stages. Great, shuddering gasps as gravity pulls me down to the ground, from which I was so far before.

My brother collapses first. Other buildings fall around us, eaten away by the fire.

I can still hear his screams as his last breath is taken and he is nothing but a pile of rubble littering the ground. I can still hear the screams of the people that were inside him.

***

The last thing that remains in my memory is the sound of fires blazing and the sight of sirens blaring and the dust drowning the sky.


© ARACHNID WEAVER 2018

Create-A-Story Tag

Greetings, nonexistent readers! The wonderful Who… Am I? tagged me for this wonderfully unique tag. And I’m going to write a short story for all you marshmallows with NO PLANNING WHATSOEVER. Prepare for it to suck (but hopefully be amusing anyway).


RULES

  1. You pick your first word, your setting, and your story genre from the list below. As individuals, your brand of creativity is unique to yours, so we want to highlight that by letting you choose from a bunch of words and creating something beautiful out of it.

Create A Story Tag

  1. The short story will have a limit of 1000 words. You do not need to write a story with 1000 words exactly. It could be 300, or 500 as long as it doesn’t surpass a thousand.
  2. YOU HAVE TWO WEEKS TO ANSWER THE TAG.
  3. You must tag three people to participate.
  4. Don’t forget to link back to Keiko so she can collect all the stories. You can’t just link back to her WordPress since she won’t be alerted of the pingback. You need to link back to a post or a page because WordPress works like this.
  5. Use the Create-A-Story picture in the post.
  6. Copy and paste the rules in your tag post as well so others can be clued into the Create-A-Story rules.

My Combination: Station, Sea, and Comedy.

(Did you guys expect me to choose anything other than comedy?)

Station wagons apparently don’t work that well in the sea, as I’m finding out right about now. It’s rather unfortunate, but there’s nothing else to be done as fish, such as myself, don’t work quite well on land. But if an empty station wagon randomly drops from the sky like a bag of flour (long story), then what’s a fish to do other than abduct said station wagon? It’s not like we get a lot of them around these parts. It’s a bit more humid than a station wagon’s usual habitat, so they tend to avoid the ocean.

But like most other species, there are some individuals that tend to be somewhat more reckless than the general population, giving the general population a bad reputation, leading to the general population being disappointed in the certain individual and shunning them, leaving them alone to lead a life of misery and loneliness, and possibly crime. A prime example of such an individual would be the station wagon, and another would be me.

I’m pretty sure it’s illegal for station wagons to fly. I don’t know about you, but it’s not often that you find them in the sky. Or in the ocean. And it’s definitely quite illegal for fish to steal station wagons. Not that I see a motive for a fish to steal a station wagon. Because as I said, station wagons don’t work that well underwater, so, therefore, a practical fish wouldn’t see the point of risking their reputation to steal a station wagon that wouldn’t work anyway. You drop a cherry-red Ferrari from the sky though, and I bet even the most rational fish would attempt to take it.

My incurable loneliness and criminal record and general disregard for rules and all that are beside the point, though. The point is that this station wagon is sinking and I’m stuck inside. &%#, I wish this were a convertible.

But, you know, I’m an optimist. Maybe wrongfully so, but I still am. At least I don’t have to be afraid of drowning. But, I do have to have to be afraid of the Porpoise Police Force that I see quickly approaching in the rear-view mirror. Because, you know, I’ve just stolen this station wagon.

The station wagon finally finishes its descent and it thunks to the ocean floor, raising a cloud of dust that blocks the windows. When it clears, a Porpoise Police Officer is waiting outside the window. She bangs on the window and mouths at me to roll it down. I mouth back that I can’t. She rolls her eyeballs. I imagine her as a taxidermied porpoise with her eyes as glass marbles that fall out of her head and roll around the ground until an ominous, but vague and undefined, force plucks them off the ground and makes me eat them. I gag. She cringes. She smashes the window in with a conveniently-placed hammer she found in the back pocket of the pants she wasn’t wearing and I swim out.

“You have a license, sir?”

“No, madame.”

She glances at me over the top of her glasses.

“That’s fine. We’re sea creatures.”


Okay, that’s it. Abrupt ending. I have no idea where I was going with that. They were the words that my traitorous fingers wanted to write with NO PLANNING WHATSOEVER.

Hopefully, it wasn’t that bad.

Anyway, I’m Tagging…

Untitled Part 1

I stir the tea with a red lollipop,watching the brown swirl into a soft velvet. Clink! The “pop” part of the snack fizzes into a flurry of small, soapy pink bubbles as I hit it against the inside of the ceramic cup. With a playful smirk, I carefully lift up the white stick remaining, noting it’s end, burnt in a hue of electric purple.

I call, “Olth? Are you responsible for this sorcery?” My smile twitches, in a state between proud and furious.

Olth skips down the curved stairway, her black sneakers blending with the dark carpeting of the steps. A grin cuts through her oddly geometric face, teeth sharp and pointed. She nods, “Yes. I am. I was hoping you would drink it, first.”

“I’m not that gullible,” I say, my lips in a mock pout.

“You were about to…Allete, I mean, just look at your lollipop!” She snickers, her tall shadow towering over me. Even if she was a bit bigger, I was older and the more responsible one. She giggled a bit, her nonsensical joking followed by a cute sneeze. It reminded me of her young years.

“Wait. You just sneezed…” I stutter, my panicked side kicking in, “Where is the teapot?”

Olth’s yellow, somewhat reptilian eyes dart to the maple wood table, now empty with the exception of the poisonous drink. Her sharp teeth curve into a frown, skin paling from a purple-grey to a lighter shade. She seems to shrink.

“You teleported it, didn’t you?” I grit my teeth, clenching my fist.

“Yep,” she mumbles. Even her words seem small.

“Where to?” I ask, releasing my anger into a somewhat petty guise, stroking her hair like a dog’s fur, hoping desperately that Olth would impress me again and actually know to where she teleported the item.

“I don’t know,” She whispers, microscopically.

“You are such a chore,” I whine, whipping out my broomstick and witch’s hat. I put the hat on, muffling my messy chocolate brown hair. Olth was always jealous of it (she only has unidentifiable white noodles after all) so I pull some out of my cap, clearly agitated.

Sinking in guilt, the tall reptilian girl sulks towards the circular gold framed window, unlatching it to let in the cool May air.

Olth and I board my broom, with me in the front, ready for lift off. A puff of wind elevates us into the sky, blue and dotted with white puffy clouds.

“What’s wrong?” I question, gazing at Olth’s expression, as sad as melting ice cream. She whimpers. I can’t stay mad at her, so I tuck my hair back in my hat and say, “It’s alright. We’ll get the teapot before anyone drink out of it. Focus on searching, okay?”

Olth gives me a foxy smile, getting to work, her jet black pupils becoming slits in concentration. With her, I scan the town, glancing between the clotheslines, the brown brick buildings and the slinking smoke-stack trains. The breeze plays with my hat, threatening to to let it drop to the ground. I fight the urge to fix it, maintaining two hands on my broom stick, flying responsibly.

“I don’t think the teapot is up here,” Olth tells me, tapping my shoulder.

“Oh!” I waggle my eyebrows, “Do you want to dip down? For losing a teapot?”

“Am I that predictable?” Olth giggles as I ascend upwards above a cake white layer of fluff. Tiny dew drops sprinkle our faces as our broomstick pokes a hole in the cloudscape. My bestie yells in exhilaration; the sound of an adorable mix of a snake’s tongue and a kitty’s growl.

“Are you ready?” I declare.

“Y—”

I dip down before she can finish, the wind tearing at our faces, stomachs dropping as we went hurdling towards the ground. The broom fans out, losing a few yellow hairs. With a rush, our vehicle turns from vertical to horizontal, our legs only two inches from the brick.

“Woohoo!” I pump my fist up, energized and swiftly turn my broom towards the building, going up and down between colorfully decorated clotheslines. I howl in laughter at Olth, watching her battle a woman’s undergarment, trying to claw it off her face, “Fllll-y a bbit slewor!” she screams.

I fly a bit faster, just for kicks and giggles. “That’s what you get for losing the teapot,” I say, my voice hanging off the edge of “pot” as if asking a question.

“Tek thiz off mi faece firrst!” She demands. I stop the broom, tossing the undergarment away with ease.

“Better?” I ask.

She nods.

I look both ways, although there is no broom traffic today and in the midst of honking cars, I see a curious looking man sitting on a mini-fridge, moving the dinosaur magnets on the front as if they were puppets in a play. He opens the fridge, taking out a can of cola and for a split second I spot…

“THE TEAPOT!” Olth yells, shaking my shoulders, “The man! The mini-fridge!”

I take off, swooping under a billboard sign before landing on the sidewalk. We run over to the man, but as we do he stands up and picks up the fridge.

“No! That teapot is ours!” I yell.

He takes a long, hard look at us, his eyes squinting into nonexistence. Slowly, he bends down.

“Thank you!”Olth cheers, giving out a toothy grin.

And he gives the fridge to a little child on a red bicycle.

Olth and I exchange “what the blobfish” glances before jumping on the broom and racing after the pint sized kid. He cycles through a bustling road of traffic, the wheels on his tyke moving much faster than they should be.

Cars all around him stop and honk; some even crash into each other in a desperate flee to avoid the little devil. Our broom zig zags behind him, my partner in crime grabbing for the fridge and failing to do so on every account. She finally latches onto kid’s bicycle handle, attempting to squirm her way to fridge without falling off. Her hand brushes the side of the fridge, her hand glowing purple. She starts to say something under her breath but before she can, the boy accelerates, pulling Olth’s white noodly hair.

“OUch!” she screeches, in full on hyena type sense, “Stop that, kid! That teapot is ours!” She grabs onto the very edge of the mini fridge, body over extending between the broomstick and the bike. I take siege of her hips, as the child pedals frantically, dragging us behind him. In the end, the kid sends us tumbling down, Olth breaking my fall and I breaking my broom’s fall.

“Hey,” The little man’s voice is much deeper than expected, “What are you doing here? Why does a witch and a stupid animal want this prized petite fridge for, huh?”

Olth growls.

“We want the teapot inside…please,” I tremble as he walks up to me.

“Ha!” The kid lights up a cigarette, “You’re a such a peculiar witch. Most witches I know don’t even have sense of humor.”

“What witches do you know, you stupid kid?” Olth roars, covering me in an instant.

“Many,” He responds with cool, calm composure, “But, I certainly don’t know any of your kind. You are interesting.”

“So… can you at least check the fridge for a teapot?” I ask, my voice tiny against the verbal fighting.

“Only in exchange for your creature,” He bargains.

“She’s not a creature,” I declare firmly.

“You didn’t let me finish, you snob,” He states, “I was going to say ‘Only in exchange for creature and for you to come to the market with me!'”

“Why would you want that?” I shoot a question at him.

“Because you two are entertaining and we need entertainers for the auction tonight. The idiotic poor men always get bored and cranky.” And he deflects it, swiftly.

Caring for Your Unicorn Master

TheWebWeavers is actually our second blog. Both Spinette and I had our own individual “first blogs” that didn’t really work. They were both unicorn-based. (This was not planned. We just both love unicorns). My blog, Unicornia, was a guide for the measly human attempting to move to Unicornia. Spinette’s blog, Unicorn Sightings, was about all things unicorn. Unicornia had three followers (two of which were Spinette and me) and Unicorn Sightings had seven (two of which were Spinette and me).

Both of these blogs still exist on the internet, but they haven’t been active for ages. I think the reason that they didn’t work was that the topics were too restrictive and it wasn’t interesting to write on over and over again. TheWebWeavers is a lot more fun because we can write about whatever we want.

However, despite being inactive, the posts on the blogs are still somewhat funny (especially Spinette’s) so they will be reshared on TheWebWeavers for everyone to read and judge. You can also determine how much we’ve improved. 😉

Here’s the second segment of the Unicornia Series, Caring for Your Unicorn Master. It was originally published on November 19, 2016.

 

Growing your unicorn is not the end of the long and tedious process of entering Unicornia. You must also care for your unicorn so they will accept you as their life-long faithful servant and follower.

When you have warmed the Magical Kernel with the bottled purple dragon breath, it will pop into a baby unicorn, similar to the way Ordinary Kernels pop into the delicious treat known as “popcorn”.

Since unicorns are the perfect creatures, they expect their servants to be perfect too. Unicorns live on a diet of chocolate, candy, and fruit. You must feed your Unicorn Master four meals a day. They normally eat about five pounds of food a meal. You must use chocolate, candy, and fruit to make creative meals every day. Unicorns are picky eaters and if you want them to accept you, you must give them good food to eat (organic, nutritious, sustainably-sourced, low calorie, etc.). Something you never want is a hungry unicorn. They will eat anything and everything. Including you.

Unicorns don’t sleep very well on Earth, so be prepared to wake up in the middle of the night (Unicorns’ sleeping patterns are similar to that of a fidgety newborn baby). Give your Unicorn Master a spacious bedroom with a lakeside view. Always tell them a bedtime story. They love stories in which unicorns are the heroes.

Even though Unicorns don’t wear clothes, they like to have a full closet. Buy your Unicorn Master lots of colorful clothing they can hang up and organize.

Every unicorn is different and they have different preferences. Get to know your Unicorn Master and eat, sleep, and breathe their likes and dislikes so you know how to care for your Unicorn Master.

Caring for your Unicorn Master is a difficult task. They expect you to be perfect at all times. There is never time for rest. If your unicorn likes and accepts you, once they get older, they will take you with them to Unicornia. In Unicornia, they will build a beautiful house for themselves and permit you to live in the stables.

Growing a Unicorn Master

Hey, peeps! You hopefully may have noticed my absence over the past week or so. This was due to my corner of the world exploding. Over the past week, I met a Holocaust Survivor (she is so sweet), participated in a Science Olympiad tournament (I won two medals!), and skinned a rat (I would post pictures, but I feel like that would be too gory for this blog).

So, you may or may not know, but TheWebWeavers is our second blog. Both Spinette and I had our own individual “first blogs” that didn’t really work. They were both unicorn-based. (This was not planned. We just both love unicorns). My blog, Unicornia, was a guide for the measly human attempting to move to Unicornia. Spinette’s blog, Unicorn Sightings, was about all things unicorn. Unicornia had three followers (two of which were Spinette and me) and Unicorn Sightings had seven (two of which were Spinette and me).

Both of these blogs still exist on the internet, but they haven’t been active in ages. I think the reason that they didn’t work was that the topics were too restrictive and it wasn’t interesting to write on over and over again. TheWebWeavers is a lot more fun because we can write about whatever we want.

However, despite being inactive, the posts on the blogs are still somewhat funny (especially Spinette’s) so they will be reshared on TheWebWeavers for everyone to read and judge. You can also determine how much we’ve improved. 😉

Here’s the first segment of the Unicornia Series, Growing a Unicorn Master. It was originally published on November 18, 2016.


Before you escape to Unicornia from this wretched world, you must know about their world. Unicorns are born from magical kernels of corn. Every corn stalk has the potential of growing a unicorn if it is cared for the right way.

Many people try to grow a unicorn before going to Unicornia. If you have a Unicorn Master, you will be more respected in your new home, and the elders will be more likely to accept you.

Growing and caring for a Unicorn Master is no easy task. Many people have tried and lost their lives in the process, but it is worth it because your amazing life in Unicornia will be much better than your boring and dull life here.

The first step in growing a Unicorn Master is finding the perfect corn seed to plant. This one of the most difficult things you will have to do. If you choose the right one, you will soon have a Unicorn Master to guide you in your new life. If you choose wrong, you may lose everything. Unicorn Kernels must be warmed by the bottled breath of a purple dragon to pop into a baby unicorn. If an Ordinary Kernel is popped by the bottled breath of a purple dragon, it will grow into a dark donkey and devour you.

The perfect corn seed is difficult to find. There is only one perfect corn seed in 4,538,862 ordinary corn seeds. The perfect one will glow a light pink in the light of an Alaskan sunrise. Always check to see if you have the right corn seed! Many brave and courageous people have lost their lives because they didn’t notice that their corn seed was glowing magenta instead of pink.

Once you have found the magical seed, grow it and nurture it. Soon the corn plant will grow. The Pink Kernel is the magic one. Heat it with the breath of a purple dragon and it will become your Unicorn Master!


Do you have any topics that you want us to talk about in a post? Leave a suggestion in the comments.

Poison Walruses

TICK: Come on! Please?

TOCK: Only if you get on your knees and beg.

TICK gets on her knees and prepares to beg. TOCK crosses her arms.

TICK: Please, please, please, can we go pet the wal—

TICK collapses sideways as she falls asleep. TOCK rolls her eyes and drinks some hot chocolate while using the sleeping TICK as a stool.

 

~~~ three hours later ~~~

 

TICK: —ruses

TOCK (sighs): I suppose that was sufficient begging. Let’s go.

TICK squeals in delight

TICK and TOCK head to the snowy northern coast of Eureka. After three seconds of intense hiking, they find a walrus. They proceed to pet the walrus vigorously.

 

~~~ three hours later ~~~

 

TICK (scratching TOCK): Why are you so itchy?!

TOCK (scratching TICK): Why are you so itchy!?

TICK and TOCK: Quinn!!!

QUINN (exasperated): What?!

TICK and TOCK: Why are we so itchy!?!

QUINN: (Shrugs) It was probably the walrus. Did you check the walrus for poison ivy?

TICK and TOCK look at each other skeptically.

 

~~~~ END

Mellow Yellow Episode 24: Author’s Note!

THE WEBWEAVERS are in the office of Arachnid’s Arctic Paradise deciding on what to do next for Mellow Yellow.

ARACHNID: I don’t know what to do next for Mellow Yellow… Ever since that Peeps talked, I couldn’t find any ideas!

SPINETTE: We can do a documentary on eating Yo-Yos featuring the two silent mimes!

ARACHNID: (Rubbing her hands like an evil genius) No. We need something original, something fresh, some—

SPINETTE: (hammers table with fist) Something to give Rue a purpose!

ARACHNID: Not that, Spinette!

SPINETTE (dejected): Owwwieee…

ARACHNID (ignores SPINETTE): Maybe we can bring Attendant back!

SPINETTE: I’m bored! I’m going to go look at memes, I mean… edit Outside In now.

ARACHNID: NO, YOU AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE! (pulls on SPINETTE’s shirt)

ARACHNID and SPINETTE sit there for a very long time.

SPINETTE: What if we used memes?

ARACHNID: Great idea!

 

~~~~END

Jackie Part 2

Part 1


Jackie’s POV ~~~ 4 years later

I took a crumb of bread, threw it in the fire and watched it burn. Between bites, I saw the fire dance, tendrils of the flames swirling around the scraps of wood. The smoke breathed into my bones like a dragon, and my spirits raised up a bit higher like a knight’s war call.

I like watching the fire. My mother said I got that habit from my father, and he said I got it from her. My puzzling parents, as always.

I wish it was always now.

Two candles, in a shelf by the door, one extinguished and the other desperately holding onto its light represented them. The remaining flame climbed up the wick, and fell again, raising itself back up in a continuous cycle. My father’s flame, it was, still alive after the eight years he hasn’t came back, maybe more so than ever.

Suddenly, the fire puckered up, licking the corners of the paper behind. Cautiously, I fanned the paper out, but not before the last thing I wrote on it scorched, painted a dung colored brown. September 31,—- the year was gone.

Flustered, I crumpled up the paper, snowballing it into the fire. The white tumbled into the raging orange, as the red consumed both the colors.”Phoo!” I blew out my father’s last flame. “Bye bye, mother and father .” Memories flashed by, and as always, came back to stab me in the chest, the knife cold and hard.

I slammed the door, scrambling into the grass, blades brushing against my bare ankles.

Today, the grass was a bit pointed, frozen by last night’s frost. The ground was sparsely covered at this season, but nonetheless, this was the day that Jack fought the beast a hundred or so years ago. I was just waiting for the bells to ring, when the townspeople would gather around the beanstalk, fruitful with flowers and life.

“Heyo!” Christian greeted me, grinning widely. His limp brown noodle-like hair was in a ponytail, and he was wearing a tan scumbag shirt. A bandage was taped on his cheek, newly acquired. “What’s up? Such a normal day, isn’t it?” He was trying his best to be a charmer.

“Today is the hundred and eighth anniversary of Jack slaying the giant! Did you forget?” I pulled his ear.

“It’s today?” He seemed startled, scratching his head stupidly.

“It is, you dunce!” I let him go, and he hopped like a bunny, freed from my grasp.

He hollered, “Oh boy! I can’t wait! Let’s go, Jackie!” He held my hand, racing toward the middle of the city. He ran, almost tripping me off my feet. Tendrils of his hair flew in my eyes, as I blinked rapidly, in a bewildered flurry of hair and quick wind. Soon, we were at the Beanstalk. I could see why he was, in fact, the Running Champion of the Hallows.

“Come one, come all!” The village minister welcomed the swarms of people with open arms, his blubbery form, jolly, unfitting with his outfit of dark black, “Today, we preach the powers of Jack sent by God, hundreds and hundreds of years ago!” The good-hearted man was yelling his blessings, sitting on the circular structure of smooth stone, surrounding the green plant, sprouting into the clouds.

From my place below, I saw vines swirling around the stalk, light pink flowers blooming, and as my eyes eventually climbed up to where it seared the hefty layer of puffy clouds. The scent of vanilla coated the air, my most recent favorite smell of candles. Wanting to smell more of the delicious scent, I followed my nose, landing on a precious pink flower, on the lower vines of the Beanstalk. As I went down to smell it, the petals collapsed on each other, closing its doors to its sweet center. I turned my head, as another heavy waft of vanilla flooded my senses. The flower opened back up again! Rushingly, I bounded for it again, unceremoniously greeted by an explosion of mustard pollen dust. With my face caked in yellow, I dumbly looked onto my friends in front of me. What an embarrassment!

The group of raunchy boys laughed at me, including Christian.

“Look at Jackie, smelling the flowers! Such a girly-girl, isn’t she?” Tom, the big, strong one of the group teased.

“At least I’m not as dumb as you!” I annoyingly played with his hair, “Shut up!”

“Shut up?” He was outraged, “How about you shut up!” Tom punched me the stomach, sending me flying with the blow, “You weak little girl!”

I got up to my bearings, cracking my neck, ready for a fight. This guy was not messing with me again! Gritting my teeth, I kicked his shins, confusing him. He stole a single glance at his ankles, when I delivered a solid punch to his face. He ricocheted into the rock hard stone, grunting like a caveman as he got up to his feet. Tom stared me down, his expression like a bull chasing red. From the corner of my eye, I saw bloody teeth scattered behind his large body.

“Guys! Break it up!” Christian yelled, pushing Tom away from me. His heels screeched against the dirt, dust emitting from them.

“Yeah, Tom!” Kev was on his side, cheering him on, like a little rodent. He pumped his skinny arm into the air, screaming an almost incompressible war cry, “Kill her!”

“Stop it!” Christian stopped pushing Tom. He gave us both a sly smirk, “Do you guys really want to be fighting in front of the minister?” The minister, noticing Christian’s cue, frowned at us. It was the first time I’d ever saw a negative emotion on him, and like his cloak, it certainly didn’t fit him well.

“Or…” he added, “The minister’s daughter? You know her, Kev. It looks like you’ll be her man quite soon.” For good measure, he added a high whistle.

“Really?” Kev questioned. He didn’t quite get Christian’s plan to stop our fight.

Instantly, Tom straightened, a fragile blush forming on his cheeks. I sat down, fixing my hair and brushing the yellow pigment off my face. They aren’t anything but embarrassments! I thought to myself, I couldn’t believe what Maria would do if she saw me like that! I’m so stupid! I tossed the last of the dust off my clothes, scooting to the front. All the townspeople will be here soon, so I needed to get a good, frontward seat for the storytelling. Even if I heard the story a million times, the story of the boy who killed the giant, I never got tired of it.

“You’re so funny!” Maria tapped my nose, giggling. Neatly, she folded her legs, crisscross-applesauce, hands on her knees along with a playful smile splayed on her face. Her black hair curled carefully around her chest, covering one half of her schoolgirl tie. Her glasses were large saucers, and developed bifocals from when I saw her last. “I saw the little duel you had there. And the explosion with flower dust!” A mischievous daft shone from her voice, “You like flowers, don’t you?”

“Y-y-y—yeah.” I stuttered. Staying calm in front of a rich person wasn’t easy, especially when you eat candies from the bottoms of shoes. “I do.”

“What’s wron—” Maria was interrupted by the tolling of bells, always playing the tone they do at midnight. This morning, it marked not only the noon hour, but a special ceremony as well: The 108th Storytelling of Jack, the hero of our village.


©SPINETTE SPYDER

Jackie

I saw that Arachnid was putting her story A Dreamer in the Darkness up here, so I decided to put up my story Jackie here too. I hope you enjoy it!

Giant’s POV

-Have you ever seen a giant climb down a beanstalk? No? Well, this is what I did that night… so long ago.

Found one.

The little girl scuttled away, racing through the fields, her feet making these soft taps in the dirt. The dust billowed upon my face, as I stifled a cough, hoping desperately that she did not hear me in the still sound of the night. Choo! I sniffled. Not apprehending my presence, the adolescent ran off into the village, wearing a mask of urgency and with a slight crook in her thick eyebrows displaying swallowed, compressed fear.

I crawled through the forest of trees, my giant monstrous body causing them to rattle. Leaves crunched under my hands as I hastily tried to maneuver myself, every move a hideous crash. A few paces later, I perked up, surveying a villa. It was small, quaint, with wind slipping through the cracks of sleeping huts. Then I saw her. A blast of red, then the lock of the door. Click!

Circling around the suburb, I restlessly settled myself down near the home the adolescent sneakily slid into. I looked through a window, eager for the story I was about to unravel. The girl’s eyes were wide as she flinched at each minuscule squeak. I folded my fingers together, tight, as my eager thoughts flipped to dread, waiting for what was to come next for the poor girl.

She trudged down the hall, as my curiosity went along with her, my vision darting towards the next window, inside a kitchen. The teenager was haphazardly throwing damaged pieces of silverware, opening wooden cupboards and loudly calling for someone. Seamlessly, her tension softened into concern which, of course, quickly fastened into worry.

-Humans have crazy emotions.

Her ragged breath blew in and out, fixing itself with the rhythm that the house was bouncing along with the thumps of my heart. Ta-dum, ta-dum, tad-dum. It was the only constant thing among the chaos of her crashing, clashing and screams.

“Mother!” The call was adamant.

Nothing.

Immediately, like lighting, the girl’s boots clunked up the steps. With my curiosity on full blast, I grabbed the top of the house, pulling my face closer, almost so the very tip of my nose touched the window. This one uncovered a bedroom and an older woman sleeping peacefully. I hope her daughter doesn’t disrupt her calm tranquil dreams. I swiped a quiet , calculating finger across the window, feeling the texture of smooth glass. It was new to me—- I never had felt it before.

Then a red swish flew through the door. The girl, I thought, recalling when I saw the red haired teenager enter the hut. Her cheeks were red, her hair matted with sweat, as she climbed onto the bed. She whispered something, something I couldn’t hear from the outside, so without weighing the consequences, I pressed my ear against the wall. Warningly, the house wobbled, dirt and planks falling from the roof. The girl fell on her napping mother, somehow failing to wake her up, but didn’t even gaze in my direction. Thank goodness. My shoulders fell, as I blew a gust of air from my lips, fogging up the window.

The girl’s shrieking cry emanated from the room, an incredible, incoherent cry that shook me from my head to my toes. Tinglings of the shriek vibrated in my mind, as I wiped the fog off the window, slowly unclothing the scene, my eyes progressively dilating, my brows folded in disbelief. I gasped, my fingers fanning in front of my “o” of a mouth.

The mother’s chest was scarlet with blood, a knife glinting from the wound. The mother’s blanket was thrown to the floor, and with that a terrifying secret.

-Don’t ever ask me to describe “death” of those creatures.

I ran away. Up the Beanstalk, in the middle of the town. Giant goblets of water drooped along my long, narrow face, flicking themselves off my jaw, wetting my hair and chest. I clutched at my breasts, thankful that I still have mine. Remorsefully, I took one last look of the village. It was so beautiful, with eerie hidden horrors lurking inside, a world of stars never seen above the clouds. I was so sorry I had to leave so soon.

A early rising lumberjack yakked at my appearance. He withdrew his axe, quickening my departure.


Part 2


©SPINETTE SPYDER

A Dreamer in the Darkness: Part 3 (Short Story)

Part 1

Part 2


I’m curled up on the cold, cement floor of a small, windowless room in the basement. After Blue left, Shabby pulled me inside, his grip even tighter than Blue’s, and shut the door. I tried to memorize the stars. It felt like the last time I’d see the sky. He didn’t talk to me at all, he just shoved me in this little room and left. I didn’t get any food and my stomach is growling.

I have nightmares when I finally fall into the darkness that has been tugging on me, tearing me to shreds.

 

Three days have passed, and I’ve started to fall into a routine. Twice a day, I’m given bowls of cold oatmeal that slide down my throat like an eel. It’s always slipped in through a panel on the door. The food is disgusting, but I still eat it. Every other time I’m given food, I make a nick on my sword with a rusty nail I found to keep track of the days that have passed. There’s a small bathroom attached to this room where I bathe and get my water. My sword is always clutched tightly in my hand.

No one has come to rescue me. I burst into tears quite often. Obviously, I’m upset I’m still here, but I’m more upset that I didn’t tell Mother and Father that I love them before they left. I can’t help but think that was goodbye forever and I did it wrong.

Once, a long time ago, Mother told me, “Don’t ever get into a stranger’s car.” I forgot and I’m cursing myself.

 

It’s my birthday today. I’m finally actually six. My sword tells me three months have passed. I cannot remember the color of Father’s eyes or the smell of Mother’s hair, but my tears have dried up. There’s nothing left. I’m having trouble sleeping. Whatever brief moments of rest I do manage to capture are plagued by dreams of dark shapes that try to steal me away and rip me apart as Mother and Father watch. There are tears, but nothing can be done.

 

I’ve been staring at the wall for a few minutes, or possibly a couple hours, when I hear the door open. The sound claws at my ears until they bleed scarlet and I drown in my moon-warmed blood.

I don’t turn around, so Shabby walks across the room until he’s in front of the wall. I haven’t seen another human in around 94 days. Shabby doesn’t quite fit his name anymore. He’s in much better hygiene. He’s taken a shower and cut his hair and shaved and his teeth are still white and straight. He’s wearing new clothing.

He smiles at me in a way that tells me I’ve just seen evil’s face. It’s so much worse than poisoned candy. He’s hiding something behind his back and won’t let me see it. I don’t think I want to.

“I’ve drained all the ransom money I could from your dear parents, so you’re of no use to me anymore,” he sneers. He sees a treasure to take when he looks at me. I shiver.

He steps forward and his smile is scary and I don’t know what he’s got behind his back and I’m scared. I scream and swing my sword.

My left-hand shudders as the sword hits his head and he stumbles, tripping over a crate, and he falls and groans. What was in his hand has fallen and it’s a gun.

I freeze, but I have to act now, before he can hurt me. I run forward, fast enough that you cannot see anything of me but my essence, and I grab the keys to my dungeon from a hook on Shabby’s pocket. He lunges at me, but he’s disoriented and I’m fast and I skitter out of his way, but I stumble and fall to the cold stone floor. I scramble up and hurry to the thick door trapping me here, away from the moon, and shove the key into the hole and dart outside and slam the door shut behind me, locking Shabby inside. I can feel the vibrations through the door as he bangs on it.

I run up the stairs to the main floor and I make it as far as the porch when my knees give up and the tears come. They don’t stop until water fills my lungs and steals all my air, but Mother isn’t here and Shabby’s in the basement and I have to get far away. I clutch my sword and I dry my tears on my dirty sleeve and I march on.

The house isn’t in the middle of nowhere. It’s in a tiny neighborhood and there are street lights and other signs of life. Really, the house looks like every other house here, even though it’s actually a prison.

I’ve been walking for awhile when I see another person at a street corner, and I quicken my pace despite my dying muscles. As I approach the man on the corner, I slow down. Can I trust him? But then I see he’s wearing a uniform and he has a sirencar next to him. He’s an officer. Mother says that I can trust officers above all other adults. They don’t count as strangers. I’m still wary. I’ve learned my lesson.

I tap his elbow and he glances down at me and stares.

“I’ve just run away from a dungeon,” I tell him, pointing at the direction from which I’ve come. “There’s a man who stole me and he tried to hurt me with a gun.”

He blinks three more times then says in an awed voice, “You’re Sam Warner. Everyone thought you were dead.” But I am clearly alive.

 

The officer said something into his walkie-talkie and more officers came. They asked me to tell them what the house and Shabby and Blue looked like. Now, I’m in the backseat of a sirencar with a dark-haired officer lady. She says she’s going to bring me to my parents.

***

Mother, Father, and I sit by the fireplace and we watch the snowflakes drift outside like puffy miniature clouds. I sip my hot chocolate, burning my tongue. I love it anyway.


© ARACHNID WEAVER 2018