Hello, paranoiacs and obsessives!
Have you seen it, too? The… the shadow? The thing at the corner of your vision that always manages to move out your line of sight just in time? It’s hard to forget, isn’t it? Could be useful to sit down for a while and just try to reduce to words. That’s why…
This week’s prompt is:
A Fleeting Glimpse?
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
I made this sound spooky, didn’t I?
I have a penchant for that. It’s where my mind goes, and it’s an easy place to settle for this prompt. We fear things we don’t understand. Given only one small eyeful of something, we’re bound to be left with questions.
But those questions don’t have to instill fear.
What if your fleeting glimpse is of an old lover, walking out the door of a supermarket? Wistfulness, questions of circumstance and time and distance.
Maybe you’ve seen a moment of ephemeral success, which you can’t seem to recapture? Yearning, questions of fate and worthiness and spent hours.
Maybe you’ve seen the face of God in the fire. Awe, unspeakable questions of universal scale.
The uniting theme is the size of a glimpse, and the ramifications of the fact that it’s irretrievable. You’ve seen something, only briefly, not even long enough to process it properly… and you never will again.
Try to capture what that might do to one’s mind. Make us feel afloat on the sea of our emotions, disconnected from the certainty that comes with observation and confirmation.
Write something as good as an omen, and let us wonder at what it means.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!
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A face with a list of thoughts
The door is cracked. The window is open, the bug screen is up. There’s a cold breeze, I can hear the trees outside, the owls and foxes, the light breaths of everyone.
I think Ruby may have had the right idea by leaving the room. The memory of the horrors, what hours ago I saw leaving a cold memory in their wake. Every sound, every movement setting me on edge. A strangely familiar feeling creeping over me. I’m alone, but that’s nothing new. This is something new.
There is a creak of a door down the hall. others that would wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or get a drink all the time. This still felt different. I couldn’t see how it is, I don’t know if I want to. Are those footsteps getting closer? Yes. Hide!
I pull a blanket over my head and scurry over to the cornet on my bed.
My door slides open a little. Is that a face? No, it must just be me there is no face and no breath from the other side of the door. Wait, footsteps? Soft on the carpet, lightly walking to the couch.
No that was nothing. There was no one there. Maybe it was a killer, maybe it was a killer who is after me, maybe after my roommate, after Topaze. If there are after me and my friends have they already gotten Rubey? The killer could have gotten my sister! I should go and check on her, two doors down is Topaze and Ruby’s room. Topaze is right here so I know they’re safe.
Questions keep rasing throw my mind. Is the face I saw a killers? If they’re not set to kill, what were they up to? Who are they? Do they live here? What are they doing here? What do they want with me? Will they be there all night? Will I get any sleep? Will I live to tomorrow? Am I overreacting?
Was that Ruby?
By Sewer creature
The door slams shut. You’re sure you’ve never felt so tired in your entire life. Moving to Virginia was far more exhausting than you thought it would be. Crashing into your bed, you stare at the ceiling. You’re too tired to even turn off your lamp. Instead, you pass out.
You’re suddenly awoken due to a loud thud and a shape dashing past your window. You sit bolt upright for about 10 minutes until you start to fall asleep again. All of your built up exhaustion is snatched away again when another black blur draws your attention. Once more, all is quiet. And once more, your peace is broken by another blur. You’re starting to get aggravated.
Getting out of bed, you yell into the dark corners of your room. Nothing. Then you notice that the lamp was on the floor. It was broken. Excellent. A sigh of frustration and exhaustion escapes your lips as you turn around to come back to your bed. You would deal with all this nonsense tomorrow.
Your heart stops.
There’s something crouched on your bed. Even with It’s back hunched, It’s head easily touches the ceiling. At first, you think It’s wearing a cloak, or jacket. But the “cloak” was quivering, like it was a part of the thing. You figured out that the “cloak” was a pair of leathery wings, wrapped around the creature’s giant body. But that’s not the most notable thing.
It’s eyes were red. Not just red, they shined, like it had floodlights behind the eyes. The thing didn’t move, didn’t flinch, didn’t speak. The only thing it did was stare. You step back and fall on the floor. It kept it’s eyes on yours the whole time.
The corners of the right half of its face were illuminated by the lamp’s flickering light. You’ve heard of this thing before. Even before you moved here, you had heard the rumors about Point Pleasant. The rumors about this creature. Red eyes. Massive frame. Wings. This was the beast they called Mothman.
By Rigoletta Teller
You were my best friend. My one companion. One mistake after another, but you’re final one was irreversible. And now you’re gone. This emotional Russian Roulette of having to choose you or her weakens me. She was only 2 years old. She required stitches, her teeth were pushed forward. You could have killed her. She’s the only niece I’ll ever have.
With my knowledge of your past, of being abused, I should have been more careful. Had I had been more smart and locked you in your cage until she left, we’d still be happy.
Seeing her blood everywhere revealed the stark reality. You’ve become poisoned from the hell of our homing environment. I still remember when Mom’s boyfriend beat you so bad, your eyes were bloodshot and you were short of breath. I chose to hold you close. To rock you and sing to you and protect you.
“Shhh. Don’t cry. I’ve got you. I promise I’ll protect you.”
But in the end, I couldn’t save you. I was far too weak. I never deserved you. And I’m so sorry for that.
However, YOU have saved ME.
Remember during my panic attacks you’d press your nose against me to make the tears go away?
Remember our long walks in the forest?
Remember how you ran up to me and Damien a when we got off the bus?
Yeah, so do I.
I could still feel the warmth of your paw. Your glossy black fur and shiny brown eyes.
Losing you has always been my greatest fear, and now that it’s come true, I don’t know how to feel. Sad? Angry? How will I be able to move on from now?
I still feel you nip at my toes at the end of the bed. Sometimes I could even hear the loud smacking of you grooming yourself at night. I smell your scent in my clothes. I taste the sea breeze of our final day we spent together.
All of the bad memories will fade, like a flicker of light.
I love you, Onyx and may we meet again in a better life.
I love you.
The Evening Train
By C.W. Hughes
An evening train rolled along the tracks with a rhythmic clatter. The whistle blared as it approached street crossing a mile ahead.
Carla watched absently as a crowd flashed in an out of view with each cart that passed. Slowly at first and then more quickly until the crowd flickered like an old movie reel.
A woman dressed in a red coat pressed through the crowd leading a young boy by the hand. Something about him ripped Carla from the haze brought about from standing in line after a long day.
Her eyes locked on him as his mother pulled him along behind her. His blue shirt and tan shorts marked him a student in a local private school. A few years older than her son on the day of his disapearance.
The boy stumbled and dropped something. As he turned, pulling away from his mother, to recover the fallen object Carla froze. For a moment she saw his face in the fading light. It was him! It was her boy!
“Jonathan!” She yelled, her voice on the edge of breaking. “Jonathan!”
The train rushed by as she rushed forward. She had to reach him. Suddenly, she came to a stop as strong arms gripped her. A man pulled her back from the tracks. He was shaking her, his mouth moving and his eyes wide.
There wasn’t time. She forced herself away, but when she turned her boy was gone. Jonathan was gone.
Carla rode abesntly home as her cart jostled her back and forth. She couldn’t remember arriving home as she turned the key.
As she stepped into the empty house she closed the door and with her back against it, slid slowly to the floor. There in the dark living room with no one around to hear, she wept.
I walked into the interrogation room one morning after hearing some rumors about a guy the chief brought in the night before. In the cell there was an older guy, all dirty and hunched over the back wall.
“Morning, Chief..” I spoke up to Anderson sitting in a chair facing the glass. He was older, knew a thing or two about the field. “This the guy from last night?”
“Yeah..” He replied, his voice tired.
“I hear you guys found him at the national park up in Careland.”
“Yeah, the ranger called in, said this guy came running out of the woods around 3 am last night looking all panicked, and when he saw the blood, he called in.” At the chief’s words, I shuddered and made the connection.
“The guys out front said he was, missing his eyes?” I was unsure if I believed them, but curiosity got the best of me.
“Well,” Anderson responded, “Seems more like they got all tore up in the underbrush. His wife called in this morning, around 7. I guess he’s been blind his whole life, milky eyes and all. She says he’s never had a problem with camping, but last night they both went to sleep, and when she woke up, he was just… gone. Really didn’t seem like there were any malintentions in her voice either.” the chief never took his eyes off the guy.
“You try questioning him?” I asked, mostly just wanting to know the results.
“He’s pretty unresponsive, just babbling a bunch.” He trailed off, before almost whispering to himself. “Must have seen something crazy out there.”
I turned and gave the guy another look over, and it struck me, he was scratching a faint sort of mural into the back wall. I could see the lines of pine boughs overhead and tall trunks scratched in from the floor up. But what sent a shiver down my spine, was in the center, there was some sort of creature drawn, looking right back at me.
I never want to see with, my own eyes, whatever that thing was.
Shadow on the Ice
“Servus, Battle shaman. If it wasn’t for your position, I’d be pleased to greet you. ‘Specially here out of all places.” Serjyo grumbles while putting a parchment aside.
The proud dark gray dragoness steps through the hut’s curtains “Servus Icetongue”.
He sighs, annoyed “I never liked that title, just a glorified babysitter who sweet talks the Alfa into not going to war all the time, or worse” His bonewhite wings tens up.
“Sheesh, you’re usually not this frank.” She says dragging a stool next to the pale orange dragon. “How did the hunt go?”.
“Prowlers got 5 stags, a moron killed a doe.” He feels eyes piercing the back of his neck. “Any rumors? Apart from Frostfangs raiding a week earlier”.
With one of her black claws, she scratches behind her ear “Bad auguries. ’S been said that a Pilgrim been wandering in the area”.
Serjyo gulps and lets her continue “No one’s sure if ’s a dark one”.
“They mean trouble either way.” He sighs “First the dead doe, the early raids, you being summoned without notifying me beforehand, a Pilgrim is the last thing we need”.
Her eyes widen “The Alfa didn’t tell you?! Not consulting with his Icetongue first, unwise.” The shaman starts getting up.
“Please talk him out of going against anyone, not ready yet.” He pleads; darkness creeps up on the corner of his sight.
She holds the curtain with her front paw. “You know I can’t, it’s not my position. Cold winds under your wings my friend”. She says and walks away from the hut.
“You too Trymer.” He whispers.
His snout picks up an unfamiliar scent and a gloomy mist flows around his stool. Turns and his tail hits the legs of the table which earns a pained grunt.
With a tight muzzle, he looks up into the blackness and 2 bright orange eyes bleeding into the dark stare back at him.
He blinks in fear. “What the… “ He whispers while staring at the empty clay wall.
the story is 335 words long (without counting the title) and I will also post it on my world anvil page here: https://www.worldanvil.com/w/quanta-nimbu-sspectre/a/shadow-on-the-ice-article
By Mary V
She has wandered off from the rowdy gaggle of children playing behind the blue house. Almost no one notices her finish up her ice cream bar, hand the sticky popsicle to her mother, and creep down to the water’s edge.
It’s a gentle creek, hardly a current and not very deep at all. It’s just enough for her to reach her little fingers down into a small pool and pull up a fistful of mud. She holds it up for a moment, letting the sunlight glint off its slimy surface before she dashes it onto a nearby rock and squeals with delight. She looks back quickly to make sure no one has heard her and then hurls another clump of mud, laughing gleefully. Satisfied, she sits down on the damp mossy bank and begins examining a small white flower. The warm air hums. The grass flutters. A bumble bee flirts with the flowers on her dress before flitting over to the yellow lilies nearby. A toad hops along the rocks, pausing to look at her. Its sudden croak startles her, but her yelp soon becomes a helpless giggle.
And then it seems the brook is giggling with her. She reaches down to splash the surface of the water, which leaps up to gently lick her hand.
And then she hears it. A gentle rush. Looking up into the swaying, sun-speckled branches, she sees them. Wings, glinting like stained glass. She sits up, lifting a dripping hand to her eyes, straining to get a better look. There, in the green glow of the leaves, she thinks she sees…
A voice calls out for her and she runs off in hot pursuit of water balloons and super-soakers.
But later on, in the blue twilight, shivering in a pink and purple towel, she sneaks down to the cool riverbank. Leaning over, she listens for a moment, then whispers, “See you tomorrow!” before scampering back to her mother.
I watch her step into the golden light of the house and smile. “See you tomorrow, little one!”
I’ve never been able to stand flowers. Nasty things, really. Useless. Pieces of nature, that wild temptress that would kill us all on her own whims. Give me a nice white room any day. Like my bedroom for instance.
Clean white walls, almost glowing in their perfection, a perfect white sofa and table, and a pristine bed. Heaven on earth. Except, well, for the rose.
I knew that it shouldn’t be there. I spent days cleaning, bleaching and purifying my room. I was not going to be like those outside, exposed to the elements, living in nature’s rotten bosom. But it was just there! Mocking me, out of the corner of my eye. I could feel it even still, pulsing with filth. When it first appeared, I lunged at that hateful vine, cutting my hand on the wicked thorns, all strategy forgotten. The blood red petals coloured my vision as I snarled and tried to rip it off of my wall. How dare it invade my sanctuary? How dare nature defy me? But the vine crumbled like dust.
I was staring at my blank white walls, now marred with long scratches, plaster under my fingers. I shivered and ran to my bathroom scrubbing my fingers until they were raw. As I turned off the water, I went back to my bedroom, and sat.
Deep breaths, deep breaths, I would be fine. There was nothing here that I didn’t put here.
I opened my eyes. The rose was not there, everything was fine. Everything was fine. Everything was fine.
A rose that wasn’t there curled and spread.
His camera strap rubs against his neck, the DSLR thumping against his chest with every step. Gravel slides and crunches beneath his boots, bringing the dusty scent of a well-worn path with it.
Despite the lovely weather it’s still early enough to keep most people at home. Certain hours of the day are crucial for good photography though and Gillian had beaten even the rangers to the park gates that morning. Hours later he still walks alone and undisturbed to take his pictures. Crouching to get close-ups of golden light illuminating wildflowers and moss-covered stones.
Every now and then he checks over his shoulder.
In Gillian’s opinion, humans have for the most part left the wilderness, it’s not their place anymore. And there’s a shiver of old, half-remembered fear that even for a life-long hiker creeps up occasionally. A person doesn’t just blunder into the forest during the waking hours unprepared and unobservant.
It’s with him today…ancient, primal instincts adding to the cool sweat on the nape of his neck.
As a pair of crows break through the boughs overhead, startled by his presence. Gillian crouches, aiming through his viewfinder and holding down the shutter button to create a machine-gun staccato of quiet clicks. Long enough to capture the corvids’ images on the glowing screen.
He grins as they dance off into the distance, calling out to one another.
It’s rare that he captures such moments and he’s delighted to get some good photos of the pair. Most are disappointingly overexposed, the colorful glint of the birds’ feathers lost to the glare of the sun. Branches a tangled mass of indistinct, black shapes.
Suddenly he pauses.
A lens flare surely…but he’s never seen a lens flare like that.
Gillian looks up hesitantly at the opposite ridge, breath catching in his throat.
There between the trees is a flame-like blur of movement.
But fire doesn’t run on two legs.
Or have a wreath of auburn hair.
Or a set of massive, coppery wings- feathers glinting gold in the morning light.
A Fleeting Glimpse?
Ah, there it was again. He almost caught sight of the smiling face as it ducked away out of sight. Aster sighed and lowered his cup of coffee with a dull thunk. There was a scraping sound as he slid the mug away, shifting the files closer. He opened one and set to work, pen scritching threads of ink to the appropriate lines.
A thump as a door closed somewhere down the hall of his house. It echoed to the ceiling, swallowed in the silence of the emptiness. Aster continued working, unperturbed. He heard muffled giggles and the patterning of footsteps behind him. He gritted his teeth, feeling a headache coming on. There was a scrape, then a clink as something metal hit the tile floor in the entryway. Aster whipped around, hoping it wasn’t anything breakable. He sighed and hefted himself out of his chair, walking to his car keys and putting them back on the display cabinet. He paused, getting caught in the pictures he could see through his reflection. He put a hand out, gently caressing the glass, leaving fingerprints. Then he turned away and settled back into his desk.
The house seemed oppressively silent now. Like a cathedral after a bombing, beauty shattered, pews abandoned, hope broken. He thought he heard a quiet sob.
“. . . I know, I miss you too,” He whispered.
Like the pictures behind the glass, the echoes of memories of things he couldn’t touch. A mirage in a desert. Whether it was in his own mind, or out there, he’d long given up trying to tell the difference.
The Goddess of Ice and Stone, by Tibber the Fibber
Just a hint, just a touch. I saw her, but now she’s gone. Busy people, flowing like a river. I thought I had seen her, but I know that was impossible.
I cannot see.
I can feel the air and I hear the masses. I hear the rustling fabric and I can feel the pulse of their breath. I thought I saw my love, but that could not be.
I cannot see.
I moved through the river of bodies and they passed around me. My arms slightly outstretched like a conductor about his work. How could I have seen? I have no sight, but how could it have been a figment of my thoughts?
It–the thing I saw–was someone I loved, but she is gone. She smelled like a winter breeze, like a stone on a mountain, cold and unmoving. She was frozen like ice and she was beautiful. I had touched her only once and that was enough.
Back in those days, I had known that I could only say that I had seen her in her true beauty after I had felt her face. I had gathered my courage and asked if, for once, I might know her features. She let me caress her hair and face, gentle features smooth as glass. I had known at once that I was at the feet of a goddess given human form.
I smiled, remembering that day when I had touched that goddess of ice and stone. That glimpse, that touch, what else could it have been? No one was that cold, no one was stone like she was.
Another hint, another touch. I felt her again. My heart leaped in joy. I could feel her form, sliding through the crowd. I shoved my way through. Muttered curses from the people guided my hands as I twisted through the stream.
The air grew colder around me and then, as the sensation threatened to overwhelm me, I felt a hand grasp mine.
It was cold—
—like stone and glass.
The hand of the goddess of ice and stone.
The Last Vision, By J.E. Howard
My family is touched. Each of us that are touched can see things that aren’t visible to most people. We all have that in common but most of us possess quirks that are distinct. My quirk is premonition.
I was hiking through the trails near my apartment one late spring afternoon. The weather was starting to warm enough that the critters were coming out of their hiding places. I was trying to get to the high point that overlooked the swamp off of Route 23. Although I was new to this area, many of the townspeople had told me of the beautiful sunsets. I was running a bit behind today so I picked up my pace along the trail. As I rounded the last bend in the trail, I checked my watch. I had managed to get there early.
I sipped on the bottled water that I brought in my pack, and I played with the camera settings on my phone. I wanted to record the sight for all my social media platforms. The sun was just starting to disappear beyond the horizon. The amber and violet colors were mixing in the sky and bleeding back toward me in the reflection of the swamp. I was amazed at the sight.
Within the blink of an eye, I was seeing a new portrait of the swamp. The greenery and water was replaced with ash and soot. The beautiful sunset was now replaced with a wall of fire that consumed the horizon as it neared my knoll. The wind that was once calm and cooling was blasting past me. I opened my eyes to see the landscape that artists would love. Fear and terror came over me at this point. I could feel the cold sweat pouring down my face. Every hair on my body stood on end because I knew that my vision was to become true, and now it was only a matter of when.
“Ghost of our early days”
by Larissa (LaribHaven)
I tossed the money in the nightstand and leave, driving my car back home.
“Why am I even coming back?” I asked myself.
The traffic lights turned red. There was no reason to stop, but I stopped anyway. The hot tropical breeze made me uneasy. While I waited for the green light, I looked at my windshield, nothing but the very calm streets and the darkness beneath, yet I was distressed.
“I could just go back to the motel. It’s not like she still waiting…”
“Truth or dare?”
I look at the back of my car, for a split second, I saw her. I knew that voice.
“Aren’t you going to answer me?” I look at my passenger’s seat. I could almost make her silhouette.
“It isn’t her, she’s not that young anymore, and you know she is at home!” I tell myself, closing my eyes and calming down.
I arrive at the front door, entering and stumbling in the stairs. I open the door of our bedroom, and there you are, sound asleep.
I laugh. “She’s sleeping! She was never there.”
“I dare you, Nerd!” She then taunts me again this time behind me. Her draped dress fleeing from my sight.
“We were kids when we made those plans. We changed” I say angrily to the voice. Why do I keep seeing you this young?
I can’t hold back the tears. I turn to you. The you that is sleeping on our bed, I approach you and stand mere centimeters from your face.
“I double dare you! Tell me! Go on! Do you like me?”
I open my mouth and close. The words just won’t come to me. If I tell you this way would you forgive me?
“I promise you I won’t do this again!” I say in tears.
You smile, semi-awake now and say: “Don’t cry baby, I’m here.” -and then kisses my forehead- “It was just a bad dream, go back to sleep.”
I lay down next to you, and the ghost of our early days lays between us.
Hello! This is my first time posting on here. I discovered the site with Tale Foundry’s latest video, and was excited to perhaps try my hand at some writing. I’ve never really written anything before, so apologies if it’s no good.
That being said, here’s my “story”:
A Candle in the Dark, by Lawrence Nightingale.
There is much to know about the universe, and some knowledge is beyond the comprehension of everyday life. In the pursuit of knowledge, one may self-immolate to glean a tantalising and forbidden secret, and yet will only be a mere flash of fire in the darkness.
Red, as she was known by her associate, Irwin, was learning how to obtain such glimpses. The two were huddled around a candle and an old leather bound book in a library that closed its doors to the public hours ago. The book, titled “Exposés of the Hidden Studies”, largely read like the scrawlings of a madman, nonsensical at its best and near incomprehensible at its worst.
Red sighed and looked over at Irwin, who was reading the book with a smirk on his face. “I can’t make heads or tails of this,” she admitted. “This doesn’t even really line up with what you’ve taught me so far!”
Irwin, looking up from the book, said, “I’m afraid that’s the point. Books like these are often written by scholars with the express purpose of confusing students of the Studies – like you.” Irwin began to tear pages out of the book and set them upon the table, confusing Red further. “One thing I have neglected to teach you is that objects can hold memories, much like how a page holds words. Unlike a page, though, you can’t simply read an object’s memories, no…” he trailed off as he picked up the candle and offered it to Red. “…first, you must break it into its core components. A book like this will have captured the memories of others. Burn the book and focus on your feelings towards it.”
Red, both worried and intrigued by this turn of events, carefully accepted the candle. She slowly set alight the pages laid out on the table, and the book followed suit. Focusing on her confusion, her vision shifted – she saw other perspectives, lived other lives, and watched as other people read the Exposé, similarly confused. Her vision quickly returned to her, to the sight of the table now aflame.
She paused for a moment.
“I think I understand a bit better now.”
Let Me Tell You About It..
I saw it. Well at least I thought I saw it. I definitely saw something that day. Well of course I did, it’s impossible to have not seen anything. Unless perhaps I’ve become blind? No, I can see the paper in front of me and the pen I’m holding. So therefore, I think it’s safe to say I am not blind.
To find out what I saw, I must retrace the events that occurred that day. It was a Monday, so I must have been at work. But I don’t remember working that day… It was a Bank Holiday! Yes, that must have been it. And I was in the city square by the beautiful stone fountain, it was marvellous that day the sun was so warm. And as I stood watching the Sun reflect on the water of the fountain; I saw something. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a policeman was arresting a seagull. But that isn’t interesting, so it can’t be what I saw that day; what I saw was truly story worthy. What I saw as far more interesting than a seagull being arrested.
After my walk to the fountain, I thought I’d treat myself to an ice cream; with a chocolate flake as well because I was feeling particularly happy to be alive. Anyway, I swear I caught a glimpse of something eyebrow raising. It was a man eating a Kiwi without peeling off the skin! But it wasn’t the fruit kind of Kiwi, it was the human cricket playing kind. But that can’t be the extramundane thing I saw that day because it’s only mildly amusing.
On the drive home, after being kidnapped by aliens a few hours earlier, that is when I saw it! As I drove past, through my rear mirror I glimpsed one of those famous pop singers that you see on TV, giving a pound to a homeless beggar. It was so heart-warming to see that they care about the homeless. Yes, that is what I saw that day. Let me tell you about it…
– Joe Kharms
What the woods know
The trail holds no sign nor any apparent destination but Jason’s aimless steps are unfazed. Anywhere is better than the stupid campsite he had been forced to attend over summer. The melody of a counsellor’s guitar steadily drowns in bird song as the boy walks on, the woods strangely deeper than he had previously realised.
Noticing a snapped branch in the dusty earth, Jason absentmindedly picks it up, tapping out a frustrated rhythm on his leg. Reminded of his beloved drum kit at home where he can’t play it, the rhythm soon progresses into an angry beat. A second stick joins the first as Jason aggressively pummel the unflinching trees around him. The echo of each hit soon overpowers the cheery woodland sounds.
Lost in his drumming, Jason swings too low and knocks his hand against a thorny bush. Crying out more in shock than pain, the boy instinctively attempts to pull his arm close only to find it suddenly seized within the confines of the shrubbery. He futily continues to struggle, each movement dragging his captured limb further into the stubborn plant. Only when the impromptu drumsticks fall from Jason’s grip do the barbed vines relent. The arm is yanked free, revealing something hidden within the depths.
A face, cast in shadow and cocooned by thorns. It could be just a pattern of leaves but for the beyond human eyes. They stare into Jason’s, more verdant than the first shoots of spring. It lasts only a second before Jason tumbles backwards from the momentum of his escape.
Lying winded in the soil, Jason glances back at the bush. No face. No eyes. It ignores the boy as if their encounter had never happened. The rest of the woods quickly mirror their denizen’s example. As if on cue, an orchestra of birds resume their singing, joyfully harmonizing as Jason staggers to his feet and hurries down the trail towards camp. More than aware of the endless eyes that watch his retreating back.
A Rejected Glimpse
by J. Douglas
“Fate is a cruel beast of cosmic injustice. We are shackled by indifference and subjugated by the meaningless. In all of human existence, the question of “why” has permeated all cultures and peoples. Why…. do we exist?”
The Professor checked his watch. five minutes until ten.
“That will be the next lecture. Class dismissed.”
As the class loudly and happily left the room, the professor unstrung his tie, feeling the air breathing down his neck. He slumped into his chair, tapping the tile floor with his shoes and fiddling with the buttons on his sleeve.
“The answer is obvious” he thought.
“Fate is what I do with my life. “Meaning” is what I perceive it to be. I am my own person. This makes me the most important person and thing in my life” he pondered while looking at his ring . The ring always reminded him of this most valuable lesson.
The professor then swiveled in his chair to face the computer monitor, noticing a man dressed in a dark velvet purple suit behind it. A modest suit. Somehow not bold, but not underwhelming. The man had curly brown hair and stood with confidence. The professor couldn’t tell, but it seemed there was a soft golden hue around the man. The man began to speak.
“I have heard your thoughts and decided to make an example of you. I will show you a glimpse of cosmic truth and you will reject it.”
Suddenly, a bright light shown behind the man. It was blinding, but the professor couldn’t look away. He had to look, this was the answer to all of his questions. The light behind the man spoke.
“Fate is my will. Cast away the false God of yourself and you will find truth.”
Suddenly the light faded away and the man along with it, and the professor sat alone. He pondered on this incredible sight. A glimpse into the answer to all of his questions. After an hour of sitting in silence, the professor walked out of the classroom. The ring, was still on his hand.
The Ilusion Of Sosias
—The Jury now calls the expert witness, Dr. Freno, to testify.
—Willingly. —Said the questioned. —I will now read the note found next to both the bodies:
“At this moment, that I long for it to be the last I feel the need of writing this so the rest of my family can understand why I’ve done this. I’m very aware that what I’m about to write will make me sound like a madman, but I swear, it’s all true.”
“At first, it was subtle, hardly noticeable. During an utterly normal breakfast my brother spilled his boiling-hot milk all over me. He said it was an accident, and I believed him, the poor of me. The next incident occurred during our habitual drive to college. My phone slipped away from my hands and ended under my seat. I couldn’t reach it, so I warned my brother to drive carefully since I was about to unfasten my seat belt. I bent down, and when I was closing my hand around my phone… the sound of brakes. A second later, my body had flung across the frontal window of the car. Three broken ribs and several weeks in the hospital. Once again, my brother swore that it was unintentional, that he did it because a child suddenly crossed the street.”
“Was my brother trying to hurt me? Why? He had no reason for it. But then, during a visit he paid me, I understood. I saw a sparkle in his eyes, a light being lit from behind his skull. It was just a glimpse, but I knew exactly what it meant. That was not my brother. Sure, he looked identical, but he was a double, someone totally different but with the exact same appearance. I had to this, I had to kill both of us. If this happened to him, it could happen to me. This needed to end. I hope you can understand.”
—So? —Asked the Judge.
—I would venture to say that this man suffered from Capgras syndrome, a type of paranoia in which the patient thinks someone belonging to his family has been replaced for a double who wants to cause him harm.
—Therefore, I suppose you don’t find him guilty, this… What was his name?
(Small note non-related to the above story: I don’t know if I should write this here, but I wanted to say that I happily discovered that my last post was read during the stream. I would love to had seen it live, but sadly 7:00 pm CST means 2:00 am in my country. Nevertheless I watched it, and will continue to watch it later once it’s uploaded to Twitch. Cheers!)
“They tell me you are, what’s the word… gifted?” asks the man in the charcoal suit.
‘Gifted.’ That’s what the firm’s lawyers cleared for use in an interview. Gifted analysts exist, of course, precogs do not. If they did, it would be unethical to hire them. Cute.
“I have a special intuition,” I answer, equally coyly. “Jeremy, by the way.”
I extend my hand, unconcerned. I saw myself working here the moment I set foot in the building.
Not ‘imagined’. Saw.
“Call me Bill.” His handshake has force, but little enthusiasm.
I see it then: the next year. Bill will yell at me, threaten to fire me, to sue me, to call the cops, anything to keep me working through the nights, to keep our numbers up, his ambitions afloat.
“When did you first develop your ‘special intuition’, Jeremy?”
“I was eleven, riding my bike,” I recall. “I was turning around a corner when I felt the SUV hit me. The pain made me stop, just in time to see the real thing cross the intersection, going fifty.”
“I see, I see,” he mutters, disinterested. “Any proof of this talent?”
Two years later – I realize then – he will be slapping my shoulder, calling me his son. He tells others how he always believed in me.
“You’ve seen my trades?”
“With your own money, kid?” He laughs. “Doesn’t count. Any schmuck can turn ten-K into a million. I need to know you can grow a billion!”
He tests me: pick a card, guess the contents of a box. I see the results just by reaching towards one choice or another.
I also see five years later. I am visiting Bill in jail, assuring him that the firm has his back, that we’ll do everything we can to get him out. It lasts just long enough to know I am lying.
“Alright kid, you are in,” he admits. “Contingent on results. Tests can be faked, you see? The market can’t.
“Well, not for long,” he laughs.
I laugh too. “Of course, Bill.”
It’s going to be a long five years.
Where everything makes sense.
By Santiago Nyczka
[…And though the late day was drawing the burning dun down, the “yeap!”’s and “yea!”’s of our kindred kinsmen swept Maravíd with a luster to rival the light king at its toppy-top. For the last vast giant laid defeated, beaten by incessant peekaboo plumes, bubble-gum batteries and pop-corned artillery; tied and secured by a state-of the art slinky-pen fixed to the ground through candy-cane cricket arches. The harrowing funnytimes’ Crusade was at an end.
I dismounted Snake, my loyal squirristeed, unsheathed my banishizer 10000, and set about completing my duty.
“The man o’ the hour!” cheered Brexulti, my bestest friend. He always has tried to float up to my shoulder whenever I had important tasks at hand.
“You know what, ok,” I rolled my eyes as he nestled atop my super helm, “Oh, and could you not ride me like a hors- uh, whatever.”
Morale was high- not just on the battlefield, but in my mind, so handling a bestest friend was hardly a tall order. I carried him up the bungie hill to the face of the final chained gloom-giant. There, three of my loyal yeomen were holding down the murky mucky head of misery.
“My lord, we ‘ave ‘im! Right a’ you said!”
“Larrymd,” I sighed, “do your tongue a favor and grab yourself a drink,” it’s like I’m the only grown up in the field.
Down went Larrymd.
“Why don’t you start the ritual now?” Brexulti, ever the enthusiast, wriggled on my helm.
“Guess I can start the spelling and cussing part,” I faced the chilly head of the giant, big as a whole kid.
It lunged forward, and then my head had sunk inside the mist of the beast.
White, so white and eerily shiny. No fun, no fun colors or shapes. Restraints that were no candy cane and white-clad ginormous giant. “DrEric”…
I managed to pull out. Shot the banishizer 10000. The darkness receded. My crusade was finally at an end.
There stood the last of my Yeomen, back to his usual self.
“Dreric, welcome back to the world of the living!”
The Lonely and the Mad
By Connor Mann (Unforged)
“Did you see it then, Red? It was right there. It went right past the window, Red. Did you see it? Did you see it this time?” Captain Howard giggled. He squeezed his lifeless partner with one arm, pointing to the escape pod’s viewing screen with the other. “There it goes again, Red. I think it wants us to see it. Should we say ‘hello’ to it, Red?”
The interior of the tiny pod, with its stale air and it’s temperature rising for every moment that passed, was enough to make the captain sweat bullets. The thin suit he wore under his void-armor stuck to his skin in a maddening way, but he no longer cared about it. He no longer cared about the smell of sweat and faeces that permeated the pod. He didn’t care about how badly his partner’s corpse was beginning to deteriorate.
He was simply happy. Happy to have another visitor in this lonely little joyride through the stars.
“See that? There it goes…right past the window. You can’t see it, but it’s there. Here, have a better look.” The captain’s yellow teeth grinned wildly through a beard matted with drool. He took in his gloved hands the corpse that sat in the seat next to him, grunting as he tried to wrench Red’s remains out from the seat’s buckles. The head lolled back and forth with the captain’s efforts before a crack was heard. A crack that didn’t stop the captain, who finally pulled the body free from the buckle.
“There…see? Just watch. Watch for it when it goes by. It’s a fast lil’ devil, so watch close,” Captain Howard said giddily. He held Red’s face up to the viewing screen, countless stars set into an endless, black sea reflecting off dead, glassy eyes. For a long, long moment, all was silent, save for the captain’s excited, raspy breathing, his own gaze flickering from the screen to his dead comrade. Sweat dripped from his face. A string of drool dribbled from his beard.
Nothing happened on the screen.
The Magic in the Air
The hard cobbled streets and the smell of cigarettes in the air felt like home for Finneas. He had walked down these streets a thousand over and would probably do so a thousand more times. His home town was comfortable and familiar, just as he likes it.
The night time air usually bring about no surprises but tonight something felt magical, “Hocus Pocus!” He heard coming from across the street. He turned to see a young girl dressed in a fine black suit who just pulled a stuff rabbit out of a hat. A street magician how quaint. He saw her do her best to perform her tricks but she seemed to have some trouble keeping a crowd.
Usually, a disturbance to his evening walk is unheard of but the girl looked quite charming and he decided to approach, “Good evening, miss.”
She perked up before dipping into a bow, “Good evening, Monsieur. Would you like to see a magic trick?” Her face lit up with a cheery smile.
“Sure,” He said softly, “I got a bit of time.”
“Perfect! One moment.” She started rummaging inside her suit pocket to get out a deck of card which she quickly dropped, “Oh, damn it!” She hurriedly tried to clean up her deck.
Finneas felt bad and knelt down to help her clean up, “You really ought to be careful with your..” He stopped as his hand touched hers and their eyes locked, “cards.”
She quickly stood up, “Yes, my apologies.” she started deftly shuffling the deck, “Are you ready?”
He raised an eyebrow, “Yes?”
“Perfect.” She held up the deck up to his face and let them fly, obscuring his vision.
“What the..” He let down his arms and saw that he was in the middle of the woods, the air was clean, and the magician was in front of him clad in a blue dress and surrounded by floating orbs.
“Thanks for coming to my show.” With a kiss on the cheek and a blink, he was back to his normal, the magician was gone, and his mind filled questions.
The Tail of the Unknown (A Fleeting Glimpse)
By Philip C.
It was following him again. He could tell when it was around, for it lightly rustled the bushes as it slunk behind him in the long shadows cast by the setting sun. Mark had always seemed to attract these strange creatures, ever since he was a child of five or six; ever since he had begun to really explore the world around him.
At first, Mark had thought that it was just a coincidence, seeing the bright yellow or green eyes out of the corner of his own when he chanced to look behind, or hearing this now familiar swish of disturbed leaves trailing along. They never approached him, so he thought nothing of it. But as he grew older, he took greater notice, and he came to the horrifying conclusion that, wherever he went, one or more of them always followed.
The familiar feeling of trepidation crept up on him again as he looked around for any sign of the beast, wishing for one of his friends to walk by. A slight motion, whether a waving leaf or a passing shadow, looked sinister to him in the growing shade, and he sped up, hoisting his bag further up his shoulder. He knew it would be no good to run, for it would only pursue energetically, but he could not push down his desire to get home as soon as possible.
Suddenly, as Mark turned a corner in the road, he heard a loud crack from up ahead, and a moment later a dark shadow blinked across the path. He stood still, trembling, looking around, trying to see where it went.
Nothing stirred. It had gone at last. Grasping his school bag’s straps firmly, he took a deep breath and faced back towards home, to safety.
Something soft rubbed against his leg, causing him to almost jump in fright. Mark looked down, but he saw nothing save a few dark hairs on the pants leg of his uniform. The soft rustle of leaves came from behind again, and turning, he just glimpsed a long, black-furred tail disappearing into the undergrowth.
The Pressure of Absence
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)
I eagerly locked the door behind me, as if shutting everything else in this world away from me, from us. I was safe in our home. As I turned I nearly called out to announce my nightly return, but the useless words stumbled and caught in my throat. The sober reminder hit me.
I stood there silently, awkward and uncomfortably alone in my dismal sanctuary, unsure what to say or do next. It mattered less now than it ever had. Everything still felt the same, but nothing was. That difference in between that absence had filled up every empty corner, replacing all of the things that were once there – that should still be there.
As I set my things down and hung up my coat I thought I might have seen the bedroom light go on, heard the click of the switch. Her just waking from a nap. I felt her just about to round the corner the way she always did with that sleepy smile she always wore. But the space was empty, the light had not come on; the room was dark. I rounded the corner myself to check the dark bedroom and flick on the light. The heap of covers were exactly how I had left them this morning.
A gentle sound stirred from the pile of blankets. My heart raced for a moment despite my better senses. My hopeful, foolish eyes darted up to meet our precious cat’s eyes. I simpered back at his calm, bright emerald gaze. The same gaze she gave that would melt my heart. Meant for me alone, no longer.
I collapsed into the ramshackle couch with a heavy sigh, the cat jumped into my lap reassuringly, already purring. I caught her honeyed scent on his fur for just a moment, then nothing. I cast a gentle stroke over his soft head as the tears catch in my voice.
“She’s not coming back, is she?”
“Crywolf”, by Candyfiction
Bouts of thunder rocked the ground so hard Hollie could feel vibrations beneath her. Flashes of lightning that followed gave her just enough light so she wouldn’t trip. Any electricity her tiny village possessed was cut off because of the raging storm.
Hollie would’ve given anything to teleport to her house. She didn’t need her hair whipping her frost-bitten face, nor the icy droplets that felt like needles against her skin.
Unfortunately she couldn’t do anything about it. While it was dangerous for a child to be out alone in this weather she refused to sit in her school’s lobby waiting for it to end. Her baby brother needed her back at home. He was terrified of thunder storms and Hollies parents were hours away, stuck at work until the weather calmed.
It would be fine. Hollie was merely five minutes away from home. Little rain can’t hurt her, right? No, and rain wasn’t what scared her…
In the woods next to her howls echoed. Low, wailing harmonies that made her shiver more than the cold. Crywolf. A legend derived from villagers catching a few fleeting glimpses of a shadow, some people going missing… Only the worst was said about Crywolf. A huge reward was even set for bringing it back, dead.
Hollie gripped her pepper spray tightly in hand, trying to forget the sound. Soon she would be home, safe.
Just as she thought that, a loud crunch and two glowing blue eyes paralysed her. A grey blur leaped towards her. Hollie screamed and fell back, dropping the can. She fully expected to be ripped to shreds then and there but instead heard Crywolf’s signature wail.
Confused, she opened her eyes to see… not a wolf but a herding dog with its foot tangled in rope. It was injured and looked starved.
Hollie felt bad and gave it her uneaten lunch which made it calm significantly.
“You’re what everyone fears so badly?”
She pondered and freed the dog from rope’s grasp. It gratefully rubbed its head against Hollie.
“Not anymore,” She said “I’ll protect you now Cry- …Mico.”
‘Mico’, Latin word meaning ‘flash’. I thought it was fitting because a flash of light is just as scary as a glimpse of a shadow, too short to process but equally leaving you wondering what it was that you saw.
I hope, If possible to add art to this later, right now I cant wait to post the submission so, yeah I hope you enjoyed it!
Ugh! This is just the sort of story I enjoy writing! Too bad I suck at microfiction!
By Hemming Sebastian Bane
The autumn leaves crunched under the man’s feet. His chest ached; his legs burned. He wanted to stop, but he knew that was not an option. It saw him, and, worse, he saw it. His only option was run. Run back to the village; he’d be safe there.
Then, the man heard it: a loping gait. It was chasing him. Faster. He had to run faster, or it would do to him what it did to his brother. He remembered the blur of red that struck the older man down. The unnatural way his brother laid on the forest floor. The man fought back the image of the gory scene and redoubled his efforts. His feet grew numb from the shock of striking the cold hard ground. His arms bore the scratches of briars and low-hanging branches.
“Just a bit more,” he whispered.
Suddenly, the man’s foot hit something hard. Time slowed as he tumbled to the ground, his shoulder taking the brunt force. Frantic, the man looked to the ground behind him. He had tripped on an up-grown root. The man pushed off from the ground and began to run again. It was closer now; he could hear its breath. He could smell the faint iron. He could even feel its eagerness; it was enjoying this.
The man fought the instinct to look back and ran. He could see the village’s torchlight now. He was so close, but he could feel himself slowing down. His heartbeat was out of control. He was so tired he didn’t feel the large claws rip into his back, breaking skin and bone. The man fell to the ground. The pain came as the fear gripped him; it had him.
The next morning, the two hunters from the village walked into the forest and found some claw marks nearby. The younger looked to his elder for an explanation. The older hunter just kicked dirt over them.
“This is why we hunt during the day, Jaecar,” the older man said, his voice like stones scraping. “Because something else hunts at night.”
Collection (By Lakemoron)
I just rode from Cleveland back to Akron, stopping at Swensen’s on Cuyahoga Falls Avenue for a burger and a float. As I sat there waiting for someone to take my order, a man came running across the street from The Gorge park. He looked like my former employer Sam. When Sam retired, I lost my job, but in the end, it worked out for me when I started my landscaping service three years ago. Sam looked frantic like he was running for his life.
“Scott, help me please, help me,” Sam screamed as he ran across the street into traffic.
He hopped on the back, and I took off for the highway, not knowing what’s going on. We went from Route 8 to 303 on the way to Hudson. When Sam sold his business, he bought a place in Hudson, and after a year, he hired me to maintain his lawn. All the while we went, I felt something following us. Occasionally, I saw something in the corner of my eye, but every time I turned, nothing was there. We pulled into his driveway, but Sam wasn’t moving, so I got off the motorcycle and helped Sam down. At some point in the trip, he died. I don’t know how he held on. In his hand was an old piece of paper with something written in a strange language and Sam’s signature at the bottom. In the corner of my eye, I saw a shadow, but it didn’t seem real.
The Shadow said, “When a deal is made, payment is assured.”
I asked, “What did he owe you, and how will you collect now?”
The Shadow replied, “He sold me his soul for a little happiness, and I always collect. Would you like to be happy?”
I turned to face the Shadow, but it was gone.
A voice off in the distance said, “Everyone makes the deal, and I always collect.”
“Cleo, here” said the teacher as he handed over her essay.
I wanna go home. I want go elsewhere, I don’t even know where. She quickly went through the papers searching for her grade.
It was a B. “Pheww…” she sighed with relief. It was okay.
Her peers were screaming, the room was loud, it made her mind foggy – she wouldn’t be able to solve the simplest of problems if she was asked to, at the moment.
They were chatting about their grades. Everyone did a great job, no exceptions.
The professor was the kind she had only seen in movies, a real master. He talked about fiction as none other could, or, should I say, with the passion she desired her entire life. However, she would try to appear as uninterested in the class as she could, not because she was careless, but because … I am not careless! …Cleo just tried to fit in, with them. They hated him, because they couldn’t score maximum in his tests. “I’m so bad at this” – no you’re not.
Oh, how they love to complain, express some kind of self-hatred as if it was a duty that one, who was given more, had to, in exchange for their abilities, since they’ve never experienced the same coming from outside.
The class had increasing popularity amongst the teachers. An intelligent bunch, they were often described as. Scientists of the future…what am I doing here?
She finally got to read the prof’s small review written next to her grade just now. What?
She felt anxious, her breath just caught up with her. One sentence stood out and she couldn’t take her eyes off of it, the world had stopped for a moment. It suggested that she had something great. No way, so I am, I can be good at somethi-…Oh.
I almost believed it. She read it wrong.
It fled away so quickly, leaving her exactly where she was before, behind.
Behind her eyes
By Eliza Grey
It was her reflection that told her. Not in words, of course. In her eyes, the reflection of her eyes.
She has a past, that girl. Something you see from the corner of your mind. A flicker. A shadow. You can’t quite turn your head to look.
The thing in the mirror was an oval face.
Pale brows and soft skin. A mouth that sits in a thin line. All there, in a public bathroom. Her high-school– another place for children to pretend. And her eyes. A curtain was drawn over the inside, but for a moment it flicked open, and there it was.
My brother and I have always been like night and day. I spent a good portion of my childhood exploring the large forest behind our house. While he was always in his room, devouring scientific books like a little professor.
When we became teenagers he moved out to our barn and seldom left it. He barely showed up for dinner! During this time I was going out drinking with my friends whenever I had the chance. I seldom saw him, but everything changed that peculiar night.
I had been out that night and was far from sober. After drinking I’m often urging to have a talk with someone, and that night was no exception. I came home in the small hours. Our house was dark, but lights were on in the barn so I knew he was awake. I flung the door open without knocking and was met with a sight out of the wildest fever dream. What I’d always known as my brother hung empty and discarded over a chair, his body was open and hollow with a small interior zipper allowing opening and closing. At the back of the barn stood a strange grey creature, hammering on a metallic construction resembling a caricature of the UFO:s seen on TV. The creature turned around. “Hello brother,” it said. Followed by “please hand me my skin.” In my diminished condition, I picked up his outward appearance and handed it to him. He promptly entered the skin and zipped up. He reassuringly put his hand on my shoulder and I followed him outside. We sat on the lawn, laughing and talking until the sun rose in the distance. Then I hugged him goodnight and went to bed.
When I awoke the following morning I found the barn empty. Not a sign was left of my brother, and my parents denied that he even existed. But I often see a star darting around in the night sky, and I always wave.
The Heavy Man
During another late night in the large office building, Mike’s eyes were starting to become heavy with the burden of exhaustion creeping in. The office building was vacant as Mike was working another overtime shift to finish his company’s large project that everyone else was to incompetent to deal with. Mike rubbed his eyes and looked at the time on the bright screen in front of him; the digital clock read 2:50 AM.
“I can’t deal with this anymore” Mike muttered to himself as he started shutting down his computer to leave for the night.
Mike got up from his old noisy swivel chair and proceeded to pack up his backpack that he carried with him to work everyday. The office floor he was on housed many different cubicles and Mike was located right in the center of the room, cramped between all the other cubicles. Everything was dark except for the red glowing exit sign and a few different lights from the vast amount of electronics on the different desks.
Just then Mike quickly shifted to the left and his tired eyes darted around the room.
“Hello?” Mike said in a slightly uncomfortable tone.
Mike started moving quickly and continued towards the exit sign at the front of the large floor and made sure to look straight ahead the whole way. Mike tried not to think too much on what he saw and instead chose to forget about it on the elevator as he moved down.
But truly what he saw haunted him until he finished the company’s large project and only then did it disappear. The “it” was a heavy man cloaked in darkness that would simply stand there and stare at him, even though in the split second glances Mike got of him, he could never make out any eyes.
“Just A Vision”
By Joshua (Joshrr00)
Just a vision. That’s what I keep telling myself. It was just a vision, a hallucination brought about by severe sleep deprivation, nothing more. I didn’t actually see her floating down the hall, it was just some..mirage that could have been brought forth by any number of far more plausible, completely scientific, easily explained factors. Heh. Of course I’d prefer the easy answers.
There was a time when I didn’t believe in spirits. Frankly, the idea sounded preposterous. The idea of tortured souls, made to eternally wander the physical realm, denied the peaceful rest of the beyond because of some traumatising event from their life? Such territory was either purely the realm of raving lunatics who had clearly lost their full set of screws quite some time ago, or pathetic wastes of air simply looking for attention. And yet, whenever my best friend asked me to join him on one of his ghost hunts, I could never bring myself to say no. But, lord save me, I despised it. Every time, I could’ve been hanging out at the club, watching a movie, having a drink with a pretty woman, maybe even get into her bed. But no, I was stuck with this kook till six in the morning in some rundown mansion, or mineshaft, or prison, or whatever. Take your pick, it’s all the same.
And yet….I can still recall the moment I saw her with perfect clarity. There are times it feels more like I’m inspecting a painting, the details seem so vivid in my mind. Her utter lack of dimension, the silver sheen of her skin, the static rippling through her as she hovered but a few feet away. More like a picture from an old film projector than a real girl, floating there with her neck snapped in two, the obvious sign of a hanging. The walls suddenly felt tighter around me than before. Not gonna lie, I thought I was going to die. And yet, with just a blink of my eyes, she was gone. The orphanage around me returned to the dull mess of mildewed wood and rotting plaster before my little encounter. And it was then I knew, no matter what I told myself, I could never go back to my life of blissful ignorance ever again.
Dr. Michael Lock was investigating one of the new seaweed’s that were spotted around the east coast of US, the plants were described as having strange properties, they are known to, when ingested, cause in some people a reaction you would usually see from psychosis-inducing drugs, in those people it also rapidly causes addiction. In other cases, however, it caused long term neural conditions ranging from depression to schizophrenia. the victims of those plants, when it was possible to communicate, usually talked without giving any detail.
Due to their nature, Lock needed to take precautions against any accidents, which, of course, was a simple mask and gloves. Lock dissected the Seaweed in every possible way, dragging out its inner workings, the most plant easily gave way to the equipment the doctor used. Then suddenly an impulse overcame him, not thinking why the doctor took off his mask, then grabbed the seaweed, opened his mouth and thrown the seaweed into it.
Lock sat still for a second, nothing has changed yet, then a flurry of question rushed to his mind, they were simplistic, basic even. Consciousness soon departed from Lock as his body slumped up against the chair, before his closed eyes, however, he saw himself in the cosmos and the ocean simultaneously as if those two different concepts were always one, and he felt as if oxygen escaped from him, before his eyes could adjust to see anything in such darkness of the depths he caught a glimpse of something, massive, it made a loud, vibrating sound.
The Doctor woken up, spewing seawater that suddenly filled his mouth, he felt a drop of blood roll down one of his ears, a burst membrane, but the only thing he questioned was, what did he see, the question, unanswerable. No, he needed to know more, he needed more, but the seaweed’s samples are gone. Lock promptly exited the building he was working in and rushed to the dock, a storm was coming. He obsessively wanted to know, needed to know, it was his job, to know, the doctor jumped into the water.
The pale glare of moonlight shines into the clearing, illuminating the hunched figure within. He stands alone, staff in one hand and chalk in the other.
“Day of wrath and doom impending – ”
He bends down with the chalk, dragging across the dirt. He does not twitch or stumble, and the line is unbroken.
“David’s words with Sibyl’s blending – ”
He grabs a pouch from his side, and walks around his crudely-drawn pentacle, leaving a dash at each point. He dare not flinch or miss; he will get no more chances after this one.
“Heaven and Earth in ashes ending – ”
He readies his staff, holding it with both of his hands far above his head. He breathes in the air one last time, and comes down to strike the top corner of the star.
“From this you are spared.”
He falls, and the rune on the ground glows an uncanny green. He sees, and a grin comes across her face, perhaps the first real one in a decade. He readies himself, waiting for the exchange to come.
She rises from the ground, cast from behind in the same green light. He stands – opens his arms –
The figure speaks. “Father?”
“Yeah. C’mere, kid.”
He clasps his arms around her. It’s back to normal, how it should have been from the start.
“I’m so, so sorry, kid.” He pauses. “I’m your dad, I was supposed to have protected you – ”
She flickers. “Father? What’s happening?”
He rushes with his bag of salt, liberally dousing each corner with a handful. “No – no – wait, stop – ”
The rune flashes a brilliant white, the salt at each corner sinking into the ground. “Father…”
The rune vanishes, and the clearing is bathed in darkness.
Title: Beyond your vision, there lies a reaper By Ryan Berger(A.K.A Firebyte27) October 27, 1:30:10 PM What is that in the corner of your eye? You could have sworn you saw it before it disappeared: A tall dark gaunt figure with robes covering both face and flesh. The spitting image of the Grim Reaper. However, I am less than this spitting image. I’m more of a… drooling image I guess(?): I look just like an ordinary, if uncommonly pale, Caucasian girl in her late teens with black hair, golden-yellow eyes, and circles under those eyes that are so large, they’d seemingly swallow planetoids whole. I am that which lurks just outside your vision, and that which you swore you saw lurking around the corner: Autumn Arnott-classified as reaper ’09 by the Antillian government. The earth I inherited is far different from the one you at present live on: it was engulfed by a 30 year period of natural disasters called the Age of Calamities, in which many mystical races returned to earth’s surface after millennia of hiding beneath. Oh, and some genius found pandora’s box, and opened it, releasing demons of war and plague onto the earth. And in response, the government cloned my ass from Hades and Persephone in order to deal with this mess. Much like myself, the demons I am at war with will appear as little more than shapes outside your peripheral vision. I know this is probably a lot of exposition to take in all at once, but I’ve been hunting after one of these demons all afternoon, and I’ve managed to corner it in an abandoned grain silo, and it’s refusing to come out and face me. I figured; “might as well record some of the crap that happens to me on a daily basis in a journal.” And that’s where we are now. I know the demon is still inside of the silo because I can hear it try to scramble out of the inside of the silo only to come sliding down and softly land on a pile of god knows what. Guess we’ll just have to play the waiting game until it loses hope and comes out. October 27, 1:35:34 PM I’m actually getting really bored right now, and I’m considering talking to it. October 27, 1:40:02 PM Screw it, I’m going to talk with the damn thing. Here’s a transcript of our convo: Me: You do realize you’re not going to escape the silo, right? Kibō: … Me: Okay, let me try again; what’s your name? Kibō: … I don’t have a name… t-the other demons call m-me t-traitor… I don’t know why… Me: The more I think about it, the less you seem like a demon. I guess I just assumed that, but you didn’t attack me, and you weren’t… scared of me… Kibō: W-what do you mean? Me: it just seemed like there was something that scared you far more than I did. Kibō: … there is… one… Read more »
The First Day…
by Alex Nightingale
Shades. That was all I could see, in my mind. Shades and noises. It was warm and moderately comfortable on my mattress, but I still wished for a pillow. The heating must be on and a dim orange light shook over my eyes. It was in these shades, that the light made move, where I saw something uncomfortably familiar.
I tried to breathe steadily. They had told me to do so, in order to remain calm. In and out. In and out. It was important that I remain calm. From the corner of my eyes, I saw the shades move and shift; just far enough to remain undefined, but just close enough to be noticed.
In and out. In and out. Over and over again, these shades taunted me with their haunting vision. What were they? I did not know.
It felt like I should. Like an old friend, whose face seems familiar, but one cannot remember, for the life of them. An old friend. Yes. That would be a good word to describe the shades.
An old friend…
I began to shiver. It was warm, but for some reason, I felt cold. This shade did not belong. It did not belong here, in my room, in my mind.
The shades were fleeting now; only the smallest speck, in the corner of my eye. A fleeting glimpse of something, I didn’t quite understand.
I know this, I thought. I know you from somewhere. Did we go to school together? School. It seemed so distant now. A memory, I couldn’t quite grab. What was it called again? Ah, it was on the tip of my tongue.
No matter. It would surely come back to me.
I took another glimpse at the spot, where I saw the shades. They were gone now. No more shades, no more movement.
That old friend… Who was he again?
Wait. That wasn’t right. I had no old friends.
From above, I heard a voice; the first voice I had ever heard: “Memories extracted. Welcome, to the first day of your new life.”
Wild by charlie
I’m used to staying in the dark, hidden and alone. Some say I was unlucky, some say cursed, others refuse to acknowledge me. Either way, all I know is that some beast sank its teeth into my pure flesh one fateful day, and I’ve existed as some ungodly wolf-man each day since.
Its become habit to spend my days surrounded by the luscious green forests that surround my home village, no one goes there, well.. except me, so I don’t have to hide. I skulk along, a cloak drawn tight over my head, grip with clawed hands. I sigh. After no time at all I reach the pond. Its stunning, isolated and wild.
Wobbling on my feet, I undo my cloak and fling it to my side. Silver fur billows in the wind, like the most precious metals. My ears and tail stretch, they’re pointed, ruffled and so entirely animal. I kneel, and stare down over the pond, at my reflection. “Why me?” I ponder aloud, my voice hoarse, a barking growl.
A twig breaks somewhere amongst the brambles, and I smell it before I see it. Gliding along on its powerful paws, it trots up to the pond. A copper creature under the shining sun above. The sight of its majesty makes me breathless, and for a moment I see a glimpse of what I could be. Free. It looks up at me, a pointed nose sniffing the air, then it turns and leaves, gone as quick as it appeared.
I rock back, and sit. I breathe. Maybe there is something more for me.
Farouk, by Not’the ChosenJuan
The young boy Maxis is done with his chores in the tower and now playing his favorite game with his morphing glass friend Clear, giving trees names.
Maxis “Clear turn into a knife please.” Clear morphs from a glass sphere into a sharp knife in a couple seconds. “Thanks, now lets see here…” He looks up at a very tall tree “Hmm… how about Sequoioideae?” Clear adds a question mark to the knife’s handle. “Yeah, maybe Redwood since the color.” He engraved the tree with its new name. “Now this apple tree is also new.” He plucked the plumpest apple he could find and took a big bite. “I don’t know why the red theme when father made these new trees but I know what I’m calling this one… Red Delicious.”
Before Maxis can carve the tree’s name he hears a rumbling voice asking “WHO ARE YOU?” and “WHAT DO YOU TASTE LIKE?” Maxis quickly moves away from the tree “We need Father.” Maxis starts sprinting towards the clearing; feeling something new in his heart a feeling worse than discomfort. The thunderous voice returns “WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?” and quickly followed up by “WHY WERE YOU MADE?” Maxis is running faster than he ever ran before and he doesn’t know why but he can’t let himself get too close to the voice.
Maxis tripped on a tree root falling in the clearing so close to the Tower, but the creature is even closer. A large set of yellow teeth and a massive glowing white eye with a burning red pupil. Maxis is frozen, his body isn’t moving, not even his throat can utter a whimper. In an instant the creature disappears without a trace. Maxis got up and ran inside to see his father.
The Man in the Silk Robes is tinkering with a clock until Maxis barges in and hugs him. Maxis says “I saw a monster with big teeth and…” he was cut off by his father “did he ask questions?” Maxis nods his head, his father smiled “That’s just your brother Farouk.”
Lack of Flow
Last year I was in a state called “flow”.
It was the first time as a young artist I looked at my work and didn’t think it was awful. I never compared it to my more artistically talented or skilled friends, I was just happy that I made it.
It was surreal.
What felt like every drawing before my “flow piece” and after this work was terrible in my young eyes. I yearned to draw another “flow piece” for a lack of a better term.
I drew and drew, day by day. During class, whilst eating, talking, listening to music then without it, anything I could do, I did it ten times over. Terrible, terrible, terrible! Each work was, I just need another chance to catch this natural feeling. Then maybe I’ll understand how I can improve.
I was in absolute bliss during flow I wanted it so badly.
Then it happend again but not while I was drawing. I was doing my math homework when all of a sudden an hour passed. When I turned it in all the questions were answered correctly rather than incorrectly which was not the norm. That’s when I thought it hit me.
“Boredom, sheer boredom that’s the key I need to feel flow again even for a bit!”
I just have to replicate the lame feeling of math!
I immediately opened my sketch pad and tried to force boredom onto myself. However the excitement of the chance to feel flow wouldn’t let me.
I tried it again on a completely free day, nothing to do… I honestly never thought I would get the feeling to tear my eyes out because I was bored out of my mind. Maths, drawing, reading, no matter what I tried I was bored. I wasn’t in flow I was in slow.
Eventually I grew out of this flow obsessed phase. I finnaly learned to just enjoy drawing for what I can do rather than what others can.
What was a glimpse for young me is now a near common occurrence for adult me.
A Fleeting Glimpse of Shadow
A Fallen London (by FailBetter Games) fan fiction
The shadows flicker at the edges of your vision these days.
They’ve started doing that since you’d come back.
Playing chess with the Boatman while utterly soulless, his casual remark as you went that he looked forward to the oddness you’d stir up again? A classic, that. You can’t believe you’d missed it, and the thought that you’d maybe lost your touch is embarrassing to the extreme.
You don’t show it on your face, of course, not in a cafe like this. You are on vacation, sipping at one of the new, fancy things with coffee and more than a few “additions” after a discreet tip to the waiter. You gaze out the window into the well-curated view of the darkness above the city lights, another pretentiously wealthy patron among many, the susurrus of gentle conversation swirling into the quiet orchestra playing at the perfect distance from the tables.
Your eyes catch those of an urchin girl hopping rooftops; only a moment, but that was enough for the edges of your vision to curl and writhe.
This one? they would have asked, if they could speak. Oh, this one, this one?
But your gaze, half-lidded with boredom, was already drifting away to another indeterminable point in the horizon. If you could laugh at the way it wilts in the back of your mind, the sensation fresh as if you hadn’t had the conversation several hundred times previously, you……probably wouldn’t, if only for the principle of it. They always catch the tail end of your amusement, though, so there wasn’t any need, anyway.
Before anyone shows, your eyes drift to a tall, languid man, yellow-eyed and flirting outrageously with his young male companion as they promenade in the street below. You feel the edges of your vision shrink, the little puppy guzzling at the strength of your emotions.
It isn’t the luck you were expecting out of this meeting, but you’ll take it.
Your body is deceptively relaxed as you pay the outrageous price for your drink and your time.
You don’t need to see them to follow, not anymore.
That one, puppy, you tell them. The one who took my soul from me.
“A Prophet’s First Vision”
Ivy Hall, then seventeen, was hanging out with her friends at the local diner.
“Who’s ready for the road trip?” Maria pulled out a notepad. “I am! I even have a list of what I want to do.”
“Don’t forget that this is for Devin,” Ivy reminded Maria, “Mr. College over here leaving us and all.”
Devin laughed, “You guys graduate next year. I can’t get away from your antics.”
Ivy looked at the necklace she gave Devin for his birthday. Then she saw something. Not in a literal sense, she realized, but she still knew she saw something. A death.
“Hey, are you OK?” Ivan walked to the table with a basket of fries. “You look paler than usual.”
“Ah…” Ivy felt a raging headache take place of whatever she experienced. “I…I think I’m coming down with something.”
Maria leaned over the table and pressed her hand against Ivy’s forehead before yanking it back quickly. “You’re really hot.”
“No, like you have a legit fever.” Maria grabbed her purse and slid out of the booth. “I’m driving you home.”
“No.” Ivy spoke before she could stop herself.
“You have to take care of yourself! Especially when you’re sick!”
Ivy rubbed her head. “No, I mean…It’s that Pete guy.”
Her three friends looked at her in silence before simultaneously saying, “What?”
“He’s…he’s hijacked a car.” Ivy figured that she might as well continue talking.
“Would anyone even let that guy drive?” Ivan asked no one in particular.
Devin rested a hand on Ivy’s shoulder. “Just go home and rest up.”
Ivy finally relented. As she stood up, a loud crash reached the diner. Everyone froze, but Ivy managed to snap out of it long enough to run outside and see what it was.
She felt her blood run cold as an officer pulled the young Pete Walters out of a totaled car as he shouted about something.
Maria joined her soon after and was almost as shocked as Ivy. “How did you know?”
Ivy kept her eyes on the car. “…I don’t know.”
Title: Stop Holding Back
Ryan and Iris sat at a bench beside a busy street. Iris felt strange sitting next to him without everyone else. The entire day he had been acting strange. She hoped that he would tell her why.
“Today’s the anniversary.” Ryan said, ominously.
“What,” Iris then glanced down at his metal hands, “Oh, the accident…”
“You know,” Ryan leaned back and looked at the street, “I have dreams of this place around this time.”
“What kind of dreams?” Iris felt anxious, this was incredibly out of character for such an upbeat guy.
Ryan was still smiling like always, “Back when it happened, they were very vivid. Sometimes I even felt the pain all over again. I would wake up screaming.”
“And now?” Iris asked cautiously.
“It’s like a mirage,” This was the first time Iris could say Iris that he had a somber expression, “the only thing that’s ever clear, is my dad’s smile before the accident.”
“Oh…” Iris never thought she would ever feel sorry for Ryan. No, this wasn’t pity, or sympathy, she too had been through that kind of situation as well.
“You probably think that that is sort of sad,” Ryan looked at her, still a twinkle in his eye, “But it’s really not.”
“Well, I can’t hold onto that day forever,” Ryan’s smile grew immensely, “otherwise I can’t help people.”
Iris felt her heart move but she clenched her first, “You still feel that pain.”
“Everyday,” Iris felt her voice rise, “you live with that pain everyday. Hidden from us, from your friends.”
“You can’t act all righteous forever,” Iris turned and met Ryan’s ember eyes, “Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on. Let me bare some of your burden.”
“Heh…” Ryan threw his head up in a hearty laugh, “Just what I would suspect from someone like you, Iris.”
Iris immediately turn away and felt her cheeks grow hot as she realized her own words.
“Tell ya what,” Ryan turned to Iris, “I’ll let you bare mine if you do the same.”
“What, ya didn’t I would notice?”
The Fortune Teller
By Carolus V.
The smell of incense and mystery clung to the walls of the tent. My eyes stung with irritation from smoke inside as I entered. The canvas was a patchwork of blues, reds and yellows, and as the sunlight beat on the structure’s exterior, the interior echoed it with a vibrant clash of shades.
The fortune teller was seated at the tent’s center, wearing a black cloak made turquoise under the celling. Before them lay a table with a chair opposing theirs.
The medium didn’t look up from underneath their hood. I couldn’t even sneak a peek at their face. They’d locked themselves in darkness.
I sat down.
I asked, “Are you who they say you are?”
A silence reigned. The smoke got more dense the closer I came to the fortune teller, and I cleared my eyes.
“They tell me you read palms and interpret dreams.”
“I can pay however much you might need. I’ve only come for your service.”
“Please. I feel I must know.”
A moment’s pause.
The seer extended a bony, wrinkled palm with arthritic fingers crowning it. I put in a shilling, and they threw it to the floor, clattering. I lay my knuckles in their grasp instead.
Their opposite hand came out ran a nail down the lines of my palm. As they moved along, a bright light followed and stayed a second where it’d been before dissolving into nothing.
They went over it once, and then spelled out a prophecy.
“You wander and catch glimmers of other peoples’ lives, claiming their wisdom. You aren’t searching for a good story or a place to call your own. You seek a glimpse into something uniting it all. All I can offer is a look into what the great soul has for you. Your path’s strange. You want order, but if you refuse to accept the chaotic, you’ll drown.”
The flap fell back in place as I left. I felt the unfiltered afternoon sun again. I walked on, and the world didn’t seem quite real.
“The Marks” by Carrie (Glaceon373)
“I’m sorry I’m bringing the grade down, guys,” Sam sighed as she walked towards the lunchroom. “I’ve never been great at presentations. I butchered ALL of my slides.”
“Nonsense!” Jidz nudged Sam with one of his hoofs playfully. “You did great! Oh, sorry, you okay?”
“Yeah, just still not used to centaur kicks.” Sam recovered her balance.
“That was barely a tap!”
Roselyn giggled. “Come on, guys, let’s head to lunch.”
Sam lagged behind her friends, rubbing where Jidz had “tapped” her, when she felt a real tap on her shoulder.
“Huh?” She turned around. “Oh. It’s you.”
“Surprised to see me, Sammy?” Mavthos casually fell into place beside Sam, his barbed tail and red wings dangerously close to Sam’s sensitive, annoyed ears.
She continued walking forward. “Unless you’re extending that apology you gave Roselyn yesterday to me, I don’t want to speak with you.”
The imp laughed. “Rosie’s apology was for her only. I have something more important to tell you.”
“Spit it out, summoned hellbeast.”
“Oh, insults, insults,” He flashed a chauvinistic, taunting grin. “You’d regret insulting a Markbearer, right?”
“What?” Sam spun around. Sure enough, a purple sigil in a segmented circle rested on the back of Mavthos’ hand, mocking her just as much as his face did.
“Mr. Nicklescribe is handing these out to only the best of the best, right? How come I have one and you don’t?”
Sam bared her pointed teeth, then stopped.
Something in Mavthos’ eyes seemed…wrong. Tainted. Messed with. And purple, but Sam couldn’t place why.
She blinked, and it was gone, replaced by more mockery.
Sam sighed and turned back down the hallway. “I don’t need a Mark. I have more important things to worry about.”
“Whatever you say, Sammy.” He cackled again and pranced off.
Sam continued down the hallway. “And unless I was seeing things, I don’t think I want one anyway.”
Stanley was having a usual morning walking down the street. Stanley crosses the road and sees from the corner of his eyes a old friend from high school, or at least that’s his first thought but he isn’t sure. Once Stanley finishes crossing the street he turns where he saw the old friend only to see the sidewalks empty. Stanley thinks hard about the young faces of all his old friends as he continues his stroll, thinking on who it could have been or resembled. As Stanley walks and remebers his old friends he begins to feel bitter sweet about the memories. Stanley reflects on how after graduation he never called them or really tried to keep in contact at all.
Stanley wants to push the blame from himself but he finds himself sighing as his mind settles on how none of the excuses really worked. Stanley had the time, the ability and the tools to reach out to any of his old friends. Stanley then shifts as he walks wondering what they are doing, if any of them have kids by now or what jobs they may have. Finishing his walk around the block Stanley enters his empty home and heads to his bedroom where looks around and finds his old high school year book which had been collecting dust. Flipping through it left a sort of guilty feeling in Stanley’s stomach for not trying to retain the friendships he made. Sighing and placing the book down Stanley decides maybe its best to let the past rest because he can’t change what choices he made.
One Last Look
This felt familiar. Cassiel was certain she had seen this before, been here before, but couldn’t remember when. It was very strange, and thinking about it gave her a headache.
Then it was gone. And Cassiel did not remember it any more.
Strolling through the starlilies, Cassiel thought about all the fun things she could do in this wonderful place, full of beautiful flowers. The starlilies were her favorite, because they reminded her of… Something. She couldn’t remember quite what, but it felt warm, so it must have been a good memory.
Then the starlilies were gone, and she did not remember them any more.
Walking through the empty field, Cassiel paused. Why had she come here? It was a nice spot for a picnic, but she didn’t have any food.
Perhaps, she thought, there was a small sandwich in her pocket. She searched through them but found nothing. Then, in the last pocket, she found a letter that seemed old and worn.
She knew where the letter came from, it was someone dear to her. But she couldn’t remember their name.
Then the letter was gone, and she did not remember it any more.
Cold and rather unhappy, Cassiel wanted to go home. She did not know where home was.
Voices started playing in Cassiel’s ears, broken and full of static. “A… you can’t…”
Cassiel knew this very well. It was from her grandfather, one of his letters she loved reading. Didn’t she just have it with her? She couldn’t have forgotten it.
Then the voice was gone, but Cassiel did not forget it.
The starlilies used to be here, she thought, having a terrible headache. Where did the starlilies go?
The headache grew worse as she tried to think about the things that were gone. The pain was such that Cassiel thought she might go insane.
Then it stopped. And Cassiel remembered. The starlilies, the letter, all of it. Then she remembered that she wasn’t alone when she came here.
Cassiel ran to find the letter, the starlilies, and her friend.
She needed to see them.