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Sam O. Bscure

EVERYBODY WANTS TO SOAR IN AN INSTANT

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Ghost Towns


I pick up my keys from where they hang beside the door, slip my arms into the sleeves of my jacket, and lock the door behind me. The air is still, its inky depths absorbing me as I walk to my car which slumbers just beside the curb.

As ease into the driver’s seat, I hesitate before closing the door, wanting to preserve the silence. Holding my breath, I pull on the handle and cringe as it reconnects and encloses me. When I put my key into the slot and start the ignition, the radio immediately springs to life. It’s something loud, with a pulsing beat and indiscernible lyrics. I turn it off and restore the silence. Continue reading “Ghost Towns”

Dead Eyes


Begin.

Where-where should I start?

Wherever you want.

But, I don’t-

The beginning. Start at the beginning.

It was dark.

Was it night?

No, just dark. There were clouds, I think it rained later that day.

And?

We were-

We?

You know, we.

I don’t know anything you don’t tell me.

Right, uh, okay. Michael, Hannah, me and…

And Lucy?

Yeah, and Lucy.

Continue.

We were just hanging out-

Where?

My.. My house. We were at my house.

Were you there the entire time?

No.. No, we left a couple hours later.

And where did you go then?

We went out to Fischer Park.

All of you?

Yeah. Well, I mean, Michael didn’t stay there..

But he came with you.

Yes.

And Lucy?

She, uh, yeah. She didn’t stay either.

Lucy and Michael, did they leave together?

No.

Did they leave at the same time?

No, they left about a half hour apart.

So, they weren’t together after they left Fischer Park?

I… I don’t know.

Do you think they were?

I don’t-

What do you think?

I, uh, I think they were.

And why did you all go to Fischer Park?

Just to, you know, hang out.

Couldn’t you have hung out just as well if you stayed at your house?

Yeah, but…

But?

Fischer Park.. I mean, there’s parties there. Everybody goes.

Parties. And what’s at these parties?

Nothing. It’s just.. Just a party.

Are you sure?

Yeah.

So, there was no drinking?

Well, I mean, of course there was. But-

Are you not under the legal drinking age?

I am.

Did Michael and Lucy drink?

I don’t know, probably.

Alright. Continue.

We just stayed at Fischer Park for a while, then we all went back to my house.

Around what time would you say you left the park?

I don’t know exactly, around two in the morning.

And when you got home?

When we got home… We found Michael and Lucy.

How did you find them?

You.. You know that. You don’t need me to tell you. Please don’t make me tell you..

As I said, I don’t know anything you don’t tell me.

Please..

How did you find Michael and Lucy when you got home.

They were… Hanging from the rafters.

Hanging.

Yes. Hanging, with ropes around their necks. Just… just staring.

Staring.

With dead eyes. They were- Oh my God, they were dead.

So, it was suicide.

What? No… No, they would never..

They were killed?

Yes, God, someone killed them…

Do you have any idea who?

No, of course not!

Are you sure?

Yes, I’m sure. I have no clue what kind of monster would do that..

I could tell you.

You know?

Yes, we know.

Then why am I here?

Because you are the monster. You killed them.

To Keep a Promise


When you locked me away, said I was crazy, I’m sure you thought it was the end. I must admit that I did as well.

I spent each day staring at the same four walls, all white and blank. In the beginning, I counted. Kept track of how much of my life had been taken from me. By you. By your betrayal.

But, I grew bored of that quickly. As you know, my mind is not as simple as others. Not as easy to occupy.

That was when my thoughts returned to you.

That was when I began to remember all of those things about you.

I remembered your promises, the ones you made in the beginning. That you would help me, you could fix me and make me better, you wouldn’t toss me into some institution.

I remember how it only took a few months for that to change, for you to regret those promises. You had always taken pride in your honor and your ability to keep your word, but I suppose even you had your limit.

I remember when you first betrayed me, when you told them. You told them I was crazy. They took one look at me and believed you.

And that was when they brought me here, surrounded me with white. White. A pure color. But here, nothing is pure.

If you thought I was insane before, just wait until you see the way this place has twisted my mind.

If you were afraid of me before, as you were on the night I carved you with that kitchen knife, wait until I show you the art I can create now.

My mind is not pure, it is not well. No, not even I can deny the way it has become tainted.

But you’re the only one to blame. If you had only kept your promise, then none of this would have to happen.

I’ll be coming soon, to see you.

And I’ll make sure you know what it means to keep a promise.

Neewollah


It wasn’t dark, it wasn’t stormy. It wasn’t even night. The sun was bright, perhaps even more so than usual, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The leaves were still green, comfortably dangling from tree branches. The flowers were still in full bloom, their beautiful petals adding color to the front of every house on the street. It didn’t feel like Halloween, it didn’t even feel like fall. One could easily come across this scene and assume they had stepped into summer.

She didn’t feel displeased by this, though. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It was these Halloweens that brought her the most joy. The most pleasure. People became comfortable this way, they forgot about the idea of ghouls and monsters and blood and fear. Instead, they simply put on their costumes and paraded around the neighborhood. They went to parties, they watched horror films, they carved pumpkins and decorated their lawns. But, on years like this, it was never quite the same. They did these things with less zeal, it was a casual affair, because in their minds it wasn’t truly Halloween.

And that was a dangerous mistake.

That was why she loved it, they had their guard down. It simply made it that much more thrilling when she slashed her knife across their throats. They didn’t expect it, and she had found that created the greatest of reactions.

As their blood poured from their body, she could watch as each and every essence of fear passed across their face. Of course, this sort of response is only natural when facing such a death.
But, she found a pleasure like no other this way.

The pleasure of reminding them of the fear they should be feeling.
The fear of Halloween.

Nemophilist


You cannot run forever.
You can try, but each time you think you’ve pulled ahead, you will glance over your shoulder and it will be me who has gained ground. You can run until you’re unable to take another step, until your lungs are straining and you fear they will fail you. I will still be there. You can only run for so long.

Do not even consider seeking refuge, there is nowhere you can hide. Not from me. This is my domain, you are foolish to believe you have even the slightest chance of escaping. You see, to you this suffocating darkness is a weakness. To you, the silence is terrifying. To you, these woods are the very essence of your nightmares.

And that is what I thrive on. I know where each tree has sunk its roots into the waiting earth. I know where each boulder lays in slumber. I know where to find the demons of the night, I know each of their heart stopping howls. I know all there is to know.

So, you may carry on. Continue down your desperate path. I enjoy the chase.
But, understand that you cannot run forever. And when you are forced to give in, I will know.

I am the haunter of these woods.
Nemophilist.

Potential


Yellow sunlight crept in through the windows that lined the hall, but through the aged and dirty glass it only managed to cast a sickly fraction of its full potential. It had been years since I had last been here, and many of my memories had become obscured by time. It’s funny how the mind works like that, the things we remember, because it is the things I would most like to forget that have remained the most vivid.
I didn’t want to be here. When I walked out of those doors so long ago, I had sworn to never return. I swore I would never mention or even so much as think for a moment about this damn school. But she wanted me to come. She told me if I would just do this one thing, just come back one more time, she would be happy. And God knows I owed her that.
She would be waiting, that’s what she said. She didn’t tell me where, because we both knew she didn’t need to. I would find her where I’d left her on that last day.
My heart was pounding, matching the rhythm of my steps as I walked down the forsaken hall. I passed by the countless classrooms, all mirror images of one another, and I stepped around the desks flipped on their sides. The tragic remains of old books lay like the corpses of the forgotten, their pages decaying beneath my feet.
There, at the very end, I knew she would be. Waiting. For a few moments, I forgot how to breathe and I feared I wouldn’t reach her. That I would fail her again. But, then it returned and my vision cleared. I stood in the doorway.
It was empty. This room, more than any other, had truly been abandoned. Or perhaps it was avoided. She was there, in the center of the room. Her hair the same faded yellow as everything else and her eyes hollow. Her feet hung limply in the air, and the rope still held its deadly grip on her neck.
I had brought my own; I knew it would make her happy. She always told me that she was so glad she had someone like me, someone who was always by her side. And I would be one last time.
I looked out the window before us; at the weakened light and at the carcass of a butterfly that lay on the sill.
Perhaps that’s all this school had ever done, held us back from our full potential.

Alice: Part 2


This is a continuation and if you missed part one, you can read it here.


After leaving Alice’s house, I walked a few miles across town to a bus stop. This was the part of a hit that required the most attention and caution. It only took one seemingly miniscule slip up to ruin a clean job.

I had my own code, so to speak, rules I created and committed to. They weren’t incredibly challenging, common sense more than anything. Never bring my personal vehicle into the same town as the target, there was virtually no chance of police connecting it to the victim that way. Never interact with anyone outside of the job, focus on the targets and keep the knowledge of my presence limited. And, of course, never reveal the truth. No matter how much I want to, no matter how trustworthy the person seems. After all, as a hitman would know, there is nobody who is truly honest.

There was so much more to it, countless details, but by now it was all in my nature. I no longer had the hesitation before each new hit, mentally playing through it beforehand. In a way, I had become more machine than man.

The moment with Alice, however, had shaken my sense of stability. Yes, she was different and likely innocent of whatever had resulted in my involvement. But, all the same, I had thought myself beyond being affected so easily.

I sighed heavily and dragged my hand through my hair. Sitting in the middle of the bus that smelled of sweat and poverty as most do, I began to regain my mentality. I could feel the transition back to my typical high after a kill, deleting the doubts from my memory.

The high. Adrenaline coursing through every vein. One might expect that it would fade over time, as all other feelings had, but it never did. Each time was as pleasing as it was the first. The intoxication itself was enough to keep me killing, money was simply a bonus.

There was nothing else that could give it, no drug or drink or any other addiction. Of course not. All of those things could alter your mind, they could kill the pain and enhance the good, but they could not give you what killing did. Power. A life in your hands, a chance to change someone’s story. A moment of being God.

I was forced to lower myself back down all too soon, however, my instincts turning up a notch as I felt someone’s eyes fixed on me. Out of the corner of my vision, I pinpointed the source and immediately my mind shut off the aggressive parts of my nature.

She was certainly nothing threatening; with her hair sprayed curls, precisely over done makeup, shirt cut too low and skirt cut too high. This was the type I was used to. Her eyes were grazing over me, acting as if she didn’t notice I had seen her and then dramatically turning away when she met my eyes, only to come back moments later.

I gave her a half smirk. I was no fool, I knew how to play the game. My blond hair and blue eyes had always gained me attention, and one after the other they threw themselves at my feet. It was nothing more than another pass time to me, a source of entertainment as I manipulated and twisted them in whatever way I wanted on that particular day.

This one didn’t hold much fascination to me, but I would still give her the attention she was clearly desperate for. A few glances, watching from under lowered eyelids, and an occasional smile. Then, I would be off and she would be left, wondering what she could have done to get more and assuming higher heels and more skin to be the answer.

Alice


Alas, I have once again returned to stir envy in your hearts and souls. Did I mention how AWESOME this course is???

The prompt for this piece was to confine two characters to a kitchen, one of whom does not want to be there. Also, from beginning to end, a process (such as making tea or eggs) must be completed.

I drummed my fingers lightly on the wooden surface of the table before me, watching the woman across the room. She was young, no more than a few years older than me. There was no denying that she was beautiful, but not in the way I had become accustomed to. She didn’t put effort into it, as far as I could tell there wasn’t a trace of makeup on her face, and her dark brown hair fell in natural waves down her back. She was quiet and kind, with an easy laugh that was contagious. This woman was nothing like the others, and that unnerved me. I hadn’t been trained for this.

Her back was to me as she carefully placed four slices of bread into the white toaster that sat on the counter. After adjusting a few knobs, she turned back to me and smiled. “How many more days will you be here?”

I stilled my fingers and returned her smile, “Oh, today should be the last day. I’ll be back on the road by this time tomorrow morning.”

“I suppose it has already been a few weeks, I’m sure your family is anxious to have you back.” she said, with a nod.

My smile didn’t falter as returned her nod, “No doubt, my mother hardly knows what to do with herself when I’m gone. But, I sure do appreciate you letting me stay here, Alice.”

She waved her hand dismissively, “Oh, please. I’m the one who should be thanking you. It’s been great having you around to help out. I’d gotten so used to having Mark by my side, I wasn’t sure I could cope with everything after his death.”

Alice brushed absentmindedly at her eyes with the back of her hand, “It really is kind of you, Derek. Giving up your own time to come help some grief stricken girl you hardly know.”

I rose from my chair and wrapped my arm around her shoulders, letting her lean her head against my chest. If she knew what was really happening, she wouldn’t be so grateful, and she certainly wouldn’t let me be this close to her. Everything she thought she knew about me, it was a lie.

My name wasn’t Derek. I didn’t even have a family. And I certainly was not here to help her. Of course, Derek had been a real person and he had been sent by his mother to aid Alice after her recent tragedy. But, he had an unfortunate…accident before arriving. And chances were, he was in the same place as Mark.

It was always easier to have someone else’s place to fill. I didn’t have to create my own story or come up with a consistent set of lies, I simply had to fit into character. I was an excellent actor, and an even better hitman.

I’d been taking jobs since the day I turned 18, and by now, five years later, I was as close to perfect as one could be. Untraceable, yet easy enough to find if you were looking for someone with my skillset. Cold and calculating, yet capable of gaining trust and affection from my targets. I never refused, I never backed out, and I never missed.

I had no idea what Mark had done, it didn’t matter to me. It didn’t even matter to me that Derek was likely innocent and in no way involved with whatever this situation was, I needed a character to fill and he was available. The only part of this job that had caused me to hesitate was the moment I met Alice.

She was the final target of the job, I needed to eliminate her. But, I’d never come across anyone like her, and I had to admit that I wasn’t sure I could take the shot. She was too gentle, too kind, and too wounded. It would be like taking out a baby animal.

Surely, if I didn’t take the shot, someone else would come along and finish what I hadn’t and I would be out a large amount of money. But, what if I told her the truth? She would have a warning that way, she could leave and at least buy herself some time. It would ruin my reputation, but maybe she was worth it.

Alice stepped back from under my arm, and I gave her another smile as she moved back to the toaster where the bread had just popped up. She grabbed two plates from one of the cupboards and put two slices on each.

I massaged the back of my neck, shifting my weight between my feet. It had been so long since I’d felt any emotion, let alone fear or anxiety. I didn’t let myself. But, Alice… she made me feel again.

I took a step closer to her. “Alice.” And then she was falling. I caught her in my arms, careful not to stain myself with the blood pouring from her chest, and lowered her gently to the floor. “I’m sorry.” I whispered.

Standing back up, I let my eyes linger on hers for a moment as I wiped clean my blade and concealed it once again. I watched as each emotion flashed through them, and eventually their light faded. Then, I walked away, taking a bite out of my toast as I went.

The Cost of Love


Behold: Sam’s fiction assignment based on the instruction to write a short story starting with the line ‘Where were you last night?’

“Where were you last night?”

His voice was soft, but there was an underlying edge. He was tired of this. We’d had this conversation every morning for the past three years. And, just as with every other time, my response was the same.

“Nowhere.”

The reality was he wanted an answer, but I knew he couldn’t handle the truth. So, I never gave him more than that. It drove him insane, I knew that. I could see the tick in his jaw, the way his eyes flashed at my response, and how he watched my every movement with his determined concern.

I have no clue what he thought I was doing, perhaps sneaking out to meet up with some other guy or whatever else his imagination had created for an explanation. What I did know, though, was that no matter what he thought, it would never be as bad as the truth.

He would never think that every night, at exactly 3:33, I rose from our bed without a sound and made my way down the halls and out the back door. He would never think that I would then walk to places I’d never heard of and into the homes of people I’d never known. He would never think that I would then take the lives of these people, generally with a quick slash to their throat, all the while grinning as they drew their final breathes.

He didn’t know that after that, I would wander back down the unknown streets and find my way back into our house. I would numbly go to the bathroom, entranced. It wouldn’t be until the water of a cold shower was brutally hitting my face that I would come back.

That’s when I would see the shaking hands, my hands, and the bloodied streams running from them. I used to cry every time, I used to fall to my knees in horror and frantically scrub and tear at my skin. But, that was so long ago. Now, it was normal. Or, at least that’s what my mind told me. Maybe that’s how it kept me sane.

I used to search for the people too, in the papers and obituaries. I would see whose life had been ended at my hands; a businessman, a college student who was only starting into the real world, a single mom. There were others, so many others, each with a story ended abruptly. That stopped after a while too, I turned off my concern as easy as flipping a switch.

I couldn’t allow them into my world, it would ruin everything. They had to die, that was the deal, and it had to be at my hands. I couldn’t think about it like that, it wasn’t me who killed them. I was the one holding the knife, but I wasn’t the one who made that final decision to carry out the act.

It wasn’t me. It’s for the best. They had to die. That’s what I told myself, over and over again. And I believed it. I accepted it. I thrived on it.

It was thriving too, the thing that really did it. Never in its existence had it been so fortunate, our deal was exactly what it needed.

I could remember the night it happened, in fact, it’s the last night I can remember. It was dark, the moon didn’t shine and the stars were hiding. We’d just gotten the news, Eric and I. He was doing his best to be the tough guy he always thought he had to be, but we both knew how devastated the other was.

I had gone out, it was just past midnight and all I wanted was to take a walk, clear my head. I told him I’d be back soon and kissed his cheek as I left. I’d been walking for some time, not really with a destination in mind, just trying to keep my mind from thinking about what was happening.

That’s when it came to me. I could hear it creeping along behind me, coming so close that I could feel its hot, rancid breath on the back of my neck. I turned around, my heart pounding. Yet, as soon as my eyes met the glowing red ones, I was swept up in a wave of calm.

“I can help you,” it said, tilting its shadowed face. “I can make this all go away.”

“How? What could you possibly do that they haven’t tried?”

It chuckled at me, a sound that was oddly soothing. “Oh, darling. You underestimate me. I can do things that they’ve never imagined.”

“Okay,” I said slowly, and it took a step closer.

It leaned in until its mouth was hovering just beside my ear, and it whispered to me. My heart began to pound again at the words it uttered, but just as quickly it moved away and calmed me with its eyes.

“So, tell me darling. Do we have a deal?” Without another second of thought, my hand was reaching out and clasped around its clawed one.

I had to. I couldn’t lose Eric, and it could save him. All it needed was a little payment. It could extend one life, in return for others. And, of course, it needed a vessel to reap them with.

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