Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lost In Paradise

Using every ounce of her strength to shut the door was draining the little energy she had collected from the previous night’s rest. Visibly winded as she engaged the lock, she panted like a dog in heat as she thought through her approach. There wasn’t much she could do, she awoke in a sprawl of a freezing cold. The thing that puzzled her was the fact that the climate inside of the cabin remained unchanged. Considering the stark contrast from the outside world, she decided it was best to wake her husband from his peaceful slumber.

Always a klutz, she tripped over the shoes that were scattered about the oak wood floor. She giggled to herself, knowing that Matthew would surely fire a snide remark about it. She caught herself against the wall and took a breath before stepping toward him with caution. As Mrs. Wallace sat next to her sleeping husband, she let the calmness of the moment become her. She wondered if she would be better off just sitting at the kitchen table and staring out the window until he woke up. He wouldn’t take kindly to that and she knew as much.

She rocked his shoulder back and forth until he mumbled and raised his head up from the pillow underneath his head. The string of drool followed his cheek as he pulled his head up to ask why she woke him up.

“I was actually dreaming for once, what’s the matter?”

“You have a good dream? Cause I can tell you this, no dream you were having could’ve prepared you for what you’re about to see.”

“Is this you over exaggerating again?,” he snapped back, “why don’t you go flirt with the desk clerk?”

“Because there’s no one left to flirt with.”

Matthew threw the blankets aside and rumbled towards the kitchen window.

“What in the fuck is this? What’d you do?”

“What did I do?! I can control the weather now? Get over yourself, love.”

He hated when she’d refer to him in an affectionate tone when they were bickering.

“Alright, so you woke up and what? You just realize that we’re neighbors with Santa and his legion of elves?”


“Why do you gotta break my balls? Did you look outside? We’re not prepared for this. We have no winter gear, all we have is camping supplies. So unless you know something I don’t, how about we take this a little more seriously?” He ran the faucet and placed his hand under the flowing water. “Well, we still have hot water pressure, so that’s a positive.”

“Maybe you’re taking a bit too seriously, Matthew. You said you wanted to get away from it all, so we are. Farther than you could have ever imagined. What is worrying going to do for us? Stress us out? Why not embrace the situation?”

“You’re fucking crazy,” he said before turning the knob on the faucet off. “We have two kids at home, what if we don’t come back when we’re supposed to. Your mother can’t watch them as we rot away in a cabin. It isn’t built to deal with these kinds of extreme conditions.”

She rolled her eyes and flipped her hair back before speaking.

“You don’t even know what it’s like out there. I do. I opened the door and felt the wind nearly knock me down. Maybe that would’ve been a better wake up call for you, huh?”

“Are you trying to fight with me? I don’t want to fight with you, Hope. It’s counterproductive. We’re wasting time arguing when we should be trying to figure out what the fuck we’re gonna do.”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you! There’s nothing we can do. We just have to hope for the best.”

He grimaced at her suggestion and grabbed his light fleece jacket that rested on the kitchen chair. “I’ve never been one to just wait it out, you know this. Now you can either come with me and try to find out what’s going on here, or you can sit here and twiddle your thumbs.”

Tossing the jacket over his head and slipping his arms inside, he looked at her for an answer.


“I’m thinking.”

“Fine. You think. I’m gonna go take a look around outside and see what I find.”

He swung the door open with brute strength and braced himself to enter the freezing unknown. The wind whistled and stung his clean shaven face. He thought back to when he told her he’d prefer to keep his beard. She shot down the notion that would’ve been helpful in regards his overall warmth. Snowflakes stuck to his eyebrows and swished in front of him, clouding his vision. He could see no more than ten feet ahead of him.

It appeared his wife was staying inside, leaving him to brave this battle on his lonesome. It was a challenge that he was open to accepting. He treaded forth, the snow crunching under every step.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Cabin

It was a spur of the moment decision to rent a cabin for the weekend. He knew when he broke the news to her it would put a smile on her face, but it was at the expense of his pride. She was a country, him a city boy, and he knew that he was not well versed in being an outdoorsman. The last thing he wanted for her to think was that he was less of a man because he didn’t do something as simple as starting a campfire. Despite the uneasy feeling, he smiled along with her as they pulled into the mini-mart to grab snacks before occupying the cabin for a week.

She waited in the truck with the air conditioning blasting, pointing the output from the fan downwards to cool her legs off. The Navigator was black and thus pulled the heat towards it. She watched as he walked through the automated doors, his khaki shorts hanging low, almost touching his ankles. She giggled at the light gust of wind rippled through his white Polo shirt.

As he disappeared into the store, she took in the scenery around her. The rusted sign advertising slushies for a buck creaked in the wind and casted a shadow that swung back and forth on the pavement next to the vehicle. All things considered it turned out to be a nice day. Few clouds in the sky let the sunshine show its worth whilst being bested by occasional bursts of wind.

Before her blue eyes could soak up more of the world around her, she noticed her man stepped out of the store, plastic bags in hand. He lumbered over to the driver’s side and swung open the back door to toss the bags inside. He told her to roll the window down instead of using up the gas on the air conditioner. “There’s a nice breeze out today, no need for the AC.”

Revving up the engine, he pulled out of the mini-mart and back onto the highway for a few more miles before reaching the log cabin resort. Not a word was spoke nor was music played as they drove on, she with her gaze fixed on the depths of the trees that they passed by. He hooked left and directed the Navigator through the gravel road and into their vacation spot. He braked and turned the car off after approaching the welcome lodge. She was ready to step out with him, but he told her to wait in the car which was met with an understandable refusal.

“I already waited while you went in the store, now you want me to miss out on checking in too? Not gonna happen,” she said while looking him anger, “let’s go.”

Both doors slammed and they approached the door in which he opened, but didn’t hold for her. She scurried her way in before it closed and followed him to the desk. He already had his credit card in hand to confirm the order. As the young cashier approached them both, he remarked on her brunette hair that hung down to her shoulders. She blushed and thanked him for his compliment.

“So what can I do ya for?”

“Yeah, we’re here to claim our cabin for the week. We paid extra for the cabin suite in the back of the resort.” Laying his card on the black granite counter top, he stepped backwards and talked to her about the perceived flirting with the boy.

“Ah yes, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace, we’ve been waiting for you since you booked it. Here are the keys to the castle,” he said with a chuckle.

Mr. Wallace snatched the keys from him with attitude and made his way out of the door. This time he held the door open and she led the way back to the truck. Once they were both back inside, they followed the paved path to take them to their cabin. As they crept up on it, she was in her glory. It was exactly how she imagined, and even prettier than the pictures in the brochure.

Mrs. Wallace jolted out of the truck and into the cabin that she had dreamed of for weeks. She’d been secretly planning this trip behind her husband’s back and grabbed the opportunity by the throat once it presented itself. While he unpacked the camping gear from the back of the vehicle, she pocketed the key from the front center console and made a tour of the quarters.

The kitchen was small but tolerable, fully equipped with a stove and working refrigerator. From there she stepped into what could be considered the living room, with a 53 inch HD television set resting in the wall and a sofa against the back wall. As she gazed out the back door overlooking the deck and the lake, she heard her partner’s voice behind her.

“It’s getting dark, I’m gonna start a fire. Come outside with me.”

Hours passed from the time between watching him break apart firewood to now, when he sat next to her on the porch swing, both sets of feet slightly touching the wood beneath. He reeked of alcohol and decided it would be best to call it a night after a day of long driving and setting up camp. She agreed and hopped into the bed after he did. As she snuggled up to him, she spoke his name as she fell asleep.

“I love you, Matthew.” She kissed his head and dozed off while holding him tight.

She woke up the next morning in the same position and crawled out of bed to make her morning coffee. She yawned and rubbed her eyes to wake herself up some more after pressing the button to start the brewing process. Mrs. Wallace thought she was seeing things when she looked out the window and noticed a considerable amount of snow on the ground. This didn’t add up. New York in mid-July didn’t equate snowfall.

She stepped to the door and the touch of the doorknob chilled her to the bone. As her hand twisted it open, she could feel the blistering wind enter the cabin. Struggling to open the door, using all of her strength to do so, she stood and peered off into the distance.

There was nothing but white, heavy snow spanning for miles and miles. The once sprouting, magnificent spot of nature they chose to rest in was now nothing more than desolate, frozen tundra.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Personal Day

He looked at his reflection in the mirror as he scrubbed away at his front teeth, desperate to remove the coffee stains before his upcoming dental appointment. As he brushed away, the remnants of the toothpaste made its way into his goatee and he wiped it away before taking a deep breath. He turned the faucet’s hot knob all the way to the right and soaked his brush underneath. After washing it clean, he placed it on the right side of the sink. He turned around and washed his face with a towel that dangled over the edge of the bathtub.

Looking down at the watch on his wrist, he realized that he had just thirty-two minutes before his date with a dental professional. He tossed the towel away into the hamper as he stepped down the stairs and into the kitchen. The refrigerator door swung open and he grabbed a bottle of water to take for the road. Hasting his way into the foyer, he bent down to scoop up his size twelve steel toed work boots.

Henry was living out his later years by working second shift as a security guard at the mall. His gradual descent into a blue collar man came at the price of his son. He was once a big shot executive of a nationwide advertising agency, depression and hopelessness ran amuck throughout his head after the kidnapping of his son.

Henry knelt down and slipped his foot in each of his boots before tying the laces. Once they were tied, he made his way back to the kitchen to grab his keys that he left on the counter overnight. The keys jingled in his palm as he snatched them and made his way to the front door. As he reached for the brass doorknob, he noticed the mailman on the porch stuffing the box with monthly obligations. Oblivious to the gut wrenching blow that he dropped inside, he tipped his hat and went on his way to the next house on the block.

As he thumbed through the stack of bills he came across a smaller envelope address to Henry Rollins of 924 Oak Street. The fact that it was without a return address intrigued him, he ripped it open and tossed the others at his feet once he read the opening line.

His face trembled; he folded the letter up and put it in his back pocket. Henry paced back and forth before deciding to go back inside. Slamming the door behind him, he scurried to the kitchen table and removed the letter from where it rested. It was a struggle for him to unfold the page; he cringed as he opened it at a snail’s pace.

Once the courage was mustered, he laid it on the table in front of him and read through it.

Dear father,

It has been twelve years, six months and forty-seven days since we have last seen each other. I hope a part of you has let go. Not only of me, but of mom, too. I really hope you have come to the realization that there was nothing you could do to help. She was dying anyways, we all know that. You may be wondering, “why now?” I saw you on TV last weekend. It was a special about how advertising runs the world. Everything we do, have done or will do is influenced by guys we have never met, nor will. I know and understand the effect that my disappearance had on you and the family as a whole, but the most important thing is that I’m ok, right? Because I’m not so sure that I would be, had I stayed with you. In a way it’s like being kidnapped by men with black masks and assault rifles was the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s not like you had any interest in stopping it. I’ll never buy into your explanation regarding your whereabouts; I don’t believe that you were in a meeting at all. Maybe somewhere in that sick head of yours, you really do believe that steaming pile of horse shit that you served up to the police. If we’re being honest here (and I am), we both know that you were out drilling your secretary on your lunch break while mom lay in her death bed.. but I digress. I was better off with these people. They’re not animals, dad. They’re people. At first it was lonely, I can’t deny that, but as time went along I accepted that what I left behind paled in comparison to what I have gained. Anyways, I’m rambling and I’ve gotta head to class. Please don’t try to find me. You will be unsuccessful. I love you.

-   Cody

The digital clock on the oven read 1:08 PM. He was late for his appointment, but his disposition relayed the message that he didn’t give too much of a damn about that. Henry was never one to wear his heart on his sleeve but this letter rocked him to his core. He pounded his fist on the table and let out a grunt that came from the bowels of his stomach.

He crumpled the letter into a ball and tossed it into the trash before opening the cabinet under the sink.  Bending down, he selected a bottle of Black Velvet from his collection of spirits. He twisted the cap off and took a swig from it, wiping the whiskey from his goatee.

Henry stood up and grabbed his phone from the table and pawed through it until he found the contact labeled, ‘work.’ After three rings, the receptionist answered.

In a cold, callous tone he told her he wouldn’t be showing up to watch over the mall tonight.

“I need to take a personal day. I won’t be coming in.”  

The Customer

A man walking down the street stumbles upon a dimly lit bar, secluded from the rest of the

businesses on the street decides to go in for a drink. He's alone and looks as if he hasn't shaven

in weeks. He steps through the doorway and puts a 50 on the bar.

"Fill me up until the the Grant is spent." he remarks to the bartender.

"You got it. What would you like?" the bartender asks.

He thinks about, and replies "Scotch on the rocks will be fine for now."

The bartender reaches for the bottle of Scotch and pours the shot. The man stares inquisitvely at

alcohol swishing around the cup before it's handed to him.

"Thanks buddy, a couple more of these and I should be good to go."

The bar is pretty empty, not much business, especially for a Friday. He grabs a stool from behind

the bar and pulls it up in front of the customer as he finishes his drink.

"This one's on me." He pours another shot of Scotch in the glass and takes a seat. The customer

acknowledges this and lifts his glass to show his apprecation.

"So what brings you into my place? Not exactly the cream of the crop.. you could've went down the

street and found a more lively scene."

"Not what I'm looking for tonight. Looking for a nice calm place I can just relax and drink. I just lost

my job, my wife left me, and she took the kids. Not much else to do but sit back and drink it away."

The bartender gives a look of bewilderment, and then speaks, "Not trying to drive business away, but

you shouldn't be drinking your problems away."

"Why not? This is all I have now. I have nothing to go home to. Everything I love is gone."

"That's not true at all.." he said, "You might feel like that now, but trust me it gets better. I've been

through the same exact situation myself. It has a way of working itself out."

The customer looks up at the man with a sense of connection to him now that he has related to

his issue.

"Yeah? What was the problem - why'd she leave?"

"Cause I loved this place too much. She said I spent too much time here, but what she didn't

understand was that this was my dream. It was nice. We were married for seven years, had two

kids I don't see anymore.. she was pregnant when she left me, never seen my child to this day.

But that's besides the point, don't wanna bring you down too much. I've always wanted a small

bar - nothing too extragavant, as you can see. She took it as I didn't want to spend time with her,

that I would rather be here. That wasn't the case at all. It's alot of work, this place. Sometimes

your dreams become nightmares."

The customer stands up, and looks at his empty glass. He turns and looks back at the bartender

and says, "That makes more sense than anything I've heard in years. Thanks for the drink, I should

be going."

The bartender stands up from around the bar and comes to see the man off.

"You forgot your change."

"Keep it."

The bartender asks one last thing of this gentleman. "I never got your name."

"That's not important is it, dad?"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer of Rain

Samuel stood to his feet and got into Darren’s face, grabbing him by the cheek and pulling him closer.

“If I give my life for this cause, you better make damn sure that it’s worth it. Look at me,” he said as he clutched him tighter, bringing his eyes closer to his, “I didn’t lose what I lost for nothing at all. Abbaddon and Jareth will not be taken down easily. We’re all in danger of losing this fight, so you need to listen to what I tell you, understood?”

They both peered at each other, and again back at him before nodding in agreement.

“You have to lure them in. One of you has to bait them in, don’t care which. Him or you,” he said as he waved his finger at either or, “you decide. I’ll be back in a minute, I have to grab something so we’re can properly defend ourselves.”

He turned his back and walked out of the door and into a pit of darkness. Darren turned to Sophie and told her that he loved her once more, clutching her cheek bones with a gentle touch. The fall of the castle they resided in was beginning to be too much to stand. She followed him out of the doorway that Samuel had walked out of. They heard a crash and jumped backwards to brace themselves from whatever may lay ahead.

“Give me the woman or he dies!”

Being the cynical prick that Darren was, he refused and began to send verbal shots back at him.

“None of us are afraid to die for this place! Kill him if you must, but it will get you nowhere!”

The man holding Samuel up behind his back tossed him to the floor like a scrap of garbage.

“Do you mean that? I could cut his throat right now and force you to watch him bleed out. Is that something you’d be interested in seeing?”

As he stepped forward, his features became clearer. His reddish colored beard stood out from the rest of him. It went down to his chest that was draped in a red and black flannel coat. His ripped jeans and black combat boots were reminiscent of a veteran who had fought in the most recent World War. He stood over Samuel, showcasing not a semblance of fight. He reached for and grasped a hunting knife that sat inside of his belt buckle. As he removed it and placed it to his throat, the demon from her dreams appeared behind Sophie and pushed her against a nearby wall.

Abaddon stepped forth from the presence of Samuel and joined Jareth while keeping her hostage. They both snuck off with her into a back room. Darren was pinned to a wall, unable to move until Samuel got into his face again, provoking his rage.

“What did I tell you, huh?! Didn’t I tell you?! Now she’s dead because of you! YOU!”

In a fit of emotion, Darren refuted his claims with slobber and snot flying across the corridor that he was not physically chained to. Samuel paced back and forth and approached the situation with a calmer demeanor.

“Look, they put a spell on you, ok? You can break it, it can be done, but the only way to do so is if you truly believe she’s alive. The only thing to prevent her death here, in this place, is to will it not to be. Can you do that, Darren?”

He let out a bone-chilling scream before saying yes.

“Repeat after me,” Samuel instructed him, “Your power is meaningless. You do not control me. I cannot die here. I am the rightful heir.”

Darren recited these words verbatim and felt the spell being released with every passing word. The trembling of the structure finally subsided as he broke his imprisonment and Samuel knelt down in front of him, bracing him what was to come.

The room in which Sophie was being held a threatened prisoner was a torture chamber. She was placed on the table, all limbs stretched and being cranked back by the faceless Jareth. Abaddon sat in the far corner, egging him on.

The door kicked open and Darren entered first, unarmed but with a scar across his chest. Abaddon erected himself from the chair, unknowing of Samuel’s presence waiting behind Darren. As he continued forward, he laughed in his face.

Darren laughed back, and Samuel jumped out of his crouch and sent a fatal strike through his chest and out of his back. Jareth screamed incessantly to not kill his maker. “It can’t end this way,” he shouted, “do not kill him!” Abaddon dropped to the stone floor, the sword dangling from the silk clothing he wore.

As Jareth crept on his hands and knees to the body of his beloved partner, Samuel untied Sophie from the wooden contraption. The two of them stood in front of Darren, prompting Samuel to grasp the murder weapon once more. He lifted it to his eye level and watched the blood drip down the blade.

“You know, the punishment for killing another is death to myself. Once he takes his final breath, I am gone forever. I wanted you to know that I’m ok with it. I’ve been doing this for a thousand years and I’ve had enough. I want to rest now. My kingdom is yours. Treat it with care, please.”

“Can I ask you somethin’,” Darren asked with enthusiasm in his voice.

“As long as we have the time, go on.”

The trio of them looked In the direction of Abaddon and saw a remorseful Jareth, pleading with a God that would no longer exist in a matter of minutes. Abaddon gasped and fought for his final breaths as Darren asked his question.

“You said you’ve done this for a thousand years,” Samuel nodded his head yes, “so who was before you?”

“You were,” he answered as he dissolved into a cloud of blue dust that was swept out of the window. Darren grabbed Jareth by the arm and tossed him from the same opening. He screeched for about fifteen seconds before landing on the ground below that was riddled with sharp rocks and vast vegetation.

Darren and Sophie shared a smile before stepping out of the castle and heading for a walk through the same pathway from which they came. Smoke still burrowed from the mountains as they held hands and took a stroll through the park with the benches that lay on their back ends.

They kept on their way until they stumbled across a hut that was constructed from short twigs and bricks from surrounding areas. They didn’t know who it belonged to and they didn’t care. After all, this land was theirs now.

She sat Indian style and he reciprocated, leaning forward to steal a kiss before they talked about life, past and present while dissecting what had happened tonight.

“Well, there’s a lot of work to be done,” she said as she kissed his cheek with a light press. Her words triggered a summer of rain that would wash away the evil. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012


The beaming sunlight burned as he opened his eyes and inadvertently looked in its path. He rolled over on his side and spied a scrawny blonde woman laying a few feet away, eyes open and looking into his.

“Good morning, sunshine.”

As he laid his palms flat to the pavement, he pulled himself up and stood on his feet. Grumbling a deep sigh, he looked around and saw that the scenery had been destroyed. Smoke pillared above mountains, the sky was biblically dark and park benches lay flat on their back, tipped over and without limbs. The woman remained on her side, taking in the destruction in her peripheral. She told him that it wasn’t supposed to be like this, they let it get to this point.

“Shut the fuck up. I’m thinking.”

She followed suit and rose to her feet, standing by his side. As he paced back and forth, kicking the bench he passed by, he grabbed her by the arm and dragged her through the forest with a paved pathway for them to follow.

“Have you been here before? You seem to know what you’re doing.”

He looked at her, studied her features and snapped back. “No, I’ve never been to this place. Have you? You seem to know a lot about it, saying that we did this. How could we have done it? One minute I’m shooting up with you, the next I wake up in this… place.”

“You have been here before, Darren. I remember it. I swear I do. I was by that tree back there, and you were fighting to get answers out of me. Answers that I didn’t have, and then a giant came and took you with him. I never saw you again after that.”

“Show me the tree.”

She took the lead and he followed in her wake as she walked the path they had already stepped. Again they were at the scene of the flipped benches and dismantled scenery. As she stood by the tree that she had mentioned previously, he noticed the ground was burnt. The once exceedingly bright grass was now a rough shade of brown. Some patches remained a lesser shade of green, but it was evident that somebody intended to burn it to the ground.

Loud booms were heard in the distance, he assumed they were the product of bombs or missiles being dumped across the mountains beyond them. The ground rattled, almost causing him to lose his balance as Darren approached the tree. He extended his hand hesitated before kissing the bark with his fingertips. He felt a spark enter his being and he stepped back, relinquishing the grasp of the tree.

“It’s ok,” she said as she took hold of his forearm, “you have to trust yourself. You have to know that this is right, Darren. Everything we’ve been through then and now, has led up to this. That tree will tell you everything you need to know. Please. Trust yourself.”

He shook his head to agree with her sentiment and stepped forward and rested his hand upon the tree once more. The rush of energy shot into his body again and he did not let go. He witnessed visions of being a struggling writer penning his suicide note, a woman sitting dead inside of a vehicle, purposely overdosing on heroin and getting his skull bashed in with a brick. Memories of being a hitch hiker and murdering a man in cold blood, slitting his throat with no regard for the family he may have left behind. The final part of his ecstasy was all about he and Sophie, the fact that he’d waited for her time and time again, that he would always enter her world just a bit too late.

As tears streaked down his face and down to the decaying pasture at his feet, he felt the need to let go. He did. He stepped back and wiped the tears away, initiating a sentimental embrace between the both of them. All had become clear, everything he went through in this life and past ones were in the name of her. He recognized that she had previous names and purposes in the past, but here and now she was Sophie and would remain the focus of his life for the rest of his days.

He grabbed her head and titled it back in order to make eye contact with her deep, swirling brown eyes.

“I’ll always find you. I promise you that.”

She nodded and they hugged again before Darren grabbed her hand and they went back on the path that they had originally walked. He held up a branch that would have otherwise been troublesome for a woman of her height to safely stroll past. He let her walk ahead and she asked him what the tree had shown him.

“Everything there was to see. Do you know it all, too?”

“I always have,” she said with a smirk, “I was just waiting for you. It’s against the rules to interfere.” With a sheepish tone she questioned whether he was upset that she caused him to overdose the night before.

“Absolutely not, it needed to be done. If you didn’t, I’d have found you too late again. Thank you.”

They continued on until they arrived at a monstrous stone castle like structure.

“We’re here,” he said as she stood in awe of the castle. “Wait here, you don’t need to go inside.”

She put up a fight, citing that if it were not for her they would not even be here to begin with. He laughed at the familiarity of this argument and eventually agreed with her fool proof logic. “Fine, you can come with me, but you do as I tell you under any circumstances. Got it?”

“Got it,” Sophie said as she walked up the steps to the stone entrance. It was not as he remembered it once he climbed up the stairs. The markings in the door resembled stab wounds, sliced across the body of rock, as if a group of knights in shining armor were attempting to rescue a citizen in need.

“He had keys, a set of keys. Samuel had a set of keys to open it. There’s no way we’re getting in without it.” He winced at the prospect of being unsuccessful in whatever purpose he was out to fulfill.

She pressed against the opening and it nudged a bit. “Not if it’s not locked. Help me push it open.”

They struggled to extend the door ajar and worked up a sweat by doing so. They took a break for a moment and Darren asked Sophie if she was alright to continue. She nodded yes while catching her breath, bending down with her hands on her knees.

“Alright, come on. The last time I seen him he was in this room over here.”

They walked into a dimly lit room and saw Samuel sitting with his back against the wall. His long, grey locks that once hung down to his waist was now gone. Whoever was at the door shaved his head down as a sign of disrespect.

Darren knelt down beside him and asked if he was okay, which resulted in sobbing and Samuel pushing him away.

“Leave me alone, I am not who I used to be. I cannot help you.”

“I know,” Darren said, “we are here to help you. What happened? Why is this place in ruins? Who did this?”

Before he could finish his question, the ground shook once more. Stone began to crumble and shake down from the top of this behemoth creation. All three of them watched in amazement as the stone crumbled and fell to the ground below.

With his back still against the wall, he told them of the destruction and the reason behind it.

“Not everyone is welcome here. You and her are because you’re special. You were born with a way in. Your soul, both of you, your souls are precious. When you find each other, you’re too powerful. You can overcome any hardship, any evil in the world… and they know that. They know. They searched this place up and down for you two, knowing that you’d come here in death. They’re still here searching.”

They looked at each other in disbelief, then fixed their attention on Samuel.

“I don’t want to do this anymore,” he said with a sniffle, “I want you to. I will show you how to defeat them, even if it does cost me my life. Please. End this.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Moving On

Raindrops clouded the vision through his glasses before stepping into the doorway and up the spiral staircase that led to his apartment.  The open window beside his kitchen countertop welcomed a soothing breeze, and the scent of rain was comforting. He placed his phone and car keys on the table and ventured his way over to the refrigerator. Looking over the contents on the side panel of the door, then next to the top shelf, he decided that nothing really caught his eye. With an indecisive look on his face, he pulled open the hydrator and pulled out a pack of deli meat and a slice of cheese.

His phone gyrated where it rested before he could open the bread box. He let out a deep rooted, “shit!” and grabbed the cell phone from the table. It was a call from a publishing company that he never really expected to hear back from.  He put the phone to his ear and the voice on the other end relayed that they were more than interested in publishing a collection of his works. Once thanking them and promising to stay in touch, he received a text message from Phil that he was sending over a woman to score some heroin from him.

The news of his impending publication meant that he could leave this lifestyle behind him at last. Coupled with the knowledge that this would be one of his final sales, he was oozing at the prospect of living a legit life. A knock was heard at the door before he could dial his father’s number. He yelled that he’d be down in a minute and slapped together a quick sandwich and hasted his way down the staircase.

He opened the door while chewing his food and offered to let the blonde addict into his home. She would never forget the first look. She felt a comfort level that was previously unmatched throughout her life, his hazel eyes deeper than any black hole. They spoke valiant speeches of courage and promises kept. She followed him to the lavish apartment decided against remarking about the crumbs that rested within his bristly beard.

It was obvious to her that his hair was dyed jet black to mask the incoming grey hairs, his face run ragged from the stress of life itself. Despite that, she found solace in the mark that living left upon him. He stood proud and chipper, but she knew that he was beaten and battered mentally. After taking the last bite of his mid-day snack, he spoke to her.

“So what do you need, miss?”

The bags under her eyes meshed into the upper part of her cheekbones. It was evident that she was riding the white horse more often than not. She was in need of the drug and it showed by the way she trembled in the face of a 90 degree day. Her hair was ravaged, almost resembling a rat’s nest. The look in her eyes screamed hopelessness. She had given up in every aspect of her life.

“I only have thirty dollars, so whatever that’ll get me. I’m not sure how you do things, everybody is different.”

“Yes, you said a mouthful. Everybody is different. Often times for reasons we’ll never understand, or even try to.” He opened the closet door and reached for a shoebox on a shelf up above. She laughed to herself and looked to the floor, twisting her body in a clockwise motion as she awaited her fix.

“What’s so funny?”

“You keep your work in a shoe box? What is this, the 80’s?”

“Ha. Whatever works, right? Here, have a seat.”

He patted the brown leather sofa cushion that grazed his right leg so she could sit beside him. He pulled out two bags that held a black tar substance within from the box resting on his knee. As she sat down next to him, he pulled both bags out and handed one to her.

“This is for you. Keep your money. I got some good news today, this is the last bag you’ll get from me. I hope you enjoy it. Tell your boy Phil that Darren is out of the game.”

“Your name is Darren, huh? Mine is Sophie. It’s nice to meet you, regardless of the circumstances.” She extended her hand for a shake but he rose up from the sofa, dismissing her advance. He told her to wait there as he went to the fridge and grabbed the jug of Tropicana orange juice. Darren lifted the container to his lips and tipped it back and down his throat.

The urge hit him to finally try some of the stuff he was pushing. The old adage of ‘don’t get high on your own supply’ no longer applied to him. He wanted to be rid of it all and move on to the next chapter of his life. Darren pulled the drawer out on the far end of the kitchen sink and pulled out a spoon. He shouted from the kitchen, “hey, come here for a second!”

She stepped into the kitchen a few seconds after he called for her.

“What’s your name again?”

“Sophie, my name is Sophie.”

“Right, right, Sophie. Come here, Sophie. Do you know how to shoot up?”

The look on her face was one of elation. He didn’t have to say no more. She snatched the spoon from his possession and turned on the hot water. Letting it run for a moment, she placed her fingers below the stream and smiled at him. The proper temperature had been reached and she turned the pressure down a bit before letting a splash of hot water rest inside the spoon.

“Go out in the living room and sit down. Grab me a shoelace, or something like it, tie it around your arm like you’re about to get blood taken and I’ll take care of the rest.”

He followed her instructions and waited for her in the other room. Sophie entered the area and held the spoon up at shoulder length, her left hand resting below to prevent the water from dripping on the carpet. As she approached him, Darren had a smile on his face and a shoelace wrapped around his right arm.

“I’ve always wanted to give this a try. What should I expect?”

With an ice cold stare, she told him to anticipate coming back for more. She asked him if he was ready for his first taste and he nodded his head yes. His smile turned to a face riddled with uncertainty as she found the vein to release the substance into. As it entered, his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he slouched back on the furniture, slipping off of it until his back leaned against the front end of the couch.

She stood over him and whispered, “It had to be you.” She kicked his body around a couple of times but was unsure if he was dead or just in a comatose state from the lethal dose. She dug through her satchel and pulled out a bottle of prescription medication. The medication was xanex and the name on the bottle read Billy Reinhart.

Sophie removed the shoelace from his arm and lay down beside him. She clutched his hand with her left and dumped a dozen or so pills into her mouth. She felt that this was right, and deep down she knew it. She knew that they would awake in that place once more.

It was just a matter of time.

Friday, June 8, 2012


She sat on a bench surrounded by headstones with blue skies up above. While there was not a cloud in the sky, a metaphorical one hung over her head as she carved away at the Zippo lighter. The rustling of trees in the vicinity alerted her of the presence of something or someone coming to greet her. The brief thought of walking to the sound itself was beginning to fill her mind, but she decided against it. The grass throughout the cemetery was brighter than usual, a shade of green so bright that coupled with the beaming sunlight, it was almost too painful to admire.

As the trees continued to babble their wind inspired song, a deer stepped out from the brush and pranced towards her. She laid the sharp instrument and lighter down beside her and reached into her purse and pulled out a sandwich baggie filled with animal crackers. She tossed a couple on the grass in front of her feet, which were extended and crossed. The animal bent his head down to test out his treats before slightly turning his head to left, as if to thank the woman for her kindness.

“Not a problem, my friend. Would you like some more?” The deer stepped closer once she fingered through the bag and extended her hand to offer three more pieces. His mouth graced her hand in a ticklish manner which led her to giggle like a child. She was startled by a voice behind her, the consequential movement caused the deer to run back into the shrubbery from where he came.

“Oops, sorry about that, didn’t know you were having a moment with him.”

She turned her eyes in his direction and could not believe how tall he was. At least 6’8, nearly a mammoth figure, his face was smooth and featured both dimples and a cleft chin. His extended grey hair was wispy and barely touched his shoulders. He took a seat next to her and asked if he too could snack on the crackers. She nodded her head yes and he crunched away while she sparked up a conversation.

“So do you work here or?...”

He held up a finger to tell her that he needed a second to stop chewing before he could answer the question.

“No, no, nothing like that. I was here visiting my father’s grave right over there.” He pointed to the left and folded his right left on top of his left, showing her that he was comfortable in her company. She looked down at her watch and remarked that she was late for a non-existent doctor’s appointment.  As she packed up her belongings and went on her way, the man called her back.

“You forgot your lighter, ma’am.” Before giving it back to her, he twirled it around within the grasp of his fingertips and asked what the initials meant.

“I couldn’t tell you if I wanted to. It came to me in a dream. Thank you, though. It’s important to me.”

She turned to make her way back to her car and waved to the man before she got inside. Upon slamming the door shut, she noticed the deer less than a mile ahead. Pressing her foot down on the gas, she rolled the driver’s side window down to scatter the rest of the crackers to the pavement directly outside.

The deer looked up at her as she pulled off and made a right turn into oncoming traffic. She rolled down the passenger side window as well so she could enjoy the beautiful day as she sped along the cracked roadways of Alabama’s suburban section.  She pulled the visor down in an attempt to block the glaring sun when she reached the stop light. She was behind a blue Oldsmobile, third in the traffic line. The light turned green but there was no motion which led to the car ahead of hers to blare their horn to get the leader’s attention. She chuckled when she saw that he stuck his middle finger out of his window in a rebellious manner.

As she started back on her drive, a dizzy spell overcame her. She pulled over to the shoulder lane and turned the car off. Her head rested against the leather headrest and she closed her eyes. Once closed, a figure immediately appeared in front of her. A chill entered the car as this dark feeling filled the air.

“Do not open your eyes; I am not here to hurt you. I am here to make everything clear. Do you trust me?”

With each passing word, his appearance became more distinguishable. As he continued to lay words on her, his face, or lack thereof appeared in front of hers. He was wearing a mask made up of human flesh, concealing what lay underneath.

“Show me your face or I’ll open my eyes.”
He struggled with the proposition but ultimately turned his back to remove the mask. He turned around His eyes were woven shut, his eyesight only allowed to peer through small slits in between.  He was without a nose completely, and his mouth was without lips, cut open a few inches below his nose and above his chin.

“Nobody has ever asked me to see my face. I’ve always felt it was a convincing mask… how could you tell?”

“The piece below your jawline has dangling off. It was very convincing, I applaud your effort.”

“Do you know why I’m here?”

“You’re a dream, a figment of my imagination. I’ve seen you more than once. Do you know me?”

“I do, I know you very well, and I assure you that I am no dream.”

“If you’re not a dream, and you are real, why do I always see you when I close my eyes? You haunt me every night.”

“Open your eyes for a second and tell me if it is still day time.”

She opened her eyes and realized that he was telling the truth. She closed them again and saw the deformed man sitting in a chair with his arms folded, leaning forward in a room of nothing but black. There was a light fixture directly above where he sat.

“Is it against the rules to ask what you are?”

“What I am is a man, a man that brokered a deal with the man who controls all of it. I just want you to know that I am remorseful. I am sorry, and I mean that from the bottom of my cold, black heart. This was before I knew who you really were. I am forced to witness it every time without fail. Just know that it pains me to live this time and time again.”

His monologue confused her.

“Witness what? Live through what? I don’t understand.”

“No you don’t, and how could I expect you to?  You don’t know what it’s like to responsible for someone’s death three times over. The next time you’ll die is 37 minutes from now. “

She took his warning with suspicion.

“How would you even know that?”

“Doesn’t matter. Do you remember him?”

“Who is him?”

“The man who keeps trying to find you, he dies trying to find you with every life. He will do it again tonight. You’ll see him if you get back in time. Please, no more of this. Just go on, open your eyes.”

“Why should I believe any of this?”

He began to get angry by the barrage of questions.

“Have I not been in your dreams since you were 15? I’ve always been here. You drew pictures of me in class when you were younger. I’ve seen it all, Meredith. I place thoughts in your head, I am your motive. Whether you believe me or not, you will follow through with everything I have just told you. Free will is a lie, a fallacy. I am in everyone. Murderers, rapists, do-gooders and church goers, they are all an extension of me. No matter what you choose, or think you choose, I’m making you go into that gas station over there to buy a Diet Coke. Test me.”

“Wait. Before I do, what does the carving in the lighter mean?”

“Oh, that? That was your first name. Your parents loved you very much and showed it by giving you the most beautiful name I’ve ever encountered. Scarlett Clarissa-Barbara Henson. Now go, open your eyes and go.”

She opened her eyes and turned on the ignition with a dry throat. She pulled away and eventually into the gas station parking lot. She parked next to a man in a green Subaru who was looking for something in his glove compartment. As she entered the door and grabbed a Diet Coke, she glanced at her watch and felt like she was late for something.

Placing the two dollar bills on the counter top and rushed out of the door. As she was fiddling through her purse to find her keys, the lighter dropped to the cement. Keys in hand, she jumped into the car and sped off without a second to spare. She approached the driveway to her home that was hidden behind a legion of trees and wildlife.

Three minutes remained in this life, and she lay on the couch with a blanket with a pen and paper sitting on the table next to her. She grasped the DVD remote and turned the device on. She laid down and the words “defy, defy” were ringing in between her ears. She grabbed the scalpel that she used previously to carve her first initials into the lighter.

It appeared that the man in the dream was a liar; no man would come for her. They never did. She felt foolish to have believed a monster from a dream. It was decided that she would show him who owned free will. The paper was on her lap and the pen in her hand, she wrote the words, “I waited for you.” The scalpel scraped across her left wrist first, then her right. She covered up and felt the coldness of death embrace her very being.

She heard footsteps on the stairs and she began to sob. He had come for her… and he was too late.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


The engine roared as he turned the key that rested in the ignition of his 2003 green Subaru. Before backing out of his driveway he adjusted the fedora on his head to fit accordingly. As he maneuvered his way into traffic, he could hear the light scratching and pounding from the man inside the trunk. He was too experienced to let a sense of worry overtake him.  

Knowing that it was just a matter of time before it stopped, there was no room for panic. The thought briefly entered his mind to pull over and put him out of his misery. It bothered him that he let the man suffer, that was never his intention. In fact, this had never happened to him before, and it became clear that he would have to be more careful the next time around.

After reaching a stop light, he turned his body around with his safety belt still buckled and tossed the towel covering his arsenal of tools aside, deciding which to use for the next victim. In his mind he had already made the decision and covered them back up with the towel. The blue Oldsmobile that was behind him in line honked their horn at him for taking his time at the light. He waved his hand out the window with his middle finger stuck proudly in the air before slamming on the gas, screeching away.

He made a left turn and drove towards a bridge underpass. The gravel popped beneath his tires as he crept forward and eventually came to a stop. After turning the car off, he left the power on and turned to the local oldies station. Rock On by David Essex was playing when he noticed that the struggle in the back of his vehicle had come to an end, so he unlatched the seatbelt before rising from the seat. After pulling the trunk button, he walked over to check on the state of the man inside. Upon opening it, he saw that the drifter was no longer breathing and immediately slammed his coffin closed.

The green underpass was breathtaking in its own way. The desolate area was very peaceful, almost serene in nature. He gazed at the sign up above that condemned any vehicle over fourteen feet, six inches.

In the distance he saw another man picking up bottles and cans and dumping them into a shopping cart. With a devious smile painted on his face, he gripped the back door handle and again fiddled with the tools of his trade. He reached for the pickaxe and placed it behind his back, resting in the back of his jeans and up his shirt.

He was careful in his motion, stepping with light grace as he made the man’s acquaintance during his search of the items he’d return for a nickel a piece. He shouted to him to get his attention once within ear shot.

“Hey! I got a whole bag of cans here if you want ‘em!”

The homeless man strolled over to him while pushing the shopping cart.

“Come on, leave the cart there! It’s a bag, you can carry it!”

Leaning against the car, awaiting the homeless man’s arrival, he nodded his head along to the sounds of One Toke Over The Line.

“You like this song, bud?” he asked as the can collector finally greeted his presence.

“Never heard it.”

“What? You can’t possibly be serious. Well, now you have. Come here, the cans are in the trunk, I’ll pop it now so you can grab them.”

As the sounds of the music blared throughout the open area, the homeless man did not verbally acknowledge his instruction, but instinctively waited for the trunk to thrust open. Once it did, he let out a gasp and stepped backwards and received a blow to the back by the man wielding the pickaxe. He dropped to his knees and the man swung back again, this time with the force of a professional ball player. The axe stuck in his back to a point where he had to lay him down on the rocky road below and step an inch or two from his wound and rip it back to remove it.

He was gargling blood, spitting up, trying to crawl away from the scene. He only made it to the front end of the car before losing his battle with the inevitable. His last words were why, in which the killer replied, “Because I had to.”

He bent down to check his pulse and it was confirmed that he was dead. Without hesitation, he lifted him up and placed him next to the man that he would ultimately spend eternity with. After slamming the hood shut, he again opened the back door but this time he fetched a new shirt to change into after the one he had on was plastered with blood stains. The chilling breeze forced him to grab his sports jacket that he hadn’t worn in months. He tossed the old one into the river that was a few feet away from the underpass and drove off, trembling.

For reasons that were unclear to him, this one really unnerved him. Perhaps it was the idea that he led an innocent man to his death with a promise of financial gain, no matter how minuscule it may have been. He was back on the open road and pulled into a gas station that was less than a mile, give or take, from the murder scene.

In order to settle himself down some, he went into shop and asked for a pack of Newport 100’s, but when the cashier asked for his ID he realized that he had left it resting in his glove compartment. The glass door swung open as he exited the store and walked to the car. A woman passed him by and dropped her lighter as she going through her purse for what he assumed to be her cell phone.

He waited for her to pull out of the lot before stepping over to the dropped Zippo. Picking it up and examining it closely, he read the initials ‘SCBH.’

“What kind of inscription is this?” he asked, under his breath. He placed it in his pocket and retrieved the ID card. As he stepped back into the store and handed the cashier the card, the worker looked at him and chuckled.

“Your name is David Ducketts? What kind of name is that?”

A disgruntled look came over his face and he snatched the card from his fingers. David placed a twenty dollar bill on the counter and said to keep the change before storming out of the establishment. Night fall came quick in what seemed to be a slow paced afternoon. The street lights turned on as soon as he turned into oncoming traffic yet again.

He lit a cigarette and drove onward, eventually coming across a man with his thumb sticking out, begging for a lift. Before stopping aside him, he chucked the butt out the window.

The driver pressed down on the button to roll the window down and speak to him. He was bearded, looked like a drifter, and would be an ideal candidate for his third victim of the night.

“Where ya headed?”

“Wherever you wanna take me, I’ve been walking since last night without rest.”

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Dark Path

The dark path I walk is illuminated by the brightness of your soul. The angelic features of your face inspire me to keep pushing on. I step forward with fear in my heart and hopes in my eyes. Your name will be my contract; I’ve sworn to uphold it. The callouses on my feet tingle as I trek on towards an uncertain fate. I can only see a few feet ahead of me, the darkness has sprawled over the open road in front of me.

A pair of headlights approach and the car slows to a crawl as it passes me by. I thought to myself that they had every intention of stopping to help a fellow person in need, but my appearance gave them other ideas. I continued on my journey and hummed a tune in my head to occupy my time. The wind swooshed around me, almost thrusting me into the roadside trees I walked alongside. The weight of the backpack I carried around my shoulders was beginning to become too much. If help didn’t arrive soon I’d have to dump it.

In the distance I could hear an engine rumbling. I stuck my hand out, thumb poking in their direction as I pleaded for them to pick to me up. As they sped past me, I witnessed their brake lights turn red and stop right beside me. As I stepped toward the car and bent down to get a look at the driver, I witnessed my reflection in the passenger side window. What I saw startled me, have I really been walking for this long? When I left the bar and decided that I needed to go on this journey of self-enlightenment I had nothing more but a bit of stubble on my mangled face.

The driver pressed down on the button to roll the window down and speak to me. He was clean cut, dressed to impress, donning a sports coat and a fedora over his seemingly balding scalp.

“Where ya headed?”

“Wherever you wanna take me, I’ve been walking since last night without rest.”

The cold breeze picked up its haste as I gripped the handle and pulled it back to enter the green Subaru. He offered me a cigarette, which I declined. He asked for my name and I responded by saying that it wasn’t necessary to exchange handles because we’d be on our way in a matter of minutes.

“So can I ask about that scar on your face?”

He was referring to the six inch laceration which had covered my entire right cheek. Talking about it made me uncomfortable but I couldn’t refuse both of this man’s questions. I took a deep breath and requested the cigarette he had previously offered me. As he fiddled his inner pocket in search of the pack, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to grab my blade from the backpack that rested in between my legs on the floor. Once finding the cigarette he asked me what I was looking for, to which I replied that I was looking for the lighter that didn’t exist.

“Don’t be silly, you don’t need to go through all of that. Here, use this.” He handed me a Zippo that has initials inscribed on it. It read SCBH. I flipped open the top and used the flame to light the stick.

“What’s SCBH mean?”

“Ha. Hell if I know. Found it a couple miles back at a gas station, picked it up because I really like Zippo’s.”

I nodded my head and said, “ah” before handing it back to him. I took a deep drag of the cigarette and opened the window a crack for the smoke to billow out. Before ashing the cigarette, a deer ran into the street and stopped to stare at the lights approaching it. Luckily, the unnamed driver was alert enough to see the deer and slowed down to a stop before we were both either killed or severely injured.

The deer scampered away and began to chew on vegetation on the side of the road. As the driver was about to put his foot on the gas once more, I reached into my open bag and slit his throat. Blood poured from the wound like a crimson waterfall. As he gasped for air, fighting for his final breath to not be a struggle, I unbuckled my safety belt and got out of the car. As I walked over to his side, I opened it and forced him onto the asphalt just outside of his door.

I bent down with my upper half of my body in the car, searching for the button that would pop the trunk. I found it, and pulled back on it. As I heard the lock release I slammed the door shut so hard the car rattled. Picking up his body and carrying him to the back of the car, I lifted the trunk open and saw two other dead bodies already residing within. They resembled drifters, long beards and unkempt hair. The smell of decomposition hit me like a slap in the face, causing me to stumble backwards with this man still in my arms.

I found a way to fight through and dump him inside with the other two men. Upon slamming the top closed, I noticed the deer staring at me from a distance. I walked towards and it drifted away, but stopped and stared at me again. I thought it may have been leading me to something, someone. I kept following the animal; he took me through the woods and to a house deep inside of it.

The deer ran off to continue on his own destiny after bringing me to mine. Mustering up the courage to walk up the steps was somewhat of a challenge. Fuck, I should have grabbed the pack of smokes off of the driver. Too late now, I had to do this without the help of nicotine. I walked up the wooden steps; they creaked at the prospect of holding my weight.

As I got to the door and pushed it open, I could hear a TV on in a nearby room. I shut the door and followed my instincts to the room with the sound echoing throughout. I entered the room and saw a woman lying on a couch, draped in a blanket. The light from the TV lit up the room and I motioned towards her.

Blood dripped from the cuts on her wrists and onto the hard wood floor beneath my feet. There was a note beside her that simply read, “I waited for you.”