It Will Hurt Less Than Falling

“Come down,” she urged the child. “It is not safe up so high in the tree.” She reached out her arms. They were very  long. They would catch the child.

“No,” said the child.

“You will fall and hurt yourself,” she smiled kindly with all of her teeth.

“You will hurt me more.”

“There is no pain in my embrace,” she reassured, her eyes pleading like hungry black holes.

“You will eat me.”

“It will hurt less than falling,” she promised, her tongue forked like a snake’s.

—-

Something a little spooky for October.

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Study

Everyone told him that studying would make him smarter. They said that it would help him understand concepts he could not yet grasp.

So he studied. He studied very hard.

He studied the twitching limbs and curling fingers. He studied the way the bodies curled inwards, away from the gleaming metal. He studied the way blood ran so similar to their tears.

He observed like in science class. He repeated his experiments, over and over. And when he still could not understand, he began to broaden his observations.

He started listening. To the screaming and the begging, the crying and the desperate pleas. But nothing, not a stir.

He watched as they slowly awoke, their looks running from confusion to horror at the sight of blood and rotting corpses – the failed experiments – that littered the room. Faces were, he realized, very strong indicators of emotions. They twisted and contorted in an acrobat of expression. But stronger still, he found, were the eyes. They showed their fear, their pain, and for some, in the end, their resignation. He kept those ones in a jar, but they had lost their emotions once he had removed them from the body. He could not understand why.

He also touched. Touched their shivering limbs, their quaking bodies, their warm blood, their cold corpses.  But it gave him none of the answers he sought. He learned only that they became quick to shy away from him when he approached, wriggling like bugs trapped in a spider’s web. Their chains would shake, clinking, but they were unable to flee as his hands drained them of their lives.

Finally he tasted. First their blood, for it was the same colour as his own, and he knew that all humans were made of the same materials. But it was metallic and nothing more. Then he tasted their tears, for they always cried when they felt strong emotions. They were salty, and it reminded him of the ocean’s devastation. But these people were small and weak and very soon they stopped crying and stopped moving at all.

A monster, they called him, but he could not understand. For he and they were all the same. Blood and limbs and beating hearts. So why did they spend their lives smiling and crying, while he wandered the days never needing to shift his expression and never able to create tears? It was something that puzzled him greatly.

He still, he figured, had much to learn. And studying, he hoped, would provide him with the answer.

—-

Happy Halloween!

This is Halloween

The sound of feet hitting the ground, drawing nearer. Small feet, excited, running. Larger, steadier feet follow behind. Giggles and shrieks herald their arrival.

Miniature hands clutch pillowcases and plastic pumpkins in front of them as they surge towards the next house. Candies bounce with each step as if trying to jump from the confines of their prison, but never quite make it out. They rattle and then settle and then repeat the whole process again.

The knock is quick, and a little bit light. Even if you don’t hear it, the unsuccessfully muffled laughter will certainly rouse you. And when you open the door, they are beaming proudly, bags open and ready as they shout the famous lines.

A young boy with the fake bulging muscles of a superhero, and a small girl dressed in a glittering dress, holding a shiny wand in one of her hands. She’s missing her two front teeth and he’s missing one.

You can’t help but smile as you lower the candy bowl for their eager hands. And with a gentle reminder from their parents, they shout out their ‘thank-you’s as they hurry down the steps, their minds already set on the next house.

The next child is there with her dad. Her face has been painted red and green, and she is wearing a dinosaur costume. You grin and give her an extra candy. She smiles shyly and expresses her gratitude.

And when the knocking begins to die down, explosions in the sky start up. A safe perimeter has been set up, with children edging as close as they can get. The wet street does not faze them at all.

A whistle, a whine, a scream, and then colour flies, dancing through the sky, shouting its joy. Unfazed by its short life, it spreads its coloured wings and soars.

Something Flickered

“Stop running ahead, Jimmy!” His father panted as he finally caught up to the excited child. Then he glanced up at the next house. “The lights are all off in this one, Jimmy,” he eyed the wood boarded across the door. “Let’s go to the next one.”

But the young child saw a light flicker in the window and shook his head. “No, I want to try this one.”

“Alright,” shrugged the father. He stopped at the edge of the property, and let his son run up the path. He glanced down at his phone as it buzzed. His wife wanted to know how the trick-or-treating was going.

The boy eagerly climbed the stairs. His heavy bag of candy weighed him down, but he was sure he had seen a light inside. And he really, really wanted more candy. Last year Ben, his classmate, had gotten two full bags, and hadn’t stopped bragging about it. This year, Jimmy had decided, he would have the most loot out of everyone. He couldn’t wait to see Ben’s jealous face.

He raised his hand to knock, and then hesitated as the door slowly swung open before he could even touch it. He bit his lip and shifted uncertainly, then poked his head under the board in to peer inside.

It was dark. He couldn’t see the light that had been shining before. But the moon was bright this night, and it shone a clear path down the hallway. And as his gaze traveled further, he spotted a plastic pumpkin lying on the floor. It was tilted slightly, and several candies had fallen out.

He grinned and hefted his own bag up and over the doorstep as he stepped inside. The floor creaked as he walked, the red shoes his parents had bought to match his spiderman costume seemed strangely heavy. But he was almost at the pumpkin. If no one had noticed him yet, he was pretty sure they wouldn’t even be aware that he had been there at all.

Outside his father pressed ‘send’ and looked up from his phone. A frown appeared as his son was nowhere to be seen.

“Jimmy?” He called out, looking around. The door was still closed and the lights off. He sighed loudly. “Running ahead again,” he muttered, taking off towards the next house. “I told him to wait for me.”

The moon’s glow began to dim, and soon it was too dark for Jimmy to see properly. He glanced back, but the clouds now obscured the moon. He licked his lips and clenched his candy closer to his body. It was heavy, and his arms were getting tired. He edged his foot forward. He knew he was close now. It was just a little bit further. One step, one more…

Then something flickered in front of him, pale and glowing.

His eyes widened, and a sob escaped his mouth. “Dad…”

His sack of candy dropped from his loosened grip, spilling over the side as it hit the ground.

—-
Happy Halloween!

Windows like Eyes

The satisfying crunch of the leaf under her foot made her stretch worth it. She normally went straight home, eager to catch her favourite TV shows, but today the leaves seemed to have fallen in abundance, and it hadn’t rained in days. She was slowly crunching her way home.

Her skin prickled slightly and she worried that she might catch a cold if she stayed in the cool, fall air for too long. But when she glanced sideways, she felt that perhaps she was shivering from something other than the autumn air.

It was tall and black. There were no lights on inside, and one of the windows had shattered. The door was shut, but there were gaps between the wood. A worn path swayed towards a rickety front porch.

A cold wind blew tattered drapes out through the broken glass. They flapped helplessly as the air moaned its way out of the cracks in the window frames.

Her hair was pulled towards the house, and she tumbled forward slightly as a sudden gust pushed her from behind. The biting air slipped under her scarf, and she pulled her jacket tighter. She was right in front of the tall black gate. Sharp spikes towered, but the lock was broken. One of the doors hung sadly from broken hinges, whining piteously in the wind.

She stared, transfixed. Her breathing slowed as her eyes watched the reaching curtains. The house breathed in and the door creaked its welcome as it agonized its way open. Her foot stepped forward, slow, hesitating. Her arm reached out to push the gate doors out of the way. Her breath ghosted behind her as she moved, fleeing to safety against the wind.

Crunch. She started as her foot came down on a large, dry leaf. Her head jerked down to stare at her foot. Her heart beat irregularly for a moment. She glanced up again and shivered. She took one step backwards, then another. Then with one last glance, she hurried away, clutching her scarf tightly.

Windows like eyes watched her go, and the door slowly breathed shut.

—–
I’m not actually sure if this is scary. I can’t handle horror or anything surrounding that genre. I creeped myself out by writing this at night and then having to drive home alone. So to me this is pretty creepy, but I’m not really a good judge of scary things.

Where Even the Moon Cannot Reach

It curls from under the closet door. It is formless, and yet horrifying in shape. Dark shadows have consumed it, and now it can only appear where even the moon cannot reach.

Hands like blackened claws slowly push open the door. The wailing hinges warn the child.

The small figure on the bed stiffens, then curls up tightly, head disappearing under the covers.

Hissing in displeasure, glowing red eyes peer from the darkness. Then it begins to move forward. A skeletal frame, cloaked in shadows that never rest. One withered foot emerges, pressing into the carpet. Sharp, hooked nails pull at the loose threads.

Bones whine as they scrape against each other, grinding as the creature elongates from the small closet.

Slowly the head follows, so gaunt it’s mostly shadows. The eyes are sunken, the skin stretched thinly across the bones, translucent. The whiteness of the skull underneath glares in contrast to the hollowed cheeks.

A lipless mouth is stretched widely, curling up at the sides in a leer. Unnaturally sharp teeth gleam from darkened gums. Brown stains the wicked incisors.

It whispers forward until it is looming over the bed, its back arched, and its limbs disproportionately long. It soothes the covers over the trembling ball.

Come out, it croons in a guttural hiss. Let’s play. Like a dying cat it laughs. Come out, it repeats, call for your mother, for your father. Its hand hovers, waiting, always waiting for its chance.