Monday, December 20, 2010

Disturbing Behavior

 The winner of my Halloween Horrors Story contest is Ryan M. Harris.  He wrote a tale, Disturbing Behavior, that chilled me to the bones.  It was slightly reminesent of Pet Semetary, only with a very disturbing twist to it.  I. LOVED. IT.  If I had read this just before going to bed, I might not have been able to sleep.  So, without any further ado...



Disturbing Behavior
By Ryan M. Harris

 



         Sam Hansward was jolted from a deep sleep by the sound of his bedroom door slamming open. He sat bolt upright in bed and nearly revealed the hiding place of the .38 revolver he kept hidden behind the nightstand before he realized the intruder was his eight year old girl Anita.

         She was still half asleep, wobbling a little as though about to fall down, her eyes half lidded, but tears were streaming down her face.

         “What’s wrong baby?” he groaned, rubbing his eyes. 

         “Button growled at me,” She said. “He won’t get off my bed. He’s getting me all muddy, and when I tried to get him down he growled at me.”

         Thoughts came slowly to him, percolating through his weary head ache. “shit…Honey Button’s not on your bed…Button’s dead.”

         “But he’s getting me muddy.”

         She held up her hands and it put a chill down his neck. His vision clearing from blurry, adjusting to the light, and Anita had mud on her hands, and the hem of her night-coat, and her feet.

         He jumped out of bed, suddenly alarmed. He must have looked angry because she recoiled as though about to run from him.

         He grabbed her hands. They were like ice.

         “You’ve been outside,” He shouted, though he hadn’t meant to shout at her. She looked scared now.

         “No,” she shook her head. “Button came in!”

         He stepped out into the hall and to the banister so he could see downstairs. The front door stood open.

         “What the hell were you doing outside?” He was still yelling. “- Anita!”

         He was stopped mid-sentence by a foul smell beginning to pollute the hall, assaulting his senses. His attention turned to Anita’s room, down the hall, opposite his room. Her door was open and beyond it was too dark to see.

         A shiver went through him.

         Behind in the doorway Anita was crying.

         “What in the hell did you do?” 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


         Sam yawned at the little white worm caught between his fingers. It had been a long night, followed by a morning spent talking to doctor’s he couldn’t afford. Now, he was picking maggots out from out the carpet from where she’d drug the carcass in.

         Disgusting things – he crushed it between his finger and thumb, breaking it in half, then threw it in the trash-bag he was filling.

         Anita had done strange things before.

         In the spring she had tried to save a baby bird that had fallen from its nest, taking it in. They found it dead the next day, twisted into an unnatural pose on bed of rag blankets she’d made for it. But, she insisted on trying to feed it anyway, talking to it while she tried in vain to make a corpse eat. Even when the ants began their procession into the blankets she was still carrying on. Eventually he had to take it from her and throw it away while she sobbed.

         “His name is Hailey, daddy,” She’d told him. “He’ll learn to fly.”

         “No,” he’d told her. “It’s dead, and the bugs are eating it.”
       
         Then he caught her the next day trying to dig it out of the trash and had to ground her for a few weeks. But, exhuming the dog at Four in the morning was a whole new level of disturbing. The psychologist he’d spoken too thought it was related to her mother’s leaving. Kelly had cleared out about a year ago, sneaking out in the middle of the night without saying a word to him or Anita.

         A ‘post traumatic response’ the doctor called it. She’s acting ‘out.’

         Doctors were all useless.

         Sam had wrapped ‘Button’ up in the sheets and quilt and thrown it all in a trash bag. Even double bagged he could still smell it. It was more muddy bones then it was anything rotten but the mass still smelled like sour milk.

         Anita was upstairs. He’d told her to do her homework, or read something. He didn’t really care he just didn’t want her to see where he was going to re-bury this mess. 

         It was soggy outside, having rained off and on all week. Sam’s boots sank a half an inch into the grass as he made the trek across the yard, trash bags slung over one shoulder. There were a lot of places to choose from in which to bury a body. They lived on a six acre plot lost out in farmland, and shielded from the road by unkempt thickets of dense trees and thorns. He only cared to mow the area around the house itself.

         Grabbing a shovel from the shed, he headed into the brambles, walking till he was sure the site couldn’t be seen from the house. He picked a space absent any large tree roots and proceeded to dig a hole, going about three feet down and making it a few feet wide. The ground was moist and gave easily.

         With little ceremony he tossed Button into his new home, and began to shovel the dirt back in. Sam hadn’t liked the dog even when it was alive. It wasn’t a purebred worth anything, couldn’t hunt. It was a just a mutt Kelly had brought it home and it had been strictly hers and Anita’s pet. To him it was just a loud, smelly thing that destroyed his furniture.   

         Sam’s face went pale and he froze. 

         The bag had moved…only slightly, but it moved!

         “It’s settling,” he told himself. “It’s just settling into place.”

         He waited a moment for it to move again, carefully watching the grave intently. After a few minutes he scolded himself for being such a coward. He scooped up another shovel of dirt.

         At the impact from the dirt the black plastic twisted up at him.       

         Sam screamed. Trying to leap back he tripped and fell.

         In the grave the bag shook violently. The plastic rippled and stretched. He could sharp points, claws or teeth, pressing outward about to burst free. Sam scrambled to his feet. Raising the shovel over his head he brought it crashing down onto what remained of Button. 

         Sam struck again and again, until the struggling stopped. Then moving at a frantic pace he began to re-fill the hole, heaving dirt till the hole was gone. 

         Dirt was not enough! He began clawing rocks up out of the ground, piling them on top the dirt. He threw every log he could find on it as well until several hundred pounds had to be holding the dog in its grave. 

         Then Sam ran for the house.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


         Sitting, trembling in his chair Sam argued with himself over what he’d seen. He held his gun in one hand like a child with his favorite blanket.
       
         “Not sure,” he mumbled over and over.
   
         He knew what he thought he’d seen. But he was willing to entertain the idea that he and Anita were both going crazy.

         Button is dead! The dead are dead. They don’t move, they don’t make noise, or else there’s no point to it. I’m just going crazy.

         Maybe he didn’t even have to be crazy. It sounded crazy right then in the moment, seeing a dead dog move but he was under a lot of stress, no jobs lately, raising a kid alone, and he’d barely slept last night. Wasn’t one hallucination excusable?

         For the rest of the day the argument continued in his mind, coming to no conclusion. He locked the doors, fastened the windows, and pulled the blinds closed. He paced through the house muttering, tracking mud across the carpets till they were all near ruined before he realized what he was doing and removed his boots.

         Anita came down only for dinner. He managed to throw spaghetti together as an afterthought. They sat at opposite ends of the table, eating quickly and neither one speaking. She must have felt she was in trouble - A lot trouble if it was making her dad act this strange. And, he couldn’t bring himself to start talking. He avoided even looking at her except for quick paranoid glances. He was terrified she’d say some crazy thing - like all of this is real. He didn’t think he could take that right now. He might just snap.

         “Can I be excused,” was all she said to him that night, and a nod was the best response he could muster. 

         That night he slept downstairs in his chair, gun in one pocket of his robes. Any sleep came in short fits. He was constantly waking, his pulse racing, thinking he had heard something. But aside from vivid nightmares the night passed without incident. 

         For the next three nights he held similar vigils. As exhaustion set in he became even more paranoid.

         Anita woke herself up for school, and walked herself down their drive to bus in the morning. Sam watched her leave from the window, half expecting to see her pulled into the woods by some undead monstrosity. 

         It wasn’t until Friday, when the sun rose for the fourth straight time with everything still as it should be, that Sam felt brave enough to face the day like a normal person. A couldn’t live his life hiding. 

         He took shower to wake himself up, made a large breakfast for him and Anita, and then walked her to the bus taking pains not to watch the tree-line in a nervous manner.

         After she left, walking back to the house Sam decided it was time to learn if any sanity to his fears at all. It was time to go check on Button’s new grave.

         He went back in for a thicker coat and his mud boots. 

         A few minutes later, standing at the wood-line, his enthusiasm had faded some. He drew his gun, and took a deep breath, then slowly headed in.

         Sam snuck up on the grave. To his relief, he found it exactly as he’d left it, not a stone or log was out of place. No undead paws pierced the surface; there were no signs that anything had clawed its way free of the earth.

         “Of course not,” Sam said out loud. He’d seen nothing. All of it was nonsense. He spat upon the muddy earth, and decided he was in need of a beer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


         Late that night, Sam was stirred from his sleep by a single out-of-place noise in his otherwise quiet house. He was far from alert, weary and just a little drunk, but he clung to consciousness as best he could and held completely still to listen. 

         Again he heard a creak - a board perhaps, or the stairs. A creak could be nothing in an old house.

         There was another creak - a coincidence perhaps? He was very tired.

         Now he heard a new sound that took him a moment to identify in his inebriated state, the ‘chink’ of metal moving against metal – the deadbolt. Then, he heard the downstairs’ door being opened. 

         He flew out of bed, threw on his robe, and gun in hand burst into the hall. As he had not long ago he ran to the banister, just in time to see Anita dressed in her nightgown and barefoot step out the open door and into the darkness.

         Flying down the stairs, jumping most of them and nearly stumbling to his death, he made it to the living room and chased her out into the night.

         “Anita,” he yelled.

         Anita hadn’t gone far. She stood just a few feet out into the wet grass. She didn’t respond. She was in a sort of trance her expression completely blank. With a distant gaze she was staring out into the woods.

         She opened her mouth as though about to yell out. Sam caught her just before she could; putting his hand over her mouth to stifle the sound before it was made. 

         “Anita?” he said again. She just stared at him her expression unchanging. Scooping her up, he carried her back inside.

         He sat her down on the couch, and knelt down in front of her. 

         “Anita?” He waved his hand in front of her eyes. She looked at him. She was awake, her eyes were open she knew he was here but she was in sort trance that was hard to break.

         “ANITA,” He yelled.

         Anita blinked, and then her expression paled. She looked frightened. “I’m sorry daddy,” she moaned.  “I didn’t mean to bring Button back. I didn’t, I’m sorry!

         His eyes widened. “You bought him back?”

         “I didn’t mean too,” she said shaking her head. She was starting to cry.        

         Two questions fought for dominance in Sam’s weary mind. The first to stumble out of mouth was “how?”

         She looked down at the floor, tears starting to run down her face.

         “You see them in your dreams,” she mumbled, “you can say goodbye or ask to them to wake up.”
       
         “Why would you want him to wake up?” He grabbed her hands and held them. “He’s dead. He’s supposed to stay dead!” 

         “I didn’t want to wake him up,” Anita said. “I was trying to wake mom up.”

         Sam’s blood froze in his veins and he let go of her.

         “Anita….no your mom just left…”

         She shook her head and looked him in the eyes. “I saw. You were arguing and you hit her too hard. Now she’d in the woods. Button woke me up barking and I saw. But I can fix it all now dad!”

         Sam was backing up, pulling at his hair till it hurt. “No Anita, no, no, no,” he babbled. Catching his knee on the coffee table, he tripped. He lay on the floor head swimming. She was still going on.

         Anita jumped up from the couch. “I’m not angry,” she insisted holding her hands up. “I know it was accident but I can fix it dad. I can control it now! I can bring mom back and we’ll be together again.”

         Sam shot her. He didn’t even realize he’d drawn the gun till the shot rang out. He looked at the weapon in his hand with amazement and then to Anita. She’d been hit in the chest a few inches beneath her throat, stopping her rant mid-sentence. She stayed standing for a second or two, mouth agape, then his little girl crumpled to the ground.   


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


         It was ungodly late now, and Sam found himself again sitting in his chair jumping at every little noise. He was freezing. He hadn’t bothered to dress or even throw on shoes, before burying Anita. He’d dug the hole barefoot with just his robe on, wrapped the body up in trash bags, an entire box of trash bags, then thrown it in the hole and it was done. Anita lay in as much peace as she’d ever find not far from where her mother lay.

         There were probably smarter things he could’ve done to hide it, but waiting was impossible. The moment shock wore off there was an uncontrollable urge to be rid of the body. You couldn’t just leave it lying there looking at you. Did you want to watch your loved ones decompose and think ‘My God I’ve done this to them.’? 

         It had been the same with Kelly.

         The police had believed his story about Kelly: that she had ran off with a boyfriend. But how could he explain Anita?

         Perhaps Kelly came back and got her?

         No.

         No the sheriff might be lazy but he wasn’t that stupid. This time they‘d investigate. They would look and if they found what was beneath his lawn, it would be better to shoot himself right now. Sam didn’t want to die. He didn’t want to go to jail for a hundred years.

         He’d have to leave. Maybe Kelly came back and got them both. Maybe she came back, he and her made up, and all three of them left on an impromptu vacation…or something. It might buy him enough time to run. How could he make it look like that’s what happened?     

         There was a ‘thump’ in the kitchen and his heart nearly stopped. Sam pointed his gun at empty air, his hands shaking.

         It took about a minute before he heard it again, a soft banging sound coming from the kitchen. He rose on quivering legs, and slowly headed into the kitchen waving his weapon in front of him. The kitchen was empty. He looked around for anything fallen or out place, but everything seemed untouched.

         Again there was a thump quieter, this time. Sam turned. It was coming from the window. 

         It took him a moment, taking deep breaths, to build up enough courage.

         He went to the window, pulled back the curtains, and caught a glimpse of fluttering grey wings. A little bird had smacked into the window. It danced around like it was stunned on the window sill.

         When it stopped for a moment, Sam’s blood ran cold. The bird was missing its eye among other things, and a colony of ants moved among its feathers still determined to eat the baby bird’s rotten parts.

         And, beyond the bird, out in the darkness, just on the edge of what he could see stood two people staring back at him.
       
         Sam dropped his gun and ran. He skidded to the front the door and locked it, the deadbolt and the chain. Where to go? They were in the front yard, so out the back. He tore through the house, shoving any piece of furniture to get in his way.

         Reaching the other door, he pulled up spotting the cracks near the lock and hinges. He could the shadow of something pacing on the other side. Then, he heard the scraping sound of claws tearing wood, and the whine of an eager animal.

         Sam ran the other way now back through the house with no idea where he was going now. He ran back into the living room where a cold wind blowing in stopped him in his tracks.

         The front door stood wide open.

         He didn’t want to look but something made him do so, making him turn to face them. Anita and Kelly stood in the living room. Anita was little pale and smeared with dirt from her journey back from her new grave but death not had time to anything to her beyond that. She might have been alive again but for the small hole in her chest. Death had not been so kind to her mother. Kelly was a wiry frame of bone held together by just scraps of rancid meat. Her face was mostly still there but it had bloated, most of her hair had fallen out, and whole colonies of critters seemed to have made a home of her cranium. 

         He made a start at the open door but found Button guarding the frame, snarling at him all bare bone amid patches of sickly fur. 

         “You’re A Bad Daddy!” Anita screamed in a shrilly voice and pointed her finger. One queue Button leapt up, pinning Sam against the wall. The dog’s Skeletal paws scratching into chest, its jaws waited half askew and emitting a fearsome noise.   

         Sam opened his mouth but no sounds came out.

         “And, you were a worse husband Sam,” Kelly hissed. “You’re a pathetic, cowardly little thing.” A year in the ground had given her a voice deeper then a man’s, and dirt foamed along her bare gums as she talked, dribbling down what remained of her chin. “But, don’t worry...”

         “I can fix it,” Anita said, and cruel smile crossed his daughter’s lips. “We’re going to be a family again.”


THE END.



copyright 2010 Ryan M. Harris
Ryan M. Harris has granted Jezri's Nightmares non-exclusive right to publish Disturbing Behavior.


The winner of the poetry section of the contest was Victoria Blackwell with her entry, Halloween Spooks and Spirits.  Be sure to check out her blog  here.

Halloween Spooks And Spirits



Witches and ghosts and goblins appear,
as Halloween comes around each year.
They’re seeking and plotting to make you scream,
as if you were in a terrible dream.

Wickedly laughing and stirring their brew,
trying their best to terrify you.
They howl and moan into the night.
You imagine you see them, and feel a fright.

Children go out to trick or treat.
Is it worth all this, for something to eat?
They jump and run at every sound,
chasing each other all around.

Be strong. Be brave. Stay out of sight.
Their time is up, at the stroke of midnight.
For another year, they’ll have to wait,
to once again try and seal your fate.

BOO!!!!
copyright 2010 Victoria Blackwell
Victoria Blackwell has granted Jezri's Nightmares non-exclusive right to publish Halloween Spooks And Spirits.


I hope you enjoyed these two authors as much as I did!  With Christmas coming up, we are all busy, busy, busy but I have a few treats planned for you all this week!  Please be sure to check back and have a Scary Christmas!



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bats and Jack O' Lanterns...Oh my!

Today I am featuring two talented authors that placed 2nd in my Halloween Contest. 

Alisha Kamph is a writer, poet and an English teacher.  When I hosted my Halloween contest in October, she tackled the genre horror and did a spectacular job, placing second with her story, The Inhabitant.  I still get chills thinking about the stories outcome.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, then feel free to check out her port on writing.com.  She's a very talented author!

THE INHABITANT
by Alisha Kamph



She heard it move beneath the stairwell.  It had been a few nights. And, she thought it had moved on, become bored of its surroundings.  Her nights had just become peaceful, welcome again. A pang of fear moved through her stomach, as she accepted the fact that it was, indeed, back.  The dark gray circles would return to her eyes by dawn. The creases on her forehead would continue to deepen with each passing day.

She glanced at the pile of laundry in the corner of her bedroom.

“Three days worth,” she whispered, running her fingers down the empty hangers in her closet.

In two days, she’d be forced to go down there.  With a heavy sigh, she recalled the hours she’d spent upstairs reading romance novels, watching television, and refinishing the doors, time she now wished was spent preparing for its return.  It wasn’t gone.  She knew that, even yesterday.

Bang.  Click, click, click. BANG.


The clicks were metallic. Sharp, heavy, inconsistent, like sheet-metal on sheet-metal in a windstorm.  There wasn’t a single piece of metal in the basement or even a breeze to blame for the horrific racket. 

The basement only had a single window. And, even she didn’t have the key to unlock it.

She entered the kitchen, stepping over the small slit in the floor, where the hardwood had separated over the years.  She’d left the light on downstairs.  It was dim, but she could make out her small wicker basket.  Next to the basket, her favorite pair of faded blue jeans, clean, comfortable, and completely unattainable. 

Bang. Click, click. BANG!She shuttered, sliding a full paint can over the opening. She ran her index finger over its label. “Robin’s Egg Blue,” the perfect trim color to accent her newly painted “Sunshine Yellow” kitchen.

The other rooms weren’t coming along as easily as the kitchen, and she held her breath, for just a moment, as she peeked into the living room.



She fell in love with the house the instant she pulled into its driveway.  It was a small, turn of the century farmhouse.  It hadn’t been occupied in over 15 years.  It was a wreck. But she didn’t notice.  All she saw was home, glowing brightly behind the tattered paint, loose siding, and curled shingles. Even before stepping out the car, she had called her father, excited to tell him that she’d finally found her home.


“Old houses come with all sorts of issues, Dear,” her father lectured. “Remember Ava’s house?”


With genuine sincerity, her father went on to list all the “issues,” which Ava had dealt with over her lifetime:  the plumbing, the wiring, the leaking roof, the sinking foundation…


She had sat, quietly, and listened to her father go on and on.  Although her father’s lecture was all about “money-pit” concerns, she knew that her father was worried about the place being inhabited, like Ava’s house. He’d never admit it, but Ava’s inhabitant created a real concern for his daughter’s safety.


Her father was an electrician by trade, but he’d often do handyman work.  He’d help paint trim, build fences, or unclog drains for the neighbors.  He liked it. He never charged a dime, until after his experience at Ava's house.




Bang. BANG! Click, click, click.

She jumped, nearly spilling the coffee grounds all over the counter.  Her watch read 9:32.  The bangs and clinks were getting louder. And, she knew they’d get bolder throughout the night.  They always got intolerable right before 10 o’clock.


As she flipped the switch on her coffeepot, she became aware of the thin floor beneath her bare feet.  It creaked when she walked and bowed a bit sometimes.  It wouldn’t take much for the noises to bust through the floor and pull her down, a full fifteen feet below. 


“It’s only an animal,” she said bringing her hands on her chest, attempting to slow her heartbeat.  “It has to be a raccoon, or something.”


She knew it wasn’t a raccoon.  That was impossible.


The basement had been cleared out, cleaned up, and checked out.  Her father had inspected it.  He fixed a few bad pipes and sealed up three cracks around the window.  But, the basement was in great shape, considering the age of the home and its neglected condition. Nothing was down there except her washer, her dryer, and her favorite pair of Levis. The stairwell to the basement was under a heavy lid; nothing could’ve entered the basement, not without removing the lid first. 


BANG! BANG! Clink, clink, Clink, clink. BANG!She fumbled with a cup and thought of her father…






“It glided down the stairs, Honey.  It had eyes, but it wasn’t human,” her father had whispered to her mother late one night, after her father had returned from Ava’s house.


Curled up, outside her bedroom, the little girl stayed up, listening to her father’s whole conversation.  Ava claimed she’d been having problems with her wiring, but he couldn’t find anything wrong.


“I’ve damn near re-wired her house. I can’t find a single issue.  I’m beginning to suspect It’s causing her lights to flicker.”




BANG! BANG! Click, click, click. BANG! BANG! BANG!

She leaped out of the kitchen and ran for the bedroom.  She could feel her chest beating into the fabric of her shirt.  Her hands trembled as she reached for her sweatpants.  She put her pajamas on quickly, and tossed her dirty clothes into the pile in the corner.


Her clothes came to a rest, atop the ever-growing pile.  And, immediately, she became enraged.


“I will not be controlled by this Thing.  I have to do laundry for goodness sake,” she yelled towards the living room, grabbing a large candlestick off her headboard.


When she reached the kitchen, she looked at the paint can, for just a moment, before kicking it aside and peering down, through the dim space in the boards.


Nothing.  No movement.  No noise.


Her jeans were still folded up beside the wicker basket, untouched.


She passed through the kitchen and opened a small closet.  The only thing inside the closet was the entrance to the basement. She looked at its lid. 


“You’ve got to sleep.  You’ve got to do laundry,” her rapid heartbeat turned her voice into a cracked whisper.  The candlestick felt slick, under her tightly clenched fingers.


BANG! BANG! Click, click. BANG! BANG! Click.

“You’ve got to sleep and do laundry,” she chanted silently to herself, reaching for the piece of rope attached to the lid.


She held the rope for a few seconds, before pulling up on it.  The lid came off with a small pop.  She slid it aside and looked down onto the dim stairwell.


“You’ve got to sleep.  You’ve got to do laundry.”


Air rushed out of her lungs, in relief.  Ava’s inhabitant didn’t race up the stairwell as she had feared.  Silence.  Everything was in its place: the dryer, the basket, her Levis.


“See, it’s only an animal,” she tried to convince herself.


Her right foot hit the first step with a creak.


Left. Right. Left.


BANG! BANG! Click.

It was directly under her feet.  A pale white face appeared behind her eyelids, as she lost her footing. Her head smacked the railing. The wooden candlestick hit the cool, cement floor with a THUD and rolled into the shadows.


Click, click, click.

When she opened her eyes, she was at the foot of the stairs, next to her wicker basket.  She jumped up with a scream, remembering the pale face she envisioned on her way down.



She desperately searched the floor for her candlestick.  After a few moments, she spotted it.  The dim light reflected slightly off the candlestick’s thick finish.  It was under the stairwell, out of arm's reach.


BANG! BANG! Click, click.

Her back touched the dryer, sending another jolt through her stomach.  She remained still, her eyes fixed on the candlestick.  Her head hurt, and she shook it slightly, trying to regain her wits.  As her eyes slowly adjusted to the dim light, she began to realize the shadow behind the stairwell was moving.





The shadow was shrinking.


She tried to take a step back, but her back was flush with the dryer.  She also heard a low-key shrieking.  The basement was saturated with it.  As her head continued to clear, the shrieking continued to increase.


She turned her head from side to side slowly, trying to identify the origin of the shrieking.  Without even realizing it, she took a step toward the shadow.  And, mid-step, a piece of the shadow darted toward her.


She jumped backward, tripping over the wicker basket, but avoiding her fall by grabbing the dryer.  She quickly ducked her head, just in time to avoid the shadow.


The piece of shadow returned to its darkness under the stairwell.


She reached up and grabbed the single, dim light bulb, dangling from the ceiling above. Slowly, she tilted the bulb toward the shadow.






Oh my gosh," she said, placing a hand over her lips.


The interior wall was bulging with fur and wings.  Bats moved in and out of a loose piece of paneling, scaling the wall around a piece of cooper pipe.  She watched them for a moment.  After a few seconds, she watched a bat squeeze through a small hole near a piece of pipe on the exterior wall and fly straight under the loose paneling.


BANG! BANG! Clink.

 The paneling hit the copper pipe when the bat squeezed itself under it. 



Clink, clink.The thick paneling continued to tap the pipe a few more times, as the other bats resituated themselves.


She grabbed her Levis.  And, as she headed back up the stairwell, she rolled her eyes and thought, “Wait until I tell my father about my Inhabitants.”




copyright20010 Alisha Kamph

BATS!!!! I hate bats!  I have had the misfortune of having to dispose of these creepy creatures twice, and I can tell you, a ghost would have been better. 

Next up is ALL HALLOWS EVE, by Cindy Knapper.  She won 2nd place in the poetry section of my contest!  Enjoy!


ALL HALLOWS EVE
by Cindy Knapper



As evening falls the creatures do creep
Their celebration about to begin
Great jack-o-lantern smiles an evil grin
For All Hallow's Eve they intend to keep
They gather together to have their feast
Werewolves and mummies and thirsty vampires
Howling and screaming and growling transpires
Thousands of dead haunting spirits released
Rank upon rank do the creatures come forth
To make someone scream would be a delight
Trouble and mischief they want to achieve
From the east, the west, the south, and the north   
None want to miss this mysterious night
They've waited all year for this fright'ning eve


  
Copyright 2010 Cindy Knapper

Monday I will be posting the first place winners of the contest, so be sure to check back to read Disturbing Behavior, by Ryan M. Harris and Halloween Spooks and Spirits by  Victoria Blackwell.

Have a great day!

Cindy and Alisha have granted Jezri's Nightmares non-exclusive rights to publish The Inhabitant and All Hallows Eve.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Twitter and Contests


Do you twitter?  If you do, you are aware that a tweet is a
 string of words, no longer than 140 characters, including
spaces and punctuations.  I have discovered that creating a
 one line story can be fun and creative, since you have to
pack so much into one little space.  Some tweets can be
strung together to create a longer story.  I enjoy reading
some of the tweets that those I follow have come up with.

One twitter friend is hosting a contest on his blog,http://thewritingbomb.blogspot.com/   He is asking writers to enter a series of tweets, no less than three and no more than five, to create a story.  The deadline is December 25th.  The prize is a free book cover design.  If you are working on a book or have one ready, this could be a good prize for you.  And even if you don’t win, the fun is in the writing.  I had a blast coming up with the following tweets.
Santa Hates Zombies


News Flash: If you are a zombie, vampire, mummy, or
 anything undead and ruining Christmas for all children,
beware! Santa is pissed!



Since the zombie invasion, the world has been overrun by
the undead, however, Santa has decided, enough is enough
and is out for zombie ass.

The once jolly fat man has trained his army of elves to take
 care of this un-dead invasion, that he says, is NOT in the
spirit of Christmas.

This exclusive footage shows Santa dropping a gang of
zombies as they invade one home. There will be no brains
for them tonight.

One by one, Santa chopped off the heads of the zombie’s,
who thought they would have a sweet Christmas treat of
Little Janie Sue’s head.

So, now that you know about the contest, what are you
waiting for?  Get out there and start tweeting!

Speaking of contests, this past October, I hosted a contest
of my own. The winners have been announced.  Yesterday I
Listed two of the runner ups for the story contest and the
Poetry contest.  Tomorrow I will be posting the 2nd place
winners of both.

I believe you will enjoy reading The Inhabitant, by  Alisha
Kamph and All Hallows Eve, by Cindy Knapper.  Check back
tomorrow!  You won't be sorry that you did.

 
 
 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Asylum and Working Man's Woe


In October, I hosted a contest for stories and poetry, designed to scare.  Today, I am featuring two of the winners,  R.C. Wilcox, who was the 3rd runner up in the story section of the contest, with her entry, The Asylum and  Cyle Craig, with his poetry entry, Eternal Man's Woe, which placed 3rd in poetry. 

One of the things I love about reading other authors work, is it gives me a chance to see what else is out there in horror.  The Asylum is the first and only story in R.C. Wilcox's portfolio.  I look forward to reading more of her work, as she pens the worlds she creates into existance.

Cyle Craig was also a new read to me, although his port is a little more full.  I look forward to reading more of his stories and poems.  I hope everyone looks these two talents up and rain a little encouragement on them. 


Now, on to the show. ;-)



THE ASYLUM
by R.C. Wilcox


                 The keepers dragged me by my arms to my cell. A sickly rat scuttled across the floor with a menacing expression upon its whiskered face, although the caretakers either didn’t notice or didn’t care. This was my new home. I sat upon the grubby floor and looked at the gruesome details of the cell. Every inch was filthy, and the details of this I was unwilling to explore. The room itself was fairly small, and I knew that I would soon be packed in with twenty-nine other girls, which explained the excessive grime that covered nearly everything.
                I could hardly endure being in the room, and I knew that the conditions would worsen once the others returned- for the moment, they were being… ‘treated’. I had heard rumors of these supposed treatments back home, but no one had truly believed the extremity to which the surgeons allegedly operated. Sitting in the dark now, hearing the patients’ screams, I knew the rumors had not been misleading- and I was sure to never leave the asylum alive.

~~~
         I was awakened by the doctors at 4 o’clock for the day’s torture, along with my new roommates. I was given no notice by the other girls- who, although had walked into the asylum sane but under false pretenses like myself, were now either insane or scared senseless.  Having been excused from the operations on the day before, out of sheer mercy I presume, I had no idea what lay ahead.


         I was soon strapped to a table, where the illiterate doctor proceeded to maim and torture every inch of my body, on the pretense of mental treatment. No form of anesthesia had been given to me prior to the operation, and I surely would have fainted from pain, except that pain was the very thing that kept me from doing so. In this condition, I felt every scrape, poke, jab, and slice that was performed with the rusty and unsterilized instruments. I now understood fully the anguish which had led to the other patients’ loss of sanity, although at this point I had little reason to contemplate it.

         At some point, the surgeon stopped what he was doing, and I prayed that it was over, but after a short time there was a phlebotomist standing over me, fully equipped with a jar of leeches for purging. I could feel every ounce of blood as it was being sucked from my body by the hideous creatures. I began to feel light-headed and weak from the blood loss, and I was finally blessed with unconsciousness.
~~~
Back in the cell, I became acutely aware of each patient and the wounds they had received. I recognized the points where the leeches had been placed and the jagged edges of wounds inflicted with blunt scalpels. I noticed the rotting corpses of plague rats in the corners, which no one had bothered to move or dispose of, and knew that this was how I would probably end up. These thoughts sickened me, and I tried to escape them with sleep, but I found myself haunted by the echoes of screams.

~~~
         This same process occurred every single day for months on end. The other patients were beyond communication, and I soon began to realize how very alone I was in this dreadful place. “Perhaps death is the only way to escape…” I thought aloud.
“Perhaps. But perhaps you really belong here, Mad Girl.” A chill ran up my spine as I looked around for the owner of the voice. But, of course it was impossible that it was a patient- the voice was distinctly male.
“The one that belongs here must be you,” I mused, “For only the Mad would bother with a woman’s thoughts.” I continued to scrutinize the dark room and hoped that I had distracted him enough to find where he was. But he sounded so close…
“You won’t find me, Lucy,” here the voice chuckled mockingly “You were very close in your guess, however. I am not mad, but Madness itself.”
What an impetuous and arrogant voice- what a rude voice! “Do not taunt me, egotistical man.” Surely no one but the patients were in the room- I had looked everywhere! There was no way in or out besides the locked door… the Voice must have been telling the truth- Madness, in my head… I drifted off to sleep.
~~~
With my new friend, Madness, by my side, the days went by in a blur. One day however, the surgeons and doctors were in a flurry of excitement over their new toy- an electric shock machine, and naturally, they couldn’t wait to test it out on their captive patients. I was one of the first to experience it- and because they did not know how to use it yet, the turned the voltage on the lowest, most slow and torturous level.
I sat with that mechanism on my pressure points and head for three straight hours. This procedure in itself was maddening, but what pushed me over the edge was the fact that the doctors, surgeons, and keepers hovered around me, laughing at my suffering- but once again, unconsciousness rescued me.
~~~
         As usual, I awoke in the cell, and this time it was simply impossible for me to sleep. I heard a loud and monotonous buzz inside my skull, and I realized that I was shrieking. Any possible form of respite evaded me, Madness was nowhere to be found, and I remained conscious and screaming throughout the night.
~~~
       
The next morning came against my will and the doctors soon dragged me off, away from the others. I was again strapped to a table, but this time it was in a real operating room.


“Hello again, Mad Girl.” The familiar voice was anything but comforting at that moment. No, it’s his fault I’m here- his fault I am who I am. I ignored him and tried to hear what the doctors were saying through the drone which remained in my head, and I soon discovered what the fuss was about- frontal lobotomy. They were planning on making me placid and worthless- this was no doubt a decision made due to the screeches I had been making the previous night.

         This thought in itself had me feeling lightheaded, and I knew that I could not let myself fall into an incompetent state- I would never escape. I attempted to pull at the straps but they were cinched tightly- I looked around for a tool I might use and finally set my eyes on a scalpel that was on a counter near the operating table. The instrument was only a few inches from my grasp- tantalizingly close- and I stretched my arm to its full extent. It was barely an inch out of reach- I continued to stretch, and finally, I got my fingers around it. I spun it around so the sharper end was near the straps, and I started sawing at my restraints.

I was soon free, and I looked for the most advantageous exit. I was still a bit woozy from being so close to life-long emptiness, so I stumbled over to the closest door. There was a bizarre odor emanating from behind it, but I knew that this was my only chance. I swung the door open and saw that it was a cellar- every inch of which was filled with rotting corpses. I gagged and felt acid rise in my throat, but still I searched for an exit. I saw a few of my roommates, but this didn’t surprise me. How could the asylum possibly continue to torture and murder women if dead bodies kept turning up? Of course they had to be kept… I still looked for an exit, but then, in the corner, I saw my own body- a maimed corpse, putrid and terrifying.



Copyright 2010 R.C Wilcox
R.C.Wilcox has granted Jezri's Nightmares non-exclusive rights to publish The Asylum.





 Eternal Man's Woe


The velvet dress that caught the woman's feet
made easy prey, and short work of the game;
her smoldering eyes turned dim and then she said,
"No lives you take will return your lost soul."

I mourned for countless nights upon the sea
of life that long ago abandoned me.
They screamed and ran through labyrinths I've long known,
as likely to live as I was to die.
I turn away, their eyes too much to bear;
a window to my soul that burns in hell.

copyright 2010 Cyle Craig
Cyle Craig has granted Jezri's Nightmares non-exclusive rights to publish Eternal Man's Woe


 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Real Life Horror: Child Abuse


REAL LIFE


 HORROR: CHILD ABUSE


A while back I found out three little girls that I knew, had been victims of child abuse, by their mother and their mother’s boyfriend. I don’t know all the details, there are details there I don’t want to know about, but basically, not only was there physical abuse, there was sexual abuse as well.
When I found all this out, I was horrified. I knew the mother and had no respect for her to start off with. She was neglectful, this I knew, but I had no idea there was any physical abuse going on. I think everyone that had been involved in these girls’ lives, were shocked when they found out. What is even more shocking though is that with all that these children have been through, there is a possibility that they mother may get them back someday.

When I first heard that, I thought, no, there’s no way that any agency that is there to protect children, will give this woman the chance to abuse them all over again. It’s not as though she can claim she had no idea that they were being abused. There were, to my understanding, pictures, depicting some of the abuse. There were also drugs on the premises, which apparently were at times forced on the children.
But the facts are, children that are taken from their parents for their protection, are returned, often with devastating results.
A lot of this is attributed to overworked and understaffed caseworkers and a program, family preservation.  The idea is to aid troubled families, supplying them with recourses and education to help prevent any further abuse.  When talking to a welfare agent about a child I knew, he told me the goal is ALWAYS to try and keep the family together.  The problem with that theory is, it doesn’t work.  That’s not to say that there aren’t cases where a parent that is overwhelmed, can’t be helped.  But often time’s children are removed, and then returned, only to result in the death of the child. In some cases, the child may not have been removed at all, but ‘monitored’ by CPS.  This is outrageous.   Below are some links to children that could have lived, if they had either been taken from the home, or not returned to an already abusive parent.



Eliza  Returned to abuser
Rolando  Returned to abuser
Karen  Returned to abuser

Christopher  This case was devestating to me, because the

 child killed was known by my youngest daughter. 

Christopher's abuser was my daughter's brother's step

father. Noah lived in the home and witnessed the

abuse. The step-father had a record that involved some kind

 of child abuse.

Shavon  Returned to abuser

According to http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics,

almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse.

 More than three out of four are under the age of 4 and that

 it is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to

 maltreatment are not recorded as such on death

certificates.


This link will provide you with some Signs Of Child Abuse
Emotional 
  • A child who is apathetic (just doesn't care).
  • A child who suffers from depression.
  • A child who won't take part in play or school activities.
  • A child who is often hostile or aggressive.
  • A child with a loss of appetite.
  • A child who compulsively overeats
Neglect
  • Any of the signs above.
  • A child who is hungry much of the time.
  • A child wandering outdoors unsupervised.
  • A child unsuitably dressed for the weather.
  • A child who is continually dirty or wearing the same soiled clothes.
  • A child who shows up early or stays late at school.
Physical
  • Bruises or welts shaped like an object (belt buckle or electric cord).
  • Bruises in unusual places (back, eyes, mouth, buttocks, genital areas, thighs, calves).
  • Layers of different colored bruises in the same general area.
  • "Sock" or "glove" burns on feet or hands or doughnut shaped burns on buttocks (from forcing the child into hot water).
  • Small round burns from cigarettes.
  • Burns in the shape of an object (iron, fireplace tool, or heater).
  • Rope burns on ankles, wrists, or torso.
  • Adult sized bite marks.
  • Suspicious fractures (doctors and nurses are trained to recognize these).
Sexual
  • Withdrawal or anti-social attitude.
  • Refusal to undress for physical education or sports.
  • Exaggerated interest in sex or "acting out" sex with other children.
  • Unusually seductive behavior.
  • Fear of intimate contact (hugging or sports)
  • Torn, stained, or bloodied clothing.

Of course, we can’t lay all the blame at the feet of CPA or any

other agency that has failed to protect children.  As neighbors,

 friends, teachers and innocent bystanders, it is our duty to see

that the children in our communities are protected.  When we

witness child abuse, or even suspect it, we can’t just ‘mind our

own business’, because it is our business.  Also, hold agencies

accountable!  When they fail to protect a child, demand that they

be responsible for their actions. We, as tax payers, are their

employers.  We have the power, through electing state and local

officials that will defend our children.  Get involved in social

programs that can help!

 In my friend’s case, she babysat these children, she knew they

were being neglected and she tried time after time to get

someone to do something about it.  No one did.  When the

mother’s home was eventually raided and everything came to

light, she offered to testify against the mother.  Of course that

outraged the woman, who threatened my friends life…not

surprising considering how she treated children.  My friend stood

her ground and at the moment, the children are in a good and

loving home.  Hopefully it stays that way.


Ten Things You Can Do Instead of Hitting A Child






 

  1. Take a deep breath. Take a few more. Remember, you are the adult.
  2. Close your eyes and imagine you are hearing what your child is about to hear, or receiving the same punishment.
  3. Press your lips together and count to 20.
  4. Put the child in a "time-out" chair for a number of minutes. The rule is one minute for each year of age.
  5. Put yourself in a "time-out" chair. Are you really angry at the child or is it something else.
  6. Call a friend to talk about it. If you need to, dial 1-800-4-A-CHILD (National Child Abuse Hotline).
  7. If someone can watch the children, go out for a walk.
  8. Take a hot bath or splash cold water on your face.
  9. Turn on some music. Sing along if you want.
  10. Pick up a pencil and write down a list of helpful words, not words that will hurt. Save the list. Use these words.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Real Life Horror




Sometimes, life gives us an example of real life horror.  Several years ago there was a drug raid on a home in the town I live in.  There were drugs in the house, so there is no doubt that the police were in the right to be there.  What was brought into question over the weeks to follow was whether or not it was handled correctly.  You see, there were also children in the home.  The police say they didn't know, though there were toys on the porch.  When they came in, dogs attacked them and shots were fired.  They yelled for people to get down.  The young mother of the children didn't and when she peaked around the corner, while holding her child in her arms, she was shot.  Her baby lost a finger, she lost her life and innocent children were without a mother.

Of course a lot of blame was passed around.  The police should have come during the day, the cop that fired was wreckless...  The mother should have gotten down on the ground, she should have not had her children in the house, etc, etc. It was a bitter battle in court.

One saturday a man, Jesse Lowe, launched a campaine, when he stood alone on a corner, holding a sign that simply read, Drugs Bring Death.  His campaine has swept the nation.  Truely, that is where the blame lies, with the drug and the more awareness that is brought to light, the more we can help free those that suffer from the addiction.

I wrote the following poem and donated it to the campaine. 


copywrite 2010 Lisa McCourt Hollar 
No Reason For Living

My pain and my suffering
Brought you great joy,
My heart just a trinket,
A bauble, a toy.

Kicked in the side,
Disrespected, abused.
An object of ridicule
To keep you amused.

I gave you my love,
My life and my soul
You threw it right back,
Leaving a hole.

Misery loves company,
But I am alone,
Beaten and bruised,
From the pain you have sown.

Shattered and broken,
Stained and misused,
No longer your toy
No longer abused.


No reason for living,
No will to go on,
No hope for the future,
No longer your pawn.

Now as I lie here
In the grave you have dug,
Waiting to end,
My life as your rug,

I remember your names,
You have many I know.
Alcohol, nicotene
Crack, speed, and blow.

I’ve known you intimately,
We’ve had some good times,
But those were a ruse,
While you fed me your lines.

I now know the truth,
Though I learned it too late,
I can’t turn back time,
I’ve accepted my fate.

But others I’ll warn,
Not to follow my road,
It all ends the same,
No matter the load.

Whether it’s cocaine,
Ecstasy or meth,
It all ends the same,
DRUGS BRING DEATH.