Sacrifices by @AlexChaseWriter @CoffinHop 2013


Hello Travelers,

This is a very short piece that I wrote for a contest once. I didn’t win, much to my disappointment, but I’m still pleased with it. Enjoy!

#

The front door slams open, then shut, and I hear heavy, rapid footfalls going up stairs. Damn, I think, looking at the stove, turning the flame down low so that I don’t turn chicken cutlets into charcoal cutlets. I turn on the hot water so it blasts over the carving knife as I dart upstairs, moving past the empty couch that still bears the impression of our father, and find Sandra in her room.

“Hey, Sand,” I poke my head through the door. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” she chokes out as shimmering pearls roll down her cherubic fourteen-year-old cheeks and splash down on the rosary necklace our father gave her.

“There’s no lyin’ to me, Sand. Somethin’s up. Tell me?”

Giant amber eyes fix on me, trapping me like a mosquito. She jolts forward and wraps her arms around me.

“M-m-mommy’s gone to re-re-re…” I know this already, of course. I’m the one who talked our mother into it. But Sandra doesn’t need to know what I’ve done.

“Re what, kiddo?”

“Rehab,” she sobs, clutching me tighter. “Why would she do that? Why would she leave us all alone with Daddy?”

“Aw, Sand,” I pull away, looking into her eyes so she focuses on something immediate, something other than our mom. “Sometimes, people do crazy things for those they love. It might mean they have to go away for a while, but it doesn’t change how they feel about you. Things will be better this way, ok?”

She sniffs, nodding vigorously.

“Come on, I’ve got dinner goin’. Maybe you can recite your monologue for me while I get it settled? I always love hearing your perform.”

I don’t really want to hear it again, but hey, that’s what big brothers are for. I graduated last year, so I have plenty of time to do what I want. Well, I used to. I’m not going to have much more.

We make our way into the kitchen and she’s already half-way through a piece from A Streetcar Named Desire. She’s damn good. The girl’s Broadway-bound, even if she doesn’t know it yet. I hope I can go to her plays one day.

She’s just about done when I take the pie out of the oven. Her eyes shoot open as her nostrils flare, breaths coming in quick little bursts.

“Oh! Like Auntie Ruth’s!”

I grin and nod. She doesn’t need to know her aunt’s “secret recipe” is a store-bought mix. We spent a lot of long weekends at Aunt Ruth’s, and I’m not about to spoil those happy memories. An excited look spreads over her face, but it falls as she glances towards the door.

“Do you think Daddy will be home soon?”

No, no I don’t. “Maybe, but let’s eat. He… might be late.” A seat scrapes up to the table as I deliver a steaming plate to her.

“Do… do you think he’ll be angry again?” I’d gotten used to his volcanic temperance, but Sandra… she still had hope in her eyes, a touch of innocence in her mocha-colored face. If there’s one thing worth saving in this world, it’s whatever’s left of her childhood.

“I don’t know, Sand.” I try not to think about last night, when, for the umpteenth time, I cradled her head against my chest and covered her ears, or this morning, when I had to jump through hoops to keep her from seeing our mom’s bruises. I shake my head, jerking myself into the present, and point to her plate saying, “Eat your Brussels sprouts.”

She obliges, and I look at the cross above the doorway, wondering how God can say he loves all his children when, apparently, he has seven billion. My thinking is, once in a while, he misses somebody.

I hear a knock at the door, but I already know who it is. Motioning for Sandra to stay put, I walk to the door and open it.

“Evening, officers,” I say, keeping my solemn voice low.

“Mark Henderson?”

I nod. “Can I say goodbye to my sister?”

They nod, but follow me. Sandra’s watching from the kitchen doorway.

“What’s going on?”

“Sand, just… just listen. You’re gonna’ live with Aunt Ruth, I already packed your bags. This… this is for the best, ok?”

We hug, and she whimpers a bit as I pull away. I want to explain, but I can’t. Because sometimes, we do crazy things for the people we love, and she doesn’t need to know what I’ve done.

***

Walk with me from October 24-31 as I post some of my work in honor of Coffin Hop 2013. Some of this is quite old, some of it not–guess which is which, Traveler. Perhaps a right answer will earn a stroke of fortune for you…

For this tour, I’ll be giving away one signed anthology in which a story of mine has been featured. Which anthology is up to the winner. Keep in mind, I reserve the right to award additional gifts as per Coffin Hop rules. Who knows–if I get a lot of hits, you might see a lot of rewards in the future. Be sure to click the badge at the side of my page and visit the other Hoppers!

Better than Ever by @AlexChaseWriter @CoffinHop 2013


Hello Travelers,

For this one, I won’t tell you when I wrote it. Those who know my writing well enough should have an advantage, but let’s see if you can guess in the comment section. I’ll confirm soon enough who’s right… but until then, enjoy this most recent tale.

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Vincent checked Penelope’s restraints, ensuring she wouldn’t thrash about and hurt herself. She was nude, but didn’t seem to mind. A fierceness radiated from her though it was a stark contrast to her withered, pale body.

“This process is going to hurt, do you understand that?”

She shot him a glare. “I know. I’m willing to take that risk. The benefits…”

“I know, they are tempting, but if you have even the slightest doubt, the entire process could fail.”

“Tempting?” She laughed, “don’t sell yourself short… you… if what you said is true, then you could turn a sick little wretch like me into a god.”

“You wouldn’t be a god, Penelope,” he chided, “and if successful you must take care not to let your superior state inflate your ego.”

“Don’t worry, I’m not the type to go power-crazy. I was a CEO in a Fortune 500 company before my final diagnosis, remember?”

“Yes, I’ve seen your file. That’s why I chose you.”

“Because I was a CEO? Isn’t that elitist?” She chuckled, “like I care either way.”

“No, because you have such a conglomerate of conditions that to heal them all through this process would be undeniable proof of its success. Now, if you don’t mind, we must get started.”

“Go ahead, Professor.”

Vincent stepped out of the test chamber and made his way to the sealed monitoring room. It had a wide, shatter-proof window through which he could observe the entire process. He began flipping a few switches. After his computer began displaying Penelope’s vitals, he pressed a nearby button.

The ceiling opened up, metal pieces separating and revealing a device the size of a small car. It was adorned with a series of lasers mean to manipulate her body on a genetic level.

The smaller lasers emitted a variety of colors that began etching their way across her skin. Her heart began to race as she began to twitch and contort herself. Other monitors showed Penelope in closer detail. Her mouth was set in a hard line; sweat broke out upon her brow.

Even if she hadn’t been moving, it would have been easy to see the changes her body was going through. Muscle began to bulge and return to a healthy size. Her skin blushed. Her mouth was no longer a white line but plump and pink. Vincent thumbed through her file to a picture from 2006, before she began her chemotherapy. Penelope was beginning to look like that young, healthy self again.

Seeing the machine was reaching the peak of the alterations, he reached over and flicked two adjacent switches.

Three scythe-like portions extended down from the center of the machine. A thin tube emerged from the center of these blades as they began to spin. They began whirling, making a circle above Penelope. Thin blue arcs of electricity began dancing between the blades and the main portion of the machine.

A brilliant white ray shot from the center tube and down into Penelope’s abdomen.

Penelope screamed, thrashing against her bonds. “Let me out! What are you doing to me?” Her agony reverberated off the steel walls, prompting Vincent to look with more care at the monitors.

Penelope’s muscles were seething and shaking beneath her skin. They were twice the size they’d been a few moments ago. Her skin was beginning to tear apart, blood spurting from the open wounds. The more delicate microphones could register her bones breaking beneath the strain of her growth.

Vincent began cursing himself for not building an emergency deactivation protocol. There was nothing he could do. He watched as bone spurs grew through her body, jutting out from her torso, her limbs, even her neck. Blood poured down her arms and legs. Penelope struggled to free herself, managing to slip her hands from her bonds, but she had grown at such a rate that she couldn’t

She was steadily growing taller, but Vincent knew this could not last. Her chest began breaking open, her ribs parting to expose her racing heart. Vincent blanched as her heart burst, showering the machine in blood. She reached up towards the racing machine, shaking as the remainder of her blood gushed to the ground.

The spinning blades dug into her tormented flesh, tearing it to ribbons. It pulled her entire body off of the table, shredding it and flinging the pieces across the room. Her skull was thrown into the observation window with such force that a series of thin cracks twisted away from the impact.

Vincent gaped, eyes wide as the shrill whine of the heart rate monitor rubbed in the atrocity he’d committed. His hands experienced violent tremors as he reached for some nearby switches. He deactivated his monitors and sent the machine back into its storage area in the ceiling.

With the whine silenced, Vincent noticed the slithering. It was a thin, fleshy sound that made his skin crawl. Looking about the test chamber, he saw every individual scrap of scattered flesh forcing their way up a wall and into an air vent. He turned and raced for the door. Bleeding scraps of muscle had clamped the door shut.

Vincent fell back against his machines as Penelope reassembled in front of him. Torn muscle clung to severed sinews. Her organs were missing; it was easy to see this, as Penelope’s skin had been left behind. He had a growing realization that she didn’t need her skin anymore.

The macabre woman glided towards Vincent, reaching out her hand. It extended from her body, stretching across the room to caress his face. As she did this, he felt her force the hand down his throat and begin to tear him apart from the inside. He gagged as he felt her acidic flesh sliding across his tongue.

Vincent stared into her bulging eyes during his last moment. A lipless smile danced across Penelope’s face. “What did you say about not becoming a God?”

***

Walk with me from October 24-31 as I post some of my work in honor of Coffin Hop 2013. Some of this is quite old, some of it not–guess which is which, Traveler. Perhaps a right answer will earn a stroke of fortune for you…

For this tour, I’ll be giving away one signed anthology in which a story of mine has been featured. Which anthology is up to the winner. Keep in mind, I reserve the right to award additional gifts as per Coffin Hop rules. Who knows–if I get a lot of hits, you might see a lot of rewards in the future. Be sure to click the badge at the side of my page and visit the other Hoppers!

Damned Words 2


Hello Travelers,

A few days ago, my favorite group of horror writers, Pen of the Damned, released a collaborative post featuring several very short poems or stories by some of their members. It’s like getting free literature wholesale! Be sure to visit, subscribe, and thank The Damned for their generosity.

Damned Words 2.

At the bottom of the staircase, by @moondustwriter #flashfiction #children


Hello, Travelers,

Again, I apologize for my blog being bereft of posts, as of late, but I am delighted to break the virtual silence with a flash fiction piece of horror written by Moon Dust Writer- and a piece for children, no less!

While I give due credit to R. L. Stein, I cannot help (as I have since I was very young) that the industry does not have enough dark literature for children. Perhaps this talented writer will be the one to change that?

At the bottom of the staircase #flashfiction #children.