On The Road

The road stretched before our car, thumping under all four tires. All around us desert and mountains stretched for miles.

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” I thought and loved it. This was my favorite part of our family road trip. It meant that we had finally left our home state and were now plunging headlong into a new adventure.

“Honey,” my mother said from the front seat to my father, “Pay attention to the road, you’re drifting.”

I smiled as my father nodded and pointed the front of his hat to the windshield. He loved this part of the journey as well, I could tell. The car always wandered between the white broken lines on the road.

My two siblings slept, their bodies fidgeting with dreams. I sighed and looked out the window again. We were traveling up the pass, and hills were transforming into mountains.

And that was when it happened. The rumble of an engine shifting gears from behind. It was a comforting sound, one that I had been listening to the entire trip. From behind us, an engine roared and a rusted bumper came into my view.  The car swayed to the right shoulder and mom cried out.

“Richard! Pay attention! You’re going to get us killed!”

We all jumped in our seats and I almost looked away from the passing truck. It was covered in dust, it’s paint job having long since rusted out. Stained windows reflected bug smears and even more dirt. But for a moment the sun disappeared behind the roof of the cab.

I stopped squinting and looked into through the window. An aged man gripped a slightly bent steering wheel. A cigarette was clamped firmly between gnarled lips. He was bawled, with skin the same dusty worn color as his truck. He stared resolutely out the windshield ignoring our car.

Next to him sat a younger person. I could tell because they were shorter and had smooth white skin. Bib overalls hung loose, over skinny shoulders that sat hunched down in their seat. I felt a chill run to my bones as I watched a ragged towel bounce over the child’s head.

It wasn’t right. The cloth laid over the kid’s face as if hiding the child from view. I only saw the pair for a total of five seconds, while my mother continued to scold my father. But time stopped for me. I saw a rigid back, etched with terror. The kid sat stalks still, unmoved by car nor bumpy road.

I knew, deep in my heart this was wrong, it was all wrong. The light from the late afternoon sun wasn’t even on the kids face, so why would they need it to be covered.

I opened my mouth to say something, but the engine of the truck revved even more and before I could get anything out the truck was gone down the road.

Our car was slowing down. Broken from the trance I looked around and realized we were pulling off to a rest top. Ahead of us, the old truck disappeared into the mountains.

-M.E. InkOwl

Death By Anticipation

“I’m gonna give you till the count of three.” The man screamed, spittle flying out of his mouth. His eyes were bloodshot, beard covered in spit, vomit, and heaven only knows what else. Beyond us, sand drifted in the morning light kicked up by the revving truck before us.

“What have we done?” One of us asks, as calmly as possible.

Expletives fly from his mouth as it twists with rage.

We’re going to die.” I thought, feeling my feet go numb.

“You stole my ATV! You stole it! I know it! And now you all are going to pay.” He waved the gun in our faces, black muzzle glinting before our noses.

He pointed the gun to the side of the dirt road, motioning us over, “Now line up over there! Now! Don’t ask questions just do it!”

I’m never going to see my family again.” Was all my mind could think.

We stepped over to the sagebrush covered hill.

“Honey,” said a woman’s voice from the cab of the truck, “I think you have the wrong guys, they’re just kids.”

“Shut up, woman. I know what I’m doing.” The man screamed. He stepped closer, a waft of alcohol blew from his twisting mouth.

“What is this guy on? He’s chewing up the inside of his mouth.” Even as I thought this he spit to the side, blood spattering the sand at our feet.

The man squared his shoulders, and spoke with in a dangerous whisper, “Alright.  You’re all going to tell me where you’ve been tonight, and then you’re going to show me the bottom of your feet.”

“What?’ Another of asked, bewildered and terrified.

“Show me your feet!” He screamed, stepping right up to us, all but shoving the barrel of his handgun up our noses.

We’re dead.” I thought, lifting my foot towards the man.

A look came over his face, making us pull back as one.

Then he screamed.

-M.E. InkOwl

By The River Running

Don’t you understand honey?” She said, trying to sound helpful. “They’re taking it all down all of it all the trees the river the forest, they’re already bulldozing it down.”

I ran, bushes and leaves slapping against my legs. A bird took flight from its hiding place, calling out with an ugly voice.

Raven.” My mind stated as the black wings disappeared beyond a stand of trees.

Behind me my grandmother’s apartment shrank behind the usual hedges of scrub oak and lilac.

I ran on, heedless of the noise and destruction I was causing. The trail wound it’s way up and over a small hill. For a flash I could see the green tops of trees leading off into the distance, ending in a long line of roofs

My thoughts returned back to what my mother had said, “It doesn’t matter anyway, Michael, Grandma is moving somewhere else, a better place.”

“But what’s better than this place?” I growled between taught jaws. It wasn’t fair. None of it was, especially for grandma. She was different, always had been. But now they were taking her away from this, from her home where it was safe to be different.

I continued on, now slowing my pace, daring someone to catch up with me pull me back inside.

As trees passed me I again heard my parent’s voice. “Now Michael it’s alright, this move will be good for grandma, they’ll take good care of her.”

Ahead of me some vines hung low over the path and I swung out at them, dashing greenery aside.

Why move from here? It’s perfect for Grandma. She doesn’t-” Thoughts suddenly derailedmy steps faultered and I tripped, almost sprawling head first into a bubbling stream.

I stopped for a moment, realizing just how deeply I was breathing, ears burning in my eyes. But the silence was too complete, my ears rang from it.

Something was not right. I stopped and scanned the forest where I stood. Large trees spread wide overhead, while the elevated path I stood on made up the river bank. Everything was normal, everything except. . .

Something swung in the gentle breeze, lazily circling in and out of view. It looked like a woven basket.

I walked up to the grizzled bush and pulled vines away. Something large swung out toward me and I leapt back in shock.

“What the?” I said, feeling my stomach twist. A woven form half the size of my body hung from a tree. Vines wrapped around most of its twisted limbs securing it to one side.

“Are you some kind of voodoo doll?” I asked, realizing that if a reply came from the woven form I’d most likely need to change my pants. There was no answer, just the sound of vines rubbing on branch. My attention focused beyond the vine. My eyes went wide. Nothing could prepare me for what I saw beyond the swinging form.

A small clearing sat to one side of the stream and path. A makeshift leanto sat between two trees, various objects and trash lay scattered about the space.

A fowl smell of rotten trash filled the air, making my neck tingle.

Maybe it’s a homeless person’s home.” I thought, trying not to panic.

Wind blew through the clearing picking up leave and trash, and throwing fetted air into my face.

I coughed and gagged, covering my nose and looked around. That what when I saw it, saw them. Dozens and dozens of twisted woven forms hung from the trees, swinging the wind. Their knobbled forms tossing this way that, faceless heads turning to look at an intruder, at me.

Dread fell upon me like thick oil. I did the only thing I could, I ran.

And I never looked back.

-M.E. InkOwl

Sinister Countdown Finale

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I had planned on posting several fictional stories and poems, but some unforeseen events have altered my plans. Please, bear with me as I share so much more than fictional accounts of sinister proportions. I intend to thrill you, horrify you, and terrorize you with true stories from my own life that haunt me to this day. Some will be gory, others bizarre, and still other’s will bend your perception of reality as you see it. Now allow me to pull you into my mind’s eye. Sit back, do anything but relax, and prepare yourselves for this year’s Sinister Countdown Finale.

-M.E. InkOwl

Eyes Closed Tight

Darkness fell outside my bedroom. I watched as lines of lamplight stretched across the walls of my room, throwing bizarre shadows into every corner.

“Good night.” Said, mom, as she kissed our foreheads. My brother and I murmured our love into the night as sleep filled our consciousness. Our lamp glowed red, giving off the calms scent of lavender.

From the top bunk, I surveyed our small room with ease. My eyes felt heavy as I watched the shadow of my toy against the glowing diffuser. Red light outlined the gaping visage of a dragon, my dragon, with great leathery bat wings and a green scaley body. It had been a Christmas present from the year before and I loved it.

As I drifted off to sleep, my mind registered movement within the room. I thought it was mom opening the door to check on us, but the door was closed tight. Again a flicker of movement caught my eye and I slowly looked around. I was getting tired.

There! The toy dragon swayed back and forward against the diffuser as if nudged into action by someone’s hand.

“But who’s hand would be doing that?” I thought, my consciousness giving way to subconscious control. A prickle of fear ran down my spine as I registered that something was amiss. But my mind was too slow, too sleepy.

The dragon moved again, black against red. And I watched as a large finger pushed the toy to the floor. It thumped against the carpet, breaking the soft silence.

We’re not alone here.” My mind said, but no panic came. No feelings stirred within my slumbering body. Below me, my brother snorted and rolled over in his bed.

A shadow moved against the lines of light on my wall. With it came a sickening smell of sweet candy and old leaves. I wanted to sit straight up and call for my mom, but my body didn’t move. I just laid there, watching with heavy-lidded eyes.

The shadow moved across my room. It was huge, reaching up to the vaulted ceiling of my room. Long arms stretched out towards our bunk beds, fingers grasping wide. I saw what could only be reindeer landers extending from a head covered in long clumpy hair.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to throw myself off the edge of my bed and turn on the light. But nothing happened. I couldn’t move.

Lavender rolled out across my senses, choking off all ability to rise to the threat now standing beside my bed. Red reflected light glowed in bizarre black eyes. They stared down at me, malic glinting within their depths. I felt titanic hands press me down into my bed, suffocating my person, without covering my mouth.

A thought struck me, as calm as talking a walk in the daylight hours. Those reflective black eyes were set too low, almost were where the chin should be. Again I tried to scream, as a gleaming mouth opened wide in a sinister grin. A grin that spanned the forehead of the beast by my bed. Another scream rose below the one that couldn’t get out. Both turned to a gigantic yawn that matched the open visage before me. My vision dimmed to darkness as I closed my eyes to sleep.

Above me, the upside down face grinned  at me as I fell into unconsciousness.

-M.E. InkOwl

 

Nonus Naeniam

Gleeful are we, three sisters of darkness,

Come dancing now to thee.

The signs are crushed, and wards are broken,

Draw near our time has come.

For now, we have, the Greenwitch fair,

Far innocent that was hoped for.

And now with her, the dying begins,

Our mission here is ending.

Come forth from wells deepest sprung,

This world awaits consuming.

We spill our powers upon the ground,

Your shadow now forthcoming.

-M.E. InkOwl

Chip, Crack, Crash

Chip, crack, crash.

We break the ice, jagged and clear.

Washing our hands from blood through the years.

Chip, crack, crash.

Our work here will never be done.

Eternal frost and broken bones.

Chip, crack, crash.

We are buried beneath an unending load.

Backs bent, skin slick with sweat and liquid ice.

Chip, crack, crash.

A mountain falls, consuming our unholy obligation.

For bodies we cover in ice and stone.

Chip, crack, crash.

We keepers of the dead,

Never forget our commitment to The Stone.

Chip, crack, crash.

The Orb

“Billie, don’t touch it! What are you doing?” Lessie cried, smacking his hand away from the glowing orb. Her dark eyes flashed in fear as she felt the pull of the object’s power on her mind.

Help me,” It seemed to call out in her mind, “Reach out and lift me from this place, child. Save me.”

“But it wants me to.” Said Billie in a petulant voice. His blond hair brushing down into his dark eyes. “Can’t you hear it?”

Irritation flamed within Lessie as she pulled her brother away from the marble plinth. “Of course I can, dummy. That’s why I said to not touch it. We shouldn’t even be here.”

They had both snuck into their neighbor’s backyard. Mr. White’s garden spread all around them, obscuring the world beyond in every direction. The garden was a magnet to the children, and they could never wholly forsake their curiosity, for it. Even with the stories and rumors that were circulating about the neighborhood.

“Come on Billie, we need to go, it’s almost sundown and Mom’s going to ground us if we’re late,” Lessie said, dragging her brother away from the glowing ball.

Billie strained against her, yanking back his arm. “No! Let me go!”

They had been whispering to one another, unwilling to speak any louder and alert Mr. White to their presence. That was until this moment.

Billie sucked in air and screamed, “Let me go, Lessie! Right now!”

An outdoor light flickered on as Mr. White stepped from his back porch, gun in hand. Lessie froze as she watched the old man cock his gun and look wildly around the garden. Her brother ran for the stone plinth and glowing orb.

“Run! Run to me!” The orb called, and Billie reached out his hands as he ran.

“Billie!” She hissed, ducking down and running after her. But she was too late he grasped the orb in both hands and vanished in a crackle of lightning.

Beyond her, Lessie heard Mr. White cry out with rage and she ran for the orb as well. A gunshot blasted into the night air and something flew past her to the left.

He’s trying to shoot me!” Lessie realized and she began zigzagging her way to where her brother had just been standing.

“No!” Cried the old man, voice booming out over the garden. “No, you stupid girl! Don’t!”

But it was too late. Lessie felt her fingertips grip the smooth surface of the orb, she heard a great crackle of energy run up through both arms.

And then she vanished into thin air.

-M.E. InkOwl

The Parking Garage

“Hello?” Judy called into the night. Her brow furrowed at the now pressing silence as she looked from side to side. The parking lot was dimly lit, revealing an entire level completely devoid of cars. There had been an echo of her own footsteps in the garage, but a discordant sound had rung out, breaking her reverie.

“So what made that noise?” She thought to herself, feeling her heart rate increase. She was facing the stairwell, the only part of the garage with adequate lighting, but even this felt unreliable as lights blinked in the night.

Judy had frequented this parking lot for years, alone and with friends. It was attached to her favorite shopping center and she knew the area well, in all hours of the day and night. But never had she felt such a feeling of wrongness enter her mind.

“How many years have I been walking through here, and nothing has ever happened. Nothing.” She thought, standing there in her coat and favorite weekend attire. It was a twisted feeling, a dreadful chill deep within her gut.

The silence continued as if waiting for her to move, daring her to brave the insecure terrain. She reached inside her bag, hand reaching in for a small spray can of mace.

Can’t be too prepared, can you.” She thought, feeling less fearful. At the same time, she pulled out her cell phone, finger swiping open the screen. It had only been a few seconds between her hearing the noise and pulling out her phone, but Judy felt an entire day might have passed between heartbeats.

“Oh, this is stupid.” She said out loud and stepped into the stairwell. It was empty of course. Thinking her nerves had gotten the best of her Judy hurried up the stairs. The click of her heels echoed around her, and in the night a car passed, bass vibrating with dull thumps.

On the final step leading to the second-floor landing, Judy froze mid-step. An eerie clicking noise filled the air around her, buzzing uncomfortably in her ears. She looked around, trying to make out where the sound’s source was coming from, but it seemed to press in from all sides.

“Hello?” She called again, voice breaking through the din. “Hello? Who’s there? Can I help you?”

The buzzing continued, causing waves of goosebumps to run up and down her arms. She willed her body forward, understanding that if she just moved on, the buzzing would no longer be her business. Through the cement doorway, she saw her sedan parked a few stalls away, waiting for her.

“Don’t do it.” A voice inside her said and she froze. Judy had never been one to fall prey to paranoia or jump at her own shadow. Yet her instinct had flared to life, making her heart leap into her throat.

Something moved in the shadows beyond the doorway. She heard it scrape against the ground. Not the sound of a shoe upon cement, but a sound more organic like sticks crackling against a stone.  And then the smell hit her, a wet and rotten odor that almost made her gag.

She swiped a thumb against the glass of her small phone screen. all the while keeping her eyes on the doorway. Branches continued to scrape on the cement, moving closer to the doorway.

He finger pressed a nine, then a one. She shook violently as her ears picked up ragged breathing, ungodly breathing. It reminded her of a time when she had been at the bedside of her dying grandmother. Judy had been a young woman at the time, barely fifteen. She had held her mother’s hand to the last moment, hearing her chest rattle with the intake of uneven breaths.

“It’s the death rattle.” She had heard her mother say and had felt a wave of fear as suddenly her grandmother stopped breathing, her chest falling with the last vestiges of life leaving her.

Now that death rattle sounded outside the doorway, filling her with dread. In her hand, she heard the tiny ring of an open line through the small speaker.

“Pick up. Pick up. Pick up, please.” She thought, unable to take her eyes from the view of her car. The breathing was right outside the doorway, just steps away from her.

In her hand, the line clicked and a voice came over the speaker. “Hello? 911, what is your emergency?”

Judy would have raised the phone to her ear, she would have opened her mouth to say she was stuck in a parking lot with someone stalking her. But she couldn’t.

Something stepped into the light of the stairwell. Something not of her world. Long fur-covered legs stepped awkwardly into the light. In place of two feet, two cloven hooves clicked against the ground. Where human knees bent forward, taking on the weight of the body, muscular thighs twisted backward. A torso of white human flesh, covered in what could only be tattoos bent down to allow for the rest of the body to duck under the doorway. abnormally long arms reached around the wall, elongated human fingers gripping at the cement.

Judy felt the phone leave her fingertips. The smooth surface gliding over her skin as it fell to the earth. She tried to scream, she tried to back down the stairs but couldn’t. Her body was paralyzed, shaking with terror.

The creature twisted a supple neck as an utterly horrific visage turn toward her. Grimy hair grew from a ghost white scalp, falling to the thing’s shoulders. And a face, a face straight from the depths of hell looked down at Judy.

“No.” Was all she could say as the creature lowered its face towards her.

Eyes opened, revealing large dark eyes. But they were in the wrong spot, everything was in the wrong spot. The eyes were set deep into the jaw, where a mouth should be. A rattling breath came from the creature, from the top of its face. A wide semicircle spread from ear to ear, arching up over the forehead. She saw its teeth, horse-like and shining in the fluorescent lighting.

“Hello? Is anyone there?” A small voice came from the still falling phone as it collided with the floor. Judy would never hear the sound of another human voice again in her life, and she realized because it was about to end. The screen shattered as it bounced away from her down the stairs.

The creature’s mouth opened even wider and it brought both hands out before it as if to pull her into an embrace.

“No,” Judy said again, feeling the air leave her lungs.

The fluorescent lights of the stairwell went out, plunging her into darkness.

And she screamed.

-M.E. InkOwl

 

Into The Cave

“Come down here my little pretties,” Cackled the small wrinkled goblin, disappearing around the bend, “May way my witty, for tonight we feast on twilight and fun.”

The creature waved at the two youths, not even glancing back to make sure they were following. Mel and Rob looked at one another, unsure of what to make of their situation as darkness grew around them. The small lamp that the goblin held bobbed deeper into the cave, throwing up vast shadows that dance around them.

“Are you sure about this, Rob?” Mel asked, her face pale in the dancing light.

Rob looked past her farther into the cave. His face seemed to lose some of its boyishness as hard lines grew around his mouth and forehead.

“They have her down here, Mel. We can’t just leave her.” Even as he spoke his feet were moving him past her own, following the echoing voice of their strange guide. Mel stood still, looking down at her feet as the light faded. Dirt and blood stained her sweater and faded jeans. It had started out as such a normal weekend, just a babysitting job and then dinner and a movie with Rob. But now, this.

“Mel, you know what they are going to do to her the minute the moon’s up right?” Rob had paused, looking back at her, waiting for her to follow.

His patience ran out and desperation filled his voice as he spoke, “They’re going to-”

“I know exactly what they will do to her. I know what I need to do.” Mel clenched her fists as she held herself back from yelling. She knew what these caves held, she herself had been in the same position. But now, it was her turn to act.

The glow disappeared altogether and the two were left in the dark. Mel groped in the darkness for her pocket. Then pulling out a long dagger she held it up before her, reflecting the light from outside the tunnel all around. Next to her, Rob clicked on a flashlight.

“Let’s go find her.” She said, squaring her shoulders and following Rob down the path.

Time passed and a gradual increase in the glow ahead told them they were making some progress. But the light was an eerie red, and she felt it cling to her skin as mist or even cobwebs would.

“Are we close?” She asked Rob, unsure if he would answer. He just shrugged and they kept on. Silence fell between them and Mel felt her anxiety grow. Waves of feeling ran over her body and she shook with each step.

Rob’s flashlight played upon the walls and floor, noting where each turn and branch of the path occurred. And for the briefest of moments, Mel had the strong urge to stop and watch as each rock was passed over with light, but there was no time.

They came to a sharp curve in the path, several empty doorways led away from the spot. To Mel each opening looked like a gaping mouth, stretching wide and waiting for unsuspecting prey to fall in. The air seemed to vibrate with red.

“Where do we go from here?” It a dumb question, but she had to ask it.

“Wait,” Said Rob, cocking his head to one side like a dog. “Listen! Do you hear that?”

Snatches of singing and laughter came from beyond all the doorways and staircases and out of sight around the corner.

“I don’t think it made it that far into the cave, maybe we can catch up.” And with those words Rob stepped forward, almost flinging himself into the waiting dark.

Mel hesitated a millisecond and then followed, knife in hand. Their feet moved noiselessly through the gravel, but something, or more accurately someone in the passage. Rock shifted and pebbles fell. And with that an urge to run and hide gripped the two together.

“We’ve got to keep trying, her life is depending on us.”  Mel’s voice surprised her as she looked at where they had come from. She was about to revel in the powerful feeling of standing up for the right thing, but a peel of high pitched screams filled the cave.

It was a young voice, female.

“Go!” Shouted Rob as he ran, flashlight blazing a path through the dark. The screaming continued until tears were streaming down both their faces. And then, as they came around a corner and into a vast atrium both drew back in horror. The sound seemed to expand filling their senses. And then, with a bubble and hiss a doorway opened beside them, billowing smoke and red light poured out.

Mel screamed. Rob wretched.

An archway of human skulls grew from the stone around them, lining the doorway that had just opened. Cobwebs clung to their teeth and eye sockets while sheets of dust settled anew on every surface. The screaming intensified, from just beyond the door.

A stench filled the room as Rob pulled at Mel backing away from the spectacle. Empty eye sockets stared at them, pleading, laughing, screaming, and crying all at once. The screams continued.

“We have to get her!” Screamed Rob, brandishing the sword in his hands at the archway.

Mel nodded, knowing the worst was to come. Death looked down upon the friends as, together, they threw themselves under the arch.

-M.E. InkOwl