Bogleech.com's 2013 Horror Write-off:
Submitted by Powder
I decide to take a rest at the inn of the village where I’m doing a job. Violin music resonates throughout the sort of small, wooden room where only two torches light it, swathing the place in shadows that go over the folks inside. I scan the darkest corners to see some people eyeballing me whose faces I can’t see, but their heads move with me. I take a seat and notice the bartender is a girl who has long black hair put up in a ponytail, although she still has long locks going down the sides of her head. She has a behind so curvy that the skirt of her tunic easily slides up her snow white tights when she bends over to rest on the counter.
She asks, “What do you want?” with a humble smile.
I say, “Just a shot of whiskey.”
She brings up a shot glass and a bottle of whiskey from behind the counter. I get a look at her breasts while she’s paying attention to my drink. The form-fitting tightness of her tunic curved around them to make it look like she’s wearing a tight leather suit. She hands me the shot and I immediately take my eyes off her to drink it down.
I smack the glass onto the table and ask, “Did you used to work at a sandwich shop a few towns down south?”
She answers, “I used to cook and make some sandwiches here until I became the bartender.”
“That makes sense since you’re givin’ me a bit of a foot long.”
She snuffs with the tiniest grin her cute, little lips can possibly manage.
She says, “I saw you eyeballin’ these.” and points to her breasts with her finger far and down away from them.
I say, “I’m actually more of a thigh man. Why don’t you back up a little?”
She smiles again and asks, “You want another shot?”
“Can’t. I’ve got work to do,” I say and start getting up.
“Will you come back?”
I stop and say, “When I’m done.”
“I get off in a few hours. Wanna get sandwiches to go later?”
“Don’t know how long I’ll be.”
“Just find me at the house labeled four one nine.”
I say, “Alright,” wave her goodbye, and then get out of the place walking out into the grey afternoon in Windriver village.
Citizens pass by, talk to their neighbors, go into houses and shops. Everyone speaks calmly here. If only I could retire. I head over to a house to the left of the inn across the road and knock on the door. It takes too long to be answered, so I knock again. Finally, a woman who looks to be in her forties opens it.
She says, “Come in,” and pulls me in to lead me down a hallway to a door, then turns to me.
“I know I told you the details in my letter, but I’m unsure about showing you it.”
“Ma’am, I get this enough.”
“The townspeople try to keep far away from this place just from the sight!”
“Mam, I’ve seen worse. You want help right?”
I make her relax and she stares straight forward into my chest, taking a deep breath through her nose. Her hand calmly goes towards the knob, turns it, pushes the door forward at a regretting pace. The first thing I noticed was how empty the room was. Pretty boring for a teenager. Then I saw the boy on the bed. Judging by where his legs were, you could probably say he was sitting. Those limbs were more like the legs of a rocking chair though. They were bent forward at an impossible, forward, curving angle. His feet bent downward in the same curvy way with his toes bent upwards. His torso was pushed so far forward that his head was laying behind his legs. His arms curved the wrong way behind his back, his hands and fingers curling outwards.
I say, “Meh,” and walk on in to take a seat standing in the middle of the room, beginning to speak with him.
“How you feelin’ bud? Can you still speak?”
He responds, “Other than smelling my own farts for the past three days, it only feels a bit weird by now.”
“Right,” I say with a smile. “I’m going to give you an elixir to kill the Nahi if it’s still young enough. Did you experience it entering your body?”
“Of course. Now open wide.”
I move his body forward (definitely like a rocking chair) and let some of the elixir flow straight into his mouth.
I say, “Hopefully that will do it. Now I’m going to speak to your mother if you don’t mind.”
He says, “Alright.”
The mother and I head into the living room where we sit at the table they probably eat at.
“May I ask you where your husband is?”
She rubs her hands, looking down at the table with her mouth half open.
She answers, “He died in the war.”
“Mm,” that hits me a bit hard. “I’m sorry,” is all I can muster. Then try to start over, “What do you do for a living?”
“I grow and sell fruit.”
“Does your son have a job?”
“He helps me pick and sell the fruit. I had to take him away from the hobby that could have been his future job, but I just needed help after hearing about my husband.”
I sit up straight and ask, “What was his hobby?”
She says, “He was a painter. Would you like to see some of his works? They’re really good.”
“No, I can already guess what they’re like.”
“Yes, those teenagers draw the weirdest things, but they’re creative. To be a kid surrounded by so many influences these days.”
I chuckle along with her.
I ask, “So how’s this village?”
She takes a bit to answer, “I grew up in this village. I want to say I’ll love it forever, but the thing that happened to my son isn’t the only weird occurance. When I awoke from a strange dream one night, I had to go to the outhouse. I headed to it in the pitch black night, and heard mumbling, but I was still too disoriented to pay attention to what it was. I was so disoriented that I had gone in the opposite direction of the outhouse, but you know what I slammed into?”
I already guessed the obvious, but didn’t answer.
“It was a building. Just a little bigger than a human. I bet you can imagine what I thought it was. I felt around it and noticed the wooden touch, but now that I think back on it it was smoother than the normal outhouse. I finally found a door and flung it open. Another thing I didn’t notice at first but somehow remember was the small chill that went past me as it was opened. It was pitch black inside, but I looked over my shoulder and saw that the moon was right behind me. As my vision got more used to the darkness, I noticed two things. One: I still couldn’t see in there, but I could notice my surroundings by now. Then two: As I concentrated on the darkness the more I began to notice what the mumbling was. It wasn’t a mumble, but a low gurgling noise. It was quiet though and right in my face just like the cold air was blowing into it. The sound was behind me. I jumped and fell into the room. It was freezing inside and I was on my knees. I still heard the sound, but I didn’t want to turn around. My teeth were beginning to chatter. It wasn’t coming from inside, it had to still be outside. I decided to get up and and move forward. As I walked I noticed my hand was scraping against something at my side. When I looked over there was nothing, so I tried feeling for anything, and noticed that the spot of blackness that I was touching was solid. I felt around more and noticed it seemed like a wall. I felt the other side from it, and surely enough I felt more solid wall. I swear I couldn’t see it though. My eyes should have been used to the darkness by then. I continued down the narrow path still not looking back and ran into a wall. I began to panic. I didn’t want to turn back and I could still hear the gurgling behind me. It was as loud as when I was at the doorway. I panicked even more, began slamming into the wall, even clawing at it. After a lot of thrashing I just gave up and laid against it. I cried, pressed my body against the wall, but began to accept my fate. I turned with my eyes closed and noticed a sudden warmth. When I opened them it was green. Foliage. Leaves. A forest and a house. Quiet. I looked around and it was endless forest. I had no other option, but to go inside the house, so I did. It was light brown inside and there was a long dinner table in the middle of the room past the living room. There was someone at the opposite end from me sitting in a chair. He was a scruffy man with short, black hair who asked me to sit down and I refused. He said it was all okay and I began to think he was right since the noise was gone. I sat down and listened to what he had to say. He asked me my name; I told him and he told me his. His name was Jeremy and we had a pretty casual introduction. He said he was a writer, just like my husband wanted to be after the war. The noise came back. I looked to my right where it was coming from and nothing was there. It stopped and I heard Jeremy speak, so I looked back at him and he was right in my face. The table had shrunk and he put his hands on mine asking to be in a relationship with me. He said that I was a beautiful woman and all kinds of ridiculous things a man of his young age shouldn’t have thought about my old self, but I drank it all and easily fell for him. We kind of lived a life of luxury since we never had to go out because the food in our house seemed to grow from nothing. We had fun and I forgot about my boy. Then one night a-
She stopped. Seeming to think for a quick second.
“An important part of him was missing. He acted as if it was nothing. Then one day his eyes turned white. I began to cry over him, but he acted as if nothing was wrong. Then another day he started to act as if he was mentally impaired. I sobbed and sobbed, but kept him alive with the food and wine and water we had, and no matter how much I fed him he was getting thinner. His bones began to show through his skin, and then he began to call my name. ‘Sarah. Sarah,’ he sa-
Her lips pursed together and eyes started blinking rapidly.
“He said. The more he called for me the more his skin got thinner until finally it peeled away and white bone began to show. His lips flopped and his fingernails were wider than his fingers. Then he spoke my name one last time and everything went away. Even his organs. I sat there crying and did so for ten lonely days. I’m surprised I kept track. I was barely feeding myself. Then one night I awoke to pure darkness. It didn’t feel like I was laying on the bed, but solid ground. I stood up and noticed a rectangular shaped blue light off in the distance. I began to walk towards it and stumbled into walls at my side. I knew where I was again. I was doubly sure about it when I heard the sound behind me. The one I hadn’t heard in so many days, but was so familiar at the very instant it began. I ran, bumping into the invisible walls. I jumped through the doorway to see I was back outside in this village; the moonlight shone over me. I then kicked the door to the building closed, still trying not to look back. Then I ran back to my house and hid in my bed. I couldn’t sleep though. The morning came and I asked my son Brandon if I’d been gone for something like a month and he said, ‘No. You were with me yesterday.’ That whole thing and now this happening to Brandon really scares me, but I don’t want to leave this town.”
I tell her, “I know this won’t reassure you much, but I feel that I have to say that everything’s gonna be fine Miss Murker. I do promise that. Now let’s go check on your son.”
We head back into the room and her son is still in the strange shape.
I say, “Didn’t work. We’ll have to use the plant.”
Sarah asks, “What’s that?”
I answer, “I don’t like talking about it,” and take out of my satchel a dark red plant shaped like a tree.
The roots on the bottom of it are sharp and shaped like tiny claws.
I tell Brandon, “Open wide,” and plucked a leaf from the plant to stick in between his teeth. “Don’t swallow that, and keep your mouth open. Sarah, get down on your belly.”
I stand back a bit, but keep the plant near his face.
Brandon says, alarmed, “I think I feel something in my throat,” and starts choking. He then coughs, “I taste something!”
“Keep your mouth open!”
The leaf disappears in a black swipe. I shake the plant over Brandon’s face and a black, glossy, oval like shape peeks out from his mouth. I step back and a thin, tan strand comes out and falls over his lips. Then another, and another comes out. They were legs thinner than hay, and connected to them is a feature like a giant black slug with no eyes. It levered itself out of his mouth with it’s sixteen legs, and stepped toward the plant. I slowly reached for my hip. The slug part of it’s body split into three pieces at the top, and then continued down with the rest. We stood there. Two swordsmen ready to unsheathe their metal. A green tube shot out from inside of the Nahi like an arrow and I dropped the plant, grabbed the tube, reeled it in, and plunged a dagger down into it. The creature was slammed into the floor, shrieking, and all I can say about it is that I hope there aren’t enough of these to make me go deaf. I wait till it stops twitching and remove the knife from it and the floor.
“You should be cured. Any residue the Nahi left behind should dissolve within a week.” I say to Brandon while wiping the black blood from my knife on a cloth. I then turn to his mother and say, “Burn that thing later. For now let’s wait and see the results.”
Brandon’s body doesn’t change for a while. It begins to worry Sarah, but I reassure her. His body is almost as slow as a plant growing when it uncurls back to normal. Sarah thanks me continuously.
“It’s my job, and I’m happy to do it,” I step outside their front door. “Stay in this town. I assure you it’s gonna be fine.”
She thanks me again and I head back over to the bar.
“That didn’t take too long,” the bartender lady said to me.
“I figured it was an easy one.”
I got a normal beer this time.
“Were you helping the Murkers?”
“And Brandon’s back to normal?”
“Good. Um, I’m gonna need to tend to these other guys if you don’t mind. We can talk and hang after my work is done or the crowd dies down.”
Four beers later I was feeling a bit steady and finally the girl was done with her shift. We got the sandwiches and went to her place which was a small hut of a sort. Everything was in the same room. The couch, the dining table (in front of the couch) and that was it aside from some cupboards for food and plates.
I say, “Never got your name.”
She answers, “Bethany.”
“I’m Drake. By the way, where’d you get this couch?”
“My parents handed it down to me. They live in the city nearby and kind of kicked me out, only loaning me the hut.”
“What did you do to piss them off?”
“I was an embarrassment to my family’s business.”
I put an arm around her shoulders.
“Mind if I ask what happened?”
“You deal with weird things. Have you ever dabbled in- eh, fuck it’s crazy.”
“No, tell me.”
She looks at me for a few seconds with a gloomy face.
“This starts back when I was a kid. I lived in a mansion and, other than riding the horses, I ran around the place a lot. My favorite places were the darkest ones for some reason, and I’d always go up to the attic. I slept up there a few times too and once I met a man. I could just barely see him when my eyes got used to the dark, and he was handsome from what I could tell. He’d always ask me to sit in his lap which felt so soft and strangely warm. I felt comfortable around him and talked with him about myself and my family. He never said anything about himself though, even when I grew up. When I grew older, I could still tell that his face was the same; his whole body never aged. I began to think he was an imaginary friend, but can you have sex with imaginary friends? It felt too intense when we did it. Then, after a few more nights of the best love making of my life, he vanished. I coped with it somehow and looked for other men, but never found anyone as pleasurable as him. I grew so desperate that I did it with some of Dad’s business partners. Then word got out about who was the city slut and I gave a bad reputation to my family, so they let go of me.”
She stares at me with a regretful face.
“I guess I didn’t have to say all of that.”
“No, I asked.”
“So does that sound like anything you’ve dealt with?”
“Your description of this man is vague, so I can’t put a finger on what it even might be.”
“I’m just a crazy slut.”
“You think it’s bad that you like to have sex?”
“It hasn’t done anything good for me.”
“Well you clean yourself right?”
“You drink the potion?”
“You haven’t hurt anyone?”
“I never even cheated on anybody. I’ve never had a boyfriend aside from ‘him’ being the closest thing.”
I laugh, “I meant physically, but that’s good too. So what’s the problem?”
“I get around a lot.”
“‘Nothing’ was the right answer. It’s just a bunch of uptight assholes who really need to get a bj every once in awhile.”
She stared at me for a long time. The stillness and quietness of the whole room made me uneasy, like I fucked up, until her head went in for a kiss.
I laid on the couch, engulfed in the tenderest of tenderness. I bet the wood isn’t tight enough together to keep in her screams. I reach up for her body, but then my hand just flops down. Most of my body actually starts to feel numb. I’m feeling queasy, and the walls around us disappear in rapid flashes. In the last flash the walls are completely gone, including the table, and cupboards. It was just us and the couch in the middle of a red colored world. No, we weren’t alone. Amongst us, the dirt ground, the red sky, and the blazing fire were people standing around us. I feel like taking back calling them people. Their mouths. Those grins. That width. The purity of the white, gleaming teeth. It’s what I noticed before seeing that their bodies too were red. Bulging yellow eyes.
I inhale air.
“Drake are you okay?”
I’m still a bit dizzy.
“I’ll be okay,” I said lazily.
“You got pale, plus you went limp.”
She yelps as I turn her over with me now on top.
I sit in front of Bethany, her body splayed out on the couch, arms reaching for something. I’m unsure about doing it right now. She definitely needs help. I’m gonna take a little stroll outside.