's 2015 Horror Write-off:

" An Elven History "

Submitted by H. Whitehead

My children, shall I sing unto you

The song of Neliel, as my mother

Sang unto me, and her mother

Sang unto her, and the mother before her

Sang, as all my mothers have done

For a time immemorial, when the stars were young?

When the air around us shimmered

And was full of heat, and our lives

Were still but short and rapid, and mournful songs

From Henaanar yet echoed in our ears,

Then was Neliel born,

And filled with grace by Henaanar.

Neliel was a noble and brave elf

Of great breeding, the most joyful and beautiful

Of the children of Altael, the king of our proud home.

Neliel was swift and bold and faithful,

And for many years was tutored

By the advisors of many-crowned Altael.

When Neliel had grown out of youth, it was determined

That there should be a great voyage out

Beyond the infinite seas into the great unknown

To find what else Henaanar had made

In this world.

Thus, lightly armored, in a stout gleaming vessel

Made by the servants of Altael, engine of Henaanar’s will,

Neliel journeyed on alone.

Jacob Carver glanced out at the stars as he paced the length of the Alfred Wallace. The fated hour, he thought, was nearly upon him. If he could only remember what he had wanted to say.

It had taken Jake Carver twenty years to arrive at the conclusion that there was life elsewhere in the universe. It had taken him five years to prove it to his satisfaction by mathematical calculations. It had taken him eight years to discover the signals, and two more years to pinpoint their origin. Ten more years to design, fund, construct and stock his ship. And three more years to reach this point out in space where he could find what made them. His initial plan had put the journey at five years, but to his exaltation he had learned that whatever was creating the signals was approaching him. Now, at long last, he was due to make contact with it.

He wondered what it would look like. From the patterns of the signals, of course, he knew it was some form of intelligent life, and from certain coded messages hidden in the Bible and the pictographic language represented by the Nazca Lines, he guessed that they had created mankind. He wondered whether they would marvel at how far their creations had come, or how far they had left to go.

“Our great fathers from the stars”, he muttered to himself under his breath, “I have come to you as a representative of your creations on the planet Earth, orbiting our sun at a distance of one hundred and fifty million kilometers for the past four and a half million years…”

His speech was interrupted by a sudden shuddering motion that his ship made. He looked out the viewports again and saw a great winding light before the Alfred Wallace shattered and left him floating in the vacuum of space.

When Neliel had journeyed a great length of time

And the armor and vessel made by the servants

Of Altael, the king of our proud home,

Was worn and beaten with the journey,

There was a great coldness throughout the air

And Neliel was alone.

Passing a great vessel, which sparkled in the light

Of Henaanar’s eldest children

Neliel looked within to see if there was one within

Who could provide aid

On Neliel’s sacred voyage through the wilderness.

Alas, none of our kin, created

And filled with grace by Henaanar, were within. Instead,

There was a great loathsome thing, monstrous in aspect

And primitive in thought. And Neliel thought,

“Woe, for this is no beautiful child of Henaanar,

Subject to Altael, the high king of all our gleaming lands,

But a vile mockery of life, created by

The foul lord of dark nothingness, Motuat,

Who in ages past did destroy Henaanar.”

But Neliel caught this orc,

For that was what the vile being was,

A parody of the greater races by the dark one Motuat,

Unprepared, and with the great strength granted

By Henaanar, Neliel struck down the orc.

And the orc went to be one with Motuat in the darkness,

And left behind its armor.

And Neliel thought,

“Though they are loathsome and repugnant,

These children of Motuat, the orcs,

Are possessed of a great and deadly wrath,

And could destroy us with their supreme force of hatred.”

So saying, Neliel took up the armor of the slain orc

And wore it as a disguise for the journey

To the homeland of the orcish hordes.

And the armor of the orc

Became filled with grace by Henaanar.

And Neliel rode for the homeland of the orcish hordes.

Eddie Morris was a Baltimore street tough with a withered arm and a bad attitude. This is likely why the underground knew him as the one-armed bandit. Our story, however, does not concern how the one-armed bandit got his name.

Morris had fallen on harder times than usual in the past few months. The state’s new governor, known to Morris and his loose gang of acquaintances as “the damn Harvard sonofabitch” and most of the public as Andrew Haley, had instituted a new set of measures to Clean Up Our Streets and Reduce Violent Crime Here In Beautiful Maryland, and during a recent investigation a cocaine dealer by the name of Dennis “Mumbles” Pearson had been shot by some of Baltimore’s finest. Eddie had depended on Mumbles for a cheap fix and was frequently shaking or in pain now.

Desperation had brought Morris here to a back alley near Ellwood Park, where the boys in blue only infrequently came these days; decades of violent crime had caused them to tacitly admit that it was mostly a lost cause. So Eddie Morris wandered the streets, hoping to find someone stupid enough to be walking alone at night. Morris had never been particularly concerned with the stylistic aspect of his crimes, but he had made one indulgence in buying himself a knife of solid iron after mugging a particularly wealthy but foolish businessman in Sandtown-Winchester. He toyed nervously with the weapon as he watched for potential targets.

At about eleven o’clock he finally spotted a tall man in a broad-brimmed hat and–Morris almost groaned when he saw–a trenchcoat. Who the hell wears a trenchcoat on an 80-degree night, Morris asked himself, and what would he be doing out here? Likely some rich executive’s son playing at helping the community, wearing the coat to conceal a non-existent firearm. Well, Eddie thought, at least he might have enough to buy a hit from that bastard Four Toes Tibbs. He took a deep breath, stepped a little further back into the shadows, and waited for the man in the coat to pass by…

Eddie Morris leaped out from the darkness and plunged his knife into the man’s side. The man in the coat whirled around-still standing, to Eddie’s surprise-and a struggle ensued. Morris managed to get him on the ground and give him a few more good cuts with the knife. The hat came off in the confusion, and while Morris couldn’t see all that well in the darkness and the heat of the moment, he thought something looked a little off about the man’s face. Then he stopped fighting back, and after a moment Morris stepped back to look at him.

His face was, indeed, very unusual. His eyes were exceptionally large, and his mouth seemed small and thin. His ears, Morris also noticed, were almost pointed, and now that he had a better look, Eddie could see that his limbs were a little too long and spindly. But Morris didn’t see the oddest part until he looked down at his own handiwork.

The man wasn’t bleeding. Instead, what looked like glowing bright yellow sand came from the wounds. There was a sudden gust of wind, and Morris saw that the grains were miniature yellow flowers. He found himself surrounded by a cloud of them, and he choked and sputtered as they got in his nose and mouth. In a few seconds they were gone, and his mouth tasted strongly of some dimly remembered fragrance.

He wanted to stop for a moment and think about what had just happened, but his contemplation had to be postponed, because at that moment he heard footsteps. He rummaged for a wallet for a moment, cursed himself when he found nothing, and ran off.

When Neliel entered the domain of the orcs

An orc launched a brutal and savage attack

With cold iron wrought from the bones of Henaanar,

Despite Neliel being clad in the raiment

Of the orcs themselves. All seemed lost

For brave and noble Neliel, greatest of the children

Of Altael, king of our proud home.

But Henaanar willed that Neliel should not die,

And Neliel’s spirit filled the orc that had committed

This foul and treacherous deed.

And the orc with Neliel’s spirit became the first

Of the star-elves, who were elves and not elves.

And the orc was filled with grace by Henaanar.

And Neliel’s spirit slowly awakened in the orc,

As it became a star-elf, an elf and not an elf.

And when the howling vestige of the child

Of grim and phantasmal Motuat, prince of darkness,

Had fallen silent, Neliel fled to a cold dark place

To send a message to Altael, who in one hand holds the sea and the other the land,

And wait for the coming of the glorious shining children of Henaanar.

Eddie Morris was very, very unwell.

It had started the night he killed the rich kid with the strange face. He found himself walking more quickly even when he had stopped fleeing potential agents of law enforcement. He had dismissed this as a side effect of his nerves and his lack of cocaine, but in the morning he looked in the mirror and found that his legs seemed to have grown longer. His face seemed to have changed slightly, and he wondered where he had seen a face like that before.

Ah, yes, the rich kid.

Morris supposed he should have gone and told someone, but he felt reluctant to do so for some reason. After all, he thought, what is the harm in growing taller? And there was probably nothing really wrong with his face, he assured himself. Just the early morning light, his fatigue. He had to admit, though, he liked how he had seemed for that moment there. He thought he seemed… he didn’t know the word. More graceful, perhaps.

Morris soon found himself withdrawing from the few people he had interacted with before. They were, he reasoned, dangerous and cruel fiends, and that wasn’t the sort of company he wanted to keep anymore. Since the killing he found that he had been thinking on a higher level than before, almost as if he were a more sophisticated being. Often things seemed to just come to him in bursts of insight, as if his thoughts were no longer solely his own. He didn’t mind, though. These new thoughts were wiser…

Morris found himself growing more and more secluded from those around him, for he was not really one of them, was he? He spent more and more time just lying at home, listening to the wisdom that had been brought to him. He would lie there for hours at a time, meditative and at peace, at one with the world.

 It was in one of these periods of contemplation where he finally realized what he had to do. He knew what he was, and what he had to do to serve a purpose beyond himself. He remembered what he had been,

And how he had been filled with grace by Henaanar.

So realizing, Neliel sought through the mind of the orc

For knowledge of a cold dark place from which

Altael, king of our proud home, might be contacted.

Neliel found the knowledge that was needed

Among the cavernous cluttered vault of the orc’s thoughts.

And Neliel thought, “I may die, but I shall tell

The fellow servants of Altael, exalted bringer of peace,

Where I am, and how they may become like me,

Star-elves, elves and not elves.” So with the knowledge

Taken from the orc, Neliel walked into what the orc

Had called the Chesapeake bay, in search of

A cold dark place called the North Pole.

And so Neliel sent a message to the advisors

Of Altael, first and last of Henaanar’s children, and revealed

The secrets that the orc had taught. But, woe,

Neliel was slain in the period when we journeyed

For the homelands of the orcs. And Neliel’s death

Caused a great sadness in the heart and soul

Of Altael, jewel of creation. So to avenge Neliel,

Altael, king of our proud home, ordered that his armies

Seek out the homelands of the orcs, and slaughter them all,

And wear their armor. And it was done as had been decreed,

And the armor of the orcs, and their domain,

Became filled with grace by Henaanar.

Massive unknown creature found in Arctic Ocean
A Norwegian fishing vessel harvesting arctic cod reportedly caught
more than the crew had bargained for last Tuesday, reported sources
in the Associated Press. “In one of the nets,” says captain Colin Rustad,
“we found some sort of enormous animal none of us could recognize
tangled up and apparently dead. We had the carcass sent to be analyzed
in a laboratory back home, and they told us they had no idea what it could
be.” Rustad described the creature as “A little like a spider or a crab, but
with only three legs and bigger than any of us had ever seen. Its skin
wasn’t like a bug’s either. It was smooth, like human skin. Its head looked
a little human, too, but all it had was enormous eyes and ears, no nose or
mouth.” While certain scientists have decried the creature as a hoax,
Rustad insists that “I knew what I saw”.

Governor Haley put down the tabloid newspaper and looked out the window. The air was filled with thousands of little yellow flowers blowing in a wind that didn’t rustle the trees.