's 2017 Horror Write-off:

Kimber's Kandles

Submitted by The Bee Keeper

I wanted a summer job, but not one that would suck the life out of me with terrible hours, horrible customers, or back breaking tasks. So my aunt suggested the nice little shop at the end of the business district. From the outside, with its round porthole windows and cottage door, you'd come to the conclusion that this was an art shop. Not necessarily the advent guard type. More like a motley menagerie of whosits and wassits and that sort of fine art brick a brack. And in a way it is an art shop. But one dedicated to the mastery of wax. I was planning to spend half my summer at Kimber's Kandles.

Kimber was a nice old lady. She always had a kettle on and a stash of biscuits. I could see why she needed my help though. Her shop was cluttered from floor to ceiling with every form of decorative candle you could ever wish to possess.

It wasn't hard to dust the shelves. But there seemed to be more nooks and crannies than the physical laws of our universe should allow. Kimber was rather old fashioned, I guess. She had only one duster, made of ostrich plumes, which was the only one she'd used in the last decade or so. It was a pretty good duster, but its handle was short. And the day I somehow lost track of that ancient feather duster, well that wasn't a very good day at all.

Kimber had gone into the back room. I wasn't allowed in there. But what else was I suppose to do. She didn't carry a cell. So, you know, I could have sat there for the rest of the day doing nothing. But no. I went into the back room for Kimber and hopefully she'd know where the duster was or I guess, let me off for the day.

The first minute or two I just noticed the usual assortment of candles. Stacks and stacks of em'. However, as I went on there were some bigger, more realistic candles. Like teddy bears you could almost swear had watery eyes and Easter chicks that looked almost fluffy and warm. But they were all just lumps of painted wax.

Then the space became miraculous clear. I mean, it wasn't a proper miracle, no. But the clutter gave way to open warehouse space; which for a lady who thrived in claustrophobic conditions, was a tad unusual. Though, I should note, the space wasn't entirely empty.

Scattered about were knee high wax sculptures. They looked disturbingly like new borns pulled straight from their mothers, not even cleaned up. They were by no means the cutesy things Kimber made. These wax babies had red pillar candles atop their craniums. Each one was frozen in a pose of anguish, seemingly trying to reach the candle on their head.

I knelt down and touched the grody little palm of the nearest one. It was pliant and cold. Colder than wax should feel.

Tears made their way along my nose and dripped onto the dusty floor. I couldn't help it. I was filled with relentless sorrow. Grief for something I did not understand. And longing.

There was now a barren wall instead of the hall I had come from. I pressed my hands against everything centimeter of each wall. Nothing yielded. There were no secret switches or doors. I could kick and punch and scream with all my strength and there'd still be no possibility of escape. Worse yet, my desire would go unfulfilled.

I had the strangest compulsion nagging at me; eating away at my every thought. I needed a flame and they needed me.

But without a lighter or match or some flint at the very least; what was I to do?

Have you ever seen someone craft a fire with a string, stick and fire board? You know, the bow and drill method. I took my shoe laces out and made a bow with the bill of my hat. It wasn't great, but it had to work. They needed me.

Now the drill and fire board, well that would be harder. I didn't have anything particularly stiff. Or did I? I thought about it for some time. I sobbed uncontrollably. I could do this. I had to do this. For them. I said to myself. "For them. For them. For them."

I dug and tore and screamed. Horrible guttural animal cries of pain. With a wet cracking sound, I yanked my bone from the bloody tatters of my leg. I don't know where I got the strength to pull it away from its tough greasy tendons. But I did and after a bit of drying, it made a perfect drill. I just hoped my other bone would actually spark. Does bone burn? Of course, of course it does. It has to. For them.

The flame was weak. But all I needed was an ember. The whick of the candle lit. The wax baby wobbled a bit. And then it cartwheeled across the room; lighting all the other wax babies.

I was so happy. I did it! I did it for them!