Diana

Diana had disappeared when Rose was eleven, vanished out of the blue never to be seen by her family again. Rose remembered that day with more clarity than anything else in her life. She remembered waking up and finding Diana’s bed empty. There had been nothing particularly odd about that but the feeling that washed over her, the sense of dread and impossible sorrow was like nothing she had ever known before. Somehow she had known that Diana was gone before there was evidence of anything more than an early morning for her sister.
She had crept downstairs, hoping to find her sister in front of the T.V or searching for something to eat. The sun was just below the horizon, waiting to peek over the far hills. It was the murk before the dawn, the darkness ever so slightly beginning to lose its pitch black nature. Never-the-less she could only see shapes as she tiptoed down the stairs, instinct and habit commanding that she refrain from waking her parents.
Anxiety contracted her heart, making it race as the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach grew at an alarming rate. Every step took her deeper into the well of foreboding that had started in her own bed at the cusp of waking. Her limbs began to tremble and she wanted to cry as she stepped off the last stair and faced the empty dark hallway. Pitch black darkness reached searching fingers through the cracked doors, threatening to grab her and pull her into oblivion.
Rose stayed in the middle of the hall, treading silently on the thick rug that stretched down the floor like the tongue of some hunting monster just waiting for the right moment to swallow its helpless prey. The air was laden, an atmosphere of tragedy pressing in upon the little girl as she crept through the near darkness.
Her eyes were wide in anticipatory fear, bright little orbs straining for any sign of her beloved sister. She remembered in acute clarity years later the utter terror that gripped her heart as she neared the kitchen, the foyer, and the front door. She did not know why but she was drawn to the door, knowing that she would find something wrong, something that had to do with Diana. Diana. Her lip trembled as a fresh wave of that absolute sorrow swept over her.
The doors on either side seemed to lead into a black nothingness, the rooms that she had once known no longer existing there. Complete silence reigned, deafening, pressing in on her ears with the heavy weight of deep water. She felt as though she was both suffocating and drowning simultaneously, her little lungs barely able to draw breath. Her tiny pink lips parted as she forced herself to take the most even breaths possible.
The kitchen was a strange landscape, cold hard floors, gleaming counters scrubbed spotless and the unnervingly silent refrigerator. The entire house was engulfed in a hungry, heavy silence that was not the absence of sound but the death of it. The silence consumed every last noise, neutralizing it, strangling the life from it before the first breath of a scream could be birthed.
Rose crept across the kitchen, her heart racing, feeling that something monstrous was going to emerge from every cupboard. The house was waiting, holding its breath. Rose was the only thing that moved, even the pulse of the house having ceased. She was the only thing that dared to break from the mold of motionlessness despite the fear of whatever waited near the door.
She crept into the living room, feeling as if she were walking into the belly of the monster. The air pressed down heavier than ever and she recognized it with her child’s mind as the presence of indescribable evil. It forced itself down her throat and into her lungs so that she could only take weak, shallow breaths. All she wanted to do was run, to either curl up in a defensive ball and ignore everything or run for her father but she could do neither. She felt pulled towards the front door, compelled to go see what waited for her there.
Not only that but her love for Diana drove her on, one frightened child to face the unknown in the dark. Her bare feet shuffled across the carpeted floor, crying out as they stepped onto the cold tile of the foyer. It sent chills up her spine and her entire body shuddered. If it was possible the silence seemed even more complete as she crept around the corner. She knew that whatever had invaded her home and disturbed her sister was waiting in the doorway for her. It wanted her to see it, it wanted her to remember the horror of it until the day she died.
Tears gathered in the girl’s eyes, threatening to spill down her cheeks as the fear engulfed her mind and body. She barely held herself back from crying but even that was only by virtue of the all consuming fear that wracked her soul. Her limbs were cold and her heart raced with all the speed it could muster. She felt faint but she had to turn that corner, Diana was there she was sure and in trouble. How she knew such a thing she could never have said but it was as obvious to her as the sky was to anyone else.
Facing a fear that most people could never dream of, she stretched out her small foot and inched her body along the wall. It was waiting for her, staring in her direction through the darkness. She could feel the vile stare, the horrid eyes of some unknown evil watching her, waiting. If only it wasn’t expecting and waiting she could have practically sprung around the corner but it was watching and in some ways that was the worst part.
Breathing was nearly impossible as she slipped her hand around the corner of the wall. She felt the thing growing impatient and she knew she had to force herself into the open, stand and face the thing that waited. Choking back a sob she stepped out into the open, revealing herself to the monstrosity standing in the doorway.
Not even in the depths of her worst nightmares had her overactive imagination conceived of something so absolutely horrifying. She felt sick as her eyes met those of the abomination waiting on the threshold of her home. Her stomach heaved but somehow she managed to force the sickness back, unable to take her eyes from the thing.
Her vision spun, the monstrosity grinning the most disgusting mockery of a smile that she was sure had ever been formed. It was an emaciated creature, vaguely humanoid, with over long limbs standing about nine feet tall. It was hunched over at the time but Rose could tell that it was a giant in height. It was gaunt, the skin stretched tight over the bones. There was no hair on its head and it seemed to be missing its nose entirely. There were merely two holes in its head that sat above a freakishly large mouth. As it grinned the mouth literally reached from ear to hear, revealing large sharp teeth. Yet it wasn’t even the horrific smile that was the most terrifying thing about the monster; it was the eyes that shot her veins full of terror. They were enormous and round, luminous in the dark with giant pupils, bloodshot and piercing. They watched her with such a deep, gleeful malice that Rose was sure it must have learned from the devil himself how to hate.
She nearly fainted as she looked into those eyes. The fact that its fingers were nearly claws, the translucent quality of its skin, and the lack of ears only registered in her subconscious to be remembered in painful detail later on. Those eyes and what it held in its arms commandeered all of her attention the moment after her eyes first landed on the creature.
The thing was holding Diana, suspending her in one long thin arm. It held her against its skeletal body that was clothed in the remains of a ragged suit long out of fashion. The girl was completely unconscious from fear just as Rose nearly had been moments ago. It all passed when she saw her elder sister held in the arm of some completely vile abomination.
Anger boiled deep down within her, shunting some of her fear back and letting a minute bit of courage to pass through. It rose up inside her more like a butterfly, the delicate creature that dares to emerge from its cocoon despite how easily it can be crushed, than a lion or even a dog. She felt it flutter up into her heart, her back straightening and her eyes narrowing towards the monster.
Its grin widened and it seemed to find her tiny display of bravery amusing. Rose scowled at the thing although she was still trembling uncontrollably and she wanted to call for her parents. She knew it would do no good even if she could force her voice out; the thing would vanish before her parents could get there. It did not mean to be seen by them, only by her. It wanted her to know it had taken her sister.
Rose glared into its eyes as it hoisted Diana into a better grip and without a sound turned and stepped into the darkness outside. The sun would come up in just a few minutes and Rose sensed that it could not roam in the light of day. It was a creature of the night and it had taken her sister. Her hands clenched into fierce little fists as the utter helplessness and desolation washed over her in a succession of increasingly violent waves.
She collapsed to her knees on the floor, the physical pain nothing in comparison to the agony in her child’s heart. She was too overcome by fear and sorrow to even cry. She collapsed on her side and passed out.

 

Hi! This is the first few pages, the prologue sort of, to a new story I’m working on. I have been reading some brilliant short horror stories online and was inspired to attempt writing short horror fiction of my own only it didn’t work, my characters developed and it couldn’t remain within a few pages. 🙂 Feel free to comment and tell me what you think.

Dymphna

A Beginning in the End pt.19

Arabella                                                                                   2020/1/13

I did nothing today. For once I found myself with the opportunity to do absolutely nothing whatsoever. I lay abed until almost noon, dozing on and off in the sunlight. I had so many dreams in those hours. Mostly they were about finding a companion. I feel the loneliness more poignantly than ever these days.

My heart aches and my soul yearns for another human heart to connect with. My ears seem to be failing from lack of use and part of me wonders if I would even recognize another human voice were I to hear one. I can barely remember what a human voice sounds like. My memory is fading.

I’m not sure I could believe another person was real even if I did meet one. What would I say, would it be an illusion, a hallucination? How could I even begin to accept that another human was real?

Logan                                                                                          2020/1/14

I found something today, something odd and yet very exciting. I’ve never seen anything like it before, a town silent and still fully barricaded. No sound comes from within and there are very few monsters about. The barricade appears unbroken but I won’t attempt to breach it tonight. I’ll wait until the morning with the dawn to see what is behind those abandoned defenses.

I feel that something is coming, that something is about to happen but I don’t know what exactly. All I know is that my whole body is tingling in anticipation of an unknown event. Something is going to happen though whether good or bad I can only wait and find out.

I found this outlying farmhouse and slew the monsters within. There are still some provisions here, enough to tide me over for a short time. That town intrigues me and it looks like the most likely place for peace that I have seen since the world fell to pieces. I feel drawn there as I haven’t been drawn to a place in years. For the first time in ages I look forward to tomorrow.

2020/1/15

The barricade is unbroken as I suspected. I scaled it and found myself looking out on an empty town. It looked untouched by the dead, almost as perfect as the day when the world fell. Nothing was broken and aside from weather wear and the pile of burned ashes in the square it looks preserved.

I knew before I even dropped into the street that there are no dead in this place. It is empty of the monsters but there is no sign of violence. No blood spatters the houses and no bodies lie in the street. There is a peace about this place, a strange piece. The moans can’t be heard in here and the smell is almost entirely absent. It is quiet and almost like a piece of the world broken off from the rest of the universe and held apart.

I found a house here to stay in for the night. The place has been stocked for at least several years. They obviously planned to hold out for as long as possible. I wonder what happened to them in the end? It appears that the people here were very well prepared. I want to know what happened that they are no longer here.

I’ll explore the town tomorrow but for now I feel safer here than I have felt in years. The barricade is strong, having held up for many years and the monsters appear to have lost interest. They apparently haven’t noticed my arrival. I feel oddly relieved and without my permission my guard has begun to fall.

None-the-less I forced myself to lock the doors and windows. I have taken all the necessary precautions and now I am going to sleep. I actually feel as though I can sleep tonight. My mind has not settled but it has stopped running. I am suddenly so very tired. I can barely keep my eyes open.

I feel much more peaceful here than I have felt in years but the loneliness suddenly feels so much stronger. It pierces my heart with a pang like no other. I have never felt the loneliness this acutely before. I am safer than I have been in an excruciatingly long time and I think that makes the isolation hurt that much more.

I thought that I was immune to these feelings by now. I thought that I was past all of this but I was wrong. I miss the company of other people more than ever in this place. I’m going to sleep where I will hopefully find relief from the pain.

 

Dymphna

 

 

 

 

A Beginning in the End pt.18

Logan                                                                                                  2020/1/12

The stars were beautiful last night. I never realized how wonderful they were until just this last night looking up at them for the first time in a long time. I saw then that there is still beauty in this world despite the darkness all around me. The light has not completely gone out of this world.

A spark of hope still lives in me whether or not I would like it to be there. It hurts so much that I wonder if it is worth it but I can’t get rid of it. It burns as the tiniest spark in my soul, waiting for something to fan it into a fully blazing fire.

I’ve traveled almost a hundred miles in the last three days. I just keep walking almost like I’m running away from something. I suppose I am but I mean something other than the monsters. It feels like I’m running away from some part of myself. I don’t know what yet but there are thoughts and feelings that I don’t wish to face.

I slaughtered almost fifty of the things today for no other reason than that I felt like it. I know I was reckless but I couldn’t help myself. There is such a rage in me lately that needs to be let out. It burns on the inside and makes me feel constantly restless.

I was covered in blood and gore by the end of the day. I washed everything, me and my belongings, in a clear little stream I came across. It’s odd but even though they aren’t people anymore, doing them in still gets to me somehow.

There is guilt on my heart but I am not sure if it is about bashing in the heads of corpses or simply because I gave in to my violent urges. I suppose it might be a combination of both although I know I have nothing to feel guilty about where the monsters are concerned. They aren’t human anymore.

I have established myself in a little roadside gas station for the night. It is not the most enviable place but for a man like me it does just fine. Most of the supplies here were taken in the initial panic and most of the stuff left has gone bad.

This place is another scene left in perfect condition to remind me of those days. I remember the congested highways and rampages of human feet all too well. Everyone was desperate to just reach someplace empty and far away from the big cities. They were desperate for a place to feel safe, a refuge or a haven.

I watched it all happen but I never felt part of it. I was different, I still am, a man watching from the outside. I was really just a boy back then but what does that matter?

I killed so many of those creatures that first couple of years. Most of the world’s population had changed sides so there were only too many of them. I couldn’t go anywhere without being forced do away with an uncountable number of the disgusting abominations. Those days are red with blood, anger, and fear in my memory. They are a blur for the most part. I can hardly remember what really happened back then.

Often times I dream in red. Tonight I do not want to go to sleep again. I don’t want to be locked away in my broken dreams. I don’t want to be trapped in the darkness and horror of my own memories anymore. If there was just one other person out there to talk to, to express my fears to another soul. I am so alone.

 

Dymphna.

 

A Bright Sunshiny Day, Ch. 7

The sunshine warmed her as she stared blankly at the page before her. Anastasia had not read a word.  The book sat propped open on her lap, but disregarded like the budding world around her.  Within her mind, there was a hurricane of thoughts whipping around and contradicting each other.  Did she know what love was?  But was it necessary to know?  When a child loved his parent, the thought of what love was never crossed his mind.  No, he simply hugged and did everything for his parent without a thought as to why or how he loved.  And neither should she.  Yet if she loved Gerard- and not that she did, but only if she did- then would it not be wise to question what kind of love it was?  Could it be mere infatuation?  What about a pure friendship?  Then again, did it matter?  If she loved him, it was certain he did not love her.  And that was that.

Taking up the book, she tried to concentrate. Yet Dante’s elegant words on love escaped her.  Closing the Purgatorio, she closed her eyes and leaned against the tree as the sun danced through the leaves over her face.  It felt warm and relaxing, as if all her worries could melt away like wax in its gentle heat.   She wished they would.

“Ms. Bartle! How nice to see you!”

Her heart skipped a beat as she recognized Gerard’s voice. Immediately she looked about to find him.  He had not spoken to her in a month.  She felt like a breath of soft wind had filled her soul’s sails and set her ship coursing.  But she immediately felt her emotions fall as she became aware of Karen on his arm.

The blond haired nymph simpered, her brown eyes sparkling, “Hello, Anastasia. How has your summer vacation been?”

“Very well, thank you. How has yours been?”  She did not hear a word of Karen’s extended reply.  All she was aware of was her classmate’s hand linked in his arm.  It was as if her soul had been taken like a glass vase, smashed ruthlessly against the ground, and then left abandoned. Why, Gerard, she wanted to scream, why Karen, with her snob-nosed manners and perfect complexion hiding her treacherous heart? You are so good, you deserve someone better! 

Then a phrase snagged her attention: “-and Greta is such a dear. She promised to take me along to see the ballet troupe in London next week.”

So even Greta Thomas approved of Karen. How was it possible?  Suddenly, Anastasia felt as if winter had blown one of his cold rages into her soul, killing the growth of hope and strength she had coaxed to grow.  “Oh.  That’s very nice.  I hope you enjoy it.”

“Thank you. I wish you could come along, but-”

“Yes, why don’t you come too?” Gerard interrupted.

Anastasia forgot her irritation at the younger girl’s purposeful cruelty over her wonderment at his interjection. Did he really mean it?  Was this really possible?  Every fiber in her body trembled with the yes that burned in her heart, yet her tongue decried it all.  “Thank you, but I really couldn’t possibly.  Mother-”

Gerard laughed. “We’ll take her along too.  There’s no way she’d miss the ballet!”

Anastasia could not understand the glimmer in his eye. Was he happy with Karen?  He seemed happy.  Well, then she was happy for him- even if her soul felt destroyed.  “Thank you.  I… I think mother would like that.”

“Good, then it’s settled. No changing your mind, now!  You’ve promised.”  He smiled down at her as he took her hand and twirled her briefly.  Stopping as suddenly as he had begun, Gerard took a step back, saying, “You haven’t seen Greta yet, have you?  Come, you should meet her.”

Without another word the three of them walked toward a mansion that opened onto the park itself. So this is his? How many times had she walked past it, never knowing if he was watching?  Blushing strangely at this musing, Anastasia followed Karen’s prim figure as Gerard held the gate open.

Watching Karen, she wondered if the girl loved Gerard. She was like a princess: demanding all the respect without any love.  It almost seemed that she wanted him as an ornament of success.  Perhaps she was being unjust to Karen.  Just because they had never been amicable did not mean the girl could not be sincere.  After all, the blond haired beauty had remained friends with Jemima.  Yet still Anastasia could not understand how someone so perfect, so honorable as Gerard could be attracted to someone so selfish and tyrannical.  But then they said love was blind.

Entering the house, a melody could be heard echoing round the still rooms from the piano-forte. Passing through the grandeur of the noble family’s belongings, they neared the sweet sound.  Soon an accompanying voice could be discerned singing in some Romantic language; who was Greta Thomas?  Suddenly Anastasia was afraid, hanging back behind the other two.  What would the brother and sister say after she was gone?  She could imagine the conversation: how could you ever have been friends with her? I don’t know, but she was in need of someone to be kind to her.  It made her shudder to think of their pity.

Then the much talked of Greta Thomas came into view around the corner. In the center of the elegant room, surrounded by the blue walls covered with their portraits, seated at the largest black piano-forte was a pleasantly pretty young woman.  Her long brown curls quivered as she swayed, her fingers flickering over the ivory keys, her petite mouth curved in a perfect “o” forming the soft foreign words, the long lashes flashed revealing blue-green eyes scanning the sheet music propped before her, the long pale pink gown fell in exquisite folds to the floor.  She was like a vision.

As the lilting notes came to a close, all the people seated near the entrance clapped vigorously and several men shouted, “Encore!”

Smiling graciously, Greta Thomas rose. “Thank you, but perhaps some other time.”  As she glided across the room- Anastasia would have sworn she never touched the floor- she addressed her brother, “Gerard, I was wondering where you had disappeared.  But I see Karen must have needed an escort.”  She kissed the girl on the cheek.

Anastasia felt sick. Not only was Ms. Thomas everything perfect, but she insinuated an attachment between Karen and Gerard.  If it had been possible to vanish, our dear Ms. Bartle would have.  If only she could get away!  But just as she had planned to slip quietly out the house, Gerard turned to her.

“Greta, I would like you to meet Ms. Bartle.”

Then the beautiful blue-green eyes focused on her flushed face. “Ah, the celebrated Anastasia!  I cannot tell you how I have looked forward to meeting you.”  The vision clasped her guest in an embrace.  In her ear, Greta whispered, “I thank you for returning the dress, but I would like to give it as a gift.  If you don’t mind?”  The blue eyes twinkled at her.

“Thank you,” was all she managed. Why did she feel so detached from the physical?  It was as if time had stopped and all was a dream.

“Let the poor child sit, Gretaline! Can’t you see how pale she is?”  An elder man arose and escorted Anastasia to a chair.  “Here, rest yourself.  Gerard, would you ask Mrs. Tundlemire to make a spot of tea for Ms. Bartle?”

Without a word, Gerard left. No, Anastasia quavered in her thoughts.  She did not want to be alone with such politely patronizing strangers.  Moreover she could not for the life of her grasp what they were saying.  Was it another language?  Yet it seemed strangely unimportant, for suddenly she found it hard to breath.  Had the sun gone behind a cloud?  It was getting dark.  Then all was black.

A Beginning in the End pt.17

Excerpts continued

2012/9/20

Twelve people are dead now and more are dying. They aren’t going to the hospital because there is nothing the doctors can do. They still do not know what the illness is that plagues us.

I’m staying in my house and the living dead are remaining outside the gates. I just wish the moaning would stop.

2012/9/21

It’s started. The boy down the street came back to “life” this morning. I don’t know how, nobody does, just that it is happening. There is talk that it was Oscar, that he had it and passed it on. The fact is that nobody knows how or why people are coming back from the dead.

I suspect we will all turn when we die no matter how we go. I don’t know how but I think we all have the plague although it doesn’t manifest until we die.

We are all done for. I know it is only a matter of time. They are going to burn the bodies in the middle of the square before the courthouse. I can smell the fire now and soon the stench of burning flesh will fill the air. I can’t take it anymore!

2012/10/30

I am all that is left now. Everyone else is dead, burning to ashes in the square. I will be dead too soon but I don’t want to be one of those things beyond the barricade.

I feel myself growing weak. I have already caught the sickness to which everyone else fell. I can’t let myself become a danger to others. Someone may wish to use this town as a refuge one day. If I am a corpse here it will put them in danger. As I am dying I shall put myself on the fire as well, fall into it as I take my last breath and join my friends in an ashy grave.

Arabella

I know what happened here now. What a horrible way to find out that the plague is in all of us.

I don’t know who actually wrote that diary, there is no name in the book. Whoever they were I wish I could have met them. It is only because of what they did that I have found shelter here for a short while. It is truly a God send on so many levels though I only wish that the writer of the journal was still alive and here to tell me the story him or herself. I am so very alone.

Dymphna

My Anastasia Bartle Dilema

Dear Readers,
I have been continuing the struggle in A Bright Sunshiny Day, but have confronted several delays and difficulties.  I will be continuing to post the story- have no fear of that.  However, there may be missing passages that I have not thought of or added in yet.  If anything is confusing, please bear with me in the creation.  And also do not hesitate to comment!   Criticism is always welcome.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.  I hope you have enjoyed the tale as much as I in writing it.

Anastasia Bartle