Posted on


I’ve never felt so alone, as I do on a night of an empty sky. Especially if the night is dead still. Nothing says you are vulnerable and alone like a quiet, still night. No wind in the woods out the back. No mating calls bouncing between the trees. No wildlife, and no sounds of civilization. That’s the downfall of living out in the sticks, isn’t it? On a night of an empty sky, when all is still and lifeless, the sound of the city could be a comfort. Out here, the serenity and solace that comes from isolation changes its face from time to time.

I grew up in this house, and it was far more secluded in my childhood. Then everyone started sub-dividing. It had become the fashionable way to own property. So, of course, my parents went along and sub-divided as well, resulting in this house not being so secluded as it once was, long ago. The nights can still be just as quiet, however. And sometimes, they’re so quiet that you can hear the silence over the laughter and intermingling of friends and family.

The ironic part of this isolated fear I have found myself to have is that I’m not so afraid of being alone, but rather afraid of being not alone. Afraid that none of us may ever be alone. And that we are not alone. Is someone watching us, right now? Are they incessantly observing? Are we really just an equation? 

There was an incident, a somewhat embarrassing one I might add, when I was a child. The night was dead quiet – it was an empty sky. We often had guests over for dinner parties and the such, because we had a large decking looking over the rear of the property to the woods. The woods looked brilliant when they were painted silver in the moonlight. That night, however, they swallowed the light that spilled out from the glass doors that led onto the deck. We had a large, glass dining table on the deck that seated up to twelve people, and a massive grill. With the amenities, it seemed like we were almost obliged to throw all of those dinner parties. I didn’t care for them, really. I mostly kept to myself while the adults swapped stories from work or exaggerated anecdotes about business trips abroad. My brothers would show off their newest toys to the other children before we all sat down to eat the meat and pretended to be a civilized species. I didn’t care much for the meat, either. It always saddened me to think of the potential life it could have lived had we not been eating it. Of course, I was still young, so my perspective was naive.  I didn’t really know where it came from. It still seemed all very silly to me to be having dinner parties in the cold season, but father always insisted.

Father was also a proud owner of a very large telescope. The biggest in our neighborhood, in fact. It always came out on cloudless nights, and that night was no exception. All of the other kids gaped in awe at its magnificence. It was so much longer than any they had at home, but more impressive was its girth. If it were a canister, you could gather all of their telescopes together and store them in it. Pushing and shoving ensued as each child raced to Father’s side begging and grovelling for a chance to see the cosmos through its superior lens. Of course they would, as this was half the reason it came out. The other half was the inevitable “mighty fine piece you’ve got, Harold, good show!”

I had also wanted to see the cosmos through that giant lens, but custom dictated that I let the other kids have a turn first. Father would find a star or a planet, get the lens in focus and hold a child up to the eyepiece. They would squeal in delight at the probably magnificent view. I sighed deeply. My eyes moistened as my lips curled into a frown and my cheeks flared a hot crimson. I knew I probably wouldn’t get to have a go. By the time the other children, and my brothers, had all had their turns it would likely be far passed bedtime and that would be that. I marched inside to continue drawing, as I was before the meal, and took off my coat. Father called out to me just as I had found the right shade of green in my case of colors. “Come! It’s your turn. I found your favorite, Neptune. It’s beautiful, tonight, you really have to see it.”

I was trembling as I pressed up against the eye-piece. I couldn’t see anything. It was very cold outside, and the eye-piece was icier still. My face was trembling more than my body and I was beginning to become frustrated. Raising my eyebrows did not help; nor did widening my eye as much as I could muster. Then, suddenly, I heard a deafening, low-pitched hum. Or did I feel the hum? As I brought my head away from the eye-piece, I noticed all the hairs on my arm were standing on end. Once again, I tried to view Neptune and was met with futility. Something had to be in the way.

It became vividly apparent, as I looked up, why I could not see Neptune while spying through the telescope. Directly in front of our deck, blocking the telescopes line-of-site, was a massive craft. Its hull was a deep green and the windows, of which I counted at least eight, were a burnt yellow. They were emitting a faint glow from inside the craft. The hull looked as though it was spinning, but the windows showed no such signs. Several figures flurried past the windows inside the ship. It must have been the size of our house.

My feet were anchored heavily to the decking. My face was no longer cold. I was weeping sweat from every pore as my core heated to unfathomable heights. I let out a shriek of pain and broke free from my paralyzing fear. Everyone was staring at me, questioning and judging. “What are you staring at?! They’re here, they’re here! They’ll take us all!” I tried to tell them. But no one listened. No one believed me. They all thought I was hysterical. Father told me to go to bed. And just as fast as it had appeared, it was gone again.

I haven’t seen any of them since that night. Not Father, not my brothers, not any of my neighborhood friends or their parents. No one could make sense of it. The newspapers called me Family Killer, but there was no trace of murder. They were there, and then they weren’t. Just like that. No one believed me. They all thought I was hysterical. I still don’t know what happened that night, exactly. I do, however, know where the meat comes from. It’s the only food you can buy in this sector, now. You just have to read the packaging:

Superior prime-cut human calf steak – stair-mastered and tenderized;

John Doe Rack o’ Ribs – finger-lickin’ good, serve with fingers;

Twerkin’ Toni’s Rump – the chewiest bubble-butt-steak you will ever eat!

Even the milk comes from them.  




Posted on

Don’t Drink The Water

don't drink the water

My doctor keeps saying it’s dehydration, that what I’ve begun to see frequently are hallucinations and that if I don’t start drinking water again, I will surely perish. But I feel fine. Allegedly, a man should die after only 3 days without water, though many have been recorded to have survived almost two weeks without drinking water. It’s been six months, and I haven’t touched a drop. I’ve even altered my diet to consist of solely dehydrated and dried foods. I’ve been told it’s a marvel that I am still alive, a miracle that no one can explain. My parents have always insisted that I’m squandering my life, even more so since I seemingly cannot die from dehydration. Although, if dehydration does not affect me, why am I hallucinating? Is it just me, or is dehydration really a myth?

I can’t live my life how I was before; I can’t live it how my parents think I should, or how the infomercials on late night TV. tell me I should, or how my local body elect says I need to. Not after what I’ve seen. Not after what I see every day. But is any of it real? My doctor certainly doesn’t think so, however, he is eight feet tall and has a face full of tentacles. His voice is so loud and pounding, making it near unbearable to be around him and his tentacles, secreting his pink ooze all over everything they touch. It’s repulsive. But it’s unavoidable. He’s not the only one with tentacles, you see.

At first, I would have believed him, everything seemed a bit off, and some things looked a little askew, and these things could easily have been put down to dehydration, although at that point, I had only been without water for a few weeks. I could no longer sleep, and everything was tiresome. I felt incredibly fatigued every day, even small tasks proving rather painful. I stopped leaving my house, and I quit my job. But for whatever reason I had at the time, I still refused to drink water. It was only when I lost most of my strength and energy that I stopped eating hydrated foods, and that was when things began to get better. I could only muster a handful of puffed rice twice a day at first. My strength began to return and I no longer felt so fatigued. Once I had realized this I got rid of all the food in my house that wasn’t dehydrated. I still don’t sleep, but I feel incredible.

After almost a month alone inside my house, I decided to venture out again. I might as well have been leaving my home for the first time in my life, because nothing was the same as it once was, and nothing could prepare me for what I was about to experience.

As I opened the door and stepped outside I was struck by a gleaming green glow enveloping existence. I could not see the sun in the sky but it was not dark, everything was illuminated by this ominous green hue. Not a shadow in sight, as if there was no light source, the brightness just was. Every tree and plant seemed out of focus and fuzzy, like I was looking at them through a lens smeared with Vaseline. If I’m not mistaken, of course I very well could be, they also seemed to sway slightly, as if in a current. This seemed peculiar because I could feel no wind at all, almost like the atmosphere was devoid of any kind of movement. As I was observing the apparent stillness of my new found reality, I felt drawn to something, and was suddenly compelled to continue walking towards whatever centric force was pulling me in.

Every house and every car paled in comparison to the bright green light that encompassed everything, like they were absorbing the light but not reflecting enough to appear as bright and vibrant as the flora or the sky. If there is a sky, anymore, I am still unsure about that. The few people that I saw on my journey were so oblivious to all of this, just carrying on with their lives as they always had before, only now with what I can only describe as an utter lack of enthusiasm. It was so obvious to me at that very moment: everyone is a pawn and no one is aware, and I am probably in imminent danger.

Is my doctor in on all of this? None of the people I saw on the streets had tentacles oozing pink goo, nor were they abnormally tall. Perhaps he has notified some sort of superior overlord who will mobilise some kind of slimy enforcers to find me and silence me before I can speak out. These ideas are why I have not returned home, and never will. My home no longer exists and I have no sanctuary. Nowhere is safe. I have been doomed to a nomadic lifestyle, constantly looking over my shoulder for a tentacle-bearing stranger to take me away. And I know exactly where they would take me.

When I felt committed to that one place, I should have run the opposite way – as I am now – but you couldn’t possibly understand the feeling. The feeling of being captivated by a location that you must reach. It was merely an intrigue that morphed into a need to find it. Impossible to ignore because the feeling was inside me, it was in my head, it was my own desire. I had thought of it. And that’s how they get you. There is no sanctity any more, your thoughts are not only your own. Right now, none of your thoughts belong to you.

My pace increased and I began to jog towards the city, but it wasn’t long before I was in a full-stride sprint. Every person I passed looked less and less human, and every other evidence of humanity within this plane that surrounded me began to glitch and distort. The faster I ran, the closer I got, the less sane I felt. My head started to swirl and ache, but my vision was clearer than ever, aside from the anomalies I was witnessing. As I felt a strange combination of drunkenness and enlightenment, my head was about to burst with the heat of the sun that no longer resided in the sky. But I was so close. I could see the towers in the distance, peeking above the hills in front of me. They curled and flickered, but it was the glow that made me hesitant. That pink glow was the only thing that disturbed the green light which touched everything that could be seen. I slowed down to a power-walk pace as I ascended the hill, my eyes not wavering from that pink glow. As I reached the apex, it took every fibre of my being to halt. The number of creatures that wandered throughout the city, I could not say. Each one far taller than any house, some even rivalled the towers that were twisting in the sky. Too many tentacles to count. So much pink ooze that nothing was spared from their sticky substance.

I began to vomit. To my absolute horror, the bile that was ejected from my body was the same pink goo that covered the city. Although, I cannot possibly be one of them. I am one of you, and you don’t have tentacles, do you? Once I gathered myself together I turned to walk away. I should have just ran then and never looked back. As you can guess, however, I had looked back. When I looked over my shoulder at the slimy city one last time, one of the taller creatures looked over in my direction with one of its many purple eyes and a tentacle extended towards me faster than I had seen anything move before. It let out a great ungodly sound which tore my mind in half. I screamed silently holding my head and barely maintained my footing, tears streaming down my face, my intestines wrapped around my stomach and squeezed it like a noose. I stumbled and fell over, maybe rolled a little bit down the hill, but I managed to get back to my feet and I ran. I ran as fast as I could muster. I am certain it was faster than I have managed to move ever before. I ran and I did not stop until I could not recall just how long I had been running for. It seemed like an eternity. Everything seems like an eternity now. It’s like time doesn’t exist.

So, I found a computer that has internet access and now I’m writing this plea. I know they’ll see it, and I know they’ll find me. But I don’t have to be the only one. I don’t have to be alone. I can find others, if you’ll just listen to me. Please, you must, you simply must listen to me: DON’T DRINK THE WATER.

Prompt: Water is a drug which makes our sight see something different from what is supposed to be there, you have stopped drinking water and now you’re seeing some strange things

Posted on

The Boy in the Woods

I’ve known Billy a long time. Most of my life, in fact. We met when I moved here, I think I was 5 or 6 at the time. It didn’t seem like he hung out with anyone, and we were around the same age. I think he lives on the other side of the woods behind my house, but I’ve never actually been to his house. Which I suppose you could consider somewhat odd, because he’s my best friend. Come to think of it, he’s one of my only friends. You see, I don’t find it particularly easy to make friends. Most others think me to be a weirdo, or just strange, I guess. A lot of people like to just steer clear of me. But I don’t really mind that too much, because Billy and I get along so well that we don’t really need other friends. Well, we hadn’t before. I’m not really sure what I mean by that, but maybe I could have made other friends if I tried to. I’ve been thinking a lot about it recently, because I haven’t seen Billy in a while. Maybe he’s been sick or something, I don’t know. I’m sure he’ll call around once he’s feeling better; when I’m raking the leaves out back or playing out in the woods like usual. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen him since that day he freaked out on me. I hope I didn’t scare him by what I was asking, it was just a simple conversation, a simple question, a simple query between friends.

It was a couple of weeks ago. I was wandering in the woods out the back of my house. I’d walked for about twenty minutes in until I reached the part of the woods where it thinned out a bit more, where we used to make forts a few years ago. We made so many over the years, all different sizes and designs. You could even still see the skeletons of some of the more sturdy forts we’d constructed. This part of the woods was kind of an old fort graveyard. Fallen down and half destroyed little huts, decrepit and covered in moss and mushrooms. Big orange toadstools covered the entire solitary wall which was all that remained of one of them. Another was just a crumpled heap of rocks and barren, dead branches. A tattered old sheet, mottled with gaping holes and severely frayed edges clung to an old tree, violently flapping in the mild breeze, almost as if trying to wrestle free from the twiggy branch that it was once tied to, but now only tangled in.

I recall being distracted by the sight of it. It began its life here as a doorway to the fort we considered our keep. The greatest and biggest we’d ever built. Ironically, this shredded sheet seemed all that remained of it aside the dead tree the fort was built around and the memories that I clung to. The thought that I was holding onto these memories unnecessarily had crossed my mind. I hold onto many things that could be better laid to rest. Like grudges and the sort. I call it sentimental, but maybe it’s something else. Perhaps this sheet exhaustively trying to take flight on the wind was a perfect metaphor of these things, and I, the tyrannical twiggy branch, perverting this natural course. As I was pondering this existential philosophy, I saw his shadow in the distance and it made me feel uneasy. My train of thought was broken, and I felt an urge to turn and run. But I couldn’t, just like the sheet.

Billy walked into view through the light mist, and I let out a great sigh; I must have been holding my breath.

“Billy!” I was strangely shocked to see him. He beamed a smile at me, and I was puzzled because I didn’t do the same.

“What’s crackin’, Click-Clack?”

“Don’t call me that, dude, you know I hate it.” It was a silly nickname he’d made up one day, Click-Clack Cracker-Jack. He even had a weird rhyme to go with it, too. It creeped me out, but he doesn’t usually break it out. We bumped knuckles as he reached where I was standing and leaned on the dead tree next to me.

“Pretty foggy day today, eh, Jack?”

“Yeah…” My voice trailed as I looked up at the sheet again, now above his head.

“You alright, Jack? You look a bit lost, mate.”

“Do you think that some people hold onto things for too long, like memories or notions? Or, like, I dunno, it’s really hard to explain. You know what, never mind.”

“People do lots of things we may never understand, Jack. People are weird like that.”

“Yeah, I guess. But do you think their lives might be better off if they just let go of some of those things? Put it behind them and keep moving forward?”

“Maybe. Some of them, sure. Some people might only be where they are on account of holding onto something. Like a life raft, hahah!” He chuckled gleefully.

“Do you believe in ghosts?”

The smile faded from his face and he stood off the tree, looked at me real intently and narrowed his eyes. The tension was strong, the fog seemed to thicken. I didn’t know if I should say something else, if I should change the subject or ask him again. I don’t even know why I asked him. It was probably the eerie atmosphere that came with the fog, the sheet flapping on a bony branch like a Reaper’s cloak, the skeletons of summers passed surrounding us. All culminating with this idea in my head about things perhaps better forgotten still lingering.

And then, like flicking a switch, he smirked as he slowly turned, pointing to the crumpled heap of rocks over the way.

“Do you remember building that one?”

“That was the sentry tower, right?”

“The keep has to have a sentry tower, you said. Every keep has a sentry tower…”

“Oh, come on, man, I said I was sorry.”

“The rocks shouldn’t be this high, Jack

But a sentry tower must be strong and tall-”

“It was six years ago, Billy.”

“You snapped my leg, Cracker-Jack, the fucking bone was sticking out.”

“Yeah…i-it was intense, but it was an accident. I-I’m sorry!”

“I thought things would be different with you, Jack, but they’re not. You’re just like Simon. I never made it home, Jack!”

“Who’s Simon? We never built forts with anyone else…”

“Click-Clack Cracker-Jack
Always breaks a bone!

Click-Clack Cracker-Jack
You’ll never make it home!

Click-Clack Cracker-Jack
Might be lookin’ at you!

Click-Clack Cracker-Jack
To break your bones in two!”

He said it so viciously, and yet, with a whimper in his voice. He began stepping backwards during the last few lines before turning and scurrying away, enveloped by the thick, grey fog. I was stunned, rooted in place. Once again, I looked up at the tangled sheet. It was hanging dead still.

On second thought, I don’t think I ever will see Billy again. Though, something about what he said still bothers me. I should ask Mr Berensin about it. He’s lived here his whole life and, if I recall correctly, also lives on the edge of the same woods. I’ll ask him if he knows of any other kids building forts in these woods. Maybe he knows Billy and if he had been building other forts with a kid called Simon. I’ll ask him once he’s done speaking with Mrs Kowalski, here.

“Oh, and Simon, can you check over the Bunsen burners and make sure they’re up to scratch for the science class in period 4?”

“Sure, no sweat, Nancy.”


Wait, hold on a dang minute. Mr S Berensin is Mr Simon Berensin?

Posted on

This, too, shall pass

personification of text in a literary setting

All shall pass in time.

Before we can comprehend

anything, we shall find ourselves

reduced to ashen goblins,

strolling on the face of the sun,

until the sun sets

on our enigmatic