Dusk Creek: Chapter Two

[ The story continues.. as always the story and characters are (c) me. Hope you are enjoying it so far.. ]

Corey Savage wasn’t a stupid man. He graduated with honours and was starting to build a career as a community social worker. Day in and out he tried to help people with their mundane little problems and annoyances. He was looking forward to celebrating his 30th birthday with his buddies and finally announcing his plans to open his own practice as a therapist.

He knew his mother, the sweet little firecracker she was, had already picked him out his favourite flavour of cake for the party. Red Velvet so rich and moist you could taste it on the roof of your mouth long after the cake was gone. He also knew his buddies would plead with him to hit the pool hall after for drinks and laughter.

But there was no birthday party waiting for him now in Dusk Creek.

He collapsed to a sit in the grass by the cracked hospital sign. His hospital gown did very little to cover any part of him, and his feet were sore and starting to blister from the hard run on the pavement. Nearly naked, frantic, hungry and lost. This was the worst possible place he could imagine.

His eyes scanned the area for anything that might somehow show there was life out here. No birds flew overhead, no dogs barked from the yards. Nothing moved and nothing made a sound other then the deep growl of the gathering storm above.

I don’t get it.” He mumbled to himself, half dazed. “Where is everyone?”

The mass of things not making sense seemed to hurt his brain. It piled up on him like a bath of concrete. He knew his hearing was fine, yet he obviously didn’t hear whatever blast completely demolished the hospital building. He knew he was essentially unharmed even when he witnessed the falling bomb. And he also knew, strangely, he seemed to be the only survivor in a mysterious disaster. How could such an explosion, powerful enough to disintegrate a building completely with its foundations, not make a noise? How come he had never heard of Dusk Creek? And just how much danger was he in now?

He brushed his hair back, breathed deeply and tried to sort out the events.

The bomb, the flash, the hospital room, the hazmat suit, the guards, running… it played behind his eyes like his own personal horror film. He remembered the empty vehicles, the blood, and the missing bodies. Now the missing hospital. Something in all this hysteria of the last hour had to somehow hold a key to figure out what was going on. Yet every time he tried to puzzle it out, it led to dead ends.

He assumed he was brought to Dusk Creek after the blast. He must have been evacuated with other people. Maybe there was a second attack that demolished the hospital moments after he left. Or maybe his mind was slowly being lost to some damage to his cells due to the bomb?

He forced the thoughts of radiation and slow death out of his head, it was far too painful to think of and he was certain if it were true he’d be doomed to find out soon enough. Even still he felt sick and if he had anything in his stomach it has a serious risk of not being in there for long.

A rumble forced him to look up into the gathering dark clouds of the building storm. He felt the barest touches of mist on his skin. It was the warning of impending downfall. Doomed or not Corey figured he needed clothes and shelter. If he was bound to die with some sort of exposure he could at least do it in proper clothing and hopefully with food in his stomach.

Maybe… I mean maybe people are just inside.” Sure it seemed logical, hopeful, optimistic to the point of delusional, but it gave him a reason to slowly get up and walk painfully across the street past the empty bloody vehicles towards a large building that could only be an apartment complex. Corey was relieved to find the double set of doors unlocked and he dragged himself into the complex lobby as downpour started.

Bland sterile walls of common wallpaper and even more common dingy carpet. It felt like a five star hotel to him after all he had been through. Past the first apartment doors stood another set of double doors keeping him from gaining entrance into the apartment hallway. These ones were firmly locked no matter how hard he tried to yank them open. His fingers scanned the buzzer names and numbers. Randomly he buzzed the first one.

The name seemed kind enough, Mrs. Burket. He pictured an old lady sheltering in her apartment with knitting and cats. No one replied, so he buzzed again. And again. Okay so Mrs. Burket was a dead end. But there were other numbers and other faded out names. One of them had to be there.

Someone help me!” he shouted, buzzing the name underneath. Then the next… then the next. “For fucks sake is anyone there?” his hand started to slam at each number until eventually the buzzing simple stopped. No matter how hard he jammed his finger into the multitude of buttons, nothing sounded.

He had no patience for this any more and let out a snarl of frustration. His usually calm demeanour definitely seemed the first casualty of his building fear. With a deep breath he slammed his shoulder into the doors blocking him from the safety of the apartments inside. It hurt, but he didn’t care. Another slam nearly jarred the door free. One more snarl with a thrust of the shoulder and Corey smashed through the deadbolt lock and the doors flung open. The pristine glass was now spider webbed, clouded, and shattered in places.

He lay sprawled on the cheap carpet of the hallway floor with pieces of glass knocked loose of the mesh screen surrounded him. Movies were great for entertainment but not for instructional useful information. Smashing oneself through a locked door not only hurt a hell of a lot more then it appears on television, but it also worked to knock his shoulder slightly out of place.

He didn’t care; he was on his feet in mere moments and pounding at the closest door. No reply, onto the next frantically. He pounded, tried the handle. It too was locked and silent.

Is anyone alive in here?” his voice was starting to crack. Door after door he tried, rattling it nearly from its hinges. Finally, the second to last door down the hall was left ajar. Salvation. Corey carefully pushed it open with the slowest of movements. “Look I need help…”

The lights were already on and there was water running into the kitchen sink. As he carefully crept closer into the kitchen area he noticed two untouched settings of food on the small round dining table. Until then he hadn’t realised how hungry he really was.

Everything looked as if it was a normal typical home. Pictures greeted him of smiling strangers gathered for portraits. There was a cross-stitched hanging on the wall beaming the letters “Welcome to our Home” back at him.

Look I don’t know if anyone is here…” his eyes surveyed the bacon, the glass of milk, the toast. It looks straight out of a 1960’s breakfast commercial. He could almost imagine a dainty little housewife fawning over the stove. Or maybe this was the home of Mrs. Burket, and the kindly old lady was hoping someone would join her for a meal. He slipped into one of the chairs. “I’m really hungry, I hope you don’t mind.”

He gripped the bacon and jammed it into his mouth. It took less then a second for him to realise that something was very wrong. He quickly spit it out and tried to wash the cold ash taste out of his mouth with a gulp of milk. That was his second mistake. Even quicker then the bacon he choked and coughed out the clumps of rancid milk. Before he could comprehend his own movement he was at the running sink washing his mouth out while gagging.

In college he heard of room-mates pulling stunts with their friends by leaving milk out in the sun for a few hours before putting it back in their fridge. He always thought it was a childish but slightly amusing thing when he heard about it. Now he understood just how nasty that prank really was. He no longer thought laughter would be his response now. Perhaps it would be closer to homicidal rage.

Amid the startled shouts of curses streaming his mouth he finally noticed the sound of static blaring on the television. Rinsing his mouth out one more time he carefully peeked into the living room.

The small Sony TV was crackling with static. A glass filled with water sat untouched on a small table beside a leather couch. He slowly sat down in the comfort of something familiar and found the black remote nearby.

Please have the news…” He flicked through the channels and static greeted him on every one. As the numbers rose he got more and more hopeful that the next clip would show him something. And each time he was disappointed. “Come on! The news is always on.”

After the third time scanning Corey simple turned the TV off. Slowly closing his eyes he rested his head back and wished he could wake up from the strangest nightmare he remembered ever having.

I am so screwed.”

Dusk Creek – Prologue & Chapter One

[ Warning: Language and violence are somewhat graphic in this story. There will be curse words and the mention of gore.. you have been warned! This is the first part of a small horror novella I wrote. I thought I would revisit it and post a bit of it to the Black Quill blog. Story and characters are (c) me. ]

In the moment of crisis, sometimes all thought disappears. You are no longer thinking like a logical, intelligent person. Instead you are very much the animal. Run, hide, hold very still – it becomes one thought all at once. One paralysing choice that binds you in a moment of suspension that feels like forever. That is, if you are even lucky enough to see the crisis. One of those unlucky few who realize just how screwed you are before the danger of the event is finally upon you.

This is the place that Corey was now in. Hanging in the existence of “oh shit”, and “my life is over”. That place that no one in their right mind would ever want to be in; or ever leaves the same.

Above him, drifting down in streaks of slow dripping ember was the missile. The missile that would change everything he had grown to know in his 30 years. And amid the panic and the hanging moment that seemed to last forever, all he could think in the deep recesses of his mind was “Fuck. I really wanted to go to my birthday party tonight.”

And then time started again in a blinding flash of crimson light and silence.

~

The first thing that brought him back to reality was the annoying beeping noise to his left. He felt like maybe he was having a dream and that annoying beep kept disturbing him from something he was trying desperately to hold on.


Louder and louder, closer and closer. The beeps seemed to echo into his ears and ring his very brain. Beep, beep, beep… He opened his eyes and around him was the blasting of white walls, white curtains, and white sheets. A startling sight that caused him to blink rapidly and look around with squinted gaze.

It was unmistakable. A hospital room, and the beeping was from a heart monitor hooked up with wires and electrodes to his chest and arms. The blood pressure band squeezed at him, taking a reading he knew must be elevated. It took a long while for his weary mind to process his situation. Although Corey could sort out logically that obviously something must have happened, he could not seem to sort out why he was alive. Or why he was in this hospital room with all his limbs and skin intact.

He heard death by nuclear exposure could be a long and painful death – but if he was close enough to see the missile dropping from the sky then he knew he should have been instantly killed. Maybe it wasn’t a nuke, maybe it was just a normal missile. But then, what had the light been? And why would the hospital even bother with someone apparently unharmed?

Just as his hopes were raising thinking he had somehow avoided cataclysm by some form of luck, the nurse came into the room. He knew then, looking the human shape over dressed so carefully in hazmat protection that things were not okay. She seemed just as much surprised to see him as he was to see her.

Oh, Mr. Savage… You’re awake.” With distorted voice echoing through the mask she quickly picked up his chart and brought it over to his bed.

It’s Corey. What is going on here? Why am I here?”

You don’t remember? You need to stay calm.” She scribbled awkwardly on the clipboard and looked over his readings barely paying attention to him squirming on the bed.

Stay calm? What happened, why am I here?” he noticed a tug and looked down under the sheets to notice a catheter inserted uncomfortably. With a painful shudder he tugged it out with a grumble.

Sir, remain calm…” She was now backing away from him and hiding a call button around her neck.

With pure aggravation he started to unwire himself from the sticky monitor electrodes and IV lines. Corey had always hated needles and hospitals. He did his best to avoid them completely, although occasionally he would have to get himself stitched up here and there. However he was frantically trying to sort out what was going on and the nurse’s reactions had not done anything to calm him.

Being calm was the furthest thing from his mind at the moment. Even when the alarms on the monitors sounded due to the detachment. A moment later two big men struggling to fit inside their masks and suits came in. And it was obvious from the needles in their hands that looked bigger and more menacing then he had ever seen that he was in deep trouble.

Whoa, hold the fuck up…” he backed away from the men, the nurse, and the bed. Quickly heading into the corner of the room past the other two beds which remained empty. He pulled one across to protect himself from the men who kept on coming.

Just calm down sir! You need to calm down. These are just sedatives, it will help you relax.” Big lug on the right tried cooing the words out like he would talking to a kitten, but Corey would have none of that.

In one quick moment he jammed the table at the two, bolted to the right and ran for his only salvation. The set of double doors.

There was screaming and alarms and so many flaps of white plastic and curtains he passed that it all went by in a blur. Even the absence of any real clothing and the breeze from his open hospital gown did nothing to slow him.

He ran blindly, turning right, then left, then right again. Zigzagging down halls hearing the pounding of feet and the screams of men after him. All until he saw the red sign echoing him further. Tall glowing red letters informing him of his only route of escape. The exit sign above the fire escape stairs.

He slammed hard against the door, and nearly tripped over his own feet while bolting down stair after stair until the last obstacle stood in his way. The door outside. Even though he didn’t hear any more feet behind him, and even though he wasn’t sure what he would find out there he knew it had to be better then standing half naked in the stairway waiting for the men with the sedatives to find him.

He raced outside into the brightness of mid day, and didn’t stop running until his chest heaved in retaliation, and his bare feet were planted firmly in a patch of grass. He bent and heaved, holding his shaky knees while an angry set of lungs burned for more air.

Oddly enough, no one came after him. No one sounded any alarms. If anything, it was suddenly a very disturbing quiet that shivered along his spine. He looked up and around to realise nothing at all was right with the world. In fact this didn’t look like the world he had known at all.

Around him was an unfamiliar landscape of abandoned cars, burning dumpsters and an odd colour to the trees. An ashen white look that reminded him of white birch gone a little psychotic. The sky smelled of fumes of burning plastics and cardboard. Its darkened menacing hues of charcoal grey heralded an oncoming storm. And for the first time in a very long time, there was complete silence. No alarms, no sounds of voices. Nothing but silence. It was as if everyone in the world had simply disappeared.

What the hell is going on…?” Corey wandered, dazed and confused over the grass of the safe patch he was on, and into the unfamiliar street. The first car he came across was a black Grand Am. Its engine long died, and the deflated air-bag hanging loosely from the steering wheel. As he came around the vehicle he noticed the spider web shatter of the wind shield and dents in the hood and front driver body of the car.

What he thought from a distance was a dark interior of the car was actually the colour of dried blood coating the front seats. Whatever happened here was violent, and it left no corpse. He would find the same sickening scenes in the blue Mercedes nearby. And the Dodge Ram further in the intersection.

Corey had been scared before finding the vehicles. Now he was utterly terrified. None of this made sense to him, there was no way a city like this could be so empty. Where were the passengers? Where were the punk ass kids on the street who kept begging for money or cigarettes? In his entire lifetime he had never felt so utterly alone.

Then the thoughts streamed into his brain. The hazmat suits. The hospital. Was he somehow contaminated? Was he right now being slowly cooked inside by radiation he couldn’t feel?

He ran back from the vehicles, he ran like he was on fire. Barely holding in a terrified scream as he tripped and dove headlong with a roll across the pavement. He didn’t care; he got up in barely an instant. Running, running while his heart pounded in his throat.


Then he stopped. He stopped so fast his feet skidded painfully on the pavement.

It can’t be… you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

Where the hospital was merely minutes before seemed to be a gaping hole and crumbling foundation. There was nothing there now as if someone had simply plucked the building up and moved it without him. It was surreal, numbing, and devastating. He even thought for a moment that he had been turned around and that actually the Hospital was just in another area entirely. That maybe, somehow, this was all just a misunderstanding. So when he finally saw the large cracked sign only a few feet next to him, his heart sank completely.

Dusk Creek Hospital.

Emergency Entrance Only.

Corey Savage was now completely alone, in a place he had never heard of before. This was going to be a birthday he would never forget.

 

Poem: “I don’t want to go..”

My heart weeps for you.

The unknown and the undeclared.

The quiet ones and the unprepared-

All waging their own inner wars,

Personal demons are at your doors –

And your hand is on the lock.

One lock to hold out the unknown.

One door between them and I.

One last stand.

The drums of war are in my ears,

breaking silence and stirring fears.

My heartbeat echoes a screaming mind

“it’s not my time… it’s not my time.”

I don’t want to go.

-Crowskin

Poetry: Emotional Zombie

Emotional Zombie

The world runs on sex, and I’m left in the dark. 
I can’t seem to comprehend, this affliction of the heart.

Was I wired wrong? Am I missing something here?

My sex drive is non-existent, that much I know is clear.

Give me books and musings. Give me literary proses

Trust me I’m not lonely; I don’t want your bed of roses.

I’ve been called cold-Hearted, unfeeling, and numb –

Yet I feel so many things – just Lust… it isn’t one.

I don’t want your relationships – keep your cage away.

I don’t want to be locked up and I don’t need no ball and chain.

Isn’t it biological – a lack of chemicals in the brain?

Maybe I’m half dead inside, because inside I’m not the same.

The world may run on sex; but trust me not all do.

There are more of us asexuals, then the media assumes.

I’m not really that different then the worlds majority.

I just don’t understand the emphasis on sexual priority.

Does it really make me all that strange and jaded?

I like to think it makes me far less complicated.

There are so many types out there – sexual and not.

Humanity is brilliant in it’s variance and thought!

I can love, and I can feel. It’s just a little more surreal.

I’m an emotional zombie wandering in a world of sex appeal.

The world thinks I’m half dead because I don’t have a sex drive

Little do they know that inside I’m still alive.

Just an emotional zombie, kicking back and observing.

It fascinates me sometimes, but trust me I’m not hurting.

I rather like my life – and my lack of social grace.

I’d rather be asexual then sexually displaced.

 

-Crowskin

Short Story: The Letter

[Short story piece invoking the power of music, love, and memories… the lyrics are of course (c) by the Beatles, and used with utmost respect.]

In my life, I love you more.

Her fingers pressed into the crisp envelope, but even that didn’t stop the shaking in her hands as she held it. It was so surreal, so heartbreaking. She danced along the so familiar edge of fear, and angst that came with each heartbreaking word of his.

As she did, so many times she sat down quietly in the wooden chair out on the porch in the midday sun, and carefully peeled the envelope open.

“Dearest Marie,” They always started that way.

“I fear this will be my last letter.” Her heart broke a little more, the water already growing in her eyes as she continued. “I have been assigned to the front lines tomorrow, and already I have seen many of my comrades fall. I’ve seen greater men then me already shot down moments from my grasp and I know I will be next.”

“Don’t say that…” she whispered against the writing, willing it to change. Shaking continuing as she went on.

“It’s funny, I had a dream the other night of you Marie. That we were back out west and this stupid war hadn’t happened.” How she had wished that a million times. “We were together in the cottage by the lake. You know, the one with the sun porch.”

She remembered the first day they had been there together. The laughter and the love. She could never forget anything about that cottage. It had been days of bliss.

“I was thinking to myself, when all this is over we could go there. Like it was before. And we would stay there together and watch the sunset. Do you remember when we promised each other to get married there? I wanted that.” I want that too. Oh gods I want that. I would have married you a thousand times there.

“Then I realised that would never happen.”

She started weeping, water cresting the edge of her eyes. She wanted to stop reading but the words kept coming and she could almost hear his voice in those words. She couldn’t stop now.

“I was sad, but oddly at peace. I mean it was the oddest thing. It was as if I just knew things for me would be fine in the end. But then the dream got really odd. I saw you and the cottage and I was no longer there. The cottage was in bad shape, was just rotting and you, gods, you Marie were so sad! I’ve never seen you that sad Marie. It was killing you.” Her tears pushed harder, she hardly noticed the labour of her breathing.

“Marie I love you with all my heart, and dream or not that dream hurt me so bad. I woke in a cold sweat and had to start writing you. I knew I had to, that maybe it was a sign. Maybe it means I’m going to die soon. Maybe it just means I’ve lost my mind. But it isn’t your time Love. You can’t let this kill you. I won’t let it.”

She hid the rest of the letter with her hands on the sun table, and laid her head upon her arms and cried until the pain transformed into physical aches. She didn’t want to hear the rest, she didn’t want to hear him talk more about death.

After a few long moments she lifted up and looked down at the tear stained words. Daring fate she read on.

“You know I’ve never been a god-fearing man Marie. Not much of a christian like my parents wanted for me. If its one thing I’ve learned out here though, is that there is more out there. I’m not scared Marie, not at least for myself.”

She shivered at the thought, and a cold chill passing along her spine.

“Whatever happens, know that I will always love you. You’re my everything Marie. Know that I love you, and whatever happens I will be with you. Just don’t hurt Marie. I can’t stand you hurt.” The letter was signed at the end and nothing more followed. Nothing more was needed to be said.

It was only after she finished the letter and her eyes were raw and dry that she noticed on the table among the rest of the mail another letter. This one from the army, and it was addressed in a formal brown envelope.

She didn’t need to know what it said inside to know what it represented. She already knew. Instead she simply leaned back and for a long time shut herself off from the rest of the world.

It was then when she closed her eyes that a strange thing happened.

From inside the house the radio turned on and the volume came up. The song ‘In My Life’ by the Beatles piped out to her and the lyrics reminded her of him.

Slowly as if just waking she opened her eyes and listened.

“There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all”

She rose and followed the music inside the house. Her eyes still wet soaked from tears. The music was louder, it enveloped her.

“But of all these friends and lovers

There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something”

She thought herself mad, but it took her to a place deep inside herself. She almost felt another with her as she walked, and soon almost as if a dream she danced. She could feel the touch, the caress of another.

“Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more”

It was then she remembered about the night in the cabin, and the same song that played on the radio. It was the song they danced to. Their song. It was the song they made love to and promised to each other. Her tears flowed again, but not as painful as before. The strength of the dancer with her grew more comforting and more solid and she closed her eyes tightly, not daring to open them and lose the moment. All that was around her was that one song.

Now her words mingled with the voice she swore she heard from the letter, ringing as loud as her own. “Though I know I’ll never lose affection, For people and things that went before. I know I’ll often stop and think about them. In my life I love you more. In my life I love you more..”

-Crowskin