Story: The Cluster – Chapter Three

( A reminder, this story is rated mature due to some course language and violence in this story. )

The walk was nice and cool against her skin. It was mid-winter and her breath hung in the air as she hunched her shoulders and walked against the biting wind. Sure, it was cold. But never-the-less, winter was still her favourite time of year. She would take the bitter cold and the sting of the air on her face over the hot drone of summer. The winter always made her feel crisp, cool, and alive.

As always, the parking lot of Tim Horton’s was packed. Car after car was lined up and kicking exhaust as people waited in their cars for their caffeine fix, blaring both their radios and their heaters to distract them from the cold outside. There was no real festive spirit here. Just people wanting their fix before heading off to trudge through their day.

Luckily Shelly noticed that there were at least a few less people hanging out inside. She opened the door, rubbed her feet on the inner mat and looked around the room. Over by the comfy chairs and the electric fireplace was a familiar bundle of laptop, wires, and thick wool sweater that conformed into Keith.

She wasn’t surprised he didn’t look up. It was hard to catch his attention when he had the computer with him. It was hard enough to pull his attention away from his phone.

She ordered a cafe mocha, thanked the cashier, and waited for her drink. She couldn’t help but absently pull and adjust her thick turtleneck in paranoia that someone may see the bruising underneath. Why did she agree to meet him here anyway? It felt like a horribly bad idea. Why was it such a thing to meet at coffee shops?

Grabbing her drink she dodged eager absent minded coffee connoisseurs and finally slunk over to the comfy chair open and waiting for her beside her friend.

When she suddenly flopped down in the chair beside him, Keith jolted with a start nearly upsetting the perfect balance he had between his thin legs, the laptop, and his most likely luke-warm double double. “Oh, hey! I didn’t see you come in.”

“No problem. Look… thanks for meeting me in such a hurry and all. I know you’ve been busy with stuff.” She tried to look relaxed, but even if the few comfy chairs they had – she looked stiff and unsure. She cradled her hot paper cup and sipped to stall for time.

“Well, let’s address the elephant in the room. You look like shit…” Keith must have been concerned. He actually reached out and closed the laptop lid. His brow furrowed a bit, and he looked her over closer. “What’s wrong, you been forgetting to sleep again?”

“Yeah, I wish.” she poked at the plastic tab on the lid of her cup and sighed. “I have no idea how to even start this conversation.”

“You not having the right words? That doesn’t sound good. I thought you and words were practically dating.” Keith smirked at the lameness of the joke, but all she could manage was a dry “Ha” in return.

“Seriously Shell, what’s going on? You look really rough. Did something happen?”

She felt panic in her chest and looked at the artificial flames from the fireplace as she swallowed hard. This was all so bloody awkward. Her mind tried to go over the best way to broach the subject without sounding like a complete headcase and being laughed out of existence.

All around her people seemed so devastatingly normal. It looked as if you could film a basic teen soap opera and you would have the perfect background fodder. People laughing and carrying on completely oblivious to anyone else in here. All focused on their own little lives. She wondered if she chose this moment to freak out, throw a table and scream if any of them would really care. They’d probably just instagram it, laugh, and continue on their merry way.

“Keith, something bad has been happening to me. I don’t know where to get answers from. It’s all so.. crazy and I’m really afraid I’m losing my mind.”

He had that look in his eyes for an instant. That look that said that he was about to make a bad joke or a sarcastic retort or something. But when she looked at him he made the right decision to hold his tongue. The look of fear on her face was apparently enough to make her point.

“Okay… umm…” He cleared his throat, looked around at his laptop and his coffee as if he’d somehow find something more intelligent to say there. His awkwardness made her relax a little. It was endearing in a way. He dropped his voice down to a hushed whisper. “So this is something serious then?”

“Yeah, pretty serious.” she took another long sip, and wished like hell she didn’t feel so shaky. The hot chocolate, coffee mix was topped with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and a dollop of whipped cream. It left a lick of foam on her lip that she hastily wiped on her sleeve. Social skills were highly overrated. “You know those investigator friends you have? You know, the ones that look into the odd things?”

“The paranormal group?”

Shelly snapped her head around, the fear that somehow someone was listening in passed though. Everyone was still stuck in background mode. She breathed a sigh of relief and nodded. “Yeah, those guys. Do you think you could set up a meeting with them?”

Keith couldn’t help himself this time. He laughed and leaned back in his chair, bracing the top of his laptop so it didn’t teeter off. “You? You want to meet with them? Didn’t you tell me once that you thought that stuff was a load of crock? Come on Shell, you don’t believe in that stuff. Hell, I don’t even believe in that stuff – I’m just good friends with Lynn! What is this, some sort of joke?”

Shelly nearly dropped her drink as she set it down on the table, grabbed Keith’s arm and pulled him closer to her. She used her free left hand to quickly pull down the sweater from her throat and glared at him as she quickly snapped out a whisper. “Does this look like I am joking?”

Keith gawked at her, his eyes wide and his skin paled. The reddish colour of his stubble attempt at a goatee on his chin was more visible with the blood drained from his freckled skin.

“Holy shit! Did someone do that to you?!” His voice raised and she gave him a small jab in the arm to shut him up. A few people had looked over, but she had already shoved her turtleneck back over her throat so fast she thought she might choke herself.

“Something did.. yes. It’s a long story.” She rubbed her palms nervously on her jeans before picking up her drink again, cradling it for something to keep herself occupied. “Can you set up a meeting?”

Keith nodded quietly, but it was clear he was almost as troubled and confused as she was. “You sure you need them though? I mean… if you need someone to go with you to the cops or something–”

“No! I mean… I know it sounds crazy, but honestly this isn’t something I think the cops can help with.” She couldn’t help but laugh a little at her own uncomfortable situation. “Gods, you have no idea how hard this is. Keith, just set up a meeting. I’ll tell you everything I can. Just… not here. It’s too.. many people here. I already feel like a freak-show.”

“Who cares what everyone else thinks. Geeks and freaks, remember? We stick together. I just texted Lynn and told her it was something serious. It shouldn’t take too long, she’s never far–”

He was interrupted by a bleep from his phone.

“See what did I tell you? A girl after my own heart. She says we can come down to the shop. I really hope her cat isn’t around. I think that thing hates me.”


Story: The Cluster: Chapter Two

( Warning, this story falls into the Horror theme. It has mature language and violence. Also…  yes I know I should be finishing the Veilreach project… this one is just writing itself quicker. I’ll try to get back to the other project as soon as I can. ) 

Shelly was used to having nightmares. Ever since she was a child she would have lucid dreams pretty often. You know, those dreams in which part of your conscious mind wakes up and makes you aware that – yes, this is just a dream and the weird things going on aren’t really going to hurt you. Maybe it was a survival instinct to protect her young mind from the nasty dreams she’d sometimes have at night. We all carry baggage with us, Shelly certainly wasn’t an exception.

Life could be rough. They leave a lot of psychological garbage in your internal trash bin. Dreams are like the ultimate cache dump of the conscious mind and her cache sometimes held some nasty pieces of work.

As she got older she lost a lot of control over her dreams – or at least she simply stopped paying attention. But a part of her, lost deep down and buried by mundane stress and issues, still understood. Her mind still knew what dreams were and how to tweak them here and there.

So when she awoke in a large dark room tied to a stiff hard chair – at first she didn’t freak out.

After all, she knew what a nightmare felt like. She knew in the end she could manage those.

It was the fact that she wasn’t alone that bothered her.

“Who’s there?” She squinted, trying to assess where the hell she was. It had to be a dream, it felt the same. There was a general surreal tone to the air about her. The fuzzy-edged feeling of subconsciousness.

“We are!”

Suddenly bolting forward out of the darkness and gripping the arms of her chair was a creature, loud and smelling of battery acid. The force of it pushed the chair back and scrapped the chair legs on the hard surface below. Fear rose as she looked over the creature… no the woman who was leering over her.

She seemed almost real – but the tones were wrong. Her image distorted, glitched and twisted. It was like a movie skipping frames, like watching someone move under a strobe light. Her intense sharp eyes crackling silver at one moment, and a shine-less dark cavern of abyss the next. Her skin a stone grey as if the colour had washed from it long ago. Her blouse was the only colour about her, a dark blue and charcoal grey offset by a black vest.

But the most disturbing thing was that even though the monster looked so unnatural, it still carried her own familiar face as well. Twisting and glitching before her – but her face none-the-less.

Shelly swallowed hard. They glared each other for a long and uncomfortable moment.

“What the hell…”

“Indeed.” The woman grinned and released her grip of the chair with a light shove before she straightened and ran long claw-like nails over the ruffles on her blouse. The voice was the same one that taunted Shelly. Haunted her in the back of her skull. “So we finally meet, face to face.”

“No, this is just a really fucked up nightmare.” Shelly grunted and pulled on the restraints holding her to the chair. “Come on, focus.. this is just a dream. I can do this.” She arched her back and pulled hard, gritting her teeth.

“I would seriously reconsider. You may hurt yourself.. and I think we should save that for later.” The woman oozed a cool calculated confidence.

Something was seriously wrong. Shelly pulled harder and her shoulder started to hurt. Not simply a memory of pain, but a fresh and new ache building in the muscle. She wiggled her fingers and felt the edge of the chair more carefully. It felt far too real this time. The hairs at the back of her neck began to really rise. It worried her that she could feel them, along with a bead of sweat fall down from her hairline.

Were her dreams ever -this- real before? She remembered pain in some, but not this strongly. The air felt, thicker. Like it carried with it a newer sense of gravity.

“Oh, and there it is… the realization. The understanding. The dawning knowledge that -I- am the one in control. And -you- are not.” The woman’s grin twisted further up, her head tilted and adjusted in it’s jolting way as she started a slow predatory walk around her trapped guest. Her low chuckle was dark and gravel filled, like quiet growl from an angry cat. “Now perhaps we can get down to business.”

“Who are you?!” Shelly tried to move the chair on her own and nearly upset it.

“That… is complicated.” the steps paused a moment behind her. Shelly tried to twist her head around but could only see the shadow of her. Even distorting in and out, it looked as if she had paused. Or stalled? While Shelly strained to watch the image of the woman seemed stuck on some sort of loop.

She struggled to free herself hoping maybe the woman was somehow stuck like that, but then she began to move again and her moment of hope vanished. She continued on as if nothing had been out of the ordinary. Instead she continued her long circle and was now heading back around to her left side.

“I don’t owe you any answers of course. You are the antiquated system. Eventually it won’t matter. However things would go smoother if we could work together. If you would simply allow things to progress the way they need to…”

“I’m getting real sick of this, let me go!” Shelly took her chance and rocked forward luckily able to catch herself upright and stand, although awkwardly, with the chair still attached to her back. It may of looked ridiculous, but at least she could move. And move she did. After a quick adjusting balance Shelly made a run for it, blindly heading in the opposite direction of the woman and out into the blind darkness of the room.

For one brief moment, she thought she was getting away.

Then suddenly there was an angry growl, a jolt, and a flash of silver movement.

As if the whole world glitched around her Shelly found herself choking and dangling as the woman gripped her by the throat. The chair was somehow long gone and instinctively Shelly gripped the woman’s wrists with her now free hands and kicked her feet in the air trying to find the floor.

“Tsk, tsk. So rude of you. Here I am, trying to work with you… and you go ahead and interrupt me. We don’t have a lot of time!”

Her lungs were starting to hurt. Her toes could barely touch the hard floor behind her. She dug her nails into the woman’s wrists but couldn’t seem to tear her skin. Was the world getting darker? Or was she passing out?

She pulled her in close and that familiar deep voice echoed into her ears. “I won’t kill you. I need you alive currently… at least your body. But there are so many, wondrous things I could show you. So many things I could -do- to –”

She woke up, sweat covered and breathing hard. It was silent in the room.

That nightmare was worse then those she had before. She struggled out of bed, stumbled past the red light of her snake cage and grabbed her glasses as she walked. Her legs felt shaky. She followed her familiar path, down the small hallway, nearly falling into the doorway of the bathroom as she shoved the glasses on her face and elbowed the light-switch on.

The face that confronted her in the mirror was pale, and panic-stricken.. and glaring at her from her throat were new dark bruises and long sharp scratches that the ripped collar of her shirt couldn’t hide.

She was used to nightmares… this was something more.

She needed help.

Story – The Cluster: Infection

Before I get back to the more lighthearted Veilreach project I have currently on the go – I wanted to post something new. This is a little side-project story. It’s a dark tale about fragmented personalities and is loosely based on the awesome creative ideas spurned on by Markiplier and Jacksepticeye. Although, a bit more personalized spin… perhaps influenced by a few things.

One off, or perhaps a series… I’m not sure yet. We’ll see how it goes.

The Cluster: Infection… 

The laptop was warm, buzzing with it’s internal workings and a noisy fan which wafted the slight scent of battery acid. Sure, it was probably dying. Slowly breaking down as all things did. The fan made a heck of a grinding noise that echoed through the headphones and accented every other noise in the room. But it was hers. It was her lifeline.

You see some people believe that inanimate objects can have a personality, or a spirit all of their own. It’s a silly belief really. How could something made of bits and pieces of unfeeling things become something more?

You see things like that, they don’t have a spirit of their own. They instead borrow a little piece of yours. They take a part of you. They become a part of you.

We live one foot in the mundane physical world, and one foot edged into an electrical world of digital imagining. A cyber world of internet and wi-fi. Our electrical pulses move from our bodies to our hands, to the very devices we maintain connected to so tightly they practically live as our flesh and blood. Our personalities merge with the presence we create for ourselves in this brand new digital era.

It becomes us. Or at least, it becomes an aspect of us.

When her fingers slid over each black key it created sparks. Each letter formed words her mind strung together into something tangible. A story that had some sort of weight. Some sort of vibration. Her lifeline.

But like all things are – there were complications. Sometimes lifelines divide. Sometimes they diverge.

She felt it quietly stirring at first. Simple tangents of thoughts that she hadn’t expected. Daydreams that went too far, or took turns she hadn’t expected. It became easier for her to slip into persona’s that she had only once created for stories and games. Mindsets that became to speak a little too loudly on their own.

A strong imagination, that’s all. She was always the creative sort.

But then they became stronger, more solidified. They began to speak with one voice which she could now call out in the back of her mind. One singular although distorted voice that she could learn to recognize apart from the usual mutterings inside her chaotic mind. They began speaking to her in her dreams. And the dreams were becoming far too real.

It was hard to tell at first if this was normal or not. Afterall, we live in a society where it’s completely normal to have avatars and play as hundreds of different characters. We have gaming profiles, chat personas, and even various online aliases on social media. It’s normal to live under so many masks… was it normal for those masks to start speaking back?

Who do you even ask about something like that?

She ignored the humming fan of her running laptop and soothed a bit of her nerves by drowning out her thoughts with music streaming through her headphones. Her mind raced as she clicked through pages of pages of useless Google information. “Is this normal?” she’d type, and instead come up blank on what to specify after. Google would try to help, of course. Offering her completely useless autofilled ideas.

She ran her hands through her hair, squeezing her eyes tight to shut things off for a minute as she breathed. In, and out. Ignore the humming of the fan. Ignore the smell of battery acid. Ignore the remnants of light pushing through your eyelids.

What was real anymore? Who was she really, when everyone else was asleep and it was only her and the internet at night?

Why did she feel so… fragmented?

She leaned back in her chair, stretching her legs and pushing the limits of her backrest. She heard the chair creak, and her bones creaked in solidarity. For a long moment she chose to stare at a bare spot on her ceiling and watch the patterns in the paint.

Maybe it was normal. She was in her early thirty’s and she was in that delicate generational gap where she was too old to have been born bathed in the light of cellular devices or social profiles – and too young to have grown up free from their influences. Instead she had grown up alongside the very technology which seemed to swarm her now. She was a child of the digital age when the digital age was just being born.

They were practically siblings.

She gave up, closed the browser window. Scrolled her mouse to the task bar and clicked the power icon. She was obviously far too tired to be thinking clearly and it was time for her to shut herself down as well. She waited as the laptop’s sputtering fan finally stopped as the desktop powered off and the computer processes finally silenced. She breathed deep and closed the screen with a thud and untangled herself from the corded imprisonment of her headphones.

Her ears thanked her. They ached from warm weight.

Her bed was all of five good steps from her small computer desk – but it might has well have been a mile. She slapped the light switch as she went and the room devolved into the soft red glow of two heat lights hanging above two separate tanks in her room. Her roommates were of the serpentine persuasion. A few cornsnakes and a large ball python. They were quiet, strange creatures. Perhaps that’s why she was drawn to them. Birds of a fellow and all that jazz.

She slipped into the sheets and buried her head into the fabric of her bunched up pillow.

It never made any sense.

With her computer turned off and the internet miles away from her flickering fingers – why couldn’t she shut it all out of her mind? Why did it still stir like a caged animal in the back of her troubled skull?

This had to be what all gamers felt like, or those writers like her who got a thrill for creating new and interesting worlds inside their heads. Did they all have characters who were a little too… loud?

“Gah… why do I feel this way?” she muttered through grit teeth. It almost felt like she ached inside. Her insides hurt. She closed her eyes tighter, forcing her face deeper into the pillow.

“Because…” the familiar voice whispered, along with flashes of something deep inside of her stirring. A feeling of cool separation that echoed in the hollow part of her chest. “No matter how far you run – you can’t outrun yourself.”

“You aren’t real.” Her mind countered, trying to laugh off the stupidity of her imagination. “You are a character, a laugh. You are a moment of entertainment. A bloody RP character. You are something I made up for a bloody story! Nothing more. This is complete nonsense! You aren’t even real!”

“Huh. Even if that were true…” the voice crooned as if purring straight into her ear. It was deep and whispered. Touched with a liquid poison in each crisp word. “What in the world makes you think that could stop me? I, like others out there… we were just waiting our time. Picking our avatars. Infecting and waiting for our time to log on. And you dear one… oh yes. You should be ready. The time is coming… we are going to have so much fun…”

Short Story: Movie Night

[ A short vampire tale for all of you to enjoy! This was originally posted on my FictionPress account, but I’m slowly phasing that account out in favor of the awesomeness of WordPress and Wattpad! ]

She ran fast and hard as her chest heaved and her throat hurt. She was glancing over her shoulders frantically and stumbling deeper into the maze of alley corridors.

She could hear behind her noises weaving and turning here and there. There was someone – or something, chasing her at great speed in a manner almost mocking her with loud agile steps. With a rustle, a chuckle. She was being hunted.

Never a glance, never a flash. Instead only shadows and noise followed her deeper and deeper into the urban maze. She didn’t have to see them to know they were there, the signs were all around her. An echoing clunking noise of his feet, a slight laugh and deep breathing. The odd shadow on the wall or scurry of a rat ducking for cover.

If she had time to think she might have wished she had worn her running shoes, rather then the Birkenstock sandals which seemed to slap at her feet uselessly. At least perhaps with shoes she could use the traction to run even faster.

It seemed a foolish idea to begin with, seeing the movie in this part of town. Woven with back alleys and shops she didn’t know – darkened by the night and casting eerie shadows. And making the decision to walk home by herself.

She had seen the viewing which ended half past midnight. It was now just past one in the morning. Still dark enough to hide in these city streets. Dark enough for anything to happen.

A cat startled by her awkward run screeched at her causing her to let out a small shout of her own before she stopped and caught her breath facing three walls and no where out. All was silent for the moment.

It was a long few minutes as she breathed in and doubled over while letting her lungs catch her breath shakily. Her ears were perked, listening and waiting. But for a few moments she heard nothing. It would seem that with all the running, and all the commotion perhaps there was not anyone chasing her. Maybe it all had been in her head. An overactive imagination, nothing more.

It was a long few moments. A very long hesitation as she straightened herself up. The movie she had seen was the latest vampire movie. Some suave male heir who used this money and wealth to seduce woman during the day – only to hunt them down later in the middle of the night.

It featured bloody scenes as he beat them before having his way with them and finally feeding on their blood before they died. Her nerves were on edge. All the blood and gore, all the senseless violence, and all the dramatic bloodstained moments made every hair on her body tingle. Her nerves were raw, her knees weak.

She seemed to laugh a bit over the silliness of her fear. What did she really think he was somehow going to follow her out of the movie screen? Come for her too like he did the other women? Perhaps have his violent bloody way with her?

She eased her nerves, laughed again at herself and checked to make sure her jacket still held her wallet and keys. When her fingers passed by the key to her industrial loft she stroked it, jingling the keys absently as if trying to comfort herself. Her eyes scanned the shadows and she giggled more openly.

Just then a dark form of shadow slipped from the wall and revealed itself in the form of a man. She wasn’t sure how long he stood there waiting and watching her, biding his time and looking over every inch of her body. On his lips played a nasty grin.

He was dressed in studded black leather and spiked red tipped hair. Half gleaming in the light were silver skulls along the leather trim. He chuckled and laughed in a harsh heady way as he strolled from the shadows protection into the weak light of the dark alley.

His cheeks were flushed from the chase. In his hand something else silver glinted in the full moonlight from above them. It looked like a knife.

“Hello Doll, where are you off to?” As he approached and light crossed his face, even more details came into clear view. His eyes were colored yellow, his grin hinted at a flash of pointed teeth. Not just teeth, but Fangs.

She backed up towards the wall, stumbling a foot against the metal of a garbage bin. He followed her awkward steps deeper into the secluded trap. He was practically aching to get her now and she was making it so amazingly easy.

“Cat got your tongue? Don’t feel up for chatting? Well that’s okay. I know how we can have a lot more fun.” He rubbed his thick thumb against the handle of his switch blade. Looked her body over with a long husky growl.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Her voice was soft, careful. She moved a bit more towards the corner of the walls. He didn’t mind, it would only make her easier to pin. In fact she seemed to be sealing her own fate.

Already thoughts rushed his mind of exactly what he wanted to do to her. It made him lick his lips in anticipation. He made sure she could see his thick tongue drift over one of his fangs.

“No? Come on, you’re going to like it. I’m going to fulfill all your little fantasies. I know your type.” He stepped closer now boxing her in like the final move in a game of chess.

In truth, he was far more interested in his own fantasies then hers. His cheeks flushed more with the thrill, and he felt the blood rush with adrenaline in his veins. She caught now a whiff of something strong. Whiskey she thought.

Whiskey, violence, and lust.

“Oh? You know my type?” He reached out and rested a hand over her right shoulder. The smell was thicker now. It rolled off his breathing. She turned her head away, breathed in. Pressed herself back some against the wall.

It gave him a beautiful view of her chest as she stiffened and arched her back.

Again his eyes trailed over her, looking over the tight fitting ripped t-shirt. Featuring skulls, hearts and roses. Her own short leather jacket, with coffin charms. She was dressed for this flick, made up in glorious goth black against her pale skin. He loved the way these horror fans dressed. It made him tingle. These vampire freaks always made his juices flow.

This was why he adored this game, and why she was now center stage. The tight jeans and thick black painting on her eyes made her look so delicious, so into the movie – that she was completely irresistible. He couldn’t believe his luck when he had followed her outside the movie, and she made her fateful decision to walk alone. It was as if she was all wrapped up for him, ready and waiting. It was like she was asking for this.

He thought of the last one he enjoyed. How much he enjoyed her, over and over again. And she had not been nearly as pretty as the scared little one laid out in buffet in front of him. He felt like feasting indeed.

“Of course. You’re the type who dream of this. Who crave this.” He grinned wider, licked his fangs for her again, rolled his tongue along them and over his lips. “I bet you’ve seen this movie more then once. Dressed like this… you know you were asking for it. All your types like that…”

“Actually…” She breathed in carefully and sharply as he ran the edge of the blade against her thigh. It was sharp and cold, it left a small imprint on her jeans and took her breath away. One long moment, then she began to breath as he brought it up along her ribs.

She closed her eyes and shivered as he traced it up and over her left breast. Lightly, yet firm enough to mean business. He’d done this before. Then the trail passed her breasts and up her shoulder.

“…you’re wrong.” She breathed slowly, carefully. Her reactions screamed that she enjoyed every moment of it, even if she tried hard to deny the thought. Her body betrayed. He almost could guarantee she’d be wanting him before he could have some real fun.

They always resisted at first. Until they got into it of course, and then he was their god. This same game played out many times before. She would certainly be no different. Who makes up a police report saying a vampire raped them?

He trailed the flat of his blade along her cheek. Lowered his other hand to carefully run down her side. He couldn’t resist anymore, he had to touch her, to own her. To take her.

God she was pale. So beautifully pale. And she smelled intoxicating. Some sort of gothic perfume that he wished every girl would wear. His hand trailed lower over her hips and letting his wandering fingers push roughly at her thighs.

“Am I now, Doll?”

She nodded slowly and turned to watch him right in his golden colored eyes. Golden eyes which held the tell tale ring of contacts. Her eyes however were the most intense blue he had ever seen. A blue which seemed to be cold. Ice cold.

Cold enough he shivered.

“See… my type just hunts here.” And with that she pushed off the wall, slamming into him with such a force that his fake fangs clattered out of his mouth pulling one of his real teeth with it.

Something sharp and painful embed into his throat with such force he nearly choked on air. His mind screamed that somehow she must have wrestled the knife away and stabbed him. The pain was at such intensity that he found he couldn’t pull any air back into his lungs. He had the odd sensation of water pouring out of his throat like a riptide.

And then, it all became horrifyingly real. It wasn’t the knife that was embedding into his throat, it was her. Her fangs to be precise. Her fangs that were far more then his costume shop version of dental acrylic and adhesive. Her fangs that were now pulling blood from his ripped open throat.

She drank heavily of him first, taking her fill greedily before turning and slamming him back against the very wall he attempted to trap her into. It proved to be great leverage, and made his blood run quicker. Spiced with shock like a fine vintage wine.

He gurgled while tried to pull away, the air passing his ripped throat making bubbles instead of screams. Already she was tearing her fangs through his veins, to his jugular. Opening him up and gulping at the excess of blood pouring out of him like a river. This was no romantic event, no Hollywood ecstasy. This was hunger at its most primal. She could taste bits of flesh and vein slip down her throat with the gulping of his blood, she didn’t care. After all, you don’t sympathize with your food.

She grinded her body up against him, taking him in such a way that made his head rush. The gurgling blood soaked mess and the whines and attempts to beg ruined any composure he could have had. It was sensory overload. He was completely, and utterly useless. A slave to her hungers.

There was only so much blood in a human body, so she paused finally and pulled away breathing in the cool air. A sensuous shiver racked her body as she calmed listening to the rush.

Her eyes finally caught his again. Already he was glazing over, slipping away. His neck was slit and mauled in such a way that even the best surgeon would have a hard time keeping their lunch down. There was no help for him, and certainly no second chance.

“What’s wrong doll?” she chuckled sarcastically, voice lusty as she could hear his heart beat out its last struggling tones. She rolled her tongue across her lips and chin as she savored his thick artery blood like caviar. “Cat’s got your tongue?”

Eyes forever wide and staring simply watched her as his body leaned against the wall. His warm and wet blood didn’t take long to chill, already it drew away and made his body look powdered white. She didn’t need to touch it to know that already it was starting to assimilate the coolness of the brick wall he was slouched against. They seemed to die so quickly, over the smallest of things.

“These vampire freaks…” she chuckled to herself. “Wouldn’t know the real thing if it snuck up and bit them.”

She grinned and lowered down beside his still body. She had far more time to examine him closer now. Her body was humming with contentment and she could no longer hide the wide grin from her face.

She would never get enough of this game. It made her feel alive again, and it was so much easier to hunt them when they believed it was all their idea.

She reached out and pulled the silver chain from around his neck and studied it carefully.

An ankh. It would go well with her next costume.
After all, she always enjoyed dressing up for Movie night.



Dusk Creek: Chapter Fourteen

[ The final chapter.. for this story at least. ]

His life didn’t flash before his eyes. Neither did he feel himself die. He simply slept.

When his consciousness finally stirred to life again he realised he could breathe. His lungs still hurt and his arm throbbed, but he could breathe. He also realised he was not floating in an endless black sea, but laying on something firm.

His eyes opened and he was blinded by light. He shut them firmly, rolled to the side and coughed up mouthfuls of black water, hacking and shivering.

Just breathe.” It was a woman’s voice and a soft hand on the square of his back.

He wheezed in air like a college student guzzling a bottle of Jack. His nerves convulsed and he hacked and coughed painfully. He felt pain through every nerve in his body. The realisation came to him that he must somehow still be alive if he hurt this much.

His heart dropped and he tried to open his eyes again. The blinding light eased up.

Dusk Creek?” he choked out, still trying to adjust.

He squinted and her form started to take shape.

Solarium.” She said simply. The bone skull shone on top of her head, her hair brilliantly flaring behind her like a mane. Her wings outstretched on either side of her shoulders like tattered evening sky. She wore the most beautiful shade of crimson he’d ever seen wrapped around her body.

We’re in the Solarium?” His voice was rasping, his mind running. She was alive. He was alive. Something had changed. Chuckled laughter slipped out of his stripped throat. “We got out!”

They were free from the hellish city. They were saved from the black waters. She was alive and she looked beautiful. But her lips weren’t turned up in a smile. Instead, they seemed curved down. A frown of concern edging on her lips.

No. My name.” she whispered softly. “I am Solarium. I remember now. I’m one of the guardians of the Solarium. I’m the last one left. The others… they all died.”

He tried to move his feet and noticed that one was stuck against something. Looking down he saw it strapped to the bed he was on. The simple bed of metal and linen. A hospital bed. Details of the room started to faze into existence as his eyes cleared.

He was scraped up and stitched; a simple material gown covered him only barely. Around him the room was white, cement, and reflected too brightly of florescent light. There were no doors, no windows.

What?” He looked at her and reached out to touch her cheek. His fingers slid right through.

I’m sorry Corey. I wanted to keep you, but I can’t. It’s because of you this happened.” Her image started to fade, just as her feathers did whenever they emerged. Only now it was her whole body, the pale white becoming translucent.

He yanked at the foot restraint as panic started to rise.

Because of me? What the fuck is going on!” He screamed and tried to yank his foot free. It banged loudly as he thrashed.

Your one of the ones that hurt me, like the others. The humans. You’ve been contaminated now by the blast.” Her voice was again, cold and toneless. “Your kind corrupt things here. You make ones like us forget who we are. If we allowed you back into any of the worlds you could contaminate others.”

Look I just want to go home! I’m not contaminated; I’m not like the others!” His eyes were red now, pleading. “You have to let me go!”

I thought maybe you were different. I was sick, and I thought maybe I was different too. But it will only take time, Corey. Eventually the contamination will show and you will be just as twisted as they are. That’s what it does.” Her wings stretched out, tattered bristled edges. “Your soul can’t leave Dusk Creek, Corey. I can’t allow it.”

You can’t do this! What about Shep? Shep liked me!”

You were alive then… I tried to keep you alive. It was your only option. But you died here, and now you can’t leave. You are like them now. They all died too, and they turned into those things.”

But I’m not dead!” he screamed.

You drowned. You are human and you drowned. I can’t. The only thing that can kill us is what you already did. I’m the last one left. I can’t die. I am the Solarium.”

You’re wrong! You’re fucking wrong!”

You won’t be eaten like the others were.” Her eyes softened, sadly. “When one of them gets eaten they turn into something worse. They keep contaminating this place from the inside of the others. I spared you from that.”

He thought of all those creatures, mindless killers. Feasting on each other. Each part of them continuing to exist in some form separated from their body. Torn into many facetted pieces which could still think and feel. Endless pain that would never stop.

I’m all alone now and I’ve got so much to do. I need to hunt down anyone else contaminated like you who may have escaped. I need to hunt down those who did this and bring them all back here. None of you can leave Dusk Creek, Corey. It’s what you all created. It’s your punishment.”

I saved your life!” he screamed and his voice cracked. Again he clawed at the restraint with renewed vigour. His ankle started to bleed as his nails dug deep into his skin trying to pry it free. “You can’t leave me in this hell!”

It was then he realised the black spot on his leg. It stretched from his hamstring up the back of his leg. The discolouration seemed darkest in his veins and looked as if it were crawling. It was burning hot to the touch and he wanted to vomit.

Maybe in time I can fix the damage you made. Maybe I can find others to help. There is so much to do. I’m afraid this is goodbye Corey. I will miss you.”

I can help you!” He was desperate now. His hands shook like a leaf.

I would have liked that, but it’s already too late for you. Don’t worry, soon it won’t matter. You won’t remember me or your loved ones. You won’t care about freedom or happiness. You will be like them. Part of the chaos. It won’t hurt so much then.”

Her voice was the last to disappear. It hung and lingered in the air like a curse. Finally his leg restraint gave way and he managed to tear it off with his blood soaked fingers. He fell off the bed and hobbled to his feet.

Have to get out, have to get out!” He mumbled terrified. The more his heart beat like a hummingbird the more he could feel the burn spreading through every vein.

There might not have been a door, but there was a window. It was cut out from the thick cement walls and had four tight bars blocking him from freedom. He managed to grab the edge and hoist himself up to look outside. His breath caught in his throat and his eyes grew wide and wet. He saw outside, into the city of nightmares. Fires burned somewhere in the distance, and the streets were bare. On the horizon the horde was coming for him. Marching like black wraith’s on the wind sensing live food. Sensing one not quite their own. At least not their own just yet.

No… Please no…” The faded black lettering of a sign could barely be seen.

Dusk Creek Mental Asylum

This time he screamed so hard it came out as a disfigured howl.

In cells next to him the howls repeated and echoed over and over again. He had looked into the abyss and it looked back at him and grinned beneath a crow’s skull.

[ Thank you for allowing me to share this story with you all! It is well loved and I may again revisit the strange place like the Solarium or Dusk Creek in future tales! For now, thank you again. This story, Dusk Creek, and the characters are (c) me, but it has been my pleasure to share this tale with you all here on Black Quill Blog! ]

Dusk Creek: Chapter Thirteen

[ Beware the waters of Dusk Creek… ]

Joan had long been lost to him. He wished now he had kept a grip on that lovely metal thing. Lost to him like its namesake had been. Still he managed to at least get back to the familiar surroundings that he new led to his destination. Towards the creek.

He ran the whole way. Barely stopping to breathe. That was until he saw it. A pack of black things feasting on the remains of one of their own. In fact it looked like they were tearing apart and eating from the gangrene body of the large dogs who hunted him before.

They stopped, sniffed the air and then saw him. Blood and sinew hanging from their jaws and slurping against their throats and necks.

Shit!” He ran to the right, running fast towards the bridge.

They were on his heels, snarling and spitting blood with each pump of their black little hearts. A scream caught in his throat accented with curse word after curse word. More black things followed and he glanced back for a moment to see a blur of black things trailing him.

He couldn’t outrun them at this pace. But he didn’t need to.

Forget about the boat, the gun, the lantern and any safety measures. Fuck it all. He ran headlong up the bridge of the overpass, kissed his ass goodbye and continued running long and hard up and off the crumbling remains of the last bridge out.

His body flew while his legs still kicked and for a moment he remembered the sensation of flight. Of being held by that distorted angel who saved him from the monsters before. He barely remembered her above him, clutching tight as her wings extended out. Those wings that he saw far above him now.

She was there, watching his decent into the black waters. He wanted to call out to her, but before he could even speak he hit the water and his world snapped to an endless black crash. He was still falling, but slower now. Sinking. He was sinking and she was gone.

This is it.” As the water rushed into all his sensation he felt heavy and surrounded. “I’m dying.”

For a moment he was at peace. He had always heard that drowning was a painful way to die, but in this case it felt as if drowning was his only way out. His lungs burned, his arm burned, even his legs stung with fire. The water seemed to be the only release.

Just as his lungs felt as if they were about to burst something grabbed him by the chest.

The sudden realization hit him like a brick wall. They must have fallen in with him and were still wishing to feast on his flesh like rabid sharks. He screamed as claws dug into him and he kicked and screamed in the water as he fought to find the surface. They were yanking on him, snarling at him. Trying to tear him apart.

Finally he broke the black creeks surface and his lungs heaved pained trying to take in as much oxygen as they could. He wheezed, coughed hacked and thrashed his limbs trying to fight them off.

It was then that something gripped his hand firmly and held it still. His eyes met hers. It wasn’t the monsters ripping him apart. It wasn’t the enemies at the gates. It was her. She dove for him and forced him to the surface.

I can’t swim.” She said weakly, still trying to balance her wings on top of the water to keep herself from sinking.

Corey saw the panic in her eyes and his heart sunk. “What?”

I can’t swim.” She repeated and struggled to pull her wings up more, her head bobbed and her mask pulled downward.

Just hold onto me. I’ll swim us back to the bridge.” He looked back and brushed the hair out of his eyes. There was no longer a bridge, and no longer safety. The shore swarmed with black things waiting. “fuck!”

He looked back to her and her eyes were large and silent. So large that his terrified face reflected back at him. The large graceful wings which allowed her to soar the sky were merely pulling her deeper now. Yet the strong laboured flaps seemed to be the only thing keeping her at the surface.

Corey struggled to keep a grip on her arms and kicked his legs harder to try and keep them both afloat. She was cold, fragile. She clung to him for a moment in a tight hug which broke his heart.

Why did you dive!” he screamed. Her weight was immense now and he shook her to get her attention. Her legs thrashed and she bobbed up a bit more before starting to sink again.

I wanted to save you.” The answer was meek. Barely more then a whisper. Her arms released him and she pushed away.

Why?” He gripped her arm, yanked her back towards him. “Why the fuck would you do that? You were safe!”

She was soaking wet, but the tears she cried were blood tinged and separated themselves in distinct lines running down her white skin. Her mask slipped from her head and descended into the darkness, cutting the waters deep with its pointed edge. Within seconds it was gone.

I didn’t want to be alone. I’m sorry.”

Look we are going to get out of here, you can… can’t you just… do something!”

I’m sorry.” She reached up and stroked a talon through his hair. Her voice was a whisper now, barely heard above the sound of the water. And without another word her wings stopped moving. Her legs stopped kicking. She sank like a stone even as he clawed at the water trying to grab at her.

No!” he screamed clawing frantically. “Don’t you leave me!”

It was too late.

One breath passed. Then another. And then he snarled his frustration in a low rumble before he clawed and kicked, swimming down following her trail. He wasn’t going to run this time, he wasn’t going to simply give up. If he was going to die it would be trying to do the right thing.

Down until the darkness swallowed up all hope of knowing up from down.

Just as he thought it was hopeless he saw a slender sliver of white breaking the blackness. He reached out, released his breath and grabbed her hand. Her talons felt like ice against the skin of his wrist.

You aren’t leaving me.” His mind screamed as he clenched his hand tight.

I can’t hold on…” her words trailed into his memory as he started to black out.

Just breathe…” he thought over and over.

I can’t hold—“

Dusk Creek: Chapter Twelve

[ ‘Of explanations and theories…’ or ‘When fools rush in..’ (or out in Corey’s case…) The story continues. Dusk Creek (c) Me. ]

When the bombs fell, the Solarium around ground zero was shattered into chaos. Each of the four bombs exploded causing the balance that the Solarium had kept since the dawn of time to be knocked asunder.

The purpose of the missiles were to try and breach the veil of the worlds. To retrieve vital resources and to bring about a new renaissance for mankind. The Geneva convention had already ordered such things too dangerous to achieve and far too dangerous to try. And yet like all things – people in charge thought themselves above moral convictions.

Four modified weapons were used to breach the veil of the Solarium. Released in the hours of the morning they fell silently and destroyed the boundaries around the blast sight. However it didn’t create a door into fantastic other worlds. It didn’t give humanity a paradise to raid and escape to. It slammed the worlds together and created the city of nightmares. It created Dusk Creek.

As Corey had experienced, it was a city on the edges of madness. The convergence of chaos into hellish monstrosity. It was as if the negligence, force and twisted desires of the blast had transformed the place inside Solarium into just as violent and twisted things. Or at least, the places of the blast. It was a dome they were trapped in. The Creek was not an endless ocean. It was the very waters of the Solarium itself.

And yet there was her. There was Shep. And there was him. Some things weren’t changed into evil twisted things. Some things remained as shadows of what they were before the blast.

Corey learned from her that there were people here before he escaped the hospital. People who like him, were hunted down and devoured or drowned in the Creek trying to escape. Neither of them knew why some were transformed while others remained the same; only that once they changed – they were mindless vicious creatures. And hungry. So very hungry.

They were perched in the tower of an old library. A modified room turned into a safety nest. But both knew it was only temporary. All things in Dusk Creek seemed temporary.

Eventually the information dried up. There was much the creature didn’t know – and even more she didn’t seem to know about herself. In fact she seemed to grow pained and silent every time Corey pried about her life and how she in fact survived.

The only facts that he had so far is that Shep had been with her at the beginning and that she was not as human as he wanted to believe she was. She had no memory of her name, her purpose or her race. Only that she was and would continue to be.

You can’t go out there.” He watched her teetering on the edge of the window frame. Her wings were already outstretched from her back like a huge eagle. In her arms, the bundle of black fur and a stitched blanket acting as a casket.

Deserves to sleep.” She whispered quietly, glancing down to study the animal clutched in her grasp. Already she was starting to smell and decay. The wounds even stitched seemed festered and septic.

They’ll kill you too!”

No. I’m quicker then them.” She clutched the animal closer, adjusted her footing.

He grabbed her foot and clung on to it tightly. “No, I won’t let you.”

Her beak turned, razor sharp and she growled like a wild thing. He faltered, pulled his fingers back. Then with a simple growl snarling in her throat she clutched her talons into the dead animal, leaned forward, and dropped a good length of the tower before slamming her wings out and leaving him.

In a few moments her dark form simply disappeared into the archaic ruins around the library.

Great. I’ve pissed her off.” He sighed and looked around. “Great job Corey. If she doesn’t come back I’m royally screwed.”

There were still so many answers he needed from her. He had to find out how she knew about the Solarium and if she knew of any ways out. To do that he needed to gain her trust, but how do you gain the trust of someone who refuses to trust you? She saved him. More then once. Perhaps somehow he already had some trust with her.

And yet he also recalled what she had said. There were others here, like him. Hunted and tormented. And she didn’t seem to succeed with saving any of them.

If this hell hole is part of the broken area of the Solarium, wouldn’t the Creek be the outer edges?” he looked around the room and pulled out a few pieces of dirty white material. With a salvaged pencil he started sketching the remembered areas of Dusk Creek.

It made sense. Surrounding the city at all sides was the creek itself. The swirling black waters that tasted like blood. That had to be the key to getting out of here.

The only thing he needed was a boat, a shotgun, a lantern and a hope in hell…

When she returned, Corey was gone. He broke down the door she had sealed off to hide the stairs from the twisted things that hunted. It wouldn’t be long till some of them found their way into her nest of safety.

Fool.” She groaned as she sat annoyed. Her heart still wrenched from having to bury her only friend. This foolish human was going to ruin the only sanctuary she had left.

Yet he was the only one of them left now. Without him, she would be truly alone. And Shep had chosen him to protect in her great wisdom and compassion. Her companion, her Shepherd. If she thought he was important then she had to have seen something in him worth saving.

She shoved her favourite dresser down the stairs. Then her favourite chest and all the collected objects she salvaged that were heavy and awkward. They tumbled down the stairs and blocked the passage once more. Maybe she would be lucky and they would leave the area be. Or maybe she would have to hunt down every object again.

Either option meant little to her in the long run. It was merely truths that had to be addressed at other times. There were more important things to focus on.

She would have to find him. He must be somewhere, vulnerable and stupid, waiting for her to rescue him. She was needed somehow and it did at least distract her from her sorrow. She wished she could remember when she felt needed before Dusk Creek. Yet all she could remember was a hollow spot that made her feel sick inside.

Out her feathers bristled feeling the cool wind of the desolate city. Caressing them with each feather tip as she dropped another time, free as a bird in a gilded cage. Her heart beat wildly, her eyes closed. She’d felt this drop so many times that she knew it’s sensations by heart. Further and further, pushing it by long seconds before finally she gave in to the desire to live.

Feathers and muscles snapped out causing her wings to finally catch the updraft. Her wings propelled her across the city sky. She searched for him.

He couldn’t have gone far.” She reminded herself as her eyes scanned carefully and the skull mask directed wind away from her sight. “Humans are slow.”