This was the icon piece that I used for this year’s Halloween prompts over on my blog.
She needed a little bit more … exposure…
This was the icon piece that I used for this year’s Halloween prompts over on my blog.
She needed a little bit more … exposure…
Once upon a time…there was a little girl who fell in love with a manly man…isn’t that always the way? She looked up to him as he lay full out on the pedestal she built herself. She worshiped him. No others came before him. He held her hand, that ring on her finger, claiming her as his own, telling her she held his heart and that’s the way it would always be.
Oh, please. Men lie. Some men lie more than others. Sure, good men exist, but not in this story.
There were other women. There were other men. There were parties where he forced her to do things, things she fought to never acknowledge so she would not have to ever remember them. She closed her eyes to it, the nightmare that he became.
It took years. The lies he told took a toll. The actions he coerced her into left scars. The life that he stole from her, the things that he took from her, the abasement he heaped upon her…these are the things with which she built the path, those stairs, right up to his pedestal.
She watched him sleep that night. Him so calm, so peaceful, so like an innocent child. He had no worries, no concerns. He was the corrupt monarch taking all his due and everyone else’s as well. She knelt at his side, as for years before she had been wont to do, and she leaned in close. A small vial between her fingers dripped ever so slightly onto his robust lips. She watched, fascinated, as his pink tongue flicked out, much like a venomous snakes, testing the viscous matter. She carefully dribbled drop after drop into his mouth. He lapped every bit of it up. Once her vial emptied, she sat back on her heels and did nothing more than waited, counting her breaths and humming inside her own head.
She knew the moment the potion took hold of him. His eyes lit open. He gave a small choking noise. Then, nothing. He remained frozen, unmoving, not even able to breathe. She smiled, a sensuous smile that she had not been able to indulge in for such a long time. Her mouth curved up more on one side than the other, a quirky flirty little grin, showing no teeth. It spoke volumes about the girl she used to be, who always had that smile. It was that girl who had stepped forward to claim the moment.
As she pulled out her leather case and laid it out across his stomach, she spoke, softly, with a slight lisp and a quiet stutter, something brought on by his own tyranny over her time under his thumb. “You once told me that I hold your heart in my hands.” She dragged another larger bag nearer to her work station. He couldn’t see it. Not yet. “I plan to make sure you keep your promise that I alone shall hold your heart, forever and ever.” She stared into his left eye, intent, color burning in her cheeks, raising into her gaze like a contagion. “You said it would be me, always me, and no one else.” She patted his cheek, kindly. “I no longer want to be with you, but I will make you keep your promise.”
“Don’t worry.” Her smile widened. “You’re going to feel everything.”
She pulled up a filet knife and a hacksaw…and went to work. She worked diligently. She worked deliberately. She worked, blood spattering her clothes, sticking to her hair. She kept her mouth closed and her touch strong.
She wasn’t quite strong enough to break the chest plate on her own, so she pulled out a hammer. His hammer, the recoilless one that she had seen him used on animals when he thought no one else would notice. She bashed away at his chest until there was nothing left in her way. She set to work with the filet knife and soon held his quivering heart in her hand.
She held it up for him, so he could see it…the serum she’d given him would keep him alive and conscious and feeling every little twitch and spasm…and everything else as well… in minute detail…until she gave him the decoction that would release him from the first potion’s spell. Unless he died outright first. Given the strength of the brew she’d used on him, it would be a long long long time before he drew that last breath and fled his body.
As he watched, she dumped his heart into a small bowl. Something dark splashed thickly at the edge of the container. “It’s just a little preservative, dear.” She patted his arm with a bloody hand, leaving a gore trail behind as she caressed his arm. He emitted some sort of whistle as the goo into which his heart sank began to sizzle and smoke. She chuckled throatily. “Did I forget to mention that YOU will be remaining within your heart?” She shook her head to get her hair further away from her spattered face. “Once you leave that body, your essence will dive into your heart, where it will remain…” Here she shrugged. “You will stay there until eternity burns or I release you, whichever comes first.”
Once the smoke cleared and the sizzling came to an end, she dumped the bowl’s contents to the floor and plucked up the shriveled desiccated thing that was his heart. “Now it looks as it truly is.” She looked pointedly at him. “ As I have known you truly are for so long now.”
She wrapped the heart up in a rag and shoved it into the larger bag before sitting down beside him. She stared into his face, watching, memorizing, gloating. She sat as tears dripped haphazardly down his cheeks. She sat as blood bubbled from his nose and ears. She sat as his tongue swelled up and puffed out of his mouth. She sat as his body swelled with expanding gases. She sat as those gas blew holes in places no man should have holes in its rush to vacate his insides. She sat as his eyes metastasized and drooled out in thick blobs of gross. She sat until his body caved in upon itself. As his skin started to slough away, she leaned forward. “Are you still in there?” She threw her head back and laughed, with her whole heart, with her whole body. She dug another vial from the back pocket of her jeans and basically threw it onto what remained of his blackened tongue.
In an instant, his body was dust. No wind carried it away. Some things were too fetid even for Mother Nature to want to touch.
There came a large THUMP inside the bigger bag at her feet. He was in there now, inside his own heart. Without eyes. Without hands. Without mouth. A wilted unwanted thing.
She grabbed up her tools and her bags and walked back down again. She took the rag-wrapped heart and stuffed it into another bag, which she stuck in a silver box. She dumped black salt and white ash all over it, filling the box. She glued the lid on. Then, the box went into another box. Only then was she ready and willing to clean herself up.
She bathed. She ate. She walked through the house they had shared for nearly fifteen years. She decided to take nothing. Let it all burn. Except for him. She had plans for him.
It was mere days later when she cast off for the shore of the small island somewhere in the middle of the ocean, somewhere off the horse latitudes. She anchored her skiff securely and swam for shore, only a bag tied to her waist. She awaited the night, the winds, the rains…and then she dove deep. Using pieces of whatever she could find, she dug under the water, at the base of a neglected trench, in the side of the mountain. She dug as long as she had breath…then she dug more. Finally, she felt she had done all she could do…she dropped the well-sealed heart into the hole…and began the process of filling the hole.
As she swam to the surface, she offered up prayers. Prayers of peace. Prayers of gratitude. Prayers of release. The gods must have heard her for as she turned her boat away from that isle, a tumultuous noise surged up from below as the side of the mountain against which she had dug gave way, adding tons of rock, rhyme and reef to to cover her tracks, to seal her hole deeper. Even the gods blessed her in her freedom, knowing how well she had earned it.
Welcome back! I’m so glad that you are here. Did you enjoy yourself the last time? Maybe you should have another one. I’ll arrange it for you. Follow me to get started on your journey. You know that you will be gone for several days. Have you made arrangements for your absence? Good! Let’s get started then shall we?
It was best if you didn’t ask a lot of questions about the journey. Ever since the Aliens took control of the earth, you had to have your brain reprogrammed every three months, until you could no longer remember what your life was like before the invasion. The people that resisted going on the journey were never seen again.
It was all our fault. They warned us over and over again and we didn’t listen. Most of the earth was destroyed, well most of the people were killed and the ones that survived had to go on the journey. I have been on three of these journeys now. Just when my hair has started to grow long enough to hide the scars, it’s time to go again.
You know what? It really isn’t that bad. There are beautiful trees and flowers and parks everywhere. But…the thing that I don’t like at all is that I’m starting to look like them.
Well, it’s time to go. Are you going next?
They run with the wind
Waiting for you to let them in
All types and sorts of beasties prowl
Sometimes on a full moon you can hear some howl
The number of monsters is too many to count, its a mess
One thing they all have in common is the taste for flesh
Those who eat flesh only are the kindest by ten fold
The scariest ones have a craving for human souls
When you hear them scratch at the window, stay far away
For if you give them an in, with you, they will have their way.
It was Halloween night, and as was the yearly tradition, there was a costume ball being held at the old Murphy mansion. James was excited because he had finally gotten an invitation, after three years of trying to get in. He had just moved to Wellstown five years ago to take the position as CEO of the large construction firm which belonged to the family for which the mansion was named. Technically, the mansion still belonged to the family, but no one had actually lived in it for the last ten years. The family had decided to open it up to the public on special occasions and the occasional tour.
As he had gotten used to know some of the family, he had found himself intrigued by one of the female members of the family. Her name was Anna, and she was the niece of old man Murphy. She had only come into the office about ten times in the five years that he had worked for the family, but he found himself thinking of her from time to time. As many men in town were, James was stunned by Anna’s beauty. It was just so hard to get to know a lot of the people in town though. Especially the ones who ran in the same circles as the Murphy’s. They were a little clannish in this small town, and even though he held a high position in the company, he had never been invited to any of the party’s which they had hosted in the time that he’d known them. They were polite enough to him, but they didn’t really accept him as part of their group of friends and family.
So, when he had gotten the invitation, he was surprised. Especially since Anna had come into the office and hand delivered it herself. She had handed him the envelope and said that she hoped he could make it, and that she was looking forward to sharing a dance or two. James had asked how he would know who she was, since the ball would be masked as well as costumed. Anna grinned at him and told him not to worry…that she would find him. As she walked away from him, leaving a cloud of perfume James sat in a half dazed state for a while, intoxicated by her.
His excitement about being included on the guest list mounted until the day arrived. James had gone to a specialty men’s shop and gotten a vintage looking men’s tux altered. It was midnight black with deep burgandy crushed velvet accents. He had even found a mask to match. At 7 p.m. on Halloween night, he left to make the 15 minute drive to the mansion. Upon his arrival, he was flabbergasted by the ornate yet classic decorations, both outside and in. As soon as he stepped into the foyer, a uniformed butler stepped forward to take his cape. Before the man had stepped away from him, a familiar female figure approached. Anna didn’t even have to utter a word. He just knew that it was her.
They began to laugh as soon as they said hello, because somehow they had managed to wear matching costumes. He couldn’t get over how beautiful she looked in her form fitting black and burgandy Victorian ball gown…and her mask…it was adorned with copious amounts of feathers and rhinestones. Her costume was made complete by elbow length satin gloves and a gorgeous set of jewelry made of rubies and onyx. Hooking her arm through his, she led him to the bar for a drink before taking him around the room for introductions. As soon as they had made their rounds, she led him out to the veranda and told him that she had been attracted to him since he had arrived in town. He was astonished that a woman as beautiful as she was felt that way. It wasn’t as though he were unattractive, he just had always felt that she was way out of his league.
As the night wore on they had a great time together, dancing and mingling with the other guests. At just a few minutes before midnight, she leaned in and whispered in his ear, “Do you want to go find someplace private?”
She didn’t need to ask him twice! Anna led him downstairs into the basement area. James found it a bit odd that she would choose the old, unfinished basement when there was an entire mansion to choose from. He figured that her reasoning for doing so was probably that it wasn’t likely that anyone else would come down here. They walked through the dimly lit basement, clear through to the back corner or the house. When they arrived at a thick metal door, she reached out and slid it open. The room was pitch dark. James felt a little nervous, so he asked her where they were going. She put her finger to his lips and told him that they were almost there.
“It’ll be worth it James.”, she said.
He heard another door sliding open and thought to himself that he was glad that she knew where she was going. As they walked into the chamber, he noticed that the room was flickering with candlelight and that there was a large table in the center of the room surrounded by several shadowy figures. This definitely made his heart beat faster. As he turned to go back out of the room, he heard the doors slamming shut.
Before he could ask her what was going on Anna said, “Tonight James, you are about to fill a very important role in this community. We know how much you’ve wanted to be included in our group, and even though it may not be as you expected, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ve made the cut”.
As soon as she uttered those words, a large man stepped forward holding a gleaming silver blade. James stepped backward, only to find himself being restrained by two more large men. The two men holding his arms forced him over to the table and pushed him down onto its surface. That was when old man Murphy stepped forward from the darkness.
“James, now that we’re all here it’s time to tell you the truth. Every person in this room is at least 200 years old. About every fifty years or so we hire a new CEO, which in our case stands for chief executive offering. All of us have made a pact. The details of that pact are irrelevant to you, except for the part which we’ve brought you here to fulfill. In order for us to remain among the living to fulfill our end of the pact, we have to make a sacrifice about every fifty years. You are that sacrifice. We are going to cut you and drain you of blood, which we will consume. The unfortunate part of this is that we are not permitted to kill you before taking your blood, because the other party to our pact requires a living person to consume. When my ancestors first came to this country, one of my forefathers made a deal with some of the Natives in order to live longer and create a legacy for the family. As a result, he turned into a Wendigo and requires human flesh to keep the bloodline strong and prosperous. So, tonight you will be most useful in your role as CEO”.
Before James could scream, someone shoved a gag into his mouth. He could feel the cuts of what felt like twenty knives all over his skin. People were stepping forward to catch the blood in ornate goblets and guzzled it down. As his vision began to fade, a creature stepped out from the deepest recesses of the room. He knew at that moment, that everything that old man Murphy had said was the truth. Completely helpless, he watched the Wendigo step close to him with its teeth bared. The only mercy in this entire evening was that when the Wendigo took its first, and fatal bite it went for his neck. He could hear the crunch, before the lights went out of his eyes.