Archive for June, 2012

Monsters (Part two)

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , on 29/06/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

A bit late with this entry, my apologies. I hope I deliver with this conclusion.

Part one

Monsters

Part 2

 

As a breath on glass, -
As witch-fires that burn,
The gods and monsters pass,
Are dust, and return.

(“The Face of the Skies”)”

―George Sterling,

The Thirst of Satan:Poems of Fantasy and Terror 

 

 

“I think I brought memory to life. Did I Neil? Could I?…”

As I stood before my door Tom’s words came back to me and I asked myself what he meant.

“Did you Tom do something horrible in the past that came back to haunt you today? Could you have done something bad?”

I cursed me for doubting my friend.

My hand hesitated on the door lock. I turned to watch the lights of the departing cab with a tinge of disappointed. I wished I had stayed in it. Maybe tell the driver to keep on driving around town until the dawn comes and saves me from the questions solitude and darkness tend to evoke in one’s mind.

I didn’t feel like being home tonight. Not alone.

I sighed and opened the door.

The lights, as I switched them on, welcomed me with a vague, nonchalant gleam.

I prepared myself a quick dinner – macaroni and cheese with tomatoes – and watched the news, only for the voices to keep me company and distract me from the ones in my own head.

A young blond reporter spoke of a chain accident on the interstate. Five people were dead and a dozen injured. She looked frightened as if her life was the one depending on good Faith.

I turned the TV off and stared at my face in the black screen. Was that fear written on me as well? Fear of what I saw back at Tom’s apartment?

Once more my thoughts were taken back to the filthy living room turned into a studio and the paintings aligned staring at me.

I wondered what imagination dreams of such horrid creatures? What sort of agony makes the artist reach so deep in his soul, in that part which is unknown and foreign to him?

“Why, Tom?”

I had to know.

“How can I help you Tom when you told me I couldn’t understand. Why is that? For what am I so blind?”

I rubbed my eyes and poured myself a large glass of golden liquid. Even after a few drinks no answers showed to solve my mystery and cease my worries.

I decided sleep may be my remedy.

I went asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow and no longer after that a dream came to me, one that left me moaning and twisting in the bed; a poor mess of sweat and sheets.

I didn’t see myself present in it, but it felt as if I was the host, my body, soul and mind combined to offer a field for the events developing. I felt utterly exposed to some invisible invasion from outside, a fearful breeze of rotten nightmares.

The scenery was bleak and confusing but it reminded me of the cover of a book I used to own as a child. But the golden crops, the morning sky were different– they painted themselves in dark rusty-brown, before the sky cracked and only blackness was left, so vast and loathing it raised my curiosity of what lies beyond.

I remembered there were children painted too, playing and laughing but instead of them something else was celebrating under distant sounds of drums and horns.

A creature of scales and claws, multiple eyes, tongues and limbs descended from the blackness, towering above all and with an echoing roar of its billion mouths it shattered grotesquely and collapsed into monsters that scattered and possessed each piece of the dying ground; the spawns danced with rhythmic moves, but all I could see was a savage ritual of grunts and roars; the nameless ones caught in a symbolic moment of fierce copulation; a collision of bodies furry, wet and muscular. Some, I observed from my nowhere position, carried human parts and with disgust I had to watch as their sharp tongues lick thirstily the dripping blood and their mouths bite, tore and swallow down large pieces of red flesh.

This was a feast upon humanity. A celebration of prevail and conquer. It smelled like defeat, like losing all hope and I felt even greater fear emerging from each direction, cloaking the dream, the inhabitants, the revelations.

My childhood nightmares were there before me, but somehow altered, changed. More vulgar and shameless, more brutal and willing to kill my vision and memory of how monsters were supposed to look. Those were…

“No, monsters aren’t real. This is just a dream” spoke Tom’s voice but I knew it was I who thought so.

But these spoken in the subconscious words disappeared with the increasing throbbing of the drums. The melody so ancient and ethnic called me to come forward; an invitation of the sort you don’t simply turn down even if your whole being is trembling with fear. I felt myself do as told, and I tried to suppress the urge to touch skins, horns, furs and prove them real, proclaim them living and breathing and here. I hesitate…do I want to?

They are not real. I know that. They can’t be.

I push myself away; a far and rapid withdraw from this degeneration of the soul.

I woke up weak and destroyed from the dream. My head pounded with pain.

I didn’t enjoy this demented reflection of yesterday’s events, mostly because there were shadows which I didn’t see but felt. The art in Tom’s paintings had crawled into my sleep and hid underneath my pillow to invade my dreams and observe just as me.

Observe what? Me?

I reminded myself again it was simply a nightmare. Fiction of the mind.

Then what was that feeling of doubt nesting low in my belly making me uncomfortable?

Had I gone mad even for a second to believe monsters are real? To believe that those portraying Tom’s sickness are stalking me in my dreams and insist I participate from aside in a spectacle of horror?

God, I sounded like I do.

“Remember you believe in something once you’ve seen it and touched it” told me Tom’s whispering voice.

-   Hold on Tom, I’m coming.

I dressed and called a cab.

With a few begs my Arabic guide of city streets and ugly alleys drove faster and kept silent.

I decided on any cost to get Tom out of his place and buy us a plane ticket to Mexico or somewhere further.

Up ahead there was a construction site and the street was closed by large orange signs. My impatience overpowered me; I paid and jumped out of the car to run the last two blocks.

I dashed between faces and grimaces without my eyes registering any gender, age or race.

All I could think of were those monsters closing their rope of insanity around Tom’s neck.

When I got there a large crowd had gathered outside the entrance of the building. I spotted an ambulance and two police cars.

The officers were just starting to close the perimeter circling it with the “Cautious” yellow tape.

I maneuvered myself deeper into the whispering and gasping audience.

I needed to get to Tom’s apartment.

-  Excuse me? I need to get to apartment 8, Tomas Byrnes lives there, he is a friend of mine. I was supposed to meet him today. Could you let me pass?

The officer which I had just spoken to opened and closed his mouth, seemingly experiencing difficulty to offer me an answer.

-   I’m sorry sir. I’m afraid that will be impossible.

-   It’s very important officer. Can’t we arrange something?

-    I don’t think you understood me sir. Mr. Byrnes was found dead in his apartment an hour ago. My condolences on your loss.

-   Oh… – was all I could say, and then I mumbled – thank you.

Perhaps I had heard him the first time but was too shocked to realize.

I turned and walked away without feeling my feet touch the ground.

The monsters had won. They had found out I wanted to save Tom and had taken him away from me. They mocked me in my dream and showed me what future awaits those who deny belief in something so obviously real. I didn’t acknowledge them and they punished me by provoking my friend to implant their vision in me and make me question their authenticity.

“Oh Tom, please forgive me for running away. I was so scared and foolish.”

I stopped.

The people walking past me game me curious looks at my motionless figure. I looked in their eyes to seek some recognition, some response or understanding.

But they didn’t know of the storm in my soul and the guilt in my heart. They didn’t understand the fear in my mind and couldn’t explain the tears running down my cheeks.

But I knew what I’ve done.

“I can feel it. I have let the monsters in”

Monsters (Part one)

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 22/06/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

Monsters

Part 1

 “Yes, my dear child, he would undoubtedly tell a terrified toddler tremulously seeking succormonsters are real. I happen to have one hanging in my basement.” 

                                                                                            ― Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist

 

 Prologue

I used to have nightmares as a kid. My father used to come into my room, sit on the edge of my bed and gesture me to come closer. Then he whispered “Tommy my boy, there are no monsters in this world. They don’t exist. And as long as I’m here, they never will.” I believed my dad, but a part of me still reached out to that part of my mind that believed in the monsters as well. The monsters stayed hidden at first, only under my bed or in my closet but after a while they got used to the surrounding, made my home their home and began creeping outside my door, and I saw their faces. Oh, God their faces! They lurked in every dark corner of every room.

Then, they were real.

 

* * *

9/8/2011 Chicago, Illinois.

Beep…beep…beep…beep…click!

You reached the voicemail of Tomas Byrnes. Please leave your message after the tone: BEEP!

“Hey Tom, its Neil. This is probably the tenth message I’m leaving. Where are you man? I’m worried.

Call me back when you get this. Hope you get this.”

-   No answer?

Ann stood on the doorway, dressed and ready to leave for a weekend at her sister’s place.

I shook my head.

-   He’ll call. He’s probably working on a painting and doesn’t want to be bothered.

I agreed with her with a fake smile.

I knew Tom for long enough to know that there is something wrong with this absence of his.

-  I have to go. I wish you could come with me Neil. You need some rest. And some fun.

-   I know. That’s why I’m staying home to finish the project. After that I’m all yours.

She placed a warm kiss on my lips.

-   I’ll be back before you know it.

* * *

As soon as Ann left I called a cab and gave the driver Tom’s address.

I rested my forehead on the cold window and listened to the roar of the engine trying to shut off the fears in my mind. My eyesight traced the curves of the scenery. The weather was changing fast. Summer was preparing to leave for another 10-11 months and in her place autumn was starting to manifest with colors gloomy and dead.

I wondered what had happened to my dear friend Tom.

Had he faded just as summer, turning into a pile of rotten leafs blown by the rainy wind?

I shivered.

Minutes later my yellow carrousel from urban Chicago left me outside a four storey building of gray concrete and narrow balconies staring at a “Fletch and Skim” bookstore, a second hand clothes shop and a closed Chinese restaurant. I always wondered why he chose to live in this neighborhood.

I paid the cab driver and proceeded.

Tom lived on the second floor.

I took the stairs in one breath.

The bell was dead so I pounded my fists on the wood and raised my voice to call his name.

He opened the door; the ghost of someone who looked like my friend but who wasn’t. He was paler, wearing a stained white t-shirt and a worn out bathrobe covered in spatters of dried paint.

-   Neil? Hey. I didn’t expect you. – His voice was no more than a whisper.

-    What happened to you Tommy? Are you sick? I tried to call you a dozen times.

He tried to put on a smile.

-    Really? My phone must be off. No I’m fine. I just have a lot of work to do. Painting you know. It’s a bit of a mess inside but come in.

He disappeared in the darkness and without a hesitation I followed.

The windows were tanned; only fragile bits of daylight entered to shine across the room but it was enough for me to observe. Dishes with leftovers of food were lying on the floor next to scattered clothes.

The air smelled like paint and dust, and it stuck in my nose and tongue, the smell pushing its way down my throat.

The sofa was occupied by a canvas still unfinished but familiar to me, and aligned on the wall facing me were a few paintings I had never seen before. I stepped closer shocked by the nature of the forms, the dance of the brush, the colors most of all. I was terrified and confused.

-   Do you like them?

I averted my eyes.

-    What is this Tom?

-    My new Art. I just woke up and knew I had to paint them. I probably never told you this but when I was a kid I had nightmares. My dad used to calm me down and tell me monsters don’t exist. You’d say he was right. I thought so too. But they are real. Always were. Like you and me. Listen. I…I had a revelation. – His eyes glimmered with an ill sparkle – I needed to paint my monsters to prove myself they are fake but then they became real. I think I brought memory to life. Did I Neil? Could I? Look at them. You believe in something when you can see and touch it right? Right? … But you are afraid.  – He had tears running down though I couldn’t tell if sadness or joy had provoked them. He spoke so fast and his mood changed with every word. His voice raised and then faded again   –   God Neil… if only you could see them as I do! They are beautiful. – He stopped – I need to finish another one…You must go.

-  Tom you need rest. Come with me. Let’s go away for a few days. You can paint later.

The look in his eyes then crushed me with its coldness.

-   If you understood. But you can’t Neil can you? Go now. I’ll be fine.

As I descended from his apartment I thought about the monsters on the paintings, and their faces starring at me as I went away; in the cab on the way home I thought about Tom not being Tom anymore.

What had happened?

To be continued….

Freedom

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , on 15/06/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

I’m a bit off track this week, apologies for the out of tune and style flash but… next week a better one, promise!

Freedom 

A sparrow flew through space that is known and then it flew through space that is unknown and unexplored.  The ease with which he flapped his wings and glided between gas clouds and strangely shaped nebulas amused the sparrow. He was used to the sky back home, and after years of surviving the blue vastness he had come to the conclusion that there were limits; boundaries even invisible were set and one always knew where he would get if he flies south or north or east or west.

But this here… This was endless. Infinite.

The sparrow thought he could fly forever and still be just at the beginning of it.

He was all alone but that didn’t bother him. It made him feel safe. For the first time in his life he didn’t feel tiny and unimportant, he wasn’t scared that some rock thrown by a small human would snap his neck or a clawed predator would tear his chest open.

Being surrounded by billions and billions of glistening bodies and variety of colors made the sparrow happy, and he cheered with a skuak! which the darkness of  space took and shattered in particles of sound that died in the depths and looped back around moving inside holes and worlds until it was lost.

The sparrow was in peace.

* * *

“Mom! Mom! The birdie isn’t moving. Why isn’t it moving?”

“It’s dead idiot. The car ran over him”

Issy hissed at her little brother and poked the dead sparrow with her stick.

“Stop that Issy. Let’s get back in the house. Don’t cry Jamie, it’s all right. The little birdie is in a better place”

“Heaven?” asked Jamie in between sobs

“Maybe. A Heaven for birds”

Four dead birds

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , on 08/06/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

Friday Flash knock knock! This week:

Four dead birds

It was raining when he got there. The cab left him on a nameless boulevard and dashed down the street in an explosion of colors. He raised the collar of his coat not really to protect himself from the rain but from the anonymity and insecurity this city greeted him with. It was too ordinary with its tall glass buildings, shiny showcases, fast food chains, busy streets with ill manners and people running, always running to find shelter from some storm. A few people crashed into him. He breathed in their perfumes mixed with sweat. This was by far the worst smell he had come across.

He frowned. Nothing about this place impressed him. It was boring and too normal in an oddly weird way. Seemed like a waste of time to walk its rain soaked sidewalks. His search wasn’t probably going to end here. How could it? This was a lonely, dirty, smoked, concrete fake of a life. He felt disappointed. It even disgusted him.

His mind trailed off in past events as he continued to make his way between the heavy raindrops.

The silver calm waters of  the beautiful river Kawthar and light wood docks of  the city of tomorrow Tumiba with its glimmering V- shaped scrapers in the distance were days behind him; the misty streets of Mugla crawling in pale blue and ghostly green colors beside low buildings made of long and rusty iron scraps had waved their goodbyes to him when the mechanized horses of the masked police screamed their disturbing out of tune cries and the stitched from cars and trucks planes above roared their engines flying in circles, stealing the air in an ugly danse macabre; the rich golden sands of Southern Ikara had left him disorientated for hours until he reached the city of Ikarades with its towers of clay and talked a nomad with his bright red balloon to take him away to the next Illusory city.

His feet had traveled through dead cities and future cities, ancient cities and newly born ones. Five years had passed since he was banished from his home, his kingdom and was left to stray like an abandoned dog without directions or signs.

Frustration started to grow in him tightening his chest. It appeared that this was just the midst of his traveling and the persuaded culmination was far from reach. He clenched his teeth.  If this was a test to prove him worthy he wasn’t planning on failing it.

He turned to wave for a new cab when a slight change in the atmosphere alerted him that something was happening. He felt his stomach turn and thought he was going to vomit. Icy cold fingers pressed hard against his temples. Conversations, music, car honks got louder and louder before colliding with the fluorescent colors of the street lights that beamed brighter through the eye of the falling mercilessly rain. The smell of dust, tacos and old cologne slapped him through the face. He had to put some effort to keep himself from not falling.

This was the most violent Passing he had experienced.

He noticed the rain had stopped.

The street ahead was resting in the warm kiss of a setting sun. When he looked back to where he was just standing it was still pouring like mad and the sky was becoming a darker gray.

He raised an eyebrow.

“Not so ordinary after all“

He proceeded.

As he walked the buildings started to alter, some silently sinking into their foundations others shrinking inwards like they were sucked by invisible black holes but as they fell or disappeared, their glass eyes never stopped following his steps.

From some crumbling shop a flayer fell and landed before his boots. He picked it up.

In red letters was written FREE OF CHARGE ONLY TODAY – YOUR OWN LIFE! AMAZING CHANCE! THE OFFER IS ONLY AVEILABLE FOR THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES! TAKE IT NOW AND CONTINUE EXISTING! CALL 444-0444 NOW!

He crushed the paper in his fist. Someone was mocking his presence here. He quickened his pace.

The last building fell and the sea appeared on his right. The beach extended to the sidewalk in the blink of an eye and touched his boots. Then the water came, an olive green, almost black at the depths, emerald and onyx together swimming as far as the eye can see. The sun had the color of absinthe, a lime dipped in a cocktail of sea plants.

He knew this landscape.

-  You finally found me.

He turned around to meet eyes the same deep green as his.

-  Mother…

-  Adrian. You look well. Come sit with me. – She padded the bench she was sitting on.

He took a step closer and sat following the commanding note in her voice.

-   You hid well mother. I’ve been searching for you for five years. – They stared the sea.

-   I know. My informants told me you were searching. I can’t lie that I am happy to see you Adrian. I wanted to talk to you.

-    Spare me. I haven’t come for hugs and love. I want what is mine by right. I want the control over the kingdom and the Illusory cities.

-   You lost your right when you killed your brothers. Three dead birds in the cage. – She looked at him, her eyes showing no emotion – I prefer another son dead over a mad and selfish ruler.

Adrian stood up.

-   You wouldn’t dare kill me. I’m the only heir.

She tilted her head to one side.

-  Boy, come here. – Her voice rang and a child not more than seven came from behind Adrian. His eyes burned green. He stood beside the woman.

-  No… – whispered Adrian.

His mother took out a silver knife.

-  The mother does what is best for her most loved child. Even if the price is blood.

Something glistened in the dying day.

Adrian gasped at the sharp pain shattering his world, filling it with red.

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