Archive for horror

The Dorley Cycle VII

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories, The Dorley Cycle with tags , , , , , , on 12/04/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

TO START THE CYCLE :  Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV


Part V ;  Part VI




I knew that Dorley was incorporated somewhere in the 1600’s by some European fisherman and established as a town in the 1800’s, and all that it used to be in its earliest days was probably written down in one of the records in the archive. All the memories of my youth in Dorley are of struggling to spend a summer vacation in a fishy little town with a small harbor that held few solid fishing boats.

Inside the archives room was a metal shelf that ran from one side of the wall to the other and stacked some fifty yellow record boxes labeled with a red marker. There were a dozen brown boxes tucked into the corner of the room.

I knelt bringing my flashlight to those, first starting with their content.  I pushed the lid off of the first one and took out a thin file that bore the police department’s sigil. I went through three or four reports, all recent and all of minor violations from the outside regions. I pulled another box towards me. There was a moist scent soaked into the cardboard, the smell of old age and dark rooms and when I tore the dried glue and pulled the first file in had the same authentic stench of decay plastered onto it. There was a picture clipped to the first page. I brought my light to it, looking at a crime scene photo of a naked girl, arms, legs spread on the beach and a circle drawn around her. My heart sank as I recognized the markings on her body, dark, swollen all over her shriveled skin. They were identical to those of the two teens laid on the beach. I took away the light and stared into the darkness, rectangles and bright spots swimming before my eyes. The 86’ murder had fallen into my hands with a picture of the body of which the local lore spoke to have been missing and never found. I took the photo out and put it in my pocket without a second glance. The page underneath was smoke soaked and the ink was smudged in redoing the bleak writing, but I read the year all right, and the name of the girl – Anne Henderson, 17.  The rest of the file however was empty.

A voice above me hissed like a rattle snake in the quiet and the hiss sneaked to the pit of my stomach where it curled.

“The department archives got flooded couple of days ago, so some of the files were moved in here till’ the leak is fixed.”

I turned my light on Paulie’s face seeing the deep sores on his cheeks and the broken teeth in his limp mouth.

“Security will be here any minute. Got what you was looking for?”

I felt the picture in my pocket and nodded. All I needed was it, a verification that Dorley had secrets and someone was willing to sacrifice lives to keep them.

Outside the gulls were loud in their pathetic attempts to keep off the cold. The night had grown the wicked cold of the wind that came from elsewhere and it kissed my face in its harsh unwelcoming way, like a lover no more.

Whilst I shivered and cursed the change of heart of the weather, Paulie stood proud against the temperature, comforted in its embrace. I guess he was local after all.

“If you ain’t got a place to stay and do your thing while you’re here the place I rent in my room has an empty one just across mine.”

Paulie swallowed a big gulp of his frozen saliva and looked at me with his green eyes half-closed. He looked shit tired.

“I suppose I’m going to stay for a while after all, yeah.”

The building he led me into was one of the more luxurious, and few apartment buildings Dorley had built for the rich tourists that it never had. It looked less shiny today and with its glamour, its clientele had gone to waste.

“Landlord sleeps like a deadman, he’ll do you in the register tomorrow. I gots a spare key here in case someone comes and he ain’t around to serve.”

I was beginning to think Paulie was the Keymaster from Ghostbusters. Heck he even looked a bit like him.

“Paulie, do you know that murder from 86’ that was never solved? The upstate girl on vacation here?”

He gazed at me again with his sea deep eyes.

“I remember it. She was a pretty one, auburn hair and hazel eyes. Never found a body though.”

“Do you remember who led the investigation?”

“Chief of police Frank Wyman. Solid motherfucker.”

“He still around?”

“Chief then, chief now. He’s a righteous man and he’ll do his job.“

I nodded and bid him goodnight.

“It’s very strange how the mermaids got extinct and then the sirens stopped singing. I think scientists would say its total bull, but I go with the Old belief that the two species are very much important to one another, you know for their survival. This one guy in the pub said,” you want mermaid meat you gotta cut the tail with a diamond sharpened blade” and another said “behead the siren if ya want to use the feathers for the hooks.”

His words bubbled up and he laughed with his teeth clasped together. His eyes were mere dark slices that stretched along the sides of his face. I thought again how much I hated the tales and how much those people loved them.

“They will come you know.”, his hiss pierced my ears and itched down my system, putting needles in my guts.

He closed his door and locked it.

I sat on my bed feeling the cold wool cover, not wanting to get under it and shiver through my nightmares. So I left as quiet as possible, patting the inside of my jacket for the Smith & Wesson feeling its weight reassuring. I hoped chief Frank Wyman was a solid motherfucker as Paulie had said.

The Dorley Cycle VI

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories, The Dorley Cycle with tags , , , , , on 05/04/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

To start the cycle: Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV


Part V ; 




My thirsty mouth was lapping of the oily waters, an answer of filth and shit scrambled in the accents of comers and goers, and deafened by the police sirens and the nearing helicopter flashing its light on all coastal beauty. I loathed Dorley more than before.

Now I looked upon the town with new eyes, a vision that left me less than a minority amongst a vast population of strangers, half of which my new idea proclaimed involved in the weird stories Dorley kept telling. I was a mentally instituted spear archer with some clarity of dimensionality and a head loaded with loony sounding proof, but I was alone in a fight beyond my grasp and I didn’t like that.

I went down by the harbor, taking the worn flight of steps in two quick descends and walked the groaning planks struggling to read names of gently rocking boats in the dim light, searching for my uncle’s old one, hoping to see Eli around it. A part of me wished the kid was far off here, but the wish soon died and was replaced with a sort of comfort.

He walked straight for me in the company of two veteran ship-owners who chimney smoked above his head. I kept myself to the shadows. They walked past me before parting ways.


His head span in my direction and he stopped in his tracks. Eli was looking shocked.

“What the fuck are you doing here?”

I knotted my eyebrows.

“Still holding that grudge from the funeral?”

He gripped his backpack strap tight. I could hear his teeth grit inside his clenched mouth.

“Wasn’t until you showed up. I remember why I wanted to hit you.”

“Listen, Eli, I didn’t come to fight. I wanted to see how you were doing and apologies for disappearing like that.”

“You ran away from a mental institution, Jackson. I have my doubts about trusting you and your words.”

“I had to go. They were going to lock me up for a long time and I couldn’t let that happen. There are things happening in this town that..”

His voice, low and shaking cut me off.

“You decided to tell them you killed a mermaid and a siren instead of the truth, whatever it was. What did you expect was going to happen?”

“Dorley is a bad place kid. I need you to understand that. There are things beyond my or your control at power here.”

“Yeah?” his voice threw a mocking tone at me and I nearly lost it again.

“I came back to sort things out.”

“Good luck with that. Don’t come looking for me again.”

He turned to walk away, but then stopped and faced me..

“You know, I feel sorry for you Jackson. I’m sorry that what happened to you messed you up like this. But it has nothing to do with me.”

I let him run up the road and stood reliving the echoes of his rejection ringing in my ears. I realize Eli never liked me, never thought of me as family. I’d say likewise, but more than ever I needed someone to rely on.

“Ey bud, got a light?”

I squinted my eyes at the fella approaching me. He had a slight slur when he spoke and when he came closer I saw his jaw couldn’t close all the way up, leaving his mouth ajar to spit saliva every now and then. He brushed it off with his sleeve and nervously tucked his hand behind his back.

“I don’t smoke.”

“Oh that’s good, I’sppose. Would’ve been for me too, but keeps my throat dry, so I’sppose it’s good sometimes.” He slurped his fluids back in and looked around for someone else.

“Hey man, sorry I can’t help. Maybe if you try the bar.”

He shook his head at me.

“No biggie friend.”

He then stared at me for the longest time and I cleared my throat.

“I’m Jackson.”

“I’m Paul ‘Paulie’ Glass. Pleasure. I’ve always wanted to be called something else, like Victor Frankenstein or any other character from a horror movie. You like horror movies? I prefer the classics myself. The 30′s and 40′s.”

“I’m not much of a fan, not really. “

Bubbles formed on the corner of his lips when he tried to laugh. His laugh gargled in his throat. I shivered.

“You ain’t keen on too much stuff are you?”

“Maybe not. I’m really interested in Dorley though.’

“Is that so?”

“Mhm. Traveling and exploring is my thing and I’d like to know Dorley.”

“Are you a private investigator or something? Because of them kids that died?”

I swallowed down my “no” and waited for him to scream police, aiming to put him down before he gets too loud, but he took my silence in his liking and pretended he hadn’t asked that question.

“Well, all you wanna know about Dorley is in the council’s archive. I work there part time cleaning, sometimes on the weekends when I’m not down here scrapping the dirt.  I could you know, hook you up, that is let you in to have a quick look.“

This guy was harmless and friendly and perhaps a bit careless for his own good and without questioning him again I rolled out a crumpled fifty dollar bill pushing it into his shaking hands. Buy all the lighters and cigarettes you want, just lent me access to a small portion of Dorley’s secrets written and printed, and I might win after all.

He handed me a long and heavy flashlight from the emergency kit.

“There ain’t no security right now, but he’ll step by here around 9. I don’t know why they need patrolling security when they put one of them burglar alarms.”

He unlocked the door and put in the numbers. I went in, turning my light on, gliding it inside the room, finding a glass door in the far corner with brown folio letters spelling archive. The sea groaned inside me again, the salty and moist feeling returning with the same rage that put those creatures to sleep forever. I was going to put them all to sleep forever.

The Dorley Cycle V

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories, The Dorley Cycle with tags , , , , , , on 29/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

To start the cycle: Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV





Behind the police line its dark, an infinity seeping out of a black hole,somewhere in the back of my head; it’s stretched to all sides but ahead, where the projectors illuminate the sand and the camera flashlights blink two at a time. And I am standing in that infinite darkness, body cold, but mind ablaze, insides burning up as an infection spreads and consumes me into blindness far thicker than the night, and so much wider than the sky; I dwell in it, floating without mass as only dead fish do. Raging is the memory. Painful is the comeback.

And I have comeback to Dorley, my universe, my anchor.

My eyes are pools which drown the image of the two deformed corpses laid side by side. I recognize a pattern, a similarity in the atmosphere. Can they not see it?

I pulled aside from the bystanders peeping for a look at the macabre scene making my way through police officers pushing watchers and reporters away. I had seen enough.

“Can I get you something?”

The bartender dragged his rusty voice over my ears and it felt like razors twisting inside my brain. I flinched and closed my eyes letting the mental attack pass away before pulling a ten dollar bill and passing it to him.

“Scotch, single, whichever brand.”

He nodded and took the money, shooting me a suspicious glance. Bartenders always do that, especially when they have a guy looking like me sitting at their bar. I felt his eyes glide over the scars on my forehead and smirked to myself for having grown a thick beard to somewhat conceal the ones on my cheeks.

My flaming senses began to calm and I relaxed my shoulders, breathing out the built up tension. I was succumbed to my thoughts, sunken to my past, and then again, I was back in Dorley. I was excused for having any mental breakdowns. I felt a void like a draft come inside me, blowing away my confidence to specks of dust. After two years of nothing and growing fond on the idea of it all being big bullshit, here it was again, the unmistakable sign that Dorley was a whirlpool spitting out monsters.

The glass was put in front of me and I took a sip. Even if the majority of the town was changed to fit the seaside resort criteria, the Old Side had kept the same shitty charm it used to have before, only now having the society in a tighter circle made it twice worst to be around. The absurdity of the place now collided with the surrealism of it.

I took in my surroundings not really remembering being inside this bar. The people clinging like moths to light, sat with their beers and their card games, heads bobbing up and down, dirty nails scratching sun-kissed faces. Sailers, fisherman, laborers, the lot of them. It seemed to me, having a classy hotel and a Ferris wheel pier made no difference to them. It didn’t work for me either, only set a slight unease; I knew there were winged and fishtailed humanoid skeletons lying at the bottom of the sea. So much for vacating safely. But they didn’t know.

There were times I wished the construct of my thoughts couldn’t reach past a barricade of the deepest ignorance. I was initiated by the revelations forced on me into something I didn’t and still don’t fully understand.

But thedead boy and girl, those two strange carcasses were my new enigma; they were pieces of my puzzle and they fitted in perfectly. They welcomed me back to my mythos. Whatever had done that to them was speaking to me and I would be rude to not respond back. I would slaughter again.

I emptied the glass, grabbing my jacket.

“What’s with the sirens outside?”

I looked up half thinking the bartender had gone all soft on me, but it was a middle-aged man dressed city-like taking the sit next to mine. A man in a checked red shirt, shuffling a deck of cards had called him up.

“Someone died I hear.” He said as he took his drink and untwisted the beer bottle’s cap.

“Yeah? Local?”

I eased on my sit, pulling out another tenner and gestured to the bartender.

“Can’t say. They won’t say. Would be in the papers though. It’s down by the old fisherman’s cabins.”

The checked shirt man nodded and went back to his game.

“Though what I hear is, two kids got overdosed on something.”

“You reckon some junkies?”

I eyed the guy.

“What else would it be?”

“Murder.”,  I filled in.

The city man said nothing, only took a large gulp from his beer, but I could feel the fat card player’s eyes on my back.

“There haven’t been a murder this side of town since 86’ boy.”

I spun on my chair giving my full attention to the checked shirt man.

“What happened in 86’?”

“Well”, he mashed up the deck of cards once more, “some local youngsters fooled around with upstate teenagers on a camping trip here. They were suspected of, what they call it…yeah, ritualistic murder, but they were never convicted. Some poor gal went missing, but I don’t think they ever found her too, only some weird markings on the beach. So that’s that. But Dorley is a good town with good people. There are no murderers here.”

The door of the bar slammed behind me. What a pleasantly fucked up seaside town Dorley is. I left here, fleeing in fear and anger, and I returned terrified of what I might find instead of closure. And oh, I need closure. 

They took a wrong turn, they all did, including me and they deposited into this scheme bones and blood. Years and years the defense of their isolation had kept the eyes of the world from their deeds. The people of Dorley. Could I believe they didn’t know?


Posted in Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , on 19/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

My unease mostly comes from the horrid assumption that my right eye fails to see what the corner of it does. That is, when I turn my head I see the ordinary, a simple object, an inanimate figure, but just before that I know what the corner caught and registered – an entirely new image of motions and attempts of greater such, unlikely to the nature of its original character as seen by my full eye. Oh, no I am not mad; I am simply worried that I might be going so.

Today the corner of my eye filtered a different abnormality as the by-street disappeared from my peripheral vision and their substitute rose with tall black rocks that were the foundation of a palace of sorts, but which was in a monotonous decay, crumbling into a blacker mass of liquid denser than water and infested with golden sinking monuments of befallen, ungodly creatures of proportions unknown and terrible to me. The motion of this transcendental spectacle was falling in rhythm with my own motion in the known to me world and I genuinely feared I might find myself prisoner to this abandoned city and far-off world exciting in the corner of my eye.

My eyeball twitched inside its socket, the forgotten palace becoming blurred as tears formatted in the corner of my right eye and dripped down my cheek. A blink and the vision was gone forever, leaving me a stranger to my own world and a permanent mental inhabitant in that other, the kingdom of crumble and decay.

With “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in #NaNoReMo update

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , on 18/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

“If he be Mr. Hyde,” he had thought, “I shall be Mr. Seek.”

And that dear Utterson you somewhat became. Innuendos here and there, terrible, dark, tempting, throughout each page which brushed against my fingers with the coldness of those later London evenings, so beautifully distributed with rich vocabulary and haunting imagery.

There is a great deal to be said about “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and I will create a longer post with my thoughts on the whole work after I finish it, but to this stage, and I leave the mark somewhere before the chapter titled “The Last Night”.

Thus far not only have I enjoyed the traumatizing experience of a very sensible man chased by very real and agonizing doubts about his dear friend and an upcoming peril, but I’ve undoubtedly loved the carefully sewn bizarreness of this misshapen and unearthly personage that is Hyde, and the ungodly secret that unfolds by the words and the witness of a friend, and friendship is a mighty powerful thing. I’m excited as I read and I only suffer from the short length of the novella, deliberately slowing its finale, taking in each page in its fullest, dramatizing over it as much as possible and drawing out that unsettled feeling of uncertainty and unsure horror that seems to pervade the atmosphere, the very essence of each scene.  Even when Henry Jekyll is himself, it is a brief occurrence, rapidly pushed aside by a new attack of solitude and nightly weeping and I love that, because even with the few let-us-know paragraphs of Jekyll’s usual nature and connection to other parties, it’s still enough for me to get the idea in my head that whatever is happening to this man is brutal and disturbing in every possible way and it should seek solution, which I as the reader want as well. But Hyde is spectacular, for he is in pain whenever and he is in suffering. The characters not being able to pinpoint, if that’s the word, his exact facial expressions, or his figure in detail is remarkable, because it makes me think of something out of their world, out of my world that is there but shouldn’t be there and its contorting the basics of human conception of how things are to be. Hyde is rendering their perception and triggering their curiosity in parallel with their repulsion of his soul, not only his visage, but the core of him, oozing through his voice and his gestures. It is brilliant this battle of souls precisely, though it is quite egotistical of Jekyll to force upon his friends his death penalty or his life renewed, but hey what are friends for? It’s the oldest war between Dark and Light, but with a slight twist as it goes. It’s the early science of substances controlling the human emotions and drawing out unknown demons and manifesting their face upon that of their owner, colliding two personalities of the same roots and seeing whichever overpowers and to what extent its own decisions and cravings lead.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote an incredible treat for the readers offering a different perspective and a different angle of storytelling. It feels amazing to read.

Richard Mansfield in the stage adaptation (opening in London in 1887, a year after the publication of the novella)

I’m also going to do a short post with some favorite quotes some time during the week, so watch for that. As always I’d be glad to hear from you and your thoughts on the novella if you’ve read it, and if not, I’ll persuade you otherwise. Also, how is your reading going?

The Dorley Cycle: Prelude

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 15/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova




Dorley, Massachusetts

2 years later

The tourists took the flyers from their hands reluctantly, many crushing the colorful piece of paper into a ball and shooting it at the bin, and some others threw a glance at the written text “DORLEY – THE BY THE SEA RESORT YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR! COME STAY WITH US AT THE MERMAID GRAND HOTEL!” and again crushed the offer, not needing another advertisement being pushed in their hands.

The summer workers, as their mentors referred to them, kept on their pretense smiles and stomped their weary feet up and down the fully restored pier which the said tourists loved so much, taking selfies and long and dramatized sunset and sunrise photos with the Ferris wheel in the back – Dorley, the resort you had to visit before you die.

Darryl counted the remaining flyers in his stack – he had about thirty left and without giving it much thought he pushed the majority of those in his pants handing the remaining ones out fast.

“I’m all done losers!”

Megan tilted her head at him.

“Cheater. Really Darryl if Benson finds out he’ll be pissed.”

Darryl shrugged.

“It’s a crappy job and you know it. Handing out something no one gives two fucks about and boiling under the sun. I should have been a life guard at the hotel. Give me a pool and drowning chicks to save.”

“More like limb numb grannies.”  Joe laughed as he pushed his hands into his pockets and retreated towards a weak shadow to have a sit.

“You all done?”

Megan and Darryl looked at him suspiciously.

“What can I say, I get the job done, I get to run the Ferris wheel tonight.”

“You little shit.” Darryl punched him in the shoulder and sat next to him. He watched as people paced down the white-painted pier, the waves of the summer sea  brushing against the pillars underneath their feet, making the sound of creaking planks inaudible. It was a beautiful pier for sure and the wheel made a nice touch to it, gathering souvenir shops, sweet corn and all kinds of candy stands around it. The Grand Mermaid Hotel though was where the money came from, and being a valet or a pool boy, or hell any kind of working boy in there made the summer work much more profitable and practical. Darryl however hadn’t made the cut, and was assigned to maintaining the pier. That did not give tips.

The rich hotel was built last year after a few controversies over the ground on which it was supposed to be built. They had to move the old cemetery to make place for the hotel as that point made for the best possible view over the sea from any floor. The road was redone and swerved down to the coastal line and the pier. Darryl traced it up to the hotel which windows reflected the late sun.

“I’m going to have a smoke.” Megan announced and roamed through her purse. Darryl snapped out of his thoughts and jumped to his feet

“Spare one? I forgot mine.”

She nodded and led the way. Joe shook his head and Darryl flipped him a bird.

The safest place to smoke without being scolded were the old fisherman cabins down at the Old Side beach. When the town began its renovation, parts of it were left out after numerous protests from the fisherman society, the old folks born and raised here with beliefs and traditions no law stood up to. It split the town in two, the main area getting its renewal, and what was left becoming a remote fishing harbor maintaining the traditional business and soaking the air with cheap beer and dead fish.  The cabins were deserted now, all rotten wood and broken windows.

“There are some rumors about this place. Sometime back this guy supposedly killed a mermaid and then went seriously mad after hearing a siren sing to him. He drowned himself. Or went to a madhouse.”

Megan lit Darryl’s cigarette and leaned into the sidewall of the cabin. He shifted uncomfortably when she didn’t say anything.

“What are you planning to do after the summer is over?”

She made smoke rings.

“University I suppose. You?”

“I’m saving up money so I can travel a bit before getting into life.”

She laughed and her eyes glimmered.

“Maybe I’ll tag along.”

His jaw dropped. He was a shy guy in front of girls he liked and Megan, he definitely liked. She put her smoke out and moved closer to him.

“Would you like that?”

He nodded.

“Yes, a lot.”

Something made the door of the next cabin slam open and shut. Megan jumped and pushed into Darryl who clumsily grabbed her shoulder for balance.

A single brief gasp tore from her lips as she was taken by surprise from behind and thrown against the side of the cabin, crashing through the wood. Darryl spun around but a strong hand gripped at his throat and began crushing his windpipe. His vision blurred in and out, the figure before him unclear and he felt something sticky and sour penetrate his nostrils. It made him very dizzy and he found he couldn’t move a muscle. But he heard a voice ordering him and he found himself obeying.

Open wide now.”

The grasp eased and his mouth swung open, saliva bubbling up inside and spilling from the corner of his lips down his chin. The attacker’s hands moved to his shoulders to steady him. Something thick and slimy licked at the tip of his tongue and was rapidly and forcefully pushed in his mouth, moving itself down his throat, gagging him. Thorny hooks clung to the sides of his mouth forcing it wider. His eyes whitened as a second parasite invader probed the gaping void of his mouth and nestled itself inside him, sucking at the core of him, making him empty. He could feel such things crawl upon his face and over his eyes and around his ears, little suction disks planting on his skin before he dropped dead.

Megan stumbled to her feet, her wrist aching, blood on her forehead and her eyes darted around before settling on Darryl.  She screamed. For a brief moment she couldn’t breath and her voice died in her throat when she tried to call him, so she ran, tripping, in the opposite direction away from Darryl’s body, before the same sour smell breathed into her face, sticking, and she fell back, the late summer sky blurring crimson red and burning orange.

The Dorley Cycle IV

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 07/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

Part: I ; Part: II ; Part: III




Siren shrieks and mermaid cries rampaged through my arousal center deep into the skull and my brain sculpted a nightmare so fucked up I hardly noticed a tackle team of doctors trying to restrain my spasmodic body onto the hospital bed. I heard their voices and amongst them a weaker raspy one, crying and I figured that was me. My voice, the one of a frightened boy, sounded distant and it grew weaker as the injection dug forcefully into my vein pumping a sedative up my system. I dozed off quickly.

I could still taste saltines in my mouth when I woke up and whenever I moved a facial muscle the whole thing hurt. My shoulders and waist were bandaged, but under the bandages there were stitches that itched and hurt when I pulled.

Later on, after many hours, or days, I opened my eyes to see Eli standing at the bottom of my bed. There were policeman asking questions and my face hurt so I told them to fuck off with their enquiries. They said I’ve been attacked, kidnaped with a stolen local fisherman’s boat and thrown into the sea, presumed dead until two days ago when I had washed out. Fuck no.

I averted my eyes and followed the ray of sunlight projecting itself on the pale green wall whenever the curtain moved.  It was a normal motion happening in such a fragile environment for me; the emerging of noises:  the tapping of the shoes outside in the corridor, the sound from the policeman’s dry fingers against the yellow paper of his notepad, the low beeping of the machine.

The police officer gestured with his pen towards me. What had happened?

I killed a mermaid in cold blood and shot my salvation through the head of an ancient siren. I was mad and sick with legends. I wanted sleep.

They issued therapy; traumatic experience causing patient to conceal attackers identity. Was it someone you knew? No. Did you see his/hers/their face? No.

I dreamt of rotting corpses when I thought I was done with it all, and I heard radio stations skip tunes, making way for white noise that transformed with each changed station to a vomiting scream. I started rambling in my wake, speaking of mermaids and how beautiful they were and sirens and how I headshot one with a handmade speargun. I was so terrified I threw a bottle of juice at one of the nurses when she came into the night to check on me.

Eli told the doctors his version of that night, me seeming mad and on the run, asking for his dad’s speargun and they patched a scenario with my ramblings, ending my sorry ass in the madhouse.

Let me tell you, it’s awfully quiet in here at night. Probably because of all the drugs they stuff you up with. At first I kept the pills under my tongue and spat them out right after. But couple of days in here, I started to swallow the suckers. I wasn’t denying being mad. I liked being something that had a certification in Latin, and not the petrified murderer I knew I was.

There’s this small time drug addict slash suicide fail case, in here, and I talk to him when we play chess, partly because no one else can establish a full conversation without freaking me out. I tell him about stories I’ve heard and he tells me about all these satanic rituals he and his buddies were keen on back in his hometown somewhere in Texas.

“We’ve called the Lord Satan man, and he’d come man. Once we gutted a cat and like spread its insides, you know, and this big dog came and ate it. Fuckin’ chewed into it. It was Satan man. He’s a fucking’ evil guy man.”

Really, I’d say, moving my pieces into check. You’ve no idea of evil.

I caught someone singing and my nights were not quiet anymore.

Say, why don’t you just free me, I fear I may be lost,  I won’t do you any harm.. But kiss you and sail home

I felt disoriented and not caring and so, so tired and this song was picking brain cells and eating them up. It was when I asked who was singing that the guard pointed at me with his thick finger. I half smiled and stopped taking the pills again. Now I heard myself sing and that didn’t bother me. It was my song after all, and although it didn’t carry the same weight as when the siren sang it, it made my gears grind in a way stronger than when I brought down my hand on the mermaid. It spoke a purpose to me.

They released me under supervision two weeks later for my uncle’s funeral.  The grave they had dug for him was on the highest side of the cemetery, a nice view of the horizon. Like he’d care. Eli was not talking to me. The kid looked devastated, and I was in cuffs. We were a dysfunctional family. I had messed up and Eli didn’t deserve my attitude and karma. He threw me a glance after his white fist disposed of the dirt onto the casket and stormed past me.

If I was to make this right and help Eli I had to go away for a while. Mermaids and sirens invaded my mind and I knew that if I looked around, poked enough and probed and lifted every little stone in my way, I’d find more of those, real and breathing in the neck of humans. My jaw clenched.

Dorley was just at the beginning of its cycle. There was another wave coming.

The guard never saw me disappear.

To be continued…

The Dorley Cycle III

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 01/03/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

Part: I and Part: II




As I walked outside I kept hearing Eli call my name, call me back in, asking what was going on, (was he not hearing the song?) and I thought he’d be waking up his father with all the yelling, or maybe his father was already dead and couldn’t hear a damned thing.

Good, I thought, he’d go crazy if he was to hear this.

There were no words anymore, only a low frequency throb in my ears and my head.

I kept thinking about the old fisherman and how he deafened himself, because the siren silenced her song to him. But now I was sure although he didn’t ever hear her, the memory of the vibrations lived inside him, knocking from inside his head. He didn’t die in peace.

I wouldn’t die in peace.

She wasn’t anywhere to be seen; only her sickening melody hung in the air like some sort of premonition.

I walked aiming at the night, half-mad, half-sober. Her song had me tightly gripped in a haze that tempered with the volume of her voice altering it each time I changed my course, making me sick with nausea.  It corresponded with me in its own way, buzzing low whenever I drifted and booming loud, a thousand small wings flapping altogether in an echoing chamber that was my head whenever I came closer. My knees bumped into something solid in the dark and I found the wooden body of a small boat pushed onto the shore. No doubt my ride.

I left the speargun inside and pushed the vessel into the sea, climbing over inside, dislocating the paddles and smashing them inside the water, sailing onwards.

Soon enough the darkness swam with me and I swam with the voice, desperately clinging to notations. I looked up and saw stars and I no longer knew which was up and which was down, because their reflection was my sky and their true selves were my bottom. I thought the stars were singing; when I looked ahead I thought the gaping void of the night was singing, symphony of the strained. But as the song began to escape my grasp, my hearing of it slowly disappearing into my surrounding, I moaned and I lost my directions, my sense of the present.  It waved such a lonely goodbye, leaving me mentally deaf.

I sat in the darkness, middle of the sea with the twinkling windows of the cabins, dots in my background and I waited for the song to start again, humming it’s melody to my rocking body and my vague mind. The ring in my ears was all that remained. She had taken away every other noise the world had to me, and I realized, never before had I addressed the frightening possibility of not knowing anymore how the water buckling against the boat sounds. I listened, hearing nothing. I listened and I felt myself sob, my stomach clench and feeling my heart give in to fear and paranoia. The boat rocked ever so lightly and I clutched the speargun tightly to my chest, grazing my finger over the trigger.

When the fuck did these old nightmares of mine become real and carnivorous? I wasn’t asking for them, I didn’t need a proof. I needed them to stay here and stay fake.  I laughed. I was waiting with a loaded spear into a fuckin’ handmade gun to shoot it through the head of a siren, and I was liking the idea of that happening. She had robbed me of some imaginary sweet emotion and I…I was…

It wasn’t long before I noticed how dry my throat and my mouth were and how much I longed for water to wash down the dryness. I had slumped down, lying in the boat, and it was nearly the break of dawn, the sky lighter.  My limbs were cold and numb when I urged myself up into a sitting position.

Something disturbed the balance of the boat sinking it lower. It jerked my body, and I looked up to see an enormous figure hovering over me. Large claws had now dug into the edge of the boat, crunching it, peeling it off as it maneuvered to steady itself and I followed up the large, strong bird legs, feathered in brown and black. It was a she, a woman, at least her torso was. Though feathered from her tights up, her breasts were uncovered as were her neck and face. From the elbow down she had no hands. Her skin extended into a ruffled feathered limb that ended with a clawed hawk-like grip. She stepped into the boat and the planks groaned beneath her weight.

She looked at me, mouth agape, her tongue nuzzling her lower lip. She was hungry, wasn’t she?

“You killed my lover. You murdered my soul mate.”  It was all she said, and unlike the little mermaid, this being held grudge and anger in her voice, a voice that kept me concentrated on her words towards me, but isolated me from knowing anything else. The walls of my eardrums bled again. Warmth spread down my neck.  She wasn’t singing for my pleasure but for my torment.  Every word she uttered was clothed in a hushed version of the melody of her song.

Shaken I lifted and pointed the speargun at her chest, putting it right between her breasts.

“Fuck you.”

She pushed it aside, sending it flying from my numb hands into the sea. Her foot came into my face, clawing each sharp nail to skin. She dragged it down peeling off skin from my forehead and cheeks and I screamed in pain, pushing her backwards, feeling the wrath of her battle cry slam me down.  She kicked me in the gut and tossed me off board, and I splashed in the cold water where her song spread like cancer and choked me.

I half expected her to plunge after me and when she did she circled me like a predator. I saw only blood and nothing as she clawed into me pushing me down.  The salt stung on my wounds like a bitch.

“One little mermaid on the shore with a man, one little man with a rock in his hand, one little mermaid with blood in her hair, one little man swimming dead.”

She was cruel, my brain told me, as my lungs began collapsing.  The siren persisted at her torture.

“Look at what you’ve done!”

A corpse floated over me, the damaged head hanging low and the wounds oozing light pink pus. The mermaid’s whitened eyes stared into me, her mouth contorted, and then the crystal bright eyes of the siren stared into me as she clawed herself tighter to my shoulders and pushed me down.

I tossed my head back closing my eyes, letting death and legends kill me, but in the flash of shutting my lids I glimpsed the slender form of the speargun sinking ahead of me.

I stretched my hands looking for a grab. The siren screamed and beated her wings causing typhoons underwater. As she made choice to tear my torso I made one final attempt having the speargun in my hands.

I shot the spear.

Blood encircled me in a burst and I saw her head tilt back her eyes flip and her song cease. She fell into the darkness, an ugly bird in the flight of dead, her face frozen in the grimace of her fury.

I saw her disappear to the bottomless sea, before all faded to black.

To be continued… 

The Dorley Cycle II

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , , on 21/02/2014 by Cindy Vaskova

Part I




 “Why don’t you sing to me?”

She remained silent only hissing at me and watching me go around and around.  When I didn’t speak again she did. Her voice was as firm as her gaze upon me and meticulous like her slow painful movements inside the net. It had an accent to it, which I couldn’t pin to a place and a time, but she spoke her English with pauses.

“I am not the singer of the oceans and the seas. It is my sisters, but they have been silent for eternities. They are dead. They sang only to those who begged them to. Sailors out of their path, men lost to their lands. They wanted a good song, a melody that sounded like home so they can die with the sea in peace.”

I stopped walking and knelt before her at a safe distance. Now at one level with her I could see the glimmer of green in her dark orbs. It was like a shard of glass stuck in there, shimmering whenever she moved her eyes. The deepest green inside the darkest black, those were her eyes. Mesmerized I caught myself smiling and bit the smile back. She was no entertainment.

“That’s about fucking stupid. You sing to men, lulling them so they can forget who they are and let you drown them. I’ve heard the stories.”

“Is not me! They are all lies!”

I looked at her awhile longer, at her beautiful wet face contorted by hatred towards me her captor. Then I moved closer, intimidating her, intimidating myself. And I told her a little story.

“Long time ago I knew a fisherman who often sailed in the late hours and returned after dusk. One day though he never made it home and people began talking he’d been taken by the sea. But as soon as the sun touched the water he came back, yellow as an ill man and quiet as death. He screamed that day and the entire town heard him and came down on his door. He’d taken his own hearing, they said. He’d been sitting on his bed with his gutting knife in bloody hands. I used to see him just sit on this rocky shore after that and he’d hum, I remember this melody, what was it “mmmm nana mmmmm nanana”. He hummed that melody and cried. Well one day he spoke to me when I sat next to him on the shore. “I can’t hear her anymore” he said and he cried more.  I thought he was crazy. Hear who? Now I know what he meant. “

“So after what I’ve told you, are you going to tell me he didn’t hear the siren’s call?”

As if I had stumbled upon some truth I was not meant to know, her eyes widened and her bottom lip quivered.  My view expanded and clouded and I was fog myself for a brief there.  My mythology retrograded in a single moment and I knew by the expression on her face and the throb in my chest that she was a lying creature of murder and I had her defenseless and terrified. I had her punishable for all those mythical crimes and sea graves, and for those stories I so greatly despised. The sea was at rage somewhere in the distance, or maybe that was just all in my ears, but the same feeling of rage seeped into me, salty and moist, till it was mingled in the very structure of my bones.

“Let me go, please, I haven’t done you any harm.”

Her voice was now soothing, as he pleaded me to release her. In the darkness I stretched my hand behind me fumbling at the rocky sand.

“I’m going to let you go.”

She looked at me.

“My name is Jackson Dee, and I’m not a bad man.”

My fingers curled around something solid. I kept my eyes on hers and she kept averting hers to somewhere behind me like she was expecting someone. Then her gaze fell on my hand and the pointy rock I was holding for her to see and she bellowed, wriggling inside the net, pushing herself away from me. I stood watching her struggle and plead and promise me no murder was committed by her. But I had the rock and the rage of the sea in my ears.

“I’m not a bad man.”

It seemed to be happening to a another person, a surreal experience that only came true once I had my fingers dipped in a warm red color. It was my hand that swung the rock and crashed it on her head, one, two, three times, until her tail stopped beating at the sand. I looked at the rock, bits of skull and locks of hair stuck to it and threw it in the water. Her body was stretched on the shore, now motionless in the tight embrace of the net. I wanted to touch the illuminating skin before its magic fades away, but then I’d stain it with red.  I rejected myself that privilege. I wasn’t feeling alright, and I didn’t know if crying was suitable, or throwing up was, whether my head should feel heavy or my feet should carry me away.

It was quiet and I was grateful. Fuck, I was somehow ecstatic too.

“ Aaaaaaaaaaooooouuuuuuuaaaaaaa”

And then I wasn’t, hearing this new type of scream, very close and very loud, a bird shout that sounded human and in pain. A battle cry I thought and I looked down at the lifeless body, thinking how she looked behind my shoulder searching for someone.


Now closer the shout was agonizing; it made my ears bleed.

As I ran my way to the cabin, slipping on wet rocks and fearing the crash of the waves, waves that washed at the body of the mermaid, I could still hear that epochal scream which came from within the sea. I could hear what I thought to be the flap of wings somewhere above me. I closed the door of the small cabin behind me, locking it. Eli jumped to his feet at the sight of me, shite no doubt.

“What the fuck happened to you?”

“Mind your fucking tongue boy.”

He retreated, not wanting another finger broken, and I regretted biting back at him. He looked frighetened and I looked for something to keep me from being so. The unpainted closed door to my uncle’s narrow bedroom stared at me and I remembered something propped against the wall across his sick bed. I got an idea.

“Go fetch the speargun and make sure it’s loaded.”

No questions asked he came back with a homemade beauty longer then my arm and loaded with a sharp tipped spear.

“ Your dad made this?”

He nodded. “ I sharpened the spear. It should pierce through shark skin.”

“You better have sharpened it good enough boy.”

I touched the trigger seeing it sunk easily and lifted my finger off it. My cousin watched my blood soaked hands, thinking fuck knows what.


“ What was that?!”

She screamed and I shouldn’t have led her do so, comforted by the volume of a roaring sea and a faraway deaf town. To answer honestly to the question I would have to answer first to the which soared the skies with the wings of a bird and the voice of a….

He came upon a sight

One night at Dorley’s cove

Down hushed by rocks and waves

He met one lovely lass


She was but a frightened creature

Which looked to be in pain

Her eyes half green half black

Met those of him

Who wandered there


Say, why don’t you just free me

I fear I may be lost

I won’t do you any harm boy

But kiss you and sail home


He smiled at her calmly

And promised he’d do more

But pierced by the Devil

He struck her and fled home

All the instruments of the Greek isles played at the melody of her voice and she instructed them to tickle at my ear, flutes and strings and harps, making my knees weak and my head light, taunting me, while her lips whispered sweetness into my face, calling me to participate in the most frightening myths of all. She sang to me unlike the way she sang to those men at sea. Seduced I probably was, by the lyrical mistress and shocked – I was wrong, I had been all along, and my disbelief had come to punish me, telling me my own story of this night, rhyming my own crime. I had heard the pained scream of the siren, but now I was hearing her song, her calling, and speargun in hand I followed the gentle voice outside.

To be continued…

The Dorley Cycle

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , on 15/02/2014 by Cindy Vaskova





When I was a boy, I knew a fisherman who took his own hearing after he came ashore one night. He never sailed again, and I watched him just sit on the rocky beach, deaf and mute by the drowsiness of the liquor, watchful over uneasy waters.

I couldn’t understand what made him hurt himself and didn’t buy the local stories of sirens and mermaids and fuckin’ Lovecraft sea monsters. This here, a little fisherman town called Dorley, is full of old legends enough for the whole North Shore and I’ve sat through pub talks and old drunk’s tales plenty of times. I never liked them, those stories of lonely beings with lost souls, drowning in their own insanity before being drowned with force by some entity of the depths. Nor I liked the poeple who told them. Sweet seduction in the quiet of the waves, they called it. I stayed away for a long time, until now.

I knew that fisherman before he went deaf. He had a mad sparkle in his eye and madness is all a crazy idea needs. The sea makes you mad sometimes and I often imagined I’d strangle myself if I worked on a boat or tie a weight and jump overboard. The sea here is different, that I’ll tell you. I saw it ten years ago and I see it now, and it’s the fucking same.  It’s old as the men in this town and unsettled as their women. It’s absent, just a background picture, just like their children.

So when a fisherman goes mad and pokes his eardrums with a fish gutting knife it’s no shock. It’s a mild disturbance that lasts until the next day. It turns the people colder and makes the mad even madder.

I’d be quitting here today, right now, get on the bus to Boston and sleep all the way through the ride if it wasn’t for a dying uncle and a money spending cousin stuck in one of the small fisherman cabins a few yards off shore. I had to come. There was no one else. Dying the uncle, probably he was, coughing and smelling of death and fish and sea weed, or maybe he was like that forever and I was just made notice, but the cousin, he was an obnoxious little shit that took my wallet and cashed a twenty on booze and cigarettes. I’m not rude nor lose my temper fast, but he did that for me and I broke his pinky finger and gave his whole body a new aching sensation. He sat put for the next week boiling water and eggs, gutting fish and cleaning his father’s pot.  He knew better the next time he had an idea to pinch and run.

I sat watching him pace around the narrow cabin, a boy in his teens with a red hoodie, and I knew I had to take him with me when I buried his father and left. He had nowhere else to go, definitely not anywhere around his whore of a mother in Milwaukee. I’d set him up, I would. A decent job to earn his living, something in mechanics perhaps.  The kid’s fast and steady with his hands. He’d do well. I’ll let him stay in my apartment until he gets his own, that’s what I’ll do. All will be good.

Until then I’m here with the sick and the dying and the young and the lost, and there isn’t much to do around; if you want to stay away from the people and the fisherman cabins and the small town above, you walk up and down the rocky shore at night. No one else does that.

I walked kicking water and small black stones. The evenings are windy and the wind is cold. It comes from afar, because it smells unlike the wind from the day. It’s more salty on the tongue and harsher on the face.  Away from the cabins and the dim lights the world is another and the moonless sky and the night and the sea are all other, hushed and lullaby like, solid colors and pale silhouettes.

I sat on a rock and threw a few more stones I picked up before. They were momentarily swallowed by the next wave, but the wave spat something back out, something large and tangled in a net.

I dropped from the rock and went ankle deep to look closer at the figure stretched on the shore. A figure it was, I was sure of that because as I drew closer I glimpsed the whiteness of the fingers poking through the gaps in the net.

It was a woman, a beautiful and young woman with long black hairs. Her body was naked and she had perfect small breasts and a flat belly. My gaze traveled down the length of her body and I saw she had no legs where there should be, but a tail, a long and thick limb clothed in scales.  Her skin was dirty by the sand, but I could see how white it was; it illuminated, almost radiant and I felt my breath halt; I fought the urge to stretch my hand and glide it over her shoulders. The scales were translucent in bluish-green that made the tiny droplets of water stuck to her tail pulsate like thousands of pearls glued to her.

The net she had tangled herself in was rusty and old, sunk to the bottom perhaps. It had cut to her neck and wrists, and was slicing into her tail. I grimaced knowing how much it must hurt.

When she opened her eyes, I didn’t flinch nor backed, only stared down at her, remembering all those stories of sirens and mermaids and sea monsters. So, they were true stories after all. Fuck. Instead of being frightened or tempted, and instead of asking how and why, I had another thought on my mind. Maybe I’d gone mad being here where sea legends bred and grow, and maybe I had too much sea air in my lungs to care much about sense and reason, but I knew what I was seeing before me and it didn’t stress me at all. It made me angry.

She watched me circle her, and struggled to get free from the net. It only dug deeper into the wounds and she let out a small moan of pain. It aroused my interest, hearing this creature mutter a sound. I stepped behind her and again she tried to push herself back into the next wave, but I grabbed her by the hair and pulled her further out onto the shore. Hugged between the black masses of two erect rocks, we were alone.

“Do you sing to men until they go mad and kill themselves?”


To be continued…


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