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The Lash Before the Scolding Whip (Horror Flash Fiction)

Reading time: 5 min 1 sec
I run and cling to any root. The slurps of hot, dusty air felt like daggers battering the back of my parched throat. The incline was higher than we thought. I look back to see my mother crawling with on hand holding her fall and another reaching for my hand. She had sallow skin. Her throat was turgid in anguished breath. What can a woman her age do in the face of rushing danger trailing behind us?

The ache had knocked deep inside of my bone. For an instant, I felt that I should give up. My eyes climb to the swirling stars. Mistakenly, I thought that it was a beautiful night, with myself trapped in this blissful drop of nature, followed by agents of death.

The Wilies that’s what we call them. Creatures, though I doubt that God could ever conjure such horror into existence. They could crush a weak heart with a mere look from their wide round eyes. And their tiny slit mouths lined with a thin brush of teeth. They had black wisps of hair rushing down in sporadic tufts that touched the sides of their ankles. They wore no clothing only the sparse threads of perfect black hair that flowed around them like bead-curtains.

I refused to even see them, let alone hear them. I wanted to believe the echoing silence that enveloped us as we fled from the horde ambling towards us.

My mother wanted to call my name, I could see the word begin to form in her mouth. I shoot back to her and press a palm against her face. She struggles against my force. With a soft shush, she understands and nods–the predators have a keen sense of smell and hearing.  Their eyes could see in the dark as we can in daylight. Though all the elements appeared to work against us, we still clung to our single shrinking shred of hope.

I held my mother’s hand as we raced with our throbbing legs down the green slope. Across the threshold of shallow water, we waded through the salt-rich river.

I had remembered the taste of the river from the first week the Wilies invaded our village. It was an assault to my tongue; an odor more foul than any possible decay.

The Wilies didn’t eat their victims. They only took one chomp from a random point in their bodies and left the rest to fester.

Other bodies were never found.

My mother tugged back at me, and belatedly, I understand. The long rasping wail of the invaders had neared enough to feel the reverberating sound permeate down my spine.

My mother shoved me away, her eyes must have frozen at that moment her breathing had stopped. The thick strings of skin were tense like cords reaching down the folded flap of shriveled skin on her chest. Her skin was turning pale and was losing blood as if the life left her from thousands of invisible pores. Her hands thinned down to the bone, her fingers looked more prolonged than usual. Or perhaps that’s how I remembered.

I lunged away from her, she only turned slightly towards me. Around her, the water continued to flow in long strings of foam.

The festering odor was relentless, I had to climb out of the other edge of the water. My eyes flooding, whether from the scent or from the shocking revelation that my mother was lost to the demonic flock. I did not know.

I hid behind a thick birch, and from behind the ashy bark, I saw the completion of my nightmare. My mother’s eyes fell from her face and plopped into the dirty water. The Wilies flowed down the hill and stopped by the edge of the water. Yet mysteriously, they quit their procession towards a juicer prey.

They stood there with eyes like puddles of a sooty dredge. They scattered like jagged tusks budding from the ground with hung bundles of sleek hair–Inanimate edifices for the worship of evil.

Their face didn’t express zeal in their newest triumph. Just little flat mouths, humming as my mother was sloughing clumps of hair, her bones were crackling as she jerked backward. Her elderly hunch was being replaced with an abnormal flat back. Long tendrils of hair slowly dipped into the water and flowed with the stream. Her hands flopped down, her fingers curls up with thin needles budding from her tips.

I say “her” barely recognizing the creature which was once my mother.

I couldn’t look anymore and started to run deeper into the woods; the haunting images were etched forever in my mind even if I didn’t know if the rest of my life would extend beyond this tremulous night.

The rasping wail was sharp, slicing through the woods, and it found me. My heart lurched in my chest, with newly found vigor, like a match had lit the last stretch of my will. My legs went faster while creatures fled from my path. Frogs croaked around me. My bare feet felt the cold damp ground, the earth started to succumb under me. I coiled root snagged my flying feet, and I tumbled into a pit full of brittle wet leaves and a bed of rolling twigs. Insects scampered from their holes.

The earth embraced me. All I could see was the frozen canopy of trees concealing the studded skies. The rasping breaths were getting closer an closer. I wanted to die there in that cold, comfortable pit. I prayed for my true mother to snatch my heart and claim my soul before the demons could feast on my body, or anything else.

From the rim of my pit, I saw a head with long back strings waddling. Its voice was full of agony and long stridors. The creature’s wide glistening eyes stared down on me, her long taloned fingers reached towards me. I held back. My face pressed against the ground, insects were prickling my face. The creature stopped it splayed fingers just before she would touch my skin.

In one last effort to claim my right to live, there was a strong urge to peer deeper into the demon’s eyes–my mother’s eyes. I turn my shivering face towards her. I could not see anything that belonged to my mother. Not her age, the familiar contours of her face, just a blank soulless figure with a horrible limp face.

Her hand tremored with a soft twirl as if she wanted to carve me, but I felt the thin wires slicing through, cutting ribbons of my essence, my will. Like invisible needles bending and gyring through me,. Finding every possible rout of weakness. In a way, she injected her silent screams in me. I felt that time held no meaning anymore, like an endless bundle of flesh was filling up the infinite gutter of time. And I was but a mere drop of it. Dating back to the very first gulp of air. I was with her. I felt every shattering sigh and yelp of agony.

There was another flavor of rage inside of me, of my mother, and how she’d let the darkness consume her vessel and claim her like a mewling lamb. I was without aid, no love was left in the world if your mother couldn’t show it anymore.

I craned my head and allowed the claws to embrace my shivering cold face.

Mother, kill me again, but this time, undo me from this stained world.

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Sweet Is The Night

He wandered back to his condo, holding his jingling bundle of keys with a veiny grip. He struggled to puncture the key hole with his brass instrument.

A wedge of light cut through the dust rife darkness that coated his blue navy furniture floating on the carpet of alternating bej and brown.

He dropped his patent leather suitcase covered in crackles of light colored creases. Inside, his objects must’ve tumbled inside out; A minute capsule of chaos he’d unburden himself from for the remainder of this short lived bliss.

He watched a specter of transparent cloth levitate away from the tall gaping window. He had forgot to close it for the day. Yet, somehow he was glad that he’d done something reckless that punished him with a clean wash of pure dry air. He slumped on his coach and took in the silence. The darkness completed the solitary spell on this lonely denizen, while the world he tried to forget roared twenty stories below. There was a soft bustle of feet and screeches of faint laughter marring the trifecta of cold, dark and wind.

He pulled out a drawer from his cabinet and saw the massacre of old cassettes, broken sunglass frames and knives of all waves and contours with rusting edges. Things he’d push further until the bounds of space and time wouldn’t allow him. He tossed in his sacrifice of the day; A mysterious metal calling card from some douchbag with a plume of erect gelled hair he’d only wish would be a wig. And that perfume was a black market vomit inducer.

He should’ve throwed the token, but instead he admired the small glint of embossed letters. Another meaningless thing that would entice his curiosity. Something to keep him going.

His life was a far streaching contradiction. One day, he imagined that he’d scream his heart out and ask his clients to just shut up already. To grow and leave him be. But then again, how would he pay the world its due respect of sneers and fake pleasantries?

But now, was a time for his mind to seize its normal chatter. Tonight was like no other. He senses a certain zest in the air like small charged globules of oil trickling his nose. Coming down inside him, electrifying his spine. There was an ascending swirl of life coming through him.

He took off his shirt, exposing the damp pit stains, and let the nocturnal breeze lick the sweat from between his neck and shoulders.

His mistress would soon come, she was graceful enough to never ask him of his day. All she did was breathe into his ears. And suckle from the soft fuzzy lobe of his ear. She had enough vigor to mush his broad chest and press into his sheets. Then she blessed him with those hazy back lit eyes, they made him forget the stream of time. He could renounce his own name just by watching her forever. And years after that.

She lowered her oblong pale face, and curled two plump lips. Her Arachnid fingers groped the stringy muscles of his neck. With a small nick of her overgrown canine, she slurped the first stubborn drop of his toxic blood. Then drew the slow sludge of red hot nectar from his body. Her pull extended beyond the organs of his body. She reached deeper and deeper twirling the cords of his essence in a way he cursed for letting him live the way he did away from her. She would tell of her love to him, with slices of her nails cutting the sheets of skin hugging the flaps of knotted muscle on his chest. His dream of this unholy union trailed into the foggy lanes of this midnight journey. For her, he shed everything he had and knew. To be together again with this glowing demon, relieving him from his tenuous will to live.

As the meal came to a close, she licks and gulps the last thick strings of blood. And tickled his ear with her last words.

“Ache for me, tomorrow. ”

What I Want is what I’ll never get..

Talking about hot cups of tea, this one blanched the rough of my tongue, what a nice gesture from the waiter.

The wicked green brew kept plopping with a wedge of lemon. But what annoyed me the most was the gnashing prickle of her perfume, that lemony zest of delight, promising all of the sweets of summer. Yet, denying me the mere touch on her perfect marble skin. I wanted to warp the soft dotted freckles on the pale mounds on her face. To suckle on the sweet nectar, oiled with a strawberry chap-swipe on those small tight lips.

She eludes me, even though we similarly exist on the same solid plane. Somehow, she floats and gloats above me, like a mocking demon, looming down on me as I wallow in the pit of my own spittling misery.

She slices through with her cackling laugh, and teases me with a glance, hidden with sparse yellow wisps of hair tickling the flitting summer breeze.

I watch this maiden. Claiming my soul from afar, I hate her, I hate the fact that I should love such a thing and call her my muse, my goddess, my sole destroyer. The name that summons my nightmares, the cold sigh of windy nights.

I hate her for all she is and would ever be in my head.

The she-cat takes off with her cup of brewed coffee and joins her clique of giggling friends. My hearts starts to pound slower, as the memory of her perfume begins to slip from my mind.

I regain my grip over my senses and begin to imagine how she looked like. She appeared again, from under a veil of rippling water, she started to laugh, at me, for me or with me. Who knows, who would ever care to know than to just relish in the warmth of her gleaming face.

Her face morphs back to the way she was a few days back, that time her hair was jet black, guarding a light colored contour, with two electric orbs of blue, A week ago, her hair could set the sun on fire again, with a flowing sanguineous mane of red. And two yellow eyes which would haunt for days and night to come.

I am the sole survivor of this slaying summer beauty delivered by sentinels of lust, and I bear witness with words hardly acknowledged or heard.

Should I trade this voice for a warm whisper to my ear?

No one should live the monstrous summer without a warm moist hand curling inside their own.

I am one with this misery, I breathe its breath and chant its hymn, wondering, when would I shed this awful cloak?

The Vague Ridge between Flesh and Metal.

It is by far, one of the most intriguing facets of our psyche. That blurred fascination with this hybrid art-form; The biomech artwork distilled into its purest form. One questions his own mind when so much pleasure is born from a mere glimpse into the abyss.

The site of flesh and metal twisted, bolted and folded into each other. Why is it that we crave such an outlandish union?

Lately, I noticed that my interest in the Alien franchise had been rekindled. I spent many hours per day consuming footage of H.R Giger’s Xenomorph and the legacy of horror it had awakened several decades ago.

But is it all horror?

I took a few steps back to examine this strange inclination to delve deep into the cold, coiling labyrinths of Bio-mechanic art. How a metallic bone twisted and turned, with ribbed cables protruding from ever curve; arched horns turning from under metal flaps overshadowing a piece of vibrant white flesh. Chaotic, unhindered and beautifully terrible.

We cannot satiate from such a nightmare.

So why? Why is such a strange facet of imagination, repulsive at first glance, nevertheless revealing to many truths we forever seek.

Does the mind silently cherish this union of flesh and metal as a euphemism to the bare nature of reality itself? How light and darkness are constantly into one hybrid reality. And the mind sinks in comfort from an inherent understanding of such a primordial reality. In other words, these hybrid images could be considered vignettes defining with crude images, the essence of all that is about life and death.

Or maybe, this could be an awakening; how we prophesize our end on the hands of our techno-progeny. And that future holds a grim promise to all biological life forms, and deep inside we’d already surrendered to that utter prospective.

Nothing left to do but to worship and cherish the path ahead.

Why does contrast flood us with pure untamed emotions? And with such ease.

Is beauty nothing without a rim of black haze and darkness surrounding its curved exquisite features? Should we even stop asking why? Should we just hold our fingers to our lips, and let our eyes tell us what we want to know? To succumb under an obscure logic far beyond what the mind could ever conceive.

In a way I consul myself into that conviction, and allow this fascination of mine to withhold any explanation.

I settle with the gift of sensory explosion bestowed by the conjoined masses of metal and man.

A Man and His Way.

Reading time: 2 min 48 sec.

“Let me fill that up for you, ” said the happy face behind the bar, tilting the warped bottle into the huddled man’s glass. Each drop of bitter, tangy sweet. Dipping and swirling with small bubbles forming around the edges.

Life was hard and sallow, with days to call your own, and day you never conquer.

That’s what came to his mind, the fresh rays of summer, battling off the cold gnashing winter biting into the bone. What a glacial thought, he contemplated, as the liquor in his glass finally settled into a serene ovoid lake of tawny nectar.

It was all back again, after every two-bit rush, came the soothing, monotones grind of the usual. No matter how many glasses he could gulp in one sitting, or how many warm bodies in his bed. It was all the same after a while.

The same old, good old, same old.

As if disappointment was the most loyal friend. And the zest in life was but a jilting mistress, that only promises but never keeps what she sais.

He finished the last cap of his withering night and commenced his voyage beyond that cozy mahogany door. The wind welcomed him with a sucker charge to the chest; he had to cover himself for what be called his way home.

On the way, he heard the soft scuff of hard leather on the soft dusty concrete, soft taps complimenting the waving howls of the night.

Not a soul in sight, only the specters he could conjure before his eyes. How he could forget what was in front of him, yet his head floated to a time of far and past. When he was happy.

No. Now he can remember. He was content, not happy, happy was for the suckers. Content was for the winners. No one triumphs over the usual. You could wish and pray all you want, but the reality was that no one answers your solemn pleads, because no All-Mighty could get what you want. Better speak of easy things, like smiling back to your wife without faking it, or actually enjoying a game with your child. That’s what we should wish for.

The man struggled to contain his tears, it was far late than he’d expected. The way home was usually short and rough, but this time, he wished if he could get there faster.

Then the old faces came back to him, the tears, the sighs, the turned shoulders, the now absent souls in his life. For what did he trade them for? What was the craved prize he gave everything for? And by everything, he thought, was everything he truly loved.

He dipped back to the same marble-hard conclusion, there was no victory in the life he had. No one short-changed this man. Not even the devil could make up such a travesty. It was only him, and just his sore soul was able to commit such evil, unto himself and others.

Nevertheless, his sins cost his beloved a fast scalding price, but his sentence was for the long haul. It defined him, another morsel of remiss wisdom brought by a lashing afterthought, we are defined by our regrets.

The man clicked open the lock, and pushed the door into his sullen realm, the same white blankets, the ashy dust crawling into his resigned senses, and saw the same hollow figures dancing by the spell of memory. They sang, with closed lips, the melody vaunting his undoing.

The man pulled back his hair and tumbled to his creaking chair, his tears had no more salt, all dry, stale…beyond bitter.

Then he saw her, the one to claim his soul. By his armchair she sat, sweet to the eyes, wicked to the heart. He wondered why she still smiled back facing him, even after everything he’d done to her.

But then he remembered, that he’d deserved that smile, the same cloying emotion had the same gravity mountain pounding on his pulverized self.

It was part of the deal. You drink, laugh and enjoy the best of your years. And never think about it at the time.
Eventually, Regret would come, and like a caring mother, she would never leave your side.

The End.

A Man and a Hundred Marble Walls

He departed from his bed. Ready to start that still unformed morning; his eyes hadn’t a coherent vision before him. He washed his face and dabbed with a perfect wool towel. His eyes muster all possible fascination by the fading fog departing from the cold sheen mirror. His body was headless, now his visage got more and more familiar. A thought delivered those famous three words he dreaded every morning.

“Oh, it’s you again.”

He trod down his suspended wood-plank stairs and dipped with a twirl around his favorite Andulesion staircase. His perfectly pedicured feet touched those dark varnished tiles, and into the vast chasm of a living room, he stares into the blank space, and wonders if the place got any bigger. Perhaps the northern wall required more pictures or other dangling ornaments. Yes, that would fill up that horrid bloated white wall.

The toaster beeped, his favorite crunchy delight was ready for his ravenous teeth to sink in that charcoal action coating that once a fluffy blanket of pure whole-grain bread. He gulped his tall glass of full-bodied milk until his coffee was ready.

He took the steaming cup and leaned by the nestled caramel-wood sill. His eyes sink down to a rectangular labyrinths of navy blue, rimmed with pale pavements. Several scruffy dots dash along the pale arms of concrete while other loiter in pairs. He closed on a minute binary system of two people–a mundane human interface.

He relished the sense of height and grandeur from looking down at such a distant experience. Yet the feeling would barely last, it had always left him with a lingering aftertaste of bitter, tangy metal. Why does it press on his ribs, the mere sight of two souls, entwined into one.

Now he witnesses the two move in unison, with a colored covalent bond between them. So elementary, yet essential to the very fabric of reality.

He finally remembered his perfect exile. Even prisoners send letters and receive some words back. But he was now an obscure captive behind perfect marble walls. His sandal wood surfaces, brushed till the quintessential final finish wouldn’t hide the subtle rusty rife of old ash. The corners filled with floating cobwebs. And a dingey ceiling is all that he sees now whenever he saught the milky blue sky.

He felt up the side of his face and felt the coarse brush of thick quills. He plucked several strands. How long had it been? How long had it been since he had heard his voice? Had it been years, he refused to believe the extent of lost time, almost mocking his efforts to fight it and forget. Why was love abandoning him with so many gifts, tangible objects made of cold yellow steel, yet the very thing that mattered became forgotten like a vague childhood memory? And nothing is left but walls, white-washed walls, perfectly symmetrical screaming of desolation.

This man cared and loved, but no one would ever know the gifts he possessed in his heart, forever to be left under his shadow. Collecting moth and dust.

In this fancy uptown loft, This man was all that was

and less.

A Man Of Too Many Names.

Haunted by the ongoing blizzard that sucked all remaining heat from the leaf strewn ground of Bucharest. I fight the blowing wrathes of winter. Barely avoiding their snatching mouths on my bare hands. I pushed through the heavy door guarded with a spiked iron grid.

The tavern was bustling with laughter, and chittering conversations. There at the far end, stretched the hapless column of drab fatigued seekers of the early morning Buzz.

Yes I am taking about my morning coffee-run at Starbucks, don’t dare judge.

As the line shrinks to its eventual stage, the cashier asks for a name. As mundane as it could be, I amicably offer my designation with a wide beaming smile. It was like I’d crossed a necessary rite of passage. And now I am catapulted into that other line of people waiting for their respective cups.

But while I wait, another revelation comes into mind. A silly one, nevertheless, rich with fascination and wonder. What if next time I could invent another name?How would that make me feel?

I could choose a modern francophile name; Andrei, George…that would give them a story, right?
A brown colored mid-thirties guy, with a pure European title. How their shoulders would flare, or perhaps their eyes would open a little bit wider.

What if I invent a new persona that would completely shift the aura around my appearance. Perhaps I was adopted by a European family. By now my very identity had been morphed by the incessant education and training bestowed by my wealthy parents.

Or maybe I could give myself a traditional African name. That would swirl their minds for sure. So many inquiries would bubble inside these bored heads. A caramel tanned man, who perhaps escaped the raging jaws of war in his original country.

Perhaps I could fulfill the prophecy triggered by my particular facade, a middle-eastern expat, wading through life, fighting for his survival. Tempered and pressed against the backdrop of society, melded with the denizens of this glorious city.

How can a story be told by a mere name? Why does a name mean so much? Why does it ring differently when it comes together with an unusual face? Why do our brains allocate so many assumption stemming from a sound that our mouths make? If a name meant so much, why can’t we get to choose it ourselves? Perhaps it’s too much of a respnsiblity. Therefore, only our parents get to deliver that honor.

Perhaps, a name is just a reminder of who you were. Or who you were supposed to be. And then a person takes on the rest of the construction process by building the rest of his/her attributes.

That being said, I love my name, it’s my anchor to who I am. From that stable foot deeply entrenched into this moist muddy world. I get to stem, grow, bud and flourish all around in the eyes of those who love me. A trail of smoke forever expanding into this vast expanse of possibilities. Then one day, all my wisps will fade.

I am Aaron Dawbot, nice to meet you.