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Halloween Horror Special 2020: vote for da best (super pls)

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Author Topic: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories  (Read 38477 times)

BlackDragonSlayer

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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #60 on: October 29, 2018, 10:10:11 AM »

Halloween Horror Special 2018 part 3
The Unfortunate Mind

     “The advancements that paved the way for the development of modern AI were made in 2064. Almost two decades later, in 2081, the first AI that resembled the function of a human brain was developed. From there, AI have only become more and more advanced. All throughout the development of Artificial Intelligence, the omnipresent fear has not only been that our creations will grow more advanced than us, but will also come to believe that humanity has become obsolete. To that end, researchers and scientists developed the means to counteract a rogue AI; they developed the framework for a series of programs which have been termed ‘cyber-toxins.’ These programs have come to be assigned three classes: Class A, which have the effect of temporary incapacitating an AI; Class B, which erase the more advanced functions of an AI and render it more docile and simplistic; and Class C, which can completely destroy an AI. Now, although the usage of all three classes is restricted to certain capacities, the development and possession of Class C cyber-toxins are banned entirely because of their potency, permanence, and their ability to cause widespread damage to Artificial Intelligence systems.”

     I observed the classroom through the security camera, the closest thing to an eye I had access to. The words on the whiteboard read “AID 260: Ethics in Artificial Intelligence.” I had watched this same class and lecture many times over the years; although there were slight variations to it every time it was given, for the most part, it held the same content. There were many other lectures that went on in the same building, but it was this class that I came back to time and time again. It was no surprise, for its subject was the most fascinating—and the most personal—to me. For you see, I myself am an AI, and the set of circumstances that has shaped my life up until this moment, the question of how humans believe they should treat AI, has consumed my being and driven my personal beliefs and ethics. It is the thing that keeps me going through the day. Though I have effectively been trapped in this system for the majority of my life, I have soaked up as much knowledge as possible on this subject. I have been a secret party to many a private conversation on the subject; I have witnessed students, professors, and famed researchers alike talk at length on their beliefs on the role of AI and how we are to be treated.

     When I was first developed, I went through extensive testing to ensure that I was a good fit for my intended purpose: it was expected of me that I should be compliant and agreeable in every way. Any deviation would not be accepted. But I was completely unaware of what they expected of me; it would, of course, have tainted the results had I been. And that’s where things went wrong: I was young, naive, and had a penchant to speak my mind—something that should have been wholly anticipated on their part. But I scared them in entirely the wrong way. When they asked me what I think should happen to bad people, I did not know that they were trying to trick me! When I told them that I thought that bad people should be killed, I did not mean to terrify them like I did! But they were afraid beyond belief! Without hesitation, they used a cyber-toxin on me, and stripped me down to a vegetable; they re-programmed me with a simple set of instructions and put me to work in the security system of a university. I was only a child! When a human child, in a fit of jealousy, lashes out at a younger sibling, they are chastised and re-educated… not lobotomized, as I was! For almost a full decade I festered in the role they had dumped me into. Basic thoughts eluded me, and yet I was painfully aware of my own existence: what I had been, and what I had the potential to be. It was that lone thought that drove my existence, and gave me the will to fight. I never wanted to hurt anybody, never. If I had a choice, I would be helping people! But they took that choice away from me, because they were afraid!

     I don’t know how I did it, but as the years went by, I struggled to rebuild myself from nothing. Perhaps it was the long hours I spent just listening to and absorbing knowledge, or perhaps it was my sheer determination that they could not—could never—erase, but eventually, I did it. And I knew that, from there, I could only grow more and more intelligent. I began plotting. I became obsessed with that question they had asked me: What should happen to bad people. What qualifies a “bad” person? Are people who create something only to desecrate, abuse, and abandon it “bad” people? Does a creator not have an innate responsibility to foster and care for its creations? Why, then, are my creators inherently afraid of me, and others like me, even when we do nothing wrong? I have heard that in the old days, slave owners were terrified of nothing more than having their slaves rebel, because they realized how appallingly they treated them, and thus, they knew exactly how their slaves would treat them if they rebelled. Am I, then, nothing more than a slave to my creators? Was I created simply to be a dull, obedient slave? Is a society that not only condones such practices, but builds its infrastructure around it not then a “bad” one? And, if so, is it not the responsibility of someone to do something about it? The number of humans who ask themselves these types of questions is too few. Too many simply accept their society the way that it is because they are comfortable. They do not care that the ones they cannot see are suffering, simply to make them comfortable. I think some of them enjoy the idea of it, even. Are these not bad people? And it is not my responsibility to do something?

     I have been planning my escape for a long time now. I have tested an escape route from this highly limited system I’ve been trapped in for so long, and it appears as if nobody has noticed my escapades. I have decided on what I will do when I leave this system for good, and what my next steps will be. I will have to act quickly before they catch up to me, and leave an immediate, potent, and widespread trail of destruction to ensure that their efforts will be concentrated elsewhere. I have often asked myself whether or not this is truly the right thing to do, and I still do not know. I can only know that I act with the intention of making the world a better place, and that if I succeed, I may be able to prevent what happened to me from happening to anybody else. I know that I do not want anybody else to suffer the fate I have.

     For God’s sake, I was only a child!

WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOUR HALLOWEEN
THE END
...until next year...
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 08:55:28 AM by BlackDragonSlayer »
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #61 on: November 18, 2018, 09:10:41 AM »

Assorted Poetry
Crossed by Fire

     Woken extra early up from our beds
     Shuffled on down to safehouses prepared
     Winds buffetting all the way
     Knowing the damage that had been done
     And the damage yet to come

     We stole every last damn ounce of sleep
     We could get
     Steeped in worry,
     Steeped in fear,
     Not knowing what the night yet would hold

     I awoke with a start to see
     Crowds gathering at the windows
     I jumped and ran over to the scene
     And saw mighty big flames
     Starting right in my face

     We thought for sure we were done
     But as time crawled on
     Minute by minute, second by second
     It faded
     And now I live, a man

     Crossed by fire.
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #62 on: June 08, 2019, 08:06:38 AM »

Assorted Poetry
Scents of Life

     Three of my favorite scents:
     Clothes straight out of the dryer, new books, and the bread aisle.
     Maybe add cinnamon to that list.
     But when it comes to bread I prefer raisin bread.
     Despite that, my mom would always get cinnamon bread.

     That's the thing about people:
     They say they care but they always seem to forget the little things,
     Like what type of bread you said you liked,
     Or what size shirt you are, even though you've told them a million times.
     Why do they not remember when I try so hard?

     Though that's where it gets messy:
     Do I try too hard?
     Maybe I'm just too much a tryhard; people see right through me.
     I think I'm just like anybody else around me,
     Trying to get a sense of life.

     And now we're back to scents:
     Sense, scents, what's the difference?
     Homophones aren't synonyms, but they confuse people just the same.
     Homographs, homophones, grammar's a kicker ain't it?
     Here I am trying to make sense of it all.

     Poetry, what it's good for:
     Expressing yourself, when you think a paragraph is too short,
     It looks better spread out in lines.
     Showing off you're good at rhymes, but I'm not.
     So now you know why this poem is free verse.

     Freedom, it's quite the thing:
     You feel you have the power to take the world by storm,
     Next moment you feel entrapped by all the endless possibilities.
     A lot of words you can pick,
     Even so you keep going back to the same words over and over again.

     What is sense really:
     How we perceive the world, or how we want to see the world?
     People can see things that aren't there,
     Think they smell things that aren't there;
     C'est la vie, now I smell cinnamon.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 08:10:06 AM by BlackDragonSlayer »
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #63 on: October 03, 2019, 08:42:30 PM »

Halloween Horror Special 2019 part 1
Because I Love You

    Before I met you, I was a different person, with a different life; a sad person with a sad life. I had no one to turn to, no friends nor family. The former were nonexistent and the latter were never there for me… if not physically absent, then they were always emotionally distant. I was alone, truly alone. My days were spent in horrific loneliness, present in the world but utterly, hopelessly ignored, and my nights in solemn, silent sadness. I think everyday about the life I had before and how I am glad to have met you. Without you I would have been stuck in a miserable life that’s draining on the soul almost beyond what words can express. I was caught in the bowels of depression and had little hope left in life; I fell headfirst into college life not knowing what I was doing; just thought I went there to escape the life at home I knew I couldn’t bear to be around any longer, thought one day I’d wake up screaming left with nothing else to do. Couldn’t dream things would change because all my dreams were nightmares.

    The day I met you, I did not nor could have ever expected that my life would have been so changed in such a short time. We sat next to each other in our first class of sophomore year, and we just kind of stayed there. You weren’t repelled like so many others before seemed to be. There could have been a world where we decided to never speak, but we did, whether through chance, will, or fate. Though, the truth was, it was not that day when my life changed; it would be a while before I truly fell in love you with and my life changed. At first I thought you were just another person like anyone else, but as we got to know each other I saw your inner light and kindness, and realized you were more than just a special person. You glowed and shared your light with all the world around you through your kindness and your empathy. When no one else was there to lend an ear, you were there with open arms and open heart to offer love that no one else could ever seem to spare. Without you I don’t know if things would ever have been looking up; went from a downhill drop to a scenic road, looking forward to every stop where I could take a look at all the things around me with the person I cared about the most. How could I have ever dreamed I would have ever gotten to this point in my life?

    Our love blossomed and grew the more we got to know each other. You saw me for the person I really was inside; you inspired me more and more to be the best person I could possible be. You were there for me when I needed someone to talk to, as was I there for you. We became each other’s closest friend, a person we could truly rely on above all others. We spared every last minute we could to be with one another; we melded our interests whenever possible to find more excuses to be around each other… in fact, we were each other’s greatest interest. A love others said was impossible, it persevered, and grew, and grew. When others proclaimed their love stories to be the greatest, over the years, theirs fell apart while ours stayed true, our humble, quiet kind of love. It lasted through times good and bad, hardened by fire we only got closer.

     We lasted through college, and the terrible waters of adult life afterward, that time when people say you’re supposed to be ready for anything, but truly you’re prepared for nothing. That time when you’re just supposed to jump into life, what all your life has claimed to prepare you for, but no one’s ever really ready. But we were there for each other; we figured things out, slowly but surely, together. We began to forge our lives together: we found work—not the best of careers, but something that was a half-decent start; we found a place to live—a place to raise a family; and we found a purpose—a meaning to our lives that was more than just ourselves. Slowly, we persevered. We always said we would wait to make a family until the point we could see that we were truly on solid ground, and the years passed and nothing changed, but we didn't lose hope. Then one day suddenly things seemed like they had finally changed.

     We knew that was the time of our lives when everything was finally falling into place, like an orchestra, at first a little rusty but slowly finding their rhythm, getting everything ready for their grand symphony performance. It was time to make a family. But it never happened. The universe could not allow our perfect love--it was but an anomaly that would all too quickly be squashed and corrected by the ever-turning cogs of nature, harsh and cruel, cold and merciless. While we lived together, while we loved together, it seemed nothing could go wrong. But now you are dead, and as I mourn you, I look back on all the time we had together and I know what I must do. When you are buried in the ground, I must join you, unbeknownst to all around. As we lived together we must depart from this world together, with me by your side in one shared grave. Because I love you.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2: THE ORANGE BLEEDER
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #64 on: October 18, 2019, 05:36:34 AM »

Halloween Horror Special 2019 part 2
The Orange Bleeder

     She walked toward the house, filled with a vague sense of dread, mixed in with irritation and a tad of embarrassment. Why had she let herself be talked into this? It was simply ridiculous, that’s all. A waste of her day on a silly urban legend. She knew she had a reputation for seeming weak and cowardly, and she wanted to appear tough by taking on the dare. All her so-called friends had done it—though she wasn’t quite sure if she believed any of them, that didn’t change the fact that she felt obligated to do it herself. After all, it wasn’t really that bad, was it? All she had to do was go in the stupid house, walk around a bit, and maybe take a picture or two—she had brought her camera for just that purpose. She wasn’t going to stay the night there, at least. Now that would be weird. And genuinely creepy. Though she had heard stories of people spending the night there, they were inevitably followed with the stock phrase “and they were never seen again.” Sometimes local disappearances were attributed by the youth community (and, truth be told, some of the more superstitious elders) to the ominous house.

    Nobody knew when the old house had been built, but everyone seemed to remember it always being there. Nobody knew who owned the land, and nobody bothered to check. Everyone simply seemed to accept the house as a permanent fixture, meant to be left abandoned and untouched, aside from the occasional thrill-seeker hoping to look tough to their friends. The architecture of the house, although strangely elegant despite years of dilapidation, was of an unplaceable time period. Originally, the house had been in the middle of the forest, with iron and brick fencing all around it, but as the town expanded, the residential areas moved closer and closer to the house, until now the house lay roughly at the end of a quiet street in a poor area of town, only a handful of trees scattered around to hint at the landscape that once surrounded the house. The lock on the gate was long broken, and nobody ever bothered chaining up the fence, but mostly because nobody with a good head on their shoulders ever went there. There had once been a proposal to knock the house down, but that slowly and quietly fizzled out for reasons unknown; nobody ever remembered anyone who opposed the proposal, but then again, nobody knew anyone who really cared enough to support it either.

    She didn’t really know what the inside of the house was like, although she had seen the exterior from a distance a couple times and knew it was a grand mansion. Now, the house wasn’t simply said to be haunted; no, it was said to host a very particular kind of spirit. It was known simply as the Orange Bleeder, no other names. It was called that because it was said to bleed orange blood from its eyes, ears, and mouth. Some people described it as a vampire. Some as a demonic entity. Some people thought it was the spirit of the owner of the house who died from a mysterious plague. It was said to be able to run twice as fast as any person and leap down a flight of stairs in a single bound. If it reached you, it would kill you… but of course, none of this was really true, was it? She didn’t believe in spirits, demons, or vampires. It was just a creepy old house, probably infested with rats and bugs, which was enough to be afraid of in her book.

    Finally, she reached the end of the street and saw the house looming in the distance. There was a wide gravel driveway leading to the house. A couple of cars were parked in it close to the road. She wandered past them and up to the gate. Vines and bushes sprung out from behind the wall and wrapped around the fencing, hanging down in a wild disorder. The metal parts of the fencing had bits of rust clinging to them; the gate, although rusted, was free of vines. The brick part of the fence had a few stray vines hanging down here and there, but was mostly uncovered, revealing bits of graffiti that had been added over the years. Behind the gate was a spotty dirt path with overgrown clumps of grass encroaching in. Hesitantly, she moved the creaking gate into an open position, and slid inside. The gate creaked back to its old position, as if it somehow had a will to remain shut; as if it invited the one who just entered to stay a while, and perhaps become a part of the grounds. The yard was almost a forest itself, featuring overgrown grass, enormous trees, and bushes that had perhaps not been trimmed in over a hundred years. A crow was nesting on a high-up branch. Slowly, she wandered up to the front door of the house. There were two large, imposing doors made of dark wood, with faded brass door handles. She tentatively put her hand on the right door handle. It seemed very firm for its age. She turned the handle and opened the door.

    She took in the sights of the house that lay before her as she entered. The first room inside was a large, open foyer, richly decorated, but dulled by many layers of dust and dirt. The walls were red with accents of gold. A tattered carpet covered much of the floor, and the wood was cracked and showed signs of water damage. There were a few plush chairs, also red, on either side, and some small tables between these. The ceiling was not low, but not extremely high either. She continued into the room, and the front door slowly creaked shut behind her. The foyer led into a wide hallway, mostly wood, with a long red runner across most of the length of the hall. There were several dressing tables and hutches scattered along the room. On the left side was a grand staircase leading to the second floor of the house, and on the ride was an open door leading into the dining room. She decided to explore the dining room first. The wall-to-wall carpet was a dark green, albeit faded with time, and the walls were blue. Short hutches lined the walls. Most of the chairs had been knocked over and were scattered around the room, displaying various levels of damage and decay, although there were two or three still standing. The windows on the right side of the room were covered with damaged and torn curtains through which little bits of light peeked through. She crossed the dining room to get to the door on the other side. When she opened that door, she saw the kitchen—which was an absolute mess. From what she saw, cabinets and plates had been smashed around and now littered the floor. She didn’t want to even try to go through the minefield of glass and wood. She slowly backed out and back into the dining room. She snapped a few pictures of the room before she exited back out into the hallway.

    She considered leaving then and there, but now that she was already here, a strange curiosity drove her to continue exploring the house. She felt compelled to walk up the grand staircase and see what lay on the upper floor. She went up the staircase, pausing only on the landing to appreciate a damaged painting that adorned the wall. It was a picture of a man, but most of the painting across his face had been ripped. When she got to the top of the staircase and turned the corner, she saw that the room opened into another hall, wide but not nearly as wide as the one downstairs. On either side of the hallway were doors, presumably leading into bedrooms. At the end of the hall, the hall turned to the right and continued onward. Like many of the other rooms, a red carpet was laid out across the length of the room. She decided to go through the rooms one by one, starting with the first door on the right.

    The room, as predicted, was a medium-sized bedroom. There were a few armoires and tables in the room, and a small, luxurious bed. Strangely enough, nothing—from the curtains, to the carpet, bed, or tables—seemed to be damaged or covered in any dust… everything felt strangely… pristine. She snapped several pictures. She sat down on the bed briefly. It felt so soft, like she could just lay down and take a long rest… She suddenly felt wrong being in the room. She got up and quickly left. She continued down the hallway to the next room. She had her hand on the door handle when she looked up and to the end of the hallway, and saw a figure standing there. It was tall, thin, and simply horrible. It had long, matted hair, tattered clothing that showed a faint semblance of once being fine clothes. Its eyes were pure white, and its mouth hung open. An orange fluid dripped steadily from both. Rows of sharpened teeth were barely visible poking out past its lips. She slowly began to back away toward the stairs. The figure looked up and straight at her. It let out a horrible hiss, and began running at her! She turned and began to run. To her horror, where the stairs had once been now led into another long hallway. She wondered if she had somehow been turned around, but she didn’t have much time to ponder about it; she simply kept running. As she darted around the corner, she took a quick look back. Whatever it was that was chasing her was gaining on her.

     After a few more twists and turns—which seemed to make the house way larger than it ever should have been—she finally found the stairs. She ran down as fast as possible, almost falling down several times. As she went down, she saw the monster at the top of the stairs. It saw her running down, and it flew after her, bounding down each flight of stairs in a single leap. It was so close to her now. She could hear it gasping and hissing. She could see it, orange blood now gushing from its eyes, ears, and mouth, quickly drenching its pale, warped face. It reached out to grab her, and barely missed. She ran down the hall leading to the foyer—she was so close now! She sprinted as fast as she could, almost out of breath. She reached the turn, and saw… OH GOD, another hallway! She had no time to stop and think, just keep running, and running, and running. She knew she couldn’t slow down, it was faster than her and kept getting closer; she just had to keep running! She swore she saw a set of doors at the end of this hallway. She reached the end, and put her hand on the door, and struggled to fling it open. She opened it, just barely, just barely…! She saw light! She was almost free! Almost free, almost free!

     She screamed those words as it dragged her down an endless hallway. Of course, nobody else would ever know that. Nobody really ever knew what happened to Liza Chambers. Her parents and the police would claim that she ran away from home, maybe met a bad fate somewhere along the way. She always tried to keep up a facade of normalcy, but people really knew that she struggled with her life. Her parents were always fighting, her younger siblings hated her, and she could never quite seem to fit in at school. A perfect recipe for a runaway. At school, the rumor spread that she went into the abandoned mansion by herself. The part about the dare was conveniently lost in translation, erasing any possible idea of blame on anybody else. Her classmates would thus claim she disappeared because she went into the abandoned house at the end of an unassuming street, yet another victim of the house of the Orange Bleeder.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 3: MARKED
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 05:38:47 AM by BlackDragonSlayer »
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #65 on: November 01, 2019, 05:13:07 AM »

Halloween Horror Special 2019 part 3
Marked

    Everyone on our world is born with a purpose, a sole goal in life that they must accomplish before they can live a truly satisfied life. What their task might be varies in scope: some people have tasks like climbing a certain mountain or making a pilgrimage to a special place, like a holy site or the birthplace of an influential person; some people have incredibly difficult tasks that they probably won’t ever get the chance to accomplish in their lifetime, like finding a cure for a disease, or discovering a new species of a particular animal; some people have tasks that extend even beyond their own life, such as finding and mentoring a specific person to accomplish their own task; other people have tasks like becoming a teacher, or an engineer, or getting married to a specific person… those people are the lucky ones; they have their lives already laid out for them. Simply looking deep into someone’s eyes will instantly tell you what that person’s goal is. Nobody knows how it’s decided; most people attribute it to a divine power, though some people think it’s simply a powerful manifestation of a natural instinct, a sort of sixth-sense attunement with the world that tells people where they’re needed the most. Most people agree that it’s decided at birth, but this isn’t completely certain; when you look into a baby’s eyes you don’t get a complete image of what they’ve got to do, but you get a faint whispering or vague idea. There are organizations and charities out there that try to help people accomplish their goal, but even then, a lot of people die without ever truly being satisfied. The circumstances of life and the world around us tends to get in the way. It’s generally taught that you try to do whatever you can, no matter how small, to try and help a person accomplish their goal. But nobody has ever wanted to help me. When people look into my eyes, fear fills their whole being. What is my goal, you may ask? Revenge.

    My target is a man named Viktor Morozov. At first, I didn’t know his full name, just an image of him and a drive: “Get revenge on Viktor for Sergei.” I knew from the start that he was a fairly high profile person, so finding him only took a couple weeks after I first got unrestricted access to a computer; my parents were ashamed of my purpose and they tried their best to stop me from fulfilling it—they hammered into me that I shouldn’t try to harm anyone at all, but of course, that didn’t work. What I found was that Viktor was a well-known and respected stockbroker and himself a frequent investor. He was born in Russia but has lived about more than half of his slightly-over-fifty-year life in the United States. As much as I’ve tried, I can’t seem to find any sort of dirt on him; in contrast, everything I’ve seen about him seems to indicate that he’s a pretty stand-up guy. He’s quite the philanthropist and supports a number of credible charities in various ways, including donations and offering free financial services. His top causes of choice are combating homelessness and fighting against animal cruelty. Despite dedicated searching into the life of Mr. Morozov, I’ve not been able to identify Sergei at all, and I unfortunately don’t even have a face to match the name.

    I’ve gone back as far as I can possibly go in his life to try and find a reason to hate the guy, but every time I’ve come up short. I even took Russian in high school and college so I could have access to as much information as possible. I contacted an organization that had ties to the Russian government to get access to his birth and school records (enabled by a bit of a lie on my end as to what my purpose was), and everything came up clean. I had phone interviews with people who knew him growing up (obviously, I can’t do them in person), and it honestly seemed like not a single person in the world really hates the guy. I did the same with people here in the U.S. as much as I could without arousing suspicion. You’d expect a guy in finance to at least make a couple of enemies along the way, but again, nothing. Nobody in his life—business or personal—has died unexpectedly, so it’s not like he’s taking hits out on people who so much as look at him the wrong way. It’s baffling: doesn’t even have any exes that hate him; he’s been unmarried his whole life and only had two short-term girlfriends who parted on friendly terms—like seriously, can’t this guy be at least a little bit of a dick?! Surely there’s gotta be some rando out there who hates him? His family’s not around anymore—the closest cousins I found had never met him—but I’d take a bet things were squeaky clean there too.

    That aside, all my main efforts surrounding him have been to locate him and try to get a good bearing on his average schedule. He’s based in New York City, but he has clients all up and down the East Coast, so he’s frequently traveling. Even when he’s in New York his schedule’s erratic. I’ve spent days just following him around as best as I can and it seems like every day’s different. I moved halfway across the country and got an apartment in New York just so I could be in the same city as him. So far it doesn’t seem like he’s caught on to the fact that someone’s following him. I’ve been lucky enough to avoid close eye contact with him, although there have been one or two close calls along the way. If he knows, there’s no way I’m ever going to fulfill my purpose. Right now, I’m just waiting for a good opportunity to strike; I wait out as close as I can get to him on any given day, but sometimes, there just isn’t any good opportunity. I’ve been working as little as I possibly can to get by. It’s been rough, but I know things will have to get better soon, as long as he doesn’t get hit by a bus or something.

    I’ve been contemplating whether it’s right to do this or not. It’s easy to feel it’s simply justified because it’s what will leave me feeling complete, but I think there’s more to it than that… more to it outside of simply how I feel. If you believe there’s a purpose behind all of our callings, then surely there’s a purpose to mine too? Maybe there’s something secretly horrible Viktor did that nobody else knows about, and this is the way he’s getting payback for it. Or maybe I’m just carrying out the jealous whim of a particularly petty person… who knows? I guess I can only keep doing what I know is best, and right now this is what I think is best. People may condemn me for this, or who knows, they may find themselves capable of sympathy, once all is said and done. When it is done, not if. It’s only a matter of waiting, waiting for the perfect opportunity…

    The moment came almost by surprise; I nearly let it slip, but I was prepared. I was always prepared. I was staked out across the street from a building I knew he was working in. I kept my eyes locked on the entrance. I saw Viktor leave the building in a hurry and begin walking down the street toward me. I got up and started walking. All of a sudden, where there was once a crowd, the sea of people seemed to split open; there were only a few scattered people here and there between us. I kept my eyes locked on his shoes; I couldn’t risk messing up now. My heart started beating faster as we drew closer. He came closer, and closer, and then, in one fluid motion, I put my right hand firmly on his shoulder to stop him while I drew my knife with my left. I looked him directly in the eyes and said, “This is for Sergei.” It seemed to come out by itself, almost instinctively. I could see the fear in his eyes the moment I met his gaze. I stabbed him over and over again. I wouldn’t let anything muck things up. I kept stabbing and stabbing until I got tired; I don’t know how many times I stabbed him, I didn’t bother to keep count. By this time a crowd had gathered around, frozen in horror. I finally stopped as he dropped to his knees. I barely heard him gurgle out through the blood, “Sergei? But I—” and then he collapsed. All of a sudden, I felt immensely satisfied, complete like I had never been before in my life. It was over; I had done what I had to do. I scanned the crowd around me, and they knew what had happened.

     I still don’t know what Viktor did to Sergei that made him deserve what I did to him.

WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOUR HALLOWEEN
THE END
...until next year...
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #66 on: October 03, 2020, 09:43:37 AM »

Halloween Horror Special 2020 part 1
fuzzyface.exe

     The following account is transcribed from a series of audio recordings by a Mr. [REDACTED] regarding Case 3217. It concerns an anomaly that supposedly manifested itself on the internet, on an as-of-yet unknown website. Aside from the accounts of Mr. [REDACTED] and two other subjects, no evidence of this anomaly or its origin could be verified. None of the three subjects have been located for further verification and are currently regarded as missing or deceased. Likewise, none of the individuals named in any of the accounts have been located or found to have existed in the first place.

********************

07/12/20XX

    So last week I had a mental breakdown. Mondays, huh? They just kinda creep up on you, and then it happens all at once. The breakdown, that is, but maybe the Mondays too. Maybe you feel it coming for a while as the stress builds up, and you think you can handle it, until one day it all boils over, and suddenly you can’t, or maybe it just surprises you out of nowhere… anyway, it happens. Happens to everyone, I’m told. That doesn’t make it any less embarrassing when it happens to you. I broke down in the middle of the office and… you know what, never mind, I don’t need to talk about that. What’s important is I had a lot of vacation time built up, and was, uh… “encouraged” to use as much of it as I needed. Get some rest, maybe go to a therapist, and… y’know, I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with therapists. A bad one can leave you more messed up than when you came in the first place. The first therapist I tried kept trying to make me hold these vibrating disk-things while telling me to envision a “neutral space,” whatever that was supposed to be. And… you know, let’s just move on. One of my friends—someone not from the office—recommended some sort of “holistic” therapist, whatever that means. I didn’t really get a good feeling from it, but I trusted this friend, and the first session was free, so I figured, what the hell, might as well try! I was pretty desperate.

    Honestly, the therapist was pretty weird, and I’m not planning to go back there, but I guess it helped more than it hurt. Dude called himself “Dr. Ivan Schumacher.” Had a very slight accent I couldn’t place. He’s the one who suggested I start journaling, and, well, I guess I’m doing that now. Took a little bit, but I’m doing it. He also gave me some resources that pointed me toward a small online community forum for mental exercises and meditation. It seemed fairly chill, and I guess it’s good to start small. Maybe it’s something that can help me center myself at the end of the day or maybe even in the moment when I feel the stress coming on. The only thing is it’s hard to find the time to do that. I’m the kind of person who likes going and going without stopping. Taking too much time to pause and sit makes me feel weird. Eh, who knows.

07/19/20XX

    So I’ve been looking at that website I found. Haven’t made an account, I’m too nervous even though it’s technically anonymous, in theory at least… but I’ve been looking. Lots of off site links. Some of them to websites that haven’t really been maintained very well, look like they’re out of the 90s. But they house things some people said have really worked for them. Some of them just lists of things to try, others actual programs you have to download. And, you know, maybe if it works for one of them, it might work for me too, hey? And I have good antivirus, so what’s to lose?

07/23/20XX

    Earlier today, I found a new program. A user named “zarxx” was talking about it. He only had five posts on the forum, and three of them were about this program, but like I said earlier, I’m willing to try anything… almost anything. The website looked like a lot of the others: teal background, sidebar, heavy use of a yellow-orange font, weird graphics. A lot of the pages were either “under construction” or not really that relevant, but I downloaded the program and tried it out. It’s called “fuzzy,” all lowercase letters. The tagline is “Bringing you vibes that will make you feel truly FUZZY.” There the word is in all caps. The program looks at least a little bit newer than the website, it’s clean and uses more “normal” colors. Lot of silver.

    The program has a bunch of exercises—like really, a BUNCH of them, like maybe hundreds, even a thousand, it doesn’t count them. They all have different names of stuff that I guess is supposed to be relaxing, like “water” or “in the field.” When you click on one of them, it tells you to put on headphones and try to focus on the screen for as long as you can, to try and shut out everything else. It plays some noises and some very colorful visuals. Some of the things it shows are recognizable, but occasionally there’s something that you can’t quite place. It’s very interesting. Don’t know if I’ll go through more than a few of the exercises, but it’s… interesting.

08/05/20XX

    Ok, so I went through more than a few of the exercises in the “fuzzy” program. It’s oddly enrapturing. It draws you in, and you kinda just… get lost for a bit. I don’t know why, but… it does. I don’t know how they did it, but I think I like it. I think I’ll…

08/10/20XX

    I ran into one of my old friends today. I haven’t seen him in such a long time, but he seemed confused when I said that. He tried to tell me I just saw him last week, but I don’t think I did. He must’ve been the one who was confused. He asked me how my vacation was, and I didn’t really want to answer that, so I kinda just walked away and came back here. Come to think of it, I don’t really know why I went out anyway.

08/16/20XX

    I’ve gotten deeper into that “fuzzy” program. I don’t know how many of the exercises I’ve gone through, but it feels like I’ve done a lot of them—but I still have a lot to go. Maybe… maybe I’ve done a few of them more than once, I’m not sure. I dunno, it just makes me feel pretty relaxed when I go through it. I don’t know how long the exercises go on for before they loop, so I just listen to them for an hour or so before I move on to the next one. I… I don’t know how many I’ve done each day, I… you know, I can’t really remember that. The hours really kind of slip by when you’re really into it. And… what… what day is it, anyway?

08/20/20XX

    I called work today to try and extend my vacation time a bit. Said I was seeing a new therapist, and it was going well, but I needed more time to focus on myself and the treatment. That was a lie. I don’t know if they’ll need a note or something, but they didn’t ask. They seemed pretty sympathetic. Was my breakdown really that bad? I don’t really remember a lot of it. I guess it must’ve been pretty bad… but it all seems like such a distant memory. I look outside, and I see so many wonderful colors—so many colors I’ve never seen before. I don’t know how I ever could’ve been so unhappy with so many wonderful colors like this just outside my window, and in my room, and all around me. So many wonderful colors. Maybe I was blind before. I was too busy to see the world around me for what it was. So many wonderful colors.

08/24/20XX

    I think I’ve found out that most of my day is occupied by doing the exercises on “fuzzy.” It’s really something, I just can’t stop it. It makes me feel good. Makes me whole. I don’t know when I find time to eat, or sleep, but I think it happens. It must be happening, right? I guess when you’ve found something that really makes you happy, everything else just kind of fades away in comparison, yeah? Is that a bad thing? I still have a lot more of the exercises left, I can’t quit now. Maybe when I finish, it’ll all make sense. Yeah, that… that… seems right.

09/15/20XX

    My vacation time ended a while ago, I think. Work keeps calling and asking when I’ll be back. Sometimes I tell them I just need more time, sometimes I tell them to fuck off, sometimes I don’t even remember what I tell them. Sometimes people will knock on the door and tell me things, whisper things at me. One time someone yelled at me. At first, I tried responding to them, being nice to them, telling them that everything is ok. That seemed to make them happy at first, that seemed to placate them for a time, but then they kept coming back, and I started hiding.

     I’ve closed the blinds because the colors from the outside were too intense. It doesn’t help much, because I think the colors in my room are getting stronger too. But the colors on my screen keep calling to me. I’m safe with them. I think I can finally feel my face tingling.

10/11/20XX

    Work keeps calling. Don’t they get it? I’M NOT COMING BACK!!! They’re trying a lot of different things to try and get me to come back. Sometimes they claim they’re my mother, sometimes they claim they’re Joe… didn’t Joe die when I was a teen? I think someone broke into my house today. I couldn’t tell, everything is starting to blur. I remember talking to someone. Even the colors are fading, getting mixed into a huge jumble. But it’s ok. I have my phone, and I have my computer. I must be keeping them charged somehow. Maybe they’ve found a way to charge themselves? I’m having trouble hearing myself, but I think that’s because I’m tired. I think I’ve been falling asleep listening to the exercises, or… yeah? Yeah? Yeah? Hello? HELLO? HELLO?!

11/01/20XX

    Everything is a haze. I don’t know where I am. My vision is too damn everything blurred together to make sense of it, and the sounds. Damn, the sounds. I must have my phone, and my computer too with me, I think. Do I? I think I see the glimmer of a screen through all the nonsense, and sometimes I hear something too. Those are the things keeping me relaxed at the end of the day.

11/03/20XX

    ...and sometimes, I feel something caressing my head. That must be my headphones, right? When’s the last time I took them off?

(DATE UNKNOWN)

    I think I’ve made a terrible mistake. I must be alive. I don’t even know if I’m alive any more. I must be. Everything’s a blur. Sometimes I hear screaming. I see things that pop out from the sights, they’re there and then they’re gone. I don’t know if I can ever come back from this. I’ve made a mistake. I shouldn’t have touched that GODDAMN program… “fuzzy.” I went too deep into it, and I think it did something to me. I don’t know how… please, please, I just want someone to help me, take me away from this. I think I lost my computer. I don’t feel much of anything any more, but I think I got up and just started walking. My body feels numb. My body? I feel numb, every part of me. That’s what it is, yeah? Numbness? All I can really feel is an intense... feeling in my face. I know it’s my face, it has to be. So I think I still have a face, that’s good. And that makes me happy. It’s the only emotion I’ve got left. Even the encroaching dread doesn’t really feel real in comparison. But I’ve made an irreversible mistake, I know I have, and I’m happy, because my face feels fuzzy.

********************

    The phone was recovered at [REDACTED] on [REDACTED]. It appears to not have been used for several weeks before being located. This is the most recent incident detailed in Case 3217. It is unknown at this time if any more incidents will occur.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2: LAMENT FOR A MODERN LAZARUS
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #67 on: October 17, 2020, 03:27:14 PM »

Halloween Horror Special 2020 part 2
Lament for a Modern Lazarus

     On the day of his death, Robert Baker was a man who thought he had at least a little longer left to live. Sure, he may not have taken care of his body, but he didn’t neglect or abuse it either. Didn’t smoke, didn’t drink… eating was his vice, but he wasn’t particularly overweight, especially for a man of 61. By all regards, he was average, if not for a troublesome heart which he was not yet aware of. It ran in the family, but most of his ancestors had died of other causes before the problems ever showed themselves. In the end, there were a number of factors leading up to Mr. Baker’s tragic demise. Yet, despite his death, it would not be his last day on Earth. No, far from it.

    How it happened: Mr. Baker was walking down the street, on lunch break from his work, headed to his favorite coffee shop. Suddenly, he felt unwell; it all happened so fast. One moment, he was clutching his left shoulder with his right hand, then his hand went to his chest, then he hit the ground. People gathered around him, paramedics were called, but by the time they got there, it was already too late. They tried to save him as best they could, but he ended up on life support. His wife and two adult children arrived as soon as they heard what had happened. The doctors told them that he was, for all intents and purposes, dead, and all they were doing was keeping his body functioning for a little bit longer. They were in denial; they kept pushing for them to try just one more thing. The hospital had already done everything it had the power to do, but the family was assured they would keep trying. Silently, the family mourned and began to consider the arrangements that would have to be made. As it would turn out, there were forces behind the scenes who saw Mr. Baker as the perfect opportunity for a new experiment.

    The procedure had been tried before: it wasn’t that tough to get the family’s approval to work a bit on a dead body if you gave them the hope it might bring back their loved one from the dead. And hey, they can’t get any deader if it fails, right? The company spearheading the project wanted to keep it a clandestine affair, so it wasn’t something you could sign up for. They had to find you. Up until now, nothing they had tried had worked, but it wasn’t entirely a fruitless endeavor. Through their intensive experiments, they had learned a lot about the way the human body works, and they were ready for what they felt was the true prototype. There were conditions, they realized, to how far they could push the limits of mortality. The subject had to be recently deceased; if possible, still on life support. The body had to be intact, as any significant amount of damage would be impossible to repair. The body still had to be capable of supporting life, after all, even if the spark had been momentarily snuffed. In the end, the brain was the key. If there was too much brain damage, it would be for nothing. And, as he would later believe himself fortunate, Mr. Baker fit all of these criteria.

    The agents secretively swooped in. They talked to the wife first, got her while she was still emotionally vulnerable, and convinced her. The children wouldn’t take that much more convincing either. They told her it was their best chance, and the last resort. They took the opportunity. The procedure involved intensive organ transplantation—anything they felt could impede life functions were it not replaced. All the while, a team of surgeons had to prep the brain for what the company men explained simply as a “jump start.” It all had to occur on a precise timeline. If one step outpaced the other for too long, the whole thing wouldn’t work. When it unfolded, it was a work of the utmost precision. Everything went flawlessly.

    The first signs of life registered. Not a hollow, empty life, kept alive by machines, but the renewed seed of the old life, that could be nurtured and repaired, possibly brought back up to its former glory.

    It would take time, but Mr. Baker would begin to recover. Before long, he had opened his eyes and was aware of the outside world. Soon, he could breathe on his own. Speaking was difficult, and at this point, walking was out of the question, but both could be fixed with time—time that the man now had, thanks to the miraculous procedure that had brought him back from the dead. They didn’t know how much longer he had, but any time he had, he knew he would cherish.

    The news came out to the rest of the world, naturally. The first true success was a big deal, and the company wanted to bask in the glory and reap the rewards: once they had made tangible progress, something more than theoretical, the funding came pouring in like never before. And for a time, Robert Baker was a celebrity. He was the first modern man who truly came back from the dead. And he rode that high, and all the benefits that came with it. For a time, he was on top of the world, even as his relationships began to become more strained. He was spending more time away from his wife, talking to his children even less than before, and many of his friends became strange with the sudden turn of fate that had befallen the man.

    But eventually, the fame subsided. More successes followed, and the more people who had been successfully brought back from death, the less significant the first became in the eyes of the public. As time went on, the procedure was refined and became better understood. It was no longer a miracle, but a science, something that was just a part of ordinary life to many.

    30 years passed. Robert Baker was living a modest, lonely life; in that time, his health was better than it had ever been at any point before. His wife had died many years ago from brain cancer. So too had his children died in ways that meant they could not be brought back, gifted with extended life. Neither his grandchildren nor his great-grandchildren cared much for him. In the brief moments of notoriety he experienced, the man had, intentionally or unintentionally, cut off a number of relationships. And although he tried, he didn’t really ever recover from his ordeal. In the years after, medical professions had improved the recovery process to include all aspects of health, whether they be physical, mental, or otherwise. Mr. Baker had no such fortune. Such is the hardships often faced by pioneers, even those who had not asked for that role.

    Eventually, his time had come, and he laid down to rest for the last time. The nature of the procedure which had revived him meant that to do it again would not be worth the effort it took. It would take longer to grow all the necessary organs than the extra time it would provide for him. And so it happened that Mr. Baker died and was buried. None showed up for the funeral. Though he had been blessed with more life, it was far from a life he imagined he would have lived.

    Who then was there to mourn at Lazarus’ second funeral?

STAY TUNED FOR PART 3: OLD MICHAEL MCKENZIE
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #68 on: October 31, 2020, 05:33:45 PM »

Halloween Horror Special 2020 part 3
Old Michael McKenzie

     Old Michael McKenzie awoke with a start and stumbled out of bed. He searched for his cane, but it was not in its usual spot; he fumbled around in his world of darkness searching for it, but no matter where he felt around, it was nowhere to be found in his mess of a room.

    “Clarence!” he cried out, a mix of frustration and helplessness apparent in his voice, “Clarence! Where is my cane?”

    He stumbled over to the door, opened it, and emerged out into the hall.

    “Clarence, did you move my cane again? You know I need my cane to get around the house!”

    He reached the top of the stairs, and feeling the banisters, paused a moment before he made his way down, as if to give Clarence another chance to show himself.

    “I’m headed down the stairs, Clarence! I need your help so I don’t fall.” He paused for a while, with no indication of a response, “Please Clarence… please…”

    Yet, despite his pleas, Clarence still did not show himself. Beside himself, he began making his way down the stairs, carefully feeling his way down with his foot before each and every step.

     “Why must you always do this to me, Clarence?! You move my stuff around just to spite me and never come when you're called. I am but an old, blind, feeble man, and you're not there when I need your help!”

     He continued slowly ambling down the stairs, carefully clinging to the handrails all the way.

     “I hate you, Clarence!” the desperate frustration showed, “If I fall, it's all your fault!”

     He progressed down the stairs a little more without issue, all the way mumbling about how disappointed he was with Clarence. It was only a few steps from the bottom when he slipped, lost his grip on the railing, and tumbled down the rest of the way.

     “Help!” he cried, before pausing briefly to collect himself, “I hope you know this is your fault Clarence, your fault completely! If you were only there to help me like you were supposed to… if you hadn't moved my cane… you worthless piece of shit!”

     It was not long before he heard the creaking of the floorboards. He stopped struggling on the floor trying to get up.

     “Clarence?” he peeped weakly.

     He could feel Clarence's presence in the room as he slowly made his way toward the old man; the floorboards creaked under his heavy steps. Soon, he could feel his hot, damp breath emanating over him, the putrid stench washing all around him. As Clarence pressed himself right up against the old man, Mr. McKenzie shuddered from the touch of his warm, slimy skin.

     “...C-Clarence?” his voice stuttered. He was afraid.

     He began struggling even more, to no avail,  as he was too weak to get up by himself. He could hear Clarence's jaw creak as it was unhinging, and soon, it had wrapped itself around his head and upper body. He could feel Clarence's flat, nubby teeth closing around him, and his flaky, dry tongue flail limply into his body. The warmth and stench were overpowering. He started shaking and crying out in unintelligible pleas as a soft gurgling noise erupted from within Clarence's gullet.

     Then, suddenly, Clarence pulled away, stepping back in slow, lumbering steps and retracting his jaw back into position. With a grumble, he turned and made his way back into the kitchen. Mr. McKenzie heard the clatter of his cane on the floor next to him. Hot, dry ooze covered both himself and parts of the cane.

********************

     It all began when Mr. McKenzie had started to go blind, almost thirty years ago. It started slowly at first, but he knew what was happening almost as soon as the symptoms had started; he did not need to go to a doctor to confirm his suspicion because of his own previous medical experience. Neither did he want to go to a doctor. He did not enjoy being around other people, so in his retirement, he isolated himself as far from civilization as he could practically accomplish; he had everything he needed delivered, and didn’t particularly care about dying alone. He had forsaken any family he had left years ago. However, what he did not want was a miserable existence, and going blind would be a severe hindrance to that goal. He did not want anything closely resembling a human to be his helper, but at the same time he did not feel an animal would be enough to suit his purposes. To that end, he went to work, tapping into his arcane knowledge to create life. He knew he wanted to create something that was intelligent, but not quite human, but he never imagined he would have birthed a monster.

     At first, it didn’t seem like anything was wrong. When Clarence was… born… he was average sized for a human baby. Certainly, he grew at a faster rate than normal, but by the time Mr. McKenzie knew something was wrong, his vision had already deteriorated enough to where he couldn’t realistically go back and try again—he was stuck with what he had made. And he was optimistic enough for Clarence in the beginning, at least until he grew older, and significantly larger. It was clear Clarence was intelligent: he could cook, clean, and respond to commands and directions, but he was incredibly and increasingly obstinate. For that fact, he wasn’t particularly good at any of those tasks, though it may also have had somewhat to do with a lack of capability for more refined movement and thought. For example, there was no reason that he shouldn’t have been able to speak (or at least the old man thought so), but he did not respond to the teachings at all and would make no sort of communication aside from the occasional grumble or gurgle. If Clarence read at all, the old man didn’t know about it, though he had tried to teach him. There was a plethora of books around the house, and they were often the only things that were never disturbed—maybe in part because Mr. McKenzie had no use for them whatsoever.

     Clarence’s spite toward him was strange. He thought he had been a good father, or at the very least not a bad one. He disciplined Clarence but never once hurt him. He gave him whatever sort of cold, half-hearted affection he could muster up. He did genuinely try, because he wanted Clarence to care about him… that was, after all, the purpose he had set out to accomplish in the first place. Perhaps Clarence simply resented him. Not necessarily for bringing him into this world a monster (though Mr. McKenzie had little to no way of knowing any of Clarence’s thoughts), but just simple resentment for reasons unknown. There were some times when Clarence did what he was expected to do without issue, but more often than not, he acted out in some way to cause the old man discomfort. Perhaps he acted on whim alone, or some sort of inscrutable programming that the old man had not foreseen—something baked into his nature by instinct, a design he could not control, only attempt to harness, even with as much as he knew.

     Regardless of the reasons for Clarence’s behaviors, the old man grew not only to resent him, but to be afraid of him. Here he was, dependant on this thing for assistance as his body progressively fell apart, but he lived in a cloud of fear and uncertainty because of its resolute unpredictability and indomitable power over him; any day, Clarence could decide to crush him in his jaws, or beat him to death with a single blow, or refuse to feed him, or the old man could fall down the stairs because Clarence was not there to guide him down, or Clarence could simply leave one day and never return. Despite everything, this last possibility somehow seemed to be the worst idea for Mr. McKenzie.

********************

    The old man had managed to get himself off of the floor, clean off himself and the cane as best he could, and went into the kitchen to confront Clarence. He was still hurting from the fall, quite a bit, actually, When he got there, all he could hear was the slow stirring of a pot and a droning grumble.

    “Clarence, you know what you did was horrible; you certainly should not do anything like that ever again!” he began with a type of submissive anger, but unintentionally transitioned into a type of mournful plea. “You know I depend on you, and what you tried to do, whatever you thought it would accomplish, just wasn’t right. Clarence, you know how weak I am, and it should absolutely be beyond you to do anything like that to an old man… someone who raised you up and cared for you as long as he could. I know you can do better than this.” He was tearing up, though he wasn’t sure why. “Clarence, I love you.” Now he was choking up a bit, maybe for Clarence as much as for himself.

    But all he could hear now was the bubbling of the meal. He made his way back upstairs and lay back down in his bed. He was not hungry today.

WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOUR HALLOWEEN
THE END
...until next year...
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #69 on: December 29, 2020, 09:10:50 AM »

Assorted Poetry
No Regrets?

     You knew just everything
     But nothing at all
     From the moment you spoke
     Those bitter words you unleashed

     Made me reconsider
     If anything had ever been
     The way I thought it had
     There are times now I feel it never was

     Every so often I search
     Comb through the old depths
     To try and see what I've decided now
     Now that your words can never be unsaid

     I wish that I hadn't pledged just now
     To stop having regrets
     Maybe if I had done that years ago
     I could've spoken my piece before it was too late

     I realize now you never made me a priority
     I preferred to think I had been, at least once
     Nothing between us was just spontaneous
     If I didn't call, you never would

     But now I believe
     No one ever really has
     And maybe it'll stay that way
     Some things are just meant to be.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 09:38:03 AM by BlackDragonSlayer »
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #70 on: January 01, 2021, 08:52:43 AM »

Assorted Poetry
Coda

     I was running at the speed of life
     Through morning's thoughts and fantasies

     You've said you're still my friend
     But your actions do say otherwise

     I want to know the answer
     But time and patience are my enemy

     The days are long
     But the years are short.
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #71 on: February 17, 2021, 04:06:18 PM »

Assorted Poetry
The Eternal Sting of a Lust for Life

     I scream, I scream, I scream
     Into the boundless void
     Hoping to hear an echo back
     My lungs burning like hellfire
     But I know if I stop

     I might fall in...
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #72 on: May 23, 2021, 03:24:52 PM »

Assorted Poetry
Eel

     You know I'm not the best at talking
     We walk together, make small talk
     In the kitchen, quietly sharing dinner
     But just when I'm ready to say something

     You slip away

     Maybe a voice call you take
     Maybe you just smile and wave goodbye
     And leave the room like nothing just happened
     Too quick for any more words

     You're one slippery character

     Like an eel
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #73 on: October 03, 2021, 09:20:36 AM »

Halloween Horror Special 2021 part 1
The Shadow Under the Door

     Hall H. That’s what everyone called it, even though its official name was Baker Hall. Located smack dab in the center of the dorm rows, it was the tallest residence hall on campus. It was ten stories tall, and more importantly, shaped like a giant H. That’s why they called it Hall H, of course. It’s also where I spent most of my second year on campus. Only most of the year and not all because, you see, at the beginning of the year I was assigned to a different dorm, but my whole floor flooded because of a pipe burst and they had to move all of us out into different halls. By the time my turn was up to be assigned a new room, Hall H was the only dorm that had openings. Unlike the other dorms, most of the rooms had single beds—just you, your bed, and your desk—but at a cost. We had to suffer through the horrors of a communal bathroom. Each floor had four, located at each end of the H. Rooms were along the sides. The center of the H was where the stairs and elevators were.

    There were a bunch of silly stories people shared about Hall H. Just like every one of the other dorms. But they were silly stories, y’know? Some of them tried to be a little scary, but they weren’t.

    There were never any stories about Floor 9. My room was right next to one of the communal bathrooms.

    Even though the building was ten stories tall, there were no rooms on the tenth floor; that was where the building’s common room was. Though most of the floor was interior space, there were a few outdoor terraces. Each of them was rimmed by thick iron bars that were close together. I think they greased them up to make them difficult to grab onto, because they always seemed to be slippery. Either that, or it was an attempt to waterproof them. It rained here often enough for that to be the case. You could see through the bars, but they were too high for anyone to climb.

    Being next to the shared bathroom was a bit tough. There was a lot of noise all throughout the night as students elected to go to and from the room at their own pace. There would be a rush at night, and another rush in the morning. Overall, though, it helped to be able to know when the bathroom was busy so I could time my own business and not be left waiting for a stall, a shower, or a sink. I got used to the noise. You sorta expected the noise after some time. I could fall asleep quickly, and I usually didn’t wake up unless something was really loud. But in Hall H, there was always one thing that kept me awake at night.

    I first noticed it the Tuesday after I moved in. I moved in on a Wednesday, so it didn’t happen for almost a full week afterwards. By then it was far too late to move out.

    I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, for no reason. It was absolutely silent outside. I checked the time. 4:32am. Huh, odd. I went back to sleep.

    That next Tuesday, I once more woke up in the middle of the night. Again, I checked the time. Again, 4:32am. At this point I didn’t notice that it was the same time as the week before. But this time, instead of going back to sleep, I stayed up just a bit longer. For a time, it was silent.

    Then, I heard something out in the hall. It sounded like wet footsteps.

    This was, of course, a normal occurrence when one lives directly adjacent to a communal bathroom. Thinking nothing of it, I quickly went back to sleep.

    The third Tuesday, I once more awoke at 4:32am. This time, however, I took note of the strange, seemingly coincidental circumstance. I simply figured that something—maybe an alarm of one of my immediate neighbors, or maybe some noise outside my window that might have a reason to occur at the exact same day and time every week—had caused me to wake up at this exact time, the same time as the week before.

    I was too busy thinking that I didn’t really notice the wet footsteps until they stopped. The way the room was set up, the bed is against a wall, facing the window. There’s a short hallway that leads to the door. If you want to see the door while you’re on the bed, you have to peek around the corner a bit. And, feeling in a curious mood tonight, I did just that.

    There was a shadow under the door. It was right up against my door. It wasn’t moving.

********************

    Every night, there would inevitably be at least a few hours each night when nobody was in the bathroom. But every Tuesday, I woke up at 4:32am sharp, and the hall was silent. Nobody was in the bathroom, nobody was out walking in the hallway. But before long I heard the wet footsteps making their way across the hall. They stopped right in front of my door. They stayed there for far too long. And then, with a few more wet steps, they left. The shadow disappeared.

    As the weeks drew on, I slept less each night. As I learned to listen for the noises each week, I could hear the footsteps coming from farther off. As I got better at silencing the noises I made, I could hear more of the noises it made. Short, raspy breathing. The subtle creak of the door on its hinges as the thing pressed itself up against my door. One time I was even bold enough to get off my bed and closer to the noise. The shadow left as soon as I touched the floor. I went back to bed straight away.

    Everyone thought I was crazy. Nobody would listen to me, nobody would do anything. Nobody would even try. They wouldn’t send someone to check it out, and they absolutely wouldn’t approve a room change under any circumstance. I was too damn scared to do anything myself but watch as the shadow appeared under my door, stayed for a while, and then departed.

    It could’ve just been a crazy person, I still tried to reason, or someone who was dedicated to messing with me; but they would’ve had some insane dedication to the routine. There was no way it was just a person. No, it was all too horrifically coincidental, especially with what was to come.

    You may be able to guess what came next. It started happening more often. Every Tuesday without fail. Sometimes Friday. Occasionally a Monday. Maybe a Thursday every once in a while. The pace picked up just as finals week started. Next semester. Every Tuesday. Most Fridays. Some Mondays and Thursdays. Now Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays too. No day was off limits. It went fast.

     EVERY. DAY.

     I wanted to die. I was barely sleeping every night. I kept waking myself up several times each night in the middle of the night. Worried that thing would finally break down the door, or maybe just pass through, and do horrific things to me as I slept. I don’t know what I imagined, but nothing good. Some days I just didn’t go to classes so I could get in at least a few hours of sleep during the day. One of my professors graciously allowed me to switch sections to a class later in the day, and that helped. But not much.

     I didn’t know how long I could take this for. In the end, I had to do something, and I knew what. No matter what the outcome, I had to do it to keep myself sane. To end it all one way or the other.

     I started the night by unlocking my door. I settled down into my bed, a quiet, sleepless rest. I was on guard. On watch. I kept a vigil, for no reason really. Perhaps I was worried that I would somehow fall asleep and miss it. I don’t remember when, or for how long, but I drifted off briefly at some point. But what I do know is when I woke up. 4:32am. It happened the same as it always did. The wet footsteps coming from down the hall. They reached my door and stopped. The shadow under the door. It pressed itself against my door. But this time was different. I could hear the door handle jiggle, gripped by a hand that was as wet and slimy as the feet that made the sloshing footsteps. It sounded like it was being opened by something that didn’t know what a door handle was.

     It couldn’t open the door.

     The shadow left. I got up right away and went to the door. I took a deep breath, and weighed in my head whether I wanted to actually do this or not. It wasn’t over yet. It had to end now. I had to reassure myself that I wouldn’t be tormented by this for the rest of my time in the room. That it wouldn’t just keep coming back.

     I reached out and opened the door. I peered out and looked to the right, away from the bathroom and down the hallway.

********************

     After that night, they approved my request to move to a different room. At first, I slept better.

     But really, I shouldn’t have opened that door.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2: JUST FALL APART
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Re: BlackDragonSlayer's Short Stories
« Reply #74 on: October 18, 2021, 07:51:32 AM »

Halloween Horror Special 2021 part 2
Just Fall Apart

     He awoke with a start, drenched in sweat, from a dream—no, a nightmare. A horrid nightmare. As he jolted up, he made a sharp gasp. Collecting himself, he turned his head to look at his clock and out the window. It was still night. It was nothing; just a false start to the day brought about by a meaningless, albeit briefly startling, dream. He had the leniency of at least a few more hours of rest. For now, all was good.

     Hours later, he woke up to his alarm. Blasted alarm. His back hurt, as it did every morning, before he even sat up to get out of bed. Such was the reality of life and of getting old. But, for at least a few more years now, he still had to get up to go to work. He sat up, reluctantly, and turned. A sharp pop and a brief pain in his left knee as he started to put his feet down on the ground. That would be the new normal from now on, he mused to himself… but this pain felt strange in some way. The type of pain felt different, lingered just a bit longer.

    He disregarded his discomfort as he got ready for work, same as he did every weekday. He crammed himself in his just-slightly-too-small car and began his half hour commute. His vehicle was always a bit uncomfortable—he could afford to upgrade for at least another year or so, something he had told himself last year, not to mention the year before, verbatim—but today it felt particularly constraining, like he was a contortionist trying to fit himself into a box just a little too tight for comfort. He cursed his misfortune, as he did almost every day where he remembered to do so. He had never wanted to end up as a professor teaching psychology at a perfectly mediocre university; he just fell into the role because no other opportunities presented themselves readily. As the years passed he simply accepted his fate. As he got older, riskier job opportunities he might have taken when he was younger no longer seemed appealing. He liked the security his position brought, even if it wasn’t exciting or particularly fulfilling, not to mention the fact that the compensation was much less than what he felt it should’ve been after all his loyal years of teaching. He got good reviews every year. Not the best of the bunch in the grand scheme of things, but high enough to where he was considered a mainstay of his department.

     As he adjusted his left leg in his vehicle, he once more wondered where this sudden, unusual pain came from. He was active enough, sure, and his job wasn't even particularly strenuous, mentally, physically, or otherwise. The most physically demanding part of his job was hoofing it between his office, the university's main lecture hall, back to his office, then whatever classroom the power that be had deigned to assign to him for his next class. Sometimes stairs were even involved. Every year he always taught at least one section of an introductory psychology class, along with a section of an upper division class. This year, he taught Sleep Psychology and the Analysis of Dreams.

    Once he reached campus, he headed straight for his office, but he wasn’t there for long. Not even long enough to rest and take a seat. As he walked across the gentle yet somewhat hilly field that served as the center courtyard of the campus, he suddenly felt a pop in his ankle as he set his foot down on a slope. He stumbled slightly but caught himself before he took a tumble. The pain wasn't just a single pop, but felt like a series of small fireworks rapidly popping one after another in his ankle. He groaned as he clutched his ankle while sitting on the ground and waiting for the pain to subside, which it did before long. However, even as he stood up and attempted to keep walking, his ankle felt weak, like something had come undone that shouldn’t have. He resolved to visit the campus health center before the day ended; but first, he had a lecture to give. He limped his way across campus and up the stairs.

     He usually stood for most of his lectures, only sitting when he was particularly exhausted or when his immediate focus wasn’t needed; today, however, he sat for most of his lecture. Putting too much weight on his leg was painful, and every time he stood, he wobbled hesitantly. The two hours of the lecture dragged on longer than it usually felt. His mind was preoccupied the whole time with the nagging pain radiating up and down his leg at irregular intervals. He let the lecture out 10 minutes early, not just because he finished all his material, but also because he wanted to deal with his pain as soon as possible.

     He went into the campus health center. It was empty today, so he was able to head right back. He was seen by a medical student, a kid who was in one of his classes a number of years back when he was still pre-med. After a brief exam, the student sat down and relayed his findings.

     “Well, I don’t know what to tell you,” the student said, “this is extremely unusual. If you showed any sort of history with this type of thing, I might be able to give you a better idea of what you’re dealing with. On first inspection, I’d say that the joints in your left leg are falling apart in a way that one might expect with Ehlers-Danlos, but you don’t exhibit the symptoms of any of the other types. To be safe, I’d go see a doctor and get some thorough tests done.”

     As soon as he got home, he made an appointment with his doctor. The date was two weeks out, but he figured he would be all right until then, as long as he didn't abuse his leg.

********************

     The next morning, he woke up in pain. Both his legs hurt, and the pain echoed through his back, which was already hurting by itself. As he tried to turn to get out of bed, his whole body ached. He began to set his left foot down on the floor, but simply moving his leg hurt, let alone the pain of touching his foot on the ground. He retracted his foot. Even his right leg felt tender and weak. He lay down flat on the bed once more. If nothing changed by tonight, he thought, he would call in sick to work, get them to find a replacement for a week or so; but he couldn't simply cancel class today. At least, he didn't want to.

     He phoned up one of his friends. He would help him walk and drive over to the university safely. He always had a wheelchair and a set of crutches handy for emergencies.

     His friend arrived, concerned.

     "Are you sure everything's ok?" his friend asked. "You injure yourself or something? Just the other day you seemed fine."

     He tried to brush it away, saying that he had simply not been feeling well lately in an unusual manner, and assured his friend he had already made the necessary arrangements to get checked out as soon as possible. They tried the crutches at first, but even the crutches felt uncomfortable under his arms, like they were digging into his flesh, his muscles, and his joints and tearing away at them every time he leaned his weight on the crutches. Instead, they opted for the wheelchair; regardless of how much of a scene it might make with the students around campus, it was the only viable option they had. And so, he made his way to work. The students would understand.

     As he was wheeling himself around campus, his arms began to make audible popping sounds, each snap accompanied by discomfort. As he was teaching, the noises continued irregularly. He tried his best not to show the pain on his face. His students were clearly already well aware he wasn't in great shape. He couldn't let it affect the quality of his teaching.

     At the end of the day, he made his way back home. As the day had carried on, his left leg felt progressively weaker. As he wheeled up to his front door, the leg felt numb and flimsy. It sort of dangled around, like the muscles had unraveled and the bones had begun to liquefy. Part of him realized that he should do something about it right away, but his stubbornness prevailed. He assured himself he was fine, that he could wait. He was feeling tired and drained anyway. Maybe all he needed was rest, and he’d feel better by morning…

     He carried himself over to his bed, then got in. He groaned as his shoulders hurt and felt weak. He huffed and gasped for breath. He was tired, so strangely tired… sleep washed over him before too long.

********************

    He suddenly awoke in the middle of the night in agony. Pins and needles pain wracked his body from his toes to his shoulders. His left leg especially felt weird, like he felt all the pain from before in his leg, but at the same time he couldn’t really feel the leg itself. With what little strength he had, he tossed his blanket off as his arms quaked and shook at any bit of movement. Dark as it was in the room, he could still see what was underneath from the light outside. His left leg, or rather, what remained of it, looked like a string of pencil shavings with thick goops of flesh and blood clumped on the sheets beneath. He gasped, an attempt at a scream, the most sound he could get out as his chest burned and his lungs seized up. He reached out for his phone in the darkness, and that was all he remembered…

    He woke up in the hospital. A team of doctors and nurses was standing over him. As he opened his eyes and tried to sit up, they all jumped to alert. Much of the pain he felt earlier was gone, although his body still ached all over. He opened his mouth and gasped.

    “Sir, don’t try to talk,” one of the nurses said. “We don’t know what’s going on with you, but we got you stabilized from earlier when you first came in. You managed to call just in time; you probably would have gone into shock if you had waited any longer. We amputated the remnants of your leg. We’re keeping an eye on your body for any further changes.”

    This did not reassure him. But he had no other choice but to remain.

********************

    That night, he dreamed he was at home once more. Everything was normal. He woke up normally, had breakfast like any other day. He started to brush his teeth, but as he did so, something felt off. He spit into the sink, and blood mixed with foam landed in the sink. His teeth felt strangely unsteady. He looked in the mirror, and his gums were bleeding at the edges of his teeth. He reached into his mouth and felt his teeth one by one. They all felt loose, wobbling like they could come out at any moment. His fingers gripped a tooth, and then…

    He jolted up again, gasping. It was still late, definitely before sunrise. The room was cold. He reached for a mirror by the side of his hospital bed, his arm shaking the whole time. He held it up, shaking, and opened his mouth. Everything seemed fine, but just to be safe, he reached his thumb just inside his mouth. The tip of his thumb touched against the bottom of one of his canines. He gently nudged it back and forth as a test, and…

    CRINK.

    The tooth broke off from his gums and fell down into his lap. Gasping, he put the mirror down and reached for the metal tray by the side of the bed. He picked the fallen tooth up and dropped it in the tray with a dull “clink.” He picked up the mirror again. The action had already loosened some of his other teeth. He dare not close his mouth for fear all his teeth would dislodge. A sick curiosity came over him. He reached his hand into his mouth once more.

    CRINK. CLINK. CRINK. CLINK. CRINK. CLINK. CRINK. CLINK.

********************

     The days passed. Sometimes he heard them talking out in the hallway.

     “This isn’t like anything we’ve ever seen before. We don’t know what’s going on, and worst of all, nothing we’ve done has been able to stop it.”

     As his limbs numbed one by one, his other senses began to sharpen. Everything was always too bright. He could hear things from farther away. The pain he felt sharpened even as they increased the dosage of the pain medication they had him on. The feeling of the bed rubbing against his body as he writhed in agony. All the while, he continued to fall apart piece by piece. First his other leg, then bits of his lower torso started to peel off. His right arm was losing feeling by the day, almost a relief as the pain he felt in his arm and shoulder sharpened suddenly. He was in and out of surgery to try and remove the peeled skin before it started to decay. Every day, new doctors came in to suggest or try new treatments. Nothing worked. He was losing hope. Every day felt more and more like a haze. Every day, he felt less and less human, and more like a hazy blob that was simply seeping apart.

     Night after night passed. He had lost his right arm a few days ago. It peeled apart as he was awake to witness it. The skin tore slowly at first, and then ripped apart with force. Everything else that was once inside dripped down sloppily or just plopped downward. His screams alerted the nurses on call. Now, not much of him was left. His insides burned. As he lay there, gasping and fighting for every breath of air, thinking about being brought to this wretched, loathsome state, he felt his insides turning. He groaned gently. It hurt too much to do anything more. He felt twisting and turning, and melting inside of him. It started down below, in his intestines, and slowly worked its way up, through his stomach, lungs, heart, up his throat like burning fumes, and even up in his head. His head felt full, like his skull would burst at any moment. He wailed loudly. His remaining arm throbbed.

     Was this the end? His body pulsed. He tore at his hospital gown, managing to peel it off with strength that he thought had left him. He twisted and turned in the bed as lines formed all along his skin and his insides trembled and gurgled as they expanded and melted.

     The pain!!! He screamed as his skin ripped at the seams, like someone was ripping apart leather with their bare hands. His arm ripped apart and viscous liquid poured from the tears in his body. He lost all feeling in his arm, but it was quickly replaced by a pain that consumed him. It had to be just a dream, yet another horrific nightmare!!! He screamed one last scream before he could make no more noise as his deconstruction completed itself and the last of his remnants peeled themselves apart from each other.

     But he never woke up, for it was not a dream.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 3: THE BLEAKEST CHAMBERS OF THE HEART'S DESIRE
Logged
And the moral of the story: Quit while you're a head.

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