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Beast

Posted in horror, short story, writing with tags , , , , , , , on August 6, 2014 by originalalchemist

The prompt: You had that dream again. The one where the beast with the drooping hands and wicked fangs stares you down from your window. Except the window is open this time – and you’re awake! What happens next?

My story

Beast

I awake from the dream with a cold fright. I clutch the bed clothes tight to my goose bump infested flesh. I’m breathing fast and shallow creating a steamy cloud overhead. Apparently the dream isn’t the only thing to have given me chills. It starts differently each evening I go to sleep, but the end had until tonight always been the same. I stand at my window transfixed by glowing red eyes that stare into my very soul. Sharp talons etch spider web cracks into the window between us. A thin piece of glass is the only thing separating me from the malicious intent of the beast. A thick mane of matted hair rustles in the wind, and a blast of heat from thick flaring nostrils fogs the window. Instinctively I try to wipe the glass clear. As my hand rises massive jowls part revealing a cavern of wickedly sharp fangs. From where I stand I can smell the stench on the wretched beast’s breath. It roars a thunderous growl and explodes through the glass and I awake.
I dare a peek over to the window where my night time haunting usually gazes at me, and see nothing but the pale moon lit meadow just beyond the woods. I exhale another cloud of warm vapor into the cold air and push myself towards the window. I don’t remember opening the window, nor would I have in the middle of the winter. My feet meet the cold boards of the floor and they creak in protest under my weight. I gingerly tip toe to the window as I peer out and almost lament the absence of my nightmare. Reaching up to pull it shut I find it’s difficult to pull down, and after a few struggling moments I’m using my full weight to pry the window loose.
As I hang just above my toes I smell it. The stench of the beast in my dream assaults my nose. I dart back from the window. It couldn’t actually be… No. The beast wouldn’t come here. It couldn’t actually be here, but as I think it a set of eager talons rest on the prickled bare skin of my shoulders. They sink in and I wail with pain in the night. I am lifted off the ground and thrown across the room. Crashing into the bed I come to a violent stop. I roll over to see the beast. It is every bit the same as in my dreams as it menacingly advances. I back futilely into the wall.
The beast pauses and teases my face with a claw. Glowing red eyes lock into mine as the head of the monster cocks to the side. Its throat rustles and clears as its jaws open.
“Release me witch,” the beast croaks. “Have I not suffered long enough?”
How is the beast speaking?! How is it even here?
“Your spells are weakening. Your protection from me has waned and I’m only beast in appearance. I’m no longer the mindless monster you cursed me to be. Now please undo this black sorcery. Let me be a man once again, and release my servants.”
The beast slinked back away from me. Its eyes searching into my own. I regarded the creature now and felt a slight bit of pity for it.
“I’ve dreamt of you every night for months now. Tonight was the first night you actually broke the glass in my dream. It was an omen I suppose,” I began as I stood back up. “Tell me beast have you learned anything from your time as a mindless monster? Has your outward appearance reflected your actions and careless thought towards me?”
“How dare you punish me for your perceived slight!” the beast roars. “Because I didn’t return your feelings you curse me and my kingdom witch! How dare you judge me as the monster?”
“Careful my beastly prince. Your arrogance is still thriving. I can see you’ve learned no humility. Go back to your castle and await the pretty girl you think you deserve. But you must win her as you are. Let her see your true form and see if she doesn’t treat you the way you did me beast.”
The beast rears back and prepares to lunge letting out a thunderous roar.
“Calm yourself beast. If you kill me you will be stuck like this forever. Not just you but your servants as well. Think of them if your rage is threatening to overcome you.” I admonish.
“Perhaps, but perhaps the spell will wear off the way your protection spell did.”
My eyes widen in fear as I realize the beast has cunningly thought this through. If I’m no longer alive the curse is lifted. Hence the reason for the protection spell. He knew. He only came to call my bluff and has seen me show my hand. As the creature leaps towards me I cannot help but see the window finally drop and the glass shatter.

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A Writer’s Digest prompt and my story

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 29, 2014 by originalalchemist

I actually just did my first Writer’s Digest writing prompt. I thought maybe you’d like to see. The prompt is as follows:

The snow is coming down and school has been canceled. Your brother, who has an important government job, has asked you to watch his kids during the day so he can go to work. While watching his kids, they reveal something top secret about your brother’s job—and it’s something, for the sake of your family, that you need to stop. 500 words or fewer. (I exceeded this limit)

Here is my story!

FOR THE KIDS

At 5:45 AM thundering booms jar me awake. I roll over blinking the fog from my mind as I read the green glow of the clock.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

I realize it’s my door being pounded on. I sit up alarmed, as I wonder who would be knocking. My phone rings to life and I see that it is my brother calling. Instinctively I answer.

“Hello?” I grumble.

“Wes, wake up. Let me and the kids in. It’s freezing out here,” my brother Scott pleads.

I’m moving for my door before I even think, and find myself unbolting the lock. I swing it open as the blast of cold shocks me awake in spite of my budding hangover.

“Uncle Wesley!” squeal my niece and nephew as they spill through the door and each wraps themselves around one of my legs.

“Because of the snow Dad says we get to play with you all day!”

I look up at my brother with eyes full of betrayal.

“Wes, you know I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t absolutely need it. School is closed today and I need the kids with someone I trust,” he explains. “I can’t take the day off and I know you need the money anyway.”

He stuffs a few hundred dollars in my hand. I look at my older brother and see the determination in his eyes. His mind was made up before he ever got here. I know his job in the service is important, and he knows that I’m in between jobs. I’m not sure who is doing who the favor here.

“No problem. I can take care of the munchkins today. I mean they can be pretty self sufficient,” I assure both my brother and myself.

He gives the kids a hug and tells them to look after me with a wink. If I’m ever a father I hope I’m like him. He leaves quickly and I’m left staring at Aubrey and Jackson. They size me up and I realize I’m going to need coffee.

“You two hungry?” I ask as I fill a coffee pot.

Jackson doesn’t answer, he is fixed on my Xbox but hasn’t the courage to ask. Aubrey on the other hand is full of energy. She smiles at me with gleeful eyes.

“I will have some coffee.”

“I doubt that Aub, how about some cereal?” I counter offer.

She concedes and I make the same for Jackson. I set Aubrey’s down on the table and Jackson’s on the coffee table. His eyes light up as I turn on the video games for him.

“I could use some help on my gamer score Jackson. Just don’t tell dad.”

He just snatches up the controller while Aubrey happily eats her breakfast. It occurs to me that it isn’t even 6:00 AM and these two are wide awake and beaming. I pour coffee into my mug and sit next to my eight year old niece. I take a long sip off the scalding liquid and use it to chase an aspirin.

“You seem awfully excited. You this happy to be off of school?”

“Daddy is helping Mommy be happy in heaven,” Aubrey squeals.

I nearly drop the coffee.

“What did you say?”

Jackson looks up, and in the sternest five year old voice I’ve ever heard tells his sister to hush. She blushes trying to hold her excitement back. It’s like trying to turn a river off with a sink faucet.

“It’s okay,” I nudge her. “What do you mean?”

Their mother was murdered three and a half years ago. It was a random act of violence that shocked a community. The killer was never caught, and my brother has never let it go. For a brief time he had seemed almost happy again, but lately a bitter Scott was leaking through. He had been working a lot lately, and now I finally wanted to know on what.

“Daddy says he found another bad man, and he is going to make it fair again,” she explains as she stirs her milk.

Behind me I hear gunshots as Jackson plays a violent game. I’d pause to rethink that if I wasn’t so rattled about what Aubrey had revealed. I snatch my phone and disappear into the other room. I’m frantically dialing with shaking hands. The phone rings for an eternity until Scott picks up on the other end.

“Are the kids okay?”

“They’re fine; except for they think you’re going to kill somebody. What are you doing?” I demand.

“They don’t know anything and neither should you.”

“Scott, killing somebody isn’t going to bring her back!”

“What do you know? I see her every time I look at my kids. They deserve to know that whoever took their mom away has paid for it. I’m going to make sure this time. This has to be the right guy.”

“What do you mean this time? Scott stop it. You can’t do this.” I plead.

“Take care of my kids until I get back. It will be over soon.”

The line goes dead.

Thanks for reading. I hope you liked it. Leave me some comments to let me know what you thought or how I could improve!