Tag Archives: dark fiction

ɹəɥʇᴂN

Grey mist sails past his face, and it is enough to shake him from his reverie. His mind is sluggish, slow, as though he is awakening from a dream. Perhaps he is, but then he has woken into a nightmare.

He looks down at his hands, outstretched before him, palms up. His skin is grey, wrinkled, gnarled. He doesn’t remember being old, but he understands that there is much he does not remember.

Past his fingers, the ground is an even deeper shade of grey. Anywhere else, it would be green, but here the grass, like everything else, holds no color at all.

At his back a dark building looms, blacker than shadow. This he knows — somehow — without even looking. Entry is forbidden, and impossible. A fence of smoke encloses him in this tiny yard, and again he knows, without quite understanding how, that to cross that line would expose him further to the nightmares of this place.

But cross it he will, eventually. He must. There is… SOMETHING… out in those mists, and its call will allow him to do nothing else.

Dream Mist

“Anything?” Bantu asked.

“Gimme a sec,” replied Shari. With a gloved hand she reached into the mist hovering before her, dipping a small test tube into it and filling it as best she could. With the other hand she stoppered it before withdrawing it and gently placing it into the analyzer set up on the path next to her.

Shari pulled off the gloves and glanced over at Bantu, who was engaged in his own work. “It’s going to be a few minutes, but I don’t expect the results are going to be any different here than they were at any of the other three sites we’ve been to today.”

Bantu grunted in acknowledgement. “Vapor, not unlike smoke but with properties of mist, that hangs in the air like a bubble over the site of the detonation. Right.”

Shari nodded. “And prolonged contact with it results in very specific types of entropy, depending on material and mass.” She glanced at her discarded gloves, which were already beginning to break down and crumble.

She sighed, troubled. “I just wish we knew what it was.”

Fiction: Light in My Eyes

I lay down for bed and turn out the lamp, but I still can’t sleep. It’s the light behind my eyes that keeps me awake. The room may be pitch black, I may cover my eyes, squeeze them shut as tight as I can. It doesn’t matter. There’s still that light behind my eyes.

I haven’t had a solid night’s rest in weeks. The doctors all tell me it must be some kind of neurological condition. Neuronal misfires in my brain. Unknown stimulation of the optic nerve, possibly from an as-yet undiscovered tumor. The fact remains: they don’t know, and I can’t sleep.

I have my own theories about the source of that light, but no one would ever believe me. They’d tell me that the things I see coming out of that light aren’t real, that I’m losing my mind. But I know the truth. I know they’re real.

I have the scratches on the insides of my eyelids to prove it.

Fiction: Shade

Night clings to the forest like a shroud. The darkness is nearly absolute, the silhouettes of the trees only just a hair’s-breadth deeper black.

The sounds of life are everywhere, however. The chirps of insects and the calls of nocturnal predators. The sounds of movement originating from creatures perfectly adapted to life in the black.

Distantly, a light blooms, but grows slowly larger, nearer. It floats above the ground, weaving among the trees, despite its obvious ethereal form. It is a shade, the spectral afterimage of a sentient lifeform not-so-recently departed. The shade is oblivious to its surroundings, of course. Its meanderings are more reflex than the result of any conscious action.

As the shade drifts by one particularly large oak, its glow momentarily illuminates a small, bulbous husk. There’s just time to see a seam in the husk pucker before the shade glides by, returning the husk to darkness.

But then, a low, sustained intake of breath arrests the shade’s forward movement for just a second — and then it begins to drift backward. The husk comes into the light once more as the shade is pulled closer. The husk’s steady inhalation intensifies, halting the shade’s movement altogether. Streamers of ethereal matter pull away from the shade, spiraling downward to the husk, where the seam has parted just enough to engulf the streamers, trapping them inside.

The shade’s form begins to stretch and distend as the husk draws it in. Bit by bit the shade is pulled into the husk, until finally, nothing remains. The forest is plunged into full night once more.

Then, the sounds of the forest grow quiet and still. They are replaced by the sound of the husk, slowly chewing.

Creeping Cough

She had a cough. Deep. Wet. Ragged. They called it the creeping cough. Non-communicable to humans. Supposedly. And yet here she had it, and it was taking over her body. Already, fingers of the black fungus were reaching out from the corners of her mouth, which meant that the roots had long since buried themselves in her lungs.

Hence the cough. Hence the struggle for each subsequent, rasping breath.

She suspected the remainder of her life could now be numbered in terms of mere hours. That would have to be long enough. Long enough to make it mean something. Long enough to raise awareness in the others. Long enough to finally galvanize their sorry asses in action.

Hopefully.

She staggered along the filthy alley, ignoring the off-world scavengers following her. They would get their fill of her soon enough.

[Originally published at Ficly.]

Shriek

She accosted him on the sidewalk, as he was loading the last of his gear into the truck. He had just come from a client’s house, the last job of the day. He was loading his backpack sprayer when she slammed into him, nearly knocking him off his feet.

She was hysterical, weeping and wailing, clutching at his shirt. “YOU KILLED MY CHILDREN!” she cried.

“Ma’am…” he sputtered, trying to regain his composure.

“YOU KILLED THEM! YOU KILLED THEM! YOU KILLED THEM!” she screamed.

“Ma’am, no!” he protested. “I never killed no one! I’m just an exterm—” He stopped then, eyes widening with sudden understanding. “Oh. No.” He tried to back away, but couldn’t. “Oh, god no.”

He realized her eyes were glowing crimson — how had he not noticed her eyes?! — and wondered, What is she even doing here? There had been no forecast of a Shriek anywhere in the area for weeks. If there had, he would have, should have, taken the day off.

“YOU. KILLED. MY. CHILDREN,” she repeated, extending her claws.

He supposed he had.

[Originally posted on Ficly.]

Accusations

She leans against the sink and stares at the message scrawled in the dust on the mirror. Thank god it’s just dust this time, and not blood. Her arms and thighs are criss-crossed with the scissored scars of past blood-lettings. She breathes deeply, heavily, though whether in relief or panic she isn’t sure.

The words etched in grime stare back at her, mocking her with their scorn and accusations.

BITCH! WHORE!

These first two indictments are nothing new to her. She has read them before. Once, they may have shocked her, but no more. Now, they only weary her. It is the third, though, that brings her up short, the third that is new, the third that causes the panic to bloom in her belly again.

TRAITOR!

She can’t remember what she has done to merit this judgment. She can never remember. She only knows that it will cause the blood to flow freely again, is surprised, in fact, that it hasn’t already.

She chides herself for sleeping, then gives herself a pass. She, unlike her other, is only human, after all.

[Originally posted on Ficly in response to this challenge.]

Deepest Regret

Dear Daddy,

I can still feel the hole inside the day you left. It pains me greatly every day. Sometimes I double over and wish to die, the agony is so great. I don’t know why you did what you did, only that somehow I must have been the cause. Why else would you have done it?

My fingers can still trace the curve of the scar in my stomach, the one that you put there, and I can still feel the weight of the bundle you placed deep within my belly. You told me never to lose it, never to remove it — and I haven’t. I never will. I will carry that regret with me for the rest of my life.

Me

[Originally posted at Ficly]