My name is Terrence Frey. This is how I punish myself.
I quit my job and sold everything we own three months ago, so that I can sit here; day after day, night after night, eating terrible hospital food in this chair with the damaged leg and watch Cherie. I know every contour of her perfect face, every freckle, every scar, each and every micro expression. I observe the flickers of movement from beneath her bruised eyelids and worry about the content of her dreams. I’m almost sure that she’s aware that I am here. My angelface,
Every time her heart rate climbs, every single time the blip of the machine makes that high-pitched sound, my own heart quickens; it happens when I say her name. It wakens a level of fear like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Each little noise or tiny twitch sends a surge of terror and hope that burns through my chest. Somehow they feel like the same thing. I have as much reason to be frightened her awakening as I do to pray for her recovery. Ambivalence is almost as monstrous as the deeds that brought her here.
Her name is Cherie and she is 31 years old. She is tall, slim, and so insecure in her skin that she is a goddess in flesh made – she is my everything. I met her four years ago at a street market, where we touched fingers reaching for the same basket of apples. She smiled at me with her seafoam eyes dancing and I was sure that I had died and gone to – wherever it is that comes after. Once our eyes met, nothing else mattered. We shared the apples and our numbers. I’m not one to kiss and tell, but we were together from then on, and married three months later at the beach. Day in, night out, it was Cherie, my world, she still is. Except for one thing. The one thing that stands between eternal damnation and where I stand right now. And nobody else knows but me and that poor Angel on the bed.
Why do you punish yourself, Terrance?
Many others have asked and I tell them the truth. I can’t bear it. I must be here, and really, what else can I say? What other choice have I but to be at her side? I put her here, in that bed. That sweet, accepting, shy soul who loved me through it all, who begged me not to hurt her. She kept saying please Terry, I love you please stop; my body and my fists, my teeth; they ignored her pleas and awoke a heavier lust that roused the beast in my chest. My body, my fists, my teeth – her face and breasts are covered with purple imprints in bruise – all those things took part when the Thing woke starving, but not my mind. No, I love Cherie too much to kill her. I don’t hate her, not at all; if I had hated her that much I would have left a long time ago and I certainly wouldn’t have married her.
I don’t hate her, but HE does. That sadistic son of a whore who has set up house in my head. He wanted Cherie dead and he used me to do it. Now she’s lying broken in that stupid bed and I’m forcing myself to witness everything, because he is whispering in my head to finish the job and I can’t let that happen.
The desert sky was so still as I drove as fast as the engine would carry me away from everything that I’ve ever known. I have nothing left there but broken dreams and sleepless nights of unneeded suffering. As soon as I could run, or rather, walk again, I packed everything I owned and boosted the sweetest, fastest ride I could find at a moment’s notice, and then, I flew like the devil was on my heels.
Nothing had been right for so long that I was physically ill for hours when it finally hit me. Pain, and exhaustion have taken their toll and I really just need to be somewhere else. I’ve been on the road for days, and I’ve stopped only for routine maintenance, gas and a place to splash water on my face and take a leak. Sometimes food, if there was time, but I had to stay ahead.
There’ve been too many filthy gas station bathrooms; I’ve spent far too much time in them falling to pieces as quietly as I possibly could, so as not to draw attention. It’s hard enough to do without looking in the mirror while you do it. The agony of anticipation is standing with my paper towel laden palm around a doorknob and the other on my belly, shaking like a leaf. It hurts to be afraid to open a door and worry that the one face I don’t want to see will be waiting on the other side.
That’s where I am now. I’m standing here in the South Acre Oasis Gas Stop bathroom with my body shivering and my shoulders hunched against the ache. So afraid and somehow hopeful that when I open the door, a fist will hit me hard enough to kill me this time. Hopeful that I won’t have to suffer this torture every fucking time I end up behind closed doors.
I can hear shuffling outside, and the door handle is rattling lightly against my hand. “It’s occupied! Just a moment!” and I can’t bring myself to turn the knob. The voices out there don’t seem quite right suddenly and I want it to be my imagination. It has to be, because nothing makes no sense. People are stupid but they are usually comprehendible and these words are gibberish.
It’s finally happened – I’ve cracked. I know exactly when it happened, too.
It happened when he bit me. Ben was so close; he smelled of whiskey and crazy, so much that I started to gag when he ran his hand around my waist and the other snaked under my right arm and up between my breasts. Drinking again. I knew what was coming. It always started the same way and it always ended with me bleeding on the floor.
Unconsciously, my body pulled away from the meaty heat, and Ben’s hand fever-warm was against my throat, and it tightened when I tried to twist away. “C’mon now baby, is that any way to act? Be a good girl Rina, and I’ll only hurt you a little this time,” he breathed into my ear while yanking me back, “If you don’t fight, you’ll be able to walk tomorrow.” My choices were few, two actually, not an abundance of options to be sure.
The hand on my waist started its decent and I knew that I couldn’t take it. I would lose what was left of my mind if I let him get me to the floor this time. I held tighter to the knife that I was using to chop potatoes for his dinner, hoping that he wouldn’t go further when his rough fingers grazed my inner thigh and he bit my neck with a greasy groan.
The knife was buried to the hilt in the tough meat of his forearm, and his teeth dug deeper for a second before he screamed and let me go. His favorite knife was near the sink and I grabbed it while I ran to the front door. Have to get away I kept repeating to myself and then, the unthinkable; I dropped the keys.
He dropped me and my belly hit the floor. The pressure of his large frame flat on top of mine hurt so badly that I couldn’t breathe. Ben, he wasn’t himself -growling like an animal wasn’t new but the teeth and the strength certainly was – then, I was truly afraid. I watched my hand rise and twist, the blade protruding backwards from my fist, first pointed at my own face and then behind me and when he lifted his head it was stuck in his eye.
The keys were in my hand again and he howled, actually howled – sounded so much like the coyotes that run near our home that I screamed – and pulled myself to my feet the second he fell backwards, finger clawing at the air above the haft.
Across the street was a beat up old Ford with the keys in the ignition. The pothead kid that lives there forgets them almost every damned time. It started on the first try and speed was my angel. My neck burned, burns and I don’t feel myself at all, but then I didn’t care. I had to get away.
I dumped the car at the Eagle Bar and Truck Stop out on the main highway, and left the keys in the ignition but the door locked. I have no idea what make the car I boosted is but it flies like it is made of air, and I’m sure the owner is less than pleased. I feel badly, but I needed it.
Sweet Jesus, there are fingers under the door and they are covered in blood. Blood and something else. Something less – oh my god, what the hell is going on out there? I need to get out of here but I’m so scared. My baby hasn’t moved since I left, since the fall, and now my contractions have started. I can’t run, and I don’t know where to go. I can’t have my baby alone.
More fingers. The door handle is moving in miniscule turns but the lock is a cookie and it would take nothing to break it. Trapped; – I’m trapped like a rat and jesus fuck it hurts it burns steals my breath I can’t move; Baby is coming and I am alone in a gas station bathroom. Tears fall no matter how hard I try to hold them back; crying is not acceptable, ever and certainly not now but I can’t help it.
There is gunfire outside the door and an urgent hammering. I can see the steel quivering with each blow. “Open the door!” I’m trying but another contraction has me frozen and I can only scream. It flies open, the edge catching me on the forehead when it flies open. The light is so bright and it sparkles on the edges with muzzle flashes. “Come on darlin, let’s get you outta here?” Strong arms try to pick me up and I can’t help but cringe away from the masked individual.
“I’m safer than what’s out there. Do you want to have your baby here?” a male voice that is too kind asks and I shake my head, unable to speak through the agony. Standing awkwardly, I take several steps towards the lights and the masked man with dark brown eyes before my knees give out.
Fuck, why must you be such a dick?
If buzzkill had a finger, it’d be pointed in your general vicinity
Is it so difficult to be a little less self aware, maybe?
Screw your thinly veiled, venomous barbs
I’m hanging out in drown town tonight
Let my sorrows sink or whatever
I’ll smother the mothersuckers.
Or if I must, I’ll hotbox the cabin
Leave ’em breathless and watch them fly away
It’s all that she can think about; the memories of that night after the carnival are redolent, like spider webs and herb. Nothing had tasted so good
His name was Eliott White and he won her a black unicorn that she promptly christened Stabbty and kissed him soundly in thanks. He was giddy afterwards, when she walked home in the dark with him, stopping here and there to kiss and let their hands roam.
Remembering his touch keeps her awake reliving the experience of him warm at her side, inside her, over and over. Her hand tingles with a needly sting and it is almost the same warmth as holding his. She knew that he was thinking the same thing; she felt it when he held her tight against him, and then pulled her into the tall grass beside the path.
His, her, hands. Lips, skin raised, warm, then warmer. The verdure hid their rendezvous and the scattering night birds frightened calls hid her peals of pleasure, not that she made any effort to conceal them. Eliott joined his grunts to her softening coos and they filled the air while he filled her emptness with him until she could bear it no more THEN bore him further into her convulsing and shivering wetness.
Groaning and speaking in tongues, Eliott jittered as she sighed. She really did mourn when he died; his sweetness gone when she rolled him aside, giggling while she sobbed. The demon inside her spat the mangled tissue away with a muffled moan and a lustful smacking noise that turned her stomach. Bit the fragrance of his barely scratched soul was more than she could bear
Later, after her meal, after a joint and in the shower, she thought as she rinsed, “every night is a one-night-stand.” The soap made her lady bits slick and the demon swirled its nail studded tongue around her soapy fingers as thought to ask for more. Shrugging, she let the pink tinged suds drains away with a smile, “I guess I can’t complain – At least I’m getting laid.”
Who left the bag of idiots open? Who is gong to take care of the infestation?
An idiot infestation
I’m surrounded by them
And there are no inoculations
It could just be my magnetic personality or
I’m the eye of the fucking storm
Perhaps I’ve accomplished
What took losing a body to succeed in doing
Don’t be daft. I haven’t killed anyone…yet
I’m taking gravitational pull here
Maybe it’s something in the air or
Poison in the water or *squee*
The zombie apocalypse, at long last
One thing is for damned sure
If things are going to shit
At least it will be quiet for a change
Sirens Call Publications is pleased to announce a new open submission for a horror anthology titled Alone With Your Fear!
Isolation… not just physical, but psychological, emotional; it plays with your mind, drags out your deepest fears, makes them larger than life and far more sinister.
For this call, we’re looking for stories that pit the main character against their own greatest fear. It seems deceptively simple, but be warned – it isn’t. We want the fear to be the overarching theme, so make sure your story contains a hefty dose – if we don’t feel it, the readers won’t either.
Perhaps the best place to write this tale is Alone with Your Fear…
Deadline: September 1, 2016
Word Count: 4,000 – 8,000 words
All submissions MUST be submitted to: Submissions@SirensCallPublications.com
Reading & Evaluation Period: Two to three months after close of the deadline
Heroes need not apply.
I grew tired of waiting for the fruition of folly
Whilst I educated myself on promises
and became my own Heroine
The only strength I need, I have covered
I’ve managed thus far on my own
Thanks all the same.
So maybe I’m scratched and dented
Gorilla glued back to a whole…
Less a heart
And several other useless organs
Still a breather folks!!
I’m still here.
I’ll survive without assistance,
as I always have
Really, just save it
you scream eye scream
For all the good it does
When some motherfucker hits mute
Sirens Call Publications is pleased to announce the open call for the 27th issue of The Sirens Call…
For this issue, we’re looking for your best horror stories falling under the theme of
Go psychological or slasher, creature or paranormal – as long as it falls under the umbrella of horror, we’re open to it. Make your tales creepy, kitschy, funny, romantic, or sci-fi – get creative and send us the kind of skin-crawling, bone-rattling story you’d want to read.
Your only limiting factors are your own imagination and the word count!
Submission Deadline: June 1, 2016
Short story word count: 1,000 – 2,500
Flash fiction word count: 300 – 1,000
Poem length: minimum 10 lines; maximum 50 lines (with a limit of five poems per author)
Drabbles: 100 words (limit of five submitted per author)
My nerves throb. They thrum like live wires and it hurts so badly. I can’t hold back a scream, but it’s locked in my chest and it sits there burning. I don’t know who I am, or where I am, but I know my limbs don’t move and I can’t breathe. I’ve been trying to wiggle my fingers and toes and they just don’t move. The air feels warm on my face, balmy as a tropical night, like those long nights in Havana and the breeze is light and just as tasty.
Why is the ground shaking? Or is it me?
Then, I remember. I know where I am and who I am. My name is Delphine and I was ice fishing with my friends on Lake Redbone just outside of town. The party was drunk and the music was fine. I remember Vetta and Jenny sharing a bottle and a kiss, and Vetta tipping me a wink and a nod towards Yancy, my date. I remember how his eyes were a place I wanted to stay. We met last week at the Marché Terra reaching for the mangos. On a whim I invited him and he agreed, to my surprise as he seemed so very much the indoor type.
My heart beats slow enough that I feel myself dying and then it palpitates painfully, thrusting a heavy thread of fear into my mind and an icepick between my ribs. Jesus what the hell…
I recall falling onto the ice. The winter sunsets are dazzling and I sat lost in Mother Natures display, unaware of much more than the music and the drunken laughter from my fellow revellers. Yancy had come behind me and placed his hand my hip and his chin on my shoulder. I was so glad to have him there, close and warm and with the sky on fire it was – it was the perfect romantic moment that I had been seriously lacking. I could have fallen.
But I fell. First onto the ice, then into the large auger hole that we had been fishing out of earlier in the day and sank like a stone in that down parka he had insisted buy and wear. “It will be cold and it will hardly go to waste. Come on, spoil yourself a little Sara.” I gave in, knowing that he was likely right and still the price tag caused me to feel sorry for my bank account. I bought it though, just to see the delighted smile on his beautiful lips.
My lungs burn. They burned, some undying molten flame that grew hotter as it died, as I shrugged out of the jacket and used what little strength I had to swim for the hole. In the dying light, his face looked like heaven as he leaned down and held his hand out to pull me up with an anxious expression and a short glance around. I couldn’t reach him; the water was too heavy and it weighed me down and then my lungs failed. I remember kicking as hard as I could and felt my muscles in my thighs buckle. Then, the small bit of air of been holding onto in desperation bubbled out when I screamed his name.
The world went nightmarish black and daemons danced the Yangon Swing while Mephistopheles himself jerked off above them. The dancers screamed like it was confetti on New Years Eve when he groaned and sprayed molten semen into the crowd. Never once did I dream I would find myself in Hell; I wanted out but there was nowhere to run and nowhere not coated in fiery ejaculate. And then it was light and I still couldn’t breathe or see or move, but it was warm like comfort and then it was fire again.
Blood; it barely flowing as my heart pounds harder in my chest, in my ears. Struggling to thaw the slush in my veins. Cold. I’m so cold that my lips are frozen together and I’m unable to part them, shriek for help or even to whisper his name when Yancy appears above me.
My breath is a thin stream of vapour that hardly even colours the air under my nose and I am watching with growing despair. There is no strength in my body with the elephant perched on my chest. Afraid. I’m so afraid and – Where am I? Why can’t I move? Why isn’t he helping me?
A low humming, flies on a postulating corpse kind of sound, and the air explodes with voices and emotional distress; loud, louder, loudest. Movement and Yancy disappears behind familiar faces and starry skies. Implosion. The elephantine pressure on my chest blows apart and I can breathe again. It is agonizing. It is bliss. There has never been a taste sweeter than oxygen and I drink as deeply as my muscles will allow.
Yancy, He is back, hovering, watching me, lowering his head in sorrow. In laughter? In some sort of dramatic fit it seems and he quickly glances around as each teardrop falls from his eyes onto my frozen face. No…no stop it! I moved! I’m alive. I’m here.
Why won’t he help me? Dead men don’t speak, I know, but I’m not dead. I’m alive and he knows it. I twitch my hand, its such a effort and his eyes narrow, the false sorrow on his face faltering. This time I jerk the old fuck finger with my Swarovski crystal skull ring on it and his eyes narrow further. Again. A smile that never reaches his eyes scorches my hope to cinders.
You know I’m here you son of a bitch god please no god please don’t put me back in the dark I don’t want to go back there again. “You didn’t give me the chance to love you,” I breathe, watching the vapour from my slow thawing lips mist the air. The sweetness turns bitter and the chilly smile just widens further, exposing jagged, rotted teeth that meshes all too well with the sound of the zipper breaks the sudden silence. It masks the sound of his whisper as his face disappears….