These are a few excerpts from a horror story I'm working on, Phobia. The story's plot line was in many ways inspired by the psychology behind conditions such as phobias, paranoia, depression, schizophrenia, and PTSD. Each main character has a phobia of some sort that becomes relevant throughout the story. The narrator, Sky, has a phobia of children. Her roommate, Jaclyn, has a phobia of things that fly. Jaclyn's boyfriend Ryan is acrophobic (afraid of heights). Her best friend Katia is claustrophobic (afraid of enclosed spaces). Luna has a phobia of snakes. Ariana has a phobia of water--although she is dead, that phobia persists in her afterlife.
The main storyline begins with nightmares that Sky is bombarded with, nightmares about a girl who doesn't have a face, that are beginning to spill over into her real life. Sky thinks she knows who the faceless girl is--but is afraid to admit it. Later, she tries to find her birth mother, and finds her locked in an insane asylum--and although she thinks she'll be able to find the truth in her mother, she is in no way prepared for the truth she is going to find, a truth that could very well endanger her life.
There are paranormal/fantasy elements to the story (as first hinted when Luna is doing seances with Sky to help her speak to Ariana's spirit), but they're not entirely obvious until later.
These are excerpts from the first three chapters.
One – The Fence
It all began as a dream, a nightmare I refused to release, that I refused to accept as a mere concoction of subconscious nerve firings in random patterns meant to terrify me. Feral children clawing at the chain-link fence with barbed wire woven into their mouths. Wearing their fingers down to stubs, so they clawed at that wire mesh and the cords that bound their throats and tethered them to the tree. They howled like wolves, they screeched with their voices of sharp cicada-riddled winds in the fiercest storms of Spring, and they begged me to save them. They chewed on those metal spikes, wearing deeper into their flesh until coppery blood flowed from their tongues instead of words. And their words were lost in the crimson flow that cascaded over those thorny steel vines, that dripped down their soot-streaked flesh and onto the rattling of their half-starved ribcages, that formed droplets in their dark, matted hair as they ripped at it, bucking and raking the air like caged animals. They snarled when they realized I would not move to help them. Their fury sent sharp pains surging through my heart, as if my blood was woven with the barbed wire that tortured them, and it was flailing about in my veins, struggling to escape. They suddenly wanted nothing of my help, they knew who I was. All they wanted was to break free of their restraints and rip me to shreds. What I remember most clearly about this vision, however, was not those feral children, how they ripped their skin away, their bloody eye-sockets oozing a steady mix of half-dry blood and slime riddled with disease to the point that it was tar-black, how they chomped on the wire, their pointed, broken-glass teeth and their fingers slowly wearing into bloody stumps at the mercy of the fence. No, what haunts me is what I see past them, sitting at the base of the tree—it’s a little girl without a face. She has hair the same bronzy-red shade as my own, sitting there like a broken doll, no eyes to pierce, no mouth to gnaw upon the barbed wire, no nose to fill with the scents of blood. She seems to be the peaceful one, but I know she is not. She wants more than anything to find me and kill me, she is angry because she has no way to find me.
People say it was a dream, but I know what I saw. And I haven’t slept since.
I am a strange breed of human—acid green eyes that cannot rest, that dart about in eccentric patterns searching for distraction from what they have seen. Limbs like skinny saplings and fingers like supple twigs, leafy skull and brambles of red-golden hair that sweep about in a strawberry blonde cascade, a tangled mess of softened branches that insects are drawn to. Each night I find myself unraveling countless insects from the coppery thicket—a fragile moth, a screeching June beetle, a cicada, a cricket’s body that still hums with the lullabies it would sing to the leaves and the night. My friend Katia never understood why I took such care to gently untangle each frail and frightened entity from my curls before brushing it out at night. To her way of thinking, they’re just bugs. To mine they are a curse and must be treated very carefully as such. Perhaps in my past life I was a tree, and burning sap runs in my veins rather than blood. It would make sense. Maybe I still am part tree, and that is what the world sees.
My movements are choppy and rough, I accidentally rip the wing of a soft yellow butterfly as I pull it from my tangled curls. I haven’t slept for three days at this point. I have tried, but every time my eyes begin to flutter into sleep, I see the ripped-open jaws of the dream-children gnashing upon spiny wires, longing to cut into my flesh. They say it was a dream, but I know what I saw.
That’s when a spike bites into my finger, and there is blood in my hair, dripping from the finger that was just cut by a fragment of barbed wire tangled in the locks like a serpent coiled, ready to strike.
fromTwo – The Awakening
There are tiny bits of singed tissue littering the room I share with Luna. It takes me a moment to realize they are actually moths, fluttering about like sparks from a flame with cryptic laws burned into their wings. Their cigarette-burn-hole eyes bore into me as I enter the room, and I am reminded of the barbed-wire children with their char-colored eye sockets.
Grumbling, I snatch rough handfuls of moth-saturated air and shove them out the window. I am aware but not particularly caring that I am gripping far too tight and there are juicy bodies bursting in my palms, that my hands are murder-red with their flesh and blood. It seems like it is hardly a matter of fragile treatment at this point. It is more a matter of drowning in their powdery wings, and I am ripping it apart, clawing my way frantically to the air. One moth I grab from my mirror and throw it out the window, but not before I see its eyes—not little burn sockets like the rest. They’re not even insect eyes.
Those are my eyes.
Screaming hysterically, I rip it to shreds, throwing the pieces out the window. I continue my rampage, screaming and tearing at the moths, until there are no more traces of the musky bodies in my room. Gasping, I sit down. There is nothing to do. I know what I saw. I know what I saw, and what it means.
Glancing at myself in the mirror, I am unsure of who it is staring back at me. I’ve begun tapping into my roommate Ryan’s stimulant stash, just so I don’t have to sleep. He thinks nothing of it—I’ve always been the strange one of us five, and he has learned better than to question what goes on in my head. Five days and I’m still sleepless. My eyes are pinned open, as if a torturer were branding my eyelids to my forehead. My mind is frantic. My body shakes.
I can’t go on like this forever. But I have to.
Ariana knows why the children stalk me into my dreams. But I only speak to her through seances facilitated by my roommate, Luna. Ariana died six years ago in a terrible storm. She was driving her car into a flooded street and water, a menacing crystal embrace, had cut into the engine and caused it to stall. Water had begun flowing into the car and when she moved to escape, she was caught by the electrical current of a downed power line in the flood. She went into shock and drowned. Now I only speak to her when Luna is willing to give me the space and the necessary implements to do so.
"Ariana? Are you there?"
"I just wanted to ask about..."
"I haven't found her yet."
"No, I wanted to know, did it hurt when you died?"
A long pause, then Ariana's smart-aleck voice: "Do you think it hurt her to be ripped apart?"
"I was afraid you'd say that."
It is night, and Jaclyn is asleep in Ryan's protective embrace. Luna is away at her boyfriend's house for the night, and Katia is asleep in her room. In this world of supple darkness my thoughts are the only red, violent red muscles against the softness of the night. Slowly, although I resist, the sleep threatening me for all these days stumbles into my mind and I begin my choppy descent into darkness.
My newest nightmare comes to me in a frenzy of tangled threads--wires, ropes, glowing-hot filaments ripped from lightbulbs--I saw starved-looking children with swollen faces struggling to claw their way out of this chaotic web. Telephone lines ripped away from their posts to join this dance, and threads of lightning shot from the sky to form choke chains, necklaces that strangled the living breath from what was left of their bodies. In the thick of it all, I saw Ariana running from me. When I stretched to reach her I found wires at my wrists and ankles, pulling chunks of me away. First an arm. Then a leg. Then my spine. As the flesh picnic of the fates continued I saw what Ariana held in her arms. A little girl with red hair who had no face.
from Three - Paralysis
A faint buzzing fills my mind, like the wings of a mosquito or a lightbulb about to flicker out of its glowing life. I decide that it must be an electric razor in the bathroom. But when I wake up I realize that my entire mop of hair is a mess of beetles. I sit up and several bodies, alive with the machine-like humming of their wings and a strange clicking sound, tumble onto my bed. One handful of beetles after another, I slowly empty my locks of their screeching bodies, and toss them out the window. I walk into the bathroom to make sure that the bugs are all gone. Flip on the light…
It flickers, and in the space of a moment I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. With no face.
The moment passes, but I know what I saw.
When Katia walks into the bathroom I am still bound to the spot in shock. The girl with no face…why is she coming after me? I hear Katia calling my name, beginning to speak, but it is drowned out by an odd sense of static in my ears. My field of vision slowly begins melting into darkness, coercive as sleep, but far more powerful. What is it?
I hear Luna’s voice, very vaguely—“Sky, don’t move. Just listen and—”
Her words are drowned by the scream.
I am screaming. But the scream is not a sound—it is a breath saturated with powdery wings and screechy clicks as moths and beetles pour out of my throat. My eyes are bulging with tears, insects saturating the air, but I am trying to move still, to grab them, to kill them, to shove them back down my throat…but I am paralyzed. And there’s a voice. Not Luna’s. Not Katia’s. Not even Ryan or Jaclyn’s. It’s Ariana’s voice, a pack of wolves in full-cry: “Sky, you must listen—I can’t find her—she’s trying to reach you—you have to—”
I gasp, and a beetle gets caught in my throat. As I gag and cough, trying to dislodge the insect, I feel a storm bubbling up inside of me. There are hands clawing at the inside of my abdomen. A million of them, scratching, grabbing, trying to escape the prison of my flesh. And slowly climbing up my throat. There is a burning sensation. My eyes drift closed…
“Mommy! Mommy!” I am digging frantically through the sterile cold clean white sheets of my hospital bed, clawing at the covers until my fingers blister and spray blood all over the blankets. But I can’t find her. She is still screaming. “MOMMY! HELP ME!”—
There is a window with wire woven into it, bulletproof glass, antiseptic smell—
Four men wearing blue rush into my room and throw me onto the bed, restraining me, fighting me to the ground. My movements slow like a dying monarch butterfly, faltering on the wind into a crumpled heap of orange and black. Dr. McKenley walks in, surveys the scene, and finally speaks—“What’s the matter, Katrina? Why are you hurting yourself?”—
A bramble of red hair falls into my eyes. I am still trapped in the antiseptic prison of the asylum, but there is something I can’t see—
“THE BABY IS CRYING! WHERE IS SHE? WHERE IS SHE?” –
That voice…that voice! It sounds like mine but it is far too hoarse—like I had aged 100 years—
“What baby? There are no babies here—”
“Luna, what’s happening to her?”
“She’s being held off by something—quick, throw her in the tub, this should stop—”
The crystal, icy-cold water is suddenly encasing me, and the paralysis breaks. I sit up, choking, sputtering, and look around. The insects are gone, and the hands have stopped crawling in my throat. Katia and Ryan both look confused, but Luna is gazing at me in curious empathy. “What did you see?”
I gasp, brushing the hair from my face. "She's looking for her." I said, "The child. She's looking for her."
"Who is?" Katia looks thoroughly confused.
"She's in an asylum..."
"What does she look like?" Luna cuts me off. "Who is she?"
"I think..." I break off. I never found out what happened to my birth mother. Was that her?
· Sat Jan 18, 2014 @ 06:41pm · 0 Comments