terror

BATTLEDRESS…

He scared me some and I always hoped that when I saw him, I’d be on the other side of the street. He’d just start yelling and I didn’t understand because I was just a kid. It was the helmet and fatigues that got to me. Why was he wearing them? It was like he was still in the combat zone and we were his battlefield, this quiet, lonely town.

 

I wondered why he had no help or care. Didn’t anyone love the man with the broken mind, the spirit split in two by the war? Did his family desert him, walk past him on the street as if he were a stranger? Were they afraid to take him in?

 

What about his country? Did we give him enough food and respect, or was the medal we pinned on him compensation enough for all he’d given up? Was he just to rummage through garbage cans, screaming at “the enemy” – townspeople fleeing as if they knew he had murdered and they were next? Was he to spend each winter under discarded cardboard boxes, on top of steam-filled grates? If so, it didnt seem fair or make sense to me.

 

I tried to talk to him but he was too far-gone. He never saw me, even when my terrified hand offered some bread. Those ghosted eyes bore right through mine. They were lost to something that wasnt here and wasnt now. I couldn’t think of anything more terrifying than a once healthy mind that was cracked off from itself.

 

By the time I was a young adult I’d been trying to suppress something that also tortured me. I had this empathy, this way of getting inside someone and feeling what they felt, seeing what they saw. I hated it mostly. It could be painful, but there was one thing I wanted to know: what went on inside this soldier’s head?

 

I was nervous but I couldn’t let it go. It was obsessing me. So I sat in the park one day and watched him, waiting for the opportunity.

 

After he secured a half-eaten sandwich and some pop from an open can, he sat among the birds, cursing them. I watched his breathing, imitated the ins and the outs. I got in sync. He was getting agitated. His breathing became shallow and rapid. His mind was firing up and so was mine.

 

Suddenly I was in:

 

Iraq 2003. We were there. Three man team – Humvee. I’m a gunner: combat military police. Patrolling freeways looking for roadside bombs. Then out of nowhere – Boom! An explosion. Heat, force, dirt flying. Scared shitless but all safe. Lucky this time. Adrenaline. Laughter. Holy fuck. Need to come down. Need a drink…

 

The soldier was flipped out of this memory by his mind going blank, and so I got bumped out also. I stared at him, amazed to experience such a terrifying ordeal. Suddenly he got up and retrieved a small bottle of whiskey he’d hid under some autumn leaves. He drank it back, whipped the bottle away, then hid behind a tree. He scoped out two people walking through the park. His eyes were back on the enemy.

 

Again I tapped into his breathing, relaxing into his mind:

 

Back in the Humvee – a different day. Orders are “shoot on sight.” Two people wearing enemy uniforms. This was a no brainer. Even though they weren’t shooting at us, I took the opportunity. I shot them both DEAD! DEAD! A strange euphoria filled my body. The greatest orgasm ever felt. Flying higher than possible on any drug. Alive, knees weak, attuned to every little thing. Screaming, “I got em. I got em!” High fives from below. I was out of my fucking mind. Killing was amazing!

 

Then that crushing feeling. Getting sucked into that deep hole of fog. The guilt, the madness. Thrill turned to anguish. “Look what you fuckers made me do! I took lives. I took them!” I felt feverish, like I wanted out of my own body. I cycled down into depression, such a lowness of spirit, such damage inside me. I wanted to put a gun to my own head. I was confused. What was I to do? My orders told me I was right, but my soul told me I was wrong. My body enjoyed it. Was I sick or just an animal with no control over how I would react? I sure as fuck wasn’t ready for this.

 

Sobbing broke me out of the man’s flashback once again. I took some deep breaths, glad to be out of his dark spiral. The freedom I had. Holy! Now I understood the cycle, the insanity. Day after day reliving just a few moments that had altered his life forever. The judgment calls that weren’t his, that asked him to go against everything he’d ever been trained to be: a good person who respects life.

 

Now I understood why I liked him. A human can’t live in the mind of a machine.

 

I wanted to rip those fatigues from his body and tear those memories out of his head, but I was powerless. I just had to let him be. This was his fate – to be forever haunted by the ghosts that he’d created.

 

The last time I saw him, I plucked up the courage to thank him for his service. I was grateful that he’d done what he thought was the right and honorable thing. Again he stared right through me and I felt sad that he’d sacrificed his mind for us, so that we could be free…

©kym darkly

SCUTTLERS…

kym darkly 1

They were in the walls, scuttling. At night I could hear their blood-sucking probes chiseling at the gyprock. They were coming. They could smell me. It had been three days.

 

I’d heard about them on the news, but only on the paranormal Channels. No one believed in the Scuttlers, but they would when they saw the video. They all said I was paranoid, but they’d see.

 

The camera was set up across the room by Freddie Fangs. Nobody fucked with Fangs, well except me of course. Stupid, stupid! But I was desperate – jonesing. I needed the money, man. I woulda fucked anybody over for one more hit. Anyone woulda done it. Anyone. Well, anyone like me anyway.

 

Thudding drew my attention back to the wall. The first hole appeared in the plaster. My stomach lurched. A probe slowly made its way through. It was violet, glowing in the shadowed room. It had a beeping sound. And there were black eyes at the back of it – large, scanning. Its probe seemed to be communicating with the others, letting them know that it had broken through.

 

Hundreds, maybe more, thundered together. The buzzing and dull thumping of their bodies made my heart beat faster. Their probes pounded and cracked at the wall – all focused on the same little spot until it split right open.

 

Like a blast of neon purple light, they flew right at me, three inches long, each. They were in the thousands.

 

My hands flew up to fend them off, but I was shackled and my arms could only go so far. As one zoomed in at my cheek another stabbed my eye. I screamed and wrestled with the chains.

 

Another tore into my throat and slipped under the skin, ripping up and down the inside of my neck, sending searing pain up into my face and down into my chest.

 

One Scuttler plunged its probe deep into my ear and pummeled in and in and in until my eardrum burst.

 

“Oh fuck! I shoulda picked the oil drum and the cement!” I yelled thinking it a better death.

 

The Scuttlers got under the rest of my skin quickly, tearing up and down my whole body, cleaning the derma off from inside until I became a raw piece of breathing meat – skinless meat. I felt like I was being burned alive, the pain so intense that it finally disappeared altogether. Shock can do that you know.

 

Jabs between my ribs turned into entry points and soon the Scuttlers were inside the cage of me eating my guts and organs feverishly: sucking, chomping, inhaling.

 

I’m not sure at what point I died. It could have been the piercing of my heart or the savage rip of my aorta, but I found it more peaceful to watch it all from above.

 

It was like looking at art. They were beautiful creatures with their luminescent indigo hues and gossamer orange wings. I liked watching them clean my body of its tissue. I didn’t need it any more. They were economical, using every last piece of flesh to fuel their little bodies, in turn revealing my skeleton underneath.

 

I didn’t have to watch my torture and death like a coward on a video. I got to watch it first-hand. It was fascinating.

 

Acceptance blew over me. It was good to be free of needing a hit. They set me free, these Scuttlers. Maybe they knew I was a good one to take, given all the pain and anguish.

 

This was the best way to die, I considered. Having been consumed by them I became a part of them and I started to enjoy the lightness of their flight and the power in their attacks.

 

Though I felt at peace I also felt excitement. I couldn’t wait for them to attack Freddie Fangs when he came back for his tape. He’d be expecting to see a body eaten by rats, but the rats had been ravaged long before we arrived. I was looking forward to the terror on Freddie’s face when the Scuttlers swarmed him, as they had me.

 

Yes, it was going to be an interesting death…

© kym darkly

FANTOM…

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It had come again in the middle of the night, undulating under the sheets like a flat fish might swim at the bottom of the ocean.

Petrified, Bobby jumped out of bed. He watched the creature, with its wave-like motion, slink under the covers heading down to where his feet would always be, the place where it would wriggle before slipping off and away.

In his mind he thought he would catch it and maybe even cook it, if it was a fish, although his mother had said that ghosts couldn’t be eaten or cooked.

You’re not escaping this time, Bobby thought, ripping the sheet right off in an attempt to expose the mystery. But he didn’t see anything. It was invisible as ghosts tended to be.

Bobby got closer, bravely holding out his hand in the terrified hopes that he might touch it. He padded around until finally his delicate fingers landed on top of the slippery creature. Bobby yelped, but kept his hand there on the invisible eeewy fish, desperate to make sense of this thing that haunted him night after night.

The wires from his head sent out crazed signals to computers and machines that measured his brain for activity. Suddenly the sleep lab was full of personnel, but Bobby was oblivious. He was trying to hold onto the cold ghoul that kept escaping his grasp.

Suddenly angered, Bobby grew violent. He threw the sheet back on the thing to see where it was and grabbed his heavy Bible to kill it with. Slam, Slam!

“Ughh, it’s already dead,” said Dr. Rupert from behind the lab’s glass. Doesn’t he get it?

“No, he doesn’t get it. He’s just a kid,” said Rebecca – his striking sidekick.

“I know darling, but we need a kid who can catch one, so we can study it,” replied Rupert.

Bobby’s vital signs were in trouble. The beeps jolted them back to the computer screens.

“Its attacking him. This always happens,” Rebecca said, “Just stop it right now! We dont want to lose him.”

Ignoring her, Dr. Rupert gave a go-ahead signal with his hand through the glass.

The crew did what they were instructed to: sprayed the phantom with a new liquid that had been developed by the brilliant grad student: Rebecca McCauley.

This new variation worked and the crew grew excited as they could finally see a true ghost, albeit a vicious orange jelly that had planted its entire sticky being over Bobby’s face and torso.

Their own faces turned to horror quickly as they witnessed it sucking his brains, blood, tongue and other tissue out of his eyes, ears and mouth with a vicious pumping cycle, ultimately sending out a huge splat of blood back up at the glass of the lab.

 A flat line, and the ghost released its obliterated victim. There was no more live tissue to refuel its dependency needs and so it slipped back into invisibility and disappeared before it could be captured.

Dr. Rupert sighed – annoyance. “Call the parents, our condolences, he went mad, congenital defect and we couldn’t save him.”

“You fucking do it. I’m done,” Rebecca snapped. On her way out she slammed the door, torn over why she still loved this cold-hearted man…

In the blood splattered lab, Dr. Rupert reconsidered. “I’m not sure that’s a ghost…”

© kym darkly

TERROR’S CAVE…

 Though it made her sick, she could roll Sara’s dismembered body back into the water since she was as good as dead anyway, but that thing didn’t want food. It wanted to play. The cave was vast. She couldn’t go back the way she came. The tide was rising and the creature’s spiny tail flipped up here and there letting her know that it was waiting. She’d have to press on deeper inside where there was no light at all, no promise of escape and God only knew what else waiting…

© kym darkly

REVENGE…

Today she had a date, but that part of her mind that she had stuffed away for all those years, the dangerous part, had resurfaced against her wishes. All the pain and betrayal had made that part really angry, enraged. It lived in the past. Before her date had arrived, it had made her gather instruments and hide them behind the love seat that they now sat on. She was afraid. He was different from her first love. She didn’t want to hurt him. He was a nice guy. He had brought red wine and roses. He was sweet, but he smelled like “him,” which made that dark part of her mind light up with fury. It made her reach behind the couch and grab a hammer. It wasn’t her fault. She couldn’t stop herself…

© kym darkly