A jaunt through Wonderland.

So I have been reading Alice in Wonderland recently and just thought when I was bored at work, fuck it. why not do a bit of my own take on it? So here you go. as always, unedited.

 

Slowly and cautiously you open up the small wooden door and, down on all fours, you crawl through it. As you reach through the doorway you can feel grass under our fingers and the light breeze that wafts through brings with it a myriad of sweet smells that drive you on to crawl through the small opening. Even at a crawl it is a squeeze to fit through the doorway and the further through it you go the smaller it seems to be until finally you pull your heel painfully through it and turn to see that what was once a doorway is now nothing more than a knot on a tree no bigger than a pool ball. Ignoring the curiosity that was how you have just crawled through a door that turned out to be a tree you decide that it would be best to decide where upon you were rather than how you thought you got there.

Looking around you discover yourself to have emerged in a bizarre and expansive forest. The sun shines down from above, floating through the trees and illuminating their foliage and making it almost glimmer in shades of green and red, orange blue purple and every other colour you can think of. In fact some for the trees didn’t seem satisfied to be just one colour at all and each branch seemed to be a different colour like an art exhibition that had been created by a committee.

Still more curious was the fact that the trees were so built up and crowded together that they formed a seemingly solid wall of wood that was completely unpassable with the exception of what seemed like a purposely made path of clear grass that lead to the tree from which you had just emerged and nowhere else. Still with no obvious way back that left you with only one way to go so you start to follow the path through the trees.

The path beneath your feet was oddly springy, as if walking across a trampoline and each step bounces you along and you realise this must be what people mean when they say they have a spring in their step. As an experiment you jump but the floor when you land seems no less resilient and you merely bounce back as if you had just taken a normal step, a feeling that was rather disconcerting given how you had expected it to react. Rather than following on with that you concentrate instead on the sweet and somehow warm smell that was still drifting along in the breeze and getting stronger as you followed the pathway.

It was the smell of sugar for sure, almost like a fairground stall or perhaps the bakery when they have just taken a fresh load of pastries out the ovens. It was intoxicating and the more intense the smell the faster you walk until you turn a corner of the makeshift path and emerge in a clearing with a table set up in the middle. The table is covered with a bright purple tablecloth and a spread of the most amazing looking food you have ever seen. There are pastries and buns dripping with icing yes but also pies still steaming warm and jelly that was wobbling on its plate seemingly of its own accord.  Pails of ice cream add to the compliment while a gigantic teapot takes makes the centrepiece with steam flowing from the spout.

It is a sight to behold and the whole clearing is surrounded by huge mushroom talks with bright blue cap with yellow polka dots so bright they almost glow and wrapped around there mushrooms and descending low over the table are lines of silky white bunting with bright and multi-coloured flags hanging down from the strings. Entering the clearing you duck low under several lines of bunting and settle yourself into an armchair that sits at the head of the table. You there is a plate sat before you with everything you would have grabbed to eat and like a starving animal you tuck into it. The sponge cakes are the softest you have ever experienced with jam that runs down your throat and the cherries onto of Belgian buns are the richest perhaps in the whole world. Unable to stop yourself you dive hands first into the nearest pail of ice cream and the chocolate is sweet, rich and milky as it melts in your hands, never too cold.

You gorge yourself until you feel you can eat no more, slumping back in the chair satisfied and feeling the greatest sense of satisfaction. On the verge of napping you look up and see the bunting, fascinating from the way the sun is shining through the plastic flags the light is coloured, raining down on you like through a stained glass window and you trail your eyes along the string until it meets another one, changing to follow that line instead you marvel at the intricate pattern that has been made by all the lines of bunting as they crisscross each other until curiously they all come together to lower to the ground and underneath the cap of a huge mushroom that curiously seems to have no stalk.

Getting up reluctantly from your seat you follow the bunting strings to the mushroom, kneeling to try and get a peek underneath the cap but it is too low down. Curiosity takes you and you grab the bunting strings and give them a small tug. They have very little give in them and you are surprised to find they are actually incredibly taught. You decide that it isn’t a mystery worth following and try to go back to the table for some moor food but the bunting is stuck to your hand. Very stuck. In fact you can’t even open your hand, it’s as if all your fingers have been glued together. You try and pull away from the bunting, leaning back in the grass as you pull against the sticky string and to your horror after a few hard tugs on the string, the string tugs back.

With incredible strength you are pulled forward, losing your footing and crashing down on your belly in the grass there is a pause where you are trying to make sense of what is happening before you are pulled forward through the grass towards the mushroom cap. In a moment of madness you can only think about how you are going to get the grass stains out of your clothes before you are brought back to your predicament by the mushroom cap flipping back and opening up like a huge lid and exposing a deep black hole beneath.

You try to get to your feet and dig your heels into the ground but the force that is pulling you forward just drags you along regardless and you leave three deep gouges in the ground behind you where you heels and your one free hand have sunk deep into the ground, pulling up the emerald grass and revealing deep red soil beneath.

Desperately you look around for anything that could help you and you see he table sinking away from you as your legs descend into the hole. For a moment you see a glint of something metal on the table, a knife for cake cutting but it is far too late for that as your backside drops away into the hole. Looking down you see that the drop is deep with tree roots sticking from the side and the glistening line of bunting disappearing into the dark. But at the bottom of the hole there is movement and something shiny glints up at you. Eight somethings.

As you slide deeper into the hole, dragged by the bunting from which you can’t let go, you manage to reach out and grab a sturdy tree root, temporarily stopping your descent though the pain that tears up your arm is intense and for a moment you could believe that it is about to be torn from the socket. And then there is a voice that filters up the hole towards you. Cold and menacing it is like nails on a chalk board and your blood curdles at the sound off it.

‘Oh don’t fight, you know it’s hopeless. You’re not my first choice of meal but you know we all have to eat.’

You want to scream but you can’t the sounds just don’t come out right and all you can do is gurgle in fear as your arm is once again tugged on. And then whatever it is that spoke moves again, slowly but surely dragging itself up the tunnel towards you. Two long appendages thicker than your arm stretch up out of the darkness towards you with small forked ends to their legs that latch into the red soil and then pull the rest of the creature they belong to forward. These limbs are covered in thick spine like hairs and as the creature below you looms towards toy you see the glistening was eight black round eyes that all stare up at you as the body of the spider comes into view. Its dark brown body filling the entire width of the tunnel and the bunting disappearing beneath it, fed along buy two more, smaller arms.

‘You know what the spider said to the fly? Come into my web. And in you came. You filled yourself up on my little treat and no I get to gorge myself as well. Is that not fair?’

What you thought at one point was a branch sticking from the tunnel wall comes loose in your hands and as you once again start to slide inexorably towards the petrifying creature you look at what you had grabbed to see the light reflecting off a human jawbone, ivory in colour with the teeth still in place. Below you there is the rasp of swords being drawn from their scabbards and you look down to see two fangs, jet black and glistening, unfurl themselves from the spiders mouth and it chittered as the creature reared up above you, your legs sliding underneath it as the mandibles waved back and forth madly.

Finally you find your voice and managed a scream but by the time you had sat down in the chair it was already far too late.

‘I would like to tell you this would be painless…’ said the spider mercilessly ‘but it would be a lie.’ There was cruel mirth in its voice.

Your screams continue to float up the hole and out into the world above right up until the cap of the mushroom slams shut again and you are plunged into darkness, left alone with your own cries and that maddening chittering.

 

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A little slice of Nanowrimo

I’ve been finding it hard to write recently, not that my output was great before but there is just something killing my creative process at the moment. Even the small side projects I work on to stop my writers block have been stunted recently, who know why. Hopefull it doesn’t last too long but in the mean time I thought why not post something this year, so I settled on this little extract from my National Novel Writing Month last year. I didn’t actually enter it into any competition of course but it’s just a good excuse every year to do some writing and Technically the final product is a skeletal draft of a full novel.

Anyway for a little context Hayley here has been trying to escape the monsters of the book and has fallen off the back of a jeep and been knocked out, this is her after she comes around on a dirt road in Belize.

‘She had not been out long before something woke her. Opening her eyes slowly she saw the road in front of her, innocuous as it was it still surprised her for a moment until the events of the day came flooding back to her. She tried to move her arms but the resulting throbbing in her head made her want to throw up and she gave up, lying in the underbrush looking pathetically out before her. She heard the wind in the trees, swaying the leave as it gently sailed along, accompanied by the quiet hooting of an owl somewhere above her.
But that didn’t make sense. The hooting came again and then was joined by barking off in the distance. Hayley went cold. She wanted to move more than ever but she couldn’t then the tree above her shook and the branches rattled off each other. A slow, carnivorous rattle similar to that of a crocodile flowed down to her and Hayley closed her eyes, waiting for the thing to descent on her. She could hear a gentle his and opening here eyes again she saw the black body of a snake similar to the one that had almost attacked Vera, slowly making its way across the path away from her. Whatever it was that was above Hayley made it’s rumbling noise again before springing from the tree and landing on the path before Hayley. Through horrified, open eyes Hayley got her first sight of what it was that had attacked them.
The creature was not quite as large as they had seemed in the dark, it was about five feet tall and very reptilian except for it’s human like arms and it walked with a hunched posture. It’s large eyes were amber and it’s long snout opened and closed to let free a flicking lizard like tongue, revealing large yellow teeth as long as Hayley’s finger and sharp as could be. Blood still oozed slowly from it’s jaws and both of it’s four fingered hands were covered in blood dried to a dark brown colour. It’s scaled body was dark green but the under belly was cream to Hayley’s surprise it wore a tattered loincloth made of some sort of leather as well as a small necklace with more of the carved stone hanging from it, like it had found the cache of artefacts and decided to play dress up. It crouched down next to the snake and cocked it’s head as it looked at it, using it’s thick tail for balance. Hayley was reminded of velociraptors in dinosaur books and films but it was far too large. The snake between it’s feet reared up, ready to strike but the creature didn’t seem afraid, indeed it reached forward to pick the snake up. The snake lunged and sunk it’s teeth into the creatures arm, striking twice and retreating before striking a third time at which point the fangs stuck. The creature stood, though still hunched and looked at the snake closer now, holding it with one arm while the fangs were still stuck in the other, causing the snake to coil slightly.
A tall fin slowly rose up on the creatures head, almost a foot high like a strange mohawk, with bright red flap between the top and the neck. Then the creature bit into the snakes body, cutting it in two with a quick shake of it’s head. The body in it’s hand fell limp while the head stayed resolutely stuck in it’s arm and the creature looked at the head thoughtfully while it’s jaws munched on the chunk of snake it had bitten off. Hayley tried to move, as scared as she was she was fascinated and wanted a better look around the bushes she had buried herself under. This caused a rustling and the creatures head shot up again as it scanned the trees. Hayley held her breath, cursing her inquisitiveness and praying it wouldn’t see her. The creature stood stock still for a moment looking around through narrowed eyes, it’s muscles tensed and Hayley was sure it would soon spring forth and grab her. But then it relaxed and took another bite of the snakes body before dropping the rest and plucking the head from it’s arm. Bright red blood ran from the puncture wounds and the thing lapped at it for a moment before looking at the head and manipulating the fangs. Slowly venom flowed forth from them and the creature held out it’s free hand, allowing the venom to cover it’s claws.
Then came a hooting off in the distance, followed by a sharp bark. The creature raised it’s head and released two barks of it’s own before rapidly srpinting off into the jungle, gone in a second. Hayley let out a sigh as she untensed. Then she passed out again.’

The Girl in the Road

Three hours and seven minutes. That’s how long Cathy had been driving that night. Leaving the protest at around nine o’clock and after setting off at five in the morning to drive the same time across boarders to get there. She was exhausted, her legs ached, and her voice was horse from shouting, but she was happy. She felt she had really achieved something during that time and she was sure that the next protest she would do the same again.

The lights above the motorway glowed a dim orange and the rhythmic flash as they passed overhead was hypnotic and Cathy could feel her eyes trying to close. Shaking her head and reaching blindly for her cup of coffee she tried to force herself awake again. It worked to a degree, she didn’t feel her eyelids fighting their way down again and the coffee gave her a slight jolt, if only because it was cold and pretty unpleasant. Added to the lights in the dark there was the thumping of hundreds of raindrops as they exploded off the cold car exterior. The rain had started towards the end of the protest and slowly built until now it was a fierce downpour playing a drum solo.

After about ten minutes Cathy felt her eyelids trying to do their escaping act again and she reached for her coffee again. This time the base caught on the lip of the cup holder and, in her tired hands, she accidently tipped the coffee into her lap. With a yelp she bounced in her seat, looking down to see what she had done and moaning as she felt the cold coffee soaking into her skirt. Sighing in irritation to herself she reached for a handful of napkins to try and dry herself off, only after that looking up over the wheel for the first time in several seconds.

There was a person stood in the middle of her lane. A girl and Cathy screamed and slammed the wheel to the side. The wheels of her car screeched and skidded in the rain and the car slid sideways and slid towards the girl in the road. Cathy continued to scream as the car slid. Closing her eyes and waiting for the thump and her car flattened the poor girl. But it never came. The car slowly stopped and Cathy was left with the sound of the rain and her own beating heart. Finally daring to open her eyes Cathy saw that she had come to a halt, side on across two lanes of the motorway. It was a small miracle that there was no one else on the road at the time, due to it being so late.

Remembering why she had slammed on her breaks Cathy jumped from her car and staggered out into he road, looking for what she expected to be the flattened body of the girl. At first Cathy didn’t see the girl, thinking that she must have sent her flying or worse, caught her in the bumper of her car. Looking around Cathy was beginning to reach new levels of panic when, looking back to where the girl had been she saw her. The girl was crouched in the road, her hands over her head as if bracing for impact. She was pale, with long blond hair that was plastered to her by the rain which had turned the strappy red dress she was wearing dark. She was bare of foot and as Cathy ran up to her she yelled and fell to the side, trying to escape.

Cathy took her arm carefully and tried to calm her.

‘Shhh, Shhhh. It’s ok, you’re ok.’ She tried to coo but the girl still struggled against her for what felt like minutes, sat in the road but finally the girl gave up and just sat sobbing.

‘Are you OK? what happened to you?’ Cathy tried to ask but the girl didn’t reply. Just sobbed.

‘Why were you in the road?’ Cathy asked all to aware of how soaking wet she was getting crouched there in the rain.

‘He…he…he jus…’ started the girl but then she was reduced to sobbing again.

‘Come on, come with me, I’ll take you to the police.’ Cathy said, taking the girl by the arm and leading her, without objection, to the passenger side of her car where the girl slid into the sat and sat with her head in her hands.

Cathy sat down behind the wheel again and careful turned the car back onto the road, driving cautiously now after her close encounter. And very aware of just how wet the inside of her car was getting which in any other circumstance would have infuriated her but at that moment she could ignore that. As she drove Cathy tried her best to talk to the girl but she got very little out of her beyond stifled sobs and quiet weeping. All that she managed to find out was they the He the girl had been talking to was her boyfriend. Upon learning this Cathy very quickly started to put the story together, or at least put a story together in her head. She could imagine the kind of swaggering jock that this poor girls boyfriend was. The kind of meathead that thought he was the gift that god gave the world and thinking he could to whatever he wanted to whoever.

Well he wasn’t going top get away with it on Cathy’s watch. She was going to take this poor girl to the police and make sure that they nailed this sick bastard to the wall. Looking over at the girl again Cathy thought she couldn’t be much older than eighteen and even they it may have been pushing it. Despite her makeup having run down her face in the rain she was still exceptionally beautiful, with exceptionally smooth skin and gorgeous blue eyes which looked so doe like and innocent despite the red whites. Her body was slender and the soaking wet dress clung to it, accentuating her figure for anyone to see. Her pale skin shimmered with the rain water and seemed to almost sparkle in the dazzling lights as they passed overhead.

Cathy pulled her attention away from the girl and back to the road. The street lights were still a dull orange. Why had they seemed to be so bright and sparkling? Risking a glance back at the girl she saw her in the dull light. Sitting there quietly snuffling to herself. She was still tired Cathy thought, the adrenalin rush was wearing off. There were still only a few miles back to town and Cathy wanted to stay alert. It was going to be a long night yet.

‘So what’s your name?’ Cathy asked, hoping to distract herself.

The girl didn’t answer.

‘Where do you live?’ Cathy asked now

‘London’ the girl said in a quiet voice.

‘That’s not exactly close.’ Cathy replied. Glad that maybe there was a conversation she could develop.

‘No’ the girl replied

‘How did you end up all the way out here?’

‘I was staying with my boyfri…’ started the girl before she started to cry again, softly.

‘Oh it’s ok, It’s ok. I’m going to make sure all this gets fixed.’ Said Cathy. Anything to try and calm her.

The girl didn’t stop crying, but she quietened.

Cathy turned back to the road again. Her eyes had been lingering on the girl’s long legs, her skin smooth as silk even here and how her delicate feet were covered in scrapes and bruises from walking barefoot down the road. Cathy’s wanted to just pull over and hug and comfort the poor girl but there would not be prudent at the moment. What she needed to do was get the pair of them to a police station where they could report what happened. But Cathy looked over again and saw the girl was looking at her, their eyes met and she was drawn into her beautiful eyes. Just staring at her, full of tears still and engulfing like a hole had opened up and swallowed Cathy. It almost pained her to look away but she managed to fix her eyes o the road again.

‘Thank you…’ the girl said in her gentle voice. There wasn’t a crack in it.

‘You don’t need to…’ started Cathy

‘Thank you for stopping and helping me. Not many people would have.’ The girl continued.

‘That may be right, but I always look out for a woman.’ Cathy replied.

The girl sobbed again quietly but didn’t start crying. There was an almost irresistible force trying to pull Cathy’s head around to look at the girl again but she fought against it, trying not to think about her soft, round lips. Her cold skin. It was insane. She was a happily married woman and had plans to adopt maybe someday and yet the appearance of this girl was rapidly driving her insane. What was wrong with her? Keeping her eyes glued to the road she tried to keep her eyes fixed to the whiter lines flickering in the headlights. Counting them as she was acutely aware of the sweet-smelling perfume the girl was wearing. Surely that should have been washed off in the. Then the girls hand closed gently around her hand on the gear stick.

Cathy’s heart beat quickened as she felt the girls soft skin on hers and her breath seemed harder to pull back. She glanced across at the girl who was staring longingly at her, her perfume was filling her nostrils to such a degree that Cathy thought she would smell this girl when she was in her grave. Slowly the girl leaned in and Cathy felt herself doing the same. But then she pulled herself away. She was probably twenty years older than this girl who had just been through something truly horrific and was not in her right mind. Cathy tried to open her mouth to say something to that effect, to try and be gentle with this girl but all she could manage was

‘What are you…doing?’

The girl didn’t need top reply, her hand was still on the gearstick and Cathy felt, almost against her will, the wheel of the car turning over and the vehicle slowing as they entered the hard shoulder. Cathy wanted to object but she couldn’t bring herself to say anything. That perfume was so strong and even as the car slowly drifted to a stop she knew she had nothing to say. Somewhere inside she knew she didn’t want to be doing this but wherever that part of her was it was far away. Tucked up and being supressed by the desire that she felt, the smothering need to touch this girl’s skin and feel it against hers. The car stopped and Cathy heard the flick of the hazard warning lights.

The girl didn’t need to say anything either. Almost as soon as they had stopped her hand was on Cathy’s face and Cathy felt she would have her rest it there forever. But there was no forever as the girl leaned in to no resistance from Cathy. The girl whispered something briefly in Cathy’s ear, so quiet that even with straining her hearing it was too quiet. Then heir lips locked. The kiss felt like an explosion in Cathy’s brain as thousands of pleasure receptors exploded to life and she felt her head spinning in the clouds. It was the best she had ever felt and she suddenly felt like this was the only thing in the whole world that was right, this one glorious moment that had brought the two together through tragedy. Her hands were on the girls legs and her skin was as soft as she had imagined, without out any blemish and as smooth as she had ever felt. Almost too smooth. Like running her hand over a glass pain.

Something wasn’t as right as she had thought. Her tongue felt strangely warm and there was a wetness between her chin and the girls. Like she was drooling. Cathy tried to pull away but the girl resisted, pulling her back with surprising strength. Cathy tried to pull away again, struggling this time and she felt a sharp pain in her tongue. She yelped and pulled back harder, leaving the girl to finally let go. Only the girl didn’t leg to entirely. As Cathy pulled back the girl’s tongue stretched comically out in front of her like a piece of gun a child would pull out from their mouth, the end still plunged into Cathy’s mouth and as Cathy tried to scream she realised that their tongues were connected. More precisely, the girls tongue had latched onto hers.

Then Cathy tried again to scream when she took on the full effect of the girl’s face. the girl’s chin was cleft in two by a huge tear in her skin, the bone revealed beneath it and when Cathy screamed the girl’s head rolled backwards and the rip split open. The girls lower jaw split clean in two in a shower of blood as the thing let out a harsh, croaking screech. It’s eyes had rolled around in it’s head and were pure white while it’s teeth popped from it’s jaws like popcorn from a machine and were replaced by yellow razors. Cathy tried to pull away bodily but the things legs kicked forward, it’s feet folding like claws to a chorus of snapping bones and seized hold of Cathy, pulling her forward with horrendous strength. Blood was now filling Cathy’s mouth as her tongue was mauled by  the things own tongue and her scream became a gurgle.

The things arms shrived like a balloon with all the air released from it and the thing’s dress fell gently down to it’s waist, revealing it’s pale body, alabaster white and from it’s belly button exploded a plume of blood, drenching Cathy, as four fleshy claws burst from inside. Between them was a membrane, making it appear like some horrific flower with gnashing teeth in the centre. More tongue like appendages sprouted from the mouth at the centre of the flower and even more from between the things legs, all wrapping around Cathy and pulling her towards the creature. Cathy’s flailing became weaker and weaker as she felt herself sliding across her seat and towards the thing. The whole interior of the car was red with blood and there was a thick, cloying scent of it everywhere. Somehow despite this, as Cathy was relentlessly drawn to the centre of the flower, she could still smell the perfume that had intoxicated her so just moments earlier. Then her face was mere inched from the horrific mouth.

A car sat at the side of the motorway, the hazard lights flashing and the interior blocked by red. There was no sign of movement from it until the passenger door opened and a young girl emerged. She was soaked in blood from her hair to her bare feet. When she stepped out of the car the closed the door with a small snap before looking up to the heavens. The downpour was as heavy as it had ever been and thunder rattled in the distance. The girl stood in the rain for a moment, arms outstretched and a huge smile on her face as she let the blood run on her body, mixing with the rain before the happily skipped off down the road, splashing in the water that had filled the drains.

Motionless

Just a quick bit of sci-fi I wrote out of boredom.

Motionless. The only way to describe the wasteland of Braxis. The rolling dunes of the desert were completely without movement. From one side of the horizon to the other one could look an they would see nothing but the barren plains of grey, the desert of Braxis being not covered in sand but ash. Over the centuries since the planet’s core had burst the ash thrown up into the atmosphere had settled and compacted under the harsh winds and heavy rain storms, leaving a solid floor of darkness, leaving it motionless, or all but motionless. Slowly and tentatively something small broke the surface of the ash. A small creature, it’s fur matted and coarse carefully poked it’s head from where it had been hiding beneath the cover of ash and, after many minutes scouting the area. Broke from it’s cover, running a few feet it hid in the shadows provided by the closes dune and went to ground, flattening itself to the floor and watching. Taking it’s time the predator waited, knowing that before long it’s patience would be rewarded. Finally it’s patience was rewarded when something moved, skirting the desert quickly it darted forward before stopping. Sliding forward almost leisurely the predator moved, what it was hunting didn’t matter, only that it was soon to become food. The hunter had learnt after years of life, how to move silently but quickly across the desert and before too long it had closed on it’s prey which was still very much unaware of it’s presence. Staying low the hunter stopped, knowing that even as it closed, one wrong movement would cost it it’s meal. The ash moved minutely before it as it carefully moved again, finally it was close enough, the time to strike was now and with one surge of it’s muscles it burst forward and out of the ash, It’s huge frame exploding from the ash like a breaching whale and it’s jaws scooping up and enveloping the small rodent which hadn’t even realised it was being stalked and which managed a small, pitiful squeal before it disappeared completely into the maw of oblivion.
The Dust Devil lay on the surface of the ash,resting it’s huge frame allowing it’s scales to absorb some small amount of sunlight from the clouded sky as it chewed it’s prey a few times before swallowing. In the distance it watched a as a trio of dust clouds made their way across the desert, the Devil had seen clouds like this before, it didn’t know what caused them but it’s primitive animal intellect told it that it was best to stay away for now. Even if it moved at top speed it was no match for the vehicles on the horizon, but what else it knew was that sooner or later those vehicles would releases softer, slower targets and then maybe it could claim a more significant meals that the one it had just had. Casually the beast turned back to the ash, using it’s ram like nose to crack the surface and then pulled itself underground again. The only sign that it had ever been there being the long thin track left by it’s dorsal spines as it moved, punctuated by one larger crater before the trail continued, turning east and following after the clouds on the horizon.
Heedless of the display of nature that had just occurred the small army jeep sped on across the wasteland, it’s wheels kicking up huge plumes of ash as it did so, causing the bus that followed behind it to need to keep a good distance to it’s left in order for the driver to be able to see where they were going and the same said for the cargo truck behind that, causing the convoy to gouge a wide series of tracks out of the previously perfectly flat ash.

A little Self Indulgence

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with scripts. The ability to write long coversations with ease is invaluble but at the same time they do somewhat limit the ability to be descriptive of enviroments and actions. That said I have been mulling over for a while something I read years ago about it being important to create your own characters and make them your own and so my mind turned to how I would design a character in the same vain as horror classica such as Pinhead, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and the like. Now I’m not comparing my characters to greats like them because I think my invention is as good, just that they are the type of design and style I was looking to replicate.

INT. A BEDROOM.
A man sits at a desk, the only light coming from the computer
glowing computer monitor in front of him, he is naked except
for a pair of boxer shorts and as he scrolls through the list
of videos on the screen he licks his lips. One had controls
the mouse while the other slowly slips from where it had been
resting on his leg and creeps down the front of his shorts.
As a video plays he starts to rub his cock vigorously. On
screen a woman is dragged down a back alley by two men, her
blouse ripped violently off of her body. By the time the
second man gets his turn with the now broken and battered
woman the man at his desk has already spilt his seed and is
lounging on his chair looking satisfied, and glancing around
for tissues.
HIDDEN FIGURE
I trust that was what you wanted.
The man at the computer looks around in fear
MAN AT DESK
Who’s there? How did you get in
here
A figure steps from the shadows, unnaturally tall and thin it
is dressed in a bizarre black outfit so tight that even in
the dark its ribs can be seen through the material, strangely
pointed and sharp. It’s shoulders are adorned with a ragged
looking cloak and it wears boots up to its knees. On its head
is a cavalier hat complete with silver feather that shimmers
in the dark. The hat is tilted in such a way that the pointed
brim covers the figures eyes.
THE CAVALIER
My name is without importance, it
has long since been lost beneath
the sands of time, as for how I
entered, the door.
(thin, pale lips curl into
a smile beneath the
pointed hat)
MAN AT DESK
I’ve been here all night, I can see
that door and no body has been
through it.
THE CAVALIER
I did not say I used that door, I
used the door. But again, it is of
no importance.
MAN AT DESK
I don’t know who you are or what
drugs you’ve been taking, just get
out of my house now, I’m calling
the police.
THE CAVALIER
Call whoever you want, They won’t
hear you. I won’t allow them to.
MAN AT DESK
Look Just get out, I have a gun in
this desk here and I will use it
THE CAVALIER
(smirking again)
You have no such weapon, nor would
one aid you even if you did. I am
beyond threats from this world
MAN AT DESK
(becoming hysterical)
Look I don’t know what you want but
get out I really will call the
police
THE CAVALIER
And as I have told you, they will
not hear you. As for what I want, I
have come for you Anthony Rouse
ANTHONY
How do you know my name?
THE CAVALIER
How could I not know the name of
the man who called me.
ANTHONY
I don’t know you, I have never
called you. You won’t even tell me
who you are.
THE CAVALIER
Your mouth doesn’t need to summon
me, your actions are enough, I hope
that you enjoyed them, they may be
your last for a very long time.
Anthony falls backwards out of his chair and scoots away
across the floor. In response The Cavalier takes a few
delicate paces forwards, carefully placing each foot in front
of the other.
ANTHONY
You-you’re here to kill me? Why?
HELP! HELP!
THE CAVALIER
(licks its lips as if
savoring a great taste)
Kill you my dear Anthony?

(MORE)
No, you are not going to die,
though your actions may have
condemned you to a fate you would
consider worse.
ANTHONY
Please No!, What have I done to
deserve this? Why would a demon
like you come to me?
THE CAVALIER
What have you done? My dear Anthony
you have just finished signing your
own fate, The ink isn’t even dry on
your hands yet.
The Cavalier turns it’s head towards the door for a moment
before turning back.
(beneath it’s hat there is
a glint of gold from an
amber eye which is hidden
as The Cavalier turns
back)
THE CAVALIER (CONT’D)
Beyond that door is a room where a
woman sleeps. A woman you promised
as you were wed to her that you
would love forever and yet as she
sleeps you are in here committing
adultery of the mind and yet you
have the indecency to ask what it
is you have done? And you asked my
identity before, you may have found
a fitting answer as Demon seems
like a fitting way to describe my
personage
ANTHONY
Please, Poor Monica, you can’t kill
me, think of her? Where would she
be without me. I provide for her, I
put food on her table…
THE CAVALIER
(Anger rising in its voice
for the first time)
An appeal to consider the innocent?
Where was she on your mind as you
were in here defiling the bond the
two of you signed? How can you lie
there and ask me to think of her
when you never did. Provide for
her? When was the last time you did
anything with her wellbeing in
mind? You call yourself a man when
really there is no chivalry in your
heart.

THE CAVALIER (CONT’D)
(MORE)
I, who addressed myself as demon am
more a man than you. Those tears
you weep are not for her but for
yourself.
ANTHONY
(begging)
Please no! There must be people
worse than I am, all I did was
masturbate, there are men out there
cheating all the time, right now
someone is with a whore while his
wife is at home please why me?
THE CAVALIER
Worse than you? Yes there are, but
it is not them to who I appear, but
you.
ANTHONY
I can change…
THE CAVALIER
Change Anthony? That is an
admission of guilt. People who
change are people who are wrong.
You have put yourself in a position
you should never have been in
Anthony, This is your own doing.
The Cavalier raises a hand and Anthony rises off the ground.
He starts to twitch and scream as he convulses in the air,
clearly in excruciating pain even though his body shows no
sign of physical damage.
ANTHONY
(between screams)
Please no! God in heaven no!
THE CAVALIER
(unleashes a dark laugh so
evil that despite the
mystical space he exists
in manages to wake Monica
in the next room)
A great man once wrote, that There
are more things in heaven and
earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of
in your philosophy. None of these
things will you see My dear
Anthony. You are going beyond
earth, and with your crimes, you
will never see heaven.
Anthony, still convulsing, drifts across the floor until his
chin rests perfectly in The Cavalier’s outstretched hand.

THE CAVALIER (CONT’D)
As soon as their skin touches Anthony’s convulsions stop and
he hangs from The Cavalier’s hand entirely, The Cavalier its
self showing no sign of struggling to hold him.
ANTHONY
P…please, a second chance.
THE CAVALIER
You have had a chance Anthony, that
is more than some get. Now come,
there is so much yet for you to
experience.
The Cavalier finally lifts its hat, tipping it up with one
delicate finger and showing a ghostly pale face that houses
golden eyes glowing so intently that they seem to bore into
the very soul.
The door opens and Monica steps in, turning on the light she
stares around the empty room. The chair is still on it’s side
on the floor and on the computer screen the second man
finished with the woman as the first pulls a knife to slit
her throat.
MONICA
Anthony?
End.

Ashes and Anger (wip)

I have been going back and forth for a while about what I am going to do with this story. I have, in truth, been working on it for over a year. occasionally I open it up and write a few lines but I really haven’t got much drive left to finish it despite still quite liking the idea. I guess in all fairness you could say that if it has taken that long I can’t like it too much but at the same time I would hate to see it unfinished after it got so close. I just got side tracked when i was writing ‘You are what you eat’ and i never really got the momentum back for it…

Ashes and Anger.

The music stuttering from the small Sony radio wavered and faded before coming back to power for a few seconds before fading again and finally dying into static. James Arnold cursed under his breath and stood from his chair, walking across the room to give it a gentle tap. There was no response and after a few more severe slaps James gave on the damned thing and turned it off. It always happened here, it was something about the crematorium walls that meant that almost any technology short of that which kept the place running seemed to short out and die. The local council had come up with some excuse about the way the place was built and deemed all excess items unnecessary, if it didn’t interrupt the way the crematorium was run then they weren’t going to do a thing.

James returned to his desk and picked up the crossword again, 11 down, Ironmonger, 6 letters. James puzzled over it again; he had been stuck for a while. Finally he gave up and turned to his right pressing the intercom.

‘Hey Trev, you there?’

For a moment there was nothing but a quiet buzz before a voice replied.

‘Yea Jim, what’s up?’

‘You had any luck with 11 down?’

There was a chuckle from the intercom.

‘Yea I put Harold…’

‘What do you mean Harold?’

‘Well I have a friend called Harold who is an ironmonger’

‘Somehow I’m not sure that’s the answer they had in mind’

Both men were chuckling now

‘Yea well maybe I could be more helpful but I’m still stuck on 5 across.’

‘Yea I haven’t figured it out either; I’m starting to think I’m not very good at crosswords.’

‘I’m starting to think the same, you’re not very good at these, stick to sudoku’

James laughed

‘Asshole’

‘I Heard that. Look give me 20 minutes to have a sweep of the top floor and then I’ll come down and we can compare what answers we do have.’

‘No problem’ finished James and he let go of the intercom.

‘Oh he’s coming down’ mumbled James to himself before giving his crossword another scan and then throwing it down on the desk.

‘Can’t do a crossword on my own’

James opened up his desk draw and looked about inside, shifting around the piles of receipts and the odd dirty magazine he kept in there till he found the Pack of cigarettes he had been looking for. He opened the pack and withdrew a cigarette and his lighter, lit up and then threw the pack and lighter back into the draw which he closed. Then rocking back on his chair he placed his feet on the desk and took a deep drag on the lit cigarette before turning to the security console. There was nothing happening. Each of the cameras showed the same empty corridors they always showed at this time of night. What a waste of money, keeping both a manager and a security personnel on the premises at night. What was the point? Who wanted to get into a crematorium at night? What were people going to try and do? Steal something? It was stupid. But James supposed that as long as they kept paying him his surprisingly generous salary he didn’t really care.

Taking another drag of his cigarette James was startled when the radio buzzed static again loudly. God damn this place, stupid power problems. But wait, hadn’t he turned the radio off? Looking over towards the wall where it was plugged in James could quite clearly see from his chair that the switch was in the off position. James gazed at this for a moment, running through ideas of how the radio could have come to making noise when the sudden knock at the door made him jump and almost fall backwards out his chair, the cigarette dropping from his mouth.

‘Don’t you remember being told not to rock on your chair in school?’ Trevor, the security guard was stood in the doorway laughing as James grabbed the desk to keep himself from toppling.

‘You Dick!’ James shouted, his hand on his heart feeling it beating like a machine gun.

‘Something got you distracted Jim?

‘Damn radio playing up again only, I turned it off when it first started doing it’

‘Maybe it’s the ghosts’ Trevor said waving his arms in a mock ghostly fashion.

‘Oh shut up and show me your crossword.’

An hour later Trevor returned to the top level and to his security details. While James shoved his paper in his draw and turned back to his security console. He slipped between the various cameras, 1 was fine, 2 was fine 3 was fine 4…4 wasn’t showing anything. Well it was showing something but it was just a grey image, not static but something was blocking the lens. James sighed and got up from his chair, grabbing his keys and heading to the door. Just as he left the radio gave another loud buzz of static, James jumped and spun to look at it. It was still off. Taking a deep breath to steady himself again James walked over to the radio and unplugged it before leaving the room and making his was to corridor G where the offending camera was located. As James walked the corridor his mind was preoccupied with the radio and he only faintly noticed the burnt smell in the air. Of course this wasn’t unusual in a crematorium but usually by this time of night the smell would have faded to almost undetectable while tonight the smell was getting stronger.

When he reached corridor G he looked up at the camera and saw what the problem was. There was a thick layer of ash covering the lens, as well as a smear of it down the wall underneath the camera. James stood and took in the scene, the ash looked almost like it had been deliberately left on the camera, it seemed too perfect for it to be there, and the wall, there was a lot of ash there, stuck to It as it was it looked as if something had been dragged down it, leaving the smear. James’ mind raced with a thousand unlikely scenarios, the wind, an animal, then he finally realised. Chuckling at his stupidity he went to clean the camera. It was a practical joke. Trevor must be trying to spook him by making this mess; he might even be behind the radio somehow. Reaching up to brush the ash from the camera he ran his finger along the lens and yelped, wrenching his hand back and clutching it close to him. The lens had been burning hot, like touching a stove. James looked at his finger, expecting for it to already be turning red, maybe already be burned, but it looked as it ever did and the pain was already subsiding.

Slowly, carefully James reached up again. The camera was giving off no heat that he could feel without touching it, not even slightly warm. He took a breath and rubbed his finger across the lens. The glass was cold as ice. James whipped all the ash off and walked back a few steps. Maybe it was a static shock he had felt, not a burn. James left the ash on the wall; the cleaners could deal with it in the morning. All the way back to his office James had a cold sweat, he felt like something wasn’t right and he was starting to feel that this may not be a practical joke. It was just that a feeling, he had not concrete proof that it wasn’t, just this horrible feeling.

When James got to the door of his office he stopped. There was a sound coming from inside. A quiet but high pitched screech, one persistent note that seemed to be never ending permeating the door and drifting down the corridor. James slowly opened the door carefully glancing into the room to try and see where the noise was coming from. Not that he needed look far. He already knew as soon as the door opened that it would be the radio that was making that sound. The screech was issuing from the speakers like a piano with something lying on the keys. The plug was still lying on the table next to the body of the radio and James knew that he had never put batteries in it, had never even taken off the back cover.  James cautiously picked up the radio, holding it in his hands and staring at it. The sound persisted. James gave the radio a quick shake and still the sound persisted. James gave the radio another harder shake and the screech exploded into a scream that filled the room. A banshee’s wail that split the ears and rattled the screens of the security console.

James dropped the radio and it crashed to the floor, bits of plastic scattering in all directions and one of the speaker covers skidded off under the table. The scream stopped immediately and in the silence James could feel his ears ringing, his eardrums throbbing. The silence stretched on for minutes while James simply stood and looked down at the broken radio. Smashed on the ground the main body was mostly intact, a few chips and one big crack. The led screen had shattered but for the most part it was in one piece.  Finally James decided what to do. Picking up the radio he hurried over to his cupboard and wrenched it open. Placing the radio at the back of the bottom shelf he slammed the door and padlocked it closed something he never did. Then he returned to his chair and slumped down. His fear slowly leaving him and making him exhausted. For the rest of that night James merely sat and stared at the cupboard. Almost too afraid to move for fear that the radio might start screaming again. When dawn came he left immediately, not waiting for his replacement to arrive.

James did not sleep well that day. Dreading returning to the crematorium he dreamt of twisting darkness and the smell of burnt flesh that filled his lungs and choked him. He woke before his alarm drenched in a hot sweat and considered calling in sick but he knew he would never be believed. He staggered around his flat still exhausted and unable to even think of eating anything he considered telling Trevor about what had happened but he knew he would just get laughed at. He decided he needed some proof and finally he decided that he knew how to get it. Rummaging through his draws he finally found what he was looking for. His Dictaphone from when he had attempted university.

That night James arrived at work almost an hour early, something that was almost unheard of. He set his Dictaphone up in the room and waited for his shift to start, the sandwich he had bought at the corner shop lay open but uneaten. James had spent the entire day without food, buying the sandwich simply because he thought that he needed it but as soon as he tried to take a bit he felt his stomach turn, unable to even stomach the concept. He almost ached at the prospect. So he sat and waited, waited for anything to happen.

But nothing happened. James’ shift started. The hours rolled by Trevor came in for a chat but James was too preoccupied to be much of a conversationalist and Trevor left seeming a bit put off.

The Factory

So after a long time of working on a submission for  publisher and after some work on a personal project of mine that I’m not sharing yet, I finally got down to some horror story work. This is an attempt of mine to try and write something a bit longer and I’m not sure about it but I guess we shall see. Also for once i edited my work!

 

The factory loomed ominously high into the air, the grey tower of the smokestack highlighted by the clear sky. Ryan stared up at the tall building, looking through the broken windows, fancying that he could see shapes moving beyond the shards of glass that still sat in their frames. At eight years old Ryan had always been told by his mother to stay away from the factory even though the chain link fence that surrounded it was completely locked and there was no way through. Ryan had always thought that he would be able to climb the fence easily enough if he had a chance, but he knew he wouldn’t even get half way up before he was seen.

Ryan was about to turn away and continue on his way back home when he felt something pat him on the back. Ryan jumped and wheeled around to see another child, probably slightly older than himself, his features contorted into a smirk.

“You like the factory kid?”

Ryan didn’t reply, he was still slightly shaken and he didn’t recall having ever seen this kid before.

“What’s wrong? Didn’t scare you did I?”

Ryan shook his head but still didn’t say anything.

“You ever been in there? It’s really cool inside.”

“You can’t get in, the gate is locked” Ryan finally replied.

“Don’t be stupid, you don’t get in through the gate; there’s a hole in the fence, me and all my friends have been in there.”

“There’s a hole? Where?” asked Ryan excitedly, despite knowing that he probably shouldn’t know or else he would be even more tempted to go exploring it.

“It’s round the back, follow me” and with that the kid walked off, turning round once to wave Ryan after him as he hadn’t moved. Ryan hesitated for another moment and then followed.

As they walked round the back of the factory the kid turned round again.

“What’s your name?”

“Ryan”

“Mine’s Tommy” he replied and continued walking.

The pair reached the back of the factory by slipping through a narrow back alley, little more than a few feet gap between two other houses. When they got around to the back Tommy knelt down by the fence and started to pull at a corner by a support pole, revealing a gap that was small but still large enough to crawl through. Tommy stood again and gestured for Ryan to crawl go on through.

“Go on” he said, but Ryan didn’t move.

“My mum tells me I’m not supposed to go in there, it’s dangerous.”

“Oh you big baby, do you do everything your mum tells you? I told you everyone I know has been in there, it’s not dangerous.”

Ryan stood and considered it for a moment, before stooping and staring to crawl under the fence. When he got to the other side he turned back to Tommy but he had made no inclination that he was going to follow him.

“Are you not coming?”

“Not yet, there’s a game. If it’s your first time going into the factory, you have to go alone.”

Ryan was shocked at this.

“Go in alone? For how long?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll come in and find you when you’ve been in there long enough.”

Ryan turned and looked at the factory. As enticing as it had looked before it now had an air of foreboding that didn’t seem to settle quite right.

“Go on, go in, or are you just a chicken?” Tommy taunted from the other side of the fence.

Ryan gave one last half glance backwards before setting off resolutely towards the ominous building that stood in front of him.

As Ryan approached the factory he started to wonder how he was supposed to get inside. He had always thought that the large iron doors had been sealed when it had closed and he knew he had no chance of being able to pull them open. His trainers crunched in the gravel that covered what had once been the car park of the factory but now was empty asides from an old rusty shopping trolley that lay on its side in the middle of the car park.

Starting to consider the possibility that there was maybe a widow somewhere on the ground level somewhere he could climb through Ryan wondered if that was how Tommy had gotten

before. Or maybe Tommy had been lying and he had never been in the factory and had just been teasing him. But then how would know about the hole in the fence. But as Ryan grew closer to the big factory front doors he saw that instead of being closed they were in fact standing slightly ajar, just enough for him to be able to slip through in fact.

Pausing just before the doors Ryan peered into the darkness of the factory but he couldn’t see much through the small gap between the doors. Taking a deep breath Ryan started to slip through the opening. As he slithered through he started to see more of the factory’s insides which got his excitement going and he struggled harder, desperate to get inside. Suddenly something caught Ryan’s jacket. He pulled desperately at it but he could not get it free. Suddenly the horrible thought that while he was stuck there circled his head, still halfway between the doors, something could happen and the doors would slam shut on him! He started to pull more frantically at the jacket but still couldn’t budge it. Finally he managed to get the zipper open and he slipped out of it tripping as he forced his way through the doors, landing hard on the ground.

Getting up from the floor Ryan tried again to pull his jacket from the door but was still unable to. He thought it must be stuck from the other side and was about to squeeze through again to try and retrieve it but then he remembered what Tommy had said, he had to stay in there until Tommy came and got him before he leave. He stood there for a moment, considering what to do, then decided that he would have to get his jacket on the way out. Turning away from this now he faced the rest of the factory.

Ryan found himself in a massive room full of old machinery such as conveyor belts which stretched the majority of the room. There was a staircase that lead up a back wall, ending in a door that lead off to another part of the factory. The factory had used to be used to make car engines a couple of which were still sitting on the conveyor belts as well as several small piles of parts littered around the place, almost like they had been abandoned in a hurry. There was also a chain hanging from the ceiling that ended in a vicious looking hook the purpose of which Ryan could not fathom.

The edges of the room were lined with huge metal supports that ran up the walls and across the ceiling connecting together in the middle of the roof, giving Ryan the image of some bizarre metal ribcage. On the back wall of the factory there was a massive machine that all the conveyor belts lead out from. This machine was probably about the size of Ryan’s bedroom back home and he was amazed at the complexity. With several panels on the side with controls that Ryan could not understand. Given its positioning and sheer size Ryan thought instantly of it as the heart of the factory, hidden behind its steel ribs.

But Ryan’s attention was distracted mostly with the way that the light filtered in through the windows, many of which were broken or boarded up so that the light only managed to enter in slivers, becoming a glowing razor blade that cut through the darkness. The dust particles floated down and rose through the trails of light, reflecting off it and giving the appearance that they were sparkling. The small movements they made, caused by the light breeze wafting in, made them look like they were dancing through the beams of light, pirouetting through the air.

The wind that blew through the factory made a quiet whistling sound as it passed through some of the piles of pipes that littered the ground and the occasional squeak from a mouse made a quiet symphony to play for the dust. Ryan was amazed at how, despite the initial impression of stillness, that the factory gave off it was in fact in constant state of movement. From the dust dancing around and the mice scurrying back and forth under the machinery to the fluttering of the ivy leaves of a creeper that had grown up through a crack in the concrete floor and was now constricting it’s way round one of the steel ribs.

Ryan also noticed the smell that the breeze brought in with it. While he had been expecting the smell in the factory to be damp and mouldy it was quite the opposite. It smelt earthy, like walking through a wood and smelling the damp soil and the wet grass. It was a smell that reminded Ryan of going to see his grandparents, who lived in the country, playing hide and seek with his cousins. The smell made Ryan happy. It washed away all the fear that he had had just moments earlier and started his excitement running again. He was eager to go exploring the rest of the factory.

After looking around at the several doors that lead off the main factory floor Ryan decided to take a passage closer to the back wall, partly because he wanted to get a closer look at the heart and also because it seemed to him that that was where the breeze was coming from. Wandering down the corridor Ryan saw that there were several wires and pipes attached to the ceiling running from the heart and down into the next room. This seemed slightly weird to Ryan as he had would have thought that wires like that would have been somewhere that they were less likely to be damaged. His mother had always told him that a damaged wire was exceedingly dangerous and that he should stay away from one should he see it. But these wires weren’t damaged as far as Ryan could see so he continued to wander along the corridor. He should be ok.

The corridor was long and bland to look at but finally Ryan entered another room. This one was a lot smaller, filled by another large machine that the wires led into. He assumed that it must be some sort of engine to drive the other machine as there was the smell of petrol about it and several

empty cans lying in a corner that Ryan had seen before when his mother had stopped to fill the car up. Ryan found this room to be less interesting than the main factory floor and after a quick look around, returned the way he had come with the intention of seeing where the stairs lead.

When he got to the bottom of the stairs he looked them up and down, they looked secure enough though there was a worrying amount of rust on some of them and the handrail was broken in several places. Ryan hesitated, starting to worry about the wisdom of climbing them, but as he looked up towards the room at the top he could see that the door was slightly open and there was a golden glow coming from inside. Taking a deep breath Ryan put his foot on the bottom stair and started his ascent. He was small for his age and quite light so he reckoned that he shouldn’t have any problems. Though they were rusty the stairs stood firm as he climbed them and even the worst looking section showed no signs of stress as he traversed them. Reaching the door at the top he pushed it all the way open and stepped inside, still slightly relieved to be off the stairs.

Turning to look at the rest of the room he had entered he saw he was in a small office, about half as long as the main factory floor and thinner, he was surprised to see that the divisions that separated the cubicles were still in place and a few of the desks were still sat there, worn and starting to be eaten away by woodworm but still where they had been left.

Ryan walked around some of the cubicles examining them; opening desk draws gripped by the desire to see if anything had been left in them. He jumping out of his skin when he opened one to see a small rat sat inside chewing on a rotting piece of paper. The rat leered up at him and squealed before leaping from the draw and speeding off out of sight. Ryan let out a small yell as it darted past him and stumbled backwards, hitting the wall. He waited a moment to let his heart settle down again before looking around the room again, trying to find the source of the light he had seen, his desire to examine the draws no longer as strong. Finally saw it. There was a door at the opposite end of the room that stood ajar, and the glow he had seen was emanating from under and around the cracks where it was slightly open. Creeping forward cautiously he pushed the door open a bit more and peered round it to see what was inside.

Ryan saw a single office, not too large in size but with a big window opposite the door that looked out onto the street below and gave a nice view of the sky. The sun was starting it’s decent in the sky, painting it shade of burnished bronze as it hung just above the skyline of the city. In the middle of the room was another old desk and behind that there was a tall office chair bound in brown leather. Despite the fact that the chair must have been quite old the leather had only started

to crack in a few places and apart from a bit of wear in another couple of spots was clean and still perfectly useable.

There was also an old filing cabinet in the corner of the room and despite the instant temptation to sit in the chair Ryan headed over to this first, opening each draw too see what, if anything, was inside, certain that it at least couldn’t be another rat, though that didn’t stop him being slightly more cautious. Finding each draw to be empty he turned and looked out the window, admiring the view and the way the sky had changed colour since he entered the factory. He thought to himself that when he got home he might try and paint it. Art was his favourite class in school and his teachers had all said he was good at it. And then his heart skipped a beat. Home. He was meant to be back before it got dark. He had forgotten with all the fun he had been having exploring the factory. He hurried to the door of the office and pulled it open, about to run out and leave the factory when he stopped in the doorway, turning slowly to look back at the chair. Surely he could just quickly sit in it and see what it was like to sit there in the big chair. He could spare just a quick few minutes.

Ryan walked over to the desk and settled himself into the chair; it was soft and seemed to settle to his weight perfectly making it extremely comfortable. The leather also seemed to be strangely warm despite the cool air wafting through the factory. Ryan span around in the chair a few times before pretending he was shouting orders to his imaginary workers. He was loudly telling them that they weren’t working fast enough, shouting at them and telling them they needed to do better. He stood up on the chair and shouted across the offices at an imaginary man in the back, pleased to hear the way his voice echoed around the empty air.

Then from behind him came the screech of metal on metal, loud and chilling, it came from where the filling cabinet was sitting. Ryan span around, still stood on the chair with a chill crawling up his spine. The chair rocked as he moved, making him lose his balance. He stumbled, flailing his arms about trying to find something to steady himself on, found nothing and fell backwards. The world slowed for a second as he fell but then a sharp pain split the side of his head, a crack resonated around him and the world went black.

When Ryan awoke his head hurt worse than it had ever hurt before and when he reached up to feel the spot where it had hit the table he felt a huge lump under his hair as well as something sticky. Looking at his fingers he saw red clinging to them and realised he had been bleeding. He started to panic his breath coming hard and fast, catching in his lungs at points. He sat there almost in tears for a few minutes before he managed to calm himself and regain some sense.

When he finally regained some control he got to his feel and looked around and thought he was going to have another panic attack. The room was dark, the window that had previously let in all the light of the outside was now broken, shards of smashed glass sticking up from the frame and a few boards had been nailed across the frame to cover it, though by the look of them they had been there for a while. The desk was now leaning diagonally as one side of it had rotted away to the point where it had broken and the chair Ryan had stood on was not a tattered mess. The leather, which had been almost pristine, was now all but peeled away. The stuffing was damp and grey, spilling out of several holes and onto the floor. Ryan also noticed the filing cabinet, now battered, missing all its draws and lying on its side. Ryan felt his breath catching in his throat. How could it all have changed he thought? It wasn’t like this before, it wasn’t.

He hurried from the room as quickly as he could and out into the office that had been filled with cubicles. Just like the first office this one now seemed completely different. The few dividers that remained were toppled over and broken; the fabric on them was worn and rotten away with age. The desks were all missing now, with nothing but marks on the filthy floor to show where they had been. There were also stains on the walls, long, greasy looking marks that ran down from skirting board to skirting board. Where they had before been a clean white in colour they were now a dirty grey, covered in marks and peeling where water had leaked in.

Ryan again rushed through this room and out onto the staircase, planning on rushing down it and out the door but he had to grab onto the hand rail as he reached the first stair to avoid falling down the hole that had appeared. The staircase was now completely covered in rust, the missing piece of it lay on the floor of the factory, fifteen feet below fractured upwards like a spiked pit. Ryan stared out over the factory floor and gasped.

The darkness had filled in where before the light had streamed in from outside. Shadows now covered the walls and where before there had been beams of light that had played with the dust that hung in the air and made it dance now the shadows that hung thick from the ceiling and covered the floor. The dust still circled in the air but now it only gave the illusion that the shadows were moving, slowly crawling across the machinery and the conveyor belts, shying away from the light like some demented jungle creature. Where the ivy that had crept through the windows had glowed and emerald in the sunlight it now seemed thicker and looked slimy as the low light reflected off the damp than clung to it, giving the vines the look of tendrils forcing themselves through the cracks, gripping the walls as if a sea serpent had slipped from the ocean like some horror movie and now gripped to the side of the factory, hauling it back to the sea.

The smell of earth had gone and had been replaced by a stench of mould and rot but it was also tinted with something bitter and foul that lingered at the back of his throat and almost made him gag as it filled his lungs. The sound of the wind not seemed like a distant scream as floated round the factory, chilling Ryan to the bone and making his breath mist in front of his face. The supports of the factory, which Ryan had before thought looked like ribs, now seemed to curve inwards in the darkness, making the entire factory feel like the chest of some mighty monster.

Ryan felt cold sweat trickle down his back and realised he had to escape the factory and now. Looking down the staircase Ryan could only see one way down the stairs, he would have to grip the rail, carefully placing his feet on the side of the stairs where it hadn’t broken away.it would be dangerous but it was the only way. Slowly Ryan started to edge his way down the side of the stairs. The metal groaned loudly under his weight and dust started to drift out of the wall where the supports strained to pull themselves free. Occasionally small chips of metal would fall out from the stairs as the rust and strain finally defeated them. The wind that flowed through the factory felt like it had suddenly turned against Ryan, pushing him backwards towards the holes in the stairs. The sound of the wind changed from a scream to a cheer, urging itself to push Ryan down and to his death.

Ryan pulled himself onwards however and neared the bottom of the stairs when finally the stairs seemed to give way and the supports pulled themselves from the wall. Creaking and moaning the structure slowly started to collapse on itself. Panicking Ryan did the first thing that came to his mind and leapt from his positions on the stairs and down onto the floor, his legs giving way under the impact. The stairs smashed loudly to the floor, snapping and bending under the weight of the rest of the metal. The shadows on the wall seemed to swirl in the rising cloud of dust forming evil faces for split seconds, menacing in their visage and wafting away before Ryan could be sure he had seen it. A few stray bolts clattered across the floor, bouncing off the metal and making a sound that resembled that of a high pitched laugh.

Ryan lay on the cold, filthy ground trying to catch his breath and calm his heart again. Ryan could only look at the tumbled staircase and think how close he had been to going down with it and being crushed. Even if that hadn’t killed him he would be stuck there without help. The realisation suddenly dawned on him that he was lying in in the shadows, covered in the muck of the factory; his knee had taken a hard knock when he hit the ground and his shoulder was aching to match the throb that had been in his head since his fall. The shadows around him had suddenly seemed to grow very still since his fall and Ryan grew chill, they were watching him, waiting to see what he would do. Like animals circling wounded prey.

Ryan knew that he had to run; he had to get away from here as fast as he could. He would slip through the door, dive through the hole in the fence and wouldn’t stop running till he was home and safe in his bed. He pulled himself up from the ground, feeling himself sticking to something, in his panic he thought that the floor itself was holding on to him, trying to pin him down. Ryan wrenched himself free and ran. Dodging round the conveyor belts and other machinery piled on the ground. The shadows seemed to curl and move around him trying to hold out wispy arms to grab hold of him but Ryan burst past them. Reaching the front of the factory he looked up, expecting to see his jacket still hanging between the doors, stuck on something outside, but what he saw made his heart sinking in his chest.

His jacket was lying on the floor, torn to tatters. It lay a few feet from the door as if it had been pulled loose from where it had stuck and been hurled away by someone, or something. The door itself stood tall and solid and clearly closed. Ryan rushed to it, screaming to himself in his head that it couldn’t be true and he was just seeing things. He pushed at it with all his might, tried pulling on it, hammered on it with his fists and kicked at it but there was no way that he could move it. Ryan felt tears starting to flow freely from his eyes and he screamed loudly in as much frustration as fear. How could the door have closed? But now he felt he was trapped. He thought of trying the windows but they were boarded up as the window in the office had been and that at least was how they had always been. Even if he could pull a board away he would cut himself to pieces on the shards of glass as he climbed through.

Ryan whipped the tears from his eyes and looked around watching the shadows circling around him, their sleek forms seeming to creep down the walls and across the floor. Even the ivy now seemed to be bending his way. Then he saw it, something that gave him hope. There was a shadow down the end of the corridor he had walked down earlier. No it wasn’t a shadow. It was a silhouette. A human silhouette. Ryan realised in an instant, it must be Tommy come to get him out!

Ryan ran towards him, why hadn’t Tommy found him earlier? It didn’t matter he would know a way out of here and then he could go home. Ryan ran down the corridor but as he got closer Tommy turned and ran away from him. Ryan called after him and started to run harder but Tommy easily outpaced him. Ryan chased him back into the room with the engine. The room was not very large and Ryan could see that there was nowhere for Tommy to hide. But he was not there

Ryan was confused now, he was scared and he was alone. He turned and was about to start walking back down the corridor, getting desperate enough to try one of the windows, see if he could knock some glass out of one and make it safe to escape through, when suddenly the engine behind

him started to rumble. At first it only growled quietly but it grew louder and louder, reaching a roar that filled the room and echoed down the corridor. The engine started to shake with the force of the mechanism inside and the stench of petrol filled Ryan’s nostrils. Ryan stood terrified of what was happening. He needed to run but he was rooted to the spot. Finally he managed to force himself to turn away, running headlong down the corridor chased by the roar of the machine behind him. The further down the corridor he got the more the sound of the engine was replaced by a new sound. A rhythmic thumping that was, if possible, even louder. He finally reached the main floor of the factory, terrified of what he might see. Of what could be making that noise.

The heart of the factory had started to beat. The pounding filled his ears, so loud it rattled his teeth. It sounded like fireworks being set off right beside his head, a monotonous thump-thump thump-thump. The sound echoed around the entire room, from the ribcage ceiling to the slick murky floors. Ryan glanced up and saw to his horror that the ribs of the factory were not just ribs but they had now become claws that were visibly bending in towards him, long skeletal fingers that lead the shadows down from the ceiling to grasp at him.

Desperately Ryan ran for the only way out he could see. He wrenched urged himself into motion, almost tripping as he dashed to the closest window. The window was boarded up but the glass behind the boards was broken, if only he could get the boards away then Ryan could clamber out and be free. He didn’t even care if he got cut by the glass as long as he was out. He grabbed a hold of the bottom board and pulled with all the strength he had left, desperately trying to wrench the board free. But the wood held firm. The nails keeping it on the frame didn’t move and inch and despite the rotten, worn look of the wood the plank didn’t so much as bend. Almost hysterical Ryan tried again and again to pull the board free but it still refused to move. Warm tears flooded his eyes as he looked through the gaps in the window, straining his eyes in the dark to see if there was anyone out there. His heart skipped a beat as he saw there was a figure standing in the street and as they moved under a street light he saw that it was his mother! She must have gotten worried and come looking for him. Pushing his mouth between the gaps in the boards he screamed for her, straining his voice over the thumping of the heart. From the distance between them his mother should have been able to hear his hysterical cry for help. Ryan called again and again but to his dismay, when he looked his mother was looking up and down the street, clearly having not heard him. He called again and his mother looked up briefly, she turned and gave the factory a glance before she turned and walked on down the street.

Ryan fell to his knees, tears now running freely down his face. He had nothing left he could try, he was trapped. Why had he not listened to his mother? Why had he allowed himself to enter

the factory? And where was Tommy? Had he entered after him? Had he already been caught by whatever it was that was that pursued him. As these thoughts swirled around Ryan’s head another shadow rose up the wall, taller and darker than the others. The shadow swirled and formed into a very familiar face. Tommy’s face. It looked down at Ryan and sneered, a familiar expression to the one he had worn when he first startled Ryan, but now it was cruel and full of malice and Ryan realised how he had been lured into the factory. How whatever was in the factory had waited for someone like him to lure into its lair.

The shadows moved around him, surrounding him and slowly advancing towards their prey. They closed the gap and started to creep up Ryan’s legs, twisting themselves around him like the ivy that had slithered up the walls. Ryan finally found his voice and let out a scream.

Outside the factory was as it had ever been. The street was deserted and silent. No thumping heart. No screams. Nothing.