Tag Archives: haunting

The Bully

Tyler was the biggest, meanest, toughest
bully there was in our neighborhood
and he terrorized us younger kids
on a daily basis as he lay in wait
in the alleyway,
in his leather jacket,
smoking Marlboro’s.

A decade ago,
a car accident put him in a
wheelchair for life and had
reduced his mental capacity
to that of the local produce section.

Nobody had seen him since then
until I did the other day,
now in my forties.

His sister was wheeling him
across the broken pavement of
the local strip mall and after
some conversation was struck up,
she asked if I could wait with him
outside while she went into the drugstore.

Tyler was silent, small and stared
vacantly at the ground.

“Sure thing,” I said,
wanting to be nice to her.
She still had it.

Not a moment had passed since she went inside
when I felt a sudden cold, steel pressure
clamping down on my wrist.
It felt completely alien, but some part of me
automatically knew that it was Tyler’s hand.

The crushing grip tightened as he
applied even more pressure and
worst of all was that while Tyler was
staring up at me
–where before there was
nothing but blankness in his eyes,
there now was this evil spark,
this glaring, searing manic light,
widening with recognition.

“Hey, look who it is! It’s the Little Toad!”

‘Little Toad’ was Tyler’s nickname for me and
suddenly I was twelve again,
trying not to get pulled into his madness but
compelled by the force of it all the same.

“Little Toad! Little Toad!”
Tyler shouted with glee
as his hand continued to crush my wrist;
his face now right up in my mine.

“Nothing ever changes! You’re still a Little Toady Toad!
And while you’re wrapping your arms around the bottle,
your wife is wrapping her legs around the dentist!
That’s right, I see it all, and it’s all a million laughs!”

Tyler’s entire face seemed to grow out and distort
like a balloon inflating from the stump of his neck
or a twisted medieval gargoyle coming to life.

“What?! You think I was done with you back then?”
Tyler’s voice scraped through my ears like
unrelenting poisonous sandpaper.

“HA HA! Little Toad! I’ll always be here!
I’m at your house every day and every night!
I’LL NEVER BE DONE WITH YOU -IN FACT,
I’M JUST GETTING STARTED!”

It was all coming together like
the worst possible nightmare
in all eternity
and I started to scream.

“My God, are you okay?” His sister was standing
just outside of the shop door staring at me
like I was a complete lunatic and
Tyler was leaning against the side of his
wheelchair, back to normal,
staring away at nothing,
even drooling a little bit.

I didn’t say anything.
I just walked away
to my car then drove to my house and
to my wife and kids.

Later on that week,
I thought myself silly for sleeping
with a baseball bat beneath my bed.
Really, what was wrong with me?

Perhaps because we were sleeping
in different beds now,
or perhaps because of something else.

Later on that night,
I thought I heard a noise
from out back.
It seemed somehow
deliberate.

I went outside and
nobody was there…
but somebody had been:

on the patio table there was
a cigarette left burning…

a Marlboro.

The Demonic Bathroom Tiles Get Me Everytime

It could be in the mirror
behind you
seen just for a second
or spotted in a photograph
-something that doesn’t make natural sense.

It could be you.
It could be me or
it could be something else.

You decide.
I’m tired of trying to
discern ghosts from the blonde next door.

“You have a comfortable bed.” She said.
Though it was the third time she’s used it.
“Thanks.” I muttered best I could
as the toothbrush viciously scoured my bottom row,
me being a fervent believer in oral hygiene and all.

The tube was spent and when I turned to the trash to discard it
that’s when I saw it:
The patterns on a single tile of stained linoleum
appeared to be forming into a visage.
The more I grew fixated on it
the clearer it became
until it sharply resembled the face
of somebody screaming.
The eyes were blank with terror and
the lips stretched back far as they could go.

I would only know such pain
if I were in Hell
and that’s where this face came from
as it was a window directly into the bottom
of God’s boiler.

I began to hear the cries
of a thousand souls
-a million.

I thought of death, war, Walmart, eternal suffering, Cthulhu, diabolic torture, George W. Bush.

It was pulling me in.
It was pulling me in.

“What are you doing, Silly? You’re dripping.”
She smiled in the doorway, laughed, rushed down the stairs.

I looked back to the floor. I could no longer see it
so I spit, rinsed, spit and followed.

It was time for me to cook some eggs
with the Peameal bacon left over from camping.

It was a lovely Sunday morning.

Dead Girl Writing On A Blackboard (Don’t Turn Her Around)

I lifted my head and looked around me. Mist breathed out from beneath every door down the hallway as though on cue, lapping up against my feet, slowly reaching out for my face. I scrambled back and stood up with a start as it violently swarmed around my legs like bees upon a honey-covered child. Seeing that no harm came from it, I wandered through toward the light coming from a classroom at the end of the hall –unease building with each step. A flickering fluorescent strobe greeted me when I came to the doorway.

Looking into the classroom, I saw the back of an unfamiliar little blonde girl writing ‘I won’t let go’ over and over again on the dull surface of the blackboard. Her hair was tossed over her face like an old mat and she wore a white dress dashed with streaks of long-dried blood. Despite everything screaming for me not to and not knowing what I was hoping to find, I walked up to her between desks far too small for me, placed my hand upon her shoulder, and turned her around.

Her face was gone. It might have seemed like she once had one, but it was covered over by a sickly growth -a veiny veil of taut skin that wrapped like a suffocating shroud around her features. I could almost make out socketless eyes and maybe a hole where her nose had been. But her small mouth I could definitely see beneath as it was opening and closing, working to form the words that she was still writing out into the empty air now that I had pulled her away from the board. Seeing that this situation would be of no use to me whatsoever, I turned her little fragile body back to the board where she continued to scribble away in pretty handwriting – as girls always seemed to have– the same words, over and over and over again:

‘I won’t let go’.

Disappointed, I left the classroom and the sound of her relentless scribbling behind me as I made my way to a field behind the school where yet another phantasmagoric entity awaited to molest my conception of reality.

(excerpt from ‘The Dweller’ – coming out soon)