Tag Archives: spirit

Horror Flash Fiction #10: Looking For Victoria

Johnny Spirit sat beneath the bridge downtown beside the tracks on an old battered mattress placed among train cars splattered with graffiti. He took from his coat pocket the handful of mushroom caps that Evil Jesus had given him, popped them into his mouth and began to chew on what tasted like pliable copper. Unlike most he was loath to do it as they made his mind a train-wreck and the come down was unnecessary but he needed them to get tonight’s job done. They let him get far enough into the thin veil that separated all things to where his own natural abilities would kick in and take it from there. It was very much like jump-starting a vehicle in the dead of winter.

Far across the silent, broad street under the sole streetlamp a fire burned high in a rusted steel barrel. Beyond it on the facade of an abandoned factory a doorway led into darkness. Something bad had happened there not long ago into the past or perhaps into the future. It was hard to tell and it wasn’t his business unless someone paid him which was why Johnny was here to begin with. He needed to eat, pay rent and maybe get a bottle of Jack to help manage his own demons.

After a half-hour had passed in silence the mushrooms started to kick in. Johnny felt nauseous and cold. His thoughts took shapes of their own and took him to places he needed to forget but simply could not and it was all part of the trip:

Her face appeared again like it did every time he closed his eyes. She was laughing as she danced between trees drenched in soft summer’s eve light.

The image faded, replaced by another of her some time later -the same lovely face contorted into a mask of anguish as she screamed for him to leave, followed by the heavy presence of silence and emptiness that had since remained like a long, dark hallway.

No…I’m sorry, Sweetheart. I’m so sorry for what happened to us.

Then came the little apartment room swallowing Johnny up to the moment that he was trapped with the elfish nymphet happily hurling bottles at his face as she laughed at him and at his pain. She was all scars, stitches and rage under a barrage of flower tattoos -a girl that was nothing but damaged and as such had damaged Johnny in return by trying to love him the way that others had taught her.

Some people’s sickness you can’t see until it’s far too late.

Again his world transformed to become the burnt-out husk of their house after the fire where everything was blackened and wet as he wandered through alone in the night still clearly recalling the kaleidoscopic din of sirens and lights. It was a place that he had never really left and Johnny hated himself for it just like he hated the four walls he lived in and despised even more the need to ever leave it and walk out into the brutally confusing world.

Johnny, get a grip. You’ve got work to do.

Johnny jerked his head up, opened his eyes and forced himself into the present. He had to own this trip or it wouldn’t work. The nausea dissipated and he couldn’t feel the cold or anything else now as he experienced the weightlessness that was the dominion of dreams. It was how Johnny knew that it was time. He needed to find the girl in blue by the station as it was Johnny’s ticket to where he wanted to go tonight.

Johnny began to walk in the direction his mind told him to go and it wasn’t long before he heard steps falling, skipping along beside him. He turned to face a girl of about twelve whose light-blue dress and dancing shoes spoke of how long she had been residing here unseen except for when she needed or wanted to be.

“Do you think I’m pretty?” She asked.

“I’m bad, but not like that.” Johnny replied as he lit a cigarette. The act of it taking more of his concentration then it had a right to. “I’m not interested in that or in you in general, not really anyway.”

Johnny felt sorry for the girl as he took in her dead visage, her pale dead legs beneath her tattered dress, her pale dead everything. He wondered how many of the missing have fallen to her in these parts in this town.

“You sure know how to talk to a lady.” She crossed her arms.

“I’m looking for Victoria.”

“Oh? And what do you know about Victoria?”

“She’s been hurting some of my friends and I want her to stop. I thought that things might be better off if her and I had a conversation in private.”

The girl’s laughter was humorless and beyond her years. “What makes you think that I would help you?”

Johnny reached into his pocket. “Because she takes possibilities away from you. Help me, and I’ll help you. All I want is some information and in return I’ll give you this.”

Johnny pulled out a small black key and handed it to her. The girl knew what it really was and smiled. She nodded over to where Johnny came from, to the barrel fire and the door behind that led into a very bad place judging from the feel of it.

“I think you already know where to find her.”

Johnny looked over to see that the fire was still burning like a beacon. There was still nobody tending it. And the door was still open like an unanswered invitation. “Fuck.” He said.

“Not for you. Not tonight. Not if you go in there.” The girl cupped her mouth and giggled.

“A grand says I do.” Johnny turned and started walking.

“Oh, poor Johnny.” He heard from somewhere behind him. “She’s not really the one your looking for, is she?”

Games The Dead Play

Jackson with the long blonde hair
Hollywood smile
badass black leather jacket and slim frame
gracing the kitchen at a party

I was watching him
from the living room
making some beautiful girl laugh
playing it all up smooth as
silk rippling in a fine french wind
but that was Jackson
last I remember
the thing about this was
that he’s been dead
for fourteen years

Don’t tell me that I’m
crazy or mistaken
it was him all right
the way he moved and tilted his head
when he laughed and looked away

Hell, I could see the scar on his right cheek
from here
I gave it to him when we were sixteen
with a bowie knife
that was supposed to hit a tree

Best days of my youth were
spent that last summer
before his funeral when
we were all seventeen and
all we did was skateboard
drink whiskey
get high

He got all the girls’ numbers
every single one of them
you had to hate a guy like that
if you didn’t like him so much
because Jackson had all the charisma
that the rest of us didn’t he was as pleasing
as a Beatles melody
with his laughter his calm eyes his lack of caring

He was one of those guys that would never die
but then one day he did

I remember well
the way his mother cried at his
open casket
his ashen gray face with the
lips sewn together

When you see someone you know
in such a manner
with all the light gone
their dormant body
just looks like a
cheap rubber suit

Now here we are and
there he is
glancing at me all nonchalant

This even isn’t the first time
I’ve seen him
yeah, he’s been here and there at
parties, festivals, bake sales

I put it all together a while back
that he’s been watching me
following me
but for what?

It appeared there was a game afoot
which rules I did not fully understand

Well, having had enough of this
it was finally time to find out
and get some answers from the
dead man himself
so I set my glass down
and made my way towards the kitchen

Jackson lit a smoke as I approached
now that he was alone
leaning up against the fridge

For a moment he just looked at me
and I felt that I must be losing
all my marbles and that
it wasn’t him at all
but then

flashing that signature Hollywood smile

“What took you so long?” He said.

Jenny Says Hi

Johnny got drunk
behind the wheel again and
smashed his car into a tree.

Jenny wasn’t wearing a seatbelt
and died on the way to the hospital.

That was twenty years ago
and the only reason Johnny
had recalled it right there and then
as he left the party that night
was that across the road
parked right under the
lone streetlight
was a 1983 mustang GT
5-litre V8
blue finish with cobra rims.

Johnny froze
and dropped his keys.
Jesus.

It wasn’t just any mustang GT
sitting there as though shipped in fresh
from outer space
It wasn’t just any car
It was the car
the one Jenny had died in
the one with the rear left panel replaced
by a slightly deeper shade
the one with long yellow scuff marks
all across the front bumper
and worn dark tints
missing patches here and there

and of course the
silly smiley-face sticker on the side bumper
where Jenny had put it.

Johnny couldn’t breathe
as he approached the car as
inside the shifter sported a chrome skull
on a center console painted black and white.

He did that
twenty years ago
when Jenny was still alive.

Oh God.
This wasn’t happening to Johnny
There must have been some answer to this.
Some strange coincidence.

He decided to wait across the street
on the curb
sobering up –half falling asleep
until when near dusk some kid came
strolling along
cigarette in his hand.

Weird-looking kid
-strange eyes
nobody walked like that.

Kid went up to the car
and stuck his keys in.

“Hey!” Johnny approached.
“Where’d you get the car?”
“What’s it to you?” The kid asked.
“Where’d you get it?” Johnny’s voice grew louder.
“Piss off, man. I don’t answer to you.”

Johnny went to grab him but
the slippery bugger dodged it
shouting:
“Get off me! I’ll charge you!
You can’t just run around grabbing at people!”

Johnny managed to catch him by the shoulder and
spun him around against the car
the kid grinned
his breath smelled like rotten eggs.

“WHERE DID YOU GET THE CAR!?” Johnny slammed his
hand down on the roof
right next to the bastard kid’s head.

The kid shrugged. “Alright. Uncle gave it to me, man.
Some old trash job he touched up. He’s a
mechanic. We good?”

Johnny turned away. Was it possible?
Johnny supposed it was. It had to be.
“Alright, never mind.” He said.

The kid picked up his cigarette.
“You need help, man. Cut down on the booze or something.”

Johnny walked away and heard
the car door slam behind him
and the engine started with that familiar
deep rumbling that he had always loved.

The car started off…
but stopped.

Johnny turned around to face the
red tail lights loudly flashing.

The kid leaned out the window
and looked back.
“Oh, Mister -and one more thing…

With a calm smile he said:
“Jenny says Hi.”

The Laughing

I must have been twelve
the first time I heard it
deep in the woods
-the laughing.

Sometimes it was a woman’s laughter
sometimes it was a man’s
sometimes an old voice
and sometimes young

but there was something about
the laughing
unlike anything you’ve
heard before.

Deep in your bones
you knew that it was not
like you or me
or the forest or the
cars on the street
grown or made by man
or in any way
natural.

Nobody knew what it really was
why it was there or
how it came to be.

Nobody talked about it
but everybody knew.

When you heard it from your room
late at night you knew
that harrowing echo
wasn’t a teenager by the bonfire
a drunk in an alley
a coyote or another night
animal
this was different
there was something about
the laughing
that made you want to
crawl deep inside your bed
and stay there.

When it came
even the animals appeared
from the trees out
onto the streets
startled
eyes wide in terror.

You would wonder what it might
look like
but you never wanted to find out

of course,
unless you were a kid
on a dare.

Steven was sixteen
when he went into the forest night
through the trail then off into the woods
after it
following it
looking for it
because we had dared him
egged him on

we did not fear much
then

but that had changed

because we all heard
what it sounded like
when he had found it
or it him.

Even after the search party we never
told what really happened
that night.

We never caved
in fear that they would send us out next.

Even to this day
we don’t even mention it to each other
anymore
like we had forgotten
but none of us had.

Some nights still
the room drops in temperature
the blood stops running in my veins and
I become gripped by an old fear
when I hear it
because it knows
that I know that

thirty years later
what was out there
in the barren darkened wilderness
really wasn’t
young Steven…

laughing.

When Dreams Become Dried Husks

It’s always time for the rodeo
now that I’ve firmly accepted
the fetal position
as a way of life.

Because when doubt comes barging in
like a mad cocaine pirate
I welcome it on board
with streamers and balloons.

She says that I used to be somebody
while the mirror lies
in the trash
in her yard

and my dreams
have become dried husks
so much that I pray for
monsters
under my bed.

Waiting For The Sun

I don’t know
where the light is
anymore
in all of this running around.

Grace
has left me
and I’m still young
bent from callous, careless hands
left
a beaten graffitied trashcan
turned over and
motionless at the mouth of an alley.

There is always a child
screaming into my ear
from somewhere deep inside.

It’s not what it used to be

and the pain-killers
are killing me.

I wish that I could
close the door
shut the windows
keep you out
all of you
not let you in
-this feeling this feeling
rises
like the angry voice
of the night city.

I’ve carved my words
through heart
and from wounds
my endless rage
and my way
through endless everything.

Eyes darkened,
child,
I can finally see through the night.

Breathless,
I wait for the sun.

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.

If You’re So Smart Then Why Can’t You Clean Up Your Mess?!

This world has shrunken to a room
filled with maniacs
and guns.

Everything
outside the window
looks like it’s either dead
or on fire.

Anything between is only deception.

Corpses rush through traffic
so preoccupied
with time
as the coyotes wait for darkness
sitting fat upon their faces.

The sun reveals
the presence of walls
unacquainted
with so-called mercy.

The sun rambles
it goes on and on
like the last drunk
at the party.

Nature wants not your genius
if you’re so smart
then why can’t
you clean up
your mess?!

I suppose that it doesn’t matter
the sea will claim us all
in the end
whether we understand it
or not
and I do believe
that it is time
for another drink.

Something sweet

Something dark perhaps.

Karma

Not every good person wins.
Not every bad person pays.
Not every smart person
knows the way.

Karma is a story that we tell ourselves
so that we sleep better at night
with our debts.

With our children beside us
we look out the window
and only see night
but sometimes we can also see
a distant light.

Sometimes it’s enough
to wake them up
so that they can see it too.