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Shapeshifter.

The harsh wind licked the dusted snow off of the poorly constructed cabin. Positioned a few meters away from the edge of the cliff was the construct rocking along with the blizzard. Ice crept in through the gaps in the roof. A young man with an overgrown beard threw open the door and hurried inside. He wore a leather jacket with fur around the shoulders, a wooly hat, and had a pair of rugged binoculars wrapped around his thick neck. Using the lens, he peered out over the other side of the mountain. “We’re safe,” he frantically said to his younger brother, cautiously positioned against the wood. The eldest pedaled back from the frosted window, and slowly doused the oil lantern sitting on the floor.
“You got it, right? I saw you attack it with your knife, right?”
“I think, it was moving so fast I couldn’t even tell.”
“What’s that on your back?” the younger brother weakly whispered. The eldest quickly reached for the fire prod before removing his coat and bringing it to his nose.
“It smells like…sulfur,” he said.
“Was that some bear?”
“I…I don’t know. I can’t even describe it .”
The wind’s speed started to diminish as the indigo moon crept behind the peak of the mountain. “I shouldn’t have brought you up here, this is all my fault,” the eldest said.
“Don’t think like that,” the younger exhaled.
“No, it is, I should have waited until you were healthier before we did this.”
“If we would’ve waited, I may never have done this climb,” he passively smiled. “You know I wanted us to go on this trip, we’ve talked about it for too long.”
“Always the optimist, even in the face of danger,”
“Right…” the younger replied. “What do you think we should do? Bar the doors?”
“Smart idea. Whatever is out there, it’ll have a harder time getting through the door if we block it.”
“Did you get a good look at it? the younger curiously asked while gasping for air.
He shook his head, and specks of crystallized sweat bounced onto the frigid boards.

The eldest rose to his feet and began rearranging the furniture to barricade the entrance. He angled the massive dresser towards the door, tilted the circular table to block the exposed window, and broke the lantern to scatters shards of glass in front of each possible entrance. Sitting in the corner, the younger brother watched in awe at his resourcefulness.
“This reminds me of old times?” the eldest said while wiping his hands.
“Oh…does it? How?”
“Remember how we used to play in the woods. I’d build a fort, and you’d sit around waiting for it to be complete. We’d stay out till the sun went down, and we’d play that one game. I forgot what it was called,” the eldest said.
Shapeshifter…”
“Ah, that’s it. You always wanted to be it too,” he chuckled.
“Mhm.”
“Those were the days…everything was so simple back then.”
“And then I got sick…” he confessed.
“And then you got sick.”
“Who would’ve thought,” he coughed, “that ma and pa gave me the bad genes?”
“Don’t blame them,” he stated.
“I’m not. Nobody is to blame but myself, for being so weak,” the younger paused. A gale cut through the logs and stung their sullen eyes. “That’s why you wanted to bring me up here, right? To show me I wasn’t weak.”
“Guess you figured out my motive, huh?”
“I am the smarter one, remember?”
“Is that so,” the eldest laughed.
The repositioned furniture slightly creaked as the night progressed.
“Do you even want to take a guess at what that was?”
“It had two legs, and it stood upright.”
“I thought I saw a tail or something attached to it. But I don’t know any animals that stand on two legs and have a tail.”
“Ever heard of a kangaroo?”
The younger leered at his brother, “you think a rabid kangaroo is chasing us across the Appalachian trail?”
“No, but it is an animal with two legs and a tail.”
“Yeah yeah, so we have no clue then,”
“Do we need one?”
“Not really, so long as we survive,” the younger confessed.
“We should escape, first thing in the morning.”
The younger nodded before dropping his head back onto the wood. “I’ll take first watch so you can regain your strength. You’ll need as much of it as you can if we have to make a quick escape.”
“Wake me up when it’s time to switch shifts, or if you hear anything. I don’t care if it’s just an icicle falling off of the roof, wake me up.”
The eldest snapped his fingers, before reaching for the cast iron prod in front of the fireplace.
In the stillness of the moonlight, a slight echo rang from outside of the cabin. The youngest just managed to drift off to sleep, before the echo resounded. He frantically jumped out of his nap, but reached for his side immediately afterward; his muscles were spazzing once again. “Did you hear that?”
“No, what was it?”
“Sounded like a shout. Shit, do you think it found us?”
“Doubtful,” the eldest said.
“What about our tracks?”
“The blizzard probably covered them by now, even ol Ham-bone and his bloodhound nose couldn’t find us. And we put them lights out as soon as we came in.”
“Right, I forgot about that,” he exhaled. The silver moon shone its light through the window, flooding the cabin with ivory. As the beam crawled from one wall to the next, the younger brother picked his head up for just a moment to notice his shadow across the floor. His sickly frame was barely visible; the radiation had eaten away at much of his muscles, leaving a crackling skeleton in its wake. The youngest twirled his wrists, watching the darkness give form to his figure once more before glancing at his brother; his eyes trailed the floor until they reached his sturdy boots. The eldest peered through the sliver of the window that was available, gripping the metal prod. The moon retracted behind a slight wave of snowy clouds, but for a short second, the younger brother failed to recognize his brother’s shadow. Along the floor were the shades of his boots, the iron in his hand, and even his hat; but in the areas where his body was visible were absent.
“Hey, bro-“
“Shhh,” he interrupted before placing his bony index finger over his lips.

The youngest remained quiet as he watched his brother from his corner of the bleak cabin. The remaining light from the moon dissipated, leaving them in complete darkness.
Huff. Huff. Huff.
Trying to control his breathing, the youngest clasped his shaking hands together and tightened his fingers around each other.
Huff. Huff. Huff.
A low growl came from outside the cabin that caused the younger brother to lose his rhythm. Unable to see his brother, he forced his buckled knees to curl, giving him enough momentum to rise. Using the wall as support, he nudged himself closer to the entrance, hoping to catch his brother. As he leaned against the sturdy board, the growl increased in volume, whatever was outside, it was coming their way.
“Brother, brother, where are you?” the youngest whispered. When he experienced the gnawing silence, he assumed that his whisper wasn’t loud enough, but he couldn’t even hear his brother breathing. The growl suddenly changed into something more of a shout, a primal cry. “Brother, please help,” the youngest whispered once more. Footsteps shuffled along the boards, and suddenly, he felt a frigid hand against his shivering arm. He had recognized the grooves of his brother’s hand before he pulled him down.
“It’s outside,” the younger stated.
“Yeah, I heard.”
“What should we do?”
“Maybe wait?”
“Right, the entrances are blocked. There’s no way it can come in.”
“Exactly…” the eldest voice had a sinister tone in it.

Continue reading Shapeshifter.

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Eve’s Drop

Sp/l-it

1.

The rain quietly rests on the window sill, watching the scene unfold before it’s crystalline eyes. A silent film with two figures, man and woman, sitting on the edge of a bed. Lips moving, bodies shifting, jerks and jolts as irreversible lighting strikes their hearts. A moment, now space expands. An otherworldly pressure blanketing the bedroom, pausing just above their tears. Two becomes one faster than droplets sliding down the stained window.

2.

She walks into the bedroom, her feet crumbling under the weight of calcified guilt. Crawling out of clothes that smelled of regretful cigarettes and old books. Standing above a rotted coffin, buried under soiled sheets;  a resurrected corpse now occupies this space, the same bed where they used to lay.  Unaware, she’s created a Frankenstein of her former lover, made with pieces of men who want nothing but to feel warmth.  How deftly mad was she, to bring him to her sacred garden and attempt to place a lost soul in this new body?  And this man, this monster would never leave now. No, she had given him life, who was he to turn away from that?

3.

He stepped out of the rented taxi, neck scented with cologne and a touch of starch. A finely shaven beard, chiseled from ear to chin. He a was a man, and ready to do what men do, and indulge themselves. Listening was a bore, and whisky always made his lips run loose. He approached the crowded bar, scanning over the bottles like a falcon above the forest; but no prey appeared. Reaching into his black denim, he unveiled a leather wallet containing enough money for him to face his fears, or so he believed…

Serial Streamer

There was a slight glare from the light but she continued to look. It was darker than normal this afternoon, the sun seemed to go down earlier. The sound of heels tapping pavement could be heard at the other side of the alley. Instinctively she clutched her keys, placing them between her fingers. Her wedding ring made it difficult for the key to fit but somehow it slid in. Her phone in the other, using it as a guiding light, searching for the apartment number. Sirens wailed in the distance while television noises echoed through the hall. But then it became silent, as if all the oxygen has suddenly disappeared. The darkness from the other side began to shift, slowly at first. Out of the void a figure began to appear, the lights casting a dim silhouette over his face. And then a small light, a set of legs followed by hair and face. A woman. A lost sheep. Somehow she managed to step into his view, just when he was getting ready for the night. She seemed to be the perfect warm up for the approaching festival. Tonight was his night. Under the mask he could only hear his own breathing,

Inhale

Exhale

Inhale

Exhale

Until the rhythm became him, then he would go.

The front pocket of his uniform was glowing, a white phone peeking from under the cloth. He looked to the streetlight, and from under the mask it looked like the light was fading.
She didn’t notice him until he was only a few paces behind her, how quiet he moved. A slight chill went up her blouse, causing goosebumps to stand at attention. It was mid May but between the silent bricks it felt like December. Cold with a hint of the end. She looked at the houses, watching the numbers climb. Her own destination seeming farther, while the end was still following. A Mis-step gave him away, for his feet were in sync with hers. She turned to see a small figure, a teenager. His outfit slightly dirty, the singe of the day’s grime was still on his sleeves. His hands were long, they almost didn’t belong to him. The streetlight flickered and his face appeared, only for an instant. Pale skin and hollow eyes, until two pupils appeared from the dark circles. A mask. She thought back to her husband, and wondered how she would never stroke his chin again.

He walked to his prey, and reached into his pocket. A flash of silver illuminated in the alley. Under the mask he could only see one thing, her. Her body began to grow larger as he lumbered towards her. Suddenly it grew smaller, and her feet began to move quicker. No matter, they always run. He turned to the left and continued down the hall. His phone still sitting in his pocket.
She ran down the halls, screaming for help. It wasn’t enough for the occupied apartments seemed to only house lights. She turned around and noticed that he was gone. A slight trickle began to crawl down her legs, the liquids from earlier making an escape as she searched for hers. Her phone light was now off and the keys were no longer within her hands. She crawled into the pile of trash next to the rusted gate. The smell was only tolerable because her life was on the line, but she still gagged. And then it became quiet, no longer rustling plastic and drastic heartbeats.

His hand reached down

Her hair was snatched

His shoulders bulged as he lifted her

The trash bags rolled off her legs as she was taken

He kneeled next to her and unsheathed his knife.

In the distance a trickle could be heard, a fresh puddle forming in the gutter. In the dark it was colorless, but in the morning the street would turn Crimson. He lifted her body off the ground and tossed her into the trash, the festival was about to begin and he was late. She wasn’t…enough. He reached down into his pocket and checked his phone. His screen mirrored that of the alley, his new canvas. Leftover blood was streaked across the LCD lights and for a second the cells made a kaleidoscope on his mask. A solitary red flash was pulsating in the corner until a hold transmission button appeared. He pressed it and the screen went black. A lone sigh escaped from the nostril holes and a set of words refracted off of his face. The screen read “Lost Sheep” and his transmission ended.

I sat in the corner of my room, numb. Tears unable to fall and words no longer forming. What had I just witnessed? The ending of an innocent life or the craving of a sadistic man. The two accounts both open on my screen, wondering who’s story was the real one. I was afraid, but most of all I was confused. How, how could I watch that? How could I sit still and experience the end of an existence. I wondered who was the real monster as the same night sky began to fall over my bedroom window.

This short came from the idea”what would happen if someone live-streamed a murder?”

The Special Pen

This story is dedicated to all those souls who were taken from us too early through injustice, hate and violence. This is also dedicated to those who’s hearts and notebooks are filled with the silent echoes from the past. May these words grant us a minute of reprieve.

When I was born God gave me a pen. He said it had special ink. When I was old enough, the world gave me a notepad and then told me it was time to use the pen; however God gave me no instructions. So I started writing, and the pen worked. But not long enough. The ink would fade by the next day. I wrote about many things. about love. about fear. about the future. But my notepad was always blank by the morning. So I put it away.

I saw the name of a soul who was taken too early. It hurt to see this happen, so I decided to try the pen again. It bled this time, and I awoke the next day to find that my notebook was now real. Weeks later another name found it’s way into my book, then another. At first, these names were so important, because they were so few and the white space was so great. However, more and more began to appear, faster too. So quick that my hand began to hurt and the notebook started filling up. On occasion, I had to write many names at once and my fingers would go numb.  Eventually I had a list of names that never disappeared.

Continue reading The Special Pen