Tag Archives: monster

Waxy Wolly – Friday Fictioneers

Well, I’m back from the hospital and back into my routine. My apologies for not being able to read many stories last week, but I’ll make up for it this week, I promise. Also, although my Monday post, Drowning Day, was supposed to be humor, it was rather dark, so I’m sorry (to those who prefer my lighter stories) for another dark story today. I have a funny one coming up on Friday this week.

Also, since this is a horror story, I will dedicate it to my friend, K.Z. Morano, whose book 100 Nightmares just came out.

copyright Renee Heath

copyright Renee Heath

Waxy Wolly

Do you know Waxy Wolly, that goblin with the soft, melty face, drooping eyes flickering like malevolent candles? May he never come to your house.

Many a mother has looked into a cradle to see her baby staring up, a living effigy of that happy, laughing soul of only an hour before. And then when she washes it in hot water or puts it near the fire . . .

No one believes me. They all think I killed them. But there are no bodies to convict me. Just a waxy stain in front of the hearth, like someone spilled a large candle.

 


Homecoming – Friday Fictioneers

Copyright D Lovering

Copyright D Lovering

Homecoming

The whole town was there, standing in hushed anticipation for the return of Senor Najera’s son from the war.

“He was wounded,” someone whispered. “Hit by the enemy’s new weapon.”

The ship approached, the gangplank descended, and Mateo Najera appeared. The crowd gasped.

The rags of the once-proud army uniform were stretched over the misshapen, hulking figure that shambled off. One huge eye lolled at them, roaming witlessly.

Senora Najera tore from her husband’s restraint. “Stop!” he shouted. “What if he’s contagious?”

“He’s still my baby,” she said and ran to embrace him until her tears wet his festering skin.

 


Jasper’s Lamp – full story

This past Wednesday, I did a Friday Fictioneers story called Jasper’s Lamp. It’s a creepy story about five generations of women and their relationship to a lamp that has something growing inside it. The problem is, that the Friday Fictioneers stories are 100 words and I wanted to say more about it. So I wrote this one to tell the whole story. It’s a bit long, but if you like creepy, then enjoy.

lamp

“I brought it,” my mother says, and with those three innocuous words, a shiver of terror goes down my back. This is the moment I have been dreading since my grandmother showed me the lamp and told me it would one day be mine.

“I don’t want it,” I say. “How dare you bring that thing here?”

Her eyes are filled with the wearied horror that comes from years of caring for a monster. “Look, I promised my mother I would do this. Throw it away if you want. I don’t care. I’m sorry to do this to you, Sarah. God knows I’m sorry, but now I’m done. I’ve fulfilled my promised. I brought the papers too.”

With that, she stands up and walks to the front door. “I don’t want it!” I shout after her. I know it is useless; the front door clicks shut.

I go to the door in time to see her drive away. The lamp is sitting next to the door, covered loosely by a canvas bag. I am tempted to leave it there, but of course that is impossible. What if Evelyn, my daughter, sees it? What if the wind blows the bag off and the neighbors see the monstrosity that is underneath?

It takes all my willpower to knowingly bring that thing into my house; to actually put my hand under the glass globe and lift it, holding that terror so close to my body. A folio bound with a string is next to it, and after I bring the lamp inside, I get the papers and bring them into the kitchen.

They smell old, with a mustiness that reminds me of sickness. I make some coffee and then open the folio. My mother has told me about these papers, which my grandmother collected as a history of the lamp and an ongoing record of it. She loved it, my mother said, although I cannot understand why.

The papers on top are a bundle of yellowed, type-written transcriptions of an interview between my grandmother Ursula and her mother, my great-grandmother Celeste.

Ursula:  Tell me about my father, Jasper.

Celeste: Jasper, he was quite the dashing young man. He was dark-skinned, and my parents didn’t approve of him, but he was a romantic. Always talking about places he’d been all over the world. He said he’d take me with him sometime, but I didn’t want to go. Getting malaria in some sweaty, God-forsaken jungle, no thank you.

Ursula:  And when did he give you the lamp?

Celeste: The lamp. He sent it to me, if you can believe it. I don’t how it didn’t break, but he packed it tight into a crate with straw and paper and bits of rag. It was an oil lamp back then, not the electric lamp you’ve made it now.

Ursula: Can you describe the lamp?

Celeste: Describe it? You know damn well what it looks like! Fine though, I guess it has changed over the years. When I first opened the package, it was a brass oil lamp, with a glass chimney and underneath, a large glass globe. Inside the globe, there was a single eyeball floating, about as big as a cow’s eye. Gave me one hell of a fright. I found the note he sent with it. ‘I need you to look after this for me. Promise you will, it’s important. I’ll be back for it soon, but for now, keep the lamp burning. Keep it warm!’ That’s all he said, no ‘I love you’ or anything.

Ursula: And that was the last you heard of him?

Celeste: That was it. He was heading for Indochina when I said goodbye to him for the last time, but that note and the lamp was the last I got from him. Five months later, you were born. I did as he asked though, taking care of you and the lamp, keeping it lit, although I covered up the bottom most of the time. I couldn’t abide that big, staring eye just looking, always looking. I kept expecting it to fall apart, just decay, but as you know, it didn’t.

Ursula: When did you first notice it growing?

Celeste: you were about three at the time. You were toddling around and you grabbed at the skirting around the lamp and yanked it off. You screamed when you saw the eye first, but then you couldn’t keep away from it. You named it George, I remember. It was then I noticed it was growing, that there was more flesh behind it and another eye growing next to it, though at that time, it was dull and undeveloped.

Ursula: What do you think about the lamp?

Celeste: [sighs] I didn’t like it and I still don’t. It still gives me the creeps and if you didn’t have such a connection to it, I would order you to destroy it when I die. But Jasper’s last letter to me made me promise to take care of it and I did it for him. You can do what you like with it. For years, I kept imagining he’d come back and take it off my hands. I don’t suppose he will now though.

The transcript ends there. I heard hints of this from my grandmother, but not everything. The next thing in the folio is a battered,spiral-bound notebook. On the cover, it says, “The Book of the Lamp, by Ursula McIntyre-Willis”. I didn’t know about this.

June 5, 1958: I’ve decided to call the thing Jasper instead of George. Not that it’s Father, but I never met him and this is all I have from him. Sometimes when I look into the lamp, I can imagine those eyes speaking to me as they look unblinkingly into mine. I can almost understand, but not quite. It’s frustrating. Both eyes are full size now and a body is growing behind them.

I flip through a few pages. My grandmother Ursula has made detailed notes about its development and her feelings about it.

August 19, 1961: The body is taking on a definite shape now and I can see a head forming around the eyes. Last night I had the insane thought to open the globe, even though I knew it might endanger Jasper. I pried off the lamp part, but the globe is totally sealed, as if it was made whole. I don’t know how they did it. I will replace the lamp with an electric one, I think.

July 29, 1964: My husband Randy tried to smash the globe with a baseball bat. He’s always hated Jasper,  but the bat didn’t even make a scratch. He knows not to try to touch Jasper again though. I made sure of that.

February 3, 1968: The kids never want to go near Jasper. I don’t care about Brody, but if Rose is going to take care of him after me, she needs to love Jasper as much as I do. An hour a week in the closet together should help their relationship. If she looks into Jasper’s eyes, he’ll speak to her.

March 28, 1970: I got the good idea to record my mother’s recollections of the lamp. She never loved him as much I did. I’m glad she let me take care of him.

July 2, 1973: The area over his eyes has been thickening for almost a year now. At first, I thought they were fading, but now I see it is the eyelids growing. Last night, I saw my dear Jasper’s eyes for the last time. Now they are shut and he is sleeping.

November 6, 2003: I am going into a nursing home tomorrow and I can’t keep Jasper anymore. My heart is breaking, but now it’s Rose’s turn.

At the top of the next page, my grandmother has written my mother’s name: Rose Willis-Hunter. But the pages afterwards are blank. At the back of the notebook, I find a letter from my mother to me. It has been crumpled up, but then smoothed out again. It is dated June 20, 2007, the day after my grandmother’s funeral.

Dear Sarah,

I feel like I’ve been living in a nightmare most of my life and the last thing I want to do is pass it on you. You were there for the reading of the will, but there was a secret clause about it. She left it to me along with her papers and a book of things that the thing inside has supposedly told her. She wants me to pass it on to you when I get old.

My darling Sarah, forgive me. I will keep it away from you as long as I can, but you have no idea what it was like living with her. She broke me, slowly but steadily. I hate that thing, but I can’t destroy it and I can’t abandon it. I dream about my mother even now and about that thing she loved. The hours she locked me in the closet with it before its eyes closed changed me somehow. I hate it and I hate myself for being so weak.

Your mother,

Rose

At the bottom, in red pen, my mother has scribbled, I threw this letter away, but decided to show it to you anyway. It was a moment of truth I don’t think I can bring myself to repeat. I burned the book of things it told her. I made the mistake of reading it and I may be weak, but I couldn’t let that survive. I left the notes she made of its history, so you’ll know the truth and be warned.

I close the folio and go out into the hallway, where the lamp is sitting. With a deep breath, I pull off the canvas bag.

The monster, Grandma Ursula’s Jasper, lays curled up inside. It is more developed than the first time I saw it, that time when Grandma brought me up to her secret library when my mother was away. This is Jasper, she said, as if introducing me to a friend. One day, he will be yours to take care of. Now, I can see a whip-like tail curled around the bottom, curved spines along its back and its hundreds of little legs curled up, each ending in a single claw. Its closed left eye is pressed against the glass now. I have a sudden image of it opening and I throw the bag back over the lamp. Somehow, I get the lamp down to the basement and bury it behind boxes.

I go out to do errands and come back that afternoon to find, with horror, my 8-year-old daughter Evelyn reading the papers about the lamp I have thoughtlessly left out on the table.

“What’s this?” she asks.

“Nothing,” I say, grabbing them.

“Do we have this lamp?” When I don’t reply, she continues, “Where is it? I want to see it.”

It’s like I don’t have a choice. With mute horror, I lead her downstairs and move aside the boxes, aware that I am continuing the chain. Show her now and she will be revolted by it, I think, to comfort myself.

“So this is Jasper. Wow, he’s so cool,” she says, gazing into the globe.

“It’s just a thing and it’s not cool.”

“But great-grandma Ursula called him Jasper,” she says. “He’s almost done, right?”

“Done?” I ask with alarm. “What do you mean?”

“Well, from the notes on the table, he’s been growing for years. So when he’s finished growing, he’ll wake up, right?”

“What makes you say that?”

“I don’t know. I guess I just assumed.”

“Look, Evelyn. Don’t come down here, okay? This thing is evil. I’m going to get rid of it, okay?”

“But I want to be there when his eyes open,” she says and my mind revolts at the smile on her face. Not for this! I want to shout. Not for you, Jasper. You can’t have her.

I lay awake in bed that night, thinking. I am all by myself since my husband left two years ago and I need to do something to stop this. I need to destroy the lamp, carry it to a dump, drop it into the ocean, anything to get it away. I fantasize about doing it, day after day, while I keep the basement door locked and an eye on my daughter. But I feel that time is running out. It’s almost done,” Evelyn said, and I feel it too. So I keep on, think about destroying it and do nothing and hate myself for doing nothing, around and around, in a maddening spiral.

But I have to do something. I have to. Before the eyes open.

lamp 2


Jasper’s Lamp – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Dawn M. Miller

copyright Dawn M. Miller

Jasper’s Lamp

Great-grandmother

“Jasper left me the lamp. It had a glass globe underneath it, a single eyeball floating inside. Creepiest thing I’d ever seen. “Keep it warm!” he said. He never came back, for me, the lamp or his daughter.”

 Grandmother

“Mama gave me the lamp when I moved out. I had grown up with it, that little lump of flesh and two bulging eyes.”

 Mother

“I didn’t want it, but I took it. The curled-up monster inside freaked me out.”

 Me

“‘Its eyes just opened,’ my daughter screamed from the basement. Then she screamed again and I heard glass shatter.


Our Darling Swamp Monster, Part 3

This is the final installment of this story. It is told from the point of view of the swamp monster, Khip. The other two parts are: Part 1 and Part 2. Or, if you missed them but don’t have time to read them, here is the synopsis:

Gerardi, who lives next to the Forbidden Swamp finds a spiny, clawed, wide-eyed baby monster and takes it home. He and his wife Melanee raise it until they can’t afford to any longer and release it back into the swamp. Gerardi secretly feeds it anyway and later, starts stealing from his neighbor’s flock to feed it. He goes away for a month, only to return to find that the monster, Khip, has been killing lots of animals, even some people. He goes to find Khip and he leads Gerardi to his mother, a repulsive monster living deep under the ground.

Our Darling Swamp Monster, Part 3

I stand there in that in that nether-hell, partway between the splaying demon that claims to be my mother and the man, Gerardi, who raised me.

Kill him, the monster whispers in my mind. You came from my body long ago and you are mine. Kill him and bring him to me to feed on. I command you.

Curse her commands! It was because of that irresistible call that I brought my dear father here in the first place, as much as I wanted to keep him far away. But I have no voice to speak to him with, to warn him. I take a step towards him, my long claws digging convulsively into the hard dirt with the strain of my internal battle.

“Khip,” he says. That’s my name, the one he and my mother Melanee gave me. It means “special” and I love them for it. The hideous creature behind me who claims parentage over me has no name for me.

“Khip,” he says again, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I caused trouble for all of us and maybe it would have been better if I had not taken you in. Everything is my fault.” I know the meaning of his words but I also see the meaning of his heart and see that he would do it all again if he had the chance.

Do it, the thing behind me whispers in my mind. Kill him now, I am hungry. He is not your father. You have no father.

In that moment, my hatred of the creature burns so hot that her hold on my mind loosens. In an instant, I leap forward and grab up Gerardi, my father, and crash towards the exit tunnel. I hear the repulsive brute behind me screaming her rage into my mind, but I keep going, climbing with hind claws and one arm, while the other carefully grasps my precious human to my scaly chest.

Outside, the night cacophony of the swamp wildlife fills my sensitive ears. I set Gerardi down gently.

“You saved me, Khip,” he said. “Thank you. What was that thing? Was it really your mother?”

No! I want to shout at him, but all I can do is grunt. I long to tell him how I wandered the swamp after I left his house and how her call drew me to her. I did not mind killing and bringing food for her, as long as Gerardi and Melanee were unharmed, but now from his mind I can see that even that has hurt them. There is nothing I can do for my dear parents but leave them.

“Khip, you have to leave this place,” Gerardi says and I see that he is crying. “The people will hunt you down and kill you. You need to get away to safety while there is time.”

Come with me! I want to say, but all that comes out is a more insistent grunt. He doesn’t understand. How is it that I can be so sensitive to his every thought and motivation, while he is so blind to mine?

Finally, I leave, crashing through the underbrush until I reach the water and splash into it. I can feel his grief behind me but my mind is concentrated on my own suffering. I am a monster of unholy seed, driven away from the only family I have ever known. A crocodile swims below me and in my pain and loss, I seize it and eviscerate it with one swipe of my claws.

All night I swim and splash until, just before dawn, I reach the sea. There, I dive deep and breath in new life from the stinging salt water. Only a few days pass before I am a legend of fear among the sea creatures.

I cannot feel the minds of my parents, my dear Gerardi and Melanee. Their minds are only two small lights in a mass of millions. The creature that bore me, I can still feel on the edge of my mind, although from this distance her alluring call is ineffective. I do not know if she can die, but I will wait and if that day does come and I am safe from her mastery forever, then I will return.

This isn't what Khip looks like, but it's the closest picture I could find [*]

This isn’t what Khip looks like, but it’s the closest picture I could find [*]


Our Darling Swamp Monster, Part 2

One day, on his way home from collecting willow bark and reeds, Girardi Kurst made a discovery in a steaming pocket of sludge. It looked at first like a shapeless bag of withered grey leather, but there was a creature inside that loose hide, one with spines and claws and large, wondering eyes. It was a monster but it was also a baby, and he was in a fix whether to leave it or kill it outright. In the end, he brought it home.

Our Darling Swamp Monster, Part 2

The village of Farensfen was gripped with fear as a unknown monster from the Forbidden Swamp slaughtered animals and people and destroyed property. No one had seen it in full light, but there were plenty of stories of its hideous appearance. Every household in the district had suffered loss from it, except for one: that of old Gerardi and Melanee Kurst. Naturally, suspicion had fallen on them, especially on Melanee, since Girardi had been away on a long trip when the attacks had started.

Gerardi could not sleep. There were murmurings in the village that his wife was a witch, who had summoned the monster. He worried about her safety, but he also worried about the safety of Khip, the monster that they had raised and then released back into the swamp when they could no longer afford to keep him.

Khip still loves us, he thought. He has to or he would have attacked us as well. Gerardi did not know if he could somehow convince Khip to go away and leave the area. Sleep refused to come and so finally, he got up and went out into the misty swamp night, a lantern in one hand and a cudgel in the other.

The swamp was full of the sounds of nocturnal life and the shifting, lurid lights of swamp gas and luminous plants. It was another world from its sleepy daylight existence. Now, even the darkness itself seemed alive.

There was a sudden splash and Girardi turned to see white teeth snapping at him in the glow of the lantern. He dodged aside and brought the cudgel down on the head of a huge caiman, stunning it. He killed it with another blow and then continued along the path.

Girardi had been born without fear. Melanee sometimes expressed her amazement that he was still alive, but even she admitted that it was a useful attribute when you lived on the border of the Forbidden Swamp.

He was walking without a plan, but unconsciously, he made his way to the place where he had found Khip’s egg the year before. He reached the clearing and found a trampled area under a large willow. It was full of bones and gore and was swarming with flies and small scavengers. A twig snapped behind him and he turned to see Khip standing at the edge of the clearing, watching him with purple eyes that glowed in the lantern light.

He had almost doubled in size in the months since Girardi had seen him last. He stood on two legs and his back bristled with new spines. His long, knobby hands held half a cow between blood-stained claws.

“Khip, it’s good to see you,” Girardi said and meant it. He wanted to rub his belly and chase him around like he’d done when Khip was a baby, but this was not the time. He was an adult now.

Khip gave a low grunt and set the dismembered cow on the ground. He stepped closer and then, with a tentative gesture, put a hand on the ground in front of Girardi and sat down. Girardi sat as well.

“Khip, this is all my fault,” he said. “I just wanted to feed you, but it seems I did too much. You have to stop killing animals, and especially people. I love you, but you have to go on, to another area. There are wild areas where you can live and hunt in peace. I’m afraid for you. Men will eventually come and they will hunt you.”

Khip looked steadily at him. Girardi had always believed he could understand him and had always spoken as such. Then the monster stood up with a bound and set off through the foliage. Gerardi followed him.

They walked for ten minutes before they left the trail and Khip started up the rocky hill that stood in the middle of the swamp. Halfway up, he reached a hole in the ground, and looking back once at Girardi, disappeared into it. Girardi followed him in without hesitating.

The hole went down steeply into the earth and was slick with mud and tangled with roots. Khip had evidently been here before; he moved quickly downwards, but the walls and roots showed the violence that past trips had inflicted.

The tunnel began to fill with a fetid odor much stronger than the normal swamp smell. It was a stench of decay and something much sweeter and more deadly, it seemed to Girardi. Several hundred feet down, it ended in a large room lit dimly with luminous mushrooms. At one end crouched a monstrosity unlike anything outside of a fevered nightmare. It was in form similar to Khip, although bloated and expanded so that it could not move. For the first time in his life, Girardi had an idea of fear, although even now it was more of a distant realization that a gruesome death was close by.

A voice came from the nightmarish creature. “You have aided my son and for this I thank you. But now, you must die.”

(to be continued)


Our Darling Swamp Monster

Every now and then, my friend Sharmishtha posts the beginning of a story for others to complete, if they wish. I do them sometimes and this is one of them. I have taken the main idea, but changed it slightly. Here is her original prompt:

Late at night they could hear his roar, at a distance. They still remember when that little bundle of fur landed in their life, mother killed by a poacher, two cubs left to perish. It was their sheer luck that a woodcutter found them. How they struggled to keep him warm and alive, the second one perished hours after being rescued.

How hard it was for them to decide that they will have to let him go. The sleepless nights they passed after his release. Now… they miss him but are happy for him.

Now, here’s my story:

 

Our Darling Swamp Monster

They didn’t call it the Forbidden Swamp for nothing, although the worst that Gerardi had ever found there were will-o-the-wisps and exploding swamp gas. But then one day, on his way home from collecting willow bark and reeds, he made a discovery in a steaming pocket of sludge. It looked at first like a shapeless bag of withered grey leather, but there was a creature inside that loose hide, one with spines and claws and large, wondering eyes. It was a monster but it was also a baby, and he was in a fix whether to leave it or kill it outright. In the end, he brought it home.

His wife Melanee was taken with it right away and they name it Khip, which meant “special” in their language. They kept it in a box by the fire, until the heat burned it. Then they kept it in the barn for the next year until it started killing the goats. It had lived on pulped poisonroot, but now it would only eat raw meat and soon, they could not afford to keep it. So, Gerardi sorrowfully took Khip out into the swamp and let it go.

*         *         *

“I wonder if he’s hungry,” Melanee said. It had been a month since Khip had gone.

“Stop asking that,” Gerardi said. “He can take care of himself out there. You shouldn’t worry about him.”

“I know, but I miss him,” she said.

“I miss him too. Let me go out and take care of the animals. I’ll be back soon.” He went out and fed the goats and other animals. Then, he retrieved the half a goat he had saved from when he had killed it a week ago. He carried it out to the edge of the swamp and placed it where he had put food every week since he had let Khip go. The meat always disappeared and he recognized Khip’s distinctive tracks in the soft dirt.

He knew it could not continue like this forever. Just to get him settled, he thought, but that is what he had said for the first week and he was still bringing food out to the edge of the swamp. Just a little more.

Soon he realized he had to stop. He did not have enough goats to sacrifice one every two weeks and if he continued, he would soon not have enough to expand the herd. So, one dark night he snuck up to his neighbor’s house and stole a goat. His neighbor had ten times more goats than Gerardi did. After this, he went and stole a goat every two weeks from his neighbor and then listened sympathetically as the man complained bitterly about goat thieves and wild animals.

Once a year, Gerardi made a trip to the capital to trade his medicinal herbs and other swamp products for things they needed. It was a long trip, almost two weeks each way and so just before he left, Gerardi stole two goats from his neighbor. One he killed and left in the usual spot, while the other, he killed and left a trail of blood leading back towards his neighbors house. He left the other dead goat nearby. This way, he thought, Khip could go get his own goats if for some reason Gerardi was late and missed bringing him his food.

The trip was a success and Gerardi returned with many beautiful and necessary things. However, he found the area in an uproar when he returned. “There is a monster lurking in the swamp,” people said. “All sorts of animals have gone missing.”

Gerardi hurried home and was relieved to find everything in order and his wife healthy. Still, not everything was fine.

“It has been terrible, the last few weeks,” Melanee said, holding his hand. “It has to be Khip doing all this, but still I’m afraid for him. Also, people have noticed that we are untouched, even though we live on the edge of the swamp. They are becoming suspicious.”

The next day, Gerardi went into the village, where he heard more news of the attacks. “It was mostly animals at first,” they said, “but now, a couple of people have gone missing too and old Ramses’ barn was ripped to bits. It’s the work of a monster.”

Most people were glad to see Gerardi back, but not everyone. He got some strange looks and questions about his wife and if they had lost any property. He lied and said they had, but still, it was clear that some people suspected Melanee of somehow being behind everything. He was leaving the market when he heard the word witch rise out of a conversation behind him. It was a terrifying word.

(to be concluded soon)


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A San Diego based critique group for professional and aspiring writers

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