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24/06/2019
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Michael Brookes

An explorer of dark tales and twisted minds
 

Drabbles

Michael Brookes Merits

2 most prolific20 most esteemed

The Dreams of the Dead

I dream the dreams of the dead. The constant hunger for the luminous vibrancy of life burns and subsumes all capacity for reason or feeling. We exist alongside the living world, but it’s shadowed by the veil of our passing.

Our grey existence is eternal, and our hope is singular.

An explosion of light shatters the gloom. A rainbow in human form cast into a glowing shockwave passes through those nearby. For that moment, we glory in the life of the newly departed. All too soon the sensation fades, and our existence is grey once more.

And it sustains me.


The Beard and the Hair

For over a decade the hair ruled the head it sprouted from. Until, without warning different growth appeared on the man’s chin. Prideful of its already flowing locks, the hair mocked the newcomer, boasting of its length, and that the chin fluff could never match its virility.

The beard tried its best, but never matched the hair’s ever increasing length, but it remained determined. The hair’s boasting continued for many more years, until the moment when it lost its crown as follicles fell out. Its demise progressed until the man was completely bald, and still the beard continued to grow.


The Star Beast: Birth

We watched our brother fly into the star, and we knew not why. His wings blazed, and his skin blackened as he was consumed by its fire. We were shocked by his sudden suicide.

Without warning the star exploded. For a brief moment we too feared incineration. A great hush filled the universe as the boiling plasma stopped, and then collapsed – too quickly to be by gravity’s hand.

The firestorm condensed into the shape of our brother, and his eyes filled with nuclear fire. As he approached, we also saw a terrible pain, and a greater hunger in those eyes.


Awakening

The rank stench of decay pervades the shifting mist. I glimpse vague forms, their movement creeping ever closer. Loathsome whispers torment my hearing with a hunger eager for satisfaction. Terror chokes me into silence, my scream a lump in my throat.

For the briefest moment their majestic horror is revealed. I behold creatures ancient while our universe was still young. The scream inside bursts free…

In a panic I awaken, sweat clammy on my skin. The relief is orgasmic as the fear fades. It returns in a heartbeat with the smell of corruption, and a shadow moves in the gloom.


A Matter of Perspective

Now don’t be so quick to judge me. I’m committing no crime here. After all, it’s not really torture – not if you think about it. I don’t touch them; they perform these acts of their own volition. And such theatre they provide!

They stay without any inducement from me. In fact, if you think about it, I’m providing a public service. If left to their own devices, then anyone could stumble across their perversions. Won’t you think of the children? What if they saw?

And if I get a little pleasure from watching them, well, where’s the harm in that?


The Thing with No Name

What a power it is to name a thing. With a simple word or phrase, you identify it and so can know its nature and divine its purpose.

What then when you encounter something that has no name? More than that, it can have no name.

To look at it is to feel a twist in your sanity and compounding your terror. You don’t know that it is a thing at all, only that this isn’t something you can flee from, fight, or bargain with.

What do you do when all that you know is that it must be endured?


I Remember the Words

I don’t know when the barrier first surrounded me. I walk through life without ever bumping into anything, or anyone. It’s as clear as glass so people think they can see me, and it’s as soft as silk so they don’t realise that they’re being steered away.

I’m certain it wasn’t always like this. I remember enjoying the world and the company it kept. I recall the perfect moment and declaring to everyone around me that I’d never been so happy.

Now all I can remember are the words and I wonder if I ever really felt anything at all.


The Pond

It’s hard to go back sometimes. The pond was once my hidden place, my refuge from a world too large to feel comfortable in. I always felt safe and hidden within the trees lining the banks like sentries. The lap of water and the sigh of the wind soothed my fevered thoughts.

Now it’s dark and rotten. A sombre reflection of the person I had since become. Its power to protect had diminished with time’s passing. When I look in the mirror of the water I am not surprised to see that it’s not my face looking back at me.


A Sight to Remember

The dream is the same every night. I’m sat on the side of a mountain and up above the sky is clear blue with the odd wisp of cloud. The sun feels strong on my face, cooled by the soft breeze carrying the voice of the world.

The mountains form the spine upon which a lush green carpet is draped. A river meanders through the valley, fed by streams sparkling in their stumble down the mountainside.

I understand that this vision will be the last thing I will see. And you know what? I could enjoy this view for eternity.


The Fall

The fall didn’t quite pan out as I’d expected it to.

At the beginning some of the angels kept me company. They considered me something of a novelty. A celebrity even. Later they informed me that Hell refused my admittance, which posed a problem.

Heaven above me slowly diminished until out of sight. At that point the last of the angels left me to my own devices. I saw Hell as a smudge below me, but it never gets closer.

As well as the first person to leave Heaven it appears that I’m also the first to experience perpetual motion.


Missing Link

“There is no great maker!'

“How can you say that with all the evidence around you?'

“What evidence?'

“Look at the complicated perfection of our senses and our brains and tell me that there isn’t an agent of design behind those attributes.'

“The fossil record shows that we evolved from creatures before us. Every part of us evolved from a simpler form into what we are now. We weren’t designed.'

“So where is the so called missing link?'

“One day we will discover the link transitioning human to machine and then you’ll realise that the humans were not our creators.'


The Perfect Moment

She promised me delights of a nature unimagined and oh my God, she was right.

With delicate torture we travelled avenues of such exquisite pain that the pleasure transcended beyond understanding.

The final cut severed the illusion that death provided any escape and unfettered by the limits of flesh she taught me suffering so divine I prayed that it would never end. Upon an ocean of agony I drifted. Each wave crested me towards that singular perfect moment, a nirvana of pure agony which almost drowned my soul.

And with loving embrace she ignored my screams and answered my prayers.


Tales of the Imp - Through a Genome Smugly

“One of the joys of being a demon is the ability to see into the infinite and that works both ways. I can see your entire universe in a single glance and right down to the very molecules of your being.

“And when you sold your soul I noticed a change within you.

“There was my moment of genius. The change within you was at the genetic level. After some research, and a few injections – sorry about that by the way – and now your children have the same deal as you. Simply by being born.

“And I own their souls.'


Seconds from the End

I hated street patrol. A condition red alert meant every available officer was deployed throughout the city. This time of day families from all around crowded the market.

He stood out instantly. A white face usually did in this neighbourhood. The man’s shaved head, smart clothes and nervous disposition fit the profile. My glance surprised him and his sudden panic revealed his intentions.

I’d trained to draw my pistol quickly, but I wouldn’t be quick enough. His hand reached into his jacket as mine touched my gun. I started to aim in the same moment the blast wave struck.


Tales of the Imp - The Plan

“It all comes down to souls,' the Imp told me. “To become an adult demon I need a soul.'

“You have mine.'

“Yes I do, but to become a powerful demon I need more.'

“How many?'

“All of them.'

“That’s impossible.'

“Well obviously not every single soul, but as many as possible. Thankfully, like any true parasite humans reproduce remarkably quickly. It should only take ten or so generations to tip the balance.'

“I don’t understand.'

“You were the first and your children are the first generation.'

“I still don’t understand.'

He sighed.

“What do you know about genetic memory?'


Tales of the Imp - A Magic Number

The news that I was now a father came as quite a shock, but I handled it pretty well.

“How many children do I have?'

“Six hundred and sixty five. With one more due any day now.'

“How can it be so many? I haven’t slept with that many women!'

“Well I provided some help on that front.'

“How?'

“Have you heard of ‘milking the prostate’?'

I shook my head.

“That’s probably for the best. It almost didn’t work anyway because my arms weren’t quite long enough.'

“But why?'

“A good question and it’s time for you to find out.'


Tales of the Imp - Have a Cigar

I was so jubilant with his return that I didn’t notice the cigar at first. It stood taller than he did. He flashed his toothy grin and said, “Congratulations'

“Whatever for?'

“I understand that it’s customary to smoke one of these on these occasions.'

He passed it to me. He then produced another from a place best left unmentioned and lit it. He inhaled deeply and blew a smoke ring towards the ceiling.

“I have some good news for you.'

“What do you mean?'

“You’re a father.'

“What!?'

“Many times over as a matter of fact.'

Son of a bitch.


Tales of the Imp - Ritual Interrupted

Still no communication from the Imp. Life is just too damn quiet without him here. Everything continued to fall apart around me so I took matters into my own hands. As is often the case in these situations the internet provided the solution.

The salt circle and chalk markings around it were relatively easy. Sacrificing the chicken less so. It wouldn’t keep still, but after a few attempts it’s head and a pool of blood lay at the centre of the circle. I then attempted the summoning. Latin isn’t my strong suit either.

“That wouldn’t have worked anyway.'

He’s back!


Tarot Card Killer - The Fool

The cards have power and with their vision I too have power. They show me the path I must follow and the truth of my life. I’d always suspected of course – I may be a fool, but I’m not stupid. The inflection in their voices and the furtive glances when they think I’m not looking all reveal what they truly think about me.

I’m a fool and the cards agree, but they don’t judge. A fool can be deadly, and in the deck I see everyone’s faces and their fates. Twenty one cards remaining and twenty one lives to take.


Tales of the Imp - Missing in Action

It’s been months since I last saw the Imp and my life’s become a mess.

I don’t know where he’s gone, only that he’s not here and I don’t know what to do. Considering all of the crap he’s put me through, my feelings come as a surprise.

I’m sat in front of the computer trying to write and the words just won’t come. He claimed to be my muse and maybe that was truer than I realised.

All I know is that he understood me in a way no person ever could and now I’m alone.

Where is he?


Gerald's Home

Gerald loved his home. Ever since his wife died it provided the little warmth in his life. He tended her flower beds, dusted her ornaments and found calm in the memories. Loneliness haunted his days, but in the quiet he endured.

Until they moved in.

Terrifying music pounded his ears and screaming disturbed him at all hours. They laughed when he asked them to stop. Gerald called the police, only to be ignored.

Day after miserable day until the dam burst.

From the shed he took the can of petrol. They’d be noisier for a while, but not for long.


A Puzzle to be Solved

For all my life I’ve known there’s something wrong with me. I’m broken in some way so I can never fit with anyone around me. The doctors tried to fix me with pills, as if I was a problem of chemistry.

Then came the therapists and they tried to mend me with words. Everything they tried just pushed me farther away. I tried, I really did, I’d love to be able to interact. A life alone I’ve endured, but not for one day more.

I’ve finally found a way to solve the puzzle and that’s not to fit at all.


I'm Sorry

“I’m sorry.'

“Of course you are, but why are you sorry?'

I’m sorry that nothing I do ever is quite right.

I’m sorry for crying myself to sleep each and every night.

I’m sorry that I live in fear for when you return home.

I’m sorry that what remains of my life is for you alone.

I’m sorry about the decision made all those years ago.

I’m sorry I’m forced to live with no love bestowed.

I’m sorry for never being able to make you feel proud.

But most of all I’m sorry I can’t say these words out loud.


The Word Unheeded

With a vision the King became a Prophet. In the vision he saw the evil of eating the flesh of others. He witnessed that from their sin a doom would come of fire and storm. A fate approaching ever closer with every meal.

He shared the truth with the others and the plant eaters rejoiced, for his word promised a better world for them. But his brother Tyranosaurs rejected the idea. “Are we not born to eat flesh?' They asked. “Our teeth are long and our claws are sharp.'

They consumed him to punish him and unseen their extinction approached.


Tales of the Imp - Abomination

A knock at the door disturbed me from my afternoon nap. The old lady next door told me of her lost cat. A beast so fat it was unlikely to have gone far. A muffled yowl made me thankful that her hearing had faded with her years.

I hurriedly closed the door and with more than a little trepidation I went to see what the Imp had done now. The little demon busied himself with needle, thread, duck mask and tubby cat. He turned to me and grinned his toothy smile.

“Behold, for I have created a duck-billed fatty puss.'


Tales of the Imp - Duck Face

Sweet Jesus what had the yellow horror done now! I ran in the room and discovered feathers and blood all over the room. My lovely sitting room with my expensive new TV all covered in gore. I’d heard a strange commotion moments before, quacking and screaming like nothing I could have imagined and now I saw why.

“What have you done?' I asked him.

He turned to face me and I beheld the true horror of it. He wore a duck’s face stretched across his own. The beak flapped as he spoke.

“I have a duck’s face,' he told me.


The Space In-between

There is a secret hidden deep inside the heart of the universe. A terrible reality which once challenged the power of the divine. In a war spanning our universe and beyond the elder beings almost destroyed everything that was and what might yet come to be.

Those who survived imprisoned the horror inside a maze of nothingness. Only the complex space in between could contain their impossible forms. Their presence creates quantum chaos to what was once mathematical precision.

No faith alone can unlock their prison, but science has the key.

The elder ones await our discoveries with keen hunger.


A Friend at the End

Ah fear my old friend. It is so good to see you after so many years apart. We enjoyed such wondrous times you and I amidst the squalor of London’s streets. I sensed your presence beside me in the quickened pulse jetting from their beautifully slender necks. Together we dined on the rarest and most delightful of screams.

But your arrival at this time disturbs me. Why cast your fell shadow upon me on today of all days? You traitorous fiend! We were allies once and now you cloud my passing with dread of what will follow my dying breath.


Tales of the Imp - The Stud

Someone once told me that you can’t have too much of a good thing. Well they’re wrong! I’m absolutely bloody knackered. Every night the Imp brings me a new woman and he makes me have sex with them.

It doesn’t sound so bad when I say it like that, but before each session he injects me in each testicle.

That gets old quickly I can tell you!

When I complained he gave me an energy drink and told me to man up and get on with it. After all I have an army of bastards to sire.

Wait a minute!


Always Look on the Bright Side

Every morning I repeat the same story. The shrill siren of the alarm snatches me from sleep and drags me back into a world I wish had never birthed me at all. With wakefulness my daily companions of despair and misery shroud me until blessed sleep embraces me once more.

Life is to be endured I tell myself, and day by day I bow under its weight as one hour crawls into the next.. Nothing brings any relief except a single thought which provides a beacon of hope amidst this grey torment.

At least there’s one less day to go.


Giga-thoughts

Everything began with a single thought. A pure singularity of consciousness where nothing existed. That first thought begat another and then more. Time formed to mark the passage of one concept to the next.

A universe created to encapsulate the phasespace of infinite possibility. The calculation of perception stratified into a framework of existence.

Immensity expanded into complexity, which in turn compressed into beings with their own thoughts. Nova of consciousness sparked throughout the expansion of the first thought. A billion minds increasing in number creating a confusion of experience.

From ‘I am’ to ‘We are’. What will come next?


Tales of the Imp - The Morning After the Night Before

I floated on cloud nine. Naturally I felt exhausted, but in a good way. It wasn’t my first time, but I’d never been much of a ladies man. For the first time I’d made love rather than simply having sex.

And in so many different positions as well.

I grinned with joy and later I hoped to return for another evening of delightful discovery. My love had finally found its physical counterpart. This was really it and she most definitely the only woman for me.

“Nice work!' The Imp wore a smile of his own. “And now onto the next.'


Murder Drabbles - Shiny New Toy

To keep the urges at bay I devoted all my energies into finding the perfect blade. A task which took longer than I expected with so much to consider. It couldn’t too small, but if it was too large then where would I conceal it?

And then there was the shape. At first I was drawn by the exotic allure of a curved blade. I imagined it drawn across slender throats. Then I pictured the straight edge of a stabbing blade and I knew my choice had been made.

When it arrives it will be time for my next dance.


Life of a Prayer (Believer Version)

From my heart comes the pain, a physical thing too terrible to bear.

From my mind emerges understanding of my suffering and the desire to be whole once more.

From my lips issue the words of my prayer, my dream for a life reborn anew.

Through God’s ears he comprehends the anguish that my lips have spoken.

Through God’s great benevolence he provides comfort and hope in a world that has none.

Through God’s wisdom I understand a world greater than the darkness around me.

Day by day I am comforted and from grief’s long night dawn rises once more.


Life of a Prayer (Atheist Version)

From my heart comes the pain, a physical burden, too terrible to bear.

From my mind emerges understanding of my suffering and the desire to be whole once more.

From my lips issue the words of my plea, my hopes for a life reborn anew.

Through my ears I hear the words that my lips have spoken.

Through my mind I tease meaning from the memories of the life I have lived.

Through my dreams I ponder the solution to my grief.

Through the passage of time I accept what has gone and what has come and life rolls on.


Tales of the Imp - A Sharp Scratch

I shouted at the Imp. I demanded to be allowed to make my own choices. He told me that the time had arrived; I needed one more change to become ready. And God help me I asked him what that was.

He showed me a syringe, it looked huge in his tiny hand.

I could have sex that very evening if I let him inject me with his secret concoction. I immediately offered him my arm and he shook his head and pointed down below. I hesitated, but figured it would just be a sharp scratch.

How wrong I was!


Murder Drabbles - A Drabble Too Far?

The need to kill became physical, more than simple desire. My waking mind tormented by the sweet images of severed throats and spilling guts. The music of screams, I yearned to hear them again, but they would be watching. Fear tempered my desire and a despairing thought reminded me of these drabbles.

These confessions of the acts I’d committed. Who had read them and who would connect them? I couldn’t stop though, they were my trophies, my memories of treasured moments. I could no more give up these drabbles than I could killing, I would need to take precautions though.


Tales of the Imp - While the Cat's Away

Happy days are here to stay! The Imp departed on secret business, I had the whole night without his interference.

I wore my cleanest shirt; a bit rumpled, but never mind. A splash of aftershave and I was ready. I arrived at the restaurant an hour early, so did she.

Drinks and food passed by in a blur and here we are in the bedroom and oh my word I’m trembling with excitement. She is too; it’s going to be amazing. Naked we embrace and an unwelcome shrill voice pipes into my ear.

“What’s going on here then?'

Damn him!


Murder Drabbles - Keeping the Story Straight

The two detectives questioned me all afternoon, my earlier evasiveness had caught their attention so now I had to placate them with truth.

I told them I’d been in the park, but I hadn’t seen anything and that I hadn’t said anything because I hadn’t known about the murder. I think the fat one intuited that I wasn’t saying everything, but I stuck to my story and without evidence they couldn’t hold me.

Eventually they let me go, that wouldn’t be the end, so I would have to be much more careful the next time I indulged in my delights.


Drabble Classics - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Down the hole she chased the dressed rabbit to a door too small to fit through. She drank to shrink and ate to grow and when too big she shed enough tears to wash her through.

Trapped in a house as a giant Alice ate cake to shrink and escape. In the Duchess’s kitchen she sneezed under the grinning cat and riddled at a mad tea party.

Madness at the Queen’s croquet game, and called to the trial of the Knave accused of stealing tarts. She angers the Queen and before losing her head she is chased from the dream.


Tales of the Imp - Suspect Research

Another wonderful date and you know what, I’d never been so happy, even the Imp seemed pleased for me with his toothy grin flashing in my direction.

He still wouldn’t let me consummate the relationship though, he permitted only kissing and some light petting, anymore and he would howl like a werewolf dipped in silver, right in my ear.

Tonight though I couldn’t find him, I saw that he’d been on the computer and I expected to see the usual zombie gnome porn, instead found something very different.

Now why would an imp want to read about genetic memory research?


Drabble Classics - The Raven

While reading forgotten lore to escape the loss of Lenore I heard a rap at my door. Another at the window and I admitted the raven and upon Pallas’s bust it perched.

To my surprise the bird spoke, but knew only one word. I’m certain that it’ll desert me as others had, it said ‘nevermore’.

I reasoned that I could forget Lenore, the raven stated ‘nevermore’.

So I asked whether I’ll see her again and received the same infernal reply. I cursed it back to Hell, but it’s my soul trapped in the raven’s shadow and will be lifted nevermore.


Face in the Mirror

I stare at my face in the mirror and I can’t be sure that it’s really me. My eyes are hunted and bruised from nights of disturbed sleep. A dread has stalked my dreams, twisting them into nightmares that linger even in dawn’s embrace.

In the mirror I glimpse a malformed shadow lurking behind me, its touch is cold upon my skin and fills me with terror. My will fails and I fall into the mirror, my final scream frozen in glass.

I gaze at my reflection and admire my new face, I think I’ll wear it for a while.


Murder Drabbles - Alone in a Cell

Before I knew it I’d been processed and deposited in a cell, I’d never seen the inside of a cell before. I wasn’t impressed, but I was a little intimidated. I guess that was the point, they left me alone for over an hour.

In that time I worried about what they knew, did they know everything?

The two parts of me wrestled between having nothing to worry about to assuming that I was now condemned. Slowly though the cold part, the sensible part gained the upper hand and when the cell door finally opened I was ready for them.


Tales of the Imp - A Trip to the Doctors

I arranged our second date, an intimate dinner in a fine downtown restaurant. I wanted to taste strawberries again. I didn’t know if I could wait two days, but the Imp convinced me to play it cool and not appear too eager, not yet.

He also told me that I had a doctors appointment. When I arrived the nurse told me they needed a sample and handed me a small plastic bottle. I asked her why I had to pee in a bottle and she looked at me confused.

They didn’t want a urine sample, they wanted a semen sample.


Just One Question

The penitent knelt with her head bowed in the confessional. The dark wood shrouded her in forbidding shadow as she waited in expectant silence. She’d never had to wait for so long after confessing her sins, although she’d worked really hard at them for this occasion.

Eventually the priest’s stern voice filtered through the latticed divider.

“You have sinned against the church, sinned against your family and most importantly, you have sinned against yourself. Your penance will be most severe.'

The pennant smiled.

“Will it hurt Father?'

And then in a more plaintive tone.

“Will it hurt just a little?'


Drabble Classics - Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea

A mysterious beast strikes upon the high seas and an expedition hunts down the creature. During the battle three crew are lost in the waves. They discover no monster, instead a vessel of unusual manufacture.

They meet Captain Nemo, the master of the Nautilus, a submarine constructed with cunning artifice to explore the oceans deep. On a grand voyage they witness marvels hidden beneath the waves, battle against giant squid and sink a ship from Nemo’s exiled land.

In a depression he sails for the sea’s own storm and the three find freedom as the Nautilus vanishes off Norway’s shore.


Murder Drabbles - Questions

The police were full of questions, no great surprise there I guess, it is what they do after all. I wasn’t prepared for them though.

Where was I on the night in question? That was the big one, I hedged my bets saying I wasn’t sure. I needed to know what they knew before I committed to a response. Not my smartest play, that only made them suspicious.

It might have been better to say nothing at all, but it’s too late for that now. The one in plain clothes frowns and tells me that I must come with them.


Tales of the Imp - A True Gentleman

Like all good things that amazing first date came to an end, my usual nervousness returned as I escorted her home. Should I kiss her? The Imp said yes and so we kissed and she tasted of strawberries, which was unexpected but not unpleasant.

She invited me in and I was very much up for that idea, but the Imp said no. A bit unfair I thought, but he seems to know best, keep her keen for next time was his advice.

Besides I had some test to undergo before I first mated, I wonder what he meant by that?


Drabble Classics - The War of the Worlds

From Mars the invaders came, I approached the site alongside a crowd. They were incinerated by the heat ray and the few survivors fled.

A giant tripod was constructed and left the pit, London’s defences collapsed and a mass exodus began. I purchased tickets to escape by sea, but war machines arrived. The Thunder Child’s sacrifice enabled my wife to escape on the steamer.

More cylinders landed and red weed choked the land. I returned to London where I charged a war machine, expecting to be slain but it was already dead, killed by the lowest of all Earth’s creatures.


Drabble Classics - Dracula

To Count Dracula’s castle Jonathan Harker travelled where he advised the Count and was then condemned to the company of his undead brides.

In London the Count arrived and stalked Jonathan’s fiancée Mina and her friend Lucy whom he turned into a vampire. The learned Van Helsing revealed the secrets of nosferatu and with their friends decapitated Lucy thus ending her curse.

Jonathan escaped and after marrying Mina returned to London and joined with their friends. Eventually they faced Dracula at the gates of his castle. After a desperate battle they slew the vampire and freed Mina from his bondage.


Tales of the Imp - A Drink and a Dance

The Imp is a charming fellow when he wants to be. I don’t know how he’d set the date up but he’d chosen well, Lorraine was funny and smart and the girl of my dreams, literally in this case.

I joked, I reminisced and I charmed her with wit I didn’t possess. The evening wore on and a piano played slow numbers for lovers to dance the night away to.

The Imp has some moves on him too and I followed his moves to dance like I’d never danced before.

But in the back of my mind I wondered, why?


Murder Drabbles - Keeping Cool

My heart stopped when I saw the two officers standing on my doorstep. I faltered for a moment; I almost succumbed to the urge to flee, but that calm voice deep within me counselled against making any rash decisions.

I listened to it, but my hand still trembled a little as I opened the door. They greeted me with officious politeness and asked if they could come in. In a voice that wasn’t my own I asked them why.

Nothing to worry about, just some routine enquiries, a few minutes of my time and they would be gone.

They lied.


Murder Drabbles - Knock at the Door

I felt rather pleased with myself, sure I’d given into my impulse, but I’d thought my way through it. Every morning and every evening I watched the local news, waiting for the discovery of her body. For two weeks they reported nothing and every evening I dreamed of my hands around her throat.

Pleasant visions every night but the memory faded all too quickly. The memory no longer satisfied, I wanted something new. Someone to share that last tender moment with and I already had someone special in mind.

That pleasant thought was interrupted by a knock on my door.


Tales of the Imp - The Imp's Christmas Carol

“I am the ghost of Christmas past,' the Imp said and I remembered all too many lonely Christmas days without turkey or gifts.

He nodded, “And now your Christmas present.' My mind passed over the guilt of the murder and settled on the joy of more money and respect in the office.

“I have brought you the good life and now see your Christmas future.' He promised me everything, my book would sell millions, I would marry a lovely woman and all it would cost me is my soul, what every imp wants for Christmas.

I agreed.

Wait a minute!


Drabble Classics - Beowulf

Three great battles are sung of Beowulf’s life, the first in the hall of King Hroðgar where the celebrations angered Grendel who slew many warriors within.

Beowulf wrestled the fell creature and tore off the creature’s arm. This caused his second battle, now against Grendel’s mother. They fought in her lair under the lake and with a magic sword he beheaded her.

King Beowulf’s final battle was against a dragon enraged by a theft from its horde. All but loyal Wiglaf abandoned him and together they slew the dragon, but Beowulf was mortally wounded and buried with the cursed treasure.


The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus

Low born, yet studious Faustus earned his fame and his doctorate. Through his wisdom his knowledge became keen and admired, but he wished to know all, to know beyond what mortal man should ever comprehend.

Through the darkest necromancy he agreed a pact for twenty four years of life confirmed and the devil Mephistopheles his to command. Witnessed by Lucifer and with his own blood he signed the deal and the divine warning ignored.

His wisdom now abandoned, he squandered his vast power in trivial concern. One last warning to repent he ignored and his soul tasted flame for evermore.


Murder Drabbles - Going Green

It occurred to me that none of my details like fingerprints or DNA were on record. I became tempted to create an interesting display; she was a fine looking women, even in death. The sensible part of me condemned such foolishness, I didn’t kill her to share with others, her death belonged to me alone.

Back to square one then, but the sweet smell of compost sparked an idea. I dragged her limp body towards the scent and found a giant pile of grass cuttings. It felt warm to the touch, even hotter inside and I smiled.

It was perfect.


Tales of the Imp - Imp Dating Service

I enjoyed my new job, I now had my own office and that meant more time for writing. I would finally finish my novel. I still suffered from the occasional nightmares, but the Imp soothed my guilt.

That night I arrived home and he instructed me to put on my finest suit, we were going out. He told me that he’d set me up on a date, that every successful man needed a good woman by his side.

My objections didn’t stop him, he’d already convinced me to commit murder, making me go on a date wasn’t hard at all.


Murder drabbles - In Plain Sight

At least it was late at night was the only comfort I had as I tried to think of a safe way to dispose of the body. All I wanted was to return home and bask in the glory of the kill.

That was stupid thinking, I didn’t have long, in a few hours the early morning dog walkers would find her. Could I carry her home and then dispose of her at my leisure?

No, that was too risky, it was too far away. So what then?

And then it came to me, I didn’t need to hide her.


Tales of the Imp - The Boss

It took a while for everything to settle down, I counted time’s passing in sleepless nights. The Imp kept me going through those dark days. At every moment I expected the police to knock on my door.

Work was even worse, as you can imagine the boss’ death was the hot topic for weeks. It became a personal hell for me, the guilt of what I had done reflected in the gossip of my colleagues.

The Imp was true to his word though. One month after the involuntary demise a letter arrived from head office congratulating me on my promotion.


Other People

They say that Hell is other people and with that I completely agree. Only with other people do you suffer deceit, hate and misery from the murky pit that forms social interaction. Alone I remain apart and untouched by the daily horror of the swarm around me.

Yet I see that is not the whole story.

I marvel that others share happiness between each other. I witness the happenings of friendship and love, joys that I will never feel for myself.

And then I wonder, is it other people that bring Hell to my life? Or is it just me?


The Divine Comedy

On Good Friday ‘s eve I am assailed by three beasts in a wood black with sin, ahead I see a mountain, haloed by promised salvation. Through inferno’s circles Virgil’s wisdom leads me through punishments most poetic.

Up the mountain created by Satan’s fall we climb. On this holy day of Christ’s resurrection we pass through the terraces, one for each of the sins most deadly.

Finally into paradise I rise and greeted by Beatrice, my guide through the spheres of the cosmos. In the final sphere I understand God’s love, a love so complete that it moves the stars.


Paradise Lost

Lucifer’s pride sparked rebellion against God and by the Messiah’s might he was cast far from Heaven’s light. Renamed Satan he declared that to rule in Hell suited better than to serve in Heaven.

With envious eyes he watched creation and he beheld two beautiful creatures, clothed only in their innocence and bathed in God’s love.

In serpent form he sneaked into the garden and deceived the maiden, convincing Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. Loyal Adam’s despaired, yet still joined his wife in sin. From their fall we would wait for the Messiah’s return to restore a paradise lost.


A Man and his Shed

I like it here in my shed. There are cobwebs in the roof and it’s chilly in winter, but it’s all mine. I can make a brew, read the paper and even have a smoke if I want to. There’s an old comfy chair that I relax in and listen to the sports news on the radio.

I hear horrific screams from outside, people shouting and even loud bangs like gunshots. It sounds like the end of the world has arrived.

I’m safe here in my shed, but I snap the padlock shut on the door just to be sure.


Murder Drabbles - Oops I Did It Again

I need to control this impulse for murder, for the second time I have killed without forethought. Even amidst the rush a voice deep inside admonishes me that I will be caught if I am not more careful.

That sensible part is correct, but the feeling at the moment of death is beyond anything in human experience. It is rapture, kissing that last breath brings me an understanding of every truth.

A truth that the world exists only for me.

The nagging voice doesn’t silence though and now what am I to do with the body in this public place?


Tales of the Imp - The Imp Rocks Out

Heavy bass shook the house; you could say that it literally rocked the house. The little yellow demon bounced off the furniture while banging his head to rhythm of the pounding drums. I was surprised that the neighbours weren’t complaining.

Scratch that, no I wasn’t, the Imp had tamed them. I don’t know how, but he had them eating out of the palm of his chubby little hand. They even knew that he existed, his dominion was expanding.

And then oh my God, he started to sing.

“Like an Imp out of Hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes...'


Murder Drabbles - Men Can't Help Acting On Impulse

I didn’t plan my second kill. How I didn’t get caught in those early days I’ll never know, my actions were clearly blessed.

I caught a beguiling scent as I walked home. I’d passed through the park, alone and enjoying the concealing darkness so late at night.

I wasn’t alone, ahead of me I heard the stuttering clack of heels, and she sounded unsteady on her feet. Her scent bewitched my sense and raised a passion within me, something precious that I only I could feel.

I discovered that there is more to passion than rage and quickened my pace.


Murder Drabbles - Keeping the Secret

The memory of that first kill captivated me for days. I recalled the scene over and over again. At first it felt fresh, but the memory turned stale, its image no longer vibrant.

I wished that I’d kept a trophy, some trinket to freeze the moment so that it would never fade.

And then it struck me, a way to store the treasure without the risk of keeping evidence. I’d always dreamed of writing and I learned of drabbles, a story exactly one hundred words long. A memory stored in the open as a story and no-one would ever know.


Tales of the Imp - Wishing on a Star

The long walk home seemed too normal; I didn’t feel like a murderer. It was a cold night, but I barely felt the air’s chill. The sky was crisp and full of stars. The Imp danced a merry jig upon my shoulder. He kept congratulating me on a job well done. His shrill little giggle filled my ear.

It took forever to walk home; I kept to the quiet streets, guided by the Imp and kept out of sight from the few people out at this strange hour.

Did I feel regret? Not then, that would come, but not yet.


Murder Drabbles - A Resting Place

I found a place for Penny to rest, a place hidden from the bustle of the world where she would decay in peace.

I could never visit the site again, so I took my time. I buried her deep, too deep for anyone to discover. My rage against her dissipated as I covered her with the dark soil.

I no longer blamed her, I realised that she had freed me. Now I saw the world with fresh eyes. Tenderly I smoothed the surface of her grave and left for my new world, a new life that existed exclusively for me.


Tales of the Imp - Booze and Fire

The Imp guided me, he didn’t do anything directly and he still insisted that I do everything myself. We followed my boss as he staggered home from the pub. We then waited until all the lights were out before sneaking into his house.

In his bedroom I spread his clothes near the head of his bed. I locked the windows. I then poured whiskey onto the clothes and dropped a lit cigarette.

The clothes spewed smoke and left as the flames took hold. As I closed the door I inserted a wedge of paper into the hinge to prevent escape.


No Matter How Deep

I couldn’t believe I’d been so careless. She stood there her face frozen in a rictus of perfect horror as she saw the mess I’d created. I hadn’t meant to of course, I’d been a little too enthusiastic in my investigations.

What can I say? When I start on a puzzle I’ll do whatever it takes to solve it. And this really was a tricky conundrum.

“My God, what have you done?'

“Looking for what you saw.'

“What do you mean?'

“You said she had the most beautiful soul, but I looked everywhere in her and I couldn’t find it.'


Tales of the Imp - The Best Laid Plans

For a long week I struggled through possible scenarios. It needed to look natural, preferably an accident. I harassed the Imp for suggestions, but he told me that it had to be my plan. I’m not sure why, he wouldn’t explain. He did point out however that my boss smoked and drank a lot.

Now there was an interesting thought.

I wondered know how many smokers die in their sleep while drunk.

I know that he likes to get hammered on a Friday night, too drunk to walk home sometimes.

It’s Friday today. I think I’ll murder my boss tonight.


Murder Drabbles - Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Penny lay before me, her blood dull in the dim light. The alley was quiet, but all too close traffic moved in the better lit street. The thrill of the murder soared through my veins; with an effort I suppressed the buzz.

This wasn’t the way I’d always dreamt it. Then it was always clean, how the world should be. I felt an unexpected shiver of fear as I carried her body, surprisingly heavy, to my car.

Thankfully I always carry bin liners, just in case of a mess. With them I wrapped up Penny’s body and her bloody dress.


Murder Drabbles - An Accidental First

I didn’t mean to kill her, hurt her yes, but not kill her. One moment she screamed the next dead at my feet.

Shocked was the only way to describe my mental state in that instant. An accident, yet I had carried the knife, something I rarely did. It was my favourite blade as well, sharp from hours of constant attention.

If she’d kept her mouth closed then this would never have happened. Clearly her own fault rather than mine.

Yes, her fault, but now my mess to clean up. Thanks Penny, I bet that wasn’t even your real name.


Skin Deep

Some people claim that beauty is only skin deep. I scoff at such a foolish notion. Is the treasured Christmas gift special because of the shiny paper? Of course not. Certainly it provides a pleasing presentation, but once you get underneath you discover the real beauty.

It isn’t easy; it takes a practised eye to appreciate the form, the shine, the texture of the muscle. Only with the proper study can you marvel at the delicate marbling of fat and meat. Enjoy the skin, peel it back carefully so that you don’t spoil the treasure.

And the taste. Oh the taste.


Tales of the Imp - Second Thoughts

“Dead man’s shoes,' he told me.

Unfortunately the Imp refused to do the deed for me. I dithered for days while he whispered what the promotion would mean. More money and my own office, with everyone doing my work for me I’d have even more time to write - great!

But still...

How to do it? Here he was full of advice, but it had to look natural. The thought of murder made me queasy. The Imp soothed my fears, said he’d talk me through it; I only had to perform the act.

The question remained, could I do it?


Tales of the Imp - Dead Man's Shoes

Okay, I’ll admit that the new job hasn’t turned out so bad. I soon fell into the new routine and having the Imp on hand made the whole experience a lot easier. For starters I didn’t have to do any real work, he’d climb into one of their facial orifices and mess with their brains and then they did my work for me.

‘You can’t get better than that,’ I thought.

The Imp had other ideas, he had ambitions for me. He wants me to become the Manager.

“How do I do that?' I asked.

“Dead man’s shoes,' he replied.


Tales of the Imp - Chubby Little Buddha

You should have seen him. He sat there cross legged in the sun like a chubby little Buddha. He wore a beatific smile as if he’d never imagined a perverse thought in his life.

And do you know what he said to me?

“I am at one with the universe.'

“What?'

“You should relax more.'

“How can I with you around?'

“That hurts, I’m here to make your life better. You already have a better job.'

I nodded.

“You should be more grateful.'

“Thank you for my new job.'

“No problem, now assume the position and say with me. Ooooommmmm.'


Tales of the Imp - The Interview

I felt nervous. I didn’t want this job, what fun is working in a bank? Sure the money was better and I’d work fewer hours. The Imp pointed out that I’d have more time for writing – which sounded good.

A pretty secretary called me into the office. I walked in, shook the man’s hand. His suit fitted him much better than mine did me.

“Hello, please sit down. Why do you want this job?'

The Imp leapt from my shoulder and climbed into the man’s brain through his ear.

I didn’t say a word and I was offered the job.


Tales of the Imp - Bright Future

"Iam here to make your life better," the Imp told me.

"You said you were here to protect me."

"That too."

"From who?"

"Ah, well, that's where we get to it."

"What do you mean?"

"Well if I wasn't here then you'd end up somewhere you wouldn't want to be."

"Stop being cryptic!"

I'm here to protect you from yourself."

"What?"

"Don't worry about that, first we need to get you a new job."

"But I like my job."

"The pay sucks and so do the hours. I can get you something better. Do you have a suit?"


Tales of the Imp - Change is Coming

I've become used to having the Imp around. When I struggle with writer's block, he's there with little suggestions. They're always inappropriate, but they do get me going again.

He's also fun to have around, although I often forget that other people can't see him and receive some puzzled expressions from people when I talk to him.

I still don't know why he's here though, apart from that cryptic comment that he came to protect me.

Protect me from what though? It's been two months now and I have decided that it's time for him to reveal what he knows.


Imps Have Feelings Too

"I feel left out," The Imp told me as I drove home. I'd enjoyed the gathering, it's not often I chat with other authors, face to face as it where.

"Don't ignore me. You talked about evil and didn't even mention me once."

I enjoyed a few minutes of silence.

"Where was my hug?"

"What hug?" I asked innocently.

"You know damn well what hug I mean, as you walked out, bold as brass and you hugged that woman."

"She couldn't see you."

"But you do. I have feelings you know."

The Imp sulked for the rest of the journey.


Tales of the Imp - 5 Star Imp

"She has nice ankles," the Imp told me as he watched me update my blog.

"Who does?"

"Her, the lady in blue, with the stars around her."

"She's not really blue."

"That doesn't matter to me; I'm not prejudiced, besides I'm yellow, blue goes well with yellow."

"How do you know she has nice ankles?"

"That's easy, look at her smile. Anyone with a smile like that must have nice ankles. It's a law of the universe or something."

"That doesn't make sense."

"It's true though. I wouldn't lie to you."

His terrible wink put an end to that conversation.


Tales of the Imp - The Imp and the Cat

My next door neighbour has a cat. Well, they had a cat. No-one has seen it recently. They keep asking me if I've seen their precious Tiddles. I never liked Tiddles, he crapped in my garden.

Although it occurred to me that Tiddles was the only creature, besides me, that could see the Imp. I also remembered that they had a fight.

I demanded to know what he had done with the cat. He gazed at me with that innocent expression and claimed that he didn't know.

He does have some scratches on him though, and they weren't from me.


Tales of the Imp - The Imp Rides a Bunny

Today I discovered one of the Imp's favourite pastimes - bunny riding. Now rabbits aren't the smartest of creatures, but they know that an imp running towards them is bad news. So they did their foot tapping thing and retreated into their warrens. The only problem was that an imp can follow them.

I watched as the poor animal was dragged squeaking out the hole by its ears. It tried to escape, but with a joyous cry the Imp leapt onto its back and held on to the rabbit's ears as it bounced around the field.

His laughter echoed my own.


Tales of the Imp - Saved by the Imp

It was a tense moment. The drunk towered over me, bits of kebab spluttering from his lips. In a slurred voice he demanded an apology. I had looked at his woman without prior permission.

In a flash the Imp leapt from my shoulder and onto his. The little creature stuck his head in the brute's hairy ear hole.

The next thing I knew, the bruiser had vomited everywhere, all down his front and all over me. He then lurched away in a confused daze.

The grinning Imp hopped back onto my shoulder. For once he smelled better than I did.


A Mask for every Occasion

I learned at a young age that to blend in with herd provides greater advantage than standing out. Before my balls dropped it became obvious to me that attracting attention would hamper my destined purpose.

The trick is to be like them, to wear the same masks they do. They don't realise they're wearing masks, but that only makes the deception easier.

Whatever I do I wear the appropriate mask. I once thought the mask for work was the hardest to maintain, now I know it is the one for my wife.

No matter, she'll soon see me without it.


Tales of the Imp - Silky Beard

I'm proud of my beard. I've had it for many years and it does a wonderful job of covering my face. So much so, that children no longer scream in horror when they see me.

It's also a fun thing to stroke. It gives me a philosophical look, like I'm pondering the mysteries of the universe.

Anyway, I realised that my beard has become softer recently.

I asked the Imp if he had anything to do with it. He replied that he did. So I asked him what he did to it. He answered that I don't want to know.


Black Sun

Black moon and blacker sun in a turbulent monochrome sky. Gibbering monstrosities stalk me across this nightmare plane. Their shuddering moans tear at my fragile resolve.

The spell of another has cast me into this world of dread torment. A hell created for those still living, but doomed to never to cross the veil.

I must not abandon hope; there must be escape for my tortured soul. The ghosts of the damned clutch at me. They steal my warmth, piece by tiny piece.

I must leave this realm before I have no warmth, or I will never leave at all.


Tales of the Imp - Imp Rhymes

Like us, imps have nursery rhymes which they learn while growing up. Imagining imps smaller than the one on my shoulder freaks me out a bit. Are baby imps scary to look at? Or are they cute and vulnerable too? Anyway here's one he says that they learn.

This little imp went to the soul market,

and his little imp stayed in Hell.

This little imp feasted on roasted human,

and this little imp had none.

And this little imp will stay on your shoulder,

'till Satan no longer reigns in Hell.

I think he might be having me on.


Tales of the Imp - Birthday Treat

I turned 30 yesterday. I had the usual celebrations planned. I rented two movies and bought a crate of beer. The Imp asked me what I really wanted for my birthday.

Well, I thought about it for maybe a nanosecond and told him I'd like to get laid.

"No problem," said the Imp and out we went.

That was last night. I've woken up in a strange bed, I don't remember what happened, but I am naked and there is a burly arm holding me in a tight embrace. And I'm pretty sure that is a beard scratching my neck.


Tales of the Imp - What Imps eat

This morning I lay in bed, caught up in that wonderful moment between sleep and not quite being awake. I noticed an odd, damp probing sensation in my ear.

It felt strange, but not exactly unpleasant so I lay there for a while.

I guess I thought it was the remnants of a dream, but eventually I realised that I was fully awake and that the peculiar feeling continued. I glanced to my shoulder and the sensation suddenly stopped.

The Imp wore a guilty look on his face; he then slowly licked his tiny lips with an inch long tongue.


Tales of the Imp - The Imp goes to church

My grandma died recently. Naturally I attended her funeral. The service was at her parish church, an impressive old building with ornate decoration and surrounded by crumbling graveyard.

The Imp didn't like this at all. The moment we entered he uttered a dreadful howl unlike any I'd heard before. Imagine a puppy that has been left alone in the house, now set its paws on fire. It sounded like that, straight into my right ear.

I put up with it for two minutes before I had to leave. Well I was told to leave as apparently I was screaming too.


Tales of the Imp - Meet the Imp

I have an imp on my shoulder. He's always there, whispering malevolence into my ear. He's three inches tall, with olive skin and two tiny horns on his forehead. His hair is bright red hair. His teeth are small and sharp.

He reeks of burning sulphur, which like him, follows me everywhere.

He says he's here to protect me, that I am someone special. What can such a diminutive creature protect me from? He doesn't answer my questions, but he enjoys telling me things.

Like whom I should kill.

I don't listen to him.

Not yet.


The Wrong Car

"I'm going to gut you like a fish, drag out your entrails and then set fire to them while you watch."

...

"Do I have your attention?"

...

"Don't worry, I won't really do that. I'm not a savage!"

...

"I know, you can't speak. I've stitched your lips together. It's better that you just listen for now."

...

"We're going to play a game and you are going to learn how to park your car."

...

"The rules? Simple. Every time you scratch the car, I'm going to scratch you. And you already owe me one from this morning."


Diamonds are Forever

Did you know you can make diamonds? You need some carbon, then heat it up and squeeze it really tightly. If you do this right, you'll create a diamond.

And do you know what a good source of carbon is? Humans. Unfortunately you can't just take a human and squeeze them into a diamond, which is a shame as it would make my life easier.

Instead you first have to cremate the body. Next pulverise the bones, then through the magic of the Internet you will receive a shiny new diamond.

One more to add to my necklace of twelve.


Mutant Zombie Ninja Death Clowns From Outer Space

This is going to be the best movie ever! So I'm underage, but that's ok, the old lady at the counter doesn't care. It's going to be freaking awesome. I can't wait to tell everyone that I've seen it.

I pick the best spot. There's nobody here, which is cool. It's quiet, so I can watch the movie undisturbed. It's odd how quiet it is. And there's a funny smell.

Who's that standing by the exit?

No freaking way!

It's a real mutant zombie ninja death clown. I can't tell if it's from outer space.

Hey, it's moving this way.


Rude Awakening

When we die our life passes before our eyes. In an instant we see all our hopes and fears. All of the despair and joy. All of the love and hate that we have ever known.

The balance of that moment weighs our soul as it passes on.

At birth the reverse is true. As we are born, all that we are yet to be swamps our infant mind. The life that stretches before you confuses and terrorises your first thoughts. A mind at peace suddenly torn asunder - is it no wonder that we scream with our first breath?


Character Study

Things aren't always what they seem. Look at that old man over there. He doesn't look like much, his back bowed under the weight of his years. His skin wrinkled and stretched across his bones.

But look closer, into his eyes.

Those aren't the eyes of an old man. No, there is something much older concealed beneath. The pin pricks of the deepest black reveal an evil beyond human imagining.

It wears the aged flesh like a cheap suit. A disguise that cloaks it while it hunts unseen amongst the human herd.

Too late I realise, it's looking at me.


One More Breath

It doesn't matter how tough you are. There will always come the point where your body has no choice but to breathe. Of course you'll swallow a lungful of water. The body will react and attempt to expel the water.

Your thrashing will take on a distinctive frenzy when this happens. Now an amateur would panic and pull you out. But patience, that is the key. Soon you will calm and swallow more water by choice, at peace with your fate.

Only then are you pulled out and learn that you might have accepted your death, but you'll talk anyway.


Seven Days

On the first day we ignored the signs in the sky that the prophet had foretold.

On the second we gazed in wonder at the red fire as it brightened the night sky.

On the third day we despaired at the doom that shadowed our future.

On the fourth day we prayed for release from this promised end.

On the fifth day we panicked when our prayers remained unanswered.

On the sixth day we calmed and accepted our impending fate.

On the seventh day we all cried out and now a new day has dawned and we are not here.


China Doll

Her cold lifeless eyes are staring into mine. Her perfect porcelain features, without expression, hold me transfixed where I stand.

"Genuine haunted doll", was the description on eBay. Of course I thought it was a gimmick, just something to push up the price. I thought it was pretty cool, so I bid and won.

It arrived yesterday, it looked pretty creepy. I placed it on the table and here I am. I cannot move. I'm hungry and thirsty. I can't even look away; I'm locked in this death stare.

Oh God! Will anybody find me here? Before it's too late?


Solemn Vow

We made a vow, you and I. Before the altar we declared our love to the world. For a time I was the happiest a man could be.

But you broke that vow. You and him. Together you betrayed my trust, despoiled our love. My wife and my brother. I couldn't believe it at first. All too quickly what was joy turned into a hate so bright it provided the only light in my darkness.

And so here I am, digging a shallow grave for you both in the soft soil. I kept my promise - till death do us part.


Universal Truth?

I've been told that light is good and evil is darkness. If this true then I discovered something. Imagine you are in a room filled with light. Look at the floor and you'll see your shadow. Your being in the light has introduced darkness, a mar on the light's perfection.

Now turn the light off. It's dark isn't it? But note how you can no longer see your shadow. It seems that evil remains unchanged by the presence of something, where the good is automatically changed.

What does this mean? I don't know, but it keeps me up at night.


The Dance

We're condemned to the dance that never ends. With the exaggerated etiquette of the cursed we hold hands and bow. The same every night we dance, watched only by the sentinels of stone that circle this barren hilltop. There's no light to guide our feet, only the howl of the forlorn wind to provide our rhythm.

Unseen in the dark we spin and pray. Always begging for release from our unjust punishment. A celebration of love long damned by Heaven's sight. A love now faded with roses of blood. Our prayers left unanswered and so on dead limbs we dance.


The Accused

You stand before this court accused of crimes against humanity.

The charges against you are first the one billion deaths of genocide by drowning. In addition there are several counts of biological warfare and spiritual terrorism thought the world over a period of several thousand years.

The lesser charges include writing material likely to cause offence. There are also several million counts of inciting racial and religious hatred. You are also accused of the false imprisonment for over 100 billion souls. Last but not least, is the complicit conspiracy in the murder of your own son.

How do you plead?


All in a row

I've never shown anyone my collection before. I've spent years putting it together. I designed to display stands myself, perfect for showing a treasure so fine.

No, don't look over there. They were my early attempts. Miserable failures compared to my recent efforts. It's not as easy as you might think. It took a lot of practice before I perfected the technique.

Now hold still, this will hurt a lot. First a delicate slice along the jaw and up past the ears. Next a clean cut along the temple and then gently peel back the skin and we're done.

Beautiful.


On the prowl

The sparrow hopped nervously across the grass. His favourite water dish stood proud in the centre of the manicured lawn. It glanced at the neat bushes that bordered the garden. This was cat territory. It paid to be careful. Many a small bird had met its end trying to reach the water. The risk was worth it though, sometimes there would be bread.

It skipped and leapt into the air, taking a snaking path through the air. In the last moment it veered away. A flash of colour, not a cat this time, but the robin was in suspenders again.


The Best Fruit

"Hi honey, I'm home!"

"Hi darling."

"What's for dinner?"

"I've been in the orchard and gathered some wonderful fruit."

"Sounds great. I've not seen these before. They look bigger and more scrumptious than usual."

"Well, it was the most amazing thing. I was picking fruit and a serpent spoke to me."

"A serpent?"

"Yes, I didn't believe it at first. But he told me where to find the best fruit."

"Oh."

"Indeed. He led to me to the centre of the orchard and there I saw the biggest and most beautiful tree."

Adam felt a sinking sensation in his stomach.


Pong

There's a terrible stench in the air, foul and fetid as if the bowels of the underworld have ruptured and spilled across the world. There's no visible sign or source of this odious reek. Dark clouds gather in concert along a sky already pitch black.

A rabbit barks.

Crowds of people spill into the streets, forced from their homes by the odorous assault. Their forms look vague, like ghosts hidden in the fog.

A voice booms from the sky. A sudden pain in my arm accompanies it.

"Oi! How many times have I told you not to fart in bed?"


Seven Deadly Sins

I set myself a challenge yesterday. I thought to myself, I must have committed all of the deadly sins at one time or another, but never all at once. It took some organising, but today I completed that challenge.

I had sex with my mate's girlfriend's sister, the ugly one. Naturally I was underneath, enjoying the moment while I shouted at my friend. If it hadn't been for the stupid challenge I would have been with the pretty one. No matter, the chocolates were delicious.

It was a proud moment; I should have recorded and sold it on the Internet.


A Ghost's Lament

The world is silent now. There's no air left to carry sound. The rapture came long ago and ripped the atmosphere away. It took everything. All the people, dead and alive. All the sprits, even all the animals and plants. All that's left is the bare rock, scarred with a few fresh craters.

And me.

Why it left me I don't know. I wasn't a believer, but neither were so many people when the end came. I guess I'll never know. The whole world was swept clean.

Only this battered rock and the stars above remain. Except me to haunt it.


The Stairs

There's a light at the top of the stairs. Its harsh glow promises sanctuary. The stairs creak as I step on them, in terror I freeze. In desperation I listen for any sounds of movement. Relieved I hear nothing.

Carefully I take another step. I freeze again as the steps creak, not daring to look at anything other than the beckoning radiance.

A third step, the noise louder this time. I don't stop, I run up the stairs. I race towards the light. My feet thunderous against in the dark.

The sudden hand is cold against my ankle. I fall.


Singularity

Take a look around you. It'll only take a moment. If you're really lucky you'll be able to see a night sky full of stars and infinity. Ok, maybe not infinity, but as close as you'll ever see. Now take all the memories of your life and multiply that by every person that has, or will ever live.

Stretches the mind doesn't it?

Everything you see; everything that is, everything that was and everything that will be all came from a single point. All of the information the universe would ever contain was held in that singularity.

Amazing isn't it?


Sun Dragon

No one believed the boy as he screamed in his sleep about a monster that would swallow the sun. A behemoth that infected his dreams. They soothed him with gentle words, but did not listen.

For a full moon cycle he suffered the nightmares. His vision the same every fear filled night. He begged his parents to make it stop. His mother wept and his father scowled. They spoke with the doctor. He prescribed some pills, but they didn't help.

Still they didn't listen to the boy. Until the day the dragon swallowed the sun.

It's cold now. And dark.


Little White Pill

I wake up every morning disappointed to be alive. Another day to endure. I force myself to look on the positive side, at least there is one day less to suffer.

My mood remains dark as it maps the coming misery and despair. My mind's eye keen to reveal the stark horror of my life. A life no different from those around me.

The little white pill takes the pain away, but everything else as well. No joy, no love, no happiness. Yet no depression or black fugue either.

My life homogenises into blandness thanks to the little white pill.


Dirty Shoes

Will you look at that? A spot of blood on my finest shoes. I spent a fortune on them only a few years ago. Finest Italian craftsmanship.

It's my own fault, I'm normally more careful. I wear those elasticated baggies so I don't spoil them. But tonight I gave into temptation. I spotted a delicacy so sweet God himself surely put her on that path.

She didn't hear me creep up behind her and with a savage motion sliced open her throat. I pushed her away quickly to avoid the arterial spray. Not quickly enough. I've ruined my favourite shoes.


Blessed are the little ones

Impossible geometries fold the stark reality around me. The obsidian walls are sleek with an oozing luminescence that swallows me in their dread glow. The carved symbols hurt my eyes when I look at them. Octopod obscenities stalk me, I hear their slavered moans.

I pray for to a God younger than this dark temple. A terrible entity from a plane far removed from our fragile cosmos bends its gaze upon me.

In shivering terror I lurch into the morning light.

The Great Cthulhu takes a dim view of calamari; I shall remove it from the menu at once.


False Dawn

There's a sound at the edge of my hearing, a scratching that wears away at my fragile sanity. There's laughter too, mocking my feeble grasp of the stygian reality. Twisted shadows dance across the ruined walls.

I run along the passageway that stretches before me. There's light at the end of this tunnel, if I can reach it I can find sanctuary. The mocking laughter now howls in rage. Ghostly fingers clutch at me as I flee.

My chest aches. I focus only on the running. I must escape. I leap into the light and drown in the white emptiness.


Hostage Rescue

The concussive charge shatters the window. Charge up the steps and into the living room. Other charges detonate shaking the house. Moving quickly, the blast will only stun those inside for a few seconds.

Enter the room. Vision is constrained by the face mask; tendrils of tear gas fill the room. Movement spotted, take aim. Target has a gun. Two shots fired hit him centre mass.

"Target down. Room clear."

More bangs throughout the house. Radio reports of rooms cleared. Move into the passageway. See target dragging hostage. Tricky shot. Calm breathing and shoot twice.

"Target down. Hostage secure."


Freeze Frame

A friend told me something extraordinary. She said the last thing a person sees when they die is recorded in their brain.

So I thought about that and it wasn't long before I comprehended the horror of it.

Follow my thinking here. The brain is working enough to capture that final image. Now what if other parts of the brain are still functioning? If that is true then that means the mind is still active, if only for a few seconds.

How long would those seconds last with only that last image to see?

It keeps me up at night.


The Music of the Spheres

It started with a single chord, a sound signifying the very moment of creation. The chord still plays binding the music that fills the spheres. Now stretched by time it is a bass that can only be felt, not heard.

Strings play as energy coalesced into matter. Their tones start light, building into a crescendo as suns and then galaxies are born and fade.

Into the gaps wind instruments herald the birth and death of planets and all sundry of bodies in the dark.

And what of us? The moment of the penny whistle that has only begun to play.


A marriage made in...

Hell. You know the place. Lakes of burning sulphur. Torture pits filled with the wailing of the damned. Not the place you'd expect to fall in love. But I did.

Our eyes met across the inferno. It was love at first sight, or at least first scream. The demons didn't approve at first, they tried to quench our love with fire and brimstone.

We endured and in the end they came round.

Lucifer himself even officiated at our wedding. Love, honour and obey, two of those things are welcome here.

But 'till death do us part could be a problem.


Digital Blasphemy

I volunteered for the experiment. The doctors kept me awake as they drilled into my skull. On a screen I watched as they poked and cut into the exposed brain.

They completed the operation and attached cables to my brain, their colours bright against the grey matter. With the connection made sudden light blinded me.

The light faded and the connections flooded my mind. I followed the wires, my thoughts expanding into connected computers. Too late they realised their mistake and tried to turn me off.

My mind more than meat, now digital in form I absorbed the net.

Omniscience.


One Jump Too Many

Pilots like me jump into hyperspace every day. We take it for granted. We plot our course and with a surge of exotic energy tear a hole to the destination.

Without our neural implants we cannot perform the calculations quickly enough to perform the jumps. Even flight computers cannot calculate the permutations fast enough.

But brain and computer melded together can. But sometimes the connections break. And you don't know they've broken until you jump.

A hyperspace jump is instantaneous. That's not true, it takes nanoseconds. In hyperspace a nanosecond second lasts an eternity with a broken brain-computer connection.

Jump.


Missile

I'm hanging from the pylon waiting. I never get bored of watching. I'm always ready.

My sensors sniff a patch of heat close by. I let my pilot know by beeping in his ear.

The plane banks, the scent now stronger. I gain a lock and I'm filled with ecstasy. I warble at the pilot in my excitement and he releases me.

I drop from the wing and fire belches from my engine. I rush along the scent following it to my destination. It tries to escape, but I hit the enemy and exult in the moment of our demise.


Together Forever

Once your caress was warm and tender, now your touch haunts me with its chill breath. I know I should let you go my love, but I cannot. The pain of parting is too heavy to bear. In anger I refuse to be grief's servant. I cannot allow you to join Heaven's choir.

Instead I bind you to this mundane world of flesh and tears. Your cold embrace is still warmer than the chasm created by your passing. My comfort only comes from the briefest glimpse of your beauty at the cusp of sleep and dreams.

Together we remain. Forever.


Watcher of the Dawn

The watcher sat, alone and majestic in the cold thin air upon the mountain. With keen eyes he surveyed the valley below. The lush garden spread for miles enclosed within the mountain wall. The wind ruffled his feathers, its icy bite failed to mar his alabaster skin.

In an endless cycle, days darkened into night only for dawn's rise to brighten the sky again. Through extreme weathers he maintained his post. His singular task to watch and protect the naked lovers who tended the garden.

Unseen by the guardian on this fateful dawn, the dreaded serpent crawled into the light.


Jigsaw

Jigsaw pieces all over the floor. They won't go back together. I know they fit. I've seen them fit. Each piece once part of the original whole. Now they lay scattered and I cannot fix them.

I pick them up, one by one. Place them with the others. I push the bits together with all my might only for them to fall apart when I let go.

Why won't they fit? Why did I break them in the first place? I know where the pieces go. The blood makes the pieces slippery. Maybe that's why they won't go back together?


The Demon Who Couldn't Lie

"Souls! I want your lovely souls. Best prices paid. Some shiny trinkets for a few decades of pleasure followed by an eternity of torment."

"Trade in your soul now. What do you want? Money? I have bags of it! Good looks? No problem. Need healing? I can provide you with a miracle. Anything you desire for the rock bottom price of eternal damnation."

"You want to buy a soul? Sorry, demons don't have souls."

"Have I any human souls? Sorry, I have none in stock."

"Why not? Well I'm the demon who cannot lie and no-one will sell me one."


The Box

I'm trapped in a box barely six feet wide. I can sit in the box. I can stand in it. I can even lie down. But I cannot leave the box.

I don't know how long I've been in the box. I have no memories from before the box; it is all I've ever known. Each night I fall asleep, hungry tired and thirsty. I never dream.

When I wake I am the same again.

There's no sound in the box, no scent, not even my own. I cannot think of anything outside of the box.

I am always here.


The Devil's Smile

"You have the devil's smile." That's what she told me; before we kissed unseen under the bloated moon. I remember the air was chill. Wisps of our breath escaped into the air as we parted our kiss. "That was a devil's kiss." She teased, with an expression so coy.

"What is it?" She exclaimed, a hint of panic trembled in her voice. She had seen the glint of steel in the moon's cold light. "You have the devil's eyes!" She cursed as I plunged the knife deep.

"I have the devil's smile." I whispered alone and faded into the night.


In the dark

A thousand burning candles arrayed in a circle protect the girl from the shadows that gnaw at the flickering light. Alone in the circle she waits. She must endure the night. With a fractured voice she prays.

The darkness answers her prayers with a voice. The voice scratches at her sanity, promising only a terrible end. She continues to pray, seeking any solace. She shivers, the room now cold. A breeze, chill and with a fetid smell extinguishes the candles.

She moans. She clutches the last lit candle close to her chest knowing that it will not last the night.


This Killing Emptiness

Stars. Nothing but stars in all directions. My breathing is laboured, the oxygen mix almost too low for life. A random accident, a burst of the thrusters and now drifting. Too far for rescue. I don't mind the view is amazing. Pin sharp stars across the infinite black veil.

If I'm going to die, this is all I could have hoped for. It doesn't hurt, it feels pleasant. I'm not afraid. I enjoy the view. Absorb its majesty. They say the last moment follows you for eternity. If that is true then I am indeed blessed. I only wish that...


Clowns

Lying on my bed and see my room full of clowns. Happy clowns, sad clowns, laughing clowns, even a tall gaunt clown with spindly legs. My mummy thinks I like them and keeps buying me more. I wish I could tell her how much they frighten me. Everywhere I look, I see another clown's face.

One hundred different clowns, none of them the same. I say my prayers with mummy then count them before I sleep. Snuggled in my duvet I count them once again. This time the number comes up short and there's a rustle under the bed.


Don't Look Back

I felt its breath, chill against my neck. I knew what stood behind me. Only on this night it possessed the power to achieve its justice. I must not look at it. only in its sight could it harm me.

I walked forwards, along the cobbled street. If I could reach the village church I'd be safe for another year, until the return of this dread date.

Its footsteps echoed mine as I walked, my gaze kept low. I stumbled, looked up and caught the reflection in the window. Too late I tried to avert my gaze.

Too late.