Childhood Fears

childhood_fears

This was made in Procreate with Apple Pencil. I also put on a silicone grip because the stylus is slick. I gave myself 30 minutes to make something in Procreate and it turned into an hour’s work. The concept is “fear of the unknown” combined with fears everyone has since they were young.

Flammable Darkness, Interlude

 

Sparks. Find something that makes more sparks. The black slime creature had evaded the sparks sent out by the broken portal generator.  June ran to her kitchen with a crazy idea.

In the kitchen June kept a brown paper bag full of sparklers. They were leftover from last year’s July 4th.  She grabbed the bag and her cigarette lighter and ran back to the utility room.

June smoked, but not in the house. She never let her son see her do it, knowing the risks and all the scary stuff cigs were supposed to do. For once her bad habit could do something to save her life.

A sparkler was lit. The creature’s slick body reflected the light emitted from the sparkler. It slowly backed away toward the wall. June threw the sparklers at the creature. Not good enough. The creature evaded it until the sparks went out. Then it started to advance.

June went for bear and lit all of the sparklers, throwing them at the creature. So many sparks, so much light.

There was an audible wail as the sparks did their damage. It didn’t take much to quickly incinerate the creature until it was all smoldering ash.

FOOM

The creature exploded like one of those puffball fungi, filling the room with black, purple, and blue smoke. The smell of death and rotting flesh and decay washed over the room. June, lightheaded, was covered in the ash and ran out of the room coughing and sick to her stomach.

The ash was filling the house. June had to get out of there. she ran to the kitchen, opened the door, and out of the house. the whole house was filled with the smoke and ash, becoming clearly seen by the neighbors. Someone called the fire department. An ambulance was also sent.

*

“Oh thank God you’re safe,” said June’s mother Carol. Along with June’s mother were Frank and Anne, friends of June. Their children had invited little Eddy to stay over. Eddy was there to visit too.

June had been sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation while fire and rescue personnel searched the house. The entire inside of the house was covered in black soot and it had been determined that the fire started in the utility room.

“What happened?” asked Carol.

“I don’t remember. Electrical shortage maybe,” said June, “I feel fine.”

“No, I mean what happened to your eye?”

There was a bandage on her eye. June touched the gauze lightly.

“It doesn’t hurt. I don’t remember it being here.”

In walked a nurse to check on June. she politely asked friends and family to leave the room. Then a tall man in a black suit with a white overcoat showed up. June assumed he was a doctor.

“Hello, ma’am. I’m Doctor Thomas Phasmid. In addition to your smoke inhalation, we’ve done some tests on the type of smoke. It isn’t anything we’ve ever seen.”

“Why is my eye covered?” asked June.

“Well that’s what baffles us,” said Dr. Phasmid, “It appears the smoke infected that eye, but we were unsure as how to treat it.”

“I feel fine.”

“You’re also on pain killers. The infection was spreading. We  removed the eye.”

 

Excerpt from “Enzectozoid Chronicles: The Legacy of Whartleburg the Whalloper” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?

 

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Coach Headsman, interlude

“Look, Luthar, unlike you, I don’t like being seen,” said the former basketball coach for Bernard Berenson Middle School.

Jeroboam Steadman had, in life, been the most celebrated Men’s basketball coach at Bernard Berenson Middle School in twenty years. The trophy cases were filled mostly because of his leadership.

At the very height of his glory days, Coach Steadman was killed in a terrible accident when a metal ceiling beam fell during a game. Rumor had it that coaches at rival schools paid to have the beams loosened.

The old gym was named Steadman Court, post-humous in his honor. A few weeks later it was no longer used for night games and a new one was built that year.

Newspapers stated the new gym was built for expansion sake and to invite new growth to the school. Off the record interviews stated a different reason.

Disturbing sightings started to surface in the old gym of a flying human head, behaving like a giant bat, in the furthest corners of the metal rafters of the ceiling.

Eye witnesses claimed it was Coach Steadman looking to make sure the bolts were tightened. Soon after students ventured inside the Steadman Court, saying “Watch out for Coach Headsman!”

Yet as a specter, Coach Steadman wanted little to do with haunting. He had been blessed with a rare type of Briostone that allowed him to remain in human form almost year round.

Instead of using a second chance at life to continue with a sports career, Coach Steadman could be found at his favorite sports bar “Irving’s,” seated on a bar stool and eating pretzels.

Gordon Luthar had located “Coach Headsman” Steadman and insisted that they meet. Luthar had forgotten that Coach Steadman was as curt a specter as he had been in life.

“Yes, I know you make your appearances complex,” said Luthar, “Which is why you are a member of the Unseen.”

“So what?”

Coach Steadman was eager to get back to watching the game.

“There’s a particular young man who wants to investigate the other specters on campus. You included. Do you mind moving your appearance date to the day after?”

Each specter was different in how they viewed being sighted without a decent Briostone. Some were fine with it. Luthar knew Coach Steadman found it embarrassing to be seen when he made an appearance.

“Sorry, Luthar,” said Coach Steadman, “I used to give you tribute every month, but now I answer to loftier authorities. The kid can see me or not. I really couldn’t care.”

“You have a membership with the Unseen only because of your unique class Briostone,” said Luthar, “It does not require much ether to work, so you make your ghastly self rarely seen. But rarest sightings generate the most ether.”

Coach Steadman sipped his beer with a shaky hand and stuffed a few pretzels in his mouth. His cool composure was fading fast.

There was a reason Luthar was able to sway all the specters on school grounds, hailing him with a tribute of ether each month. He had a way with words.

‘Why do you hide in here, Coach?” asked Luthar, “Who are you supporting that needs all that ether?”

“I’m tellin’ ‘ou noffin’, Luffar,” said Coach Steadman with his mouth full.

“I believe you said something similar to me before,” said Luthar, “Back when I offered to let you have your rare occurrence, in exchange for tribute. A small amount of ether given to me was all I requested. I ask it again. Unless you want to lose that goldmine, and, perhaps, anger whoever you’re working for.”

“No, you’re not serious. I’ve had that gym from day one!”

“I am not getting any tribute from you lately,” said Luthar, “Why should I let you stay on such a lucrative schedule?”

Luthar’s words finally soaked into Coach Steadman.

“Oh. Ok, so this a blackmail deal?”

“You know specters who are scarier than me,” said Luthar, “See what strings you can pull. I do not want Roger Flair to write anything revealing the truth about the school.”

From “Fall from Autumnway” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?

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Starve a Fever, Feed a Ghost, Interlude

Ring, ring.

The line’s busy, try again.

Ring, ring.

“Hello?”

“Beth, how are you?”

“Hey, Roger.”

“Beth, what are you doing, say, Friday night?”

“Friday? That’s the next dance.”

“Yeah. Wanna go with me?”

She paused. “Um, yes. I’d love to.”

No Way! Who would have thought?

“Alright. I will see you Monday,” said Roger.

“Hey. I’m not Monday, I’m Beth,” said Beth.

“Well, ok then,” said Roger “I’ll see you tomorrow, Beth.”

Roger went to bed totally excited. But as he slept, standing over him unseen, was one who was not enthused.

In fact, he had been going through a painful ordeal after Luthar took his Briostone. His eye was still recovering from that knife wound, and one day soon Luthar’s little school would know his pain.

Until then, Horus Corley was working for one of the members of the Unseen Group as a Pestilence Man. He never thought he could have sunk so low on the Specter totem pole. He was now among the most hated of all specters.

Pestilence Men are the reason that illness spreads so quickly in a housing or school community. They travel from house to house, especially the ones containing small children, targeting individuals who are scheduled to fall ill. Corley now stood at the bedside of a sound asleep, and smiling, Roger.

“Going to the dance with a real girl, huh Roger Flair? You’re growin’ up so fast.
You must be feeling real good right now, mmm hmm. Heh, well tough luck, kid!”

Roger awoke early Monday morning from a terribly repetitive fever dream. Roger’s doctor said he had the flu. Even after a flu shot with a frighteningly small needle, he was still ordered to not go out to any night activities. Not for another week, so he would miss the dance, but be back on Monday.

Beth kept in touch with Roger all week by phone and was his lifeline for notes and homework. When Friday evening arrived, Beth chose to go with a group of her friends to the dance. At her insistence, they sent Roger a ten second video to his smart phone telling him to get well soon.

 

“Yeah, this is Corley.”

“Corley, I want you to go to the house of Beth Azure,” said the voice on the other line, “Give her the Influenza you gave Mr. Roger Flair.”

“You the boss,” said Corley. The other line hung up.

It wasn’t hard being a Pestilence Man. All you do is stand at the poor soul’s bedside and talk to them until they get sick. But it fed his Briostone, so he was willing to do the work. Corley looked at the file for Beth Azure.

“Azure,” mused Corley, “That seems to ring a bell. Where have I heard that name?”

From “Fall from Autumnway” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?

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Start from the Beginning?

My Employer has Feathers

Accepting an Owl’s Offer

YES, I will subscribe….

      You are not particularly a magazine reader but somehow cannot resist accepting this offer. Sure, why not. You write your signature to the order form and return it to the towel figure.

     The towel figure hoots with joy, so much so that he starts hopping and dancing. Eventually the towel figure gets tired; he splashes his head in the stream once more, jumps into a nearby tree, tosses something shiny in the water and disappears.

       You more closely examine what the towel figure left behind: a small black metal key with an ivory handle. There is a mark of a heart cut into the handle: You wonder what this means.

      As you begin to wander back toward the bridge, you hear a bell ring. On impulse you look for the strange white cat in a lab coat.  Too late: something sharp pricks your neck and darkness takes you.

   You wake up strapped to a long surgical table in a dark laboratory. The mad scientist jumps up on your chest, purring, and stares at you in the eyes. There will be no escaping him this time. The white cat has been placing wired plugs on your head for the past hour. The rest of your body is covered in electrical wires. You suddenly hear a voice inside your head, like a radio frequency transmission:

          Testing, testing, subject number 134, can you hear me?

    You wonder who is speaking, then you notice the white cat in the lab coat looking at you.

          yes, number 134, there really is a white cat speaking to you telepathically. Thanks to the device connected to your inner ear, we can now communicate in a professional manner.

       There is a mirror on the ceiling above you: yes, there is a small metal spike protruding from behind your left ear —–

       Let me introduce myself. I am Dr. Winter. Now here are my demands: join me in my effort to give felines human traits, and therefore give them a chance to become the dominant species. If you accept, I will give you instincts and abilities that will further my cause. If you decline, well, you’re not exactly in a place to disagree…… 

         The eery wail of a house cat defending his territory reaches you from a distant room; yet it seems louder and more intimidating than a mere tomcat would give…..

**This is where trails are mixed and paths are woven, here is where fate is chosen. **

*Accept Dr. Winter’s Offer

*Reject Dr. Winter’s Offer