Archive for July, 2019

#Horror

Posted: July 31, 2019 in Uncategorized

Strange

Jeff Prebis

One

It was strange how the cops showed up to find Olson with the body. He was strung out on allure, not with the most clear of heads. He had no blood on his hands, just a very guilty expression. The body had been massacred and the killer lay dead next to it. Olson had a smoking gun in his hands. The first time anyone could’ve called him a hero and he looked very guilty, very guilty of something bad. Olson couldn’t talk to the cops. He had no words. Handcuffs were placed on his wrists while he stared at the two bodies. His mind was numb. It was hard to describe what he’d seen.

Two

It started at the office. Some allure was dropped off for Olson in the form of a letter. Olson held the letter in his hands, and watched whimsically as it disintegrated before his eyes. Olson leaned back in his chair, waiting for it to kick in. He took the allure as research for a story he wrote for the paper. He worked as a journalist, and wanted to know the effect of the drug on the mind. Soon, he would find out. He sat there and his mind changed about everything. He began to see strange colors and shapes that he couldn’t define. He needed to take a ride.

Three

Olson drove down the road at a high speed. He accelerated for no reason, pushing the limit of his Cadillac. Cars were passed and they vanished in his rearview. He looked back for cops. There weren’t any. The street was lawless today. The sky was cloudy. The temperature was hot, even for supper time. The humidity was high, amplifying the heat exponentially. He drove without a destination, just in air from the day. He had his window rolled down. There was bird shit on the windshield which irritated him. He tried to remove it with the windshield wipers to no success. He tried squirting water on the windshield, and that didn’t work either.

Four

Olson stopped at a liquor store. He parked and walked in. The liquor store was empty since it was the afternoon. He grabbed a bottle of scotch, and brought it to the register. Buying the liquor required two forms of identification, which he provided easily. He licked his lips, thinking about going home and drinking the scotch.

With the scotch in a paper bag, he walked back to his car. The Cadillac had more bird shirt on it. It seemed to be a magnet for birds. They loved his car. It was a bird latrine. The best bathroom for birds in the city. He shut the door, and pulled off.

Five

Olson sat at home on his front porch. He drank straight from the bottle and watched his neighbors go about mundane business, live their lives. A neighbor brought his trash to the curb for collection. Another neighbor worked methodically on his truck. A third neighbor decided to take his dog for a walk. The sun was going down, but the temperature remained high, as well as the humidity. It didn’t seem as though it would cool down.

Olson took another drink from the bottle and it was dark outside. His neighbor returned from the walk with his dog. He cut through the middle of his yard to reach the door. The man working on his truck went inside. There was a light on in his kitchen. The man with the trash had placed it at the curb safely and faded back into his house, moving around in different rooms with twenty different lights on. The shape moved furtively and Olson followed it with his eyes while he drank from the bottle. The decrease in the volume of the bottle encouraged Olson to go back to the liquor store while it was still open. He had a half hour to make the trip.

Six

Olson drove too fast to the liquor store. A few cops pulled behind him briefly, but they changed lanes without stopping him. He laughed when he looked through the rearview. He watched both cop cars pull over other drivers and felt immediately better.

Olson pulled into the parking lot. All the cars were gone. The liquor store was closed. He missed it by five minutes. Time had elapsed without his notice. He thought he made it on time and sat there idly for a few minutes, formulating a plan. He considered going to a bar. Bars were always fun.

He got out of the Cadillac and walked into the noisy bar. Smoke was in the air from cigarettes. Already he saw double, two of everything as if he was on Noah’s Ark, and he lit a cigarette to become part of the atmosphere. He sat down on a stool at the bar and ordered a scotch.

Olson saw ghosts sitting around the bar. People he’d known that passed on into the next world. It was strange. They looked lively. They smoked and drank. They seemed to be very much alive and happy. He blinked a few times, but they were still there. They were as tangible as he was. Gossamer made flesh. They seemed to enjoy each other’s company while he sat alone and smoked. The scotch was brought to him, and he nodded at the bartender. He lifted the scotch to his lips, and took a long drink. The drink made him sway a little in his seat. The bar was bright, colorful, and he looked around more, feeling at peace.

Seven

A woman sat down next to Olson. He smiled at her, taking his eyes off the ghost. The woman smiled back. Olson flicked an ash in the ashtray while the haunting continued. The ghosts dominated his attention, not even the basketball game on the television mattered. The woman played with her hair beside him. She appeared to want to talk, and he ignored her in favor of the ghosts. They were too poignant, too real to deny.

Olson looked at the woman, and made a joke. She laughed uproariously. He put his cigarette out in the ashtray and concentrated on her. She was blonde with dimples, quite attractive, and he began talking to her, albeit with a slur. He lit another cigarette as he casually glanced at the ghosts.

Eight

Her name was Delilah. Olson learned it in the bathroom. He had her on the sink with her panties slid down, and he penetrated her as hard as he could. The ghosts followed him into the bathroom. They crowded around him in the tight quarters. They murmured noisily, and he tried to ignore the sound. Each thrust threatened the integrity of the sink. It felt as though it could fall. He looked at the sink not at Delilah and wondered. She wrapped her legs around him. He grunted, looking into the mirror at his face, and his features contorted, twisted into shapes like a balloon or a funhouse mirror.

He reached orgasm, and set her on the floor feet first. He kissed her passionately. She sighed. He took her hand, and led her out of the bathroom

Nine

Olson sat at the bar with Delilah. A man approached Olson and told him what type of flower to bring to the ritual. Olson had talked to him the other night, and found a strange gathering for the demigod, Micliga. He’d been researching the mythic character for quite some time, and he was intrigued by the macabre things his followers did in honor of him. In order to enter the ritual, one had to bring a flower. Despite his drunken condition, Olson thought he was up for another ritual, and this time he would bring a camera to document it. There would be proof to take his editor, Harper, about the rituals.

Delilah wanted to go with him. He told her no numerous times. It would be hard enough to find a flower, let alone two. He needed a rose at a late hour. Never easy to pull off. He smoked his cigarette and stared at the ghosts. They continued to drink and have a merry time. He was the solemn one, haunted by their presence.

Ten

Closing time. Olson paid his bill, and said goodbye to Delilah. She wanted him to go home with him, and he shook his head no. He had to document the ritual. It was time. He’d been to others, and it was important that he do it this time.

He waited for change from the bartender. His vision was off. The ghosts were gone. They’d moved onto somewhere else. Perhaps his apartment where they could haunt him all night. Just seeing them here was enough for Olson. His mind was warped. He hadn’t realized how many departed souls there’d been in his life. Quite a few, it turned out.

Olson lit a cigarette, he leaned in and kissed Delilah goodbye. He put his lighter back in his pocket. He pulled his keys out and headed to his car.

Eleven

Olson drove to a convenience store. It was where he bought the flower the last time. It was open twenty-four hours. Olson navigated through the parking lot carefully in his present state. He saw cops drive down the main road and tried not to look at them. They worried him, a DUI would not be good to attain. A night in jail would drive him crazy.

He walked in the store hurriedly. It was late and he usually arrived at the rituals late. Always the last person in line. The camera was already in his car, ready to be used to document the scene. It had been macabre the three previous times, and he anticipated more of the same. The clownish Cowhead haunted Olson in his dreams. The cow head was symbolic of something that Olson couldn’t understand.  He hadn’t been initiated in the cult. He was only an interloper. Olson went to a register and found roses there in a little crystal vase, he plucked one out, and proceeded to the register.

Twelve

Olson drove slowly, right at the speed limit. The ritual was located on a different side of town, but he didn’t rush. It was at an abandoned factory. The factory shut down due to a story Olson produced. He wrote about how a drug was in the candy and the FDA dropped sanctions in place that led to Clown Candy going bankrupt. The influence of Olson could be felt.  A light rain started to fall.

Thirteen

Olson arrived at the factory. The sign was still over it. Clown Candy. It was popular because of its mascot, a clown obviously. There was a line as usual. Olson assimilated into the back and smelled the rose he carried. He gave the night a look. Rain struck him. It was growing windy and he wondered if he missed a tropical storm on the horizon. They came frequently.

The line moved up. He waited impatiently, looking at the colors around him, the shapes. The man in front of him smelled bad. There was a lingering odor. It smelled like cigarettes and feet. Olson gradually reached the front of the line, and he gave the doorman the rose. The doorman smelled it and signaled that he could enter.

Fourteen

Olson walked through darkness. He heard a singular voice above drumming. It was the voice of Cowhead. Olson had his camera by his side, down low where no one could see it. He joined the crowd around a stage. They were emotionally invested in the actions of Cowhead. He wore his cow’s head with pride, strutting on the stage. Olson noticed the cage was present, with the naked man inside. Olson listened to Cowhead speak in tongues, loud sounds that weren’t English. It wasn’t clear that anyone understood him. It was never clear who set up these rituals, but it was clear people came for entertainment. They came for a show. Olson stood there and watched Cowhead lead a cow onto the stage. The cow had given birth one time. Its offspring was killed by Cowhead. Cowhead had a darker purpose for it tonight, Olson suspected. Cowhead collected his whip from the shadows and cracked it near the back of the cow.

The sound lashed through the quiet of the factory. Olson flinched. He expected the cow to be hit. However, it was not. Cowhead maneuvered the cow over to the cage and held one of its udders out. The cow sprayed milk on the naked man. The man held his hands out as he was debased. He tried to block the flow of milk to no avail. Olson stood and watched. He had enough of seeing the man humiliated and decided it was time to speak out, to say something for the man. It was too strange.

“Stop that,” Olson said. “Stop that,” he said even louder.

Cowhead indeed stopped and glared at Olson through his mask. He didn’t like the objection as evidenced by his posture. He stood like an agitated cat on his back legs, his fur was up. He hissed and pointed at Olson. Olson never got the picture. He was seized and taken out back.

Fifteen

Olson stood outside with Cowhead. The naked man was on the ground. Olson watched Cowhead wield a gun over the man, eager to shoot him and make Olson watch. Olson lit a cigarette and surveyed the situation. He could grab the gun. It was low and in reach. Before he had a chance, Cowhead pulled the trigger and shot the naked man twice. Blood ran from the wounds underneath the rainy sky. Olson went for the gun and grabbed it. He wrestled with Cowhead for a long time, the two of them fought for control, and Olson won. He had the gun and he pumped two shots into Cowhead, dropping him to the ground next to the naked man. Olson took out his cell phone and called the cops. He told them where he was.

Sixten

Back to the beginning. Ambulances had the bodies. Olson was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car. He looked out the window at the rainy night.

 

 

 

 

Dark fiction

Posted: July 30, 2019 in Uncategorized

Lost

Jeff Prebis

One

Olson met Chelsea in a line at a convenience store. He was purchasing cigarettes and she laughed at some of the jokes he made with the cashier. Olson walked out of the store and stood to light a cigarette when Chelsea walked out, he started a conversation with her, and obtained her phone number, promising to call her later. It was a turbulent time. Olson was writing a story about a serial killer dubbed the Domino killer by Olson, the killer left dominoes on the bodies of his victims, and Olson was absolutely obsessed. It was the first real story he’d wrote about in months. Olson had quit drinking and settled into an even period, no trouble, no problems, and he took things one step at a time. Every breath he took of oxygen was different. Every day was a new challenge. His perception of the world was different, but the same.

He called Chelsea around two. A casual call to her apartment. She picked up and they talked for fifteen minutes, he was quick with the jokes, and he made her laugh effortlessly. He invited her to go to dinner with him, and she agreed. There was a taco bar down the street from where she lived. It would be a challenge not to drink, but Olson accepted it as part of life, and knew he had to do it. He had to face the beast head on.

Chelsea worked as a bank teller and had the day off. She lived alone and had two cats. The cats were friendly she told Olson, and he made a joke about women and cats, about how they always ended up alone. It wasn’t funny in retrospect, sometimes his improv stuff needed work, but he made her laugh. The laughter was all that mattered. Entertaining her felt good. He liked her laugh.

At four-thirty, he picked her up in front of her apartment, which was more of a townhouse than she described. It had two levels and was very skinny, very narrow, and he parked in a parking space while she walked to his car. It was a humid day. Most were in the summer. Every day felt like a hundred degrees. Wind was scarce. Olson waited for someone to spontaneously combust. She opened the door and got in. He had a sly look on his face, and he made another joke to ease the tension. Until he found sobriety, he rarely dated, and simply obsessed over his job all the time. Taking a step back allowed him to see things differently, and he sought happiness more than ever.

He pulled off for the taco bar. Traffic was light. Most people were still at work this time of day, and he navigated to the bar in ten minutes, making a u-turn to pull into the parking lot. Throughout the drive, he entertained her with his humor, his wacky views on life, and he really liked her laugh, it was infectious. He found a parking space, and pulled in. Steam rose from the top of the establishment. There was a small vent in the roof that allowed the steam to exit rather than hover around the premises. Olson was hungry. He’d been to the taco bar several times and enjoyed the chicken tacos with cheese quite a bit.

Olson held the door for her while she walked in. The cacophony of the place was deafening when they were inside. It seemed that quite a few people had the day off from work. Many people arrived early for dinner. Drinks were abundant and Olson fought the temptation to order one. They chose a booth and took a seat. The smell of the food was intoxicating to Olson, who ate more than regular now. Eating became a way to fill the void inside him. Something had to go in his stomach to replace the alcohol, and his appetite grew exponentially.

Chelsea asked him about his job. He responded with a flurry of more jokes, about the excitement and adventure of being a journalist. He exaggerated of course. Most of the time his life was boring, enough to drive someone to drink. This story was rare. The one interesting story that comes around once every year. The one that made him glad to do what he did.

A waitress stopped by the booth. She set menus down. Chelsea ordered a margarita and Olson ordered a water, finally making the scene a little awkward. Questions would come about his beverage choice, but he welcomed them. Olson knew the menu off the top of his head, and made some suggestions, and they were able to order without a wait. She ordered a taco salad. Olson ordered four soft chicken tacos.

The dinner was a blur. They ate, talked, ate some more. Chelsea ordered a couple more drinks. She spoke about her relationship with her roommate, a woman, and mentioned how they sometimes did things together, shared lovers. Olson was intrigued. He hadn’t detected that Chelsea liked women, but he didn’t know her. She went into detail about their dealings with men and women, how they liked to throw some spice into their relationship, and Olson became a little squeamish. Usually, he was drunk, and had all the strength in the world. Today however, he lacked his carapace and was stripped down to the raw version of himself, the sensitive, honest man that he was. He listened intently to her stories, realizing that he would be a part of one soon. He was destined to meet her roommate tonight. Chelsea looked at her cheap watch. She said her roommate would be home in thirty minute. Olson glanced at his slightly more expensive watch and nodded. He was in for an adventure tonight, more than he realized. He lit a cigarette and they continued to talk. He told her about his ex-wife, about how she joined the airline industry, and fled the city. Rarely did he ever tell anyone about her. He felt like opening up for once about himself, about his life. It was only fair after Chelsea told him about her life. The dinner blurred on until they were leaving.

Two

Olson drove back to her apartment with crazy thoughts about a threesome in his head. It was all he could think about. He pictured Chelsea and her roommate engaging in all types of erotic behavior, and he was more excited than he’d been in a long time. The parking space was taken. Olson had to park in one of the guest spots, which involved a longer walk. Olson and Chelsea walked in concert, side by side, to the apartment.

Chelsea opened the door and called the name of her roommate, Cheri, and walked in with Olson right behind him. He shut the door. The apartment had the television on, but she was perhaps dressing or undressing because the living room was empty. Olson kissed Chelsea. He didn’t need her roommate to begin. He wanted her. He held the side of her cheek, kissing passionately while she backed into the apartment. Olson let her fall to a rest on the couch. She worked on her jeans furiously, tugging them down as fast as she could. Olson unzipped his pants and lowered himself over her. There was a sound in the bedroom area of the apartment, but he continued without a look in that direction, and inserted himself in Chelsea. Aggressively, he thrust into her, listening to her moan while he worked, the orgasm was coming quick to him, and he had to fight to keep it back. He felt a hand touch his back and he froze, stopping in mid-stroke.

“Hi, I’m Cheri,” the roommate said. “You must be Olson. She called me before she went out with you. You are kinda of cute.”

“Hi,” Olson said with embarrassment. He reached his right hand back and shook her hand. “Would you like to participate?”

“Yes, actually, I would,” Cheri replied.

Olson shrugged. He had no idea what to do. He was still inside Chelsea, and Cheri entered the equation. He continued to thrust inside Chelsea while Cheri reached her hand out and put a finger in his anus, running it around the rim, and pushing inside him. He reached climax faster before, and he blew out rough exhalations. He was winded by the exertion. He looked at Cheri and she stepped up to kiss him. With his body turned, Chelsea began playing with his anus with her finger, and his erection returned as fast as it subsided. Cheri took his cock in her hand and began stroking it. He felt pressure on both sides of him forcing him to the same conclusion. He reached orgasm again. He sighed deeply.

“I need a nap,” he stated.

Three

Olson met with a cop friend of his, Ryan, and acquired photographs of the newest murder scene. A woman had been disemboweled, and two dominoes were left on her to indicate snake eyes, the calling card of the killer. This was the sixth murder, and the community was frightened. Olson received some pictures of the crime scene for a hundred dollars, the paper would print them, and he would be paid much more than a hundred. He wrote a story based on the facts Ryan told him, and presented it to his editor, Harper. Harper liked everything he’d written.

“This is really good,” Harper said. “I like your ideas and the pictures are excellent. This is going to reach a lot of people and we’re going to sell a lot of papers.”

“I know,” Olson said. “The pictures looked great the second I received them. And no you can’t have the name of my source. They’re exclusive. I’m the only one.”

Olson laughed. He hit his cigarette and blew some smoke toward Harper. Harper wanted to know who his source was so he could use it for other reporters and Olson wouldn’t tell him. Why give up something exclusive?

“Next time there is a break in the case, I’ll report it,” Olson stated. “I have friends who will let me know when it comes to a resolution. When they catch the killer, I’ll have a story out the next day, maybe the same night if we have time.”

“Good, good, I know you will,” Harper responded. “I’m glad you quit drinking. You focus on the job more.”

“Of course,” Olson said. “I’m always focused.

Four

Olson knocked on the door to Chelsea’s apartment. She was with Cheri. They invited him over hours earlier when he called from work. Night settled on the city and the temperature went down significantly. Olson smoked a cigarette in front of the door. He had a kink in the back of his neck that bothered him, and consequently he flexed to try to relieve it.

Chelsea answered the door. Olson followed her in with a smile on his face. She wore only her panties, and he was ready for some action. He thought about spanking her, but stopped himself. They were adventurous. He was new to this type of excitement and didn’t know all the rules just yet. Chelsea kissed him, and he went for it, he gave her a good smack. She reacted with a playful yelp. He felt that all the rules were out, anything truly went here. He could do whatever he wanted.

Olson pulled her panties down. He kneeled somewhat as if he were praying, and licked between her legs. He caressed her buttocks while he worked. Cheri entered the room, and placed a finger in his anus, exciting him. He continued to lick while she fingered him. He switched positions, and she went down on him while Chelsea inserted her finger. He tried to kiss Chelsea with his head turned sideways, but couldn’t. Chelsea was left out of the fun while Olson was pleasured front and back. He enjoyed every second of it. Olson stopped Cheri, and he licked between her legs. Chelsea kissed his neck, and he reached back to finger her. He was not acrobatic, not coordinated in any way. He licked Cheri to the best of his abilities, straining his arm to reach back and touch Chelsea. He stopped licking Cheri, and inserted himself in Chelsea. He rocked her against the couch. She had her hands on the arm, and he pushed with all his minimal strength. Cheri walked over to Chelsea and placed her body in front of her, allowing Chelsea to lick between her legs while Olson worked. Olson slowed his thrusts considerably, letting Chelsea work on Cheri. He bent over and licked Chelsea’s back, tasting her sweat. He pushed in again, with more authority, sliding in and out with ease. He reached climax and stopped. Chelsea continued to work on Cheri. Olson noticed some dominoes on the table near the kitchen, but thought nothing of it. He watched the women interact and stood there, almost jealously. Olson looked at the dominoes again. It was the first time he’d seen dominoes outside of a crime scene photo. It wasn’t very common in his life. He snapped back to the women and watched in awe as the two formed a 69 position over and under each other. He stood there, dumbfounded, by the way they moved. Everything was natural as if they’d done this many times before. He watched them both reach orgasm.

Five

Olson was back at the office. There was another murder to write about. He had pictures of a woman with her throat carved hollow and two dominoes showing snake eyes. Harper took a look at the pictures and looked at Olson.

“This is amazing,” Harper said. “Your source is the best. This looks like it came from the actual crime scene.”

“It did,” Olson stated.

“Is that legal?” Harper asked.

#Horror

Posted: July 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

Phantasmagoria 3

Jeff Prebis

Olson glanced at his nieces, Sophie and Theresa. They sat on the floor by the couch he sat on. It was story time again, and Olson tried to think of a good one to entertain them. Olson gave them a loving smile as he sipped his scotch, a cigarette rested between his fingers, and he hit it next.

“Tell us another story,” Sophie persisted. “We’re going to bed soon. We want to hear a story.”

“I know, I know,” Olson said. “I was thinking of one that might interest you. This is more of a say no to drugs story. This is a plague running loose in the city.”

He inhaled his cigarette and looked them over. He thought about what he’d seen, and the information he gathered. Reality was always stranger than fiction.

Olson sat at a coffee house. He was out on the patio portion, smoking a cigarette. He’d poured some scotch into his coffee and no one noticed. Delightedly, he sat and drank, staring at the street. People high on allure were abundant. They were discernable by their twitchy behavior. They blinked a lot and tremors passed through their bodies. The drug had run rampant for quite some time. Police were suspected of involvement in distribution. There were many suspicions. Society felt as though it was crumbling, and paranoia ran deep, to the core of one’s soul. Neighbors didn’t trust neighbors. Husbands didn’t trust wives. In general, anyone could be high, and once they started twitching, violence ensued.

Olson viewed a clown on the corner. He made balloons and danced around to entertain people who traversed the sidewalk. The clown didn’t see a few derelicts approaching. He was too busy twisting three balloons together to forge a shape. Olson sat by, and watched. Their gaits were off. They sort of zigzagged down the street, going on the sidewalk, into the road, and back onto the sidewalk. They spotted the clown, and started beating him. The clown collapsed on the ground, and curled into a ball under the assault of fists and feet. Olson stood up, but the cops were already coming, and he blew into his hand to check his breath. He smelled like alcohol. This caused him to fade back into the patio, sit back down, and simply watch what happened. The waitress asked if he wanted anything else, and he ordered another coffee, his eyes were on a club across the street, he’d been there for one of his Micliga rituals, and wanted to see what went on during the day. The scene with the clown distracted him, though. The derelicts ran away, and left the clown bloodied on the ground. As if bit by the addicts, the clown attacked the cop, knocking him down when offered a helping hand, and stealing his wallet. He kicked the cop a few times, and stormed down the street in a huff.

“That’s just how they are,” Olson said to his nieces. “These people attack anybody at any time. It’s contagious. It’s running through the community right now.”

“Really,” Theresa said.”

“Really,” Olson said. “Never touch that stuff. I don’t want anything to happen to you. I have a few more stories. I’ve seen it around. It even was at the office.”

“Okay,” Sophie said.

“Okay,” Olson replied.

There was a guy named Tony who worked at The Houston Chronicle. Tony was the typical quiet guy, never spoke to anyone, and was well-liked. He had the profile of a serial killer. Tony came to work one day disheveled and dirty. It was a change from the way he usually looked. He was always very clean, smelled like lotion. He had short brown hair with a little gray around the sides. He was best described as immaculately dressed. He wore white dress shirts with black ties and black slacks. The day he was disheveled was different obviously. His shirt was untucked. He wore no tie, and was missing a shoe. He slammed the door behind him when he entered. He zigzagged through the office to his desk, walking on the edge of his feet, leaning slightly to the left. His off kilter walk threatened to topple him, but he made it to his desk, and he sat down in his chair. Instantly, he began tapping his foot to the annoyance of everyone present. They looked at him strangely, as if he had changed drastically overnight, which he had.

The tapping foot continued. It switched to his hand on the desk. His hand tapped repeatedly as if he heard a song that no one else could hear. His foot started again. Both hand and foot at once until someone told him stop and he ignored. The editor, Harper, approached his desk and told him to stop. Immediately, he became enraged, and he leapt onto Harper, knocking him to the ground. He clawed at Harper’s face, bit his cheek. His anger was insatiable. Harper screamed for help. He clawed on the floor to escape Tony. Everyone stood around and watched, not knowing what to do, even though stopping ‘Tony was obvious. When someone did try to help, Tony seized their arm, and bit them as hard as he could, leaving bloody teeth marks in their flesh. He became a cannibal overnight. His taste was for human flesh. He clawed Harper’s face again, beginning to howl like a wolf. The howl echoed through the office, making everyone turn in his direction, come closer. Olson stood up and grabbed Tony’s arm and twisted it behind his back. Tony was stronger, though, and he was able to break free quickly. Tony sprang to his feet and returned to his desk. He hunched over and began drawing on a piece of paper. Violent slashes on the paper. His hand moved erratically. Security was contacted and everyone returned to their desks. Harper remained on the floor, sobbing. Olson stood near Tony, ready to grab him again, but he held off, and waited. Security entered, unsure of what they would find. They wore uniforms like cops, complete with badges. Guns weren’t usually necessary, so they were unarmed. Olson wondered if they didn’t need guns to tame Tony.

Tony kept scrawling on the paper, oblivious to the approaching security guards. Olson was drunk one day and too loud, causing security to be called on him and he was eventually pardoned by Harper. He doubted that the same thing would happen with Tony. Tony crossed a line by biting his boss. Security wasn’t ready for Tony. They spoke to him calmly, thinking he was normal, but all he did was growl at them viciously. His eyes were tenebrous, his hand jerked on the paper as he drew the lines. The lines grew more violent, more intense to Olson’s eyes. Again, he tried to grab Tony by the arm, and stop him, but Tony shrugged him off with no problem. The sound of Tony’s teeth grinding together became louder, it sounded as though a few chipped, and he spit blood on his artwork. Olson rubbed his wrist with his other hand. It felt as though Tony twisted his wrist out of joint. The security guards approached, and Tony leapt at them with blood streaking down his chin. One security guard cried out from being hit in the face. The other pulled out a needle and stabbed Tony in the arm. The sedative began to work on him until he calmed down by degrees. He sat in his chair, panting.

“That didn’t happen, Uncle Joe,” Sophie said. “The security guard wouldn’t have a sedative on him. That’s a fabrication.”

“It happened,” Olson stated. “Listen, I admit I’ve taken the stuff myself. It is powerful. You lose track of everything and succumb to it. It’s potent. Don’t ever try it, okay.”

“Okay, Uncle Joe,” Sophie said.

“Okay, Uncle Joe,” Theresa said.

Olson took some one night on the way to a cult gathering. It was the Micliga cult. One of their nightly rituals. This would be the craziest ritual he’d attend. People came from far and wide to see someone burn or at least Olson thought they burned. The allure in his system corrupted his memory of events. Olson came earlier, and encountered a line for the first time. It was an abandoned club called El Tarantula. There were seven people in line ahead of him with Mother’s Day cards, he parked, and joined in the line. He lit a cigarette while the allure ran through his system. It was activated when he held a letter in his hands, and the paper dissolve d into his skin, entering his bloodstream. Colors and shapes swirled before his eyes, and gradually, reality slipped away. He stood there while the line progressed without him. The men ahead of him looked back and shook their heads, knowing full well that he was on drugs, and Olson wondered why he chose tonight to take the drug, the allure. The colors and shapes were like looking through a kaleidoscope, Olson remembered. He saw things that weren’t there and twitched as if they were coming at his face at high speed. He flinched for no reason. He noticed that the line moved without him, and struggled to catch up. He stopped by a drugstore for his card, and could barely speak to the cashier, his mind was mush, and it was lucky he wrote down the address or he wouldn’t have made it. Olson looked at his Cadillac and it appeared to be floating on water, it moved as if on liquid, and he wished that he put an anchor down to secure it. He laughed at what he thought. Everything seemed less than real.

Olson moved forward and handed his card to the doorman. He took it and perused it briefly with a smile on his face like a happy mother. He gave Olson a tender hug, and allowed him to enter the closed club. It wasn’t clear if the doorman had worked at the original club when it was still open. It was definitely in the realm of possibility. Olson walked into complete darkness, there was a definite absence of color, and his vision seemed to become normal. He looked around for the rest of the gathering, not knowing what horrors would be presented tonight. After what he’d seen before, he anticipated the worst thing yet. Each ritual proved to be weirder than the last. There was a chain dangling from the ceiling, and a fire started beneath a hanging body. The body swung pendulously, hypnotically to Olson’s eyes. The body cooked over the fire, and the aroma was tasty to Olson, who licked his lips and watched in awe. The other men swayed in place, chanting in a foreign language that Olson couldn’t understand. He was dumb to what they chanted, but yet, the desire to chant with them was strong inside him. He tried to chant too, but in English, and the men frowned at him until he stopped. The flames looked as if they moved closer to him. He felt them touching his skin, and he fled out the door.

Back to his car, he walked hurriedly, without looking back. He started it and drove off. From there, everything went blank. He forgot how he ended up in the alley.

Olson woke in an alley. There were people around, taking apart his car. The tires were removed, and languidly, he drifted back into consciousness. There wasn’t a voice inside of him. He couldn’t yell at them to stop. All he could do was lean against the side of his car. The engine was still running and for the life of him he couldn’t recall how he got here. His head throbbed, and he rubbed his temples. Seeing was still weird, though. There were colors and shapes in front of his eyes. He had urinated in his pants, and the smell lingered in the interior of his roofless Cadillac as if he just peed. The fire started again, and people danced around it as a body dangled from the ceiling. He watched it move pendulously and wondered if it were a living person. If so, the person was very still and didn’t scream. Olson had never seen a calmer person in his life. He wondered if perhaps it were an effigy of someone living or a doll. He couldn’t tell as if he stood there. It was too weird to explain. He faded back to sitting in his car, unsure of where he was or what was taking place. The headache grew worse until he lost consciousness.

“That didn’t really happen,” Sophie said. “You’re making up these stories. You didn’t go to see a burning woman.

Olson sipped his scotch and said, “Yes, I actually did and I have no idea what I was doing. I was on allure. It was too weird. It’s getting late. Why don’t you girls go to bed.”

“Okay, Uncle Joe,” Sophie said.

“Goodnight, Uncle Joe,” Theresa added.
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#Horror

Posted: July 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

Phantasmagoria 2

Jeff Prebis

Olson made shapes using his fingers and the light from the fire to entertain Sophie and Theresa, his nieces, and the trick was getting old. He knew they wanted to hear another story, but he held back, considering what he had to offer. Olson was a little drunk. The fifth scotch pushed him over the edge. His vision was blurred and the two sisters had twins next to them.

“Tell us another story,” Sophie said.

“Okay, this one may be too wild for you,” Olson said. “I was hanging out with these weirdos in a cult one night.”

Olson met a man who opened a back door, and allowed him to enter. Olson was sworn to secrecy, he swore not to mention anything he saw, but he doubted anybody really cared, he wasn’t a cop or a detective. He was only a journalist and people loved the press. They loved to have light shined on their odd practices. The streets were full of a drug called allure that made people act like maniacs. There were rumors that the cult was behind it. No evidence could substantiate the claim.

Olson joined a group of men gathered in the dark. The room was painted black. For a cult they really didn’t believe in decorations, no symbols, no hieroglyphics, no weird art work, just black walls and a black floor. Olson had a few drinks and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. This was one of the few places that allowed him to smoke these days. They were gathered around a man with a cow head over his skull. He spoke in some foreign tongue that no one could understand. At least, Olson couldn’t understand. The man had two buckets by him. One bucket had meat, hamburger meat, and the other had milk, flies buzzed around both buckets, looking for a place to land, and eat or drink. Olson hit his cigarette and watched, captivated by the flies more than the speech in the foreign tongue. He had his expectations pretty high after he found about the cult meeting, and wanted to see a sacrifice or something news worthy, not a guy with a cow’s head on. The man dipped his hands in the meat and then the milk. He let milk and meat drip back in the bucket. What a waste, Olson thought.

Olson came late. He spent too much time drinking and the affair was breaking up. He watched people walk out into the night while the speaker took off the cow’s head, and set it by the buckets. He was more of a performer than any else, and Olson was a bit disappointed in his “art.”

“Yeah guys, that one was a dud,” Olson said. He took a sip of scotch and lit a cigarette. “The next one the following night was a lot weirder.

“That was boring,” Sophie said. “Nothing happened. It was kind of gross.”

“I know, I know, trust me it gets weirder.”

The ante was upped the next time. Olson heard about the location from a kid who played trick card games on a corner named Monty. Monty told Olson where it would be, and told him to bring a rose. The rose would give him access to the festivities. Olson wrote down what he said in on a little notepad, and he tore the paper off, pocketing it. Olson found himself driving around after midnight again. He hoped to see the guy with the cow’s head, he thought he made an impression on the guy, and that they could exchange emails or become social network friends. The bond was developing quickly between them.

Olson found a parking space on the side of the road, and walked to a restaurant that closed for the night. It was late. The second consecutive late night for Olson and he yawned repeatedly as he walked to the location. The rose was in his hand. He anticipated being allowed access. There was no reason why not. Like the last time, he hadn’t worn a badge, and didn’t have one to wear. Olson stopped at the door, and knocked. He waited with the rose extended in his hand for someone to answer and take it. A man with blinking eyes answered the door. It was clear he was high off allure. He had all the twitchiness associated with it. He took the rose from him and smelled it, took a long inhalation, and allowed Olson to enter. Olson was led to a back room by the kitchen where other twitchy men stood. Everyone had the same look in their eyes. Everyone was high off allure. It was the most addicts Olson had ever been around. A collection of people he completely feared. The looks in their eyes told stories. Stories he didn’t want to know about. Olson was unsure of where to stand. It was awkward, being pressed close to other men who hadn’t showered or bathed in weeks. Their manic energy was in the air of the room. It was close quarters. Everyone was pressed tightly together. Unlike the last meeting, Olson was scared this time. His sense of humor was gone. He wondered what would happen, anything could drive these men into a manic frenzy, over the edge into insanity, and he feared being in their presence when that occurred. Olson’s friend, the man who wore the cow’s head, made another appearance. This time, he brought a cow into the room. It took up much of the limited space, and everyone crowded together, cheering excitedly. Olson felt like he was at a youth rally for Hitler, the excitement was infectious, filled the air in the room. Everyone was excited to see the cow, except for Olson. The cow had sad eyes, as if it were treated badly, its mouth moved as if it was hungry, and it stared blankly at the men with a kind of fear, as if it didn’t want to be part of their entertainment.

Olson tried to light a cigarette and his cigarette was confiscated by the doorman. He shook his head disapprovingly at Olson. Olson was disappointed, but he didn’t protest, and stared with curiosity at the cow. The man in the cow’s head lacked anything deadly, but the cow’s discomfort was still present in its eyes. The room grew quiet, the fevered pitch that had gathered died down somewhat, though, the energy was present in everyone. Olson was the only one who wasn’t energetic. He waited for something to happen, feeling that it would be something bad. The man with the cow’s head on lifted the tail of the cow, and plunged his arm inside the cow, eliciting a cry from the cow. It was the most disgusting thing Olson had ever seen. He gasped and gagged as he stood there. He couldn’t believe what the man had done. He let go of the tail, and shoved his other arm inside the cow as well. The fevered pitch of the crowd rose. Everyone was excited by the perverse act. Olson was the only one disgusted. Cowhead shifted his arms around, moving them as if he were trying to pull something out. There was another cry from the cow. Clearly, it was in discomfort. The sad look had not left its eyes. It longed for something else, something better in life than being the subject of strange rituals. Cowhead tugged back and brought the body of a calf out into the open. He almost smiled through his “mask.” He seemed delighted by what he’d done. He continued pulling until the entire body of the calf was free, and he set the wet thing on the ground. It mewled like its mother. The calf wasn’t ready to walk. It lay on the floor. Cowhead bent down beneath the cow and licked its udders until milk flowed out. This act disgusted Olson as much as anything else, maybe more.

“Isn’t that a little weird for my daughters,” Tommy, Olson’s brother, said. “They don’t need to hear about some weird ritual you witnessed. You always go overboard when you get drunk, Joe.”

“Not really, they wanted to hear a scary story,” Olson said. “This really happened. Reality is always stranger than fiction.” Olson finished his drink and held his glass out for his brother. Tommy took it and went to a table to refill it.

“I think it’s weird,” Sophie said. “This Micliga guy must be crazy. Do you think he really exists?”

“I don’t know,” Olson admitted. “It’s a complicated mythology and I haven’t scratched the surface on it. It’s an ongoing investigation. This other ritual was weird. There was a third one that I went to. They really took it overboard. I was appalled by that one. The third one was ridiculous. I’ve never seen someone so degraded.”

“Joe, leave that one alone then,” Tommy said. “They don’t need to hear about degradation. They aren’t even teenagers yet. You’re going to give them nightmares. You will be responsible for them not sleeping tonight.”

“I want degradation,” Sophie said.

“No, you don’t,” Tommy stated. “You just love to hear stories from your uncle.”

“Come on,” Olson said.

“Alright, go ahead,” Tommy said. “I know you will do it anyway once I leave the room.”

He handed Olson another drink, and he took a long sip from it. He lit a cigarette and smiled at his nieces. He really loved them and wanted to entertain.

Okay. Picture this. Olson drove his Cadillac to a factory on the bad side of town. The factory had long been abandoned. It used to produce a candy that was reported as infected with a drug, and the company went bankrupt. That’s an Olson story for another day. Olson’s stomach gurgled from hunger. He’d drunk his fair share during the course of the day, and was a little dizzy, a little light-headed. He remembered the factory, and what it used to be. Its purpose then was as diabolic as its purpose this late night. He pulled alongside a line of cars, and exited the Cadillac. The air smelled like ash, though, there wasn’t a fire, and he wondered what went on inside. Memories of the last ritual were present in his mind. He recalled vividly the cow and the birth of the calf. How could one forget that so easily? He wandered to a door to the factory, not sure of what to do. He brought a carnation this time, and assumed it would be the same as with the rose. Another offering to someone, maybe just the guy at the door, and he would be granted access to the bizarre.

The doorman stood outside, he smoked a cigarette, and eyed Olson as if he were trouble. He squinted at him suspiciously. Olson was a regular. This was his third ritual in as many nights. Every night of the week there seemed to be one, and Olson hadn’t had a good night’s sleep since the first one. The lack of sleep left him lethargic during the day, and he sleepwalked through life for the most part. He kept telling his editor that he would have a weird story by the end of the week, appeasing Harper momentarily, the man was highly demanding, and wanted something truly strange to give the people.

Olson handed the carnation to the doorman, who wore a holster with a gun this time. This side of town was bad. There were allure addicts lurking on every corner, waiting around for drugs to be delivered in ice cream trucks. That was also a story for another day. Another Olson investigation. Finding the supplier was intriguing.

Access was granted to Olson, and he entered the factory. It smelled like offal, and he anticipated something truly weird this time. The hair stood up on his arms as he heard someone beating a drum. It was a long rhythmic sound that encompassed the whole of the factory. Olson followed the sound of the melodic drumming to a room with several people standing and twitching. Just as the last time, everyone present appeared to be high on allure. The twitching was the first indicator. The inability to stay still. The shifty eyes. The horrible stenches. All telltale signs of allure addiction.

There was a cage with a naked man inside. He was emaciated and dirty. Patches of hair had been torn from his scalp. The man was languid. It was unclear how long he’d been a prisoner. His captor was revealed as the man in the cow’s head. He proved to be more devious than Olson initially regarded him. He was the orchestrator of these lovely rituals. Olson pictured him carrying the roses home with him last night. Tonight he would take home the carnations. Olson wondered what the next flower would be.

Cowhead had a whip in his hand. He opened the cage door slowly, allowing the emaciated man to crawl out. Olson lit a cigarette and the doorman confiscated it from him. He’d followed Olson in. Olson seemed to be the last one in each ritual. Cowhead brought out a bucket of meat and a bucket of milk and set them by the emaciated man. It looked like he’d been starved just for this night, just so he could eat and drink in front of the gathered crowd. Olson watched. The emaciated man crawled over to the bucket gradually, sniffing the air, unsure of whether he should eat and drink or not. He’d been tormented either willingly or against his will. His penance was unclear to Olson. Was it a punishment for something he did? Was it some form of masochism?

Nonetheless, he crawled to the bucket of raw meat and ate from it. He made grunting sounds while he ate. Everyone present was held in rapt attention, they stared and twitched. Olson felt he was in the middle of something perverse. The ritualistic manner of the eating was disturbing. Flies flew around the meat and the milk. Cowhead walked out of the tableau and returned with the calf. It could walk now, and he led it to the bucket of milk. Methodically, it took drinks of the milk until it had enough, and Cowhead led it offstage again. The milk was depleted by the calf, and Cowhead brought out the cow to provide more milk. He led it across the stage with a hand on a short leash. The cow was stood over the bucket, and Cowhead played with its udders until milk dropped into the bucket. The milk had a slightly yellow color. The emaciated man drank from it lustfully. The crowd oohed and aahhhed at this action. It made them feel good.

After a short amount of time, the man was led back to his cage, and locked inside by Cowhead. He held a long machete now after leaving the stage. The cow and the calf were present. He held the machete over the neck of the calf and dropped the blade down, slicing its head off, and causing blood to spurt onto the crowd. It was disturbing after seeing him deliver the calf into the world before, and Olson wondered how many of these people had been present for that. Briefly, the calf stood without a head, then it collapsed, and the blood spurted onto the floor. Cowhead shoved the head of the calf into the crowd, and people started eating it. It was passed around and Olson shook his head when it came his way. His abstinence was met with disapproving gazes, but the head was passed on, without his participation. Olson watched the ravenous people, all men, eat the head until it was a skull and cartilage, then it was passed back to the stage. The people twitched with more vigor. Eating raw hot meat had quite an invigorating effect on them. Cowhead took a moment to urinate on the man in the cage. A long stream of urine landed on the emaciated man, drenching him completely, and he curled up in a ball to protect himself. Everything became dark. Whatever illumination existed had turned off and plunged the abandoned factory into pitch blackness. Olson struggled to find his way out.

“That’s all for tonight, girls,” Olson said. “You guys look sleepy, go ahead and head off to bed before your dad has a fit. I love both of you.”

The girls came over and hugged Olson. They loved their uncle as much as he loved them. He smiled while they walked to the stairs. He tilted the glass back and took another drink. He picked up his cigarette and took another pull.

Pick up the novel. https://www.amazon.com/Even-Angels-Hell-Jeff-Prebis-ebook/dp/B07S4CW7C8/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

 

#Horror Fiction

Posted: July 27, 2019 in Uncategorized

Phantasmagoria

Jeff Prebis

Olson sat with his nieces. They wanted him to tell another story. He just told an old legend to them, and they wanted something scarier, something that would make them scream, and he gave their request consideration. He thought about a man in snakeskin boots who roamed the world, and how he brought great evil with him wherever he traveled.

“Tell us about a bad man,” Sophie pleaded.

“Yeah, a really bad man,” Theresa added.

Olson smiled at them. He knew of such a man. A man more myth than anything.
A man he had the misfortune of meeting once upon a time. Olson would never forget the encounter or the pure evil which lurked in the man’s soul. Olson had never met anyone who wanted to bring misery to others as badly as the man in the snakeskin boots. He exuded pure evil. Olson learned the most about him from others. He saw the man for such a brief period of time, but everything attributed to him was believable, he was indeed a scoundrel, the worst kind of person, and Olson was glad he met his end, finally. He didn’t have a beginning to the story, only the end, and he thought of what to tell his nieces before he spoke. He had strange imaginings about the guy, where he came from, who he worked for, but nothing concrete. He was a mystery. He was just evil. Olson began telling the story without thinking.

There was a man who walked the earth. A soldier of fortune who had no allies or enemies, he walked some line between good and evil that no one understands. He was a man who had no mercy, and wrought unhappiness everywhere he went. He was a good-looking man, the devil is always good-looking. Otherwise people wouldn’t accept his evil. They would shun him. It’s all in the packaging. It’s all image in the business of deception. Diamonds in nature are black rocks that have to be polished. He was one of those people that had to have the polish scraped off to discover his true nature. An enticing visage could get you anywhere in life. A blithe smile could tempt anyone. He started out on a plane harming innocent people with his pestilence. Little did they know what was happening to them. They didn’t know who or what he was. He simply smiled and went about his devilish business with glee, never letting on that he meant anyone harm. It was hard to tell the end was coming when you saw him, one became infatuated with the way he looked, caring more about his smile or his fashionable boots. Snakeskin boots. The purpose of the boots was never clear to anyone. It was a symbol of some sort. No one knew what. He wore them with pride, with a bright shine. It was said he acquired them in Africa, but who knew for sure. He said a lot of things which might have been truthful, more often than not, lies. His silver tongue was forked for sure.

Olson looked over the girls, and they were enthralled by what he had to say. He made a face, and they smiled. Olson continued.

He might have been the starter of the quiet plague, or simply a catalyst, it’s hard to tell. The plague had an origin, like everything, and it had to start somewhere. He wasn’t a scientist or brilliant in any sense, he was a pawn perhaps in a greater game played by powerful people. Olson had his theories, his beliefs on the subject, but they could never be substantiated, he didn’t know enough, and could only speculate about what crazy cabal put the man in the snake skin boots in his position. He seemed to relish it, however. He embraced being the devil, embraced being the symbol of evil, and delivering a plague to people on a warm dish. He was in many places at once. The stuff of whispers, the stuff of myth. A man without a past or a future. A man who existed only in the present. A bystander in the world. Not a key player in anyone’s movie. He lurked in the background, wreaking havoc surreptitiously. Olson only could think of the devil when he thought of him, an Anti-Christ sent to destroy the world, he wasn’t overly religious, not religious at all, but the man had a certain quality, if a savior could come, why not the opposite. Why not a monster of biblical proportions who wanted to destroy everything instead of save it? It had to happen. There had to be someone evil enough to come and destroy everything. Olson had no doubt that there were several people in history like the man in the snake skin boots. Hitler might have been the last. There were always new monsters waiting to reveal their faces, and strike fear in the hearts of the strongest of men. The man in the snakeskin boots used a needle to inject people with his plague. How he came upon on the needles had no explanation. There were so many missing pieces to the puzzle. Olson had stumbled onto the story while it was already in progress, and all he could do was record the facts as he had seen them. He had no place to give insight on the actual facts of what happened. All he had were second hand accounts of people seeing the man in the snakeskin boots on a plane. He sat amongst regular people on the way to New Orleans, people headed home, and people going for Mardi Gras. He was going for neither reason. He apparently had no home, he was constantly traveling, constantly smiling, constantly infecting people. It seemed to be his life’s work, the only thing that made him happy.

Olson paused and smiled at the girls again. They stared with rapt attention, completely engrossed by what he had to say. He tweaked both of them on their noses, and continued.

The plague started in Africa and spread throughout the world. Africa was the cradle of civilization. The place of origin for all peoples. It was the perfect place to unleash a virus which could change the world forever. It incubated in the jungles and spread like wildfire through the inner cities of America, leaving countless dead, and countless others desperate for anything to keep them alive.
The plague was a quiet weapon in a quiet war waged on people who were deemed as less than human, marginal even, a weapon used to exterminate, to cleanse, Olson didn’t understand the full scope of it. No one did. There was a place of origin, and the rest was history, a sweeping plague of biblical proportions. Olson theorized that there had to be others like him. There were too many outbreaks for him to have traveled to every location. A single man has his limitations. Olson always believed there was more than one man in the snakeskin boots, there had to be many, little carriers who delivered the disease, and left the shadow of death in their wake. It was hard to speculate, however. He lacked the facts to know just how many bad men there were. He came in contact with one, and watched the end of him. The plague continued on after his death, and it had to indicate there was more than one. The plague was transmittable through sexual contact or the exchange of blood, but there had to be more transporters out there, a slew of snakeskin boot men traveling the country in the name of destruction.

“Are you guys scared yet?” Olson asked. “This is a very real problem in this country.”

“Keep going,” Sophie said. She chewed her fingernails nervously.

“I want to hear more,” Theresa added.

“Okay,” Olson said. “Your dad is going to kill me if you guys have nightmares. I know you asked to hear a story, but I don’t want to scare you too much.”

“You won’t,” Sophie promised.

“Never,” Theresa added.

The two always spoke one after the other. Sophie was the oldest and boldest. Theresa always followed her lead, wherever Sophie went, Theresa had to follow. It was an endearing quality. Their dad was Olson’s brother, and he never followed Olson. Olson left him behind, and made his own way through life. It was rare he was ever invited over to see his nieces. Telling them stories made him feel good. He thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them. He looked over their glowing eyes, at the smiles on their faces, and he knew he was obligated to continue with the story. It grew a little bleak now. It grew hopeless. He didn’t want to tell them how hopeless, but he was compelled as the storyteller. Once he started something with his nieces he had to finish. He lit a cigarette and smiled at them. His brother hated him smoking in the house, but he did it anyway. His brother and his wife were in the kitchen, leaving him with the girls, a glass of scotch sat on a coaster on the wood end table. Olson leaned back on the fluffy dark blue couch, and thought about where he left off. It was the bleak part of the story, when the disease spread, the desperation of the people, and what many felt was the beginning of the end.

Now, at this point, desperate people were egged on by an urge they couldn’t understand. They had a thirst for blood. A voice in their minds told them they had to have blood to survive. It was the only way, and they tried to acquire it by any means necessary. Some attacked people. Others attacked hospitals and tried to steal the blood. Survival meant that another might have to die in order to prolong one’s own existence. It represented a moral conundrum, a test many people failed because their desperation was too profound, to feel as though you are dying, and to know how to stay alive is quite a problem. The desperation was palpable. In some cases, it became an addition because people felt so bad that when they found blood, they suddenly felt high from it. It was strange. Feeling normal became the new high. Just being a human being became an addiction. Going on with one’s life was impossible. The constant need to get more blood was all-encompassing. It became a compulsion. It had to be done in order to survive. Every hour of every day had to be spent in the quest for more blood. Otherwise, death would come calling, and what could you do.

“Joe, they don’t need to hear this story,” said Tommy, Olson’s brother. “They don’t need to hear your wacky end of the world prophecy. You’ve told everyone else about it. They’re too young to be that scared. It’s good for adults. Fine entertainment, but not for my daughters. They are young. Leave them alone.”

Olson shook the ice around in his glass and took another sip of the scotch. The cigarette burned between his fingers. He smiled at his brother.

“They wanted to hear a scary story,” he replied. “I’m just doing my best to entertain. Man, come on, Tommy, it’s not going to hurt them.”

“Come on, dad,” Sophie said.

“Come on, dad,” Theresa chimed in.

“Alright, Joe. Continue with your gloom and doom talk. When you girls have nightmares from your uncle, don’t come crying to me. I don’t want to hear about it. He talks about the bleakest stuff. I can’t believe you actually want to listen to him. He’s obsessed with the end of the world.”

“I can give it a positive twist,” Olson stated. “I can talk about the opposite of the man in the snakeskin boots. Do you want to hear that?”

“No, we want to hear the gloom and doom,” Sophie almost shouted. “We want to hear about the plague. Tell us more.”

“I’m going to tell the opposite, guys. I’m sorry. Your dad has a point. There are positive ways to look at the world.”

In this world, everything is murky, nebulous. The origins of everything are up for debate. There is no beginning or end really to these stories. They go on and on. Isabelle appeared in the middle of this madness. She popped up on the planet one day without a herald. Her energy was positive. It was purported that she could heal people. A gift granted to very few. People came to see her from far and wide. People who were infirm found a second chance. A new beginning. A second glance at life. Not surprisingly, someone had to gun her down. It was only a matter of time before someone became jealous, before someone had to find what everyone was talking about, and put an end to it. Maybe this was a bleak story, too. Olson didn’t know. He was only a witness and all he could was recite what he’d been told or had seen firsthand. He’d seen the power of the shrine. The shrine was built after she was killed. A statue was crafted which looked identical to her, and people still came to the town of Megiddo for spiritual or health reasons, and sought out the shrine.

In the time of saviors and destroyers, there was room for false prophets, and the number one guy was a chicken monger who seemed more interested in selling chicken than saving anyone. Accruing more wealth was the most important thing to him. He had a mansion, followers, and still he wanted more. He never could get enough. He was on television and on the radio, constantly predicting the second coming of the Messiah. Maybe if he stopped and looked around, he might have seen that it occurred and changed his opinion about the world. Every day of the week he preached about how the world was ending and the only way to find salvation was to buy his chicken. It was a wonderful sales pitch. One a lot of people bought. Of course the plague would catch him by the tail, as it caught so many others. It was inevitable that he would become sick, and seek salvation from the very thing he hated most in the world. It was ironic that the person who sat most high and condemned everyone else eventually succumbed to the same thing he hated people for having. It was definitely some form of justice. Unfortunately for him, he vanished into a pool of water, and was never seen again. Justice was served for him.

Olson stopped. He looked at his nieces. He’d run out of material, and they appeared tired. They were yawning now. Tommy came back in the room, and told them that it was time for bed. Olson nodded at them. Each one took turns giving him a big hug. He thought it was a shame that they would think he made up the story when it really happened. That’s the way life worked. A fairy tale could be conjured from the truth.

 

 

Dark Fiction

Posted: July 25, 2019 in Uncategorized

Through the Needle

Jeff Prebis

One

Joel said he wasn’t addicted. He said he could quit anytime. Joel lied to himself. The heroin overpowered him.

Joel was a painter. He was at big gallery show, talking to people, rubbing elbows with people with money who had an appreciation for art. Art was so forgotten these days. Most people rather stare at their phones than actually view beauty, or something surreal. There were games to play on phones, social networking. So many distractions. Joel had to step into the restroom to shoot up some heroin. He drifted away from conversations, his long hair was too tight in its ponytail, and he had to let it loose. Sweat beads formed on the surface of his skin.

In the restroom, he hopped in a stall, and locked the door tightly. He had the needle loaded, and he tied a piece of rubber around his forearm to make the vein protrude. He inserted the tip of the needle, and closed his eyes, waiting for the rush. It came fast and furious, instantly, his mood changed drastically, and he didn’t care about the world. He forgot about his paintings, about the patrons, and just focused on the high. It felt sublime. The needle stuck out of his arm, and he left it there, hoping to have every drop enter his vein. Someone called his name, and he heard it dreamily, not caring that someone wanted him. He wanted himself, to be alone, to be high.

“Come out, Joel, this lady wants to meet you,” his agent, Carlson, said. “You have to make an appearance to make money. She will pay thirty thousand for two of your paintings.”

Joel nodded off into dreamland. Carlson opened the door on Joel, waking in. Joel squinted at him. The light was dim in the restroom, but it was sufficient to hurt his eyes. He laughed for no particular reason, lost in reverie, high out of his mind. Joel struggled to stand up under Carlson’s direction. He was closer to sleeping than walking, really. Smoking was allowed in the gallery. Good thing, Joel lit one up, and staggered along under Carlson’s direction. Carlson held the door open for Joel, and he wandered out amid his paintings. They hung on the walls. He didn’t care about them. His art was shit. Not important. A hobby that paid money. He really wanted to build houses brick by brick, and develop something concrete, really help people as opposed to scribbling on a canvas.

Carlson led him to a beautiful older woman, and Joel squinted at her while he smoked his cigarette. He met a lot of people at his exhibitions. Rarely did they last long in his life. It was tough being a twenty-four year old Picasso in the postmodern world. People had a tendency to marginalize your work. The woman graciously shook his hand upon introduction. Her name was Vanessa. She looked as though she was at least forty, but she aged well, and Joel considered having sex with her upon request, if he could perform and not fall asleep.

“I want to buy those two paintings for thirty thousand dollars,” Vanessa said.

“I’ll give you all of them for a million,” Joel replied and laughed. He continued laughing. He couldn’t stop.

“I’m very serious,” she responded. “I really love your work. You are one of the most talented artists I’ve ever met and I’ve met quite a few.”

Joel had heard that before. Every woman who said that had slept with him. It was natural. He was a sexual being. He found her attractive despite her age, and she had money, always a plus.

“I appreciate the compliment,” he replied. “Do you want to cut a check?”

“I can provide you a ride home, Carlson said you live around the corner and walk here. The night can be dangerous for someone like you. As I said, I’ve met a lot of artists.”

Other people, men and women, approached Joel and asked him questions about his paintings, and he made up bullshit about why he painted what he did. There wasn’t a rhyme or reason. It was something that popped in his head, and he tossed it on the canvas like a monkey at the zoo throwing feces. He possessed no real talent. He just made shit up. He was a monkey in the grand scheme of things. He finished his cigarette and dropped it on the floor, stomping it out with his black boot.

The gallery cleared out, Joel sold two more paintings, the checks were payable to Carlson, and he would have cash for Joel to pick up later. It was a beautiful arrangement. Joel distrusted banks and hoarded his money at his apartment. Vanessa lingered, waiting for him, and he squinted at her as if she were the sun. It was hard to believe he was alive. He felt like he was in heaven, walking was problematic. She mentioned a ride earlier, and she invited him to take her limousine home. He agreed. The limousine waited outside and he walked with Vanessa to it. The door was held open by the driver, and Joel slid in, still high from his fix in the bathroom.

Two

Joel was a little surprised that she wanted to go in his shabby apartment with him. It was on the first floor, and all the nice ones were on the second floor. He couldn’t find his key at first, and struggled while searching through his pockets. Standing still was incredibly difficult. His coordination was off. He finally found the key, pushed the door open, and allowed her to walk in first. She entered the squalor without a problem or complaint. In fact, she seemed happy to be there.

He seldom had visitors. She was a good one. He was highly intrigued by her. The limousine waited outside for her. He showed her his paintings and the window he’d painted blue. It was his art, his passion, and he enjoyed showing it off. She bought two of his best paintings, and he was glad. He didn’t want to take them home, and have them on his own wall. He wanted someone to enjoy his work.

He kissed her. She allowed him to work on her red dress. He pulled it all the way down, and looked over her body. She declined to wear undergarments. Dazedly, he leaned down, practically fell down, and began to lick between her legs. He heard her moan and a smirk formed on his face. He loved to pleasure women. He loved to pleasure women when he was high even. He held her buttocks in his hands and moved up to kiss her on the mouth. She sighed, and unbuttoned his tan dress shirt, felt his chest, he was pale and frail, but she didn’t seem to mind. He was proud of his physique. He never wanted to be fat. He tripped on a paint-smeared sheet and fell on his bed, she climbed on him, and he slid his pants down effortlessly. She became the aggressor, kissing him, placing him inside her, bucking up and down on his cock. He was amazed. Usually, he had to initiate all contact, but her, she knew what she wanted and took it. Things became weird. As she bucked, ethereal tendrils came out of her body in various places and embedded in his skin. It felt as though she were devouring him, taking his energy, and he moaned. He blinked his eyes. He had hallucinated before, but never this bad. The tendrils pulled out of him and entered new pores, he could see his blood traveling through the tendrils, and he almost screamed. The motion of the sex was secondary to her tendrils, to her feeding off of him. The tendrils were like needles drawing blood from his veins. The opposite of normal when needles pumped honey into his veins. The tendrils entered and exited his arms, opening new holes, leaving old ones. He felt more and more depleted, as if he could fall asleep, but he maintained some semblance of a stroke, and she reached orgasm with a long sigh of satisfaction.

She kissed him, rose from the bed, and dressed while he lay there, staring up at the ceiling as if he were dead. She would drift out of his life. Everyone was ephemeral. Hard to tell if they were real.
He vaguely could see her shape leave his apartment. She spoke to him, but he hadn’t listened, and he nodded off to sleep.

Three

He woke up and immediately started vomiting. As high as he felt the night before, he felt as low, hollow, used up, and he dumped all the bile inside him into the toilet bowl. He hugged the bowl for a long time, unable to stand up or even keep his eyes open. He was sweaty and his eyes watered. He kept a loaded needle in the bathroom for occasions like this. It was hard as hell not to overindulge, but somehow, he mustered the will to always keep it full. He found the needle eventually, dazed, twisted, and shot up.

The honey made him happy. Once suitably high, he was able to function, and he started to paint. He opened a can of orange paint, found a clean brush, and dipped it in, splashing a canvas with green and purple swirls with spatter of orange. Gleefully, he splashed the orange paint on the canvas. To describe the painting, paint thrown on canvas. Getting high was the only way to feel better. He never truly felt good. Heroin was simply a way to feel better.

There was a knock on his door that startled him. He was lost in the moment, lost in his art, and didn’t expect a visitor. He glided to the door, walking on a cloud, and opened it. It was the woman, Vanessa, from last night. Instantly, he had visions of her tendrils going into his skin, and he knew she’d come back for more of him. Obviously, her hunger had not been satisfied. She’d come back to devour him.

“Hi,” she said. “I just wanted to see you again.”

He looked at her suspiciously. His paranoia ran deep. She wanted to use him, take advantage of him. He couldn’t trust her. His perception of things was off. He wasn’t sure if he let her in or if she walked in on her own, but she was inside, looking at his paintings.

“Your work is wonderful,” she said. “I love the way your mind works. The way you see things. I came to make love to you again. I couldn’t hold back.”

Joel nodded. Speech was too hard for him. All he could do was smile and nod. His mind was blown, destroyed by his high.

She wore a light blue dress today. It was cut low and exposed cleavage. He watched dazedly as she took it off. The same smile was on his face. He was only half in the real world. In his mind, he saw the tendrils sucking up his blood, and he had to smile to avoid cringing in horror. She scared him and it was funny, he was afraid to show it.

He stepped toward her as if he had no choice. He kissed her like she would cancel the check she gave Carlson, false passion mustered by a maudlin soul. He touched her breasts gently, and listened to her shudder from his touch, encouraging him to touch between her legs. They walked sideways to his unmade bed. It stank of sweat, of their bodies, and he lowered her down on it. He leaned over while kissing her. His palms flattened on the bed. He waited for the tendrils to come and drink from him. The image was vivid in his mind, and he tried not to wince, tried not to look scared. He hadn’t dressed since last night, and he was already erect, he thrust into her with a slight push, and she winced. He tried to be as dominant as possible, to impose his will upon her, to prove he wasn’t scared.

The tendrils came out again. They moved in a serpentine fashion and attached to skin again like gossamer snakes. They pierced his skin and he felt sharp pain. The problem was he could be imagining them. He couldn’t trust his mind in his current state. Reality and fantasy blurred together into a soup. The room darkened considerably and everything focused on the tendrils sampling his blood by pints. He heard her moan faintly, but it was no consequence. It was what she was doing to him that mattered. She was killing him by degrees. Right when he was about to quit and kick her out, he reached orgasm. He lay next to her, enervated by the act, and breathing heavily, as if he could have a stroke. The exertion took a toll on his soul. She spoke to him, but he didn’t listen. Leaving his own world was next to impossible. He existed in his own mind, lost in his own thoughts, not cognizant of his surroundings. After a little while she left.

Four

Joel plunged the needle’s point into his vein. The vein bulged, and waited eagerly for the honey to enter. He held the end of the rubber between his teeth, gritting his teeth, and he pushed down on the plunger, sending the honey into his bloodstream. Instantly, he was transported to another place, a happy warm place that was oh so inviting. Someone knocked on the door, and he ignored it. He was on his bed. It hadn’t been made since Vanessa was there. The sheets still smelled like her. He pulled the tip of the needle out. He’d lost a lot of weight over the last few days. It was surprising he hadn’t run out of honey. He’d been on an all-time binge, shooting up twice a day, and walking through a daze.

Somehow, he stood and walked to the door. He opened it and Vanessa stood there. Even in his stupor, he winced, thinking about the tendrils in him, he didn’t have any holes in his arms, but he remembered it vividly, and was absolutely terrified by the toll on his body. He allowed her in again. Listlessly, he drifted away from the door, leaving it open, and she walked in.

She wore a pink dress and she started taking it off once she crossed the threshold as if sex was preordained, as if Joel was a toy to play with, and he didn’t care. Again, he floated on a cloud. Joel swayed in place. He wanted to kill her. She slowly drained him of his strength. She was the bane of his existence, yet, he kept giving in to her. He would give in again.

He approached her, and kissed her. He’d painted very little the last few days. He was lost in reverie, distrusting the world and imagining greater fame, becoming a household name. He navigated her to his bed, and she sat down. He stood in front of her, and she unzipped his pants, letting his cock dangle out. She put her mouth on him. Gently, she stroked his shaft with her hand while her tongue swirled around the tip. She looked him in the eyes while she worked. He looked down at her, waiting for the tendrils to come out, and when they did, he was not surprised. They sprung out of her face this time, and penetrated his groin. He watched the blood leave his body sickly. He was dizzy, and he collapsed on the bed. After hitting the bed, he lay inert, silent, barely breathing. She rolled him over, and straddled him. On top of him, she began to ride, and he lay there helplessly. It felt as though he would die. His breathing was erratic. The tendrils swam through the air, and planted in him, in his head this time, and an incredible headache came on. He coughed, sputtered a bit. His heart stopped beating. He gasped for air. She rose up and down, down and up, he couldn’t tell if he were on the bed or the ceiling. His life slipped away by degrees. A look of concern came on her face, and she shook him. Dumbly, he stared back silently. He was conscious, but unable to sleep, and then he breathed no more.

 

 

 

 

Dark Fiction

Posted: July 23, 2019 in Uncategorized

Downtown

Jeff Prebis

One

Olson posted up at the bar. He worked as a cab driver and waited for a phone call from dispatch indicating that he was needed. He had a scotch on the rocks in front of him. Competition was fierce with three other drivers in the area. Some nights Olson picked up no one and spent the entire night at the bar, watching basketball on television.

Olson ordered another scotch and watched the basketball game on the screen. A pretty blonde woman sat alone next to him. He gave her a few glances, but wasn’t interested. He’d been seeing his neighbor a lot lately, and had his feelings. He couldn’t say he loved her, but she’d grown on him quite a bit since he accidentally received some of her mail. He really liked the afternoons they spent together while he waited for his job as a reporter to pick up. She talked about her life, told him about her past experiences, six husbands, and no need nor desire to every work again. She drank Southern Comfort in the middle of the day while Olson drank scotch, and gave her an ear for her problems. He didn’t have a lot to say these days. Every once in a while, his editor gave him a story to investigate, but it became rarer and rarer in the age of information, when everything was one click away on a computer. Hence, the need to moonlight as a cab driver. A strange experience itself.

He caved in and ordered some pot stickers. He went from standing to sitting. He let out a lazy yawn. He’d slept for four hours and that wasn’t sufficient to sober him up. His life was an endless blur of drinking, day and night, night and day.

He lit a cigarette and pulled a silver ashtray closer to him. The woman politely asked if they could share it and he shrugged indifferently. He pushed it over to her and watched the game. The Lakers were beating Sacramento by seven. He discerned that a man stared at the young woman, and he whispered to her over the din of awful karaoke in the background. She turned her head and stared down at her drink, a mojito with a lime on the edge of the glass. Her canary yellow dress was bright.

Olson brought his phone out, still no calls. He rolled his eyes. He could’ve stayed home and played around with Irene. He had plenty of scotch at home and here he was wasting money instead of making any.

“I’m Joe,” Olson said to the woman. “Are you waiting on a date?”

“No, I’m just looking around,” she replied. “My name is Mona. Would you like to buy me a drink?”

“Sure,” Olson said.

He ordered a drink for Mona who smiled when it was brought to her. He flicked an ash in the ashtray and watched the game. He could feel her looking at him.

“I’m staying at the motel next door,” she stated. “Do you mind walking me over there? I heard this was a bad neighborhood.”

“Sure,” Olson replied.

Two

Olson walked her to the front door of her first story motel room. It was a five minute walk from the bar, and several drunk people stumbled back and forth, getting drunk, going to the motel, and coming back, an endless cycle. Olson turned to leave and she stopped him with a kiss. Olson kissed her back, and went in the motel room with her.

She squeezed his crotch. Surprisingly, despite all the alcohol he ingested, he achieved an erection in seconds, and kissed her neck, little pecks with his lips. A lick with his tongue. He took off his t-shirt, there weren’t abs but neither was there paunch. He was middle-aged, somewhere in the nebulous region between young and old, still young at heart, still adventurous. Irene crossed his mind. But, the attraction was too intense. The woman had his eye since he looked in her direction. He played it cool, but he really wanted to fuck her, and the alcohol only coaxed him along.

She stripped her clothes off, wore no undergarments, and lay upon the bed. Olson took off his pants after kicking his shoes off and hovered over her, both hands on the bed, he kissed her while he pushed inside of her. Olson’s hands shook a little bit from his drunkenness. He fell on her at one point, and had to right himself to continue. He slobbered on her neck. The whole time there was a look of glee on her face. In the back of his mind, he felt guilty, thinking about Irene for the first time. Was this a mistake? She would never find out.

He reached climax and breathed heavily. His cell phone finally rang and he had to explain the situation to her. He had a job to do. He told her he would be at the bar tomorrow.

Three

The next night was more successful. He had four fares, and managed to make some money finally after teetering on the brink of not being able to pay his bills. It was one o’clock when he reached the bar and he scanned it for Mona. He couldn’t stop thinking about her all day. He knew his abrupt departure from her motel room wouldn’t sit well with her. It was life, though. He had to make a living.

His eyes scanned the bar for Mona, and they set on her with another man. A piece of him was hurt that she found someone else, but he didn’t own her, hell, he didn’t even know her. He ordered a scotch on the rocks and lit a cigarette. From across the bar, Mona laughed at what the guy told her, she was enthralled by him, and Olson stood by idly. He watched the basketball game on the tv, trying not to look over at Mona. He wasn’t a jealous lover. He wasn’t bitter. He was just surprised to see her with someone else. It was awkward to have sex with someone the night before and see them with someone else. In a way, Olson was jealous. He drank his scotch and smoked, pretending not to notice her, but inevitably his eyes drifted in her direction. She was laughing. She didn’t laugh with him. It was purely sexual. Olson pretended to be busy. He pretended to send a text message to someone, but his eyes kept drifting in Mona’s direction. He made money for once. He should have felt good, but no, no he didn’t. He watched her lead the man out of the bar by the hand. He felt a little bit dead inside. It was definitely awkward.

He finished his cigarette and put it out in the ashtray. Life was good financially, but not on the love side of things. He couldn’t believe he even thought of love. He’d been frigid with Irene earlier, not talking to her as much. He came home, slept for the requisite four hours, and drank alone, thinking about Mona all day. Now, he’d found her, and she was with another man. She led him out of the bar by the hand.

Three

The next night was back to slow. No calls from dispatch and he sat at the bar, filling out a sheet for the football pool. The bartender, Al, had been asking him to get in for a long time, and he declined. Finally, he had enough money to fork over five dollars to gamble with the rest of the bar. After keeping his head down for a long time, he heard someone talking about a guy being mutilated last night, he had his pecker cut off with a knife or some kind of blade, and he was found dead on the side of the motel. Downtown had its share of murders. But, this was a little more macabre than most, and Olson wondered why his editor hadn’t contacted him to investigate. He tried to soak up as much information as possible, though, he was a day late if people were already talking about it. He was such a dinosaur, so forgotten at the paper. He was never contacted about anything, even something that occurred at his second home. He took out his pen and scribbled notes on a napkin, writing down what he heard with dejection, he really should have been put on this story, but he could build a story off hearsay, bar chatter, and see where that took him. With so many cuts at the newspaper, a guy like him lost importance, the news was always one click away on a computer, and someone always had the story first. He needed to be the first one to get it for once. It had been a long time.

Irene wanted to have sex earlier. Olson declined. He noticed some red bumps around his genitals which weren’t previously present and he worried. He hadn’t worn a condom with Mona, not that a condom would have stopped the red bumps, but he felt dirty and disgusted by the fact he had sex with someone so promiscuous. After all, she walked out with another man last night. It was a fact she was sleeping with everybody she met. He wasn’t special. He was just a middle-aged guy. Nobody cared about him. While he was eavesdropping on the conversation, Mona sat down next to him, and touched his bicep gently. He glanced over with a raised eyebrow. There was a beatific smile on her face. She looked absolutely angelic, and he forgot her transgressions. After all, he was with Irene in some sort of way, and he cheated or not on her with Mona. Life was complicated. Maybe a little too complicated for all parties involved.

“How’s it going?” Olson asked.

He listened to the conversation about the emasculated man, kept scribbling notes, not really focused on Mona at all, it was hard to look at her, let alone talk to her, and he kept his head down while he spoke. He lit another cigarette while the other cigarette burned out in the ashtray. Mona lit her own cigarette. She was distraught, she didn’t smell as good, and had a funny air to her.

“I’m going to die at that motel,” she said. “It’s going to be the last place anybody sees me. I checked in for a reason. I decided to go there to leave my life behind. I’m in a bad marriage. I can’t be around my husband anymore. He drives me crazy with his constant cheating. I did something bad to him, and now I have to hide. I’m not sure how I’m going to die. I just know I am soon. I had a great time with you. You seem really nice. You look like you listen to people.”

Olson listened to her. He’d heard about a guy somewhere having his Johnson lopped off, and Olson frowned, wondering a little about the bad thing she’d done. There was a man at the motel that had suffered a castration, a castrated man somewhere else, she hadn’t tried to harm Olson however, and he ignored the thoughts in his head.

“I don’t think you’re going to die,” Olson stated. “Everything will be okay. Things get better. You have to keep a positive attitude.”

He didn’t know what he was saying. He simply stated those placatory words. He felt genuinely bad for her and went with his heart, not his mind, not really thinking at all, the words sort of spilled out of him.

“Can you walk me to my room again?” she asked. “I don’t feel safe here. I want to lock myself in the room. Stay away from people.

“Do you feel like you will hurt yourself?” Olson asked. “Maybe being around people is good for you.”

“I want you to walk me to my room. You, only you. You make me feel safe.”

Four

Olson took her to her room. She opened the door, paused. This time Olson initiated contact. He wanted the sex. He kissed her, leaning her back a little bit, moving forward as she backed up, and he squeezed her right buttock. He was worried about her, didn’t like what she said, and wanted to make her feel better, he wanted to feel better.

She stripped her clothe off. He took his t-shirt off, and she worked on his jeans, pulling them down for him. They kept their mouths pressed together as they kept maneuvering to the bed. His phone rang and he ignored it, he considered the money he was missing out on, but he didn’t care, he wanted the sex, and had to have it like a drug, like allure, like something that would make his heart beat correctly. With surprising strength, she pushed him down on the bed. He fell back like a feather and bounced like a rubber ball hitting pavement. She leapt on top him. He embraced her, she rushed and placed his penis inside, and he groaned as her vaginal muscles constricted. She rose up and down on him with impunity. She balled her fists and pounded the bed on either side of Olson, and he frowned a little, though, he tried not to show it. Her behavior was a little bit erratic, okay, quite a lot. There was rage on display. Something bothered her profoundly. He no longer worried about her being suicidal, he worried more about her being homicidal, and he recalled the man with his penis lopped off, found dead. Mascara ran down her cheeks, corrupting her beauty, and adding a sinister dimension to her. Olson’s phone kept ringing. He heard the pop song ringtone. It was pathetic to hear it in front of anybody, especially a woman.

Olson pumped back, he panted. Some mascara dripped onto his chest and left black stains on his pale skin. She had a sneer on her face which was a little disturbing. He reached orgasm, and she climbed off of him, she bit her lip and cried. She frazzled her hair, rubbing her head until her hair stuck up. It was as if she had a mental meltdown right in front of Olson. She screamed loud, and kicked at the floor with agitation. Her anger was visible, too visible, she was psychotic.

“I want you to leave,” she told Olson. “I have to be alone. I want you to leave now. Get out of my room. I don’t want you here. You took advantage of me. I’m not weak. I’m blackheart. I’m fury. I’m anger.”

“Are you sure?” Olson said. “I’m happy to listen to whatever is going on with you. I understand a lot is happening.”

“Yes, get out of here now. I never want to see you again.”

Olson was confused. He dressed as fast as he could to honor her request. He tried to diagnose the psychosis she suffered from. It was hard to determine. Perhaps she was bipolar. Perhaps she had split personalities. It was confusing. Once he was dressed, he left, and wandered back to the bar.

Five

Olson almost didn’t go to the bar the next night. Almost was the key word. It was like his second home. Of course, he would go there. Olson hoped Mona wouldn’t be there. It was strange to think that way, but she made him feel uncomfortable. She acted so erratically that he was completely turned off by her. It was bizarre. He went from jealous to blithe to unhappy, even mad, from the way she treated him. He hadn’t done anything wrong. He simply walked her to her room. It was irrational for him to even care. He cared, though.

Olson sat down in the same seat. There was the same cast of characters. Al was working behind the bar. He was there seven nights a week like Olson. Olson ordered a scotch on the rocks and lit a cigarette. People talked about the castrated corpse more, and Olson became suspicious. He wondered about Mona. She was psychotic and had admitted to doing a bad thing before.

Mona approached him with a plate with a half-eaten steak and a potato with chives on it. There was a knife and fork on the plate. She had the same crazy look in her eyes. He found it surprising that she was allowed to have a sharp instrument. He was surprised they even served her. The steak was rare, bloody. She sat down next to him and ordered a martini. She wore the same canary yellow dress. It was the only article of clothing she apparently owned or at the least brought with her to the motel.

“I’m sorry about last night,” she said. “I have mood swings. I can’t help myself.”

Olson noticed hesitation marks on her forearms. He hadn’t noticed them before. She’d been cutting herself superficially, attempting to slit her wrists or forearms, but not quite going far enough to do it. She was definitely troubled if last night hadn’t proved it.

“It’s okay,” Olson stated. “I hope you feel okay. I admit you’re a bit erratic.”

He regretted saying “erratic.” It was a poor choice of words. He wasn’t perfect. The scotch had settled in his system, and he was loose with his language. Erratic was not what a psychotic person wanted to be called.

She had been prepared to cut into her steak. Now, she stared at him with an evil glare. A glare that cut through him like a sharp knife through steak. Her attitude changed from positive to negative without warning. Again, Olson hated that he said erratic. She lunged forward with the knife and stabbed Olson in the stomach. Next, she sliced into her left wrist so deep that she almost severed her hand. The knife stopped at the bone, and blood spurted on her yellow dress, the bar, Olson, and the floor. Olson instinctively held his abdomen. The cut was sharp and a searing pain attacked him He had a tough time drawing in breath. The knife took the air out of him. Everything became a blur. The knife struck the hard parquet floor. Al shouted for someone to call an ambulance. People in the bar panicked. Olson lost consciousness and fell out of his chair.

Six

Olson had a story to write about finally. The paper published it. Everything changed. It took eighteen stitches to close the wound in Olson’s belly. Mona died from blood loss. Olson told Irene eventually about his indiscretion, and she vowed to never speak to him again, she never did. Olson sat in a chair at home, reading  the paper with the story he wrote.

 

#Horror

Posted: July 19, 2019 in Uncategorized

Hanging Out At Golgotha

Jeff Prebis

One

Strange things can happen at a chicken restaurant. One could meet a woman. The chicken could be bad. The food might be cold. Olson met a woman. She turned out to be a little strange. He was there to meet a woman. She said she could show him a ritual of Micliga.

It was a sultry Tuesday. Olson had a bad hangover and looked at his food as if it moved. Tremors ran through his body, it was hard to hold a utensil, let alone chew food, and he wanted a cigarette badly. Smoking was not allowed in the restaurant. He left his food on the table and walked outside. The woman followed him. He felt her presence. He didn’t look back at her. Outside on the street, he lit his cigarette and she asked for one. He handed it to her nonchalantly with a shaky hand. The tremors were overwhelming. He could barely hold one cigarette let alone two at the same time. His legs felt weak, incapable of supporting his torso.

This was how it all started. An exchange of a cigarette. Fast forward to where Olson found himself. Olson was at a bar with the woman. She declined to give a name, choosing to be mysterious. Olson felt immensely better after a scotch. It was his fourth one in an hour. The woman didn’t speak. She drank a mojito and watched him with curiosity.

“What do you know about Micliga?” Olson asked.

“I’m a spiritualist,” she said and giggled. “I like to talk to Micliga. Micliga is the most high. He controls the earth. He controls you. The alcohol we drink. Everything. I can introduce you to him. I can show you his world. Give you a glimpse which will change what you perceive as reality. One of his rituals. He rules this world. I want to sleep with you immediately. I find you highly sexual. Very tender. You have a sweet aura.”

“I actually want to fuck you too,” Olson said. “Do you have a place near here? I’m too drunk to drive home. I didn’t know chicken restaurants were a good place to meet women. I would have come prepared.”

“You don’t need anything,” she replied. “Just your cock.”

“I could use another drink. May I have another scotch, bartender.”

“It’s not even noon yet. Why don’t you take it easy. You’re shaking  violently.”

“One more please. I have money. I just want one more.”

“Come with me now,” the woman said and rubbed his crotch with her hand, causing an erection to form in his pants.

“Okay,” Olson said finally after feeling his penis move. The urge to have sex struck him more than the urge for another drink.

Her long hair hung down well past her shoulders. Her eyes were a dark brown, borderline black, and her body was slender, not curvy in the least, and he stood up with her and walked out of the bar. She handed him a blue piece of paper. The paper dissolved in his hand instantly.

Two

He stood in front of her apartment door. It was shabby. Paint was chipped and odd smells came out of it. It smelled like excrement in a sense. He wanted to see what was inside. The smell was too strange. Curiosity had gotten the better of him.

She opened the door with her key, and walked in. Olson hesitated for a moment, wondering what he’d find inside. What had drawn him to her apartment? Only sexual attraction or something more, something primal?

He entered the room and closed the door. He heard it lock behind him without anyone touching the knob and a strange feeling went through him. He looked at the door and there wasn’t a lock in the knob. The cause of the locking sound wasn’t apparent.

Deeper into the apartment he walked, there was a triangle drawn on the floor with a brown substance, which looked and smelled like excrement. Strangely, he wanted to see more of the place. She’d taken her clothes off and lay on a soiled bed. She had perky breasts and hair between her legs. Her long dark hair partially covered her nakedness. To the bed, he walked, pulling his jeans down and kicking his shoes off, unbuttoning his shirt and taking off his undershirt. He sat down on the bed next to her, entranced by her eyes, which seemed to hold some mystical power of her.

They began to kiss. Her tongue was long and it swirled in his mouth in a serpentine manner. He touched her perky breasts, feeling her soft skin. She stopped kissing him and handed him a small piece of paper.

“Take this,” she said. “I promise you feel much better. It will stop the tremors you feel.

He accepted it in his hand and it vanished into his skin, leaving a blue mark, and suddenly he stopped shaking. He felt better, but drunker than he was, as if his mind were altered. She pushed him back against the bed. He kissed her with newfound vigor, coming alive between her legs and letting her climb on top of him, pinning him to the bed. He tried to roll her onto her back, but he lacked the strength. He seemed to be paralyzed.

The triangle started to burn. Flames ran around the lines, exaggerating the shape drastically. Olson was helpless to get up. He went with the woman’s motion, letting her rock on top of him. There was a passage in the wall and people walked through it. At least, they appeared to be people. They wore hog heads with blood dripping down their torsos. Two of them carried buckets. The contents weren’t lucid to Olson. Some liquid spilled out of a bucket. It looked like milk. The other contained meat, cut from something human or animal. The buckets were set on the floor by the burning triangle. The people sat down around it while the woman rose off Olson. She raised her hands and the flames grew higher. Olson tried to roll off the bed and couldn’t. His limbs were numb. The ritual was more than Olson expected. He felt true trepidation by these people and couldn’t tell if this were real or not.

His clothes were too far for him to reach. His erection had faded. A woman was brought gagged and bound. She was dragged in the room against her will. Olson’s head twitched. A tremor ran through his body beyond his control. He wanted to help, but was helpless.

A long machete was drawn. The woman screamed at Olson. The woman was about to be cut, and Olson summoned the strength to get up. He rose suddenly, and ceased the woman from their hands. The machete missed him by a hair.

“Don’t disturb the ritual,” the dark-haired woman shouted.

The flames spread toward Olson in spider web patterns. The dark-haired woman dropped to her hands and knees and ate from the bucket of meat. She barely ate her chicken at the restaurant. The fiery webs blocked his way to the door. He trembled again, worse than the first times. The people grabbed for the woman. Their fingernails clawed his flesh, opening up papercut-sized marks which bled. Olson backed away from them. They cut off the path to the door, and his only option was to go through the passage. He could see light coming through it, with his hand on the woman’s wrist, he pulled her through.

Three

The next room had crosses alit. They were plugged into outlets and illuminated the room with a holy glow. Olson was confounded. The strange thing was that the crosses were upside down and pointed to caskets. The caskets had dirt on top of them.

“Who are you?” woman said to Olson. “I’m Mary.”

“Joe Olson,” Olson replied. “Do you see any clothes? I need something to wear.”

There were noises from the passage. Olson estimated that they traveled six feet into the room. The people were coming for him, the woman. He saw a bed with a dirty sheet and ran to it awkwardly. The woman had clothes on, a shirt, and jeans. She bore a resemblance to the dark-haired woman, but hers was lighter, closer to brown.

While he tied the sheet around his lower body, he heard her moving behind him, and he turned to face her. She had the machete in her hand. The people with the cow heads were in the room. There was a way out. The front door had a lock and a knob. He sprinted for it, and reached it before he was struck by the machete or grabbed by the Cow Heads.

Outside the room, he saw nothing but a hallway with doors, he recalled the way he’d come, and walked back that way.  A nice stroll put some distance between him and the rooms. How did he get here? He found the elevator, pushed the buttons, and the doors opened. Inside were more of the Cow Heads. They were eager to grab him, and take him back.

“Would you like some milk and meat?” one of them asked and laughed.

Olson backed from the elevator and walked down the hallway, eyeing the various doors, thinking that someone had to have a phone. He wandered through this bizarre hallway, unsure of what door to knock on. He stopped at one and rapped on it three times without much force. The door opened. A creature with a cow’s head on answered it. The sex was nebulous. It had breasts and a penis, hands marked by stigmata. A mockery of Christ, not that Olson was religious.

“Can I use your phone?” Olson asked.

“I don’t have one,” the creature responded. “I have meat and milk, though. Come on in and they won’t get you.”

Strangely, Olson accepted the invitation and entered. He didn’t know why. Maybe there were clothes inside. He’d really fallen down the rabbit hole this time. How bad could the milk and meat be?

The door closed behind him after he crossed the threshold. The apartment was sparsely decorated, a toilet, a stove, a bed, and buckets. Flies buzzed throughout the apartment. The insects were attracted to the numerous buckets. The contents were of great concern. There was a table with two chairs and Olson walked to one and sat down. The creature picked up a bucket with flies buzzing around it. It sat the bucket on the table and Olson noticed that it was milk, chunky spoiled milk.

“Drink some,” the creature said.

“Why do you wear the head?” Olson asked. “How do you breathe out of it? Isn’t it heavy? Where did you get the head?”

“The butcher brings the heads. He will see you shortly. He will have a head for you to wear. You will be one of us. HE commands so. Drink the milk. You will feel better.”

Olson stood up. It was time to leave. He heard enough. He had to know more about Micliga and now he was here, in a lunatic asylum. Seeing the “butcher” was not an enticing prospect. He strolled to the door without deterrence, he opened it, and there was the dark-haired woman. Her eyelashes were black and long when she blinked at him.

“I want to make love to you,” she said. “You left too soon. I want to be covered in blood with you. To feel your cock inside me.”

Despite the circumstances, Olson wanted to be inside her too, and he looked back at the creature in the cow’s head. Her eyes had an effect on him. Something kind of hold he couldn’t control. She had another blue piece of paper. He looked at it. Did anything of this really happen? He took the paper and watched it evaporate in his hand. Instantly, his mind was altered in a strange way.

Four

Olson lay back on the bed. The creature in the cow’s head left them alone together and Olson completely gave into her. Her body blurred above him. She bucked up and down while he thrust vigorously, lost in her beauty. He couldn’t believe she would be with a middle-aged reporter, a truth-seeker like him. Her hair hung over her face, concealing it from view, her dark eyes were what he wanted to see, what drew him in.

His gentle thrusts were met by her aggressive pushback, he thought he reached orgasm, but she continued nonetheless, constantly bucking with her hair trashing against her chest and his face. Finally, he felt her moisten. His cock was as wet as the sweat on his body. The tremors wracked his body. A long shake through every one of his bones. She pulled him out of her with a smile.

“The butcher will see you now,” she stated. “He’s been waiting outside the door.”

Olson was confused. He didn’t understand the sex. Was it part of the ritual? He stepped to the door without his sheet. There was a knock on it. He opened it without hesitation. There was a naked man with a bull’s head on and a double-bladed ax in his hand. On the floor beside him was a cow’s head.

“I came for you,” he stated with a blithe voice.

Olson backed up. He felt a dagger in his back. It pierced him slightly, and halted his retreat, his heart beat faster. The butcher put both hands of the axe and wound back to swing. At the exact moment of the swing, Olson ducked, and he decapitated the dark-haired woman. Olson ran around the butcher and into the hallway, knocking on another door was out of the question. He had to get to the first floor, the outside world, and hope for the best.

Five

He reached the first floor and was out of breath, enervated from descending the stairs. There was a man in the lobby with wrapped cow heads. He had a clipboard and a pen was attached to it. The elevator doors opened and the butcher exited with a white smock on. The face of his “helmet” seemed to smile along with the face beneath.

“Are they fresh?” the butcher asked.

“Of course, they always are.”

“Why do you deliver cow heads here?” Olson asked incredulously.

“Micliga decreed it,” the butcher answered. “We worship him and are granted a place to live by our worship. We worship all day.”

“I’m going to find a cop,” Olson stated despite his nakedness. His nakedness never crossed his mind. He simply walked out the door into broad daylight.

Olson made it a block before a cop pulled him over. The lights turned on and Olson breathed easier. He walked right to the police car, the cop stepped out of his car with his gun drawn.

“Sir, why are you naked?”

“It’s a really long story,” Olson admitted. “There’s this dark-haired woman. She invited me into this den of maniacs conducting some kind of ritual. She gave me acid or something. I don’t really know.”

Olson could see the disbelief on the cop’s face. He was in trouble. The cop told him to get down on the ground and he acquiesced albeit reluctantly. He was handcuffed and placed in the back of the police car. Glumly, he was driven away.

 

 

 

 

#Horror

Posted: July 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

The Beach

Jeff Prebis

It was one of those nights Olson thought when he woke up on the beach of Waikiki. He had sand on his lips and he tasted sand, brine. A posse of homeless people were around him and his pockets felt empty. They cleared robbed him. They counted money in their hands. The sand made it too hard to speak. Olson had crystal blue seawater slapping him by the second, shocking him with how cold it was, until he realized he passed out on a beach last night.

A honeymoon on Oahu was nothing to be sneezed and yet, he found himself on the beach, sans bride. Rosanna had the right heritage. She was too intelligent and too much of a free thinker for most people. They thought she could be brilliant, but all she dreamed of was escape, flying in planes, nothing close to fame. A piece in the game. The water kept flowing in, slapping his face. He looked around with a scowl. His Hawaiian shirt was soaked, it smelled like salt water and that wasn’t a bad smell. It was different, unique.
Rosanna approached him with two drinks in her hands. She truly looked happy.  There was a murder at Diamondhead, Olson heard, and subsequently wrote some notes for a possible article back at his paper, as if anyone cared.

“Come back to the hut,” she said.

She held her hand out for Olson to take it. His cock felt as though it were crucified at Golgotha. Totally out of wack. Where had he lost her last night? Diamondhead was gruesome, he couldn’t stop writing and that was enough to drive Rosanna from the room, to make her possibly seek comfort in the arms of another man.

Okay, he’d been passed out for a long time. Perhaps, he was paranoid and she simply went back to the room without company. Perhaps, Olson stuck around by the bar too long after writing a piece to send back home. An attempt at getting an article in the paper for the first time. Seventy degrees on a twenty-hour basis. Paradise for most. Another place for Olson to drink.

Yeah, Rosanna had a long list of lurid indiscretions with men. She had the affair with the son of the governor when she was eighteen. He was twenty years older than her. Olson took her hand and pulled her down instead of using it to stand up.

Olson took the drink with the funky umbrella sticking out of it from her hand. He took a hard pull of the shriveled straw and gulped down the contents. It was a little stronger than the last one. Just a little potent. Olson had been to Diamondhead and seen the macabre remains of the last victim. The drink was good and Olson forgot what he’d written. The story was something exciting to take back to the mainland, back to the real world. Dear life. Too bad he was too drunk to find the elevator to the top of the crater and had accidentally stumbled on the murder scene. Staying on the ground proved to be fruitful, he stood there swaying, watching Rosanna as she rubbernecked. He’d already seen the body and realized what had transpired. A light bulb switched on in his head. Getting the news was easy on the island. The difference between an average tourist and Olson was that he liked to pry into things he had no business being involved with. Okay, yeah, a woman missing her face could be a tad graphic. Blood splashed on lava rock. The hamburger meat over top of the skull.  A nasty bundle of muscle twined together along with muscles and sinews.  Semen was around the vagina, on the grass which sprouted from the inactive volcano. Olson thought up the name Baxter the Jacker and considered it to be the most apropos name for such a man.

Two

Beneath the azure sky, Olson stared at the azure sea which cast waves onto the shore.  Okay, maybe Rosanna made the smartest decision by divorcing him in the first place. He sort of drifted back into a relationship with her. Now he regretted it. He’d rather drink alone on the beach than be with her on a consistent basis. He kept thinking about the murder scene while he set his drink down on the surface of the sand. Last night. Memories.

He’d lain in bed with Rosanna for a while. All he could think about was the buzz around Diamondhead. People talked and were genuinely afraid. Everyone had a new topic to latch onto for purchase. Olson had taken off his clothes. It was unusual for him to be sober and he struggled with the concept, he wanted to drink, not just a little, but quite a lot. He rolled over and kissed Rosanna on the neck. A cool wind blew through the room. She turned and kissed him back. Naked in bed, he tried to muster the old passion, slipping inside Rosanna and moving like the waves on the beach. A calm, placid groove. He shifted his leg over her leg and manipulated her shoulders with his hands. A casual thrust elicited a moan. A shift of his body brought her to a shriek. With a whimper, he reached orgasm.

It didn’t take him long to wander from the room, back to the beach, back to the bar. There was supposed to be a luau and the lure of alcohol and the sounds of the ocean were too much for Olson to take.  Hula dancers paraded by the sand, entrancing the other tourists present. Olson found a seat and ordered a glass of scotch. The bartender in the Hawaiian shirt was a native, not a white person who planted his flag on the island and called it his own. A pig roasted with a long branch stabbed through the middle of it. The fire seared its flesh. The enticing aroma wafted through the air, traveling to Olson’s nostrils, and his stomach growled.

A prostitute walked up to the bar. Olson had met her the other night and her name was Midnight due to her dark skin. Her melanin stopped the sun from barbecuing her like the tourists and some of the so-called locals. Olson couldn’t say he wasn’t crisp from the sun. He lit a cigarette and exhaled a puff. The scotch was placed in front of him with a little ice in the glass.

The prostitute smiled at him and he smiled back. He inhaled the cigarette and blew a smoke ring in her general direction. He took a drink from the glass of scotch. The potency of the drink made him sigh heavily.

“Did you hear anything else about that serial killer?” Olson asked no one in particular.

“There’s a creepy tourist named Simon,” Midnight said.  “He pays me to do weird stuff.”

Olson’s curiosity was piqued. Weird things sounded promising. The luau went on in the background while he hit his cigarette. He leaned closer to hear what she had to say. He brought the glass to his lips and took another drink. Someone sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow” at the top of their lungs. People danced with torches in their hands. It was a customary native dance solo night.

“How much is a plate?” Olson asked lackadaisically.

“It’s free,” the bartender stated. “You’re a guest. You’re paying a fortune to be here.”

“Cool, tell me about the weird stuff.”

“He likes to dress as a woman and he gives me a strap-on to wear. He likes to be fucked up the ass. It’s weird. He gives me all the control and he bleeds from what I do to him. He cries. Sad tears. He babbles. I don’t feel comfortable with him.”

Olson hit his cigarette and considered a plate of pig. It smelled delicious. The flames rose high over the swine, and its flesh went from pink to a darkened brown, causing Olson to lick his lips. However, the nicotine hit lips first as he put his cigarette up and inhaled. The cigarette was near the finish and he put it out in the silver ashtray.

“There isn’t anything happening, I’m a cop, listen there isn’t anything happening, it’s all conjecture,” a man with thick caterpillar eyebrows and a caterpillar mustache stated.

“Who are you?” Olson asked. “Can I grab another scotch before I go for pig?”

“Thomas Luger,” the man answered. “I’m a detective and this is the usual myth. Caucasions have adopted some mystical Hawaiian art and allegedly are conducting strange sacrifices in the name of a tiki god. This shit is pretty regular. Take it easy, Mr. reporter. I heard your drunk-rambling the other night.”

“Isn’t that your wife or whatever dancing with the pervert?” Midnight said

Olson looked over. Indeed, Rosanna was with a man dressed in drag. He was about six-four with a pink blouse stuffed with something pointy stuck in his shirt in a mockery of breasts and his hairy legs stuck out of a short black miniskirt.  The man walked like something was stuck up his ass, a very stiff walk that didn’t look comfortable, painful in fact. His fishnet stockings failed to conceal the growth of hair on his pigeon legs. Olson ordered another scotch and waited for the plot to thicken.

The bartender brought the glass of scotch over. Olson lifted it and took a long drink. Rosanna and the man in drag danced along with the hula girls, both of them danced in circles.

“They found another body at Diamondhead,” someone shouted.

The shout was ear-splitting and cause Olson to perk up his ears. He’d scribbled enough notes about the disappearances and bodies to write a hell of a story back home in Houston. The cop, Luger, drank from a straw inserted in a pineapple. He looked highly enthused by the prospect of another victim. He attempted to corral the moving straw listlessly with his lips. Olson stared at Rosanna with the weird transvestite and couldn’t figure out why the man/woman walked that way. What was stuck up his butt?

Luger took the phone that the bartender handed him and he talked about the discovery of the body. Olson listened in while keeping his eye on the progress of the pig and the actions of his ex-wife. She seemed to really enjoy the company of the strange man. Meanwhile, the pig was removed from the fire, and dropped to the sand of the beach. The pig’s body fell apart. The fire had cooked its rough hide. Steam rose into the air around the fire. Rosanna left the side of the strange person, and walked over to the bar while the man danced off into the shadows beyond the fire.

“Who is that weirdo” Olson asked.

“Jenny,” she replied. “She was smoking weed outside the room and I hit the joint with her. She’s really bubbly.”

Olson nodded and smiled at her. Casually, he lit another cigarette. In the background, the cop, Luger, continued to speak on the phone, and Olson heard him repeating what the man on the other side said. The body had been decapitated and the head was not found. It was lost in the mist somewhere. They found a doll made out of lava rock.

Olson asked for another scotch. There still some in the glass in front of him. A very handsome man walked over with a towel tied around his waist. It looked like the same guy to Olson. It looked as though he took off the female attire and simply wrapped a towel around his waist. Midnight nudged Olson in the arm, an indication that her “weirdo” had been spotted. He was the man in the towel with the thick head of hair and the chiseled body. He spoke to Rosanna with a deep voice, a voice with a twinge of arrogance as if he had money. Olson considered what Midnight had said about him paying for “weird things.” It seemed that he wanted to do weird things with Rosanna.

Olson rattled the ice in his glass and hit his cigarette. “What line of work are you in?” Olson asked.

“Acquisitions,” the man responded. “I like to acquire the finest things in life”

“Well, I’ll take two hundred for Rosanna and you can have her. I’m going to grab some pig.”

Olson crossed the sand into the official luau area and assimilated into a crowd. The swaying hulu dancers and fire eaters were background noise. He stopped listening to Luger chatter on the phone about the disappearances. Everything disappeared behind him. The steaming pig was placed on plates. Olson staggered amid the people, eyeing a plate. The swine line was long and Olson’s stomach growled. The line moved forward as each person received their swine. Out of the corner of his eye, Olson stared in the direction of Rosanna. She was talking to the man . A smile was her face indicating she liked the conversation. Olson accepted a plate of pig on Styrofoam plate with a plastic fork and knife.

Olson walked back to the bar. A light breeze blew by. Olson watched Rosanna and Simon walk away. Anger boiled up inside him. It didn’t take much for her to leave. Casually, he sat down and looked at the cop. He was still on the phone talking about the murder. He spoke loudly about the details, practically shouting about a severed larynx, a missing face, disturbing talk even for a bar setting. Midnight rose from Olson’s seat, allowing him to sit down comfortably. He noticed people leaving the luau. They walked after Simon and Rosanna. A strange procession constituted of people with glassy eyes walked from the beach.

“Maybe you should follow her,” Midnight suggested.

“This pork is delicious,” Olson replied.

He forked more into his mouth. Another scotch was set in front of him, and he took a burning drink. The dancers continued to dance. Where was the man taking Rosanna? The thought finally registered in his mind, and he stood up, looking for her.

Olson lit a cigarette as he joined the line of people. Their gaits were stiff as if they sleep-walked, as I they were incognizant of the world around them. Through a garden of hibiscuses they walked. The flagrant flowers were unnoticed by the people. Hell, Olson barely smelled them due to his intoxication. The people had blank looks on their faces. They were influenced by something powerful. Something that Olson that couldn’t understand.

Beyond the hibiscus was a shuttle bus that the people were boarding. No one spoke. At the head of the line were the man and Rosanna. They were the first to board the shuttle bus and they walked to the very back. The cop walked next to Olson. He had the same glaze to his eyes. He was chatty before, now he was very quiet, and shook uncontrollably. Many of the people were shaking in fact. Tremors ran through them as if they were changing dramatically. From their heads to their toes, they shook as if they suffered seizures. Olson was the only one unaffected by whatever ailed the people, and he merely followed out of curiosity. The side of the tour bus said: Diamondhead Tours. Olson rode it before, a few times to Diamondhead. He wondered if Rosanna were under some kind of trance. Was she shaking like the others? He couldn’t tell because of the distance between them.

His moment came and he boarded the bus.  The placid demeanor of everyone was disquieting. The cop was right behind Olson, uncomfortably close. Olson was relegated to a seat at the front. He glanced back at Rosanna and she sat silently, staring into space. The only person smiling was Simon who seemed very excited. The doors to the bus closed with everyone inside, and it pulled away with a lurch.

Three

The shuttle bus stopped at Diamondhead. It was forbidden for anyone to enter after night a sign stated. Trespassers would be prosecuted. The people on the bus didn’t seem to care. One by one, the people exited the bus. Olson remained in his seat. He didn’t want to disturb anyone. The cop stopped in front of Olson. He stood there wordlessly. He extended a hand forward, a gesture for Olson to exit the bus. The bus driver stepped down from the bus behind Olson. He had a menacing aura.

In the sky was golden light, it shone down on the crater. It was a phenomenon the likes of which Olson had never seen. He considered that it came from the ground, but no. The black sky had split to release the golden light down on the world. The destination was the crater. That was where the light shone. It drew everyone to it. Rosanna was lifted off the ground and carried as if she were a sacrifice to something, the light it seemed. The ground level was dark. There was a passage carved into the side of the volcano.

The passage wasn’t apparent when Olson was here previously. It was manmade to be clear. Carved over the course of time. The island had been secrets. Many parts of the original culture that a tourist like Olson couldn’t understand.

“So, where are we go?” Olson asked.

One by one people walked through the passage into the volcano. The silence was too much. No one answered his question. Midnight passed Olson, who had suddenly developed a deep sense of trepidation. The cop walked past him. Olson was the only one who hesitated. The only who seemed to be in their right mind. Even Rosanna could have been under the strange influence. With everyone inside the crater, Olson followed. A glance back at the shuttle bus revealed that it was still running. The shuttle bus vanished from view once he stepped through the threshold of the passage. The atmosphere changed dramatically. A sense of calm overtook Olson as he walked through a small tunnel into the crater.

The others stood beneath the golden light, mesmerized. They stared heavenward. The golden light was as bright as the sun and hurt Olson’s eyes. He squinted around. There were lava rocks positioned in a circle Rosanna had been placed inside it. The people stood around it. Still, everyone was silent, with their closed eyes as if they sleepwalked there. Everyone except Simon looked skyward, he held a jagged lava rock in his hand and Olson could picture what was coming. Men with loin cloths and painted faces, red, green, and yellow stripes, walked to the circles of stone beneath the golden light. The men with the painted faces spoke a tongue Olson couldn’t understand, an ancient Hawaiian dialect.

Olson found a space big enough to fit through, and he reached Rosanna. The light was disturbed and seem to shake as it could come apart. The people didn’t reach out to stop him. They were still hypnotized by the golden light. Rosanna snapped back to reality after Olson took her hand. He jogged, dragging her behind him.

Olson led her to the shuttle bus. The door was open, and they stepped inside. The key was in the ignition and he shifted gears from park to drive. He chose not to pick up their belongings at the resort. They just wanted to leave the Oahu. To the airport he drove.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night Shift

Jeff Prebis

Olson doubted he would ever go on vacation. He was too nosy, too dedicated to his work. Every day was a quest to discover something. Nights were not the time for sleep. Most often, he passed out during the day. Finally, he checked into a motel and started an odyssey of relaxation. It led him down a strange path, into the embrace of a woman named Remi. A pleasant  surprise. All he had to do was forget about the night auditor and his ramblings. Just stop listening for once and embrace the silence.

The auditor had his eye on Olson because never of them ever slept. Two people lurking on each other’s radar, stuck on a collision course for something. It was how Olson inevitably met Remi. A fellow night owl who stood outside her room frequently. Even a “vacation” kept Olson going outside frequently. The warm Houston night drew in for a breath of fresh air. Some semblance of a cool breeze from a room with no air conditioning.

Talking to Remi became a night time thing. Olson smoking a cigarette in front of the room. She stood in her doorway with her pink robe cinched shut. Numerous times, the night auditor would walk by and tell them to go back in their rooms, that it was dangerous outside. He couldn’t have been more right. It was just that he was killed, not Olson or Remi. Olson was yet again a witness.

The murder of the night auditor was one of those things that happen late at night in bad neighborhoods. Not a story for the national news. Not a story anyone wanted to hear. Olson wrote down every detail to no avail after the fact, hoping to capture the essence of the man. A man he never really knew.

Olson sad, “What do you?”

“I check people in the man responded. I have a sleeping disorder.”

“Doesn’t everybody?” Olson replied. “Is that your only qualification?”

“I went to college.”

“Didn’t everybody?”

Night after night, the three of them were the only people awake in the motel complex. Three people amid fourteen rooms, no thirteenth room for the purposes of luck. It was left out.

Olson looked at Remi, who smiled back at him. The night auditor continued walking, leaving them to talk together. Olson smirked at Remi with his eyebrows raised. A Styrofoam cup of scotch was in his hand. The whiskey was ripe to be drunk. Olson tipped the cup to his lips and looked at Remi again. For a second, he wished she would turn into a demon, but she maintained the same angelic appearance, albeit worn out by a lack of sleep. Her frazzled hair, awakened by the night auditor talking to Olson about being drunk on the property. Olson never left his room. He hovered by it perpetually. It was one of those things that happen at almost two one o’clock in the morning. There was a shrill scream that drew Olson away from the room with Remi following him.

He leaned against the wall for support. Close to falling down, he stood there dumbly and sought the trace of the scream. Another scream indicated that it was four rooms down, maybe three, maybe two. The night auditor stood in front of a room. Through blurry eyes, Olson watched him. He had a gun and he pointed it in front of him menacingly. Olson supposed he had the right to shoot anyone who misbehaved. Maybe it went with the job title. Maybe not. Night of the dead dead. The night Chicago burned down. The night the night auditor snapped and fired his gun. It wasn’t clear what the occupant of the room had done. The second time the gun fired. Olson backed into Remi and looked into her fearful eyes, which were inches from his face.

“Let’s go back to my room,” Olson whispered. “We don’t want to get shot.”

Olson glanced back at the night auditor. Another gun shot. This time there wasn’t a scream. But, Olson watched blood spatter fly through the air. The moment of the bullet was odd. The trajectory unseen to Olson’s eyes. Hey, journalists report. Killers kill. He was completely outclassed in this situation. He stumbled back to his room with Remi in front of them. She opened the door and walked in. Olson pushed her in with his hands, and shut the door behind them. Unlucky for them, the door didn’t lock and they were as vulnerable behind a closed door as they were outside.

“Now what,” Remi said.

“No clue,” Olson replied. “I knew that guy was weird. I remember when I checked in.”

Flashback. Olson walked into the office. He had a duffel bag of stuff from his destroyed apartment. Simply proof that he existed. Proof that he wasn’t homeless.  He had a Visa card. He’d called ahead from the office and set up a reservation. The estimate was that his new house would be ready in seven days, so Olson had scheduled a seven day, six night stay. It seemed like a good change of face. The man had a strange look on his face. Too white of teeth. Too tan of skin. A denim shirt on. Tucked into denim jeans.

The man looked as though he never slept, as if he never considered the fact reasonable. Olson looked at everyone suspiciously. It was in his DNA to do so. After you see some crazy things, you expect crazy everywhere you go. Olson had drunk plenty of scotch before walking in. He handed his credit card to the man, who swiped it and handed it back Olson. Olson was given a key and the room was pointed out to him. It would do, he thought. It would do. Not plush. No accoutrements. A room nothing more. Ok, maybe Olson should have been suspicious when he walked past the cops in front of the building. Two cops car. Three uniformed cops who had cordoned off a motel room. Olson passed it again on the way to his room, driving the cab he borrowed to keep him working on his “vacation.”

Olson walked past the cops with his head down. He lit a cigarette in the face of police activity. At the time, he didn’t think about the cops or what they were doing. It wasn’t a community. It was a seedy section of town. Nothing more. There wasn’t a story here. Police came and went. It wasn’t something to worry about.

Tonight, Olson looked at Remi in the darkness of his room. She was still close to him. Her breath was gamy, a little foul. He could only guess how bad his breath smelled. Plenty of scotch, cigarettes, nothing healthy.

“Maybe hide,” Olson stated. “I really have no idea what to do in this scenario maybe he had a reason to shoot someone. I don’t know what the qualifications are for a night auditor.

Olson peered out the window, at the night. He heard a police car pulling up with a siren blaring. It was time for the night auditor to be arrested. Olson was convinced that it would happen. He opened the door to go out and give testimony as a witness, but Remi pulled his hanging arm to hold him back.

“Stop, this guy killed someone, don’t go out there,” she whispered.

Olson studied the concern in her face. It was unusual to see the caring. Few women, only his ex-wife looked at him that way, with truth love. He felt guilty about not talking to her more. He’d been in and out of the room every day, never stopping to talk to her. He leaned forward and kissed her. Maybe it was the shooting that influenced him. Maybe it was seeing one’s mortality by seeing the mortality of another. He wanted to be alive. The kiss lasted a few seconds and he pulled away. He wiped his mouth and hit the cup of scotch again. He heard a knock at the door. Never a good sign.

“I’m not decent,” he shouted.

It wasn’t a good excuse. He was never decent in mannerism or vocally. He was more of a picaroon than anything. For sixteen years, Olson had been divorced. His first kiss since then really didn’t move it. He tried not to believe it had.

“Stop pulling me,” he told Remi.

She’d grabbed his arm again to move him from the door. Olson tried to peer out through a crack. Someone would come in. It was an absolute truth.

“What?” Olson said.

“You are too close to the door. That lunatic might shoot you next. I didn’t tell you, but I watched him argue with someone and shoot them the night you came here. I don’t know if it’s legal or not. The police loaded the corpse in a trunk of their car and drove away.”

“Well, that’s probably regular around in here. Maybe we are overreacting to violence. “

Olson opened the door. Remi tugged his arm. He turned around and kissed her again. This time he pulled the door closed and locked it. She got to him. He changed his opinion on the matter. He moved to the bed with her hand in his. He kissed her the two steps it took to reach the bed.

She sat down and he stood over her. It was a weird moment. His pants dropped. He took off his Beck t-shirt, and sat down beside her. He kissed her again, setting his cup on the floor. He opened her robe and looked at her breasts with his eyebrows raised.

This was definitely new. He leaned back on the bed with her and he hovered over her body. Slowly, he entered her, and felt her body rock beneath him.

Two

There wasn’t evidence that anything happened. The next day came and Olson rose from the bed to smoke a cigarette. The area around the motel room had not been blocked off. In fact, another pair of people took over the room. Worse yet, the night auditor was gone for the day. Like a vampire, he fled from the sun. The day was uneventful. The sun rose and set. Olson smoked too many cigarettes and drank half a bottle of scotch. The inevitable had to happen. Remi came back over to the motel room early. She opened the door and found Olson scribbling notes on a pad of paper. Speaking of papers, the newspaper was on the bed and Olson had it dissected into sections. Frustration had set in because there wasn’t a word about the death or murder in the hotel room.

She approached Olson, looking at him with attraction, with love? He didn’t know the look anymore, and couldn’t trust his eyes. Behind her was the night auditor. What time was it? Olson had no clue, nor, did he really care. The auditor had a gun. He stepped forward and raised the gun. Olson lifted his own and fired at the auditor before he had a chance to fire back. He slumped to the floor and ceased to breathe.