Monster Book

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Joy wasn’t sure how she’d found the book, it must have been fate! She had known the minute her fingers had touched the skin cover and the scent of two hundred year old pages filled her lungs. She had looked closely just be sure then with a quick glance around the storeroom, put the book into her bag.

Hurrying home as a storm ripped across the sky, Joy was glad she only lived streets away from where she worked at Rare Eager, Secondhand and Antiques shop. She stumbled into the hallway of the two bedroom terrace house, dripping wet like she had just got out of a swimming pool.

She turned the lights on, locked the front door then took off her soaked shoes and coat. Going upstairs, she took the rest of her clothes off- blue blouse and black trousers- and changed into fleece PJs. She dried her short blonde hair and took her makeup off.

Pausing, Joy listened but the house was almost silent; just the hum of the fridge and heaters. Outside, rain and wind battered everything, Thunder rumbled and lightening forked across the sky like the bolts of an angry God.

‘Autumn weather for sure,’ Joy said aloud and closed the curtains.

Having all ready eaten before and feeling fine that she was now dry, Joy got into bed. She glanced at the alarm clock and saw the hands were on quarter to nine. She sighed, tiredness sinking in. She had worked late tonight with the re-stocking of the shop and was ready to sleep but first….

Joy pulled the book from her bag.

The skin cover was like worn leather, paled and roughed over the years and there were no markers anywhere upon it to say what the contains were or who by. Joy ran her fingers over it and thought she could just feel were letter might once have been.

Without opening the book, she looked at the hand cut pages. They were not straight but jagged and hard against her fingers. They were a dark yellow colour and tempted a reader in.

Joy went to open the book but her boss, the shop’s owner, Mr. Eager, came into her head. He was old, mid-sixties with a bald head, wrinkles like a walnut and strange odd colored eyes.  From his mouth came the words, ‘…it’s a book full of such disturbing horror stories it was banned! Most of the copies were burnt back then….There’s one around here somewhere. I brought it years ago in London.’

‘Have you ever read it?’ Joy had asked.

‘The first page and that was enough for me!’

‘And where is it now?’

Mr. Eager shrugged and answered, ‘lost in here someplace!’

Joy had taken in the stuffed shop which one could barely move around in let alone find anything they actually wanted! But wasn’t that the look and draw of secondhand and antique places?

With a shake of her head, Joy told herself, ‘I’ll return it tomorrow and show Mr Eager. Pretend I ‘just’ found it and ask if I can have it.’

Letting her fingers rest on the cover about to open it and began reading, Joy wondered why she had taken it in the first place.

She had stole before, little things, like; her childhood friend’s pencil case, a poster from school, a pot horse from her aunt’s house and once in desperate need after a night out, clothes from a washing line.

‘Why did I take this book?’ Joy wondered.

She looked down and felt drawn to forget everything and just open the cover. Were the stories inside as scary as Mr. Eager had said?

Opening the book, Joy saw there were no other publisher and introduction pages like at the start of other books, there was the begin of the first story instead. Shrugging and deciding she didn’t care, Joy curled up and began reading.

It seemed standard 1800s’ horror story telling, a little gross in parts but an interesting read. The stories were short and Joy read three or four of them before she started to doze off.

Putting the book under her bed, she vowed to take it back in the morning and fell asleep.

 

A soft thud and scraping noise disturbed her. Joy rolled over and still half-asleep listened. The noise didn’t come again and she drifted off.

Three more thuds, louder this time and more scraping like something was being dragged echoed through the house. Joy woke almost fully, she turned on the light and looked around. The storm had died down now and it was just a rain tapping against the window.

The noises didn’t come again as she wondered what they were; perhaps, it was an animal or a neighbour. Maybe, apart of my dream! What was that about anyway?

Joy turned off the light and settled back down. A creeping feeling came over her and sleep didn’t want to come back. She lay in the darkness, thinking and listening.

The sounds stared again. Someone was dragging something on a carpet and thumping it about. Then there was a different sound, like a chomp and a heave as if the person doing the dragging before was now trying to pull something up whilst eating an apple.

Joy almost giggled at that thought but realised the noise was too close, all most like it’s in my bedroom!  

She turned on the light, scowled herself for being silly, it’s just something outside….What’s that on my bedside table? 

It was the book!

Confused because she knew she had put it under her bed, Joy went to pick it up. Before her hands could touch it the book began to open!

The cover raised slowly. The pages had become long sharp triangle teeth. They moved, opening like they were in a mouth and a long, two forked tongue began to reel out, sensing the air like a snake’s.

Joy moved backwards across the bed and put her hands to her mouth to cover a scream.

‘It’s just a dream!’ she cried.

The book’s ‘tongue’ went back in and the covers opened further like a shark’s jaw. The book let out a monstrous growl and jumped at Joy’s face.

The scream erupted out of her and Joy threw her hands upwards to defend her face and fight off the book, but the book had grown so wide that it just swallowed her whole.

With the scratching and ruffling sounds of tumbling pages, the book fell closed on Joy’s bed, right were she’d been a few seconds ago.

 

 

(Based in part on a dream I had).

Werifesteria #atozchallenge

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Werifesteria; to wander longingly through the forest in search of mystery 

Walking through the trees in the dimming daylight I was careful to stay as quiet as possible. There was a beast hiding in this forest and I was determined to gather enough evidence to prove it’s existence. My heart knew it was here and my head went along with it because of all the reported sightings throughout the years.

Having done my research, I’d found the records went back to 1809. The first report had been by a miller owner. He’d been passing through the forest in the early afternoon on a autumn day to delivery flour to the next village.

He was attacked by a beast which he described later as having long brown fur, kind of like a bear but not. It was standing on two feet and had long claws and sharp teeth, both stained with blood. The beast had thrown his cart over then killed his horse and carried it off into the trees.

Of course, the surrounding village men had all searched the forest but nothing had been found. Perhaps the miller was mistake? Or lying?

I had double checked him, like I had done with all those who’d claimed attacks. He’d been a very religious man with a wife and two children, they’d been more but they had died, he earned a good enough income and had respect from many. There was no reason for his account to be wrong.

I stopped by the river and took a long drink. I also filled up both canteens that I was carrying. Looking at the sky, I knew I’d have to set up camp soon. I’d been out here for almost a week now. I hadn’t found much; a few broken trees, a large footprint that I’d dismissed as an actual bear’s and an abandoned rusting car which had been so far gone it was hard to make out what make it had once been.

I knew I was getting closer though. It had been hard to map the points of the beast’s attacks. They were scattered across the whole of the forest and of course over the years the forest had grown, shrink and moved place. The river though which was a constant feature on all maps helped.

Pulling out my map of the forest which I had written across and made dots were the attacks had happen in a colour key, I worked out where I was.

A few miles ahead was one of the areas were most of the attacks had happened. If I could make it before the light faded I could camp there and perhaps I’d see the beast! Rushing off, I crossed the river on some slippy stones and carried on walking forward.

The trees were dense and the blocked the weak light from the setting sun. I stumbled over roots and clumps of bushes. The calls of animals began to fade and the wind dropped.

Twice I checked the map and saw I was still on the right route. Night came on too fast though and I didn’t make it to the centre of the attacks, instead I had to stop on the edge. Disappointed, I set up my tent and built a small fire to warm up some soup. Then siting in the tent doorway with my lantern, I read through photocopies of the most recent beast reports.

The latest one had been only a week ago; Miss Ivy Jameson, twenty-four, had been coming home from a friend’s house and had cut through the forest to enter her back door which faced the edge of the treeline. She had heard growling but thought it only a dog.

Then something had knocked her off her feet and as she rolled, she describe a creature with long shaggy brown fur, standing on two legs with large claws. It seemed to be like a human dressed in an ape costume. Only, it wasn’t.

Ivy had survived only because she had thrown a rock at the beast eyes and dashed off towards her house. There her family and the police had searched, however nothing had been found.

I suspected the chief police officer had covered it up though. I’d heard within hours on the radio of the attack and I came straight out to it.

I found broken tree branches which made a trail away from Ivy’s house. The ground had been really disturbed, almost as if someone had tried to remove something and there were jeep tracks too.

Going further into the forest, I found that police had given up a few miles in. There were the reminds of their tape clinging to a tree trunk and fluttering in the breezy. I had walked on and found undisturbed evidence; more broken tree limbs and trodden dirt. Following that on had led me to the path I was now walking. Luckily, I had been prepared for this hunt.

I settled down for the night and as normal it took my ages to sleep. I didn’t want to waste any power though, so I lay in the dark and just listened. I like the sound of the owls and other birds, the howling and yowling of other animals and the scampering of the small rodents. I had never heard the beast nor any strange sound that could be it.

How many more days could I last? I began tallying things and came to about three days. Maybe five at a push but then I’d have to return home after. That was a disheartening thought! To be so close and to have to give up….I couldn’t do that. Suddenly feeling well awake. I got up and went outside the tent.

It was cold and damp outside now, it was drizzling and also pitch black. Not great hunting weather. Looking around, I couldn’t see anything. Ignoring the urges to grab some light, I just stood there and listened.

‘Where are you beast?’ I whispered.

The cold and rain woke me up further. I felt I was so close to seeing the beast that I almost walked off into the trees. Standing my ground, I let the minutes tick by. Then I was too wet and cold, so I went back in the tent and changed my clothes.

Getting into my sleeping bag, I lay there once again again and listened to the night. Slowly, I fall asleep, hoping that tomorrow I’d see the beast.

Nurse Part 2

Nurse, Woman, Person, Girl, Syringe, Injection, Shot

After handing a pack of new bed socks to the vampire, Head Nurse Cassie decided to check on the other vampire. She couldn’t remember which one Will the elf had said was being discharged tonight, but the second vampire looked in worse shape. As she entered the room, he was laying in the bed, with the blue woolen blanket folded down to his stomach and his head  propped up on pillows. He was looking out of the window with sad, almost empty eyes.

‘Hello,’ Cassie said and grabbed the clipboard notes.

The vampire didn’t reply.

She reminded herself of his name, Princes Luton from what was now Denmark. He had been found almost died in a car park three nights ago. He had been attacked by werewolves or shape shifters or something else with huge teeth and lots of dark fur.

‘How are you feeling?’ Cassie asked.

‘Fine,’ he replied sadly.

Seeing that he had only been checked less then ten minutes ago, she put the clipboard back and crossed the window. Outside the wind was blowing a small tree and some bushes that formed a small garden in between the hospital buildings. The sky was very dark blue almost black color with a touch of white dotted stars.

Cassie opened the window and felt the wind on her fur. She heard the vampire take in a deep breath. He sighed the breath out deeply then took another one. She turned back and saw he had shut his eyes.

‘If you are feeling better later, you could possible go out in a wheelchair,’ Cassie told him.

‘Maybe…’ he said.

‘Let me know if you need anything. Your blood is coming soon.’

The vampire mumbled a thanks.

Cassie left him, closing the door behind her and went to check on everyone else which as the rest of the patients were settling down to sleep, was quick and easy. Going back to the desk, she found Harriet Hippo on the phone and the other nurses getting on with other tasks.

Sinking into the other chair, she thought about phoning the doctors’ office and seeing when the vampire doc who was scheduled to visit the ward might be due. Picking up the other phone, she thought it might be a bit pointless as no one ever knew, but still…Cassie dialed and waited.

When the office receptionist picked the phone up, she put her question in, but just as she had thought, no one knew the answer and of course if there was an emergency it might change things. There were only three vampire doctors on tonight and two were doing the ward rounds.

‘Is it an emergency?’ the receptionist asked in a clip tone.

‘Not really,’ Cassie said,’how many do the docs have to see?’

‘About thirty are on the list,’ came the reply, ‘of course, they’re not all vampires. There are some half-vampires, two owls, a boogie man, three shadow figures, some ghosts -‘

‘That’s fine, thanks,’ Cassie cut in and hung up.

‘So, you don’t think the Prince is very good either?’ Fenchie spoke out.

Cassie opened her mouth, ready to tell the nurse gnome off for over hearing, then decided there was no point.

‘He’s lost a lot of blood though,’ Pepper chipped in, her arms full of supplies.

‘Yes, well,’ Cassie finally got in, ‘I think he might be depressed. Compared to the Lord, he doesn’t seem to be recovering mentally.’

The buzzer for the door rang and Cassie answered it with a quick hello.

‘Food delivery,’ came a man’s tried voice back over the intercom.

Cassie buzzed him in and a few seconds later heard the wheels of a trolley along the floor. She stood up and watched the man knocked on the door of the first vampire then let himself in. Leaving her nurses to their duties, Cassie followed the delivery man in. Stopping in the doorway, she watched the Lord receiving his breakfast and quickly drinking it from the bag.

‘I’ll come with you to the next one,’ Cassie said and got a grunt from the seemingly human delivery guy.

Heading down the doors and opening the one to the Prince’s room, Cassie was glad to see him still in bed. There had been too many nights with different patients were they had left via an open window. Taking the blood from the human, Cassie set up the drip.

‘Unless you feel you can drink it?’ she asked.

The vampire shook his head.

Hooking him up, she left wondering what the doctor would say when they got here.

Playtime

She couldn’t look under the bed again, nor stop shaking.

It was there still, just waiting for the right moment, her wrong move.

A game of chess, rolling dice, life and death, time to play.

Trust (Part 15)

As they left the apartment, Fern thought about telling Brook about the man she had sensed. However, when she turned around she saw he had pulled the hood of his hoodie up and put his hands into the single deep pocket. He had all ready started walking too, heading around the back of the apartment block. Fern followed in silence.

The side and back of the complex was very much like the front with short grass lawns boarded by trees and low bushes. Fern paused when they were a quarter of the way across the back lawn and looked around. In the distance straight ahead, she could just make out a dirt clearing which was the outline for what would have been another block of apartments. Between them in the grass she could make out two white stringed and wooden pegged rectangles.

‘What are they for?’ she asked Brook’s retreating back.

Fern saw him cast a look over to where she was pointing before replying, ‘outlines for a swimming pool and tennis court.’

‘Oh. Okay,’ she muttered thoughtfully.

‘It was going to be a holiday venue, remember?’ Brook shot over his shoulder.

Fern nodded and hurried to catch up with him. She fell into step behind him and tried to figure out where they were heading too. They reached the edge of the lawn and Brook stepped off into the woodland area which as Fern saw seemed to circle the area. The trees overhead blocked out the rest of the light from the sky and created monstrous shadows onto the ground.

Brook moved with surprising stealth but Fern failed to match his steps. She found herself tripping over roots and small plants. Low twigs snatched at her hair and scrapped her clothes. She stopped and gathered herself, taking in deep breaths of the damp, earthy, tree sap aroma that hung in the air. When she set off, she moved slowly and took the time to take in everything around her.

Stepping out from under the last tree, she saw a narrow line of mud running parallel to a low barbed wired fence. Beyond which was a farmer’s fields. Fern walked over to the fence and looked for Brook. It took her a good few minutes to pick him out across the field. She looked down and wondered how he had gotten over.

Thinking that there must be a stile or something close by, she walked for a few minutes in one direction then came back and tried the other. The fence was continuous. Frowning and feeling worried, she tried to pick Brook’s figure out of the darkness again, but she could no longer see him.

‘Brook?’ she called in small voice.

Cleaning her throat she tried again then waited for his response.

Nothing but a gentle breeze answered.

Pulling a face, she looked at the barbed wire and found that were large enough gaps between the twist metal knots for her to place her hands in. Gritting her teeth, she did just that then carefully placed her feet on the bottom wire. The whole thing shook under her weight, but it did hold her. She stepped up again, trying to keep her balance. She swung her leg over and moved her hands at the same time.

Laughing, she climbed over the fence and began walking across the empty field. When she reached the other side and another fence, she had thought Brook would be waiting for her. He was nowhere in sight. Panic filled her empty stomach and Fern turned around madly as she shouted his name over and over again.

She grabbed the fence and felt the bite of sharp metal in her palms. Springing back, she stumbled and fell to the ground. Shaking and crying, Fern licked at her left palm and tasted the warmth of her blood. She wrapped her lips to the punctures and sucked. Blood filled her mouth and she hummed happily. Before she knew it, she had done the same with her right hand and both wounds had healed over.

Fern got up, wiped the dirt from her jeans and tried to figure out which way to go. She climbed over the fence, feeling her senses heighted. Her nose picked up the scent of blood and she let that be her guide. She crossed the rest of the farmer’s fields and found herself on a single road. Following that lead her to more farmland, but the growing scent of blood called still. She walked on, losing all other thoughts and senses, only paying attention to the sweet, salty tang that wafted on the breeze.

Somehow and she had no idea how she had gotten there, Fern found herself entering a fishing yard. Slipping through the gate, she stood and listened to gentle sea waves lapping against the dock walls and boats. Mixed in were male voices, faint music from a radio and the chiming of bells. The air was heavy with fish, death and salt. Staying against the gate, Fern sniffed and tried to pick up the trail of blood.

It had gotten so faint, she realised that she could hardly detect it. She went to the side of one of the small warehouses and peered in. Shadows of two fisherman moving crates were displayed on the wall. Fern listened for a few moments then moved on, she circled around the other warehouses till at the last one, she picked up the blood again.

Aware that there men inside, she stepped in and moved along the wall. Right at the back was an office like room and inside three men were talking, one of whom had a bandaged up hand. Fern sighed and licked her lips. She felt the urge to dive right in and sink her teeth into the man. Her other instincts held her back and knowing the man would leave soon, she walked out of the warehouse and found some shadows close by to hide in.

Luckily, he was the first to come out and he was alone. Without even thinking about it, Fern begin to make childlike sobbing sounds. The man turned, his attention caught. Fern still crying stepped further back along the warehouse, covering herself in more shadows. She saw the man walking over and looking around.

‘Hello? Is anyone there?’ his rough voice called out.

Fern let out a louder longer sob.

‘Hello? It’s okay. Come out. I won’t hurt you…’

He moved closer, the shadows swallowing him as he approached Fern, who had gone silent. When he was close enough, she reached out her arms and dragged him into a hug. He tried to scream and fight her off, but Fern suffocated his face in her shoulder and buried her teeth into his neck. She sliced through salty damp skin and hot delicious blood filled her mouth. She swallowed and greedily began gulping more down.

She felt the man struggling useless against her. His hands were slapping and punching her upper body, his feet kicking out at her legs and his head trying to wiggle out of her shoulder. She could hear his muffled cries alongside his racing heartbeat as well. She bite down harder and sucked faster, fearfully aware that someone was bound to hear them.

Fern’s eyes darted up and looked over the man’s shoulder. She watched for any movements and listened hard for voices but everything remind in the background. She felt the man weakening as his struggle against her seemed to slow down. She however kept going, the blood feeling her making her feel powerful and satisfied. The man slumped in her arms and Fern had to take all of his body weight.

She could hear his heart slowing down too and felt drawn to making it stop. Her instincts spiked and she was suddenly aware of someone coming from behind her. Before she could let the man go, that someone forced themselves between them, tearing them apart. Fern tumbled to the floor, the cold sea air bringing her fully awake. She hit the hard ground and pain jarred through her back. Looking up, blood dripping her chin, Fern fully believed it was Brook standing with the man in his arms, finishing him off.

However, when he dropped the body and turned to face her, Fern saw he clearly wasn’t Brook.

Under

The monster under my bed. by JCMaziu

The Monster under Gretel’s bed was tired. Also, he was getting bored. Gretel was growing up and it was becoming harder to scare her. Twenty-first century kids were becoming desensitised to things too early and hadn’t he read in The Monstrosity News that children born between the human years of 2000-2008 were now proving that fact? He did some calculating in his head and worked out that it was 2014 and Gretel was almost eight. She fit in that group.

Sighing, Monster massaged his aching head. One of his three horns was hurting something rotten again and he was half worried he’d have to go and get it fixed. He remembered that he should never leave a problem as it could get worse. The issue was that if he left Gretel, he knew he’d never come back again.

Shutting his eyes he thought about the scenario of being resigned and how he’d miss her. Rubbing his shoulders and higher back on the floor, he flopped out an arm from under the bed. Then deciding there was nothing else for the numbness in his neck, he crawled out. Standing up, he stretched and cast a look around the bedroom. It had changed so much since he’d first moved in months after she’d been born.

He picked a dust ball of one of his spikes and let it drop to the floor. He’d always had his fur cut short, preferring it that way and finding it cooler. However, living in a snowy part of the human world, had caused him to keep his fur long again. He shook himself out and watched the dust fall in the thin light coming from under the door.

The gasping sound behind him, took a few minutes to compute in his tried brain. Turning, he found Gretel staring up at him, the duvet wrapped around her like a shield and a pink bear gasped in her hands. He took up his roaring pose and prepared to scare her, before shooting back under the bed. However, something made him stop. Dropping his stance, he gave her a little wave. Confusion crossed Gretel’s face and the duvet hood slipped from her head.

He cleared his throat, ‘Hi there,’ he said, before realizing that he sounded dumb and had just broken a handful of laws.

‘Are you here to take me away? Or just to scare me back to sleep?’ Gretel asked.

‘Neither really…well maybe the second one…’

‘I’ve seen you before,’ she spoke up, ‘do you live under my bed?’

He nodded, ‘I sometimes live in the wardrobe too and the attic.’

Gretel peered over the edge of the bed and looked into the dark space under it.

‘How do you fit in there?’ she asked.

Monster shrugged, ‘just do. It’s magic, I guess.’

‘You look different from the monsters in the movies.’

‘We are all different and there’s nothing wrong with that,’ he answered defensively.

Gretel nodded, ‘What are going to do now?’

‘I’ll have to go away. Far, far away. My time of scaring you was almost over anyway and now I’ve probably broken some rules behaving like this…so…’

Monster sat heavily on the floor and hunched his shoulders up. Waves of emotion rolled off him. He shuddered and felt like crying. Suddenly, he felt a warm hand stroking his fur. He glanced at Gretel and dropped his hands from his face.

‘I’m going to have a baby brother soon. I might not need a monster any more, but I could use a friend. And maybe you can scare him when he gets a bit older?’

‘Oh,’ Monster sniffed.

‘Do you think that would be okay? You can stay under my bed again and we could talk all the time and then neither of us would get lonely.’

‘Sounds like a good idea to me,’ Monster replied, ‘though it was rather late now, so you should get back to sleep.’

Gretel nodded and climbed back into bed, ‘you’ll still be here though,’ she asked sleepily.

‘Yes, I shall,’ Monster answered as he tugged her in.