Phantom War Part 3: The Demons

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For Bethany. You were worth the fight.

Part Three: The Demons

The Man took deep, heavy breaths and held his ribs. His side screamed with agony and every breath felt as if he was being stabbed with a dagger. His face grimaced in pain yet his heart soared with determination. Each aching step brought him close to Abaddon; closer to vengeance, and closer to The Girl with Sunlit Hair and Black Wings.

The road in the Valley narrowed. Before The Man stood the entrance to a forest. He eased his hand away from his throbbing side and stood erect. He narrowed his eyes and the determination in his heart was expressed on his face.

“The Forest of Lost Hope,” The Man whispered and stared at the trees. The leaves on the branches were no leaves at all. Rather, they were shards of human flesh. A crisp breeze blew through the forest and made the skin dance. Patches of the anthropomorphic coverings dropped to the ground. The Man picked one up and examined it. He recalled a passage from The Book of Abaddon: 

“If a warrior is of skill to have made it to The Forest of Lost Hope, it would bid him well to take heed before entering. It is required that a man make deep examination of his heart and soul before he enters. A pure heart and unwavering faith are required to conquer the dark spirits who lie deep within the forest. The Demons are unmerciful mercenaries of Abaddon who will strike at any weakness. The man of sincere heart who enters this realm should also remember that it would do him well to cover himself with the flesh which hangs on the trees. If his heart is pure, he will absorb the strength of the flesh of those who went before him and none of their weaknesses. However, if he is a double souled man, he will absorb none of their strength and all of their weaknesses, thus assuring himself both defeat and death.” 

The Man knelt at the edge of the forest and fixed his mind on Creator God. “My Lord,” he prayed. “By thine Spirit, search my heart and see if there is any wicked way in me. Cleanse me by Thy blood from my sins. Make me whole in Thine eyes. Let my faith in you soar as on the wings of an eagle and let my doubts be annihilated by the power of Thine right hand. Let not fear enter into my heart but guard it as Thine own.” 

The Man sat in silence as he drew in strength from his God. With assurance in his soul, he rose to his feet. Though she could not hear him, he spoke to The Girl. “My darling, our God has brought us thus far, and He will not fail us now. Into the forest I will go, and victorious I will emerge.” 

The Man reached up and removed a patch of skin from a branch at the edge of the forest. He placed it on his face. Within moments he felt the blood bond to his skin. He proceeded to cover the rest of his face and the exposed portions of his arms and legs. He imagined what he must look like–a patchwork of skin hanging on skin. A brutish amalgamation of human flesh which would give nightmares to young children. But the only nightmares he planned on giving were the ones he would gift to Abaddon. 

Once he reached Abaddon, he planned on making him suffer. He wasn’t going to kill the demigod, oh no. He was going to torture to the point of death; to amputate and dismember, then leave him as an invalid who could do no more harm. Instead, Abaddon would be left  in torment in his body and mind, as he would forever have to live with how he was bested by God’s knight. 

“Abaddon,” The Man said with a snarl. “You picked the wrong man of God to fuck with.” He grabbed his necklace of vengeance in one hand then took his first step into the forest. 

“Abaddon,” he thought. “Your time is coming. But for now, I will slay your henchmen.” 

Once in the forest, the man felt a tingling sensation on his skin. His body was absorbing the strength of the deceased’s warriors’ flesh. The pain in his side subsided and the bones made popping sounds as the ribs were forged back together. His muscles grew stronger and his heart braver. He felt as if he could take down an army of thousands. And indeed he could. 

The Man journey further into The Forest of Lost Hope. The moon’s rays were cut by the tree branches, leaving slices of light to guide his way. The woods smelled of depression and despair. It was the scent of loneliness. A smell only one who has breathed it in could identify. And The Man could. It was what he felt when his children were taken from him. The forest tried to bring these disparaging memories up, but the power of the Spirit of God and the power of the warrior’s flesh kept The Man’s mind sound. 

The Man paused. He gripped the hilt of his steel and attuned his ears to the forest. 

A howl bellowed forth in the distance followed by deep, maniacal laughter. The sounds came north of The Man. He drew his blade and journeyed towards the noise. The forest became more dense and the darkness grew as the light of the moon was no more. The Man was now practically blind. He was not going to be able to rely on his physical sight to defeat The Demons. Rather, he was going to have to rely on his psychic ability to emerge victorious. 

The Girl had taught him how to enhance the abilities of his mind. He had the gift since childhood, but never knew how to develop it. The Girl had trained the sight of her third eye into near perfection. The townspeople had considered her a witch because of her uncanny ability and at one point, had tried to set her on fire. The Man intervened and rescued her. He scorned the villagers for their ignorance and saved The Girl from certain death. 

The people had listened to The Man because they considered him a prophet sent from Creator God. Well, almost all the people. The Man’s former wife grew jealous of his stature in the city and of his friendship with The Girl. She conspired with the husband of The Girl to put The Man to death. One night, the two of them attacked The Man in his sleep. They had gathered rocks to stone him. The Man awoke to a throbbing pain in his face after his wife clobbered him with a stone. He was able to fend them off. The commotion awoke the villagers. They saw what was happening, and because they considered The Man a prophet, they took his wife and The Girl’s husband out into the streets and stoned them with the very rocks they tried to use on The Man. Because of their heresy, their bodies were dragged outside the city gates and left for the birds. They would be a reminder of what happens to the ones who attack the anointed of God. 

Since then, the relationship of The Man and The Girl flourished into love. She taught him how to use his third eye and he taught her the ways of Creator God more clearly. Now, in The Forest of Lost Hope, The Man was going to have to rely on his gifting and his God.

“Creator God,” The Man prayed. “Please enrich the sight of my third eye. Let me see my foes in my mind. Let me know their moves before they do. Give me foresight and precognition.”

The Lord answered The Man’s prayer.

In his mind he saw the entire forest, down to the last details. He saw the grooves in every tree, the high and low spots of the ground, and the location of every Demon. It was as if the woods were now illuminated by the sun. 

The Demons were a nasty sight. They had the body of a humans. Their skin was red and their faces and arms were covered in black markings. They had no jaw. Instead their mouth connected with their neck, leaving an open cavity revealing their tongue and rows of sharp teeth. 

The Man drew his sword and his precognition guided him. The first Demon would make a zig zag motion through the trees and then attack to his left. The second Demon would be close behind the first and leap at him. The third would sneak him from behind. 

The Man dropped his Necklace of Vengeance, held his sword with both hands, and waited on The Demons to make their move.

It happened just as The Man predicted. He timed his counter attack with perfection. He turned to his left and swung his sword. The blade connected in the space between The Demon’s mouth and neck. The blow severed his head and a blue geyser of blood spewed from the wound. 

The Man was ready for the next Demon coming to his front. He thrust his sword into The Demon’s chest, ran it through, then tossed it over his head. The Man pinned The Demon down to the ground. The Demon convulsed then melted around his blade and onto the forest floor where it evaporated. 

The Man stood to his feet and turned with a thrust. His sword entered the gaping chest cavity of the third Demon. The Demon hissed then placed its hands around the blade and tried to free itself. The Man twisted the blade and The Demon released it then melted just like the other. 

“What the hell,” The Man said as he watched The Demon squander away. He caught his breath then prepared for the next onslaught.

The Demons were a crafty lot and not unaware of The Man’s ability. But they knew something The Man hadn’t discovered yet. His precognitive ability only reached as far as being able to predict up to three attacks. This time, The Forest would send five Demons after him. 

The Man saw his next three assailants in his mind. One would travel to the tree tops then drop on him. The second would appear from behind the same tree and the third would flank him on his right.

The Man raised his sword above his head and the first Demon lunged to its death. He met the second Demon with a swing and the blade sliced open its midsection, disemboweling it. Blood and guts sloshed to the ground. The Man turned and brought his blade down on the shoulder of the third Demon. It howled, staggered backwards, and fell to the forest floor. The Man drove his steel through the heart of The Demon and it died like the others. 

The Man was not prepared for the fourth and fifth attack. He heard a snarl behind him but it was too late. The Demon grabbed him by his long hair and tried to drag him deeper into the forest. The Man sensed an odd sensation in his back, as if his skin was stretching and being pulled off.

The Man dropped his sword and latched on to The Demon’s wrist. He was able to look over his shoulder. He stood bewildered at what he saw. An arm was extended from his scapula. 

What The Man couldn’t see was the full profile of another warrior protruding from his back. The warrior gripped The Demon’s tongue with both hands and yanked, hard. The Demon’s tongue separated from its mouth and a river of blue blood poured out. The tongue flapped in the warrior’s hand then he proceeded to beat The Demon with it. 

The fifth attack came from The Man’s right. A Demon leaped from the foliage and brought the Man to the ground. He planted face first. His head spun and he tried to regain his wits. He felt the odd sensation in his back again. 

Warrior after warrior expanded from The Man’s back, covered in his skin like a flesh cloak. HIs skin continued to stretch and the warriors stayed attached by strands which stayed connected like ropes. 

The warriors now encircled him. The Forest let loose the Demon horde. The Man closed his eyes and buried his face on the ground, letting his army of encased warriors fight for him. Demon after met their demise at the hands of The Man’s protectors. He could hear the squealing of The Demons as their bodies were dismembered and annihilated by the warriors. 

The floor of the forest ran blue with the blood of the Demons. When the last one evaporated, The Man’s body absorbed the warriors and he was left alone on the ground. He pushed himself up and sat. “Thank you God,” The Man prayed. “Thank you.” He stood to his feet and returned his steel to its sheath. He picked up his necklace of vengeance and held it in his hand. He then heard a crackling and popping sound. 

The forest erupted into flames. A sense of haste and alarm filled The Man. He was worried he would be burned alive in the inferno. He then heard the voice of his God.

“When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Now travel ahead.” 

The Man believed the promise of God and stepped forward. The blazing trees surrounded him yet he could not feel their heat. He reached out his hand and stuck it into one of the flames. Nothing. He left it there for several seconds then removed it. His skin was unmarked by the fire. The Man smirked, then traveled through the fire unharmed and said, “The same God who protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the furnace of Nebuchadnezzer now protects me.” 

The Girl with Sunlit Hair and Black Wings saw the blazing forest. Her heart sanke and her mouth went dry. There was a churning in her stomach and she grew ill. All the strength left her body and she sat on the ground and wept. She knew there was no way her beloved could survive such a fire. 

“My love,” she cried. “My precious angel, how will I go on without you.” She wept until the point of despair. She lied down under neath their tree and waited to die.

The Man felt the anguish of The Girl. He had been so focused on using his energy to fight the entities of the Valley he had not yet used The Reach to contact his beloved. The Reach was a psychic bond the couple discovered in the early days of their relationship. It was a type of astral projection each could use to project their energy to the other and communicate thoughts and feelings. 

The Man paused amidst the fire and reached for The Girl. 

Underneath the tree, The Girl felt the presence of her beloved. She sat up and exclaimed, “It’s you!” She could sense The Man as if he were around her and inside her. She heard his voice in her head.

“It is me,” The Man said. “I am very much alive. The power of Creator God is with me and He is protecting me from the heat of the flames.” 

The Girl reached back and said, “Oh, my angel. I was so worried.”

The Man felt her and heard her voice in his soul. “I know, my darling. But rest assured I am alive and well.”

“Where will my angel go next?”

“I do not know….” The Man’s voice was cut off.

“Wait,” The Girl said. “Where did you go?”

The Man was now focused on what was before him. The forest had burned away and in front of him was a cave. The Man now knew where he stood. It was the lair of Abaddon. A cage of iron bars was over the entrance and a demonic guard stood watch. It was tall and muscular and human bones as armor adorned it from head to toe. The guard held a giant ax in its hands. It’s face was full of eyes and its mouth was a long, pointed beak. 

The Man sensed The Girl reaching. 

“My love,” he said.

The Girl was relieved. “Yes?”

“I’m here.”

“Where is ‘here’?”

“The lair of Abaddon,” The Man said. 

“Please be careful,” The Girl warned. “I have a bad feeling.”

“Sit at ease, my darling,” The Man said. “I will add the fingers of Abaddon’s right hand to my necklace.”


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Phantom War Part 4: Abaddon

Indie Horror Creation Indie horror writers Short Horror Stories

For Bethany. You were worth the fight. Come with me, my love, our Willow Tree beckons.

The Man drew his sword from its sheath and approached the cave of Abaddon. The light of the full moon shimmered in the blade and shone down on The Man as a celestial spotlight; as if heaven and hell were watching the events play out on a divine stage. All The Man’s senses were acute. His nose smelled the stench of evil arising from the cave. He could hear the breaths of the demonic guard as it inhaled and exhaled, anticipating The Man’s approach. He felt the grooves of the leather wrapped hilt tight against his palm. He lifted his steel, stared into the blade, and prayed. 

“Creator God, grant your servant strength to slay the wretched beast and avenge our families.” He then lowered his sword and walked. 

The voice of Creator God echoed in his soul. “My Son, do you trust me?”

The Man paused, and with a bewildered look, gazed up into the heavens. “Yes,Lord,” he said. “I trust you. Why?” 

“Then go,” God said. “The end of a thing will birth forth a new beginning.” 

The Man raised an eyebrow and said, “What do you mean?”

“You will see,” God said. “Now, go.” 

The Man nodded and continued his pace. He drew near to the cave and the demon guardian stepped out to meet him. The guardian thrust its ax and stuck the blade against The Man’s neck. The Man stopped, narrowed his brow, and stared at the demon with righteous anger. 

“What business do you have here,” the demon said. 

“I’ve come to kill the dragon,” The Man said. 

“What gives you the right to challenge Abaddon,” the demon said. 

The Man held up his necklace of vengeance and showed it to the demon. “I have come to add to my collection.” 

“Abaddon will take your head,” the demon said. “He will shit in your skull then ejaculate down your neck. There’s nothing better than to give a dead, righteous man a desecrating body fuck.”

“If you’re not careful,” The Man said. “I will shove that beak of yours where you do most of your talking.” 

“Very well, fool. It’s your death,” the demon said. It lowered the ax, turned around, and walked towards the cave. “Follow me,” it said over its shoulder.

“With pleasure,” The Man said. He thought about decapitating the guard just for the hell of it–just as a “fuck you” to Abaddon. He weighed the thought and before he could push it out of his mind, his arms were already in motion.

The blade of the sword cut deep into the demon’s neck and orange blood spewed into the air. The demon dropped its ax with a howl and clasped its hands against the wound. It turned around and faced The Man. 

The Man lifted his sword in the air and brought it down in a slicing motion, cutting off the demon’s beak. The beak fell to the ground and chattered. The Man stared at the gaping cavity with satisfaction before the demon fell to its knees. 

The demon held its hands out in a pleading gesture. This angered The Man. “How dare you, a viscous, heartless, servant of Abaddon beg for mercy!” The Man snarled, quivered his lips, and swung his sword. The blade connected with the demon’s wrist and its hands took flight. The demon flailed its arms and more orange blood filled the air as a mist. The Man cocked his arms back again and swung at the demon’s neck. There was a sharp, ripping and gutting sound as the blade sliced through muscle and bone. 

The Man picked up the beakless head and added it to his necklace. He snatched the keys to the iron gate off the carcass and marched towards the cave. The entrance to the cave was around fifty feet in diameter and the bars to the gate were several inches thick. The lock was eye level to The Man. 

He tried the keys until he found one that worked. The bow of the key was a circular, dragon tail. The stem resembled the bone of a human finger and the bit looked like a tooth. It fit with perfection into the lock. The Man turned the key and heard the latch click. He put the keys in his waistband and pushed the iron gate open.  

The hinges roared as if in agony. The bars were laced with human flesh. The Man felt the dried and rotting texture in his hand as he gripped the iron. He eased the gate against the rocky wall and glanced around. The cave was illuminated by strange looking skulls with a fire burning on their insides. They hung from the ceiling by ropes and the light of the flames flowed out of the eye sockets, casting strips of light onto the walls and floor. 

The Man titled his head and walked in a circle, examining the skulls. They were massive, with four faces on each side–human, lion, eagle, and ox.  

“God in heaven,” he whispered. He recognized the bone structure. These were not skulls of the earthly realm. They were angel skulls, but not just any angels. They were cherubim skulls–the living creatures who guarded the throne of God. They were Abaddon’s trophies; a monument of mockery and a reminder of the ones he slayed when Lucifer declared war on God. 

God had Michael the Archangel and Lucifer had Abaddon. The Man recalled another passage from the Book of Abaddon:

“The First War of Heaven was one of violence. More violent than any war of man, both now and in the ages to come. Lucifer was cunning and his deception, powerful. This is where correction is needed about the original account of The First War, which was penned by Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, who was the son of Adam.

In his account, Kenan said Lucifer gathered a third of the host of heaven in his cause. But I, Methusalah, the son of Enoch, was gifted in visions of God just as my father. After God took my father to be with Him, fifty years later, the heavens were open to me and I saw my father before the throne of God. He said, ‘My son, come up here and I will show you visions of The First War.’

The army of Lucifer was more numerous than the sands on the seashore. Their number was three-fourths of the heavenly creatures. The leaders of his army were Abaddon, Leviathan, and Lilith. Their advances were almost successful, but the Son of God and his warrior, Micheal the archangel, were able to prevail. But not before most of the angelic beings on both sides were killed. 

God was able to create more angels but Lucifer had to result to more menial means to reproduce. Abaddon and Leviathan took Lilith as their consort, and she replenished the armies of Lucifer.” 

The Man stared at the walls. They sweated a red liquid. He eased over and dipped his finger in the substance. It was warm and smelled metallic.

“Blood,” The Man said. “Human blood.” He wiped his fingers on his chest, leaving behind red streaks. “The blood of my brothers. The blood of my fathers. The blood of my children and the blood of the prophets.” The Man lifted his eyes and stared at the hanging cherubim skulls. “I’ll avenge you all. Every last one of you.” The Man dipped his fingers in the crimson flow again and spread some on his face. He did this over and over again until all his exposed skin burned red. 

“I am the wrath of God,” he said. “The sword of His vengeance and the one who will make hell weep.” 

The Man traveled deeper into the abyss. The walls were now decorated with the body parts of humans and angels. Sounds of great lamenting and sorrow echoed through the corridor. Further ahead, The Man heard footsteps. He paused, dropped his necklace, and gripped his sword. 

“Who approaches,” The Man yelled. 

There was no answer. Just the sound of footsteps.

“I said, who approaches!” This time his voice was more forceful.

The footsteps stopped. 

“Daddy.” a voice called. “Daddy, is that you?” 

The Man froze. Chills slithered up his spine like an arctic serpent then sank its fangs into the back of his neck. His head reeled and his eyes fluttered. “No,” he whispered. “It can’t be. Dorian?” 

“Hi, Daddy. It is me,” Dorian said.

The Man stared at his seven year old daughter with mouth agape. Tears welled in his eyes. He sheathed his sword and reached out a hand towards her. “Why are you here? You’re…you’re supposed to be…”

“Daddy, what is that all over you,” Dorian asked, interrupting him. 

The Man glanced down at his arms. “It’s uh…” He looked back at her. “Nothing.” 

Dorian drew closer to him. She was so close now he could touch her. He ran his fingers through her caramel colored hair and stared deep into her brown eyes. “I’ve missed you.” 

“I’ve missed you too, Daddy.” She reached up and held his hand. “Come with me. We have lots of games to play.” Dorian let out a giggle then tugged at her father’s arm.

The Man swiped his necklace off the ground and followed her lead. “What games are we going to play?”

“Oh, some really fun ones,” Dorian said as she glanced over her shoulder. 

“Well, what about your brother,” The Man asked. “Is he here? Does he want to play?” 

Dorain shook her head. “No, he is resting.” 

“Why is he resting? Is he ill?” 

“No, Daddy,” Dorain said. “Just tired.”

“Very well,” The Man said. “I guess it will just be me and you. Now, tell me what game we shall play first?” 

“Oh, it is a fun one, Daddy!” 

“Is that so?” He was now walking by her side, still holding her hand. 

“Yes, Daddy,” she said and looked up at him with a smile. “It’s called Save the Children from the Fire. Do you remember how to play that game?” 

The Man froze. His face fell and his eyes took on a serious glow. “What?”

Dorian nodded. “Yes, Daddy. You were not very good at it the first time, so let’s see if you can win now.” 

He let go of Dorian’s hand, grabbed her by the shoulder, and spun her towards him. “Stop, child. This isn’t humorous.” 

“I’m not laughing, Daddy,” she said. Then her voice turned into a shrill. “I am BURNING! BURNING! BURNING DADDY! OH GOD HELP! DADDY WHERE ARE YOU!” 

The Man jerked his hand away. Dorian’s skin started to char then peel off. Her eyeballs burst and fluid poured from the sockets. Flames filled the empty holes. She opened her mouth to scream, revealing more fire. 

The Man dropped his necklace and grabbed both her arms. “Dorian! No! Daddy is here! I’m right here!” Her skin melted into his hands. He drew them back and held them to his face. The flesh dripped from his fingers like wax. His eyes bulged, his nostrils flared, and his lips trembled. The Man was terrified. 

Dorian exploded and her melted skin covered The Man. He screamed and wiped himself with frantic motions. “No, no, no no!” He fell to his knees, buried his face in his hands, and wept. He rocked back and forth, crying, “Dorain, sweet Dorian…my baby…I tried…God knows I did.” 

A thundering voice shook the cave. “Try as you did, warrior. You still failed and your children are dead. Not only yours, but The Girl’s offspring as well.” 

“Noooo,” The Man screamed. He closed his eyes and raked his fingers down his cheeks. “Shut up, Abaddon!” 

“You’re weak,” the voice rumbled. “Just like your so-called Savior.” 

The Man heard a whooshing sound, like someone lighting a large fire. He could feel a bright light shining on his eyelids, so he opened his eyes. 

Before him was a burning cross. Nailed to it was a man, but the man didn’t burn. The Man draped his arm across his forehead, trying to see through the blinding inferno. The figure was held to the cross by snakes. They were wrapped around his arms, legs, and mid-section. The figure resembled a crude representation of the Son of God. He had been castrated and his manhood shoved in his mouth. 

The Man was repulsed by the image. 

“See your weak Savior,” Abaddon said. “See what I have done to him? Now, imagine what fate awaits you!” 

The Man jumped to his feet with a growl. “I rebuke your lies,” The Man screamed. “My Savior is exalted in heaven and is by the right hand of His Father!”

The flames on the cross flickered out and the image dissolved into an ash heap. 

The Girl with Sunlit Hair and Black Wings stood under the Willow Tree. A finger was pressed against her lips and her stomach was in knots. Something was wrong. Dead wrong. She could feel the angst of The Man surging through her body like the waves of the sea. She reached for The Man with her mind.

“My God,” she whispered. She had felt The Man many times since they met, but never had she sensed such anger and fear in him. “My angel,” she said and placed her other hand on the trunk of the Tree. “You have to let it go, please.” 

The Man picked up on The Girl’s presence. “Dammit, not now,” he mumbled. He didn’t have the time nor energy to deal with her distraction. He put up his psychic block. 

The Girl felt it. The block was like a punch to her gut and a knife in her heart. “Why,” she asked with quivering lips. “Why are you pushing me out?” She dropped her hands and darted to the edge of the cliff. “Why,” she screamed. She then stood in silence, listening as her voice echoed across the Valley. 

The Man drew his sword and picked up his necklace. “Show yourself, Abaddon,” he demanded. “Stop hiding in the shadows like a coward and come face me!” 

The walls of the cave contracted and expanded over and again, as if the cave itself was breathing. With each breath, everything around The Man closed in on him. Then there was the sound of a mighty wind but no gust. The Man looked straight ahead. After the sound of the wind ceased, he turned his head and his ears picked up on another noise. It was a rushing sound.

“Like water,” The Man said. “…Oh shit!” 

In the dim light of the cave, The Man saw a great flood or raging liquid pummeling through the cave. He turned around and sprinted towards the exit but he could not outrun the deluge. He was wiped off his feet in the flood and flailed his limbs as the liquid engulfed him. His instincts told him not to let go of his sword and necklace, so he held them fast. 

The liquid was warm and thick, but translucent. In his state of panic, The Man discovered he could still breathe. But this new found fact did not quench the terror within. He could still see the walls of the cave moving in on him. He tried to maneuver through the gel-like substance but the resistance was great. 

He felt a tug on his leg. 

The Man looked down to see something resembling intestines snaking around his ankle. It slithered its way up his knee and then wrapped around his midsection. 

The Man was helpless. He couldn’t move his arms to try and slice it with his blade. By this time, the walls of the cave were inches from him. His heart pounded and severe claustrophobia constricted his airway. He then heard a thumping.

Thump, thump.

Thump, thump.

Thump, thump. 

The rhythm was like a heartbeat, slow and steady. 

The tension on The Man’s midsection eased. He glanced down and saw the intestine-like serpent uncoil. It made its way through the liquid and began to expand like a balloon. It then folded on top of itself numerous times. The Man turned his eyes upward again. Above him, a shape took form. It was large, black, and had several chambers. Tubes formed around the chambers and the black mass pulsated to the sounds of the thumps. 

The walls of the cave thinned out and became pliable with the gel encasing The Man. He tried to move his arms. This time there was no resistance. Then, he heard Abaddon’s voice.

“How does it feel, oh warrior, to be in the belly of the beast!”

“You bastard,” The Man thought. He snarled and raised his sword above his head.

He hacked away at the intestines, giving him enough room to travel to the other side. He then stabbed the lining of Abaddon’s bosom. The blade traveled through and pierced it. The Man twisted his steel and sawed. The liquid gushed out the puncture until it was all drained. The Man climbed through the opening and then toppled out. 

He fell on something hard. He took a moment to gather himself and saw he still had possession of his sword and necklace. He glanced around and was now sitting in the middle of the road in the Valley. 

“You deserved to be passed from me like a piece of excrement,” Abaddon said. “I should have shat you out!” 

The Man fixed his gaze forward. Abaddon stood before him and the wound in his stomach was healing. 

“Well,” The Man said and stood to his feet. “That was your mistake!” 

Abaddon loomed over him. The dragon was of an ungodly size. His primate body stood erect and his wings were expanded. The goat horns on his head seemed to tickle the clouds above and his dragon mouth could swallow a man whole. 

“Oh,” Abaddon said. “But this next time I will. I will rip your head off and deliver it to The Girl. I will swallow your body then shit you out. I will gather your remains in a pile and spread you all over the Valley so that any who come after you might smell the smell of defeat.”

 “Those words? They shall be your last!” The man charged at the dragon.

The Girl with Sunlit Hair and Black Wings scurried to the other side of the Willow Tree and hid behind it. The tip of Abaddon’s horns almost reached the edge of the cliff. She had to work up the courage to peek over the side. She had to know if her lover was alive. 

The Man didn’t know what hit him. Abaddon’s tail swiped him and knocked him against the Valley wall. Everything went black for several moments for The Man. Something warm and gritty filled his mouth. He gathered himself then spit out his shattered teeth and a mouthful of blood. The jarring of his head against the Valley wall imploded most of his teeth. 

The Man wobbled to his feet and gripped his sword with shaking hands. He had no idea what happened to his necklace, but it was the least of his concerns. His eyes were glazed over and his vision blurred. He saw a form coming near him then felt immense pressure around his entire body. 

Abaddon squeezed The Man in his hand and lifted him to his snout. 

“You made this too easy, warrior,” Abbadon said. 

The Girl was now watching from the edge of the cliff. Her eyes were wide with fight and tears streaked her face. “No, God. Please, no.” 

The Man gave rapid blinks then turned his head. He saw The Girl lying on the edge of the cliff with their tree behind her. He reached out his hand towards her and his sword dropped. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. The Girl watched as the sword twirled and descended to the bottom of the Valley. The blade clanked to the ground and she flinched. 

“I…,” The Man had trouble speaking. “I…I tried…darling…I…love…y–”

The Girl screamed. It was a scream the Valley had never heard in all its eon’s of existence. It was a scream of horror, loss, sadness, and unfulfilled dreams. It was the only sound ever to make the Valley walls leak tears. It seemed as if even evil could appreciate the loss of love unfulfilled. 

The mouth of Abaddon came clamping down on The Man’s head, cutting his words short. Abbadon separated the cranium from the body with a ripping sound and a fountain of blood geysered from The Man’s neck. The Man’s body jerked. His arms lifted above his head for a moment, shook, then went limp. 

Abaddon turned his head towards The Girl with a slow motion. “Here,” he said. “For keepsake,” and spat the head of The Man at her. 

The severed head soared through the air then landed by The Girl. It rolled with force and slammed up against the Willow Tree. The Girl pushed herself up on all fours and scurried over to the Tree. She did not want to see what Abaddon would do to the rest of her lover. 

She noticed The Man’s eyes. They were not filled with terror. The same love and intensity she remembered with such fondness still started back at her. His mouth was open, revealing his jagged, missing teeth. 

The Girl heard a thundering noise behind her. She glanced over her shoulder to see Abaddon walking off into the Valley. She turned her attention back to her lover. She hung her head and wept, the tears of her sorrow watering the grass underneath their Tree. She clasped his head in her arms then sat against the trunk. Her body shook with sobbing and she held him to her bosom. She tried to pray, but only unintelligible groanings bellowed forth. 

Memories flooded her mind. The good ones. It was always the good ones. She wanted to remember her lover for the man he was and not the body part resting lifeless in her arms like a still born child. All her dreams were shattered. In one, heartbreaking moment her world had come to an end. There was nothing left of the future she dreamed of. Nothing left of The Man. There would be no more nights of passion. No more of him tucking her blonde hair behind her ear and smiling down at her. There would be no more love poems and no more laughs. All was now a memory. 

How do you live on with memories? You cannot hold them. They cannot wrap their arms around you and give you warmth. They cannot whisper into your ear or satisfy the longing of your heart. 

Memories. These were all she had left of The Man with Hazel Eyes and Broken White Wings. 

She looked down upon him again and between sobs she said, “My angel…we…never…even…got to…fix…your wings!” She dropped his head and it rolled into her lap. She buried her face in her hands and mourned. “You were supposed to fly again! You were supposed to soar, my angel!” 

The Girl wept for hours then sat speechless for the rest of the night. Morning dawned, and she wanted to make a memorial for The Man. She took his head and put his long, brown hair in a ponytail. She grabbed several dangling branches of their Tree and tied it around The Man’s hair. 

The head now hung in the Tree. A slight breeze blew and the head and branches swayed. The Girl sat back down under the Tree to mourn. She would wait three days then fly back to the village. She lied down and rested her head on her arms. She stared at The Man then drifted into a sleep only the sorrowful could know. 

The Girl felt a hand caress her cheek. 

“Wake up, my darling. You need to get up.” 

She drifted between the state of sleepfulness and wakefulness. She fluttered her eyes and a being of light stood over her. “Come on, my beloved. Wake up.” 

It was the voice of The Man. 

The Girl awoke. “My angel?” 

But there was no one there. She furrowed her brow and sat up. She looked around and ran her hands through the grass. She saw The Man’s head still tied to the branches and reality came soaring back to her. The nightmare was real and The Man was dead. Her heart sank again and she moaned. 

“I thought you were here,” she said. “I really thought you were back from the dead.” She stood up and walked over to The Man’s head. She didn’t know how long she had been asleep, but it was almost evening time. The sun would be setting soon and she didn’t want to spend another night anywhere close to the Valley.  

She placed her hands on The Man’s cheeks. “I’ll leave you here, my love. I’ll come every day to visit you, until your flesh decays and all that is left is your skull. Even then, I will not cease to come visit you.” 

The Girl closed her eyes as she rubbed his cheeks with her thumbs. She was going to try it one last time. One last reach in the hopes of maybe, just maybe she could sense him. She opened her mind to him as she had done countless times before and let her soul search for him. 

She searched…

And searched…

And searched. But she could not find The Man. 

She opened her eyes and shed more tears. She gazed deep into his lifeless, hazel eyes. “You’re gone,” she said. “You’re really gone.” She released The Man then wiped her tears. 

Then she had a thought and said, “My love, we can be together. Where you go I will go.” 

She took branches from the Willow Tree and began to braid them together, making them thick, like a rope. She worked with them more until she was satisfied the noose and branches would hold her. She slipped it around her neck then tightened. 

“We were never meant to be apart. I can’t live without my twin flame.” 

She climbed the tree. When she was satisfied with the height, she stopped. She glanced down at the ground then at The Man. “Here I come, my angel. Forever to be reunited in death.” 

The Girl jumped.

The branches didn’t cooperate like she hoped. The rope wasn’t thick enough to snap her neck. She hung there, choking. With frantic motions she clawed and pulled at the noose. Why? She didn’t know because she wanted to die. It must have just been her survival instincts kicking in, but she knew it was all pointless. In a matter of seconds she would fade to black. She was determined to keep her eyes fixed on The Man until she crossed over. 

She stared at The Man. Maybe it was real or maybe it was her mind being depleted from oxygen, but she saw flames of fire burst forth from the bottom of The Man’s head. The flames formed into a body. They died out and from the neck down flesh appeared. The flames erupted from its back, forming into wings of fire. The Man’s head bonded with the body and life returned. A flaming sword was now in the hands of The Man. It swung upwards and cut the branches around The Girl. 

Gravity took hold and she fell towards the ground. The Man dropped his flaming blade and caught her. 

The Girl realized she must now be in heaven, reunited with her lover. The Man removed the noose from her neck then examined her to see if she was harmed. The Girl took deep breaths then reached out and touched his cheek. 

He felt so real. So alive. So…reborn.

“Did I make it to heaven,” she asked. 

“No,” The Man said. 

Fear etched itself into The Girl’s face. “Hell?”

“No, my darling,” The Man said. “You never left.” 

The Girl furrowed her brow. “Then, I’m dreaming?”

“No,” The Man said. “Touch my flesh and see that I am real!” 

The Girl gave a wide smile. She gripped his cheeks then ran her hands over his face. “My God,” she gasped. “You’re–”

“Back from the dead,” he said. 

Sensations of joy swept over The Girl. She buried her face in his chest and cried. 

The Man slid his hand under her chin and lifted her head. They gazed deep into each other’s eyes. They reached with their souls and reunited their bond. It was stronger; more intense. 

The Man set her on her feet and they embraced. He pulled away, clutched her face in his hands, then kissed her. The kiss was a kiss of hope. The kiss of dreams thought once dead now brought to life. It was love reborn and morphed into something no language in heaven and earth could describe. It was the expression of two twin flames reunited by the power of their God. 

They broke their kiss and The Girl ran her hands up The Man’s back. She felt his wings of fire. Though they were flames, they did not burn her. 

“Your wings,” she said and smiled. “They’re beautiful. But why don’t they burn me?” 

“Because,” The Man said. “The fire of love does not hurt the lover, only those who resent their love.” 

The Girl stood in awe of The Man.

“Now,” he said. “We have something to partake in before I kill Abaddon.” He gave her a seductive stare. “Get on the ground, woman,” he said with a smirk.

“Oh,” she said and bit her lip. “I see. You want to take me under our Tree like in the days of old?” 

“No,” he said. “As in the days ahead.” 

The Girl lied on the ground underneath the Willow Tree and The Man joined her. They made love and all of heaven sang while all of hell quaked. 

In the Valley, Abaddon awoke to the sound of angel songs. 

The Man with Hazel Eyes and Burning Wings flew with The Girl with Sunlit Hair and Black Wings down into the Valley. Abaddon was there, awaiting them. 

They landed at the foot of the dragon. 

“You are like a fly that won’t go away,” Abaddon said. “But I see this time, you brought your lwhore with you to die. It will be my pleasure to kill you twice!” 

Abaddon lifted his foot to stomp The Man and The Girl. The Man swung his flaming sword through the air and chopped off Abaddon’s toe. The blow startled the dragon and he staggered for a moment then set his foot back on the ground. 

The Man moved with the swiftness of the chariots of Yahweh. He resembled bolts of lightning as he flashed around Abaddon. He struck with his sword and gaping wounds appeared all over the body of the dragon, bleeding orange. 

Abaddon swatted and clapped his hands together, trying to squish The Man, but he was too quick. There was a sound like a tree snapping, and one of the dragon’s horns came crashing to the ground. 

In fury, Abaddon opened his mouth and sprayed fire. He swung his head in every direction, trying to hit The Man with his flames. The Girl retreated from the madness of Abaddon’s attack and hid behind a rock. 

There was another crash as Abaddon’s second horn hit the ground. The dragon panicked, flapped his wings, and took flight. 

The Man pursued the beast. This time, he was not going to be outran by the dragon. He whirled in and out of Abaddon’s body, circling him and slicing his wings to shreds. Abaddon lost control and went into a nosedive. Seconds later he smashed into the side of the Valley and toppled to the ground. 

The Man landed on top of the dragon and stood on his chest. Abaddon was unconscious and took heavy breaths, his chest heaving under The Man. The Man walked forward and paused at the neck. 

“An eye for an eye. A tooth or a tooth. And a head for a head!” The Man raised his flaming sword then jabbed it down into Abaddon’s throat. 

The beast awoke with a howl. The Man leaped down off of Abaddon, and with sword still in hand, sliced downward. The orange blood flowed. Abaddon made gurgling noises, and with each sound more blood spewed. The Man flew to the other side of the dragon’s neck and worked his sword downward, spilling more of the dragon’s life seed. 

Abaddon met his end in the Valley by the sword of The Man. The blood poured from his body for hours and filled the Valley. Until this day, the Abaddon River still flows through it. Legend has it, the decapitated body of the beast and his severed head still lie submerged at the bottom of the river. The Man and The Girl thought this was the proper burial for him. 

What happened to The Man and The Girl afterwards? 

Well that, my friends, is a tale still taking place. One day, I might tell you the rest of their story. 

The End

Original Short Horror Story by Ezekiel Kinkaid


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Shadowend Funeral Home

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spooky old haunted house

“Shadowend Funeral Home?” Robby Falcon turned his gray F-150 off the main road of Baker High School and onto the service road that led to the interstate. “Brayden, that placed stopped being scary when we were in elementary school.”

Brayden Briley, packed his dip can with a loud pop and said, “Look, Falcon, it’s not about being scary man. It’s about having the place to ourselves.” Brayden opened the dip can, swiped out some tobacco, and stuck it in his front lip. He wiped his lip and checked his face in the side mirror to make sure no remnants of tobacco hung on. He looked at Falcon again. “Remember? Privacy?” Brayden reached in his back pack and produced a dime bag of weed and a fifth of whiskey.

Falcon did a double take. “Brayden, dammit! Put that away man. People can see!” Falcon slapped at him with one hand and kept the other on the steering wheel, then turned left to merge onto the interstate.

Brayden chuckled, “Don’t be such a baby, Falcon. No one can see.” Brayden stuffed the alcohol and weed into his back pack, hiding it underneath his history and math book.

Falcon’s face relaxed when he saw Brayden stow their stash away. “And how do you know Shadowend will not be occupied with other said teens engaging in underage drinking and other shenanigans?” He checked the rearview. His curly, sandy blond hair was damp and disheveled from 7th hour P.E.

Brayden placed an arm on the seat and grabbed Falcon’s shoulder. “Look man, that placed stopped being a party spot in the early 90s man. Sure, in the 80s it was the place to go. The stories were fresh then and people were looking for a scare. The place is so dead now, that not even the cops go out there. It’s perfect. The funeral home is considered so lame and overdone, its almost like its not even there.” He removed an empty plastic water bottle from the cup holder and spat.

Falcon sped up and merged. “Did you invite them?”

“Yeah.” Brayden spat again.


“And they said they’d come. What’s the big deal?”

Falcon gave Brayden a backhand to the chest. The slap made a hollow echo throughout the cab. “What do you mean ‘what’s the big deal’? I’ve been trying to go out with Sarah since like 8th grade.”

Brayden made an umf sound and almost spat his dip on the windshield, then giggled. “I know, so don’t screw this up. Which, by the way, when I talked to Annie and invited them, she said that Sarah had told her just the other day about how hot you looked in your baseball uniform.” He jabbed Falcon in the ribs. “Huh? Huh?? Hey slugger?”

Falcon swiped at Brayden’s hand and gave a half smile. “What time did you tell them to meet us out there?” Falcon took his exit.

“2:00 am.” Brayden scratched his head, disturbing his short and wild black hair.

“2:00 am it is,” Falcon said, and took a left.

The full moon hung high over Shadowend that night. It directed its rays on the dilapidated funeral home like a spotlight, as if the structure was a lone actor on a stage of rustling tree branches and waving grass. Falcon and Brayden pulled up to the building five minutes before 2.

Shadowend sat on ten acres of land. An overgrown road with busted asphalt led back to the main building, which sat encircled by a wrought iron fence. The once active funeral home and cemetery stayed in business until 1980, when unexpectedly, the owners fled or disappeared. Soon after, the rumors circulated about the owners. A Satanic cult, eaters of the dead, child murders, aliens, and whatever else the imaginative minds of teenagers could come up with. But the truth was, no one knew.

The lights on Falcon’s truck shined on the face of the funeral home. The Victorian looking house, once a pristine white, now faded old and graying, like a sad elderly man in his last years of life. The windows were cracked, and some had holes the size of baseballs in them. The screen door sat cockeyed on its hinges, and the post which held up the awning of the porch was leaning..

“Oh, nice pick Brayden,” Falcon said, staring through the windshield. “I hope someone doesn’t fart too loud. They might knock the place down.”

“She’ll hold, capn’,” Brayden said in a terrible imitation pirate voice. “Now come on.” Brayden grabbed his backpack and got out the truck. Falcon killed the engine and followed.

A few seconds later, headlights appeared. It was Annie and Sarah. The two girls hopped out of Annie’s white Mustang and Sarah waved a bottle of vodka at them. “The whiskey won’t be enough, boys.” She said and winked at Falcon.

Falcon gave Sarah a nervous smile. Man, she looks so hot, he thought. Her red hair glistened in the moonlight, as if each particle were made of rubies. “You look nice.” Falcon said, then regretted how awkward it sounded.

Brayden snickered then said, “Yeah Sarah, I tried to talk Falcon in to wearing his baseball uniform, but he refused.” He put his arm around Annie and gave her a wink.

Sarah cut her eyes at Annie, then Brayden.

“Oh whatever,” Annie said. “We all know you have the hots for one another. Just get it over with.”

Falcon and Sarah exchanged skittish smiles, then Falcon reached out his hand. “Come on, let’s go explore the house.”

Sarah flipped her hair over her shoulder and grabbed his hand. Falcon walked her down the cracked cobblestone walkway and up the porch to the cockeyed screen door. Annie and Brayden followed.

Falcon turned his phone light on, then opened the front door. The light reflected off a dangling chandelier, hanging almost head level. Directly in front of them were red, carpeted stairs with white railings. Strewn across the floor were broken pieces of furniture, mortar from the ceiling, and numerous beer cans.  In the back of the room, a dark hallway drew their attention.

“What do you think is back there?” Sarah asked.

“The morgue,” Brayden said and stepped through. “Come on, or you just gonna sit there and stare at it all night?”

The four teens eased through the doorway and let the screen door bang behind them. They skipped to the hallway, as if dodging landmines, trying not to trip on all the debris scattered across the floor. With all the lights on their phones shining, the group followed Brayden down the long hallway, then half way down, turned left.

Their lights gleamed back at them and reflected off a rusted chrome table, littered with grass, dirt, empty cigarette packs, and other pieces of trash that had deteriorated into unrecognizable black smut. A tube from the embalming station dangled over the side.

“Come on, Annie. Climb up there and lay down.” Brayden raised his eyebrows and winked.

“That is so disgusting.” Sarah coughed and placed a hand over her mouth.

Annie slapped Brayden. “So romantic.”

A deep humming noise, hollow and echoing, buzzed from the back of the mortuary.

“What was that?” Falcon asked.

Brayden motioned with his head. “Sounded like it came from the cold chambers.”

“Cold chambers? What’s that?” Annie tilted her head.

“The place where they would store the bodies.” Falcon said and followed Brayden to the back of the room.

The cold chambers sat along the wall in rows of threes. The doors were open, and the table on the one at the bottom left was rolled halfway out.

The humming noise came again.

“Where is that coming from?” Sarah stepped closer and squinted into the darkness.

Falcon shined his light on the cold chambers. “Sounds like its coming from one of those.”

The sound flowed again, this time softer.

Brayden eased forward and knelt by the cold chamber; the one with the table rolled out. He held his hand over the opening, palm facing forward. “I feel a breeze.”

Falcon knelt beside him, crawled halfway into the chamber, and shined his light into the back. “You guys aren’t going to believe this.”

Sarah placed a hand on Falcon’s leg. “What?’

“There’s an opening back here. Like a tunnel or something.” Falcon crawled further in. A trash bag had been duct taped over an opening and it crackled as a breeze waved it. He pushed the bag aside with the back of his hand and shinned his light through the opening. “Oh yeah. It’s a tunnel.”

“Sweet,” Brayden said. “Let’s see where it leads.”

“Um, no!” Annie grabbed Brayden’s jeans by the waist and tried to pull him back.

Sarah cracked open the bottle of vodka and took a swig. “Come on, Annie. Don’t be such a little bitch.”

Annie snatched the bottle from Sarah and took a sip. “Fine.”

“Hey give me some.” Brayden tried to grab the bottle.

Annie pushed his forehead. Brayden chuckled, took the bottle, and drank.

“Hey assholes, y’all coming?” Falcon’s voiced flowed from the tunnel. He was already in.

The three teens giggled, then joined Falcon.

The tunnel sloped in a slight decline, and there was dirt on all the sides, top, and bottom. They could still feel the cool breeze coming from ahead of them. The air smelled musty, like an old library. Falcon fought his way through spiderwebs and other retreating insects.

“Hey Annie, let’s hope they ain’t got no rats down here,” Brayden joked.

“Ew, shut up.” Annie slapped his butt.

“Hey! Stairs!” Falcon yelled from the front of the line. Before him, the tunnel widened to a winding metal staircase. The teens scurried down the steps, and when all their feet touched the floor, they stood, mouths agape at their surroundings.

“What is it?” Sarah turned in circles, shining her light. She then snatched the bottle from Annie.

“Stain glass window. Pews. Looks like a church,” Falcon said.

“Buried under ground?” Annie asked.

Falcon shrugged, still glancing around.

“Holy shit! Look at that!” Brayden pointed his light straight ahead.

The teens stood at the back of the sanctuary. The middle aisle led to where the pulpit should be, except there wasn’t a pulpit. What looked to be an old pine box rested in the middle of the stage, having been covered with stacks of old Bibles and religious relics. Only the corners of the pine box remained visible. Bibles and relics had even been piled on the floor around it and up the sides.

Falcons started down the aisle. “That’s odd. Like really odd.” He craned his neck around and glance at his friends, then smiled. “Let’s check it out!”

Brayden raised his eyebrows and followed.

“Look,” Annie protested. “I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason why that box is covered with Bibles and stuff. We should leave it alone.” She eased behind Brayden.

Falcon arrived first and blew the dust off some of the Bibles. “What do you think’s in the box?”

Brayden lifted his shoulders, then he and Falcon exchanged mischievous glances. “Let’s find out.” The boys began to push and fling the Bibles and relics onto the floor, making loud thuds and clanging sounds.

Sarah drank more vodka, not at all interested in this little adventure anymore.

Annie bit her nails and fidgeted with her hair.

The top of the pine box had torn out pages from the Bibles glued to it.

“You think it’s a coffin?” Brayden asked and ran his hands along the pages.

Falcon nodded. “Sure looks like it.” He studied the relics on the floor, then grabbed one. It was an old iron cross, with the end fashioned in a point. Falcon jabbed the point between the lid and the box and pried. He went along the entire left side, popping all the nails loose. He threw the relic to the ground, then called to the girls. “Hey ladies, time for the big reveal.”

Brayden rubbed his hands together, giddy as a school girl. Sarah huffed, drank some more vodka, then shuffled over rolling her eyes. Annie tip toed over with sweaty palms.

“Guys, like I said, that thing was buried for a reason. I don’t think opening it…is a good idea.” Annie bit her lip.

Brayden rubbed her back. “Oh come on. Are you serious? It’s probably just an old decaying corpse.”

“Yeah and besides, we’ve found something here no one else has. Who knows? Maybe this discovery will make this place poppin’ again.” Falcon grasped the lid with both hands and lifted it opened. The old wood groaned in protest.

Brayden shined his light into the coffin, and his mouth fell open. Annie clamped a hand over her’s with a gasp. Sarah dropped the vodka bottle, and Falcon furrowed his brow.

Lying in the coffin was a body no more than five feet long. It was wrapped in faded cloth. Written on the cloth were more religious symbols and phrases in Latin. White hair snaked out from the corpse’s head, and a small opening was cut over the mouth. In the opening was a rolled-up piece of paper.

Falcon went to pull the piece of paper out its mouth but was stopped by Annie’s hand clamping around his wrist. “No. Absolutely not,” she grimaced. “This isn’t right. This doesn’t feel right. We need to go.”

Falcon jerked his arm away and dismissed her.He retrieved the paper and unrolled it.

“Well?” Brayden asked.

Falcon handed him the page. “More Latin.”

Brayden tossed the paper on the body. “Too bad none of us can read it.” A movement caught Brayden’s attention out the corner of his eye. He stared down at the corpse. “Hey did y’all see that!”

Falcon waved a hand at Brayden. “Stop messing around. I’m gonna shut the lid.”

“Thank God,” Annie mumbled and rubbed her arms with her hands. “Feels like it’s gotten colder since we’ve been here.”

“No I’m serious look at her mouth!” Brayden pointed.

The group leaned in to get a better look. The cloth around the corpse’s mouth moved in and out, as if it were breathing. .

“That’s it I’m done.” Annie pushed away from the coffin and sprinted down the aisle toward the stairs. The other three turned their attention away from the coffin and watched Annie in disbelief.

Sarah was the first to look back at the coffin. When she did, she screamed. The corpse sat up, and the breathing became more visible, as the cloth around its lungs expanded and relaxed. In reactionary manner Brayden, who always carried a folding knife with a four-inch blade, whipped it out and started stabbing the corpse in the chest. He than worked on the stomach and tore away the old cloth. A translucent liquid poured out, followed by a flurry of baby eels.

“Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod!” Brayden dropped the knife and leaped back.

Falcon slammed the lid and dashed towards the stairs. Sarah had already joined Annie. The four teens scurried up the stairs, crawled through the tunnel and out the cold chambers. They ran back down the hall, then paused at the front door. A shadow moved passed the window, and faint moaning sound came from the porch.

“Is there another way out?” Sarah asked between breaths.

“The back.” Brayden turned toward the hall and sprinted, the others right behind him.

The teens arrived at the back door, which was a faded and chipping white. Brayden turned the brass deadbolt and opened the door. Concrete steps led down to a cobblestone walkway. The walkway led to the abandoned cemetery. Through the clearing they could see a tall hill. The full moon hung over it and illuminated the top. They watched as shadows loomed. Something approached from the back side of the hill. As the things moved closer, the shadows took form.

They looked human.

A few seconds passed, then a mass of human figures appeared. They walked with contorted and jerky gestures and moaned. Some tripped over each other and rolled down the hill.

Brayden slammed the door and locked it back. “Guys we are seriously…”

“The truck,” Falcon interrupted. “It’s our only chance. We can make it if we go now.”

The others nodded, and they took off down the hallway. Falcon led the way. He went to pass by the mortuary room but jolted to a stop. The others bumped into his back.

“What the hell? Why’d you stop!” Sarah shrieked.

Annie shined her light ahead, then let out an ear-piercing shrill.

The corpse from the coffin stood in the middle of the hallway. The grave cloths hung off her in shreds. Her skin was as pale as the moonlight. Symbols were cared into her body; not the religious symbols that once decorated her coffin, but different ones. Evil, dark looking ones. Eels still pumped forth from her stomach, falling to the ground with sloshing and splattering sounds. Her white hair seemed to glow, and her eyes looked like dark red marbles. She opened her mouth and her tongue flopped out, falling all the way to the floor with the eels. The end danced and curled on the floor. Yellow eyes formed in the tip of her tongue, as did a slit. The slit opened, and the bottom unhinged like a snake, revealing fangs.

Annie turned to run away. The tongue wrapped around her ankle and tripped her to the ground. The eels were on Annie before her face thudded against the floor. In a matter of seconds, they had eaten her skin off.

Brayden went to grab the tongue. When he got close, it struck him on the hand. He felt a warm liquid pump from the fangs into his hand. The fluid filled his entire body within moments, and a burning sensation hit him all over. He looked at his arms, and his pores leaked a red and purple liquid. Brayden fell to the ground in pain, where he sweated his insides out his pores till he died.

Sarah and Falcon couldn’t move. Fear deadened their limbs. They gawked as the tongue grew in length and thickness. The tongue coiled up and stared at them with its yellow eyes and flickering tongue. It struck Sarah first, right in the mid-section. She screamed and grabbed for Falcon. Falcon tried to hold on, but the snake proved too powerful. He watched with tear-soaked eyes and a pounding heart as the tongue-snake swallowed Sarah. Even when she was in its belly, he could still hear her screams.

Falcon backed away and stepped into the mortuary. The tongue shrank and rolled back into the lady’s mouth. She matched Falcon’s steps, going with him into the mortuary. A clattering sound rang out as Falcon backed into the embalming table. The lady’s hands extended with a slow, smooth movement towards Falcons’ neck.

Falcon stared deep into her dark red eyes. His head spun, and he became disoriented. He fell back and laid on the table. The last thing Falcon saw before he died was the embalming needle moving up his nose.

The lady didn’t bother to dispose of the bodies. She even left Falcon lying on the embalming table. She shuffled out the room, then went down the hall toward the front of the house. She walked around the staircase and into the sitting room. She sat down in her rocker and rocked. She reminisced about her days at Shadowend, when the home was in its prime.



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Slasher App Supporting Horror Creators

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If you haven’t heard of the horror app Slasher for horror fans what better way to be introduced to the community than their efforts to support indie horror makers in these hard times.

Damon Della Greca, creator of the mobile horror app, SLASHER, has been providing a sense of community for everyone who loves horror during these unprecedented times.  In an effort to further help, SLASHER will offer FREE advertising for struggling horror businesses.

As the pandemic continues to ravage the world, we’re all doing what we can to survive; not only physically, but also in the sense of maintaining how we manage day to day. Everyone has been impacted in one way or another. Many of us are out of work, our social lives have seen drastic downturns, and our ability to simply make human connections has become very difficult. As horror fans…as people…we’re all in this together.

“While watching the docu-series, A Toy Store Near You (Amazon Prime), the 1313 Mockingbird Lane episode resonated with me.  Frontline healthcare workers & horror toy store owners, Terry & Liz Taylor, are the same passionate members of the horror community you might run into at a convention and they are struggling to keep their store open.  They made a difference by providing perspective, now I want to make a difference by providing what I can. Support indie horror.” – Damon Della Greca

Fortunately, SLASHER has gotten to a point where they can do something to help those who own horror-oriented businesses that are at risk of closing, or have suffered critical financial loss, due to the continuing pandemic. It’s not only retail shops, but the lack of conventions in 2020 that hurt the vendors who rely on them – many of whom count on that income to get by. In order to help people keep their businesses alive, SLASHER is offering FREE advertising to those businesses who could use the help. This offer will last until at least the end of April, but may be extended. Please send an email to with your store/business name, website address, and your name.

SLASHER – The Social Network for Horror



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Featured Indie Horror Creation Indie horror writers Short Horror Stories

The funeral was over and Annie hesitated at the front door of her home. The ominous presence of sadness, despair, and loneliness draped over her like a heavy coat. Her trembling hand reached the knob and opened it. This was the part she dreaded; the part no preacher or sermon ever prepared her for. No more hearing Jason’s voice calling in the living room, “Annie, is that you?” No more watching how graceful he was when he poured her a cup of coffee in the morning. 

Jason wouldn’t be there to roll over in his sleep and drape an arm across her. He wouldn’t be there to hold her when life’s burden’s came crashing down. He wouldn’t be there to lower her on the bed and make love to her. All that was left when someone lies six feet deep were the haunting memories of past ghosts. 

“It’s all on the video.” 

That’s what the note said. The one she found stuffed in her coffee mug the day Jason died. His phone was left on the counter, unlocked, and with a paused video. It beckoned her to watch it. 

She still remembered the curiosity and confusion swirling in her mind when she hit “play.” 

Jason sat at his study in the upstairs loft. An emotionless, numb look covered his face. His eyes seemed lifeless and hollow and his voice was absent of any emotion. Jason stared at the camera and said,

“At first, I liked being sober. I thought I had my life back. I liked everything I learned in rehab, and when I got out, I was ready for this great life of sobriety that they told us lies ahead.” 

Jason paused, glanced down for a moment, then back at the camera. 

“Things were supposed to get better,” he said. He interlocked his hands and leaned on the desk. “Jobs, relationships, opportunities. Being sober was supposed to open up a whole new world of possibilities.” 

Jason looked down again for several seconds. He cleared his throat, wiped a tear, then interlocked his fingers again. “But they were wrong, Annie. They were all wrong. 

Being sober hasn’t changed anything. Life hasn’t gotten better and…” he swallowed hard then raked his fingers down his face. “The only thing that has happened? I can feel again. My emotions aren’t crippled by the alcohol.”

Jason stared off to his left. “And that’s the worse part. The feelings. The guilt and shame over what I’ve done in my addiction. The depression. The sorrow. Where is the joy they promised, Annie? ” He stared back at the camera. “They said, ‘Oh, Jason, life will be wonderful again. You will feel everything!’ Well, fuck them. I can feel everything and I fucking hate it. I fucking hate it, Annie! I can’t live with the emotions anymore, Annie. Nor can I go back to my addiction.” Jason looked back at the camera with a blank stare. “I liked being numb. And you know what I discovered? It’s me. I don’t like feeling me.  I’m being swallowed alive by my soul. It is a black hole and I can’t escape. Tell them bye for me, Annie. Tell them all goodbye and happy Halloween. “

Jason reached his hand down, opened the desk drawer, and pulled out a .45. He stuck the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger. The gun blast crackled through the phone. Jason’s skull and brains decorated the window behind him. 

Annie remembered these things before she stepped foot back into their home, and hoped the .45 was still in the desk drawer. 



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