Tag Archives: Suspense

NAMELESS

He had watched the girl for some time now; through the dark toned glass. She loved walking a circle around her rug, like a zoo animal making their daily path.

Her dark hair had grown longer, the edges splintered and ragged. She had refused to have it cut, instead letting it tangle and droop lazily around her small face.

She sat on the bed and began mutely reading a children’s book that the nurse had given her. Her legs dangled just inches from the ground.

The room they had given her was rather large. They had thought that a child needed places to play. He still believed that she was no child.

The room instead forced a false innocence on her. A bed spread with pink squares and smiling flowers. Walls painted a cheery yellow. Colored boxes for toys neatly stacked in a corner. Framed photos of rainbows and horses dotting the walls.

He smirked. This room was too clean.

He sat down at a table, still facing the glass and began reviewing the nurse’s log for the day. What she had eaten, what she had said, any strange behavior that was noticed. All was standard, just like the day before and sure to be like the day next. One day she would slip, he knew it. They didn’t call in one of the top psychologists just to pamper the public’s opinion.

He lightly tapped on the cool glass top watching how she would read each page. Her small hand tracing the book’s lines, her eyes gazing deeply into its pages. Every few minutes the page would flip and anxiety would cross over her as if the split second was too long to wait for the next word.

She had been found wandering the local park alone. A woman on a late evening jog had crossed paths with her and was quickly disrupted by the exterior state of the girl.  Her only clothing item was a thin white dress. The girl’s bones were visible under her dirty skin, making her figure angled and sad. She carried nothing with her and would not speak. The woman had embraced her and told her she would take her to a safe place. When she had let go, she pulled back to realize that her hands were drenched in a ruby liquid. The whole backside of the girl was covered in blood.

Everyone wants to know what happened. What happened to that poor little girl? That poor little girl that the news painted as a tragedy?

He huffed, thinking of what he had heard over the last week. All of the ridiculous past stories that the world has discovered from the woodworks.

She was doing it again, staring at the blank wall. The book had been carefully laid on her bed and she had slowly walked over. She stood tall patiently watching the surface. Her hands crossed behind her back, left over right.

He noticed the time, five in the evening exactly. Every day she did this little ritual, placating herself for an hour with the wall. He had talked to her about in their sessions, but she would never budge. She would avert her eyes to his window and bite on the interior of her lips. She would ignore him from that point on, refusing to speak again until the next day.

But today he was ready for it. During her lunch hour a few days before he had had a projector rigged on the ceiling. He had known the change would alarm her, even if she showed no outward signs. So he waited until she would forget, having the staff explain that it was just another camera.

He pulled out a remote and clicked the projector on. He had set up pictures from the night she was found to project right in front of her. It was daring to do this to a patient and likely against some overall moral code, but he needed to get to her. To rip her open and expose the ugliness that he believed she had buried inside.

He dimmed the lights in the room and watched as her eyes widened. He could see the weariness ripple across her face. This was already more than he had hoped for.

Then, without warning, she let out a piercing scream.

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INTO THE FIRE

Snail snarled. He circled around the chair, his body vibrating from Henry’s response; his eyes a cold, dark blue. Henry stared back at him with fiery, regretting how the situation had come to this. He closed and opened his fists under the tight plaited ropes.

“You stupid old man. You fool. What did you think? This would all go away? We would magically be on our merry ways, not taking notice that the deed was never done? ” Snail laughed. “Did you think we wouldn’t check? You did, didn’t you?” He shook his head, pulling his right index finger to his lips. “Not the dumb criminals you thought we were, huh?” Snail began touring around Henry again with a slow, forced paced, his dress shoes dragging the floor.

“What to do with you, what to do with you…” he murmured.

Henry felt a bead of sweat forming on his forehead. He had fallen in love with her, her smile, her careless ways. He remembered seeing her out on the beach dock last summer, her long dress floating in the wind profiling her beauty, her sense of lightness as she stared across the water streaked in the sunset. Open, close.

“I should just kill you, you know?” Snail draped his hands on Henry’s shoulders from behind, leaning into his ear. “But then again, my favorite punishment for these kinds of games is taking away what you most prize and then watching you, “ Snail sighed, “…watching you fall apart. Not able to enjoy anything in life anymore, so enclosed by the dreariness and the boredom that you kill yourself. Oh that is a fun game.” Snail pushed off his shoulders.

“But what’s your greatest prize, Henry? What keeps you ticking?” Snail was facing him again. “Tick-tock.”

Henry brought his gaze up to Snail’s bleak face, “No person has just one thing in life. I’m sorry if you do, you must live a sad and boring life.” Henry cocked his head.

Snail threw back his head in laughter, “You are truly a fool. It’s alright, old man, I already know the answer.” Snail pulled a chair up to face him. He plopped down, resting his arms on the back, flashing the head of his gun.

“I think,” Snail stared absently at the ceiling,” I think, you value your mind. I mean that is how you got all of this, right?” Snail stretched out his arms to the room around him. “This is what got her attention, what originally got her interested. How you two even managed to meet.” Snail bit his lip. “So, if I take your mind, your ability to think for yourself, I take it all, you see? Without your mind, you are not stable. Michael takes over as the sole proprietor and we will share in all you worked for while you slumber away unknowingly in a crazy house. That’s a fitting end for a genius, don’t you think?” Henry could hear the irony in Snail’s words. “Aren’t you going to ask me how, old man?”

Henry continued to look down at the tile; he knew how. He had invented the how just over two years ago. It had been intended to be a temporary memory loss pill, to help those forget tragedies or life altering events. It was supposed to help people; instead it killed them. It took away everything they knew, turning them to vegetables in a matter of weeks. The trials had been a public outrage and a failure for Henry. All of his work had been trashed and the pills sent to an incinerator. He had kept a bottle himself to use for future experiments. He had only told one person of where that bottle was kept.

“What have you done with her?” Henry asked softly. Open, close.

Snail put his hand under Henry’s jaw and pushed it up so that their eyes met again. Snail showed his white teeth, slick with saliva, he had been waiting for that question like a loyal dog for his meaty treat.

Brewer’s Republic Entry: SILVER LAKE: Part 2

Even though Ryan was leery of Cal’s intentions, he decided he wouldn’t miss the opportunity to talk to Jessie. He headed out for Silver Lake with butterflies growing in his stomach.

He found a group of parked cars just off the side of the road about twenty minutes into the park. A small group of teenagers stood idle just inside the first band of trees. At least Cal hadn’t lied about everyone meeting up here.

Ryan jumped out of Old Betty and headed for the group. His breathe made a heavy white cloud in the air. The biting wind from the afternoon was in full force.

Reaching the group, Ryan immediately saw her. She was bundled up in a dark coat talking to Briana, another girl from school.

Ryan felt a hard hand land on his back. “Glad you made it!” exclaimed Cal as he came up beside him. “It’s a bit cold, but we’ll get the fire started soon enough.” He grinned. “Let’s get a move on!”

Cal started into the woods with Steve close behind. Two other guys that Ryan had never met followed behind them and then Jessie and Briana. Ryan took off closely behind them.

Only a few minutes in, Ryan heard heavy footsteps. He glanced behind him to see Jake jogging up to the tail of the group.

“In a rush?” asked Ryan.

Jake slowed down as he caught up with Ryan. “No, just didn’t realize you guys had taken off. Don’t really want to get separated in these woods.” Jake gave a quick glance around. “I didn’t realize you’d be joining us this evening. Cal told us he was going to try to get you to come for Jessie, but I didn’t think you would even step foot out here in these woods. Not even Jessie’s worth that.”

Ryan raised his eyebrows. “I’ve heard the stories about Silver Lake before, but thankfully I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“There are more than ghosts out here….much more,” Jake stated. “I heard this story once about a guy coming out to the lake to camp for a night and the next day they found him floating dead in the lake. His heart was cut out, nowhere to be found. They said it was the work of the witches they killed here a couple hundred years ago.”

“Yeah, yeah, the Wilkes sisters.  I’ve heard the stories, “ Ryan rolled his eyes. “There’s no proof for that stuff. Personally, I think it’s just a bunch of lies, branded by some park ranger to keep people out of here at night. ”

Jake turned to Ryan, the whites of eyes shone through the dark. “Maybe they have a good reason too.”

Ryan sighed. He didn’t want waste time dealing with skeptics.

A thick fog had started settling around the trees as they got closer to the lake. The tops of the trees whipped around and the leaves hissed in the wind.

The group made their way to a circle of logs a few yards from the lake, an old burned out pit was the center. Cal and Steve got to work on the fire while everybody took a seat. One of the two guys Ryan didn’t know, a tall redhead, started handing out beer from his backpack. “Ice cold!” he said as he handed one to Ryan.

Ryan managed to grab a seat next to Jessie.  He tried to use his keys to pop off the bottle top with no success.

“Here, it’s just a twist off,” Jessie chuckled as she took the bottle from Ryan and popped it open.

Ryan smiled, “Thanks.” He took the bottle and took a zip. The beer had a strong sourness to it. Ryan winced as he swallowed.

“This is your first time drinking, isn’t it?” Jessie asked.

“Maybe,” Ryan shrugged.

Jessie giggled, “I don’t think it’s ‘maybe.’” Jessie scooted a little closer to him. Ryan could feel a nervous heat rising in his body.  He chugged the rest of his beer.

Jessie gave him an apprehensive smile and handed him another. “It’s really a nice night once you get deeper into the woods.”

Ryan nodded, “Yeah, this fog is pretty dense, though. If it wasn’t for the fire, I don’t think I could see ten feet in front of me.”

“That’s one of the many things that makes this lake so mysterious and beautiful.   It was one of my favorite places to go as a child. My sister and I would always come up here to hunt for imaginary fairies and dancing butterflies.” She stared out towards the lake. “It was our safe haven.”

 ###

                Four beers in and Ryan was starting to feel his balance sway, along with his concentration.

He had on and off conversations between Jessie and the tall redhead, Dan.  Any cold he had felt from the night was gone as the alcohol warmed his blood. The nervous tension was gone, too.

Cal jumped up from his seat across from Ryan and stretched. He let out sigh. “I think it’s time for a swim. Anybody else up for it?”

“Cal, the water is freezing. That’s insane,” Ryan blurted out, surprising himself.

Cal tilted his head and shrugged. He removed his coat and headed towards the lake. Steve, his pupil, quickly did the same. Within a few moments, Dan and his friend did the same.

Jake looked at Ryan, “I guess I’ll leave you with the ladies. I’m feeling a swim myself.”

Ryan looked around bewildered. “Do they normally do this?” he asked Jessie.

“On occasion, “ she stated.  “In fact, I better go watch them to make sure they don’t get into too much trouble. Come on, Briana.” She stood up and headed towards their direction.

Ryan stared at the campfire. The tips of the flames grasped upwards for air. He gave a quick glance around and shook his head. He sighed and decided to go see if the water was worth taking a dive, though even drunk it would take some convincing.

He started to move towards the lake, listening for voices to guide him through the heavy fog. After walking around for a while he realized he wasn’t getting anywhere near the group.

“Cal?….Jessie?” he called out; he swayed as he stood. He could feel the beer bubbling in his stomach.  At no response he dropped his head back on his shoulders. “Great,” he muttered.

He flipped around and crossed his fingers, hoping that he would get back to the camp.

With his next step he heard a loud cracking noise from within the fog. His breathe quickened and he gave another shout for the group, “Jake?” No answer.

Ryan felt a curling sickness in his stomach that began to rise in his chest. He could start running in a direction, but who is to say that it’s the right one? The Silver Forest covers thousands of acres; it could be days before he is found.

Another loud cracking noise was heard to his left.

“Alright, who’s there?” he said, tensing up his stance. “This isn’t funny, getting a guy drunk and bringing him out here to get lost in the fog. It’s a good joke, Cal, but a person could really get out of their mind out here.” Ryan concentrated on listening for more steps, was he really just a brunt of elaborate joke?

After a few seconds, steady steps could be heard approaching his direction. His heart began pounding.

“Ryan?”

He let out a loud sigh; it was Jessie. “Yes, I’m over here…I’ll…I’ll just stay put till you find me.” Jessie emerged from the fog, her green eyes gleaming in the moonlight.

“I’d though we lost you. It’s enough to worry about the crazy lake swimmers,” she said.

Ryan laughed, “Thank God you found me too, I was starting to lose it in this fog. I even thought something was watching me. Ridiculous, I know.”

Jessie raised her eyebrows, “Something?”

Ryan nodded, “Yeah, pretty sure it’s the alcohol making me uneasy. Let’s just go back to camp.”

Jessie smiled and took Ryan by the hand.

“Are you sure it’s the alcohol?” she asked as they walked, Jessie leading.

Ryan shook his head, “I should have never mentioned it.”

Jessie looked over her shoulder at him and stopped. “I don’t know, Ryan, there are a lot of lost souls wondering here.”

Ryan gave her a quizzical look. “You mean people get lost here a lot? At these get-togethers?”

She tilted her head like she always did. “No,” she tightened her grip on his hand, “I mean we’ve had to make a few sacrifices over the years. Every thirty years is what we promised them, or cursed them rather.”

Ryan’s eyes widened as he tried to steady his mind on what she said. The alcohol worked against him.

“You believe in that witch stuff?” he asked.

She gave him a sweet smile and took his other hand.

“The stories have been a bit puffed up over the years, but there are still some reams of truth to them. Would you like to hear the real story?”

Ryan was unsure of what Jessie meant but nodded her on.

“It was one of those beautiful days.  My sister, Briana, and I were out at the lake enjoying the beauty. We escaped there often because of the hatred we felt in the village. They had even started a new trend of spitting on us as we walked by. We stuck it out, though; those two-faced mothers would come to us for the remedies and we would gladly help. But that day, something bad had happened. The preacher woke up to his youngest hanging from the rafter’s of the church. It was our fault, they all said. Only evil could create such darkness in a young man, he would never bring it upon himself.”

“They came up to the lake screaming. They had already set in their minds that we could receive no mercy. We were the work of the Evil One and evil is what cause the young son’s death. They surrounded the lake with us still in it. We didn’t know what to do. We just stood there, waiting.” Jessie looked back out into the fog.  Briana had appeared at her side placing a hand on her shoulder.

“We watched as they filled sacks with stones from the shore and tied off the tops. I remember the look in the preacher’s eyes as he commanded three men to go fetch us out of the water. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said, “you’ll get to go right back in.’”

“They tied our ankles and wrists and then proceeded to tie the weighted bags onto us. Briana began to scream at this point. She realized what they were intending.  It’s a cruel thing, to force someone to drown.” She stared into Ryan eyes. He could feel her anger burning through him.

“But,” she said, “before they put us in, I made a promise to the old man. I told him, for his own evil, he would pay the price of a life every thirty years. A young life, just like his own son.” She paused, “One of his own blood.”

Ryan froze. He knew the story of his Uncle Ted being mercilessly killed at the lake as a teenager but had never believed in the horror that was told. His mother had always broke into tears when her brother was mentioned, blaming his death on her decision to stay home and not go with him on that trip. He knew they found him here, in the lake. Kids walked around telling the story all time of the mysterious death of his Uncle, but Ryan had always blown it off.  Just some over proportioned story that was just an accident to begin with. His heart wasn’t actually removed; the police just told people that to keep them away. To stop them from coming here alone.

Jessie’s hold had become so tight she was starting to break the skin on his hand. He tried to pull it away but she only pressed harder. Had she known he was Ted’s nephew?

“Look, Jessie, this isn’t funny. C..Can we just go back to the camp?” he stuttered.

She pulled Ryan close and brought her lips to his ear, “You’re never going back. I can smell his blood in you from a few feet away. It draws me and recoils me at the same time. I need it to keep our souls walking, feeding off the promise.”

Before Ryan could speak, a knife plunge through his back and pierce his heart. A sharp pain spread through his body. He felt Jessie’s breathe on his neck as fell to his knees, chanting in a language unknown.

###

                The next day, it was reported to the police by a group of local teenagers that a body was seen floating in Silver Lake, unresponsive.  Hearing tales of what was found fifty years ago, the police were leery of recovery. They fished the body out the lake finding it to be a young man whose heart had been gruesomely removed.  A short investigation followed. Many of the teenagers were questioned, but they informed the officers that they had been out for a party by the lake and had found the young man the early morning when he hadn’t reappeared to the campfire. All witnesses claim to have been sleeping when the young man left the camp. No sound leads were ever found.  The case was written off as unsolved and filed under the Silver Lake Killer.

Brewer’s Republic Entry: SILVER LAKE: Part 1

Ryan was in love with Jessie. With a girl as beautiful as her, how could you not be?

He had been staring at her for at least ten minutes. Her slender legs. Her dark, silky flowing hair.  The way she tapped her pencil on the textbook to a beat unheard. The slight movement of her breasts with each inhale. The little tilt she does with her head when she’s intent on listening.

Her latest habit, Ryan noticed, was moving her lips as she read. He had started to play a game where he tried deciphering what she was reading by watching her mouth out the words. Today, Ryan had made out almost every word and, considering the addition of the pencil tapping, concluded that she was bored.

Ryan smiled, coveting the fact that he, and he alone, knew how she felt at this very moment.

Jessie stopped reading and looked over at him. Ryan stared back into her deep, blue eyes.

“Mr. Baker?!”

The shrill voice brought him back to reality.

“Yes…Mrs…. Boling?” he said as he turned his attention back to the front. Everybody was staring at him.

Mrs. Boling glared down at him through her glasses. “I suggest you stop goggling at Ms. Hearst and start reading your assignment.  You can spend the rest of your day dreaming your fantasies, but not in my class.” Laughter broke out through the room.

“Of course, Mrs. Boling. Right away,” Ryan nodded, red faced. He gave a glance at Jessie, who was still staring at him. She smiled and turned back around.

# # #

When class ended, Ryan made a beeline for his locker, avoiding the fluttering eyes half the class was giving him on his way out. He wondered how long Mrs. Boling had been shouting at him.

Ryan wasn’t one of the popular kids in high-school.  He was the kid you’d find staying up late to study, creating extra homework for the practice of it, and cracking jokes about molecules. Highschool was just a stepping stone to college.

But Jessie’s smile had changed that feeling today. That smile had given him the hope that maybe there was more to high school than just books and dreams.

Ryan shut his locker and headed out to the school’s parking lot.

As he stepped out the door, the cool winter breeze hit him hard in the face. There was an icier chill in the air than yesterday. He pausde to zip up his coat. He fumbled with the zipper trying to get it to slide in.

“Hey, man, you need some help?”

Ryan
looked up to see Cal leaning on his car, wearing a familiar smirk. Cal’s drones, Steve and Jake, were on the hood sharing a smoke.

Ryan shook his head, “No, I’m good. I’ve just got this string in the way here…” he looked back down at the zipper, tugging hard at its end.

“Doesn’t look like your good,” Jake chuckled.

Ryan felt his face start to redden. He gave up on the zipper and thrust his hands deep into his pockets to revive them from the cold. He glanced back up at the guys. Cal was whispering something to the drones. Ryan took the moment to walk away. He had never quite understood guys like Cal. Somehow they had become High-School gods, everything and everyone always bending to their desires. Ryan had a friend back two years ago that succumbed to their glamour by completing all of their assignments. His payment was only that he would not be terrorized by frequent locker stuffings and toilet bowl kissings.

By the time Ryan reached Old Betty, his Ford pickup with pristine rust and coveted duct tape repairs, he couldn’t feel his hands or feet. He fired up the truck and waited on the heater to kick in.

A fist pounding on the passenger window jolted Ryan from his seat. He gave a quick look to see Cal standing outside the truck. Ryan slid over and started on the rolling window.

“Do you mind if I just get in?” Cal shouted over the engine.  Ryan let out a sigh, who knows what he might be up to. He wanted to say no, but the softness in him wouldn’t allow it. He popped open the door.

“Swhh, it is getting cold out there,” Cal said as he pulled himself into the seat. He turned to Ryan, “You sure took off pretty quickly.”

Ryan shrugged. “You did just say it’s pretty cold out there.”

Cal raised his eyebrows. “Touché.” He rubbed his hands together and focused back on Ryan. “I heard you gotta thing for Jessie?”

Ryan’s face started to return to the red.  Everyone in the school new Jessie was Cal’s girl. Ryan looked out the window.

Cal chuckled, “Hey, I’m not here to patronize you on the issue. In fact, to be honest, Jessie and I have had a bit of a rough patch lately.”

Cal was having a rough patch with Jessie? Ryan was startled by the news, but even more taken aback by the fact that Cal was telling him this.  “Sorry to hear that,” Ryan murmured.

“Yeah,” Cal shook his head, “we decided we’d try going on our own separate ways about a week ago. We’re still friends and everything, but the love part is over, you know?”

Ryan nodded.  What does this guy know about love?

“So, I was thinking that maybe you would like to meet Jessie, spend some time with her. Especially after hearing about Mrs. Boling’s class today,” Ryan laughed.

Ryan sat up at hearing this. It would be great to get to talk to her, but why was Cal doing this?

“Why are you asking me this?” Ryan questioned. He shook his head, “Why are you even talking to me?”

Cal pushed his lips together and looked out at the parking lot. “I don’t really know. For some reason, I just felt like you’d be fit for her. While she may not want me, I still want the best for her. Someone as beautiful as her deserves someone good at her side. Somebody to be there for her and really…” he pause, searching for the word, “…really be a part of her…Besides, it was her that told me about Mrs. Boling’s class. With a smile I might add.”

Ryan was surprised by the words from Cal’s mouth. She told him?

Cal sighed. “Well, if you’re interested and as long as this cold doesn’t push out our plans, me and the gang are meeting up at Silver Lake this evening, ‘bout eight. We park a couple miles in to the park and hike out to our spot. Jessie will be there, I’m sure of it. It’s always a good time.” He smiled and pushed the door open. “Hope you’ll come,” he shouted as he dashed off to his car.

THE SERPENT’S DOOR

I can’t explain what I felt at that moment. All I knew was that I felt.

My heart was beating, pumping blood through my ears.

My insides were turning and a tremor was running up and down my spine.

This was it. This was what we had waited for.

Fifty-seven days and fifty-six nights and what was before us was the end. The end to a very long journey and a mysterious beginning. I think each of us didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t want to move a step further. One more step meant it was all over. This great adventure of ours.

I observed the huge, golden door that stood in front of us. It was inlaid with intricate carvings of serpents tangled with ancient verse. The door itself gave a soft glow to the cavernous room. There was beauty in the door. Such beauty would not exist in the things which lay beyond it.

The torches surrounding the room flickered. I gave a quick look behind us to make sure none had followed.  Only shadows crawled on the rocky walls.

Sweat was pouring down my brow. I looked over at Sonny. He stared back with those ghostly eyes but there was hint of glimmer in them. His curiosity had led us here and we surely weren’t turning back. Not with those eyes.

He pulled out the mystic’s key and stepped towards the door.

“This is it, Jack.” He turned back to me. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

I nodded. “I don’t think I could ever live my life normally after this. Not without facing what’s behind those doors.”

He slightly bowed his head and then put his focus back on the masterful door. He pushed the key directly into the mouth of the largest serpent. He paused for a second, closing his eyes. I could see slight movement from his mouth. This was his prayers.

He lifted his eyes back to the key and settled his hand on the end. He turned it easily.

Immediately, heavy mechanisms could be heard. They creaked and moaned as hundreds of years of dust and age shed off of them.

My eyes widened as the massive gold doors began to move. Slowly they hinged into the space beyond, releasing a musty smell of death and decay. My heart started pounding on my chest.

Sonny turned to me as the doors slid into their new resting place. For the first time, I saw fear in his face.

I could feel his eyes upon me as I walked shakily past him and into the darkness. It was in this place that I would take the lead.