Hi, horror fans! You still have until next weekend to get your stories in for the next Stitched Saturday – details on last weeks blog – but you’ll still get your horror fix this week in the form of the next installments of Born Of A Witch by Nick Paschall and In Dire Straits by Alisha Jordan. Enjoy!
Born Of A Witch Part 5 – Nick Paschall
The day went as fast as one would expect, with Esther dispensing textbooks for large sums of money. Giger had been impressed by how well she’d managed everything in such a short amount of time, and around lunch time had surprised her with a bag of burgers from her favorite takeout place.
“I didn’t know your favorite, so I got a few of everything!” He’d exclaimed with a laugh, stooped over as he’d dropped off the heavy bag behind the counter, “I imagine you’ll eat like a King for many nights to come, seeing as they’re all yours!”
“Mr. Giger!” Esther had proclaimed, looking at him with wide eyes, “I can’t accept such a gift!”
“Nonsense my girl, nonsense! You spared an old man and his aching back from having to lift a single biology book, the least I could do was show my appreciation.” Giger had said, his wrinkled face had showed even more lines as he’d smiled. He’d taken Esther by the hand and urged her to take a break for the next thirty minutes in the back room while he manned the register.
That’s been ten minutes ago, and now that she was nibbling on the end of a spicy chicken sandwich while flipping through the pages of Melice’s diary. Sin had taken the books into the dark ness with him, storing them away from prying eyes. A distant thought nagged at her conscience that reminded her that she needed to obtain a child somehow, the closer to a baby the better. Esther still didn’t know how best to do such a thing, but was too enthralled by the diary to worry about that need for now.
She’d come something that intrigued her, something that she was certain she could do despite her lack of divination skills.
“The use of a crystal ball for the purposes of seeing further,” Esther whispered.
She owned a crystal ball, a piece of genuine occult technology that she’d purchased on a whim a few years ago. It’d earned teasing comments from the rest of her coven, comments that lasted to this day; Esther’s cheeks flushed at some of the insults that’d been lobbed at her by Faye for her owning such an innocuous object.
Now she understood why witches looked down on divination tools. At least to an extent.
Diviners and witches were both skilled and steeped in the arcane, but one took the route of looking to God for answers, while the other looked to Lucifer for aid. While not enemies in the sense that they’d attack each other, there was no love lost between the two groups, especially when the witches ill-repute rubbed off onto a diviner and led to their death. The diviner, on the other hand, looked to the information they gathered to understand God’s plan, not change it.
“Idiots,” Esther said, flipping a page to the practical application of how to attune your crystal ball to its stand.
“To tether the inner magics of the crystal to the ambient energies of the world, one must create an anchor for the crystal ball to sink its energy into, and pull energy from,” Esther read off, “to do this one must perform the following rituals on the stand, the ball, and then the two together to unify their link in the eyes of the Lord.”
“That doesn’t sound like it’ll work for you,” Sin said, his voice just over her shoulder.
While surprised, Esther didn’t give the spirit the pleasure of seeing her jump. Instead she steadied her racing heart and cleared her throat. “It doesn’t specify which Lord, now does it?”
“Ooh, tricky… he does love that!” Sin said, before coughing once. “I emerged to let you know Giger said he is going to come recruit you, and is on his way back here.”
“Shit! Thanks Sin!” Esther said, shoving the books of magic into his hands, “hide these for me, would you?”
“Yes mistress,” Sin said, stepping behind refrigerator, fading into the shadow of the machine as it began to hum to life. Esther stood up and threw away the few wrappers of the burgers she’d eaten and finished off her soda before walking towards the door of the breakroom.
She opened the door just as Giger came into view, the man leaning heavily on his cane as he stared at Esther with wide eyes. “Jesus girl, you scared me!”
“Sorry sir, was just getting ready to come back from my break,” Esther said.
“Oh,” Giger said, a smile breaking his loose features, “good! I was coming back to get you myself, but I’m glad you realized my old bones couldn’t hold off the tide of college students for long.”
“Well I’ll get to it then,” Esther chirped, bustling past Giger, “I don’t want to keep anyone waiting.”
“Thatta girl! I’ll be in my back office looking over the latest shipment of relics,” Giger said, relief flooding his voice.
“I’ll leave you to your old books sir, you leave me to my new ones,” Esther chuckled.
Walking through the small crowd, Esther made it to the register and began ringing up college boy after college boy, all of them studiously ignoring her. Esther didn’t care, she was used to it.
A stack of nursing books landed on her counter, dropped by a teenage boy standing next to his mother, a portly older woman who was talking on her phone while cradling a toddler in her arms. The little girl looked around with awe, staring at the various books and trinkets that decorated the walls while being bounced by her impatient mother.
Esther leaned forward and smiled at the child. “Aw, how old is she?”
The mother smiled with the briefest bit of kindness. “Three years old. I need these textbooks, and I’m in kind of a hurry …”
“Oh! I’m so sorry,” Esther said, ringing up the books to placate the woman. She could feel an arm slide up underneath hers, lifting the books up to place in the bag. Esther swallowed the nervous lump in her throat and, upon feeling Sin constrict within the darkness of her clothing, decided to make her move.
“How will you be paying?” Esther asked.
“Credit card,” the woman said, fishing out a violet speckled Mastercard as she spoke.
“May I see an ID please?” Esther asked as she took the card, half-turning to face her computer, “can never be too careful, am I right?”
“Have there been a lot of problems?” The woman asked.
“Not yet,” Esther said, shivering as she felt Sin chuckle behind her shoulder blades. Grasping the ID, she turned and faced the computer and held it close to her chest.
In a hushed whisper, Esther begged her inhuman spirit. “Quick! Memorize the address!”
One of Sin’s eyes dropped out from her sleeve as if dribbling from a runny egg yolk, before zipping back up into her outfit.
“It’s done,” Sin whispered back, just as Esther finished the transaction with the credit card. Smiling, she turned with the receipt and asked the woman to sign it and take her identification back.
“How many people do you check in a day?” The woman asked, signing the receipt before sliding it across the counter. “I didn’t see you ask anyone else, is all.”
“Oh, every thirty to thirty-five customers. I have a little clicker that I tick underneath counter every time I send a new student off with their books.” Esther lied.
“Oh,” the woman said, “well I guess that makes sense.”
“Yeah,” Esther said, a slight nagging of guilt eating away at her mind as her eyes sought out the little girl’s. “You never know what freaks are roaming around until it’s too late, so you have to take every precaution.”
“You’re right,” the woman said, hefting her daughter up her hip, “you ready to go Marisol?”
“The strange boy is waiting for me,” the little girl said, her words rounded and loud.
“What strange boy?” The woman asked.
Marisol pointed at Esther. “The boy living in her clothes! He keeps peeking out and waving at me, and he told me he’ll be waiting for me.”
“Waiting for what?” The mother asked.
“Whenever I think about it he just laughs,” Marisol said, bringing the entire queue of waiting young adults to look over at Esther with questions burning in their eyes. Esther just smiled and shook her head.
“I’m sure she’s just playing, right ma’am?” Esther said, flushing at the attention.
“Yeah … I’m sure that’s all,” the woman said, eyeing Esther with distrust. She turned and left the bookstore, stalking right past Mr. Giger, who was watching the whole scene with what appeared to be a detached sense of curiosity.
In Dire Straits Part 6 – Alisha Jordan
Mama collapsed on top of her, her weight bearing on her chest while warm blood gushed across her chest and neck. She let out a tearful cry of anguish, wincing as she pushed Mama off her. After Mama rolled to the side, laying face first in the grass, she stared at the evening sky above her.
Sobbing, she wiped the cool blood from her face and neck, rolling into a fetal position before she reached hysterics.
“Why?” angst cracked her voice, “Why her Boone?” she tore grass from the ground and clutched it to her chest.
Boone let her weep for a while, watching silently before he nudged her with his foot, “Two holes. Fill ‘em.”
Day was breaking before she finished covering the holes with dirt. The smell of Ivy hadn’t even bothered her, but the sight of Mama, laying in the dirt, mouth agape and bloodied. Well that made her stomach turn and her heart palpitate in a such a way she thought she may die.
Boone put her in her room, soiled with her collar still on. Ivy’s reek dissipated considerably, but she hardly noticed with the flashbacks haunting her.
“She never had a chance, Sweetkins.” Ivy whispered.
“Go away” she muttered under her breath, face pressed into the carpet.
“You can still fix this, Sweetkins. You bring justice for me and your mama, maybe even your daddy. You can fix it.”
She turned her face outwards, staring at the place where she hid Ivy’s rib bone. She sluggishly pulled the bone from beneath the carpet and rubbed it against her molars in a catatonic state. The room was bright when she pierced the side of her tongue. The pain jolted her, and she realized the few inches of bone she scraped against her teeth was now pointed and quite sharp. The taste of blood was becoming too familiar, she thought as she poked the sharp end at the tip of her finger until her eyelids felt heavy. She returned the bone and eventually fell asleep.
When she awoke, the room was dark. A glass of water sat on the floor beside the door. She pulled herself up and scrambled to the glass, tasting copper from dried blood on her lips. She didn’t notice the door slightly ajar until she heard Beth panting in the hall. She set the glass down, crawling on hands and knees, she peered out the doorway eyes now adjusting to the darkness. Beth looked to her, but in the darkness seemed complacent about her presence. A familiar sound pierced the quiet, whistling, exactly as if it came from Daddy’s lips. An old tune Daddy whistled often.
“Dear Daddy is alive and well. And it don’t look like that door was meant to be open.” Ivy’s voice slithered up the back of her neck.
She knew her opportunity was now, but she did not know for what. Her body was sore, her mind was exhausted and her throat was endlessly parched. Footsteps above her made her mind pause as she listened intently. The steps rummaged from one room before stopping in the next.
“Your window is closing.” Ivy warned.
She was on the verge of tears, terror froze every muscle in her body while her heart beat rapidly within her chest. She grabbed the bone from the hiding place and, shaking, crawled to the doorway. She peeked around the doorway again. This time, Beth stopped panting and stared at her inquisitively.
With a trembling hand, she held the bone out. Beth only stared until she grew impatient and waved the bone back and forth, “Come Beth” she whispered, “good girl, come on now.”
Beth rose to her feet, her nails clacking loudly against the hardwood floors. She scooted back into the room, kicking the door open with one of her feet. Beth came in cautiously, smelling the carpet and stopped. She continued to beckon her, but Beth was wary.
“Good girl, come on now.” She placed the bone on the floor a foot in front of her, sitting back on her heels.
Beth approached the bone, nose to the ground and eyes on her. When Beth opened her mouth to pick up the bone, she lunged forward trying to grab it before Beth could. Beth growled and snapped her jaws on her forearm. White hot pain flooded up into her shoulder as she tried to muffle her own scream. Beth shook her head from side to side, throwing her around and started to drag her towards the door. She grabbed the bone and stabbed it into Beth’s face, pushing hard with her palm deep into the dogs head until it released its grip and fell to the floor.
When she noticed how audible her breathing and whimpering was, she cupped her hands around her mouth and nose. She winced at the muscles contracting from putting pressure on her face, she looked to her forearm to see flesh ripped open, blood gushing from the wound.
Thudding steps above made her leap into action. She reluctantly pulled the bone out of Beth’s eye, the sound sickened her, like pulling a stick out of wet mud.
She rose to her feet, legs shaking violently as she stepped out the doorway. A deafening scream reverberated throughout the house.
“Daddy” she muttered swaying from side to side as her face contorted in anguish.
She ran towards the scream and paused at the old wooden steps covered in glinting shattered glass. She clutched bone a in her right hand, left dripping blood from her wound off her fingertips. She crept up the stairs, pressing her feet into broken glass. Pain was irrelevant now with the adrenaline fueling her. She walked boldly, quietly up each step letting the glass sink and pierce the bottom of her feet.
The screaming stopped and she heard Boone laughing. Reaching the top of the stairs, she pressed herself against a wall and scaled to the closest room, she heard Boone cough and light a cigarette.
“Beth!” Boone’s hoarse voice shook her entire body.
Before she could react, Boone was rounding the corner to the stairs calling for Beth again. He stood right beside her as she stared at him in terror.
A cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth, he noticed her in his peripheral, “What the” he started reaching to grab her.
She charged forward, stabbing the bone into his side. He lost his balance, and grabbed her wounded arm, fingers digging through the tissue to the bone. She let out a wail as they both tumbled down the steps. She rolled over top of him, then his body landed on top of hers, glass piercing various areas of her body until they reached the bottom.
Her head smashed against the railing close to the bottom making her vision blur. When her senses returned she saw Boone holding his side, curled up on the floor.
“Daddy” she slurred as she scrambled to her feet and up the stairs.
When she entered the room, she saw Daddy laying on his back, blankets and sheets tangled around his body illuminated by moonlight. Daddy’s lips were blue, and when she grabbed his arm – it was cold.
“No, no, no, Daddy, no!” She sobbed as she pushed on his chest.
She remembered taking a first aid course when she was younger, something she had protested but Mama and dear Daddy had insisted. She pinched his nose and lifted his chin and brought her mouth to his. Before she could blow air into his lungs, something crawled into her mouth.
Taken aback, she spit the entity onto Daddy’s chest. A large black beetle spun slightly on its back, legs shuffling wildly.
“Oh Sweetkins, you’ve really gone and done it now.” Boone’s voice was as thunderous as his steps as he climbed the stairs, boots crunching the glass.
She looked to her hand, believing the bone would magically appear. She looked to the ground and quickly scanned the room but could find nothing which would suffice as a weapon.
She dropped to the ground and rolled under the bed. She cupped her hands around her mouth and silently wept at her pending demise.
Boone’s boots emerged and she inched further beneath the bed. Boone walked towards the bed, his boots mere inches from her face. She stared at his steel toes and held her breath.
“C’mon Sweetkins. Ain’t no use in hidin’. Yer bed is made, yer grave is sealed.” Boone sat on the bed next to Daddy’s body.
As he turned his heels towards her, something caught her eye beneath the bed next to the nightstand. She slowly reached out and carefully lifted the object off the floor.
It was Daddy’s straight razor, crusted in blood, likely the tool used to extract Mama’s tongue.
She gripped the blade in a defensive manner, and angrily thrusted it into the back of Boone’s leg. She tore through the jeans and through his flesh leaving a deep and jagged wound.
Boone hollered and his legs flew up. She pulled herself out from under the bed quickly and stood over Boone who now lay on top of Daddy moaning in agony.