Welcome, Horror fans, to another Stitched Saturday. Hope your Friday the 13th was luckier than usual, and that you managed to take part in some of the Stitched Smile fun from yesterday – if you missed it, worry not – you can recap from this blog. There are all manner of free bits of fiction and excerpts from some of our excellent books.
The challenge a fortnight ago was – in honour of one of our resident poets (and Stitched editor) Lance Fling – poetry based! I gave two pictures for inspiration, and the fruits of your labour can be found below under each one.
Today we have Post Traumatic by Lance Fling and Somewhere Else by JH inspired by Picture One, and Cabin Pressure by yours truly inspired by Picture Two… and as a special bonus track, the standalone tale Thursday by Daniel L. Naden.
The next Stitched Saturday will be on the 28th of October, and will be a Halloween special. To which end, we’re going freestyle – stories of poems of any length, but they have to be Halloween related. Get them posted as comments here, and let’s see if we can’t have a bumper crop of Halloween horror stories!
See you in a fortnight, and – as ever – #StayStitched!
Post Traumatic – Lance Fling
Exo-armor locked in tight, grenades of plasma strapped-
breaching into a foreign hull, as blasters sweep the gap.
Phaser fire greets our team, bluish bolts fly past-
Scott and Duncan torn apart, our numbers sinking fast.
Bloodied metal falls on deck as weapons find their mark-
we are now outnumbered, to die here on a lark.
A company of miscreants, sentenced for our past-
as lasers sear my visor, I realize I’m the last.
Johnson, Scott, and Duncan, oldest friends of mine-
are joined by Fields and Sutton, blood spilling out like wine.
The enemy advances forth, closing for the kill-
errant shots rip through the hull, vacuum ends their thrill.
I float in noiseless empty space; all my friends drift by-
lifeless metal, burnt death traps, I try to close my eyes.
But memory is now burned in, the sight will not disperse-
to haunt me to eternity, to live through this is worse.
Remembering when Sutton, new guy in our group-
would show us the holograms, of his ever- growing troupe.
And Scott and Duncan pranking, as was their normal state-
by switching names on armor, or changing duty slates.
These misfits who had my back, just like I had theirs-
now interred in darkened space, an end to their affairs.
As I begin to fade out too, a movement in my eye-
bright light of a transport, appearing at my side.
The images of bloodied friends, plays on flash repeat-
their faces melting off their skulls, as no one sounds retreat.
Seared and shattered armor, filled with flesh and skin-
float around my body, from a fight we could not win.
The High Command with tally sheet, checking off five more-
will scarcely mark their absence, just notes now on the score.
I dream that I still see them, walking in the dorm-
joking, full of horseplay, as was the daily norm.
Then the flesh, it starts to melt, the air a sickly sweet-
my haunted eyes jerk open, as I jump to my feet.
The darkened room confuses, I know not why or where-
or how I came into this place, so burnt out I don’t care.
I’m sweating in the darkness; all my friends are dead-
but I still hear them laughing, somewhere in my head.
They tell me that it’s been six months, but that just can’t be right-
I still hear them in the corners, screaming out each night.
Somewhere Else – JH
A picture says a thousand words
The many repetitive sounds
The many similar meanings
All blurred into one
To really take a long look
Not simply peer nor gaze
Deep into a mirror darkly
Is to be truly honest with oneself
If I may be so blunt for a second
I forgot how we discovered
Those treasured moments
In those places somewhere else
On one supposedly fine day
Lines were drawn in the sand
No rhyme nor reason convinced me that
The pupil had become the master
Scattered beneath the ravages of time
Torn pages of an unfulfilled manifest destiny
Just another wayward pedestrian life
Whose blank slate littered the empty estate
Shattered pieces eventually come full circle
This colourful language illustrates
The many interpretations and pointed reminders of
That great British tradition of unexpected delays.
Cabin Pressure – David Court
There’s no asking for another drink now; the hostesses have all left
You know the safety video off by heart – you’ve become quite deft
at knowing all the exits, from where the oxygen mask will fall
but it matters not a jot; you’re flying up to your downfall.
And then you’re lurching skywards, your seatbelt firmly tied
For all the good that it will do. The sky, it opens wide,
The ground, it quickly vanishes. On it, you’ll not set foot again.
You’re bound with all the others to this infernal metal plane.
The seatbelt sign, it switches off, but you stay firmly seated,
Just hoping that Oh God, just once, that this won’t be repeated,
That this one time, from all the times, you’ll survive this dreaded flight
And wheels will touch down safely on the tarmac this damned night.
But every time, your hope is dashed, as the same refrain unfolds;
The brat that’s kicking at your seat to his mother’s helpless scolds.
The exact same announcement about speed and flying times
The turbulence and every lurch, as your plane slowly climbs.
In a minute that hostess will trip; you grimace when she does,
Knowing time is now repeating. You’re fearful now because
You know what happens – every bit – you’ve seen it all before
and know the look on that girls face who leaves the pilots door.
Your eyes meet for a moment; does she see it too?
Has she recognised this moment as being more than Deja-vu?
If she does, she doesn’t let on. She merely stops and turns
And speaks softly to the passengers, her face etched with concern.
You mouth every word the woman says, heard a dozen times today.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, there is something that I need to say.
Now there’s no need to panic, but we’re going to turn around
There’s a problem with the engines that we’ll get fixed on the ground.”
With that last word she stares at you, making eye contact,
But the planes already banking before anyone can react.
The passengers are restless, alarmed by what she said,
You know they’d be more alarmed if they knew they’d soon be dead.
You heard the hostess’s whispers, you’re certainly no fool,
The problem isn’t with the engines, the problems with the fuel.
Their worried tunes are panicked now, an agitated mutter,
Then engine one and engine two began to cough and sputter.
There’s a moment of brief weightlessness as the plane begins to stall,
And with an angry violent lurch, you’re plunging in freefall,
A chorus of panicked screams and sobs the theme for your demise,
As the dead-winged metal coffin falls helpless from the skies.
“Will there be any pain this time?” you desperately plead,
as you hurtle to the ground at a catastrophic speed.
The earth rushes up to meet you, and your prayers are overlooked,
Your body evaporated, as in infernal flames you’re cooked.
You feel the flesh melt from your bones, your lungs filled up with flame,
And through the screams of burning souls hear someone speak your name.
You wake up with a start to find you’re sat back at your seat,
As a kindly hostess asks you if you want something to eat.
Thursday – Daniel L. Naden
The world ended on a Wednesday.
I remember it now because I was born on a Wednesday, back in a time when televisions were as big as a gas range and hope was still a word. I recall thinking it odd, after all my years, that the ol’ world would go out on the day I came in. That I would go out on the day I came in. Only … the world died, and somehow I stayed behind.
On Wednesday, everything and everyone was gone, buried under rubble left behind when the shockwaves circled the globe in minutes, then bounced and ricocheted off each other for hours. On Wednesday, the entire surface of the planet was plowed under by the violence of the ‘waves, crushed, pulverized, and sown into a uniform terrain of rubble, watered by muddied oceans. On Wednesday, the beings from space turned Earth into their garden.
On Thursday, their garden started to grow.
Corpses, rising like wheat — twisted, mangled rising to the warmth of the sun. When they matured, they were hungry, driven to spread more of the alien seed.
I survived Wednesday.