An Unusual Lady

Lilth’s feet pounded the soggy ground as sparkling green grass slipping around underneath her, making her tumble with every other step. Her breathing came fast and labored; her right leg was starting to scream with the cramping muscles. It seemed as though she’d been running forever.

Somewhere behind her a tree crashed to the ground, groaning its death rattle on the way down. Twigs and rocks alike snapped in the way of the great thundering footsteps that traipsed after her through the dense forest.

Her skinny framed dived over one huge tree trunk, her heeled boots making little grooves in the bark; she cursed her choice of inappropriate footwear. Scuttling under another low hanging branch her waist length, blood red hair caught itself around one of its many fingers. She tugged, pulling on it until her head hurt. The footsteps got closer; she watched as the birds flew in a crazed panic, squawking as the trees around them swayed and bent into unnatural shapes.

With one last wrench she pulled herself free and stumbled into a clearing. Everything shone with life, bright pink and purple blossoms carpeted the floor and huge, expanding trees enveloped the sky above her in brilliant blue leaves. The sun just peaked through the odd gap in the branches, punctuating the half light with streams of glowing strips.

She whirled on her heel, the thundering footsteps made her whole body leap into the air as each giant foot smashed into the poor, forgiving ground. She had no where else to run, it had inevitably caught up with her.

“Fuck.” She muttered under her breath. Throwing off the heavy satchel, she hitched up her under bust corset and popped the buttons on the sleeves of her long white shirt. As she crouched to the floor she screwed her left knee into the ground, feeling the water from the earth creeping up the fabric of her maroon colored, tatty jeans.

She fumbled with her gun, ripping it from the holster and stabbing at the safety switch on the left hand side as the creature came thundering into the clearing. The Bluntersnitch snarled, its dog like face set in a look of pure anger and rage. A couple of sharp twigs stuck out of its bleeding hind quarters; a tree held in its mouth like a stick. Seven feet tall and full to the brim with unrelenting, animalistic hatred.

Lilth aimed for the middle of its three eyes, trying to ignore the spittle dribbling down its dirty white fur. She felt the pistol power up in her hands, the vibrating, whirring sensation familiar and comforting in her palm. She let a shot fly, bolting forwards just as the Bluntersnitch charged forward throwing her aim off balance and catching him just at the tip if his left ear.

The monster screamed and picked up the pace. Reaching her in under three seconds it made a fell swoop at her with its mouth, all yellow teeth and bad breath. She jumped, forcing one small foot into the jaw of its mouth and the other found itself on the animals nose. Before she knew it she was swinging through the air, clinging to a clump of fur to land on the Bluntersnitch’s back.

It roared and bucked, tossing her left and right. The gun flew from her gloved hands as she grappled with the creature. With one smooth motion she brought a devastating punch down onto the back of its head, stunning it just long enough for her to leap up and grab one of the low hanging branches that swayed above her. Using all her upper body strength she pulled herself out of reach, just as the creature turned and snapped its jaws at her dangling legs.

She was fumbling with the knife that she kept down the back of her left boot when a piercing whistle rang out across the forest. Both Lilth and the Bluntersnitch turned to stare in bewilderment at the man who stood in the center of the clearing, looking cocky and self important. Lilth rolled her eyes.

“Nice Bluntersnitch you’ve got there!” He shouted across the yawning expanse of space.

“Yep, it’s under control. One hundred percent. I don’t need any help, thank you very much, have a nice day.” She called back staggering with uncertainty across the outstretched branch.

“Oh yeah, looks like it.” The man mumbled to himself. He kicked Lilth’s gun about in the grass and caught it under his toe, flipping it up into the air with the panache of a man who’d long been practicing the move in front of the bedroom mirror. The Bluntersnitch’s eyes flickered from one human to the next, unsure of where it should strike first.

He took a pot shot, aiming it squarely at the giant dog’s behind and hitting his target. He guffawed as blood and a little flesh spurted out from the new wound enticing a pained howl from its owner. It twirled on its feet, churning up mud and grass as it went and lolloped towards him, a bit slower now then it was before.

Lilth let out an a exasperated sigh and watched as the man dodged his quarry, thick brown hair floating dreamily about in the breeze. He had all the trappings of a man with station, nice fancy clothes, a shiny looking blade at his waist and a cape. Who even had a cape these days?

“Aren’t, you going to ask my name?” The man panted as he artfully jumped over a swiping paw and dived underneath the animal’s belly.

“Nope!” She called out, summersaulting backwards off the branch to land in the grass next to him. “Not interested.” Racing forwards, she landed a swift kick to the Achilles heel and skidded to the side as the monster came crashing down next to her.

“It’s Ezrel.” He paused a moment to let her digest this new information. “You are?”

“I’m busy!” Lilth screamed as she ran up the side of the Bluntersnitch’s squishy exposed stomach and wobbled a little as it huffed and panted in pain underneath her feet. She lost her footing and fell, sliding down the belly of the beast until she landed on its throat. Before the animal even had time to think she whipped out her huge hunting knife and buried it into the creature, feeling it breath its last under her feet.

She hopped down from the still warm body, ignoring Ezrel’s outstretched hand and strode over to her satchel.

“You’re quite an unusual lady aren’t you?” Her unwanted companion asked, craning over her shoulder to see what she was rooting around for in her bag. “How did you get tangled up with our furry friend over there?”

“I stole something from him, not that it’s any of your business. Now if you will excuse me I have things to steal, places to get drunk in and bad life decisions to make.”

“Can’t I at least get you something to drink. You must be thirsty after all that … killing.” Lilth hoisted her bag onto her shoulder and gave him one withering look, eyebrow raised.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. Right?” Ezrel grinned at her expectantly.

“Out of my way short stack! I really don’t want to have to break your face.”

“Has anyone ever told you, you have a real anger problem. I could help you work on that you know. I’m a …” He never got to finish his sentence.

Lilth’s fist connected hard and fast with his chin, sending him flying backwards into a bramble bush. She shook off her fist and tugged her hair out from underneath the leather bag strap it had caught under.

These men, where do they even come from. Did she look like a damsel in distress? She looked herself over, the smears of blood and mud didn’t scream save me to her. Shrugging she retrieved her gun from where Ezrel had flung it onto the ground with the force of her punch and slapped his upturned, unconscious ass on the way past.

“See you around, scumbag.”

Incoming Message

I started getting the texts last month. At first I just got the odd one here and there, maybe once a week or something like that. The flickering of the blue light of my phone forced its way into my life like some great, terrible beacon that I couldn’t ignore.

It’s cold in here.

I was pretty sure someone had the wrong number. I tossed my phone to one side and forgot about it.

A few days later my phone bleeped again.

When did it get so dark?

Where am I? 

I decided to text back, maybe it was a stupid idea but it seemed like the most logical thing to do at the time.

Who is this? 

I waited exaclty one minute before the screen lit up with an eager, sickly glow.

Did you forget about me?

My stomach flipped over.

Who is this? How are you using this number? 

I got no reply to that. I sat up nearly half the night next to the phone waiting for something; nothing happened.

It must have been about a week before I got the next one. I must say I was starting to miss the interaction, the flutter of exciement and fear in the pit of my stomach has grown into a stimulus I craved.

I miss you.

I felt the keen prick of tears at the back of my eyes, sharp, vivious little needles digging into my retina.

I miss you too. 

I’ll be home soon. 

I sucked in my breath, tears propelling themselves down my face now.

When?

Soon, Jack. 

How would they know my name? How would they know if it wasn’t her? Maybe It could be true. I waited. I sat, crossed legged on my bed until I lost all feeling in my feet, pins and needles giving way to a fat, nothing sensation.

I was excited, the messages had given me new hope. I wanted to believe it. It had been a comfort to me, receiving all these messages. It was just a shame that Grandma had been burried with her mobile phone.

Demon Housemate

Usually I don’t post this kind of thing. I’m strictly a straight up, fiction only sort of girl so putting up a true story is a bit out of the ordinary for me. It’s just that, I don’t know how to handle this situation. I’m hoping all you good folk out there can give me a bit of advice.

I’ve experienced the supernatural before, the odd tap on the shoulder here and there; probably the product of an overactive imagination and a healthy appetite for the weird. This is something else though and it’s not just me that’s experiencing it. I know I’m not crazy, and I know this is real.

A few weeks ago I moved into a shared house with a bunch of friends. Stuff hadn’t been going well at home and the prospect of a change of scenery was too enticing. I brought the bare necessities and set up camp in the spare room, living out of my suitcase. It was pretty blissful I can tell you.

Before I moved in I’d been jokingly warned of “The Demon” that was supposed to be haunting the place. Like anyone else I laughed it off; what’s a demon going to be doing hanging around a two up two down in a small English town? People had heard weird banging, whistling that kind of thing. I chalked it up to one too many late nights and alcohol messing with their heads.

So, I’d been there about a week when I get a text from one of my housemates asking me if I was in the house. I’d been bored out of my mind at work for the past few hours and told him so. I glanced over at the incoming message as the screen lit up.

I was just in the shower and I’m almost sure I heard someone cough. It sounded close, like just behind me. 

Picking up the phone I glanced around to make sure there was no manager lurking behind the cheap, grey shelving and quickly hashed out a reply.

It’s probably just one of the girls messing about or something. Why don’t you go check? 

There’s no one else here … 

I sat up in my chair a little and frowned. I was pretty sure he’d just heard the grumbling of the water pipes; the boiler or something and told him so. He seemed so sure of it and when I got home he did seem a little on edge. It shook my resolve a bit and I made double sure to check all the dark corners of the bathroom for a few days after that.

I forget exactly how long after that it was but sometime later we hosted a house party. Nothing major just small gathering with a few friends and some good alcohol. I’d brought my DSLR along and we took a bunch of pictures to remember the night by. I’m a huge Facebook addict so, naturally I had to upload them to my page. Sitting crossed legged on my bed in a comfy pair of jammies I went through the picture happily tagging away until something smacked me right in the gut. I lurched forward and grabbed the screen in both hands. Amidst all the smiling faces of my friends was a different face, a black and white face in a sea of colour images. It was the fifth row down, two in from the right. A woman stared out at me with whited out eyes and a sly looking grin on her face. Her curly hair rolled around her cheeks and down her shoulders; I’d never seen her before in my life.

“Shit.” I mumbled. I scrolled back rapidly through all the pictures, there were no other images in the background, nothing the tagging application could have accidentally picked up. I was stumped, I’ve still got no explanation for it. I studied it carefully as the hairs on the back of my neck stood up on end; it was sinister as hell.

Fumbling across the bed covers I snatched up my phone and opened up Whatsapp. The screen flashed as I snapped a picture. I dithered for a moment; I didn’t want everyone to freak out, I mean, we all still had to live there. Fuck it, I need a second opinion. I pushed send and waited for a response. I didn’t have to wait long.

What the hell is that?! 

I re-told the whole saga in detail.

What do you mean that came from the party pictures? I took those … 

I know, I can’t explain it either. There are no pictures on the wall, nothing on anyone’s clothing and we sure as hell don’t know anyone who looks like that. 

…. Great, just what I wanted, a demonic room mate. 

Needless to say, everyone was freaked. I showed the girls who lived with us what we had found and they were suitably bothered by it. Being close friends they often shared a bed in their moment of fear. I envied them, all I had to ward off what ever was lurking around was a stuffed toy that I clung to life a life jacket.

After our “sighting” things only got worse. Stuff started moving about, I lost keys, chargers, my phone, pens, paperwork all to find it in some obscure location a few hours later. The doors to cupboards stood ajar and doors creaked open. I know, there are a million explanations for this stuff; the wind, people leaving the door open, forgetfulness but it always felt wrong you know? Like something was messing with me.

I was left with no doubts at all when I was sitting in the living room enjoying a cup of tea and a chat with one of my house mates. It was casual, we’d had a good day and nothing horribly weird had happened for a couple of days. I could hear a little bit of thumping going on upstairs, someone being a bit heavy footed in one of the bedrooms, the girls were known for their heard of elephants impersonations. I was in mid sentence when one of them barrelled headlong down the stairs, cutting my conversation short.

“Jesus, can they get any louder?” I sighed aloud, frowning. “One day someone is going to go straight through the stairs.” My friend grinned at me and reached behind him to open the door for our companion. The room was silent.

We looked at each other confused. He stood and stuck his head around the door frame.

“What the …” I heard him mutter under his breath; he climbed the stairs two at a time.

I scrambled up off the sofa, heart hammering and stood at the bottom of the dark flight, arms crossed over my chest, my back to the wall. He reappeared after a few seconds, and slowly, almost thoughtfully made his way back down the stairs. He stood at the bottom for a  moment before looking me in the face.

“There’s no one there.”

“We definitely just heard someone coming down those stairs. There has to be someone there.”

“Go check for yourself if you want. I’m telling you there is no one in this house but us.” I wanted to speak but my brain just chewed the cogs. I gazed back up the stairs to the landing that now looked imposing and terrifying, I had to sleep up there, I had to go up there in the dark on my own.  Just as my brain was starting to catch up with what had happened when a bolt of light streaked across the top of the landing. I stuttered and took a step back, I could feel the blood drain from my face. There was no where a light like that could have come from, nothing to reflect off. I noped right out at that point and made up my mind to sleep on the sofa that night.

Whatever we were sharing our living space with was really upping the anti now. Growling, gurgling noises could be heard in some of the rooms, light coughing, prodding and the occasional shove were experienced by everyone, especially if you stayed here alone. Often, I’d stop people mid-flow in a conversation to ask if they had heard the creepy noises issuing from the gloomy upstairs.

I was starting to freak out, I could feel it, like a little knotted ball in the pit of my stomach. We’d had a few friends over the night before, just for a chat, nothing too heavy and we’d got to talking about our demonic friend.

“I’ve seen it.” One of the guys said. I was pretty sure he was winding me up, having a reputation for that kind of humour.

“What does it look like?” I quizzed, no one had seen the picture but my flatmate and I so I was totally expecting him to concoct something out of thin air.

“It’s a woman, young looking. She’s got curly hair to her shoulders, maybe blonde. Her clothes looked kind’a period. I’ve seen her a few times when I’ve slept over here, I can see her reflection in the mirror.” He pointed to the big wall mirror we had hanging in the living room. If you sat on the sofa you could see the doorway and out into the corridor. I imagined this ghostly woman standing in the doorway watching us and shuddered.

The silence was shattered by a sudden crash from the front bedroom. I jumped and my room mate leapt to his feet; it was his room the sound had come from. We all crept slowly forward, hoping that a cat or something had got in through an open window and made that noise. Nothing stirred, the room sat silently, perfectly in tact; all the windows remained fast shut.

It’s been unnervingly quiet for the last few days, we’ve had a few cupboard doors left open and lights spontaneously turning on and off but I guess things might be on the up. I’m still pretty nervous though, writing this up alone and in the dark probably isn’t helping me any. The blue glow of the screen is the only illumination in the claustrophobic darkness.

The front door has just opened and closed. The time on the laptop display says: 2:08 am. It must be one of the girls coming back from a night out, I can’t hear any footsteps on the stairs; nothing, Those stairs are always so loud I should be able to hear her, maybe she went to get a drink.

Fuck, the bedroom door just slammed itself shut, not mine one of the bedrooms down the corridor. I’m pretty sure mine’s locked … did I lock it? I think I did. Something it scuffling, rummaging around on the corridor, it’s fairly loud. I don’t know what to do.

I’ve just text everyone, just to make sure I’m alone.

I’m still out, why? 

Lol, I’m miles away, it’s not me! 

I’m still at work 0.o 

The door handle is moving, I swear to God the door handle is moving. I’ve got that tingling sensation, you know like when blood starts draining from your face? The doors on this floor are opening, I can hear them opening and shutting. Those doors I watched the girls lock are opening and shutting.

I’m one floor up, there’s no way out, no where to go. I’m here, alone in the dark, with it. It wants to come in.

Show and Tell

Andy had never been a popular kid. His big, thick glasses and the two freckles on his upper lip made him an easy target; not to mention the hand my down clothes he’d got from his older cousin.

Life wasn’t easy at ten. Just that morning he’d been given two super wedgies, a Chinese burn on his left arm, kicked in the shin and had his chocolate biscuit stolen. It should have been a bad day, but today was show and tell and Andy had something amazing to demonstrate. His presentation would be so fabulous, so gloriously mind blowing that before third break every kid in the playground would be begging to be his friend.

He’d been hiding out in the library for a good twenty minutes of lunch break before they found him. Kicking the book out of his hand Brian and his trio of thugs grabbed him under the arm pits and wrenched him out of his chair.

They carried him out, his little feet kicking their backs and podgy, soft arms. The fat hand clamped over his mouth stopped him from calling out for help and the librarian was too busy chatting over her tea to the tutor from room 105 to notice. He spent the rest of his lunch break sitting in the bin outside the main office.

When the bell finally rang and he could clamber out of his dank and smelly prison, he dusted himself off and pulled the last sticky bits of banana and old chewing gum off his sweater before heading to the bathroom to wash his hands.

The last straggling, giggling girls scattered as he clumped his way down the corridor, howling with laughter and disgust at the slight smell coming from his damp clothes. He’d show them, he’d show all of them what he was worth; how special he really was. He had hated his life and everyone in it for so long he couldn’t bare it anymore, but today it was all going to change.

Class 3A filed in two by two  and sat in their neat little rows in eager anticipation of this weeks show and tell. The teacher chugged down her last cup of coffee, her black hair in a slightly skewed bun that had a few loose hairs flying from it like little spiders. The bags under here eyes indicated a heavy night and she was wearing one of her less professional jumpers today. She looked like what every teacher dreading becoming, washed out.

“So.” She began in a thin, worn out voice. “Who wants to go first this week?”

A sea of quivering, eager hands fluttered in the air, high pitched muttering of earnest desire bounced around the space. The teacher scanned them with uninterested eyes, the usual eager beavers catching her gaze, until she saw a shinning little face she’d not really noticed before.

“Andy? You have something you’d like to share with us?” She asked, a hint of disbelief in her voice.

Andy swallowed, this was his big moment. Taking a deep breath and pulling up his huge trousers he clambered up to the front of the class. Walking over to the teacher’s desk he helped himself to her favorite mug from it’s usual place on the top of the paper stack. World’ Best Teacher it proudly declared to anyone paying attention.

The interested muttering gave way to toxic giggling. He looked so ridiculous standing there with his bowl cut hair, over sized clothes and eyes magnified 10 times by his thick specs. Until, he dropped the mug.

A collective gasp went up from his crowd. Stunned silence fell for a few, short seconds until a tidal wave of excitement crashed in on them. Screaming, stunned children rushed to the front, chairs scraping and falling over in the scrum. The teacher craned over her desk, neck stretching out like an ostrich, mouth wide.

“That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!”

“How do you do it, Andy?”

“Can you teach me?!”

“Andy, Andy, can I come over to your house after school?”

Andy smiled wide over the brim of the mug as it spun gently in the empty space in front of him. He knew these telekinetic powers  would come in handy one day.

The Shopping List

I’ve still got her last note. Stupid really, keeping it all this time, it’s nothing more than a glorified shopping list but I can’t bring myself to let it go.

Don’t forget to pick up some milk and bread! You know what happens when I don’t get my morning cup of tea! 

xxx

I don’t know how I managed to hold onto it in all the confusion but somehow it survived, tucked out of sight in my old, beaten up leather wallet. I hate the fact that I can remember snatching the note up from the kitchen sideboard, the morning winter sun bouncing off the cold marble surface, but I can’t remember the sound of her voice anymore.

I shift underneath my blanket, it’s so full of holes I can feel a draft coming through it like wispy fingers; it’s a good thing it’s a warm night. My wallet is open in my lap, limply hanging across my thighs, bedraggled and worn out as if it’s run a marathon. I know how that feels. My wife’s face stares up at me, grubby around the edges and fading slightly with age and exposure to the elements. She’s got a brown tint that she never had before, marring her perfect pale skin and wavy blonde hair. Only her green eyes remained solid, colourful and piercing through the grime. Alysa, always perfect.

Our last day was so extraordinary, dull and average. Our screaming bundle of terror had woken us up at least 5 times that night, teething. I’d got a deep, gnawing pit of irritation starting up in the pit of my stomach as I sat at the breakfast bar watching Alysa shake a formula bottle agonisingly slowly, fatigue making her weak.

I spooned slow mouthful after mouthful of soggy, tasteless cereal into my mouth. The mush of bran squealching and wriggling across my tongue like a hoard of slugs. I swallowed the last bite with difficulty and offered my girl a watery smile.

“You don’t suppose they do refunds on these things, do they?” She said, jiggling the whimpering lump of snot and dribble on her hip.

“I think we’re way past the 30 day trial period.” I run a hand across my face and pull at my beard in frustration. My daughter’s chewing on Alysa’s hair, extra gummy, extra dribbly, making little snuffling noises whilst she does it. I should have got a dog instead.

“Damn. I guess we’re stuck with it now then.” She teases, kissing our girl on her sticky forehead. My smile reaches my tired eyes and the fatigue lifts from me a little, they look so perfect standing in the morning light; they were made this way, just for me.

Before I can lay a hand on my car keys and work file the TV blurts out a warning that demands my attention.

We are interrupting your scheduled programing to bring you this special news bulletin. An outbreak of a new virus has caused chaos across the north of the UK this afternoon. The highly contagious disease has symptoms similar to the norovirus and is spread in much the same way. 

Alysa isn’t really listening, still cooing over our girl; I lean over and turn up the volume. My wife comes over to stand next to me, even the baby is quiet as a pretty, young newsreader steps into view, her chocolate hair running helter, skelter under the bright red umbrella she was holding up against the wind and rain.

The Sheffield Teaching Hospital has been the hardest hit. Huge numbers of patients have been coming through thick and fast since the early hours of this morning. Staff here are overwhelmed. It’s been suggested that they currently have no working cure for this violent strain of the virus.

Alysa and I glanced at each other; a tiny frown appeared between her eyes. A haggard looking male nurse slid in from the side, he had dark circles under his eyes and something I couldn’t quite make out splattered across his scrubs.

We urge the public to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary. The norovirus is highly contagious and we want to minimise the infection field as much as possible. Symptoms you should be on the look out for are: a raised temperature, headaches, stomach cramps, aching limbs, sickness and seizure. If you feel unwell or think you may have contracted the virus, please, please do not leave the house and call the emergency services immediately. 

Within two weeks, 1.75 billion were dead worldwide. The dehydration hit thick and fast and no matter what the doctors seemed to do they just couldn’t replace the fluids the sick lost before they succumbed to death.  Before long bodies were pilling up in the abandoned streets, sunken eyes, staring out of gaping sockets, fingers clenched on cold hands as if they were still trying to grip to their weak, lost lives.

Naturally, we bolted like everyone else; loaded up the car with a few precious essentials and made for the coast. The boarder had been shut down long before we got there, it was just a seething, hot mass of desperate bodies wriggling and shrieking towards the military personnel charged with keeping the peace. After the first panic stricken shots began to ring out into the fray we decided it would be safer to hold up somewhere close by and wait for the hysteria to die down and the boarder to open up again. It never did.

“Dad.” The urgent whisper hits my cold ears like a jet of steam forcing unwanted reality down my throat. “Dad, there’s a noise. Something’s outside.” My daughter stands in the door way of the next room, the boarded up window behind her cracking a little moonlight across the floor. She’s the picture of my dead wife, even at twelve; the same yellow hair.

I reach for my gun with shaking fingers and stagger to my feet with all the stability of a drunk. I take a moment, just half a second to reflect on what our lives have become. My poor daughter, born into this now harsh reality. I’m sorry for that.

Suddenly I hear it; that banging on the door. Someone wants to come in.

Walking with Demons – Ghosts

I’m not a good man. I’ve never been very good at pretending to be anything else either so it came a huge surprise to everyone when I met and eventually married Amaterasu. Being the director of a large, inner city company that specialised in corporate business areas it was important that I practiced my cut throat edge.

I was so good at it. I lashed out and patronised and frightened people until I had what I wanted from each and every one. My job was my life. Before too long though it became obvious that my dark nature was over spilling into other aspects of my life. Never before in my life had I been violent, until I suddenly had a wife and small child to come home too.

That nag, nag, nagging really got under my skin. The thought of opening the front door after a long day of bitching at people to be greeted with a  surly expression, a screaming child and a list of endless jobs that still needed completing was too much to bare.

I became distant. I barely ever went home, I worked late; I even began an affair with one of the temps in on the floor below mine. A sweet, quiet girl, no strings attached sex on tap and little peace from the never ending riot that went on at home.

It was all a little too perfect, everything was sweet for me, I felt as though I’d lost twenty years of stress, hard work and responsibilities. It all began to unravel when Amaterasu found out about the other woman.  She screamed and cried and created such a riot that I just had to leave the house. The bar across the street was more home now than that cold, wretched box that I’d paid a small fortune for.

I don’t mind telling you I was plastered by the time I stumbled back across the road at one am. A stomach full of Sake had done little to alleviate my terrible mood. I fumbled with the keys, wrenching them this way and that in the lock until, finally one of them clicked.

The door swung open to capture Amaterasu in it’s black painted frame. Her skinny arms were folded across her pointlessly small chest. I’d always secretly hoped she might get some work done after the birth of our son but she’d never seemed bothered about her appearance. She’d gotten fat, she’d gotten lazy and demanding, she was everything I hated all rolled up in one great huge ball of woman.

As she began to screech, I don’t even really remember what she was saying, the urge to reach out and silence her started to itch at the back of my mind.  In my head I could see my long fingers reaching around that soft flesh of her neck, the part that’s just above the collar bone. The squeezing felt so therapeutic, the release of so much anger and bitterness with a little shaking and pattering of feet and the endless screeching would stop. I’d be free.

I don’t know when I acted on my impulses; all I remember is takin the body to some remote place and hiding it as best I could.

For two years no one has really questioned Amarterasu’s disappearance. Her family was destitute, desolate and poor health was a constant problem, a fact they had gleefully hidden from me until after the marriage had taken place. She’d had minimal contact with them by her own choice so no one thought it odd when she didn’t call or visit. My parents asked on the few occasions they stopped by where she was, I made the relevant excuses; shopping, out seeing friends, on a course, the usual things you’d tell people after you’d murdered your spouse. She had no job, no bills, friends were few and far between and it was easy enough to fake a correspondence with them. It was all too easy to just cover it up.

The only person who did notice was my son. She had been the only contact the boy had had and he missed her presence almost immediately. Even when he watched me bundle her lifeless body into the boot of the car he looked for her everywhere. I feel for him, he is the only thing in my life that I truly love and to loose him would tear me apart.

Things ticked along as normal, days were the same, routines were established, I didn’t have a care in the world. The girl I’d been seeing became my new partner and before long she moved into the house I’d shared with Amaterasu.

I only started to notice the odd things that were happening around the house when my girlfriend pointed them out. The usual “supernatural” stuff would occur, vanishing keys, some banging noises in the night, someone walking over your grave. It was never anything that really bothered me and I chalked it up to an overactive imagination and the age of the house. Before long things gravitated to a point I could no longer ignore.

My partner pointed it out first. “Do you smell that?” She asked one afternoon about a month or so back. At first I didn’t notice anything but as I walked towards her I was hit with the stench of a perfume, sickly and strong.

“Jesus, what did you do? Shower in the stuff?” I asked, clamping a hand over my face.

“It’s not me! I’ve not put anything on today and even if I had, that’s not mine.” Her eyes had narrowed in suspicion.

Taking my hand away from my face apprehensively I sniffed the air cautiously. It was definitely perfume. It was familiar, like the calling of a memory that tugged on my mind; I couldn’t place it.

“You’ve not had someone else in here have you?” She asked me suspiciously, sniffing at my collar.

“No. I’m not stupid enough to bring another woman back here. I never brought you here when Amaterasu was still around, did I?” I saw the hurt flare up in her eyes at the mention of my wife. Her name, the perfume smell; they ground into my mind as the cogs began to whir. It was hers, the perfume; it was Amaterasu’s.

Turning away from the scene of confusion in the living room I stalked into the bathroom and clapped the door closed behind me, locking it with the hook. I dove into one of the little wicker boxes that still held the few beauty products my life had owned and fished out the one perfume bottle that lingered in a bottom corner. Spraying a little into the cap I took a lungful. It was the same stuff, without a shadow of a doubt. I was a little spooked, but I wouldn’t say I was scared, not then, not until a scream echoed through the house at a blood curdling pitched.

I came tearing out the bathroom, panting and still holding the perfume bottle in my hand. I promptly dropped it as I took in what greeted me. My girlfriend stood at the entrance to the kitchen, clutching the doorframe with both hands. Every picture of my wife, the ones I kept up for our son, to show to the relatives and friends who occasionally visited had moved. They sat on the coffee table, the shelves, even the floor closest to the kitchen. Amaterasu’s face stared out intent in every smile, each one now a sinister grin. The smell of her perfume began to waft back through the house as her many eyes stared intently at my girlfriend.

The Littlest Vampire’s Birthday Surprise

The Littlest Vampire was very excited. Tonight he would get to ride his very first steam train. The trains had never run at night before and he was so very keen to see the black pluming smoke and feel the prickling of dust in his eyes.

He stood on the moonlit platform, shrouded in his little black cape and with his father’s best top hat sitting atop his tiny head. The brim fell over his eager and bright eyes, obscuring his view of the star speckled sky.

The silence fell in droves around him as he waited for the train to arrive; excitement carving its way through his stomach like a sink hole. He glanced from left to right, hoping to catch a glimpse of its sparkling headlight in the distance, but something else caught his eye.

A dark figure sat upon the hard metal bench that loomed up out of the darkness a few feet away. Tall and imposing, the person made The Littlest Vampire uncomfortable. The shadow turned its head to face him, its bright eyes reflecting in the half light of the moon.

It was a man, tall and thin sporting a mess of facial hair and long red locks that reached his shoulder blades. The suit he wore gave him an air of sophistication and importance that the little vampire envied. The man grinned across the platform at him.

“I like trains.” He said, filling the silence with his deep and mellow voice.

The Littlest Vampire crept forward, taking tentative and slow steps on his chubby little feet.

“Today’s my birthday you know.” The man mused. “I’m travelling to find myself a top hat. My old one is all battered and bruised now so I thought I’d treat myself to a new one.”

The vampire crept so close he could rest his nose upon the arm of the seat, his wide saucer eyes gazing up at the man who stared out into the blackness and he wondered about him idly.

His little face lit up in the darkness, suddenly illuminated with the light of the on-coming train. Excitedly he bounded forward, his cape flapping behind him in the breeze.

The man stood, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his great, long trench coat. He moved not a muscle as the little vampire danced and whirled silently around him. The steam and smoke billowed up as the great, black engine roared into the station.

The Littlest Vampire gaped at the locomotive, open mouthed and awe struck, taking in its huge size. The man had stepped up into the train and now stood there in the doorway, a small smile playing on his lips as he watched the tiny creature become consumed with happiness.

Holding out a hand the man helped the little vampire scramble up into the carriage.

“Welcome to the Orient Express.” He gestured about him to the finery that the carriage played host to.

The vampire gasped with joy and wonder and twirled happily around in erratic circles; trying to drink in every last drop of splendor. The man had settled himself into a seat at the back of the dining cart; a cup of sherbet lemon tea in one hand and a saucer in the other. The little vampire peered around the door frame of the neighboringcarriage, a silent plea in his black eyes.

The man peered at him over the rim of his china cup, his reading glasses slightly fogged from the steam that rose in little clouds from the sweet liquid. Placing the cup and saucer on the table he patted the seat next to him. The tiny vampire let out a small squeak of delight before running full pelt up the doorframe, across the ceiling and down the back wall of the carriage to do a tiny summersault into the seat next to the man.

The giant poured a little lemon tea into his saucer and slid it across the table to the vampire, who chugged it down greedily, little drops of tea sliding down his chin. His happiness filled him like a warm, fuzzy glow of sunlight, pouring into his soul.

The man huffed in frustration as he attempted to fill in his crossword, his wooden pen with the gilded name “Luke” sprawled across it in golden lettering.

The little vampire was thoughtful. The man had been so kind to him he wanted to give him a present, it was his birthday after all, but what could he give his giant? He took off his top hat to scratch at his head as he pondered the question.

It suddenly came to him, a flash of inspiration. Turning to face the man he pulled his feet up underneath him and sat upon his haunches with an eager face. He held out his top hat, stretching across the small space between them to put it into the man’s upturned hands.

The Littlest Vampire grinned from ear to pointed ear as the man raised one eyebrow at him in surprise.

“Happy birthday Mr Luke!” The small vampire squeaked in delight. The man smiled as he let the little vampire place the hat atop his head. His look was now complete.