Dear reader of The Graveyard Machine,
I have finally garnered enough courage to post my first horror short story in a long while. I have only shared this short with a small but encouraging group, say but one who has damned me to hell. The tale was inspired by a sinister dream, and by one unnatural human being, Mr. H.P Lovecraft.
The realization that the line between imagination and reality had been shattered like some thin piece of glass had seized my body whole. This was “The Fear” and, even though I was not but 12 years old at the time, I knew that this fear was horribly real. This fact was made evident when the glass cup I filled with that ice water my 3:30 AM parched throat screamed for slipped out of my rigid hand and exploded onto the wooden floor in a beautiful wave of water and glass.
I did not flinch as the water enveloped my bare feet and took a liking to the hems of my cotton pants – I simply had too much around me to comprehend. Here I stood in the dark of the kitchen, staring at the basement door that not a minute ago slowly groaned open to reveal the dark descent to a basement chamber that never was.
But it wasn’t the opening of the door that slashed at the security of my imagination. No, it was the soft subterranean voice that spoke with a sharp, sinister intent. “Down here! Down here! Jordi, down here…”
The hairs on my arms became erect and my heart beat against my chest, threatening to burst free. And then, for some unknown reason – perhaps supernatural, my bare feet began to carry me towards the voice. The soft flesh of my underfoot popped open with a bloody pinch as I walked upon the shards of the cup that so eagerly escaped my hand.
Oh what monstrosity owned that horribly, hideous voice?! Could it really be what my brother spoke of not two nights ago? Before I could even cycle the thought that his grim tale was factual, I had already crossed the threshold of the basement. And that’s when I felt and heard it: the hot, deeply rhythmic breathing upon my florid cheeks. The utter terror that deluged me can not be so simply explained. I closed my eyes – hoping, waiting for whatever it was to pass.
It was not a moment later that I opened my eyes to find myself standing in a damp, gutted basement with cold grey flooring. In front of me, hanging on nothing but the stygian darkness that enveloped me, was an archaic vermeil mirror. And I could do nothing but gaze fixedly upon my reflection that was seemingly trapped within.
I tried but I could not but even bat an eye. It seemed that something, some unnatural force had robbed me of my freewill. The force had owned me and I did not bother to think of what it wanted. But I did not have to. All these riddles in the dark had answers. They came with the return of the laboured breathing but this time it was directly behind me, upon the bare of my neck. What happened next nearly dispatched me from this mortal world. But surely not even Death would shadow his way into such a chthonic realm and claim my petrified soul.
Then she appeared behind me, shrouded in what could only be described as a living shadow, a bent old woman with a long, crooked nose, black slits for eyes that matched her lank hair. Upon her decayed face of sickly green was a long twisted smile filled with endless sharp, yellow teeth.
Myths and faerie tales! This could not be! It was the horror my brother spoke of: the witch of darkness! A devil’s daughter from the mother of pure evil, rejected by the Lord of Darkness himself and set free to terrorize that dominion between dream and reality. And now she was here and all her black soul focused on me.
But still I could do nothing as she stood over my shoulder like a heavy, black curtain. For what felt like an eternity she stared at me with her vicious smile plastered on her festered face. Then she moved – bending down, her cracked lips not caring to avoid brushing my ear. No words dripped from her mouth, only that furnace like breathing that scorched the side of my face. As she did this, a long, jagged fingernail found the back of my thin wrist. As easily as a knife into warm butter it sliced into my skin a most peculiar symbol: a quarter-sized X.
The pain shot through my arm and into my brain and I woke with a scream, tangled in my blankets. I lay scanning the circumference of my room.
A hellish nightmare.
Thats what it was, A hellish nightmare, that crept to the surface of my sleeping mind. Praise God it was not but a nightmare.
Heart still racing, I freed myself from the bed and stumbled to the mirror that hung on the back of my door. I studied myself in the dark. It was me. All is well. Realizing the fear, I flicked on the light and further examined my person. I turned my cheek and rubbed the spot where the nightmare witches breath violated my skin. And that’s when I noticed it. Upon my wrist was a cruel, bloody X – a symbol left by The Witch of Darkness.