“Has it been five months?” Karen asks. “Time drags when the nightmares—no—when the madness consumes all logical thought.”
She sits alone on the bed of her hotel room, gazing into the steady pulse of the tiny red dot on the top of the camcorder placed atop the room’s only dresser.
“It feels like an eternity since Allen was taken. I almost wish that it took me, too. Maybe my suffering would have eased; that would’ve been too easy, though. That would’ve been too easy indeed. The fact that I have enough sanity left to record this is beyond my grasp of understanding… all I have known lately is the darkness of sleepless nights and the constant stalker that is this invisible storm. It ends tonight—oh it ends tonight indeed.”
Karen looks above and around, taking in the room as if she was first arriving with a morbid distaste for the cheap bedding and hideous art hanging from the walls of the tenth-floor room.
“I know you can’t see it, but trust me when I say that it never stopped snowing since then,” she looks to the camera with eyes darkened with sorrowful acceptance. “And it’s only getting worse and I know there is nothing that can be done.”
Her hands reach upwards, grasping at snowfall only she can touch. She clenches her hand and releases, revealing a pale palm to the camera. Karen blows a powerful spurt of air over her hand and laughs.
“I always thought that the snow was soooo pretty. Even in Florida—on the other-damned-side-of-the-country—it is here. You don’t see it, and let us all pray that you never will. I wonder… I wonder if I didn’t go back for Allen if I would be driven by madness. Maybe I would’ve been fine? Or maybe the torment would’ve been bearable enough to make sense of this all. But all was not for loss—no, no, no—all was not for loss. You see, and mind that you will be able to see what I am going to show the world.
“It won’t be the notebook. I burned most of that evil-fucking-bound tomb of scribbles long ago. I just wish I could erase what I learned. But the video caught it,” she holds up the camera Allen dropped when the shadow dragged him away. “The video caught it indeed.”
The camera shakes with a frantic clamor of dangling plastic parts and she spikes it on the carpet, smashing it with a pronounced crack.
“He told me to run away. I only made it to the bottom of the stairs. Call it a crush—call it respect for my fellow journalist—call it whatever you want but know I went back for him and he was gone. I tried the attic trapdoor. Oh yes, oh yes I did,” she crawls to an awkward stance on the bed and jumps to the ceiling, feigning a pantomime of reaching for an imagery trapdoor and pulling it down. “It vanished! As if it was never there to begin with. And his screams. I still hear them even now and I sometimes think that they’re worse than this storm ever could be.”
Karen composes herself the best she can by brushing the frayed strands of hair from her face and wiping her fingers across darkened pits under her eyes. She wears a loose sleeveless sheath that is red with a beige V-shaped neck. Her body, mostly skin and bones, creaks as she sits down. breath dribbles between cracked, bloodless lips and floats to the air and the camera catches every wisp.
“Fear is primal. Fear is engineered into our brains and we only know it. Fear doesn’t feel or think or even second guess; fear just knows and Bobby Parish gained the knowledge to transform fear into something terrible. Was he insane, too? Nah—I think the little shit was just seeking for attention. And he sure got it, didn’t he? He got his desire to be important—to be loved and adored—and he got it indeed.”
She leans over and retrieves a handful of torn pages from the notebook.
“I won’t bore you with the whining emotions of a pubescent boy; I’ll just skip to the relevant bits.”
The paper folds and she traces with her forefinger over the messy handwriting and begins to read.
“I can’t believe I was answered. I’ve been praying and praying to anyone who would listen and he came to me as a shadow in the night and he answered. He asked me my deepest desires and I told him… I told him what I’ve wanted and what I’ve needed,” she flips the page. “My sisters have all the attention now and I just need validation. I need to be loved like I was before they came into my life and I want my Dad to treat me like a human being again. Mr. Goodhue—that’s what he wants me to call him—tells me I don’t need their love anymore. He tells me that I can have the power to make anyone love me and all I have to do is let him show the way.”
Karen places the page down and reads from the next.
“Mr. Goodhue took me on another trip. It wasn’t as bad as the last one. The fires were easier to appreciate and the monsters don’t seem as scary when you get to know them. He taught me how to harness fear and how to turn it into love. He also told me that soon I won’t want their love, that I will have the… what does he call it? The endless jubilation of many. I tried explaining that I don’t want anyone else’s love but my parents—really, my dad’s—but I don’t know, I think he is right. Maybe once my sisters are gone he will love me again. I see how miserable they make my father and how fake my mother has become. Soon Mr. Goodhue says, soon.
“Dad lost his job today and he said it was because I put that little bastard Nathan Armstrong in the hospital. Mr. Armstrong is—or was, I guess—my dad’s boss. I tried to explain to Dad that Mr. Goodhue said it was okay to exploit the fear to make a point, especially from those who instill it in the first place. Dad never believed me. He didn’t believe me then, either, when I was in the fifth grade and Nathan and his friends use to beat me up day-after-day. I had a hard time when my sisters were born and my parents never did anything to help. Dad tried as much as mom would let him, but she always needed help. She’ll be the first to go and I hope Nathan dies in there.”
Her hands quiver as she pulls the last page closer to her face.
“He told me how to do it. Clear the attic, line the candles just right and light the wicks. Say the words and just like that—silence and stillness. He won’t tell me how he slowed time to a crawl, but he did. The blizzard started from that circle drawn on the floor a day before the weatherman reported it as a Nor’easter. Then Mr. Goodhue helped me with the rest. And you know what? He was right. I learned to hate my sisters and my mother for making my dad the way he was. It was so easy to dismembered them. I just… I still wish that I could’ve brought dad with me. Mr. Goodhue was right… he was attached to the point that the power wouldn’t fully take hold. I’ll miss you Dad and if what Mr. Goodhue says is right, I’ll never see you again. He goes up and I go down. Mr. Goodhue and I went on another trip and he finally introduced me to my new family; the ones that will love me for all eternity. But he said I wasn’t done yet, that I needed one more soul to make—as he put it—everything the way it’s meant to be, son. He knew when and how; all I had to do was wait.”
Karen rises from the bed and pivots the camera, so that it faces a circular table with a laptop shining its screen away from the recording. She takes the torn pages from the notebook, folds them, and seals them away in an envelope.
Her throat clears and she mimics holding a microphone level to her protruding clavicle. The light from the laptop shines a ghastly luminesce over her body as she begins.
“This is Karen Blane, reporting to you with a conclusion of sorts to the murder-suicide at Perry Lane that occurred close to six months back in the small town of Folsom Valley, Maine. Startling—and absolutely unnerving—evidence has been unearthed and I am uploading them now as we speak,” she walks to the laptop and presses a few keys on the keyboard before returning to her stance. “What you will see in the video is disturbing and there will be a short pause before it plays.”
The footage starts of when they entered the house, and if Allen had ever paid attention, he would have noticed that Bobby Parish was watching them from the shadows the entire time.
“What I have in my hands are torn pages from a notebook that contains the confession of Bobby Parish, who was at first thought to be missing, but in the end, was in hiding with an unidentified accomplice known only as Mr. Goodhue. Three nights after the murders, myself and Allen Viera, who you will see being dragged away by Bobby Parish, entered the house to search for the truth. I doubt that the police will ever find Allen’s body, and if this circulates as well as we first hoped, his family may have some closure. Karen Blane, signing off.”
She opens the sliding doors to the balcony of her hotel room and the storm follows as she plummets to the lighted streets below.
© Copyright John Potts Jr 2016-2017
What is writing?
That’s a deep-fucking question, so I will spare you with a long-winded response that will certainly turn my face blue.
Writing is (to me, anyways) a progression of storytelling that derives from within.
… and that’s all I have.
Heh. What, did you think there was more to it?
Alright, alright—I’ll spread some more of my thoughts on this.
Writing is a form of expression that the storyteller knows and the writer accepts as a gift of malleable perception to formulate an array of conclusions that can be deducted to a logical ending. We instill emotions both raw and subtle to the readers and we ask questions in search for answers that may trouble us all, or, we reveal truths that bring along those warm-and-fuzzy feelings pretending to keep us warm at night. The range of intention is large and we polarize our emotions to push boundaries with words and we unite our readers in some form or another. Writers create worlds and destroy them in the means of necessity.
It’s all in the means of necessity.
But progression is there, none the less.
And speaking of progression….
I want to shine a light on another Word-Presser—no—another writer you should be reading.
His name is Jim, and I give you a glimpse into his universe.
I first met Jim (and when I mean met I mean in the sense of chatting online) when he commented on a post I did awhile back with multiple exclamation points, and I thought to myself,
“Holy shit this guy has a lot of enthusiasm,”
So I said to myself, says I,
“Self, I should go read some of what he is writing because for anyone to slap on seventy-two (exaggeration) exclamation points on a comment then they have to be serious.”
I am now confident that serious was an understatement.
Jim is dedicated to the craft. His work ethic leaves me at a loss for words and his drive is indominable. Jim is currently working on a few projects right now, with “James Grey and The Song of Fear” being is focus.
If you’re a fan of new-age fantasy with a hint of horror, then you must read this from the beginning. And when I say beginning, I mean all the way to part 1 of 21. They’re free on his website, and from what he told me earlier, he is currently ranked 312th on WattPad for Fantasy. Good job man! It’s pretty sweet, and for me, a joy to read as I personally struggle with anything outside of horror.
Writers should read broadly, and if you falter with this as I often do, then Jim’s writing will be a clear indicator that transitioning out of your shell is a delightful experience.
He has come a long way with his writing in the short period he has been posting the installments on his site. And to be frank, there was nothing really wrong with it begin with. We all make little boo-boos here and there, but Jim is an Indie Writer; he does everything himself! I am blown-away with his progression, and the shear fact that he finds time to polish his work as he goes is baffling. Jim is as enthusiastic as they come and that fervor extends to his retention on what he reads and how he writes. It’s staggeringly impressive.
Oh, that’s right, how could I forget: He also squeezes in time for his mini-series “Shadows in the Darkness” and “The Crimson Chronicles”. Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi—Jim can and is hitting the heavy genres out-of-the-gates.
Go and read some of what Jim is throwing down. I would be hard-pressed to hear that your experience was anything but enjoyable.
myholouniverse.com — that’s his site in case you missed the breadcrumb above.
I am going to try and convert “The Storm Within” as a free! Yes, I said FREE!!! Ebook in a few days. I’ve done my reading and I believe I can take this content and put it on the amazon store for no charge. If I am wrong, then hey, I am wrong, it’ll still be available here at no charge as well. Even though I am looking to become published in the traditional sense, I also want to practice self-publishing as well, and I think being able to take this and give it out for FREEE-OMG!!!! Would be good practice for me. So possibly look for that in the coming days.
What should you expect next from me…. Hrmmmm….
Probably another excerpt for a near-finished (editing is a pain, I tell ‘ya, but it’ll be done tomorrow and sent out the same day) short story that I want to get published, and then, probably some flash fiction pieces and stand-alone stories; one-shots and such. I like writing serial-pieces but it’s hard on my attention span and I have other stories take precedent.
Have a good one,
John Potts Jr