Before today's post begins officially, please enjoy a brief word from our Editor:
Wow, it's been a fair while since I've put anything up on here, hasn't it? I can only apologise profusely if you've felt put out by that. Life has got in the way of a lot of recording sessions, and so the podcasts have been sparse. However, I can say for sure that there are a few little bits and pieces in the pipeline that should give E14 fans plenty to be happy about. Whether it's Youtube, iTunes or E14 in general, rest assured it hasn't escaped my mind. With that in mind, I thought it best to do something cool for Halloween, as we've always tried to do something good for that. Who better, then, to contribute to our humble blog than recently published author and friend of E14 A.J. Waters?
Nobody, in our opinion, hence the publication of today's exclusive short story, simply titled "The Dread". Enjoy! Well, I say enjoy...
I can hear her, you know. Even as I write this in my study, I can hear her. Her feet drag aimlessly above me as she stumbles from room to room. Though I hear her every night, I am as fearful as I were the first time. Of course, that was seven years and four homes ago. I remember when I first moved home to escape her dreadful clutches. So happy was I to be finally rid of that foul demoiselle and the torment that accompanied her; I felt like a new man. Wrapped up warm in my bed wearing nothing but a smile, I truly believed that I could dream easy. How foolish of me to even yearn for such a thing.
I lay there on the brink of sleep when I heard a commotion coming from down the stairs. That harrowing limp of hers. Those offbeat steps and the sobbing have replaced all frightful monsters within my nightmares.
"Where is my baby?" she moans.
Her voice echoes in multiple tones, each as ghastly as the last. She walks around the entire house, asking the same thing over and over. Some nights she won’t say anything at all; some nights, she just walks. Some nights as I lay on my side, I hear her standing behind me at my bedside, staring down at me as I pretend to sleep. I dare not answer her. Not again. I have done that only once and I will not be so thick-headed to do so again. It was in my home before this that I made such a grave misconception. I was in the foyer after a night at the local pub, where I was trying to find the courage to enter my own home at the bottom of a bottle, and I saw her. For the first time, I saw her.
She looked awful; her skin was darkened, as though replaced with crude clay of sorts, and it hung loosely from her bones. Her white, yet somehow dark hair floated round her head like ink submersed in water. Her dress was filthy beyond repair and her limbs resembled twigs; she was so morbidly thin. Her eyes were like pearls with minute black dots in the center, staring down at me from atop the landing.
"Where is my baby?" She said to me, her head cocked to one side.
I was terrified beyond belief, as I always am, but for once I was more than that. I was angry, nay, furious.
"I don’t know where your cursed baby is, you witch!" I yelled, stamping my feet.
With that, her eyes and mouth widened and she pointed at me with her long, dreadful finger.
"You have my baby!" she screamed.
With that, she took to all fours and crawled with a dog-like speed. Her long limbs arched like a foul spider, screaming as she shot across the landing and down the stairs towards me like a feral beast. That was the last night I spent in that house.
I can hear her now. She’s coming down the stairs.
Last night I finally had enough. This is why I write this for whoever finds it. After I have finished this letter I will take my own life, using my old service revolver; it was the only sure way I could conjure up. I was lying in my bed, waiting. Sometimes, that’s the part I dread the most. The waiting. And there, alone in the darkness, stalked by shadows, I lay in fear. I cannot leave a candle burning in fear of seeing her, but not knowing whether she is there or not is a torment in its own right. The eiderdown tucked almost completely over my head, with nothing more than a small hole through which to breathe, I lay shivering and on the edge of tears when I suddenly heard her. It had to be her.
My first thought was that it was coming from the room directly beneath me. Scratching away as she clambered around on all fours like an animal. She did that sometimes. I prayed that she would remain downstairs, prowling the ground floor in hopes that I was having another late night as I normally would.
That’s when I felt it. The scratching. Vibrations hummed through my bed with every horrid scratch from her long, brittle nails. She wasn’t downstairs at all. She was under the bed. Then came the ghostly sobbing.
"Where is my baby?"
I wanted to die there and then. I cursed my strong heart for continuing its constant labour. I knew that if I ran, she would chase me. But at least I knew that. Lying there helpless like a wounded animal, waiting for that ice cold touch of suffering and the unknowing of forthcoming events, had left a foreboding sense of dread upon my very soul.
"Where is my baby?" she said again, only it did not come from beneath me, but behind me.
I knew at that point that she was stood next to my bed, looking down on me; she knew I was there. Over and over she sobbed, moaned and cried. Asking again and again the whereabouts of her kin. I am not too proud to admit that I cried last night in my bed, as I do all nights. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I have any tears left to shed. Enough is enough.
Even as I write this now, I know exactly of her whereabouts. She is stood in the doorway behind me. I can feel her ice cold stare. Even now, she is asking of her child.
I must leave you now. I can hear her voice getting more agitated as I ignore her. Farewell, my friend. And Godspeed.
Doctor Edgar Flynn
There you have it, folks! If you like the cut of Mr Waters' gib, you can find his works at the links below. E14 encourages you to give his stuff a go!