The Perennial

A little Halloween dark humour for my friends.

Photo by Sabina Music Rich on Unsplash

She buried my body deep beneath the winter snow. There, where autumn’s rotting foliage tickled at my face and branches aplenty dug into my naked flesh, I festered. The dead do that, fester. What else is there to do?

There is being cold and being of the cold. The former is remedied by a cardigan or two, an extra pair of socks, or a berth by the fire, whereas the latter, now, this is something altogether more chilling. There is nothing one can do but succumb. I lay immobile as the mycorrhizae tied my body in knots, just waiting to emerge as fungi bearing my deceased features. To think some sweet child might turn over a log to my unyielding, sunken flesh instead of a house for a gnome, disgusted. No, this would not do. 

Spring came in a burst of sound and a sudden blast of warmth. Even deep below my now melted mantle, where the light failed to illuminate, it still infused. And I was infused with an unshakable desire to escape. Yet, earth is earth, and dead is dead, and I was going nowhere. For now, anyway. 

This particular summer grew so hot it burnt the flowers and scorched the ground. Birds stopped singing to conserve energy. Worms hid, preferring a possible drowning on those rare days the heavens wept to certain incineration. As for mankind? The hum of their air conditioning rattled my crumbling bones. 

Winter returned. It was a mild affair, never having quite got over the Saharan months. Green remained long into the white season. Leaves fell only when bored. The soft soil invited excavations. Three badgers and a fox later, I was out.

Release is a dish best served once. To have sampled another would have lessened the effect of the first. I had no desire for diluted freedoms. 

I rose from the ground like vapour from a pond, slipping through the woods unnoticed, through the city streets, back home. She was there. 

I came upon her suddenly like a sea fret localised to her bed. “Why?” I demanded, my voice rising and falling like the sea I affected. 

“George? Is that you?”

She sat up and put her glasses on. Her dentures remained in the bedside glass. 

“Why did you kill me, bury me, forsake me? Why?” By now I was closer to a wailing gale. The curtains flapped. The walls shook. A black-and-white photo of our wedding day smashed on the floor. 

“Because you were dead.”

“You buried me in a wood beneath the snow like a dog.”

“Not this again!” She almost shook her wig off. 

“Why?”

“It’s what you wanted!” she exclaimed. 

“But you killed me, you Babylonian whore.”

“Life killed you, George. You were ninety-six. You couldn’t handle it anymore. It had to happen sooner or later.”

What residue of my mind remained dizzied. I felt a vortex tug at my feet, sucking me down, down, down. This, my one chance for revenge, threatened escape, and I redoubled my efforts. “I… must… kill… you…”

“I wish you’d kill me,” said the clean-shaven young man who emerged from under the covers. “She is.”

With that, I vanished back to the cemetery in the woods and the laughter of those who lay there, my grave more turbulent than ever. My festering renewed. 

Still, there was always next year. 

The End. 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Thank you for reading

Richard

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Spider

 Written for Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge

I liked a good pair of legs as well as the next person, but four pairs on one body? Yet, there she was, hanging from the corner, suspended in a moonlit net.

How long she’d been there and for how long she’d watched, who knew, but her unblinking eyes regarded me as one might a tasty dinner. Hypnotic, she mesmerised with her stillness. I wobbled, wavered, fell.

She kissed mouth open, a slobbering affair. I savoured the feel of its disintegration. When, she sucked, I sighed. Soon, I was just a bound husk in a pantry of many that twinkled like the stars. Not bad for a fly.

Very much The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

Catlike

 Written for Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge

Photo by Tasos Mansour on Unsplash
Photo by Tasos Mansour on Unsplash

The hunting cat watched from the bushes like a miniature ninja, all in black and striking a dramatic pose. Amber eyes blazing, the creature observed me. The world stalled.

It was the church clock high above the graveyard which marked so many of our moments that disturbed us both. A single strike, nothing more. Time moved on, even if it was sluggish.

The cat blinked. I doffed my cap.

The killer set off again, just another night of butchering those smaller than itself. The cat did, too.

The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

The Frog

Photo by Austin Santaniello on Unsplash
Photo by Austin Santaniello on Unsplash


 Written for Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge.


There wasn’t a person in sight, just a gawping fool of a frog.

The frog had no teeth, no claws, and no idea, apparently. It sat on the path between me and my destination like a small rock waging war against the tidal sea. The question was how to pass it? I could’ve strode over, leapt, or booted it out of the way. I wasn’t one for going around. To my shame, the boot won.

I drew back my hobnail boots like a famous striker and launched into a world-beating goal. The frog just opened its mouth. It did not stop.

I lost my foot, then leg, then felt the rest of me sucked inside the frog’s now vacuous maw. The clouds were last to go, as my vision passed from day to enforced night. The frog belched.

There were others inside the frog, but they claimed it a toad. We fought in the darkness for a meaningless victory. The frog just belched again and moved on to mice, cats, and dogs.

The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity


The Innocence of Youth – (Drabble)

Photo by Marc Szeglat on Unsplash
Photo by Marc Szeglat on Unsplash

The darkness came as a swathe of night, flanked by fire and flood. All fled before it except for one small boy.
Chaos abounded. People wrestled over petty goods, tore with fingernails and teeth. Yet, only when the darkness touched them did reality bite, fleeing terrified into either the flames or the abyssal waters. Soon, only the boy remained.
The Devil came for him with genuine intrigue plastered across his jester features. “You survived. How?”
The boy looked him straight in his goat-like eyes. “I can’t swim, and I’m warm already.”
“Ah,” cooed the Devil. “The innocence of youth.”


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

Love Sucks

Photo by Katie Pearse on Unsplash
Photo by Katie Pearse on Unsplash

The depth of her sorrow submerged my soul. I saw it in her eyes, felt it in her every trembling movement.

Her head hung like a mannequin with its strings cut. There it bobbed like a buoy in an undulating ocean. How I wished to brush that curtain of long, black hair aside and lift her by the chin, tell her everything was okay.

I watched her slender fingers grapple with the hem of her skirt, like ancient ivy wringing the life out of its host. One foot tapped a rapid beat. She built to something, but what?

Time to act. What else was a lover meant to do?

“Can you tell me about it?” I asked, softly.

She shook her head, slow and purposeful.

“A drink? Food?”

Again, the same.

The direct approach was often the best. “You’re in pain.”

“Almost,” she whispered.

“Because you think I don’t love you.”

When her eyes met mine, they were no longer those of a girl, nor even a woman, but something older, feral.

“Because I know you don’t. At least, that’s what I shall tell myself until the pain erodes your memory.”

It happened all of a rush, her standing, the slash of the blade. She never blinked once.

I slumped to the ground, quite dead. All was becalmed.

It came as I would’ve hoped. I raised from myself, like souls do in the movies. In one last exhalation of self, my ghost vacated its shell, and then paused as if unsure of what direction to take. I’d been mostly good. Surely, that was enough.

I wouldn’t say she hated me, or that she was prepared to take God’s word for it, but she was ready for anything. She held the vacuum cleaner hose in one hand and set the suction to maximum with the other.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

By Which I Mean Me

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

We, by which I mean me, endeavoured to do right by each other. I spoke kind words, and she shoved them down my throat. I held open the door, and she vacated it. And so on, and so forth. This was our way, use and be used.

Time was not kind to us, by which I mean me. The bruises grew larger, her rages ever greater. I grew timid, as she grew robust. And still, I did my best. Still, I tried.

She, by which I mean they, buried me one cold and windy November afternoon. It rained upturned buckets. Another man already held her umbrella.

Now there was no we, no she, just me. For the first time in forever, I was alone. Nothing lasts.

I returned from the darkness like a roosting bat, flittering around our, by which I mean her apartment, every evening after lights out. She was never alone.

Our paths crossed when she went to the toilet shortly after midnight. I held the door for her, or tried.

“Do I know you?” she sneered. “You remind me of someone I once used.”

The fact I was a ghost seemed inconsequential, her attitude unaltered. I shrugged a delicate breeze, for words were beyond me now.

She rolled her eyes and got down to business.

“Well! Don’t just stand there, pass the toilet roll,” she commanded, upon finishing.

I laughed as I flapped and flailed, unable to acquiesce to her wishes. I tried so hard. Yet, this simplest of tasks was beyond me, and so I left and never returned.

We, by which I mostly mean me, often talk of her, and if she sits there still, stinking and swearing, whilst waiting for another to service her.

The End


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Shivering

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash
Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

The shiver began at his navel and radiated out like a pebble tossed in a pond. Uneasy sensations swept through the boy’s torso, down his limbs to tingle his fingertips, rattle his teeth, curl his toes. Just when he thought there was nowhere else to go, the shiver shook the earth at his feet, shattering a rock as though crystal and dislodging several worms.
“Am I dead?” he asked no one in particular.
“No.” The voice came as even more of a shock than his shivering, which for now had departed.
“Then what?” he asked, undeterred.
“You are changing. You are… how does one put it politely, on the move.”
The boy hung his head as though ashamed, seeing his shiver had cracked open the ground, into which he descended. This was not a plummet by any means, rather, a falling leaf caught by a breeze.
He watched as the light of the sun he’d grown so used to shrank back into a pinprick star. This, too, soon vanished, leaving him all alone in a smothering darkness. Every sensation of movement had gone.
The boy imagined himself to have fallen asleep because he woke to a fog and his shivering having returned tenfold. His arms shook like a hummingbird’s wings. His head vibrated like a shaken cocktail mixer. A grey gloom pulsed around him as if to help, like the sponge packing around a box containing a priceless vase.
“All out of questions?” came the voice again. Definitely female, and smooth as velvet, it coerced the boy with uncomplicated kindnesses.
“No.”
“Not a one? You are an unusual young man! Most of your kind are so flummoxed all they can do is ask questions. Most of which I cannot answer,” she added, as an afterthought.
The boy placed a hand on his tummy. He grimaced and chewed his lip.
“Sure?” The voice was almost in his ear. “It is my burden to explain the unexplainable.”
“Well, I suppose there’s one thing.”
“Anything, dear boy. You shall have an eternity to dwell upon the answer, as has all mankind. For no one, not one soul, enters the realm above or below without first passing through purgatory. You might as well ask something to tide you over until you’re judged.”
The boy felt a stale wind assail his nostrils, heard the smacking of lips. It sparked something he just had to know.
“Tell me, Death, if that is who you are, was it the kippers or the eggs?”


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.