The Creeping Terror 


A True Story From My Writing Life

Stardate: 18/07/2017 Richard’s front room.

It began as a tingling that I quickly dismissed as nothing. The tingling continued, so I brushed myself down and carried on typing. A little later, I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye. ‘Pft!’ I huffed, must be going crazy. It happened again. Something black was moving. Ordinarily, I’d have jumped up and wrestled the lion or whatever it was, but I’ve had trouble with my eyes this last week, so dismissed it as wobbly-vision. 

When I felt something crawling up my shorts, I took more decisive action. I placed my iPad to one side, cool as a cucumber, honest, then leapt up. A spider fell out of my shorts and legged it under my writing chair before I could get him. I was not pleased. I like my writing chair and didn’t/don’t want to move. So, the waiting game is on. Who’ll blink first? Who’ll win this war of attrition? And most of all, should I put my trousers on? These are just some of the questions I shall try to answer when I next update you on THE CREEPING TERROR!

Disclaimer: The above Pixabay.com image may or may not be an accurate representation of my foe. 

The Sorry Syndrome

It was not an admission of guilt, but a cry for help.

Words didn’t come easy to Simon. Most children learnt early that a ‘Sorry’ whether meant or not would alleviate situations that otherwise might end with a slap. Sorry was a get-out clause written into childhood law. Sorry was the most perfect word ever created, one I used with over-eager indulgence. Simon, however, couldn’t say sorry no matter what the circumstances. I often thought he wanted to though. The word would sit on his trembling lips like a bad-tasting vegetable, perhaps, a turnip or a jagged broccoli.

When Simon did what he did, the world went crazy. Yet even then, his fate could’ve changed. I’ll never forget the look on his face as he stood in the courtroom. He could’ve said it then and made things right. He could’ve, but didn’t.

I’ve often wondered if his old sorry phobia resurfaced, if it had ever left, or if it was the plain and simple truth that the others had always touted: Simon was nuts.

The Fabric Girl

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The Fabric Girl

There was never so lonely a child as she. The fabric girl, I called her because her eyes must have been stitched together to not see what he did to her, to them.

That was a lifetime ago. I was young then and understood less than I should’ve. In adulthood, I’ve known her by the same name, but not for the reasons of youth. Age teaches one wisdom where once there was haste.

The truth was, she held them together in her tight-lipped way like the thread on your trousers or chord on your curtains. She took the beatings and bad words and sewed them into her complicated mosaic called life. She was a seamstress that girl, the best there’s ever been. She had to be, for a loose thread would’ve doomed them all.

The strongest person I’ve ever known, the stubbornest of the stubborn, that little girl with straw hair and skin like a ghost has drifted through my every thought. I’ve regretted not having told her, hers was a name born not from mockery, but admiration. The fabric girl’s still stitched into my soul.

The Seed

The seed inveigles. The seed entwines. Reaching up
through circulatory systems, clawing its way up
arteries, sniffing its way in waves of red corpuscles,
the seed seeks to become and replace, kill and attack.
Being on the interior is how it works tricking hosts
by feigning itches and indigestions, heartburns and
heartaches. But it cannot fool me. Oh no, not me.
The soul it seeks to commandeer is already spiked,
already labelled for another; an unpleasant business.
The seed is lost within this man, its evil nothing but a
poisoned scratch itching away inside, deep inside.
It is only pain. Pain fades. I know, for I am full of it.

Nocturne

Richard: A little something in preparation for later this month.

From the depths of a dream or way below, where pinprick eyes and sawtooth teeth proliferated, the dark one came. Nobody heard it. Nobody saw it. Everybody felt it.
They claimed it an earthquake, a freak of nature, a thus far unknown fault in the earth’s crust that had stirred for the first time in millennia. It was none of those things.
The old lady knew. She who hid behind net curtains and fifteen coats of lead paint knew a lot of things the others didn’t. That’s why the creature went for her first.
It snuck up through the sewers into her yard, slipped like a midnight shadow through her cat flap, stole upstairs. It gnashed its teeth and spiked its claws, sliced wallpaper, pinioned the carpet with razor talons but all so quietly. Hushed it was. Like the dead it came.
The creature saw her lying there under sheets of mildewed velvet, damp and musty like a bog. It slashed. It bit. It tore. It missed.
She rose like a whirlwind and smiled at the beast, a scimitar grin of devilish teeth. She twirled her fingers like an eager child; the beast fell back, but the door had closed.
“There are fouler things than you, my pretty,” she cackled. “I am Nocturne. Yum, yum, yum.”
There were no more strange occurrences, no more violent shudders. The fault must have fixed, ground resettled. That’s what they said, anyway.
Only the old lady sat behind her nets knew better. Only the old lady that nobody had seen but all knew was there knew the truth. She’d have taken it to the grave, too, if she hadn’t already.

Nightly

They came for me last night, those beasts with cobweb wings
Billowing in the moonlight, they flittered through a window
I heard the scratching of steel talons on the sill
It drowned out the indefinite whines of society
Until, silence purveyed, purchased to disguise
Purchased to cover what they were here to do, prevailed
All fell silent. All was silent. Silence was all there was
Even the wind failed to blow through the rafters
Even the rain failed to tap upon the glass
They stuttered; I felt their eyes, their cold, violent eyes
Tearing away the layers of my sleep: duvet; blanket; tee shirt; skin
They willed them from me in exquisite pain
Pain I was all too used to and not unprepared for
And so I leapt from bed with maddened eyes
They were there, and revelled in my posturing
Each one a rotting, ragged loose-knit epidermis
Not meant to house ones such as they
Not meant to house anything other than death
They eyed me with those vacant orbs, deciding
Formulating new plans, more expansive tortures
Any other man would have fled from them then
Would have torn out their hair and poked out their eyes
Jumped from the window and fled into traffic
But not me. Not this night. No longer was I their pawn
I grappled with them, though wished I’d not
I hit and bit and struck and scratched
Tore and raged and screamed and snarled
And by God’s mercy, I bested those beasts
Each one a pile of desecrated badness
Each one a stinking pile of reclusive scum
Those nightmare creatures, the bane of my nights
Lay dead in heaps of crimson malice, shredded meat
Only their eyes definable in the midnight gloom
Only their eyes, dead eyes, staring, accusatory
The same as the ones that did so in day
The same as the ones in my bedroom mirror

Behind

It lay behind her eyes, something unwanted, something not quite right. If you watched her closely, it flickered like a firefly at midnight or a snake’s tongue tasting for death. Her eyelids would pulse like the tide pouring in, her lashes twitch like wind-blown branches. She unnerved; I was unnerved. I never knew what happened when she woke because I ran. I jumped out of bed, hurtled out of the front door and down the street. She laughed as I did so, her cackles filling the city, howls of glee cascading from every open window. How did she do that? Only when I’d run three blocks did I realise, I really should have put some clothes on.

Unbreakable, She Dances

Adorned in scarves of rusting shackles, she twirls amidst the nightscape gloaming

It is her time, the quiet time, the time when others can’t see her dance

With fireflies and fairies, she jingles and clinks trapped in a marriage of the unappreciated

She is nothing, a nobody, a slave, he says from vile upturned lips

But, he hasn’t seen her dance nor twirl nor leap

Nor shall he

For she is unbreakable with a spirit stronger than the irons she bears

She is a creature of freedoms unparalleled and imaginations beyond his ken

She will out-think him, out dream him, outlive him

And she’ll smile at his threats and laugh at his disdain

She’ll bow with a smirk and cook as though feeding the maggots with parched earth and unctuous swamp

Sleep with one eye open, fists clenched and heart tight

But when those lying eyes close

Oh, when those lying eyes close

She’ll twirl once more in her unbreakable way right out of the door

As she has from the time her lips first said ‘I do’ when they meant ‘I won’t’

And she’ll dance in the shadow of the sleeping day and cry with tears of exultation and release

Always