Carved

 Written for Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge
Today’s prompt was Carve.

Photo by Peter Forster on Unsplash
Photo by Peter Forster on Unsplash

She used them like a builder might a mallet, smashing her way through one person to get to the next. There were never words. She never needed them. Her every action, thought, and deed stemmed from her eyes.

What were they like? Could you describe them: narrowed, nasty, blood-stained, or worse?

My answer was always the same, of course I could. They were carved. The Devil himself had chiselled them out of her porcelain facade. But it was only now as she used them with more venom than ever that the cracks showed.


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

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The Creature I Knew

 Written for Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge
Today’s Prompt was Creature.

Photo by Skyler Sawyer on Unsplash
Photo by Skyler Sawyer on Unsplash

It wasn’t the teeth that bit,
Nor the eyes that glared,
Not even the claws that slashed;
It wasn’t the spikes that poked,
Nor the tail that swatted,
Not even the horns that gouged; 
It was the creature’s name that hurt,
Stung like a thousand bee stings,
As it slipped from my lips: Sister. 


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

Ghost

Image by me
Image by me

 Written for Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge


“We are all ghosts in the greater scheme of things. We are invisible to all but those who know us there. Is that not the very definition of a ghost?”

The creature nodded to not a rustle, nor even a disturbance of the air. All that marked its presence was a chill down the spine and a momentary blurring of my vision. But I knew what it was, which proved my point. And still, I couldn’t run.


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

The Six Signs

Photo by Pelly Benassi on Unsplash
Photo by Pelly Benassi on Unsplash

The first sign came in the form of migrating crows. Not in the least bit odd, apart from the fact they don’t. They poured from the fields like a great Black Plague, out over the basalt cliffs and away.

The second sign was subtle: A grasshopper dead in the snow.

The third sign was less so. An earthquake hit the city, shaking every brick from its neighbour and every bottle from the fridge. I lost my milk in the event, which annoyed me greatly.

The fourth sign was as easy as breathing. The wind changed colour from nothing to lots. Crimson particles filled the air.

Sign five was my personal favourite. A dove flew over and sat upon my shoulder. There, the creature cooed for all it was worth, until I stroked its head. This seemed to settle my avian friend. Perhaps the crows sensed this.

Sign six, the final one, was given a name: The Return. The crows streamed back over the ocean like a black fog. They coagulated, poured down like an open vein, ignoring everybody except one, me. They pecked and cawed, scratched with sharpened talons, refused to stop. It woke me from my slumber, that which all else had not.

I awoke from my dream to the dove at my feet and a snowing of black feathers. I looked from one to the other and wept, for I was no longer bound by disdain. The wind, having returned to clarity, only emphasised my own crimson nature. The steadiness of the earth only served to highlight my volatile self. Mephistopheles had returned from his sojourn, and thanks to the six signs sent by my father, Death, would make sure the world knew. Well, everyone has to have something to do.

The End


Thank you for reading
Richard

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

The Signs

Photo by Chris Ensminger on Unsplash
Photo by Chris Ensminger on Unsplash

There were no indications of illness, no — how does one say it — telltale signs. Not at first, anyway.
Her eyes were the key, how they darkened from a silver grey to near pitch, like storm clouds eclipsing the moon. Her mood moved the same, whereas mine remained cheery throughout. Another mistake.
She remained in bed most of the time, venturing out at night when I fell asleep, or pretended to. That’s when I’d follow her out onto the meadow and up the trancelike hill. She’d stand there and howl at the moon, unafraid and rabid. Others howled multiple returns, whilst I whimpered like a beaten puppy.
The first three months came and went in a flash of angry exchanges. The fourth marked a difference, as she chose not to speak, or simply forgot how. I tried harder to understand her then, but understood nothing.
They came for her when the supermoon kissed the meadow in argent beams. A glistening silver-white, it was like day had come to the night on the one night I’d sooner it darker than the abyss.
I loved my Marie. I loved her with all of my heart. She loved me the same. Perhaps that’s why she ate it?

The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Alligator Eyes

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Photo by Mohammed Ajwad on Unsplash

There was something about her. Something impassive. All she lacked was the nictitating membranes of a reptile’s eyes, that brief translucence before the kill. She killed often. I know. After all, she killed me.
We met on a windswept Wednesday, when everyone with sense remained indoors. I caught her umbrella as it blew from her hand, or rather, she let slip from between her fingers.
We walked, drank coffee, and later… danced. Wednesday night became Thursday morning and the sun reappeared. The city streets steamed.
It was inevitable really, she and I. She had a house near the swamps and I had the money to fill it. I’d always hated the city, anyway.
We settled together like a hen on an egg, by which I mean, she smothered me. It was a slow disassembling of self, how she manipulated me with raised eyebrows and slight shakes of the head. She never moved more than necessary.
Late spring became mid-summer and the weather turned hotter still. The flowers drooped, trees sagged, and the weeds burned to a crisp. Every day began with the misted leftovers of the prior fried evening. They never quite cleared, the sun a citrine blur behind the withering reeds.
I took to walking along the thickening waters like a heron patrolling a stream. It was as if God reduced them daily to pour on his lunch instead of gravy, so unctuous they turned. They had that same solidity as skin and I wanted to walk across them, test physics and nature alike. I wanted to but didn’t.
My keeper lounged. She always lounged. She wore as little as possible as often as she could, sprawled like a lizard basking in that endless heat. Nothing bothered her, not hunger, lust, or even death. As the world burned, she bronzed.
It came to a head when I tripped over her one afternoon; I hadn’t even seen her there. A dislodged sandal slipped into the water and a whisky-lined throat scratched, “Get it back.”
I tried. I really tried! But no matter how far I stretched, reached with grappling fingers deep into the shoreline, the sandal was gone. Her response, “Wade.”
And I did. Despite the very real fear of knowing what lurked beneath those stygian waters, her presence commanded it. My own personal Cleopatra, her beauty expected nothing less.
My stomach hurt, teeth ground, heart sank. I gagged on the stench, eyes watering and throat retching.
She sipped her drink and sauntered over.
And just when I thought she might help, she slid onto her stomach and slipped into the water face first.
It was not a fast death, that drowning. She made sure of it. I saw the pitch-black night of those depths as an astronaut sees space, taking them in, navigating them needlessly. The pain became insignificant as I faded.
She placed me in her parlour with a pat to the cheek, her teeth stained crimson, eyes glazed. There were others in various states of decay. I was just the latest.
She remained there for those final moments, motionless, inches from my face.
I drooled a lobotomy. “You have alligator eyes,” my last words on this earth.
She leaned in close enough to kiss.
They say you see your life flicks past at the end. That a jigsaw of all you’ve been and all you’ve known is laid before you. It wasn’t, though, not for me. And as I went to who knew where, passed on, all that marked it were her epitaph words. “Wait till dark comes, my love, they glow.”
But I was already there and saw nothing.

The End


Thank you for reading

Richard

I was. I am.

They said I was. And I was. They say I am. And I am. My decision, not theirs. It rankles and has for the longest time.

I am mired in melancholy. This ennui is as endless as the non-existent dawn. Now even the twilight fades and dusk remains anonymous. Like a mourning widow, I am bereft of all joy.
I remember colours. I remember them all. Now, here, in this place where stars twinkle and the moon blazes an unashamed diamond, their memory is all I own. Better to have loved and lost, someone said. Who said it remains moot. They are not me, and I am not them.
That blazing ball of nuclear reactions termed the Sun once warmed these bones. Now, I am unsure if I have any. I flap and flail, cobweb along in a sparkling silver masked only by this obsidian cowl and cloak. I desire a revealing. But how can hollow eyes be sure? Do I trust myself? No. Have I ever? I’ve forgotten.
They said I was. And I was. They say I am. And I am. I have spanned eternity, my essence one of infinite misadventures. My one constant, my name, is all I have. Not much to show for my work.
I am Death to you who’ll meet me. I am life to those who have.

Photo by Leonardo Yip on Unsplash