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Lilies for the Soulless
©2003 Brutal Dreamer

My travels were extensive, and the misery I endured intense. It was late autumn when I discovered I could not die. I only travel at night-time, fearful of encountering the visage of flesh and blood. The closer I approach my home, the more deeply I felt the vigor of retribution rekindling inside me. I many times wandered from the path made from the surrounding woodlands. The agony that saturated me allowed me no relief; my rage and misery could not extract the vehemence of what happened when I arrived upon the consecrated ground.

This night as the sun was swallowed by the horizon, I journeyed along the path that was skirted by a running creek bed, into which the trees and lily blossoms were draped across. The loveliness of the moonlight and the scent of from the autumn breeze stirred the gentleness within myself that I thought to be dead. Half surprised by my newfound emotions and tingly sensations of pleasure, I allowed myself to forget my solitude and weakness.

I endeavored to cure the wounds of being soulless and reward my benevolence; this stopped the writhing rage and miserable pain that devoured me. I had vowed eternal hatred and justice --a deep-seeded and deadly revenge to compensate me for the anguish I had endured. But tonight I felt cleansed, as if a breath of fresh air washed through me.

       I continued along the steep sides of the creek, when my foot slipped, … suddenly before I could reach the embankment my eyes befell a shimmering silhouette through the shadows. It advanced toward me with superhuman speed, gliding over the craggy rocks.

       My eyes gazed upward, tears shed forth while the rains poured from the dark sky, mists rose from the waters swirling around in thick circlets, I received the being around me. His presence so apparent, feeding my hunger, thirst, desire, and lust for freedom; I was moved by the breath upon his whisper, the chance word he conveyed to me: Lily!

       Upon that one word, all the bottled diabolical rage fumed inside me. "Demon," I cried out, "do you dare call upon my name? Do you not fear my vengeance?" I knew he was my creator, my father, and he had come to keep me for himself, holding that lone lily in his talon.

      "You, MONSTER! You bestow beauty upon me and give me the emotions to feel but how dare you not give me an eternal soul!"

      I was a sport to him, a trophy and nothing more. The rage seethed until my satiated appetite for his yellowish blood bathed me and I fed off his remains. The tortures of Hell could only free my wrath and extinguish the spark of his erroneous mistake. I cannot die, a curse for all time. I am eternal.

My rage is now without boundaries; impelling me to walk this cursed graveyard in search of souls to devour. I am so hungry, lonely, and aching for companionship.

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House of the Dead
©2003 Brutal Dreamer




The question again persisted into the night, to be answered only with deathly visions.  Hours elapsed before I awoke, but the recollections of what transpired tried to unfold but failed to impress itself deeply into my mind.  That was until this night:

The name of the old woman was Agatha or was it Lucy.  I can't seem to remember.  The minutes here passed very slowly.  I was encompassed by a thick mist and a running creek; a menacing evil shrouds the little brook.  Nights were dreadfully severe; mornings promise peace from the horrid visions.  It was not daybreak and the moon was high, the blackness offered a velvet blanket over the skies and the night spoke.  Raising of the dead or even the evil spirits was what I most sought after in my dreams; through devilish incantations.

I saw the woman each night, her countenance exemplified calmness whilst she slept.  She cast off the most indescribable feeling of evil; a void that bestows itself in deathly state. The ensuing dreams continued, the elixir of these suffocating visions were most intoxicating. A venomous scowl played upon her lips, such a blasphemous glare.

Each night I veiled my fear, I attempted to be a brave explorer of the realms where the dead never rests; and certainly not peacefully.  This devious energy sustained me; my hard labors would soon end, and before too long I'd have the answer to these agonizing dreams that haunted me.  Great God!  I knew I would have secrets to the undead, the answers to the universal question: What happens when we die?

This night I was oppressed with a raging fever, and fear seeped profoundly within me to utter depths of pain; the wind created an uneasiness inside me as the ghostly curtain blew across me and sent a violent chill down my spine.  It was a dreary night.  With anxiety that amounted to the deepest agony I ever felt; the old lady infused a spark of terror that made my bones ache.

Rain rhythmically beat dismally against the window as if the dead were trying to find their way through the glass.  The candle flickered its last few teases, by the dying glimmers of the sputtering flame, I saw her yellow serpentine eyes open; her breath raspy, she convulsed to life.  The infusing life in an inanimate being and letting the dead speak, awakened a longing within myself and I bent down to the old woman.  I desired these answers with great passion and pleaded for these dreams to give them to me though this old woman.

When I awoke from the dream, I felt a strong inclination to walk outside.  I traversed so merrily down a long slender path, over a wooden bridge to a cottage.  My heart palpitated fast; and I walked hastily toward the cottage with irregular unsure steps and I was greeted with a warm hug.

"My dear, old woman, Agatha, you came back." a voice uttered.  "Dr. Frankenstein was becoming quite worried."

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The Gruesome Harvester
©2002 Brutal Dreamer
["The Gruesome Harvester" published at SDO Fantasy 2002 Holiday Issue and Tapestry Issue #9]

Michael Davis and his sister Kelly were new to the neighborhood. They had arrived at Willow Ridge Drive a week before Halloween and almost immediately noticed that every house on the street had Jack-o-lanterns displayed on front porches. Not ordinary Jack-o-lanterns, but strange, weird actually. Most were very large, illuminated by a single candle. The orange flickering brightened the hollow eyes, breathing life into them - almost as if they were watching you. Each tease of the wind sputtering the wick and giving the pumpkins a malevolent appearance. The harvesting had begun. Halloween was here.

These doll size orange freaks, as Michael called them, were propped on haystacks, ears of corn surrounding them. Each were displayed in the front window of every single house. Everyone on the block had one - all except for Michael and Kelly's house.
Michael hated Halloween.

He thought the orange faces of fire were ugly, serving no purpose except as a dead tradition. It made no sense - just because they lived in a rural county the old hicks thought it wise to place the hideous things on their front porch. Kelly snickered at Michael's ambiguity towards such a fun filled holiday. Fall and Halloween were Kelly's favorite time of the year. Although, she too didn't understand much about the new neighbors and agreed with Michael's discomfort. They were the strangers in their new hometown.

School was closed when they arrived due to the pumpkin and corn harvesting. They had yet to even meet any of their new schoolmates.
They traipsed down the street and noticed how odd it was that there were no children outside playing, and no other activity. Michael kicked at a rock as he strolled down the road. "There’s nothing to do around here!" he complained.

"We have to get used to a lot of things, Michael." Kelly said. "Just think, there’s no Mall near by. Face it brother, we are now good ole' fashioned hicks, living in Hicksville USA. Ye-haw, giddy up!" she giggled, poking fun at her brother.

To their surprise, an old hearse clattered by, heavy smoke trailing from its rusted tailpipe. Brittle leaves crumpled as a brisk wind awakened, singing mournfully through the dry trees. Michael stared in silence, glimpsing a black, brass coffin through the back window of the vehicle.

"Creepy!" he said, motioning after the hearse. "Did you see that - there was a freakin' coffin in the hearse!"

"Well, duh." Kelly said smacking his shoulder, crinkling her face. "What else would you expect to find in a hearse?"

"This late at night?" he asked, puzzled. "Where could it be going at this time? They don't hold funerals in the dark." He continued ranting about their eerie new home.

~+~

Friday evening approached, and Kelly wanted to continue in her own tradition of carving out a Jack-o-lantern. She tried convincing Michael to help, and to get in the festive spirit himself. She stopped by the local shopping center, a tiny little building with a screen door on the front, which snapped shut as the two entered. Noticing several pumpkins lined up on bales of hay, she grabbed the roundest one and placed it on the counter to pay for it. Michael rolled his dark chestnut eyes and whined, "You are such a kid - you really are. Are you ever going to grow up and stop celebrating this childish holiday?"

"Come on - you do know these candlestick faced pumpkins originally served as beacons for trick-or-treaters, didn't you?" Kelly said, nudging his arm.

"Yeah beacons to ward of Remington himself." His face gleamed over the lighted flame on the countertop of the small shop. "…nothing like living in a house where a demented hick goes bezerk and whacks off his family’s heads with a pitchfork."

~+~

Kelly awoke as the crimson morning sun shone in her window. It was a splendid day for the fall holiday. The air was cool and brisk, the clouds were wispy but few, the golden sunshine was casting beautiful reflections onto the cornfields and a rustling of red and yellow and orange leaves scattered in the breeze.

Yawning, she stretched and rolled the covers off, and Kelly went down stairs. She spotted Michael sitting at the dining room table, gazing at the Jack-o-lantern.

"Making a new friend?" Kelly teased Michael.

He grimaced and replied, "Hardly. I was just thinking this thing looks so much like your last boyfriend."
Kelly smirked.

"Nah, I think ole' Jack O' is much cuter," she replied, patting the top of the Jack-o-lantern's head.

"You're twisted!" Michael giggled.

"You know, we might actually get to meet some of the kids in the neighborhood tonight, being it’s Halloween and they’ll be dropping by for candy." She smiled, excitement beaming across her face.

'Oh, joy." Michael taunted. "Now that’s just what I need - Billy Bob, Joe Bob, and Bobby Joe to stop by. Need I remind you - ‘Deliverance’?"
"I wouldn’t worry about that, they tended to like men not girls, thank God. Those teeth were really nasty!" Kelly laughed. "Come on, when did you lose your Halloween spirit?"

~+~

The twilight approached fast and the white moon was full, a hint of crimson reflecting off the dying sunlight. Dusk descended, casting golden streaks and dousing the slumbering fields.

The neighborhood children were out in droves, wearing crude homemade costumes mimicking scary creatures of the night. Dracula, Frankenstein, ghosts, hobgoblins, and scarecrows. They paraded merrily down the block from house to house. They giggled and shrilled, marching cheerily to the house across the street. "Trick-or-Treat" the children squealed in unison. The woman put candy in each bucket and bag. The joyful kids approached their own house, Michael peered through the glass pane at the top of the door as he reached his hand into the enormous bowl of candy.

A woman from across the street darted across the road and grabbed the first child in the line by the arm, yanking him off the porch. "Andrew - you know we never go near the old Remington House," she spat, glaring back at the home in disgust.

"What the hell is her problem?" Michael asked Kelly. "What do we have, cooties?"

"Maybe it’s a safeguard since they don't know us. You know - afraid we’ll put razor-blades in candy or glass slivers in their caramel apples. Maybe your face scared them off." Kelly said.

"More like Jack O's face did that," he retorted. "That thing is one ugly orange freak."

Kelly opened up the door and walked outside. The giggles of the trick-or-treaters were fading, the night growing quiet. It was eerie, and she shivered.

"Don't listen to him Jackie baby." Kelly said fondly, before she extinguished the candle.

Kelly looked at Michael, "You don't think the story about this house is true, do you?"

"What," he said? "That the old geezer Remington took a pitchfork and stabbed his kids with it tearing off their heads, and haunting this unholy house? Geez Kel, I bet you still believe in 'Ole Red Eye' Granddad told us while we were kids."

Michael rolled his eyes, the smoldering wax wafted into the screen of the front door. The breeze stirred and the branches beat against the house. "Hey, Kel maybe that’s old Remington knocking on our home and he wants our heads, ya think?"

Kelly sighed.

~+~

She heard a thud on the dark front porch, the sound amplified by the unnatural stillness. It sounded as if something were under the wooden slats beneath the porch. Startled, Kelly asked Michael to help her investigate the strange noise. A dripping and clumping persisted, becoming louder as they approached the side of the porch.

"What is that noise, Michael?" Kelly asked. She swallowed hard and her eyes watered.

"How the hell am I supposed to know." Michael scolded her. "This is your idea of fun, isn't it? You’re the one that likes all this hocus pocus crap!"

Kelly bent down and placed her hand on the planks, pressing her cheek to the porch and peeking through the slats.

"Ewww..."

"What? Did you see something?" Michael's voice raised in alarm.

"Nothing," she said. "But..." She lifted her hand, yellow slime dripping from the palms and running down her arms.

"What's this stuff?" Michael grimaced, touching the gunk on her arm.

"Eggs?" Kelly screamed. "It’s raw eggs."

"Oh great, now we’re in the full spirit, aren't we?" Michael groaned. "We've been egged. What's next, toilet paper in the trees?"

"Jack O'," Michael said. "I thought you were to be some brave hero and protect the innocent, you ugly creature."

"Kids out for good old-fashioned Halloween fun were playing pranks on us." Michael reasoned. "That’s all. I’m going inside."

~+~

Kelly sat out on the porch; her face cuddled warmly in her palms.

Her disappointment gnawed at her, but her curiosity grew. Why did the kids hate them so much? The extinguished candle in her Jack-o-lantern had smothered from the gooey pulp, and she could smell the smoky, greasy aroma.

Michael stood in the doorway and saw Kelly sitting in the darkness alone, when he caught a strange aroma, like fresh turned dirt, perhaps from the recently mowed hayfield.

Kelly stood, patted Jack O' on the top of the head and bid him a goodnight. Michael moved from the doorway as she sauntered inside and waited in the doorway with him, gazing at the house across the street.

Michael was almost angry that Kelly's Halloween had been ruined, although he hated the holiday himself. Still, he despised the crotchety old woman from next door after yanking the kids away from their home, and the hooligans that were throwing eggs killed the spirit of fun. Now it appeared that someone was setting out to either make him angry or to really scare him.

He heard footsteps crunching in the leaves outside the house. "Who's out there?" he yelled. Kelly peered through the glass paned window on the door as Michael looked through the other one.

"Do you see that?" he asked Kelly.

Kelly gasped. She craned her head to the edge of the porch. "I see a shadow. Do you see it?"

"Yeah." Michael said, almost gloating that he’d caught the hooligan tossing eggs at their home. "I see the little brute."

He opened the door and Kelly followed closely behind him as he walked to the edge of the porch. The silence was unnerving, even the crickets were quiet. Kelly grabbed Michael's arm with her trembling, cold hands.

"Let's go inside. Hurry, Michael." she said.
She turned, and shrieked.

Someone was standing before her - a tall man.

All she could make out of the darkened silhouette was a man dressed in tattered faded overalls wearing a sun-hat. She squinted, her eyes adjusting to the darkness, and leapt backwards into Michael. She saw straw from the cornfields sticking out of neck and arm holes of the man.
"Oh, that's original - a scarecrow," she said. "Aren't you a little too old for trick or treat?"

The scarecrow came closer to her and Michael. The smell of rotted hay was nauseating. The breeze was oppressive, the air thick and heavy.
Kelly looked up as the man held a pitchfork over their head. They turned sideways in unison and slowly backed up to the front door. The moonlight caught the face of the stranger - just enough for Kelly to realize the stranger wasn’t wearing a simple homemade costume. It looked much too real, and terrible.

A living scarecrow!

This sinister stranger, with Jack O's face and wielding a pitchfork was something beyond their comprehension - something supernatural. The hollow triangular holes, the jagged mouth, an orange skin. The familiar face appeared as a sudden flame lit inside the hollow ravenous eyes of the demon. The pitchfork came down hard, separating their heads from their bodies.

~+~

The following day, the neighbors marched past the old Remington house and spied two orange faces stuffed like scarecrows sitting upon the front porch of the new neighbor's home.

Legend has it, these Jack-O'-Lantern decorations are actually talismans that repel the evil spirit of "the gruesome harvester" away from houses that display them, but only for those who believe.

Do you… believe?

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