Remembrance – Very Short Story

Forewords:

There’s a war going on in my mind, in everyone’s minds, really. It’s a war between yourself and the outside world. If we entertain the idea that you have never been exposed to the world (meaning others opinions) how different would your own thoughts be? That is not to say hearing about others thoughts are bad, I think it’s more about society at large that decides what is good or bad. Again, that’s not always a bad thing, and really, it’s an unavoidable battle unless you are literally Buddha and have reach a state of utter detachment from everything wordly… What was my point again?

I guess the war in our minds, at least for creatives, is what to create: should the story be (1) what I want it to be or (2) what it should be, or already is? Because I believe stories exist independent from us and that they are there to be found rather than created. Sometimes a story isn’t what others would like them to be, and you have to change it, but that demands so much of you that sometimes you don’t want to. You have found this story (wherever stories are found) and you cannot toss it away, and at the same time, it cannot be made into something that it’s not, at least I can’t. Perhaps I can make still, even if it’s bad? Just to get it out of my mind…


“Honey, are you sure this is the right way?”

“Yes, yes, it should be right around the corner.”

“But, look, the road has stopped. You are driving on dirt!”

“We are supposed to… It’s a short cut, alright!”

She looked over at her boyfriend who kept his eyes on the road while glancing on a map that rested over the steering-wheel. The car swayed back and forth like a ship on the uneven ground; and the further they went, the more the forest enclosed them and the road disappeared in the undergrowth.

“Honey, please…”

“Okay, maybe we are lost, but I can’t turn around now. There must be a roundabout somewhere…”

She did not argue at that. The branches scraped against the car as they drove on. The man winced every time the branches dug into the coloring, creating white streaks of blemishes on his fancy red car. But there was nothing he could do and backing up would almost be worse at this point. Finally, the trees opened up and a big dirt field, half covered in patches of grass, spread out before them. There were half collapsed fences that enclosed it and it looked to them as an old abandoned parking lot. They stopped on the cleanest patch of dirt and the man threw himself out of the car. He whimpered pathetically as he inspected the damage.

“Fucking hell,” he said. “We just had to go out and see nature, didn’t we?

“Oh please, don’t pin this on me. It’s not my fault you can’t read the map.”

The man grumbled, knowing by experience arguing never lead him anywhere. Even if he won, she would find a way to sour his victory, not that the damage on the car would go away anyhow, or payed for… “Where are we, anyway?”

She looked around and saw benches dotted around, all small and half crumbled. There was some sort of platform in the distance, but it was hard to see what it was exactly. As she looked, she saw somebody wave in the distance. “There’s somebody over there,” she said. “A couple?”

“I think there is. They seem to wave us over… should we?”

The woman shrugged and gathered their picnic basket and headed to them. They were very old. They had their own picnic spread out on the table they sat on and they smiled at the young couple as they approached.

“Well, isn’t that nice,” the old woman said. “I thought this place had all but been forgotten.”

“Well, we found it by accident… I’m James, btw. This is Lillie.”

They shook hands. “I’m Kay and this is my husband Gore,” the old woman said. Gore didn’t move. His body seemed stiff as a board but his eyes were clear and aware. He made a dry exhale as if in greeting.

“Would you like to sit down?” The old lady said.

The young couple looked at each other and decided to share their meal with them.

“There must have been a lot of people here at one point,” Lillie said.

“Oh yes. At one point there were hundreds. Last year we were three couples but now it’s only us that ever comes.”

James and Lillie looked at each other.

“Oh, nothing special happened here,” she said airily. “People used to come and dance, that’s all. We actually met here, Gore and I. Remember how you danced to impress me, dear?”

A smile crept up on the old man and exhaled like a broken vacuum cleaner on it’s last breath.

“Yes, you bumped half the people off stage until you had it all for yourself, hee hee. You were quite bad at it too, I’d never laughed so hard in my life”

Again, the old man exhaled with a smile.

“Yes, I knew that I loved you too then… But oh, listen to us ramble on. What about you? Are u married?

“N… No, we didn’t see the point,” Lillie said.

The old woman smiled sadly. “That’s a shame… It’s a beautiful thing, making the promise. It might be unfashionable these days, but I think there’s nothing more important in life than find a life partner.”

They were silent for a while soaking in the sun. “Well, we should be going,” the old woman said. “I’m glad we met you. I was very sad before you came, you know. That this place would be forgotten. But now I can be rest assured that at least two people in this world will know of this place, for a little bit.”

They watched the old couple go. When they were gone, James turned to his girlfriend. “You don’t want to get married, do you?”

“Hmph, not with you,” she said and munched on a sandwich and let the quiet sink in, the leaves rustling in the wind above, never gracing them. “We should come back here next year,” she said.

“Yes… Yes we should,” James agreed.


© Christopher Stamfors

Liquid Soul – Very Short Story

A boy wandered upon an empty road in the middle of the night. The air was cool and fresh and the leaves were turning yellow. After a couple of miles, he turned left into the thicket and went along an old path that had almost disappeared in the undergrowth. After some minutes, he came upon an open field. It was hilly and difficult to grow anything, thus it was abandoned for other, more dreary, purposes. He glanced by his feet and looked with a blank expression upon a wooden cross impaled in the ground. It was half decayed and tilting, yet he could still read the markings on the wood. “Gyordic was favoured by the gods and his life was a happy one.”

The boy smiled ruefully and continued on his path up one of the hills that overlooked the small valley. There were thousands of such crosses scattered across the field. And there were even more of them over the hills which he could not see. He sat on a rock, made himself comfortable, and stared blearily out on the view. His mind was empty, his life void of any great dramas or concerns. His life was simple and he took joy from simple things. He considered himself blessed to be able to take these strolls, while so many others could not. No, they were in no position to move at all.

The wind that had coursed through the leaves had become still and everything was quiet. He heard two dogs bark in the distance, but their howls soon died and the night was still once more.

A yawn escaped him.

Then, suddenly, there was a flash between the trees. It grew slowly, steadily becoming brighter until it shot into the air, almost as if a drop of water falling in reverse. The soul was much like water, he thought, and the light in his eyes became more lively, more awake. He now looked attentively across the sea of graves, hoping to spot another soul being released onto the heavens.


© Christopher Stamfors

Abandoned – Very Short Story

The floor was cold as I awoke. My jaw was sore and my body was stiff, and when I opened my eyes, I couldn’t tell where I was. It was dark. The walls were pitch-black but I could see a bed without a mattress. One of the springs were loose… I tried to stand, with some difficulty, and when my senses had gathered I endeavoured to move. I had no recollection of where I was or how I ended up here – whatever here was. There were large metal bars in my way that felt course on my hands. It seemed that I was a prisoner, of some sort, that much was clear. My attire confirmed my suspicion, wearing a grey jumpsuit, the one associate with criminals. I rattled the bars and felt them move. Pieces of the concrete rained on my head. A hard enough push and the bars would come crashing down, I imagined. But for some reason, I hesitated. Something was wrong. It was too quiet… Too dreary, or maybe this was common? I wasn’t sure. Had I deserved to be imprisoned? I didn’t know. Surely I was not?

In either case, I felt the bars and after some force, it all collapsed loudly on the floor. I stood paralysed as the crash echoed in my ears and through the hall, before it became deathly silence once more. I stepped out and felt cold wind on me. It whined through a broken window, which I approached. There wasn’t much of anything that I could see in the distance, only trees and an empty courtyard below. There was a lonely car parked near the entrance and I imagined it to be a means to my escape. I turned back to the hall and was engaged to find my way downstairs when I became paralysed once more. There was only utter darkness ahead, the light from the window seemed to die halfway down the hall and I shuddered at the thought of heading into it. But, seeing no other way I steeled myself and headed towards it. One could only wonder why the prison had been abandoned to begin with and why I was its sole inhabitant, so I did not, and focused instead on my escape.

Only now did I realise my feet were bare. The floor was course and a multitude of different things, and pieces, lay scattered that made me painfully aware of my naked feet. But I kept on moving, feeling with my hands on the right side of the wall to not lose my way. The wall disappeared and I imagined the hallway forked to my right, and as I was about to head that way, my feet became firmly planted on the floor. There was a scratching noise, like metal being dragged against the concrete floor and I froze. I remained still as it came closer, making efforts to breathe shallow breaths. Though I did not see it, I felt the strangers presence as it lurked past me and when it reached the light I became vindicated that I had made the right choice and remained still. He was a massive man, muscular and faceless. And the weapon, that seemed light for a man of his stature, was dragged along the floor, like it was his purpose to make his presence known. He stopped by my cell and inspected it.

I struggled to keep quiet as it searched my former abode, and when it deemed it empty, it returned the same way it came. Only when the sounds were distant did I dare to move. I decided that my only way of escape was through the window and I searched for anything to make a rope out of. I searched other cells too, though I avoided the locked ones in fear of making any sounds that would attract the monster to me. I gathered all the cloth I could find and managed a rope that I hoisted out the window. It seemed to reach all the way down and I did not hesitate to throw myself out into the world. It had started to rain, which made the climb more difficult, but I was in high spirit, when, from the window, a figured stared down at me. A moment later, I held onto nothing and I was falling, along with my makeshift rope.

They say that your life flashes before your eyes before you die. I can say with certainty that this is true, and as mine did I no longer feared death and accepted my fate.


© Christopher Stamfors

Art by ChrisCold

A Mother’s Passing – Very Short Story

I remember vividly the time before my mother’s death; everything seemed fine as we were touring the beautiful Linnaean Garden when mother suddenly started to cough violently – becoming pale as the cough persisted. There had been a recent outbreak of the White Plague, at the time, which was why we rushed to the doctor as fast as we could. But there was nothing that could be done and she died a few months later.

I never thought that I would recover from her death, and I suppose you never do altogether as you find yourself crying in bed many years later. My father did not aid me in my grief as he hid away in his study rather than confronting reality. I believe it was because of him that I conquered my sadness as I was forced to take on the responsibilities he neglected, such as household finances. But, as it was his money, I could do nothing to prevent him from doing frivolous purchases, mostly books of different kinds that I rather not describe for fear of scrutiny. He was very secretive about his studies and he wouldn’t let me on what his purpose was, even if he had one.

One day, he used all of his savings and bought a house out in the country, in the wilderness to the north. His reasons were that our home reminded him too much of my late mother and distracted him from whatever he was doing. I didn’t want to forget about mother, but I saw new light in my father’s eyes and I didn’t want to take that away from him so I went along, young and unmarried as I was.

The house was very big, bigger than one might expect so far from civilization. There was a small village beside it which harbored no more than a couple hundred people. I remember them looking strangely at us as we passed in our carriage to our new home, their gazes were almost blank which sent shivers down my spine. The inside of the house was rather murky, as one would be expected of such an old building. Father spent the remainder of his money to restore it to its former glory and I have to admit, when the renovations were done, I grew to like our new home.

The villagers weren’t at all as creepy as they seemed, as well, as they were mostly reserved because we were outsiders; or more specifically, “rich” outsiders, which we incidentally were no longer. We were more or less broke and we ate very sparsely to sustain ourselves. I was content, for a time, until father began to act strangely. He began to speak ill of me and was very destructive when things didn’t go his way. His behaviour worsened as time went on and it was apparent that he was searching for something that he couldn’t find. He destroyed the floorboard, in several places, and dug beneath the foundation, and when he couldn’t find what he was looking for, he came after the villagers.

He was very condescending towards them, when he spoke, and I was impressed how the villagers contained their anger, or perhaps they simply didn’t care what my father thought of them? In any case, it became clear I could not live under these circumstances and I made my escape. It was many years later that I returned to the house, but I found it was yet again abandoned. The villagers pertained ignorance of my father’s whereabouts, of course. Though I wouldn’t have blamed them if they were somehow responsible for his disappearance. In my mind, father died the moment my mother did.


© Christopher Stamfors

The Siege – Very Short Story

His breath was heavy as Karl stumbled down a hill, with branches whipping his face through the thicket. Hoarse voices echoed his surroundings and men rushed down beside him. Karl grit his teeth as blood trickled from a gash on his forehead into his eye, turning the world red around him. But he carried on, even as men without breath fell along the way. At the base of the hill, the reached the banks of a river and Karl fell on his knees in the soft sand and wheezed. For a moment, there was nothing but him and the roaring river. But the serenity faded as battered men stormed out of the woods and feel to their knees in the sand.

Karl rubbed the blood off his face with his sleeve and the gash stung painfully. Other pains (wounds he’d not noticed) surged as his body rested and exhaustion crept over him. Karl looked at the men around him, recognising nobody.

None of his friends had survived…

Embers float near their faces and Karl jerked his head around and stared at the raging fire that burned their homes up on the hill. A tear tricked and he shivered; the man next to him cursed into the air, another stared blankly at nothing – their grief expressed in a multitude of ways.

Then, somebody shouted.

“For the Turda!”

Then there was a gurgle and blood coursing over the man’s chest that puddled the sand. The men looked at each other with hard expressions. No words were uttered, and they drew their knives, placing the egg of the blade at their throats.

Death on our own terms, Karl thought, and did the same with a trembling hand. He fumbled with it, and as the roars of the fire and the coursing of the river drowned every other noise, men on horses burst out of the thicket, trampling a man next to him. One of the men, furthest from the woods, stood and roared, bolting towards one of the riders. With an inch to spare, he dodged the blade that came for his head and he dragged the rider off his horse. They both fell on the sand, and he pierced the gap in the armour of their enemy, mercilessly stabbing until he was decapitated by another rider. All this, Karl saw as he huddled near the woods, unseen.

One after the other, his comrades fell while they downed more than a few of the riders in the process. But Karl could not move, seeing the madness of death anew, he wanted to live. He looked to the river, and without hesitation, he threw himself into the water. He sank quickly and he reached desperately around himself to remove his chest armour, but it was no use. Death drew nearer and he stared up at the surface. Bodies sank around him with the fire in the background, turning the night into orange. Blood trailed as his comrades sank to the bottom – their eyes wide and fiery.

He would not be able to face them in the underworld.


© Christopher Stamfors

Featured image by ChrisCold

Chilly Night – Poetry Story

Through the darkness and the cold,

the house creaked through the winter storm

And on the driveway, in this winter’s night, a couple emerged

Banging on the door, trying to get inside

The door opened, without a sound

Only their footsteps echoed through an empty house

They search the home, to find it abandoned

Nothing else was living, for centuries uncaring.

 

Dust caked on the floor and the wind howled through the ceiling

A perfect place for ghosts and other unsavoury beings

But the couple didn’t believe in ghost and creatures of the night

So they find the place comfortable enough,

it beats the air this chilly night.

 

They slept sweetly on a makeshift bed.

Thank god they left the master’s room untread

 

They sleep through the night, everything was fine.

But as they awoken, the woman found something’s not right.

Cold and blue was the eyes of her mate

Frozen to the bone, there was nothing to reanimate

Her scream echoed in the dusty hall

The Master would have his call

Where nothing remained

Even in thaw


© Christopher Stamfors

Featured image by ChrisCold

Walking Fear – Very Short Story

The mist churned on the paved street, engulfing the road until their was nothing but misty fog beneath our feet. People rushed inside their homes and barred the doors – like always when the moon was full. Was there ever a time when the mist was seen as nothing more than force of nature? When the imaginary mind could conjure the illusion of drifting high above the clouds as the mist was thick and all encompassing?

To my knowledge, this had never been the case, for my grandfather told what his grandfather had told – the chain of eternal past bounding us to this place. But grandfather also spoke of other things most adults forget in their elder years. He told of times when priests roamed the land, when they cast blessings of rhymes upon the houses and soothed the dead to their eternal rest. But time had not been kind to the people of Aeru as the forebears of those ancient rhymes was long gone and had never returned. Indeed, those without family ties – no matter how ancient – had left the country and now only those bound by the past is tormented by it.

I remember, at one of those nights, when resting my head on my mother’s lap as we cowered on the floor in the cellar with my two sisters beside me. My father had been slow to secure the door, that night, and he was still on the first floor when the mist came. I glanced at the window to my right where the mist seeped onto the floor. My mother turned my head from it and buried my face into her gown, for it is said that gazing on the terrible will terrible wrought!

But a young mind does not heed such words, curiosity, more than anything, occupies ones thoughts. So with worry for my father, and anxiety in sitting still, I did not listen to my mother’s warnings and left her lap and stood by the stairs where the sounds of the terrible hitting our neighbours doors reverberated through the streets. But somehow, ours was quite. Mother looked in terror and beckoned me back, but I could not leave it as it was, as I had never known true fright. In my naivety and belief in my own strength, I headed upstairs. Mother, too frightened to move, and concern for my sisters, remained on the floor. On the top floor, I saw our door, that ought to be secured, stood ajar, and there was no sight of my father.

The sounds, that had been vivid before, was now silent, yet the mist crept into our home. Through the opening in the door, I peeked out on the street and saw only white mist, and black figures standing about. At the centre of the shapeless black stood another figure, his arms flailing as if in distress – still, no sounds were heard. My first reaction was the towns folk had somehow braved their fears and gathered on the street, expelling the evil. So I approached fearless, but as I drew closer, my mind began to swirl, as if the mist itself made my head lighter and I saw one of the figures turned to me and looked with hollow eyes upon me. Despite his horrible visage, I felt no fear, as I noticed its moustache twirling in familiar loops of my grandfather.

I remembered nothing after this and I am now in my elder years. I don’t know if it is blessing or a curse when the mist draws over us, for though it hides what we don’t want to see, it mystifies it and makes it more horrible as our minds make up what isn’t there.

My father did return to us and he spoke as if he’d brought the past to the present for he spoke of things we had long ceased to believe and we now make homage to the dead and the dead has stayed in the ground ever since. But the mist would forever be associated by eerie gloom and people would still refuse to go about at night, except my father, who preferred the night’s best and he chanted the rhymes that kept evil away until his death of age. Now I bear the torch and I lull the dead, alone as the mystic, the priest, and the insane.


© Christopher Stamfors

Featured image by ChrisCold

Ancient Menace – Poem

The dimly lit cave failed to illuminate the walls around it – only the white bones showing clearly the gaping jaw and teeth of the monstrous beast. Frozen in time.

Images of blazing fire spewing from its mouth entered my mind, for what else could it be but a dragon? Horns sticking out of its skull, and eyes cold and dead, as they would be in life.

Some of the skin still stuck to the beast’s jaws, half decomposed and menacing. Smaller bones lay scattered around it; the remains of humans piling onto each other. Its meal fully digested, and terrifying, even in death.


Inspiration taken from ChrisCold on DeviantArt

 

I Demand Satisfaction! – Poem

Face me you coward!

Show me your true colours so that I may strike you down with vengeance you deserve

The law standing in my way

My consciousness freezing my hand by the hilt

Yet my heart yearning for satisfaction

What good is kindness when the person I value the most is gone?

I need your blood

please give it to me…

And I’ll give you mine

Thank Ye God for the Gift of Death – Very Short Story

The hill rose before them as they struggled on the rain-soaked field. Mud cluttered against their shoes, weighing down their already tired legs.

He panted heavily and he could feel his throat drying up, despite the humidity in the air. 

The wind blew across his face and foul stench filled his nostrils, making him snort in disgust.

He glanced at a cart next to him and saw an arm dangled by the edge, wobbling as the cart was dragged up the hill. The white bone on the dead man’s hand was contrasted by grey-green colour of rotten flesh. He shuddered at the thought of the meat being gnawed off by some rodent.

Staring in fascination at the white bone, he rubbed his own fingers against each other, wondering if he looked the same inside. Suddenly, a cough escaped him, making him stagger. While trying to keep in line with the rest, he rubbed the snot clear from his lips.

He could taste iron in his mouth and he stopped abruptly. As he did, a man cursed at him, from behind for holding up the line. Ignoring the man, he lowered his head and looked at his sleeve, a black-red liquid streaked along the cloth. His heart sank as he looked at it.

With his head still bent, He glanced around. Wherever he looked, glowering eyes, tense with terror, stared at him.

“No! No, stay away from me,” he roared as they tried to grab him by his cloak.

A sharp pain struck the back of his head and he fell to his knees. His senses swam and a second blow darkened his vision. 

Awoken by his head throbbing, his vision swirled as he opened his eyes again and flares of light covered his sight. He clenched his fist, trying to rise, but a cold moist goo stuck between his fingers and made him slip. With a blurry vision, he looked at his hand; white maggots crawled from the goo between his fingers. 

He let out a scream but only air came out as he lost his breath when the cart abruptly stopped. Suddenly, the cart dipped and he was sliding with the dead bodies off the cart.

Falling over the edge he stared up into the sky as rotten body parts fell all around him.

While falling, his vision cleared for a moment and he could see an eagle soar by the clouds.

The eagle let out a screech and he grabbed after it in desperation, his mind still dizzy and unaccepting of his imminent death.


Thank you Rokuro-sama for providing the art

© Christopher Stamfors