Curious Gaze – Very Short Story

In the woods, along the river Great, there was a cottage far from any other homes. The forest was dark, with deep chasms and gnarly roots growing in a patchwork of threads, and nobody would set foot in these parts. Yet there the cottage lay, lonely from any curious gaze; which was how they liked it. In this home, there lived three witches, and their powers were only rivalled by themselves, for they had passion in what they did – to outdo the other – and surely, there was none more passionate than they.

They knew secrets about the world (and others yet conceived by any other) and they loved to outdo one another in their spells. Puffs of green and red would spark in the night, for nighttime was the only time for magic, they often said. At day, the world was as it has always been – it is what we all see. But at night, it is different, and many secrets can be found where normal people don’t look. And normal, they were not, at least not in the eyes of one man; a straggler that had wandered poorly, taking paths he thought he knew – moving against common sense towards the witches hut.

At first, the puffs of colours had sparked his amaze! And without knowing its source and intent, all he saw was the beauty that was manifested. But as he got closer, seeing now the cottage in its dilapidated glory, shabby, and part of nature, he heard the cackles of the three witches as they congratulated one another on another successful spell. But their congrats were only half sincere, for they were proud beings and they would do better than the other and show who had the greatest powers. Though his heart new the voice only spelt trouble, he moved forward for he had not listened to his senses from the very beginning, why start now? It was not hard to get closer unnoticed, for though the witches were powerful, they were not without fault. They did not expect any strangers to brave their forest, much less approach, thus they expected none.

The man, now trembling, peeked through the glassless window, showing as little of his face as he could, and gazed only with one curious eye. The inside was as dark as the forest, but every now and again, when puffs of colours engulfed the room, he could make out what the witches looked like. At first, he had a clear picture of their countenances, resembling more that of a rat and hog than a human being. But in other moments, and between spells, their faces were different and they laughed in their cackling ways as they outdid one another.

“Good, good,” one of them said, only immediately to supersede the other by a motion of her hand and a few choice words. PUFF! The colours sparked, and their faces were different anew. Indeed, the entire inside was not as it were before, but a burning landscape of charcoal trees and panicked animals skittering! The witches laughed and peered at their making, delighted in what they saw. But the man who had seen all of it, his nerves finally broke and he sent out a shriek as if his very flesh was burning of his bones. But as he lost his grip on the wooden frame, he landed in the grass and felt the cool wind blow against his face. The cottage was again lifeless and part of nature. But it was also silent, as if though none was ever there.

Indeed it might as well be, for the man did not recall what he had seen. He tried hard to recollect but as he came out blank, he began to wander home, whichever way he thought was right. But within just a few steps, he crashed into a tree on the left part of his face. He was baffled, how had he missed the giant tree? He felt upon his left eye, the very same he had spied upon the witches, to only find a hollow where the eye should have been. A spark of pain shot through him, for though his mind was lacking, his body recalled, and he listened for once to his senses and ran as fast, and as far away as he could, leaving once more the witches to practice their craft without any curious gaze. 


© Christopher Stamfors

Artwork by ChrisCold

Tools of Escape – Very Short Story

I try not to look at their faces as they gathered around me. It was difficult to imagine that they once were living people with fire in their souls. Now their eyes were vacant and could fixate on nothing anymore. Their skin was white as snow… They were most certainly dead. I question, at times, whether they had once been alive at all; whether they were born soulless. But these are just thoughts to ease my mind – makes it easier to look at them, to use them.

The device was strange. I found it along my route and it was a headgear that made ‘my’ movement ‘theirs.’ They mimic it exactly. I will not lie, I had sacrificed more than a few. I had crushed them because of my mistakes; tumbled them into the abyss and burned them into cinder; all for the goal of my escape.

I do not believe they are capable of drowning…

Those unscathed will stay here, frozen, until a new master arrives, or, more likely, until the end of time. I’m not even sure why I struggle. Where am I going? What hope is there for me beyond?

Survival is all on my mind. I won’t give up. I will die before they catch me.


© Christopher Stamfors

Lost Soul – Very Short Story

It was dark, really dark. There were grey metal walls surrounding me. There was equipment… What were they again? I did something with them – once… Yes! It’s the hydraulics, and, that… that’s for the cannons! The cannons… Wait…

I looked around myself again, saw a hole in the wall. The hole was contrasted by the total blackness around me and I peered out. A large shadowy figured dashed by and I staggered back into the dark.

When I regained my bearings I thought: there were more of us… I turned my head upward and shouted. “Guys? Where are you?!”

As I ran blindly along the corridors I wondered: what were their names again?

I reached a set of stairs and hurried down. Why was it so dark? There was this one guy… James was his name. He — He introduced me to Mary!

Mary…

My heart raced as I pictured her. Suddenly the metal around me creaked. I wasn’t safe here. I have to reach the surface… Where is everyone?

The boat creaked again and my footing tilted to the left. We were sinking!

I rushed upwards, stopping momentarily to shout down the corridors in case anyone else was left but there was no answer.

As I made my way higher, I saw some light above and I hurried my steps. The higher I climbed the brighter it became. Then, the ship creaked ones more and it became ever darker as we sank. No… No! I cried, but there was no use and soon there was only the void.

The ship touched the seafloor softly and spurt sand all around. I saw nothing around me but I knew then that I was dead. My breath was gone as no air would escape my lungs. I had truly been left alone… Why?

As I pondered, things changed around me; the clear grey metal became murky; all manners of creatures swarmed and installed themselves in their new habitat. Life was abundant, but I took no notice as I pondered my fate. Then, after some time, I saw a light coming closer. They were two shining bright eyes that stared right at me. It stopped and inspected me. Could it see me?

I moved closer and saw two men huddling inside the bright-eyed creature. I looked curiously at them but they didn’t stay for long and search another end of the wreckage. When I was alone once more, a yearning stirred in my heart. I needed to go back… I set forth into the unknown dark waters until there was darkness no more but her lovely scent and her hand in mine.

She scolded me for making her wait this long.


© 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

How the First Day was Born – Very Short Story

On the street we crowded, staring upward at a tower. We huddled with our loved ones. There was darkness all around, even the heavens was black. The girl in my arms shivered, the woman behind me, her teeth they clattered, and the man beside, he murmured, his breath felt upon the vapour.

Then, a small glimmer shone through a slither, in the cracks of the wall of the tower. The glimmer moved higher and higher, disappearing and reappearing as it moved upwards. We kept our eyes on her, and when the light reached the top, we saw our Godess in all her beaming light, sharing her glory upon us.

The light it spread all over the city. The dirt, that was black, turned brown. The clothes, that were grey, turned white. I saw the face around me. Our tears they glimmered and our bodies fumed. The warmth of her rays buckled us and we crumbled in the dirt.

She stretched out her arms, and in a single breath, we could see her no more but a blur of everlasting glory that illuminate everything. And so did a thousand years of darkness end, and the first day was born. 


© Christopher Stamfors

Art by: ChrisCold

This was a snippet (or a concept) from a Novel that I’ve been tinkering with for some time. It’s a fantasy with a creation story and I hope you enjoy!

Fame – Very Short Story

The bar was dark and dreary. The chairs and tables were almost full, and there was no music, as far as Joseph could tell. He couldn’t even hear the conversation on the table next to him, only managing snippets of words that didn’t make sense. His companion, a man named Robert, sat across to him. He was a thinly man, with a tortured expression. It always infuriated Joseph when he saw his friend, who by any measure should be as happy as could be. Joseph heaved the last of his drink, grabbed the waiter, and ordered another round. As the beer made short work of the string around his tongue, he said. “I don’t get you. You have everything you could ever want; fame, money, people like you. Why would you still be gloomy?”

Robert raised his head, for the first time in a while. He looked confused, as if his mind had been somewhere else and was rudely drawn back to the present by Josephs words. “Would you believe me if I said fame is a curse?”

“No,” Joseph replied.

“I thought so…” Robert said and took a sip of his drink.

There was silence between them and Joseph stroke his beard, like he often did when deep in thought, trying to understand what his friend was thinking. When he failed, he shook his head. “You are the most humble man I ever known. Fame hasn’t changed you one bit.”

Robert smiled ruefully. “I suppose you are right.”

Joseph eyed his friend, growing angrier and angrier as the beer flowed. Then, at the 7th drink, he calmed and instead pitied his friend who had found no joy in his accomplishments; accomplishments that he himself desperately sought.

“If fame is such a curse, why don’t you just end it all? Make a joke about the queen, that should do the trick.”

Robert smiled at that, a genuine smile that turned sour as quickly as it had emerged. “Vanity.”

“What?”

“Vanity is what keeps me from doing it. I had thought of it, of course, though, not necessarily in the way you suggested. I’ll keep that in mind, though,” he said with a smile.”

If any other man had made such a remark, Joseph would have assumed he was fastidious, but he knew his friend’s mind was pure, naive, even. He was a child when it came to his friends, dangerously honest, which also made him pleasant to be around. It was why Joseph valued his friendship.

“So even you have sin. I thought it was just your characters.”

Robert quirked his mouth and he looked with dreary eyes at his friend. “Oh my dear Joseph, where do you think my characters come from?” he said and pointed to his head.

There was an eerie feeling the way he said it and Joseph did not bring up the subject again. After a few more beers, the night came to an end, and they went their separate ways. It was dark and gloomy, the street lights shone dimly from age. To his right, there was a bookstore and a window that showcased the latest works. His friend’s book were among them.

Joseph stared at the cover and it made him shiver. The artist had really encapsulated the essence of Roberts story, he thought. Joseph turned and peered beside him, as if expecting somebody to emerge from the dark.

Anyone has a little darkness inside of them, hopefully, it stays in there…


© Christopher Stamfors​

Art by ChrisCold

A Dragon’s Curse – Very Short Story

When I was a child, my friend and I would often swim in the local lake that was a fair distance from any village. It would take us over an hour to walk there, but it was worth it, for even in the hottest summer the water would be cool and refreshing. There was a reason why nobody had ever built near that lake, or made use of it in any way, and that reason begins with a tale:

Once upon a time, there was a great dragon that made this land his own. The dragon had always been here and he enjoyed the domination over the land. But for centuries, man had grown and spread across the continent, eventually coming to the dragon’s domain. The people sought the land for it was beautiful and bountiful but the dragon would have no trespassers. Among the people, there was one knowledgeable in magic, and he crafted a magical spearhead that would be able to penetrate the dragon’s scales.

But who would dare come close enough to hurl the spear at the monster? This is where the story gets muddy and there are many names for the hero that threw the magic spear. But no matter the version, the dragon was always killed. On his last breath, the dragon put a curse his own body as he crashed into the lake, making it plague ridden and putrid. Such goes the tale which all in the area takes to heart. However, the age of superstition is past us and a new era of science have begun! We knew this already as children, thus we dismissed this tale.

Alas, my friend and I grew healthy into our adult years (even though we swam in the cursed lake), and we would return upon our childhood lands, riding in what would be the ultimate proof of the change of times!

Soaring across the sky, we sailed the current with what they called a Hot Air Balloon. People gasped as we passed and we waved at them, passing many places me and friend often played. It was humbling to see the view of the lowlands which we’d grown up, a view no man had ever seen, except the dragon himself!

As we closed in on the lake, hidden in the wilderness, we saw nothing man made, only unspoiled virgin land. The water was still and dark. We were unable to see anything below the surface, and as we sailed away I saw something at the corner of my eye. There was a shimmer, not that of the sun reflecting on water, but a clear, single red glare in the darkest depths of the lake.

I stared at the light, and it seemed as if it stared back, glaring at me. Suddenly, my legs barely held me up and my mind was swirling. A voice echoed in my head. “Ye who has not suffered upon my curse shall bare witness to the folly of man.”

Then, the voice stopped and my mind became clear once more. My friend stooped over me and wondered what had happened, but I could not tell because I didn’t know myself. Had I succumbed the so called Altitude Sickness which they warned? Or had the voice really been there, warning me of a great evil set on man?

We landed in a nearby town, a few hours later. It was not my hometown, thankfully, for chaos would soon ensue. A sickness ravaged the town which forced us to flee. But even as we came to the next town over and the next after that, the disease would follow us and soon the bodies piled on each other. I didn’t want to believe it, and only when my best friend caught the ailment did I face the reality of those words the dragon had spoken.

He died shortly after.

I knew then that man cannot hope to look to the future without understanding its past, of that I am certain and living memory. I write these last words as I will end my life in the darkness of the greatest ravines and on the highest mountains, hoping that nobody will find my remains which carries the Dragon’s Curse.


© Christopher Stamfors​

Art by ChrisCold

 

Death Comes Silently – Very Short Story

Tension was high as James and his men skulked along the undergrowth. The air was thick and hard to breathe; and they had to be careful not to sink their entire feet into the soggy earth lest their shoes would disappear into the mud. He and his unit had become lost along the offensive and all contact between them and the main force had been lost. Despite sending many scouts to find their way, nobody returned and the soldiers were getting nervous.

Talks of them being surrounded circulate among the men and nobody dared to go anywhere unless they were in sight of the others. It was pointless to send anymore to their deaths and rather than risking going even deeper into enemy territory, he decided to dig in and wait for relief. They found a hill which they fortified as well as they could, giving them view over the endless forest jungle. James wanted to scream out in frustration, but he couldn’t; he was an officer, and an officer could never complain, at least when his men saw, which was always.

The air was particularly still that night. James was used to deafening sounds of the jungle, at night; the bellowing monkeys, the shrieking birds and the endless buzzing of thousands of different insect species. They had become but a hiss in his ears, unnecessary sounds they wouldn’t aid his survival. But in their absence, there was something ghostly about the jungle. James couldn’t fully relax that night, though he heard his men snore and whisper.

Though being cautious was a virtue in war, James was but a man and he soon succumbed on the dry floor of the officer’s tent. He’d never liked beds, or anything soft, for that matter. Perhaps he’d been born a soldier, definitely not meant for modern conveniences. His eyes and ears were keen and his men depended on him, like a guard dog, which was another layer of responsibility on top of the commanding one. It was as if he was the hound and the human, at the same time.

His eyes felt heavy and he was near blissful unconsciousness, when he heard muffled voices at his ear. Are they crazy? Talking so loud on enemy turf?! But as he rose to tell his men off, the muffled voices vanished. He stared at the ground for a moment, not wanting to believe, but as his ear reached on the ground anew, he heard the muffled speech of the enemy.

And before he could shout out a warning, there was already an explosion and gunfire. Bullets whined through the tent, ricocheting on his canteen and then, a burning at his throat. James stumbled out of the tent only to fall with blood rising through his mouth. The last thing heard was the screams of the men and those that tried to bring order to the chaos.

It didn’t take long before the cries silenced and the animals and the crickets returned to their usual calls…


© Christopher Stamfors

Ocean Depths – Very Short Story

I swam alone in the vastness of the ocean, where there were neither reef nor island to orient me. But I didn’t need any direction for there was only one path that I chose, and it was down. The water was calm as I dove as far as I was able, struggling with the forces that pushed me back to the surface.

As I did, a wall of flesh graced my hand and I knew it was the beast I was looking for. With a hook, I cut into the creature’s skin and I was immediately pulled along with it. The creature was too massive to notice such a tiny pin, and as it reached deeper waters, it dove straight down.

I struggled to keep on from its awesome power, but I was determined to reach the bottom and I held on. For an hour I struggled until I was pulled no more and could loosen my grip on the hook. The surrounding was dark, impregnably so, and I would have seen nothing at all hadn’t a light source blessed my journey. Beside me, a small coral-like creature illuminated the depths and cover the skin of the giant creature, making it glow in a marvelous light! Indeed, the light was so strong that I saw the seabed below which I scanned with a skittering heart.

But all that I saw was muddy sand; dead and colorless; plain and flat, as far as I could see. My journey would have ended there hadn’t the creature moved once more, dragging me along the wasteland. I searched, of course, for any signs of life, but as I found none, my heart sank and I considered letting go and let the current take me wherever.

But then, the creature dove even further.

Deeper I went until it stopped suddenly. It did not move for a long while and as I lay floating thousands of miles under the sea, the water became dark. One after another, the coral was dying and I knew then the massive creature was dead. There was no way of turning back, nor was there any use to continue my search without a lightsource, and I became complacent with my fate. I slowly sank with the giant creature onto the seabed to let the creatures of the depths have their due course on my flesh.


© Christopher Stamfors

 

The Father-in-law – Very Short Story

Richard was a simple man. He wanted nothing more than to spend time with his newly wedded wife in peace and quiet. But soon after the marriage, his father-in-law turned ill and Jessica (his wife) visited him every day at the hospital. Richard told her every day that he wished he could be there with her, but he didn’t really mean it. The old man was shrewd. He was a business tycoon with a large conglomerate who always wore a blank expression on his face. It was impossible to tell what he was thinking. Richard supposed that’s why the old man was so successful, because he was ruthless. Richard recalled the first time they met. He couldn’t prove it was the old man that started the fire but every time since, there had been small disasters whenever they came to visit. And Richard began to fear the old man was a sociopath…

Because of this, the first few years with Jessica was the most stressful time of his life. Which was why Richard wished, no matter how morbid it seemed, that the old man would stay at the hospital for a long while. But the time of calmness would last longer than he thought for the old man suddenly passed away. Richard felt guilty for his ill wishes, but he couldn’t bring himself to be sad at the old man’s passing. There was only pity towards his wife, who was devastated, even though she didn’t show it. She had her fathers same expressionless face.

At the sermon, the priest was talking on and on about heaven and hell. Richard thought the concept to be silly. If there was a hell, the old man was surely dancing with the other demons as one of them. Afterwards, they came to the law firm to hear the old man’s will. There was only the two of them, which Richard thought strange. He knew for a fact the old man had other living relatives. What were their names again? Bianca, Beatrice? As he tried to recall, the lawyer read from the will which stated that all his worldly possessions, and the control of the company, would go to Richard. Richard’s jaw hit the floor. It must be some kind of joke. But the lawyer’s expression was without humour and as Richard turned to his wife, she smiled graciously.

“Congratulations,” she said.

They didn’t linger at the office and they didn’t speak on their way home, at least he thought they were on their way home, but instead, they pulled up at the company.

“What are we doing here?” Richard said, still bewildered.

“It’s time to claim your right,” she said and exited the car.

“Wait, what? Now?” he said and followed her.

She walked briskly through the building with him on her tail. All the staff greeted her respectfully. They all seemed to know her and Richard thought it odd that nobody tried to stop them, as if they were expected. They turned several times into different hallways and the building seemed to go on endlessly. After a long while, they reached a dimly lit corridor and they stopped at a large steel door. Two burly men were guarding it. They looked at Jessica, nodded and stepped aside and let them in. The room was even darker than the corridor, with only few lights on the walls. Jessica walked confidently, as if she’d been here many times before. Eventually they reached another room. There were about a dozen people in there and they all rose when she entered.

“Welcome, ma’am,” they said without acknowledging Richard.

Richard was about to ask what was going on when there was a dull bang on the wall. The wall was hit rapidly for a few moments until it stopped. Everyone had stood frozen during the duration and then returned to their seats.

“You must be confused,” Jessica said.

“That’s a word for it.”

She smiled. “You mustn’t think ill of my father. He never did anything out of sadistic enjoyment, but towards a goal. A goal that would benefit humankind.”

“How does making my life miserable benefit humankind?”

“I’m sure you were aware that he put you through many tests, and the fact that you became his sole heir is proof that you have what it takes to carry on his legacy.”

Richard couldn’t believe what he was hearing, those small disasters were tests? Richard wanted to be furious, but the fact that he’d passed those tests, stroked his ego and he let the matter rest. “Ahem… even if that was true, what did he hope to accomplish?”

She smiled, ruefully. “Father never told this to anyone outside our family, but when he was young, his father murdered his mother in a drunken rage. They never knew why he did it and it was a question that my father had battled with for his entire life. What makes people turn evil? He never got the answer from his father before his passing, but he never gave up on finding the answer. He gathered riches and talented people for the task, however, they could never find a human test subject without breaking the law. It was important for him everything was within the realm of legality.”

Richard was tempted to make a snarky comment on the fact that they were situated in a secret facility but stayed his tongue and listened on.

“When father learned that he wouldn’t survive the illness, the decision was simple,” she said and made a motion with her hand. The metal wall rose slowly, revealing another room. Richard moved forward and felt a glass wall that separated him from the blackness on the other side. From the darkness, a set of teeth flung at his face and he staggered and fell backwards. The creature squirmed midair for a moment, like a leech with arms and legs, until it disappeared into the void once more.

Richard remained frozen on the floor. “What was that?!”

“A demon. Father’s demon, to be exact.”

“D-Demon?”

“We all have one, Father knew. This one is small but that is to be expected. Father wasn’t an evil man,” she said and tried to help him up.

But Richard remained seated and stared into the void. “Demons doesn’t exist,” he said.

“Really, then what did you just see?”

Richard tried to come up with any number of possibilities, but he couldn’t picture any creature of the size that he saw. “Still… a Demon? Like the Christian one?” He asked.

“Call it what you will, but this is what came out of my father and, I don’t deny certain ‘Christian’ rituals were used. Among other things…”

Richard couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Did that mean there was a Heaven and Hell? The very thought struck him with a paralysing fear. She tried to help him up again but he wouldn’t move. He was eventually ignored and people stirred around him, doing things and saying things he was only partly aware of. Suddenly, there was a scream and people scurried and shouted around him. One tried to grab his arm but he remained anchored on the floor. Then, everything went quiet. A set of tiny feet walked up to him and as he looked up he was greeted by a huge grin. Saliva and blood dripped from its teeth.

His last thoughts were for a proper curse for the old man.

He wasn’t able to finish.


© Christopher Stamfors


I challenged a friend to do a Horror story set in Victorian England with the limit of 1000 words. He returned the favour and this story was the result. He didn’t stipulate a word limit, but, he gave me three guidelines that I had to follow:

1: A Married Person

2: Engaged in an enterprise and becoming involved with the occult and the fantastic

3: Reverses certain opinions when their fallacy is revealed

You can read his story, HERE. I wholeheartedly recommend it!