To Hunt a Demon – Very Short Story

The wind rose to a storm. Rain drummed on his armour, soaking the clothes underneath. His eyes were heavy, and his body sluggish, as they walked on the paved dark, street. They had been up for many hours that night. They had trained for the danger they sought, the enemy that always lurked in the slums. He recalled the time of his boyhood when screams of anguish echoed through the night. Nobody would come to save them then. He thanked the stars when he proved himself and was able to join the army, only to curse them again when he realised which unit he’d end up with… The beast was rare outside the slums and he had prayed, morbidly, that it would stay there within his lifetime.

He spat on the ground and clutched his halberd tightly, determined to survive the night. 

Their unit was split into groups of four; too few for what they were hunting, he thought, but he had no say in the matter and followed his captain away from the others. At least he felt a bit safer when they were forced into a line on the narrow alley. He was at the centre with one man behind him and two in front.

He glanced up at the dark windows. Nobody would be out this night, not until their job was done. Earlier they had been surprised by a cat that had sprung from the shadows. They had to kill the poor thing, their nerves on edge. They reached the end of the alley and they stopped. Street Light shone in the distance but they did not look directly at it to preserve their poor night vision. The beast could not be heard or smelled, and when it was seen it was often too late.

It boggled his mind that man had made it this far into creation with their poor senses. Perhaps they really were protected by God? He said a short prayer beneath his breath that he recalled from childhood. He thanked his grandmother for teaching it. After some hesitation, the squad leader stepped into the open and left the alley. He had barely gone a few feet out into the open before he was flung away, his body arching through the air. It took a moment before he crashed loudly in the dark somewhere, his armour hitting the pavement. The light turned suddenly dark and the men screamed; some in defiance, others in fear. He was silent. Weapons were drawn and swung wildly. He felt himself being struck over his shoulder, then on his back. His knees buckled from the pain until he felt a force on his head and everything went black.

He awoke many hours later with a throbbing head. It was daytime and people murmured from the windows, keeping their distance. Around him, the mangled bodies of his comrades lay scattered. He slid in the blood as he tried to stand. When the people saw that he was alive, they swarmed on him, knives high. Everyone knew what happened to survivors after the beast’s attack.


© 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