In May, I wrote a post giving you guys two pictures and asked you to write me a scary short story.
Well, you didn’t disappoint. I’ve picked out the ones I liked and without further ado, (and in no particular order), I give you the first one by brilliant writer, Nigel Blackwell.
The Eye of Death
I watched her walk in the mist, up the hill from the pub, light steps, tight clothes, curves that screamed for testosterone’s attention, and her whole body lithe with life. If fair was fair in this world, it would have been a life that were mine, because well I knew her, but life ain’t fair.
It was the hook that did it. One minute I was watching it swing, maneuvering giant buckets for it to collect, ducking as it came by, covering my ears as it crashed into the lifting ring, and watching as it vaulted a ton of scrap metal high into the air, as easy as birds lift worms, winching it away to smelt in the furnace in that place of fire and iron and darkness, a place where men spoke in grunts and spit.
It weren’t a place for girls, especially ones with long, coal dark hair and skin paler than lime, not ones with skirts black, all tighter than tight and shorter than short on legs that were longer than long. No, it weren’t a place for them, but she were there. Radiant, dazzling, and winking at me. And I winked back. I took me eye off the hook, I did, an’ the hook took me eye off o’ me.
It swung back, lazy and smooth. Right into my eye. A hundred pounds of iron, twisted to a point and cast, fishing for my eye, its tip squeezing easy through the jelly, spearing my skull, stabbing out the back, cracking open my eye socket, sweeping me backwards, upwards, hanging me by me skull. I grabbed and pulled and yanked at the chain, lifting myself by pathetic inches from that godless scythe. I balled my lungs, ripping at my throat, near tearing out my voice box.
The hook arced me down, back to where I had stood; only not standing but legs thrashing crazy, hands clenching the hook, and concrete unmoving. My left foot snapped clean off, my right leg speared straight up, bones ripping soft organs, tearing open my lungs, leaving me wet rasps or nothing. My flesh and bones were tossed to the furnace’s pig iron river. I were naught bar a flame and a flash, and gone, but they buried me proper. Not there were much left to put in the ground.
That were then, see, and now’s now, and now she were not in that place, she were in mine, my yard, my graveyard.
Through she walked, crashing the gate, kicking the gravel, singing loud. Bad singing. The tonelessness of alcohol and pub songs half remembered. But that were good, not the singing of course, I ain’t stupid, but the alcohol, that were good. Good for her.
She staggered to the stones that ringed the yard and passed for a wall. Over she went, legs in the air and tight skirt tightening before she took pity on the heartbeats of men unseen, an’ smoothed it back into place.
Her heels sank in the cloying grass and suckling ground. Her head picked up, hearing the noise, same as I heard, a roaring of exhaust and a crashing of gears, a lorry straining up the hill. Not just any lorry, the big one from old Sawbuck’s yard, the one for towing, towing with a hook, a heavy hook. He was late from a job, like always. He’d be fast, like always. He’d have one headlight out, like always. And he’d turn at the corner of my yard, turn by the lane to her home.
She made it to the road, her singing forgotten and her arms out to keep from falling. The tarmac was firm to her heel and she swept across its glistening blackness, its white line, its potent danger, and over to the other side.
Sawbuck’s headlight clawed up the hill, close now, splashing left and right, drunk like she. It took a bend with a squeal of tire, the old man pushing to get home, just like she.
Her arms went out again and her toes poked forward, testing her shoes and her weight and her balance on the mud of her lane beyond the road.
The roaring came upon us, tarmac shining in myopic light, and glittering cats-eyes welcoming weary travelers. And her eyes glittered, too. Her skin reveled in fifty watts of headlight, her arms waving to keep herself upright. She lifted one foot to step back, away from the road, away from the thundering lorry, away from its danger.
It weren’t right and it weren’t fair, and neither were I, so I winked. Six feet of moldy flesh and bones, and a single eye for a single wink.
Her eyes bulged, her lips puckered round, and her cheeks lost their muscle. Her arms dangled, and her one leg kept still in the air. I held her rapt, like she’d held me.
The exhaust thundered and the wheels squealed. The single light swept past, taking the corner, marking the path of its curvature the tangent to its momentum.
But momentum weren’t for the hook. It swung free, slashing wide, snapping its wire taught, whipping back, following Sarbuck’s homeward and ignorant dash.
She weren’t ignorant, though, she saw it all, the swinging, the snapping, and the whipping. She felt its pain, too. The blunt hammer of sixty mile an hour iron crushing her ribs, folding her in two, lifting her up, spinning her careless. She felt the wait of moments before the smooth tarmac rose up to meet her, wrenching her head back, snapping her neck, splashing her limp on the ground.
And the light were away, with Sawbuck on home.
I waited for her to spread upon the road, and she to bid adieu to warm blood. Perhaps they would bury her near me, the same yard and within a yard, perchance.
It weren’t fair, but I ain’t a man of fair, because I ain’t a man, I’m dead.
And all’s fair in the eye of death.
Next week, I’ll post another one.
14th July: Getting To Know Your Characters
21st July: From Idea To Story