In May, I wrote a post giving you guys two pictures and asked you to write me a scary short story… and you guys didn’t disappoint.
My bare feet tapped on the cold cement out of a blinding excitement. Root had found this place, slobbered over with a thick, white fog, but alive with unending riches. My hands pounded on the old bench, and I wished he’d come sooner. After the End, our ancestors emerged from stone walls into a field of desolation. Places like these were less than rumors, more untrue than myths. The monuments here towered and crumbled with their epitaphs weeping over earth-hair.
“Root,” I murmured now heatedly but still quiet, “Root, would you get over here? I’m cold!”
I finally got up and decided he would steal what he found anyway. I was told brothers are supposed to lie and cheat, but I never understood it.
I walked slowly into the earth-hair. I’d never walked in it before, and it felt strange beneath my feet. I could feel some between my toes. It wasn’t hard like the cement I was used to; but it was chilling, too, and numbing even moreso.
“Root.” I had to be quiet. We were stealing artifacts. Root said he saw this place in a dream, and that’s how we could find it. He told me all of the artifacts would be underground, and I agreed to going despite not believing him at first.
“You shouldn’t be here, little girl!”
I heard a voice cut the fog, chiseling away the air like a saw. The music to it was jarring but undaunted. A disfigured darkness formed ahead of me.
“You shouldn’t be here, little girl. You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be here.” And on that last word, it became to scream. I saw its knees buckle, and the belt of its body collapse. It kept screaming: “You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t. You shouldn’t.”
Chills shot into my veins and burst and kept bursting, and I felt compelled to weep but stood my ground to this anonymous shadow. It stopped abruptly and climbed the fog back up. It beckoned me closer then with its four gnarled hands. I shook the fear from its earlier plead and followed deeper into the white, changing sea.
The image became fainter and fainter, and I ran to catch it. My legs sprung in a furious dance while I hurdled over monuments and rocks. The curiosity in my bones grew its own marrow, birthed a life more invincible than mine. No fear any longer. No fear.
The shadow then stopped and vanished. I knelt into the earth-hair, and I began to cry. Where had the shadow gone? Root hadn’t even crossed my mind until then, and I mustered up the strength to wander in search. The fog thickened as if to mock my venture, and I lost myself further in this foreign place.
You shouldn’t be here kept seeping more deeply into my thoughts, and I again began to feel the fear burdening my gut. You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be here.
I called for Root again but walked onto a ribbon of unbroken tar instead. I was used to crushed tar, tar with alien growth between its cracks. This was smooth and paved. And then I saw me.
I saw myself curled into knots; and although I saw only my back, the clothing was mine. The hair was mine. The way she cried was my own. I stumbled back slightly with my eyes almost instantly tearing up.
“You shouldn’t be here,” she screamed in a voice unfamiliar to me. But it was me. It was me. I was sure.
I walked very gently towards her, and her sobbing started more strongly now.
“It’s okay,” I whispered, attempting to console what was a strange kind of ghost it seemed. A whisper of myself. I knelt down a foot beside her to give her room. That’s what I would’ve wanted. But instead, she snapped over to me, and I screamed.
What I knew as plants were growing from our insides, spun branches that hung out of us like desperate, dying trees.
“You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be here.”
And in that moment, we became one: Watching with the same knolls and our stomach swallowed by “trees.” We retched the same and bled the same, and I knew this was not my dream. This was not my dream. I shouldn’t have been here.
Next week, I’ll post another one.
21st July: From Idea To Story