Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The Owl

Every night, at exactly 3 am, the same noise woke me up. It was a pecking and flapping sound at my window. On some nights it would be preceeded by shrill hooting, resembling shrieks of pain and anger. I would tremble in my bed, almost completely paralysed by fear, knowing what I would see if I drew back the curtains. A few months back, when it first started, I made that very mistake. The noise came from an unusually large owl, with bright orange eyes and dark feathers, desperately clawing and pecking at the window of my flat, seemingly attempting to break in. I fell back as I shrieked at the sight of the unimaginably horrifying creature. Quickly, I moved my curtains back to their original position, ran back to bed, covered my head with a large pillow and waited for the horror to pass.

The bird would only ever appear at that one time of night, unleashing its fury all over my window. As it was a sturdy, double-glazed window, I never even imagined that the creature could get past it, and gradually got used to being temporarily awakened each night, despite the terror at hearing the monstrous noises still persisting. In the mornings, I would continue with my daily routine, walking to work and going shopping, before coming back home each afternoon, just before the sky got dark. I felt at complete ease being outside, knowing that typical owls were only active at night, until the first disturbing event took place in the neighbourhood.

One morning, as I was walking to work, I saw a group of my neighbours gathering around a tall tree, not very far from my block of flats. Other, more elderly neighbours were looking out of their windows, with clearly shocked expressions on their faces. Something unusual was lying underneath the tree. At first glance it looked as if someone dropped a shopping bag full of meat after tripping over a root, but as I drew closer, I became speechless at the horror on the ground. It was my nearby neighbour, Mr Petal, or whatever was left of him. The face was grotesquely disfigured by an expression of a permanent scream, made even more horrific by the drying blood still glistening in the empty eye sockets. One hollowed-out eyeball was still partly hanging off on its ligament, its previous contents clearly missing. Almost all the hair had been plucked out, replaced by a mess of blood, bone and pieces of brain, yet still the shape of Mr Petal's head could be distinguished.

The body, from the neck down appeared to had been torn into shreds, the intestines spilling out of the stomach cavity, the remains of the heart torn up, the arms and legs missing their fingers, with chunks of muscle clearly torn out. While the surrounding neighbours spoke of whatever terrifying beast could have committed such an unspeakable deed, an icy shiver ran through my spine once I noticed several dark feathers sticking out of the corpse.

'It was the big owl' - I said. - 'It pecks at my window every night'. The upset neighbours glanced at me with disbelief.
'Owls are just average birds. No bird could have done such a thing. But I know a person who could be capable of this' - responded Mrs Crowe, an elderly woman who loved gossip, blatantly staring at Mr Petal's teenage son, known for his love of violent video games and often reanacting them with other neighbours' kids on the playground, which would often end in accidents and tears. While he was far from a perfect child, I could not imagine him being capable of such atrocity, more so, as he was obviously in shock, shaking as he looked blankly at his father's corpse.
'Can you not see that the boy is frightened? We all know he loved his father, even though he might have behaved badly towards other children' - I said, trying to stop the old ladies from destroying the teenager's life further, while doing nothing to stop the owl - 'Really, has nobody else seen that horrible bird?'
The neighbours looked at each, shaking their heads. It appeared that nobody believed me and I was disappointed. Once I was sure the police would be arriving, I walked away from the grotesque scene, hurrying towards my work place.

Walking back home in the late afternoon, as the sky was getting darker, once again I stopped by the tall tree, this time surrounded with little evidence of the unfortunate events of that morning. Looking up, I could see a slight movement in the branches, right at the top of the tree, yet it was too high up to make out any details. I walked on, at my usual pace towards my house, until my heart suddenly stopped as I heard the familiar flapping of wings and the terrifying shriek of the owl. I turned around to see as the monstrous creature was descending from the tree rapidly, like an eagle ready to catch its prey.

I ran as fast as I could towards my house, and just as I reached the front door, I screamed as the bird began to peck at my head violently. I desperately searched for my keys and managed to open the door despite the pain and dripping blood. I slammed the door behind me as fast as I could, yet it would not close. I slammed again and again, being unable to see what was blocking it, due to the blood dripping down my face, until finally it closed. I breathed out in relief, and slowly walked towards my flat, trembling in shock.

Just as I cleaned up the blood and was about to apply a dressing to the wounds, I heard a scream coming from the corridor. I froze in fear at the possibility of one of my neighbours being attacked by the monstrous owl. Despite the overwhelming terror, I decided to check and make sure that nobody else would die in the neighbourhood that night. As I came towards the front door, I realised that the scream was not that of fear of a living monster, but that of shock at the sight of the crushed, flattened, red mess of feathers, bones and eyeballs splashed out against the door.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

My Personal True Story: Christian Online Dating Gone Wrong

I am a single Christian woman in my 20’s and since I don’t have many friends in my local church, I decided to sign up to a website where I could make friends online. Some of the site members also used it for the purpose of dating, which was ok with me as I was open to possibilities. Soon I met a guy there who seemed nice and we had some interests in common, and after a few months of friendship we began to skype since we live far from each other so could not meet up in person. We began chatting, and he seemed ok, but every now and then he would pause, go quiet and just stare into the webcam. When I told him it was creepy and asked why he was doing it, he replied that he enjoys sharing the silence. I wasn’t sure if it was normal and since around the same time I was busy dating someone else, I avoided the guy for several months. However, when I broke up with my ex, I was feeling lonely and decided I wouldn’t mind chatting to a friend to take my mind off things. The guy happened to be the only person available. We ended up chatting every couple of days for about 2 weeks, and I even started getting used to the uncomfortable silence and staring, when things turned weirder.
During our conversations I found out that the guy was in his 30’s and still a virgin, and we both agreed that we believe in sex only after marriage. So it came to me as a surprise when one day he confessed that he has a fetish for girls in school uniforms and asked me if he could send me an erotic school-girl outfit with a very short mini-skirt, because he wanted to see me wearing it. I said no, since I don’t like wearing revealing clothes. Another time, he showed up in his bed on the webcam, only wearing his underwear and began to ask me more dirty questions. I just laughed and made a few jokes, and then tried to change the subject. However, he was not very responsive to the conversation, instead preferring to stare at his screen into the webcam, grinning, while making repetitive motions with his hand under his bed cover. I didn’t want to see it so I made an excuse and left. I should have completely stopped chatting to him after that, but the next day and the day after he repeatedly texted me, wanting to go on the webcam. Since I was bored and lonely, I asked him to promise me he wouldn’t be naked and do dirty things and he agreed. For a couple of days we managed to carry on chatting, but soon after he did it again and this time it was much worse. First, he asked me to touch myself and send him a recording of it. I refused, explaining to him that in case my computer ever gets hacked I do not want such things to be seen anywhere on the internet.
‘Oh, but you don’t have to make a video. I just want to listen to the noises you make’ – he replied. Again, I refused, saying that it made me uncomfortable. But he would not take no for an answer. He took off his underwear, and began touching himself, as if he was stroking a pet, while grinning at me with a big, creepy smile. I told him I had to go and terminated the video call. That same evening, I sent him a long message explaining why I don’t think we would be compatible with each other and said that I found him disrespectful and want to stop seeing him. He responded saying that I am stuck in the past, only thinking about my ex who used me, even though the guy had no idea what went on between me and my ex. At that, I got angry and told him not to speak to me about it again. So, pervy guy, let’s not meet again.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Short story: The Cupboard in the Basement

This is my first weird creepy story, which I decided to post to this blog. I don't know whether it is any good, but I was recently inspired to write it as I remembered some of my childhood in Eastern Europe and living in a block of flats with a very big, dark and dusty basement, where my family stored all kinds of old things. It should be noted that all of this story and its characters are purely fiction and any resemblance to real people is unintentional.  

As a child I used to enjoy visiting the basement of my apartment block. It was dark and chilly but my family used to store all kinds of interesting old things in their compartment. I found many books there, as well as old radios, tools and ceramic dishes. What made me most curious though was a cupboard, which my mother always told me to stay away from. Once while she looked away, I peeked inside to see a pile of thick fur coats, which smelled a bit odd. ‘What are these coats for?’ – I asked. Sooner or later she would find me going through the cupboard anyway. My mother quickly turned around, ran up to me and shut it. ‘These clothes belonged to your grandparents’ – she said – ‘they are memories and I cannot get rid of them. But I don’t want you getting all the dust out and making a mess by rearranging things, as you always do’.  

That was a fair point. I was always a messy kid, but it wasn’t enough to kill my curiosity and several weeks later, while my family went shopping and I was on my own, I found the keys to the basement and climbed down there. It was dark and looked abandoned as usual, but I could hear a scraping sound around the corner. I was worried it was Mr Joseph, the weird neighbour, who once threatened me with an axe for coming too close to his basement compartment. I feared him, so slowly I walked towards the source of the sound trying to make the minimum amount of noise. I took a quick look and I screamed as I saw a giant rat, the size of a cat, scratching the floor with its claws. It was vomiting, likely having ingested some of the orange rat poison placed in several locations within the basement. I walked away from the dying animal, disgusted. 

I was still thinking of the horrible rat as I got to my family’s basement compartment. I unlocked the door and entered, closing it behind me, but not locking it. I figured that I wouldn’t spend too long there once my curiosity was satisfied. I opened the cupboard and once again I was hit with the strange smell. I assumed that’s what my grandparents smelled like while they were still alive. After all, elderly people always seemed to smell a bit funny.  

I frowned as I lifted up the uppermost fur coat and noticed that the furry garments underneath were not arranged as neatly as my mother usually liked. There was a fox fur scarf placed on top, with the dead fox’s head preserved and still present. It felt soft as I stroked it and wrapped it around my neck. Suddenly I jumped as I realised something fell on the floor while I was lifting up another coat. I picked up the object, studying it and being unsure what to make of it. It was a set of dentures with realistic-looking gums inside a plastic bag, which appeared to have been filled with a clear, viscous solution. I put the item aside, feeling slightly disturbed, but nonetheless carried on going through the cupboard. I could see something yellowy-white at the back but could not quite make out what it was, and it felt a bit heavy as I tried to untangle it, since it seemed stuckHence, I decided to take the final fur coat out of the cupboard. It felt a bit heavy and as I was removing it, another yellowy-white object fell to the ground, making a loud cracking noise.  

I froze panickingthinking that I broke a bowl or a plate, which always made my parents mad whenever it happenedHowever, as I crouched down to pick it up, I realised that in fact I cracked a skull and all of its teeth fell out. As I picked them up, I realised there were only 4 of them. I looked back at the dentures and realised that 4 teeth were missing there tooI wrapped the skull and dentures back in the coat, a cold shiver running through me 

As I was about to put the bundle back in the cupboard and get the hell out of the basement, I realised that there was another skull there, as well as what appeared to be a jar in a plastic bag. I was freaked out, but still curious. I took out the jar and unwrapped it carefully. I screamed as four eyeballs appeared to stare straight at me through the formaldehyde. I put the jar down, and sat on the basement floor, trying to calm down. Suddenly I realised I wasn’t alone anymore. Mr Joseph was standing in the basement door, looking mean and scary. 

‘What are you screaming about you naughty child?! Where is your mother?’ he said, making me start to cry. His facial expression changed however as he saw the skull and jar of eyeballs behind me.  
‘Good Lord! I’m calling the police’ – he croaked before he took out his phone and dialled 
Despite my protests, Mr Joseph made me stay in the basement with him, waiting for the cops to arrive.  
The police car arrived in approximately 20 minutes. There were only two cops presentAfter a brief chat with Mr Joseph they began examining the basement compartment, but did not get very far as my mother suddenly burst into the room, breathless.  

‘Helen, what have you done?!’ – she yelled at me, grabbing me by the shoulders and shaking me. 
‘Ma’am we need you to calm down’ – one of the cops interrupted her, grabbing her arm, and attempting to steer her away from our basement compartment. 

‘No, you don’t understand!’ – she cried out. 

‘They do understand Mrs Kowalski!’ – Mr Joseph shouted before she managed to say anything more – ‘I always knew you and your husband were up to some dodgy stuff. Just look at your daughter. That child can’t ever behave! I should have cut up your front door with my axe a long time ago!’  

Now the other cop was taking Mr Joseph outside, as he continued yelling insults at me and my mother, waving his fist as he was dragged out of the basement.  

My mother looked a lot calmer as soon as Mr Joseph left.  

‘Look, this is a misunderstanding, officer’ – she began to speak tearfully – ‘After my parents died I just could not bring myself to throw away their stuff. I wanted to keep them with me forever and I missed them so much that I wanted more than just the clothes they wore and their dentures. That’s why I took out their eyes while they were still at the morgue. Nobody even noticed. And after my mother died and was already buried I decided to dig up her skull and keep it too. My father's skull... well, let's just say he and my husband didn't exactly like each other, so it wasn't difficult to convince my husband to cut off his head while his body was still in the coffin. My husband also removed his eyes and cleared the skull of tissue, and then he gave them to me to make me happy. Please... you must understand how difficult coping with grief is. I don't ever want to lose my parents.' 

'Ma'am you are aware that profaning a corpse is a criminal offence' - the police officer replied - 'me and my colleague will have to bring you and your family to the station to question you. I'm sorry but there's no other way.' 

At that my mother began to cry and whine. I was always amazed how easy it was for her to start crying whenever she needed someone else's pity.   

'Officer, I'm really sorry' - she said, sobbing - 'I will give you $10,000 in cash to split between you and your colleague if you just let this go. We don't have much money, but that's almost all our savings and I will give it away because family memories are so much more important than all the money in the world. You can buy your families some nice presents.' 

Amazingly, it worked. The cops took the cash, went back to their car, and we never heard from them again. Only I was less fortunate, as that evening I was told off by my parents for going through the cupboard without their permission and I ended up grounded for 2 months.  

For a long time, the memory of that cupboard haunted me and gave me nightmares. But now, over 30 years later, even though my own parents have also passed away of old ageevery time I sit at my dining table, I feel like they are there with me. Especially as I behold their heads, perfectly preserved in large jars of formaldehyde decorating my table, I know that I will never let my family go.