Archive for the ‘suspense’ Category


The multiplication of voices resounding,
Sanity’s drowning in background destroyed.
All words that once rescued from sirens surrounding,
Lost in dark frequencies, death by white noise.

I’m deaf to their footsteps now masked by tone madness,
Legions of audio demons proceed.
My senses betray me, I dance in the darkness,
Sound works in silence, infecting my dreams.

I wake in the false light, subliminal phantoms
Guide me like piper, completely deceived.
To do what they tell me, and think that I fathom
The reason my hands are now red, while you bleed.

My conscience now muted, as well as your screams,
Lost in the background, where I used to be.

~~~

“White Noise” Copyright © 2010 Scott Scherr. All rights reserved.

If you’re new to my blog and want to read something a bit longer, feel free to check out my ongoing serial novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, and tell me what you think: DFTD Chapter 1-1: Demon Night

~~~


It lingers just beyond the lie,
Distorted at the edge of eye.
Where reason fails to hush the dark,
A chill prevails, the fear is sparked.

“There’s nothing here,” such words are frail,
As goosebumps tell a different tale.
Imagination feeds the host,
Of eerie sounds that build a ghost.

And every corner hides a door,
Where shadows slide across the floor.
Footsteps creeping torment ears,
Suggestive horrors drawing near.

Then from the void a restless moan,
As panic screams, “You’re not alone!”
Betrayed by flesh now petrified,
Next day, all whisper, how you died.

~~~

“You’re Not Alone” Copyright © 2010 Scott Scherr. All rights reserved.

If you’re new to my blog and want to read something a bit longer, feel free to check out my ongoing serial novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, and tell me what you think: DFTD Chapter 1-1: Demon Night

~~~


Someone turn a light on,
There’s a darkness in my head.
I’ve been acting strangely
And I always feel half-dead.

I’m sleeping more each evening,
But my dreams fill me with dread.
Someone turn a light on,
For I wake in strangers’ beds.

Someone turn the light off,
For my conscience watched the news.
Another woman murdered,
By her bedside… were my shoes.

I woke today without them
And my clothes were bloody, too.
Someone turn the light off,
Best not know the things I do.

~~~

“Someone Turn a Light On” Copyright © 2010 Scott Scherr. All rights reserved.

If you’re new to my blog and want to read something a bit longer, feel free to check out my ongoing serial novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, and tell me what you think: DFTD Chapter 1-1: Demon Night

~~~


Note: This short horror story is unrelated to Don’t Feed The Dark.

~~~

It was a beautiful, crisp Sunday evening; going on Monday in about twenty minutes. I felt like the last man alive as I approached the ATM just outside of Hartman’s grocery store on the corner of Parker and Maple Avenue.

I’ve always been appalled by my lack of self-control. A sudden, overpowering urge for ice cream can always get me half-dressed and out the door searching for something open on a Sunday night. Yeah right, ice cream, that’s what I was getting. Who was I kidding. Certainly not my wife. No one drives to the ATM at midnight to get cash for ice cream, especially on a Sunday. Who uses cash anymore, anyway? Unless, you’re looking to hide all debit card traces highlighting shady purchases from unsuspecting wives at home, of course. Besides, there was nothing open except a couple bars, a gas station with a mini mart, and the adult movie store. Sounds almost respectable, doesn’t it? Adult movie store. I know, I’m pathetic, but the sex at home’s not what it used to be. Let’s move on, shall we.

The empty parking lot was an asphalt desert, dimly lit by three street lamps and low security lighting coming from Hartman’s store front windows. I walked over to the ATM, the light over the display flickering on and off and fighting to stay alive with a defiant buzzing sound. The cash machine was brighter than anything else around and left me feeling slightly ridiculous standing there in my boxers. I also felt very vulnerable and exposed, sensing something unfamiliar in the night. Strange thoughts run through the head when surrounded by silence and shadows.

I put my card in the machine and began to type my numerical code on the panel as some strange hindsight was urging me to make my withdrawal quickly and hurry back to my car.

Mind tricks, so I thought at first when I heard a strange sound coming from the opposite side of my vehicle and out of view. I already looked back once, feeling the fool for doing so and letting the silence get to me. There was no reason to feel afraid. This night was anything but threatening. I’ve been to this ATM hundreds of times on many nights just like this one. (Now that admission was truly pathetic).

Of course, it’s thoughts like these that lead one to complacency and that’s how “it” happens.

You can’t imagine what it feels like until you become the victim. I didn’t know which was more alarming: the feel of the gun barrel pressed into my lower back, or the low monotone voice that spoke too calmly in my right ear.

“Give me the money,” the voice demanded, pressing the gun barrel further into my back. I could swear there was absolutely no emotion in that voice.

I’ve heard amazing boasts from people claiming to have been mugged. They all make it sound somehow brave in how they handled the situation, regardless of losing their wallets. As if the exaggerations in the telling helped them save face. Others have claimed they turned the tables on their would-be assailants, and either scared them off or simply got away. I realize now that every one of them were full of shit. I was scared out of my mind. No bravado, no heroics. I froze.

“Give me the money,” the cold voice repeated. Perhaps he was more familiar with the routine than I and expected my sluggish response. He was incredibly patient with me, the amateur victim.

I then found my line, “I’ll give you anything you want, just don’t shoot me, okay?” I immediately expected to hear a gun shot, or perhaps the butt end of the gun striking the back of my head. I became aware of a sudden dampness in my boxers. That’s right, I pissed myself. That’s what being a “victim” really means. No heroics here, unless needing a diaper was considered brave in another part of the universe. I felt faint with fear and then the voice brought me back.

“Give me the money, now.”

I found myself staring blankly at the ATM screen. I still hadn’t made my withdrawal selection. This mugger knew what he was doing. He couldn’t have timed this any better. All I needed to do was type in whatever amount he wanted. Dear God, how much did he want?

“Anything you say, Buddy… just tell me how much?” I managed to get out. (Did I really just call him, Buddy?)

The pause in his response was worse than anything I have ever gone through my entire life. It seemed like an eternity before the mugger finally answered me. “Give me twenty-four dollars and ninety-five cents,” he answered, and said no more.

“Say again?” I almost made a foolish mistake right then, turning to look at the mugger, but caught myself in time. I’d seen enough movies to know that if I didn’t see his face, my chances of being released would improve. He would know that I couldn’t identify him. Good God, I couldn’t believe I was actually relying on fucking late night crime flicks to get me out of this situation.

“Twenty-four dollars and ninety-five cents,” the mugger repeated with emphasis. For the first time I could hear a slight agitation in his voice.

I was puzzled by his peculiar request, but thankful that I wasn’t dead yet, so I overlooked it. “Sure thing, I’ll just pull out forty dollars and you can have it all, no problem… more if you want… whatever you want.” I was a blubbering idiot now. What next, tears?

“NO!” he barked.

I nearly threw up.

The mugger shoved the gun barrel into my back more sharply than before. I heard him making strange noises with his breathing. He sounded like a man on the verge of snapping. I then knew anything could go wrong.

However, as fast as the mugger’s temper flared, he returned just as quickly to that emotionless, cold voice and reclaimed himself.

“Let me make this crystal clear,” the mugger began. “I did not tell you to give me forty dollars. If I wanted forty dollars I would have said, ‘forty dollars’. I told you what I want now give me what I asked for. Do you understand me yet?”

For the first time, I didn’t think there would be a way out of this. This man was obviously fucking crazy.

“Do you understand yet?” the mugger repeated, the agitation in his voice returning much quicker this time.

“Yes, I understand… twenty-four dollars and ninety-five cents… anything you want.” I was frantic now. Before realizing what I was doing, I began typing in that exact amount on the number pad. A message soon appeared telling me that I could not withdrawal that amount. It had to be in multiples of twenty! What the fuck was I going to do now? He almost shot me at forty dollars, how was I going to get away with pulling out a twenty!

Your wallet! Check your wallet! The thought came and I prayed that there was still some bills left in there.

I looked in my wallet and saw five one dollar bills. I might make it out of this one after all.

I withdrew a twenty, combined it with the five singles, and held it up in my trembling hands without looking back. “Here you go… take it… please, just take it and I’m sorry for the mix up.”

I felt a gloved hand reach into mine and take the bills.

Suddenly, I was on the ground, my face hitting the asphalt hard. The mugger had a hand around the back of my neck, and one knee inflicting pain in the small of my back. I could feel him shaking with anger as he spoke. “YOU FUCKING LIE! YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND!”

I didn’t know what else to do, I closed my eyes and began to weep. That’s right, I cried. But pathetic is still better than dead. Somehow I got out, “What did I do wrong? Is it not enough? Do you want-”

“WHAT DID I SAY?” he interrupted.

I was bordering complete shutdown. I just didn’t understand his language and no one ever taught me how to speak ‘Crazy’.

I felt the gun barrel at the back of my head as he demanded, “WHAT DID I TELL YOU TO GIVE ME? TELL ME RIGHT NOW! RIGHT NOW! NOW! NOW!”

I waited for the sound that would end this nightmare, but it just would not come. I blurted out, “Twenty-four dollars and ninety-five cents!”

And just like that, the mugger eased up. He removed the gun from my head and I could feel him lifting the pressure off my neck and back. Again, with the calm voice of a true killer, he said, “Very good. Now one more time, will you give me what I want? Do you understand yet?”

I had a revelation from the land of insanity. For whatever reason, this man wanted exactly twenty-four dollars and ninety-five cents. Not forty, not twenty-five. I could have given him a million dollars and he still would have shot me.

I whispered, “Yes, I understand now.”

“Good,” the mugger said, and just like that I was back on my feet and standing once more before the hellish ATM. I could see my ghastly reflection in that little blue square and a masked individual looming behind me. I looked terrible and wished I could hide within that square until this psycho was long gone.

The mugger even had the courtesy of reaching around and placing my failed monetary offering back on the flat portion of the cash machine. I immediately placed the bills back in my wallet, feeling absurd for doing so. What was I supposed to say? Thank you?

I opted to remain silent, understanding very clearly that I only had one chance left; two strikes against me and there wouldn’t be a third. My remaining hope now rested on the small change compartment in my vehicle. If I was one penny shy of ninety-five fucking cents, I was a dead man.

“Sir,” I said, “I’ll need to go to my vehicle to get the exact change you want. Is that alright?”

There was a pause as the mugger considered my request. He then replied, “Yes, that’s acceptable.” Soon he had me walking back toward my car, the gun still pressed against my back.

As we approached my little, tan Corolla, I watched it transform into something foreign in my mind. My car was now a coffin with wheels. I had to shake these grim thoughts and try to become a survivor. Somehow.

The mugger was no fool. He led me very deliberately to the passenger side of my car, not allowing me easy access to simply get in and drive away. Even if he didn’t, my hands were shaking too much to ever get the key in the ignition.

I opened the door and went to the center compartment between the seats and began to count the change… fifty-five cents… sixty… seventy… (now would be a horrible time to fail math) eighty… ninety… ninety-five cents.

There was a God after all!

Once again, without looking back, never looking back, I combined my new, crisp twenty dollar bill from the cash machine with four singles from my wallet and added in the change. I reached behind and submitted my offering to the mugger. “Here you go, twenty-four dollars and ninety-five cents, exactly what you wanted.”

Again, a gloved hand reached for mine, the hand of death or the hand of chance, I did not know yet.

I was still half-in, half-out of my Corolla when I heard that cold voice say, “Thank you.” Nothing
more. I no longer felt the barrel of that gun at my back.

Several minutes passed and the mugger said nothing. I was actually starting to believe that if I turned around, he would simply be gone.

Was that it? Did I pass the fucking test?

I achieved enough boldness to back out of the car and stand up. My legs felt like Jell-O beneath me.

Do I dare look behind?

Glancing across the top of my car and into the asphalt lot, a stray cat started in my direction. Something about that cat seemed to help my fear drift. Perhaps this small creature represented the return of something, anything, resembling my former normal life. As odd as this was, I took comfort in that cat as it came closer.

When it stopped in the middle of the lot, the cat began cleaning itself, then stopped as it noticed me for the first time.

“I’ll never do it again, I promise. No more porn, no more bad living, no more fucking ATM’s.” My confession to the cat continued, understanding that it wasn’t the cat I was speaking to at all.

Several more minutes of silence followed and I took a deep breath. Watching that cat, I asked it in a whisper as if it were a prophet from God, “Is it over then?”

In response, the prophetic cat looked beyond me and hissed.

I felt something heavy strike the back of my head and my world went black.

~~~

Several days later, the officer who discovered the abandoned tan Toyota Corolla in an unpopulated wooded area, would remember the blood in the trunk more than anything else. He would have nightmares about that trunk, wondering how so much blood could come from a single human body.

There was no body found, of course. Just a bloody trunk with some odds and ends typical of what one may expect to find in a trunk, along with a receipt from Wal-Mart for a large shovel, a painter’s tarp, some rope, and a gas can all purchased two days prior for exactly twenty-four dollars and ninety-five cents.

~~~

“ATM” Copyright © 2010 Scott Scherr. All rights reserved.

If you’re new to my blog and want to read something a bit longer, feel free to check out my ongoing serial novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, and tell me what you think: DFTD Chapter 1-1: Demon Night

~~~


“The Blood” Copyright © 2010 John Ecko. All rights reserved.

If you’re new to my blog and want to read something a bit longer, feel free to check out my ongoing serial novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, and tell me what you think: DFTD Chapter 1-1: Demon Night

~~~


“For the Love of All the Pieces” Copyright © 2010 John Ecko.  All rights reserved.

If you’re new to my blog and want to read something a bit longer, feel free to check out my ongoing serial novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, and tell me what you think: DFTD Chapter 1-1: Demon Night

~~~


“The Cure” Copyright © 2010 John Ecko.  All rights reserved.

If you’re new to my blog and want to read something a bit longer, feel free to check out my ongoing serial novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, and tell me what you think: DFTD Chapter 1-1: Demon Night

~~~


Note: This short horror story is unrelated to Don’t Feed The Dark.

~~~

Good old Sunday afternoon. There was nothing like kicking back with the boy and watching football in the fall. Especially when we had the place to ourselves. My wife, Susan, went to visit her mother in Akron.

We had all our required equipment at the ready: Popcorn, chips and salsa; chicken wings and pizza to be delivered shortly. We’d been conserving our voices all week for this one game and now we were ready to cheer our team on or heckle if need be (the Browns were notorious for screwing up a good football game). Either way, it would be a good time for us.

Brandon walked over to the window again, looked out and frowned.

“What, no pizza?” I asked.

My son considered his next words carefully and answered, “Sorry, Dad, I forgot. Now it’s too late, he’s coming over again.”

In our household there was no mistaking what was meant by “He”. It was our estranged neighbor, Mr. Thompson. “Please tell me you didn’t forget to rake the front yard this morning, tell me anything else but that,” I said sternly to my son.

Brandon’s eyes immediately rolled toward the floor. That was answer enough. “I said I was sorry. I meant to. I just got excited about the game and forgot.”

Before I could scold him further, Mr. Thompson began knocking on our front door.

I gave my son ‘the look’ and said, “We’ll talk about this later. You know I can’t stand talking to this guy.”

“So just don’t answer the door,” Brandon offered, then realized too late the folly in that suggestion. As an afterthought he added, “That guy gives me the creeps.”

My son was right, of course. Under normal circumstances his suggestion would have been sound, but Mr. Thompson was anything but ‘normal’. Last time we were graced by such a visit and tried to ignore the door, he knocked for over twenty minutes. Now mind you, it wasn’t a frustrated, angry or impatient knock, but a creepy, steady, almost rhythmic knock that suggested he could keep at it all day until we either answered it, or our heads imploded.

I remembered my irritation the last time I answered and how ready I was to chew my persistent neighbor a new asshole. Instead, I was overwhelmed by the man’s unnerving kindness and cheer as would surely be the case now. It’s hard to stay angry at someone who’s smothering you to death with platitudes and neighborly good will without seeming like the overreacting one. Besides, I knew enough about having bad relations with neighbors from previous homes that taught me the importance of maintaining diplomacy with people who lived that close to you. The alternatives were never pleasant.

Before opening the door, I joked with my son as Mr. Thomson continued to knock, “Sounds a little like a ZZ Top song if you listen to it long enough – Like he’s knocking to Velcro Fly all slowed down.”

“Dad,” my teenage son reminded me in typical sarcastic fashion. “You keep forgetting I’m not ancient like you. I have no idea who you’re talking about.” Then changing the subject and looking out the window toward our neighbor’s yard, Brandon smiled and said, “Dad, he got every single one! How does he do that? There’s not a single leaf left in the yard. You know what that means.”

Oh wonderful. This would be about the leaves again. There’s nothing like having a pre-game discussion about raking leaves before kick off. I could hardly wait for the half-time show. “Yeah, it means you should have done what I told you to do in the first place,” I barked. “And ZZ Top is classic rock which means everyone still remembers who they are.”

“Exactly my point, Beethoven,” Brandon laughed. “Classic rock translation: old-as-shit. Didn’t they play a concert after one of the first pyramids was built?”

“Funny man, keep it up,” I laughed. “Watch your mouth or I’ll introduce you to some ancient soap.” I couldn’t stall the inevitable any longer, so I took a deep breath and opened the door, hoping to get him off my porch as quick as possible.

As soon as I opened Pandora’s Box I was immediately assaulted with kindness. “Hello, Tom! Beautiful day today isn’t it? I know you and Brandon are looking forward to the game… should be a great one, too! How is everyone?”

I hated it when he called me by my first name. It somehow brought our relationship too close for comfort. “Hey, Mr. Thompson, yeah looks to be a beauty today, ” I rambled, then quickly got to the point. “Game is getting ready to start soon. What can I do for you?”

Mr. Thompson’s ear-to-ear smile could have been plastered on his face. He was a little man standing just over five feet tall. His unkempt hair was graying in several spots and his clothes always had the look of stains never quite coming out in the wash. He was a man who spent a lot of time in his yard and was always working on some home project. In fact, he had installed several flood lights strategically around his house so that he could work through the night if need be. There was nothing more bizarre than watching Mr. Thompson raking those damn leaves at night. That was how he kept his yard so immaculate and leaf proof. If one could look past the man’s obsession with keeping those leaves off his grass, it might be considered mildly amazing how Thompson managed to win the war of autumn leaves every year and keep his yard free of them. But for me and my son, we found it ludicrous and a waste of time. It was obvious why he was here. He was worried about the leaves… not his, mind you… but ours.

“You always get right to the point, Tom, I admire that,” Thompson responded. “Well, you know I hate to be a bother, but when I saw that Brandon forget to rake the leaves this morning, I just wanted to come by and make sure everything was okay. I am a creature of habit and routine and I got used to timing some of my yard projects around some of yours, namely the leaves–little buggers that they are. Not Brandon of course, but those leaves. No matter how many times you do it, seems those trees keep dropping more. No rest for the weary I suppose.” Thompson laughed. It was an eerie laugh that always sent a chill up my spine. The man was creepy. “I just wanted to know when Brandon was going to rake today so I could schedule my raking in, and knock out those leaves–little buggers that they are.”

“Mr. Thompson,” I started patiently, trying to get a word in. “My son forgot to do it this morning. Teenagers, you know how they can be. Fact is, between the game this afternoon and other plans, Brandon probably won’t get around to it again until tomorrow.”

For a moment, there was a slight crack in the plaster of that man’s smile. It was only there a second, but I saw it, and it made me uncomfortable.

“I see,” Thompson said as he looked toward the border of our leaf infested yard kissing his.

He was obviously troubled by this. I thought to say something funny to make light of the whole leaf issue, but that look that crossed his face made me think twice and I stayed silent.

Then that plaster smile returned as Thompson said, “Well, sometimes it just can’t be helped, I suppose.” He looked back at me and asked in what almost felt like an interrogator demanding an answer from his captive tone, “Will he be back on schedule with the leaves tomorrow then?”

I was beginning to get irritated by the pushy little man. However, I did not desire to start an argument about those silly leaves, and the game was about to start, so I gave Thompson whatever he needed to get him off my porch. I lied and said, “Oh yeah, sure thing. Brandon will be raking them tomorrow. Not to worry.”

That seemed to please the leaf nut as he looked back toward his yard and said, “Very good then. You know, I heard on the weather channel they’re calling for a windy evening. That’s just the kind of weather that gets all those little buggers blowing everywhere. Can’t have that now, can we?” Mr. Thompson laughed again. He had a way of speaking as if he forgot you were there and sounding like he was having a conversation with himself. He was definitely a creepy guy. Thomson finished, “I’ll get out of your hair now, I’m sure the game is waiting. Say hello to Susan for me.”

Thompson departed and I thankfully closed the door and commended myself for not losing my cool.

“What’s with those silly leaves?” Brandon asked, watching from the window.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Some people just have their ways is all. He doesn’t like leaves, like we don’t like the Ravens, now let’s watch some football!”

“Sounds good. I called the pizza guy again, they should be here soon.”

As I walked by the window, I stopped long enough to see Mr. Thompson standing at the edge or our lawns, staring up at the clouds rolling in. Again, the plaster smile was gone.

“Dad, I guess that means I’m raking tomorrow then?”

I looked away for a moment, then returned to the window. Thompson was now staring right at me with a look that could kill a man. Fucking creepy. The wind was increasing as our leaves began to trespass into his yard. Thompson noticed this, looked away, and began to scoop them up and place them in a leaf bag.

I closed the curtains and responded, “Screw those leaves! They can wait and that nut can just deal with a few of our leaves blowing on to his precious lawn.” We laughed the matter off and turned on the game.

~~~

Later that night, my son woke me from a sound sleep at 3:15 in the morning.

“Brandon, what’s the matter?”

“Dad,” Brandon whispered. “That guy’s got all his flood lights on. I can’t sleep cause one’s shining right in my window. I looked outside and all the leaves were gone.”

Rubbing sleep from my eyes and shaking off disorientation, I said, “Okay, just go down and sleep on the couch, I’ll talk to him tomorrow about the light thing. Just get some-”

“No, Dad,” Brandon interrupted. “You’re not hearing me. When I said all the leaves are gone, I meant our leaves are gone, too! That creepy guy has been up all night raking leaves in our yard as well as his. Don’t you find that strange?”

“Is he still out there?” I asked.

Brandon looked scared. He walked over to the bedroom door to grab something I hadn’t noticed before. He came back and laid it at the foot of my bed.

“Where did you find that?” I asked him as we both looked at Mr. Thompson’s rake.

My son hesitated, then whispered, “Dad, I found it in my room!”

~~~

“Mr. Thompson’s Obsession” Copyright © 2012 Scott Scherr. All rights reserved.

If you’re new to my blog and want to read something a bit longer, feel free to check out my ongoing serial novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, and tell me what you think: DFTD Chapter 1-1: Demon Night

~~~


Note: This short horror story is unrelated to Don’t Feed The Dark.

~~~

Nature’s psychopath raised its voice, letting loose another chorus of thunder, promising terror and destruction with each boisterous note, while slashing at the sky with bolts of razor-sharp light.

Jonathan Sanders, age ten, retreated into the cavern of blankets, as the madman roared by.  The murdered moon offered no comfort; its corpse allowing shifting shadows to linger in the unfamiliar darkness consuming his bedroom.  Jonathan was well aware of what to expect–the man in the closet loved to visit him on nights such as these.

Was that a scratching sound at the closet door?

And so the ritual resumed:  “Mom!  Dad!” As if their names were verbal talismans keeping the monster in check, he called out again.  “Mom!  Dad!  Come in here, quick.”

Footsteps from down the hall. Would they make it this time?

Lightning flashed.  The eyes of his Buzz Lightyear action figure shifted his direction; the coat on the chair grew taller, closer; objects scattered on the floor had moved since the last flash; the doorknob on the closet door–turning ever so slightly–was the only time he trusted his eyes.  Imagination was a liar in the dark.  Jonathan knew this as surely as he knew that the man in the closet was real.

The air felt heavy, oppressive.  Shadows congregated around his bed like vultures predicting their next meal, like pedestrians at the scene of a crime that hasn’t happened yet.

Like a dreadful pause before a predator struck, the silence was unnerving and amplified the guttural, inhuman demand that came from the closet:

Johnny come.  Open door.

He couldn’t tell if the man spoke from the closet or was whispering in his head.  Either way, it always sounded close. 

Closer.

The bedroom door swung open.  Light from the hallway chased off the shadows as his father filled the doorway, the annoyance on his face evident.  “What is it, Son?  The storm?”

No answer.

His father’s shoulders sagged.  “Oh, him again.”

Jonathan nodded.  He’d hoped his mother would follow.  Not tonight.  It was the unbeliever’s turn to placate his son’s fears.  And that was always dangerous.

His mother never concerned herself with the man in the closet.  She understood, in a way only mothers do, how to fight monsters, or at least, how to starve them.  She would come and sing songs, tell stories, make him laugh; and like a magician, she somehow made the fear disappear.  And without the fear, the man in the closet could not stay.

His father played with fire, often challenging the man by threatening to open the closet door.  If his father chose that route again, Jonathan would have to talk him out of it.

“Ok, Johnny, let’s settle this once and for all, okay?”

Oh, that didn’t sound good at all.

“Let’s start with the bed.”  His father bent down to examine the one-foot space beneath the bed.

That was silly.  What monster could fit under there?  Maybe a small one, at best, and nothing to be concerned about.

“Nope.  Nothing under here.”

The lights.  Why does he always forget to turn on the lights?

His father walked the perimeter of the small room, yawning while rubbing sleep from his eyes.

I wonder how much he didn’t see on his “sleepy” patrol.

“Okay, all’s clear.  Just one more place to check.”  His father always ended up at the closet last.  This would seem cruel if Jonathan thought it was deliberate.  Dramatic, maybe, but not deliberate.  His father moved toward the door.

“Don’t do it, Dad,” Jonathan warned.

Even with his back turned, his father’s heavy sigh spoke volumes.  “Come on, Johnny.  There’s nothing in there.  Let me show you and-”

“If there’s nothing in there, then that’s great.  But what’s opening that closet going to prove if you’re wrong?”

“What a strange question, Son.  Isn’t the answer obvious?”

“No.”

“If the closet’s empty and you see that it’s empty, then you’ll know there’s nothing to fear.”

“You said ‘if’.”

His father’s impatience was growing.  “I didn’t mean ‘if’.  ‘When’, Son, that’s what I meant.  Your old dad’s just tired.”

Tired of dealing with his chicken son’s irrational fears.

“It’s still an unnecessary risk,” Jonathan said.

“What the heck are you talking about?”

“If the closet’s empty, than we’re fine.  But if it’s not-”

“If it’s not then your old man’s gonna kick some Boogeyman butt!”

Jonathan gasped.  “Don’t say that!  Don’t ever call him that.  It makes him stronger. Makes him more… monster-like.  He’s just the man in the closet.”

“Son, you’re being silly.  I’m gonna show you how silly, right now.”  His father reached for the door knob.

“He’s way bigger than you, Dad.  So don’t open that door!”

“Keep your voice down!  What’s the matter with you?”

Jonathan couldn’t stop.  “You’re the matter with me.  I call you in to help and you want to let the man out.  How does that make any sense?”

“Son, there’s nothing in there.”

“Then leave nothing alone.”

“Don’t get smart.”

“Then stop being stupid.”

“What did you just say to me?”

“Dad, you want to fight the man, but your tactics suck.  He’s big, powerful, scary-as-hell, and you’re wearing striped pajamas.  Who would you bet on?”

His father looked down at himself and laughed.  “Well, your mom thinks I look pretty scary in these.”

Jonathan giggled.  “That’s the way, Dad.  That’s how you make him go.”

His father sighed again.  “Come on, Johnny, enough is enough.”

Nuts, we almost got out of that one.  Think fast.  “You say the closet’s empty.  How do you know?”

“What?”

“Prove it.”

“That’s what I’m trying to do, Son.  Just let me open the door and you’ll have all the proof needed.”

“No, that’s not a good idea.  Proof is what you show to convince me that he’s not there.  Opening the closet just proves that either you or me is right.  And I know I’m right.”

“You’re letting your fears get the best of you.”

“What if I told you there was a burglar in the house?  Would you go chasing after him or call the police?”

“Well, I would call the police, of course.”

“So I tell you there’s something worse than a burglar in the closet and you want to let him out.  How does that make sense?”

“Okay, Johnny, prove to me then, that your man is in the closet.  Have you seen him?”

Johnny paused.  “No.”

“So he hasn’t stormed out of this closet and say… tried to eat you, or anything like that?”

“That’s not funny, Dad.”

“Come on, Son.  I’m just trying to get you to see how silly this all is.”

Jonathan paused again, his face growing pale.  “Death.  He looks like death.”

His father stared at him for a long moment.  “So, you think that Death is behind this door?”

“Yes.”

“How would you know what Death looks like if you haven’t seen it?”

“I don’t.  That’s what he told me.”

“The man in the closet speaks to you?”

“Yes.”

“Johnny, how can you possibly expect me to believe that?”

Jonathan’s eyes lit up.  “I can prove it.”

His father folded his arms.  “Can you now?  Well, please go ahead and tell me.  I’m all ears.”

“He told me about you and Uncle Jim.”

“Okay, explain?”

“He told me that he remembers you; he remembers the game you and Uncle Jim used to play to scare each other when you were both my age.”

Jonathan’s father remained silent.

“He said that you and Uncle Jim would dare each other to go and open the closet door and call his name when you both did something bad.  But neither of you ever opened the door.  You were both too scared.  The man was always disappointed that you didn’t.  He said he would’ve swallowed both of you up if you had because you tortured Mrs. Henderson’s cat and tossed it in a garbage can and lit fireworks-”

“Johnny, you’re beginning to scare me a little.  Who’s been telling you stories.  Your mom?”

“He also said he tried to get you and Uncle Jim years later when you were at some party.  Said that after you got some girl drunk and had sex with her, he was right there with you both.  Waiting in the dark.  Said he took the girl instead.”

“Johnny, that’s enough!” His father was visibly disturbed.  He and his brother Jim had never told anyone that story.  To this day, the whereabouts of the girl, Samantha Jones, are still unknown.  It was believed she left the party drunk, tried to hitch a ride home and someone picked her up.  His brother swore him to secrecy about that night and said the cops would blame them for her disappearance if they knew what they’d done to her while she slept.

“Johnny, I’m very tired,” his father nearly whispered. “I’m going to open this door now and put an end to all this nonsense.”

“Dad, don’t!  I’m not strong enough.  Let’s just go to your room tonight.  I promise I’ll go right to sleep.  After the storm’s over, the man will just leave.  He always does.”

“Son, you’re getting far too old to be afraid of the Boogeyman.”

“Dad!”

“Oh, stop it!” his father shouted.  “I said it:  Boogeyman, Boogeyman, Boogeyman!  So there!”

“You don’t know what you’ve done!  I’m not strong enough anymore, Dad.”

“Strong enough for what?  To look into an empty closet and get over your irrational fears?  Enough talk.”  His father reached for the door knob, surprised at seeing his own hand shaking, and opened the closet door.

“No, Dad!  You don’t understand. It doesn’t want me… I’m not strong enough to protect you anymore!”

Jonathan’s father looked back from the mouth of the open closet, stared into the face of his son, and saw the truth at last.  Johnny’s terror-filled eyes staring beyond him and into the darkness was all the proof he needed to realize his tragic mistake.

Something groaned from behind him.  Johnny’s father turned slowly, returning instantly to his youth, as a presence within the closet reminded him of every bad thing he’d ever done–reminded him instantly that he had been there, watching, waiting, and now finally, the man in the closet welcomed him home.

~~~

Several hours passed before the police finally departed.  There was still no trace of Jonathan’s father who’d apparently fled the house after scaring the daylights out of his son.  Possible abuse was suspected but quickly ruled out upon examination of the boy.

Jonathan hadn’t spoken a word since his mother found him screaming at the foot of his closet door.  The paramedics had to sedate him in route to the hospital.

To make matters worse, another missing persons report flagged red in the police database matching Mr. Sanders’ name.   An hour earlier, prior to Jonathan’s father disappearing, James Sanders, Jonathan’s uncle, had also mysteriously vanished in the dead of night from three states away.

~~~

“Boogeyman”  Copyright © 2012 Scott Scherr.  All rights reserved.

If you’re new to my blog and want to read something a bit longer, feel free to check out my ongoing serial novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, and tell me what you think: DFTD Chapter 1-1: Demon Night

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Hello Everyone,

Just a quick update from behind the scenes.

I’m slowly working on the first chapter for DFTD Book 5 (currently untitled), while enjoying some much needed rest. I’m also planning on editing Book 4 over the summer, time permitting.

If you haven’t found out already, I’ve removed the “Updates” tab on the top of the main page and replaced it with the “Other Short Works” tab. This will now be the place where I post links to additional short stories I’ve written that aren’t DFTD related, as well as some dark poetry, etc., that I will update as I post more material.

Also, the newest episode of After The Dark is now available, titled: The Killer Cut (Part One). This is part one of a two part episode featuring our latest special guest, Marcus Dempsey (a.k.a. Russell Bower). I’ll be posting the second part of this intriguing interview as soon as it becomes available.

In case you missed it on the main sticky page, a special thanks goes out to author, Michael Fitzgerald (Rev. Fitz), for featuring Don’t Feed The Dark on his, 31 Days of First Impressions Challenge, which he has now completed. I encourage you all to come on over to Michael’s website and read all about it. Also, Michael is currently writing a fascinating serial novel, titled, Existential Terror and Breakfast. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far and it’s definitely worth a read.

Lastly, the latest update link, as well as any additional news, will be posted on the bottom of the sticky post on the main page from now on.

That’s all for now. I’ll check back in a little later.

-Scott

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