Categories
Horror Short Stories

One Bright Day, In the Middle of the Night, I Go

You and your friend go out one day. He disappears in the dark forest near the river, you stay there for what feels like an eternity looking for him. Turns out you’re the one who died.

The next night, the sun rises high again, the moon sets again, and your body is no longer moving. It’s just a pile of bones and grasses in the grassy plain beneath the mountains. The moon is gone forever, and you don’t have anything left. Only the memory of what happened.

You walk slowly towards the valley, the only real light coming from an eerie light source in the hills. It has a weird, unsettling quality to it – almost alien. It feels like a vision, like something real, but somehow, you don’t really believe it. You’re never going to be able to trust any of your illusions again.

You don’t want to go any further. You know this. It’s not the first time you’ve been forced to face your mortality, but you feel like it was the last. You can’t deny that it is painful, you know. When you wake in the morning and the memories are clear and you’ve got all that stuff back, it is worse than just being dead. It is like you lost something more than anything else; you lost everything.

Photo by Comfreak on Pixabay

In the forest, the sun is up again, and the moon is not so bright in the sky. So, you go out again. But this time, it is cold, the sun goes down, and you just don’t know where you are anymore.

You think back to last night. And it doesn’t seem quite as bad anymore – until you open your eyes again. The darkness is coming back, slowly, but surely. The sun doesn’t rise again until the next day, but your eyes are still blinded by light that has long since passed by.

The next morning you wake up to an eerie feeling in your body, but the memory of the last night lingers. You don’t dare look down to look. A faint trickle of blood runs down your neck, and you can feel your pulse pounding on your skin.

After a few days it dawns on you, the reason why so many of your friends have died in the past was because you didn’t want to.

There are no signs of your friend. You’ve been buried in the graveyard so much your body is covered in bones. But that doesn’t make it anything special.

But you keep wondering where the rest of your friends are.

You had a chance.

Categories
Horror Short Stories

Mors Ex Machina

The grim reaper has been outdated for hundreds of years. Sure, people still die, but it’s automated now. You’ve enjoyed eternal retirement, but one day you’re told that the machine has been sabotaged. It might be time for death to get old school.

The first person was a middle-aged woman who was now in her late thirties. She had a dark red eye patch, and a scar on her upper right thigh from an elbow injury the machines had inflicted. Her shirt was torn open and open again. Death would have taken her long ago were it not for her efforts to disable the machinery of Death. She’d gone into the room and removed some equipment, and she’d gone back into hiding when she heard the scream of the machine.

Photo by Pavlofox on Pixabay

She had been too late, however. The machine had been hacked away the moment she’d stepped foot inside the room. It had begun to scream, and the screams and screams of people nearby were coming in from all directions; they were all deafened in their ears by the noise. They were all now screaming at each other, in horror, in confusion. The machines were no longer the problem. They were a mere secondary concern.

The second person was younger and darker, and was still a bit of a wizened old woman. She had a short silver-brown hair pulled into a loose bun at her shoulders, and the edges of her eye patch were missing. She was dressed in the same pale green clothing as her counterpart, and had a similar eye patch. Her skin was still a little pale, but most of what came down her back had not been removed. Her face was still a few shades too pale, the corners of her eyes still puckered. The edges of her mouth had been cut off.

She had looked as if she had come out from some deep dark space in time that was not this place. There had been a hint of a certain menace behind the grim reaper, a sense that she was the one who had done this, and the screams of those around her echoed this sense of dread. She had not noticed this, and so it was not until the screams stopped that she realized that the scream hadn’t come from a dead person. She had broken Death, and now she was back to summon the Reaper to fix it.

She had no intention of coming out of this alive, though. She would take her own life with her. There would be no more screaming, and nobody could hear her if she did, and she had no need for the Reaper anyway. But now that she’d entered the room, she felt nothing but fear. It seemed the whole purpose of the chamber was to make her afraid, and that made her a little dizzy. The machine screamed and shook, and as the screaming died down it seemed to become less frantic. The scream seemed to go on for longer and it was possible she was going to die before the machine was able to reboot.

The third person stood out like a sore thumb. She looked like you wouldn’t believe this, but this person had not been able to escape the deathtrap. It was still dark within the room, but it was now dimmer and more focused. She seemed to have lost her sense of colour, and the blood of the machine was a dull brown. She was dressed in a white jacket, and white trousers. Some of them were torn, and the fabric had been ripped through.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pixabay

It took a moment for them to realize that they were all the same person, and they were Death. They knew what they had to do to restore the machine.

There was no time to regret. The machine would restart soon enough.

Categories
Horror Short Stories

The Lord of War’s Voice

The Final Version

An unspeakable horror from another dimension stepped out of the portal, wisps of gas rising from the pavement where it made contact.  It was late and the street was mostly empty, a solitary man stood nearby at a bus stop, the only witness to what had happened.

A figure stood amidst the growing layer of fog just above the pavement, wearing dark, ragged clothes. Stretched across his face was a thin sheet of gray skin, covered in blood and grubs. His eyes were closed, and he was staring off into space. He spoke in a monotone, but a faint echo could be heard in the quiet surroundings.

A chill ran down the man’s spine. “What are you?”  As if in response to his question, the figure spoke.

“Your presence here. You will soon be gone. It is for the best.”

The air around the figure’s mouth and nostrils shifted, becoming slightly thicker. He spoke, “You will now be free to go wherever you wish, but I wish you would not go alone. My name is The Lord of War’s Voice. I am here to guide you. Your freedom comes with a price.”

“I’m just being a friend. I’m here just as I am right now. I know the Lord of War’s Voice will help you. I only asked you to help me, so you can free others.”

The Lord of War’s Voice laughed in the face of the man’s question. He spoke, “You will have to learn to accept it when it becomes apparent that you must do what is needed.”

“I’m…sorry, sir…I can’t…I don’t understand what I’m doing…” The man began walking away.

“I am here for those who have fallen, for the ones who need us most. The Lord of War’s Voice will help those he deems worthy to receive help. It is for those that need us most and have not yet found a voice.”

“But…I don’t have…a voice.” The man said, tears in his eyes as his thoughts turned into a fog.

“You will. You will be free. I will guide you to the place where you can find your voice. There will be many voices, many ways to speak, and the Lord of War’s Voice will guide you to the right one.”

“But…I…” The man began to fall and a growing light came from the portal.

“You will. You will find your voice. You have already found your voice.” The Lord of War’s Voice said, as his eyes closed again, “I have a name for you. A name, for the man you may be.”

The man began to walk towards the light, and the Lord of War’s Voice spoke to him again, “The man has been identified as the Lord of War’s Voice. You are free to return. I will guide you as you choose.”

He began to walk towards the light once more, only to be halted.

“You do not have a voice,” the Lord of War said, with his head lowered, “You have a mind that cannot comprehend a sound.”

A coldness descended upon the man’s body as he stared at the Lord of War’s voice. He turned, his eyes widening in shock.

The Lord of War’s Voice smiled, and the figure that had been standing in the shadows began to walk away.

The Lord of War looked at the man, who had just vanished from the shadow, and saw that he had become a new being. He was a being of pure white hair. As he was about to speak, he was interrupted by the Lord of War’s Voice, speaking in a low and deep voice.

“You were not here before. This is the first time I have heard your voice.” The Lord of War spoke, in a calm voice. “I am here to guide you, and to guide you, and to guide you, and to guide you. I am here to guide you. You will be guided to your own voice.”

Thoughts

I was impressed with the quality of this story, and the use of “The Lord of War’s Voice” as a name implies a fairly rich backstory in the universe this takes place. With that name, it was easy to ignore some of the awkward wording and take some of the word choices as threatening instead of out of place. I’ve also realized that I should probably start with a photo next time, as working backwards was a bit more of a challenge than I thought.

The Original Prompt

An unspeakable horror from another dimension stepped out of the portal, wisps of gas rising from the pavement where it made contact.

Unmodified Output

An unspeakable horror from another dimension stepped out of the portal, wisps of gas rising from the pavement where it made contact.

A figure stood amidst the clouds, wearing dark, ragged clothes. The mask was a thin sheet of gray skin stretched across his face, covered in blood and grubs. His eyes were closed, and he was staring off into space. He spoke in a monotone, but a faint echo could be heard in the quiet surroundings.

“What are you?”

A chill ran down the man’s spine. As if in response to his question, the figure spoke.

“Your presence here. You will soon be gone. It is for the best.”

The air around the figure’s mouth and nostrils shifted, becoming slightly thicker. He spoke, “You will now be free to go wherever you wish, but I wish you would not go alone. My name is The Lord of War’s Voice. I am here to guide you. Your freedom comes with a price.”

“I’m just being a friend. I’m here just as I am right now. I know the Lord of War’s voice will help you. I only asked you to help me, so you can free others.”

The Lord of War’s Voice laughed in the face of the man’s question. He spoke, “You will have to learn to accept it when it becomes apparent that you must do what is needed.”

“I’m…sorry, sir…I can’t…I don’t understand what I’m doing…” The man began walking away.

“I am here for those who have fallen, for the ones who need us most. The Lord of War’s Voice will help those he deems worthy to receive help. It is for those that need us most and have not yet found a voice.”

“But…I don’t have…a voice.” The man said, tears in his eyes as his thoughts turned into a fog.

“You will. You will be free. I will guide you to the place where you can find your voice. There will be many voices, many ways to speak, and the Lord of War’s Voice will guide you to the right one.”

“But…I…” The man began to fall.

“You will. You will find your voice. You have already found your voice.” The Lord of War’s Voice said, as his eyes closed again, “I have a name for you. A name, for the man you may be.”

The man began to walk towards the light, and the Lord of War’s Voice spoke to him again, “The man has been identified as the Lord of War’s Voice. You are free to return. I will guide you as you choose.”

He began to walk towards the light once more, only to be halted.

“You do not have a voice,” the Lord of War said, with his head lowered, “You have a mind that cannot comprehend a sound.”

A coldness descended upon the man’s body as he stared at the Lord of War’s voice. He turned, his eyes widening in shock.

The Lord of War’s Voice smiled, and the figure that had been standing in the shadows began to walk away.

The Lord of War looked at the man, who had just vanished from the shadow, and saw that he had become a new being. He was a being of pure white hair. As he was about to speak, he was interrupted by the Lord of War’s voice, speaking in a low and deep voice.

“You were not here before. This is the first time I have heard your voice.” The Lord of War spoke, in a calm voice. “I am here to guide you, and to guide you, and to guide you, and to guide you. I am here to guide you. You will be guided to your own voice.”