Category Archives: online fiction

Black Sleep

“The Black Sleep”
by: Thadd Presley

I can only tell this once and would like to keep silent on this account completely; except for the children that might follow my direction and possibly choose a path such as I’ve taken, I would indeed find a way to keep my life’s decisions a secret and work towards erasing all record of myself from the Earth which would turn all the prying eyes from my business forever and a happy man it would make me; to see the end of this thing called fame, I would do all this, you see; except I know it’s impossible to put the smoke back into the pipe, after it’s been enjoyed, and I grow more and more saddened by this knowledge and will forever more be saddened by every young one who looks at my life as something to be desired and at myself as a role model to be followed.

Obviously, not realizing, or perhaps pretending they don’t see, that I rose to these delirious heights and achieved these glamorous proportions by turning against my upbringing and throwing aside the wise words of my faithful fathers and goodly mothers and by disgracing this very special being I was born into; and, believe me, it is with a heavy heart, for I would like to not face this, nor do I want to make mention of it at all, but if I’m ever to have any sense of humanity again, I must admit that by attaining greatness in the sight of others, I forfeited the invisible part of myself, which is the part we all know matters most, and I am afraid of what awaits me on the other side of this life; that is, if there’s anything at all, I wish, with all my being, that I could trade back all that I have for the single thing I once thought didn’t existed.

Death is what I most need it to be; a black sleep, a darker, much deeper sleep than the thin nights I wake from and fall back to each eve. It will be relaxing and filled with sweet dreams if I know the truth and hold it high for all to see. However, the fantasy of life quickly recedes in the light of this truth and the very moment I try to imagine anything more than the blackness my Death needs to be, a cold sweat dowses my brow and the velvet blackness begins to pulsate until a slight crack splits the horizon just enough for my eyes to squint closer and closer until they adjust to the ever so dimness of light that reflect the waves slowly moving below in the inky, limitless sea of pitch.

In the slightly-pulsating lighted horizon line, I see dashes of swooping red devils, all differing sizes, gleefully thrusting pitchforks into men and women. These tortured people cry silently and ball their fists into their eyes and mouths, some pull at their hair and claw the skin from their faces. Each trying someway to ignore the pain brought on by their decisions and actions before falling to the Black Sleep.

I see many small devils attack a thin, pale, naked man and lift him into the air under the power of their muscled wings. A scream fills my head, but his mouth doesn’t move. Alongside a background of sucking and smacking waves, which is how that sea of hot tar sounds to my human ears, I hear a dark chorus of cellos and violins, and a hundred different voices calling out to the souls who still live in the Universe of Free-Will. Joined in a deafening choir, each voice pleads in it’s own words, for those who still have the strength and can, to turn from wickedness and accept the truth by faith alone.

These voices, crying together as a choir pray, and lament, and scream in torment; and for a moment I wonder, perhaps I even ask aloud: Am I the only one who hears them? Am I the only one who knows the truth of this Darkness crawling under a black sky? And, if I am, who will believe me?

Sadness, as I’ve never known it, fills me and I want so much not to be a liar, and a thief, and a braggart, and a lover of Earthly desires; only, so people might believe me when I tell them that the fame and fortune I have attained, nor the great wealth and perfect health I enjoy, compares to the eternal spirit I place in peril with every action and thought, and that beyond the thin veil that separates life from The Black Sleep, Time does not exist.

I know, in that moment; that, everything worth knowing was a single, simple truth, that forgetting everything I’d learned before made me a genius, and a legend, and immortal, and rich, and healthy, and capable of super-human feats yet seen by mankind.

I know when I wake from the sleep, I will give it all away and walk with the lost, be with the homeless, eat with the hungry, drink with the thirsty, and live with the dying. I will do this because the dreams of my Black Sleep depend on it.

A will bring this great message to the world:

Do not feed the hungry, eat with them.
Do not house the homeless, live with them.
Do not give water to the thirsty, drink with them.

I realize everything now.

As soon as the choir stops screaming and lamenting, and praying; when the cellos and violins quiet, and the black, crawling sea of tar stops sucking and churning below; as soon as my eyes adjust to the dim light on the horizon and I wake up from this Black Sleep, I will change my life.

Reverse Image (part 3)

Reverse Image
part 3
by Thadd Presley

What Delilah saw at that moment frightened her. The top half of her mother’s face changed. First, her pupils dilated, but not together. Each one on its own grew to the maximum size and then shrunk back down again. Her nose flared much like a horse’s would in the spring. Delilah stood and stepped away from the table. Her mother had become someone else.

She didn’t know why this was happening, but she thought it might be a stroke. Her mother was still young. Thirty-eight was young for anyone to die.

Clare saw a color of red that she never knew existed. It filled her vision and then doubled over on itself. She saw the walls of her world deepen and drown in the color. It was the color of murder, of hatred and sex and violence. God didn’t create this color to be seen and talked about. I was the last color anyone was ever to see. She knew deep in her heart that she was dying and it was a good thing.

“Mom. God.” Delilah screamed and ran to the breakfast counter where her cell phone laid. “911,” she screamed. “911.”
A woman had answered the emergency line before Clare knew what to say. “What’s your emergency?”

“My mom. My..she’s having a heart attack.”

“OK. Calm down. What’s your address.”

Delilah took a deep breath and answered all the questions.

Finally, there were sirens in the air.

The siren grew louder and closer. Too close for them to be for anyone but herself.

Clare opened her eyes. Red still covered everything and she still certain she would die. No one saw that and lived, she kept telling herself. No one could see that and live.

“Mom. Mom.”

The voice of her daughter was there in the red somewhere and that was somehow the worst part of it all. Why did she have to be involved?

The sirens stopped and doors slammed. The red was growing. It was outside now. Even the sky would be covered in red.
“Ma’am? Can you hear me?”

No, Clare thought. If I hear you then the red will get you.

“Look at her eyes, Cap. What do you think happened?”

“Looks to be a serious case of subconjunctival hemorrhage.”

Delilah screamed. The next thing she saw was the kitchen floor.

“She’s coming around, Cap. You alright sweetheart?”

“My mom. She had a hemorrhage. Her brain.”

The paramedic sat down beside her and smiled. “Let’s sit up.” He helped her. “There now. Your mom is fine. It was scary for her and for you, but that’s all. Nothing serious.”

“What happened?”

“Well, we don’t know why but she became extremely stressed and it busted a blood vessel in her eye. Both of them actually. She’s going to the hospital.”

“She’s OK?”

“Yes. Very OK.”

“I want to go with her.”

“That’s fine. You want to go ahead and stand up?”

Together, they managed to walk to the ambulance.

A moment of panic shot through Delilah’s chest when she saw her mother’s eyes. They were both filled with blood. Her mother looked like a zombie. Quickly, she snapped a picture and smiled.

“I got your good side that time.”

“You’re not funny. I don’t know how you can laugh at me. After what you’ve done. Being pregnant is hard enough on a family, but…”

“Pregnant? Mom!” For a moment, Delilah didn’t think she heard her right. “Mom, I’m not pregnant. Who told you that?”
“Don’t lie to me. You already…”

“I’m not pregnant. You must have hit your head or something when you fell.” She looked at the paramedic who wishing he was invisible. “I’m not, I swear.”

Clare was visibly upset.

“We can settle this once we get to the hospital,” he told them. “There is a planned parenthood clinic there that offers free pregnancy tests. You can go from there. How’s that?”

“O.K.” Delilah quickly assented.

Clare didn’t say anything but nodded her head.

“Let’s get this rig on the road, Cap!”

Slowly, the ambulance made it’s way onto the street and ten minutes later they pulled in at Methodist Medical Center.
An hour later, mother and daughter sat together in the E.R. A negative pregnancy test sat in a paper cup, wrapped in a paper towel.

“But, I don’t understand why you thought I was pregnant in the first place?”

“You said you found out something this morning and I thought you meant…”

“Mom, jeez. I learned something from Youtube that’s all. Really, I should have realized it a long time ago.” She smiled. Her mother’s blood red eyes looked back at her. “Oh, I’m sorry. I love you, mom. Thank you for worrying about me.”

“Well, child, that my job. It’s not this hard most of the time. What can I say? You’re a good kid.”

Ryan was escorted into the room by a nurse who was telling him that everything was going to be fine. “Clare is in no danger,” she said. “She just had a scare and fainted.”

“Yeah, I know. It’s been one heck of a morning for all of us.”

Reverse Image (part 2)

Reverse Image

part 2

by Thadd Presley

 

When Lucas entered the room, the quiet atmosphere stopped him in his tracks before he could say anything. There was a furrow on his dad’s brow he’d not seen before and his mother’s face spelled out volumes of unspoken emotion. He hoped they weren’t talking about his spring semester grades. He brought them up at the end.

Dad spoke up first. “Would you mind explaining exactly what you’re talking about? Your mother and I don’t have all morning to play guessing games. This afternoon we can hash out all the details and decide what we will do.”

“Ryan Butress.” Mother sounded extra-weird to Lucas and for the first time that morning he and his sister looked each other in the eyes. “I’ll not hear more of that. I have all the time she needs and so do you. She will tell us what she wants, when she wants. And we will not decide what she does, she decides what she does. Understand?” When her husband didn’t answer right away, Clare started crying.

Delilah stood in the gaze of three stone serious faces and she didn’t know what to say. Lucas broke the silence before it became hysteria.

“What is going on?”

“I don’t know. I think it’s because I’m not wearing makeup.”

Dad looked up from his bowl of cereal. “Sweetie, I’m not mad and neither is your mother. We just want you to be alright.”

“Well, I’m fine,” Delilah answered. “I just want to think about how I’m going to tell you what I found out. It’s been staring me in the face for so long and for me to just realize it. I mean, it’s stupid that I didn’t see it before. Why didn’t one of you tell me? Did you not know?”

“How could we know?” Her mother asked. “I don’t sleep in your bed, I don’t go out with you when you stay over at Angela’s house.”

“Is that what happened?” Her dad asked.

“That’s not important.” Her mother answered. “What’s important is what happens now.”

“O.K. Fine.” He stood from the table. His left hand shook and that was a bad sign. It meant he was really pissed. Delilah didn’t understand why her mom was so angry. “I’m going to work before I get in over my head and say something I’ll regret. I love you all and I’ll be home by four if anyone wants to fill me in then.”

As soon as the Mercedes backed out of the driveway, Lucas took this chance to jump ship. “I’m going to the gym and then job hunting. Bye.”

His mother crossed the kitchen and hugged him. Then, she turned and took an apple from the basket. “Eat this on your way. You’ll need energy to workout.”

“Thanks, mom.”

After the kitchen cleared of the menfolk, the women of the house stood quietly. They stood at the sink and watched Lucas jog down the sidewalk until he was out of view, then they looked at each other.

“Why are you looking at me that way, mom? God, why is everyone is so weird this morning.”

“I’m just worried about you. We are worried. Your dad and I.”

“Mom. It’s not a big deal. Here, listen. I’ll try to explain.”

“No. I want you to listen. That’s all I want you to do right now.” She pointed to the kitchen table. “Sit down so we can talk.”

“Mom!!”

“Don’t you yell at me.” She said it quietly, but it was a command that Delilah knew to obey. She sat and waited for her mother to speak. “Now I only have one question and I want the truth. Who’s the father?”

“What?”

“Just answer the question. Who’s the…”

“I don’t know. Dad, I guess. Who else?”

The words her daughter spoke didn’t make sense to her. They had meant something, but they quickly turned into something else before they reached her ears. Something like red worms burrowing through the dirt. Worms that ate the all the bad words once they left the mouth and spoiled in the open air.

Reverse Image

Delilah looked at her face reflecting in the bathroom mirror. She had just learned on Youtube that the image she saw reflecting back at her was not the same as it appeared to people on the street. The reflection was a mirror image. Exactly opposite of what everyone else saw.

She wished she could see what other saw, how she looked from the vantage point of others. How had she gone so long applying make-up backward to her face, primping and teasing her hair backward, smiling approvingly at a look that was completely opposite of what she had always thought it was?

There’s no wonder why she never turned any heads throughout middle school and during freshman year. But, now things were going to be different. Delilah was certain to see what everyone else was seeing.

“Dee, hurry.”

It was her older brother, Lucas, standing outside the bathroom door, probably doing the pee dance.

“Dee, please.”

“Go downstairs. Use dad’s.”

“He’s asleep. He’ll go ballistic if …”

The bathroom door flew open. “Fine. Whatever. Just stop talking to me.”

Lucas stared in disbelief. “What have you been doing all this time? I’ve been waiting patiently, gritting my teeth, because I know …”

“You don’t know anything, Luke. Just like always.”

He pushed past her and closed the door, not sure what he said wrong; without time to think, he could figure it out later if she was in a better mood.

Downstairs, Delilah’s mother, who everyone in the world called Clare, greeted her daughter with all smiles. “You’re gorgeous, do you know that?”

“Mom.” She glanced at Ryan, her dad. “Morning, dad.”

“You’re mom’s right, you know?”

“Yeah. Yeah. I’m not wearing makeup.”

“And I think that’s a good thing because makeup should be saved for special occasions.” Clare continued while buttering toast. “It shouldn’t be for everyday use. It’s really not good for your face over years and years of use.”

“Yep. Clogs your pores.”

“Well, that’s not why I’m not wearing it. It’s more complicated than that. I just found out something huge. It changes everything. Last night actually.”

“Like what?” Mom questioned.

“I don‘t know. Well, I don‘t know. I’m not really sure how to tell you. It’s hard to explain.”

“Whatever it is we we’ll understand.”

“Well, I should have realized it before because we were talking about it before school was out. At least last month ago or two at the most. I should have known.”

This brought the attention of both parents.

Continue on Part 2

Shallow Grave (part 8)

Shallow Grave

Part 8

Thadd Presley

I never had to sign my name in blood to hear the voices. The voices have always been in my head, loud and clear, before the man came. While in my early teens, I listened to what they told me while dreaming of the day I would publish their lives in my stories.

I never thought I would publish a book every year? I didn’t know the public would enjoy the stories as much as they do. It never occurred to me that I had a future doing what I loved. I didn’t believe in myself, which is why I took the deal – if that’s what it was. I swear to you I didn’t realize at the time.

The voices didn’t care one way or the other. They were part of my life and I accepted them for what they were: a universe of characters swirling in my head, living out their lives for me to document. After the man talked with me, the voices became louder over the years, and now they grow more commanding everyday.

It seems lately that I don’t have a moment of quiet.

Usually, the voices took their turn. I wrote their stories and, once I had their voices on the page, they would quieten down again. Some had overlapping stories, since many of them lived in the same area, practically the same town. But, lately — and especially on nights like tonight — no amount of writing, no matter how much I wrote, could quiet the voices. They grew louder and louder. Underneath I heard a deeper fear than usual.


I began writing early this evening, my regular time, because I wanted to finish a story contracted through a horror magazine that my publisher told me would really pay off in the long run. I needed to get it written so that I could write my column for the local newspaper. But, it never became possible. I have been constantly interrupted by a small female voice. Mingled within her lightly spoken words has a loud cracking voice of an elderly man. They have kept up a running dialog in my head all evening and after just a few hours, they had taken over my head completely. I heard nothing but what was happening in their world.

Lydia, don’t you love me?” the old man asked again, possibly for the twentieth time. He spoke with a cracked voice between labored breaths. I clearly saw the bedroom and hospital bed. An oxygen hose hung loosely below his nose. A crown of billowing white hair ringed his head.

Yes, I do Papaw, very much. Now, please, you should sleep. It’s coming up on three in the morning.”

Yes, I thought, please go to sleep. Please, leave her alone and let me get back to my story.

But, Lydia dear, I can’t sleep, darling. Not while he’s here. He’ll take me away if I do. I know he will.”

She stood at the bedroom door looking in on her grandfather. Her face looked pale because of the wet, black mascara trails streaming from her eyes. “There is no one here except us.” She spoke, trying to calm him. She was worried about him not sleeping, because she’d seen this delusion worsen without proper rest.

Shallow Grave (part 7)

Shallow Grave

part 7

Thadd Presley

 

Whether I decided what type of life I wanted to live before I was born or decided through a series of choices made over a number years, does it really matter? I suppose if I had the choice to be bound by Fate or chose my life, I would chose to live a life determined by Fate. Otherwise, I would have to accept responsibility of my choices.

For years, I compared my life against the lives of my friends and family. I realized the same pattern appearing again and again in the their lives. It seemed as if they lived the same day, week, or month in a repeating loop. I felt bad for them, looked down on them, and even thought they were stupid. Something had to be wrong with them. At least, that’s what I thought at the time. But, I realized that they didn’t chose their life, just as the major decisions I thought I had made in my life seemed to be worked out by the time I got the chance to act. All the stress I placed on myself while trying to decide what to do was a waste of time ad energy. The things I wanted most in my my life, once I decided that I really wanted them, were simply waiting for me in the right places. College was there, my career was there, my wife was there, my children were there. Does that mean I was powerless? It seems the only decision I ever really had to make was: be alive.

So, was my life was out of my hands? Sometimes it seemed that way. The many distractions were always lying in wait to take me away from my work, not a moment went by that someone close to me failed to suggest “this” or “that” thing we should do, and for the most part, I was able to roll with the punches and dodged the big ones somehow just before it was too late. I don’t know how it all came together.

Maybe I wanted to believe this because it would mean I wasn’t responsible the decisions in my life. It would free me me from the guilt I’ve felt for so long. But, even while it seemed to be possible, I knew it wasn’t true. I knew I was responsible for the things I did and there was nothing I could be ashamed of more than being afraid to face up to my decisions. I could have chosen a different path if I wanted and I probably should have. I could have been a different person if I wanted.

But, I chose to do all the things I did for a reason. I wanted to get all the things I ever wanted, and because of that I’ve had nightmares for most of my adult life. I’ve feared for my immortal soul every time the lights went out and I stood alone crying out to God for some sign that I’ve still got a soul to cry for.

There were times when I claimed responsibility for all the sins I committed only because I meant I was responsible for the good things that happened in my life as well. It sounded shallow and weak even then, but that’s who I was. I wanted to look big in the eyes of some people, but not everyone.

I saw clearly what fame looked like early on and steered clear of it because it was interfering and imposing. A shadowy figure didn’t have to tell me that I didn’t want to be on David Letterman. That was my choice and it was an easy choice.

A pact with the devil wasn’t the reason I kept my career to myself. The people close to me knew what I did and sometimes knew where I went, but only when they needed to know what I was doing. There wa was no good reason to tell everyone what I did and how I spent my days. I chose not to look for adulation or seek out false praise from people who thought they knew me.

I wanted to be able to live in my small town and remain as low key as possible. It was important to me, my wife, my kids, and my own sanity. Everything depended on my ability to be a normal person, and to be able to live a normal life in my home town.

I didn’t want my name in the tabloids, the gossip pages, all the scandal rags. There was a class of people – a sub-human species of man – who lived off other people; the moochers hunt weaker people and eat everything left behind; the leeches attach themselves onto a person and suck the life out of them, usually it is painless; and then there are the parasites who find their way into a person who has achieved a level of success higher than they are capable.

The prospect of these people getting to me or my family and ruining our lives to make themselves rich turned the mansions and bright lights of Hollywood and New York into mausoleums for hollow-eyed corpses and I didn’t want to be part of it. So, if things turned out the way they did simply because I signed my name on the dotted line, that was just part of my life. Not all of it. I’ve done so much more than that single act.

Shallow Grave part 6

Shallow Grave

(Part 6)

by Thadd Presley

 

Over the years, following my first novel “Shallow Grave” there has always been one nagging question: Was the book a product of my imagination or did I sell my soul for it? Late at night, as the fear of hell and eternal damnation seem the realest, I tell myself that I’d know if I’d sold my soul? It wouldn’t be something I could forget or suppress. After all, how could selling my soul be so easy? It’s not like I have a receipt laying around in case I didn’t get everything I ever wanted.

While the book has done very well and led me to a good career, the money hasn’t exactly been in the millions. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many of the nicer places in North America, Canada included, more than I ever thought I would actually, and I spent time in the most famous European hot spots. Through publisher conferences, book signings, and writer retreats I’ve seen much of the world.

During the release of the second book, I was even fortunate enough to take my family to Ireland and just a year later we spent a month in Australia together. It’s been great.

More books followed, proving my success wasn’t a fluke, more than enough to convince me that my accomplishments were my own. Sells were enough to keep my children in college and the family comfortable, although we weren’t able to take vacations every year and I certainly never become famous.

In fact, after the first few late night talk shows and half a dozen book signings beside the leaders in the horror genre, I realized I didn’t want to be a famous person. Fifteen minutes was more than enough. Any more attention would have caused problems between my ego and the antisocial disorder that had been working so well for me. I was a writer after all, not an entertainer, and I wanted things to remain just as they had been all along.

But, that’s just where the fear found it’s greatest foothold. During all those sleepless nights, if I was fortunate enough to sleep at all, the nightmares and horrors were just beyond the veil of consciousness. No matter how sure I was of my innocence, the fear always found a piece of solid ground large enough to support the weight of it’s accusations. Often where the fog of memory and shadow of guilt came together, I’d find myself facing certain truths that convicted me thoroughly and deeply.

I never wanted fame. I didn’t write to attain a fortune. I wrote because I wanted to have a writer’s life. I wrote so I could find a woman who would someday become a loving wife. Together, I wanted us to become comfortable with a family.

As I am often reminded by the black and faceless accusers, who derail my dreams into darkness and depravity: I got everything I wanted. Everything I could reasonably ask for and expect to receive has been delivered into my life on time and in just the right amount, as if I ordered it direct from a warehouse.

Shallow Grave (part 5)

Shallow Grave

(part 5)

Thadd Presley

“They offered me Fifty grand. But remember I said I was going to publish it through Amazon? That means I’m not taking their money.”

“Fifty grand? That’s all?”

“Yeah, that’s a hell of a lot of money, Allen. And it’s only an advance on the royalties. I would eventually get more money when it begins to sell.”

“I thought that it being the devil and all that he’d make it a million or something.”

“Well, it wasn’t the devil then, was it. Plus, I’m self publishing.”

“OK. But, you can’t deny that they book was magically inspired. You told me you wrote it in like a week right?”

“I’m not sure. More like a few days.”

“That sounds like magical inspiration to me.”

“First of all, you don’t realize how much I write once I get started. In just a few mornings I can do 20 thousand words no problem.”

“Well, how did this one go? Did you know the whole story before you started or was it…”

“What? Was it magic? How should I know.” Allen looked up then and we both realized it was soon time for the bar to close. He raised his glass and I did the same.

“To us old pal, to you and your writing, to me and my new company, so that the next year is the best we’ve ever had to date.” I smiled and nodded my head.

We both drained our beers.

“OK. So was it.”

“No. It wasn’t magic. It never is. I wake up early and write stories. Coffee, cigarettes, and booze, nothing more.” He was looking at me and I knew he knew when I was lying. “Ok. This time was a bit different. The entire story was in my head that morning. Usually, I just have a glimmer or a scene and after awhile I can tell if it’s a short story or a part of a longer one. Well, I knew everything about every character, every scene, before the first word was written. I even had an address to a publishing house in New York. Avocet! The name was just sitting on my desk along with the phone number. It must have been given to me by someone because it wasn’t in my hand writing, but I can’t remember when or by who.”

“So the guy in your room that night was real and not just your imagination? You knew then that he was some sort of… I don’t know … demon.”

“He might be, Allen. I’m a bit scared and excited at the same time. I know the story is good, hell great, but it’s not worth selling my soul for.” I told him this knowing that I was tempted to send the book to New York just to know what they would say. “The publishers might reject the book.”

“If they do then you know this is all a bunch of crap and you’re no worse of then before. You got a story out of it anyway, right?”

“Right. I guess, if the devil deals with writers then I’m going to be rich.” I still wasn’t sure if I was going to do it, but Allen was sure I would.

“He does,” Allen said and suddenly stood up. We were both pretty drunk at this point and he walked towards the door without looking back. I followed him onto the street, ready for more questions but he didn’t ask anymore about the man or the deal. In fact, I’ve not see him much since that night twenty years ago.

Shallow Grave part 4

Shallow Grave
(part 4)

Thadd Presley

“He told me that all the great writers, those who came before and those still to come, have one thing in common.”

“Yeah, their crazy, like you.”

‘They all hear voices and were considered unstable.”

“And you do hear voices, don’t you?” Allen asked in all seriousness, as if diagnosing a delusional person.

“Yeah, in a way. I mean, it’s not exactly like voices but it’s not me either. Something inside me tells me what to write.”

“But, have you ever told anyone, besides me, I mean?”

“What do you think? If I told anyone I hear voices, they would think I was crazy and lock me up or something.”

“Then what did the man do? Tell me about the man.”
“He said he would give me a story to write and if I wrote it everything I wanted would be mine.”

“Didn’t that seem odd to you? A strange man appearing in your house and telling you that he would give you story and give you everything you wanted?”

“Not really. I mean at the time it seemed normal. I was desperate. I didn’t think. “Everything I wanted’ kept echoing in my head. I was focused on that part. Besides there’s ghost writers and many well known writers buy stories from people who sell stories all the time. It’s usually people like me who really come up with the ideas that make writer into famous best-selling authors.”

“Yeah, yeah. But, so far you ain’t sold shit. Tell me about the deal you made with him. Cause it seems like it was useless.” He smiled. “You’re deal with the Devil.”

“It was not the devil.” I finished the rest of my beer and this time Allen bought the round. “When it came to the story, I thought he meant he would sell me one or tell me one. I didn’t realize what he meant. I had no idea –”

“But, if he would have explained it to you in detail would you have still done it?”

“Yeah, I suppose I would have. I sometimes thought my stories came from somewhere else anyway and I was focusing more and more on the promise of everything I wanted. Anyway, my stories have always came from somewhere else, like figments of my imagination or something, and since this man was probably my own imagination, what did I have to lose.”

“Nothing I guess. Everything, probably.”

At this point, I took a long pull off my fourth beer and tried to change the subject, but Allen was having none of it. “Tell me what you did. I think you made a deal with the Devil and your new novel is what he promised. I think if you publish this book, you will be incredibly rich and famous and you will have then sold your soul. I feel it in my bones.”

“Fine. It makes no difference now anyway. I might have sold it that night.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because I did exactly as he asked. I cut my right index finger with my dad’s buck knife, because I write with my left, and when he handed me a small document from his breast pocket.”
“You never told me that before.”
“I’m scared. What if I really sold my soul?”
“What did you do exactly?”
“Well, he unfolded the old piece of paper and asked me very politely to put my sign the bottom.”

“In blood?”

“Of course.”

“And you did it?”

“Damn it, Allen, you know I did. But I swear to God, I thought I was dreaming or having a delusion. I’d been drinking whiskey and I was sleepy. I’d already taken a few pain pills that I’d scored from Daniel so I could stay awake but they weren’t working.”

“OK. OK.” Allen was backing down a bit. He could see my irritation beginning to sow and he knew I wasn’t not a happy drunk to begin with. Allen was my true friend and he could handle me if he needed to but he didn’t want to have to. Instead of backing all the way off, he pressed me further wanting to hear the rest. “How long did it take you to write the novel? The one that you’ve been offered money for?”

“Well –”

“How much did you say they were offering?”

“Damn, Allen, you want me tell you the story or not?”

“Yeah, just tell me how much first.”

Shallow Ground Part 3

I want to keep the parts to around 500 words.  The first one is 1500 and that seems a bit to long. I’d like the parts to be read quickly and without interfering with the rest of the day. So, here it be: part 3

Shallow Ground:

part 3

by Thadd Presley

“Well, as you know, that night scared the hell out of me,Allen. I really thought I was going to be killed by an intruder or possibly taken by something. It turned out that the thing in my room wasn’t there to hurt me. In fact, I know now, that it wasn’t from this world at all. And as it held it’s hand out to me, not saying a word, I knew he had something I wanted. I suddenly realized he wasn’t just a shadow. He wasn’t there to scare me. Really, he was anything scary, at all. He was just a man standing in my room with his hand held out to me.

“Of course, there were plenty of weird vibes coming from him which piqued my interest because I had never felt anything like it in my life. I had just turned twenty-one and this thing had secret gears kicking in all over my body. That’s the part that scared me more than anything, but I didn’t care. I felt an opportunity from him, a new start, and I wanted it. It didn’t matter if he had to take me away and teach me.”

I stopped talking, taking a moment to get a good swig of the beer, and tried to remember a movie. Allen’s eyes were glued to my face. I didn’t notice that really, until later, because at that moment there was a woman sitting across from us, three booths over, watching our conversation. She had to be watching my lips move because the place was rather loud.

“What was he wearing on his fingers?” Allen said breaking my contact with the brown haired woman. “Anything, like I don’t know, rings or something, you know from out of this world?”

“Nothing. I don’t think so.”

“’Cause rich people wear rings and they don’t look like they are expensive but they are. So if you saw something and it was just plain, it could have been very special.”

“No, he didn’t have rings. Oh,” I remembered the movie then, “it was like that movie Perfect Storm or whatever by Stephen King where a man came to the island and took the kid away, but he didn’t hurt the kid.”

“Yeah, I watched it.”

“Well, that’s what I was hoping would happen to me. I wanted to be taken away and made into something different.”

“Well, you weren’t taken away. Nothing happened that night, right?”

“Nothing? Well, I mean, when he held is hand out to me I could smell him. He smelled like flowers. No, no, like necter. I knew instantly, that the place he came from smelled like that and I was actually smelling somewhere far away. I could see from the smell blue flowers twith hick and beautiful petals.”

My speech was becoming slurred. I heard it myself. I wondered if Allen believed. I didn’t want him to think I was making it up. “Allen, by just smelling the scent I knew I could trust him.”

“Tell me what he said. What was the first thing he told you?”