United

I’m ready.

The mask is drawn over my face and head, as it’s drawn over yours.

Soon we’ll be one mind, united. I’ve been waiting for this day ever since the day I first met you. I’ll be every part of you from this moment on, and you’ll be every part of me, one mind in two bodies.

It begins, and I see your inner thoughts. They are… Ugly. Hideous. Spiteful. Hateful. You don’t even love me; you just saw this as a means to an end.

Oh God.

I can see all of you.

And you’re in me now.

Squeaky Wheels

The wheel had been squeaking for so long, Catherine imagined she could still hear it even after it broke off the carriage.

“I told you about that wheel, Robert.”

“Squeaky wheels don’t just always fall off, miss,” Robert complained, jumping down from the driver’s seat.

Squeak. Squeak.

She could still hear it, away in the distance.

They looked off into the trees, down the path. Someone was coming.

Not someone.

Something.

SQUEAK. SQUEAK.

It trundled down the path and as it passed, it turned its head to look at them. And Katherine saw

it had wheels

that squeaked.

What They Saw

I was in the shop when I heard several people scream. I dropped my basket in shock, expecting gunfire or a fight, but there was only the screaming.

I found people who had fallen to their knees gripping their head in their hands. But they wouldn’t answer me. Even Arthur at the counter screamed.

I left the shop, only to hear more screaming.

They scream less now, but the smell is getting to me. I’m taking my cane and some supplies to see if the next town over is much the same. Maybe someone can tell me what they saw.

Juicy

There’s a bowl of fruit on the table between us. I’m having trouble looking at it.

She says something and takes from the bowl, bites deep into it. The juice runs down her chin and she has to cup her hand under her face to catch the droplets.

I look away, disgusted. I know what that fruit really is. I know what that juice really looks like. I’ve seen them hanging from the trees in her orchard, still beating and breathing. I’ve seen them on tables still and rotting.

She’s biting into a heart.

She tells me to try one.

Trail

She’ll be waking up now, wondering where she is and how she got there. She’ll be looking around her at the walls and doorways, heart starting to speed up, breath starting to hitch. She’ll see several paths open to her, leading her out of the maze.

But only one path will have a trail. I left it for her, to show her the way. It’s red and dark and sticky and frightening, and there’s no way for her to know what’s at the end of it, but it’s the way.

She’ll have to decide whether she wants to follow it.

The Cloud

I asked her what she saw in the clouds. I had already said a dragon, a train, Abe Lincoln’s hat, pointing out each of them.

“A rabbit,” she said, pointing. “And… a sword. And…”

She pointed at another cloud, but said nothing.

I turned to look at her.

Her face was twisted in horror. Her eyes were wide, the whites showing. Her mouth was open as if she wanted to scream, but couldn’t.

She sat up and stared at the grass, and though I asked her what was wrong she wouldn’t tell me.

She doesn’t look at clouds anymore.

The Foxes

Ben came in from the woods filthy, covered in mud and dirt and blood. He wouldn’t tell us what had happened. All he would say was “The foxes…”

We washed him off and checked him all over, but it wasn’t his blood. He wasn’t injured. Only terrified, and repeating “The foxes. The foxes.”

Now, whenever the foxes wail in the forest, Ben looks up from whatever he’s doing with wide eyes, shaking, suddenly unable to speak. And ever since that night, the foxes cry and bark more and more, and closer and closer, and Ben only cries

“The foxes…”

Gigantic

You’d think it was the wind howling, if you didn’t know any better. But even as a newcomer to this town you know about the ghost.

You’ll see it. If you haven’t already…

You haven’t?

Just got here?

Okay, then prepare yourself, because this ghost is gigantic. It walks the hills at night, Fifty feet tall, ice white, crying and moaning, thrashing and stomping, whipping the trees into a frenzy ’til you think they’ll blow right over.

It’s interesting at first, but you’ll get sick of it pretty quick. It’s not that great having a giant’s ghost in your backyard.

Crooked Fingers

The man’s crooked hands struggled to flip the book’s pages. His frame shook with excitement and the infirmity of old age.

“Here it is.” He pointed with a twisted finger. “This is the incantation. The spoken words, the hand signs.”

Geoffrey looked at the words and the drawings of hand sigils the old man could no longer perform. He swallowed the lump in his throat.

He was terrified.

He was no caller of demons, but the old man wanted so badly to see the things. He would have to do this. For the old man, he would do anything.