The Man Upstairs – Part Two

The entire funeral froze. It wasn’t often that someone got up to speak that the family didn’t know, that the closest friends of the recently deceased had never heard of, but were now hearing from. The Man Upstairs hasn’t a figure of speech. He was standing at the podium, licking his lips in preparation for an unveiling of who my grandmother really was. Continue reading “The Man Upstairs – Part Two”

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Minted in 2021

Minted in 2021. In ST.

For people that were coin collectors, that information probably didn’t mean much. Coins were minted every year. The old one were collected and destroyed, replaced by shinier bit of currency. Sometimes the face is changed, or a commemoration of sorts is put onto the “head” side of the coin. Most people don’t notice these things. Continue reading “Minted in 2021”

The Friar Game

I’d been called to a lot of strange crime scenes in my day. Weird ones, ones where the body is mutilated. Ones where the cause of death was so unclear that we walked away with dozens of possible murder weapons.

But those were always in the city. Once or twice a small town or hamlet would have a bizarre murder that needed a pro’s help. But still, I’ve never been called out to the desert before. Continue reading “The Friar Game”

The Man Upstairs

“I know most of you here don’t know who I am. But I knew Margaret better than anyone here.”

What? Who was this guy? I thought to myself. And what did he think he was doing? He waltzed up to the podium of my grandmother’s funeral, all fancy in his purple suit, and started to talk. He knew her better than anyone? Better than her friends? Her family? Her husband? Continue reading “The Man Upstairs”

The Mystery Door (Extended Version)

 

As Alfred began to turn the door knob, this thought flashed in his mind. Is it safe to enter? He hesitated and let that thought linger. Is it safe to go into this room, if it is a room?
His fingers slid away from the door. Was it safe?

He looked down the hallway. His bedroom on the left and his office to the right, that was all the rooms that the upstairs had. Had, until this door appeared. He didn’t understand how it got there, where it came from, and where it lead.

Are you sure you’re awake? Could this be a dream, or a nightmare?
Alfred breathed deeply, and gave his arm a pinch. The pain reassured him he was awake. But that reassurance didn’t help the real issue. There was a mystery door in his house.

What if there is something on the other side? Can I defend myself?

A step back seemed to be Alfred’s answer to his own question. As a paper pusher, he wasn’t overly athletic or physically fit. No match for whatever could be waiting for him.

He looked down as he reached into his pocket for his phone.

The door knob rattled.

No. That did not just happen. The door knob did not just rattle. I’m tired. It’s late. My mind is playing tricks on me.

His bottom lip began to quiver. Logic was not helping the situation, because as true as his statements were about his feeling exhausted and the hour being late, the pain from his pinched arm reminded him of what was truer still.

A mystery door had appeared in his house. And yes, the door knob did rattle.

Alfred carefully pulled his phone out of his pocket, both eyes still fixed on the door knob. Could he ring the police without looking? Did he dare look away?

A panicked breath and Alfred looked down at his phone. 9. 1.

Click.

Alfred froze. His eyes clamped shut. Every muscle In his body locked up.

That did not just happen it. That did not just happen. The door is still closed. The door is still closed. Maybe it was the sound of your phone, he told himself trying to calm his racing heart.

It could have been your phone…but it would have made a noise when you pressed 9.
Another anxious breath, and Alfred knew that was true. That could only mean it was the door knob. Did he dare open his eyes to confirm that?

He licked his lips, trying to ease his nerves. It didn’t help. His mouth was dry from the heavy breathing. His hands however were beading with sweat. How could this be happening? And why to him? A simple guy that never bothered anyone; why would this horror plague him?

A deep gulp was the only sound he heard. Everything was still. No freaking of the door opening. No floor boards moving. Just his steady breathing and the occasional gulp. Seconds dragged on into minutes. Minutes into hours. What felt like days for Alfred passed.

I can’t keep doing this. I can’t just stand here anymore.

Alfred gathered what little courage he could muster, and began to open one eye. It was a slow and calculated move, tilting his head to the right as if to dodge an oncoming punch. The door blurred into vision.

Oh, God no.

The door was open. Just a crack. Just enough to overwhelm Alfred’s heart with dread.

Did something come out while I had my eyes shut? Is there something in my house now? Do I close the door? What if that traps it in here with me? Would it be safer for me to go in there if it’s in here? What if there is more than one? What if all this is a trap?

He winced, and turned away from the door altogether. He was starting to get a headache from the limitless possibilities. What was he going to do now? Should he just leave the house? Forget the door even exists?

That thought brought some relief to his soul. Yeah, I could just walk away from this. From this door. From this house. I could leave and never think about it.

The door creaked.

Oh no. No. No. No. No.

The labored breathing and panic was back. Alfred grabbed onto the staircase failing to brace himself. That and something to hold onto if he started to get dragged away.

Again he was left waiting, and wondering. Time slowly passed until Alfred started to loosen his grip.

Maybe there is nothing behind the door. Maybe there is no monster, no reason to fear. But reality again hit him. There was still a mystery door in his house. And it opened. By itself.

Alfred leaned heavy on the railing. A exasperated blink, and then he had decided. It was time to go through that door.

He put one foot in front of the other. For a man that was rarely curious, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Should he dare to be bold and fake some grand authority? Be the hero that he secretly wished he was?
Another step forward. Then another. His foot hit the threshold of the door. He looked down. The door was open, just enough that he had to move it to get in. It was taunting him, teasing him into pushing it wide. Who knew what would happen then?

Alfred looked straight ahead. He took one last deep breath to calm himself, and looked down. The door knob was waiting for him. He reached out his hand, and grabbed it. The cold metal handle reaffirmed that this was all real. Whatever Alfred found behind that door was just as real as his house. Just as real as he was.

He put his right foot forward, stepping into the blackness. It enveloped him. Alfred turned back to see his safe haven, but it was gone. There was nothing.

Oh, what have I done?

Welcome To The End

Mountain
In the centre of our country, the very heart, there is a small village known only as Stronghold. It is beyond any major city, out of reach for prying eyes or oppressive laws. This village was build, not in protest of metropolises, but in celebration of true community.

There was no major highway to Stronghold. The closest fairway was 17 km away, and the sign announcing the turn off was damaged from a winter storm, not likely to ever be repaired. The citizens didn’t mind it. Their rare visits to the city were for supplies they could not produce on their own, and, at that, the visits were diminishing as the years went by.

Stronghold had no mayor; it had a council of members who made the decisions to help improve the village. No one was ever elected; it was simply the strongest who naturally took the roles of leaders. They decided where the small industrial businesses would arrange themselves, where the residences would be located, and if someone was allowed to move to Stronghold.

It was into this closed community, this Stronghold, which I ventured one day. Little did I know it would be the beginning of the end.

The Extra Boat

Sunset

Every morning, I would watch the boats head out to sea, and count them.

Every morning, 23 boats, men armed, shields at the ready would slide along the glassy water to fight the far flung evil that needed to be conquered.

I was but a young girl, and enjoyed spending my time waiting and dreaming of what these brave men did. Continue reading “The Extra Boat”

The Mystery Scar

Garden Party

My eighteenth birthday party was awesome. The guys came over and we played football in the park, until Dad called us in for the BBQ. To make it even better, Dad marinated the burgers in beer, and then let us drink. Who cares if you’re a minor, Dad said, you are a man in my books.

The girls from class dropped by right before cake. They brought me a little present, something to let them know they appreciated me as the star quarter back of the high school team.

The night was perfect. Not much more that I could have asked for. Good friends, good food, good beer. A good night for sure. Then my parents called me into the living room.

I was sure I was going to be getting a car. That’s what my elder brother got for his 18th birthday. It wasn’t a great car, but it was still a car. I grabbed by seat across from the two of them on the couch. Dad asked if I had a good day, to which I responded I had.

“Good,” he replied, with a frog in his throat. Something was wrong. “Alex,” he said,”I think it’s time we talked about your scar. The scar you have on your left side.” Continue reading “The Mystery Scar”

A Mystery Door

As Alfred began to turn the door knob, this thought flashed in his mind. Is it safe to enter? He hesitated and let that thought linger. Is it safe to go into this room, if it is a room?
His fingers slid away from the door. Was it safe?

He looked down the hallway. His bedroom on the left and his office to the right, that was all the rooms that the upstairs had. Had, until this door appeared. He didn’t understand how it got there, where it came from, and where it lead.

Are you sure you’re awake? Could this be a dream, or a nightmare?
Alfred breathed deeply, and gave his arm a pinch. The pain reassured him he was awake. But that reassurance didn’t help the real issue. There was a mystery door in his house.

What if there is something on the other side? Can I defend myself?

A step back seemed to be Alfred’s answer to his own question. As a paper pusher, he wasn’t overly athletic or physically fit. No match for whatever could be waiting for him.

He looked down as he reached into his pocket for his phone.

The door knob rattled.