Claws on Tile

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when my wife asked me for a divorce. The stress of juggling work, our marriage and looking after our young daughter Emily had taken its toll on the both of us. We had barely spoken to each other in months. So when the day she told me that she wanted out came, I’m not ashamed to say a part of me was relieved. My relief was short lived however. She presented me with a bag of clothes and told me to find somewhere else to live. I won’t lie, I was angry. I mean, SHE was the one who was quitting the marriage, why should I have to leave? I may have said some things that I’m glad our daughter wasn’t around to hear.

After two months of staying in cheap hotels I finally found a place. It was stupidly cheap, I had my doubts but my ex refused to let Emily come and see me before I’d found myself some permanent place to stay. I missed her so much. I’d often heard how having a child changed you but I never truly believed it till she was born. She was always perfect to me, with her golden hair and little snub nose. She always had me wrapped around her little finger. Even when she’d been naughty, all she had to do was smile at me and I couldn’t bring myself to stay angry at her. When I opened the door to my new flat all I was thinking about was how she would be allowed a visit in a few short days.

God, that place was a shit hole. The walls were stained, the appliances were gross. I spent my entire first day just trying to get all my stuff moved in. When I finally got the chance to go to sleep I spent half the night being kept awake by music from a car outside. I had to bury my head under a pillow to get even a semblance of peace. When I woke up in the morning I was covered in insect bites from the tips of my fingers to my elbows. I was just glad I’d worn a T-shirt. It seems even the local wildlife was out for my blood. At least it wasn’t just my ex-wife. The spots where they had pierced the skin to sate themselves on my lifeblood itched terribly. I went to the bathroom hoping that a wash would ease my pain. I opened the bathroom cupboard to get the soap when I saw a tube of cream. It must have been left by the previous tenant. The label had been mostly rubbed off but when I unscrewed the cap it smelled antiseptic. I really didn’t want to wait for the chemist to open, the itching was too intense. I squeezed out a generous amount of cream and applied it liberally over my hands and arms. It stung like hell, but that at least meant it was working. It certainly soothed the itching at any rate.

The rest of my day was taken up by cleaning. I pulled on the rubber gloves and got to scrubbing. I didn’t stop until the place was spotless. If Emily was going to come over I wanted it to feel like a home. Somewhere we could be together instead of some depressing pit where her father now lives.

I didn’t stop until late into the evening. When I finally peeled off the gloves I noticed that the bites on my hand had somehow got bigger. What were once red pinpricks were now almost holes, deep and red. What I found especially puzzling was how there were no scabs or blood. Just a crimson redness. I assumed it was because I’d worn the gloves all day. I cursed myself for being so foolish and applied some more cream. I ate and decided to go to bed after watching some TV. Thankfully there was less noise to disturb me. I remember thinking how things might just work out after all.

I awoke the next morning to the phone ringing. I blearily answered and heard my ex-wife’s voice on the other end of the line. She irritably informed me that if I was still going to have Emily over to mine that afternoon, she’d need to see photos of my flat. Otherwise she would not allow Emily to see me there. As if I wouldn’t have tried to make it perfect! I took some photos with my phone and sent them over and she begrudgingly agreed that it was acceptable. Whilst I was taking the pictures I noticed the wounds on my hand had gotten worse. Now each hole was rimmed with a thick, white crust that was hard to the touch. I didn’t want to scare Emily so I applied some more ointment and wrapped them in bandages. I looked at my watch. It was eleven am. Emily was due at three. That gave me time to put the finishing touches to the place and still have some time to relax. As I fussed around I could hear a repetitive tapping noise like claws on tile. I Immediately checked the kitchen and bathroom. The last thing I needed was rats. Not with Emily here. Thankfully I couldn’t find anything.

As the afternoon progressed it happened again and again. Every time I jumped up to check, there was nothing to be seen. I thought I was going insane! Still, it wasn’t enough to dampen my excitement. It wasn’t long before I heard the buzzer go off, signalling Emily’s arrival. I rushed down the stairs to the front door and there she was. My heart swelled at the sight of her. Even the sight of her mother glowering just behind her wasn’t enough to stop the sense of elation I felt. My daughter was finally here. My mind raced with all the fun activities I had planned for us as I bent down to take her up in a huge hug. As I picked her up I heard another tapping sound. This time louder and more intense than it had ever been before. I held her tight to my chest. Suddenly she started to wail. I felt a wetness on my arms and saw the look of fear on my ex-wife’s face. I tried to let her go but something was preventing me from moving my arms. Her screams increased in pitch as I heard the tapping noise increase till it was almost a buzz. My ex-wife grabbed my wrists and tried to prise Emily out of my grasp, only to cry out herself and pull her hands back. I saw that, where there were once fingers, there were now only bloody stumps. Emily finally managed to wiggle free and as she fell to the ground I saw her back was a tangled mess of meat. Bits of bone were visible in the bloody mess. I stared at my hands. The bandages had come off. The wounds underneath were no longer wounds, they were mouths. Each with its own set of razor sharp teeth, chattering away with lethal intent. I began to scream and as I did, a hundred mouths screamed with me.

 

New Arrival

I’ve been in this house for so many years. Too many. I’m so lonely. I was distraught when my husband went away and when my son died, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I searched for a way to end it and all I did was make this pain eternal. Now it’s just me and the walls of this two-bedroomed house, forever.

When the new residents moved in I was overjoyed. They were a beautiful newly married couple, and so in love. He was fresh out of the army, dark eyed, strong and handsome. She was beautiful, raven haired and fat with the seed of their adoration for each other. It was their first home and I was more than happy to share. I’d been so lonely and the prospect of the laughter of a child in the house again brought a tear to my eye.

As the months wore on they did the usual things people in love do. They decorated, though not to my taste. They had meals together in candlelight, staring longingly into each other’s eyes whilst they ate and then, late one night, a scream erupted from the master bedroom. It was time. He ran around the house with the wildness of eye that only soon to be new fathers possess. He grabbed the overnight bag and helped his beloved into the car. I watched from the window as they drove off into the darkness. I was happy for them but the scene stirred up memories of my own son, and I couldn’t help but weep.

After three days, they returned. She was visibly dishevelled from her ordeal, but happy. He held the new-born gingerly but his smile belied the pride he felt in his chest. As they crossed the threshold the infant began to scream. And such screams they were! All day and all night it wailed. I watched as dark bags began to form under the lover’s eyes as they dragged themselves from feeding to changing and back to feeding again.

It didn’t take long before I noticed a sadness in him, growing like a weed and wrapping itself around his heart. He would become irritable with her, shouting at her for no reason and retiring to the bedroom to lie in bed for hours. Yet still he barely slept, as soon as his eyes would droop then the wailing would begin again, tearing him from sleep’s soft embrace. On the few occasions he did sleep I would lean over him and whisper in his ear, gently stroking his hair to comfort him. I would hear her sobbing as she rocked the boy to sleep, despairing at what the man she loved had become. I would cry too. Sometimes I would cry so loud that I was sure they heard me. They would enter the room I was in and look around, but of course, they could never see me.

Still the child would bawl. It never stopped. With every sound it made I could see the vine inside him grow. It wasn’t just his heart now, his whole body was consumed, his joints stiffened and all energy left him. I pitied his poor wife. She now not only had to care for their son, but also her bed bound husband. I could see the pressure becoming almost too much to bear. I had to start whispering to her too as she tossed and turned in her troubled sleep.

The weeks slowly turned into months and still he showed no sign of improvement. He would walk and talk, but all light in him was gone. I still whispered to him each night, but nothing helped. One night I was sitting by their bedside when the boy started up again. She groggily got to her feet and went to the nursery to comfort the child. Not long after she left I saw his eyes flick open, a look of calm on his face. I watched helplessly as he strode towards the wardrobe and pulled a tie from within. He fashioned a makeshift noose and tied it to the coat hook on the wardrobe. I stood frozen as he pulled a chair to the door, forced his head through the tight loop and stepped off. I walked over and watched as his face turned from bright red, to dark purple, to a deep blue. His feet jerked spasmodically as the last vestiges of life left him. I gently ran my spectral hand down his face as he died, but his eyes looked straight through me.

It was as if she knew. She pushed the door open and stood frozen as she beheld the corpse of her beloved as I once had. I saw tears spring into her eyes as she gasped in shock. She hunched over as racking sobs surged through her body, exactly as I did when I found my husband hanging there. The child began to cry again. I watched as her face became stony and she picked up a pillow off the bed and followed her as she walked into the nursery. She leant over the crib and, as she brought the pillow down over her offspring’s face, I could see the tears falling like a melting icicle. I couldn’t help but smile as it’s muffled cries quietened before becoming silent, just like when I did the same to my beautiful boy. She swiftly walked back in to the master bedroom and reached under the bed. From its depths, she produced a small box. I began to laugh as I saw her take out her husband’s service pistol, load it and place the barrel in her mouth. The shock of the bullet passing through her brain made her body go rigid before slumping backwards onto the bed. My laughs turned to wails as I saw her soul rise up and look at me with a perplexed expression before fading into nothingness.

I’ve been in this house for so many years. Too many. And no matter how much I try, I’m still lonely.

Things That Go Bump

I used to hate the dark. For as long as I can remember I’ve suffered from sleep paralysis. An affliction that means the mind wakes up before the body. Leaving the sufferer fully aware of their surroundings but unable to move. I would wake up at night feeling like there was pressure on my body, unable to move my limbs or sit up. It started after my parents took away my night light because I was getting too old for such childish things. It was the thought of all those things that hid away in the darkness: the monster under the bed, the stranger on the landing and the creature in the cupboard. Each one waiting to drag my limp body away from the loving embrace of my family to some dark hole where it would feast on my young bones. What used to scare me the most was the noises. We lived in an old house back then. A squat terraced building in an old coal mining village in Wales. Like all old houses, there were sounds. I remember lying in bed at night, eyes wide open, unable to move and every creak and groan would send my imagination racing. I’d constantly tell myself that it was just the house settling on its foundations. I even looked up the science behind it on the internet, hoping that if I knew why it happen it would assuage my fears. Or that it was just my clumsy neighbours brushing the walls as they got into bed. It never worked though. My mind would still spiral off into a world of teeth and tentacles, of faceless ghosts that served as harbingers of the end of my young, fragile life.

I remember begging my parents to buy a cat for the family. Not for the company, but so I would have something legitimate to blame all the nocturnal noises I would hear. They never did though, my dad was extremely allergic to animal fur and would have a sneezing fit if he spent even thirty minutes in the company of one. So that was never going to be an option.

Then, for my 10th birthday, my parents deigned to buy me a computer. They thought it would help me do my schoolwork. It was an old battered thing, every time it powered up you could hear the motor of the fan arthritically jump into life. I loved it as much as it is possible for a little boy to love an inanimate object. I saw it not as a tool to further my education, but as an escape. I’d spend my nights bathed in its comforting glow. Watching YouTube videos and cartoons until I eventually fell asleep. Every time I heard a noise I would turn up the volume. Drowning out my fears and pushing the horrors back where they came from. I’d keep it at the end of my bed. If I woke up during the night, once I regained control of my body, I could immediately wake it up from sleep mode and start my ritual anew.

There’s one night that stands out to me from that time. I remember waking up, body paralysed. I remember the familiar feeling of pressure on my arms and chest. The feeling that my body was wrapped in cotton wool. And the noises, they too were different. The thumps I usually heard were always muffled. Somehow distant, but the one I heard sounded so much closer. I heard the sound of air. Not the usual susurrus of the wind moving the trees outside or the whistle of it forcing its way through the cracks in the window frames. This was a long, wet exhalation. I could feel the draught of it on my feet. I wanted to scream but my muscles still wouldn’t respond. My eyes widened and I heard the creak of floorboards as something moved. Suddenly the pressure on my chest increased. I felt pinpricks of pain across my ribs. As if someone was performing some torturous form of acupuncture on my young body. My foot jerked spasmodically and kicked against my computer mouse at the end of my bed. The familiar whirr began, the room was awash with pale blue light and, as the start-up sound played. I found myself looking into a pair of huge milky eyes.

I still suffer from sleep paralysis. I still wake up with that feeling in my chest, feeling that breath on my feet. Even as an adult, and I think I always will.

I don’t hate the dark anymore. I hate the light that illuminates it. The light that confirms your fears.

Rebound

I’ll be honest, it was a bad break up, like crying uncontrollably whilst watching daytime TV bad. There was no getting around it, that girl had really done a number on me. I remember the feelings of loneliness. We had been together for years and I just couldn’t get used to sleeping alone. I’d keep waking up thinking she was there, then cry myself to sleep as the memory slid into my mind like an iceberg. I was alone. After four months of my cry, sleep, repeat cycle my friends got together and decided it was time for me to get back in the game. I moaned and grumbled but they talked me into it. I reluctantly showered, which was probably for the best, put on a shirt and got dragged out to the nearest rock bar for a night of shots and dancing to Limp Bizkit. I love me the Bizkit.

The club was disgusting, the floors were sticky and it stank of the bass notes of stale beer and the high tinge of fresh vomit. The toilets were overflowing and yet that didn’t stop a couple of people fucking in one of the cubicles. It was my favourite place.

As the night wore on things started to get hazy. We got down with the sickness and our bodies hit the floor. I was heading to the bar for another round when I saw her. She had dark red hair, piercings, tattoos, the lot. She was what me and my friends call FaF. Fit as Fuck. I felt sober almost immediately. Maybe it was the booze making me forget about my ex but I knew I had to talk to her, how could I not? I shuffled towards her and slurred a disjointed opening line. To my surprised she flicked her beautiful hair and laughed. I can barely remember what we talked about the rest of the night. My mind was too busy throwing up images of our sweaty flesh pressing against each other. I barely paid attention to her words as I thought about her back arching as my name graced her lips, her hand gripping my hair as I brought her to climax again and again.

Before I knew it, we were kissing. Not just kissing but KISSING. Full on, tongue down the throat, disturbance in the crotch KISSING. I was in heaven. I’d been out of the game for so long but I still had the knack! We barely noticed when the lights came up. Our hands were too busy exploring every curve of each other’s bodies. She looked into my eyes and asked me if I wanted to go back to hers. I was in. I told my friends not to wait for me and we disappeared into the night.

Her flat wasn’t far from the club. We meandered through the darkened streets, stopping every few steps to reaffirm our lust for each other. Every kiss made me boil over with feelings I hadn’t felt before. I’d never wanted someone so much in my life. I had to have her and it seemed my wish would be granted. We climbed the stairs to her front door and our mouths met playfully as she inserted the key into the lock. Even this seemingly insignificant action filled my brain with filthy fantasies. As we entered her place I noticed a stench that almost made me retch. A combination of rotten food, cat piss and old laundry. I managed to prevent myself from gagging.

“I’m sorry about the mess,” She giggled, “I never was good at cleaning up after myself.” And she disappeared into her room. Normally I would have left, I’m a bit of a clean freak, but she was so hot. I decided to follow the advice of my cock and follow her to the bedroom. As I walked towards the door I saw her cat. A mangy, flea ridden thing. Flat headed with an unholy look about it. I reached down to scratch behind it’s ears but it hissed and took a swipe at my outstretched hand. I only just pulled it away in time to prevent blood being drawn.

“Don’t mind him,” I heard her say from the darkness of her bedroom, “He’s just a jealous boy.” I looked at the creature as it stared back at me with what seemed like an almost human hatred. I edged past it into the room where I was sure my dreams would come true.

She was already naked and laying on her bed. I took a moment as my eyes caressed every inch of her body. I was entranced. I lost myself in the curve of her hips and lingered on her perfect breasts. I felt a tightness in my crotch and she smiled at the outline of my turgid penis through my trousers. I was pulled from my longings by the sound of gurgling from my right. I looked to the corner of the room and saw the wooden frame of a crib. She must have sensed my surprise,

“I told you I had a son, remember?” I didn’t remember, but being that I spent most of the night fantasising about every dirty thing I wanted to do to this girl so I guessed it was possible she had mentioned it. “I hope it’s not a problem for you, I just like to have him in here with me.” I was about to protest when I looked back at her. I watched as her hand slowly started moving between her legs and all concerns left me. I walked towards the bed, removing my shirt and trousers, as I reached the bed she lifted up her free hand and worked my cock outside of my boxers. I moaned gently as she moved her hand along the length of it. I looked into her eyes and saw the coquettish smile on her face, I nearly came there and then.

“Not yet,” she whispered. “We’ve only just started.” She released me, leaned forward and started to push my head between her thighs. I leant down hungrily, positioning myself on the bed to give myself the best angle from which to give her what she wanted. I inhaled deeply and the sticky,  sweet scent of her cunt made me even harder. I extended my tongue and began to lightly caress her pussy. Her hand grabbed the back of my head and forced me closer. She wasn’t interested in going slow. I began to lick with force, moving my tongue round her clit. Her moans increased as I worked.

My face was slippery with juices when I realised there was a crying coming from the crib. She huffed in irritation,

“Baby, he could not have picked a worse time.” I said, I hated to be interrupted like this.

“It’s ok, he’s probably just hungry.” I made myself comfortable as she left me in the bed and walked over to where her son was laying, as she leaned over the cot I say a pair of tiny hands reach up towards her. She reached in to comfort the child. I took the time to admire her arse as she faced the crib and lifted the child to her breast. The cries quietened and became a noise that I had only recently been making on an entirely different part of her perfect body.

“There, there. Calm down, Mummy loves you.” She whispered soothingly. “You’re my big boy, my big strong boy.” Slowly the slurping noises quietened. Once it had faded to a soft murmur she walked to the end of the bed and stood, still naked, with her hands on her hips.

“Now,” she said seductively, “Where were we?”

She climbed onto the bed and winked as she started to crawl up my body. Her hands slid up my chest as she mounted me and, with the slightest skip of her hips, she allowed me to enter her moist vagina. I gasped as I felt her wetness surround me. I heard her moan as she began rhythmically grinding against me. I rolled my head on the pillow and jumped as I found myself staring into the yellow eyes of her cat sitting on the bedside table. It was staring at me, not with the hatred I’d seen earlier, but almost in anticipation. It freaked me out, I pulled my head back as though I’d been stung.

“Could you get him out?” I asked,

“Leave him baby, I like it when he watches.” I wasn’t a fan of having an audience, but she was so hot, I’d would have put up with anything if I could have just spent a few more minutes inside her. I turned my head away and tried to focus on her gorgeous breasts. I could still feel that things gaze burrowing into me. I started to panic as I felt my cock begin to shrivel. I wasn’t going to lose this moment. I bucked myself up to suggest we change position. She immediately got on all fours.

“Fuck me hard.” She whispered to me, breathless with lust. Immediately I was ready again. I just had to reach my climax. I didn’t care about her. I didn’t care about me. I just cared about the feeling in my cock that was already starting to reach its peak. I forcefully grabbed her hips and pulled her towards me. I drove myself into her cunt and smiled as she began to scream in ecstasy.

“Fuck me big boy, you big strong boy!” I should have been put off but it was too late. I was lost in the feel of her, past the point of no return.

“I’m going to cum!” I screamed, more for my sake than hers. She immediately whirled round.

“Do it on my face boy!” She shouted at me. I was more than happy to oblige. As I came she began to laugh. As the viscous juice poured on to her beautiful face I screamed, not the scream of orgasmic release, but one of fear. It wouldn’t stop. It was way beyond the realms of pleasure, it hurt. My voice reached an increasingly higher pitch as my cum turned from a milky white to a deep crimson and finally to a deep black.

“What’s happening?!” I screamed, almost drowning out her laughs. I looked into her once beautiful face and watched it age in a matter of seconds. The twenty-year-old I had met was now a withered hag, dripping in the gore that was now pouring from my still hard dick. I heard a noise from behind me and turned my head to see her child. It was watching me with a leer that was way beyond it’s years. It’s face was rodent like, small pink eyes with a snout filled with rows of teeth like needles. It jumped from it’s crib and buried it’s teeth into my shoulder. I guttural howl of terror escaped my lips as I felt the skin on my entire body begin to tighten, blood dripped down my chest, I heard the hag screech in triumph as I saw the first rays of the morning sun penetrate the window. I fell back as consciousness left me.

When I awoke it was already dark, I must have slept through the day. I felt myself surrounded by clean sheets. I tried to scream but all that came out was a hoarse cry. I whimpered at the memory of the previous evening. Through my haze I heard a man’s voice.

“Baby, he could not have picked a worse time.” The voice sounded annoyed, I heard the voice of a woman answer him,

“It’s ok, he’s probably just hungry.” I opened my eyes and saw that my bed was surrounded my columns of wood. I looked up to see the vision of loveliness that I had been with the previous night. She picked me up and held me to her breast. As I used my snout to suck the nourishing milk from her nipple all fear left me and I felt contented. I saw over her shoulder the outline of a man in her bed. I should have been jealous but I was beyond that. After all, she chose me, above all the others she chose me to join her. I could never feel lonely again. Mummy loves me. I’m her big, strong boy.

Stanford

My name is Brian Cooper and I’ve been meaning to tell my side of this story for some time. My family have put up with so much, the night terrors, the paranoia, and the constant flashbacks. My son said it might help if I wrote down what happened to me, so he set me up with this blog. I only hope I can do my story justice. For years, it’s been written off as a failed experiment, or maybe one that went too well. The truth is only known to a few. Those of us who took part and the people who ran it. I guess it’s up to me to tell the world what happened for those six days the nine of us spent in the basement of Stanford University.

It all started in 1971 with an ad in the local newspaper. Some eggheads at the college wanted volunteers for a study into prison life and were willing to pay $15 per day for two weeks. That’s almost thirteen hundred bucks today! I was a poor English major and needed the money so I signed myself up straight away. A friend of mine had taken part in one a few months before and it was good money for not doing much. Hell, I even thought it might be fun.

I was called in a few days later for some psychological tests. Simple stuff really, just making sure I wasn’t a psycho or a pothead. After answering their questions, I was finally told that I had been approved and that I would hear back from them. I went back to my apartment and got back to enjoying my summer.

Day 1

It began on the morning of Sunday August 15 when I was awoken by the sound of sirens. Two police officers came into my apartment and dragged me outside. They pushed me against their squad car before thoroughly frisking me. I was scared to start with, but being as I definitely hadn’t committed the armed robbery they were accusing me of I assumed correctly that the experiment had begun. I’ll admit to a brief flash of excitement as they handcuffed me and put me in the back of the car.

A few minutes later we reached the police station where they read me my rights and booked me in. I was slightly confused when they blindfolded me and led me to what I assume was a holding cell. I sat there for at least half an hour with nothing but the sound of my own breath for company. Then I heard the door of the cell creak open. I heard irregular footsteps walking towards me. I felt fear well up in my chest. I could hear the creaking, raspy breath of whatever it was that had come to claim me. I was pulled to my feet and I heard a human voice.

“You’re coming with me boy,” I felt the thing push me forward. I could sense a change in the air as I entered the corridor outside the holding cell. I could feel the wetness of this thing’s breath against the back of my neck. I was about to cry out when I heard another voice ahead of me,

“Is this the last of them?”

“Yep,” the thing rasped, “All present and correct.”

“Good, put him with the rest and take them to county.” The amusement in his voice was almost palpable. I felt myself being pushed forward once again and placed inside another car. I felt my shoulders rest against a person next to me. I had to try and get some answers.

“Hey buddy, what’s…” I whispered. I was immediately interrupted by a voice from the front seat.

“You’ll shut the fuck up if you know what’s good for you,” from then on, I decided to take the voice’s advice.

It wasn’t long before the squad car stopped and I was dragged into another building. I gasped as my blindfold was removed. Once my vision cleared I found myself in a brightly lit corridor with two men in guard uniforms flanking me. Of whatever monstrosity that had brought me here, there was no sign. They started to remove my clothes and search me for contraband. They then proceeded to cover me in a delousing spray that stung my eyes, it was exactly like prison. I was given a uniform, more of a hospital gown really, and a stocking was pulled over my hair. I was taken to the end of the corridor where two other prisoners were waiting for me. They blindfolded us again and led us to the second of three identical cells that would be our home for the foreseeable future, a tiny room with three cots and not much else. We filed in and I was pleased to see that I got the cot furthest from the door. I hadn’t been able to shake the thoughts of the beast that I had met at the police station and I was glad to have a couple of bodies between me and the guards.

We spent most of the rest of the day in silence, talking was discouraged. I didn’t know the other prisoner’s names, only the numbers we were given at the beginning of the experiment. Mine was 819. I decided to try and get some sleep at what I assume was around ten pm, there were no clocks in this “prison” so I had to take a guess, but god knows I needed it. Sleeping proved to be more difficult than I expected. We were constantly woken up for random counts. However, it’s what I saw that night that kept me awake.

I’ve no idea what time it was, all I know is that it was dark. I was awoken by the sound of the cell door opening. Before I even opened my eyes, I felt fear rise in me as I heard a familiar sound. A wet, rasping breath and irregular footsteps. I opened my eyes to see a figure standing over prisoner 8612, nearest the door. At first It just looked like a guard, same uniform, same sunglasses that they all wore, the whole deal. I watched through half open eyes, a fist clenching round my stomach as I saw its lower jaw split down the middle and open wide. A tongue like a snake’s unrolled from it’s throat, fat and forked. I saw the figure lean over 8612, it’s tongue slowly licking up his arm before violently forcing it’s way into his ear. I’ll never forget the look on 8612’s face. He was awake too. I saw the mixture of revulsion and terror pass over his features, his pupils were mere pinpricks in the whiteness of his eyes. I heard a door at the entrance to the main corridor open and suddenly the thing appeared human again. It straightened up and walked out of the cell, locking the door behind it. I knew we had to protect ourselves. We’d signed up for an experiment, but not for this. We tore off our numbers in a childish show of defiance to our captors and barricaded the cell door with our beds. It wasn’t much, but it’s all we could think of to prevent ourselves getting molested by that thing. I heard the other prisoners doing the same. It seems I wasn’t the only one who realized something was wrong.

Day 2

We lasted till the next morning, we didn’t see the creature for the rest of the night. We were just starting to relax when the guards had their shift change. In walked a new set of tormentors. My heart dropped as I recognized who was bringing up the rear. It had returned, and by the looks of things, it was angry. We reveled in our new-found power and taunted the guards. We laughed as they berated the night shift for letting us rebel. As they left, still shouting at each other, I saw the creature following them out, as it was about to leave it pulled down it’s sunglasses and stared right at me. I saw eyes that reflected the mirroring of its glasses, it smiled and gave a wink. It knew this wasn’t over.

They were back within the hour with reinforcements. We managed to hold our ground for a while, forcing ourselves against the doors. It was going well until I saw the beast pick up a fire extinguisher and unleash its carbon dioxide at us. The pain was excruciating! We had no choice but to fall back to the rear of our cell. The guards surged in, jumping over our makeshift barricade. The creature pinned me against the wall and started to strip me. I felt its rancid breath on me and, as I heard the prisoners in other cells succumbing to this onslaught, it whispered into my ear,

“This was always going to be tough, but it will be tougher if you’re stupid.” A name rose in my brain, a name that would stick to this beast for as long as I lived. A name that had previously held so many good memories for me, now forever tainted. John Wayne.

The day got worse from there, the guards were thinking up new and terrible ways to punish us. They controlled when we ate, when we drank and when we shit. As ringleaders of the rebellion, 8612 and I were placed in solitary confinement for what I think was an hour. The entire time I heard him sobbing. As the day went on we were returned to our cells, 8612 got worse and worse. His crying turned to an uncontrollable rage. He would punch and scratch at the walls, his hands splattering blood on the plaster. What got to me most wasn’t his self-harm or incoherent ramblings, it was his eyes. I’d look into them and see that they had become mirrors, not in a metaphorical sense, but actually reflective. Just like John Wayne’s eyes. The guards that were still capable of compassion took him to see the doctor running the experiment. Needless to say, John Wayne went with them, no doubt to make sure he didn’t say too much. I can only imagine what happened to him because, when he was finally brought back, all he would do was sit in the corner, saying to himself over and over again,

“You can’t leave, you can’t quit.” All the while staring at me with his mirrored eyes.

That evening he broke, his rage returned and he began to scream, clawing at his skin. I saw John Wayne walk past our cell and he just looked in and laughed. A cruel, merciless laugh. I felt my own rage build up inside me. This thing was toying with us, with all of us. I hated this thing with all my being. I’d never felt so impotent. Eventually they took 8612 away, he was replaced the next day. I never saw him again.

The prisoners who weren’t involved in our rebellion got slightly better treatment than the rest of us. They were put in their own cell. They got their clothes and beds back, they were even allowed to clean themselves. We hated them almost as much as the guards. As they smugly walked past us I noticed they were being led by John Wayne. Suddenly I felt almost sorry for them. Our tormentor had some new pets.

That night things got worse. As we were settling down for lights out the night shift came on duty, of course, John Wayne was with them. Did this bastard never sleep? As he passed my cell he nodded to the guards he was with. Wordlessly, they opened the cell door, I stood up to try and talk to them but one immediately knocked me to the floor with a Billy club to the face. I felt blood spring from my lower lip and start to drip down my chin. Before I had the chance to process what was happening they started to beat us in earnest. Clearly eager to pay us back for the embarrassment we caused them the night before. What shocked me is throughout this entire ordeal they never said a word. Their faces remained expressionless as they rained blows down on me and my cellmates. All the while I saw John Wayne staring through the bars, that same old smirk on his face, pitiless and sadistic. Eventually the punishment lessened before they finally left us in peace. I watched as they exited the cell and crossed the corridor to the opposite cell. I saw the prisoners contained in shrink back in horror before being subjected to the same brutality that was inflicted on us. As this was happening, I saw John Wayne step into the third and final cell, the cell where he had kept his “privileged” prisoners. The darkness began to close in and over the wet sounds of club hitting meat I heard a scream, then another and finally a third and final scream. He was feeding. I passed out. There didn’t seem to be anything else I could do.

Day 3

The next morning, I awoke with a pounding headache. Before I knew what was happening we were dragged out of our cells for count. I saw the “privileged” prisoners come out of their cell. They looked haggard and weak, mere husks compared to the strong men they had been when they entered. John Wayne pushed them towards the cell opposite whilst the guards moved the cells occupiers to the privileged cell.

“I think you’ve served your time boys,” John Wayne said as they passed, “nothing but the high life for you now.” Wordlessly, the husks moved into the cell and turned to face me. I grimaced as I saw their eyes were mirrored. They were his now.

The day shift was no more forgiving than their nocturnal colleagues, except these men preferred a different kind of punishment. For the rest of the morning we were forced to do pushups, jumping jacks and anything else they could imagine to break us. My muscles screamed in agony but whenever I fell to the ground from exhaustion. The guards would kick me and, without a hint of emotion on their faces, would say one word in unison,

“More.”

Finally, the enforced exercise ended, we were returned to our cells. John Wayne prowled the corridor and announced that today was visiting day, we would see our families. One by one the evidence of our torture was removed from our bodies. They forcibly dressed us in long sleeved shirts, to cover our bruises, washed and shaved us. When my turn came, who should step forward to do it but the bastard himself. I struggled to get away but I was forced against the wall. He sponged the dried blood from my face almost lovingly, one hand cupping the back of my head. He pulled out a cut-throat razor and I whimpered.

“Come on now boy, I’m just trying to make you pretty for your folks. We don’t want them to see you dirty now do we?” he whispered to me, “And of course, if you decide to tell them about me then I’m sure I can find other things to do with this razor. You understand me boy?” I gulped and nodded. He proceeded to shave the unwanted stubble from my face.

We were led out cell by cell, first the creature’s leftovers from the previous night, then, once they returned, his new playthings were led out. To this day, I’ll never know how their parents didn’t see the change in their sons and brothers. They seemed to be able to disguise the change in their eyes when required, but surely their drastic change in demeanor would set alarm bells ringing? I guess they just thought they were sleep deprived. Eventually it was my cell’s turn, I nearly wept when I saw my parents. It felt like an age since I’d felt their embrace. I couldn’t forget the threat John Wayne had made. I did my part and didn’t tell them about the horrors I had witnessed. They knew me too well. My mother said she had never seen me look so bad. Almost immediately John Wayne cut in,

“What’s the matter with your boy? Doesn’t he sleep well?” he said to her. He turned to my father, “Don’t you think your boy can handle this?” My father, always proud, looked annoyed and said,

“Of course, he can – he’s a real tough kid, a leader.” Turning to Mom, he said, “Come on Honey, we’ve wasted enough time already.” And to me, “See you again at the next visiting time.”

As soon I was led back to my cell I cried. He’d played them, played them for saps. Through my tears, I saw into the privileged cell. I was almost unsurprised to see the inmates within staring at me blank faced, their eyes nothing but reflection.

Day 4

As soon as I woke up I knew something was wrong. I opened my eyes to see my cellmates standing silently at the bars. I thought I was late for count. This thought was further compounded by the sight of John Wayne standing by the open door, looking angrier than I’d ever seen him. I quickly stood up and took my place between the others. With veins pulsing in his neck, he took a deep breath,

“Listen up maggots!” He screamed, “I’ve heard a rumor that you boys are planning some sort of breakout. Well I want you to know that that isn’t going to happen!” His voice became more intense, more filled with bile, I saw streaks of spit begin to form at the sides of his mouth. “In fact, for even thinking of leaving this establishment I think you boys need some correction. You boys need to be taught, by planning this you are pissing in my face, and when you piss in my face, I shit in yours!” A guard walked into each of the cells and picked up the buckets that had served as makeshift toilets. They hadn’t let us empty them since the first rebellion and they were brimming with vile excreta. As one the guards swung the buckets, covering each of us in the contents. I gagged and fought to keep myself from vomiting. I hadn’t eaten properly in days and I intended to keep what food I did have inside of me. I snarled as I saw the bastard’s face turn into a sick grin,

“Look how disgusting you are!” He yelled at us, “You are filthy! Now I know who put together this feeble scheme, and I think it’s only fair that you do too.” He turned to me with a look of triumph on his face. “Isn’t that right, prisoner 819?” I gasped. I had thought of escaping many times, but I had no idea where I would even start. Who had told him this blatant lie? A chant rose up among the prisoners,

“Prisoner #819 is a bad prisoner. Because of what Prisoner #819 did, my cell is a mess, Mr. Correctional Officer.”

I realized that every inmate had turned to face me. Their eyes gleaming with reflected light. I looked to my cellmates for support. They both slowly turned and I dropped to my knees as I saw their eyes were the same as the others. He was just toying with me. He knew there was no escape plot, he’d just made up this ruse to show me that I had nowhere to hide, that I was his and his alone. The prisoners continued their chant,

“Prisoner #819 is a bad prisoner. Because of what Prisoner #819 did, my cell is a mess, Mr. Correctional Officer.”

John Wayne pushed me against the back wall of my cell.

“Prisoner #819 is a bad prisoner. Because of what Prisoner #819 did, my cell is a mess, Mr. Correctional Officer.”

He held his arm across my throat,

“Prisoner #819 is a bad prisoner. Because of what Prisoner #819 did, my cell is a mess, Mr. Correctional Officer.”

His features twisted as I saw his lower jaw separate once again,

“Prisoner #819 is a bad prisoner. Because of what Prisoner #819 did, my cell is a mess, Mr. Correctional Officer.”

I saw his fat, forked tongue slither its way out of his gaping maw, I could smell the stink of his breath once again,

“Prisoner #819 is a bad prisoner. Because of what Prisoner #819 did, my cell is a mess, Mr. Correctional Officer.”

Tears started pouring from my eyes and I let out a scream as his tongue wormed its way up my neck and started to pry at my lips. As I felt it begin to descend down my throat, everything went black.

I awoke in an office chair with an involuntary yelp. I heard a soothing voice say,

“It’s OK, It’s OK. You’re safe now.” It was the psychiatrist that was running the experiment. I was about to scream again when I saw his eyes. They were… normal.

“Listen, you are not #819. You are Brian Cooper, and my name is Dr. Zimbardo. I am a psychologist, not a prison superintendent, and this is not a real prison. This is just an experiment, and those are students, not prisoners, just like you. Let’s go.”

“Okay, let’s go.” I said, relief flooding through me. I was led out of the university and into the bright afternoon sunshine. It was over.

I was told never to speak of what happened in that place and was paid handsomely to never mention it again. Just another academic covering his ass. It seems they realized what was going on in that “prison” and had pulled me out just in time, not that they told the public that. I assume they spun some bullshit story to keep their experiment credible. They promised me as soon as the others were debriefed they would end the experiment. From what I understand they were all released the next day. I have no idea if those prisoners or guards ever recovered. I dropped out of college pretty soon after that and went back home to live with my folks. I made a life for myself, a quiet life, a safe life. But to this day I wake up drenched in sweat at the thought what happened in that basement in 1971. Every night when I look in the mirror I see those eyes staring back at me, reminding me that I’ll always be his. His and his alone.

The Journey Home

 

 

 

 

 

It was early on a Thursday morning when I stepped out of the airport terminal. I had been travelling for several years, you know how it is. You go for six months and time just gets away from you. Recently the endless cycle of drink and drugs with other travellers on a variety of sun kissed beaches had worn thin. I’d been experiencing a nagging feeling of homesickness. I decided that it was time for me to return to the real world. I scraped together the last of my money from my part time job and booked myself on the first flight home. As I caught my first glimpse of England from the window of the plane I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d made the right decision.

The bus pulled into the terminal. Late. Bloody English public transport. Some things never change. Luckily, I was one of the first people on board so managed to snag myself a window seat. I was exhausted, so I was glad that I wouldn’t have to worry about drooling on some stranger’s shoulder. I put my luggage in the compartment and propped my head against the window. The bus pulled away and I swiftly fell into a fitful slumber.

I awoke an hour later. I was mildly irked that someone had decided to sit next to me whilst I slept. I’d always valued my personal space and I hated having someone that close to me. This guy especially. He stank. The kind of stink that seems to creep into you through every orifice. I could feel it begin to surround me. I wanted to scrub myself clean, I looked around to see if there was another vacant seat I could sit in but I was out of luck. The bus was full. I was in this for the long haul. I closed my eyes, attempted to ignore the stench and tried to get back to sleep.

It was the sound of the rain that woke me up the second time. Normally I could sleep through anything but something felt off. I slowly opened my eyes and my heart rushed towards my arsehole. This wasn’t rain, it was blood. I watched in terror as the thick red liquid began to drip down the window, giving the world a crimson hue. I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed. Everyone looked fine, as if this shower of viscera was nothing more than the usual autumn drizzle. I cried out and some passengers turned and gave me a puzzled look before returning to whatever activity they were engrossed in to pass the time. Then the world went to shit.

I saw a flash of light through the window that blinded me for a second. As the spots in front of my eyes cleared, all I could see was fire. The buildings on either side of the road were practically obscured by the flames. My eyes widened as I saw people exit the buildings screaming. Their flesh bubbled and blistered as they were fried by the heat. I saw their eyeballs pop from the pressure of the boiling fluid within, the dark liquid running down their cheeks like mascara in the rain. They somehow managed to stagger towards the bus, what was left of their hands pressed against the window, wiping the blood away in long streaks as death finally overcame them. Fear gripped me, I reeled away from the window into the stinking body of the man sitting next to me. He merely grunted irritably and stared back down at his book. I noticed that others were staring out of the windows but instead of horror, their faces merely had an expression of boredom, as if seeing a man burned alive was something that happened far too many times for them to care. It was then I noticed those… things. They were tall and thin and seemed to be made entirely of flame. I almost missed them against the backdrop of burning buildings but if I looked closely I could see them. Grotesque stick men walking between the fires. Occasionally they would reach out and touch an unsuspecting bystander who would scream as the flesh fell off their bones. The smell of burning flesh made me gag. As I whimpered and turned from the gruesome scene I saw the passengers on the bus looking in my direction and shuffling away.

It was then I realised that the smell of burning skin was not coming from outside, but the man next to me. I looked at his face for the first time and saw nothing but fire. I panicked. I had to protect myself. I took my keys from my pocket, put them in my fist and punched the creature in the chest. I heard a primal scream escape from my lips as I fought to save myself. I felt his ribcage suddenly yield to my blows with a sickening crack. I watched as the other passengers started to run out of the bus, only to be disintegrated one by one by the things that lay outside in wait. I punched again and again, the tears on my face mingled with the hot liquid from the creature’s corpse. I finally stopped my onslaught, I was safe. The interloper had been destroyed and the creatures outside seemed unwilling or unable to enter the vehicle that was both my prison and salvation. I watched as they screamed, their fiery bodies changing from red to blue as their anger fuelled them. I realised I was alone. All the other passengers had fled from the beast next to me and had met their fates. I sat and cried for what seemed like hours as the creatures screamed their incoherent rage at me through the glass.

I sat there for what seemed like hours, mocking them, taunting them. As time passed I realised that I wasn’t safe, I was trapped. The driver had gone to his doom and taken the keys with him. I was stranded. Almost as if they sensed my realisation, two of the blue flame creatures tried the door. I screamed as it opened to their touch. The power that had kept them at bay was gone. I screamed as they began to walk down the aisle towards me. I pushed the corpse of the creature next to me to the floor and rose to my feet, ready to fight my way to freedom. One of the blue creatures pointed at me and I heard a crack as I was knocked to the floor. I looked down to see blood seeping from the gaping wound that was now in my chest. I could hear the creatures screaming in victory. I tried to pull myself to my feet but I heard another crack and I felt a sharp pain in my neck. I put my hand to the spot and saw that it came away covered in blood. I sank to my knees before lying face down on the floor. As my vision faded I saw that the creatures were not blue, it was just the colour of their clothes. Through the sound of my final heartbeats in my ears I heard one speak, not in the terrifying tones I’d become accustomed to, but in English,

“Suspect is down. Repeat, suspect is down. It’s over.” Then there was nothing but darkness.

 


Written by Stex85
Content is available under CC BY-SA