Here’s a piece I wrote for a horror fiction contest. I didn’t win, but I was proud of it nonetheless.
Sid stood at the opening of the snow frosted dirt road remembering all those places he'd been told never to go. Whether it was stories of dirt roads in the black hills or dark allies in big cities, Sid, like all people, knew of one place or another that you’re just not supposed to go. It’s sad to think that this particular place is clearly marked by Old Glory, the very symbol of our nation’s freedom and our claim to tread where we please. Yet, if you were to ask why they had hung that flag, it’s a testimony to their territory, freedom to say that all this belonged to them and that you do not belong. The flag hangs tied between two trees like a lynching victim, left to drift in the icy wind; tattered, torn, pale and lifeless. The way I see it, it’s a testimony to the way things would be if we left it up to the mutants out in the Styx. This forgotten road lined with rusted barbed wire, this icy ground crusted with snow and permafrost, their graveyards of dry-rotting farm machines and industry. They’d let the whole country fall into a pit like this so long as every man they saw had skin as white as the surrounding snow and every woman was barefoot, pregnant, and making meatloaf. Normally when referring to these forgotten roads in the near dead hill towns of the defrosted Appalachians, I’d say keep it. I’d say they can have their god-fearing white’s only shithole and they’re welcome to isolate themselves out here far away from my giv’a damn. I suspect that Sid would normally agree; however, when the mindless followers of this particular white’s only shithole started grabbing people out of their homes, it started to peak Sid’s interest. Most importantly, amongst them was Sid’s little brother Drake. When things like that start happening, when that line and that flag get crossed, people like Sid start going where they have no business being.
There was an agonizing sensation of doubt in Sid. If the cops had written all this off, what the hell could he possibly accomplish out here? When those useless pigs came to his house to investigate his brother's kidnapping, he could feel their helplessness. Sid knew what had happened, Sid’s parents knew what happened, and most importantly those pigs knew but they only said “it’d get looked into.” Like his brother was a pilfered lawn ornament. Sid didn’t know if he should be more pissed off at the cops or his parents but even still he couldn’t help but feel their helplessness. He pulled a thirty-eight revolver from his coat and winced lightly wondering if he’d blow his pecker out the other side of his blue jeans. The safety was on but at the age of sixteen he’d hardly ever handled a gun and couldn’t even be sure if it worked. In his head, the best case scenario was to only use the gun for means of escape but there was always that nagging sensation of doubt. In part, the gun was there to improve his courage; it was a macho boost of ego to be toting a Saturday Night Special, such a legendary equalizer. Though still, there was that doubt. One more time, he released the safety catch, opened the chamber then spun the cylinder, and tried to slap it back into place like he had seen on the movies. Clumsily he fumbled causing the hammer to snap closed, jamming on the cylinder between two chambers.
“That was too clumsy,” he thought, sucking air between his clenched teeth in anticipation of a sudden misfire.
Had the hammer struck one of those rounds, it’d have gone off and ruined everything. More than that, he now wondered if he hadn’t somehow managed to break the damn revolver. He tried again, this time with less theatrics. Sid rolled the cylinder back into place with an easy and gentle motion so he could set the safety. He placed it into his belt, then his coat, then back into his belt, he then tried to stuff it in one of his boots and then finally he put it back into his coat pocket.
“Alright, if you're just going to be a pussy and fuck around, playing with the damn thing, you might as well go home,” he thought, trying to work himself up so that he wouldn’t panic or chicken out. Sid’s eyes teared slightly as his hands began to shake.
“C’mon man you can do this, it’s just the cold, shake it off, you’re all there is and that’s just the facts,” he said, breathing in and out heavily. Slowly his nerves settled and he began to move onward.
His plan of attack was too direct and he knew it. Everyone knew where this road went and why anyone would be on it. Everyone knew why that flag hung there and why you don’t cross it. He knew they could be watching right now because anyone could see a mile down this road in either direction before it shot up into the mountains. That meant anyone could see him right now and they knew why he was here and where he was going. Sid knew this and regardless of that fact, he couldn’t bring himself to run the Styx between those hills and his town. Those barren leafless forests would be crawling with them and really, they’d have no less trouble seeing him coming. Sid had talked himself into taking the main route for two reasons. First, it resembled civilization in some respect and those winter forests were as wild as the men who ran them. Second, a direct approach might just be considered so futile that they wouldn’t even bother watching for it. No city faggot would have the tires to walk right up to and under that flag; not one step. So who would ever assume that Sid would dare cross it? Who would even waste the energy to watch this dirt road given that fact? It was a slim fact though and Sid knew that but even being here was too nuts for word. So, at that rate, a direct assault was no more or less valid than any other.
Sid pulled his black winter beanie down over his ears as a light wind picked up stinging his skin. He shivered violently for a second but recognized that it really wasn’t from the cold. He tried to steady his nerves again as he pushed on, the road seeming to stretch out longer as he walked. It was maddening now more than comforting. He hadn’t moved a spitting distance from that damn flag and already that road seemed to triple in length. What was once the lingering comfort of civilization was now his biggest tormentor. Every step on that road was just another slow agonizing inch along a razor’s edge. At the end, the mountains that jutted up into wispy clouds loomed like a titan ready to step upon Sid; squish him like a feeble insect. He continued on and ran his hand over his gun, hoping to gather some resolve from its presence but it didn’t help. Turning about and looking at the threshold long breached, the flag listed in the stinging breeze almost mocking his efforts with a subtle wave. He swore he could hear that flag lazily utter the words “sucker.” Turning back towards the mountain, he hastened his pace. He did not find this speed out of courage or a sense of resilience but instead, he simply wanted it to be over. He wanted to be standing at that mountain's edge so that he would no longer have to wander these roads and watch his impending doom inch closer. His pace quickened into a long stride, then a subtle jog, he tried not to look ahead of him but all at once his eyes locked on this goal and he was running quite unexpectedly of himself. Tears began to build and leak down his face as the cold began to bite with his accelerated pace. Sid wasn’t even a particularity athletic kid but in a moment he was on a full tilt, barreling down those split dirt divots like a mad fool. He ran till his heart felt on fire and his lungs seemed to seize raw with ice. He covered that mile faster than he could have imagined possible till he stood at the foothills and the subtle rise before the road turned upwards.
Sid’s wind broke, hitting him like a brick wall, so he stopped. He repressed the urge to cough. His lugs felt paralyzed for a good moment. He hyperventilated, feeling as though no air was being taken in. He wanted to burst into tears or pull his revolver and unload it into the black mountains but he found he lacked the energy to even stand. Within moments, he was on his knees wheezing and looking up with weary eyes, trying to suppress his bodies desire to pass out. He couldn’t keep track of how long he was there, he couldn’t even think about it; he simply felt helpless kneeling there like a veal cow.
“Get up ya fuck’n faggot!” he hissed lightly to himself as he rubbed his eyes and cheeks.
Sid’s display did give him a slight level of reassurance that no one had seen him coming. After all, he’d come down that dirt road like a bat out of hell, only to fall on his knees and serve himself up as an easy target. If they’d had noticed him, they simply would have dragged him off like dozens of other victims. He reassured himself of this as he pushed himself back to his feet. They had the perfect chance so this must mean they blew it in some fashion; a lucky break perhaps?
Sid’s destination was not far off now. The town they congregated in was no more than a single dirt cul-de-sac consisting of twelve trailers, an assortment of shacks and one barn style church. Though only those few structures to account for, there must have been hundreds of those brain dead hillbillies, not to mention their dogs. Sid had a trick up his sleeves for the dogs but he hoped these inbred mongoloids would have the common sense to keep their animals chained or penned at least to localize where the beasts would shit. This provided no comfort for Sid though, those hounds were renowned for their viciousness.
At this moment the possibilities of the horrors that awaited Sid started to become meaningless. He stared back down the road that spilled back out into freedom and largely new that it was far too late to turn back. He didn’t dare turn his back on this place as close as he was. Now all he had was the hope that Drake was still alive though there was some certainty that he and Drake were both fucked. In some respect, this was almost liberating as it seemed the decision to go on was no longer his to make.
Sid’s mind started to become numb. He couldn’t bear to consider what was waiting for him nor could he even muster the logic to turn around and run for his life. He could hardly register the road ahead of him; rather, he simply kept the image of his brother plastered to the walls of his mind in the hopes that he’d keep moving forward. The incredible swells of emotions that overtook Sid’s mind overloaded it to the point that almost nothing registered. The biting cold, his inevitable doom, the thirty eight in his pocket, the possible demise of Drake; it was all too much to take and yet his feat kept on forward. He was so lost in his own senses that the first visible trailer hardly registered in his head enough to cause a reaction. He stupidly wanders up to it and was almost on top of it before his mind could filter in enough information to shock him back to his senses, Sid dove for cover behind a shelf of bedrock. Again he filled himself with self-pity almost sickened by his blatant enfeeblement.
He clutched at himself through his snow hat, tugging his frazzled hair hard enough to hurt. Tears started to pour down his cheeks and silently he commanded himself to stop. When he didn’t, he struck himself violently in the side of the face and cursed himself. He could have stayed trapped in this posture for some time. He couldn’t break the cyclical logic in his head that paralyzed him and he instead hoped that only time would pacify him enough to get back on track. However, this could have taken all morning and more than likely would have but a horrible sound came, breaking through Sid’s personal world of self-disgust, snapping him to attention. The sound was familiar but he couldn’t place it. Like it was close to something he had heard before but as it seemed almost unearthly, his mind refused to recognize it. The sound came again and sent shocking waves along Sid’s skin. He couldn’t place it still but he now could tell that it was something he should fear. The sound came again and again sending jolt after jolt before it finally made a noise Sid could identify.
“PLEASSSE!!!!!” A shrilled plead came through the sound that Sid’s mind had yet to interpret and then suddenly as the plead came Sid knew what he was hearing; unparalleled human suffering.
Sid had simply never heard someone suffer at that level before and he couldn’t even fathom that much pain being inflicted upon someone. And garbled in the shrills of pain that called out for mercy, came a dull laughter.
“PLEASE STOPPPP!!!!!” The cry came again and with it another chorus of dull laughter.
Now Sid did something very unusual. He started so slowly that he didn’t even note himself doing it at first. However, little by little, Sid started to climb the small shelf of bead rock towards the sound. He wanted to see; some part of him needed to witness what could be so horrific. He was terrified but even as his body trembled and his stomach turned, he slowly climbed towards the sound. Within moments his head was at the flat top of the bedrock. He tilted his head sideways to pear an eye over. Slowly, even agonizingly, the strange sight came into view. The screams came again which shocked his skin and filled him with such dread, his view blurred and almost blacked out but within the moment it was clear as the daylight. Ahead was the Cul-de-sac with the ring of trailers and dead in the middle was a group of mountain folk and their pleading victim. They stood around a young man who’d been stripped naked and cast upon the frozen snow covered gravel. Some of them clutched dogs that they inched forward to snap and snarl at his exposed frosting skin. He tried to huddle for warmth but they would simply lurch the dogs forward causing him to fall or scamper in the snow. By the time Sid made his eye’s view over the side, this man no longer possessed the strength to scream again. He was a bloody mess, half frozen to death and weekly crawling about.
“He cold Honther? Why don we warm him up?” One of the men said before pulling loose his fly. He then began urinating on the man. “That betta ol boy?”
“Shit, Berry, you gonna make yella sickles all ova his face.” Chuckled another before the group all bursts into laughter again.
Within the next few moments, the man could do nothing but twitch and churn lightly on his side. In the next moment, the group let loose their dogs and they began to feast upon the body. A gurgled cry that sounded more like a dying lamb came from the quivering bloody mass and soon there was nothing but that dull laughter.
Sid wanted to pull his gun but he couldn’t. He wanted nothing more than to hop the side of the Rock and charge down upon those fucking creeps but his body would not move nor be persuaded to move. This was for the best though. In Sid’s revolver, only six bullets rested and that wasn’t enough for even the dogs let alone the mountain men. Sid watched anxiously, however, trying to force his hand to move and pull that gun. It was then he noticed something beyond the horror of the dead victim. He was so fixed on his hatred and his suffering for that young man, he simply didn’t notice what should have been simply obvious. It might have even been his mind again trying to write out what was far too alien for Sid to interpret but as he watched those men in hatred, he finally began to see them clearly. Several of the mountain men carried with them quite unusual shapes to their body. One limped forward on his left arm which had a frown so enormous and monstrous he leaned into it like a monkey as he moved, another had bestial features and incredible claws that seemed as long as steak knives, a third’s right arm ended in long tendrils and an extra claw like appendage grew from under it. Their skin was covered in boils and long black veins. They looked pale and sickly and even shown signs of rot. Whatever they were, they had only started the process of truly becoming and whatever that was, it was not human.
Slowly Sid descended the bedrock back to the small cove he had tucked himself into once before. Now nothing made sense. He wasn’t sad, couldn’t feel any dread or terror or self-pity; he felt nothing. His mind had simply had it. It could barely handle acquiring his revolver from that shady flee market vendor, it clearly couldn’t handle the road that led him here and though it tried, it couldn’t even properly perceive anything after. Now Sid stood on the border of madness and for once it was almost reassuring. Fuck it, he thought, fuck it and everything else. This was beyond a dream and he was now simply trying to wake up. The act of cowardice that he had so deeply feared now seemed the most appropriate thing; Sid sat there and did nothing. As the sun began to climb, rational (or as close as he could come given the circumstances) thought slowly came back.
“Great, I grow some balls and hell itself sets out to make a pussy out’a me.” He said with almost a hint of sarcasm. “This is un-fucking-real.”
Without a clear thought, Sid pulled out the revolver and turned off the safety. He released the chamber and spun the cylinder then slapped it back into place like he had seen on those movies. The Cylinder clicked and set stopping over a live round ready to fire. Sid’s motion was flawless this time, almost mechanical and lacked the tenuous absence of confidence.
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About the Creator
I'm a horror author and foulmouthed critic of all things horror. New reviews posted every Sunday.
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