Horror logo


“If your darkest memories could kill you, would you still allow them to overpower you?”

By Hyde Wunderli Published 7 months ago Updated 3 months ago 19 min read


Another anxious night, Jacob must spend alone. Melancholy, and not looking forwards to restless joints in a bed without a bedframe. A pillow overdue for the dumpster. And the insistent sound of buzzing in the walls. He does, however, finally have something to look forward to when he goes to turn out his lights. Something curious, Something sublime and something ghostly satisfying to heavy his eyes into finally resting.

Pertaining to this bizarre phenomenon late into the night, I suppose it would be inaccurate to say that he’d be entirely alone. As of recent, there’s been some unlikely company to give Jacob just the comfort he needs to battle his insomnia. But as is the risk of all things we cling too close to, the growing obsession for refuge from chaos can become a growing challenge to grasp.

Smashing numbers into a keyboard with just the blue light coming from his tarantulas aquarium had come to an end. And the best view in the house was enjoyed by just a quick swivel of his chair. It was a powerful picture on a tapestry hung on the wall opposite of where his spider, Eldritch was. Jacob found a man tossing the four feet by ten inch tapestry in the dumpster just outside the walkway. The head of a skeleton tilting his chin up towards the heavens caught his eye and he braved the night to go retrieve the piece of art.

After hanging it up, stepping back and fully viewing it for the first time Jacob found that the creepy feeling it invoked inspired his adrenaline; something that was seldom released. The daunting and powerful skelton was bursting from the ground and peeling back flesh from his rib cage. In the middle were a cluster of eyeballs forming the shape of a heart. Many eyes fled from the swarm and dispersed among the rest of the tapestry. The few that made it closer to the moon and stars in the picture, grew wings like bats. Mossy strings swung from his arms and legs and draped sparingly from a few ribs. Hung on the spooky tree behind him was a cloak the skeleton had surrendered. Leaning on the tree was a scythe, dripping in blood.

This is the captivating picture in which Jacob relished every night after work. The morbid visuals spoke to Jacob’s shadow. His very soul brought the picture to life, almost as if the eye’s of the undead deity met his. And then suddenly they shared the same sentiment of confinement.

Jacobs' soul peeled from his vessel like pulling tape from a wall, walked its way over to the tapestry and desired to take the hand of pure bones and pull him out. This simple ritual of amusement started as a means to settle Jacobs restless nerves before bed. But the potency of the image was soon conquered by Jacobs' everlasting insomnia. As the same as any addiction, Jacob desired more. His imagination became unhinged. His mind twisted fantasy with reality. He was but a lonely and repressed boy living in an adult body.

An unlikely friendship emerged. That is to say at least in the eyes of Jacob. He was too vulnerable to see the true dangers that hid deep within the picture. He spoke to the skeleton. Recapped his dreadfully boring days. Shed his unimportant opinions. And steamed vulgar words artistically from his mouth about his annoying neighbors. But the most interesting thing Jacob would speak of, was the mystery woman outside his window. Though there’s no surprise that his angst and loneliness would lead to a sick fascination with a stranger in the distant moonlight.

Once Jacob was done romanticizing over the woman in the red heels, to a picture that didn’t talk back, he hung his aching skin on the tree next to the cloak, said farewell, and walked his new revitalized self into his bed to wait for his soothing attraction.

The first night he heard her heavy heels crushing the earth below, Jacob retreated beneath the covers of his bed. Like a child frightened by what sounded like, to him, the crushing of tiny skulls in the jaws of a nutcracker. But as sure as the purring wind in between the poorly caulked framing of the window, her siren sound eventually lured him into an unhealthy fascination.

Tonight would be another night dependent on the consistent clicking and clacking. Chasing that high once again. He paid close attention to the scuffs, the turns, the change of pace. The distance the heels fled from his ears. Only to grow in sound again as they made their way back towards him.

The fine-dressed woman seemed too average for someone who came to nurse Jacob to sleep. So his head created grandeur versions of her presence. The only piece that was missing from the illusion was a wet kiss on his head, that Jacob sought night after night. But every time he strained to raise it from the confines of his mind he either fell asleep too soon or was interrupted by another intrusive thought.

“Sleep weary one. Strength will come to you soon enough. I am your solace.” He imagined her saying. She had a low Tenor voice closely syncing with the hum of the building's air conditioning unit.

Jacob grazed his own cheek as if it was her hand, and then whispered, “I fear your graceful steps will no longer be enough to steer me away from what keeps me awake. I must have you. And only then will you be able to take upon my burdens.”


If your darkest memories could kill you, would you still let them overpower you? That is precisely why I am here. Watching. Keeping a close eye. It is these dark corners that I crave. I am not yet known but will be revealed once those tainted spots of his mind consume him-as is my design all along.

The tapping shoes now filled the room. They sang harmoniously against the ugly tile. Jacob’s hand hung off his bed. Two fingers tapped the cold tile to the beat of the shoes walking the floor. He breathed deeply. Like someone that wasn’t ever going to wake. Even deep inside this painting, I can feel Jacob’s grip on reality slipping away.

Click, goes the clock of doom. Clack goes the sound of growing insanity. Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack. The taps grow louder. The cadence grows quicker. Jacob sleeps now but her walk continues in his dreams.

Jacob shot up from the bed sweating shame from his forehead. “I know why you’re always home so late. I don’t like it. Please stop.” He shouted. His red eyes bled the unwanted memories from his skull.

“ARE YOU ASHAMED OF YOUR MOTHER?” Jacob mimicked the shrill voice of his mother's raspy voice. “ARE YOU DISGUSTED BY HOW I PROVIDE FOR YOU.” He continued. He slapped his own frail face. “YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE SHIT.”

He slapped the other cheek. And then back to the right one. Right left right left, he beat his face until the paleness was beaten out of him, into a shade of maroon like his mother's lipstick.

“I’m sorry Mom. I’m sorry. I am grateful. I love you. Don’t hate me. Please just stop. I won’t say it again. Please get off me. Mom, you’re hurting me. I can’t breathe Mom.” Jacob started sobbing.

“YOU KILLED ME! I GAVE YOU LIFE. AND YOU GAVE ME DEATH.” His vocal cords shred into pieces like turning branches into sawdust.

“I didn’t. I mean, it was an accident. I, di, di, didn’t know what else-” Jacob stopped. He lay on the bed with his arms wrapped tightly around his chest. He chased after the fast breaths that robbed him of any chance of calming.

His panic turned to a slow bellowing cry like a siren in a small town. When the screech reached the climax Jacob sobbed like a toddler.

“SHUT UP! STOP THAT CRYING AT ONCE!” Mother shouted. “You’re such a crybaby. Mamma didn’t raise you to cry. But all you do is whine like the brat you are. You aren’t my child. Just an ungrateful pest making my life wildly inconvenient.”

Jacob thrusted his body back and forth sitting up right. His dry eyelids creased together, blocking his brown eyes from ever seeing anything he didn’t want to. But it didn’t work. Behind his hard-shut eyes was the haunting of a past he let consume him. His wild and mangled hair came past his narrow forehead like the legs of a giant tarantula. Increasing sweat kept the thick black strands stuck to his skin.

“Hey there child.” A soft voice said from the front of the bed.

She had lots of makeup on her face. Wore a tight black and white checkered dress that matched the tile floor. And had on red high heels, so shiny that her reflection showed through the shoes like a mirror.

“I’m here darlin'.” She said with an inviting warm voice. Her small hands brought her long brown hair over her right shoulder where she fiddled with it innocently.

“Would you like to see somethin'?” She continued.

Her fingers caressed along her collarbone and followed the strap of her dress to her cleavage. Jacob through his blanket to the side and got out of bed eagerly.

“Follow me sweetie.” She turned and exited the room. Jacob followed, never breaking eye contact with her swinging hips.

“I think you’ll prefer it here.” The seductress said, stepping into the picture.

Jacob was in such a trance he didn’t ask any questions. He took her by her lathered hands and stepped into the world where only shadows lived.


“Finally we formally meet,” I said, keeping behind the tree.

“Who’s that? Who’s there?” Jacob responded.

“Oh, no need to be alarmed. Just your good friend.” I stepped out from the tree while draping my cloak over my bones. “It’s a cold night. It’s nice to have my cloak back. Now only if I had the means to use my scythe.”

Fog formed a circle around Jacob. His breath was shown in the still air of the frigid night. Even the bats in the trees took flight to find warmer shelter. Rats and other creepy things scurried away into holes, rotting flesh, and tall patches of grass to seek a more cozy shelter.

“What sort of trick is this? Where’d she go?” Jacob said.

“Oh you mean your little girlfriend? Would you like to see her again?” I asked.

“Here she is. As you wish.” I said waving my hand towards the dark where the woman reappeared. Only she would no longer be desirable to the eye.

Jacob dropped to the floor in disbelief and threw his hands up. He scurried backward until his back hit a stump. He couldn’t look away. Her skin was beyond pale and more accurately fit the description of decay. The surface of her head and plague-stricken face was the ideal home for the fungus that grew out of her pours. Mushroom caps that plugged her ears, bled a thick ooze as thick as jam. Only it didn’t smell like fresh strawberries. More like moldy ones wrapped in snakeskin.

Jacob’s vice approached him with grace. Her legs, like Aspen trees after a chemical fire, stopped at his feet and then walked swiftly to his side. She knelt down, slipped off her red high-heels, and then set them beside him.

“My feet are killing me darlin', care to help a loved one,” She said. “I can sing you to sleep after. Wouldn’t that be nice?How about an Alice Cooper song? Your favorite.” Her hand pressed against his chest. It beat as fast as the horrific image could process in his head.

Alice Cooper was in fact, not his favorite. He hated all of his music. His mother would always sing and play it around the house, late into the night. Her long line of smokers' vocal cords fit the sound of Alice Cooper better than one might think. She even looked like Cooper himself; unfortunately leaving Jacob with the same baggy-eyed genes.

Jacob was both horrified and surprised when the exact voice of his mother came from the lips of the woman in heels. With her hand still on his chest she broke out in song. “Only women bleed. Only women bleed.”

“Stop this. Where am I?” You aren’t real. You aren’t real?” Jacob chanted.

Her growing nails would say otherwise. They lengthened along his chest. And kept going until they reached his neck. They were painted maroon to match her puffed-up, plum lips.

The woman in the checkered dress belted the song with anger leading the sound. “Black eyes all the time. Don’t spend a dime, clean up this grime.” Her nails pressed into Jacob's neck and made him bleed. “And you there down on your knees begging me please, come watch me bleed.”

The index finger and the middle finger cut through his neck like slicing through a t-bone steak. Snapping out of his shock, he scooted away and passed the stump. The mud formed around his scrambling fingers and suctioned to his skin. It was no easy task to maneuver through the sticky muck, but he managed clumsily.

I couldn’t help but laugh in the wind. So long I’d waited. Patiently hearing his pathetic voice seek friendship. Cleverly letting his loneliness feed my escape. And all I could think to do was laugh menacingly at his suffering.

“You did this to yourself,” I said. However, I was not heard. The howling wind carried my words away high into the smokey sky. Yet I persisted in being known. “Hang him by the tree. Let the branches rip his flesh back so we may feast on his blackened insides.”

The directions were heard this time. The woman clawed at Jacob's torso and held tightly onto his shirt. It ripped with ease, dagger nails slicing down the middle.

“Stop this. Get me out of here,” Jacob said.

“You don’t make the demands here. I do.” I’m not good at being told what to do and his attitude needed to change. “Show this dung beetle a lesson,” I said.

The woman stabbed through to his rib cage. His scream made me tingle inside. Like a backscratch by a fire. Just as the bloody show was getting good, Jacob learned he could defend himself. He reached for one of the high heels in the mud and jabbed the pointy heel right in her eye.

“NO!” I shouted. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It was going to be all too easy.

Tar-like Pus poured from her eye. “You son of a bitch!” She shouted in an identical voice to his mother. “Of course, with the heel. I should’ve known.” She held her eye, the perfect blend of blood and moldy pus oozing in between her fingers. It was more of a plaque substance. Something that seeps from poisoned trees, rather than forms inside the body.

“Well, what are you going to do about it?” I said condemning him with my authoritative, pointed finger. “Don’t let him get away with it.”

Jacob was already on his feet. He didn’t bother dropping the lethal shoe. Instead, he clutched it tight and took off running. I felt my power weakening already. Something had to be done quickly.

“Only Women bleed. Only women bleed.” She sang.

At this point, Jacob was now running from his own mother, back from the dead. Moldy fungi still covered her face, but the transformation was noticeable enough. It only made Jacob run faster.

His feet scuffled in exhaustion-dirtying his white socks. Bones in the ground tore holes through them and cut through to his skin but he kept running. He ran past dead trees with strings of flesh hanging on their branches. Passed men in business suits, or greasy uniforms. Passed a playground set on fire. Passed the small toy house where he used to find refuge as a frightened child. He ran through a field of long grass almost tripping over a dead raccoon covered in maggots.

On the other side of the field, a small shack looked like it was about to turn to dust. It was the one thing to stop him in his tracks. It would’ve been almost impossible to find the front door if it weren’t slightly ajar. Vines, moss, and fungus covered the house slowly eating it away. By other indents and holes in the wood, it appeared that vegetation wasn’t the only thing devouring it.

“Yes, why don’t you go inside,” I whispered. “They’re waiting.”

Three pairs of eyes appeared from the crack in the door. Another pair with a face pressed against the dusty window. There was tape in the corner of the glass covering a crack.

“Did you bring dinner home?” A timid voice called from the doorway.

“It’s your turn to bring food.” Another said.

“He’s empty-handed. You know the rules, Jacob.”

The door swung open revealing three teenage boys. They were shirtless and skinny. Their rib cages showing and their eyes sunk deep like small marbles buried in pale sand.

“Pin him down,'' one shouted. He bore his crooked teeth that battled for real estate. His gums were black and bleeding. “You don’t bring dinner, you are dinner.”

The kid at the window didn’t even bother going to the door. He smashed his noodle arm through the glass and jumped out. He walked towards Jacob with glass sticking through his forehead. In his hand, he held one large piece ready to use it. He swung wildly with the shard of glass, but only hit Jacob with a few superficial cuts. Despite his lack of athletacism, Jacob managed to maneuver his way behind the ravenous boy and then take him to the ground. Jacob shoved his face into the dirt. Kept his knee against his back. And then drove the shoe straight into the back of the boy's skull.

I was nothing more than the audience waiting for the climatic moment. I’d done my part and now I sat powerless watching Jacob's unexpecting vigor keep him alive. I was running out of time. If Jacob managed to evade death within the time frame, then I’ve lost my chance. The good news is, it seems increasingly harder for Jacob to escape these violent versions of past relationships. One of them just needed to seal the deal for me.

The three remaining boys closed in around Jacob. Their hair was wild and clumped. Eyes wide with malevolent adrenaline. Thick layers of dirt settling into their malnourished flesh. The shack behind them now, howled in the wind like a thousand violins tuning up for the big show.

“You’ll taste like betrayal I’m sure.” The frontman said. He was the shorter of the group but had the appearance of a rabid bulldog. Even his small teeth were sharp like canines.

“Better to eat scum than nothing at all.” The boy to the right said. He had hair as golden as straw from a scarecrow. But dust had turned it to a smokey gray to match his eyes. He was remarkably tall.

Closing in behind Jacob, his mother hobbled over with a sad attempt to keep her falling eye into place.

“How rude of you to not bring these boys some food. After all they’d done for you,” She said.

“They used me!” Jacob shouted in protest.

“At Least you had a place to stay, once I was gone.” She crept closer. Hunched at the shoulders. Her eye hung from the socket like a broken jack in the box.

While Jacob’s focus was being pulled towards her grotesque face, the three boys lept at the opportunity. The gray-haired boy got to him first, despite the bulldog boy being in front. His legs, like Daddy-long legs, covered lots of ground quickly. He towered over Jacob like a boy on stilts, lifting the back of his shirt and keeping Jacob from running.

The third boy, who had been quiet the whole time burst out into an ear-piercing cackle. The capture of the boy who didn’t bring dinner excited him into a salivating manic episode. He savagely bit his nails down to the tips of his fingers making them bleed. His eyes were wide with hunger and anxiousness.

Jacob shook to get away. The grip only tightened around his neck like a noose. The crowd of his enemies laughed at him.

“Come boys,” I’ll cook you up a nice meal. “See what you’ve done Jacob? You treat your mother with disrespect. You don’t do your part to take care of these poor boys. Now you must pay for breaking the rules.”

Jacobs' face looked confused. Like someone that didn’t know the rules at all. He put up a fight the whole way into the shack. The doorway swallowed everyone up into the dark living space. The only light was a candle, flickering in the window that was boarded off by old frayed wood.

“In the kitchen. Come wash your hands boys.” Mom called.

She turned on the faucet. Rusty, brown water poured from the old pipes. She splashed her moldy face in the muck that spilled from the faucet then moved away so the boys could line up and wash their hands.

They all lined up except the tall one who watched Jacob carefully in the corner. Any time Jacob tried to spring away he was met with a swift hard kick.

I watched from the window. Mother was heating up a giant oven and singing her song again. They all laughed like a happy family before supper.

“Bring him here.” Mother yelled.

Just as she did Jacob ran his hand in between the stilts for legs coming in contact with the boy's groin. He fell to the floor. They wrestled for a bit until Jacob got away from his grip and ran for the door.

“Oh don’t make me come in there.” Mother shouted.

She slammed the oven door with the force of hurricane winds and walked towards the living room. The other two boys followed behind her like lost puppies.

A loose board was hanging from the window frame by only one nail. Jacob pulled it with ease. “Move or die,” Jacob said.

They didn’t budge from blocking the doorway. Instead, they walked towards him with hungry smiles on their faces. “Grab him and get him in the oven. It’s about time we eat,” Mother said.

The stupid bulldog went down with one swing. The sharp nail from the board went right into his cheek, ripped through the skin like a knife to a curtain, and exited back out his mouth.

“Nooooo!” I cried from the window. How is this happening? “Take him down already you idiots!”

The manic one continued with his unusual laugh and waited for Jacob to take a swing. His enormous head would be an easy target but he wasn’t going to let Jacob handle him that easily. His swing of course missed.

A headbutt from the bobblehead boy took Jacob straight to the floor. He then climbed on top of Jacob, all the while laughing and grinding his teeth. He pulled away Jacob’s already ripped shirt and marked his chest with the word scum by digging his sharp nail into his skin. Then he smeared the blood from his nose all across his face as if to mock him.

“Finish him already!” I shouted. My muffled voice crashed into the window. “This is taking too long. He should be dead already.”

Jacob poked the boy's eyes with his fingers and rolled over to crawl free. The boy grabbed at his ankles but Jacob managed to slip away. Behind him, the boy laughed away as if he had nothing to lose. On his way up, Jacob grabbed the board on the floor. Mother waited at the door but her vision was obscured by the darkness, and one working eye. She heard the creaking of the floorboards as Jacobs' heavy footsteps approached her. Before she could react the flat side of the board pinned her to the wall and then Jacob wound it back like a sledgehammer, and brought the nail side straight down into her head. He swung again and again for good measure. Dark blood splattered the walls and the window where I was, obscuring my view.

“I want out of here!” Jacob said, with another swing of the board. He didn’t care that it blistered his hands. That it sent slivers shooting into his palms. He didn’t care about the mucky blood splattering against his pale face. He didn’t care that it was his mother. Or the idea of her anyway.

He ran further from the manic laughing behind him. Uncontrollable laughter that rendered the bobblehead boy useless. Jacob ran back through the field. The laughter sounded like an echo. Past the raccoon. Back on harder dirt where bones split his feet. The laugh now sounded like a memory in his head. The trees with strung-out flesh mocked him. Scowled at him as if like me, were disappointed to still see him alive.

“Where you going to go?” I said.

Already, the tips of the branches showed light. But I wasn’t going to reveal that to Jacob. I could only hope he didn’t realize the change in the weather, the fog from the ground lifting as if being carried away by a timid sun, and the furry creatures rising from their holes to catch an early breakfast.

“Home,” Jacob said. His eyes avoided me.

“Sit a while. You’re safe now.” I said coolly.

“Who are you anyway?” Jacob said.

I didn’t like his calmness. It was possible that the dried blood around his eyes hid his fear. But he appeared to no longer be scared of me.

The branches were now being torched by the light. It was getting too hot to wear my cloak so I hung it on a branch. I retreated backward behind the tree to remain in the little shadow that was left.

“Who are you?” Jacob repeated.

“I am your shadow.”

An obscured view of Jacob’s living room appeared in front of him. The window next to his computer was allowing light to vandalize the walls with its brightness. Jacob stepped towards the blinding light. I stepped away.

“You can’t leave!”

“You don’t have power over me,” Jacob responded.

“How dare y-”

Jacob stepped back into his familiar world and trapped me here. Unsatisfied and unfulfilled. The weight of Jacob’s Journey pulled him to the ground. He crawled to the kitchen and pulled himself back up by the counter. He stumbled into walls in the hallway like a drunken pirate, then collapsed onto his bed.

After all that he’d just gone through he still questioned his ability to fall asleep. His mind was racing. His heart was pounding. Then sounding as a hollow echo off the outside walls was the returning sound of clicking and clacking along the pavement. And Jacob fell soundly asleep.



About the Creator

Hyde Wunderli

Enthusiast of dark romanticism or, gothic romance.

Inspired by the works of edger Allen Poe, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, and Stephen King

Here for the dopamine, the passion, and the challenge to push my comfort zone.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (2)

Sign in to comment
  • Test4 months ago

    That was exceptionally well written. I was thoroughly impressed and enjoyed it immensely.

  • Our inner thoughts can be scary. But they don’t have to have power over us. I hope this read, yet haunting and grotesque, can be a fulfillment to those who find insecurities holding them back.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.