Twyll th' ChyllTyrant
& The Crooked Empire
Also known as Willard T. Moulton
- Cover… 1
- Table Of Contents… 2
- Here’s a few short scary stories… 3
- Bobby… 5
- Bob… 6
- Robert… 7
- The Monster… 8
- Suzanne A… 14
- Suzanne 1… 16
- Suzanne 2… 19
- Suzanne 3… 22
- Suzanne 4… 25
- Suzanne 5… 34
- Suzanne 6… 43
- Suzanne 7… 46
- Suzanne 8… 41
- Suzanne B… 55
- The End… 57
Here’s a few short scary stories.
Bobby went down to the schoolyard with his friends one day, the sky was dark, the puddles still were fresh on the sidewalk, and the boys were planning on playing tag. As they approached the gate, they heard a barking from the gutter below the chainlink fence. Bobby leaned over and sure enough, it was a tiny puppy shriveled up in a ball. It must have been left out from overnight in the storm. Bobby took the puppy, which was barely skin and bones and tuffs of sparse hair across it’s body, and returned home to nurture the small creature back to life. The dog barely could eat at first, but it stayed alive through the night, and when Bobby went to bed, he saw the dog gnawing at it’s tail and it worried him. Bobby asked his mother to keep the dog in her room that night, so she did. In the morning though, the dog had gnawed off its entire tail on the floor and there was blood everywhere. Bobby went to school after trying to play with the dog. When the mother took the dog to the vet later that morning, the veterinarian turned to her and whispered “This isn’t a dog, ma’am, it’s a sewer rat. And it has rabies.”
Bob was a good guy, but he didn’t like the unease that came with living in the city his whole life. One day late in the winter, he left his apartment, and took off on a backpacking and camping trip in the wilderness. He knew it would sound crazy, but he had to go be alone, to think things through about his future, and he wanted to do it out in the woods. When he got there, there was no other cars in the parking lot, and no signs of anyone to be seen down the trail. He started down the path as the wind whistled through the pinetrees, and over the brush. The bright sun kept him at a steady pace on his hike, and he continued to forge forth through the twilight hours. As the dusk approached, though, he kept getting the feeling that he was either being followed, or that there was something else out there chasing or being chased. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eyes he saw out in the fields, another set of footprints. He began to head over as the wind blew harder and harder, and he shielded his eyes from the snow drifts. When he got over to the trail of footprints, he began to follow them. Through the thicket of the woods, he brushed past branches and needles scraped his cheeks. He closed his eyes in the tightest of the bush and when he opened them, the chaparral disappeared completely. As did the footprints, directly into the middle of a giant dead tree, where there was no way around and no way up.
Robert grew up alone in the world, was sometimes difficult to get along with, and couldn’t make friends that lasted much longer past high school. He’d often just spend the nights alone at home, waiting for company to call or show up unannounced. One night, he was watching the empty street in front of his house, when he saw a big black vintage Ford pull into the driveway. Three pale white men got out of each of the passenger seats, including the two in the back. They all wore sunglasses and top hats, suits, and black shoes. They left their doors open, and stood there in the driveway staring directly into Bob’s window right at him. They didn’t move, but they all in unison said the same thing without making any noise, and Bob knew what they said because he could lipread them all at once. “Room for one more.”
Denim 35's, shelltoe 10's, large Harvard, sturdy wire framed polarized lenses, 50-50, a red visor. The day I died, I watched Time's shadow on the hollowed shelf. The sun was white. Business was fast, work was hard, and the Dalai Llama had just died earlier that week, People even had the market-selling cover.
The metal window shut behind me as the orange sky that never changed noise, but always altered it's effect, reflected fast and furious against the grimly beckoning, greedily staring eyes of the magazines, that shone back to me in a glaring or maybe wincing grimace. The keys clinked in the lock, and i threw the porn into my briefcase and started towards the bus stop. Passing the window of the hotel, thinking of the National Geographic interview, I thought that I saw someone behind me, standing by a lamppost. Long trench-coat, cowboy hat. I turned around and saw no lamppost at all, but when I returned my eyes to the window, as I continued walking, there he was, again. This time, he stood closer and there was no lamppost, but I was sure of it. His face was a horse's. I turned back quickly, stopping and spinning to face the man, but again, there was no man, no lamppost anywhere near behind where I had walked the few steps from the Newspaper Stand past the small Italian restaurant and the hotel. No, there was nothing there besides a sidewalk, a manhole, and an empty parked car across the street.
The walk to my apartment is short from my vendor stand, I usually arrive home in only five minutes or less. The building has a stoop, whose corners loomed long and dark that evening. I walked up the stairs, rather than take the elevator, but that day the elevator was out of service, so I had to take the stairs by elimination. The first flight of steps, a light was broken, and I thought I could smell something like sulfur. The smell passed but when I reached the second flight, I could see that its light was broken, as well. Suddenly there was a noise upstairs, six heavy steps and a loud yelp like a big woman might make. I didn't take much notice, although it was certainly out of the ordinary to hear domestic disputes at this hour of day.
My apartment has a chimney, I think most of the apartments in my apartment building do. I have a two room, so I'm uncertain of all of the details of other apartments. It also has a porch, a small dining room, and two bathrooms, one in the corridor between the bedrooms, and one in the master room. I live alone, but it seems appropriate for when I have company over to visit. My living room has two sofas and a love seat. I didn't need to eat right away, so I had a few cigarettes and some coffee on a sofa, and watched the baseball game on my television, which is a large flatscreen monitor above the chimney. Eventually I flipped on the oldie's radio and cooked myself a hamburger on a fresh bun with a pickle and a baked potato with butter and salt. Then, I shut everything off and went to bed.
In the middle of the night I thought I heard coughing in my other room. I woke up, and walked over to it. The door was closed, although I thought that I had left it open. The room was empty, when I pushed the door. I turned around and walked back to my bedroom from the dark corridor. I went into the master bathroom, and leaving the lights off, relieved my bladder in the dark. I went over to the sink and started to turn off the water to rinse my hands, when I thought that I heard the water itself flowing louder, or somehow harder and noisier than usual. I turned off the water after a fast second, startled, and looked up and thought for a brief second that I saw someone standing behind me in the dark, with horns on their head. But I looked more closely and saw that it was only the shadows of the towels in the linen closet behind me. Still unnerved, I continued to rinse my hands, and then splashed some water in my face from the faucet, when suddenly the lights went on in the bathroom, which made no sense I thought, while my eyes dried enough to reopen from the cold wash, because my light switch for the bathroom was on the opposite side of the door near me. But quickly I rubbed dry my eyes, and when I reopened them the room was still dark, and I was alone. It took me a long time to try to get back to sleep.
Eventually I started to realize that I was having real difficulty sleeping. I tossed and turned for over an hour under the covers, and although I was hot in the sheets, I was more overwhelmed with restlessness. Finally, at 1:30 in the morning, is when I heard the sound in the living room. It wasn't a cough, though, this time. It was a scratching and irritatingly high pitched stuttered squeaking like a sinister monotone laughter. The scratching sounded like it was beginning to become a ripping noise as I rose speedily off of the bed and towards the door, and I realized that it sounded like someone ripping through a flatscreen monitor. It stopped shortly after I entered the corridor between the bedrooms, altogether. I raced down the hall, nonetheless, determined that I had really heard something. It was very dark, and I forgot to flip on the lights.
In the living room, there was someone sitting in the love seat, legs spread wide, hands resting on kneecaps. His feet were hooves with brown puffs of hair. He was naked, black like a burned and singed fleshy beast, with an extra-long pointy nose. He gleamed dimly in the moonlight from the window, shining a glittery green. His eyes bolted out like two bulbous protruding purple diamonds, although black, and he had a wild spastic and long red forked tongue that was thin like a snake's. His fingers were long and pointy. There was a small patch of hair on his head that was brownish green, and he had no earlobes. His teeth were grey, dark, dirty, sharp, ragged, and his jaw was hugely long. He opened his mouth, anyway, and somehow spoke to me, asking me just three questions.
"What was that internet site you were on?"
I looked behind him and the computer seat was burned down to a stump, and the monitor was flickering different colors randomly. I was speechless, however, and unable to move.
"Okay, what's the last book you read?"
"Seen any good movies lately?"
Then he hissed his tongue at me viciously and spit a light spray of mucus-like liquid all over the coffee table. He had controlled my mind, already, but he leaped out of his seat, revealing a long single-line spiked tail, that had been tucked between cushions, which flew in both directions, and he grabbed me by the forehead with his strong hand. He put his mouth all the way around my entire face so that I could see into his empty body, and then let go and looked me in the eyes, spun around, and rushed over to the chimney and climbed inside and disappeared forever.
The police found me hanging from the balcony by my necktie the next morning.
'I come from Alabama
with my banjo on my knee
I'm going to Lose you Anna
so baby, don't you cry'
"I come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee
I'm going to Louisiana,
my true love for to see
It rained all night
The day I left
The weather it was dry
The sun so hot,
I froze to death
Susanna, don't you cry
Oh don't you cry for me
For I come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee
I had a dream the other night
When everything was still
I thought I saw Susanna
A-coming down the hill
The buckwheat cake
Was in her mouth
The tear was
In her eye
Says I, I'm coming from the south
Susanna, don't you cry
Oh don't you cry for me
For I come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee"
"My name is Susanne"
"Hurry up, I have to go-"
"You forgot your notebook."
"Here you go-"
"Well, I don't really need it; I'm still getting that class dropped."
"... Talk to you later..."
I don't remember what I said back. I don't often remember what I say sometimes to certain people. They are mere minor distractions, from me and my impertinent working lifestyle driven by focus and accomplishment. I know I should reconsider others more, but I don't really think that it matters. Nobody matters. We're all unorganized, all alone, and we're all weird.
Selfish as it seems, there's a certain amount of distinction that comes along with being an attractive girl in modern society. Think, & there I am. I recognize that other people exist, but more importantly, I recognize that they realize that I exist. Yet, even more importantly, I command attention, due to the scientifically acknowledged fact that I am genetically predisposed to have a higher intelligence than most men. Less social people are therefore reflective of only each other as I raise myself only higher and higher than those weaker humans among the evolutionary chains.
I don't even have a boyfriend. I rarely talk to anyone outside of the middle class income families that I grew up with. There's no reason to, because I can get enough out of the conversations that I do have, with the people who I already trust, to gain experience to a certain, more concentrated extent. But at school, I feel alienated because I am designated beautifully special, and therefore more likely to succeed. That's why I brush off people so easily, because it is fun.
To me, walking away from people is like walking away from the past. Granted, I am young still, and should be making acquaintances more often than reflected in behavior, to build for a good future, but I, at the same time feel that my youth enables me to feel as though I still have time on my side. The advantages of being a young, smart, and pretty female are seemingly endless. I am not ashamed, either, and I love my own body. Constantly taking care of myself is how reality manifests my personal pride. I am what I am, and I choose what and when I eat, and always brush my teeth afterwards.
Youth during the days of those few years that I spent in high school taught me my most valuable life lesson, though. People are weird.
That night was different. After cheerleading practice, I came home and there was nobody there. There were no cars in the driveway or the garage. It was raining when the bus pulled away from the lawn, and I closed the front door behind me fast, and entered the threshold into a darkened living room. I called for my parents up the stairway, and only heard my own faint echo ricochet out of the guest room and closets back near the rear of the upstairs floor, where we kept our bedrooms and computer in my father's home-office.
Mondays were usually late nights for my mother who worked as a secretary at a law firm in the city. My father was the day manager at a local manufacturing plant, and would normally be home by now.
I continued to walk through the living room, though, without hearing the dog coming running like it normally was supposed to. When I reached the next doorway, with my way lit only by the dim streetlamps outside, I reached around the corner to flick on the light. At that moment, lightning struck and another thunder bang echoed above the roof of the house and I jumped up a little bit, startled, and accidentally flicked up on the light switch. The power was out, so I flicked it back down and then back up, nervously.
A car's headlights stretched around the living room walls behind me. At first I thought that somebody was pulling into the driveway, so I looked quickly to the front window, towards the driveway in the front yard. The driveway was empty, and the headlights flashed on from far on the curtain and the car appeared like a ghostly vessel through the water-streaked window, outside in the gloomy weather. It was black, with just it's headlights shooting through the pouring rain, parked out beside our leafless tree that hung it's branches like a claw over the roof of the unmarked vehicle. I stared at it for a moment from the back of our living room, where I was sure I couldn't be seen. It didn't move for a full minute, until I looked back behind me in the kitchen at the phone. Then, it suddenly pulled off and drove away down the street.
But something had caught my eye next to the phone. Something was out of place.
The wind howled outside, and as I felt my way around the kitchen table to the phone, my mind raced through the people I knew of who drove, as I tried rather desperately to figure out who had a black car that would stop at my house for any reason. When I reached the phone, I bent over it to look at the piece of paper that was stuck next to it. It was a note. The phone rang.
Startled, again, I read again the note in the dark as the phone continued to ring. It only said that my father had been here to pick up the dog to go to the veterinarian. So I picked up the phone. Dead silence on the line. The power was still out, or so I thought. So I put the phone down. Suddenly, the lights went back on.
A certain aura of danger lingered in the air, though. I finally took off my bookbag and put it on a chair at the kitchen table. As I started to empty it, my mind started to feel like it was finally clearing up, as the thunder started to roll further and further away. I had been surprised not to see anyone there, but I was beginning to settle myself back down. I had homework still, as well, and I knew that I would be smart to get to bed early that night. For some reason I felt unusually tired, barely able to keep consciousness as I piled the books out of the backpack. I took a nap.
The rest of the evening was on schedule, and nothing seemed to happen out of the ordinary. My father came home from the veterinarian with the dog, and then my mother came home. I had finished eating supper before 6:30, and already by 8:00 was doing homework. Nothing strange happened, and I felt as though everything were normal.
By the time I was ready for bed, the phone hadn't rang again all night. My cellphone received only one text message from an unavailable number. The text was blank for some reason, or my service wasn't working right because I couldn't read it. I went to bed wondering how the world could be filled with so many people, with so much variety and interdependency, yet we all maintained that we were detached from each other. Mondays were slow for everyone, was one of the final thoughts I remember thinking before I fell asleep.
My dreams that night were the kind that seem like they never end. Just one giant episode right into the next, and each epic opus leading into one just as long, or longer than the last.
It always seems like the easiest dreams to remember are the ones right before we wake. So as the night crept on and the dreams expanded and their patterns became more clear, I remember that the themes began to intertwine. Of course, I can only remember the main ideas of the last dream that I had that night. But the confliction of the pragmatic ego and the dogma of our own memory are such that by the time the last dream was beginning to take natural shape of its own amongst the myriad of prevalent and expressive creations that came before it, the melting of the overall plots began to make definite sense.
I was in school still. For some reason I had been selected or elected to be the school ambassador. It made no sense, but I was taken out of class because of it and put in a special room in the school where I was supposed to be alone to do research, and I was on a computer for a long time. I was doing the research, when the assignment software seemed to switch itself to become an experiment of some sort where I was learning about biology and then creating new types of animals and species on the computer screen. It sort of reminded me of a video game, which I never played, but it was only a dream, and I was taking it seriously.
After a while, the computer began to get brighter. There was now only one animal on the screen that wouldn't close its software window. I would go on and try to create a new animal over it, but the files wouldn't save and the same stuck one kept coming up. It was an ugly animal, like a dog mixed with a pig. Also it seemed to be getting uglier or angrier the longer it stayed up on the screen. Soon, it started looking around the screen on its own, without me making it do anything. I tried making a new animal again, and the ugly one jumped out of its window and attacked the new one, tearing it to bloody flesh right in front of me. I became frightened, and the beast in the computer began barking at me, growling, and lunging at the computer screen. The glass on the screen started to break, and I reached my hand away from the mouse and began screaming. The beast wouldn't stop though, and it jumped all the way out of the computer monitor and grew when it came into the room with me. It had huge fangs, and blood all over its maw. It was foaming out of the mouth and its eyes were bloodshot. I reached out to stop it from getting me, but it grabbed my hand with its jaw and I started screaming as I felt the wet blood trickle out of my wrist. I screamed and screamed until I woke up, and at 6 in the morning stayed up until I had to go to school at 8:00.
The end of the week brought with it, as always, a changeover that not only alleviated us from our often overexcited peers, but also exemplified attitudes that had grown weary of the uncomfortable settings of both work and school. The exchange of final assignments to the teacher of my last class drew parallels with the oncoming responsibilities of being a young adult in a shortened version of life in the real world. It was similar, to some, as the life of the locust. Metamorphosis underground in a hibernated state, until the one chance for an escape, if only for a small season, the locust's reproductive celebration was like an extravaganza of pent up sexuality. Yet others held a high aristocracy in the face of the workweek, higher yet than our age limit would permit. Graduation from the school was sometimes seen as devolution from out of the shell of a pretense of controlled guidance through the community, to a new set of universal agreements with the government which outlined our behaviors in the long lives that would await us all in the outside world. We had waited patient, it had seemed, for our escape into the harsh realm that crept and crawled along outside the walls of the school.
Modern culture does have its standards, but look closer and see that regulations of human interactions are never written in books of law nor even stone tablets. They come from an underlying algorhythm that slides between our conversations, propels us through actions in public commerce, and even decides for us the appropriateness of our outgoing enjoyment of subconscious to the point of subliminal, and furthermore, depending on your particular identity, they may as well be felt with the power of omnipotent language from within our genetic makeup. Even though civil rights were at one time handed out to the citizens of our countries, it was no easier to forget our particular social roles than it was to forget an internet username. There were certain things that every man feels express him to perfection.
How easy it was, then, to forget that although our natural instincts lead us all to feel as though we know truth for ourselves, the ideal of perfection is a false one. Even our most wild inclinations, our most intuitive habits, and our most symbiotic portrayals of our individual purposes in life are not without the singularly human affect of imperfection. This impediment of society was most likely a direct cause of our constant exposure to the flawed image we see of ourselves in everything around us. However, there were always the artists with their signatures, self-proclaimed freedom, and that irreplaceable personal touch.
We could find solace in the dictionary definite, but in a referred encyclopedia, our appreciation of the subject and respect for our experience would be put to the test. The idea of a weekend was a great thing for those of us who knew how to enjoy it, and I was popular enough to have had a good accumulation of expectations. The last class's ending, the last bell's ring, all the way until the eruptive commotions of student parking lots and rides home, it was all under the guidance of a ritual that we masqueraded as eternity in servitude, only rebellion of our inner wisdom where solitude was the only ruling master.
Parents and guardians who worked for a living came back from work and shaded themselves under the glows of artificial light. There was a feeling of unity in our households in which we imagined that togetherness stood for something other than just survival. It permeated out of televisions and it seeped off of stovetops. Through our outlooks as young adults, we saw that the life of the grown adult was really attainable and predictable. This, despite the multitude of transitions that would await us all that would inevitably be painful as this life that we called childhood faded off into the void. Old age, and eventually death was our climax, so we were only naive and misled to believe that pain was something we would learn from. Instead, our release was not from the understanding of captivity that we were accustomed to applying to the actual necessity of protection that was installed on our existence, but out of illusion.
Anticipating that we were vessels, ourselves, only budding blossoms in the garden of life, our role models became our conscience, and our bosses turned over our daily events for us so that we could assume roles of our own as interns to potential markets that would only stay open and close up as our achievements and mistakes both took root independently to help make our classification of unbreakable as the time itself. Blindly wandering, though, we descended through the gateways of confusion and left vacant the residencies of assured safety. Commitments that seemed senseless were noted so well that we found ourselves more apt to follow that particular lust for adventure than common to even the most dangerously employed professional should ever allow. Thoughts that forever stray never return to their point of origin, and instead usually abandon the facts for fancies that were sometimes never meant to be noticed in a nation built on censorship of unwanted desensitization. But if the seeds were sewn, the crops reaped unused unnecessary to the conclusion of the success did continuity of the unity of family feel these benefits, nor from our individual maturity. Relationships such as friendship and colleague are easily rotated, genealogies are broken and mended, but the strangeness of a strained acquaintance is the hardest and most unbreakable bond on Earth.
It was my duty, according to these very bonds, to play the part of the miniature replica of the scripted stereotypes governing my character in this stage of life. Apparently, I was without weekend calling that preserved my preferences for the excitements of the theatrics of the party life, and had been so called on to perform the civil duties that were attributed to me so far in my short span of life. Regardless of my father's encouragement to join charitable non-profit volunteer organizations, I had gone through my own distinctly progressive and perceivably futuristic maze of networks to arrive at this ultimately unstoppable current situation. Entrepreneurship was trending with the youth and I was doing what I could to establish myself as an entity that would one day have ownership of such properties that might assemble the same industrial fields I, as not only an only child but only heir, would feel perpetually inclined to fill for those whose dependency, too, I would one day strive to replace. Employment was more than a goal for those of us with that integrity; it was as secondary as an hour hand chases the minute.
Tonight was Friday, and I had been given the qualifications and instructions to be present in a nearby neighborhood. Babysitting was the night's agenda, and I felt strong and ready to earn the money and gain the respect. Multi-tasking, surveillance, restrictions and allowances, were my primary commandments. I felt strong, and lucky for the gifts my body had bestowed upon me. I was confident and eager.
Approaching the area of the house whose home would soon become my temporary private domain for the night, and whose fortitude would be my charge, I was listening to the music in my headphones and pretending that I one da owned a record label. I was picking which artists I would have under my management, and what projects we would endeavor. Lackadaisically, I strolled down the avenues of my city.
The laptop bag was switched from left to right shoulder on the last turn onto the street where I would be babysitting, and as I was doing so, I thought I saw something inside one of the windows on the street that looked odd. I wasn't sure, but it didn't strike me that the oddity was anything to concern myself with. The person in the window looked vaguely familiar, and I was ready to forget it and keep walking, when I heard a car engine. Quickly, I turned and looked down the street that I had come from and was unable to see any headlights, but there were bushes next to many of the driveways. Looking down the sidewalk, though, I thought I saw the same thing in my peripheral vision from the window in the same house. It was a human face, maybe an older man or lady, but it looked completely horrified by something outside in the road.
The wind howled loudly and I started to move once again, and quickened my pace almost immediately. I was practically out of breath when I reached the apartments down at the end of the block. I crossed the street at the intersection, and under the traffic lights I glanced back down the road to try to see over to the house that had given me such a brief fright, but the bright green emanating from above me made the houses into only outlines against the deep blackness of the night sky.
Inside the people's house that I was babysitting that evening, I made all of the friendly and undisturbed gestures I had planned n making with the parents of the 3 year old I was there to keep watch over. They would be back at midnight, dinner and movie, and they had left the baby in the crib upstairs, fed. They were out the door before I was even done logging onto the computer. In ten minutes I was online and in two hours I was off. Nothing unexpected had occurred, yet.
I got up off the couch in the living room and walked over to the window in the front of the house. I looked out across the street at the apartments outside there. Fantasies began racing through my mind, as I was no foreigner to the perversions of almost all teenagers. I thought a little for a moment about a football player I had been watching at school, the handsome boys at my high school, then the musicians I had favored earlier that night during my walk. I was thinking about the walk briefly when I was reminded of the face in the window. I don't know what made me remember, but as soon as I started to close my eyes to shake my head and forget the terrifying image and feelings that had chased me here, there was a noise.
The sound wasn't loud, but it pierced the mood and ambience, and it resonated off of the computer, through the small living room, and made me snap quickly spin my neck around. I almost laughed, though, as I saw that it was only an instant message on the computer screen of the laptop on the coffee table in front of the living room couch. I walked back around the couch and leaned over it to look at the screen of my laptop.
"Where are you baby?"
There was no name on the message. No program was on the machine that looked like this one, either.
I was scared again, and I couldn't figure out why, but it felt instinctive. I ran upstairs, to the child's room. It was empty.
In the movies, they showed us how the detectives and police could always solve even an intricate crime. But even in the better films, scenes of the lead detective's frustration are what build the audience's anxieties to the point of climactic turning where the plot finally reveals the clues. Cinema uses a healthy imagination to put us in suspense, but real life doesn't always have a happy ending.
That was it. I was on my own from there on out, after the missing child incident in my high school years. I was so young, I was forced to continue on and always look back as though I had committed some unholy atrocity. Guilt is like karma, and innocence is a foreign tongue to those that have lost it.
To others, the catastrophe's consequences varied widely, but even when I entered college, I remember the first night spent in the dormitory room with my roommate, when I woke in the middle of the night and thought I saw moving lights out of the quad through the window next to her bed. It was only her, Elizabeth, there, though, under her covers.
When I returned home that Thanksgiving, I borrowed a car from my parents and was driving to the mall, when I found myself back on that same old street. I looked at the houses across from the now abandoned apartments, and pulled over next to the old tenement. The house that haunted my dreams and nightmares had been repainted by now to a different color. The houses next to it had undergone renovations of various different types, too. I had already observed the empty apartment building, assumed that the tenants of the houses across the road had been faced with the impending foreclosure of the apartment properties, and had tried to revitalize their property value in an effort to overthrow the slums surrounding them. As I was about to take the car out of park, throwing it in neutral, someone drove by slowly, stopping traffic for a moment, and I saw that the contractors had left parts of the neighboring houses across the street unfinished. Roofs were still in shambles, fences broken, and shingles hung loosely off some. That house was a tower in the wasteland, but only for me. The once red paint was now a darker purple.
Back in the dormitories, Elizabeth and I were rarely anything less than professionally polite to one another. Time had changed all the ways that I acted around other people, even those my own age. I was paranoid, for sure. I never felt that I truly belonged with the other students, and I couldn't fit in with any group. When Elizabeth went out to the bars the first year, I realized that my life was already beginning to slow down. Older than she was, yet not as reckless, nor as happy, I felt that my maturity was wearing down the walls of my social paranoia, yet that I would one day be happy was one thing that I felt youthfully hopeful for.
These early experiences were misleading. I studied hard, all the time, and tried to concentrate in class, but it always felt like I didn't know what to say exactly. I almost failed the first semester at the university, partly because of a lack of participation in class. My professors spoke to me semi-sympathetically, and we agreed that we would have to come up with an alternative extra credit assignment for me in a couple of core courses. I did feel as though I was being given a good second chance, and I was ready to commit myself.
The second semester wasn't much different though. Midterm grades came and I was doing alright, but when I looked at the last semester's adjusted credits, it didn't seem to make much of a difference, at all. The grades had caught up a letter, but going from C's to B's wasn't very impressive, especially in retrospect of the difficulty of the amount of essays that I had struggled to complete before the winter break was over. Seeing Elizabeth come and go from the dorm room more and more, I began to curiously wonder how she was able to sustain a passing grade point average. I thought it was unfair, and felt that if I didn't find out how she was getting it all done, that I would become distracted and jealous. Elizabeth told me after the midterms, that her secret lay in a moderation of work and play, a good diet, and constant preparation for the tests rather than the continual regimen of daily routine-forced studying that I had forced myself to do. Strangely, it seemed as though she was saying that I was working way too hard, and I was only partially offended by these observations, if at all. I admired her comprehension of her own position, including her own education and the same system of school that we both shared. I also looked up to her sexually, as did, well, most of the men at the university, including our professors. She was beautiful, and had no trouble attracting anyone there. As we talked, I began to open up to someone new for the first time my whole life. I knew she was listening to everything I had to say, and I thought of it as therapeutic, and her as my mentor.
That's when the pressures from home and my parents began, when, after my midterms, a letter came in the mail. I was crying alone in the dorm room when Elizabeth came in from her last class of the day. She quietly patted my shoulder and I told her that my financial aid was going to be denied because of poor report cards. She was there for me, then, again, where nobody else was. This was too much of an emotional time, still, and when she asked if I had any money to go downtown to the department stores with her, I burst out crying again in her arms. She only laughed a little, and cooed me sweetly under chin. She smiled and rocked me slowly singing the song I had heard my whole life into he back of my head, "O Suzanna."
I knew things would be hard to explain to my parents, who were in no position to pay for my full tuition, and I knew that the next move I would make would be to take out my own student loans, if I could. I went to my bank the next day to see what it would take to get the money. In the bank, at the ATM, I swiped my card to check my available balance which had been emptied before I came back to school after winter break. I was positive that there would be zero funds available, but to my surprise two hundred dollars had somehow been forgotten after Christmas, although I knew that I had deposited it from my memory. In this sudden turn of events, though, I felt off guard and delighted at the same time. I withdrew the money.
For the duration of the following week, I was beginning to watch closely the moves of my peers, especially Elizabeth. I watched her woo classmates, and I listened to her cull her friends, all the while discussed by every cool guy in the cafeteria. By Wednesday I was ready to attempt to integrate myself back in to the world of popularity. When noon came, I decided that I couldn't hold on any long, and that I would go to the cafeteria and eat at a table with some of the girls I knew. I might get lucky, I thought, maybe see somebody nice.
There she was, sitting at a back table near a window with a group of kids, naturally segregated with girls on one side and boys on the other, all talking and eating together as if they were the only thing that existed in their niche of the universe. I shyly made my way through the lunch line and was about to sit at another random table, when I looked over again in her direction, and saw her staring back at me, smiling beautiful and perfectly in a way that reminded me of what true happiness must be. I tried to smile back, and she waved me over, so I walked down the aisles of tables, half expecting some joker to stick his foot out and trip me. I was so used to being among the elite from my high school, that I knew that a newer initiate would often undergo cruel punishments from their contemporaries. Nervously, I focused only on Elizabeth. I sat a few seats down from my friend, and resumed the initial invitation to small talk my way through conversations with my fellow populace.
When Elizabeth left the table I was already read to go, also, and I got out of my seat and followed her and a few girls towards the exit. They were going to their next classes, and I asked if they would be at the cafeteria at the approximate same time every Wednesday. They would, and Elizabeth assured me that she had scheduled most of her classes to allow for exact times for getting to the gym and lunch. She joked that I should go to the gym and visit one of the guys from the cafeteria table, Randall, sometime. I laughed, though, and told her I had been a high school athlete. It made me feel like I was putting a lot out at the stake, to admit that I was still into cheerleading, but I recovered by asking about going downtown Thursday night. Elizabeth had already started to turn around, but when I mentioned the bars, she turned back halfway and replied quickly that I should go out with them Friday.
That night, Elizabeth came back late, and we barely talked. During our most accelerated moments of life where we are apt to lose track of time, we are usually at a point where, for some reason, we are allowed abilities to reflect the past most intensely. Thursday night, while we both were doing our homework, my brain began remembering how irrationally scared I had been of those events at that old babysitting job. It was two years later, and I was finally getting over the intense paranoia, after I had spent so much time in fear. I was awake later than usual that night, and as I looked out the window of our first floor dorm from my pillow, I thought how the next night would erase the final pieces of misfortune from my spirit.
Friday night, at the bar, Randall and I met again. Elizabeth disembarked after a few drinks to another bar with some man I never got a chance to meet or speak to. She came back from the bathroom and announced that she had been introduced to a guy from out of town who wanted to check out the city. She laughed and pointed in the direction he was waiting, and said that she had a lot to show him. I tried to check out who she was going out with, but there were too many people at the bar. So, Randall and I stayed there at the table, and Elizabeth weaved her way through the crowd toward whoever it was out there that she had met. I watched for a minute as she walked, trying to see between familiar faces from around school, but Randall grabbed my hand, and started to tell me about how pretty I am. Astonished, at first, I stopped pursuing my roommate and went back to socializing, drinking, talking, and forgetting about my life.
I finally got back to campus after the bars had closed. I wandered through the dark quad alone. In my room, the lights were off, and Elizabeth was already in bed. I, too, fell asleep in a matter of minutes. In the middle of the night I was awakened to the low sound of a humming. It sounded faintly reminiscent of the old song that Elizabeth had sang the week before; "O Suzanna." The humming grew annoying after a couple of minutes, off key, and I was already feeling cold and disoriented from the oncoming hangover. I got up out of bed, finally, sleepily mumbling for her to keep quiet, as I stumbled over to close the window. The humming did not stop as I approached the window, and I felt like I was going to puke, the room smelled awful, so I kept the window open and turned around and yelled at her again, but she still did not quit her incessant song. So, I walked over to her bed and saw that her sheets were over her head. I pulled them off. I saw her head was missing off of her shoulders, and the sound of the humming had been wind from the window rushing across her windpipes under the sheets. My roommate had been murdered. All the way to the hospital in the ambulance I sang "O Suzanna."
They don't really want you to know this, but some drugs that doctors prescribe their patients work on what is called 'placebo' effect. This means that the medicine that you get a prescription for is inactive, with no real ingredients, and that you are told to take medicine every day, unaware. Usually the people who are given these fake drugs are so far out there that they never even realize. Medical fields based out of scientific research and studies, likely to uphold indisputably conclusive cures, appear inexcusably negligent when 'placebo' drugs are fraudulently handed to already completely disoriented patients. Still, the government condones the irresponsible conduct, despite all rationality.
Another misconception among patients at psychiatric hospitals is that they are going into a locked cell every night, trapped at all times in a ward that was there not to protect them, but to imprison them. Sign yourself in, sign yourself out, was meanwhile, the majority of the h hospital policy regarding patient detainments. There's no reason to exaggerate the effectiveness of the practice of patient therapy, especially while doctors, nurses, workers, and therapists there don't have expectations for full recovery. If you were there until you died, would be the only perceivable problem. The reasoning is there would be no insurance payment, although the appearance would be of just yet another unfixable case.
Personally, I wasn't much of an exception to the general rule that a patient would probably decipher at least some of the mysteries on their own, and want to be released as soon as frustrations occurred. Maybe it was sheer strength, perseverance; my untouched wit led me to the point which I was going crazy that I was locked in a strange world, rather than total insanity by pure nature.
During visitations, I felt disempowered, like an exhibit for my parents, ambassadors of the world outside. They would come in to the wing of the hospital to see me, like aliens from another planet. They were like holographic images sent from orbiting satellites far above Earth.
It surprised me that they never initially encouraged my release, so that until I started to calm myself down, I always felt safely suspended in a false reality, like a television show. The hospital was my set, the nurses and doctors were my supporting cast, and the camera was in my mind, or so I thought. Really, the cameras were on the ceilings, peeking in at me as I slept on my cot in my small room.
The only reason I came to the realization that I could sign myself out of the hospital, was an interaction with another patient that happened after a month of sedation and deep meditations of my own. A man who had been recently thrown in with the rest of us drooling, ogling, sometimes delirious psychological experiments, seemed definitely different, more focused and clear-thought. Altogether I only saw him twice before he disappeared. Delusional as I was, though, I thought that he looked somehow vaguely familiar. I questioned a nurse as to where the mysterious man had gone to, and that's when they spilled the truth out that I could emancipate myself at any time.
The last week before release I dreamt that I was trapped in a padded cell, strapped down in a straight jacket. Out of the window of the cell there was a monstrous patrolling monster. I was trapped inside the cell, but safe.
Nothing mattered anymore. People had thrown me off of my high horse once and I had found my way back in to the games of life. But this time, I was determined to never let anyone else close to me ever again. I had been changed.
The first major problem after I came home from the hospital was that I had no money of my own. Work had never been a big concern of mine. I thought that I would be able to get by after I had graduated from college. But leaving school with no degree made things difficult. My financial aid was non-negotiable and all of my scholarships had vanished. My parents weren't much help. Instead of a car, they bought me a 'used' dog. Instead of a job, they put rent up at a downtown apartment in my home town. There was nothing I could do besides stay indoors for four months, unmotivated even to find employment. Television replaced most of my old social habits, and my parents were the source of all or most of the food that I barely ate. All that I had to keep me company was the dog- a greyhound named Xaul.
All that autumn, I watched the people out on the street out of my top story apartment window. They met, left, walked, ran, conversed, argued, and hated and loved with one another. Everyone seemed a part character in a long story that stretched out into the setting sun, through the horizon and into outer space. They lived lives far more attached to a reality that had rejected and ejected me to my tower, here. Ridiculous as it seemed, by Thanksgiving I was beginning to become jealous of the normal, ordinary people who could continue their benign existence into eternity and never, it seemed, become exposed to the harsh elements that were somewhere out there in the wide wild world, waiting just for me. In a dark alley, or hiding behind the tombstones of a cemetary, within the tinted windows of the slow drivers in low riding sports cars, between blinds, against edges of any business storefront, panhandling for spare change, everywhere safety's absence became less than top priority to the rest of the world.
Eventually, I exited the apartment one evening and ventured. I attended a midnight show at the local movie theater. That was alright, but I soon found that my jealousy had become an unmoving distrust in my heart. Complete strangers became a target of hatred, criticism, aggravation, pent-up angst. As I would heatedly complain about popcorn prices, tobacco taxes, grocery receipts, soon, credit items and ATM fees. I became aware that this lack of trust spawned its own set of problems. I had become poor, in debt, impoverished, and unclean in my habits. By Halloween I couldn't even afford candy, but realized that my top floor apartment wouldn't receive visitors, and was shattered to recognize how alone I felt.
Thanksgiving came, and at the dinner table with my parents at my old home, I popped the question right away as my father began carving the turkey. I remember, he was whistling merrily, as my mother sipped her wine, frowning, rolling her eyes to the window of the dining room. I asked if I could borrow a large sum of money for the next month, and when my father denied me, I didn't try to negotiate or compromise, but I stormed upstairs to my old bedroom, shouting at my parents to their embarrassment. I meant to grab some of my old belongings, books, anything I wanted out of the room, but when I got inside I sat on my old bed, and lay back onto the pillow, beginning to cry. Tears were still forming in the corners of my eyes, and I covered my mouth in disgust at my own ruin. The money had supposed to have been so that I could start finding work. I had assumed that I would need extra travel expenses, maybe some new clothes, a cellphone, and of course other household items. Yet unable to figure out why my father had denied me, I began yelling obscenely how I hated the entire planet, condemning my family, and would just leave, not to ever return again. I got up and walked out of the bedroom and pushed past my mother in the upstairs hallway, threw on my coat, and started to walk home. My mind was filled with sorrow, and I had attacked my only source of tangible consolation. Alone once again, and now with a headache, I charged forth through the snow and wind.
On the second corner after I had left my parents front door, a car came up behind me, flashing headlights in the dark, honking, and splashing. Then, it suddenly pulled over and stopped a few yards ahead, quite unexpectedly. There, it waited, as I trudged on. When I got a little closer, it had begun to roll down the passenger side window. When I arrived at the rear of the vehicle, I saw that the window had been unrolled all the way. I pretended not to care, until all at once, out of the car cracked out a cackling and hideous laughter. I strayed right on the icy sidewalk fast and pushed forth ahead, trying not to look back. A voice shouted as I huddled my shoulders, eerily echoing through the empty road a voice I couldn't understand. I pretended the voice had come from some horny teenager attempting to make my desolate night worse. But although I lived two miles down the road, the sound of the voice wouldn't leave my mind. It had been a simple sentence that the person had said, but it was so strange that I was beginning to become increasingly extremely worried of every car that rode past me from then on, during the walk.
The last stretch of three blocks that I walked in the cold, I was shaking from not just the severe snowstorm that raged overhead and everywhere in the city streets, but from fear. Any car I heard move on the street was speculated, I was examining each one when they get farther away to see if it was the same specter, following me down. This harassment on a holiday was a soft irony to my defense, in face of the fight with my father over money. Nonetheless, I plunged up the stoop of my apartment and franticly fumbled with my keys, shivering in the frigid air. As I pushed open the door, sirens erupted in the dark, still night, somewhere.
Hastily, I climbed up the stairs to my apartment. From each landing's doorways poured out the muffled clamor of Thanksgiving dinners, families filled with spirit and joy, televisions and radios cranked on high volume. All mocking me and chasing upward through the stairwell, remnants of a lost civilization I no longer should belong to. At my apartment door, I sniffled my noise and unlocked and pushed open the door, nearly falling face first in sobs into my studio. I didn't hit the lights before I spun around and slammed the door behind me, leaning against it while I locked the deadbolt.
The dog, Xaul was under the bed, only his tail shook underneath, and I fell down on the covers and into sleep.
The night was bitterly cold, and the temperatures were falling below zero, wind chill was negative eighteen. The window had been left open, and the whipping of the curtains, and my freezing body woke me up from my slumber at midnight.
I looked at the window and thought I heard Xaul whimper. He was still under the bed. I reached down and patted the floor to call him and pet him, but Xaul didn't respond and the whimpering stopped. Curiosity made me wonder why he was hiding still, so I rolled over on the bed and leaned over the edge to look. Underneath the bed, a man was laying next to Xaul, a man I had never seen before. He was chewing the dog's face and reddish dried blood covered his face and hands. As soon as I saw him, he was already reaching over the dog to grab me by my jaw which had been opened right then to let out a scream. I blacked out.
The next thing I saw was a bathroom mirror.
Pain was everywhere in my whole body. I was covered in blood and my eyes were falling asleep as soon as they had been opened. Behind me, holding my head by my hair and scalp was the man, who by now looked familiar somehow, and in my confusion I lost track of where I was or what I should be paying attention to in order to get out and away from him.
I was looking at the mirror, noticing that I couldn't move my mouth which had actually been duct taped closed, when he pushed my head straight down onto the sink. Pain again shot through my face, and I felt like my jaw had been slammed into pieces. I began choking on teeth as he threw my limp body off the sink, out of the bathroom, onto the floor.
Cackling, he dragged me by my hair as I convulsed in immense waves of pain. He dragged me to a hole in the floorboards of a strange house where I had regained my consciousness. I had been abducted.
The hole under the floorboards was two feet deep, and I was dragged and tipped into it, falling over my side onto my face which landed in a soupy mixture of blood, rotted flesh, and bones. The man covered the trapdoor up.
In the tiny box I have been trapped in, I realize that I am going to die in pain.
Lying down here on my face, I realize that I can't move arms or legs, as all have been broken. Shattered bones fill up under my skin, hemorrhaging. I lay still, raped, my whole body wet with blood, throbbing, pulsating pain. I am having difficulty breathing as blood pours out of my mouth and wounds and fills the surface of the bottom of the hole.
I drowned in this pit, in my own blood.
I came from Salem City
with my wash pan on my knee
I'm going to California,
the gold dust for to see.
It rained all night the day I left,
the weather it was dry
The sun so hot I froze to death,
Oh, brothers don't you cry.
Oh Susannah, Oh, don't you cry for me
I'm going to California with my wash pan on my knee.
I soon shall be in Frisco
and there I'll look around.
And when I see the gold lumps there,
I'll pick them off the ground.
I'll scrape the mountains clean, my boys,
I'll drain the rivers dry.
A pocketful of rocks bring home,
So, brothers don't you cry.
by Twyll The ChyllTyrant