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Rated: GC · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2174280
4 of my short stories in one place. 1.The Door. 2. Beautiful. 3. The Watchers. 4. Smile
1. The Door

It appeared on the wall in front of Steve’s eyes. One moment there was nothing and the next there was a large brown wooden door, with a brass knob and a lion faced knocker.

The door he would usually use to leave the room was gone, disappeared. It wasn’t because he couldn’t see it in the dark, the room was well lit. It wasn’t there anymore, the place where it was now had a coating of peach wallpaper matching the rest of the empty room.

Steve had only come back into the house to collect the final box of things to take with him to his new place; the rest of the stuff was waiting outside in his van with his friend Philly. He’d ran up the stairs to the small windowless bedroom at the back of the house to collect his wife’s box of stuff, things that he didn’t want to forget to take. The box wasn’t there and when he turned to leave, neither was the door.

Steve spun on the spot navigating the walls of the room and that was when the alternative door appeared. It came from nowhere, not fading into view, it wasn’t there and then it was there, as solid as Steve himself.

He continued to twist and turn his head looking for the original door, the one he entered the room through. It was gone, definitely gone.

He pulled a packet of cigarettes from his pocket, put one in his mouth and lit it. Inhaling deeply he continued to look around.

“Where the fuck’s that door gone?” He asked himself out loud, smoke following the words from his mouth. It hung in the air gathering near the ceiling, no breeze to blow it away except that from Steve’s breath. It began to form a cloud below the light bulb in the centre of the square room.

Steve walked the few feet to where the door should have been slowly, ash from his cigarette fell to the floor as he moved. He rubbed it into the carpet with a shuffle of his right foot, training shoe leaving a small black patch on the light grey carpet. It didn‘t really matter to him, the house was going to be demolished soon anyway.

He looked at the dirty patch he left with his foot; the memory of fitting this carpet with Jen brought a smile to his face. The house held so many memories, some good and some bad. The time with Jen was mostly good; the time after she died was mostly bad. Memories though were memories and Steve wanted to hold onto them.

“Sorry hun,” he spoke into the empty room, talking only to a memory.

“Its fine puppy,” he heard Jen’s old reply. He wasn’t sure if it was imagined or real, causing him to shudder a little. She’d called him puppy and nobody else had called him that since the accident killed her, nobody even knew she called him that. She’d said he had puppy dog eyes.

He reached the peach decorated wall and rubbed his hand over the area where the door should have been. Nothing, not even a bump in the paper, it was as if it had never existed. He put the cigarette from between his fingers back into his mouth, smoke going in his eyes as he did so. Squinting, he made a fist and began to knock on the wall; no hollow wooden sound was emitted. He began to knock on the walls around the room; the same solid thump came no matter where his knuckles rapped.

“This way Steve,” a voice came from the large heavy looking wooden door.

“What?” Steve questioned to the empty room, cigarette falling from between his lips onto the carpet.

He looked around this way and that, looking for the source of the voice. He couldn’t see a single place it could come from in the empty room. He shook his head; sweat began to gather on his forehead now, the cold sweat of fear.

He continued knocking the walls, harder and more often now. Panic was taking over him; he began to bang the walls with his palm flat. Slapping the walls as though he had missed something, a small area where the door should be. He still hadn’t knocked on the newly appeared door.

“This is the only way out Steve.” It was Jen’s voice.

He turned and looked again at the door that had appeared from nowhere. In his mind he was still trying to convince himself that this door didn’t exist and the other one should be here somewhere. He only had to search. Like the sock in the washing machine, It couldn’t have gone far.

He put his back to the wall opposite the new door and slid down to the ground cupping his face in his hands.

“Let me out,” he spoke into his palms. “Let me out.”

“This way.” Jen’s voice spoke again.

He moved his hands from across his face. Just to his right, the cigarette was burning a hole into the grey carpet, he paid it no attention.

“Jen? Jen is that you?”

“I’m here puppy, I’m right here.”

Steve didn’t sit up; instead he closed his eyes and began to knock his head backwards against the wall behind him, trying to knock sense into himself.

He muttered, “No Jen, no you’re not. You‘re not here”

“I am puppy, look up.” She sounded so close.

Steve stopped banging the back of his head against the wall and opened his eyes. He looked at the door and that is all he seen. The dark wooden door with a brass doorknob and Lion face knocker.

“Higher,” the voice seemed to be above him.

He raised his eyes to look towards the light bulb, the cloud of cigarette smoke had grown, the smoke from the carpet adding to the darkness and thickness of it.

The smoke began to shift a little and then a little more. There was no breeze in the room, it was still with no access for wind anywhere as there was no window or door, apart from the new door of course, but no breeze seemed to come from there either.

A face began to form in the smoke, at first it was hard to see but the more it shifted and swirled within itself, the clearer the face became. Steve rubbed at his eyes, the face remained. He rubbed his eyes harder making them sting. The face didn’t disappear like the original door to the room.

He knew that face that formed, he would recognise that smile anywhere. He had dreamed of it everyday since she died. Even in the smokiness of the form, he could see that twinkle in her eye and the dimples on her cheek.

“Come on baby, come through the door.” She was looking at him with such longing. “Please puppy.”

A tear formed in the corner of Steve’s eye and began to run down his cheek, stopping at the corner of his mouth where he licked it away with the tip of his tongue. The saltiness reminded him of the tears he had shed the day Jen had died. It made him remember the hatred he felt for her cat, the cat she died trying to save. The cat that was right now downstairs in it’s box in his van with Philly.

“Jen,” Steve sobbed, watching her face swirl and move in the smoke around the light bulb. “Jen, I think I’m going mad.”

“No puppy, no you’re not.” A hand extended from the smoke and stroked his cheek. He couldn’t feel the hand, he longed to feel that stroke from Jen, and he wished he could feel it. He wished she was formed in something more substantial than smoke.

“Open the door hun. Open it; you’ll see you’re not mad.”

He closed his eyes again and began to hit the back of his head against the wall behind him again. Harder this time, the padding from the peach wallpaper prevented any serious damage being caused to him as he thought about her climbing the ladder. As he remembered her reaching for the kitten in the tree that was crying for help. As he remembered the ladder slipping away beneath her making her slam to the ground. How she lay there still, unmoving, head at an unnatural angle facing to the sky as she lay belly side down on the ground.

“Don’t puppy, you’ll hurt yourself.”

The sound of concern in her voice made him look up again. He stopped banging his head against the wall as she reached out again to stroke away the tears on his cheeks. The tears didn’t move, but this time he would swear he felt her hand, felt her touch.

He smiled up at the smoke, responding to the smile from the smoky form.

“The door, please Steve, hurry.”

The thought he had felt her touch made him want to try it again. This time Steve rose to his feet and walked towards the door that had appeared.

“Open it puppy.”

He reached out his hand to turn the doorknob. It was warm to the touch and Steve hesitated and looked back up towards the smoke below the light bulb. Jens face was still there, her smile was still in place and this reassured him.

He turned the doorknob and pushed the door open.

Before stepping across the threshold he looked back over his shoulder. The room looked the way it should have looked. The missing door was back in its place and the box of Jen’s things he’d come upstairs to collect was there next to it. He looked back up to the smoky face, the face moved as though Jen was shaking her head.

“Leave it puppy, we don’t need it.”

Steve crossed the threshold; he was in the garden of the very house he had just been trapped inside. Jen was sitting with a book beneath the tree that had eventually led to her demise. She was beautiful. Her dark hair blew in the breeze that came across the garden and the sun caught her eyes as she looked up towards him from her book. Her smile lighting up her whole face, she dropped the book and ran across the garden to him.

Everything seemed greener in the garden, brighter than it ever looked. It was as though he was in a dream and the beauty of everything was magnified a thousand fold. It was sunnier; the breeze was light and caressed his cheeks as though it was nurturing him. Jen looked more beautiful than he had ever remembered; the expression of pure joy on her face was growing more and more as she came closer.

Steve felt her embrace warming him and relieving him of any fear that remained inside him after passing through the door. He felt a tingle as she began to kiss him first on the cheeks and then on his lips. This was the best feeling he had ever experienced.

Philly walked up the stairs into the room where Steve was supposed to collect the last box. It took the ambulance almost half an hour to arrive, Steve was already dead. Heart attack they said. Philly was sure it was a broken heart though; he thought Steve had never recovered from Jen’s death. He adopted Shylock, the black cat and looked after it for the next fourteen years; it kept him company even after the death of his wife Gloria.

Steve and Jen lived in the house long after it was demolished, they didn’t know it had gone.

2. Beautiful


I had never met anybody remotely like her. She was different. She was beautiful, yes, but there was so much more to her than that. I had met beautiful girls before, but she was not like those.
She was funny, clever and most of all, cute. On top of that, she was totally crazy.
I wanted her so badly I'd do anything, anything to have her.

We stood in the queue to buy popcorn in the fairground, the sweet smell of hot corn was in the air mixed with so many other aromas. Screams came from the rollercoaster as it began its descent down its long high slope and kids held their hands held aloft to show their bravery.
I admired her. I couldn't help myself. Even just watching her long blonde hair blowing in the slight wind attracted me. She would catch me looking, in a world of my own, and give me a massive smile which would light up her whole face, making her blue eyes sparkle; the effect was added to by the sparkling of the glittery eye makeup she was wearing. The fairground lights changed the colour of her eyes, making it hard to see the blue, but each colour her eyes became had its own charm.
Her teeth seemed perfect when she smiled, so white, they almost seemed to sparkle as much as her eyes.
Perfect, in my eyes, she was perfect.

We shot ducks and went on rides, including the rollercoaster, which was disappointing. I have ridden on rougher trains. Anouska, it turned out, was a crack shot. She hit a duck with each shot she fired and got the top prize. For the rest of the evening we walked around the fairground carrying a giant fluffy bear, bumping into people as we went and apologising. Each person we bumped commented on the big fluffy pink animal.
We also got ice cream, it was a warm evening despite the breeze.
With a giant cuddly toy smudged with ice cream, we went to a machine psychic. I inserted money into the slot, her hands were full.

'Together forever' was the reading.

I looked at Anouska and smiled, she smiled back, her face fully alight once more. She looked beautiful in the ever changing fairground lights.
I had the strange feeling that the fortune was correct.

At the next stall, yellow plastic ducks were floating around in a pond and had small metal rings on their backs. I played without the intention of winning. One giant fluffy toy was more than enough to carry around a busy fairground.
I grabbed my fishing line, looking as though I was concentrating. I checked behind me, making sure that none of the people in the ever growing crowd were in the way and then threw my hook. I landed a duck. I hoped it wasn't a prize and when the lady running the stall showed me the bottom of the duck, much to my relief, it was prizeless.
Anouska not liking the fact I hadn't won a prize after hooking a duck decided to try it herself. She hooked first go.
Her duck was prizeless too.

"I bet none have prizes," she giggled, just loud enough for the lady on the stall to hear.
A second later another guy playing the game hooked a duck and won a small furry frog.
"Okay," she said, "I'm wrong." Then she giggled and looked at me.
"I wonder if this is wrong too," she said and then stood on her tiptoes, leaned over and kissed me.
A feeling of warmth ran right through me, my entire body tingled from that kiss. I knew right then that I was going to have her later that night, it was in her eyes as well as the kiss.
I smiled at her.
"No, no, that was definitely not wrong."
I pulled her closer and kissed her a little harder this time just to make sure she knew I meant business.
"Lets go back to my place," she said. Then gathered up her things, cuddly toy included, and then giggled. "Well come on then, before I change my mind."
I, of course, obeyed.

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We took a taxi back to her place, leaving the hustle and bustle of the fairground behind us. The lights through the taxi window still had the effect of changing the colour of her eyes. Now though, the orange of the streetlights also changed the colour of her hair as we passed. Orange, dark, orange, dark. She was the most beautiful woman I had laid eyes in almost forever.
I pulled her closer again while we were in the taxi, stroking her loose hair while I kissed her. I could feel her pulse getting faster as she kissed me more and more passionately.

We left the taxi after paying the driver, I took the cuddly toy in one arm and Anouska in the other. I had no idea where we were, I had never been to her home before, she had in fact never been to mine. This is not surprising as we had only met a couple of hours earlier in the fairground. Her friends had left her racing me on an arcade motor racing game.
We got talking and obviously, hit it off. I can't remember what I talked about with her, I guess I just went with the flow. Anyhow, it seemed she was more than interested in me and I was definitely more than interested in her. A girl like this comes along once in a lifetime, I couldn't let this chance slip away.

The house was a typical Victorian terraced house in what looked like one of the rougher areas of the city. Some of the streetlamps were broken preventing me from judging the area properly so I based my judgement on the wobbling of the flagstones beneath my feet and the boarded up windows of the house next door.
I had to wait a moment while she searched through her handbag to find the keys to the house. It took a moment and just as I was thinking she didn't have them, I heard the familiar jangle of keys on a key chain.
She held them up and said, "I thought for a moment I had lost them, that would be just my luck."
'And mine' I thought but smiled and said, "Lets get inside."

She fumbled at the lock in the dark for a moment but the door opened with a squeak once she got the key was in the hole.
"Come in," she said and looked at the cuddly bear, smiled and added, "both of you."
I was through that door in no time at all. It had been months since I'd got a woman and now I had the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on beckoning me into her house. I was so excited, I was almost shaking with anticipation.

"Put it just there," Anouska said out of the darkness, I knew she meant the fluffy toy so I just put it down in the nearest space I found, I couldn't see where she had pointed and where she meant by "there."
She still hadn't turned on the lights and from out of the darkness I felt a hand on mine. She was tugging me in her direction and I didn't resist.
After a few seconds she told me to be careful and then we were heading up a staircase. I couldn't see anything. I could hear the steps creaking beneath my feet and smell a damp mouldy smell, lots of these old houses had plumbing problems, nothing strange about the smell. We reached the top of the stairs and she stopped.

I felt her kiss on my lips before I was ready for it. Her lips felt so right kissing me. She continued to hold my hand and she turned to lead me once more, her hair brushing against my face as it swirled in the darkness.
Even now when I couldn't see her, she was beautiful.
She led me through the darkness a few more steps and then I heard her close a door behind us. I heard the click of a switch and the lights were on.

We were in a medium sized bedroom with a massive king-sized bed, pillow end, against the wall furthest away. The bed covers were all black but everything else in the room was white. The ceilings, the walls and the carpet. White, reflecting the light making it incredibly bright in the room and making the bed stand out.

In this light she was more stunning than she was in the lights of the fairground, she stole my attention away from the room colour and decoration. Her hair was blonde as I had noticed but mousy blonde, darker than I had first thought. Her other features were perfect. Her nose, her lips that were perfectly formed for kissing. It was as though she had walked straight out of a dream into reality.
Her well fitted jeans and knee length boots and her tight white blouse showed just enough to know that what was underneath was something to be cherished, worshiped and most of all, wanted.
Seeing her in this light, I could hold back no more.

I stepped towards her to kiss her, she raised her hand.
"Wait," she smiled at me, "you're forgetting something."
Of course, I was, in my desperation to have her it hadn't even entered my mind.

"I don't..." I would have added "have any" but she cut me off.

"I do." she said, "just wait," she smiled, obviously knowing how desperate I was. The light sparkled off her eyes, it was almost like magic. How could I be so lucky to have somebody so beautiful?

She opened the door, outside I could see the darkness still there, looming and the damp smell came into the bedroom from the hall outside.
She disappeared into the darkness, I heard her practically run down the stairs and then I heard her run back up.
She was back in the room before I had looked away from the door and from the darkness. The door slammed behind her hiding the darkness outside the room.
She had her handbag with her.
From her handbag she pulled out a lighter and said, "look what we forgot."
She went to the cabinets on either side of the bed and lit a candle on each.

"Turn off the light," she ordered.

I turned off the light.

The light of the candles in the white room was impressive and with the reflection from the walls of the slightly yellow glow, impossibly, Anouska seemed even more beautiful.
It was as though her beauty had grown more the more time we spent together.

She kicked her handbag under the bed as she walked towards me in the candle light. She had a look on her face that could mean only one thing now. This was it. I was going to have this woman and now, the way she was looking at me, it seemed as though, she wouldn't stop even if I didn't want her and decided to turn and leave.
That was not in my plans, I was wanted her so much more, no matter how much it was she wanted me.

She walked to me. I was facing towards the bed she walking away from it. She kissed me again, this time with so much passion, with so much lust I didn't want it to stop.
She spun me and pushed me onto the giant bed, a rush of air from the mattress making the candles flicker and the shadows on the wall quiver.
A moment later she was on me. Fully clothed, kissing me. My face, my lips, my ears, my neck. Never had I been kissed like this.
Especially not by my victim.

I grabbed her by the waist and spun her around so I was on top and began kissing her all over her lips, cheeks and shoulders.
She was pulling me closer and I could feel her hand move towards my belt.
The she pushed me off her.
"Before you kiss me again, get them off." she pointed at my pants.
"oh and you better put this on," she reached under the bed and pulled out her handbag, not once taking her eyes off me.
She pulled out a familiar small plastic packet and tossed it in my direction. I almost dropped it not being able to see it so clearly in the yellowish candlelight.
She smiled that lustful smile again.

I wanted her now, right now. I was actually shaking with anticipation. I could feel myself growing but not were most men would.
My fangs were expanding. I wanted to feed. I needed to feed.
I could see that she could see what was happening. My eyes began to turn red.

She continued to smile. She reached into her handbag and pulled out a short wooden stake.

"I've been looking for you Vlad." she said. "Ever since you killed my father I have been searching for you."

"Who was your father?" I asked weary of the stake she was holding. My body was throbbing with anticipation.

" It doesn't matter," she replied and lunged off the bed with a grunt, swiping at me with the stake and missing.
"Oh I've wanted to kill you for so long, I have waited for this moment."
I had no idea what she was talking about and honestly, I wasn't in the slightest bit interested.

We stood facing each other, both standing against opposite walls, me looking into her beautiful blue eyes, she into my now bright red eyes.

I sprung across the room, hoping to hit her with a strong blow. I wouldn't want to knock her out. There is nothing like the look on the eyes of a conscious victim after a good feeding.
I wouldn't kill her. I would turn her.

She ducked out of my hit and swung the wooden stake around. It embedded itself in my lower back. It was stuck there. I was fine. It had missed my heart by a long distance.
No blood flowed from my wound, I was dry.

I stood and she stood. Facing one another. I smiled this time. Her lustful smile was gone.
"You thought I would be so easy?"

She didn't reply, she turned and ran towards the door.

She didn't reach the door the way she meant to. I sprung across the room, pushing her against the inside of the door making her slam into it and push it in the opposite direction to which it opened.
A blood mark had appeared, tainting the white paint from a cut that she had received from my push and her slam against the door.
I didn't like it, so I grabbed her and pushed her against it and this time lifted her, rubbing her head against the mark on the door in an attempt to rub it off.
It got worse.
It began to spread to every area her head touched on the door.

I picked her up and turned her around. A cut had appeared on her forehead where it had been rubbed and blood leaked out, beginning to run down her face.
The candle flickered making the shadows on her face move.
I lifted her by putting my hands under her shoulders and pushed her against the perfectly white wall.
I put out my tongue and slowly licked one of the small streams of blood on her face.
I let out a grunt of pleasure.
Just that small taste caused a warming in my throat. It brought forth a longing I had suppressed for months.
I looked into her eyes, the candlelight flickered, reflecting in her pupils.She was the most beautiful feed I was ever going to have.
She smiled at me. No fear on her face, it was that smile that told me to "go on, take me right now," again.

This was it, no longer did I have to wait to have her. No more longing.
I continued to look into her eyes, her smile remained.
She slightly lifted her chin, making her neck available to me.
I let out a loud wild scream, I couldn't hold it back. The excitement had gotten to me.
I opened my mouth wider than any man has the right to and then I sunk my teeth into her neck. The old familiar sound as her skin broke and the sensation of the blood gushing straight into my throat from the vein made me sigh. She sighed also, a submissive sigh. She was now mine.

I swallowed, the warm sensation rushing throughout my body, the blood warming me all the way through. Not just the just the chest and stomach, but also the arms and legs. I was energised all over.

I'd had my fill and stopped drinking.
Breathing heavily and high on the rush of energy in my body, I stumbled to the bed like a drunk and lay down my feet at the pillow end and head on an angle so I could watch the blood spill from the wound in her neck.
The whole area of white carpet had turned red.

I lay there until almost dawn, watching blood spill from her neck, then trickle and eventually stop, the smell was so appetising but I resisted going back for second helpings.

Before sun up, I felt the blankets next to me move and saw a flicker from the almost burnt out candle.

I looked at the red patch on the floor where she had lay and could smell the blood, no longer fresh in the room while I stroked the hair of the most beautiful meal I had ever had.

3. The Watchers


The man had to keep running.

It was dark down the narrow alleyways and he could hardly see where he was going. He was out of breath and his legs were aching almost as much as his lungs. He would have wished he had never been a smoker if he was thinking rationally, but fear and escape were the only things on his mind.

He was tripping over metal dustbins and litter that was lying on the barely visible ground, in his rush to escape, the metal bin-lids were crashing to the ground like alarm bells announcing to his pursuer every turn he took along the narrow, dark and dirty alleyways.

The smell was disgusting, it felt like he was breathing in raw sewage and the sweet smell of rotten meat was present too, still though, he had to keep going, this wasn't the time to be concerned by air quality.

It was was closing in on him, still out of view around the corners in the unlit labyrinth of alleyways, its breathing now audible and he could also hear it running, always louder, always closer.

He reached a wall. A wall that was blocking his way.

Panic struck him and almost impossibly, his heart beat increased in speed.

He stood, staring at this obstacle, not allowing himself to freeze in the moment, knowing that certain death awaited him if he couldn't get past it.

He heard footsteps behind him, no, not exactly footsteps, the clicking of the claws on the haired feet stopped the sound being exactly like footsteps. It sounded more like massive dog paws on a hard floor.

He resisted the urge to look behind him, he knew he wouldn't see it clearly in the darkness of the alley anyway and plus, he knew what it looked like. He was face to face with it five minutes ago. If he came face to face with it again he knew there would be no third meeting.

Luckily for him, the last time their eyes met, its dripping wet snout almost touching his nose, a car had hit the beast. Unluckily for the driver of the vehicle of course, who, after the haired beast had picked itself up from the road, was ripped out of the window by his hair and then had his head torn off, blood spilling into the street that was already scattered with torn limbs and numerous heads.

The blood had already been running red in the gutter from the victims of the pack of wolves that had invaded the city about an hour earlier.

He jumped and tried to grab the top of the wall, his fingers scraped about 3 bricks too low. He tried not to let panic get the better of him.
He analysed his surroundings, his eyes flicking quickly from left to right, then looked more closely into the dark shadows and could vaguely see a dustbin standing, hidden in the blackness of the corner where the alley side wall and the wall that was in his way met.

He made a darting run to his right, towards the bin, so that he could stand on it to reach the top of the high wall. It was too late though. A massive push to his back sent him flying into the brickwork, so hard that two loose stones at the top fell down hitting him on the back of the head knocking him instantly unconscious.

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He opened his eyes and instantly the pain in his head made him wince. He closed them again hoping it would relieve the pain. It didn't work so he opened them wide again. He might as well have had them closed. He couldn't see anything. He was in absolute darkness. In this type of darkness he thought he must have been blindfolded but when he went to reach to remove whatever was covering his eyes he noticed his arms were tied. Out of the darkness, sounding as though he was right in front of him, a man spoke.

"Don't struggle and don't talk."

He could smell the speakers' breath. It was a mixture of rotten, putrid meat with a hint of the coppery smell of fresh blood.
He didn't like that smell and decided not to say a word.

He sat still in silent darkness for what seemed like ages.

"Wait, in a moment you will be able to see."

He was about to reply but before he did he remembered being told not to struggle or talk so he decided to keep his mouth shut.

"Boo!"

The voice was about an inch from his face and laughter came from the person who had given him the fright. It was a mocking laughter and more than one person had joined in.

He sat now, terrified, but after the carnage he had seen on the streets before the wolf decided to chase him, he didn't try to struggle. He sensed these people were as bad as the wolves though.

Oh the wolves, he could hear them now, outside whatever building he was being held prisoner in. He could still hear the odd scream of some poor soul who must have thought they had escaped the beasts.

Suddenly, a greyish light began to fill the room. The source, he could now see, was the moonlight shining through a skylight in the ceiling.
The clouds must have been so thick that they blocked the light totally.

He could see around the room now, his eyes so well adjusted to the darkness that this light lit things up well enough for him to see that he wasn't the only person strapped into a chair in the large bare room.

He could see realisation dawning on others too as moon-lit eyes began to scan the area, all must have thought they were alone.

From outside the building, he could hear the howls of the wolves as they got over excited about the light of the full moon shining down on the city.

Inside the room, he noticed a number of men and women walking around, the moonlight not strong enough to highlite their facial features. Each one of them always seemed to be looking at and controlling one person in a chair. They would also look at each other but hardly ever talk.

Suddenly he could only see a pair bright red, bloodshot eyes right in front of his own.

He jumped with fright.

"Hi," the man in front of him said, in a low voice, quickly and sharply enough to make him jump again.

His jump caused the man to laugh, moonlight shined into his open mouth making his incredibly white teeth glow.

"Hi," he said back, trying to work out what it was that was strange about the glowing teeth in the laughing mans mouth.

The teeth disappeared, the mouth had closed. All he could now see was the belt buckle of the mans pants.

He felt a sharp pain at the side of his face, making his neck jerk painfully. The blow to his face knocked him to the floor where, with no protection from his hands, his head thudded hard against wood. It hurt but he decided it didn't hurt as much as concrete would have.

"I told you not to talk."

He was pulled back up by the hair, so the chair was again on four legs and he was upright.

He watched as a man on the other side of the room shouted for help, and struggled against the bonds keeping him in his chair.

This was met by a blow to his chin, shattering his jaw, by the man who was watching him. The other persons watcher then reached into the mouth of the struggler grabbed his tongue and ripped it out.

A spray of something came out. He couldn't tell what it was in the darkness but he presumed it was blood. He also noticed that the tongue is a lot longer than it seems when it is inside the mouth.

The watcher then seemed to perform CPR on the man, well he had guessed it was CPR until he could hear the gulping and slurping sound that is instantly recognisable when somebody greedily drinks.

The tongue-less dead man was casually picked up and thrown upwards out of the skylight.

The howls directly outside the window increased in volume. The wolves must enjoy an easy meal without having to hunt.

"Bring me another," the watcher of the dead person called out of the window.

No more than twenty seconds had passed when a girl was carried in, unconscious and strapped to a chair by a wolf. The old chair was just kicked out of the way and she set in its place.

" Okay, mutt, clear off now." The wolf was dismissed by the new girls watcher who had also been the dead mans watcher.

The beast left the room with a snort, slamming the door behind him.

Another cloud must have covered the moon. The room fell into darkness again, the same pitch darkness as earlier and he couldn't see a thing.

Yes he was scared, very scared. He'd seen this all happen before in the village where he was raised in Germany. He had fled that time and managed to escape. He had only been twelve years old.

That village was now a ghost town, way off the beaten tracks in the alpine foothills of southern Bavaria. Almost every single resident had disappeared overnight. It was never reported in the press, it would have caused panic, but he knew it had happened, he had seen it, so had others that got away.

The wolves and these men were working together in a way that seemed equal. The watching men all had a person each, the wolves had the rest.

He had seen what the wolves did, he knew the carnage that they brought, but these watching people, he had no idea who they were.
He had though just witnessed one of these watchers drinking the blood of a man whose tongue had been ripped out.

Vampires, they had to be. The realisation dawned on him.

He would rather die than live with what they had in store for him. He knew now he was destined to sit in this chair for the rest of his life. A blood donor. His watcher would feed off him until the day he died.

That is why the other escapees from his village and the soldiers that arrived there that very same year, nineteen-forty-five, spoke of finding people in houses strapped to chairs, long dead and shrivelled, but the soldiers had arrived less than 48 hours after the wolf attack.It still never made the news though, it would have caused panic and other things were going on in Germany at the time.

This wasn't going to be a life, this was going to be hell on earth. A life of nothingness but light coming in through a skylight and the darkness of night, when he would be fed upon.

No, it wasn't worth carrying on.

He shouted for help as loud as he could.

His watcher instantly turned, hit him and shattered his jaw.

What happened after that, he never knew.



4. Smile


It had been one of those shopping trips where nothing seemed to be exactly what she wanted. We'd go into the shops, she'd try something on and then came responses that added up to the same thing...She did not want it.
"It's too tight," I heard more than once.
"It's too long," I heard a few times too.
"I don't like the cut," and...
"I don't really like the colour," was another of the most used excuses.
My favourite which was rare but still a gem was when she asked me, "how does it look?"
"Nice." I would reply.
Then she would say, "Oh, I don't think it suits me."

There was only so much of this you could take until you actually did want to buy something and if she wouldn't buy anything, I would. It would at least make the journey into town worthwhile. Anything bought, absolutely anything, would improve the shopping trip. It can't be called shopping if nothing is bought now can it?

We came across a shop while walking from one clothes store to another, which sold many things. I usually call them junk shops although that isn't really what they are. They just sell things that you usually need and tacky, cheap decorative stuff. It was called "Cedars."

I was greeted on the way in by an ornamental hedgehog that wolf-whistled as you walked past it. I checked it out, it would be entertaining to have for a while, whistling at anyone who walked up our front path. £1.99 Not too expensive and would be something to show for the trip.
My wife giggled telling me it would be entertaining and then added that it would last about a week at this price and would then break; therefore it would be a waste of money.

I picked up a basket, put it inside and headed down the first aisle of the store without replying. My intention was clear, no argument would convince me otherwise, I was buying something for my efforts in the clothes shops.

I had picked up a long, thin, rectangular picture of London Landmarks that was full of colour and would suit the newly decorated spare bedroom in the house nicely. I had also picked up a multi coloured, star shaped lamp shade and a yellow smiling face pendulum clock for that same room.

The lamp shade had star points coming out of it at all angles and I thought it would look wacky in the already wacky room, which had each wall painted a different colour.

I thought the same when I had picked up the pendulum clock. It was yellow with black eyes and smiling, the original smiley face that took me back to the old acid days of the eighties. The hands came out and pointed to where numbers should be, but weren't printed, from where the nose would have been, but wasn't. The pendulum hung from just below where the 6 o clock mark should have been. A yellow face on the red wall would be perfect.

I unpacked the shopping basket at the counter and paid by whisking my credit card through the machine after the check-out girl had scanned all my bar codes. My wife was actually quite impressed by my choices, but not impressed enough. She had added a Snickers to the shopping, opened it, and took a bite on the way out of the store.
"Want a bite?" She offered.
"Oh, go on then," I replied and opened my mouth to take a bite of the offered chocolate bar.

The picture looked great in the box room. I would have had it so you could see it right away but the wall straight ahead contained a window, a view straight onto the street where a row of parked cars lay outside the terraced houses. The orange glow from the lights outside convinced me that the wall around the window would be painted orange.

The door into the room opened to the right, not needing a doorstop, it hit the wall behind it as soon as it was open wide enough to walk through. That was a blue wall, dark blue and would no doubt, have a dent in it before long, where the handle stub smacked into it when the door was opened too hard.

The wall that the door hung on, opposite to the window, was painted red. The bed lay at the foot of this wall, just to the left of the door and I had mounted the clock above it, in the middle between the door and the pillow end wall.

I had hung the picture at the pillow end of the bed, in the middle of the wall, which was painted green and the print with all its colours fitted perfectly. The colourful star-shaped lampshade also added to the feeling, from the centre of the room, that a clown had gone mad with coloured paint. The Purple carpet just added to the effect. The room looked lively to say the least and managed to make me smile just thinking about it.

Still smiling after closing the door to the room, I went downstairs to have dinner, my stomach was rumbling and the rich smell of the sausages my wife was cooking was making my mouth water.

After dinner, we sat down on the "comfy" chair and watched some T.V with a glass of wine. Okay, not just a glass, we drank the whole bottle. Who's setting limits? Some talent show or other was showing us yet another failed contestant from the auditions. Really, I think I could do better than half these people myself. Still, as was routine, we watched the comical display of wannabe talent then turned over to a news channel to see what was happening in the world. Same old, same old.

Lindsey, my wife, (really, I should have told you her name by now, how impolite of me) fell asleep curled up with my arm around her. I switched off the T.V. via the remote control, gave her a little shake and got my nightly kiss as she headed out the room up to bed. I took the empty wine bottle, binned it, put the dirty glasses by the sink and then followed her up.

I wasn't really tired so left my bedside lamp on and read John Saul's book, All Fall down. It's a recommended read, a bit too short though and would only last a night or two. Feeling Lindsey's breath on my chest as she breathed deeply and in a steady rhythm, made me quite sleepy.

I reached over to my lamp to turn it off, making sure I didn't knock the open bottle of water on the bedside table to the floor, which I had done on so many occasions. There was a stain on the carpet in the usual spot, not only water had been spilled there. The odd glass of orange juice I'd took up after drinking had been spilled in the same place many times. I lay back, put my head on my pillow and began to relax. My breathing soon paced itself to match Lindsey's and I felt myself drifting off.

TIC... TIC... TIC...

'What's that noise?' I found myself thinking, not frightened, genuinely wondering what it was.

TIC... TIC... TIC...

I knew then, after stirring myself from my almost sleep, exactly what it was. I lay back and tried to ignore it. That wouldn't work, the ticking was constant of course. One tic per second. I forced my eyes closed, as if that would really help me ignore the sound and help me sleep. Surprise, surprise, it didn't work and now the noise was irritating me.

I carefully moved the now snoring Lindsey off my chest, she let out a snort, followed by a mumble of what sounded like it could be words but weren't. Dream words.

TIC... TIC... TIC...

I could hear the clock talking its mechanical talk as I made my way out of the bedroom, being careful not to wake Lindsey. The door usually creaked if you didn't lift it a little, so I lifted and it didn't creak. I closed it behind me and headed to the spare room along the landing, past the bathroom.

All I could hear now was the sound of my feet, almost silent on the carpet and the incessant ticking of the clock. I opened the door to the room, it squeaked, but now my bedroom door was closed, I wasn't worried about the noise waking my wife. I squeaked the door closed again behind me, pushing the handle down so it would latch closed properly.

The orange glow from the streetlamps outside the window lit the room meaning I didn't need to experiment with the new star shaped lamp shade. The new picture of London Landmarks looked really good in this light. It was when admiring the picture I looked at the clock.

The yellow of its smiling face was glowing, the blackness of the eyes and mouth seemed somehow threatening. It didn't look like a smile anymore, in this light it looked more like a grin. The hands were moving faster than they should have been around and around the face, they made it look like something black and sinister was alive beneath its skin.

TIC... TIC... TIC...

Skin? What was I thinking? It was a clock, a clock with a smiley face on it and it was malfunctioning. I could see the pendulum beneath swinging at twice the speed it should have been. I stood on the bed and reached to stop the pendulum. This time it moved. It definitely moved. The eyes, although black and the same shape as always, seemed to be looking at me. It moved, I swear it.

TIC... TIC... TIC...

'It's a clock you idiot' I heard myself say out loud to nobody but myself. The sound of my own voice convinced me though, I was being irrational here, it was just a clock. I grabbed the pendulum to stop it swinging, immediately I felt the strength of its swing and brought my left hand up to help my right with the struggle.

I couldn't stop it; I would have to take the clock off the wall. If only it was that easy though, the task now was to let go of the pendulum. My hands seemed to be frozen onto it, frozen in their grip. I couldn't open them. My arms were getting pulled left and right to left again. I couldn't hold still.

I could see the face of the clock begin to look down at me, following my arms with its eyes. Right, left, right, left. The smile on its face began to get thicker, the thin line becoming a thick stripe and then a gaping mouth. The hands that had been spinning on its face, stopped.... So did the pendulum.

There was a moment of silence as I looked into the eyes of the clock and it looked back at me, mouth open. Suddenly, giving me no time to respond, the hands extended from the middle of the face, wrapped around my head like some kind of strap and pulled me into the gaping mouth, whole.

Lindsey woke about two minutes later, thinking I had got up to use the bathroom, she lay back down again to get some more sleep.

TIC... TIC... TIC...

Ten minutes later and still not back to sleep and me not back in bed, she sat up and shouted.
"Carl, will you shut that bloody clock up!"

I couldn't react to her shout, although I could hear it and can still hear it. I'm here reliving those moments constantly. Watching as they happen. I am now truly stuck in time.
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