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Category Archives: Small Tales

Short stories

On Gods and Demons

Not much is known about the Gods origins, only that they made themselves known once humanity had matured and began to seek guidance within the stars. Some clerics and shamans have suggested that the beings were given creation because of the faith humanity bestowed upon them and that they exist in actuality because of humanity, and not the other way around. These teachings and hypothesis generally took place exclusively in private sittings with trusted friends, as they were considered heresy by the established religions. The churches and tribal leaders all taught that it was only through the grace of the Gods that humanity was able to continue to draw breath. Now though the Gods were numerous for a time and had many followers to each of them, it was the Goddess Ahrin who would most captivate the hearts of brave and honorable men, and would eventually save all of us.

Ahrin was the daughter of the ancient God Tryst and his wife Lillian, who was said to hold more beauty than the entire earth and night sky combined. Tryst was the God associated with Justice and was paid tribute in the form of disgraced men’s blood. Murderers and rapists were especially favored, but the blood of men who had selfishly destroyed innocence in a pure heart, was an exceptional delicacy to this unforgiving God. Lillian was recognized as the Goddess of honest love. It was taught by her daughters, as her followers called themselves, that when you honestly love someone it is a selfless thing and that when such a union is struck, Lillian blesses the couple with a new star that will shine eternally in the night sky as a reminder of their miraculous union. So these were the roots that the Goddess Ahrin would grow from. Justice and Love. Ahrin would make both hers and combine them into something so beautiful, that the hidden darkness would long for nothing more than to rip it apart, piece by piece.

“For as long as the Gods have guarded us and loved us, the Demons have hated us and sought to destroy us” – Tyrien, the Blind

Ahrin learned much from her parents. From her father Tryst she learned that for every crime, there must be a fitting punishment, but also she learned forgiveness from her mother and recognized the weakness in humanity. She taught the concept of redemption to her shamans and showed them that a man once thought devoid of goodness could in turn become one of her most faithful. Tyrien was such an example, but his story will be recounted later. Once Ahrin had fully matured into a Goddess herself and had been established in the hearts of mankind, something happened that changed the face of the earth forever. The Demons crawled from their hidden space and waged a war upon the heavens and the Gods that occupied them.

“The sky was crimson on that day and every good man and woman felt their hearts shudder in their chests. Then all that could be heard were the warcries of the Fallen, as they swept like a violent ocean upon our cities” – Tyrien, the Blind

It was taught by all religions and tribes that Demons were given life by the darkness that lies in every human heart. Humanity had proven, even in it’s short life, that it was capable of horrendous acts. It was said that whenever these vile acts would take place, the earth would soak up the darkness and bury it deep below to try and keep it from the innocent. In this act the earth unintentionally created the very thing that would eternally seek to destroy it, the Demons. There they would lie in wait, growing ever stronger as the years passed and the atrocities continued to add up. They would reach out above them and slowly twist the hearts of weak and evil men, building an army with which to destroy that which they hated most, light, love and justice. Finally the time came when the cunning beasts had set all of their pieces upon the board, and declared themselves to the world. They were numerous and heavily armed but the Gods fought with endless bravery, and the weight of their creation gave them purpose, which they violently and valiantly defended. The Demons army attacked the Gods Temples and Shrines on the earth while they simultaneously assaulted the heavens, the fear and panic this inspired in the Gods followers was felt by them, so much sadness can be distracting. The Gods slowly began to fall one by one. Tryst, seeing the tide of battle begin to shift against them, told Ahrin she must flee. She must hide somewhere safe and stay alive at all costs. He warned her that if all the Gods should fall then the earth would turn barren, and follow them all into oblivion. Lillian begged her protesting daughter to please heed the command of her father, for if she also were to die that day then all of the lives taken would mean nothing. Ahrin did as her parents bid and fled, but not before a particularly ugly Demon had seen her and had immediately hated her for her beauty and grace. This Demon was made of the most ugly and hateful actions of humanity, because they had all been premeditated. Lunifex was his taken name, meaning cunning in the demonic tongue, and he felt a hatred for Ahrin so strong that he gave chase and left the battle. This would prove to save his life that day. Tryst and Lillian fought together as one. They blurred together and everywhere they moved,  demonic limbs could be seen flying. Tryst favored a long Katana shaped blade, while his wife Lillian used two daggers that extended above and below the handle. So deadly was their dance that it even began to appear the day may still be won. Alas the Demons blades were drenched in a thick black poison that had finally began to work it’s way into the Gods unwavering strength. The Gods fell until only Tryst and Lillian remained alive, but even their guards were dipping and they knew it was simply a matter of time until they too were slain. They then did something that gave humanity and their daughter, the chance that they needed. Setting his sword to his chest, Tryst spoke the last words he would ever be able to form. “Our lives for theirs, let all here become one”, afterwards he and his precious love, Lillian, put blade to heart and all went silent in the heavens. All went still.

“And so began the war between our fair Goddess and the vile Lunifex, last of the Demons, by the love and sacrifice of great Tryst, and his beloved Lillian” – Tyrien, the Blind

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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Small Tales

 

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The Land of Raven Hills

It is necessary to understand several things about the very land and the native people of what would one day become Raven Hills. Nestled in between two monolithic mountains, it is geographically the perfect location for a settlement due to the ease with which it could be defended. This of course drew the native tribes attention and many wars were fought over the area. The final battle that took place there was one that would be so violent that it would cut the very spirit of the earth and leave that ground scarred for as long as it exists.

After more than a decade of war and countless lives slain, be it on the field of battle or in sacrifice to pagan Gods, only two tribes remained. The tribe that had finally claimed the territory worshipped a Goddess they called Ahrin and taught her philosophy of love and kindness. As a matter of fact, the tribe of Ahrin was made up of most of the conquered tribes that would have been wiped out if not for the intervention of Ahrin’s followers. For as sure as night opposes day, there was a wicked tribe that had wandered down from the mountains during the wars and had caused more horror than could ever be told.

The mountain tribe worshipped a demon that they believed exists at the heart of the earth. Lunifex, as the demon was called, demanded sacrifices at the fall of dusk each and every day. Though the shamans of Lunifex believed that animal sacrifices were enough to calm the demon, they understood that he wanted more. Through ancient rituals and gallons of blood, it is said that these shamans of the Lunifex tribe accomplished something that spelled the end for the peaceful tribe of Ahrin.

Ahrin’s people were warned of course, for their Goddess was a loving one who only wanted for her people to be happy and at peace. The shamans of the tribe of Ahrin were given warning to pack the people up and flee, warnings that were ignored by the ruling class who had the most invested in the land. A command was passed from the council, made up of the wealthy and eldest of the tribe, that none should seek to flee. If any should leave, they would be stricken from the tribe and their names would be as a curse on all tongues. A large group of the tribe, lead by the most faithful and humble of Ahrin’s shamans, defied the command and as one walked out of the northern pass. No spears or axes were raised against them, in fact some could say that sadness lingered throughout the land that day as the tribe was split almost in two. The people who left were led by a man named Tyrien the Blind, known as such for the never-ending faith he held in Ahrin’s tachings. It was said that he would even blindly walk to the center of the earth, were Ahrin to command it. Tyrien and the ones who followed him could never know as they walked away that the tribe remaining only had two more days left to live.

The shamans of Lunifex had long since gone into hiding and were in fact thought annihilated by the tribe of Ahrin. In caves within the mountain they had hidden for over five years, slowly kidnapping any of the tribe of Ahrin they could and imprisoning them deep within the mountain. So dark was it where they were kept that most would go blind the morning that the were forced up and out into the midday sun. Lunifex had communicated with his shamans and had shown them a way to end the tribe of Ahrin without ever having to fight another battle. The prisoners were tied to poles in the ground, arranged in a massive circle within a high clearing. One hundred men, women and children were tied up to those poles with heads forced back, forced to stare at the sun that they had so long been denied. The tribe of Lunifex lay in the middle of the circle, consumed by root wine, all were naked, all of them a mass of writhing bodies caught up in the animalistic orgy that was commanded by them of their demon god. The shamans wore ceremonial robes, made from the pelts of the various beasts that wandered through their territory. The higher ranking shamans were marked by their strange leather garments that were made from their many human victims. They stood a hundred strong, one shaman holding a jagged stone blade in front of every innocent prisoner. They spoke words in a harsh tongue that sounded like more grunting and groaning than actual words. It started as a whisper, drowned out by the cries of rapture coming from the center of the clearing, and slowly turned into a deafening sound. The innocents that were tied up cried and begged for their lives, but their pleas and screams were drowned out by the sound of sexual ecstasy intermingled with that horrible language. Just as the crescendo reached a fever pitch, the sun began to disappear in the sky, almost as if Lunifex himself had reached out his hand to snuff the bright annoyance. As all fell dark it also went silent, the only sound heard in the darkness was that of a hundred blades swinging down as one.

The remaining tribe of Ahrin noticed the sun darken that day, but most thought it a simple error in their astronomical calculations and believed it to be a simple eclipse. That night they slep peaceful, not a single one of them expecting the horror that would befall them the following night.

The next night, as soon as the sun had set, the shamans of Lunifex crawled from the mountains. The hundred of them were completely naked and covered in dry blood, so that the night seemed fo swallow them, and unless you were to stand directly next to one of them, you would never see them in the darkness of the night. Each carried two large wooden buckets with handles that were made up of their victims hair. Fifty walked right around the settlement, fifty around the left, meeting back where they started and leaving behind them a giant circle composed of the lives of a hundred innocents blood. Then a single shaman, the tallest and oldest of them, walked, with arms spread, down the road that lead to the center of the community. While he walked he chanted the language his demonic lord had taught him and his skin slowly began to swell, so that by the time he reached the first watch tower, he looked purple and horribly bruised. The guard saw him, but no cries of warning could save the doomed people now. The shaman heard the guard’s scream and immediately burst into a run, screaming the demonic language louder and faster. He continued to swell, yet despite his now awkward looking form, he moved with the speed of a beast, right into the heart of the town. Right into the heart of the crimson circle. When he finally reached the center of the circle he screamed the final word of the borrowed ritual and then exploded into a burst of blood, meat and bone. The tribe of Ahrin had heard the cries and most had watched in horror as Lunifex’s shaman exploded. Some were close enough that they were covered in the wicked man’s blood, they would be the first to change.

It started in their eyes, a blankness that seemed to snuff out any intelligent thought, then crawled it’s way to their hearts. They attacked the person standing next to them, biting and clawing like animals, the ones who turned first were lucky. Spread by blood and spit, the madness claimed everyone in the tribe and for two months they raped and murdered and even ate each other, till only one remained. A man once called Dian, which meant “beloved son”, woke up after two months of sleep and beheld what had befallen his people. The streets were stained red from blood and parts of bodies and bones lay all around him, his eyes overflowing with tears he looked to the sky and begged Ahrin to allow him to awake, for surely this must all be a nightmare. When no answer was given, he moved his hand slowly to the ground and gripped the handle of a curious stone blade. He wondered over it only briefly, before burying it hilt deep into his broken heart.

This is how the tribe of Lunifex were able to lay claim to the mountains as well as the valley below. They were given only one commandment from their demonic Lord, they must kill one man, one woman and one child on the anniversary of that night. They must be stretched with heads pulled back, and they must be bled out in the very spot where the old shaman had burst. This must happen every year or else they would see the coming of an ancient enemy, that would destroy each and every one of them. So as the years passed the sacrifices continued, the blood of thousands drenching the very ground, where the Woman in Grey would eventually build a grey stone well.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2015 in Small Tales

 

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The Tale of The Well

I love this world. It’s the only place that’s truly mine alone. As the fingers click and clack the keyboard and the wandering thoughts get pinned down beneath them in return breathing life into this void.

The sky above is pitch black as the clouds of war and dirty rain keep the night sky locked tightly behind them. The village is lit by only four torches this particular night since the rain had long ago stolen the life from the others. Two torches lit on the gate along the north wall and two torches at the one on the east, these were also the only way in or out of this little hamlet and were guarded every night by two men at each, who seemed to burn inside with more heat than the torches by the look in their eyes.

If you were able to find your way safely to the middle of this town, then you might find a most peculiar well. This well might be made from some unrecognizable stone that upon further inspection might be revealed to not even be of this particular region. In fact if you were to patiently and carefully sift through the sands of history, you may just grasp the truth of this, strange and cold, grey stone that has been carved flawlessly to construct the well at the center of this town.

You might see a woman with a blade in hand standing atop a barren mountain in an even more desolate land. You might see her wild hair tangled to the point where it appears as snakes made of the ashes left by yesterday’s fires. You might hear her speak in a tongue that offends the ears and very senses in equal measure and that remains hidden in it’s obscurity. You may at some point even see her gesture to a large piece of canvas covering a shaking form. If you were able to continue to watch then you might just see her pull back the canvas to reveal a massive chunk of strange grey stone, topped with the trembling form of a much younger and prettier girl. You might see the young woman’s eyes chained by fear and you might hear her muffled cries attempt their escape from behind the gag tied around her mouth. You might possibly at this moment watch as the old woman stretches her knife high into the sky above the poor girl, and if you were able to truly listen, you might decipher the words she screamed right before plunging the blade into the poor girls heart. “An innocent heart may beat for truth, but the bud of eternity hides behind the innocent blood”.

Were you able to see it? The well at the center of this small and secluded town? Were you able to see how white it appears on this most darkest of nights. Almost like the stone was glowing from somewhere within it’s cold grey exterior. Did you wonder about the inscription engraved upon it’s front? Who could blame you, for without the insight of the past then this simple phrase would have been as a riddle to the world till the end of time and may even have been misconstrued as divine. “Blood of thine, from water to wine”.

So why, you may ask, is this well so important? For that question to be answered properly then two tales must be heard and understood in their entirety. The first is the story of the Woman in Grey and how she came to grasp a secret nature hidden within the very weave of existence. The second is the tale of the founding of a town called Raven Hills and of the demonic curse that twisted and slowly corrupted the hearts of any who dared call it’s streets home. All except one. But that comes much later.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2015 in Small Tales

 

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Secular Romance Pt. 5

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“I really loved her, you know?” The pale man spoke in a cracking voice.

The past 24 hours seemed like a walking nightmare to poor Jonathan. He had woke up from the dream at three o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday. The nightmare had been much the same as before, with just one non too subtle difference… Ravyns killer had appeared for the first time. A pale man with bag leadened eyes and a lanky frame. Although Jonathan remembered the man to have shaggy black hair, from the many news articles he had been obsessing over, Jaxson Hardway now appeared bald in his dream.

The tree cracks with the volume of near deafening thunder. Ravyn waves frantically as the muscular man made of shadow drags her towards the shambling house, white eyes locked upon Jonathan’s. Something happens and he is no longer in his room looking at the painting, but instead he stands next to the roaring tree. His feet drag slowly through the dead wheat, pulling him, seemingly against his will, towards the half open door. His hand reaches out and he tries to quietly pull the portal open but it screams creaking protests the whole way. He’s standing inside a small room. A large television with a small screen sits in front of a shabby orange and green couch. Pictures hang on the wall of a young Ravyn with a heartbreaking hollow smile. He hears a scream from up the stairs on his right and he moves up them so fast he almost misses the trip. Jonathan. He hears his name whispered followed by another fabric rending scream, seeming to come from behind the black door now in front of him. His shaking hand moves out and slowly turns the golden nob.

An adult Ravyn lies bound and screaming upon the bed in the center of the room. Red satin sheets compliment the pool of blood that has collected in between her legs, staining the white nightgown she wears. The man of shadow stands in the opposite corner from the door with his massive hand clamped over the poor child’s face. His other hand holds a familiar revolver pointed towards the open door of the closet. Jonathan takes a step into the room so that he can see what the gun is focused on. Jaxson Hardway lies shackled to the floor with what seems like well over a dozen chains. His head is bald and his eyes bloodshot. A look of sheer terror is written plainly across his face and is understandable considering the stitches that hold his mouth shut. The shadow throws the broken girl upon the bed next to the screaming shattered woman and quickly crosses the room to stand next to Jonathan. He takes his wrist and pulls him to the closet. His hand holding the pistol moves so fast it seems a silver blur and Jaxson’s forehead begins to bleed. His white eyes turn to Jonathan’s and he slowly whispers his name. Jonathan reaches out and takes the pistol. He puts it against the pitiful monster’s head. The child cries. The woman ceases to scream and instead lets out a chilling laughter. “DO IT!” she screams maniacally. He pulls the trigger.

He woke up at three o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday. He died at four o’clock in the morning on a Wednesday.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Small Tales

 

Secular Romance Pt. 4

               For someone who made a living in helping people feel more comfortable in their day-to-day, this shrink had terrible taste in furniture. He had been sitting in the straight-backed, uncushioned chair for the better part of an hour. Listening with absolute patience while Doctor Kane continued his monologue, consisting of elaborately worded “you’re fines” and several “It’s all in your heads”.

               “You told me for example that your parents are Christian,” he continued in his mind dulling voice. “That explains any religious symbol within your dreams. The girl keeps appearing because you insist in staying in that ghastly apartment. I’ve already advised a change of scenery Jonathan, several times in fact. If you’re hell bent on staying there you must learn to recognize dreams for what they are. Delusions only gain momentum and power when fed.” Finally finished, he stares at Jonathan as if waiting for a response.

               When none is forthcoming he prompts with a question. “On the subject of dreams, have you had any new ones?” Jonathan stirs, and replies “Only every time I fall asleep. It’s a new one every night Doc.” Doctor Kane crosses his legs and asks, “Tell me the latest one you remember,” checking his watch he adds, “make it quick, we’re about out of time.”

               The second he begins speaking he’s back there. Disconnected like a ghost viewing the living, he hears a scream from his kitchen. “YOU KILLED MY SON!” He climbs slowly out of bed and crosses the distance to the door. As his hand reaches the doorknob he hears a woman softly weeping from where the scream had originated. He opens the door as silently as possible and begins his tip toed journey down the hall. The kitchen is illuminated by two candle lamps his mother had purchased because after hearing about the places gory secret, she swore it smelt like death. Laying in front of the sink is the small, crippled and beaten frame of the apartments previous tenant, Ravyn Sween.

               He knew her not only from the mural she had painted on the wall, but also from several online news sites that had reported on her murder. Head held in hands, sobs shaking her entire body, he wished not for the first time that he could calm her somehow. In the blink of an eye he is in a field of wheat, standing next to a large tree. He recognizes the house in front of him immediately as the one from the mural. A little girl can be heard screaming “NO!” He sees a dark-haired little girl come running from the house. The giant shadow man pursues her with bright white eyes. He sees Jonathan. He always does, he stops his pursuit of the child and begins moving towards him.

               “It’s like, I know I’m asleep Doc, but something won’t let me wake up. When he reaches me the same thing happens. He produces a pistol and hands it to me. Points at the girl, the innocent little girl. Without hesitation I shoot her Doc.” Tears stream down Jonathan’s face, he grabs a tissue from the glass table in front of him. Pulling out his prescription pad Doctor Kane says “I’m going to up you’re Trazadone from 50 milligrams,  to 100 milligrams, and am also prescribing some Valium for panic attacks. Try to remember your mantra Jonathan, you are the ghosts that haunt you. See you next week.”

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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Small Tales

 

Secular Romance Pt. 3

               He lays flat on his back upon the cold stone. A million silver cars fly past him on either side of the road. Dangling high overhead, a dream catcher glares down at him, almost daring him to ask for help. His stomach feels as hollow and empty as the cavity forming in his chest.

               He finds himself tumbling along behind the many passing cars, until finally landing abruptly and brutally among the rest of the litter. Devoid of a dream to chase, he cries out to no one, and turns inward. A million trap doors and hidden corridors, he searches everywhere… everything. A solid black door, lies before him. His eyes move to the crimson steel door handle, he reaches out and grasps it. Slowly turned and even slower pulled, the door breaks open and a wave of silence crashes through him.

               Within two women lay writhing on the floor, one could either assume in pain or pleasure. A box, featuring the shape of a serpent painted upon the top, lies in the middle of the room. He takes a step towards the box, and the woman lying on the right side of the room, breaks the silence with a bloodthirsty scream. The woman on the left responds in kind. Shaken, but by no means stopped, he crosses the distance to the box. Both women go silent, before soft pleading begins… no… please don’t… it will kill us… please no… you said you loved us. He had come to far, so many years, no one could have stayed his hand.

               The lid comes off, he sees a passing vision in his mind… the garden… Adam standing beside Eve… the serpent, forked tongue flicking… the corruption… his corruption… his redemption… his damnation… his domination… his instinctual regression. He is the left fork upon the serpents lying tongue, he is the beast, he is the pain.

               Jonathan gasps himself awake. Breathing ragged he grabs a cigarette and heads for the door to his patio. The damn shrink had said the Trazadone would stop the nightmares. Instead they had just seemed to gain in intensity and go on for longer. He flicks his butt and spits and heads inside. Upon sitting down on his bed, he finds himself once again staring at the mural painted on his wall. The woman on the right, the first to scream when he had started for the box, she stares at him from the wall, depicted here as a little girl. Sighing, he again reminds himself it’s all in his head. The house is only haunted by the humans that inhabit it. Jonathan was beginning to doubt several things, however, his sanity foremost among them.

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Posted by on September 29, 2013 in Small Tales

 

Secular Romance Pt. 2

               He sets the last box of his belongings in the middle of his first apartment. The landlord had seemed overly pleased to finally rent the place. Considering the story he had foreclosed, due to some legal clause or another, Jonathan was not the least bit surprised. The last tenant had apparently trapped the fancies of the wrong man, and had gotten herself killed.The worthless animal had then played dress up and did the only good thing he had done in his miserable life, and ended it.

               You know murder suicide aside, he had fallen in love with the place upon seeing the mural painted in the bedroom. A garish house lays the backdrop, surrounded by warped trees, that seem to have a million eyes, camouflaged cleverly among the bark. A field of mournful wheat, lay just in front of the house with the biggest, most menacing, tree in the piece. Hanging from the most warped and largest of the center trees branches, hangs an old warped tire swing. Sitting upon the tire is the image of a very young girl, no older than ten, with limbs as thin and frail as some of the smaller branches of the tree. Her eyes are black, and lips a dull pink. Her unkempt black hair, is as tangled and twisted as the branches of the many trees.

               He had asked the landlord who had painted the mural, and knew the answer from the shadow that had crossed the man’s face. “What was her name?” He had asked. With a pained look in his eye he responded, “Ravyn, with a Y not an E. Her name was Ravyn.”

               He had been an artist since he had held his first crayon. He liked to believe that any art we create in this life, is a piece of our soul left to the world when we are gone. He had never in his life seen a better example than this mural. So much pain held in the eyes of this girl, a lifeless painting that beats with emotion.

               Finally finished unpacking the few possessions he had obtained in his short twenty-two years, he sits on his worn out couch, in front of his outdated television, in his living room, and smiles at the thought. Before too long, the documentary on Mozart he had been trying to watch for months, inevitably sends him crashing deeply into sleep.

                  He’s in his room, sitting at the foot of his bed, looking at the mural. The trees seem to sway, as if under the influence of a fierce wind. The girl no longer sits on the old worn out tire swing. Instead she has climbed to the utmost point on the central tree, and is waving her arms excitedly. She is screaming something he can’t quite hear, and is pointing emphatically behind him. He turns, but he seems to move in slow motion, almost as if every muscle in his body is pleading with him to stop.

               His eyes finally meet the bed behind him, two lovers are tangled under his sheets, he hurriedly turns his head away, face red in embarrassment. Standing in the corner, on the right side of the mural, is a large muscular man. His face is obscured by the darkness but his eyes, his eyes stare straight into Jonathan’s, and all he feels is hate. All he knows is rage. Jonathan stands and walks to his dresser, opens the top drawer to find a shiny silver pistol. He grabs the cold steel, and holds it close to his eye, admiring the snub nose revolver as if it were an old lover. He turns back to the bed, points the gun at the two lovers, and empties all six chambers.

               He gasps awake, the couch under him is soaked from the sweat that still clings to every inch of his body. For a moment he almost grabs the keys to his car and heads back to his parents house. The thought disappears nearly as fast as it was conceived. After all, no reason to panic over a silly nightmare.

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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Small Tales