Dante’s Nightmare

Out of the darkness emerged a young boy who made his way down a dusty path strewn with carved pumpkins, his little painted nose ruffled slightly from the smell of fertilizer lingering in the air. He looked up towards a monstrous tent and grinned seeing the name painted onto a weathered wooden board. “Morgana’s Mystifying Circus,” he whispered under his breath before buttoning up the top button on his shirt. It was Halloween and he was given a special ticket to come and enjoy the show, he just hoped his father did not go back into his bedroom to check on him after tucking him in.


The worse for wear tent had seen better days, tears in the top of it allowed some light from inside to escape into the darkness. Black Mountain had many attractions, but this was one the boy was eager to see, so eager that he came alone. His little brown shoes became dusty as he walked towards the tent door; he licked his hand and glided it over his hair to smooth out any strays, before walking through the canvass entrance.

The dimly lit arena was filled with people, his shoes sinking slightly into the moist earth beneath him as he made his way past numerous wooden chairs. An overweight garish woman looked down at the boy and smiled, “you look like porcelain,” she slurred reaching forward to touch his face. The young boy stepped back and walked on, “where are your parents?” she called back after him, but he ignored her and found himself a front row seat.

The boy watched as a masked woman approached him, she opened her right palm and tapped it with her left index finger. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ticket, she smiled showing off her brown stained teeth. He placed the ticket in her hand, noticing the burn marks on her wrist. She tore the golden ticket in half and grinned before handing him half of it back. The woman pushed back her long black tresses before walking off into the back of the tent. He was amused with her costume, the burns looked so real and her teeth seemed if they were really rotting.

The first act had finished, and the knife thrower was busy leaving the stage.

Murmurs circulated in the busy tent before the crowd began to settle in their seats, a spot light appeared on the rickety stage. “Welcome!” a voice boomed from beyond an ivory-coloured curtain. “Welcome to Morgana’s Mystifying Circus.” From behind the curtain appeared a ringmaster; he flipped his velvet cape backwards grandiosely, striking his whip down strutting proudly as a peacock on the stage. The audience jumped and cheered every time he cracked his whip, the boy sat still and watched eagerly. “What do we have here?” The ringmaster asked pointing towards the boy, “a fan of Pierrot” he mocked looking at the boy’s amateur clown makeup. The boy grinned slightly revealing a missing front tooth. The ringmaster adjusted his bowtie before pacing back and forth.

“Halloween is the only time of the year the dead walk among us,” he continued flipping his cape while strutting to-and-fro. “But for those that live on Black Mountain, we know that is not the truth,” he teased to which the crowd became loud, they clapped and laughed, chugging back beer and smoking cigarettes. “Be quiet now!” He commanded, “let me introduce you to my latest find.” The ringmaster kicked one of the throwing knives left behind from the previous act to the side clapping his hands.

“Let’s bring out a wondrous beast,” the ringmaster proclaimed. “Calypso!” he shouted cracking his whip. “I give you Calypso, the dancing bear.” From behind the curtain came a monster of a beast, the bear stood tall and the audience gasped; around her neck was a chain which the ringmaster began to yank. The bear moaned, and the audience chuckled, the ringmaster struck her across the back. “Dance!” he instructed, but the bear would not listen. The audience turned their laughter to the ringmaster who became agitated. “Dance, bear!” He threatened, lifting the whip once again to strike, but he was interrupted by a clown walking onto the stage. He was carrying a great big carved pumpkin, he stumbled and fell over his own big feet squashing the pumpkin. The crowd laughed and cheered.

The boy rested his hands on his knees and smiled while the clown picked the pumpkin pieces off his face. “Pernicious the Clown ladies and gentlemen!” the ringmaster announced through gritted teeth. Pernicious looked at the bear and danced. The more he tried to get the bear to follow his movement the more the audience laughed, but Calypso would not dance. The laughter from the audience quickly turned to shouting and moaning to get off the stage. “Let’s choose someone from the audience,” the ringmaster declared becoming embarrassed that his magnificent act had become a magnificent flop. He pointed towards the boy, but the boy shook his head. “What about you?” He asked a blonde girl no older than seven. She giggled and looked up at her intoxicated mother who nodded approving the request; she rushed up onto the stage, she straightened out the white ruffles on her polka dot dress before waving at the clown. Pernicious waved back and winked at the round faced little girl, to which the audience laughed once again.

“She won’t bite,” the ringmaster assured the little girl leading her towards Calypso; he looked the bear in her eyes, his anger towards the rebellious beast enraged him. “What is your name?” He asked the shy girl, “I’m Mallory,” she answered swaying nervously holding onto her blonde pigtails.  “Have a dance with Calypso,” he insisted pushing the girl towards the bear. She looked up at the bear which immediately stood upright, dimples formed in her cheeks as she smiled at the bear. Pernicious began to point at various people in the audience and waved goodbye to them, he then looked at the ringmaster and waved his index finger at him. The little boy watched eagerly; Pernicious clapped his hands, the stage lights went out and all that could be heard was the sound of chomping and cracking of bone.

The sound of Calypso’s roaring could be heard before screams filled the decrepit circus tent. The stage light came back on; a maniacal laugh came from the clown as he threw his head back dramatically, exposing what looked like a severed tongue from his gaping mouth and a set of sharp teeth. He watched eagerly whilst his grisly companion pinned down the little girl, sinking its canines over half her head and neck it ripped a chunk of her face out exposing part of her skull. Pernicious revelled in great delight and clapped his hands while the bear shook her lifeless body in its mouth. The clown danced up to his bear and yanked a blonde ponytail out from its teeth, the smell of fresh blood stirred in the air, Pernicious lay the blood-soaked hair against his silvery mop and pirouetted around his ursine companion.

The bear growled at her master before twirling around, she groaned as the clown grabbed her paws and began dancing with her. He was Pernicious the Clown, and he was glorious, he would split your sides laughing and then sew you back together himself.

Pernicious cartwheeled towards the ringmaster cowering in the corner, he grinned showing his yellow decaying teeth before picking up the ringmaster’s whip.  Pernicious looked at Calypso and winked, a mischievous smile appeared across his leathery face. He turned to the ringmaster, who shaking uncontrollably begged: “Please,” he said, kneeling before the clown. Pernicious frowned, and struck the whip across the ringmaster’s face, the sound of skin tearing followed by the man’s cries satisfied Pernicious’ appetite for vengeance. The man fell to the ground covering his face, the bells on Pernicious’ shoes jingled approaching the now bloody faced man. He lifted the whip and struck it down across the ringmaster’s back ripping his shirt open. Pernicious watched with glee while the man’s skin began to split open and blood slowly seeped out.

He looked back towards his companion and lifted his scarred left hand. He pointed towards the back of the tent and mimicked clawing and biting to which the bear roared, pulling on the spiked chain around her neck. Pernicious frowned at the bear and mimed rubbing away tears. Calypso stormed off in a rage to the back of the tent while Pernicious turned his attention back onto the ringmaster.

“Please, clown,” he begged with blood spluttering from his mouth. Pernicious cracked the whip and laughed causing the man to cower once again. Pernicious danced from side to side, the man kneeled in horror, awaiting his fate. Pernicious threw the whip down and walked up to the ringmaster. He grabbed him by the throat and lifted him to his height. “Please,” the man begged again; but was interrupted, Pernicious sunk his teeth into his neck, blood squirted out of his jugular vein with Pernicious ripping a chunk of flesh from his neck.

Pernicious dropped the man to the floor and sat beside him on his haunches, giggling while he bled out. Pernicious glanced at the man’s neck and noticed one of his teeth sitting in the wound. He laughed and clapped before retrieving his tooth, he pulled out a tiny silver trinket box. He raised his perfectly painted eyebrows, he opened the box to reveal some hair and a few other human remains. He added his tooth to his collection and then turned back to the ringmaster. Pernicious looked at his beautiful head of red hair and became mesmerized.

He searched frantically around the area on his hands and knees while he could hear Calypso devouring people in the distance. He giggled once again as ecstasy filled his body, a shiny knife from the knife throwing act lay on the side of the bloody stage.   He picked it up and crawled playfully back towards the ringmaster, he thrust the knife into the nape of the now dead ringmaster’s neck, but it became stuck as it penetrated the Occipital bone. The crunching of bone filled Pernicious’ ears, he gave a satisfying moan twisting the knife out and severed the ringmaster’s scalp from his skull. He jumped up, and twirled placing the warm moist scalp onto his head. Blood trickled down his face, he licked his chapped lips and smirked while the last few people ran screaming out of the tent.

In the corner of his eye a shadow hid close to the exit. He leaped forward chasing the shadow outside of the tent.

In the dimly lit entrance the boy fell face first into the dirt. Pernicious admired the tight young skin on his arms, he imagined what a lovely pair of gloves it would make walking towards the boy. He kicked the boy over onto his back but was startled by how his face was painted. The boy wet his powder blue shorts while Pernicious loomed over him. Pernicious glared at the boy before the child scrambled to his feet and ran. Pernicious moaned but his attention was drawn back to the scream of a woman in the tent that Calypso had trapped in the back, he sniggered running back inside.

In the distance, the boy watched the tent anxiously. Pernicious appeared once again from the entrance, he was soaked in blood from those that had been slaughtered. The boy ran out into the darkness, running blindly and crying out “help me!”. He stopped and looked back towards the tent, the clown pointed at the boy and his gradual walk towards the child quickly turned into a sprint. The boy was frozen for a moment before he turned and ran again. The boy kept looking over his shoulder to see where the clown was. By this time Calypso had made her way out of the tent, her claws caked with human flesh. She watched Pernicious run and quickly followed suit…

The boy could see lights from a farmhouse up on a hill in the distance, so made his way towards it. He pushed open a rusty old gate and found himself in a large field. He cautiously made his way through a herd of cows, treading slowly between them. His attention turned back towards the gate hearing the clown’s maniacal laugh followed by a roar in the distance. The cows began to amble away, the boy feared he would be trampled and tried to get out of their way. The boy came face to face with a bull, but he gasped when it stood upright. A man stood in the middle of the field wearing nothing but a severed bulls head, his naked body dripping with blood. He opened his hand revealing a tongue that looked as if it belonged to an animal. The boy’s attention turned briefly behind him, he looked between the cattle as they became spooked, he could see Pernicious lurking closer, he knew at that moment he had to run if he was going to survive. He turned back to the man, but he was gone…

The boy ran as fast as his skinny, pasty legs could carry him. He made his way to the footpath leading towards the farmhouse, he turned before opening the gate leading into the property. He scanned the field for the clown, but it was nowhere in sight, the cows had all run off down the side of a bank. He clicked open the gate and made his way through, he jumped, startled by the gate shutting behind himfor a moment he paused and stared in the field once again.

The flaming red hair of Pernicious’ victim stood out like a beacon, the boy watched Pernicious slowly walk towards the footpath with Calypso not far behind. Pernicious stood still and stared at the boy, he pointed at him and let out a demonic scream, the boy shuddered before watching the clown and the bear seemingly disappear back into the night.

The boy turned and looked towards the farmhouse, he could see someone walking past a window upstairs. He ran towards the front door, three carved pumpkins sat on the stone steps, but they all head cheerful faces carved into them. Again, something caught his attention, something ruffling in the bushes on the side of the farm house. His curiosity got the better of him; so, he took a few steps forward in his muddy shoes, he stood before some large conifer trees with shrubbery underneath them, he began to quiver, he could hear something trying to breathe softly. A glimpse at a pair of ochre eyes sent the boy running to the front door; he banged desperately and repeatedly, screaming out feeling something brush against his leg.

He fell onto a hallway floor as the door suddenly swung open, a tall blonde woman quickly pulled him in and shut the door. He lay on the carpet while she latched several locks on her door, she turned to help the traumatized boy up. “God’s truth,” she said holding the boy on his trembling shoulders. “Why are you running around Black Mountain at this time night?” she asked the boy whose legs had now become weak with the adrenaline leaving his body. He tried to speak but the words wouldn’t flow. “Especially on Halloween,” she scolded him. “Are you one of the circus children?” she asked looking at his face paint. The woman sighed and led the boy down the passageway into the kitchen.

The pipes rattled as she opened the tap filling up a glass with water, he watched her add a few spoons of sugar to it “drink this” she instructed stirring the mixture. “It should calm your nerves,” she assured him. The young boy sipped the water while his eyes wandered around the kitchen. The woman had a beautiful welcoming smile. “You feel any better?” she asked after a few minutes to which the boy nodded.

He looked at a collection of spoons in a glass case on one of the stone walls but was too young to understand that she had collected them from all over the world. The boy looked across the large table and noticed a baby chair, “you have a baby?” He asked to which the woman smiled. “Oh, so you can speak,” she teased him to which he smiled. “I have many children,” she answered. “Your hair is short,” he said to which she laughed, “it’s easier to look after.” She explained before looking at the telephone. “Your parents must be worried,” she continued, “do you know their number, so I can call them?” He shook his head, “I snuck out of the house;” he explained, his green eyes began to fill with tears. “I rode my bike to the edge of the fields and went to see the circus.” The woman warmed a facecloth and wiped away his tears, she looked at his innocent face which was now smudged with face paint and her heart just melted away.

“What is your name?” she questioned him while she wiped his face clean. “Dante,” he answered. “How old are you?” she asked, “ten” he answered. “A man gave me a ticket for the circus,” he continued, “he climbed out of my wardrobe,” he explained to which the woman smirked. “Out of your wardrobe?” she played along. Dante nodded, “he isn’t normally very nice, but he told me I must go meet the clowns.” The woman had so many things going through her mind at that moment, “did you see the clown?” she asked to which he began to tense up. “I did, but he wasn’t very nice. The man in the cupboard told me the clown knew where my mom was.” He continued.  She lay her hand across her chest and picked at the loose thread on her nightgown and she contemplated what to do. “Where is your mom?” She asked curiously. “She disappeared,” he answered with a trembling voice. Sadness riddled his face as his shoulders sunk down.

The little boy tensed up instantly with the sound of something breaking upstairs. “Let me go and see what that was,” she told him before leaving the room and walking down the passageway. He looked at the plates neatly put on display up against the wall. They each had a different picture on them, mostly of farmhouses or cottages. He looked towards a dripping tap, he wandered over to it and found a dolls arm laying beside the sink. He could hear the woman scolding someone before she marched downstairs holding a smashed porcelain doll. The woman was red in the face, she breathed heavy before pursing her lips. “I’m afraid my children don’t play well with each other,” she apologized setting the doll carefully on the table. Dante stood by the sink watching the woman talk to the doll. “I will fix you up, don’t worry the pain won’t last long,” she assured the doll. Dante began to feel uncomfortable, he looked out of the kitchen window into the darkness wondering if he should not just run but his train of thought was broken when the woman laughed. “Dante,” she called him, “I want to show you something.” He reluctantly made his way over to the large table where the woman sat, her back towards him. She was whispering before turning and giving him a smile, “I want you to meet Nicky,” putting the porcelain doll on her lap. Dante frowned and looked closer as there seemed to be blood dripping from her smashed arm. He screamed when the doll blinked, he ran towards the front door with the woman following hastily. He couldn’t reach half the locks on the door; he looked back towards the table, the doll began screaming with her Victorian outfit now saturated in blood. The woman tried to grab him, but Dante ran up the stairs, the woman begged him to calm down, “Dante please,” she continued to beg. He found himself standing in front of a long corridor with rooms on either side. He ran to the first door turning the brass knob, he quickly entered slamming the door shut behind him. He felt fervently for the light switch hearing her footsteps approaching. He clicked the switch and locked the door, he cried hearing her calling his name. His attention turned to giggling in the room, he turned to two sets of bunk beds, but no one was in them. For a moment, he forgot where he was and marvelled at all the toys. “Dante;” he heard the woman shouting his name, he cowered beside one of the beds and began dry heaving. The brass door knob began to rattle with her continuously screaming his name, “open this door young man!” She ordered him. Dante cried out as something cold brushed against his leg. He could hear muffled giggles from behind the beds… he peered over the dusty bedspread and whimpered as a myriad of dolls emerged from their hiding place.

Their glass eyes glistened while they stared at him, their tiny feet clinking on the wooden floors as they jumped off the bed. Dante stared in horror as a much bigger rag doll emerged from the cupboard. Her buttoned eyes were huge, black, and menacing. Her stitched smile revealed human teeth.

Her face grew darker with every step she took towards him, while some giggled while creeping towards him. One of the dolls threw a ball up at the light smashing it out of its socket plunging the room into darkness. Dante tried desperately to open the door. He could feel the dolls sinking their teeth into his legs and arms, sharp little bites like needles pierced his skin.  He finally managed to open the door, running into the woman he pushed her off her feet and ran further down the passage. The walls were filled with pictures of her dolls, he looked back to see her fumbling to her feet.

He tried every door, but they were all locked; Dante whimpered, the dolls were now in the passageway and turned their attention onto him. He heard a door creak open and looked to his left, he ran towards it quickly entering and shutting it behind him. He frantically searched for the light switch knowing that someone or something had unlocked that door from the inside. He stood still feeling a cold breath hit his neck, goose bumps infested his pale skin. He slowly turned around, he could see nothing in the darkness. He could hear the woman approaching once again with a myriad of pitter patters behind her. In his mind, he knew that his life was over, and he gave up right there and then.

The woman flung the door open, light cast onto a towering shadow before it quickly escaped into the darker region of the room. “No point in running Dante!” she scolded him switching the light on. To the side of Dante stood a large Oak wardrobe, he turned to the woman and begged her to let him go. “I can’t,” she explained, her dolls scurried and giggled behind her. “I’ve always wanted to create a doll your size,” she continued with a crazed look on her face. “And now I have the perfect vessel,” she sneered.

Both of their attention turned to the sound of something rummaging within the wardrobe, long pale fingers curled around the side of its door as it creaked opened. The dolls scattered, running in all directions, some of them even smashing into each other. The woman was enraged; Dante ran towards the wardrobe, the door burst open flinging him to the floor, he looked up to see the man that gave him the ticket to the circus. The woman looked up to the 8 foot being, his jade eyes peered back at her. “Who are you!” she shouted out as he walked towards her slowly. She could smell the mould and dampness from his moth-eaten cloak, but worse was the foul-smelling liquid he left behind on the floor with every step that he took. “Who are you!” she demanded once again.

By this time, Dante had stood up, “please take me home” he begged and that is when the woman remembered him telling her about the man in the wardrobe. “He is mine!” She hissed but the being before her just stood and stared at her. He looked back to Dante, moths flew from his mouth after he let out a howling scream. He turned his attention back towards the woman who was standing her ground, he took another step forward and bent down to stare into her eyes. The skin on his face was so thin he looked skeletal, a white pus dripped from his lips onto her dark wooden floors. Chunks of his silver hair fell to the ground as he turned away from her and began walking towards Dante, the woman looked at the gaping hole in the back of his head, she could see what looked like a piece of his skull and brain. “I won’t let you take him!” She threatened to which he spun around. “He is mine,” he said with several voices speaking simultaneously from his mouth. A single moth escaped his mouth before he turned to Dante and grinned, he grabbed onto his musty wet coat and howled rushing forward at an incredible speed, he grabbed Dante and entered the wardrobe. The last thing the boy heard was the woman screaming in frustration as the wardrobe door shut. “Thank you,” Dante whispered before feeling himself falling downward.

Beads of sweat formed on Dante’s face, he jolted out of his bed. He was breathing heavily, shaken, and terrified. He heard someone coming, he needed to hide but it was too late. “You okay?” A familiar voice asked opening his bedroom door, Dante sighed a breath of relief. “I’m fine daddy, I just had a bad dream.” He answered, Dante could not believe how real his dream felt. His father peeped into the room and smiled at his son, Dante pulled the covers up to his chin, “night daddy” he whispered to which his father replied, “night Dante.” closing the door.

Dante reach out and switched his carousel light on; his heart began to race noticing all the tiny bite marks on his arm. Dante ripped the covers off the bed, his sheets full of mud from the circus. He looked at the images on the walls cast from the carousel light and felt ill, his little body began to sway while vertigo began to set in with every note from the carousel. His eyes widened hearing the wardrobe door creak open. Long pale fingers wrapped around the side of the door and Dante gave a weak smile, although he feared the man from the wardrobe he couldn’t believe that he had saved him. But as he watched, a second hand grabbed onto the wardrobe door. A maniacal laugh filled the room, Dante could hear a bear growling in the distance. “Daddy!” he screamed out in sheer terror. His father heard his son and shook his head; Dante was acting out since his mother was put away three years prior, she constantly believed something was after her. He looked at her picture next to his bed, he recalled the phone call to tell him that she had gone missing from the facility. The last she was seen was running up into the attic, the orderlies searched that attic and found nothing. Many believed she was never near the attic to start with, the only thing in there was a few dusty wardrobes and old rusty beds.

He heard something hitting the ground so decided to see if his son was okay, he entered the room to find Dante had pulled the covers over his head, he looked towards the wardrobe door that was creaking as it gently swung. His father sighed and sat on the edge of his son’s bed, “I know it’s been difficult without Mum,” he sympathised with his boy. “It will get better I promise you,” he assured him. His father noticed a torn gold ticket on the floor, he picked it up and turned it over. It was a ticket to Morgana’s Mystifying Circus… “Where did this come from?” his fathered ask but Dante did not answer, “Dante!” His father raised his voiced as he pulled the covers off his son. The father cried out and jumped back, Pernicious giggled as he jumped out of the boy’s bed. Pernicious rounded his hands lifting them to his eyes pretending he was looking at the father through binoculars. His wheezing laugh filled the boy’s room. “Where is Dante?” The father demanded walking backwards towards the wardrobe…

The wardrobe door slowly creaked open, the tall being climbed out while Dante’s fathers slowly turned to face him. “What are you?” He stuttered, he froze as the being lay his cold hands upon his shoulders. “Time to reunite you with your family” he said with several voices escaping from his mouth. Before Dante’s father could utter a word; the carousel smashed against the wall, the tall beings coat enveloped Dante’s father and Pernicious dragging them into the wardrobe. His screams were muffled as the wardrobe door shut closed…

A few years had passed, and the case of the missing family and the murders at the circus ended up buried under many more reports of strange happenings and unexplained events. Many people have claimed that they have seen Dante on Halloween roaming the fields or close to the grounds of where the circus once settled for Halloween…


The Feast Of The Dead

A well-manicured hand emerged from the bed covers striking blindly and repeatedly until the snooze button was found and deactivated.  A long yawn escaped from a young woman’s mouth followed by a pair of olive skinned arms stretching out from under the covers. The thud of her feet could be heard stomping on the floor as she sat at the edge of her bed wondering what she had done in a previous life to deserve this.

She looked down at her painted toenails and thought of changing the strawberry colour to watermelon, she rolled her deep brown eyes before standing up. She wanted to do nothing but stay home, she had just had a nasty breakup with her boyfriend Rami and knew that by the time she got to college she would be bombarded with hundreds of questions.

She unhurriedly made her way into the bathroom, the shower pipe rattled slightly when she turned the hot water on. She examined her face intensely for any spots before slipping off her rather short and revealing silk pyjamas, she breathed in the steam from the hot water before slightly adjusting it with the cold.

After her shower, she brushed her teeth and started the process of making herself look presentable for college. “Thana,” she heard her mom shouting from downstairs, “you are going to be late!” Thana had just finished drying her hair and was looking for something to wear when her door swung open. “Dad!” she shouted at him to which he over dramatically shielded his eyes, “I’m leaving in five minutes if you want me to drop you.” He explained before shutting her bedroom door. Thana looked out the window at the rain before looking at the temperature on her phone. Her weather app showed it was four degrees out, “better dress appropriately for the weather then” she mumbled to herself.

She jumped slightly as a raven smacked into the windowpane. She opened the window and looked down to the ground. It lay stunned, its foot was jerking slightly before its wings spread out and seemingly died. Thana closed the window and got dressed, she could hear her father leaving while walking down the stairs. “Where is he going?” she complained running towards the front door, but he had already pulled off.

“He told you he was leaving in five minutes,” her mom simpered. Thana shrugged her shoulders and picked up her bag by the door. “You do realise that its cold outside?” Her mother asked looking at the short dress her daughter was wearing. “Beauty knows no boundaries Mother,” she kidded picking up her jacket. “Eat something!” her mother jestfully pleaded raising her hands in the air as Thana walked out the door.

Her skin burned slightly from the cold, she connected her headphones to her phone and played Lana Del Rey – Love as she walked to college. Thana looked up towards the Black Mountains, the mist had dropped lower than usual giving the woodland path she normally cut through an eerie feel. She stopped for a moment, contemplating if she should take the path or take the long way around.  In the mist a figure lurked without Thana noticing. She decided it would be quicker to cut through, “what’s the worst that could happen?” She asked herself while continuing.

While walking she was repeatedly plagued by the scene of how she was caught driving under the influence, and how disappointed her parents were. It was haunting her every day; her bad choices had put her in many tricky situations over the last three years, she had hurt so many people. She thought about her ex-boyfriend Rami, the way they split up, the way she had been treating him for months because she was unhappy.  She just wished that her family never moved to Black Mountain. While deep in thought someone emerged from within the mist behind her. With every step she took they were gaining on her at an incredible speed, she let out a scream as a cyclist almost knocked her off her feet. She pulled her headphones from her ears, “idiot!” she shouted out looking at the mud splashed against her legs, the cyclist stopped and turned towards her. “Look where you’re going princess,” he derided before flipping her the finger. Thana unzipped the front of her bag and took out a small bottle of hand sanitiser and a tissue. “I hope he falls and snaps his neck,” she vented while cleaning the mud off her legs. Her attention was drawn to the sound of branches breaking within the woods, she put her sanitiser back in her bag and threw the tissue on the side of the path. She sighed noticing some mud had got into her newly dyed blonde hair. Thana disconnected her headphones and made her way towards college.

A few feet behind her a figure emerged from the woods, watching her walk, they stood there in silence for a moment before disappearing into the thick mist.

While making her way towards the college she heard a familiar voice shouting out her name, she looked across the road and smiled at her friend. He walked up to her and hooked his arm into hers. “Are you okay?” He asked to which she frowned. “I will be,” she groaned looking up at the college. “This is the last place I want to be,” she explained to which her friend smiled. “Then let us not be here,” he said pointing to his car. “I’m in so much trouble with my mom and dad already Finn,” she grumbled, “I don’t need another strike against my name.” She concluded.

Finn raised his perfectly shaped eyebrows while widening his blue eyes; “the offer is there if it all gets too much for you today,” he assured her. She could feel someone staring at her and looked up and her heart sunk. Rami was staring at her from one of the windows, Thana could feel a heaviness in her throat as her bottom lip quivered slightly. She swallowed heavily before walking up the stone stairs towards the entrance.

Finn unlatched his arm from hers, “see you later,” he said winking at her before walking off into a lively crowd. Thana felt uneasy, people were looking at her and whispering as she walked down the corridor. Her heart began to beat faster with every step she took. Her breathing became heavier as she became anxious. Thana stared down the corridor straight into Rami’s eyes. He just stood there with no emotion on his face, she turned to the right and entered the girl’s toilets. She slumped against the blue toilet door after she entered. She let out a deep exhalation before realising she had three girls staring at her from the basins.

Thana smiled weakly and made her way into one of the cubicles. She turned the latch locking the door, she put the toilet seat down and sat trying to regain her composure. She looked at all the different notes written on the walls in pen. She giggled reading one that spoke about her friend Ava being an ice queen. With her mind momentarily distracted she started feeling better, “you can do this,” she whispered to herself before standing up. Thana frowned while reading one of the graffiti comments. “It knows when I am sleeping,” she read out loud.

Thana opened the toilet door and walked out to a now empty space, she looked at her face in the mirror. She stared for a while, the distain in her eyes that she had for herself was overwhelming. She picked the flecks of mud out of her hair; before she could think any more about how dreadful she was the bell rang, she ran to the door swinging it open making her way towards her classroom. Unluckily she ran straight into Rami who grabbed her by the wrist, she didn’t speak to him or look him in the eyes. “We need to talk,” he begged but she pulled away ignoring him. “We need to talk!” He shouted as she made her way through the crowd.

She entered her classroom with the biggest fake smile she could put on. She made her way to the back of the classroom to where another blonde girl eagerly awaited. “I waited in the quad,” she moaned at Thana. “I was avoiding Rami,” she grimaced. “That’s a cute dress,” her friend complimented her while feeling the texture of it. “Is it comfortable?” She asked frowning causing Thana to crack a real smile. The classroom quietened down as the teacher entered.

“Samhain,” he said walking towards the front of his desk. Thana licked her bottom lip as she watched her handsome educator push his luscious dark quiff back. “Does anyone know what I’m talking about?” He asked leaning backwards on his desk while he crossed his legs. Thana was focusing intensely on his strong jawline to which he caught her, he smirked. “Any idea Thana?” He asked to his now red-faced student. She swallowed hard as her knees slightly weakened. “Halloween?” She answered shrugging her shoulders. That was her safest bet with it only being a day away. “I thought it was a country in the West,” her friend piped up to which the teacher laughed. “It’s not a country to the West Ava,” he confirmed while walking to the blackboard.

The class moaned as the chalk squeaked while sliding down the board, “he is so fit,” Ava whispered to Thana before pulling out her history book. “I haven’t seen that book all year,” Thana joked to which Ava opened it showing her the concealed iPad. “A text book cover for your iPad, I’m impressed.” She said giggling, Thana suddenly became silent, she began replaying what she had done while driving drunk and how she treated Rami. Beads of sweat formed on her brow while it felt like someone was slowly shutting her throat closed. “Snap out of it,” Ava insisted snapping her fingers in front of Thana’s face. “I’m fine,” she lied to her friend. “Am I interrupting anything?” the teacher asked them both. “Not at all,” Thana assured him to which the teacher frowned slightly hiding his gorgeous eyes, “the one day you don’t need your history book you bring it to college,” he teased Ava.

While Mr Quinn paced back and forth in his tight jeans he explained the origins Samhain, but most of the girls were focused on his buns of steel, and to be fair a few of the guys as well.  Thana stared out the large windows into the mist and drifted further away into her own mind, continuously beating herself up for the things that went wrong. Mr Quinn could have been speaking about the tooth fairy or Krampus and she would not have known the difference. “Christian religion has adopted this day as All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day” he concluded. Ava nudged Thana under the table as he began making his way over to them. “Are you paying attention?” he asked Thana to which she nodded, “So what was your favourite part about this lecture?” He tested her.

Thana looked at him, “the fact that superstition claims that the dead can walk among us on Halloween, the Lord of the underworld himself apparently” she said nervously. “But also, that it was known as the feast of the dead,” she continued as the words seem to flow effortlessly out of her mouth. “That this sabbath was celebrated by Celtic countries first, and that they even left food out for wandering dead people.” Mr Quinn smiled at her, “I loved the story of stingy Jack and how he tricked the Devil more than once into doing his bidding; but how it left him kicked out of heaven and hell when he died, to roam between the worlds stuck forever just walking with his carved-out turnip and his burning coal he got from the Devil.” She smiled remembering her father telling her that story. “And how that myth gave us our carved-out pumpkins, or jack o lanterns.” Mr Quinn smiled, “thank you for that answer Thana.” He said turning around and walking back to the front of the class. “But there is much more to Samhain than just that,” He continued.

“Where the hell did you suck that out of?” Ava asked astonished. Thana shrugged her shoulders, “I must have been listening while daydreaming,” she said thinking that could be the only explanation.

A slight cheer circled the classroom as the bell rang. “Wow, you really make me feel wanted,” Mr Quinn joked watching the kids scramble out of his classroom. “Thana,” he called out before she walked out the door. “A moment please.” Ava waited in the doorway for her friend, “it’s okay Ava” Thana told her. “I will catch up with you,” to which Ava “If I don’t see you in a while I will see you at the party tonight,” she said smiling and walking off into the crowd.

“How are you feeling?” He asked her concernedly, “I’ve been better,” she replied abruptly. “You know I’m here for you,” he assured her. Thana pulled her hand away as he touched it. “I know,” she replied abruptly once more. “I just need time to figure things out you know.” Mr Quinn nodded, “take all the time you need.” Thana turned and walked out of the classroom. Emotions began to stir, and she could feel she was about to break down. She looked for the closest exit and ran…

She found herself in the back of Black-Acre College looking up at the pine trees, the mist edged forward; it was so thick, but she felt at ease, almost as if the mist was embracing her, holding her, and hiding her from the world. She stood silently crying and noticed a black cat at her feet. She smiled curiously as it watched her weep. It ran off when she bent down to stroke it, she sighed and stood up right. “Pull yourself together,” she gave herself a pep talk. “Right,” she said walking back towards the College.

She swung open the blue doors leading back into the corridor. She had to leave, she couldn’t deal with anything now. She pulled out her phone and sent a text to Finn. Where are you? It read, and within a matter of seconds he replied, behind you with a face with a stuck-out tongue emoji.  Thana turned around smiling but it turned quickly into a frown, “Rami,” she barely could say his name. Finn grimaced and stood to the side as Thana was face to face with her ex. “Can we please just speak for two minutes,” he begged. Thana was not in the mood and the expression on her face explained that all by itself. “I see you made a few new guy friends online.” He said tightening his lips, she looked at his face and missed snuggling into his tiny bit of bumfluff on his chin.  Thana looked down to his hands and noticed his knuckles were bruised and cut open. “I don’t have time for this Rami,” she pretended not to care and tried to walk past him. Finn shouted at him as he pushed Thana against the wall. “Don’t act like a whore Thana,” he said through gritted teeth, “because people might start treating you like one.”

Finn pushed Rami to the side to which he then put his arms up, “I’m sorry Thana,” he begged, “you’re driving me insane!” He shouted out. Thana and Finn walked out to the front of the college. “What the hell?!” Finn said completely shocked at Rami’s behaviour. “Has he been violent with you before?” Thana began to whimper, “let’s get out of here.” She told Finn.

They made their way to his car, she looked up at Black-Acre College and something inside of her knew she would never see it again. She climbed into Finns car and looked at the rabbit’s foot dangling from the review mirror. “It was a gift from my mom,” he clarified with his pale cheeks turning a little rosy. “Where do you want to go?” He asked.

“Anywhere but here,” she replied to which he started the engine and drove off.

Finn raced into the thick mist; the winding roads of Black Mountain were wet, and Thana could feel the car slipping slightly. “Shit!” he moaned when he heard something scrape under the car. He pulled over to the side of the road, “give me a minute” he told Thana while he inspected his baby. Thana’s mind was slowly consuming her, the dark thoughts she could block out were now so fierce they were overriding every thought she had. She opened the car door and began walking down the road, “Thana?” Finn called out as he noticed she was gone. “Thana!!” He shouted out into the mist. She heard him call but she needed to be alone.

Her phone began to vibrate, she pulled it out of her pocket and swiped to the right to take the call. “Where are you?” Finn asked, “I just need some time alone okay Finn,” she explained and for a while there was just silence. “Do you want me to wait for you?” He asked to which she answered simply “no” and hung up.

Thana began walking into the wooded area, she could hear Finn drive past her. She just needed to get her mind right. She needed to figure it all out before it ate her soul. She found herself at a clearing deep within the woods. The trees reminded her of the fables her dad used to tell her about; Ogres and Trolls towering high into the sky in plain sight under the disguise of ancient trees. But as soon as that beautiful memory entered her mind it was pushed out by the memories of her bad behaviour.

She dropped her bag to the ground and used it as cushion to sit on, while she wondered what to do a figure appeared within the mist. It watched her, it patiently waited, as a predator would its prey… Thana looked at all the mushrooms growing by the trunks of the trees. Maybe I should just eat them and hope they’re poisonous she thought but then remembered she didn’t like the taste of mushrooms. Especially at the Black Bear Pub in town, they were awful. Out the corner of her eye she noticed the figure, so she quickly stood up, she picked up her bag. “Finn?” she called out, “that you?”

She began walking towards the figure, but the mist enveloped whoever it was, and they vanished. “And now on top of everything I’m seeing things,” she said out loud practically scolding herself. Thana felt a sudden pressure at the back of her head, she dropped to her knees, she looked up fell backward. The log used to strike her was thrown down next to her, “please,” she whispered before her vision began to blur. Thana recognised the scuff marks on the person shoes, she frowned before passing out…

She awoke to a man screaming in the woods, she sat upright and held her throbbing head. Thana looked at her hands and they were full of blood. She winced as she touched the back of her head. “What happened?” she asked out loud, the mist was thicker and was accompanied by a strange wind. She looked for her phone, but it was gone, she looked at her wristwatch. She squinted her eyes barely making out the time; it was nine pm, Thana was afraid, she was enveloped in mist and it was dark.

Her heart began to race as the wind picked up, she heard something fall to the ground from the trees. She kneeled to find a gold bracelet, “I’ve seen this before,” she commented turning the bracelet over. She was startled when she heard a loud thud behind her, Thana began to tremble as she approached what looked like a person. She began screaming as she turned over a girl in a hospital gown, she had a noose around her bruised neck. Thana looked up into the trees and could see so many people hanging in the trees.

Paraphernalia from their bodies began to fall to the ground as the wind blew ferociously.  Thana began to run back to the road, she could see a cars headlight shining through the mist. She ran over to it, “Finn!” she shouted seeing it was his vehicle. “Finn!!” she shouted once more but he was nowhere in sight. Thana jumped into the car but slid on the seat, the car was covered in blood. She looked at pieces of scalp and hair scattered on the dashboard. “What is going on!” she screamed jumping out of the car. She twisted her ankle and fell into the road, she cried out as she fell into broken glass. She looked at Finn’s car, the gaping hole was in his windscreen. He must have had an accident, she thought getting back onto her feet. Blood was running from her legs, she didn’t know where to run to. While she tried to survey the area, something walked past the headlight causing it to go dark for a moment. “Finn,” she whispered but there was no one there.

The sound of metal churning and twisting startled her as she jumped backwards, in the middle of the road she could see the tar split open… “What the fuck is going on!” she shouted out before feeling faint. She dropped once more to her knees, her head bopped side to side like a rag doll, she swayed before vomit spewed from her mouth. “Help me!” She pleaded before passing out…

Thana’s body jolted, and she sat up, she looked at empty beds in a ward, she was in the hospital “oh God,” she complained feeling a large bandage wrapped around the head. Thana’s vision became slightly blurry before readjusting. The sheets and blankets were so tightly tucked around her legs that she could not move them. Her anxiety gripped her as it felt like someone was squeezing all the air out of her lungs. “Help! Help me!” She screamed out while the heart monitor she was attached to beeped uncontrollably. She let out what felt like her last breath of air before dropping backwards, her head hit the pillow while she gasped for air. Heels echoed from the floor in the corridor, “please,” she begged, “please come here.”

Thana looked over to the dark blue curtain hanging from the window. She frowned looking at its pattern, it was skulls and bones from the canine anatomy. After a while she composed herself and sat back up, her head still throbbing. The hospital was silent, not one orderly had walked by, not one patient besides herself. Thana winced while pulling the drip out of her arm, blood trickled from the hole before she held it closed with her thumb. She slowly wriggled out of the tightly tucked covers, her bare feet did not welcome the cold floor. Thana walked towards the door and could hear the heels echoing once more in the corridor.

“Hello,” she shouted out running towards the door. She swung the door open and stood in front of a nurse that had her back to her. “Excuse me?” She said politely, “can you tell me what happened to me?”

The nurse did not answer, Thana could hear the nib of the pen scratching against the paper while the nurse ignored her. Thana looked at her grey pencil skirt, it had flecks of blood on it. Thana’s mouth opened in shock as blood began to gush out from the pencil skirt. “What is wrong with you?!” Thana screamed grabbing the nurse on her shoulder, she spun her around but fell backwards at the sight of her.

The nurse had no face, just a sea of teeth from chin to forehead, grinding back and forth from side to side. Thana lay on the cold grey marbled floor paralyzed in fear, the monstrosity leapt forward and shrieked standing before her. Black gunk dripped from is gnashing face onto the floor. Thana began sinking, “what is going on!” She screamed repeatedly as the cold floor began to boil; her arms were sinking into the boiling floor. Thana’s skin separated from her body as she tried to lift her arms. She sunk deeper, the pain was like nothing she had ever felt, her flesh was being consumed by the hot molten liquid, she began to convulse, her head lay back, she could feel her brain boiling and her eyes began to dissolve and run out of her face.

Her body finally felt nothing, and she vanished into the floor…

Thana gasped for air and found herself barefoot and huddled into the corner of a cornfield, she was sure that she had gone insane as she had just felt herself die. She looked at her watch, it was still showing 9pm, in the distance she could hear people laughing, “the party,” she said out loud, Ava and Finn should be there she thought to herself. She began walking through the cornfield, she cut her feet many times on the hard shoots from the corn as she made her way through what seemed like a maze. She stumbled into a part of the maze that was filled with pumpkins, all carved with grotesque faces.

They lay at the feet of a scarecrow, but a scarecrow like she had never seen. It was not placed up in a crucifying style to scare off birds but stood more on its own feet, Thana felt frightened, but she was drawn to it. She moved in closer while the candles in the pumpkins flickered. Its face was sewn out of skin, most probably animal hide she thought. It had no mouth, just two deep set eyes, one that was filled with cobwebs and two slits for nostrils. Heavy staples that were now rusted were used to keep the leathery face together, it had no hat and the straw that came from its head gave it a more feminine look. Thana looked closely at its tarnished tartan clothing, she squealed as a rat crawled out of its shirt. “I need to find my friends,” she asserted before slowly retreating from the odd scarecrow.

Thana began to push on but kept looking back, she repeatedly played the scene from the hospital over and over. She thought she may be dreaming and all of this would go away as soon as she opened her eyes, she hoped that would be the case. She took a left turn and stood in a puddle of muddy water, it squished between her toes. She hated dirt, she hated anything filthy, she stood there for a moment and cried…

But her tears stopped abruptly after hearing something close to the sound of metal striking a rock, Thana moved hastily onward but ended up back by the pumpkins and the scarecrow. But this time she noticed a scythe beside it. “Was that there?” She asked herself, she thought the best thing to do was to take it for protection. Thana slowly walked up to the scarecrow, she looked at its feet which were nothing more that roots from some corn, she never broke eye contact once with it while she bent down and picked up the scythe. She turned to walk back out again into the maze but did not realise that the scarecrow’s head moved slightly.

She walked for what felt like miles and finally made her way to the middle of the field, she could hear people partying and laughing but there was no one there. She was so confused, she felt someone bump into her, but could see no one. She could smell beer and food, and that is when she could hear a radio warning everyone to stay off Black-Acre lane. She looked down and watched how footsteps appeared in the mud, she threw down the scythe and frustration completely took over her body. She began to run forward, “If I run in one direction I should end up out of here!” She shouted out, Thana ran, her feet bled but she soldiered through.

A burst of adrenaline made her feel invincible as she broke out of the maze, she stopped to catch her breath on the side of the road. In the distance a pair of bright shining headlights approached her, she stood in the middle of the road jumping up and down, “Stop, Stop!” She begged but as the bright lights grew closer it looked as if the vehicle was not going to stop. Thana jumped to escape but the bright lights pierced right through her, suddenly, she was back in the cornfield.

The cornfield seemed much darker, and Thana could hear what sounded like bugs crawling. She slowly made her way down one of the paths, she could see some flickering pumpkins in the distance. That is when she looked at the corn, “Jesus!” She shouted, the corn was covered in locusts, as soon as she screamed they all took flight. Thana was now running between hundreds of thousands of locusts that were digging their tiny spiked feet into her skin. She was beyond hysterical to a point where she wished you could just end her own life right there and then.

Thana ended up back by all the carved pumpkins and at that moment the locust ascended leaving her alone, the heavy buzzing from their wings was making her skin crawl. “Where is it!” She screeched out. The scarecrow was gone, she bent down and picked up the smallest pumpkin. She needed the light it gave off, she needed any advantage she could get at that moment. Thana could still hear the locusts above her, but they had not descended, she walked slowly onwards. Making her way through a muddy area of the maze a foul smell crept up from the soil, Thana stood on something that moaned, she got such a fright that she dropped the pumpkin.

Thana could see the cornfields soil was covered in blood and intestines, the sound that followed was that of something digesting something else. Thana turned to the corn itself and shone the light onto it. The corn was gone and replaced with hundreds of tortured people. Some had been impaled while others disembowelled, they begged for help stretching their arms out and grabbing her hair. She screamed as they pulled her deeper into their human crop. Thana could feel her back being sliced open from the bones of the human remains as she was being dragged along.

She wriggled and finally got her hair free, she stood up still holding the pumpkin but as she turned she stood face to face with the scarecrow. It snuffed out the flame leaving Thana in total darkness.

She felt the scarecrow pick her up and throw her over its shoulder, she could smell the soil on its clothes. It ran at an incredible speed through the human crops towards the lit pumpkins. She groaned as it threw her to the ground, her ribcage felt like it was on fire, and she could taste blood. She tried to get up, but the pain immobilized her.

She watched in terror while the scarecrow pulled a fishing hook and some tackle out of its chest, it threaded the hook before staring at her. It grabbed her with its left hand and pulled her to her feet, Thana looked at the torn glove on its hand and could see a myriad of bugs moving within it. The scarecrow took the rusty fish hook and pierced her top lip with it, she kicked and screamed and ended up back on the floor. The scarecrow sat on top of her, he took a hand full of soil filled with centipedes and stuffed it in her mouth; and then held her lips together with one hand and sewed them closed with the other, each stitch felt worse than the last, tears rolled down her cheeks as he viciously pulled the hook up and down, even striking and piercing through her gum.

The earth began to shake as Thana lay there; the soil opened, and the human crop began to sink, the scarecrow picked up one of the pumpkins and lifted it above its head, as it struck the pumpkin down Thana closed her eyes…

She heard a familiar sound…

A well-manicured hand emerged from the bed covers striking blindly and repeatedly until the snooze button was found and deactivated.  A long yawn escaped from her mouth followed by a pair of olive skinned arms stretching out from under the covers. The thud of her feet could be heard stomping on the floor as she sat at the edge of her bed, what on gods earth was I dreaming? Thana was so relieved it was a dream, deep down she knew it was.

She unhurriedly made her way into the bathroom, the shower pipe rattled slightly when she turned the hot water on. She examined her face intensely for any spots before slipping off her rather short and revealing silk pyjamas, she breathed in the steam from the hot water before slightly adjusting it with the cold.

She stood in the shower for a while, thinking of all the crazy creatures she had encountered. “Just in time for Halloween,” she said to herself before turning the water off. Thana felt the cold shower curtain touch her as a gust of air entered the bathroom. Before she could turn around the shower curtain completely enveloped her, suffocating her. Everything grew dark and she could feel her soul slipping away, but in that moment, something changed, Thana found herself at the top of the Black Mountains. The light then came flooding back and Thana gasped for air, she couldn’t move, she moved her eyes to see that she was plugged into so many machines. She tried to talk but she couldn’t, her heart began to race, she could hear the heels echoing in the corridor. Her eyes widened as a nurse entered the room, “page Dr Fields immediately!” She instructed, but all Thana could look at was how big her mouth was and how garish her braces looked. Thana moved her eyes and noticed the nurse was wearing a grey pencil skirt, “Dr is on his way now,” she smiled showing off her gnashers.

A few moments later the Dr entered, “your parents are on their way,” he informed Thana, shining his torch in each eye. “Follow my finger,” he instructed to which she did. Dr fields was blind in his right eye, his hair looked like straw and his skin was weathered and his wrinkles looked like pleats in leather. “You broke your jaw, split your lip right open and lost a few teeth,” he explained, I had to act fast, but I sewed you up pretty good,” he said confidently. Everything Thana encountered was starting to make sense. She closed her eyes for a moment and when she opened them all she saw was the scarecrow and the nurse with teeth for a face. She shut her eyes tightly, but they hurt so much she opened them once more.

They were normal again, just a doctor and his nurse. Thana looked over to the window, there were skulls and pumpkins and a load of gifts in the corner by the curtain. “Your friends have been here every day,” he explained, “Your friend Ava was insistent that you wear her lucky bracelet, but hospital policy would not allow that,” he said smiling and pointing to her IV drip. The bracelet Thana saw in the dream was Ava’s, it was hanging above her head the entire time.

At this stage her parents burst into the room, they were so overwhelmed. Her father cried as her mom tried to hug her but was cautioned not to by the nurse. “We thought we lost you,” her father could barely say. You and Finn had a terrible accident going down Black-Acre road, “she doesn’t need to hear about that now,” her mom tried to stop her dad. “I was on my way into town and I found you in the road.” Tears began to roll down Thana’s cheeks.

She recalled a memory of the car sliding and Finn hitting something, she saw him being flung out the car and all she could see was pieces of his hair and scalp on the dashboard. She tried to get out, but her seatbelt was stuck and that’s when the car began to burn, she lifted her arms and her skin stuck to the seat, she finally got the seatbelt off but then there was the sound of metal churning. Another car struck into her from behind flinging her through the shattered windscreen. She heard her jaw snap as it connected with the tar, her teeth rolled liked dice chattering on the road. She could taste blood and her ribs felt as if they had broken through her skin. She remembered her father standing before her, the scuff marks on his shoes. “She needs her rest,” Dr Fields clarified, “the fact that she is even alive is a miracle.” He continued, “It will be a long road, but I have faith she will pull through,” while they discussed going forward Thana looked down to what looked like a sheet covering her arms, it must be for the burns she thought.

Thana drifted off with a peculiar grin on her face, over the next few months it was a difficult road, but Thana became strong once again. She had to deal with the loss of Finn and after months of refusing to see Remi he finally got the hint.

It was time for her to finally go home, Thana couldn’t wait, she was sick of the hospital although her and “gnashers” as she dubbed her had become good friends, she was strong enough to do what she needed to do. And that was to purge the souls of those that had done her wrong.

You see, while Thana lay in the road and pain ate away at her like a rabid dog, she begged and pleaded for help. She prayed, and the darkness answered, if Thana’s soul was strong enough and could withstand the purgatory she was about to be dragged through she could have another chance. But she was always her own worst enemy and when she found herself at the top of the Black Mountains where Samhain awaited, Thana’s soul was deemed irreparable, so it was fed to the mountain.

Samhain absorbed Thana’s memories effortlessly, while she lay in that hospital bed she played the fragile daughter and the survivor of the horrific accident so well.

The best way for Samhain to feast is not on the dead but on the living, one possession at a time…







Turn On, Tune In, Drop Dead

Tune in, Turn on, Drop dead
The sun glistened on the calm waters of Branwen Loch. ‘White Rabbit’ by Jefferson Airplane could be heard coming from one of the large wooden cabins in the centre of Black Mountain’s campsite, known as The Sanctuary.

Teepee-style tents on either side of the loch lay empty, as bright red and blue canoes knocked into each other with the gentle ebb and flow of the water. Two ravens were dismembering a small fish on the boardwalk and began squabbling with each other, eventually tiring each other out and flying off towards the black mountains.

Laughter broke the blissful music as a group of five early twenty somethings walked towards the campsite.  A red-haired woman came out from the cabin and stood on the wooden stairs watching the five approach her. “That must be Meadow,” one of the men presumed, making their way towards the crimson haired beauty. She smiled at the group that stood before her, “you are two days early,” she whined, before laughing. “Whatever could we do until the children arrive?” she asked playfully, before walking down the rickety wooden stairs to greet them. “I’m Meadow,” she introduced, to which one of the two men smiled as he looked her up and down. Meadow’s red hair clashed slightly with her revealing emerald dress, but her beauty was striking and clearly very distracting for the boys.

“I’m Amy,” a sandy-haired girl from the group said, rolling her eyes at the men practically gagging over Meadow. “And this ditz is my guy Robby,” she poked her long-haired lover in the ribs, shaking her head. He smiled sheepishly at Meadow trying not to make too much eye contact with her as he was still flying high from the joint he had moments before they arrived. “Where are the rest of your things?” Meadow asked, leaning to look behind them, to which they all laughed. “We left the rest of our things at the entrance,” a second guy piped up. “I will go get them now,” he assured the rest of the group. “That’s a lot of bags,” Amy pointed out, with a smirk on her face, and she laughed as he flexed his muscles. Robby introduced his dark-haired friend, “This lump of muscle is Chad”. Chad bowed showily, and asked “can I bum a smoke?”. Robby threw one towards him. His thick dark locks bounced as he stood upright after retrieving the cigarette from the ground. “Let me come with you,” another girl offered, before turning towards Meadow, “I’m Tiffany and this is my sister Sarah,” she explained. Sarah smiled and waved. Tiffany hooked her arm into Chad’s before walking back towards the entrance, her short yellow skirt looked like a burst of sunlight between the trees. “Why don’t you go help them?” Robby taunted Sarah, pulling her lavender headband over her eyes. “Cool it!” Meadow cautioned them as Sarah stamped hard onto Robby’s leather sandal.

Robby laughed, but Sarah was unimpressed. “As you are here two days early you may as well choose the cabins you are going to stay in,” Meadow explained, “and when the children arrive in two days we will have a ball”, she concluded as Sarah walked off. “You should take those bells off your ankles,” Robby mocked Sarah as she stormed off towards her sister, “It’s easy to hear you coming like that!” he shouted, before Amy grabbed him by the beard and led him towards one of the cabins.

Sarah stood and watched Tiffany flirt hopelessly with Chad, she playfully touched her long worn bouffant hairstyle as she bit sultrily into her rosy pink bottom lip. Chad picked up three of the bags while Tiffany struggled to carry even one. Sarah walked over to her sister and smiled at Chad as she walked past him. She turned to look at his firm butt in his tight pale blue bellbottoms. “Eyes off,” Tiffany snapped, pushing her sister aside. “No!” Tiffany cried, noticing a scuff mark on her candy-coloured vinyl boots. “Why even wear those out here?” Sarah asked perplexed. “Why not?” was the very short answer Tiffany gave. Sarah began to sweat slightly, so she removed her lavender headband revealing her blonde braided hair. “Here,” Tiffany said pushing a Day Lily into her braid. “You almost look as good as me,” she joked handing her sister one of the bags. Sarah looked at the cabins placed throughout and between the Douglas fir trees while walking back towards the camp. Some were derelict and boarded up, while others looked as if they were newly built.

They made their way past the expansive campfire area, enormous logs were placed around the area for seating. “Amy is not going to like this,” Tiffany squirmed, lifting her bag and showing Sarah that it was full of ash. She threw the bag back to the ground and the sisters laughed as ash lifted into the air. They choked but continued to laugh, and they ran towards Meadow who was sitting on the steps of the cabin soaking up the sun’s rays. Sarah asked, “do we choose our own cabins?” to which Meadow, lifting her tinted sunglasses up onto her head, “any of the cabins that are colour coded -blue is for the camp leaders,” she explained, before sliding the rose coloured glasses back down over her hazel eyes. “The red is for the kids” she concluded, smiling at the girls.

While Sarah and Tiffany made their way up a path towards some of the blue coded cabins, Amy stepped out of hers. She was tense, her arms were folded, and a tiny crease line had formed on her forehead. She removed her ruby headband and pushed back her hair so it was out of her face. While readjusting her headband, Tiffany passed Amy her bag, she snatched it out of Tiffany’s colourfully decorated hands. “What is this?” she cried as she noticed her halter-neck top was half out of her bag and full of ash. Tiffany and Sarah were hiding their smirks very well as Amy completely lost her cool.

Sarah’s shell bracelets rattled as she lifted her hands protesting her innocence. Amy glared at Tiffany before storming off into her cabin, dragging the bag behind her. The sisters made their way up a path overgrown with ivy to two separate cabins. “It’s so hot!” Chad shouted, running out of his cabin before removing his torn white t-shirt. The summer sun baked its glorious rays down as the beautiful boy removed his powder blue bell-bottoms. “Skinny dip time!” he shouted as he ran towards the loch, his impressive appendage flopped back and forth.

The girls looked at each other and laughed as they removed their clothes, “I can’t get this damn boot off!” Tiffany moaned. Tears of laughter were rolling down Sarah’s face while Tiffany had one leg up in the air and one on the ground with her bum on show for all at Branwen Loch. Tiffany screamed as Sarah ripped off her boot causing her to fall bum first between some bushes. “Is it nettle?” she screamed showing her sister her red bum. Sarah had no air left from laughing, she just shook her head and grabbed her sister by the hand. The girls ran towards the loch, Sarah’s multi-coloured floral henna tattoos stood out on her pale skin. The sisters jumped into the calm but cold Branwen loch, and Chad laughed as they shrieked from the cold. “Come here,” he joked, “I will keep you both warm.” Sarah splashed Chad as Tiffany swam out towards the middle of the Loch. “Don’t go too far,” her sister cautioned, but Tiffany kept swimming.

The sun’s rays burnt down on her naked flesh while the cold water gave her goose bumps. She turned to see Chad dunking her sister. Tiffany was lying on her back and just floated on the water. “Are those mini icebergs I see?” Robby yelled, mocking her small breasts. She gave him the finger before swimming back towards them. By the time, she had got to her sister, Robby had removed his clothing, he grinned at Tiffany. “Don’t do it,” she cautioned him, Robby decided to divebomb her, missing her by a fraction. Amy yelled out while everyone laughed, she following her insane boyfriend’s actions but couldn’t get her top off over her head and slipped into the water. “Dude,” Robby raised his voice turning towards Chad, “it touched my leg!” Chad laughed as he circled around Robby, “stop it Chad!” Robby complained, before laughing when Chad pretended to hump his leg.

Meadow was walking towards the Loch carrying beers and towels. “A woman after my own heart,” Robby said, before Meadow threw a beer to him, or at him. He pulled himself up onto the side of the dock of the Loch exposing his lily-white bum while sipping his beer. “Amy!” Meadow called out, offering a beer which she declined at the time. “Sarah, Tiffany?” she asked holding beers up to which the girls lifted their arms with open hands.  Amy held her breath and went under the water, adjusting her hair when she resurfaced. Meadow put the towels beside her and passed the beers around, she then sat on the boardwalk and dipped her feet into the water.  Chad was more interested in harassing Sarah and Tiffany than having a drink but the girls were over it. Tiffany put her bottle on the dock and climbed out shaking her head while Chad begged her to climb back in. She noticed a tiny cross tattooed on Meadow’s shoulder, “I had no idea you were religious,” she joked picking up a towel. Meadow smiled, “I’m not,” she answered. “I had it done to piss off a Nun,” The group laughed while Meadow delved into her younger days as a rebellious teen in a very strict catholic school. “Religion is so messed up,” Chad chimed in, “my dad and mom forced my sister and me to go to church every Sunday.” The group sat quiet for a while, the only sound was coming from the canoes knocking against each other. “And look what that turned you into,” Amy said breaking the ice.

“Have any of you heard of the Blessed Phoenix?” Meadow asked, adjusting her sun hat. “Is that the religious group claiming to be prophets?” Chad asked as he climbed out of the water and stretched out on his back in the sun. Chad leaned over and opened a beer, he passed it to Sarah who was still in the water, Meadow took her hat off and covered his private parts, to which he grinned. “Apparently, the leader is some kind of healer as well,” she continued to tell the group. “But by the rumours going around she sounds more delusional than the nuns I had growing up. Chad sighed, “Again,” he said “religion is messed up.”


Some time had passed and Robby had pulled himself onto the dock and out of the water, covering himself with a towel. Amy climbed out laying her soaked top in the sun to dry while she snuggled up next to her guy. Sarah after a few more beers made a more dramatic exit from the Loch. “Here I am,” she sung shaking her boobs, Tiffany threw a towel at her slightly intoxicated sister while they giggled. “We should go change,” Tiffany whispered to Sarah nudging her. Sarah nodded, “We are going to go get changed!” She declared. Meadow removed her hat from Chad’s nether regions and placed it back onto her crimson hair.  Chad watched as Amy stood up and walked towards the cabins, while she put her halter-neck top back on he noticed a tiny birthmark shaped like a musical note on her ribcage. “Stop staring,” Amy called him out, before sticking out her tongue playfully. She walked into her cabin while Robby dressed himself in the path leading towards it. “Damnit!” he moaned looking at the dust on his corduroys. “Idiot,” Meadow jested walking past him with Chad dry humping the air behind her making out he was going to score with her later. Tiffany and Sarah disappeared into their cabins but not before asking Chad how cold the water was. He hastily entered his cabin while they giggled some more.

The sun was beginning to set when Sarah and Tiffany resurfaced from their cabins freshly clothed, Chad strutted out of his cabin running his fingers through his hair. Amy and Robby were already standing by the campfire area, she rolled her eyes at the sight of Chad’s cocky attitude but Robby seemed distracted, maybe it had to do with the tiny amount of white powder resting on the base of his right nostril. The group were pretty mellowed out from the beers in the sun. “Should we start a fire?” Robby asked Meadow as she made her way towards them from the main cabin. Meadow nodded and instructed the boys, passing Robby the axe that was lying next to the campfire. “Go and gather some wood before the sun sets”. Meadow fidgeted with her collection of silver bangles on her wrist.

“Time for a joint,” Chad said as he rolled one, “where is your lighter?” he asked Robby, clicking his fingers impatiently. “You are wearing more rings than all the girls put together,” Robby mocked. Chad lit the joint looking at his stacked rings- tiger’s eye and amethyst stones were set in most of them.  The boys walked off sharing their joint as they searched for firewood. The temperature began to drop with the sun, which was quickly disappearing behind the black mountains.

The girls made their way into Meadow’s main cabin, Tiffany noticed the tambourine behind the desk. “Do you have more instruments?” she asked, and Meadow nodded, “guitars and drums” she said, pointing to a storage closet. “Tonight  will be fun,” Sarah assured the girls, slightly slurring as she picked up the tambourine. It was embroidered, with leather tassels. She ran her finger over the fine embroidery- Sarah appreciated the finer details of things. “Oh, it will be fun” Meadow grinned, she opened her hand revealing tiny green pills. “These should get us all in the right mood,” she guaranteed her female companions handing each of them one.  “We need to put on the lights around camp,” Meadow instructed her fellow campmates, “we also have lanterns if needed” she continued, walking to the cabin door. “We can all go together if you like?” she asked, to which the others agreed.

The girls could hear Robby and Chad arguing about using the dry fallen wood for the fire instead of branches from the trees. “My future husband,” Amy grimaced. Meadow chuckled and sighed in pity, and they walked up to what looked like older cabins. “Are these being redone?” Amy asked looking up at the dilapidated cabins. “They should be in time,” Meadow answered while they walked up the path towards them. “I just like to have the lights on, so in the night I can see my surroundings,” Meadow explained, seeming slightly paranoid. “The lights still work in them?” Tiffany asked surprized. Meadow nodded opening the broken cabin door, she reached her hand into the darkness and flipped on the light switch. She smiled at the girls, “final cabins coming up”. The girls made their way up to the door of a cabin, when suddenly the temperature dropped. “Can you feel that?” Sarah asked, moving closer to her sister as they entered the cabin. “It’s even colder in here,” Amy whined. The light made a zinging sound as it flickered and then finally stabilized. The cabin’s interior was strange, it looked more like a storage unit than anything else.

A stuffed raven was perched on a desk with a myriad of notes and maps of the island. “What is this place?” Amy asked, kicking a red clown’s nose across the wooden floor. “This is the camp’s entertainment storage room,” she explained. “It’s one of the children’s favourite places at summer camp.” Meadow walked to the stuffed raven and picked it up, “who doesn’t like a bit of dress up and role play?” she said in a squawking voice.

Sarah glanced at a dark wooden chest sitting in the corner of the cabin. She walked over to it as if she was being drawn or lured towards it, she inspected the chest’s ball and claw feet. The craftsmanship was immaculate- what looked like gargoyle heads were carved onto each corner of the chest’s lid. She ran her fingers into the wooden beast’s mouth, and as she flipped the lid of the chest, her nose filled with the scent of lemon and mint. Her dainty nostrils flared as she inhaled a combination of exotic fragrances. Sarah pulled out a wide brimmed leather hat from the chest, and grimaced as she found a black full length gown covered in a wax like substance. “What is that?” her sister asked, dropping the heavy fabric to the side as her skin began to crawl. Sarah pulled out a mask of some kind- there was a raven like beak attached to it, the glass-filled eye openings were tinted red. Leather gloves, boots and a cane were all lying in the chest.

“I’ve not seen that before,” Meadow frowned, picking up the heavy gown. “It looks like a plague doctor’s uniform,” she explained to the three girls, now quite disturbed by it. “what is a plague doctor?” Sarah and Tiffany asked in unison. “It’s self-explanatory really,” Meadow answered, “they were doctors sent in to treat victims of the plague.” Sarah stared at the raven like beak, “were they meant to rather scare the people to death?” she asked before laughing.

Amy peered into the chest, there was straw and dried sprigs of lavender scattered at the bottom and a strange wooden heart shaped object. “That’s a planchette!” She said snatching it from the chest, “where’s the Ouija board?” she asked, searching for it. “A plan what?” Tiffany asked taking it out of Amy’s hands. It was heart shaped and had strange symbols carved into it. She lifted it up to her eye and looked through the hole in the middle. Amy pulled it out of Tiffany’s hand, “a planchette is what a psychic would use to communicate with the dead,” she explained. Meadow leaned against a cabinet while Amy filled with enthusiasm continued with her explanation.  “I had a friend in Black-acre College that used one and the spirit from the board told her everything about her boyfriend and it was all true. “What board?” Tiffany asked, “The board you put the planchette on, you ask it questions and the spirit will move the planchette.” Amy explained before a deep sigh escaped from her mouth when she realised that the board was nowhere to be found. She threw the planchette onto the table, annoyed. “I’m glad it’s not here,” Tiffany confessed. “It sounds like witchcraft or something evil.” She admitted.  “It’s only a game,” Meadow assured her campmates before walking to the cabin door. “Let’s go and put the rest of the lights on,” she nagged as she walked out. The girls made their way out the cabin, Tiffany turned and looked at the thick black robe lying on the floor and something about it struck fear into her heart. Tiffany shuddered as she walked out, closing the cabin door behind her.

The smell of burning filled the air along with the smell of a joint. Chad and Robby were making surprising progress on the campfire. The branches could be heard crackling in the flames as the boys stacked the fire.  “Wicked,” Robby said, proud of his fire making skills. He was chopping the last bit of wood up with the axe when he said “the munchies have hit me bad,” rubbing his stomach. The girls finally finished switching on all the cabin lights and made their way to the campfire. Meadow vanished into the main cabin briefly and then came out with blankets and more beer. “Get the crisps, please” she asked Chad, who eagerly obliged, running into the cabin behind her.

The sun had almost set when Chad came out with bags of crisps, cheese straws and a guitar under his arm. Robby almost knocked Chad over, ripping the cheese straws out of his hands, and crying out “feed me!” He laughed satisfying his munchies while washing it all down with a cold beer. “You were chopping wood?” Meadow teased, “in the state you’re in?” Robby nodded proudly strutting back and forth. The girls laughed at his acting, but he loved the attention. The girls all took their party favours that Meadow had given them and washed them down with beers.

They all sat around the campfire, the girls were huddled under blankets while Chad tried to play some tunes on the guitar. Robby offered the girls a joint, which they declined. They were becoming extremely intoxicated, and became louder as the night progressed. Robby disappeared into the darkness for a while and then resurfaced seeming higher than usual, his pupils were dilated and he was chewing his bottom lip. “Let’s go find the Ouija board,” Amy begged Meadow much to Tiffany’s dismay. “Come, let’s go” Meadow told Amy grabbing her hand, dragging her back towards the cabins.

Sarah slouched over slightly before stumbling off into in the opposite direction; her body had had enough alcohol, the boys laughed as she retched besides one of the Douglas fir trees. Amy and Meadow were searching in the cabins for the Ouija board, “let’s go back to where the plague doctor’s uniform is,” Amy suggested, “that’s where the planchette was so the board should be in there somewhere.” Meadow agreed and they made their way back to the cabin. “Where’s the robe?”, she asked, pushing open the cabin door, Amy ran up to the chest and the entire plague doctor’s uniform was missing. “One of the boys must be messing with us,” Meadow giggled. The stuffed raven was now sitting on the planchette, Meadow and Amy looked at each other and smirked. “This is Robby’s handiwork,” she assured Meadow, lifting the raven. She looked at its chipped beak before putting it back down and retrieving the planchette.

Meadow was looking in the drawers of the desk for the Ouija board, but with no luck she moved onto the storage cupboards. Meadow and Amy searched the cabin inside and out but could not find the board. “Maybe there is no board?” Amy suggested while an intoxicated Meadow was deep in thought. “I’ve seen it,” she whispered to herself, “I think I know where it is!” she shouted as she grabbed Amy again by her arm and dragged her out of the cabin. The intoxicated girls stumbled towards the main cabin laughing and screaming.

Tiffany asked Chad to help her carry her sister to the cabin so she could sleep it off; Chad simply threw her over his shoulder. Chad groaned as he heard Sarah throw up over his shoulder. They got her to the cabin and laid her down on a single bed. “You know I have always liked you,” she slurred, trying to cop a feel; Chad laughed and kissed her on her forehead. “Get some sleep flower child,” he teased, while Tiffany stood and watched from the cabin door. Chad put his arm around Tiffany’s neck as they walked out, “your sister likes me,” he said and Tiffany frowned, “in her state she’s probably chatting up the bed post right now.”

Meadow and Amy had got their hands on a flashlight and made their way towards the tents by the loch. Meadow opened a wooden crate next to one of the tents. “Told you,” she said smugly, showing Amy the lid of the crate. It had the alphabet painted on with numbers from zero to nine. “Someone went to the trouble to actually make one,” Amy pointed out before Meadow handed it to her. “Let’s play,” Meadow said mischievously, running back towards the campfire, with Amy following behind. Chad had just lit another joint which he was sharing with Tiffany, while Robby was staring into the flames of the campfire. “We found the board,” Meadow gushed. Amy held it up to show everyone. Tiffany looked towards her sister’s cabin, she thought she saw someone standing in the window, “I think Sarah is up,” she groaned, “I better go and check on her.” Chad pulled her back, “she is big enough to look after herself,” he whispered, nibbling on her ear. Her skin became riddled with goose bumps and she giggled and pushed him away. Amy positioned the board on one of the logs. “Planchette” Meadow ordered, putting her hand out to Amy. “Planchette!” Amy laughed, handing it over, like a nurse handing a scalpel to a surgeon. Robby was still staring into the fire and seemed completely out of it. “Are you playing?” his woman asked, to which he gave a smile, “yeah,” he answered, and he walked over to her. Chad gazed at the board, “I’ve heard a lot about these things growing up in church,” he explained, “they say whatever you call can bring seven of its own kind with it.” Robby looked at his best mate and frowned. “Church really did mess you up Chad,” he kidded. “We have all heard some kind of story about these things,” Robby said trying to comfort his friend, “It’s nothing more than a game.”

The group sat in a circle and folded their legs, “everyone put your index finger on the planchette,” Meadow instructed, Chad looked at the faded board and Robby was swaying from side to side as if he were on a boat. They all put their index fingers on the planchette. Tiffany laughed nervously at Chad making spooky ghost sounds. “Concentrate,” Meadow instructed, with a slight smirk on her face. She closed her eyes for a moment before peeping at the others from her right eye. “Is there anyone here,” she asked staring at the planchette, “we wish to communicate with the spirit world,” she continued. Everyone concentrated on the board. Robby studied the perched ravens drawn above the words Yes and No.

“We wish to communicate with the spirit world,” Meadow repeated. Tiffany and Amy stared intensely at the planchette and concentrated on making contact with something from the spirit world.  Tiffany gasped when the planchette moved slightly, “you did that!” she cried accusingly.

The others were silent.  “Who are you?” Meadow asked, “where are you from?” The planchette began to creep over the letters. Chad silently mouthed over the letters the planchette hovered… “I. A-M. M-E. I am me,” Chad said, stringing the letters together. The planchette began to move at a much faster pace. “I am here,” Chad read out again, and then the planchette stopped abruptly. “Where are you?” Chad asked, before the planchette moved swiftly again. “Behind you,” Chad read. Tiffany let go of the planchette, shrieked, and looked behind her. Robby laughed, and Amy responded with a punch, and said “It was you Robby”. Her boyfriend swore he was innocent.

“I saw something in the darkness,” Tiffany said alarmed, but on a cocktail of beers and cannabis no one took her seriously. Meadow asked Tiffany to put her finger back on the planchette, but she refused, saying “I’m going to go check on my sister and walked away. “What is your name?” Meadow asked, but the planchette didn’t move at first, but then slowly started to gather momentum again. “I am me,” Meadow read, “but who are you?” she asked the board. The fire flared from a gust of wind that suddenly entered the campsite. “A-K-A,” Meadow spelled out, “your name is Aka?”. Robby called out for Tiffany to come back. “It has a name!” he shouted but Tiffany slammed her sister’s cabin door shut.

The planchette began to move robustly. It spelled out A-K-A repeatedly, and the boys became bored. “Let’s stop this now,” Amy insisted, lifting her hand from the planchette. Robby copied his girlfriend and Meadow responded by putting both her index fingers on the planchette. “I don’t think you should be doing that,” Chad warned, removing his finger. “Let’s forget about it,” Chad persisted, “let’s play some music, get to know each other better.” His flirting was way off, and any charm he   aimed Meadow’s way was rebuffed.  Meadow stared at the planchette as if she was in a trance, asking again “What is your name?” she asked.

The planchette did not move. “What is your name?” Meadow repeated and to the boys surprise the planchette began moving “A-K-A M-A-N-A-H,” Robby spelled aloud. “Aka Manah?” Meadow asked, and the boys laughed, “your spirit is more wasted than we are.” Meadow glared at Chad and Robby and stood up, she put the board under her arm and walked towards her cabin. Amy looked at Robby and gave him a disapproving look before going after Meadow.  “You forgot this!” Chad shouted waving the planchette in the air, Meadow did not turn back, but simply flipped them the bird and carried on walking.

Chad turned and threw the planchette into the fire, and a deep, sinister moan echoed through the trees around them. Meadow and Amy span around fearfully, and Tiffany and Sarah opened their cabin door and ran out, hearing the same thing. Chad and Robby stood in disbelief as the moan faded into the wind.  “Did we take acid?” Chad questioned Robby. “I don’t remember”, Robby replied. The girls all flocked to the campfire. “You wanted to play with that spirit board!” said Tiffany, blaming Meadow and Amy. “What was it?” Sarah slurred.  “It was the wind,” Chad insisted. “Yeah,” Robby agreed, “do you think it was your Aka Manah,” he laughed nervously. The storage cabin door swung open, startling the group. “It’s the wind,” said Amy reassuringly. “Let’s just go to bed, Tiffany,” Sarah begged her sister. “Good idea,” Meadow said turning towards her cabin, “tomorrow is another day.”

Chad walked up to Meadow and put his arm around her while Sarah and Tiffany were talking to Amy, “do you want me to stay the night to look after you?” Robby chuckled. Meadow removed his arm from her waist, “if you had less of this,” she said grabbing his crotch “and more of this” she explained grabbing her boobs. “Then you could stay the night,” Chad stared at her in disbelief, and she winked at Amy and walked off. “I don’t mind if you swing that way baby,” Chad called after her but Meadow was not going to entertain his childish antics.

Meadow was putting on a brave face, she was worried about what she had seen and heard, and worried about what the board spelled out. She walked into her cabin and shut the door. The smell of lemon and mint filled her cabin, and on the cabin floor straw was scattered everywhere.  Meadow glanced at her bed, and noticed the black robe from the storage cabin sticking out from underneath it. “Robby…” she muttered under her breath, and walking up to her bed she pulled at the robe, but found it would not move. With both of her hands she pulled forcefully, and fell backwards as she heard the moan again, this time in her cabin.

Meadow trembled as the robe swirled in a snake like manner and rose from the floor. It stretched out its black leather glove as its cane slid out of its overcoat into its hand. It chipped the wood on the floor by tapping the sharp-edged cane before it tilted its wide brimmed leather hood backward, she could hear sniffing coming from its beak-like mask. It glided back and forth a few inches from the floor while observing her. “Amy!” she tried to scream but her voice failed her, Meadow fell onto   her hands and knees, and tried to crawl away. She could hear the leather from the uniform creaking as it surged forward. Meadow crawled up to window beside the record player and looked out at her campmates as the beaked menace stood tall behind her.

Blood spilled to the cabin floor as the doctor thrust its cane into her spine. Meadow heard her vertebrae crack as it twisted the cane. As the feeling in her legs began to drain away, her knees buckled, and she fell to the floor, dragging the record player with her. The record player burst into life, and “White Rabbit” played as she lay on the floor.  The doctor stretched over and inspected her. She could see nothing behind the soulless, tinted glass eyes.  Blood trickled from Meadow’s mouth as the doctor rubbed its raven like beak against her cheek. Meadow lifted her hand and tried to pull off its mask but it pinned her hand down, and she cried as it ran its cold leather glove from her neck to her breasts.

Outside by the campfire the others heard the music play “She is so pissed at you two,” Amy laughed, waving her finger at Chad and Robby. “I’m going to go check on her,” Tiffany decided, with Sarah following suite. As they walked up to her cabin the music stopped, and the lights dimmed. “Maybe we should leave her,” Sarah suggested, steering her sister towards their own cabin. Uneasy, Tiffany gave into her sister’s suggestion, but kept looking back at Meadow’s cabin. “She will be fine,” Sarah promised, as they entered their cabin. “Am I sleeping with you two tonight?” Chad said as he jumped up from the seating area. “Or am I sleeping with you, Meadow?” he called loudly. Amy, who was sitting next to Robby on one of the logs pulled Chad by his shirt.  “Go to bed,” she advised. He frowned at Amy before walking away in a sulk. “Too much to drink,” Amy whispered to her guy as Chad walked off towards the Loch. “Leave him,” she warned Robby, she had grown tired of him always running after his friend. “Let him sleep it off in one of the tents,” she joked, “or in the sand.” Robby smiled, he kissed her and groped her behind cheekily. “Let’s go for a walk,” she teased, grabbing his hand and placing it on her breast, “I’ve been dying to get you alone all day,” she flirted . “You don’t have to ask me twice,” he laughed, picking up a lantern. They strolled into the darkness unaware of the evil that they had summoned to The Sanctuary.

Chad was sitting at the edge the Loch. The sound of the water lapping against the wooden pilings made him feel queasy. He gazed at the tents ahead of him.  Squinting into the gloom he smiled, for in the darkness he saw a figure slip into one of them. “I knew you would come around,” he declared smugly looking into Meadow’s face emerging peeping from the tent.  Chad stood up and meandered towards her. Chad leaned his head into the tent and grinned, Meadow’s scarlet hair pierced even the darkness; she was hunched in the corner with her back towards him. “What are you doing here?” he whispered playfully, reaching to touch her shoulder. “What are you wearing?” he murmured feeling a waxy substance on her coat.

He stepped back in alarm as Meadow rose tall, he gazed at her red hair as she towered over him. “Who are you?” he asked, knowing it was not her. “I am me,” a hoarse voice whispered. Chad turned to run but tripped on the lining of the tent. “Help me!” He shouted, turning to look back at Meadow’s face. Fear and adrenaline coursed through him. He noticed she was not blinking, and her eyes were glazed. The creature behind discarded Meadow’s head, throwing it into Chad’s lap. He screamed, and turning again to flee the creature grabbed his calf with a vice-like grip.

The tent tore as Chad was flung through it; he landed between a pile of rocks, and looked down at the blood pouring from his leg. Blood was seeping from deep gashes where the creature had grabbed him. He heard a creaking of leather and saw the monster leave the tear he had made in the tent. “What are you?!” Chad shouted as he tried to stand up, the muscles in his calf were shredded and were dangling in the soil. Chad began hopping away from the tent and was shouting out for help.

“What is going on?” Tiffany asked her sister, hearing Chad’s shouts. She opened the cabin door, his screams becoming more desperate. Tiffany and Sarah gasped in disbelief as they saw a black shape swoop towards Chad as if it were an enormous bird. It then perched itself on a branch in a nearby tree. The creaking of leather seemed to fill the campsite and only then did Tiffany realise what it was. The plague doctor pointed its cane towards her, as if marking her.

The doctor’s cane dropped suddenly from its hand, landing with a hollow thud into the ground. “Look!” Sarah yelled, pointing at the cloak; it was falling to pieces. Chad turned as the mask fell and bounced lightly off the ground. The heavy black coat followed falling into the dirt.  The whisper returned, and soughed through the trees. Chad stood motionless between the campfire and the girls; he stood up straight, turned and walked mindlessly towards the black bundle of clothes. “What are you doing?”, Sarah screamed. Tiffany tried to hold her sister back but she couldn’t manage it. Sarah ran to Chad and tried to pull him back, but he turned on his heel and slapped her with a flat hand against her right ear. She whimpered falling to the ground.


Tiffany made her way to her sister’s aid. Chad began stripping off his clothing, turning to look at the back of his leg. He pulled his calf rigid, grabbed the hanging flesh, and without even a wince, tore it from his leg…  Chad lifted the cloak and began putting it on. He turned to the girls and sneered as he fitted on the leather gloves. Tiffany had already helped her stunned sister to her feet, Chad had in the interim slipped on the black robe followed by the waxed overcoat.

Tiffany started to flee with her sister as Chad ripped his feathered earring right out of the lobe. He pulled the mask over his head, completing it with leather brimmed hood; he picked up the cane. Tiffany and Sarah fled screaming, Tiffany’s bright coloured skirt was nothing more than a deadly beacon in the darkness. Chad/the doctor darted between the trees hearing Sarah’s ankle bells tinkle. The sisters ran among the overgrowth between the trees, when Sarah cried out, Tiffany came to her and put her hand over her sister’s mouth. Sarah pointed down to her feet- she had stood on a broken beer bottle and the blood was pouring out of the sole of her foot.

“I can’t go on,” she whimpered. Tiffany turned to see the plague doctor standing a few yards away, watching them.  “Why are you doing this?” she screamed at her supposed friend, now wearing the strange uniform. The doctor simply stood. “Who are you?” Tiffany screamed realising that it was no longer Chad and in an instant the plague doctor was in front of her face. She cried as its mask moved, “I am me,” its hoarse voice hissed while straw and lavender falling from beneath its strange beak. “Please,” Tiffany begged, but seemingly unmoved, the creature struck her leg with its cane, bringing her to her knees.

Sarah’s hand clasped a rock, and she tried to strike at the entity, but she was too slow. It struck her, and she was flung several feet before hitting a log which she tumbled backwards over.  The being had Tiffany by her throat, lifting her several feet from the ground. Sarah heard Tiffany make a stifled scream, but by the time she struggled to her feet her sister and the black being were gone. She heard her sister scream again, this time in the distance. Sarah hobbled back towards the glow of the campfire. She saw that something was watching her. It was not the plague doctor, but something else. Its white powdered face peered from the darkness grinning with brown-stained shattered teeth before vanishing. “Is this just a bad trip?” she questioned aloud, looking again, but this time there was nothing.

Sarah had reached the campfire. “Tiffany!” she called again and again, but her sister was nowhere in sight. Suddenly the campfire flared up, burning brightly and intensely. Sarah glanced upwards momentarily, and squealed in horror.  Tiffany was hanging naked stretched in the canopy between two tall trees suspended between the trunks with ropes.

The words “AKA MANA” were carved bloodily into her sister’s chest as she dangled like a fly in a spider’s web.

Sarah felt something strike her back, and turned to find it was a lump of flesh, a human tongue. Her stomach churned, and she began to cry hysterically. She glanced back up to her sister but Tiffany’s mouth was not bloody. The doctor walked from the shadows, pointing its cane at Sarah. “Please,” she pleaded but the creature continued to walk towards her. “Please just stop!” she appealed and to her surprise it stopped in its tracks. It dropped its cane to the ground, and Sarah asked “please let me go, “I just want to go home.” Sarah’s mind began to shut down, and her mental state began to break, she cried and pleaded over and over, with exhaustion consuming her.

She glimpsed at the axe next to the seating logs. The doctor slowly walked up to her, and it put its hand out invitingly. She could smell pine and mint amongst other scents as it looked up at her sister. Sarah stealthily retrieved the axe while the plague doctor began to make a muffled noise. She grabbed the axe and screamed, and swinging wildly she plunged the axe into the creature’s neck. Blood squirted from the wound as Sarah ripped the axe from its body and struck again.

She laughed hysterically as lunacy took over her mind. She struck repeatedly at the creature’s neck until finally she had decapitated the monster. She dropped the axe before dropping to the ground herself, she let out a harrowing scream that echoed through the trees. The sky was beginning to lighten with the breaking dawn. Sarah lay there wondering what happened to Robby, Amy and Meadow. She couldn’t believe what she had encountered, what she had survived. She stood and wiped her tears, but could not bring herself to look back up at her sister.  Sarah sat in front of the dying campfire and caught her breath. She sat for a while trying to process everything when she felt something hit against her back.

Sarah turned her head and looked to the ground, she whimpered noticing one of Chad’s rings lying by her foot. She twisted her body and gazed up at a headless plague doctor, it swung the axe and it landed with a deep thud into her head. Blood frothed from her mouth; she tried to speak but could only mouth what she wanted to say. The doctor put its foot against her hip, and her body jolted as   the axe was torn from her head, leaving a wide gash. The creature reached into her cracked skull and pulled a portion of her brain as if to inspect it. Sarah dropped to the ground. The doctor squashed the grey matter between its leathery fingers.

The doctor strung her up by her hands and feet like a puppet and hung her next to her sister, it sniffed the air before whispering, “I am me.” As the sun rose over the black mountains its rays stretched over The Sanctuary revealing the most terrible of scenes.

A beige campervan pulled up to the cabins, and doors could be heard slamming as a silver haired woman walked onto the grounds. “What have we here?” she asked. Several men and woman stepped out of the vehicle. She turned to the sound of laughter coming from behind them, it was Amy and Robby. They had got lost while looking for a quiet spot to spend some intimate time together, they ended up quite a distance from the campsite. They had no idea what they were about to walk into. The silver haired woman walked up to them, and asked “do you know what happened here child?” Amy was confused. Robby started to panic and began running towards what looked like Chad’s head lying on the ground. Amy gazed at her friends hanging from the trees, and let out a faint cry before passing out.

“Wake up child,” Amy heard, as the woman tapped her cheek lightly. Amy opened her eyes and found herself in a cabin. “Where is Robby?” She asked frantically. “Don’t worry about him child, he is fine” she assured Amy. “He is outside with the rest of the flock.” “The flock?” Amy was confused, her mind racing, and it didn’t help that her head was pounding. “Is Robby your husband?” she asked. Amy sat up, and said “no, he is my guy.” Amy was feeling unsure, and wanted to leave the cabin; she just wanted Robby by her side. “He told me that you two were not here last night,” she explained, and Amy nodded. “Yes,” she mumbled, remembering what she had seen.

The woman passed her a glass of water. Amy grimaced at its strange bitter taste “It’s a good thing you were not,” the woman continued. Amy frowned at her. She was dressed in a red and gold kaftan. “You have been out for several hours,” she explained. Her long silver hair contrasted with her youthful appearance. “Admiring me child?” the woman smiled. Her pale blue eyes were the kindest eyes Amy had ever seen. “Let’s get you back with your guy,” she laughed, leading Amy out the cabin. Amy looked at the doctor’s outfit being carried into the cabin. “Where was that?” she asked, but the woman did not answer. Instead she led Amy to the roaring campfire. “My name is Cassara.” Amy could smell something terrible. “My child your eyes have been touched by sin,” she said, parting Amy’s sandy-brown hair from her face. “Your soul has been touched by sin,” she continued, laying her hand on her chest where her heart lay. “What are you talking about?” Amy snapped, pushing her hand away. Cassara nodded, “you need to be purified,” she stated, as her flock closed in around her.

Amy’s fear heightened when they began to chant. “Where is Robby?” she asked anxiously, the flock chanting around her. “Purify,” they chanted repeatedly. “I am Mother Phoenix,” Cassara explained, “we are the Blessed Phoenix.” “Blessed Phoenix!” Thought Amy remembering, the conversation about the prophet. “You are the prophet.” The flock cheered at Amy’s words and Cassara smiled, “my name has travelled far I see,” she said modestly. “Where is Robby?” She insisted again. “Behind you,” she answered with an angelic smile. Amy turned and screamed, looking at Robby’s remains in the fire.

“We need to purify your soul from evil,” she preached. Two men grabbed her and tied Amy’s hands and feet behind her back. Cassara leaned forward and kissed Amy on her forehead. “May God, forgive you,” she whispered. “Ascend to the heavens my child.” Cassara pushed Amy into the flames, she screamed as the fire ate away at her skin like a ravenous predator.

She could feel her blood boiling and her skin peeling. In her last moments, she watched Cassara clap and sing as she burned. Amy regarded the cabin as her flesh peeled away from the bone and saw the doctor staring at her from the window. It pointed at her with its cane, before the flames finally engulfed and devoured her.




Maya’s Nirvana

Maya's Nirvana

The sun shone its rays upon the east village on Black Mountain Island; not a breath of wind or a cloud was in sight. Car doors could be heard slamming shut as a dark skinned girl ran to the front door of her home.

“Mummy!” she whined as she jumped up and down. “I need to go to the toilet,” she pleaded.

Her mother smiled. She rubbed her hand over her daughter’s braided hair before searching for the keys to her front door, she bit her bottom lip noticing the key was not in her bag. While her daughter crossed her legs and jumped up and down she searched for the spare key on the ledge above the door. She sighed as it wasn’t there, but then she remembered that it was under the pot plant to her right and smirked. She lifted it to find the key and opened the door.   The girl whizzed past her, straight up the stairs to the bathroom. While her daughter was upstairs she went back to the car to collect her groceries and her phone rang.  She tried with one hand to get it out of her bag and ended up dropping her toilet rolls on the pavement. She sighed while picking them up, then swiped her phone screen as she noticed a missed call from her husband.

A message then appeared on her screen asking where she was. She walked back into the house carrying her shopping, and cursed as she almost fell over their tabby cat.

“Stella!” she shouted as the cat hissed at her before running off into the lounge.

After putting her bags down on the granite kitchen counter top she turned to her radio.

“Where is it?” she asked out loud as she laughed. Her husband had plugged it in on the other side of the kitchen for some reason.

She switched the power on and began unpacking her groceries.  She paused as she heard about a woman escaping custody from the police station, deemed dangerous and unstable. What is this world coming to? she thought, as her daughter came running down the stairs.

“Mummy,” she giggled peeping at her mother from the staircase. “Can I ride my bike please?” she politely asked as she batted her little eyelashes.

Her mum laughed as she saw herself in her six-year-old daughter.

“Not for long Nirvana,” she explained as she looked at the time. “It’s three o’clock now, so at four you will need to come in, have a bath, and get ready for dinner.”

Her daughter was already half way out of the back door.   As Nirvana rode her bike in the backyard she poured herself a glass of Merlot from the bottle that was already waiting on the table.  She took a big gulp before slumping down into one of the chairs. She pulled out a new recipe book and flipped through the pages as she stretched out her legs.

She contemplated making Beef Wellington. The fact that it was always a challenge for her to get the beef fillet just right did slightly put her off though, but she was an optimist.

“We will try tomorrow,” she spoke to herself as she got up. “Damn it!” she moaned as she spilled some Merlot on her white jeans.

She kicked off her heels and took her jeans off. She stood in her underwear while soaking the stain in her sink. Her daughter returned and laughed at her silly mother.

“Do I still have time mummy?” she asked as her mother looked at the clock.

“Fifteen minutes,” she said, “and stay away from the garden gate,” she warned her daughter. “Mummy where did your jeans go?” she asked mischievously.

Her mum grinned as Nirvana waved goodbye to her and ran back outside. She blotted the stain with soda water and then decided to leave it in the sink for a while.

She walked to the pantry and became agitated as she noticed her husband had been rearranging things in there as well… then she could not remember what she had gone into the pantry for. Maya laughed as her head was feeling slightly fuzzy. One glass and I’m buzzing she thought to herself as she walked back into the kitchen. She looked at her daughter playing in the garden through the kitchen window. Maya walked up the stairs to get changed but felt disorientated; she made her way into her bedroom and stared at her large antique cupboard.

She stripped off her bright orange top and found a teal tunic dress to slip on. She turned to admire the embroidery on the dress before returning downstairs into the kitchen.

“Nirvana!” she shouted knocking on the window. “Time to come inside,” she ordered, as her daughter rode up and down ignoring her mother.

Her attention was drawn to the front door as she heard someone knocking. Maya opened the door to find no one there.

“I’m hungry Mummy!” her daughter shouted from the back door.

“I’m coming!” she responded.

As she turned her back to the door, she gently pushed it and then walked away, without realising that it was now left ajar. She walked into the kitchen where Nirvana was sitting at the table.

“I’m so hungry,” she told her mother, hitting her tiny hands on the counter.

“Let’s get you in the bath,” she said smiling, “and then mummy will make you something to eat.”

The little girl ran out of the kitchen and up the stairs towards the bathroom. Maya searched her bag once again as she heard her phone ringing, yet again she got to it too late. Her phone beeped as a voice message popped up on her screen. She swiped the button as she poured herself another glass of wine.

“Maya,” she heard her husband’s voice, “Where are you?” he asked.

She laughed, thinking about how paranoid he was, just because she never made it to her phone on time he probably thought she was dead in a ditch somewhere. She sent a message to her husband explaining that she was at home but as she sent it her phone died.

“Where’s my charger?” she moaned as she looked for her phone charger.

“I’m ready mummy!” Nirvana shouted from upstairs.

Maya put her phone on the counter and walked up the stairs to find her daughter standing next to the bath which was almost overflowing with bubbles.  She laughed and checked the temperature of the water before she bathed her child.  As she dried her off she wrapped the towel around her and draped her over her shoulder. Giggles escaped from Nirvana as her mother galloped into her bedroom. While her daughter dressed in completely mismatched clothing Maya looked out of the window at an old woman standing in the road. The years had not been kind to her face and her hair was not groomed at all. She was just standing hunched over watching the house.

“Mummy can you put my slippers on?” her daughter asked.

Maya helped her daughter with her slippers and then towel dried her braids. Before they left the room Maya looked back out of the window but the woman was gone.

They walked towards the stairs. Maya stopped as she heard a door creaking, then walked into her bedroom to find the cupboard door open. She frowned as she walked up to it, closed the door and turned the key in the lock. Maya walked out of the room and again heard the door creaking. She walked back into the room to find the cupboard door open again. She walked up to the door to lock it but the key was gone, she looked down at the key lying on the baby blue plush carpet. As she bent down to pick up the key a hand from beneath the cupboard grabbed hers. Maya shouted out in shock as she leapt backwards. She stood and stared at the cupboard for a moment; tiny beads of sweat began to form on her forehead as Nirvana came into the room.

“Mummy!” she moaned, “What are you doing?” as Maya picked her daughter up and left the room.

She shut her bedroom door behind her as she made her way hastily down the stairs. Maya knew she should not have been drinking since she was on antidepressants.  She remembered how close she was to losing Nirvana during her pregnancy and how it caused her to spiral down into a dark depression. She had hallucinated in the past but nothing had ever felt so real as it just did.

“Put me down silly,” her daughter said pulling her mother’s cheeks as she giggled.

Maya put her daughter down and picked up the half empty glass of Merlot.  She poured it down the drain then ran the tap for a while. She looked up at the time.  It was five thirty and her husband would be home by seven. Maya looked for something easy to prepare as Nirvana pulled playdough out of her backpack that was lying next to the stairs. As she kept herself busy Maya began to boil some pasta as she put minced meat on the stove.

“Spaghetti bolognaise,” Maya sang to her daughter.

“That’s my favourite, mummy,” she declared as she rolled out her bright yellow playdough.

Maya heard a knock on the door, she walked out of the kitchen and switched on the light in the passage as the sun was setting. She noticed the door was ajar, she cautiously opened it to find no one there again. This time she shut it tight and locked it before going back into the kitchen. Maya walked over to the sink and retrieved her wine glass; she poured herself another glass knowing that she shouldn’t, but she was feeling more anxious than normal.

She sat beside her daughter and sipped her wine, she had forgotten that her phone battery had died and just watched her daughter have a discussion with what looked like a duck she had formed out of the playdough. Maya’s eyes were becoming heavy and her head began to drop back as she drifted off.

She jolted as she sat upright, a puff of rancid smoke came from the pot and pan on the stove. As she pulled the pan with the burnt mince off of the stove she looked at how the water had all boiled over and out of the pot with the pasta, the kitchen smelled horrendous. She looked up at the time, it was eight o’clock.

“Nirvana!” she shouted out as she looked at the playdough lying scattered on the grey floor tiles. Maya ran towards the lounge to look for her daughter, she flipped the light switch but her daughter was not there. She ran up the stairs and searched her daughter’s room, picking up another piece of playdough from the bedroom floor. Maya cautiously turned around in Nirvana’s room as she heard the cupboard door creaking. She slowly walked from her daughter’s room towards hers, pushing open her door to find the cupboard door wide open.

“Nirvana,” she whispered as her clothing on the hangers moved slightly. “Nirvana,” she raised her voice as she stormed towards the cupboard, she began ripping the clothing off of the hangers until there was nothing left. “Nirvana!” she screamed as she ran out the room and back down the stairs.  She made her back to the lounge and looked behind the sofas because she knew Nirvana loved to play pranks on her. Frantically she passed all the photos in their gold frames as she rushed to the back door. She walked out into the garden. It was already dark but her daughter was nowhere in sight. She broke down as she re-entered the house, then cried uncontrollably as she searched the entire house again. Maya walked into the bathroom and found some soil smudged into the beige carpet.

“Please Nirvana!” she pleaded as anxiety took hold of her.

She began to feel dizzy as her heartbeat pounded in her chest. With every beat panic filled her soul, the realisation began to set in that her daughter could be in danger. She made her way back to the kitchen, searching for a phone charger and grabbing her phone. She ripped open the drawers but nothing was in its place. The drawers fell crashing onto the tiles as she desperately rummaged through them. Maya stared through the kitchen window as she heard the gate open, she sank slowly down towards the ground as two large dark figures made their way towards the back door. Maya crawled to the light switches and stretched her arm up the wall, switching off the downstairs lights.  She could hear whispering voices. Maya then crawled as fast as she could towards the back door. She shook as she turned the key locking the door.

Maya could hear footsteps approaching as she rested against the door in the dark. She whimpered as the door handle began to rattle. She crawled backwards towards the kitchen. She looked up through the back door’s cottage panes as the dark figures dispersed.

As Maya crawled on the cold tiles she stumbled across a large carving knife.  She grabbed onto it and held it close to her chest as she heard glass breaking upstairs. She stood up and ran towards the lounge as someone started banging on the kitchen window. Maya switched off the light before she lay her back against the wall in the corner, sliding down behind the sofa as she heard someone walking upstairs in her daughter’s room. Heavy footsteps made their way from Nirvana’s room across to hers, and then her hands began to sweat as she heard the top stair creak. She silently cried as she heard someone walk down the stairs. The light glowed from the kitchen as she heard the switch click; she watched as a shadowy figure made its way to the lounge door. She gripped onto the carving knife as they stood in the doorway. She held her breath while hearing the back door rattle, the figure darted off towards it. Maya slowly stood up, she was bewildered and did not know what to do.  She crept across the lounge floor towards the door, she heard voices as the back door was opened. She stood with her back against the lounge wall and waited in the darkness. The stairs creaked as she heard someone running up them. Maya could see a shadow approaching, thanks to the light from the kitchen.  She gripped the carving knife handle tightly in her right hand as she put it up to her chest.

“No one is upstairs,” she heard a man shout from above as a hand stretched around the corner in the dark, feeling for the light switch that was not even a centimetre from Maya’s arm.

As the intruder’s fingers touched Maya’s elbow she struck her arm around the corner, the carving knife jolted as she felt it slowly sink into the person. Maya could hear a slow groan as she pulled her hand back with the carving knife left behind. She heard a loud thud and looked to find a woman lying on the floor, the carving knife went through her neck. The woman was trying to call the man, but no words only blood bubbled from her mouth, she pointed towards the top of the stairs as Maya pulled the carving knife out of her throat exposing her oesophagus.

Maya needed to find Nirvana and if that meant killing the man upstairs she would do it. The woman grabbed Maya’s leg but her strength had already left her. Her hand dropped to the ground as Maya walked towards the stairs.

Maya crept up the stairs; she cringed as the top stair creaked. From her bedroom came the man; he ran towards her shouting. She tried to run into her daughter’s room but he grabbed her and bashed her spine into the corner of the door. She dropped the knife as he grabbed her by the hair and pummelled her head into the wall. The sound of the man’s heavy breathing eluded Maya’s ears as it was replaced with an incessant ring. She looked at the man’s face as he began choking her, the fear in his eyes made no sense. Maya managed to dig her right thumb in the intruder’s left eye. He screamed out as she felt her thumb become enveloped by a warm mushy substance. He let go of her as she looked at the remains of his eye on her thumb. She frantically grabbed the carving knife as he began running down the stairs holding his left eye closed. Maya ran after him and sunk the knife into his neck half way down the stairs. He stood still as she twisted it and shoved it in deeper. Maya screamed out as her body went into survival mode, it was kill or be killed, she cried as the man dropped to his knees and then tumbled down the stairs.

“Nirvana!” she shouted in desperation, “Come to mummy.”

She watched as the man got onto his haunches, he shouted as he stretched his hand back and pulled out the carving knife. He stood up and looked at the woman lying on the ground, he whimpered and then rage filled his screams.

“I’m going to make you wish you were never born,” he threatened as he began walking back up the stairs.

Maya ran into her bedroom, she looked at her cupboard as it slowly creaked open; confusion filled her mind as all her clothes were back on the hangers.

The man entered the room, the lightbulb burst when he tried to turn the light on. He looked at the antique cupboard and observed the door was moving slightly. He slowly crept up towards it, with carving knife in hand he stood before it. He lifted the knife as he used his left hand to open the cupboard door. He slashed with the knife fanatically before he ripped the clothing out of the cupboard to find she was not there.

“Hey,” Maya whispered behind him.

As he turned she struck a five-inch stiletto heel into his ear. She heard a crack as he dropped to his knees. Maya turned to her dressing table and grabbed an oak jewellery box. She struck the man against his head before repeatedly striking the box against the heel that was lodged in his ear. She screamed out striking the box down one last time and finally stopped when the heel protruded out of his right eye socket. She threw the jewellery box down, she cried bitterly for what she had done but more so for her daughter. Maya walked towards the stairs, she looked down at the front door as a blue light shone through the front windows. The step creaked as she stood on it, Maya began to lose grip of reality as her front door was broken down. She watched as armed police entered her home, with guns in hand they surrounded the bottom of the stairs.

The police Sergeant of Black Mountain walked in as Maya took a step down towards them.

“Stay where you are,” she cautioned Maya.

“My daughter,” Maya whispered, as she ignored the warning and walked down to the next stair.

The Sergeant told her unit to stand down as she pushed through.

“Are you Maya?” the Sergeant asked as she walked up onto the first step.

Maya nodded, “My daughter,” she repeated herself.

“Sergeant Moffatt,” the Inspector said to the Sergeant as she rested her hand on her handgun.

Maya broke down as she held onto the hand carved wooden balustrade. Sergeant Moffatt slowly walked up the stairs, her trigger hand at the ready.

Maya sobbed for her daughter as the sound of a car could be heard pulling up. Maya looked to the door and saw her husband; she cried out as she put her hands out to him.

But he stood there in apprehension, “Maya,” he said as the police Sergeant cautioned him not to come up. “What have you done Maya?” he asked.

Maya was making no sense, she hit her head into the balustrade as she cried for her daughter. Sergeant Moffatt stood down as the man explained to her who he was.

“I am her psychiatrist,” he explained to which Maya seemed confused.

“Why are you saying that?” she screamed at him, as he made his way up to her. “Why are you lying?” she shouted, as he grabbed hold of her. She sobbed as he held her.

“You need help Maya,” he said as he tried to console her.

Sergeant Moffatt opened the holster to her gun as Maya became agitated trying to push the man away.

“You are my husband!” she shouted repeatedly. “Where is Nirvana!” she wailed.

They began to struggle on the stairs, so the Sergeant pulled out her gun but she was hit back by the psychiatrist as Maya pushed him.

She had had enough; the blonde Sergeant might have been petite but she was as tough as nails. She walked up the stairs and grabbed Maya by the extensions in her hair, she pushed her face down onto the carpeting of the stairs as she handcuffed her.  As they detained Maya she begged for them to search the house for Nirvana.

“She is hiding away because she is afraid,” she assured everyone.

They all looked at the psychiatrist to which he just shook his head.  As they took her down the stairs Maya looked into the lounge, now with the lights on she noticed the picture frames had people in that looked familiar, people that were not her.

As the body bags were being removed, Maya realised the people in the pictures were the intruders in her home.

“They broke into my house!” she screamed, as she was pushed towards the front door.

“Don’t you remember me?” the Sergeant asked to which Maya looked at her with a blank expression on her face. “You broke out of my custody this morning,” she explained, “This is not your house.  You do not have a child,” she continued, as the psychiatrist tried to console Maya.

“You lost your baby on your last trimester,” he explained as they walked outside. “You have never gotten over it Maya.”

She screamed as the Sergeant was putting her in the back of the police car.

“They were intruders in my home!” she yelled, convinced that she had done nothing wrong.

“You were the intruder!” Sergeant Moffatt shouted at her. “You came into their home and killed them for no reason,” she declared, as she pushed her into the car and shut the door.

The psychiatrist asked for immediate transfer to the hospital but the Sergeant wasn’t having it.

“We will see what the Chief Inspector says down at the station first,” she said, as she climbed into the police car.

She pulled away with Maya screaming in the back of her police car.  The psychiatrist followed suit, as the remaining police officers put up police tape marking out the crime scene around the house.

A few hours later the smell of blood was still fresh in the air, a light flickered on and off in the kitchen as the radio switched on. The sound of silence played as a child could be heard giggling upstairs.

“No silly,” her voice whispered in the darkness as the antique cupboard door creaked open…