Honestly I’m not sure why I’m scribbling this down but hey, who knows why they scribble anything, isn’t that the point of scribbles you write what comes to you, and what’s coming to me now is well, just read okay, it’s freaking me out. (Stupid Run on sentences). Still I suppose I should atleast get this out somewhere, so why not here. Lately I’ve gotten the feeling my grandma might be right, ya know about all that crazy non sense about black cats and the jazz. I can’t help but think that the one I saw is to blame, after all why else do I have this nagging feeling all the time. I wonder if the hope diamond ever did this to people, I sure hope not, for their sake. Still I can’t help but shake this paranoia, that something bad is about to occur, that before I know I’ll be another one of those guys dotting the pages of the urban dictionary. People will think I’m a myth, that I just some dude some internet troll decided to make up. But this, this is my way of saying that I am very much so alive, I am real. Perhaps I can’t prove after death, or can I, my grandma used to say that the dead can speak. She said that they can be found roaming places at night, at the time I never believe it, but after the cat, honestly I don’t know what to believe. I suppose I should mention more about what actual happened now, like I said I saw a black cat, then stepped on a crack, never used to believe that stuff. Well now it’s been ingrained in me, first my stuff starts disappearing, one by one first keys, then money, and recently my wallet. Then they move, my car was demolished nearby a tree outside my house. Of course things got freakier after that, reports turned up of people near my house being found knocked unconscious, it’s crazy! News reports are on now, apparently people all over are losing possessions. It’s my fault isn’t it, that stinking Black Cat, well I show folks that urban legends won’t get the best of me. Atleast I hope I will, I mean that’s why I writing this, isn’t it, I don’t know now, it’s all so confusing. You know maybe I should just end this, I mean it is my fault, what if that’s what’s causing this, I should probably, god why I’m thinking this, stupid grandma, but maybe.........
A thud is heard, then silence.
A More Permanent Paradise
"Mud from a river, sand from a cave, grass from a mountain, tears from a slave,"
It was part of a nursery rhyme that all the children learned. It was nothing, they said. Silly talk, muddled gibberish, words mixed up to sound rhythmic together.
"It's a child's song," a young woman protested.
"It is a child's song. It is also a map," He said, and continued on before anyone else could raise a protest. "The men and women who formed this nation for us, they knew that we could not remain forever within the confines of the valley."
They had started out as a small town of settlers, seeking a better life as all settlers do. But over time, the land, grateful for simple humans to come and settle on her and appreciate her, helped the settlers to thrive in the small valley. Thrive and flourish. But now, hundreds of years later, the steep population growth was nearing dangerous levels, and in a few years, they'd all be starving.
"It's a map," He said again, more forcefully. He searched the small sea of faces, all intent, but none believing like he hoped. "The mud from the river, the only river that flows through our valley,"
"These rumors," A wrinkle-faced man right in front of the speaker interrupted. "These rumors, these fairy tales, these superstitions, I've heard. A map, a map, all the dreamers and rogues say. A map for what, a map to where?"
"They are not fairy tales," The speaker said firmly. "We can't live here forever, the dwindling farms are evidence of this. Why would our forefathers bother to fight for their new home just to let their grandchildren and great grandchildren die off a couple generations later? They established this settlement, our settlement, but not to be forever. They intended for us to grow in strength and number, becoming strong enough to eventually venture across the sea, to a more permanent paradise, will you not accept that?"
The fluorescent light buzzed and flickered a bit, and Michael suddenly knew that he was not alone.
He spun, scanning the small room intently. Small folding table, two metal chairs, a potted plant by the door, and the single fluorescent bulb. Empty. Nothing there. But he was not alone. He could feel it. The cold sensation crept slowly up his spine, like a spider. The hair on his neck stood on end.
He had felt it before—this special kind of fear. He had felt it in the dark alleyway behind his apartment last week. He had felt it in bed when he awakened, sweating, in the hours before dawn. It was all the same.
He should never have done the reading, should never have taken that money. He should never have even touched that man. But he had, and it had awakened something…something that pursued him even now. He was never alone.
Michael rubbed his eyes. He had been a professional medium for years, and he had been successful, despite the naysayers—the ones who said it was a hoax, or a scam, or plain superstition.
It was real, and he had had ten years of good practice, ten years of reaching out into…into the other world, relaying the messages he heard there. He had made his money, yes, but he believed that he had also changed lives for the better.
Or at least, he used to. Now he questioned that belief. The last few weeks had been hard to take. Always on edge, as if he were watched by unseen eyes. It had only been a glimpse—just a slight hesitation, but it had been enough.
He remembered it vividly, felt the man’s cold hands in his. They had been sitting in front of his oak desk in his office. The only light came from the lamp in the corner—the readings were easier in the dark, he found. Fewer distractions.
His eyes had been closed, and he had struggled to concentrate for a few minutes. The man sitting before him was pale and thin, and his eyes were strange. Haunted. The man said that he did not believe—he was not a superstitious man, and Michael had nodded and smiled. He had felt uncomfortable even then, but the check the man had given him was good.
Eventually, his breathing had slowed, and he had felt that sense of…otherness…fill him. Sharp, cold. It was like a heavy curtain lifting, letting in a draft. And then he saw the image—a figure, as if through fog. Its face was clear, sad…it told him something, and he repeated it, though he did not remember what it was.
He had felt the man’s hands shudder and twitch abruptly as he spoke, and his own eyes flickered open for a moment—just a moment. It had been so fast, but in that moment, he saw the thing that crouched in the shadowy corner—black against the blackness, looking out through the man’s thin, watery eyes.
His own eyes had snapped shut again, and he reeled backward. The curtain fell back, and the room suddenly felt very close, very hot, as he leaned on the desk. He was breathing hard, almost exhausted, and fear was heavy on his mind. The strange man rose from the chair and left without a word…not a single word…but it had been done.
And now he could not get away.
He was back in the cold, gray room, sweating. He was supposed to have met a client here—one client, after weeks of absence. He thought he could handle it, but now he wasn’t sure. Perhaps it was all a ruse…an ambush.
He moved to the door, trying to keep calm. His hand was clammy on the handle as he tried it.
It would not turn. The door would not open. He tried again, harder, strained until he thought it would snap off. It did not budge.
A sharp, familiar feeling crept into the back of his mind, and he struggled against the terror that filled him, tried to resist. It was strong. Too strong for him. He was open, exposed.
The heavy curtain was wrenched back, the door in his thoughts thrown open wide, and he cried out as his vision clouded. An image rose up in his mind’s eye. Dark and horrible.
It was the black thing that had crouched in the corner. The very same, and now it crouched in the corner of his mind, whispering, whispering.
Murmuring incoherent words that pierced him…A voice like needles—he could not repeat what it said, but he began to understand. It was hard, hard to comprehend…very hard. A pressure was building, pressing on him—another will striving against him.
There was a barrier…a wall. It separated him from the other world, the hidden world. It protected him, kept him safe.
The wall was strong, too strong to be crossed, but he could look across it. Yes, he could see. He had the gift…
The pressure increased, and he tried to resist it. It was terrible, this unknown will. He was weak…too weak.
There was a door, a gap in the wall. He saw it, imagined it. He could open it…he could open the door. It would be easy, just a touch.
He would do it. Yes…yes!
Michael screamed, and the fluorescent light surged bright and brighter above him until it burst in a shower of sparks and glass and the room plunged into darkness.
The door handle loosened suddenly, and Michael nearly fell through the doorway into the corridor beyond. He stumbled forward, down the hallway. The glass double-doors loomed. It was night outside. How long had it held him there?
He threw himself against the crash-bar, and then he was out. Out in the air, staggering in the street. He gasped and heaved, out of breath, and then slowly collected himself.
He was alone. He had escaped the thing—just barely, but he had done it, for now. Somehow he had pulled back the curtain that lay between him and the other world.
He had closed that door. And for the moment—for this single moment—standing in the cool night air in the middle of the empty street, he was free. No fear, no terror.
He was alone, and he was free.
As the European settlers traveled further west, in their meandering exploration of the realm that led to the Pacific, across the vastness of a land that was not theirs, there were encounters with the natives. Tribes of people who had lived off the land for centuries, undisturbed in their rituals and their beliefs, were now stumbling upon pale-faced people that resembled the tribes, only…not. The ancient dwellers of the realm underestimated the tenacity with which the pale-faced ones possessed. Their technology was refined and their ideals of a destiny that would take them to the edge of the continent were unwavering.
The tribes fought to defend their land, but ultimately, they were conquered and either pushed aside or destroyed. One such group, a warmongering tribe that had known the Black Hills for countless generations, would not be removed so easily. They resided among the claustrophobic landscapes of the Dakota's seemingly infinite pines and the midnight black network of caverns carved out by time and nature alone.
In their final days, they called upon a black spirit to protect them from the pale-faced people, a lone entity that witnessed a genocide among the forests and waited…waited to serve the purpose it had been summoned for. Of the few travelers that passed through the remote area in those days, few survived an encounter with the creature. It is said to be a monstrous thing, with obsidian fur that appears to be aflame at all times and the features of an overgrown wolf roughly twice the size of a fully grown grizzly bear. It's swiftness was that of lightning and when it chose a target, that was it. Those few that lived long enough to inform anyone vanished not long after.
As for the creature, there is no information regarding its fate. As far as anyone knows, it continues to roam the darkness of the Black Hills in search of those who dare to step foot in a land not theirs, with a tenacity that will not long ignore a trespasser.
The boy in the shades.
Papers twist in the wind, sticking to flaking light-poles before breaking free and soaring away again.
Three men sit, side by side, each reading the day’s newsy offspring.
The cold wind ruffles the pages, forcing irritated sighs from mouths crinkled by years of work.
On the ground next to the bench sits a small boy with dark sunglasses on, quietly blowing into a small harmonica and easing moans of pain from it.
As the day passes, the pages turn, and slowly the men leave, one by one. Until only the small boy sits in place, still playing the silver harmonica.
The years pass, the newspaper reading men fade away, to be replaced with a rather less crinkled and sigh filled trio.
The small boy now grown into a young man sits against the flaking lightpost, playing the dulled silver instrument with a careless ease.
A familiar tune takes a step down a strange path, and soon the men on the bench tap their feet in time to the beat, rustling the newspapers happily.
The young man hops to his feet and lets the music take him, flowing and riding the musical currents into oblivion.
As the song ends the three old men simultainiously lower their newspapers and look at the young black man standing in front of them. “That was wonderful son, it got a name?”
With a quiet laugh the young man pulls his shades off to reveal unseeing eyes, “Yessir, I call it Superstition.”
I looked the massive creature right in its yellow eyes, it glared back at me, pacing from side to side and snarling.
My flintlock was cocked and loaded, I was always very careful about keeping the powder dry, but it had rained last night, the drops of water dripped slowly and rhythmically from the broad leaves above, and I wasn't confident that I had been successful. The water dripped from the leaves of the canopy above me, and green light shone on the animal's bristling back.
I of all my tribe am the least superstitious. When the women wail and the men cry out against the darkness, I go to sleep by my fire, merely waiting for the dawn. Strange sounds in the jungle to not disturb me, for the jungle is a strange place in all its facets. It is a different world.
My father died when I was very young, he and a few other warriors went into the jungle to hunt. We never found them.
My mother feared the dark canopy of the tall, ancient trees. I went often into the jungle, and played under those trees. My mother didn't know how much time I spent among the shifting green light. I too feared the jungle, but with a reasonable caution, not a superstitious, wide-eyed terror. The witch doctors shook their rattles and donned their masks to ward off the demons rumored to stalk the damp turf. I just loaded my flintlock.
I had used much valuable powder practicing with my gun, walking into the forest and firing at trees, then the rodents in the undergrowth, then the birds in flight. It was worth the time and effort.
When a man disappeared from the village, leaving behind strange, massive prints and drag marks leading into the lush jungle, I knew what I had to do. The medicine man shouted words into the forest, the tribe huddled behind him, the women driven to the stage of fear beyond loud noises. I strode into the shadows of the jungle, between the trees.
And now I find the legends are true. Demons do walk under these green boughs.
But no matter, they have physical bodies like the rodents and the birds. I have powder and lead enough for many. And my father cried out from his resting place, unburied and unavenged.
He would not cry out much longer.