The scream ripped apart the darkness of the night. It was the same scream that had her sit bolt upright in bed. The same that had awakened in her a burning desire to protect. It was a child’s scream, an infant scream of pure terror and it had driven her out of her house and into the forest, searching. For what, she did not know but she couldn’t ignore the pure terror in that voice. It tore the night again and she started to run, the catch in the voice spoke of inexcusable pain, she didn’t know what she could do to help but to sit and do nothing would have been murder.
She ran, stopping was not an option, the noise drew her, called her, was in her blood. Soon she had left the open path and ran on through the undergrowth, snags caught her. She fell. Thorns scratched her. Branches bruised her, but that scream still called her, sometimes it was close, sometime to her left, but always moving, always in front of her somewhere. It was inside her head now, pulsing with her heart, keeping her moving, how could anyone do this to someone so young? It was getting louder now, and changing slightly, but she didn’t notice, how could she? She was obsessed with chasing, finding, helping.
Then the silence fell like a doona on a freezing winters night, muffling all. Her chase ended with the noise and she stood in a glade, panting so hard she almost broke a rib. The silence was almost as daunting as the scream, it to worked it way inside her, infecting her and soon her heart wasn’t beating from the chase. Where were the natural forest sounds she had grown up with and loved? They were always there, in the background, but not tonight, it was different, tonight there was nothing. As she stood listening to the blood pound in her ears she felt something on her arm. Hoping against hope it was a simple, natural spider she brushed at her arm. It didn’t go away, as the touch got firmer so grew her panic, she tore at her arm, but there was nothing to stop, and only her already tattered dressing gown was moved.
The touch turned into a caress and she realised she knew what it was, a hand, a child’s hand, and the voice that had once been a scream giggled. It felt along her arm and was soon joined by another, and another, and another. They were swarming over her, touching, fondling, grabbing, tearing at her clothes, the giggling became frenzied, a crazed cackle which spoke of a lust for pain. They covered her from head to toe but were as invisible as they were real. The scream that broke the night this time was no child’s.
She fled. Terror had gripped her as she started to sweet blood. She flew through the trees, her adrenalin giving her feet wings. As she ran the hands started to lag behind, more and more started to drop off her body which only fuelled the inferno of her feelings, they were back there, somewhere. As the last hand fell off her body her muscles chucked in the towel and she collapsed. She willed herself to crawl to a nearby log; every brush from a stalk of grass froze the fluid in her spine. She curled up as tight as a slate bug and blocked out everything but the tremors of her heart with her knees covering her face.
“Shona,” whispered the singsong voice of child, searching, feeling, for her. “Shona, come and play. Why wont you help me? Why do you hide?”
Her voice caught as she heard this, how did the … thing … know her name? Why did it call her? What did it want? The questions were in vain because she shielded away from any answers, ignorance was easier than the truth. She lay hunched by the log, hoping and praying that it was over, but for a second time she felt the light touch of the first hand. A finger, just a small one, trailed its way up inside her leg, every muscle of hers that it touched tensed as hard as rock. Soon the frenzy of the hands was back, along with squeals of delight, she thrashed around trying to escape but only succeeding in bruising herself. She had to run again, to get away, her muscles burned from the acid being created but she pushed herself and managed a stumbling run. But this time the hands had her scent. They clung to her and the innocent questions or laughter of the child was always in her ear. Adrenalin rose to new heights and she drove herself onwards but nothing would make them let go. They started to push and pull her, causing her to stumble and with one mighty effort they tossed her aside.
As she landed she felt pain. It wasn’t normal pain, it was so intense it cleared her senses and slowed time. The branch passed through her back, tearing skin and muscles, breaking her spine, squiring her lungs and reappearing through her chest. With cleared senses she saw two beautiful green eyes smiling down at her. The last thing she felt was the hands, feeling her wound, exploring it. She died; glad to be rid of her horror. Whatever it was stayed quiet for a while, listening, then satisfied, they left in search of someone else who would play.
Ever wanted to help someone but were too afraid?
Do you feel bad?
Maybe you’re just lucky…
A Story not about …
He didn’t know why. When had also slipped through the greasy fingers of his mind. How was lost in the hazy mist of utter lack of knowledge. Who may have been slinking around somewhere in his subconscious, but Piaz suspected that it had also deserted. What, however, was painstakingly obvious. Painstakingly seemed quite an appropriate word choice, because Piaz happened to be in incredible amounts of pain and also staked to his bed. He was also missing his pancreas, which seemed to explain the pain, but if Piaz’s job had taught him anything it was to never suspect the obvious. Actually, to be brutally honest, that was a lie, Piaz was an accountant and he was always dealing with the routine, but he liked to pretend that he was a private detective or something.
Piaz decided that it was time to get things under control. He was going to act manly and escape. He looked at his options and chose the best one, which was crying like a girl and hoping that someone would hear him. This happened to both succeed and fail, sure, people heard him, but who is going to stop and help a middle age, overly plump, homophobic, balding accountant who had been thwacked with the ugly stick when born, especially when he’s blubbering like a pansy? Piaz realised this wasn’t working so he untied his left hand, pulled out his mobile, called a random number to get help, realised he could untie himself, did so, and promptly hung up.
This story is not about Piaz. It is not about what happened to him, or even about who happened to cause what happened to happen. It is not, and this may come as a surprise to you, about sitting in a log cabin on the slopes of Whistler, sipping pinna-coladas, eating veal parmigiana and watching the fire. It is, however, about that certain phone call that Piaz made and its consequences.
Licola groaned a cough and her body made exactly the type of frothing gurgles that make you want to slowly back away, then turn and piss bolt, from the person excreting those noises. This was terribly bad for the Golden Flamingo, which happened to be a snobby restaurant bordering on the less fashionable and more seedy areas of Sydney. Not surprisingly, the materialistic high and mighty’s of today’s society tended not to venture from their manicured suburbs into these areas, most probably because their Monaro’s would have quickly received some new racing stripes with the help of a rather annoyed bum and a key. This, combined with the fact that the dredges of society who had ‘accidentally’ stumbled onto some money, possibly from the wallet of a Monaro driving capitalist, were afraid of the shine in the silverware, meant that the Golden Flamingo didn’t get what you’d call a solid clientele. That was until they employed Licola as the head chef. Now you wouldn’t really be able to say that they received a clientele, for the simple reason that Bill the blind and deaf regular was not plural, and he was the only one ever to eat there.
Licola didn’t have many friends, but she did have a pet turtle. She didn’t have any friends because she rarely met anyone, for a simple reason. This reason is roughly the same as the reason why a sexy, fragrant, demure warthog with raunchily long and smooth legs doesn’t have any friends. People simply tend to run away from creatures such as these two. On the odd occasion when some poor and unsuspecting victim stumbled into Licola’s restaurant they were quickly sent running (often to the nearest psychiatric ward) by some noises that eked nastily from her body. Not even her family liked her; they were all beautiful people and thought that she was a throwback from way down the ancestral line, possibly even further than the apes. The only reason she still had the turtle is that turtles are moderately slow and cant run away very well, and anyway, she had him in a cage.
Licola didn’t seem to get many phone calls, so the fact that she had a mobile phone would have seemed weird to her friends, if she had any, but she like the thought of people being able to call her and listen to her abusive answering machine. She also liked to play snake. On one particular day when Licola was concocting one of her more deadly recipes for Bill, who was building up quite an immune system, her phone rang. Licola’s nerves had simply not been conditioned for this kind of thing and she jumped, accidentally slicing off part of her hand with a custom-made cheese grater. This made her angry and she started to attack the small, and to be politically correct, North Korean dishwasher with a rolling pin. She had good aim and most of her shots were connecting but with one miss she sent the pot of whatever it was she was cooking, and I use that term very loosely, out the window.
The food decided that it had had enough of this and that it could probably sue Licola with something to do with safety, health or terrorist activity so it crawled of in the direction of the nearest sewer to try and find a good lawyer. After a while of trudging it found its way into the cities water supply, where it killed the chemicals that were supposed to kill the other nasty bugs and proceeded to infect everyone in the city with Ythehelldidntidrinkbottledwater, and they all died a slow and painful death. Except Bill, who had eaten more potent things cold, from a can.
What’s the moral of this story???
Mobiles will be the death of us all, unless you eat really really bad cooking.