"Tome of Horrors"

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Tawmis
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"Tome of Horrors"

Post by Tawmis » Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:48 pm

Clearly a D&D reference to "Tomb of Horrors."

But I was cleaning out my gmail and found this saved in my writing folder.

So my friend run a Horror Podcast (the review horror movies, tv shows, books, etc). And every year they do a "Writer's Challenge" where they have listeners write a short story using 3 to 4 elements that they pick that have to be in the story.

I am not sure if you're interested (and if you're not, that's okay!) - but I figured I'd send it to you if you wanted to read my story. The school in the story (Harvest Middle School) is actually a reference to Berry Elementary School (which I am sure you know where it is; it's where your dad & I went to school). And "Old Man Edgar" is a reference to Edgar's Farm across the street, which is referenced in the story.

If you want to plunge your mind into the creepy vibe...
My story was written listening to this incredible video for inspiration: here

And with all that said -
___________________________________________

Elements must contain:
Four Female Villains; An Ancient Tome; Kilts; Bag of Marbles or Marble Bag
Tome of Horrors. © 2016, 8/22, to Tawmis Logue

It had been two weeks since the mysterious disappearance of young William Hines. (1)

The small town of Harvest, California had become a media spectacle following his disappearance. Media stations had set up tents all throughout the small town, each of them, seeking to gain the edge over the other. As the weeks rolled on, and no further evidence emerged as to what had happened to young, William Hines, interest turned to frustration, and the ratings rapidly declined. And so, a young child’s disappearance, once all over the headlines, was now, nothing more than a painful memory for those who knew young William Hines, and the bright future he had in front of him.

William’s older brother, Richard, had been devastated. According to the police, young William Hines had climbed out of his bedroom window; a bedroom he had shared with Richard, and yet his older brother had heard nothing.

Richard had been sitting on a log on the Harvest Middle School field. His younger brother William had frequently played over here with his friends, and Richard wondered if William had snuck out to do something foolish with his friend and perhaps been abducted. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his bag of marbles and squeezed out his Sulfide Marble, which had the clay figure of a young man inside. Odd, now that Richard looked more closely, it looked like someone imprisoned within his marble. It’d been one that William always enjoyed; said it looked so life like, and wondered if it was perhaps somehow magical.

Richard clung the marble tight in his hand, his mind retracing all the memories of his young brother, in a blinding flash, of laughter, fighting, and times that they had hung out with each other in perfect harmony. He stuffed the bag of marbles back into his pocket, his hand still clenching the Sulfide marble in his hand. He took a deep breath and then, with a flick of his thumb, flicked it into the circle the children played marbles at; which happened to be a circular map of the world. The marble spun with ferocity that Richard had not put into it when he had flung the marble. As it landed, it spun to the right, quickly veering off the map and behind him.

Sliding off the log he turned around and walked over to the marble and picked it up. As he stood, his gaze fell on Edgar’s Farm. He looked down at the marble, then back across to Edgar’s Farm. “Are you trying to tell me something?” He looked down at his Sulfide Marble, and for the first time, noticed the horrified express of the clay figure trapped in his marble. Richard’s gaze looked across the street once more to Edgar’s Farm. Richard’s eyes squinted as he watched the sun set, and the wind gently whisper, causing the corn stalks to sway.

“Hey, there you are,” a voice snapped Richard out of his thoughts. He turned and saw his friend, David Bagley. “Your mother’s been freaking out, looking for you. You know how she is… ever since…”

“I know,” Richard cut him off. “I know.”

“What are you doing out here?” David asked, looking around, and seeing that no one else was around.

“William used to come out here and play marbles,” Richard said, still holding the Sulfide Marble in his hand “was just thinking of him.” After a pause, he looked at his friend. “Hey, you don’t think that Old Man Edgar had anything to do with William’s disappearance, do you?”

“Old Man Edgar?” David asked a little surprised. He, like everyone else, had heard all the horror stories and tales surrounding Old Man Edgar and his farm. “I mean, I’ve heard all the stories,” David confessed, “but, man, I think they’re just that – stories. Why do you think it’s Old Man Edgar?”

Richard looked down at the Sulfide Marble in his hand, and clenched his fingers around it again. “I don’t know. Weird feeling.”

“Yeah, well, Old Man Edgar’s farm has been giving people a ‘weird feeling’ for years, but he’s never been arrested for anything,” David said, recalling that police had been called to “investigate” Old Man Edgar’s farm repeatedly. It was a shock that Old Man Edgar continued to live in Harvest, California, despite all the harassment he received.

“I’m going to go over there,” Richard said, placing the Sulfide Marble in his pocket.

“Dude, you can’t! Your mother is already freaking out. You know, ever since William vanished, as soon as it gets dark, your mother begins losing it, man!” David tried to convince his friend.

Richard shook his head. “Just go back and tell her you found me. I was at a friend’s house and headed home soon.”

“You want me to lie to your mom, man?” David looked uneasy. Mrs. Williams was one of the most beloved woman; a second mom to David. “You’re going to get in trouble or something if you go across the street, then your mother’s going to know I lied to her.”

“If I get caught, I will tell her that I went over there, after I had talked with you,” Richard said as he began walking across the street. David had wanted to give pursuit, stop his friend; and despite believing all that he heard about Old Man Edgar was indeed nothing more than fairy tales and stories, spun by children and adults alike, there was no denying the uneasy feeling that Edgar’s Farm gave to David. He heaved a deep sigh and began walking back.

No cars drove down the barren road that separated Edgar’s Farm from Harvest Middle School. Richard moved through the growing darkness, as the moon and stars themselves, seem to hide away in the shadows of night, the closer he drew to Edgar’s Farm.

Just as he reached the other side of the street, and placed his hands on the fence to heave himself over, a voice in the dark, startled him. “You’re the Hines boy. The older brother?”

Richard was about to run, assuming it had been Old Man Edgar himself, but found that he was frozen with terror. His eyes squinted in the sheer darkness and saw a figure – an old man – approaching him. He was certain he was in trouble, but to his surprise as the figure had come closer, it was not Old Man Edgar, but Old Man Edgar’s neighbor, Randy. “What do you want?” Randy called out.

“It’s a shame what happened to your brother,” Randy said, coming closer. “I don’t know what you’re planning or what you’re thinking. I couldn’t imagine losing my brother. Not knowing where he is, if he’s alive or dead. But I don’t think Old Man Edgar had anything to do with it.”

“What makes you so certain,” Richard asked.

“Old Man Edgar, he’s… been around for a long time… he’s eccentric, to be sure,” Randy said, itching his head. “And he has an odd collection of things that interest him and that he buys with all his money. But I don’t think he’s the crazy, old man, dealing in occult and sacrifices. He may have books on it all, sure. It’s a hobby to him. He’s tried to talk to me about it, but it’s just a little… too out there for me to wrap my head around.”

“What if his hobby has become something more than ‘just a hobby’,” Richard asked, feeling more relaxed, but could still feel his heart pounding in his chest; feeling as though Old Man Edgar might be watching the entire exchange from one of the windows in his ancient, Victorian home. “After all, my brother would make the third disappearance. First there was Everett Black. Then the following week, Trevor Morgan disappeared. Something’s going on.”

“Something is going on,” Randy agreed, “but I don’t know that Old Man Edgar, as you kids affectionately call him, is out there sacrificing children in his yard.” Randy saw the doubt in Richard’s eyes and continued, “Because I am sure we would have seen something from our house if he was involved in some sort of… witchcraft… or Satanic practice…”

“I… just need to find out… for myself…” Richard said, looking at Randy. He knew that Randy could turn around and call the police and inform them of what Richard was trying to do. It would be the civil thing to do. The right thing to do.

“What makes you think Edgar has anything to do with your young brother’s disappearance, anyway? Besides all the stories – and they’re just hat – stories, about Edgar?” Randy asked, feeling exasperated, wishing to deter this young man from getting in any trouble with the law.

“It’s… going to sound… really stupid,” Richard flushed red in the darkness of the night. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his Sulfide Marble. “My brother… used to believe… that this marble, because of the figures inside… was magical… And I was sitting over there,” he made a gesture, pointing behind him, towards Harvest Middle School, “where my brother always used to play marbles; and when I shot this off, it kind of did a weird spin, and rolled behind me… so when I picked it up… I was facing Edgar’s Farm… I thought it was… maybe a sign from my brother…”

Randy heaved a deep sigh. “Listen to me, boy,” Randy warned, “if you get caught by Edgar, you and I never talked. We didn’t have this discussion. I didn’t see you. You understand? So if the police come, I don’t get roped into this fiasco you’re insisting on.”

As Randy walked back to his home, Richard heaved a deep sigh of relief. He climbed over the small, metal fence, landing softly on the ground. He waited a moment half expecting to either be shot by Old Man Edgar’s salt gun as soon as his feet hit the ground, or hear Old Man Edgar’s vicious dogs. Neither of which happened. He began breathing normally as he moved through the corn field, zig-zagged his way through, until he suddenly lett out a horrified scream which he tried to stifle by clasping his own hands over his mouth. The Scarecrow stared down at him with hollow eyes that once looked as if they might have been alive. Richard paused to look at the scarecrow and wondered for a moment, if it was wearing the same shirt that William had been wearing when he vanished – it bore an uncanny resemblance to William’s favorite red shirt. Richard’s heart plummeted to the ground; he couldn’t be certain, but it looked like it had been the same one William wore. Now, more determined than ever, he moved quickly and quietly through the cornfield, until he had safely reached the edge and could now see Old Man Edgar’s house, as well as the farm house behind the house.

Richard thought that, if William had indeed been abducted by Old Man Edgar, or worse, that it would have all happened in the Farm House. Quietly making his way to the farm house, he found that the doors had been unlocked. Opening it enough to squeeze into the farm house, so that the doors would not creek, Richard slid in and found that darkness enveloped him, devouring him.

For a moment, he debated screaming and running away; but he had already come this far. He cursed himself for not thinking this through; thinking more clearly, and bringing something – anything – that would have provided light against this bleak, oppressing darkness. He tried to make his way through the dark, but tripped over something and crashed on the floor – feeling the sharp pain of his marbles in his pocket violently pressed against his body.

He reached around the walls and found an old flashlight, covered in webs. He suppressed his scream, as he felt the webs, and jerked his hand away. He took a deep breath, and knew, this would be the only light he would have within the Farmhouse.

He reached for the flashlight once more, knocking it off the hinge it rested on, and let it fall to the brick covered floor. He placed his foot on it, and let it roll beneath his foot several times, ideally squishing any spiders that might have made their home within the webs that covered the flashlight.

Once he was certain – or as certain as he could be in the oppressing darkness – that there was no spiders on the flashlight itself, he reached down and picked up the heavy flashlight. He faced it downward and turned it on, and after shaking it several times, the flashlight flickered on, dimly, the batteries rapidly dying, as if choking in the darkness, it sought so hard to drive away.

As the flashlight’s failing light tried to pierce the darkness, Richard was almost disappointed to see that there were no strange symbols on the floor that might have indicated some kind of sacrificial chamber, so that he could just leave and call the police to investigate further. The flickering light from the flashlight swayed back and forth, like a swinging pendulum, searching for something – anything – that might tell him that Old Man Edgar was somehow responsible for William’s disappearance – and possibly the disappearance of the other two children.

The farm house was relatively uninteresting. It seemed to be a time capsule from the 1940’s, in that the hallways were unusually thin. The cabinets were lower than usual. On the small table, there was expensive looking china, decorated in flowers and bees. Old – and nonfunctioning – clocks decorated the walls, along with an assortment of paintings that looked like they might fall apart if they were touched.

Richard made his way into a room that appeared to be a study. This was where, he could tell, that Edgar had brought his books about the occult and unusual things. The room – unlike the rest of the Farm House, had paintings on the wall that looked like old depictions of things like the Salem Witch Trials. The shelves were lined with books on various things about the occult and paranormal.

One book was open, its golden trimmed pages reflecting what little light, the dying flashlight offered. He moved towards the desk, his fingers tracing the ancient looking pages. As his fingers ran across the pages, his fingers felt unusually cold, as if he had touched dry ice. He pulled his hand back and rubbed his sore fingers together. The ink on the pages was written in a way, that it felt like brail – each letter, in whatever language it was – had bumps, possibly from the ink on the page, and how it had been written.

He couldn’t read the letters on the page; but the upper right hand corner of the page, had large letters that read, “Sluagh” which Richard assumed the pages went into detail describing. Touching the golden trim of the pages, Richard found that he did not feel the stinging cold. He turned the pages, looking through the ancient tome, and saw horrific photos. Among the photos were horrific women, with long, red, flaming red hair that tangled around their bodies, as if made of fire consuming them, burning them alive, their kilts ablaze.

Judging by the photo – whoever or whatever – these cursed women were, were probably Scottish or Irish. Richard could never remember which one of them wore kilts – or if it was perhaps both of them wore kilts.

Beside the book, Richard suddenly noticed a parchment, where it appeared that Edgar – or someone – had made an attempt to translate some of which was written. Richard brought the flashlight up to the parchment, “The Sluagh were Scottish women,” Richard nodded, Scottish. They were the ones that wore kilts. He continued reading, “who were so evil, so foul, that neither Heaven, nor Hell, would accept them. The Sluagh are known to flock like birds, and will seek to enter the house of a dying person and carry their soul away.” Richard found himself feeling awkward, still he continued to read, “The Sluagh, originated in the old lands of Celtic Ireland and Celtic Scotland.” Richard paused, now he was confused again. Which were the ones that wore kilts? He knew he tossed this idea in the back of his head to try and make light of the oppressing, uneasy feeling all around him. Still, he read on, “The dying souls that lay on their deathbed would praying that all the doors and windows were tightly bound against the fierce and dreaded Sluagh, hoping their death would come quickly, before the Sluagh took them away.”

Richard turned the page of the translation, and read on, “There is but one way to stop the Sluagh when they come for a dying soul. Your only hope is to place a glass sphere over your heart, before you die, so that when the Sluagh come for you, they become imprisoned within the sphere, for there are no corners for them to travel with the Westward wind.”

The sound of several women whispering in his ears, started Richard so that he stumbled backwards, falling over a small tome of books that were lying on the floor. The next thing Richard felt was a searing pain through his chest. He dropped the flashlight and looked down. A blade was pierced through his chest; he had fallen into one of the statues that Edgar had collected in this room. He felt panic pounding through his body.

He longed to be anywhere but here. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t pull himself from the blade. His hands grew cold. Clammy. Sweaty. He wanted to cry out for his mother, for anyone, for someone to help him. Only blood trickled down his lips. No words could form.

The small window to the west suddenly burst open. A blinding light seemed to consume the darkness. When Richard’s dying eyes could see again, there, outside the western window, four bird creatures, as large as any man or woman, landed. Slowly their forms changed to appear more human. It was four women, their faces disfigured horribly, as if burned by fire, their bodies riddled with holes, their kilts still smoking from flames that eternally burned the undying souls.

He knew he was dying. He knew now what was in front of him, but he could not believe it. He fumbled for the Sulfide Marble in his pocket in an attempt to place it in front of his heart, but as he took it out, he saw that the marble had cracked when he had fallen earlier… and inside the marble, there were no figures…

He realized now, the marble had already trapped the four Sluagh previously, and because it had cracked, he had set them free… set them free to take his dying soul…

One of them reached out and touched Richard’s dying heart, her twisted smile, with teeth missing, her foul stench breath choking the last bits of life from Richard’s lungs, as she said, “Tha thu a-nis a 'tighinn còmhla rinn, gu buan.”

Richard’s body burst into flame, leaving only ashes, and a broken marble on the floor.

THE END?


1. Back in 2014, I wrote a story challenge for Creepy Kitch (that Child, Balloon & Playground), figured I’d write in the same “storyline/world.” That story is not needed in order to read this story; though this story does make reference to it since it's based on the character from the previous story.

2. To learn more than you could possibly care to know about marbles, visit: http://www.imarbles.com/kindsofmarbles.php

3. My story was written listening to this incredible video for inspiration: here

The creatures in my story are a Scottish horror known as “Sluagh.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sluagh

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