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FIRST MONSTER

NosferatuXXXFIRST MONSTER
by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Copyright 2013

Deep in the night while everyone slept, five year old Ankar sat on the foot of his bed.

His feet dangled over the floor as his hands firmly gripped the edge, ready to launch himself off … if need be.

Meanwhile, with his head tilted slightly to the left, so his ear was pointed to the source, Ankar gave his closet door a wary side-eye stare.

Something moved in there, the soft noise woke him up. Now there was silence but Ankar was certain that, whatever it was, was biding its time.

It waited for Ankar to let down his guard.

Ankar was pretty sure he knew what was in his closet. The same thing he saw with his Uncle Terry that night his parents were out on a date. Over the salty goodness of fresh hot buttery popcorn and sweet icy cool lemonade, they watched an old movie with music for sound and nothing else. No color, no talking, no noises, just the music and moving pictures. His Uncle Terry insisted Ankar read the title cards out loud as they came up.

“Why can’t we hear them when they talk?”

“That’s how people talked to each other back then before sound,” his Uncle Terry said.

“But they have sound. Music is sound.”

“Just watch,” Uncle Terry said. “History is important.”

Ankar was certain the monster in the movie was the monster in his closet.

A noise!

Ankar leaned closer, his ear turned and tuned ever more toward the closet, but not so turned that he couldn’t see it from the corner of his eyes.

A rustling sound.

A Monster was in there.

No, THE monster was in there.

All the other times, when Ankar ran to his parent’s bedroom, pleading, pulling on his father to catch the monster, the creature escaped before they returned, making Ankar look dumb.

Ankar wouldn’t let the monster get away this time.

There it was again!

Within the closet, the hangars clattered against each other. Ankar was sure of it: something rustled amongst his clothes.

He launched himself off his bed.

He walked toward his door.

Ankar was brave. Ankar was scared. He was ready to run should that closet door open without him. For such an emergency, he left his bedroom door open before he went to bed. He would fly like a shot if things turned sour.

Having crossed the floor, Ankar stood before his closet door.

He stood in the dim rectangle of hall light through his open doorway. Evenly broken lines of mute glowing wafers guarded against absolute dark. They were stuck to the ceiling for half slumbering night snackers – like his Pop – to navigate their way to the kitchen. That little bit of light gave Ankar courage. He wasn’t entirely in the dark. Not like he was on his bed.

As slowly, softly, quietly as he could, Ankar gripped the closet door handle and slowly, softly, quietly as possible, he turned it.

The door came forward from its frame a bit: resisted. It was kind of stuck.

It was now or never.

Ankar yanked opened his closet door wide.

Blackness, nothing but dark in there.

So dark he couldn’t even see his clothes. Ankar nearly sighed in frustration. Fooled again.

Yet … the light through his bedroom door, from the hall …

Ankar thought, ‘Wait. There is enough light here. Why can’t I see my clothes?’

His small body trembled at the thought. Apprehensively, reluctantly, he slowly raised his face to look up at the towering darkness …

Where a hideous white face at the top, nearly glowing, smiled down at him.

This face smiled without a trace of kindness: Malevolent not Benevolent.

It was the creature from the movie. His monster: Nosferatu.

It was taller than he expected and, while he was too young to turn the phrase, Ankar felt deep within his heart that the creature was confidently capable.

Ankar’s plan of escape quickly evaporated in the creature’s hideous stare. He wanted to run, but feared he’d be easily caught and, whatever the monster had in mind, it would be so much worse if he ran.

But he had to do something!

“My Pop says you’re not real.”

For but a finger flick of a moment, the creature’s sanguine, predatory smile froze then faltered. Its enormously wild hairy eyebrows subtly drew in with concern. Then it regained its composure.

“But,”  it grinned. “What does your Mother say?”

“She told me to ask my Pop.”

Ever. So. Slightly, the Nosferatu’s features crumbled again. This was apparently not good news. Once again the creature thought a happy thought – a private thought that was happy for it – and its evil smile returned.

“Yet here we are,”  the thing grinned so wide that its sharply prominent, ratty teeth, displayed. “So all that really matters is,” and here it lifted its enormous hands, “What do you think?”

The question chilled Ankar into shivering. The creature’s two front teeth were long and sharp as nails. Neither his Mom or Pop were here to protect him from something that wasn’t real, and here was something that looked very real!

“I think-“

“Yesss?”  The creature interrupted him, dragging out the word, the smile stretching.

Doubtfully Ankar continued, “- under the circumstances -“

“Ye-ess?” the creature cut off Ankar again, extending its white, hideously clawed, spidery fingers out, the long razor claws slicing the air into whispers. Each claw curved to point toward Ankar’s face. The Nosferatu wanted to terrify the child into paralyzed fear.

“I think I should do what my Pop says.”  Ankar finished.

“Ah shi-!”  The creature  *popped*  out of existence.

Shocked. Wholly surprised that it worked, Ankar stared dumbfounded at the clothes in his closet.

Then a shadow fell across him!

Ankar looked toward his open bedroom door!

His pudgy Pop, half asleep and holding a glass of water, filled his son’s doorway. Pop’s hair was pillow pulled into an unruly wave of bed head. A bristle of beard dust dirtied his face, and his eyes blinked and squinted at Ankar. His child, standing wide-awake in the middle of the night in front of his open closet. Pop sussed the situation.

“Monster again?”

“Yeah sir.”

“Did you do what I told you?”

“Yeah sir.”

“Did it work?”

Still in awe, for Ankar was effectively surprised that it did, he said, “Yeah…!”

Ankar’s Pop pointed his index finger at his son with a thumb’s up, made a “Click-Click” sound in his cheek, and said.

“Told ya.”

Ankar stared in wonder at his amazing, unkempt hero, who smiled benignly as he closed the bedroom door. As the rectangle of hall light squeezed thin across Ankar’s astonished face, he heard his hero say,

“Now go to bed.”

END

FIRST MONSTER, copyright 2013, E.C. McMullen Jr.
Artwork: FIRST MONSTER. Artist, Feo Amante.
Music while writing,
Edvard Grieg – In The Hall Of The Mountain King
http://youtu.be/hDi8Smb4KeI

If you enjoyed this short story, watch the further adventures of Ankar in the online short film, THE NIGHT MY MONSTER DIED.

wb2016Then come out of the closet and buy my book
WILLOW BLUE.
It’s my second collection of critically acclaimed Supernatural and Drama Thriller short stories with all of the Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem, you’ve come to expect (or should by now). Feature’s the Ankar story, Steven’s Mother.
Available in paperback for $8.00 or in Kindle for only $1.99. Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free! The tales will last you longer than latte!

Want more? Buy

PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection.
It’s a veritable trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller tales – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
Now on sale for $9.00 in Trade Paperback and in eBook for $1.99 and available for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!
Find it at (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, !ndigo, iTunes, KoboBooks, Smashwords, WHSmith, and more).
Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free!

Crave still more?

Then read more about Ankar in, CEDO LOOKED LIKE PEOPLE, in the anthology Fear The Reaper, edited by Joe Mynhardt. Available in Print and eBook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

“Cedo Looked Like People” – E.C. McMullen Jr.: A boy’s strange next door night- and day-divided neighbors make for equally strange – and later disturbing – friendships. This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I’ve read in a long time.”
Amazon Reviewer


Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself, as well as  John Carpenter, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, also the late  Ray Bradbury, Wes Craven, plus many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.

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THE WHEEL

TheGarden

Art by Aron Wiesenfeld

THE WHEEL
by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Copyright 2013

Morning in our kitchen and my big sister Leni was talking futility again.

No one takes her seriously. Mom ignored her and Pop taunted her.

“Ah, the morning’s teen angst!” he mocked theatrically, filling his to-go cup. “What would we do without our Daily. Drama. Dour. Jour?

Mom and Pop shared a warm hug and a kiss. Then Pop gave Grandma a kiss on the cheek, which she leaned into. Scowling Leni got a quick kiss on top of her head, which she shook off.

Pop noticed but in good-nature, took no offense. “She casts aside my affections. Oh, the ta-ragedy of it all!” he wailed, giving me a quick wink and a nod as he walked out the door. His voice trailed back to us, “If ennui wants me, I’ll be at work.”

“Dad!” Leni groused, “You’re such a-!” But Pop was already gone and the door closed.

Leni turned her attention back to the news and deeply sighed. “Nobody understands the hopelessness of the Suicider.” (I was pretty sure she made that word up). Leni shook her head sadly, murmuring. “Eight story fall. Imagine such hopelessness.”

“Such drama,” Grandma scoffed. “Suicide is only for attention.”

Outraged in a snap, my sister nearly shouted, “Attention? You think people kill themselves for attention? That is so crue-”

“Why else would they leave a note?” Grandma posed, unfluttered by Leni’s anger.

Leni’s open mouth huffed in shock, but said nothing.

“But Grandma,” I said, as I was only eight years old then, “How can anyone kill themselves if they don’t commit suicide?”

Asking Grandma anything required patience. Grandma was forever measuring her words and reconsidering them. Her answers were slow and punctuated by thoughtful pauses. Pop said Grandma spoke in ellipses.

“Everyone knows the way,” Grandma said, then turned her head as if in realization. “They know … how to get there,” she explored the thought. A glint of revelation came to her eyes. “Although… they often don’t know when they’ve arrived.”

Grandma blinked, surprised by her epiphany. “So I’ll tell you,” she said.

“Whether you live near a paved street, a dirt road, or just a path, it’s the same. You merely step out of your house at night, and walk to the end of the road.

Take the steps up to the House That Isn’t There. On the other side of a row of trees, you’ll find the -”

“Trees?” Leni snippily interrupted. “Well what if you live in a desert? Or the city?”

“Or just somewhere with no trees?” I added.

“Like Iceland!” Leni erupted. “They have no trees in Iceland!”

“There will always be the line of trees,” Grandma answered. “They are the borderland between you and your destiny. On the other side of the trees, the giant wheel will appear and wait for you.”

Leni was rudely incredulous. “A wheel?”

“What kind of wheel?” I asked.

“The kind you ride,” Grandma intoned.

“Like a Merry-Go-Round?” I asked hopefully.

“Or a Ferris Wheel?” Leni burst in unexpected enthusiasm.

“Either, or something else,” Grandma said. “It will be your wheel.”

“Why a wheel?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Grandma shrugged. “The wheel was the first machine human hands ever made. Hm.”

She turned the answer over in her mind. “Some say machines will replace us. Maybe there is something to the idea that… our own creations deliver us to…” Grandma trailed off, then threw up her hands. “Whatever is next.”

“So you see the wheel. Then what?” Leni asked, now caught up in Grandma’s tale.

“You have a choice. You pass between the trees and take your seat on the wheel, or you don’t.”

Mom stopped her puttering to listen to Grandma and it seemed in that moment, as if  silence physically stood in the room with us, blocking all sound but our own.

“And if you do?” my sister asked quietly.

“If you do, the wheel will turn and take you around, but when your place on the wheel returns, you won’t be in it.”

“Where will-”

“I don’t know where you’ll be, but nobody will ever see you again.”

My sister and I thought about this.

“Wow.” I said in hushed awe.

Leni’s face crinkled up.

“Wait a minute,” she asked, all sneer and sarcasm. “How do you know this?”

Grandma’s eyes looked past us far away to a place we could never go.

“When I was a child, I shared a room with my big sister, Lise. She was never a happy girl, but in her last week, Lise was … different in a way I was too young to understand. It made me uncomfortable and I didn’t sleep well.

One night, Lise got out of bed and, in her nightclothes, walked out of our room, down the hall, down the stairs, and out our front door.”

“I put on my slippers and hurried after her. I nearly caught up, then checked myself. Something about the way she moved kept me back. She moved …  she was …” Grandma searched for the word, then used one of Leni’s. “Ethereal. So I followed apace.”

“Followed a-what?” I asked.

“I followed a ways behind her,” Grandma said. “I was only nine and wearing bedroom slippers, so I felt every pebble, acorn, and twig beneath my feet. But Lise walked so lightly, nearly floating. It was almost hypnotic. My, we walked such a long, lonely way in that cold night. So long I started to wonder if the sun would ever rise.”

“Finally we came to the end of the street. Three stone steps led up from the walk to a House That Wasn’t There. Everything was there for a house. A mailbox, empty property, a barren square for a foundation, even a street lamp to light the house number. But no house.”

“My sister walked up the three steps and, just as she entered the place where the house should be, a circus wheel,” Grandma nodded to Leni, “like a Ferris Wheel, rose up from behind a row of trees. Then it did nothing else but tower over us, waiting, and my sister walked toward it.”

Grandma paused again, remembering the moment. “I felt a dreadful finality about that wheel. When Lise vanished from view, I was suddenly so frightened for her. So scared that I broke from my trance shouting, “Lise!”

No answer.

I hurried cautiously, staring up at that oppressive thing as I neared it. What kind of grown-up would operate such a thing? Who would I meet? And what would he do? Then the Wheel seemed to breathe a sad, rusty sigh, and turned.

I was certain what that meant: Lise was riding that awful thing! I broke into a run, between the trees, shouting “Lise! No!” and arrived just in time to see the big wheel rise her up and away into the dark night.

I stood there helpless, watching the Wheel turn, my sister growing smaller as she slowly rose high up, to the top, and eclipsed the moon.

The moon was so bright I blinked in its glare. I waited for my sister to circle back. As small as I was, I was determined to take her hand and pull her away from this terrible place. But when her chair returned it was empty. Only the prints of her feet remained on the footboard.”

“So what did you do?” my sister asked quietly, once more captivated by Grandma’s story.

“Frightened and alone, I ran home crying, losing my slippers behind me. I ran all the way back down that long, lonely street in the night. Even with such a great distance again, the sun never rose and the moon never moved. And because I was by myself and the night was strange, I thought I must surely be lost.”

“But just as I felt I would never find my way back, I recognized the houses on our street, and ran all the way to our home, back upstairs to our bedroom, and just as I did, I woke up in the daylight and my Mother’s arms.”

“Huh?” I blinked.

“Oh,” Leni said, disappointed. “It was only a dream.”

“The sun rose after all and all was light,” Grandma continued. “My Mother held me… crying on my head… while father and our doctor carried Lise’s body from the room.”

My sister opened her mouth to speak, or maybe it just opened by itself, but no sound came out. Leni only stared as her eyes went wet.

END

Story by E.C. McMullen Jr.

Art: The Garden, by Aron Wiesenfeld. Find aron.wiesenfeld at Facebook.


wb2016Find yourself going in circles? Buy my book,
WILLOW BLUE.
It’s my second collection of critically acclaimed Supernatural and Drama Thriller short stories with all of the Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem, you’ve come to expect (or should by now). Available in paperback for $8.00 or in Kindle for only $1.99. Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free! The tales will last you longer than latte!

Want more? Buy

PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection.
It’s a veritable trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller tales – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
Now on sale for $9.00 in Trade Paperback and in eBook for $1.99 and available for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!
Find it at (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, !ndigo, iTunes, KoboBooks, Smashwords, WHSmith, and more).
Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free!

Crave still more?

Look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt. Available from Crystal Lake Publishing and available in Print for $12.99 or eBook for $2.99.

Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself, as well as  John Carpenter, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, also the late  Ray Bradbury, Wes Craven, plus many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.