Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The gargoyle

Tim left the house after cutting the last of the music CDs for Veron. She'd like this, he thought. He had mixed in some of The Killers and light alternative stuff, and there were folders with jazz. She could be weaned off pop, he told himself.

As he walked down the road towards her house, he felt that the air had become colder and rank, like someone had peed all over the street. He looked around him. There was no one. Maybe it was a coming storm?

Suddenly he felt himself being raised up into the air. He tried to scream, and almost dropped the CDs. He looked up; his jacket was being held by a bizarre creature that was stonelike in composition, with great gray wings. It turned its eyes to him.

"Now how high shall we drop you?" it said to Tim.

"What are you?" Tim shouted back.

"Me? Why a gargoyle."

"But.. why..?"

"Because you are."

"Wait... could I at least get this to Veron first? They're a gift. I promised her. I mean, even if I die she can't live a life listening to Britney Spears."

The gargoyle was intrigued. "Veron? The girl you love? Oh boy... you are such a fool. Very well!" The creature laughed.

"You have been following me, haven't you?" Tim said. "Sometimes when I'm on the way back I hear the sound of your wings flapping. Right now, I can see what they are."

"Yes. I mark my targets well. I don't kill very often. I'm quite selective. And killing random people is boring. It's too... easy," the creature said.

They were approaching the house. "Feast your eyes, young boy," the gargoyle said.

Time looked through the window and saw Veron, but she was almost naked in bed. It made him blush. And he realised there was someone else there with her. A man with a tattoo of a Ford Mustang on his back. There was music playing; he could hear it.

The gargoyle laughed; a sound like marbles going down a staircase.

"So are you satisfied?" it said.

Tim was despondent. "Sam. I should have known." He let the CDs drop. They shattered on the streets below.

"Well you might as well drop me," Tim said. "There's nothing to live for."

"Very well," the gargoyle said, flying ever higher.

"What is it with women?" Tim said. They were very high up now. The houses were getting smaller, and soon they would pierce through the clouds.

"They are a mystery; always have been," it said.

"Wow from this distance I should make a fine little mess," Tim said.

The gargoyle smiled and nodded. "Aye, you would."

And then it let go. Tim grabbed the creature's claws. "Wait!" Tim shouted.

"Let go!" The gargoyle said, shaking its claw, jerking around in spasms.

"Drop me in front of her house!" Tim said.

"You should have thought about that earlier," the gargoyle said.

It flung itself around, trying to get Tim to pry off, but Tim hung on hard as he could, his fingers prying into the gargoyle's stone skin. Tim lifted up his body and kicked out with his right foot at the creature's head; slamming into its face. The gargoyle was surprised. No one had ever fought back before. The next kick pounded into its face, and the gargoyle was now tumbling down the sky.

Tim screamed, and so did the creature. It tried to flap, but Tim continued to kick. Suddenly there was a great splash as they slammed into a pool of water. The gargoyle's body had hit first and broken through the liquid, and Tim followed. The gargoyle tried to flap but it could not. It just sank. Maybe the water seeped into the stone and now it could not flap its wings, or that stone was just a natural enemy of water.

Tim swam up and coughed out huge breaths of water. There was a gash on his forehead. The shore was not far. He wasn't sure where he was, but he knew he had a long way to go back. He was already thinking of what CD to put together when he did reach home.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Garach

It waited in the desert, lazy to hunt. There was little need. It turned it's great head, and his neck strained. Flies buzzed around it's five horns, and it smelled the human and his gift even before it could see him. They always sought it, bringing with them a human head, for the Garach had a gift. After eating the head of a human, it could bring back the memories within, but it only allowed each human to ask three questions of it. Most of the time, the bringer of heads would want to know how the person had died, whether it was by fair or foul play, and whether it had died filled with hate or love. Sadly, it was more often the former. The Garach waited, flicking it's great tongue, eager for the feeding to begins soon.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The creature in the pail

One evening you stay out too late and it's ten minutes to midnight. You reach the train stop and realise your wallet's gone; probably that man who bumped into you earlier took it. The tracks beneath you shiver as other trains pass by. You dig your pockets but there's not enough money to get a ticket. There's no one else around. You go up the staircase to the street to see if there's anyone around, and beneath a flickering street lamp you see him. A man wearing a coat and a scarf with black glasses. He has a red pail in front of him. Something about him beckons you to approach. You step close, checking the watch. There's five minutes to go. The ground shudders again. The air is cold, and you can see why he's shivering.

You ask the man if he has a dollar, and if he can loan it to you for the ticket for the train. He looks at you, and says no, but he thinks there is a dollar coin in the pail in front of him. He says you can put your hand into the water and dig it out.

You stare down into the water of the pail, and in the black water you realise there's something inside. Something sleek and dark and coiling. You can't see exactly what it is, but you can see as it moves about, a coin at the very bottom of the pail, flickering and enticing.

"Does it bite?" You ask the man.
"When it's hungry," the man replies.
"Is it hungry now?"
"It hasn't eaten for two days."
"What does it eat?"
"Oh... anything and everything," he says, smiling, his hands still buried in his pockets. You can't see his eyes.

"The coin is yours if you put your hand in," the man says.
There are about three minutes left. Your hand is poised just above the pail. The black thing inside appears to be squirming more. You ready, and stick your hand in, and suddenly there is an electric sting in your fingers, like they have been pricked.

"What did it do?" you ask.
"I don't think it did anything," the man replies. There are patches and holes in his jackets, and his glasses seem to be cracked, but you can only see the fine web of lines if you lean close.
"You better hurry boy," he reminds you.
You get ready, aim for the coin, and stick your hand down. There is a loud splash, and you dig at the coin. You think you have it, and you feel string-like tentacles gripping at your hand. You pull your arm out quickly, and open your palm victoriously, but there is nothing.

"I guess you missed. Water does that," the man says.

The black thing inside is twisting and turning, making increasingly rapid circles. You can see the coin move towards the center of the pail.

"Quickly. Quickly," he says. You can feel the last train approaching. The ground is shuddering and ripples radiate in the pail.

You close your eyes and stick your hand in. The creature has closed its coils around your arm. Your fingers dig at the coin. You are sure you have it now. You pull your hand out and feel it being tugged. For a moment, you look into the eyes of the creature that has your arm, whose tentacles embrace it as though black string had been poured all over. It opens it's mouth, gasping.

You have the coin and the creature disappears back into the water. The man laughs and you run to the staircase, insert the coin into the machine which gives you a ticket. You run pass the gates and just manage to get through the train door before it closes shut. Only then do you dare look at your arm, and notice that it is bruised and black, and covered with fine bites and cuts, as though it had been dragged through glass, but that is nothing compared to the sight of the creature that had your arm in your grasp a minute ago, with it's sharp, pointed teeth, ready to cling and eat and devour.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The troll

Nizgark spun the motor on the computer. It was annoying that ten minutes of turning would only give a half-hour of time, but it would be sufficient for him to check on the new posts on the half-broken monitor. It was getting lonely under this bridge, and there were few walkers, only those metal carriages, that sped past. So he occupied his time trying to lure folks here by persuading them that the fishing nearby was great, and there were scenic menhirs around. No one was ever persuaded though. He typed in the URL and ventured into the Faerie forums, where he kept in touch with all the various trolls, pixies, brownies and sprites from all over the world. Pickings were slow, magic was fading, and forests were being destroyed. It was depressing to read through the news and posts. Nizgark wandered into the thread where he and the pixie Solthan had been arguing for the past two months about the worthiness of moon mushrooms. He studied the screen as he prepared for his next post.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Monster's Ball

Jeremy 7-leg had been practising all year for the ball, but never with a live partner. He had been too shy, so he made a figure about his height and danced with her to the tango and the rhumba. The last two months, after he had caught enough giant flies to feed on, he had been spending most of the time in an underground barrow, listening to an old tape recorder play Astor Piazzola and watching the dance instruction tapes over and over again. Soon he knew he could be good at it. Previous years he had just watched, but this year he was determined not to be a spectator. He would ask Rosalind 2-heads to dance, and he hoped at least one of them would consent.

The night of the dance came under a full moon. The Bug Orchestra came together and tuned their strings, while the Borg Flea had harnessed fresh spider silk for the strings. When they started to play, Jeremy couldn't stop tapping his feet (all seven of them), but he did not move from his perch. Young bugs in love started flooding the dance hall, and as he listened to the joy in their cries, he wished he was down there as well, showing off his moves. He knew he could do it. But where was Rosalind 2-head? Maybe she was still doing her hair; the blond curled tresses of her left head and the deep red hair of the right. Jeremy tapped his feet.

The moon hid behind clouds and the berry liquor was passed around. Jeremy still had not hit the floor and Rosalind had not emerged. He became to worry.

Then he felt a breeze behind him. He turned and saw it was Sahila broad-wing, the butterfly with glass-like wings. He had known her before she had gone into a chrysalis. The moonlight passing through her wings threw out strange bizarre images, like staring into a kaleidoscope.

"Care to dance Jeremy?" She asked.

Jeremy nodded, and Sahlia grabbed him up. And they danced; and Jeremy showed off his moves and they burnt up the dance floor.

His legs moved vigorously and swiftly. She let herself be led. Soon people were noticing them. They stopped and let them have the floor, clapping along.

And Jeremy smiled as he danced. This was his time; what he had been waiting for. At the end of the night, he was exhausted. He sat in a corner and let Sahlia drape her colours around him, content. She would eat him up by the morning, but he didn't mind. Bugs never lived long anyway, not even the giant dancing ones.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Her parents didn't believe her, but there was a monster under her bed. Every night she would scatter the jigsaw puzzles on the floor and the creature would spend the entire dark putting it together, picking up the pieces with its gigantic gnarled hands that were the size of tree trunks, with fingers each as long as a new pencil. It never managed to finish it before morning though, so she was safe. But she kept on buying jigsaws with more and more pieces, just in case.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The knitting monster

It hung around Mrs Doughty's flat, and it was glad when she turned on the television, which meant there was something to watch. The monster was now a bit old, and could barely even outrun children. It still liked to eat cabbages and carrots, which Mrs Doughty had lots of, so it just stayed close to her. Mrs Doughty was old, so she never quite noticed it in the house. She would just sit in front of the television and knit, watching an endless stream of gameshows and soap operas, many which made her weep, but never cry. Crying was reserved for those phone calls, but sometimes she would laugh too. Mrs Doughty would always be knitting when she watched the television; slow strokes of the needles, the ball of yarn just moving. She looked like she was making a sweater, one of those things that kept humans warm in winter, just that it was about half her size. She was almost done one day, watching television and having tea, when suddenly she began to shake, like having her own earthquake. The monster wondered what was happening. She suddenly stopped, and saliva dripped out of her mouth. The sweater was in front of her, 3/4 done. The monster approached her, wondering if she was sleeping, but she didn't make her usual sleeping noises. It shook her for a bit, and she did not move.

The monster knew what it had to do. It took up the needles, and from the vast amount of times it had watched her, understood what it had to do. The needles clacked and clacked slowly, as it watched television, even when it looked like there was a blizzard on the screen, finishing the sweater.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


He saw the patterns within the incense, and let it flow up. He would make wishes before the smoke, and even though they were mostly small tasks, they would be done. Like finding a lost pen; the smoke would weave its way to it and he would follow.

One day, after a hard day's work where he was scolded by his clients, he just wanted to rest at home. But his neighbours upstairs were arguing again. He was so angry he lit a joss stick and wished that they were dead. The smoke traveled up the ceiling, and soon after, everything went quiet. Hours later, an ambulance came, and he found out that his neighbours were dead. They had been asphyxiated. Their faces were bright red when they died, and the others in the apartment said they had died arguing, as they had lived.

The man was aghast, and surprised. That was the power of the smoke. Soon he wished it upon his stingy boss, or a difficult client. One day, he wanted to turn it upon his wife, but before he could reach the altar, he found the smoke weaving towards him. He saw his wife bent before it, praying, and with a sad smile. The man rushed over but it was too late, as the smoke made its way into him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The dog by the garden

In every culture, there's a story of a girl who wants to cross into a beautiful garden. But between her and the garden is a vicious dog tied to a rusting chain that's just about to break. The girl takes a step closer on the broken, overgrown weed path towards the garden, but the dog sees her and jumps hard towards her. The chain is straining like a wire pulled taut, though you can't hear it over the barking of the dog. The girl takes a step back. In some cultures, the girl returns with meat for the dog; in others the girl forgets the path altogether. In one, the girl returns with a gun and shoots the dog three times. In those stories where the girl makes it to the garden, she smells the flowers and lies upon the warm, fertile soil. The blood of the dog nourishes the garden, and the flowers will once again attract little girls into braving the horrors of the barking, angry, red-eyed dogs.


It knew they were coming. She flitted above the trees and saw the smoke from their torches. There were few places left to hide. Talinn, the woodsman she had enraptured, was sleeping. He was utterly devoted to her, and each evening she would sing a song to once again charm him. She would let him tell him stories, and he spoke lovingly of his son and family. He despised his wife and promised her he would return to the village and get rid of her, kicking her back to her relatives. She smiled inwardly. Sometimes she wondered what it would be like to shed the feathers and wings and take up the clothes these humans wore. What would she do then? Till the land, make bread, and wile away the days held by love?

But she looked upon her wrinkled and withering body and dispelled such thoughts away. Her breasts were sagging and her feathers dull. She was gasping after an hour's flight. A hunt would drain her utterly, and even her voice was getting croaky. It was Talinn's forestry skills that were keeping them fed.

She flew down from the trees. She saw Talinn's worshipful eyes and felt remorse. She could ask him to close his eyes and she would tear into his chest and devour his liver, but she felt an affection for the human. She could hear the others getting closer. They would soon approach the hideout.

"Go back to them," she told Talinn.
"No. I will protect you."
"That is not what I want."

An arrow shot out from the trees. She had failed to notice one amongst their number who had gone ahead of the others.

"Talinn! What are you doing with her?" The intruder shouted.
"Gahan. Go back!" Talinn raised his bow.
"You are enraptured. Do you not see what she is?"
The harpy spread her wings. Gahan threw his spear. It pierced into her side.

The enchantment was broken. Talinn now saw her for what she was. She had only wanted to fly away. Her blood smelled like decayed meat. The pain she felt in her body made her curl up.

"Go... kill me now..." she whispered. The effort of speaking was like having a dagger turned in the body. Her eyes watched Talinn's face. Gahan took out his dagger and handed it to the woodsman.
"Your family has missed you Talinn. Slay her. Be released from her charms."
The woodsman raised the dagger and the harpy could only watch the blade glitter in the evening sky. Her blood continued to drain into the soil.

Later, as Talinn walked back, he could not turn to look at the corpse, only smell its burning. From his eyes flowed tears that seemed to come from deep places within him. When his rescuers were not watching him, he disappeared into the forest again, never to be found.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The magician's rabbits

When the magician retired, he gave his two rabbits to Claire. The two of them looked exactly alike. Claire tried to bug him about how he did his trick, but the Magician didn't want to tell her.

"Telling you would destroy the mystery," he said. He left town and she didn't hear from him again, supposedly retiring in Belize.

Claire kept the rabbits in her room. She let them out during the day where they hopped around eagerly. She fed them well and bought them a larger cage.

The first night after she kept them, she found both of them outside the cage. She checked the cage and saw that it was still locked. She wondered how they got out. She put them in again and left for school, making sure there was enough food and water.

When she came back home they were outside again. She asked her mom if she had let them out, but she said she hadn't had time to clean the room and Claire shouldn't be keeping rabbits. Who knows what diseases they would have?

Claire let the rabbits run around for a bit before putting them back into the cage. She wondered about the tricks the magician had done. How they had been in a box and then disappeared. Was it just a trick? Did they know more? She stared into their black button eyes and asked them. But they just wrinkled their noses in reply.

She pretended to sleep that night but was keeping an eye out on the cage. But at three am her eyes closed just for a moment and the rabbits were outside again. She jumped out of bed. There was something strange happening here. Could they actually be teleporting and going through strange universes like the Magician claimed?

She imagined them leaping in free space, creating portals that they hopped through. Maybe if they wanted to, they could hop to Alexandria's library, or lost cities, or even worlds beyond Earth.

Eventually Claire let them be, and the rabbits would just sneak out of the cage. She never even bothered locking the door. Surprisingly, this seemed to dissuade them from escaping, and they did not escape the next night, or the next. They were essentially normal rabbits now, though they would occasionally find their way to the top of her table whenever she had leftover lettuce or raisins.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The revolving door

It had sat there for ages, spinning people around. Sometimes it was mischievous, and just rotated people around so they couldn't get out until the next revolution. The hotel that it housed at was dilapidated and collapsing, and the doorman was so old the door expected him to collapse any day. The door had seen all types of people pass through; lovers, liars, and just men with no stories to tell. One day it decided it had enough of just spinning and turning, and watching the misery of the people. It decided to do something about it. It would snatch those people it could when no one was looking, and send them to worlds where they would be happier. A woman trying to buy off her loan to her pimp was sent to a village where she had all she wanted, a man fed up with his marriage was planted on an island where women worshiped him, and an orphan child sent to a world where her parents still existed. It never understood that the people it sent never found happiness either, but in the moment that they traveled within it's glassy confines, the door thought it knew what they needed.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The girl with the roving eye

The girl discovered the eye in the restroom one evening. Then she found she could see with it if she thought about it. One day she took it out of her body and it could move on it's own, and she could still see through it. She used it to observe her neighbours in her apartment building. Her mother was sick and they didn't have enough money for the doctor. She wanted to blackmail, but didn't know to start. She saw their secrets then wrote them letters, telling them to leave money at the red flowerpot downstairs. They did as she told them.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The cold man

"He would come by the lounge at night and order a drinks, vodka and limes. He had very little hair, and what was left of it fell from the back of his head to his shoulders. He had sea-blue eyes and a creepy smile. If I had my back to him I could feel him staring right at me, but I didn't tell anyone about him because he always left a big tip. The strange thing was; when I went back to pick up his glass, it was always ice-cold. Not cold just from the ice in the drink, but really freezing.
"He told me not to share his tips with the other waitresses, and I obeyed. One night he got up and walked to the pool, and threw something in the water. Then he told Eric the busboy that it was his keys, and demanded that Eric go fetch it. It was almost midnight and the lights to the pool were off. Poor confused Eric took off his jacket and shirt and jumped in, and he was in there a long time. I just watched and I knew I should do something, but I didn't know what to do. He had tipped me a fifty the previous night. That's like ten times what other people tip. Eric didn't come up for a long time. He dived down twice more and on the third time he came out with the keys. The guy laughed, and took out a hundred dollar bill and threw it on the water. Eric was grateful for it. I didn't make him share it of course.
Later that night Eric died in a car crash. His Toyota plunged down the road and they found him impaled on a tree. When I heard the news, I knew the cold man had something to do with it.
I confronted him the next night; I told him the news, and he just looked at me. 'Do you blame me?' he said.
'You were responsible,' I said.
'How? How was I responsible?' he said, picking up his glass. And he was cold. He was radiating cold. The liquid in the glass was freezing solid.
I turned away and went back. I could hear his teeth crunching his ice. He got up and walked out. I wanted to stop him. I wanted to call everyone in the lounge then; the waiters, the bartenders, the valets to stop him. We would all grab him, and hug him, and our warmth would help unfreeze him, but I realised that wasn't going to happen. I imagined all of us freezing gradually as we piled up on him, our bodies turning into ice. His cold was something he carried, and us, with our doubts, our loneliness, our fears; he would dig it out or us and we would be frozen too. So I let him go and walk away, and never come back. There was two hundred dollar bills under the coaster. I took them, but I never spent the money."