Screamscapes: Tales of Terror (28 page)

BOOK: Screamscapes: Tales of Terror
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I’m not sure what to make of this story. I know it came from me, but still it doesn’t quite feel like mine. I have no idea what it means, or if it means anything. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I don’t, but it was a gift from somewhere and so I want to share it with you.

So how did an alternate ending come about then? After sharing the finished story with others, the general consensus was that the original ending was a bit, well, challenging. Eventually, I made the tough decision to change it to the final version published here, and I think the story is more satisfying as a result. But since this story came to me as a complete package from somewhere, I wanted to include the original conclusion along with it too, so you can decide for yourself which ending you like best.

If you love the ending you already read, then I suggest you not read the alternate ending that follows.

But if you enjoy treading deeper into darkness, then by all means, venture on.

Thank you for reading.

-
Evans Light

Curtains For Love
-
original alternate ending

(picking up from final section)

…Unable to resist, he took Sophie into his arms, her porcelain body unfurling into sheets that wrapped around him, locking onto his every limb. Overcome with ecstasy, he collapsed with her onto the floor, consumed by passion.

Knowing this would be their last time together for the rest of eternity, James poured every ounce of his unrequited love and lust into their final coupling, entwined with her for hours until finally, spent and satisfied, sleep pulled him once again into the deep.

In the morning, Claire awoke to an empty bed yet again. Furious at being abandoned by James for the third night in a row, she rushed to the room at the top of the tower, her bathrobe flowing out behind her as she stomped angrily up the stairs.

Claire stormed into the room expecting to find James asleep on the floor with no clothes. Instead she found his clothes, but no James. They were neatly folded and stacked in a pile in the center of the otherwise empty room. On top of the stack sat her engagement ring.

Claire picked up her ring and slipped it back onto her finger, confused. She felt a presence looming above her and looked up. What she saw caused her to instinctively put her hand over her mouth to stifle a silent scream.

Suspended high in the center of the room from the curtain rods that circled it, James hung, face down and naked with a single curtain bound around each of his wrists and ankles.

The fifth curtain was wrapped tightly around his neck just beneath his swollen blue face, dead bloodshot eyes bulging in their sockets.

Claire backed away in horror. As she did, she stepped on a sapphire bead that had come loose from the curtains. Her foot slipped from under her and she fell backwards as she lost her footing. She flailed frantically for something to hold on to, but came up empty-handed.

She staggered across the room as she tried to regain her footing. The cool glass of a window pane felt reassuring against her palms as she planted them in the center of the red stained glass heart.

The window steadied her for a moment, but the momentum of her fall was too great a burden for the single pane to bear for more than the slightest instant, and the glass shattered around her hands.

A sparkling explosion of tiny glass shards followed Claire as she plunged through the now gaping window on her journey to the lawn that lay waiting far below.

A fleeting look of surprise washed over Claire’s face as she fell. Her mind was having difficulty trying to process what was happening and everything seemed to shift instantly into slow motion, as an enormous jolt of adrenaline pulsed through her veins.

Claire wondered if maybe she wasn’t really falling. She was flying, she was in control. She thought maybe she could just set her feet down on the yard below and walk away. Her senses became hyper-acute as everything around her decelerated, and each fraction of a second began to feel like minutes, even hours.

She realized with amazement that she could see every little crack in the bricks, every single individual grain of sand in the mortar.

Every tiny streak formed in the splatter of bird droppings on the windowsill was vivid and crystal clear. Each was a rainbow of colors, incredibly complex compositions of interlocking swirls and splatters, miniature Jackson Pollock masterpieces.

Claire was stunned by the new world emerging around her, everything was suddenly so beautiful, she felt so alive.

As she fell, the distance between herself and the windowsill on the floor below growing smaller, Claire felt a sense of omniscience wash over her. She could see everything. It was all becoming clear to her now.

Knowledge surged through her at a dizzying rate. She could even tell what the birds had eaten the day before they painted that beautiful design on the ledge. She spotted a cluster of blackberry seeds hidden in the layers.

Yes! That’s it!
She thought.
And the bird that made that cream-colored sunburst pattern has been eating leftover winter seed from the feeder on the window of the house across the street.

Just when Claire’s newfound state of transcendence was about to catapult her into an entirely higher realm of consciousness, her forehead struck the rapidly approaching stone windowsill with a sharp
thwack
, sounding like an overripe melon hitting pavement.

The impact flipped her body completely head over heels a couple of times midair before she landed on her back atop the sharp iron cross in the front yard, the exact spot where little Sophie had met a similar fate twenty-five years before.

As Claire lay dying, impaled on the lawn, a little boy and girl walked up to her, holding hands. The colors of the world around them were washed out and faded like an old photograph, but their bodies radiated light. The little girl had a ring of daisies in her hair.

“Who is she?” the little girl asked.

“I don’t know,” the boy replied. “She looks kinda familiar.”

“Then she can be our daughter,” the little girl said, reaching out her hand to Claire. “Come on, daughter. Let’s go make dinner in the playhouse in the woods.”

The Package

E
verything depresses me these days, makes me downright blue to the bone. Even just the simple act of reading the paper serves only to remind me of how far I’ve fallen. I’m a man living at the bottom.

Take today, for example: I hadn’t even had my first sip of peppermint-flavored java and I was already reading about how the man with the world’s largest penis got stopped by airport security under suspicion of smuggling a weapon in his pants.

It must be nice having the biggest dick in the world.

I sure as hell wouldn’t know.

My belly let out a low churning rumble, must’ve been bad chili I had for dinner. Either that or the very thought of my own pathetic, minuscule manhood, quivering in the fetid darkness below my waistband, had sickened me.

World’s Largest Penis
. That’s a title I wouldn’t mind having. God knows the old candy cane ain’t what it used to be, way back when I first got started in this business.

I glanced over the top of the paper and past my bowl-full-of-jelly-belly to the missus at the foot of the bed, still hard at work scrubbing her wooden dentures - her
chompers
, she calls them. It’s hard to believe, but back in the day she used to rock this big old sleigh bed until my head rang like church bells on Christmas Eve.

It’s just sad looking at her now, those two saggy sacks of sand swaying back and forth like dead slabs of flesh in a slaughterhouse. If gravity wasn’t kind to tits in general, then it must’ve been fucking rude as hell to hers, ‘cause I’ve seen beef jerky with more sex appeal. I should’ve sent her off to the Mud Creek Shady Grove Convalescent Home years ago. At this point she was so repulsive that killing her would probably be considered an act of love.

Then I felt it.

It was only the slightest bit of a scrunch and a wiggle in the front of my britches, but I knew instantly what it was.

My penis had just shrunk a little.

The contraction was happening more often these days. I shouldn’t have looked at her, I knew better.

Why had I done it anyway? The loss of length - a millimeter here, a millimeter there - might not be noticed by most men with a decent schlong. But my shrinkage appeared to be permanent, and I didn’t have but more than a few centimeters left to go before it was completely gone.

I tried to resist the urge to look and see how much length I had lost this time, but after a few seconds I sat my newspaper down on the bed and lifted up the waistband on my red and green boxers to check out the damage.

It looked bad, real bad - like a fried pork rind, soggy from soaking in mayonnaise. Even I was afraid to touch it any more. The small pasty worm between my legs appeared as though it had nestled into my white bushy pubes and died alone, miserable and defeated. My little finger could’ve kicked its ass easily if the two had bumped into each other in a bar and got into a rumble tumble.

I let the elastic waistband of my underwear snap back into place and realized with horror that the steady sound of scrubbing at the end of the bed had stopped. A cold shiver scuttled from the back of my neck down along my spine and into my puckered asshole.

She’d caught me looking at my junk.

Crap.

The old bag winked at me as a hopeful look rose in her eyes, a dreamy smile spreading across her withered face. Her floppy jowls made her resemble a basset hound more than anything.

“You want to dig your Claus into me?” she asked coyly and lifted her skirt just enough to reveal what looked like a wet piece of driftwood lurking in the shadows underneath. Her attempt at a sexy voice was a dead-on impression of the evil witch of the west.

She lustily raked her swollen tongue across her crusty lips. I felt my penis shrink some more, but I didn’t dare check the damage again - not with her watching.

I grunted at her fiercely and went back to my reading, to my dreams of someday getting stopped by security with a thirteen-inch trouser snake snuggling the inside of my left thigh. Ah, the sugar-plums I could pop with a mighty tool like that! After a couple of minutes, she sighed in disappointment and shuffled away.

A loud rap on the wooden bedroom door made me jump. The workshop that lay outside the bedroom had been dark and silent for the last few months, so I’d almost forgotten that Bernie was still here.

“Come in,” I said, not even bothering to pull my stained t-shirt down over my bloated protuberance of a belly.

Bernie waddled in, the long grey knurls of his angry thicket of eyebrows curled up over several inches of his forehead. He was the last elf still on duty, since the recent spate of competing Snow White movies had cleaned out the last few remaining staff, who had headed for Hollywood with big dreams of stardom.

It’s not like they would’ve had a job here much longer, anyway. Christmas is a high-volume, slim-margin business, not a charity - and the days of high cotton were long gone. I’d had to lay off just about the entire elf workforce over the last decade, hundreds of them. What had once been a time for joy and celebration in December was now nothing but a savage season.

The lucky ones had gotten jobs in Thailand’s burgeoning sex industry; the not-so-lucky ones I’d found frozen in the snow outside the factory gates. It wasn’t my fault that rising labor costs in China had wiped out the razor-thin profit-margin I’d made from outsourcing in the first place. The god of the razor was a cruel master indeed, and his victims had left a long trail of blood and gumdrops that nearly circled the North Pole.

I couldn’t really justify keeping Bernie around, financially - but I figured Santa was entitled to having at least one elf to boss around; and after he ended up on the sex offender registry in Nova Scotia last summer for inappropriately propositioning a second-grader that he had mistaken for a sexy young elf, there wasn’t really anywhere else for him to go, anyway.

“A registered letter arrived in the mail for you this morning, sir,” he said, handing me an envelope.

“You sure this wasn’t meant to go to Toys R Us?” I asked.

“No sir, it clearly says “TO SANTA” right here,” he said, poking it with his stubby finger.

“Well, I’ll be. So it does. July’s kinda early for a Christmas list isn’t it?”

“That’s what I thought, sir,” he replied.

I ripped it open with my antler-horn letter opener. It was the last remaining bit of Rudolph, may he rest in peace.

Inside was a contract of some sort, a single page of double-typed text with a duplicate behind it, sheets of carbon paper tucked in between.

“What the fuck is this, Bernie? An eviction notice? Because I will pack my sleigh with explosives and fly it into whatever building matters most on Christmas Eve if anyone so much as tries to tell me I don’t own this here land,” I shouted. Spittle was flying everywhere. “Fucking bullets and fire, I promise.”

The veins on my forehead were throbbing. I pushed my glasses up my nose to get a better look.

It read:

“This contract is a binding and lasting agreement between Chamus Dundass of Wombat, Mississippi, and the great Santa himself.

BOOK: Screamscapes: Tales of Terror
4.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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