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DISCLAIMER: Deadman’s Tome is a dark and gritty horror zine that publishes content not suitable for children. The horror zine proudly supports the freedom of dark creative works and stands against censorship. Hardly any subject matter is too taboo for this horror zine. As a result, Deadman’s Tome may feature content your mother would not approve of. But she doesn’t control your life, right?
Monster – W.C.Jones
“Dad, there’s a monster in my closet.”
“Son, that’s impossible,” Ron Young said in a half sigh to his seven-year-old son Timmy. The boy was sitting upright in bed, his eyes wide.
Timmy glanced toward the closet at the end of the room, waiting for the sound which had awaken him a few moments ago to repeat itself.
Ron looked to the closet as well and frowned. Representatives from Sammy’s Inc. would visit his office tomorrow and he hated the idea of walking in with bags under his eyes. Besides, the reason was ludicrous; he’d had nightmares too when he was small and all his dad did was storm into the room with blood-shot eyes, throw open the closet doors, and show him it was empty before saying: “Now quit being a little coward and go to sleep.” That’s all he needs, Ron thought, some good ol’ fashion discipline.
He started toward the closet when something caught his eye; it lay upside down on the floor in front of the door, its blue, plastic frame glowing in the light given off by the Power Ranger night light on the wall. He stooped and picked up a tiny toy car and turned to his son. “What’s this doing on the floor?”
“I’m sorry,” Timmy said, pulling the covers down to his waist, “I forgot to put it up.”
“This room gets messier every time I come in here.”
“But dad, it’s only one car.” Timmy looked around the room. In the dark, the blue walls transformed into towering black shadows and the base boards a ribbon of white. Below these lay a sea of hard-wood flooring devoid of anything save a few specks of dust.
“It’s still messy.” Ron turned and tossed the car into an open box in the corner. “Rooms need to be kept clean by their occupants,” he said, turning around to face his son again, “even if their occupants think there are monsters hiding in the closet.”
“But there is one,” Timmy said. “I heard it moving around in there! It woke me up!”
“Enough, Timmy,” Ron said, raising his voice. “It was just a dream.”
Timmy pointed to the closet, his finger trembling. “No, he’s in there,” he said. “I can hear him moving around when you’re gone.”
Ron scowled. “Fine.” He walked over to the closet and grabbed the doorknob. “I’ll prove it to you.”
Timmy closed his eyes as he heard the door open, his mind picturing a large, green hand with claws lunging for his father—his father screaming as the fingers wrapped around him like vines—and waited. Nothing happened. When he opened his eyes, his father stood inside the closet, showered in the glow from the light bulb in the ceiling. He held a large stuffed dinosaur in his hands.
“Is this your monster?”
Timmy shook his head as his father pulled the light string and doused the closet in darkness again. Ron walked toward him, the dinosaur cradled in his arm. Before he reached the bed he threw it against the wall and the toy fell limply into the open box.
“There, it’s gone. Now go to sleep.”
The thick, whiskery mass waited until the footsteps of the larger human receded before poking its small head up through a loose floorboard in the back of the closet. Skin twisted and split down the center of a cylinder-like head attached to a few feet of wiggling purple flesh. Legions of needle-point teeth protruded from a vertical set of dull orange gums while two cloudy red eyes—one on each side of its mouth—fixed themselves on the humans in the distance.
The smell of the child’s apprehension tickled the slit above the creature’s mouth. The thing blinked its eyes twice, attempting to adjust to the sudden change from dark to light.
“But dad,” the child said. “I heard it moving around in there.”
“Timmy,” the taller human said, its voice rising in pitch. “Just go to sleep. There is nothing in there.”
The taller human disappeared into the darkness, leaving the child alone. Excitement coursed through the thin, tube-like body hiding in the shadows. It yearned to sneak up on its prey and sink its fangs in.
It had done so to other children in the past, and never left without taking something from each of its victims. This closet was home, had been since the house’s construction. One by one the children had come to it. The fear of a dozen or more already comprised its being, all of which was taken in the darkness of the night thanks to the toxins it carried. One bite caused instant paralysis, and it secretly loved this; returning to feed on the same victim over and over was an absolute joy, especially when the larger humans didn’t interfere. This made the hunt so much easier.
A sliver of clear liquid trailed from the corner of the creature’s mouth as it watched the blue glow—the very essence it wanted to take away—of the child in the corner.
Timmy fought the sensation of warmth and comfort tugging at his eye lids. Come on, he thought, blinking a few times, trying to push away the softness of the pillow behind his head. Come on Timmy, you can do it—he raised his eyelids and searched the darkness. He found what he knew he would crouching in the shadows, peering at him through a veil of blackness.
Two small bulbs of red appeared and faded again, never reaching forward. This relieved him—At least it hasn’t tried to get me yet—and he pulled the covers up to his eyes, as if the act would somehow slow the thing down, or stop it entirely. The red specks continued to watch him—It’s waiting for me to fall asleep—and coldness crept into his sheets, breaking his arms out in goose flesh.
He wasn’t going to close his eyes, not for a second. That’s all it will take, he thought, his eyelids drooping. The covers slid down as his grip relaxed and—
An image of his father invaded his mind and his eyes shot open; he looked toward the closet. Darkness held its position, unpierced by the faintest shimmer of light. The night light lay on the floor, its bulb broken and its cover missing. Timmy’s mind raced for an explanation for its disappearance. Did it come out and eat it? He searched various areas of the darkness for the red eyes but didn’t find them. His eye lids grew heavy, and a yawn forced its way out of his mouth. He rubbed his eyes. Maybe it went to sleep? Another thought suddenly shoved its way to the front of his mind: Do monsters sleep? He stretched his arms and legs as more thoughts invaded his head. None of them made any sense, but he held on to them as long as he could before his eye lids finally closed and he relaxed into the softness surrounding him.
The rhythmic sounds of respiration sent a wave of pleasure and triumph storming through the two foot long slender body hidden under wood and bedsprings. It extended several sets of legs—each with jagged nails on the end—and crawled out from under the fabric hanging off the end of the bed. Then it craned its segmented head towards the top. There, encased in a thick blanket of darkness lay what it sought.
Upon seeing the child’s chest rise and fall beneath the blanket, a row of thin, curved fangs descended from the front of the creature’s gums and tasted the air in the room. The taller human’s scent was bitter, but it was faint.
Time to strike.
What’s wrong with that boy? Ron stood in the bathroom, staring at his reflection in the mirror. A few red patches across the side of his chin grabbed his attention. He picked up a bottle of facial cleanser, dabbed a few drops on his palm, and rubbed his hands together before spreading a layer of white around his cheeks and forehead.
He gets it from her, he reasoned. Carol was always like that, but she’s gone and he’s my responsibility now. I’ll teach him better than she ever could.
The sound of running water, rolling over and in between his fingers, settled his nerves. It reminded him of taking a shower, an endless flood of warmth seeking out every stiff muscle and tender area on his body. He saw an office room in his mind’s eye; in the center sat a long, oblong-shaped oak table with several men in suits seated around it, staring back at him. I’ll get the deal closed tomorrow, he thought. He had waited for this meeting for months. The clients wanted to negotiate the purchase of a larger building space to expand their own franchise. Ron knew his boss, Mr. Sherman, a short balding man with beady eyes, loved the idea. He’ll make me vice president for this, Ron thought, the water slipping through his fingers. He smiled and turned off the faucet.
Several small, black patches of whiskers he’d missed when he shaved earlier caught his attention when he looked in the mirror. A product of carelessness, he thought. Suddenly the suits in his mind’s eye stood up and began to exit the room, single-file, disgust written on their up-turned noses and blade-thin eyes. “What’s wrong,” Ron asked them in his pressed pants and ironed jacket. A man in a gray suit with a beige tie turned to him and scowled. “How can we trust you with such an important investment when you can’t even shave correctly?”
Ron blinked and found himself standing in the bathroom again. A white hot anger filled his veins with adrenaline, and his father’s face glared back at him from the mirror. He remembered this face laughing at him in the past, its small brown eyes instruments of condemnation. His father always found some kind of fault. Only with my mistakes, Ron thought, my weaknesses. The face scowled at him, its eyes piercing into his.
I’ll show you, he thought. I’ll show all of them! With trembling hands he took a can of Barbasol from the cabinet. Then, like an artist, he painted his masterpiece, taking care to cover every inch of his cheeks and neckline. Smiling at his father’s reflection as he did—it was covered in the same white foam as his—he picked up a razor and began to dismember the remaining hairs.
The slender body wiggled in sync with its many legs as it raised its first segment onto the bottom of the bed sheet, the tips of its claws curving inward to hold the material more firmly. Its ascent took a few minutes. Once, when it was halfway up, the child jerked right with such intensity the thing dug in deeper for fear of falling off. When the moment finally ceased, it continued up, poking holes in the fabric with its tiny claws.
Timmy’s leg itched. He reached back and scratched it, mumbling a few indecipherable words before sleep overtook him once more.
Something poked him through the bed sheet.
He scratched his leg.
The sheet rose and fell as something poked it in several places at once, moving forward in a slow, methodical motion.
Timmy’s eyes shot open.
A glowing pair of eager eyes greeted him. They suddenly blinked and moved apart, revealing something shiny and wet a few inches from his face.
It was at this point, with his mind in shambles, that Timmy let loose a blood curdling scream.
The sound assaulted Ron’s ears. His hand trembled and the razor bit into his cheek.
Fresh blood emerged from the tiny cuts, transforming them into a grating of red steel that then slithered down his neck. He looked at the reflection in the mirror. His father’s face leered at him, his cheek bleeding as well. You’ve gone and cut yourself like a fat heifer, the face seemed to be saying. You’re worthless. And they’ll never make a worthless man like you vice president of anything—Ron’s teeth clenched and moved back and forth—you can’t even shave right—a thick, purple vein pulsated beneath the skin of his forehead—and all this because you don’t know how to keep a kid quiet!
The razor fell into the sink, landing in one of many small, red pools that were beginning to slide toward the drain. Ron looked up into his father’s face, reared back his fist, and slammed it into the mirror.
Nothing peered back at him now. His hand throbbed. Tiny silver bits protruded from his knuckles. Blood oozed from the cuts, trickling onto the surface of the sink. He pictured the office room again, and he was standing before the men in the suits, his eyes wide, wiping the blood away with toilet tissue. They looked at him and laughed. Tears cascaded down his cheeks and began to mix with the blood. “I’m sorry,” he said. They laughed at him and his anger boiled to the surface, bringing a desperate need with it. The contract for the property sat on the end of the table, staring up at him, mocking him with its blank signature page. Ron grabbed it and thrust it into the faces of the businessmen. “I’ll show you!” He tore it in half. “I can keep my son quiet!” He ripped it into three more pieces. “I’ll show you all!”
“Da—ddy!” a now alien voice screamed out. “Help! The monster’s here!”
Ron blinked and looked into the shattered mirror. Without a word, he walked out of the bathroom, blood still trickling from his chin. A thin, black leather belt lay on the bed. This is the boy’s fault, he thought, scowling. This is the goddamned boy’s fault!
He picked it up, smearing the surface with blood as he folded it in half. When he turned to step through the bedroom door he caught a glimpse of himself in the dresser-drawer mirror. His father’s face glared back at him, grinning widely as blood seeped down his freshly cut cheek.
The creature was still recovering from the child’s scream as it slithered across the bedroom flooring toward the protection of the closet. The sound had forced it to abandon its attack and though it yearned to try again, the heavy footfalls of the taller human approaching from the distance hurt its ears even more. Defeated for the moment, it moved back into the shadows, searching for the weak board which led under the floor.
A sudden explosion of sound jerked its head around for a look. Brightness encased the room suddenly, revealing the two humans transfixed before one another.
The taller human held something long and black in its hand.
The child stood before it, revealing many discolorations in its light skin that the darkness had kept hidden. Their colors were peculiar; some held a light to darkish blue tint, while others seemed almost a dull brown or yellow.
As the child tried to open its mouth the taller human attacked it, bringing the odd object across its face.
Trembling, the small, cylindrical creature eased its body into the corner of the closet and disappeared into the shadows as the scene unfolded: “There are no monsters in this house!” the taller human screamed, bringing down the object again, this time on the child’s back. The child fell and twisted on the floor. “Show me one,” the taller human roared, continuing to attack, “show me a monster!”
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