I created this place for some of Lady Euphoria Deathwatch’s stories to reside. In August of 2008 I started to go to a writer’s workshop. I had been writing stories for my own amusement for years and I’d been blogging since the May before. I was ready to take the next step. I wanted feed back for my fiction. As the classes progressed I challenged myself to write using different styles of writing and using different types of story categories I hadn‘t really used before. When I wrote a piece in the Horror group my life changed. Kissed by this muse I have been writing short stories in this vein since then. If you are looking for blood and gore just for shock value, please look elsewhere. You’ll not find it here. That said, they are not all devoid of blood completely. Blood, death, ghosts, and odd happenings do have a place here.

Feel free to add your two cents, inform me of needed corrections, or let me know what you thought about any of my stories. Any comment is appreciated.

Did you feel a Shiver or a Thrill?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Molly’s Train

By Lady Euphoria Deathwatch

Molly Ferguson headed to the bus station. Her short hair was sticking to the back of her neck on her small frame as she struggled to carry the bags. All that she now owned was in two beat up suit cases and a tote bag. Once she had almost everything she needed and some extras to feel good about. Now all that was left was here in her hands. This latest flood had taken all the rest.

She had wanted to take a train out of town. Molly had dreamed about it for most of her school years, but the trains weren’t running yet and wouldn’t be for a while but the buses were. There was nothing left for her here and it was time to leave town.

She had lived with her grandfather until he broke his hip then she was sent to the Foster Homes. After that she had her little apartment and a job in the local video store.

The flood had washed away her past and Molly was off to start over some place new, maybe in the mountains above where it could flood. As soon as she could find a moving train she was going to get on and keep on going. Molly was tired of waiting. With all the money, which wasn’t much, that her grandfather had left to her when he died and his little house on the edge of town was sold, she was made to wait until her eighteenth birthday and that was the day of the flood. So she was forced to wait some more.

When Molly was younger and lived with Poppop in his little house, she could hear the trains from her bedroom. Their rhythmic clickity clacking on the rails, the low rumble of the engine and the wailing whistle as it left town. Molly liked it all like a lullaby in the night. She wanted, thought about and dreamed of traveling on a train. She wanted it even more when she found out that her parents died on a train. Molly never knew the whole story, Poppop told her that he would tell her the details of how her parents died when she was older but that day never came. So all she had was a faded picture of them and her dreams of trains in her sleep feeling the rumble of it under her in her bed.

Whenever she felt sad or bad as a child she would tell herself that a train would answer all her questions and it would calm all her fears. To the child that she once was a train was all she needed. Molly didn’t believe that any longer but she still wanted to take a trip on a train away from the only town she ever knew but was the loneliest place on earth for her now. The picture of her parents was gone with everything else when the muddy water came through.

The bus traveled through the devastated flood zone. Mud and muck painted everything with the same dead looking gray brush. What once must have been beautiful countryside was ugly caked with muck and piled with debris. Having nothing to look at out the window she read from the tattered novel she had gotten at the shelter from one of the Volunteer workers. It was about a boy named Johnny and his dog, Rufus, trying to get home. Not her type of book but there was nothing else to do. She didn’t even know the title or author because the cover and first few pages were missing and the binding was falling apart it was so old and yellowed. Once she got to someplace that sold new paperbacks this one was getting tossed she told herself.

Once the landscape started getting green again and showed signs of life Molly started looking for train tracks and train stations. At one town she found out that the nearest passenger train was in the next state north and she changed buses to get herself in the right direction. To Molly’s surprise it had worked. There was a train at the station as she got off the bus.

Molly hopped on the train just in time. She wasn’t even sure what direction she was heading in, but she paid for her ticket and just sank into her seat, sighing all the weight of the last few months away. She closed here eyes and absorbed it all into the space where the tension had been inside or her. Molly filled herself up with the smell, feeling and sounds of the train. For the first time in years she felt the feeling of home. Everything else that had once been her life was left behind at the station.

Happy for the first time in a long time Molly set about making herself comfortable for the duration. She changed her clothes and headed for the dinning car. She hadn’t eaten a good meal since the flood and she was finally hungry.

On the way through the cars she smiled and nodded at the other passengers that looked her way. She found the dinning car and ordered her first meal by train. While waiting for her food to be prepared she pulled out the old book again but another couple started asking her about herself and her destination. After she told them she wasn’t sure where she was going they moved over to her table to talk better with her.

They made helpful suggestions and told her that they hoped to see her again in the days to come as they traveled and they left her to eat her meal in peace, but not before Jacky told her that the book she was reading was one of his favorites. “Some day I’ll get myself a dog and name him Rufus too.” he said.

Molly slept so well in her folded down train bed that she felt like she had never known what real sleep was before this.

The next day she looked around for her new friends but the conductor wasn’t sure just who she was talking about when she asked about them. Finally she saw them in the observation car. Helen and Jacky were sitting looking at where they had been instead of where they were headed. Helen shrugged and said, “Just looking for another perspective.”

Jacky asked Molly if she had thought about what they had told her about good towns to get started over in along the way.

Molly told them both ‘yes’ and she asked a lot of other questions to try to narrow the list down to a reasonable few. They chatted most of the afternoon away before leaving her to watch the sunset colors forming in the sky by herself.

Molly sat wondering about them, Helen and Jacky. Did she like them because they were friendly and helpful or because their names were so much like her parents? Hellene and Johnny. They looked a lot like her parents too, but most people of that age did to her. She didn’t remember them much at all only the picture. She was too young when they died, only two. They of course were too young to be her parents. They were almost Molly’s age, just a little older she guessed. But you couldn’t miss their enthusiasm about trains.

They knew the whole line. Every suburb and hallow, town and city, burg and watering hole. She was impressed and a little confused by it all. She couldn’t remember where they said they lived. But that didn’t really matter since they also said that they spent most all their free time riding on the train. Most of the places on the line didn’t interest her much at all. She needed to get a job and find a place to live first. But Molly couldn’t help hoping to be able to hear the train go by at night wherever she found to call home.

On the third day she was nearing the end of the line. Molly had decided with the help of her new friends to start at one end and work her way up the line until she found a place that worked best for her. She went to bed early to rest up for the new world she would be finding waiting for her in the morning and her stop was coming early in the day.

The clickity clacking of the wheels under her and the soft swaying of the train car lulled her into another deep sleep despite her nerves. When she woke in the morning she was surprised to find herself sleeping in her clothing on the ground between the tracks. The tracks themselves were rusty and obviously unused. Brush and grasses grew and died there undisturbed. Nothing she could think of was missing from her belongings when she looked at them.

She collected her bags and walked into the nearest town. It was where she wanted to be but according to he people she asked not one train came through town for many years but a number of them had heard a train early this morning.

Molly got a newspaper to find a job and a place to live only to discover that the date was three days earlier. The day after she had stepped onto the train in fact. June 21st. Somehow she had traveled hundreds of miles on a train that didn’t exist any longer in one night. She knew things about the town and the people here that she shouldn’t have known if her train ride and the people on it weren’t real. Molly knew where most everyone lived and where most everything was in town from what Helen and Jacky had told her.

Molly started to work in the video store because the owner’s son had just decided to take off on his motorcycle to see the world the day before. Soon she was the night manager. She liked her new apartment and made friend easily so she stayed. There was a stray dog that had adopted her and walked her home from the video store each night. Molly named him Rufus like in the book and felt safe here in her new home town.

A year later while walking the dog in the early morning Molly heard a train for the first time since the day she arrived. She followed the sound until it stopped and she found herself on the tracks further down from the spot on the day she arrived. The dog pulled her along until she was off the tracks again and into some over grown bushes.

The dog stopped when he got his leash tangled around a broken stone pillar. By the time she got the dog untangled she had to flip the broken part of the stone over. The writing carved into it said. ‘Hellene and John Ferguson died on this spot in the train wreck of 1992. Helen and Jacky loved their daughter Molly and the cross country train she was born on. May they rest in peace. June 21, 1992’ Now Molly understood all of what had happened to her in the last year. Molly’s parents had helped her find her way back to them. On the anniversary of their death Molly’s train had brought her home.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Trouble in the Closet

By Lady Euphoria Deathwatch

9-12-08 re-write 1-18-09

Benny had a problem. Not a common problem and certainly not the kind of problem he was going to try to get much help with. He had learned when he was small that no one believed him about this conundrum. Benny had a Ghoul in his closet.

When Benny was small there was no Ghoul. The family lived in a house with no yard to speak of down the street from the cemetery and when Benny went outside playing he would run very fast around the grave stones in a kind of race with himself to see how fast he could run.

One day when Benny was about eight he tripped and skinned his knee on a low stone in the cemetery and bled all the way home. He didn’t run for a few days because his knee hurt, but by the time he was ready to run again something smelly had moved into his closet.

At first he thought it might just have been a ghost from the cemetery that had followed him home and that it liked to frighten him. It looked rather nasty but Benny called him a ghoul because this ghoul told him that he ate the rotting flesh of the dead. And then there was the foul odor of something rotting that always seemed to be coming from the thing. He found the definition in the large old dictionary in the bookcase by the stairs when he was ten. Benny’s mother thought the smell was Benny’s old shoes because his father had a foot odor problem.

Once, when Benny was feeling a bit brave, round about the age of eleven, he asked the ghoul what it’s name was? The ghoul didn’t seem to understand the question and Benny wasn’t feeling brave enough to take the time to explain. So Benny never did have a name to call him, he just called him Ghoul.

At thirteen Benny poured a bottle of his mothers best perfume into the closet to try to stink the ghoul out but the Ghoul stayed. Benny had to stay in his room for a month and the kids at school teased him something fierce for smelling like a very stinky girl.

Benny had hoped that when he was old enough to move out of his parent’s house he would leave the ghoul behind. But soon after he had his own apartment, the ghoul was in the new closet again. Since no one else seemed to be able to see the ghoul or rather the ghoul didn’t show itself when any one else was there, Benny had himself checked out for being nuts.

Dr. Navorski was an older gentleman with glasses and a mustache. Benny went to him for a few weeks before bringing up the ghoul. It was hard to admit that you thought you had something following you that most children stop worrying about ‘round about the age of fourteen if not before. Benny was now nineteen and had long since graduated high school by then.

The session when something like this.
Benny: “I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. I need to have music on or I hear noises coming from my closet and they wake me up.”
Dr. Navorski: “And what do you think these noises are from?”
Benny: “Well a Ghoul that has been following me since I was a kid.”
Dr. Navorski: “When did you start hearing this ghoul?”
Benny: “When I was eight and I used to run around the headstones in the cemetery for fun.”
Dr. Navorski: “Did you feel guilty about running and playing in a place of grief and mourning? Disturbing the dead so to speak?”
Benny: “Well no, I was a kid and didn’t care as long as I was having fun and using up that extra kid energy. You know?”
Dr. Navorski: “Well there you have it. You were feeling guilty underneath your happy exterior and this is the way you have dealt with it all these years. Give yourself the permission to have once been a thoughtless child and your ghoul will go away. You are as sane as anyone walking the streets. You are just having a little trouble letting go of a childhood fantasy. But now that you know where it is coming from you won’t be needing it any longer and it will go away.”

Benny told the shrink that fantasies were nice things and the ghoul was definitely not nice. He didn’t go back for any follow up sessions.

The Ghoul was not a good house guest. It made his closet smell offal. He couldn’t keep his clothing in there. As a kid he had a free standing wardrobe and a dresser for his clothing and a shelf for his books and games. There was also a toy box for his toys. Nothing but broken, unused and outgrown items ever went into the closet. The ghoul made noises at times and also left things in the closet himself, the smelliest of these Benny buried in the small back yard at night.

The ghoul complained a lot about being so far from the cemetery, any cemetery, once Benny moved from home. Benny did tell the Ghoul he could always move out, but the Ghoul chose to stay.

Finally Benny couldn’t stand it any longer and he moved to an apartment house just across the street from the largest cemetery he could find in the area, only to find out that it was also one of the oldest so there was rarely any new meat. The ghoul was not happy about that at all. Benny started to collect road kill and bring it home for the ghoul.

He would stop at the side of the road whenever he saw a dead animal there. Benny kept some rubber gloves, a shovel, some plastic bags and a great big plastic storage box in the trunk of his car. His friends thought he was a bit goofy but liked the fact that he was so civic minded and felt that if someone had to do clean up of that kind of thing it should be someone with a iron nose like Benny with his foot problem.
The Ghoul didn’t exactly like the road kill and was picky about the condition of the carcass’. If they were too fresh he would throw them back out into Benny’s bed room and make a mess of the carpet. The meat had to have an odor of rot to it for the ghoul to even consider eating it.

All this time Benny wasn’t worried that the ghoul would want to eat him because Benny wasn’t dead. But despite it all, Benny had a fairly normal life. He dated, had friends, and liked to go hunting and camping. Mostly he liked camping because the ghoul generally stayed at home. Benny was moving on with his life.

And then there was Julia. Julia liked everything Benny thought a good girlfriend should like. She could drink beer with the best of them. She had four older brothers and they had taught her everything from burping the alphabet to car maintenance. They had met at one of the hunting trips he went on with his friends to get more meat to leave to rot for his closet guest and it was love at first sight. And what a sight. Julia was one good looking woman.

One night Benny opened the closet after knocking on the door and had a talk with the ghoul. Benny wanted to marry his girlfriend Julia and he needed some answers. Would the ghoul stay hidden when his new wife was in the room? No, came the answer. At first Benny was dismayed. He didn’t want her to be frightened by the ghoul. Then it turned into elation. Someone else would know about the ghoul and it wouldn’t be his secret to carry all by himself any longer.

When he told Julia about the ghoul she got all soft and smiled like his mother had so long ago when he told her about the ghoul. Julia thought it was something from Benny’s imagination like his mother and the psychiatrist. That or a strange excuse for the smell of his old shoes in the closet and she thought she could live with foot fungus. The store isles were full of no end of deodorizers and medications for just such things.

But the ghoul was real and since she had already agreed to marry him anyway, Benny was sure she would soon find out that fact for herself. He only hoped she would still want to stay married to him once she met the ghoul.

On the night they came home from their honeymoon Julia thanked Benny for having the closet in the bedroom cleared out for her and she proceeded to fill it with her belongings. He tried to talk to her about the ghoul but she just pushed him out of the room telling him to let her take care of a few things in peace.

Benny was nervous by the time he heard Julia call his name in that way he knew meant she was ready for some fun. And for the first time in the week since they were married he didn’t feel like answering her call. Benny got up and walked to the bedroom wondering just how long it would be before the ghoul showed up.

Things went better then Benny had expected. The ghoul hadn’t bothered them thou the smell in the closet made Julia move her clothing to the new larger freestanding wardrobe he had gotten for her. Every morning she would spray a new product into the ghoul’s closet just before she left for work and Benny would leave a half an hour later with the ghoul cursing loud and long from behind it’s door.

After a few weeks of trying to get rid of the smell herself she called in a professional cleaning team. One whiff of the smell coming from the ghoul’s closet had them calling in the authorities. After a thorough search including tearing open the walls of the closet itself, nothing was found. But they were keeping an eye on Benny in case he was involved in something they didn’t know about.

Julia was sure that if they just moved they could leave the smell behind. Benny tried to explain again but the closest he came was in having her believe that he had a smelly cheese loving ghost following him around. They moved and the smell moved with them. She wanted to try an exorcism. Benny finally relented, but after the priest left and the smell didn’t Julia was so upset she was ready to leave Benny and the foul smell that followed him. She begged him to stop bringing home the road kill because she thought it just might be adding to the odor in the closet.

Benny showered her with gifts and told her they would buy a house so large that she would never have to go near or smell the ghoul again. All she needed to do was wait until the right house could be found and they would start the search right away. He went to the computer and started looking for a large house close to a fairly new cemetery and Benny found that another newer cemetery had opened up close to a large old Victorian house on a hill in an older section of town. This new cemetery had once been the side gardens of the house.

Benny had been storing all the gold jewelry the ghoul had been leaving behind in the closet. He had just enough to buy the place outright. The price had been lowered because of the amount of repair the old house needed.

It was a longer commute to work, but worth it. Julia was happier in the new house as they fixed it up together by themselves and a baby was coming along in the spring. The ghoul happily resided in an attic room of it’s own. It didn’t like the smell of sweet soft baby products coming from the small bedroom off the master suite anyway.

One night Benny found the Ghoul in their bedroom and sniffing around Julia’s side of the bed. Benny told the Ghoul to go back to it’s own room. The next day that Julia had a doctor appointment they found out she had lost the baby. Benny should have guess.

A month after Julia came home from the hospital Benny had gone up to the ghouls attic room to see how the ghoul was doing. He kind of missed the Ghoul after always being there after so many years. The Ghoul was telling Benny what he had been up to since the baby died and they had last spoke. That was when Benny learned that the ghoul had feasted on his own son in the cemetery.

Benny couldn’t believe it. The ghoul he had come to think of as almost a brother had eaten his child. Benny only saw red and just lost it attacking the Ghoul with his bare hands. Being one of the undead the Ghoul didn’t die but he did killed Benny by pushing him out the fourth floor window and Julia too because she had tried to come to Benny’s aid after hearing the noise up in the attic were Benny had gone.

The police never did find the killer of the new couple living in the big old house up by cemetery hill but they never stopped trying because they could never get the picture or smell out of their heads of the two half eaten bodies found in the house a few weeks after they went missing. And no one could ever live in the house again because of the smell. But the Ghoul didn’t seem to mind. He now had the house to himself.