The Blackness in the Window–Halloween Reposting

You had thought the internet was bad all week, but now, it was broken.

Early coffee and computer. Looking at the dark window to think.

You stopped working and closed the laptop to see better through dark glass.

You saw something black shimmer and ooze in starlight, or glass reflected.

Where were neighbor’s cars you’d normally see heading to work at this time?

The dog whined and her ears pricked up. She looked at the window and growled low.

Can you see a sound? The roosters didn’t crow from two houses away.

Did you see the darkness? It moved. Was that a thing? Do you want to know?

What was beyond the window in the black October morning? Don’t look.

Was it getting cold and was that rising stench just your wild imagination?

Something slopped against the outside wall. You’d smelled dog pee beside you.

You didn’t scold her. Not now. Not for this. You wouldn’t send her out there.

What was out there beyond the window in the dark? Could it wait for sunrise?

And what is that bad smell? Did the septic tank back up? Is that the smell?

Your son tapped you and made a loud farting sound. You jumped and yelped.

It’s the beast with a thousand butt holes! Your son was behind you laughing.

He’d been doing this on recent mornings, and this time, he got you good.

You turned to tickle him, but you didn’t like not seeing the window.

He covered his nose. “Dad it smells.” Then, the dog growled and jumped up.

Your son’s face went white, and the dog lunged toward the window baring her teeth.

At the top of the window, the slight blue of the sky showed the black thing.

Thick black sludge sucked against the window and tendrils reached under the pane.

The dog bit one and yelped. She jumped and snarled a whimper, drooling blood.

But another tendril wrapped around her waist dragging her back yipping.

Smoke rose from the dog’s coat and the tendril was sinking in, oozing black.

She snapped at each new tendril grabbing her. You looked at the dish drainer.

Boy was crying, and wife came out yelling for the dog to shut her trap.

She saw the dog and the thing and pushed past you. She grabbed the dog. Pulled.

You went to the drainer, grabbed her, and grabbed a knife. But your son!

He was with his mother. The tendrils reached out. And the window shattered.

The thing fell through the window on the dog. Your wife screamed and fell back.

She dropped the dog, and it twitched a little under the black dripping thing.

Your wife’s face and arms were burned, and she was clawing hard at the floor.

The thing grabbed her enveloping here legs. Its tendrils reached around her.

One wrapped around her neck cutting off her scream. And they were on your son.

On his leg and arm and your arm. You jumped on your wife. Knocked your son away.

He hit the table knocking it back and the laptop onto the floor.

He was safe for now, but the thing was on your wife, and you were on it.

“Get back,” you yelled at your son. “Get away.” But he wouldn’t move. He peed.

You watched the stain darken his pants. You yelled again. He wouldn’t move.

The thing was burning you, and you slashed at it with the kitchen knife.

The tendrils cut off and reformed, but they moved back. You could hurt the thing.

You cut the tendril off your wife’s neck, but it was already too late.

You slashed out at the thing wildly. It backed off and bunched against the wall.

The thing slopped over the sill and into the rising light of morning.

The thing smoked and convulsed. It reached wildly until tendrils found a crack,

 And it oozed under the house into the crawlspace. You could finally stop.

Not much was left of your wife. And the dog, a scatter of blood and teeth.

You heard the thing rattle pipes and bump the floor, getting stronger again.

Your left hand was gone, and one leg didn’t work. But you got on your feet.

Your son was bleeding and still hadn’t moved a muscle. You grabbed him.

He fought you. He lashed out. Screamed. Your leg buckled. You leaned on the wall.

Bumped chairs. Inched along the wall. Keys in the bedroom. You had to walk fast.

The floorboards shook and cracked with each hit. It would break through soon. “Walk,” you said.

 You limped over to him. You could limp some more without the weight, you thought.

You put your son on his feet. “Walk,” you said. He moved a step. You bumped him.

“Walk, goddamn it!” He cried and somehow his tears brought him back to himself.

 You were moving faster. But a loud ‘Crack’ rang out from just down the hall.

A large tendril came out from a hole in the bathroom floor reaching out.

The tendril reached into the hall, recoiled at the light, and reached again.

You put yourself between it and your son. He froze seeing the thing. “Walk!”

The tendril burned through your shirt and into your back. “Walk, son. Walk. Do it!”

You made it into the bedroom and found the keys. The floor banged again.

The thing followed your footsteps banging hard, but the bathroom was empty.

You and your son made it to the front door. But then, the thing went quiet.

Out on the planks of the front deck, tendrils darted from cracks up and back.

You handed your son the keys and said, “The car. Run.” He ran this time. Fast.

The thing followed under the deck reaching at him here and there. Reaching.

But the tendrils burned in direct sunlight and recoiled. Your son was safe.

Limping, you were only halfway across the deck, and the thing was back.

The thing was reaching out and licking, burning your legs with its tendrils.

It was eating you bit by bit. Drip by drip. But you kept limping on

Fighting the pain out to the stairs the edge of sunlight and safety.

The thing slammed the deck. Broke a large hole that threw splinters into the air.

Several large tendrils grabbed your good leg, yanked it down, and your face hit the stairs.

You felt fresh blood drip from your face, but also the warmth of sun on your back.

It pulled hard, and you slid a few inches back up the stairs to the shade.

It was dragging you down. Out of the sun. Under the deck. To eat you.

You grabbed a step with your good hand and wedged the stump between two rail posts.

Your fingers slipped some, but the sunlight inched toward the thing. You must hold on.

You were fighting pain fighting not to pass out until you heard a snap.

The pain was intense, but you slid free. Pulled yourself safe into sunlight.

The thing still reached for you but burned its tendrils and pulled them back to shade.

Your good leg was gone, but you clawed and dragged yourself made your bad leg push.

The thing bumped and shook the deck but would not come out into direct sunlight.

Your son was crying but he opened the car door for you. He helped you.

He tried, but you got yourself up with your bad leg and into the seat.

He turned the key for you, and you did not complain about him in the front.

He had earned his place of high honor in the front seat. The little man.

In pain, you drove as best as you could, but you were on and off the road.

You had lost so much blood and still bleeding. You hoped you could make it

Out to the main road so someone could find your son if you died. You might.

You vision blurred, and you were driving on instinct until a horn honked.

You swerved into the sound. There was a crash and your son hit the windshield.

The other driver was cussing you until he saw through the window.

He had your son and was on the phone with 911 when you let go.

Markey Monkey the Emperor of Evil–Halloween Reposting

On the back wall of the throne room in the castle of The Burning Hammer hung a full-length mirror with an ornate black and grey filigree frame. Despite the deepening black of the mirror pane, it emitted an ominous glow like dying embers at night. In the center, you could almost see the visage of a disappointed father.

An eight year old child stood with his head down and his hands behind his back in front of the mirror but several feet back. He kicked one shoe against the cobblestone floor, and it made a loud squeak. He said, “But dad, I don’t want to take the zombies out today. Do you have any idea how many people I need to kill to get your crazy machine up to even a little power? I took the hoard of devil children out to Illinois yesterday. We killed half the people in Chicago and the screen is still blinking and saying its critically low.”

The image of old man in the mirror affected a stern look and said, “Mark.” That is how you could tell he was mad. Typically, he would call his son ‘Markey the Monkey,’ ‘Monkey Head,’ or ‘Markey Mark and the Funky Bunch’ that is, when he wasn’t calling him by made up words like ‘Farblegooble’ or ‘Snoopledoople.’ He said, “Mark, come here.”

Mark took a step back and said, “No.”

The evil image said, “What do you mean, no?”

Mark swiveled back and forth on one foot avoiding eye contact with the evil image in the mirror and said, “No, dad. You’re mad.”

The ominous glow of the mirror dimmed a little. “No son. I am trying to look stern. I mean I am putting a lot on you. And I want you to call it ‘The Portal of Souls’ not ‘crazy machine.’ It makes it sound a lot more scary.  You know fear is an important tool in the arsenal of every good emperor of evil.”

Mark said, “But dad, I don’t want to be an emperor of evil. I want an Xbox 5. Billy’s dad bought him an Xbox 5.”

The ominous glow got brighter. “We don’t have the money.” The image looked a little pensive. “The money I have to shell out in alimony.” The image shook its head. “Look just don’t get married. That’s all I ask. You know, all I want is the best for you.”

Billy looked up at his father’s image with his best ‘innocent’ look, “We can use my money. I’m rich. I have more money than anything.”

The Evil image said, “Yes. Yes, Marky Poo, it looks like a lot because I drop all my change in your piggybank, but it can’t be more than forty or fifty dollars.”

Mark whined, “Dad.”

The evil image said, “No, we just can’t do it. It’s final.”

Mark started to cry. “Dad, you hurt my feelings.”

The evil vision in the mirror didn’t know what to do. He knew he was right, but his son was crying. The poor little boy was just overwhelmed. He just needed to calm down. The evil image said, “It’s OK, son. Just stop crying.”

Mark whimpered. “I can’t.”  He kept crying.

The evil vision said, “Oh sweet little Markey Monkey, why don’t you sit down in the throne and cuddle with my desiccated corpse like we used to do before my soul was trapped in this mirror.”

Mark said, “OK, dad.” He climbed up and sat on the arm of the throne leaned against his dad’s boney corpse and wiped his tears on the shirt over the dead shoulder. He calmed almost instantly, and before long he was no longer even breathing hard. He said, “Dad, I feel better now.” He was still cuddling his dad’s corpse.

The evil vision said, “I love you, son.”

Mark looked at the mirror and said, “Too.”

The evil vision smiled a genuine warm smile, and said, “OK, Markey are you ready to take out the zombies? I heard there are still some survivors hiding out in the Great Lakes area.”

Mark smiled at the evil image of his father in the mirror and said, “OK, dad.”

The evil image stood proud and watched its son walk out the throne room door and begin the chant to raise the corpses from the dead. The evil image thought, that little boy will make his father proud by the end of the day. The evil image wasn’t wrong. That was a black day for the state of Illinois. Death drenched in blood and giant gouts of hellfire that can still be seen to this day.

*************************

Little Markey Monkey was out on his father’s business one day in a small town outside of an Iowa corn field. The usual. Flames and air raid sirens and whatnot. He found a little girl wandering through the tall grass up the only hill in the state. A very gradual hill. You might even call it a mound or a lump. But he found her on her way to the playground at the top. He had heard her crying and followed that sound. He said, “Are you hurt?” He reached out and grabbed her by the hand.

She said, “I’m scared. I think I saw a monster.”

Mark said, “Don’t be scared of monsters. Nothing can hurt you.” He grabbed the left sleave of his shirt with his right hand and wiped her tears. He saw the shiver was still on her lips, so he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small toy car. He said, “Whenever I get sad about my father, I play with this car.” He handed it to her.

She took it, hesitated for a moment then gave him a hug. He hugged her back. She said, “Do you want to be my friend? We could play at the playground.”

He said, “Yes, my name is Mark.”

The little girl said, “My name is Milly. You wanna race?” They both started up the hill parting the grass as they went. Mark let her have a head start because she was smaller.

He said, “Don’t let me catch you.” When they got to the top of the hill they played for a while. There was a swing set with a tire swing on one end and monkey bars, but Milly was too small for both. But there was the play set with the slides connected with bridges and stairs. So they climbed the stairs and played on the slides running across the rubber coated bridges that connected them. It was a beautiful day to play ignoring the black smoke in the sky and the sounds panic coming from town. In fact, the hell fire burning in town added a nice rosy glow to the playground equipment that was quite a bit nicer than the direct glare of the bright son.

After some time, Milly sat down on the top step and began to push the toy car back and forth. Mark sat next to her and put his arm around her as she played. She said, “Mark,” then she pushed the car some more. “Markey… I wish my dad could push me.”

He said, “I can push you.”

She said, “That one.” She pointed to the tire swing.

He said, “I can push you.”

She said, “No, me and you. I want my dad to push us.”

He said, “Me too. My dad is stuck in a chair.”

She said, “Did he get hurt?”

He said, “Not a wheelchair, silly.” Milly just looked at him. He thought she still looked sad. “A throne.”

She smiled. “Your dad is stuck on the potty?!” She practically giggled the words.

Mark laughed, too, rocking back and forth on the step. He said, “Pooping?!”

Milly said, “Pooping!!” They were practically crying. It was so funny.

They both laughed for a while before they could catch their breath. Mark said, “He’s not pooping. He’s dead. He is in the mirror, but his body is stuck on the throne in the castle.”

She scooted away from him. “What castle?”

He pointed toward the fire and smoke on the horizon. “In the sky. The big one way over there.”

She said, “Markey are you evil?

He said, “Yes.” He sounded as if he didn’t even know the implications of his answer. Milly looked as if she might run at any second. He said, “But that doesn’t mean I’m not good.”

She said, “It does.”

He said, “Does not.” He almost looked offended. “I am good.”

She said, “But you’re evil.”

He said, “I am evil.”

She looked puzzled. “Evil-good?”

He nodded. “Evil-good.”

She said, “I’m glad,” then reached over and gave him a big hug. “Because I think my mommy and daddy are dead.”

He said, “Oh…” He hugged her for a second. “Don’t worry about that. Death is not the end.”

She said, “It’s not?”

He said, “No. Of course not. Who told you that?” He scratched his head. “I’ll bring them back. What are their names?” He raised his hands and started humming a strange tune.

She said, “Zombies?”

He nodded. “Zombies.”

She said, “Not zombies! Alive.”

He put his hands down and let out a sigh. He said, “I can’t do that. Not yet. My dad has this machine…” He let his words trail off. He said, “You keep hold of that car. I will take you home with me tonight. My dad won’t like it, but you will be able to stay with us. I will tell him, and we will get your mommy and daddy back alive. Just close your eyes. I have to call my monsters to pick up the dead.”

She closed her eyes and held on to her Markey until he finished his strange chant. He scrubbed her hair with his hand. He said, “It’s OK now, Milly. You can open your eyes.”

They stopped by her house on the way back to the castle and picked up a change of clothes for the night.

********************************

The black mirror in the throne room of The Castle of the Burning hammer began to lighten. It sniffed tentatively at first, and then sniffed good and hard. The evil vision’s voice boomed a sing song. “Markey Mark, little monkey.”

Mark jumped and spilled coffee on the floor and table of the castle kitchen. He said loud enough to be heard in the other room. “What, dad.”  He threw the rest of the coffee down the sink.

The evil vision’s voice boomed into the kitchen. “What do I smell in there?”

Mark yelled again from the kitchen. “Nothing, dad. You can’t smell, remember?”

The evil vision boomed his voice into the kitchen. “I can, too. And I think you are hiding something. Mark, get in here.”

Mark thought his dad was getting mad.  He yelled, “No.”

The evil vision said, “Now, son.”

“No.”

“I’m about to start counting.” Mark still did not come. “One…” The evil voice counted loudly.

Mark poked his head out of the kitchen doorway. “No, dad. Don’t spank me.”

“Two…”

Mark walked through the door. Looking at his toes and walking slow.

The evil vision said, “Markey, do I smell coffee?”

Mark looked up and said, “When did you start smelling again?”

The evil vision said, “I don’t know. It just started on and off in the last… Mark, you are too young to drink coffee.”

“I didn’t drink it, dad.” The news that his father was regaining his senses made Mark both happy and sad.

“So, I did smell coffee.”

“No. There isn’t any coffee. You didn’t smell coffee.”

“Don’t lie to me, Mark. I can see it on your face.”

Mark was astonished. “You can see, too?”

“Well, no… Only sometimes. Like when you lie to me.”

“OK, dad. But I didn’t drink the coffee.”

“Mark… Little Markey, I will not have you drinking coffee. It is not good for a growing boy.”

“I won’t.”

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

The evil vision said, “By the way. I have been sensing spot around here the past couple days.” Mark smiled he really liked spot. The evil vision said, “I thought you sent him back to hell.”

“He came back. I think he just wandered off into the woods for a while.”

“I don’t know, Markey. When I told you it was OK to keep him as pet you told me that you were up to the responsibility.”

“I am, dad. I am very responsible. I clean his cage and everything.”

“The zombies told me that they were the ones picking up his poop.”

“That is the same thing, isn’t it?”

“Well maybe in the eyes of the law… But cleaning it up yourself is supposed to teach you discipline.”

“Dad, it’s gross. It stinks. It has blood and mucus and pieces of bone. And it’s foamy. The zombies like to do it. They told me.”

“The zombies didn’t tell you that. Nobody likes picking up monster poop. Especially not from a black slime.” The mirror started to dim to blackness and Markey turned to walk away. Then, the evil mirror snapped brighter than ever. “Wait a minute, son. Have you been talking to the zombies?” There was almost excitement in the evil vision’s voice.

“You know what I mean, dad. I tell them to do stuff, and they do it.”

“So… You were fibbing?”

“Don’t be mad, dad.”

“Are you sure? You didn’t look like you were fibbing. You know it would be a big day if you could read their minds. You would be growing into a man. You are not scared of growing up, are you? You are still too young for ‘The Talk’ but I sure would be proud of my little man.”

“I wasn’t fibbing… I just don’t like to clean up the poop.”

“I know, but that is part of your responsibilities. And you need to be more careful with him. Have the zombies make sure his pit is sealed. I mean really sealed. A slime can get through even the smallest of cracks.”

“I will, dad.”

“And really watch them. You are the supervisor really make sure they are doing a good job. I don’t you to tell them I said this, but those zombies… I don’t want to say it. They are… Kind of…”

“Dumb, dad?”

“Don’t say it so loud, son. I don’t want to hurt their feelings.”

“You don’t want to hurt the zombies’ feelings!?” Mark began to giggle.

“They do have feelings, son. We are not the only ones. Zombies are just the same as you and me. You should respect them.”

Mark looked a little ashamed. “I do respect them, dad.” “OK, son. You just keep an eye on spot. We don’t need him going around killing people when you are not there to collect the power from their souls. We need everything we can get to power that machine. It seems like the power keeps leaking away little by little every day. I need to recheck the wiring diagram against the way the machine is actually hooked up. There has got to be something leaking to ground that shouldn’t me. I mean we really should have the thing up and running by now.”