Showing posts with the label Horror

Something worse

  Dr Nielson handed me a plastic bag. “Hey Deano, throw these masks in the incinerator; we can’t use them. The box is damaged.”  I’d worked at the laboratory long enough to know to never engage in conversation with a scientist, especially one as shifty as Dr Nielson, so I just said OK and put them in my sack. I trekked down to the basement and took the box out from the plastic bag to inspect it. Since the surge in cases, decent masks were like gold dust. It seemed criminal to waste them if I could salvage any. I punched through the perforations and opened the top of the box. The stain on the lid looked like water damage, a little squashed on one side, but otherwise fine. The masks inside remained sealed in their cellophane wrappers. No problemo. After I torched the rest of the rubbish, I took the box back upstairs and slipped it into my bag. Security rarely carried out searches these days. You could forget staff protocol; the scientists were too busy finding cures for the pandemic. N

Footing the bill

I knew it was a mistake to have a hire car in India.  As we left Delhi airport, it was like finding myself in a video game. Cars sped past, ignoring traffic lights and speed limits as Gerry swerved to avoid the rickshaws and tuk-tuks and people. ‘Ten points for a beggar,’ shouted Gerry, oblivious to any danger. I tightened my seatbelt. ‘Slow down; you'll hit someone.’ When a passing ox forced the traffic to a halt, a man, or rather a walking skeleton, tapped on my window. He held out a filth-encrusted hand, his words inaudible against the traffic's roar. ‘Keep your window up, Angela,’ said Gerry. ‘Hopefully, we'll be out of this jam soon. Absolute maniacs.’ Eventually, the traffic thinned, and skyscrapers and office blocks became fields and ramshackle dwellings. Gerry parked up at a small cafĂ©. ‘How are you feeling?’ he asked. ‘You look pale. Have you tested your sugar lately?’ ‘Bloody diabetes. I'm ok. I just need a Pepsi. How far to Agra?’ ‘Another

The Violinist

Stravinsky, Shubert and Tchaikovsky. Jacob's violin honoured their memory in the cold street for an hour. Perfect pitch, not a single note missed, not a semibreve off-key.   Beads of sweat peppered his collar despite the chill. His concentration never wavered; the intensity of sound heightened by a sense of sweet revenge, edging closer with every sweep of his bow.   Catgut, metal, horsehair and wood. Sticky resin irritated his skin, yet on he played until the last strains of the Shubert melody died away. On the final note, the metal e-string snapped and recoiled like a spring. Pain seared through his fingers as the string curled around the violin’s neck. Always the e-string.   In the distance, Big Ben struck seven O’clock. Jacob bent down, inspecting the empty fedora hat at his feet. The commuters of London showed no love for his music, but he played for himself, not for them. His violin returned to its case; Jacob walked the short distance to the Cellar bar he had chosen for h

The Suitcase - a horror story

As I’d predicted, the office party was rubbish. I had caught the last tube home, wishing I was already in bed. My carriage was packed with late-night revellers, but I manage to nab one of the last few seats. My eyes were closing in blissful anticipation of a quick doze when a man in his early sixties sat down next to me. Apart from his lumpy physique, no doubt the result of a dubious lifestyle, the only thing of note was his oversized suitcase.            The black canvas cover was fraying at the sides and covered in unpleasant-looking stains. I didn’t want it near me, but he attempted to park in front of him, spreading his legs on either side to accommodate it. There was little room for anyone to get past and he seemed oblivious of how annoying he was.  Worst of all, he wanted to chat. . There was little room for anyone to get past and he seemed oblivious of how annoying he was.  Worst of all, he wanted to chat. ‘A good evening, was it?’ he leered. Don’t make eye contact, keep i

The strange tale of Mad Annie

‘Connor, are you ok?' I called out to my son, who was sitting in the back seat. ‘Are you hurt?’ ‘No, Mummy,’ he replied. ‘Did you hit her with the car?’  ‘No, just missed her, stupid old fool.’ The woman certainly looked crazy, judging by her voluminous black dress that looked two sizes too big for her. She was wizened and ancient, like something out of Hammer Horror. A battered top hat sat crooked on her head, and a cascade of grey hair spilt out from underneath it. She was carrying an old-fashioned birdcage, and inside, a pair of dead crows lay sideways on top of each other. Their pointy black beaks protruded through the bars, and two pairs of dead eyes stared back at me.  The woman hobbled around to the windows at the back and peered in at Connor. ‘Is that my boy you’ve got in there? Is that my boy?’ I wound down the window. ‘Of course, it isn't. That’s my son. Get out of the way. I could have killed you.’ ‘So you’ve not seen my babies, Rufus and Helen? Still missing,