In celebration of today being Friday the 13th, I’ve decided to do something a little different on my blog. As regular readers of my blog know, I’m a big fan of horror (which you can read about here), so I have written a little horror story with an interesting wrinkle.
I asked my Twitter and Facebook followers for story suggestions, with the promise that they would be incorporated (somewhat) into my story. I received four suggestions:
A picture (featured above), glitter, Donald Trump/Satoshi Nakamoto/mimic octopus, and a Wendigo.
This was the result. Enjoy!
“Sins” by David Manly
Everything about me was cold. My ears, my hands, my feet, and even the tip of my. The cold was like ice poured inside my veins, pumped throughout my body, and driven into the very marrow of my bones. It was what I imagined death to feel like when he came to steal you away, and wrapped his dead hands around your heart and squeezed.
I looked up, and saw that I was in the woods. Nothing but dead trees and glittering snow as far as my muddled brain could see. As I tried to get up, I realized that I couldn’t move. I looked down at my chest and could see that there were thick metal chains wrapped around my chest and arms, securing me to the tree I thought I was merely leaning against. I was naked except for the chain, which felt like a hundred icy knives digging into my torso. I also had rope tied around my legs, so the most I could move my body was a tiny, insignificant wiggle.
With my upper arms pinned to my chest by the chain, my forearms, wrists and hands were free and unbound. They were covered with twigs, dead leaves, and … bandages?
The gauze was clean and wrapped around my forearms up to my fingers. There was only one layer, as far as I could tell, so they sadly were not thick enough to protect me from the cold, which had already begin to turn the tips of my fingers blue.
Thankfully, my hands were close enough together so I was able to rub them together to generate some heat. As I did so, the gauze began to bunch up and tear, revealing black lines on my skin. As I rubbed my hands together faster and faster, the gauze tore and revealed thick black ash-like lines drawn across my hands and up my arms, like a snake. As I frantically began to rub my hands and arms together, revealing more of the ashen lines, it began to smear and turn my skin black as night.
I began to struggle, straining against the chain securing me to the tree, banging my head against the tree trunk, screaming for anyone to rescue me. The more I screamed for help, the harder I hit my head, which caused me to scream louder and bang my head harder. I kept screaming and banging until my vision went as black as the ash on my arms, and I collapsed into unconsciousness.
The last thing I remembered was walking home from school in the snow, talking to my best friend Donald about the internet-based currency called Bitcoin and the pseudonym used by its inventor/inventors, Satoshi Nakamoto.
“I don’t see the point of it,” I said. “Why do you need a virtual currency when real money can be digital as well?”
“Precisely!” he responded enthusiastically. “It’s untraceable. But you just don’t understand – its like a mimic octopus!”
“A what?” I said, with a sarcastic tone.
“A mimic octopus. It looks like one thing, but is actually another. Like bitcoin. It may look useless, but its really not. I’ve got a whole bunch, and it’s addictive,” he added. “As much as I have, I just want more and more. Like my dad and his stuff before he passed, … always wanting more” Donald said, trailing off.
“You always want more,” I said, jokingly pushing Donald ….
I awoke from my daze with an aching pain at the back of my head, and something warm and sticky running down the back of my neck. I thought it might be blood, until I realized it smelled like sap and moss.
I wondered how long I had been out for. Five minutes? Ten?
“It was more like 15,” said a cool voice behind me in a whisper. “Fourteen-and-a-half if we’re being precise, but I thought rounding up to 15 was a reasonable choice.”
“Who … Who are you?” I said, weakly. “What do you want from me?”
Laughter erupted from the voice behind me, and it chilled me more than the winter air surrounding me. “I don’t want anything from you! Never me, but others do.”
“What others? WHO ARE YOU???” I screamed, though it came out as nothing more than a scratchy yelp. “Why are you doing this?”
“Have you ever heard the saying, ‘The sins of the father?’” the voice said, moving back and forth behind me, stepping on the frozen snow.
“It means that whatever sins your father had, they pass onto the son, and so forth. So I really had no choice in the matter – with my father dead, it was my only option to keep doing what needed to be done.”
There was rusting in the trees far in front of me, and the smells of sap and moss got stronger. And something different mixed in there too, something rotten.
“I’m sorry,” said the voice. “It’s almost time.”
“T-t-t-time for what-t-t-t-t?” I asked, shivering. The long time without heat was causing my words to shiver and slur. “I did-d-d-d-n’lt do anyfing to d-d-d-ou.”
“No, you didn’t,” said the voice, moving closer to my ear. “And I’m not going to do anything to you either.”
“That is,” and a finger appeared in my peripheral vision and pointed to the source of the rustling.
The rustling in front of me grew louder, and a tall shape began to emerge from the densely packed trees. It was huge, with long arms ending in sharp claws, and piercing and sunken red eyes. Its skin was the colour of ash, like the markings on my arms. It was skinny to the point where its bones almost protruded out of its skin, and yet it moved quicker than I ever could have imagined.
“W-w-w-what is it?” I mumbled to the voice behind me, almost gagging on the stench of death and decay mixed with sap and moss that seemed to radiate off the creature.
“That, is a Wendigo,” he responded. “An ancient being consumed by death and decay, and drawn to corruption and greed. But agreeable to the point of reaching a compromise.”
“It doesn’t matter what it gets, as long as it consumes a soul marked with the ashes of the dead.”
I looked down at my arms in horror, at the ashen streaks running up my hands and arms, and screamed.
The creature stopped and looked at my face. It opened its tattered and bloody lips and smiled with its huge, yellow fangs before a dark and deep voice seemed to emanate from within my head.
“Yes, oh powerful one,” said the voice behind me, trembling. No, not trembling in fear. But awe.
He continued: “I have done my part, now your end of the bargain must be granted.”
“Your father’s sins and greed have passed to you,” said the creature. “Your soul is what I require. But I accept your sacrifice and give you one more year.”
“Thank you” said the voice behind me.
“Now go,” said the creature. “Donald.”
“DONALD?” I yelped. “You did this to me?”
“Oh yes,” said Donald’s voice in my ear. “See, my dad got too greedy and reveled in excess and overindulgence. And Wendigos abhor gluttony and one person having more than the rest. So, it attacked our family and killed my mother. But before the beast consumed my father, he made an arrangement. One soul a year sacrificed in these woods to satiate the creature in exchange for another year on this Earth. But, when my father died last year, his sins passed to me, along with this arrangement.”
“It was you or me,” said Donald, with a pang of resentment. “But, I’ll always choose me.”
And with that, I heard hurried footsteps take off behind me, leaving me face-to-face with the Wendigo.
It skin was grey, like an elephants, but stretched over its bones like a drum. It looked like it would tear at any moment, revealing the horrors beneath.
The Wendigo’s red eyes locked with mine, before smiling and opening its mouth beyond what I ever thought possible. Its yellow fangs opened wider and wider, its dank breath brushing against my skin before it stopped and I felt the gauze tear from my arms.
“Look down” said the creature, its mouth still hovering, open, in front on mine.
As I did so, I saw the ashen streaks covering my arms were not streaks, but words undeniably written in Donald’s clumsy writing, with one sentence moving down my left arm and up my right.
“The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children.”