Jul 21, 2022

Tranquil, a short horror story #supernatural #relationships by the Sarnia de la Maré FRSA

Sarah answered the door. The Priest smiled and Sarah let him immediately. Without taking off his coat, he said ‘Yes, indeed Sarah I can feel a terrible energy here. But I can help you now. Let us begin.’ David sat alone in a dark room. There was a table and another chair and a light hung from the ceiling, swinging, creaking. He hurt all over, it was the dull ache of disaster. It was cold, very cold. He put up his collar and folded his arms in an attempt to keep out a determined draft. There was dried blood all over his shirt and jeans which he couldn’t disguise. How long had he been here? He couldn’t be sure. This room was familiar now but the hours, days, and months were not his own. He hadn’t been able to think straight and concentration after the incident had been sporadic. He wasn’t even sure when he had last eaten. There was a door on either side of the room, to his left and to his right. He wondered if he could just get up and leave but some unknown force made him stay put. He would wait it out, besides, he was exhausted, he no longer slept. In Sarah’s house, the Priest lit candles and incense all around. He went into each room and recited prayers and passages of scripture. Sarah was not a Catholic but her situation had driven her to ask for help. Her life was almost beyond liveable. Her friend had recommended the Father who would guide Sarah through the process. In the cold dark room, the door to the right opened suddenly. ‘Hullo, hullo, David. Now, how are you this fine day?’ A man in a heavy coat and scarf entered the room. He was jolly and spoke in a thick Irish accent. ‘Well, now then, it’s not the warmest place is it?’ he continued, rubbing his hands together. ‘Ah forgive me’, he said, ‘let me introduce myself, I am Darragh O’reilly, and I am here to help son, only to help.’ Darragh walked to the side of the room and put on a heater. ‘That’ll warm us up soon enough he said,' pulling the chair out on the opposite side of the table and making himself comfortable. ‘A nasty business this David, but we can sort it out. Just tell me what happened, in your own time.’ David looked at Darragh whose kind eyes were pools of hope glistening in the half-light, and then he began. ‘We used to be OK, me and Sarah. We had some great years. She was funny, you know, quirky. Not a girly girl, one of the lads. I liked that. We had been friends first, from school, did you know?’ Darragh smiled and nodded slowly. ‘Well, things changed, you know, when she got this new job, and she started wanting more. I wasn’t really enough, you know, she wanted a better car, better house, better boyfriend. I really tried, long hours, lots of overtime. I loved her, wanted a family, to live and die together. Simple, normal. She started moaning. Always fucking moaning. Home is supposed to be calm and tranquil, not stressful. It was a battleground. I lost my job and things got worse. More fucking moaning. Screaming sometimes, so the neighbours could hear. Trying to make me feel bad when it was her fault I was getting angry all the time. Then this one Saturday, I admit I was a bit pissed, I’d been watching the football. England had lost so that pissed me right off. You know, I was tense, you know what it’s like. I’d run out of beer so I messaged and asked Sarah to pick some up from the offy; she was already out shopping, would have been no bother. Well, she forgot Darragh, I mean one thing was all I asked, one fucking thing.’ Darragh looked sympathetic and nodded slowly. David felt solidarity and continued. ‘So, she gets in, no beer, and starts going on about the rubbish. I hadn’t put it out see and, yeah, well I guess it was stinking but I was distracted with the football. She starts yelling right, said I looked like a dosser, like a vagrant. Said I was a mess and she couldn’t bear to be near me anymore. She was all tarted up, smelled of fancy perfume, and had new shoes on, like a right dog’s dinner she was. Fucking slag.’ David looked down at his bloody hands. A tear rolled down his cheek, then he sobbed like a child. The Priest fell to his knees on Sarah’s living room floor calling the unwelcome spirits in the house to leave in a chant-like song. Sarah had never seen an exorcism before and felt a chill through her body and a wave of nausea. She assumed it was fear. The lights flickered. A door flew open and something in the kitchen fell to the floor. Sarah ran towards the kitchen but the priest yelled. ‘No, be still child! Exsúrgat Deus et dissipéntur inimíci ejus: et fúgiant qui odérunt eum a fácie ejus,' the Priest was chanting in Latin. A gust of air surged through the house. Darragh put his hand on David’s arm. ‘It’s OK David, I am not here to judge, only God judges. Tell me everything.’ The sobbing had stopped and David continued. ‘I was just so fucking angry. I just grabbed her by the neck and pushed her against the wall. I was so close to her then, closer than I had been for ages. I could feel her breath on my cheek. I almost kissed her but I head-butted her instead. I didn’t mean to do it so hard and she was bleeding. I could smell the blood. But she spat at me and I just got angry so I punched her in the face. There was so much blood, it was pouring from her nose and her brow. There was a big cut. I watched her bleed for a bit. It dripped down her neck and over my hand and I licked it. I wanted to taste her blood. I loved her you know, really loved her. She was quiet. It was so peaceful without her rabbiting on about all that shit. I was squeezing her neck still but I released it a bit because I thought she may be dead, that I’d killed her. I didn’t want to honestly. Everything in Sarah’s house began to rattle. Things were moving about, flying at speed through the air and being thrown around the room backwards and forwards. Things were breaking, pictures falling off the wall and mirrors cracking. The priest carried on shouting despite the danger of a hundred objects hurtling through the air. ‘Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His Face! As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.’ ‘Carry on David,’ said Darragh, ‘keep going son, keep going.’ ‘Well, then she said I was pathetic and I couldn’t help it, Darragh, really I just went mad, I lost it then completely. I bit her lip really hard. It was like meat, her lip in my teeth, I could feel it coming off in my mouth, felt all her blood on my tongue. That’s when she did it. She picked up a knife, from the side. She stuck it right through Darragh. Straight through my heart. I mean, how could she? It didn’t hurt, like a punch, then hot. But I knew, I knew I was a goner.’ The priest stood up in Sarah’s living room and moaned. Then he opened his eyes. The wind had slowed and things were no longer flying about. ‘Well David, it is good that you have told me and I know you will feel better for it.’ said Darragh. Then he took off his coat and David saw the white collar of a priest. ‘Do I have to go?’ He asked. ‘Yes David you do, I am here to guide you through the door.’ Darragh pointed to the door on the left which was opening. There was a bright light beyond it like a summer’s day. ‘But don’t be afraid David, beyond the door is salvation. Let me take you now.’ Darragh took David’s hand and escorted him to the door. David dropped to his knees. Darragh spoke in prayer, ‘God our Father, I believe that out of your infinite love, you have created David. In a thousand ways, he has shunned Your love. David repents of each and every one of his sins. Please forgive him, Dearest Lord, Amen.' Then he kissed David’s forehead and led him through the door. Sarah’s house was quiet. There was a phenomenal calm that had never been in the building before. The pain of all that had happened was lifted and gone. There was peace here now. ‘Has he gone Father?’ Sarah asked. 'Yes, Sarah he is gone to Jesus, and he has found peace in forgiveness.' ‘So what happens now?' She asked. The Priest looked at the young girl, her face scarred and her eyes sage, ‘I will hear your confession and be on my way,’ the Priest said ‘for all that is tranquil has been resolved.’ © 2019 Tale Teller Club

Dec 23, 2021

The Cafeteria by Sarnia de la Maré FRSA, a short story for animal lovers

Rabbit landscape sunset
Bunnie hopped her way down a long corridor. The bright lights were blinding her and she had a headache. She was in a hurry. The walls were lined with celebratory portraits of animals and insects from all over the world; intricate batiks and weaves as well as paintings in ostentatious frames. The high ceilings and open views from the large windows made her nervous, and jumpy. Frankly. she would be glad when this was over.

Someone startled her, trotting up from behind, clippety-clopping loudly. They overtook her, turning to look at her huge brown eyes. It was a man with long grey hair. He shimmied his main proudly and smiled before clippety-clopping ahead in worn black shoes that had seen better days.

Bunnie smiled back, nervously. She needed all the support she could rally, being a stranger here.

Bunnie is nervous

At the double doors, a woman waited. She looked Bunnie up and down with a supercilious stare then looked at the door.
Bunnie felt awkward and was uncertain of her next move. Should she barge past? She stopped briefly and leaned forward to open the door, waiting for the stranger to go through.
The woman just looked at Bunnie then turned away to glance outside through an adjacent window at the view. Then, just as Bunnie tried to make her own way through the door, the woman leapt in front of her nearly tripping her over.

Bunnie called out a mild expletive and the woman turned around and hissed something back at her, running off to the food area.

Bunnie was feeling agitated. She had been told to meet someone called Ratindra.
Apparently, she was distinctive-looking because of her very long nails.

‘You can’t miss her,’ the concierge had added, ‘she has sticky-out ears too and sits watching everyone from a table in the corner by the drinks cooler.’

The cafeteria was large and busy. There were people all around; running, walking, sitting, some slow, some fast, some skittish, some brazen, some reading, some eating. There was a lot of noise too and Bunnie wondered what they all did here, this diverse group of characters all having refreshments in the cafeteria. There was a lot to take in.

Bunnie spotted Ratindra at last, who was just as the concierge had described.
‘Hi Bunnie,’ said Ratindra, ‘We have been expecting you.’

‘Hi,’ Bunnie replied nervously, ‘what is this place, why am I here?’
Ratindra wiped something off her cheek with the back of her hand and scratched her long nose.
‘Ah, have they not explained? Let me go over things. This is the pre-metamorphosis area. This is just where you come to sort out paperwork before your change.’

Bunnie looked confused.
‘Sorry, I don’t understand.’
Ratindra wiped her cheek again and started nibbling her long nails with her front teeth.
‘Interesting,’ mused Ratindra, ‘where are your papers?’
‘Papers, what papers? I don’t have any papers. You mean like a passport or something?’ asked Bunnie, now feeling self-conscious.

Ratindra sighed.
‘Wait here,’ she said, ‘I will be right back.’
A few minutes later Ratindra returned with a colleague.
‘This is Camila, she said,’

Camila was a top-heavy lady with a hunchback. She had long fluffy eyelashes and as she read her notes, repeatedly flared her nostrils. Ratindra offered her some water which she declined.

‘Just to clarify, Bunnie,’ said Camila, ‘you
don’t have your notes?’

‘No,’ said Bunnie, with a sigh. ‘I was just told to come here immediately after the prang in the car.’
Ratindra and Camilla looked at one another. Ratindra spoke first, ‘I think we may need to speak to Eddy,’ she whispered, ‘there may have been yet another bureaucratic balls-up.'

Eddy joined the group ten minutes later giving Ratindra and Camila a great big hug. He was a large rotund man with lots of facial hair and a bounding gait. He moved down to hug Bunnie too, who panicked, but then realised he needed to be professional in the circumstances and sat down instead to look through his stack of papers.

‘So, Bunnie,’ he said, in a deep baritone voice, ‘do you understand where you are and why you are here?’
‘No,’ said Bunnie, fidgeting and beginning to feel anxious.

‘Let me explain. I am sorry if this is a shock but you are dead. This is the metamorphosis centre where you are booked in for your transformation into your spirit animal.’

‘Dead!’ shouted Bunnie, ‘but I am here and very alive thank you very much.’

‘Hmmmm, no not really,’ said Eddy, you were killed twenty minutes ago in a car crash.’

Bunnie thought for a minute and looked down at her body. Something wasn’t quite right.

Things were misaligned and there was dried blood on her dress. Suddenly everything hurt.

‘So, what happens now?’ she asked, beginning to fear the worst. Do I find out if it's Heaven or Hell or something? What exactly IS the procedure?’

Suddenly a man came running over excitedly, jumping from one leg to the other. He ran off again to grab a clipboard then ran back to the table where he finally and sat down.

‘Hi Camilla, Hi Eddy, Hi Ratindra, Hi Bunnie,’ he said panting, ‘I’m Heinz, very pleased to meet you.' Heinz lifted his hand purposefully but clumsily and put it on Bunnie's, so she shook it obligingly assuming it was protocol.
‘Look, there seems to be an issue, Bunnie,’ he said.
‘You don’t seem to have been allocated a spirit animal for your metamorphosis today.’
Bunnie looked at Eddy and said because she could think of nothing else, ‘well someone isn’t doing their job properly are they?’

The four people opposite her gasped in unison. Heinz licked his lips and avoided eye contact. Camilla snorted, Ratindra twitched and Eddy rubbed his eyes.

‘No, Bunnie, you see, it isn’t us, it’s you,’ said Heinz. 'You need to choose your spirit animal before you die otherwise you can’t go through to the next level of metamorphosis. This is basic. You have really been remiss. It’s surprising as you are already an adult. Most people know early on and certainly decide before they get to the cafeteria.’

camel sky sunsetEveryone stared at Bunnie.
‘So, what now?’ She asked, also feeling concerned about being dead.
Ratindra spoke. ‘You have to go back,’ she said. ‘It’s disappointing I know. The spirit animal phase is really so much better than the human one. But you will get another chance Bunnie, eventually, I promise. You just need to open your heart.’

Camila, accidentally spitting again, added, ‘you have probably just been too busy dear.'

The loud sirens woke Bunnie up with a start. People were running around making a fuss.

‘You’re Ok love, ‘said the paramedic, lucky miss if you ask me. Let’s give you the once over in the ambulance to make sure nothing is broken and get you to the hospital.'
‘Did I pass out?’ she asked.
‘Just a few seconds love, so we need to watch for concussion. It’s a big shock, a crash like that. Airbag and seat belt saved your life probably.’

A few days later when Bunnie had returned home, her sister came to visit. All her many siblings and extended family had been visiting in an endless caring stream and she had been busy serving nibbles and refreshments now for days. It was exhausting. She was really looking forward to some alone time.

‘I’ve brought you a surprise,’ her sister said excitedly. ‘You spend way too much time running around and working. It is time to take things easy. But I think you need to have some company to share the quiet moments and someone to love when we are not here.’

She presented Bunnie with a large cardboard box wrapped in red ribbons.

‘Go on, open it’ she said.
Inside was a warm fluffy ball looking up at her nervously. It the most beautiful long-eared baby rabbit Bunnie had ever seen.

'I saw him and thought of you, you were made for each other,' said her sister.

Bunnie gently lifted him out, enraptured and filled with glee. She held him in her arms like a newborn baby and shed a tear of happiness.
Then the two new friends rubbed noses and stared into each other's big round chocolate eyes for a very long time.

© 2019 Sarnia de la Maré FRSA

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