Thursday, December 8, 2016

[Horror - Short Story] I got into this tunnel. I don't think I am ever getting out. (Part 6)

[Part 1] - [Part 2] - [Part 3] - [Part 4] - [Part 5]

*

12.47am

Have you ever ran like your life depended on it, to the point that your whole body is burning and feels like breaking apart, but you know you just can’t stop?

As mentioned in the previous note, I eventually went to investigate the Myvi, while Dave stayed behind with Cecilia. I still don’t know why I agreed to do it. As a precaution, I chose not to approach the car directly, deciding that it would be safer to circle around, so I made my way to the Toyota beside it instead. Having a physical barrier gives me a better sense of security.

As I made my way to it, I passed by a peculiar looking vehicle, with a boat strapped on the back of it. There was an overpowering stench coming from the boat, over and above the rotting scent already in the tunnel. I had to cover my nose as I walked past it, to prevent me from puking all over.

I arrived next to the Toyota after passing another car, its rusty body separating me from the Myvi.
My eyes did not dare wander to the Myvi the whole time I was crouching over, afraid of what I would see. But now that I was at my destination, it was the only thing left to do.

I raised my head slightly over the Toyota’s door, peeking through the back seat’s window, towards the Myvi. There was indeed a person in the back, directly behind the driver’s seat. The figure was no longer sitting still, rocking back and forth, its mouth mumbling something. Its face was covered by its hair, swaying slightly together with its movement.

My heart was debating on my next course of action, when the figure suddenly turned its head towards me. Not the type of smooth turn when you turn your head sideways, but rather a 90-degree sudden snap towards my direction, as if it knew that I was there, staring at it. I let out yelp when I saw the face. Its eyes were white and glazed over. Skin were peeling off its face, and its lower jaw was horribly disfigured. Maggots crawled around its face.

But what freaked me out was the most was the familiarity of the face. It was Amanda’s. But how could it be? It has only been barely a day since we lost contact with her.

Amanda seemed to read my thoughts, and grinned with her deformed jaw. She moved her mouth, and I heard her. She was whispering, but yet I could hear clearly, her voice coming surrounding me.
“You all left me…” she croaked, her voice dry and cold. She opened the car door and stepped out, revealing an almost skeletal figure. Her skin hugged her bones tightly, her clothes worn and tattered.
“No… We didn’t… we didn’t leave you,” I replied immediately, almost in a whimper. I moved a few steps backwards, away from Amanda who was slowly dragging her feet towards me.

She shook her head slowly, her hollow eyes never leaving mine. “I waited for you all, I searched for you all, I didn’t stop, and I drove and drove until I reached this place…” She walked past the Toyota, coming to face me directly, her voice trailing with each drag of her feet.

“…and now I’m dead… D-E-A-D… dead… because of a STUPID WISH!” she screamed as she lunged at me. My reflexes kicked into action and I avoided her by mere inches, I was sprinting for my dear life away from there. I looked back a few times to see if Amanda was gaining on me, and to my horror saw several dozen more bodies dragging themselves from across the bend we saw earlier. The groans seemed to grow louder, the stench of decaying flesh stronger, filling every available pockets of air.

Each of the figures looked equally horrible, one had half his face missing, another seemed burnt from head to toe, the skin black as charcoal. But they all shared the same pair of dead, blank eyes, all focused on my direction, the hatred from them burning through me, and mixed with the fear that they must have felt when they were still alive.

Cecilia was already on Dave’s back when I reached them, and there was no need to explain anything. They had seen everything from where they stood. Dave simply shouted “Run” towards me, and we ran like we never had before in our life, zig-zagging through the empty vehicles, away from Amanda, away from whatever creatures that were chasing us.

I did not know how long or how far we ran, but the vehicles around us seemed to grow older, more ancient, and more distorted. The flames that we saw flickering when first step foot into this place grew brighter as well, bringing with it an ominous vibe. As if death itself resides there. Behind us, the mass of creatures seemed to have grown larger in numbers, still coming towards us. Just when I wondered if we would be running towards the flames Dave pointed to structure nearby.

“There! Head there!” he shouted towards me, and we made our way there. The structure looked like a lifeguard tower you would normally find in a crowded beach, reaching towards the ceiling of the tunnel. A ladder reached up to platform a few metres above the ground. It looked strangely out of place standing there, in the middle of all the abandoned vehicles, but it was a welcomed sight, nonetheless.

Dave shouted for us to climb the ladder, and both Cecelia and I hastily made our way up through the metal rungs, finding ourselves on a platform overlooking the tunnel. Dave made it up shortly after and pulled the ladder up with him. He gave a long relieved sigh and the two of us collapsed unto the platform, catching our breath. Cecelia sobbed softly into Dave’s chest.

Below us, the voices of the dead drifted upwards, as they reached futilely for us. I could still hear Amanda’s voice mixed together with theirs, accusing us of abandoning her, leaving her to die.
The three of us didn’t talk for a long time, relishing the short break that we had, letting reality sink it.

We would most probably meet our end here, there is little doubt on that. I peered towards the direction that we came from, the Myvi is but a tiny speck now. In the opposite direction, the vehicles went on and on as far as your eyes could see. I struggled to see if there was anything else beyond it, but it was hard to make out anything after certain distance.

The exhaustion was starting to kick in when I laid back down on the platform, staring at the ceiling which is now not far from us. Amanda’s face kept coming back to me. Her decaying skin, her skeletal body, the deformed jaw. It doesn’t make sense. According to my notes, we had only been gone less than a day, but the condition of our car and her death suggested otherwise. I shudder to think of how long we’ve actually been here, and if we would end up being like Amanda if we do die here, which seemed very likely now.

Dave seemed to read my thoughts, and his left hand squeezed my shoulders. “Don’t worry, I promise that this will be over soon. I will make sure of it.”

I hope he’s right.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

[Horror - Short Story] I got into this tunnel. I don't think I am ever getting out. (Part 5)

[Part 1] - [Part 2] - [Part 3] - [Part 4]

*

10.00pm

“I think I know where we are.” Hearing those words leave Dave’s mouth, I didn’t know what to feel.
We were sitting on the back of a pickup truck, resting from all the walking that we’ve done. It was hard to feel anything already, anyway, other than a looming sense of dread.

Around us the gagging smell of rotting flesh still clung stubbornly to the air, while the shadows from a faraway burning flame danced on the walls, teasing the dying electric lights. Moans and groans occasionally bounced off the wall, and I shuddered to even consider what was making those noises.

“Go on,” Cecelia urged him. Dave’s eyes lingered on the both us. You could see the regret he was feeling behind those eyes.

“It was during one of my deployments,” he finally mumbled. “We… we did things that I am not proud of. Things that continued to haunt me until today. And now, it seems that my sins have finally caught up to me.”

“What do you mean your sins? What could you have possibly done to warrant this?” I pointed towards the apocalyptic scene before us. The words rolled effortlessly out my lips, fuelled by the building anger inside of me, at finally knowing.

Cecilia turned towards me and shot me a disapproving look. Or was it a disappointed look? She then reached out to Dave and squeezed his hands. “It’s okay, Dave. You can tell us.” I only felt my anger towards Dave growing. But I kept quiet, nonetheless, and let Dave continued.

“We… we killed civilians. Children. Women. During one of our operations. It was just after another incident of roadside bomb, killing half of our squad. We were angry. We wanted… revenge.” After his deployment, Dave rarely talked about his experience. Perhaps this was the reason why.

“I never wanted to do it, you know. I regretted every day for what we’ve done. When we started to shoot the children to threaten them, one of the women, in between her screams, repeatedly chanted against us.” Dave’s voice was breaking now.

He continued, struggling to maintain his composure. “I thought it was just profanities in the local language, but after coming back, members of my squad who were there that day began disappearing one by one, with no explanations. At first I thought they were unrelated, but…”

Before he could finish, however, a loud bang sounded in the distance, shocking the three of us. It sounded like a car door slamming, but it was loud enough to startle us. The three of us exchanged nervous glances. Wiping his eyes with his sleeve, Dave motioned us to keep quiet and waved his hands towards the source of the noise. I think he wants us to investigate it.

*

11.27pm

After the bang that we heard earlier, the three of us crept slowly towards the source. Dave the way, while kept watch on our backs. Even though the freeway looked abandoned, the scent in the air seemed to suggest something more sinister was going on. It was a thought that I was sure we all shared, but are too afraid to voice it out, lest it becomes true.
We made our way through the numerous abandoned vehicles, zig-zagging in between sedans, convertibles, trucks, vans. Strangely, they all faced the same direction. Towards the faraway fire, it seemed.

Who drove them, and how did they end up in such fashion? It looked as if all the vehicles were caught in a sudden traffic snarl and the owners decided abandon them, walked off to god knows where. One thing that struck me however, was that as we walked away from where the vehicles were facing, the models of the cars tend to get newer, in terms of their years of release. But despite the differing years of release, they all looked similarly worn out, like they have been there for an equal amount of time.

I did not have a lot of time to process that observation though, because as we passed a BMW with its passenger door missing, we stopped dead in our tracks. Nestled between the wall and a Toyota, only a few feet away, a familiar sight greeted us. A car that looked eerily similar to what we were driving less than a day ago, a Malaysian produced car called the Myvi. Painted blue with the words ‘JD Car Rental Services’ emblazoned in red and yellow at its side. Like the many vehicles that we had encountered, the Myvi looked as if it has been there for some time, even though only a few hours had passed after we last saw it. The tyres were flat, the paint less vibrant, coated in dirt.
Surprisingly, was how the Myvi was the last car in the long line of abandoned vehicles, the Toyota just inches in front of it. As if it was the last car to join this queue of vehicular death. Behind them, only empty road remained. There was a sharp bend not far away, which prevented us from seeing anything beyond it.

Dave seemed to be studying the Myvi, while his right hand told us to stay. After a while, he turned back to us, his face pale. “I think there’s someone sitting at the back of the car.” A cold ran down my back.

I peeked out from my location, hoping that Dave’s eyes were playing tricks on him, and although my view was partially blocked, there was indeed a figure at the back of the car. Or what looked like a human figure. The dim lighting made it hard to discern what I was looking at. I stared at it for a good few minutes, hoping to make out what it is, but it just remained still the whole time, unmoving. I could clearly see a figure resembling a human, but the features were covered it shadows.
What unnerved me was how the longer I stared at the figure, the more uneasy I felt. It was like the figure was staring back at me, though that I could not see its eyes. Fear got the better of me, as I quickly crept back towards Dave and Cecilia. The image of the figure lingered at the back of my mind.

“So, what should we do?” I hastily asked, hoping to shake off the feeling that I had. From Dave’s face, I guessed he experienced the same thing too.

“I’m not going there,” Cecilia curtly responded, her hands wrapped tightly around Dave’s arms. I still could not understand how she’s still able to love him, despite his recent confession that he was responsible for the mess that he had gotten us into. I wanted to punch him on the spot if I could. But she was genuinely afraid, you could see it on her face, and perhaps why she clung to him.

Dave studied Cecilia, then turned back to me, his eyes already asking me for a favour. “Could you just go check our car out? Perhaps you can figure out if that is indeed our car, and what or who is in the backseat?” I was hoping that he would not ask that.

I asked Dave to give me a while, which he agreed. To be honest, I am just stalling for time, because a nagging feeling is telling me that we would not like what we find.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

[Short Story] Assassin of Kings

[WP] Most people forget their past lives when they are reincarnated, except you. In fact you perfectly remember killing Both Kennedy and Lincoln


When I ran the blade across my father's throat, a blade that had been given to me by my dearest mother, forged from gold with its hilt decorated in the most splendid of jewels, he had been having one of the harems that he so enjoyed.

I could still remember it vividly, my father's shocked eyes as he saw me holding the blade, blood gushing from his throat. My very first kill. My mother had promised me the throne after I completed the deed, having made arrangements with other members of the royal family.

But we had sadly underestimated the power of my brother and my stepmother. Far from killing them as we intended, we had been betrayed, having been the unwitting pawns of a grander scheme. In killing my father, I had literally handed the crown to my brother with no opposition to challenge him. And in a final boast, he took the name of my father, Ramesses IV.

Those who supported us were quickly dispatched. My mother, accused of being the mastermind, was burnt as a punishment to deny her of the afterlife.

In hindsight, it may have been a blessing instead. I, on the other hand, was cursed by brother to forever walk this earth, denied the joys of either an afterlife or the closure of a permanent death.

Cursed to become a killer of kings, the reaper of dynasties. Cursed to forever repeat the cycle. Born anew, only to murder.

I had tried once to resist. Under the name of John Wilkes Booth. My life was had been great starting out. I had a loving family, a bright future. But the whispers of the curse never really grow silent.

I had vehemently tried to pursue a career that would lead me away from the curse, but it had a life of its own. The priests and priestess' magic was not one to be easily countered. The more I tried running away from it, the more it consumed me. How it stoked feelings of anger and hatred inside of me. How it breath life into the conflict that consumed the entire nation the more I tried to run away from it.

The relief I felt when I finally pulled the trigger, the soft sweet kiss from the curse when I finally gave in. When I finally stopped resisting.

Julius Caesar, John F Kennedy, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Emperor AnkĊ. They are but a list of achievements that accompany me into each life, names forever etched in my mind, casualties of my curse.

Killer of kings. The end to dynasties. Harbinger of change. That was curse bestowed upon me. One that I will gladly accept in each life that I was born into. The era that I'm born into.

Seeing how things are turning out in 2016, I am positively sure that my target will be made apparent soon. The cycle has to continue.

Monday, November 28, 2016

[Horror - Short Story] I got into this tunnel. I don't think I am ever getting out. (Part 4)

[Part 1] - [Part 2] - [Part 3]

*

6.00pm

It’s horrifying, trapped in a confined space with no way out, darkness being the only constant. We thought we would only explore the narrow passage for a while. But as we felt our way around in the darkness, with only the light from our phone screens guiding us, I can’t help but feel that whoever, whatever, that was in control of this god forsaken tunnel had meant for us to open the emergency doors and step through it.

I don’t know what we’re looking for, what we’re expecting. The dampness and the smell of this place is slowly draining the life out of me. The silence was broken only by the sound of our footsteps on the occasional puddles of water. And with every step that we took, I can’t shake off the lingering sensation that someone, something, was watching us.

That sensation was so strong that I turned back several times, expecting to see something, but was only greeted by piercing darkness. But that feeling that someone was watching was unshakeable. It bears down on you. Somehow, I knew that we’re not the first ones here. And neither will we be the last. And this could be the very place where we die.

I just hope Amanda is alright, wherever she may be. Dave and Cecilia are strangely quiet too, walking in front of me. Perhaps they’re caught in thoughts similar to mine. Well, at least they still have each other, if worse comes to worst.

*

7.00pm

Dave said he spotted a ray of light no far ahead! We’re making a dash towards it and with luck, we’ll find the door which we came in from, and Amanda will be waiting for us outside.

*

7.35pm

Just when I thought things could not get any worse. We did find a door, painted in red just like the one we saw earlier, but it was no the door we came in from.

The burning smell of tires hit us as soon as we pushed opened the door, mixed with an odour of decaying flesh. The three of us almost gagged when we stepped out. The door looked older and more worn-out than the one we saw earlier, but nothing compared to the sight that greeted us. The dark narrow tunnel didn’t seem too bad in hindsight.

Compared to the well-lit and empty road where we first found ourselves, vehicles littered this one. Not just any vehicles, but those that looked as if they were abandoned a long time ago. It was like a scene from all the apocalyptic movies, where cars laid strewn across the expressway, empty and devoid of life, as if they had their souls ripped off from them. Several had their windows smashed, while others had their paint peeling off.

On top of us, most of the lights were broken, with only one or two shining limply. A few flickered occasionally, gasping for the last breaths of life. In the distance, you could see shadows being casted on the walls from glowing orange flames, their shapes hardly resembling anything we were familiar with. There were also the unmistakeable sound of pained groans and moans, echoing through the walls, mixed together with the putrid smell.

The three of us instinctively turned backwards to the door where we came from, but like the first time, only a solid wall stared back of us. “Fuck,” I could hear Dave mutter loudly, as we stood there transfixed, unsure of what to do, unsure of what horrors that we have gotten ourselves into.

Fuck indeed.

*

9.00pm

This is probably the last time to be funny, but I think we may have ended up in the highway to hell. Dave only gave me a cold glare when the words rolled off my tongue, as he tried to comfort a now hysterical Cecilia. I don’t blame him though, after what happened earlier. I was only trying to lighten the mood of otherwise a terrible situation.

We decided to check vehicles that laid abandoned on the road, hoping that perhaps one of them could give us a clue of where we were. There were all sort of them on the road. Sedans, trucks, vans and even buses. What crept us out were how for the vehicles that still had their number plates, they were all seemed different, with different languages.

“Seems like cars from around the world end up here,” Dave quietly observed, without elaborating.

All of them also looked as if the owners had abandoned them a long time ago, without any indication of where they went. As we moved from one vehicle to another, opening any closed trunks, compartments and dashboard, the smell and sound hung constantly in the air, not getting any further nor closer.

We were rummaging through our fourth vehicle, an older model of the Ford Mustang when Dave stumbled across a laminated card in the glove compartment. It was a driver’s license bearing the name of Colin Nessbit, issued in 1971.

Dave uttered “Fuck” again, albeit much louder this time round. He slammed the front of the car with his right hand, and Cecilia rushed to his side.

As she was slowly stroking his back, he turned towards us, his eyes staring into a faraway distance. “There’s something I need to tell you all.”

Sunday, November 27, 2016

[Horror - Short Story] I got into this tunnel. I don't think I am ever getting out. (Part 3)

[Part 1]

[Part 2]

9.30am

I had hoped that when I opened my eyes, we would be back in our hotel, the past few hours nothing but a really bad dream. But I woke up at the back at the car, Amanda still asleep just inches from me. Near the front, Cecilia’s head was on Dave’s shoulder. I can’t help but to feel a tinge of jealously, despite the situation we’re in. The only reason I agreed to this trip was because Cecilia asked me to.

You see, Cecilia used to be my crush, way back in high school. We were the best of friends, doing almost everything together. The only reason why I have never made a move was because she was way out of my league, and I would die than to lose her as a friend.

We lost contact when we moved thousands of miles apart to attend college. I met Dave after my graduation, five years after last meeting Cecilia, during a networking session, where I found out that he was dating Cecilia. My reunion with Cecilia could not have been more awkward.

Watching them from the back of the car, I was reminded again of how small the world can be, how life loves to crack a joke on you every now and then. It was not a feeling I relish. I stretched myself and walked out of the car, rubbing my hands across my unwashed hair. Just let this nightmare end soon, I prayed.

*

10.30am

After all the bizarre events that we’ve been through, I was not sure why we expected the emergency phones to function normally. Desperation gives you wild hopes, I guess. The phones were sparsely in the tunnel, with one every one kilometre or so. Placed in bright orange boxes with a green and white icon on the side, they looked brand new.

The plastic coating on the telephone handle looked fresh, and the casing shone under the yellow lights. It was one of the old phones that we used to have in our homes, before everyone owned a smart phone.

Dave was the first who took a go at the phones. He lifted up the handle and put the receiving end to his ears, tried talking and shouting to the phone, pressed the buttons next to the phone randomly and slammed it a few times. He handed it to Cecilia, who also tried the same actions, before shaking her head and putting the phone back.

“It just keeps repeating some gibberish language,” Dave said as I walked past him and pressed the phone against my ears. There was no dial tone, no keypad tone, no matter what I tried. Instead, chanting constantly into my ears were words that I could not understand. The voice belonged to a man, which sounded really old. I called out to the voice, shouted hello, even cursed at him, but there was no change in his intonation nor speed. The words just kept repeating themselves.
Giving up, I placed the phone back to its resting place. Dave cursed behind me.

The next phone that we tried was not any different. The same chanting in words that we could not understand. The voice sounded robotic, as if the person was under some trance. We all listened to the phone, and determined that it must be the local language, which did not help us one bit, since none of us knew the local language.

Nevertheless, I continued to listen to the words, jotting them down when I do get a signal. If I do get a signal. Google Translate could come in so handy now. From what I could guess, the phrase on the phone sounded something like this: ”ha-jat-uhn-da-ah-gan-d-du-nai-gan”

If only I knew what the sentence meant.

*

11.45am

With little options left, we decided to see what’s behind the emergency doors. Everyone seemed to be resigned to the fate that we’re in now. Cecilia’s eyes still looked red from all the crying. A part of me wanted to console her, but another part of me felt guilty for having such thoughts. It felt almost like I was betraying Dave.

As for Dave, he looked like he didn’t get enough rest. His face was sunken, with visible eye bags. But his composure held. Army has trained him well. He handed us our meal portion, a vast difference from what we ate just yesterday night. The four of us ate in silence, with occasional hums from Amanda.

If our past few hours were of any indication, I am not looking forward to trying the escape doors.

*

4.00pm

We lost Amanda. We freaking lost Amanda. And now it seemed that we’re trapped in this pitch black darkness with no way out.

After our earlier meal, we proceeded to the nearest emergency door as planned, not knowing what to expect. Unlike the phones, the doors looked worn out, old. The red paint was peeling off the frame, revealing a layer of rust underneath. Nothing about the door felt right, and a part of me wanted to just ignore it.

When Dave pushed open the door, it groaned loudly, revealing a narrow passageway behind, just enough to just fit two people walking side by side. A blast of cold air came from within, carrying with it a stench that reminded me of large dirty drains. The passageway itself was dark and damp, without any source of lighting.

We took turns poking our head in, wrestling with the thoughts of whether we should stick to the better lit main road.

Amanda protested wholeheartedly against going in, saying that we stood a better chance outside, in the light. Dave countered by saying that there could be something behind that could help us, and that there is no harm in investigating. Cecilia said she would go wherever Dave goes, and I supported Dave’s reasoning, despite the misgivings that I have. Staying where we were would not change anything.

In the end we decided that Amanda will keep watch by the door, while the three of us would only briefly explore the emergency passageway, without going too far away from the door. If there is nothing of interest, we’ll return to the main tunnel instead, as we all agreed to not further subject ourselves to risky situation.

Dave was the first to put his foot into the passageway. Cecilia clung closely to him. I followed not far behind, cautiously stepping into the dark place. It was as tall as the tunnel outside, but narrower.
We moved slowly along the path, with Dave illuminating the way using his handphone’s torch. The narrow way felt damp, with a foul stench hanging in the air. I resorted to breathing using my mouth. Whenever Dave’s torch shone on the wall, you could see mould growing on it. The walls were pockmarked, rough. Like straight out of a horror movie.

It did not take very long before we heard a loud bang behind us, the sound of the door slamming shut with enormous force. The three of us screamed simultaneously. I ran quickly back to where we entered, only to discover a solid wall, pockmarked and covered in mould, where the door was.

We’ve been calling and banging the wall for 30 minutes now, and I don’t think the door will appear back any time soon.

[Part 4]

Thursday, November 24, 2016

[Horror - Short Story] I got into this tunnel. I don't think I am ever getting out. (Part 2)

[Part 1]

*

1.00am

The four of us got into a heated argument just moments ago. It was several minutes past 1.00am when Dave piped out that we should perhaps turn back. The gas tank indicator was fast approaching the half mark, and Dave explained that it would be the best time to do so.

Cecilia seemed unsure of the suggestion at first, echoing the worst case scenario that was already playing on my mind. “What if there is no turning back?” she murmured. You could hear her trying to control the fear in her voice. It’s scary to see how our minds begin to reason when we’re afraid.
While Dave’s suggestion is logical, my gut was in agreement with Cecilia. Logical choices never seemed to work in situations like these. Amanda, who was by now fully awake and seemed to be slowly realizing our situation, supported Dave’s decision. I remained quiet, unable to make up my mind.

Realizing that we may need convincing, Dave slowed our car down and parked in the middle of the road. He killed the engine and opened his door. There was no need to worry about other incoming vehicles along the road anyway, since we’re the only ones in there.

The silence when he did so was deafening. We had grew so accustomed to the sound of the car’s engine accompanying us that I wished Dave would have kept the car going.

Dave tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, before he turned to face each of us. He was still wearing that worried look of his. It only seemed to weigh down on the situation we’re in.

“Look,” he whispered, “I don’t think if we’ll reach anywhere if we continue to drive, and we might as well take this chance to turn back. It’s better than going forward aimlessly. Maybe we’ll get out eventually.” My gut was telling me then that he himself did not believe what he was saying.

But there was not much choice for us to choose, and not knowing what laid ahead, all of us agreed. Cecilia offered to take the wheel, and Dave reluctantly switched over. We’re moving now, the sound of the engine working now feels like music to my ears. Hopefully by the time 3.00am rolls by, we’d be out from the tunnel. Hopefully.

*

3.37am

I had sincerely wished that this would be just a bad dream, but it seems that our worst fear did come true. We have driven longer in the opposite direction, but the exit never grew closer. What laid in beyond the windshield never changed. A constant, tiny black dot sitting right in the middle of the tunnel, mocking our futile attempt to escape.

All of us are out of the car now. I would have thrown up if I was any longer in there. Cecilia is crying beside the car. She’s squatting down, her arms tightly hugging her knees. All the stress have finally gotten to her, I suppose. She keeps repeating the sentence “I don’t want to die” in between her sobs over and over again. It’s giving me the creeps. But I don’t have the heart to ask her to stop.
Dave’s muscular arms wrapped around her, trying to calm her down. “Don’t worry, I am here,” he repeatedly said. I was unsure if he was trying to convince Cecilia or himself.

Amanda is leaning on the back on the car, her hands typing on her phone. Perhaps she’s writing a note, just like me. She had walked up to me earlier and casually asked if I think we’re going to die in here. I shrugged and mumbled “Don’t know.” She smirked, before casually replying that we most probably will. It definitely did not calm my nerves.

“All the horror stories that I’ve read don’t usually end well, and it seems we may be caught in one,” she added, and walked away. I didn’t even had the chance to respond. I must admit that her nonchalant attitude continues to catch me off guard. I am starting to admire her ability to not panic.

*

4.00am

I’ve never been more thankful for Dave’s experience in the army than now. The first thing that he did — once the girls calmed down and were soundly asleep in the car — was to do an inventory check. We were lucky that we decided to go on a shopping spree before we left our last destination. Aside from our clothes, we managed to cram 10 bottles of 1.5 litre mineral water and a carton of beer in the trunk of our car. Together with the drinks, also have an assortment of chocolate and local biscuits.
I had initially protested the need to buy so many things at one go, saying that we could always purchase them when needed, but now I was absolutely grateful that we did. Thank god Cecilia insisted. If we do survive this ordeal, I could picture myself becoming an obsessive compulsive hoarder.

Dave mentioned something about rationing, and the need to dump all of our belongings aside from our passports, wallets and money. His no nonsense personality was kicking in.

I followed his orders and helped him sort the essential items into four bags. We threw the rest of our belongings unto the road. Our clothes, shoes, electronics. I was not comfortable at first, seeing how everything that I owned was just discarded like some useless trash. Especially my camera bag.
A part of me still wanted to deny the situation that we found ourselves in. I wanted to believe that as soon as we got into the car and start driving, we would emerge back into civilization like nothing ever happened. Bad, scary things only happened to others not me. I had done nothing to end up in this type of situation. Dave would have none of it.

“Our life depends on us focusing,” he snarled as he gripped my arm, as if he read my thoughts. “Because in case you didn’t realize it, our normal lives have gone flying out of the window the moment we drove into this cursed place.”

He let go of me soon after, and headed for the car.

Dave’s sleeping now, Cecilia’s head resting on his chest. He had ask me to get some rest too, as we may need it come tomorrow. I am trying to, but I can’t shake the feeling that Dave is hiding something from us. If only I have the courage to confront him, though the last thing that I want to do is to doubt him. I am not even sure of what to believe now.

My phone is left with 50%. I don’t know what will happen when the battery eventually run out.

*

[Part 3]

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

[Horror - Short Story] I got into this tunnel. I don't think I am ever getting out. (Part 1)

It was supposed to be an ordinary road trip with my buddy Dave, his girlfriend Cecelia and her colleague Amanda. We had planned to drive across the west coast of Malaysia along the North-South Expressway. Starting from the state of Penang all the way to Singapore. It's an expressway that thousands use every day. And it seems that we're the ones unlucky enough to end up wherever this is.

The last thing that I remembered, before this parade of yellow lights and dull grey walls, was a signboard telling us that we were approaching the town of Ipoh. The signboard warned us that the we were entering an accident-prone area, and that we should slow our car down as the tunnel led down a slope. Darkness enveloped the forested hills that stood guard along the road. It was a cloudy night, with the moon barely peeking from the clouds.

As we drove into this long tunnel, the dull yellow lights that hung on the sides of the arched walls provided a stark contrast to the dark expressway that we came from. The lights whizzed past us boringly. Occasionally you could spot an emergency exit along the walls of the tunnel, with a clear bright exit sign over it, the doors painted in bright red. There were also other signs to remind you to use the phones along the tunnel for emergencies.

Nothing out of the ordinary, until the longer than expected time that we were spending driving in the same tunnel.

"Is this tunnel supposed to be that long?" Dave asked, breaking the uncomfortable silence that has settled among us. I checked the clock on my phone. 11pm. None of us had a clue what time we entered the tunnel, but I was sure we all made mental notes of the timing then.

Cecilia laid her hands on Dave's shoulder, trying to reassure him. "I'm sure we'll be out from here soon."

If it's not for the hint of uneasiness in her voice, I would have believed her. The fact that our car was the only one in the tunnel so far only made the feeling worse. To take my mind off things, I started writing this note in my phone. Just so to keep track of things. And there was a strong urging that I should.

*

11.45pm

45 minutes have passed since we drove into this tunnel. Outside of the window, the scenes repeated themselves. The constant blur of the yellow lights as you zoom past them, the occasional exit door and emergency signboard. If it's not for my phone, I would not be surprised if someone told me that we have just entered this passageway. Everything looks the same, as far as I could tell.

I dozed off and on, hoping that by the time I opened my eyes, I would be greeted by the welcome sight of the starless sky and silhouettes of the night forest. Instead, we're still stuck in this place, the only constant being the sound of our car's engine.

Looking to Dave and Cecilia in front, I could feel that something was wrong. There was an uneasy silence between them. Both of Dave's hands gripped the steering wheel tightly, while Cecilia's hand was still on his shoulder. The realisation hit me that Dave had stayed awake the whole time.

"Awake, Tim?" Dave asked, noticing that I was now looking at him. His voice betrayed a trace of worry. At six feet tall and having served two tours in Iraq, this was the first time I heard him sound unsure during our trip. "Yeah," I replied, and having my curiousity gnawing at me, I asked him if anything was wrong. There was no need to really. The empty road aside from our car was a big enough indication.

Cecilia turned to me, as if she wanted to say something, but Dave cut her off. "I'm afraid that we might have gotten ourselves in a situation here. Let's hope the fuel in our car holds." He simply said without any elaboration.

I wanted to ask more, but decided not to, unsure of the answer I would get. I simply blurted out that I could take over the driving if he gets tired, but Dave simply asked us to go to sleep. I updated this note instead.

*

12.16am

I couldn't sleep properly. I kept having bouts of nightmare as soon as I fall asleep. In my dreams I was walking along this large stretch of deserted road, filled with abandoned cars. Whenever I try to walk up to them, I was jolted awake instantly. I am not sure if my experience was affecting my dreams or if my dreams are predicting things. So I thought it would be good to keep Dave company instead, even though we did not really talk.

I don't know if it's me, but Dave's face seemed to looked worse than the last time I saw him. He had this blank stare on his face, and there were beads of sweat running across his chin, even though the car is fully air-conditioned. Although every ounce of me wanted to check if he's alright, there was this nagging feeling that I shouldn't.

The girls were sound asleep though. At least that's good. I couldn't shake the sense of rising panic inside me though. The lack of phone and radio signal is certainly not helping. But I just kept typing, as it calms me somewhat. And if the feeling of panic that's tugging me turns out to be accurate, I hope that this note would at least tell my story, just in case.

I am posting this note everywhere, despite the lack of connection. Facebook, Wordpress, Reddit, even Tumblr. Hoping that one would make it through. And right now I'm just wishing that this will just turn out to be a laughable bad experience in the end.

[PART 2]

First appearance

Thursday, November 17, 2016

[Short Story] Santa's Red Nose Protocol



"Amy, you need to stay here and rest," you tried to sound firm this time, but your voice betrayed a hint of tiredness.

"But mommy, I feel alright! And I want to see Santa! It's the holidays!" Amy coughed and wheezed as she tried to finish her sentence, but she was insistent. She clung to your feet, and you can't help but to stroke her now balding head. You miss her blonde curls. The energy that she used to have.
In your eyes, however, she's still beautiful as ever, and you loved her just the same.

You gave a long sigh, but finally relented. "Alright, but you promise to be a good girl after that, alright?"

Amy nodded, albeit with a weak smile. You smiled back. Amy was right. It was the holidays after all. Both Amy and you could use a break.

The hospital was adamant that Amy stayed indoors, but you managed to convince them otherwise. Just a day, you pleaded, so that Amy could at least enjoy the festivities. They made you sign a bunch of papers, which you gladly did. Before you knew it, you were already in the mall with Amy, waiting in line to see Santa Claus.

"So, what are you going to wish for?" you asked Amy playfully, her small hands wrapped in yours.
Amy, dressed in a thick Avengers sweater, pointed to her shirt and giggled, "I want to be a superhero, just like them!"

You laughed. "Well, lets see what Santa has to say..."

Before you could finish your sentence, an alarm blared across the shopping mall. Windows shook. Screams broke out in the distance, while people looked quizzically around. There was a sound of an explosion, followed by tires screeching. Amy gripped your hands tighter.

"Mummy, what's wrong?"

You had no idea. You looked towards the entrance, hoping to figure it out. You suddenly saw soldiers in full combat armor rushing towards Santa in the middle, forming a defensive circle. The leader of the group threw a rifle to Santa, and shouted "They're coming!" so loud that the whole mall could hear.

To everyone's surprise, Santa grabbed the rifle, shouted something about a Red Nose Protocol, and walked directly towards you and Amy. He extended a hand towards Amy, flashing a smile towards her. "Hi Amy, sorry for the commotion, but I'm Santa."

Amy shook his hand and responded in an unsure manner, "I know." You pressed her shoulders to assure her.

Santa then knelt down, facing Amy directly. "Well, let me keep this short. Right now, it seems that the goblins under King Grinch have escaped from their underground lairs, trying to steal Christmas. Your mum has never told you before, but you're secretly have powers. Powers you never knew about."

The soldier beside Santa nodded in agreement.

"Does that make me a superhero?" Amy asked excitedly. You saw a spark in her eye that you've not seen in a long time. Ever since she got this disease.

Santa winked. "I guess so," he said as he took out a wand from his jacket and passed it to Amy. "Here, take this." It sparkled under the mall's lighting. "This is all very sudden, but I need your help to defeat the goblins. Can you help me do this, Amy?"

"Yes," Amy squealed in delight. She turned towards you, as if asking for permission, when there was really no need to. You smiled and nodded. "Go get them, baby," you said. And off she went with Santa, together with the group of soldiers. You followed closely behind, worried.

Outside, green hideous looking creatures were already approaching the mall. It looked like a scene from Hollywood movies. Some of the soldiers were firing their guns at them. The shots seemed to have no effect on the monsters, other than to slow them down a little.

You turned towards Amy, who was now making her way to the front, with Santa by her side. "Now, Amy!" you heard him shout.

Amy pointed her wand at one of the goblins, shouted a phrase, most likely was just taught by Santa. To your amazement, the chest of the creature Amy pointed to made a popping sound, followed by a flash of light, and it then stumbled unto the ground.

Encouraged by the sight before her, and by Santa and his team of soldiers, you saw Amy energetically dispose of one goblin after another. She was genuinely enjoying herself.

Amy, your little angel, ravaged by a disease she did not understand, now brimming with excitement as she "saved the world" with her newfound powers. Something that she has always dreamed of. Looking at the scene, your eyes began to feel watery. You tried to wipe the tears away, but you just couldn't contain it. You ran towards a nearby corner, sat on the floor and began to wept uncontrollably. A whole mixture of emotions just overwhelmed you.

A guy who was also nearby, walked up and sat beside next to you. He wrapped his arms around you, and slowly stroke your shoulder.

"Thank you," you muttered in between sobs, "for agreeing to fulfill Amy's last wish."

He gave you an empathetic smile."Don't worry about it," he replied simply, "it's the least that we can do for her."

[WP] Prompt: https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/comments/5ddlle/wp_while_waiting_in_line_so_your_kid_can_get_a/

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

[Short Story] The 25th Hour


[WP]: You discover a 25th hour of the day, in which the universe is frozen in time for a whole hour each day. You are the only thing that can move. You must decide what to do with your new knowledge.

When I first discovered my power, I thought my friends were playing a silly trick on me.
We were playing board games over at Julie's house, just the five of us, our weekly activity. It was my turn to roll the dice, when I noticed a sudden silence had descended upon the room, when seconds ago laughter and chatter filled the air. I turned around to find my friends all frozen mid-action, just like the childish mannequin challenge that was making its round around the web.

"Come one guys, not funny," I told them, nudging David who sat beside me. "You know how I find the mannequin challenge ridiculous."

I took the dice and threw them, wanting to see how long the four of them could keep their antics up. Still, none of them moved, holding perfectly still.

"Still want to play, huh?" I asked cheekily, still unaware of anything wrong. I took Julie's cup of soda and David's glass of milk. "Let me see what happens if I mix this two drinks up, and feed it to you."
Still no reaction. I poured the cup of soda into the glass of milk, the drinks mixing vilely together. I then brought the glass close to David. "Last warning friends, or this putrid concoction goes into Wizard David's poor opened mouth."

It was when the soda milk overflowed from David's mouth unto his clothes and the floor, without the tiniest response, did I realize that I have the power of time in my hands.

I panicked at first, as I assumed that the world had stopped, leaving me alone as the sole person who could still move. But when David started choking on the soda milk that magically appeared in his mouth, and the rest of my friends going hysterics at the unexplainable situation before their eyes , did I learn that there may be more to what I was experiencing.

I thought it was a one off occurrence, like a freak dream at first. I shrugged it off and pretended to freak out like the rest of my friends, as I was unsure about what had exactly happened.
Until the same thing happened the next day, at the same exact timing.

I was walking home by the roadside when cars mysteriously stopped, like someone hit the pause button on a remote control. The air hung still, and not a sound could be heard, except those of my own.

It didn't take me long to figure out my power. It follows the same pattern consistently. For reasons that I could not fathom at that time, the universe decided to give me an extra hour everyday, precisely at 0000 hours. Not a second less, not a second more.
I could literally do what I want in that one hour.

I used it at first to play pranks on those around me, pulling their chairs away, changing their sitting position or making two strangers hug each other. I used it to catch up on sleep. Mostly harmless stuff, if you'd ask me.

But then I started getting bored, and my actions slowly escalated. I started stealing. It was easy anyway. All I needed to do was to dip my hands into an individual's purse or wallet, and removed whatever I could find in there.

When that too became mundane, I started to look for more challenge. A stopped hour meant that I was as close to being a god as possible. Or a demon, in my case. I gave in to my darkest fantasies, my primal desires. During this period, I lived in the shadows, having already eliminated any trace of my past life. My friends and family thought that I was dead.

Elsewhere, authorities were baffled by a string of mysterious crimes. Heists and rapes that seem to seemingly occur at random. Without a cause, without even the slightest hint of a perpetrator.

Deep down, I knew that my actions were wrong, my conscience was practically screaming at me. But I had learned to lock it in a cage.

I thought my actions had no consequence. Until the death of Amanda.

She was one of my many victims. Looking back, I'm not proud of the things I did to her. How I fell in love with her, how I tried to pursue her only to be rejected, and subsequently using my power for revenge. She had tried to convince people that someone had been taking advantage of her but without any proof, and driven to the verge of madness, she chose to take her own life instead.

It was only after that did I found out about her history. She was abused since young by people she was supposed to trust. It was not easy for her to break out from her childhood hell, but she did. Only to have her life destroyed again by me.

In my midnight crime spree, it was never my intention to take someone's life, but I had unwittingly splashed Amanda's blood unto my hands. Someone who is full of life, with a bright future awaiting her, only to be extinguished in a moment of passion by someone with a stupid power.

I attended her funeral, the day they lowered her body to the earth. I stood far away, but I was close enough to see the pain that I had inflicted. To see the true horror my power is capable of. Seeing those people crying, while being reminded of the thrill I felt I committed my crimes, I couldn't feel more disgusted and ashamed with myself.

It was then when I decided to use my abilities for good. To wash away the innocent blood on my hand. With the blood of those who are guilty.


[WP] source: https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/comments/5d1efc/wp_you_discover_a_25th_hour_of_the_day_in_which/

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

[Short Story] The 40 Martians


[WP] 20 couples are sent to Mars in order to start the first martian colony. 10 days after arrival Houston receives this message: "Everyone else is dead, me and my wife declare ourselves emperors of Mars".

The transmission ended abruptly as it has started. Two blood drenched individuals, husband and wife, shockingly declared themselves the Emperors of Mars, in the first communication with mission control 10 days after touchdown. This was supposed to herald in a new age of exploration for humanity, it was supposed to be humanity's last hope of survival.

"Check the signal source again," came Admiral Hall's voice, stammering, breaking the stunned silence.

There was the furious sound of typing, hushed murmuring among the lab coats. After a few minutes, the most senior looking one stood up to face the Admiral. "Sir, we can confirm that the signal source is indeed originating from Red Eden Outpost 1."

*

"Mr President, if you could only give us one more chance to send backup out there..." Terry tried to plead, trying to keep up with the man dressed in formal with a red tie before he head off to the Congressional Hearing.

"No, Terry," the President abruptly cut him off, keeping his brisk pace. "We're not going to risk anymore of our precious resources into this absurd project. I didn't know why I even listened to you in the first place. My adviser was right, Earth is where we need to focus on right now."

With a flick of his fingers, two secret service agents pulled Terry away. Terry tried to struggle free, to no avail. As the president walked further away, he could only scream, "You don't know what you're doing! Earth is doomed and Mars is our only hope! If you don't send another backup there, we will..."

Before Terry could finish, however, he felt a sharp sting to his right shoulder, followed by darkness.

*
"Do you think they'll buy it?" Matthew looked at Jess, his wife.

She returned his gaze, then turned to look at the rest of the 18 couples standing behind the camera. Silence lingered in the air, before one of them took a step forward. Like most of them, he was in his mid-20s, but there was a certain air of authority around him that made him stood out. The rest know him as Adam.

"I know what we did here today may be despicable," he said, in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear. "But we did what had to be done." A few nodded their heads.

Adam continued, "We all know Earth is going to die sooner or later, and Mars is one of the last gambles that humanity has with our dwindling resources. If this mission proved to be a success, we all know what will be in store."

More nods. After all, this was the decision was made collectively by the pioneer colonists, some of top remaining scientists and engineers Earth has to offer.

If the mission succeeded, humanity would pour all their last remaining resources into making the dangerous journey to Mars, sparking perhaps the biggest refugee migration in history. And who would get front row seats to escape the now dying Earth? Those who doomed it to its current fate.
"Humanity needs to start anew," was a common consensus that the colonists shared. But it was a burden that not all was willing to bear.

Matthew pulled Jess closer to him, hugging her tightly through her blood soaked top. "Lets get changed."

[WP] source: /r/WritingPrompts/comments/5cshy5/wp_20_couples_are_sent_to_mars_in_order_to_start/

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