Give Me Your Soul… Please (pt. 3)

The third and final part of my homage to Give Me Your Soul… Please, by King Diamond. The album tells a story of a haunted house, below is my take on the fantastic album. With an ending adjusted to fit the medium.

My deepest apologies for the break between my last update and this, I’ve been unable to write for a little while but now I should be able to jump back into it.

If you’re interested in following my posts for this challenge you can find more here. If Cyberpunk is more your thing check out this story. Otherwise I have two Fantasy series you can start here or here.

Hope you enjoy it,
– Zairron


The bloody veil shrouding the picture is torn asunder, revealing a merry tableau of two children playing; a girl and boy in a bright and lively room that is otherwise much alike in form to the one the man had been spirited from. Their innocent joy is clear at a glance. Their light hair shines like the sun and grants them a cherubic air of heavenly grace. In the air of this cold, dead place, his breath mists and hangs still in front of his face. The man is struck by the starkness of the happy scene against the terrible surrounding darkness.
Behind him the loud slam of a door opening violently prompts him to spin. Another larger picture hangs in the air, still wreathed in bloody red, the happy lighting in the room has been replaced with ominous shadows. Framed within the light of an open door the silhouette of Daddy intercepts the light entering the room, an axe visibly held in his hand as the children cower in the fore. A brutal yell explodes the stillness of the image. The picture becomes a slice of life performed in front of the mans awe struck eyes, the deep red of the pictures frame seeming to become deeply sanguine curtains.
Daddy steps into the silhouette, becoming his shadow. Dark eyed and tired, spittle flies from his mouth as he continues the insensible tirade that had broken the image. Cold eyes devoid of the fire in his words, within their dark pits only madness resides. In a swift, ugly motion, the axe is brought down and buried in the skull of the boy.

“No!” a young boys shrill voice cries out behind the man, continuing as he turns face their source, “It’s a mistake!”

The boy is knelt in the centre of the room, lit within a circle of light, before him in the glowing red shadows loom thirteen ephemeral judges. In perfect haunting unison they chant, “Suicide is what you are, you’re going down to Hell”

The young girls scream spins him back to face the previous scene. The scream is cut abruptly short as Daddy wraps his rough hands around her tiny throat. The bloody mess left by brother death covers her face as it changes from pale to blue. The curtains of blood are drawing in upon the scene.
Abandons her body as he stands, Daddy turns his back on the horrified observer. Barely visible the moment before the curtains close, a quiet click can be heard before the back of his skull explodes in bloody gore.

Flinching and hiding his eyes from the sudden explosion, when he opens his eyes the man finds himself back on the floor in the hall.
Scrambling to his feet, he looks himself over. No blood. Looking behind him, the cellar door is closed. His candle is lit by his feet, hadn’t he lost that fleeing the cellar? Could it all have been some kind of dream? I cannot stand this darkness,  he thinks, If candles are all I have I shall light them everywhere.
From room to room he works, spreading candles through the house to banish evil darkness. The furnace like heat that had plagued him in his flight through the house before now gone. Cold as the grave, shivering and exhausted he climbs the stairs. Filling his room with candles he seeks the refuge of his bed, drawing blankets thickly around him in a futile effort to ward off the cold he can feel his breathing grow shallow and weak. The temperature should be impossible, for it is summer time. All around him the shadows dance seemingly independent of the dictates of the light. As if afforded life of their own.
As the teeth of the cold sink into his heart through the blankets, he closes his eyes and drifts into sleep. What nightmares plague his waking mind can be no worse in sleep.

If I am to die, the thought ignites like a flame in his mind filling him with the sharp warmth of fatal conviction, I shall face my fate with my eyes open.

Fighting to his feet, casting off the blankets and lighting his last candle from the dying remains of one of the few that had survived the demonic shadows dance. Lifting black hat to his head and cane in hand, he strides with purpose from the room he had hidden himself within to confront the spectre as it assails him.
He finds her within the attic, staring from the window at the full moon. Turning her tragic dead face towards him, shadowed with the light behind her she stares at him expectantly.

“Do not be afraid there won’t be any pain, I… Need your soul”

Understanding now. The Judges of the afterlife had somehow mistaken her brother’s murder and their daddy’s suicide. Found falsely guilty of the mortal sin of suicide, the boy was damned to hell. Without another soul to take his place, he would be consigned to eternal torment.
The man feels deeply for the girl. His heart is not of stone, but with this new knowledge he now knows the futility of her request. Kneeling before the spectre girl, he takes he hand in his, feeling the dampness of brothers blood upon them.

“No, no, no…” he whispers, eyes distant as he remembers a life well lived, “My soul is no good. All I have done… My soul is full of sin!”

The girls searching eyes fix him, he can feel them peering deep through him, into him; settling on his soul they see the truth in his words. Black as devils words, unfit for salvation the mans soul cannot save her brother now.
Despair takes wicked root in the heart of the ghost child. Having come so far, from beyond the veil of death for her brother only to fail here. Thick, salty, tears form in her eyes and run down her cheek to fall and crash around her as she sobs, “I’ve let my brother down, down to hell he must go.”

From deep within the silent depths of the house, the steady ticking of the clock can be heard.

“No,” the sin filled man whispers, “How did you find me here?”

In confusion her tears stalls, as she stares at him curiously she answers, “This house is where we were killed. You touched our story so I could come to you.”

“Touched your story?” he muses, a wicked glimmer of an idea glints in his eye, “Would hearing your story count?”

With a timid nod she confirms his plan. We thank you for touching the story of a poor damned child. There is only one more thing to ask of you, Give me your soul… Please?

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Rainbow (pt. 7)

Part seven in the Rainbow series:

Rainbow (pt. 1)
Rainbow (pt. 2)
Rainbow (pt. 3)
Rainbow (pt. 4)
Rainbow (pt. 5)
Rainbow (pt. 6)


“The fuck you doing here?” the intimidating genefreak interposes himself bodily between the group and the door. The bouncer wears a number of atypical surgeries, presumably with the intention of enhancing his threatening size with monstrous features. Bones broken and recast at strange angles give him twisted alien proportions. The intensity of his glare is difficult to hold, widely spaced eyes bulge with the altered shape of his skull. Grinning widely he reveals his teeth, sharpened to razor points a well practised threat.
Hood pulled low and stood behind her companions bodies, Sonorous had hope to avoid this. The Miserable Club and her had some history, she’d insulted them publicly when new to the undercity by vandalising their network. Hired as a data extraction specialist by the pair of Voodoo Rats, she hangs back keeping beyond reach of the gangster.
Standing firm, Feral gets up in the face of the bouncer, returning the glare with animalistic ferocity. The tension in the air is laden with bloodlust, the street beyond the gangs clubhouse abandoned but if a fight were to break out the numbers within remain unknown.
“I said…” The bouncers deep gravelly voice threatens once more, “The fuck are you lot doing here.”

“Alright boys,” Jazz’s sultry voice replies, “Lets not do anything we’ll come to regret.”

“We’re here to see Squid,” Feral growls through clenched teeth.

The bouncer leans back, crossing his arms and resting his weight against the door frame. An eyebrow raised in what might have once been a suspicious expression, “He expecting you?”

“That’s right,” Feral answers.

The bouncer shrugs his broad shoulders, shaking his head and chuckling, “Wait here.”

Stepping inside the derelict warehouse, loud music blares out in the moment before the door closes once more. Alone in the street, Sonorous looks out from under her hood, searching for any security. There’s none. The Miserable Club are fairly small time, but she’d expected more than just a doorman. They may simply be that stupid.
Confident that she wasn’t being watched, she pulls out her tablet and scans for open network connection ports. Closest port, The Miserable Club. At least they secured that much, she thought. No time to bust it open, she slips the tablet back into her pocket. Meanwhile, Feral has taken the bouncers position leaning beside the door while Jazz checks her make-up her small mirror. It would be a conservative claim to suggest the pair stand out.
True to his name, Feral looks like a wild man. Short but broad and covered with thick black hair, he’s had a couple minor surgeries to enhance his appearance like the bouncer. His canines have been enlarged just enough to be noticable while deadly looking metallic claws have taken the place of his nails. In addition practical muscle grafts and iris slits identify him as one who has spent a great deal of money on making himself more dangerous.
Jazz on the other hand is slender and perfectly symmetrical. Crafted for beauty and elegance, the extent of her surgeries have left her somewhere within the uncanny valley. Unlike the loud posturing of her partner, Jazz’s air of menace is effortless and mysterious. Sonorous had seen what Feral could do, she understood exactly why he was here, but Jazz had always kept her hands clean whenever they’d worked together. Which admittedly had not been often.

“See something you like, darling?”

Sonorous instinctively looks away, heat rising in her cheeks at having been caught staring. She’d been certain she hadn’t been obvious.

“Don’t worry, I don’t mind. I paid a lot to look this good after all.”

Forcing herself to return Jazz’s gaze, Sonorous notices Feral glaring at her behind the other woman. No matter how many times, those two always gave her the creeps. Then just in time to break the awkward tension, the door opens and the bouncer steps back onto the street, “You lot can come in. Start anything and I don’t have to tell you how it’ll go.”

The three step through the door, Feral leading the way with laser intensity. Inside the building feels like a dingy bar, loud rock music blasts from the speakers that hang in every room. A dozen or so gangsters populate the rooms, smoking, drinking and talking. A couple Sonorous recognises, so keeps her hood low and turned away from their attention.
From the directness of the path Feral takes through the dimly lit rooms, she gets the sense that he’s pretty familiar with the layout. They find squid in a back room, tinkering with something that looks broken. As they enter he drops the trinket on the bar, replacing it with a drink and approaches them.

“Feral, Jazz,” he states the pair’s name as a greeting before looking expectantly towards Sonorous.

“Do you have it?” Feral’s rudeness for once appreciated by Sonorous as it draws Squid’s attention away from her.

“Of course,” Squid replies, extending a hand expectantly, “The money?”

Jazz steps forward placing a thick envelope into his hand. He empties the contents onto the bar, revealing a stack of blank currency chips. Pulling his phone from his pocket he scans the chips one by one to confirm the amount promised was present. Satisfied, he pockets the chips and steps behind the bar and kneeling retrieves a phone from the safe and handing it to Jazz. She turns it over in her hands a couple times, before passing it back to Sonorous without looking away from Squid. Sweetly she then says, “We’d like to check it before we go.”

“Go ahead.”

“We’d appreciate a private room, if you don’t mind.”

His interest already moved on from the group, he waves a hand absently towards the door, “Back out the way you came, door across the room to the left.”

Waiting in the hall, a couple guys are lingering who weren’t there when they’d entered. Knives worn openly on their belts, obviously suspicious their eyes track the trio without subtlety as the move to the room Squid had indicated.

“Time to earn your pay, walker,” Feral states.

Settling into one of the empty seats, Sonorous retrieves her tablet without response. Wirelessly connecting to the network, she closes her eyes and dives.

Give Me Your Soul… Please (pt. 2)

A short story taken from one of my absolute favourite albums of all time, Give Me Your Soul… Please, by King Diamond. The album tells a story of a haunted house, below is my take on the fantastic album. I was mistaken yesterday, this will definitely be three parts, I am very much enjoying writing this.

Sorry it’s late today, but hopefully its better late than never. Also it’s very slightly shorter than usual, to end for a good place for the story.

If you’re interested in following my posts for this challenge you can find more here. If Cyberpunk is more your thing check out this story. Otherwise I have two Fantasy series you can start here or here.

Hope you enjoy it,
– Zairron


“Why are you hands so full blood,” he whispers, “It’s in your hair too! Good god…”

Silent, the vision of the girl in the cellar remains unmoving. Staring at something beyond the the view of the mirror, in the dull light its difficult to even tell if her dress was originally red or if it is simply bloody white. Entranced by the occult occurrence unfolding before his eyes the man stares intently at the scene in the mirror. Covered in blood that seems not to be her own, her only injuries seem the terrible bruises in large hand shapes encircling her neck.
A sodden thud sounds behind him. Spinning in place he is met by a bloody hand print on the wall behind him. Above the gory marking, an unfamiliar crucifix hangs inverted on the wall. The house is silent save for the creaks and groans of the aged wood, a wet dripping noise draws his attention back to the mirror. Blood covers the entire surface, dripping steadily into a slowly growing puddle on the floor.

The candle’s dim glow illuminates the mans face. Fear must obviously exist within him, but in that moment the uncontrollable need to know more rules him. With his spectral pursuer gone, he turns away from the bloody mirror and satanic symbolism on the wall and climbs carefully down the dark stairs.
Magic is nowhere to be seen, the cat without fear in the dark house. At the foot of the stairs, he can see the front door just ahead promising freedom and safety as long as he leaves now. He knows deep down that he should go, take the opportunity now and flee. The bright light of the full moon shines in through the window, offering nearly as much light as his candle. In the pale silver glow, a trail of blood leads across the wooden floor. Following the trail away from the freedom promised by the door, he is led deeper into the darkness of the house. An evil presence grows in power, the sweltering heat building with ever step towards the cellar. He should go down there, not tonight, not with this evil presence in the air. But he does.
Incapable of penetrating the gloom, he abandons the silver moonlight to the world above. The previous darkness of the house above like the brightest day before the blackness at the bottom of the stares before the door to the cellar. The candle light flickers weakly, barely able to illuminate beyond him. The fear that had been put to sleep by the power of his curiosity has woken with a vengeance. No going back now.

Opening the door, the shadows burst forth in a swarm of fluttering black wings. Without substance but heavy with malice, they part before the light. Deep within the darkness the light illuminates a small figure, wreathing it in a halo of inverted light.
The silence grows in power. The unnatural emptiness banishing all natural sounds beneath a wheezing, raspy breath. Frozen in terror, filled with terror and regret for his poor choice the man watches helplessly as the figure begins to move. An arm moving as if in slow motion raises from its side to point its dainty little finger directly at him. A gust of wind snuffing out the candles flame.
At once the spell is broken and he screams, stumbling and falling in his haste to flee the cellar. The voice of the young girl, rough with the trauma of asphyxiation whispers a deadly message, “Mine… mine… mine… Give me your soul please! Mine! Mine! Mine!”

“STAY AWAY FROM ME!”

Dragging himself up the stairs, crawling as his fear has compromised his ability to stand. The shadowy wings assault him with every step, while bloody hands grasp at his feet. His energy draining by the second. I shouldn’t be here, he laments silently through tears, not tonight.
His hand reaches the stair above, the silver moon light illuminating it brings him hope. The strength he is given in that moment allows him to pull himself over the edge, free from the cellar and the girls inhuman grip. Still sobbing in fear, now mixed with relief, he continues to drag himself towards the door. With the sight of freedom just ahead, the last thought before he collapses in supernatural slumber, I can’t believe I made it out of there.

“Go to sleep and I… I will tell you… I will tell you why I’m here” her tortured voice carries him away from his body.

Coming to in a nightmarish place, he finds himself alone in the presence of the girl. What is this place? Have I died? Am I dreaming? Seeing the area clearly now they are surrounded by a hall of portraits, their contents concealed by a layer of blood. Rather than be afraid however, he is filled with sympathy for the girl. Hardly older than single digit years, the markings on her body make the story of her murder so clear. He understands that she has brought him here to explain and that he should listen and watch as she begins to speak the pictures in red begin one by one to part the bloody veils and reveal the hidden history behind the girl in the bloody dress.

Rainbow (pt. 6)

Part six in the Rainbow series:

Rainbow (pt. 1)
Rainbow (pt. 2)
Rainbow (pt. 3)
Rainbow (pt. 4)
Rainbow (pt. 5)


How was it?

Alcatraz’s message appears in the corner of the tablet. The only social interaction Sonorous engaged in beyond Faith were the friendships she forged over online. The community of hackers convened in hidden corners of the network. These forums are invite only. Sonorous had received hers from Alcatraz after vandalising the online hangout of the slum gang the Miserable Club.
He, at least she assumed they were a guy, was one of her most trusted contacts within the community. Heavily involved in a number of forums, he had been invaluable to her for establishing a presence in the undercity. Among others he had given the suggestion to contact Faith as a teacher and the first person she’d told about the lesson.

Like nothing else

Lingering exhaustion broke her focus clouding her thoughts like cobwebs. The sentinel’s coding ordinarily would be a simple task now frustratingly difficult. The desire to procrastinate and chat the catalyst that drove her to stubbornly, but ineffectively push on. Attempting to remain focused on the goal of earning the money to return for her next lesson, she continues to discover her mind and eyes wandering towards those messages. Three days working over night behind her, logic told her she would need a week before she had both the money as well as the time to recover in time.
In the back room of Leon’s All Needs Boutique the warehouse is alive with all manner of mechanical creations, organised like the aftermath of a storm. Collections of Drones, Sentinels, Appliances and Computers rows deep. Any product someone in the city is willing to throw away can be found here. Most of the products in the back room are non-functional, or at least only operate for their designated owner. As permanent a fixture as the building itself, Leon rules his kingdom with an iron will. Having augmented his memory he is capable of perfectly tracking everything aspect of his store like it were an extension of his own body. Paid based on some internal logic only known to Leon while largely left to their own devices, as far as work in the slums can be the job is far from the worst.
Wall mounted security turrets monitor the workers. From the storefront Leon can be heard cajoling a customer into the purchase of something undoubtedly useless. Looking away from the screen for a moment, Sonorous rubs her weary eyes. Looking around her, her fellow workers are focused on their screens with a variety of levels of focus. She had worked with most of them for the entirety of her time here but many of them she didn’t even know their names. The kind of worker that Leon preferred were the desperate. One of the girls who’s name she knew, Nico Escobar, was addicted to Simulacrum. A second life simulation game, it projected the user into the world of the game. The scars beneath her eyes proof of unmoderated use. She could understand the appeal of the game for those who lived in the slums, at the same time it still disgusted her.

And Faith?

The alert sounds in her ear, drawing her attention back to the screen. The message from Alcatraz causing her to smile.

Very interesting woman

The diplomatic answer a small test for information about Alcatraz’ relationship with Faith. Only knowing each other through the network, like most hackers their lives in the physical world were taboo topics for conversation. The cat and mouse games, teasing out secrets with deduction and manipulation a favourite part of Sonorous’ online friendships.
Already confident that Alcatraz were a man, that he likely had augmentations of his own due to a syndicate relationship. She couldn’t be certain of any of her suspicions, relying on intuition until he lets slip something concrete. The thread that can allow her to unravel the mystery.

When are you visiting her next?

She smirks, he already holds so many more cards than her in the game. Finding her on the back of her search for a teacher, before they even spoken he had the advantage. Giving her Faith was just another clue for him. It’s possible he could have already found her, if he felt inclined. Perhaps they had already spoken in person, unbeknownst to her. As fun as the game could be, it could prove dangerous in the future. Netwalkers lived and died on anonymity after all.
Before she replies with something thoughtlessly, Sonorous takes a moment to assess. Straight from the network training into three straight days of work with hardly any sleep, she’s cognisant enough recognise the danger in continuing the conversation. The question was audacious, the best option is to shut it down before she makes a mistake.

Soon. 

The answer marked the end of that conversation, an yield in that exchange. The tension in her head and shoulders has begun to pass the limits of her endurance. Collecting in the nape of her neck, tugging continuously on her scar and showing the symptoms of her fatigue as a tremble in her hands.
Releasing a slow, measured breath she closes the program she’s working on. Packing away her belongings and returning her equipment she scans her subdermal identification chip, opening the door out onto the street. None of the other workers even look up as she goes.
Rolling her neck and shoulders, she steps into the artificial sunlight that simulates the early morning. The glare of the natural inspired lighting forces her to squint hatefully as the light aggravates the pain in her head. She’d gone too long without sleep, even with the aid of Punk Onyx she can’t go indefinitely. Usually a couple weeks were no problem, the dive must have had a more serious effect on her body than she’d anticipated.
Arriving at her capsule Sonorous ignoring the population of poor families, single business men and junkies, locks herself inside. The sounds of the world outside are immediately silenced, but rest remains just out of reach for hours of restless  weariness until the drug is finally passed from her system.

Give Me Your Soul… Please (pt. 1)

A short story taken from one of my absolute favourite albums of all time, Give Me Your Soul… Please, by King Diamond. The album tells a story of a haunted house, below is my take on the fantastic album. The story is longer than my usual short story length so this is part one of likely two.

If you’re interested in following my posts for this challenge you can find more here. If Cyberpunk is more your thing check out this story. Otherwise I have two Fantasy series you can start here or here.

Hope you enjoy it,
– Zairron


Within the ancient house the grandfather clock ticks a rhythmic pulse. Growing steadily louder as it echoes through the otherwise silent halls of the dark empty home, through the highest window a young girl and younger boy can be seen solemnly repose. Fading as if from a dream the resonance of a panel of deep voices can be faintly heard from a place beyond. In the in between place the children wait, an organ can be heard playing a haunting requiem.

“Where are we now? What is this place?”

“Don’t you remember little brother? We died… We’re dead”

“But what are they gonna do to me? Am I going to Hell?

“I don’t know, but that’s what they say, I will try to find you another soul,” the girls low voice concealing her fear to protect her brother, “Listen… do you hear that organ play? I must go to where the organ plays I must go but I can never stay… Now to this house I go”

Travelling through means beyond her understanding towards the source of the music she looks towards her brother one last time as the in between place fades into the shadows. His eyes and mouth darkening into bottomless black pits his voice whispers a warning, “Don’t let anyone see your bloody dress”

 

In the shining  light of setting sun, the a tall man stands watching from the stairs of his new home. An ancient two story, Victorian house, well worn by time. It perfectly matches the dark appearance of the man. Wearing a pleasant smile, he wishes for time to stop so he can enjoy the passing scene a moment longer. His shining white teeth and pale skin shine in the rays of the smooth velvet sunset. Beneath the beautiful orange sky, by the edge of the crystal lake a midnight black cat chases butterflies, playfully tearing their wings off when it catches them.
Far from the noise of the town the breeze can almost be heard whispering a warning as it glides across the beautiful lawns and vanishes above the crystal waters. The songs of birds mingle with the natural atmosphere creating the wonderful soundscape that had lured him from his playing. Behind him in the dark attic window, a small human figure coalesces amid the shadows.
The setting sun dips beyond the edge of the lake, drowning beneath the cold, silent waters. The golden clouds darken to grey. The birds songs settle. Devil lake is quiet now.

“Magic,” the man calls to the cat, “It’s getting late, time to come home”

The black cat’s ears perk to his words. Obediently bounding up to the house, lovingly caressing its body against his leg before leading him back into the house. The air is warm inside, the absent light of the sun giving ascendance to the deep shadows forming beneath the high ceilings and long corridors.
Not one to have ever feared the dark, he feels unsettled by the strangeness of his first night in the new house. With the comforting presence of his faithful black cat by his side he listens to the way the house seems to breath. From the bastion of light given by the light of the foyer, surrounded by suffocating darkness beyond.
“I need a little light,” he whispers. A shiver travelling down his spine despite the stuffy heat.

Drifting swiftly from room to room he gropes through the darkness in search of light. In the isolating darkness the sweltering heat seems almost to build. The house creaks and groans with heavy laboured breath. Just beyond the light, the suggestions of ghostly residence haunt him.

“Help me… Help me”

The hair on his neck stand on end. The breath of wind and groaning wood seemed almost to speak in the voice of a young girl.

“Help me…” No, he thinks, There it is again. “Help me…”

“Is anybody there?” he calls. The only response being Magic’s body leaning against his leg. Must be in my head, there’s only me and Magic here.

But again is cries, “Help me…”

Spinning in place with fear, casting around looking from shadow to shadow as the origin of the whisper travels impossibly fast around him. Heart pounding, beads of sweat forming in the hot night air, “I need light.”

Flicking the switches to light the hall he enters the lounge and repeating the process there. From the hall behind him little footsteps can suddenly be heard. As the steps pass beneath the lights, they flicker. One by one the bulbs burn out as the steps pass.
At the edge of where the light reaches, Magic stands staring into the darkness. Something in the hall mesmerising the cat, the thought of what she might be watching builds the dread inside him driving him to flee the lounge chasing light through the house coming in the end to the kitchen.
More and more the bulbs flicker and die. More and more the light grows weaker and fails before the coming darkness.

“Help me…”

Searching the draws of the kitchen rapidly as the presence in the darkness draws ever closer he finds what he was looking for. A candle. Striking a match he lights it.
Moments before the footsteps arrive in the kitchen, taking his candle he runs into the hall away from the terror and up the stairs. Magic following quietly at the lights edge, constantly stopping to cast backwards.

Terror driving his flight he races down the upstairs hallway, the footsteps behind him growing closer and closer. Cornered at the end of the hall, before him in the candle’s light he sees the large ornate mirror he hung here.
The moment he witnesses the mirror the footsteps stop. His heart catches in his throat. Staring into the mirror I cannot see myself, I don’t even see the hallway that I’m in. I see a girl in a bloody dress. Standing in the cellar down below.

“Why are you here?” he whispers to the vision in the reflection, “What are you looking for in this house? Is it me?”

Rainbow (pt. 5)

Part five in the Rainbow series:

Rainbow (pt. 1)
Rainbow (pt. 2)
Rainbow (pt. 3)
Rainbow (pt. 4)


Rain falls on the filthy streets of the slums. The shining neon lights of the assorted stalls blur and refract like a kaleidoscope of colour through the water. Passing drunks, vagrants and strung-out no-hopers along her way Sonorous spares them not a second glance. Human refuse is pushed down from the corporate cities and gathers among the trash beyond the sight of the fortunate.
Eight years since she’d left Dvorovoi, life was harder here but she had adapted. Though not entirely unscathed. Leaving her family officially had been a liberating but fleeting happy moment. Choosing to refuse employment with Dvorovoi had cost her a place in the city, the money she had saved for this purpose travelled much shorter than she had hoped. While the corporations take a massive cut of your earnings for living costs, they also tend to the necessities of housing for their employees. While down here in the slums, everything you earn you keep but there’s no guarantees for anything. Like no-mans land between the corporate cities the slums exist outside the control of any single power. Criminal syndicate fill the power vacuum and play the roles of pawns in the proxy wars between the higher powers.
It was this criminal element that drew her to the slums of the undercity. War between corporations was common, but due to the balance of power any direct attack would provoke unified retaliation from all others. The rise and fall of corporations does still occur when one falls another will expand its influence or new factions will arise in the opening. The attack on Dvorovoi was not a direct strike from a rival but the perpetrators must have had powerful backers, the Dvorovoi Tower would be simply impossible to penetrate otherwise. Here she could find those who knew about the attack, or at least people who can point here in the direction of those who might know.

Stepping onto off the street Sonorous takes a seat on the subway carriage, the ground opens beneath the car lowering her into the tunnels. Leaning back in the seat, she closes her eyes as the magnetic rail sends the car hurtling back towards her little slice of hell. The subway cost is prohibitive, but the only efficient means of transport between the vast distances of the undercity. Travelling to meet with Faith for lessons often costs a weeks work, unfortunately she has no option for now.
In the months following her departure from Dvorovoi, finding work consumed her whole life. The frustration of her inability to search for answers was quickly overshadowed by her dwindling funds and the danger of life without food or a roof. After her savings had been completely depleted but before she’d been forced to resort to dangerous options, she was hired by a tech merchant called Leon Patel to re-program the pieces that came into his wares that couldn’t be resold in their current condition. The work was hard and the pay was shit, but for a unaugmented programmer demand was low.
For seven years she slaved for enough money to live, to eat and when she was lucky, to put some away. During this time she Leon would hire her out to others who needed an unattached hacker willing to work without questions. His cut was well over half of her pay, but every cent was a step forward. She took whatever and every job she could, nothing was illegal in the slums but anything could get you killed if you were unlucky. Last year she’d finally made enough for her surgery. The augmentation to allow her to enter the network. The day Aaren had finally truly died, and Sonorousmind had been born.

The drone of the seemingly endless subway journeys always got her nostalgic. Nostalgia never did her any favours. There was nothing for her in the past. Keep moving forward, without looking back. If only she could.
Her entire life until now had been a waste. Fifteen years treading water to be pulled under and throttled by the currents for eight more. Raising a hand to gently trace her fingers along the thick scar along the back of her neck, her eyes close to focus on the feeling. The scar that symbolised her rebirth.
After all those years working all day every day, sacrificing comfort and safety to relentlessly pursue this single minded dream. After all that. It feels like such a small thing. Six hours under the knife. Sixteen weeks recovering. Only to find the path ahead has grown much longer. The augment alone is useless, without the skill and training to use it she was hardly any closer to her goal. A teacher would cost half again what she had paid for the surgery. Without collateral she couldn’t borrow that, and another seven years of wait was unacceptable.

For every contact she had made in these seven long years, the only suggestion from any of them for a teacher was Faith. They had been right, after travelling over night on the subway with only enough money to return afterwards she had found Faith’s shop. Without even knowing her, the heavily augmented woman had agreed to teach her for future payment.
“You want me to teach you to use your augment.” Faith had said after listening to Sonorous’ request.

“I can’t afford to pay you yet-”

“Obviously,” Faith teases, seeming to look through the younger woman with her piercing eyes. Possibly the last natural part of her body that could be seen. Leaning thoughtfully back she continues, “Why?”

“Why?”

“That’s right.”

“The real money goes to divers these days,” the obvious reason anyone in the slums would get augmented. Faith raises an eyebrow incredulously. Met with a determined stare, the Aug finally sighs with a shrug.

“Alright, I’ll teach you. Don’t worry about money, you’ll owe me a favour in my experience they’re worth more in the long run.”

Shaken from her reminiscing by the sudden halt of the subway, in the short walk from the subway exit to the capsule hotel she’s already moved on from the past. After all, there is nothing for her there.

How to Hear Voices in your Head

Following a well known style of creepypasta (A well known example), today’s ‘Short Scary Story – Halloween Horror Challenge’ is my take on this dread instructional style that generally I don’t particularly enjoy. The problem I have with this style of story is that often the premise often doesn’t make any sense. Usually they instruct the reader on how to do something you’d never want to do, like get into hell alive, while warning you not to do it the whole time.
For my take on this trope I’ve attempted to take a premise that actually seems appealing, while keeping some of the cryptic vagueness and cautious dread.

If you’re interested in following my posts for this challenge you can find more here. If Cyberpunk is more your thing check out this story. Otherwise I have two Fantasy series you can start here or here.

Hope you enjoy it,
– Zairron


Every day millions of people dream of receiving the answers to their questions or problems. They seek these answers through all manners of prayers and superstition which have no chance of ever succeeding. I don’t claim to know the truth behind the existence of gods or magic or whatever. I never asked those questions.
What I do know is that there is a foolproof way that you can receive the answer to any question you can imagine. For reasons of my own I have decided to share the method with you. If you’re brave enough, smart enough and lucky enough, then you will receive the answers that you seek just like I did.

But first I have to warn you, this method is dangerous. Far more people fail in their attempts than succeed. If your question isn’t the one you truly desire or if your conviction isn’t strong enough, you will regret your attempt for the rest of your life for as long or short as it may be.
If you think you’ve got what it takes, or if you’re just desperate or dumb enough to try anway. Keep reading, whatever happens to you is in your hands now.

Before you start most important thing you’ll have to do is decide on your question. It has to be something you’re willing to risk your life on finding the answer. Be specific, but succinct. The answer you receive won’t be a monkeys paw that tries to trick you into wasting your question, but at the same it will not anticipate your meaning. As well it should be something you’ll be able to remember under stress. Trust me, you do not want to get to the end and get your question wrong.
Next thing you’ll need is a place to perform the ritual. For this you’ll want a place close to the sky or deep below the earth. It must be a place you can survive in for a full twenty-four hours.
After you’ve found your ritual site you’ll need to collect the equipment. The quality of your equipment will have some effect on the ritual, but they are not the most important part. You will require something with at least an A4 page worth of space to write on, ink and an implement to write with. No pens unless you can load them with the ink during the ritual. Your finger might work but I wouldn’t recommend it. Next you’ll need blood. Animal should work just fine, but there are tiers in the hierarchy of life. Finally you’ll need something of significant value to yourself to give as an offering, your offering need not hold any extrinsic value.

Now that you have your location, equipment and question, you are ready to begin. Take your equipment to your location, bring nothing else. Clothing is permitted, but don’t try to get clever with it.
Aim to arrive before dusk, any time before midnight is technically fine but if your conviction is strong you may attract their attention earlier. If your conviction is not strong, well, it won’t really matter in that case.
Ensure you have a surface prepared that you can write on with your writing equipment prepared before midnight. If you brought blood with you make sure it doesn’t congeal, you’ll need it fluid to mix with the ink. Beginning with the setting of the sun they will begin to awaken to your presence. Remain calm and focus on your question. Do not listen to any sounds that attempt to lure you away from your ritual site, this is especially important. What you hear may be either true or false, but there is nothing you can do now so remain focused no matter what.

They will gain in power as the moon rises higher in the sky. The fullness of the moon will affect how they appear. On the full moon they will provoke you to anger, on the new moon they will assault you with your most sorrowful memories. When the moon has reached its apex, be seated by your writing equipment and mix the blood with the ink. You will be joined by a figure from the darkness, it will take a form that holds power over you. The power may be symbolic or literal, whichever it is, understand that this is not an illusion of power. Whatever threat it represents to you, it has the power to follow through on.
The figure will silently join you. I cannot describe to you the terror that you will experience in that moment, but it will be beyond anything you have ever imagined. Do not allow your fear to master you. Present it with your offering and hold firmly to your conviction as you ask your question. Your worth will be tested in this moment. If your reason for being here is unworthy, the threat it holds over you will be delivered and you will be forced to flee through the audience of monsters that have come to watch you fail.
If you are worthy, the figure will offer you a contract. Record the contract as it speaks, be precise in your writing. You will now be given a number of hours to consider the price of the contract. You can leave now and you will not be harmed, you will never be able to attempt the ritual again and you will never find your answer.

If you accept its terms you will be rewarded three gifts, whether they are blessings or curses will depend on you. First you will receive the answer to your question. As whole and true as is possible for the question you asked. Second you will learn the question you heart truly desired. If the question is the one you asked, congratulations, most of us were not so lucky. This knowledge has destroyed some, and driven others to perform the ritual again. Very few have ever been judged worthy twice. The third gift will be the ability to hear them and understand their language. They will be attracted to you from this day forth, they will share secrets with you. I still cannot say if this one is truly a blessing or a curse, I suppose at times it is both.

That is all there is to do. If you are brave enough, or foolish enough to try, I will see you then. If you’re lucky you won’t see me, only the failures ever do. I hope you fare better than them.