First two victims for interviews are Dene Bebbington author of Zombie Revelations and Matt Hilton, back for a second interview because he's a sucker for punishment. Don't forget his Rules of Honour is now out in paperback, released yesterday.
So here's a short story.
Anna watched the other smokers stomp out their half-finished cigarettes and head back inside. It was her last night of smoking and she'd be fucked if she was going to waste one. She flicked the butt away only when she tasted burning filter.
Any hopes of sneaking to her seat after the intermission were lost as an orb of light bubbled her.
A shout from the stage: “A late returner!”
She managed a shrug.
“Well it seems only appropriate that I reward you by making you my assistant for the next trick.” The crowd applauded and Anna died a little inside. There was no option other than to get it over and done with.
She was led over to the tall bald man who was billed as 'The Prince of the Fantastic, Tobias Corbaux'.
Corbaux beckoned and two ladies brought on a wardrobe like box. Corbaux regarded the crowd. “I know, I know, you've seen this one all before, many times no doubt. Lady goes into the box, lady disappears from the box only to reappear... I do it a little differently.” He turned to Anna. “To waste no time let me lead you into, 'The Box of the Bizarre'.” He garnered earfuls of silence from the crowd who'd seen better on the television. Anna stepped inside and Corbaux closed the door with a slam turning her world midnight. She blinked a few times, not sure why she was doing so, the world was the same hue whether her eyes were wide or whether they were shored up tight. Her other senses became heightened, her fingertips ran over every ridge in the panels like Braille but found they tattled no tales. Her nose huffed up the staling air but found no roses, though a new scent, one slightly acrid wafted up. Black turned to blacker and things became forgotten.
A breeze brought her to as the door opened.
The air in the box had grown hard to breathe and nearly not worth the effort to draw. She staggered out of the box to the din of rapturous applause. She wasn't sure what she'd done to deserve such a reception until she looked down and her eyes filled with the sparkles and winks from the thousands of sequins on her cocktail dress, a dress which was not hers. Her eyes widened with the realisation that she'd only been in the box a matter of seconds. She began muttering out some quasi-words but her brain wouldn't conjure any coherence. Corbaux settled the audience with a wave of his hand. “I figured she may as well look like one of my wonderful assistants.” That brought laughter from the audience. One of the real assistants came and took Anna by the hand and led her off stage.
“How did he just do that, I mean, I was in the box and didn't feel anything.”
The assistant smiled and stonewalled her with. “Magic.”
“Where are my clothes?”
“In our changing room you can swap back into them there.”
Anna woke and reached for the packet of smokes before remembering she'd twisted the packet so they'd be useless if she caved. She threw herself in the shower and felt an itch inside and knew it to be the start of cravings. A couple of hours was all she had to stay strong for. Stacy from work had used a feller when she'd quit smoking, just a bit of hypnotism and she'd saved a fortune and gained a better than average lung capacity.
As she dried herself she thought about last night and the trick she'd been a part of but not a party to. The shock had waned, though there was still a little intrigue, but that was fading.
Doctor Steve sat her in a comfy chair and swung a pocket watch. Anna felt herself dozing off and it reminded her of how she'd blacked out the previous night. Then she was under and oddly back in the box. She began to feel like she was falling. Then it was over and she felt a stone floor beneath her. The darkness was gone too. The light was weak but she could see through it and wished she couldn't. Anna tried to move away from the thing but her limbs felt foreign and uncontrollable. Hands came into view, obscuring the obscenity. Anna's eyes followed the hands to the wrists, to the arms and then all the way north to the face. It was one of Corbaux's assistants. The hands took grip of her ankles and dragged her to the shores of the filthy being. All lumps, eyes, teeth and tendrils of writhing flesh, all working towards her, ready for contact. Anna tried for a scream but found no voice. The dragging hands relinquished their grip and began to work at disrobing her before exiting to allow the creature its play and its pleasure. The thing rolled her over, manoeuvring her into the position it wanted and then she felt it bite deep into the soft spot between her shoulder blades. She felt the scrape of a thousand needle-teeth breaking skin and flesh, worming around until it had her heart surrounded before farming the juices of her soul.
The scream she forged was a natural one, shrill, piercing and deafening in its decibel level.
“One, two, three awake!”
Anna opened her eyes, the scream still spilling from her lips until she realised where was. She dragged in a breath, keeping it in her lungs until she had to spew it back out.
“What happened?” Asked Dr. Steve.
“I... I don't know.” She got up and began undoing the buttons on her blouse.
“What are you doing?” He asked as she took off her top. Anna turned her back to him.
“Are there teeth marks on my back?” Pure panic rode the words from her mouth. The hypnotist arose and went to inspect her. He reached out, his forefinger landed on her skin betwixt her shoulder blades. “What the...”
You tease! Great story, full of intrigue and sparkling prose. I always enjoy how you make my skin crawl with words alone. It's how it should be. Wicked ending too, left me gagging for more.ReplyDelete
Good to see you back doing what Lee Hughes does best.
Love it, feels like the opening few chapters of a novel condensed into one brilliant flash piece. Expand it into a novel...now. What you waiting for? *clap clap* Make it so.ReplyDelete
p.s. whenever I get teeth marks on my back the explanation is much less interesting.