Holden Geats makes his scratch snapping pictures of abandoned places, and he’s heard of a new one: a kid-centric educational play place about the human body. A quick bribe and he’s in, only the singing and dancing animatronics populating the place didn’t exactly get the ‘abandoned’ memo…
Cardiac Zack’s Healthy Human Shack
Sometimes it was difficult to get all the animals out of the way. Bugs were the worst of course, too small to shoo and too fast in flight to keep their trails out of the shafts of light coming through any fissures in the ceiling. They weren’t the only ones though: birds, rats, cats, and occasionally frogs tried to ruin it too.
An indoor miniature golf course where the artificial turf now had mountain ranges of artfully-fallen ceiling plaster. A former public park where vines with sunhat leaves had eaten a listing seesaw. The outdoor section of a dilapidated lawn goods store, a flock of plastic herons standing vigilant even though their feathers and eyes had peeled white.
Every shot was devoid of live animals, but there was a big one just behind the lens, and his name was Holden Geats. Snapping pictures was his livelihood, and what renown he had came from his very narrow purview, as he only sold pictures of a world abandoned, of a speculative future Earth where mankind had vanished months or years prior achieved by finding the quiet little places that found themselves for a time unprofitable, suitable for investment only to Mother Nature herself. Continue reading
(estimated reading time: 7 minutes)
Spilled Milk and Curbside Cookies
Something died in the Klaxton house. The response to it was rather slow, partly because the symptoms of its demise did not present for over two weeks. January thirteenth, around there, was the likeliest date for when the first needle changed color. The evergreen dropped the ever, and then the green, and then some of the needles themselves. Continue reading
(back to part one)
(reading time: 1 hour, 15 minutes)
Ghosts Broke Down my Door
The soup wasn’t doing the trick. Diamond stared down into the paper cup of swirled orange tomato broth. There was some kind of tiny pasta in it, but they’d all sunk to the bottom. It was still steaming, so she played with it, chasing the end of the trail with the tip of her nose, but she couldn’t feel any warmth there.
Half of it was inside her, but she was still the coldest she’d ever been in her twenty-six years of life. She’d only been in the game of playing Dr. Pox Morbisha for a year, and they’d already run out of ideas for her gimmick. This time they’d just dropped her into a tiny black bikini. Continue reading
(back to part one)
(reading time: 1 hour, 29 minutes)
Sharks of the Murder Dimension
They couldn’t think of anything to say for a while. Watermelon Peak was doing all the talking. It was red in the face all over the wall, all over the side of the building, all over the other sides too by the sounds the slump had made. They had to call it a slump; it certainly wasn’t an avalanche.
“Why didn’t it break the glass?” Toni asked, shocked along with Diamond and Percy that she was the first one to speak. Continue reading
(back to part one)
(reading time: 1 hour, 29 minutes)
Open Season on Man
Micah really only needed one other person to help him attach the chair to the lift, but he knew Charlie well enough to know he could never amount to one whole unit of helpfulness. He was the kid who always veered off the trail on his sled. Threw his bowling ball into the next lane. Got the wrong order at a restaurant and ate it without a word of acknowledgment or complaint.
He’d seen the boy, at several different ages, wander in from the trails with various bloody scrapes and contusions, a smile on his face, no idea how it happened but certain that it didn’t even hurt, not one little bit. Continue reading
Watermelon Peak is a unique ski resort, and fun for the whole family! The algae in the powder dyes the whole mountain a lovely pink, and we even have an exhibit for the movie studio that used to take advantage of this unique color for many of its special effects!
Only the resort is closed for the weekend. One group makes the trip anyway, to relive their glory days of movie making, leaving crimson trails in the disturbed snow. Behind them comes another figure, clad in black, with sharpened skis mounted on his back. His glory days are ahead of him.
(reading time: 56 minutes) (reading time for entire novel: 5 hours, 9 minutes)
The Night it Snowed Blood
The single runway at the Dutcheny private airfield and hangar would never again be as smooth as it was that night. Filled with cracks, it was never that smooth to begin with, but the weeds were determined to make it so much worse. Stubborn grasses allied with the sorts of plants that don’t look prickly until you grab one and realize fine translucent hairs have embedded in your skin. Every Colorado summer they devoured the sun drawn to the rock, clawing their way up through the cracks, continuing their vendetta against civilization so they could return it to the peaceful meadow it had once been. Continue reading
(reading time: 25 minutes)
Jesus has the Wheels
It was rare to see such a nice car in Watershed, and even rarer to see one driving with purpose, never stopping once for the driver to swear at their GPS until it got them out of that mosquito-infested and mosquito-invested bog that called itself a town.
Tom knew cars, on account of a few years working as a mechanic, and he couldn’t recall if he’d ever even worked on such a fine piece of machinery. He expected it to drive on by, as nobody sitting in that sort of thing could have any business with him, but it stopped, for the first time in days, at the foot of his gravel driveway. Continue reading
(Spoiler warning: full spoilers for Little Nightmares 1 and 2)
If you’re unfamiliar, Little Nightmares 2 is a horror puzzle-platformer video game developed by Tarsier Studios. It is a prequel to the first game, and features the first game’s protagonist as a computer-controlled companion. Players are tasked with navigating a hostile 2.5D world as grimy feral children populated by distorted monstrous adults that attack on sight and, more often than not, kill instantly.
In this post I’ll look to form a cohesive narrative theory of the second game, using only my personal play time and a little light Googling as resources. This is inherently difficult, given that the world of Little Nightmares, somewhat implied by the title, operates based on dream logic. Its surreal society draws a distinct line between children and adults, as if the two belong to different species. Continue reading
Glassy eyes, gaping mouths, matted fur… Sports mascots are supposed to be fun, but if you see them in the wrong light you can feel a jolt of fear. What if they weren’t just a joke? What if they were as alive as anything else, with their own instincts and hungers?
(reading time: 1 hour, 7 minutes)
The Kleinbury High Spinners were up three games that season so far, so morale had improved in the neighborhood. Perhaps enough that he could return uneventfully, which was what Kevin Woods tried that Saturday afternoon. He was never the biggest football fan, more of a baseball guy as he always told people, but his son Matt was on the team. Continue reading
In this thriller/horror short story the Snake War Museum is just one of many, an opportunity for Claire to confront history. It’s just her, the collection, and the audio guide… at least until she hears her own name in the headphones…
(reading time: 34 minutes)
If a museum does its job well, its physical location in the world is inconsequential. The best place for the George Washington museum might be his birthplace, Westmoreland County, Virginia, but the best museum would be the one that had his actual shoes, his actual buttons, his actual tools, his actual quills and inks, wherever they were, even if the collection was accidentally shipped to, say, Ulverstone, Tasmania. Continue reading