Aphelion Issue 220, Volume 21
August 2017
 
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The Creeper

by Alexis Child




The knife that has a life of its own!


I awoke with a pounding headache and it took my eyes a few moments to focus. Sunlight streamed through a small crack in a window, which appeared to be boarded up. I lay on a cot in a torn black dress, smelling of filth. The stench of urine, dried blood, and sweat hit my nostrils and I began to gag. I had been chained to a brick wall with rusty chain secured to my neck. Sitting up proved difficult, but I managed to lift myself into a seated position on the cot to survey my surroundings. The room had a low ceiling and was small, damp, and dark, containing nothing but the cot on which I lay and the chain that held me captive. I noticed a flight of short and narrow stairs that led up to a large bolted wooden door, and panic overcame me.

Where in God's name was I and how did I get here?

I struggled to remember what had happened. “No, wait!” The last thing I could recall was Thursday evening, bidding goodnight to the last customer of the day at 6 pm and closing the antique shop. Then I mentally prepared myself for what was sure to be a long and arduous drive home.

I could vaguely remember the accident; suddenly losing control of my car for no apparent reason and veering off into a ditch. I couldn’t restart the engine and was stranded on a long stretch of deserted country road. I closed my eyes, trying to remember something more, but it was useless. I kept my eyes shut tightly, trying not to lose my grip on reality-surely this must be a dream! I bit down on my bottom lip, drawing blood.

God help me!

I began to sob, shake, and pray, eventually managing a slow and painful breath through my tears and fears. My eyes began to widen as I heard the sound of keys jangling outside the bolted door. Something was slid through the slot of the entrance and the voice of my captor rang out absurdly loud in the quiet madness.

“Feeding time, lassie! You must be mighty hungry, no? Come and get it! Don’t ya be shy. I don’t bite, unless I am hungry for someone as young and pretty as yerself. Hahaha!” the booming voice insanely laughed. The high-pitched voice was strange and outlandish. It was an amalgam of every accent I’d ever heard. Several moments passed before he spoke again.

“You eat girl! Don’t ya be turning up your nose. It may taste like the same crap that come out of yer stomach or elsewhere’s…which it is! Hahaheehahah!” Again, the mad laughter.

No, no, no, stop, not this!

I began to emerge from my paroxysm of fear. “What am I doing here?” I demanded. My mind whirled through a confusing litany of possibilities.

Silence.

“What do you want with me?!” I screamed, fear lacing my voice. The silence hung heavily in the air while I waited for his response.

“Yes, how rude of me! You must have many questions for me, but first, before we get started, allow me to introduce myself. I know your name well as I am the keeper of tomorrow’s nightmares…”

“Christa, Christa,” he hissed through his teeth. “I am The Creeper. Now…now…let us delve…deeper…and…deeper…” His voice was hypnotic, low and throaty as though he was trying to seduce me. I felt myself floating. Disconnected. Then, in a singsong voice, The Creeper softly sang out.

“I enter your dreams while you are sleeping and steal the secrets that you are keeping. I bend your mind to my will, use it against you and as you are weakening, I move in for the kill!” The Creeper’s voice cracked into a thousand peals of laughter. I cowered on the cot and covered my ears.

“The last thing you should know, Christa, is that you brought yourself here. You came through bad dreams of your own accord. If I somehow give you an escape from grisly nightmares, you will see your Johnny once more.” The Creeper’s voice began to fade and his last words little more than shadows.

****


I must’ve drifted off to sleep and when I awoke, felt groggy. I experienced exhaustion deeper than anything I had ever known before. Every sound, sight, and smell was unfamiliar to me. My face rested on a cool, flat surface that smelled of strong antiseptic and the rest of my body felt paralyzed as though filled with lead. I felt disconnected from both my head and body. I could not feel anything but cold metal against my cheek. I lay on my side on a tabletop, couldn’t move a muscle and found that I was unable to communicate. I could just barely see what he was doing to me. The Creeper shuffled back and forth in his black faux leather Creepers shoes, muttering to himself in a high singsong voice that made my skin crawl. I was gripped by an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, horror, and despair.

The Creeper whispered menacingly into my ear, “The place you came from now is gone, but where you’re going to will last for all eternity and it won’t take long.”

A black leather glove reached out and gently caressed my cheek as though to smooth away all my fears, which only seemed to escalate with every passing moment. I flinched at his touch and waves of nausea hit me. I wanted so badly to vomit on the black leather glove that continued to stroke my horrified face soaked in perspiration. He began to run his gloved fingers through my long, black, matted hair. I wanted to throw up all over his gloves and shoes. It was the only thing that made sense, the only thing I had control of. I was not even spared the final indignity of having to look at his face. I could not bear to see the twisted smile and eyes lit up glistening in glee as they measured my pain reaction. I wished he would kill me now. I pleaded with my eyes.

Kill me now and be done with it!

“Christa, you are my sweet addiction. I want to quit but, you vixen, chosen victim, you will be oh so delicious!” He continued to taunt me in his singsong voice over and over again. The rotten and ridiculous rhymes continued, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. My eyes widened in horror as I noticed a leather apron about his waist. He missed nothing.

“Leather apron, think of The Ripper. I have learned from the very, very best! Now bear with me whilst I sharpen my trusty surgical instruments. Then we shall open up your treasure chest, visit with a few new friends and put poor Christa, the whore back together again!” The Creeper cackled insanely, wide-eyed and drooling and then the room grew silent. The eerie quiet was disturbed by his heavy breathing. The Creeper’s gloved hand left my face and tangled hair in anticipation of his next touch. His excitement continued to mount.

“Do my fingers feel like blades as they run up your naked thighs? I will paint your face, change your dress, ohh so ready for this special night! But, the nightmare’s not over, it’s only just begun, and as I start to arrange you, I will do it all for fun!”

This was beyond any sensation he’d ever experienced before; perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strained every nerve to breaking. He was going to have his desire fulfilled. I heard a sucking sound and felt something pointed enter me and fill me with the sensation of warm fluid. Semen, blood or both trickled onto my flesh. It was then that I puked violently and vomited on myself.

“Now let the bad dreams begin again, and they will be our sweet escape together, my friend!”

Her skin was slimy to the touch and peeled away quite easily. “Ahhh!” moaned The Creeper in ecstasy. A moment of excruciating pain followed and then Christa felt herself slowly rising off the table and into the air, weightless and free. She was floating. Disconnected, rising out of her body, the astral form unaffected by the knife that penetrated her flesh, sliced open from navel to neck.

****


A voice roused me from my fugue state. “Christa, come back to me!” Johnny cried out, “Please don’t leave me here on my own!”

“Johnny darling, I’m here. I’m here!” I reassured him.

It had all been a dream, a ghastly, horrific nightmare. None of it had happened! I was here with Johnny, my darling man. Here at home, safe and sound. I was really, truly alive. Alive!

“Johnny, wake up! I’m here right beside you, sweetheart,” I whispered in his ear. His cries continued unabated. He was standing up and appeared to be sleepwalking. He continued to cry out for me looking like a lost child in the dark. I shook him gently in an attempt to rouse him from his nightmare.

I reached out once more to touch Johnny’s face and pull him close to me on the bed, but he turned away, continuing to sob hysterically for someone other than me. She only resembled me. I was in a different body. I could hear a faint haunting melody drifting through the air, straining in the darkness, touching my senses. A heart-rending dirge, Henry Purcell’s “When I am laid in earth” filled my ears. It was then that I gazed down over my open casket and let out a blood-curdling scream and was violently jerked back into my lifeless body.

****


A solitary figure made its way through the crowd of mourners to pay his last respects. Nearing Christa's casket, the man in a long black overcoat reached out to clasp Johnny's hand in his own to offer his condolences.

"My deepest sympathies! I'm sorry for your terrible loss," said the stranger, removing his black velvet top hat from his head. The voice was rich with aching emotion. The man's expression was comforting and his dark, deep-set eyes held Johnny's with such a fierce intensity that it was almost overpowering. He felt himself warming towards this stranger.

He didn’t resemble anyone Johnny had ever met, but something about the man seemed familiar. Such a distinguished gentleman too! Judging by the vintage clothing, he looked like he had stepped from the 1940’s. His jet-black hair was slicked back and his side-burns were silver and trimmed neatly. The man's bushy black eye-brows and a tuft of beard below his lip wagged as he spoke which gave him an almost comical air. The stranger smiled again and spoke in a posh accent that was warm, soothing and mysterious.

"Please allow me to introduce myself...I am Jules Longstaff. I was Christa's therapist. We were making such progress too. A shame. We shall all miss her dearly. It should never have happened, this horrible atrocity!” he said, his voice tinged with bitterness.

“The police still have no leads or suspects, hmmm? Oh my! I can't even imagine how awful you must feel. It does help to talk about things though. I am going into town and would be pleased to offer you a lift home. If you like, we can discuss things on the way. I'd like to be here for you in your time of need, Johnny,” Jules said gallantly.

“No, Mr. Longstaff, I don’t wish to be a bother.” Johnny protested.

“Really, it's no trouble at all!” he added reassuringly. “I insist! You really shouldn't be alone at a time like this!"

“Thank you. It’s so kind of you to offer,” Johnny suddenly found himself replying, far too weary to resist.

Jules Longstaff gently placed a gloved hand on Johnny's shoulder and smiled at his prey. Johnny felt himself being shoved from behind out of the funeral home as though in a trance, his eyes glazed-over.

"Let's not keep anyone waiting!" Longstaff muttered under his breath, almost sick with anticipation and expectation.

****


The Creeper slowly placed his gloved hand over Johnny's mouth to seal his lips, and the leather aroma filled his nostrils. Johnny panicked and whipped his head about in all directions. There was no way out! Suddenly, he remembered The Creeper’s last words; the hope of escape and gradually his fear began to subside. Johnny believed the deranged man’s promise; that his innermost wishes would become material if uttered.

“Christa, disregard my cruel fate, freedom’s in your arms, if you’ll only wait!”

The wall spattered with gore by the print of bloody fingers. Johnny’s throat had several fearful gashes, apparently inflicted with a somewhat dull knife worked with savage efficiency. The next wounds were the stabs to the head behind the left ear; vicious, twisting cuts shaped by Johnny’s efforts to get away. The Creeper’s bloodlust grew as he caught his own reflection in the blade to become even more inspired.

There was a long blood-chilling moment of silence. Then, the Creeper’s brutal bloodthirsty voice thundered into the cold, damp air where dark dreams never die.

“When you breathe your last breath and leave your skin and bones behind, Christa will be waiting on the other side; a devil that you won’t recognize in a blood soaked paradise. I shall enter your haunted dreams night after night...intertwining your loving mind with mine…a night that has no end...my bloody knife has no friends.”


THE END


2017 Alexis Child

Bio: Alexis Child hails from Toronto, Canada; horror in its purest form: A calculated crime both against the aspirations of the soul and affections of the heart. She worked at a Call Crisis Centre befriending demons of the mind that roam freely amongst her writings and lived with a Calico-cat child sleuthing all that went bump in the night & is still haunted by the memory of her cat. Her fiction has been featured in Danse Macabre, Lost Souls, Screams of Terror, SpecFicWorld.com, The Fields of The Nephilim Official Site, and U.K.'s Dark Of Night Magazine. Her poetry has been featured in numerous online and print publications, including Aphelion, Black Petals, Blood Moon Rising, Estronomicon eZine, Death Head Grin, Midnight Lullabies Anthology, Sein und Werden, The Horror Zine, and elsewhere. Her first collection of poetry, "Devil in the Clock" is now available on Amazon.

Visit her website: Alexis Child

E-mail: Alexis Child

She also has a poetry collection available on Amazon: Devil in the Clock

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