Enjoy this growing collection of short stories. We will update this page as we have new material. I have published a ton of stuff, and I will try to put things here that I have nmot yet published or are out of print.
Some of these are not really intended for younger readers, so fair warning is given. Some are scary or . . . include mature subjects. Click on the title you would like to read, the story will expand down the page. These are also draft edits, so are just for fun and have not been proofed by an editor. But they are free, and I write too much to send everything to edit and publish..
© 2001 Rob Krabbe
He was very old. He had seen it all at one time or another in his life. Even so, never in a million years could he have imagined that the Princess would grace his table.
"I am certainly delighted and honored to extend my hospitality to you, your highness," he said graciously, bowing from the waist. It had been ten years since he had even seen her. She had grown into a comely young woman. Her hair was the color of fine spun gold, lacy and delicate to the touch—an ethereal banquet for his long, sensitive, somewhat knurled fingers—slowly and gently brushing the hair from her lovely milky face. It gave him a chill to touch her young skin, which was as soft as butter and warm as the summer sun to his quivering, wrinkled hands.
With some degree of surprise he felt a welcome and familiar nuisance, swelling up and hard. Just a tad prideful, he reached to his brow, just below the hairline, and squeezed the massive boil on his forehead. Puss, blood and water sprayed from it, raining down upon the young girl. Her perfect face, was now speckled with fluids from his infection. Of course she said nothing, nor moved a muscle. She was, after all, a Princess . . . and tied up.
When he spoke again, his voice was lower in tone, and his words, excruciatingly slow.
"Oh my . . . my . . . my . . . I'm terribly sorry," he whispered, never taking his blood-shot eyes off her as he sat down, torpidly, on a chair next to the table. He rested his elbows on the table surface and with his face nestled between his hands, smiled at the Princess; his every movement taking an eternity. Wetting his swollen lips he bent over close to her and inhaled deeply. He could smell her juice; sweet and innocent. He leaned in and licked her face with his thorny tongue, swallowed hard, and sighed. "Mush. . .I mean (he swallowed hard) much better." A tittle of laughter escaped his dripping mouth. He slurped in the goo that hung from his lower lip and rose from his chair, clanging his spoon on his crystal chalice.
"I have an announcement," he said comically, "a toast . . . I welcome this wonderful princess . . . this . . . this exquisite creature, to our happy home." He looked down at her lying on his table, and winked "welcome my dear."
He raised the glass of wine to his lips and downed it, bursting out in horrendous laughter as he smashed the chalice to the floor. In one swift motion he lifted the meat cleaver from it's place on the table and brought it crashing down with tremendous strength upon the girls soft, butter like throat, cleanly severing her head from her shoulders. The head rolled over and fell off the table to the floor with a dull sounding thud, leaving a trail of blood. Without a glance, he lifted his boot and brought it down on her head, stopping it from rolling any farther. "I hope you enjoy your stay as much as we will!" His laughter was so robust that he coughed up a mass of gray mucus, which he spit onto the floor beside the girl's head.
"Wife!" he yelled, as he reached down to pick up the head by it's hair—he was suddenly very serious— "prepare the cooking pots, while I carve her into healthy portions. We will feast for days on this plump princess—this pudgy pudding girl." He began to go to work furiously on the body with his cleaver, cutting it up into meal size portions. He was fast and accurate, not missing a beat.
The sound of wet, meaty chopping, echoed from their humble cabin and throughout the forest, as the poor unfortunate girl went to royal pieces.
Old Uncle Jackson closed the old worn book and set it down on the wooden nightstand, next to a burning oil lamp. He paused for a moment, looking at the old leather cover on the book. A smile came to his wrinkled face—a warm familiar smile. Many were the times he had enjoyed listening to his grandfather read aloud from the same book of scary stories.
Uncle Jackson had a look about him of old comfortable love. Kind and generous was his countenance yet a hint of precocious humor seasoned his personality and was evidenced by the twinkle in his eyes. He was one who truly enjoyed life and laughter, but especially the wonderful aura of children.
He looked down at his niece, through the dim light, with as serious a face as he could muster. "So, my dear, do you like that little story so far?" The little nine year old girl, was shivering equally from fright as chill. She had her blanket pulled up nearly covering her face—her little green eyes darting to and fro, surveying the room carefully from underneath her tussled, light brown hair.
When she spoke it was in a whisper. It was as if she were afraid that the characters in the book might hear her.
"I think it was . . . awful, uncle Jackson, just awful—was it for reals?" The petite, green eyed beauty was curious through her horror. Jackson smiled, and bent down so close that Janice could feel his whiskers as he spoke; "what do you think? Go to sleep now, pumpkin. I'll stay awake for a awhile to ward off the evil spirits." He gave her a kiss, puffed out the light, and went lightly from the girl's room.
"I love you, pumpkin," he whispered quietly over his shoulder as he closed the door behind him.
"I love you too Unc," she whispered, snapping the covers back up over her face so she would be safe from the night. He shuffled down the dark hallway, lingered for a moment, then went back to little Janice's room.
"Yes Uncle Jackson?"
"I'm sorry you go to bed this night with only porridge on your stomach, I wish I had more to offer you."
"Oh it's alright, I love porridge. And anyway, you can't beat porridge, topped with a great scary story."
"Thank you princess, I know you didn't bargain for this when you came to visit, but we'll do the best that we can with what we’ve been given. Maybe tomorrow there will be something in one of my traps; then we will eat like kings . . . I love you honey."
"I know Unc, and I love you too."
Jackson smiled. It filled his heart with warmth, to hear his niece call him Unc, just as if it were a magic spell. The combination of her innocent faith and her love, freely given, all rolled up into one endearment, once spoken, had the power to refresh and comfort his very soul. She was such a delightful girl, and he loved her so. He was, of course, not happy in his half-sister’s death, he just prayed, every night, that this wonderful girl would be allowed to stay with him always. He knew he could not replace her parents, but he would lover her like his own.
Jackson retreated to his rocking chair, by the fireplace. The cabin felt a little cold, and he considered whether the chill warranted another log on the fire . . . he decided not and rocked off to sleep.
Two weeks later, the storms came. Jackson had hoped he would trap some food before the winter set in . . . it seemed that this would not be the case. The first storm of the season was turning out to be the worst storm he had ever witnessed.
The winds were fifty to sixty miles an hour, and it was snowing heavily. Luckily, Jackson had cut and stacked a great deal of firewood before the first sign of weather.
"It should last," thought Jackson, "the whole winter, if the season's not too long."
"Uncle Jackson?" He heard Janice's voice from her room.
"Yes Pumpkin?" he called.
"It's time for my story now—I'm clean and dry."
"Did you wash behind your ears?"
Jackson smiled and rose from his chair.
"I'll be right there, Princess. Put on your warm nighty, and crawl into bed."
"Yes Uncle, but hurry, I'm already sleepy, I don’t want to miss it."
Old Uncle Jackson reached up to the top of the woodpile retrieving two logs. Throwing them both on the hot fire he shuffled down the hall toward Janice's room.
"What story do we want to hear tonight?" he asked as he entered her room.
"How about the story of The Ogre And The Orphanage."
"You have a fascination with such horrible things."
"I love to be scared, besides it's not so frightening as the one about the princess."
"Oh well, maybe I should just read you an even better story—better than either of those two!"
"Better than The Ogre and the Princess?"
"Much!" He sat down on the chair next to Janice's bed, obviously in love with the story himself. He picked up the book and opened it to the very last story, blew dust from it's pages and began reading.
Once upon a time, there was a . . . by the way did I tell you that this story is true? . . . anyway, once upon a time there was a small village, nestled in the smokey hills of Cancaroon, (Janice snuggled deeply into her pillow and smiled. Jackson continued) and in that village lived a family of forest workers. The towns people called them tree-ers, as they cut down hundreds of trees each week for lumber and firewood. Seven men in one house with one women, the youngest of the six children, named Cerise (Jackson looked down at his niece with a smile on his face as he continued the story from memory).
The men of the family were all very handsome—handsome and single, even the father, had been single for six years since his wife had died from a fever. The women of the town had always been interested in the young men; courting them with letters and baskets of food. The men were the pride of the town; the only single men for miles around.
One day the youngest boy and his sister went into the town of Woo, which was three miles from their cabin, to get some supplies . . .
Suddenly a tremendous crashing sound from the yard, interrupted the story telling.
"What the?" Jackson hurried as fast as his old legs could carry him, out and down the hall. He called behind him, "You stay put!"
"Unc?" She was frightened, and began to shake. She heard her Uncle go out into the living area, and then open the front door of the cabin.
"Unc? . . .hello? . . .Uncle Jackson." Then she heard him scream. Then nothing but silence.
"Uncle Jackson . . .please answer me!" She was really scared and didn't know what to do. She heard him scream again, this time however it was different.
"YaHoo!" Janice heard him jumping up and down and carrying on.
"What is it?"
"Quick! Come out here and help me . . . YaHoo!"
Janice jumped up out of bed, threw her slippers and robe on. She ran as fast as she could down the hall and out the front door.
There she found her uncle, bent over one of his traps. Could it be? Did he catch something to eat?"
"There you are princess . . . go get my club, it's not quite dead. YaHoo! Hurry now, I'll watch it to make sure it doesn't get loose. Janice jumped for glee. She hurried to the shed, so excited she did not even notice the cold.
"Here you go Unc." She yelled as she ran back and handed him the big wooden club. It was then that she could see the beautiful catch. They would be able to eat for days on it. Jackson had tossed a rope around it's neck for extra safety. He threw the other end of it to Janice.
"Hold on tight, princess, in case it comes to. My what a big fat one!"
There at the other end of the rope was the biggest and fattest human girl-child Janice had ever seen. One leg was caught in the trap, bloodied and broken.
"Hurry Uncle, I hadn't remembered how scarry these humans really look in person."
"Don't tell me your afraid of a human girl-child?" He laughed. Janice shook her head in negation—but slowly and not too sure of herself. Uncle Jackson took the club and cracked it over the girls head, a little too hard.
"Well that did it!" Janice shouted, "we won't get much of a meal out of that head now, but at least it's not going to get away."
"Guess I did not remember how strong I was . . .Ha! . .not much left of the head is there?"
"It's alright, we usually make stew out of that part anyway, and I don’t like stew. Jackson smiled at his niece, she always looked at things in such a positive light.
The body had stopped jerking around and had gone completely limp. Jackson released the steel trap from it's leg.
"Let me help, Unc," she said as she jumped right in and tossed the body over her shoulder, "I can carry things pretty good you know!"
"Yes, pumpkin I guess you can." He smiled, pridefully. His little niece was only a scant eight foot tall, yet she was as strong as many ogre children twice her size and age. As Janice thundered playfully into the house, she turned back to her Uncle, "It's pretty heavy, Unc, how much will we get out of it?"
He reached up and pulled something gross and wormy looking out of his thorny nose, thought for a moment and said,
"Several great meals, honey, and a even few light snacks."
He laughed as he reached up and popped a huge puss wart on his chin and then hurried inside slamming the door behind them.
The bell rang. I knew I was going to be late before it rang. I really hated being late. Why then was I always late? More than just about anything, I hated the bell, its harsh brassy clanking, my tardiness was confirmed. I half-walked, half-jogged through the emptying hallway, in that kind of hectic rushing I was usually doing. I really hated being late. By the time the auditorium was within sight, I was the only one remaining in the corridor, that led to the “Franz Von Gerzistowski Lecture Hall” (or “creaky hall” or “old creaky” as it was better known; for its hundred year old wooden floors).
Placing my hand upon the cold brass handle I pulled it sluggishly toward me, opening the mammoth and heavy wooden door just enough to sneak through and into the dimly lit hall. I slipped quietly into the nearest empty seat and tried to focus my eyes on the stage, waiting to become accustomed to the light.
My eyes beginning to adjust, I looked around the old room. It smelled like an old dirty theater, like the ones deep in the city that had seen more than their share of bad productions, cheap films, and lonely old men just wanting out of the weather. The FVG was almost totally packed with students, eager to get the experience of this humanities course behind them. Rumors abounded about the professor. He was the chairman of the department, and it was said, extremely eccentric. It was said that everything in life was part of a great experiment to him. Most of the students trying to complete a degree, would end up in this hall at some point or another. I hoped I had not been noticed by the professor, and thankfully he was no where in sight. It seemed that I may have been the only one aware of my tardiness, and I began to relax.
I had also heard through the grapevine that Professor Williams was not a forgiving sort. I knew from the write up, my grade would hinge heavily on the final exam, but if I were teetering between grades, I would not like the deciding factor to be promptness, or lack of it.
Then, it came. The ambient sound of whispers and chitchat suddenly gave way to the growing footsteps on the rostrum, hard soles against almost unyielding timber. The sound was almost comical, Clop, clop, like a horse walking, his ponderous girth now lumbering across the stage. The only additional narrative in the room was that of the support beams underneath complaining with each step.
It was indeed Professor Williams, the reports seemed to be true, he was at least six feet tall and 350 pounds, if not more, by the look of him.
He stopped behind the lectern and stood silently, waiting for the last whispers to die down. His gaze made the rounds like a confident doctor sizing up his prognosis. There was absolute silence, except one voice in the front row. A young blond coed, rather nice looking I might add, was busy reporting her previous nights accomplishments to her friend. I could hear her quite clearly from my vantage.
"I can tell you," she was saying, assuredly, "There is not a single human male on this campus that is not carnivorous. I swear to god . . . all they want is . . . well, you know!"
The professor looked glaringly over the top rim of his reading glasses, and waited for her to give him her attention. The anger seemed to build in him, yet he was also calm at the same time. The other students in the hall were quite amused by this point, as was I. Her friend, suddenly aware something was wrong, looked up at Professor Williams and gasped, covering her mouth, embarrassed.
She motioned for her over-enthusiastic friend to do the same. The talkative girl looked up, and was instantly frozen in time. The class broke into a cautious snicker. Professor Williams looked around briefly and the room became silent again. He then spoke to her in a low even tone.
"Please come up here . . . very close to me, my dear."
He pointed the way for the embarrassed girl, with a smile, and she quietly and nervously walked onto the stage and to the lectern. The professor eyed her for a moment, his smile instantly disappeared, and he said,
"I want to show you something, so that you, and the rest of the class will know how much, oh . . . certain things mean to me.” A momentary twinkle, and then his face became serious again, “please understand that in the next few moments I will not deceive you. I will do everything that I say I will do and you must trust me implicitly. This is very important. Am I being perfectly clear?" His demeanor was extremely disquieting.
She was frightened now, if she hadn’t been before. This seemed a bit much just for talking in class. By this point I had figured out that this exercise, whatever it was, would have taken place regardless of who the victim was. This lovely young girl, probably, just happened to be convenient.
The professor walked slowly and somewhat melodramatically to the stage wing and then returned with a heavy slice of a log. It was approximately 14 inches in diameter and 7 or 8 inches thick. He set the wood down on the top of the four-foot high lectern.
"Do you trust me?" he asked the girl.
"Yes," she said rather timidly, but I could see through her answer.
"Why?" he asked . . ."Never mind it is good that you do, or at least are trying to."
The twinkle again.
He reached under the lectern and pulled out an axe. The room gasped at once, and quickly quieted down again. It was a large and menacing looking weapon. The girl jumped back a step.
"Oh, my dear,” he laughed soothingly, “now don't be afraid."
Deafening and painful thick silence filled the room.
"What are you going to do?" she asked cautiously.
"I will tell you. First, let me say that this axe is very, very sharp. I sharpened it myself. Do you see . . . what is your name again?"
"Shelly." The air was heavy with anticipation. I half expected her to pass out any moment.
"Yes, Shelly . . . do you see, Shelly, that it is quite sharp?" He displayed the honed implement from various angles.
"This, my dear, is an object lesson. In a moment I will ask you to place your hand on this wooden log. I will then count to five. When I reach five I will bring this axe crashing down onto the log with force enough to sever your hand cleanly. I will do it . . . you can be assured of that, because I mean what I say. I suggest, my dear girl, that you move your hand between four and five on my count. If you move your hand before four, I will fail you in this class. If you wait too long, of course, I will amputate your hand and most certainly trade my little apartment for a much smaller cell. Do you believe me . . . Shelly?"
"Yes sir. But . . ."
“But what my dear?”
“I don’t want to do this.” The crowd seemed to agree now, this was too much.
“Of course you don’t Shelly. Only a fool would want this challenge. Any volunteer to take Shelly’s place?” He asked the crowd. Dead silence. I wanted so bad to raise my hand, but I was absolutely frozen.
“Well now, see, no fools in the room.” He smiled for an instant.
I felt something stir in my very soul. It was as if someone were peering or probing into my inner most feelings. It was a feeling I had never felt before. I focused on the platform, trying to ignore the sensation.
"Now please do not make the mistake of thinking that I will pull back at the last minute, I will not. If you wait too long, you will lose your hand and I will be in a great deal of trouble. Move it too soon, and you can kiss your grade goodbye. Now, my dear, dear girl, place your hand upon the wood."
Shelly was shaking badly now, and could barely raise her hand to place it on the log. Mr. Williams adjusted the positioning of her hand to be in the center of the log-turned-chopping block, and turned it just so.
"One . . . two."
He jerked the axe high above his head, and it seemed to float there.
The girl inhaled and held her breath. The whole class stopped breathing.
Just before he had reached five, they both jumped into action. She, into the air, pulling her hand away with lightening speed, “FIVE!” as he, beginning the momentum that carried the axe thundering down. The room watched to see if the timing was right. The implement crashed down, shattering the silence as it tore into the wood. The girl had moving her hand as fast as she could, her hand clearing the log a millisecond before the axe reached its destination. She stumbled back onto the floor with the momentum, and screamed with her hands covering her face. The crack of the axe splitting into the log reverberated through the hall for what seemed an eternity. Shelly still screaming looked at both sides of her hand, to be sure it was still attached.
"Good, very good. Thank you my dear, you have saved my career, your hand, and your potential grade, you may sit." Mr. Williams wiped a bead of perspiration from his forehead.
The girl, shaking terribly, barely maneuvered herself to her feet and back to her seat. The professor looked out across the room and scrutinized his audience once again. No one moved a muscle and most were frozen in fear. He looked straight at me.
"Kevin, my boy . . ."
My heart jumped to my throat, and I stood up.
"If you are late to my class one more time . . . I will be very, very disappointed. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Mr. Williams."
“And my boy, do you believe that I mean what I say?”
How did he know I had been late?
"I know everything."
I was startled. How did he know what I had been thinking?
"I just did, now sit down." the professor said. The class was still too shocked to notice the exchange that had just occurred. Mr. Williams then went on with the day's topic. My heart still pounding, I pondered the experience for the whole of the two-hour session, realizing, only too late, that I had not heard a word of the lesson. As the clock struck the hour I did hear something, though, and I will never forget the feeling of it. Hell itself could not have frightened me more.
I heard a voice from deep within me . . . Professor Williams voice.
"Kevin, I will help you find your true purpose and destiny. You have come to the right place, my boy. You have wandered enough through your life, welcome to destiny.
I am yours and you are mine,
With you 'till the end of time.
Here I sit,
That's about it,
No time to spit.
Ice cold blood pulsed suddenly through my veins. I felt the chill of the cold life giving liquid course through me, as I sat perfectly still for almost ten minutes, not wanting to believe what I had heard. I tried to shake it off, blame it on a lack of sleep. I was almost successful . . . almost, but I could feel him . . . he saw into me. Call it over-active imagination, but I had never been so frightened in all my life.
Jim, my roommate, was back at the dormitory. I told him what had happened. Of course he said, I was imagining things, stressed out, asked what I’d been smoking. I suppose I could have imagined it, but it seemed hauntingly real. The fear was definitely real, my heart was pounding all over again just from the telling of it.
"I think you're over-reacting just a little, don't you?" Jim asked.
"No," I responded, "I think the man is psychic or something. This is some experiement. Or I’m going nuts. I don't like it one bit! Let him play his tricks on some freshman. But how? How could he get into my head? Do I wear my thoughts on my face so clearly? Is he just reading my face? I don't need this shit. I've got two damn many things on my mind. Further more . . . "
"Knock it off, you fag! You can pull that whiny crap with most anyone else, but don't try it on me." Jim flipped his wrist effeminately toward me.
"That's it, I'll show you, you miserable queen." I jumped at him, knocking his petite form to the floor. I never could remain angry with Jim for very long.
"You know, Jim, for a bi-sexual, you are just a little too gay." I grabbed the nearest pillow and initiated the third world war.
I liked Jim a great deal. He never held my hetero-sexuality against me. Jim was a good friend, and at least for the moment, he had gotten my mind off of Williams.
Things got very much worse, very fast. During William's next class, I knew he was “in me” the whole time. It was a bazaar feeling. An unwanted guest. What does one have if not his thoughts. I felt violated and yet still wondered deep inside, if I was just going crazy. What if it was me, imagining all this? The stress of too many classes was probably the real reason, but I was unable to concentrate on anything that was being said. In the back of my mind I figured I was just studying too hard or doing too much, yes, maybe that was the true culprit.
I just couldn’t shake it. The feeling that I was coming unraveled, or worse, I was being violated by something I didn’t believe in. I was very worried. I had always been able to maintain control, emotionally and mentally. I prided myself on my level of concentration, focus, and the ability to function in the most stressful of circumstances. Plus, I had never put much stock in the occult or in psychic powers, in fact not at all. Now I was losing it for sure.
I suddenly felt very stupid. I just needed catch up on my sleep and to tune it out. Give up caffeine, or junk food. How stupid I had been, indeed. I, Kevin Stinson, falling prey to stress and the insanity of the moment, thinking this some bazaar practical joke by a fourth rate mind reader . . . and me with a 4.0 grade average!
With a full night's sleep and renewed determination I proceeded to the next lecture at F.V.G. I was confident and ready. Walking tall. Rested and ready. No cheap parlor trick or mind game here, and stress was not going to get the better of Kevin G. Stinson III.
Just as I pulled the brass handle to open the door of the auditorium, I heard and felt something. The cracking of ice under foot. I felt it give way. Like on the lake when I was seven years old. The smell, musty, had I slipped? For a moment I was frozen, my head spinning. Time itself was frozen. A vision or dream swept over me like a waterfall pouring down. It became clear as my eyes adjusted. I was back in Northern Illinois, where I grew up. I was in the dimly lit basement of our huge Victorian home.
There was my mother, my sweet mother, being kissed and fondled by that bastard Mr. Williams. She was trying to get away! She struggled to be free of his grasp. He was stronger and he was hurting her. I wanted to help but I could not move. He kept grabbing her in private places and laughing. He was putting his slobbering lips all over her. One hand holding her tightly by the arm and the other roaming her body, working it’s way under her clothing. I was frozen, I could not even scream. Mr. Williams turned to me and said slowly,
"I like you Kevin, and your family too. I especially like your mom here, I only wish I had known her when she was like this, young, sexy and . . . alive! Plump little round ass, don’t you think?" He laughed again and slapped her hard across her face. Then lightening cracked and I was back in the humanities building entering the lecture hall. I stumbled into the room and collapsed into the nearest seat, my eyes wide but unseeing, afraid of what was happening to me.
I took a deep breath, and rancid air settled deep and thick in my lungs like the smell of rotted meat. I couldn’t stand it, I jumped up and bolted out the door.
Saturday night. I had calmed down once again with Jim’s help, attributing my experiences to my being just plain overloaded and overwhelmed. Indeed I had just “hit the wall”, “run out of steam”. I needed some R & R - that’s what I guessed, that and some extra sleep. I had a date with Shelly, the axe girl from Mr. William's class. I had asked her out several times. I was persistent . . . and charming, and she had finally said yes.
I met her at the "Campus Cow," a little coffee shop on campus, and we decided to take in a movie. The local cinema was playing a Woody Allen flick, so I paid my twelve bucks and we found our seats.
The movie was a good ice-breaker. Not good and not bad, as with most of Woody Allen’s flicks. I discovered that neither of us were true followers anyway, but it was a good time. Afterward, we decided to get a cup of coffee. A little cafe near the theater sufficed, and we engaged in two hours of really wonderful conversation. She seemed the kind of person that was really, honestly concerned about others. She told me about her volunteer work with an inner city homeless project and other seeming altruistic efforts. I was thinking that I would like to take this girl out again, when she said,
There I sat, dumbfounded. Another psychic?
"How did you know what I was thinking?" I asked, not sure I wanted to hear the answer.
"How do you think she knew? . . I told her, of course. We have to stick together you know. You help me--I help you!" The voice again!
"I could see it in your eyes, Kevin," she smiled.
"She's lying! I told her, and she knows it!"
"Was I that obvious?" I smiled, trying to cover up my lack of mental foundation.
"I pride myself in my perception, besides I feel it too. Lets go for a drive."
"Yea! Do her right in the car. . .I'll watch! he he."
"No, god damn it! Shut up and leave me alone!" Oops.
"Fine, maybe I was wrong!" She burst into tears and ran for the door.
"Wait, Shelly please wait, I wasn't talking to you . . . wait!" I caught up to her and made up an explanation, that I’m sure was inadequate. I told her I'd had a terrible day and that there was a great ringing in my ears. She seemed to believe me. I told her that I really did enjoy her company and then I proceeded to compliment her in every way I could think of.
"You should stop before your eye starts to twitch," she laughed. “I really should do the drive another time. I have so much studying to do. I’m sorry.”
I assured her I understood, and hid my disappointment. We got in my car and I took her back to her dorm.
We pulled up to the parking area and into a space. I turned the car off. "I really do want to see you again," she said to me.
I looked at her, and I knew that she was someone I would really like to get to know.
"Me too," I said in my wordy fashion. Why could I never think of the right thing to say, until afterwards?
Before I realized what was happening, she snuggled up closer, reached up and pulled my head toward her. She kissed me with the warmest lips I had ever touched. Wet, hot and passionate, there was an electricity and a power between us, I was fully devastated.
"Do her!" The voice teased. Damn, here we go again.
I ignored the intrusion and kissed her back, tenderly. I felt her hand on my leg. She moved it up toward . . . well. . . and she squeezed.
"I really (she squeezed again) want to see you again, sometime when I don't have an exam the next day, and we’ll see how far this chemistry goes. Tonight, I’m afraid I've got to finish studying. I just hope you’ll understand."
She smiled and left the car. I watched her as she disappeared into the dorm. I sat for a moment pondering her delicious smile. The way she had kissed me, and the obvious connection we had. She was fun, beautiful and quite possibly the sexiest woman I had ever met.
And the next morning . . . she was stone dead.
I woke to the sound of my roommate's voice.
"Kevin . . . wake up . . . Kevin! The police are downstairs and they want to talk to you . . . shit, Kevin!" I felt Jim shaking me. Then the words sunk into my mind. Police! What would they want with me? I looked at the clock . . . 5:30 a.m.!
"Shit . . . what do they want? All right, tell them I'll be down in a moment." Jim nodded and went downstairs. My mind was reeling. What could they possibly want with me? I put on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. My breath was awful, my tongue tasted like the road, but I didn’t take the time for anything else. I was trying to downplay the situation in my mind, but it was not working.
What in hell could they want of me? I kept asking myself as I climbed down the stairs.
There were two of them. They seemed very serious. I stepped into the entry hall.
"Kevin Stinson?" the bigger of the two asked.
"Yes, that's me." Beautifully put.
"We would like you to come with us, please. We have some questions for you."
"What's going on? I thought you only did the "downtown” thing in movies, what is it?"
"I'm afraid we can't discuss that here. I have the proper paperwork if you insist."
"No, that won't be a problem, just let me put on a pair of sweats and a jacket, it is cold outside at this hour." I was as curious now as I was worried. I ran upstairs to change.
The horror of the following two hours was indescribable, but I will try.
Police stations are more stereotypical than I imagined. When I was directed into a room with a small table, two wooden chairs and a goose necked desk lamp I thought I would laugh aloud. The smell in the room was like my grandma’s garage. Stale humidity, old cardboard boxes, and a thick layer of dust and mice droppings.
At that point I was privileged to meet Female Detective Stevenson. Stevenson looked like Colombo in drag. A woman of considerable size, she had a very masculine way about her. She was heavy, but obviously in good shape. I was instantly sure she could kick anyone’s ass in the room, and further that everyone knew it. She strode into the room and grappled with the second chair, almost breaking it as she slammed it to the floor in front of her. She looked at me for a long time, and then eventually sat, not lightly. I had been introduced to the first chair, a little earlier, by an obnoxious and somewhat eager young officer.
"Do you know Shelly Stevenson, no relation to me, and did you in fact see her last night?" she droned mechanically.
"Yes, I met her recently, and yes I took her out last night. What's wrong?" This sounded serious.
"Your damn right it is serious! . . We did her last night! . .Ha! What do you think about that? Kevin, shmevin, big fat bevin!" The voice was different! My dead brother! He used to call me that when he was alive! This spirit or person or whatever was not playing by any rules I understood. My brother had been killed with my mother, years ago, in a car wreck. My heart wretched. What in the name of all things holy was happening? My brain was becoming completely unhinged. I was sure the cops could see it.
"I don't think holy is a very good word right now . . . do you Shelly?"
"No Kevin, I think it is a horrible word to use, and quite inappropriate." Shelly! I heard her!
"Shelly where are you?" I jumped up to look around. "What a terrible joke." I began to laugh but it began to dawn on me that Shelly was not anywhere to be seen. An officer slammed me back into the chair.
"I'm in here silly, Mr. Williams showed me where to find you."
Detective Stevenson leaned in toward me.
"I'm sure this is all very cute, but it will not dissuade us from completion of this interview. We think you murdered Shelly Stevenson, now it would be best for you to give a full confession, immediately!"
My heart stopped. Dead? What? Killed Shelly? Shelly dead?
"I just saw her last night! . .She's as alive as you or me. What in hell are you talking about. She kissed me. I watched her go back into her dorm. What do you mean dead? It’s got to be someone else."
"No . . . she is most definitely dead. I know, cause I helped do her!" Williams' voice again.
"And I certainly wish you had not!" Shelly said, "I had so very much to do today and now it's all ruined." She started to cry.
“You shut up bitch!.” Williams said.
I became aware that the detective had been trying to talk to me.
". . .Kevin! Listen to me! Admit it immediately, we don’t have time for this crap. We have witnesses that place you at the dorm, last night."
"Yea Kevin, admit that you and I snuck in together and killed her. I'll be glad to share the credit with you!"
"Shut up!" I yelled. Oops.
"Shut up indeed. Young man, I can work with you, and help you through this, or I can be your worst nightmare. There are no other choices. You will cooperate, or I will drag your ass hot across the coals of hell. Now answer this God damned question, why did you kill Shelly Stevenson?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” I was close to tears now. I couldn’t let them see how close to the edge of complete insanity I was.
The detective looked slowly at the others in the room, and glanced at the two way mirror that was obviously separating us from who knows how many more people.
“I will persevere and I will hand the DA more than enough on a silver plate to convict you of murder with special circumstance my young friend, be sure of that.
For now, I will give you just enough rope to hang yourself. You will, by order of the court stay in this town."
The detective leaned in to me and whispered in a gravely tone.
“Your freedom is very, very temporary. I feel it in my blood. I saw the way you killed that poor girl. I have never seen such pure evil. As sure as I saw the blood you spilled on the dorm floor you little Satanic bastard. I will see you fry one day. And believe me, I would bribe the guard with my life savings, if I could, to throw the switch myself. I will have to settle for being the one person on this fucking planet, who sent you back to hell where you came from.”
"Lucky Kevin! That detective likes you! I think she wants you" Williams said.
Shelly chimed in, "Kevin, I still want to have sex with you, though it seems you may have killed me. Being dead has really made me horny. I think we'd better hurry though, I'm beginning to rot a little!" She smelled under her arm, wrinkled her nose, and then laughed.
Then the voice of my mother chimed in.
"Kevin, don't you touch that girl. You don’t know where she’s been. She's dead and smelly, and besides I don't want you having sex until you're married whether the girls dead or not!"
"MOM!" I screamed, tears running down my face.
I couldn't stand it. I bust out of the room, a cop in blue tried to stop me but the detective waved him off. I continued blindly down the hall and out into the street.
Several hours later, the walk had not helped me to get a grip on what was happening. Back at the dorm the word had already gotten out about Shelly's death. Everyone walked clearly around me. The evening newspaper contained a story about it. It told about a night of horror, about how she had been gagged and tortured to death. It had a great deal of un-necessary detail. Shelly had died after having her skin and flesh hacked and pulled off. They further stated that she had been cut hundreds of times by some type of implement, a knife or axe, and cannibalized. The paper said it was possible that she lived through a great deal of the horror before she passed out from blood loss or the sheer agony of it. A sock had been stuffed into her mouth to stifle the screams, and near the end she had swallowed the sock deep into her throat.
On the TV news, an out of breath police officer, coming form the dorm room said, "it's awful, I've never seen anything so heinous. It looks like a blood lust. Like some kind of ritual killing. For someone to have done this terrible thing, Jesus H. Christ! . . . they must be completely psychotic . . . insane, Jesus God! completely insane!" And the young man bent low and gave up his lunch onto the ground.
I just sat and stared into space for most of the day. I was convinced that in as much as Williams was responsible, I had nothing but my own insanity to go on. What could I do? No one would ever listen to me, and he had to be stopped.
The campus quieted down after a couple of weeks and I was barely able to continue with my classes. The police called me to the station two more times. They were replays, however, of the first interview and nothing was gained by them. They didn’t seem to have concrete evidence against anyone, surprisingly enough. I wondered how it was possible such a terrible crime could be committed without leaving something behind. Some mistake.
One Tuesday morning a couple of weeks following the murder as I was heading for an English literature class, I bumped head-on into Mr. Williams in the flesh.
"Mr. Stinson, you have not attended my class lately. Do you intend to fail?"
He was very cool. I could not respond to him, but continued down the walkway, trying not to freeze from the fear that was chilling my blood. This man was a monster. How could he even talk to me?
"You can walk away from me, but I won't walk away from you. I want to help you!"
I had to say something. I jumped around to face him, but he was several yards away walking toward another building.
"Did you hear me, Kevin?" The voice prosecuted the attack.
"Yes Kevin, listen to him, he can help you. Give him control like I did and you will be fine." Shelly again. Then a new voice. Then three or four new voices. I did not recognize any of the new ones.
I walked faster, trying to out-run them, looking over my shoulder as I ran toward my dorm.
"I brought a few friends along. I hope you don't mind," Williams said from inside my head. They all began laughing, in chorus. When I turned around to make sure he was not following me, I saw him watching from across the courtyard and shaking his head slowly, I stumbled and fell to my knee, tearing my jeans. I got back to my feet and ran hysterically to my room.
"My God," I thought, "I am crazy!"
The next morning about two a.m., I was woken out of a dead sleep by police radios. I couldn't stand the sound of it. I pulled my blanket up over my head.
"Do you know what we did?" The voice again. I tried to ignore it.
"Kevvvvinnnn," the voice sang to me, "Kevin I know you can hear me, 'cause I can hear yooouuu. Guess what we did?" I couldn't answer. . .I knew what it was. I must have had the worst dream. My clothes were wet with sweat and were sticky.
No, you really don't know, Kevinnnnn. See, one little tasty girl did not seem to satisfy you, so now there are three more. And the biggest surprise is, that makes the grand total . . . ah where are my notes? . . . sixteen in all over the past couple years! Are you proud, Kevin? . . Don't you know, we killed them all for you, just the way you like it. Don't you feel fat and sassy now? We ate like a lion this week! Like the "King Of Beasts . . . hunt and kill, hunt and kill, hunt and kill, kill, kill, eat, eat eat!"
"NO!" I screamed. "Williams, you bastard!" This was too much to imagine. I felt fire, holy fire on my soul. My heart was filled with the worst kind of hatred. I exploded in a fit of rage. I don't remember much, but Jim tells me that I tore up the entire second floor of the dorm before they stopped me. I busted lamps and ripped pictures off the walls. They say I screamed terrible, ugly things. I don't care. That man should not be allowed to walk the streets! We should hunt him down like a mad dog . . .
. . . Anyway, the police were in my room when I came back to reality. There was an officer on either side of me. I was hand-cuffed with my arms behind me and I was sitting on my bed.
Then the icing on my cake,
The top horror of all,
The bee in my bonnet,
The thorn in my paw,
The stick up my . . . yes, you see I noticed an officer working on something on my dresser. It looked like he was taking fingerprints. When he backed away for a moment to talk to another officer, I felt like I had been smashed in the face with a brick . . .
There on my dresser sat a huge pair of bloody pliers and the axe from Mr. Williams' classroom! I began to sob uncontrollably.
"Air tight." I yelled, suddenly laughing, "air tight case!" Laughing and crying at the same time, I looked down, and of course you know what I found . . . I found a great deal of blood on my shirt, and on my bed. I screamed, "WILLLIIAAMMSS!”
I laughed out loud, hysterically, and uncontrollably. To this day, if you want to know the truth, I don't think that helped my case one bit.
I fell to the ground, frenzied. I heard an officer call for a doctor, and he motioned with his index finger a circle around his temple, crazy. Everyone looked very nervous. I couldn't have cared less about anything right then. I was gone. The way Williams had plotted and planned . . . and framed me! The terrible loss of human life, sixteen people!
"You did it, you know." The voice again. "Face it, you killed sixteen people, and might I say, in a very rude way. Sixteen people hacked up and skinned alive and chopped like so much chopped liver. Very nice indeed. Did you know that you ate them too? Don’t you feel full this morning? We thought that would be a great addition, a feather in your cap, a trophy on your mantle. Definitely qualifies as `special circumstances' don't you think? I mean, eating them too!"
I couldn't take any more. The chorus of voices was now over a hundred strong, all laughing and carrying on.
I yelled out, "Williams, you killed and ate sixteen people? You did this just to frame me? You're all crazy!" That got everyone's attention in the room. Dead silence and all eyes fell on the detective.
"How did you know there were sixteen in all?" Detective Stevenson asked. "We have told no one the full number in these cannibal murders, in fact we have not reported all the circumstances either to the press or anyone else. How did you know these things?”
I tried to explain about the voices and how I was sure that Mr. Williams had been the one. They would not listen.
"You knew, because you are the killer!" an officer blurted out.
The detective held up her hand and stopped the over zealous policeman. She began reading me my Miranda rights, the very ones I had heard so often on T.V.
I was convicted, of course. It was the shortest deliberation for a crime of this magnitude in history. Sixteen counts of first degree murder, with special circumstance. Psychological evaluations qualified me as a sane and competent. How they managed that I will never know. That, in fact is the biggest miscarriage right there. I knew that fuck Williams had driven me completely insane. I was judged to be guilty on all counts, and received the death sentence sixteen times. I guess one would have been enough.
I know I have glossed over the trial, but there is nothing more to tell. My defense was short and to the point. A little needle nosed pencil pusher represented me.
My attorney had wanted an insanity plea. I knew I was not guilty. I should have listened to him I guess. When the whole thing was finished, Detective Stevenson and many other people had witnessed me at places that I had never even seen before. They had finger prints of me all over town. DNA evidence. There was nothing to be done. I was finished.
Two days after the trial, an old wrinkled guard shuffled into my cell and told me that I had a visitor. Can you guess? Yes, it was Mr. Williams, in the flesh. Come to gloat.
He was dressed formally, in a suit and tie. He walked into my cell, and sat on my bunk next to me. He should be so satisfied with his “experiment” this time. What a humanities work up. The psychology of cannibalism and mass hysteria. I stood up and walked to the wall opposite him. Although, I found I was no longer afraid of him. What could he really do to me now?
"They told me what you said at the trial." He whispered to me, in a voice that surprised me. I took a good look at him. He sounded strangely weaker than before. He looked sad and distant. Not what I expected from him. Strange indeed that he should show any emotion at all after what he had done. He must have been the coldest human being on the planet, and yet here he is, looking to be on the verge of tears. "They told me that you think I was responsible for your breakdown and your crimes." Oh, now he denies it. Son of a bitch.
"How did you manage to get to see me?" I asked tersely.
"I have a good friend at the governor's office--namely, the governor."
"Have you truly come to gloat now, is that it?" I asked.
"You really believe all those things? You can’t! Please tell me you don’t believe that I . . .That I did all this to you? . . . You really believe that I had something to do with all this?" He looked genuinely concerned.
"Do him, right here!"
The voice! I paused, stunned. Confusion gripped me. Killing him, nevertheless, was a good idea . . . What? What was I thinking?
"Yea! Do him while we all watch!" They all joined in to cheer me on, all the voices I had come to know.
"You are hungry! We can tell. You haven't really eaten in hours." They were right about that and the prison food was not much to look forward to.
"What?" Williams was sounding a bit nervous. “What’s going on? Who are you talking too” I like that, he’s really scared, and I could smell his fear.
"Just that I haven't had much fun while I've been here, teach." I mocked a sad frowny face. I moved a little closer.
What was I thinking? I tried but I could not stop myself.
"Just that I am veeerry, veeerrrry hungry." Who am I?
As my voice got louder, he began eyeing the cell door.
"The guard is nowhere near this cell," I said wryly. "I heard him walk away . . . far, far away. See, he smokes, poor bastard, and breeding cancer as we speak out in the recreation yard. It’s just you and me, baby. Just relax, it’s the only thing you can do. You’re the one with the governor in his pocket. Got you into death row for a little visit. Ha. That was a little chancy don’t you . . . think? Nope my friend, not very smart. Death row . . . yes my friend, but who’s . . . death? Now relax, don’t fight it."
I moved toward him very slowly. He was going to be a lot of fun, this one. I winked at him, and ran my tongue across my lips slowly.
What the hell was I doing, I did not recognize myself . . . or did I.
"Can you read my mind now?” I continued, “Can you tell what I am thinking about?" I felt, an old and strangely familiar power entering me, thrilling me.
"Who the hell are you?" Williams screamed.
“They call me the dark one. Lots of names.” I smiled, I was home.
His eyes started to fill with tears, he looked like he’d seen . . . the devil.
"What are you?" He jumped up and began to yell and pound on the bars on the door.
Pouncing time! “3rd floor lingerie, humanities”. It was as if I were having an out-of-body experience. I could see myself as if from the corner of the ceiling looking down. My God! There I was, jumping at him, like a cat. I felt like a cat! I was a cat, a human lion, a hungry human pouncing lion . . .I could imagine having claws and razor sharp teeth. I could not stop.
I threw him down to the ground and I began devouring him with my razor-sharp, cat teeth. Oh what a meal it was. I tore out his throat. The blood flowed free. All the time the voices were cheering me on, and telling me how glad they were that I was back. I barely heard them. I tried to stop myself but there was just no way. It was so damn good! Every mouthful, like my first real meal in months. I was famished. The blood, the taste! I tore some flesh from his body, piece by warm, moist, piece. Did you know that different parts of a human body have different flavors? Time was motionless.
I began to come around. Back from the frenzy. My God, what had I done? Well I knew exactly what I’d done. I had done what I had been born and bred to do. My brain was on fire. The thoughts a thousand miles a minute. Two dozen completely independent channels of ideas. It was a rootin` blast, connect the past, the dots that last, climb the mast, what a gas!
There I was lying down on top of what was left of Williams, there was blood flowing and pooling. I was drenched in it, rolling in it. I was so full I could barely move--you know how you feel after "Thanksgiving Day" supper, like you just want to sleep. Turkey always did that to me. Ha! I ate some turkey. I was satiated, physically and spiritually. I thought for a moment about poor, poor Mr. Williams. Then I looked down at my stomach, and thought about the weight I would gain if I kept stuffing myself like that. I had to cut down.
The funny thing was, I guess I had known it all along. You can’t eat people and not know what you’ve done. You know, it really is funny when you think about it. Funny, funny, funny, milk and honey, it all seems runny, in the sunny, sunny, sunny. Well, got to go, they want to fry me up now. Hey maybe I have time for a snack. The men who came to escort me were taking no chances, oh well, I’m not really hungry anyway. “This is your brain on drugs . . . this is your brain on 40,000 volts!” Not funny? Oh well. A date with a certain chair! Sparky!, oh Sparky . . . where are you! here I come.
"Yea do us . . . fry us up good!" the voices said in chorus.
So hear I sit.
No time to spit.
That's about it.
. . . and me with a 4.0 grade average.