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Horror Thriller

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling, and it was almost dark. Tommy Carpenter pushed against the door of the abandoned two-story home, the wood groaning in protest. His brother’s voice shouts to him from the depths of the woods, “Hurry up!” Nate runs with a swift stride, passing tree after tree. Tommy pressed his shoulder against the door, and pushed with all his strength, yet it would not give way. Nate collided with Tommy, the sound of wood cracking and splintering as the door came loose from the lock. Strong gusts of wind rushed in as the siblings shut the door.

The wind wails near the door and windows, but a sense of comfort is in the air. Tommy felt the strain in his arms as he grabbed hold of Nate’s heavy, thick jacket and tugged him forward. “I’ll never go on another adventure again with you.” Tommy said.

Nate pushes himself away, wipes the snow off his jacket and stubble face. “At least we got the jewel,” Nate said as he observes the dilapidated home.

“Because that psycho shot the witch.” Tommy is astonished to hear himself utter that word. “Witch. Can’t believe there was a witch. Holy shit.”

“It was probably a crackhead.”

“Then where the hell did the red mist come from?”

Nate shrugs his shoulders. “I don’t know. But we’re safe.”

“For now.” Tommy faces the fogged window, keeping watch of anybody coming. He shivers as his teeth clatters. He was still cold, despite the wool gloves, while Nate seemed unfazed by the chilly air. All Tommy can think of is going home and cover himself in a warm blanket of his bed. Regret occupies his mind as he looks through the old map he stole with his brother from their superior. He remembers the strategy Nate devised to get into the office with his janitorial background, and how the map was eventually left abandoned by the president of the university.

“Check this out.” Nate lets out a chuckle as he gestured to an old, faded portrait of a tall, skeletal figure, draped in a mysterious cloak, and staring menacingly out. “Looks like you when you wake up in the morning.”

Tommy isn’t impressed by the outdated jokes of his brother. He’s heard it all before. Nate’s always ready with a good joke, and it has become a part of their lives. Nevertheless, Tommy gives a glance that suggests he’s already tired of him. He turns back to the window, then snaps back to the portrait, realizing something strange. The slender figure’s neck was adorned with a large, sparkling red gemstone set in a chain. “Nate, that’s the witch.”

Nate tilts his head, examining the portrait further. “How do you know?”

“Look at the jewel.” Tommy approaches Nate with his hand out. “Let me see it.”

“Why?”

“Just give me the damn jewel.”

Nate mimics his brother’s attitude as he reaches into his pocket. His face turns pale, heart pounds as he realizes he has a hole in his pants. “Oh shit! I think I lost it.”

“Are you kidding me?” Tommy said as he holds his head, shocked.

Nate ruffles through his other pocket, giving a goofy smile as he takes out a lump concealed in a thin cloth. He removes the cloth revealing a blood-colored gem. Tommy snatches it from his brother’s hand and gives a closer observation. The gems glimmered and glistened, drawing their eyes into a trance. Tommy looks back at the portrait. “See?” He gestures to Nate, who looks back at the portrait to make sure.

“Now I see.” Nate takes back the jewel and shoves it back into his pocket.

“My students will never believe we found this.” Tommy said as settled into the creaking wooden chair and adjusts his curly hair and wipes off some snow off his beard.

“I can’t believe you’re still an adjunct after almost five years. Aren’t you still being paid shit?” Nate said as he leans on the wall next to the portrait.

“I like teaching.”

“It’s not worth it.”

“But being a janitor is?”

“I don’t like it, but the pay is decent.” Nate said with open arms and walks around.

“Why don’t you do something you like for less?”

“Like what, Tommy? Video games? So, we can be stuck behind rent for the fifth time? No, thanks.” Nate said in a frustrated tone. Tommy leaned back on the chair and nodded in agreement. He watched his breath materialize in the cold air, and he let out a weary sigh. Nate continues, but calmly, “Why do you think I wanted to get this jewel?”

They hear the voices of two men approaching the house. “They can’t be far,” a demanding voice said. “Check in there.”

“Shit! They’re here!” Tommy said. Nate’s eyes dart around frantically, searching for an escape route, and wondering how they would ever make it out. Tommy notices a large tabletop and quickly approaches it. He gave it a few tugs, feeling its weight with every attempt, before finally giving up and turning to Nate in frustration. “Help me, Nate!”

Nate shakes off his anxieties and gives Tommy a hand with the heavy tabletop. Each brother grabs onto to each side and drags it to the front door. “Come on.” Tommy leads the way to a set of the broken staircase, and they make their way up to the attic.

With each gust of wind, the snow seemed to become thicker and heavier, blanketing the ground. Gusts of wind battered Ed and Leo as they made their way toward the front door. Ed smashes into the door, but it stays put. “Open this,” Ed demanded. Leo approaches the door, uses his broad shoulders to slam the door, but it doesn’t budge. Enraged, he draws a pistol that was clutched in his pants, but Ed holds his burly wrists. “Whoa, what the hell are you doing?”

“Gon’ shoot the knobs off,” Leo said.

“It’s blocked by something. Shooting it ain’t gon’ help.” Suddenly, Ed coughs harshly. The red hairs at the back of his scrawny neck prickled, extending to his back. He shakes it off.

Leo looks at him, concerned. “You good, Ed?”

“That fuckin’ witch.” Ed said as he coughs harshly and spits out a chunk of bloody phlegm. Sharp pain erupts from his right arm. The pain is so unbearable, Ed takes off his jacket to observe. An oozing, infected scar sprawled across his shoulder and down to his elbow.

“Jeez, let’s get the hell out of here.”

“I want the jewel!” Ed said in a hoarse voice.

Leo releases a disgruntled puff of air. “Fuck the jewel. We gotta get you some help!”

“We made a deal. It’s the only way out of this hellhole.”

“Fuck the deal, dawg. And fuck them bastards that sent us here. This weather is gon’ crazy. We just killed some freaky bitch, and you’re coughing out blood. Shit ain’t worth it. Look at you.” Leo gestures towards Ed’s wounded arm, who then clutches his abdomen in agony. He drops to his knees, seizes, and screams.

“The fuck?” Leo said with concern as he approaches to assist.

The attic floorboards creak with rot and are missing chunks here and there. Empty bottles of potion, shards of crystals, and broken chimes are spread throughout. Tommy and Nate search around for a place to hide. “Looks like this house is the witch’s home.”

“I noticed after seeing the portrait.” Nate remarked in jest.

“I was just saying to confirm it.” Tommy said as he gazed out the one large window which faced the backyard and saw a vision of a snow-draped rooftop. He squints to see through the heavy snowfall that obscures his view. Nate opens a large closet filled with dirty old veils and cloaks. The wretched smell that filled his nose overwhelmed him, causing him to gag.

“Fuck, what died in here?” Nate said as he holds his nose. “Smells worse than the dead rats I found at the college campus.”

“I thought you should be used to it by now.” Tommy said.

“We should hide in here.” Nate said as he removes the clothes.

“What? Hell no.” Tommy said.

“Do you not play video games?”

“How does that make sense? What happens when they open the one closet that’s here?”

“Open the window. They’ll think we jumped off.”

“Listen to me, my silly little brother. It won’t work.”

Nate looks around, grabs a broken broomstick. “Then we’ll fight.”

“Yeah, we’re dead.”

Suddenly, a volley of gunfire erupts from outside. Tommy and Nate swiftly duck and cower on the floor as the gunshots abruptly come to a halt. Tommy and Nate exchange glances. Their eyes wander around. “Did… did it stop?” Nate wondered.

“I don’t know,” Tommy whispered. “But I don’t want to check.”

BAM! The window shatters, with glass fragments showering the brothers. The wind is much louder. Tommy and Nate slowly look up, only to notice Leo’s decapitated head.

“Holy shit!” Nate screams out.

Suddenly, a dark figure quickly slithers across the shattered window.

“What the hell was that?!” Tommy wondered as he and his brother stare out the window. After a moment, frozen in fear, the brothers sprint away from the floor and head to the stairs. As they jump down each cracked step, the front door flings open, sending the shelf crashing out of sight.

Advancing menacingly, an imposing figure, standing tall and bulky with dark fur and bulging yellow slit eyes that seemed to pierce the darkness. Blood drools out of its canine jaw. It strides in carrying a headless body by the belt, then hurls it across the room, dropping a gun.

Nate yelped, but Tommy quickly clamped his hand over his brother’s mouth to muffle the sound. Slowly, they walk backwards into the attic, hiding in the darkness away from the werewolf. Tommy let’s go of Nate, who instantly panics. Tommy clasps Nate’s mouth again and holds up a finger to his mouth.

This is the very first time they feel their lives on the line, aside from the witch they encountered. However, the witch didn’t seem threatening. It was acting similar to a crackhead in the ghettos of Brooklyn. Dancing in place, making animal noises as if trying to call for a mate. Nate can’t get rid of the image of Leo shooting the witch in the stomach after noticing the red mist surrounding her. As Tommy took the jewel, the red mist evaporated, and the brothers sprinted away.

But now, never once have they thought they’d encounter a beast of this size or nature. A freak of nature that seemed unreal at first glance. The menacing footsteps only make things more frightening for the brothers as they come up with a way to escape. Tommy considered jumping out the window, but Nate remembered the feeling of being trapped on a malfunctioning Ferris wheel so high up he feared heights ever since.

Tommy insists jumping out of the window is the best way to go if they want to get out alive. Nate remembers seeing a gun fall off the dead body and decides he should take it.

As an English teacher that Tommy is, Nate’s lack of horror logic annoys him. “Of all the books I teach, I have yet to see a werewolf die from anything other than silver. What are the chances of a silver bullet to be in the magazine clip, let alone in the chamber?” Tommy said.

“What kind of bullshit is that?” Nate whispered as Tommy gripped his hand and quietly crept to the window. They stop as soon as they feel the floorboards creek. The broken floorings provide them with a visual of the werewolf below. They see it approach the dead body, sniff, and lick the blood off the neck. Nate saw the slash in its arm and realized the werewolf was human. “Holy shit, it’s Ed.” Nate whispered.

“What are you talking about?” Tommy whispered back.

“The werewolf is the guy that shot the witch!” A loud thud echoed through the room as the jewel drops from Nate’s pants hitting the floorboard.

The werewolf springs up, letting out a growl as its eyes narrow in on the brothers. Fearful, the brothers have no other options. Tommy clutches Nate tightly, who desperately tries to stay still, pleading not to be thrown out the window. But Tommy insists as the werewolf crawls its way up the steps.

“Maybe we can negotiate with it.” Nate said as he quickly picks up the jewel.

“With a werewolf?!” Tommy spoke as the werewolf makes its way to the attic, drooling while it looked menacingly at the brothers. “Sorry, Nate.” Without hesitation, Tommy tosses his brother out the window. As he briefly screams, he lands on the roof of the backyard. Nate feels the stiffness in his back as he looks up at the sky and watches the snowflakes fall. He looks up to see Tommy, squatting on the edge of the windowsill and ready to jump, his body tense. The werewolf swings its claws but misses Tommy. He slips and falls over. Nate quickly turns to the side, but his brother falls on his legs, snapping his right knee. He lies on his back, whimpering in pain, his hands gripping the throbbing knee. “Fuck!” Tommy cries out.

Nate struggled to move, his back aching, as he reached out to his brother, unsure how to help. He looks around, thinking he can find something of use, but there’s nothing. “Shit, Tommy.” Nate said. “Hold on to me.”

Tommy wraps his arm around Nate and tries to lift him up, but his knee pops, sending a sharp pain through his body and Nate’s back gives out. Suddenly, a howl from the roof. The werewolf stands tall and jumps down to the roof, standing above the brothers. The jewel hanging on the edge of the roof, rolls and creating a faint thud as it landed in the snow below. The werewolf’s ears pricked up in curiosity as it hopped down to inspect the jewel.

A ghostly white hand appears to snatch the jewel away, leaving the werewolf staring in disbelief. His feet felt heavy as he drags them backward, eyes drooping. The pale witch stands with a bloody white veil, but her skin appears unscathed, as if it had healed itself. She easily cracks open the jewel, and a soft, red mist creates a haze in the air. It reaches for the werewolf, causing it to howl in agony. It cringes, letting out a muffled cry as it held its head and clutches its stomach in pain. It drops to its knees and coughs out blood. It transformed back to its original state. A naked Ed, scarred all over and dead in the snow.

The brothers witness the horror with eyes wide open. The red mist reaches up to the brothers, but they quickly attempt to avoid it. They stayed close together as the mist brings a refreshing chill to their skin and healing their wounds. They feel much warmer and full of energy. Startled by the unexpected turn of events, they look at each other in amazement and feel their bodies, now free of injury. They look down and find the witch gone. Nate notices the jewel pieces remain. “Let’s grab it and get the hell out of here.”

“You know, this time I actually agree with you.” The brothers climb down, grab each piece. Tommy quickly snatched the second piece from Nate, who watched him with a perplexed expression. Tommy shoves the two jewel pieces in his jacket and zips it up. “Fix that hole in your pocket.”

Nate stares narrow eyed. “Fine.” He said. The brothers trudged through the snowy forest, the wind pushing against them and the snow stinging their faces.

“Summer can’t come soon enough.” Tommy grumbled.

March 18, 2023 03:37

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2 comments

Basil McCulloch
03:28 Mar 23, 2023

This story reminded me of Uncharted.... Awesome use of present tense! It made the story much more engaging and easier to picture Nate and Tommy in my mind. Sometimes the grammar is a bit off, but aside from that, it was a great treasure story that had me longing for more! Thanks!

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Mark El-Ayat
04:05 Mar 23, 2023

Thank you so much for the feedback! It definitely has some inspiration from Uncharted and other sources like the 1999 film, The Mummy, the 1981 film, An American Werewolf in London, and Bava's 1960 classic, Black Sunday (title inspiration). I was hoping the description was enough to picture the characters. I did my best to avoid my screenwriting habits of describing the character first hand as we are introduced to them. Regarding grammar, I hope it didn't throw you off too much. I'm used to writing past tense but found a new love for prese...

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