Horror Suspense

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

 Claire grabbed the last chilled Rolling Rock out of the side of the fridge. She snooped around the spacious kitchen, moving away from the rowdy voices from the living room area. Claire placed the cold bottle on the pristine marble counter and gazed at the fancy chandeliers with dangling accents. Her curiosity held her hand and led her into a wide Victorian-styled hallway. Each carving was intricate and complementary to the surrounding ornate details. The oak was smooth to the touch and maintained a glossy appearance under the inviting balmy lights. Claire found herself in a wine cellar the size of her bedroom back in upstate New York. Each labeled bottle was slotted into its personal cubby. Claire proceeded in and examined some of the bottles with her eyes. The Vosne-Romanée sitting pretty garnered her attention and hands. She clutched the bottle firmly like a fragile lost artifact. The weight of it felt comforting, reassuring in her grasp.

A timid cough followed by the words, “You got lost” made her flinch. She turned around and Tommy Crews was smiling ear to ear in the doorway.

“I didn’t even hear you, I-I-I’m sorry for wandering” Claire muttered.

“No no no you're fine, I’m not much of a wine drinker, this cellar is for guests or my mom. She loves a good savory wine.” He chuckled.

“We are about to start the game, just wanted to let you know.”

“ Sure, let me put this down before my clumsy self drops it,” She awkwardly laughed. Claire placed the wine back and followed behind Tommy. She found herself admiring his broad shoulders and wide back, which spread out like the wings of an adult eagle. He had the body of an action figure. This wasn’t the same chubby kid with oily long blonde hair, that reeked of cat litter from High School. This wasn’t the same kid who could barely produce a sentence without a stutter. This wasn’t the same kid who asked her to be his Valentine in the stands of a varsity football game. He was dreamy. Claire grabbed her bottle of beer off the counter, followed Tommy through the kitchen, and walked through the hall of Renaissance paintings into the spacious living room. Upon entry were more people from high school sitting tipsy giggling and sharing stories from the “glory days”. 

“I was just telling John, we can’t believe how successful you've become Tommy,” said Janet. 

“Who knew little ole Tommy would be one of the biggest names in the Tech industry.” she continued. 

“Little?” laughed Luke. Janet gave John a ‘knock it off' look’.

“I’m just fucking with you pal, we all are proud of how far you come. Shit you look better than me, I look like a blob now. I’m not as bad as half-body Oscar over there,” John snickered as his face turned into a tomato.

“Shall we start?” Tommy said.

Everyone looked around the room and nodded in agreeance.  

“Hey Oscar, don’t be a stranger,” Tommy urged. He walked over to Oscar and pushed his wheelchair closer to the lengthy mahogany couch occupied by Janet and John. Claire took a seat on the couch near Janet. Tommy handed out wine glasses to the guests. 

“I want you guys to taste test this wine for me,” Tommy insisted.

He grabbed an uncorked wine bottle off the English Chestnut-stained table and poured it into each glass. 

“Oh my…this smells really good, but excuse me, sir… where is your glass?” Janet questioned as she swirled the swig amount in her glass. 

“I don’t drink,” Tommy responded while lifting the narrow mouth of the bottle from inside Oscar's glass. He backed away and stood near the crackling fireplace.

“I don’t even know where to begin, I want to thank all of you for coming. I know you're wondering why the geek of Woodland High invited you guys. Well, you guys honestly changed my life for the better. The chubby kid back then needed all of the tough love he could get. Once again I want to thank you guys, I hope your stay so far has been warming. Drink up, everyone.”

John, Janet, and Oscar brought the glasses to their mouths. 

“What’s wrong Claire?” Tommy said.

“I’m not really a wine drinker. I’m good with this beer.” She replied. 

“No worries…alright let’s get this game going.” Tommy smiled.

“It’s kind of chilly in here isn’t it?”

“Yeah just a bit, a fireplace can only do so much for a room this ginormous” Janet giggled.

“Watch this,” Tommy said.

Tommy grabbed a black remote out of his navy blue dress pants pocket and pressed a button. The sound of metal sliding and clanks made the guest look around. Long metal sheets replaced the windows and doors. 

“Now the heat will be contained” Tommy said.

“That’s pretty neat…now what if someone needs to use the bathroom,” Oscar called out.

“Don’t worry this game won’t take too long,” Tommy said while staring into Claire’s anxious eyes.

“The game is called Simon Says.”

“Simon Says?” John questioned.

“Like elementary school, Simon Says” Janet snickered.

“Simon Says standup!” Tommy ordered.

John and Janet stood up. The sound of squeaky wheels made Claire swiftly turn to her right. Wheelchair-bound Oscar was standing. His weak and thin legs wobbled under the pressure of his unproportioned upper body.

“Oh my god, I can’t move!” Janet shrieked.

Tears trickled down Oscar's face, “How am I standing?”

John couldn’t believe his eyes. “Tommy what the hell is going on.”

“You guys are going to be a part of history. Oscar the football star of high school that shoved my face into a urinal, John, the jokester of the class that made me the butt of every joke. Janet… you laughed in my face when I asked Claire to be my Valentine. Thank you Claire for turning me down that day. Thank you all.”

“Guys lets leave…RIGHT NOW!” Claire cried. 

“I don’t think anyone is leaving anytime soon. You're pretty smart for not taking the drink Claire. You lied about not being a big wine drinker, your socials say otherwise. However, your buddies here aren’t so smart. Accepting unsealed drinks from people you haven't seen in forever is not so smart. At the bottom of each glass, I placed a nano neurotransmitter. That small spec grants me access to any host. That little particle you guys gulped down searches for the brain of the host on entry. This is a game changer for warfare or even society in general. I appreciate you guys for sacrificing yourselves for science.”

Claire fumbled for her phone in her handbag, she pulled out her black iPhone and tapped the lit screen three times. 

“Tommy stop! I have 911 dialed”

“Simon says take Claire’s phone,” demanded Tommy. Janet reached over and snatched Claire’s iPhone out of her hand. 

“I can’t control my body Claire!” Janet shrieked. 

“Simon Says get on the floor and crawl towards the fireplace.” 

Claire watched in horror as her three High School friends crawled along the velvet carpet.

“Please Tommy…stop” Claire pleaded.

“It's just a game,” he smiled.

“If this is about High School we are sorry Tommy,” Oscar yelped.

“Simon Says stop crawling…Simon Says John keep crawling” 

“W-w-wait No!” John yelled.

The heat from the fireplace pressed against John's face, and beads of sweat formed along his brow. 

“I’m sorry Tommy, please stop!” John pleaded while inching closer.

John's right arm reached into the pit of flames and landed on a burning log, immediately he bawled in agony. The left arm was next, followed by his head. The sound of searing clothes and skin couldn’t overpower his screams for help. In a blink, the upper half of his body was swallowed by the flames, his screams started to power down like an overheated PC. The aroma of burned flesh engulfed the room and aided the panic. 

Janet and Oscar whimpered with their faces still planted into the velvet carpet. 

Claire ran towards a window covered in a metallic sheet and tried to pry the small gap between the window and the sheet. A few nails broke in the process.

“You're not going anywhere Claire, I need your assistance. You can be a part of something revolutionary, something that will change the tides of science and tech. Clearly my device can use some work, I need to find a way to block off the pain receptors. Poor John felt every flame melt his flesh away. All three of you will help me for the next six months. I need you guys.”

“You're sick!” Claire yelled.

“No Claire…the human race is sick.”

April 16, 2024 23:00

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Trudy Jas
16:27 Apr 18, 2024

Revenge of the nerd. Another well told story. Horrible to contemplate and I sometimes wonder where your brain goes, but as long as you write it down, and don't act on your thoughts .... :-)


Jahson Clarke
19:16 Apr 18, 2024

Thanks Trudy, this was inspired after watching the movie "Ready or Not". Except I wanted to think of an original twist. So yeah, these are never original thoughts lol.


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Alexis Araneta
04:35 Apr 18, 2024

Hey, Jahson. To be honest, I don't know what to make of this story. As a story, it's very much technically good. The flow of it was really smooth. Great use of description. As someone who was heavily bullied throughout secondary school by almost everyone in my year (as well as been made fun of behind my back by some teachers), there's this patina of disappointment in my heart at Tommy's actions. I told myself throughout that experience that I will endeavour to never make anyone feel the way I did and instead vowed to be kind to people -the s...


Jahson Clarke
19:10 Apr 18, 2024

Appreciate the kind words and sorry that you had to go through that. I'm glad you took the positive route, the world could use more people like yourself.


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Unknown User
16:38 Apr 17, 2024

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