Horror Contemporary Suspense

Being drenched on a warm, summer afternoon is bad enough, but being soaked to the bones on a frigid winter evening is downright repugnant. It had happened on my way home from work at the law-enforcement building when a rude dark-haired child hidden in the bare bushes had sprayed me for no good reason. 

“Hey!” I exclaimed, but the child vanished into thin air. In the place where I last saw him was a piece of tangy yellow-tattered paper, with the letters LC etched into it. A symbol that vaguely resembled a skeleton peering into a telescope was printed onto the left corner of the note. 

Now, staring at the piece of tattered paper under the warm orange glow of the stand light next to my couch, I had a vague feeling that I had seen the symbol somewhere before. I just couldn’t place my finger on it…

“What is happening to you, Norman Alpha?” Nova Alpha, my wife, demanded as she set the mug of hot chocolate and the chocolate cake on the oak table. “Why have you been staring at that yellow piece of paper–which looks quite unsanitary and disgusting, by the way–for the past three hours like it contains the secrets of the universe?”

“I’m just thinking,” I replied, and I absentmindedly took a large gulp of the scalding liquid.

“ICK!” I shrieked as my tongue burned. Globules of hot chocolate dribbled all over the piece of paper while steam hissed from my gaping mouth. 

“Careful,” Nova Alpha sighed, and headed to her bedroom to retire for the night. “Perhaps it will do you good to look closer.”

As I picked up a professionally sterilised towel to wipe up the mess I had created, I noticed that a single drop of hot chocolate had been absorbed into the paper. The tangy yellow was transitioning into a caramel shade of brown, and the LC marking soon vanished. However, the symbol with a skeleton peering into a telescope was morphed ever so slightly such that, rather than a skeleton, it was I who peered into the telescope. And painted inside of the lens of the telescope was a depiction of three different spheres, orbiting one another.


“What an odd story,” I commented as I put down the Friday Fickle edition of this week. I knew that the Friday Fickle was a volatile newspaper at best, yet I had never thought that the editors at the Friday Fickle could come up with a piece of text as absurd as a man called Norman Alpha finding a piece of tangy yellow paper with the letters LC etched onto it, with a symbol of him peering into a telescope with three different spheres orbiting each other. 

I glanced outside of the window. I was currently zipping past the furthest reaches of the countryside of Ashford, and behind the Eurostar, in the hazy distance, I could make out the sprawling city of London. 

“Are you excited, Norman Beta?” my wife, Nova Beta, asked with an expression more fitting for a person suffering from a biting case of indigestion than someone offering comfort. 

“Excited to go live in France to give up everything I called my old life in London?” I retorted. “Nova Beta, you expect too many things from me. I loved being a law enforcement agent in London.”

“They raised the rent there to skyrocketing levels,” Nova Beta reminded me gently. “It’s not sustainable for us to live there anymore.”

“No kidding,” I muttered, “given that the roof of our house caved in the middle of a thunderstorm last night while we were busy packing up.” 

Both of our clothes were still mostly wet, despite it being nearly eight hours since the roof caved in. 

“Perhaps it’s for the best,” Nova Beta suggested, and she resumed reading her novel titled Levitating Cars by Laura Class. 

“Ouch!” I shrieked as blood gushed out of the newly-formed paper cut. 

“Careful,” Nova Beta sighed, handing me a tissue paper. “Look closer at your surroundings.”

As I dabbed the maroon blood, though, I noticed that the drops of blood that spilt out upon the table had spontaneously formed the letters LC


“And that concludes our performance for today!” the announcer, a tall woman named Lora Coral, exclaimed jubilantly. “Thank you all for visiting the London Theatre tonight!”

The audience members all grumbled about refunds, myself included, as we exited the crowded building. 

“Why did we waste seventy dollars on that rubbish-like play about the Eurostar and the drenched man, again?” I demanded my glowering wife, Nova Gamma. 

“Beats me,” Nova Gamma retorted. “Don’t blame me for this, Norman Gamma. I wasn’t the one who told you to book two tickets for the play Loser Central. Who wants to watch a two-hour-long play about a guy on board the Eurostar reading a newspaper?!”

“GAH!” I shrieked as I slipped on a slippery stretch of ice and ended up sprawled on my back. 

“Look closer at where you’re going,” Nova Gamma chided as she helped me back to my feet. “What is that?”

“That was me sprawled up on my back after I didn’t look carefully enough at where I was going,” I snapped tartly. “What, you got a problem with that?”

“No,” she replied with tangible fear in her voice. “Look, Norman Gamma!”

I glanced ahead, and I nearly slipped onto my back again. For, glittering in the air, were the golden letters LC

“What is that?” I hissed as the letters descended in front of us. 

The letters were each the size of an African elephant, and they burned brighter than the Sun seen from Earth. A crowd was gathering around us as the letters froze in front of me. 

“What is that?” the crowd whispered. 

All eyes darted toward me. 

“How would I know?” I demanded. “What even is LC?!”

I prodded the hovering letters with a tentative finger. Rather than feeling solid, though, my finger slipped inside. 

“Help!” I yelped as the letters engulfed my whole arm, then my whole torso. 

The other side of the hovering letters was a meandering bridge, extending out into the horizon. I looked back in the direction of the city I had left, yet all I found was a gold-coloured brick wall. 

I embarked upon the bridge, heading towards whatever greeted me next. 


What I was not expecting to find at the end of the bridge was an office with an ancient typewriter and a wooden desk. The words Look Closer were scrawled everywhere on the desk.

“So,” a nasal voice sniped, “you broke through the fourth wall.”

A figure stepped in front of me, with an oddly familiar appearance. 

“Perhaps the similarity will be more visible if you look at yourself through a mirror,” the figure suggested, placing a mirror that materialised out of thin air into my trembling palms. 

I gazed into the mirror. Then I gazed back at the figure standing less than a metre in front of me. It couldn’t be…

“I am you, Norman Gamma. Or, more precisely, a version of you.” The figure grinned. 

“Where am I?” I whimpered. “Send me back home!”

“I control all that happens throughout the everpresent multiverse, for I am Norman Omega. I have been pulling the strings behind everything that had befallen you and our other versions up until now.”

“Send me back home,” I repeated. 

“It is time that I transfer you into a new storyline, Norman Gamma,” Norman Omega continued. 

However, as Norman Omega turned towards his typewriter, he pricked his finger against a sharp key. Blood trickled out of his thumb as he gasped in pain. 

“Careful!” a voice cautioned that made both Norman Omega and me freeze in our tracks.

The office morphed into a rustic farm, with Norman Omega standing in front of a medieval-style barn and I was standing inside one of the stalls. 

The eerily familiar horse smiled frigidly at Norman Omega. “You ought to look closely at your surroundings.”

Norman Omega’s face turned a shade of grey as the letters LC burned into the side of the barnyard…

February 19, 2023 14:25

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Kendra Lindholm
01:25 Feb 26, 2023

I like the Norman Alpha-Omega nomenclature. After the first story departure I was hooked, but you naturally added so many layers. Nice use of prompt!


Kang Lee
11:05 Feb 26, 2023

Glad you liked it!


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