A Short Horror Story
The old warehouse off route 66 was nothing more than a dust collector, and had been nothing but that for many years. But Ryan, a new resident to Crystal Lane, a suburban housing estate just behind the warehouse, was more than curious. As a thirteen year old, his nosey attitude needed no explanation or justification. He was at that age where everything fascinated him, and anything provoked a series of questions. The 'why, why, why' routine, frowned upon by his parents. His light hair and blue eyes only got him so far before the inquisitiveness became irritating. He'd seen the huge building from his bedroom window the night he moved into his new home. Sat among a blue themed bedroom with toys and books scattered in boxes from the moving truck, he had seen the grey building. It called out to him like a sea siren. He often read a lot of mystery books, which his parents encouraged. To get a kid to read, in this day and age with all the advances in technology, was a miracle. So any book he wanted, they bought without hesitation. But what they didn't know, was that even though all this reading was educating him, it was producing an urge inside him. An urge to be his own detective, his own explorer. He wanted to scavenge every inch of the warehouse for unknown treasure. He wasn't patient at the best of times, but by the second day all he could think of was that grey construction not too far from his new house. He tried to read, unpack, play with toys, watch movies, but nothing could distract from his desires. So that night, he would head out in his winter coat and rucksack, and probe to his heart's content.
He'd waited until his parents were asleep. Until darkness would act as his cloak. Until he'd packed plenty of snacks, torches, and a camera for his expedition. He snook down the stairs, squeezed out the back door, hopped over the fence, and waded through the field leading to the warehouse. Soon enough he was just before it, metal walls, large doors, and a huge empty car parking space. Broken brick, dirt and other waste littered the floor as he tried to avoid it. No windows could be seen, so he was glad he'd brought torches. But with a second glance he saw one window, smashed in, just above a huge waste bin. Not wanting to dilly-dally with time looking for another more convenient entrance, he jumped up on the dumpster. Ryan was grateful for his thick gloves, jeans, and coat, for they not only provided padding if he fell, but stopped him from touching the odd looking grunge tainting almost every surface. As he pulled himself up he instantly smelt an odour even stranger than that of the crud decorating the place. It reminded him of children's clay he used to build sculptures with. Ryan was pleasantly surprised to see that through the window, he could see a huge space with sky high shelving units. At first he was baffled at how he was able to see everything, then his common sense told him of the windows on the ceiling: skylights. He could already see boxes and items plotted on the shelves. Papers and folders practically carpeted the floor, along with safety signs wallpapering the interior. Eager, and high on adrenaline, he carefully climbed through the broken pane, avoiding sharp edges.
Luckily the windowsill was huge on the inside, so he was able to stand for a few seconds and plan his descent. Ryan used his experience gained from watching action movies and stepped off the sill and immediately tucked and rolled to prevent bodily damage. His backpack provided ample cushioning as he performed a forwards roll. As he dusted himself off he looked down the aisle directly in front of him. He predicted a lot of climbing as the higher shelves held some weird objects that appealed to him. If Ryan was more of a daredevil and less of a smart and savoy wannabe-investigator, he'd jump from shelf to shelf. But the mere thought of jumping across the shelves near the top made his head go warm and fuzzy. The silence in the space was both unnerving and enjoyable. Although he was an only child, he rarely got chance to enjoy that miraculous quality called quiet. At school noise was practically a fixture in every room, gossip and giggles were more common than chalkboards. Then at home his parents would be on the phone, discussing business, paying bills or generally making a ruckus. All in all, Ryan took his moments of silence as gifts and enjoyed them greatly. But getting back to his ambitions, he retrieved a flash light from his bag and began scowering the place. The torch light exposed more gunk than he'd originally seen. The structures didn't look as strong either. Climbing was now a question of courage, and just how badly he wanted to investigate the upper levels just below the skylight. He slowly meandered down the aisle shining the ray on each and every item he could see. But after five minutes of inspecting he was beginning to lose hope of finding anything remotely interesting.
There was nothing but empty boxes, grime, rusting iron frames, rotting wood, and the paper his feet crunched on with each little step. The paper at his feet didn't even offer any intrigue; nothing but invoices, newspapers and envelopes.Ryan was becoming disappointed, when something thudded to the ground at the back of the building. His heart thundered. Without question or a seconds pause, he shot his torch to the area the sound had come from. He couldn't be sure, but Ryan could have sworn that there was a box there, that wasn't there earlier. For starters, the box looked fairly new. Even from afar he could tell there was no moisture damage, torn edges, or general ruin. Instilled with positivity he paced towards the box, being aware that it came from above so he'd have to watch his step and remain alert to any more flying objects bowing down to gravity. He came to the box and crouched before it, using his flash light to examine the contents. What he found both excited and disturbed him. A collection of books were stuffed inside, along with some occult items. The bindings were huge and sooty, and the small objects were statues of demons, candles, metal pendants, and a mortar and pestle. Witchcraft. He thought. He rubbed his light blonde hair and delved deeper into the box of black magic. The publications were, as predicted, spell books. How to summon demons, the devil, death, possession, black arts, voodoo and witchery.
There were some seriously freaky books in the box. Ryan pulled out his camera and snapped a few shots of everything. After which, he stuffed a couple of books into his bag, along with the metal pendants. He knew they were evil, but he also knew they would make awesome necklaces. But they would furthermore act as souvenirs from his expedition to add to his already impressive collection of findings. He zipped up his bag and was toying with the idea of leaving. The occult paraphernalia was more than he could have hoped for, why risk getting hurt searching for more? But as much as he tried, he couldn't switch off the voice that told him to travel up to the top of the shelving unit and find where the box came from. Logic would dictate there would be more cool items from where it fell, if the warehouse had any organizational skills at all before it closed down. But that also begged the question, what kind of warehouse was this? He weighed his choices up, mosey on home with what he had and come back tomorrow, or quickly take a look up on the top platform for more hidden supernatural gems.Given his wandering and prying demeanor, he decided to continue his journey upwards. There was a ladder at the back of all the units, which he delicately moved up. There was minimal creaking, which gave him hope that the ladder could at least hold his weight. After all, he was only a child. Ryan bypassed level after level of more boxes, papers, and abused wood. The metal frame was holding up much better than the wood. The higher he got, the worse the wooden beams looked. So when he reached the top, he made sure to test the strength of the level with his foot before he eased both feet onto it. But after a couple of pushes, Ryan was confident it would hold. But soon the questionable structure was the least of his concerns when he found, scattered in a small circle, more objects of dark magic.
There was an explosion of more books, some of which were open. Combined with more odd items, bowls, mirrors, glass vials of liquids and powders, and there between it all, a black wooden chest.Ryan smiled without realising it. He imagined tonnes of valuable items he could sell on, some of which he would keep though, for sentimental reasons. Wasting no time, he again brought out his camera and shot more photos. Flash, flash, flash, went the light. Until he had enough images and flung it into his backpack and made for the chest. Ryan was practically salivating at the thought of what was held inside. Ryan's detective-wannabe complex thriving. His hands were beating, lungs hammering, all in anticipation. Using both hands, with the torch shoved in his mouth like a dog with a bone, he clicked open the top part.But before the torch showed the insides, a vile stench hit him hard. It may as well have been a physical article hurling him in the face as he turned away and fought the urge to toss his cookies. He pulled the torch from his mouth and breathed slowly, calming himself and settling his visceral yearning to throw up, or more specifically, down.
The rancidness made him all of a sudden warm. He flapped at his coat and blew down it for some relief. A spiking hotness seemed to travel from his chest to his neck, and spread down his back. Beads of sweat were already making an appearance, both on his spine, and forehead. In hatred of just how inquisitive he was, Ryan still needed to determine the cause of the smell. Most smart individuals would run like a steam train, but not him. So he nipped his nose and snapped his mouth shut to allow only a tiny flow of oxygen, then turned back to face the chest. He reluctantly floated the torch above the contents and could no longer contain his need to vomit. It came like a volcano erupting, hot bile splashing on the wood, licking the objects of the devil and books of Satan worship. Dribbles crept through the gaps in the beams and travelled to the ground below. He could hear the sludgy noise of vomit hit the floor of papers and flick up onto nearby surfaces. The thought of vomit splattering below wasn't helping. But the sight of what the chest beheld was more than his barely-teen body could handle. Ryan couldn't be sure, as he'd never seen one live, let alone several, but it looked like a collection of human hearts. They could be animal, but he had an awful feeling they were human.
The picture clung in his psyche like a corpse hanging from a noose. Hearts squashed together, marinated in a pool of blood, and strange carvings on each organ. The marks reminded Ryan of Egyptian times, and the hyroglifics used on tombs and pyramid walls. Now there was no question, he wanted out. He backed up from the chest, and crawled to the ladders, only to see somebody was already on their way up.
But if his vision was accurate, this wasn't just anyone, this was an inhuman being. The hands had nails that stretched for at least ten inches, and curled at the spiky tips. The hair was long, but bushy and blacker than death. But what scared Ryan the most, was the green flesh. He retreated and hid behind a mountain of books on the corner of the platform. Bang, bang, bang, went the stairs as this thing ascended them. He looked through a gap in the bindings that were acting as his shelter, to safely identify who or what it was. The head came into sight first, horse-like, scraggly hair, as he'd seen only seconds earlier. But the face was enough to make him scream involuntarily, but fortunately he maintained control of his vocals. It was female, and her face was not only green, but haggard and wrinkled, with a large, pointed nose and red beads for eyes. Rat eyes. That brought back a memory for Ryan, and an unpleasant one at that. His uncle had a fondness for all God's creatures, even the ones people often feared, such as spiders, snakes, sharks etc. But somehow Uncle Rob convinced Ryan to play with a bunch of Ferrets. He really didn't want to, but his Uncle was insistent. The white fur was fine, but it was the squeaking noise, sharp teeth and painfully bright red, evil eyes that gave him room for doubt.
After only two minutes, the animals had begun to bite at his feet. They were hungry, and decided Ryan's infantile feet were the only food in sight. He cried and shouted, but Uncle Rob kept telling his nephew to 'grow some balls'. In the end, Ryan had climbed out of the fenced area, feet bleeding and numb. His parents had been furious and forbid Rob from ever seeing his nephew again, which Ryan was grateful for. That memory did not help settle his ever-growing nervousness now, watching some demonic woman crawl up a set of ladders. He progressed from nervous to terrified when the monster noticed the chest had been opened and Antichrist knick-knacks tampered with, and released a low grumbling hiss. A demonic feline was his first thought. He wanted to run away from this female beast, who he noticed was naked. She resembled a green reptile, the feet were webbed, and a tail sprouted out the bottom of her back. Ryan watched in horror as this lizard-looking thing took a heart from the chest and closed it shut. No sooner than her food container was closed, did she begin eating the muscle. Her stalagmite-looking teeth shredded it apart, blood dripped from it as she methodically sucked the blood and then chewed a section of it. Ryan clamped his eyes down, yet again battling with his digestive system, and its need to regurgitate the stomach's contents. He breathed slowly and quietly, counting from one to ten in his head, a trick learnt from a movie about a child who suffered from anxiety. But by the time he reached ten Ryan was not calm and relaxed, he was more terrified as that moment of silence gave his mind time to conclude the realness of his situation. He wasn't in a dream world, or in hell, this was real. This time he'd stumbled upon a....witch. A witch. Everything made sense to him, the spell books, devilish totems and sculptures. This was a pure witch. This wasn't the kind that wore hats and used brooms, the being in front of Ryan was an undiluted witch, not sugar-coated for Halloween, or children's benefits, to make them appear less scary. This one was full witch, no question. Ryan opened his eyes looking down at his hands, and the turned-off torch in one of them. His gaze progressed further, off the edge, to observe just how high he was, just how far he'd climbed. An aeroplane window worthy view. That was enough to make him want to wretch again, so he quickly turned his eyes back to the gap in the pile of books, to see the witch was looking through the gap straight at him, only a few inches from his face.
Her cherry eyes blinked, then more of her teeth were shown as she grinned. She lifted her right hand and waved. Her nails danced as her fingers wriggled like a litter of snakes.“Hello my dear,” she squealed.Ryan jerked backwards and slammed both palms to his ears as her voice was too high, such a towering pitch it hurt his ears. As they rang, he realised his torch had fell from the platform and was tumbling to the ground. A second later it clattered, echoing throughout the space. Her Tongue slithered out her mouth and through the gap at Ryan, he instinctively pulled back, not taking into consideration the tremendous fall should he flinch. But it was too late for that now, as he dropped.The air rushing by his ears and insides rolling, he rapidly approached the concrete floor, preparing for a painful slam, for his entire skeleton to shatter. But to his amazement, it was the concrete that fractured at his impact. The bag broke most his fall, but the items in his back had scratched and scraped his flesh. Ryan's shoulder was throbbing as he flipped over and began to stand groggily. As he did so he saw that the patch he'd landed on wasn't concrete at all, but more wood. Rotten wood.
A couple of boards had fallen through into what looked like a basement level. He peered over and saw a whole herd of those ivy-fleshed witches, all reaching up at Ryan, tongues stretching, eyes wide and nails swiping inches from his face. This time he did scream, and ran. He threw his bag into the pit of witches and hauled ass down the aisle and to the broken window. After a fast run he arrived at the window breathless and discombobulated, and was ploughed with a realisation. How was he to reach it? There was no dumpster on this side of the window. Just as this dawned on him, the voice of the witch stroked the back of Ryan's head.“I like to eat little boys,” she rasped.Ryan didn't know what else to do, so he yelled as loud as his lungs would allow.“MUM, DAD!”“They can't help you my sweet.....” she moaned as if aroused.Ryan turned, drawing on the tiny shred of bravery he had. “Leave me alone,” he ordered with a wavering tone.“Naughty boy,” she waved her index finger like a scorning parent.“Leave me alone...... or else!” even Ryan wasn't convincing himself with his tone, let alone the stronger, scarier form of evil approaching him. It was then he saw it wasn't just one, but several.
A group of lime-skinned female demons were tiptoeing towards Ryan. Each had their hands together as if holding a crystal ball. Or imitating a wasp rubbing its forelegs together. “Time for supper,” they all whispered synchronously. That's when everything went black. The light from the moon was no more, and the subtle glow from street lights in the distance, vanished. And all he could see was their red eyes, blinking at him, closing distance by the second.
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