Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

Free copy left
You can read our best books
AdamLSchultz would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Don't Call it a Gift

By AdamLSchultz All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Horror

Don't Call it a Gift

It’s a random thing, always random. Had I the power to choose, I would. I do not and it frightens me. Were I able to choose, were I able to control just one simple aspect of my daily afflictions, oh the things I could learn. The things I could do, accomplish. Accomplish goals, achieve great, tremendous things. I a sponge, knowledge my water. Soaking up, day after day. Maybe three of them, out of what must be hundreds, were that way. The rest?

Sewer water.

Bubbling up from my bathtub’s drain. Brown and murky, its stinging, stinking hodgepodge of ammonia and methane proving a potent interloper amongst the musky soaps and shampoos. Toilet refusing to flush. Call the plumbers tomorrow. Before or after an affliction? After. Business always after. Always. For today, let the bathroom smell. They’re almost here. A tiny pitter-patter of cloth wings (up, down, up, down, up, down) rising to what I know will be a maddening crescendo, magnified and multiplied a thousand times. From a gentle fwah, fwah, fwah all the way to a helicopter-like FWAP, FWAP, FWAP. Louder, louder. No noise though, besides the wings. Always the wings. Nothing else. It is always silent, save the wings.


From a point no human eye can see (not even mine, curse it) comes forth the throng of moths, their silky, powdery appendages going up, then down. Up, then down. Tufts of cloth billow around them, a dust cloud too light to choke, to dense to ignore. fwah, fwah, fwah. FWAP, FWAP, FWAP. All come to see me. Only me. Always me. Day in, day out. Always. Don’t call this a gift.

“Calling all souls,” I murmur. I have to. Can’t stop myself. It’s more than habit. Ritual, nearly, blasphemous as this affliction is.

I always look. Always. No one but me. A tiny studio apartment, furnished to a man’s lack of necessity. No end tables, no coffee tables, no bookshelves. A couch, a trunk, a fourteen hundred dollar TV on its sixty dollar stand. Bare kitchen, no personality save a few scraps of pizza left over from the night before. Even barer fridge. No magnets. Not brimming with contents but lacking them. Freezer’s chock full though. Go ahead, have a pot pie. Maybe some ramen noodles from the pantry. I have four flavors. Coffee and cereal for a sit down breakfast. Everything else is always out, away, like I want to be.

It always lands on my fridge. Always.

This one’s old.

Not aged, no. Just from a longer ago than most. Sometimes these are the most interesting ones. Sometimes they’re downright boring. They may or may not know how to speak my language. I can never tell.

“What bring ye forth?” Ritual. Tradition. Commonplace. Every. Damn. Day. Why even speak in such a way? Tradition?

A twinkle of the eye. It knows it doesn’t belong in solid form. Dangerous. It looks itself over.

Always cream colored. Not shining, but internally lit by something, some force, projecting it here. This one is tall, haggard, bruised and beaten. Swelling, ringed neck suggests a hanged man. Dangerous.

Clothes billowy, ill-fitting, mark of a starved and desperate man. On the run?

“Ye hanged?” I ask.

Slow nod. Eyes growing darker, less human.

“By whom?”

A shrug. As if it matters. I hear this not, yet its impression is powerful.

The light from the ceiling once bright and fake, dims as it becomes fully aware of its newfound density. It tentatively reaches for a knife left boldly, lazily on a cutting board; an attempt at culinary art that failed.

“Be still,” I command, inching toward the affliction. “Be still, I mean to harm ye not. Give me the same kindness if it pleases.”

“Nothing… pleases.”

“At last,” I murmur. Greetings to you, cold, raspy Death.

This was always a crap shoot. Always

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, AdamLSchultz
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Caitlin E. Jones: There is something genuinely sweet, child-like, and heartfelt about stories where books comes to life. For me, at the least, since one of my favorite books- "Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke, uses the concept lavishly. This piece brought back those same warm feelings, with its loyalty to the fairytale...

Kastril Nomenclature: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...

Kastril Nomenclature: What a fascinating work: a photo that seems to reveal a strange figure in the window of an old hotel leads to a mystery about a missing page of Queen Victoria's diary! This is a mystery in the best sense, with small clues leading to bigger ones, all of them building one upon the other to the quie...

M.L. Bull: Hello, Aalia!Your story compelled the emotional pain and struggle of a teenage girl very well.. The imagery was also convincing and well-written, showing the different personalities of your characters and their actions. However, I do think that many of your sentences are too lengthy and could use...

Shelley Miller: The ideas and the set up and this are amazing! The feel of the story goes from science fiction to horror to suspense all in a big, thrilling ball. I really like your character so far and her powers and the idea of the ark being a person. The world is intense and gritty and clever as well. While a...

mjtelesca: The plot keeps the reader interested, and you want to help the main characters in their conflicts. A very interesting ending that makes the reader think and talk about it. Minor punctuation and grammatical mistakes but does not impede the overall story. Any fan of action/adventure will enjoy t...

Kiz16: After a truly shocking start to the story, I found the style and content slowed down as the author introduced a varied group of characters who I thought were fleshed out very well. After a slow couple of chapters, I found this story difficult to leave with the tension growing within the house. Yo...

Bradley Darewood: I really really really liked this. I just voted for you!The voice is flawless-- I can't write men as well as you do and I have a penis. Maybe I'm narcissistic but I particularly enjoyed the moment where he muses about how artists would do better in such a solitary job. But my favorite moment ...

Alex Rushmer: I like the intrigue that you introduce from the very beginning of the story. The idea of the girl waking up in the alley with no memory of how she got there and with injuries is very interesting. It was very well done. There were a lot of grammatical errors that need to be fixed though. I think t...

More Recommendations

Caitlin E. Jones: Such a riveting short story, full to the brim with folklore and horrors! The rich details used to make up Doolin were as well-placed as they were written, right down to the disturbing presence of magical creatures. The lives of the humans are used to great effect, giving us short glimpses of thei...

Diane April: Really liked the concept of this story. The beginning had a great explanation about how things worked in the real world that people tend to overlook. It was a nice change from the usual zombie story that just makes things up as they go along and actual facts don't matter.

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."