{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

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

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Alex Beyman would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Lifelike

By Alex Beyman All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Horror

Lifelike

Childhood memories have a sort of dreamlike quality to them. You could be forgiven for fudging the details a little bit because who really knows what happened? Then there’s repressed memories.

Big fad in the 80s. Supposed recovery of repressed memories of ritual Satanic abuse. All of which turned out to be fabricated. With the smallest suggestion, in that state the mind fills in the blanks with whatever it pleases. Sometimes, whatever it fears.

I’m not an expert in any of this. It’s just what I tell myself so I can go on with my life. I had some unfortunate formative experiences that until recently I doubted were real. It is still the easiest option to conclude they never happened. My life stays simple that way. The alternative opens up a can of worms I would’ve left shut, if I’d had the choice.

I remember the cabin on the island. Vacation home my father helped his mother build when he was thirteen. The land was passed down through the generations, originally costing mere pennies. The cabin didn’t get built until the mid 1970s though.

This was real wilderness. A treat for young me to explore. I was sternly reminded time after time to stay close to the cabin. Bears were after all numerous out here, as were wolves and other assorted animals. Nobody warned me about the 'little ones' though.

Childhood is also the time when you have the most difficulty separating fantasy and reality. When I was younger still, I had imaginary friends who were absolutely real to me. My fantasies engulfed my perception so completely that when I encountered them for the first time, I wasn’t even surprised.

They vary in size but none were smaller than my pinky and none larger than my middle finger. Two arms, two legs but shriveled little faces which looked neither human nor animal. Emaciated, and blackened everywhere as if burnt.

They complained of a hunger that food could not satisfy. Looking feeble as they did I felt sorry for them and eagerly listened to their pleas. I was to bring them any sharp things I could find which were small enough for their use. So I did.

Dad complained of the missing scissors. “Shit seems to grow legs in this place” he grumbled. Mom noticed her sewing needles were gone and questioned me. I feigned ignorance. All for my little friends.

When I began to find the mice, shrews and squirrels out in the woods, I had second thoughts. All were pinned to the ground with the sewing needles the way you’d mount a butterfly in a collection case, or the way you’d restrain a frog during dissection.

They were cut open groin to neck. All of the insides were missing. I could see footprints of dried blood leading away but they faded after very few steps. It was enough to realize what I’d done. I dearly loved little animals, so the thought that I’d indirectly brought them to harm was troubling.

They came to me that night. I lay in my bed, lights off, scanning the corners of the ceiling for bogeymen. Then came the tapping at the window. I did not react. Scraping followed. They’d brought tools.

I relented and opened the window a crack, then dashed back to bed and pulled the covers over my head. When I felt brave enough to peer out, they stood lined up at the foot of my bed. I asked what they wanted. They answered directly inside my head as if steering my thoughts.

“We fled our home. Narrow escape, can never go back. But the laws differ here. Our bodies do not work and are breaking down. Many have perished already. Our medicine is advanced. We can build new bodies suited to this place, but we need parts.”

I wanted to shout or scream at them. But I was afraid. They wanted understanding, but I couldn’t oblige. I was complicit in something I went into blindly and now wanted out of. They wouldn’t allow it.

Dad came home with one of the animal carcasses the next day. I heard him talking in hushed tones with mom about it.“Hunters? Demented teenagers? Never seen anything like this.” I continued to act as though I knew nothing.

Mother made a trip to town later and along with groceries and other supplies, she brought me a trio of cute little teddy bears. They were about six inches high with swivel joints in the limbs so you could pose them. I told her I loved the gift and gave her a big hug.

Chores went smoothly. And kept my mind off of things. That and a heavy dinner knocked me out. Once in bed I thought I’d drift off quickly, until I noticed the bears had moved. It wasn’t something my mother was likely to do.

For one thing, they had stitches up the front of their bodies. For another they now had small fingers and held needles. Here and there small blotches of dried blood stained the fabric. I lay frozen in place, beads of sweat forming.

So slowly that at first I wondered if it was really happening, their heads turned to face me. I pulled the covers over my head. My eyes teared up. When I peeked out, they were no longer on the shelf. I was afraid to check the floor.

I took shelter again. But minutes passed and my curiosity got the better of me. When I peeked again they still were not on the shelf. I gingerly got out of bed, turned on the lights and searched the room. Only a faint trail of blood drops remained, leading to the window.

Sagging grades and social difficulties after we returned home led my parents to send me to a child psychologist. I made as much small talk as I could but he eventually wrung the whole story out of me. Had a thousand and one ideas for what could have “actually happened”.

I did learn alot from him. Like how to pretend to be normal so as not to alarm anyone. Thoughts of my little friends still returned now and then. I drew sketches, a mistake in retrospect. When my parents found them we had a big fight about how I needed to grow out of it, how it was all to get attention.

They didn’t feel like shelling out more money for therapy. Dad’s idea was to take another trip to the cabin. I’d declined the past two years. He figured an uneventful Summer trip to the place where I thought all of it occurred would finally put the matter to rest.

We passed a lot of cop cars as we got close. The radio was broken, Dad’s view was that there wasn’t anything on there worth listening to, classic Dad reasoning to cheap out of having it fixed or replaced. Too bad. We might’ve had some warning.

Maybe they knew I was coming. Maybe our timing was just lousy. We drove through town to find the streets empty. Homes were boarded up. Businesses were closed. Except the department store. We needed supplies to restock the cabin, so despite the fact that it looked deserted, we headed in.

The aisles were as empty as the streets. Many lights were either altogether broken or flickered on and off sporadically. I noticed a newspaper on the floor with a headline reading “Back woods murders continue, organ removal deemed ritualistic by police chief.”

The cart loaded up with food, we swung by the clothing section for new swimsuits. I almost apologized for running into someone before I realized it was a mannequin. There were about a dozen of them modeling various garments. Made me wish the lights worked in this department.

I should’ve looked a little closer. Wouldn’t have taken long. After all there’s no good reason why a mannequin should be stitched shut. When we looked up, they were all around us.

Dad laughed, figuring it was a prank. “Alright, come out. Good one, didn’t even see you move ‘em.” They chose this point to begin moving themselves.

I don't recall exactly what happened next. The shrink they make me talk to says I repressed it. The reports say that cops found me curled up next to the bodies of my parents, both of whom had been disemboweled. Understandably I was the prime suspect, but got off with an insanity plea when I told my side of it in court.

I've "got it made" in here according to the orderly who brings my meals. Three hots and a cot is better than what most people in the world get. The bars on the windows bothered me at first. But I figure, if I can't get out, they can't get in. Besides, this institution is supposedly one of the nicer ones. Lots of stuff to keep us occupied.

I spend a lot of time in the music room, although they also have an indoor racketball court, swimming pool and "comfort room". That's for when we're feeling overwhelmed. They bring us blankets, hug pillows and therapy dogs we can pet and talk to. They've even got dolls now.


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

Laraine Smith: Your story is both sweet and beautiful! You are a true artist! Keep up the great work! I also love the picture that you chose for your book! :)

Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...

SPepper: I had a hard time putting this book down even to go to sleep. The story is compelling and beautifully character driven. I hope author will make this a series.

Erin Crowley: The concept here is really strong, but the execution is definitely lacking. Tenses, grammar, etc are all off, with at least one or more errors per 'Page' on my phone. The writing style is almost broken- sentences move into each other awkwardly, and are filled with an excess of "filler words", lik...

Laraine Smith: You are a true artist! You should do this for a living! I love the imagery here! It is magical! You are magical!

Jade Niday: This book kept me interested and wanting more. I fell in love with the characters and the plot. This book never has a dull moment. It has action, suspense and even love. Can't wait to find out what happens next

ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...

daneliacapote116: This was one of my favorites! When you start reading you want to continue I can't wait for the rest of the novel!! The characters where awesome! Everything was great. I encourage you to read this novel, your going to love it it and want to read it more and more !!

Mourn8220House: When first reading "Avarice," I thought it would be another fairytale but I was taken back the author's approach and choice of ending. There is little to be said for the story and overall plot besides the sudden twists and speculation, other than that I do not want to ruin a fantastic tale, you m...

More Recommendations

Ayesha Shaikh: I love the twists. 😆I like how the writer describes everyone's point of view and the character development. I'm gonna read all the books by this author (current and upcoming). She's one of my favorites now. The spelling mistakes are normal no big deal, the amazing plot makes up for it. Thank you ...

JWalker: I loved this story from start to finish! It flows at a really nice pace and the story world feels so real. The fight sequences are a treat especially when Isanfyre is training to become a warrior. I found the names really cool and thankfully easy to pronounce. Personally I have always struggled w...

maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...

Olivia N J Hamel: I want this book. I love it so much. It is so enjoyable to read and to have a copy of this always, I would be very happy, to always be able to come back and look at it again.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.