Eternal Incineration

Everything I once had is gone. It wasn’t a lone thief who’d snuck in during the middle of a single night to clean me out. It was instead a series of small burglaries, committed by an efficient team over more years than I recall. Their robberies began when I was just a boy and when, like most children suffering from few friends and social isolation, I spent most of my time alone — hidden away in my room, surrounded by the few possessions that made life bearable. I didn’t realize it then, but it was this solitary life that offered the opportunity for the shadows to begin slipping into the world of walls that I’d built…

————

When I awoke this morning, my sheets were wet with sweat. It may have been due to the nightmares that had returned with renewed fervor, or maybe it was only my body signaling the return of the heat. The mercury in the thermometer was rapidly approaching the 90-degree mark; and it was only 9:00 am.

Outside, the Sun burned through a cloudless, blue sky. A single step onto the porch allowed the Michigan heat to wrap its humid fingers around my throat, squeezing the breath back into my lungs. Down the block, amid joyful screams and shouts much too raucous for early morning, a group of overheated kids cooled off in the gallons of water that gushed into the street from an open hydrant. Their shrieks turned urgent as a sad-eyed, pony-tailed lookout alerted her comrades to the approaching police cruiser. As the children scattered, I stepped back inside to begin what looked to be a long, hot and profitable day.

————

Even as a child I knew the shadows that haunted my nights were the manifestation of something very bad. They gained access to my room by flattening themselves as thin as pieces of paper and sliding silently beneath the door. As I cowered in my bed, with my sheets bundled tightly under my chin, I watched their darkness stream across my threshold. Once inside, they’d pick themselves up off the floor, some of them growing so tall that their jagged heads bounced off the ceiling. Then they’d creep slowly around the walls, slipping into the corners of my room where they’d wait, sitting quietly until my body was forced to accept the sleep that my will denied it. All the while, the shadows flashed gashes revealing stained teeth, and their yellow eyes glowed at me from the dark… 

————

The years haven’t been kind to Detroit. The loss of jobs, home foreclosures and increased suicides as savings accounts vanished have made life hard and finances tight for those left behind in this dying city — myself included. While I rarely credit my painful experience growing up on the farm for much of anything, I do attribute that life to my enduring work ethic and the reliance on self that’s led to my having survived in the city all these years.

While I work hard when I have the work to do, my job itself is seasonal. As such, it’s important I take advantage of the warm months when fresh food is more plentiful and less expensive. Falling back on farm tradition, I still spend much of my time preparing foods to carry me through and earn extra money during this off-season, when I’ll sell some of the canned preserves, cured meats and pickled sundries I store in my pantry. It’s curious, but the demand for life’s basics never seems to dry up in the city.

————

Thinking back, I remember so many nights spent lying in bed in the farmhouse, the fear paralyzing my body, as I stared out at the monsters through squinted eyes. With my heart beating so fast I thought it would jump from my chest, I’d sometimes work up the nerve and risk a peek at the shadows that now shared my room. I’d look on as they tore themselves from the darkness, only to have some of them crawl onto my bed and stick sharp fingers in my ears or rub greasy palms across my skin, all while their slithering tongues dribbled hot spittle into my face. Others would go to work searching my room. They’d rifle through my belongings, snatching from me whatever they chose to make their own…

————

I can’t really complain about the work I do. Growing up without much of an education, I’m become quite satisfied with my how life has turned out. I’m my own boss. I control my destiny. I’m able to provide for myself well enough; and I still find the time  to help so many.

While not very social, it’s rare that I get the chance to discuss my humanitarian passions with others. But when I do, people are rarely impressed. Nobody much cares about the needy anymore. So, when the topic is raised, I’ve learned to just say I work in heating and cooling. This keeps the pain of conversation short.

————

It wasn’t until sometime during my teenage years that I allowed my intruders to know I was aware of their break-ins. That’s when all Hell broke loose. Once the shadows realized I knew they were there, they began pilfering at an alarming rate. I suppose after so many years of my acceptance it was only logical their thefts would become more purposeful. And, unfortunately, I didn’t realize the extent of the damage being done…

————

Beyond the obvious wrinkles on my face, not a whole lot has changed in my life. I still spend most of my time alone, giving me plenty of time to think. I don’t much enjoy looking backwards. There are too many memories I’d rather forget. But I learned long ago that such is the way with life. It often has its own plans for us.

During spring and summer, I drive seven days a week, sometimes for up to 12 hours a day, and with only thoughts and music for company. The truck is old and the tunes play through bad speakers, often repeating the same few songs in what seems an endless loop. While not everyone’s cup of tea, my music has become the soundtrack for my repetitive life; and it does help drown out the many voices from the past that scream inside my head.

————

I realized several years ago that I had advanced well beyond any normal state of self-denial, choosing to believe I’d simply misplaced the things that, in reality, the shadows had stolen from me. With each incident of their private looting, I became more willing to overlook the evil taking place, choosing instead to leave them to their thievery in peace…

————

My best customers live among the idyllic, tree-lined avenues in places far outside the city. The streets here flow with enthusiasm as the residents embrace the hope that money and possessions instill. It’s in these bedroom communities where the financially fit make their lives meaningful, choosing to seclude themselves behind groomed hedgerows and manicured lawns where the darkest of life’s shadows often hide unseen.

I sometimes feel like a modern-day Pied Piper, stealing them away from the false pleasantries of pool parties, baseball games, family picnics and lives spent replacing nighttime fears with the daytime horrors of video games. They chase me down with sweat-soaked dollars gripped in eager fists and clamor at my window while the music explains how ‘Weasels’ sometimes go ‘Pop.’ Their voices bark orders, but instead I hear a cacophony of pain crying out for something they don’t realize exists. Sadly, my inventory of fudge bars, frozen treats and waffle cones offer only a momentary chill from the fires I know burn within them. But always among every group of smiling faces seeking sweet salvation from the ice cream man, there’s at least one child whose eyes melt from the heat of the same sadness I know all too well.

————

I suppose if I’d been a more capable person, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to be consumed by the shadows that have waged war on my world. Because of them I now live in a place of secrets filled with sorrow, lies and the searing  pain they’ve brought. I no longer care that the darkness inside me has free reign. After all, it was I who allowed the shadows entrance in the first place. And it was I who let them rip me apart, slowly chewing me into pieces over the years, permitting them to ultimately take everything from me and leave only fire in their wake…

————

With the children long gone, their fires temporarily extinguished, I pull away from the curb as ‘It’s a Small World’ blares from the loudspeaker. Glancing into my rear view mirror, a pair of sad, fearful eyes stare back at me. The delicate gaze of the brown-eyed boy who’s wedged himself between the coolers in the back of the truck may fool some; but he doesn’t fool me. I’m all too familiar with the shadows that visit him as he lies paralyzed in his comfortable bed at night. I know how he yearns to be free of their thievery. And oh how he wants to beg me to extinguish the pain that burns inside him; but the bandana tied around his mouth doesn’t permit it.

Even through the mirror, I can see the dark faces of the demons reflected in his tear-filled eyes. The monsters don’t yet know it, but they’ll soon be evicted from their new home. Won’t they be surprised when I pluck his eyes from his skull and secret them away with the others inside the pickling jars that line the shelves of my pantry. I smell the flesh on his bones. It’s laced with fear, making it by far the best cut of meat for curing. And most importantly, the innocent little heart beating in his chest needs protection from the evil that seeks to steal it from him. It’s this delicacy that I’ll remove with utmost precision and all the tenderness that such an important possession demands. It’ll be stored away safely inside my airtight freezer, where its virtue will be forever preserved from the shadows that seek to cook it on a spit over the flames of Hell.

It is I, alone, who must save these innocents from the demons that intend to steal their souls, leaving them hollowed out and eternally incinerated on the inside. I just can’t allow the shadows to turn another child into the monster like the one they made out of me.

~ Daemonwulf

© Copyright 2012 DaemonwulfTM. All Rights Reserved.

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About Daemonwulf

Daemonwulf is a puzzle. And like most wulves of his type, remains quite elusive. Although, he has been leaving pieces of himself scattered around the Internet like so many broken bones and discarded remains for several years. Recently, we've heard he's found a more permanent home for his WulvesDen at his website daemonwulf.com, where you can venture deeper into his psyche, getting an up-close and probably-too-personal glimpse into his sick and twisted mind. A strong stomach is recommended. While news is sketchy, it's been reported that Daemonwulf's alter ego is a horror writer and supernatural aficionado who, when not collecting the souls of innocents in his wulven incarnation, can be found slaving away during the daytime hours at a creative agency located somewhere on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan. Alleged to be struggling on the edge of insanity, claims are that he's trying his utmost to wrestle under control his pervasive thoughts of evil dread, morbid curiosity, seething anger, daemonic visions and general disgust with his condition. And, if his writing is any indication, this very well may be the case.

36 responses to “Eternal Incineration”

  1. matthewseanmclachlan says :

    Absolutely enjoyed this tale. I wondered where it [the story] was going, and like any reader/writer could tell you, its that “wondering” that keeps you “wandering” through the story till the bitter end. I have my personal qualms of “where” the story goes, but I feel the level of craftsmanship this short-story is at, I even know my feelings are more based on opinion, because your crafting is solid. Great work!

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Hey Matthew. First, I’d like to thank you very much for your comments on this piece; they are greatly appreciated. Second, I have to admit that it disturbed even me to realize where the story ‘went’ when it actually got to where it was going. While I enjoy conjuring up hellish worlds with fictional monsters, I often find it more disturbing, personally, to investigate the horrors that are actual around us every day. Again, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your thoughts.

      Like

      • matthewseanmclachlan says :

        Awesomeness! It was truly great to hear back about your process on this piece. That for you there was an element of discovery as you realized the story’s disturbing-all-too-real-dead-end. I too am an advocate of such processes and It def reads with that “writer’s honesty” that resonates with such potency.

        Like

  2. Adriana Noir says :

    I knew it was going to be a home run! As Matthew said above, this story is perfectly crafted. I really enjoyed how it flashed back between past memories and the present. What a spine-tingling tale, filled with unspeakable horror! The shadows are frightening enough but when combined with the all to real terror of the economy and the true monsters that roam this earth…well, it’s a hair-raising experience! Congratulations, Wulven One and thank you for sharing another amazing story.

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Thank you Adriana for your detailed thoughts and complimentary words. I’m glad to have been able to tingle your spine with this piece without, perhaps, turning your stomach too much. And I am truly honored that you find it ‘amazing.’ That means a great deal to me. – The Demented Mind Behind the Daemonwulf Curtain *grin*

      Like

  3. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    Incredible piece Daemonwulf, all the way around. Well conceived, excellently executed, and charged with just the right amount of emotion to both intrigue and horrify the reader at the same time. I absolutely love this story!

    Like

  4. Tyr Kieran says :

    What can I say that hasn’t been justly said already?
    Excellent piece, Wulf! The clues were laid by an expert hand and the horror was just right. Chilling tale, my friend. You, as all the Damned, are a tough act to follow! Thanks for sharing this memorable story!

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Thank you Tyr for your comments. Happy to know you were able to pick up on some of the clues dropped along the way. Looking forward to your next ‘act’ of ‘insanity’ as it comes our way… *wicked grin*

      Like

  5. Sharon Lawson says :

    I was really looking forward to your next piece, and I have to say that I am blown away. The juxtaposition of the tension in the flashbacks and the calm of the present day passages worked to steadily build the dread to an unexpected climax. Very well done.

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Why thank you Sharon for looking forward to my Pen of the Damned pieces. I’m happy that I’ve had enough of an effect to keep readers like yourself sufficiently entertained and coming back for more. And, even more important, I appreciate your thoughtful compliments and also for taking the time to share them. I know there is a great deal of blog overload and I truly appreciate when readers choose to share their feelings. This means more to me than you know. *immensely-appreciative smile*

      Like

  6. A Window Into The Dark says :

    Daemonwulf, what have you done here? I read this sorry with gathering pace, speed-reading mostly because I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out where this was all leading and how it all tied together. You left me breathless. The brilliant way you described the shadows, how they stick sharp fingers in his ears or rub their greasy palms on his skin left tingling shivers down my spine. The way you flashed backwards and forwards in time, describing what he became left me actually saddened because I would have liked to believe he turned out OK. Yet the dark side of me wasn’t disappointed and I should have known you wouldn’t.
    Incredible piece Sir, absolutely loved it. And I shall now throw my pen away as I fear I shall never be able to compete!

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Wow, Ms. Davis… The words I come up with can not begin to explain how I appreciate your comments or, really, a review, of this piece. I am so glad to hear about the experiences you had while reading this piece. I like to believe that I try to create a sense of pace and some amount of tension to cause you, the reader, to sprint to the finish, but it’s only with kind comments such as yours that I know I am able to succeed. I thank you immensely, and only hope that I can continue to keep your heart racing and your darkness quotient high. – The Man Behind the Daemonwulf Curtain

      Like

  7. blazemcrob says :

    Quite a story my friend! Blaze loves this. Long before I knew the ending, however, I was rooting for the Shadows. Excellent imagery.Back story added in not all at once but a little here and a little there is the way to go. Ya done well! By the way: shadows like ice cream and will be back to get some. Watch out!

    Blaze

    Like

  8. legendsofgreenisle says :

    Well I must say that your mind works in the most horrid of ways. 🙂

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      *evil chuckle* Well, I suppose you are right. And I’ll take that as a positive. *appreciative smile* But, on a serious note, sometimes how my mind works often disturbs even me… No matter the vileness that comes from who-knows-where within my twisted psyche, as long as I can continue to keep you horrified, I will be happy. 🙂 Again, thanks much for taking the time to read my work and share your thoughts with me. *honestly-appreciated face*

      Like

  9. blazemcrob says :

    Reblogged this on blazemcrob and commented:
    This is a true, twisty tale of horror. You know you need a terror fix!

    Like

  10. Joseph Pinto says :

    My Wulven brother, simply a superb story! You took a painful, all too real vein from the world in which we live and made it your own. The calm nature in which your character narrates this tale is utterly chilling; sadly, but effectively, it reminds us all that the true monster is more often within than without. ‘Eternal Incineration’ is top rate through and through, and I’m very proud to have it appear here on Pen of the Damned.

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Thank you Joe. No kinder words have ever been said by the Weaver of Tales (who, BTW, is generally full of kind words… *toothy grin*). Yes, while I do so enjoy exploring the supernatural as genesis of horror, it seems to be a sad statement on the human condition that the most nefarious of deeds come from somewhere within the twisted human psyche. As always, I appreciate your support, your thoughts and your encouraging words; and I am, as always, proud to be a member of your Damnation Tribe. *humble smile*

      Like

  11. A Window Into The Dark says :

    Reblogged this on A Window Into The Dark and commented:
    I am honoured to be able to feature this on A Window Into The Dark. I am a huge admirer of DaemonWulf’s work and after much nagging for a feature from him, I am reblogging this as the first piece on my new blog. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

    Like

  12. Hunter Shea says :

    Wonderful narrative. Taught, creepy and twisted. I absolutely love the ‘voice’ of the tale.

    Like

  13. ariescottrell says :

    I am once again disturbed. These disturbances are such that I have little alternative other than to return again, and again to the pages of Daemonwulf. There is a calm serene tone to the writing that fits the characters acceptance of his dark lot perfectly. This may be what makes the story “feel” unnerving to me. An excellent write, glad I found you on Twitter!

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Aries. You make me laugh. *grin* And, even more important, it’s good to know that you keep coming back for more. Thank you for your kind words and I look forward to the next time when the demented thoughts that spew from my mind can disturb you once again. 🙂

      Like

  14. Anonymous says :

    Your dark story has really spooked me. I grew up in Michigan, too, and was generally a loner at school after a series of bleak happenstances. That is, my father died of cancer when I was 8 yrs old, and my mother committed suicide when I was 13. After that I was sent to live with my grandmother and a demented uncle, and we lived in a Dickensian sort of way. I never had money for clothes, shoes, anything at all until I started doing odd jobs as I got older, and taught myself to sew on an old treadle machine. I was scared shitless at night by dark shadows though, I was sleeping in the same bedroom I’d shared with my now dead mother and her clothing still hung in the closet. I’d see dark shadows on the walls and fear would grip the very core of me; I’d lie as still as a rock, afraid to even breathe. But here our stories diverge. I finished college, married, moved to the East Coast and live with a couple of beautiful golden retrievers. I’ve pilloried the dark shadows, and it was only your story that reminded me of them once again with an almost acrid taste. Well-done, such a creative and well-crafted short story, I loved it. And I hope your dark shadows & demons bow to your desires, whatever they may be, light or dark.

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Wow. Sorry to hear that you had to deal with so much at such a young age. However, I believe that the many awful things that happen in our lives make some of us more prepared for adulthood. Sometimes the most horrifying tales are those that are real. Thank you much for your kind words. And, rest assured, I do all I can to make my demons bow to my desires. For the most part they comply. *toothy grin*

      Like

  15. arkarum says :

    Fantastic writing! While I kind of had a feeling where the story was headed, the subtlety with which it got there was deeply stirring!

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Why thank you Sir Arkarum. Your kind comments are greatly appreciated. *gracious bow in a westerly direction* I see you’ve been busy here in the Land of the Damned. *toothy grin* I hope you keep coming back and offering up your comments on both my sick and twisted mania as well as that of the rest of The Damned.

      Like

  16. Copious Corpses says :

    Absolutely enthralled with Eternal Incineration! The whole way through I was completely captivated. The two narratives slowly coming together, being forged as they did, to a fine sharp point that pierces when we see the pair of sad fearful eyes. I was compelled to share this immediately I enjoyed it so thoroughly. You are making me work harder at what I love to do. Thank you again!

    Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Thank you again. You mentioned previously how, when you complete a story you’ve written, you ask yourself ‘Where did that come from?’ This piece was one of those for me. I’m glad to know you enjoyed this as much as I emjoyed writing it. And thanks much for sharing your thoughts. *appreciative smile*

      Like

  17. alexzandrastgrimm says :

    Absolutely a great story! Copious Corpses referred me to your page, and I couldn’t be happier he did. Love this kind of twisted horror. Looking forward to reading me, thanks for the great read. Definitely gained another fan.

    Like

    • alexzandrastgrimm says :

      Looking forward to reading more*** Damnable typo demon.

      Like

    • Daemonwulf says :

      Hey Alexzanda. Thank you for your comments. I’m glad the twisted thoughts in my mind have found a new home in you. *sneaky smile* But, seriously, I do very much appreciate your taking the time read my story and, more importantly, to share your thoughts. And I thank you for becoming a supporter. Hope I can keep your stomach tied in knots. *grin*

      Like

  18. Christopher Shawbell says :

    Reblogged this on The Graveyard of My Mind and commented:
    Daemonwulf, supernatural lupine master of horror. This piece is a genius diabolical tale with an ending to leave Cthulhu himself passing on dinner.

    Like

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