The Steps Of Fear

My feet: the damn things are cold again. Jesus, they’re frigid! Where was I tonight? What did I do? I feel dirt between my toes: clumps of something, half liquid, half congealed, beneath my finger-nails; and my clothing is shredded, not affording any perceptible function. I might as well be naked. The couch: yes, I remember now; I fell asleep here. Shit! My sleep already sucks; the sofa doesn’t help.I’m a somnambulist  and have been for as long as I can recollect. Fancy name. Yeah, I know. Sleepwalker is what everyone calls me except that little prick of a shrink. The high-nosed, tweed-wearing, pompous jerk thinks he has all the answers. The idiot knows nothing. I’ve been seeing him for years, lining his fancy-pants with my long green. I still sleepwalk, though. Every night.  Somnam man that I am irks my sweet, loving wife. One more thing for her to nag about. She told me to see Mr. Tweed, or she would leave. Stupid me: I should have helped her pack.I get up and go to the john, stopping to look in the mirror before I attend to business.

Damn, Harry, you’re a fucking mess! There is blood all over you. Your clothing, face, hands, and feet are covered in the stuff. Remember, man! You gotta remember!

In a flash, I run to the patio door, following the bloody tracks my feet left. The trail of blood extends across the cement, vanishing at the start of the lawn.

Settle down, Harry. Maybe it‘s nothing. Could be some dead animal you found on the lawn, a poor creature trying to find a place to escape from its torturer. That’s it. Something like that. You merely tried to help it.

A search of the yard does not show any animals. Nothing that sports a coat of fur anyway. In the corner, the one next to the crab-apple tree, is where a dark form lies. The light is bad, but I can sense something is there. I am in no hurry to see what it is, yet I must.

The damned tweed suit of his, covered in blood, not at all in the prissy, almost effeminate way he wears it, but a crumpled mess, surrounds his lifeless body. His head, off to a rather obscene angle, greets me.

Now what? Did I find him like this? Did I kill him? I don’t remember.

For a while, I merely stand and gaze down at him, trying to force memories from out of my brain. Zilch. Nothing at all comes to me. I walk back inside the house.

I sit on the couch and put my head in my hands, staring down at the carpet. What the . . .

A syringe sits on the rug, almost under the sofa and out of sight but enough for me to see. I pick it up and see it is empty. He must have injected me with this, but why? Why was he here?

My head swirls, thoughts caught in a vortex of uncertainty. Nothing rams through into any order of reason. Conflicting paradoxes flit everywhere, changing what might have been to things which cannot possibly be and yet . . .

Reasoning is here, within my house, yard, and mind. Pieces of a puzzle to be put together, analyzed, and remembrance made. If I killed my doctor antagonist, there must have been good reason, especially for me to do it in a state of somnambulism where merely walking about after waking from slow-wave sleep should not push me over the edge of sanity.

I remove my shredded clothes and toss them into the trash. Slipping upstairs naked, I look in on my wife, peacefully sleeping, before I go in to shower. Ah, the power of hot water running all over my body, shoving the blood down the drain, is so comforting. Even as I allow it to wash over me, a relaxed, tired feeling embraces me.

After toweling off, I walk into my bedroom and slide into bed, my nakedness feeling good against the flannel sheets. My wife moves up against me, almost purring. Instinctively, I react but stop.

Something’s wrong, Harry. She hasn’t wanted you for a while; she has been as cold as cold can be. And she’s naked. She never sleeps in the nude. Even when making love, she has always worn something. But she’s naked now. Shit . . . shit, the air is heavy with the scent of her juices.

I glide my hand around and, not surprisingly, find the sheets to be very moist.

Lie back, Harry. You’re tired. You need to sleep. Everything will be better when you wake.

The voice makes sense and I give in to sleep.

Still dark when my eyes open, I once again feel the dampness of the blood and the dirt wedged between my toes. I am alone in my bed, so refreshingly solitary. It is over.

Not bothering to dress, I walk downstairs and retrace my steps from earlier. Her naked body lies across his, her head wearing that same twisted look her lover has.

I smile and go back inside. Two showers in one night. One must be clean.

~ Blaze McRob

© Copyright 2012 Blaze McRob. All Rights Reserved.

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About blazemcrob

Horror writer Blaze McRob Blaze McRob, writer of over seventy legacy published horror novels. I was a ghostwriter long before anyone had an idea we were lurking about. Through my adventures in the craft, I-or my author alter egos-have won virtually every award to be won. But awards mean little, don't they? It is the reader we wish to enthrall, and our souls to purge. So now it is time for Blaze to write as Blaze, and time for previous recipients of my tales to write more of their own material. In addition to my dark novels, I write horror shorts, flash fiction, and poetry. Ah, the sweet rhymes of iambic pentameter intermixed with glorious free-style. I am single and have eight children, my youngest only three years old. They are my life and the reason I fight the demons and the pain. blazemcrob.com

22 responses to “The Steps Of Fear”

  1. zkullis says :

    Blaze, I really enjoyed reading this. Something about the bloody release from Harry’s tormentors, a calm yet sure retrubution, reminded me of another great story. I couldn’t help be think of “The Cask of Amontillado” by Poe. I felt a link between Harry’s wife and the Amontillado.

    It was a great story. Descriptive where it needed to be, painting the picture clearly, and foggy enough in places to mimick Harry’s experience while giving our imagination room to color the details.

    Good stuff!

    Like

    • blazemcrob says :

      Thank you very much for your kind statements, zkullis. I love to share my stories with my readers in such a manner that they become a part of the telling. Too much description takes them out of that.

      The mention about my idol, the great Poe, is much appreciated.

      Blaze

      Like

  2. Tyr Kieran says :

    Great story, Blaze! You cast the right amount of haze over the details. And I love Harry’s smug justice and the end. Nicely done!

    Like

  3. Joseph Pinto says :

    Narrated in such a sane, calm manner, but of course the story – and your character – is anything but!

    Sometimes a great little horror tale doesn’t need any specific “tag;” it just is what it is. And this story is ruthlessly effective, engaging & downright creepy. great job, Blaze!!!

    Like

  4. Adriana Noir says :

    The quick, choppy thoughts really helped convey the mood of this story. I loved the loss of control. The thought of losing the ability to filter our subconscious yearnings from our conscious ones is terrifying indeed and you portrayed that quite well with this vivid and frightening tale! And of course, the twisted revenge at the end was a most pleasant surprise. Good work, Blaze! Well done!

    Like

  5. Thomas James Brown says :

    More than anything, I liked following the character’s thought processes as he pieced together the events in his mind. His own quirks and foibles came across well through the language he used, never mind the increasing sense of uneasiness as we begin to realise all is not as it seems. . .

    Like

  6. Daemonwulf says :

    Blaze. I really like the frenetic pace of the main character’s thoughts. I do so enjoy when things begin to spin out of control and a character is forced to figure out what is going on.. Now, about the vengeance. Ahhh, there is nothing better than vengeance. And you did that very, very well. Good going, ole chap!

    Like

  7. Hunter Shea says :

    Love the ending (and everyting that led up to it). It reminds me of some of the ‘mad ramblings’ of Poe characters that used to keep me up at night.

    Like

  8. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    Blaze – I have to say that it isn’t often a horror tale conveys both horror and humor without stumbling over itself. I really enjoyed this story, and the disassociated moment to moment experience that Harry goes through. 🙂

    Like

    • blazemcrob says :

      Thank you, Nina. Poor Harry won in the end, so all is well. Sometimes humor is integral to horror. I like to use it from time to time. After all, revenge is sweet and does make one feel a tad happier.

      Blaze

      Like

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