Here's a scary story of mine I wrote for my English Class a few weeks ago. Enjoy! <3
It had been snowing for weeks now. From tiny flurries to flakes the size of quarter dollars, God’s dandruff fell from the sky nonstop, piling onto the ground in solid mounds as tall as children. The wind bit at frozen faces when one bravely ventured out from the warmth of a smoldering fire, and plastered damp snow across the harsh, northern terrain. The unnaturally brutal winter made some forget what warmth was like, their minds left wondering where the stars went and when the next time they would see the sun was.
Since winter began, there hadn’t been warmth at the creaky shack where Ezra lived. No longer was he at the lake every day with the other young men in his town, for beneath the three and a half feet of snow which lay upon the water, there was another three feet of ice that made it impossible to fish. Therefore, the District Manager deemed the dockworkers inadequate fishermen, and ordered them home in troops, sent off without pay and without notice. It was not the first time this had happened; whenever winters became too intense for a man’s hands to move through the numbness of the frigid air, the District Manager sent the workers packing and himself back to his warm, well-fed home on The Hill.
But now, weeks later, there was still no work.
Outside his shack, the air was unforgiving and frigid as it shot down Ezra’s throat like ice. Speckles of white flooded Ezra’s vision as his ebony orbs peeked from beneath long, sweeping lashes frozen into brittle twigs. His coat swirled around him as he pressed it closer, digging his frozen fingers into his trembling his chest. Moving his muscles to step forward was torture; it was if he hadn’t ever used them before. He felt like a brittle-legged doe that had never stood. Determination flooded through him and he pressed on, moving through the howling wind and into whiteness brighter than heaven’s.
Beneath the screeching wind, a door slammed in the distance. Ezra’s eyes were drawn to the interior of a remote shack as the wind ripped the door forward again. Snow had blown into the shed, new enough to be untouched and still soft. Dust from an angel’s fragile finger had settled over a child’s carrier, a dense blanket of ivory, and softly powdered the figure of a dark coat laid gently upon the hard floor. The door’s hinges creaked as it pounded the fragile doorframe once more, swinging recklessly. Ezra quickened his steps, pulling his overlarge, thin jacket closer to his frozen chest. His dark skin, brown like steaming coffee in a metal tin, took a greenish hue.
Most of the town was missing this winter. The first snow always signaled a great and mysterious disappearance of an entire generation of men. They would drop out of thin air, lost in the blinding snow, their minds numbed by the great silver sand which had settled over the land they once recognized. Gossip abound whispered they had run off to the next town, searching for a second chance at life. So many children without fathers and mothers, so many tiny bodies found sunken in the snow, with bulging bellies and faces hollow and bruised. Every year, the average age for workers at the dock dropped.
Ezra’s father was one of many who disappeared; it had been so many years ago that even when he shut his eyes and begged himself to recall memories lost somewhere in the back of his mind, he could not even muster a silhouette of the man. Now, as it had been since he could remember, it was just him and Mama. This stunted, thin woman was Ezra’s first sight in the morning and last sight at night; her name was God’s upon his lips and inside his heart. She was sharp-tongued and witty, with hawkish eyes in the back of her head which enabled her to always see what Ezra was doing. When he was smaller, she had held him close to her at all times, keeping him from going out in the snow when winter was at his coldest and all Ezra wanted to do was play with the other children. As he grew, she stopped babying him; he began to work at the docks with men three times his size and learned to trek through the harshest of storms. He was no longer a child at nine years old; he had to find out things on his own now. But on this coldest day, in his most vulnerable state, he became small again: where was Mama, he asked, with her coarse hair tied back in a kerchief, her warm hands ready to coax a fire from twigs? Ezra had not seen her since she made her long walk up to The Hill, where she worked as a maid with many other women from the lower district. Many days passed in her absence, and Ezra became hungrier, colder, shrinking as his skin pulled taught across his cheeks. Today, he could wait no longer; he was going to find Mama and bring her back home again.
Making his way through air made of bricks, a formation of tall homes with sturdy roofs and strong foundations came into view. Chimneys stuck out like great precipices from snowy rooftops, reaching high to the heavens, wider than the boats on the dock. They dirtied the sky with their acrid, black smoke, filling the air with a smell so rank and unnatural the birds would scatter from their nests. The Hill towered over the lower, poorer district. The families who lived high up were just a pride of hungry, haughty lions watching over the starved pack of hyenas below.
His heart trembling, eyes freezing and burrowed in dark sockets, Ezra pounded his feet faster upon the snow and moved as quickly as his muscles allowed him to. The houses were now more than obscure shapes, as they emerged into definable structures, sturdy and silent. As he advanced, the strange quiet of the place struck him like an iron hammer: it poured lead into his veins and sent his heart quivering in his throat. The snow was heavier here and settled upon sound like a thousand pounds, choking it into pure and unearthly silence. And yet, he could not help but feel amazed as he stared at the homes built like towers, with glistening windows and doors that were as high as two men stacked atop one other. Peering with curious eyes, Ezra saw behind every house’s iron fence little sheds that stuck up beneath the snow like rectangular stumps.
Ezra came to a blunt and sudden stop when a dark figure unexpectedly crossed his line of sight. It sat upon the graying, snowy porch of a house just ahead, its pale face surrounded by wooly bundles of many colors. It was watching him. Ezra, tentative and squirrely as a mouse, lifted his foot from its place upon the powdery ground and took a few shy steps forward. The being didn’t move. Silence filled the space between them, creeping up into Ezra’s windpipe and pressing the air from his lungs. He took another step toward the stranger. It was the first person he’d seen in days who wasn’t enveloped in a numb, porcelain cloud.
Upon closer observation, Ezra noticed the person on the steps was a boy, much older than himself. The boy was sallow and stringy, with a face that rivaled the snow resting beside him. His back was hunched by the cold and his hands wrapped tensely around his burly chest, piled in layers of coats and sweaters. Strangely, even beneath all his covering, the boy still trembled. Ezra was no different; his shivering was a severe backdrop, his bones quivering madly in the icy air.
“Have you seen a lady ‘round here?” Ezra blurted out, his voice cracking under the strain of speech. His lips were plum and icy, barely able to shape the words.
The boy stared at Ezra with a piercing gaze. Greasy, stringy long hair fell into his face as he shook. Ezra held his breath.
“She’s in there. In the shed.” The boy jerked his head back, pointing to the outbuilding behind a rusted iron gate on the side of the house. Ezra glanced to the snowy compartment. A path had been cleared to it recently, and snow had been brushed from its roof. He glanced back at the sallow boy, questioning.
“She cleans in there. She just went in. I’ll show you,” The boy told Ezra, moving to stand. His knees creaked under the pressure of lifting his body, through if he noticed the sound, he paid no mind. He kept his eyes on Ezra, as if the small child would run if the elder boy let his gaze slip. Ezra was hesitant to follow, but the boy seemed to know his mother. She was a maid, and probably cleaned a lot of houses, even this boy’s. Though skeptical, Ezra longed to see his mother again. He wondered if she had any food with her.
A gust of wind ripped through his bones, filling the empty spaces of his oversized coat with ice. The older boy walked toward the shed as Ezra followed, hurrying to keep up. A rosy flush appeared upon the older boy’s sunken cheeks, filling them with a sickly fever.
The squeal of the gate was penetrating, and struck the air like the sharp phenomenon of breaking glass. At once, as if answering the gate’s call, a ghastly smell filled Ezra’s nostrils. His eyes watered and his feet stumbled from the startling impact of the scent blooming like fungus in the air. Looking up, he observed a gargantuan chimney which had begun to spill its fumes. The snow around it soured and became gray.
“Right in here, come on,” The elder boy muttered, fumbling with the lock on the door. Ezra pulled his eyes from the beast and its noxious breath to see the boy pulling the door to the shed open, revealing a dark rectangular slice of the building’s interior. Ezra rushed ahead, his bulky boots hammering upon the ground as he treaded from the soft padding of fluffy snow to a hard, solid wooden plank as he entered the shed. The door swung shut, pulled closed by the older boy as he stepped in behind Ezra, a looming presence beneath a roof made of midnight. It was too dark to see much of anything, and Ezra could only guess where his mother was. He took a few steps forward as a blind man, the sound of his snow-caked boots clunking across the dusty floor reverberating in the tiny room. A screeching of wood sliding against wood punctured the hollow air as Ezra bumped against a table leg, slumping forward into a squishy, fleshy substance as he tried to catch himself before he fell.
“Mama?” He inquired into heavy obscurity, his eyes wide, hoping to see something, anything, in the never ending pool of night.
A light flickered on with a buzz of electricity and the soft click of a switch. Suddenly, red.
It saturated the walls, dripped in crimson pellets from yellowing thighs hanging by hooks at the roof of the shed. Sticky scarlet wax gathered in puddles upon the floor from beneath leaking tin buckets. Up above, ribcages stretched apart like bizarre, teethy mouths hung together, one atop another in monstrous columns, each long, arcing bone dented and knotty. Parts were picked off from bodies laying stacked together on wide tables, hands and feet discarded and skins ripped from bodies, thrown carelessly in a bin below. And as Ezra looked down, he could see a stew of organs, thrown together like mush, with his hands buried in the parts of people he may have known.
There was no breath in his lungs to scream with. No voice in his head to tell him to run. Terror had spoken for him; shock had rooted him to the spot. Ezra had stopped trembling. The cold was a faraway, incessant distraction which could only be registered in his sub-conscious. There was no cold; nor up or down, nor warmth or light. Silence pressed against him, a heavy, dense and hungry blanket.
The silky hum of metal behind him reverberated through the air. Sounds bubbled through the clenched muscles in his throat, a whimpering gargle, a last cry. He was made of air, he was made of light; he was painless as a small animal going to sleep in the frigid cold of winter, and not waking from the deep, warm slumber he had finally arrived at, after so many years of struggling.