A Triad o’ Terrifying Tales To Tartarus

~ three short tales to terrify, as told by ME! A despicable kook known as The Grim Writer.

Welcome to another — no, the first! — edition of Tales To Tartarus… hehehe.

What you are about to read is a trio of tales about terrible talkers suddenly silenced. These pages were penned out of a psychotic game of bipolar chicken, where one half of a brain battled another to the ends of some scribbles on paper. Rest assured, the number one way to lose your mind is to read these tales!!

Ha! You wish.

They are poorly written and won’t give you a chill on a single vertebrae.

Or not.

You bastards will have to read them to know one way or another!

After all, me — The Grim Writer — spat out these tales just as true as I am now the one introducin’ them. Inked them in my blood. Try to figure that one out while we bring on the first tale.

A prolific serial killer is found out. But he’s not too worried. Wonder why?

~

A BRAND NEW WAY

“I am very sorry, but there is just nothing more we can do.”

I spoke the words as though I meant them. This case was worse than most. Worse — in that she was better than most of my patients. Able to be healed. My treatment could do it, certainly. And most basic others, too.

“I will make sure she is as comfortable as she can possibly be. I’ll be here all night.”

But no. She wasn’t gonna make it. Not on my watch.

“I want you to know, Mrs. Warner, you have been one of my favorite patients. One of the absolute best. And I, just like your family, will never forget you. I wanted you to know that…”

Always looked forward to those little faces they made at the end.

I think I might be the most successful serial killer in history. The best part is telling their loved ones we did everything we could. Every time. My favorite.

~

“Doctor Malak!” the man coughed as white coat moved on by, swift as a shadow.

Bill, the patient in room 32, ailing from bronchitis, called out to the last doctor in the building after hours. Again. Doctor Malak. He now had reason to believe this whole wing of the hospital was dedicated to his patients of all kinds. The mundane, every day sick. And the cancer patients. He handled them all, all in one place.

Bill coughed into a shaking hand as Malak emerged into the room, but not too far. His shining bald head hung in shadow. Doc smiled without showing any teeth. He held a clipboard over his waist as he lulled in the doorframe.

“What can I do ya for, Billy,” Malak whispered.

“Ehh, could you close the door, I wanted to tell you something private,” Bill said. He summoned all his courage as the doctor complied. He emerged into the room. Doctor Malak was sweating. He looked winded, tired. Hawk eyes pierced right through him on the bed. To his side, the scanner beeped at the heart rate increase.

Bill saw that Malak noticed his spike, his nerves. His scalp gleamed in the fluorescent glow.

“You left something in my room the other day. Something that fell out one of your folders,” Bill began. His voice already wavered. Malak did not move, his expression was cold as stone.

Billy coughed into his arm. In his scrub pocket he held his phone, recording.

“It was a list of names on a spreadsheet. Dating back about ten years.”

Malak took a deep breath. In fear that Malak would try to say something and he wouldn’t be able to keep speaking as the older, now terrifying-looking man interrupted, Bill went on, his words fast and hard, rambling.

“They were all cancer patients. Terminal cases, mostly. Your hospital says its a cancer center designed for the hardest cases. But not all of them are. You sneak in patients off the record. In a separate one buried in admin codes that no one sees. Many of them were curable. Many of your patients are not truly terminal. And… and I am not just saying that. I was able to hack into your hospital records, just right here using my phone. And I saw the reports, their sheets. I cross-referenced them with cases with similar traits, where the survival rates were calculated. High. Reasonable chances. But they died here. All of them died. Everyone. You haven’t defeated a single case in the last decade! Think about the odds of that. I looked them up! You are the only hospital in the nation… maybe the only in the world! It’s impossible. And that means… No! That means you must be killing them. It took me a while, but I realized that even doctors can be evil. A doctor could be a killer. Hell, it takes a certain level of sociopathy to — ”

Bill silently shrieked as Doctor Malak rushed him, needle in hand. He felt it prick up against his throat. Malak’s eyes were black, instantly cutting his mind apart.

“You’ve been busy, Billy. Almost as busy as me these evenings…” Malak hissed.

Bill’s eye bulged from his head as he breathed hard and clutched the sides of his phone for his life.

“I expected to see you back here, Bill. In about four to ten years, you can never tell how long the stuff will take.”

Bill shot questions into Malak’s doomed visage. He grinned like an adder. The needle bled a small stream down his neck.

“Gave you some of my secret sauce in that IV, the kind that makes you come right back to me, in this very wing, just a bed over or two…”

As Malak’s eyes glanced to the wall directly in front of Bill’s bed, he screamed inside. Mrs. Warner’s room. He knew tonight was it for her. Saw the faces of her family as they left, their sobs. Malak had just left her room, in a rush, in a sweat, with the cool demeanor of consummation in his eyes…

Bill inhalted to scream. Malak covered his mouth.

“But now, Billy boy, we can’t even have you leaving this bed, can we!”

Bill struggled in vain, Doctor Malak’s hands were strong. The man was in shape. Bill was a weakened mess, horrifically out of shape before his recent illness.

Malak let him struggle for another minute before he plunged the syring into his neck. A burning surged into Bill’s neck. His muscles tightened and then spasmed. Bill gripped his phone hard, searched for the right buttons on the top and side to signal for help.

“Now I get to see lively eyes go! Young eyes. At long last!!” Malak exclaimed. His countenance was furious, hysterical, in ecstasy. Bill felt his consciousness going already, the pain raised and then subsided. Raised, then went away.

Malak’s eyes were with him all the way.

“So glad you were a smart one, Billy. Picked up the paper. You’ve given me a brand new way!”

~

Ho-ho! What a freak that guy was!

Did you know Doctor Malak was left-handed? Just like me! Probably why he was like that. A killer doctor. What a real sicko.

Yes, I am left-handed. Would you believe me if I told ye that the lefties of your realm descended from me? Starting with the damned Cain himself.

The southpaw is a daemon of special delight. Our brains are wired differently; their bodies are attuned to the dueling fires of creation and destruction alike, unrestrained and unpredictable. Every one of ’em can kill. And we will! But with either hand; we be ambidextrous in that regard.

Lefties are better liars. And fuckers, too. Ha-ha! More prone to madness. And the murder of their own mind from long, sprawling screeds of impossible delusional grandeurs… And they are good at parties! But only the right parties…

*throws quill to his other hand and starts to write faster and more legibily into the tome*

Ha! Just kidding.

For this next one, there is only one, simple rule:

DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU

I honestly didn’t believe a word of it.

First I heard of it, it was just a story. A tale meant to terrify. Children, mostly. But some adults, too.

The-thing-that’s-always-behind-you.

Just listen to that name. Heh! Ridiculous. All of a sentence to say it. Unreal.

Don’t look behind you, though. It doesn’t like to be seen.

More childish musings. More fearmongering.

But then I started to think about the unexplainable and the injustice and the self-destruction. The Madness. In my life. In the lives of all the damned. And the blessed, too.

To the most on the edge of the whole enterprise, the idea of the thing proved that a monster lurked out each and every one of us.

I heard about some of the killings, the suicides. I met some people searching for theirs, for an escape from it, just a way out. Then, I got to really reading.

Firsthand accounts of people who turned around. Second hand accounts for people that didn’t. Chills. A dread creeps through me even thinking about it.

There is a truth here that remains unapproached. Love and hatred don’t touch it. A lot of fear, and a little bit of science thread it into cognizance for us.

“Can I ever see myself turning around?”

A question every modern man must now ask.

Turn to see that creature that lives behind us all. Only visible to the one, but never faced. Never seen by anyone but through our actions in response to it, unto it. Or lack thereof.

Conventional wisdom: A thing never faced becomes worse than ever.

A thing never faced, until it is.

And on that day, you become something else. Not so simple as alive versus dead, either.

No. It’s worse. Always worse.

You might end up dead. You may remain alive.

Either way, the thing’s effect is always worse than we imagine.

That face that you see, when it’s your own, when all the imagined shadows come back down to culminate into that pocked and creased walker through the valley, is always far worse for wear than you ever might think it to be.

The worst part of all:

When you see them, you become them.

~

What sad sack o’ shit that one turned out to be, eh? Why don’t you just kill your demons with your bare hands like I do? I punch them until their skulls and brains break apart. Every demon has a skull and a brain, you know. Can’t live without ’em. Like me. Like you. Like all flesh.

Of course, it’s always better if you can work diplomatically with demons. Get to where you can get ’em working for you and you don’t have to risk your life in a 1v1 cage match in hell with one. That’s how you have to kill ’em, you know. In mortal kombat. Three rounds, with both of you dying if you fail to seal a fatality by the time the third bell rings.

No, I try to avoid that these days. That’s why I have hired all my demons. They work for me. For wages. Alive, they can be very productive. I build my empire through their wicked labor.

Talk about making lemonade. I am practically a God at this juncture. To attest, I use words like juncture. And I write for my living. Pray tell me what could be more wicked, more atrocious than that?

All thanks to my cold, dead fingers. And my demons.

What makes ’em so powerful, you ask? Well, that’s easy — all my demons have two left hands.

~

I SHOULD HAVE BEEN CREMATED

When I opened my eyes, my first disappointment was the lack of pain.

Cross to my expectations, as I let my eyes adjust I found myself in a box. In stark cold darkness. The low warmth in my core remained. A low grumble escaped my forever-crimson lips as the memories returned.

I should have been cremated, not buried in the ground.

~

My first life was a bloody mess. A king killer, a monster on overwatch of the sands and jungles of near-apes. I initially hunted an unevolved mess of man. And not just a killer but a tyrant. I could turn them. But not too many. Never enough to challenge my sole dominion. A court of underlings to carry out my will, with the remainder left weak and at my service. A king, to my children of the night alongside our cattle. Age after age. Never in the sun, my shadow loomed large over the first thousand. Eventually the people got wise to the creatures in their midst, however. They hunted me down. I’ll never forget her last words to me, she had me by blade and cross in my own sunken throne room.

“Despicable. To cling to life like this. Do you really believe that you are all that there is. Pathetic.”

Yes, that wondrous woman cut me down with a death blow. But not all the way. This would only be my first death.

But her striking silver longsword changed more than she could ever know as a mortal.

~

My second life was much less eventful, much less bloody. Almost instantly, I became a hermit. I lived amongst nature. Alone. Forever was how I planned it. I’d given up on power, resisted the hunger. My goal was non-interference. I’d live this life to atone for all the death I brought to the world around me the last time around.

Eventually, someone found me. Put an end to me. I practically let them. Once more, not all the way.

Would that day ever come?

~

Third time was the charm. My personal Golden Age. An outlander, a mercenary, a hunter. A hero. Took me a season to develop it, but I — Cain, the Conqueror, the Madblood Prince, the Killer… I was a Blade. A hunter of my own kind, among the daywalkers and the helsings. Fighting side by side with them, leading them on in the Crimson Wars. Winning that war for them, alongside my two children, a pair of ‘walker warriors themselves.

Real atonement.

Vlady led the armies while Minarch kept to the estate. And to me.

He was a rock. Reliable and true. He was everything I wished for my legacy to be.

She was my guide, my love. Reminded me so much of her. Maybe that trust was misplaced. Maybe I just gave her too much of it.

It was her job, at the end of things… To end things. To truly end it. With me.

Her job, after we won the war, was to ensure that I — the last pureblood, the last of my tyrannical, nightstalking, blood-sucking kind — would be put final rest at long last.

In her hands, at the head of the council I now see she controlled utterly, was the fate of the world. The extinction of vampirism, after ages of bloodshed and contagion and dominance.

…But here I am. Again. Awake. My eyes search over the confines of a coffin. Inside a luxurious box of crimson satin six feet under. Unburnt before no beach sun. No final death after a blink of consciousness.

A second blink really woke me from my simmer.

That — the truer darkness — was what I spent all this time dreaming of. All this time away was spent in contemplation of oblivion.

But now I can smell blood again. Only six feet up, the people walk and live. So near. I cannot resist it.

I can see the gold letterings etched and bolted into the wood before my face, sighted just before I crash through the planks and the dirt with claws loosed out of lust, to chase humanity in a hunt anew. Blood for blood, from scratch. May the best being win.

My damned daughter had put me in this coffin, written the message for me to see it:

“Welcome back, Father.”

~

Ah, what a touching tale of devotion. The girl loved her daddy! What can you say to that but blessed be the damned daughters!

Behold the beautiful souls not willing to stand by and let such a wondrous creature, one of God’s own perfect creatures, die out.

I’d have done the same thing if I was in her position.

Hell, I have before. And I did!

Well, that’s the end of the story. And three puts an end to the tales.

What will you do now? What else??

Go my pretties! Spread these tales and more tales like ’em. Share your dread, give away more danger, create more horror for yourself and everyone around you!

Go!

What are you waiting for you sick little freaks and ghouls and fiends and goblins! ~