The Journeyman

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Did you hear the story about the journeyman? They say he comes on the coldest of nights, walking only by the light of the moon, from the darkness into a small town, somewhere, in the heartland, always the same.

He’s a harbinger of a changing world. He brings with him disease, or crime, or insanity. The last was always the worst. Whole towns, torn apart by the darkness within, coming out. That was worse than a plague, or calculated crime. Madness cannot be cured, cannot be cajoled. When the journeyman brought that, there was literally no hope.

He stays a day or a week at most. Rents a room in a hotel, pulls all the blinds, and just stays within. But something in him seeps out, every time, playing his games. His infernal tricks.

Nothing he did ever touched him, of course. He was the carrier of the curse, not its victim.

Just an urban myth, some would say. A cautionary tale designed to create a lingering xenophobia. A political ploy.

Perhaps.

If we fear the other, the stranger, enough, we’ll do anything to keep them at bay.

But I think he’s real – the journeyman. My blinded grandmother certainly thinks so, after he came to her town, all those years ago. He brought disease then, when she was but a child. A disease that took her parents and damn near took her too, leaving a shell, a blinded soul struggling for life. She said she saw him come, that lonely night, and that’s probably why she lost her sight.

She had no reason to lie, or tell me tall tales. She never sought to frighten me, only warn. So I take her seriously, and I take the journeyman seriously.

So every night I watch from my window to make sure I never see him, walking the lonely streets, invading this town. It’s my vigil my watch, even if it is to take my sight also.

Just in case, just in case seeing him soon enough might help. Maybe I could stop him, turn him away. Maybe I could kill him. It’s the only hope we’d have, but I’ll take a little hope, every time.

So I watch.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

 

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This Blood I Have Shed

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This blood I have shed for you. To free you. To stop the pain.

He will not hurt you, touch you, make you his, ever again, ever again.

My sins overwhelm me constantly but I’m not alone.

All of those threatening hang ups on your telephone.

Are gone, gone, gone.

 

This life I would give for you, let them do as they may

I’ve nothing to offer them, the world, or anyone, anyway

Except what I shed for you, blood rich and cold

A comfort, a memory, for when you are old and

I’m gone, gone, gone

 

You made me a killer but it’s willingly done

I have to depart now, my world you must shun

Your purity, your innocence, your freedom is all

I’m Lucifer kissing his God at the fall

And he’s gone, gone, gone.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

 

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Purgatory

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I scream every day in purgatory. No-one hears.

I think there are others, standing close to me, but I’m never sure. No-one reaches out, no-one dares touch. We do not understand the potential consequences. No-one explains the rules to us at all.

So alone. In life I was a hermit, seeking the solace of solitude. Now it’s just horrific. Anything you cannot freely choose – no matter how you might have chosen it if choice was yours – anything imposed upon you without your will, and without any true understanding, is beyond words.

Maybe there isn’t anyone else, after all. Maybe it’s just me. I’m defective somehow, and all the others went to join the angels or the devils. Neither side chose me. Like some obscene playground sports day, I didn’t get on either team. Maybe.

I don’t know how long this lasts. I don’t know how long I’ve been here. Feels like I’ve been screaming for eons, but it might just be minutes. How would I know? I don’t even really have a throat, a voice, or even any sound. Just my imagination, the screaming, the pain, the loss.

What god would put me here? What devil? And does it ever end?

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

 

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Light in the Dark

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Just a little light
In the deepest dark
Just a little hope
The merest spark

It could be a ghost
Shining in the hall
It could be the end
The end of it all

It could be an angel
Weeping for the world
It could be victory
All our flags unfurled

It could be a lamp
Lighting a killer’s face
It could be heaven
Or hell in this place

Just a little light
In the deepest dark
Just a little hope
The merest spark

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Battery Hens

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Back in the day I felt sorry for battery hens. Didn’t we all? Caged up, cooped up, there only to live then die then feed others. Feed us? Barely able to move, stuck in the seeming eternity of waiting until the real eternity of the end.

But like most of my sympathies, if I was honest, it was a thing apart from me. A musing or a faux outrage designed to virtue signal when I shared a meal with a friend I wanted to become more than a friend. Or a post on twitter, designed to gather likes and follows, costing me nothing but a few seconds of my time.

For hens were lesser beings. Inside, that is what I believed. We all believed that – let’s be honest. Even those who didn’t eat them, in their heart of hearts, saw them only as lesser forms they were protecting.

I didn’t know back then there were already other forms of entrapment, encagement, that weren’t designed just for hens. Back then, it was hidden, a delicacy known only by the ‘elite’. The menu, had we seen it, would have seemed an obscene joke – unable to be believed. What to make of adrenalized baby blood, heightened by trauma and fear, or the spinal fluid of young and vital ‘donors’? Or human flesh, prepared by the finest chefs?

It couldn’t be real, could it? No-one could consume that. No-one could become addicted to it. No-one could come to need it just to survive.

But they could, and in time we came to learn the harsher truth. It isn’t only between species that hierarchies exist. When they finally ‘came out of the closet’, the cannibals ruled. They’d spent centuries building their wealth and power, on the blackmail and blood of others. And they’d showed us all the time, in movies and stories, of their design.

They said that made it our fault. We were complicit. It ‘entertained’ us. It fed them. We were the true dissolute, enjoying it vicariously. And they – they the virtuous – only did it because it was necessary to live.

That proved – did it not – that they truly were the elite?

Now, we’ve been rounded up and live in tiny cells, squashed together, counting the days of our youth as markers of the final end. I’m not that young anymore. I’m not that fit. Eventually it is the abattoir for me I suppose.

And I will welcome it. For the freedom from captivity. For the end the pain. And for finally, finally, ceasing to be just another battery hen.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Crow

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Tell us all you know
Sacred crow
We have brought you blood
Understood
All that is required
In the fire
Tell us what you know
Sacred crow

Darkness is an art
In our hearts
Power for the true
Comes through you
Psychpomp you fly
Through the sky
Darkness is an art
In our hearts

Speak now if you will
Guide us still
Flying on your wing
Hell may sing
Each and every day
We will pray
Speak now if you will
Guide us still

Tell us all you know
Ancient crow
Eons you have lived
None forgived
Judgement by your name
Fans the flame
Tell us all you know
Ancient crow

(c. ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Priestesses

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The priestesses haunt my dreams. they always have, even when I was a child.

I do not know when I first saw them, when my parents first took me to a ritual, it is too long ago to recall. I only know that they feel like the one constant in my life, returning every sacred night, in their terrible, fearful glory.

I know them as silence. I know them as masked faces. I understand perhaps I mix with them in the day to day, never knowing it is their faces behind the solemn purity of the masks. It is not mine to know who or why. Not now, and perhaps never.

That depends, that depends on how I learn and how I behave. It is all up to me they say.

I must come to love blood, and the redness of pain. I must learn to give this and receive. I must understand that death is just passageway, and that life is an energy to be transferred for the higher purification of the all.

They teach me, they teach me. And they are kind in their terrifying terribleness.

So I dream of them, every night. They are my guarding angels, fallen from the light, beckoning me to join them.

One dream I transgressed and reached and took off one mask, only to see my own face looking back at me. It is this, in the end, that gives me hope. That allows me to think one day I will be a priestess too, and have passed all my awful trials. Hope that I am, as they call me sometimes, a little Cassandra, a prophet in her time.

Hope that indeed, dreams come true.

(c. ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Portal

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Mommy disappeared into the portal on Saturday.

Daddy said he thought she didn’t mean too, but she did anyway. Mommy often did things she didn’t really mean to, it was one of her things.

One of Daddy ‘s things was to shake his head and gently laugh at her. It was a good feeling when he did that because it kind of made you sense it was ok to do things wrong, or just the way you wanted, and ‘damn everyone else to hell’ as he would say. It made you feel safe.

But Mommy’s thing this time didn’t make him laugh or gently chide. And it didn’t make us feel safe. The portals opened up too often now, and when people were gone they were just gone.

I asked Daddy if Mommy had died. It seemed kind of like what the preacher says about souls ascending to heaven. Daddy said he didn’t know but he didn’t think so. Maybe there was life on the other side.

But then he shuddered, like that thought was worse. Maybe heaven is better than lots of other types of life. Or maybe he just worried because he didn’t know.

Later I heard him weeping. I didn’t understand the sound at first because he’d never cried. Then I remembered my own tears when I fell and hurt myself, or that time that the other kids at school picked on me and made me run away. But I couldn’t understand Daddy crying. I only knew it was that damn portal and Mommy being gone.

So when I saw the new portal open today I knew what to do. I knew what my thing was. The thing no-one else did or would have approved of, but damn them all to hell.

I had to go through and bring Mommy back.

So I’m standing right beneath it now, just as Mommy did. And I can see Daddy in the distance running towards me, but I’m shouting above the portal noise that it’s ok. It’s so loud though, so I don’t know if he hears me. I just hope he does.

And I’m hoping that as it takes me I hear his gentle laugh again too, when he understands what I’m doing, and that it’s all ok.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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My Story

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Everyone has a story so they say
And this may be as it is
But be that as it may
It does not follow here
That any need agree
Another’s point of view
Means anything to me
Or that I need give others
The time of day

We once pretended that we cared outside
The worries of our souls
And no-one was denied
But now these many years
Isolated and online
No mere humanity
Has lasted through this time
We’re only groups of memes
And wretched pride

So if I have a story I’ll deny
The telling of it now
For now I needn’t try
You wouldn’t give a damn
No more than I would too
If you were now to ask
That I listen to you
For any attention now
Is just a lie

(c ) Helen M Valentina

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Identity

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I’ve heard that in ancient times identity counted for something. Drones in the hive sometimes speak of it, the concept of individual thought or action, not aligned to the collective goal.

It sounds a quaint concept at times, like an errant child running free. And other times it sounds frightening, each little soul struggling to mean something in a vast, roiling mess of divided humanity.

I try not to think too much on this, for it diverts my attention from our common goals, and I sense it sends ripples of agitation through those closest to me. In fact I fear at times that even dwelling on such thoughts opens me to the accusation of the greatest of crimes – true thought.

We must avoid this at all times, it vexes a soul that is united and it disturbs the carefully calibrated universe. If it happens too often we have heard, it signals a breakdown in the flow, and the aberrant form responsible must be removed.

I do not want that to happen to me. But at times I have this strange drawing sense to wonder of the past. I understand it all, as I am supposed to do, as cautionary tales, and ones best left to contemplation back in school days when we learn our allocated duties and responsibilities. And why things must be always as they are.

But still…

So a creeping fear rises each day now when I open my eyes to the scan for my check up. I wonder if something of this distraction flickers like an accusatory flame in my iris. So far it has not been so. So far, so good.

But still….

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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