Sun Lord

Image credit: Triff/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: Triff/Shutterstock.com

The ancients knew, everything comes and departs by the sun.

My family grew in this tradition, as generations before. In every other religion, every other myth, our truth was hidden, only for the initiates to recognise. Death and rebirth, sacrifice and resurrection, all following the dictates of the sun rising and falling, day by day.

Once a year, the sun demands more. In its centre is the eye, and the mouth, and it must see and drink blood. We all know, for so is it written.

Others have built their little beliefs on approximations of this truth. Or risen to power, as despot or pontiff, it is all the same. We instead remain in shadows, which can only be cast by the light of the sun, and in logos and slogans and political motifs. And we wait.

The hungry sun calls to us. Dragon’s fire demanding its due.

It knows one of its faithful, favoured sons, requires its beneficence. To rise to the highest office in the land takes light, belief and hope. In the sun we may see the risen son once more.

So another must fall, into the moonlight’s lesser beams. Tonight, we drive the knife within a single heart so the heart of the entire land may once more be replenished. So that the sun will shine on our endeavours, and our empire. And none but us will see the sacrifice, and none but us will count the cost.

But when the votes are tallied and a world looks back in wonder and awe, we will know. Only we will know how the new king rises on the sun, and what this glow has cost.

(c) Helen M Valentina 2017

Posted in Horror Flash Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hungry

Image credit: Daniel Jedzura/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: Daniel Jedzura/Shutterstock.com

A blog’s a hungry thing
Never satisfied
With anything you bring
Time goes on relentless
Demanding everything
From creativity’s lifeblood
Every offering
A blog’s a hungry thing

A blog’s a hungry child
Every morsel here
Every word and style
Never satiated
Lures and beguiles
Voracious appetite
Feeding all the while
A blog’s a hungry child

Hear its hungry call
Want the clock to stop
Nothing left at all
See my cupboard bare
Merciless it mauls
Even when the light
Of inspiration palls
Hear its hungry call

(c) Helen M Valentina 2017

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The Heathen’s Church

Image credit: Paul Chayochkin/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: Paul Chayochkin/Shutterstock.com

The heathen’s church they called it
Where none but heathens go
Heaven far above them
Fire close below
Singing in the hymnals
Hear them loudly ring
Words and poems only
Lucifer would sing

Madness in their piety
Blood too quickly shed
Dripping from the altar
Everything that bled
Graves outside its doorway
Portals to below
Wisdom here that only
Lucifer could know

(c) Helen M Valentina 2017

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Remains

Image credit: Hayk_Shalunts/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: Hayk_Shalunts/Shutterstock.com

When we found the skeleton we couldn’t believe it. We aren’t scientists, we are archeologists,and our dig wasn’t for skeletons, it was for ancient artefacts. But I guess we found something truly ancient, and truly terrifying amongst the earthenware and stone.

What manner of creature looked like this? All those stories and drawings of demons from our childhood swarmed up to our minds on seeing the remains. Because that’s exactly what it looked like – a demon’s skeleton. Small, rather reptilian in body and winged. With what looked like a powerful jaw and sockets for eyes that might easily be imagined to blaze with hellish glory.

An imp, a familiar, some dark and mysterious thing. But dead now, gone, leaving only the bones, fragile but beautiful in a strangely twisted way.

What does such a discovery do to what you make of life, or what you believe? If there are demons, then perhaps there is a hell indeed, of some sort at least. And then what, a devil, and therefore also a god? Or gods? What do we not know of our history, our true history? Maybe it is all buried in bibles and ancient texts and even fairy stories. Maybe it is all real. It is all true.

I was going to bring the skeleton back, I promise. So scientists could study it and religious people could visit it and wonder and pray. I had every intention of doing so. We were dedicated to discovery and understanding the past. And even if the past now seemed horrifying and mysterious in a manner we could hardly encompass, it was our duty to see it through to some form of understanding, some form of knowledge.

But someone smashed it one night, just before we were due to return. One of us, though none ever admitted it. Not me, even though I understood why it had been done. I understood what the skeleton represented. And I understood why one of us would sacrifice knowledge for the safety of ignorance.

We left the dig the day after. We never spoke of why, but all silently assented. I know why we left. And I know why none of us ever journaled the dig. It was as if it had never been, a brief lacuna in our otherwise full resumes.

I know why. If we’d found one of these we might have found others. A swarm, a hive. And worse still, what if some weren’t dead? What if this was just the burial site from something that still lived, something still part of our world?

Better the remains be lost and it never be spoken of again. We buried our curiosity with our faith and while I am ashamed of us all I understand. I understand.

(c) Helen M Valentina 2017

Posted in Horror Flash Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Renovations

Image credit: Kuraback Evgeny/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: Kuraback Evgeny/Shutterstock.com

I told them it was pointless to renovate. Renovations never take in this house I said. Many have tried and all have failed. The house likes its shadows and its dark corners and its decay.

I told them they were mad to buy the place. ‘A renovator’s delight’ the real estate agent said but I knew this house because I lived in this part of town my whole life. Even as children we talked about this place. We’d play in it. Because, you know, it wasn’t scary or anything. I don’t think it was haunted either. It just liked being the way it was.

When you are a child you don’t question things like that. And it seems when you are an adult bent on becoming a landlord you don’t question much either. But it didn’t matter what we did or didn’t query as children. Whereas adults playing here, expecting to make it better, expecting a good investment return, were doomed to failure. They should have asked more. They should have asked why. And then they should have run away fast, but not from ghosts, just from a bad investment.

But they didn’t ask and they didn’t listen and they poured money into renovations and at first it seemed to work. They painted and they cleaned and they re-modelled. They turned the old staircase into a modern one and hung new art on the walls. They changed the furniture and chose a minimalist design. And it took for about three days, and then…and then….

And then it changed back. Quietly, without fanfare, but resolutely. It changed back. Paint gone, staircase reformed, dust and dishevelment returned.

I remember their faces, and I couldn’t resist saying I told them so. They weren’t listening. Shock does that to you, or so I’ve heard. It certainly seemed so then.

“Why are you surprised?” I asked them. “Would you want to change on the whim of a new owner?”

“It’s a house,” they said, looking to me like I could be blamed somehow for their incredulity now. If I was mad, then perhaps when they turned and looked at the house again it wouldn’t have changed back.

“It’s a house that likes being what it is,” I replied, when they turned back and saw it still clung to its former, dubious glory.

“It’s a house that never changes.”

(c) Helen M Valentina 2017

Posted in Horror Flash Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Children

Image credit: Joe Prachatree/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: Joe Prachatree/Shutterstock.com

I’m frightened of the children. They say I have nothing to fear, they are only kids. Kids do silly things. They dress up, play havoc a bit. It’s just being young. That;s what they say,when they say anything about it at all.

But I don’t think they are young. I don’t think there is anything youthful about these children. I think they’ve seen and done things in their early years that made them grow, way beyond their years.

And I think they liked it. They liked it all.

It’s just trick or treat, they say, but it isn’t Halloween. It’s March, and there’s no reason for the masks. But when try to argue that the others laugh at me and tell me I’m imagining things.

I’m not.

I take photos of the children when I see them. Like this one, this one here. But no-one believes me. They say I’ve staged it all. I know they see them too. They just pay no mind to it all.

They are fools.

People are disappearing. Adults are disappearing. They also say I’m imagining that. People just leave town they say, that’s all.

But I know that’s not all. It’s the children. And they’ll come for me one day, one day soon, because they know I know.

So I’m frightened of the children. I hide when I see them pray they won’t find me. But I know it’s all in vain, really. It has to be.

For who is better at hide and seek than children?

(c) Helen M Valentina 2017

Posted in Horror Flash Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cemetary

Image credit: Pavel Chayochkin/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: Pavel Chayochkin/Shutterstock.com

The dead are restless
Behind the steel grey gates
Left too long
Neglected and alone
They turn in their graves
Finding no comfort or sleep
And when they dream
It is dark, it is cold
It is deep

Their ghosts might whisper
If you pass this shadowed way
If you might hear them
And have something to say
I guess they’re just lonely
In just the company of shades
A dark procession
Black celebrations
Death’s parade

This inky night I sense them
On a merciless wind
Crying and forgotten
As the living pass by
You can’t really blame us
They’re broken and gone
No hope and no dream
No star to wish upon

(c) Helen M Valentina 2017

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Chimeras

Image credit: Sergei Aleshin/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: Sergei Aleshin/Shutterstock.com

When the science was advanced enough for the chimeras to grow and survive and even thrive, they said we had a choice. Just remaining human would not be enough, that was an outmoded model, and did not reflect the glories of transhumanist science. Bu we could be amalgamated – that was the term they used – into other species. Man’s scientists were now gods, they said, and we would be their new creations. It was an honour, they said, and they were generous. We had choice.

My friend chose to be ‘reconstituted’ as they called it as part human and pat cat. She owned a cat as a child, a little tough stray that she’d loved fiercely. She thought the cat had been the very best thing of all, so aloof, so free.

“And it and nine lives,” she told me, “as will I if I am part cat.”

“Or at least four and a half,” I agreed, “if you are only half cat.”

“Yes, but that’s better than only one,” she opined, happy enough with her fate.

I hadn’t decided yet what I would be. I waited to se show her procedure went. I’d choose to be a dragon if I could, but they said they have no DNA for that. So perhaps a cat would be good even though it doesn’t have wings.

“You probably couldn’t fly even if you did,” they said, “as you will likely still be too heavy.”

So a cat it might be if it suited her, it might well suit me.

I saw her a week after the procedure. She was rather beautiful and very happy with the work. She said it was uncomfortable at times but she would get used to it. She preened and let me stroke her soft fur, then lazily scratched me with her new claws, just because she could.

Yes, I thought, as I saw her stalk the woods and paddle happy in the stream, a mystery and a glory: yes, a cat would do.

I’ll be half a cat too, and together we’ll have those nine lives. She and I.

(c) Helen M Valentina 2017

Posted in Horror Flash Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Witch

Image credit: Petrenko Andriy/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: Petrenko Andriy/Shutterstock.com

The witch will rise three nights from now. She will traverse the sky, born on spiritual wings given her by her master. She will be glorious, she will be free, and she will drive the enemy from our town like an avenging sword, an avenging fire.

This she has promised so long ago. One town accepted her, one town did not fear or decry her beliefs. One town thought her glory was a shared thing, a talent and a beauty beyond compare. While her kind was shunned, burned, drowned, across the Inquisition’s scarred lands, she was kept safe, kept hidden in one town. Our town.

For we understood the value of difference and of power. Our town is situated on the border of two great nations, and as a passageway it acts also as a mirror from one to the other. In this we knew neither side to be greater, or more good, or more pure. All power in all their citadels rested on grabbing an ignominious sanctity at the demonization of the other. We see that, so we do not judge.

So in her life we did not judge her and in her peaceful, aged death she made a promise. Now, a century later, our folk tales tell us to be confident, to be calm, to have no fear. She promised to arise, to return, at our hour of need.

And that is now, as battles wage across both borders, and each greedy kingship wants to claim us, obliterate us, drag us into them. We stand on the brink of oblivion, but we will withstand it all, for she will come. We can feel her return, coming not he wind, crying her victory call.

The witch will rise, she will return, and take even heaven in her wake to keep us safe, to keep us free.

(c) Helen M Valentina 2017

Posted in Horror Flash Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Assassin

Image credit: kpgs/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: kpgs/Shutterstock.com

He was an assassin in his youth. A keen eye and a resolute constitution, paired with a distinct lack of empathy or morality, made him the perfect vessel for contract killing. It paid well and he saw no reason not to use his skill. If he did not kill his targets another in his profession would. Each was already marked for death, the means of their passage was materially and spiritually unimportant. And he was good at what he did.

They would die quickly and cleanly. He was not, I must admit, a cruel man. When I knew him he was growing into a creature of some refinement, and while he did not value life he did not de-value it either. He saw no sense in hurting others in their deaths. It was just a job.

He grew wealthy, and for many years relinquished his bloody pursuits. I remember seeing him once in Venice when my family and I vacationed there. We sipped expensive wine on his tab and watched the gondolas float by us. He would casually point to someone at the helm, or even lazing at the back of one of the boats, and discuss the best rifle to take down such a mark. I found it entertaining, but I was glad he did not choose to demonstrate his point. I never had any reason to doubt him, so he never had any need.

Then one day someone did irreparable harm to me. Took my wife’s life casually and negligently in a drunken driving spree. It was the first time death had touched me directly, or indeed that the world had been unkind. I had considered myself blessed and protected in some way, though I didn’t consciously think about that. Not till the chimera was exposed to me and I realised I was as vulnerable as any.

That’s when I called my friend out of his retirement. One more mark, one more mission.

“And this time there must be pain,” he said, hearing my tale. “This time it must be intimate, personal, painful and precise. I promise you, this one last death, will be an art form in itself. Your wife’s careless killer will not die carelessly, or easily. I promise you this, my friend.”

He was an assassin in his youth, and just once in his aged years. He kept his promise, asked no payment from me and then I never saw him again. But he was precise, he was a man of his word. And he was my friend.

And that is all that you, or I, need to know of the matter. That is all.

(c) Helen M Valentina 2017

Posted in Horror Flash Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments