So, I haven’t been around here for awhile. But here I am, and I have something different for you. From time to time I try my hand at writing some fiction, typically science ficiton. Recently, I attempted something completely different and wrote a horror story for a competition at http://www.writing.com. The sub-genre, mood, and a prompt to start the story were provided and there was a 666 word limit. Well, I won! So, here it is for you to enjoy as well:
“I didn’t mean it. It just happened. I’m not a bad person. I’m not,” Mal kept telling himself over and over. This was his third trip to the bathroom since service started. “It’s got to come off. Someone’s going to see it. It’s under my nails. Somebody will see it! They can’t see it!” His hands were red and raw as he scrubbed them harder and harder. The cold water brought relief and the hand soap made him feel clean. He needed to feel clean.
The ushers had just finished collecting the offering when he could feel the wet stickiness on his hands again. He looked at them and saw red flecks under his nail. But the pastor was already on stage, he could not leave now without drawing attention to himself. Everybody would stare and they would see it. They would know what he did!
“Let’s all bow in prayer,” the pastor said.
Mal bowed his head, “I didn’t mean it. It’s not my fault. I’m not a bad person.” He kept his eyes clinched shut and kept telling himself, “I’m not a bad person.”
A sudden wave of silence nearly knocked him out of his chair. In a panic he clinched his eyes tighter. “Everybody’s looking at me! They all know!” Practically paralyzed with fear, Mal slowly opened his eyes. “Maybe they were still praying. Maybe they were just praying silently. People do that.” As the first sliver of light peeked through he did not see judgmental faces staring at him in silence like he expected. There were no faces at all. The entire sanctuary was empty!
Mouth agape he looked around slowly. “This can’t be real. It can’t be happening. I must be imagining it.” He reached for his wife in the seat next to him and found it empty. “This can’t be real. They know! They left me alone because they know!”
In a panic he ran back to the bathroom. The red specks under his nails were growing. Now his fingertips were covered in dried blood. In the safety of the locked bathroom he ran to the faucet. Mal turned the cold water on but nothing came out. He tried the hot water and still nothing. The soap dispenser also disappointed. He began gasping for air as the blood from his fingertips re-hydrated and spread up his hands. Looking at the faucet and sink, he noticed his bloody fingerprints were everywhere. He grabbed some paper towels and tried furiously to wipe it up, but it only spread.
It was then he caught a glimpse of the mirror. He had blood spatter on his face… just like last night. He grabbed more paper towels and tried to wipe the blood from his face but it wouldn’t come off. The blood on his hands and face began to burn and his skin blistered wherever the blood touched. He stared at his reflection in the mirror as his skin boiled and bubbled.
He turned and ran, but when he opened the bathroom door his reflection was there standing outside the doorway waiting on him. Its hair was singed and its face was covered with blisters. It was hunched over and glared at him knowingly. “It knows! It knows what I did.”
Mockingly it asked, “Are you OK?”
He screamed at it and tackled it to the floor. It laughed at him as he clenched its throat and squeezed the life out of it. “IT’S NOT MY FAULT,” he screamed at his duplicate. Other reflections, each deformed in its own way, came pouring out of the sanctuary. Each accusing him; blaming him.
“What did you do, Mal?”
“Somebody grab him.”
They all came at him to blame him. They knew! The blood covered his whole body now. They all knew! He tried to flee but they tackled him. He tried to fight, but there were too many.
One of the smaller reflections cried over the dead simulacrum, “Mommy! Wake up, Mommy! Daddy didn’t mean it.”