Yannis Cave

Yannis Cave yawned wide, the winding black hole stretching deep into the mountain flank. It would have looked majestic, inviting even, if it weren’t for the dozens of warning signs plastered across the entrance. Cave-ins, floods, hypothermia, losing your sense of direction and injuries were only a few of the possible incidents one risked if descending into Yannis Cave, if anything these signs said was to be believed.

I would never have considered ignoring the warnings if I didn’t hear the call for help as I walked by the cave.

“Help me! Please!”

For a moment, I wasn’t sure what I heard. I froze and glanced around, wondering if someone was messing with me from behind a nearby tree. Bored kids were often dragged along this trail with their parents on hikes, and I wouldn’t put something like this past them. This time, however, it didn’t seem to be the case.

Another cry echoed out from the mouth of Yannis Cave. “Is anyone there? I can’t move, I’m scared! Help!”

There was no one else around today. The trail had few visitors on the best of days, most hikers opting for the far safer trails closer to the beach. I enjoyed the peace and quiet. And I guess the cave was pretty intimidating for some. Phone reception this close to the mountain was notoriously spotty too. If someone was trapped down there, they needed help.

They needed my help. Continue reading “Yannis Cave”

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The Deserters’ Ossuary

“So, Brooke. Are you actually going to tell us what we’re doing out here? We’ve been driving for hours.”

Brooke Mackay sighed, exasperated. They had to be getting close by now. Too much longer cooped up in the back of this van sitting next to Nolan Adams and she was going to lose it.

At least the view would be nice.

The winding, troublesome road to the old village had led their crew through some of the most impressive vistas Brooke had ever seen in her life. Over the last hour or so though, the beautiful valleys, daunting mountains and sparkling lakes had given way to far rockier, inhospitable terrain.

Rugged, vast and impossibly old. The perfect locale for a lost, forgotten village of an ancient civilization.

Right now, only their director, Hayden Forst, had been told details. It was enough for the network to finance a flight to South America to investigate further. Brooke’s information was solid. The only thing left to do now was drive there.

Unless she killed the cameraman before they arrived.

“Okay, fine. I wanted to keep it a surprise for when we arrived, but whatever.” She shifted in her seat to face Nolan. The two of them sat almost shoulder to shoulder with six other crew members in the back of the van, with Hayden and the show’s host, Nick Huber, in the front seats with the driver.

“You know about the Inca?”

Continue reading “The Deserters’ Ossuary”

Holdout

“They’re coming!” Luca bellowed. “Safeties off, people! Do not fire unless they give you no other choice! Those are still people down there!”

I could hear them from a mile off, crying out and choking on the toxic, hallucinogenic air as they clambered over one another to reach the building.

Luca crouched close to the rooftop railing, sliding twelve gauge shells into his shotgun, staring out at the wasteland through his gas mask. A full crate lay next to him, ready for the task ahead. Whether it was enough was anyone’s guess.

They arrived in force. A good thirty or forty people, covered in their own filth. No masks. I watched them through the sights of my rifle as they flailed about, swiping at ghosts, trembling and twitching the entire time.

Luca grabbed a bloodied limb from the crate with one of his gloved hands and lobbed it off the roof. It landed in the dirt, and no less than ten people lunged for the fresh dead meat, fighting among themselves for a taste.

The others on the roof joined in, throwing legs, arms and even a few torsos down to the masses.

To my right, I saw Emily gaze long and hard at an arm before she tossed it over, staring at a ring on one of the stiff, lifeless fingers.

“I’m sorry Zach,” she whispered, almost on the verge of tears. The arm went over. She twisted the matching ring on her own finger a few times before reaching back into the crate for another limb.

A shotgun blast rang through the air, followed by a pained yelp and distant thud.

“Watch the walls dammit!” Luca called, ejecting the spent shell. “Keep them busy!”

A desperate shriek from my left caught my attention. I swung my rifle around just in time to see a dishevelled man reach up and claw at Anthony’s neck before disappearing back over the edge, taking a fresh chunk of flesh back down with him. I fired a round, but the bullet missed its mark. Anthony toppled, almost falling off the roof

“Shit!” I chambered another round, cursing myself. We couldn’t afford to keep losing people like this.

There would be no burial for Anthony. We needed the meat. It was all they ate now. It was all we had left to eat. Those people down there have no idea what they’re doing. It’s not their fault they’re like this. This was grim, nasty work, but it was our job to keep them alive and fed until the toxins subsided.

Exactly when that would happen, though, nobody knew.

For now, we held our position.

After what seemed like hours, the mob down below dissipated, wandering off into the fog, their hunger satisfied for now.

I joined Luca’s side as he pulled Anthony’s body away from the roof edge, lifted his mask and gently closed his eyes.

“Same time tomorrow?” I asked, placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Yeah. Same time tomorrow.”

Pandemic

This short story was originally written for my 2015 horror anthology, Random Number Hotline, but I scrapped it in favor of another story.

My legs shook as I stood before the front porch of the Carner family house. I still questioned my reasons for volunteering for this grisly mission in the first place. Perhaps I felt obliged to undertake the task because of my past with the family. I knew them better than anyone else in town ever did.

Maybe it was because nobody else on my street were exactly keen on volunteering to murder a family of four. It was understandable. There was something terrible happening. Some kind of disease, or virus, or…something. Nobody knew for sure what it was exactly, or where it had come from, but from what we had heard about it on the news before the stations went down, we were all living on borrowed time.

It hadn’t arrived in our town yet, as far as we knew. We had an agreement, those who hadn’t decided to run for the airports, harbors or bus depots. There was no point in running. Where would we go? So we stayed here, and tried to hold down the fort and survive for as long as we could. If anyone showed any signs of the sickness, we were to put them down, right then and there without hesitation. Since there was a lack of firearms and people trained in their use left in town, we had to find alternatives.

Continue reading “Pandemic”

Random Number Hotline

#10 of ten short stories from my 2015 self-published horror anthology, Random Number Hotline.

When Nikolas Bryant woke, the first thing he noticed were his surroundings. They were completely unfamiliar. The bed he lay on, the room and everything else inside, he had never seen any of it before in his life. What the hell happened last night? He sat up and rubbed his eyes and face, trying to wake up. The entirety of the previous twenty-four hours were gone, like they had never happened. The memories were just…empty. Whether he had drunk too much or if someone had slipped something into his drink at the bar, he didn’t know. He wasn’t sure if there had even been a bar. All he knew was he felt like shit.

It wasn’t the first time he had woken up in some stranger’s house after a night out on the town. But even if that were the case, he should have been able to remember something; who owned the place, where it was, anything. The more Nikolas thought about it, the farther he felt from an answer. He looked around the room again. There wasn’t a lot to see. A steel bed, a small wooden desk and matching chair, an old telephone sitting on the desk and a painting hanging on the wall next to a closed steel door. Other than those, the room had nothing else of note. Nikolas groaned and rose from the bed.

The door was only a few steps away, but walking there proved far more difficult than Nikolas had thought. Every step caused his head to pound in pain, to the point where he thought he would pass out if he took one more. He brushed past the painting, which swung on its fixture before coming to a halt a moment later. Nikolas reached out and tried to pull down on the door handle, but it refused to move. Unperturbed, he tried again, wiggling the handle up and down this time. Still nothing. He gripped the handle with both hands and put all his weight onto it, but no matter how hard Nikolas tried, the door wouldn’t budge.

Continue reading “Random Number Hotline”