The Horror Inside

From the outside its a nice house

It’s a well maintained house

But inside there are horrors

The things that merely creep on the edges of your mind

The shadows which you dismiss for the day’s business

This house is teeming with their unhallowed glories

Nonsensical figures of a cosmos bathed in nihilism

Classically gothic spectres of centuries gone by

Twisted physical deformity and violent fleshy transformation

Creeping crawling wriggling vermin scratching their way throughout

Inside this house are all the things which you timidly refuse to look upon

Except tonight

Tonight you will be entering into this house

You will be swallowed up by the horror inside

Have a Happy Hallow’s Eve.

-CL Fuqua

Serpentine polymelia

CasCades of infinite chaos mixing in a orgiastic maelstrom of decay and depravity.

Colors tHat should not be and light from nether beyonds colliding in the physical and metaphysical planes all in a godlessly glorious instant.

No moRe structure or pretense of form and coherence…

ISEeTHeLIMBsANdTENDRILsSQUIRMINgInAaGLORIOUsDISUNITyCOVERINgTHeWHOLeOfOUrGALAXyNEVErCEASINgNEVErDISPLEASINgOrPLEASINgTHEyEXIStInUNEXISTENCeTHEyAReYEtAReNOtNoMALICeNoGOODNESsJUStCELESTIAlFORMsCARESSINgTHeSTARCLUSTERsOfTHeMILKYWAyDRINKINgLIFEFORMsANdSEEPINpOUtOfSINGULARITyInAaCOSMIcDISPLAyOfDEFIANCeToNATURAlLAWsANdLIGHt

The serpentIne polymelia slithers on forever consuming

the clicking of clawed appendageS never ceasing or Resuming

It need noT nor want

doth feed rot yea Haunt

all one can do upon its appearing is hope to die

NO ONE WILL HOPE AT ITS SHROUDING TO LIVE

Moon girl

I remember the first time we met

And you do too I’d be willing to bet

The moon was suspended bright in the purple night sky

Cause I can’t come out to play before I watch the sun die

You smiled and I introduced you to my fantastical pearl

I smiled as you showed me yourself, my pretty moon girl

Your hair was jet black, face pale white, lips blood red

My first heart attack, No more fight, fell in love instead

I’d kill or die to be back in that first night once more

I should’ve walked away for all that was in store

My pretty moon girl never meant me harm

I ignored all my sense’s incessant alarm

So now the moon is all I have to remember you by

I can think of you as I look up at the night sky

What’s my pretty moon girl doing under the same starry night?

Maybe someone else like me is falling for her in ravish delight

No matter, I am dead as history inside and out

She shines on as I sit here in the past and pout

Pretty moon girl I still have space for you in my heart

As long as the moon hangs, my love will not depart

-CL Fuqua

Burning embers

Glowing ash trickling through the air one by one

Illuminated by black night floating into nothing

Vestiges of a great act of liberation

Bastard children of a sacrifice to a starving idol

The burning embers are remnants of a bridge

A bridge that once held meaning and moments

Now immolating into fire to light my way

The fire consumes and subsumes the grand bridge of our affections

It is just a pyre of smoke and flame here to light my path

Burning embers swirl through the blue purple night sky dancing around me

As I tread my fire-lit path away from what we were

Burning embers burning bridges to light my way away from us

-CL Fuqua

Iconic vision

“Come come I will show you!”

The elderly hunched-over woman said as she adjusted her head covering and took me by the hand to lead me into the Church.

“Oh really, it’s okay I can find my way around!”

“Nonsense! I show you, you will see the Saints. They are alive.”

We had been having a discussion prior to the evening’s service which the Orthodox Church refers to as “Pre-sanctified Liturgy” and I mentioned it was my first time actually visiting an Orthodox Church. I was fascinated by their customs and traditions from an academic point of view and finally convinced myself to attend a service. I elected for a quieter gathering as opposed to the full-scale Sunday morning Liturgy. It would ease my wading into the water as I came from a protestant evangelical background in which tradition and ceremony were concepts as lost on us as the dinosaurs. I mentioned my general respect for their long history of “saints” as they called them. I believed every Christian to be a “saint” but they have a tradition of pointing out certain exceptional examples and remembering them. I feel this was something sorely missing from protestantism and I said as much to the kind old lady in conversation.

“Oh yes, we love our Saints! They guide us and pray for us always.”

She opened a small locket which held a pictured “icon” of a woman.

“This is St Euphemia, I ask for her prayers always. I have loved her since I was still small and she loves me. Even when I sin!” She crossed herself as she said the last part. And continued to tell me of the Saint’s life and martyrdom in the 4th century. And then a fantastical tale of this very Saint appearing to a modern day elder who himself later became a Saint! Although in theory I appreciated their devotion to a remembered history of believers throughout the centuries I found some of these tales and exuberant emotions of affection for the dead to be quaint.

“Well that’s amazing” I said, “but where I come from religiously we don’t believe the christians who have passed away are still involved in earthly affairs. We don’t pray to them or for them. They have entered into God’s presence so they’re not with us anymore.”

She looked troubled by my words and repeated “passed away?” “not with us?”

This is where we found ourselves at the beginning of this story. With myself being ushered or dragged into the Church for the very first time by a little old lady I could’ve picked up with one arm. Upon entering I was immediately assaulted by the smell of incense hanging in the air and the beeswax candles being lit by the faithful as they said silent prayers in the soft glow of their light. The little lady crossed her self very reverently in front of a portrait I knew to be an icon and then beckoned me to follow her into the main sanctuary where the service was just beginning. I was surprised perhaps more pleasantly than I would’ve admitted by how dimly lit the whole church was. This was a very intimate and solemn occasion. Not a showcase for pop-rock church ballads churned out by whatever Australian church band was hottest at the time. Even as a young boy I never could quite reconcile the God of the Bible with the raucous performances put on by the bands on Sunday morning. Surely God wasn’t here for this, or if He was He must have earplugs in. But in this place now…In the smoky darkness with the quiet chanting of scripture swimming through the sacred space like incense itself…yes here, I thought to myself. Immediately a scripture was quickened in my mind:

“And Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.”

Indeed, God could be here. I felt the elderly woman tug at my wrist:

“Look here!” She quietly whispered as she pointed upwards to the walls of the cathedral.

In the dimly lit Church building were the faces and figures of many men, women and children of centuries gone by. Some held crosses, others were actors in various scenes some of which I recognized from scripture. So many faces. So many stories.

“You see? They are here with us. They are not gone. They are not dead. They are always worshiping God and we join with them. We pray for their help because they have become what we want to be. They love us and we here love them.”

I smiled at her and nodded as we settled in for the rest of the service. She was a pious lady and it was admirable, sure, but I had my apologetics neatly lined up like walls around the castle of my mind. Still…I found myself in a maelstrom of new experiences. A perfect storm brewed up by her childlike devotion, the otherworldly music, and ethereal atmosphere of this place all under the watchful eyes of these “Saints” looking down on us. On me. It was enough to shake my intellectual framework by the roots.

I went home that evening with a million new things on my mind. The totality of this new experience was more than I bargained for as a mildly interested visitor to a historic institution. I came to sight-see in a museum but found a living organism that instead examined me. All this was on my mind as I drifted to sleep.

I awoke to find myself drenched in impossibly white light so bright I feared my eyes would burn out of my head! But I stood up unharmed and noticed a radiant glow pouring out of myself. My clothes were soaked with the light. I heard the powerful roar of a multitude of voices chanting in a language that was foreign and innumerable in dialect yet clear as pure newborn crystal.

“HOLY GOD, HOLY MIGHTY, HOLY IMMORTAL HAVE MERCY ON US”

I looked up to see the source of the voices and saw what appeared to be shining stars greater in number than all the stars in the universe swirling in a vortex of ecstasy and praise for the Holy Trinity. I found myself being lifted and floating up to meet the stars and found they were not stars but people. Glorified men and women with new bodies glowing as my own was glowing. When they gazed at me I saw endless depths of love and devotion for Christ I did not think possible in man. This love and devotion was being offered up to Christ and in turn He poured perfected Love out like hot fantastic blood to all of us in an endless cascade of perfection. Amidst the furious flurry of heavenly worship swirling about in a violently holy tempest one brilliant shining star flew to me. I recognized her immediately.

“Euphemia!”

“We are not dead. We are alive and we are with you.”

I shot up in bed in an instant breathing heavy gulps of air and wiping the sweat from my forehead. Panting, I whispered to myself in the dead of night:

“I need an icon.”

-CL Fuqua

Updates!

Sorry for the absence as of late! To all 3 of you who actually read these poems/stories. I have been reading and trying to finish a book with the little free time I have and finally did yesterday. It was “The King of Elfland’s Daughter” by Lord Dunsany. He is the father of modern fantasy/world-building and inspired many of the greats such as Tolkien, Lovecraft etc etc. Highly recommend checking out his works which are all available in the public domain for free. I very much enjoyed this book and its unique take on magic, elvish lore, and fantasy as a whole. His prose is absolutely stunning. Enough about that though! I will presently be returning to creating more sub-par poetry/fiction for your viewing displeasure! 🙂

Winter’s call

With the Winter’s chill raging like a river untamed

I shake off the lethargy of Summer’s bane

What awakens inside ascends as frost bitten breath

Manifesting as life to some and to others as death

The wintry mood is feared for its extremes of deprivation and despair

Yet its forceful hyperborean dwellers are beautiful beyond compare

I have seen your sunny skies and blossoming flowers all buzzing with life’s delight and I have found their monotonous heat to be wanting and alas a dreadful fright

I approach to blow all of it away leaving not a single sunlit summer’s trace

Once I have done my dark magical work it will be an icy land, a mystical place

May the ancient power of this glacial season exude all its bitterly cold might

And strip Summer of its sweltering decadence banishing it out of sight

Rising from its frigid and icy throne doth Winter come to call

Beckoning mankind to ponder death shivering, one and all

-CL Fuqua

Vespers

Cold wind flows past the dying trees in streams

Taking the last leaves swiftly followed by moonbeams

It is on darkening cobblestone paths that we tread

Out of the approaching night’s bosom and dread

To the tolling of bells do we steadfastly approach

The serpent of old slithers along offering reproach

Never mind his venomous words spun like a web to ensnare

Only fear the Spirit and enter His House with sins laid bare

Crossing reverently as the tall wooden doors tower overhead

Chilling wind howls for you to turn back and retire home instead

Pushing open the doors the sights, smells, and sounds overtake you

Chanting, incense, and candlelit icons drench the soul to remake you

You worship in the warmth and safety of the Holy Church

In here your soul’s quest for meaning can end its search

Within the Church alone does worship in spirit and truth abound

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses are we truly found

-CL Fuqua

The Daemon Slep

It comes to me in the night watches. I hear its bellowing ragged cloak whipping in the wind as it advances towards me, its helpless victim. Like a dove overtaken by a predatory hawk mid-flight am I viciously thrashed apart by its preternatural claws. A very select few in our world of Terra know of this beast even though its malevolent presence visits every living soul that still dwells in a body. It is only we who struggle against its sinister machinations that come to be made aware of its true personality. Of its name.

Slep the Daemon of night first appeared in my troubled 20’s. Not troubled in any delinquent sense, quite the contrary, I was overburdened with my work and career and it was costing me sound night’s rest for nearer week’s at a time. I was never the sharpest knife in the drawer but a hard work ethic was instilled in me from an early age. My colleagues surely didn’t appreciate my titanic efforts at the time but such is my lot. As I said I was missing consistent full night’s sleep for weeks at a time and it finally caught up to me… Late one night I was in a groggy and dreamlike state as one often is when rest-deprived, rubbing my eyes while seated at my desk when strange things began occurring. The lamp’s yellow light flickered in quick rapid succession and for some reason the hairs on the back of my neck stood upright. I felt as though I were not alone in my bedroom. I was hesitant to move as one often is when seized by anxiety and slowly turned my head around towards my bed and could see out of my peripheral vision a clear and contrasting sight in the room. A dark and what seemed like hunched over figure was behind the head-rest of my bed. Its blackness held a cold aura that is almost futile to try and describe beyond what I have. Against the yellow light of the weakening lamp and the off-white walls of the room its shadowy dark visage stood out more brilliantly than a full moon in cloudless night. I jerked completely around frightened of what was to follow but there was nothing! Just my bed and the bland wall behind my bed’s head-board. The lamp’s dimming light brightened back to its normal strength at this moment and I rubbed my eyes as I turned back to my desk to continue the evening’s work.

You must understand it was not as if I avoided a good night’s rest on a regular basis. Not as I do now… No, it was just that work enveloped my time and when not working I had precious few hours left to play and play is what I most often elected to do. I succumbed to the occasional day nap to be sure but nothing like a restful evening of deep dream wanderings. Those dream wanderings which bring that wretched Daemon Slep its minacious delights. It was a mere two days after the first occurrence that I met “it.” I was again busy working at my desk when I decided to move to the bed for a more comfortable position. Sitting my pillow against the head-board vertically I sat back against it with my laptop on the lap of my outstretched legs. It predictably didn’t take long at all for drowsiness to slam against my eyes like a sledgehammer. The door to the hallway was half opened letting light spill in and mingle with the artificial glow of my laptop’s screen when once again they began flickering and dimming. Both at the same time so I knew it wasn’t merely a weakening bulb or malfunction of the computer. I shook my head and rubbed my eyes as I prepared to get up and see what was going on in the rest of the house when I suddenly froze in place on the bed. I had looked to the cracked doorway leading to the hall when the hunched-over cloaked Daemon that, to my dread, had been leaning over the side of the door frame staring at me quickly moved out of sight!

“Who’s there!?” I yelled out in a panic which made my voice crack a bit.

No answer. The lights still flickering.

“I’m calling the police!! I have a knife! Come near me and I’ll kill you!!”

No answer. But then suddenly I heard a thud and then clacking and scraping. I didn’t know what was happening until horrifyingly it dawned on me the insidious creature had dropped low to the floor and was crawling into my bedroom! I stood up on the bed holding my laptop ready to smash it into whatever was assailing me but I couldn’t see anything around my bedroom floor. Just as I was getting ready to jump off and make a run for it the hallway light extinguished itself and my hopes with it. I let out a whimper not knowing what else I could do when I felt the cold wet alien fingers of the abominable being grab my ankle! I shrieked and screamed yanking my leg but it had already let go causing me to collapse over the side of the bed onto the ground. I couldn’t see anything in the darkness but it sounded as if my laptop was definitely broken in the fall. I clasped a hand on the side of the bed and turned to see two wide bulging eyes shimmering white in the pitch blackness. Eerily human looking eyes but inhumanly large and so so gaping wide as if in a perpetual state of mania or on the verge of striking. They stared at me from under the bed. Nothing but those white eyes visible. I think I died inside then. Perhaps I lost some years off my life. I am not ashamed to admit I fainted. It was the first time in my life and it was well warranted.

I came to 14 hours later by my best estimation. When there are deep lines along your body and slobber along your face and matted in your hair you know you’ve been out for a while. I blinked and picked the sleep out of my eyes and to my chagrin the laptop was in pieces. But as I picked it up all the previous night’s horrors came flooding back to me! I dropped the laptop and gathered my things in a hurried rush out the door. I asked to stay at a friend’s for the night saying something about fumigation I think. Certainly not that a shadowy demon was terrorizing my own place at night. Work was on hold indefinitely until I could get a new computer and transfer the files from my flash drive which was still at my place. So that evening as my friend was getting ready for bed I was reading a book from his collection when before I knew it, an hour had passed! I looked at my watch which said “1:14 am” and was getting up to to retire in the guest room when I heard a violent rustling as if a heavy cape was flapping in the wind! Then a thud! It was coming from the master bedroom… I quickly made my way to my friend’s room calling out his name but his door was closed. I softly knocked calling his name again but still no answer. I slowly turned the knob and let the door creak open but it was so very dark. Just then like a hideous revelation I perceived the same hunched and raggedly cloaked figure crouched over my friend with his slick and shiny wet fingers tightly grasping his head. It was gazing with those wide bulging malevolent eyes at my friend’s face as he lay there in a paralytic slumber! I gasped involuntarily and it jerked its gruesome hooded face to me and stared at me with the same unblinking expression. The same one it had burned in my mind the previous night when it lurked about my room! It didn’t move. It stayed crouching gripping my friends face while staring at me intensely. I couldn’t move for what felt like eternity before I started backing away slowly without thinking. I must find a weapon of some kind! I looked around and found a baseball bat he had in a utility closet! I ran back to the master bedroom but it was gone! My friend lay there alone, snoring away. I went back to the recliner in the main living room to ponder the events that had come crashing uninvited into my life. I did not sleep that night and I did not let go of the bat.

I did not mention the night’s events to my friend because he did not seem to me altered in any way and I was confident he would not believe such a wild story anyhow. But I had to research what was happening and discover if at all possible the origins of this infernal phantom. I acquired a new laptop and began scouring all the dark, dingy, macabre corners of the internet I could find looking up anyone who may have heard legends of such a creature. The research was feverish and consumed me. Work had texted, emailed and called several times but damn them I had more important things to contemplate! I sent an email referencing leave of absence and left it at that. Maybe I’d have a job by the time I had rid myself of this malady or maybe not. Either way I had one singular task ahead of me. For all the online junk, bad fiction, creepy pastas, etc that I had unfortunately crammed down my beleaguered brain it was a forum on sleep paralysis that had been my salvation. Several people referenced the usual apparitions associated with this phenomenon such as dark silhouette figures, aliens, demons etc etc but a few people made reference to a women several years back who ended up in the news in her sleepy coastal town in Maine. She had become something of a cautionary tale among the sleep paralysis community. This woman in her mid 30’s with no history of mental health issues one night set fire to her house burning her husband and 4 children alive. She was arrested and after observation declared mentally unfit for trial where she was committed to a institution. She made constant references to a hooded and cloaked demonic figure with bulging eyes stalking her family at night but these were passed off as the deranged ramblings of a mad woman. However, for me the similarities were striking indeed. I inquired further about where she was committed and made plans to travel to New England’s infamous asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts.

Since the horrible incident several years back she had shown no signs of violence and besides her ravings could be rather docile. This led to my being able to visit with her under light supervision. We were in the common area with other patients and I was seated across from her at a table when I leaned in whispering about the “demon that comes at night” and her eyes widened with terror. To my relief though she did not lose control causing an abrupt end to our session. She leaned forward also and whispered “Daemon.”

“It’s called Daemon Slep. Demon is too new.”

“Tell me, miss! I need to know how to stop it from coming to me and my friends.”

“I tried” she weakly groaned with tears beginning to form in her eyes. “I tried to burn it alive but I burned everything else! Every ONE else!”

The guard near the door to the common area had begun to take notice.

“Yes and I’m truly sorry. But now its after me. I don’t know what to do!”

“It’s after us all. Don’t you know that? It still comes to me and everyone in this goddamn madhouse.”

“What? How is that possible? Are there more of them!?”

She began laughing in a mix of bemusement and frustration probably at my complete lack of awareness. “There’s only the Daemon Slep.”

“How do you know its name?”

“It told me. The night I…..of the fire. It spoke to me. I knew then what I had to do. It’ll tell you too. I don’t know if you can kill it. But if you want a chance you have to wait for it to take someone else. That’s all I have to say about this, please leave.”

I wanted to continue but seeing that she was thoroughly finished speaking I rose from the table, offered my condolences to her family and left that foggy town of Arkham headed back home.

The plans were quite simple I’d make up some other excuse to stay the night at my friends place and just as before it would make its appearance and while it was doing its work on my friend I would kill it or die trying. The tool was already at his place. Louisville Slugger. Made for one thing; beating the hell out of whatever was in front of it. That night as we each retired to our rooms I came back out into the living area and sat down with the bat just watching and waiting. It was probably a quarter past 12 when I heard that wind-flapped billowing of its wretched black cloak and the dreaded thud of a very real presence in my friend’s room.

“Okay, there’s no time to hesitate, don’t stare at it, don’t let it get away.”

I was trying to inspire supernatural courage within myself and finally arose. I approached the door cautiously. No sound from inside the room. I carefully twisted the knob as before and let it creak open enough to see it. There in all its maligned glory crouched over my friend with its hideously long shiny black fingers it dripped viscous dark fluids all over my friend’s face as it squeezed its palms over his eyes. Those unblinking bulging white eyes were transfixed on my friend. The Daemon’s concentration was like nothing I had ever seen before. Something not even the strongest of illicit stimulants could induce in a human being. I was involuntarily squeezing the handle of the bat so hard sweat was pooling inside my palms. I glanced down at my hands for a second and looked back up to see the wretched Daemon staring at me with its ghastly gaze! As if it had been peering into me the whole time as well. “Don’t hesitate” I whispered, and barged in!

Swinging the bat violently downward in the darkness of that room it met with a satisfying *crack* as the Daemon’s hands were stretched out to defend itself. I swung mercilessly cracking it in the face several times and then the body as it writhed around over my friend! A gurgling wheezing was emitting from it as it struggled to breathe and then it vanished out of sight leaving just me and my friend! I turned to the door and flipped on the light which greeted me with an image so nauseating and repellent I shall never sleep soundly again. The bed sheets and blanket were scattered about the floor and my friend’s beaten and mangled body lay twisted on his mattress with blood pooling around his face. One of his eyes was knocked clear out of his skull and he choked and coughed up a pathetic glob of blood and teeth as he turned his one good eye up to me like a frightened and confused child. I dropped the blood-soaked bat and rushed to him frantically looking for a phone to call an ambulance but he was already breathing his last. I collapsed into a sobbing heap on the floor of his bedroom with his fresh blood all over my clothes and hands.

Time as a construct had become a faded concept to me but if I had to guess I would say it was maybe an hour after I had been crying next to the mutilated corpse of my friend that it came back. It just seemed to creep back into the visible spectrum out of its nether nothingness. The light’s flickered as it perched over my friend’s body and looked down on me from on top of the bed. Its coldness was more apparent then ever before and I swear I saw my own breath as I examined its features. The cloak was well past worn and was tattered scraps yet concealed every inch of the Daemon’s body besides its face and hands. Those long fingers hung a good 10 inches each dripping that shiny black liquid all over the mattress as it stood hunched over motionless. Its face was a pale sickly gray shrouded by the hood it wore but by far the most strikingly disturbing feature were those great grotesque bulging white eyes leering lifelessly without end. It peered at me or rather INTO me for hours. It didn’t move. Didn’t change expression. Just stared. While I sat defeated on the floor against the wall, tear-stained and blood-soaked.

Finally I hoarsely croaked “Who are you? What do you want?”

It didn’t move or make a sound. Just stared…

“Please…I have nothing. Why did you do this?!”

Staring…

“Answer me!! “WHAT ARE YOU?! WHAT ARE YOU?!!”

A guttural sound like squeezing wet sandy rocks together in your palms emitted from it like regurgitated waste. The sound seemed to splatter all over the walls, the floor, the furniture, my friend, me… It spewed until it filled up the room like a septic tank overflowing with stinking refuse. It was just a word:

“SLEP.”

I had covered my mouth so the sound wouldn’t enter me and I gaped at it wide-eyed with horrible fright as it uttered this single name of preternatural and ancient eldritch terror.

In in an instant it was flying at me with its outstretched dripping fingers and lidless white eyes until only blackness enveloped me!

Only that Daemon Slep.

So should you find yourself resisting that creeping and stalking urge to rest, your sense for its presence may be awakened. You may find yourself burning the midnight oil and rubbing your eyes to stay awake. But take care dear reader, for one night when you rub your eyes you may open them to see that Daemon Slep watching you from the corner of your vision as the lights flicker on and off…

-CL Fuqua