I have a story to tell. I hope you’ll find it in your heart to listen. In a way, it’s all that I have left, my story that is, and all I could ask for is someone to hear it. So please, light a candle, pour a cup of tea, and open your mind because what I’m going to tell you will be difficult to believe. I wouldn’t believe it myself if it weren’t happening to me.
Oh you caught that didn’t you? Happening to me, as in present tense, as in I’m currently enduring my unfortunate situation as opposed to my telling about it in retrospect.
So here’s my tale. I promise to keep it short, since I don’t have much time left.
I am a writer, of sorts, wallowing in the dense purgatory others of my creative ilk are generally stuck in. I used to muse to myself (and others when the mood suited me) that it was my curse, my affliction, to assign my thoughts and dreams (and nightmares) to paper. It is a hollow occupation fraught with critical barbs from both editors and readers alike. Believe me when I tell you how disheartening it can be when something that you had poured your heart and soul into is dismissed as merely another fragment of poor writing technique or lackluster character development.
Anyway, I am a writer. Speculative fiction is my forte, particularly dark fiction with heavy slants towards horror and science fiction. I suppose I gravitated towards my literary idols so to speak: Lovecraft, Beirce, Derleth, ect.
Approximately six months ago I started to pen a rather unique tale concerning a young man who accidentally stumbles upon a dusty old book while rummaging through the attic space of his newly acquired house. He uncovers a curious looking box, and when he opens it he discovers the tome. And after safely procuring the item, he delves into its contents with relish.
But he could hardly make heads or toes of the frayed, yellowed pages within, nor glean any useful information from them. It seemed the book was written in some bizarre, nearly indecipherable language, slightly similar to Latin, but much more primitive. Certain passages seemed to be penned by something other than human hands.
The dark implications that the book presented were not lost on the young man, so he decided to abolish it to where he had originally uncovered it from. And when the book was resting back in its long-forgotten space the young man tired mightily to move on with his life.
Pardon me for a moment. I had a nagging thought that the door was not properly bolted. I can hear them outside the room you know. They grunt and scrape up against the door, their foul odor seeping through the cracks and into the room, tainting my senses with their loathsomeness.
Again I am distracted. I apologize. I must hurry however or my most unfortunate tale will never be heard.
So, as I was saying, the young man goes about his life, putting his unusual discovery behind him. But the book would not be denied. It did not want to be forgotten. It lodged itself firmly within the young man’s mind, refusing to be cast aside, demanding to be acknowledged.
I fear my time is nearly up. The barrier between myself and the frightening impossibility pursuing me is approaching its breaking point. The hinges bend within their notches. The frame splinters. The door bulges from unnatural pressure. Something is trying mightily to gain entry and I, like the door itself, am powerless to stop it. I know the book is behind it somehow, which is why I suppose I chose to write a story about it. It was a fascinating subject, (although a very dangerous one), and I just couldn’t resist using it.
But the price was very high indeed.
With each passing minute I can actually sense another piece of my past slipping away, being extracted from me by the book. Soon I fear what is left of my past shall catch up with me and then…
There are other versions of myself outside the door. Each dark moment in my life, my past, has somehow been ensnared by the book and distorted to monstrous proportions, obvious in intent and determined to find me. The book is using my past to reach me. Exactly why I cannot answer, but what I am fairly certain of is that when it does catch up to me I will simply be no more. After all, what is a man other than the sum of his experiences, his memories, his past?
The door is buckling. The hinges coming apart. I can hear the…the things growing violently impatient. The book is commanding their movements.
You see, as you may well have guessed by now, I was the young man in my story. I was the one who made that terrible discovery. I wrote a non-fiction piece and laced it with fiction, I suppose to cushion those bad memories I had from that experience.
I imagine I also wrote it so my ordeal could be heard, understood by someone, anyone, who would listen to it. I do not wish to be remembered as a lunatic.
And now that you’ve heard it you can see the predicament I’m in. Surely you’ll understand, and I hope, believe.
Have I mentioned that you look strangely familiar to me?
I know! Approximately six months ago. The pen and paper in your…your hand are dead giveaways. I should have guessed. I didn’t recognize you at first due to those fangs. They must be quite a nuisance, jutting out of your mouth as they do. And those eyes. Red does become me somewhat I must admit.
How appropriate for one to meet their fate at the hands, or should I say the claws, of oneself.
"The Man With No Past"
Copyright: © 2010 Rick McQuiston
Rick McQuiston is a forty-two year-old father of two who loves anything horror related. He's had over 200 publications so far and recently started his first novel, a zombie tale tentatively titled TO SEE AS A GOD SEES. He's written four anthology books and one book of novellas, which are available on Lulu and Amazon. He's also a guest author each year at Memphis Junior High School, and am editing and contributing to an anthology of Michigan authors called MICHIGAN MADMEN. His website is manymidnights.webs.com .