(CS: Long time readers on this site know that I used to write some random fiction pieces on here because why wouldn't I? At the beginning of November in 2010, I wrote this odd and bizarre short story that I packaged as an excerpt to a novel that I'll never write or publish. At the time, I wanted to write a scary short story for Halloween but then talked myself out of it from fear of rejection.
Instead, I crafted something that was goofy and not really trying to be 'serious fiction.' It also grabbed a decent audience, but I never really tried a longer narrative story on the site again. I do want to start trying some more creative writing on here like I used to. As some may know, I've been threatening to start a serialized story on here that will arrive at some point this year. If you ever wanted to know what a fiction piece would be like from me. . . well, this is a thing I wrote.)
It had been a bad month for Crave Tatterson, and the pick ax wielding squirrels outside his house were probably going to make it worse. If this was even 10 days ago, Crave may have been bewildered by the sight of seemingly mutant squirrels carrying sharp pick axes. At this point, it just fit in with the rest of the strangeness in his newly adopted town of Hollow Creeps. A place he now wished he paid a little more attention to the name of, because he realize one couldn't really expect a normal existence in a town plagued by such a B horror movie like name. And even if the town didn't strike him as eerie, then the business that hired him out of blue, Darkness Prevails Corp, probably should have.
It was only ten days ago that a pitch black (blacker than any eclipse or darker than if you put on the tightest blindfold) package was found shoved into Crave's mailbox after he went for one of his increasingly more regular walks. The package had a orange sticker with the printed words, "Darkness Prevails Corp: Where Your Soul Is Important To Us, 666 Dreary Lane, Hollow Creeps, IL." Crave had no idea why he had received this package, or even how it had been delivered since there was no postmark. In retrospect, maybe these should have been questions he explored more deeply, but his emotional state had been assaulted by symbolic flaming sticks of fury, and now he just wanted something that would give him hope and peace.
A month ago, things were going really well for Crave. He was engaged to the love of his life, Penny Lestat, who was the dark haired beauty with the most red and voluptuous lips he'd ever seen. He had his 2 year old husky, Frankie, that had so much energy and life that Crave started to feel like a young boy when he was around him. He was the 'ace' programmer at the growing and thriving software company, BlizTech, and felt he was only days a way from being offered the position of the head overseer of all the company's products. Crave felt he was on the top of the world, and the only place he could go was heaven. Unfortunately, Crave forgot that there was another direction he could go, and he realized now he probably should have remember the saying about what goes up.
Crave had a long 13 hour day at work, but he knew it was worth it because it would assist in his promotion, and he eagerly anticipated spending a night with his gorgeous fiance. When he arrived home, he was greeted by a letter nailed to his door. Well, he wasn't actually greeted by the letter, because letters didn't do such things in the city of Clashfield -- but he'd eventually learn that wasn't a hard and fast rule for all communities. The only odd thing about this letter was that it was nailed to his door, since with a mailbox, such a thing was not a very common practice in 2010. The contents of the letter were odd at the time, but also extremely simple in their prose. "Going out with Milk. Bye, Penny." At that exact moment, Crave assumed Penny meant 'for' rather than 'with', and 'love' instead of 'bye.' Crave guessed she may have been distracted by her knitting and sewing and stitching and crafting of her Cyclops plush dolls, which were not only her main hobby but the item she was selling in her fledgling home business. She was hoping the Cyclops plush doll business would catch, and she would be the main beneficiary since to her and Crave's knowledge, she was on the only one actually in that specific market. It was also done as a tribute to her father who could only see out of one eye, because the other was covered by an eye patch. This wasn't because the eye actually needed to be, but rather because her father was under the misapprehension that he only had one, thus felt the need to cover up what he felts was a gruesome empty socket (it wasn't though).
When Penny's father, Silver Lestat, was a boy, he used to have a pet parrot named Keats. Silver adored the parrot and would spend numerous hours with him. During this time, Silver had trained Keats to eat cracker pieces off of Silver's nose. It would have been an entertaining party trick if the Lestat family actually had any friends, and Silver didn't spend his entire time talking to a parrot. One day, Lestat was feeding Keats crackers off his nose (as he did every Saturday afternoon), when he suddenly heard a loud crashing noise outside his door. This caused Silver to quickly turn his head, and thus forced Keats to miss the mark of the nose and get the left eye instead. Silver assumed his eye has only been poked (which it had), so he grasped his eye and ran out of his room to see what the bang was. It was there that Silver saw three overweight otters sprawled on the floor beside three mangled unicycles. Silver's father had dreams of being a Carnie and felt having unicycle riding otters would be his ticket in. Unfortunately, at this point they were only otters that fell off and destroyed unicycles, which was far less impressive.
Silver was nonplussed by the situation, and decided it was better to return to his room with his buddy Keats. It was there that he saw Keats was munching away at what seemed like a small and squishy ball. Silver immediately jumped to the conclusion that his eye was not poked, but Keats decided to pluck it out. Of course, Silver was ignoring the fact there was a giant bowl of grapes beside the bed, and the Parrot decided to have a snack since he failed to get the cracker off his master's nose. Silver decided to ignore such evidence, and was convinced from that day forth that his eye most definitely was gone. Nobody could convinced him otherwise since he was convinced they only were feeding him lies in order to make him feel better, even his own reflection in the mirror told him untruths in order to help him cope without his eye.
This made Penny rather passionate about the plush Cyclops because she wanted to honour her dad since he was so traumatized for the imagined loss of his eye. She usually got really focused in the creation of them, and that must have been the reason she was so distracted when writing the letter and then proceeding to nail it to the door. Or so, it was what Crave decided to believe at the time. Though his reasoning took a rather large hit when he opened the fridge to see a full jug of milk staring back at him (which again, it wasn't actually staring at him, because that didn't happen in this particular town). Crave wasn't quite sure why Penny would feel the need to keep that jug company by buying a second (especially when it was clear they were all out of orange juice). He decided not to ponder on it too long.
It wasn't until Crave was snuggling in his bed with Frankie, and he had already been home for two hours that he started questioning if Penny has gone out for milk. He started wondering why she capitalized milk, since his Grade 3 teacher told him that wasn't something that needed that treatment. It was then when he started to think that maybe milk wasn't a beverage, but rather a person. More specifically, maybe it was their plumber, Bronson Milk. A very hefty man who also wore an eye patch, but Crave was pretty sure he needed his. It was then that Crave started wondering if Penny's comments of , "I'd like a piece of that," and "I'd totally leave you for him if he showed interest," were not just odd forms of foreplay. Maybe she actually had feelings for Bronson, and more importantly, maybe she had just explored those very feelings this evening.
Crave felt that the letter nailed to his door and her disappearance was not enough evidence, especially since she was his fiance. He decided to give her cell phone a call. He did not reach her, but the out going message did help confirm his suspicions.
"This is Penny Lestat. I'm busy pawning off my engagement ring and making red hot passionate love to my new lover. But if you leave a message, I'll get back to you. Unless you're Crave, I don't want to talk to you. Bye."
In retrospect, Crave didn't handle the end of the relationship in the best fashion. It may have been a bit of overkill to empty the entire liquor cabinet, especially since it made Crave do some rather rash things. It probably wasn't smart heaving all of his own clothes over the Peddington Memorial bridge into the Crass River. It was probably even less smart slashing his own tires and egging his own house. But all those things would not have a long term detrimental effect on Crave. Not like the effect of barging into the home of his boss, Marvin Ludwig Hogstein, at three in the morning and pressing his bare ass against the face of the groggy man's wife, then letting out the most atrocious smelling fart of the century upon her innocent face. That clearly was the worst move by Crave, because that one ensured he would not get promoted. He did get fired though.
It was with a broken heart and a pending assault charge that convinced Crave he would go on a short camping trip to clear his head. It was just Crave and Frankie for a weekend of camping, and some time for Crave to try to make sense of all that just exploded upon his lap. It was in the evening that Crave started feeling really bad for himself, and started to try to curse the possible gods that occupied the skies. He was frustrated in his current luck, and throwing himself a rather huge pity party. Crave's only consolation was that he still had his loyal best friend, Frankie. Though Frankie had apparently been listening closely to Crave's cursing and whining, and realized he was likely too good for Crave's company too. So, Frankie decided to mark his territory on Crave's leg (so, he still knew who really owned him) and then decided it was best trying his luck in the deep woods. Crave was disappointed to see his friend go, but understood why he did it, but he really wished he didn't soil his last remaining pair of pants (as the rest where still taking a leisurely swim down the river).
The month just piled on and on the pure awfulness. He lost his fiance, job, dignity, clothes, dog and house. Though he didn't know about the house until coming back from the camping trip. There he was presented with the site of the city's largest ash heap. It had appeared that his louse of a brother, Johnny, had decided to crash at his place for the weekend (for a change of scenery over his parent's basement). It seems that in lieu of their being ashtrays, that he would use the entire house as a cigarette butt depot. It worked just fine until the drapes decided to take a puff, and the house suddenly got much, much, much warmer. Of course, Johnny informed him that the good news was that he wasn't harmed, but for Crave, that was all a matter of perspective.
It was these events that caused Crave to make walking his new hobby. Because there wasn't much else to do when your home consisted of an ash heap, a mail box and a partly charred garden gnome. It was this walk that he wondered if anything was going to turn out for the better. If there was even a point to seeing how this absurd play that was his life would turn out. It was this walk where he missed how that package got there. He didn't care, because he was ready for any excuse to move on.
It was the package that brought him with no questions asked to Hollow Creeps. He was offered a job at the town's biggest company, Darkness Prevails Corp. The company with the oddest slogan he'd ever read, and he just assumed it was a mistranslation (because he heard the company's main headquarters were somewhere in Romania). What did they mean by, 'Where Your Soul Is Important'? But Crave decided not to ask many questions. Because he was offered a high six figure yearly salary, some big stock options, and even more importantly, a company paid for house. The documents seemed to indicate the job had something to do with computer programming, but his title was the odd,'Soul Harvester'. Again, he just decided that must have been a mistranslation. He quickly signed all the paperwork and within days, found himself in the town of Hollow Creeps.
And now he sort of wished he thought it through a little better.
It wasn't just one thing that made him not really like his new dwellings. It was more of a accumulation of several things. He was expecting to be working in a large office building, but it resembled more a Gothic castle that was equipped with a real life moat that seemed to have some type of shark and crocodile hybrid swimming in it. He had assumed his boss would be regaled in formal wear, but was a little shocked when he greeted him wearing a a black cape (though to be fair, underneath seemed to be some type of suit). Crave had trouble understanding his work, but it might be easier if there wasn't all the screeches and sounds that resembled the screams of people being tortured coming from the locked basement. Do they torture people at other software firms? Crave would probably be able to handle such an odd job, but his neighbourhood was slightly off too. He put out his garbage the night before just like his neighbours told him, but then he was awoken by crashing garbage cans. A massive hairy behemoth, which Crave would call a Sasquatch if it wasn't for the fact he knows they aren't real, wearing a six sizes too small vest was going from curb to curb consuming the garbage left for him. Crave also didn't really like being greeted every morning by the wrinkled, wart infested, old women on the street corner with her screams of, 'I hex you!' It just wasn't how he wanted to kick off his day.
Things were definitely weird here. But Crave realized he couldn't reflect on that for much longer, because the ax wielding squirrels were coming through the door.
This was an excerpt from my hit novel that will never be published or written, Just Another Rough Week In Hollow Creeps. Be sure to get your copy when it comes out, which will be never.