Chloe of the Night
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by Keith Kekic
Category: Dark Fantasy/Horror
Description: Return to me and the streets will run red with blood. They thought I was crazy. They told me it was all in my head. For years I believed them. Then I found a note, and a blade, and I now realize that although I turned my back to the night, it never turned its back on me. It just keeps calling, calling me back. We called ourselves nightwalkers. Together we ruled the night, alone I broke us apart. I now search for them in the darkness, their shining green eyes, their shining silver blades, but I find nothing but empty streets bathed in moonlight, and the lonely cry of crickets. What has become of them? My question is perhaps answered by the sight of our old enemies. They call themselves Legion. They walk on our streets, hellfire eyes as crimson as their blades. I also see others, freaks, degenerates roaming the darkness. The night has changed, and not for the better. I need to find her. The girl I gave my sanity for. Maybe she is out there somewhere, waiting for me once again. She is my only hope for redemption. She is perhaps the last of her kind. She is Chloe of the night. Excerpt: "Keep going," Chloe blurted, and they ran on. The strange man took a step away from the fire as they came towards him. The sleeves of his shirt hung in ribbons around his rail thin wrists. A bony finger pointed at them. Chloe and Sarah ran as fast as they could, veering away from the man in the tattered clothing. The untamed land to their right was too thick to trample down beneath their shoes, creating a wall that enclosed them in with him, trapping them together. Chloe saw him coming for them in slow motion. The fabric swayed from his body. The mask was caked with grime, split at the bottom, revealing a wide open mouth. The remains of his teeth were in worse shape than the garage and shed they had just left behind. The fire crackled and popped behind him, throwing him into a wed of shadows. The bony finger swept at them. Chloe pushed herself as hard as she could. The man reached out for them, laughing. He was right beside them, so much quicker than she'd imagined. Chloe gasped, smelled the stink of him. She kept her eyes straight ahead, on their goal, their escape. She thought she felt the heat of his breath on her cheek, and then his finger gently brushed the skin on the back of her neck as they glided by, making her scream, and chills race down her spine. Chloe turned and saw him still reaching out for her as the glow of the cops flashlight ignited in the distance. Chloe looked ahead and saw a patch of trees before them, separating this little plot from the rest of the street. Then she looked back once more, and saw no sign of the tattered man. The fire burned and smoked. The little animal roasted. In the depths of the foliage she thought she saw him making his way through the rough terrain, going deeper and deeper into the darkness.
eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Damnation Books, 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: September 2011
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [475 KB]
Reading time: 304-426 min.
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We Only Come Out At Night
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Tears ran down Chloe's face, dripping onto hands that would one day cut down her enemies with a blade of silver. Those same hands trembled and shook, as if dying on her lap. Her eyes were blurry with tears. Above her stood a tall, angular man with his arms crossed over his chest, head cocked to the side like a curious bird. The blurred vision transformed him into something inhuman and sinister. He appeared as a devil attempting to hide in the realm of man, but unable to truly disguise his form. He wiped at his whiskers, staring down at her with a face of no real distinction or detail. The devil in disguise told her, "You just be ready for tomorrow night."
The sting of his slap slowly faded from her cheek, a reminder of what was in store for her if she disobeyed him. She shivered, rocked back and forth, staring up at him with red, shiny eyes.
"What's tomorrow?" she asked.
The devil man tilted his head back and grunted out, "Got some of the boys comin' over. You be on your best behavior ya hear? Then everything will be fine."
He walked away, leaving her alone with her tears.
"Chloe?" Her mother called out in a tone of frazzled bewilderment, as if she could pretend it all away. Chloe shook her head and curled up on the old couch that stank of cigarettes and God knows what else. It wasn't like her mother did not understand what went on down here in the basement when the music was turned on high and lights down low. It had been going on for a long time, so long that Chloe could not recall the last time she felt safe in her own home. Shuffling footsteps came down the stairs, representing her mother wrapped up in a night gown no doubt, probably puffy eyed with fatigue.
Chloe glanced over towards the stairs and saw her suspicions confirmed as her Mom appeared before her, practically hatched from Chloe's imagination. The gown swished on the floor, white and long and something a phantom would wear, which was suiting because sometimes Chloe thought of her mother as such, a ghost of her former self, sapped of beauty and kindness by years of personal neglect and abuse.
"What are you doing down here?" she asked her teary-eyed daughter.
Chloe almost told her Fighting off your husband, but thought better of it. Mom would never defend Chloe from him, nor would she ever cross him. Once upon a time she stood up to the devil man for forcing Chloe to wash the dishes with a sprained wrist, and once upon a time had taken a coffee cup to the face. So much for happily ever after.
The lack of care or concern in her mother's eyes bothered Chloe far more than the devil man's bullshit. They were so complete in their denial that it drove the final nail home in Chloe's tortured prison. If her mother obeyed blindly, then there could be no hope, for there was nobody on Chloe's side, nobody to talk to. She was alone, trapped in a prison cleverly disguised as a home.
Mother's once beautiful face was cracked and drawn like leather. The lines around her mouth deepened when she fake smiled, as if a sculptor chiseled at her face, showing the true form hidden beneath the mockery of a caring expression. "I love you Chloe," she said, sounding hollow and weightless. The sixteen year old with the watery dark eyes only nodded, accepting it for what it was worth. She then rested her head on her mom's shoulder, wishing that she believed her. They stayed that way for quite some time, locked together in an almost embrace in that doomed, damned basement.
Finally they released, and Chloe's mother became a phantom again, ascending the stairs in a white whirl of swishing fabric. Immediately she heard the devil man yell at her, and they started arguing over who smoked the last cigarette. Chloe nestled into the body odor stinking couch and covered her ears. The world became quiet. Her eyes fell closed and the world became dark.
She awakened in the pitch black of night. No windows allowed in the faintest of light from outside. It was like waking in a tomb, so dark and cold. The last time she fell asleep in the basement she had woken to the devil man running his hands over her legs. She had kicked at him and tried to squirm away, but that only sparked his lust, making him grunt and mutter to himself. So, she just held still as he roamed over her, crying into an old pillow. Then he lost interest and went upstairs to fuck her mom. She heard them going at it, and Chloe wondered if there was anything lying around sharp enough to sever her veins.
This particular night she was pleased to find herself alone in the basement. She let out a long sigh, and wondered how long until copping the occasional feel wasn't enough for him. Sooner or later he would rape her, or at least attempt to, and Chloe stifled the tears before they started. She refused to cry anymore. At least not tonight.
A hopeless tide washed over her, sweeping those other feelings away like the sands of a beach. Perhaps that same tide washed away her mother's personality and vigor long ago.
"Please God, please help me. I can't live like this anymore."
The darkness around her was so complete, so overwhelming, that she could not help but see the connotations it represented. The black nothingness of the basement was like the oblivion her life had turned into. She was both here and nowhere at the same time. She had no home, just this place, this dark abyss.
Slowly Chloe stood, making as little noise as possible in fear of drawing the devil man's attention. Her hands swept the darkness for the tableside lamp. The ridiculous nineteen eighties decor flashed to blinding life before her eyes, burning its image into her retinas. The house was last updated sometime in the heyday of hair metal, and looked, smelled and felt old, cheap. The couch was set off near the far side of the room, leaving a good piece of the center room wide open, so the men could watch her as she served them in whatever way the devil man saw fit.
The devil man made much of his money from hosting poker nights in the basement. His friends were actually card players looking for some action, and not just from the tables it seemed. It began with her simply bringing the guys drinks. Once they got a look at Chloe, she became the main attraction. At first she thought it was kind of fun, chatting up the guys, bringing them a beer or whatever, but then the devil man started making her dress like a "showgirl" as he called it, although no self respecting showgirl sauntered around in the hand me down slut outfits he picked up for her at the local goodwill store.
Lately he wanted her to dance for them. In other words, strip. She did as he asked, afraid of the consequences awaiting her and mom if she refused, but she had yet to strip down for them all the way. She wouldn't do it, ever. They stared at her like starving animals sizing up an injured prey. It made Chloe sick, just thinking about it. Sooner or later he would hurt her really bad for disobeying him.
Her stomach burned. Chloe wondered if she was too young for ulcers. At least she hadn't been fucked yet. That was something to be proud of. She let out a cynical laugh and repeated aloud, "God, please." Familiar streams ran down her face. She grew weak and realized that within a year she might very well carry his child in her if she did not escape this place of darkness.
She envisioned herself allowing him inside of her, staring dully at the ceiling, oblivious to the pain and humiliation that once kept her angry and fighting, but now was nothing more than a fossil of its former self, sucked dry of life and left an empty husk. More than anything she feared becoming that zombie girl, physically alive, yet mentally and spiritually dead to the world. Devil man wanted that more than anything, a play thing who would keep her mouth shut and do whatever he asked.
"I want to die," she whispered, and picked a half smoked cigarette out of the ashtray. A lighter with the eloquent script, 'It's not the strength, it's not the size, it's how many times you can make it rise' stenciled into it, did its required task, regardless of how tacky it looked. She held in the smoke and let it out her nose like a dragon's breath. Then she walked upstairs to the kitchen, always quiet and careful not to take on the devil man's attention. The door squeaked on its hinges and Chloe stiffened, freezing solid. She waited for a few seconds, heard nothing, and then stepped into the kitchen. The sound of mother and the devil man snoring filtered in from the bedroom, reassuring her that nobody would bother her any more tonight. The off white kitchen took in the moonlight, and the exhalation of smoke became like a silver cloud floating before her. The nicotine head rush caused her to lean against the electric stove, sustaining her balance. She only smoked on occasion, so when she did, her head spun like a top.
Another drag, and she let the cigarette rest between her lips, bobbing up and down as she walked over to the kitchen window. The view of the backyard was blocked by a pair of yellowed curtains that stunk of tobacco. Chloe swept them away and saw a small sliver of the night, just a glimpse of her backyard, but it was enough to peak her interest, to give her pause. It looked so quiet and mysterious, bathed in the light of the moon. The grass was neither covered in shadow nor the familiar greenish hue of the daylight hours. It looked like a blanket of silver mesh strewn across the yard. The far off bushes were gloomy and patterned with disparate angles of darkness. Free of most of their leaves and foliage they became jagged skeletons of long dead creatures. The night brought the yard to new life, creating a gothic wonderland outside of her window, both lonely and beautiful.
The high wood fence surrounding the yard framed it in a deep darkness. The fence was imposing and taller than she recalled, looking like the gates of an old, abandoned fortress. Chloe smiled. It looked so peaceful and lonesome out there, just the way she liked it. No devil man, no mother to let her down, just the creatures of the night, and that glorious moon shining high above. Chloe dropped the remnants of the cigarette into the sink and listened for any sign of her kin emerging from the deep slumber of the drunk and lazy. The snores and uneven deep breaths assured her of her privacy, so she tiptoed back into the hallway leading to the basement, but this time turned left and faced the back door. Heart picking up its pace, she placed her hand on the cool brass doorknob and gulped, took in a deep breath of air. The knob turned slowly, clicking gently, not loud enough to be heard by the devil man or her mother.
Chloe pulled the door open. Cool night air washed over her, chilling her. She gasped, breathing it in deeply, purifying her lungs with its dewy scent. An electric charge ran through her as if dormant cells in her body suddenly fired to life. She opened her eyes and smiled, stepping out into the night.