The Super Power of Living.

The Super Power of Living.

What are super powers? Are they real? Can anyone possess them? Let’s get into some facts. The links will be cited below if you’re interested in taking a look at them. Also, DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY OF THESE LISTED ABILITIES AT HOME. SOME ARE INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS AND CAN LEAD TO SEVERE INJURY, AND CAN BE FATAL. Dahlia Blake Productions exercises caution when listing these things as they are meant for entertainment and not to be replicated. Thank you.

Some of the phrases and comments are paraphrased from the cited articles below. Again, please do not attempt some of the listed abilities. Stick with your abilities. You’re amazing enough as you are, you don’t need to hurt yourself imitating others. That said, let’s begin.

Super human abilities are not just tricks that someone can show you at a party to impress you. These abilities aren’t even just for circus’s and performances. Some of these abilities have real consequences to those the below abilities effects. I will not be going into detail about those who are born without fingerprints, disease resistant, or unbreakable bones.

Let’s start off with “what are super powers”? This term can be defined three ways. Merriam-Webster defines “super power” as “1: excessive or superior power, 2:
a: 
an extremely powerful nation specifically one of a very few dominant states in an era when the world is divided politically into these states and their satellites

b: an international governing body able to enforce its will upon the most powerful states

c: an extremely powerful company, organization, etc.

3: a power or ability (such as the ability to become invisible or to fly) of the kind possessed by superheroes a superhuman power.”

We will be focusing on the “ability” in the above-mentioned quote. The “super power ability” is going to be defined as a seemingly super human ability to do what most people cannot.

One such ability, which is easily the most known, would be contortion. There are many people that contort their bodies into small places and even bend in seemingly unnatural positions. Though being flexible is fairly common, the ability to contort as those in a circus is rare. “Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. Connective tissue is a complex mixture of proteins and other substances that provide strength and elasticity to the underlying structures in your body.

People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin. This can become a problem if you have a wound that requires stitches, because the skin often isn’t strong enough to hold them.” This is an impressive ability, but it’s not something you wish on anyone. Like any hero, there is a villain. The villain is the sufferers body as it slowly deteriorates over time. It’s no secret that we all deteriorate, but those with this syndrome tend to bruise easily, and their hearts have weak or thin aortic walls. This can be extremely dangerous. You can only be born with this condition, as it is inherited from parent to child.

How about an impressive power you can learn but most cannot master? Believe it or not, the use of both left and right hand, or ambidexterity, is the ability few can master. I myself can write with both hands, but my left side is designated for forging my mother’s signature and pretending to be a ghost trying to communicate. I digress. Ambidexterity, can be learned but “one out of every hundred people are naturally ambidextrous.” — cited from linked article below.

Here’s a fun one, how about the ability to withstand extreme temperatures? Wim Hof immersing himself in ice for 72 minutes, and climbing Mount Everest in boots and shorts is impressive. If that’s not super human, I don’t know what is.

One power I was unaware of in humans is echolocation. This is common in bats, whales, dolphins and even birds use this method of navigation, but humans can learn this ability. It’s more commonly found in those who are blind as they have lost their vision. Upon losing a sense, other senses heighten. This has been scientifically proven as mostly fact. It is a way to adapt and navigate one’s surroundings to survive. This makes you wonder what else our bodies can do.

Other senses that can be considered super human is taste and smell. I personally was born without enough receptors to register tastes such as bitter or salty, and cannot smell many sweet fragrances. However, there are many that can smell and taste so exquisitely they can tell how many flavors were used, or which flavors were added. Wine, coffee, olive oil, cheese, and chocolate tastings are the most common taste testing scenarios you can show off this ability, but if you’re sharp enough, there are many companies looking for those who can describe what they’re tasting in detail and get it correct. Yes, you can get paid well for your astute ability to taste and smell well.

Singing and playing instruments can be considered an ability. Both can be learned, but there have been those who were and are so talented, they never needed lessons to pick up an instrument or sing as though they were born with the ability. Some are born with the drive to be proficient. Fun fact, the ability to sing was once an indication for intelligence as majority of those who can sing well can understand and pick up languages more quickly and easier than those who do not. Which is interesting, I love learning languages. I might be bragging, but I’m nearly fluent in Spanish and have been in the process of learning German, Greek, Russian, and French. Not to mention the fact “66% of those who were proficient had better working memories than those who did not play an instrument.” — paraphrased from cited article below. Though you cannot necessarily be born with this ability, and even learning it can be difficult, some can master both.

Let’s dive into some more puzzling abilities that seem to confuse science. Slavisa Pajkic is known for being able to withstand electric shocks without ill effects. Taking a whooping 20,000 volts without damage in 1983. For reference, you can be seriously or fatally injured by only 50 volts. It is important to note that he is able to store the electricity and release it, as the article below states. How can he do such a thing? Known as the battery man, aptly named, Slavisa is an extraordinary person. Science has attempted to explain his strange ability by positing that “he doesn’t have sweat or salivary glands and electricity is able to pass through outer skin”, though they are not certain if that is the entire explanation. Like anything else on this list, do not attempt this one at home.

What about an obscure one like seeing sound as color? Synesthesia is common in artists and musicians alike. This is actually a neurological condition in which stimulation leads to another seemingly unrelated stimulation. Simply said, you hear a song and sense the sounds as a pattern or a color. It is equally as misunderstood and one of the lesser known abilities, Science still cannot fully explain why or how this happens. This ability is known for the enhance in other cognitive abilities such as creativity and memory. Paraphrased from cited article below. “It is estimated that 3 to 5 percent of the population has a form of synesthesia and women are more likely to possess it than men.”

The idea of having a super power is not the same as a super hero. However, some super heroes have amazing abilities. I would like to posit for a moment that my favorite heroes were always those who did possess a crazy ability. There have been a few that were gifted, or rather cursed, with their abilities that piqued my interest. There are many beautiful people with amazing talents. Some people are able to sing and dance, some can build from scratch using crude materials to make them pieces of art.

If I were to assume for a moment that I had an ability, besides the compulsion to write and research weird topics, I would say the ability to listen to my “gut”. The idea was brought to the attention by Friedrich S. Merkel in 1880. — sensory systems are composed of epithelial cells and sensory nerves, which together transform environmental cues into neural signals that trigger our rich sensory experiences (1). We now know that this hypothesis mostly holds true for the canonical senses of vision, hearing, taste, and touch. Perhaps surprisingly, the peripheral outposts of these classical sensory systems (eyes, ears, tongue, and skin) are dwarfed by the human body’s largest sensory organ — the gut. Enteroendocrine cells, which are rare epithelial cells that decorate the gut lining, have long been suspected to be sensory receptor cells that inform the brain about ingested nutrients (2). Since their description, these cells were assumed to play a role in metabolism and gut physiology by releasing slow-acting peptide hormones that stimulate neurons throughout the gut and in the brain.”-

This has nothing to do with hunger. This is more of a primal response in which we sense something is not quite right. You don’t realize it, but the eyes and brain pick up more information than we can possibly do with. Hence why sleep has been such an important part of human routines. This is a way of the brain to process and even remove unwanted information, as well as removing toxins from the brain. I don’t necessarily believe in vibes, but I will say that I can judge someone pretty well upon meeting them. By this, I mean, that behavior by observation can tell you a lot about a person. The example is that the “first impression is always important” may have been correct. In studying psychology, there was an emphasis on noticing nonverbal cues and ticks. Can you tell I was studying to be a psychologist? I was fortunate enough to have a mentor at the time, and he taught me a lot about this.

I would go as far to say that understanding is a super power. That’s just me. What other examples can I include? Well, for one, there are many. Almost too many to list in this essay. I venture to say every day existence is a super power at this point. Waking up and getting out of bed. Someone who works two jobs while being a full-time mother, that’s impressive to me. I’m sure it’s impressive to most people.

In conclusion to this essay, I would say that super powers are largely subjective. I can, for example, see farther than you can, and this can be considered a super power, to you. Learning a skill quickly, can be considered a super power. I would posit, again, that these are abilities that are brought on genetically. I would assume, based on my studies, majority are brought on by mutations in the cells over time, then passed down to the next generation. If I may insert a statistic, you were a one in 400 trillion chance and you won the lottery of living. Being you is a super power. Congratulations, we’re all super human in our own right.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ehlers-danlos-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20362125

https://www.aimm.edu/blog/is-musical-talent-innate-or-acquired

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/synesthesia

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6408/1203

Agnes is not ok.

Agnes cradled Ethan in her arms under the glow of the moonlight. She hadn’t been able to take her eyes off of the sweet boy since he’d been delivered earlier that evening, in fact she opted not to remove the umbilical cord. Moonlight that filtered in between intermittent clouds glistened on the now dry connection to her new son gave her some comfort and joy.

“God sent you from above, like an angel filled with love,” she hummed a melody before rocking back and forth, “I will hold you on my arm, away from all the world, away from harm. My dearest boy brimming with hope.” Agnes began to weep over the infant, intense sobs filling the room like a dreary sad chorus. Noah entered the room with a deep frown.

“The ambulance is on it’s way my love.”

“No.” Agnes snapped as she whipped her head toward him with an angry grimace.

“Ethan isn’t well.” He stated, a twinge of fear laced his words.

“Ethan is fine.” Agnes responded furiously as she stood.

“The ambulance will be here soon, it will be ok.” Noah fought the urge to take a step back, fighting to stand his ground as his grieving wife struggled with reality. Agnes remained silent as she stepped toward the open window, eyes locked into Noah’s, and released the infant from her eyes. Ethan plummeted to the concrete below with the placenta quickly following behind and the sickening thud alarmed not only Noah, but several passerby pedestrians on the sidewalk. The ambulance siren pierced the air shortly thereafter and the crackle of white noise as well as a paramedic’s voice audible to them. Before long a paramedic rushed into the room, the couple still locked in an intense eye contact but Noah silently sobbed.

“Ethan was stillborn. We can’t bring him back, especially not now.” The paramedic’s voice called for backup as he attempted to coax the distraught mother to join the paramedic.

“I can’t imagine how difficult this is for you, but I need you to come with me. I can help you.” His voice was so soothing and warm, Ethan almost wanted to go with him despite Agnes’ declining mental state. Agnes remained fixed, catatonic, in place. After several minutes he attempted to step closer, Agnes snapped into a burning rage as she propelled from the window, joining poor Ethan on the concrete below.

Bid adieu

A writer of snake,

skin of words,

poison ink,

fangs of pen,

We slither thoughts,

inform the prey,

hiss away,

bathe in the sun of glory,

alas the grass we rest,

I bid thee adieu,

the rest of you,

the skin of the snake that remains.

The meaning we search for…

If you’re anything like me, you’re searching for a meaning in life. Without getting political or religious, what is the meaning of life? Why are we here? I’m still searching for this answer. I have posed this question before and the answers are all different. Some might say the meaning of life is “to find love”, “make money”, “be famous”, and a myriad of other reasons that inspire someone to keep going. There seems to be a theme developing in my opinion.

Upon analyzing these answers, I realized the theme is based in stability. Think about it, everyone wants love. I can’t think of one person that doesn’t want love in one way or another. What about love is appealing? Having someone to grow old with, or someone you can lean on emotionally when you’re feeling insecure. What else comes with the kind of love we all yearn for? Stability.

How about money? Very few people actually want to become filthily wealthy, but we want to cover our amenities. Money will usually hold hands with working, which is another thing that we would hope is stable.

How can we tell stability is a motivator for people? You can see it in our media. You can see it in our behavior. Try to change a detail in a television show that’s been on air for a decade. Try to disrupt the schedule of an elderly couple. You will get backlash like no other.

Let’s look over some theories, there’s a plethora of them, that could be viable and you’ll see what I mean. The link cited at the bottom goes into more detail about semantics, such as “the meaning of meaning”, and who is asking the question. I intend on giving you some insights to ponder. I’m not swaying your decisions in any way, I merely want you to think. I ponder the meaning of life often. The significance of my existence is one I grow weary of pondering.

When the topic of the meaning of life comes up, people often pose one of two questions: “So, what is the meaning of life?” and “What are you talking about?” — Quoted from the weblink below.

Besides achievements to be made that make “life meaningful”, there are also moral standards that tend to be brought up. One such example is to be kind and treat others with respect, or to be morally upstanding. “Moral”, it is a subjective ambiguity we overlook on a regular basis. The problem with morals, is we all have different standards. My moral could be, let’s say, I don’t believe in a relationship that involves more than two people. Yet my polyamorous neighbors tend to have a stronger moral fiber than I do as a monogamous person. I don’t believe this personally, this is merely an example, but you see my point. Some people might think I’m morally bankrupt for thinking this way.

I digress to some further examples.

“First, to ask whether someone’s life is meaningful is not one and the same as asking whether her life is happy or pleasant. A life in an experience or virtual reality machine could conceivably be happy but very few take it to be a prima facie candidate for meaningfulness (Nozick 1974: 42–45).”

An interesting idea is that the meaning lies within sacrificing one’s happiness for another’s. This is paraphrased from the weblink below. Can you imagine? Who would end up being the happy one if we all sacrificed for each other? It is truly the mind of a madman, the meaning of life to be “the sacrifice of one’s happiness for another’s”.

The obtaining of vast knowledge, the enlightenment, the idea that we all must possess great awareness.

(Taylor 1989, ch. 1). It is implausible to think that these criteria are satisfied by subjectivist appeals to whatever choices one ends up making or to whichever desires happen to be strongest for a given person. — quotation for the cited weblink below.

Although relatively few have addressed the question of whether there exists a single, primary sense of “life’s meaning,” the inability to find one so far might suggest that none exists. In that case, it could be that the field is united in virtue of addressing certain overlapping but not equivalent ideas that have family resemblances (Metz 2013, ch. 2). Perhaps when we speak of “meaning in life,” we have in mind one or more of these related ideas: certain conditions that are worthy of great pride or admiration, values that warrant devotion and love, qualities that make a life intelligible, or ends apart from base pleasure that are particularly choice-worthy. Another possibility is that talk of “meaning in life” fails to exhibit even this degree of unity, and is instead a grab-bag of heterogenous ideas (Mawson 2010; Oakley 2010). — quotation for the cited weblink below.

I will not wrangle with religion or politics in this piece, however, it is mentioned in the weblink. I personally do not believe the “meaning of life” should be associated with religion or politics. That is my opinion.

How about in relation to the soul? Does this have any bearing on how the “meaning of life” can be interpreted?

A soul-centered theory is the view that meaning in life comes from relating in a certain way to an immortal, spiritual substance that supervenes on one’s body when it is alive and that will forever outlive its death. If one lacks a soul, or if one has a soul but relates to it in the wrong way, then one’s life is meaningless. There are two prominent arguments for a soul-based perspective. — quotation for the cited weblink below.

I tend to lean on this theory because it has so much to do with impact. I’ve been hyper aware of how something small, like a smile, can be a huge impact to anyone. What if this has bearing on the meaning of life? Making an impact on those we meet? My problem is always the “why” part. Why make an impact. What impact does making an impact do, exactly?

Life seems nonsensical when the wicked flourish and the righteous suffer, at least supposing there is no other world in which these injustices will be rectified, whether by God or by Karma. Something like this argument can be found in the Biblical chapter Ecclesiastes, and it continues to be defended (Davis 1987; Craig 1994). — quotation for the cited weblink below.

However, both arguments are still plagued by a problem facing the original versions; even if they show that meaning depends on immortality, they do not yet show that it depends on having a soul. By definition, if one has a soul, then one is immortal, but it is not clearly true that if one is immortal, then one has a soul. Perhaps being able to upload one’s consciousness into an infinite succession of different bodies in an everlasting universe would count as an instance of immortality without a soul. — quotation for the cited weblink below.

These quotes are so influential to me because they resonate with me. I felt they were too good not to quote.

If I were to posit, for a moment, that the meaning of life were simple, mine would have to boil down to stability. I know, I know; I’ve been building up to this climax of how I think the meaning of life is merely the stability we yearn for, but there is some truth to it. If you think for a moment how terrifying the world and universe actually is, stability sounds mighty comforting.

We are rotating on a giant rock, hurling through vast network of galaxies and everything in between. I think the idea that all we really need right now is some stability, it’s not that farfetched. Of course the other luxuries come with it, such as: love, hope, health, interconnectedness with others, and acceptance.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/life-meaning/

The Hand of Gory?

Hands have many symbols from romance to fashion, but can they also be symbols of fear and evil?

Hi I’m Camille and I wanted to go into the “Hand of Glory, the legend that has stayed with me since I was a young girl. I’ve grown up with the stories of myths and legends since I was able to understand them, the obsession only growing as days pass.

What do hands mean to you? The object in which rings adorn. The appendage you hold when you love someone. It can be the means of language when speaking is no longer an option; it means many things to many people.

After what I’ve read and seen, the legend has been addressed in sections in small pieces. It’s difficult to find information on this subject as it is a strange and obscure legend, but it terrifies those who hear it. There are many representations in which the “creature” is merely a disembodied hand throughout the horror genre and even folklore and tales. Why? Anything that has been separated from the body can be terrifying, but what is it about the hand? I will dive into this strange legend.

The part of the legend I am familiar with, and the reason it scared me so much as a girl, is the most recent hand of glory in the Whitby museum. I cannot for the life of me find a clip or even a quip written about this part, so it’s possible I am remembering this incorrectly. The hand of glory in the Whitby museum was a criminal whose hand had been used in one such ritual, but when it was discovered and placed into the museum, there were witnesses that claimed the hand would move through the museum and even taunt the staff. Keeping in mind this is a severed hand, staff would say they “saw a hand scurry across the hallway,” or “I watched it open a door but there was no person attached,” such claims as those are terrifying. It scared me as a child.

So, what exactly is the “Hand of glory? In this context it is an object for which a strange ritual turns it into a talisman for thieves to use so, they may steal from someone. The most common method is to lop off a hand from a criminal hanging, pickle it, then fashion it into a candle. The c(hand)le is then lit so the criminal can then burgle the location in question. Many versions detail the various effects the hand of glory supposedly has, but in my opinion it’s a macabre tale.

We shall travel to Europe when criminals were used as examples to prevent further crime. Which is where this legend stems from. The legend details the hand of glory being used as a talisman to entrance the prospective victim. Once the victim is entranced, the criminal holding the talisman would be “invisible” just long enough to steal the items they were searching for and get away successfully. One version even claims that the hand of glory would glow brightly in the presence of the precious wealth they searched for, the whole reason they needed this strange tool to begin with. There are several versions in which the hand of glory has different effects on both the victim and the thief.

The legend even offers a way to protect yourself, though is equally as troubling and obscure. I don’t think screech owl blood, gall of a black cat(whatever that means), and fat of a chicken is available for pick up these days. If all else failed, you could extinguish the flame, only, with sterilized “blue milk”. I won’t go into too much detail on how to make the “Hand of glory”, those articles and videos will be cited below. Enjoy that gory detail.

Let’s dive into where they came up with this term. I forgot to mention this idea has been around since, at the least, the 18th century. It comes from the French “Mandrake”. These strange roots were also known to have mystical qualities. It is said, they too, can emanate light and could be used as a lamp. They were believed to grow near or under the hangman’s gallows in which even the criminals who hung, had a nightlight, that went as far back as the fifteenth century. How sweet. Of course the tales are sporadic at best, as there are few true illustrations of the legend. For example in 1590, during a witch trial in Scotland, one criminal confessed after intense, coercion and torture, to possessing this “Hand of glory”. Most people believed these tales as “gospel truth” (as they say) because it was a different time to live. It was a time where a doctor could say “this has a red root, therefore it shall possess a healing quality to those with bloodborne diseases”, see how that could work?

The Antiquary [by Sir Walter Scott] “

From his wallet drew a human hand,

Shrivel’d, and dry, and black;

And fitting, as he spake,

A taper in his hold,

Pursued: “A murderer on the stake had died;

I drove the vulture from his limbs, and lopt

The hand that did the murder, and drew up

The tendon strings to close its grasp;

And in the sun and wind

Parch’d it, nine weeks exposed.

The taper . . . But not here the place to impart,

Nor hast thou undergone the rites

That fit thee to partake the mystery.

Look! It burns clear, but with the air around,

Its dead ingredients mingle deathliness.”

In the Netherlands, West Flanders specifically, the hand, foot, or finger could be used to put people to sleep for the sake of thievery. The burning fingers would keep them sleepy and unable to defend from the thief. In Germany It is the thumb they use, also keeping the victim lethargic. It makes you wonder where in the world they came up with these rituals and strange beliefs. To us, it is strange. Hence why they are legends. Were these actual events that took places? Could we be missing the vital clue to make the legend a reality? It’s an excellent question, but alas, I cannot answer. I am merely telling you a tale.

This exploration has taken time and research to develop. I’ve wanted to do an analysis on this piece for a number of years and finally got to it. There are many that have looked at this legend, but in chunks or snippets. I want it all in one place. Of course the legends and tales I enjoy, have sporadic information. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to them. I am meant to investigate such subjects so that I may bring them to you. I want you to enjoy this dizzying, terrifying tale as much as I do. Enjoy the links below if you would like more information about this subject. I only scratched the surface of the how many variations there are of the story, and the methods in which it can be achieved.

Thank you for tuning into another episode of the “Dahlia Blake Corner of Intrigue.”

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/morbid-monday-severed-hands#:~:text=According%20to%20an%20old%20European,still%20hung%20from%20the%20gallows.

http://myths.e2bn.org/mythsandlegends/origins15607-the-hand-of-glory.html

https://www.pitt.edu/~dash/hand.html

https://the-line-up.com/hand-of-glory

Acting in Love.(Horror Short)

“You’re breaking every one of my rules.” Nori said softly, leaning away from him. Nori quivered as Cooper approached.

“Every word,” Cooper whispered, edging closer to her ear: his breath was hot and urgent against her neck. She could feel the relentless pulsing of the one thing she yearned for in that moment.

“Every word, now crossed out. The graces of light on the wall as they crumble to the floor, you are my statue.” She said. Desperately seduced by his charm. “Enlightened risk, how have I fallen so low and feel so high?”

“Pray you stay wrapped in me.” Cooper hesitated as he paused just before his lips caressed the side of her neck.

“Your angel eyes are written in code, your halo of smoke.” A soft sound left Nori’s lips, a moan maybe, too quiet even for her to hear. A single bead of sweat formed, ready to drift down as she leaned forward.

“Yet the waters of forgiveness flood you, blind compassion in your midst as our eyes dance; our voices sing in unison.” He stood still, his breath tickling her neck with the same desperate warmth of his allure. Nori is mesmerized by Cooper, so much so she can feel her climax approaching.

“Cut, that was beautiful. If I didn’t know any better I would say you two were a couple. I can’t wait to see that scene myself.” The director, Louie, called from his chair, rising with echoing claps of his hands. The pair reluctant to release their grip of passion. He drew back first with a shy smile, as she timidly rearranged her hair away from her face. Both panting, both mentioning something about needing a cigarette.

“Yeah, you were great.” She breathed.

“You were too.” he said with a nervous smile.

“Alright love birds, that’s a wrap. I was going to shoot one more scene but unfortunately we have to cut today short. We’ll meet back tomorrow, ten sharp.” Louie said as he pointed at them playfully.

“So what are you doing after this?” Cooper asked, nervously fidgeting as he stood.

“I was going to sing Karaoke with some girlfriends, and you?” Nori smiled, just as nervous as Cooper.

“Oh, that sounds like fun. I’m staying in tonight, maybe order some Chinese food.”

“I love Chinese food!” Nori exclaimed absentmindedly, before her hand met her mouth with a smack just as unexpected as her comment.

“I mean,” Cooper mumbled, “You could join me after you hang out with your friend’s.”

“I hate Karaoke.” Nori felt the blood rushing to her face with excitement and embarrassment cradling each other.

The silence clung to the air with deafening echoes as they exchanged nervous glances and fidgeting intermittently before deciding to leave. Nori brought out her phone and clicked the number to call her friend. At least that’s how she made it seem, she lied. She had no better plans after filming, Karaoke was a lie though she indeed hated it. Cooper had lied as well but now his stomach churned with intensity as every step made contact to the concrete. There was an unnamed tension between the actor and the actress; Cooper and Nori.

“Follow me,” Cooper suggested, the mildest hint of excitement laced his volatile voice.

“Is there decent parking?” Nori asked, hiding her anxiety of being closer to Cooper with the idea of less than ideal parking.

“I have space in my driveway.” Cooper’s voice lowered, almost sheepishly.

“Deal,” Nori said, instinctively holding her arm out to shake his hand but his puzzled bewilderment inspired enough doubt to draw her hand closer to her pockets.

Nori followed closely, not too closely, but enough to pass traffic lights without losing sight of his white coupe, obeying most traffic laws. She murmured to herself about her course of action and what to say. Cooper did the same, glancing occasionally to the pretty face in the red sedan behind him.

He would admire with swift glimpses before a red light stopped him. He peered into his rear view mirror to find that not only was the red sedan not a sedan, but the pretty face wasn’t who he thought. Cooper frowned into his lap, watching the flicker of red from the traffic light turn green as he eased back into gear and drove.

Nori grinned as she was right next to him, a small trick as she still trailed behind, watching his every weave and turn until they turned onto a dark residential street. Nori chuckled to herself as Cooper approached, what she would assume to be, his house. It would be cruel to squander a rare opportunity, so she eagerly honked.

“Nori,” Cooper smiled as he rushed from his car, “I thought I lost you.”

“I wasn’t lost, you didn’t notice me driving next to you?” Cooper smacked his forehead, not even considering that as an option, yet so relieved.

The click echoed in the relatively small two bedroom house he owned with his three dogs. It’s obvious to Nori that Cooper is renovating the side bedroom and kitchen, which is probably why he opted to order fast food. Nori was curious about the three dogs he owned, which was easily explained. They were locked outside for the time being.

“Would you like to watch a movie?” He asks meekly before clearing his throat and asking again more confidently. Nori shakes her head. Containing herself is too much to bear, she removes her leather jacket and it falls to the ground with a gentle thud. Cooper wastes no time as he felt the same way, removing his shirt not caring where it landed.

Cooper and Nori quoted their lines from the scene they filmed earlier, sticky seductive moments as they pushed and pulled against each other in passion. Their indiscretion led them into the living room then to the couch where the culmination boiled to climax of kissing and scratching. Had they been more aware, they would have noticed the door to the guest room creak open, a pair of eyes watching the couple as they were wrapped around each other. They might have also noticed the large butcher knife in his left hand and the pulsing member he stroked. The dangerous voyeur hiding in the guest bedroom had waited all night for this kill.

Office Whisper

It started off in the distance, a low drone of whispering. I’ve heard this sound since I was a child. I would point it out and my mother would pat my head and tell me “don’t worry Jenny, it’s probably something outside” and tuck me in before leaving me in darkness. This low whispering, just beyond my ear, behind me, just down the hall. I woke up that night and I could swear I understood a handful of words being said. A jumble of words that made no sense to me, individually. “House, light, need, outside, water,” they could have been talking about anything from needing fresh air, light and outside to swim in my pool. I chuckled at my assumption and fell asleep again.

My mother would smooth my brunette hair and pinch my cheeks with a smile, “it’s just the wind,” she’d say softly. Part of me wanted to believe that but a trickle of fear would drain from the back of my neck to the bottom of my toes at that age, no matter how sweet my mother would console me. My father happily joined in the pleasantries but I merely assumed that was for my mother’s sake.

The years have passed since then, since it began, now it drones softly behind the noises of life. It drones like a whisper behind passing cars and barking orders from management about marketing projections and clients moaning about their projects not looking right to them. The night, it was the first night I never heard the droning sound of whispering in the distant drawing closer.

It became apart of me throughout my life. A hum only I could hear, just beyond my peripheral vision. On my twenty-second birthday it became louder. Instead of forty kilometers away, it was thirty. That’s a rough guess, I never saw the source of this annoyance.

The sun tickled my eyes, waking me gently like the touch of a sweet lover’s hand. I rose to my feet with a groaning stretch. A quick shower shocked my senses to start the day, a soft summer dress and coffee to endure to the mid afternoon. A bagel with cream cheese, and half of a game show later; I was ready for work. I was made aware of the strange silence but was so relieved, I brushed it off quickly enough to be on my way to the office.

Traffic was awful yet I was not phased by the annoyance. I was forced to endure the stop and go traffic that made the morning commute more repugnant, yet I was smiling and singing to the music without discretion. Even the atrocious parking situation was a breeze this fine morning.

“Good morning,” I said as I walked through the reception area toward the administration hallway. It was at the very end where a large glass door stood with a passkey reader that floated by the handle, so employees could enter -only if they have a passkey. Managers, executives, and even one of our biggest clients greeted me as I walked toward my office. The usual nervousness even left me upon their greeting.

I slid my passkey in the groove, with a dance, as I entered the empty office and scanned, as usual I was embarrassingly early. I sat in my chair and gave it a quick spin before turning on my computer. First to fluff my brunette hair to fall in a more playful manner.

I was alone at my cube, as usual, and the silence was music to my ears. The chatty bunch never hesitated, even in the early morning to gossip or discuss personal matters but I enjoyed escaping into my headphones as I checked emails and designed marketing techniques for our client.

“Hey” a low whisper beckoned from just outside my cube. I assumed it was Jenny, so I placed my headphones in before picking my music.

“Do I feel like rock and roll,” I pretended to play air guitar, “or something more playful” I swirled in my chair, dancing to the idea.

“Hey” the disembodied voice repeated. I whipped around before slowly rising to look over the partition. If I weren’t so cynical I’d be more afraid but there was nothing when I checked. I was starting to become frustrated when I checked the other cubes but I was still alone in the office.

Bang! The sound echoed from a manager’s office. I thought it could be possible a manager being in their office this early but the lights were off still. Click, and a light flicked on in the far office to the left. “What the…” I said, removing my headphones. I approached slowly, feeling the anxiety pulsing in my veins as it ran cold. When I opened the door, I saw nothing again. I shrugged in relief. I’m just tired still.

I returned to my desk, logged in and began with the emails first. The nightmare of opening and replying to emails was the absolute bane — and I mean bane- of my existence, but part of my job still. One email struck me as odd, probably spam but I opened it absentmindedly. It had no subject but the body said “hey”… It was from less than a minute ago…it was sent from my email address…with a photograph attachment of me standing by the manager’s office from behind.

“That can’t be,” I said almost under my breath as I felt my chest tighten and knees lock. I placed a hand over my mouth in shear shock.

“Here as usual,” a voice coolly drifted into my ears, calming yet condescending, “I had a feeling. I need you to look for the email from Charles Brandison. He has a special project for you and I want you to come into my office when you’ve read it.” I knew that voice, Brad Marshall, a stern even tempered man with rambunctiously wild eyes and tamed eyebrows and every hair on his body was tiger striped with grey tendrils of vitality.

I settled my nerves, breathing into my lap slowly. I looked up to close the email and the email was seemingly gone, but how? I ignored the growing paranoia, the email from Brad first. I found the email and opened it as I watched Brad in my peripherals. He unlocked his office, the same office that the light flicked on, and watched as the cold nothingness filled to the corners with light. A chill tickled my spine but I read the email to myself.

“Dear Jenny, you’ve been wonderful the past two years,” it began, sounding more like a break up then whatever it was about to be, “that’s why I want to invite you to our office in New York. There is a great opportunity I would like to open up you and hope you can grace us with your appearance. Thank you” it was signed by none other than Charles Brandison. I bolted into the office with the slightest bit of resignation when I passed the threshold. I quickly shook it off as I sat across from Brad.

“What do you think?” He asked mildly.

“It sounds amazing but what about my position here?” I throttled myself internally screaming whereas my external was so cool, I could have made a quick buck working with air conditioning units.

“Actually we’ve been working on it for about a month now, and we’re waiting for a response at this point.” Brad folded his hands, giving the impression that he secretly hoped I would decline.

“New York, huh” I stuttered nervously, “it’s so close yet I’ve never been. Do you know what I’ll be doing?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know exactly but he’s a partner of our biggest client.”

“Wow, and in the ‘Big Apple’ to boot. I’ll do it.” I announced while Brad’s head dropped to stare at the desk.

“I had a feeling,” he said quietly, “I knew you would. Well with your yes, I’ll get in touch with Charles and have more information later today.”

I beamed on the way to my desk. The small crowd of people, the gossip crew I call them, stood over my desk. Did everyone know but me?

“Did you really get offered that position in New York?” One woman asked.

“Yeah, what will you be doing?” A man chimed in, I stood stunned for a moment.

“I don’t know” I said, more like stammered.

“How cool is that? I’m a touch envious.” The woman said playfully.

The flurry of questions was overwhelming, but the one person that made the situation awkward was Heidi. With the “why would they choose you over me, I’m more qualified” sob story that happens at least once in cut throat industries.

“I find out the full story tomorrow.” I said, knowing it could be sooner, but they don’t need to know that. I can be sweet, chatty, and bubbly. I was no doubt very private.

The experience this morning was nearly pushed out of my mind, forgetting about it by lunch. I didn’t forget about the whispering in the distance. It was almost disturbing when I realized for a second time it was gone. I couldn’t tell if I was afraid of what it meant, if I was afraid of it would return.

My food was settling as I ran my typical report, watching at the spreadsheet of five thousand items appeared, populated in numbers and letters on the screen. The report was a list of authors for the magazine we were designing. For the time being, I had to sift through and only approve a thirty possible authors to be picked through. I stretched and adjusted my hand on the mouse . Our resume for writers included their best article in any subject as long as it was approximately 5,000–12,000 words and most included photographs or drawings.

The specific instructions I was given always led me to a difficult decision, some of these writers were delightful but I had to follow my instructions and omit the writers that didn’t follow our guidelines for them. There was one writer I enjoyed the narration and story but it sounded so rushed and was so short, the story was completely lost. “Oh you poor fool,” I whispered as I deleted and highlighted, deleted and highlighted; it seemed like an hour but I was wrong. It was two solid hours of editing.

“My office please,” Brad said softly as he crouched near the mouth of the cube. I scurried behind him, excitedly.

“You’re good to go.” Brad said after he closed the door behind him. I was so happy I could cry.

I threw myself into seat so it spun. How could I possibly sleep tonight? I had one last day in my office, tomorrow, and by Friday afternoon I would be on a two hour flight into New York.

I couldn’t run fast enough to my car when the day was over. I had my keys clenched between my fingers, my bag slung around my shoulder, and eyes glued to the door. The moment I placed the key into the ignition, I felt tension while the engine kicked on then failed. I took a deep breath as I brought my hand away to attempt to start the car again, but a sound rattled in my ears. I sat stick still, waiting for a thump or crash: waiting for another sound to valid my hearing. I turned to check my backseat, I didn’t see anything suspicious. I made a risky decision by jumping out of the car. I checked the trunk and didn’t see anything there either. My heart was racing as I realized the only other place to look is under the car.

I took a deep breath before crouching only to be stopped in my tracks by something or someone in all black crawling from underneath my car. It moved like a shadow stretching toward me, a slow moving absence of light in the glaring afternoon sun. I gripped my keys between each finger as I stepped back slowly, praying someone would walk out to help me, but the door didn’t so much as creak open from the wind. I ran, I ran all the way up the stairs and to the lobby where reception stood to leave.

“Jenny, are you ok?” Morgan asked, concern drowning out the joy of leaving. I was breathless, heaving as much air as I could gulp into my lungs before responding.

“My…car….” I choked between gasps, my hands searching for the desk to lean against.

“what happened? Can I walk you there?” she rounded toward me and grabbed my arm as we walked through the lobby and to the stairs.

“I think someone messed with my car while I was working.” I said as my breathing evened out.

“Oh my,” she said, placing her hand on her chest, “I’d be glad to walk you to your car.”

“Thank you.” I said. She smiled sweetly as she released her grip. I searched all around my car and even popped the hood to check the engine but nothing looked tampered, and the thing under my car was no longer there. Morgan said goodnight and walked to her car which was only a couple yards away and I returned the sentiment.

The engine growled then sputtered as it came alive, I couldn’t have been more relieved as I navigated through the parking lot. The turn was smooth onto the street and traffic was light on the way to my apartment, but about half way the relentless grumble from my car returned as it died. I struggled to turn the wheel to pull off to the shoulder, I didn’t realize I turned too sharply and the shock of force as the car made contact with the guardrail to prevent people from falling down the cliff, yet all I could see is the bottom of the gully. Time stood dangerously still. My stomach dropped while the inertia sliced through me. My last vision before the blackness enveloped me was the shadow stretching the full view of my windshield, smiling at me as I fell to my death.

Some might say whatever stalked her as a child returned that night. She ignored the voice, but the voice never ignored her.

I loved my son. (Horror short)

“I adopted Rubin. His mother, the love of my life, died from cancer. Truly a sad day, but not as sad as this day. Rubin became the love of my life, though he was not my flesh, he was my heart and soul. I will never forgive the monster that stole my precious Rubin.” Arnold sniffled with tears streaming down his face as he gripped the podium in anguish. The sweet smell of roses filled the room as the tearful guests wiped their sorrows with tissues and napkins before bowing their heads again waiting for the next sentence.

“Thank you, Arnold. I’m so sorry for your loss sir. It is a sad day to mourn the passing of little Rubin, the life and soul of the community. He was adopted by all of us as our relief from the monotony of our everyday. A sweet smile to match his rambunctious nature that kept us all on our toes. We have kept our eyes ready for updates but none have panned out to anything. IF anyone sees Rubin or his mother, please call the local police and we can move on with our lives normally.”

Arnold entered his home as he caressed every surface before he finally got to his kitchen where a pot boiled almost to spilling on the stove. He extinguished the flame with a wry grin, turning slightly for a spoon to stir the pot. Arnold covered the pot once more, on a mission to the basement. The dust free fell to the floor as the bulb flickered on and the musky odor swirled violently. Arnold inhaled the stench as he entered with deliberate steps.

“You know, I’m almost impressed by you son. It’s been almost two weeks.” Arnold said, clapping his hands together at a doll sitting in a chair by the corner of the basement, wedged between the wall and washing machine to help prop up the doll as it wordlessly, blankly, stares at him.

“You are a fine young man, you know that?” Arnold said as he lifts the doll into the air before rocking it in his arms like a baby. Arnold doesn’t even notice when the doll’s head flops to one side, nearly decapitating it when he sways too quickly. He pirouettes when the dolls head crashes to the basement floor, revealing the doll was none other than Rubin with a doll head on.

“NO!” Arnold screams as he watches the doll head’s pieces settled on the ground, leaving Rubin’s decaying face exposed to the world. “Oh Rubin.”

Arnold brings Rubin upstairs to his “doll room” where another doll head sat on the chair and three other dolls lying on the bed. “Sit still my boy, this won’t hurt. What was I thinking dancing like that anyway.”