Other Monsters

Artwork by mioke.de

They materialized, out, from the tightly, nestled forest,

Unsure, of where they were, or even how long they were racing

To vanish, from the ravenous wolves, biting at their heels,

Salivating, as they feverishly sniffed, for the fleeing monsters,

Who were hastily trekking, through the frozen landscape,

A deeply chilling howl, pervaded the heavily shrouded silence,

And in that crippling cold, a phantom grip, around their racing hearts

Forced them, to increase their stride, sprinting down the snowhills,

Hoping to stretch the distance, between them, and their pursuers,

Yet, through their fatiguing muscles, they started to collapse,

Into an inescapable decline succumbing to its hypnosis,

Feeling the calm drift, settle overhead, in the lull of the cold,

Sinking, past the veil, dragged down into fright

Of their own creation, the architect, admiring his own nightmares

That slowly start to turn their focus, upon his own heartbeat,

Inching closer, with their sharp,  outstretched claws

Directed at him, surrounding the fear, within himself,

And then he snaps back to the tundra, a monster, at the head of the pack,

Trapped in a panic, gusting further into the bleak

As a storm stampedes in, devouring their trail ahead,

But how far must they traverse this barren winter desert,

Before they can rest, upon the embrace of sanctuary,

Enveloped, by the swarming frost, their bones, tighten,

As they plow ahead, deeper, into the unknown fray,

Seeking shelter, from the blistering onslaught, and their trackers,

As they tuck, behind the whiteout, into a shallow indent,

Barely able to accommodate them all, they pile atop each other,

Submitting, to the groaning exhaustion, waiting out the storm,

Until that same stalking howl, suddenly disturbs the stillness

And awakens the leader of the pack, without his pack,

He was alone, amongst the vast white silhouette,

With soft winds, bringing forth, the echo of the howl,

Encapsulating him, in constant terror, from the monsters

He manifested, and that are now, terrorizing their creator

By following his weakening tracks, in the dense snow,

As the wisp of his breath, mixes in, with the frigid air,

Scans his surroundings, barely noticing dark figures in the distance,

Stuck, at the top of his throat, was his frightened scream

As their twitching approach, suddenly rushed forward,

With their elongated razor claws, aiming, to strike,

Nowhere to escape to, as his pack, are now the wolves,

Itching, to rip at his flesh, and taste the fright, he inflicted,

Surrounding him, as he collapsed, face buried into the fleece,

Slightly peers out, and finds the pack, has dissolved,

Instead, he saw a speckle of random color amidst the absence,

Got up and staggerdly crossed the path, to a rainbow shield bug,

As it sat, unafraid of the approaching monster,

Who carefully lifted it, from its cold nestle,

“You don’t need to be afraid of me, no one does, no longer,

There’s something much worse than, its the monsters, we uncage,

Those we created, within ourselves, to bring our dread

Into the circulating realm, to overshadow it, with horror

As we urge these beasts, to scratch at the walls of the unsuspecting,

Until we grow a shield, like you, my little friend,

One that we can protect ourselves with, from the other monsters,

Yet I remain vulnerable, to attack, from my very own construction,

Living out a terror filled sentence, in this rattling cage,

As the howl echoes, again in my mind.”

The People in the Walls

Artwork by Anton Semenov

In this house, the walls, whisper to each other,

Heard by only one occupant, as she shivers, under her covers

Hoping to stay shrouded, in the softness of her bed,

From the groning, snaking underneath, and then into her closet,

Where in the depth, of the shadows, are these frightners,

Stalking, this young girl’s every move, unsafe in her own home

As these stains upon the walls, covered by paint, peek through,

For the faces behind the masking, peer, with their gaping eyes

At the terrified child, pressing her doll closer to her chest

Calling out, “Mom! Dad!”, waiting for the light, to engulf the dark,

But countless sleep deprived nights, sharing bright fairytales

Trying to subdue her tremors, assuring her, there are no monsters,

Has rendered her parents, comatose, in the shudder of their girl,

As she finds shadows, clutching at her bed sheets,

Slowly dragging off her cloak, exposing her to the terror,

Scratching, through her walls, oozing into the girl’s vulnerability,

Her whimpering, intensifies, choking at her inability to cry out,

Caught in a paralysis, from the nearing slither

Until, the sudden cut of light, illuminates the inanimate,

Her closet, occupied by only her toys, clothes and trinkets,

Under her bed, dust bunnies, spread through the entire stretch,

And no reach of shadow, cast from the bare tree out her window,

But along the walls, the faint imprints, of those same faces

Haven’t vanished, into the swallow, of the fluorescent abyss,

Instead, to the girl’s fright, they were more distinct,

Staying within her sight, no longer lurking, within the shadows,

They grew, transforming every inch of plaster, into ghosts of the hollow,

For they’ve become the walls, of her ominous entrapment

As she buried her face, into her parent’s exhausted embrace,

But she couldn’t stay there, as she tried to play, ignoring

What was there, on her walls, staring, absorbing her innocence,

There before her, at every moment, no rest for the haunted,

She’d gone down, to have breakfast, and suddenly froze,

For they were following her, now throughout the entire house,

She turned, covered her eyes, but did not call for her parents,

Her lips slowly parted to speak, but only a gasp emerged

Before she spoke, and started to plead, with her imagined stalkers,

Speaking to the demons in her mind, to vanish back, behind the paint,

It wasn’t until the family dog, angrily barked, at the wall of ghosts

That the little girl knew, she wasn’t imagining this terror,

These faces, tightly tethered to this house, illuminate for her,

She simply asked the hollow wall, why, as it echoed in her mind,

Hearing herself, in a different voice, which wasn’t her own,

She’d spoken directly to them, as they used her consciousness, to answer,

“I am the first of the hollowed ones, cursed, to this linear cage,

For fear of the outside, had shackled me to these walls

To which I cannot separate from, for we are one entity,

Soon, more like me arrived, where fear had overtaken

As it did within me, and I knew, I was to save them all,

I had drained them of their debilitating fright

And given them life, to which I thought was punishment,

These walls, keep us in that embrace, that you chase,

Then we used fear, emptied and primed you, for this eternity,

And like you, we were all afraid, but no longer in dread,

As you are now, part of the hollow ones, fear, has vanished.”

And suddenly, she was gone, and the dog stopped barking,

Her parents, through grief, separated from remembrances,

Left the house, that had no answers around the disappearance,

As another family arrives, and a fresh coat of paint is applied.

Lost to the Shadow

The moon enters, through the shallow slit in the shades

And streaks across, the cold wet floor, finding her in the corner,

Tightly tucked in, shivering, in the dead of emptiness,

She cradles her head in her already tear soaked palms,

Begging, to anyone, who would bother to listen,

To spare her, and allow the night, a restful slumber,

Only the silence, doesn’t survive, due to the howling

Disrupting the presence within, an agitation, growing louder,

Being cursed to an insomniatic state, she sits and waits,

Pondering the events, that have led her, down this rabbit hole,

A day unparalleled to past ones, being the spark, to the chaos,

After a ordinarily frustrating day, like countless ones beforehand

She blindly walked home, escaping, to her fantasizing

Of moments occupied, by incredible and thrilling events,

Only to awaken, back in the dreary, monotonous clock

With its hands, slowly dragging across, its gray face,

But just as it appeared to be, her usual worn-out path,

An invasion, inside her familiar pattern, shattered the cycle

When a crazed, disheveled man, frantically burst

Out from the black, with eyes wide and trembling red,

Running right at her, as she stood, paralyzed at the charge,

Pushing her off of the path, onto the cracked cement

Where she saw the man, pummeled by oncoming traffic,

Being shredded along the hard gravel, down to the skeletal,

An image, that she was sure, would haunt her during all hours,

Only it was much worse, and far more terrifying,

Still shook up, from the disturbing image of that mangled body

Spilling out all its organs, onto the blood soaked road,

A vivid scene, focusing in, on the sprawled out gore,

Closer in, as she felt her heart, pound, in the echo of fury,

Until she passed out, into a chilling nightmare

Of an animal, ravenously tearing apart an unsuspecting wanderer,

Razor claws slicing through, their icy flesh,

All seen, as if she, was that blood covered beast,

Thinking it was another fantasy, until she crawled back home,

Naked, and painted crimson, coming in at first light,

She feverishly washed off the blood stains on her skin

Noticing, a scratch, that she imagined was from her fall,

But the shape, reminded her of the claw marks from her dream,

She never slept, as she was that beast, slashing at her victim,

A troubling curse, given to her, in a glimpse,

The nights getting longer, slipping further into the monster

Eating at her own existence, until she dissappears into it’s shadow,

If she allows it so, as she climbed out from her corner

And onto the high ledge, to end this cycle, on her own terms,

To finally sleep, and let the world, continue the routine,

Which she desperately missed, and thought of, one last time,

Letting herself free, from the shackles, into an endless rest.

Toychest

Childhood locked in a chest, stored in the dusk of the attic

And buried, amongst the years, forgetting the toychest

And it’s contents, that had been there, throughout his youth,

All that directly links, to moments, that kept him awake,

Deep scraping along his bedroom, ripping at the wallpaper,

Frightened in the dark, as the shadows play on the ceiling

Cast, by his perched toys, on his shelves that dropped to the floor,

The plastic rattling, as they slowly drag against the rug,

That even now, the white noise of his fan, drowns the memories

As he wrestles, with the chest, fighting the current,

As the chest, thumping closer and closer, shrieks,

Jarring out from this terror, in a panic, a cold sweat,

A sullen voice on the phone, conveying disheartening news

A trail, leading him home, after one, taking him into the distance,

A vacant house, of stale comfort and soulless posessions,

Nothing stirring within, touring his familiar, unrecognizable halls,

Then preparing to rest, in his childhood bed,

A distracted presence, occupying, his swimming head

Hearing that thumping outside of his usual nightmare,

Mimicking, his own heartbeat, echoing off the stripped walls,

He peers out into the dread, gasping, trying to regulate his breath

As he sees, the paint, melting away, up towards the attic door,

The beating getting louder as he nears, hypnotized

By those steady, groaning deep thumps, grabbing his attention,

Standing below its access, releasing the hatch

As he climbs, through the dense flowing dust,

Finding the thumping had ceased, not even a creak

Of the floorboards as he nears, the lowlit backend,

Finding his locked away fears, pounding at the silence,

The latch withers in his hand, letting loose, all he entombed,

In the darkness, the pounding that shook the shelves

Which knocked over his toys, and the scratching, at his walls,

Enters his chest, grips his speeding beating heart

And whispers to him, “Nevermore”.

The Long Wait

Artwork by Eddie Mendoza

She stands upon the overgrown platform, peering into the distance,

Seeing nothing, but the green swallow, of the abandoned city,

Breaking through the concrete, plant life has consumed her world,

The death, of this modern civilization, leaving her stranded,

Waiting, for what seems like a never-ending delay

To the transport, that would ferry her through the devastation,

But the evergreen wasteland has crippled, her passage,

A perpetual static pervades the stillness, yielding solace

In the maddening vacancy of this terminal, her cage

And the stagnant wind that brushes her hair across her squint,

Straining, to hear the world, outside this shrouded silence,

But she hears nothing, but the rustling in the bush

As a wondering cat, springs out, and rests by her stance,

“You know, that train isn’t coming, might as well find better lodging.”

Surprised by the cat’s speech, and that she understood,

“How long have I been here that you’re now speaking?”

“Just be thankful for my voice, and the conversation,

Don’t worry, about what can’t disrupt this simple pattern

Of you, perched upon this shallow plateau, stuck in a glimpse,

The longer you stay here, the more your roots will stretch

Down into the concrete, losing yourself to the hysteria.”

The girl, drops to the ground, cradling her heavy head

As the cat nears closer, nudging at her hands, to rise,

“If I disembark here, I might have already lost.”

“Fear of losing, chains us to where we can no longer grow,

And that, is where you settled, running while standing.”

She looks away, towards the sheltered and empty pathway

With no movement, no slowly halting approach to the wait,

“I’ve seen the rust spread, and choke, the low glimmer

Which has guarded me here, afraid to let me leave

Digging its thorns, all around, stifling any and all hope.”

“Yet, you still posess the fight, keeping you afloat,

For why else, would you conjure me to unlock the chains? “

The cat, and the vines that kept her from leaving, evaporate,

She begins a different path, away from the overgrowth,

Heading home, hoping that it too, has not been overtaken.

A Recipe for Survival

Art by Dave Lebow

A delicious meal, being made, by a ferociously starved giant,

A pinch of salt, to bring out the bitter sweetness

In the young tender meat, marinating in a cage of fear

As the broth stirs into a simmer, begging, for the ingredient

That’s making the giant salivate, at the trembling pot,

The giant, glances over to the far end of the counter,

Finding two shivering, overtly malnourished children,

The beastly giant licks her lips, collecting the excess saliva,

And all the children can do, is stare, as they drown in distress,

Trying to ignore the storm brewing, in the giant’s empty gut

That exudes a thunderous rumble, calling out, to those meat sacks

Who were scanning the oversized kitchen, for deliverance,

But to no avail, they were still caged, in a living nightmare,

Wondering, if they’d survive, the bleakest of moments,

They couldn’t even recall, how many moon cycles have passed

Since they were abducted, picked right off their backyard tree

Where they had spent days, staring up at the stationary cloud,

Legend of its gray presence, pervade the town’s sense of security,

Curiosity, distracted the two children, who lived in discomfort,

Struggling with the abundancy of their impoverishment,

They perched upon the top branch, trying to distance themselves

From the swarming straits, affecting their cold home,

At the same time, climbing closer to the gray fixation,

Is it possible, that the giants in the cloud, are without melancholy,

A shared daydream, that haunted the children’s cognizance,

Now, aware and locked, in the their own caged disquiet

They find the giant, approaching with their stringy fingers

Clawing it’s way, through the impermeable gray,

Straight, towards the earthquake rattle, of the cage,

The giant lifted the steel entrapment, to face it’s delicacy,

The children scurry, as far away, from the giants face,

Which is pressed up to the tiny bars, squeezing

Its nose in, and inhaling, their sweet delicious aroma,

“Not to worry, your torment ends, as soon as you hit the broth,

Boiling, calling out for you, and yes, even the broth is excited,

How lucky I was, to have sniffed out, your perfume.”

Indeed the giant was lucky to have tumbled and stumbled

Out of the cloud after, what seemed like a purgatorium search,

She scored for the last ingredient, which became a rarity,

For the land has grown scarce, of this highly sought after delicacy,

The most hunted, for it is the tastiest and most tender meat,

Wondering, with her sight hazy, and rapidly diminishing

She followed a scent, her nose kept calling her onward

As she failed to notice, the edge, of her depleting world,

Sending her crashing down, to the wanderlust children,

She caused a colossal commotion, sending onlookers

To their windows and doors, spying at the settling dust,

Awaiting for the cause, to be unveiled from beyond the curtain,

With the aid of an oncoming storm, its gusting winds

Pushed aside the veil, and there she was, the monstrous giant,

But to the children, she was salvation, the answer to their query,

As the townspeople gathered arms, the children softly approached

And recognized, the trembling, in the giants wide stare

That was following the chaos, that started to swarm

The unknown, an empty land, except for tasty treats,

It was hard to breathe, to inhale the air’s thickness,

Her hunger, was ferociously tearing herself up inside

But her attention, was now on the lack of breath

And how quickly, the town readied their defences,

The townspeople anticipated this moment, knew of its existence,

So when she fell, the atomic tremor, had awoken the riot,

And yet, the children’s curiosity, pulled them forward,

The town behind them, filling the night with a raging fire

They called out to her, as she still layed in her self made canyon,

“Giant! We are tired of this world and want to see where you reside.”

She gave a soft nod, and layed her hand for them to climb

Which had outraged the town ever further into fury,

She had the children in her hand and towered,

Saw the onslaught of the town quickly advancing,

Looked around, and saw a mountain, with its peak in the clouds,

That’s where she can get back to her own familiarity,

Her stride, had a much farther reach, that she pulled ahead

And lost the town within moments, as she neared her stairway,

She needed her hands, so she shoved the children into her pocket

The mountain was before her, and it was a simple ascension,

Eager and excited as she easily made her way back home,

Easier to breathe, as her hunger was now again, her focus,

Which brings us here, to her bouquet of aromas

That is taking over her entire home, a delicious allure,

She seasoned the broth with spices and homegrown vegetables

As the children wanted so much, to engulf the contents,

Only, they were to be the last addition to the waiting concoction,

They damned their own lust for something different

As the giant reached for the children, prying them off the bars,

And now all they had to hold onto, was each other,

Dangling above the steaming pot, they could swear they saw a face

In the overturning broth, with splattering lava

Jumping out from the quaking pot, almost burning their bare feet,

The boy looked at his sister, hugged her tighter

And just as they were let go, to plunge into the volcanic pot,

He shoved her, just outside its reach, as he plummeted,

She heard his terror filled cries, as she hid behind tall food scraps,

The giant, blind from hunger, didn’t even notice,

But before long, the giant had a full stomach and a wide smile,

And when a giant is that full, it desperately needs to sleep,

Leaving the kitchen a mess, and the girl to her lonesome

It’s a perfect opportunity, for the now angry girl, still in hiding,

Just like climbing up and down her tree, just outside her window,

She climbed, to the giants throat, and avenged her brother

With a chipped off piece of a knife, left out on the counter

That she had acquired, from the rage that filled her heart,

She ran the fragment across the blubbered gully

As the giant bled out, dying whith a belly full of deliciousness,

And the girl, never left, she stayed in the clouds.

Nightmare VI

I’m spun around, and around, a phantom, toying with me,

Hiding, in the stretched out darkness

That im forced to trail, with my hand in front

Guiding, me further in, but with caution,

A sinking anchor inside the hall that seems to be collapsing

All over me, and through to lay on the ground

As I step, and crack the pieces, splintering in the echo,

Lost in the canyon of a hollow structure, I plant myself,

A doomed convection of light, seen, but ignored

As its brought me to this point, this horror

That seems to be my constant downfall,

Alone in the corridor, still feeling out blindness

With a broken cane, and an unwillingness, to surrender,

A wanderer who has to proceed along the daunting route

Only to find, that there is no wall,

Not on the side, in front or behind,

Wide rim, yet I follow the forward path

As if it calls to me, a siren aware of my torment,

Stolen threads, pulled on to unravel secrets,

A blank spot now, as they vanish,

Now I remember, what I’ve been blindly chasing,

Is it too late?

Haunted by the Inner Demon

I believed I did, but then the demon inside my head

Reached out, put itself in control, and ropped

Off that person, became an aged faded portrait,

One I admired, absorbed it’s brilliance and vivid emotion,

Then the demon, that stalks in plain open consciousness,

Rattled my head, shifted the entire frame into dust,

I’m trapped, inside my own, in the entangling web

That laps over and over, burying my gated clarity,

The more I struggle, the louder it becomes, deafening

Where I just give in, fold down, within it’s cold grasp

That has eclipsed, the beauty of truth, now lying in mud,

All because, I validated the demon’s spun filth

That slithers through my canal, injecting deceit

Into my malleable mind, I never stood a chance

Against my demon, who has become apart of my persona,

So much so, I can’t distinguish the difference between us,

I might have found my home, but they’ve vanished

Into the furthest lot, while I struggle with the lock,

They’re still there, before me, reaching for the compass,

Following the illusion before them, while I lay buried

In the forgotten sands, pushed further down,

Suffocating the inkling of hope, where is that home

That can calm the storm with her touch, upon the nape

Of my feeble stance, for her scent, softly lingers,

As I look for the silver lining, hoping she’s there, smiling.

The Room Without Design

She was encapsulated in the reverie, engraved

In each subtle stich, belonging to the beauty

Of this forgotten room, at the end of a hollow hall,

She has been here, keeping these walls in an elegance

Which has never been seen before, yet, it exists,

Far beyond the utterance, alone and deprived,

Holds its wallpaper, hugged tight, a full room

Within an overpopulated house, so many visitors

But non, have wandered, down to this room,

A small loose thread, suddenly appears to her,

Far in the high corner, a thick web has grown

Corrupting the room, as tears in the wallpaper

Start to emerge, as she knocks on the walls

Begging for anyone, to notice, to find her deserted,

As the room continues to loose its vibrance, it sheds

All that she designed, the tears getting deeper,

Until she becomes empty, lost in a dirty empty room,

No longer, does the room have a desire to hold,

No longer, does it keep up appearances,

The decor, decays to dust, leaving the barren walls,

The design was perfect, although, she was fragile,

Being shoved, further into away from being seen,

She fell into a drowning existence,

Only to escape from the room, on her own again,

One day, she’ll have another room to design.

Other Than I

Time, within the possession of me reaching the far edge

Of the train, has vanished from existence,

As well as the recollection, of this blood stain

That appears, not to be my own, as well as the blade

Carried, in my trembling hand, also bathed in the unknown,

I can hear my heart’s chatter, louder than the metal clanking,

I throw my sight, from side to side, trying to gain a sense

Of what lies behind me, a puzzle, missing its fragments,

As panic, digs it’s talons inside the teetering tower,

I wonder where my mind had slipped to,

Had it betrayed me in my worst moment

Only to awaken me in the dark depths of chaos,

Suffocating in my own narrow gullet, lost inside,

I have to shed this skin, and can’t let myself be seen

As I peak through the crack of the door sliding

Opening wider, with the grooves of the tracks,

Seeing a deserted hall, creeping out deeper,

Into the shrouded gallery, pushing through the shackles

Held firmly, around my entire person, hindering

The way forward, oozing through, to the next car,

Finding a place, to cleanse the black eye,

I get in, and immediately lock the door

And just stare, at myself in reflection, and I’m unrecognizable,

Who is this before me, possessing my heart,

That seems to be moribund, pale, faced with horror

Spilled upon myself, unable to wash it all away,

A knock upon the door, but I cannot find my voice,

The handle rattles, as the knocking continues,

Getting louder, deafening within the stall

As I feel my blood, a fury cooking up to my pulsating mind,

And then it ceases, releases its fist from my throat,

But then I see myself again, pooled in more death,

With the body next to me, with the knife I firmly held

Now driven into a man’s skull, with fear frozen,

My expression is vacant, drugged into a lost fervor,

I make a discovery, hidden within my breast pocket

As I retrieve a wallet, alien to me, also stained,

Inside it I find the owners image, and I recognize

The face, in a flash I see myself boarding

And into my vision, this man appears with a smile,

Introduces himself with a hand upon my shoulder

Guiding me to his quarters, where he rips into my head,

Diving into the recesses of repression, and discovers

My hidden desires, my anger, my violence,

And brings it back to life, I am not I no longer,

And I come back from the cloaked memory,

Studying the sight of me, my eyes, fingers and lips,

Are those other than I, I am now a person of death,

A walking scythe, alluding the fear I once cowered under.