Posts Tagged ‘demons

01
Mar
18

Saying Goodbye

Saying_Goodbye.jpg

Bishop had had enough. He bent his fingers and slid the battered piece of triangular plastic to the corner of the board. The glass lens with the iron pin struck through the middle hovered over the word “Goodbye,” marked on the board with a wood burning kit he had found lurking in the attic.

He wasn’t sure why he’d done it. He’d known it was a bad idea, especially given his lack of experience with the methods. He just had been out of options. This had been as fruitless as everything else he’d tried, though, and it was time to stop.

As Bishop started to pull his fingers off the planchette, he felt something like an electric shock ripple from his wrist to the tips of his fingers and back again. They went numb in an instant, feeling heavy and leaden. A moment later, he felt his arms pulled forward as the planchette crept towards the top right corner; when it stopped, it was perched atop the word “No.”

Gritting his teeth, Bishop flexed his forearms with as much strength and pressure as he could, standing up to do it.

“Like hell,” he growled.

The sound was atrocious; he succeeded in dragging it an inch towards “Goodbye” when the felt caps on the feet of the planchette slid off; after that, it was digging into the board itself like it was trying to fight him. Three long gouges marred the board, growing deeper as Bishop bore down.

He was panting and sweat was dripping from his brow by the time he got it there. The numbness in his hands was gone, replaced by a throbbing pain that reminded him of the times he’d caught his fingers in a door or missed with a hammer. He still couldn’t release the marker, though.

Somewhere nearby, he heard a rumble of thunder; taking a quick glance around the darkened room, he saw the VCR’s display begin blinking “12:00” repeatedly, and heard the air conditioner wind down and go into power saving mode. Brownout, he thought. Nothing to worry about.

Before he’d even finished the thought, he felt something wrap around his wrist. Strong hands with the hint of claws digging into his flesh. It yanked, dragging the planchette back to “No” once again.

“I’m done! You hear me! Get the fuck out!”

The six black candles set before him, each of them gifts from Lilly before she’d died, flickered and went out as one. He felt his arms being yanked to the left, and even in the darkness, he knew where the planchette had stopped.

“Hello,” of course.

Bishop saw the darkness seem to solidify in front of him, pulling together into some hulking shape. He didn’t know what it was, what it would look like; all he knew was that he didn’t want to know. He snapped his eyes shut and clamped his lips together, grinding his teeth.

“Bishop,” a gravelly voice groud against his ears, making his sinuses tighten and driving water from beneath his closed eyelids. It sounded pleased.

“So glad you called,” it said.

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28
Feb
18

Goodreads Review: I Met A Demon

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I Met A DemonI Met A Demon by Petronela Ungureanu

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The premise? Young man, away from home, suffers a terrifying encounter with something beyond the pale and lives to tell about it.
The delivery? About 8 pages of rambling, presented in a journal-like format, wherein he moves into an uncomfortable room, gives cheesecake to an old woman, complains about the lack of mod-cons, kidnaps a stray dog and names it Silly, and sees a large, black fuzzy thing that he rants at for an unknown time before walking out.

While I am not averse to short fiction, whether purchased individually or wholesale in a collection, I have to get hooked, fast and hard, for me to care; this failed in that endeavor. Primarily due to our narrator. He goes to great lengths (spending almost an entire page) discussing how he is thoroughly a modern man of his time (the 70s), but constantly breaks that “character” as his language seems designed to impress or ape an almost Victorian style. There was a great deal of setup involving his childhood and recurring nightmares that he supposedly suffered, put to rest by the blessing of a priest – which, to be fair, was a potentially interesting hook – that ultimately ends up feeling like just a lame attempt to foreshadow the coming encounter, and casts it in a senseless light. (If he was blessed as a child and the incidents stopped, why is he then vulnerable to the “demon” now?)

The other “spooky” events – sounds of crying, things stomping and scurrying in the attic, neither of which are ever really explored or explained – only seem to be tacked on as the standard tropes one needs before a spectral visitation, but don’t seem to have any ultimate relevance to whatever-it-was that appears to our narrator.

The inclusion of the dog and the narrator’s friends seems silly, unnecessary – especially because ultimately the friends smoke, drink and go home rather than engaging in the “rat-hunt” that was planned, and have no interaction with the beastie, thus serving no purpose to the tale, and the dog sits outside, eats, and howls a little when the “demon” arrives, but otherwise is equally irrelevant. Also, he gets abandoned when the narrator flees, which just isn’t cool, man.

Then we finally get to the “demon.” It’s a… giant… black… furry… thing. I guess. With no nose or mouth. But it’s got big burning eyes (the better to see you with?) and can apparently cough (ahem-ahem, as our narrator puts it.) And it… stands there. And perhaps I’m made of sterner stuff (and have had my own “experiences” far worse than this), but I didn’t find this frightening or ominous at all, especially since it does nothing but stand and stare.

Yes. That’s all it does. It stands there. While our narrator discusses the “million years” he stands before it, starting with prayer, moving on to begging, cursing, more prayer, “loses his mind,” “nearly dies,” begs it to tell him what it wants, demands the same, prays some more and curses some more. Then our narrator walks through it with an “Our Father.” The end!

Well, not quite. Then we’re treated to a bit of purple prose about how he abandoned all his stuff (Poor Silly…) and how he’s quite sure that there must be angels, because he met a demon.

I just… I don’t know. I really don’t. I suspect with a proper edit job (paragraphs would be nice) to make it look less like a Facebook post on a ghost-hunting site would do wonders. If it’s attempting to be fiction, expansion on the “rats,” Auntie’s background, our narrator’s past, nightmares and blessing, and the “demon” itself, while trimming back or fleshing out seemingly irrelevant nubbins like the dog or the friends would be helpful; if it’s intended as non-fiction, turning it into a more essay-like format (or including the text as-is, then adding in a “research paper” type portion afterward) might make it better in my eyes. If it lies somewhere in the middle, then any or all of those suggestions could help.

As it currently stands, however, the premise shows promise, but ultimately falls flat. As a blog post or something similar, relating a brush with the supernatural? Maybe. As a Creepypasta or Crappypasta? Might be okay. Though I’d still want to see some severe editing. As a bit of short fiction, though, I felt it was a huge letdown.

View all my reviews

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