Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mag 156 Prompt: Bubbles Popping

Wind of History by Jacek Yerka
The Mag 156 (I missed the Linky)

**I am linking this to the dVerse Poetics prompt for 4/13/13. It's a short story rather than a poem, but I worked like crazy on this and it got no love. If you are visiting through dVerse and would rather read a poem about monsters, please click Nightmares.**

I usually save my comments for the end of my posts, but there are some things I wanted to tell you before you read this. I am using a writing prompt from Magpie Tales (The Mag 156). We are to write about this really cool picture.  I am a huge fan of those old radio programs, and this picture reminded me of an episode of Lights Out called The Dark. I decided that I wanted to write a version of  The Dark for this prompt. An extra warning though, this is a gross story. If you would like to listen to the original, you can find a streaming source by clicking this link Lights Out: The Dark (This link will take you to the Old Time Radio Internet Archive. The episode I am using is #19 on the play list.*)

Bubbles Popping

Finally, there was some sign of human life. Dorothy and Nora had been driving the deserted countryside lost for hours. They had made a lovely picnic on the shore, but had missed a turn somewhere on the way home.  As twilight began to settle around them, Dorothy saw tire tracks off the side of the road. Up a hill, she saw the house.

"Nora, turn right here."

Nora turned the car and they were jostled by the bumpy hill.

"Slow down Nora!"

"I thought you liked bumpy rides," Nora said, but she complied and eased the car over the hills and the holes of the yard up to the house.

"I really have to go to the bathroom." It was true, Dorothy really did have to pee and she hated going outside. She hoped that the house would have someone friendly and some sort of facilities.  Almost before Nora had stopped the car Dorothy had jumped out and hurried to the door.

"You can stop dancing, I'm sure they will let you in." Nora joined Dorothy at the door and was adjusting her hat. Dorothy knocked on the door and it opened a bit. She stuck her head inside and choked on the damp smell of decay.

"Hello?" Nora called out from behind her. She pushed the door open further and then wrapped her arm around Dorothy and guided her in. "Is anyone here? We're lost and my friend here needs to use your powder room."

There were no lights on inside the house, only the dim light that streamed in from the windows.  "It smells like a barrel of rotten apples in here." Dorothy looked over at Nora and saw her crinkling her nose. Dorothy stopped choking and her eyes adjusted to the gloom. Past Nora, she saw the old woman staring at them from the corner.

"Nora..." Dorothy nodded her head towards the old woman. Nora looked over and saw her.

"Oh, I am sorry. I have forgotten my manners, but you see, we have been driving a long time and we are lost and tired. My name is Nora, and this is my friend Dorothy. I hope you don't mind, but the door was open..."

The old woman just stared at them. Her chin was almost touching her chest and she was looking up at them. She clutched a dirty rag doll to her breast and she her mouth was moving slightly like she was muttering, but there was no noise.

"Nora, let's just go." Dorothy no longer had to go to the bathroom, and if the urge came back she would gladly pee on the side of the road in front of God and everybody, but she suddenly needed to leave this house.

"Are you ill?" Nora let go of Dorothy and started to walk towards the old woman. "Do you need some help?"

"Nora, I think she's okay like she is, please, I think we need to just leave."

Nora reached out and touched the old woman's hand, "Can I..."

"AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!" The old woman leaned up and was screaming in Nora's face. Nora stumbled back and fell on a small table breaking it, as the woman shoved her and ran out of the room laughing a high, shrieking laughter.

Dorothy ran over to Nora and tried to help her up. "Oh Nora, are you okay? Please let's go now."

"Okay, I ...oh! ouch!" Nora could not stand up. Glistening, dark blood ran through her torn stocking and down her leg. Dorothy removed he scarf and dabbed at the blood. There was a long cut down Nora's leg with a large splinter of wood embedded in her calf.

"Nora, you're hurt and I can't stay here, Nora. I'm going to wrap this up and  carry you to the car and then we are leaving. When we are away from here, I will stop and get that wood out, but we are leaving first." As she talked, Dorothy wrapped the leg in her scarf. She tied it tight and a door opened near them.

A soft, frail light fell into the room. There was the old woman again, watching, holding a candle. Behind her there was a wet smooshing sound and a muffled moaning.

"This crazy old crone is going to kill us," Dorothy muttered as she locked her gaze with the old woman. Then the old woman stepped to the side, and Dorothy saw what  was on the floor next to the door.  Her brain could not make sense of what she saw. It was man-shaped, but it was a mushy, bloody, undulating mess. The darkness of the house seemed to swirl behind him. There were what looked like pockets of meat on the floor next to him, attached by slimy stands.

"Oh, those as his insides. He's been turned inside out. How..." Dorothy peed. She never noticed. She was crying and never noticed. Nora was yelling at her, and she never noticed. She just saw him as he began to make sense. She stood there staring at this man as a long, bloody limb reached out to her. It was his hand. He gurgled and then died.

That's when she heard the laughter. Dorothy looked at the old woman. She was looking down at the mess that had once been a man, holding the doll towards him, and laughing. The laughter turned to screaming and then laughing again. The swirling darkness seemed to move from him to her. It whirled around her hand holding the doll. It crept up her arm. Screaming now, she shook her arm and tried to move. The darkness wrapped around her greedily.  Dorothy saw her hold the doll close to her and then the old woman was turned inside out. It sounded like someone slurping the last bits of an egg creme from a glass. 

She felt a sharp pain and her head swiveled to the right.

"Get out of here!" Nora was standing on one leg yelling in her face. Dorothy wrapped her arm around Nora's side and started to move towards the door. She felt a chill around her ankles and she tried to run. The feeling was sticky like taffy and cold like ice. It pulsed up her body and she was suddenly face to face with Nora. They were bound tightly together by the sticky cold. They no longer look like two separate people.

A sound echos through the house, a wet, slurping sound. It does sound very much like the remnants of an egg creme resisting the suction of the straw. The slurping is wet and somewhat drowned out by the sounds of two women in pain. Then there is one soft, moist thump. It is a sound similar to dropping raw ground beef, reserved for this evening's supper, on the hard, cold floor.  Finally, there is a muffled whimper and a muffled sob, and the sound of blood bubbles popping.

There were no signs of human life.

completed (maybe) 2/24/13

*(If you are a Bill Cosby fan, you may have heard his routine about being scared of a radio program where a chicken heart terrorizes the world. This is the same series, just a different episode. For the Cosby fans, Chicken Heart is #9, and here is a youtube audio of Cosby's routine.)

Does anyone else find editing hard online? I think I need to start printing these out to do my edits. Maybe it's my age...


  1. Oooh! It sent shivers down my spine! A nice spooky read indeed!

    1. Thank you Charleen! The radio play that this is based on had this one awful smooshy sound effect that made me gag the first time I heard it. It was awesome, and of course I wanted to write a version of it. I am glad you stopped in and enjoyed it.

  2. oh my oh my..i gladly find a place in the woods next time i have to pee rather than to knock on foreign doors...ugh...nice story telling

    1. No kidding, right? I think maybe I have accidentally written a "pro-outdoor-peeing" tract. thanks and I'm so happy you liked it.

  3. oh goodness me this is the textures you give...great use of detail...ha...the inside out man....the gave my arm hairs a tingle...i love stories like this...i used to write pseudo horror myself...ha...

    1. Yay! I'm glad you liked it! The original purpose of this blog was to write more prose/flash fiction than I have. I was missing my scary stories when I wrote this, but I was seriously blocked for a week after. If you haven't listened to the "Lights Out" story that I "borrowed" this from, check it. Very. Yucky. Sounds.

  4. Oh yuck! I could see and hear it all too well!

    (I use wordpress and I find I have lots of difficulty editing compared to using a dedicated word processing program - it tends to be quite fiddly).

    1. Hi Rowan! Thanks for the visit. It is gross, isn't it? I'm rather proud of the ick factor here. Fiddly is an excellent word, Blogspot/Blogger can be fiddly too.

  5. Yeah it was gross...but good! I was reminded at how gruesome Stephen King's writings can be... Bubbles popping...ewww! Great work, Heidi!

    1. Oh my, gruesome like Stephen King, I think I just cried a little. Thank you!

  6. This really gave me the chills. I could just see that old crone...and the mess that had been a man. Your details really created an intense read. I am glad it is morning now, not night, when I am reading. LOL.

    1. Hi Mary! Thank you! I think that maybe you are right, that it is more of a daytime read. I developed an affection for the crone while I was writing this, so I am particularly pleased that she was vivid for you.

  7. Oh, okay, that was written well. Only thing was I had to stop eating my breakfast to read through it. High on the yuck factor! Perfect, though, for a short horror story. The sounds described are so creepy. I'm hoping you don't fall asleep listening to old radio shows like this! Good one. :)

    1. I apologize for interrupting your breakfast. I guess it's not a mealtime friendly story. I am actually kind of giddy that it grossed so many people out though. I was really trying to make it creepy. I have made the mistake of falling asleep to "Lights Out" before, and woken up with a nightmare. Thanks for visiting and the kind comments.


  8. The picture conjures up some amazing thoughts on monsters for you..quite the scary story...gruesome write ;)

    1. Hi kkkkaty! Thank you! I don't think I've ever been so pleased to be told that my work is gruesome. It's a great feeling. I'm so happy that you stopped by.


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