Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Wraith

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I'd give a try at some horror.  In part, this was inspired by a challenge from a fellow IO9 writer. Please take a moment to review his recent work.


The Wraith

It was first Friday of the month and Broad Street of Augusta was bursting with the lively celebration of summer. The cool air of night was a welcome respite from the heavy heat of the long Georgia day. Street merchants were closing up their stands, well worn from an afternoon peddling their crafts and favorite recipes. More youthful and sociable folk were crowded in the bars and street corners, conversing loudly and looking forward to the rest of the evening.

Devon had a friend drop him off downtown. He had arrived at Ft. Gordon recently fresh from his recent deployment overseas and was eager to join the local festivities. He had a weekend pass and planned on using it well.

He was surprised to find such an event in this town. His initial feelings toward this assignment were of disappointment and dread. He might reconsider after tonight.

He walked down the sidewalk taking in what there was to offer. He stopped to admire the classic car club for a while. He purchased and quickly consumed a tasty kabob of grilled chicken and vegetables. Physical Training this morning was rough and had left him starving all day. A man his size needed a great deal of calories to maintain muscle mass.

Then, he came across a small black tent with a sign that said "Palm Readings - Tarot." His mother was of the bayou further south and and often spoke of such things. As a child, he cowered with his brothers from a distance during the rituals. The local witches of his hometown were shunned by some, sought by others, and occasionally the subject of curious tourist inquiries.

Devon had come along way since then. He had spent a year in Afghanistan and would be damned if he didn't face his childhood fears tonight. Something pulled at him, begged him to see the un-seeable.

He peeked his head in the curtain. And old woman, pale as moonlight, sat behind a table draped with a royal blue cloth. Atop the table were three candles, flickering away.

"How much?" he asked.

Her toothless grin expressed "Fifteen dollers fer the palm readin, twenny for tarot."

"I guess I'll go with the tarot then."


She eyed the stack of cards on the table.

"You cut the deck once, and set it to the side." she instructed, tilting her head, not moving an inch more than what was necessary.

He did as she instructed.

"Now you draw ten cards and lay em face down on the table."

She fanned the cards and he picked his, laying them carefully on the table.

She took the cards and laid them in a pattern on the table. She studied them for a moment, completely ignoring Devon. She closed her eyes and gasped. Her eyes opened wide and stared deep into an unknown oblivion. She reached for his hand and held it tight. His pulse raced, but he couldn't force himself to move.

"The Wraith comes for you boy!" She hissed. "She know what you done!"

Devon pulled back, and got up, throwing his twenty dollar bill on the table and exiting promptly.

I ain't gonna fall for this backwoods witch's shit.

He put the incident out of his mind, determined to have a good night.

The young soldier found himself in many bars that night. He danced and talked with a few girls, had more than a few rounds of drink, and forgot all about the witch's warning.

It was getting late, but Devon was still holding on to the celebration of the night. He had been standing, wavering, at the end of a bar taking shots with two pretty girls when he felt a touch. A cold, icy, lovely touch on his arm. He felt a seductive breath on his neck and a whisper in his ear.

"You should come be bad with me."

Her call was undeniable.

His perception was a wash of color and motion, the drinks had taken his wit, but he did not care. She led him through the bar and out the back door. The alley was dark and the ground wet. Once stationary, the swirling world came into focus. She was like no other woman he'd ever seen. Her beauty was deeper than the flesh. Her dark skin glistened in the moonlight. She looked so familiar to him, but he could not find her in his memory. She came close to him, wrapping herself around him like a cloak. Her hands moved up his back and pulled at his soul. Her lips met his neck and he sighed. She kissed him and he felt himself leave this world momentarily.

"Do you want me?"

"Yes... yes I do" he replied. The ecstasy of her embrace was unreal.

"Well, I want you too Devon."

"Good." He laughed.

For an instant, he wondered how she could have known his name. Only for an instant.

Her hand continued to roam his body, herself wrapped around him in a blur of sensation. His focus was lost in bliss.

"May I take you?"

He laughed again and looked at her in the eye once more.

"You may." he said with a smile.

Devon felt her presence and it was powerful as she pulled at him. His vision faded, his touch dulled, his hearing was awash with throbbing sensation. The world faded below him and his mind was taken to another place, another land.

The sand seemed to penetrate everything. That's what he remembered, the grainy texture of it on his hands. The stale smell of it in the air as the girl below him kicked and writhed. He had one hand over her mouth and the other pinned her wrist to the ground.  His eyes stung from the dust, but he could see her clearly now. He could see the fear in her eyes, but his compassion was dulled by the lust.

There, in a bunker, in the dead of the night, thousands of miles from home, he took that woman. And in this instant, he knew her face.

This can't be real!

The girl below him slowed and looked at him. Her eyes smiled and her voice echoed in his mind.

You're right Devon, this isn't real. The reality of the situation is much worse.

Fear consumed him in a cacophony of terror and in that instant he was no more.

His soul-less body fell in a heap on the ground there in the alley, devoid of the man that once inhabited it. Shriveled and limp, face drawn in a horrible display, the body of that man, Devon, still breathed, yet there was no life left in it.

The Wraith, a swirling mass of darkness, rose from the husk of the man and trickled into the darkness of the alley, fulfilled and simultaneously yearning for the next soul.

And into the night it crept.


  1. Scary. But is the wraith really a monster if it deals out justice?

    The stale smell of it in the air... I liked this description of the sand. It reminded me of dunes far off the beach where you can't smell the water anymore.

  2. I see your point. I never intended the wraith to dish out vengeance, it just kinda came through with this particular story.

    My intention for the monster was that it's drawn to those of weak character and uses their weaknesses against them. The wraith actually has no shape, it's image is created by those who perceive it. So, in this instance, the wraith was drawn to Devon because of his lustful weakness.