A Dozen Dark Dimensions By T H Davis

  • 1,055 views
Uploaded on

 

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads

Views

Total Views
1,055
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0

Actions

Shares
Downloads
11
Comments
0
Likes
0

Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
    No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions 1
  • 2. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions ABO U T T HE AUT H O R T. H. Davis was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1986. A life-long fan of horror and supernatural fiction, he grew up reading books by his heroes Stephen King, James Herbert, M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft, and others. Never an academic type, Thomas moved more towards his darker side, honing his talents rather than his grades. A brand new name in the world of horror, Thomas has created a small, but loyal buzz on the internet, and his short stories have been read by thousands of people worldwide. Now you hold in your hands (or, on your computer screens) the first collection of short stories from the author, each story a new journey into the darkest realms of a mind, hence the title. In time, this collection will become a gem, as many are sure that the name T. H. Davis will be a much heard name in the future. 2
  • 3. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions This book is a work of fiction. The characters and events are all fictitious, and created entirely by the author. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead is purely coincidental. Copyright © 2009 by T. H. Davis Published as a PDF ebook format for sale, with permission of the author, on the internet. All websites who sell this material, do so with permission of the author. This ebook is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re- sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the author's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Cover illustration: "Dante's Inferno" Gustave Doré Visit T. H. Davis at www.myspace.com/undercroftstories 3
  • 4. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Contents Introduction – A Gathering of Tales It Brings A Nightmare Klever Larry's Run Shrewsingran The Graves Unmarked The Man Who Typed Too Fast Blind Faith An Evil Green Lake The Four Stones Black House Bateeviel Treasa 4
  • 5. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions A Dozen Dark Dimensions 5
  • 6. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Introduction – A Gathering of Tales So here we are, reading my first collection of short stories, and I know that sounds like it should be a rip off, since these stories have already been read world-wide from my website, but this is not the case. In this volume you'll find new things, like this introduction, and also a note from me on most of the stories – some at the end of each story; some at the beginning. Some of the stories have reasons for being (inspiration, etc.) that I'm sure my fans will be interested to know about. Most of the stories are pointless however in the grand scheme of things, and ergo are devoid of deep reasons, but some have interesting back stories. Mostly I just want you to enjoy my dark dimensions, and I thought this the perfect opportunity to wrap all of these stories up with a little bow and present them to you here, with all the trimmings, as a nice little volume of my work, that I'm sure you will enjoy, and that I hope you get oodles of pleasure from reading. Faithfully yours, T. H. Davis. Cavan, Ireland. 14 October, 2009. 6
  • 7. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions It Brings A Nightmare Kitty was watching TV when Mick came home. He had been away playing guitar all day in Grafton Street. He would do this every Saturday. It was more for fun than for the actual money, but sometimes he could earn quite a bit, and he was pretty good. He could imitate John Lennon so well that people would stop and watch him play a whole set, dropping fives and tens into his guitar case when he finished. It was almost 6 PM when Kitty heard the front door unlock. Mick came down the hallway towards the living room in his typical clumsy way: each foot coming down hard before the next as he stumbled to avoid random objects that weren't actually in his way. He came into the living room and smiled at her, his smile more of a grin – it was the kind of grin that a man shows his wife when he's made a decision without asking, or when he has news and knows there's a chance his wife won't like it. Kitty watched him walk into the living room, setting his guitar case down. He kissed her and said hello, then disappeared into the hallway, still wearing that childish grin. 'What have you done?' Kitty asked, curious and slightly worried at what the grin was for. 'I haven't done anything,' he said from the hall, laughing. 'Okay . . . What are you planning on doing?' 'Okay, okay . . . I got something today,' he said coming back into the living room. This time he was holding a soft guitar case. 'It's a guitar.' 7
  • 8. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions 'Really? Is it?' Kitty said, smiling sarcastically. 'So, what's the damage? Just tell me you made some money today, and spent that instead of your wages.' 'I made just under a hundred, and I bought this with it.' He thought for a moment as he unzipped the case. 'Well actually, the guitar was only fifty quid, so it's all good.' He smiled at her again and she watched him opening the case and taking out a blood red electric guitar. He lifted it onto his lap, dropping the case to the floor, and stroked the fretboard. 'Isn't she a beaut?' 'Oh, yeah . . . gorgeous,' Kitty answered, staring at the guitar. 'You do realise you don't have an amplifier, don't you?' Mick looked at her thoughtfully. 'Yeah, but between what I have left from today, and whatever I get next Saturday, I'll have enough.' 'Okay, where did you get it? I mean, fifty sounds a bit too good to be true. It looks expensive.' Mick's grin widened, as if he had some kind of huge secret. 'Well, I was playing my set, and this guy was watching me. He had this on his back and he was watching my set and smiling, getting into it. Weird looking guy though, but he seemed okay. He was wearing all black and had long black hair. He was probably one of those goth people.' 'Right, so you playing, freaky guy, goth people,' Kitty said, watching him carefully. 'Then what?' 'Well, at the end of the set, I was taking a break, and he came over. He says, "That was a really good set", so I said "Thanks", then he said, "I'm trying to sell this guitar", and I asked him "How much?", and he says "Fifty". So I was almost sold right then, and then he showed it to me, and I just fell in love.' 'Okay,' Kitty said, still unsure, but feeling a little better. 'As long as it's nothing illegal or anything.' 'Nah, it's not hot, and even if it was, there's no way to trace a guitar.' Mick was shaking his head to reinforce what he was saying. 'Well, next week I'm getting an amp and then I'll be like Hendrix, only better!' He stuck his tongue out, grabbing the guitar and striking a pose. 'Sure thing, Mr Page,' Kitty said, laughing. 'Hey, call me Jimmy,' Mick said, winking at Kitty. 'Mr Page was my daddy.' Later that night, after they'd had dinner, and while Kitty was in the kitchen working on a large crossword, Mick sat in the living room, admiring his new guitar as it sat in the corner of the room. He played gentle chords on his acoustic, and watched the setting sun shine through the window, 8
  • 9. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions lighting up the red paintwork on the electric guitar. He was playing Beatles songs absently while wondering about the guitar's previous owner, and what had made him sell the guitar for so little money. It was a beautiful instrument, with shark-tooth mother-of-pearl fret-markers, chrome hardware, a Floyd Rose bridge, and locking nuts. The guitar had to be worth ten times what he had given the man, but Mick didn't mind; a bargain was a bargain, and he guessed that the guy must have really needed the money. There was no other reason, and he knew he'd been in that position before: tempted to sell his guitars in the past so that he could put food on the table. He put the acoustic guitar gently on the couch and walked over to the electric, running his fingers over its glossy finish and loving every part of it. He had never owned an electric guitar before, although he had friends who did, and he had played them from time to time. Mostly, he preferred acoustic, always opting for the natural, woody sound, rather than the emulated sound of steel that came from an electric guitar. But he didn't care anymore. He was in love. 'Mick,' Kitty called from the kitchen, but Mick hadn't heard her. 'Mick!' Her voice was urgent, and the second time she called out he looked up and in the direction of the kitchen. 'Yeah?' 'Come here, Mick,' she said, her voice sounding worried now – scared almost. 'Okay,' he said, standing up from the guitar, but watching it lovingly as he walked into the kitchen. 'What's up?' Kitty looked up at him, her face calm, the cap of her pen hanging, semi-masticated, from her mouth. 'Um . . . nothing,' she said. 'You called me just there,' he said, his face a puzzled expression. 'You sounded worried, so what's up, are you okay?' 'Ye-es . . . I'm having a hard time with the crossword, but apart from that I'm fine. Are you?' 'Yeah, but that was kinda weird,' he said, scratching the back of his head, and wondering how he'd heard her voice. 'Must've been someone outside calling another Mick.' 'Must've been,' Kitty said concerned. 'Anyway, you want tea?' 'Yeah, I'll make it,' he said, walking towards the kettle. 'Nope.' Kitty jumped up and intercepted him, getting to the kettle first. 'I'll make it. You go admire your new toy, and I'll bring it in.' She smiled and then kissed him. Mick didn't say another word, he just turned and walked out of the kitchen. When he got into the 9
  • 10. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions living room, he found that one of the strings on the electric guitar had broken – the high E string. He stooped down to it and watched the tiny string bob up and down. His eyebrows performed a whole range of movements as he considered the string, wondering how he hadn't heard it break. Breaking strings generally make a lot of noise, but he could only assume that it was a quieter death on an electric guitar than on an acoustic. He stood up and walked over to the window, looking out at the street, watching the housing estate they lived on. He was watching people coming to and from the estate. He was watching kids playing gleefully, and dogs running here and there, barking at one another. He wished he had a cigarette right then. He had quit five years before, more out of necessity than a genuine will to quit. It had been one of those occasions where money was a seldom seen thing in his life and he had had no choice but to stop. But right there, standing at the window, thinking about the electric guitar – even though he didn't particularly want to – he could have smoked the crap right out of a cigarette. The sun kept its downwards progress, slowly changing the colour of the sky as day began its metamorphosis into night. Here and there a street-light came on and he stared at them, his eyes occasionally jumping from one to the other as his mind went off on its own course and he considered all manner of things that he normally wouldn't. After a while, when the sky had darkened and the children and dogs began to dissipate, he came out of his trance and looked up at the sky, wondering how long he'd been standing there. Ten minutes? Fifteen? More? He couldn't tell, and he didn't care – he just wanted that cup of tea. He turned around and moved towards the living room door, and as he did he saw a full cup of tea sitting on the little coffee table in front of the couch. He stared at it for a long time, curious as to how he hadn't heard Kitty come in with the tea, and why she hadn't said anything to him while she'd been there. Maybe she thought I wanted to be alone, he thought, smiling weakly and picking up the cup. When he picked up the cup, it was almost too hot to hold and he had to switch to the handle, but when he put it to his mouth to take a sip he made a face as though he'd just taken a mouthful of lemon. The tea was icy cold. He looked disdainfully at it, and then tasted it again, just to make sure. Again he recoiled at the freezing cold temperature of the liquid. He walked into the kitchen, intending to complain to Kitty about the cold tea. She was still doing the crossword, and didn't look up when he came in. 'Did you forget to boil the kettle?' he said, putting the cup down on the table beside her. 'No, why?' she answered, looking at the cup. The tea had developed a thick skin on top. 10
  • 11. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions 'It's freezing . . . When did you come in with it?' 'Just now,' she said. 'I just came back in, less than a minute ago. Here.' She handed him her cup. It was almost full, and hot when he took a sip. 'Okay, I'm going to bed,' he said, rubbing his forehead. 'I think I'm getting a headache.' 'Why? What's up with you today?' 'I don't know, love. Just one of those weird days I think.' He left the kitchen and went into the living room to put the acoustic guitar back in its case. When he walked back over to the electric guitar, he saw that the top string had broken and now hung lifeless beside the other broken string. 'What . . . ?' His mouth hung open in disbelief. Electric guitar or not, he knew he should have heard that string break. He watched the string and then switched his stare to the other broken string. 'Old strings,' he said, after much thought, and picked the guitar up by the neck. He walked into the hall and turned towards the bedrooms. As he passed the bathroom, he noticed a smell coming from within, only faint at first but growing stronger as he walked towards the door. He pushed the door back, the stench beginning to sting his nose. He couldn't place the smell; it wasn't normal toilet smell, and it didn't smell like anything that a person might do in a toilet. It smelled like rot and decay. It was bitter, and brought up a gag reflex in him, growing steadily stronger, and making him want to vomit. He put the electric guitar down outside the bathroom and walked slowly in, covering his nose with his sleeve and approaching the toilet bowl slowly, and with nauseous anticipation. He looked at the toilet seat, preparing to pull it up and see a dead rat. But how long would it have to be there to smell so badly? Decomposition like that took days in hot weather. But what else could it be? He didn't try to imagine, and just hoped that the septic tank had backed up. That would be no less a disgusting problem, but toxic gasses coming out of the toilet might explain the weirdness of the evening, and the oncoming headache. He lifted the lid of the toilet seat, bracing himself for whatever was there. But when the lid was up and he looked down inside, all he saw was crystal clear water. It was clean and free of dead things. Not even a hint of yellow. Nothing. And then the smell was gone, just like that. It disappeared as quickly as it had come, and he took his hand down from his face, still looking into the toilet bowl, as though expecting to see some horrible spider crawl out from under the rim. But there really was nothing there, and the smell was now gone, leaving no trace of itself. 11
  • 12. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions He walked back out into the hallway, his acoustic guitar still in hand (he had thought about using it as a weapon, just in case), and picked up the electric guitar, walking into the bedroom, and completely unaware that while he had been in the bathroom, another string had broken. He put both guitars in the corner of the room – the acoustic first, and then the electric leaning against it, facing the room. He walked around to his side of the bed and sat on the edge, looking out the window through the gap in the curtains and really wishing he had a cigarette. The pain in his head was growing still, throbbing rhythmically behind his eyes and in his temples. He thought about the smell and the man with the long black hair and sunglasses, all dressed in black and smiling as he handed over the electric guitar. Had he been wearing sunglasses? Mick tried to picture the man, but couldn't. But he was sure the guy had been wearing black sunglasses, because he couldn't remember seeing the guy's eyes. He could remember thinking to himself, as he handed over the money, that he didn't want to imagine what those eyes looked like. He didn't want the guy to take off the sunglasses, because he didn't think he'd like what he saw in those eyes. But he could feel them, even now, as he got undressed, he could feel them looking at him, studying his face. When he was undressed, he got into the bed, shivering slightly at the chill that had crept into the room. He looked up at the window, and through the curtains, he could see that it was almost dark outside, and the window was shut and locked. There was no way it could be open and letting the cold night air in. And even if it was, this wasn't cold night air he was feeling. It was an unnatural chill. His thoughts drifted off soon, and his eyes shut rapidly as sleep took over. He didn't notice the temperature in the room fall by another ten degrees. He didn't see the clouds of vaporous breath that escaped him and lingered like frozen clouds in the air above his face. He didn't see the fourth string break on the guitar, snapping in two and springing around silently in the darkness of the room. The room looked pitch black when his eyes opened. He stared at the ceiling for a moment, wondering why it was so cold and wondering whether he had had any dreams. Mostly he wondered what time it was. Beside him, he could feel Kitty, her warm body felt comfortable against him, and he could hear her light breathing. He looked at the window and could see the familiar orange glow of street-lights between the curtains. He turned his eyes back to the ceiling then, his vision slowly adjusting to the darkness of the room. He turned over towards Kitty, putting his arm around her and closing his eyes to fall back into 12
  • 13. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions sleep against her warmth. As he did he thought about the electric guitar and looked over into the corner of the room. For a moment his entire body broke out in a sudden sweat, and a warm, sickly lump formed in his throat. He felt a shiver run through him as terror filled his mind. He could only stare at the thing he saw hunched beside the guitar. He could only watch it, moving its hand over the neck and the fretboard. He watched its hands – claws – gently scratch the paint. And then his mind descended further into abysmal terror when the thing seemed to turn and look at him. It was a black shape, that was all – like a shadow that was darker than dark, evil and riddled with malignant intent. It stared constantly at Mick, penetrating his thoughts with its darkness. Then it moved, only slightly, turning towards the bed. Mick began to hear whispers, dozens of voices, all speaking in languages he could not begin to understand. They sounded hateful and angry, and they spoke to him from within his own head, tearing at his sanity like a thousand razor sharp teeth. The shadow, the thing, was moving slowly towards the bed, and as it got closer, the voices within his head got louder, until he could hear nothing else. The thing was still approaching him and as it did the fifth string on the guitar snapped and sprang away from the body. Not that Mick noticed: he was concerned with the huge black shape that was crawling closer to him. He wanted to escape, or wake up from this horrible nightmare. He wanted to wake Kitty, to warn her of the thing in their bedroom, but he couldn't move – he was frozen with terror – and still the thing advanced, and still the wretched voices within his mind battered his thoughts with their vitriolic babbling. The thing was getting closer now, feet away. Then he noticed that its attention had turned to Kitty, and it watched her with invisible eyes, considering her form in the bed, and slowly moving towards her. Mick found himself powerless against the fear he felt and he prayed to God to stop the thing. He prayed hard and closed his eyes, managing to hear his muffled prayer through the voices in his mind. The voices stopped then and he opened his eyes. A silent scream left his open mouth and his eyes, wide with fear, fell upon the black shape of the creature, standing directly beside him, inches from his face. The creature watched him silently, and suddenly he heard its voice speaking to him. Not in the room, and not out loud, but directly into his mind. FUCK YOUR GOD!! The room went dark and his eyes snapped shut. He wondered if he had died, but then realised that if he had died, he could not wonder if he was dead. No, he was dreaming, and in his dream, he was 13
  • 14. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions on a dirt path that wound up a steep hill. On either side of the path there was dense and dark forest, evil and destructive and calling him to enter. But he didn't, because he knew that there were demons in there, hidden amongst the trees. He could hear those voices, by the dozen, speaking in tongues and spitting and cursing at him. He could see a small cottage with a thatched roof and white-wash walls at the top of the hill, and he knew that that was safety. The cottage was safety and he had to get to it. He looked back into the trees and bushes and saw the leaves and branches begin to shake. He started up the hill, terrified by the things that spoke to him from either side, and watched him with pale yellow eyes. His walk turned into a jog, and that became a run, his footfall and his will to reach the cottage growing more frantic with every step he took. But the beasts in the forest kept up with his pace easily, laughing at his attempts to escape. He heard them on either side, and he could see the cottage getting closer and closer. It was fifty yards away . . . forty . . . thirty. He kept running, his lungs and his legs burning and his mind terrorized by the evil in the forest. But he thought he might make it. He could see the cottage getting closer and closer and he thought he might make it. He would be safe then, once he got inside, and they would not be able to touch him. His face became an expression of agonising terror and pain when he felt a sharp, cracking pain on his back. He fell forward, still looking at the cottage. The door was only five feet away now and he crawled on his hands and knees towards it. He felt the cracking pain again, running along his spine and knocking him onto his stomach. He cried out in pain and turned over onto his back. The sky was blue and cloudless and he looked intensely at it as he felt the crack again, on his ribs this time. He almost doubled up in pain and looked around for his assailants but he could see nothing. He felt the pain again as he was struck on the side of his head. He fell sideways and was punched in the mouth. He watched the spray of blood that came from his open mouth and saw teeth, shattered, landing on the path. He felt the pain again, on his legs this time, and he screamed out horribly, but his screams were muffled by an invisible force over his mouth. He felt a barrage of claws, ripping and punching his chest. His clothes were torn to shreds and the ground was slowly drenched in his blood. He could only cry silently now, as the invisible hand covered his mouth and nose and the others battered his body. The cottage sat only feet away, and he reached out to it in vain, crying helplessly and thinking of Kitty. He felt an enormous weight on his arm and he heard the snapping sound as his upper arm was shattered to pieces. He closed his eyes, the agony becoming slowly more dull. He turned over, only 14
  • 15. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions semi-conscious and watched the sky as thousands of invisible things beat him to death. Kitty awoke suddenly, sitting up and looking over at Mick. He was jumping violently in the bed, but she couldn't see him clearly. Soon, her eyes began to adjust to the darkness, but by then he had stopped moving. Her eyes widened with terror when she could see the battered, bloody corpse of her husband. A scream filled her mouth but was stopped by the sight of the black shape that watched her from the corner of the room, by the electric guitar. She could see the final string on the guitar breaking with a muted twang, and as she stared, the dark shape approached her, staring intently all the way. As it neared her, she could hear a thousand evil voices, whispering wretchedly inside her mind. Then she fell asleep and woke on a dirt path in her dreams, a cottage ahead of her, and a feeling of evil from the trees on either side. Outside the house, and outside Kitty's dreams, a man stood on the street, watching the bedroom window. He wore all black and had long black hair which drifted eerily in the light breeze. He wore a pair of dark sunglasses but he took them off as he watched the window, and revealed a pair of burning yellow eyes. 'My baby needs a new set of strings,' he said, approaching the house with a grin. Author's Note: It Brings a Nightmare was inspired by true events. Ten or so years ago, my uncle was staying with us, and he – being a busker – brought home a guitar one day, a red electric guitar. Not wanting it damaged by the kids, he left it in my parents' bedroom, and that night, my mother experienced almost exactly the same thing that Mick did in the story (except for the dying part!). I decided to write it as a story, more than likely out of boredom, but I like it, and because it has some basis in reality, I think it probably has a bigger, stronger impact. Well, I hope it does, anyway. 15
  • 16. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Klever Author's Note: I'm going to be completely honest here: Klever was always meant to be my "IT". It was my reaction to the great Stephen King work. Nothing more, nothing less, just a weird juggler with no talent for the application of make-up. Enjoy! Eric flicked through the yellow pages. His wife, Martha sat at the other end of the kitchen table, sipping a coffee and watching her husband with amusement. She always loved watching him try to organise things. Right now, he was organising his own 50th birthday party. She would have been happy to do it for him, and had even offered to put the whole thing together. But Eric, being a typical alpha-male, had declined her offer, telling her that if he could put together detailed statistic reports on the personal finances of Ireland's wealthy men and women, then he could surely put together a small party for his own birthday. Now, as he moved from one page of the phone book to the next, and as the look of vexation hardened on his face, Martha's smile grew steadily wider, becoming a grin. He looked up at her and his face softened. 'I'm on top of it, love,' he said. 'Oh, I'm sure,' she said, trying not to giggle. 'Find anything you want yet?' 'Nope . . . not yet, but I will -' He stopped on a page and looked closer, inspecting the entries. 'A- 16
  • 17. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions ha!' he almost shouted. 'I've got it!' He stuck out his tongue at Martha. His victory dance. 'Very good, love. What is it?' Martha asked, standing up to join him. 'It's not a bouncy castle, is it?' 'Oh, very funny, but not far wrong,' Eric answered. 'Look.' Martha took the book and studied the page. For a moment, she said nothing, only looked at him in disbelief. 'You can't be serious, Eric.' 'Why not? It's my birthday, isn't it? Why can't I have a juggler?' 'You really want a juggler to come to your fiftieth birthday party? A juggler, Eric.' 'Yes, and he looks good, too. Says here: "the eyes are the windows to the soul, and you won't believe yours when you see me juggle."' Eric smiled at her. 'Eric, you realise that that makes absolutely no sense?' 'Oh, poppycock, it makes perfect sense, Martha, my dear. It means, he looks cheap, and it'll be something new and different and unique.' For a moment, Martha just looked at him, wondering if he was playing a joke. When he didn't start laughing she gave in. 'Okay, Eric. It's your party I suppose. Maybe it will be fun.' 'Great,' Eric said, 'I'll just grab the phone and call him . . .' He looked at the picture which displayed an odd looking man wearing white make-up. '. . . It.' Eric picked up the phone and dialled in the number, consulting the advertisement before placing the call. It began to ring. Once, twice, three times. He looked up at the ceiling, considering hanging up, but then the phone was answered. For a moment there was silence. Eric's mind went blank. 'Hello-oo?' a voice came from down the line. 'Anybody the-ere? How may I he-elp you?' 'Oh, um, yes, is this Klever, the juggler?' Eric asked, his voice finally coming back to him. 'It is Klever! Who arth thou?' 'Ah . . . My name is Eric Munroe, I saw your advertisement in the yellow pages. I'm having a party next week, my birthday, and I'd like to know if you're available?' 'I'm always available,' the voice of Klever, the juggler, said. Once Eric had organised the business side of things and had given the juggler directions to the house, he hung up. At once he felt an overwhelming sense of relief. There had been something weird about the voice. It had felt cold, like a block of ice whispering into his ear. Such a strange feeling. But the odd feeling wore off as the day progressed, and every now and then he would go to the 17
  • 18. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions advertisement to see the picture of Klever. He couldn't stop himself. He had to keep checking the picture to stare at it for a few minutes at a time. It was as if he was checking to make sure the ad, and the picture, would still be there. The days passed by and Saturday soon arrived. The party day. Eric and Martha woke at 10 AM, and Eric quickly got to setting the house up: stocking the fridge with wine and beer, and filling the kitchen with snacks and finger food. Martha was taking care of the majority of the food, and once or twice she had to kick Eric out of the kitchen. He eventually got around to the garden. He was to erect the marquee, and get the barbecue ready. He was to put down mats and organise deck chairs and tables. He had his work cut out for him, but the guests wouldn't start arriving until perhaps 6 PM. Thinking about the guests arriving made him think about Klever. Klever was to arrive at half five, to be ready for when the guests got there. Eric looked at his watch, reading the time carefully, and then checking it twice. It was nearly three now and he was almost done. The sun was shining brightly and he smiled when he stepped away from the garden to admire his handiwork. 'The birthday boy did well,' Martha's voice came from behind him, and he jumped as he turned around. 'What's up with you?' Martha asked. 'Oh, nothing, love, I'm sorry. It's this Klever person. The juggler.' 'What about him? Can't he show?' Martha feigned disappointment, but only to appear empathetic. 'Oh, no, it's not that,' Eric answered and then stopped talking, thinking silently and studying the concrete patio. 'It's just . . . don't you think he's a little . . . creepy?' 'Oh, I think he's very creepy,' Martha said and winked. 'But it's your party, remember?' She turned and walked back into the house. Eric stayed outside, thinking while he smoked a cigarette. The closer it got to Klever arriving, the more he wanted to call the juggler and cancel. But he didn't, and five-thirty got there faster than he wanted. Eric was at the side of the house when the black car pulled up outside. It was a hearse. Eric couldn't believe his eyes when he saw it, and knew exactly who it was. He looked at his wristwatch. 'Exactly five-thirty,' he said under his breath, 'and he comes in a bloody hearse. I should have known . . . I've hired a freak.' He walked towards the car, and noticed that the windows were all tinted. He got closer to it but no one got out. The engine was off, but still Klever had not emerged from the ugly thing. Eric looked back at the house, and then back at the vehicle, scrutinizing it with a little more than doubt in his 18
  • 19. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions mind. He felt something else too, only slightly, but still it was there. Fear. 'Hello?' he said, standing five feet from the driver side window, and not feeling the need to get any closer. 'Hello?' he repeated, growing more apprehensive about the juggler. The door opened suddenly, and Eric was glad he hadn't moved closer, because it opened with force. A man jumped out of the car – this was clearly his big entrance – and he was wretched looking. He wore a black suit that looked about fifty years old, and his face was a mask of rough and generous applications of make up. Mostly white. His hair was long and black and greasy, and fell around in large, furry clumps by his face. He looked at Eric with what Eric could only describe as an abnormally wide grin. 'Hello!' Klever screamed, and Eric almost took a step back. Every bone in his body wanted to tell Klever to go away. He would give Klever money, so as to not anger him, and then he would tell him to go away. He could be okay with a normal party. Why did I have to be so bloody uppity? he thought as he watched the man. 'You're . . . Eric!' Klever said, pointing at Eric. 'You're the birthday boy, correct? Am I correct? Do I win a prize, eh? Eh? Haha!' Eric could only watch the man, stunned, and wondering if the weirdo was high on something. 'Ah . . . um . . . Eric, the birthday boy, right?' Klever repeated, waving his hand in Eric's vision. 'Yes. Yes that's me, yes,' Eric answered, and looked back at the house. 'You're . . . Klever, I assume?' he asked and then looked around at the other houses on the estate. He was hoping no one would see the man, and at the same time hoping someone would come out and save him. Save him from what? 'How old are ya, Eric?' Klever asked, and scratched his face. A lump of white make up caked up and came away with his fingers. He wiped them on his suit jacket, and left a white smudge across the lapel. 'Fifty? Sixty? Hah! A hundred? Huh?' 'I'm . . . I'm fifty, actually.' 'Ya look older, dude. Fucking ancient, actually. Yep.' What had begun as fear was now transforming into anger, and Eric looked at the man straight into his eyes. 'Excuse me?' 'You know how much I cost, right? Gonna get that off your pension, huh?' Klever then turned his head to the left and spat on the ground. Eric followed with his eyes and watched as the man spat. His anger was bubbling up and he 19
  • 20. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions turned back to face the man. 'What do you think you're doing, spitting on my bloody property?' 'Eh, I think you just answered your own question, dipshit!' Klever howled. 'You know what, get the hell off my property, or I'm calling the guards!' Eric yelled. He wanted to turn and walk away then, but for some reason he didn't. His legs wouldn't work. Instead, he kept staring at Klever. The juggler remained silent for a moment. Then he turned and reached into the car. A moment later he stood up again, and Eric could see that he was now holding three glass balls. The man began to juggle them, performing a three ball cascade that moved constantly and effortlessly from hand to hand. The balls kept their movement, and Eric kept his eyes locked on them. Soon, all else began to blur out of existence as Eric became more and more entranced by the three balls. He no longer saw the wide, insane grin that Klever wore. One of the balls left the cascade and rose through the air. Eric realised that it was coming down towards him. Instinctively, he reached out to catch it, and it landed with a thud in his hands. He looked at Klever, but Klever was silent, and only nodded to the ball. Eric looked back at it, and saw in it his own reflection. He almost shrieked in terror at what he saw, and wanted to drop the clear, reflective orb, but couldn't. It was glued to his hands and he was forced to look; to see his own reflection. Except that it wasn't his reflection. Not really. In the ball, he saw himself lying in a funeral parlour. He was lying in the coffin, and Martha was beside him. There was someone standing behind Martha, holding her shoulders and smiling while she wept for her husband. He honed in on that figure and saw that it was Klever. It was the juggler. The juggler had killed him with his evil, and in the reflection Eric knew he would kill Martha too. He would kill the whole world. Eric strained against the orb, and fought hard to pull his eyes from the reflection. But the image was stronger and it fixed him with its power. He could feel Klever's gaze on him, and he could feel his own strength leave his body. The image changed then, and the figure in the coffin began to rise, floating upwards, like a ghost. But not a ghost. A soul. His soul was rising in the image, and his soul was leaving as he watched. 'Stop . . . stop it,' Eric tried to shout, but it came out as only a whisper. 'There's no stopping it now, Eric. The eyes are the windows to the soul, remember? And your soul is mine now, Eric.' Klever laughed hard before speaking again. 'Besides, you've had fifty good 20
  • 21. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions years, man! What more do you need?' Eric could feel his strength waning, but still he held the ball. His eyes were locked on it, and he had given up trying to fight. His soul was leaving, and with it his will to live. 'Now, come with me, Eric,' Klever said. 'N-no . . .' 'Oh, don't argue, old man.' Eric could feel his legs buckle, and he hit the ground, semi conscious. He could still see Klever standing over him, but now there was a second person standing silently above him. At first, he thought it was a neighbour, but as he watched, he saw that it was himself, his soul, standing above him, having left his body. Klever looked at the ghostly copy of Eric, and directed it to the car. Eric dropped the glass ball and it smashed on the pavement, creating a thousand shards of glass. Klever looked down at him, and smiled. Then he was gone, the juggler. He had gotten into his hearse and driven away. But he had stolen Eric's soul. Eric lay on the pavement, sinking into the depths of depression. He could barely move or speak, and all he could do was cry. His tears streamed down his cheeks and splashed on the concrete. He could hear them. He looked down at them and saw the smashed glass ball. He reached slowly over and picked up one of the razor sharp shards, still crying, and unable to think or speak. All he could see was Klever, the juggler, taking his soul and driving away. Laughing all the way. He put the shard of glass to his neck, pressing it slowly and pulling it across. The pain was enormous, but with it came release. Death would come soon and he would leave the pain behind. Darkness came as his eyes slowly closed. He died fast, his life's blood pouring like a stream onto the pavement. When Eric opened his eyes again, he found himself in a new darkness. His vision was blurred and his neck hurt, as though it had a rash. He scratched it absently. He looked forward, realising he was in a car, and saw someone sitting in the driver's seat. 'Hello?' he said in a whisper. There was no answer, the figure remained quiet. Eric looked out the window to his left, and all he could see was red fire and flames. 'You would have died eventually, Eric,' the driver said, and looked over his shoulder. It was 21
  • 22. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Klever. 'I can't really take your soul. That belongs to the big man.' He pointed upwards. 'But I can make you . . . y'know . . . kill yourself . . . and that's a sure-fire way to make sure you end up down here.' He cackled, and Eric turned back to the window, watching the flames licking the hearse. Klever, eh? 22
  • 23. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Larry's Run He stooped down, resting on one knee while he tied the lace on his left running sneaker. He pulled the dirty white lace hard on both sides, his knuckles turning white and each phalanx of his fingers standing out like glowing red beacons. Once he had tied the lace he switched sides, but the other one was already tied in a sturdy double knot that he hadn't been able to open in two weeks. I'll have to put a fork in it, he thought absently, standing up and preparing for his pre-run stretching exercises. He cast a quick glance at the estate around him, wondering if any of the neighbours were watching him through their curtains. He tugged at the leg of his tracksuit bottoms, feeling suddenly very self conscious. He moved around to the back garden where no one would see him struggling to touch his toes. As he bent over, his whole body straining and his lungs emitting a loud, wheezing sigh, he wondered why he should feel embarrassed, or self conscious. He was Larry Cullen, he was thirty- eight, and he was getting fit. He was working hard to get into some kind of good physical condition after an almost forty year stint of not-giving-a-shit. It was more than Marty across the street was doing. He raised his head, hoping a pressure headache wouldn't come, and stretched his vision to see to Marty's house. He could just about see the white net curtain, and he could have sworn he saw 23
  • 24. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions it shake slightly. They're watching me, he thought, with what started out as embarrassment, but turned quickly into pride. They're watching me, and that fat bastard is wishing he was out here stretching out his hamstrings. He stood up, happy with his fifty or so seconds of warm up. He then jogged on the spot. His movements were slow and drawn out: full of effort. He was still very unfit, and he knew he had a long way to go until he would be happy. He had a long way to go before Doctor Lynch would be happy. As he jogged, watching himself in the reflection in the kitchen window, formed by the fading light of twilight, he reflected on Doctor Lynch. Larry liked Lynch. The guy was a no-bullshit, straight down the line kinda guy. He told it to you straight, just the way you wanted to hear it. If you had a cold the guy would tell you to go to bed, and not to give him any lip. If you had diabetes, the doctor would nearly stick you with insulin himself. Larry had often wondered what the man would be like in one of those "I'm sorry, we couldn't save her" situations. He was sure Lynch wouldn't come down the hall, all dramatic and do the slow, soft-focus head shake thing. No, he'd come down and just give it to you. He'd just give you the bad news. No bullshit. He had done that with Larry, after all. And Larry could remember it, too. He could remember sitting in the waiting room of Lynch's private practice. Lynch had come out and called him in. Larry had walked in, leaving Celine – his wife – in the waiting room. Then, Lynch had just . . . told him, just like that. Christ, Larry hadn't even had a chance to sit down and Lynch had blurted it out. Even thinking about it made Larry's heart sink. He stopped jogging, shaking out his limbs and silently reflecting on things. As he began to jog, taking off around the side of the house at a light pace, he couldn't help but remember all the reasons he was jogging in the first place. He couldn't help but go through the chain of events that led from one thing to another until he ended up in the hospital, and then in Lynch's office, and then here, jogging and exercising to keep bad things from happening all over again. He left the driveway, looking casually over at Marty's house and then turning his attention back to the footpath. He turned right at the end of the pavement and descended a gentle hill. All the way concentrating on those things, those bad things that had affected his body so much; so fundamentally. This was his ritual. Self flagellation. His memories were his whip, and he lashed himself every night for two kilometres. The burgers and takeaway food. The beer and cigarettes. The sugary crap 24
  • 25. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions and laziness. The heart attack they all landed him with. The heart attack. He shuddered thinking about it, almost forgetting to look as he crossed the road onto the footpath that led into Killykeen Forest Park. The painful, agonising heart attack. When he had suffered a heart attack, he had gained an almost completely new view on all things in the world. For weeks after, he would look at his hands; he would stare at them for ten minutes straight in absolute wonder at their construction. Appreciation, that was what he had been given. A second chance at a life, and a barrel load of appreciation to make sure he didn't forget. Not long after the heart attack, he had been called into the doctor's office, and Lynch had told him – no bullshit included – that, if he didn't change his lifestyle, the next heart attack would be his last. And it would be soon. Well, that was as good as saying: "You're dead, buddy. You're brown fuckin bread, my friend." And now here he was, jogging along the main road that led into Cavan town, entering the darkening forest, and feeling so new and transformed that the thoughts of his former life repulsed him. He hadn't touched a burger, or a chip. He hadn't smoked a cigarette, or drank a single beer. For two months he'd been clean, so to speak. And his body was thanking him; he could feel it. He could actually feel it. Was there anything more amazing? He could actually feel the blood, burning with health and life through his veins. He was a living, breathing thing, and he wasn't going to be having a heart attack any time soon. 'Not a hope in hell,' he puffed, picking up his pace, flanked by tall pine trees on either side. The night was coming fast, and the darkness grew with his confidence. The feeling of newness was comparable to a miracle. He loved it. But still he wasn't complete, and the stitch stinging in his side was the cold reminder of that fact. It was a tiny entity screaming at him: I'm in control here, fucker! But still he ran. Not content to give in. He had been reading up on fitness training, and he knew well enough that if you wanted to increase your level of fitness, pushing yourself a little more all the time was the only way to do it. That was fine by him; he could go all night, as it were. Except, he couldn't go all night. Something was bugging him now. Had that gnawing thought been there before? Had that strange sensation been there? He slowed his pace slightly to check his thoughts. The feeling he was experiencing was the kind of feeling you get when you're in a strange house and someone tells you that the guest bedroom was the scene of a murder spree. It's the feeling you would imagine a man or woman gets just before the devil arrives to collect their soul. He was Faustus . . . but where was Mephistopheles? 25
  • 26. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions He picked up his speed again, shrugging off the negativity. He had suffered a lot of that since restructuring his life. In his past life – the one leading to a sure death – he had known nothing else, and so he had been able to maintain a positive outlook. But now . . . now he was living, really living, and like they say: the more options you have, the more depressed you're apt to become. But still that nagging feeling wouldn't lift, and it was beginning to feel less and less like the normal negative feelings he was getting used to. It was beginning to feel like unnecessary fear. He couldn't understand it. Sure, the forest was creepy at night, but so was every other forest. Outside, on the main road, he knew the light still hadn't disappeared. But in here, under the thick canopy of tall trees, night had come in swift and dark. The stitch in his side was still there too; growing worse. He would need to stop soon for a rest, and a breather. He could see an ancient stone wall ahead. It was the only remaining part of a long gone mansion that had once been the beautiful home of some local family. Time and neglect had ravaged it though and all that remained was a tall brick wall with a single doorway. The doorway had been bricked up at some unknown point in history, and outside sat a huge tree stump. He would rest there, then turn back and complete the jog. He reached the tree stump fast, coming to a slow stop and opening his mouth in what looked like a silent scream – gasping for air. His eyes shut tightly: the outward representation of his body fighting against the burning lack of oxygen in his lungs. If the forest was dark, then the space between his eyeballs and his eyelids was pitch-black. He liked it though. It was like at night when he went to bed early, just to close his eyes and think. Darkness was good sometimes. But not now. That feeling was back. Still his eyes remained closed, as though having a will of their own and not wanting to open. Then, in his mind's eye, he could see the wall and the stump and the doorway. But in his mind, the doorway was open, and through it lay an absolute darkness. Not just a literal darkness, but a darkness of the mind – someone's mind. His eyelids remained shut, glued together. He couldn't fathom why they wouldn't open, or why the new image of the wall and doorway was coming to mind. He could only guess that it was an after effect of seeing the door as he approached. He knew this wasn't true though, because the doorway in his mind was open and clear, and there was something standing in it. It was a dark figure, dressed in black, or having black skin that hung and sagged by its sides. Its long bony limbs hung loosely too, and it regarded Larry with hatred. Was it looking at him? Was this real? He couldn't tell; didn't want to. The bad, bad feelings had come in full force now and battered his senses relentlessly. He wanted to open his eyes; to pry them open and prove to himself 26
  • 27. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions that it was all in his head. But he couldn't – wouldn't. He hadn't the strength to do it, because something inside him knew that when he opened his eyes, it would be there. It would be standing in the doorway, like a sentry at the gate to hell, watching him and preparing to eat his soul. Finally, the muscles in his eyes relaxed, and they began to open. But this was against his will and he struggled to keep them shut, the feeling of what he might see growing stronger. He took an unsure step back, but in his confusion had lost his direction and had to stop in case he fell into a ditch. If he fell into a ditch in this darkness, he wouldn't get up again. He tried to turn, to redirect himself, but it was useless, and still his eyes continued to open. Still the feeling of horrible dread crept into his soul. At last they were open, but he couldn't see, his vision was blurred. He scratched his eyes with his knuckles and opened them again. He found that he had turned his direction and now faced the ditch directly opposite the wall. He could feel it now, that thing he had seen in his mind. He could feel its presence behind him, like a cold, wet thing, watching him solidly and with malignant intent. Slowly and reluctantly, he began to turn. He needed to see it; to know if it was real. The ditch disappeared from view, gradually fading into his periphery as the dirt path became the centre of his focus. His head and eyes remained straight forward while his fear stricken body turned. The ditch was gone, and a new periphery arrived. The wall. The bricks. The ivy covered bricks. The doorway. Is it bricked up? Is it bricked up? Is that thing there? He stopped moving, his eyes wide. A new feeling was being born in his body. It was a familiar one. Not evil, but bad. Worse than any other feeling. It was a lightning bolt of pain that shot quickly and with rapid efficacy up the left side of his chest. It struck his neck and coiled, like a snake, around his head, engulfing his skull in bursting sprays of pain. His body felt as though it were being torn into two pieces, and his skin began to crawl and tighten, like his heart. His blood shuddered and jumped as the valves in his chest that pumped his life began to fail. They struggled, like an old car, and spluttered horribly throughout his body. Adrenaline coursed through him, but this only heightened the sensations. His hands and face twitched, and his eyes rolled around wildly in his skull. The pain was ferocious and ceaseless and screamed through his flesh like a quiet murderer. The heart attack lasted forever. But less than five seconds passed by. And when his legs gave out and he buckled to his knees, looking up and staring at the dark presence that stood silent in the doorway, he knew that this was the end. Death . . . it's so dark . . . this room's uncomfortable . . . death. His thoughts had sunk into mindless rambling while his entire body fought, like the crew of a 27
  • 28. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions battleship, to save itself. In the last few seconds of his life, he saw the thing in the doorway slink back into the hell it came from. He saw the doorway fill with bricks, and grow a fresh layer of mature ivy. Then his eyes closed and he passed away. A jogger found Larry the next morning. She had screamed and ran from his bloated, pale corpse. She had alerted the police, and they, along with Doctor Lynch, had come down to remove the man. Doctor Lynch had been able to tell straight away that Larry had died from a massive heart attack. And that was the general belief, considering his medical history. But not one of them would have suspected that a dark thing might have crawled from an ancient doorway and given him death with its hidden eyes. Not one of them knew the evil that had chased the life from his body, only feet from where he drew his last breath. Author's Note: I like this story. It's one of those short, sweet pieces that just seemed to drift out of my mind and onto the screen. The wall with the doorway is a real thing, just down the road from my mother's house in Cavan. It is creepy, but maybe not as creepy as in the story. Yet, I can't help but think about what might be behind that walled up doorway every time I pass it. 28
  • 29. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Shrewsingran Evil must come from somewhere. There has got to be a starting point; a driving force. - Anonymous. The house was beautiful. Damien loved it, and he knew Kerri would too. She'd love it mostly because it was located in a nice out-of-the-way part of the countryside. She'd also love it because surrounding the house was field after field of tall, wild grass, untended by anyone. He stood on the doorstep, waving as the agent drove away, stuffing her cheque into the pocket of her red blazer. Had she seemed on edge? his thoughts wondered. To his left, the south and Dublin in that direction, were tall green hills that Damien couldn't wait to climb. The hills looked as old as time itself, probably unchanged for millions of years. The same hills that the first settlers in Ireland – more than ten-thousand years before – had climbed, passing through dense forest that no longer existed to find a new home. He turned right, facing north, and a forest in the distance that looked large and mature. Those trees were full of life and wisdom somehow, a whole new territory that looked like a place seldom seen by human eyes; a place few people had ever gone into. 29
  • 30. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Directly in front of him was a field of that wild countryside grass, and the smell of wild garlic that wafted up to his nostrils, clearing his mind as he watched the main road that cut through the countryside like a never-ending black snake, a white stripe down the centre of its back. It was wild as the countryside through which it calmly slithered. He had had a look around the back of the old two storey house earlier in the day, just to see what was around there, and found a steep hill with a grey, ragged rock face, perhaps fifty feet to the top and capped with wild grass and a cluster of old looking trees: his very own little forest. He smiled, taking out his mobile phone to call Kerri. She was still in the city, tying up a few loose ends before following him out. The smell of wild garlic was mixing with wild summer flowers and creating a natural potpourri that filled his mind wi - He crawled backwards, tears streaming from his eyes, his heart beating hard in his chest. THUMP- THUMP-THUMP! He was unaware of the blood on his face and chest. He couldn't see it, the whole place was dark. The whole place was darker than dark. Like a two storey coffin. He heard it again and yelped, then covered his mouth with the palm of his hand to quiet himself, staring into the darkness, unable to see it, and not wanting it to hear him. When he had calmed himself so that he wouldn't scream, he continued moving backwards, pushing as quietly as possible with his feet while he pulled himself along the floorboards with his hands. The noise came again, the scratching, clicking sound of nails walking on bare floorboards. How far away? Ten feet? Two feet? How far? His mind clamoured for sanity, the fear drowning out logical thought in a blaze of white, flashing terror. It's there! his thoughts screamed, and tried to flee his body. It's . . . there! There! In front of me! He stopped moving, trying not to breath, and taking quick little jets of air into his lungs, the dizziness creeping over his head like a snake coiling around its helpless victim; slowly crushing the life out of it. Could the thing see him? Could it see in the dark? The absolute darkness . . . The maddening impenetrable darkness. Not night time darkness; not like any darkness he had ever seen before. Not even in the countryside. Not a house for miles, he had said earlier. He had loved the idea then, but not now. Now he needed a house. He needed help. He put the phone to his ear as he turned to the house and faced the front door. Kerri's phone seemed to ring forever before she picked it up, and when she finally answered there was nothing but static 30
  • 31. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions on the other end. Every now and then her voice would crackle down the line, and Damien could catch small fragments of a word here and there. 'Hello?' he said, walking out onto the lawn to find coverage. 'Kerri? Hello? The reception here is . . . Kerri, the reception here is terrible . . . Kerri, I'll call you right back! Okay? If you can hear me, don't call me, I'll call you.' He hung up, looking at the phone to see how many bars of coverage were on the screen. The coverage was full. He pressed "3" – Kerri on speed dial – and soon her phone was ringing again. 'Damien!' she shouted into the phone. 'Heya, hon. How's the house?' 'Yeah, sorry about that, the coverage was . . . acting up. The house is fi -' 'Sorry about what?' she asked, her voice genuinely confused. 'The phone call a few seconds ago. The coverage was playing around and all I was getting was static.' He had walked back to the house and now paced the long timber porch. 'You've lost me, Damien,' Kerri said, and Damien could hear her chuckling down the phone. 'You . . . you never called me.' Then she was laughing. 'You probably called a wrong number!' For a moment, Damien was scared, and he couldn't understand why. The static he had heard on the phone, and the revelation that it had not been Kerri that had picked up were weird, but not enough to warrant the strange fear he was feeling. 'Yeah . . . probably,' he said thoughtfully. 'So-oo? How's our new home? Is it beautiful?' 'Yes! It is, it's really amazing! Breath taking! Really breath ta - He struggled to take breaths as shallow as possible, afraid that the sound of the air passing into his lungs would give away his location to . . . to it. It? What was it? He had only barely seen it before the lights all went out. He had only barely known what was happening, and then . . . then . . . . . . it had flashed across the hallway. Yes, it had moved into his vision, more in his periphery than in his direct line of sight. A black thing. Long, and dark, and moving in quick jerking bursts across the hall. Moving horribly across the hall. He looked around to his right. He had come to an open door in his crawling along the hallway, and now he was looking into the thick darkness of a bedroom. Which one? On which side of the house? He saw a solid square of dark blue light coming into the room from what seemed like miles away. A window, with night outside, and the night was brighter by several shades than the hallways and rooms of the house. His vision was adjusting slowly to the darkness, and that terrified him, 31
  • 32. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions because then he might see it. If his vision got any better, he might see it. It might be right in front of his face, looking down at him with dark, soulless eyes. Preparing to attack; to rend him limb from limb. To . . . to . . . He could see a shape in the small room. An outline of a bed, bathed in the light that came from the window. The bed was small; perfect for a child. Perfect for a child! his thoughts roared, remembering the wander he had taken around the house that morning. He had gone into the room, the estate agent never far behind, and had looked down at the miniature bed and thought: Perfect for a child! The room was . . . on the west side. The west side faced the road – the long, winding snake road that slithered away to safety. He looked at the window in desperation then, wanting nothing more than to be on that road, slithering stealthily to safety. The noise again, grinding, clacking, clicking, scraping. Moving closer. He had not looked back down the hall; his eyes were locked on the window – the portal through which he could escape, if he could only get to it. Tears began to flow again, and he still did not notice the blood. The blood from where he had fallen against the wall and his forehead had struck the skirting board. It had moved towards him, its mouth open and its blank, black eyes considering him with hideous evil. It had come at him, its long, thin, black limbs outstretched and grasping for him; trying to hold him and . . . . . . and he had stepped back, run back, and lost his footing somehow, on a small object. The small object had not been able to bare his weight and moved, and he lost his balance and fell and struck his head. He had blacked out, and when he came to . . . darkness. Nothing but darkness. And the noise, the scraping noise that sent wave after wave of nauseating fear and panic through him. The noise! his thoughts squealed and whined. The noise coming closer! Scraping closer! He moved back a little more, edging slowly into the small bedroom, with the bed that would be perfect for a chil - The house wasn't dirty, and had very little furniture, so he didn't have much to do in the way of cleaning. But there were several boxes and bags and other loose items in his van. There was the sofa too, and the TV, the kitchen table . . . Other things he couldn't remember right now. He went back out to the van and opened the passenger side door. He had put the kettle, a cup, teabags and sugar all in a bag on the floor – the most important things. There was a breeze blowing as he walked back to the house and through the front door. 32
  • 33. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions He had his tea made in a few minutes, and as he lit a cigarette he prepared himself for the tedious job of unloading th - What is it? his thoughts wondered madly. What is it? Where did it come from? What does it want? He could barely think straight, much less come up with logical answers to these questions. All he could do was stare longingly at the window in the bedroom he had come to. All he could do was watch the dark night outside and want to be there. He looked back down the hallway. His vision had improved, and that terrified him. Now he could see the hallway, and the left turn it took as it moved towards the stairs. He stared at the hallway, unable to tear his eyes away from it now that he could see. The whole house went silent, horribly silent, as though the noise had been sucked out into the night. No noise. No scraping from the other end of the hallway. No sound as he took shallow breaths. No clicking as the thing tread the landing floorboards. No creaking floorboards as he shifted position, trying constantly to get into the room. Nothing. A vast emptiness of darkness and horrible silence. He stared and stared, afraid to blink; afraid it might attack him if he did. He continued to stare, waiting for it. This was it. It was there. It was right there, just around the corner, and it knew where he was, and it was ready to get him and drag him away. Away to the woods! Like in the poem! He saw something, and a shock of electrified terror waved over him and up through his veins, burning them and making him shudder. His hair lifted, but there was no wind. His neck was touched by an invisible hand. Dark fingers, blended with his surroundings, played delicately over his body, and gooseflesh stood up all over him. He saw it, creeping slowly around the corner, tall and disgusting and frail looking, like a blackened skeleton of pure evil. It's Shrewsingran! Run! Run! Ru - He finished his tea and cigarette and switched the kettle back on as he left the house to start unloading the van. 'TV first,' he said. It was an expensive LCD TV and he wanted to get that out of the way. He opened the back of the van, swinging both doors around to the sides and locking them there. Then he lifted the TV out, a hand on either side, careful not to get a bad grip and drop it. He hoisted 33
  • 34. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions it so that the screen faced outwards and the back of the TV rested on his chest, then brought it into the house and set it down in the living room, just to the right inside the front door. He looked down at it, watching it try to free stand on the floor. He looked around for something to prop it against and found an armchair. He pushed the TV against a wall, leaning it gently over, then dragged the armchair over to it for support. On his way back out of the room, he was looking down at the floor where the armchair had been and wondering how long it had been there. There was a thick layer of dust in the shape of the bottom of the chair. But there was something else there: a shape, outlined by the dust, and only a little thicker than the dust itself. He picked it up, brushing it off, sending a cloud of fine dust particles into the air that floated and caught the light from the window magnificently. It was a book he was holding, old and thin and crumbling. On the cover of the book was a house, and it looked almost identical to the one he was in, with a hill behind and a dense patch of trees above it. As he was about to turn the page to see inside he noticed something about the cover that sent a trickling of fear through him. Behind the house, standing in the trees, was a tall, dark and frail figure, watching the house. But when he turn back for a second look, it was gone; blended into the shadow between the trees themselves. He chuckled nervously. 'Just an optical illusi -' The thing seemed to just watch him, silent from the corner of the hallway. It hovered there, dark against the dark, scrutinizing him with evil eyes – yellow slits that glowed dimly and watched him like a predator watches its prey. He was frozen with fear, lying on the floor in the doorway to the bedroom and staring blankly at the thing. Terror had consumed his entire body; his mind. He wanted to run, to try to escape, but his body wouldn't allow it. As though he had to keep staring at the thing. As though it was waiting for him to move. Can it see me? Can it really see me? Those yellow slits that shone down the length of the hallway, projecting absolute badness, and blinking every now and then like a pair of tiny lighthouses, leading the ships into the cliffs and not away. I have to try . . . try to get away! I have to try! His hands and feet felt cold and numb. The blood and adrenaline pumped in waves through his 34
  • 35. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions body. The sweat drenched his clothes and made them heavy. He moved then, just a little, just his feet. He was preparing himself to stand. He looked closely at the thing, but it hadn't moved. Can it . . . can it see? Can it even see? The thing continued to watch the hallway, and the man lying in the doorway. Damien almost shrieked when its arm rose, but calmed himself and saw that it was resting its hand on the wall. It was biding its time. Watching him, and just waiting. Those yellow eyes. He moved again, this time a little more as bravery – or self-preservation – kicked in and forced him to do something rather than just lie there and wait for it. He planted his arm against the door frame behind him and slowly pushed with his feet, balancing himself with his hands as he rose to his feet. He stared constantly at the thing and could see its eyes rise along with him. Still watching. Why doesn't it do something? What's it waiting for? Confusion washed over him, adding to the already boiling terror, and making him want to just dash towards the window. The poem! The poem! What does the poem say? Wha - He read the book aloud as he walked back out into the daylight and the warm summer day. '"There was a man named Shrewsingran, who used to own this house. Now Shrewsingran was indeed a man, but quiet as a mouse. Shrewsingran went out one day, to ramble in the woods. While he was out, some men came round, and took away his goods. And "goods" was just a name he used, a pet name for his daughter. Well, men came round and took his goods, and brought her to the slaughter."' He stopped reading, not sure if he wanted to continue. It was pretty macabre, he thought, and from the cover he had assumed it was a children's book. Eventually, curiosity got the better of him, and he continued. '"Shewsingran went to the woods and cried his heart away. His goods, his goods, not in the woods, but taken far away. He made a pledge, an evil pact was set in stone. Carved on trees and signed in blood and what was done was done."' '"He stayed up there and slowly died but never left this place. He watches still the road below, with yellow eyes and blackened face. He waits for you the visitor, to come and take his goods. And when you come you never leave for Shrewsingran's in the woods. But if he sees you, in his house, and thinks to take your life. There is a way to stay his might and live throughout the night."' 35
  • 36. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions '"Just watch -"' His mind fumbled over the memory of the poem. He tried desperately to remember what it had said; what came next. Just watch . . . Watch what? He was still staring at those two yellow eyes. Is that . . . him? Is that Shrewsingran? He swallowed hard, afraid to look away and break eye contact. Still the dark, skeletal thing clung to the wall and watched him patiently. Waiting . . . Damien cleared his throat, and swallowed hard again. 'Are you . . .' His voice was no more than a whimper. 'Are you Shrewsingran?' A fresh wave of fear and panic swept through his body when he heard a loud, thin, shrieking scream come from the black thing. He screamed too and his fear broke into new terror and he turned and ran into the bedroom. He ran hard, feeling the thing behind him all the way. Feeling it touch his hair and swipe the flesh of his back. He reached the window and struck it with his elbow. But it was hard and didn't smash. Then it wasn't a window. It was a painting of a scenic view, with long fields of wild grass and a forest in the distance. It wasn't a window. There was no escape. And now he could feel it, standing behind him, living in the shadows and watching him with those yellow glowing eyes. 'Shrewsingran,' he whispered. The last verse of the poem came back to him, just as he felt the cold claws of Shrewsingran fall on his body. He could remember it now, but now was too late, and he recited it as darkness came over him and swallowed him whole. '"Just watch his eyes, and watch them long, and watch them 'till first light. Those yellow eyes will keep their distance, and slink off when its bright."' Author's Note: This story was written just for fun. Nothing more. I was exercising my word- muscles, as it where. The idea to play around with the time-line in the story was not pre-meditated, and just kind of . . . happened. Hope you didn't find it too confusing. Point of interest: the quote from anon at the start was actually conjured by me. But it wouldn't have looked good, had my name been there. 36
  • 37. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions The Graves Unmarked It was March last year when I first approached Mr. Tobbins about the job. Mr. Tobbins was the current gravekeeper of the Catholic graveyard in Killeshandra. He was getting on in life though, and once or twice I had seen him put diesel in his petrol car: early signs of senility and my opportunity presenting itself. At the time, I had been working in the petrol station. It was just a small job, not paying much but keeping me in cigarettes, and that was all I really wanted at the time . . . Well, cigarettes and my writing. So I figured a job in a cemetery would be just the place to find the peace and quiet to practise my writing, and being that my main influences are the works of Poe, M. R. James, and Lovecraft, it seemed the perfect place to invoke all of my imagination. There, I could be surrounded by the dead and their decaying headstones, like so many rows of baby megaliths. In a graveyard I could conjure the necessary frame of mind to create. It would be perfect. So, one sunny day when I didn't have to pump stinking petrol into the cars of rich people, I took a walk down to the graveyard. I found Mr. Tobbins there, as usual, and I approached him about the job. "Why do you want to work here?" he asked me, watching me curiously as though expecting 37
  • 38. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions hidden cameras to appear from behind headstones. I was reluctant to tell him the truth, so I told him instead that I wasn't getting along very well with the other employees at the petrol station, and I noticed that he might need the extra help. "Well, I'll have to say it to Father Broderick," he said after a deep sigh and a lot of thought. "That's okay," I replied. "Will I come back down tomorrow?" "Yes, you do that. I'll have a word with the boss tonight and if he says yes, then yes it is." He had stood up off the wall he had been leaning on and I could hear his spine crackle when he stretched. "God himself knows I need the help anyway, so I can imagine you'll have no problem getting the job." "Thank you," I said and turned to leave. "Hey," he called out and I turned back to him. "What's your name?" "Erin," I replied. "Erin . . ." He seemed to ponder my name for a moment. "You know it doesn't pay that well, and there's a lotta hard work. Every time someone pops their clogs, you need to do the diggin and the maintenance." "That's okay," I said, "hard work doesn't scare me at all." "Well, glad to hear it. But the hard work won't be what gets at you." Once he had made that last remark, he walked away, entering the house attached to the graveyard and leaving my fertile imagination to wonder what he had meant. All the way home, for the rest of the evening, and all that night in bed I analysed what he had said. The only explanation I could come to was that he was being a bit playful and trying to scare me. Wasn't that what the older men did in jobs? They filled you with tales of ghosts and spirits and other weird things and then you were afraid to go anywhere on your own. Of course, they'd get a great laugh at your expense, but that was the way it was. Wasn't it? The next day I got up early. Earlier than usual, anyway. I walked straight down to the graveyard, avoiding work in the petrol station. When I got there I couldn't see Mr. Tobbins anywhere. I searched the graveyard itself, then I walked to the little house he stayed in and knocked three times on the front door. There was no answer to my knocks, so I assumed that he must have been in the church, seeing the priest. When I entered the church, it was quiet and dimly lit; there were a few hundred of those little prayer candles lit by the alter, but they gave out only a tiny glow which barely lit the huge church. 38
  • 39. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Father Broderick was at the other side of the alter and I approached him. I told him who I was and that I had seen Mr. Tobbins the day before. I told him about the job and that Mr. Tobbins had said he would see about it. Father Broderick told me that Mr. Tobbins had been taken to hospital during the night with a suspected heart attack. He told me the man was going on eighty and that at that age any number of things could be wrong with his health. He was excited though as soon as I mentioned my wanting to work in the graveyard, and he began to insist that I do. He told me if I wanted I could take over from Mr. Tobbins – since the old grave keeper would likely be in hospital for a while, and other than him there was no one to take care of the graves. So I accepted the priest's offer and that was that. I had the job. On my way out of the church he called me back and gave me a key, saying it was for the little house attached to the graveyard and that I could use it if I wanted to. I took the key, with a shallow smile, and walked out of the church and over towards the graveyard. For a while I just wandered around, finding it astonishing the way one's perceptions of things can differ when circumstances change. In the space of a few minutes, I had gone from begin Erin, who works at the petrol station, to Erin, who is the sole keeper of the Catholic graveyard. And while this thought played in my mind, I viewed the headstones and various crypts and family vaults as more than just things. I suddenly saw them as more than just rotting commas in a long line of history, and began to see them as special things; things to be respected and looked after. I believe I became cemetery proud. Over the next few days, I glided smoothly, and with what I thought was spectacular ease, into the position. I tended to two burials. I swept and maintained the paths around the graves. I mowed grass and painted an unfinished length of wall. I walked through the graves, picking up random pieces of litter and smashed tokens left by family members – the tiny plastic figures of Jesus Christ having fallen and shattered to a hundred pieces on the multi-coloured pebbles people liked to use on graves. I felt good there; I felt special and unique. It's fair to say that, while I walked around those graves, viewing row after row of decrepit sepulchre and ancient tomb, I felt like how that Chinese emperor must have felt. Except that my army was made up of rotten corpses from as far back as 1724, and not Terracotta Warriors. During the day, when there was no work and when the sun was shining so brightly so as to render the body incapable of anything but the slightest movements, I wrote, or I read. Mostly I wrote 39
  • 40. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions (reading, I liked to keep for my bedtime). I remember I got through almost two-thousands words per day in those first few days – it's a wonder how a person's surroundings can influence their imagination. At night, I stayed in the little house joined to the graveyard. The first night I wasn't extremely happy about this, as having the graveyard on one side (full of my legions or not), and the huge bastion of Catholic teaching on the other was more than a little creepy. But I think that that first day in the graveyard I had done more work than I had ever done before, and when it came to my bedtime, I was too tired to worry about what may or may not be watching in the dark. I didn't particularly care, or have the energy to care. I remember I fell asleep within two minutes of putting my head down. The two minutes spent in silent study of every dark, shadow filled corner of the room. The second day was pretty much a perfect mirror image of the first. Once I awoke and washed I went about my chores: cleaning, sweeping, maintenance, eating, and anything else I needed to do. By the time I had all of that done the twilight was coming in and my arms were sore, so I decided to call it a day and return to the little gravekeeper's house for the night. I wasn't as tired on the second night as I had been on the first, and when I got inside I flicked on the TV and watched as the news of the day was presented. I ate a ham sandwich while I watched, washing it down with a glass of milk and a few biscuits. At some point, I found myself staring out of the little living room window at the moon outside. It was full and it seemed almost to hover above the graveyard, lighting the graves like hundreds of those glowing prayer candles. Each one iridescent and illuminated and pointing lifelessly upwards. I rummaged around the house for a while, mostly trying to find some reading material, but partly out of nosiness. I found nothing but magazines and old newspapers – I had wondered if I would find a copy of Gravekeeper's Journal, and this made me laugh for a while. Then I found it: the green diary. I found it in a cupboard by the sink, and took it with me to the armchair in front of the TV. I was fascinated by it and it felt like if I read it I would be reading secrets (the darker the better, I thought, foolishly). I opened the small green volume and saw scrawled handwriting. Most of the writing was completely illegible and I found myself having to skim through most of the diary. There were entries in blue, black and red ink, and there were entries that looked clearer than others, as though it had been written by more than one person. I thought at the time that perhaps it was a journal kept by every gravekeeper, and added to periodically. I thought about writing in it, but then thought better of 40
  • 41. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions it, mostly because I had nothing interesting to write. While reading the diary, I came across some interesting facts about the graveyard. I found out that several people were murdered in the past and buried at random points – thrown in with fresh graves. I found out that people were buried there who were not meant to be, because they were criminals. Then I found out something that sent a shiver right through me and set me on a bad train of thought for the night. It made me want to have enough lights on in the house that there would be no dark corners. I can't remember it word for word, but this is what I can remember: If you go far enough back in time, you find that many people who lived here were poor: too poor to be able to afford decent headstones. What they got was rough wooden crosses, and even that cost a weeks wages at certain times. So, many people were buried with nothing more than a lump of wood to indicate who they were and when they had died. Well, over time the wood would rot and the graves would disappear into obscurity. Eventually they would become unknown and as the generations went on, all that remained of them were the random and numerous lumps that you can still feel under your feet when you walk through the graveyard. At night, you may still see some of those lost souls wandering the graveyard, searching for their graves. I have seen them, and they have seen me, and - I stopped reading at that point, so I can't even speculate – not that I'd want to – as to what was written after that. Although, had I read more of it, I doubt my night could have been any better than it turned out, and I doubt that the experience I had that night would have been any easier on me. Soon after reading the journal, and debating in my mind as to whether sleeping with the lights on would be a good idea. I left the lights on in the living room: only slightly comforted by the orange glow that came into the bedroom. At first, the diary's ominous words played on my mind and I doubted I would get much, if any, sleep that night. I kept my eyes on the window of the bedroom. It faced the graveyard and I was apprehensive about what might be peering through the glass at me while I slept. Fear or no fear, I managed to fall asleep very quickly and it was a deep, dreamless sleep. But my mind was still alert and I was awoken in the middle of the night by a noise outside. My eyes shot open and I was fully awake. I looked around the room, frozen with fear and unable to move so much as an inch. The room was in complete darkness and the only light was that which came glowing in from the living room. After a few minutes I worked up the courage to at least sit up in the bed, hoping to hear the source 41
  • 42. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions of the noise. It was light tapping that seemed to be coming from outside, and although my mind was leaping through a whole range of weird and terrifying reasons for the noise, I knew just as well that it could have been a water tap or a rat. So I sat up and cocked my head to one side, listening carefully. The light from the living room, as low as it was, cast a shadow of my form against the wall to my left, and I could see my shadow in my periphery. Then, I saw something which made my heart jump firmly into my throat. Beside me, where my shadow was, there was a movement, only faint but definitely perceptible. I turned quickly to see and my skin tightened all over when I saw my own shadow on the wall, accompanied by a second shadow, as clear as my own, as though there was some invisible presence in the bed with me. For a long time all I could do was stare in horror at the shadow that seemed to rock lightly back and forth on the wall. I was too terrified to turn my head around and see the source of it. But I turned my head anyway, and when I did I saw nothing. Then the shadow was gone too and I began to wonder if my imagination had been acting up, or if the ham in my sandwich was playing with my thoughts. Suddenly, and as if to disprove any link with the shadow to my imagination, the living room light went out. My stomach began to churn when the whole room was blanketed in a deep darkness. All around me I could see shapes, moving and rocking to and fro. They may have been pieces of furniture, but I was too terrified to think with any kind of logic, and my first instinct – once I got over the initial terror – was to leave the house. I stayed there for a few seconds, too afraid to budge, but curious as to how long I had before the source of that shadow would make itself known to me. I threw back the blankets and watched, terrified, as they continued to fly through the air and strike the wall with considerable force on the other side of the room. I hadn't thrown them any further than the end of the bed, I was sure. I stared at the deep darkness of the room then, waiting for whatever was there to show itself, but it didn't. I put both feet on the floor and every nerve in my body jumped when I felt a cold wet on my ankles. Something underneath the bed was touching me. I took a quick step forward, cringing and shivering and filled with sick fear. This doubled again when I saw a figure, tall and frail and dark against the shadow, standing in the doorway of the room. I could only barely see it against the dark, but it was definitely there, and it was made of a deep, evil darkness that seemed endless and purely bad. It was gaunt and weedy and its limbs – those that I could see – hung limply by its side. Against the dark I saw two deep red eyes, unblinking and staring straight at me. I took a step back, my body awash with gooseflesh and my heart pounding 42
  • 43. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions faster than I thought was safe. As I took a step backwards the thing at the door took a step forward. I took another step and it followed me. It made no other movements but I knew, I knew with no uncertainty, that the thing was going to kill me. It was going to make me die of fright. It's eyes peered right through me and pierced my palpitating heart. At some point I must have fainted, because just like that the black thing was gone and those red eyes ceased to peer into my heart. The next thing I knew I was awake, on the floor of the bedroom, and the time was 11 AM. The blanket and sheet from the bed lay strewn on the floor at the other side of the room: proof that it had all been real. I got dressed in a hurry and left the house, eager to get to my days work and forget about what had happened. I stayed on at the graveyard after that night, but I quit the house – too afraid to even set foot inside after seeing that evil thing. I had only one burial to tend to that week, and as I buried Mr. Tobbins, I quietly reassured him that his final resting place would not be forgotten. Author's Note: The Graves Unmarked was my first journey into this kind of writing. I have never like gratuitous gore, but have always leaned more towards the old ghost story. For fans of M. R. James, this story will remind them of his works. I like this style. 43
  • 44. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions The Man Who Typed Too Fast Harry Dunphy woke quickly, his eyes springing open and his mind at once awake. He had had another one of his nightmares, and as usual, he had woken just before the inevitable ending. He let out a sigh of relief and stared at the ceiling, reflecting on the nightmare. It was an end-of-the-world nightmare; not like the usual – no nuclear bombs, or war. His end of the world nightmares were much simpler than war. They were nightmares in which he was alone in the world, wandering around empty streets and looking, in fearful amazement, at his surroundings. In his dreams, everything was intact: there was no looting or burning or craziness. Everything was as it would normally be, with one exception: there were no people. He would wander around the cities and towns and the countryside looking for people, zooming from one place to another, magically transported by his nightmare. He never found anyone, but they were there, and he knew it. Just ... not there, somehow. In the end – and this was the ending that always woke him, just before the finish – he would take a knife and put it to his own throat. Or it could be a gun in his mouth. Or he could be leaning over the edge of a tall building. It didn't matter what way it happened, but the outcome was always going to be the same. The world would end, people would simply vanish, and he would kill himself. Unable to live alone forever. 44
  • 45. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Ordinarily, a horror novelist would find this kind of dream to be pure gold, and they'd be jumping out of bed each morning to whack out another bunch of brilliant, nightmare inspired ideas. After all, wasn't that how Paul McCartney came up with Yesterday? But not Harry. He couldn't just get up and write about it. The dream had existed a long time before his writing career had. It had been there from childhood. It had been there when his first book sold; it was there now. It was always there and he knew it was always going to be there. He lay in bed, trying not to think about it, but thinking about it anyway. The sun shone beautifully through the open window, and a light breeze pushed the curtains into the room, like two red ghosts. He cocked his head to one side, listening. He was listening for Anne, his wife, and not hearing her. He sat up, pulling his jeans and t-shirt on. For the first time, he looked at the digital clock on the locker beside the bed and groaned when he saw the little red flashing digits. 12:34 PM He stepped into his slippers – the brown ones he had never liked but he wore anyway because Anne had bought them for him their first year together – and left the bedroom, hurrying downstairs. He was late. He always like to start writing at midday on the button, which meant being out of bed by ten in the morning, kissing Anne, having breakfast, having coffee, doing a little housework, and then heading to his study to sit in front of his computer. Today was no different from any other and he cursed himself as he descended the stairs and entered the kitchen. He looked around but Anne wasn't there. The kitchen was also the living room and the only other rooms were the bedroom upstairs, with an en suite bathroom; a bedroom downstairs, which had been converted into a study; and a utility room downstairs. He walked to the front door, thinking she might be out in the garden, but when he opened the door and looked out, he saw no sign of her. He noticed the car was gone though and assumed she must have went to town – they lived two miles outside of Dunshaughlin, on the Navan side. He closed the door and went back inside, yawning and stretching in the centre of the living room. He walked to the kitchen and found a warm pot of coffee. He poured himself a cup, and as he added milk and sugar, his mind was cast briefly back on the nightmare. The thought left him when he heard the crunching of gravel as a car pulled up outside. He took another cup down out of the press above the sink and filled it with coffee, making faces at the dark liquid (Anne liked hers black and he couldn't stomach it unless it had plenty of milk). Opposites attract, he thought happily. The front door of the house swung open and he turned around. There she was: his love, his life, 45
  • 46. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions his Anne. She had a large bag by her side and he noticed it was from an electrical store in town. She held the grocery bag in the other hand. He went over and swapped the coffee for her bags. She pulled away when he tried for the big electrical store bag and smiled mischievously at him. 'What is it?' he asked, his eyes narrowing playfully. 'It's a present,' she answered, smiling. 'But it's not my birthday, or Christmas or even International Harry Dunphy is so flipping awesome day or anything, so why am I getting presents? What do you want, or what have I already given you?' She walked towards the living room couch, holding the bag away from him and sipping her coffee. She sat down and ignored him. 'What's on TV?' she asked, trying not to laugh. 'Yeah, yeah, gimme my present,' he giggled and she joined in with him, both of them laughing. 'Okay, okay, here.' She lifted the bag to him. 'You needed it, and I'm sick of you saying no.' 'A laptop,' he said. 'Wow . . . this, is, so, awesome.' His voice had gone robotic. 'You shouldn't have, no really, Anne, you really shouldn't have.' He smiled and spoke through his teeth. 'Look,' she said, 'that thing you're using inside needs to go to the museum, where it belongs, okay? I'm surprised you don't have carpal tunnels just from the stretching you need to do to go from one key to the other. They're so far apart, those keys. You know, the fifty or so stone slabs you whack everyday with your fingers.' 'Okay,' he said. 'Thank you, love.' He leaned over and kissed her. 'Sweet! Go set it up, ple-ease! I want to throw that ugly monstrosity you call a computer out.' 'I can't keep it?' he asked, pretending to be upset. 'It's a classic.' 'Yeah, yeah. Go investigate your new toy. Spend as long as you want, I'm planting the new flowers today.' 'Enjoy yourself,' he said, taking his coffee and the laptop box into his study. 'You too, hon.' Harry opened the door to his study with his foot – the door had no lock, so it was in constant motion, swinging back and forth with the slightest breeze. He walked inside and placed the laptop box on the table and his coffee cup beside it. He stared curiously at the box for a long time, then switched his stare to the ancient computer which sat, like a relic, beside it. He moved the older computer aside a little, puffing at the weight of it, and opened the laptop box. 46
  • 47. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions It was like a magical new toy, and he unwrapped it like Charlie had unwrapped his Wonka Bar, fully expecting to find a golden ticket inside. When he took the laptop out, it wasn't a golden ticket he found, but a sleek, shiny, black piece of machinery that he fell in love with immediately. He looked back at the study door, torn between going to kiss Anne and staying with his new toy. He stayed. It took him almost thirty minutes to get it set up. 'Writing software: check. Internet: check . . .' He paused, looking excitedly at the screen. 'I'm going to mark this momentous day, by starting a new novel.' He sat back for a moment, looking at the flashing cursor on the screen, sifting through his imagination in search of a good story. When he finally had his light bulb flash, he lurched forward and began typing. He loved the laptop's keyboard immediately. It was smaller and the keys were smoother; easier to type on. And he found – to his delight – that years of typing on a piece of junk had made him ten times faster on this better model. He soon found himself carried away by the writing and as the ideas flowed out of him – he had found that goldmine of imagination most writers long for – the word count mounted. He noticed the pace at which he was typing and, amazed by it, he occasionally checked the word counter in the software. One thousand, two thousand, four thousand, six thousand. He wondered how much time was passing by. He had no watch and there was no clock in his study. He stopped typing and looked out through the small window. The sun was climbing slowly through the sky. He looked at the door to the study and then back at the laptop screen. He needed two things: the time, and a coffee refill. Finally, he managed to get away from the laptop, saving the file before he left the study. When he went into the livingroom he looked at the clock, surprised to see that it was only 1:30 PM, and happy with the speed he was working at. He looked around, Anne wasn't there. He refilled his coffee and stood still for a moment, wondering if he should go out and talk to her for a while, then he looked back at his study door and was drawn towards it. He allowed it to draw him in and soon he was back at the laptop, loving the keyboard with his fingertips and clacking away word after word and page after page. Chapters flew by as the word count grew and his coffee slowly disappeared. The sun rose, like his imagination, and soon he was completely wrapped up in his work. After a while he stopped caring how many words there were. He didn't take notice of his fingers moving around the keyboard, gradually building up speed to what became a slow blur that most would call supernatural. He didn't 47
  • 48. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions see the page count, nor was he aware that he was punching out almost two pages per minute. He was completely entranced, and the world outside of the laptop screen and his mind faded away into obscurity: melting into virtual non-existence. He just no longer noticed. What he also didn't notice, was that the sun had slowed its movement in the sky. The slowing of its rise was almost imperceptible, but it was there. It grew gradually slower as his fingers moved gradually faster. His eyes were glued to the screen, and he didn't notice the sun. He didn't notice that Anne had not been around in what had to be hours. He didn't notice that the sounds of the seldom passing cars had grown slower and more drawn out until they sounded like huge bumblebees. He didn't see the study door moving at a depressingly slow crawl back and forth, and then stop completely. He just didn't notice. He typed, and typed, and typed. All he could do was type, and he entered deeper stages of his trance with every word and letter that darted up onto the screen. Sentences flew by and formed paragraphs in fractions of a second. Those paragraphs became whole pages in seconds and those pages became chapters in less than a minute. The word count reached well over one-hundred- thousand, and the page count reached almost three-hundred. And it kept moving, always upward, the pages scrolling by faster and faster. His fingers moved faster too, until they seemed not to move anymore; they moved so fast that they seemed to stay locked in one endless blur. The words on the screen became a blur too, and the page count continued. 300 . . . 400 . . . 600 . . . 800 His fingers began to slow down, gradually moving slower and slower, along with the words on the screen, each word taking longer and longer to type as they moved gently back to a normal pace. He didn't notice this either – he was still entranced by the screen. The typing became slower and slower, and Harry grew out of his trance, coming quietly back into a state of awareness. When his fingers finally came to a complete stop and the cursor flashed patiently on the screen, he looked dazedly at the page count. 'Oh my fuck,' he whispered and swallowed hard. 'H-how is that possi -' He stood up from the computer, looking outside and noticing that the day was still young. The sun was still fairly high and he knew that it had to be 6 PM, at the latest. But it had felt like hours. It was hours. Nobody can write nine-hundred-and-sixty-seven pages in one day. His mind point blank 48
  • 49. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions refused to believe it. 'It's not possible . . .' He backed slowly away from the laptop, as though it were a diseased thing, or some cursed machinery, and made his way to the study door. He yanked the door but it didn't move and his fingers slipped off, scraping themselves along the corners of the door. 'Oh, fuck!' he shouted, grabbing his fingers with the other hand. He looked back at the laptop worriedly; wanting suddenly to get the hell away from it. 'Something's wrong,' he said. He reached out for the door again, this time pulling it slowly. It was stiff, as though there was a force on the other side, pulling at the same time. Eventually he got the door open, and it stayed in position where he left it – unmoving once again. He considered it with fear in his mind. He walked into the living room and towards the clock. His jaw dropped when he saw the time and his mind went into major denial. The clock told him that it was twenty minutes to two in the afternoon. 'Ten minutes?' he gasped. 'I've been in there for ten . . . ten minutes? What?' His heart pumped and his stomach flip-flopped. His legs felt weak and he thought he might faint, but it didn't happen and he could only stare in mad awe at the clock. 'Anne,' he said in no more than a whisper. 'Anne?' He repeated her name, but got no response. He looked around him. 'Anne?' He stayed where he was, waiting for a response, but he heard none. He looked over at the front door, remembering that she had gone out to do some gardening. He had to talk to her. She'd be able to make sense out of what had just happened. Anne was the down to earth, logical one. He was the imaginative writer who had repeat nightmares and wrote about things that scared the shit out of people. He couldn't count on himself at a time like this – he would likely freak himself out more. But Anne would calm him down. She would know what to say to make it better. She always did. She was good at making him feel better. All she had to do was look at him and he felt good inside; warm. He stumbled to the front door, and grabbed the handle. His eyes widened with fear and near panic when he found the door was just as stiff as his study door had been. He pulled at it and it slid open a few inches. He pulled harder, putting all of his body weight into it. It came another inch or so and then he heard it, a crack and a pop and the handle came away from the door. He was brought to the ground by his own weight, slamming hard onto the carpeted floor, his head missing the coffee table by centimetres. 49
  • 50. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions He jumped up, not quite recovering, but not quite feeling he had the luxury of time; something was very wrong here and he didn't like it at all. He walked back over to the door and inspected the crack he had created between the door and the door frame. 'Anne,' he called out as he inserted his fingers in around the door. 'Anne!' No answer. He pulled, putting all of his strength into it. His face turned red and he huffed and puffed with the effort. The door began to budge, gradually giving way. Inch by inch it moved away from the frame and at last there was enough space to slip through and get out of the house. 'Anne!' he called as soon as he passed through the doorway. 'Anne, where are you?' He walked cautiously down to the garden, scanning the entire property. As he neared the garden, he stopped dead in his tracks. A realisation suddenly hit home and he voiced it. 'There's no wind.' He looked up at the huge Maple tree that had sat outside the cottage for almost one hundred years. It had been planted by the people who built the cottage and had stood as a constant, woody sentinel for all these years. Now, the wind had stopped, and with it, the leaves and branches had ceased to move. Harry reached up and plucked one of the leaves from the tree. The leaf came away, but the other leaves, and the branch he had tugged on, remained motionless, as though stuck in time. He held the leaf between his trembling fingers, scrutinizing it and wondering what was happening. He dropped the leaf but it didn't fall. It just hovered motionless in mid air. He took a terrified step back from the frozen leaf and his heartbeat doubled. His mouth dried up in a flash and sweat stood out on his forehead, stinging his skin. He turned around to face the garden and saw her. She was sitting on a large log that she called her "garden armchair", surveying the garden. But she wasn't moving. She was deadly still, like the trees and the wind and the sun. Harry swallowed a lump in his throat and took one unsure step towards her. 'Anne?' He waited, but got no response, so he took another step, then another, and another. Slowly, he drew closer to her, and with every step he took he became more sure that whatever had happened to everything else, had happened to her too. He walked slowly around her, looking quickly at the garden. She didn't move. She didn't look at him, or even acknowledge his presence. She just remained there, looking at her flowers. 50
  • 51. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Her hair was flowing away behind her, caught by the wind and now frozen in one movement behind her head. Her mouth was smiling and she had one hand raised with a finger pointed upwards. He knew what she was doing. She was scolding the flowers. She would talk to her flowers, because she believed that they reacted to human stimulus. He looked at her, his heart thumping loudly in his chest and sweat streaming over his face. He moved closer to her. She never made a single movement: she was completely frozen in that position. He stared at her as he crouched down, looking into her eyes and suddenly missing her. He suddenly wanted to hear her voice so badly. He wanted to tell her he loved her and hear her say it back. He wanted to kiss her and love her. His eyes welled up and tears began to stream from them. 'How is this happening, Anne?' he asked quietly. 'Come back to me, love. Make me feel better. Don't go away . . . I need you!' But she didn't hear him pleading, and she never moved an inch. She remained as she was, smiling at the flowers in mock anger, her finger raised and her head tilted slightly to the right. Harry rested his head on her lap, and imagined she was stroking his hair and whispering to him. Then he cried. When his tears finally dried up, and his headache thumped so loudly inside his head that he could barely hear his own thoughts, he slowly sat up. He looked at Anne and caressed her face with his eyes. She was so beautiful. He looked around dazedly. Was he still dreaming? Had he even woken up at all that morning? He knew he wasn't dreaming. But then how was this possible? How was it possible for his nightmares, the ones that had haunted him all of his life, to become reality? Reality . . . 'I can't do this,' he said. 'I can't live like this, and I won't try. I can't look at you like this everyday. I can't see you everyday and tell you I love you each morning and know that you won't hear it, and you'll never say it back.' He swallowed a fresh batch of tears. 'I can't do it, my love.' He stood up slowly, his hands resting on her knees, then he bent down to her and kissed her cheek, rubbing his cheek along hers and crying as he did. 'I love you, my dear Anne. I love you.' He walked away from her, and his tears came again. He roared at the ground and at the sky. He roared and roared until he reached the house. He cried for himself and he cried for Anne. He cried because this wasn't right. He cried and he screamed. 51
  • 52. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions He walked inside the house. He wasn't crying anymore, but there was a low, primal groan which came from deep in his chest. He walked up the stairs, taking each step slowly. He reached the top and his and Anne's bedroom. He crossed the room and entered the bathroom. She was in the bathroom, and the bedroom, in everything he saw. Her clothes; her make up; her books and music; her flowers that she put in the window every morning. She was there and he had to close his eyes so as not to see her. He reached into the wall unit above the sink and fumbled around inside, finding it hard to see through his tears. Finally, he found what he was looking for and he took it down. It was a small bottle of tablets. Sleeping tablets. He walked back out of the bathroom and towards the bed. He didn't want to look out the window because then he would see her. He couldn't bare to see her. He sighed heavily and cried again, sitting there on the bed for a long time and working up all of his courage. Finally, he opened the bottle without looking at it, and quickly poured its contents down his throat, swallowing hard. He lay down on the bed and curled up, crying convulsively until darkness came and claimed him as its own. The pain was over, and as he died, the last thought he had was of the nightmare that he had finally written but that would never be read. The nightmare that had become reality. Author's Note: The Man Who Typed Too Fast was inspired by Stephen King's "Word Processor of the Gods". I wanted to adopt the idea of a supernatural word processor, computer, typewriter, whatever, and this is what came out. For me, it's a touching story, while maintaining that horrible event that I love so much. 52
  • 53. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Blind Faith The dawn broke beautifully over Eden House on Allie's eighteenth birthday. The dawn was beautiful everyday, in fact, and in the summer the sunlight would spread over the grassy, wild hills of West Cork that surrounded the house, lighting them up and accompanying the wild but graceful breeze of the Atlantic Ocean, adding that extra quality to life in the ancient and historic countryside of Ireland. But this was no ordinary day, of course. This was Allie's eighteenth birthday, and that was a big deal. Eighteen was the age of discovery. If life was the entire span of history, then eighteen was the High Renaissance. It was the work of the Pre-Raphaelites. It was excellent, to be quite frank. Well, these were the thoughts that Allie was having as she wandered through the massive gardens that flanked the mansion her uncle Greg had built two years before. Allie's parents had both perished in a car accident when she was eleven months old. Her father had suffered a freak heart attack at the wheel, and the car had careered through a field and into a large river, drowning both occupants and leaving Allie alone. Shortly after the accident, child 53
  • 54. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions services had placed her in the care of her uncle Greg, still a budding real estate tycoon at the time. Now, almost seventeen years later, Allie was as close to being Greg's daughter as it was possible to get, and as she passed through the conservatory, entering the large kitchen on the other side, Greg was away for the morning, having left her with the promise of a birthday surprise when he returned. And she couldn't help but wonder what that might be. She poured herself a tall glass of cold orange juice and drained the glass in one breath, staring through the back window and into the lightly waving grass of the fields below. As she stared at the town of Kinsale in the distance, the docks filled with an armada of boats just jutting into view, she reflected on all the hints she had made in the previous twelve months. She had hinted at a car several times, a horse once or twice. She came back to thoughts of a car. Yes, she had hinted at a car quite a lot, and almost everyday in the last few weeks. And every time she had dropped the hint, she had seen Greg – who was hopeless at keeping secrets – smile that knowing smile. She nodded as she rinsed out the glass and replaced it on the draining board, almost completely sure that she was getting a car. It has to be, she thought, and made her way from the kitchen to the living room to wait for Greg to come home. With a car, we hope, she thought, grinning at the thought of it. She could see it in her mind as she slumped down onto the sofa, a re-run of Ricky Lake providing a background noise to her thoughts. In her mind, Greg was arriving home with a brand spanking new sports car. Black, with furry interiors. She had no idea what make or model the car would be, and the image in her mind was of a car she had probably seen in a magazine somewhere. All she new was that it was a sports car, and they look good, and that was the extent of her knowledge on the subject. The image was in soft-focus, and she closed her eyes, allowing it to really sink in, excitement and anticipation building within her, the soft-focus becoming softer still, gradually fading away to nothing in her mind's eye. She opened her eyes and the world flooded back in – and Ricky Lake with it. Someone was arguing with someone else about babies, and baby-mommas. Allie couldn't understand – didn't want to – and scooped up the remote, switching over to a classic rock station. Neil Young was halfway through The Needle and the Damage Done, and the next song up was The Chain, by Fleetwood Mac – one of her all time favourite songs. She hummed along with Neil and looked over her shoulder, staring out through the large floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the long driveway and lawns. The lawns ended almost two- hundred feet away and became fenced off fields, several cows munching happily on mouthfuls of 54
  • 55. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions grass. The driveway dropped away as it wound downwards around the hill, leading towards the main Cork to Kinsale road. But no Greg. She bit her lip as she watched, and then cursed herself for getting worked up. For all she new he could come back with a TV. She wanted a TV, but a car had for some reason taken on Grail-like importance in her mind, and she knew she was potentially building herself up for a let-down. She launched herself off the sofa and walked towards Greg's private study. His library was in there, filled with almost two-thousand books of varying ages and on every subject you could think of. She enjoyed his collection of paperback fiction – especially the horror – and she was currently working her way through a book of M. R. James ghost stories. She scanned the bookshelves, searching for the book Ghost Stories of Antiquary. When she had found it, she brought the volume back into the living room, thumbing through it for the place she had left off, and throwing a cursory glance out to the driveway ... just to see. She sat down on the sofa again, and now C. C. R. were on. She turned her attention to the book, only half reading the story, (her thoughts more on Greg, and what the birthday surprise might be). After a while she began to focus more on the ghost story, and soon got sucked into it, fear creeping into her even in the morning light which flooded into the house from outside. In the story, the non-existent thirteenth room in a hotel was appearing at night, filled with intense evil. As Allie read, she began to feel that ghost story fear – those moments when reading a scary story where the slightest noise, the sound of a passing breeze, can be a yellowed claw scratching on the window, trying to get in to you. And as much as she would try to tell herself that it was just the wind, and that her mind was playing tricks on her, she would still be forced to look up and scan the room carefully every time she heard a noise. She looked back out the window, the tension built up from the story dissipating slightly, but still Greg hadn't come home. She knew she'd hear his car crunching the gravel path, but she still had to look. She returned to the story and was sucked right back in, seeing the door marked "13" appearing in her imagination. The fear, the horrible anticipation that the evil in the story might somehow escape the pages and enter the real world was there, and she was only more entranced as she read, trying hard to ignore the wind that howled around the house, drifting up the hills and whistling through the branches of the willows that surrounded the building. Suddenly there was another noise coming from outside, but this was not a noise she could easily pass off as something normal. It was real, this noise, a thudding knock; a light rapping coming from 55
  • 56. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions somewhere close. Her eyes shot up, and from where she was she could see directly into the kitchen. She closed the book over, keeping her place with her index finger, and continued to stare into the kitchen. She held her breath, listening carefully, desperately wanting to get up and investigate – just to show herself that there was nothing there. But the sudden terror at the sound was too much, and she was stuck, frozen in her position on the chair. She swallowed, very quietly, the lump that had formed in her throat, and began to breath again. The sound hadn't been repeated and she began to calm down, almost giggling at her own silly reaction. Probably one of the trees, or a stray cat or someth - Her thoughts were cut off when the sound came again, clearer this time. Louder and closer to her. Once again she was struck still with fear. The book was closed, her finger not bothering to hold open her place. She rested the book on her chest and stared into the kitchen, not sure where the sound was coming from, but not feeling able to take her eyes of the kitchen. A voice in her mind told her to get up right there and then and go investigate. She had to. It was the only way to prove how stupid she was being. She forced her way through the sparks of panic, threatening to ignite a wave of horrible fear, and moved her feet on to the floor, sitting up and looking quickly out onto the driveway. She wished now more than ever that Greg would come home. She didn't care about the birthday surprise anymore. She just wanted Greg to be there. There was a strange feeling in her stomach and in her thoughts. It was that weird, horrible feeling of being watched, a presence somewhere nearby. She felt sure that there was something watching her, hidden in some part of the large house and looking at her. In her mind flashed a thousand horrible images of what might be in the house with her, each one of them concocted by her imagination, and each one of them more gruesome than the last. She stood up, placing the book very gently down on the sofa, and inched her way to the kitchen, her eyes darting left and right, moving at the slightest sound, or imagined movement. The kitchen came closer, and as she approached the door that led to it, passing the large foyer and front porch of the house, she glanced one more time towards the living room window. The driveway was empty. The noise came again, and she stopped moving, turning to ice as she stood, senses heightened, listening, waiting for something to grab her. The noise had come from within the house, she was sure, and no amount of rational thought could help her. She fought hard to overcome panic, knowing well that to allow panic would bring her to confusion, and if there was an intruder, she'd probably run right into him. Later on she would think back on this and feel a strange kind of pride at 56
  • 57. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions the strength she never knew she had. The kitchen overlooked the fields around the house. To her right there were more floor to ceiling windows, just like in the living room. Across from her she could see the conservatory, but she didn't bother looking there – an intruder wouldn't be that obvious. No, her eyes wandered to her left, at the end of the kitchen and just before the conservatory, the door that led out to a staircase leading upstairs. The noise had come from there. The noise had come from upstairs, and she was sure there was someone – something – right behind the door, waiting for her. Every nerve in her body jerked and shuddered, and a part of her mind told her just to run, to get out of the house as fast as possible, and not look back. She took another step forward, not able to understand why she didn't just run. Something was pulling her, like curiosity, but more intense than that. She kept moving, keeping her breath as shallow as possible so as to hear everything more keenly. The entire house was blanketed in silence, and even the wind that usually blew around the fields seemed to have calmed to almost nothing now, leaving only the heartbeat thumping hard in her neck. She took another step forward, that feeling that someone else was there slowly growing stronger. Someone there, near her, watching her, waiting to strike. Then a thought occurred to her, and it brought up a flash of white terror into her mind, so fast and blindingly strong that, for a moment, her legs turned to jelly. The thought repeated itself endlessly, and time seemed to slow down, or stop completely, because she found she couldn't move; she couldn't obey the thought. The stairs at the front of the house! Turn around! It's at the front of the house! BEHIND YOU!! Her legs regained their strength, and some of her resolve came back, but by then it was too late, and as she turned to face the direction of the foyer, she felt a pair of hands on her body, one taking her around the stomach, and the other grabbing her face. There was a smell, dry and sour in the back of her nose, and the feel of a piece of cloth on her face, locking out oxygen and replacing it with something else. Her legs weakened again, and her body slumped forward, held up by the strong arms of the intruder. Her eyes slowly closed then, and she fainted, her world turning slowly to darkness. Her eyes opened gradually, her eyelids fighting against the dry gunk and tears that had formed and dried. But everything was dark still, and she could see nothing. For one sickening moment, the idea that she was blind battered her thoughts, and she had visions of the intruder taking her eyes out. But then she saw a sliver of light, and when she looked down she could barely see her knees. She was 57
  • 58. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions blindfolded. She tried to move, instinctively trying to take the blindfold off, but her arms wouldn't budge, and when she tried to move them a sharp pain shot up through her wrists. She was tied with thin wire, or rope. She tried with her feet, but they were stuck too, tied like her wrists to the chair she was sat on. She tilted her head back, peeking out through the bottom of the blindfold, and from where she was she could see the doorway into the conservatory. It was daylight still, but there was no sign of anyone else. Her thoughts tripped rapidly over a sequence of deductions. Greg hasn't rescued me, so I can't have been out for long, she thought. But what if he came home, and whoever got me got him too? She didn't like that thought, and it made her panic. No . . . Greg is fine . . . He's still away, and he'll rescue you, you'll see! Then she began to wonder where the intruder was, who he was, what he wanted, why he had tied her up. She remained silent, and there was no other noise in the house. She decided that whoever had broken into the house must already have left – probably stole everything, too. Not that she cared; she was just happy to be alive. She tilted her head back, trying to see the clock that hung over the doorway into the conservatory, but it was too high, and just out of reach of her vision. 'Damn,' she whispered, hardly hearing her own voice. 'It has to be about eight. I can't have been out for long. It has to be about eig -' 'It's half-past-eight exactly, love.' Allie turned rigid with a sudden snap of terror at the voice that interrupted her own. 'Not that time is important anymore, right?' She didn't answer – her thoughts were a dust cloud. 'You've some kick on ye, girl,' the man said. His voice was rough, but young. This registered with her unconsciously. 'I said, you've some kick on ye,' the man repeated, a little louder this time. He was behind her somewhere. 'Gave me a good whack, didn't ye . . . Lucky shot, that was all.' He fell silent, and Allie listened, her breathing trembling, waiting for him to speak again. She wanted to scream, and it took every fibre of her being to hold it in. 'What's yer name, love?' the man asked. He didn't sound as evil as she had imagined an intruder might. She failed to answer, unable to speak for the fear. 'I said what's yer name? Ye might as well tell me now. Can't do any harm. Speak up!' 'A-Allie . . .' 'Right. Good. Allie it is,' he said, and then paused. She could hear him sigh. 'Your folks own this place, Allie?' 58
  • 59. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions She remained silent. 'Y'know, Allie, at this stage of the game, things can't get any worse. You might as well communicate with me. I'll be gone soon . . . I think. Well, I don't know, but I can feel it. He's on his way.' 'Who?' He giggled and said, 'That'd be tellin, wouldn't it? Who owns the place?' 'My uncle. And . . . and you better leave before he gets home! He has a shotgun, and he'll k -' 'Allie! Shut yer face!' the man screamed, the volume of his voice, and the anger in it cutting her words away. There was silence for a while, then Allie said, 'Are you going to kill me?' He laughed heartily, unable to answer her for a while. 'No . . . No I'm not,' he said, once the laughing had subsided. 'Couldn't even if I wanted to, Allie. And believe me . . . I want to. You'd be the first person ever kicked me in the face and got away with it, believe me.' 'Why's that?' Allie asked, surprising herself with the impudence in her voice. 'Why am I letting you away with it? Don't be stupid now, Allie.' He went quiet then for a few seconds. 'You in school?' 'Yeah . . .' 'Yeah. I remember school,' he said, his voice soft as he spoke. 'It was a lot tougher back then, though. I'm a good fifteen years older than you, and when I was in school, Christ, they hit ye if ye stepped outta line, y'know. Bastards. And then people wonder why I turned out the way I am?' He sighed again. 'Not really their fault though. It was you who kicked me. Man, powerful kic -' 'Get out!' Allie suddenly screamed. 'Greg will be home soon, and you're dead meat! He'll kill you if he finds you here! You better be gone!' She was hardly able to believe her ability to mask the fear she was feeling. All she wanted to do was break down and cry, but instead she was screaming at the man. A certain part of her felt this was the only way to go: just scream and hope he'll believe the threats. Greg didn't have any guns in the house, and Allie very much doubted that a fifty-year-old estate agent would be much use against a much younger man. She opened her mouth to continue her tirade, but closed it again when the sudden silence around her became apparent. She sat quiet, waiting for a response, but none came, and after what had felt like close to five minutes of silent waiting, she decided he must be gone. She felt a spark of relief and hope, and knew he was gone. He had believed her threats, gotten scared, and run with his tail between his legs. 59
  • 60. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions She hung her head and sobbed, relief coming out with built up fear and tension. A sound came through the house, echoing off the walls and at first sending a fresh tingling of fear into her. But the sound became familiar, and she relaxed then. It was ringing, someone was calling. The answering machine by the phone picked up the call, and Greg's voice came through, giving her a new burst of hope and happiness. She listened carefully to him, wanting to call out and tell him to hurry home. She wanted to scream out all the things that had happened. 'Hi, Allie Cat! Uncle Greg's coming home, and he has your birthday surprise!' – he giggled here – 'It'll take me about twenty minutes to get home. That means you have twenty minutes to guess what I have for you! Muahaha! See ya soon!' Silence once again descended on Eden house, and Allie sat tied to the chair in the kitchen, thinking. But the silence only lasted for a few seconds, and the voice of the intruder cut through her thoughts, causing her to jump in fear, a knee-jerk reaction. 'That's Greg?' the man asked, and then huffed. 'Sounds like a fag.' Allie didn't speak. She didn't want to. She closed her eyes, almost as though she was willing him away with her thoughts. The man had gone quiet again, but she knew he was still there. He was never going to leave. Outside she could hear the wind pick up, blowing tempestuously around the house. 'Well, Allie Cat, it's about time I hit the road,' the man said, and she could have sworn his voice was heavy sounding. 'Bloody wish you hadn't kicked me. Ye made me whack me head. Now look at me. Look like shit, I do . . .' Well, you shouldn't break into peoples' houses then, should you, dick? she thought, keeping her eyes closed, and just hoping he would leave soon. She felt a light cold breeze waft around her ankles, picking up speed and power. In her imagination she could see him opening the front door and leaving. She had formed a mental picture of him suddenly, and in her mind he was clean shaven, wearing a pair of dirty jeans and a dark jumper, with a brown leather jacket over it. She could see him so clearly in her thoughts. The breeze picked up until it became wind gusting through the house, blowing her hair around her face and making her clothes billow. She felt a slight dizziness creep into her, and she became light- headed. She tried to move her eyelids, to open them, but every muscle in her body had gone lax, and they remained closed. She drifted slowly downwards into sleep, her thoughts fading as the wind peaked, and then died away to nothing. The entire house becoming as silent as her thoughts. 60
  • 61. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions There were hands, touching her, and she panicked, kicking and bucking in the chair. How long had she been asleep? She couldn't tell. Her thoughts were all jumbled. The hands were groping at her wrists and feet, and she continued to panic. 'Allie! It's okay, love, it's me, Greg!' 'Greg!' she cried, tears streaming from beneath the blindfold when she could hear his voice. He lifted up the blindfold and untied her wrists. She jumped forward, wrapping her arms around his neck and holding him tightly. 'Oh, Greg! It was awful! He tied me up, and he just sat here talking to me! Then he left, just like that!' 'Yeah, he left all right,' Greg said, his voice laced with bitter anger. 'And he's on his way to hell, too.' 'What?' Allie let go of Greg's shoulder and sat back, looking curiously into her uncle's face. He was looking over her shoulder, and she followed his eyes, turning in the chair. Her jaw fell open and her eyes widened when she saw the young, clean shaven man lying on the floor, his face dirty, and his head lying in a pool of his own congealed blood. The police arrived soon after with an ambulance and took the man's body away. The paramedics treated Allie wrists, but she refused to go to hospital. She just wanted to relax and spend her birthday with Greg. The man who had broken into Eden House was Micky Bracken, twenty-nine. He had died from a heavy blow to the back of the head, caused when he fell back into the corner of the kitchen counter in Greg's house. The coroner recorded the time of his death as being somewhere between eight and eight-thirty that morning. Author's Note: Blind Faith was one of my first ever short stories, and while the story itself has been re-written and edited and polished, the idea has always been the same: what is real? I love to toy with the possibility that what we see is not actually what is there. But, let's not get philosophical now. Read on . . . 61
  • 62. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions An Evil Author's Note: From here on out, you'll see a change in my writing. From here on out, I leaned more towards Lovecraftian style, basing all the stories in centuries past, and crafting them with all the wordy heaviness that only Lovecraft has truly ever mastered. I don't dare to claim to be equal to Lovecraft, but definitely he was the main inspiration for the following works. I lived in an apartment on Dorset Street in the city of Dublin when it happened. I had lived in that place for almost two months before that night, and as far as I or any of my friends could have told, it was a place uninhabited by anything ethereal, malevolent or altruistic. I would work late at night, writing poetry, sometimes until the sun began to rise outside. I was working on my epic that night, as I had been for the entire two months that I occupied the apartment. It was a love story told in verse, not much unlike the romantic works of Coleridge, but slightly darker in the style of Byron. I distinctly remember looking up at the clock upon the wall above my desk, which I had placed there in order to remind myself occasionally that such a thing as time existed (when writing, it is easy indeed to make the mistake of forgetting that there is a world moving slowly by beyond the four walls which surround you), and saw that it was near midnight. I made the folly of working with little light in those times, though I was still young and my eyes had not yet lost their youthful 62
  • 63. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions vigour. Now of course, I must work drenched in light, but back in those days I found that the red glow from the fireplace behind me, and perhaps a candle set upon my desk was sufficient light to work under. I penned my epic nightly, and never once did I think to investigate the nature of my quarters. I had never heard the popular rumours of ghosts and spirits one normally expects to hear when first moving into a new home. Though now, I am apt to wonder if the other people occupying the building – which was an old town house existing for several centuries, and soaked in history, dark and light – were much too afraid of the darkness in the house, and if this fear caused them never to mention it, for fear that the uttering of its existence would itself invoke the darkness into their presence. With my quill I wrote on sheets of parchment, sitting at my small but impressive oak desk and hoping to create a great work. Above me, the aforementioned clock struck midnight and chimed a low note to remind me of the movement of time and life and of my own need for sleep. Reluctantly I let go of the quill and set my papers neatly aside in readiness for the next day. I stood up and stretched away the stiffness in my joints, taking the candle stick and moving to my bedroom. I left the room I used for my writing and entered the thick darkness of the hallway that led to my bedroom. The only light was the weak yellow glow from the candle I used to guide my way. The flame of the candle danced eerily upon the walls, casting moving shadows all about me. I revelled in these weird shapes though and, not being a superstitious man at the time, very much enjoyed the effect. It was not until I reached my bedroom door that these shadows seemed to me to be ominous and almost threatening in their nature, and in the way that they seemed almost to dance against the natural flow of the candle flame, defying the laws of gravity. I ignored this however and endeavoured to continue on my way, convinced that the effect of the shadows was merely my tired eyes playing tricks on me. When I reached my bedroom door I found it closed. This was not an uncommon thing, even though I preferred open doorways, but sometimes the doors would close of their own volition, and this I put down to a possible structural flaw in the building itself; a slant or some such perhaps, causing the doors to swing slowly and silently shut. Never once did it cross my mind the possibility that some outside force could have closed my bedroom door. And, as such, never once did it occur to me that there may be something at the other side of the door, in my bedroom, crawling and scraping and itching with dark evil and malignant intent, awaiting my approach so as to attack me 63
  • 64. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions horribly in the dark. The shadows continued to pounce around on the walls behind and before me, and the candle light cast a long glow from the knob of the bedroom door. I watched this warped and elongated shape intently, studying it in the dark and feeling a sudden fear of the space beyond the door; a sudden reluctance to touch the door handle, terrified that it might turn in my grip of its own accord. An image flashed into my mind then, and terrified me so, causing me to step involuntarily away from the door so that my back met the wall behind me. The image was of the darkness of my bedroom, as though the door had become invisible and I could see beyond its wooden construction, watching a small black beast prowl around my bed, invisible to the eye, but seen somehow by my mind. I became convinced that what I was seeing in my thoughts was no more than an act of my imagination, and my sceptical side denied what my heart was telling me. I shook my head, nervously laughing at my own foolishness, my inability to control myself in the darkness of my apartment; after all, I had heard nothing from my neighbours to suggest that such a thing as a dark and evil fiend might exist in the building. Again, I stepped forward as if to shew to myself the normalcy of my darkened domicile, swallowing the fear with much effort and straining against what my heart knew to be true as I reached forward and touched my hand to the door knob, turning it slowly, suddenly wanting to drop the candle and run; to leave the building and seek the comfort of a church or other holy edifice. The feeling of consummate evil in my apartment, and from behind my bedroom door, intensified as I stood there, door knob in hand, turning it slowly, sweat breaking on my brow. The handle reached a point beyond which it would not turn and I gathered every ounce of my resolve to push the door open and face the endless darkness of the room. I closed my eyes in the dark, and they shot open immediately, as though afraid that to blink would be to allow a black thing time to attack. Slowly, I pushed the door, and it creaked as it moved, centimetre by centimetre, every second that passed allowing me to see more of the bedroom as the candle wrought its light in a low and eerie shaft upon the floor, spreading slowly towards my bed and illuminated it quite clearly. Still I saw no black figure, bent and hobbling around in circles; awaiting my arrival. The door was almost completely open and my eyes diffidently scanned the room, darting expeditiously from the left to the right, and waiting in dreaded anticipation for what might lurk therein. I became brave then – or foolish, for when I saw no evil thing I cursed myself for being so scared. 64
  • 65. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions I stepped forward, my eyes still carefully studying my surroundings. I looked towards the bed then, shaking away the badness that had crept into my soul, and preparing myself to get to sleep, and forget the nightmarish image of the creature which had wrought itself upon my mind. All of a sudden I saw a movement to my right, and my head darted in that direction, a small and shallow gasp of unutterable terror escaping me as I was shocked into a frozen state by the movement. I saw before me, only barely lit by the light of the candle, a small shadow, perhaps four feet in height and two feet in width. It was in the shape of a tiny human, not much unlike the drawings I had seen of the Pygmy people of Africa, except that its face was featureless, and only the two glowing yellow eyes that watched me served to give it any sign of life. It studied me silently, as though waiting for me to move or speak. I was frozen to my spot however, and not a single syllable would pass my trembling lips. The candle was still held only because my body and my hands had tightened in a paroxysm of terror at the sight of the thing. It seemed like an age that I watched it, unable to tear my eyes away and make myself vulnerable to it. It seemed like aeons spent in the darkness with the evil spirit which had chosen that night, and my bedroom, for its point of visitation. I saw it move closer to me, and it moved without moving, its legs remaining still and its deeply glowing eyes watching me ceaselessly. I felt a strange weariness overcome me then, and my eyes began to close entirely against my control. I watched through slowly narrowing eyelids the thing continue to grow and expand and come closer. Then there was a scream, cutting through the darkness, loud and shrill and waving over me in a new layer of terror, a dark chasm of abysmal fear overcoming me and shutting my eyes for what I feared might have been forever. When I awoke, I lay sprawled upon my bedroom floor, the daylight flooding into my room from the window. The candle lay beside me, long since quenched, a few drips of dried and hardened wax puddled on the floor beneath it. I sat slowly up, raising myself on weak and trembling arms, and surveying the room carefully with my eyes, the fear of the creature I had seen still strong in my mind. But it was gone now, and I could shew that not a trace of it existed beyond what I could remember. I moved out of the apartment that day, and I remember hearing from a man who lived there after me that he had accidentally knocked a hole into a wall in the bedroom and found the skeleton of a tiny person buried within. Whether that skeleton was the rotted body of a child or small person I shall never know, for I 65
  • 66. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions dared not go there to investigate, and I found myself incapable of questioning the man further without being reminded of the horrible shape which had watched me in the dark. But I have never forgotten the glowing yellow eyes on the otherwise featureless and soulless creature which haunted me that night, and I doubt I ever will. 66
  • 67. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Green Lake It was a Wednesday morning in the cold November of 1848 when I found myself stranded in the countryside of County Cavan, just outside a small and fairly nondescript town named Killeshandra. My coach had broken down, the driver had told me, and he had gone on in colourful vitriol about the poor workmanship in the vehicle's construction, while I stood by the horses, coat pulled tightly about me and watching the serene lake which lay just beside us. I had heard that this countryside was full of lakes, and that the two lakes most local to this town were named Green Lake and the rather unimaginative Town Lake. I deduced from the distance of this lake from the town, that it must be the Green Lake, apparently a treacherous and deep body of water that had claimed several lives in the past. I dared not venture down closer to its stony shores, lined with thick clusters of long and wiry reeds. I did however experience the imaginative processes of my mind as I reflected upon what death by drowning must feel like. I soon shook it off and turned to my driver, telling him in as pleasant a tone as I could muster against the biting morning cold that he could stay with the horses and that I was going to walk into the town and send back a local man or two to help. He agreed and I set off, first gathering my collection of papers: a simple briefcase filled with archaeological data on the various ancient tombs and edifices, churches and holy relics which dotted the locale and to which I was travelling in order to retrieve drawings, etchings, and notes for the purpose of presenting a 67
  • 68. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions treatise on Irish Religion and Mythology at Trinity College as part of my dissertation on the subject. As I walked hastily away from the driver, with thoughts of hot tea in a local inn on my mind, I could not help but to give the small lake to my right a perfunctory glance, and had to stop in my tracks when I saw, to my horror, the figure of a small boy, all dressed in black, flailing and struggling against the lightly lapping waves of the water's current. In my shock I could scarcely move to rescue the child, but merely took one slow step forward, watching the small figure, my mind a cacophony of discordant thoughts and sudden horror. I glanced languidly back at my driver, who still stood by the coach, bemoaning his predicament and the cold of the day. He did not see my mouth agape, and my eyes widen as a harsh realisation of the drowning child's dilemma came roaring to my mind. I took a few quick steps forward, approaching the short but dangerous hill which led steeply downwards towards the reed filled shore of the lake, and when my eyes once again fell upon the spot where I had seen the boy, I could not shew his presence there at all, and my eyes could only stare diffidently at the now still lake, grey beneath the cold winter sky. I heard my driver then approach from my side, slowly nearing me, as though my fear was projecting into him somehow. I gazed over to him, staring into his eyes, my own glazed and filled with the image of what I had seen. 'Did you not see the small boy?' I almost screeched at the man. He shrugged his shoulders incredulously, and the thick moustache which covered his mouth wrinkled as he considered me. At once I laughed heartily, more from shock than amusement, although I was at the time quite aroused by the trick my eyes had played on me. The driver smiled weakly, his face a picture of stupefaction at my sudden out pour of nervous laughter. I turned away and left the middle-aged man by the road, staring into the quiet water, and walked once again in the direction of the town, never daring to look back into the unsettling darkness of the small Green Lake. Five minutes after leaving the coach and the confused driver behind, I reached a confluence of three roads: to my right was a small lane which led only further into the seemingly endless wilderness; before me lay a slightly larger, but perhaps even more dilapidated road; and finally, to my left there was the largest of the three routes. It was a clean enough road, and looked frequently used, so I chose that direction and was progressing through my journey at once, and as hastily as my legs could move, ignoring the stitch growing in my side, and wanting nothing more but to find the town and a warm place to sit and recover. As I walked, wending my way along the road which seemed to grow constantly narrower and 68
  • 69. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions more enclosed and overgrown with every step I took, I was repeatedly reminded of the image of the drowning figure in the lake, who's visage had apparently shook me more than I could have thought possible, for the image assaulted me ceaselessly, and more so with every anticipatory step I took, treading muck and noticing a mist drift casually in around me, slowly encasing me in its ever thickening, and ghastly, spectral constitution. I halted in my walk, suddenly terrified that I had chosen the worst of the three routes. The mist continued to envelope me, growing thicker and transmogrifying into a fog as I watched it. At first I thought the location of the fog to be strange and nothing more, but after a moment or so of silent conjecture, I discovered, to my horror, that I must still have been in close proximity of the lake. At that precise moment – and for some unknown reason – I took it in mind to look to my right, whereupon I saw the very lake which I had walked away from ten minutes before. It seemed that the route I had undertaken had led me winding around the lake and not away from it. I stared at it with growing trepidation as the grey fog further cloaked itself about me. I walked towards the lake then, suddenly entranced by it, when I heard the distinct sound of splashing cutting through the otherwise silent countryside. At this point I could barely see my hands before my face, but yet I continued on my way towards the water, knowing no thoughts but the sudden and absolute will to walk into the water. I felt fear, of course, but my mind was incapable of controlling my body, and the fog pushed me further, the sound of splashing beckoning me towards the lake, whereupon I would walk into the water. I knew, and yet I could scarcely halt my feet against the constant hypnotic push of my situation. I tried to shout, but my mouth simply fell limply open and not a thing escaped it but the short puff of hot air which dissipated as rapidly as my resolve. I attempted to scream then, losing all sense of machismo and thinking only of the end which I was unable to prevent. Yet again my mouth fell agape, but silent still, and held helplessly as my body, sucking in the cold morning air that grew denser and more stifling as I approached the water's edge. I could begin to see the water then, five or so feet before me, a path having cleared in the fog so that I could see my end. I could see out onto the water for a distance of perhaps twenty feet, and at once I saw the source of the splashing noise. It was a blackened figure, wearing a cloak and flapping its limbs wildly, watching me coldly and waiting for me to enter its watery sanctum. I began to panic, all sense of coherence escaping my thoughts at that point and leaving me a gibbering mess, unable to think, but no longer needing my thoughts to direct my feet, for they 69
  • 70. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions moved autonomously of my mind. I continued onwards, treading the stony shore of the lake, my eyes fixed upon the creature which splashed before me, its dark, tentacled arms awaiting my flesh. I could then feel the water reached my feet, soaking through my shoes and licking my ankles, sending a chill through my veins, freezing, but not nearly as cold as the feel of that creature's stare. My mind became hazy then, and I remember only that the water reached to my knees. After that I heard a shout from behind, followed by another. Then a scream came from the water and the splashing faded out of existence as I was caught from behind, barely able to move to fend off the groping hands of what I assumed to be a pair of attackers. I awoke some time later in a room of the town's only hotel. But I was ill by then, the freezing temperatures of my ordeal that morning, and perhaps the shock of what I had seen in the water, had sent me into a week long sickness. I returned to Dublin once I had regained some of my strength and rested until I was well, vowing never to return to Killeshandra, and never to swim in any body of water that wasn't made by man. 70
  • 71. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions The Four Stones I was sat in one of two large rosewood sofas which constituted the majority of the furniture in the living room of the Dublin City apartment I was in. And while my good friend at the time, Albert D'arcy, paced the floor, a worried expression of deep and grave thought upon his face, I sat quietly by, inconversant with why he should look so pained, and studied the room. The living room was decorated in a vast array of strange and foreign looking objects, no mere prodigalities, and even with my untrained eye it was obvious that the articles about the room were not the pointless collection of some spendthrift with too much money and not enough taste. The walls of the room were covered in a thick cream wallpaper from about halfway up, and on the bottom half there was a beautiful hardwood panelling which served to split the walls in two, and above there hung a painting every two or so feet, each one depicting confused scenes of what could only have been described as the visions of a clearly deranged and chaotic mind. For they were of hell, and some man's idea of what hell must look like. In later years I would see these same paintings again, and discover that their artist was some mad man from the middle ages named Hieronymus Bosch. There were two exotic rugs on the floor, expensive and ancient looking, and between them they served to fill the floor quite comfortably. There was a large bookcase set in one corner of the room, just beside a small window. The bookcase was built from a wood I could not perceive through the 71
  • 72. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions thick and dark varnish which coated it. Upon the shelves of this bookcase there sat a plethora of hoary books, each one bound in dried and cracking leather, and I vaguely remember feeling a deep longing to read their contents, as though they might have held some secrecies that I needed to discover. Having stared at the spines of those old books for long enough I wrenched my eyes away and turned them then to the many shelves which decorated the walls in between the paintings, upon them sitting a myriad of strange and fantastic objects, dark and forbidding in their appearance: a small bust of a hydra headed beast on one, sitting beside and overshadowing a small tablet upon which were engraved words in a language I could not begin to comprehend. A small and deformed figurine sat on another of the shelves, its arms hanging low down by its shriveled legs, and its head bent low onto its chest, beside it a large orb of reflective stone, dark and hypnotic and held in place by a black base, the base itself containing a line or two of barely visible engravings. I stared in wonderment at my surroundings for a long time, hardly aware of my friend's current upset. I was, in those moments, recalling what D'arcy had told me of his friend, the owner of the apartment, when we had received the message requesting D'arcy to come quickly to the apartment. D'arcy had told me that the owner of this apartment was a practitioner of dark arts, and he had been surprisingly open in telling me, since I am – though not practising – a Catholic, and do not lend much time to arcane principles, except for what I find interesting in the anthropological study of the various Pre-Christian religious orders. D'arcy had informed me in whispers, as we made our way through the busy city streets, that his friend, one Mr Dudley, was a rich man, having inherited a vast fortune from his parents many years before. Dudley had apparently joined up with various nefarious organisations and disreputable individuals, co-mingling with the most contemptible types in his thirst for a knowledge of some kind. The man whom we were to see had been a student at Trinity College at about the same time as D'arcy, both of them at the time dabbling in various esoteric studies. A long time ago they had discontinued their friendship, owing to some kind of disagreement that D'arcy was unwilling to make me cognizant of. But Dudley had told D'arcy that when he found the secrets he was looking for, he would contact D'arcy and call upon him before any other (so as to validate his quest, I suppose). And now, here we were, sitting in the living room of Dudley's apartment, a place Dudley apparently rarely ever used, except for on such occasions as to warrant some level of secrecy. It certainly seemed like a secret sort of place as I sat there, turning my attention back to my friend and wondering deeply what could have caused him to fret so. 72
  • 73. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions The door to the living room opened, and the man who had greeted us when we had arrived stepped into our presence. He was a huge man, dressed as a servant, but whom I can safely assume was much more of a bodyguard than a simple servant. He smiled at us and stepped aside, and I was then looking at a tall and gaunt figure of a man, his hair long and flowing in bright grey wisps about his bony face. His sunken eyes gazed calmly out at me, passing indifferently to D'arcy then and studying my friend's face. Was this Dudley? He looked ancient, a mere shell of a man. He smiled weakly when he saw D'arcy, and I could hear my friend gasp at the sight of our host. His gasp elicited a wider smile from the man's leathery lips, and he walked forward, entering the room, and becoming more grotesque still when bathed in the light from the single small window. I had stood up by now to greet our host, but I had no wish to approach the man now that I had seen him for myself. There was a certain disturbing feeling emanating from him, and I was just as content to stand by and allow the other men to conduct their business. I had not yet ascertained the reason for my presence, but in retrospect I believe my being there was a safety measure. I must now assume that D'arcy had foreseen some danger in his visit to Dudley's apartment, and had invited me along so as not to have to face this greying creature on his own. 'D'arcy,' our host said, walking awkwardly forward and thrusting a pallid hand out. D'arcy failed to take the hand, his face and body motionless in the face of the aged man, and so Dudley recoiled, a scowl forming on his face at the impudence shown by his guest. 'Even after all these years, you're still the rude pup you always were.' He turned to me then, but his gaze was apathetic, as though he hardly saw me. D'arcy swallowed his consternation then and I heard him speak in trembling tones. 'What happened to you, Dudley?' His voice sounded concerned, but I rather felt he was as much interested as he was concerned. 'I found the Gods . . . D'arcy . . . I found the true Gods.' This was all that Dudley said as he moved through the room towards a small table. Had I seen the table before that point? I could not tell, and simply took it for granted that I had overlooked its presence in the room. The ancient looking man produced a small pouch, and gazed dreamily up at D'arcy. Myself and my companion were silent in our study of the man and the black cloth pouch he held, dangling it by its drawstring over the varnished table top. 'I told you I was going to seek truth, D'arcy,' the man said, his thin fingers crackling as they worked their way into the pouch. 'But you never said what those truths were, Dudley,' D'arcy replied, and I simply stood aside, a 73
  • 74. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions smaller version of Dudley's bodyguard. 'I suppose you shall now enlighten me after all this time?' 'I shall, I shall,' Dudley answered, nodding slowly but not looking up as he spoke. He poured out the contents of the bag and they fell into his palm: four small, black stones, simultaneously dull and incandescent; carved into shapes which, from my distance, I was unable to discern. 'It took me twenty-four years . . . D'arcy. Twenty-four long years spent in Egypt, studying the ancient mythologies of the land, and learning all I could. In the end, they found me. They came in the form of a pile of scrolls, just . . . lying, in the middle of the desert, weighed down by these four stones.' 'And what are these secrets to which you have apparently given a great deal more than just half your life?' D'arcy asked, and I noted some return to normality in his voice. 'There is a knowledge, old friend . . . but you shall not have it,' Dudley said, his face now wearing a hideous grin. 'One does not own these secrets. One is owned by them . . . as you can see.' Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in the back of my head, and I turned as I fell looking up into the eyes of the huge man who acted as Dudley's servant. D'arcy rushed to my aid, but he too was struck by the man, and fell down beside me, unconscious. The large man then picked me up and threw me aside. I lay still on one of the thick rugs, watching the scene as it unfolded. My eyes flickered rapidly between the old man and the still figure of my friend. I saw the old man approach, and he cast a sidelong glance at me, smiling when he was stood over D'arcy. He produced a large knife then, seemingly from thin air, and began speaking some language which I could not understand. He only repeated the same words over and over, holding the knife high above his head and massaging the four stones in his other hand. 'Demugra'keh! Ahen'teh'he! Hap'ten'ka! Banathos'seh!' he screamed, and I was helpless to move to save my friend from the mad man looming over him. A strange and intense fear had overcome me, and I could only watch in blind panic. The servant then produced a goblet and held it out in front of his master. Dudley brought the knife down and kneeled beside D'arcy, raising one of the unconscious man's arms and holding it above the cup. Dudley then closed his eyes, and repeated those four strange words over and over. Then he screamed: 'Yeear liefe, fuwer my!' As I watched, he brought the knife up so that it hovered dangerously above my friend's wrist, and I knew then what he intended to do. He was performing some evil ritual, and D'arcy was to be the sacrificial lamb. Something broke inside me, and my former terror was suddenly dissolved, allowing me to rise weakly to my feet, and stumble towards the insane man. Dudley and his man 74
  • 75. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions were incognizant of my approach, and neither of them moved to parry my furious advance. I pushed the servant aside, catching him off balance and sending him flailing backwards. I lost my balance, too, and when I fell forward onto Dudley, the man shrieked horribly and rose his arms to protect himself. I continued forward, my entire weight bearing down on the frail man and pinning him to the floor. Immediately I looked about me for his servant, already drawing one knee to my chest in readiness to kick out in defence. But when I looked at the large man, I saw that an expression of absolute terror had wrought itself upon his face, and his eyes were focused now on something behind me. I looked down, following his stunned gaze, and saw Dudley, his mouth gasping for air, blood trickling out over his lips in thin, dark rivulets that soaked soundlessly into the rug beneath. I looked downwards then, and saw that his hand still held the handle of the knife, but that the blade itself had become buried deep in his chest. I moved my head away from his bloody coughing, and new that he was dead already – he had suffered a fatal injury. The servant suddenly uttered a high-pitched scream and fled the room wildly, disappearing from the apartment, never to be seen again. I simply stood there, my entire body limp and exhausted, watching the wretched thing beneath me bleed slowly to death. I roused D'arcy then, and he awoke with a start, jumping to his feet as though he had somehow been aware of his predicament. He looked wildly about the room in search of Dudley, and then saw the lifeless corpse of the man on the floor. He stooped down and I watched quietly, silent with anticipation, unable to fathom what D'arcy's reaction to this might be. He might blame me for the murder of the man, I thought at the time. D'arcy reached over to the man's clenched fist and pried the fingers apart. At once I saw the four black stones and my thoughts were swept with confusion. Surely, I thought, D'arcy has no interest in these evil stones. But he turned to me as he put them in his pocket, and he simply smiled as he stood up and walked out of the room. I went to follow him, but he stopped me with his hand, and I did not protest – there was something in his face, and in his demeanour, that suggested to me there had been a change in him, Dudley and the stones having been catalysts for the change. He left the apartment, and I awaited the arrival of the police – wanting to explain to them the events which had occurred in the apartment. I was escorted away for questioning and would have been suspected for murder had Dudley's hand not been wrapped tightly around the knife that killed him. Since that day, I have never seen D'arcy. I can only say that he is in possession of four objects 75
  • 76. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions which I believe drove Dudley to murderous insanity. Of course, I tried to discover the nature of those small black stones, but the most I could glean from the books I found on the subject of Egyptian Occultism was that they are miniature representations of four gods, lost for two thousand years, and named for the following gods: Demugra'keh; Hap'ten'ka; Ahen'teh'he; and Banathos'seh. I know nothing more about the stones, or the cult from which they originate. I only know that they destroyed Dudley, and they will destroy D'arcy, too. And I pray I never set eyes upon them again. 76
  • 77. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Black House It was four in the day by the time I reached Black House, just outside the town of Dunshaughlin. I had been summoned only that morning by the owner of the house to investigate a series of strange events which had apparently occurred there. I had taken the train from Heuston Station at almost half-past-one, but a hold up of some sort had caused the train to be kept in the station for almost an entire hour. When the train finally left the station it crept along the tracks at a depressingly slow speed, thus taking a further hour to reach Dunshaughlin. When finally it reached the small station house in the town, I was most glad to be off the contraption, and made my way without delay into the town itself, hurrying to make my appointment with the owner of Black House. Now, I won't bore you with needless details of the town itself, since any good guidebook of the area could show you that, but I will say that the place seemed desperately empty – not that I particularly knew how many people there should be in the town, but for the size of the place, its wide, long main street, there seemed not to be as much activity as I would have expected. One could safely assume that this was one of those "dying towns" that had become more prevalent in the last few years. I wandered through the main street, the heat of the warm July day only slightly uncomfortable. Luckily, I never used any specialist equipment in my work – and so hadn't the burden of weight – for it was not my job to exorcise spirits or demons, but merely to record their activity. It was my job 77
  • 78. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions simply to verify the existence of incorporeal entities. If, when I discovered the presence of the paranormal, I deemed the activity to be negative, or dangerous, then it would be up to my employer to enlist the services of a priest or someone more adept than myself at ridding a place of evil. I had been given directions to the house, but they were thin and rather inadequate, instructing me simply to walk to the end of the main street (where I would apparently find a fork in the road), take the road leading right and carry on until I reached the house. What the house looked like I could not predict, and so assumed I would have to stop some place in the town and ask for directions. For some reason which I cannot now say, I never stopped to ask for directions, and just continued as per the instructions given in the telegram, leaving the town by the right road and walking towards the lush green countryside beyond. House after house passed me by on either side, each one becoming more and more distant from the last, and yet still I did not stop to ask for directions to Black House. A part of my mind guessed that the name of the house would suggest its appearance, and that when I saw it, I would know it, I suppose. As it happened, I did know it when I saw it, but not because the house was black, or dark in any way. I discovered it from a sign post which read BLACK HOUSE in large, bold letters. The sign post was on the side of the road, half smothered in a build up of bushes and grass, and beside it there was a long laneway, winding away deeper into the wild countryside. I started up the laneway, peering ahead of me all the way, but seeing no sign of any house, only trees on either side, lit up and glowing brightly under the light of the sun. I can guess that I must have walked for near to ten minutes on the laneway before I reached any sign of life. The first thing I saw that wasn't a tree or a curious cow, was a small and dilapidated shed to my right on the lane, a lonely building, flanked by trees. It was clearly unused, and the straw roof had long since rotted and fallen through, revealing the crumbling framework of wooden planks beneath. The trees overshadowed the ancient shed, and served to block out all light from its interior – which I could observe through a small doorway and one tiny, deep window – but yet I was distinctly stricken with a nervousness as I passed by the warped building, and felt myself incapable of turning away from it for any longer than a few seconds at a time, continuing my walk towards Black House a little faster now. The house itself was the next building I came upon, and it was a much grander construction than the old shed. From what I could guess Black House was perhaps less than a hundred years old. Ivy covered trellises lined the walls, surrounding about a dozen large windows, each one masterfully decorated with period lattice glass, and bordered with beautifully carved oak frames. Perhaps the 78
  • 79. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions most impressive feature of the house was the front door, and I studied it in quiet admiration as I crossed the pebbled driveway. The door was huge, no less than ten feet in height, constructed in the typical Georgian style of frame-and-panel, arched at the top like something medieval. The arched top of the door only became visible when I was close enough to reach the large lion-head door- knocker. The door-knocker itself was impressively made, the detail in the lion's face extraordinary, and minute. I knocked on the door three times, and I could hear the hollow woody sound echoing within. The door was ajar however, and on the third knock it moved slightly inwards, allowing me to view a crack of the darkness in the inner hallway. Not wanting to intrude, I simply stood by the door and waited – there would be someone at the door presently, I told myself. After almost five minutes waiting, staring at the crack in the open door as it gradually widened, allowing me to see more and more into the hallway, I decided to knock again, for there was a certain agitation building within me from looking into the house – a fear perhaps. I reached out and took the knocker, and at that moment the door was pulled sharply back and I was then looking at a short stout man, his head bald, his eyes darkened pools of terror and his face an expression of deep stress and fear. His features softened when he saw me in the daylight, and only when he sighed, laughing off the fear, did I see the heavy, wrought iron fire poker he held by his side. 'My apologies,' he said, smiling and reaching out to shake my hand. I took his hand weakly and assured him that it was quite alright. 'You must be Mr Gregory,' he said, nodding quickly. I mimicked his nod and he said, 'Come on in, Mr Gregory, I've been expecting you all day. You were held up by those blasted trains, I suppose?' As I followed him, watching his thick waddle, I said, 'Yes . . . The train was held up in Heuston Station for almost an hour, and it crawled alo -' 'Sshh!' he suddenly interrupted, and stopped in the dull and barely decorated main hall of the house, his eyes suddenly wide, his fingers raised rigidly to his mouth and his other hand clenching the poker. 'Did you hear that?' he asked me in a deep whisper. I shook my head. 'There is something here, Mr Gregory . . . something evil. You will see . . . You will see.' He walked cautiously on ahead of me and entered a room on his right. I followed, an inescapable feeling of discomfort creeping constantly into my stomach. But it was not the house which was the source of my discomfort. It was the man. After all, I knew nothing about this man. He had supplied no information in his telegram other than the seriousness of his dilemma, and I should have liked to know his name and background before undertaking an investigation of his home. As it stood, my visit to Black House was a preliminary consultation, and not a formal investigation. This was the 79
  • 80. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions period in which I could glean any and all information on the background of the house: previous occupants; deaths in and around the area – this kind of thing. 'May I ask your name?' I said, watching as the rotund and red-faced man settled himself into a large armchair by the glowing hearth. He looked up at me pondrously then, his eyes somewhat glazed, and I got the distinct feeling that he might suddenly ask me who I was, and what I was doing in his house. But he simply said, 'Edward Mahon . . . Son of Dougal Mahon . . . Son of George Mahon, the man who built Black House in 1780; the man who made it the place of evil that it now is.' Edward had turned back to stare at the crackling lumps of glowing logs as he spoke, his words brimming with venom. 'I see,' said I, spying a chair to Edward's left and sitting in it – he had not yet invited me to sit, but I had no intention of standing throughout our meeting. 'And what is it that your grandfather did to curse this place?' Edward looked back over at me and sighed, closing his eyes for a moment. 'It is certainly a relief to have company, Mr Gregory. What is happening here now is fairly recent – only beginning some four months ago – but I have taken it as much as I can. My soul is strong, you see, but by God the threads are thinning on my resolve, and I fear I will snap soon.' I nodded. 'Exactly what is it that has been happening here?' I said, sensing the man's disquietude. 'What events have you experienced?' 'Noise,' he said to me, looking back into the fire. His red face glowed brighter in the light of the flames. 'Noises . . . rapping sounds which haunt me in the night. Voices of the long since dead, coming back and cursing me.' 'And what was it which caused these phenomena to begin in the first instance?' 'The bodies of the dead . . .' He smiled slightly as he said this, and I distinctly remember that even the heat of the fireplace beside me was inept to stay the creeping chill which wound itself about my spine in that moment. 'Excuse me?' I said, my voice becoming a croaking echo of its former self. He looked up at me, the smile fading from his lips. 'I may as well just tell you . . . My grandfather was a murderer.' 'A . . . murderer . . . ?' 'He killed people, his servants, mostly the women and young men. Never the old men for some reason. He buried them throughout the house, in the walls and floors, but it was never discovered, and my father would never expose my grandfather for fear of the stigma it would bring upon the 80
  • 81. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions family. Before me, my father was haunted by the dead for keeping the secret and not allowing them a proper resting place. And now I must suffer their wrath, and I need you to rid me of them!' I was stunned into silence, unable to comprehend what I was hearing. I could barely stop myself from scanning the walls of the living room, wondering horribly if I was then surrounded by the dead. 'Did you hear me?' Edward suddenly screamed, leaning over the side of his chair and staring wildly into my face. I noticed with sickening panic that he still held the poker in his hand and his fingers had tightened their grip on it once more, the knuckles flashing white. 'I'll go mad here if you don't help me!' 'I . . .' I was speechless and shrank back in my chair, suddenly wishing I had not sat down, for the man wore a look upon his face that was akin to madness, and I was by then questioning my safety in his company. 'That is not my job!' I said, the fear quite obvious in my voice. 'I only observe these things . . . I do not exorcise them!' The man's face fell soft then, and I noted an expression of dull surprise and sinking despair. 'But . . . I thought you -' He stopped then, his voice cutting out completely while his eyes darted upwards to the ceiling, his face regaining that agonized expression of terror. 'Did you hear it?' he hissed. I shook my head, wanting only to stand up and leave, but not quite able to move. 'There it is again . . . the dead, walking about my bedroom . . . passing from room to room, looking for me.' He began to cry, and I glanced briefly back at the living room door, considering my escape. He looked up again, his damp eyes surveying the yellowed ceiling of the room, and I dared not follow his gaze so as to leave myself exposed. I was becoming more sure by the second that the man was insane, and that I had unknowingly stepped into a dangerous situation. 'There it is again!' he said, and he moved to stand but flopped back into his seat. I jerked as he moved, prepared to make a hasty exit. 'They're here! They know I'm trying to free myself of them and they're come to punish me!' He stood up, and I stood up with him, moving backward around my chair and towards the door, watching him carefully. He had moved quite effortlessly for his size, and so I didn't dare to take the risk of underestimating him. His eyes were fixed on the ceiling, and he raised the tip of the poker, pointing it upwards, tracing lines in the air, his mouth moving soundlessly. I felt the door behind me then, and reached around surreptitiously with my hand to find the door knob. When I found it I felt a shudder of relief, but my relief was short-lived, for suddenly Edward's eyes were upon me, glazed and empty of emotion, simply watching me carefully. 81
  • 82. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions 'You won't help me then?' he said, his voice calm and cold and flat. 'Mr Mahon,' I said, adopting a shallow smile – the best I could muster, 'I have heard nothing here to suggest the presence of paranor -' 'You know nothing!' Edward screamed at me, and I watched with wide-eyes as he struck the side of his armchair with the poker. 'You know nothing of my existence! The torture! I committed no sins . . . I do not deserve to pay for what my grandfather did! Do I?' I shook my head, while behind me, my hand slowly and silently turned the door knob. Suddenly Edward's eyes darted down to my side, and he stared at the door for a moment, relaxing as he did, adopting a look of hurt and defeat. He dropped the poker to the floor and moved slowly back to his armchair, easing himself into it and beginning to cry again. I relaxed my grip on the door and watched him apprehensively. He said nothing more, and I did not have the words to speak. I exhaled the fearful breath I had been holding, and my eyes quickly flashed about the room, sparsely decorated, and containing only a few pieces of old and dusty furniture. 'I understand that you won't help me,' the large man said suddenly, and I looked quickly towards him. 'You must think I'm quite insane . . .' I sighed then, feeling sorry for the man, and walked a step or so away from the door. 'It isn't that I won't help you, Mr Mahon, it's that I can't help you. I am not a priest or holy man, and all I can do is observe . . .' He said nothing, but nodded sadly to himself. 'Have you never considered giving the bodies a proper burial? Perhaps you could atone for your grandfather's sins?' 'I have seen priests, and they only fled the house. I have tried to atone, but I cannot find the bodies at all. I would bury them if I could find them, but I fear they are lost forever. I have no way to escape the shackles of my hellish existence.' I stood silent for a moment, not knowing what I could say to console the man. I certainly knew that Black House was not haunted by anything other than this man's guilt, and I wanted only to leave and get back to the safe familiarity of the city. He spoke again then, and when he did, his voice had become more dismal and melancholic than before. 'Please leave, Mr Gregory. Nobody can help me now, so I will accept my fate . . . Please leave.' I nodded, unable to summon the right words, and opened the living room door, walking silently out into the cool hallway beyond. I sighed with relief when I closed the door behind me and made my way quickly to the front door. As I opened the huge door I stopped and turned, convinced that I had heard a single low thump coming from somewhere above. I laughed gingerly though when the noise was not repeated, and cursed my imagination, pulling back the door and stepping out onto the 82
  • 83. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions porch, the cool summer air wafting refreshingly into my nostrils. The sun had disappeared beyond the trees of the laneway while I had been inside, and the shadows of those trees were cast across the driveway and house, bathing everything in a cool shade. I took a single step forward, and that was as far as I got, for as soon as my foot had met the ground I heard a vast cacophony of noise from within the house, only a confusion at first, but becoming clearer as I listened. It was the sound of feet, running and stampeding their way around inside. I turned and stared back into the house, my heart jumping firmly into my throat and my mind suddenly aghast. I took a quick step back towards the still open door, but stopped in my tracks, frozen with horrible dread when I heard a piercing scream of terror and pain come from within, cutting through the air like a sword and reaching my ears in a deafening pitch. The scream began to fade away slightly, but continued on as a gargling noise – perhaps more horrible. Reluctantly, I approached the door, and pushed it open to peer inside, my heart pounding in my chest, my entire body swathe in sweat, electrified and stinging my skin as I gazed upon the inner darkness of Black House. I took a step inside the door, the din of running feet having stopped completely, and my eyes immediately studied the hallway, moving slowly over every darkened corner and coming at last to the closed living room door. Slowly, I edged my way towards the door, my hand touching the wall, fear bubbling within me, my mind screaming out for escape, begging me not to investigate. But I could not leave having heard the scream, and so I continued onwards, reaching the door and turning the handle, pushing as I did to enter the living room. When the door swung open my mind turned to grey, and my legs became like jelly, my heart tripping wildly inside my chest, and my thoughts a dead blur. What I saw was a scene which I shall never be able to forget. Edward Mahon was on the floor in the centre of the room, his head blackened and flaming; the skin and features of his face melted into obscurity. Around him there stood a group of semi-visible beings, tall and pale and with faces of either malevolent hatred, or abysmal sadness; all of them silently staring down at the large corpse, not seeming to notice my presence. It seemed like a thousand years that I stood there watching this, and it was only the first sparks of flame from the logs on the carpet by the hearth that woke me from my terrified stupor. I looked at the logs quickly and the carpet was aflame, the fire spreading quickly, threatening to grow into a conflagration. I stepped back away from the door, inching my way as silently as I could away from the gathering of spectral images. The carpet was alight then, and the flame shot across to the 83
  • 84. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions armchair in which Edward had been sitting. The chair was ablaze in a matter of seconds and the fire spread to all other parts of the room, rapidly engulfing the place in smoke. But I was helpless, and frozen to my place – hypnotised by the sight of the incorporeal things in the room. As the smoke from the fire grew thicker, growing more opaque, the shapes of those apparitional figures faded into it, gradually disappearing as they blended with the smoke. When I could no longer see them, their grip of fear was released and I fell sideways onto the hallway floor, striking my head and sent into a wave of dizziness. I struggled to gain my feet, but they would not support me. The smoke billowed out into the hall and I began to choke, crawling towards the open front door, frantically trying to escape the deadly fire growing behind me. At last, I emerged from the house, coughing and wheezing and rolling onto the driveway. The fire within the house was spreading and I fought unconsciousness, still not safe should the house decide to collapse. I gained my knees again and continued moving away from the house, crawling in no particular direction. My mind became blank for a time then, for I do not remember ever reaching the laneway, but I do remember sitting slumped outside the door of the small, decaying shed, looking up and seeing the massive, nebulous clouds of dark smoke rise brilliantly against the deep blue summer sky. Then I must have slept, for the memory fades on me there, and when I awoke I was in a hospital, having spent three days unconscious, recovering from severe smoke inhalation. When I was able, I called on a friend of mine, a reporter, and asked him about Black House. He told me that once the flames had been doused, the skeletons of eight young men and women had been discovered amongst the debris, along with the badly charred body of Edward Mahon. Even though it had been my job to investigate strange happenings, I had disbelieved Edward Mahon; I had let him die. I no longer investigate ghosts and spirits, and I haven't for a long time, but to this very day, whenever I hear an account of the paranormal, I endeavour to keep an open mind. 84
  • 85. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Bateeviel Treasa The voices of angels, the legions of the gods, the gods themselves sing these words in endless and mighty chorus, their sounds travelling like waves across the plains of night, and through the Universe itself, echoing infinitely until they reach her ears. Bateeviel Treasa . . . Bateeviel Treasa . . . Thee lahethe fe mi drams! Yee oer verehethan te mee, bateeviel Treasa! She feels the soft dewy grass beneath her, but she remains still, watching the slowly travelling stars drift endlessly by in multitudes of iridescent light, her eyes dreamily surveying the Universe which hath coiled itself about her, its warmth a sheath of safety on her flesh. She loves this place, and the voice of Banathos'seh hath bequeath this surreal visage upon her thoughts, freeing her eternally from her natural place on the outside of her mind. For here she is in a dream, and she is the Goddess of all that she surveys. And there is an angel of Banathos'seh watching over her, admiring her beauty, even in her corporeal form. And the chieftain even of Banathos'seh will gaze upon her eyes, those half moon drops of everlastingness which pour upon the soul and ignite it with a pleasure seldom felt, and he, the chieftain, whose name is Lel'theh'ga'heh, will weep for to touch her; to feel her beauty under the immortality of his ethereal fingers. 85
  • 86. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Yet ne'er shall he, or any other who dwelleth in the skies, be as close to her as the one who doth occupy her dreams, and for whom she has created this alternative to the world beyond the walls of her subconscious. And only that the Four Gods cannot control the will of a person ignorant to their existence, then they would surely bring her love to her, and deliver him here, to this plateau, from whence she gazes, and longs for his loving embrace. His name is Tomaltach, and she cries out to him, her voice as a birdsong, travelling across time and space, drifting through the aeons like a white dwarf whose existence is seen forever as a star upon the black carpet of the night sky. She raises herself 'till she sits, her voice echoing back to her, unanswered. She looks about her, the edge of this place dropping into the chasm of space to every side, and she smiles at the view which she can behold, her eyes drinking from the well of her imagination. Nightly she graces this place, the trees of her illusion shading her beneath the warm glare of the sun above. She stands then, and she can see further into the distant quadrants of the Universe. The Gods sing out in rapture at her beauty as she stands and smiles at this dream place. She walks forth then, her hands outstretched and brushing the unreal flowers of her mind. She plucks one and smells it, but it smells of nothing and everything. Behind her she can hear the softly lapping water of a wild stream, and she gazes upon its freely flowing waters, following as it trickles serenely towards the edge of this world and flows away to eternity beyond. She approaches the stream and sits beside it, smiling at the image of her own reflection, and in it she can see the beauty of the Four Gods, and the vast communion of their angels as they scan her reflection from behind. She reaches into the water, cold as it graces her fingers, and she sees the eyes and tentacles of the neptunian insects, gliding along and staring momentarily into her half moon eyes, and her sweet smile, passing on then, their trance interrupted, and flowing away in the current of her dream river. The Gods unite in rapturous choir. And she sees this world begin to fade about her, like a canvas whose paint has been doused in water, and now runs, flowing steadily out of existence, and fading slowly to a plethora of mixed and incongruous colours. She smiles though, even though the Universe sinks more into nothingness about her, for she knows that this is a place, a time and space, to which she can return in all of her dreams. Banathos'seh cries as she leaves, and his angels join in, their empyreal tears falling as bright red rain onto her face and hair. Then all is grey, and then black, and her eyes are closed, and she can see nothing but the blood flowing freely through her eyelids. Her eyes open, and the sun outside drowns out all remnants of her dream as she bids good morning to the world of reality. 86
  • 87. T. H. Davis A Dozen Dark Dimensions Tomaltach will be meeting her soon, for Monday is coming. For him, it is the first Monday in four years. Author's Note: Bateeviel Treasa was inspired by a woman. I had promised her that I would write a story about her but, being a horror author, was having a hard time figuring out how to write her into a semi-pleasant story. This is what came out. It's flowery, cheesy, but I love it, and it seemed to just flow out of me in the space of about five minutes, so that's a good sign that it was meant to be. 87