An account by an unnamed traveler, as provided by Rich Young
Art by Errow Collins
Riding through rolling hills, hearing the sound of distant thunder, and breaking away from the yesterdays that have created a mountain of ragged, old clothes in my sad hole of a life, I am passing through the land that composed my earliest memories. When the road curves by the edge of a field where I played ball, a break in the trees exposes the horizon, and I see the outline of the farmhouse that raised me. A tall, ruined monster that now sits empty and lonely–its history lost by the passing of all former inhabitants save one.
A rise in the road causes me to look forward, start paying closer attention, and cease the daydreaming that pulls me in on this long drive. The car is rolling over the dip at the bottom of the private dirt path that leads to my childhood home. Grasshoppers hurry to avoid the car tires rolling over the overgrown center line of grass in the path. I lower the front windows to hear the familiar evening buzz of insects and frogs. There is no buzz. The wind whispers across the grass and gently brushes leaves in willow trees that line the road.
I realize it is late in the summer, and several nights have passed when frost has replaced the dew in the morning grass. There is a point in summer where the hot sun changes to a cooler, amber glow and the freezing temperatures stop the night insects from their cacophony that exists in the thick of summer’s abundant life. I hadn’t considered it would be this late in the season here. I have not been outside in a very long time.
I feel angry. To look at this place, one would not suspect what pain has been endured within. It is in the secrets of this house that I have lived and died a thousand times. I have never been strong enough to remember everything. If I started talking, I would surely recall details that are better left forgotten.
“Not another death from you!” I yell at the house. It answers with a cold, wooden creak. This house mocks me. I could no more capture the moon with my bare hands than tear this building down. I think that I don’t know why I came here on this very day, but I presently, and suddenly, remember. This is the day the house took my father from me.
I see us through the living room window. Dim light illuminates my face as I look up to my father with respect. He is strong. I can see the muscles tighten in his jaw and the way he closed one eye when concentrating. I feel his words more than I can hear them; each word a nail hammered into my soul.
“Creature, you are not my son. My son was good, and he is gone now. You are the wrong, and you must leave.”
I could never hurt him. I plead with him to let me stay, but the house has him. My father points to the front door, and through the window I can see tears stream down my teenage cheeks. I see a light turn on in an upstairs window. The woman that gave birth to my body was awakened by the noises downstairs. She would never be my mother. Without knowing, I imagine what must have run through her head. She wanted me dead that night. I knew that she asked my father to kill me. He could not. She would never forgive him for his weakness.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.
He comes from everywhere. I don’t know his name, but I have received his tale only to desire that some things would remain unheard. He is rugged, damaged, and his soul has been tainted from a dark past. Joy and love are foreign. His eyes are a dry riverbed, but they mostly see the raging river of his past. His large hands cannot answer for the pain that they have inflicted–they know not what power they hold. You may know him as well as you know yourself.
Rich Young is a writer, guitar player, business analyst, father, and husband from Michigan. He has completed one novel, Letters From Tomorrow, and several short stories ranging from horror to science fiction. He is currently working on a series of Tales of The Scraping, and a novel that sums up all the experiences of his life in some odd fashion or another.
Errow is a comic artist and illustrator currently near Seattle. She focuses on narrative work themed around worlds not quite like our own. She spends her time working with her partner on The Kinsey House webcomic and developing her solo webcomic when she’s not playing tag with her bear of a cat. More of her work can be found at errow.carbonmade.com.Follow us online: