Not far from the Snohomish River, lies the curious home of the Slasher family. The Lushshootseed Tribe had always sensed the danger, keeping their distance, while exhausted explorers coming from the east, weary from their travels, couldn’t be blamed for letting down their guard.
The Slasher's ramshackled sign on the dusty rocky road reads FAMILIES WELCOME, Hot Bath and a Meal, 5 cents, FREE GAMES. With little hesitation, weary travelers like the Andrews family couldn't resist the invitation.
“Well I’ll be. Would you lookie here.” Mr. Andrews, let go of the wagon reins and reached into his vest pocket caressing his valued coins. Could he part with 30 cents as a special treat for his beloved family after this treacherous journey? “Daddy, please can we go,” Said his oldest Amelia, proud she could read the sign. “Darn tootin we can.”
When they disembarked the wagon and approached the stately porch, they were greeted warmly by the Slasher's. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.” After shaking hands, coins were collected, and Mrs. Slasher announced the menu of chicken, greens and cornbread, as little Suzie emerged from behind her momma’s apron. "This is our precious Suzie. She’s in charge of the games. Go on now children. Run along. Dinner is at 6." Mrs. Slasher turned to the Andrews' and said, "I’ll fix up your plates so you can eat in peace while the children play." As they sat, the Andrews' didn’t get to impart much about their journey from Illinois since the Slasher’s bragged incessantly about their precious Suzie.
Amelia aged 12, didn’t particularly care to have an 8 year old in charge of this expedition, but keeping to her manners she held her tongue, even when she was sure she was going to despise Suzie by the tone of her mockery laugh. She was curious if her siblings felt the same about the sinister cacophony. After the third round of ring around the rosie, Suzie lead the Andrews' kids to the barn enticing the group with a promise of pony rides. As daylight persisted, light was mainly absent in the barn, but the hideous stench, omnipresent. “What’s that smell,” blurted Candice, the youngest, not minding her manners. “Manure of course!” Giggled Suzie. “That’s not manure! It smells like Gramps old slaughter house!” With that said, Suzie pushed the barn door shut with the strength of a 30 year old and out stepped Eski with his lantern in one hand, a seasoned machete in the other. The last thing the four children heard before Eski decapated them was their unanswered screams for their parents and the evil croon floating off Suzie’s vial tongue.
When Mr. and Mrs. Andrews bellies were full they expressed their concern about the children. Come with me said Mrs. Slasher. The fun has just begun. Let’s get you two in on the game. Eski was ready and waiting and so were the local town folk that ate well daily on the mystery meat that tasted very much like chicken.
A dirty, rotten, humid smell invaded her nostrils.
Sally felt the forest riping her skin, blowing its icy breath on her goose bumps. Blaming her for stepping on its land without the Sun’s protection.
She gulped down air, failing to relieve her sore throat.
In sight, only darkness. Had she closed her eyes, it would have been the same.
A storm of bats skimmed by her, an ululation echoed farther away. Or at least she hoped it was farther away.
I’m okay, she muttered to herself, I’m just imagining things.
Something cracked in front of her. A dry branch.
Fear made her retreat, her leg found the sharp edge of a protruding rock, her side, the floor.
She was not okay.
Holding her ankle, the woman tried to sit up.
“May I help you, Miss?”
Two big eyes appeared in front of her.
Sally’s cry was not human. It was terror in its purest form.
The clarity of the lantern forced her eyelids shut.
When she opened them again, sweating madly, convinced that she was hallucinating, there was a face hovering in the dark.
Sally’s second scream got strangled in her throat.
“May I help you, Miss?”
The pale face’s body appeared, as the woman’s sight ajusted to the light. There was a white neck, two skinny arms, two skinnier legs, covered by a gray dress. And two long, pitch-black braids.
“May I help you, Miss?”
The kid’s eyelashes fluttered, and Sally felt ridiculous. She had gotten so nervous, while the little girl seemed at ease.
“What’s-” Her voice was a croak. “What’s your name, sweetie?”
The kid seemed to ignore the question. She looked offended.
Sally tried again, “Surely, a pretty little girl like you-” She was not pretty. Not at all. There was this thing about about her hollow traits that made the woman’s anguish multiply. “Has a name?”
Sally wondered if the child had read her thoughts.
“Could you get your parents here to help me?”
This absence of answers was gnawing the woman’s patience. But-
“You’re lying.” The whisper, delivered through tiny gritted teeth, shocked Sally. “You’re lying. I am not pretty.”
Skeletal fingers covered the kid’s face.
Afraid that she would start to cry, Sally reached out to touch her shoulder, but the kid yanked it away.
“Don’t touch me!” She shrieked. Sally could swear the temperature had dropped. “I am ugly, and old! Nobody wants me, only my parents!”
“You’re not old a-”
“You don’t know anything about me!”
The wail pierced Sally’s eardrums.
But the woman’s comforting words were stopped by the swing of the lamp.
Something cracked inside of her. A broken bone.
“I am old, ugly, but my parents love me! And you know what they love more?” The mad eyes reflected Sally’s horror-struck face. “Fresh meat.”
Before the lamp hit her a second time, before she collapsed in a sea of infinite darkness, Sally heard it.
A screeching, hysterical sound.
Suzie Slasher’s laughter.
The women tried to look away from the face of their leader. He was ready to pick another person to sacrifice. His people all wailed once one of the guards dragged a young child to the offering altar.
Enormous grey clouds appeared in the sky. The sun’s golden rays all faded away. A great hush fell over the assembly. Lightning struck the ground and from it a dark figure appeared~ Eski.
The elders had told the younger generation about a leader who had stumbled upon a precious stone while traveling through the valley of death. That leader sacrificed the rest of his men to make sure that Eski had gotten her fill in order for him to escape. No one knows where the precious stone is now. From that point on, she appeared once every year to come take another soul from the group.
Eski raised her hand and the young child’s body levitated towards her. When the child was right in front of her, she removed the soul right out of the child. Everyone screamed as they witnessed that chilling sight. Eski smiled the moment the soul went into her belly. And she vanished in a whirlwind of dust, leaving the lifeless child’s body on the ground.
The dark secrets of Snohomish
In the past few decades, Snohomish County had seen a large number of human disappearances. What happened to these people? How did they disappear? No one knew except eight year old Suzie and her playmates.
Suzie Slasher was the golden child of the Slasher family. They lived in the Haunted Mansion across the black water lake. Legend had it that the house was cursed by a powerful and evil witch who lived there for hundreds of years until she was brutally killed and burned by the local Puritans in the 1650s for witchcraft. She twirled and laughed with a loud screech as she made a vow of revenge before her death. The Suzie’s mother was a direct descendant of the witch but little Suzie seemed to inherit most of the evil, turning into a banshee at age eight about three decades ago.
Suzie stepped out of her house early in the morning wearing a bright red frock with frills and puffy shoulders. She wore two high ponytails on each side of her temples, tied with red satin ribbons. She looked angelic but her intensions were far from it. As she walked along the empty street, she twirled and laughed sending her screechy cackles across the neighborhood. But as soon as she saw cars passing by, she would put up a sad, scared face asking for help to get home.
The victims gave Suzie a ride to her directed place which ended near a shack at the corner of Spector road. It was a place that never existed, a place that never shows up on the map. Suzie held their hand tightly and walk towards the building as she giggled and skipped. As they got closer, Eski stepped out of the shack pretending to be Suzie’s father. Eski, was a blood thirsty undead, who transformed into a human to lure the victims. But as the victim got closer Eski would transform into a ugly beast with large pores on his skin that oozed blood. He had large claws to tear his victims’ skin and fangs to bite into human flesh. Suzie clapped and twirled again, just like she did on the street but this time to celeberate death.
The victims screamed and tried to run but Eski grabbed them with his enormous strength and skinned them alive. The scent of living blood drove him mad as it dripped on his skin and blended with his. Eski began licking and drinking the blood until the body got cold and lifeless. They then took the bloodless bodies inside the shack to Chuck, who would wait with his special cleavers to make the perfect cuts and slices for barbequed ribs and sausages. Chuck’s barbequed ribs were a delicacy in whole of Snohomish for its unique taste and flavor. Suzie and Eski made sure to keep him supplied with the freshest of human meat.
Steak and Wine
To be quite frank, nothing beats having a steak for dinner right after a busy, blood-boiling week of work. In any case, that’s what I believe in, and I do not fail to show it. While at work in my butcher shop, I’m often asked how I am able to maintain my mouth watering physique at such an age, and the answer is simple: I have a nicely made steak every Friday.
Do you know what the advantages of eating steak regularly are? Due to the high amounts of vitamin B12, zinc, and protein found in red meats, my muscles, bones, and immune system have been everything but lackluster. However, recently, my mental health has been dwindling.
One week ago, my eldest daughter had gone missing, and the event has been a heavy burden and strain for my family and me. My wife will often come home with sunken eyes and matted hair, making no effort to lighten up her appearance even a little bit. My youngest daughter since then barely steps outside of her room, the only times of her appearance being during mealtimes. The atmosphere of our own home is something we can barely even tolerate anymore, and that’s why, as a good husband and father, I will make steak. It may not bring back my daughter, but perhaps it will bring back the hope in the eyes of my remaining family.
I take great pride in the way I handle my meats; when referred to, I am not simply called Chuck, but “Chuck the Butcher” in its entirety. I find and harvest my own meats, prepare them in my own shop, and serve them to my own customers, and nobody dares to file a complaint. So tonight, I will serve my family my best steak yet, and for my lovely wife a tall glass of wine.
And yet...tonight did not go as planned. The kitchen was a mess, as I had been slaving away in there to create the perfect dinner for my perfect family - I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into this meal, and my wife had the audacity to throw a fit over her steak. Over what? A single, long strand of hair? I understand how that could make one upset, but I did not understand why my wife decided to throw a screaming fit about it. As we exchanged harsh words back and forth, she continued to bring up the topic of our missing daughter and constantly threatened me with the police. As much as it pained me to do, I had no choice but to send my youngest daughter back to bed.
Now, red coats the floor of the dining room - perhaps from the wine. And with my missing daughter, I now have a missing wife.
They call it Coyotepe. It means, "coyote caves" in Spanish.
A large fortress on the top of a hill, a reminder for the people of Nicaragua that they will never escape the war that doesn't exist to the outside world. Comandante Eski runs the prison, he is in charge of who gets tortured, when, and how it happens. Eski's wife Suzie is known by all the inmates as "La Bruja", the witch. She demands to be present for every torturing, and her bone chilling laugh can be heard throughtout all of the lower floors. There used to be a fourth floor down, but it collapsed. Rumor has it that Eski destroyed it to keep the body count unknown. As I walked through the dark, bat infested halls I read the engravings on the walls, "Quiero morirme", I want to die, and "Viva Nicaragua!" Long live Nicaragua. If the torture victim was to be killed, sometimes they were given the choice to engrave something, but depending on what you wrote, it could make your death slower and more painful. We are all political prisoners here, about seventy percent are men, and the rest are women. I got in because I assisted in the overthrow attempt of the government. Eski has personally hung me from the ceiling while his favorite torturer Carlos, or Chuck as they called him, slowly pulled off all the finger nails in my right hand. La Bruja watched my eyes fill with tear and her laugh rung in my ears. Once you enter the third floor down, you never go back up. There are no lights, no running water and no place use the bathroom. Women and men are crammed in the same cells, and there are twenty of us per room, the rooms are small. I heard Chuck used to be the President's personal butcher, the way he handled me as I dangled from the chains wrapped around my one arm, I don't doubt it. He has come to the cell doors before, which are made of pure concrete and steel bars, and said, "Your food tomorrow is compliments of your war hero." We didn't eat that day, whether it was true or not. Guards armed with AK47s and machetes dragged me back to my cell, the calluses of my bare feet were cut off with a hot blade, and the bloodied streaks stained the cold floor. Each guard held a wrist, and my head hung low enough that it scraped the floor as they walked. When we got back to the cell I was thrown in and the guards grabbed a lifeless body, and dragged him out. They delimbed the dead bodies in front of us, to make sure they were really dead. Only the women are released, sometimes, the only reason you are hearing this story is because my sister got out, but her soul stayed, buried in the second floor. Pray for us.
The story of my brother, Medardo.
Dear Allie you don’t know me that well but I know you. I know you so well it feels like we have been lovers forever. I love what you have done to your hair and your new shampoo smells so good. You’re so beautiful when you’re sleeping. Did you know that you snore? It’s really soft but I think it’s endearing. Did you get the present I left in your room it’s the pin you were looking at the other day with your family. Don’t worry my love it is almost time for us to be together. We won’t be apart ever again and no one will be able to stop us... XOXO
The Wind Blew
The wind returned. Growing stronger and bolder, the shadows began to dance, entwining themselves in the back and forth of the darkness in Eski’s eyes, the movements stretching to rip further strands of shadow from the edges of his consciousness, pulling them in to join the ecstasy; pulling him in to join the ecstacy.
Eski did not enter as the shadows did, he was far to experienced for timidity. Throwing himself like a drunk side to side, Eski pierced with talons of steel the solemn cloth on either side, an inadequate shield to slow the storm. He boiled about in the sea of people, leaving corpses of salt behind. Red strewn about, mingling with inadequate hosts that had once held it captive.
A single voice; a plea, joining the dance. Not a plea for mercy, a lie long forgotten, but for life. A simple song for life.
Joining the dance; the wind; the waves, the melody became a harmony; a single song now carried by two voices joined. Eski fell into step with the voices, the dancers, the Song. The sea of bodies pressed against him, straining to break him. Twisting about, Eski mirrored the shadows in his eyes, letting the wind blow him as it would. No longer utilizing talons of steel, he swept through the sea amid a boat of desecration, breaking down the walls of flesh and folly, and letting free the life inside.
Please. Please. More. Please.
And Eski gave them more. He gave them all. He gave until there was nothing left to give. Nothing but a single figure, standing tall amidst the remains of captivity. And Eski stopped.
And the wind blew.
The wind blew and raged and fought. The shadows danced. The voices sang. But they went unheard. The dancers unseen. The wind unfelt. And Eski waited. The eye of the hurricane, and he just watched the single figure. The figure watched him, motionless. Oblivious to the storm around. Like a leaf, the last one still on the tree at winter, the figure turned, and took in the world around him. A winter of red. Blood on snow. Blood on ice. Blood on steel.
Please. More. Just one more.
And the wind blew.
The figure did not see the blade; a talon of steel. He did not see the shadows in Eski’s eyes. He did not hear the song. He did not feel the wind. The soft wind in his chest, releasing the life captive inside. Letting the life come forth into the shadow, reflected in Eski’s eyes; Eski’s darkened eyes.
Eski was done. The ocean was gone; the leaf had fallen; the winter had come. And the shadows came forth, like paint spilled in water, they gained color; they gained life.
And the blood on the snow disappeared.
And the shadows faded, now red, brimming with life; hopes; dreams.
And the last shadow disappeared.
And the wind did not blow.
Neighbors From Hell
I lived near a family that causes me not to sleep at night.
With one eye open and full cup of coffee with a pot still full, I refuse to sleep near them. I'm exhausted. My sister is friends with our creepy neighbor's daughter. She does weird things like scratches her and laughs this demented laugh that makes your skin crawl up your neck. To make it worst after she scratches her, she licks it because it makes them close friends. My sister asked her when was her birthday she said Halloween day and laughed that excruciating laugh. She said they are friends because, if anyone bullies her, Susie would tell them that her brother Chuck would kill them and sell their body parts from his butcher shop. I met Chuck. He kept asking me to come to their cookout. At first, I told him no, because he seems to be really jittery and he spoke slowly like an old horror movie. If I didn't go and be neighborly he would tell his dad Eski and he would kill me. Eski is tall with a bend like Lurch from Adam's Family and he always wears black. When he shakes your hand he would hold it while he sniffs at you, as if he is sizing you up for his next meal. He laughs like his daughter and he's creepy like his son. So as I was saying, I went next door to the cookout, Chuck gave me a big plate of meat. It smelled like old meat from a deep freezer that had been left in the garage for years. I tried eating a piece but it had a long piece of hair on it. Blonde hair. Susie's hair was reddish, Chuck's was brown, and Dad's was black. Who was blonde? I gagged. I asked Chuck did their mom live with them. He said, "Not anymore". I asked him why. He said,
"she left to get me some meat for the grill and never returned". I asked, " Did you call the police".
He said, " Dad, told me not to worry about it because she already had plans to leave". I said, "Well, I would have loved to have met her ". He said, " I will show you a picture." He reaches under the grill and pulls out an apron with a picture on the front. The lady on the apron was pretty and BLONDE!!
All at once, my blood rushed to my head, it was time for me to go.
Just as I was leaving, Eski and Susie came out of the house and asked me did I want to lay on their sofa until I felt better. I said "NO THANKS!" I ran and wobbled home fast as I could and locked our doors in fear. The Slasher Family was cooking their mom and I was meant to be desert. This is why I will not sleep near this family until my family moves. I'm delirious!
On my first day of middle school I got made fun of.
The children called me
They called me eight.
I’m not eight. I’m twelve.
But now I’m thirty, and I laugh.
I laugh because they won’t ever hurt me again. They are… gone. Gone, gone, gone. What a funny word.
I laugh more at the funny word. People call me crazy, I’m not.
Those people deserved to die, they hurt me.
I laugh some more.
They won’t hurt me if they’re dead.
Mommu and Daddy call me the angel child.
I am righteous.
Those people deserved what they got.
I laugh some more.
People are scared of me.
At least they’re not mean.
Else they’d have to be... Punished.
I wonder if those who walk past me on the street whisper to their neighbor about me.
I‘m just fabulous like that.
I laugh some more.
Why did they put me here? These white walls are too bright. They hurt my eyes.
Mom! Dad! Where are you? I scoff at myself. Still thirty and calling for my parents. But much like my outer self, I never lost that childish part of me.
I love to play games.
But no one wants to play with me. I wonder if they are scared by the rotted bodies of their successors.
I laugh some more.
Games are such fun.