By Route Obscure and Lonely


Have you ever had a dream where you were somewhere you did not belong? Perhaps you were back at your childhood home, school, or old Job. You panic as you’re unsure what you are supposed to be doing and everything seems off. Soon reality seeps its way into your dream and you remember you don’t belong here. As I tell you my story I want you to keep such feelings in mind because it is the only way I know that may describe what I want through.

I awoke that morning to the familiar sound of my mom calling my name. “Edward!” she called several times as she flipped my bedroom lights on and off. I slowly got out of bed bewildered. Looking around I felt nostalgic. My room was a sanctuary for a teenage boy. Toys littered the floor along with dirty clothes, and a tv that was left on static. But, I could not escape the feeling that this was all wrong. I put on an old pair of jeans from the floor and felt in my pockets a set of keys. I pulled out the keys and looked them over, several keys were attached to a metal key ring. They felt familiar but I could not place their origin. Putting the keys back into my pocket, I put on an old shirt and went downstairs. My mother gave me a smile as I smelled breakfast on the table. It was the familiar and warm smell of pancakes. Still, I seemed to feel half asleep and dazed.

I followed a routine every morning and this one was no different. After breakfast, I got ready for school and walked out the front door to see the culdesac I grew up in. I still could not escape the feeling that this was wrong, that I was doing something wrong. That is when I saw in the middle of the street a large tower-like rock. It was at least two stories high and four or five yards across at its base. It seemed to stand as a sentinel watching over the neighborhood, completely out of place from the cement road it sat on. I had the odd sense that it was watching me. As I approached it felt as if a strong wind was forcing me away. My concentration on the rock was broken by a honking horn. I could see my school bus stopped at the corner where the culdesac entered and exited. Students loaded onto the bus and I made a run for it, fearing I would be late.

As I rushed on the bus I was met with staring faces. They all watched me coldly as I found an empty seat. I felt their eyes on me as the bus started to move. It was deadly quiet except for the hum of the bus’s motor. I put my head against the window and shut my eyes to escape. I was cold, and my head still felt clouded. I tried to fight through my daze with rational thought. “What class was first today? What day is it? Haven’t I already graduated?” I opened my eyes in shock with that last thought and slowly looked around the bus. Everyone was still staring at me. Each face seemed familiar but I could not pick out a name for any of them. The bus came to a stop and the door opened but no one stood up. They all still sat watching me. I rushed off the bus and onto the street when the door closed behind me and the bus drove away still full.

I looked at the school with distress. The building was familiar but also altogether different than any building I once learned in. I turned around and started to walk hastily away. I had no destination other than away. I desperately tried to clear my head of the fog I felt. Everything seemed nostalgic but unknown. I had no idea where I was and it was growing worse the further I’d walked. The clouds in my head grow worse as well and I felt dizzy. Soon I had no idea even wich way I had come from. I had passed people on the streets but they all ignored my confusion. I did not wish to question any of them, and I grow paranoid I was being followed. Each step I took felt like I was climbing a mountain as I grow weaker and weaker. I fell and crawled on all fours trying to find my way. Around me, people still walked on and ignored my plight as I completely collapsed to the ground. I then awoke in the same bed as that morning, my mom flipping the bedroom lights on and off calling my name.

I remember a part of a poem about dreams that has stuck with me since then.
“By route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an eidolon, named Night,
On a black throne reigns upright.”
I was stuck in such a dream. But it was not a dream as well. That pillar was the black throne, and something indeed haunted me. Even lying in the bed of my youth covered in blankets I felt cold. My fingers and toes grew numb. The room seemed a stranger to me, it was wrong but I can not describe why. I did not want to leave my bed but feared the end if I stayed. Quickly I got up and dressed. I rushed out the front door this time without eating breakfast or even looking at my mother.

The moment I opened the door I was greeted by the stone Sentinel in the middle of the culdesac. It seemed to stare at me. I tried to approach the spire but was met with a pain in my skull and a force I could not pass. I looked up at the tower and saw something quickly climb away from my sight. A dark figure that moved with speed like a cockroach. The longer I looked the more fear had entered my mind. I started to run and was met by the school bus driving away. From the back window, faceless children stared at me. I ran in the opposite direction, away from the bus and away from the culdesac.

I ran as fast as I could but soon ran out of breath and had to stop for air. When I looked around I saw that I was standing in front of the school despite my efforts to run in the opposite direction. Looking at the building I felt a sense of unease and loneliness. Still, I felt drawn to it. The world around me seemed bleak and colorless, the school was the only way forward.

I pushed open the large double doors and entered empty hallways. There was an eerie silence. I walked the halls passing classrooms filled with children. Looking through a door window I could see them sitting in their desks with blank expressions. They were motionless like looking at a paused movie. I crept away from the doors and tried to remember the school’s layout from my memory but I could not. I tried to remember my classrooms, teachers, or locker but I could not recall any of them. It felt like white noise in that part of my memory.

An ear shattering school bell rang causing me to cup my ears with my hands. The hallway was thrown into chaos as countless students filled it walking in all directions. I could barely move as they bumped into me from every angle. I felt a jab in my gut as if one of the students had punched me. Looking down I saw my shirt stained with blood. It took me a moment to comprehend what I was looking at as blood continued to seep out and stain my shirt. Then the sharp pain hit me, I had been stabbed. I looked around for my attacker but there were too many people around. Then another jab hit me in the back. I started to panic, trying to force my way out of the crowd but the hits kept coming. Stabbing me over and over. I fell to the ground in a pool of blood as students kept walking by. Many kicking and stepping on me again and again. The pain was unbearable, my hands were crushed under the weight of uncaring students. My ribs felt broken and blood left me at an alarming rate. I could not breathe, I was choking as the familiar iron taste of blood filled my mouth. A buzzing filled my ears as my vision filled with static then went black.

I awoke again, “Edward” a voice calling to me accompanied by the clicks of a switch being turned off and on. I slowly opened my eyes and was greeted by a room that was like my bedroom. However, the floors and walls were devoid of any personality. The colors all seemed bland and dull. “Edward” a voice called again. This voice lacked any familiarity. It was like hearing a robot imitate speech. I looked at its source and saw a woman very much the same size and shape of my mother. But her face, it was blank. A blur where her face should be and as I tried to recover my mother’s face in my mind I couldn’t. I could not remember her face or her voice. I started to panic as I searched and searched in my head for my mother.

The figure in the doorway turned away, satisfied that I was awake. My panic turned to misery as I searched my memory. I could remember something that seemed missing before. The church, the coffin, the nights I spent crying. My mother died years ago. I sat there lost for a moment as the sad memories came back to me. Then my sorrow turned to anger. My body was shaking with rage. It was enough to chase out any fear and confusion from my mind. The daze that surrounded me till now had started to fade. I got out of bed and walked out my bedroom door. This time I did not need to get changed, I was already wearing Jeans and a jacket. I did not look at the visage of my mother on the way out of the house, I did not want to acknowledge that it even existed.

I walked out the front of the house without shutting the door behind me. This time no culdesac greeted me. Gone were the concrete streets instead there was grass. There were no other houses only trees. The morning sun was replaced by a nearly full moon. A small clearing gave way to the large stone pillar. Looking around even the house I came out of vanished. I looked up at the dark stone tower. Several creatures crawled along it on all fours. They had dark fur and long arms. Claws grappled the stone with ease. But worst of all was the eyes. Their phosphorescent eyes that seemed to be able to stare into my mind.

Summoning all of my energy I ran past the tower of rock and into the trees. Looking over my shoulder I could see the creatures moving, climbing, and jumping off the rock to give chase. They moved with abnormal speed. My hands and feet were numb but I summoned all my energy to move forward. I kept running, everything but the path forward became a blur. I did not know where I was going, but the direction felt right. I followed that instinct till I passed a line of trees giving way to an open field. Beyond the field, I saw a road with a large Semi-truck sitting alone on the side of the road. Hearing the shrieks of the creatures behind me I saw they stopped at the line of trees.

For a moment I thought I was safe, that I made it. But then I saw one of the creatures brave past the trees. I ran again making my way towards the truck. Instinctively I reached into my pocket and pulled out the key ring. I did not have to guess the key, I know the one. I reached the door with only seconds to spare. I could feel the creature just behind my back as I opened the door then slammed it shut behind me. I locked the doors but it proved unnecessary. I could not see the creature anywhere. It was gone. Out of the night air, my body began to heat up. My hands in feet cried in pain. I started the truck and drove away, leaving many questions for when I was safe.

I immediately took myself to a hospital. The ER gave me plenty of time to think. I did not dare tell the hospital staff the truth, as far as they know I passed out in the cold for several hours. Am not sure If I could ever explain what happened to anyone. I was treated for frostbite if I had been out longer I could have suffered much more. However, I did lose something. I’ve forgotten things that are important to me. My mother’s face, she is now only a stranger in my photographs. I’ve lost bits of my childhood that I will never get back. The creatures took them from me, feed on them like vampires. I have never looked for that road or the stone pillar again, the details of where I stopped are fuzzy at best and I have no intention of clearing them up. Still, I can’t remember what possessed me to leave my cab in the first place.

A Haunted Doll Story

7/26/2010 - Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN - A doll collection was destroyed in a house fire on Capitol View Drive near Onion Creek on Monday July 26, 2010.
photo by – Jay Janner

It’s absurd that I would die this way, its absurd anyone could die this way.It’s preposterous but I can feel the warmth of the flames grow closer, unable to move all I can do is search my memories and try to discover what I have done to deserve this fate.

My name is Elizabeth Downs. I am a twenty-four year old eccentric. I have an obsession with Victorian Dolls. They have just enough a mix of creepy and cute that I can not get enough of them. My friends mock me for it, and not everyone is thrilled to see my collection but I never mind it. I was never one to care what other thought.

A new antique shop had recently opened and I was paying it a visit after seeing a doll from the window. It had on a black dress with a white umbrella in her hand. I had to take a look. A middle age man in an old suit approached me as I walked up to the doll. “Do you like her?” He said. He listened intently as I told him my own fascination with such dolls. I don’t know why I felt so compelled to tell this stranger my own hobby with such enthusiasm. He seemed truly absorbed in what I had to say, waiting patiently for me to finish with a smile on his face. “I can show you an even better doll in the store if you like?” With glee I followed the man to a small room in the back of the shop before suddenly the world went black.

I awoke to a bright light. I could not seem to move and felt like I was being carried somewhere. As my sight adjusted I could see the antique shop’s owner’s face close to mine. It seemed huge, as he stepped back I realized it was huge. I was high up, I could not move my head but I could see the doll from earlier out of the corner of my eye. It now sat next to me matching my size. “A beautiful doll indeed” The man said in a sweet voice with a large grin on his face. The situation was deranged, I tried to yell out but my mouth would not move. I could do nothing but sit on my little shelf and watch as the man walked away.

Time was hard to keep track of. I was stuck in a plastic body with no way to move and left only with my thoughts. I know I would go mad if things kept up. I tried to entertain my mind by watching costumers come and go and the owner sweep and clean in-between. Every now and again he look over at me and smile. I was left with my hearing as well, but the sound of a little bell as costumers entered and exited and a few conversations with the owner were nearly all the sounds the store had to offer. Night had fallen twice, and I was left alone in the dark shop unable to even close my eyes. I could only wonder if anyone was looking for me, and if it was at all possible for them to find me in this state.

On the third day an older lady looked at me before walking off with the owner. They were out of my sight for a while before I heard the sound of the cash register. Then the owner walked up to me with a box in his hand. He picked me up and with surprise I could feel it. Why could I feel, hear or see anything in this plastic body? I was soon sunk into the darkness of the box. All light faded away as the top was closed. Claustrophobia soon set in. My mind panicked but there was literally nothing I could do. It’s hard to say how much time I spent in that box. Much of it has become blur of panic and sensory deprivation. My mind had floated away in that time.

Finally a light shone into my cage. It was blinding at first then someone pulled me into it. I saw the frowning face of a young girl. At least twelve or thirteen years old. She forced a smile on her face and turned to the old lady from the store sitting on a couch behind her. The words “Thank you Grandma” forced their way out of her mouth. Confusion made way for the realization I was some kind of gift. I wanted to scream for help, but it was useless. Soon I was shoved back into the box, thankfully the top left open so I was no longer surrounded by darkness.

Sometime later I was removed from the box once and unceremoniously thrown on top of a rocking chair.I landed hard against the wooden chair. Filling my body with blunt pain. The room clearly belonged to the young girl. It was decorated with pink colors, stuff animals, and all things girly. However despite the poor décor I saw an opportunity to try to communicate. Holding onto some slim hope that she notice me, or the me that was trapped in this body. Perhaps she did notice something, as time passed she stared at me. However my hopes died as she simply said “Creepy” and throw a pillow on top of me as she turned off the lights for the night.

Claustrophobia once again set in. Mixed with the frustration of all that has happened to me. Despite no longer having lungs I felt as if I was suffocating.I tried to will every bit of myself to move as my mind screamed. Then the chair rocked, just a little. Enough to knock the pillow off-balance and let if fall to the floor. I had somehow moved. Not by much but it was a small victory against my cursed fate. I could see the girl was already in bed sleeping. A small hope started to return that perhaps I would find a way out of this after all. I felt tired for the first time, and my mind drifted off to what I can only compare to sleep for the first time. I awoke some time later to see the girl standing over me. She had a scared look on her face “Serves her right” I thought to myself. A woman’s voice yelled “Alice” and the girl turned away and left the room.

As time passed I understood that their were rules to my condition. I could move only with great will power and only when no one was watching. It started with only an inch or so but grow the more I practiced. With this new hope I redoubled my efforts to try to seek help. It was one night that I managed to finally remove myself from the rocking chair. I had to drop with a thump to the floor. The impact hurt but I deemed it worth the pain. I sat facing the door to the room. Alice would notice me, she could help me if she know I was alive.

My plan worked, but held unforeseen consequences. Alice walked into the room and upon seeing me shrieked. A swift moment later her foot flow towards me kicking me across the room hard into a wall. The impact severed my plastic arm from my body. I was filled with mind numbing pain. I wanted to cry, scream, crumble in agony but once again I was unable to move. Alice moved towards me, I wanted to plead for her aid, for her mercy. She looked angry and I was scared. She picked me up, and took my severed arm in her other hand. “Enough of this” She said as she walked out of the room with me.

We walked through parts of the house I was seeing for the first time. I saw no signs of her parents or the old lady I first met. We walked into the homes back yard and I was set on a glass outdoor table. Alice moved towards a large metal bowl with wood sitting inside it. It was a fire pit. My heart sank. She picked up some matches from a nearby chair and lit them. With care she started a fire in the pit and watched it grow. “Always watching me” she said in an angry tone. I tried to will myself away, I tried to scream “I don’t want to die!” but it was useless. Soon, as the fire grew, she approached me slowly like an executioner to the gallows. I was picked up and marched towards the fire.

I am afraid…really afraid. Please…old lady, man from the shop… anyone. I can feel the flames growing closer, their warmth growing with each inch forward…Please Alice…

Prince of Flies

He is the prince of flies. Once just a mean little boy of twelve years old with the habit of picking the wings off the backs of flies before he crush and kill them in all manner of ways. Such cruelty often goes unnoticed to the world of adults, but there are other worlds who notice such things. So it came to be that the little boy came down with a nasty cough.




The little boy could barely stand it. Each cough making harder to breath.




The little boy went. Something tickled the back of his throat and would not cease.




The little boy turned blue. It was then the cause of his misery was forced out of his mouth. Flies, one after the other.




The flies would not cease. Each cough expelling more, but more took their place. The boy choked to death as hundreds of flies filled his lungs and blocked his throat but such stories never end so easy. The Prince of Flies will not rest. He wanders always, perhaps seeking an end to his eternal torment or perhaps he just enjoys making others suffer with him. Beware a little boy who both coughs and buzzes.


Magic Trick

She was a performer, he was a magician. Alby and Harry made a living by entertaining others. Traveling from town to town, state to state they awed people with their tricks. Harry kept the audience’s attention with flair, magic hats, wands, magic tricks and fire breathing. Alby was a pretty young lady, often playing the assistant for the show. Her true talent however was in their most popular trick, the Houdini Water Torture Escape.

Each night Aldy would be lowered upside down into a tank of water with a pair of handcuffs on. A curtain would fall, then rise a little to show her struggling then fall again. When the curtain was raised for the last time she would be standing on top of the trap and take a bow. The trick would be in use of rigged handcuffs to escape out of. The top of the trap would appear to be locked, but in truth the pins would be slid out of the hinges on the lid. Lastly there was a hidden bar under the lid she could use to grab and pull herself up. Despite all of this, there was still a great danger to the trick, rushing blood could rush to her head and she would pass out, faulty equipment or panic may cause her to actually drown. Aldy know the risks but trusted her partner and her skills each night.

Harry had fallen for Aldy. He loved her, but could not bring himself to tell her. Each night as she went into the tank, his heart sank with worry. Then one day after a show while he was cleaning up he saw her. Aldy was talking to a young man, Harry had become quickly jealous, his heart broke at Aldy and the man kissed before parting. Jealousy turned to anger and hate.

The next day when it was time for the Water Trap, Henry changed the handcuffs. As his partner was lowered into the tank of water he gave her a cruel smile. Keeping the sliding pins on the tanks doors. As the curtain fell over the tank Aldy quickly realized something was wrong. Her handcuffs would not slip off like normal. She tried to get her breath of air from the trap doors at the top of the tank but they refused to open. Panic set in as she struggled for her life to escape the trap. The Curtains rose for a bit, showing her to the audience. She banged on the glass trying to get someones attention that something was wrong but it was futile. They all just sat there watching her drown. Some ate popcorn thinking it was all part of the show. As the curtains fell over her once more she started to close consciousness. One last time the curtain would rise, but instead of an escaped Aldy at the top of the box, they saw her floating in the tank lifeless. Harry gave a bow as the audience gasped and screamed.