Breathe Deep and Shudder

Posted: August 20, 2013 by writingsprint in Horror
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


“Spider Cocoon” by Natalia Drepina at

There were four bodies that looked like me hanging from the ceiling. They didn’t just look like me. They were me.

The first two were husks, dessicated weight sagging down the webs. Those just looked like sticks. The third was distinctively skinny, and he knew what my mouth looked like if it was open in a scream and plugged with spiderweb. The fourth still had plastic-looking eyes, one that was half gone.

“What the… what…”

I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t scream. I tried to turn around, but everything seemed to be moving slowly. I was in one of those dreams where your feet nail themselves to the ground.

From behind me, I heard Henry talking.

“What a shame. I did try to warn you not to come up here. Now what will I do with you?”

He put his hand on my shoulder. I let out a sound that was a cross between a cry and a gurgle. It hadn’t been strong enough to make it out of my throat. I jumped, but not far. His hand stayed on my shoulder like an old friend’s. I counted every one of his fingers. His ring scratched my shirt. The one with the black family crest on it.

I couldn’t stop shaking. Please, God, let me just stop shaking.

“Today is Thursday, Tim. Not Sunday. You’ve been here four times. Each time I try to tell you not to go in.” Henry lifted his hand off my shoulder, reached past me and shut the door. Tears fell down my face. “That’s why you can’t remember.”

He stood in between me and the door. I finally saw him as he was. Uncle Tim, with the salt and pepper hair and the beard. The kind wrinkles. The details had changed, but he hadn’t become less, aged, in ten years. That was when my seizures started.

“Uncle Henry,” I said.

“You never talked before.”

“Mom? Dad?”

“Only in your mind, Tim. It’s just been you and me. Forever.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You aren’t supposed to understand.”

Hit him. Stop him. Do something. I couldn’t move.

Uncle Henry started rubbing his hands together. I could feel the warmth between them from here. A haze covered them, that became like wooly gloves. He pulled his hands apart. Silk stretched between them.

“That’s what they were hanging from.”

“It’s an old family secret. An old, old secret.” He smiled. “It’s time to go in.”

The word of the day is “fear.” How did I do?

“Breathe deep and shudder” is a phrase that I coined a long time ago after watching a movie that disturbed the heck out of me. I remember take a deep breath — they’re supposed to be cleansing — and shuddering when it came out. Being scared is one thing, but for me, shuddering goes all the way to the bone.


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