Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Child's Play: A Free Short Story (Science Fiction) - Lore Publication


Jane lifted the cup from the counter letting it rest between her lips as she drank the fresh orange juice. She heard the patter of feet along the tiled kitchen floor and as she turned she found her youngest child pottering towards her; a tired, dreary expression across his face.

“Morning you, what do you want for breakfast?” The small child glanced up to his mother with a somewhat frustrated expression as his face crumpled into a frown. Jane reached down taking her son into her arms to cradle his whimpering state, “What’s wrong pumpkin?”

“Tired,” the child whimpered. 

“Aww pumpkin, let’s get you breakfast then,” the child shook his head,

“No.”

“A bath?” Jane asked. The child nodded, 

“Uh huh.”

“Okay, come on then, let’s go,” another set of feet could be heard bumping down the stairs as Jane carried her son through from the kitchen into the hallway. Jane craned her neck to see her other elder son stumbling down the stairs in an almost zombified state, “Zane, hurry up or you will be late!” Zane sighed with a groggy voice,
 
“I won’t be late.”

“That was what you said yesterday! Get yourself fed and get your ass to school!”

“Okay,” Zane sighed and stumbled past his angry mother to head for the kitchen as Jane carried her youngest son up the stairs. Zane staggered into the kitchen with another sigh before heading for the fridge.

*

The man found himself escorted to the front of the gallery seating segments of a grand hall. The massive, decorative walls twisted upwards in strands and pillars of carved wood; totems to a rich, cultural past. They met an equally decorative roof, again, created from the carvings of ancestors that lived in their society thousands of years prior. The roof differed from the walls with their massive mirage of colours and swirling patterns that made up a muriel. It depicted various idols from a long forgotten past and various deities that society had long since shunned, yet somehow felt the need to preserve. He found it strange how such a prestigious entity would be allowed to keep such primitive materials as the building blocks of its most famous institution. Not that it mattered to him. The man found himself being ushered towards one of the more recent additions to the hall; a repulser shield. The technology to the man’s front seemed somewhat out of place; juxa-positioned with the ancient carvings and preserved splashes of art across the ceiling. Nonetheless the man found himself being scanned past the shield and walked inside. As the shield hummed with re-activation, it sent a chill down his spine.

*

The klaxon rang out in the classroom and Zane switched off his personal archive. He watched the holographic displays sink away into the bevelled cone-shaped disc and then took off his visor. He slid the coupled technology into his backpack as everyone began leaving the room. Taking one last glance to the teaching bot standing sentry at the front of the room, he turned to find another boy about his age staring at him. Zane stood from his desk,

“Sup’ Ro.”

“You coming out with us?” Zane shook his head, 

“Sorry man no can do.” Ro scoffed, 

“It isn’t the assignment is it?”

“No way,” Zane shoved Ro slightly, “I am going on Cortex.” Ro’s expression lit up,

"You already have it!" Zane grinned, 

“Yup, come on over. You can have a shot.” Ro almost jumped at the idea, stopping to hesitate for a moment, 

“What about your mum?” Zane shrugged, 

“I’ll just say it is an assignment. We need to use our holo-kits anyway, she won’t be able to see what it is.”

“Sweet!” Ro bounced off out the class room, “See you around six?”

“Sure thing,” Zane replied zipping up his bag. He watched his friend bounce out the class room. He slung his pack over his shoulder, took one last look at the idle teaching bot, then left the class.

*

He was sat down in a chair. It was isolated in the middle of the main chamber. To his front he could see the range of Judicial Bots analyzing him with their cold, mechanical optical movements in their version of what human’s would call a face. He glanced to the right and then to the left in turn to see two other rows filled by humans. The two guards secured his bonding unit and positioned themselves at either side of the chair he found himself restrained in. Each of the bots glared at him. They were spindly constructions of bolts and circuits, their ‘heads’ jutting out from a rather thin looking torso. The optical units seemed to be hollow half-spheres, with a holographic processing unit generated in the scoop of this half-sphere. Each bot had its own colour. The one directly to his front had a pure black and white holograph, whereas the others had distinctly one domineering colour. As he scanned over his judicators he knew deep down what was going to happen to him. All he could do now was wait for the inevitable sentence to befall his ears.

*

Zane gently pushed the door open. He slid his head in the side of the door and glanced around. With a sudden movement he flung open the door and Ro quickly slipped inside, gliding up the stairs as if he were a ghost. Zane then, loudly, shut the front door.

“Zane?” he heard his mother, Jane, call out.

“Yeah?”

“Oh, nothing. Just wondering who came in!”

“Alright! I am heading upstairs!”

“Okay, be sure and come down to tell the bot what you are having to eat!"

“I will,” and with this, Zane followed his friend upstairs. Ro was already sitting eagerly glaring at the holo-circlet positioned in the middle of the room. Zane walked into the room and shut the door on the hallway.

“Where is it?” Zane chuckled ever so slightly, 

“It is right over here, chill out.”

“I have so wanted to play this!”

“And you will,” Zane retorted, reaching into his holo-game shelf. He let his fingers glide along the various titles until he found the one he was looking for; Cortex. He took the small plastic container from the shelf and opened it up to reveal a small metallic sphere. He took out the sphere, walked over to the holo-circlet, and placed it in the middle of the concave structure. With the sphere perfectly in place he gave a holo-kit to Ro and kept one for himself.

“Set it to frequency, five, five, four, hash, three, four, six.” Ro nodded with enthusiasm and tapped in the code slipping on the visor. Zane followed suit. As Zane ran the program he watched as Ro’s face lit up with untamed excitement.

*

The room was dimly lit and within it’s walls, one man. He sat in the middle of this quaint room surrounded by the encroaching aura of darkness that gripped him to his core. It was cold. It was quiet. The only sound he could hear was the sound of his own blood pulsate around his body. His gentle, yet fast, breathing was his only companion. His eyes granted him nothing but a glimmer of light directly above him. All he could feel was an overpowering sense of fear that kept him grounded. He didn’t know what was happening to him. His memory was shrouded. He didn’t know why or how but he knew, with every atom of his being, that he was facing up to a primal instinct of fear. A primal instinct that told him to run and never stop. 

He glared around his immediate surroundings to see nothing but darkness. His last known memories were beginning to resurface; the gallery, the ornate wooden pillars, the ancient ceiling paintings. It was only when he recalled the Judicial bots that he began to realize where this place was and - for a moment - he did not want to believe it. Every muscle in his body trembled. Every bone in his body ached.

He glanced around what he assumed to be some kind of chamber and weirdly enough his eyes were wide open but granted him no information. The place smelled unnervingly clean. The disinfectant stung at his nose and clawed its way down the back of his throat like some invasive flavour of an exotic food. He found that his hands were still bound. Not only were they bound together but they seemed to also be bound to the metallic chair he sat on. He tried to move his legs to find the same restraints clasped around his ankles; these restraints also bound to the chair. He could feel a cold bead of sweat begin to trickle down from his brow into his eye. His lips were cracked, dry, and peeling. His hair dirty and unkempt. He glanced down to his naked body gleaming in the light projecting down from above to find streaks of dried sweat sticking his body hair to his irritated skin. 

Then it happened.

His head shot to his front as a whirring nose could be heard. It flashed into existence with a loud screech that scared him. Whatever the noise was, it seemed to be distant, but getting louder. Whatever was making these sounds was approaching him. As this strange whirring noise traversed the darkness towards him he grew ever more curious about its origin and ever more fearful to discover it. It was only when the noise could be distinguished as being generated above him, that his head began to skew towards the epicentre of whatever was generating it. His eyes pierced the darkness to no avail. Then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, the sound disappeared. An eerie silence befell his surroundings. The sound simply ceased to exist as quickly as it had appeared. Judging by the amount of time the sound took to get nearby, he assumed the place he now inhabited was fairly large, but the sound had generated no echo.

Then it happened again.

This time the screeching sound seemed slightly faster; the whirring was faster. The sound seemed to be equally distant as it was the first time it appeared. The only difference being it was behind him this time. The whirring sped up and the closer it got the more it reminded him of some kind of drill. He recalled the ancient drill devices dentists used to utilize in the 21st century and, to his horror, it sounded almost identical. Visiting the museum was one childhood memory he wished he had never retained. The mechanical whirring grew ever closer, just as it did before, only this time it didn't stop. He anxiously tried to look to either side of him to try and catch any glimpse he could of what was approaching him. As the sound grew tremendously loud he began to feel a proximity sense tingle on the back of his neck. Just before he screamed in frustration the whirring stopped. Whatever was behind him vanished.

Suddenly, he felt a burning, piercing pain penetrate the back of his neck. His hands clenched the arms of the chair, his head jerked, and his lungs let out a blood curdling scream. He felt some kind of hot instrument burrow into the base of his neck. The blood spurted onto the metal and almost instantly cauterised due to the immense heat. He felt the skewer drive deeper into his flesh until its tip ground away at the bone of his spinal column. He felt the hot metal melting away his skin around the small entry wound. He felt the layers of fat in the skin tear. He felt his own searing blood run down his back. The instrument stopped moving and began heating up. The last thing he felt was a jolt as the instrument pierced his brain stem.

*

“What did you do that for?” it was Zane speaking. Ro let go of the holographic spike in his right hand as he turned to Zane,

“What?” Zane shook his head, 

“You get more points the more pain you cause?”

“Oh,” Ro paused, “I didn’t know.” 
Zane sighed, 

“Let’s fire up another one.”



 Information on the Writer - Before You Go!


Stewart Storrar is a young Scottish writer. Child's Play is a dystopian science fiction story he wrote to highlight his concerns with VR headets and virtual reality merging with the real world.

We hope you enjoyed this science fiction short story from Stewart! You can check out his Twitter account here. Be sure to follow Lore here on Blogger as well as Twitter to keep up to date with our new releases!

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

The Arcane Mandate: A Free Short Story (Horror) - Lore Publication

The Arcane Mandate: A Free Short Story (Horror) 


Hello and welcome to Lore Publication once again! For those of you who are clicking onto the blog for the first time, this blog is run by Lore Publication and aims to bring you free short stories and free flash fiction for all your reading needs. We love to publish works of fiction in the horror, science fiction, fantasy, thriller and mystery genres but will consider a mixed genre story just like any other! Lore prides itself on being a place that readers can get high quality, thought provoking fiction and for upcoming writers to make a name for themselves. Just as free ebooks are a way for readers to get awesome content and writers to get publicity, our stories work in a similar way. Lore doesn't just publish stories and from time to time we will publish articles about writing. This may include an article on writing tips and tricks, writing prompt lists to help with writer's block and even writing techniques for beginners! With a short little introduction out the way, let's dive into today's post.

Today we are publishing a chilling tale of horror called The Arcane Mandate, written by Scottish writer Stewart Storrar. Enjoy! 💀



Image credit: simonwijers via Pixabay


I woke up earlier today. The rains were dormant, waiting, and I needed to finish what I had started. The house was fairly empty, only my mother was home, and she was still fast asleep. It was five in the morning and the sun hadn't started the day yet.

I swung my legs out from under my bed. I felt the harsh, splintered floor boards poke at my feet and so I pulled on a pair of thick woollen socks first before anything else. I then decided to pull on my cargo trousers, a thin cotton top,  and a woollen fleece; I was wrapped up to defend against the chill from the Alaskan highlands. I pulled on my sturdy walking boots and reached for my raincoat. Having wrapped myself up, I grabbed my hunting knife and my Jō Staff. It was time to leave.

A small note was left in my wake, sitting atop the kitchen counter and I was off. I left without making much sound and had packed my lunch in my sling bag. The brisk morning air stole my first few breaths from me, before I was able to acclimatise to the dying remnants of the night’s chill.

The walk had only begun. I had made it countless times before to make sure I was capable of its completion within the time frame. Today was the day, I had waited months for this moment, and everything so far was perfect. All I needed to do was get to where I was going. If by some feat I failed due to fucking up the timings, I dread to contemplate what that would mean. Nothing needed to go wrong but, usually, things always did. This was my third attempt and this time I was going to get it right.

Failure was not an option now.

I managed to reach the first totem in time. This was met by an overwhelming sense of not only satisfaction, but relief. The first time I had attempted this I had missed the first totem by a mere ten minutes. I glared to the pine tree towering up towards the heavens and it was most certainly the one. It wasn’t hard to identify the totem as it was near impossible to miss the various insects pinned to the tree’s bark in a wide, circular fashion. I took a moment to admire the craftsmanship of the spectacle. 

Before long I sat my sling bag down and unzipped it to begin my search. It had taken longer than I had hoped before I pulled out the small metal tin that I was looking for. I opened this tin up to reveal my insect for this year; a house spider. It was already dead. Taking the pin that was also stored inside the tin container, I gently began the delicate process of stripping the limbs from the creature. One by one, the long, thin legs were pulled from the carcass using the needle. The process took around a minute meaning I was still on schedule. Finally, I slid the pin through the main body of the dead spider and pinned it to the tree. One down, three to go.

I packed up my kit fairly quickly and gave a quick glance to my wristwatch. It was only quarter to six and I was already on my way to the second totem. I needed to be careful. There had been previous occasions where I overshot a specific totem and arrived far too early. I could not allow the same mistakes to happen again and again. After all, repetition of the same thing over and over again expecting something to change was (apparently) the definition of madness. Strange that. If Einstein had indeed said it, or at least something to that effect, then it must have some grain of truth to it.

Marching onward the dawn began to make its presence known to the new day. The sun was no longer a soft glow on the horizon as its powerful, auburn rays cut across the forest behind me. That meant I was heading in the right direction; west. I did spare a thought about the weather forecast. It was unusual that it was wrong but that did not affect anything, not really.

It took just under an hour to reach the next totem. It was exactly as I had left it. The tree itself was home to old, rusted nails I had hammered in on my last attempt. I sat my kit down and rummaged about until my hand found the tough wooden handle of my claw hammer. I pulled it from the bag and made use of the claw side to pull the nails from the trunk and pocket them. With the rusted nails clanking around in my pocket, I knelt down and picked up the grey squirrel by its tail. The limp body of the creature swayed and the blood stained fur giving off a metallic aroma. It had only been dead a day and I was thankful no wildlife had claimed it for their own use. Last year a wolf had made off with my kill.

I wasted no time and fetched a nail from my pocket. I positioned the squirrel appropriately and with a few direct strokes of the hammer, nailed its tail to the trunk of my second totem. Although the creature had been dead for a day, blood still spurted from the flesh with each blow. I felt the cold trickles off the liquid on my face but continued nonetheless. After hammering its tail to the trunk, I completed my piece with all four limbs. I stood up and took a few steps back. It was upside down and perfectly aligned in the centre of the tree’s truck. I gave it a short, yet respectful, bow. It needed recognition for its sacrifice. It had died for my needs, my cause, but it was a noble way to go. For a squirrel at least.

My final totem was the farthest away meaning the last stretch of my journey was going to be the most tiring. I took one last look at the second totem and packed up my things to  began the ‘long slog’ of the pilgrimage. It was the last leg and by far the hardest to complete. It wasn’t so much the distance of the totem but more the final totem preparation that was difficult. It had always been the final totem that had failed me in previous years. This year was going to be different. This year I was going to finish what I started.

I reached the final totem on time. I could smell it long before I could actually see it. Part of the reason it was so far out was due to the smell it gave off. The secrets of the mandate had to stay hidden. They were royal. Arcane, even.

The first thing that hit me was always the smell of rot. Not the damp, decaying rot of the tree but rather the rot of past years’ chosen. This year it smelled particularly bad. The fact the pig had been a chosen last year was most likely part of the reason why. Those animals practically lived in their own filth for the majority of their lives. After the smell, came the bones. The old, decayed, stained bones of the chosen. The past three years had spawned countless carcasses. I had gone on a few practice runs, but even the practice runs needed real chosen. I wouldn’t dare disrespect without a real chosen, even if it were a mere practice run.

Then, it was the totem itself. It was the epitome of death. The smell was rancid and overpowering. It looked horrific; like something out a cheap horror movie. Except this was no cheap horror movie. This was the real deal. The old, stained blood was real and ancient. The bits of flesh, the shards of bone, the fragments of skulls; it was all real. Most importantly, it was all me. This year, however, was going to be different. This year I would complete the mandate. My ticket to salvation lay at the base of the tree and she looked terrified. In another life she may have been the one, she was certainly pretty enough.

She knew what was going to happen now. Be that as it may, it was time to prepare the last totem.





Writer Information - Before You Go!


We hope you enjoyed this latest tale from Lore, written by Stewart Storrar; Lore's founder. You can follow Stewart's other work by following him on Twitter here

We are also over on Twitter so be sure to follow us there too for news and updates on new content. Bye for now!

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Our new Imprint - Dark Lore - Lore Publications


Our New Imprint 'Dark Lore'


Dark Lore's Logo


After a month or so of radio silence on our part, it is time for some good news. Over the past year since Lore Publication's new site launch we have worked on bringing you all poems, short stories, articles, original series' and even a book review - new territory for us!

While we have been publishing content from our old medium site and some new content from talented writers across the globe, Lore's Chief Editor has been working on his debut novel that is now nearing completion. With this debut novel almost ready for the online marketplace, we decided to launch a new imprint of Lore Publication called Dark Lore to handle our first commercial book launch.

So what is Dark Lore?

Dark Lore is the imprint we are launching to handle works of speculative fiction such as crime, thrillers, and drama as well as handle other types of fiction like horror. The imprint will exclusively publish full length book titles from the genres - so fans of these types of books take note!

On the lead up to our first commercial novel being available, we will have less free content being published here on the site but fear not! Our website will always be a place for short fiction, poetry, articles, and reviews that readers will be able to read for free. That is the core of what makes Lore what it is and that is most certainly here to stay.

With that short note our of the way, we hope you are staying safe in lockdown and you enjoy our new title when it is released! We haven't decided on a date yet but all in good time. Have a good day!


Tuesday, 12 May 2020

'The Wait' A Poem by Cristina Iacobelli - Lore Publication

'The Wait'

by Cristina Iacobelli


a wonderful poem
Image credit: cocoparisienne




I am waiting to live

A life yet to come,

Longing to see

That which lies beyond the stars.

If losing is a game

To be played in solitude,

I want to win my battles

With humble attitude.

 


I am surviving

With the burning desire to exist,

Conscious that the static

Requires mutations,

Confiding in the advent

Of enchanting wonders to discover,

Generated by a tenacious determination.

 


In the unsustainable, insidious,

Resounding reverberations

Which torment my sleep

And my awakening,

The blurred image

Of a clearer tomorrow

Wistfully accompanies

My restless, pensive,

Dreamy days.

 


I wait,

Patiently.

I strive,

Interminably.

I endure,

Inexorably.

Exhausted by the implacable sufferance

Which limbs and spirit tears apart.

 


Every time I repeat to myself

That the stormy, whirling,

Overwhelming nightmare will pass.

But, it never passes.

That everything will change.

But, it never changes.

 


I keep waiting,

Hesitant, but confident at the same time

That the end of the tunnel

Timid, dim beams unveils,

Brightening more and more.

 


And then, as if by magic,

The haunting, perfidious,

Macabre, vile obscurity

At their highest, mighty presence will fall.

After the interminable, cold nights

A new sun will arise

Which my poor, gelid bones

Delicately will warm.



The dusty ashes

Dazzling crystals will become.

The thunder, with its impetuous voice,

Will cease to rumble

And, as a knight in front of his damsel,

Its head will bow

To the much yearned calm.

 


The pounding rain

My desperate tears will wash away.

In a breath,

The excruciating agony will vanish.

Fleetingly,

The unbearable dreads will melt away.

And yet, the deep, unmerciful scars

Indelible will linger.

 


Water and fire

In a brotherly embrace will unite.

The sky will overflow

With iridescent rainbows

And celestial, sparkling

Nocturnal brilliances.

The immense, inner light

Its intense glow will emanate.

Of candid essence I will shine.

 


Alive

Incredibly,

As never I have felt.

Free

Boundlessly,

As never I have been.

Myself, at last.

Me, so unique, so complex,

Splendidly,

As never before.

 


The vivid, sublime visions

More than ever true will be.

The limpid, blinding,

Magnificent reality will transpire.

With endless attentions and loving gifts

So Tenderly will fill me.

Touching me softly, healing my wounds,

Cradling me sweetly…

 


And this

Incessant,

Cruel,

Wearing,

Trembling

Wait

Into pure blissfulness

Will transmute.







This poem was written by Cristina Iacobelli. Cristina is as a multifaceted artist, a  bilingual poet, storyteller, screenwriter for film and television, filmmaker, author, as well as actress, singer, playwright, songwriter and composer. Her artistic skills extend to photography, drawing, painting, dancing, and much more. She is someone profoundly and passionately in love with words, music, and The Arts in all their forms.

Poetry is innate to her; she began to write poems at a tender age to pour out my emotions; later on, it became so important as to include it in my storytelling and other artistic creations. Her poetic works are inspired by her real life experiences.

To this end, she likes to summarise the essence of poetry in her simple aphorism:

Poetry is Life and Life is Poetry.

This post was brought to you by Lore Publication. We love to publish poems from talented writers across the world, giving them a platform to share their work. Acting as a community, Lore's founder believes that words and art are what separate us from the animals. He wants to honour that by sharing the best poetry, an art form of the word, with the world.

Lore will continue to bring you awesome poetry. Poems will be published on a range of topics from love poems, dark poems, gothic poetry, inspirational poems, motivational poems and more. Be sure to check back every now and again for a new poem.

If you are interested in having your poem featured here on Lore, visit the 'Submit' section or email us at: lorepublications@gmail.com



Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Love Thy Neighbour: A Free Short Story (Horror)

Love Thy Neighbour: A Free Short Story (Horror)

Welcome to Lore Publication; a place where you can find free short stories and free flash fiction for all you bookworms out there! If this is your first time here, welcome. We publish horror, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller and a combination of these genres for people to enjoy. Our mission is to give writers a platform to share their work and give readers free content for their reading needs! Just as free ebooks allow readers access to quality work without burning a hole in the wallet, our stories do the same thing! Lore is a community of writers and readers alike! With all that said, enjoy our latest publication.

Today we have a gruesome horror written by Stewart Storrar to get your blood curdling! 👀💀


Image credit: nitell via Pixabay


 “I guess I should begin with first contact, for chronological order. Right? That makes complete sense,” the words rang out, echoing in the tall chamber. Whispers from others were barely heard but not inaudible; each whisper collating into a murmur of chastised opinions. These whispers came hand in hand with a pause that seemed to last a small eternity. Then, suddenly breaking this silence, a woman spoke,
“Okay,” she ruffled papers she had to her front. She sifted through them for a moment before continuing, “Go on.”



I was fifteen. I thought I knew it all, but in reality I didn’t know shit. Back then the world was fresh and new to me even though I lacked the perspective to know this as a fact. I guess that is what people refer to as teenage arrogance. I was starting my fifth year in my local high school. It was a small town I grew up in and the population barely met the requirements for a school to have been built in the first place; the kind of town city folk wish they grew up in.

Spoiler alert; it is always a shit-hole. Sorry city people, it just isn’t what you think.

I grew up in a cottage, in the asshole of nowhere. The only excitement we got growing up there was the odd yellow car that passed by the window with a blur. We lived on a main road, A-class. Cars never really stopped on A-class roads, but then again, who would want to stop where we lived.

It began with Beatrice. The weird, old neighbour with an obsession for the paranormal. It was her raspy cackles of joy that frequently interrupted our play sessions in the garden that first caused her to catch our attention.  It began out of an innocent, pure, childish curiosity; the kind that all children have. What was she doing with those weird looking scarecrows?

Only they were not scarecrows at all, not even close. They were much darker, abstract objects. It was only later that these scarecrows turned out to be totems to something she called a Voodoo god? Who knew? Turns out a simplistic pocket-sized Voodoo doll was underrated and our neighbour had upgraded. But that was what started it all; childhood curiosity.

It wasn’t just curiosity that started it. It was curiosity fuelled by the sheer, unfathomable boredom we were plagued by in this asshole of a countryside.

We used to sneak out when Mum wasn’t watching us too closely. This wasn’t all that hard considering it was a small town and everyone knew everyone; a safe town. Although we usually snuck out when she was watching her daytime show, funnily enough, called Neighbours; some low grade soap opera. We used to go over to our witch doctor of a neighbour and watch her in her weird, almost satanic like rituals. She offered up the odd sacrifice every few weeks; usually the chickens that she reared. She used to behead them, stick the head on a stick and cover herself in the blood of the animal. Then it only got weirder. She used to pluck the feathers from the lifeless body and stick them to her own using the blood she smeared all over herself.

Weird woman.

She was weird, yet strangely intriguing. It was a small town after all. Everyone really did know everyone and everyone agreed that she was weird. Some people even went as far as to call her deluded, deranged and even dangerous. I never believed it. I was smart enough to know that people feared what they didn’t really understand and that was how if felt with Beatrice.

Bonny was the name of my sister and funnily enough she was a bonnie lass. She had blonde locks that bounced around her shoulders that complemented her soft brown eyes that could melt the heart. I loved her, not in the petty sense. I really loved her. She felt the same way when it came to Beatrice.

We watched her almost every day. We always found a way to sneak out from my mother when she was pre-occupied; like I said, usually with her damn show. Each day gave us a deeper glimpse into the strangeness of Beatrice’s world. It was a wonderfully scary world for teenagers. Our fascination seemed to have no end. If anything, it seemed to grow with each passing week that we observed her. Every odd day she would be doing something different, yet equally elaborate in its own sick way. This whole Voodoo watching task became a weekly routine for the two of us with our curious minds. Before long we simply couldn’t watch on any longer. After a few days of intense debating between the two of us, we had decided what we wanted to do about Beatrice.

The next Voodoo watching session came into fruition one morning and instead of simply watching, we called out to her. I was the one that had to do it. Bonny insisted that it was my idea and that I should follow it through; so I did. At first, Beatrice seemed to ignore us but after a minute or so, she finally took notice of us hiding in the bushes. She seemed somewhat irritated by our presence which, to this day, I still hold in my head as the main reason she decided to interact with us. She was immediately defensive and wanted us to leave her alone. It took some convincing and dedication from our part, but after some time she warmed up to us. I guess, eventually, she came to learn that we were genuinely curious about her practices and what it was that she was doing. When she finally learned that we were not mocking her with a fake interest in Voodoo was when our curiosity was realised by our first taste of knowledge. A first impression of a whole new world we had no idea existed. It felt damn near euphoric to us.
That was where it all started.



“So where exactly were you, that morning?” the woman’s voice rang out. It was the kind of voice that demanded attention and connoted true authority; someone that was well aware of the acute sense of fear she instilled in others. It seemed like the strangest of questions to ask after all the information I had just discussed. I sat there, staring right back at the voice’s owner with a look of what people would later name disdain. Despite this, I decided to reply to her in her bubble of stern arrogance. In many ways I had no choice but to reply,
“Does it really matter what I say?” The woman glared at me for a moment with an expression that I cannot really describe, or at the very least lack the words to accurately describe. The closest I could identify to it was a look of discomfort.
“Yes,” the woman insisted, “Yes it does.” I naturally gave any question she asked me a moment of thought. That was what I had been instructed to do.
“I was where you would expect me to be. That is why I am here. Correct me if I am wrong?”
She raised an eyebrow in what I could only identify as surprise, and with an irritated sigh, glared back down to the various sheets of paper that rustled on her podium.



She taught us a lot. In fact, she taught us everything that we knew. Before meeting Beatrice all we had were stories and misconceptions about the art. If it hadn’t been for her, I would never have known the purest form of love; the art. It is funny that, how love works and how one defines love. Love has always been a mysterious aspect that makes the world what it is; but equally an aspect that nobody fully understands. It is strange how something so wonderful can cause horrific things to happen. Weirdly enough, Beatrice taught us that it is one of the only aspects of life in this world that does not serve as a social utility. Where is the social utility of loving someone? Taking this argument to an extreme; what is the social utility of loving someone after death?

That was the first thing she taught us, the wise old sage that she was. Love is otherworldly.

Before we could learn anything about the rituals we had seen her performing for weeks without end, she had to initiate us. This came after several sessions of what she called philosophy. We studied the most important thing in the world; art. It was to her the expression of emotion in ways that traversed social interactions. It was a way of expressing emotion in a medium others could grasp. She taught us, the day before our initiation ritual, that the art was an expression of love. Love transcends this realm, pitching the mind to that which can be felt but never understood. Rituals were simply another art form but unlike painting or music, they were real. Just as the world is a balance, she used to tell us, the forces of yin and yang, good and bad, love could not exist without pain. There was no real balance in painting, or in music. Not really.

After the philosophy, weeks of it, she felt we were ready for our first practice of the art. She needed to prepare us. The art was a way of expressing the otherworldly emotion of love and so it must be expressed not just in a way other people can understand but in a way otherworldly beings can understand; gods. Gods knew the fundamental truth of life, that it always exists in a balance. Our first rituals were a way for these gods to take notice. However, we were performing a ritual she knew would get the attention of her God; a God that I grew to form a relationship with.

What figures? A relationship with an imaginary otherworldly being; because that isn’t bat-shit crazy. Then again, at the time, it didn’t feel bat-shit crazy at all. It felt welcoming and, in a strangely grounded way, it felt right.



“So, it all began one morning when you and your sister interacted with this Beatrice character?” the woman asked, her tone now one conveying intrigue.
“Isn’t that what I have just been explaining?” my voice rang out. The voices that were once lulled whispers receding into the walls of the gallery now grew into hushed murmurs.
“It is your belief then, that this particular Voodoo god is to blame?”
I shook my head, “I am not sure why blame comes into this. What is there to blame someone or something for?” The woman scoffed with confusion. This statement whipped the gallery from hushed murmurs to shouts that echoed around the hall. This outcry lasted only a brief moment before the woman boomed a gavel against oak. The three distinct claps silenced the hall and ushered in a shrill silence. After a moment the woman took a deep breath, and then spoke,
“Well blame aside, maybe you can tell me what happened to Bonny?”



It had lasted a few months at the very least. During the height of my admiration for her Beatrice seemed like a literal god send to me. I adored everything about her and she knew it. She knew how much I aspired to be like her and it was a strange feeling. She had a form of self-willed control over me and everything I did in respect to The Art. It was a control that I had never known before but it was never a control that was forced. She had earned a respect in me that not even my mother had earned. While this may seem alarming, never once had she abused it.

It was in the final days of May last year that it happened. I was with Beatrice when we were preparing the substances and objects we needed. There was however something missing. I remember Beatrice getting me to grab a chair so that we could wait for Bonny and that was what we did. We waited.

It took Bonny a while to come over and slip away from my mother. My mother had grown curious about our lengthy outings which made it difficult to leave without her knowing but Bonny got away, just like I did. She came over the usual way by fighting through the bushes to emerge into Beatrice’s garden from our own. Beatrice was waiting by the hedge and when Bonny emerged, she didn’t hesitate.

The axe cut clean into her skull with a sound that I cannot really describe. It almost sounded like a melon splitting against a hard concrete floor. Bonny didn’t even flinch. She simply keeled over with the axe still lodged in the side of her head. I simply watched and something inside of me felt conflicted but, at the same time, I felt as if my love superseded that. I loved my sister and, out of that love, I was convinced. This was our ultimate expression of love. Expression through The Art.



The court was deadly silent.
“You said you loved your sister?” I nodded,
“More than anyone.”
“What were you convinced of, exactly?” I stopped for a moment, in thought,
“What do you mean?”
“You mentioned that you were convinced. Convinced out of the love you held for your sister.”
“Yeah,” the woman paused briefly and shuffled some notes before speaking, “What were you convinced of, exactly?”
“I was convinced I was acting in love.”
“By killing-” I cut her off,
“I didn’t want her to suffer but there is a balance, I explained that. I wanted to feel love, true love, for the first time. Love exists as all things do, in duality. I loved her and to truly feel it, pain is only part of the process,” I broke down for a moment, sniffling, before continuing, “I believed that we were setting her free in love. Free to be cared for in my eternal love by the gods. Free of suffering.” All that could be heard in the court were muffles and cries. People stormed out and the gavel crashed down once more.



My testimony didn’t last much longer after that. My mother took me home in a fit of tears and snot. Not a word was spoken until we entered the kitchen and she placed a cup of tea down in front of me,
“I don’t blame you,” she said. Her voice was hollow and monotone, “It was her.” She took a sip from her cup without breaking her stare at the wall directly ahead. I stood from the chair and went over to her. I leaned down and wrapped my arms around her. She did not react.

My mother was suffering and I could not stand it. I loved her.
I stood up straight in one motion, taking the meat knife from the stand as I did so. I slit her throat. It was one slick movement. She never saw it coming but then again, who would. She collapsed to the floor in a gargled fit of wheezing just like Bonny had. I even used the same knife.

I had never loved my family even though I thought I had. In reality I had never known the true meaning of love but Beatrice had taught me that. Maybe I would bury my mother with Bonny. Maybe I would blame Beatrice too. Whatever the case, I sat the knife down and left for the main sitting room. My favourite daytime show was just about to start.


I even had a nice cup of tea to go with it.




 

Writer Information - Before You Go!

Love Thy Neighbour was written by Scottish writer and Lore Founder Stewart Storrar. Originally this story was published via Lore Publication's Medium website by Stewart but has since been ported to Lore's new home here on Blogger!

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