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!

Be sure to check out Stewart's Twitter page and support his work. Also be sure to follow Lore over on Twitter to stay up to date with new releases and of course follow us here on Blogger too! Have a nice day 😊