Amateur cartoonist and writer, actual architect, coffee lover, and professional et ceteratist. May contain offbeat cartoons, short stories, fan art, and/or platypuses. I'm also on Twitter and Instagram as aarondoodles, and Tumblr at http://aarondoodles.tumblr.com/.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
October is nearly over, and I haven't posted a single creepy, unsettling story yet. That changes today! The inspiration from this story comes from H.P. Lovecraft's "The Whisperer in Darkness", which I just read for the first time last week. Check if out if you haven't already.
Now,turn off the lights, grab the flashlight and gather around. "Followed" Aaron M. Smith- 21 Oct 2012
Franc drove his car
slowly down his street, careful to not look too conspicuous. Since he lived so
far out from town, his road didn’t get a lot of traffic. A car on the road was
As he approached his single story ranch, he glanced out the passenger window. His driveway was empty, but
movement behind the thin curtains in the kitchen caught his eye. A silhouette
moved, a shadow stepping away from the window.
Oh crap. They were in his house.
He sped back into town.
Fifteen minutes later, he slipped into the back booth of the nearly abandoned
Waffle House off of I-75. He ordered a
cup of coffee and a waffle. He stared at the waffle until the syrup soaked
entirely through it and made it all mushy.
He couldn’t go home, that
was certain. There was no place he could go
that would be safe, not anymore. He sighed, and even though he wasn’t hungry,
he started eating his waffle.
He should’ve just stayed
in bed that night.
Had it really only been a
week ago? The night of the big meteor shower, fragments of a planet that had
been too close to a sun that went supernova a hundred million years ago, the
news said. Franc had a great view from his back porch.
A blinding white light,
like a road flare tearing across the night sky, appeared from out of nowhere
and streaked through the sky over his house, so bright it left spots on his
eyes. It crashed through copse of woods behind his house. The cloud of dust it
kicked up when it landed rolled over his house, kept him inside for about ten
He’d called his brother
Gil, but Gil had never really taken Franc seriously. Not since they were
little, after Franc had been put on his pills. The meds evened him out, let him
keep a job and everything, but Gil could never see past them. Franc ended up
trekking out into the woods alone, with a long kitchen knife and a flashlight.
“Sir?” Someone said, and
he jumped, dropping his fork onto his place with a clatter.
The waitress recoiled,
then said tentatively, “Freshen your coffee?”
Franc nodded numbly. The
waitress topped off his nearly full mug. He stared out the window until she
went away. The sun was just beginning to touch the top of the hills. In another
half hour it would be dark. He had no idea where he would go. His eyes darted
to his cell phone on the tabletop. He briefly considered calling Gil again, but
abandoned the idea. If Gil hadn’t come out then, he wouldn’t now.
He picked up his phone
and started flipping through the pictures on it. A bunch of ones that had been
on there for months, and then…
It had been so dark that
night that his phone could hardly take a clear picture. He couldn’t believe
just how hot it was. The thing that
fell from the sky had torn a trench in the dirt, scorching and smashing trees
in a ten-foot path of destruction, the friction causing the grass and dirt to
smolder. It had finally come to a halt at the base of a limestone shelf on the
edge of a creek bank.
Franc flipped through the
pictures he’d taken of the… what was he even supposed to call it? It might’ve
been called a box, but it wasn’t exactly that. It was more square than round, which he was not expecting, but the
geometry of it was… just wrong. He
rotated the phone so he could see it at a better angle, then flipped through
the dozen or so photos he’d snapped of it.
The object itself was
solid, but it was as if someone had described the concept of inside-out to a
blind man, and then asked him to sculpt it. No matter how he turned it, it made
Franc feel like he was looking at an M.C. Escher drawing. Each side seemed to
connect with the opposite side instead of the adjacent sides. From one angle it
looked no bigger than a few inches across, but from another it looked larger
than his microwave. It was a milky white color, and looked completely undamaged
by its collision with planet Earth.
Franc flipped to the last
picture on his phone, and his skin started to crawl. He hadn’t been in the
woods for longer than fifteen minutes when he’d heard the crashing coming
through the trees. It started far off but approached quickly, and it was so
loud that Franc was sure it was more than one person. His finger had slipped
and he’d taken one last picture as he was running away.
The thing in the shot
might’ve been a man. It was only a silhouette, and it was still a ways off. And
it was dark. But the hunched shoulders, the low, sloped dome of the head were
unmistakable. Franc didn’t see any more- he was running as fast as he could
back to his house. He knew the woods and made it back in five minutes.
Everything was quiet when he got inside, shut out all the lights and locked all
He didn’t sleep that
night. He didn’t even bother to try. Instead he sat in a desk chair at the
window of his bedroom that overlooked the back yard. He thought he’d seen
something moving in the shadows at the edge of the woods, but he couldn’t be
sure. By dawn he was so exhausted and his nerves were so fried that he’d begun
to wonder if he’d imagined the whole thing.
Damn those photos on his
camera. They wouldn’t let him forget. But he couldn’t bring himself to delete
He’d fallen asleep at
dawn and missed work. He called in sick, apologized to his manager, promised to
pick up an extra shift later in the week. That afternoon was when he first
noticed the cars.
Normally there wasn’t a
lot of traffic on his road. He lived so far out from town that nobody came his
way very often. But suddenly a lot of cars were driving by his house. Not too
slow, but just slow enough for him to notice, slow enough that Franc got the
impression that someone was looking at his house. Looking for him.
The next week had been
torment. Franc couldn’t miss another day of work, but when he went to his car
in the morning before dawn he’d take the big kitchen knife with him. Every
evening when he returned home, he was sure that someone had been inside his
house. Nothing was ever out of place or missing, but something gave him a
creeping feeling every time he opened the door, like the walls himself were
Was it the government?
Were they trying to cover up what had happened? Did he find some kind of spy satellite
that dropped out of orbit? Or was it… he didn’t even want to let the thought
cross his mind. He hadn’t worried about things like that for years. Not since
he got his pills. But what if?
What if the owner of that
thing had followed it here? As far as Franc was concerned they could have it-
he hadn’t gone back into the woods since that first night. But he’d seen it. He
had photographic evidence of it.
Every evening that week
Franc had felt that same creeping feeling when he got home from work, like some
hidden eyes were on him at, quantifying his every move. The breaking point came
last night, when he found his pills missing.
He’d turned his house
upside down looking for them that night, but they weren’t anywhere. They were
simply gone. Whoever had been in house had to have known what they were and how
much Franc needed them. He had a few extra in his car, but not enough.
Finally, this afternoon
he’d managed to leave work early. That was when he was them in his house. They
were waiting on him today. Lord knew what they’d done if he’d just walked in on
them searching his house.
But he wasn’t safe. They’d
seen him drive past. They had to know he’d still be close.
The last bite of waffle
stopped halfway between Franc’s mouth and his stomach, caught in his esophagus somewhere.
The Waffle House was the only restaurant between here and town. They’d come
here looking for him first.
His eyes snapped to the
parking lot. How many cars were there?...ten, eleven. Eleven. How many had been
there when he sat down? Oh god, he couldn’t remember. They could be in here right now. He glanced up; several of the
tables were full now. There was almost nobody in the place when he’d sat down.
How long ago was that? Ten minutes? Thirty?
Shit, without his pills
it was getting hard to tell. He’d taken the last of his spares that morning for
work, and his refill prescription was in his house.
Franc pulled his wallet
out and dropped a handful of bills onto the table. He stood slowly, trying not
to make any sudden moves. But slowly, every eye in the room glanced up and fell
on him. It wasn’t all at once, and it wasn’t for long, but everyone looked at
him. He felt their gazes like they were tangible things, fingers touching his
He ran for the door. In
the parking lot, he dropped his car keys fumbling with the lock. His hands
clammy, cold, he finally unlocked the door and stuck the key in the ignition. As
the engine rumbled to start, he glanced back at the Waffle House.
Everyone in the restaurant
was looking out the windows at him, unabashedly staring.
Franc smashed the gas and
spun onto the road, then onto the interstate. He’d gone a mile before he realized
he’d forgotten to turn his headlights on. He didn’t know where he was going,
just that he had to get away. They’d be following him again, probably in
minutes. His eyes flicked to the rear view mirror.
Had the white car behind
him driven by his house earlier that week? Franc couldn’t be sure. He urged the
accelerator forward and kept running.