best short horror

Rising Within, Without

Rising Within, Without

His consciousness awoke, rising to a new vision in the darkness.

In the split second he saw his intruder, his human life sparked deep fleeting memories.

When he was alive as a human, his keen questions lead him to a primrose-like path throughout his scholastic career. Unfortunately, his adult life became laced with tragedies both personal and professional, especially involving those he loved.

It seems his inquisitive nature drove people to “off” themselves because his questions were so deep, disturbing and insightful. His questioning nature led to his own premature death. He met his fate from falling from a building after being pushed by someone who was angry with being asked important questions.

In death, he kept to a vow of silence, afraid of his new lifeless, spiritual form.

Although he preferred conversation with any being passing through by accident or otherwise, he continued to gain energy from the negative emotions scraped from his tragic human existence. From these memories, he fed and remained immortal.

Once these memories passed, his vision instantly widened and took note of his realm being invaded.

A form was walking toward his now fully interrupted slumber.

A not quite human form persisted toward him.

There was something definitively spiritual approaching.

And it wasn’t vampiric in nature; it was other worldly-like and multi-dimensional.

“What are you?” came the question just below whisper volume.

Shadows opened like arms while he rose up from the thousand year old coffin.

This darkened underground rivalled a mausoleum. Heavily dusty ornaments and mini-statues representing lesser known rituals littered the area around his coffin.

As the form approached his blackened boudoir, questions could now be asked to establish discourse.

I might cause another suicide or…

“Who are you and what brings you here to me today? What are you?

The figure responded, “I am who you say I am.”

“Surely you have a better answer than that, don’t you?”

The conversation was expected to continue. Instead, it died for several minutes.

The figure simply smiled gently and looked unusually patient.

“So, you seem to have an immortal state, much like my own. “ The vampire blandly offered.

“Possibly,” the gentle face offered, “just not in the way you think.”

“Ah, ambiguity. Tis the beauty of language and thought. It allows this conversation to last perpetually. Like you and me. Who would think living forever could produce such pleasantries, forever.”The vampire said, with hidden sarcasm and a smirk.

The man gently smiled again.

“You certainly are a quiet one. Does living forever cause such silence for you; it would seem you have been punished , no?”the vampire quipped and laughed sharply. “Usually there is some form of apathy of tremendous proportion to discuss and toss aside until next time. Why are you here now, are you a lord or a supreme one?”

“I am who you say I am.”

“Ah, so repetition is your game. How completely un-original of you. I was hoping for some intellectual challenge. Much of the spirit world is silent until it becomes malevolent. Then, evil fun infects the situation just right. You could at least offer something of interest. Some kind of dark existential issue could be argued at least. What say you?”

“As you please.”

The man then opened his mouth. Closed his mouth. Showed his both hands and palms. Then both of his feet. Exposed the crown of his head.

“What a curious display of nothing. Are you a puppet showing off wounds from a bad play. Did your puppet master drop you and reassemble you improperly? And why would wounds show upon a spirit such as yourself. It is as if you were human once and show scars to prove it. Yet you speak in vague statements. What of this means anything?’

The man smiled again,“Your perceptions run deeper than I presumed. However, I do know your heart better than thee.”

Recoiling in sheer disgust, “How do you know me? We have never met! Only this very night have we seen one another with metaphysical eyes. You only speak in riddles. How can I take such interaction seriously? Yet you persist to know as you do to please thyself. I think you are nor man or spirit. Clearly you are a demon in disguise, playing with me, attempting to claim another soul for devious purposes. This I like, but I shall not be the one targeted! It simply doesn’t work this way. Away with you!”

“Think as you will.” Is all the apparition-like man said.

Several hours passed in silence as they collected unspoken understandings of one another.

The vampire broke the silence first gently. “I have been around for many centuries. Many souls are familiar to me. It’s as if I am plagued by your endless repetition for a game’s sake.”

The man smiled and said, “No, I am not here to pester you. You see, immortality has another name. A name of which you are not familiar. It is present and within your reach.”

“There you go again, speaking in generalities, confusing our collective purpose, which by the way was never established. I should be posturing to you, to gain your allegiance. You bring your arrogance and devious smile to lure me into your version of seeing what is and what isn’t. How dare you!!”

The man smiled again.

“My reaction amuses you it seems. Am I the joke to be told for centuries to come? Are you the messenger to test hatred upon the unsuspecting? I have picked up on your game and I shall not become a tool of ridicule for your unspoken cosmic intent!”

Pondering what to do next, the vampire posed in obvious crazed thought. Carefully, he wondered about what this man’s purpose meant. It was starting to set the flame of hatred’s heat through his own eyes, straight at that calm, smiling face, which disgusted him even further.

“I am not living in confusion like this! From where do you come? Why do you bother with the likes of my dead spirit?”

“Like I said, I know you. Something in you is seeking. I am here to invite you to a greater vision, to seek beyond your own heart, and to possibly offer a new direction.”

To this the vampire took great exception.

“How dare you come close to me and pose such claims and offerings? Your arrogance and kingly presentation is not appreciated here! You have no name, dear poser of deceit! You come to me humble and benign. You speak words unclear and beget more questions than answers! How can you expect me to respect and honour a single word of your mouth? You stand here and mock me with your quiet face. I seek to end this discourse and return to a slumber you distinctly disturbed. Excuse me as I ignore you like I have any other creature or cosmic form entering my realm. For it is my own version of immortality that I wish for. Leave me!”

“Ah, this is not what you seek. You chose to allow me within here or you would have resumed your slumber, ignorant of my presence. Something in you causes you to seek me. I observed you rising. Therefore, I am who you say I am.”

“JESUS CHRIST, I cannot believe you come to me the way you are! Can you not understand the freakish nature of our conversation? It is as if I became the instant student and you the teacher, a preposterous notion. This dingy dark place is our classroom? I should think you a class above all of this , considering the way your entered my realm. Why would I be seeking something immediately in front of me? Explain oh teacher! “ the vampire mocked.

All the man did was smile and say, “Everything you have just said, is what you seek. And even when in front of you, you cannot truly see?’

The vampire spun in utter hatred and anger.

“If you were human, I’d sink my teeth into you and drain you of every last blood drop! But you come to me in spirit, alien to me and yet you threaten me to learn a lesson of what’s in front of my own eyes? I see what I choose to see! And I see but a mere reflection of someone’s memory, with scars on his forehead, healed wound holes in both palms and feet with various scars of floggings upon your form! Yet you come to me with a gentle smile, a humble nature, a kind smile, asking to recognize something in front of me, as if I am seeking you? You smack me with your pride and arrogance! What say you?”

The man smiled and said, ”What you seek, is another form of the infinite and immortal. And you continue deny its existence and wave it away as if it is under your command. I persist as you persist. We both persist for different reasons. I am a part of the light and you are a part of the darkness. I persist for only one reason.”

“What might that be?’ demanded the dark one.

“To come to those who seek.” The man calmly shared,” and to invite into the light. Over and over again. Because I know in your figurative spiritual heart, that which you seek is still possible. And you sense what is possible, in spite of your denial. You now know the other side of immortality. You will not cause death and pain by asking.”

This last statement caught the vampire’s attention. The gentle spirit continued to speak.

“I come to you representing the other side of immortality. And it carries with it a promise a much deeper than what you believe to be your own curse, which is in fact, your version of immortality. I am not here to dare you. I am not here to flog you with words nor scar you with wounds, nor challenge your belief system. I am here to invite, repeatedly. Your time is near to accept the invitation. I know your figurative heart. It yearns. Today, I sensed your calling, which is why I am here before you.”

And with that, he vanished.

The vampire, stunned by this eloquent monologue and disappearance, insisted to search for the man/spirit, as if a supernatural game of hide and seek was instigated.

“Come out! Where are you? We are not finished with this conversation! We are both immortal! This conversation needs to conclude based on my satisfaction! Come out you scoundrel! I will find you! I will find you! And when I do, the truth will push forth from your lips! I promise you this will be so!’

The man reappeared, silently watching the vampire and his aggravations dancing as new shadows. He hovered near the vampire to whisper to him.

The vampire raised his eyes and face, not to see the man, but to see the remnants of light scatter in front of him. The vampire reached out as if to grab the light, watching it dissipate with every grasp.

“Where are you?” What did you mean by what you said? Come out! Show thyself! Expose your truth to me now!”

Many hours passed.

The vampire thoroughly disturbed, felt an inner tear emerge, as if he were human. The tears formed on the countenance that would be a face, if possible.

Quietly he screamed, “If you are the light and are what I say you are, will you come to me, will you come to me? And show me the other side of immortality??”

Silence invaded the vampire realm for another hour.

“Answer me!!”

The vampire decided to settle and reconvene within his eternal coffin, reluctantly.

Whispers spoke in swirls all around him for many minutes, “When you are shown the other side, you must stay in the realm I show you. It is one way in and no return. You must agree to this.”

The vampire felt frustrated tears form, rising within.

The whereabouts for a world beyond his own and  promise of permanent substance was the unanswered question and false assumption that had lead to his human death.

“What is it that I cannot come back from? Where is such a realm? What makes it a one way choice and so much better than here?

The whispers continued, “It is where all of your questions will end. And all answers are given…endlessly.”

The vampire stood and turned to his left, seeing his thousand year old coffin. He turned toward the shimmering light to his right.

In an instant, the shimmering light surged brighter and subsided into deathly darkness.

Hours passed.

Shadows resumed rising upon one another in mutual comfort.

A hint of energy gave the only semblance of life in this now uneventful realm.

A scratching sound emerged.

A nearby rat continued to search for food inside the empty nearby coffin.





Bill Bistak, Author, Producer of & Founder of Friedrich Imagines, Ltd. a media production company

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