One of my first horror stories about a deadly obession
It was a cool mid-April afternoon. A brisk wind traveled down the canyons in Northern California. The Palo Verde's, trying to spring forth-new life, swayed back and forth. The blossoming green leaves looked fresh after a harsh winter season. Carmen,
Jamie's best friend, heard her supposed plea to go into the woods, to meet Jamie. Jamie's little brother Aaron had called earlier, telling her to meet Jamie in the woods in an hour.
Carmen thought it a little odd; it didnít sound much like Aaron, but she went anyway. The woods were their hideaway and was only half a mile from their house and since they lived a block away from each other, it became a favorite place. Carmen walked through the cool forest, her arms wrapped around her. The farther she came into the woods, the more she grew concerned. Jamie was nowhere. She began walking faster, cursing aloud.
The woods were a peaceful place to come. Trees surrounded the area and only sparse sunlight filtered in. The faint sounds of crickets, frogs and birds kept her company.
She heard something up ahead, but could not make out the sound.
Following its echo, it sounded more like a moan. Carmen felt the leaves rustle under her feet as the wind gained force. The coolness of the woods made her skin crawl with tiny goose bumps. She walked further in the woods.
A feeling of impending doom made her jerk around every few feet. Come on Carmen, there is nothing scary here. Quit imagining things. Yet, she knew something was there.
The sun hid behind a cloud and the moaning got louder, except this time, the moan turned into a menacing laugh. Carmen glanced up. The trees swayed in motion with the wind, yanking leaves, throwing them in all directions. Carmen wanted to leave, but something beckoned her on.
Anxiety welled up inside her and she started to panic. She had to stop watching "The Twilight Zone" on the Sci-Fi channel at night. This was beginning to really spook her.
She stopped. She could not hear anything. Silence.
Not even the birds or the usual sounds of the woods were present. Carmen walked slowly, looking behind her, and realized there was no opening anymore. She was deep in the woods.
"Jamie? Are you here?" she said. A voice like none other Carmen had ever heard, whispered like a menacing spirit taunting her.
ďCarmenÖĒ Without warning, a big gust of wind swooshed down on her, knocking her to the ground. As soon as it came, it disappeared. Carmen began to think she wouldnít find Jamie and that someone was playing a sick joke on her.
The moaning began once again and then a screeching sound reverberated throughout the woods. Carmen began to shake. She turned and without a second thought, ran. She ran fast and furious, trying to drown out the sound. Behind her, a tree slammed to the ground and she screamed. Whatever it was did not want her there or did not want her to leave.
"Carmen, you won't find her here." Carmen stopped and jerked her head around. The voice came again, but this time, loud and deep.
"Who are you? What are you talking about?" Carmen screamed. The voice snickered and then turned into a eerie cackle. She turned the other way and ran.
As she ran, branches smacked her face as the wind overpowered her. She had to get out and ran faster but never seemed to get anywhere. The woods encircled her and she felt the same de'ja'vu repeatedly as if there was no beginning or no end.
Suddenly, the earth opened and Carmen fell. She could feel her body slipping away, far into the crevices of the dirt. She Desperately tried to grab hold of anything to keep from falling further into the pit, as her fingers Clawed furiously in the earth.
She was losing strength.
Suddenly, the ground abruptly stopped shaking and Carmen continued digging her way through. When she got to the top, she saw a sinister, familiar face staring down at her. She fainted.
A cold washcloth covered her eyes. She couldnít see anything, but heard voices she didnít recognize.
"Where am I?" She pushed herself up. The doctor came over and helped her back down.
"In the hospital. There was an earthquake. Good thing someone found you and brought you here."
"Who brought me here?" Carmen was confused.
"A nice gentleman found you. Oh, by the way, a friend, I think his name was Manny, said he would visit you soon." Carmen wanted to scream, but knew if she did, they would think she had lost it and would most likely sedate her and she wouldn't be able to warn Jamie. Carmen knew who Manny was. She had hoped he would have left her alone after All Hallows Eve. He seemed so possessive of Jamie. Carmen peered at the clock above her. It read six twenty-four P.M. She had to warn her.
Jamie looked at her watch. It read six-twenty four P.M. Could she do this? Could she confront Manny? She was practically numb after he killed her best friend, Carmen. Caught in one of California's famous earthquakes, someone had rescued her. She was lucky; Manny had not gotten to her, yet. However, Manny knew where she was. That night as she lay recovering in Rosemont Hospital, Manny slipped in, unnoticed, smothered her and slipped back out. No one ever knew, except Jamie. He told her the next week. He said she was getting in the way of their love. Jamie knew then that he was a psychopath. She had to stop him before he killed again. She stood in Rosemont Park, waiting.
The wind whistled and the sky looked angry. The ominous, black clouds gave off bright lightning which zigzagged across the nighttime sky. Jamie shivered as the cool air pierced her skin and the eerie sounds of the wind crawled up her spine. She jumped back when a flash of lightning littered the sky, shot down to earth and slammed into a tree. The cracking sound was deafening as the tree fell next to Jamie. Frightened, she screamed and fell back in the mud-soiled grass. Quickly pulling herself up, she felt something under her feet. She peered down as the earth started shaking violently. Before she could move, she fell again, this time against a large Palo Verde Tree. There were several hundred aftershocks after an earthquake, sometimes as many as a hundred in one day and since the earthquake last night, aftershocks were common.
Glancing around the cemetery, the rain took on a fury all its own and slashed through the sky, pelting anything and everything. Jamie shivered in the cold wind. She knew he was near and yet she hated that he would play his game. On the phone earlier, he seemed thrilled when Jamie said she wanted to meet in the cemetery. That was all Manny could think about, him and Jamie. Ever since grade school, Manny had been nice to Jamie. She thought it was sweet. She did not know the real Manny. Jamie turned and thought she heard rustling leaves. It was him; she could feel it.
Ever since that night in the old high school gym at Rosemont High, she could sense his eerie presence. She even thought a few times he was outside her window at night.
Manny was always the misfit of the school. He had what professionals called, "multiple personality disorder." He turned into different people with different voices. The people in his head would tell him to do things that he normally wouldnít do. At the senior fling, he came to school in a long black wig and a trench coat. He came in laughing and telling everyone he was here to "clean up the school." That night, 10 people, all of whom made fun of him, died. He had brought a semi-automatic rifle. The police questioned him, but he only told them, "The voices commanded me to." He was taken to a mental hospital soon after. He stayed for a year or so. Determined they had cured him; they sent him home. It ended up being a deadly mistake. A week after he got out, he killed his parents.
Jamie didnít make fun of him and that was why Manny had such a crush on her.
Even before the murders, Manny would follow her, telling her one day they would get married and leave Rosemont. Jamie would always laugh and say, "You're such a joker Manny." She didnít know then what he was capable of, but when she found out, she was horrified. Manny escaped the hospital somehow and came looking for Jamie. He told her he had to escape before they killed him and to save him. He even told her where he was hiding out, but warned her not to say anything. Jamie felt bad and befriended him. After that, Manny became obsessive. He had to know every minute of every day, where Jamie was. He would become enraged if she was not at home after school. She knew he was following her.
After they graduated, Manny continued to see Jamie, followed her and called her non-stop. Oftentimes, she would come home after work and there would be as many as 30 messages on her machine--all from Manny. It had to stop. Jamie knew now how dangerous Manny was. She had to be careful.
"Jamie. I knew you would come, my love." Manny was right behind her. Jamie turned around and froze. Her breathing became rapid and shallow.
"Manny." She said quietly. He grinned heavily. Jamie's heart pounded. They were the only ones there.
"I love when you say my name." He closed his eyes and raised his head heavenwards.
"Manny, how are you?" Jamie said. She knew his personalities could come out anytime, so she was careful with her words.
"Wonderful, now that you're here." Jamie could feel the blood drain from her face. She put her hands in her back pocket and felt the heavy weapon.
She had never fired a gun before. She wondered if she would have the guts if it became necessary.
"Manny, Iím really worried about you. I think you need someone to help you." Manny frowned.
"I don't need anyone but you." He looked hurt, but the wicked smile returned. She could not tell which personality this was. It was all a guessing game; which is the real Manny Gosser?
"Manny, Iím flattered. I appreciate all the wonderful letters and flowers. They are truly beautiful, but my life is so hectic, I donít have time to go out with anyone. I work all day and come home late at night." Jamie had hoped her reasoning would work. She had just graduated with a BA in Philosophy and was working until eight o' clock most nights.
"Jamie, it's ok. I will just wait for you to come home, ďme and the children." Jamie became rigid. She was frightened as hell now.
"Manny, it won't work. Iím sorry. I came here tonight to ask you to please get some help. There are counselors who can help you with your condition."
Manny frowned, his forehead creasing. "What condition? Iím fine. Anyway, counselors are all ass holes. They just want to lock you away in some hospital and treat you like dogs. I will never go back there. With you, Jamie, I am happy. I donít hear those horrible voices. Only you can help me." He came closer. Jamie stepped back.
In a split-second lightening spiraled down and slammed into a tree. The tree caught fire and blazed mightily, consuming the branches and leaves as they crackled with heat and seared the bark. The fire lit up the sky, along with the lightning. Minutes later, the rain would douse the fire. Jamie knew this was her only chance. She had no choice; he would never leave her alone. With Manny temporarily occupied with the blaze, She ran.
"Jamie, you can't go far. You know I will stop you. Remember, I am more powerful than you ever could or would be. When are you going to admit it?
You belong to me!" He started to walk briskly after Jamie as she stumbled, fumbling for a way out. He slowly gained speed, but was still behind her. He would take his time, tire her out and then she would be his.
Jamie ran blindly in the storm, trying to catch her breath. She could not stop. Then, as if a giant hand pushed her, she tripped over something and fell face down in the grass.
"Jamie, Jamie," he said, stopping. He shook his head from side to side. "Now what are you going to do? Jamie struggled to pull herself up, but slipped each time. Manny reached for her and pulled her up, holding her in a death grip. He stroked her long, auburn hair, smelling it. He then grabbed it, twisting it with his fingers.
"Ahhh!" Jamie yelled. He pulled it tighter.
"Jamie, I don't want to do this. I love you." He then turned her to face him.
"Yeah, sweet cheeks, give him what he wants." Manny's voice changed. So did his expression. "Old Jess here doesn't like mean people and you, my lady, are mean." His eyes glared through Jamie.
"Come on Jamie, Manny really loves you. He would not do anything to harm you. Jess is just being a jerk." The voice changed to a quiet, friendly voice, almost childlike. Jamie tried to comprehend all the voices, but they changed every few minutes.
"Jamie, if Manny don't do nothing, I will. I have been watching you. You think youíre fooling everyone, don't you? I know you were the one who called the mental institution to put us away. I donít know what Manny sees in you. Youíre a bitch--one that needs to be taught a lesson." He then grabbed her throat and squeezed. Jamie struggled to breathe and then suddenly, she fell to the ground. Fresh air claimed her lungs again.
"Jamie, my darling. Are you ok? Manny was back again. He took her hand. Jamie pulled away. "What's wrong, my love?" Jamie had to escape, somehow.
"Manny, please leave me alone." She said breathless.
"Manny's not here. You see Jamie, anytime I want in, I just invite myself." He pulled at her, but Jamie kicked his hand and freed herself from his grasp. She got up and ran. She grabbed the gun from her back pocket, but then slipped in the muddy grass and fell hard. The weapon flew out of her hands, resting a few feet in front of her. Manny ran after her and Jamie frantically searched for the gun. She crawled ahead and saw the gun.
She felt the shiny weapon and held onto it. Manny caught up with her and planted his shoe over her hand, as Jamie screamed.
"You lying bitch! You were going to kill Manny and the rest of us. I can't believe he didn't see through you, but I did and I will stop you!" Jamie knew if she didn't do something before Manny could grab the gun, she would die right then, right there. With as much strength as she could muster, she threw her leg around and kicked him square in the face.
"AAH"! Manny screamed and let go of her hand. He reeled backwards, holding his face. Jamie held the gun tightly and brought it around to face Manny.
"I'm sorry Manny. I don't want to do this." Manny changed once again.
"Jamie, what are you doing? Why do you have a gun?" He seemed so innocent. "I love you. Why would you want to hurt me? Tears welled in his eyes and Jamie felt her grip loosen on the gun. "Everything I ever did was for you. Without you, I am nothing." She watched in horror as he dug his fingernails in his face. "Stop! Do you hear me--stop! It's all your fault! I hate you all!" He screamed and began ripping at his hair. She grimaced as she witnessed Manny clawing at himself. She felt helpless. Jamie walked over to him, still holding the gun.
"Manny, quit. You're hurting yourself." With her free hand, she tried to grab onto his. Without warning, Manny grabbed the gun, put it to his head and began reciting the verse, "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me; I might as well go eat worms. Say bye to Manny." The voice said, laughing.
He pulled the trigger.
Jamie screamed and covered her face as the bullet pierced Manny's skull. A few minutes after that, she heard someone run to the scene. Jamie sat there crying, holding the gun. Blood covered her hands.
A month later, Jamie sat in the courtroom, her eyes glazed over.
"We the jury, find the defendant guilty in the second degree." All Jamie remembered was that he had won, and even though he was dead, he was still calling the shots. That was five years ago.
Now, sitting in a jail cell, Jamie could only think about the empty days and nights, and all because of Manny. Jamie stared at the ceiling.
ďAre you satisfied Manny?Ē She yelled and somehow, deep in her soul, the echo of a psychopath cackling sprung to the surface and Jamie had the undeniable feeling that Manny was having the last laughÖ
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|Reviewed by alex dihes (алик дайхес)
|yep, you are correct -- you are genuine horror writer. one drawback is: you've got me so scared that i afraid to come back.
persever, i'm an avid admirer of your and O'Henry...
keep writing, dont stop pls foe the literature sake
have long, healthy, and happy life
|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|interesting read well done|