Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 6) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 1) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 2) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 3) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 4) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 5) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 6) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 7) by F.M. Scott
A pale wave washed by, a dingy white. He rode its aftermath, took his place in it. The place was the den in the house in which he grew up, only it wasn’t that house but instead some other house the den had wormed itself into. People and conversations faded in and out. At the same time, the room seemed to elongate—seemed to because the change was too subtle; it just happened. He went outside into the yard that was his but not his. It was twilight. People milled about—playing games, talking in small groups, and ignoring a light that emerged near the gate of a garden. The light approached, getting larger and more intense as it drew closer. He turned to warn everybody, but they had vanished; the light glided straight toward him. The air thinned rapidly; his breaths came in labored gasps. Just in time, the bedroom, with a glow of moonlight from outside, jerked back into view. He panted in hungry gulps, the air returning him once again from the near-dead. The bed was real.
So were his hands, one of which touched something cold and moist next to him. Skin. A hissing laugh—hthth-hthth-hthth!—inches from his ear.
Brian tore off the covers and bolted to his feet. He switched on the bedside lamp, nearly knocking it off the nightstand…and saw what he had just touched and heard. The small figure sat up on the bed, drawing what sounded like the faint sigh of a sleeping child; this settled into a rhythm of sharp breaths. The large, pallid head balanced somehow on an impossibly small neck. The ears, at once round and ragged, stuck out. Under sunken black eyes, where the remainder of a face should have been, hung a morass of stringy tissues and splintered bones of the mouth and nasal cavity. Sickly thin arms and legs sprouted from a tiny body slickened with a shiny mucus and covered in yellow-brown patches. Another hiss. Wet, choked gurgles. Small child groans born of agonies only it could feel. Brian tried to scream as this transmuted human form pushed itself up on the covers. A ball of thick yellowish fluid issued from the hole in its face and hit the bed with a wet thump. The stench came: a powerful layering of dead flesh, dead blood, getting stronger by the second.
The process of death itself.
It wasn’t that he couldn’t move. Yes, it was. Brian stood frozen as this child of rot and agony crawled headfirst down the side of his bed and onto the wood floor. The black, unblinking eyes locked onto his. The bony hole of a face respired, in and out, breathing a death stench that now, for all purposes, displaced the oxygen in the room. At last, Brian managed to turn and run, but the bedroom door slammed shut and he felt two hands seize his legs from behind. He pulled at the door, to no avail. He tried to kick his assailant loose; its hands tightened their grip as it slid around to the front and started to climb up his torso. His screams summoned Phaedra, who began to yowl from the hallway. Every effort to grab this pulsing, squirming vessel of living death and either snap its neck or hurl it across the room went unfulfilled. You can’t grab what’s stronger than you and keeps slipping through your hands. With ten tiny fingers digging into the flesh of his shoulders, Brian staggered backward, all impulses defeated. As he landed on the bed, the putrid maw of his enemy’s face met his own. Darkness expanded, consuming the entire room.
The world returned in basic stirrings—breath, heartbeat, a dull room tone. Carpet underneath, a good-sized chandelier hanging in the faint light overhead. It became clear that he’d been there a while, judging from the position of the moon beyond the wispy curtains nearby. Soon his eyes confirmed his location: the empty living room on Hyacinth Road. He tried placing time and space in the blank area between the bedroom struggle and the present. All that presented was the fact that he was here, now dressed in jeans and T-shirt. Sandals on his feet. House and car keys in his pockets. Brian bolted up and went to the front window, where the moonlight confirmed something else: His silver Hyundai sat in the driveway, neatly parked. Shoulders still smarting, he fought the instinct to pass out again. As things began to fall together, he became aware of a new and powerful law: Logic had to be kicked in the balls and revived as a new science in which things added up to the moment.
The thing in my bedroom, my phone…The basement, the fucking basement!
Brian marched toward the back of the house. He passed through the kitchen and into the garage, where his sandals padded over what felt like clods of dirt. In the utility room, the door to the tiny basement hung wide open. The clods got bigger on the steps, and a sandal skidded on one as he made his way down. At the bottom he fumbled for the string and turned on the bare bulb. Dirt nearly covered the floor near the opening at the back. Brian stepped toward it—and froze. The patch of soil he’d hacked with the trowel was no longer a patch but instead a hole big enough…for something to have crawled from it?
Brian backed away. He turned and stumbled but recovered and went back up. In the kitchen a sound stopped him. Hthth-hthth-hthth-hthth. The laugh, a half-wet expulsion, through the teeth. He cocked his head. The front hall?
Hthth-hthth-hthth-hthth. Again, followed by a soft patter, like running feet.
Brian padded into the front hall and flipped a light switch. The staircase flared into view, a muddy glare of wood tones. More soft impacts guided his eyes toward the bannister at the top. Through it, a pale sliver of something darted down the hall.
The room tone, made heavy by the central air not being on, and by the absence of refrigerators and other life-affirming machinery, bore down on him, crowded his head. He started upstairs. The wood gave sporadic creaks under his feet.
He stopped at the top. “Okay, I’m here! I’m here right now, you little shit. It’s your turn. Right here if you want it!”
“Did you hear me?”
All the doors stood wide open, except for the last one on the left, near the end of the hallway. In a state of half exhaustion and half delirium, Brian started toward it. He pushed it open and flipped on the faint overhead light. A sound came from the closet at the back of the room: a crinkling of something wet and organic behind the louvered doors.
“I don’t care who or what you are, I don’t care where or when you came from. What I do know is that you’re on my turf. Yeah, you brought me here, or made me drive here or whatever the fuck you did. But guess what? We’re done. We’re done here, we’re done at my house, and everywhere else. You got that?”
“I’m dead serious, you ugly little fuck!”
He struggled to suppress the trembling in his breath as he started toward the closet.. Another sound came from it—an exhalation, deep and forceful, as if from a bigger respiratory system. One of the closet doors shook.
It wasn’t that he couldn’t move. Yes, it was. Brian’s heart thumped against the prospects before him. He stepped forward and the closet doors crashed open with a tearing, splintering sound. Chunks of wood and metal hinges flew. Brian screamed as a pair of moist, elongated arms—the arms of something now over six feet tall and the color of a rotting grapefruit—locked around him and pulled him to the floor. His screams echoed through the empty room as he kicked and struggled to no avail. The thing pinned Brian on his back, where he saw the last thing he would ever see: a large head, pale and mottled, with a pair of deep-set black eyes, perched on a veiny, pulsing neck. It reared back with a piercing squeal, its mouth stretching to expose a set of long, bladelike teeth that plunged into Brian’s face, crunching bone and ripping away a mass of flesh and eyes and brain with one splitting burst of agony. Then nothing.
F.M. Scott is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he lives and writes. His stories have appeared in The Killer Collection, Sirius Science Fiction, The Horror Tree, The Tulsa Voice, and The Rock N’ Roll Horror Zine. A few of his drabbles were collected in Trembling with Fear: Year 2 Anthology.
Facebook and Twitter @fmscottauthor
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Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her longer work includes the folk horror novels, The Five Turns of the Wheel, Reborn, and The Woodcutter, and the novellas, Bottled and Paused (all via Brigids Gate Press). Her dark poetry has been published in her collections Lilith Rising (co-authored with Shane Douglas Keene), Foundlings (co-authored with Cindy O’Quinn) and Metallurgy, as well as the HWA Poetry Showcase Volumes VI, VII, VIII, and IX and Black Spot Books Under Her Skin. She can be found supporting indie authors at HorrorTree.com via the weekly Indie Bookshelf Releases. She can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on Blue Sky as stephellis.bsky.social.