Shadows will breathe

Shadows will breathe
"Careful. Evil has a way of making friends with the good and dragging them into the darkness." ~ Dr. Al Robbins

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

For Kim


I wrote this for my sister.
She was always such a fan of my writing, and although she didn't always understand the darkness behind it, she fully supported me and encouraged me to continue with this gift.
Thank you, Kim.
Thank you for the love.
I pushed the darkness aside for for a moment.
This one's for you....




Angel of the Skies

I know you've got your angel wings
And you're flying around doing angel things
Ushering in everything the day brings...

But I miss you.

Image found here


I know you're up there in that night sky,
With your twinkle and your sparkle and a watchful eye
Pulling the shade down and raising that moon up high...


But I miss you.

Find image here



I know you're all around me, I can smell you upon the breeze;
And I know you still speak to me, because I hear your whisper through the trees;
And I can feel your love raging up a storm and like the rain, it puts me at ease...


But I miss you.

Image is from the amazing and talented  Shawna Erback





       You are my sun and my moon and my stars.
💗




Angel of the Skies (Part One, Two and Three) ~  composed by Deevious.
-2017-


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Why I Write



The Shadows have stories.
I give them a voice.

~ Deevious ~


Monday, June 26, 2017

Wish I Knew You


I have been listening to this one for a few weeks now.
I never tire of it.
Take a listen?




#MusicMonday




Friday, June 23, 2017

Of Two Worlds...

Such a great quote.
Such poetry.
I love this one.

Find this on Instagram

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Angel of the Skies (Part Three)



I know you're all around me, I can smell you upon the breeze;
And I know you still speak to me, because I hear your whisper through the trees;
And I can feel your love raging up a storm and like the rain, it puts me at ease.


But I miss you...


Image is from the amazing and talented  Shawna Erback





You are my sun and my moon and my stars.





Angel of the Skies (Part One, Two and Three) ~  composed by Deevious.
- 2017 -




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Angel of the Skies (Part Two)


I know you're up there in that night sky,
With your twinkle and your sparkle and a watchful eye
Pulling the shade down and raising that moon up high.


But I miss you...


Find image here

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Angel of the Skies (Part One)


I know you've got your angel wings
And you're flying around doing angel things
Ushering in everything the day brings...

But I miss you.


Image found here





Monday, June 19, 2017

Exit Light


Move over #MusicMonday...

Image found on Pinterest
....It's a #MetalliaMonday 😈



Share your favorite Metallica song in the comments below.




#RockOn
#CreepOn
#NightLightsCastShadows
#SharetheDarkness
#MetallicaMonday





Friday, June 16, 2017

The Fire Pit from Hell...



Pinterest, of course, has all the best of everything.
I find so many innovative ideas and amazing creations and unique artwork on this site that has been pinned and shared by so many of us. 
And here is just one more example of its awesomeness...

                                                       

I stumbled upon these skull accessories and thought some of my Creepsters out there might have to have these. 
Get yours here ~ gizmodo.com

#Skulltastic
#CreepOn
#BackyardBurial



Thursday, June 15, 2017

#TBT


I fell in love with this quote and posted it to my Facebook page last week.
I thought you might like it too.
If only it was that easy to tame our demons, eh?

Image found at weheartit.com 



#CreepOn
#SharetheDarkness
#NightLightsCastShadows




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Travel Carefully....


With summer vacations in full swing, I thought this article could help you with your travels.
Some of these places have been restricted to visitors, but not all.  I, myself, visited Gettysburg and its battlefields just last year.  This article states that tourism is restricted there, but that isn't true.  It is encouraged and celebrated.  So, always call ahead when making reservations or plans, just to be sure of what you're allowed to see and visit.  Not all articles are accurate, but I did enjoy this list and it allowed me to do further research on each of the places listed.
 
Have any of my Creepsters out there checked any of these off your bucket list?
Are there any on the list that you would love to visit?  Investigate?  Move to?







Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Torn



I am a little of both worlds.
Who are you?

Image found here




Monday, June 12, 2017

Silent Lucidity


There's a place I like to hide
A doorway that I run to in the night..




#MusicMonday
#Classic
#CreepOn
#DreamOn
#RockOn




Friday, June 9, 2017

Choices

I am torn between two worlds...
One is bathed in Light and One thrives in Darkness.
~ Deevious ~

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hungry for Change?



Image a QUOTEHD.COM

Is it?
I'm not sure if this truly fits my label of Verity or Bullshit? 
but I am so enamored by this quote that I had to throw it out there for discussion.
Perhaps every day we exist is progress.
Perhaps what we eat or choose not to is as well.
Maybe some sophistication never hurt anyone.
Post your thoughts and comments below -  no matter how bizarre.
This is a strange one, so embrace it.

#CreepOn







Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Club Business


For June, I have chosen this gem by Iain Reid.
It is his debut novel and is extremely well done.
It will intrigue you and scare you and scar you.
Expect it to leave an impression.



Enjoy this month's read and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Just an after thought...
Please DO NOT leave any spoilers for those who may stumble upon this post 
who haven't yet read the book.  
Be kind and don't ruin the darkness for any of our other Creepsters out there. 
If you need to chat it up about this one, 
message me on my Facebook Page 
or email me at nightlightscastshadows@gmail.com 
and we can dish it out there. 

I appreciate it, Creepsters.

#ReadOn
#CreepOn
#NightLightsBookClub
#SharetheDarkness

Need the book?
Buy it new or used or in other formats here: Barnes and Noble




Monday, June 5, 2017

Chasing Down the Devil...


A little upbeat for the day, but I cannot stop jamming to this one.
I like these guys.
I like their sound.
I like their lyrics and I am hooked.
This is my #MusicMonday...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

I Need Noise...


This is what I'm listening to this week....




#MyNewFavoriteJam
#MusicMonday
#RockOn
#CreepOn
#ShareTheDarkness




Thursday, May 25, 2017

#TBT

This is a short story I wrote a little while back.
I decided to start the short midway through Johnna's life in her new place, kinda like we were only getting a glimpse of what really was and what would be; a snippet, if you will, of someone's fear.
I hope you enjoy it's creep-appeal.


House For Sale
Nightmare #41:

It wasn’t until the third mortgage payment, that Johnna knew for sure – and that’s when she began to work longer hours, leave the lights on all night, pray a bit more.

After six months in, Johnna knew she had to move.  There was no more denying it.  She realized this when the ceiling cracked and splintered without cause; when the various power outages could no longer be explained; when the shadows started to play peek-a-boo.

She could feel the eminent danger swelling up in that haunted house like hot air in a balloon.  So, she called the realtor and made arrangements; called a friend and packed what she would need for the next couple of weeks.  She went to bed that night, pleased that she would be free of this awful place by morning’s light.

Hours later, Johnna awoke with a jolt.  She sat upright in the bed, surrounded by darkness, unable to focus. 

She fought to slow her heart rate and struggled with the confusion of reality.  Her mind wrestled with a faded dream…or nightmare…or noise?

What was it that got her attention?

She heard it again.   

An odd, gurgling sound filled the dark room, sounding like a bullfrog by its pond. 

The noise stopped.

Another minute of silence passed.  Then, the gurgling again.  This time it was closer to her and the bed.

Johnna’s heart continued to race; beads of sweat trickled down her hairline and before she could grab for the lamp on the nightstand, it grabbed her. 

It took hold of her forearm, just as she reached for the light switch.  Its grasp on her was firm and cold - freezing, in fact - as though someone had placed a frozen slab of meat against her skin.

Her eyes - now one with the darkness - saw it, or rather a reflection of it in the dresser’s mirror.

Johnna shook her head furiously, like a child refusing to eat vegetables, hoping to rid herself from such a hideous nightmare. 

But she was awake now, wide awake, and she was not alone.

Johnna whimpered, the beginnings of a shriek gathering in her voice box, as she watched herself in the mirror - helplessly.  This dark, decrepit figure of the shadows came out of the wall, reached around her shoulder with its other creepy arm and placed its bony hand over her mouth to keep her from releasing her scream...  




written by: 

~Deevious~


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Are They Out There?



Find GIF on rebloggy.com


Do you believe?

Are aliens for real?
Or are they just a product of science fiction?

Comment below.
We want to know.





Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mark These Words...


Find image on this Tumblr page

#Virgil
#LoveThisQuote
#SharetheDarkness
#CreepOn
#NightLightsCastShadows




Monday, May 22, 2017

Running From the Devil...


My new favorite jam.
A huge Thank You goes out to Tay who suggested I check them out.
I am so glad I did.

#RockOn
#SirSly
#MusicMonday







Thursday, May 18, 2017

#TBT


A little poem for the dark hearts out there...

Their Intentions 

They try to break me ~

The darkness, wanting to take me ~

Evil, trying to make me ~

Hell, dying to bake me.

written by: Deevious
          



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May Contest



***This contest is closed***
We have a winner. 
Congrats to Creepster Kristen. 

This month's contest is freakin' awesome.
Don't win just one book, win all three in this Asylum series...



Just comment below.  
Be the first Creepster to post your name and the author of this series and all three all yours.
Good luck Creepsters!

And as always, please consult the Contest Rules before you agree to take part in the contest.






Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Creep On


Image found here

#CreepOn
#HorrorMovies
#SharetheDarkness
#NightLightsCastShadows


Friday, May 12, 2017

Stay Tuned...


I feel a contest coming on.
Keep posted to this blog, it's going down next week!

#CreepOn
#FollowTheDarkness
#NightLightsCastShadows


Thursday, May 11, 2017

#TBT

It's rainy and damp where I am today.
The kind of lazy day to stay inside with a good book or do some binge-watching of your favorite show.
That's why I decided to share this short story - Downpour - because it's a dark and dreary tale, heart-breaking even.
Maybe you've read this one of mine before?  Maybe it's your first time?  Or maybe you liked it enough to give it another read?  Whatever the reason, here is today's  #throwbackthursday post...

Downpour
Nightmare #157: 
It was a good day for a storm.  The clouds rolled in and hovered, almost like a spaceship, over the small, forgotten town.  The late afternoon grew muggy and the air hung damp and electric. 

Devin pulled the weathered hoodie over his head.  It felt good on him, soft and familiar.  He was relieved to find that he still appreciated something, even if it was for a brief moment.  He checked the front pocket for his smokes and slammed the door shut behind him.  He shuffled through the narrow hallway and down a flight of steps, the untied laces of his boots clinking against the chipped linoleum.  Once outside, he breathed life into a cigarette and tossed the used match stick to the wet pavement.  It sizzled.

He pulled the strings on his sweatshirt, tightening the hood around his face - eager to hide his bloodied lip and black eye - and took off in a near sprint.  He scurried down the street, wasn’t sure where he was going, but sure he needed to put as much distance between him and that shabby apartment – and his ridiculous father – as he could possibly put between them.   

A slow drizzle blanketed the town; this added to his misery.  The last of the sun was snuffed out by storm clouds and an insatiable rumble roared over the mountains.  In the distance, lightning fell from the skies.   

As he ran from one storm towards another, the thoughts raged through his mind.  How long would his father continue to use him as a punching bag?  When would his mother come back for him?  How much longer until he broke?  How much more could he stand?  Only a couple more years and he’d put this whole stupid town behind him.

“Only a couple more years,” he spoke the words out loud, trying to believe them.

On the outskirts of town, Devin finally paused to catch his breath, and coughed another cigarette to life.  The rain came heavier now – turning into a deluge - and he fought with the ground beneath him as it turned from sidewalk to open field.  He slipped a few times, almost wiped it once, but caught himself on the corner of a sharp turn sign.  He chuckled aloud.  Seems he always had to fight to keep from falling.  It was a constant struggle to remain grounded these days. And he wasn’t sure how much fight he had left in him. 

If any.

He was so tired of fighting.  Every single day there was a fight he had to show up for…

He had to fight his teachers because he could never clear his mind long enough to concentrate; had to fight his classmates because he didn’t have the right kind of clothes, the right attitude, the newest technology; had to fight his father simply because he continued to breathe.  He was an outcast.  And he was so tired of always getting it wrong, when everyone else always seemed to be getting it right. 

A horn blasted him back to reality.  Devin jumped as a dark-colored sedan flew past him.  He tossed a middle finger behind them, hoping the driver would see it in his rear-view mirror, turn around and confront him.  Then, Devin could put the boots to him.

Or her.

And hopefully there would be a family in the vehicle and he could put the boots to them too.

All of them.    

And if he failed?  Even better.  Then they could beat the shit out of him.  Maybe beat him near death or even cause his death.  Then, he wouldn’t have to hate anymore.

It seemed that’s all he could feel.  All he could relate to these days.  And the anger swelled up in him like a balloon taking on helium.  It was the only emotion that killed the numbness. 

He wanted to cry.

Wanted to break down right there on the side of the road.

Let it all pour out of him like a fevered sweat. 

Perhaps someone would stop and take pity on him.  See all the bruises he hid so well.  Call him out and take him away from his asshole father and locate his mother.  Then - with his mother at his side - all would be right with the world. 

A long, deep-throated horn blasted past him again.  Devin jumped higher this time; his heart racing with the speed of the coal truck as it whizzed past him.  He threw his soggy cigarette at the back of the coal bucket, its tires kicking up shale and tossing dirt into Devin’s eyes.

He coughed the dust from his lungs.

Spat the dirt from his mouth.

And in that exact moment - for some reason announced only to Devin - he snapped.  

He had had enough. 

Enough of the damp air and the cold rain.  The loud coal trucks with their filthy exhausts.

He had enough of people.  Couldn’t understand them or their hatred towards him.

Had it with his dumbass father; his bleak future; his mother, who wasn’t coming back for him.

He lifted his face up and out of the hoodie, letting the cold April rain hit against his skin.  It burned his fresh cuts.  It stung, but felt good. He closed his eyes and nodded to an unknown accomplice.

He heard the roar of its engine.  The banging of its bucket as it hurdled the potholes of the curvy roadway.  He fumbled for his smokes; shook only slightly as he lit its end.  He breathed deep, refused to cough and bellowed out a yell.  He screamed out as loud as his lungs would allow him.

Maybe it was his one last effort to be heard.

Maybe he was just tired of holding it all in.

He could smell the diesel exhaust.  It was close now.  He hoped its driver wouldn’t grieve too long.  He thought of his mother.  Bet she’d miss him now. 

The truck barreled up and over a slight embankment.  Devin took one more drag from his smoke.  He exhaled and stepped onto the road.
                                                                                                                      dpb

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Monsters


Find image and artist on DeviantArt

I love this piece by artist, fallenangel-089, from DeviantArt.
It's called Monsters and rightfully so.
It makes me want to know the story.
Who was the monster?
Why the blood?
Was it self-defense? Murder? Madness?
And the placement of those blue butterflies make me sad and happy at the same time.
The color and shading of this piece is perfect.

Any thoughts?
Post them below.







Monday, May 8, 2017

Darkness Gonna Break Your Light...


I am a huge fan of this rock band and I stumbled onto this gem recently.
Check it out for #MusicMonday and let me know what you think.
Post about it below.










Friday, May 5, 2017

Gratitude




Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

#CreepOn

And have a great weekend!




Thursday, May 4, 2017

#TBT

A blast from the past...

Forfeit
If I stood a chance of surviving the night,
I would go to you and I would never leave your side.
But I am afraid I'll bring the evil with me.
And I would never forgive myself -
How could I?
If I tainted your world with my darkness?

So, I will be gone from you.
Far gone and far away.
And yes, I must leave you with a scar,
And have you hate my soul for all eternity.
Because you see,
You are all goodness.
You radiate the light,
And you will save so many,
And I must keep you burning bright.
I must...
I must keep you burning bright.

~dpb~

Forgive me.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My Reflection?



I feel like I can relate to this one...
Image found here







Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Book Club


Greetings, my Creepsters and fellow book nerds.
Welcome to the Night Lights Book Club!!! 💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀📚💀(I thought if I included a lot of emojis it would better explain the importance of this group. 🤓) 



For the month of May, I have chosen this dark read by Amy Lukavics ~  "Daughters Unto Devils".
This book came up in conversation with a friend (Thank you, Jessica) and I told her I would check it out.  Well, I am ever so grateful for her suggestion because it is fantastic.  
It is dark and disturbing and a great debut novel for Author Amy.  If you can make out the tag line written by Cat Winters, it says "Imagine Stephen King writing "Little House on the Prairie") 😳 Wtf?!?!  Well, this intrigued me even more to read it.  
   
So, Creepsters, find the time and check it out.  I would LOVE to know what you think of it and if you were - maybe - a little frightened by it?  A bit disturbed?  Did you find it unnerving? Unsettling?  Would you recommend it to a friend? And just how many dark hearts would you give this read? 

My rating?  "Daughters Unto Devils" = 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤 

#CreepOn
#ReadOn
#BookNerdsUnite
#NightLightsBookClub



Friday, April 28, 2017

Fearless?




Find image here 


Are you brave enough to share?
Tell us below...

#CreepOn
#ShareYourDarkness
#NightLightsCastShadows





Thursday, April 27, 2017

#TBT


This one is for the dark hearts...


Nightmare #128
As you sleep, They stand next to me.
It seems Heaven forgot about me
And Hell waits, patiently, to take me in -
To fill me up with It's sin.

On the wall, they dance.  
Upside-down shadows twist to a music only they can hear.
If I have to go - forgive me.
Don't look for me -
Waste no prayers on me -
It'll be too late by then.
I'll already be 
-unstable
-unsavory 
-unholy.

And, make no mistake, I will try to suck you in ~
To drink your blood 
And devour your soul.

Run from me.
Hold your crucifix up high.
Stand your ground and pray for the angels to take you home.
                                                   ~dpb~

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Road Trip



How I feel when someone tells me we're going to the bookstore...


Found on giphy.com

#PsychedAF
#ReadOn
#CreepOn



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Are You a Fan?


Image found onsizzle.com

Do you agree?


#CreepOn
#SharetheDarkness
#NightLightsCastShadows
#HorrorMovies
#FanFiction



Monday, April 24, 2017

Turn It Up



Find image on favim.com

It's #MusicMonday, Creepsters.
Turn it up...
#RockOn
#CreepOn





Thursday, April 20, 2017

TBT

I posted this last year and thought to revisit it for #ThrowBackThursday.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.


House Call 
written by: Deevious

A spray of chicken chunks and brown slime splashed onto the paper princess, it's pink, crayon-colored dress soaking up the stain.

"No.
 No.
 No.
 No.
 No," the little girl screamed in spurts, emulating the beats in a dubstep remix. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and started to cry.

Her mother scooped her up off the floor. "It's alright, Lyrica. It's all gonna be alright." Grabbing a tissue from the desk, Abigail wiped her daughter's mouth and the snot and blood that oozed from her tiny nose.

"I ruined her," the girl cried out through the tissue, pointing at the princess in her coloring book.

"Eric!" Abigail yelled over her shoulder. But her husband was already running from the kitchen with a dish towel in hand. He squatted beside the vomit and started to wipe up the mess.

The little girl sobbed louder.

"Shhh, Lyrica." Her mother rubbed the girl's bald head. "It's okay, baby. It's okay."

"It isn't. I ruined everything," Lyrica bawled, contorting into a coughing fit that sent a clot of blood flying to the floor.

"Don't fret, Pumpkin." Eric slid a piece of chicken from the picture. "We'll get you another princess. Maybe one who can appreciate a fine meal when it is served to her." He stood up with a click of his heels - imitating a butler's stance - and manipulated his face into a variety of funny faces that seemed to cheer the girl. Her sobs turned to giggles.

The doorbell rang. Abigail and Eric exchanged a look.

"Is it two o'clock already?" She asked with wide, bloodshot eyes.  "We're not ready. We can't possibly do this now." Abigail set her daughter back on the floor by her book.

"If not now, when?" Eric asked, studying his wife's face. Her once luminous complexion, now punctured with wrinkles and worry and fatigue. Her once beautiful, wavy hair, now replaced with a knot of dark roots clumped on top of her head - crazy strands of dead-ends hugging her cheekbones. He knew his own features mimicked hers -
The drawn-in cheekbones.
The cracked lips.
The dark, hollow eyes.
The emptiness.

"If not now, when?" he repeated.

"I just can't -" she whispered, choking on her own words. "I can't go through with it."

Eric caressed her cheek with the back of his hand. "It isn't about you."

They both looked at the little girl who sat on the floor, desperately trying to salvage the princess from slime. Sitting there in her own fragility, the little girl looked much older than eight.

Abigail's eyes pleaded with her husband. "Maybe we should recheck his references?"

The doorbell rang again.

"It's time," he said and left the room.

In the foyer, Eric steadied himself and breathed deep.

He studied the front door.
It stood strong and stoic, it's brass handle catching the afternoon sunlight and gleaming an invitation to open it. The etched glass of its center reflected a large shadow, creating a distorted figure on the other side.

Eric stepped quietly.

He took another breath and opened the door.

The man on the porch stood tall against the neighborhood backdrop, filling the space of the door. A dark duster hung on his large frame, reminding Eric of a gunslinger in a cowboy movie. Dark eyes stared through him. Black, leather gloves tightened their grip on a large briefcase.

"Welcome." Eric held out his hand.

The stranger inspected Eric - head to toe, refusing his hand. When he spoke, his voice was deep and he formed the words with his lips before he gave voice to them. "Swanson?"

Eric nodded.

The stranger continued, "I am Cadwell.  I am here for Lyrica."

Eric nodded again, but did not move.

The man in black took a step forward, bending beneath the arch of the doorway, and forcing Eric back. He slammed the door shut behind him, locked it and turned the deadbolt. He turned to Eric - towering over him - and spoke. "Give me the order."

"Uh..." Eric stuttered for a minute or two, confusion overtook him. A little seed of anger began to grow in Eric - a bit of resentment towards this Cadwell, who dared make him feel inferior in his own house.

"Give me the order," Cadwell repeated.

And as if he was suddenly struck with profound wisdom, Eric obliged. "Ah. Yes. The order." Eric fumbled in the back pocket of his jeans. He pulled out a worn brown trifold and with shaky hands, sifted through its contents. He unfolded a scrap of paper and read from it. "Order number 1379."

The huge man nodded approval and made his way further into the house.

Eric followed the stranger into the living room.

The man's boots clanked against the hardwood floor as he strode past Abigail - still cleaning up blood drops, and Lyrica - who resumed working on another princess, this time making her the colors of rainbows. He strode over to the big bay window and looked out onto the sleepy, suburban street. He drew the curtains, snuffing out the afternoon sun. Darkness invaded the room.

"Uh, honey," Eric spoke, his voice a bit shaken, "this is..."

The man turned to the family. "Cadwell."

"Yes. Of course. Cadwell," Eric repeated.

The stranger looked at the imaginary watch on his wrist, ignoring the attempt at conversation. He strolled over to a banister that housed about a dozen carpeted steps from the living room to the second floor of the Swanson home. He gripped the railing and yanked on it repeatedly.

To Eric, it was if the man was trying to rip the structure to shreds.

"This will do just fine," Cadwell commented and made his way to the middle of the room. Here, he inspected the floor, nodding and mumbling to it, as if it held some secret agreement with him. He set his oversized briefcase on the coffee table and with a flick of the numbers, popped open the leather box.  He slipped his hand into a flap on the top inside of the case and pulled out a tiny piece of plastic.  He unfolded it until it expanded to the size of the floor before him.  With a snap - as if he were hanging out the laundry - he laid down the plastic sheet and pressed out its wrinkles.

"What is that for?" Abigail asked, a quiver in her voice.

"It may get messy."

"Messy?" Abigail questioned and clutched Lyrica to her side.

Reaching back into the briefcase, Cadwell pulled out a cable tie and duct tape.  He turned and faced the mother. "Mrs. Swanson?"

Abigail stared at the stranger's hands as he tore off a piece of the tape and replaced the roll back into the leather case. He tilted his head and started towards her.

"Hey," Eric stated and stepped in front of his wife. "Hold on a minute."

Cadwell ignored Eric's pleas. He reached around the husband and snatched Abigail by the arm, separating mother and daughter.

"Mommy!" Lyrica cried out and latched on to her dad's leg.

"Why are you doing this?" Eric asked, surprised by the calm in his voice.

"She will scream the most," Cadwell stated.

"We didn't sign up for this," Abigail pleaded with the stranger. "Eric!"

"Stop it," Eric yelled, ripping Abigail from his clutches. "Stop it right now."

Cadwell brushed off his duster, walked back to the table, closed and collected his briefcase. "I will go."

Eric looked down at his daughter - her shiny head, the tired eyes, the bandages that covered up all those needle marks, more numerous than those of any junkie.
He was tired.
Tired of it all.

"Please," Eric said. "Wait."

Abigail glared at her husband.

Cadwell paused by the archway to the foyer.

"No." Abigail shook her head vigorously, backing away from her husband.

"Yes." Eric placed his hands square on her shoulders and penetrated her eyes with his own. "This is it, Abby. This is our last chance. Aren't you tired? Tired of all those words?
 Inoperable?
 Incurable?
 Terminal?"

"I know." Tears streamed down the mother's face. "I know."

"Why are you crying, Mommy?" Lyrica asked.

"It is her last chance," Eric said with resolve.

"But why does he have to be so...so...aversive?"

"I don't care what he is, Abby.  He comes highly recommended."

She nodded.

"We did not make this decision lightly.  Now did we?  We are out of options."

She swallowed a sob and nodded in agreement.

Eric gave his best smile of encouragement and turned to Cadwell.  "Please.  Continue."

Cadwell spun around on the heel of his boot. He set up his shop again on the table and approached Abigail. Before she could object, he slapped the piece of tape across her mouth and dragged her to the banister where he zipped the cable tie around her wrists and to the railing.

"Mommy!" Lyrica cried out.

"It's okay, Pumpkin," Eric assured the little girl with a hug.

"What's he doing?" Lyrica screamed for an answer.

"He's here to fix you, Pumpkin."

Cadwell turned to Eric. "Dad?"

"Can't I just hold her?"

"I won't use the tape, if you don't make me." His dark eyes were sincere - but only for a moment. "She'll need to hear a voice."

Eric choked on a sob. "Okay, then."

He placed a soft kiss on top of Lyrica's head and let her go. He stepped next to Abigail at the banister and offered up his wrists. Caldwell obliged him.

Lyrica ran to her parents.

"Come with me," Cadwell's deep voice boomed at her.

"I don't wanna!" The little girl screeched and hung on to her mother's arm.

Cadwell wrapped his arm around Lyrica's waist -

"Mommy!"

He dragged her to the plastic.

"Daddy!"

"It'll be okay, Pumpkin." Eric assured her from across the room, trying to believe his own lies.

Abigail's muffled scream got lost in her throat.

Lyrica struggled to break free from the giant stranger - even managed a good, swift kick to his side.

"She's a fighter," Cadwell told Eric over his left shoulder. Reaching into his briefcase, he pulled out a syringe, pumped it once and then twice until fluid spewed from its top. Without hesitation, he looked down at the helpless girl and stuck her in the neck with it.

Lyrica yelped like a maimed animal.

From her banister prison, Abigail belted out another muffled scream and like a horse fallen from a race, her legs flailed; her body jerked; and she came dangerously close to dislocating her arms from their sockets.

"Oh, my God," Eric whispered through disbelief. "What have we done?"

Cadwell held onto the girl until she went limp. He laid her on the plastic sheet, smoothing out any wrinkles that creeped up around her. Leaning over his briefcase, he pulled out a jar. It was one of those weird looking mason-esque jars that you'd see in the laboratory of a mad scientist. Inside, three large chunks - immersed in a gooey water-like substance - swam rapidly around in circles, their little legs churning through the yellow liquid.

"What the hell are those?" Eric asked through wide eyes.

"My pets," Cadwell coddled the jar, as a mother would her newborn, and set it carefully beside Lyrica on the plastic.

"Are those leeches?" Eric asked in disgust.

"Something better," Cadwell assured him.  Next, he took out a rectangular pouch and unzipped it, revealing a shiny, large scalpel.

Eric gasped.

Abigail - still trying to break the cable around her wrists - gyrated in madness, like a wind sock puppet at a car dealership.

Cadwell raised his arms out to his sides, a priest at the altar. He mumbled some words under his breath and made a sign of the cross using the scalpel.  He squatted down close to the girl.  With his free hand, he folded Lyrica's shirt up to expose her belly.

"No!" Eric cried out.

Bringing down his right hand, Cadwell pressed the sharp blade into her soft skin, releasing a thin line of red.

"Please. We've changed our minds," Eric begged, pleading like a man before the barrel of a gun. "Please. Do not do this-"

"You gave the order," Cadwell reminded him, cutting deeper into the girl's flesh.

"Oh, Gawd!" Eric buried his face into his hands, clawing at his own skin, and telling himself he should just pull it off his bones.

Setting the scalpel onto the plastic sheet, Cadwell picked up the Mason jar and unscrewed its top.

A popping sound echoed through the room.

He dipped his gloved hand into the slimy liquid and removed the first of the parasites.  Long and chunky - the size of a dill pickle spear, and gray in color - the tiny creature wiggled like mad in the man's grip.  He lowered the specimen to Lyrica's belly.  With his other hand, Cadwell opened the incision on her stomach with his thumb and middle finger.  Blood oozed down the sides of her tummy as he inserted the organism into her cavity.

Eric looked away.  He gagged and vomited onto the white Berber carpet that covered the stairs.

 Abigail gave one last muffled cry;

hyperventilated;

and passed out.

Cadwell pressed his hand gently on the little girl's torso and gazed up at the ceiling.  He mouthed a few inaudible words.  Next, he took another parasite from the jar and opened Lyrica's mouth. Offering it to the oral cavity, he waited as the creature arched its body - as preparing for a dive - bent and slithered into the girl's mouth.

Limp and unconscious, Lyrica still managed to gurgle and cough.

Cadwell removed the final creature from the jar and placed it under the girl's nose.  It struggled to adjust to the size of the nostril, and after what seemed to be an examination of her face, the organism reshaped it's chunky body into a long and slender build. Then it slinked into her left nostril.

"That's the way," Cadwell cooed the parasite. He looked at his imaginary watch and caressed Lyrica's bald head. "It won't be long now."

"You bastard," Eric still spat particles of his lunch onto the carpet. "You son-of-a-bitching bastard."

Cadwell ignored Eric's insults and laid down beside the girl.  He cleared his throat and hummed a melody that sounded more like a funeral march than any song Eric had ever heard.

Minutes passed into an hour.

Abigail awoke and weeped.

Then another hour came and went.

His humming continued.

Eric mumbled to himself, mentally abusive words rang out from time to time.  Once, maybe twice - he tries to forget it all now - he actually saw the pickle-sized formation of those creatures maneuver under his daughter's skin.

Another hour inched by.

Abigail sat slumped against the steps, streaming in and out of consciousness.

Eric sat, silent.

Staring.

Unaware, like a doped up patient in an asylum.

"Almost there," Cadwell finally spoke.

After another half an hour, Cadwell lifted himself off of the plastic wrap, like a corpse rising from a coffin.

Eric stared at the stranger.

Abigail stared at him too - her eyes dead.

Leaning over Lyrica, Cadwell inspected her belly, nose and mouth.  Just under the skin of her abdomen, a bump was forming.  It took the shape of a ball and raced back and forth above the girl's belly button.  In another minute, the chunky head of the organism popped out from the incision. Cadwell grabbed onto it and pulled it from her gut.  Slime and blood dripped from it and onto the plastic.  He placed it into the jar.

Next, movement began in her cheeks.

Another bump formed.

And another.

Two tails rose out of her mouth.  Lyrica choked and gurgled.  Cadwell snapped up both parasites just as Lyrica awoke.  He dropped them back into the yellow liquid and screwed the lid back on the jar.

Lyrica's chest heaved as she tried to catch her breath.

Cadwell reopened the mason jar - just a crack - and swiftly dribbled some of that gooey substance onto Lyrica's belly.  Her incision smoked, sizzled and closed shut within seconds.  He pulled her shirt back into place.

The girl rolled over and spit up a batch of blood.

Cadwell tightened the jar and set it back into his briefcase.  He removed a damp cloth and wiped down his gloves and scalpel.

Lyrica coughed uncontrollably and spat up more gobs of blood onto the plastic.

Cadwell grabbed another cloth from his case.  He gently cradled the girl's head in his left hand and wiped her mouth with his right.  He dabbed the wetness under her eyes and followed up with a wipe of snot from under her nose.

He smiled down at her.

She smiled back.

He dropped the used cloths onto the plastic, closed his briefcase and locked it.  He stood, picked up the scalpel and walked over to the banister.  "It is done," Cadwell said and placed the scalpel in Eric's hands.  He turned to Abigail and tipped an imaginary hat. His boots clanked against the floor as he left the room.  The front door clicked twice and closed behind him.



Two Months Later 

"Her recovery is nothing short of remarkable," the doctor said from behind the desk. He rifled through his charts. "I guess the chemo did work after all. And it worked much faster than we could have expected."

Abigail smiled with rested eyes and rubbed the stubble of hair on Lyrica's head.

Eric squeezed his wife's other hand.

"It wasn't the chemo," Lyrica sang out, "it was the cowboy."

"The cowboy?" The doctor questioned with a chuckle.

The couple shared a knowing look.

"Yep. The cowboy with the pickles," Lyrica explained. "He made me all better."

"I'm sure he did," the doctor smiled at her, a bit condescending. "I'm sure he did."

Eric gave his daughter a wink.

Lyrica adjusted the plastic tiara on her head.  She smiled big and winked back - as only a princess could.
  


The End