The Tashan Chain

I stumbled upon a Horror Fiction site and thought it might be fun to try that genre. Granted, my story isn't classic horror but I played with some darker subject material and a little more suspense. This one was featured on the Flashes in the Dark website. I had a bit of help from my friend Chris Eldin; she offered up a couple of suggestions to tweak it and I thank her for those. I found it challenging to bring in anything scary and suspenseful when limited to a 1000 words.

The story slowly became a legend. Over twenty people disappeared after somebody uncovered a Tashan while digging a latrine. After each one disappeared, a Tashan was left for the next victim. Closing the compound was the only way to break the chain.

“I’m not going in,” stammered Bart as he nervously eyed the imposing iron gate.

“Oh come on, you can’t stop now.” Korgan gripped the rusted black vertical bars, wedged his Danner boots between them for stability and slowly inched his way up and over the gate.

A gust of wind looped around the iron bars. It smelled of dead crow. “It’s not worth it.” Bart shivered but automatically followed Korgan’s lead.

Korgan stopped to catch his breath, “You did the same damn thing when we went after that rare ironwood stump in the depths of the Amazon. All that voodoo crap led to nothing. You still transformed it into your prized coffee table without incident, other than when somebody tries to set something on it!” He rolled his eyes at the darkening clouds. "Of course, I'm going to have to be the one to slice through all this bullshit. Let's go.”

A dullish thin light from the moon eked through the darkness and mist in a manner unwelcome. The brothers would have preferred the blackness and a flashlight over this eerie backdrop.

“They closed this compound for a reason,” whispered Bart as he followed Korgan across the chunky overgrown cement. Thirty years had taken a toll on the playground and nature looked poised to win this duel over man.

The old school house rose up before their dim view, dark and deteriorating with black silent windows broken out and glass lying across the weeded walkways below.

“It’s creepier than I imagined,” mumbled Bart. His chest felt heavy, constricted. “We have one possibility according to my research. It’s where old man MacTaggert got thrown out of the window and burned as he hung from a noose outside this school.”

“That’s just a legend,” interrupted Korgan.

“Then what’s that mark up there?” said Bart pointing to the second story window.

On the second floor window was the outline of charring as if something on fire had burned a line into the school siding that extended down below the window frame for about four feet.

“I’ll be damned.”

The two brothers cautiously wound their way through the debris and into the school. As they made their way with flashlight in hand toward the grand staircase a slow wailing rose up from somewhere on the second floor.

“What the hell is that?” Bart fought back nausea.

“Just the wind, keep going.”

“There wasn’t any wind. We had mist rising just outside the school, remember?”

The reality weighed heavy as they crept up the staircase. Halfway up, scrawled with something dark on the side of the wall was a giant message that read “LEAVE NOW.”

Bart’s stomach dropped and he started to shake, “Is that written in dried blood?”

“You might be right,” whispered Korgan nervously. Korgan rarely sounded nervous but the dread permeating from this place was even getting in to his psyche.

Step by step the air grew thicker and more stagnant. Their steps seemed heavy and slow as if time were purposely stretching out against them.

“Are you sure you know what this Tashan symbol looks like?” asked Korgan.

“As near as I can tell, it’s a broken circle of willow reeds all wrapped up. It’s one of the most sought after mysteries out there.” answered Bart.

“Willow reeds? There aren’t any Willows around for hundreds of miles.”

As they crept closer to the window sill they swept the light for any sign of a Tashan lying on the floor. There in the very corner was what they sought. Korgan went over and picked it up and held it for Bart to see, a smile of success beaming from his expression.

“What the…”

Korgan abruptly fell to the floor and was being dragged with increasing velocity down the school hallway as he screamed and then disappeared into the darkness.

“Holy shit,” jumped Bart in shock. He listened and called for Korgan but only the ever increasing sound of wailing could be heard. That certainly wasn’t Korgan.

Bart started to go after Korgan when the floor gave way and sent him plummeting down to a hard landing on the first floor. He could feel the surge of blood and pain as his leg impacted into itself and buckled up.

“Aiiiyeee,” he groaned and then shouted for Korgan. But instead of hearing Korgan’s voice in the distance, he heard something much more troubling. Something was crawling towards him and either there were a lot of them or it was large.

Cold sweat beaded up from his forehead and dribbled down his face as he lurched and drug himself toward the front door with the sounds of crawling intensifying behind him.

Somewhere in his deepest recesses he conjured up the strength and determination to drag himself across the compound and up over the Iron Gate to safety.

A coordinated search of the compound turned up no signs of Korgan and the police agency shook their head over the brother’s stupidity to go in there at all.

Four months slipped quietly by after Korgan’s disappearance and the nightmare was just fading from Bart’s memory as he wound his way up the pitted cement stairwell and into his apartment. With his eyes adapted to the light he noticed something on his prized ironwood table. There, lying in the middle of the table was a Tashan made from willow.


Nessa said...

Went to see you.

Poor Tuesday

monica said...

uh uh - "holy crap" would be a good comment...

Mrsupole said...

Creepy, creepy, creepy. Is there more? And you wonder why I never sleep.

God bless.