Story Time: The Bells

Hello and welcome to our first story blog for this site! Since it is October and Halloween is going to be here in a week, our stories are going to reflect that spooky theme which many of us love! I caution you though, if you are against gore and things that go bump in the night, be wary as you read. We hope the rest of you will enjoy every second. So without further ado, we bring you our first story by Gwen Cosmos.

The Bells

Warning:  Graphic Violence (PG-13 Rated)

Gwen Cosmos

       The apartment was unusually empty. She was used to the sounds of the water running in the shower, of humming drifting from his desk, the smell of his cologne, and most of all, she missed his touch. The way he would walk up behind her and wrap his arms around her. The way he would whisper in her ear, so close it would tickle. She shut her eyes imagining it, and then that horrible word, “Bells,” whispered in her ear, “I hear such pretty bells.”

           A knock from the door made her jump and brought her back to the present. She made her way to the door and opened it to a man in a long black coat, “Hello ma’am.” He said, “I’m Detective Gregory.” He flashed the badge.

         “I’m Clara.” She opened the door wider to let him in.

         “A nice place you’ve got here.” He said as he surveyed the room with its blue walls and dark couches, “It seems very homey.” She smiled politely and watched as Detective Gregory pulled out a note pad and a stubby pencil. “So your boyfriend, Matthew Knox, is missing.” He looked over his notes, “You saw him last night?”

          She nodded.

         “Had he been acting strangely?”

         “Sort of,” She said, “but he was sick.”

         “What kind of illness?”

         She shrugged, “It made him feverish.” She said recalling last night, “And it came on him suddenly.” She looked up at the detective.

         “What exactly did he do that was strange?”

        She shuddered as she remembered, “We were walking to the car from the October Carnival” she explained, “They were closing down early, due to the nine missing men.” She glanced at him looking for anything and continued, “We were getting into the car when he just froze. His eyes looked clouded, unfocused. Suddenly, he began to walk away and I went after him to stop him.” Another shudder went through her, “When I touched him, he was hot and sweating, even though the evening was cool. He had been fine a moment earlier.” She shook her head, “I hope he’s alright.”

         Gregory patted her shoulder, “Was there anything else? Did he say something?”

         She nearly choked as she spat out the words, “He said something about pretty bells.”

         “One last thing,” Gregory said, “Do you have a picture I can use for the report?”

         She nodded and went into the bedroom where there was a framed picture of them together. It was her favorite picture. She handed it to the Detective who looked at it as if trying to engrain the picture into his memory. “Thank you, we will let you know of any changes.” Quietly he left, the door barely making a sound as it closed behind him.

      That night she couldn’t sleep. Nightmares sprang up every time she closed her eyes; Matthew’s face with that far off look and then the constant ringing of bells. She woke up in a sweat, shivering. She couldn’t stop thinking of him. Where was he? What had happened? Was he even alive? She forced herself not to think of that last one. She needed hope.

      After a while she reached for her laptop and turned it on. As the search engine came up she started thinking about the other men. What were their stories? She typed in the search bar and up sprang all the news articles she could ever hope for. She clicked on one and it opened with a video clip of an interview with one of the girlfriends of the missing men.

         Her face was tear stained and her blond hair was limp on her head as she spoke, her voice husky, “It doesn’t make sense.” She said, “He’s not the type of man who would just walk away.”

         “Why then did he leave?” the reporter asked, “There is footage of him walking out your door.”

         “I…I…” she stuttered her tears spilling over, “I don’t know, all he said was that he heard bells.” She swiped at her eyes.

         “You think bells took your husband away?” The doubt in the interviewer’s voice was apparent as he continued, “Maybe there was another reason? Maybe he broke up with you and now your mind has made up this story.”

         She grit her teeth, “I am not crazy.”

         “Sure.” The reporter said, “But there was no one outside your house, ringing bells.”

         The clip ended and she went on looking through other articles. Each slightly different, but they all seemed to have one element that was similar, the bells.

         She closed the computer and thought about what she had just read. There was a pattern here. She reached for the card that Detective Gregory had given her. She contemplated calling, but something in her mind told her to find more proof.

        She got up and got dressed. Checking the clock, she saw with a shock, it was six in the morning. She stretched and made her way to the kitchen. She made breakfast and took her time eating it. When she was finished it was eight o’clock. Washing the dishes, she decided she needed to buy a map of the city. She made a mental list of all the things she would need.

        After she placed the final dish in the dishwasher, she grabbed her jacket and her keys. She locked the door behind her then made her way down the steps to the parking lot. Her car roared to life and she made her way to the department store.

       When she got there the doors were just opening. She made her way inside grabbing a map, some tape, sticky notes, and pens. She walked to the check out where the woman scanned the objects with a yawn. Clara flashed her credit card, signed, and grabbing the bag walked out of the store.

        She made a few more trips to other stores and by then the sun was high up in the crystal blue sky. The air cool on her skin as she made her way to the car. She got her keys out and hit the unlock button. The car beeped and she placed her things on the back seat.

      Ringing echoed around the parking lot which made her spin around. Her heart beating against her ribcage as she followed after it. It was coming from the entrance to the alleyway between stores. She reached the entrance, but found no one inside. The ringing continued. She looked around as she forced herself to move in further. Something wasn’t right.

         The sound intensified and she felt something hard hit her head. The sound of bells clattering on the ground. Grubby hands grabbed at her purse, and she yanked back hard. She turned to face her attacker only to found a little girl, dirty and hungry looking.

         With a yank Clara pulled the purse out of the girl’s grasp. “Wait.” She said as the girl turned to run away, “Here.” She rummaged through her bag and pulled out a ten-dollar bill, “Buy some food for yourself.”

         The girl snatched it without a thank you and ran off. Clara moved to go back when her foot rattled the discarded bells. She picked them up and shook them, their sweet magical sound echoing throughout the alley. She stuffed them into her pocket, thoughtfully, and went home.

         When she made it inside her apartment she cleared a wall and taped up the map. It took her the rest of the day, but she printed out the pictures of the abducted men. By the time she was done it was dark outside.

        The next day she looked up the addresses of each abduction site and where each man lived. As she found the addresses she pinned them to the map with a sticky note to tell whether it was his home or his abduction site. The days went by and she learned their routines and a pattern emerged.  All the men were abducted from different locations, but she couldn’t help but notice they circled only one thing. Grave Yard Street. The street where a cemetery, a crematorium, and a funeral home all existed together. Any other buildings on the street were abandoned.

        She shivered as she realized what it must mean. She grabbed her phone and dialed, Detective Gregory.

        “Yea?” he answered.

       “Detective Gregory, I’ve found something that I think you should look at.” She snapped a picture and sent it to him.

        “Graveyard street.” He muttered.

        “That’s the center of where all the men were kidnapped.” She said, her blood pumping.

        He let out a sigh, “Look, Clara, Graveyard street was the first place we looked. There was nothing there.”

       Her heart fell, “Can’t you look again?”

       “I’m sorry, Clara.”

       “No!” she yelled into the phone.

      “Good-night Clara.” The line went dead and she tossed her phone away. It landed on the couch as she slipped to the floor. Tears falling from her eyes. Matthew was never coming back, she finally told herself. He was gone.

        She shook as she cried. The loss dug itself deep, until all she could do was crawl into bed and cry herself to sleep.

         She awoke to moonlight engulfing her. The sound of its song ringing in her ears, like pretty little bells. She smiled dreamily as she got up, walked to the window, and opened it. The cool breeze hit her face as she dreamily looked over her street. It was the perfect night for a walk. She put on some shoes and practically glided out the door.

          She moved down the street, this mysterious moonlight song guiding her. She couldn’t remember what it was that had made her so upset earlier. She couldn’t understand it. Life was wonderful. She practically skipped along as she reached the deserted street. It was one she knew well. It had been on her map.

       A giggle escaped her lips as she sauntered down the sidewalk. The music ever present as she moved. The bells jingled in her pocket and suddenly the music turned faint. She turned to the building she was standing next to and opened the door. Her smile returned as the music blasted into her mind, crystal clear.

       The place was dark and empty, except for the moonbeams streaming through the high windows. She spun inside happily to the music. There was something slick on the floor. She giggled as she almost fell. Something wet dripped on her face and she giggled again. It felt like rain.

        The music kept moving and she followed. There were piles of something on the side, that she didn’t really pay attention to, but they looked familiar. What does it matter? She told herself and continued dancing along to the music. Down a corridor, the stuff on the floor growing thicker and the rain falling harder. She slowed to a walk as she turned the corner and the music stopped.

     Her eyes opened, and she saw that it wasn’t rain that was falling on her but blood, crimson and thick. She tilted her head back and screamed.

    Hanging from the rafters were bodies. People she had never seen before and some from pictures. She looked down at the floor and saw the blood slick across the entire floor. It was on her clothes, in her hair, on her skin. She gagged and a cackle came from behind her and the music started again.

      A dreamy smile spread across her lips once more. She lifted her hands until they were stained red, and licked the blood, like sugar, off her fingers. A bloody smile as she spied the woman who created the music.

       “Clara.” The woman said, stepping closer. Something was in her hand, beating. “I called the others, but they couldn’t hear it.” She handed the pulsing thing to her, “Eat this, my dear, and you will be like me.”

       Greedily she bit into the raw flesh. Warm blood flowed out as she chewed. The pulsing eventually stopping. She wanted more.

       “That’s right, Clara, eat all of it. Fill your belly with the love embedded in it.”

       She didn’t stop until she had eaten the whole thing. When it was gone she felt dizzy and fell over. But the woman was there to catch her, “That’s right, Clara, sleep. When you awake you will be just like me.” She chuckled and the world went black.

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