Monday, September 30, 2013

Halloween Stories: Part XV

We received a lot of stories for our Halloween Hunt Writing Contest, and from September 16th we're publishing one each day until October 6th - when the Winner's story opens as a hunt!

Read them all and stay curious.. whose story got turned into the hunt?

The stories released are unedited and pasted as submitted to us.
- Kiana -

Today's story is by Kahleesi Wolfbane and it's called

The Secret of Death Row Island 


This is the first thing that greets me as I arrive at the island. No contact has been received now for 17 days. This is why I have been sent. Whatever the reason for the silence, I know it's not going to be good. I'm aware they chose me because they needed someone who could find answers to the secrets of the island, whatever it took.

There are places in life that you feel you would never wish to go and also places that are so bad that they could never be imagined. This is one of those places. The tang of despair hangs in the air and the smell of decay pervades my nostrils. Death Row Island; a life sentence for the most evil of convicts but also for the unfortunate citizens destined to make a living working here.

As I gaze around the emptiness of Death Row, I feel the chill of the salt air and a hear a mingle of voices whose words I can't distinguish on the breeze, these are not the voices of the living but echoes of the dead. I decide it would be unwise to continue without my luggage but on returning to the boat I see that some pesky seagulls have picked and pulled at my satchel and it takes me a moment to collect the things I need: chalk to draw magic circles, vials of blood, a sharp knife, my spell book, animal bones and wine.

I am a necromancer. This means I can raise the dead, either by summoning their spirit as an apparition or by raising them bodily. I prefer to raise their bodies, the eye can often detect things about the dead which cannot be heard in a voice. The dead have the means to foretell future events or to impart hidden knowledge. So this is my mission, to uncover the secrets hidden at Death Row Island...or to die trying.

An unkindness of ravens eye me suspiciously as I walk into the village and I'm thankful it's not a murder of crows. The irony of that would have raised the hairs on the back of my neck. I shout, "hello?" and hear my voice rebounding back at me off the surrounding cliffs. It seems no-one is here, or if they are, they're not keen to make their presence known.

I take out a stick of charcoal and draw a symbol of safety and protection on my arm. As I finish the last detail, I catch a smell of burning embers and rotting bodies on the wind, I decide to follow the scent and see where it leads me.

I enter a house to my right with a lighthouse attached wondering if I might get a chance to gain a view across the island. What I see there makes me gag on sight, a skeletal figure is rotting on the ground. The stages of his decay let me know that he has been there some time. His skin has been nibbled by vermin and his clothes are in tatters, his face has begun to rot to the skull and his nose is battered into an unrecognisable snub. Blood stains smatter the carpet, there is a rope around him and he is blindfolded with a metal cuff on one of his wrists. What I see next causes a cold chill to descend through my bones, behind him in blood on a table there is a piece of paper and written in blood are two desperate me!

I get to work quickly, using my charcoal to draw a circle of power. I rub ground animal bones on to him and begin to chant, waving my cross on its rope and saying the names of the ancient spirits. The candle lit circle tremors with power and the man slowly rises as though he has been seated for a long time on a chair at the airport.

As I remove his blindfold a few stray maggots tumble from the empty sockets. As his body lifts, it sways a little and his eyes look around confused before he shouts "Gotta run, quick...he's coming!" I hold his shoulders to support him, ignoring the squelching flesh beneath my fingers. "Who?" I ask. A shocked expression passes his face, "him" he replies raising a skeletal arm and pointing over my shoulder. For a moment, I turn horrified, convinced I'm going to come face to face with a demon or some evil monster but there is nothing but a poster on the wall behind me. "Boat's broken." He grips my wrist in a painful vice. "How did you get here? We must leave, he's coming." He tries to take a step towards the entrance of the house. His feet are unsteady and for the first time he glances down at his body. "W..wh..wha..who..what's happened to me?" I keep my voice calm and say, "Think. It's all in your memory, all you need to do is remember. I need you to tell me what happened here?"

"I was running, they wanted to take me and put me in the chair, they said I was bad because I didn't want to be improved. I like who I am, they said I needed to be shown the error of my ways. I was blindfolded and then..." He clutched his heart, and to this day, I have never seen this or anything similar happen again, he just collapsed in a rubble of bones, like he was having a heart attack. Maybe the memory was too much for him? I guess I'll never know. I'm left baffled and confused, staring at the face on the poster of a Dog Faced Man and wondering what on earth that has to do with anything.

I decide the best place to begin is a huge building that looms above me on the cliff. It was the main prison on the island for convicts and I wonder if there are still any convicts in the cells. The worst of the worst were sent to this island to keep them away from the rest of civilisation. I enter the prison called DRD and my mind fills in some blanks and comes up with 'Dread'. I know that I am dreading my next few steps. I don't want to come face to face with the person the blindfolded man was trying to escape from.

I walk past some metal wings of eternal darkness, a bullet belt, chrono fangs and horns; I wonder what sort of punishment the prison guards used to dish out. I head down towards the cells and explore. The scene around me is one of total chaos and destruction, the prison is looking more like a mental hospital than a place of incarceration. Instruments of torture, pickled brains and organs decorate the rooms. Broken wheelchairs and stilts litter the floor. In one room there is a metal body cage and a scary device that looks like it cuts into scalps. It's definitely the den of someone into anatomy and dissecting people. I wonder whether the victims truly deserved it or if this is the workings of a really sick mind. Thankfully the basement is full of plenty of victims for me to reanimate. I choose to reanimate a woman lying on a table. I draw my magic circle, begin to chant and feel the power coming to me. I splash her body with goats blood and sprinkle some ground animal bones as I repeat my words calling her to awaken. "I'll do anything!" She leaps right up, high into the air and runs around. I think to myself that I've never had such an active awakening before. I look away while she rearranges her nightdress. "I want to go to the hanging tree, please, I'd rather that than this!" I have a feeling she doesn't know what 'this' is. "I don't want to be improved" she carries on, "I'm happy as I am and I swear that I never did anything wrong. I wasn't part of the drugs den and I just ran a business in the town to be near my husband." She looks at me imploringly. Suddenly I know the right thing to do, "yes, that's right" I agree with her, "you did nothing wrong, I know, I know, you're going to be fine, you've got nothing to worry about. Now go back to sleep my Dear." She meekly climbs back on to the table and closes her eyes and goes back to sleep. I look round the final few rooms and I'm drawing my investigation there to a close when I trip on what appears to be a water pipe. Suddenly red liquid cakes the walls. In no time at all, I realise it is blood! I ignore the teeth marks that make it look like people have been nibbling on the surgical curtains and start fiddling with the valves. They're all connected together and all I have to do is get the right combination so that it stops leaking. By the time I've succeeded I'm covered in blood and scared I'll be bright red for life. "You know that Necromancer?"

" Who?"

" The Tomato one!"

It doesn't even bear thinking about!

I decide to look for a house to clean myself up in. I find a farmhouse and quickly scrub myself clean before cooking some bacon and hot dogs and settling down on the sofa. The smell of the hookah fills my nostrils and I am so tempted to indulge in some after the terrible morning I've had. I wander around to see if I can find a calmer room and stumble upon a dead body. I decide that I still need more help to fill in the missing pieces. It's an old man. He gets up grouchily and looks at me crossly. He asks if I've arrived to buy some drugs and I assure him I haven't. He tells me that the man who controls the island will be back soon and lives in this farmhouse. I quickly decide I should be on the outside looking in rather than the inside looking out. The old man is full of sayings and proverbs and our whole conversation reminds me of visiting my Nan in a nursing home. I can't help thinking it's a shame they'll never meet as I think they'd get on. He tells me how people were being accused of drug dealing but the man, who he will not name, knew that he was the cause of it all. I wonder if he's seen Harry Potter. He also informs me that people were regularly put on trial in the square if they refused to go for the prison for rehabilitation or improvement lessons. He said it was a way of publically demonstrating what happened if you did not so as you were told. He told me his soul had been stuck in limbo and that he would not rest until the chair in the town centre was fixed. He was the caretaker for the island and had died feeling that his mission was incomplete. I promised to do it straight away. As I lay him back down and closed his eyes, he pressed a piece of paper into my hand, telling me it would be useful. On the piece of paper were the words 'Cocaine Tussock.' Afterwards he said, 'All's well that ends well' and fell silent.

I set off into the town to see if I can do anything about the broken electric chair. The chair is wired up by a strange system. There are four different wires of different colours. There are four pictures on one side; a bird in a hand, two heads, hay and a pen - and four on the other; a sun, two birds in a bush, two heads and a sword. It is obvious that I have to connect the wires to the pictures but I am baffled as to which ones go where. Soon I realise they are proverbs - two heads are better than one, make hay while the sun shines, the pen is mightier than the sword and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Now I only had the issue of the wires. The four pictures on the right have numbers after them - 8, 4, 2 and 6. I soon realise that 2 is for the thinnest wire and 8 is for the thickest. In no time at all my job is done and the chair is restored to working order. As I walk away, I feel sure that I sense the old man's spirit sigh and leave the island.

Next to the farmhouse is an outhouse, a picture of Che Guevara is emblazoned on the side. I enter cautiously and realise that I'm in some kind of filming studio and I know just what sort of pictures they make here. It's not long before curiosity gets the better of me and I want to watch a DVD to see what it's all about. I peruse the collection but they're all just a list of dates, without any titles. I choose one at random and try to play it. To my annoyance the machine won't work. Spurred on by the success of my previous DIY I have a look at the controls and realise it's just a matter of making sure all the same numbers in the grid touch each other. When I rotate a dial, all the numbers on the adjacent sides to that dial need to be the same. I play with it until it works and then recline on the bed in rather bad taste to watch. Rather than a raunchy video that I am expecting, it starts with a girl mouthing 'help' in the direction of the camera and is swiftly followed by images of vile brutality. Something in me feels compelled to learn more and keep watching, in case it's important, but the truth is, I am sickened. Not only is the girl cut up but then the perpetrator, wearing a skull mask to hide his identity, proceeds to attach various things to her arms and make additions to her existing bone structure. I turn the DVD off and as I do, I spot a photo under some books. I pick it up and at that moment, I don't know what comes over me, there is a loud banging noise of something caught in the wind and maybe I'm feeling ashamed about my DVD moment because my hands shake and rip the photo. The wind catches the pieces and inconveniently spreads them around all the little business huts out the front. I spend the next hour looking for them and when I am done, I am presented with a rather strange photo of the room; the man in the skull mask is by the bed, starring directly into the lamp bulb.

As I head up to the prison watchtower I see that it is linked to the tannoy system which runs throughout the island. It must've been the main base that they used when they first felt that something was wrong on the island. There aren't any people to be seen but I acquire a nice pair of binoculars which I decide will be helpful to avoid any distant danger. I'm just about to head back down, when I notice a photo album lying on the ground. As I pick it up, the photos come cascading out and litter the floor. I sift back through them. Each page has a title and then a slot for the missing photo. I sit down and work my way through it, putting the photos into the places that I can identify that they came from. Each photo seems to have been taken from an obscure angle; they are not obvious shots of the island. I reach the final page and slot a red velvet rope shot into the empty 'church' slot when the book opens to reveal one last image. I peer at the image confused. It is a shot of the lighthouse from the watch tower but looming out from behind the tower is a face. The face is at an impossible angle, right up near the light, it seems improbable for a human to be up there without support. I'm just on the tangent of wondering if it's a vampire when a new thought hits me...the photograph has been taken during the day.

I head across to the graveyard. I've always felt at home around graves. Much of my work involves the recently deceased and although this task is a particularly horrific job, sometimes I can get a thrill from seeing people reunited with their loved ones for that final hug, kiss and reassurance or maybe to finally share some heart-felt sentiments and words that went unsaid. I stroke the gravestones clean and read the dates and names of the deceased. I play a little game with myself, seeing how fast I can work out the ages of the victims. I run from one grave to the next touching them in order and when I have the order correct from young to old, I sit down puffing heavily, wondering why I always find menial tasks which distract me from the job at hand. I enter the church wondering if I will be greeted with people praying for their lives and I see my next victim. It is a recently deceased man, still in his coffin. I guess that no-one got around to burying him in all the madness of whatever has been going on. I get my candles out and start drawing up a magic circle. I chant my words of power and pour some blood onto his forehead. I wave my cross over his body but before I even begin the awakening, his eyes flick open and stare at me with black unwavering pupils. He's soon bolt upright with speed and staring me in the face. "For goodness sake man, what do you think you're doing?" he roars at me. I'm used to negative reactions so I state clearly, "I'm raising you from the dead of course, performing an awakening, I'm..." before I can finish he cuts me off with his next words, "...but I am awake you idiot! I'm the undead, I'm permanently awake!" I redden with embarrassment realising the error of my actions. "I'm incredibly sorry Sir" I stumble.

"I should think so but what are you doing here? I thought the last living human had gone a couple of weeks ago. I haven't seen anyone in ages." I fill him in on my investigations and ask him what has been happening on the island. I feel a sense of relief to have finally met someone useful. He tells me that even he is scared to go out anymore. I find that impossibly difficult to believe, yet I can sense he is telling the truth. His reason is 'a big black super vampire that is sweeping over the island with red-glowing eyes, hounding and picking off the residents one by one'. He says he can't guarantee it's a vampire because luckily he's never got close enough to examine it but that there is something human about the creature. I ask if I can rely on him to help. He tells me that it depends on the time of year and how full the moon is; apparently this creature likes the full moon, although he assures me a flying werewolf is out of the question. We settle on a deal, if the moon is not too full and the stars burning brightest will not be Corvus or Ursula Major then he will help me with my mission. He starts getting flustered and says the light is low enough for him to give his wings a stretch. He tells me that if I hear him scream or cry out in pain I must stay hidden or it could spell death for both of us. I have a very bad feeling about this, how bad could a creature be that even a vampire is scared of it? I realise I don't have my moon chart with me and shout out behind him, "how will I know? How will I know which stars are in evidence?" He makes some strange movements with his wings. To begin with I worry that he's having a fit and is about to drop from the sky, but then when I look at the positions of the wings and the way he is holding them, I am suddenly aware that he is communicating with me in semaphore and the word he is spelling out reads t-e-l-e-s-c-o-p-e.

I hunt the island and I soon find a vintage telescope next to an old dumped television and a whole host of strange umbrellas. It's as though someone was practising flying or trying to get blown away. I look through the telescope realising that I don't have a clue what I'm looking for. I soon give up and glance down at the ground. Near my feet I notice a message, it reads:

For those who are weary of heart,

don't give up and be in the dark,

go to the place,

with the double face,

one has fallen fair of face,

they both have no eyes or mouth

but don't be in doubt...all they need is their hands.

I think to myself what has a face and hands but no eyes or mouth? Pretty soon I'm running back to the town and heading for the clock. When I get there, to my horror I realise that not only is it November and I could swear I'd begun my voyage in October but also the stars that will be brightest are exactly the ones that the vampire refused to help me around. I begin to wonder whether every creature on the island is conspiring against me.

Just as I'm thinking it's a double blow, I spy two pieces of paper; one reads 'Luna' and the other reads 'November.' I think to myself and don't I just know it! I look for some entertainment to cheer myself up and head up the hillside.

After I have visited a place called 'Plumpscuttles Peculiars', I wish that I'd heeded the notice that read 'you are advised to bring a change of trousers', as I soon find myself heading down the track and stumbling in to a building called Redrum Store. The building is guarded by a couple of werewolves and for some reason a fake reindeer but nothing surprises me on this island anymore. I feel embarrassed weaving my way past the werewolves but I remind myself that they will be naked once they transform back and I'm sure that if I threatened to hang around and catch them in that state that they would soon leave me alone. As it happens they don't seem the slightest bit interested in me and I'm allowed to pass.

When I enter the store, everything seems normal...there's a good range of clothing and as no shop assistants are in sight I rake happily amongst the items looking for something to enhance my grunge image. I discard my 'used' trousers and enjoy the feeling and the smell of brand new clothing. I walk around a bit, checking the fit, until my eyes take in a curious sight. In glass cabinets around the room are preserved bodies. I move nearer the glass, taking in the oddity. The bodies float and defy gravity, yet nothing is holding them up. I wonder what is contained within the glass, whether it was a special type of gas or invisible preservative. I flinch as a face surprises me on the other side of the glass cabinet. "Won't last long round here" he growls. I decide showing fear would be a mistake and puff out my chest. "Well I've done alright so far!" I retort. "Well that's 'til he sees you...then you'll become his latest conquest no doubt." he sneers back at me. " come he's left you alone?" I question, deciding I'd better find out what their survival strategy has been; provided it doesn't involve me growing a tail and getting furry, I should be alright. "We allow him the use of our premises to do his experiments and you are admiring some of his results. Not just into torture you know, he's fascinated by the human body too." I'm about to ask more questions, when he scratches himself viciously and walks off. I follow him out but by the time I reach the front of the store I'm just left standing with the plastic reindeer. Looking down I see caught on one of his antlers is the word 'antler'. How appropriate I mutter and add the paper to my collection. I decide to do one final sweep of the store and then to return back up the hill and to the carnival which I spied just beyond the terror that was Plumpscuttle's Peculiars!

It turns out Redrum has an underground section. I follow the stairs round and down to stone cellar. Immediately I see what the werewolf was referring to. There in front of me is an operating table which looks like it has seen recent use. To my left I see a dead person in the corner, his body is covered in scratches and he has toadstools protruding from the location where his head should've been. I decide it is likely a werewolf ripped his head off and the fungus has grown in its place but I begin to doubt how reliable the werewolves are. The centre piece of the room is another glass cabinet which sadly houses some skeletons who seem to be the result of a failed experiment or operation. It reminds me of Snow White gone wrong or Romeo and Juliet. The skeletons lie back to back, imprisoned in their glass tomb. Beyond them is a skeleton so brutalised that even the bones are stained red. On the floor of the cellar there are bones strewn around and various footprints. I quickly set to work matching up the bones to the correct animal and their footprint. Pretty soon I am sure I have collected a set of fox, wolf, deer and bear bones but the oddest thing is the bones that remain leftover...a collection of human bones. Okay so that's not strange but the extraordinary part was that the arms were human and yet not; they had some kind of deformity stretching out of them. As I turn to leave, mulling over the peculiar bones, I see a piece of paper near the blood smattered bones and it reads 'Blood vein', two words which combined together make my skin crawl.

As I enter the fairground I am greeted with a strange array of posters proclaiming, 'Nellie the Dog Child' and 'Professor Fenster' (who appears to have octopus tentacles proudly sprouting from his body). The smell of stale soup and curdled milk thickens the air and I quickly run back down to a store to collect a mask to protect me from the repulsive odours.

I am reluctant to return. I notice a sign pointing towards toilets in the distance and wonder if I'll be paying them a visit. That's if I'm even brave enough to enter and experience the hellish delights the doors are sure to conceal.

I spot more of those hideous electrocution chairs but to my delight I also spy an endearing little theatre. I pull a few poses, trying to pretend to myself that I am not here on business and that I haven't witnessed so many horrors in the past few hours.

I'm not even close to fooling myself and suddenly I feel I am mimicking the poses of death rather than entertaining myself. That's when I hear it...a moaning sound and the occasional roar. I think for a moment that maybe this is Jurassic Park and not a fairground after all. Then I spot them...two caged monsters! The first is almost human but he has visible veins covering the surface of his skin. His back is matted with hair but worst of all is his stub tail and a foot protruding from his bottom. He stands short and squat on two legs. In the cage beside him is a snake but far from tormenting each other they seem to be seated in companionable silence. The monster has a face like a dragon with sharp teeth perfect for ripping flesh and as I approach he lets loose an almighty ROOOAAAARRR while the snake lunges forwards and hisses in unison.

I see another scrap of paper but its right in the reach of the snake. I try to make it out the writing but I can't and I'm not keen to feel the force of its angry jaws around my wrist. There's a partition in the cage and I realise that if I solve the lock I'll be able to move it slowly across and trap them away from the paper. On the lock I see roman numerals and then 12 pictures...rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. I smile a knowing smile and think back to my early days as an apprentice when it was important to know the order of the Chinese new years...I remember how the animals had a race across the river to see who should be first and the strong ox was in the lead but at the last moment the crafty rat climbed up his nose and jumped on to the shore. I quickly rearrange the symbols so that the rat is next to the 'I' and gingerly I slide the partition across. I reach down and pick up the scrap of paper, it has the word 'mouse' written on it, which I decide must have been a coded clue to help the owner of the cage to remember the order of the animals.

Upon turning round I am faced with the second of the two monsters. This one looks more human than the first but he is totally covered in boils, to the point where they are bulging out the place where his eyes would once have been. His neck is non-existent, layers of boils and tumorous lumps hang uselessly from his face, his hands resemble clubs and belly is swollen and covered with pustulating abscesses, boils and crusty scabs. I consider handing him a stick to write or draw pictures for me but I soon realise his hands can't possibly grip it. How am I going to find out what went on here? Obviously he was part of a Freak Show but he must know something about the recent events that have taken place and there's no way I'm going back near the roaring of the caged beast opposite.

I sit down to ponder my options and there is the answer, hanging up high on a carousel. A girl with a red dress, swaying from a rope in the breeze.

I draw my circle of magic on the floor beneath her and trace the lines with red wine, I throw crushed animal bones skyward and swing my cross as I chant the names of the spirits.

"Daddy!" she shrieks. I look around but no it can only be me. "No I'm a necromancer, I'm afraid." I reply tentatively. "Mummy!" she tries again confused. Then she looks over my shoulder and says, "oh poor Chunk, no-one been giving him his milk bath." I realise she must be talking about the large guy with the swinging skin so I decide this is a good direction to take the conversation along. "Yes he's not looking too good today but I heard that...(I pause for effect) ummm...What's his name?" "Atlas?" she asks. "YES! Atlas! I heard that Atlas couldn't come by today." I watch her visibly relax. "Well, thats' a relief...those awful things he does...said he could cure all of us...when I first arrived he said 'Nellie, it won't always be this way, you won't always look like a dog'." She catches my shocked expression. "Hahaha...thats just it...I was a dog...well I was a dog-faced girl. He told me he could fix it, experimented on me, same as the others. He said 'one day you'll have wings girl, you'll fly, you're gonna soar. You'll be beautiful, a work of art.' But I always knew that it was ridiculous. Couldn't take it no more, Fesser broke me out of my cage with his tentacles but when I saw the fate that he suffered, I climbed up here myself. Would much rather be dead than subject to all that mutilating. Wasn't going to have my body cut to pieces for nobody, cure or no cure." I want to tell her that her face has rotted and that she no longer has a dog face anymore but I'm unsure how to progress.

"Nellie" I say quickly, realising that she should already have faded by now. "Where is Atlas? How can I find him? I need your help. Where would he be?"

"I never escaped from here" she says, "I was always locked up round here, or on a chain in the carnival, I never got to see out there." My body slumps exhausted. "Oh but I'll tell ya what! When Fesser came to break me free, he had the key to Atlas' secret diary. I'm sure you'll find all the answers in there! He left it with Chunk." I look across at Chunk wondering how to get him to move. There doesn't seem to be any helpful partition on his cage. "Nellie, what do I do? How to I move Chunk? Is he dangerous? Can I trust him? Help me?" She starts to fade and I clutch at her, she looks into the distance, somewhere far off that I can't see, and smiles. I just catch her last breath "feed him clothes and milk bath."

Looking around I realise that ice-cream is made from milk. I remember queuing in the heat of the summer for a Mister Whippy ice-cream and then waiting another decade while the prepubescent youth struggled with the top of the machine to refill it. I'm in luck, I see the milk churn lying against the van. I'm reluctant to get Chunk out of his cage so I find a brush near the toilets and set to work rubbing Chunk's body with the milk. The moment it touches his skin, he lets out a 'mmmmmm' and 'ahhh' and the awful moaning stops. He looks soothed and calm and he rolls around in the little space there is in his cage, allowing me to pick up a piece of paper reading 'Grease' and a small silver key. I decide to do Chunk a favour and leave the milk within his reach as I'm uncertain when my next visit will be or how long he'll have to wait until I can get help to arrive.

I already know where to head with my little treasure. I run down the hillside, batting off some ravens who have taken all too keen an interest in my silverware and head for the hut near the dock. In there I see a small cage, which I now realise must have been for humans; a place of capture and torture. I look around the room, taking in the pills, blueprint on the wall, mattress festering on the floor and the computer set up for games. Then I spy it, the book I'm looking for. I insert the key and apprehensively open the book. My initial spirits are dampened as I realise that I can only get so far. I see that I'm on the page that all of the pieces of paper have been torn from. In scruffy handwriting above the gaps it reads 'Password Clue'. I look at the pieces of paper - Grease, Mouse , Cocaine Tussock, Luna, November, Antler and Blood Vein and I think to what do all of these have in common?

Then it hits me, I can't believe I'd never noticed the clues before. I know exactly what Atlas was up to. I look at the inner dial with its 5 spaces to turn the letters and make a word. I take a deep breath and enter the letters M-O-T-H-S. I watch in delight as with ease the dials rotate and the book opens.

Nellie was wrong though, this isn't a diary of his secrets, it's a manual all about moths. I see his maniac scribblings, places where he has recorded his attempts to turn people into moths marked against the diagrams and moth facts. Then the last part interests me, it's a manual called 'How to Catch Moths'.

I read it carefully:

Flight Interception Trap

Step 1: Find a large cylindrical container

Step 2: Fill with alcohol as bait

Step 3: Line the surface with detergent so the moth breaks the surface tension and sinks

Step 4: Illuminate the area to attract moths

Step 5: Play a nice sound or vibration to draw the moth near - they like acoustic communication

I tell myself a mental 'Step 6: Find a large cloth to cover the cylinder'. This was going to be a very large moth that I didn't wish to escape!

Initially I think of the water tank and what a great size that would be but I worry about its distance from the lighthouse and so I settle on finding some work tools and cutting off the roof of the disused train carriage. Cutting into the top of the train produces some heart-warming sparks and I find myself humming Flash Dance as I work. Next is an enduring test of strength and stamina. I have to roll the barrels and carry the crates of beer from the farmhouse up a ramp I made with planks and tip them into their final resting place in the carriage. I think about how any man would relish the chance for a beer bath and laugh to myself that beer will be the bait. Finding detergent is my hardest task, it doesn't seem like anything on this island has been cleaned for years. I visit the cliff top and move the organ down to the railway track. I go up to the lighthouse and sabotage the levers making sure that the light can only shine in one direction and that location is the train carriage. I place every mirror I can find around the edges of the trap so that the carriage is aglow in a dazzling spot light. Finally I retrieve a large sail that has been abandoned at the dock. Now all I need to do is wait for the full moon to rise...

As the moon rises I seat myself at the organ. I am used to the strange, eerie and sublime so I feel excited that tonight will be my last great push to solve the mystery of the island and get back home. I twist on my stool looking up into the night air as I play the few notes I know of Chopin's funeral march. I play them repeatedly hoping that my moth is drawn to its ominous tune tonight. I feel the tension mounting and know that I must be getting close as bats turn up to munch on the night time insects that seem to be flocking and arriving at my bug ball.

Suddenly a shadow is cast over me from above, I twist my head trying to catch a glimpse of the cause and all the while listening optimistically for a nearby 'plop'. As the light is cut again I look up and get my first look at the beast that is sweeping towards me. Silhouetted against the night sky is a man with what appears to be 10ft wings. His eyes are glowing red, a skull shape glistens on his body and he has a long proboscis feeling out the night air. As he swoops over me I feel jubilant that he is heading towards my trap but to my horror, my organ playing seems to have worked a little too well. He sucks me up with his long proboscis and swoops us both off into the night. We swerve around the island and I feel my clothes begin to disintegrate and get moth eaten on our travel. I refuse to think about the sensation his proboscis will create against my skin and I begin to look for an escape route; if I'm not quick to react I will be joining him in his alcoholic grave. I feel in my pockets for a weapon. Just when I'm going to have to give up, I feel the lighter from the bong. Realising my timing is going to be everything, as he swoops and dives in the light, I reach up and burn his wings. He drops me on the hill by the lighthouse as he carries on down to the carriage. He teeters for a bit confused and then crawls up and in to the beer filled carriage. For a moment I watch as his claw lined wings flounder around the entrance and I brace myself for his re-emergence but he no longer reappears. Walking steadily over to the sail, I flap it up over the top of the carriage and lay him to rest in his intoxicated state. I think to myself, he lived life with drugs and now he will die with drugs. I wonder what people will think of my story when I retell it and whether they'll be disappointed that I killed a moth man. I spend a few minutes of silence, in respect for the dead; those who died so that he could run his experiments into flying people. Then I summon a magic portal and with one easy step, I am hurtling homeward, leaving the abandoned island as a distant memory.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lennon Park Massacre Hunt Closing Party

                You came and investigated the mystery surrounding the deaths in Lennon Park.  You hiked the trails and searched everywhere.  You found the clues and pieced them all together.  You learned the truth of the massacre, it was a brave feat in itself.  Please join us, in celebrating the closing of the Lennon Park Massacre Hunt, September 30th, 2013.

                Starting off for us, at 12 pm slt-1 pm slt, is the amazing live singer, Jordan Reyne Deezul and at 1pm slt-3pm slt, we will have DJ Paradox Messmer, playing Alternative Indie Music for you.

            Jordan Reyne is a New Zealand dark electronic, and  folk noir musician.  She has released 5 CDs and is internationally known.  In 2011, she performed at the Glastonbury Festival.  In Secondlife, Jordan performs a mix of rhythmic grunge/folk/rock guitar, gutsy vocals and celtic melody.

To listen to Jordan Reyne:

           At 1 pm slt-3 pm slt we will have DJ Paradox Messmer aka DJ Dox, who has been DJing and Hosting since 2008.  He is the Owner of  SoundProof, which is a super eclectic underground, indie and alternative club for music geeks, goofballs, general outcasts and weirdos to find refuge and have silly fun. Dox is also a Secondlife fashion model. 
               This will be a party you don't wanna miss!  So mark your calendars and come on down and join us, as we say, "goodbye," to the Lennon Park Massacre Hunt.                               

September 30th, 2013      

12pm slt - 1pm slt Live Singer JordanReyne Deezul
               Industrial-Folk Musician
1pm slt - 3pm slt DJ Paradox Messmer aka Dox
               Alternative - Indie Music

Your cab ride to Lennon Park :

Halloween Stories: Part XIV

We received a lot of stories for our Halloween Hunt Writing Contest, and from September 16th we're publishing one each day until October 6th - when the Winner's story opens as a hunt!

Read them all and stay curious.. whose story got turned into the hunt?

The stories released are unedited and pasted as submitted to us.
- Kiana -

Today's story is by seventhskye xaris and it's called

Dreams Do Come True

I awoke with a splitting headache, my body ached all over. Slowly I opened my eyes, left one was swollen n partly shut crusted with blood, my vision blurry. My clothes what was left of my beautiful dress covered in dirt & dried blood. My stomached cramped as I tried to stand. What the hell did I eat last night. The room was damp, musky and had vile smell of urine & vomit. I seemed to be in cell or padded room where am I what happened . My mind foggy can think straight my head spins little as I make my way to hands r covered in wounds I should find first aid kit. But where am I? What is this horrid place. I need get out here and find my friends ,where ever they are!

I slowly made my way to door it wasn’t locked. Looking around I realize place seems empty deserted. Maybe this all just bad dream. As child I use have nightmares wake screaming .I open the door steeping out into corridor, placed reeked of blood and decay. I enter room full medical supplies taking what I can find. Beds are soiled with blood n urine. Finding bottle alcohol I rinse blood off my hands wrapping what little bandages I found. As I did I notice a lab coat hanging and a badge. Quickly put both on. I don’t know who in the picture. I continue my search, opening the cells, at one end is medical lab. I clasp my hand over my mouth before would scream out loud. Corpse on table and jars of human remains hearts brains. Each labeled with a name. There’s computer on desk but when I try it says access denied. I search down hall in one cell is man upon touching him I realize he dead. Making my way towards a reception area I spot pile of passport on desk along with some files paper n pencils . I pick up the passports and some pencil n paper. Maybe I’ll find my friends. There’s shipment of crates by another door, must be fresh supplies. As I step into the room I feel like want to pass out, it reeks of decaying bodies and a table full of blood looks like morgue. Some bodies intact others hearts, brains , vital organs exposed. Stepping back out the autopsy room I make my way down hallway an approach stairs.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Halloween Stories: Part XIII

We received a lot of stories for our Halloween Hunt Writing Contest, and from September 16th we're publishing one each day until October 6th - when the Winner's story opens as a hunt!

Read them all and stay curious.. whose story got turned into the hunt?

The stories released are unedited and pasted as submitted to us.
- Kiana -

Today's story is by Poedragonfly and it's called

The Devouring Worm
The Well of Secrets

[Premise: a writer investigates a derelict prison island of men gone mad]

Paul Henreid, a writer, arrives on the supply ferry at an island prison’s derelict dock. He is here to do a story on the strange circumstances surrounding the prison, and the island it sits on. Though no new prisoners have been sent there for many years, the worse of the worst remain, and it is rumored that they are no longer fully men.

Paul steps out from the boat onto the decrepit dock, and he sees an unkempt man in dirty overalls scuttling up. Paul says hello, but the man only glances at him sidewise as he begins to offload the crates of rum the ferry was carrying.

“Don’t worry ‘bout Ned,” says the ferry captain. “He don’t talk much, just drink.”

“Which way is the prison?” Paul asks the captain. The captain points up to the apex of the island.

Paul’s eyes follow the angle of the man’s finger. The island is an eruption protruding out of the skin of the ocean, and the prison sits on top of the highest point. Row upon row of steps cut rough-hewn out of rock lead from the small settlement around the dock below up to the prison complex itself.

“I guess I shouldn’t have expected someone to greet me,” Paul says.

“No, I suppose no one will,” the captain says, as he shoulders bags of onions onto the dock. “No one meets me. I just leave the goods and take the mail. My check is always in the bag, like magic.”

“I don’t know when I’ll be going back,” Paul says.

“I make my runs out here twice a week, like I told you,” the captain says. “I expect a few days out here will be plenty enough for you. Look for my boat about noon-time on Wednesday, or you’ll have to wait till next Sunday. No one else comes out this way.”

“There aren’t any other boats on the island? You would think the prison had kept some transport.” Paul says.

The captain points to the wreckage visible next to the dock. “That’s the only boat left,” he says with a wry grin. “You’d think the prison would do a lot of things.”

Paul shrugs on his duffle bag, and walks up the dock to the island, following the scurrying figure of Ned with his eyes. Ned must feel he is being watched, as he turns to look at Paul, then suddenly darts into one of the alleys between shacks and disappears, carrying two crates of rum precariously balanced on one another.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Unia Collaborator Interview: Rebeca Bashly

UNIA...cannot be described in simple terms.  It takes an awesome group of folks to take up a challenge such as this one.  Are you ready for more revelations in the making of UNIA and the people who are collaborating?

Part of this diverse web of talents is someone who adds to the project, which is one of the many reasons UNIA is special. I didn’t have the pleasure in meeting her, but as I stood among her build, I could get a true sense of her and was lost in amazement. It is truly amazing what is waiting for each of you around the corners and behind these walls. The person we are introducing you to is,
 Rebeca Bashly.

Please introduce yourself and the company/business/art that you own here in second life. 

"I am freelance 3d artist and since 2010, one of the two lead virtual artists at the University of Texas at San Antonio."

Some of her many great works such as:, Arctica Dreams, Inferno 5th circle Anger, Fabrica, & Inferno 3rd circle gluttony are pictured below:

Halloween Stories: Part XII

We received a lot of stories for our Halloween Hunt Writing Contest, and from September 16th we're publishing one each day until October 6th - when the Winner's story opens as a hunt!

Read them all and stay curious.. whose story got turned into the hunt?

The stories released are unedited and pasted as submitted to us.
- Kiana -

Today's story is by Ravenstarr and it's called

Experiment 5704 

The gravel crunched under my boots as we walked down the path lit by only moonlight. The acrid smell of cigarette smoke mingled with the crisp earthy Fall air as one of the guys in our group tossed away his spent cigarette into the darkness. A loud clang of spray cans hitting the dirt path followed by giggling pierced the stillness. I turned to the offender, “Hush! Do you want to get the cops called on us?!” She turned to me with a sneer, “There are only a few closed stores down here. And all the trick or treaters are long in bed.”

We continued down the path a little further. The ruins finally rise up black against the moonlit sky. Being the bravest of the group, I pushed my way to the front and cast my flashlight across the broken down building. Katie turned to me with a whisper, “What was this place?”. I shrugged, “I don’t know. Some kind of government building at one time.” I stepped gingerly through the doorway, the floor creaking in protest as I slowly made my way through the darkness into the main room. I could hear the rest of the group following behind me timidly.

I turned to Peter, “Throw me a can. Let’s get this over with.” Peter reached into his backpack and pulled out a spray paint can and threw it to me. I caught it with a clatter and turned to the wall in front of me. Years of grime and paint peeled and bubbled across the surface. A metronomic tink-tink filled the stillness as I absently shook the can and studied the wall. With one motion, I sprayed a swoop across the wall. I took a step forward to spray another when there was a sharp crack. Screams filled my ears as I felt myself falling through blackness. My breath slammed out of my chest as I hit the ground.

I could hear my friends calling for me in the darkness and a couple of the girls crying. I just lay there for a couple minutes taking ragged gulps of air and listening to my heart pound in my ears. I gasped into the darkness to my friends, “I…..I’m ok. I’m ok.” I breathed deeply, trying to calm my paralyzing fear. The air was palatable…..damp age, a metallic tang of something unidentifiable and….blood?

In a panic, I patted the ground around me in search of my flashlight. Relief flooded me as I felt the cool steel cylinder and fumbled for the button. I swept the beam of light through the pitch black around me as I rose to my feet. I was in a large room that was mostly empty except for a couple of metal beds pushed into a corner. Along one wall was a bank of mirrors. As I walked closer to them and tapped on the glass, I realized that they were windows. I turned and looked around me, realizing that I must be in some observation room. My light passes over large dark stains on the floor and smears on the walls. On one of the far walls, I can make out symbols painted on the wall in the same dark color that is on the floor.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Halloween Stories: Part XI

We received a lot of stories for our Halloween Hunt Writing Contest, and from September 16th we're publishing one each day until October 6th - when the Winner's story opens as a hunt!

Read them all and stay curious.. whose story got turned into the hunt?

The stories released are unedited and pasted as submitted to us.
- Kiana -

Story by Remmock 

Dramatis Personae:

Jack Royce - Cat Burglar, knife thrower, alcoholic
Alice Royce - Student, volleyball player, children's group reader
Warren Waybright - Professional Singer, charismatic servant of
Cassandra Kingston - Leader of the Consignment
Polyphemus - Cyclopean strongman for Cassandra
Rick Alvarez - Vacationing police officer
Laura Gibson - Socialite, heiress
Tanya Winters - Collegiate on track scholarship, stopped in town on way to Uni
Keith Hoffmeyer - Traveling salesman
Remy Leronde - Professional gambler
Blair Williams - Housewife on the run

Ch. 1

The mid-afternoon sunlight beat down steadily on the deck of the party boat. Bathed in the ocean sun's rays, the sound of churning salt water and the hum of the engines for the yacht were drowned out by the lively conversations between the guests on board. Jack Royce leaned back in his seat, the sunglasses hiding the red lines that ran over the white. Long black hair caught the flowing air, the ponytail and the long strands that typically framed his sharp features dancing around as he blithely kept an eye on the other guests, as well as his cousin.
Alice Royce was nearly the opposite of her cousin. The eighteen year old girl was thinly muscled and, like Jack, could be mistaken for a gymnast at a glance. Both sported winning smiles and sparkling green eyes, yet that was where the similarities ended. Alice was nearly a foot shorter than Jack, standing barely under five feet tall. A blonde pixie cut sat like a crown over freckled and peach colored skin, a far cry from Jack's deep tan. She turned, dancing with a young man whom she had only just met near a long-haired heiress that kept her knee length strands in place with a single strong hair pin. He'd lost track of Alice earlier, only finding her as she had been leaving the bridge. "Captain" Waybright had been showing her how he piloted the gorgeous ship. Now he kept an even more dogged eye on her, his hands held a half-empty glass of beer he'd been sipping steadily over the last quarter hour.
He found himself questioning the events which had led them here. Stopping to spend the week in the tourist-trap town, with its fresh coats of paint and neatly manicured lawns. This tourist-trap town, with the quaint little shops and the local inn that looked as though it had never heard of the word "franchise". Everything had been a haze through which the sound and activity were sluggishly dragging along as though through molasses. He'd snap to the present long enough to take a sip of his beer, then return to mulling things over. It had seemed like a dream perhaps, to almost run a famous singer over on the way out to enjoy their first day.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Halloween Stories: Part X

We received a lot of stories for our Halloween Hunt Writing Contest, and from September 16th we're publishing one each day until October 6th - when the Winner's story opens as a hunt!

Read them all and stay curious.. whose story got turned into the hunt?

The stories released are unedited and pasted as submitted to us.
- Kiana -

Today's story is by Mathiaswolf

Been working at a restaurant for three years and I would have to say that I have seen almost everything. It was about 12 p.m., the lunch rush had just begun and I was serving customers (I am a grill cook at a buffet). Every now and then there were moments where the customers would go to the other food stations and not bother the grill station. So I took the opportunity to head off into the employee bathroom, which is a single persons bathroom and was located in the back kitchen. I normally go to the bathroom to relax and be on the phone for a bit. In other words, I go there to escape for about 5 minutes at the most. But who doesn't do that?

I washed my hands, opened the bathroom door and was ready to head back to my station. As soon as I swung the door open, I saw that the restaurant was very dark. To the left, facing out of the bathroom is a hallway which has the walk-in freezer, an adjacent hallway for the mop and chemical storage area, the boiler room and the back door exit. The walk in freezer was open all the way and leaning backwards, still being held up by the bottom hinge. To the right, has the wine room, two ice machine in front to the room, a dish washing station and an archway that leads to the prep area.

There was light, but very little and only enough to distinguish shapes of the objects around me and to see very little detail of those objects. With what little that I could see, the walls and all equipment looked worn down, corroded, and oxidized as if time was the only thing that has touched this place. The tiles on the floor were grimey cracked and broken. Like someone took a steel mallet or a sledghammer and started smashing the tiles at random areas of the floor. Some areas even have craters . Cobwebs on the ice machines were formed already before I even stepped out of the bathroom. The emergency and exit light fixtures in the back kitchen near the bathroom were either ripped out from their electrical boxes or still dangling by the electrical wire, faintly flickering.

Proceeding to the next area was the food prep station. The deep prep sinks, to the left, were filled with mold. The walk-in cooler has a huge hole in the door from the rotting. And the three compartment sinks collapsed on itself. The office was crumbled by a sinkhole. The next area was the line cook (wok) and frying station area. Though there was a little more light at this area than the prep and back kitchen area. The wok area kinda looked the same but still rusting and worn down. Except that the frying station looked like something was going to crawl right out of the fry vat.

Finally, I walked into the dining area of the restaurant and made my way to the grill station. This area was pretty well lit. The setup is an "L" shaped counter for hot entre's, grilled food, raw bar and sushi. In front of the "L" is a seperate ovular structure for the fruits and salads. The actual grill was missing and saw that there was a toilet in its place with a grill in the tank and fired up coals in the bowl. It was actually cooking food (Hheh. The health department would have a field trip on this and throw a joke or two about how would they like their shit-steak cooked). Unfortunately, everyone who worked at my job and or came to my job to eat died a horrible death. Looking outside of the restaurant was nothing but pitch black. Cannot even see beyond the glass.

Next to the toilet grill was my chef manager (god I hate him). His lifeless corpse is on the floor in a sitting position, decapitated and dismemberment of the limbs. His head, with his lower jaw ripped out, was sitting in between his lap which his legs were torn off. he is also armless and his chest ripped wide open. His entrails were hung up like streamers as the organs are still coming out of his body.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Halloween Stories: Part IX

We received a lot of stories for our Halloween Hunt Writing Contest, and from September 16th we're publishing one each day until October 6th - when the Winner's story opens as a hunt!

Read them all and stay curious.. whose story got turned into the hunt?

The stories released are unedited and pasted as submitted to us.
- Kiana -

Today's story is by Ami Deceit
and it is called

The Monkey Dream

It's an overcast day. Grey clouds fill the sky, promising a storm to come. The world seems to lack any color. There is a gloomy stretch of beach. The reflection of storm clouds on the ocean's lulling waves. There is a heavy mist on the horizon. There is a young woman swimming out from the beach, heading deeper in to the ocean. Her shoulder length blonde hair floating in the water as she moves farther from the shore. About 50ft from the beach, she finds a group of small of Tufted Capuchin monkeys, about 5 totaled. They are spaced out and throwing a little football back and forth. Smiling, the young woman wants to join in the monkeys fun. She swims up to an empty space between 2 monkey's. She waves her right arm in the air, calling for someone to toss the ball in her direction. The mist seems to surround the group as they play. The mist surrounds the group, the beach no longer in their view.

Things are going well at first, everyone having fun. One of the monkeys tosses the ball to the young woman, but it's thrown too far over her head and lands a few feet behind her, just in the edge of the creeping mist. The woman hesitates at first, a sense of dread shakes her. She treads water, not moving an inch. The little monkeys start start to chirp at her to hurry up. Reluctantly, the woman slowly swims out to get the ball. The mist swallows her up, and soon she can no longer see the monkeys, their chirps sounding distant even though they couldn't be that far away. With the mist, it was hard to tell. The clouds and water darken, and the woman is all alone.

The ball is floating with in her reach, she raises her hand out of the water, clutching at the football. Turning about, she is unsure of which direction she came from. It's even darker now, she turns around again. Looming out of the darkness, floating in the water, is an old carny cage. The cage is made of wood, painted darkest red, with thick black iron bars. Ornate gold painted trim frame the bars. The paint is peeling and cracking. Atop the cage sits a large sign, a cartoon monkey's head and shoulders. HIs large, bulging almond shaped eyes give off a eerie glow in the mist. His large, toothy grin, stretch in a mocking grin from ear to ear. His teeth, unnaturally long, leave the woman feeling unease. The hands of the monkey clamp down on to the top of the cage as if holding it up. The womans eyes slowly move down to look between the bars. Shadows fill the inside of the cage, not giving away any clue of what could be inside.

As the cage bobs in the water, a low deep growl comes from inside. It sounds like no animal she's ever heard. There is a scraping sound as well, as if something were trying to escape. Caught between wanting to swim away, and being rooted in place, the woman finds herself only able to continue to stare at the cage, eyes wide with a growing sense of fear. Another growl, louder this time, finally causes the girl to flee. Faster now, she begins to swim back towards the little monkeys. Even as she leaves the mist, and returns back to the group, she can't shake her fear that something horrible is out there with them. She has to warn the others.

As the young woman opens her mouth, and begins to speak, a new sound cuts through the mist. Distant at first, but coming closer. The group turns toward the beach, towards the sound. Out of the mist comes a small outboard motor boat. At the bow of the ship stands a thin old man with a double barrel shot gun pointed to the group. A scraggly salt an pepper mop of a dog stands behind him. The old mans fierce eyes are burning with hate, little pinpoints under bushy gray eyebrows. He is shouting something, but over the roar of the boat it is hard to tell what he is saying. The only words that one can make out are obscenities and mentions of a creature.

The woman and the little monkeys are startled. Eyes wide with fear, their mouths hang open in shock. The boat is cutting the group off from the beach, their only choice of escape is to swim farther out in to the ocean, in the mist. The group starts to swim as fast as they can. As they enter in to the mist, everyone becomes separated. The young woman is swimming is hard as she can, growing tired. She isn't sure where to go, or if there even is a place to go. All she knows is that she can't stop swimming. In other parts of the mist, she can hear the blast of a shotgun, cries from the little monkeys, the motor of the boat, and faintly, the old man.

Suddenly a large shape looms up from out of the mist. Unsure what it is at first, it becomes clear that it's land before her! Swimming as her life depends on it, she exits the mist. Before her, is a small island. Mostly beach, with a handful of palm trees scattered about. In the center of the island stands an unusual fort of a building. She crawls on to the beach breathless, and walks toward the building. A fabric is stretched between multiple poles, forming a misshaped circle building, The building was several stories high, each level stacked on top of the last, like a multi-teir cake. The height of the building seemed never-ending, climbing too high in the sky to see the end.

As the woman nears the wall, she can see that the wall fabric is stretched so thin, that the lights from the inside of the building shine through, giving the fabric an orange red glow. Reaching out to touch the building, she slowly runs her hand across the building. At first she thought it was some sort of rubber latex, then she realized there were little hairs sprouting out of the fabric, she leans in for a closer inspection. With a shock she jumps back, as she realizes what the walls are made from. Human skin.

She is shaken from her shock when she realizes that the sounds of the old man is getting closer. She is unsure what to do? Face the crazed old man or go in to the only shelter -and untold horrors- on the island? She knows her time to decide is running out. Franticly, she begins to run around the side of the building, look for a way in. Finally she comes to door way, and dives through. It takes a moment for her eyes to adjust. There are blinding white little floor lights scattered about the room, casting bright lights on some parts, creating heavy shadows on others. The large room consist of several scaffolding levels, multiple ladders and stairs, all leading up. On some of the levels, for display, where 2 poles and between them where stretched human face skin, their mouths gapping in an O shape, smaller display lights shinning under them.

The old man was closer now. she could tell he was near by. Panic in overload, she begins climbing up one of the ladders closest to her. Ladder after ladder, level after level, up and up she went. She finally reached a room, she leaned against the wall sighing. That's when she noticed something else was in the room with her.

A low growl came from the other side of the room. With heavy thubs, a horrible creature slowly steps out of the darkness. The creature was covered in disgusting, matted black fur. It's chest glistened with gore. Twitching arms hung at it's side, long, gnarled fingers flexing. Broad shoulders arched back. Eyes glowing like red hot coals. The mouth hangs open, in a ridiculously large grin, the skin tightly pulled back over the gums, exposing every sharp tooth in his mouth. Long strands of saliva drip to the floor. It moves closer to the woman.

With a gasp, the woman runs to the next ladder going up. She climbs like a mad woman. It suddenly accrues to her that this must be the creature that the old man is really after, not her or those little monkeys. Now, if only she can find the old man! She can faintly hear him. She thinks he must be on a level near to her, that he must have gone up in a different direction then her. Can she find him though?

On she climbs. Her heart is pounding. She can feel the creature chasing her. What does it want? Why is it chasing her? She continues to climb up. How many levels has she gone now? How many are there left to go?

She reaches another wide level. Its filled with hallways. Down the hall she runs. Turning a corner, she comes to the center of the level, a wide open space with dirt floor. There in the center, is the old man and his dog. The girl starts to cry as she tells the old of the horrible creature that is chasing her. Soothingly he pats her shoulder to calm her down. She begs him to help her. He nods his head slowly and promises to catch the creature.

The woman relaxes for the first time, closing her eyes and letting out a small sigh. When she opens her eyes again, she is looking down the barrels of the shotgun. "WHA-??" she exclaims in shock. The old man sneers at her, calmly tells her not to worry, that he will get the creature, if it's the last thing he ever does. Then he shots her point blank with both barrels, she dies instantly. The old man puts his gun down and tells the dog to start digging. After a few mins there is a large hole about 4 ft deep. With his foot, the old man pushes the dead woman in to the hole. He then reaches down in to the hole, and begins tying large sticks of dynamite to her shirt and jacket.

After a few mins have passed, the creature shambles in to the center room. He growls loudly at the old man, and slowly walks forward as if to attack. Then the creature notices the hole. He sees the dead woman slumped down there. The creature makes a sad little wail, his face is etched with sorrow. Getting down on all fours, he crawls down to the woman. He is so sad. He puts his head on her chest, and holds her in his arms, crying.

The old man lets out a loud laugh, and presses the button to detonate the explosives. The crazy old man miscalculated the blast, and used too much dynamite. The blast shakes the entire fort, causing the levels to collapse in on it's self. The blast not only destroys the whole building, but sinks the island as well.

No survivors.

The End.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Halloween Stories: Part VIII

We received a lot of stories for our Halloween Hunt Writing Contest, and from September 16th we're publishing one each day until October 6th - when the Winner's story opens as a hunt!

Read them all and stay curious.. whose story got turned into the hunt?

The stories released are unedited and pasted as submitted to us.
- Kiana -

Today's story is by susieQ Rang
and it is called

Death Remembered

She raised her head, her vision blurry... she felt something wet on the back of her hand where her face had rested when she became aware of her surroundings. She looked down and saw the spreading trail of blood and reached up and touched her forehead and brought her fingers away, knowing that the blood was hers. Her eyes darted left and right, trying to focus and orientate to the ashy landscape around her as she remained laying on the cold rocky ground. As the world came into focus, she sees that she is lying by an old rusted out railcar. The railcar is tilted and obviously damaged from some wreck, but the wreck appears to have happened years or perhaps decades ago. She looks to her right and sees a dark tunnel like a mouth swallowing the ancient tracks that appear to go nowhere but into the blackness.

She pushes herself up, her elbows digging into the dirt and gravel, and she sighs in desparation and the beginning of a deep pain... a pain that isnt just from the forehead or her now grimy elbows. Her mind seems fogged and blank. She uses her hands to grab the side of the railcar and pulls herself to a seated position. Her hands shake and look grayish white in the dim light coming from the evening sky. She hears nothing and sees no life in the dirt or the sky above her, her body doesnt allow her to stand on her feet so she picks out a shape in the distance and focuses on it as she crawls away from the tracks. She doesnt feel any fear, she doesnt really feel any pain. Her mind is empty and she waits.. but she knows not on what she is waiting. Her hands and knees bleed as she scurries forward .. toward the dark shadows in front of her.

After some minutes, she notes that she is on a stone or concrete path.. "ah.. " she sighs and never stops her forward movement. Looking up and to her right, tall concrete walls rise up, and the rows of barbed wire at the top, cause her to shiver and move faster. No signs of life.. no feeling of hope or rescue, she feels nothing but the cold blankness of her own thoughts. Not knowing why she moves more quickly targeting one sole light in the distance.

Suddenly, she feels the whisper of a breeze move across her skin and the sound of chimes, tinkling chimes crying out in the growing wind. The wind picks up speed and her hair whips around her face, her eyes blaze in the darkness.. and sillouetted against the sky she sees a dead tree covered with movement. Wind chimes of all types twist in the wind.. and somehow they make her feel threatened. She uses the tree to brace herself and stands, wavering in the wind. As the darkness settles around her, she is finding that there are lamps and a sidewalk in front of her.. she stumbles but is able to walk on the uneven narrow street into what appears to be a town.

Finding herself beside a low wall, she uses it to steady herself and moves forward leaning on the wall. Putting her hand out to stop herself from falling over a protruding stone, she finds herself falling through an opening in the wall. The little courtyard seems to have a platform that she can see in the shadows and there appears to be a chair on it and she feels a moment of gratitude for finding a place off the ground to sit and rest and try to figure out where she is and WHO she is.. just as she is looking to mount the steps and sit on the chair she hears the flow of water. Her throat is dry and she suddenly feels a thirst and walks toward the sound.

"ooh" she puts her hand out and feels the cool wet stream flow across her skin. Reaching out she uses both hands to splash water across her cheeks and her tongue licks out across her fingers. She cups her hands and takes a sip and spits it out. She feels so thirsty but the water that sounds so good to her ears is not quenching her thirst, sighing, she uses it to freshen up and rinse off the blood from her face and hands. She licks out again to tastes the rinse water and takes another sip. It doesnt seem as bad as the first sip.. she licks across the cut on her hand and feels better.

Still weak she stumbles over to the platform and once again pulls herself up and moves to sit in the chair, her feet hitting against something on the foot rest and bumping her head as she drops into the chair. Sighing, she relaxes into the chair resting her arms on the arms of the chair and jerking as something clamps around her ankles then her wrists. She hears a buzzzz and sees the shadowing of an arc flashing around her head. She struggles and squirms in the seat, the light suddenly enough to see faces in the night. A jolt of power runs through her as they surround her, watching.. just watching her. As she struggles and fights the restraints holding her limbs. Suddenly her strength surges and she looks wildly around at the people smelling them, almost tasting them ..hungering.

With the flash of another jolt of electricity, she remembers the town and the rumors of the danger here.. the prison.. the train that would bring the prisoners from other towns here to die for their crimes. She remembers lying on the ground after the crash when entering the tunnel and how dark it became and then the pain in her neck. such pain and weakness that she forgot everything and resigned herself to death.

But death passed her, tapped her on the shoulder laughing and shouting "Your It! It is your time... You are the hunger now!" and she saw what she was and became one with the night, breaking the chains and she surveyed the faces in the darkness.. so long they lived on the terror of those they killed in their chair and now the hunger would gobble them up.. swallow them whole.. and she did.

The girl walked through the darkness, the town silent and dead... she remembered, her eyes shining through the night, she smiles baring her fangs and remembered she was not dead.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Halloween Stories: Part VII

We received a lot of stories for our Halloween Hunt Writing Contest, and from September 16th we're publishing one each day until October 6th - when the Winner's story opens as a hunt!

Read them all and stay curious.. whose story got turned into the hunt?

The stories released are unedited and pasted as submitted to us.
- Kiana -

Today's story is by Hakeber Resident
and it is called   
John Samson

John Samson sat in his cell, staring at the construction going on below, the buildings rising up on top of the graves of all the countless men who had come before him, the only grave marker they would ever receive. He patted the wall, feeling the course stone and aged grime, each stain an old friend.

He was the last. The last prisoner, the last reminder of the blood drenched history of the island. Rockwood Island, the last destination for the worst the city had to offer. Then again, worst was relative. To John, his actions were art, living art carefully chosen and frozen in time, forever cast in the bronze of shared suffering.

But the world didn’t see it that way. They just saw bodies, giving him the crass title of murder, like he was just some two-bit maniac with a knife. It didn’t matter that he had been caught, as that was part of the plan, the end performance to elevate his actions to true art. He just wished more people were appreciative of all his hard work.

The island was a work of art in of itself. The whole island housed nothing but a prison, Rockwood Penitentiary, built brick by brick by the very first inmates housed inside. The prison was built to house only those sentenced to death. The very first inmates executed were the same ones who had built the prison, hanged on Rockwood’s opening day, a macabre version of smashing a bottle of champagne on the side of a ship.

The prison lasted for a hundred and fifty years, hanging and then electrocuting so many people that the island’s nickname, Death Row Island, became official. By the time John had come, the prison was crumbling, with only a handful of prisoners waiting their final day. He was a little disappointed that he missed the prison’s heyday, but it was still the best place for an artist such as himself to be laid to rest, his own last moments merging with those who had come before, his pain the final brushstroke of his masterpiece.

Then the developers came, with their suits and notebooks, mapping out the island and talking in excited, chirpy voices that blighted the atmosphere of the island. He heard snippets of conversation from inside his cell, things like “The timetable’s been moved up,” and “This will be a destination.”

One day, the warden marched all the prisoners into the prison cafeteria, where all the suit wearing strangers stood, holding clipboards and smiling nervously at the fifteen shackled prisoners in front of them. A short, balding man stepped forward, holding his clipboard like a shield.

“H…Hello,” he said, his voice as soft and mushy as his body. “My name is Vick Reynolds and I’m here to talk to you guys about the future of this prison.”

John and the other prisoners met his words with smoldering glares, while someone from the middle of said, “How fast can you run?”

The warden frowned and motioned the guards to step in closer, while Vick swallowed and continued.

“As you know, uh, the prison’s getting old and is pretty much on its last legs. You men are going to be the last executed before it’s torn down.”

John couldn’t help himself and shouted out “What?” and Vick turn to face him. He took one look at John and paled, which made John smile to know that his reputation still had such an impact, as all good art should, but the smile was brief, and his shock over Vick’s words returned.

“You can’t tear this prison down,” he said, his voice echoing slightly in the large room. “It has history! It’s art!”

“We, uh, know that Mr. Samson,” Vick said, his voice trembling and even softer and mushier than before. “And we are not going to let that history die. Once the prison’s gone, this will become a destination for the curious, a village filled with history and-“

“You’re turning Death Row Island into a tourist trap?” John yelled, as he stepped forward, but stopped when the guards moved their guns towards him. A hail of bullets was not an artistic way to die.

“A banal bit of nothing, where slack jawed gawkers come to trample our bones and buy silly little souvenirs? A quaint little village for quaint little people who want a quaint little way to remember the grand death of this place? A safe little bit of danger to chew on and spit out, with no substance, no flavor, nothing real?”

Vick sputtered a few times and the warden quickly escorted John and the other prisoners back to their cells. John continued to rant for hours, but no one listened, not even the other prisoners. He was powerless to do anything but wait and watch as the island slowly turned into a museum, with tacky displays of death replacing the blood tinged reality, as the art of the place was slowly chipped away with each new building.

The day they walked John to the chair, he cried, not for his life, but for the death of the wonderful beauty all around him and how his death would be turned into something mundane, his art forever splashed with lurid colors, his masterpiece ruined.

“Do you have any last words?” the warden asked as they strapped him down.

“Yes,” John said. “This isn’t over. You can’t take a place of death, a place of beauty and turn it into a farce. Art always wins.”


John woke up, floating above his beloved island, watching as everything it was crumbled away over the years, until nothing remained but commercial pain, sanitized death with no artistic value. People came and went, some staying to make a home and Death Row Island became just another summer vacation spot.

His anger grew, bubbling and boiling his very soul, until it could no longer be contained. It spilled out over the island, calling the souls of the dead, drawing them to him like moths to a flame. The dead surrounded him and John felt a power, something darker than he had ever felt in life flow through him and out towards the others, linking them to him, hundreds of paintbrushes to paint the island as he wished.

He spread the darkness out over the island, twisting it into his own canvas, twisting each building and object into the death and pain that preceded it and tore down the Death Row Island museum, rebuilding the prison over it, stone by stone, bringing it back to its former glory and beyond. He chased the people, just like he used to do, pulling them body and soul into the prison, trapping them inside with all the pain that had accumulated within its walls, where he and his brothers could pay them back for their insult to their memory.

“Art always wins,” he said, as watched over the prison, his canvas, and all the people that were his to torment and turn into permanent fixture within its walls.


No one knew what happened to Death Row Island, only that one day a darkness fell over it, turning day into night, and the island transformed into… something. A few brave people ventured ashore, only to find it completely abandoned, with all the buildings somehow changed and twisted and the old prison once again looming over the island.

A single sheet of paper had been left on the dock, with a note written on it.

Please, you have to stop him. Find a way to destroy John Samson and his darkness before it’s too late. And find us. Help us. For god’s sake, help us!

Underneath the words was a message scrawled in blood. It started with an old children’s rhyme about legendary murderer John Samson.

Samson paints with a big old knife,

And carves away your life.

He’ll take your skin and hide your eyes,

And smile at your tortured cries.

There’s nothing you can do. Turn back and maybe I’ll make your death quick when the time comes.

John Samson.

Some people left, but others stayed, wondering if they could solve the mystery of what happened and rescue the island and possibly the world from darkness. John watched it all and smiled as they trudged through the town and into the prison, more pieces of art waiting his practiced hand.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Unia Collaborator Interview: Never Totally Dead: Silex & Sean

So many rumors about UNIA, and questions. Do you really want to know more? There are definitely many interesting and talented people collaborating in this project, alongside of MadPea. They have joined forces in various ways. I met up with a pair, partners, who are a great example of teamwork, and how essential it is to work in unison. They say that couples working together, can be a disastrous nightmare, and not good work ethic, but in this case, they have proven that to be untrue.

They are an awesome duo, especially fun to be around, and their work falls in a kind of mix of antiquities, elegant, vintage, curiosities, and overall quality. 
These two individuals are: Silex (silex.zapedzki) and Sean (bluesean.yiyuan).

Please present yourselves, and company here on SecondLife.

Silex: "in Sl ... we joined a little more than 6 years ago and we met almost 3 years ago. We have a main store for our brand Never Totally Dead and this place is our second location, Chateau de la Lutiniere, a house that we also sell."

These shops can be visited In World using the following slurls:

Never Totally Dead :
Chateau de la Lutiniere:
N*T*D Shops on Marketplace:

How did you come up with the name Never Totally Dead? 

Sean: "At first, we used it as a quote on our box, to give a haunted way to our product. We started our business with ghost, and haunted house. One day, we needed to find a brand. We finally picked up this quote, because it explains exactly what we do. We do old things, old builds, but Never Totally Dead :p"

Halloween Stories: Part VI

We received a lot of stories for our Halloween Hunt Writing Contest, and from September 16th we're publishing one each day until October 6th - when the Winner's story opens as a hunt!

Read them all and stay curious.. whose story got turned into the hunt?

The stories released are unedited and pasted as submitted to us.
- Kiana -

Today's story is by Banba Muircastle 
and it has ADULT CONTENT

Her memory is gone...

The boat docks, the storm having washed it up against the lava flow hardened over ageless time. Cliffs jagged as teeth rise beyond. An echo of a derelict building peeks through the heavy mists above, and just over the ridge, pointing to heave, a conical shaped roof beacons.

The climb is rough going. The sharp lava bites into her hands but once on top the shadows of buildings can be seen. The smell of rotting flesh lingers in the air like the heavy perfume of a whore, bringing the bile to her mouth and an involuntary gag.

All senses scream against moving down into the shadows of those buildings but her feet, as if a life of their own, begin the descent.

Trembling fingers slide around cold wet steal. She ask, "Is it there my body will rest at last?"

"What are you looking for?" the echo of a male voice asked.

A startled gasp rips from her throat, blindly she rushes forward, ducking inside the first opening found. The damp rotting crypt crowds around her. Her hands claw their way against the stone walls until blinking against the light she re-emerges into an erie place. She falls to her knees, hands scraping against the hard crusted earth of the grave yard, her face lowering against it

"It was here I remember" she whispers "This place that was once my home."...

**Happiness swallows the girl just as the sunshine swallows the trees and the flowers and the buildings in it's golden effulgence. Her love, her love with come this night. He will bring her flowers and maybe a tart, maybe a hug and a kiss.

She squeals with delight, hugging herself and spinning in a circle.

The day wanes slowly. She is called inside by her mother for supper. Her father and little sister already seated at table. Nervously, she picks at the food. Tuning out the squabble between her parents. Tuning out the whines of her sister. Closing her eyes to imagine him in her mind… his eyes… his smile… his lips. A hard smack to the side of her face snaps her to attention as her mother scolds her to eat and her father reaches across and shoves the plate toward her. Their bitter words to be thankful for what was before her, to waste not, that starving children in another country would devour every morsel the spoiled brat thought not good enough for her. The sting of the slap, the water in her eyes, the bile rising in her throat drove her up and away into the night looking for …**

Sshe is looking for her soul, swallowed by the darkness of disillusionment, buried under her own desire for more, racked by her inability to see beyond the hopelessness that crashed around her mind like a tsunami and dragged her to the depths of despair, where the blade felt better across her delicate wrist than the thought of daylight…