Tag Archives: pain

Pain is Purpose

I was born in a laboratory, separated from humanity by seals and protective clothing; I died in a mouth, exposed, utterly raw and naked, to the innermost parts of humanity. This is my story. These are my thoughts to the moment of my death.

I am Strychnine. My purpose is pain. I work for the mob, threatening people. They do not like being referred to as “the mob,” but what can they do to me? I’m already dead.

The majority of my work is done in dark rooms; a single glaring light illuminating me and casting shadows across the terrified face of a person. These people range in importance from small store owners who have not paid their dues to senators. It is a fantastic feeling of power; watching those people cower before me.

No words were ever spoken between the person I am threatening and my partner, the enforcer. But eventually the person, be he senator or store owner, would crack and mutter, “I’ll do it,” as they broke into sobs. I never knew how much pain I could cause until my death, but I knew I must be capable of terrible things when I saw them cower before me in such degrading ways, submitting to the mob’s will.

When the day came for me to truly exercise my purpose, to truly administer the pain I was capable of, I was not ready. The setting was wrong. I was brought into a room full of light. The walls were a sterile white, the table was silver. On the table, instead of seated on one side of it, lay a man. He was strapped down and his mouth held open by some strange apparatus. His face was the worst part. It was not shrouded and I could see the full terror in his wide eyes; in the sweat that beaded and ran on his bald head; in the very way he breathed.

I was powerless to resist when I felt the enforcer’s hand close around my container. The cold air in the room rushed in on me with a burst of savage energy as the cap was removed, finally exposing me to the world. The sensation was strange, but wonderful. Then the enforcer moved me above the man’s open mouth and all my pleasure in the new feeling of air, life-giving air, rushed away.

As the enforcer tipped my container upside down and tumbled, completely naked and exposed, through the life-giving air, I realized that through my purpose I would find my own death by causing death in a most terrible way. I landed on the man’s tongue, some strange sound rushed up from his throat. Then I saw his jaws close above me and no more air entered his body.

Bit by bit he was forced to swallow me, and I caused him to convulse in pain, then I caused his throat to swell shut as I slid down it; In that short moment I regretted ever having existed, regretted my enjoyment of my power, and felt the pain I caused the man. Then both he and I died, both regretting our lives, but only I truly sorry.

Story by Joshua A. Spotts

Copyright 2013


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Filed under 1000 word limit, Flash Fiction, General

Silencing Stones

Silencing Stones

By Joshua A. Spotts

I have lost what was mine. I am a prisoner here where once I was a prince. I am but a whisper in this crowd of confusion. Terror has replaced joy. Hate has replaced love. I am only a thin container holding in an unfamiliar darkness.

I pray to the one ray of light in my lonely place hidden amidst the vastness of the world. I plead with it. “Save me!”

It never answers.

I plead with it. “Give me strength.”

It never answers.

I know it can hear me. I know because it eventually leaves me. And all things that leave me can hear me. I hate the light. It mocks me and I hate it. I can feel my container cracking as the light leaves now.

They are here now. I hear their feet invading my space and I am helpless to defend the darkness. Their shadows beat me to the ground. Their flickering lights whip my eyes. Their cruel voices burn my ears. I dig my fingernails into the stones beneath me and they cry out. “Stay silent, pet. Do not groan. Do not let them gain from your pain. We will take care of you. With us you are safe.”

I feel secure as I embrace the stones. They warm me. They comfort me. Amidst the burning babble of the invaders’ I hear my name. I ignore it as the stones speak to me. They pull me closer to them. I lay my cheek on their comforting warmth. Yes, this is where I belong. Here with the stones. I no longer need what I was. I no longer need to be a whisper. I no longer need to be a lord. I no longer need to find what I lost. I surrender myself to the rocks and their bewitching magic.


            “Where is he, Father?” The princess asked.

Her father just looked at her. His eyes were hollow. His mouth was full of turkey. Red wine ran like blood down the sides of the burnt animal before him. His spilled wine goblet rolled off the table and fell to the floor with a clatter that echoed throughout the dining hall.

“Where is he?” The princess screamed this time. Then they came. Those hooded men of the scroll entered the room. The princess whirled on them. She hated them. They had caused the hollow look in her father’s eyes.

“He, if you mean your brother, is resting, your highness.” The tallest of the hoods said.

“Is his fever gone?”

“No, my lady,” said the shortest of the hoods. He was the doctor. He was directly responsible for the care of the royal family.

“What have you done to him?”

They didn’t answer.

The princess looked at her father. He stared back at her with hollow eyes. He was like an animal, unaware of danger.

“My father went to you when he was weak with fever. This,” she gestured to him, “is how you returned him to us.”

“The fever is a terrible thing, your highness. It does things to men. We were lucky to maintain your Father’s life.”

“You call that life?” The princess pointed at her hollow eyed father again. Grabbing a knife from the table she waved it at the men. “If I find that your ‘cure’ has done anything to my brother, I shall have all of you burned alive in the grease of your own fat!”

Spinning, her red hair flowing out behind her like a cape, the princess marched away in the opposite direction of the men of the scroll. She had decided it was time for her to visit the Room of Stones to seek guidance.


            “The son?” The steam hissed and rose as it slithered along the floor.

A tall man answered. His black hair was oily and combed straight down to his shoulders. His dark eyes peered into the frosty mirror. “Worse than his father, my lord.”

“The daughter?” The voice came from within the mirror, as did the smoke. The ice spread across the floor and grabbed the tall man by the ankles. He tried to step away but the ice brought him down. A bone cracked. The cruel sound echoed and the voice laughed.

The ice crawled over the man. It sucked him down until he lay flat on the stone floor. It formed a coffin over him. His breathing became shallow. The sweat on his forehead froze there, forming a false crown. The smoke slithered unto the ice coffin. The ice moved away from the man’s face like the tendons of some horrid monster.

“You shouldn’t have upset it, slave.” The voice hissed. Hot steam burned away the man’s false crown. “Now, tell me of the daughter.”

“She is still strong, my lord.”

“Excellent! Is she on her way?”

“I don’t know, my lord.”

“That’s too bad, slave.” The smoke receded into the mirror and the ice coffin covered the man’s face, shutting off his bone-chilling scream from the world.


            I dream. I dream of a room filled with pillars of stone. I dream of blood running along a cold marble floor. I dream of a girl of royal bearing. I dream of her dead. This is the dream the stones grant to me. It is their gift.

The dream changes as I watch. The girl, covered in blood, rises from the marble floor. I can hear every stone in that room crying out in pain. They want me to save her. They need me, but I cannot escape from my dark space.

There is some dark purpose behind her. It slithers along like a snake. Smoke and ice are its garments. The stones plead with me to save them. Their anguished sounds fill my ears. Their pain seethes through my veins as the red haired girl approaches a large stone in the center of the room. As she lays her hands on the stone, the dark purpose rushes in and consumes it. I hear the last cry of the stones before they are silenced forever.

The room collapses in on her. There is no roar as the stones fall. There is no crack as they smash into the marble floor. There is only silence, terrifying silence. As my dark space falls in on me and the darkness flees from my body, I would only ask one question. How can the decision of one girl cause so much devastation?

Here the stones come. They are silent. It is as if they are grieving as they bury me beneath them. I do so miss their voices.

Copyright 2012 Joshua A. Spotts

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Filed under 2000 word limit, General, Short Stories

The Red Reasoning

The Red Reasoning

By Joshua A. Spotts

You are human. You are defined by your emotions. The shadow figure whispered in Rachel’s ear.

Blink…blink…blink…Rachel fought back her tears. She stood with her back against the cold wall. Her step-father paced in front of her. Her arms drew her two little sisters close. They laid their little blonde heads against her hips.

“You are useless!” Her step-father glared holes into her soul.

The shadow figure picked at those holes. He is right, but you can show him otherwise. Let your emotions go. Let the hate give you power. Stop suppressing it, Rachel. Don’t you remember your ninth birthday?

Rachel bowed her head. She blinked faster. Her fingers tightened on her little sisters’ shoulders. She bit her lip, stopping only when she felt the taste of blood on her tongue. She whispered, “Never again.”

“What?” Her step-father stopped pacing in the middle of his tirade. He turned toward her, took two loud steps forward, and roared in her face, “You don’t talk back to me!”

Rachel shook in fear. “Yes, fa…” she couldn’t bring herself to say it.

“What’d you say?” Her step-father shook her.

One of the little girls rushed forward and kicked her father in the leg. “Don’t hurt Rachel!”

Rachel’s step-father threw his daughter, his own flesh and blood against the wall. The little girl slid to the ground, curled into a ball, and cried. She suppressed her wails to sobs, fearing that her crying would anger her father more.

Don’t let him do that, Rachel. You can stop him. The shadow figure hissed in Rachel’s ear. You know where it is. Just three steps, you can shoot him. You can end this, my child.

“I’m not your child.”

“What do you mean?” Rachel’s step-father raised his fist. After shaking it at her, he pointed to the girl on the floor. “You’re not my child? Hah! I married your mother! I feed and clothe you. You’re just as much my child as that pitiful thing is.”

“I am not yours and never will be.” Rachel said through clenched teeth.

Now! Show him your independence now!

“Go to you room! Take those whelps with you.” Rachel’s step-father gulped down a long draught of whisky from a tin flask. “Go now before I change my mind and decide to give you bruises to show off at school.” The step-father laughed, coughed, cleared his throat, and then took another drink of his whiskey.

Defy him! Do it! Free the little ones. It is the right thing to do. The shadow figure whispered. Its voice was calm. Its voice was beautiful. Its long fingers rested on Rachel’s shoulders, seeking to comfort and manipulate her. She shook it off and guided her little sisters upstairs. Before she reached the top she glared through the shadow figure at her step-father.

The pink walls were dull. The paint was chipped and peeling. The whitewashed floorboards creaked underfoot. Rachel sat in the corner. Her arms hugged her knees to her heaving chest. She watched a starving mouse gnaw at the edge of its hole.

Her eyes snapped shut as grey claws dug into the side of the mouse’s head and pulled it from its hole. The cat with fur like fire stood over its prey. The grey claws retracted and the mouse tried to scurry away. The cat leapt, biting down on the mouse’s neck. She wasn’t a patient creature and did not play with her food.

Rachel glanced at her little sisters. She sighed. They were still asleep. She had sung them a soft lullaby. But her heart had not connected with its sweet words. The shadow figure lurked in the room’s corner, watching her. It was a patient creature and always played with its food.

The shadow figure glided across the floor. It curled its long fingers around Rachel’s wrists. It glanced at the little girls and something growled within it. It put its black lips close to Rachel’s ear. It panted. Why are you burdened with these things? They are his spawn. Why do you…love…? The shadow figure choked on the last word.

Rachel sat there on her bed. She was silent. The crunch of bones cracked through the still air. The cat purred, finding joy in the death of another creature.

The whitewashed trimming, greyed and yellowed with age, around the wooden door shook as Rachel’s step-father lumbered down the hallway. A beer bottle crashed against the door and was followed by a laugh as the footsteps continued on. The shadow figure whispered, look at me, my child.

Rachel turned her tear stained face toward the shadow figure. She wiped her hands on her torn jeans. Her blue eyes looked into the shadow figure’s red ones. She shuddered as it cast images into her mind.

One was of her mother, lying dead in the street right after she had been hit by a large truck that ran a red light. Red blood framed her limp form on the black street. In another image her step-father nursed his first bottle of beer the night after the accident. He lay curled on his bed, murmuring in his sorrow. The third image was of the scene downstairs. It depicted her step-father’s rash behavior. It depicted how close Rachel had been to ending the abuse right then and there. She watched as her hands trembled. She saw from the outside how much the shadow figure affected her.  Rachel broke.

She threw herself back unto the bed, pulling her knees to her chest. She lay on her side. The sobs ripped through her, forcing small whimpers to escape from her sealed lips. Pain pushed at her ribs. She hugged herself, sat up, and rocked back and forth. Her heart pulsed faster, faster, faster, then slower, slower, slower as the shadow figure wrapped itself around her. Rachel willfully drew the shadow figure closer to her heart.

In the morning Rachel awoke with the shadow figure hovering between her and her step-father. He reached out and slapped her. “If you cry, whelp, you’ll never cry again in this house.”

The shadow figure spun around and whispered in Rachel’s ear. Stay strong, my child, bide the time. Stay here. Tolerate him. I shall deal with him in my own time.

Rachel’s little sisters stirred in the bed behind her. She stood and the shadow figure hovered between her and her step-father, her body between him and the young girls. A passion grew in her bosom. One of the little girls called out her name. A tear trickled down Rachel’s cheek, sparkling with love. The shadow figure shuddered; gaps began to appear in its mass.

Turning around, Rachel flung herself unto her little sisters. She hugged them and kissed them. Her step-father pulled her off and threw her to the floor. Rachel jumped up, turned toward her step-father, and glared through the shadow figure which began to solidify more. Yes, child. Yes, you hate him.

Rachel looked toward her little sisters, “Father.”

“What?” Rachel’s step-father turned toward her.

Time stopped. The shadow figure drew close to Rachel. It hissed. It growled. It whispered. What are you doing, my child? He is not your father.

“There is only one way to stop him.”

Yes, child, but all in time. I shall be rid of him in time. Trust me.

“Mom would want me to take care of the little ones. There is only one way for me to do that.”

Dear one, I have been here since your mother’s death. I know what is best for you. Your mother’s death was his fault. He is the cause of all your pain!

Rachel ran a hand through her bedraggled hair. “You lie. You have blinded me. Mom’s death was an accident.”

No! He caused her death!

“Mom loved me!” Rachel whispered.

Yes, the shadow figure shivered and cracks began opening in its dark essence. But he took that away from you. Indeed, my child, that part of your mother caused you more pain since her death than the joy it ever brought you in life.

“Mom loved them.” Rachel gestured to her little sisters.

Yes, yes, but see their pain at her loss!

“Mom loved Jack, my father.” Rachel bit her lip. “And Mom loved Stan, my step-father, after my father died. I also loved Stan.”

Yes, you did once. But that was long ago. Think of all he has done to you.

“Stan loved my mom and her death was hard on him.”

No, no! He caused your mother’s death! He is the cause of all your pain.

“I love my little sisters and, despite all he has done, he needs my help in this time of pain. My little sisters need me in this time.”

No, don’t say it! Think of what he has done to you! The shadow figure flickered. It hovered on the brink of banishment. Its wispy fingers clutched at Rachel’s cheeks. They did so vainly. No longer could the shadow figure touch Rachel. It roared in pain.

“I love you, dad.” Rachel spoke to her step-father. He stared at her, dumbfounded. His entire body started to shake. The shadow figure screamed as its anchor of hate was banished from Rachel by the power of love.

Rachel’s step-father knelt before her. His brows pulled together. Rachel put her arm around his neck and hugged him. Warmth surged through her body and into his. He just knelt there in shock. Rachel spoke as her two little sisters hid behind her. “Dad, I know you must be in pain. I miss her too. I want you to know that I love you and I want to help you through this pain.”

“Thank you.” Rachel’s step-father managed to mumble in between his sobs.
Copyright 2012~Joshua A. Spotts 




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Filed under 2000 word limit, Short Stories