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Fear Itself (standard:horror, 3400 words)
Author: A.M. SneadAdded: Sep 24 2002Views/Reads: 3588/2423Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Six years after the brutal slaying of their best friend, two teenage boys watch the execution of the killer. But when it is over, one boy has reason to believe that some monsters cannot be killed.

~ The threshold snagged Larry's feet and halted him so suddenly that
Billy Hatherton collided with his back.  The other boy grunted and 
righted himself, but said nothing and made no effort to push Larry 
through the doorway.  He simply stood in a heavy silence, awaiting 
Larry's final decision, ready to follow suit. 

Sucking in a deep breath, Larry lurched forward awkwardly and almost
gagged.  The air inside the small room felt thick as tar, and reeked 
faintly of an unidentifiable stench that clogged the windpipes.  
Larry's legs trembled as he sought out a chair.  Billy Hatherton 
dropped into an empty one beside him. 

Both boys' eyes were yanked to the front of the unnerving room.  They
could see their reflections in the large pane of glass behind which 
heavy darkness abode, and they looked like ghosts.  Larry jerked in his 
seat when the light in the small, cubicle room beyond the glass flicked 
on.  Their reflections vanished and both found themselves staring at a 
central object that appeared ominous in itself. 

A single thought came to both boys at the same moment:  I don't want to
be here.  But Larry lacked the courage to cut and run, and Billy simply 
relied on his friend to make the decision for both of them. 

Sitting should to shoulder with his friend, Larry knew the other boy
wouldn't argue if he suggested they blow this off.  But he suggested 
nothing.  Glancing quickly at his friend, though, he wondered if maybe 
he should;  Billy Hatherton's face was an ashy pallor and the nervous 
working of his throat warned he wasn't feeling well at all.  Larry was 
sure they both seemed genuinely ill to everyone else in the room. 

The storm outside exhumed an eerie howl and pummeled the high brick
walls of the massive structure in a frenzied attack. 

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil... 

Larry shivered.  The scripture was meant for comfort, and it was one he
and Billy and Charley had chanted repeatedly that dark night in the 
basement of the butcher shop, clinging to each other, eyes closed and 
shouting the verse aloud so they wouldn't have to hear the tortured 
screams of their best friend. 

Larry clenched his fists in his lap and closed his eyes, sucking in a
deep breath.  He didn't want to think about Franky now.  Or Charley, 
who had been too terrified to face the monster of their childhood 
again- even under these circumstances.  Larry just wanted this to be 

The dark night swelled, pulsated with fury.  What would happen if the
electricity went out?  Would all this be postponed, or did they have 
backup generators to deal with just such emergencies?  All Larry knew 
was that he couldn't do this again, could never summon the courage to 
come here a second time.  This was it- period. 

"I feel sick."  Billy's face was pasty and his voice thick, as if he
might vomit at any moment. 

Nerves.  Larry was feeling their effects as well.  "Just hang on."  He
told his friend quietly, leaning Billy's way.  "It'll be over soon." 

Billy was shaking opening and already his forehead glistened with sweat
as he hugged himself fiercely.  His pale skin and lanky frame gave him 
a ghostly aura. 

"Charley should be here too."  Billy shuddered as if overcome by a
sudden chill. 

"I know, man."  Larry whispered.  "But he was.." 


Larry leaned forward and sighed.  "Yeah."  His eyes refused to budge
from the object behind the glass.  It sat there silently, playing dead, 
waiting patiently for its next victim. 

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