The Deep

in story •  6 months ago 

Girl-in-Asylum.jpg

All children, even happy ones, are alone. Sid figured that out when he saw what his father had done. Before that, however, there was the box. He and his brother Will were sitting on the back of the garage roof, where they could peer through shedding branches and down the hill carpeted with red and gold leaves. At the bottom stood the old age home, which was a more interesting spectacle for two kids than you might at first imagine.

Stillwater attracted a certain clientele. Though the jumble of low red buildings looked livable enough, it seemed like none of residents chose to be there. Often they came screaming as their families unloaded them out of cars and left them behind. From time to time one of them would call a taxi in the middle of the night, only to return in the back of a cop car like some kid with a DUI. Once Sid emerged on a school morning to find a man wearing nothing more than his socks wandering the patch of busted up pavement between the house and the garage. It was a wonder how he made it up the hill and over the fence.

This time someone was removing a citizen of Stillwater. A long car drove up with a giant black dog hanging out the window. The driver was a man in his forties wearing a starched white tee shirt and a pair of pressed jeans with a brass celtic cross on the belt buckle. His dark hair was slicked back tight enough to make the skin on his face seem taught.

“It's Grady Booth.” said Will.

There was a strange sound in the air. A low rumble, like the sound of massive wheels turning beneath the earth, had followed Sid his entire life. It was quieter when it grumbled at him in his sleep and greeted him with a louder hum whenever he stepped outside, but always just low enough that sometimes he could convince himself it wasn't there. But then it wavered when his brother spoke and he knew it was real.

“Who?” asked Sid.

“I'd say Grady Owen Booth, but that would be a jinx.” Will was leaning against the pitched roof with an acoustic guitar across his chest. He strummed an ominous chord and grinned. “You know only serial killers go by three names.”

“How do you know any of his names?”

Will shrugged. “He's one of Dad's friends.”

Grady returned from Stillwater with a woman in a wheelchair. He helped her into the passenger seat, in front of the black dog. Sid saw something now that Grady's back was turned. It was a semi-automatic pistol stuck into the leather belt.

He closed the door and stopped there for a moment. Grady turned and looked up through a pair of large sunglasses. The boys froze. He came up the hill, kicking leaves with the steel toes on his boots. Grady stopped halfway up. Fixed them with a glare. He pushed his sunglasses back against his nose with the middle finger of one hand. The sun flashed off them as he did so. He regarded them with his pencil thin lips pressed into a perfectly straight line across his face.

“Okay, let's go.” said Will, scrambling with his guitar.

The boys slid off the end of the roof and jumped onto the trees. This was a maneuver they'd performed many times, but this time their flustered descent made their limbs fly about and Sid put his shoe through the back window on the garage.

“You alright man?” his older brother said.

“Yeah.” Sid got up from the ground. “Hey Will, what's with the box in the back of the garage?”

They looked through the broken window and saw a wooden box. It was rough hewn and about the size of a coffin, though it had no lid and was empty. There were, however, metal loops screwed inside and a length of chain.

“Boys?” their father called. “Are you back there?”

“Do you think he heard the window break?” said Sid.

“I'll let you find out.” Will said as he dashed off.

Sid muttered something under his breath and trudged around to the front, where the family car was parked on the broken blacktop. Will was already inside and Dad's legs were sticking out the bottom of the car. The man came out with motor oil on his hands. He sat cross legged on the ground for a moment and scanned his son as though trying to complete a crossword.

“Kid, do you ever talk about me in school, to teachers?” He stood up and wiped his hands on a rag. “I know I'm hard on you, but have I ever hit you or your brother?”

“No, sir.”

“Do you say things then?”

“No, sir. I don't know what you're talking about.”

There was a long pause and then, “Go wash up for supper.” As Sid nodded and turned back to the house, his father said, “I know you're lying.” The car door opened. “But we'll deal with that later. I've got other things to do.”

Sid guessed that was a threat of some kind. It wasn't something to worry about right then. The rest of the evening passed in its normal way. After dinner he sequestered himself in his room and played text adventures on the Amiga until he felt tired enough to sleep. He woke up twice, and neither time was very pleasant.

Around midnight the car came in. There was some commotion outside. Sid walked through the darkened house and followed the noises to the back porch. He stood outside and shivered. There was the hum, as present as ever. A light was on in the garage. Sid went back inside and stopped short. A shadow sat at the kitchen table.

He flicked the light on. There was Grady Owen Booth, this time with ice blue eyes rather than sunglasses. The gun lay on the table in front of him.

“Do you hear that?” he said. “What do you suppose that is?”

Sid shook his head.

Grady leaned in. “What else could it be but the sound of the universe itself? It's hungry.”

“Are you going to hurt me?”

“No.” said Dad. He was at the door. Beyond him, Sid could see that the light in the garage was out. “Go back to bed. It's fine.”

Sid didn't expect to sleep after that, but he did. Somehow that brief experience had been exhausting. A couple hours later, though, he awoke again. He wasn't in his bed. He found himself standing in the garage. His father was there, looking into the opened wooden box.

The box held a human form. The skin of its face resembled melted wax and it was mottled with blue and green splotches like a giant bruise. It growled as it jerked left and right in the box, its hands and feet chained within by the loops Sid had seen earlier. When the thing opened its mouth, it stuck out its tongue - only it wasn't a tongue. It was a writhing mass of maggots formed into a single organ that curved through the air as if searching for something. Sid recognized the clothes it was wearing. Though they were tattered, they were unmistakable for the clothing of the Stillwater resident Grady had ushered into his car half a day earlier.

"You don't want to look into its eyes." said Dad. He'd wrapped a cloth across the eyes. "The deep will see you."

Sid stepped back. "The deep?"

"This person is dead, Sid. It's body is just a tool." He placed a lid over the box and started nailing it shut. He paused for a moment to point out the opened garage door, up into the sky. "That's the deep."

That sound, the hum and the warp and the grumble that had been with him his entire life no matter where he traveled, was still there. What had Grady said? It was hungry.

Dad continued with the nails and shouted over the hammer's thump. "If this thing can hear you, the deep can hear you. If it can see you, the deep can see you. At least it doesn't know what you look like, but I suspect it will keep trying." He finished the last nail and came over to Sid, who had started walking backwards toward the house. "Don't tell Mr. Booth that I told you."

"What does he have to do with this? What do you have to do..."

"Grady works for the deep and I work for him, but there's a difference between us." He pushed his palm across his brow to wipe the sweat he'd worked up. "Grady feeds it and I dispose of the remains. I do what I have to do to protect us. I'm not claiming to be a good man, but you could do worse than me." Dad came closer, his eyes narrowing and the hammer swinging back and forth at his side. "That man won't think twice about making you a part of this business, but this isn't for you. It's not what I want."

"What do you want me to do?" said Sid.

"Promise me."

Sid opened his mouth and shook his head, as if this could make the words he needed fall out. He didn't say anything. His father came up close enough to cast a shadow on him and lifted the hammer to gesture as he talked. Sid had backed up enough now that he was standing just outside the garage.

"Promise." said Dad. "Promise you won't let that man talk you into anything."

"Yeah. Yeah, okay. I promise."

"Good." As he said this, he grabbed the handle on the bottom of the opened the garage door and yanked on it, pulling the door shut and leaving Sid alone in the cold dark.

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wow @candidfolly, at first when I saw the picture, my first impression was wow.. this would be a horror story and i always scare of horror story because i would have nightmare after reading :p. But I felt that luckily I read your story @candidfolly, your story gave me surprise by surprise. When i read it, i imagine it myself like in a movie, crazy huh? This is how I visualize a story if I like to read. The box very creepy and scary, hope i won't get into nightmare tonite LOL!!

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Thanks for reading!

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You did write an interesting story and I love it very much. Please continue to write and do not disturb by some unnecessary comment. He just don't understand the word "manner"

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Thank you very much for your support!

Poor Sid!... What he had to witness and feel as a child. It has a bit of horror and scare in it (probably because there is a somewhat lonely kid in there?) But I think you wrote this beautifully. After realizing who his father really is, the man kinda handled the situation well, well, except for the leaving him alone part. but well, that image will always be with him... Though childhood...

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I'm happy to know it had the intended effect. That means a lot to me. Thanks for reading ;-)

Hi candidfolly,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit curiesteem.com or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

Great piece of horror! Got the creeps running through my spine near the end. I'm already a fan of your writing. Keep it up!

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Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for reading!


This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.
@c-squared runs a community witness. Please consider using one of your witness votes on us here

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Yeah this gave me a good creepy vibe before the sun sets hahahaha It also doesn't help that I'm staying in a place where all I can see is "The Deep" above me.

But good on you for putting together a nicely written story. You did a very nice job on it. I like that the father was tough but in someway forgiving with his children. He did what he had to for his family but wasn't always nice about it. You captured, very well, that helplessness feeling a child can have in situations where they have no control. I think this is what was the creepiest part for me because we've all been children and we all know what that feels like.

Thanks for sharing! I thoroughly enjoyed your story. Cheers!

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Thank you for the great feedback. Yes, I was definitely going for the isolation that a kid feels when they realize that their parents are truly separate people with their own lives and histories. There is a sort of existential horror that comes with it, something we all feel in ways less supernatural. Not that I'm any kind of expert, but I think one of the keys to horror is tapping into common experiences and turning it up to 11.

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hahah YES! Turn it up to 11. Great reference.

That's what did it for me! I've felt that as a kid. I kind of feel like we all have. As a kid you're just dropped into someone else's world and there's always some situation that eventually clues you into that. That was my favorite part. And I really liked how you just took it to that next level. There was compassion from the father but the kid was pretty terrified. I almost see the question come across his mind asking whether or not this guy is his father or how could he be?

Fun stuff to play with and I loved the way you did it. Thanks again for sharing. Cheers!

Oh my gosh!
When I saw the photo, I just scrolled down, looks scary lol
But I also saw the tag fiction. I guess not quite horror maybe.
Anyways, I guess you made a good story.
And congratulations on your @curie upvote!

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When I saw the photo, I just scrolled down, looks scary lol

A line of excuse for not actually reading the content.

But I also saw the tag fiction. I guess not quite horror maybe.

Again, no respect for the author given here.

Anyways, I guess you made a good story.

That's quite complement you got there. Can you be anymore rude?

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I agree @adamada. You should read what he wrote for mine: https://steemit.com/needleworkmonday/@marblely/needleworkmonday-upcycling-an-old-t-shirt-to-an-envelope-pillowcase

I was very close to flagging him. Maybe I should.

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Flag him when he does it again. His trash comments ruin other people's posts. I'm seeing it and I'm already motivated to flag when I see him do it again.

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👍👌

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Hi Marblely,
You can flag my comments if you don't like them. I respect your opinion or decision.
I try my best to comment on posts very nicely, and very good. I'm not really very good in English or on vocabularies or in creating statements and my grammar is worst.
Sometimes there are words on posts that I can't understand and sometimes I get tired and just scroll watching photos without reading the content sometimes and I honestly say that on my comments.

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Hello @ronel, I appreciate your reply.
In all honesty, I think your English is very good. If it is true that you are tired, or do not understand the post, then you should not be commenting at all because babbling away something that is not related to or something that does not make sense or something that clearly shows you did not read the post at all is disrespectful to the author who has spent time and effort in a post.
When I saw your comment on my post:

Oh, so you're living on this earth as what you put in your profile @marblely?
Me, I'm living on this unknown that I can't fully understand lol
Anyways, your post is, fantastic, awesome, entertaining, exciting, beautiful, worth watching & reading, fantastic, what else?
My mind is limited to think so, I stop there.
My mouth is starting to blah blah blah now. I guess I'll kinda moderate it a little bit lol
What else would I say?

Frankly, I was speechless and quite offended when I read your comment, unsure what to respond until now.

If you truly and honestly want to comment about a post, then you should take the time and effort to read them (or even read twice or thrice if you do not understand the first time) before you comment, else do not comment at all. Yes, your comments are long but a comment should be meaningful and constructive. What you have commented showed that you are just commenting for the sake of commenting (as what @adamada has pointed out), showing no appreciation of the post and hoping that the author would reply you and "engage" with you so that you will win something for a comment contest.

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I thank you for that and adamada as well.
Yeah, the two of you are right, I sometimes I feel like commenting for the sake of engagement. My apologies and to all that I commented in the past. But those comments are not really that much, I'm just kinda like talking to people I guess too much and want some connection. I guess my approach is wrong.
Its not really mainly the comment contest for money which is the reason.
I could also see that there are those that replies to my comments and I as well replied to them. And sometimes because too many replies, I just replied sometimes anything that comes to my mind.

I'm just human being that makes mistakes.
I guess I have to moderate things out.

I love you guys for reprimanding me.
It means a lot to me. I appreciate what you have done to me that made me aware of things that's important.

When the story mentioned the deep and how it was applied in context to the story, I'm unsure whether you based this on Cthulhu mythos feels. It really does feel like reading one of the pieces in Necronomicon. The deep and the cosmic horror that it involves.

Maybe you came up with a different horror in mind but this one really fits cosmic horror quite well.

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I'm very happy you noticed the connection! Hopefully I wasn't so spot on it seemed derivative. I like the concept of a force that is really too ancient and powerful to defeat. It's not just that it is more frightening, but that it can be seen as an representation of the most oppresive of human emotions. Kids may eventually convince themselves that there is no one under the bed, only to graduate to adolescence where they feel nobody likes them and no one ever will. Loneliness, depresssion, paranioa and related feelings are common and sometimes blossom into real diseases. The cures are often limited and the sensations are always there. You cannot get away by just not going into a certain room. You are the one who is haunted. So we don't quite vanquish the monster we cope.

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That was deep and surprisingly comforting to not be alone with those thoughts. The cosmic horror genre has recurring themes of the protagonist being alone and knowing there is no one to believe them if they squeal. Cosmic horror is within and out there. Cosmic horror is existential horror.

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My thoughts exactly!

huy I think someone will not sleep today, you have told very well this spooky story, I like the relationship of the father with his children even if it was hard, not all parents have the same personality.

You have captured the innocence and occurrences of the children in the midst of this horror story I think is the best thing ever achieved in your history that fusion of terror with innocence really captured me.

Thank you for sharing.

greetings, peace and love

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Thanks very much for the kind comments. I really appreciate it - but most of all I am glad that you enjoyed it.

It sounds like a psychological horror to me. If it can see you, the deep can see you. If it can hear you, the deep can hear. This is very scary and creepy. I wonder how a boy feels after hearing something like this. Now when he knows what his dad does, how is he going to deal with it? Obviously he can't talk to anyone about it as he doesn't want to hurt his dad. His dad said he does it to protect the family. What a situation for this boy! Now I understand the first sentence: All children, even happy ones, are alone.

Are you going to write a continuation story? I don't know but it seems like an open end to me?

I like how you grabbed the idea that you had and how you wrote the story gaining something dark and scary with every single sentence.

Thank you for sharing!

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I was definitely going for a subterranean terror, a fear of something you cannot see but is ever present. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

As for your question about writing a continuation - yes and no. I've tried serializing stories before with limited success. I've seen a lot of people on Steemit do that and it seems like a sensible way to build a readership, but in my experience interest seems to drop off almost immediately after the first installment, if indeed it generates any interest at all. I can also understand that - it's a little daunting to see something labeled "Part 7" and realize you'll have to read 6 other parts first if you haven't been followed all along.

Right now I'm taking a different approach. If you look at some of my previous stories, you'll see they have some overlap in characters or themes or both. In a couple cases I've written about the characters when they are adults. Rather than execute a planned serialized story, I'm taking a more experiment inductive approach. Expect to see more stories about the deep and about Sid, his brother, and their friends, but maybe not as a part of a single cohesive whole. At least not yet.

Someday I hope to assemble the various stories together into a big one. Right now I'm satisfied to put together somewhat self-contained chunks that are allowed to go in whatever direction seems appropriate without constraining them by a larger structure. Hope that makes sense.

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I like how you are doing that. It is actually better than creating long series with many many many chapters. The problem which I see on Steemit is that there are so many authors and if you want to support a lot of them, you simply don't have time to read each chapter. Which is sad on one hand but on the other hand other people might get nice stories that you want to read too.

So I like your approach as it doesn't require reading prior stories. I didn't think about something like that. It's cool and unusual :)

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Thanks!

Hey, this caused me a lot of fear and release of adrenaline, I could feel my chest burning in the final lines. I think I can not sleep quietly tonight hahaha. Horror and a good text at the same time, maybe read other of your writings when my fear passes. Greetings.

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Wow, I never thought it would create such a visceral response, which of course is the dream of anyone who tries to write horror! Glad it did something for you and I'd welcome any feedback you have on my other stories. Not all of them are horror, but these days most are turning in that direction.