Morte Mare

Written by Alex McCarron


There’s a pool way out on the moor, as deep as you ever did see. And there’s a lady who lives in that pool, and she’ll come out if you ask kindly.

“Please won’t you come out, please can’t I see—” She’ll rise up, her face like a shadow on the water at night, for it’s all dark depths and deep, hidden teeth. Her name’s Lizzie Jack, and she once was a girl, a girl twice your age and three times as pretty.

Plump and fair our Lizzie was, with slim hands, long fingers, and such strong white teeth. She used to work spells and she used to bring children all alone to the moor at night. She rocked them and spun them, and sucked the life from them, and drowned them in the pool at night.

Now Lizzie had a sister; a sister who followed her to see what she did at night. She saw Lizzie lift the bones from the pool. She saw Lizzie crack them and suck them, and lick the marrow from her sharp white teeth.

With every bone she sucked, and every life she took, Lizzie grew fairer, and far fairer still. She grew fat and full, like a billowing cloud, and her hunger grew with her. Day and night her teeth ground in her mouth, ripping her own cheeks and tongue. She longed for meat. The bones called her back.

Her sister watched, and her sister followed her. She couldn’t believe it, but she could stand it no longer, so she pushed Lizzie into that pool. How Lizzie screamed, how she fought, clawing her own fingers to the bone. And how long her sister held her there, long after she’d breathed in the black water. She drowned Lizzie in that pool in the moonlight.

Night after night she came back to see Lizzie at the bottom of the pool. Lizzie cried and cried, and said, “Sister, sister, I’m rotting away, and the children all hate me. Sister, oh, sister, their bones hate me so.”

Now her sister loved her, though she was a witch and a murderer. With her own hands she drew Lizzie’s face up from the water. She kissed her wet and crumbling forehead.

“I bind you to these waters,” she said. “I bind you to these bones. I bind your lips so you will not speak. But if anyone is a fool enough to come here, let them rot in the water with you. I’ll not leave you alone.”

Her sister knew a witch’s words; her sister had a witch’s power. Lizzie sank down, gnashing her teeth.

Lizzie’s sister returned every night to talk with her beneath the water. She grew old, with a handsome husband and a house full of children. Far and wide she spread their story, so nobody would go near the pool but her. But one day she set out early, striding tall in the mist of the moor, and she did not come back.

Her children searched for her, we all searched for her, calling long into the night. We found her, but late, much too late. She’d fallen and split her head on a stone. We buried her where she lay, for what the moor takes it must keep; so her blood seeped into the earth and her bones sank until they lay buried in the roots of the hills.

But Lizzie still waits, for nobody’s told her that her sister has died, and nobody ever will.

If you go to that pool, and if she rises up, don’t look in her eyes, but look at her hands and her teeth. Lizzie’s hands are scabbed and twisted. Her teeth are broken and bloody and ready for your throat – for she is so hungry, and so lonely, with only the bones rattling beneath her, night after night after night.

If you look in her eyes, you’ll see the beauty she once was, fat and full as a cloud, gathering little children into her arms. You will jump into her arms, and Lizzie will carry you down to the dark depths and the feast among her bones.

There’s a pool way out on the moor, as deep as you ever did see. And there’s a lady who lives in that pool, and she’ll come out if you ask kindly.


Inspired by the classic ghost story, returning contributor Alex McCarron has written such a creepy tale. The black water has seeped through and into Lizzie’s spectral figure. We can’t get enough of this terrifying pre-Halloween treat, hiding under our blankets and pillows, just hoping to avoid the gaze of Lizzie and her sharp teeth. If you enjoyed Alex’s short horror story, make sure to read her other supernatural tale published earlier this year, “Jenny of the Road”. 

Featured Image Courtesy // Fatal Frame, Nintendo

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A Conversation of Song

Written by Warp Spade


The moonlit waves swashed back and forth over a stretch of sand two miles long. Gentle and soothing, its sound a dull wash in the back of the mind. A clear night’s sky stretched out above like a black canvas filled with flecks of white paint. Not a soul to be seen, the sandy shore was smooth and untouched, ready to be shaped by the footprints of hundreds of visitors the next day.

A wooden pier stood old yet proud, stretching out to sea like a great finger, pointing to a distant unknown. Empty but for a jet black piano that rested at the pier’s end. Grand it stood there, waiting to perform to the world under the great spotlight of the moon.

A figure appeared, a shadow, gaunt and tall. It stood beside the piano, looking around before sitting quietly at the keys. It had no discernible features, seeming to almost change in shape as it stretched its arms out to touch a key. A single note resonated, sending ripples through the water beneath. Another note, higher this time; more ripples.

Note after note came, each one as spine-tingling as the next. Yet there was no song, no melody. It was as if the pianist was lost, tapping note after note, getting faster and faster, more angry and frustrated, no sense of rhythm. The sea began to surge beneath the disgruntled figure, moving this way and that in a swirl of confusion. Each note causing the water to jump in a mist of rage.

Then, in an instant, it stopped. The figure slumped down, defeated. The sea receded and the calm from a moment ago returned. Sitting motionless, the shadow was fading and re-appearing as if breathing deeply, heavy with thought.

A sound. The pianist turned its head suddenly. Another figure, standing upon a huge rock at the water’s edge a short ways down the beach. With violin and bow in hand, it quickly slid the bow across the strings creating a shrill, rough sound that clung to the air around it. The pianist replied wearily with a long deep note.

A moment passed. The violinist tentatively created a sustained and wafting sound, and the air around breathed effortlessly as the music ebbed and flowed. The pianist joined in, beginning to find rhythm and fluidity and the two instruments began to work together, one following the other. The noise grew louder and stronger as the musicians began to feel more confident in themselves and each other. Melodies grew and changed, rapid one minute and slow the next.

As song filled the air, so too did the air begin to move with it, the sea erupted around the pianist like a sudden storm. Water crashed around the pier, excited and spontaneous. The two figures were speaking and the elements were listening.

They played together, minute upon minute, hour upon hour. A symphony of sound, wind whistling and the sea seething, working together to create something greater than the sum of its parts. The music between the two musicians was not meant to have an audience; it was a love letter to fall on only their ears, yet played on the world’s greatest stage. The pianist’s hands moved in a blur. Hunched over the ivory keys, the figure was pouring his soul into the song and the result was magic.

The violinist, head bent and arm moving to and fro, created a merry song that danced from the strings and into the air. The sensuous sound wrote words of love into the wind. The two instruments were symbiotic, crafting sweet music together from night ’til the approaching dawn. A conversation of song.

The black of the night slowly turned crimson as the horizon came alight, setting the sea on fire with the approaching sun’s rays. The violinist stopped suddenly, and the pianist turned to its musical partner perched upon the rock, pausing in anticipation.

The violinist turned to face the pianist before bowing long and deep, and letting its violin and bow drop onto the warming sands beneath, crumbling away into nothing. And with that, the early light engulfed the figure leaving nothing but a slight breeze behind.

As the violinist was engulfed, so too was the pianist, not by light, but by rage. It hammered its fists down on the keys, returning to its ways of frustration and anger. This time the sea grew monstrous, huge waves rolled high and crashed into the pier from all sides sending spray everywhere, covering the pianist in a mist of sea and salt. The noise from the piano grew and so too did the waves. Suddenly the pier was engulfed completely and with it the piano and its companion, swept away into the sea, drowning in the sorrow of loss. The loss of that perfect night, never to be recovered.


 

New contributor Warp Spade’s short fiction is eloquent in word choice. Wrapping together the beautiful sounds of music with the frenetic rage of the sea works so wonderfully, it gives us the chills just reading it. The personification of the sea within his short story keeps us gripped to the certain tragic conclusion. But all things come to an end, sadly, we’re just happy we got to read such a great piece. If you enjoyed Warp Spade’s work, feel free to leave a like or a comment below. 

Featured Image CC // 2thin2swim

 

Waterworks

Written by Ashcloud


It starts as a trickle, deep within the ground,
One day bursting from dark caverns, moaning silent sounds.
The water erodes the toughened ground and carves wrinkles in its face.
Flowing wild, furrowing down, to find a new hiding place.

It gushes down the mountain, with speed and power as a guide.
It begins to slow and mellow coming nearer to the tide.
From waterfall to river, from river to gentle stream,
As quiet as it came to be, the water vanishes under the evening beam.


Ashcloud’s beautiful poetry gives us a sense of strength and salvation through powerful emotion. Water works in wondrous ways, twisting and turning, filling up holes, eroding rock, and then submitting to the powerful sun rays. But water is also in our tears, and sometimes we need them, particularly to combat the darkest of days. If you enjoyed Ashcloud’s poetry, you can view some of her other superb work such as, “Is it Wrong?” and “A New Star is Born“.

Featured Image CC // Kim Seng