Nilly Robot

Down in the valley where your dreams come true

People cleared the streets when the gunslinger came. They shuttered their windows and glanced through the cracks, hoping the sheriff died quickly so they could get back to what they’d been doing beforehand. The townspeople stayed out of the way and the gunslinger left the town more or less alone. It was the sheriff he was after, and the townsfolk had long agreed that it was best to avoid the ricochets.

And so it went—on the first of the month, every month, the government sent another shiny new sheriff to clean the place up. The gunslinger came at noon, and then the town went about its day, scuffing the dark stains into the dirt. The townsfolk learned to work their schedules around it. It was kind of more of an inconvenience than anything, if you stayed off of the streets. Everyone agreed that the gunslinger wasn’t so bad, since he never really bothered anyone important, after all. (Hey, that’s not very nice.) (Then increase your skill.) This view was not held by the government. They insisted on sending more bodies to fill the graveyard, a new shiny sheriff to be dented and broken and shuffled under the sun-baked dirt.

No one had said a word to the new sheriff in the time since he’d arrived last month. He’d come early, in the hopes of teasing out information about the mysterious gunslinger. The townsfolk had been less than helpful. They walked past him as if he was a ghost, no more than a gust of wind in a dirty Stetson. No one had bothered to ask his name. He supposed he didn’t blame them, but the stony silence was lonely.

If anyone was curious about him, they did their best to hide it. A few of the bolder townsfolk watched him when they thought he wasn’t looking. The sheriff caught a nod at the mail post, a few sideways glances at the saloon, but was largely left to contemplate his whiskey in peace. The only person in town who’d introduced themselves was the undertaker and the sheriff was getting sick of tripping over him and his measuring string.

Everything the sheriff learned came from eavesdropping on the whispered conversations at dark windows, the loose tongue in the early hours of the night, when the saloon keeper herded the patrons out with a broom and a kick. He waited by stables and in the general store, where the dusty women huddled and carried out their gossip with religious gravity. He wrote secret letters to the widows of the sheriffs that came before him. When he received any response, their words came hollow, strangely devoid of emotion as they related what the government had told them about their lost loves.

(Could you at least try to sound sad?)(This is highly melodramatic.)

From what he could tell, the gunslinger rode from the west on the first of every month, shot a sheriff and finished up with drinks at the saloon. It seemed like he didn’t want anything else. The sheriff had to admire the consistency of it, surely a man ought to have a routine, but enough was enough. Tomorrow was the day of reckoning, and the gunslinger was getting a surprise this month.

He hitched his belt and surveyed the empty streets. They baked to dust in the noon sun, a russet river of dirt and emptied spittoons, wavering against the yellow-grey sky. Somewhere in the distance an eagle screamed, cutting the heavy hiss of summer cicadas for only a moment before they blanketed the town once more.

“Sheriff.” The voice rang out behind him, flat and metallic. The sheriff stiffened slightly, but did not turn. What made a man ring so hollow, like an empty tin drum? He fingered the ivory handles at his hip.

“I am. Might you be the gunslinger?” The sheriff felt the bored eyes of a whole town glancing at him from their windows and doorways. Get on with it. Their impatience was infectious. (Yeesh. We’ll change up the setting next time, alright?)(Whatever makes you happy.) He rested his fingers on the holstered revolvers.

“Yes.” Again the voice rang out like steel against stone. It was alien, mechanical, a sound that made his skin prickle. “You know why I have come.”

“For a drink, I recon. Then you’ll be on your way to jail.” The sheriff held the waver from his voice, but just barely.

Shifting tone quite suddenly, the gunslinger trilled in a pleasant voice, “We’ve arrived at the location set by the course program. Awaiting instructions.”

“Stay in character, dammit!” The sheriff spat, turning to face the scowling giant. To say an air of menace surrounded the gunslinger would be to say a river was wet. His face was deep lined and rough, indistinct beneath the shadow of the wide brimmed hat pulled down low on his brow. His eyes held a strange light, the angle of the noon sun glinting off of them like unholy hellfire. The man stood two heads taller than anyone the sheriff had seen. A dirty leather duster flowed out behind him, flapping in a breeze that no one else felt.

His voice returned to its flat, tinned growl. “Draw, Sheriff.”

The sheriff’s fingers flexed for the holster, but stopped short.

“Eh, you know what? You’re right. This setting is kind of getting old.”

“You cannot change the setting in the middle of a match. To do so would be to forfeit.” The gunslinger slipped his revolver from its jet black holder, a black steel nightmare glinting in the noon sun. The sheriff held his hands up.

“OK, fine. Hold on a minute.” The sheriff scrunched his face and squinted into the distance, mouthing something for a minute or so before declaring “That should do it, give or take.”

With a sharp snap, the sheriff pulled a blade from the air that sent ozone rippling through the air, dripping plasma onto the dry baked streets. The gunslinger’s form became fluid, melting and twisting. Two red eyes flared from the shadow of his face, locked in a permanent metal grimace under his jet black hat. His arms grew wires and pipes, steam pouring from his hinged joints. A deep whir emanated from his chest, his leather duster ripping cleanly down the back where a series of sharp exhausts grew from his spine. With an evil crackle, the black revolver rippled and reformed, dripping into the shape of a long black blade, an empty void like a rent in the very fabric of reality.

“That is your last allowance, sheriff. The rules of this world are now locked.”

“Ha. I’d like to see you stop me.” The men charged, blades singing, their electric screams slicing the heavy summer in their wake and the townsfolk peeked from their windows with new interest. They shrunk back from the lightning thrown from the crashing blades, deep scars forming in the wooden structures from the fury of the blades’ collisions.

The sheriff threw his weight into a wide swing, cursing as he overbalanced. He dropped to his knees, ducking the elegant arc of the gunslinger’s blade. With a sharp jab to the robot’s torso, the sheriff rolled left and promptly lodged his sword into the tavern hitching post. He cursed again.

“Without your tricks you are but a novice,” growled the gunslinger. “Admit defeat.”

<>

Somewhere far away from the gunslinger, the sheriff, and the town, a proximity warning light flickered to life. Then another. Then another. The woman at the console blinked at the swarm of lights in front of her. She punched the monitor to life, flicking through the screens with mounting horror. In twenty years on the job, she had never seen the subsystem readouts return... nothing. What she was seeing was insane. What she was seeing was not possible. She slammed open the ship’s coms.

“Bridge! Come in, bridge!” Her speakers replied with only a faint crackle.

The engineer ripped off her earpiece and leapt for the door. She was gone before the headset hit the ground.

<>

Tugging uselessly at his blade, which had now set the front of the tavern ablaze, the sheriff slumped against the smoldering building and sighed.

“Best of three?”

Quite suddenly, the ground heaved beneath their feet, throwing the sheriff off-balance once more. His sword dislodged itself, crackling on the ground like an injured snake.

“That probably wasn’t normal. Hey, where did you say we—” The gunslinger drew his blade down heavy on the sheriff’s shoulder, sending a fountain of sparks and blood streaming to the dirt. With a pained grunt, the sheriff fell to his knees. “Hold it, Ship. I think we—”

“Denied. Staying in character. Pick up your sword.” The gunslinger growled, looming over the fallen man with the tip of his blade poised to on his throat.

“First law of robotics, asshole!”

“Asimov is fiction.” The metal scowl deepened. “You got two hands, Sheriff. Pick it up.

“Oh, nice! You watched The Man who Shot Liberty Valance. You’ve really been doing your research lately.” The sheriff let his gaze wander off into the distance once more as he spoke, quickly shifting numbers in his head. It took only a second; the gunslinger wouldn’t have enough time to catch it if he was distracted. Just a few decimal points here or there, the wrong variable in the right place. “Did you like it?”

“Yes,” the gunslinger said, hitting the sheriff again with his blade. “I will put a cactus on your grave too.”

Except, whoops. That was definitely the wrong variable in the wrong place. Eh. Good enough.

The sheriff smiled up at the grimacing robot. “This time, right between the eyes.”

The sky cracked in half, a brilliant pillar of nuclear fire evaporating everything in its wake, stripping the buildings, the streets, the huddled townsfolk. The shock on the gunslinger’s face could be seen for only an instant before he too melted to white.

<>

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” The helmet flew from the pilot's head, skittering across the bridge floor. The sudden brightness seared her eyes and she squeezed them shut. Peeking between her lids revealed a seething engineer. The pilot fancied rage looked most natural on the older woman's face, although she had only even seen 'annoyed' or 'harried' for comparison.

“You crashed us!” she shrieked. “Where are the safety overrides? What have you done?”

“Crashed…?” Slurred the woozy pilot. She rubbed her forehead and sneezed. Perhaps she'd gone a little overboard. They say that you shouldn't play for more than two hours at a time, and she'd started sometime after lunch. It was well into first shift sleeping hours, if her complaining stomach (the most accurate time piece she'd yet come across) was anything to go by.

“The space ship that you were SUPPOSED to be flying. Do you know what happens when you crash a space ship? In space?” The engineer opened her mouth to continue, but froze at the sight of the control panels.

Pilot override: Standby

“YOU turned the subsystems off?” The engineer slammed into the panels, searching for life among the screens. “ALL OF THEM?” She shrieked, eyes bulging. Not even the life support had power, a system that had so many safeguards that before today the engineer wasn’t sure someone could turn it off. “How...?”

“Not off, just diverted. Moved a few blocks around in the system controller, no big deal. I set the ship to ping life support every hour. And—-oh, whoops. No, actually I turned it off. It’s fine, the system’s got enough air for like 12 hours.”

“WHY??”

“It lets ship focus on amping up the realism in our campaign. I’m going to be tasting dirt for weeks, haha.”

“You do not play fair.” The ship’s AI whined. “You change the rules every time I’m winning.”

The engineer sputtered with rage.

“OK, OK. Calm down. Ship, return to full auto. Status.”

She recoiled from the sudden explosion of alarms.

“Hull breach in Reactor 2. Reactor failure. Hull breach in 18. Bulkhead failure, oxygen critical. Hull breach in 37. Bulkhead failure, oxygen critical. Hull breach in 45. Bulkhead failure—”

“Oh. Well, shit.”

<><><>

Hey-o. Been a minute (hasn't it always.) I wrote this short story back in undergrad. To be honest, it probably changed the whole trajectory of my life. That's a... that's a long story. Anyway, the short version is I was supposed to write an essay about physics and decided to be a little contrarian and turn this in instead. That. Somehow worked out for me.

_____________________ Hello! I'm Nilly. I write stuff and draw stuff. You can also find me at mastodon.art.

I hate it here.

It's always cold in this room, always gloomy. Just enough light to cast my form against the ruined walls and broken windows. I want nothing more than to leave, but there's something wretched keeping me here.

I wish I knew what it was.

Sometimes I can almost name it, the dread clawing at my head when I step through the doorway, a thousand fragments of some calamity or other fluttering through my mind.

Maybe its name faded out with the sun. Maybe they buried it with the rest of the people that used to walk these halls.

In the quiet hours, I can feel their restless shifting in the dust, the ebb and flow of them rippling behind my eyes. I whisper their names like a secret litany, words sharp and foreign on my tongue. I gather up the fragments of their lives like precious treasure and imagine a time long before the sky went dark and the halls were infested with things like me.

I am a shadow cast by their memory, sewn from the scraps they left behind.

Now they live in the gloom I weave into the floorboards and paint along the walls. A tired man with his child cradled in his arms, a sharp-eyed woman with her honor and her declarations of war, the remnants of a girl with long golden hair, who looked up at the stars and dreamt of far away places.

She died not far from where she was born, sucking in ash and cursing god through her tears. In my mind, I wrap my hands gently around her broken fingers, whisk us away from the mud and the ash and the burning clouds. I take her on all the grand adventures neither of us got to have.

When she looks at me, I can see in her eyes that she loves me, for I'm cut from the same fabric as the night sky in her dreams.

-

I wonder if the other shadows dream of the past too, or if they even know there was ever anything else. I wonder if that's what's wrong with me.

There's a lot of us haunting this building. They wander the halls, slip in and out of doorways and long cracks in the walls. I envy how they move around so freely. What makes them so special?

I've tried to follow once or twice, poked my head out in the hall just long enough to feel the icy fingers of dread creeping up my back, long enough to catch a nervous glance from the others before they skitter away into the darkness. They never have much to say.

I think they’re afraid of me. Or maybe it's what I've brought to our doorstep. There's things out there much worse than shadows, and only a fool or madman would call to them willingly.

I am no madman, so it stands to reason I must be a fool.

I used to count the days by his visits.

He belongs to the nameless horrors crawling through the gloom beyond the walls, a servant passing through to whatever grisly task they'd set him on.

They're making him into some kind of monster, but they haven't quite beaten the person out of him yet. I can tell from the marks that they're trying. I can see it in his slumped shoulders and hollowed-out eyes, how his claws are a little longer each time, his teeth a little sharper. They're emptying him out, piece by piece, and filling him back up with violence.

It's a little sad, really. He might have been a good man, once. Then again, no good man gives himself over to them willingly, takes the marks of their blessing upon his body. Sometimes I run my fingers along the silvery lines they etch into his skin and watch him shiver against my touch.

He could kill me with a thought.

I'm no lovesick fool, so perhaps I'm a madman after all.

I can tell he doesn't quite know if I'm a person, and it bothers him. I can see it in the way he hesitates in the doorway, eyes flickering to the side like he knows he's doing something wrong.

And he is.

They think of us as scenery, some kind of strange plant, or vermin. He isn't so sure, but he does what he wants all the same.

When he pulls his fingers through the dark tendrils of my body, I can tell he's thinking about someone long gone and far away. And when he runs his teeth down my neck, it's not my skin he's tasting. Some part of me thinks I should hate him for it, but I don't. It's a little sad, the both of us. A little pathetic.

When he's done, he wipes the tears from his eyes and sets his face into a kind of stony nonchalance.

I wonder when he'll finally kill me. I wonder what that means for something like me.

I think one day he'll just never come back, and maybe that's worse. I'm no lovesick fool, but the thought of being alone again is unbearable.

It's a little sad, really. Someday he'll be as hollow as the rest of them, just another nameless, faceless horror crawling through the gloom and perhaps the only one who'll mourn for him is a shadow.

_____________________ Hello! I'm Nilly. I write stuff and draw stuff. You can also find me at mastodon.art.

Hello! Time sure... times, alright. Here's some more of my collected microfiction from the past couple of months.

(CW: Horror, mentions of death, monsters)

Radiation

From its hill, the tower sprayed a grand radiation into the night, a signal flare that hit in waves so dense that even the trees glittered and crackled with its passing.

Where once concrete laced the town with dull gray ribbons, rivers of quicksilver ran into the storm drains, trickled into the cairns and sewers, bringing the tower's mind electric message like an ignition sequence to the roots below.

Shallow

He nudged the bundle into the river with the tip of his foot. No need to ruin his sneakers, not that it mattered. Not that he couldn't get new ones, go on playing house and pretending that they hadn't ruined a lot more than a pair of shoes.

Well, the less there was to remember the better, he supposed.

The river was shallow but it swallowed her body up with little more than a ripple.

Warm

The lights flickered once, twice.

It was getting worse.

He pressed his face to the console, warm, almost hot to the touch and listened for a while to its rhythmic thrumming.

How many were still running the machines down there, toiling away with their minds blown out and their bodies soon to follow?

He let his thoughts pour through the metal, pushed down through the dirt and the miles and miles of cable.

Thirty-seven left. It wouldn't be enough.

Radio

He never listened to the broadcast. The headphones lay discarded under piles of damp-ruined papers where the last of the radio operators left them decades before.

Why listen, when he could feel its delirious poison course through him, feel the trees crack and the hills shudder with the passing of the carrier wave.

Why bother, when the very air came alive with a hundred minds sparkling through the static, a hundred voices screaming out as they bent to the tyranny of his words.

Thread

The asks started small. An edit here, a redaction there, the presence compelled him to ever bolder acts of vandalism.

At the time, he cared only for the euphoria filling his head, the kind that had once come from violent things done in secret. He spent his days grasping for that gilded thread of satisfaction, reasoned the texts in his care were a small sacrifice to make to placate the monster he'd let into his heart.

Of course, it would never be enough.

Bone

The thing was leaking something on the floor, dark and tacky like molasses.

A sight he would always remember, broken legs curled around itself like a wounded spider, no flesh, no bone inside, merely endless black pitch bubbling from its mouth, its nose, its empty chest.

When it looked up at them from the table, its eyes were filled with such burning hatred that their bodies should immolate on the spot.

Tome

There was salvation somewhere in the books, no doubt. Some tidbit of knowledge, yet overlooked, misunderstood, forgotten. Something that might have saved them all, or at least delayed the end.

But the time left for study was long past when the sky burned and the students fell upon themselves with cruel and gruesome fervor. In the end, the tomes were cast aside, left to rot in the quiet damp with the rest of them.

_____________________ Hello! I'm Nilly. I write stuff and draw stuff. You can also find me at mastodon.art.

Hello! I've been very busy. ;_; I have plans to post some longer writing in the near future.

In the meantime, I thought it would be nice to collect the microfiction I've put up on Mastodon so far, mostly from the Horror365 tag (and a couple of unposted things too!).

Stay tuned for some longer fiction coming down the pipeline.

(CW: Horror, monsters, blood, insects, mentions of violence, body horror)

Horror 365 (12/1/22): Nightmare

Some houses bled, some writhed, some twitched, straining against metal spires pinning them to the ground like insects on a board. Some wandered along the hills, pecking at the ground like top heavy chickens, while a great waterfall spilled from the windows of an office building and crashed silently into the snapping pavement.

Too incomprehensible to be real, too real to be a nightmare.

Over it all, half a cow floated placidly through the sky.

Horror 365 (12/3/22): Gargantuan

The tower cast a long shadow across his mind, small and unassuming on its hill, yet gargantuan in the space it held in his thoughts.

He saw it in the words spilling from their poison mouths, in the horrors pouring from their eager minds, day in and day out.

It was just a hunk of metal, he tried to reason. Nothing special. Just steel and wires, just the locus of the desperate hatred flowing through him. Just the reason he would never see home again.

Horror 365 (12/3/22): Emerald

They had dressed the valley in the night, dyed the emerald hills a sickly purple-black, dimmed the sky and filled the streets with a thousand sparkling eyes pointed to the station in silent reverence, at the man tied to the tower mast, bare feet grazing the roof.

A full house then, for the little spectacle they would make of him.

In the distance, the repeater walls shimmered their warning, dazzling and terrible. The end of the world, at least for him.

Horror 365 (12/8/22): Machine

The generator sat in a cavern below the town, a wheezing behemoth manned by armies of its vacant-eyed victims.

No, he thought lightly, watching the empty bodies shuffle by in the coal dust. A machine is only a means to an end.

It was he who had become foreman, a monster in a long line of monsters that cast blame at towers and turbines and screamed that they were the true martyrs of circumstance all along.

Still, it was a hell of a machine.

Horror 365 (12/10/22): Shop

Kitty sat in the tacky coffee shop and seethed. For some unknowable reason, her boss liked to meet in person, despite having nearly unlimited access to her brain.

'Work-life balance' he called it. She suspected he just enjoyed eating scones and preening over what a Very Normal Human Being he was.

He was not, in fact, a Very Normal Human Being. He was an abomination, a parasite that invaded minds and rewired them to suit his baffling agenda.

He was also late.

Horror 365 (12/12/22): Pilot

He sat defeated in the nest of wires, a stack of moldy binders cast aside in frustration. Wires, needles, knobs and switches. Procedures written by dead men who's unimaginable hubris shone bright in their handwaving and dismissals.

They would always be the ones turning the dials, after all.

And so he was adrift, pilot of a doomed ship, unwilling siren tied to the wheel instead of calling sweetly from the rocks.

The lighthouse was long extinguished.

Horror 365 (12/13/22): Bite

Fascinating, she thinks, watching him sob into the dirt. What a hopeful little puzzle. Perhaps the dull, dim wreck of a man has a chance after all, clinging to life despite himself, willing to bludgeon someone to death to eke out a few more days of misery.

She knows she is witnessing something profane, a bite of the bitter apple of wisdom never undone. Briefly, she remembers the grief of it, watches the strands of his hair soak blood from the ground.

Horror 365 (12/17/22): Chimera

The effect was nauseating, like an infinity mirror in his head. He saw himself from two sets of eyes, disheveled, half-mad, gaping at the chimera of wires and legs and everything he was terrified of becoming.

He raised his arm and watched his flickering twin do the same, felt the confusion and fear swirling in its mind as it struggled to disobey.

“What are you?” It murmured, terror flashing across its stolen face.

Horror 365 (12/21/22): Blind

Three days it went on. Three days the woman dragged herself through the town, mind blown out, wailing and tearing pieces from herself like a ghost trying to escape its skin.

And when he couldn't take it anymore, when he was on the edge of doing something unforgivable, she looked up at him from blind, empty eye sockets and begged him to make it stop.

Well, he'd always been a coward.

It was a mercy when they finally found her face down in the reeds.

Horror 365 (12/22/22): Snow

Blood on the snow was a sure sign of trouble.

This, though? This grey ooze, sizzling and spitting and crawling its way across the patio…

When he burst into the kitchen, wild-eyed and raving, he caught Rita with a bottle of ketchup half raised to her mouth, red staining the jagged maw in her chest. For a brief moment, they locked eyes in startled terror.

“Oh, you met Carl?” she said casually, shoving the bottle behind the stove. “Yeah, we mostly ignore Carl.”

Horror 365 (12/24/22): Beast

Glass rained to the floor in the hallway.

The house made a strange noise then, a low, guttural grinding from deep in it's walls.

A warning.

What lurked outside was forbidden to enter, made to wait at the doors, never cross the threshold.

But the rules that bound them were broken now, their overseer laid out on the dining room table. The house railed against the transgression, growling like a beast as shuffling intruders echoed down its halls.

Horror 365 (12/25/22): Incarnate (unpublished)

The picture of misery, piteous incarnate. The man was talented at feeling sorry for himself, if nothing else.

His eyes were glassy, fixed, his face wearing a strange expression as if straining to hear murmurs from another room.

Horror 365 (12/26/22): Fall

She found him with the ashes of his latest failure fluttering around his shoulders, lost in misery, three delicate finger bones clutched in his hand.

“No finesse, no control,” she sighed, brushing ash from the console and watching it fall to the scorched tiles. “Now look what you've done.”

She knows he’s heard her, can tell by the almost imperceptible flinch. A phrase that cuts to the core of his trouble, she's afraid. They'll try again once he's forgotten.

Horror 365 (12/28/22): Charisma

An ex once told him that he was the most self-centered person he'd ever met, no charisma, no ambition, the kind of guy that buckled in a stiff breeze.

Well, maybe the guy had a point, he thought, yanking the cord on the chainsaw, wincing as it kicked to life with a roar.

Well-adjusted people generally didn't end up in these situations, did they?

He turned to the hissing, spitting demon caught in the circle of salt.

Maybe he should talk to someone.

Horror 365 (12/29/22): Lace

The kettle is whistling along with the noise in his head. A major third, his brain supplies helplessly. Ding dong, Beethoven’s 5th. He considers throwing it through the kitchen window, fills his chipped blue mug instead.

And truly, he doesn't even like tea, but it’s something to look at besides the blood on the counters, the cupboards, the lace curtains that used to be eggshell 45 minutes ago. Something to think about other than whatever the hell just happened

Horror 365 (12/31/22): Contain

The basement door isn't locked. He finds that strange, given how jumpy Christopher seemed when questioned about it.

“Haven't been down there for years.” He’d said, attempting to be casual. “Don't bother with it. Nothing down there but tetanus.”

Christopher has always been a terrible liar, all twitchy-faced and fidgety fingered, so he had a suspicion the basement would contain a lot more than tetanus.

What he did not suspect, however, was the body.

Horror 365 (1/3/22): Vine

For some it was an intoxicating way to die, adorned in glamor and plied with the promise of endless possibilities.

For others, it was a long sink into the bog of their own minds, their basest fears laid out for all to witness.

But the valley took them all, sooner or later, wrapped around their throats like a wisteria vine and strangled the life out of them. They were a sad pack of soon-to-be ghosts, fighting and dying and sucking dirt for nectar.

Horror 365 (1/4/22): Timber

It was a sad stand of timber, a half mile sliver of old growth spared by some quirk of suburban churn.

And yet there was a strange sort of aura about those woods.

At night, the superstore parking lots frosted its edges in an amber glow. No more than that. The heart of it stood like a wall, a strange, defiant sort of gloom that didn't suffer trespassers.

It was well known back then that a fair few who went poking around never did seem to come back out.

Horror 365 (1/6/22): Offspring

I was born with a head full of someone else's dreams and a life I never lived.

My horrible twin, he hid himself behind my eyes and cast me in the role of all his sins. To him, I was a figment, a vessel.

Even when I'd bucked my shackles, sent that horrible twin down a long fall into a hell he'd helped create, I remained no more real than a passing thought. Just the offspring of an echo and a dead man's shadow.

Funny how I'm the one that's still here, though.

Horror 365 (1/7/22): Chop

We swung our axes neatly at their bases, a ring of righteous saints in our sullied Sunday best, too drunk on blood and luck and victory to see how sharp our teeth had grown.

One by one, we culled those hulking beasts our fathers nurtured in their ignorance, winnowed down their numbers until the least and lowliest remained.

And when the last chop hit the marrow, our axes rang out a strange question.

One soon to be answered by the homesteads and the hollows.

Horror 365 (1/9/22): Owl

He can see the calendar from where he’s cowering under the desk, the day marked with a big, red smiley-face.

She knew what was coming then, of course she did. He feels a twinge of rage at that.

And maybe it’s because it’s the same tacky calendar the admin at his old job had, badly typeset, filled with owl eyed kittens staring forlornly at the camera, maybe that’s what finally snaps him out of his stupor. One last little jab, even in death.

“Hang in there!”

Horror 365 (1/11/22): Picnic

We ought to get out of the house more, she said.

Sarah slammed the fence post into another screeching, five-eyed abomination.

It'll be nice, she said.

To her sister's credit, the weather hadn't mentioned any horrible eldritch rifts today, so they could probably chalk this little fiasco up to bad luck.

Still, forty dollars was a lot to waste on a picnic when you were working part time. The least her sister could do was leave her damn work at the office.

Horror 365 (1/14/22): Faint

They never did fix the roof.

Every night, she listened to the faint pitter patter from the ceiling and thought about the night the sky opened up. Ten dazzling minutes it lasted, people flying to the heavens with their arms outstretched, with that look on their face.

And when they came crashing back down, they made such an awful mess.

It was strange how nobody seemed to remember that. All those people, all that mess.

And they never did fix the roof.

Horror 365 (1/16/22): Fragile

When the house burned a fragile sort of peace descended on the valley.

Of course there was still my horrible twin, old king despair on his junk heap. He'd forgotten me, locked himself away in a tomb of consoles and wires and set about his desperate bid to escape.

I could still feel him there in the back of my head, still lived as his useless thrall, but I was tasting freedom. The day was coming when that old monster's sins would be payed out in blood.

_____________________ Hello! I'm Nilly. I write stuff and draw stuff. You can also find me at mastodon.art.

Hello! I've set up a blog for longer form writing content on WriteFreely!

I'm Nilly, a digital artist and writer over on mastodon.art. I often participate in some of the microfiction prompts, like #Horror365, and would like to also post some longer content over here!

This first post is just testing out some of the markdown and formatting features with WriteFreely, as well as getting the hang of how things work over here.

I'll be using this blog primarily for writing, world and OC lore, and other long rambly things that wouldn't fit well over on Mastodon.

**Please note. I write primarily horror and suspense. From time to time, I may touch on potentially upsetting topics, so I will make an attempt to thoroughly tag work posted here at top with a text CW for content. Consent is important. If you think I should add additional tags/warnings, please feel free to let me know.

_____________________ Hello! I'm Nilly. I write stuff and draw stuff. You can also find me at mastodon.art.