Victoria: A Horror Story

Here is my first attempt at writing horror. This is based on the story of the Ourang Medan, a ship which disappeared under suspicious circumstances back in the '40s.

Here's the first chapter! Please note, this gets a bit more violent than I intended, so just...yeah.. you've been warned.

Chapter 1

My name is Arjan Tiede, and this is my story.

In May, 1931, I shipped out on my first voyage on the freighter SS Victoria, leaving from my home in the Netherlands, to Indonesia. It was not my love for the ocean, but rather escaping from an embarrassing scandal, that drove me to leave. I was, in part, persuaded to ship as a telegrapher and radio operator due to my unparalleled talent in that vocation.

I left my house under cover of night on May 17th. I had no desire to say goodbye to any friends or family. My legacy was roughly 20 guilders hidden in my closet which I remembered several weeks after I left port, and a nearly broken bike that was still at the train station in Eindhoven, my hometown. I reached Scheveningen early in the morning and slept in an alley near the docks.

I woke up later that morning and looked for the ship I had signed on with. It was at the very end of the dock, and when I reached it, I saw what exactly I had agreed with. The SS Victoria was a relatively new ship, built in the latter part of 1929. It was roughly 490 feet long, and it was powered by a steam-boiler system.

That’s really all that I knew about the rest of the ship, and that’s not really much more than I cared. I was, however, very well acquainted with radios and telegraphs, and that’s all that mattered.

I had reached the ship just in time. It was embarking in the next hour. I boarded the ship, carrying my meager belongings. As I reached the top of the gangway, I heard my name being shouted by a woman.

“Arjan! Wait!”

It was Mies, my girlfriend. Or rather, ex-girlfriend. We had known each other for a very long time, and one night, things got out of hand. I was scared then, and I was even more scared now that she had just shown up.

“Arjan! I know you hate me now, but please, please, please do not forget that I still love you.”

“We both decided that we’re over, Mies. I’m leaving for Indonesia, and by the time I come back, you’re going to have forgotten about me. Go marry Christiaan, you always admired him, and he’s well off! Forget about me!” I turned. “I’ll only bring pain for you, Mies, and I don’t want you to experience that.”

I walked off, and her sobs wrenched at my heart, as a novelist would say. That was my greatest regret, before I die. I could die peacefully if only I could beg Mies forgiveness. But alas, I’ll die a coward and a cursed man.

I was at first a rather reserved man, keeping to myself as much as I could on a boat with about 60 men. I sat alone at meals, I spent my free-time alone on deck or reading in my room.

By the time we reached the French colony of Cote-d’Ivore, however, I had developed distant friendships with several of the men onboard. I had no desire to really have or make friends, as Mies was always on the back of my mind, and I could not think about anyone else.

There was a bit of time to waste in Port-Bouet, in Abudjan, while the workmen put several loads of cocoa beans onboard the ship. These would be traded in the south in South Africa and sent by train to Johannesburg and Bloemfontein.

I wandered the streets, mildly amazed by the sights and smells. If this was what escaping your past would be like, I was probably going to enjoy myself. I ducked into what I surmised to be a coffee shop when I saw several men from the ship coming towards me. I didn’t want to deal with them, and they no doubt did not wish to spend their valuable free time with a soppy introvert such as myself.

I was surprised by the mustiness of the place. It was smoky and very head-lightening, so to speak.

I had unfortunately ducked into an opium den.

Of Perfection Restored: Chapter 4

Sorry, I've been gone for quite a while! Christmas things, etc.

Anyhoo, here's Chapter 4.

Chapter 4

I came to lying on the floor of a dimly-lit room. It contrasted the brightness of the day from which I had been pulled but moments – or was it hours – before. I assessed my surroundings and found them to be a satisfactory establishment, complete with barred windows and locked door.I wondered what these creatures could possibly want from me; I was soon to learn, for at that moment, I heard the bolt being slid back.The door opened, and I was finally able to see these creatures more closely. They were at least seven feet in height, and the tallest of them was about 8 foot five. I was surprised to see that they were equipped with much more sophisticated weapons than I expected of an obviously alien race. My mind was immediately drawn to my namesake's (Dr. Elwin Ransom) description of the hrossa of Malacandria, tall, almost otter-like in fur and colour, but their eyes had no glint of kindness. They glistened with hostility; I prayed that it was because of the novelty of my arrival.To my brief astonishment, a smaller creature stepped forward. Could he possibly be superior in rank to the others? If so, this would signify that this race valued brains more than brute strength. A glimmer of hope shone in my mind; could they really be rational creatures? If so, my future was either very bright, or quite dim indeed. Mercy is never quite as merciful as when it is irrational, and cruelty is never quite as cruel as when it is just and rational. I had half expected him to open his mouth and speak Old Solar, but it was of an aggravatingly different language altogether. It was my own.“I feel the need to ask you several questions, in the light of this rather serious situation; first of all, who are you? Secondly, may I ask how you got to this world? And finally, would you please explain how you were able to ruthlessly murder the pet of the Philosopher with those weak hands? What magic do you hold? ““That was three. Anyhow, I am Elwin the Wise, third in line from the Emperor-King. I came here by means of magic, and any other explanation is impossible to be given. I used no magic except that of my mind to kill that monster and I extend my most sincere condolences to the Philosopher for his loss. Let me explain why I did so; I came to this beautiful world, and like a fool I allowed myself to become one with it. When that brute destroyed it, I too felt destroyed. I thirsted for revenge.”“Methinks that the surname “Wise” befits you not, Elwin. We will discuss your case with the Philosopher. Meanwhile, we will convey you to different living quarters, which I hope will exceed your expectations.”“Please, I adjure you; extend my most sorrowful condolences to the Philosopher.”“I will consider”, replied the creature. He bowed slowly and, as he was leaving, he motioned his aides to take hold of me, and lead me away.

Short Story: The Last Concerto

Please note, this is Fiction, and barely historical. It's written with my grandfather in mind. He was a student at the Warsaw Conservatory of Music during WWII up to the point at which the Nazis destroyed that centre of learning and art. This is dedicated to him. I wrote it, once again, entirely on impulse. It's scribbled down somewhere in pencil, but here it is in pixel, for your enjoyment.

Originally entitled "The Gift" 
By Brad Weisman (sometime in 2011)

Footsteps outside. Racing footsteps. “They’re here! They’re coming! I can hear them!” He faced the terror-stricken messenger of this news – news that boded nothing but evil. “So?”, he said, raising a aged, frail hand and placing it on the young man’s shoulder. “I have nothing to fear, for I am old. I have lived. I will not run, I will not hide.” The soldier shook his head in frustration and disbelief. “Old man, are you deaf? Can’t you hear the tanks, the bombers? They’re coming! Are you mad? I have others to warn.”

The man turned around half-dejectedly, and picked up pace, carrying his message of impending doom to others. The old man watched him. He turned around slowly, for he was of the aged, the bearers of a hoary crown. He shut the door. It was an old door, handmade by his own hands when they were much stronger. He fondly ran his hand over the old, peeling, paint. He turned and climbed the stairs to his high apartment, soaking in every step, every glance, every smooth, worn tread, every inch of railing polished bright by hands over the years. It was his last trip up these stairs. He knew well what was happening. it had happened at last, the razing of Warsaw, the deadly blitzkrieg. He reached his apartment, turned the tarnished key in the lock, and with a shaking hand, closed the door. He looked around at his beautiful home of nigh five decades. He gazed, through tears, at the many photos of his achievements and triumphs. That concert in the Staatsoper, this oratorio in St. pauls, those sonatas in Berlin. Those happy, peaceful days were over forever.

The droning of the tanks, the booms, the distant screams of people being burned and blown apart, reached his ears.

It was time.

He picked up his sweetheart, his friend, his love; his violin, well worn with 80 years of expert playing. He picked it up. His arthritic fingers softened as they closed around the instrument. He raised the violin to his shoulder and placed the bow on the strings. He began.

It was time for the final gift, his gift to this worn, broken, worthless world.

Music, such as had never been heard before. No composer could have written such magic, beauty, and love, into a single piece, not even if he worked for a thousand years.

People outside, fleeing into their shelters, paused in the streets momentarily to hear the flowing music. The birds stopped fluttering, and paused, listening. It almost seemed as though the planes’ cacophony was drowned out by the final gift of this dying Orpheus.

The boom and crash of the bombs grew closer, ever closer. He played on, ever on, more brilliantly, more scintillating. Now the explosions and crashes were upon him. He played so scintillatingly bright and beautiful that no sort of time or space could contain that beauty; he had earned his place among the stars, even among the gods, by this exquisiteness.

Another crash.

At that moment, a spirit left a body, and a violin. They rose towards heaven, and now the music could not be contained by sound, for the music was his spirit.

The master had given his final gift to this ungrateful, harsh world, and had gone above to play before the Great Master.

Chapter 3: Of Perfection Restored

I know I could make this so much better, but bear in mind that this is the rough draft.

Chapter 3

I woke at sunrise. The sky was filled with bright ribbons of red and orange, rosy-coloured wisps of cloud and bright sun beams. Marvelling at this for some moments, I thought back upon the events of the previous day; the death and regeneration of my world. I wondered at how many times this may have happened, how the terrible monster which killed the lovely heath became the rebirth of that countryside in the end.

A great creaking and groaning startled me out of my meditations; all of a sudden, a great crash that shattered the stillness roared above my head. Rubble and dust crashed about me, and I fell to the ground in terror, covering my face.

Peering through the clearing dust, I made out a huge shadow beyond. It came closer quite rapidly. With an earth-shaking clamour, whatever it was caught on the edge of the roof of my cave, and I gathered the courage to run for my life.

Out of my shelter-turned-death-trap, I turned to see that a massive anchor, probably 15 feet tall, had caught on the crag. The anchor was attached to a chain, which went up, up into the sky, and went straight into the strangest sight I had ever seen. It was a great ship, and it was floating in the clouds.
I barely had time to collect my thoughts when rope ladders fell to the ground and crowds of armed creatures, the like of which I had never seen, streamed down them like ants. They caught sight of me, shouted, and made for me as fast as they could. I fled in terror.

I felt like a hunted animal. I was. I fled for my life through the forest which had, but hours before, yielded such delights and wonders. The newly-birthed phoenixes cried out and scattered as I rushed by. I leapt the brook, and stumbled. Turning my head quickly, I saw that the creatures were almost upon me.

All it took was a tree-root. A little bit of exposed wood that cut the line between what was to me life or death. The beasts swarmed about me before I could continue my flight.

A flash of fur, a gleam of an eye, a shouting, screaming, tearing—

Chapter 2: Of Perfection Restored

Here's Chapter 2. Once again, let me remind y'all that it's very....confused..

Chapter 2

The dragon beat the air with its wings, soaring rapidly towards the forest. It opened its gaping maw and, within moments, had reduced that beautiful paradise to smoking, charred cinders. The air was filled with the shrieking of burning birds, and the sounds of burnt stumps cracking beneath the weight of the scorched treetops. The brook sizzled and boiled and became as the effervescent cauldron of some fabled witch.

As I watched the cruel flames licking up the heather, I felt such a sense of anger and bewilderment. As the colourful world turned all to black, I steeled myself with determination.

I pushed off the ground and flew towards the dragon. It turned to face me, and opened its punishing jaws to snap me up like a child eats chocolate drops. I felt as though my heightening fury gave me speed, and, with not much difficulty, I manoeuvred myself behind its head. Without a sword or a gun, how could I kill the brute? I dodged its lashing neck and head as it endeavoured to find me. I grabbed hold of its wing, and ripped one of the panels of scaly skin.

The dragon shrieked in pain, and I felt some grim satisfaction. I pummelled its head about its metal-like ears, but injured none but myself.

The dragon suddenly flew straight up into the sky, throwing an ill-aimed breath of fire towards me as it went.

I followed closely as we streaked through the darkened clouds. Where had it gone? A black, brightly shining object, almost brilliant in its sheen, darted towards me from around the edge of a pillar of cloud. It meant to make an end of me, I am sure, but it did not.

Having read several books that mention the fact that dragons have a soft underbelly, I did a quick inspection as I ducked under the creature. My search yielded nothing; it seemed to be well guarded on all sides.

Suddenly, as soon as all this movement began, it stopped.

We hovered in mid-air, surrounded by massive columns of cloud, a celestial arena of sorts. Its piercing, almost jewel-like eyes, looked me right in the face. I stared right back, through its eyes, into the depths of its dark soul, and saw what I was to do.

It attacked me, a flash of black in a world of white. I darted above its head, but just as quickly, I turned about and flew right onto its head. I raised my fist, and plunged it towards the crown of that great and terrible monster.

Time seemed to slow. The clouds leaned in, like an expectant and waiting crowd. My fist met the top of its head. My bruised and bloodied knuckles broke through the skin, the skull, the very brain; but there was no oozing blood. The head seemed to break apart into millions of shards of obsidian, flying apart as though it were an explosion. The whole of the creature shuddered, and, all in a moment, it broke. The sky seemed to filled with black, dazzling rain, a rain of jewels.

I returned to the ground below, battered, bruised, and the sole owner of one very painful wrist.
I crept into a sheltering cave beneath one of the still smouldering crags to shelter myself from the piercing downpour. As each sharp point pierced the ashes, as though they were arrows, I fancied that they blossomed, and took root.

Once destroyed, the world was watered by the death of the dragon, and became bright and new again.

Having seen my world restored, I fell to the ground in a stupor; I spent such a time nearly strangling Old Morpheus that night that I’m afraid very few people got any sleep at all.