The Underneath | A Bizarro Flash of Horror

{ 691 words }

Ramsey noticed the mole on his left arm while in the shower earlier that morning, but his mind didn’t quite register what it was through the morning maze of his 6 A.M. mind.  At the time the previous night’s dreams lingered tenuously in his consciousness like intangible, fragmented ghosts.

Now, while he sat at his small gray cubicle ready to assume the role of corporate worker ant, he eye-balled the thing.  He observed that it was dark tan in color, round in shape and entirely . . . new.  The mole had not been there last month, nor a week ago, and most certainly not just yesterday.

Yet there it sat on the inner side of his forearm halfway between his wrist and elbow.

Ramsey looked around the office bullpen to see if anyone was paying him any attention.  Lunch hour had arrived so the office became relatively spare of people, save for the other loners who ate at their desks like he did.  He put his chicken salad sandwich down and surveyed the mole again.

Then he picked at it.  Strangely, there was no feeling.  Perhaps a bit of pressure, but no pain.

Two hours or so later while on his last break of the day, he picked at it again in the elevator.  That delivered a pleasant feeling, so he gently picked at it again.  This time it tickled and smiled.

Later, during his drive home from work the mole started to itch.  Ramsey looked away from the road to scratch at it.  He noticed that it seemed to have gotten bigger since the last time he glanced at it.

That’s peculiar.

He was anxious to get a better look at the thing.

Once home, he heard a voice.  An internal voice . . . in his head.

Look at it, the voice said.  He did.  What he found surprised him.  The round mole, which was once small and tan, and later only slightly bigger, had now grown to the size of a nickel and had darkened to a rich brown color on his pale skin.  It also appeared to be raised; no longer as flat as it was previously.  He fingered it in disbelief.  It began to itch again.  Gone was that tickling sensation from earlier.

He scratched at it and grimaced from the resulting pain.

The voice in his head told him that the truth was underneath and that he had to see it.

From his bathroom Ramsey gathered cotton swabs, tweezers and antiseptic.  Before he could even apply the tweezers to it, the mole—or whatever the hell it was—began throbbing.  It surged with an intense pain that brought him to his knees.

He clawed at the thing with desperation to get it to stop hurting, but that only made it more excruciating and the pain bowled him over onto the hardwood floor.  He must have gotten through the damn thing because his crimson blood began a steady trickle.

Look!  Look underneath!  The truth awaits you!!!

Afraid to look, yet Ramsey allowed his curiosity of what lay beneath his skin get the better of him.  He pulled back the blood-red and blackening surface of the blemish, which was now the diameter of an old fifty-cent piece.

Once he peeled the mole-skin back he saw an eyeball staring back at him.  He shuddered at this revelation, shook his arm as if to dislodge it.  Yet still it sat nestled there inside his arm.  The whites of the eye were bloodshot, and the iris was icy-blue with a tiny black pupil.  However, it didn’t stay that way.  In an instant the eye transformed: the white was now black, the blue now red, and the pupil became a pointy reptilian or cat-like slit.

In another instant the pupil dilated and inside the pupil was the image of Ramsey naked and chained in an X formation against a fiery backdrop.  By that point the searing pain had given way to numbness.

Ramsey became convinced that if he was not already in Hell, or hadn’t gone completely insane, he was fast on his way.


Written in 2010. A slightly different version of this story was previously featured in Like Frozen Statues of Flesh, a print anthology published in July 2011 by Static Movement, edited by Joe Jablonski. This re-published edition exists for electronic access and online archiving, and is intended for reading and reviewing purposes only — any other unauthorized use or dissemination is strictly prohibited.

This edition is copyright © 2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Cover designed by Brandon L. Rucker and copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved.

brandonrucker.com | RuckerWrites | @RuckerWrites

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Daybook 2 | Update Untitled

I Got Nothing

Firstly, I have no Workbook update to share this past week (or the past week before that) because, honestly, there wasn’t any of that kind of work done the past couple of weeks.

ME3_Garrus_NormandyRe-calibrating Like Garrus *

Making some reconfigurations and changes here and abroad, and so things will be a little different here after that reconfiguration. Going to resurrect my old blog and reassign all my nonfiction writing over there and make Ruckerpedia the venue for my fiction writing and music. Or something like that. Gimme a week to tend to these . . . calibrations . . . and we’ll see what’s what.

* Bonus geek points to those who get the Garrus Vakarian reference.

Back In Briefs

With my novel writing prospects in flux for the immediate future, I see no reason to avert my writing attention from short fiction. The novel stuff will likely have to wait at least until the darker, colder months arrive which is when I go into hibernation mode like a grizzly bear in the American wilds. If then, because it’s quite evident that right now I’m just not novel-ready, despite my public displays of eagerness and determination. Who knows if I ever will be? Despite that, I am still a storyteller and will be exercising those muscles on some shorter works. I think I could use a dozen more bylines under my belt, so it’s time I start submitting short fiction work again since my only new fiction credit in the last 3.5 years happened back in March or whenever (see Four Deep” @ Dead Guns Press) . I’ve zeroed in on a few online venues that I will pay off, er, I mean persuade to read, accept and publish my work this year and next with my meager talents. So yeah, short prose fiction. Speaking of which . . .

Smash Hits

So on Sunday I ran a series of posts that focused on the digital versions of old previously published short works of mine that are live over on Smashwords. I included some ‘behind-the-scenes’ author commentary that you may want to read for a little insight on the work. Fair warning, it’s warts and all on those old pieces. Featured on my Smashwords profile page are these four:

The cursed object story Finder Kept

The bizarro horror story The Underneath

The Poe inspired horror story Pieces of Candice

And of course there’s also the bloody little ditty called Shard

I have four or five more previously-in-print works on deck to upload, so once they’re live I will link them here on Ruckerpedia.

I think that’s all I have this time. Be well, be merry and be better than you were the day before today.

– B.

My Fiction – The Underneath (eBook)

The Underneath: A Bizzaro Flash of Horror

The Tease

After Ramsey discovers a strange blemish his life takes a swift turn into a painful, surreal experience, leaving him to wonder: is this real life?

Author’s Commentary

This one was published a couple of years back in the bizarro print anthology LIKE FROZEN STATUES OF FLESH, compiled by fellow writer/editor Joe Jablonsky. Written in 2009, it is certainly a bizarre piece of fiction dealing with a fella who has discovered a strange blemish on his skin that was not ever there previously. What happens after that discovery results in perhaps the most surreal story I’ve ever written in my two decades-plus of fiction writing. This one sports one of my better cover efforts. You can click it below to take a brief misadventure into something a bit nightmarish.

Disclaimer

None of these old works are my finest work, but they now exist in digital form for posterity, if nothing else. I suppose also as a reminder that as a writer I can always do better.

The Cover

The Underneath 3 (1600w)

Workbook 1 | July 5-11, 2015

13611-snifty-spiral-notebook-clip-artCurrent Project: Blood-Borne (codename)

The week that was . . .

  • Re-engaged the “new” Book One on Sunday night, July 5th as planned.
  • Quickly realized I was coming back to the characters, their story and their world – on the page – almost cold turkey after having been away for so long, aside from brainstorming and rearranging things in my head the last couple of years.
  • Added previously written parts of Goran’s origin to the “Preamble”, the new world-building intro portion to open the book.
  • Did a quick research refresher on the historical timeline and the customs of the South Slavic region of Europe.
  • Re-purposed “pre-narrative” and supplemental material for the new narrative “Prelude” section, as well as actual chapter material.
  • Began to construct a new loose outline.

The week to come . . .

  • Continue loose plotting of new skeletal outline so I have a serviceable map.
  • Continue work on world-building intro “Prelude” and narrative “Prelude” intro sections.
  • Consider incorporating some of the “bible” material into a reader-friendly “glossary of terms”.
  • Take long scenic drive for mind-clearing and brainstorming.

Current Project: Operation Remember Me?

The week that was . . .

The week to come . . .

  • Possibly work on revising either “Call of Duty: A Cop’s Tale” or “All Things Considered.”
  • Brainstorm, design and create digital covers for remaining lineup of stories.