11 The Woods – The Boys Appear Back in the Woods by LV Gaudet

•September 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment



“No!” A swarm of swears bursts through Kevin’s mind, but he checks himself. Mom would lose it on him, especially swearing in front of his brother.

Jesse looks around and crumples to the ground in open-mouthed silent despair.

They are back in the woods next to that ugly goddamned old rotting stump.

Kevin slaps his own head in frustration and anger, spoiled with the loss of hope. A whine escapes his throat, like a small frightened animal.

He slaps himself again and again, harder and harder. It becomes a frenzy. The whine bursts from his throat, moaning and wailing, slipping into insanity.

“Kevin, stop. Stop, Kevin, stop.”

Jesse is on his feet shaking Kevin, more terrified now by his brother’s break into insanity than the impossible madness happening to them.

Through the blood red fog of terror gripping him, Jesse’s cries and shaking him seep through to Kevin.

Jessie is pawing at him, grabbing for his arms, pulling on them, trying to make Kevin stop slapping his head.

Kevin’s head is ringing from his own blows, swimming in disbelief.

He has worn himself out and is worn down. His cries trail off and his hands slip from his head. He finally lets Jesse take his arms and pull them down.

Kevin sags and expels a long deep breath, releasing a world of fear and tension.

He feels empty now.

He inhales, long and slow, trying to push away the panic making his hands and knees shake and his whole body weak.

He is the older brother. The man of the house in the absence of his father. He has to be brave and strong.

He almost collapses, swimming in nausea and trembling weak limbs.

“I can’t do it.”

“What?” Jesse feels a rush of fear that shadows the terror already gripping him.

Kevin shakes his head, shaking it off.

“Nothing, it’s nothing. I’m just talking to myself. Trying to figure things out.”

“What are we going to do?”

“First,” Kevin pauses, trying to think. He can’t. That’s it. They need to think. “First, we need to think.”

They both make faces like they are thinking hard, but really they can hardly think at all. They are stuck in time and in fear.

Kevin tries to put his thoughts into something that makes sense. An order. He tries to put the crazy that has become their world into order.

“Let’s think this out. Everything was normal, good. Mom was going to bake a cake. You got your comic. Then we decided to play outside.  We went out, messed around.”

“You dared me to go in the woods.” It doesn’t matter how small and innocent Jesse’s voice is. It rings as an accusation in Kevin’s ears.

“We dared each other.” Kevin isn’t ready to take the blame. “We went into the woods, to the old stump.”

“Now we’re stuck here.” Jesse spat the words out insolently, moving towards the stump and swinging his foot to kick it.

“I don’t think we should-,” Kevin starts, his face going slack and a sickly grey as the color drains away, reaching out a hand as if to stop him.

Jesse’s swinging foot stops just short of contact.

“We shouldn’t make it mad.” Jesse says the words that are in Kevin’s mind. He turns to Kevin, his expression full of loss and despair.

“Why won’t it let us go? Why won’t it just let us go home? I want to go home.”

“It did.” Kevin is back to focussing on trying to think this through. “We don’t even know if it’s the stump. Whatever is happening. We can go to the house. It lets us go inside.”

“It won’t let us leave the yard.” Jesse finishes the thought.

“It won’t let us leave the yard,” Kevin repeats. “Every time we try to leave the yard, we end up right back here.”

“The house is wrong too, and the yard. The snow is gone and then it’s back. The house feels wrong too. Like it died. Kevin, what are we going to do?”

“I don’t know. Come on; let’s go inside. I don’t know about you, but I’m really tired. I could eat something too.”

Jesse sniffles unhappily and follows, letting Kevin lead the way back, crawling over that fallen tree. They both pause just before going over, before having to touch it. The memory of Kevin being trapped inexplicably under that tree is a raw open wound in both their minds. They both cringe at the thought of touching it, but it’s the only way. They don’t dare venture off that well-beaten path they have taken time and time again trying to leave the woods. The woods that won’t let them go.

“Still snow,” Kevin observes, taking in the snow-covered ground of their yard.

“That’s good, right?”

“At least it’s the same as when it started.”

Jesse pauses and looks back.

“What if the only way out is back? Through the woods?”

Kevin stops, turning and looking at him. He looks at the woods with a faraway look in his eyes.

“We are not going deeper into the woods. Who knows where we might end up then?” His voice has a firm resolve he doesn’t feel. He feels only empty and scared. He wishes their dad is there. He’s tired of having to be strong. So very tired.

“Come on. Let’s see if we can find something to eat and have a rest.”

They return to the house, taking their boots off at the back door. They take their jackets off, tossing them on the couch in the living room.

Kevin heads for the kitchen. Afraid to be left alone, Jesse hurries to follow.

His eyes fall on the comic book splayed out on the floor. The Thing forever locked in battle.

Has it moved?

He shakes it off, jogging to catch up to Kevin.

Kevin is already rummaging in the cupboards. He pulls out two bowls, spoons, and a box of cereal. Count Chocula. The box features the chocolate loving count enjoying his cereal. A cloud in the bottom corner shows a werewolf boy and the offer: “INSIDE! MONSTER DISGUISE KIT AND IRON ON”.

Jesse blanches. “Not that one.”

Kevin looks at him. Count Chocula is Jessie’s favourite cereal, and his favourite cereal character.

“No monsters.”

Kevin nods, putting the box back and pulling out another. It’s a new cereal, and one neither boy was fond of the taste of. New G.I. Joe Action Stars.

“A hero,” Kevin says.

Jesse nods approval and Kevin pours the cereal.

Kevin goes to the fridge and gets milk. He opens it, sniffing it tentatively before pouring.

“How is there milk?” Jesse has always been the one to pick up on things that seem out of place.

“Dunno,” Kevin shrugs. “Enjoy it while it’s here.”

He puts the milk away and sits down. They both inhale their cereal.

“Let’s try to sleep.” Kevin leads the way to the bedrooms, leaving their bowls and spoons on the table.

“Where?” Jesse, always the practical one too.

They pause in the doorway of the first room, Jesse’s bedroom, and look at each other. Jesse shakes his head.

Kevin already knows where this is going. He knows what Jesse wants and thinks he is too old to admit he wants it too.

They stop at the second doorway, Kevin’s bedroom. Again, Jesse shakes his head.

“Okay,” Kevin nods.

They move on to the last bedroom, their parents’ room. The boys curl up together on the bed, taking that small comfort from the ghost of their parents’ presence even in their absence.

Soon they are softly snoring.



The Woods 10 The House – Inspecting the Basement by LV Gaudet

•September 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment



The buyer has had enough of this morbid shrine to those who are no longer here.


“Is there a basement?”

The realtor pauses, thinking about it.

“I should have read the file on this place,” he thinks, dismissing it almost as quick. The commission wouldn’t be worth the extra time. He thinks fast. Do the other houses in the area from the same period have basements? As far as he remembers some do, some don’t. Some have only a crawl space or a partial basement, an area dug out just large enough for the furnace and hot water tank. He has about a seventy-thirty chance it has at least a partial basement.

“I think so. Yes, it does.”

If he’s wrong, it won’t matter after the auction if this guy bites. If he bites.

“You never did say if you are married, have a family. Do you have any kids? There’s a school not far from here. Playground too. It’s an older neighbourhood, but things circle around, as they say. You know, circle of life and that sort of thing. New neighborhood, young families move in and have kids, fill up the neighborhood with kids. The kids grow up and move out, have their own kids. The neighbourhood gets old, fills with grandparents and empty nesters, no more kids around. The school gets empty. But eventually people move out, go into nursing homes, and new families move in. You get a new cycle of young families moving in and having kids. Lots of kids around again. Circle of life. This neighborhood is in a rejuvenation phase, lots of new younger families moving in.”

“That’s not what they mean.”

“About what?”

“Circle of life. That’s not what it means.”

The realtor is a little annoyed at being corrected. He pushes past it, just wanting to get out of there. He finds the house a bit unsettling. He has better things to do too. The game is on this afternoon and he could be sitting on the couch with a beer watching it.

“You know, if you want this house you could probably skip the auction. The thing is, with an auction, there’s the risk someone will outbid you.

Whatever you are planning to bid, just make an offer now. I think I could convince them at the municipal office to take the offer.  We can go draw up the paperwork right now.”

If this buyer has spent this much time walking around, checking the place out, and hasn’t made any disgusted faces or disparaging remarks, there has to be some interest. If he can pin him down now with a formal offer, he won’t have the time between now and the auction to change his mind.

He makes his move, leading the buyer out of that grisly bedroom with its appalling bedding and towards the door.

They reach the living room, so close, only steps away from the exit.

“So, where’s the basement?”

The realtor falters. “The basement?”

“I’d like to see it.”

“Damn,” the realtor thinks, “more time wasted.” He fights the urge to glance at his watch. Looking at the time makes a buyer feel rushed, as if they aren’t as important a something else. It doesn’t matter what else. It can lose the sale. He loses, glancing at his watch and hoping the buyer doesn’t notice.

He looks around. He has no idea where the basement is. It’s not a large house, so the options are limited. He remembers seeing a closed door in the hallway and another in the kitchen. Halls have closets, kitchens have pantries, and kitchen broom closets were not uncommon for houses built when this house was. It’s fifty-fifty.

He turns to the hallway. The buyer follows.

The realtor opens the closed door they had walked by earlier.

“Linen closet.” He nods as if he meant to show him the closet, doubling back to lead the way to the kitchen. The buyer dutifully follows, letting the realtor be in charge despite his lack of usefulness.

They enter the kitchen and the realtor looks around. The buyer spots the door immediately, but it seems to take the realtor minutes of checking the kitchen out.

The buyer looks at the door, but makes no move to touch it. In the time they have spent in the house, he has touched only one thing, the comic book.

He just stands there staring at the closed door, waiting for the realtor to notice it, as if he somehow is loath to touch the house.

Finally seeing the buyer staring at the door, the realtor realizes it is there and pounces.

He opens it with a small flourish. “The basement.”

The buyer peers down into the darkness swallowing the bottom of the old wooden stairs.

The realtor looks at the buyer, hesitates, and then leads the way down.

The stairs creak under their weight. They can feel the slight sag of the wood with each step. For a moment, the realtor imagines the rotting wood giving way and falling to be injured below. He grabs the railing, but it proves to be less stable than the stairs.

They reach the bottom of the stairs and the realtor is more than happy to get off the rotting wood steps. They look around.

The basement is not in complete blackness. There is no electricity to the home, so there are no lights to turn on. The small grimy basement windows allow some light into the gloomy basement. It’s the typical lower middle-income family home basement.  Crude cement walls and floor, cracking where the years of weather shifting the home caused weak spots to split, are dull and adorned only with shelves and items hung for storage. The unfinished basement is storage for old things the family chose for whatever reason to sentence to the basement rather than throw away.

It is infused with a vague eeriness as basements, particularly unfinished ones, will be.

The buyer steps forward, his shoe making a dull scraping sound on the concrete floor. He shows more interest inspecting the basement than he did the rest of the house.

“He’s looking for something.” The thought flashes through the realtor’s mind. He pushes it away. Silly nonsense.

The realtor moves forward, roaming the basement and pointing out the obvious, trying to make conversation in the too quiet cellar.

“Furnace, hot water tank. They look old, but I’m sure they’re serviceable enough. There’s no rust or water stains on the concrete around the hot water tank, so it looks solid. Probably hasn’t leaked. It has been thirty years though, so you might want to drain it and flush it out a few times before using water from it.

He pictures the sludge that is probably filling the tank right now. Black and slimy with long dead algae that bloomed and ran out of oxygen and died. Putrid and rotted to nothing but oozing black slime. The stench will be foul.

“The basement floor is a bit heaved up, but not too bad considering the house has sat abandoned for thirty years. Check the foundations and the weeping tiles. With proper drainage it might just settle down flat again. You could fix up this basement, finish it, and double your living space.”

“I’ve seen enough.” The buyer heads for the stairs, leaving the realtor to tag behind, taking the lead for once.

“Are you ready to make an offer?” The realtor asks hopefully. “Like I said before, you can make an offer now, skip the auction, and scoop this place up before anyone else can. You aren’t the only one I’m showing this place to. I have someone else coming to look at it later too.”

The lie rings hollow, both on his lips and in the buyer’s ears.

“I’ll let you know,” the buyer says, dismissing the realtor as he heads out the door.  He pauses on the way to his car to take one last look towards the backyard where the yard meets the woods.

The Woods 9 – Kevin Escapes the Tree by LV Gaudet

•July 15, 2017 • Leave a Comment







Kevin wriggles in the dirt and leaves, squirming and struggling to pull himself free of the fallen tree imprisoning him, feeling like it is trying to press down, to push him down and bury him in the dirt beneath it.

Sobbing openly despite the possible repercussions it would normally lead to, the incessant torment and teasing from his brother, Jesse keeps frantically pawing and scratching at the frozen soil.

It’s softer here because the rotting deadfall has been a successful catch for falling leaves, the loose detritus wasting in a soggy mush. The warming early spring days have softened up the melting ice, loosening the rotting leaves once he manages to break the thinning ice.

He stops and grabs Kevin, pulling on him. He repositions, bracing his feet against the tree to pull harder. His feet feel like they will sink in, the wood softened with rot and giving somewhat in to the pressure.

Kevin inches out, and again with Jesse’s next tug.

They look at each other. They have hope. They renew their efforts, Kevin squirming and wriggling and Jesse pulling with all his might, inch by inch until Kevin is finally free.

Exhausted, they both fall on each other, laughing out the fear and stress and relief.

They hug each other as brothers will after a moment of extreme stress.

“I thought I lost you there,” Jesse says.


Kevin struggles to get up and Jesse helps him. It feels strange to him, the younger brother helping his older brother up when not so many years ago it would be the other way around.

They fight a lot, as siblings will. But Kevin is generally there for him, looking after him.

Kevin looks at Jesse.

“Are you ready to try it again?”

Jesse pauses. Every time they try to leave the yard, they are back here in the woods.

He nods. Even as his head makes that bobbing movement, he feels as if his body is swimming, swimming through mush, reeling, floating, rushing at breakneck speed through time and space, all at once.

“Okay, let’s do this.”

Kevin climbs over the tree, stepping high yet again over the snow and naked brambles and twigs of the woods, heading for their back yard. Jesse follows.

They reach the yard. The snow is littered with their broken footsteps from their earlier time spent playing in the yard. The half-buried bike poking up from the snow like a skeletal corpse. Conspicuously absent are their earlier footsteps from their previous trips back to the house or their attempts to leave the woods.

It is just as they expected it.

“This way.” Kevin leads the way, this time following the edge of the backyard to the neighbour’s yard.

They make it to the back edge of the house.

Kevin looks back, nodding. So far, so good.

Jesse speeds up to move closer to Kevin.

They pass the back corner of the house, heading up the side yard.

They pass the first bedroom window.

Kevin feels the urge to break into a run. He holds back.

Jesse reaches for his hand and Kevin takes it.

They keep going.

The second and last window on that side.

“Yeah! We’re doing it! We’re doing this!” Kevin cries out happily.

“Yeah!” Jessie copies.

They both laugh, full of relief, and start sprinting for their goal, the house next door and freedom.

Film Review: Patient Seven (2016)

•June 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The Strong Pineapple

Country: USA
Director: Danny Draven
Genre: Horror
Running Time: 113 mins
Summary: The film centers on Dr. Marcus, a renowned psychiatrist who has selected 6 severe mentally ill and dangerous patients from the Spring Valley Mental Hospital to interview as part of research for his new book. As Dr. Marcus interviews each patient, one by one the horrors they’ve committed begin to unfold. However, Dr. Marcus soon learns that there is one patient who ties them all together. (source: IMDB)

I am fond of horror films, and I must say I’m one who’s hard to please. I’m always on the look out for the next best thing, and by far, the last great horror movie I’ve seen is M. Night Shyamalan’s Split (2017).

Patient Seven had the potential of being a good horror film from the very beginning. With an intriguing build, it promised one hell of a ride. But as…

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15 Chilling Trophy Pictures Of Victims Taken By Their Killers

•June 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment


15 Historical Photos That Are Guaranteed To Creep You Out | 22 Words

•June 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment


The Woods 8 – Inspecting the House

•June 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment



Like the kitchen and living room, the bedrooms are an eerie shrine to the past residents of the house.

They enter the first room.  It is small, a twin bed is pushed against one wall, and a narrow three-drawer dresser is in the corner next to the closet door. The bed is made too neatly to have been done by the child resident, no doubt done by the boy’s mother. The scratched and dented dresser is marred further by childish stickers in various stages of having been picked at and pealed partially off. A shelf holds various boyhood treasures. There is a Spiderman poster on the wall. Various toys and action figures that would be unknown to the kids today are scattered haphazardly.

While the realtor rambles on about the usefulness of this small room, the buyer walks over to the window, looking out at the view. The curtains hang moulding, stained yellow, and brittle with age. They look like they may fall apart if touched. The grime on the window makes the view hazy.

He can see the backyard from the window, and the backdrop of the woods bordering the yard.


Huh?” He turns to the realtor.

“Ha-ha, you seemed kind of off in Lala land there.” The realtor smiles awkwardly. “I was asking; are you married? Do you have kids? With three bedrooms this could be a great starter,” he pauses, realizing he fell into his automatic sales pitch. “Yeah, sorry.”

The buyer nods. He looks down, pressing against the floor with his foot, the board bending beneath the pressure, spongy. He’d noticed the odd floorboard like that as they walked through the house.

“I’m not entirely confident these floors can hold up.”

“Let’s move on to the other rooms.” The realtor rushes to the next room, leaving him to follow.

The other boy’s room is much the same, minus the stickers on the dresser. The room is a bit larger and it is also the classic older brother room, probably the favored son.  Trophies sit on the shelf for baseball and soccer, and the room is filled with paraphernalia of a boy older than the occupant of the other bedroom.

The realtor watches him inspect the room, wishing he would hurry up.  He’s wasting a lot of time on this and probably won’t make much off the sale, if this guy even buys it.

“This would be Kevin’s room, the older boy,” the realtor says.

“Who?” The buyer looks past some clothes hanging in the closet, checking out the inside walls of the closet. They have that unpleasant odor clothes get after sitting too long, reminiscent of rot and mildew. He makes no move to touch them.

“The boys, Kevin and Jesse. This would be Kevin’s room, the older boy.”

The buyer moves to the window.  Like the other rooms, these curtains are stained yellow with age and brittle, stinking of mildew. The grimy window gives a view of the house next door.

He sees the round moon of a pale face vanish into the darkness of the house next door and the flutter of the curtain falling back into place. It happens so quick he almost doubts he saw it.

Satisfied the buyer has seen enough, the realtor moves on, trying to pick up the pace.

“This is the master bedroom.” He’s already in the hallway, heading for the last bedroom.

With a last quick glance out the window to the house next door, the buyer turns and follows.

The master bedroom is possibly the worst of the shrine bedrooms.

He looks around, taking it all in. He half expects the boys’ mother to walk in at any moment and ask them why they are there.

“She lived here for years after her husband walked out on her, you said?”

“Yes, I’m not sure how many though.”  The realtor stops to pick at items on the dresser, turning away from them without interest. “Years, months, could be either. She never cleaned out his stuff. You know, the big goodbye, when they clear out all the ex’s stuff. She never said goodbye.”

“I guess she never said goodbye to any of them.”

“I guess not.”

The bedroom is not just a shrine to the lost boys. It is a shrine to all the woman lost. Her boys, her family, her marriage. All of her husband’s things are there too, the items laid out as if he never left. He can almost hear them in the house. Her husband’s voice coming from the living room, the mother in the kitchen baking that cake, the boys in the yard.

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