Welcome to the fourth story of the Spring Horror Collection for 2022, where Haunted MTL’s writers craft original tales of terror that’ll grow on you. Check with us all week for new stories.

For more original stories, check out Haunted MTL’s Original Creations.

Man in a suit with a skull for a face
Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay

They called him Harold, a ghost, really, who walked only when it was dark and crisp. The kids, like me, knew he lived by the river, but could never find where exactly he lived. There were some rumors that he was, in fact, a ghost, except for the strange things he’d leave behind, little artifacts of a monster we couldn’t understand.

His face was wrong, that’s what we all knew and agreed upon. However some kids said that he had ripped off his own face and stitched on a new one ever so often. Other kids said that a bear ate it in the night and it never healed up right. KAnd some other kds said that he was actually a demon and that’s just how demons looked. Kids said a lot to fill up the silence of what wasn’t known and what was feared, which happened to be a lot. Each new year was a new cycle of children and, thus, a new cycle of theories.

I was never a brave or outstanding child. I was fast enough for my height, but average all the way around. It wasn’t a shock, though, I came from average people in an average town. But for some reason, I was the only one who actually ever saw Harold, up close and face-to-godawful-face. Even though everyone, including my sisters, will say I’m a bullshitter, I’m not. Actually, I wish I were, but even now, years later, it still follows me on cold, damp nights. I can feel his sunken, white eyes and I wonder…

It’s not exactly an exciting tale. I was walking home from band. I had my trumpet, it was already dark in the early spring night. The path I took only had the moonlight and a pocket flashlight my step-dad gave me for my birthday. I’d love to say that there was suspense, that he was waiting and stalking me, but it wasn’t that. It was a flash out of nowhere. He ran into me, fell right on top of me. 

This is the part that’s slow-motion, though, because I can still see and taste everything. Crystal clear. He pushed into me – we fell. The flashlight landed to my side and he was above me. Suddenly, there was something wriggling in my mouth. It tasted-…God, like a toilet, like a rotten bag of Taco Bell after three weeks. I spat it out and couldn’t even scream. 

I saw him right there, above me, making some squawking noise in surprise; his mouth was puffy and red, but shrunken back. Some of his jawbone poked out of the red flesh and was as white as the moon. His milky white eyes bulged at me in surprise. But that wasn’t what got me. No.

Part of his face was caved in, stripped of skin, but wet tendons swelled as he groaned in surprise. From the bits of putrified muscles and tendons of his face wriggled fat, bone-white maggots, dripping down like rain. Dropping down onto me and wriggling onto my skin. 

I lost my shit. Completely. I kicked and flailed and ran so fast and far, before collapsing and vomiting until I saw stars. My step-dad went out but only found my trumpet and nothing else. I couldn’t even play after that, no matter how hard I was teased. 

Now it keeps me up for different reasons. I’m in my last year of residency. Myiasis. That’s the term. It’s rare. It’s painful. It’s a nightmare. Being eaten alive from the inside out; having the maggots incubate and grow inside you, just to have them eat their way through you. Your body breaking down, feeling them literally crawl under your skin…

Harold still keeps me up at night. I wonder how many monsters are created and how many we could save. How many are still suffering, and how many will continue to suffer because of stupid little boys and the tales that they tell…

About the Author

When not ravaging through the wilds of Detroit with Jellybeans the Cat, J.M. Brannyk (a.k.a. Boxhuman) reviews mostly supernatural and slasher films from the 70's-90's and is dubiously HauntedMTL's Voice of Reason. Aside from writing, Brannyk dips into the podcasts, and is the composer of many of HauntedMTL's podcast themes.

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