Doug fancies himself the next Edgar Allan, with his short horror fiction. He contributes to the first edition of “The 100 Voices Anthology
Clayton Banks had been searching for months for Seth Epoch’s final album. It was released two months after Seth’s suicide. He was twenty-five years old at the time of his death in 1985. The record store Clayton found it in was in a sketchy part of town, full of junkies, killers, and whores. It was run by a fellow named Martin. He always meets Clayton and all patrons upon the entrance of his store with a greeting of “Hello friend.”
Clayton could not get home fast enough, passing cars and driving about ten miles over the speed limit. He headed straight to his bedroom, shut the door, and put on the album. He lied down on his bed, shut his eyes, and let the music cleanse him. The first song was more of a ballad. Then the second song started. The instrumentals were harsher; a metallic base thronged over pulsating drums, guttural screaming vocals, droned overall this musical mayhem.
About halfway through the song, the smell of lozenges permeated through the room. Seth was reported to have been sucking on a cherry lozenge hours before his death. The curtain started to move back and forth despite the window being shut. Clayton did not notice this because his eyes were still shut. Suddenly Clayton heard screaming which was not coming from the record. He turned off the music and listened for the sound to continue. Then he heard another sound, more screaming. Clayton looked all around the house, including up and downstairs. He even poked his head outside but found nothing.
“It’s got to be a neighbor,” thought Clayton.
So he continued once again to his music. During the song Bloodbath, Clayton noticed a shadow form on the wall, come off of it, and then hover two feet off the ground.
“What the hell?” Clayton said while staring at the thing. It looked blacker than black and spoke in garbled noises. After the shadow turned the record off Clayton spent the next few minutes wondering when his heart would stop fluttering like a hummingbird. His tongue turned to sandpaper.
“Should I keep playing the record?” I thought. “Nah.” He read a book, took a nap, made dinner, and then decided to give another try to listen to his record. He decided to record the future findings.
The music started; the song was Tearing Blood.
“Fuck it, fuck it, they’re gonna electrocute me,” the song said. Next, the record started skipping. He wrote it down. Then he heard a voice calling to him.
“Clayton, Clayton,” the voice said. No one was near just like before. Suddenly a severed head materialized in the kitchen, resembling the head of Seth Epoch. It had a bone sticking through the bloody stump of a neck.
From the bathroom upstairs a torso, shirtless, and with no arms or feet, materialized. Sneakered feet walked into Clayton’s bedroom. He froze; his muscles went rigid. Arms reached out and tried strangling Clayton.
“Move to damn it!’ Clayton pleaded with himself. He jerked, kicked his way out of bed, and hit the ground staggering out into the hallway. He found himself now staring at a shuffling torso, with no feet. He raced into the bathroom and locked himself inside. He vomited while resting his cheek on the side of the cold porcelain.
The music seemed to be getting louder.
“Boom, boom, boom.” The door started caving in due to something pounding on it, from the outside.
Clayton clamped his hands over his ears. After the pounding on the door ceased, Clayton found the courage to crack the door slightly ajar. He found there was a quiet inside the house never before observed inside its walls.
“Who shut off the record?” thought Clayton. He heard a series of clicking noises coming from behind him. Turning around, he found the ghostly severed head that had previously materialized in the kitchen. In a frenzy, Clayton grabbed the record and ducked as the head tried attacking Clayton
A butcher knife flew at Clayton’s head as he bounded down the stairs. It landed on the wall next to him. Then he got in his car and headed to the record store. Martin was perusing a magazine when Clayton came into the store. He spoke through clenched teeth.
‘’I want my money back,’’ Clayton demanded.
‘’No problem,’’ answered Martin, reaching into the cash register.
“Do you believe in ghosts?” Clayton asked. Martin looked at Clayton for a minute before speaking.
“Not until I listened to this record,” Martin admitted.
Clayton’s mouth dropped open. ‘’Why didn’t you tell me?’’
‘’Like you’d have believed me,’’ Martin said.