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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Steve’s amygdala, a small organ of his central brain, began to work in overdrive. Cortisol and adrenaline pumped through his body as his heart rate and blood pressure skyrocketed. He couldn’t get enough air as he started to hyperventilate. The blood in his body began to flow into his limbs in a classic fight-or-flight reaction. Except there was no one to fight, nowhere to run.



By J.R. Kost


The blackness was absolute. The only things that told Steve he was alive was the air rushing by his entire body and the deep sinking feeling in his gut. He was falling. Falling fast.


Steve’s amygdala, a small organ of his central brain, began to work in overdrive. Cortisol and adrenaline pumped through his body as his heart rate and blood pressure skyrocketed. He couldn’t get enough air as he started to hyperventilate. The blood in his body began to flow into his limbs in a classic fight-or-flight reaction. Except there was no one to fight, nowhere to run.


His body was like an airplane in an uncontrolled descent. Spinning, rolling, pitching all at the same time. He fought to get some control. Eventually, he got himself in a spreadeagle, like a paratrooper, except he had no parachute. He couldn’t see the ground or the bottom of this seemingly endless abyss.


Until he saw something. It was like a target, with concentric rings.


“My God!”, he thought. “It is a target!”


The rings were red and white with a black bullseye. There was something in the bullseye, but what was it? Steve couldn’t make it, until he could.


“Oh fuck! What the hell!?”


The spike was wider at the bottom and tapered to a point at the top. With Steve’s eyes wide open and mouth screaming in terror, he hit the bullseye with an impaling doom.




The path light flickered as Sarah walked slowly, turning from side-to-side, looking for something, for someone? A light rain fell as distant thunder vibrated through the air.


“What the hell am I doing here!?” She said to herself nervously.


The path wound through dark pines, with the only sounds being birds taking off and squirrels chattering angrily as if Sarah was an intruder.


Sarah didn’t know why she was here, let alone where she was. She couldn't remember for sure, but the last thing she remembered vaguely was getting off work, getting into her car.

She’d never been on this path before. The trees didn’t seem familiar and the air seemed humid, not the dry air of her Phoenix home.


Then, the footsteps. Sarah turned to see a dark silhouette slowly walking toward her.


“Hello? Who’s there?” She asked the dark figure. No reply.


The figure slowly moved forward, closer and closer. Sarah turned and started to walk faster, turning to look behind as the figure picked up the pace.


Sarah’s cerebral cortex began to shut down. She was becoming confused, disoriented. She tried to rationalize that she was seeing things, that this shadow was something of her imagination, a hallucination. But the shadowy figure kept moving, closing the gap.


“Go away! I’ll scream if you don’t! I know people around here. I’ll scream, they’ll come and take care of you!.”


The bluff was to no avail. It kept coming. Sarah could just make out what looked like a hood, but it seemed empty. There was no face, nothing at all. With her adrenaline pumping, she started to run.


The figure ran faster. Closer, closer, closer. Sarah couldn’t run fast enough.


Then she saw the shimmer. The reflection of the path light. The butcher's knife.


“Oh my God!” Sarah screamed as the figure reached for her blouse. On the ground looking into the darkness of the hood she screamed as the knife plunged into her heart.




The wood boat bobbed up and down between the ocean swells. The salt water washed over the side and into Mike’s face, burning his eyes. As he continued to regain consciousness another swell threw the boat over, breaking it  into planks and splinters. Mike was thrown overboard into the churning, dark water.


The sky was dark and swirling as Mike clung to a few pieces of wood that remained afloat. He finally had a chance to catch his breath.


“Where the fuck am I!? He questioned.


He tried to look around for something, anything that he could head for, but there was nothing from horizon to horizon. No ship lights, no land, no birds. Nothing.


Then out of the corner of his eye he saw something. A seemingly calmer spot in the unrelenting waves. Mike started to swim with one arm as he held onto the boards with the other. Closer he swam until he realized what it was.


“Are you fucking serious!?”


The maelstrom swirled around a central point as it swallowed the other pieces from the boat. Mike swam as hard as he could in the opposite direction. For a while it seemed he was getting further away, but then he started to feel the fatigue, the tiredness, the loss of buoyancy.


As Mike started to breath in gulps of water his life suddenly appeared in short flashbacks. The pain in his chest was excruciating as it soon spread to the rest of his body. The water kept coming in and the pain kept tearing at everything. Until the last once of air was gone and he sank to the bottom of the sea, his eyes staring to the surface in horror.





Josh awoke in his sleeping bag with the usual morning grogginess. As he woke and looked around at the orange walls and the sun coming through the door of the tent he let out a gasp.


“Wow. I knew I probably drank too much last night, but…”


The last thing Josh remembered was that he was talking to a cute blond at the party. His roommates must have kicked him out. At least they put up a tent for him to sleep it off in.


As he climbed out the door he knew something wasn’t right. This wasn’t his backyard. There weren’t towering mountains in his backyard. There weren’t trees that went on forever in every direction in his backyard.


“I must have really pissed someone off to get dumped out into the wilderness.” Josh surmised. “Well, there’s a creek over there and I’ve read that following a creek will get you to civilization eventually.” He said to himself. “You know what? I don’t know who did this to me, but I sure as hell ain’t packing this shit out of here for them.”


As Josh started down the creek drainage something caught his eye. Some movement. Across the creek were two little bear cubs playing in the water. Their noses soon caught the scent of Josh as they gave him a quick look and ran away.


The sow grizzly came out of nowhere. Literally running over Josh before running a loop around him as she studied her enemy. Josh, dazed and confused, didn’t see her next attack coming. As she pounced on him he fell to the ground, her 600 pounds crushing his ribs, her three inch claws tearing at his flesh. Her teeth piercing his skull.


He tried to ball up, keep his back to the bear, but it was to no avail. Her claws and teeth ripped his right arm off before she finally got to his jugular. Josh drowned in his own blood as he looked into the face of death.




She could smell the smoke as she struggled to regain consciousness. She tried to move her hand to rub her eyes, but realized she was lashed to the bed that she found herself on.


“What the hell!?” Amy exclaimed.


She tried to move her other arm and her legs, but they too were tied down. She frantically twisted and turned, but to no avail. The smoke started to billow into the room from under the door. The heat was picking up too.


The blood started to flow from the cuts on her wrist. The bindings seemed to be getting looser, but not loose enough to get her hands free. Amy looked up to see flames licking the ceiling from the top of the door.


“Oh, my God! She yelled.


Finally, her hand broke free. She struggled to get her other arm free and then her legs. The room was filling with smoke fast as Amy began to choke on the thick black suffocator.


As she freed her legs and dashed for the door the flame blew through it in a burst that knocked Amy to the ground. With her adrenaline pumping she dove once more for the door.


She crawled on her belly to try and stay below the smoke, but it was just too heavy, too much. As the heat reached hundreds of degrees her senses waned and her eyes burned. She could feel herself losing consciousness. Before she passed out she could smell the hair, her skin burning. She could hear it sizzle. The pain reached its crescendo before Amy finally fell asleep for the last time.




Dr. King looked out through the large window overlooking the production facility floor. Next to him, Dr. Carpenter looked through the report on his clipboard.



“Well, how are production rates coming, Dr. Carpenter?” Dr. King asked without removing his glance at the production floor.


“We’re ahead of quota for the week, but I’m afraid we may be pushing things too hard.” Carpenter replied. “The suppliers are starting to break down. I’m not sure how much more they can take.”


“Let’s go down and take a look, shall we?” King said as he turned for the door.


The production room was like a long, wide hallway. At one end were large mainframe computers and at the other a clean room of sorts. Two people dressed in surgical gowns and gloves worked around an operation table.


Doctors King and Carpenter made their way to the clean room to oversee what was going on. On the table lay a man of middle age and of average weight and height. As they moved around the table the head of the man became visible, but it was completely covered with electrodes and tubes with fluids running in and out.


“This is one of the new recruits, right Dr. Carpenter?” King asked.


“Yes, he has a lot of potential. We just need to make sure and ease him into things. Perhaps ramp up the phantasmagoria signals to the brain at a lower intensity to start ”


“Agreed” said King.


Let’s go take a look at some of the others on the floor.” Dr. King pointed to the door.


As they walked down the aisle of supplier beds Dr. Carpenter stopped at one and picked up the clipboard hanging from the bed.


“Steve has been here the longest of anyone. He’s a good supplier of dopamine, but his production capacity is falling and the quality just isn’t to the purity we need. It takes a pure dopamine to enable our clients the highest level of pleasure.” Carpenter said as he moved on to the next bed.


“Sarah is a great supplier, but she’s starting to fall in production and quality as well.”


“Okay. Let’s get as much out of them as we can and then call in the disposal team. We better put in a request for more suppliers too. The demand is really starting to pick up.” King replied.


“Will do.” replied Carpenter.  “By the way, did you see the game last night?”




The End



Cover: Interpretation of Robertson's Fantasmagorie from F. Marion's L'Optique (1867)'s_Fantasmagorie.jpg





Submitted: January 31, 2023

© Copyright 2023 J.R. Kost. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:



Harvesting the perfect drug...interesting story!

Tue, January 31st, 2023 10:37pm


Thanks, HOUDINI! Please like if you're so inclined.

Tue, January 31st, 2023 2:38pm

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