Crippling Always Falls

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Imagine if you were trapped temporarily in a moment you can't exactly place yourself, and yet you exist at the same time and yet at another time with yourself from those different times. It sounds complicated I know, and that's the idea. Just imagine that.

Submitted: July 10, 2015

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Submitted: July 10, 2015

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A crippled fellow always falls, and never stands up. That was the story of Mr. Mitchell Magill. It was an apparent destiny of his to stay stumbled upon his own failures. Not one person looked his way as a passerby, nor did the sun or moon reflect his way. He stayed crumbled in the shadows, left as a dimmer of light in the darker pieces of his mind. All you would have to ask for would be that of a phantom. He would surely be there. The kids in the city would play this trick to the old man.

“The phantom! The phantom! Where could he be? Oh where could he be?” the children sang.

Surely out of those dark midsts would come Mr. Mitchell Magill, restless in his rags of clothing and tell the children stories. Most parents would never allow their child to be in the vicinity of such a conspicuous character of Mr. Mitchell Magill’s low-rated standards, but the children found youth in the fellow. Every night they would sneak out there apartments and run down the alley to him. Destitute as he was, it never amounted to the stories this man would tell.

“I, the glorious phantom, have another story to tell. None must speak of the name except I, or the wretched words that leave your breath will be your last. The name I repeat to you is none other than the Hobbled.”

One kid laughed hard enough for the darker night to have brightness.

“The Hobbled? Is that even a word? Hobbled?”

Mr. Mitchell Magill stood from his wobbly rigid legs and flicked a finger upon the boy’s head.

“Quiet you’re tongue. And you’re life is a flutter now. The Hobbled will get you. For you spoke of his name.”

The boy was now shivering, cradling his face in his knees as the other children beside him snickered. Mr. Mitchell Magill continued. 

“Hobbled was a young girl, soft on her eyes and hard on her lips. At these nights, at this very city, she would wallow around the gutters and sewers searching for her lost pet. The young girl was fond of this pet, so much so, that this pet was considered to be her only friend. So every night she would yell that pet’s name. Charles! Charles! Charles! No answer would come. One night she returned, her legs were caught in a gutter and she twisted her ankles. It was then that she called for help. None came. Days went by until the rest of the city found her, starved to death. The rats had soon been done with her. But when the people came to take her body, it wasn’t found. It went missing. They say if you call out Charles name, she will appear next to you with broken legs and hobble around you and keep you in the sewers with her in search of her lost pet. If you call out her name, Hobbled, she will break your legs and drag you around the sewers until you find her pet Charles.”

The boy rose his head from his knees and laughed again. The night was not taken to the brightness.

“I knew you were just a sad old man! You said she would break you legs and drag you around the sewers! But I’m not going to go to the sewers!”

Mr. Mitchell Magill waved his finger and pointed it at the boy.

“But you see boy, you will. By the end of the night, you will go to the sewers. For every victim is compelled to go to the sewers under different circumstances. Yours will surely arise. You will be dead by an ending night. I’m sure of it.”

The boy swallowed hard and ran over to Mr. Mitchell Magill, ready to shake him hard and  have answers, but there was darkness. Suddenly, what he thought to be Mr. Mitchell Magill was a broom and two trash cans. Another flash of light over the darkness revealed no children either. Only dolls and action figures around him in a circle.

“No, no, no, no. This isn’t right,” the boy said, terrified.

No children. No phantom. He saw them. They were real. They had to be. Every night he would come here, with other children down the block. They had to be real. He wasn’t schizophrenic. He wasn’t hallucinating. No delusions. No illusions. But it was an illusion, wasn’t it? The boy didn’t know. What he wanted to know was his home. He wanted to know he was in it. Safe and sound. 

So he ran across the street of the night until he tripped over an exposed sewer plate cover and fell to the underbelly of more darkness. Into the sewer.

It was then that his legs were found broken. The boy touched them, troubled by the realization they were not what he knew them to be. Their function was robbed from him, and now he had but one option left: to yell.

Shout. Shout. Shout. Charles.

“Charles?” the boy said. A dog tag in the sewer read “Charles” in scratched letters.

“Charles?” a voice came from the darkness. The voice of a young girl.

Shout. Shout. Shout. Footsteps. Water creaks. Shout. Footsteps. Shout. 

“Honey?”

What?

“Honey?”

“Honey? Would you like some more food?”

The boy perked his head up from the dinner table. His mother offered the bowl of pasta to the boy, but the boy frightened from his own mind shook his head out of reluctant recollection.

“Mom!” the boy said, running over to her and hugging her tight. His mother laughed and glanced over at her father who happened to be reading the newspaper at the table.

“Man, it’s a shame,” the father spoke, tilting up his reading glasses.

“What’s the matter?”

“Oh, nothing love. It’s just in the paper today it said a young girl died in the sewer today. And apparently, they lost her body. Strange, huh?”

“Yes, that is quite a shame.”

The boy suddenly stopped hugging her mother, terrified. His hands trembled at the sounds of his father saying those words. So much so, that he ran over to him and yanked the paper from his hands.

“What do you think you’re doing?” his father said.

The boy said not a word, until he read the story.

“This story! I heard it before! The phantom! He told me! Just now! Or was it before?”

His mother looked worried over to her husband. The father sighed.

“Okay boy, it seems like you’re not feeling well tonight. Let’s get you to bed.”

“No! No! Wait!”

“Goodnight honey. Love you,” his mother said.

His father put him to bed, turned out the light, and slipped the door shut. The boy was startled confused. Terrified. He waited until his parents left the sight of the steps and the boy snuck out from his house again onto the nighttime streets where he had seen Mr. Mitchell Magill. Other children were leading to the same spot. The boy was scared even more, and sure enough he heard the same words.

“I, the glorious phantom, have another story to tell. None must speak of the name except I, or the wretched words that leave your breath will be your last. The name I repeat to you is none other than the Hobbled.”

“No! You did this! You told me this before! What happened?” the boy shouted at the night.

What he saw was Mr. Mitchell Magill’s face, before in a flash of light he saw nothing other than a broom and two trash cans again. The children he thought he saw were yet again dolls and action figures.

“What? No! What’s happening? This is impossible!”

The boy didn’t run this time. Instead, he searched for the sewer plate cover. He found the hole and peered below inside it. The darkness was to thick to see for all spaces of existence. So he only took a few steps on the handles inside to see through. Nothing. But he heard something.

Shout. Shout. Shout. Charles.

“Who is that? Is it her?”

The boy entered the sewer only to find another scratched sign in the wall that read Charles.

“Charles?” the boy said to himself. Then he heard a series of sounds again. 

Shout. Shout. Shout.

The boy then began running to the noises, creating footsteps in the sewer. He kept running and running until the shouting grew louder and louder. It was then that the boy found someone on the floor shouting.

The boy didn’t just find someone.

The boy looked like him. Just like him.

“Oh my god…”

Another flash of light came until he heard a voice again.

“Honey? Would you like some more food?”

The boy was panting hard now. It was his mother again, handing him the same bowl of pasta before. The boy brushed his hand past the bowl, causing it to fall to the ground in a harsh shatter. The boy proceeded to run out of his seat onto the street back into that alley. His parents too dumbfounded by the event couldn’t find their son once they stepped outside in the darkest night. They called out to their boy.

“Mitchell! Mitchell!” 

The parents cried out his name. Out from the shadows came a figure, who hobbled across the street, stumbling towards the boy’s parents.

“Sir, have you seen my son Mitchell?” his father spoke. 

Mr. Mitchell Magill stumbled out of the shadows and spit on the floor.

“Yes, I have always seen you’re son. He’s not too far now. But in another sense, he’s always far now. All because of the Hobbled. I suppose a crippled fellow always falls, and never stands up, right?”

 


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