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The Terror Within


Andrew Langford sat crumpled in the armchair he had positioned to face his front door in the darkened living room of his apartment and waited for his imminent death.

One hand clutched fiercely around the rosary he had placed on his lap, even though he didn’t believe in God and he was not a Catholic. He could hear the rapid violent beating of his heart now. It comforted him. He had taken the phone of the hook a few days ago, but recently pulled the phone line out of the wall as the tone had disturbed his ability to hear.

The bogey man was coming. And he wanted to know when.

If one pulled the drapes away from the windows, and removed the cardboard he had placed against the glass and let the sunshine in, then you would be able to see the scattered objects across the piles of books and paper clippings adorning the tables and floors that Andrew Langford had been collecting. You’ll also immediately see that Andrew Langford has gone quite inconceivably insane.

It was not always the case of course. Andrew liked to keep a tidy house. He had few close friends, but would still be able to find someone or somewhere to go on a pleasant day like this. Andrew hated to be alone. He also hated to not know his future.

About a year ago, Andrew had gotten into horoscopes. He would walk with optimism to the newsagent and buy a paper and he would be barely out of the shop before he had opened it to the horoscope section. His mind at that time was still his own so when he would read something like :

“An abrupt and unexpected meeting could either leave you exhilarated or completely drained today” ,

he would snort and comment on how generic it all was. But slowly his need to know began to eat him. A few months later, he found himself walking past one of those New Age shops and before he could help himself, he was inside and at the counter with a deck of Tarot cards being rung up by the attendant.

Two days later he was back to buy a book on how to interpret Tarot cards. And a week after that he had come back to buy four other books on how to interpret Tarot.

Andrew liked a second opinion back then.

Over time, he became the equivalent of a frequent flyer at the shop. He purchased crystals, Dreamcatchers, holy water, dirt from Lourdes, a ‘genuine’ copy of a book of the secrets of the universe written by John Dee himself, and later the new revised version of the same. He had collected every book on prophecy from Nostradamus to the Book of the Mormons,  to multiple copies of the bible, and had even downloaded Scientology texts.

He was, for all intents and purposes, obsessed with the need to know.

Last month, he finally decided to go beyond his own knowledge and began to see fortune tellers. The first lot had been so ridiculous in their so-called knowledge that right there and then, he nearly threw his whole collection of the occult into the bin. Less than one week ago, he had boxed everything and was about to do so, when he saw an ad in the paper  he had picked up that day that he did not or had not seen.

Having problems concerning your past, present future love , Debts or business? Feel surrounded by evil influences? Negativity forcing you in the wrong direction? Contact Dr Sim Sala Bim today! He has God-given powers and natural herbs from the Mountains of the moon to help you find true love/soul mate or reunite you back with lost loved ones, get rid of Aids, Cancer etc. Call Dr Sim Sala Bim today for FREE READINGS over the phone!

Andrew looked at the ad, looked at his boxed collection of things he had spent a small fortune on, and said why the hell not. He would contact this guy and test him out. If he was a crappy as all the others, then what has he lost, a couple of extra hundred? But if he was not a bullshit artist, then there was no need to throw out all these things.

So that afternoon, Andrew called the doctor and arranged a meeting. When he arrived the next day he had not expected to be deterred. The guy had the obligatory Crystal ball for god’s sake. Yet minutes into his reading, his thinking had changed. For a guy who was a fake, he certainly knew a lot about him it seemed. He had started with the usual telling of things about Andrew. He had told him he had a need to know his future but this could be dangerous. Andrew took the bait and persisted. And so out came a well-thumbed set of Tarot cards and Andrews’ fate was sealed.

Andrew had left the premises white-faced and ashened. He had forked over notes of cash and not waited for his change. He rushed home and began to open the boxes and searched book after book, magazine after magazine. He took out the odds and ends – the healing crystals, the Dreamcatchers, the runes, his four sets of Tarot cards. He conducted reading after reading on himself and it all seemed hopeless. He neglected to go to work. He began to seal the light from entering the rooms as his lack of sleep forced the light to pierce into his brain like an ice pick. He neglected his diet. He neglected his world.

It was all hopeless and to no avail. He was sure he was going to die. So he sat folded in his darkened living room and waited. And each moment of terror caused his heart to overwork.

Then he heard him. The footsteps coming. It was just like the prediction. He KNEW it!

The ‘Dr’ had told him that he needed to prepare for a death in his immediate family. Andrew Langford had no immediate family.

The steps came closer. His heart beat faster. His fingers dug into his palm as he squeezed the life out of the rosary and then, he died.

Brian Fletcher knocked once more on the door of his employee. Well, ex-employee. Still no answer. He tried one more time before bending to slide an envelope under Andrew Langford’s front door and walked away.

The corpse of Andrew Langford shook one last time as the air in his lungs finally found a way to escape and his fingers released the hold on the beads that fell almost silently to the carpeted floor.

The End

A. Ghebranious   2010                    All Rights Reserved

PS: I found that ad on the internet! I had to correct one word and change the name of the reported mystic. In his ad, he had written “get red of Aids”. Must be a commie thing.

  1. Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this also – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get anything done… Regards

  2. john hollands permalink

    I came upon this in a strange way. Enjoyed the read. But had some thoughts:

    I’d like more detail as SimSalaBim reads the cards – needs something clever and subtle. I’m thinking SSB could just casually mention death in immediate family and Andrew thinks “I’ve got no immediate family, he must mean me” and panics internally. Follow-up qiestions are answered in obtuse ways but confirm what Brian is already thinking. SimSalaBim could use certain words, like “something comes to an end” instead of ‘death’. ‘Something coming to an end’ might resonate later when the envelope is delivered. More below.

    I’d like to see more detail of Brian’s search. I see you’ve used repitition (“book after book…”) but there is opportunity to further the two-sided ‘truth’ to his thinking. A book’s title might cause him to panic more, while misinterpreting the title. Something like a book titled “Journey’s End”. You know, they way loonies think song’s lyrics are directed at them. Expand this scene to twist the literary knife. Maybe the neighbour’s stereo starts playing the Doors “This is the End”.

    I was surprised to see “Dr” in quotes. Especially the paragraph revealing what he was told. The quotes suggest lack of credibility or faith. I’d argue that, first, we need to know what Brian was told way earlier in the story; at least before his search. And also, in Andrew’s mind the doctor is fully credible, he probably thinks of him in a shortened or nickname way and I’d suggest using that here (“SalaBim had told him…”). Even better, tie it in to further the narrative (“SalaBim had also mentioned a light…” just as light creeps into the room. Just an example, deeper thought will give a better example.)

    I’d like to see the par beginning “That afternoon” expanded to include actual dialogue. Written cleverly, it will be a pleasure for the Reader. I also think the guy should be more expensive than the “few hundred” – Andrew thinks he is risking a little, but has to risk more. The money here can be an allegory. During this meeting/reading Andrew is pushed hard, the price is upped when Andrew asks for life and death prediction. Add dialogue which cleverly reveals SalaBim knows something about Andrew. “What else would you spend your money on, your little toy cars?” (Andrew suddenly recalls the matchbox toys he collected as a kid). Maybe inject a little suggestion of trouble at work??

    We’d like to meet Brian a little earlier. Perhaps Brian could ring when Andrew first goes reclusive. Write actual dialogue of the call, Brian is worried but warms Andrew he risks his job. This is meaningless to a man facing death and he is derisive. (Is he facing death or something coming to an end?). Brian’s attitude changes during this call or subsequent one.

    Finally, when Brian gets there (with a pink envelope? A dismissal letter?) it becomes clear to Reader that the “something” coming to an end is Andrew’s job and what has caused it is Andrew not turning up for a week (or more?). Caused his own demise, in more ways than one.

    OTHERWISE you need to inject one remaining relative, so the letter is notice of that. That would change other things and maybe Brian can be a Probate Lawyer with notice of death and inheritance?

    This would make a terrific short film. If you ever get around to a rewrite I’d love to read it.

    Finally, I hope you’re not offended by any of my suggestions, all have been made with a good heart and attitude of helpfulness.


    • Hi john! Thanks for your reply! And I am not offended! One of the reasons I put it up there is get feedback to improve the story telling and to hone my skills. If you liked this, have a read of another I got up there called “Odd” also in the fiction section. I think it would make a great animated short, but aint good with animation .

      Anyway thanks again for the comments!


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