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BY Bundy

07/01 Direct Link
Jude sighed in frustration, eyes turned up toward an unforgiving sky. A new day had dawned and still he felt no different than the night before... still he felt the complex tumult of emotions that he could only describe as soul numbing... crippling down to his very core.

'Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.'

Jude scoffed.

Perhaps he'd just become a cynic, but that wasn't love in his world.
07/02 Direct Link
Jeremy crept into the basement of his grandmother's house, having already assured the old woman was asleep. She always scolded him for wandering around down there... “too dusty,” she'd say. “Too dark. No one's been down there for years. The basement is not a place for little boys.”

Jeremy begged to differ.

Rounding the corner carefully, the young boy settled upon his favorite destination. His fingers reached out grabbing a dusty, warped looking tome from the stack before him. The title was unintelligible, likely due to years spent exposed to the elements.

For Jeremy, another adventure had begun.
07/03 Direct Link
There's no light to keep Bill Thomson on the road tonight. The streetlights have long since burned out in this side of town, lending an eerie and hazardous overtone to an already difficult journey. Sweat begins forming across the older man's brow as he hesitantly glances toward his passenger.

“Not long now, Jessie...” Bill soothes, voice shaky despite his effort to remain calm. “Hang in there sweetheart.”

He doesn't dare look for long. The wound is bad, there's no mistaking... and the next town would likely hold no refuge for them.

But he wouldn't lose her.

Not tonight.
07/04 Direct Link
The evening sky is painted with fireflies when Jacob exits onto his front porch. It's hard to believe that in hours, this beautiful landscape will become inhospitable... too dangerous for anyone to remain outdoors. It's stifling, living in such times... but his real concerns remain with his sister.

“Come on Em,” he began reluctantly, “it's getting dark. We've got to get inside.”

Jacob hates this... these evenings when he polices the house... makes demands... disappoints.

But sooner or later the night will come to swallow them whole if they aren't careful.

It's only just a matter of time.
07/05 Direct Link
“They live there you know,” Walter managed, struggling against the nurse tasked in subduing him that night. “They live in the darkest parts of your mind... they hide in the shadows.”

The nurse regarded Walter with disbelief, quickly strapping him to the cold metal table that'd recently become his bed. The sedative would come next, and she didn't dare administer it without restraining him first.

“They wait until you're asleep,” he continued. “That's when you're most vulnerable. That's when you can't fight back.”

The nurse sighed in exasperation.

She didn't believe him.

Soon, they all would.
07/06 Direct Link
Raphael toyed with the silver pendant, dragging it across the chain that held the necklace in place against his skin. He found it rather unbelievable that the one thing that kept him going, the one thing that kept him connected to this world when he wanted so desperately to retreat, was also a bitter reminder of how he'd failed her.

Or had he failed?

Raphael was as unsure of that as ever now. After all, he was only following God's orders... what more could he have done?

He could have saved her.

Raphael would never turn a blind eye again.
07/07 Direct Link
As darkness falls in the shady little town of Willow Grove, life changes in unmistakable ways.

Buildings once open for business become boarded up. The expressions on people's faces become twisted... gnarled... broken... as if they've already surrendered themselves to what was coming... as if they didn't know whether or not they'd make it out alive. Even the plants seemed to take notice, their flowers drooping toward the tainted soil anticipating sundown. Willow Grove hadn't had a plentiful crop in years.

And then there's young Jimmy Warren.

Hero. Survivor. Perhaps even a little crazy.

He'd save them all some day.
07/08 Direct Link
Jessica stopped mid-stride, her eyes turning up toward the canopy of trees that suddenly surrounded her from above.

“Where am I?” she wondered aloud, a feeling of panic beginning to creep up on the normally level headed teen. “How did I get here? Where's Jeremy?”

It was no use. The more Jessica wandered, the deeper she fell into the forest's spell. Waves of foliage spread out before her, the once inviting green becoming a prison cell... like a trap she couldn't break out of.

Worse still, it'd be night time soon.

Then no one would hear her scream.
07/09 Direct Link
Sarah shrieked, frantically trying to brush the strange creatures off of her body. It was no use... they were everywhere. Green spindly legs latched onto the fabric of her clothing, anchoring themselves against the onslaught. To her horror, some of them had even burrowed into her hair.

“Help!” the young girl screamed. “Someone help me!”

Her tiny arms beat on the door with abandon, creating as much noise as she could muster. No one came. It was almost as if she was in another world.

She should've listened when granny told her not to go into the basement.
07/10 Direct Link
It was unnaturally dark by the time Norman reached the lighthouse that night. The beacon had burnt out hours ago as he was making his journey, almost throwing him off course. It wasn't like Jack to leave the lighthouse unattended. He knew what was out there... why it needed to stay lit. Norman could only hope his friend was alright.

Upon docking his boat Norman raced to the door, intent on figuring out what'd happened.

The door was locked. The entire lighthouse was boarded up. He wasn't supposed to be here... he knew that now.

But it was too late.
07/11 Direct Link
Wilson had half a mind to turn back when he saw the chemical plant. After all it seemed innocuous enough, and by all standards business seemed to be operating as usual. Perhaps he really was as paranoid as his friends thought... perhaps he was imagining things again.

That's when he saw it. An exact clone... a doppelganger... a perfect replica of himself.

Wilson blinked several times in disbelief, trying to will the image to leave his mind. It was no use. This creature was as real as he was, and it was heading his way.

Sometimes he hated being right.
07/12 Direct Link
Martha remembers the toys in the attic... remembers having a daughter... remembers having a life before it was stripped away. She doesn't dare look back for longer than she needs to. The pain is too unbearable to allow her that moment of nostalgia, and the darkness of the attic makes her feel strangely uneasy.

All Martha needs is a brief reminder of what she stands to lose if she gives in... quits before things reach a logical conclusion. Her daughter may be out there somewhere.

Unfortunately Martha didn't realize the key had been in the attic, hiding in shadow.

Waiting.
07/13 Direct Link
It was coming from the water... Jack was almost certain of that now. With six months of horror already behind him and a growing list of casualties amongst his seafaring brethren, it was difficult to come to another conclusion. Something was out there claiming these men... infecting them. Jack was determined to get to the bottom of it.

“Tonight's the night, Max,” Jack murmured, his fingers tightening their grip around the barrel of his shotgun. He wouldn't go down without a fight.

Max whimpered his disapproval from beneath the table, but it was too late.

Jack was already gone.
07/14 Direct Link
Jeremy wandered through the darkened basement, eying the various shelves and their contents with a sense of wonderment only a child could muster. What others might have simply seen as jarred tomatoes, young Jeremy saw as devil's hearts. Jarred pickles became warty fingers, severed from the hands of sea monsters. Jams and jellies became mystical potions, chock full of magic and ready to be tested... perhaps he could even fly, he thought.

But when Jeremy reached the bookshelf in the far corner of the winding maze of a basement, he stopped dead in his tracks.

Here, there was real magic.
07/15 Direct Link
Jeremy's fingers trailed across the cover of the old book, leaving lines in the thick layer of dust that'd coated the tome over the years. He couldn't even read the title upon cleaning the strange material, but he could tell something was different about this book from its appearance.

“The Magic of Knowing,” Jeremy whispered, reading the title aloud after opening to the first page.

As if on cue, one by one the tiny typewritten words began to shift about, practically dancing on the surface of the paper. The young boy's eyes widened in shock.

This magic was real.
07/16 Direct Link
“Where are we?” Stephanie asked, growing impatient of her boyfriend's inane backwoods 'shortcuts.'

Dylan sighed.

“Almost there, Steph... geez. We have directions. What more do you want?”

“This doesn't look familiar at all... something's not right. I swear that thing is sending us around in circles.”

While they weren't going around in circles, something was definitely wrong... something neither of them could have imagined. The danger that awaited them at the end of their trail was real... it was palpable. Stephanie and Dylan wouldn't be getting to their destination that night.

That thing would stop them first.
07/17 Direct Link
Time is fleeting.

You can turn your back on the world, but you can never turn your back on time. The days will keep passing you by whether you're an active part of them or not. Seconds... minutes... hours, all gone in the blink of an eye... the completion of a task... the forgetfulness of rest.

Time cannot be tamed... simply put, we are slaves to it. We spend each day wondering whether we've utilized our time properly, wishing we had more of it to go around.

But what do you do when time disappears?

That's where the mystery begins.
07/18 Direct Link
“What do you remember, son?” the doctor asked, shining a light in Jason's eyes as he struggled to shake the boy out of his daze.

Jason groaned.

“I was sitting at home... something didn't feel right, so I stood up to get a glass of water. The next thing I knew, I was here. What happened?”

“You had quite a nasty fall,” the doctor explained, still examining the boy. “You don't remember anything else from last night? Anything that could have caused this to happen?”

Jason sighed, defeated.

They'd never believe him anyway.

So he'd lie.
07/19 Direct Link
Nobody wants to say goodbye.

People come and go in our lives. Things change on an almost daily basis. But loss is something that, as humans, we can't seem to reconcile... not easily. Perhaps when something is that important in our lives we find ourselves holding on a little too tightly, selfishly clinging to what used to be when all we should have learned how to do was let go... move on. Perhaps it's just in our nature.

But as I sit here today, contemplating these implications, I keep arriving at the same conclusion.

I wasn't ready to say goodbye.
07/20 Direct Link
How does one deal with loss?

I suppose the answer differs from person to person. What works for one individual might seem miserable or cliched to another. I can only tell you one thing. The way I deal with loss is to simply go on living... to surround myself with the comfort of familiarity... to put it out of mind.

That's not of course to say that I forget. I'll likely never forget the things I once held dear, because to do so would be dishonoring the memory of them.

I'll simply look back on the good times and smile.
07/21 Direct Link
It's hard sometimes having so many bad days in a row. It's easy to fall into a slump and forget about what's right in the world... what hasn't let you down yet. It's hard to remember things will get better.

Sometimes I find myself wishing I had a remote control that'd allow me to rewind time... allow me to do things over again... allow me to fix what's become broken as a result of time. Sometimes I just want to curl up under the covers and never show my face again.

I guess that's just a part of being human.
07/22 Direct Link
Sometimes I wonder where all of my energy has gone. I used to wake up early and settle down in a bath to try and focus on writing, and these past however many days I've hardly wanted to get out of bed. Fiction has suddenly turned to journal-like entries, and there's just a lot of laziness to be seen.

It's time to pull myself out of that slump. I need to promise myself that I'll try and make an effort tomorrow to change all of this... to allow things to get back to normal.

I won't let myself down again.
07/23 Direct Link
All was quiet at the Wharton safe house. The old rusted playground equipment lay strewn across the lawn untouched, an almost fossilized reminder of what used to be... how the place had run before Walter had shown up.

Sometimes, when all of the children were tucked in their beds, Walter would wander the hallways watching them... almost stalking them. The orderlies were disturbed by the older boy's behavior, but the fact still remained... he was older. He didn't have to be confined to his room as stringently as the others.

But Walter wasn't really a child at all.

Not anymore.
07/24 Direct Link
Walking into the shady old town of Lawngrove was like walking straight into the 1950's. Well manicured lawns, cozy diners, hell even the cars looked like they were from another time. Joey had no idea what he'd gotten himself into.

“Talk about a culture shock,” he muttered under his breath, surveying the place.

There was no mistaking... Lawngrove was definitely behind on the times. But there was more at work there than just a handful of out of touch citizens and some horridly old décor.

Something serious had happened there.

Something beyond Joey's wildest imagination.

He'd soon find out.
07/25 Direct Link
Sometimes I swear people don't have any regard for others. How hard is it to remember that there's someone living in close proximity to you? How hard is it to act like a normal, well behaved human being in any circumstance anyway?

Sometimes I wish I could escape it all... escape the noise... the irresponsibility... the drama. Not being able to sleep because of someone else's disregard starts to get to me after a while. I have a hard enough time as it is... why should I be subjected to this nonsense?

Someone needs to be responsible for this madness.
07/26 Direct Link
Sometimes I'm not very patient. Sure, I can put enough negativity aside in order to endure a bad experience... but when it comes to good things and good experiences? I have a hard time waiting.

Vacation next month... buying a new video game system... going shopping... it all gets to me. It all needs to be done now, no matter how impossible that is. Where does that sense of urgency come from anyway? That sense of need? There are other more important things I should be focusing on, yet here I am.

Perhaps I'll finally get over that some day.
07/27 Direct Link
It's kind of funny how the tables can turn under certain circumstances. A lot of times I find myself wishing I could get more rest, angry with the fact that I have things to do with my day... errands to run... things that require me to get out of bed.

And yet now that I've managed to injure myself in some way and I'm supposed to be resting, I'm finding it hard to stay still. I'm finding myself resenting the injury already because of what it's keeping me from doing.

Here's to hoping I'm back on my feet again soon!
07/28 Direct Link
Jessica watched out her living room window as the rain continued to fall, the horrific storm not even close to subsiding.

“Is it ever going to stop?” she wondered aloud, half to herself and half to her almost sleeping companion who was now slumped over on the couch.

It'd been going on for two days now... the heavy downpours, the strobe-light lightning, the crashing thunder. What'd once began as an inconvenience that kept the two teens indoors was now much more... Jessica was beginning to fear for her life.

Little did she know the storm was just getting started.
07/29 Direct Link
How can someone look forward to something and dread it at the same time? I have a vacation coming up in a matter of a few weeks, and I'm feeling massively unprepared all of a sudden. I'm nowhere near being done packing, old problems keep boiling up, and I'm just feeling generally uneasy about the whole situation.

I'm sure it'll get better. This has been a rough week or so, and as a result I've really been feeling the stress of it all take a toll on my body.

But it doesn't change the way I feel.

That scares me.
07/30 Direct Link
Sometimes it's startling how easily things get buried... forgotten about... ignored. True enough, it's a lot easier to simply put things aside and pretend they didn't happen, but does that really eliminate the problem? No. The problem is still there just under the surface, scratching away at the good that remains. It's disruptive, it's unsettling... it's not right.

So why does it happen so often? Why do things keep getting swept under the rug without resolution? Perhaps because some people can't handle the truth... can't own up to the fact that they were wrong, and say they were sorry.

Pride.
07/31 Direct Link
Well, here we are... the last day of the month. Tomorrow is August already, and soon I'll have to be prepared for vacation. Where did July go?

I'm still trying to decide how I'm feeling after everything that's happened. Inevitably, there's fear. Meeting someone new is stressful for me... I've almost forgotten how this is supposed to work. But in addition to the fear, there's excitement... dread... hope. With so many mixed emotions swirling around my mind at the same time, I feel a little conflicted.

No matter how I feel about it, my life will change.

This scares me.