• Home

Young Writers Society

Preternatural Tranquility

by IceCreamMan

This is a short story(horror) I wrote for my english class (9th grade). I hope you like it because it took me forever to write but dont lie. Be brutally honest. :twisted:

Preternatural Tranquility

Sleep, the time I both love and hate. Its a time to rest both your body and mind. Its a time to relax and forget all worries. Yet sleep wasn t like that for me. I would sit in bed for hours staring off into space, yet sleep would not come. The gift of sleep would turn out to be my curse.

This was one of those nights. Once again, I couldn t get to sleep. My body was tired, yet my mind yearned for adventure. It was this misfortune which made me hear that hideous discord, the sound you hear and are not sure if it is real or a just a figment of your imagination due to the preternatural tranquillity of the night. That slight tapping noise played notes of dissonance in my ears as I lay in bed.

As usual, my first line of defense was to make a movement which would hopefully stop any phantasm noises my ears were hearing. To carry this out I got up out of bed and gave my head a shake. For a second I thought it had worked, but then the tapping noise started again. It sounded eerie, like a clanging of metal-on-metal, producing an hideous abomination of music. It could just be the pipes, I thought to myself. Anyways, I decided that whatever it was it was causing me no harm so I should just go back to sleep. I lay back down in my bed and let my mind wander. Unluckily enough, it went back to thinking about the noise. I didn t think it was the pipes because they made more hollow, reverberating noises. This noise was the sound of metal being tapped against metal which was less echoing than that of the pipes. Then the thought occurred to me: am I alone? What could possibly be producing noise like that other than another living creature? If inanimate objects cannot move and movement is required to produce sound then it goes to reason that something living is producing those noises. But what...?

The clanging noise suddenly aroused me. It had been gradually getting louder and louder until I could not stay awake will it persisted. Ever so slowly I got out of bed and reached for the door handle. If there was someone else in my house I didn t them to know I was awake so I proceeded as quietly and cunningly as my genius mind would permit at a time of this much tension and trepidation. I grasped the door handle, and with a faint gasp, I turned it and pulled. In front of me was the hallway, silent and forsaken, leading to the stairs by which the sound was ringing out, clear and uncanny, like a bell leading me to my preordained doom. I stood still, not daring to breathe or make a sound in case the creator of that unearthly noise heard me.

Nothing happened. The fateful din continued yet I could not move. My brain was not working, my legs would not move, I was cemented to the floor like a statue. In fact, once I got control of my senses, I realized I had gone without oxygen for a few minutes. Gasping for breathe, I finally moved. I took one step towards the stairway. Nothing. I took another, larger step. Once again, nothing out of the ordinary happened. It appeared that my fears were totally unfounded and self-induced.

With a sigh of relief I took yet another step towards the stairway. This time however, something did happen. The floorboards gave off a creak, a noise which when heard in the daytime would be considered quiet, but in the serenity of this night, which was only broken by the horrible tapping noises, was a noise of catastrophic amplitude. I cringed down, kneeling on the floor with my hands over my ears at the sound of that dismal eruption. Whoever was making that horrendous metallic tapping surely must have heard the din of which I was responsible for. I waited a few minutes yet nothing happened. The creature responsible for the torturing of my ears and disruption of my sleep must be lying in wait for me, knowing that I would not be able to resist the intensity of my curiosity.

He was right. After waiting for a few moments, I started once again on my quest for the source of that abomination. I began my slow descent of the spiral stairway. Every step of the way the boards creaked and I cringed, yet the satanic angel whom I feared would come to take me away to the gates of hell never came to me upon those stairs. Sometimes I wish he had, because what happened after that was a series of events so horrific that I sometimes doubt whether they really happened at all.

After reaching the end of the creaking staircase I proceeded silently to the kitchen. I don t know what possessed me to go there, what supernatural force gave me that sense of foreshadowing, but I went there with a feeling of urgency. Once there, I looked around for what I needed. There it was, on the counter, a large butcher knife which had been sharpened just the previous week. I walked over to it and, as if being possessed by the satanic angel himself, i picked it up. Now I was ready to find the fabricator of those uncanny noises and put an end to them.

The noises were louder in the kitchen than they were upstairs. It appeared that they were coming from behind the door which lead to my basement. I crept silently to the door, moving so slowly and quietly that I could hear my thoughts, alive with dread and apprehension, resonating around the room. It was as if my mind no longer resided in my body but was free to float around the room and voice its fearful concerns. I was plunged into a pool of doubt, a bottomless well of indecision. My mind was lost for a moment, cowering in hesitation. Once I finally got to the door, I paused. I had no idea what to do. I had not planned any of this out, I had just been taking it one step at a time, but now was the last and most difficult step of my quest, and if i made a mistake here i might not live to tell the tale.

Then, just when I was beginning to calm down I heard it. A deranged laughter reached my ears, coming through the door. It wasn t a laughter of happiness, or that of polite agreement. It wasn t a laughter which would follow a joke. It was the laughter of a madman, a dementedly insane madman whose mind was as deformed as his laugh. A madman who had been married to his wife for 30 years yet one day suddenly killed her for no reason. It was the laugh of that sort of madman, the kind I really had hoped wouldn t be the maker of the noise.

I couldn t just give up now though, now that im so close to my goal. All I had to do was open the door, just grab the handle, turn, and pull. Fear was griping me, making my hair stand on end. I didn t know where the culprit would be, he would have the advantage of knowing where im coming from. What if he had a gun? or a knife? I didn t know anything about fighting and now was a bad time to learn.

Slowly, every muscle of my body quivering with fear, I grasped the handle. It was slippery from the sweat on my hands. I didn t want to die, I felt like going back upstairs, laying back down in bed and pretending it was all just a hallucination. But I couldn t. I had to know who was down there, in the depths of my dismal basement, and I needed to put an end to the sound. Now that i think about it, the sound was very faint, maybe it had even stopped, but there was a inharmonious blare in my ears due to the large amount of stress that my mind had created and it was only growing louder. And louder.

Now! I grasped the handle tight, and with a flick of the wrist i turned it and wrenched the door ajar. For a second I looked around. There was a dim ceiling light on down there illuminating a dark figure with long matted hair. I crept forward, but to my dismay the laughter started again. I sped up, rushing towards the long haired figure who stood silouetted by the washing machine. Raising my knife, I stabbed it into the back of my nemesis. I pulled the knife out and stabbed again. The figure fell to the floor and i continued my barrage of slashes until I was satisfied that the person who had been creating that note of inharmonious dissonance was dead. Blood had sprayed out of the wounds, spreading across the floor and covering my cloths. But what did i care, as long as the sound was gone?

But was it? I heard it, that tapping noise, coming from somewhere near my hand. Looking down I saw with a shock of horror that attached to my wrist was a diabolical watch, an instrument which had caused me to butcher a person for a wrongfully convicted crime. This instrument was the heart and soul of my problems, the reason I couldn t sleep. For its crime against me and humanity it must compensate with its life! I threw the watch at the wall and watched as it shattered into a million demonic fragments, never to harm society again.

Then I looked over at the body I had so wrongfully slaughtered. It was the body of a woman, not a man as I had thought. As I looked closer I saw that it was the mangled body of my dear wife for whom I had been married to for 30 years. Why did the preternatural tranquility of the night have to play with my senses using infuriating noises to make a man like me lose his intellect and fall into the dark pit of insanity? May the angel of darkness snatch me up and deliver me to the gates of misery and torment for the immoral sin I have commit here today.

Is this a review?



User avatar
263 Reviews

Points: 890
Reviews: 263

Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:42 pm
Lollipop says...

Wow! I love the idea. Its very creepy and it describes the characters fear very thoroughly. A very enjoyable read!


User avatar
51 Reviews

Points: 563
Reviews: 51

Sun Nov 21, 2004 8:07 pm
ZZAP wrote a review...

Reminds me of something I wrote years back... Not nearly as elaborate and detailed, but the same idea. Accidentaly killing someone you didn't know who was there. My reason was a psychological disorder called schizophrenia, not a watch. Anyways, very interesting... thanks for the read back into my writing of the past. Tute!


User avatar
32 Reviews

Points: 740
Reviews: 32

Sun Nov 21, 2004 2:13 pm
IceCreamMan says...

Thanks for the great feedback! Im not going to do any revision on this copy because I have a more revised one at school (but I lost the floppy I saved it on). The revised copy is currently in the possesion(sp?) of my english teacher and I'll get it back as soon as possible. Im glad that you thought It was like edgar allan poe because thats the effect I was going for, kinda like "The Tell-Tale Heart". Thats the kinda horror I really like. H. P. Lovecraft's horror is really awsome too but I have difficulty understanding all of the words he uses (we read "The Hound" in English class, Im assuming his other work is similar). Anyways, thanks for the replies, as soon as I get the "more final" draft back (we already saw our scores but we didn't get to keep the paper) I will work to correct the errors and make the fear more understandable and continually getting greater until the end. Good job on creating such an awsome site, Nate! :D

User avatar
418 Reviews

Points: 5890
Reviews: 418

Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:38 am
electricbluemonkey says...

One word...*starts drooling of story*...OH SORRY! Oh yeah, one word: WOW! That was really good. Very Edgar Allan Poe like (like Nate said) and overall very good. Out of 10 I give it an 8.5 or so.

User avatar
425 Reviews

Points: 11417
Reviews: 425

Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:35 am
Nate wrote a review...

Very Edgar Allen Poe like :)

You definitely give the reader a sense of the character's fear, but never quite an understanding of it. First, he seemed to quick to judge the ticking to be some phantom, and then he never really seemed all that scared until he was about to turn the doorknob. You should be described the beat of his heart and the beads of sweat on his forehead right from the beginning. But, you also had some very nice visual imagery. I love the terms like satanic angel and " Preternatural Tranquility" that you use; they give the reader a comprehension of the scene without being verbose.

You also need to go back and proofread this. There were a couple of instances where a comma would be appropiate and some times when you used 'i' instead of 'I', but it's no more than a little editing couldn't fix.

All in all, a quite enjoyable read. You got me really interested and intrigued in the story, and that twist at the end is great. Definitely leaves one with a chill down their spine.

And by the way, welcome to YWS!

Writing is the geometry of the soul.
— Plato