Horror writers are a dime a dozen. They fall into several genres of splatter, psychological, startle, young adult, and boring, just to name a few. Then you come across one that unleashes a hellstorm of demons and makes you put the rest of you afternoon plans on hold as you shuffle your schedule around so that you can finish reading their work.
I have to say that the above experience just happened to me when I opened Kayla Herrera’s email and began to read the attached story. Like a good writer, she had me from the first line.
Maybe it was because Herrera knows how to hook a reader. Maybe it was because the main character and I share common interests. Either way, I was on the hook and happily taking the bait. I’m certain that you will enjoy the story in whole as much as I did the
Without further ado, I am proud to be able to present to you dear reader, the first of hopefully a series of short horror fiction works from this writer.
Follow her on Twitter @KaylaRHerrera
DON’T REST FOR THE WICKED
By Kayla Herrera
Rianna Trager loved a good pair of tits, more so than your average woman. It’s not that
she was a lesbian, but she could appreciate Nature’s blessing. She only just thought of this notion while glancing at a Victoria’s Secret billboard on Highway 41. The model’s bosom hung out like a couple of coconuts.
“They’re probably fake,” she muttered. Too perfectly round and symmetrical, slicked up with oil. Everyone knows a natural pair of breasts is never symmetrical. She eyed the breasts until she could not see the billboard any longer.
She had been driving for awhile now, on her way back up north from Chicago where she had a job interview at the Chicago Tribune.
Rianna remembered the first time she had seen Tribune Tower as a kid. It appeared like a palace reaching up towards the smoggy sky, ornate stone carvings adorning the sandy-colored building. She had been terrified and impressed simultaneously. Tall figures dressed in Chanel and Armani brushed past, blue-tooth headsets ringing and blackberries vibrating. As trite and as insipid as it seemed, it was the life Rianna yearned, a customary sensation unattainable throughout her childhood. Here she could make money, support herself and others, if needed, and walk the streets of Chicago like the others, noses kissing the sky. She could be somebody.
She gripped the steering wheel and slipped a tuft of straight, red hair behind her ear. The highway snaked out in front of her into the shadows, lost in the infinite number of gleaming headlights. She wasn’t a thick girl, mostly bone and skin like that of a model, natural even through the vast amounts of fast food consumed. Her eye color changed with her mood, green while sick or tired and hazel when content. Her almond-shaped eyes were easily decipherable by others and could spill a thousand distinctive stories.
Rianna writhed in her seat at the sudden bloated feeling near her bladder; she had to piss. She peered eagerly through the dark for a rest area sign.
It was the stretch between Houghton and Crystal Falls, MI that hindered the urine quest, a desolate and lifeless drive pressed amongst the pine trees, wildlife, Bigfoot and whatever else roamed the Northern forested area. In the back of her mind, she knew there was not a rest area
for miles, but maybe if she willed it enough, one would appear. No cell phone service and no gas stations terrified the electronically-obsessed and antsy college students returning home for break or going back up to school. Rianna had once been one of them.
Around a bend and out of the blackness appeared none other than a withered, green sign reading REST AREA, reflecting her headlights and seeming to glow.
Rianna turned right onto the dirt road and followed it shakily through the forest. Her car bounced and hiccupped with each rut. How odd that a dirt road leads to a rest area. The road opened up to a cement parking lot surrounding the small cabin like an asphalt moat. Two lamp
posts perched outside the cabin, casting yellow light onto the sidewalk.
She couldn’t hear the highway as she stepped out of her car and shut the door. The sound of the door reverberated off of the trees and she peered into the darkness as if contesting it to frighten her. It appeared hefty and dense and surrounded her, billowing between the trees. Pines loomed over the lot and swayed silently in the breeze.
She traipsed towards the cabin and pushed the women’s bathroom door open. A single, flickering light lit the bathroom, casting the setting in a noir style. It was quiet, so quiet that the silence throbbed in waves against Rianna’s eardrums. She went to the handicapped stall, silently
admitting to herself that she enjoyed the extra space. Pushing open the stall door, she found no toilet. Only a grimy, tile floor stared back at her.
“What the hell?” She walked out and stopped in front of the only other stall. I’m totally fine pissing outside if it comes down to it.
She pushed the door back and was joyfully greeted by a sad, filthy toilet gassed out and shat to hell by hundreds of other women.
She latched the door, hung her purse on the hook, and lit a cigarette as her rear suctioned itself to the seat. Her mother had always said to squat, to avoid the public seat. Her mom had perfected the art of squatting and passed it on to her sister, but Rianna was too lazy and
She shook out her match and tossed it on the floor and listened to the refreshing sound of her urine hitting the water. She pulled in a long drag and exhaled slowly, feeling the hot smoke waft out her mouth and against her upper lip and nose. She finished, wiped thoroughly, and with
cigarette hanging out the side of her mouth, proceeded to flush. As she bent down to press the handle, her key necklace snapped and fell into the mucky water below. Its white gold chain disappeared amongst the yellow-brown liquid.
“Damnit, damnit, damnit.”
That necklace was the first gift her fiancé had given her when they had started dating in college. She needed that necklace, no matter how much shit she had to dig through to get it. Her cigarette slipped from her lips limply and fell on the tile floor, coughing out red ash.
She leaned in close to the entrance of the bowl. It reeked of moldy corn, sewage and brussel sprouts. Specks of food and maybe a yellowed toenail clipping indicated this toilet had lacked the proper cleansing.
“God…” she said. Her face twisted in horror, lips puckered in disgust, as she reached her hand slowly towards the soupy liquid. Light green and brown crust stuck in the crevices of the bowl near the seat and she tried not to look at it. Briny tears tickled the corners of her eyes as she
fought them back.
Her fingers grazed the surface of the liquid and she felt the thick texture on her fingers, like blood or ketchup. The things I do for love. What a crack he’ll get out of this when I tell him, what a laugh he will chuckle. “Hey guys!” he will shout, “my wife dove into a rest area toilet just to get that necklace I bought for her! Desperate much?” and they will laugh, have a good ol’ guffawing time with his bar buddies, his fucking bar buddies.
She took one last breath and her hand dove into the liquid. As she felt around with her fingers, particles and undisclosed lumps flowed against her hand. She couldn’t even bear to look down, instead looking at the water-stained ceiling and trying to envision where her hand was
The toilet gurgled loudly, bubbles disturbing the surface of the water.
“What the…” Rianna’s skin crawled and she began to tremble. Her heart raced and she felt light-headed. She had to keep going.
Then she felt it. Her fingertips brushed the small chain and she gripped it and pulled. The necklace was stuck. She wiggled down to the base of the problem and felt the dip to the porcelain hole. Somewhere in that hole, her necklace was wedged. She did not fathom what the necklace was stuck on, but followed the chain blindly with her fingers.
Reaching deeper, the water level was at her elbow now and she didn’t even care about the tufts of flesh and vomit chunk pushing against her skin. The toilet gargled again. Her heart fluttered uncomfortably and a hairy pit formed in her stomach. The tops of her thighs deadened
and felt unstable.
In the hole, she felt a couple hairs tingle the tips of her fingers, sharp like a needle first, and then numbing. It sent a surge of giddiness throughout her body and she wanted more, like a prey drawn to the intoxicating light of an angler fish. It took her back to days of the reefer in
college, sky-high in a mind-numbing land with fidgety thighs and plastered grins. There were melodies from the backdrop music, so profound and velvety that they weaved easily in and out of her pores, threading her body with the guitar riffs and beats of the drum. Yes, this is how she felt now.
She reached further into the hole and felt the hairs again, receiving another blast of psychedelic high. Somehow the hole was widening, like a snake’s throat adjusting to its prey. She didn’t take the time to realize. Her fingers still held the chain but she longed for the majestic hairs that tickled her fancy. Her nipples tingled with exhilaration and the water was now at her shoulder as she continued to reach further and deeper into the porcelain hole. Perhaps the tingling sensation was the fact the tips of her breasts hung in the liquid now, but again, she didn’t
care to look.
At that moment, she grasped a clump of the hairs in the hole and was blinded with a moment of ecstasy.
That ecstasy was quickly robbed by an immense pain in her hand and she realized something had a hold of her. She screamed desperately, her voice echoing within the bowl and filling her ears. The grip was incredibly potent, similar to the hands of an insect with sticky limbs numbingly attached to Rianna’s skin. One quick movement could mean the end of her arm. She easily slipped further and further into the pot and her lips kissed the toilet water.
With a tug, her head descended into the bowl and she didn’t dare open her eyes to welcome the feces particles and whatever else made its home there. Her mouth stamped closed, ears clouded by the thick water.
The once-porcelain bowl had turned into a slick tunnel and she felt her body slither down the throat. She couldn’t breathe and was losing air fast. The walls were ribbed and slimy and pulsed rhythmically.
Only her feet hung out of the toilet now and they kicked back and forth. Rianna’s eyes rolled to the back of her head and she gave up, and opened her mouth. Feces, urine, regurgitated bits, and other toilet goodies loaded her mouth and gripped her throat.
Oh, what a laugh he, my lover, will have. And oh how I will laugh, to be ridden from his world.
Her hand went limp.
With one final slurp, the toilet sucked down the rest of Rianna, slippery lips smacking with satisfaction of the quick meal. It gurgled, sputtered, and coughed up the silver key necklace onto the tile floor. The caretaker entered the bathroom the next morning to do routine cleaning, carrying the emaciated REST AREA sign that had hung near the highway the night before. He noticed the light was dull and used his stepladder to fix it.
Red-rimmed eyes and wrinkles pooling around the corners of his mouth, the caretaker grinned at the sight of the only toilet in the bathroom. A glint caught his eye and he knelt to investigate. He picked up the necklace, slime hanging in a long string, and eyed it in his calloused hand.
He had been taking care of this creature since he had found it deep in the woods twenty years ago, a shape-shifter who slipped into the wrong dimension. Reading his memories, the creature had taken the form of his late wife and they sat together on the stump near the meadow where it crashed, and talked. She explained to him that she would take the disguise of this contraption, and that all she needed him to do was to lure a being into the stall.
“I’ll do the rest.” Her voice was raspier than he had remembered. He does not know if it was because he faced his green-eyed, auburn-haired wife or if he felt benevolent that day, but he promised to take care of this creature and feed it once a year, to devote his life as he once did long ago.
He faced the toilet again, rubbing his filthy hands on his denim bibs.
“A bit bony for your liking, huh?” he said. He cocked his eyebrow and stuffed the necklace in his pocket. It gurgled lightly.
“Next year we’ll hopefully get a fatter one.
The toilet bubbled grotesquely with joy, spilling onto the floor. And the caretaker patted the toilet and began to mop up the floor.