The Caged Type

A home for Craig Thomas Boyle's writing and life.

Category: All Fiction (page 1 of 3)

Shorts, Serials and all things imaginative.

A Land of Tooth and Claw [Chapter One Preview]

Vincent had killed thousands of men in his long life.

This one was no different.

The night had brought peace to the wasteland, disturbed only by the clumsy movements of his prey. Vincent kept his eyes on his target as he followed him, his own steps making no sound at all. Ahead, a man with a backpack slung over his shoulder and a flashlight clutched in his shaking hand was headed towards a building as old as time. Its crumbling walls promised long forgotten treasures and with them, potential rewards.

The man would find nothing but darkness inside.

Continue reading

The Visitor (Sci-fi short)

Yilrah’s cocoon broke through the atmosphere of Earth in a blaze of red flame that lit up the night sky. Inside the vessel, the traveller was awoken by the force of the entry. Minutes later, the whole structure shook violently as it thudded into the ground.

The news crews and scientists were already waiting. Inside, wrapped in the warmth and comfort of her planet’s birthing liquid, Yilrah breathed a deep sigh of trepidation. Here was her destiny, the same each of her species faced. Launched out into the universe asleep, forever immortal until they found planets that showed signs of life.

Continue reading

Amnesia (Sci-fi Short)

The first question is where?

The second is why?

The third, and perhaps the hardest of all, is how?

The where is a maximum security prison called San Quentin. I’ve been put in here with some of the meanest, toughest human beings I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Tattoos on their throats, scars on their faces. Men who have killed and enjoyed it.

Continue reading

The Life of Derek Doyle (Sci-fi short)

There wasn’t much chance for Derek Doyle. He’d never had much of one, anyway. Born a bit of a natural loser, his own mother had known he had a face only she’d love. Growing up, he’d been distinctly average at everything – but the kids had still picked on him for his awkwardness. In adulthood, this ended with poor Derek working in a car garage, doing manual labour for the more qualified engineers.

What it didn’t do was stop Derek Doyle from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When the car fell off the jacks and came crashing down to the garage floor, distinctly average Derek was crushed.

His mother cried for a week.

But Derek didn’t. He was too busy being dead.

Or so he thought. Funny, but death wasn’t what he’d imagined it being. For all the talk of pearly gates and singing angels, Derek found the sterile whiteness of death to be a bit of a let-down. He’d woken in a new place – clothed in nothing but his own nakedness. This had surprised him too, as he wasn’t what you’d call body confident. If anything, he’d been body shy to the point of wearing coats to bed at night.

But here he was: dead, or what was supposed to be dead, but stark naked. And the body in front of him was nothing like poor Derek Doyle’s. No pockmarks on the belly, no stretch marks on the thighs. A far bigger appendage than he remembered.

Odd, this.

But Derek Doyle wasn’t much of a thinker. Or so he thought. He wandered awhile through the infinite whiteness, wondering why heaven was so dull and what he was going to do here for eternity. Not that little Derek Doyle comprehended eternity.

“You have passed.” Came a voice.

“Passed?” Derek responded, swinging his head around to try and find the voice.

“Yes. Passed.”

There was no visible source from the voice that called through the sky – so Derek stopped looking. He was practical, at least.

“What have I passed?”

“Simulation number 98,788,223,132.”

“Oh.” Said Derek. He’d never had a head for numbers.

“You are not Derek Doyle.” Said the voice. This confused Derek, so he scratched his head and shrugged.

“Pretty sure I am. Always have been.”

“No. You’re not. You are Alpha. You are Omega. You are my test subject. And when I sent you into simulation 1, millenia ago, you were just as reluctant. You didn’t want to be the first man on Earth. When I sent you into simulation 94,788,123,424 you didn’t want to become Adolf Hitler and enact those terrible crimes. When I sent you into the last one, you’d complained that you’d learned too much to live out the life of a simpleton.”

Derek Doyle scratched his head again. A bright light flashed. Suddenly, he was not Derek Doyle. He was Alpha – and Alpha remembered it all. Trillion of lives, lived throughout history and the future of the human race. A simulation ran by his creator and tested by himself. Each and every conciousness created in that world had to be trialled. A full life each time.

Alpha had been Atilla the Hun. He’d been Jesus of Nazereth. He’d been Julius Caesar. And just now, he’d been Derek Doyle.

“You lived his life well. You were shy, kind and loving despite your flaws. Derek Doyle’s mother – who you will one day play, cared for you with a love that burned brighter than the hate you had to deal out when you lived as Benito Mussolini. That means you passed.”

“And, if I remember correctly,” Alpha said to his creator, “I get to choose the next life because I passed?”

“Indeed.”

Alpha thought of the many great men he had lived as. Of the despots and the kings, of the thinkers and the poets. He thought of them all – and he felt the weight of millenia’s worth of work weigh heavy on him. He was tired. He thought long and hard – then he smiled.

“Can I be Derek Doyle one more time?” He asked.

A white light flashed in reply.

A simple boy was born once again.

The creatures with black eyes [Horror Short]

I write this here in the hope someone will find it.

I know that the chances of someone – anyone, actually reading this note are not good. Dismal, in fact. I know that most likely, my own eyes will be the last pair to ever witness the words I’m hastily scribbling down.

But it matters not. I must warn someone. You must know.

If you have found this and you are reading these note, beware the men with the black eyes. Shun them. Fear them. Destroy them. They will do the same to you in a heartbeat.

My name is Dan Roberts. I am…was, a captain in the American army. During a bleak, dreary April that was devoid of activity aside from playing cards and wishing we were at home with our wives, my battalion received inexplicable orders to abandon the base we were currently stationed in. We had to leave the mainland U.S.A and head out into some shithole in the middle of nowhere, a tiny island in the pacific ocean.

Now, the men were far from stupid. They knew fine well that army units stationed on islands in the middle of the sea were apt to get gassed, nuked or have some other hideous weapon of war tested on them. Questions were raised, anger was rife.

I confronted the commanding officer about it, but was met with stern resolution and steely resolve. All he could tell me was that no questions should be asked. No testing was occurring, he reassured me. For my part, all I could do was nod and agree. After all, he outranked me.

“There’s a situation. We need men there. That’s all.” Said the man I’d followed for five years.

And so we were off. Multiple plane rides to reach guam and then a helicopter ride to the small island we were to be stationed. I was a fan of geography, so I knew we were heading near the Marianas trench – the deepest point of the ocean. The thought of the empty chasm of blackness descending deep into the Earth began to disturb me.

The island itself was small, no larger than two or three square miles of rock and tree and mud. We had to built our own encampment, with tents and fabric shelters alongside some pre-fab structures for pissing in.

We settled in for an uneasy first night. I slept under the canopy of my tent, but for some reason I kept dreaming of the top being torn off. All that I could see were the stars, with two impossibly dark eyes hiding among them.

Staring.

The next morning came and none of us knew what the fuck we were doing here, so the guys began to treat it like a holiday. The sun shone hot and the sea looked inviting. I couldn’t blame them. Despite the dream, I was feeling somewhat relaxed too. What else could we do but wait for orders? There was no naval facility here, so I’d given up on my assumption we’d be assisting a science expedition in the trench.

Then one of the soldiers went missing.

Rico Mendez had been swimming with the others when he’d vanished. Everybody had rushed to help, sprinting to his last position. He’d disappeared without a sound beneath the waves. A strong, able-bodied man who could outsprint most of the unit had just slid below the ocean and vanished.

We slept worse that night. I’d called in the incident and warned the men to stay out of the ocean. I dreamt of the eyes again. This time they were more visible. Black against the black sky, but a far more solid, menacing darkness than the heavens above me. They stared hungrily.

The next morning I awoke to find a unit of grumpy, bitter men. They wanted explanations for Rico and they wanted to swim. It was the only way they could cool off in the sticky pacific heat. It wasn’t like there was much else to do.

Later that evening, another man vanished.

That night, another.

I banned the men from swimming. I called in the incidents. HQ just relayed the same message each time: “Stay tight. We’ll extract in a week.”

Each day got worse.

More men began to go missing. One by one, they slid below the rolling waves without a single sound. No gasps for help, no cries of exhaustion, no struggling.

They vanished.

The dreams were worse then. I couldn’t sleep without seeing the staring black eyes.

Then, on the fifth day, with fifteen men of forty missing, I went for a walk to escape the terrible atmosphere in camp. I heard the chanting before I saw them, and drew my side-arm cautiously as I approached.

Between some thorned trees, I could see a gathering of shapes. They were terrible, inhuman creatures that I can’t bring myself to describe. Cruel contortions of men that wore our skin but did not fit the shape. On each one, I could see the black eyes I had dreamed off, staring at each other intently as they chanted.

“Cthulhu r’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”

I had no idea what ancient language they spoke, but it made no sense to my ears and the sound of it was stuff of nightmare.

Then, to my indescribable horror, one of the creatures turned to look at me. Through the bushes, I could see those terrible eyes. They mocked me with their very existence. Ancient, disgusting globes that bore into my soul. I tried to raise my pistol and faltered. I recognised the skin the creature seemed to wear, pulled over its hideous shape.

It was Rico Mendez.

I could only scream and run, deserting through the forest and screeching my way back to camp. I could hear the sound of gunfire, panic and the terrifying squelch of the creatures.

“What the fuck!? Shoot them! Shoot them!”

“Cthulhu r’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!”

“Help us! Someone help us!”

The noise of the chant and the battle raged, but I slipped out of consciousness as the thought of their awful black eyes burned its way into my mind.

I awoke in a base in Washington D.C. I gave a tearful report to my commanding officer. Apparently I was the only one to survive the island, found alone by the extraction team. I had been curled into a ball, shaking and quivering.

I remember none of this. But what I do remember is my commanding officer. As I gave him the fragile details of what had happened, he stared at me.

Stared at me with empty, terribly black eyes.

They shone like the void.

I write this to you now from the hospital they’ve consigned me to. Beware the black eyed men. They worship someone…something…ancient. It stirs below us. It stirs in the deepest parts of our world. The parts we know less than we know outer space.

They are coming.

Short story: Future past? My entry to Reddit’s upvoted contest

He came back to town in an old, beat-up bus. The cold outside seeped through the thin windows and chilled him to the bone. He watched the familiar scenery roll by with a feeling of utter dislocation, as if what he was seeing was something long dead.

“Hello George, been awhile.” Said a guy at the bus station. Jerry? The passenger on the bus hopped off and shrugged.

“Yeah, Jerry. It has.”

“You staying long?”

“I doubt it.” George said. He shrugged sadly at the man, who looked at him with a sombre understanding and then waved at him as he crossed the street with his bags.

George looked around at the snowy town. It had always seemed cold. Long ago, however, he remembered the warmth here.

“George!?” A girl’s voice cut through his brooding walk through the town. He looked up to see Annabelle smiling awkwardly at him.

“Oh.” He said. “Hey.”

Snow fell gently in the street, meeting tarmac to become slush churned by the infrequent trucks that drove through the town. In the dull light of winter daytime, Annabelle’s face looked just as lovely as ever.

“How is he?” She asked. He remembered the touch of her. The smell of her.

“I don’t know. I just got back.” He replied. She sighed then, a sad noise that reminded him of the sadness between them. It became a gulf that he couldn’t avoid. He felt like he could say nothing.

Mercifully, she broke the silence. “Tell him I said hello. I saw him down the store a week back and told him you’d be coming…but.” He could see the tears beginning to well up in her eyes.

“It’s okay Anna. Thanks.”

He turned and left the woman he’d loved. Still loved. He felt her eyes following him as he walked the same path he’d walked many times before.

“Merry Christmas, George.” he heard her say.

The house looked the same as ever, minus a few repairs he noted he’d have to perform this season. It was as if the crumbling architecture was imitating the life within.

He took out his key and headed inside. Recollection flooded him as the warmth from the central heating hit. He noticed that all the lights were turned on – despite it still being daytime. He walked past old coats and clothing hung up on rails – pieces from his late teens that hadn’t been touched in a decade.

George found the man from the past in the living room, staring out of the window at the cold. He sat in an armchair that looked as foul as the clothing on the old man’s thin frame. A pair of rimmed spectacles looked up at him – through him.

“Hello dad.” George said. He felt tears choking him up.

“Who are you?” His father asked. He looked afraid.

George had learned long ago that he was fighting a losing battle. He’d given up trying to remind his father that he was his son. He’d given up on staying in the town. He’d even given up on Annabelle. But he wasn’t cruel enough to stay away.

He sat down next to his father, the man who had raised him in what had once seemed to George a beautiful, small town. The old man smiled at him, as if remembering.

“Oh, Thomas! How are you? It’s been awhile!” Said his father. George sighed ever so slightly, steeling himself to perform the act he managed every Christmas. Pretending he was an old friend of his father’s, vaguely remembered despite the grip of Dementia. He put on the role of Thomas, a friend his dad had known in his teens. A man remembered better than his own son.

“Hello Michael.” George said, “I’ve come with a vision of the future.”

“The future?” His father asked.

“Your future. I’m going to tell you about the wife you’ll have. The son you’ll have…”

“A son?” His father laughed. The old lines on his face receded. “I’m not going to have a son!”

George could hardly talk as the weight of sadness crushed his chest. He reached out and took his father’s hand. Together they looked out into the cold.

“You will.” He said.

The Yearbook Prophecies – Short Story

When I first pulled it out of the box in my attic, I had to do a double take. I hadn’t seen it in years, but it seemed so familiar. It was an object of such fondness to me that even though I’d just found it again, I felt I’d had it by my side all of these years.

But I hadn’t. Not really. It’d been up here, in the box of memories like the rest of my aging junk. Nestled there, amongst the skateboard and roller blades, between the paintings I’d done when I was 15. The pages still felt crisp, despite all the times I’d read the book through the years when I’d missed those formative years.

Here it was, my school yearbook. Chock full to the brim with pictures of people I’d called friends. Some who I’d called my enemies, too. A tome that I’d taken with me to college and even now remained. Even with me moving to a new house with my second wife, it was still stored in the attic instead of discarded in the trash like most people’s memories.

Continue reading

Buy the Hitman and the Rose for $2.99

I’d like to thank each and every one of you who has read the series. I’ll always keep it here for free, but I know how annoying/inconvenient reading chapters from a blog can be. Many of you have suggested I turned this into a book, many of you have asked if I have a ‘donation’ link. In the end, I decided I don’t have enough time to dedicate a full book to the Hitman. I can, however, compile the story into a handy kindle format so you can carry it on your way. (I will add smashwords and B&N in time.)

You can click this link to head over to the book’s amazon page and buy it there

Even if you don’t buy the book please do me a favour and leave a review. I want to thank you all for the encouragement and kind words. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series and that you continue to check back here for future writing. I’m sure we will see Daniel and Melissa again in the near future. For those who think I’m selling out, I’d like to repeat: the series you can buy remains free on my blog, always. Buying the book is just a way to help me out a little bit, which people have inboxed me asking to do.

Thanks again,

Craig

 

The Edge.

The man had always been afraid. For as long as he could remember he’d been scared of the dark. Scared of loud noises. Scared of other people. Scared of himself. Now he stood in the darkness and let it hold him in its cold embrace. He let the wind whip up under his jacket and bite through to the bone. His jaw clenched against the urge to shiver but he held it in. He wondered if in another life he’d have been less of wimp. He looked down over the street below. It ran in zig-zags like a children’s toy, with the tiny glow of car headlamps and street lights casting thin spheres of light through the night. Another gust of wind blew and he pulled back from the edge of the building. He felt himself shiver. This time he couldn’t suppress it.

Continue reading

[Halloween Short Story] They live amongst us.

 

I’ve never been a big believer in fairy tales. I’ve never enjoyed flights of fancy. I’m not a fan of horror films, ghost stories or urban legends. Hell, I don’t even like the wizard of Oz. I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty grounded guy. It’s why I decided to take Biology at university. Science is the study of reason, so believe me when I tell you that what is happening…defies reason.

Continue reading

Older posts

© 2018 The Caged Type

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑