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The suicide copse


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#1 Nihilio

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Posted 09 Αύγουστος 2007 - 00:10

Είδος: τρόμος
Βία; Ναι, αλλά όχι περιγραφική
Σεξ; Όχι
Αριθμός Λέξεων: 1317
Αυτοτελής; Ναι
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“Man, I gotta tell you,” Laura said, her expression revealing excitement, “this place is SOOO cool!”

“Why's that?” I asked her, not even bothering to feign any interest. It was just a small copse of elms, barely twenty of them.

“You've gotta be kidding me!” she replied, sounding surprised, even shocked one could say, but yours truly was not the one, I had seen shocked and could tell the difference.

“Nope, I'm the new guy, remember?”

The new guy indeed, three months in this godforsaken town and I was flipping out. No fun, no parties, no friends (apart from the obligatory morbid chick in black by my side), no nothing.

“So never heard of Howard's Copse?” she asked again, as if she was missing the point on purpose.

“Never ever,” I replied, pulling a cigarette out of my pocket.

“Stop it! You'll start a fire!” she ejaculated, as I was trying to light it. This was the only ejaculation she would get today, however she wished for one or two of the other kind... Not only she was too fat and her mug too ugly, but she would just go on and on about a stupid local legend half the time we were together, like it was the coolest thing ever. The hill billy answer to goth one could say, and that one I was... She was trying to get me in her pants for three months now and it would take her three more to get me THAT desperate to start considering her a last resort. Not that I was planning to spend those three months here.

“OK,” I told her and grudgingly put the fag back in my pocket. Getting between me and my smokes didn't help a bit on her quest for getting laid. “So, what's so cool with this Howard dude?”

“He hanged himself,” she told me, her face beaming with excitement. “Hanged himself from the tree over there,” she continued, showing me a tall pine, towering over the elms.

“”How long ago?” I asked her unimpressed.

“Must have been a century or so,” she said, “but that is not the coolest part.”

“I'm all ears,” I told her, inwardly begging for the blessed sanctuary of nicotine.

“They say Howard McVermon was a man cursed,” she continued, her shrill voice in the annoying hushed tone she often used when she was telling a spooky story. “Legend has it he once killed a gypsy girl and her clan cursed him to never rest. So, haunted with the grief he finally killed himself in the copse.”

“Wow,” I said in mock interest, “how exciting.”

“I ain't done yet,” she interrupted me, “there is more to it. They say even after death the curse kept on, so his ghost still lingers and pushes other people to kill themselves, all of them under the pine.”

“No shit!” I exclaimed, half in mockery, half with genuine interest. Something in the story suddenly clicked and I had to listen to the rest of it.

“Every decade, give or take a year or two,” she continued, “someone kills himself in this copse. Eight years after Howard's death, a young girl, Marian Juniver, stabbed herself in the heart with the knife of her beloved. He had been murdered three days before by bandits. Eleven years later and Maggie Restings, a middle aged woman, after poisoning her unfaithful husband and his mistress, hang herself from the same tree McVermon had.” She stopped to take a breath.

“Then,” she went on, “nine years after that father Matthew, the local priest poisoned himself underneath the pine tree. They say he had a special love for the children of the town and, when it all blew over, he took his own life. Then, ten years after that, Martin Winthorpe, a young man that had returned from the great war, his spirit deeply scarred by its atrocities, went hunting and blew his brains out.”

“Damn,” I said, playing it cool, “the body count is higher than a slasher flick.”

“Sure it is. Must've been twelve years when Johnny Franklins killed himself. Nobody knows why. He just hung himself too. They say he was a man in his early twenties and had no real reason to... That's when the stories of Howard's ghost started.”

“Took their time, that's for sure...”

“Yeah, but the coincidences were far too many, to ignore them.” She paused.

“Nevertheless, eleven years after that another person took his life. Brian McVermon, Howard's grandnephew, grew an unhealthy fascination with his granduncle's demise and eventually recreated it for himself.”

“A copycat, huh?”

“Yes, you can say that,” she giggled.

“How many years to the next suicidal?” I asked, my interest peaked.

“Ten years,” she answered me, her eyes gleaming with excitement. She must have felt pretty good I was interested in her story, she could even be making plans to ask me out. Too bad for her I was only interested in the story. “And it was not A suicide. There were two sisters, Annie and Betty Strangoff. They took too many sleeping pills and lied under an elm. They say their step-father was abusing them. They ignored the pine, those two, but the elm was nearby...”

This town is fucking sick, I thought.

“After that, it was another eleven years till Old-Henry Masters chose to lie under the pine on a cold winters night, some months after his wife died of old age. He left a not claiming her spirit visited him in his sleep and told him to lie in the snow in his wedding suit and she would visit him. Needless to say, he dies from the cold.”

That's all? I asked her.

“No, there is a final suicide, back in 1998. It was Roger Crow, a merchant with a gambling addiction. He had lost all of his fortune and still had too many debts, so he took a gun, went to the copse, because it is the most proper place to kill yourself, as he wrote in his note, and bang!”

“I guess you remember that one?” I asked her.

“Yeah, I was like seven years old,” she replied. “One of the first stories I ever wrote was about Mr Crow coming out of the grave, I was so shocked.”

“Oh, really, and no suicides after that?” I asked her.

“None that I've heard of,” she shrugged, “but there are lots of bets on the when, whom and how.”

“Sounds fun, I guess” I joked.

“Uhm, it's getting late,” she told me, and the gloom surrounding us was as good an indication as any, “how about going to 'Rory's' and grab a drink or something?” Her body language was clumsily shouting: 'DATE!'

“No, thanks,” I replied, “got some chores to finish.”

***

Dawn was approaching. It might have been late spring, but outdoors it was still chilly. I stood by the pine tree, holding tight the kerosene tank. I opened it up and poured its content around me, on the trees and finally on myself. Then, without losing my cool, I pulled a cigarette out of my pocket and light it up.

As it started burning, so did the vapours from the fuel, setting the copse aflame. The flames pounced on the trees like hungry tigers on its pray, then started dancing on my body. I did my best to control my instincts and stay in the burning woods, the second dawn greeting the sun.

I could have sworn I heard Howard McVermon's ghost and those of the other suicides screaming around me. Screaming as the flames devoured their copse. Yes, I would be the last suicide in this stupid copse, the one to be remembered for years and years.

See, I always wanted to kill my self and always to go on a blaze of glory. On Suicide Copse I killed myself and those two birds with one stone.
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- Civilised men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.

R.E. Howard - The Tower of the Elephant

#2 month

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Posted 09 Αύγουστος 2007 - 01:36

That town is not the only thing that was sick after all...
Δε θα θυμάμαι τίποτα ωραίο, δε θα θυμάμαι τίποτα κακό
δε θα θυμάμαι την αρχή ούτε το τέλος, όταν θα φύγω ένα βράδυ από εδώ
Μάνος Ξυδούς.




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