A Psychological Horror Short Story: Thudthudthud
Parental advisory: we keep it family friendly here but this post has some swearing.
Hey everybody. This is a long post but I just need to explain what it is before we get into it. It’s long because it’s a short story I wrote last year. The point of the “Other Writing” section is for stuff like this or maybe occasionally commentary/opinions about non-movie related stuff. So this is a short story called “Thudthudthud.” Hope you enjoy all 4000 words of it. It won’t have pictures or anything like other articles so I understand that it’s a wall of text. Thanks for sticking with it if you finish it.
Part 1: Thomas
I don’t know who you are or understand why you’re reading this, but I know that to an outsider this makes no sense. Just hear me out, whoever you are. There are two things that you need to know: darkness inundated this place long ago, and years after the blackness drenched everything an otherworldly creature appeared and now stalks the once serene hamlet that I call home.
I don’t know the exact date that the lights went out, but my childhood here is filled with memories where the sun illuminated everything and we played road hockey, sometimes dodge ball. I was unbeatable at tag, much to the chagrin of all my friends: I can still remember how frustrated they looked when I was always just out of their reach. I was outdoors as much as I could be, as much as I was allowed.
We rode our bicycles with reckless abandon, sometimes to Mr. Theodore’s Corner Store, which I looked forward to visiting each day. Mr. Theodore was a real gentleman; he introduced me to comic books, and even though I didn’t always have the ten cents to buy one, he would always allow me to sit and read them for as long as I liked. They were a love that I cherished from my formative years—all the way through the awkward teenage years—but has since depleted. He never hurried me, he never lost his patience, and we could always see a gigantic smile on his face, underneath the marvelous mustache that threatened to overtake his lips. He was always present when we visited, no matter how rambunctious and chaotic my group could be. From the way he acted around me specifically I always gathered that I was receiving preferential treatment, even if I would never share that secret with my friends. Fortunately we were completely unaware then of the disaster that would befall those who, like me, chose to make this place our permanent residence.
Now I can’t for the life of me recall the last moment that we saw sunshine. Those specific thoughts are blurry and unattainable, confusing. I think it was when I reached early adulthood, but I can’t be sure. How stupid am I being right now? It isn’t like this is some normal occurrence, I should be able to remember this, if not down to the particular day at least the month. If my friends were here now to witness me writing this they would notice that now I’m the one with the frustration searing my face.
Wow, this small amount has taken me a long time to write. I’ll have to continue this tomorrow because I am exhausted and need to lay down.
I awoke to the familiar, but nevertheless bloodcurdling, sound of loud clawing at my front door. So far that beast—I imagine I will be using different descriptors since this is an unexplained phenomena—has not been able to penetrate the door. I don’t feel safe, but as it stands now my house seems to be more secure than out there so inside is where I will stay.
Shortly after the caliginosity infected us the monster came. As you might expect, the initial response was one of absolute horror, with everybody quickly hiding inside their own homes, unaware of what to do, baffled by the events taking place. But we are a poor community by and large, and their humble abodes have really been no match for the fierceness of the creature. I’m ashamed to admit this but thus far I haven’t suffered the same fates as other residents already have because I have been incredibly fortunate financially. I live in a mansion passed down from my family and it is built sturdier and more efficiently. Not exactly practical for this kind of invasion but better than the low quality dwellings that the rest of the village have to utilize.
Don’t perceive that as arrogance because as previously mentioned I am terrified myself. I know that the protection that these walls provide me will evaporate once the monster decides that I’m next. To be honest, I’m not sure why it hasn’t dedicated itself to me, I don’t know why it has only flirted with the idea. The feeling of uncertainty is almost more crushing.
I feel so guilty. I’m alive because their deaths are distractions. My survival is dependent on them but I don’t know them. Not anymore, and they don’t know me. I could offer my home to them, but I don’t know. I can’t. I’m powerless, how could I even get to them, anyway?
I spend my days looking out windows; observing, lamenting. Sometimes I’m paralyzed by the events taking place and I watch for hours, even when there is relative peace. The creature is not always present. I’m furious that I can’t do anything when it is, but I must admit that I am also haunted by considerable shame. Why is it that I occasionally feel such burning indignation towards these people? How is it that such remorse and animosity exist in the same space?
Curiously, the monster shapeshifts. It can seemingly take the form of anything that it deems fit. From certain windows I can see most of the hamlet, but my vision into houses is limited. I often wonder if the monster infiltrates as a human, but then the realization hits that that isn’t necessary; it can enter any area it likes at any time. Or is that part of the sport? Or is it even sport… maybe it just wants to endure like we all do.
When I call it a monster I don’t mean that it’s grotesque. Sometimes it takes the form of fairly majestic animals, albeit with certain alterations that make it both more maddening and intimidating. There’s still a disarming beauty present if you can ignore the bastardizations that it incorporates into it. Indeed, I almost find it charming when watching from afar, but maybe that’s just me.
The only consistent element of it is its scream—it’s magical. It is everywhere. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the farthest left portion of my house or the right, nor does it matter if my windows are open. It seeps its way through my walls and it festers. The volume only increases until it suddenly ceases to exist, leaving only a peculiar hollowness afterwards, like it manipulated its surroundings just by appearing.
Fatigue still weighs on me mentally and physically—only becoming more excessive each day—but in my brief moments of clarity I have attempted to hypothesize why that is. Do these deafening screeches have an omniscient quality to them? How else can I explain the emergence of this different level of emptiness? Is it both the birth and death of an all-encompassing being, one of immaculate perception and knowledge?
What if the monster is built into the DNA of this village?
Please just leave me alone.
Another day and night, indistinguishable from each other, as the same oppressive obscurity looms over this godforsaken place. Why is nobody helping us? Is this going on elsewhere? I’ve felt like calling my relatives but I think the creature has completely taken over. It must operate in different dimensions, that’s the only theory I have. It concurrently moves outside but can modify matter as it desires, preventing me from asserting any form of control over my own life. I can’t even pick up the phone. Nobody has tried to leave from what I can tell. Everybody goes about their days like nothing is happening until their fateful ends manifest themselves. The creature has managed to isolate us.
I witnessed it rip apart a young boy. It materialized as a dog and lured this kid in, only to grow in size as the kid approached, eventually dwarfing him. Its teeth grew substantially, becoming larger than the child itself, and the same occurred with its claws. Its four legs became six, its skin stretched almost to the point of separation. Blood ran down its body and dripped to the ground but it wasn’t concerned. Its eyes became a deep black. The boy yelled as loud as he could, but his screams were matched by the beasts’. Its scream conquered the village once again, then it picked up the boy with ease and tore him into two pieces.
How many has there been?
A man, who I had never seen before, walked down the street. I couldn’t clearly make out his visage, but he was of fairly average build—not too overweight but not thin—and he had a very noticeable limp. He wore a black trench coat and a fedora, and looked straight out of a film noir. He walked over to Mrs. Ward’s house, and despite my first reaction being that he was a tourist, he appeared to have a destination in mind. Perhaps he was a suitor.
I’ve known Mrs. Ward most of my life and she has always been beautiful to me. The way her long blonde hair gently rests on her shoulders and back drives me crazy. In our early years we had what one might call a relationship, but in retrospect some might mock it as merely a fling. Regardless, at the time it felt real—as young love often does—and what separates young love from legitimate, adult love? Love grows as you age and it transforms significantly, much like the monster ravaging our precious village, so what one considered love as a child is no less pure than a more experienced love. It is just divergent with different expectations.
The stranger knocked on her door, not with the demeanor of one that was aware of the trouble the village currently had. His body was relaxed as he waited for a response, and then he lifted his arm back up and rattled his knuckles against the door once again, more forcefully this time. In quick succession, thudthudthud. Her house was far away from my own but I could hear it plain as day, as if the walls were talking to me. A sharp ping of fear struck my core, the knocking did not sound friendly; it was aggressive, violent. I wanted to leave, I got up to run to the door, but I couldn’t move very far. I was being manipulated again. My limbic reaction was my lips compressing and my body halting entirely, but the monster was nowhere to be seen. I couldn’t feel its presence, nor hear its scream.
I thought about pounding on my own windows, but my clenched fists didn’t rise. I wanted to open the window and yell but I felt the energy exit my body. I couldn’t resist, I had to surrender and observe.
The door opened but Mrs. Ward was not filled with dread, unless she hid it extremely well. I could see a large, genuine smile instantly grace her face. She knew this man, but not only that she was ecstatic to see him. They each held out their arms and approached one another, he wrapped his arms tightly around her and pulled her in close, the warmth of their bodies linking. For a brief moment, the warmth of their embrace translated to a warmth in myself, which quickly turned to disgust, then…nothing.
My natural response was to close my eyes so I did so briefly. When they opened the picture of kindness and appreciation became much more dire, menacing. Mrs. Ward—that poor soul—lay dead on her own doorstep, blood covering the inside of her door. But it wasn’t red blood, it was black. Was it hers? It had to be, but why was it such a queer colour? The stranger in the trench coat was down on his knees, his head distorting my view, but it looked as if his face was connecting with hers. Was he mourning her death with a passionate kiss? What kind of psychopath murders an unsuspecting woman and then violates her one last time with something as intimate as a kiss?
Upon more careful inspection the reality was much worse. He stood up and turned around, not a care in the world. But I will never forget what happened next. His countenance became more familiar. He looked up at the mansion, directly at me and he smiled, his mustache in plain sight.
Nobody is coming to save us. As the population drops, my own closure becomes imminent. The pounding on the door is getting louder, more ferocious. Urgent, inevitable destruction. How long would it be before I get consumed, and what model would it take as I perish?
The creature has gotten more creative with its identity; there may be traces of familiar objects or lifeforms, but its whole is chaotically original and unidentifiable. At any given time I have wondered if what I was seeing is its true style, but then it shifts into something completely different. The only constant is that the screams have become never-ending. It’s unbridled torment as it loudly intrudes into my personal shelter, punctures my ears and nests in my soul. The being that it birthed and nurtures down there is uncomfortable, desolate and sullen, a perpetual abstract fire.
Although I am constantly engulfed by noise, I have still managed to look outside, but it is pretty impoverished out there at this point. I can’t figure out why they never left, I’ll never understand why they usually acted like nothing strange was occurring. Were they naive or just ignorant? They became complacent, even though they knew of a constant threat. So why didn’t they respond until the situation surfaced in front of their faces?
I guess it doesn’t matter anymore, nothing does. I watched the creature eat a senior citizen today; he never had a chance. But I don’t care. There wasn’t any recourse for him and there isn’t for me.
Maybe the darkness has always been here.
Part 2 – Melissa, Nolan and Carter
Video Transcript One
Melissa: Be careful with that, you’re gonna break it!
Nolan: No I’m not, don’t be such a wimp!
[Nolan points the cell phone camera towards Melissa]
Melissa: Please just give it back! If it breaks my mom will be so mad at me…
Nolan: You’re so lucky. You’re the only twelve year old I know with a phone. It would be a shame if I kept–
Carter: Just give it back, Nolan. Don’t be stupid.
Nolan: Hey! Who you callin’ stupid?
[Carter gives Nolan a stern look and after a little hesitation he hands the cell phone back to Melissa]
Nolan: [Inaudible mumbling]
[Melissa, not having turned the recording off, now directs the camera towards Nolan and Carter. Nolan faces the grass, dejected. Carter is like a mountain to Melissa, so she has to aim the camera upwards, where she notices that Carter stands taller than usual; confident, partially hiding the sun, which brought with it another beautiful day]
Melissa: [Breaking the awkward silence] So… um, what are we gonna do today?
Carter: Why are you recordin’ us, anyway?
Melissa: [Shrugs] I just wanna. Nolan did it first!
[Nolan lifts his head up, staring off into the distance. A black and white Dutch rabbit runs through the streets in the distance]
Melissa: So? What are we doin’? I’m boooored!
[The three children pause, a precious moment where all three are actually silent]
Nolan: Let’s go to Creeper Mansion!
Carter: Why do you wanna go there?
Nolan: [Shrugs] I dunno.
Melissa: He’s weird.
Nolan: [Smiles] Dad tells me never to go up there.
Melissa: I heard Billy call him “Terrible Thomas.”
Carter: Heh, TT.
Melissa: [With Nolan and Carter both laughing] Ew, gross!
Nolan: So, whaddya say? Let’s go!
[Before they can go, Melissa hears her mother calling for her, telling her to come home for dinner]
Melissa: Aw, shit! I gotta go!
[Melissa stops recording]
Video Transcript Two
Melissa: Stop takin’ my phone!
Carter: What are you doin’?
Nolan: We have to film this!
Melissa: We can’t just film inside his house! Isn’t that like, illegal?
Nolan: Only if we’re caught! C’mooooon you guys.
Melissa: [After some brief reflection] Fine… but if we get caught I’m tellin’!
[The three children walk quietly to the nearest window of the mansion, trying to get the best vantage point while remaining as stealthy as possible. Once they are there all three of them sit underneath the window sill. Nolan, who still has the cell phone, slowly pokes his head up and positions the camera viewing inward]
Nolan: What the fu–
Carter and Melissa: What?
Nolan: …H-have either of you actually been inside or looked in here before?
Carter: No, why? You’re being weird, Nolan.
Melissa: Maybe you should live here!
[Both Carter and Melissa chuckle and then stand up, also directing their gaze inside the house]
Carter: What is this…?
[While the mansion itself is pretty sizable on the outside—as one might expect from the fact that it’s a mansion—it completely disregards all logic. The reality inside is impossible: the interior is much larger than the exterior. The indoors stretches farther than any of their eyes can see, seemingly going on infinitely, but without binoculars or some other such object they didn’t know for sure]
Melissa: What’s goin’ on here?
[Alongside the preposterous and unbelievable length, width and height of the interior brings with it another astonishing abnormality: nothing occupying the inside dictates that it’s a house at all. It has trees that have long since lost their leaves, some other vegetation here and there, but for the most part it is just a gigantic wasteland full of dust and a discomforting lack of fauna]
Carter: This can’t… what…
[Nolan hands the cell phone to Melissa—who continues to record this wonder—and then presses his left ear to the window. Noiselessness]
Carter: I wanna get outta here.
Melissa: Me too.
Nolan: Jus’ hold on a sec!
Melissa: No, Nolan! We need to go–
[Melissa cuts herself off and Nolan notices her eyes widening. Nolan looks to Carter who has the same reaction; both of them standing completely still, their mouths agape]
Nolan: Um, quit it… you two are messed.
[There’s Thomas, who wasn’t there a bit ago but comes into view suddenly. Behind him he’s dragging a man behind him by an arm, the man noticeably struggling to escape Thomas’ grasp, but to no avail. The man is older than Thomas and had a fantastic mustache]
Nolan: [After turning back around to look through the window] Uh… who’s that?
[Carter and Melissa both shake their heads. Thomas stops walking and instantly turns around to prevent the man from getting up and running away. The kids see a knife in his hand now, which was initially obstructed by the side view in which he first came into frame]
Carter: Is that a fucking knife!
[Thomas’ captive looks as if he is shouting but they hear no sounds emitting from him. However, the cell phone picks up an eerie and beastly scream that from this point on constantly emanates from inside the video but remains hushed to the children. Thomas drives the blade into the mans’ chest, who then reacts fearfully—but aggressively—and stands up despite the obvious pain and attempts to flee. The mysterious victim faces the window and tries to run towards it, facing the children as he does so. Thomas, who now displays animalistic speed, comes up behind him, and grabs him by the head, a hand on each side of his face. His nails grow extensively, inhumanly, and he digs them into the man’s face, slowly ripping it apart until it comes unglued entirely and the man collapses to the ground, laying motionless on the dead ground with the blood splatter surrounding him. A combination of wailing and shrieking is heard as the video stops]
Video Transcript Three
[The recording starts, the same scream looms over the entire video, muffling the rest of the audio somewhat. Melissa is filming her friends]
Carter: Why are [inaudible, but assumed to be “we here?” Parts in quotation marks now refer to the best estimate by the transcriber of what is heard on the video]
Melissa: “That’s” a good question. Nolan…
[Nolan shrugs, defeated]
Nolan: I felt drawn here… didn’t “you”?
Carter: …Yeah, I guess.
Melissa: Me too…
Carter: Shouldn’t “we go to the” police? Or at least our “parents?”
Nolan: I don’t “know.”
Melissa: We have to…
Nolan: But “we don’t” really know what “happened here.”
Melissa: We don’t? “We saw” Thomas “kill” somebody, Nolan!
Carter: And he grew “fucking” long nails!
Nolan: Okay, okay. Look, if we “see something else” weird then we will go okay?
Melissa and Carter: Fine.
Nolan: But we need proof, “so Melissa,” you know what to do.
[Melissa once again points the mobile camera towards the window. It is the same inappropriately bland plain as before, with no signs of the mutilated corpse from the day before. Thomas is standing statically, his clothes covered in red liquid. His vision is fixated on the window that the children are staring into. He does not move, there is no indication that there is any wind, as his clothes do not budge an inch neither. He doesn’t blink, but his lips are locked in an unwavering smile]
Nolan: He fucking sees us!
Melissa: Oh my “god,” we gotta get outta here now!
[Melissa turns around to leave, and so now there is just video of the village. The boys follow suit but instead of proceeding to walk away they stand immobile, as if partially paralyzed by some unknown force]
Carter: Wait… why isn’t he moving?
Nolan: And what’s with that “creepy-ass” smile?
Melissa: I s-suppose that we can “stay a little” longer. “I mean,” it’s not like he can “get us from” in there, right?
[All three kids turn around. The scenery has not been altered, but now Thomas has another person in his reach. It is a woman with long blonde hair, and he is gripping a bundle of her hair in one hand, a knife in the other. A smile remains on his face, but now scars have crafted an unforgettable, disturbing mask around it. On the right edge of the video Carter’s face can be seen slightly, a look of panic dousing it]
Carter: H-h-he’s “got another” one!
[Melissa and Nolan both gasp]
Nolan: “Fuck this!”
[Nolan begins bashing on the window but it does not break]
Carter: What are you doing!
Nolan: We “have to help her!”
Melissa: We’ll call the cops!
[Melissa lowers the phone and the grass right beside the window can be seen. She is about to begin dialing the police]
Nolan: You do that, c’mon Carter!
[Nolan grabs Carter and they start sprinting towards the front door. Melissa briefly pauses, the video still on as a consequence]
Melissa: [Raising her voice to a yell] Wait, you two can’t do that! “He’ll kill you” both!
Carter: [Yelling back] We “have to do something!”
[Melissa fidgets with her phone, shaking, and she drops. When it connects with the ground it bounces marginally, just enough to turn it over so the screen is flat on the grass. The camera now aims upward and Melissa’s face can be seen, her eyes a bright red, tears flowing down her cheeks. Banging can faintly be heard, presumably because the boys are now pounding on the door as hard as they can, seemingly in an effort to enter. Thudthudthud]
[Shouting and bawling can be heard]
[Melissa picks up her phone and flips it so she can now see the screen. She turns to Nolan and Carter and with that the camera also swings to their direction and she catches them one final time, furiously trying to break down the door]
[The door opens]
That’s the end, get outta here you filthy animals. But before you do, look at what this critic had to say about the story.