Short Stories

See No Evil

Mitchell Scott Karnes

Orlando Samuels tosses frantically in his bed as he tries to escape his nightmare.  For the past two nights, he has been haunted by a dark shadow that lurks in his dreams.  The shadow has no face to speak of, no name to utter, but it terrifies Orlando with its mere presence.  A chill runs down his spine and causes Orlando to spasm uncontrollably.  His second story bedroom window rises slowly, making an unnerving screech, which wakes him from his dream.

            Feeling a chilly breeze blowing across his bed, Orlando pulls the sheets up around his neck.  Rattled by his nightmare and terrified of what might be happening, he cracks one eye in order to see without being seen.  Orlando scans the room and turns his attention to the curtain’s movement.  The shadow suddenly appears and drifts incorporeally through the cracked window, to the floor of Orlando’s bedroom.  It’s the stranger from his nightmare!  Orlando watches silently from the other side of the room, hoping not to be noticed.  As he gently and slowly inches the bed sheets upward, pulling them even further toward his face, the shadowy stranger floats his direction. 

            Realizing the sheets offer no substantial protection from the hideous shadow, Orlando unable to stand the tension, leaps from the bed and rushes to the door.  The bedroom door slams shut and locks itself.  Orlando tries the door in vain, beating on the wooden panel for help.  His world goes silent…even his own words make no noise.  Oh, God, no! he wants to scream.  It is useless.  After moments of silent torture, Orlando turns to face the darkened mist.  He is frozen with fear, his back against the door, so terrified of the strange apparition that he cannot move.

            The shadow hovers over him, seemingly fascinated by the boy’s reaction.  The sound of sniffing breaks the silence.  The shadow hovers closer and sniffs him again.  As it floats to him, hands and arms begin to form out of the misty shadow.  Orlando sinks to the floor as the shadow descends upon him, finally taking physical form.  He turns away, sobbing, “Not again…please, God, not again.”  Orlando winces from the pain of the shadow’s piercing bite upon his neck.

            Orlando screams in agony…waking from the violent dream.

            He sits up in his bed and looks around the room.  He is alone.  It must have been a dream.  Orlando wipes his forehead and pulls the sheet from his sweaty body as he enjoys a refreshing breeze from the open window.

            Wait a minute! he begins to think, I know I shut that window before I went to bed.  Puzzled and confused, Orlando scratches his head and inadvertently allows his hand to slide down the left side of his neck.  He recoils with pain and horror.  Tentatively, he explores his neck with his fingertips, affirming his fears.  There are two small tender spots on his neck.  He examines further with his fingers and confirms the presence of blood.  Orlando’s mind races for a solution other than the obvious, but nothing appeases his anxiety.

            Determined to know for certain, Orlando forces himself to walk down the long narrow hallway to the bathroom and turns on the light.  Once his eyes adjust, he turns his neck to the mirror and looks for the unmistakable marks of a vampire bite.  Unable to see anything in the mirror, he leans forward to get a closer look, bumping his cheek against the glass.  The only thing he sees is the fog from his breath and the wall behind his head.  He puts his hand to the mirror and falls in despair to the hard, cold tile floor.  After minutes of trembling alone in the bathroom, Orlando forces himself back down the hall to his bed.  He cries himself asleep.

            Startled by the alarm, Orlando jumps up and hits his head on something solid.  He rubs his forehead and wipes his eyes.  He realizes he has slept under his bed on the cold, hardwood floor.  He shakes his head, crawls out from under his bed and reaches for the alarm’s snooze button. 

            Just as he begins to fall back asleep, the door opens and an old pudgy Hispanic woman hollers, “Oh, no you don’t.”  She stomps her foot and puts her hands on her sides.  “You can’t be late for school again.  Wake up.”  She walks over to the window and begins to pull the curtains aside.  “I don’t know how you can stand it so dark.  It’s like a tomb in here.”

            “No!” Orlando screams as he puts his hands over his eyes.  The bright morning sunlight fills the room, and much to his surprise, nothing happens.

            “Are you crazy?” she snaps.  “Get up and get goin’.”

            “Thank God, it was a dream.”

            “What was that, Baby?”

            “A…nothing…Momma…what’s for breakfast?
            “By now…cold waffles and eggs.  The bus comes in five minutes.”

            “But Momma, I need a shower…I’m all sweaty.”  Orlando smells his armpits, looks at the clock and grabs his body spray.  Throwing on an old t-shirt and his pants, he sprays his entire body with the refreshing fragrance.  “Great.”  He rushes down the stairs, realizes he forgot his backpack and returns to his room to retrieve it.  He notices the open window.  No way.

            As he runs out the front door to catch the bus before it leaves the stop, he glances up at the sun and smiles.

            Later that night, the shadow returns and torments Orlando again.  He wakes to the first morning alarm, looks out the window at the overcast day and goes to the shower.  He turns the water temperature up as hot as he can stand, but he still can’t shake the cold that has seeped deep into his bones.  He finally turns off the water and dries off with a thick white towel.  He wraps it around his waist and runs hot water in the sink, lathering up with shaving cream.  Orlando lifts the razor to his chin and wipes the foggy mirror with his other hand.  The razor drops to the sink and rests under the flow of hot water.

            Orlando experienced the nightmares three nights in a row.  Now he seems to be finally free of them.  He curses himself for being such a foolish coward.  Angrily, Orlando grabs his aluminum baseball bat and squeezes the larger end.  It crushes under his grip.  He tosses the bat under his bed.  Even though he ate less than thirty minutes ago, he is still hungry.  He keeps craving meat, and yet it ceases to fill him.  “Supper,” Momma yells from the kitchen.

Thank God!  I could eat a horse.  Orlando rushes down the stairs and jumps the final four steps in one leap.  He seems to float to the floor, landing lightly on his feet.  Oh Lord, no! 

“Come on, Baby.  I made your favorite…lasagna.”

Orlando takes his seat and waits for his mother to say grace.  He begins to feel queasy and has to cover his mouth.  As she says, “Amen,” and scoops a huge helping of lasagna on his plate, Orlando is suddenly and violently repelled by the odor of the spices.  The garlic fills his nostrils and begins to burn them.  He excuses himself and runs up the steps to the bathroom.  He runs the cold water and flushes the sting of the garlic from his nostrils, nearly gagging from the inhaled water.  “Orlando, Baby, what’s wrong?” Momma asks from the other side of the bathroom door.

“Nothing, Mamma.  I just got sick to my stomach is all.”  He looks in the mirror and sees the wall behind his head.  It’s true…it’s all true. 

“Oh, Baby, I’m so sorry…and this is your favorite.”  She trudges down the stairs and eats supper alone.

Orlando puts his hand on the mirror and confirms his fears.  He touches the glass, sees the back of his hand, but no reflection.  He runs to his room and locks the door.  He locks the window and pulls the curtains to.  Orlando turns the television on to cover the sounds of his crying.  His mouth drops wide open as he listens and watches the reports of two horrible murders.  Two girls were killed over the last two nights with the same M.O., each girl’s neck was torn open and she was completely drained of her blood.  Oh, God, please no!  You can’t let me be a…

His cell rang.  He answered it.  “Hey, O, are you watching the news?”


“Isn’t that awesome?” his friend says with excitement.  “It’s like Twilight in the flesh, O.”

“Yeah, Drake, just like Twilight.”  Orlando wanted to add, “Except I’m the vampire,” but only managed to say, “I gotta go.  I’m sick.”

“Ok.”  Orlando hangs up and Drake sits there watching the end of the report with his phone still at his ear.  The girls died just three blocks from their houses.

Orlando forces himself to go to sleep, hoping once again he might wake and see that it is all a dream.  His dreams are wild and dark.  He wakes the next morning feeling even sicker than he was the night before.  His stomach is bloated and he is extremely nauseated.  Feeling the sickness coming on, he rushes to the bathroom and vomits.  Relieved, he wipes his mouth and notices the blood stains on the toilet paper.  He really doesn’t want to, but Orlando looks down into the water…it too is red…red with blood!

Orlando drags himself back to his room and flips on the television.  “Once again tragedy strikes Windy Cove as yet another young woman dies at the hands of a mysterious killer.”  Orlando listens to the details.  Another girl’s throat was torn apart and she was drained of her blood.

His phone rings.  “Hey, O.”

“Not now, Drake.”

“Come on, man.  This happened two blocks down.  This is getting’ creepy, O.”

“I know…”

Drake starts to laugh and says something about a Bloody Mary drink.  “Drake, it’s not funny,” Orlando says.

They don’t talk long.  Orlando has other things on his mind.  Thank God it’s Saturday!  Orlando stays in his room most of the day, searching the internet about vampires, trying to sort fact from fiction.  It’s all supposed to be fiction, he thinks.  Getting hungry, Orlando goes downstairs to see what his mom is making.  “Momma, what’s for lunch?”  He looks in the kitchen, but she’s not there.  “Momma?”  Just then he sniffs the air and follows his nose around the corner to the counter top near the sink.  Before Orlando realizes it, he is face first in the raw ground beef, licking the blood from the bottom of the Styrofoam tray.

“Lo que en el infierno?” Momma screams as she enters the kitchen from the back porch.

Orlando stops, looks up, and realizes what he is doing.  “Sorry, Momma.”

“Sorry, Momma?  Sorry, Momma?” she screams.  “¿estás loco?”

Orlando wipes the blood from his chin and face and runs back upstairs.  His mother says several derogatory things in Spanish about teenagers and their craziness.  She throws the meat away and, as she curses Orlando in Spanish, takes cold luncheon meat out of the fridge and throws it and some bread on the table. 

Orlando is so embarrassed that he stays in his room through lunch, and his mother is so angry she lets him stay there.  For the rest of the day, she doesn’t speak a word in English.  Around seven that night, Susan texts Orlando and asks where he is.  He realizes he was supposed to have been at her house thirty minutes ago for the movie.  He texts that he is on his way and climbs out the window.  Working his way down the trellis with ease, Orlando is surprised that his acrophobia isn’t bothering him in the least.  He runs to Susan’s house, apologizes for being late, and walks her the final two and a half blocks to the movie theater on Main Street.  He’s amazed at how well he can see everything in the dark…and how easily he is able to tell who and what is near simply by the smell.  He feels great!

They enter the theater, get their cokes and popcorn and take seats near the back of the darkened auditorium.  Susan relaxes as soon as she realizes all they missed were commercials and previews.  Orlando smiles, puts his arm around Susan and allows her to snuggle close.  About half way through the movie, Susan turns and kisses his neck.  The hairs on his neck and back stand on end.  She uses her tongue to tickle him, moving it in tiny circles near his ear.  Orlando finds himself getting highly aroused, but not in the way he is expecting.  He hears her heart beating faster.  He can smell the blood flowing through her veins.  And as he leans over the kiss her neck, he feels the sudden rise and sharpness of teeth…canine teeth!

“I gotta go,” he says and runs to the restroom.

Susan smiles, thinking she’s turned him on.  If she only knew how…

Orlando barges through the men’s restroom door and splashes cold water in his face.  He feels for the teeth, confirming his fears and looks in the mirror.  Nothing.  Of course not.  He says, “Idiot!”

“What’d you say?” a gruff old man asks as he flushes the toilet and staggers out of his stall.  He reeks of alcohol.  His body odor is so strong, it nauseates Orlando.  The man threatens Orlando and comes at him.  Angered and full of fear, Orlando shoves him, knocking the old man into and through the metal stall divider. 

Orlando rushes out of the bathroom and through the theater lobby, running as far and as fast as his legs will take him.  He suddenly finds himself in the neighboring town, twelve miles away.  What in the world?

Orlando wakes to the burning bright light sneaking through the cracks of the blinds.  Once again the night’s events are a blur to him.  He rises and thumps his head on the underside of his bed.  He slept under the bed on the cold hardwood floor again.

He slips out from under the bed, shielding his eyes from the light.  He wipes his mouth with his sleeve.  It is covered with blood.  As Orlando hesitantly looks down, he realizes his shirt is also stained with fresh blood.  He grabs the television remote and flips past the multitude of religious shows until he finds the Sunday morning news.  Oh, God, no…not again!

His cell phone rings.  “Yeah,” Orlando half answers, trying desperately to focus on the news report of the fourth victim.

“O, did you hear me?  Man, it happened again…this time in Bayville.”

Bayville?  That’s where I ran to last night.

“O, did you hear?”

“Yeah, I heard.”

“You better talk to Susan.  She’s pissed.  You left her at the movies last night.  And with all these strange killings goin on, she’s really upset you left her.” 

Drake is so busy talking that he doesn’t hear Orlando’s repeated confession.  Finally, Orlando shouts, “Drake, it’s me!”  Orlando pauses for Drake’s reaction, but hears nothing.  “Did you hear me, Drake?”

“I heard, you, but I thought you was kidding.  O, you serious?”

“Yeah, man.  Cross my heart.”  Orlando looks into his wall mirror.  Again no reflection. 

“Man, where where’d  you go last night?”

“I don’t know.”

“Come on, O, it’s me.”  Drake looks at the call trying to come through and ignores it.  “Susan came by your house and talked to your mom.  They couldn’t find you nowhere.”

“She came here?”  Orlando finally notices the note slid under the bedroom door.  It is from his mother telling him she has gone to church and wants to talk when she gets home.  Suddenly Orlando face turns deathly white…his voice becomes a shaky whisper.  “Drake, do me a favor?”

“Anything, man.”  He still doesn’t know what Orlando is trying to say and why he is so upset.  Drake looks as his phone and reads the incoming text.

“Tell Susan I love her.”

“Tell her yourself, man.  She’s heading over to your house now.”

“What?”  She can’t!  “Oh God, Drake, I got to do something before I lose my nerve.”  Orlando turns the chair over on its side, stomps his foot several times on the leg, and breaks it off.  He picks up the wooden chair leg and examines the rounded bottom and the jagged, splintered top.  Perfect!

“What was that, O?” 

“Drake, you got to tell her…”

“Tell her what, O?”

“Tell her I am the vampire…”  After a long moment of silence, Orlando says, “Man, it’s me.” 

“What are you talking about, O?  No way.”  Then it hits Drake.  “Don’t do nothing stupid.”

“I have to before I hurt anybody else…especially you or Susan.”  He drops the phone, takes the broken leg and heads down the stairs.  “Don’t try to stop me.” 

Drake tosses his phone and runs as fast as he can to Orlando’s house.  On the way, he passes Susan.  Drake grabs her by the arm and tells her what Orlando is convinced is happening.  They rush to the house, open the door and search desperately for their friend.  “Orlando, baby, where are you…” Susan yells as she rushes up the stairs to his room.

They hurry to his room, but he isn’t there.  The broken chair is lying splintered upon the floor, the curtains torn from their rod, and the sheets thrown from his bed.  “Orlando!” Susan screams.

“The basement,” Drake says and leaves the room.  They pass Orlando’s mother as she is coming up the steps to see if Orlando ever came home.  Susan and Drake jump to the landing, grab the railing knob and spin around the corner.  Drake runs down the hall to the open basement door.  “O, don’t do it, man!” Drake yells as he rattles down the steps.

Susan prays as she follows Drake down the stairs.  “Please, God, save him…don’t let him die like this.” 

Orlando hears the commotion upstairs and knows it is his friends coming to stop him.  He

tries to do it, but cannot bring himself to finish the task.  He kneels before the antique full body mirror and cries.  He looks up one more time to confirm once again that he has no reflection.  He holds the broken leg of the chair in both hands and whispers a prayer begging God to forgive him for killing those girls…to give him the courage to end it now before it’s too late. 

            As Drake hits the bottom step and looks around, he calls out, “Orlando, stop.  You

don’t know that was you!”  He sees Orlando’s reflection in the mirror as he rounds the end of the stairs and screams, “Stop!”  But it is too late.  Orlando lowers his head and plunges the wooden stake deep into his chest.

“No!” Susan cries.  Seeing she is too late, Susan falls to her knees and whispers, “I love you.”

Drake stops dead in his tracks, unable to round the corner, paralyzed as he watches it all in the full length oval mirror as the wooden stake erupts through the back of Orlando’s blood stained shirt.  They are too late to stop him.  With his last gasp of air, Orlando Samuels falls to the cold hard cement floor, a wooden stake through his heart. 

Mitchell S Karnes