Archive for Ben Larned

Poem: “ROOFTOP PARTY”

Posted in Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2015 by smuckyproductions

Not all ghosts have yet died. 

ROOFTOP PARTY

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Upon this murky hollow
The congregation waits:
City a ghost in the distance
A dome of brown night above them
Even the darkness is not real

 

Their floating hair wreathed
In timid moon, cloying streetlight
Too weak to reach their faces
Conceal the drunken sheen
Of desperation, voices
Uniform cacophony of
Blearing silence
Wordless, yet their mouths gape

 

Glued to empty cups,
Failing places on this wasteland,
Smoke wise enough to drift away,
Faces they can’t see
And would turn from anyway –
These ghosts deny their state
To the point of a half-life
Resurrection, false reflection
Because actual breathing
Repulses them –
Better to draw fractal air
That will not show the holes
In their rotted lungs

 

To be one of them is to be blind
As they are –
To observe from the edge
Extracted defunct tooth
To listen to empty mouths
Spouting garbled pleas
Is to know
And to fear
And to pity
What they do not see

 

An era ago I was a ghost
Not yet dead, shivering
Beside the moonlight
Straining for a shock of flesh
To understand – but you
Cannot return once
You see them screaming
And do not scream back

 

I lurk on the sides
No better than a vulture
Yet no worse than one, either
For I keep my tongue
And solitary cries comfort
When their non-skin chills

 

My muse is the throng
Of these grinning creatures
Who have forgotten their name –
What use is a wordless muse?

Yet still I lurk
And on the coldest of nights
I, too, would trade
My name

 

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Short Story: FACING DEATH

Posted in Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2015 by smuckyproductions

 Another original story for you horror fans. I wrote this one about two years ago. 

FACING DEATH

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Elizabeth knew her grandfather was going to die before anyone else had guessed it would happen, the day before it occurred; it showed clear on his face, as if he was wearing a Halloween mask. The mask remained there all day, no matter what he was doing or which way he turned, and in the morning her mother found him in bed, cold and stiff. A surprise heart attack had come upon him while he slept. Elizabeth wept for him, but most of her tears came out of fear of the mask, and the implications it held for her. She was six years old.

After that first encounter, the mask became commonplace for Elizabeth – appearing on the faces of strangers, waiters in restaurants, clerks in shops. Dreaded most were the moments when it would appear in the face of a person she knew. She grew accustomed to its patterns, if not the fear; twenty-four hours before the coming of death, it would hover there flawlessly, and leave only when the moment arrived. She saw it on her friend June at age seven, on her grade school teacher eight months later; at age nine, after a long respite, it showed itself on her grandmother, who lost her battle with cancer the next afternoon. She pushed her friends away slowly but deliberately, for she could not bear to look at them. All who had known her before the first appearance noticed the change, a new nervousness in place of her characteristic buoyancy, but they soon learned that Elizabeth would not answer their questions. She revealed her secret to no one, except once, when she lifted her head to God and asked him for an explanation. He did not answer her.

Years went, and the fear dulled until it became manageable. The faces of her friends and family remained unmarred, and though she still saw it in strangers, it did not faze her so much. She returned herself to society and was glad.

During this period she did wonder far too often about the cause or purpose of her strange ability. It was impossible to stop the event itself from occurring, even if she could see its approach in advance. Why was she allowed to see it at all, then? She no longer expected an explanation; but that did not stop her from lying awake at night, searching for it in the impenetrable darkness.

The sky that day was blue and hazy, the air full of the vibrant warmth of late spring. Elizabeth was sunbathing in the morning rays, sipping the lukewarm remnants of her breakfast tea. It had been six days since the sign had appeared in anybody’s face, and she welcomed the absence.

“Come inside, Elizabeth,” he mother’s voice chimed from the back door. “You’ll get burned.”

Elizabeth sat up, blinked out the red impressions in her eyes, and stood. “Coming mother,” she said.

Her mother’s hair spun around in a golden wave as she turned her head back to Elizabeth. The face that followed stole Elizabeth’s breath and the strength in her knees failed. She could not contain her scream.

“What’s wrong, dear?” said her mother.

“Nothing,” Elizabeth gasped. “You surprised me is all.” She inched past the staring horror until she was inside the house. Once safe, facing away from her mother, she allowed the tears to spill. She hurried to her room and sat on her bed, sobbing, trying to imagine how it would happen. Please, let it not be too horrible, she thought to herself, to the God she only half-believed in. Let her go peacefully. Let her not feel any pain.

“Elizabeth?” her father’s voice called. “Is everything all right?”

She wiped her eyes and cheeks as best as she could. “Yes, daddy,” she said. Her voice was unreliable and cracked. She wondered if she should tell him, but she knew it would be impossible to explain to such a rational man, even if the simple confession eased the pain; but perhaps it would only make it worse.

“Your mother said you were upset about something.” His head appeared in the doorway, and for too short a moment Elizabeth thought she was hallucinating. She did not scream; she remained frozen on her bed, certain that her horror showed, unable to mask it anymore than her father could mask his fate. “Is anything the matter?”

“No, daddy. Everything’s fine.”

She imagined he must have smiled as he left, and wished achingly that she could have seen it. There were no words to describe the hole that opened inside her chest. She thought of her siblings, David and Henry and Julia, and began crying emptily at the image of their infant grief. They would not understand, and she did not know how she would explain it to them, because she did not understand it herself.

Their tinkling laughter floated to her from their playroom across the hallway. With much effort, she stood and went to meet them. Nothing could prepare her for what she saw when she opened the door, and laid her reddened eyes upon the three identical masks that turned to look at her. “Hi Elizabeth,” said Julia, but Elizabeth did not hear her, for she had already run down the stairs and out the front door. She did not feel the sun, or hear the lawnmowers and barking dogs that made up the neighborhood aura. Her mind was invaded by a singular kind of dread. How was she meant to bear it, if she could not stop it from happening? What cruel force chose to reveal this to her?

The voice that spoke to her across the street had no answers for her, only a friendly “Hello.” It was old Mrs. Wilson from three doors down, walking her poodle as she did every morning. Elizabeth composed herself in order to return the gesture, but her composure failed when she saw the old woman’s face. Screaming, she ran down the street. Each house she passed bore another face just like the ones before – Mr. Green on his porch, smoking a pipe; the Paisley twins with their red wagon; the new married couple who had moved in only a week ago, expecting a child. Each of them marked with the same sign, all bound to one fate, and blissfully unaware.

Never in all her nights lying awake and searching did Elizabeth dare believe this would come; yet she knew that if she walked to all the houses in all the world, the same image would greet her on every face.

Ignoring the calls of her baffled neighbors, Elizabeth drifted down the street and into her own home. She avoided the eyes of her family, pretended not to hear the frightened questions that followed her up the stairs, shutting herself in the bathroom and locking the door. It took all of her courage to look into the mirror.

With the calmest of hands she opened the door and walked down the hallway to her own bedroom. Her parents and brothers and sister watched her go. She did not hear them as she unlocked the window and drew it open far enough to fit through. She said, “Don’t worry, you will all understand soon;” then let herself tumble onto the hard, unyielding pavement below.

Short Story: THE LITTLE BOY IN THE WOODS

Posted in Halloween, Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2015 by smuckyproductions

As Halloween is less than a week away, here’s a quick story I wrote a couple years ago. 

THE LITTLE BOY IN THE WOODS

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Since there was no one to play with that day, Cameron Beck went to the woods alone.

He was often alone; his father worked long hours, and his mother was usually at a friend’s house, unless she brought a friend home – they were always men, always smelly men – to stay in her room all day. Even then Cameron was left by himself, because she shut the door and didn’t open it when he knocked or called her name. He was accustomed to loneliness, and as a result had built up a legion of made-up friends who liked his company. They had come to him recently, when his mother’s friends were over almost every day, and they knew all the rules to Cameron’s games and never made him mad. The only problem with these friends was that they couldn’t catch a ball when he threw it, and when they tried to play hide and seek he always knew where they were hiding.

Now, he stood in the leaf-littered grove of dying trees, a few yards away from Green Eyes, who had blue skin and red hair and eyes the color of a Christmas tree. Green Eyes was Cameron’s favorite friend, because he always knew the best jokes to tell, and Cameron liked to have the chance to laugh.

“Ready?” shouted Cameron, as he arched his arm and prepared to throw. Green Eyes said he was.

Cameron threw the ball, and there was a very brief moment of hope that he had every time; hope that Green Eyes or Big Feet or even Lemon Head would reach their arm up and the ball would not sail through, but land on solid flesh. The moment was short-lived because the ball travelled fast, and as always his friend’s hand was no more concrete than the wind, and the ball would hit the ground unperturbed.

Green Eyes said he was sorry.

“It’s okay,” Cameron said. He was sorry, too. “It’s not your fault.” And it wasn’t; if anyone was to blame it was himself, for picking friends who couldn’t catch the ball.

But he was really sorry when he saw his ball had fallen on the other side of the river, a good five feet of rushing water, which was much too high for a little boy to cross. A blackness like rotten bread fell over him. It was his favorite red-with-blue-stars ball, which his father had given to him for his third birthday. When he looked to Green Eyes for advice, his friend wasn’t there anymore, which happened most of the time. There was nothing to be done, and no way to retrieve it.

Then, from afar: “Is this your ball?”

It was a child’s voice, a boy’s, though there was something unusual about it that made Cameron’s skin prickle. He dried his eyes and looked across the river, where his ball had fallen. The speaker stood there, indeed a boy, smaller than Cameron and dressed in old-fashioned clothes that looked dusty. There was nothing remarkable about his features – on the contrary, they were faded, like an old photograph – but Cameron did not pay attention to these details. He was focused on what the boy held in his pale, soft hands: his ball.

“Yes,” Cameron said. “That’s mine.”

“I thought so,” the boy said. The words echoed out of his mouth, like they had been played through a radio, but their tone was bright and pleasing. “It’s very nice. Would you like it back?”

Cameron nodded with vigor.

“Come closer, then,” said the boy. He seemed to choke on his words. “I cannot throw that far.”

He does speak strangely, Cameron thought. It didn’t matter; he wanted the ball back more than anything. He walked across the crackling brown leaves, careful not to trip on any hidden branches. The boy looked eagerly at him, with an excitement Cameron recognized from his dog’s eyes when food was being poured into her bowl.

Cameron stopped a yard or so from the river. An unrecognizable fear had gone up before him like a wall and he didn’t want to go closer. The boy’s face looked funny from this close.

“What’s wrong?” said the boy, bright still. “Come closer.”

“Can’t you throw from there?” said Cameron.

The boy shifted and his features tightened. “I can’t get closer. I’m not allowed to. I can’t reach you from there.” His face was eager again, but it wasn’t subdued this time. He looked hungry.

The ball was so near, sitting in the boy’s hands. Cameron stepped to the water’s edge, close enough to feel the spray on his bare legs. The boy was grinning now, but it wasn’t a nice grin. Cameron decided he didn’t like this boy anymore; once he got the ball back, he would go home and stay in his room and never come to this part of the woods again.

The boy’s teeth parted and a voice that wasn’t human said, “What’s your name?”

Cameron told him.

“That’s a nice name,” the boy said; the words were cold. “Tell me something, Cameron; do your parents love you?”

Cameron couldn’t breathe, but he forced himself to nod.

“I wonder,” said the boy. He didn’t sound happy anymore.

Through his constricted lungs, Cameron brought through his words. “What’s your name?” he said.

The boy’s mouth twitched into what should have been a smile but looked more like a sneer. “I don’t have a name,” it said.

And his arms stretched across the river, lengthening like they were made of rubber. Their slimy wintry fingers, claws, gripped Cameron’s shoulders. The terror was so great that Cameron could not scream, but only watch with frozen eyes as the boy’s head bubbled and dissolved into a white shapeless mass; the sneering mouth became a gaping cavern, wide enough to fit a little boy inside. The throat was lined with a million glinting razors, each row small and unmentionably sharp, shifting and writhing separately from each other in a gleeful vortex. Cameron started into that monstrous abyss where only madness could exist, the abyss that had no end, and though he didn’t know what was happening to him he could sense that he had lost his sanity.

The tentacle-arms lifted him high, over the water and over the yawning madness, and he was able to scream only when the rotten hands dropped him into the razor tunnel. His last conscious emotions were horror and despair, until the jaws rippled shut and Cameron Beck was lost.

Mr. and Mrs. Beck never found out what happened to their son. No body was recovered, and the police found no sign that the boy had been in the woods at all. The detectives grouped his case with all the others from the area, which by that time had amounted to seven, all around the river. The investigation went on for months, but since no progress was made, all of the cases were closed and left shamefully unsolved. The Becks carried out their divorce and never spoke again.

The red-with-blue-stars ball was never found either. It remained where it had fallen that day, concealed well by leaves and weeds and snow, until the water rose and carried it away.

SABBATH SOLITARE: A Poem by Ben Larned

Posted in Halloween, Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2015 by smuckyproductions

Here’s a poem that I wrote in the spirit of this month. Thought it was about time I posted some original writing on here. The photograph is also mine.

Enjoy, and share. 

SABBATH SOLITARE
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Black thoughts moan silent in the eaves tonight.
Shadow-leaves imitate frenzy
Lightless, blowing in the breath
Of the phantom calling

Calling who –
Not me.

The voices do not break glass
Or call me into their circle
Wreathed in bleeding flame,
Ecstatic rites of black minds
Freed in false leaves, moon smoke
Sighing joy of the dead

The circle will not part for me
Nor admit my bones, forgotten inside
Deaf tombs obscured by howls
Darker than those which envelop
The hordes, agonized

But not alone

Project my spectre into a white
Hollow where no dead go
Where whispers echo

And put their howls to shame

MINUTE MORBIDITIES – A New Webseries from Smucky Productions

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2015 by smuckyproductions

As Fall creeps onward, Smucky Productions has been brewing some special horrors for you sickos out there. A gruesome little morsel called MINUTE MORBIDITIES.

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This new offering consists of ultra-short videos that deal with the macabre everyday, such as pesky neighbors, demanding pets, close shaves, and anything else you can imagine. But add a dose of nasty neuroses, and you’ve got Minute Morbidities.

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The first episode will premiere this week.

Watch out for these unique and pocket-sized terrors, just in time for the Halloween season! And in the meantime, CLICK HERE to watch some of Ben Larned’s other films.

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Enjoy, ghouls.

The first

Fool’s Gold is available in paperback!

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2013 by smuckyproductions

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“Fool’s Gold,” a new vision of horror, is now available in paperback. Click HERE to buy now!

FOOL’S GOLD AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2013 by smuckyproductions

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CLICK HERE to buy Fool’s Gold for only $2.99. If you would rather have a hardcopy, the paperback will be available soon.

Support an up-and-coming author and BUY NOW!