King Frog #5 

King Frog #5 (10.09.18) 

We keep a plastic tub of stuff in The Fort; extra BB’s, a flashlight, pocket knifes, magnifying glass, you know, essentials. We jump the fence to the Munstin’s backyard and stealthily move toward the entrance. The trampoline is blanketed in multi-colored leaves, making The Fort dark inside, even though it’s still early. Something stirs inside. Fred raises his BB gun with nervous anticipation. 

“Hey, hold on” I say, as I lower his barrel with my hand, remembering how he unwarrantedly almost shot my ear off. 

“Hello?” I say into the darkness. Something shuffles in the back, and then we’re suddenly met with a bright light right in our faces. Fred screams and fires his gun onto the ground, narrowly missing my toe. Theres a scream in reply and the light in The Fort drops to the ground and shines onto a figure crouched against the back dirt wall. 

“Kenny?” I said. Kenny lived around the corner and a block away from me, he was younger than Fred and I, but we let him hang out with us sometimes. He had all the coolest toys. 

“Russell?” He said. 

“Yeah, and Fred. We’re coming in.” We ducked down and slipped inside. It was cool and earthy smelling, and the sound from outside was dampened by the Earth walls and leaves. 

“What are you doing here Kenny?” Fred asked. 

“Hiding” Kenny said. “My parents are,” he paused, searching for words, “well, not my parents. They’re weird. Wrong. I had to get away from them. I was scared.” 

“Yeah?” Fred said. “Us too. Shit aint right.” 

There was an old blanket in the tub, I took one corner and punched it through one of the trampoline spring ends, then stretched it across the entrance and did the same with the other corner to make a door. I hit the ceiling with my hand to move a spot of leaves and let a little light in. 

“You almost shot my foot off” I said, looking at Fred a little annoyedly. Then we all froze. We all heard it. My heart plummeted, and all our faces were drained of blood. Something was heading toward us. It was coming from the woods.

King Frog #4 

King Frog #4 (10.08.18) 

Everything's all blurry and liquid looking, and I can feel a slick bead of blood trickle down my neck and then soak into the collar of my shirt. I hear the window open up above me and instinctively put my hands up in front of my face in preparation for another shot, squeezing my eyes tight and pushing the tears out to go and mingle with the blood. 

“Hey. Russell, is that you?” I hear a hushed voice say. It's Fred. 

“Y-yeah. You shot me!” 

“Hey man, sorry about that. Lots of weird stuff goin' on. You can't just go bangin' on windows without a heads-up. What are you doin' down there? 

“I came to get you” My vision was starting to clear. “My dad's all weird. My mom's missing. Your dad's all weird, and so are most the other grown-ups around here. We've gotta do something. We need to get to The Fort”. 

“I'm coming down.” Fred said. “Here, catch my gun”. 

He threw his BB gun down to me and then disappeared back into his room. A moment later I saw one of his lanky legs slink out the window, followed by the rest of him. He had another gun in his hand, and a backpack and pair of binoculars slung across his shoulder. 

“Here, catch this one too.” He threw it down. It was a .22. We weren't usually allowed to play with that one. He slithered down the tree. We had a pretty well worn path of branches we used, minus a couple I had just knocked down on my fall. 

I punched Fred in the shoulder. 

“You shot me!” 

“Hey” he said, rubbing where I'd hit him, “I said I was sorry. Dang. It's just I was freaked out, man. People been walkin' around all crazy lately. Starin' in windows and doin' who knows what.” 

“I think you took a chunk of my ear off” I said, as I test the pain with a pinch. It's not too bad. 

“Eww, gross. Yeah, I guess I did. it looks kinda cool though” he laughed. 

We skulk across the neighborhood, hiding behind sheds and bushes, even though there was no one to be seen. The Fort was in the backyard of the old Munstin house. They were away most of the year, which made it a great place to go unnoticed. There's a trampoline in the backyard that has the ground dug out underneath, so it can sit at ground level; the backside of their yard slopes down where the trampoline ends, and it makes sort of a cave entrance to underneath it. The best part is you can't see the entrance from the house, or the street, plus, the Munstin's are pretty much never home. The bad part is that their yard backs up to the woods.

King Frog #3 

KING FROG #3 (10.04.18) 

It's one of those grey, cold mornings, the wind is tickling the trees, freeing some of the first color-changed leaves to dance about the street, and tapping at the window with sprays of sheeted rain. That window, the one my dad was staring into last night. Dead, milky eyes. I had fought off sleep as long I could, but it eventually snuck up and slipped away with me. I woke up on the floor, sheened in sweat and covered completely by a blanket, the torn mini-blinds by my side like some dead stranger. I can feel the exposed window burning a hole in my skin. I dare a peek, and to my relief there is nothing peeking back. I can hear a muffled conversation from the television vibrating through the wall, my dad must still be sitting out there. I don't hear my mom. Where is she? 

I muster some courage and emerge from hiding, like some pupated monster. I'm hollow, and my stomach growls, but there's no way I'm going out there. I peak my head up to the window. The coast is clear. I slide it open, cringing every glacial inch, willing it to stay quiet. The cool rain welcomes me to the outdoors and steams as it hits my hot face as I slip out and drop into the bushes below. I run across the street and hide behind the tall row of bushy trees that line the front of Fred's house. Fred is my best friend, his bedroom is on the second floor, but I can climb up the trees to get to it. I do it all the time. I make my way up and tap on the glass. I hear a sharp crack in reply, and feel a sting shoot across my face and through my ear. I lose my grip and feel all the branches reach out to thwack me in the side and on the legs and all over as I fall to the ground with a heavy thud. I've been shot!

King Frog #2 

KING FROG #2 (10.02.18) 

The neighborhood adults have been acting strange lately. They've been disappearing for a few days at a time, and when they return, they're different. They don't talk much, just grunt, or croak once in a while, and they shuffle around slowly, if they move at all. Mostly they just sit around and watch TV with vacant, milky eyes. My friend Fred's dad has been sitting in his old armchair for two days. Mine didn't come home yesterday. 

It's 3 am, I can't sleep. There's a humming sound in the air. I pull up the shade to my bedroom window and look out into the night. The glow of television sets illuminate from many of the houses. They give off just enough light to see the outline of a figure slowly walking down the street toward the dead-end, towards the woods. I squint to get a better look, but hear a noise close-by and suddenly there's a face staring back at me from outside. I fall back and take the window shade with me as I hit the floor. It's my dad. His eyes look dead as he just stares in the window. I hear him crunch through the bushes outside as he makes his way to the front door. He comes in the house and walks to my room. My door is shut. He just stands there in front of it. I can see the shadow of his feet filtering through the light at the crack between the carpet and the bottom of the door. I'm frozen. Silent, but my heart is pounding so hard that it must be loud enough to shake the walls down. My dad turns around, slowly, and shuffles to the living room. He sits down and turns the TV on.

King Frog 

Well, it's October again, and I'm doing another mini story of semi-daily installments. Last year I did digital images for each entry, this year I'm playing with some new markers. Hope you enjoy!

KING FROG #1 (10.01.18) 

Our street dead-ends at the woods. There's a trail that leads to a large circular field of sand that's surrounded by trees, which is weird, because there's no lake nearby that would need a beach, just a small swamp off to one side, a little ways into the forest. The swamp is where we take our BB guns to shoot at frogs. We lay the guns across the handlebars of our bikes and ride to the end of the street and hope no one sees us go into the trees. We aren't supposed to go into the woods.

Damnit. 

Seconds after thinking to myself how much I liked these knobs, I broke one taking it off for pot maintenance. 

Eraser #20 (10.30.17) - The End/Beginning 

Sam walked with the man in white along the paved road; on his right was a lake, on his left a village in the trees. 

“Where am I?” Sam asked, What is this place”? 

“This? This is nowhere. This is where we all go, and soon it too will be gone. He's coming. The Eraser. He's almost here”. 

“But, what about...what about what you gave me? Can't I stop him? I can give it back to you, you can stop him!” 

“No. No, I'm afraid not. He will erase everything, and you must let him”. 

“What?! Let him?! What do you mean? Hell no I'm not going to let him!” 

“I'm afraid you have no choice, look, he is here”. 

The man in white pointed to the horizon, and the clouds were swirling into a kaleidoscope of deep blue color, like lava flowing upwards and looking like oil in water, and climbing and growing and darkening the sky, and behind the blue was fire and beyond that the dark black of nothing. 

“Remember what I told you” said the man in white as he looked around with a reverent smile, “Use what I gave you with the other, when it's time”. 

Kevin could see the Eraser tearing its way through the glowing shield around Sam's house; he leapt and tackled him and they both ripped through the barrier and tore through the roof of the house below. They fell and fell, and Sam saw them plummet from the sky and crash into the lake, and as they did the water hissed in agony at their presence and then was dried up and gone. The two clawed and gnashed at each other, and the Eraser slashed Kevin's face and spilled his blood to the ground. Kevin's eyes burned with haunted fury and he bit the things leg and tore at its flesh and it let out a hideous cry. The Eraser grabbed him and flung him across the barren lake floor and then set his eyes on Sam and the Man in white and all those gathered in the village. 

The Eraser launched toward Sam, and the man in white pushed him out of its way and was devoured as they rolled away. Then it stood up and let out a horrible, blood curdling scream as its eyes blazed up with flame; it set to destroying all that was before it. it erased the trees, the paths, the children, and even the sky, and it grew in power and was not to be sated until all was gone. 

The barren lake bed, and Sam, who stood between the Eraser and Kevin, were all that remained. 

The Eraser sped toward Sam, and Kevin did the same, and Sam leapt aside as the two collided away from him. He sat there on the ground, with an all black sky around him, and called on the thing he had been given. As it came forth, the Eraser turned toward it and set to destroy him. Kevin saw the moment of distraction and used it to grab the Eraser by one shoulder and then thrust his other hand through its back out out its chest, and there he held the half orb of his enemy in front of his own eyes. 

The Eraser held on to the thing with desperation, his hands wrapped around Kevin's and soaked in blood, and he called on its power one last time to eraser everything that remained, but Sam used his newfound power to envelop them in a bubble, and there they floated, just the three of them. 

Sam reached out and called the Eraser's half orb to him with his outstretched hand and it came to him and the creature faded to nothing. 

Kevin pulled the last remaining banner from that deep well, it was Sam's, but before he could get it to him, Sam reached out and pulled the other half orb from his chest too. Both reached Sam at the same time, and he remembered Kevin, but Kevin was gone. 

Sam fell to his knees, an orb in each hand. One devoured the other, and then engulfed him. 

He was thrust into a blinding white room, like waking from a dream. He could not recall where he was before, and did not have a sense if he had ever existed before this moment. There was a low hum all around and a faint red sphere beginning to take shape in front of him about twenty yards away. He couldn't gauge the size of the room, everywhere he looked was just white, but he could tell that it was a room, it felt like one. The sphere took shape a became a solid red form and floated toward him, the whole room began to turn red too. He had no control of his movement and could only look on as the thing approached. The room then turned completely red and the sphere blended in so that it could not be seen, then it darkened into a black ball and began to change its shape; it became the form of a man and drew closer. The silhouette stretched out a hand in what appeared to be a handshake-like gesture, and Sam was compelled to do the same. His hand grasped the form and he was suddenly struck by all his memories, and more; he saw back through many lifetimes, and then forward through many more, his eyes turned red and he opened his mouth and a great, booming Om sound escaped into the room, and worlds were formed, and history was made, and in the shadows something stirred to life.

Eraser #19 (10.29.17) 

Kevin could feel the connection between himself and the shadow, he closed his eyes and focused on the humming force inside of himself and how it called out to its other half, and then he saw a vision from sight that was not his. Kevin watched through the Eraser's eyes as it closed in on his two fleeing friends, saw them turn in terror as it stalked and devoured them, and witnessed the beast turn back to where he was and look straight into him from that far off distance. Kevin held on, and then heard the thing's voice in his head, “Fine, come along. Watch.” It turned toward a glowing sphere on the horizon and took off in its direction; he recognized it was Sam's house. 

Kevin broke the connection, he needed to somehow get to that house. There was nothing around him but a sea of endless dark. He closed his eyes and pulled from the deep well of the ancient manor, to his surprise, it was mostly empty, all that remained were the memories of him. He pulled them out, one at a time, the long, streaming banners of his past, and he placed them in front of his tiny patch of existence and used them to walk across the void toward Sam's house. As he went, the memories faded to nothing. He was erasing himself with each step he took.