The Protector. Short Story.

Wow. It’s only Wednesday. I don’t know why but I was fairly certain today was Friday. I don’t really know how to feel about that. I mean, it means nothing to me that it isn’t the weekend as it’s summer. Yet that realisation is still depressing. Talk about conditioning.

There are a few movies I want to watch, but it is just a matter of getting around it it. There is after all, so much else to do. There are also a few books on my to read list and on my to read shelf. I’ll have to start on those soon too. I don’t know why I havn’t been reading as much lately, normally I read before I sleep, but I havn’t been able to lately. I just feel really dstracted, but by nothing in particular. It is getting quite annoying. I also need to add a few more books to the to read list. It’s like there’s lots of little things that need to be done, but I can’t decide which needs to be done first, so then, in the end, nothing gets done.

It’s quite disheartening.

See! There it is again!

Anyway, enough of my weird ramblings. On with the show!


The Protector.

Most of us are lucky. When you think about it, we’ve beaten millions of other sperm in getting to the egg, we survived the gestation period of nine months, we’ve lived without any major or serious accidents. How many children are killed a year from accidents? Falling down the stairs, Falling into a pool, Eating something that shouldn’t be eaten, car accidents. Then, we reach adulthood and there are still any number of things that can happen, but they don’t. We live long and healthy lives, purely because we are lucky.

But I intend to increase my luck. I want to be luckier than some. I want that car, hurtling towards me, to miss and hit some other poor schlub instead. I want to almost fall, but grab the railings and save myself. I don’t want to die, no one does. I’m just willing to do whatever is necessary to prevent my death.

I’ve been experimenting for years now at this point and I think I’m pretty close to achieving it, a protector. When I first started there were a large number of failures, it was off-putting, I came close to giving up a few times but now, now I’m getting closer. I can feel it.

The first one I created was hideous, it could barely move, screaming in pain. I had gotten the basic shape of a human right at least,but the creature could only writhe. It was covered in some kind of viscous mucous, its eyes were milky white, it was blind. It lay screaming in my basement for three whole days. There was nothing I could do to kill it. It lashed out wildly whenever I approached. Why should I risk myself? After it died I had to gather it up to bury it in the back garden. It was quite unpleasant. The smell wouldn’t leave my skin for days. Its body squished and oozed when I tried to carry it. Eventually it was buried, and soon four more joined it. Each one had something wrong, all each one could do was scream in agony. Despite these failures I knew I must press on. I must finish what I started.

I took a break, from trying to create them, and I built a sub basement. The creatures decomposed quickly, something I found out after I had tried to keep the fifth one around for dissection. After three days, its skin became crumbly in texture, its smell turned to that of deep rich soil. I know that the soil is full of nutrients because of my back garden. I didn’t think of it at the time, but it seemed so obvious when I realised it. Where the others were buried were full of blooming flowers, the entire garden was flowering of course, but the plants over their graves seemed to have longer stalks, brighter colours. They were full of life.

I installed a trap door in the floor of the basement, whenever a creature didn’t work out, it could be easily disposed of. Then, when it had decomposed, I could shovel it into buckets and carry it outside, or I could leave it down there. The possibilities were endless. Really, I did consider making faulty creatures just so they would die, then I could sell the soil off to gardeners. It would have been the best soil in the world. I would make millions, but what would I do when production needed to increase? I couldn’t have too many people involved, it would get messy. Besides, it was difficult for me to conjure these things, it takes a lot out of you. I couldn’t make more than three a week without being severely tired.

I had everything set up, I could try to conjure a protector and, if the creature wasn’t up to scratch. I could simply dump them in the subbasement. The noise of them falling wasn’t pleasant, there was a horrible crunching noise. Still it was better than them lying in the basement, screaming. No one could hear them from the sub-basement. Not even me.

There was one time when I thought I had done it, created a protector, but I was wrong. It was able to stand, and walk for a little bit, but something inside it was wrong and soon it was reduced to nothing but a writhing ball of flesh. According to the books, once created, I can assign a protector to almost anyone if I wish. Maybe, when I have my own I can create a few more and sell them off. Once I’ve perfected it, it should be no bother creating more. I have looked up why other people don’t do this, it’s because they can’t stomach what I can. I can get through the screams and writhing, they couldn’t. Most people could only attempt one or two before they gave up. It will be worth it though.

This journal will serve as a way for me to record my experiments, I have included the previous section as a reminder to myself why I am doing this and, should anyone discover this, to explain to them why. The approach will be simple. From now on the creatures will be designated numbers. I will record how I preformed the conjuring process, what items I used, if any stray thoughts pop into my head and the defects, if any, the creatures have. Hopefully by doing this, I can see what I have been doing wrong and correct it.

Harry read over what he had written and, deciding he was happy with it, began his recording. He had been trying for almost three years now with no success. There had been a few close calls where they had been almost right, but so far, none had been perfect. They had quickly collapsed and were sent to join the others in the pit he had created. He did wonder if, maybe, it was the quality of the bones he was using. He had gotten the best, human bones and had dug them up himself. He had almost used three corpses in his creation. He saved a bone from each though, just in case he couldn’t get a body for a while, he could still practise on the bones that were saved.

The basement itself was small, or at least, seemed small, as a large table was pushed against every wall and every available surface was covered in books and bottles. The books he had acquired slowly, so as not to raise suspicion. While creating a protector was not illegal, procuring some of the items needed was. Still, he was careful, he wouldn’t be caught. He had a few contacts for the rarer ingredients he needed, but those he could source himself, he did. This would be his last conjure attempt for the week. He was getting tired now and he knew that the more tired he was, the more likely he would be to make mistakes. Carefully he arranged the items above the trapdoor and, taking a small knife, added a few drops of his own blood. He started to speak, deep, dark words that should never pass the lips of man. When he finally finished he shut his eyes as a flash of light filled the room. The smell of burning flesh reached his nostrils. So far everything was normal, but there were no screams. This was a very good sign. Slowly, he opened his eyes to see what he had created. A creature lay at the centre of the trapdoor, it lay there for a few seconds before it started convulsing. Harry saw that it had no mouth. He sighed and realised that’s why there were no screams. Its eyes were open, staring at him. Two red orbs burned into its skull. Without hesitating, he pulled a lever nearby and smiled as he heard a muffled thump. He would have to clear out the sub-basement soon enough, they had a bit of a soft landing now.

His failure encouraged him to continue. There was no mucousy material coating it this time, something which only occurred twice in his entire time conjuring them, it was a good sign. He was tired, that was all. If he had been able to concentrate better, he probably would have been able to create a proper one. Still, there was always the next time.

It was almost four days later when he finally got a chance to return to his basement. He was setting up to perform the conjuring, when an idea struck him. What if the residual life in the bones was not strong enough? What if they needed more? Taking one of the bones from each of his saving piles, he placed them over the trap door. The life from three different bones, from three different bodies, might be enough to create a protector.

He found it difficult to concentrate due to his excitement, but after the flash, he opened his eyes, and before him, stood a protector. Harry looked at his creation carefully, taking it all in. It was tall, maybe seven feet, its arms were long, hanging down to its knee caps. Its face was slack, almost expressionless, but still it had a mouth, a nose and two of those red eyes. He surveyed his worked slowly, it probably wasn’t very strong. Protectors only had a limited span, it would be able to save him once, though you could make stronger ones. He didn’t know how before, but now he guessed that the more bones you used the stronger the protector.

He was excited by his creation, and, after an hour, it was still alive, still walking around. It was a curious creature, looking around everything, but that did not surprise Harry. It would be searching for any dangers against him. Besides, he was not worried, the protector could not hurt him.

He wanted to test his creation out, but there was only one way and he did not want to risk it. He would not put himself in a life or death situation just yet. After an hour or two the novelty wore off and Harry had an idea. A wonderful idea. He would be safe with a protector, but even safer with two.

He set up the ritual again, he was tired, but exhilarated and he knew that if he could do it once he could do it again. The protector stood by and watched curiously as Harry set up the ingredients.

Another creature stood before him, but there was something not quite right about it, it took Harry a moment to realise what it was, it was covered in a thin sheen of fluid. That meant failure. Signing he reached for the level and pulled. The trap door sprung open, but as it did the creature jumped. The creature turned to Harry and started to move towards him, it raised an arm, showing Harry it’s long, sharp nails.

Harry backed away from it slowly. He didn’t know if the protector would be any use if the creature tried to hit him more than once, if the protector would be able to save him in a fight. The creature swung its arm at Harrys face, aiming for the eyes and the protector jumped in its way, pushing Harry backwards, absorbing the blow.
Harrys arms pin wheeled as he stumbled and tried to keep his balance. He tripped over something and started to fall, for a few seconds he was weightless, his body surging with adrenaline. He realised what he had fallen over, the lip of the trap door.

There was a loud crack when he landed, but there was no pain. Relieved he wasn’t too hurt, he tried to move, his arms were unresponsive. He couldn’t feel pain, he couldn’t feel anything. He looked up at the square of light, leading to his basement. The creatures head looked over the side and smiled. Thin rivulets of drool fell from its mouth, landing on Harry’s head. “We were aware. All that pain. Every time left to die, finally find peace then dragged back here to be in agonising pain again. We were aware.” Out of the corner of his eye, Harry could see red glowing orbs in the darkness, moving towards him.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
This entry was posted in Horror, Short Stories, Suspense and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Protector. Short Story.

  1. Nothing like a spot of mid-week morbidity! Good job.

  2. Thanks, hopefully it will get people through the dreary day that is Wednesday!

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