In this original short horror story from Nightmare Threads it's beautiful fall day and everyone is having a fun day at the park, no one is safe...even the predators are being watched.
Trent Wright sat on a park bench watching children flying paper airplanes into the crisp autumn air. It brought back memories and memories drowned out the voices. This was good. A break is always good. The memories were of how he and Chris would go up to into the tree house as kids and toss paper airplanes from the side. One of the children he was watching now reminded him of Chris. More than his resemblance, it was the way he had he arms spread out like wings as he played dive bomber, swooping at the other children’s ankles that reminded Trent of his childhood friend. Chris spread his arms the same way after he pushed him out of the treehouse. He often wondered if Chris thought that would actually work. Did he believe that at the last second a gust of wind would catch his chubby arms and lift him to safety at the last minute? They all have that last bit of hope at the end. He liked children because no matter what you did to them, no matter how rough he played with them, that spark of hope never went out. Adults, on the other hand. They give up. Always. Their eyes go blank, and the funs over. It’s no fun playing with someone who has given up on the outcome.
Trent watched the kids play some more. The game had changed from paper airplanes to kicking piles of leaves. The boy who reminded him of Chris was the last remaining jet pilot, still diving at his playmate’s ankles. Diving down, down, down. Just like the leaves falling. Just like Chris falling down, down, down…
“Down. Down. Down.” they chanted. The voices were back. Break’s over. No use fighting it. He gave in a long time ago. He gave up the moment his hands touched his friends back, and he pushed.
This one would be quick and simple. Just a fast one to keep them from getting louder. Not that he wouldn’t like to play, but he had to make it quick in case Chris was watching him again. Trent never felt bad about what he did. He understood it wasn’t his choice. He had to, but the way Chris would stare at him accusingly from a distance made him feel uneasy. He probably wasn’t even there anyway, just like the voices. Trent couldn’t be sure of much anymore. Either way, there would be one empty swing on the swing set tomorrow afternoon.
He had been a good boy for a while, but the craving was always there. It was like going on a diet and wanting a candy bar. But multiply the gnawing by ten, twenty, shit, even a thousand. There was always the constant grumble in the back of his mind, but if that were all it was he wouldn’t be who he was. Not only did he have his own desire but the desires of the rest of them. Those who dwelt in the way back of the dark place that exists when he closed his eyes.
Trent thought of himself as no different than the man who looked at his secretary and momentarily thought of throwing away twenty years of marriage or the young mother who for just a split second thought a pillow would quiet the unending screams of her newborn. He was no different than those people. In fact, they would all be exactly like him if they too had the legions of voices encouraging their most guilty of pleasures.
He had decided on the Chris look alike, and the voices seemed to hum in agreement and anticipation. Though he succumbed to his impulses on a regular basis, Trent never acted impulsively. He couldn’t take that chance. Not if he didn’t want to get caught. The thought of being locked up in a cell with his friends with no outlet was not one Trent could even consider. He was always careful not to draw attention to himself. Each time he went scouting he was sure to bring a lunch and popcorn to feed the pigeons. No one paid attention to a lone man feeding pigeons. People tend to ignore lonely sights like that. Also, if he accidentally began talking to the voices out loud, people would think he was talking to the pigeons.
Before he could even think of making a move, Trent scanned the other patrons of the park. The park consisted of a jogging path that circled the playground and athletic field. To his left, there was a group of mothers talking to each other with their empty strollers next to a sandbox. They were obviously the mothers of the children in the sandbox because their eyes were glued to the little ones while they chatted. Not one of them ever glanced at the group with his target in the field. Across the field, there was another man who was feeding pigeons like Trent. The man noticed Trent looking and smiled.
Damn, thought Trent, he would have to wait until that one left. Yes. Wait. Wait. Wait. Patience. The voices hissed all in unison, except one who seemed to be out of step with the others.
It was a weekday and not yet noon so other than the few people Trent had already noted; the park was empty. The mothers began to pack up their little ones. Soon, Trent would be alone in the park with his group of potential targets. The Chris lookalike was always playing on the outskirts of his friends. Though he kept dancing amongst them as they played. None of the other children seemed to take much notice of him. It would be easy for Trent to lure him away from the group. He would take him to a restroom. He would be out of sight of the others. Well, until they found his body or most of it at least. Though this one was going to be a quickie, Trent could still have a little fun.
Trent watched the Chris clone for a minute, dreaming of the short, sweet time they were about to spend together before turning his attention back the man on the bench across from him. When Trent looked back at the man, he saw that he had not moved. He was still staring directly at Trent, smiling. In fact, Trent swore the man nodded at him.
The voices still hissed at him to be patient. They too were in ecstasy of the anticipation of their well-deserved playtime. However, the one dissonant voice asserted itself louder, and Trent was able to make out what it was saying despite its companions. It was saying “Leave. Run”.
For a split moment, Trent was about to listen to the voice, but the man stood up and began walking across the field toward him. There was no use running. Trent was middle-aged and fat. The man heading towards him was carrying about ten years and fifty pounds less than Trent. Even at a fast walk, he would catch Trent before leaving the park. Trent instead focused on the pigeons.
The man never took his gaze from Trent. Even as he took the seat next to him on the bench, he looked directly at Trent. For a long awkward moment, the man continued to stare at Trent before turning towards the kids playing in the field. “They’re so irresistible at that age, aren’t they?” the man began as he watched the children.
Several of the voices began to break away from the main pack. They joined the single voice with its command to run.
“I mean they’re so innocent. And their skin, it’s so soft. You just want to run your hands all over their smooth little bodies.” The man continued, licking his lips as he spoke.
“What the fuck?” Trent turned his attention away from the pigeons. What was this guy talking about? It was never about sex with Trent. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not some pedo, you sick fuck.” He was truly offended by the man’s words.
The man regarded Trent for a moment before turning back to the children. “I do apologize. But I couldn’t help but notice the way you were looking at the children. No matter. Your name is Trent Wright. Is it not?”
Though the number of voices telling him to be patient was now in the minority and the multitude in his head was now telling him not to respond, but he nodded to the man next to him anyway.
“Well, I have the right name. And the way you were looking at those kids, I’m pretty sure I have the right person this time. You might not want to fuck them, but you do have some nasty plans going through that fat bald head of yours.”
The voices were screaming, and Trent had a volume of questions running through his head. He was paralyzed. He could only stare at the man with his mouth slightly ajar. Words wanted to escape, but his brain couldn’t choose which ones.
“But in the slim, and I mean the tiniest, microscopic, sub-fucking-atomic chance I got the wrong guy. I’m just going to give you a warning.” The man had slid as close to Trent without sitting on his lap as possible. Trent tried to avoid eye contact with the man, but the man took him by the chin and turned his head, so their eyes were less than an inch apart. “Do. Not. Fucking. Do. It.”
Between the heat of the man’s breath in the cool air, the incomprehensible chatter of the voices shouting a hundred different commands, and his complete lack of control of the situation, Trent’s body also lost control and let go a stream of urine.
“I’m going to be watching you chubby. And I’m going to be reading the papers. If a kid goes missing within a hundred miles, I’m going to be paying you a visit.” The man stood up and reached into his coat pocket. He took out a card that reminded Trent of an invitation to a ball. The man looked at for a moment and tossed it on the dark stain on Trent’s lap. Embossed in an elegant font were the words “Trent Wright.” The man walked around the bench and patted Trent on the shoulder. “Oh yeah, and Chris says ‘Hi’” Trent did not turn to watch him leave.
Trent sat motionless on the bench. The voices were nothing but a pulsating screech in his head. He was staring at the name card trying to make sense of what just happened when he remembered the boy he had hoped to share a moment of brief, intense fun. He looked up at the group of kids, oblivious to the interaction that occurred only yards from their frolic and the danger they had so nearly escaped. His potential target was still on the fringe of the group, but this time he was standing motionless staring back at Trent. The boy made a quick wave before running off