Getting Ready For Spring Cleaning


**Someone asked me to try and write a horror story. I have never been a huge fan of horror and never tried to write it but, well, here it is:


I only felt fear once in my life. My brother woke me from the other room. He was screaming. I got up and ran, I got there only a moment before my parents. He was crying, shaking.

“Someone was trying to strangle me!” he cried. My mother sat on the edge of his bed, held him. My father led me back to my room.

“It’s okay,” he told me, “it was just a bad dream.”

I tried to sleep, couldn’t. Thirty minutes might have passed, or maybe I slept. I was woken by my mother.

“Sweetie,” she shook me. I felt her there before she shook me, but kept my eyes closed. She shook harder. I opened my eyes.

“Were you in your brother’s room?” she asked. I frowned up at her. I looked around, my father was standing at the door.

“No,” I told her. “No, I was sleeping. Is he okay?”

“He’s fine, just had a bad dream. Go to sleep.” She kissed me on the head, just where my hair starts, as she always did. They left, talking low. I didn’t sleep well.

The next night it happened again, the screaming. My parents made it there first this time. They all turned when I walked in. They didn’t say anything. My father walked me back to my room, left me there without a word.

The next day, I saw my brother once, in the kitchen, his wouldn’t look at me or talk to me. As he walked away I saw bruises around his neck, he was crying.

My parents came to me in the afternoon, sat me down.

“You can’t go into your brother’s room at night,” they told me.

I looked from one to the other, confused. “I don’t,” I told them, honest.

“Okay, well your brother says it’s you.”

I frowned. “Me, what?”

My father spoke now, “he says you’ve been going into his room, and–well, attacking him.”

I laughed, mostly because my brother is a year older and twice my size. They didn’t laugh. I began to cry, uncontrollably. My mother came over and put her arms around me.

“I wouldn’t,” I tried to sob.

My mother kissed me, “of course not.”

That night it happened again. Then, again. After the fourth night my mother slept in bed with me. The next day her and my father told me I’d be sent to therapy. She slept in my bed every night for a week, I talked to the therapist twice that week. At the end of it, I was allowed to sleep alone. I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to breathe. I opened my eyes and my brother was there, sitting on the edge of my bed, his hands around my neck.

I looked into his eyes, there was something different, they looked cleaner. It was then that I felt the only real fear I’ve ever felt. I felt it just before everything went dark around the edges. It was only then that he let go. I coughed for a long time. He sat and watched. By the time I finished coughing I was already crying.

“I just wanted to see,” he told me, his eyes no longer clean.

He leaned in and kissed me where my hair met my forehead. He left.

I screamed.

My brother got there just after my parents. My mother sat on the edge of the bed and held me. My father stood by the door, at a nod from my mother he went and took my brother out.

“He tried to strangle me!” I cried into my mother’s shoulder. I said it over and over. She didn’t say anything. I pulled away, looked up at her and realized, she was crying too.


The Tuna Can


The subway system in Beijing boasts the nickname: tuna can. There are men, tuna-packers. They stand, in yellow vests, shoving every last bit of flesh into each compartment.

Once, a friend explained it to me rather well, he said,

“You know when you’re in the subway and you are so packed in that you know it is not possible to fit another person?

“Yeah,” I told him.

“Well, the Chinese can fit twenty.”

I started having nightmares a couple days ago. I wake up in a dream and I look out to see a city filled with blood thirsty, frothing, flesh eating Chinese zombies. They are ripping people to shreds right out on the streets. Terrified, I lock my door.

They come through it anyways. I leap from the window and run into the main plaza. The pandemonium is pungent. I can’t tell the difference between zombie and live flesh they are so interwoven in a mess of gore. I find a small group huddled in the crotch of two angular buildings.

I run up to them and start yelling the only things I know in Chinese.


They look at me with rising terror, then a small woman pulls out a shotgun and blows open my chest. I wake in a cold sweat and look out the window. It is exactly like my dreams, minus the gore.

When I fell asleep last night I had the same dream except I didn’t go to the main plaza. I ran to a store down the street that sells wheel chairs and fire extinguishers. High on a shelf is a massive sword. I am the only one in the viscidity tall enough to reach it. I take it down and hack my way through the main plaza onto the subway platform just as a subway rolls in.

The doors slide open and the scene inside is a monumental horror. There are Chinese zombies packed in so tight they cannot bend their necks to get a good bite, so they’ve been chewing the face off of their neighbors.

The bodies are untouched, covered in bits of eyes, and ears, and mouth, and nose. They all stop chomping each other as the doors open. They turn.

I lift up the massive sword and begin swinging. I make sweeping nipple-height blows, decapitating ten zombies at a time. I move further and further into the subway. Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, flying every which way as I flail like a madman.

When I finally stop I am standing among mounds of unidentifiable body parts and bits of face. I take a deep breath and wake up.

It takes a minute to figure out the sound echoing around my apartment. Then, I realize,

I’m laughing.