The Dark Ones (Father to Son)
by Rick McQuiston
Wes yawned and took a sip of his still to
hot to drink coffee. He swallowed gingerly as the seething brown liquid flowed down his throat. A full agenda awaited him
that day so the artificial jolt of energy would really help. Replace the radiator in the truck, get gas for the mower, cut
the grass, clean the gutters. Some day off, he thought sarcastically, might as well be at work. But a quick memory of the
machine shop with old Mr. Elston meandering around looking for unproductive employees quickly made Wes appreciate the day
off, no matter what he had to do.
But he still regretted not having time to
do anything he wanted to do. Owning a house sometimes wasn't worth the trouble. If his mom hadn't died and left him the place
hed probably be in an apartment, just a single guy with a broken down truck in an apartment. He wondered if anyone would call
him, after all it was his birthday and turning thirty was a somewhat special occasion. He'd always kept in touch as best he
could with friends and family. Maybe someone would call and offer him a couple of beers or at least say happy birthday. But
he knew it wouldn't happen . He rarely got phone calls.
The radiator was giving him more trouble
than he thought it would. Bright green antifreeze dripped from his hands and face and his knuckles were raw and sore. Normally
he was a very patient man, learning to accept things that he could not change and taking problems in stride. His father dying
when he was only two years old had a profound effect on him and his mother passing away in a car accident added to his misfortunes
but he still had managed to do okay for himself.
But now his patience was deserting him and
the increasingly strong urge to vent his anger was beginning to overtake him. The wrench sailed through the air and imbedded
itself deeply in the drywall. It hung there, silently mocking him. A reminder of his foolish outburst. A chorus of obscenities
filled the daytime air as his truck stood by, enduring its owners tirade.
Finally, after he was literally out of breath,
he collapsed on the driveway red in the face. Looking at the wrench in the wall, he felt ashamed of his behavior because one
thing his mother had always taught him was patience. She had said his father was a very patient man so Wes should be also.
After several minutes, he stood up and took
a deep breath. Realizing that his outburst had accomplished nothing except for some dinnertime gossip for
his neighbors, he started to walk towards
the wrench. It stubbornly resisted his attempts to pull it out but eventually loosened up enough for him to take it out of
the wall. A large hole stared back at him.
"That'll teach me to lose my temper," he
mumbled to the floor.
The phone shattered the silence. Three rings
later, the receiver was in his hand.
"Hello?" Dead air. "Hello?" A low, ominous
"Excellent!" It sounded like a mad scientist
in a horror movie.
"Who is this?" He was starting to lose his
The voice on the other end of the phone
laughed a dry, soulless laugh. "You do not remember me ... I am your father."
Wes froze. His father was dead. Anger took
over. "Who do you think you are, Darth Vader!" and he slammed the receiver down on its base. Just what he needed, some nut
making prank calls.
Forty-five minutes had passed and Wes was
deeply immersed in the repairs on his truck when the phone rang again. With the earlier call still fresh in his mind, he picked
up the receiver. "Hello?"
"Allow me to apologize little one, for you
must understand that I was overcome with joy that my work finally bore such fruit and ..."
Again the phone slammed onto the base. Wes
vowed to himself that from then on he would screen the calls. But he had to admit that the voice did sound strangely familiar.
Surely it couldn't be his father, he had died when Wes was two years old in some sort of explosion in his basement. His mother
had told him his father was a very secretive type of man, always experimenting with things and frequently locking himself
in the basement. Apparently, one experiment went wrong and he was killed. He decided to further prevent any prank calls and
unplugged the phone from the wall. Feeling satisfied, he went back to the repairs on his truck.
Another hour had passed and Wes was almost
finished with the radiator. He was pulling himself up from underneath the truck when the phone rang. His eyes widened and
his jaw dropped. Slowly, he stepped into the house and stared at the still unplugged phone as the rings continued to fill
the room. He picked up the receiver as if it were a venomous snake.
"I realize you don't believe me son, but
I speak the truth."
"My father's dead!" he screamed. "He died
when I was two!"
"Yes, yes I am well aware of my passing."
He spoke with utter sincerity. "The reason I have contacted you is very simple." He paused. "I felt obligated to warn you
of impending events."
"Yes. Today is your birthday. I wish to
enlighten you on this hollowed day."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Wes
shouted. "What does my birthday have to do with anything?"
"Please calm yourself," the voice said.
"I know this is a great deal to accept. Allow me to explain. I, shall we say, dabbled in the occult in my life. I stumbled
upon an ancient pantheon of interstellar beings whose pure power ensnared me beyond hope and guided me through their beliefs
Wes felt a knot forming in his gut. "Their
intentions?" he inquired, not wanting an answer.
"Yes, simply put ..." the pause of five
or so seconds felt like years. "Their taking over the Earth."
Wes knew he would say that. "Why would they
want to take over Earth?" Again he did not want an answer.
His father laughed a soulless laugh and
responded, "Why take over the Earth? Foolish boy. These entities know nothing but conquering. Their single purpose is to cause
pain and madness."
"Then why did you help them?"
Again a hideous laugh. "Because human beings
"Mankind does not deserve to live on such
a planet. These beings are billions of years ahead of man. They use black holes as cradles for their young. They jump from
galaxy to galaxy like a child playing hopscotch. They create supernovas for their entertainment."
Wes knew he was talking to a lunatic but
felt compelled to continue. "Why would they want Earth?"
I" do not know, nor care. Their will is
law. What desires they feel are to be fulfilled without question."
Wes had enough. He slammed the phone down
nearly breaking it apart. Aliens taking over the planet, talking to his long dead father on the phone, it was just too much.
He needed something to eat. But the fact that he had been talking to someone on the phone while it was unplugged bothered
The sandwich sat in his stomach like a rock
and there was nothing on T.V. He was about to turn the television set off when the screen suddenly went blank. Then a thin,
misty form appeared on the screen. He couldn't make out who or what it was but he knew the instant it spokeit was his father.
"Son, do not attempt to avoid me again."
Wes detected a definite tone of malevolence
in the voice. "This pantheon I spoke of earlier is intent on their plans. They used my death to consolidate their power and
make their calculations."
"Why would you help these things?" Wes screamed,
feeling somewhat foolish for talking with his television.
A long pause followed.
"Why!" Wes demanded.
"Because mankind is not worthy of life Mankind
steals, lies, destroys."
"Why tell me?" Wes interrupted.
"Becauseyou are my son."
The simple, straightforward reply caught
Wes off guard. He felt a small tear form in his eye but quickly wiped it away.
"What will happen?" His patience was running
The figure on the screen tilted its head
to one side and seemed to adjust itself. "They will come to engulf mankind, to harvest the planet to suit their needs. Mercy
will not exist. There will be no hesitancy in their dominance, both physically and mentally. Their thoughts are lawfactanswers."
"But how? How did this happen?" Wes felt
like a child in school asking the teacher questions.
"They took my life all those years ago to
use as a type of catalyst. You provided the remainder of the solution."
"Me! What the hell did I do?"
The voice sounded proud of itself. "Don't
you remember? When you lost your temper earlier. Your cursing."
"What! A few swear words did it?"
"I believe you used God's name in vain.
That, pronounced at precisely the moment you entered the world thirty years ago coupled with your blood spilling on the Earth
opened the proper portals for them."
Wes couldn't believe his ears. He would
be responsible for the end of mankind! His stomach was threatening to empty its contents.
"I'm sorry son, believe me I truly am but
I did what I had to do and I would do it again. I never told you in life," the vague shape continued, "but I lov ..."
The screen suddenly diverted to the game
show Wes had been watching before. He sat there wide-eyed and opened-mouthed staring at the screen. What was he supposed to
do now? He had just been told by his long dead father that he had opened a portal through which aliens were going to take
over the Earth. He could see the straight jacket and burly security guards in white uniforms now.
Walking to the sink, he filled a glass with
water and splashed it on his face instead of drinking it. As the cool, clear liquid ran down his cheeks he looked out into
his backyard. He thought how strange things seemed now. Having to clean the gutters and mow the lawn paled in comparison to
the prospect of an alien invasion. But he had to get a hold of himself. He had to think straight. Settling down on the couch
proved to be a wise decision, allowed him to clear his mind.
An hour passed with him thinking about what
he should do, or if he should do anything. Should he call his friends? Or the police? Or maybe the F.B.I.? Or should he just
buy a shotgun and grab some food and water and camp out in the garage. Any aliens come by letem have a few rounds. Welcome
He had decided on the last idea when it
happened. A scream. A woman's scream coming from his next door neighbor's house. Old Mrs. Houffs house. The glass of water
crashed to the floor. Part of him was too scared to move but he knew he had to investigate. With his legs dripping wet from
the water he slowly and cautiously made his way to the front door.
More screams filled his ears, not just from
Mrs. Houff next door but from other nearby homes as well. He stood in the middle of his front lawn, the same lawn that he had planned to cut after the repairs to his
truck. Mrs. Houff lay outstretched in her front doorway, she was obviously dead. Covering her, at least as far as he could
tell, was a glistening slime of a sickening color unlike anything Wes had seen beforeunlike anything on Earth. Wes blood turned
cold as the screams continued. It seemed like every house on the street was being attacked and its occupants slaughtered in
some horrible and savage way.
Panic swept in and paralyzed Wes where he
stood. His legs felt like water and his head ached like never before.
Finally, he forced himself to head back
to the house. Whether to arm himself or to simply hide he wasn't sure but standing on the front lawn didn't seem like the
best place to be.
After two steps Wes stopped suddenly. The
same grotesque substance that was on Mrs. Houff was oozing around the floor inside the front door. He stared at it in disbelief.
How could this be happening? He looked around frantically but eventually reached for the door handle. The screams were stopping,
obviously due to the people dying, and Wes grit his teeth as he opened the door. He took one step inside, looked around, and
then took another. But that was as far as he got before the gelatinous thing flowed rapidly throughout the remainder of the
house and engulfed him, snuffing out his screams.
Copyright Rick McQuiston2004
McQuiston has been writing now for several years and have
recently been starting to submit some of his work. He enjoys
anything that is horror related and his biggest influences are Stephen King, Charles L. Grant and F. Paul Wilson. He lives
in Warren, Michigan with his wife, daughter (who is also an aspiring author) and his son.
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