Tag Archives: 3.5 floppy

Another Page from the Forsaken Disks

5 Nov

            Somewhere in the forgotten folds of my brain, this story has been tickling me for years. About 15 years ago, a dear friend was trying to put out a horror (or macabre) themed magazine. I was very happy about that – not the least because I wanted her to publish my stuff. I was still trying out my writing muscles, and struggling to put together a cohesive tale. Everything was hit-or-miss, and shot straight from the hip.

            I sent this to her, she told me it was grotesque and made her happy. But I don’t think it ever saw any more attention than that. It was saved in some kind of no-longer-supported file format, and the computer was probably recycled or blown up not long after. However, I was smart enough to make backups on the best storage media that was available to me at the time: 3.5 floppy disks. Oh hell yeah.

            This story – and many more like it – were lost, gone, for all time. I can barely believe myself how lucky I am. Just having all this stuff again is like opening a time capsule. I’m going to rewrite this at some point – it seems like it deserves more love and attention than it got. But hey, that’s enough jibba jabba. Here. Here is the thing. I edited it only for spelling and punctuation, but oh man does it need some work. I hope you dig it!


<> <> <>

That is some creepy formatting, right there...

That is some creepy formatting, right there…


Dear *****,

I have no idea why I felt compelled to write this insane piece of weirdness. It just came to me in the night like a virus or an obsessed ex-lover with a foot-fetish. I dunno.

Anyway, since it might fit the parameters of a horror story or maybe a macabre story, I thought I’d give it to you to look at. I think it’s very rough (it is a rough draft) but could be very good. If you like it and want to use it, or part of it, for R******* please do so. Feel free to edit it to your pleasure. If you’d rather just give me feedback or editorial advice, and have me work on it, that’d be cool too. What-ever.




It was raining. It seemed like it had been raining forever. Especially while I was waiting for the bus to school. I was the last pick-up stop for the bus, and I had to wait by myself. I used to talk to Rick when he was around, but he moved all of a sudden last year. So I got to stand, by myself, in the rain, every single day.

It wasn’t the rain I hated so much, or the fact that I was alone. If you’ve never had to do it, being the last person on the bus sucks. You never get a good seat. I either ended up sitting by Martin (who spits when he talks), or I got the emergency exit seat – which is so small it hurts your legs. Given the choice, I’d rather walk the ten miles to school, which isn’t much of an option.

The bus finally came, sputtering around the bend. The evil creak of its windshield wipers was louder than it’s diesel engine or the shade of yellow our school district chose. Water splashed up from the gutter as it grunted to a stop in front of me. The doors flapped open and I climbed up the steps. Our bus driver, Burt, glared at me over his huge nose – I tried not to look at him too much – and his big, wrinkled face cracked a smile.

Burt the bus driver was not normal. He seemed to take perverse pleasure in not being attractive. He’d only been our driver for about a year, but he’d already worn out my patience. Every morning, he leered at me and said the same thing.

“Mornin’…Paul.” His fat tongue rolled over his yellow, pointed teeth. “Good to see you.”

“Yeah…mornin’.” I muttered, as I avoided his gaze. I moved my way down the aisle.

As usual, I made my way to the emergency exit seat, and sat alone. Legs cramped, I shook the rain off my coat and looked around. The bus was packed, but everyone looked tired and worn out. So it was pretty quiet as Burt ground the bus’ gears and pulled away down the road. As we left Meadow Village (our housing development), I couldn’t help notice something different in Burt’s behavior. Every few minutes, he’d look up at his big rear-view mirror, and stare at me for a second or two. Then he’d snap his eyes back to the road and cough and wheeze for a bit. Then he’d look at me again. Burt kept this strange process up the entire trip.

When we pulled into the Lakeview High parking lot, the rain had let up a little. We all got up and began to file off the bus. As I passed by Burt, he started to cough and wheeze again. I looked at him (not pleasant under normal conditions), and quickly backed off the bus.

He’s not coughing, The thought hit me, he’s laughing. What kind of freak is he?

The bus doors slapped closed as the last kid stepped off. I pushed the thoughts from my head and started for my locker, but the sound of his laughter kept coming back to me. I shook my head and dismissed it.

I was a fool.

*          *          *

There was one thing on my mind when the school was out, and we got on the bus: Trisha Bower. She was so fine. And she liked me! The thought kept running through my head. We have a date! We’re practically going out! Here I was, a sixteen year-old sophomore, and I had a date with Trisha Bower! Every male with a pulse had a stiffy for her, and she wants to go out with me. I was so wrapped in it, I didn’t say two words on the ride home. I also didn’t pay any attention to Burt.

As the bus wound its way through Meadow Village, kids got off at their stops. But my mind was absorbed in Trisha; her body, hair, voice and smell. It wasn’t until the bus was leaving Meadow Village that I realized I’d missed my stop.

“Hey,” I shifted towards the aisle, “Burt! I needed to get off back there.” His head whipped up, and he looked at me in the mirror.

Burt threw his head back and laughed; an evil, lung-wrenching cackle that echoed through the empty bus. My heart leaped up to my throat, and I got seriously worried.

“Burt,” I said, laughing nervously, “have you, like, totally lost it or something?” Burt’s cackling subsided, but he just kept driving. “Hey… um… Burt? This ain’t funny, okay?”

For a minute he just drove in silence. When he looked up in the mirror again, his face – his eyes – looked grimly insane.

“Don’t you worry, Pauly!” he bellowed gruffly, “I’m gonna get you where you needs to go!” And at that, he let loose another cackle that rolled on as the bus plowed through the rain.

I kinda freaked at this point, but not ‘cause he called me ‘Pauly’. I hoisted my backpack and marched to the front doors. I put a hand on the rail and said, “Look, Burt, you can just let me off here. I’ll walk home.”

Too my surprise, he pulled the wheel to the right, and brought the bus to a quick stop on the shoulder of the road. The windshield wipers creaked their last, and Burt ground the e-brake into place. I thought he was going to open the doors, I couldn’t even fathom that he wouldn’t. But he just sat there for a second, with his huge, meaty hands on the steering wheel and his face studying the windshield becoming covered with rain. And then he spoke, his grumbling, ugly voice low.

“It’s your turn, Pauly.” He didn’t move, but he somehow got bigger. “I don’t wanna do it Pauly. But it’s your turn.”

“Wh-What are you talkin’ about?” I backed down the aisle. “Just… just open the door Burt.” Burt stood up and turned towards me, with his head down and shoulders hunched.

“It’s not like I gotta choice here,” he snapped, “You don’t get it. It’s outta my control.” He was looking at me like I was a piece of bacon at breakfast. His face contorted into a snarling mask of repulsiveness.

I had backed all the way to the middle of the bus, and the thought struck me. Yes, Burt has finally gone bye-bye. He raised up his huge hands as he started to plod towards me.

“Relax,” he growled, “it won’t hurt as much if you don’t fight it.”

Okay, that’s it for me! I thought, as I spun and grabbed at the emergency exit door handle. With both hands, I twisted it down until it clicked, and threw my shoulder against it. AND NOTHING HAPPENED! I slammed it again – and it refused to open! I heard Burt laughing, his raspy, wheezing laugh.

“Pauly,” he chortled, “You sit there every day. You think I wouldn’t lock it?” His laughter stopped, but his cracked smile remained – twisting his big face even further. “It’s time.”

He lunged towards me, and I tried to jump clear, but his fat arms latched around my shoulders and he slammed me into the seat. He twisted me around, my arms pinned to my sides, and brought his face close to mine. The sweaty folds of flesh on his pock-marked face seemed inhuman. His eyes glittered with evil, and his tongue snaked out of his mouth to wet his milky, cracked lips. The smell was indescribable.

This can’t be happening! My mind screamed, I’ve got a date with Trish! I can’t die now! I can’t!

“Burt! Burt,” I stammered, “you don’t want to kill me! You can’t do-”

“Kill you?” he leered, his head tilted, “Why would I wanna kill you? After all, you kept me company at the bus stop every day. Every day since junior high, just you ‘n me waitin’ for the bus.”

My mind scrambled. I sat there at looked at him, and he looked back with that insane smile on his face. Somewhere, deep beneath that grisled, hideous face, I saw the impossible. Ricky. “No! No!” I squirmed in his vice-like grip, “That’s not possible!”

He just held on and said, “It’s your turn Pauly.” He inhaled, a deep slow breath so big I thought he’d pop. My eyes froze. I was paralyzed with terror. And then he…breathed on me.

Waves of odor attacked my senses: pickles and mayonnaise, tuna fish, cigarettes, moldy milk and stale beer, spoiled meat, athlete’s foot, cheese, breath mints and maybe a hint of curry – too many smells, too much sensation for my mind. I screamed, I think, though I know I flailed. Ricky had let go of me, and I spasmed on the seat. The olfactory madness was everything. The smells covered me, sank into my skin, poured into my lungs. I felt myself convulse, but couldn’t vomit – that smell had added to the overall effect too, along with sweat and methane, urine and pork.

Suddenly, I felt my body swell. It started in my feet first, but my head was the worst. My cheeks puffed and expanded, my forehead bulged and lumped at unnatural angles. I clawed at my mouth, with my mitten-like, hairy fingers. My lips curled and cracks formed, with drool and spittle filling them. Inside my mouth, my tongue probed at teeth that crumbled and at new molars that twisted and warped my jaw. Joints popped, my stomach inflated and sagged, my nose bulged and pits formed on my face.

It ended quickly. Shuddering, I sat up. Ricky stood over me. He bent down and hefted me to my feet. I wobbled, mostly upright, with a severe hunch in my left shoulder. My senses had been altered along with my body. The smell of the bus wafted to my disfigured nostrils. And I liked it.

“R-R-Ricky?” my new, scratchy voice intoned. “What…happened?” I glanced at him through my squinty, swollen eyelids. It occurred to me that his blue and brown flannel went well with his green slacks.

“My name’s Burt now,” he rumbled. “You gotta pick a name for yourself too.” After a moment he added, “Well?”

“Uh…I…I dunno, Burt,” My mind began to slow down. “How ‘bout Ernie?”

“Hmmm…I like it.” He turned and sauntered towards the front of the bus. “Well, let’s go Ernie.” I felt like my brain was mush, but I forced myself to want to know.

“Burt. Burt, you gotta tell me what happened,” I pleaded. “What’s goin’ on? What the hell am I?” Burt turned, and put a fleshy hand on my shoulder.

“You’re a creature of darkness now,” I could feel my will slipping away. “Part of a brotherhood, a secret the world will never know.” He paused for effect, but it was wasted – I was losing my ability to reason.

“You are a Bus Driver.” Burt declared, and I knew. I knew it was true.

Moments later, as I eased the bus back onto the road, headed for my initiation, I felt as if a hunger had been satiated. Burt’s words resounded in my mind, “It’s your turn, it’s your turn.”

Yes. My turn to take the wheel.



A Treasure Trove of Madness

3 Nov
One point four megs of awesome

One point four megs of awesome

I was cleaning out some junk and odds and ends today, when I came across a stack of old CDs and 3.5 floppy disks. For the most part, these were easy to throw away – you know, stuff like AOL mailers, or drivers for printers that we don’t even own. But some of those 3.5 floppies had very compelling labels on them. Important dates, from 15 years ago on them, or words like ‘Journal’ and ‘S3kr1t Th1ng5!’ Damn. I couldn’t just toss those away. As any writer knows, this kind of stuff could be GOLD, baby.

Fortunately, the PC tower in my living room is old enough to have a 3.5 reader. I plopped myself down with a stack of these square diskettes and got to work. First disk was damaged. Second disk was not formatted. Third disk made a hideous scratching sound. But the next disk had weird, weird stuff on it. It was formatted all wrong, and even with notepad it wouldn’t read correctly. But there were words there. And what I read was from so long ago that it was almost unfamiliar. It was a success! I felt as though I had reached into the past and saved some of my oldest writing from the clutches of complete obsolescence. Damn, I feel lucky.

I am still working through the files. So many pictures, so many words. I am at turns horrified and fascinated. And because I care about you, I will share. At least, I’ll share some of it. Here. Without edit, is an untitled piece of mine from 1999 (at least, I think – it could be 1997!). Enjoy!

<> <> <>

With salamander-like movements, Jack worked his way up the narrow, cobbled street. Even at midnight, the city baked with a stifling heat – transforming shadows to mirages. Pools of humid darkness poured into the gutters ahead of Jack. People milled about, even in this ungodly hour. Jack pulled his trench-coat tighter and tried to avoid the small clusters of people.

Inside his coat, where his right arm should have been, something moved – a squishy, reptilian movement.

“Oh god, oh god”, Jack breathed.

His left arm grabbed his right, as he stopped and stood up straight, eyes closed. “This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening,” ran through his mind like a mantra. The squishy motions stopped abruptly. He opened his eyes.

“Hey man, whatchoo got?” Jack glanced to his left.

A kid – fifteen, sixteen – was swaggering towards him; baseball cap on backwards, cigarette stuck in his teeth and a look of bored violence of his face. Jack tipped his head away, his fedora hiding his face, and coughed.

“Whatchoo got? Inda coat, man?” the teen gestured with his smoke.

“Um.. look, son. I – I…” Jack stammered, his mind racing.

“Too damn hot for coat like dat.” The teen leered at him. “Maybe I take it off your hands, man.”

Jack stepped back then spasmed. “Look, it’s not safe”, he snapped, “get away.”

But he sensed it was too late. The thing where his arm should have been wiggled in gelatinous sort of way. He could feel cool rivulets of ooze seep down his leg. “G-g-get away!”

The youth looked at him confused, his mouth open as if to speak, then his eyes widened with horror.

<> <> <>

And that’s IT. There isn’t any more. What was with the tentacle under his coat, man? What did that youth see that made his eyes go wide with horror? Was it a giant tentacle arm? I don’t even know. I do remember a picture that a good friend drew about that time. It was of a man in a trench coat, limping along a sidewalk, trying to conceal the mass of worms that were where his arm should be. It was a good piece and it inspired this, obviously.

Back when I wrote this, I was just toying with writing. Most of my creative energy was wasted, but I remember struggling to find my voice, or a way to tell my stories. Reading this now, there are a couple of choice bits in there that make me happy. “… a look of bored violence on his face.” “… cold rivulets of ooze…” I was just playing with words, checking out how they fit together.

I’m very glad I found this stuff. I’ll post more, if it doesn’t embarrass me to death.