James Grey and The Song of Fear

James Grey and the Song of Fear is the tragic tale of a young boy coping with the loss of his family and the monster living inside of him. With each word the separation between boy and horror begins to fade, leaving you to wonder where the nightmare ends and the child begins.

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When James finally opened his eyes, he struggled to regain his senses. He felt as if he was on a carnival ride with everything around him moving independently of each other. As he scanned the dimly lit room in an effort to gain his bearing and ground himself once again, he saw a figure in shadow at the foot of his bed.

"Dad?" He said, feeling a sudden rush of relief.

"Uh...No," the blur spoke in an unfamiliar delicate voice, and just like that any relief that James had felt was gone.

At the foot of his bed wasn't his father, but a disheveled woman in a wrinkled navy-blue suit staring impatiently at her watch. In her other arm, she held a stack of manila folders packed full of papers close to her chest. As James made eye contact with her, she opened one of the folders and flipped through the pages quickly.

"James Smith?" She asked.

"What?" James wasn't sure if she was speaking to him, as she never took her eyes away from the folder in her arms.

She pursed her lips and raised her eyes toward James. "Your name, it's James Smith... How hard did you hit your head?" She asked once more in an irritated tone.

"No, Ma'am, I'm James Grey."

"Oh, right the new orphan," she slammed the folder shut and flipped through the stack of folders until she found the one she was looking for. "Right. James Grey. Here we are, my name is..."

"What do you mean orphan?" James interrupted, his heart beginning to fill with dread.

The woman looked increasingly frustrated as she pursed her lips yet again and glared at James.

Don't listen...

"As I was saying," she returned her eyes to the paperwork in her arms. "James Grey, my name is Charlotte, I am going to be your case worker from here on out. I have terrible..."

"What do you mean?" James interrupted again.

"Young man, I've got other children to visit, so if you wouldn't mind. I have terrible news for you..." Charlotte paused for a minute, reading through the folder. "There's no easy way to say this, your father died last night and..."

"What?!" James shouted. A cold chill shot down his spine as he tried to sit-up but firm hands held him in place, hands that belonged to a rather large man dressed in light blue scrubs, who had apparently been just out of James' sight the entire time.

"I know this is shocking for you, but you must remain calm..." the sound of Charlotte's voice began to distort and fade as James struggled to make out any of the words leaving her lips.

Ask me...

James' vision blurred, and his eyes filled with tears, but he could still see Charlotte trying to speak, ignoring his pain. With each second that passed James shrank further into himself, he could see out from his eyes but his body had it mind of its own. He screamed and flailed against the nurse's grip. Charlotte shook her head and looked down at her watch and frowned. Looking back up and past his struggling body, she nodded at the nurse, who began strapping James' hands down to his bed.

It's not too late...

The nurse injected a syringe of orange liquid into a long tube that snaked down and into the top of James' hand. Exhaustion clawed at his senses, dragging him into sleeps warm embrace. The world once again churned around him. His eyes closed more finally than they ever had in his life, the last thing he knew before the darkness closed in was Charlotte saying;

"Tell Doctor Monroe to email me the documents he needs to be signed, I was due at County an hour ago."

"Come on, buddy. Let's go check out." A familiar voice said.

James opened his eyes and stared up at his dad, who was happily leading him through a large crowd of people.

"Dad? Where are we?" He asked, feeling as if though something important was escaping him.

"You said we needed these books for school, remember?" John said, leading him to a counter manned by a teenage girl with long black hair, pale skin, and a silver name tag that read Eagla.

"Will this be all for you?" She asked as her bright orange eyes darted down towards James.

"I think so. is this everything, James?" John asked, with a hint of discomfort in his voice. James knew that his father hated breaking routine, especially when it involved being around other people.

James thought for a moment and couldn't recall the books he was supposed to have. Their titles escaped him, but something else took their place. The words surged inside of him, words that he couldn't contain and poured from his lips like water through a sieve.

"Mom left because of you."

Shock and pain spread across John's face. James watched as his dad clutched his chest and fell to his knees, their eyes met and panic filled James' heart as he watched his father's eyes dilate and his body crumple to the floor. An explosion of light erupted from his father's body and James raised his hands to shield his eyes.

"What's the matter, buddy?" John asked as the headlights of a vehicle passed theirs in the night.

James put down his hands and stared at his father from the passenger seat of their old dodge, the panic, and pain still fresh in his heart. "I... thought... never mind."

"Are you sure? You can tell me anything you know." John said.

James felt it again, an uncontrollable urge to speak. His heart raced and he fought to silence himself, but the words came to quickly.

"Mom left because of you."

John turned his bright orange eyes toward James, pain, and sorrow was painted all over his face. The car swerved slightly, and James turned his attention back to the road, just in time to see the headlights of a truck slam into the front of their car. James clenched his eyes shut as the impact rocketed him forward and the sound of twisted metal filled his ears.

"Don't be afraid, buddy," John said placing a hand on James' shoulder.

James opened his eyes and stared down at the sparkling water far beneath the wooden bridge where he and his father sat, dangling their legs over the railings. The orange eyes of his reflection stared back up at him, daring him to take the plunge into the shallow waters.

"I would never let you fall." John smiled.

Goosebumps broke out all over James' skin as he felt those familiar words build inside of him. He bit down hard on his bottom lip in a vain attempt to block the words, his eyes filled with tears as they escaped once more.

"Mom left because of you."

John paused for a moment and stared out at the lush landscape. "Dad, I didn't..." but before he could finish his words, James watched in horror as his dad gently scooted off the edge of the bridge and plummeted to the shallow depths below.

"NO!" James screamed, closing his eyes just before his father hit the water.

"What's the matter, James?" John asked.

Opening his eyes yet again, James stared at his father sitting across the table from him. John had a worried look on his face, as James scanned the kitchen. Pale yellow walls, hickory cabinets, onyx countertops. Everything was exactly where it should be. The sun shined through the window just above the kitchen sink to his right, giving the room the perfect amount of light. James even began to weep tears of joy as he stared down at the omelet that he had eaten every morning for as long as he could remember.

"You're scaring me bud. What's going on?" John said, holding his mug of black coffee.

"I thought you were gone," James sobbed.

"I wouldn't leave you, son," John said softly.

James wiped away his tears and couldn't wait to tell his dad how sorry he was, how much he loved him and that he would always listen to him from now on. But the words that left his lips, filled his heart with terror.

"Mom left because of you." James reached both hands up and covered his mouth, but the damage had already been done. Tears streamed down his face as he watched his father's smile fade away. The sunlight that once brightened the room vanished plunging them into darkness.

"Dad?" James called out into the dark.

A spark erupted in the shadows igniting the kitchen table in flames. James backed his chair away from the table to escape the intense heat. His eyes shot back towards John, who remained firmly seated in front of the flaming table. His somber face illuminated by the fires glow. As the table fell apart, the flames spread everywhere, turning the once perfectly maintained kitchen into a raging inferno.

"Dad! Help me!" James cried, staring down at the ocean of fire at his feet.

"I can't anymore." John finally said. The walls snapped and groaned under the intense heat.

"Dad! Please!"

He can't help you anymore.

James' eyes shot up in terror at the sound of her voice echoing in his head and just before the roof caved in. He saw her; a slender girl covered in black ash, looming behind his father's chair, seeing every bit of him. Then, once again, while the world swirled away, the last thing he saw before the darkness overtook him were bright orange eyes.

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