Lex Exuro

Stephen W. Griffin By Stephen W. Griffin, 23rd Feb 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

This was sort of written on a dare. A person suggested that I write a horror story where the main antagonist was a bug eyed avatar, after I made a complaint about the overly large eyes on all of the images he used in his signatures. For it's humble origins, I am actually pretty proud of where I took it conceptually.

Lex Exuro

At 11:00 PM on a Saturday night, someone at the age of twenty one should have something to do. Party, go to clubs, or just work, anything typically considered “right” for a man at that age.
Yet here was Dylan, alone and in nothing but his same boxers he’d been wearing for two days. Because hey, who’s checking? It wasn’t some rare thing either. This was Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday too. Get home, eat something cheap and easy to make, watch crappy and unoriginal TV, consume enough caffeinated soda for a bus load of children, and then escape.
By escape, this does not mean he would in some way find an amazing and brilliant form of climbing out of his flat on a rope made of bath towels, nor that he was prisoner of anything other than his own inability to adapt. Dylan had never felt comfortable in the world, not able to handle the pressure of work, the observation of his peers, or the mind destroying realm that is interpersonal relations. He’d never admit it, but at times he wished he could go back to being a kid, no worries of his own, with his parents to take care of all of the unpleasant and strange things in the world.
So when it is said he escapes, the true meaning of this is to say that Dylan takes his life and thoughts into a place outside of the responsibilities and faces and voices and eyes around us all in our day to day existence, and onto a field where his difficulties mean nothing, and the words and thoughts of his mind can shine through. The web.
There is no real connection to anyone across the virtual spans, as any man woman or child of this new era can attest, and while for many this is unsatisfying, for someone as fearful and challenged by these kinds of connections to their fellow man as Dylan it is perfection. Unrestricted by his own failings, Dylan could speak his part, take his own stances, and interact with the kind of force and will that would never be seen if confronting him face to face.
This is in no way compensation for what he misses, but in a way it soothes the soul. The gap in his life may not be filled, but it is at least hidden under a tarp.
On this night in particular Dylan did his usual round across a number of sites. He sat down in his swivel chair with a harsh creak from the joints of the legs on his chair, setting upon the task in front of him. It could also be said that the internet, with all of its vast bounds of information, ideas, and content, is large enough to never really run out of things to do. As Dylan sat down and read through a fledgling webcomic in its entirety, he would have appreciated this fact, as he spent a good hour simply going through the material. After finishing he stood up and walked over to the fridge, and grabbed another soda. Not that there was actually anything to stay awake for, but by god if anything earlier than three in the morning is an acceptable bed time, Dylan would deny it.
Arriving back at his desk, Dylan set to checking a few forums. Most of them had nothing overly exciting, although one debate on a political site was turning interesting, as it had turned to a discussion on the sexual activity of one another’s parents, rather than health reform. Intellectual exchange of ideas across the web at its finest. Finally he reached a smaller forum, this one a computer website’s boards. Dylan wasn’t what anyone would call an expert, but he certainly used computers enough to know a lot of the basics, and have interest in the discussion taking place.
Browsing through the posts he saw one that looked cringe worthy. It was in all caps, reading “NEW, NEED HELP”. While a more responsible person might sigh, and move on, or possibly try to help whatever simpleton just found a keyboard, Dylan was here to interact in the ways he could not in real life. So picking on the weak was just one of those things he’d delve into. The human soul can be such a cruel thing. And these cruel parts need feeding just like the rest. The first post of the topic read like this:
Lex Exuro
Hello, I’m an old woman, new to this internet thing. Decided to finally jump on board. But I’m a little concerned. Who is in charge of it? I’ve been trying to find out, but I can’t see it anywhere. I can’t even find where it is located. I know my computer is connecting to it, but where do the wires exactly go? Sorry if all of this should be common knowledge.
Also, is there any way I might be able to have a picture up on here. I see a number of you have these very interesting banners under your name, and pictures under your name, I would love to have one of those myself. How do I put the pictures there?

Dylan snorted. He’d heard of clueless old folks, but this was a bit much. Part of him wondered if it were a troll. Some of this just seemed… you’d have had to have lived in a cave for the past thirty years to be this oblivious. He set to a reply. His would be the first one so far. All the better.
D-man42
Wow, is this Betty from the Flinstones? Tell you what, the internet is run by a crew of midgets who dwell within it, working and living inside its shiny metal walls. The machine itself is located on the North pole, to keep it cool and equally close to everything on the Northern Hemisphere, where most of the industrialized nations are. Hell, aren’t women your age supposed to be terrified of leaving the kitchen or something? Who let you out of the old folks home?

Feeling good about himself, Dylen carried on to other sites, and set to watching videos for a while. After a time he decided to go see if anyone had responded to his posts and comments on boards he’d visited. When he came to the old woman he’d flamed’s topic, he found that others had posted, and the old woman had replied. She had also figured out how to add a signature.
Unfortunate too, it was an ugly thing. It looked like some sort of little girl in dark red robes… but her arms seemed too long, although her hands weren’t visible, so it might just be the robe. Yet there was some obvious photoshop work, realistic looking enough to appear to be the work of a master. With issues. Her head seemed an odd shape, with the mouth seeming too wide, and her forehead being expanded at the top. But this wasn’t the part that was unnerving. Its eyes, the… thing’s eyes were enormous, and yet somehow they looked real. They were as detailed and precise as they might be if they were an actual picture, and they left Dylan with an impression of being watched. It was as if they were staring at Dylan’s own eyes. As it was he couldn’t help but stare back. Trying to reason out what this thing was supposed to be, Dylan sat mesmerized by the ghastly image before him.
He felt cold, and somehow the dark of his room was becoming less safe feeling, and yet Dylan could not look away. Something primal and instinctive in him said to run, and he couldn’t be sure why. A smell of rot filled his nose, and in spite of the four plaster walls around him, and the sounds of traffic from the street below he was certain he was in the woods. All from these eyes. The longer he looked at them the worse it got. As he stared at the inhuman face before him he could have sworn its expression was changing from one of inquisitiveness to one of cruel amusement.
And then it opened its lips and smiled a fanged grin.
This snapped Dylan out of his trance in an instant, as he leapt back in his chair, toppling it to the floor in a painful clatter, his headset tugging at his ears as it was ripped from his head by its tether. Without looking at his screen Dylan reached up and exited his browser. Nervously he peeked up, half expecting the face to still be there. Nothing but his desktop was on the screen. As his heart beat returned to normal and he began to compose himself, Dylan started rationalizing what he’d seen. A .gif? Or perhaps staring at a creepy picture for however long he had gets to your brain. It was two in the morning, everyone gets a little loopy after that long awake.
Resolute that he’d been up for long enough as is, and that sleep was the cure to whatever hallucinations he may be having, Dylan readied himself for bed and set in to trying to sleep. He set his alarm for nine in the morning for work.
As he lay in bed Dylan struggled to sleep. It was a small room, but somehow it felt as if it was huge, a tomb filled with hate and darkness custom made to consume him alive. He tossed and turned, unable to escape the feeling that he was in danger. On edge and frustrated, Dylan pulled the covers over his head. This was awful, and he knew it would only get worse when he had to get ready for work. Sunday was going to suck. Then he heard something. Or maybe not, but it sounded as if there had been a noise. Carefully, Dylan crawled forth from his covers and looked around the room. Again he heard it. It was coming from the corner of the room, by the door, but there was nothing he could see, not in this light. After much debate, Dylan swung his legs out of bed and slowly, ever so slowly began to walk to the switch. As he got about half way there, and mind you that his room is quite small, if cluttered, a horrid shriek rang out behind him, repeating itself and wailing out to the night. Dylan screamed and fell forward, smashing his face against the frame of the full body mirror on his wall and scraping himself as he fell. The sound continued for this whole time, not lessening or strengthening, nor moving what so ever. As Dylan righted himself, he looked to see his alarm clock, blaring away at him. The sound it emitted had always been awful… but it had never struck him till now how angry it really sounded. This may seem odd to consider, as an alarm can’t really be mad, but on a night like this…
Shutting it off, Dylan returned to bed, shaken and unnerved. After that, his heart didn't seem able to slow itself down even a tiny jot. As the adrenaline wore down, however, Dylan was able to at last go to sleep.
It was not an easy rest, however. The whole night Dylan was plagued with dreams, or rather nightmares. They seemed so strange, and yet so real. At no point was he in them himself, but rather he was a witness for all of them, and even though he was not present, he still felt that he was in danger for being there. Threat and evil lurked here, and permeated all of this shady dreamscape. And they all seemed connected.
When he awoke Dylan would only remember vague snippets, but the feeling he had while experiencing them would last, as would the knowledge that they told a story. What they told he did not know.
At one moment he was in a grassy savannah. Below him was a small cluster of little things. Almost like monkeys, they were clearly humanoid as they huddled around something. A closer look exposed a whole pack of seven horrid things, each looking like the monster from the old woman’s signature, some male, some female. Torn and broken beneath them was the corpse of a large man, or what looked like it might once have been a man. At this Dylan’s memory cuts off, and he was transported to a new scene. Primitive huts make a little village, and a group of men stands clustered around a set of stakes in the center of town. Six tiny, almost human figures lie skewered in the air by the stakes. The mob is cheering and singing, and a large man is standing on a rock yelling to the crowd. Just before Dylan’s mind moved on to the next dream, he caught a sight that left him chilled to the bone. One of the creatures that had been impaled… moved.
After this was a vague collage of images, all showing men killing one another in villages and huts. They varied little, except for the locale. Eventually one became more solid. A town in what looked like a forest somewhere in Europe lay in ruins, half of it set to flame. Bodies lay strewn across the ground, and in one case, nailed to a wall. There was no order to it, and as the dream began the only two living people in sight seemed hardly human at all. A man and a woman, their clothes gone and their bodies filthy, snarled and fought over a piece of bread. The woman shrieked and darted her head forward, biting into the man’s neck, where he let out a scream and started trying to pull her head away, yet she persisted, and came away in a spray of blood. As the man’s legs stopped kicking she let out a laugh. Or it might be interpreted as a laugh, but the only sound to be compared to this would be the cackle of a hyena. As she chuckled and began to eat the much coveted bread, Dylan saw it, the thing from before, the seventh of the creatures. It walked up to the woman, and patted her on the head, making a cooing noise. The woman looked up with a look of such joy and happiness, and yet it didn’t seem right. It was an unconditional pleasure. She just knew she looked up upon something which she could shower with love. It was a look one might expect from a dog. The thing reached down and grabbed her chin, and then set its other hand upon the back of the woman’s head. With a solid wrench it broke her neck. As it squatted over the corpse and readied to feed, it was interrupted as the sound of hooves came from down a trail leading into the woods.
A group of three men on horseback cantered into the village, looking around with fear. Or at least two of them were. The man in the center seemed at ease, happy even. They wore bright red uniforms, with shiny metal armor, and a plumed helm on the man in the center. Clearly this was an officer and his guards, from the looks of them Roman. They approached the creature where it stood over its kill, and the two guards began shying away, and the officer had to force his horse to close the gap. In a language that sounded like it may be Latin he spoke to the thing. Dylan knew not what was said, or if it was really words, but he knew from the man’s voice that he felt calm. He knew what had happened here, and his tone carried nothing but business. Reaching into his saddlebags he pulled out a pouch and tossed it to the creature. Suddenly with a lurch Dylan found himself watching what looked like a large Roman town, a settlement beneath a mountain range and likely not far from where the prior dream had taken place. A large building in the center of town burned, and a number of mobs can be seen tearing the town apart, along with a number of panicked citizens. A group of soldiers is seen pressing against them, and carving through the mass of insane townsfolk. Suddenly a number of disheveled soldiers break into the melee, led by a haggard looking man, who upon closer inspection appeared to be the officer from before.
As the brawl seemed to draw to a close, with the orderly soldiers finally overwhelming their less organized opponents, a noise came up from within the mob. In an instant the creature from before was amongst the men, killing left and right. Its long fingered hands darted forth at lightning speed, lifting entire soldiers and throwing them, snapping limbs and crushing skulls. The fight seemed to turn, when an arrow took the creature in the eye. It let out a deafening cry and as it did, the insane citizens one and all seemed to collapse. In this moment the remaining regular troops were able to reform, and put down a number of their foes then and there, as the creature ran off and into the woods, howling.
For the rest of the night Dylan’s dreams contained nothing but darkness, caves, woodland nights, and even what seemed like the hull of a ship. The whole while it felt as if something were caressing his mind, and it left Dylan feeling ill. Without warning, the caress turned into a vice-like grip, snapping Dylan awake.
Next to him his alarm clock sat silent, although it did read as 10:24. What the hell? he thought. Now he’d be late for work, and in times like these you didn’t give anyone an excuse to fire you. It wasn’t exactly like anyone would miss him either. Rushing to put clothes on Dylan ran out the door without even a shower or breakfast, chewing down on a handful of breath mints and applying a body spray in the hopes it would suffice.
Climbing into his car Dylan tried to get himself to grips. For one, he needed a new alarm clock. The sadistic piece of shit he had now might just cost him his job, on top of the crap it put him through the night before. And once he did have a replacement, the old alarm was getting introduced to Mr. Hammer. And by Mr. Hammer, he didn’t mean a failed musician with really poofy pants.
Sitting at a red light, Dylan thought of all the ways he could kill his alarm clock. Oven, bricks, gun, explosives, microwave, cliff, the list went on and on. And why is the fucking light not fucking changing, there isn’t even anyone here but me, Dylan thought to himself, and then he swore and ran it. He didn’t care. It was a stupid system anyway. Why should he have to sit there when the way was clear?
He didn’t notice the flicker of movement in his rear view mirror.
Pulling into the parking lot of his office complex, Dylan was fuming by this point. Everything in the world was some sort of restriction. He didn’t want to be here. He wanted to be free of all of these obligations, responsibilities, and pressures. He just wanted to relax, and talk about meaningless nothings on the internet. And now he had to go in there, listen to his anal retentive prick of a boss go on about how he didn’t arrive at ten thirty like everyone else, then spend the remaining hours of the day in a uniform cubicle cage while keeping track of pointless numbers that have no meaning beyond the significance we all put into them, and recording how much time he spent in the fucking bathroom… “fuck this place.”
Dylan walked up to the door and swiped his card. After the irritatingly happy sounding beep, the door unlocked and Dylan entered. Uncertain what to do, Dylan at first considered trying to sneak to his desk and starting to work like nothing happened. Normally, that is how he’d react. But why hide from the eyes around you, when you can ignore them. And besides, there was the pencil prick now.
James Pulmouth, smarmy shit that he had always been, walked up with a smile and in that irritatingly vague voice spoke the obvious, “You’re late Dylan, what’s up?”
Like you care. Stop pretending this shit, no one cares. “I am late, good job catching that. I see why you get paid three times my salary now.” The sarcasm in Dylan’s voice was violent and blatant. Holy flying popemobiles, did I actually just say that… fuck fuck FUCK! “Er… I mean, yeah, sorry, I had a problem with my alarm and I-“
“Excuse me? Do we have a personal problem Mr. Phillips? Why don’t we come into my office if you need to talk that badly,” Pulmouth’s voice was at least a bit more honest now. He was pissed.
“Too scared to fire me here?” Shut up, shut up, shut up!
“Is that a dare?”
“Are you really enough of a bitch to only do it if you think it’s a dare?” Holy fuck man, you need your job, stop! Job equals money, money equals food and shelter, food and shelter equal living, stop now! We like living!
Pulmouth seemed taken aback, but he mustered himself and pointed to the door, “You can leave on your own, or I’ll have the cops come for you. Don’t come back. We’ll mail you your last paycheck and anything you left in the office. And I wouldn’t reference us when you look for a new job.”
Crap… I fucking told you. Dylan just stood, not sure how to respond. His heart was racing, and he felt, no, knew, that he had to do something dramatic. It was too late to salvage his job, but at least he could vent a little before he went. Not with words but…
Who knew public urination would feel so good.

Lex Exuro



It had taken a while for Dylan to get home. He hadn’t gone there straight away, instead driving in circles through town, trying to figure out what he was going to do, where he’d go from here. A new job?
For some reason that didn’t feel right. Nothing felt right. I could pee on someone’s carpet again, but that doesn’t really answer the long term question. No, Dylan had to come up with something permanent, a new life. But he could do that later, for now, he just wanted to go on the web. After a whole day that has been this bad, what else is there to do?
This time his communications were more belligerent. He insulted any video he could comment on, made offensive comments wherever he could… even posted porn on a religious board. Normally this kind of things annoyed Dylan, but now, it seemed amazing. What more is there to life than a cheap thrill? And what is cheaper than two seconds of typing on the web in order to get god only knows how many pissed? It’s like the public urination, only legal. Dylan carried on like this for hours, all the while he had begun to grin, and even laugh.
This was not the same man seen the night before. Before he clung to the web for its freedom to express and share and live in ways he did not know how to do in real life. But on this night, he clung to the web for its freedom to destroy. It struck him as odd. He’d known there were people who did this sort of thing before, but he had always met them with disapproval. Found them to be something sad, broken even. But in no way did he feel broken. He felt more alive than ever, and less restrained than he thought possible.
Until he came to the forum where he’d first seen the creature, Lex Exuro’s signature. For some reason he could not understand, Dylan had to pause. He didn’t want to go on, and a part of his gut screamed at him to stop. It was in this moment he even felt guilt over his earlier spree. All of that innocent, pleasant discussion he’d ruined, even if for only a short while. That wasn’t him. But this was only a moment, and with an angry snarl Dylan set in to return to the topic. No ugly ass picture that an old lady found out of nowhere was going to determine where he didn’t go. Dylan set to reading the posts in the thread. Most of them were either calling him out for being a prick, or helping the woman.
But the woman had posted again.
Lex Exuro
Thank you gentlemen who helped me, I’m glad to see some of you younger generations came away with a few manners. And this free form of the internet, with no one in charge, it sounds so wonderful.
As for you “D-man”, you’ve no place mocking me child. When you and your parents before you were too stupid to stack rocks, I was making something of myself. Don’t talk down to me.

Dylan read the short message and tried not to look at the giant, staring eyes of the creature at the bottom of her post. He already knew what he’d say. He’d call the old woman a whore, working the streets since streets were invented, and the folks defending her were about to be informed that they all just “wanted to get in her desiccated pants.”
Dylan began typing in earnest, when he paused in his efforts. It was too much. He had to look to be sure, to see how well the signature matched his dreams… and to see if there were teeth. Scrolling up he looked once more at it, this time ready if it moved. There were no teeth… but it was smiling. Had it been smiling before? This is fucking stupid, I’m done worrying about this shi-
His speakers crackled and spoke, in a high pitched yet somewhat raspy voice, “Now why would you say that Dylan? What have I ever done to you?”
“CRAFUCK!” This time Dylan didn’t fall over, but he did jump. He also almost peed again. “Who’s fucking there? What is this shit? Who’s there?!” Dylan’s mind was on the edge of panic. The signature was frozen mid laugh now, it’s mouth open, fangs visible.
“Who, me? Why I’m not something to be afraid of Dylan. I bet you and I could get along if you gave me a chance.” One of the speakers squealed and popped, dying completely.
“What do you mean? Get out of my speakers, I don’t know who you are, but get out of there now.”
There was a silence for a while, with the occasional crackle or pop from the remaining speaker. Then the voice spoke again. “If that is what you want-“ and the second speaker gave out a loud pop, and fell silent as well. Dylan stared at his computer, wondering if it might now get up and start speaking on its own as well. He looked again at the signature. It smiled, its large eyes glittering with evil. Dylan watched it, waiting for it to move, or crawl out of the screen, or do anything. But it just sat there, predatory grin in place.
A cold firm hand settled across Dylan’s shoulder, and in a now far less raspy voice the creature again spoke. “I am no longer in your speakers, now could we please continue our discussion?”
Dylan screamed and fell, breaking into tears he didn’t know what to say or do. He wanted to run, but instead he lay on the floor, staring up at the thing. It… no, she stood at about four foot ten, decked out in some sort of red wrap with a hood that was down, and long sleeves. If it were to stretch out its arms they would reach its knees, but the arms stayed bent. The face seemed to suggest that it was trying to be comforting as it reached down, but the corner of its mouth was still a smirk, and those fangs were only too memorable. And the eyes. It has been said that the eye is a portal into the soul, but all that Dylan could see, and feel, from the eyes before him was horror. The wild, unconquerable darkness beyond the lights that man makes to fend off the night, ready to consume him like a snack. These were the eyes of a predator, not of a human, not of a friend. Enormous inhuman eyes lay upon him, looking into Dylan’s own eyes, and as he met them his gut churned in fear. He squealed like a pig and tried to curl further into a corner.
“Now now, we can move past this can’t we? You and I, we want the same thing. Don’t you see that?”
“Wha-wh-what is that?” Dylan barely held on to the words. He didn’t even feel like he knew his own name, let along how to speak.
“These rules, these laws, this world. It’s wrong. The world was made, the universe was made, by rules. All things fall, electricity flows, life begets life, so on and so forth. And in this world the rules were simple. The world was strong, it was survival, the weak were eaten and the strong ruled. And everything was free. There was no one to say where you could walk, where you could sleep, where you could… relieve yourself. If a problem arose you either solved it or didn’t. This was real, this was pure. This is the world as it was, and as it must be!”
“What the fuck?! Are you insane… I…” Dylan wasn’t sure where he was going. Those eyes were staring at him again.
“Do you enjoy the rules placed upon you?”
Dylan didn’t know how to respond, not at first. Something was telling him to run still. Part of him knew that he wouldn’t be able to live as he did without the structure of the society around him… yet the rest of him was rebelling against it. The rest of him hated the unnatural constraints that civilization had built up, and wanted to shake them off, “No.”
“Now, wouldn’t you like to help me get rid of them?”
Again something seemed wrong. But looking into those eyes Dylan could remember how it felt to shatter the norms back in the office building, and how his web-rampage had left him feeling. He wanted to destroy, and revel in the flames of society. No I don’t, this is wrong… “What do you need me to do?”
“All who see my eyes shall know my call. The world of law must burn. We must go back into the purity of nature. Spread my image wherever it will be seen. And child, you’ve chosen wisely.” The creature licked its teeth thoughtfully, hinting at what the alternative had been. She turned and walked up to the window, and climbed out into the night.
No… why… Dylan didn’t know what was happening, it all seemed insane. But as he stood up he smiled. She was gone. He didn’t have to go back to his miserable job. No one cared how he was, he had no friends waiting to hang out. No girlfriend looking to meet with him. And he had an image to share with the world.
No.

Tags

Anarchy, Duncreek, Evil, Horror, Internet, Monsters

Meet the author

author avatar Stephen W. Griffin
Hello, the name is Stephen and I write what would mostly be classed as horror for the entertainment. I wouldn't advice it for children, but it is fun stuff all the same.

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