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The Worth of Words: Chapter 1

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen “God, fuck this. Fuck quarentine,” Jacob muttered. He scrolled through Youtube and scratched his nose. “Why the fuck are we paying New York rent for Kentucky living?” And, that was the end of that. Shortly after, he got the bright idea that we should move away … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 1

Under the Bed: Chapter 1

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen In the basement lies Mother’s chest. She never spoke of it when she was around.  It’s been years since Mother disappeared.  “Petra, my dear, Petra, the jar is under the bed. The carving in the trunk will tell you what to do with it. Only talk … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 1

Gazing into the abyss

Emery looks at his hands. He pauses. It can't be undone. The stench of rust assaults his nostrils. Emery exhales. A breeze blows past, swaying grass and rustling branches. Emery flicks his wrist and conjures a small humanoid. The creature stumbles, then stands. Some hope. Maybe there's a chance that things can still be fixed. … Continue reading Gazing into the abyss

The Worth of Words: Chapter 9

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen After what felt like an eternity of Dad making phone calls and sending emails, he's able to assemble a small team of special government contractors through an old contact. "We're all set," he says, hanging up his cell and typing away on his laptop. … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 9

The ‘O’ Juice

Vergil sits in his living twirling his empty ice-filled glass. He sighs. “One more. Just one more sip.” He reclines in favorite chair. Stained, tattered cloth worn at the edges and faded from years of urine, drug abuse and the sporadic romances Vergil often emptied his bank account for. Thirsty, hungry, horny and penniless, Vergil … Continue reading The ‘O’ Juice

Heartlands: Moment of Clarity

By: Mark Figueroa | Twitter: @anthony_abyss The Heartland, a large county in North Western Jersey, is composed of several small suburbs and tranquil towns, like the illustrious snow-covered Thatcher Township, and peaceful Harwaven. Rich in culture and diversity, and best known for its oddities, the Heartlands are also home to the "Nànan Wàbi", or the … Continue reading Heartlands: Moment of Clarity

Under the Bed: Chapter 9

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen "About this piece of wood, Szófia, how big does it have to be?" I ask. We pace around the outskirts of the woods, carrying a duffel bag with a saw, a machete, gloves, rope and other utilities we definitely over packed. "Sofi?" Szófia examines … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 9

The Worth of Words: Chapter 8

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen "Simona," a voice says. I turn around. Mom appears behind me. We embrace and Mom kisses my forehead. "I knew you and your father would find a way," Mom exclaims. She grabs my hand. "I know there are a lot of other questions you … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 8

Under the Bed: Chapter 8

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen As the credits roll, I look over at Szófia, who is practically in tears. "Spoiler alert," I whisper, "There's a part two... Well, like a ton of parts, the guy who created the series is nuts." "What about that person at the end? Are … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 8

The Seamstress in Twilight

Solange bade to Allen with a flick of her wrist, beckoning him from the abysmal plains of his own melancholic making. Since the death of his wife and daughter, he yearned to end the cycle of his self-perpetuated, suffocating solitude; however, despite his devouring desire to see the sparks of passion and feel the warmth … Continue reading The Seamstress in Twilight

The Worth of Words: Chapter 7

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen "Some thirty years ago, when your mother and I met...," Dad says, sitting stoic. He pauses and stares at me, then continues. "I was on a strange case. I won't get into the details, but basically, there was some kind of toxin affecting people … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 7

Under the Bed: Chapter 7

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Szófia looks at me concerned. She hikes her skirt down. "I am not comfortable with this half dress going up so high in real life. It feels so indecent," she says, as we examine ourselves in front of my mirror. Her natural beauty is … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 7

Heartlands: Pursuing the trail

The man on the tracks | Picking up the tracks | Adhesion Coefficient Trees rustle under the sunset. Jay enjoys a cold beer, while Erin sips on a Long Island Iced Tea with fairy spit. She looks at Jay, picturing him old, frail and senile in a nursing home. Cringing, she ignores the thought. "So, … Continue reading Heartlands: Pursuing the trail

The Creature

They say there's a creature more terrifying than the monsters tucked away in the dark recesses of our minds. Stealing the souls of those who wander for their own sustenance, the creature is the bane of every Voidal denizen's being; a repulsive, repugnant ne'er-do-weller with an abysmal moral compass. It prays on the meek. It … Continue reading The Creature

Under the Bed: Chapter 6

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Over the past few weeks, Szófia and I patrolled the dense, eerie woods to the north of my town. There are usually plenty of spirits wandering since its a popular place for suicides and corpse-dumping. A warm breeze whirls past us while we meander … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 6

The Worth of Words: Chapter 6

Thanks for reading The Worth of Words and enjoying my content. If you don't already know, shares and likes are free, and incredibly valuable. Share the content and spread the wealth. It costs nothing, but a click. My father takes a seat at the wooden table. "I suppose you were never going to tell me … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 6

Heartlands: Virtual Insanity

Lars fogs up his silver, rock-shaped flask. He polishes the chromatic surface and sighs. "First the godsdamned bottle I left in Scotland, then the laddie with nay a constitution. Oy, I reckon kids ta'day're as complicated as human will ever be, I s'pose. En't it so, Teppin?" Lars asks, shoving the flask into his tunic … Continue reading Heartlands: Virtual Insanity

The Worth of Words: Chapter 5

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Bags in hand, I leave the airport and hop into Detective Cannen's car. He glances at me with a solemn expression. I frown, avoiding his eyes. He probably thinks I'm the stupidest person in the world. I was here less than a week ago … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 5

Heartlands: Changes

It's a warm Summer evening in Harwaven. Shawn stumbles out of his room, tipsy from a sip of a mysterious prismatic liquid. He grabs a light hoodie and shimmies his way out the door in cargo shorts and Vans, fidgeting with the bottle in his pocket. His sister, Amanda, grabs his hood before he gets … Continue reading Heartlands: Changes

The Turning Tide of Tilda Làvois

Related: No Need to Write You a Love Song | HP: High Value Target | Dinner with Friends Matilda Làvois, or Tilda, as she was called, ran through another urine-soaked, vomit-scented, fluid-stained alley on a broken, brick road in Paris. Born in winter 1692, a few days shy of the new year, and going on … Continue reading The Turning Tide of Tilda Làvois

Under the Bed: Chapter 5

Story by Mark Figueroa (anthony_abyss) | Featured art by: Salem Jaeger @theforgottenpen Szófia sighs. She guzzles down my hot toddy like ice tea and exhales a silent belch. "Őfelsége," she whispers, sniffling, then mutters in Hungarian. I pretend not to hear. It's been almost a week since Szófia came back to life, or something like … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 5

Heartlands: End of a Season

Amanda skips rocks over the lake. Her father, Wes, sips his beer, then shakes his line. "That was weird. That Harwaven Roe," Amanda says, staring into the distance. She grabs another handful of pebbles and watches birds glide through the trees. "I don't ever want to experience anything like that again." Her words are muffled … Continue reading Heartlands: End of a Season

Under the Bed: Chapter 4

Story by Mark Figueroa (anthony_abyss) | Featured art by: Salem Jaeger @theforgottenpen Tree branches spread like veins across the sky, covering clouds and the full, orange moon. I sit in the living room, waiting for black mist to signal Őfelsége's presence. So far, it's been like every other offering night. The air's thick and charged … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 4

The Worth of Words: Chapter 4

Mom, Dad and Kathy have all been here for a few days now. I can't say I mind the company, but I'm glad my parents are leaving this afternoon. Unfortunately, Kathy's staying for a while, but it could be worse. After scouring through a series of Tweets, I found one person who claimed to have … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 4

HP: Another Day at the Office

(Dinner with Friends | High Value Target) "So, what do we know so far?" Howard asks, squeezing a red rubber ball in Philip's side of their office. Philip examines a wall with Kalcyphir's picture in the center and shoves his hands in his pockets, sighing. "Well, Howard, to be honest, as of right now, we … Continue reading HP: Another Day at the Office

No Need to Write You A love Song

High beams passed along the Riverside highway, shimmering in brilliant beauty, illuminating the pavement. Waves crashing under the evening sky created a steady rhythm resembling soft chatter. Kalcyphir leaned over the rail, staring into the Hudson. He examined the abyss for his own reflection, incapable of seeing nothing but the shimmering darkness that will eventually … Continue reading No Need to Write You A love Song

The Apparition in the Cellar

For months, the mice, roaches and rats have kept me company. I've learned to floss with an amalgamation of rodent hair and critter legs in order to keep them from chewing through my face at night. It was on the eve of Hallowed Saints that I parlayed with a harlot of the sin-stained town whose … Continue reading The Apparition in the Cellar

The Kiln of Knavili

[Dinner with Friends | HP: High Value Target] "Dammit, Aldguin, you always do this," Kalcyphir shouts, pounding on door. "It's 1985. You can cancel plans with a phone call." He leans against the door and presses his ear below the peephole. Nothing. Kalcyphir knocks again. Still nothing. His shrugs his aggravation off and pulls a … Continue reading The Kiln of Knavili

Heartlands: The Adhesion Coefficient (μ)

The ratio between vertical load (weight/mass) and adhesion force (the point at which to unlike things attract). It's Valentine's Day afternoon. Marianne and Walter Sr. visit Walter's childhood friend, Jason Pannetti. They have a nice brunch courtesy of Erin. The couples discuss the goings on with their lives, work and everything in-between. The women split … Continue reading Heartlands: The Adhesion Coefficient (μ)

Under the Bed: Chapter 3

Heavy rain pounds against my window. Lighting smashes across the horizon, illuminating the overcast sky. Gusts jerk the trees. I trace the water down the glass with my finger. "Petra," Mom calls from the kitchen. Bacon, warm bread and coffee overpower the ordinary scent of my room. "I'm coming," I call out, pulling away from … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 3

The Worth of Words: Chapter 3

( The Worth of Words: Chapter 2 | HP: High Value Target ) | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen "I saw it on the news, Simona. The biological attack. It's all over the place. They're saying someone found a way to transmit another strand of Covid. A strand that's more powerful than the … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 3

Heartlands: Picking Up the Tracks

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Walter Schreren Jr.'s (or Junior as his family calls him) screams wakes his parents. Another evening of consoling him before sunrise. For the past 2 years, every 3 days he's had the same dream at 4 am sharp. At first, there was no rhyme, reason … Continue reading Heartlands: Picking Up the Tracks

Under the Bed: Chapter 2

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen (Chapter 1) "Petra. Kedvesem, Petra. Jó kislány. Köszönöm," Őfelsége whispers in the empty void. Warmth spreads across my chest. My body tingles and I hear chattering, soft rhythmic beeps and shoes squeaking across tile. "Kedvesem, Petra. Éhség... Éhség." I open my eyes under the bright … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 2

The Worth of Words: Chapter 2

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Detective Cannen pulls up to a non-discreet building. From the looks of it, it used to be a factory of some kind. Possibly for printing newspapers. Cannen scribbles in his notepad, "Only paper. No voices in here. Got it?" I nod and he hands … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 2

HP: High Value Target

( Dinner with Friends ) Philip fumbles with his tie clasp, while Howard slouches over the rickety, wooden table, eating what could quite possibly be considered the worst hamburger ever made. Howard never asked for a partner, much less one so dull-witted and painfully unimaginative. Bureaucracy doesn't speak the language of comfort however. It only … Continue reading HP: High Value Target

The Little Ones

By Mark Figueroa For years, the house on the edge of town has sat vacant. If you pass by it at night or early in the morning, you can hear the wind weep through its dilapidated, crumbling frame. Many years ago, the home belonged to a talented dollmaker. He lived with wife, children and his … Continue reading The Little Ones

Heartlands: Harwaven Roe

Wes sits on the docks, enjoying his crispy chicken cutlet sandwich. For decades, this would never have been possible in July, since winter used to begin in late April. It's been just over a month since Harwaven Grove, a small town near Thatcher Township, has experienced any snowfall or temperatures below the high 70s. With … Continue reading Heartlands: Harwaven Roe

Dinner with friends

By Mark Figueroa Under the light blue sky, Aldguin strums his guitar at the bench by the fountain. Children giggle and chase each other through the trees, screaming "You're it!" Clouds crawl through and around the bright sun. Leaning on Aldguin's shoulder, Elles tosses seeds from a bag on to the concrete. Birds chirp and … Continue reading Dinner with friends

Heartlands: Snow in the Summer

By Mark Figueroa As schools prepare for summer, Professor Claudio Pannetti paces around his classroom. He stops at window overlooking the main road to the town. His crestfallen eyes skip over the snow-covered trees and the overcast horizon. He watches the snow drift along the breeze, clinging to the grass, concrete and asphalt, leaving thin … Continue reading Heartlands: Snow in the Summer

Cat, Brush, Bottle

As the sun set on the horizon, Marnie brushed her hair while gazing at herself in the mirror. Since high school, Marnie had a morbid curiosity with death, the macabre and conspiracy. Her first blog was called "The Gael Gal". She wrote about clandestine groups, conspiracies and other general oddities from around Caithness county, or … Continue reading Cat, Brush, Bottle

The Lord of Cinder

by Mark Figueroa Her fingers brazenly smashed each key, until the silence receded into the corner of my mind. Darkness illuminated my soul as the scarlet path tore through the floor. Ash and sinew rode the explosive winds, enveloping the atmosphere.She smiled at me. "He's coming," she said. Her frail fingers quivered under the flickering … Continue reading The Lord of Cinder

A Short Survey

by Mark Figueroa Franklin sits up on his therapist's familiar leather couch. Despite years of use, its firm, sepia cushions appear brand new. The scent of honey and mothballs fills the air.  “We don’t have to keep doing this, Dr. Franklin,” Dr. Spruce says. She pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose and … Continue reading A Short Survey

The Mythical Treaty (relevant excerpts)

(Condensed version) ... for any creatures who cannot not pass as a human or surface dwelling creature. Those who can, under the Mythical Treaty as agreed upon by mankind and the Mantleans, upon entry to the surface, are required to posses a verifiable, valid symbol of citizenship to a specific nation designated within the treaty. … Continue reading The Mythical Treaty (relevant excerpts)

Mantlean History (Condensed)

When Earthen Man and Mantleans existed in a parent-child harmony, the Mantleans aided the evolution of man, gave the species speech, art, war, and concepts of governing. Mantleans freely traversed the planet and were welcome among the Earthen Men. Unfortunately, as man became more conscious of itself and its inherent limitations, whole governments united over … Continue reading Mantlean History (Condensed)

By the Lake

“You’re late, Lars!” Earnest slams a heavy potato sack into the still waters of the lake. His dry, sunken eyes are red at the edges. “I—I didn’t think—” “Aye, laddy, you don't think at all, did’ya?” Lars removes his horned, iron helm and runs his gnomish hands through his mane. He takes a deep breath, … Continue reading By the Lake

The Fountain of Truth

by Mark Figueroa “So what happened next, dad?” The children asked in unison, clutching their sheets in anticipation. “Well, kids,” Antalaus said, resuming his story. “Lars nodded at me. ‘Then, we crush the heads an’ scoop the remainin’ soft meat from the bone,’ he said. His little eyes barely sticking out from underneath his large … Continue reading The Fountain of Truth

The Smoking Gun

by Mark Figueroa A twisted creature with backwards arms stretches its mouth open. Its head quivers as it stretches his face wider and wider. Cackles project from its throat like a witch circling victims on Halloween Night. The monster’s jaw cracks, snaps and breaks as the laughter from its throat continues. After a loud pop, … Continue reading The Smoking Gun

The Man on the Tracks

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen There’s a platform at the edge of my quiet, little town.  The train shows up at 2:34 AM on peculiar nights, or so they say. To date, several people have gone missing, but no one seems to remember them very well, beyond a name and an … Continue reading The Man on the Tracks

The Birth of Ted

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Have you heard of the little man?  He's a little, mischievous old man who likes to cause innocent mayhem. He likes to find lonely people, especially children, and become their friend. Forever. When I was young, Gran-Gran used to tell me it’s so they never have … Continue reading The Birth of Ted

The Tank

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen “The container with her food is sealed in a box next to her tank,” Ernst said, putting on his jacket. “Just pour like five of them in. They’ll hop around, scurry about and try to climb out. Don’t worry, they can’t make it out though.”  “Sounds … Continue reading The Tank