Swansong – A Short Story

Please don’t read on if you don’t like horror, or swearing or anything like that. Also, as a trigger warning, this story contains details of murder and violence against women.


John gasped violently for air as he woke, his mind still recoiling from the images that had forced themselves into his dreams. The images still lingered on the edge of his consciousness like ghosts. They were far too close for comfort. Even through the dark, he could see his heart battering his ribcage as his body fought to get back control.

What the hell was wrong with him?

He exhaled loudly and concentrated on his breathing, trying to slow it down, to get it back under his control.

The room was oppressive. Beads of sweat were dribbling down his skin. The bedclothes were saturated. His cotton sheets stuck to his legs and back. He felt like he’d wet himself.

Why did they never turn the heating down? Why was it always so Goddamn hot? Stupid bitches, making him feel weak and useless. Now he’d have to buzz them again. He hated fucking calling them.

He closed his eyes and prepared himself for the monumental effort it would take to grab the buzzer from the table. Reluctantly, he opened them again and looked over to the small bit of plastic. Stupid fucking whores always left it just out of his reach. How the fuck was he supposed to reach that?

The door scraped across the floor, momentarily flooding the room with bright light. His head turned to it instinctively. At least the bitches had saved him the effort this time.

‘Hi, nurse,’ he said, his voice still hoarse from the tubes they’d stuffed down his throat, ‘could you open the window, please? It’s really hot in here.’

He waited for a reply, a grunt or some small sound of acknowledgement, but all he could hear was the distant sound of laughter mingled with the robotic breathing of the machine he was hooked up to, next to his bed.

The door shut again, sealing the room in darkness.

Stupid ignorant whore. They were all that way. All fucking mouthy. He hated them. The lot of them. They were only good for one thing and even when he was doing that to them they’d have to snivel or cry or fucking scream. He hated the screamers. They were the fucking worst.

He raised his head from the pillow. Clumps of white hair, matted and tangled, clung to the side of his face.

‘Excuse me, nurse?’

John strained his eyes against the dark. He couldn’t see anything but he knew someone was there, he could feel their eyes stalking him through the black, could smell the aroma of their floral perfume.


He dropped back onto the bed with a thud and snorted. He was losing his patience now. Did they think this was funny? Did they really think they could scare him?

Fear was weakness. And he was not weak.

They obviously didn’t know who they were dealing with. Well, when he was back on his feet, he’d show them. He’d show that pretty blonde one all right. The nights he’d spent in hospital so far thinking about what he’d like to do to her. He might be getting old but that got him stiff. Oh yes. The old dog was still there.

‘I know you’re there,’ he snarled.

The dark room went darker. His machine died. Now he knew they were playing games.

‘Stupid fucking…’

Well, they’d started playing with the wrong man. John was a master at playing scary games. And, he never lost.

A gentle breeze began to roll across the room sending ripples of cold through him. His sticky, sweaty skin felt like it was being caressed by a thousand ice cold lips.

He shivered. They were really starting to fucking piss him off.

‘Show yourselves you fucking stupid whores!’

He pushed his elbows into the mattress and tried to lift himself off the bed, to see the bitch’s face. If he’d have been ten years younger he’d have knocked the smile off her stupid face right there and then. Bitch.

He dug his elbows into the soft mattress but he couldn’t lift his own weight. His body was heavy, dead, and it felt as though a thousand hands were holding him down.

What the fuck?

His face crumpled in confusion as he caught sight of a single white feather lying across his chest, its pure white rachis pointing straight at his beating heart like a poisoned arrow.

How the fuck had that got there? He hadn’t brought any with him to the hospital.

No one knew about the swan feathers. No one. They were his little secret.

After each and every death he’d wrap her up and dump her in the lake, but he’d keep a small piece of her in his basement, away from prying eyes. Normal people wouldn’t understand his proclivities. They didn’t know or care that he needed each death to renew him. The girls, with his hands wrapped around their necks, their eyes pleading with him to not kill them, gave him his greatest pleasure as he watched the life being squeezed from them. He needed their deaths to make him feel truly alive.

Of course he couldn’t display his trophies to the outside world so, instead, he would hang a white feather on his wall, a reminder of such beautiful times. A reminder that he was alive. That he could feel. There were a thousand pure white feathers hanging there at home. His life’s work. His Magnus Opus.

The cold of the room pierced his flesh and hit his heart. He gave a strangled scream as the pain ripped through him.

The feather lurched into the air, it’s nib pointing straight at his heart like a dagger ready to strike.

What the fuck…?

And, as if a light had been turned on, cold reality hit him. Their images began to materialize in the gloom. He didn’t know any of their names, but he recognised each and every one of their faces. He remembered the last gasp of breath every single one of their delicious mouths had took the moment the life was squeezed from them. Their swan song; his symphony of death.

This couldn’t be happening. It…

The feather stopped ascending and hovered. It glowed with the brightest light he had ever seen. It burned his eyes. He turned his gaze away, his eyes unable to withstand the pure light. He closed them, trying to shield them from the pain and prayed that this was just another one of his bad dreams.

But he knew it wasn’t. He knew they were coming for him. He’d seen it in his dreams.

The feather plunged, the nib piercing through flesh and ribcage, to enter his heart. The pain took his body over. He felt nothing but the pain as the nib tore through his heart.

‘Kathy,’ came a voice from the darkness.

And the nib plunged again.


And again.

Their faces burned onto his vision as the nib fell again and again.




This was their swan song. Their symphony of death.