The Night Takes No Prisoners
Jerry is thirty and looks fifty. Unshaven, without a bath in weeks, his hair filled with lice. His eyes, sunken far back into his skull; he weaves his way in and out of the city streets in search of scarred food to keep himself alive to meet another morning.
At one time, Jerry had a family, a well-paying corporate position and all the other attributes a man would ever want.
On a day Jerry can’t remember, his world fell away from him. The pressure of Corporate America got to him before he knew what hit him. He turned to alcohol, drinking away his problems and ended up swallowing his pride and puking it up in one of many dark alleys to become his new home.
Sometimes, Jerry would sit on a cobblestone corner and listen in his head as the computer’s whir; listen in his head to the instruction of the day’s business agenda and start talking to himself about what he has to accomplish before quitting time.
Other times, Jerry would walk through the city park, or walk along the tall oak, pine trees, and watch children play. He would stand in the park’s shadows, watching, as if seeing his own children play; and would smile a drunken smile through rotting, broken teeth.
Late at night, in the frigid months of Winter’s Father, Jerry would huddle between cans of rotting garbage and nestle his head against concrete pilings, falling asleep, dreaming how he once curled his head next to the smell of fresh amber and soft, red hair, as well as the laughter of twin girls playing in the back yard. All the memories go away in daylight hours with the help of a fifth of whiskey or a cheap bottle of wine.
When the Mother of Summer rages, the permeated sweat that festers his body, and charges him with a fever; he wanders aimlessly, never knowing where he is, or why he is.
It was one of many summer nights that found Jerry curled in a twisted mash of flesh down by the river; dead, in his own twisted way. No longer a man, no longer a person; only a number for the city to deal with.
… and the night moved on
Here name is June, barely fifty, but to look at her closely, you would have known that once upon another time, she had to have been a real looker; but time, lived by her daily shopping on the streets, foraging through remnants left behind by the neighborhood, has a way of changing people. A pair of tattered gloves, an old scarf, a woolen sweater moth-eaten over time, and shoes that don’t match and slightly too big, and an old gray woolen skirt streaked with age, is her attire.
Today, like all her yesterdays, she shops for new clothes as she loves wearing something different every day. As she walks, her gray skirt billows away from her somewhat lean frame and its bottom meets the top of her one brown and one red sock. June doesn’t care. She loves color.
She eats what she can find that has been freshly discarded by local’s restaurants when possible. She has scruples to a point. She would say, “Never eat yesterday’s food today. You could get sick as a dog.”
In her daily travels, she would fall back into a relapse and remember the old days. The days when her husband came home from work every day. The days when she would bake peanut butter cookies for her boys when they came home from school. She would remember the picnics shared and the many nights the boys would get sick and she would take care of their needs.
She remembered a time when her husband and the boys decided to go to the supermarket one afternoon because she was ill. She remembered being told there was a terrible accident; that her family were broadsided by a truck and killed.
She would shake her head at that point, squeeze the memory from her mind and she would tell herself it was a story she read somewhere, that she never had a family.
When her day was over, she would take her shopping bag of goodies, drag her feet behind her as she headed home. It would take her sometimes four or five hours because if she lived elsewhere than where she lives now, most certainly the bluecoats would arrest her. The very thought of being locked away makes her shiver.
Two hours beyond dusk, June would find herself staring at the skyline of the city’s early night lights. “Such a waste of money to keep them on all night,” she would say.
She looks at her house covered by several layers of tarp to keep out the rain and keep her home, made from cardboard, dry.
Inside, several layers of old carpet cover her floor she found lying around a large dumpster behind a carpet outlet on one of her many shopping trips.
Behind her home, there is a large hole she uses as a latrine, and a few feet away from there, is another hole she uses as a cooking pit.
Tonight, sleep will find her as it does every night. Inside, sitting crossed-legged, holding two dolls, rocking them back and forth, singing a lullaby.
… and the night moves on
Jack is seventeen. Jack is a fine son, a good student and very popular with the girls in his school because of his looks.
Jack has parents who are community oriented, “Pillars of society,” say the neighbors. “Jack is a fine young man,” say the neighbors.
Jack isn’t who they think he is.
When the sun disappears from the large blue ceiling, the night finds Jack on the other side of town at a party, just like other parties he has been to; so why should this one be any different?
The crowd is mixed with colors of both sexes and the booze is plentiful, so are the drugs.
Jack is an addict, and has been ever since he was thirteen, but that wasn’t so bad. At seventeen, Jack’s habit has taken over the rational side of his life.
Lately, he’s been skipping classes, forging school reports, forging his parent’s signature for teachers at school. Jack still has a calculating mind, but his brain cells are slowly dissolving.
Jack started with the pills. The red ones, the yellow ones, the blue ones. Other times he would get prescription pills from a friend’s source and pop those as well. Jack would follow it with a little alcohol and before the night was over, he would not only be drunk, but high as the sun at noontime.
On this particular night, the booze flowed, and drugs oozed out at him. Jack popped a pill here, a pill there, before the announcement that some primo Mary Jane from below the border had arrived along with a kilo of cocaine.
Before long, the room is filled with the sweet odor of smoke and heads are buzzing as people begin laughing at things that aren’t funny, and Jack is one of those people.
Jack hits on a girl a year younger than himself and they walk into one of four bedrooms at the party. Twenty minutes pass before the girl screams and others run to where the screams were heard.
As people rush inside the bedroom, they see the frightened girl staring at Jack.
Jack is standing on a ledge of a second-floor balcony window, naked as the night, arms outstretched, feet together and his head staring straight to the stars filtering the night around him.
He heard the commotion behind him, begging him to come down. He shook his head, no. Jack knows that once he jumps to his death, the bad side will be gone, and the good side will live on.
Jack started shaking in the cold sweat that blocked the pores in his body. Below him could be heard the crashing waves as they rushed upward on the jagged rocks below. Jack pushed off and away.
On his way down, Jack never screamed. He smiled with one final thought before he smashed into the rocks below.
He wondered if his mother would still bake him a birthday cake tomorrow.
… and the night swallowed him and moved on
Her name is Melinda, and she is in trouble.
She ran away from a broken home, run by a father who was never home very much, and a mother who cheated on her husband, forcing Melinda to do all the work. If she didn’t, she would be punished, mostly with whippings. Melinda couldn’t take the abuse any longer, and after saving what money she could, she bought a bus ticket to the big city. It was in the city she decided she would begin her life, her new life.
Melinda wasn’t off the bus ten minutes before a young man, well dressed, came over to her making conversation. Starved by all this freshness in her life, Melinda fell into the man’s trap. He talked her into spending a few weeks in his motel room. “It’ll help you save money,” he said. “Nothing will happen,” he said smiling. Melinda believed him.
Inside the motel room, the nice young man turned into a regular Mr. Hyde. He ripped Melinda’s blouse from her body, slapped her face, and shoved her body to the bed and raped her. When he was finished, he redressed, took what money she had and left her on the bed; her face a massive series of bruises building, her arms filled with the same, her virginity shattered, and she was alone. For the briefest of moments, Melinda felt as if she were home again.
Melinda slowly came around to the way the real world operates. After her injuries healed, after she formulated a plan of survival, she found a job. Not a regular job, but it was still one of independence, working the streets at night. But Melinda never became your average hooker.
She would take her johns for a spin and her fee was high, and it would always end the same way.
Melinda always insisted the johns buy a motel room someplace outside the city. Once in the room, Melinda would pull from her purse a knife and she would use it on every man who touched her behind closed doors. When she was finished, she would shower away the blood, redress, replaced the knife back into her small purse, and leave unnoticed.
By her third month, Melinda found out she was pregnant. She made up her mind to give up the baby to a foster home. She knew she couldn’t take care of a baby on her own, not with what she was doing.
Bye the ninth month the baby came and with all the months that came and went, over a hundred men were murdered. She always took great pains to cover her tracks, but the law catches up to you eventually.
Melinda had looked at the small face of her child, a girl, and suddenly all the hatred and anger she had been feeling disappeared. She didn’t want to give her daughter away. She wanted a real job and raise her child better than she was taken care of, but the law wouldn’t let her and now she’s in trouble.
As much as she wanted to take care of her daughter, Melinda knew it was only a matter of time before the police came for her.
She asked the lady across the hall to watch her baby for a short period of time. The lady, your typical grandmotherly type, smiled and said yes.
Melinda went back inside her apartment, walked to the bedroom dresser, and pulled out a gun she bought a long time ago. It was loaded.
She walked to the patio window and looked seven stories below and watched as tiny orbs of light streaks from cars went in all directions. All the sounds from below reached up to her. The shouting of angry men, laughter from a distant corner, horns blaring, tires screeching and brakes whining, and people dying.
Another sound that approached her building was the sirens of red and blue lights from police cars. Melinda knew they were coming for her. She didn’t invest in a police scanner for nothing.
She closed her eyes, and in the dream held within her mind, she could see the police taking the elevator to the seventh floor. She could see the doors close behind them as they got on and she watched the doors close behind them as they got off. She could feel them approaching her door and ringing her doorbell.
Melinda opened her eyes wide in fear, not for herself but for her daughter. Melinda knew she wouldn’t be able to take care of her. Melinda prayed as the trigger was ever gently pulled back. Melinda prayed a good family would take her daughter in and treat her as one of their own.
The short muzzle of steel weighed heavily in her mouth.
The doorbell rang.
Melinda never heard the deafening roar of the bullet.
… and the night, like all the ones to have passed, with those yet to be, has claimed its share of the burden of life for one night.
… a message from the night
Step right up, try your luck and see if you can survive.
The next time you are walking, wherever that may be, listen to the branches sway, listen to the gentle bending in the wind; or is it someone following you?
When you walk down a dark street to get to your car and you pass under a dimly lit streetlight and see your shadow for a fleeting second; or is that the shadow belonging to someone directly behind you?
The night holds many unexplained mysteries. When you are surrounded by the hours of nightfall, be careful not to become one of the unexplained, one of the forgotten, one of the lonely; one of the frightened.
… and don’t say it can’t happen to you because it can. I know it can. You see, the night follows you everywhere, even when you sleep.
You can run, but you cannot hide.
By: Makila Scott-Saxby
Alice Winter was a rotten, spoiled, little brat and got everything she wanted. One day her and her mom went to the store and she saw a doll that was really pretty. “Mother, may I please have the doll.” Alice said, looking at her mother. Alice’s mother looked at the doll and said “No Sweetie, I’m really busy and your grandmother is waiting to see you.” “MOMMY!!! PLEASE!!!” Alice started to have a fit. Her mother finally gave in and got the doll for her.
Once they got to her grandmother’s house, she showed the doll to her grandmother. “Sweetie, that doll is dangerous.” Her grandmother warned. “Grandmom, it’s a doll, what can it do?” Alice laughed. What Alice didn’t know is that her grandmother owned the doll when she was little, but once she got older, she sold it to the store Alice got it from. “I’m going to name her Luna,” Alice squeezed her doll. Alice didn’t notice when Luna’s eyes turned pitch black.
When they got home, Alice sat Luna in her dollhouse with all her other dolls. While Alice went downstairs, Luna got up and walked to the closest doll next to her. Once she touched the doll, it came alive. “Hi, I’m Luna. What's your name?” Luna asked the doll. “I’m Gabby. What do you want with me.” The doll asked.
“I want you to help me with an important job for me.” Luna reileped. “Umm...what is it?” The doll asked. Then Gabby’s eyes turned red as blood. “What's happening to me?” The doll asked. “You are going to help me kill Alice.” Luna. said, rolling her black eyes at Gabby. “Why? She is the nicest person I have met.” Gabby hesitated as her eyes grew redder. “That rotten little girl deserves death.” Luna said with a smirk.
That night while Alice was sleeping, Luna started to creep up in Alice’s bed and said in her ear “Goodnight, I hope you sleep tight.” Alice woke up only to see her doll next to her. “Silly me, I must have forgotten to put her back in the dollhouse.” Alice said as she went to put Luna back in the dollhouse.
Then she heard a grunt that sounded like it was coming from her doll, Gabby, but she just shrugged and went back to bed. Gabby grunt again and said softly “Alice, this is your self-consciousness.” “Huh, what do you want?” Alice sighed. Luna got down from her spot and went over to Alice's bed and put a knife through her heart. Alice woke up from a dream and looked over at her dollhouse to see if Luna was still in the dollhouse. Alice swore she heard a sigh, but she went back to sleep.
The next morning Alice went down stairs and found her mom eating oatmeal. “Goodmorning, sweetie.” Her mom said, smiling at her. “Morning mom.” Alice said. “Had a goodnight?” Her mom said kinda creepy then her head popped and Alice screamed. “What is it, sweetie?” Her mom asked. Alice realized she just had a nightmare. “Nothing! Am I taking the bus to school or are you driving me there?” Alice asked, trying not to sound scared. “I guess I will.” her mom answered.
When she got to school, Alice walked to her class room, she felt as though a present was behind her, but h-how? W-why? She ignored it, as usual and got to her classroom. In her mind she was thinking, ‘What the heck is going on? Why was she feeling so weird?’ She soon realized that ever since she got that doll everything has been going weirdly.
Her teacher came up to her desk and smirked a bit at the little girl. “Alice, love, what do you have there?” Alice raised a confused eyebrow. She looked beside her and the doll that gave her creepy vibes.. She gasped and turned to her teacher. “I-it’s just a doll my mother brought me. I-I have n-no idea how s-she ended up here, Ms. Maggie I swear!” She was quite scared.. Ms. Maggie chuckled, “It’s alright, dear. May I see the doll?” The scared girl nodded and handed her teacher the beautiful, but scandalous doll.
As Ms. Maggie took a look at Luna, the eyes of the doll blinked and turned a bloody red. The teacher rubbed her eyes to make sure she saw it right, but when she looked back, Luna looked normal. ‘Okay, this was weird….’ The teacher thought to herself. “This is an interesting doll, she must have been a lot of money to buy, sweetie.” Alice nodded.
To be continued……
This story is based on the Reedsy.com prompt "Write a story where a local takes a newcomer under their wing (https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/)."
"Nice to meet you Dash, I'm Slayne. Glad to have you joining us at House of Torment."
"Thanks Slayne, I still can't believe I'm working here. This place is always on the national lists for top haunted houses, and I actually made the cut!"
"Yeah, the owner says you have potential. Stick with me and I'll show you the ropes friend. First things first, let's get checked in."
Dash followed Slayne into the haunt and proceeded up the stairs into the green room. There they met with Sonya, who would be his direct manager as an actor.
"Good to see you again Dash. I trust Slayne is taking care of you?"
"Yeah, thanks so much Sonya! I'm pretty nervous, so pairing us newbies with folks that know what they're doing makes me feel better!"
"Appreciate the vote of confidence Dash, but even us vets are always learning too. It's a changing industry, so even someone like me that has done this for 10 years isn't done developing skills yet."
"Slayne's right, there's always room to grow." Sonya nodded approvingly. "Do your best, take care of yourself, and be willing to learn, and you'll be a permanent part of this place!"
"Sounds great, I'll give it all I've got!" Dash replied enthusiastically. "OK, what do we do first Slayne?"
"We confirm our scene tonight with Sonya. So where are you putting us tonight?"
"The graveyard scene is a good one to start with." Sonya said kindly. "Lots of hiding places, alternate methods for scaring guests. I know you've handled that one a number of times Slayne. Why don't you two head down there and practice once you've finished with costumes and makeup? We still have an hour and a half before we open, so there's time."
"Will do Sonya, thanks!" Slayne said cheerfully, following up with a curtsy. "Let's go talk to the costume manager and get suited up Dash!"
The pair headed to a large closet where Costume Manager Changella awaited them. The young woman also echoed the same uplifting persona as Sonya and Slayne.
"Hi Slayne, always good to see you back. And you must be one of our new recruits.... it's Dash, right?"
"Yeah, that's me!" Dash gushed, turning slightly red. "Nice to meet you Changella!"
"The pleasure is all mine Dash. So where does Sonya have you gentlemen in the house tonight?"
"Graveyard." Slayne replied with a grin.
"Ooooh, nice! That's a great one to start with! Alright, I will get you two some raggedy outfits, and then you guys can head into the makeup line to become zombified. I'm excited for you Dash, the graveyard was one of my first scenes too, it's a really fun one!"
"Looking forward to it, just like I'm looking forward to working with you too Changella!"
Dash and Slayne brought their costumes back into the green room and changed into them. Then they headed for the makeup line to give their faces and arms the appearance of zombies.
"Being polite goes a long way in the haunt community, so keep that up." Slayne complimented. "Everyone here wants the new blood to succeed, as you guys will have to keep the tradition going once us older folks can't do it anymore."
"Hopefully that won't be for a while. This place wouldn't be the same without you legends in it!"
"Well, I never have been called a legend before, but I appreciate it. Thanks Dash."
Once makeup was done, Dash and Slayne looked like true members of the undead. The duo then went to the graveyard scene to prepare for the thrill seekers that would soon fill the house. A maze of realistic tombstones filled the room, along with a couple of well made trees. A dim light that simulated moonlight would make it a challenge for customers to navigate, although the actors often adjusted to the mostly dark rooms quickly.
"So we still have a good 45 minutes until we open, so let's see what you brought with you for essentials tonight." Slayne said while gesturing at the plastic grocery bag that Dash was carrying.
"Oh yeah, sure!" Dash said excitedly as he pulled a small cola bottle out of his bag, along with four king size chocolate candy bars.
"Ummmm Dash, you do remember what is said in the handbook about being prepared, right?"
"I skimmed through it quickly to be honest, this is what gets me through my normal work days in the office. Why, are these things not good?"
"Definitely not ideal." Slayne said with a hint of annoyance that he struggled to hide. "Water should be your drink of choice. This place gets really hot, and you need to stay hydrated. You can fill the cola bottle with water from the break room later at least, but that bottle isn't very big. You should have brought a gallon sized container for water. Then there's the issue with protein."
"Candy bars have protein, don't they?"
"A small amount, but not enough for the work we'll be doing all season. You really should have brought some energy bars, or some kind of protein snack like peanuts or edamame. Tell me this, what have you eaten today?"
"A bunch of donuts, some french fries, a big bowl of mac and cheese, fried cheese sticks, and a bunch of cookies. Why, is that going to be a problem?"
"Ummmmmm yeah, that could be. But it's ok, you're learning. Maybe some of the other vets left some stuff in the breakroom. I'll check before we start. But first, let's practice some acting strategies. Pick a spot to hide, and I'll walk in pretending to be a guest. See if you can scare me newbie!"
Slayne left the scene while Dash hid behind the tree prop. Slayne walked back in and began passing the tree when Dash popped his head out from behind the tree.
"OK, good timing, but you must have missed that part in the training videos that we were emailed."
"We got training videos in our email? Crap, I'm really bad at checking my email.... sorry man!"
"It's ok." Slayne said, using his own acting skills to hide his frustration. "Boo is a no go for dialogue. Let me go back and you can try something else."
Slayne left the scene and walked back to the tree, when Dash popped out at him again.
"Um yeah, we don't say that one either. Let's try this one more time. Make something up based on this scene."
Slayne let Dash reset, then approached him once more.
"Hey dude! Spooky night in the graveyard, eh?"
"Um yeah..... you should probably watch a training video. Pull up your email on your phone and watch the "acting tips for pop scares" one. I'll check the break room and see if I can find some water and protein. I'll be back in ten Dash."
Slayne began navigating the dark hallways behind the scenes when he ran into a fellow zombie character.
"Hey Slayne! How's the new guy doing?"
"Not so good Raul. The kid has heart, but didn't prepare with the materials we were all given. His dialogue is weak, he didn't eat a good meal beforehand, and he didn't even bring water with him. The kid will pass out within two hours tops."
"That's a bummer. Another one for the Shredder Room eh? At least his blood can be used by the makeup crew, and whatever else is left of him can be salvaged for props."
"Yeah, but I kind of like the kid. I think I may try and mentor him some more to save him from being shredded. I mean, the poor guy is a dead man anyway, just like all of us are."
"Oh I know that all too well Slayne. I was working my first night getting scares, then everyone was suddenly gone. The break room was gone, the green room was gone, the emergency exits were gone. All I could do was starve to death, then get revived as a living corpse, my lot now permanently working as a scare actor to avoid the shredder myself."
"Yeah Raul, they take the loyalty clause to a new level here. But the boss wants only the best actors, and traps us here to keep his talent."
"He really covered his bases with this place Slayne, with those perfect doppelgangers of us he sent out to not let anyone know we're missing. I know my copy has come through the haunt with my wife frequently.... I scare them extra good out of spite every time I see them. The boss does have the perfect haunt setup here though. Escaping from this place is impossible. It's either act, or disappear for good."
"Yeah.... I thought I lived for the haunt life brother, never thought I would die for it. But now I'm going to check the break room and see if there's some water and protein I can grab for Dash. I would much rather he become one of us than become parts for props."
"You're a good guy Slayne. If I'm going to be stuck in a haunt season forever, at least I get to do so with you...."
Raul's opening night can be read here: https://theprose.com/post/441660/where-s-the-breakroom
The Scariest Memory of Them All
You stand at the cash register; the grocer begins to scan the items. You're almost too short to see over the counter. Suddenly, your mother has realization.
"Crud, I forgot the tomatoes! Stand right there and do not move." She darts off.
"So how will you be paying today?" The cashier looks down at you, playing with your fingers. A panic sets off within you. Your mom still hasn't come back, and the grocer is making you pay. Your heart is beating a million beats a second, sweat starts dripping down your forehead, you don't know what you're going to do. Then you hear the graceful sound of your mother's heels.
"Sorry sweetie, I bumped into Janice!"
Is That You, Mother?
Mother has been away for some time now. I cannot frankly recall when she left, but I was rather glad when she did. She was an overbearing woman. Whenever she wanted something she would smack the wall with the butt of her cane, stirring up a cantankerous racket until her ungrateful demands were met.
BUNK! BUNK! BUNK!
Now it is just I alone in this old house, enjoying the peaceful bachelor life. Peaceful, until I heard that very sound mother would make from her bedroom.
BUNK! BUNK! BUNK!
I approached her door carefully. "Is that you, mother?" I stuttered. Slowly, I creaked the door open. There she was. The room was dark but I could make her out from the moonlight that shun through her window. My mother's decaying corpse laying in her bed as she once did, waiting to command me once more.
#horror #shortstory #flashfiction
All In Your Head
“Sir, I said I wanted water, please,” I mumbled, looking at the waiter, who was giving me a broad smile. He was holding a glass with inky black liquid and presented it to me like it was some kind of award.
It took him a couple seconds to respond. “Yes, of course. My bad. I’ll bring you some water right away.” I could barely hear him under the thundering rain that was pounding against the restaurant window. Placing the glass next to my plate, he spun around and strutted back to the chef’s office. I didn’t know how anyone could even mess up that badly on an order for water, but whatever.
Amber, my sister, laughed. “I dare you to drink all of that!”
I stared at it, shivering. I had gone to this restaurant with Amber because my parents thought we would be fine on our own. Amber was ten, but I was thirteen and could look after her. Now, I was getting uneasy. The restaurant was full of seats—none of which were occupied. Even the waiter had seemed creepy. He had wispy dark gray hair with a few white streaks and a wrinkled face, with a smile revealing yellow teeth that looked a little too friendly. Looking at the swirling pitch-black liquid, I wished I hadn’t come.
“So? Go ahead! Are you scared of a little grape juice?” She stuck her tongue out and made a mock-scared face.
That’s no grape juice, I thought. It wasn’t wine, either. There was no reddish tint to it at the edge, just pure black. Not wanting to make a fool of myself in front of my younger sister, whose blue eyes were staring at me expectantly, I rolled my eyes and brought the glass to my lips, taking the tiniest sip possible.
As I put the glass down, the waiter appeared again with normal water.
“Thank you, sir,” I mumbled as he set it down by my plate. I wrinkled my nose as I smelled something burnt. Looking up, I saw him holding a cigarette to his lips. Is that even allowed in a restaurant? Even Amber looked wary.
“Now, what can I get you two to eat?” he asked, smiling. I glanced at Amber. She figdetted with her hair tie and avoided his gaze.
“Um, we just came to get drinks, that’s all. We’ll be on our way now. Thank you, sir,” I said quickly, not wanting to be there a second longer. Giving him the money, we rushed out of the building.
It was pouring outside. The wind picked up, blowing Amber’s soaked, long, autumn-brown hair into my face. The raindrops blurred my thin glasses and I shivered in the frigid rain. Despite the weather, I was relieved to be out of that creepy restaurant. My relief didn’t last long, because I smelled something burnt and Amber suddenly let out an ear-splitting scream.
And that was when everything went black.
I stretched farther back against the couch and fumbled around for the remote. Grasping it, I clicked the TV on and turned it to the news channel.
“How’s it going?” Amber popped into the room.
“Okay, I guess.” I rubbed the back of my head, groaning as my hands reached the bruise. It was better than yesterday, at least.
“Are you still up for a bike ride?” I winced. Two weeks ago, I had fallen off a bike and hit my head really hard, and it still hurt. At least, I think I did. I didn’t really remember it, but Amber told me I had. All I remembered was a burnt smell and thundering rain.
Normally, I would say no, but Amber wasn’t the kind of person that took no for an answer. She would just keep pushing until I agreed. Plus, I didn’t want it to look like I was scared in front of someone who was three years younger than me.
“Sure,” I muttered, my voice echoing against the walls.
Sighing, I got up and walked with Amber into the garage. We got on our bikes and went outside.
Pedaling as fast as I could, I raced against Amber, the wind whipping my blonde hair into my face. A few trees whizzed by as I pedaled harder.
“Wait! I’m tired!” Amber called from behind me.
Reluctantly, I slowed down to a stop and turned to her. “Do you want to go back?” Wait, what? Why was my voice echoing? I glanced around. There were no hills or trees in sight—we lived in the vast plains of Vermont. There was nothing that could cause an echo. “Do you hear that?”
“No,” she said, gazing at me curiously. Why didn’t her voice echo?
“Okay then.” Maybe I was just imagining it. As I moved my hands to turn the bike around, something stopped me. My hands wouldn’t go farther apart from each other. I yanked my hands outwards, but it was like some invisible rope was tied around my hands. “Let’s get back to the house quickly,” I mumbled to Amber, noticing that she moved her hands freely. What was going on?
Shaking my head, I biked back home, all my excitement gone. Eventually, we reached the garage and I put my bike away. As I was walking into the living room, a voice came from my ear.
I screamed and spun around, only to find no one there. Fear seemed to grip my lungs and strangle them as I stood frozen in place, horrified. Who was speaking? My heart pounded in my chest and my ears were roaring. And then I realized the voice had echoed.
“Only me.” Suddenly, I realized the voice was vaguely familiar. Where have I heard that? I spun around desperately, trying to find the source of the voice, but I couldn’t. “Calm down. Look at me. What do you see?”
A burnt smell touched my nose. I recognized it, too. Where had I smelled that? An image flashed into my head. An image of inky black liquid and rain battering against a window, cigarette smoke fogging up the view. I could faintly remember my head throbbing with pain, but that had happened when I fell off a bike, hadn’t it? Not somewhere with cigarettes and black liquid...right? I tried to remember where I had seen it, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to slip away, like trying to remember a far away dream. Pushing the thought away, I squinted my eyes and tried to look at where the voice was coming from. “I see...nothing. It’s just my house. What do you want from me?!”
“Your house? Hm, I see.” Was that glee in his voice?
“But...who are you?!” I cried, grabbing the closest thing to me and flinging it in the direction of the voice. It passed through the air as if nothing was there. But if nothing was there, then what was I hearing?
“Elizabeth. Calm down.” The voice was closer now. All of a sudden, something grabbed my arm, twisting it behind my back.
“Amber!” I screamed, but there was no response. Struggling against whatever was attacking me, I screamed and thrashed. “Help!”
I heard a chuckle, and the thing released me. That didn’t stop me from screaming and running around, trying to find Amber and get away from whatever had grabbed me.
The old man chuckled to himself as he leaned forward in his chair to look at the security camera better. Amused, he sat back and lit his cigar again as he watched the girl continue to scream. Her tied-up hands were pounding on the white brick walls of the asylum. She clawed at her scarred face and yanked her blonde hair, still screaming. The man smiled as he remembered his triumph from two weeks ago. Images of inky black liquid flashed through his mind as he remembered his long years of work, until he had finally done it on that rainy night. For two weeks, he had been monitoring her, making sure everything went as he had hoped. He had confirmed it a few minutes before, when he spoke to her. He had finally done it, after ten long years. Watching in amusement as the girl continued to shriek, he let out a puff of smoke.
The human mind is so easy to fool…
Two Ghouls Meet in a Cemetery
May's mother had died several weeks ago, however, May continued to see her at every turn. From the farmer's market to the little bookshop around the corner, May saw her mother. She had spoken to a therapist regarding the matter, but he carefully explained to her that seeing a lost loved one was a common occurrence during the grief process. But it kept happening!
May finally decided to follow this doppelganger. She was surprised to see what seemed to be her mother visiting her own grave. To her horror, the woman began to dig. May hunched over in secret, spying on the odd occurrence. When the dirt settled, May inched her way to the open casket, only to see a woman with her mother's face tear off flesh from her mother's rotting corpse.
Startled, the imposter jumped out of the grave and bite May's arm in an attempt to distract her as it fled. May dropped to the ground in extreme pain before smelling the most divinely appetizing stench she had ever come into contact with. The smell brought her to the edge of her mother's grave, and as she looked down, her mouth watered.
May awoke from her bed, writing off the whole experience as a dark dream; her psyche attempting to heal itself from the trauma of loss. She stumbled her way to the bathroom, eyes barely open. She did her usual routine, about to brush her teeth when she caught a whiff of an awful, pickled smell. She glanced in the mirror to check her teeth only to find her mother's face staring back at her in terror.
My best friend’s brother, Sam and I had been dating for what seemed like decades. Every Halloween we dressed up and went to the local bonfire. Out standing meet up time was 10:00pm and this year was no different. It wasn’t like Isabelle to be early. Which is why it makes me even more sad that she had to join her brother in death.
No longer part of this world, no longer even human, I lurk in this house of evil.
I've left my humanity behind, now I crave terror. I want to shock them, make them scream, send them running.
If I'm being honest, despite my wish to horrify them, I'm a little horrified myself. Can I do this? Can I really claim new victims?
Sure I can.... after all, a new haunt season is beginning. Bring on the opening night.... time to give these customers what they paid for and scare the hell out of them!
Dylaan stared at the way the elderly woman rolled her eyes back in her head. Saraji could not help but mumble something to keep herself calm as she waited for the woman to complete her calling to the souls that we’re still trapped in the space between the living & the dead— the one for lost souls who were trying to stay in the living realm.
The two pals held their breath. Soon they started to feel faint, and their bodies to shudder. They felt the hair at the back of their necks rise, seeing the quick movements of what seemed to be like bright lights swirling around the room.
Then they heard a piercing shriek coming from the old lady. Her head slid from her body— tumbling in the air & landing with a thunk onto the floor.
Their hearts accelerated in speed. They embraced each other, and asked in a whisper at the same time, ‘‘Is she dead?’’
The woman’s body still in the seat, with her hands placed flat on the table around a pile of bones started to twitch. Her chair was kicked back across the room, it went twisting around for a short while before it landed back on its legs by the edge of one side of the room’s wall.
Dylaan let go of Saraji ready to get out of the room and head for the stairs leading to the main hall on the ground floor. Just as he was about to open the door, something grabbed him by his collar, & tossed him onto the floor.
Saraji closed her eyes, while she did that Dylaan did a flip from the dark wooden floor landing right on his two feet. He froze in his tracks, the same thing that had pulled him was now right behind Saraji.
The head that had been on the floor was now on the table, it winked at Dylaan. Then shut its eyes, and once they were opened- a portal emerged by the table.
Saraji had been yelling the whole time. Dylaan was too shaken to try and move to attempt a rescue.
He could not move from his spot. Saraji was taken along for the journey to the other side— by the headless old woman’s body. Dylaan saw the head jump from the table- in a somersault fashion into the portal.
When he tried to reach it, the portal closed. He slammed his hands onto the table with a great force, it split in two.
His eyes glowed like fire. Dylaan stepped back and wondered how he’d managed to do that.
He looked at his hands~ they were glowing like an ember. Dylaan then heard a whisper loud and clear from something inside of him.
‘Channel all your inner energy and use it to save the girl!’
Dylaan was not sure if he could trust the sound of the voice. It was one that he had never heard before.
But he was not going to let Saraji be whisked away into the strange realm. He took a deep breath, and as he focused…flames of fire appeared forming a burning rim around a portal. Dylaan stepped into the portal, and hoped in his heart that Saraji was still alive.
#/ˈsāˌäns/ (c) 25.07.2022