Mirco Horror Stories 
Don’t leave the circle, the old man had told them. How long ago had that been? Two hours? Six? Twelve? Time meant little trapped in this small chalk ring.
Cindi had tagged along with Belinda in the hopes that she could get the attention of Max. She didn’t believe in witchcraft or devil worship, but she was willing to feign it if the tall hunk would give notice her.
Arriving at the deserted manor house, Cindi expected them to spend a half-hour jumping at shadows and echoes before deciding to find a cheap dive which served cheaper liquor. Then she would be able to press close to Max and feel the warmth of his arms around her.
But Belinda’s boyfriend had prepared a surprise. Using contacts through his coven, Smithy had arranged for a Satanist to meet them and perform a summoning.
Not a stranger to psychics herself, Cindi knew the routine. They would sit at a table and await messages from the departed to be uttered from the old man’s lips. She soon learned there was a difference between a séance and a summoning.
The old man had already prepared a room, drawing a perfect circle in black chalk on the wooden floor. Evenly spaced around the circle, seven candles burned. The man bade them sit in the ring, facing outward, as he stood behind them and began chanting in a strange language.
The first sensation Cindi felt was pins and needles in her backside. This had better be worth it, she thought. That bar better have plenty of alcohol.
From the corner of her eye, she saw movement in the distance. When she turned her head, she dismissed as her imagination, or the smoke wafting up from the candles. But the rasping breathing that came from the dark corner could not be blamed on a trick of the light.
Dabbing sweat from her forehead, Cindi realised the temperature was rising.
‘It’s getting hot,’ she announced.
‘As hot as Hell,’ Smithy answered in an awestruck tone.
‘Not funny,’ Belinda moaned, playfully punching him. As she moved to deliver the blow, her legs brushed a candlestick and knocked it into the room.
‘I’ll get it,’ Belinda giggled, and crawled to reach the fallen candle.
Her hand passed over the chalk line.
In an instant, a mouth that wasn’t visible a moment before clamped down on Belinda’s wrist. She did not have time to scream before the beast – a dog-like thing the size of a horse – pulled her from her friends and whisked her away into the gloom.
Smithy jumped to his feet and called out Belinda’s name.
‘Go get her, man,’ Max encouraged.
‘I would get her,’ Smithy said, ‘but I can’t leave the circle.’
‘Coward,’ Max scoffed as he stood up. He stepped to the edge of the chalk outline.
‘Don’t do it,’ Smithy said.
Shaking his head, Max strode forward.
His foot never touched the ground. Barbed tentacles dropped from above, wrapping themselves around Max’s limb. As he was yanked upward, more tentacles reached from the darkness, gripping and squeezing him. Blood poured from his open mouth, distorting his scream into a gurgling cough.
Max was lifted from sight, disappearing to the sound of tearing meat.
That was hours ago but the noise still reverberated in Cindi’s ears. The only other sound was the old man’s incessant chanting, which she now understood was the only thing holding back the creatures of Hell.
How much longer could he keep it up? she wondered.
Terry hated gardening. The back-breaking work, the unpredictable weather, the dirt that got under his fingernails. There was nothing about the chore that he enjoyed. But the worst thing, the part that made his scalp tighten in fear, were the bugs.
Even in the smallest area, there was no end to the diversity of creepy-crawlies present. From earth worms to woodlice, spiders to ants, beetles to centipedes, Terry found nothing natural about the average garden’s ecosystem.
So to find himself bitten by a tiny critter that quickly flutter-scurried away came as no surprise to him. What was shocking was the amount of pain the wound caused. His fingertip pulsed madly, throbbing in time with his elevated heartbeat.
He lifted his hand to inspect the injury and almost fainted at the sight of the puncture marks. The bite had not just broken his skin once; there were nine or ten tiny holes in the shape of a ring. Red beads og blood appeared.
To staunch the flow, Terry pressed down tightly on his finger. The resulting agony caused him to scream out. His whole finger now felt ablaze. As he stared in disbelief, he watched as something pushed against his skin. Something pushed his skin outwards as it crawled inside of him.
His stomach lurched at the thought of a creature eating at his body from the inside. He had to get it out. It was already past his second knuckle, wriggling its way to his hand.
Stomping over to the potting shed, Terry rooted around for the trowel-sized fork. He pulled out the tool and pressed the middle prong against the soft flesh of his finger, directly in the path of the parasite. He took a deep breath, then plunged the blade in.
His eyesight blurred and his head swam from the pain. He could taste blood and realised he had bitten through his bottom lip.
When his vision cleared, he looked at the damage. His finger was dangling from his hand, attached only by a strip of skin. Bile rose in his throat, but he swallowed it down with grim pride. He may well lose the finger, but it was better than allowing something nasty to live inside him.
When he saw movement under his palm, he almost wept.
Whatever had entered him had somehow escaped his attack. To make things worse, it seemed to be growing. The line that moved under his skin, less than a centimetre when it had been in his digit, was now nearly an inch in length.
His hand itched as the creature crept closer to his wrist.
Acting on instinct alone, Terry lifted the fork and lunged at the offending hand. He saw the three tines pierce his palm, heard the splitting of flesh and cracking of bone, watched the fork emerge from the back of his hand – but he felt none of it. The only feeling he had was revulsion as the thing under his skin worked its way around the foreign object and inched further up his hand.
Terry tried to pull the fork from his hand but it was stuck fast, most likely wedges against the many hand bones. But the fork had not been successfully in ridding him of the invader – he needed something better, a more powerful tool.
As the beast moved from his mangled hand to his wrist, Terry knew what he must do.
He stumbled to the shed, pulled the door open with his good hand and saw his salvation. Terry’s insane laugh of victory was drowned under the roaring engine of the chainsaw.