When Erica Walks in Darkness


© Sue Vincent

Erica knew she had been down this corridor before but she couldn’t remember when. She wanted to stop, turn around, and go back the way she’d come, but she didn’t recall where she’d been before now. The corridor was cold but it felt warm ahead where the light was coming from.

“Come now, Erica. Don’t dawdle.”

A man’s voice. He sounded familiar but she didn’t know from where.

She took another step forward, then another. She stopped and looked down. A simple, white blouse, plain woolen skirt with the hem down to her knees, black patent leather shoes. She was dressed almost like a schoolgirl, but she knew she was an adult. Erica started walking toward the light again. Then she was at the entrance to the room.

Even standing at the threshold, it was hard to see. There was a fireplace, a piano, chairs, a small sofa, all early 19th century, all very expensive. The portrait over the mantle was of a distinguished gentleman. It was the same man who had called to her, who was standing just to the right of the very same mantle holding a drink in his left hand. He offered it to her.

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Stop Me From Falling


From p90music.com

“It makes no sense to be falling…you’ve got her, I’ve got him, should not even be calling…”

“It’s not a good idea for you to call me, Jonny. There’s someone else. If he finds out about you, he’ll kill you or worse.”

“Then why did you give me your number?”

“It was a mistake. I shouldn’t have done that. You should hang up now.”

“I can’t. Ever since that night, I can’t stop thinking about you.”

“You have to stop. It was a one-night stand, nothing more. You should stay with Lucy.”

“How do you know about…?”

“She’s good for you. Leave me alone. You don’t know where a relationship with me will lead but I promise, it’s no place you want to go.”

She broke the connection before he could respond.

“Jonny, what are you doing?”

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The Beginning of the Fall


BART West Oakland Station – © Jeremiah Cox

The First Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

Running and out of breath, Sean Becker barely made it to the Embarcadero Station in time to get on the 6:13 train east. He was just another commuter ending another workday like the hundreds around him.  He couldn’t possibly imagine that tonight was the beginning of the end of everything he had ever known and the advent of an eternal nightmare.

He squeezed into the crowded car and found a pole to hang onto as the doors shut and the train started moving. It would take almost an hour to get to the Dublin/Pleasanton Station and another 20 to 30 minutes to drive home. At least he didn’t have to live as far away as Tracy or even further from the City just to afford a home.

The horrible Bay Bridge Toll Booth crash yesterday had made commuting on BART a total mess as people who normally drove were forced to take the rail system. He silently endured, reminding himself to be grateful to Jesus that he had a good job, and that they’d bought their home in Dublin when it was still affordable. God was good. He was good to give him a wonderful wife like Janet and three beautiful children to care for.

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The Last Night at Freddy’s

dantdm fnaf


“So what did you think, Grandpa?”

“What did I think? Where did you hear about Five Nights at Freddy’s, Landon? The DanTDM YouTube videos were pretty scary.”

“Grandpa, I’ve faced real magical danger with Buddy. This is only a game.”

“Well, I guess so, but as old fashioned as I am, I don’t think this is very good entertainment for an eight-year-old.”

Landon and Grandpa were spending the weekend together and had been sitting on the sofa in the living room watching a series of videos on Grandpa’s iPad involving a really popular and really scary video game series. Daddy and Landon’s sister Dani were visiting Aunt Jamie in California and Buddy had been spending the past week in a small pocket dimension meditating and studying. All of the adventures they’d been having over the past year had caused him to lose time in his own investigation of magic and improvement as a mystic master, and he finally was able to get back to what he needed.

“Oh, come on, Grandpa. It’s just harmless fun.”

“Scary fun, Landon.”

“I’m not scared.”

“Oh, how about how high you jumped whenever there was a jump scare.”

“You jumped too, Grandpa.”

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Audrey of the Sewers



© A Mixed Bag 2014

“Hey, kid.”

Twelve-year-old Jeff Edwards was crossing the street when he heard it.

“Down here.”

He looked down at the sewer drain.

“Come a little closer.”

“What the…?”

“Wait! It’s not what you think.”

Jeff stopped. The drain was securely grated so he figured nothing could get out. Then he felt something. A little vine had wrapped around his ankle. He pulled but was stuck.

“No, stop!”

“C’mon, I haven’t had a descent meal in forever. Getting tired of rats, mice, and dead goldfish.”

“Somebody help me!”

The vine got stronger, growing sharp spines.

“Just a few toes, I promise.”

“Ka-chunk”. Jeff saw Old Man Henderson slamming his ax down on the vine cutting it in two.

“Run, boy.”

Jeff jumped to the sidewalk.

“Figured this thing’d grown back by now.” He was wearing a metal tank on his back. The sexagenarian grabbed the tank’s hose by the nozzle and sprayed liquid into the grate.

“No. Please. Crap, that hurts. Stop.”

The plant’s voice faded. Jeff looked and saw nothing green was there anymore.

“Damn plant,” cursed Henderson. “My neighbor Seymour dumped it in the sewer but the alien keeps coming back. Herbicide’ll put it down. Best run along, Jeffy.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for 12 November 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

When I saw the sewer grate, I immediately thought of the 2017 film It based on Stephen King’s novel. I’ve never seen the film and never will (mainly because I don’t find being scared to death entertaining), but I’ve seen the advertising and the image of the clown peeking out of the sewer drain in the gutter is iconic.

However, I didn’t want to just re-write the same story and seeing a bit of plant life growing out of the grate, I took a look at the 1986 version of the movie Little Shop of Horrors based on the off-Broadway play and starring Rick Moranis as florist Seymour Krelborn.

In that movie (which I’ve never seen either), Seymour used an alien plant he named Audrey II (the original Audrey is his girlfriend) to draw business to his florist shop before realizing that the plant liked to eat human flesh and blood. The film ended when Seymour electrocuted the plant which destroyed his shop. Subsequently, he and Audrey married and settled down in the suburbs. However, a smiling Audrey II bud can be seen among the flowers in the front yard in the movie’s last scene.

I decided to extend that idea, having Seymour find the bud and flush it down the toilet. Audrey II survives, but old man Henderson, having discovered the carnivorous plant and realizing what it was, keeps it in check each spring with his ax and a tank of herbicide. He’d been working in his yard when he heard Jeff scream and, knowing what happened, grabbed what he needed and put Audrey II down for another year.

I just wrote this tale for the fun of it, mixing a serious horror movie with a horror-comedy musical.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Halloween 2017: The Stalker


© Tanya Setyaeva – Original art from Theme of Absence

Last year I participated in a Halloween writing contest at Theme of Absence. I didn’t win, but my story The Stalker was subsequently published. Because October 31st is upon us once again, I thought I would present the beginning here and then a link to the full tale below. Enjoy.

The girl panicked when she literally stumbled over my last victim. The body had been steadily decomposing at the bottom of that shallow gully for months, and it must have been pretty disgusting to trip over and nearly fall on top of a rotting corpse.

The poor girl. She can’t be older than sixteen. She had gone for a walk through the forest near the cabin her friends had rented, the sun went down, and she got lost.

She’s running blindly now, certain she can hear my breathing, my heavy footfalls, the rustling of tree branches I push aside as I stalk her. It’s a deception to get her moving. She could hardly suspect the truth.

I know she’s not an adult, but I’m very attracted to her. She’s shapely, great hips, firm breasts, but even dressed in those skimpy cutoffs and tight t-shirt, I can tell she’s still not really confident about her appearance. I think she dresses that way to prove to herself she’s sexy. She really is. I’ll enjoy myself inside of her.

To read the complete story click here.

Halloween 2017: Rising of the Ancient


Image: tvtropes.org

I originally wrote this over a year ago and thought it might be appropriate to present it again, this been Halloween and all. Remember, on Halloween, not everything is as it seems.

Adam and Sarah Hartley cautiously began their descent into the tomb. The illumination from their flashlights revealed the ancient stone steps leading down into the darkness and into history. They also believed they were being led downward into the ultimate enlightenment.

The Hartleys were the world’s most famous married Biblical Archeology team. Well regarded by both other archeologists and Christian researchers, they were credited with several important finds between 2020 and 2045, including the true burial-place of the Apostle Mark. It was long supposed that his body was stolen from Alexandria in a barrel of pork and was put to rest in the city of Venice, but the Hartleys discovered a codex that revealed this to be a ruse. The following year, they located the remains of Mark in his original tomb on the outskirts of the modern Egyptian city of Alexandria.

Now, Adam and Sarah are in Egypt again, this time investigating what could be the most important find of their careers. If the scroll they had discovered and translated last year was right, it would be the most significant discovery of the last two-thousand years: the true final resting place of Jesus Christ.

For the full story, click here.

Stones in the Forest


© Yarnspinnerr

You got me out here to see a pile of cement, Jeremy?”

“I tell you there’s something inside the concrete.”

“If this is what you brought me out here for…”

Fifteen-year-old Jill turned in a huff but her age-mate Jeremy grabbed her arm. Everyone thought they were dating, but they’d been best friends since second grade and they still were.

“Last night I was on the trail at sunset and saw a glow from over here.”

“You think it was this?”

“I think it was something.”

She sighed. “Okay, we’ll wait.”

A breeze picked up. They both shivered but not from the chill. As the last rays of daylight faded, the strange object began to glow an eerie light and the two could see the pile of stones inside.

“I told you.”

“Jeremy, I’m freaked. Let’s go.”

She turned and tried to walk away but her feet were frozen. They both looked down and saw why. Skeletal hands were grasping their feet and ankles. The next morning, the disguised cairn would be two people taller.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of October 31, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to craft a tale of between 100 and 175 words. My word count is 175.

I’m actually disappointed with my effort and maybe given more time, I could have come up with something different, but two teenagers alone in the woods as the sun goes down and then encountering something evil leading to their horrifying demise seemed to be what was in order…in other words a typical 1980s horror movie. After all, as I write this tomorrow is Halloween.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Abandoning the Dead


A gravestone in the cemetery of the brutal penal colony on Norfolk Island. Photograph: Lawrence Bartlett/AFP/Getty Images

Reverend Percy finally convinced the Church of England to relocate the Mission to the Solomons, ostensibly to be closer to the population of focus.

“Leaving our company now, Reverend?” A familiar voice chuckled from the darkness.

“I have no power here to dispel your kind, even in the name of Jesus Christ.”

“Your Savior won’t consort with us, Reverend. He’s already consigned us to the deepest pits of Hell. Best you pack and scurry off to that ship yonder.”

“Sir, I now abandon you to God’s mercy.”

“God abandoned us long ago with good reason. We all earned the gallows…would have perished except for Norfolk.”

Percy ran with his case to the open door. “I leave you and your sinful brethren, Mr. Robert Knowles.”

In 1920 the Melanesian Mission abandoned the former penal colony to the blacked souls of all the prisoners who lived and died there, and yet live on.

I composed this wee tale for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps street image and location and use them as the inspiration in crafting a story no more than 150 words long. My word count (after a lot of editing as the original was over 100 words longer) is exactly 150. Today, the Pegman takes us to Norfolk Island.

I did a bit of Wikipedia research and discovered that it was yet another penal colony back in the day. What made it unique is that prisoners who had been sent to the Australian penal colony and who continued to commit crimes that should have earned them the gallows were then sent to Norfolk, a place of unspeakable brutality and sin according to this report.

I also learned that the island had been the headquarters of the Church of England’s Melanesian Mission between 1867 and 1920. In 1920, the mission was moved from Norfolk to the Solomon islands to be closer to their “population of focus,” but in my story, I suggest that it really moved because the hordes of blackened souls of all the damned prisoners of the colony horribly haunted and tortured the good Reverend in charge.

The mission finally abandoned the island of Norfolk, which had become a Hell on Earth. Being so close to Halloween, I thought I should turn the prompt into a ghost story. Of course, all this is fiction as are the names of the two people in my tiny saga.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

It’s Safe Now


© Roger Bultot

“It’s over Grandpa. Sun’s coming up. We’ll be okay.”

Timmy’s Grandfather lay asleep on the duck blind’s floor. Yesterday, they’d been hunting and got lost. Couldn’t find the truck. Sun was going down when they saw the first in a forgotten graveyard.

These zombies were real. Fought them off while their ammo lasted. Grandpa got scratched, but they hid back in the blind. It’s over now.

“Grandpa?” Timmy shook the old man. “Wake up.”

Bloodshot eyes oozing yellow mucus snapped open. It grabbed Timmy’s arms fast.

“Grandpa, no!”

Just because the sun comes up doesn’t mean the monsters go away.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge of 27 October 2017. The idea is to use the image above to inspire crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

Decades ago, I saw the 1968 black and white film Night of the Living Dead on TV. I don’t like horror films beyond the old 1930s-1950s Universal horror films (Frankenstein, Werewolf, and such), but this was supposed to be a classic.

As expected, I was scared out of my wits and the movie has a tragic, ironic ending. Today, television is full of zombie-type shows, and I refuse to watch any of them. But it is “Halloween week” and horror stories are expected, so I thought I’d create one (though it’s not my first).

Poor Timmy.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.