Horror in Straw

straw people

Photo credit: Ellespeth

On a school field trip, third-graders Tony and Martha decided to do a little independent exploring. Slipping away from the rest of the group, they headed into a secluded field.

“I think they’re some kind of scarecrows or something.” The boy wrinkled his nose in thought.

“That seems silly. I mean they look like they’re working, and they’re…” she blushed gazing at the straw women’s attributes. “…women.”

“Let’s have a closer look.” Tony started to run forward.

“Wait! Remember? The farmer told Mr. Pushkin none of us were allowed in this field, and that it was dangerous.”

He turned back toward her. “Oh, come on. We aren’t going to hurt anything. I just want to…”

“Tony! Get out of there!”

He saw the expression of horror on Martha’s face and then spun toward the field. The straw people were moving. One of them was swinging her ax at him menacingly.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of April 24, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 150.

Yes, I noticed the two straw people were supposed to be women, and of course, the first thing I thought of was that they were haunted.

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

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Strange History’s Prelude

seatac

A Delta flight comes in for a landing at Sea-Tac Airport which had record passenger growth in June. (Ellen M Banner/The Seattle Times)

The day Leon Spencer made bail, he followed the instructions of the lawyer who posted it for him and stopped off at his post office box. Sure enough, there was a cashier’s check for more money than he made in a year as a Marine Gunnery Sergeant. Those days were long gone and so, he thought, was his career until he read the email from Carson Everett. There wasn’t much that fazed him anymore, not after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, but he could still be impressed.

“Fuckin’ eh.” The six-foot tall, African-American Marine turned merc, turned “security consultant,” stared at the check in his hand and the note that came with it, which repeated Everett’s instructions to take the first flight to Seatac.

He visited his crappy apartment for the last time to pack a few things, noticing the bales of useless papers, magazines, and other junk he’d be happy to part with. Leon took everything that still had worth to him (which wasn’t much), and beat it out to O’Hare, happy to give Chicago the middle finger.

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Curse of the Mini-Mummy

mummies

© A Mixed Bag 2013

“Oh you’re not actually indulging him in this obsession, are you?” Jean saw the three toy Egyptian mummies, one with the sarcophagus open revealing an unwrapped head. “Ever since you showed Jimmy those stupid old movies, he can’t get enough of them.”

“Relax. It’s just a phase. I went through it when I was his age. Those Mummy films are classics.”

Mike’s wife stormed off in disgust wondering if her husband ever really grew up.

“Jimmy, come here. I’ve got something for you.”

The nine-year-old rushed into his Grandpa’s study room. “Oh wow! Where did you get those?”

“A little curio shop on the south side. They sell all kinds of strange stuff. I thought you’d be interested. The box even contains what the shopkeeper called ‘Tana leaves’.”

“Real Tana leaves?”

“Probably not, but you can pretend.”

Later that night, when his grandparents were in the living room watching TV, Jimmy began the ancient rite he’d seen in those 1940s movies, burning three of the leaves in a small bowl. Tonight was the full moon, and as the fumes from the Tana leaves reached the partly unwrapped miniature mummy, its eyes began to glow.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for March 18th 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 194.

The “mummies” in the photo are obviously small and fake, but they gave me an idea. I mined elements of old Universal studios monster movies such as The Mummy’s Hand (1940) and The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) to create my wee tale. What will happen when the fumes from the Tana leaves brings these “mini-mummies” to life?

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

Reaper

soul sucker

Photo credit: Google – Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

“Come on, lover. Don’t be shy. We’ve got the room for an hour. Let’s have fun.”

The money had already changed hands and Angel was lying on the bed with her blouse open and her jeans tossed on the floor.

“Can’t say I’m shy, Baby.” He pulled off his shirt and got on top of her. He’d seen her on a street corner just off of Fremont Street and they settled on a price. She thought he was a dope because he didn’t haggle, but then it wasn’t just money that she wanted, and she certainly wasn’t doing it for the sex.

“Just a little bit closer. Come on. I don’t bite.” She almost laughed because she was lying through her teeth.

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Aftermath

train

The Sunset Limited eastbound in 2004 – Found at Wikipedia

The Eleventh Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

Jonathan Harker had boarded the Amtrak train hours ago at the station on Folsom Street. He’d never been on a train in his life besides BART and the Napa Valley Wine Train but these were part of the instructions he’d been given. He’d have rather gotten on a plane. Jonny wanted to leave of the Bay Area behind. Watching the scenery roll by all too slowly reminded him of her and she was the one person in all the world he desperately wanted to forget, though of course he never would.

He had met Dolengen months ago at an after hours place called “Delirium.” His best friend Bobby had conned him into it. Bobby knew he’d just asked Lucy to marry him but his “wingman” thought he deserved one last night on the town. Bobby wanted to introduce him to two young women he’d just met, Verona and Dol.

It wasn’t long before Verona and Bobby disappeared and almost against his will, he found himself following the raven-haired Dol into a back room containing few other items of furniture besides a bed.

Dol wasn’t a prostitute but she did want something from Jonny, his sex and his blood. Dolengen looked like she couldn’t be older than twenty-five but she had died a century ago in Central Europe and been reborn a vampire.

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Cursed

voodoo queen

Wearing a tignon, Angela Bassett channels voodoo queen Marie Laveau. Michele K. Short/FX – From “American Horror Story.”

The Tenth Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

New Orleans, Louisiana – 1972

“You cannot leave us, Catherine. Family ties are too strong. You must come back to us.”

“No, Mama Sallie, I can’t.

“You love this boy?”

“He’s a man, Mama Sallie. I do love him. He’s asked me to marry him.”

“He’s from the outside, Cathy. I approved you going to their schools so we could have educated men and women in our Family. You have not been fully initiated because we need daywalkers to guard us, but we could initiate him, make him one of us.”

“I know he wouldn’t want that, Mama.”

Sallie rose up on her throne, her ire illuminated by candlelight. “You told him?”

“No, Mama Sallie. I swear. It’s just that no one wants the initiation.”

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Tangency and Darkness

dracula

Promotional image for “Theatre68 presents Dracula”

Jessica had no way of knowing that her relationship with Everett was a moment of tangency and thus was doomed to end as abruptly as it began.

She always met him on the veranda behind her Father’s house. Summer nights in Georgia were sultry and each moment that passed as she waited for the sun to set was as fragile as a butterfly’s wings. Jessica could feel drops of sweat describe tiny rivulets across the tops of her mocha breasts and then down her cleavage. She held her thighs close together and swayed slightly with a warm breeze as the final rays of daylight succumbed to the rule of the kings of darkness.

Then he appeared on the far side of the manicured lawn and yet she could hear his voice as if he were whispering in her ear. “Come.”

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Tell Them Daddy’s Gone To Bed

howlin wolf

Promotional image for the track “Moanin’ At Midnight” by “Howlin’ Wolf” (Chester Arthur Burnett)

“Yes sir, this is the Parks residence. No sir, he can’t come to the phone right now.”

“Betty, who are you talking to on the telephone?” Lillie Parks was home alone with her two little daughters and especially when her husband Arthur was out, he was very protective of the children.

“Says it’s the police, Mama.”

“Let me have the phone, Baby.”

Eight-year-old Betty handed the black, plastic receiver to her Mama.

“This is Mrs. Lillie Parks. May I help you?”

“Yes, Ma’am. This is Officer Bill Tucker. Is Arthur Parks your husband?”

Lillie gripped the phone tighter and she began to tremble. No, if he were dead, the police would have come to the door, not called. “Yes he is, Officer.” She tried to be as polite as she could, not only because that was part of her natural tendency but because of how the police treated “uppity” Negros.

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Love’s Blood

mausoleum

© Sue Vincent

“…I met this girl…she ruined my philosophy…my heart skips a beat when she comes around”

From “I’d Rather Have A Love” performed by Joe
Writer(s): Derek Louis Allen, Gerald Isaac, Alvin Jerome Garrett

Even knowing this is what her father wanted, what she wanted, Zachary wasn’t sure he could do it. He loved Deborah very much and he believed she still adored him. It was only because of their love for each other that he was now walking across the manicured lawn in the back of his estate in the bright morning sunshine contemplating murder.

No, it wouldn’t be murder for the simple reason that she was already dead; dead, interned, and yet not dead.

The small duffel bag felt heavy in his right hand, not due to the weight of its lethal contents but that of his heart. He’d almost accepted Peretz’s offer to help him, but it would have been a terrible burden to place upon a father who had lost his only daughter once and now was about to lose her again. Yes, he was losing her, but he had convinced him that as her husband, he had to be the one to save her.

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That Which Burns

collage

Collage from Sunday Writing Prompt #240 “Collage Prompt 39” at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

“She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close.” -Terry Pratchett

Tyler Melody Ross sat masked in her padded cell in the sanatorium in upstate New York. In the common room, the first game of the 1954 World Series pitting the New York Giants against the Cleveland Indians was playing on the radio, but Tyler never was taken to the common room. She was kept continually sedated, not unconscious, but groggy enough so she could be handled. In that way, she could be fed, her toilet needs taken care of (and menstrual needs for five days every month), and walked around her cell for twenty minutes to get a bit of exercise. Other than that, she was alone and isolated, and the staff felt all the safer because of it.

The mask was heavily laced with asbestos as were the walls of her cell. There was no window, but a barred panel in her door where the glass could be slid open provided air. Her hands were encased in mittens, not that she really needed them, but if she were to have a lucid moment or two, she would be unable to remove the mask. At all costs the mask must remain on her face for the rest of her life.

No treatment had worked, not drug treatments, not electroshock, not repeated dunkings in ice water, they all failed to cure or even marginally improve Tyler’s condition. So she remained drugged, provided brief company only out of legal and medical necessity, and otherwise was left to ponder whatever dreams she entertained inside her difficult and diseased mind.

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