Every Writers Resource.com – 2019 Halloween Short Story Contest.
Well, I won… surreal.
My 106th story “The Midnight Incubator” won; out of 4000+ other competitor entries. I was extremely fortunate enough to have drafted something that tickled the ear of the website curator. The contest was a blast, as it stands I also received an offer to judge next year’s competition.
The winning 50 word story can be seen here:
Submitted for your approval are 200 Tiny Terrors of effort (sans the one above).
Starting off with one of my favorites, then the rest. Hopefully you can see some progression and the struggles of tight writing with a fifty word limit.
Maybe a few might tickle your Ulnar Nerve.
AULD LANG SYNE (190929 #21)
The Class Reunion was bustling, old friends reminisced by the bar, while others ghoulishly gossiped about peers that had passed.
“…and Kathy died in ‘05, choked on nachos,” he added.
“How horrible, that poor girl,” came the reply.
Music played on.
“Hey, the food’s here,” he said, “…want some chips?”
REAR VIEW (190916 #1)
Careless owner backs over dog.
The crushed mongrel’s anus ejects streamers of
moist entrails across manicured Kentucky green.
Midnight door scratches,
Invisible paws tic-tac across hardwood floor.
Doubts, dismissals, regrets.
Toothy chops shred flesh.
Shrieks silenced, ruby viscera– remain.
FOOL’S COLD (190917 #2)
Bloodied fingers move toppled rock in a dank cavern.
A headlamp dwindles black.
Bedazzling torchlight pierces darkness and gouges orbits into cindered hollows.
Agonized cries reverberate through smoky shafts, and a leprechaun laughs.
Progress measured inches by hour, stayed, as the sickness of greed seals a man’s fate.
EVER THE TWAIN (190918 #3)
A hapless victim struggles in a dingy kitchen, and a cleaver-wielding maniac savors the terror.
Roaches scurry into trash-strewn corners as unsure feet slip upon gore spattered tiles.
Dozens of unanswered pleas fall prey to psychopathic desires.
After frenzied hefting and hacking, long harbored schizoid delusions trickle, ebb, and cease.
TIGHT QUARTERS (190918 #4)
An unresponsive audience ignored the street mime’s invisible box routine.
Anguished, the performer produced an imaginary wand, and with a flick, demon hordes appeared, ripping the crowd asunder.
When the carnage drew to an end, foul creatures were cast away.
After exiting the transparent sanctuary, he collected the well-earned, blood-money.
BY DEMONS DRIVEN (190918 #5)
“I hate this place!” the angry boy screamed.
An embarrassed family entered the church.
“I’d chomp apples with razor blades to watch him smear shit on a priest,” a shadow whispered.
“After the crash, he’s ours to corrupt,” a raspy reply.
Unseen malevolence infiltrated the empty car and silently waited.
MEAT SAUCE (190921 #6)
Raoul made boisterous last minute demands for Giovanni’s raviolis.
After serving him, the waitstaff focused on cleaning and remained absent.
He was found later, blood-drained and dead.
The police were baffled by tiny bites on his tongue and the crimson trail that zigzagged from his mouth to the table’s edge.
SNUFFED OUT (190924 #7)
The furnace had died.
It’d been months since Ed dared to enter the cellar where his wife broke her neck falling downstairs.
He stood past the threshold staring at rickety steps.
Suddenly, the door slammed behind, sending him tumbling below, twisting his head practically off.
Distant laughter filled the darkness.
TOP ‘EAVY (190924 #8)
Belladonna wore a progression of corsets, fixated on a shrinking waistline.
One night after removing her bodice, weakened muscles strained to support the upper torso and her spine snapped.
Paralyzed in the dressing room, dying, lingered cries went unheard.
It’s rumored that the lopsided ghost still haunts local burlesque circuits.
THE SINISTER OVERWASH (190925 #9)
Scrambling up wet rip-rap, he watched in horror as the dog struggled beneath the blackened waves.
According to Indigenous legends, Hobomock lived under the ledges of the Cohasset shores.
The inhabitant of Gull Island knew this truth well and prayed that the Evil One’s slurping noises would vanish, satiated.
CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (190925 #10)
Hank’s water rations diminished and he hadn’t eaten for weeks.
Communication from the next cell with Phil ceased days ago.
Was he freed?
A tray of warm ham steaks was slid through the door.
He voraciously devoured the meat as his hopes for release grew.
Hank’s torture session…had just begun.
YOU’RE SUFFOCATING ME (190925 #11)
“I’ll always cherish our private moments together,” he whispered.
Jake’s fingers laced together around the bare neck, his grip tightened slowly and compressed until the popping, wheezing sounds were no more.
The inflatable sex doll lay motionless taunting him from the bed, while Beth’s fresh corpse rested in the bathtub.
CARNE-VAL (190926 #12)
Jane had borne years of his abuse, faced with scandal she sought revenge.
“This stew is spicy, meat so tasty,” he said.
“It’s seasoned with nightshade, and the meat, well…you’re partial to that heifer any how.” she replied.
Choking on vomit, Dick died with bits of mistress between his teeth.
EASY COME, UNEASY GO (190926 #13)
He hadn’t passed his bowels in days.
There was a pounding in the stall’s door.
“Hold on,” he grunted, struggling to accomplish something.
“Wait a damn second!” he replied.
The door burst open, a zombie shambled inward reeking with the foul stench of decay.
Bud’s constipation was finally resolved.
DON’T GET CHUMMY WITH ME (190926 #14)
Julie tanned on the dock, lounging her legs in the cool lake.
Shrill screams echoed as her toeless foot suddenly arose from red waters.
A fanged creature sloshed onto the bloodied platform.
Fleeing for safety she dove deep into the murkiness, only to be met by the thing’s gluttonous brood.
JEEPERS CREEPERS (190927 #15)
Toby wrapped the stretched gum several times around his head, prompting an emergency barber visit.
“Kids will be kids,” the stylist said before releasing a noticeable gasp.
The parted hair revealed a milky eyeball blinking from the rear of the child’s head.
“That’s my secret friend, Mr. Peepers…” the boy whispered.
UNLEASH THE TERROR (190927 #16)
“Spare me the, in the darkness lurks a monster, and it’s me, routine.” the detective said.
“But…”replied the writer.
“Give me the real story, I’m tired of your bullshit.”
“If you insist…”
The suspect’s form changed instantly and razor sharp teeth chomped deep into the startled officer’s throat.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME..? (190927 #17)
He nervously waited, anticipating the best time to surrender to his desires.
Tonight was the night, his night.
Super Bowl Sunday was here.
He removed the glass bowl from the refrigerator and tore open fogged cling-wrap.
Digging into chilled sockets with a melon-scoop, he enjoyed two tender, juicy, bloodshot, balls.
THE UN-FRESH PRINCE (190928 #18 Revised Final)
The boisterous man was bound in the basement, his smug demeanor fleeting.
His mouth was gagged, crammed thick with cobwebs from the rafters above.
A newfound silence was relished.
Soon, several liters of Will’s blood were siphoned neatly into jars, a resplendent wine
bottled by The Black Widow of Bel-Air.
A DYING BREED (190928 #19 Revised Final)
“No more scraps,” the skeletal lump huffed from the observation room’s corner,
The creature’s slow, painful, starvation saga dragged on.
It had been months since scientists discovered the last remaining book on earth,
and with its peculiar nourishment modality, the Legit Librorum was three pages away from extinction.
IN THE WING (190928 #20 SUBMITTED)
Cindy watched old horror movies in her living room late one night.
The last flick ended with the monster hunter stating,
“There is always something worse, waiting.”
Just then, a hallway door slowly creaked open, and from the dark recesses of the other room something hissed, “Yes, there is indeed…”
AULD LANG SYNE (190929 #21)
The Class Reunion was bustling, old friends reminisced by the bar, while others ghoulishly gossiped about peers that had passed.
“…and Kathy died in ‘05, choked on nachos,” he added.
“How horrible, that poor girl,” came the reply.
Music played on.
“Hey, the food’s here,” he said, “…want some chips?”
THE TUNNEL OF LOVE (190929 #22)
One night, two gelatinous slugs crawled into a snoring man’s mouth.
He suffered all night with intestinal pains.
The next day, bloated with pressure, he hid in the office bathroom and passed out, slumping to the floor.
His co-workers were shocked and totally unprepared for the baby shower that ensued.
UNHAPPY TRAILS (190929 #23)
Buck slashed a knife across the carpet.
He giggled as a headless body twitched and black antennae ebbed distress.
That evening a dark blanket undulated from the ceiling,
and when it dropped the boy was smothered.
Later his bones remained, the rest was stripped away by thousands of tiny mandibles.
BOUND TOGETHER (190930 #24)
He took the severed fingers and tapped them on his lips, checking for warmth.
“Can we save them?” he asked.
“I think so,” came the reply.
A suitable container was found and the fingers were placed inside.
The accomplice patiently waited for each successive snip and collected the remaining digits
UPON FURTHER DIGESTION (190930 #25)
The werewolf pack lounged after their nightly kill.
“Maybe we should go vegan,” the Alpha offhandedly said with a belch.
The group grew silent.
“The Board considers your leadership way past its prime,” asserted the whelp.
The underlings howled.
After the fray, scraps were evenly distributed from the hostile takeover.
NOW YOU SEE ME…(190930 #26)
“A volunteer please…”
The crowd demurred and a noble man approached the stage.
A mallet was produced from thin air,
instantly the magician drove his wooden wand into The Count’s heart.
The vampire audience gasped as dust trickled.
“And for my last routine, a vanishing act,” said Master Magician Dr.V.H.Sing.
CAGEY UNDERPINNINGS (190930 #27)
The exterminator crawled deep into the building’s conduits after the emergency call.
Sweaty progress was halted and Arnold’s body was lodged in tight.
Then, terror struck, violent screams raged.
After a frantic effort, a flea-ridden rodent stretched its haunches and slept in the warm safety of a freshly hollowed burrow.
YOU SWEET TALKER MR.CROCKER (190930 #28 Revised Final)
The woman came home to a husband muttering on the steps.
“Jack?” she said.
“Bhgn flur,” he drooled blankly.
“Are you okay?”
The fire alarm squelched as smoke filled the windows.
Her eyes widened, “Where’s Violet?” Betty raced inside hoping to save her daughter.
“Baking flower…” he whispered.
HOW’D ALL THAT COLLEGE WORK OUT FOR YA? (190930 #29 SUBMITTED)
The piranha’s tank sign reads “$5000 – FOR LASTING A MINUTE”.
“Tell it again,” said the crony.
“This wiseguy waiter comes outta the kitchen; hand thick in Crisco.
Fifty-nine seconds in…I shove the kid’s head in the tank.”
Lou laughed through tears, “Johnny No-Face,” the best five-G’s I ever spent.”
GOOD OL’ BUCKTOOTH (191001 #30 SUBMITTED)
The battle’s result was an overwhelming stockpile of dead soldiers.
Muddy boots worked hard; kicking dog tags between corpse teeth.
“How long have we gotta do this?…” grumbled the private.
A body jerked alive, spewing blood everywhere.
“Hey, dumb ass!” yelled the Sergeant, “Why’d-ya ruin Buckley’s nap?”
ECO-CONSCIOUS (191001 #31 SUBMITTED)
Contrary traveling backpackers stopped trail-side and shared a restful lunch break together.
“Pack it in and pack it out,” said the one, digging through his overstuffed Kelty rucksack.
“Travel light and leave only a dusty trail,” said the other, probing nonchalantly inside her satchel for snacks beside an empty urn.
THE WIGHT FLIER (191001 #32 SUBMITTED)
The shack thundered and something heavy scraped the metal roof.
“Probably a fallen branch, I’ll check,” said Wilbur trudging out into the night.
Screams came, screams that startled Amelia.
She rushed to the door and stared upward as terrified cries of “It’s got me!” grew ever fainter,
from the darkness above.
SCHISM (191001 #33 SUBMITTED)
A reluctant head was tightly secured beneath the radial saw blade.
“It’ll chop straight through your skull,” the abductor said.
The victim’s eyes welled, tearing.
“Not only cheating on me,” paused the wife, “raping my little sister!”
With the simple push of a button, an unbearable pain was instantly unleashed.
THE CHINA CLIPPER (191001 #34 SUBMITTED)
The morning fog lifted and the coast was littered with decomposing bodies.
In the jetsam, a solitary girl hummed while building a tea-table from beach sand.
Hours later, the corpses stopped trickling in from the Golden Monkey’s hull.
And the girl, with the devil’s look in her eyes, had vanished.
THE SECRET RENDEZVOUS (191001 #35 SUBMITTED)
Moonlight whispers breezed through the window pane.
Awakened, the man left his bed and stared outside, transfixed by darkness.
Slowly walking to the dresser, he retrieved his revolver.
He crept out the front door into the depths of night.
Thunder crashed, and a baleful wind was imbued with fresh spirit.
DYING ON THE VINE (191002 #36 SUBMITTED)
Any feelings he had for her were gone.
She’d come to terms with that now.
Most times she couldn’t bear his absence, fond memories of a past shared.
She missed him dearly, but still…
The tomato garden was her only consolation.
Viewing the philanderer’s last bed brought her sunny smiles.
A BRIGHTNESS DIMMED (191002 #37 SUBMITTED)
A victim of outside influences, swamped in bills, and newly single, Randal was hopeless.
Grabbing a lamp, he French-kissed the empty socket and jitterbugged until crisp on the floor.
The world buzzed on blissful with energy.
And a derelict spirit remained, lamenting over the life it had unwittingly squandered.
THE SOUTHBOUND EXPRESS (191002 #38 SUBMITTED)
One night, a conductor and five witnesses were corralled in a dining cart and brutally executed.
With a leap, the robber vanished into the darkness.
Years later a wealthy man purchased a last-minute ticket home.
At line’s end, the dreary cart was empty and only a torn stub remained.
SILENT RUNNING (191002 #39 SUBMITTED)
He delved deeper into meditation,
past darkness, through the blinding light of emptiness,
and back to the beginning…of everything.
The husk of a body remained, never truly dead, nor brimming with life.
The tether reeled long over years ‘til finally, the cord severed.
Everywhere and nowhere, subatomic particles found equilibrium.
DAWN OF THE DEAD (191002 #40 SUBMITTED)
The sky was aurora filled, brimming with high-frequency messages.
The microwaves penetrated minds, infecting them, and the dulled gray matter became flooded with pangs for slaughter.
Both red and blue embraced it like hungry zombies, absently forgetting the colors combined form purple- a sovereign shade that conquers subjects through division.
CLAP FOR THE WOLFMAN (191002 #41 SUBMITTED)
The DJ hoarded silverware for years; not from greed but a grim notion.
Early reports were sketchy and calls intensified from neighboring towns decimated
by a plague cycle far worse than locusts.
He’d been casting bullets since dawn but come nightfall when the ridge-line howled,
Ol’ Jack would be ready.
IN THIN AIR (191002 #42 SUBMITTED)
Something slid out from under the rug, it was clear like cellophane.
It rose, rippled, and danced about the room, Angela giggled as it fluttered.
The levitating sheet paused atop her head then wrapped over her face, suffocating the girl.
Disappearing out the window; it floated towards the next house.
HEAT INDEX (191003 #43 SUBMITTED)
The hottest night on record worsened, with a loud basement crash.
Bill went down to check.
There were deep trilling sounds coming from the darkness.
Bill inched along and the cicada-like wheezing drew closer.
Screams burst out.
And by morning when the police had arrived, only a bloodied finger remained.
Just as mankind got a clue, it arrived.
The most terrifying killing machine to walk the planet, the Shouldawouldacouldadon.
It ravaged the four corners of the globe destroying ALL life.
But the Earth, it continued on, OR…rather regenerated,
and if NOTHING, learned to never produce human beings ever again.
INTO A MIRROR DARK (191003 #45 SUBMITTED)
At first glance, he dismissed it as a trick of the mind.
With a long gaze into the looking glass; his surroundings became darker.
In deeper sessions the obsidian surface morphed and demonic contortions engulfed his visage.
Fearfully, he stopped.
Shifting his focus, the world he viewed slowly brightened again.
NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS (191003 #46 SUBMITTED)
Valerie lay hungry, her outstretched inner arms were riddled with trails.
Fleshy polyps slowly spurted beige pus, and a mindful seepage crept; seeking to bridge a gap between limb and body, in time a venous membrane coalesced.
By midnight a pallid female creature soared the skies, patrolling for earthbound prey.
OLD FELLER (191003 #47 SUBMITTED)
The reclusive hag received several months of Travis’s savings.
Later, a syrup of frog, charred mandrake, fly agaric, and other sundries fermented away.
Rushing home with the poultice he slathered it on the dog’s carcass.
An acrid stench crept under the sleeping boy’s window and it waited obediently until morning.
SHOULD’VE SCENE IT (191003 #48 SUBMITTED)
Each crime scene similar: a headless body bent over, drained of blood, with no head to be found.
The pattern confounded the detective until an anonymous call tipped him off.
Later that evening he entered an abandoned warehouse, alone.
Something sparkled on a dirty floor, a clue?
He bent down…
THE PORTERS’ BURDEN (191003 #49 SUBMITTED)
The Shipton Himalayan photo was a hoax, Blake knew it now.
His frostbitten hands and feet were confirmation of the vanity gamble;
and without digits, what purpose could he possibly serve?
He prayed for death.
And the response came quick as an abominable creature tore violently into his snow tent.
THE ETERNAL RUTH (191004 #50 SUBMITTED)
“…and they lived happily ever after,” she said tucking them in bed.
The twins loved visiting Ruth, she kept toy-filled closets for them.
Years passed and visits lessened.
As adults, they marveled at how youthful she remained,
never realizing, how fortunate they were that the witch was their aunt.
WELL PICKED FRIENDS (191004 #51 SUBMITTED)
What happened, we were so close?
We chose different paths.
On the same adventure.
I know things were tough, but I remained more civilized.
I had hopes of rescue.
We just didn’t bring enough food.
You attacked me first.
I ate you, I ATE you…I ATE YOU!
I’M FOREVER BONGING BUBBLES (191004 #52 SUBMITTED)
“Damn stinking weed,” he said as soft skull gurgles trickled about his head.
A sound he’d heard before, just some blood, and nothing more.
Red clotted hiccups roused through the haze and thoughts of demise sparked ablaze,.
Vessels popped, and bulged eyes bled, but not long after…The Dude was dead.
CRIES IN THE NIGHT (191004 #53 SUBMITTED)
That old rooster, purchased off some odd fella years back, had to go.
They ate it that evening, the best dinner had in ages. They slept, bellies full.
4 a.m. came soon for old man Cogburn.
“I’ll get another, later today,” he mused in the silence.
The sun never rose.
A PLACE OF ANCIENT MALEVOLENCE (191004 #54 SUBMITTED)
The haunted plot was cursed by Indians long ago.
Over centuries the malevolent soil has dined on corpses,
driven people mad with rage, beckoned others to ruin,
and played host to an unfathomable score of murders.
Drawing many, allowing few to leave; this magnetic evil has a name, New York.
NIGHT VISION (191004 #55 SUBMITTED)
Drafts in darkness flicker the candle’s flame. Silence.
A second airy whiff snuffs a lone speck of dancing amber.
No matchbox in reach. Smoke lingers, wispy ghosts unseen in the onyx miasma.
Perception stings. Another spark ignites, an invisible wick lit in a much darker place. And things stir.
THE EXPERIMENT (191004 #56 SUBMITTED)
George hated washing his own dishes.
Nightly he’d tuck a filthy plate into his closet and forget about it.
Weeks later while looking in the junk filled nook something slimy grabbed hold of his arm.
Startled, he thrashed about in terror, and with an awful crashing sound, George Petrie died.
ZOINKS (191005 #57 SUBMITTED)
The five researchers entered the forbidden house.
Thelma drew pentagrams on the dusty floor.
Scruffy quickly smudged them away. “Are you crazy, d’ya want to attract angry spirits?”
“They’re not real…” she said anguished.
Sinister disembodied voices cackled,
and furniture crashed violently to the floor, squishing the group’s mascot Poopy.
THE BOOK RAPPORT (191005 #58 SUBMITTED)
The storm faded and Agatha enjoyed the thriller by candlelight.
A misty vapor arose from floorboards behind her chair,
it coalesced into a horrid shape and crept closer.
The woman read, suspended in silence.
Closer it came.
Something sinister hovered over her shoulder. “Good book?” blurted the creature.
THE UN-SETTEE-LING (191005 #59 SUBMITTED)
The attendant stared at the sad green couch in the dump’s hauling trailer.
From his shed, he reflected on its storied history all day.
Light rains came at the end of shift.
Leaving work, he knew; if the mildewed fibers seeped ruddy stains, it’d all be hauled away by midnight.
THE REQUEST (191005 #60 SUBMITTED)
If I asked you to lie for me, would you?
If I asked you to cheat for me, would you?
If I asked you to steal for me, would you?
If I asked you to die for me, would you? – Suddenly, there came a chilled silence.
THE LOVE POTION (191005 #61 SUBMITTED)
“You told me to move on,”
It’d been several years since he loved her.
“But I have…”
Trish cracked a rib-cage, retrieved a shriveled heart; and ground the leathery wad in a mortar.
“Something, for you.”
She offered a specially made drink to the male guest in the living room.
THE ETERNAL DILEMMA (191005 #62 SUBMITTED)
“No Japanese businessmen…”
“Perhaps, pork and veal?”
“The sugar daddy and his tart? Too rich, I’ll pass. Is there anything; maybe more substantial?”
“Sirloin, skirt steak, and the mignon?”
“The family of three in the corner?” the vampire asked. “Perfect!”
“Most excellent choice, Sir…” the Maitre D’ replied.
THE WEAVER’S LAMENT (191005 #63 SUBMITTED)
It’s threadbare tonight.
Before tucking in, I stretch my legs one last time and tug the gossamer creel.
No tasty tidbits; empty.
I was going to hang out, sit, watch, and wait on line.
But tomorrow will be another day, another victim,
another chance to crawl and feast on fear.
SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS (191006 #64 SUBMITTED)
There’s a creature that beckons once every thousand nights, the Endrite.
You’ll know the rare beast when it arrives, if you catch it, life bears luscious fruit.
Miss it, and you’ll face the Endrong, a nasty, loathsome creature, a harbinger of a cycle that never bodes well.
Oh, the horror…
TIMELY KNOWLEDGE (191006 #65 SUBMITTED)
The rich couple brokered a miscalculated investment the locals’ nicknamed “Poltergeist Palace.”
Paranormal investigators were left befuddled and exorcisms were useless.
Terror raged on.
“Pocumtuk Indian demons are bound to this plot,” Howard the historian said. “You’ll need a Shaman.”
Salvation seemed near.
“Sadly, the tribe went extinct years ago.”
THE DEAD FALL (191006 #66 SUBMITTED)
The long steel pipe was driven deep into the pit, the hypodermic tip, filed razor sharp.
Rising like a sinister paper spike, it was rife with a stack of decaying corpses.
The cunning trap had served the vampire hunter well in times past,
but tonight, his lucky streak would terminate.
THE SEPARATION OF UNION COUNTY (191006 #67 SUBMITTED)
“Rope’s too long,” someone shouted.
The crowd’s patience strained as the noose slowly draped over a mustached criminal.
“All right; hurry up,” the prisoner said.
When Black Jack Ketchum’s body dropped, only his severed head remained in the hemp loop.
The mob witnessed a lesson of justice, they’d never forget.
NOW SEE WHAT YOU’VE DONE… (191006 #68 SUBMITTED)
A metal wire was threaded into a pipe, and muscles tightened around steel barbs when the greasy tube was extracted.
Blood clotted pearls were slowly plucked, as violated screams bellowed.
“Stoppp,” he whimpered.
“Oh, not yet,” she cooed.
“Let’s dry those tears,” she said grabbing the blazing fire-poker.
THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION (191006 #69 SUBMITTED)
The poodle barked from the carpet’s edge.
Black tendrils whipped out from under the girl’s bed, grasping the pup, dragging it underneath.
Yelps were smothered by beastly slurps.
Ashley was terrified, the doorway seemed miles away.
What if her parents came in to check on her, and it couldn’t reach?
PHYSICAL ED (191006 #70 SUBMITTED)
“What happened to old man Sullivan?”
“The creepy gym teacher?”
“He low-fived somebody once too often and got killed, it was messy stuff…”
“They find the murderer?”
“That coot was harmless, he couldn’t fight his way through a wet paper bag.”
“I said…you’s drastic.”
MY BELOVED, CARRY ON (191007 #71 SUBMITTED)
He watched tragedy the from afar, her incomprehensible sorrow and abuse.
Would she leave her cage, and fly?
One day, she did; her wings spread and fanned angry flames still.
Her suppressor reduced to a mere backwoods offering.
The ebony observer moved in closer and pecked flesh with celebratory approval.
PLEASE SHEAR THE ROAD (191007 #72 SUBMITTED)
Another mangled bicyclist lay lifeless.
The satisfied entity withdrew to the roadside car, its front bumper mired in red gore.
Leathery hands cranked an ignition, sparking an engine to combustion.
The demon’s machine rocketed across darkened roadways nightly like a cruise missile seeking soft targets for some unholy flesh quota.
THE PLATTSBURGH ABLUTION (191007 #73 SUBMITTED)
A gray blanket cloaked western Lake Champlain.
Its arrival was heralded by ghastly shrills, that echoed all night long.
When the mist evaporated the air was fouled, the Army Base derelict and nothing crept again.
Local whispers are still overheard, about that night and the eerie fog that could return.
THE CONJURING (191007 #74 SUBMITTED)
Something came through the darkness, something evil, with the hollowness of death.
‘Twas nothing tangible, merely an oppressive mood that tickles souls from the periphery.
With naive hopes of hastening the phantom’s manifestation, the following sacrifices were necessary:
the seclusion of myself, barring all sanity, and never-ending scribbles of words.
THE REFLECTION AT MIRROR LAKE (191007 #75 SUBMITTED)
The three pals were at the local cliff, taking turns diving into the lake below.
Vince swam the murky depths with eyes open, never wanting to miss a thing.
Spying something distant, he rose for air and plunged again.
Encountering a sunken corpse, the shocked boy took his last gasp.
THE GRUESOME ATELIER (191007 #76 SUBMITTED)
“Oh…the things these hands created,” the Sculptor mused. “If walls could speak…”
In one sense they did, news articles and drawings were plastered everywhere.
Output had been less than in his heyday, but new found inspiration flourished.
Retrieving a secreted tool, he immediately set to work slitting his bunk-mates throat.
THERE ARE NO STRINGS ON ME (191007 #77 SUBMITTED)
Giuseppe was never good in wood-shop.
Bandaged fingers pulled back an eyelid and fished around for a lost splinter.
It was deep.
He probed with his pinky, gently trying to locate it.
Gepetto slapped his back. “I’m a not gonna lie. Brother, you ain’t cut out for this.”
NOTHING IS SO PAINFUL TO THE HUMAN MIND…(191008 #78 SUBMITTED)
She sought the doctor’s advice.
“A monster’s recipe: bring to a boil equal parts torment and neglect, stirring the pot frequently.”
“Simple as that?” The statement pierced her psyche deeply.
“Simple as that.”
After an eternity shackled beneath a towering shadow, the unbound woman took her first step towards sunlight.
IT ALL COMES OUT IN THE END (191009 #79 SUBMITTED)
Ed piped the floppy tube down into the old tank.
After decades of experience, he’d grown accustomed to the stench.
The sewage pump rattled to a halt.
He extracted the hose and peered into the depths.
Spying a rotting corpse deep in the shit pit; Ed’s long-standing resolve flushed away.
ECONOMY CLASS (191009 #80 SUBMITTED)
“I… can’t do it.”
“Doesn’t matter how much, you gotta eat some.”
The airliner crashed weeks ago near the deserted island; there were originally three survivors.
“I’m not hungry.”
“You’re wasting away.”
She handed him the plate of charred meat and they sat down to their last meal, as a couple.
THE TRANSIT SYSTEM (191009 #81 SUBMITTED)
He’d processed countless lines of faces.
The shabby man muttered and worked on.
His calloused hands were constantly outstretched to usher late passengers past turnstiles.
The city’s plague had taken its toll, and as he stacked the dead in darkened subway catacombs, the grim Porter cried; all aboard.
BONES PICKED CLEAN (191009 #82 SUBMITTED)
Still nauseated; Jay begrudgingly met friends for afternoon breakfast.
“Someone’s been up to no good,” Kristen said.
His fingers were caked in red, a sticky token from a foggy night.
“Dude, your girl on the rag or something?” Tim crudely interjected.
He started sucking the cuticles then paused. “Nope…hot sauce.”
NATURE’S CALLING (191009 #83 SUBMITTED)
Jane hid in the door frame until the quaking subsided; her house utterly annihilated.
The petrified soul trembled as an indescribable terror lumbered into the distance; a gobsmacked woman’s mind splintered.
Her gibbering cries quickly dissolved to fear when a massive F5 tornado loomed on the horizon.
THE SUB-CONSCIOUS (191009 #84 SUBMITTED)
“Sit back, eyes closed, and slip into a relaxed state, go deep, deep as you can, are you there?”
“Yes,” Came sleepy words.
“Reflect back to your childhood, what thoughts come to mind?”
“Run!” The woman shouted.
“Why should you run?” The hypnotist asked.
“She tried…” A demonic voice hissed.
SHADOWS OF THE PAST (191009 #85 SUBMITTED)
Maybe we are the specters.
The forms we bear dissolve; a temporal fleeting vapor, intangibles not built to last in the continuum.
We die, fade, and go into oblivion.
Yet they remain long after our time has passed, the ones called ghosts.
What is real and what is the dream?
THANKS FOR THE HOSPITALITY (191009 #86 SUBMITTED)
A box sat on the couple’s counter, the remnant from an awkward visit’s conclusion.
The strained weekend was a testimony of acceptance.
“We’d thought Jeffrey went missing years ago,” the husband said opening the box.
A note inside reads “MEANT TO RETURN THIS.”
Underneath it sat a leathery old skull.
THE PENDULOUS BRANCH (191011 #87 SUBMITTED)
The young woman, fearful of discovery, cowered in a hollow bough.
Her racing heart was choked, through the cords of a taut rope.
One, by one, by one, the townsfolk’s wicked sins were metered in midnight inquisitions.
And the nightly cries from witch’s willow wound down until heard no more.
THE ROSE-BACK GHOST (191011 #88 SUBMITTED)
A tortured man crept into the old house and chastised secret sins.
Threshing himself with brambles, his spine wept from thorny inoculations and he died in a septic fit.
Some say, the sullen specter still haunts the abandoned cloister, periodically lashing out at unwary visitors in the dead of night.
MEMBERSHIP DUES (191011 #89 SUBMITTED)
To join the cult, members made a blood offering, and sacrificed a loved one in ultimate allegiance.
Brad loved his new wife Angie, and he desperately tried to withdraw his application.
But it was too late.
A new applicant familiar with Brad’s dilemma helped solve the problem, by killing him.
COLLIDING BELIEFS (191011 #90 SUBMITTED)
“The energy’s way off the charts…” said the technician.
“Can we contain it?” queried the scientist.
“We don’t have the tech, or the time,”
“How long ‘til critical?”
“Six days, six hours, and six minutes before total engulfment.”
The CERN lab became inundated by a flood of short notice vacations.
TRAVELING COMPANIONS (191011 #91 SUBMITTED)
The train excited Nessa, but she loathed her mysterious riding companion.
“No matter, it’s a short trip,” she thought.
As the tunnel drew close, so did he. Much closer…
A loud whistle screamed.
To this day, inexperienced Porters are trained to avoid the “occupied” cabin and seat boarding passengers elsewhere.
PERSONNEL HANG-UPS (191011 #92 SUBMITTED)
He couldn’t bear lies.
“…dropped the Stinson account.” came whispers.
Actually; he wouldn’t do after-hour services for the boss, the family man, the paragon.
And when the executive was found dangling out the window; rope around his neck and meat-hook in the caboose, subtle variations of the truth held sway.
OLD GEORGE (191011 #93 SUBMITTED)
Geese honked in the distant sky.
The primed 12-gauge had rusted.
He lay hidden in the glint of overgrown grass, the lone greeter of winter’s early dawn.
His flesh cold, limbs numbed.
How long he’d rested prone was irrelevant. “Season” was over.
And there he’d remain, forever awash in peace.
SALVATION’S KEYS FOREVER RATTLE ON THE CHAIN (191011 #94 SUBMITTED)
Landlord’s Lease Agreement-The borrower agrees to the following…
The Devil’s Clause:
Upon acceptance of one flesh sheath, you cannot renege the lifetime maintenance agreement for the soul containment vessel, any early termination will result in your eternal damnation.
Notarized by thine quill this _________ day,
by Archangel Michael Esq. ____________.
THE MIDNIGHT BACKRUSH (191012 #95 SUBMITTED)
She crafted a tune and the sailor listened, her secret song flooded him with thoughts that echoed deep in his soul.
Trudging further from the moonlit shore, he waded the waters until his body bubbled and sank.
The ghosts of Mara Del Ray and her unborn baby finally found peace.
THE EMPTY STAIRWELL (191012 #96 SUBMITTED)
Renée was terrified, bolting up the basement stairs, she slammed the door.
She entered the bedroom shivering with fear.
“It tried to get me,” she said. “The darkness…”
“Lemme check,” her husband quipped; leaving to explore the inky depths.
When Dane returned, he was a shadow of his former self.
FREE VOCAL LESSONS (191012 #97 SUBMITTED)
Trilby’s phone rang, there was mumbling on the other end she hung up.
It rang again, the same creepy gibberish.
“Say something!” she yelled into the phone.
“Nice scream…room for improvement,” the voice whispered and hung up.
She was later found by the roadside; tortured, mumbling, and tongue-less.
THE GHOSTWRITER (191012 #98 SUBMITTED)
Rena pulled an all-nighter, her final essay was due tomorrow.
She couldn’t concentrate; the kegger was raging.
She sought silence in the privacy of her car.
A shadow shifted in the back seat, it was the scary creep that haunted her all semester.
“Here’s your last essay…that’ll be ninety, cash.”
ANOTHER COLD ONE (191012 #99 SUBMITTED)
Jeb lived across from Sourdale Cemetery
Nightly he sipped beers, desperately watching for ghosts from the porch.
One evening a stranded man walked up in need of a tow.
Old Jeb tossed him a beer and went inside to call.
Upon returning, the strange traveler and his beer both vanished.
IN THE DARK QUIET OF NIGHT (191012 #100 SUBMITTED)
Heather tensed in bed and stared upward, terrified.
A ghastly hand projected through the ceiling above her, its fingers wriggled like spider legs.
Closer it came; the bed grew warm and wet.
Drawing closer, blackened nails clicked.
The grimy hand dropped, smothering her face.
And she never woke up.
THE HANGOVER (191013 #101 SUBMITTED)
He’d driven the same route home dozens of times while drunk.
The next morning he woke and ambled out to the kitchen for food.
Everything was gone!
He went back to the bedroom; bed and furniture disappeared.
He was puzzled, pacing alone for an eternity until the new tenants appeared.
THE FIRE SALE (191013 #102 SUBMITTED)
The thrift store find was a welcome addition to Charlie’s apartment, the only addition.
Stained, threadbare, and smoky; the sofa wasn’t much, but it’d do.
The fire alarm kept squelching, after unplugging the battery he slept hard.
He dreamed of being warmed by a campfire, then becoming engulfed by it.
THEY HAVE A SWEET TOOTH (191013 #103 SUBMITTED)
The Hackle’s truly loved Halloween.
Their yard brimmed with decorations of gravestones and skeletons.
An endless flow of treats was kept inside.
They enjoyed the escorted children in cute costumes who came by questing for candy.
The couple thrilled over ones that arrived alone, they’re the most scrumptious of all.
SOMEONE TOOK A WRONG TURN (191013 #104 SUBMITTED)
It was night shift at the morgue.
Marie took inventory of her lodgers, checking records and the remains, one by one.
She finished with a gnarly hit and run; “Aren’t you a pretty one?” then turned away to get some coffee.
“Yes, I am.” A coquettish gurgle came from behind.
THE COURIER (191013 #105 SUBMITTED)
While the clerk filed letters the P.O. Box door suddenly opened.
Someone grabbed her, pulled her hand through; and severed it off the wrist.
As screams of bloody terror rang out, the assailant disappeared.
Months later when she returned to work with a prosthesis, there came a “Welcome Back” package.
ONCE HOT LOVERS (191014 #107 SUBMITTED)
Resting beside her, he felt the light warmth from her naked leg.
He waited for her to cool off after their heated battle.
As she laid staring in silence at the ceiling, he’d found a new attractiveness in her.
And the colder she became, the more his strange arousal grew.
CASTING OF THE FIRST (191014 #108 SUBMITTED)
Even with the late afternoon sun, an ominous behemoth cast shade upon him.
His ankles were chained to spikes driven into hard soil.
Anguished pleas were protested at the monolith in vain.
Suddenly the granite slab came crashing down upon the sacrifice; recipient of an old fashioned, albeit effective execution.
THE RUBY CHOKER (191014 #109 SUBMITTED)
“What are all the holes for?” asked the nervous chair bound man.
She took the black tubular plastic collar and wrapped it snugly around his neck.
“The leeches,” She said locking the hasp. “They keep the blood from going to the head, you’ll pass out long before the gruesome part.”
THRESHOLD OF THE UNKNOWN (191014 #110 SUBMITTED)
At long last she’d discovered the dimensional gateway, deep within the forest.
Her partner was dubious.
“If you don’t believe me, walk through it then.” She taunted.
“Sure.” The colleague leaned in, partially disappearing, the visible half shook violently.
Pulling out a headless corpse; she realized more research was necessary.
THE WITCH HUNT (191014 #111 SUBMITTED)
“Suzie, run!” the single mother screamed, investigating a strange basement noise.
The girl escaped next door; when police arrived her mother had vanished.
The child became a ward of the State, several years later she’d discover the terrifying fate of her mom.
She’d relocated and started life anew in Florida.
OUT OF JUICE (191014 #112 SUBMITTED)
Joe hated the attic, it was littered with mummified rodents, had no lights and reeked of death.
One night while searching through boxes his flashlight flickered.
Something shuffled between him and the door.
Terrified, he kept smacking the dead flashlight.
It crept closer and feasted until all life was drained.
WEAKENED CLEANING (191014 #113 SUBMITTED)
Windblown leaves scratched across the darkened street as Dustin walked home.
Bristly sounds grew louder and closer.
Turning, he ducked just as a witch strafed his head with a broomstick.
Frightened, he bolted, weaving through roadside trees.
Short of safe haven, the exhausted boy was swept up into the wind.
THE NIGHT HUNTER (191014 #114 SUBMITTED)
“Damn cat! One more fucking time…” griped the man during a midnight bathroom run.
The feline was nefarious for leaving half-eaten rodent torsos on the upstairs carpet.
Returning with paper towels, he turned on the light and discovered the cat’s severed paw.
Meanwhile downstairs; something unthinkable made chomping noises.
COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN (191014 #115 SUBMITTED)
“Refresh all the bins nightly, except number five. Don’t ever open that one,” the owner said concluding the Crawley’s Creepy Critters employee orientation.
Dora’s curiosity piqued; she later cracked open the lid.
The maggot-infested corpse sent her shrieking away in terror.
An unseen label read “CAUTION – STATE FORENSICS EXPERIMENT.”
THE BUMPY TRAIL (191015 #116 SUBMITTED)
Two boys rode hard through the bike path.
The slower rider ran over something and skidded to a halt.
As he approached the screeching thing, green goop ejected, stinging his arm.
The secretion attracted hundreds of angry hive members; as the friend returned, both boys became swarmed and devoured whole.
THE WELCOMING COMMITTEE (191015 #117 SUBMITTED)
After the couple received their newborn from the surrogate, local word got out.
Dozens of curious neighbors anxiously stopped by to see the little darling.
During the next lunar eclipse, the couple’s home was surrounded by chanting zealots.
A hell-beast was unleashed and it feasted, on the imposing crowd’s flesh.
THE BIRD WATCHER (191015 #118 SUBMITTED)
Two children played together in the town park.
An old man watched from a nearby bench.
The girl walked over, sat and talked to the man, then came back.
“We’ve been told – never talk to strangers.”
“He’s no stranger, that’s my grandpa.”
“But you said he died last winter?”
THE PECULIAR PATTERN (191015 #119 SUBMITTED)
Something didn’t seem right.
“Maybe we shouldn’t stay?” the woman stared at the mansion’s textured walls.
“Relax, its mildew on drywall, that’s all.” he said.
Unpacking, they slept regardless.
Suddenly she awoke, as he lay choking with green fuzzy things crawling over his face.
She screamed; he was dead wrong.
SUB-Q (191015 #120 SUBMITTED)
He felt an itching under his skin, he scratched until it tore open.
Green scaly flesh was revealed beneath.
His legs morphed into a thick coil, and large wings sprouted from shoulder blades.
Everything was shed until his true form revealed.
The Quetzalcoatl flew south, overdue for a Mexican vacation.
A PACK OF LY’S (191015 #121 SUBMITTED)
The backwoods shortcut crippled the couple’s vehicle.
“We’ll be fine,” Connie said lightening the mood.
Trish couldn’t hold it any longer and went looking for bushes.
She returned to an abandoned car.
Fearful, she locked the doors.
Connie’s familiar form briefly reappeared past midnight, eager to introduce her lupine friends.
THE CURIOUS CASE (191015 #122 SUBMITTED)
Bloody fingernails speckled the hallway leading to the last door.
Following the trail, she peered through the keyhole.
The room seemed empty.
She entered, finding a rusty tin box in the corner.
Opening the box, she shrieked and dropped it.
As two bony hands tumbled out; two nubby stumps appeared.
IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN (191015 #123 SUBMITTED)
Rainy season arrived; the streets were plastered with pulps of flesh, slime and bone.
Frogs were en masse during their October exodus and Jim’s tires, slicked in gore, slid off the road.
The Prius rolled; he was pinned.
A huge throaty croaking came from the darkness, and it crept closer.
SHE GOT FIRED (191015 #124 SUBMITTED)
Charise got a part-time job at Marrowbone’s Mortuary.
Her two friends teased, “It’s haunted.”
“Come by at midnight,” she dared.
They did; she gave the tour.
Entering the crematorium, they took turns climbing into the furnace.
Then all three crammed in at once.
Suddenly, the door slammed and flames roared.
A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS (191015 #125 SUBMITTED)
A child was eaten by a vicious dog.
A child was scalded by boiling water.
A child was killed by drinking poison.
A child was dropped down the staircase.
A child was drowned in the bath tub.
A child was choked by a small toy.
A parent was paralyzed by fear.
LOW LAYING FRUIT (191015 #126 SUBMITTED)
“The things they plant in this cemetery,” mused the gravedigger.
A polished gravestone read, “LUSCIOUS PEAR.”
“Three wide by eight long and six deep – no yield garden,” he thought, finishing.
After the stripper’s funeral ended, he returned.
“One never knows,” he grinned filling the hole. “She’s probably seen plenty of fertilizer.”
ABORT, ABORT, ABORT (191015 #127 SUBMITTED)
The inevitable turned the mid-day sky blood red.
Fallout turned it black with ash; dropping temperatures rapidly.
Reptiles were the first to go, plants, birds, food, hope, people.
Time wore on as winter eternal blanketed the earth.
A mother became sterile for millennia and was glad for it.
…A LIFETIME ON THE HIPS (191015 #128 SUBMITTED)
His thickness slowly hoisted up the stairwell.
Barely managing the aisle, Phil sat beside a small girl.
The loaded bus rolled over in an accident.
Rescuers struggled with an immobile girth that suffocated the crushed girl.
Phil, ever the emotional eater; would wear the guilt, shortly before his own death.
THE BI-FOCAL TERROR (191015 #129 SUBMITTED)
Sammy plucked out his glass eye for cleaning.
The real one saw things, things so horrible he had to remove it.
He kept it in a tube in his pocket.
Fortunately for him, it rarely came out of hiding.
THE EXIT-STENTIALISTS (191015 #130 SUBMITTED)
The teens trapped inside the maze were unable to find exits.
And as the carnival haunted house burnt down; eight souls went with it.
Months later a local trucking firm purchased the melted trailer shells for resale.
Company eyewitnesses reported tales of midnight shadows swaying around in the empty frames.
A BACCHANALIAN LAMENT (191015 #131 SUBMITTED)
My pallor is green, muscles ache, and nerves cause me to shiver.
Quite easy to see from blood in my pee the source is a troubled liver.
Some wine to drink, Cirrhosis I’d think, a vintage yellow and pale.
Dammit be, next one’s on me – Barkeep ‘hiccup’…a tankard of ale.
THE BIG GOOEY GASH (191016 #132 SUBMITTED)
The lumberjack’s chainsaw slipped on the mossy tree.
It “nicked” his leg cutting a five inch groove.
As the festering got worse, it set him back weeks in pay.
Buried in debt, he tightened his belt.
Eventually, he recovered.
And upon returning to work, Chip sported a sturdy wooden leg.
SIN BAD THE SAILOR (191016 #133 SUBMITTED)
The sail stretched taut, weeks of labor finally paid off.
The survivor was free of the horrible island.
He left a lot in his wake, starvation, seven dead friends, salvation.
The thick, sturdy, waterproof material contrasted the blue sky.
His provisions would stand the return trip; his story’s another matter.
THE ONE NIGHT STAND-OFF (191016 #134 SUBMITTED)
He stood frozen, listening to desert snakes hidden by the ink of night.
The rattling was a good sign.
Absolutely invisible, he figured there were two.
Something slithered across his boot, correction: three.
“They say silence indicates an imminent strike,” he thought.
There was a sudden pause.
He waited, terrified.
TAKE THOU THY POUND OF FLESH (191016 #135 SUBMITTED)
When Jack passed out candy, he’d sit on the porch dressed as a scarecrow.
Three kids arrived, Mary an angel, Bobby the clown, and Sam – dressed like dad.
“ROARRR!” Jack lunged forward.
Sam cleaved the scarecrow’s neck with a cut so clean; it would’ve made his father, the butcher, proud.
THE ROMANTIC INTERLUDE (191016 #136 SUBMITTED)
The moon rose timidly, its light encouraged a soft contrast.
The Fall shoreline was barren, bone-white, and silky smooth.
Hanging on each other’s love, a couple journeyed silently alone.
A distant traveler approached them.
They froze in repulsion; the imposer retreated.
As they breezily wandered on, sandy grains remained still.
THE AGENDA FULFILLED (191016 #137 SUBMITTED)
The elevator kept descending; it took time, plenty to do some reflecting.
The statement prepared, the spokespeople addressed reporters.
“The Illuminati did what we felt was right for the world, one government, one ruler. – That is all.”
They returned to the elevator and went to the sub-basement for a debriefing.
THE MEASURE OF A MAN (191016 #138 SUBMITTED)
He surveyed the stacks around him, things.
Not family, lovers, friends, just material collected over life, a life that felt meaningless.
“Can’t take it with,” he shook, lighting a match. “Won’t leave it either.”
Something blew out the flame.
“That you?” He turned.
It wasn’t his time, yet.
THE CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE (191016 #139 SUBMITTED)
Robby bought grow-in-water monsters from the vending machine.
He returned home; they floated in the bowl and did nothing.
Discouraged, he went to bed.
That night, something slurped in the darkness.
He was terrified.
The next morning’s dog poops were a horrific sight; to Robby, it was worth the wait.
THE JOY’S OF DEER SEASON (191016 #140 SUBMITTED)
“What’s that?” she asked.
“I dunno,” John replied dangling the grape-sized thing.
Jane nearly vomited.
“Only pulled out one, I’ve got more.”
He popped the blood gorged beast between fingers.
“It came from my head.”
Parting John’s black hair, she fainted from the sight of his tick infested scalp.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY (191017 #141 SUBMITTED)
Thirteen checkouts bustled, yet lane six always remained barren.
The gaunt cashier had long dark kinky hair, gray patchy skin, terrible nails, and make-up that looked like a drag queen had a seizure.
People glanced, reconsidered and avoided.
The zombie inclusiveness program proved to be bad socioeconomics from the beginning.
THE REAL ESTATE AGENT (191017 #142 SUBMITTED)
He had a better view of the old house from the tree.
Climbing down he crossed the road towards the overgrown property.
An oncoming truck swerved, missing him, crashing into a telephone pole.
Both occupants died.
Blackie was happy to get new owners, his others vacated the house decades ago.
HOW UN-APPROPRIATE (191017 #143 SUBMITTED)
The gray, rusty truck slowed its roll, obnoxiously honking.
Its plate read, “NATIVE.”
“White trash!” Sue chastised.
“Watch this,” the man blew something from an outstretched palm.
A fleet of wasps appeared, swarming the vehicles’ interior.
“Shaman” Sam smiled and the two entered the building for their weekly Tribal meeting.
THE SILENCE MILL (191017 #144 SUBMITTED)
There was a buzzing din beyond view, secure in her position, she remained heedless.
She was captivated by the willowy depths, marveling at the intricate pattern.
The light slivered through a weave of sturdy thickets, punctuating the cradle’s basin with droplets of orange-gold.
“Interesting,” she thought, “the way baskets…”
THE LURE (191018 #145 SUBMITTED)
He reached his spot along the creek, beneath an old wooden bridge.
The season was over, but he’d try to sneak in one last bite.
Something stirred across the bank.
Preparing to leave; he paused under the shadowy bridge.
He froze, as a terrible noise clicked from above.
THE DARK ONE’S ASSURANCE (191018 #146 SUBMITTED)
Black ooze jetted from the shower-head.
Jethro’s eyes widened, “I’m rich!”
He grabbed a bucket, collected the goop, and drove off to get it analyzed.
Inconclusive results crushed his spirits.
Returning home, he found only splinters and smithereens; as a towering creature lumbered towards town.
Fortunately, his policy was current.
THE FINAL DRAFT (191018 #147 SUBMITTED)
Murder House, Rape Chamber, Drug Den.
“A grim reputation for a Beer Can Depository,” the reporter thought.
She unrolled a sleeping bag and impatiently waited.
A cold snap blanketed the girl with midnight frost.
Later, after her corpse was discovered; its terrified frozen expression hinted a possible headline.
THE ABSORPTION WRAITH (191018 #148 SUBMITTED)
Something black and tarry shambled from the corner.
She hyperventilated, helpless as it drew closer.
Its drippy arms outstretched for an embrace.
A yellow eyeball peered through veiled runny darkness; a serrated mouth gaped, exposing rows of hungry fangs.
Her cries were smothered.
Satiated, the ooze trickled down between floorboards.
CROP ROTATION (191018 #149 SUBMITTED)
Late one Halloween evening two farm boys were returning from town.
They spied a form in a field, drawing closer, Jim recognized the corpse.
Terrified, they fled.
Further down the road, they halted; happening across another corpse slumped in the field.
A somber silence was broken, as young ghosts wailed.
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK (191018 #150 SUBMITTED)
He secretly watched, as two gloved men heaved large trash bags into the industrial dumpster.
“Way too suspicious,” he thought to himself.
After they departed, he investigated.
Sifting through rancid bags he found one filled with severed parts.
He was in mid gag when a police cruiser paused behind him.
DOUBLE OVERTIME (191018 #151 SUBMITTED)
She was last out of the office that night.
In the isolated parking lot she found her car’s tires slashed.
Somber whistles echoed, making her flee toward the building’s safety.
Inside, silence. She crept past cubicles. Papers rustled; and the whistling continued.
A prayer for mercy.
Her bills were overdue.
THE GAPING MAW (191018 #152 SUBMITTED)
A crowd stood statue-like, pointing to the sinkhole.
The scene frightened her.
Inching toward the surreal display; the eerie chasm beckoned her.
Kneeling over the edge something shifted within the black abyss.
She couldn’t identify the shape.
Suddenly, teeth clamped; pulling a severed head in.
THE COMPASS AND SQUARE (191018 #153 SUBMITTED)
Two teens camped in a cemetery.
“The obelisk graves, phallic symbols, Masons are a sex cult,” Alfie said, noshing on jerky.
“That’s a load of crap,” Jessie said laying on large flat marble.
Suddenly his throat gashed open, blood raining down.
“They’re also Satanic, you should’ve read “Morals & Dogma.”
THE BLACK BEAST OF BRAMBLEBUSH LANE (191018 #154 SUBMITTED)
Two silver plates stared from the shadows.
Slowly, dark curtains revealed fanged intent.
Primordial fear swelled inside her; a relief valve opened, fluid warmth thawed still feet.
Legs sprung to action.
Suddenly, a shadowy bulk halted progress.
A child’s worst fears were confirmed, one gulp at a time.
A CHANGE OF PRIORITIES (191018 #155 SUBMITTED)
He popped a Valium.
After seventy-two hours of hack-n-slash, he needed some rest.
He’d barely drifted when outside groans roused him awake.
“I’m too damn tired, you zombie pricks…”
Grabbing the 12-gauge he nestled it under his chin.
“Screw this bullshit!”
He guzzled the whole pill bottle.
Zeke’s shepherd was on the porch gnawing a bone when police arrived.
“We heard some Don Juan salesman’s been wrinkling sheets, see anything?”
“Nope, nuthin’,” the farmer replied.
The squad car drove off.
“Gotta test those steak knives again,” Zeke thought heading towards the basement,
“Wife might have buyer’s remorse.”
THE ASHEN FOLK (191018 #157 SUBMITTED)
A lanky shadow writhed down the window.
It looked humanoid.
She locked herself in the bedroom crying, desperately trying to call someone, anyone.
The phone was dead.
The house remained still for hours.
Her eyes closed for barely an instant.
A faceless, sooty, thing skittered closer.
THE FAIRY WRATH (191018 #158 SUBMITTED)
They lashed him to the tree like a bunch of Maypole dancers.
The crowd stopped, encircled him and hurled damning taunts.
He was bound firm, golden cords dug tightly.
He spat curses.
The group parted as the leader approached with the prisoner’s salvation in hand.
The ax cleft deep.
A PROMETHEAN CHALLENGE (191019 #159 SUBMITTED)
Inception from a spark, fanciful imaginings from a teen’s quill.
Caretaker, protector, creator of the wretch, she’d gladly shoulder the burden of unleashing such a creature.
Once outside influences took hold, the bench sewn fledgling was pressed hard into being.
Throngs of firelight eyes, accepted the lumbering monster.
WIND SHEAR (191019 #160 SUBMITTED)
He could remember only bits and pieces.
The cops grilled the witness for hours.
“I turned,” the mechanic grew quiet, eyes straining distant.
“And saw Chuck finishing pre-flight checks; the propeller kicked off and he just stood there.”
“The wing turned into him and…Oh, God!” sobbing.
“It flew off…cockpit; empty.”
A QUARTER YARD PENALTY (191019 #161 SUBMITTED)
Brad took a stick and tried to scrape the goo out from his sneaker treads.
It stunk, and he couldn’t track it on mom’s carpet.
He’d returned from playing afternoon football with the boy next door.
He didn’t win the game, but stomped all over his opponent just the same.
PAST DUE (191019 #162 SUBMITTED)
Finals Week; Shondra crashed hard.
She awoke alone, locked in the library.
While creeping through the musty aisles, several books jumped out at her.
She screamed, retreating.
Books cascaded, barring escape; finally, a whole shelf collapsed.
When her body was found, it was crammed tightly inside the Book Return bin.
HER WORDS FELL ON DEATH EARS (191019 #163 SUBMITTED)
The Corn Maze was bustling, cars filled the farmer’s field.
An old Romanian woman exited irate; demanding a refund.
Arguments ensued; she screeched curses at the owner and stormed away.
People entered, yet no one left.
His search for answers ended abruptly when he was bludgeoned by bloodthirsty cornstalks.
CALL OF THE DARK TWIGLING (191019 #164 SUBMITTED)
She slipped on the bathroom floor; laying knocked out in a bloody pool.
Then it came.
Between the air duct vanes, it slid; thin, stick-like, silent.
Pallid, spindly limbs fanned out from crooked ligatures.
It crawled, ever closer.
And while black beady eyes hovered above, a flicking tongue probed.
THE WELCOME WAGON (191019 #165 SUBMITTED)
Deep in the woods two teens cautiously approached the dingy trailer to investigate it.
“You think “Crazy Crawford’s” alive?” Gene whispered.
“No one’s seen him in ages,” Morris replied.
They tapped on the door.
Weeks later, two young corpses were discovered laying under a skeleton’s bony embrace.
FOODIES (191019 #166 SUBMITTED)
After last call, the couple left.
“That’s new,” Jeff remarked, spying a back alley eatery.
“Looks quaint,” said Phillip, tugging his bear along.
The décor was shabby shriek.
Quickly the door locked behind them.
A ghastly dinner party was already in progress.
And the unfortunate pair, the chef’s “late-night special.”
THE NEARSIGHTED WIZARD (191019 #167 SUBMITTED)
Marek stomped the frog and placed its dead eye on a stick.
“The all-seeing staff of Dragbone the Wicked,” he giggled.
“That’s cruel,” cried Sandy.
Later that night, Marek had terrible dreams.
In the morning the boy was gone, only a branch remained, a blue eyeball on its tip.
THE RUBINE CHRYSALIS (191019 #168 SUBMITTED)
Red orbs glared through the darkness.
“Don’t go down there, it’s dangerous,” Crestwood warned.
“Beast’s still in shackles, isn’t it?” said Jennings.
Mandible clicks reverberated from the depths.
Weeks from the mainland, Crestwood knew his colleague’s growing curiosity would ensure the strange caterpillar’s survival rate; cementing his path to glory.
DR. GOODHOPE’S GHOST PROBLEM (191019 #169 SUBMITTED)
The skull under glass occupied prominent mantle space and the maid despised its sight.
One afternoon while she dusted under the table; BWOOSH!
The morbid relic crashed down.
She screamed herself into a coronary.
Freshly dead, her corpse was approached by a starving rat; grateful for the abundance of carrion.
THE UNWANTED DISTURBANCE (191019 #170 12SUBMITTED)
One night a couple heard knocking outside their cabin retreat.
Opening the door the man was greeted by a cadaverous phantom, its mottled hands plunged gritty nails deep into a gaping mouth.
Dragged by the head, a gigolo floundered inside; door slamming behind.
Staccato screams danced briefly across the lake.
THE PECULIAR TENANT FROM 4-D (191020 #171 SUBMITTED)
The dingy apartment windows were blacked-out with plastic.
Regulated bursts of ozone infused light pierced the chamber.
A heavy workload of specimens was diligently processed by the newcomer.
Friday nights were the highlight of his weekly research.
Jared was the last pizza delivery boy abducted before government investigators caught on.
A FOREBODING SYNAPTIC DISCHARGE (191020 #172 SUBMITTED)
“So, you’ve finally made it.”
He trembled in the semi-familiar territory.
“Reflect on your childhood, even then you had a clear vision you’d be here.”
“Yeah, but those thoughts were a projection of overactive imagination.”
“No. That was me communicating to a much younger self, the only way I could.”
DEATH’S ETERNAL HOURGLASS (191020 #173 SUBMITTED)
Its timetable a different scale, measured in billions of solar beats.
The boulder witnessed organisms scurry and die for millennia in a Hologram of fast forward perpetuity.
Weathered rock; it became an unwilling accomplice to countless deaths.
Ground sand; tomb for a million bodies.
Eventually, the grains would recycle anew.
SPOILAGE IN THE ROOT CELLAR (191020 #174 SUBMITTED)
The house was abuzz; the suspected source, an air vent.
He’d always loved the old home; now that it was his, he worked hard maintaining a no fly zone.
His initial solution: The duct would have to stay closed throughout the winter while Mamaw’s body rested in the depths below.
RED FLAGS (191020 #175 SUBMITTED)
As crimson pennants trailed from twisted metal, Derek cried.
It had been ages, but an old thread found its way back into material existence.
It was her spirit, he was certain; jealousy had always soaked her marrow.
Three deaths into midlife; he gained crystal clarity on his misgivings about her.
THE LAST THOUGHT OF PARIS (191020 #176 SUBMITTED)
It was bleak.
Rain droned in muffled pulses on the old roof.
The drenched pair huddled in the safety of the empty house.
Outside torrents pelted through broken windows.
Wallpaper sagged like loose skin.
Rotten timbers buckled and wet ceiling plaster crashed like heavy thunder.
The rain stopped.
A HOST OF HORRORS (191020 #177 SUBMITTED)
He stared as lamp-lit shadows moved under the empty bathroom’s door.
The light bulb shorted.
The door slowly creaked open.
A darkened abyss welcomed terrified eyes.
He became motionless.
Something sinister spread on floor tiles, and expanded outward.
Black velvety spores crept silently, seeking nourishment from a decaying corpse.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHCV#5 (191020 #178 SUBMITTED)
Once the cause of spontaneous human combustion was pinpointed, the CDC weaponized it.
Within weeks the world’s streets became littered with human corpses, dried like worms caught on hot summer pavement.
After the off-gassing; several billion tons of H2O recirculated into the ecosystem, nobody complained about water shortages ever again.
AWASH IN SUBCONSCIOUS SILT (191020 #179 SUBMITTED)
Restless dreams were no safe haven; as waves of angry souls rushed toward him, bony fingers lapped at his feet like brittle sea-foam.
He awoke realizing the collection under the porch grew too fast, too soon.
When he stepped outside his trophy pile had tumbled, reaching towards the public view.
BLISS OF THE SPIDERED WOMAN (191020 #180 10SUBMITTED)
Like a marathon runner crossing the finish tape again and again, the cobwebs piled up on her face.
She screamed through the pitch black basement tugging at the accumulation to clear blinded eyes from pure instinct.
As she hyperventilated, dusty webs drew into her gullet, suffocating any hopes of escape.
THE NITROGEN COMPOUND (191021 #181 SUBMITTED)
John had healthy emerald grass, even late into Fall.
“How d’ya keep the lawn so green?” the neighbor asked.
A regular fertilizer schedule and blood meal.
“Hog bone marrow?”
“That stuff’s too weak.”
The swing of a shovel doubled the curious man over and an industrial mulcher fired up.
THE FIRST TSANTSA (191021 #182 SUBMITTED)
A head packed full of stuff.
He’d accumulated arcane facts over the years, exotic herbs, boiling points, contraction rates, tanning, embroidery, leather preservation, and a smattering of South American dialects.
Everything coalesced as he dipped his wife’s remnants into the bubbling cauldron; a prototype, in a series of shrunken heads.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (191021 #183 SUBMITTED)
The underling sat drinking as the scientist looked into a microscope.
“It’s a slow killer; weakens arteries with a toxic plaque that constricts circulation.”
He continued. “Trace elements of salmonella, listeria, menses, and fecal matter.”
“Developing some killer virus?” asked the intern.
“No, it’s the contents of your milk carton.”
TOO MANY LITTLE MOUTHS (191021 #184 SUBMITTED)
The compost bucket was maggoty, it’d been a while, he had neglected it.
Gagging, he tossed the sludgy putrefaction onto the soil.
The hose had failed to flush the pail.
“Those little bastards are still here.”
Two blue eyes clung to the bucket’s bottom; staring back at the wicked stepfather.
DARK OFFERINGS (191021 #185 SUBMITTED)
She curled like a caterpillar under a looming bird strike.
Kicks rained on her ribs in torrents.
Suddenly, her assailants were plucked away screaming into the night sky.
She lay bloodied, wheezing, before a cold hand helped her up.
When she rebuffed a proposal for immortality; her neck was snapped.
DO YOU HAVE ONE WITH FOG LIGHTS? (191021 #186 SUBMITTED)
Matthew drove sheepishly through dense fog, it was white-tail season.
Through the mist he sensed a doe ahead, then a few more.
The new car crawled.
Paused ears perked; spooked, the deer scattered off the road.
Something, big as a Semi came barreling through the grayness, it was no truck.
THE GAPING MOUTH (191021 #187 SUBMITTED)
The storage facility was decommissioned, yet legends persisted about the cold war relic.
Radiated ’52 Cadillacs in pristine condition, mutated mules, aliens, ghosts.
They tried to spook the young guard with bogie man stories.
He didn’t bite; but, the abandoned patrol car by the entrance revealed that the mountain did.
BE RIGHT BACK, GONNA RUB ONE OUT (191021 #188 SUBMITTED)
“That one has slate markers!” he said pulling the car over.
The competitive pair had been gathering grave rubbings across the state.
They crept up the hillside and separated.
“I could be buried here,” she pined.
Hours passed. When he turned up missing she worried; he’d beat her to it.
The new bride stared blankly in the mirror.
Scaled hands draped twill around her; as a visitor whispered, something stung her palm.
Nodding in understanding, she dove out the upper window.
An ophidian shadow grinned and curtsied, fading into nothingness; while three baby teeth rested within a bloody palm below.
THE METER’S EXPIRED (191023 #190 SUBMITTED)
Fall approached the coast, tourist season was ebbing.
A man rested.
He was awash in white softness, enjoying much sought after tranquility.
The sound of waves crashing in the distance calmed his nerves.
His vacation ruined by occasional honks of gridlock, as the mangled pedestrian groaned from under blood-soaked treads.
Agile, relentless, patrolling the air, dominant of Cartesian space.
A carnivorous machine salivating with enzymatic drool, it renders unsuspecting prey to sludge.
Its spawn can devour a corpse in a span of days.
It would love to dine on your rotting flesh, and it will someday.
The Musca domestica awaits.
CREATURES OF THE EARTH (191024 #192 SUBMITTED)
Creepy Crawlers were his childhood favorite.
Relishing the abundance of monster molds on eBay, he went on a buying frenzy, purchasing only the grossest and most vile designs available.
A life’s work spent creating a sentient polymer had finally paid off; the motive for its development would soon be realized.
OPEN UP AND SAY ZAAA (191024 #193 SUBMITTED)
It disgusted his wife.
One had to excuse the poor beast, old habits die hard; unfortunately, this carryover from his ghoulish youth lingered long.
“What’s the harm in another tiny slice?” he asked, munching.
The creature savored it, for him a floppy, blood-soaked, skin graft was his most favorite treat.
THE FERAL SHADOW (191024 #194 SUBMITTED)
Curious almond eyes paused around the corner, staring at the sitting man.
He looked down at the black ball, comprehending a trespass, he left.
Immediately, the beast leaped on the bench.
He paused and inched rearward to pet the creature.
Eyes looked up, and a hand passed through thin air.
LEAF PEEPERS (191024 #195 SUBMITTED)
Often he’d come to the lakeside bench to bask in the Fall’s vibrant colors.
He sat alone, the season was nearly over; he enjoyed the rustle of leaves one last time.
The cancer had taken its toll.
Resting glass eyeballs on the wooden seat, he waded blindly into the depths.
THE LONESOME WAIL (191024 #196 SUBMITTED)
She sat in the darkness alone.
Her pain was gone, for that she was surely glad.
But the isolation still wore on, worrying her.
She couldn’t scream, no one would hear her.
She couldn’t feel for an exit, her limbs failed her.
Realizing where she was, no tears escaped her.
The corpse lay unnoticed, hidden in trailside bushes all day long, bikers, hikers, romantic couples, each none the wiser.
Finally it was discovered.
Frantic for assistance, she waited corpse-side until someone came along.
A lone traveler suddenly appeared, his tracks halted as dry leaves blew up into his face.
EATERS OF THE THIN VENEER (191024 #198 SUBMITTED)
Soul Stealers were everywhere; most good at hiding the fact.
How could Normals know, especially when the ghastly ones looked like them?
Every day through a crystal veil they dined, draining spirits through the familiar gateway.
Through eyes they fed, siphoning energy, engorging and enriching themselves, as victims wither away.
THE HOUSEKEEPER (191024 #199 SUBMITTED)
“Don’t take my things!” the man moaned from a deep slumber.
He went down stairs to an empty house, the vision was real.
New strangers arrived at the old place unpacked cardboard boxes, filling the void.
“This family won’t last,” he thought. “They always move out before dying.”
THE JOURNALIST’S LAST ENTRY (191024 #200 SUBMITTED)
He stared out the window as life carried on.
A contrary existence with an independent schedule, the writer liked it that way.
“How could anything get done while socializing anyhow?”
Sadly, a realization dawned; the ghosts weren’t really in his pages, but in all the days he’d let trickle by.