It’s Saturday night and I’m home alone playing a video game. Not exactly the exciting partying life you’d expect from a college student, but what else could I do? My parents had the car. In fact, my parents drove off to Maine for a mini-vacation, and while I’m heating up a frozen pizza for dinner, they’re probably stuffing their faces with lobster. It’s okay though; they originally didn’t want to go without me when I told them I had an English paper to write this weekend, but I told them I preferred to be alone so I could focus on the paper.… Read the rest
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Murders & Deaths
Consider this a warning. In the event it ever comes to you during a moment of weakness, as it did me all those years ago, say no to the Pastel Man. It doesn’t matter how much you love the person that it promises to help, nothing is worth what it wants in return. I tell you this in hopes that you don’t make the same mistake I did that cold winter night, kneeling beside my father’s writhing body on the living room floor.
It was 1997 when I first encountered the creature and ever since not a day has gone by where its awful face hasn’t haunted my thoughts.… Read the rest
Frank, Thomas and Kirby enter the office break room at approximately 12:25pm on a Tuesday afternoon. Each man holds various containers designed for holding food and drink, and as they lazily slump into the fiberglass chairs that were haphazardly pushed under the table after their previous uses, the room echos of violent thwop-pops and elongated scraw-jips as tupperware lids fly open and velcro bags release their treasures.
“God Dammit!” Thomas rolls his eyes.
Frank, with a mouth full of cold pizza, mumbles in empathy, “Wife packed ya tuna-salad again, huh.”
Thomas tosses the soggy sandwich down onto the table with a resounding glop.… Read the rest
He first suspected that they were going to eat him when he noticed the distinct lack of Yuletide smells. It wasn’t perhaps a conscious thought, at least not one which had been fully realised, but there was a clear growing uneasiness within him. Somehow he just knew.
Surely if a family invited you for Christmas dinner, the house would be filled with the wonderful aromas associated with that annual feast; succulent roast turkey, honey glazed vegetables, perhaps the fumes of mulled wine or a brandy covered Christmas pudding, but no, all of these were absent.
Yet the table was set.
It was a particularly bleak Christmas, and while snow was often welcome at that festive time of the year, the penetrating cold and frost which seemed to sabotage both homes and their residents’ bodies was not.… Read the rest
There have been few parts of my life that I remember in specific, lifelike detail. I’m not sure of this to be a blessing or a curse, as there are moments of my life I wish to forget completely. The most significant of which was the play.
I’m being quite vague when I say, “the” play, as I’ve seen plenty of stage shows in my lifetime. Presentations in the form of movies usually bored me, but there was something about the stage that just made a show different. Live actors (so long as they were good) made the experience much more real to me, and ever since I saw my first stage play as a young boy, I was hooked.… Read the rest
It was All Hallows Eve as the old ones called it, but to us it was simply Halloween. A time for darkened skies, for fallen leaves golden and brown and the feet of children kicking with verve through them; for sweets and treats, for frightening films and spooky tales, for friendship, for the fear and love of the unknown, and for wide grinning turnip heads glowing in the clouded night. And costumes, yes costumes! Some dressed as comical characters, super heroes, and popular toys, others following the traditions of old, dressed as the dead and embracing the macabre delight of it all.… Read the rest
I waved goodbye to my friends as I stepped off the bus and headed to my house. I was super excited to get home and see my parents. They hadn’t talked much at all yesterday. As a matter of fact they just stayed in their bedroom all day. They haven’t been feeling well. I ran up the stairs of the front porch and swung the front door open with a big, cheesy grin on my face; However, when I opened the door there was no one in the den. The television was off and the house seemed to be abnormally quiet.… Read the rest
Every month a beautiful woman would drop her film off at the camera store to get it developed. He didn’t know her name, but she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and was also a wonderful photographer. It made his day when he got to develop her photos. The pictures were of her, sometimes at the beach in a bikini, sometimes at a picnic lunch; always smiling. A close-up photo of her face revealed her beautiful clear blue eyes that he would dream about at work when it was a quiet day. One time a naked photo even slipped through – a self-portrait she had taken in the bathroom.… Read the rest
Everyone knows that kid in school, the one who spends half the school year at home because their immune system can’t handle the massive amount of germs and viruses that tend to accumulate in an elementary school. I was that kid. I found myself getting sick every other week. Something in my body was always fighting off illness and fevers were more than common. My doctors didn’t know what was causing it, but since it never was serious enough to warrant a hospital trip, they concluded that I got the short end of the stick as far as my immune system went.… Read the rest
I recall when we first found the grove. The trees glowed, illuminated by late sunlight coming in shafts down into the valley, the thick smell of decaying fruit rising up toward us, sweet and sour and wonderful.
I was part of a six-person research team looking into water quality fluctuations in the Sierra valley system, following watercourses and comparing their biodiversity. In pursuit of one specific stream, we’d squeezed through a narrow crevice canyon that eventually opened up into a verdant, enclosed ecosystem rich with plants and animals previously unknown to science. That sort of thing isn’t unheard of in the region – the Andean mountains are full of such tiny pockets of life, totally cut off from each other by high mountain walls, creating Galapagos-like isolation.… Read the rest
I’ve noticed a spot forming on the dining area wall in my apartment. I figure I should call someone about it, but I’ll have to worry about it later. I gotta concentrate on the work load I have waiting for me back at the office. I don’t have time to call and make appointments about some weird black spot.
My work day is as busy as I figured it would be. There’s just a lot to get done with my deadline creeping up at the beginning of next week. At lunch I mentioned that spot on my wall to one of my co-workers.… Read the rest
The first known case of Kystlich Syndrome occurred in Bonn, Germany on June 27, 2014. The media was all over it, of course, due to the grisly and disturbing nature of the event, but stayed with the story due to the unraveling strangeness that emerged as more details emerged. On that day, police initially responded to a report that a mob of people had attacked and seriously injured a person on a side street in a shopping district. When first responders arrived on the scene, they were shocked at what they found. Over a dozen people scattered around a wide side walk in various stages of shock.… Read the rest
I spot a fellow standing on the side of road, slightly obscured by the low-lying fog. He’s got his thumb stuck out – kind of gruff and dirty looking. It’s late… Hell, why not. I pull the car over and the man opens the door; he hops in without saying a word.
“It’s your lucky night,” I state, “normally I don’t pick up any thumbers.”
Despite the night being dark, I notice some bright yellow teeth in my rearview mirror. I guess he’s smiling at the comment.
“Must be. I never thumb much myself anymore.” He halts, “Not since what happened.”
“Oh?” I ask.… Read the rest
When I was in high school, my girlfriend and I would go to the mall a lot. It wasn’t something I enjoyed very much, but it made her happy so I didn’t complain. Every time we went she would make us get our pictures taken in those photo booth things. You know, the ones where you put in two quarters or whatever and get a strip of pictures taken and printed off? It was kind of a ritual. She kept the best one from each visit in her locker.
One time we went, and the booth was taped off. I guess someone thought it would be funny to use it to take nude pictures of himself, and then leave the strip in the booth.… Read the rest
I’m terrified about introducing myself, but I feel I must for the sake of keeping both my story and my head straight. I’m Greg, and I’ve just had my 41st birthday. I was married to my beautiful wife, Karen, who had passed away of health complications just a few years ago. All I had left of her warm memory was my seventeen year old daughter, Amy, who has also passed on, but in a completely different and unnatural way. Her death still haunts me to this day. I’m sorry; I’m getting too far ahead of myself. In order to truly explain to you just how gruesome her death really was, I must start from the beginning.… Read the rest
An elderly woman hummed softly to herself, smiling happily as she worked; the needle glinting as her brittle hands slid it through the material, piecing the scraps together with thread. Agatha Lymric, better known as Miss Aggie, had been working on this particular quilt for the past forty-six years, and finally- finally, it was nearly finished. A shaky hand reached forward and stroked the material of the quilt lovingly. Such a beautiful quilt; earthy reds and milky peaches, sun tanned yellows and golds, browns ranging from coffee beans to milk chocolate. Oh yes, such a pretty quilt she’d made. Gentle smile still in place, Aggie reached over for another scrap of material- only to touch the cool wood tabletop.… Read the rest
The Red Cross had been aggressive in the previous few weeks. It felt like every day I would get a phone call soliciting my donation. That was my punishment for surrendering my contact information at my job’s blood drive. Truth was, an hour off of work was far more alluring than the prospect of helping out or “making a difference” as they put it. Karma is ruthless.
I answered the first time, not recognizing the number. They always have a unique way of making you feel guilty before they ask; “Thank you for your last donation! The blood you gave saved three lives!” And after listening to the lady describe the ongoing desperation for more donations, I feigned concern and let her know I will stop in at some point.… Read the rest
Amy felt as though she could float forever. The water was warm and soothing; she stretched out her arms and allowed it to embrace her fully, drifting serenely on the surface like a toned, bikini-clad starfish. Her hair, shoulder length and darker than the Halloween night which peeked in through the skylight like an inquisitive child, billowed out behind her; she closed her eyes, letting her head sink back into the gently roiling water.
After what could have been hours, but was more like minutes, a monotonous voice announced via the poolside speakers that the pools would be closing in thirty minutes, please exit the pools.… Read the rest
The shadows never looked right in that house. Clustered behind the sofa or under the rose arbor, slashed across the ceiling by the rotating fan blades (where they would sometimes resemble an arm, a leg, or a woman’s bloated, misshapen silhouette), the shadows seemed often too dark or too big or just too damn wrong.
There was something lurking within those walls, something malevolent, like a benign tumor that still has the potential to corrupt and kill its hosts. Even as a child, I suspected that by acknowledging it I would be inviting it in, and by inviting it in I would be providing it with the sustenance to live and grow.… Read the rest
* Writer’s note – Originally published 2006 in Dark Fire Fiction. I am the author and own the story rights.
“It’s time I told you about loss, boy.”
We sat, my Pa and I, beneath the old great willow that marked the end of our property and the beginning of God’s country. It had been a glorious day. The midafternoon sun had chased away the rain clouds, bringing spring’s balmy touch to an otherwise inclement week. My Pa had met the morning with our fishing rods and tackle, as if knowing the day’s meteorological outcome beforehand, and together we headed for the lake, splashing through the mud puddles like two boys who didn’t have a care in the world.… Read the rest