Daniel Warrington leapt to his feet. The fire roared and crackled in the hearth and the wind gusted outside and for a second he doubted whether he had really heard it – a second, heavier crash, like a great clap of thunder swiftly relieved him of such foolish notions. He rushed across the drawing room, his plush burgundy smoking jacket billowing out behind him, shoving aside an armchair in his haste, and emerged into the entrance hall to see the stout oak doors rattling in their frame. He snatched the Sharps model-1874 from its stand above the fireplace and dashed across the brilliant marble floor, feeding a new cartridge from the stash in the pocket of his smoking jacket into the chamber.… Read the rest
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This month’s topic was suggested by Demonicus. If you have ideas for future discussion posts, please share them by commenting here.
We’ve all experienced irrational fear from things that simply shouldn’t be scary. Children’s shows and toys, for example, are a pretty common culprit when it comes to being innocent-yet-freaky, and this month I’d like you to tell us what stories, shows, movies, etc, have somehow triggered your scary-sense despite being supposedly innocuous.
If you have any idea as to the hows and whys of your particular reaction, please do share your theories! I can see it being helpful for aspiring authors – both as a way to get a better idea of how fear can work, even when dealing with things that aren’t overtly scary, but also as a way of garnering possible inspiraiton for some fresh, non-cliché stories.… Read the rest
Barbara was sure the ritual worked. She stood up from the pentagram as 5 wicks slowly swirled their smoke in the room. The weather seemed angry—lightning flashed and roared through the coastal home, and suddenly the lights went out.
“Damn the power. Let him come” she thought to herself as she calmly went downstairs in the dark. She prepared some tea on the stove, and waited.
As her chamomile steeped, she again thought about how unfair it had been to take him so soon, only 8 years old. Sure, things hadn’t always been easy, but… she had put the bottles away.… Read the rest
My best friend was in Pompeii.
I wasn’t, of course, or I wouldn’t be standing here staring down at a museum display titled “A BLAST FROM THE PAST!!!” A kitsch red LED volcano flickering gently in the background, flinging deep shadows across expressions of abject misery behind a velvet rope for the small children to point sticky fingers at. Speakers rumble in the distance. One little girl bursts into inconsolable howling at the sight; or perhaps it’s the ruddy glowering threat that the same’s imminent to be visited on us. I like her immensely. Her father carries her out.
In fact, some years before Pompeii’s last days came about I had found myself dutifully lugging my scant possessions down the road with tail tucked between my legs; off to marry, of all things.… Read the rest
Of course everyone claiming residence in Arthur’s Wake knows tales associated with the Wicker House. It seems that every small province plays host to some structure of ill repute which, as if by supernatural magnetism, draws rumor of ghosts and bogies, wrapping the timber and stone of its foundation in a shroud of darkness and horror. In Arthur’s Wake, the Wicker House fills this odious task.
Scant days after arriving in town, while taking the time to familiarize myself with the local watering hole and its residents, I became introduced to the well known superstitions surrounding the Wicker House. As a man of science, I knew any truths to be found in these outlandish stories were likely embellished to points unrecognizable.… Read the rest
“Don’t look at it,” Kerryn whispers, tugging on my sleeve. “Leela, don’t!” I glance down at her, noting the concern in her baby blue eyes. She’s just a child, she doesn’t know what she’s saying.
“Don’t worry, Kerryn,” I whisper back. “Nothing bad is going to happen. It’s just the sunset.” I pry her fingers loose, closing my hand around hers and pulling her along gently behind me. “It’s beautiful,” I tell her. “I saw one in a picture once, when I was about your age.”
We walk up the grassy hill, leaning against the steep incline. The wind buffets us from all directions, trying to push us back, but I’m determined.… Read the rest
For as long as I can remember, strange things have happened to me. When I was young, my mother and I lived in my grandmother’s house; a big, drafty Victorian beast of a thing squatting in the middle of acres and acres of hilly country land. My grandmother was old and couldn’t take care of herself, and I often heard my mom whispering to her friends about how crazy she was and how she couldn’t wait to put her in a home and get on with her own life.
Me, being only three or four at the time, didn’t understand. I thought my grandmother was the most wonderful person on the planet, as little children do.… Read the rest
If there are any Skyrim players on here, beware of a place called Husfortap Manor. It exists just outside of the playable area in the southwestern most end of the map, directly south of Markarth. You’l see it on the edge of a mountain as what appears to be a clearing with a rectangular white structure at one end. I found it one day while playing around with the console commands on the game. See, I was bored and decided to explore beyond the playable boundary of the game, as developers tend to leave some interesting Easter Eggs or unfinished concepts in the “Great Beyond”.… Read the rest
Hi. I’m Dave. Dave the ouija board.
Finished? There’s usually some sort of response at this point. Swearing. Laughter. General disbelief. Don’t worry, I’m used to it. Just let me know when you’re done.
It used to confuse me, that response, but then after this many years and this many owners I’ve learnt to expect what the normal reaction will be when I honestly introduce myself for the first time. I’ve also learnt that going straight into my message won’t cause you to listen. And I do have a message to pass on.
Don’t worry – it’s not from a relative or anything like that.… Read the rest
I don’t have much time to explain. You have to hear me out urgently, it’s very important that you do so. I have, for the past couple of weeks, heard of something being passed around on the internet. A simple message that you will stumble upon when you least expect it. According to the people that have been passing around the rumours, when you receive this message you will die soon after reading. Frozen with an intense look of horror upon your face, staring with clouded eyes at whatever attacked you. As any sane person would I believed all this to be nonsense, as you do.… Read the rest
On the 25th March, at 14:57GMT, the world stopped for 27 minutes and 54 seconds. No-one noticed at first. Those that eventually did were ordered to keep quiet.
There was no sudden jolt, no collapsing into unconsciousness, no transition into utter darkness and back again. Nothing.
For everyone, time had appeared to pass as normal, one second moving uneventfully into the next. Birds flew, people talked, the wind and the rain blew and fell respectively – nothing had occurred to indicate that anything untoward or unexpected had happened to the inhabitants of the Earth.
Only those who looked beyond our planet and its ring of constantly chattering satellites now found that the rest of the universe told a different story.… Read the rest
“HURRICANE WARNING – A hurricane is expected within 48 hours. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately”.
I never really took those warnings seriously. In the tropics, a little category 2 Hurricane is no big deal. When I first moved here, I made sure to head to higher ground and heed the warnings given to me by the local TV station, but after returning home with minimal damage to the surrounding area, I realized it was just a waste of time. Better to just board up the windows and wait it out.
So Hurricane Gloria rolled in one August afternoon. It started out the typical way, the wind slowly began to pick up and all the last-minute shoppers raided the local supermarkets looking for batteries, generators, water bottles, and food stuffs.… Read the rest
Everyone knows the term “cheating death”: it’s when you get to escape the ending of your life, or the cruelness of how it will end or just the terror itself it carries. But everyone knows that Death will eventually catch up to you. Some people can evade it for a long period of time while others may not have the best of luck. I cheated Death once, and it hasn’t caught up to me… yet. Before I die; before I’m caught, I want people to know his story. Yes, his story, not mine. This isn’t about me. It’s about the one young man that will live a thousand lifetimes more than me.… Read the rest
I was desperately broke. I suppose that was why I decided to suck up my pride and apply for a job at the Hindlewood Mansion. They were always in need of housekeepers at that big old place. In high school, a few of my friends had worked there, but never lasted more than a week before quitting. They all said it was because of the way the old man treated them, but they way they acted when we rolled past that house in our beat-up cars told me otherwise. Something was just…weird about that place.
My appointment for a housekeeping interview was at 9 o’clock at night; a strange time, but I had heard that old man Hindlewood hated company, and we were only to clean house at night when he was sleeping.… Read the rest
There were too many doors in the upstairs hall. Sarah told her parents, but they couldn’t see it. They told her not to worry. They told her there was nothing there. But there was an extra door at the end of the upstairs hall. An extra yellow door, and it didn’t belong.
It was the color of disease, jaundiced and infected, with spidery black veins across its face. One perfect silver knob gleamed in its center above a shadowy keyhole, and it didn’t look right. The doorknob shone with a mirror’s finish, and caught the light from any angle, begging for Sarah to look its way.… Read the rest
Hours have gone by, with nothing. I’ve typed the same shit over and over, which is getting me nowhere. It’s time to get something done…
Smith, before I go further with this, I want to establish how much I hate you. Although, in a sense, I’m proud of you. This trap is rather elaborate, and even uses my own idea against me. You’ve thought around every corner to ensure my suicidal demise in the end, and for that, I commend you.
How long you’ll go on is lost to me. I’m not sure how, but perhaps this log will be recovered, and someone else will want to dent your face in.… Read the rest
The town of Saluzar, Arizona existed in its own world, and its citizens liked it that way. The town was accessible only by way of a little dirt path, and if anyone had ever stumbled upon it by accident, they probably would have turned back, unaware that anything lurked behind the row of elm trees. And had anyone somehow come across the town, they probably would have felt uneasy, as if they were disrupting some sort of enchanted burial ground. They would have felt unwelcome. This isn’t to say that the people of Saluzar, Arizona weren’t friendly. It’s just that everyone in the small town knew each other, and their ancestors knew everyone else’s ancestors too.… Read the rest
I took the last drag of my cigarette and inhaled a deep breath, savoring the carcinogen-filled smoke inside my lungs before I drew it out again. I looked down at the smoldering butt in my hand and took a gander up at the green trees that surrounded my back yard. Modest, all-consuming green trees which everybody here claim are what make this little town so damn pleasant. More like smothering if you ask me, I’ve always been more of a city boy myself. Whereas most people around here find the streets of Los Angeles overbearing and nauseating, I’d gladly give up those pretty, green trees for apartment buildings and taco stands.… Read the rest
Albanie put her bare feet in the water and leaned back on her arms. She had her jeans rolled up to her knees. The night sky sparkled with a billion stars above her. She couldn’t imagine a more perfect moment. She was so happy that she decided to take this trip by herself, even after everyone else bailed out. They were worried about the rumors about the lake, and she knew it. They all used excuses, like needing to work or a sister’s birthday party, but she knew. She wasn’t afraid though. She wasn’t afraid of anything.
She wasn’t even startled when she heard twigs crackling in a nearby bush.… Read the rest