Horror Stories and Fear: Daily Blog Post

A Thistle with a butterfly, a honeybee, and a fly. The fly is kind of horrific, don’t you think?

Hi!

I was asked to join an anthology for horror stories. I have written some horror, see my little collection of Halloween Tales. But that’s not my main genre. So, given that the deadline for my story is rapidly approaching, I ordered a book, Writing Horror, by Edo Van Belkom. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the book and am picking up some good tips on writing horror and getting a refresher on just plain, good writing habits. I’m pleased with my purchase.

One of the exercises in the book is to create a list of 10 things I fear. He lists both his list and Stephen King’s list. Here’s mine so far.

  1. Rats (and associated with them, mice)
  2. Being confined. (I once participated in a demonstration with police on the correct way to handcuff a suspect, me being the suspect. I was pushed up against a wall, hands pulled behind my back and the cuffs put on. It happened quickly, and I had a visceral reaction I had never felt before. An instant fight or flight response sent adrenaline through my system and an overwhelming urge to fight back. I managed to resist the urge as it was just a demo. But I have never forgotten that feeling and have a new understanding for how an actual criminal must feel.)
  3. Conflict. (I’m just not good with conflict. Is that a fear? Perhaps. I’ll have to think about it some more.)
  4. That’s it. That’s all I’ve come up with so far. What is it that you fear?

That’s it for today!

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Four Doomsdays – Doom Three: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Mushrooms, Otherwise known as Fungus by Randy Cockrell

“And in other news…”

I half-listened as I changed my three-month-old daughter, Becca. It was always bad news on the TV and I was too engaged with my first-born to care about whatever was troubling the rest of the world. My world was perfect.

Still on maternity leave, I took Becca down to the kitchen and poured my husband, Ron, his coffee and put it on the table at his place. This was his first day back to work from paternity leave. We’d had such a nice time this last three weeks. I was sorry that he had to go back to work already.

He came into the kitchen, adjusting his tie. “I’m sorry I have to put this thing on again.” He sat down at his place as I put a bowl of cereal in front of him.

“Then don’t. You don’t have to wear it.”

He shook his head. “No. If you want to get ahead, dress for two levels above where you are. That’s the CEO. He wears a tie, I wear a tie.” He scooped cereal into his mouth.
I shrugged. Ron was ambitious and I couldn’t blame him, so was I. But my system was still swimming in maternal hormones. At the moment, I couldn’t generate any sympathy. “Your call.”

I pulled Becca to me and pulled up my shirt. One of the best parts of the day was nursing time. I could feel her little mouth clamp onto my breast and begin to suck. I still couldn’t believe that I had a baby and I was feeding her. Me. Out of my own body. The wonder of it was still overwhelming. When I looked up, Ron was smiling at me. “I’m going to miss this.”

“I’m going to miss you.”

He took a deep breath. “Yeah. Oh. Did you see the news? Some sort of infection is sweeping through India. Killing babies.” He studied Becca, still going strong on my breast. “That sucks.”

I nodded but didn’t answer. What must those parents be feeling? I’d be frantic.

Ron scooped up the rest of his cereal and gulped down his coffee. “Home by six.” He got up, grabbed his brief case and kissed each of us on the head.

“Drive safe.” I was talking to his back as he headed out the door to the garage. He waved and was gone.

After Becca ate, she had a bath, clean clothes, and was down for a nap. Time for me to shower and dress. Then it was into the kitchen, the baby monitor on the counter, as I washed up the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. The TV cycled through to another news cast. I listened this time as the story about India came back on. “Just in,” the newscaster looked into the camera, face concerned. “It seems China has had a similar outbreak as India. The government there has been keeping it quiet but refugees coming over the border of Nepal have reported children dying by the thousands.
I shook my head as I dried my hands. Poor parents. How awful.

“The Indian government has called on the United Nations for medical support.” The newscaster went on to the next story and I turned off the TV. I was glad I didn’t live over there.

That afternoon, I met some other mothers at the park. Of course, Becca was too young to run and play but it was good to get her out into the fresh air. “Did you hear about India and China?” I asked as I sat down.

“Yes. What a nightmare.” Carol’s baby was the same age as mine. We were in the same room at the hospital. “I cannot even imagine.”

“It’s the conditions,” Margery said with a sniff. “The sanitation over there is non-existent. No wonder there’s disease running rampant.

“What if it get’s here?” Joan stopped talking to wipe her three-year-old’s nose. “I mean, with air travel, disease can spread around the world in no time.”

Margery shook her head as she watched her four-year-old son go down the slide. “The people with the illness are not rich enough to travel. We’re safe enough.”

We all nodded but I wondered. I took pre-med in college before transferring into computer science. Disease was no respecter of socio-economic classes. Look at the plague back in medieval Europe or the flu back in the 1900’s. Millions of dead. Europe lost so many people modern historians marvel that the continent recovered.

I mentioned it at dinner that night.

Ron nodded. “It’s all everyone was talking about at work. Apparently, there is something going around in the bigger cities.”

It felt like my heart was in my throat. “What kind of something?”

He shrugged. “Don’t know. Lot’s of kids sick. But it’s all a rumor. There’s nothing on TV about it.”

After dinner was cleaned up and Ron was watching a recorded game, I got on the internet and did a search. Pictures put up by private individuals showed grieving parents. YouTube videos showed anguished parents pleading with everyone to stay home and not go out in public. A fungus they said. Some kind of deadly fungus.
I told Ron.

“Can’t be. It would be public by now if there were that many cases.” He went back to the game.

I could hear Becca begin to cry over the baby monitor.

I went upstairs. The poor thing was screaming as I went into the bedroom. “That’s okay, sweetheart. Momma’s here.” I picked her up. Out of the spot where her skull met her neck, something white sprang out.

I screamed, holding Becca out from me face down in the crook of my arm, something long and white. Blood seeped from around the base of it.

Ron came racing in.

“Call 911. Something’s wrong!” I sobbed as Becca kept screaming.

Cordyceps, the doctor said. A new, virulent strain of fungus. By the end of two years, every child under the age of five was dead.

Words: 1000

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Haunted: Flash Fiction Friday Post

screamer-by_eurai at https://www.deviantart.com/art/Screamer-29923535

https://www.deviantart.com/art/Screamer-29923535

“Where’d you get the parts?” Lieutenant Wong studied the inventory on his crystal.

“From a salvage company. They recovered the Del Rio from Hippolita Four.” MaintTech Dora Soledad checked her crystal. “Shame about the Del Rio.”

Wong nodded and clicked off his crystal. “Yeah. Three hundred and twenty-seven colonists and the whole crew, dead.” He sighed. “Okay. We’ll go with these. Start with the engine. That capacitor is way over due for replacement.”

Dora nodded. Wouldn’t be if the company cared about anything but the bottom line, she thought. Wong turned and left the maintenance shop. Dora went over to the shelf where the capacitors were stored. She looked over the parts. They all looked pretty good, so she picked one, grabbed her took kit, and headed for the engine room.

The Chief Engineer, Sue Goode, was sitting watch at her boards and greeted Dora when she arrived. “No kidding, there are parts?”

“Yeah.” Dora grinned. “I grabbed a whole list of parts as soon as I saw them come up on the sales boards. Used but in good condition.”

“Fantastic.” Sue grinned back. “About time.”

Dora put the part in, tested it, and was done in an hour. She gave Sue a wave as she left.

The next day she was at the noon mess with the third engineer, Dave Bookman. “It was creepy down in engineering last night.” He sighed. “I kept hearing things.”

“What kind of things?” Dora took a sip of her soup.

Dave shrugged. “It sounded like screaming.”

Dora’s eyebrow rose. “Screaming.”

“Yeah! I checked over that whole engine. Everything in the room. Couldn’t find anything wrong.” Dave shuddered. “Creepy.”

Dora nodded. “Sure.”

Two days later, she was walking along a passageway when she caught sight of something from the corner of her eye. When she turned to see it, it drifted away, like smoke, through the bulkhead. She shook her head. That wasn’t possible. Seeing things, she thought, and went on her way.

At the evening mess, it was all the talk. Just about everyone had seen or heard something. Just inside hearing range, or just about in sight, it was scaring everyone. “What could it be?” Dave asked her. “Are we all going nuts?”

“Everyone? All at once?” Dora shook her head. “I’m not buying it.”

“Well, something is happening.” He crossed his arms. “What’s the Captain going to do about it?”

Dora shrugged. “He can’t stop people from seeing things, Dave.”

Dave stood and picked up his tray. “I guess. But something is going on.”

Dora finished her meal after Dave left. Thinking about it. Finished, she went to see the Lieutenant. “Sir. Have you heard about the ghosts?”

He nodded. “Yeah. I’ve been hearing stuff myself.” He studied her. “You?”

“I’ve seen something, not sure what.”

“Okay. What do you have?”

“It seems to me the sightings started after I began using the parts from the Del Rio”

He rubbed his chin. “How do you figure?”

The sighting I had was in the hall where I’d replaced a fan blade the day before in the air handling system. Dave Bookman heard screaming the night I replaced the capacitor in the engine room. I’ve been listening to people talk about where they were when they had a sighting. It’s all places I’ve worked over the last three days.” She took a breath. “Where were you when you heard stuff?”

He thought a moment. “Outside the bridge, for one.”

“I replaced the switch plate to the door.”

“Let’s talk to the Captain.”

They met in the Captain’s ready room and explained Dora’s theory. “And how did it happen?” he asked.

“I heard the Del Rio crashed hard, Sir. Quite a psychic shock. Drove their, souls, I guess, right into the nearest thing.”

The Captain nodded. “Sounds like a lot of hooey to me.”

“What can we do about it?” Wong asked.

“Nothing. It’s a figment of people’s imaginations.”

“But Sir,” Dora started to speak. He cut her off.

“No. I’m not buying it. Dismissed.”

Dora spent the next week doing her best not to use any parts from the Del Rio but often, they were the only parts available. Apparitions hung clearly beside the shelves and racks in the Maintenance Office. She tried to talk to them, reassure them, but it didn’t seem they could hear her.

People were starting to look haggard, especially the people who were hearing screaming. Dave Bookman collapsed and had to be taken to the clinic where they sedated him.

The Captain showed up in the Maintenance Office, stopping short just inside the doorway. His eyes grew bigger as he looked around the crowded room. “How long?” He gestured at the ghosts.

“Four days.” Dora looked around. “I try to talk to them. But no response.”

He rubbed his cheek. “I’ll check with the doctor.”

Dora nodded as he left and went back to work.

The doc started in the Maintenance Office. “Captain said you’ve been talking to them.”

“Yeah. It doesn’t help, though.”

“Supportive counseling, it’s called.” He watched the ghosts as they drifted around the room. Better is what you’ve already done, in vivo exposure. They’ve been put back on a space ship. Eventually they’ll see that nothing bad is happening and they’ll get better. Probably disappear.” He turned to her. “They don’t bother you, interfere in any way, anything?”

“Nope. They just drift around. I walk around them, though. It seems rude to walk through them.”

The doc nodded. “Yeah. I can see that. Just keep talking to them. It’s about the best we can do.”

He gave the people who could hear screaming drugs to keep them calm and set others to talking to the parts that had been installed around the ship.

It took three months for the first of the ghosts to disappear. Last to go were the screamers, the shock of their death more acute with them. Dora was a little sad to see her ghosts go. They were good company.

Words: 1000

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Health, Garden, Writing: Monday Blog Post

Cactus Flower from my front yard.

Newest News:

The juice fast I began last Sunday was ended on Friday. I just never reached that point in the fast where I wasn’t hungry and on Friday at dinnertime, I went ahead and ate. Over all, I was 6 days on the fast and lost 6 pounds. The weight wasn’t the point, the fast’s de-tox was more important. Did the de-tox kick in? I have no idea. I never felt any different so I don’t know. Have you ever done a de-tox fast? How did it work for you?

The garden is doing well. I watered on Sunday. It hasn’t rained here in weeks and everything is so dry. Everything is now taking off and looking fabulous. Do you garden? What are your favorite things to grow?

Writing has been slow. I did go through my file of stories I’m shopping out to magazines. I have two that are still out. The rest have all been rejected. It sounds harsh to put it like that, but I don’t mind. On my story, Slave Elf, reader L.L. was the only person to send in an alternative title: To Catch an Elf. I’m not sure I like that one either but as the only contestant, I’m going to send her a copy of my book, Lost Rainbows. Thank you, L.L., for participating!

If you’re one of my mystery readers, I’ll remind you that I’m in a cozy mystery book bundle, Cozy Winter Reads.  The Bundle Rabbit link is:   https://bundlerabbit.com/b/cozy-winter-reads and you can get the bundle in whatever format you’d like. Just $7.99 for six books!

Giveaways:

The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Spring Giveaway at https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ is still running but just for a few more days. So many free books and prizes, you’ll be amazed. Click the link to get to the Rafflecopter.

Shout Out:

Here’s a shout out to my friend, A.F. Stewart. She’s one of those people who write horror and does a darn good job of it, too. One of her books is Ghosts, Gods and Sea Monsters. Here’s a bit:

In the Outer Islands, gods and magic rule the ocean.

Under the command of Captain Rafe Morrow, the crew of the Celestial Jewel ferry souls to the After World and defend the seas from monsters. Rafe has dedicated his life to protecting the lost, but the tides have shifted and times have changed.

His sister, the Goddess of the Moon, is on a rampage and her creatures are terrorizing the islands. The survival of the living and dead hinge on the courage and cunning of a beleaguered captain and his motley crew of men and ghosts.

What he doesn’t know is that her threat is part of a larger game. That an ancient, black-winged malevolence is using them all as pawns…

Come set sail with ghosts, gods and sea monsters.

You can find her at https://afallonblog.wordpress.com/.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my future engagements.

My next event adventure is the Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. We’re completing the final touches and now heavily promoting the festival. It’s again at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino ballroom. The organizer there is so wonderful to work with. At any rate, we’ll have 80 authors, entertainment, children’s story times (yep, more than one!) and of course the casino has great food in it’s restaurants. Hope to see you there.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Phoenix Comic Fest, Writing, Privacy Policy Update: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I’m so excited that Phoenix Comic Fest is coming up in 3 days! Over this last weekend I finished up my Firefly type costume. It looks good! I’m pretty excited. I’m at Artists Alley tables AA928 and AA930. I’ll have many of my books for sale there. Please stop by and say hello.

Lounging

Hubby caught a picture of the squirrel lounging on one of the support boards of the back fence. Cheeky little bugger.

I have to write a flash fiction story by Wednesday so you’ll have it to read on Friday. Since Comic Fest starts Thursday afternoon, I have to get the story written and scheduled by end of day Wednesday. I’ve been thinking a lot about horror. It’s not a genre I write though I do occasionally read horror. I’ve been trying to suss out what makes horror scary, at least to me. Hubby and I went to see A Quiet Place. I’d call that a scifi horror. The movie had me jumping out of my seat several times. I’d call it a psychological horror more than a blood and gore movie. I thought it was quite well done and I’d like to write a story like that. What do you like in a horror story?

Privacy policies are being strengthened and updated all over the internet. My site is no exception. I have updated my privacy policy on my Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Contest Guidelines page. As always, for both this site and my newsletter, you are always able to unsubscribe at any time. For more information on what I collect or don’t collect or use, check out the Privacy Policy page.

Giveaways:

The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Spring Giveaway at https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ is still running but just for 30 more days. So many free books and prizes, you’ll be amazed. Click the link to get to the Rafflecopter.

Shout Out:

Shout out to my friend Lynn Lamb. Lynn writes The Survivor Diaries series. That’s post-apocalyptic, dystopian for those of you who love that genre. You can find out more about Lynn at www.LynnLamb.com.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my future engagements.

My next event is Phoenix Comic Fest. I have costumes this year! Come on by my tables in Artists Alley, AA928 and AA930 and we can take selfies!

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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New Floor: Monday Blog Post

My new office floor.

Newest News:

Now that the book festival and fair are over, hubby began his long awaited project, replacing the carpet in our office with vinyl flooring. We started last Friday and were finished by Saturday afternoon. All except, that is, for the transition pieces leading from the office to the hall and from the office into the closet. Those he finished on Sunday. I still have a lot of files to bring back into the room, hopefully not back to the daybed. That would be nice to take a nap on.

A fellow author invited me to write a horror story for a book bundle. I’ve signed up to do it but it won’t be published until October 2019. That gives me plenty of time to work it out as horror isn’t my usual strong-point. However, I have decided on the main character name, Agnes Ditchweed, that it will be a SciFi horror taking place on another planet and that’s about it. If you don’t want to wait that long, I have my collection, Halloween Tales, on Amazon to help satisfy your Halloween reading. Go to my website tab Books for links to major retailers.

 

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or $150 in Paypal cash? Drop by https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Spooktacular Authors Halloween Giveaway. This ends after Halloween! Get it now!

Shout Out:

Today’s shout out is to Claudette Melanson. An award winning author, Claudette writes horror. You can find her book, Rising Tide: Dark Innocence, on permafree at https://www.amazon.com/Claudette-Melanson/e/B00IHS7GBI. Enjoy!

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

My next public appearance will be at the Pine Fall Festival October 14th and 15th. On both days, I’ll be in the Community Hall with a few other authors selling and signing books with the antique dealers. On Saturday besides crafters, is the annual chili cook-off. Saturday hours are 9am – 5pm and the chili cook-off starts at 11am. Be there at 11am. The chili usually runs out by noon. Buy a ticket, taste the chili, vote for your fav top three! My hubby is usually there with his version. Sunday the hours are 9am – 4pm. Lots of crafters will be there and the weather is lovely in October. Come on by and say hello.

NEW! In November the Payson library is having it first ever mini-comicon. SciFi and Fantasy fans, get ready to head to central Arizona. There’ll be costumes, SciFi and Fantasy panels. I’m excited! I’ll post the date as soon as I have it.

On December 9th I’ll be at the Mesa Book Festival. Get full details at https://mesabookfestival.com/. I’ll be in a booth with my author friend Marsha Ward. www.MarshaWard.com. Between the two of us, we have a large number of genre’s covered. Come get your Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. The festival runs from 2pm – 8pm.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Ragged Weeping: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Misery by fuuuran via DeviantArt.com

Misery by fuuuran via DeviantArt.com

I woke again to ragged weeping and groaned. I had to get up at five and drive an hour and a half to work. Every night this week the weeping had woken me. I got up, threw on my robe and opened the bedroom door. Just like every other night, it sounded as if it was coming from my left, down the hall toward the stairs. I sighed and padded barefoot along the polished wood floors.

My best friend Mandy thought it was a ghost when I told her about it two days ago.

I snorted. “There’re no such things as ghosts.”

“Seriously, Bridget, haven’t you ever watched Ghost Finders on TV? They find ghosts all the time.”

Mandy believed everything she saw on the internet or saw ragged weeping. “I’ll figure it out.” I wish I felt as confident at two in the morning as I had at lunch in broad daylight. The sound quieted. I stared around the hall, faint moonlight coming in the window at the end. I went back to my bedroom and got the mini-flashlight and the wooden bat I kept handy by the bed. I opened every door on the hallway. Spare room, closets, bathroom, guest room, all were quiet. Downstairs I did the same, opened every door, listening, shining the light inside. No ghosts revealed themselves.

In the kitchen I listened to the appliances. There was just quiet humming, no ragged weeping sounds. I turned on the kitchen light and started the water in the kettle for a cup of tea. Some chamomile would help me get back to sleep. Two-fifteen in the morning, I sighed as I checked the clock over the door to the dining room. The house was so quiet I could hear the gas feeding the flame on the stove.

Maybe the noise was coming from the basement, the water heater or furnace or something. I shoved myself to my feet and opened the basement door. As basements in old houses go, this one was pretty clean and not too scary. In the daylight, anyway. I went down the creaky wooden stairs and walked around. The washer and dryer were silent. The water heater was quiet under its insulated blanket. The furnace made no noise but I noticed the fuel oil gage read a quarter full. I made a mental note to have the furnace guy come and do a service and to get the oil delivery guy to fill the tank before September.

I stopped at the end wall. Built-in rough wooden shelves stretched across three-quarters of the wall and held a variety of things I didn’t know what to do with and some things left over from the previous residents. I stared at the contents of the shelves. I should just have a yard sale and get rid of this stuff. The sound of weeping made me jump. What the hell! Where is that coming from? I backed away from the wall, swallowing hard. There was nothing on the other side of the wall. That was an end wall, just dirt on the other side. The weeping grew louder. I could see a furnace duct running along the ceiling right over the shelves. That’s why I could hear it up in my bedroom. The duct work carried the sound.

The kettle in the kitchen started screaming. I ran up the stairs, turned it off and dialed 911. It was going to be tough to explain.

Long past time for me to get up the police finished demolishing the shelves and uncovered a secret door. I watched from the steps. The cops didn’t want me in the way. I didn’t want to get too close.

Four officers in SWAT gear opened the door and went into the room I could only just glimpse. The men called out and others went in. “Clear, Clear, Clear,” I could hear them calling out. The officer in charge listened to the comms in his ear. He turned to a sergeant nearby. “Call an ambulance. Someone’s alive in there.”

I went back up to the kitchen and made a cup of Earl Grey tea. I was going to need the caffeine. An hour later they brought the stretcher up the stairs, through to kitchen and out the back door. I saw a woman, hair wild around a pasty-white, emaciated face, covered with a blanket. The lieutenant came up after the stretcher.

“What, who?” I babbled incoherently.

He sighed. “Strangest thing I’ve ever seen. She was a research assistant and lover, thirty years ago, to a Doctor Spark. He convinced her to stay with him in the secret room where they were doing experiments. There’s enough LSD down there to stone New York City. There are crates and crates of MRE’s. They’re tapped into the house electricity and water and sanitation.”

“Why did they do it?”

“She wasn’t clear. But the doc died, probably three years ago.” He looked at her. How long have you been here?”

I shrugged. “A year. But the weeping didn’t start until a week ago.”

“A psychiatrist is going to have to figure this out but people don’t do well all alone. She broke, I’m thinking.”

I could hear a buzzing in his ear. “Roger that,” he said. “They’re bringing the body up now.”

I nodded and moved to the far side of the kitchen, my hands wrapped around my tea mug. The medics pulled the gurney up the stairs and through the kitchen. The body seemed small under the sheet. Desiccated, I assumed. My phone rang. “Bridget, you all right? You’re not here yet.”

“I’m fine but I’m not going to be in today. You will not believe what’s happened here. I’ll tell you tomorrow.”

Mandy tried to get more details but I told her I was busy and hung up. No, this was going to be very hard to believe.

 

Thank You for reading!

983 Words

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Melt at your own Risk

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via www.DeviantArt.com

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via www.DeviantArt.com

“No,” Roxanna shouted at her daughter. “Never, ever, give in. No melting.”

Little Pam gave her mother an eye roll.

“No! Oh, it seems fun at the beginning but then, it’s harder and harder to pull away.” Roxanna grasped her daughter’s shoulders with both hands and looked her eye to eye.

At twelve, Pam was in full parental defiance mode. Melting was delicious. All of the edges blurred. Her muscles relaxed and everything became soft and flowy. “I can control it.”

“You can’t.” Roxanna gave her daughter a little shake. “You’ve just started coming into your powers. It’s unfortunate that melting was the first one. You should have had more time to learn the proper techniques and controls. Melting is easy. It feels good. But the danger is that you go too far and won’t be able to or perhaps won’t want to come back. Is that what you want? For me to keep you in a jar on the mantle?”

That got Pam’s attention. Spending her life in a jar sounded horrible. “No. I’ll hold off melting.” The girl scuffed her sneakered toe into the carpet.

Roxanna clapped her daughter on the shoulders with a sigh. “Good. Soon your other powers will develop and we’ll work with those. Be patient.”

Pam nodded and left for her room. She flopped on the bed. Being a witch had seemed so exciting. Her mother was a powerful witch. Pam had been eager to get her own powers. Now it seemed as though everything was a no. ‘No, you can’t melt.’ ‘Be careful, that power needs years of practice.’ ‘Stop, that’s dangerous.’ Pam flung her arms out across the bed.

Especially today. It was All Hallows Eve and the witches party was tonight. Pam wanted to show off her melting to her friends. Now it would be another year before she could be a full participant.

By the time it was full dark everyone was assembled. The bonfire was blazing, and the dancing had started. Despite the chill in the air, many of the witches danced naked. Pam thought nothing of it. She’d been attending the coven gatherings since she was a baby.

“Pam!”

Pam turned to see her two best friends, Agatha, and Emily, running to greet her.

“Look!” Agatha opened her hand. Dancing on her palm was a tiny flame. “It came to me over the weekend. Mom helped me learn to control it.” The girl raised her index finger and the flame move to its tip. “See! Isn’t this the greatest?” Agatha and Emily grinned and giggled.

Pam’s heart sank and a red wash of jealousy coursed through her. Her face grew hot. “I can melt. That’s my first power.”

“Melt?” Emily’s eyes grew big. “No one in my family can melt.”

“My mom can and now, so can I.”

“Show us,” Agatha demanded.

Pam looked around the clearing. Her mother danced in the circle. Her long red hair swung with abandon, glinting in the firelight. “My mom says it’s dangerous. I may never come back.”

Agatha, always competitive with Pam, snorted. “You can’t do it, can you?”

“I can, too!” Pam checked her mother again. Roxanna danced with her friends. “Well, just a little melting won’t hurt.” She let herself relax. Pam could feel her edges soften. The warmth of the change accelerated the process. Her mother was right, she thought. This does feel good.

Dimly she could hear Agatha and Emily gasp. “You can melt,” Emily exclaimed.

Pam didn’t nod. That would pull her out of the melt. Just a little more so Agatha would know she could really do it. Her body continued to soften. Pam could feel herself flowing. The moon began to pull at her and a low thrumming echoed in her mind. Just a little more. This was so peaceful and the thrumming, first loud, then soft, relaxed her. She could feel it ebbing and flowing within her.

She could barely hear Emily screaming for her to stop. A little more. How far can I go? She could no longer see when Agatha dragged Roxanna to the remains of Pam’s body. Roxanna held her hands over Pam’s soggy clothing and began to chant. Several witches joined her, adding their power to hers.

Agatha and Emily held each other and sobbed.

After an hour, the witches gave up. Roxanna, pale and shaking, lay sobbing on the cold ground. One of the witches covered her with her clothes. Pam was gone, soaked into the ground. The witches went home. Roxanna and a handful of friends built a fence around the spot where Pam had melted. No one would walk on it. Roxanna hoped that the child would reform and come back.

Three witches stayed behind as two friends led Roxanna away. “Think the girl will come back?”

“Nope. She’s part of the earth now. Glad my family doesn’t have melting in our lineage. I’ve heard of this happening. The melters never come back.”

The three stood around the fence. “Melt at your own risk, I guess,” the third witch said.

They all nodded.

 

The End

847 Words

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Flash Fiction Friday Post: Dark Carnival

State Fair

State Fair 2011 by Randy Cockrell

Gabi Rickson rubbed her eye as she flipped the switch in the trailer turning off the carnival music. If she never heard carnival music again it would be fine by her. If she never stepped foot in another carnival trailer, that would be fine, too. Next town, Gabi promised herself as she turned out the flashing neon lights; she’d get a waitressing job in a diner or something and get away from this creepy carnival.

After a month with the carnival, she was trusted to shut up the game trailer for the night. She stepped out of the back door and locked it. Gabi shared a camper with the carnie owner’s daughter, Brianne. The bed over the cab was hers, along with the tiny storage cubby. Not that she had much—a couple of changes of clothes, her e-reader, and the electronic notebook that served as her computer when a free WiFi hotspot presented itself.

At the camper, she went inside. It shifted with her weight on the step. The light was on over the stove, meaning that Brianne was out. Gabi felt relieved. Brianne and the rest of the carnies had some sort of weird vibe. Kind of like the vibe she got from her mother’s boyfriend and the reason she’d left home. The carnie vibe, though, was something else. They seemed okay during the day, friendly enough. After dark was another thing. Gabi eyed the door. She wanted nothing better than to lock the damn thing but it wasn’t her camper and Brianne needed to get in.

She changed into the tee-shirt she slept in and splashed her face in the tiny bathroom sink. Thank goodness the camper had a toilet and shower. It would have sucked to use the port-a-pots and outside wash stations some of the carnies had to use. After she climbed up into her bed, she read a chapter on her e-reader and turned out the lights. The game trailer had to open at ten, just seven hours away.

Gabi woke, heart pounding, the camper rocking violently. She scrambled down the ladder and bolted out of the camper door, barefoot and trembling. With the dirt and small stones cutting into her feet, she saw three men rocking the camper.

Brianne grabbed her hand. “Come on! Run!”

Blinking with confusion, Gabi followed, her hand still in Brianne’s. “What’s going on? Where are we going?”

“Hurry!” The owner’s daughter dragged her past the carnie’s campers and led the nineteen-year-old at a run up the ramp of the carnival’s only tractor trailer, through a person-sized door. She dropped Gabi’s hand and slammed the door shut.

Gabi stood gasping as Brianne stood, back against the door. “What is going on?”

“It’s time.”

“Time for what?” Gabi shook her head. This wasn’t making any sense.

Brianne stood up. “Time for you to serve your purpose.” She took Gabi’s hands in hers. “Time for you to pay us back.”

Gabi tried to pull her hands from Brianna’s. “Pay you back? I do my work.”

Brianna’s grip tightened. “Of course. But we need more than that, sweet girl.”

Gabi yanked her hands, but the carnie’s grip couldn’t be broken. She didn’t like the way Brianna stared. “Let go of me!” she cried out. Panic flooded through her.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart.” Brianna smiled and licked her lips. “This won’t hurt. Not too much, anyway.”

“Let go!” Gabi shouted as her elbows were grabbed by two men, one on each side. Brianna let go of her wrists as the two men lifted Gabi from her feet. She recognized them from around the carnival but hadn’t really met them. “Let me go!” she screamed again as they carried her to the front of the trailer.

The inside was lit by purple rope lights mounted along the corners where wall met roof. The sides were lined with the carnie people, dressed in black robes, hands tucked into wide sleeves. Gabi tried to kick the legs of the men who held her, but her bare feet were weak weapons. They ignored her. At the front of the trailer was a platform that ran the width of the trailer and a table, draped in white, on it. The white material glowed purple in the light from the ropes. They lifted her higher and before she could react, two other men grabbed her feet and bound them in three turns of rope before she was placed on the white cloth. Her hands were raised over her head and tied to the corners of the table. She thrashed, her long blonde hair spilling across the table and over her face. Tears flowed with fear and frustration.

Brianne, now dressed in a black robe with silver embroidery at wrist hems and down the middle front of the robe, gently pulled Gabi’s hair back from her face and with a black cloth, wiped her eyes. “Shh, sweet girl. There’s no need to fear. You’ve been judged worthy.”

“Worthy?” Gabi tugged at her feet, they were secured, as were her hands. “What are you doing?”

“We need to feed. You’ve been chosen.”

Gabi shook her head so hard the hair flew again. “You can’t. You can’t!”

The people in the room began to chant. Brianne lifted Gabi’s head and placed a padded brace under her neck and smoothed all of Gabi’s hair to her left shoulder. “So beautiful, dear girl. You’ll feed us for quite some time.”

Gabi screamed as Brianne leaned over her neck and bit. Fear and pain flooded through her then warmth and a feeling of bliss.

The missing girl posters appeared a week later, but the carnival had moved on. A year later the body of a woman, apparent age 72 was found in the parking lot of an abandoned drive-in theater.

Gabi’s mother searched for her daughter the rest of her life.

 

The End

977 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: The Magician

Magic, Magician

The Magician by BlowYourMindDesign: Robgrafix via www.deviantart.com

 

Warning: This story has elements of child abuse in it.

The Magician

The show started at eleven but ten minutes early the music started. It was the maniacally cheerful, chirpy music designed specifically to pull children in. The stage was in the dirt median between the highway and the strip mall parking lot. The music did its job. Kids and their parents gathered in front of the stage. Even before lunch, the kids were dancing with impatience already overloaded on the candy canes and hot chocolate offered free in every shop in the mall for the Christmas season kick-off.

At eleven on the dot the magician bounded up the steps at the back of the mobile stage. Taller than average, the thin, elderly man wore a porkpie hat, black dress shirt and pants, black plastic rimmed glasses and an eggplant colored jacket with matching tie that glittered in the sunlight.

He was jovial – greeting the audience with enthusiasm and a big grin. Under the clear blue sky he dazzled the people with sleight of hand and amazing tricks. The children stood slack-jawed, remains of candy canes forgotten in their sticky hands.

The Magician made birds appear and disappear, cut ropes reattach themselves, and pulled butterflies out of his hat. Silk flowers were pulled from behind the ear of a little girl who squealed with delight. For his last trick he brought a boy of about eight and his parents up on stage. He whispered the magic word in each of their ears. When he clapped his hands, bubbles fell from the stage ceiling. The family raised their faces to the falling bubbles with glee. The audience applauded and many dropped tips in the basket at the front of the stage.

At one in the morning the magician opened his hotel room door at a knock. There stood the parents with their son between them. “We came.” The father’s face was blank, eyes staring.

The mother guided her son through the door. “Here he is.” Her face was neutral.

The boy, in the same trance as his parents, stepped inside the room without turning around.

The magician waved, spoke the magic word and the parents turned and left. Their son never twitched. The man shut the door and moved around to face the child. “What’s your name?”

“Jimmy.” The child’s eyes looked into the Magician’s.

“A good name, Jimmy. We’re going to have a lot of fun, son. A lot of fun.”

The boy, still staring, nodded.

The Magician waved his hand in front of Jimmy’s face and said the magic word. “Let’s get some sleep, Jimmy. We have to leave early in the morning.”

The boy went to the queen sized bed without undressing, clambered up and put his head on the bedspread covered pillow and closed his eyes. He was asleep immediately. They were gone by six in the morning.

The parents called the police at eight to report their son missing from his bedroom. They described their son; the pajama’s he was wearing, provided a picture. They begged for his safe return on national television. The search went on for years.

The Magician and Jimmy traveled the country. No one recognized the boy. When he grew older the magician released the spell and abandoned Jimmy in a big city.

At the next show, last act, the magician called a young family up on stage and whispered the magic word in each of their ears.

 

 

The End

565 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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