Category Archives: Flash Fiction Friday

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15-Nov-2019

How can a Hot Dog Roaster be in a Horror story?

“I thought a sleeper car would be a little more luxurious,” Mia said.

“What? There are four beds.” I pointed.

Mia folded her arms across her stomach and glared. It was hard to get out of  range of said glare when we both stood in the two-foot wide aisle of the sleeper car. Two beds, which had been the two couches, were at my knees, and the other two had folded down from the walls near my shoulders. I had to turn sideways, because my shoulders didn’t fit in the gap anymore.

“It’ll be fine,” I said to my wife. “We’re only here until the train gets in early tomorrow.”

Mia’s eyes remained narrow.

She hated tight spaces. It wouldn’t help when Ben and Sasha got back.

I patted the air with my hands. “Look, honey, it’s one night. We’re booked for a nice hotel for the next week, and as soon as we get the chance we’ll cancel our train ride back and get a flight. Or rent a car.”

“We can’t afford a flight.” Her voice was tight. “And taking a car with only two people would make us a nice, juicy target.”

“I brought some warding spells. Maybe we can talk the others into riding back with us.” I finally dared reach out and touch her arm. “This is one night. I know it’s not ideal, but it’s the safest and quickest way to get there.” I emphasized the word quickest, hoping to spark Mia’s resolve.

It did. Go me. Points for the husband.

She sighed. “Fine. We’ll talk about how we’re getting back later, but it won’t be on this train.”

“I promise.” I leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead.

She glared, but it was more of a playful “I hate you” look instead of a “I will murder you in your sleep” look. I took that as a win.

“Now why don’t you change and crawl into bed?” It would help if she had a safe place to sit while the rest of us got situated.

“Fine,” she muttered.

By the time Ben and Sasha got back, Mia was lying on one top bunk and I was lounging on the one below. Ben raised his eyebrows when he saw what I had next to me.

“We’re on a train with hundreds of people and you think you’re going to need that?”

I pat the hot dog roaster—a sort of long, skinny pitch fork—with fondness. “Little brother, I never leave home without it.”

“Well you’re not going to need it tonight,” he muttered as he and Sasha climbed into their bunks.

Since the breach, most people lived their lives in fear. Ben hadn’t really known the world before, and he held to the truths in his head harder than anything else.

It had been unfortunate that the first iron weapon I had found had been this antique hot dog roaster, but it had bonded with me, and I took it wherever I went. It was lucky I ended up with something to fight with. I liked stabbing things. It was so simple. Pointy end goes in the writhing mist of any creature that crawled out of the breech. Mia had her recorder—the kind they used to have kids play in elementary school—clutched in her hand under the blankets. Like always.

The breach was why she didn’t like small places. I didn’t blame her, but at least she was good at keeping her fear at bay.

I hid my smirk as Ben grabbed his old cell phone from his bag and Sasha settled in with a hefty looking water bottle. It seemed paranoia was contagious.

 

The usual nightmares haunted my sleep, and I woke from the time I’d gotten stuck in the mall. Only the screams of shoppers didn’t fade. Instead, they got stronger.

“Up!” I yelled. “Get up!” I sat up and smacked my head on the bottom of Mia’s bed. A couple of swear words made it through my filter—Mia was going to have something to say about that—and I got to my feet just as light from Ben’s phone flooded the room.

“What is it?” Ben asked. Even though he knew exactly what it was.

Mia jumped down, wearing her clothes from the day before. “I’ve never heard of them attacking in a place with this many people.”

Sasha climbed down as Ben and I went to the door. There was a little window covered by blinds.

“Hide that light for a minute,” I said.

“But…”

“Just do it.” Like a good younger brother, he made a face and pressed the screen of the phone against his chest.

I gently pried two blinds apart just far enough for me to see into the hallway.

Part of me had hoped that humans were attacking. That hope died as soon as I saw the glittering dark back of what I called a hyena monster. The face looked sort of a hyena, only with a lot more teeth and about ten times as ugly. The body was more like an upright horse with claws.

I put the blinds back down and turned to my family. “It’s them.”

Ben swore.

Mia didn’t berate him. “I can hold a few at a time.”

“The cooridor will create a natural bottle neck,” I said. “Ben, you give us some light, Mia, hold them. Sasha, you take the right and I’ll take the left.”

A scream from the car next door stood the hair on my neck on end.

Why had they attacked a train? The question plagued me, but I wouldn’t be able to answer it unless we survived the next few minutes.

I put my hand on the door knob. “Ready?” I asked.

Mia raised her recorder to her lips and nodded.

“Here we go.”

***

I kind of want to write more in this universe. It was cracking me up!

Genre – Horror

Random Object – Hot Dog Roaster

Setting – Sleeper Car on a Train


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8-Nov-2019

Like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, one would never suspect such horrors from a bouncy ball…

The Client glanced around. His black lips pulled into a slight frown. “It seems a little…light.” He waved a hand.

Sunshine poured in through the windows that lined three sides of the indoor pool area. It made the surface of the water glimmer, and almost made this place feel sane.

Almost.

“How can you even show this to me?”

What did he expect with the budget he’d given me? I stowed my irritation and plastered on my best smile. “It is difficult to get a true contrast without at least part of the day in true light.”

The Client scoffed. “Childish nonsense.” He turned his gold eyes on me. “Said by those who have yet to embrace true darkness.” He then looked into the camera.

True darkness? This guy was only a step away from Goth. He was no creature of the arcane. Unfortunately, I’d drawn the short straw when his name had come in, so I got to deal with him. Amada was going to pay. “It is well within your price range to add light blockers here.” I pointed to the windows surrounding the hotel pool. “If you’re willing to up your budget we could make them retractable.”

“That won’t be necessary.” He waved a hand. “Show me the pool.”

I shivered, hoping the cameraman hadn’t caught it.

The pool. The reason this guy wanted this place, and the reason so many others had turned it down. This abandoned hotel had become somewhat of a legend at the network. This Client was the sixty-forth we’d shown it to. People had come from across the world, and they all wanted the place, until they saw what lived in the pool.

I sighed and gestured to the cameraman to stop filming. This was the deal. No one knew what was in the pool. We had witches standing by to erase the memory from all of the clients. Most begged for it. Those that didn’t were weeping too hard to speak.

They left me with just enough to know what to do. I never remembered exactly what happened, but it always sent a shiver down my spine.

When the cameras were down, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a rubber bouncy ball, about an inch in diameter. They liked colors, and this one looked like a patchwork quilt, or one of those cubes with nine squares on each side that you had to turn and solve.

“What’s that?” the Client asked.

“The trigger,” I said. “Are you sure about this?” I asked. I had to ask. It was in the contract. We had to give them one last chance to back out. A few victims hadn’t reacted well to memory wiping, and we didn’t want to get sued. Again. That’s also why anyone who toured this hotel paid us to do so.

“I’m sure,” he said.

No reason to draw it out. I remembered that it didn’t matter if it was light outside. That actually made it better.

I thumbed the bouncy-ball, took a breath, then threw it into the middle of the pool.

The natural course of events should have been for it to slap the water, cause a splash and an indent, then bob on the surface as the tiny waves dissipated.

But not this ball.

It hit the water and bounced off as if it had been concrete. A thunk sounded once. Twice. Then a third time as the ball hit the far window.

The Client turned to me. “Is that it? The water makes it bounce?”

“Wait.” I didn’t look at him. What I lacked in memory of the horrors here I made up in with the crystal clear memories of every client’s reaction.

The ball slowly bounced to a stop. Or almost did. Instead, a giggle sounded, and the ball swooped up into the air and hit the water again. It passed us, hit the wall, and went back.

Another giggle came. Then a third. Then another ball appeared.

Just like that a hundred specters, all children, materialized. They all wore pillow cases. None had eyes in their sockets. Crazed smiles accompanied the giggles as the children lunged to catch the balls. With their empty sockets. An air more sinister than any I had ever felt surrounded us. The cameraman wet his pants.

This was when the clients usually figured out that the balls were eyes, and that these children were the ones that had been sacrificed in the hotel. I expected to hear a scream. Instead, the Client stepped forward.

“Beautiful,” he said.

I stared at him. “What?”

He reached out a hand and snatched an eyeball out of the air. He examined the small orb, picking a hair off of it, before throwing it back at the water. “All of them sacrificed so one man could see the moment of his death.”

“So the legends go,” I said, surprised my voice remained steady.

The Client’s lips parted in a genuine smile, showing his filed teeth. “I’ll take it.”

“You will?” I asked.

His attention returned to the children. “Oh yes. I will.”

***

Not sure why this one turned so dark! The dice gave me innocent enough things to work with…

Genre – Fixer-Upper Show

Random Item – Bouncy Ball

Setting – Hotel Swimming Pool


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1-Nov-2019

The Monster Under the Bed is just Trying to Help!

 

Day 1

This place is dusty and dark, just as I prefer, and I thank the owners for their courtesy. I have settled into my accustomed spot under the bed, and will take the next few nights to get to know the temperament of this child.

Day 4

The child, Jaxon, is as most children of this age—addicted to video games and easily bored. I have discovered a boogeyman lurking in the closet, which explains the reason for the accursed night light which restricts my access to half of the bed. So I lurk in the shadows. I do not know why Jaxon was crying before he went to sleep. Perhaps he can sense the boogeyman.

Day 6

I have decided to designate the boogeyman Frank. He is clever, using the shadows cast by the duo of night lights to creep toward Jaxon’s bed. He was surprised when he met me, and limped away to recover from the lashing I gave him.

Day 10

Jaxon sat huddled in the center of his bed all night. Frank slipped around the edges of the light, hoping to gain access to the child, but I once again kept him at bay. After an hour of circling, he slunk back into the closet. I have sent my first report back to headquarters, and I await instructions.

Day 18

Jaxon spent a week sleeping in his parents room. Probably wise, since his fear was giving Frank power. Now that Frank’s reserves are depleted, Jaxon is safe to return.

Day 19

I am beginning to question my assignment here. The parents are telling Jaxon that there is no such thing as monsters. Do they not remember the boogeyman in their own closets? Has the passage of time dulled their senses? My report will reflect this. I have often held the opinion that the ignorant do not deserve my protection.

Day 31

It has been some time since Frank has made an attempt to get to Jaxon. As I feared, he was hoarding his power for a greater assault than his previous attempts. He waited until Jaxon was back to one night light before he attacked. I almost didn’t notice the corner of the blanket touching the floor until it was too late. I  quickly yanked the blanket off the other side of the bed. The light burned me, and I will need time to recover, but Jaxon is safe.

Day 32

Jaxon’s father searched the room thoroughly. I can only wonder at the man’s meaningless gestures. He should know that adults can no longer see our kind without wearing a bracelet of copper and brass. But the man has perhaps gone mad, because after his search he proclaimed the room completely monster free. Why would he lie to his child?

Day 44

Frank attempted to get to Jaxon twice more, and I have repelled him both times. If they would turn off the blasted light I would be able to surround Jaxon’s bed and Frank would not be able to get through. As it is, I have had to use every wile I posses to keep the resourceful boogeyman at bay.

Day 50

Jaxon has spent the last two nights terrified. I can smell his fear. Taste his desperation. Frank can sense it as well, and he grows stronger. In an attempt to comfort Jaxon I stretched my presence around the shadowed side of the bed and swaddled the boy’s hand in darkness. He woke up screaming. I assured him I was there to help. He ran to tell his parents. Finally. Progress.

Day 59

Apparently I was mistaken about the progress. Jaxon’s father brought some sort of spiritual man in to dispel the dead that may be lurking nearby. There are none, and the primitive ritual did nothing but make Frank giggle.

Day 61

Frank has been emboldened by the sheer idiocy of Jaxon’s parents. He tried to get to the boy eighteen times in the night. Without a full cloak around the bed, I will be unable to protect him. Jaxon continues to cry until he falls asleep, and has rejected all forms of my comfort. I am going to send an emergency report for direction.

Day 70

It happened, Frank found a way to render the bulb in the night light inert. It happened so fast I barely had time to surround the bed. Instead of staying within the protection of my powers, the foolish boy fled. I followed his shadow and kept him safe until he made it to the door. Straying so far from my appointed spot drained my powers, and I was no match for the furious boogeyman. I barely got back to my sanctuary before Jaxon’s father came in. Without concern for the victory I had just won, they shinned a light under the bed, illuminating my wretched form as I tried to regenerate. Instead of thanking me, they screamed and ran.

Day 71

Considering the treatment I have received here, I have decided to relocate. Jaxon’s father has called another spiritual guru to cleanse his home. It may work, but I no longer care. I plan to ride the night wind to a house down the street, where a young girl is being stalked by a poltergeist. This will all be in my next report.

***

Instead of rolling, I had an idea for this one!

I hope you liked it. 🙂

 


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25-Oct-2019

The Restaurant at the End of the World?

“What is that, Sherri?” Walter kept the shot gun pointed at me as I closed the door and latched it.  He followed me with his weapon as I walked to the nearest table and set down the bundle wrapped in my arms.

“You’re gonna love it,” I said. I took a moment to unwrap the scarf from around my face and take the gloves off of my hands. It felt good to get out of the freezing cold. Once Walter saw that my eyes weren’t bright red, he lowered his gun. The burlap sack around the bundle fell away as I undid the drawstring top. “Ta-da.” I smiled and ran my hand along the side of the large clear bottle with a little contraption sitting on top.

Walter stepped closer. “What is it?”

“It’s an old-fashioned butter churner.”

He made a face. “I thought those were wood barrels with a stick poking out of them.”

“Okay, fine, not that old-fashioned.” I pointed. “We put cream in the jar, then use this handle to turn the paddle inside, which will then make the cream into butter!”

“What do we need butter for?” Walter asked.

I sighed and slid into the booth. The pleather seats groaned, and the table teetered just a little. “Have you already forgotten what we talked about yesterday?”

Walter put his gun back on the stand he’d made for it and looked at me. I wanted to ask him why he was still sporting a man bun and a five o’clock shadow, but didn’t want to get him riled up just yet. He glared at me. “You mean about the restaurant?”

“Yes, about the restaurant.” I shook my head and waved my hand to the corner of the large room. “We’ve got the wood burning oven, and they’ve got cows at the old folks home. We can have someone bring us the wood and vua-la, we’ve got a business.”

He sighed. “You’re serious about this.”

“Yes!”

“What about the thousands of eaters out there?”

“We’ve been dealing with them for a year. The town is fortified.” I poured as much excitement into my words as I could. “ Think about it, people bring us their grain and their cream, we make bread and butter. They take the risks and we mostly stay here, where it’s safe.”

“Which is exactly why they’re not going to go for it.” The apocalypse had made Walter grouchy.

I smiled. “Consider this. People come in from a long day. They don’t want to have to cook. So they drop off a little of their grain or cream here. We’ve already made bread and butter from what they gave us the day before. We take a little cut off the top—a beforehand agreed upon percentage—and they get to walk home with fresh bread and butter for their families. We provide a service that they want. One that they’ve been missing.” I threw my hands wide. “Take-out!”

Walter limped over and leaned against a half wall. He folded his arms over his chest. “Have you asked anyone about this?”

“Not yet, but if we can trade for a little bit of grain and some cream, then we can prove to everyone that we will be reliable and fair.” I rose to my feet and went to him. I reached for his hand. “We always said we wanted to get back to our roots.”

He snorted. “I hadn’t planned on doing it without YouTube.”

“I’ve been gathering recipes for a few months. I’ve got a hand grinder for the grain in the back, and we can always use a pestle if we want it more fine.” I glanced down at his mangled foot. “We’re more valuable in here than out there.”

A shadow went across his face. His eyes turned hard. I held my ground. “This is how society emerged in the first place. People working smarter, not harder.”

He continued to glare.

“We can barely keep ourselves fed. At this point we have nothing to offer, but if we take this chance, then we could thrive. All while helping others.”

Walter looked at the ceiling.

“Hey.” I reached out to touch his cheek. “I know it’s not ideal, but we can do this.”

His eyes returned to mine, and he blinked away a tear.

“What have we got to lose at this point?”

For a moment I thought he would say no. The pain on his face matched my own, but then he closed his eyes and nodded. “Fine. We’ve got a few things we can trade.”

I stood on tip toe and kissed him lightly. “We can get through this,” I said.

He met my gaze. “You’d better let me do the cooking. We both know you can’t even boil water.”

I pointed. “That’s why I got the churner.”

***

This one was fun!

Genre – Apocalyptic

Random Item – Butter Churner

Setting – McDonald’s (Or equivalent)


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