Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Elaine Pascale @DocLaney @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Oct_Image01Halloween Feast
by Elaine Pascale

In the house they ate and ate.
There was tenderloin and rump roast
heaped plate after plate.
From exotic lands and places afar
there were breasts and thighs
and an indescribable tartare.
There were jowls and necks and broth from the bone.
And because they regularly paid taxes
they were left well alone.
They playfully fought over the parson’s nose,
the wishbone, the soft shoulder,
short ribs, Ossa de Morte, and garlic toes.
Dessert was delectable, night after night
with virgin’s breasts, Bocca de Dama
and bride’s fingers to bite.
After downing the blood wine laced with Jeckyll gin,
the participants shook hands
declaring the evening a win.
While clearing all evidence, or remnants of fun
the butler presented the envelope
containing the chosen one.
Opened in a way that was undeniably presumptuous
the photo and brief bio perused:
“the next victim looks scrumptious!”
Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
Image courtesy of  Pixabay.com

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More from Elaine Pascale:

The Blood Lights

They victimize all…

Jezzie Mitchell is in anguish; with her brother’s murder still on her mind, she’s noticed strange behavior among the girls in the residential treatment center where she works. Is there a connection between the contagion on Cape Cod and the deadly Bahamas vacation that changed her life?

Jezzie reaches out to former lover Lou Collins, a scholar who has chased proof of the lights for decades. Will he be able to solve the mystery of the lights in time?

Intensely competitive, reporter Bridgette Collins knows the lights are a way to secure fame in her career. And while it’ll put the final nail into the coffin of her ex-husband’s career, she vows to know the secrets of the lights. Even if it means unleashing a world-wide epidemic…

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Leeds | October Frights Blog Hop – #Horror #author Nina D’Arcangela @Darc_Nina #OctoberFrights #fiction

October Frights Blog Hop!

October Frights Blog Tour

Leeds
by Nina D’Arcangela

Feet pounding as fast as they can, I tear across the hard-packed ground. Tree branches slap my arms, scrape my face, tangle in my hair; I don’t think I’m gonna make it. I hear it chasing me, not quite on my heels yet, but close enough to make my skin want to crawl clean off my bones. At any moment, I expect to be snatched from the trail by god-knows-what kind of clawed hand. The thing is so near I can smell its stench. It’s enough to make me gag, make my eyes water and my nostrils burn. I set out to find it, to track it – to prove its existence. What a fool. I was never tracking it; it was tracking me the entire time.

If I can make it to the water, everything will be all right, that’s what all the stories say. Make it to that deep blue pool buried in the Pines and for some reason, the creature won’t come any closer.

I can’t be too far from the lake. Christ – I must have trekked thirty miles into the dense Barrens since leaving the road. It’s got to be around here somewhere; I’m right where the locals said the water would be. But there was something off about the way those Pineys were smiling…

My foot tangles in an exposed root where the dirt loosens and turns to a softer, sandier mixture. In near panic, I almost go down but somehow manage to keep my feet. The forest is thinning out quickly; I can see a brighter patch ahead.

A guttural roar sounds from behind; it’s nearly on top of me. I can feel the air shift to the side as my eye catches sight of something black whipping past just to the right. I scream – no sound comes out – but I don’t stop moving. Before I know it, the trees clear and I stumble onto a small beach.

I can see the water and whimper a silent prayer to those hicks who somehow managed to get me here. Flinging myself down at the water’s edge, I finally dare to look behind me. I can’t see it clearly, but I can feel it standing just under the dense canopy of the trees, hiding in the darkness; its anger and frustration palpable.

Dunking my head into the cool water, I laugh when I realize what I’m holding. The entire time I was running, I was clutching my cell phone, but lost everything else. Can you hear me now? Nope! More hysterical laughter; the sound desperate even to my own ears. There’s no cell service out here. I can’t believe that in my panic the only thing I managed to save is this useless piece of crap. One last look at it and I hurl it as far as I can across the lake.

Leaning down again, I taste the water. At first barely a sip to make sure it’s safe, then small handfuls to quench my thirst. Making myself stop, I roll over and stare at the sun like it’s my new found savior. The Pines are so dense it feels like I’m in another world; this small clearing is a godsend. I can still hear the thing rustling in the trees, but for now, next to the water, I’m safe.

I must have drifted off from exhaustion, maybe simple relief, I don’t know. When I wake, the sun is low and dim shadows have crept half-way across the small beach. I can hear it breathing and pacing in the brush. A spike of adrenaline slashes through me and I dive for the only hope I see; one long bow from a white cedar growing out over the lake. Scrambling to it, I climb as far out as I can, shimmying backward keeping my eyes on the surrounding pines. From what I know of the Blue Hole, the water is deep as hell with no bottom; its part of an underground cave system no one has dared to explore. Drowning is no better an option than feeding myself to Mother Leeds’ thirteenth son, and I would prefer to do neither.

As full night falls, I can see its red eyes glaring at me, along with the shadowy impression of a dark, winged figure. Its tail flicking from side to side accompanies the sound of tree branches being torn apart. Bellying down further onto the limb, I try for a little more distance. I know my chances of surviving the night are slim… Still, if I can keep my balance and stay awake, I might just make it until morning.

I hear a faint splash and a responding roar from the woods — a challenge; one that wasn’t meant for me. Terrified to take my eyes off the beast, but more afraid of what lurks below, I chance a glance downward. Elongated, translucent hands reach from the depths; I’m yanked from my perch screaming for help that’s never going to come.

***

“Howdy there, Bob, Thomas,” the deputy says as he steps from his vehicle to greet the two men sitting outside the small shack that serves as a convenience store in this area of the Pine Barrens.

“Mornin’ officer,” they reply in kind. “What can we do you for?”

“Well, seems we found a car, one of those German import types, parked a ways down the road in one of the pull-offs. Little yellow thing called a Jetta. You boys know anything about that?”

Looking at each other, Thomas spits and says, “Might be we do. Some young girl in a yeller car stopped by here yesterday asking for directions to the Hole. Could be it’s the same car. What you think, Bob?” Bob shrugs indifferently.

“Tell me you didn’t give them to her, did you?” exasperation plain in the officer’s voice.

“Might be we did. Don’t see why we wouldn’t of if she asked,” Bob answers rolling a toothpick ‘tween his teeth.

The deputy reaches into his vehicle and grabs the radio handset. “Dispatch, we’re gonna need a tow out on Rt. 532. It’s a yellow Jetta – can’t miss it. Hang on just a sec.” He releases the com button. “Boys, she have anyone else with her?”

“Nope, but she had a crap load ‘a gear in the back seat of that foreign auto-mobile of hers.”

Clicking the mic back on, the deputy relays, “Dispatch, I’m gonna need a team on the ground looking for a backpack, tent, cell phone – any personal items they can find heading from that location toward the Hole. Better make it a wide sweep, call all the guys in on this.”

“Copy that, Tim. Do we need a rescue team down there, too?” the dispatcher asks with hope and concern in her voice.

Looking over the roof of his cruiser at Bob and Thomas, seeing the grin on both of their faces, he answers, “Negative on the rescue team, just the cleanup crew and the tow.” Getting back in the car and replacing the now silent handset, the deputy tips his hat to the men on the bench as they nod in return. He puts the car in drive, and mutters to himself “Fucking city folk,” as he drives off.

© Copyright Nina D’Arcangela

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Find more creeptacular October Frights posts at:

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And visit The Giveaway at:

The October Frights Giveaway  

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Damed Words 44 – Picture-Prompt Flash Fiction by The Damned

Damned Words 44

Five-fingered Footprints
Lee Andrew Forman

Blood draws my story on the agate floor. Fresh ink covers dried layers with the repetition of time. My five-fingered footprints scatter across my canvas, for within the cold box there is no room to stand. My freedom, nothing more than an arm’s length in any direction. Slight rumbles shiver the enclosure; new paint will be added soon. I’ve never seen the thing that keeps me here. Only felt its scathing, intimate touch on my naked flesh. The floor tells me it will soon be time. My body trembles as I await the inevitable approach of the stippler.


Witness
Nina D’Arcangela

As he adjusted the range, the minute clicks were barely distinguishable from the constant drone. I could see the look of shock and something akin to terror on his face as he stepped back and stared at me as if to question his own understanding. He picked up another tool; resumed his examination. A rush of air whirled through the cavity and sent them into a maddened frenzy. The pounding became relentless, nearly unbearable as the thrum increased to a deafening level. Overwhelmed by what he’d witnessed, he nearly fell to the floor missing the stool that stood just inches away.

He began to speak, paused to clear his throat and opened his mouth again; no words issued from his dry, swollen tongue. I understood. They’d been there for as long as I could remember. I rose from my seat, asked if what he saw were faces. He blanched even further and replied that no, they were not faces, they were hands–hands that pushed against the tympanic membrane. I nodded, gathered my belongings to leave. A gentle pressure on my arm caused a momentary pause. His face reflected the pain he knew would accompany the tear when the tissue gave way. He looked into my eyes as if he couldn’t comprehend my calm acceptance. My reply to his unasked question was a bare mumble.

“I’ve lived with voices in my head my entire life, Doc. I just didn’t realize that one day, they would demand to be let out.”


A Handy Tale
Marge Simon

“Dammit, Martha! We just got our new cement wall up and smoothed. Now look at the mess some neighbors’ kids have made of it! Hand-prints all over everywhere –up and down and sideways. Disreputable, malicious destruction!”

“Something is going to have to be done,” Martha said. “Every time we move, sooner or later, some malicious little devils show up to make our lives miserable. I’m tired of moving, Herbert. We checked out the area really well before buying this house. There’s just one little brat in the neighborhood this time.”

“Yes, I know. Name’s Billy Harlow” said Herbert. He pinned her with a frown. “You know the cure, Martha.

“I do,” said Martha reluctantly.  Off she went to her kitchen to dig out Mamancita’s commodious book of Haitian spells & recipes. The punishment must fit the deed.

Lunchtime the next day, Billy Harlow sat at their kitchen table. Before him was a plate of Mamancita’s special Bon Bon Amidon cookies, still warm from the oven, and a foaming glass of fresh milk. He made annoying sounds when he drank, and chewed with his mouth open.

“Disgusting wastrel!”

“Shhh, he’ll hear you, Herbert. it’s almost over,” Martha reminded him.

The next morning, Billy Harlow’s screams alarmed the neighborhood. His mother rushed to his bedroom to find him crouched on the floor sobbing, arms around his chest in an odd way. “Mama! In my bed!!” She reached over to shake out a loose sheet. There was no blood, but two fat little hands with dirty fingernails fell out of the covers.


Storm Surge
Charles Gramlich

In pitch black, I awoke—on the couch with a hurricane pummeling my house. The TV was off. It had been on when I fell asleep, but the electricity must have failed. Feeling around for my phone, I activated the flashlight app. The room brightened around me but everywhere else the shadows congealed and clung.

I loved my little shack in the woods but at night it could be scary. Needing more light, I went into the kitchen for candles. The rain had stopped. I couldn’t hear it on the roof. But the wind hadn’t faded. It pressed and rubbed at the house like an unwanted caress.

After firing up my biggest candle, I turned off my cell to preserve the battery and walked over to the glass doors opening onto my deck. No wind moved the trees in the backyard. The hurricane had passed. Then what made the sounds I heard?

Sliding the back door open, I stepped outside. I lived near the Gulf of Mexico, with my house elevated against storm surge. That’s the water pushed inland by hurricane winds. Wooden steps led up to the deck from the ground below. On that ground, in the mud, stood hundreds of dead children. All were rotted, with seaweed in their hair as if carried onto my lawn by the surge. Their hands scratched and scritched at the wooden stilts supporting my home.

Screaming, I leapt back inside, slamming and locking the door. But the children heard. They came single file up onto my deck to press their faces and little hands against the glass. They pressed harder, harder, harder. The glass spiderwebbed with cracks.

I blew out the candle. Better not to see. Better to let them find me in the dark.


Burned Out
Lydia Prime

Flesh sizzles upon touching the hematic shale. Dainty hands ignite dancing flames across the arms of the conditionally pre-deceased. Prophesied terms embossed in stone detail the arrival of a beast who won’t feel heat. General consensus is unanimous: they await its birth. No one ever thinks it might have always lived among them. Its existence couldn’t be copacetic—couldn’t manage to stay undetected… Could it?

Shared ignorance protects the man who discovered the slab and lead the charge to find the predicted creature. Blanket delusions curtail questions as he watches over every trial, every tearful family parting. He glows while their skin chars to nothing but ashy outlines. His head bobbing minutely to the screams as they warble to unintelligible echoes. He bites his cheeks—an act required to conceal delight—then calls to the town’s unwittingly damned participants to bring about the next.


Handprints
RJ Meldrum

He’d hated her for years, had carefully planned the perfect murder so many times, but never had the courage to go through with it. In the end, he simply lost his temper. He slashed out at her with a kitchen knife; the first cuts landed on her hands and arms. She escaped and staggered down the hallway, leaving bloody handprints on the pristine white walls. She collapsed by the door where he finished her off.

He spent a whole day carefully cleaning and repainting the wall, removing the last traces of her. Once the walls were restored to their original white, he was content. She was gone and no-one would ever suspect she was dead.

But of course, he was wrong. Her family and friends suspected foul play; they knew the history between the two. The police were called. An officer interviewed him in the front hallway. He was smug, confident; he brushed off the questions.

Just over the detective shoulder, a bloody handprint appeared on the white wall. Then a second and a third. He suddenly stuttered, his cockiness gone. A fourth and fifth handprint appeared; they followed the stumbling route his wife had taken.

The cop noticed he wasn’t making eye contact and instead stared past him. The officer turned. A row of bloody handprints ended at the front door mat, where a pool of blood had formed.


The Wall
A.F. Stewart

The imprints remain on the wall; years of rain and sun could not remove them. The red chalk outlines burned into stone, reflecting the colours of bone and blood. The echo of a human civilization gone mad.

I watch them, the new citizens, as they pass the wall. Some ignore it; others touch it for luck. No one understands. No one knows the truth. They will soon. They will know the fate of those razed into the wall.

We are back. Ready to purge the filth from our city, to take back what they stole. We come to cleanse, to sweep clean with our machines. We will rain fire from the skies and burn away the contamination.

We will add more outlines to the wall.

Until every brick is burned with the death of those who oppose us.


Choiceless
Mark Steinwachs

Colored sunlight from stained glass windows bathes the room around me. I stand in the grand foyer, designed to hold the multitude of people that make their weekly pilgrimage to this house of worship. Its on display, lit perfectly from the lights above. Almost as if it was hiding from and trying to stand above the natural world all at once. Even if it wasn’t here, this place would still make my skin crawl. But it sits on its custom frame, stretched taught, a giant piece at six feet by four feet. I can feel the hands that made it pressing against the thin canvas, as if it were skin. A modern masterpiece of horror held up in honor.

Choiceless. Pastor Jonathan Neils.

I scoff. They have the ability to choose. They were given that. And yet they constantly try to take it away from one another.

“Beautiful isn’t it,” a man says as he steps alongside me. “While I’m honored you’re enjoying my work, this building is closed to visitors right now.”

Closed to visitors? I cringe. “I will always champion those who bring honor to my name. This,” I motion to the painting, “do you truly believe you trying to force your choices on others is what I want?”

“You want? I don’t know what you want, or who you are,” he replies. “It’s what God wants, protect his unborn flock.”

“I want people to praise my name not weaponize it. You’ve made your choices and they were wrong. Nahum 1:2, The Lord is vengeful against his foes; he rages against his enemies.”

I snap my fingers and the pastor’s eyes go wide as in his death he sees me for who I am and realizes where he is going.


Prints
Scarlett R. Algee

I can’t help but think you’re fascinated by that wall, the way you keep staring. No, no need to struggle; you won’t be spitting that gag out. Scream? There’s no one out here to hear you if you did.

I do admit it’s a little bit strange, all those hand-shaped negative spaces outlined in red and black and brown, but I think it looks good against the plaster. I tell the kinfolks it’s a mural, ‘cause I was always a little creative. Amazing what you can do with just some paint and a sponge stick.

Hands are unique, you know. Hands are intimate. Recognizable. So this is what I do with ‘em before they have to go. A little press against the wall, a little dab of color around, and then it’s bonemeal for the roses and flesh for the tomatoes. My roses are the envy of the county garden club, and my tomatoes have won blue ribbons at the fair for five straight years.

It’s the only part I take, too. The part that’s special, that identifies you. The rest I leave here and there; the local wildlife has to eat, after all. But think of it this way—at least I’ll remember you.

Twenty-nine pairs on this wall. I like how they’re starting to overlap. How the colors blend into each other. But my mural needs to grow, and thirty’s a good round number.

Now. Let me see those hands.


Held to Account
Ian Sputnik – Guest Author

The moaning and giggling from the next room made him laugh. It amused Carl that his landlady seemed to entertain ‘guests’ on a regular basis; especially as she appeared to be such a prim and proper lady of a certain age.

He waited for her to leave for her weekly game of bridge before breaking into her apartment. The lock on the old safe clicked and its hinges creaked as the door opened. He routed around inside and removed anything of value. He stuffed jewellery and cash into his pockets. Suddenly, he was pulled backwards with incredible force. He spun around, fists clenched, but no one was there. His legs were then grabbed in a vice-like grip and his arms stretched out so that he resembled a church painting of the crucifixion. Out of the darkness, ghostly hands appeared. They tore at his clothes pulling them from his body as they clawed at his skin, ripped through it and tore the flesh from his bones. Cold fingers forced themselves into his mouth and down the back of his throat muffling his screams. When the ghostly apparitions had finished their work, all that was left of Carl was a pile of gore.

The landlady returned. She gasped at the scene which lay before her; then the phantoms returned. They swarmed around her like bats in a cave before they gently caressed her face and worked down the rest of her body as they stripped her bare. She giggled and groaned in delight as they gently massaged blood into her skin. As they did so the slight traces of wrinkles on her face began to fade away. “My, you have been busy tonight,” she cooed as they lifted her over to the bed and continued their work.


Shared from PenoftheDamned.com

Each piece of fiction is the copyright of its respective author and may not be reproduced without prior consent. © Copyright 2020

Posted in Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Pen of the Damned, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Asena Lourenco @ElaLourenco @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Sept_2020_Image04Still Stood Still
by Asena Lourenco

Her legs stood still in the silence like they were about to snap. No one dared say a word. The chilly breeze rattled my spine and spun my hair around. My heart was a beating drum, bold against the quiet. The thick, obsidian clouds slowly gathered above my head like a crown waiting to fall down at any moment. She towered over me, her arm wrapped around my shoulder as we gazed into the distance. I sighed. She was the only person who had ever come close to being a maternal figure to me and the person who ever would. The heavens opened and the sky started weeping. On that day, you could almost hear the sobbing. The grey puffs of nothing floating around. My fingers reached to one, only to pass straight through it. But still, still, we stood still. As still as a sturdy table on four legs. We stood, statues through a hurricane. Still.
Fiction © Copyright Asena Lourenco
Image courtesy of Christina Sng

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More about Asena Lourenco:

Asena Lourenco is 13 years old. She loves reading, playing Scottish traditional fiddle music on her violin, dancing, and martial arts as well as writing her own stories.

She would like to be a teacher and writer when she grows up. She also loves cats and babies!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Nina D’Arcangela @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Sept_2020_Image02

Forest of Sticks
by Nina D’Arcangela

In a forest of sticks, three wait while the fourth summons. Eleven cycles have passed since the calling was last performed. The youngest breaks the silence; patience not yet a virtue she can claim. Eager to know what will come, she inquires. The eldest cautions a quiet tongue while the chant continues. As the moon crests to its zenith, the mantra ends and an eerie stillness falls. Even the young one stands in awe of the thrumming current that churns the air. The caller turns, beckons the last of the three to stand with her sisters. As the Kaiju rises, the winds cease. The girls tilt their heads upward in reverent worship. A snort stirs their hair, whirls their skirts; stings their nostrils. A tinge of fear sets in, the youngest is not the only child to begin squirming. The feline halts their retreat with a slash of her glittering eyes before leaping to the ground below. Perched upon the brittle limb, the children unknowingly offer the blood of the innocent to ensure survival of the village. The Rule of Three now satisfied, the cat begins to sup then preen as it erases all evidence of the offal left behind.
Fiction © Copyright Nina D’Arcangela
Image courtesy of Christina Sng

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More from Nina D’Arcangela:

Mental Ward: EXPERIMENTS

A dank basement, shadow filled hallways, the deep echo of a metal latch being thrown while faint screams are heard… These are the things you might experience in a place where the unspeakable happens, where conscientious action and moral turpitude turn a blind eye in the interest of advancing one’s own personal pursuits in the most deranged and unjustifiable manner. The type of place where power corrupts, and depravity runs rampant among those imbued with it. A place where the unfortunate are abandoned to the devices of those who convince themselves their actions are in the best interest of science.

Mental Ward: Experiments is a collection of ten short stories that demonstrate the worst of humanity’s ambition in the interest of ‘civilized’ advancement. Step into a world where sanity is left behind, and horror is what the doctor ordered!

Available on Amazon!

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Posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Linda Lee Rice @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Sept_2020_Image01

Clouds of Dust
by Linda Lee Rice

It’s happening again. The sun disappears as the cloud of dust appears in the distance. Acid yellow, burning my lungs, and stinging my eyes until I can’t tell what is tears and what is water. The dust cloud advances slowly, almost as if it’s teasing me. 
The crows’ cawing is what awakened me first in the pre-dawn light. I thought perhaps the crows were wrong, although I knew they never are…cursed birds. Beady-eyed harbingers of doom, the crows seem to enjoy the announcement of what is to come. Swooping, cawing, circling up high in the sky until the sky is the hazy putrid yellow, a warning of what is slowly advancing. Then the crows swoop in to the misshapen trees to wait out the yellow darkness…wretched birds.
The crows were the ones that brought this horror upon us. Collecting trinkets and shiny objects, the murder of crows dug out of the sand that was what to be hidden and never to see the light of day. In-flight, with the object dangling from a pointed beak, the crows squabbled amongst their selves. Then diving bombing, pecking, and harassing the one who has the prize…it dropped.  
The haze rose in the air, spreading insidiously, covering the ground blocking the sun. Then the screams began mixed in with the raucous noise from the crows. It continued through the night, and in the morning, the poisonous cloud was gone.
It has happened three times since then. I have searched for the object, hoping to put whatever it was back inside. But the crows, who always know, started their incessant screeching. It’s beginning again…
Within the cloud, I hear teeth-gnashing, sounds of liquid, and movement…and I’m afraid.
Fiction © Copyright Linda Lee Rice
Image courtesy of Christina Sng

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More about Linda Lee Rice:

me in burgandy hat2

Linda Lee Rice aka Ruzicka has poetry published in Twilight Times, Dark Krypt, Fables, Descending Darkness, Writing Village, Spine, and Page, Muses Gallery, Bloodbond, Lycan Valley Press Publishers, Alban Lake, Highland Park Poetry, Rosette Maleficarum, The Siren’s Call, Edify Fiction

and the June Cotner anthology, “House Blessings” and “Garden Blessings

She has short stories published in The Grit, and Reminisce, Haunted Encounters: Friends and Family, FrostFire Worlds. Plus, a personal essay at Mamalode. She also has various articles and blogs published online as a freelance writer.

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Sheikha A. @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Sept_2020_Image04Pine
by Sheikha A.

She’s mounted spikes on her spine,
the kraken glazing in her eyes circling
in the waters. Her sword has sliced
off heads; of hills placed in her palms,
the winds she has clutched
and blood she has hung
like wet clothes on a line to dry.
She was taught of a master
turning day to night with a mere
swerve of his cloak – like garment
of death – like veined destiny
picked out of meat – like being
chosen in a way steel was sharpened
on stone – precise yet quivering; sharp
against skins, painless like sinking
of a knife into softened butter.
Her sword had tasted flesh and bone
in perfect harmony of a gliding waltz,
the way they merged under the swift
press of her blade, the unfaltering drop
of a limb where she struck,
only the sound of whisper
where flesh parted flesh –
Her master’s decree was done,
daughter by her side, clothes wet
in metallic stain, glazing rubies
in her eyes – first spill of blood –
fear dying in a relentless grip
of pleasure. Her small hands clutch
large judgments, the winds don’t guilt
her body, and the kraken undulates
in a fiery tango of hunger and obedience.
She throws to it her offering –
first of many – her smile prescient –
this is how she’ll remember
this is how she’ll learn.
Fiction © Copyright Sheikha A.
Image courtesy of Christina Sng

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More from author Sheikha A.:

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 10.57.17 AM.pngNyctophiliac Confessions:
Poems by Sheikha A. and Suvojit Banerjee

“The night is cold enough to inspire poetry,” says Sheikha A. in her poem, “Reading My Bones.” This is the basis of Nyctophiliac Confessions – poems that are introspective and luminal, poems that require a certain amount of silence and space to be fully formed and appreciated. Reading these poems, I imagined that they were the kind of poems that assert themselves unbidden during a bout of insomnia. (A nyctophiliac being someone who loves the night or loves darkness).

Nyctophiliac Confessions is the 17th installment of Praxis’ chapbook series and contains twenty-six poems written by two poets, Sheikha A. and Suvojit Banerjee, interspersed with abstract paintings by Robert Rhodes.

Available Here!

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Posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Kendra Hale @DevourAllWords @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Sept_2020_Image03

Stormy Weather
by Kendra Hale

“Amidst the mists and coldest frosts he thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.” – Curt Siodmak
Gabriella Lavender’s hands hurt as she pulled them closer to her chest. The skin on the back of her knuckles were raw and the skin was pulling away from her body in layers as though the struggle to breakfree was a true choice. She tried to cradle her hands but it only caused a sore ache to run up her body, her nerves telling her this was the price she must pay for the pain she had inflicted upon herself.
“You could have made this so much easier on yourself if you had just let me stay in control”
The voice, grating and low, spoke out in her mind. It was flagrantly condescending as it challenged her authority over her own being. Gabriella had been told many things over the last two year of her 14 year old life. When she had first started hearing the male voice at 12, there had been talk of Schizophrenia but once the voice had made itself known to the doctors it had changed to Dissociative Identity Disorder, even though the doctors still weren’t ready for this to be their official diagnosis.
As Ragtime Piano by Scott Joplin played over the speakers in the office of Dr. George Campbell,, Gabriella knew that the reason the doctors had debated was because the presence of DID usually came with two or more personalities…and she had only ever exhibited the one. She slumped in the uncomfortable office chair and a sigh escaped her lips, she was bored with all of this. It wasn’t that she wanted normal because frankly that had left months ago. The Priest had ruined that for her.
She had first heard him on her twelfth birthday, he had come forth from her mouth to her parents about what a disgrace they were for allowing their child access to all manner of sin worthy items. The makeup, the clothing with holes cut to show skin.
“Only sorrow comes from a sin filled life and here you are serving her up to Satan on a platter like a stuffed mouth hog.”
Gabriella had hated him instantaneously. If for no other reason than the look her parents had given her once his presence was made known. Not disgust or fear, but worse. Like she was broken,their view of her forever changed as they wondered what had become of their girl.
She had good parents, at least she thought so. Given the world around her and those she had seen of her friends for comparison. It had been their idea for her to come to this doctor after her mom had given up on the others who seemed to do nothing but debate what was wrong, rather than help.
Her wait for Dr. George Campbell lasted what felt like forever but in reality was ten minutes. As the nurse finally called her name and led her back to the “calm” room, Gabriella realized that a part of her didn’t want to go. He…was fighting her again. In her mind she felt her frustration lashing out as if a child fighting against a raging storm, hands raised in anger, a primeval yawp to the sky.
“Don’t go back there.” He whispered along the echoes of the hollow behind her eyes.
She scoffed and chuckled softly as to not alert the nurse as she opened the door. Like we have a choice, this is your fault. She sent the words as she entered the room watching the doc stand in greeting. He was an older man with kind eyes and sometimes a sad smile when he tried his best to relate to her sadness.
“Hello Gabby, are you ready for today’s session?”
Dr. Campbell even sounded like a grandpa or dad would. He most certainly didn’t come off with the cold medical distance that the other doctors had. That was the reason Gabriella was fine with coming to see him, to talk to him candidly.
“The Priest is not happy about this visit, you make him nervous doctor. He wants to leave and leave things as there are.”
“I see, and how do you feel about this? Do you wish to leave?”
“I wish him to leave.” she said finitely.
“Well then, let us begin with today’s treatment.”
Gabriella felt a small bit of fear creep up her spine. She was resolute in her life going back to normal…but was scared of the treatment she had agreed to. Dr. Geroge Campbell was known for positive results in patients with mental maladies, he was going to try a mix of electro shock style bursts with a bit of hypnotherapy to help her remove The Priest. Taking a steadying breath, she moved to the small couch in the middle of this burgundy wine colored room. The books on the shelves that lined the walls no longer held her attention.
“We will start with getting you to a sleeping state, and then begin. You may feel pressure but there should be no pain. Are you ready?”
He sounded like a damn dentist lying through their teeth about the pain, but she was ready. She nodded and closed her eyes as she had several other sessions.Today was the day The Priest would leave and she could become herself again. She took deep breaths and listened as the Doc began his countdown with the metronome.
“Deep Sleep, you are entering your safe space. Can you hear me? Good… Good. Now with each shock, we will push The Priest out. I want you to do so from where you are. Can you envision him? Ah, good. When I count to three, I want you to imagine the strongest person you know and take in their strength, make it your own. Then together we will push the Priest out. Ready? Let’s Begin.”
Gabriella heard the countdown and then remembered her safe space dissolving into blackness. She saw nothing. Heard…nothing. It seemed to last for a while but suddenly her eyes opened and she saw the same deep burgundy. But as she sat up, she saw the Doc was no longer there next to her.
She stood confused and saw that his clipboard and pen were on the floor. She didn’t want to look but her eyes traveled over to the desk and sure enough there the Doc sat with a letter opener in his eye socket, fluids seeping over the mouth held open in terror. Gabriella ran out and ran to the car where her Mother waited. She didn’t wish to speak but nodded to her Mother’s questions. Her Mom was used to her daughter being tired after a session.
Once home her parents turned their cell phones off, ready to be there for their daughter. A smile lit her face, she was happy they cared so much. She went to the kitchen for a drink and as she came back it was then that she knew her movements were not her own… but she was trapped, behind the pane of her eyes as she watched the knife slide home into her Father’s chest and heard her Mother’s terror…
“Bless me Father…For I have sinned…”
Fiction © Copyright Kendra Hale
Image courtesy of Christina Sng

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More from author Kendra Hale:

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Just Emotions:
A Gothic Bite Magazine Anthology

A collection of poetry.

 Available on Amazon!  

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Posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Sheri White @sheriw1965 @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Sept_2020_Image02A Gathering of Innocent Girls
by Sheri White

The girls hid in a secret place under the floorboards and listened to the chaos right above them.
“When is it going to stop, Grace? I’m scared.” Grace cuddled her little sister Anna, trying to soothe her. It was her turn to take care of the five-year-old and keep her out of the way.
“It won’t be long now. When it gets quiet, we can meet the others at the crooked tree.”
“It seems like it’s taking longer this time.”
“There are more of them this time, Anna. There are more and more every time now. I just hope that one day there won’t be too many.”
Anna put her head on Grace’s shoulder and tried not to think about what was happening just a few feet away.
But the screams wouldn’t let her pretend.
***
“Anna, wake up—it’s over. Let’s go.”
Anna followed Grace, crawling towards the trap door. Grace unlocked it and raised it just enough to make sure it was over and they could leave.
“It’s safe.”
They exited the secret place. Bodies and body parts littered the floor, faces in death frozen in terror and agony.
“You were right, Grace—so many this time. Do you think the others made it to the tree?”
“I hope so. Come on and be careful walking. You can slip on the blood.”
Anna bent down and picked up a cat, tucking it under her arm as they left the old farmhouse.
***
“Grace, I only see two of them at the tree,” said Anna as they approached it.
“We’ll find out what is going on in a minute, don’t worry.” They ran to the tree, eager to get news of their sisters.
Grace stopped short when she saw the swing. “Oh, Elizabeth. Why?” Tears welled in her eyes.
Margaret and Caroline jumped down from the branches. “Grace, Anna. So glad you are okay,” said Caroline. The oldest at 14 years old, she was the leader of their coven. The four girls embraced each other.
“What happened with Elizabeth?” Grace asked, already knowing the answer, but she wanted to make sure Anna heard and understood.
Margaret glanced over at Elizabeth. The girl was still alive, but would forever be tied to the swing, her arms and legs pulled and twisted. It would take years for her to die.
“She went against us. It was only a matter of time; she hasn’t wanted to join a sacrifice in a long while. Elizabeth knew what would happen to her. Don’t waste any sympathy on her.”
“Do you understand, Anna? It’s almost time for you to join us completely. This is your last chance to leave us before we resume our journey.” Margaret knelt down to make eye contact with the child.
Anna’s eyes were clear, not a trace of fear in them.
“I’m ready.”
Fiction © Copyright Sheri White
Image courtesy of Christina Sng

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More from Author Sheri White:

sw`Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Featuring stories from R.L. Stine and Madeleine Roux, this middle grade horror anthology, curated by New York Times bestselling author and master of macabre Jonathan Maberry, is a chilling tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

Flesh-hungry ogres? Brains full of spiders? Haunted houses you can’t escape? This collection of 35 terrifying stories from the Horror Writers Association has it all, including ghastly illustrations from Iris Compiet that will absolutely chill readers to the bone.

So turn off your lamps, click on your flashlights, and prepare—if you dare—to be utterly spooked!

The complete list of writers: Linda D. Addison, Courtney Alameda, Jonathan Auxier, Gary A. Braunbeck, Z Brewer, Aric Cushing, John Dixon, Tananarive Due, Jamie Ford, Kami Garcia, Christopher Golden, Tonya Hurley, Catherine Jordan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alethea Kontis, N.R. Lambert, Laurent Linn, Amy Lukavics, Barry Lyga, D.J. MacHale, Josh Malerman, James A. Moore, Michael Northrop, Micol Ostow, Joanna Parypinksi, Brendan Reichs, Madeleine Roux, R.L. Stine, Margaret Stohl, Gaby Triana, Luis Alberto Urrea, Rosario Urrea, Kim Ventrella, Sheri White, T.J. Wooldridge, Brenna Yovanoff

Available on Amazon!

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Posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Stephanie Ayers @theauthorSAM @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Sept_2020_Image01

The Dark Side of the Wood
by Stephanie Ayers

“Today’s gonna be a good day, eh, Roo?” Pooh said to his small friend. The yellow haze of a full moon night in the Hundred Acre Wood were his favorite evenings of all. It was the one night he didn’t have to eat honey, and that made him happy. After all, a Pooh bear can’t survive off honey alone. But this night was even more special; he got to teach his young friend all about the Yellow Moon. Tonight, under the Yellow Moon, they hunted bacon.
“Now don’t feel bad for Piglet, Roo,” Rabbit said, licking his chops. “We all know what happens under the Yellow Moon. Someday it will be your turn, too.”
Roo trembled and hid in Kanga’s pouch. 
“Now, Rabbit, really? You know we don’t talk about the Yellow Moon. There’s no point in scaring Roo. Your turn will come before his will,” Kanga said. Her arms wrapped around her son protectively.
“Ha! We’ll see about that. I’m too important. Who will tend the garden in my place? Owl is the only other person of importance in the Wood. What good is a Piglet but for meat?”
Pooh grunted. “Well, a certain bear could argue that Piglets are better friends than Rabbits, if a bear of little brain could argue.”
Rabbit rose on his hind legs and towered over Pooh, pressing his nose against Pooh’s. 
“A bear of very little brain has even less uses,” Rabbit warned, licking his chops. “I hear bear meat is even better than bacon.”
Tigger bounced between then and separated them. “Whoo-hoo-hoo! Tigger is here!”
Eeyore stumbled in. “I have a very bad feeling about tonight,” he said in his slow, lazy drawl. “My house collapsed as I left it. And I lost my tail again.”
“Don’t worry, Eeyore, we’ll find your tail after the hunt,” Owl said, peering over his glasses. “Has Christopher Robin arrived yet?”
“He’s catching the Heffalump to chase Piglet into the trap,” Kanga said. “The Heffalump loves the Yellow Moon even more than Pooh loves honey.”
Pooh whispered, “Which would be a lot if a Pooh bear actually liked honey.”
“Brilliant,” Owl said. “I knew Christopher Robin would come up with the perfect plan. He always does.”
“Did I hear my name?” Christopher Robin asked as he appeared from the woods. He carried a squirming bag over his shoulder. 
Pooh’s eyes widened. “Is-is that the Heffalump?”
Christopher Robin laughed. “No, you silly old bear.” He set the bag down and Piglet emerged from it.
“Christopher Robin, why did you wake—” Piglet’s consternation changed to fear as he saw his friends gathered around under the Yellow Moon. He looked at Pooh with sorrow-filled eyes. “You, too, Pooh?”
Christopher Robin gave Piglet no time for tears. He glowered at the small creature and lowered his eyes. “No time for that, Piglet. Run!” He poked Piglet with  a fork.
Piglet squealed and took off into the woods. Rabbit started to follow, but Christopher Robin stopped him.
“Wait for it, Rabbit. He should be running into the Heffalump right about-”
A squeal of terror interrupted Christopher Robin.
“Yep, that’s what I was waiting for. Let’s go!”
Christopher Robin led the animals into the wood. It wasn’t hard to follow Piglet’s trail because for such a small person, he made a horrible mess as he crashed through the woods. Piglet’s squeals grew closer until they finally found him, secured under the trap Christopher Robin had set up for him. The Heffalump growled and made faces at Piglet on the other side of the trap.
“P-please,” Piglet cried. “I’m too small. Wouldn’t the Heffalump be better? I’d barely fill Roo let alone all of you.”
“Heffalumps don’t taste as good as bacon,” Christopher Robin said. “Isn’t that right, Heffy?”
The Heffalump stopped growling at Piglet and gave Christopher Robin a thumbs up. 
“When’s dinner? I’m starved.”
Fiction © Copyright Stephanie Ayers
Image courtesy of Christina Sng

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More from author Stephanie Ayers:

The 13: Tales of Macabre

Can you survive all 12?

Killer watermelons, murderous jewelry boxes, centenarian sea whisperers, creatures of myth/legend, and more…

This supernatural story collection will make you reconsider everything you thought you knew. At night you’ll hover under your covers while looking over your shoulder in the day. Down, down in the depths they fell; bodies in the dark of a liquid hell. Can you survive all 12?

This is the second collection in The 13 series. Will you survive all 13?

With forward by JM Ames and poetry by Stacy Overby.

Available on Amazon!

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Posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments