Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author A.F. Stewart @scribe77 @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


A Bottle From the Sea
by A.F. Stewart

Calls from the dead shouldn’t be answered.

A twisted, citrus-scented breeze blew in from a deep ocean storm, stirring malevolent powers best left drowned. The fish fled, the crabs scuttled into holes, but a harbinger deposited itself on the beach, waiting for…anyone really. Crusted glass and seawater, crumbling paper and skeletons of sea bugs all buried in wet sand. Cursed flotsam washed up on shore, an echo of the far forgotten lost. I knew when I saw the bottle, but Danny didn’t.

I loved the man, but he never saw the right things, only the shiny superficial things. I tried to teach him, but he didn’t take to it; too much stark reality in his soul. I’d been holding on out of… dreams maybe, or his smile. Whatever the reason, today was the day it would end.

I knew that the minute he touched the bottle.

The paper fragmented in his hand, and the broken edge of glass sliced his palm. The scream came first, his or hers, I don’t know. Then the spectre rose, like smoke from a beach bonfire, charcoal soot and ember hot, from the dusted pieces of the soul spell now caught in the wind and headed back to sea.

None of that mattered to Danny.

She seared him, like a thick burned steak in butter, until he was nothing but char and bone. She had no choice; that’s how cursed souls like her get free. She vanished to whatever hell or heaven would take her, and I buried Danny, with the bottle, above the tide line, under the proper warding. Couldn’t have him stirring from his grave and spreading the curse. I’ll miss him, but he was bound for a bad end with him being such a fool.

As I said, calls from the dead shouldn’t be answered.

Fiction © Copyright A.F. Stewart
Image courtesy of


More from A.F. Stewart:


Visions and Nightmares

Tragedy spares no one… and takes no prisoners.
In the twilight shadows, secrets are revealed past the whispers of madness.

Wander into the realm of the old gods with Elenora, where humanity and marriage are a prison.
Step through a looking glass of dark horrors with an Alice you never knew.
Join with Zenna to seek the truth as her death by magic grows closer.
Journey with Olivia as she crosses paths with a monster of the forest and runs for her life.
Watch Isobel summon the faerie to solve her problem of an unwanted husband.
Shiver as Doctor Killbride experiments with corpses to create life from death.
All that and more await within the pages.

Ten stories. Ten women.
Who will survive? Who will fall? And who will succumb to their inner evil?
Find out in Visions and Nightmares.

Warning: This book contains disturbing scenes that may be upsetting to some readers.

Available on Amazon!


About Nina D'Arcangela

Nina D’Arcangela is a quirky horror writer who likes to spin soul rending snippets of despair. She reads anything from splatter matter to dark matter. She's an UrbEx adventurer who suffers from unquenchable wanderlust. She loves to photograph abandoned places, bits of decay and old grave yards. Nina is a co-owner of Sirens Call Publications, a co-founder of the horror writer's group 'Pen of the Damned', founder and administrator of the Ladies of Horror Picture-prompt Monthly Writing Challenge, and if that isn't enough, put a check mark in the box next to owner and resident nut-job of Dark Angel Photography.
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2 Responses to Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author A.F. Stewart @scribe77 @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

  1. Marge Simon says:

    Another excellent flash, Anita! Brava! I had this prompt too, but took it in a different direction.

  2. Really enjoyed this – your prose is so contained yet portrays the scene so vividly – your narrator’s voice – so authentic, so chilling.

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