Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Kim Richards @Kim_Richards @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


His Master’s Voice
by Kim Richards 

Nip remembered his father taking him down to the museum one summer. They walked among displays of varied and aged machines. They passed mechanical typewriters and a treadle sewing machine. His dad stopped before an old gramophone. He pointed to the metal disk atop the box and beneath the Morning Glory shaped horn.

“Wow,” Nip exclaimed. “I never knew the records were metal.”

He leaned over to peer close. Noticing a small dog sitting before an outline of a gramophone etched on the disc, he tilted his head a little and asked, “Why is there a dog on there? Is this a recording of a dog barking?”

Dad grumbled low and muttered, “It’s a logo of your namesake.”

Nip laughed. “What?”

“The dog is named Nipper; same as you.”

“You named me after a dog?”

“I just told you so.” The older man turned away and waved his arm for the boy to follow him. “Come.”

Nip never questioned the old man. He turned on his heel and followed.

Because of the memory, when Nip found a gramophone among his father’s things in the attic, it didn’t surprise him. He wondered why he never saw the old man play it. Perhaps it didn’t work.

Nip gathered the horn and the body, taking them downstairs in separate trips to avoid damaging either by accident. Once there, he set them on his kitchen table. Then he cleaned them off with a soft cloth, oiled the visible mechanical parts and affixed the horn in place.

He picked up the metal disc and held it up in his hands to look closer. The grooves circled its surface as expected. Nip marveled at how they could capture sounds and how such a tiny needle could bring them to life.

The familiar dog image was imprinted next to the center hole, along with the recording title:  His Master’s Voice.

“Hi Nipper,” he said to the little image. “Let’s see what you sound like.”

He carefully wiped down the disk and placed it on the center peg of the gramophone. Then, he grasped the handle and wound it twenty rotations. Unsure of how many turns to give it, he figured twenty worked for a first try.  He lowered the needle arm and sat back to listen.

At first the voice sounded scratchy, as if someone were sick with strep throat. Still, Nip recognized it as the voice of his father. He leaned in close, straining to understand the words. As the sound cleared a little, it sounded like poetry but in a language other than English. Something guttural and harsh he couldn’t place.

Mesmerized, Nip tilted his head as he often did when listening. Wispy red smoke streamed from his nose. His eyes widened he was unable to move any other parts of his body. The smoke thickened and darkened as it moved from his nose over to the gramophone horn, traveling deep inside.

The sound slowed as the mechanism wound down. Drowsiness replaced Nip’s fear and the smoke stopped. Then he closed his eyes forever.


Fiction © Copyright Kim Richards
Image courtesy of


This entry was posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Kim Richards @Kim_Richards @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

  1. afstewart says:

    A terrific story.

  2. Marge Simon says:

    I thought perhaps Nipper would turn into a terrier namesake with his head cocked, frozen in time. I loved reading about the old Victrola, you describe it so well. My grandmother had one.

  3. Ooh, got to love a creepy gramophone – enjoyed how you invoked such feelings of fascinating nostalgia – to your MC’s peril.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.