Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Scarlett R. Algee @ScarlettRAlgee @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Read Me
by Scarlett R. Algee

You don’t know me yet, but that doesn’t matter.

You’ve already taken the first step. Picked up the bottle. Unrolled the letter. You didn’t even wonder why it came up practically at your door, or why the opening in the glass was crumbled smooth. Instead, you had a passing thought that the red twine around the neck of the bottle was a nice touch.

And then you were reading.

That was the important thing. It got me behind your eyes. It’s letting me get to work. Tonight you’ll go to sleep with a vague feeling that you’ve forgotten something. Tomorrow you’ll wake up and you won’t know your own name at first, but you’ll think of it with a little laugh at your own silliness, and then you’ll remember the letter.

And you’ll want to read it again.

And from the inside, I’ll chip away at you.

You won’t remember the words; you’ll never remember the words. They’ll slide through your soft pathetic brain like water with each reading. Because there will be another and another as I restructure you, until you’re no longer able to wonder why the meaning never sticks.

Until the person looking out from your eyes is me.

Oh, you’ll still be here. Stuck in a corner unless I let you out. Helpless. Probably afraid. Not understanding what’s happened to whatever you can remember of what you are.

But you, as a vessel, don’t have to understand. You only have to help me replicate.

Your hands. My reach. Bottles upon bottles, twine upon twine, letters upon letters that you neither understand nor contemplate, only writing until your meat bleeds, until I’m in other hands and other eyes and all hands, all eyes, everything and everywhere is me and me and only me.

You don’t know me yet.

But you will.

Fiction © Copyright Scarlett R. Algee
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More from author Scarlett R. Algee:

The Lift: Nine Stories of Transformation, Volume One

The hall is dark and the overhead light flickers. Sounds echo, and there’s a creaking and clanging that gets louder as you stand in the semi-dark. The elevator opens and you’re offered a ride. Step inside and ride it to the story chosen for your transformation. Don’t be afraid, for Victoria, the mysterious girl who operates The Lift, waits to guide you. Set in the same world as the award nominated audio drama, The Lift’s first written anthology features nine all new stories by fan favorite writers and special bonus content by creators Daniel Foytik and Cynthia Lowman. The collection is brought to life with beautiful illustrations by Jeanette Andromeda for each story.

Available on Amazon!


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The Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Naching T. Kassa @NachingKassa @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


by Naching T. Kassa

Moira crept up the stairs, the shining blade in her hand.

A whisper sounded from the library, calling her to the room. The door opened on soundless hinges, and she shut it quietly behind her.

Her bare feet made no sound as she approached the man sleeping in the chair.

Lamplight glossed the tintypes which lay about the floor, flickering over the features of strangers. Moira paused to look upon them. The old soldier, late of Afghanistan, stared up at her, as did the woman in black. Neither possessed the light of life behind their eyes. Neither had called her to the room.

The voice had come to her every time she’d passed the library. It had spoken to her through the doors and walls, telling her secrets no one knew. At first, she’d feared herself mad. But when the voice spoke truths she’d later confirmed, she knew her senses had merely changed and not deserted her.

“You’ve come at last,” the voice said.

“Where are you?” Moira whispered back.

“Tut. Tut. All in good time, my darling one. First, we must deal with the man who pretends to be your father. The man who destroyed our family and took you for his own.”

Moira’s gaze shifted to the man in the chair. His pale face seemed so peaceful, the lines about his eyes so kind. He was the only father she’d ever known. A gentle man who had loved her the entirety of her life.

“Harden your heart, my darling one,” the whisper said, speaking as though it could read her very thoughts. “He is not your father. He is the father of lies. He admitted it to you, did he not? Your mother did not die in childbirth. She was murdered.”

A dagger-like pain pierced Moira’s heart. The man before her, the one she had loved so dearly, had lied to her for years. She had confronted him a scant few hours before and he had nodded, wordlessly, unable to look her in the eye. Yes, her mother had been murdered. Yes, he had taken her away from her father. All of these things he had confessed. As the voice had said, he had spoken the truth when it mattered least.

Only one thing remained a mystery. When she had pressed him as to the nature of her true father’s whereabouts, he would not speak a word. And though she scorned and reviled him, this only served to stiffen his resolve. His hindrance had frustrated her to the point that she had fled the library, slamming the mahogany door in her wake.

A flame leapt within her heart. She clutched the kitchen knife she held.

Something moved within the tintypes on the floor and Moira glanced down, her eyes wide. A young man, dressed in a fashionable black suit, waved at her from one of the photographs. Moira fell to her knees before him.

“The time has come,” the young man whispered. “I had to wait to reveal myself to you. Wait until you truly believed.”

Moira opened her mouth to speak, but the question died on her lips. No doubt this was her true father. His eyes and nose were her own.

“My darling daughter,” the young man said. “You have many questions, I know. But our time grows short. If that villain wakes, he will take you away from me forever, such is the hold he has over you. You must do as I say and free me.”


“He has trapped me in this photograph with dark magic. You must break the spell by ending the thing which binds the spell. You must take his life.”

Moira glanced back toward the man in the chair. “I can’t.”

“You can. Trust me, my darling one. Take the knife and plunge it into his foul heart.”

Moira rose. She lifted the knife.

“Oh, Moira,” the old man muttered, his eyes closed. “My little girl.”

Moira paused.

“What are you doing?” the young man cried. “Kill him! Kill the impostor now and set me free!”

Moira’s hand trembled and she readjusted her grip on the knife. Even if he hadn’t been her father, he had been good to her. How could she kill him now? She needed more.

“Did he kill my mother?” she asked, her voice no longer a whisper.

“Yes! Yes, he did!” the young man said, gazing at her with eager, hungry eyes. His lips had drawn back over his teeth in a hideous grin. The response startled her.

“Why didn’t you tell me that before?”

“Oh, my darling one. I wanted to spare you pain.”

The wolfish grin had passed from his face and an expression of grief had taken its place.

“Why did he trap you in the tintype?” Moira asked.

“Why are you asking these questions, darling one? Do you doubt my word?”

“If he killed my mother, why didn’t he kill you too?”

The young man’s face grew dark.

“Tell me,” Moira cried.

“Shall I? Shall I tell you the truth? Your mother was a common hoar, one I visited on the street corner and took in the shadows of Dorset Street. She was no fine lady. She had a taste for drink and a sharp tongue which led her to an early grave. You are my child and after he killed her, he took you from me.”

Tears sprung to Moira’s eyes. She turned her back on the photograph.

“Oh, darling one, do you not see? This is what I would spare you. The truth about your mother and the one you called father. That is why you must free me. So that I may right the wrong they have perpetrated upon us.”

Moira took a deep and shuddering breath. “I apologize, father. I should never have doubted you.”

The wolfish grin returned to the young man’s face. “You are forgiven, my darling one. Now—wait, no!”

Moira turned and raising the knife high, plunged it into the photograph. Blood oozed around the blade and obscured the young man from view. His shrieks filled the air and Moira covered her ears to mute the fearful sound.

The old man stirred in the chair, and when his eyelids fluttered open, Moira threw her arms about him.

The only man she had ever called “father” said nothing. He simply held her, just as he had when she had been but a little girl. Just as he had when chasing the nightmares away.

Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
Image courtesy of


More from Naching T. Kassa:


Arterial Bloom

Lush. Brutal.

Beautiful. Visceral.

Crystal Lake Publishing proudly presents Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart.

Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Mercedes M. Yardley, Arterial Bloom is a literary experience featuring sixteen stories from some of the most compelling dark authors writing today.

With a foreword by HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Linda D. Addison, you are invited to step inside and let the grim flowers wind themselves comfortably around your bones.

Available on Amazon!



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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Terrie Leigh Relf @TLRelf @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Ever the Bridesmaid
by Terrie Leigh Relf

It had been yet another beautiful wedding and reception. Maura was happy for Daphne and Todd, the last of her friends to get married. Of course Maura caught the bouquet. Even when she didn’t reach out for them, each bride’s bouquets always appeared in her hands. A few of her friends joked that she was a witch . . . Well, if she were such a being, wouldn’t she be able to create a spell so that she, too, would find love?

Instead, death followed them all. Within the year following each wedding, they would gather again for someone’s wake. And then within the next year, there would be another wedding. So this time, rather than taking Daphne’s bouquet home to join the others, Maura left it on the church steps.

Once home, Maura started a fire to stave off the cold. While stoking the fire, she heard the whisper of a voice: Give the flowers to the flame. She sensed this would be a good idea and gathered the dried bouquets together, resting each one carefully on the dancing flames.

Afterwards, she poured a glass of wine and pulled a woolen throw around her shoulders. It was somehow cathartic to listen to the crackling fire, to watch the bouquets go up in flames, to inhale the fragrant smoke . . . until Maura saw the bouquet she’d left on the church steps resting on her coffee table. How did it get here? Even though it was fresh, she tossed it into the fire.

“There, that’s the last of them,” she whispered out loud, vowing never to attend another wedding, never to attend another wake.


The next morning, sirens woke the neighbors. Or perhaps it was the smoke and flames engulfing Maura’s house.

Fiction © Copyright Terrie Leigh Relf
Image courtesy of 


More from author Terrie Leigh Relf:

The Sisterhood of the Blood Moon

For thousands of Earth years, the Transgalactic Consortium has had a quiet interest in this planet and its inhabitants, the Haurans. While the Sisterhood of the Blood Moon works together with the Consortium and Haurans to maintain balance in the universe, the Blood Moon is fast approaching. The power of this moon reveals untold secrets . . . including a sacred covenant with the Mora Spiders. There is an ancient pact that needs to be honored—but at what cost and for whose purpose? The world may come to an end. But will there be a chance for a new beginning?

Available for purchase from the Alban Lake Store!


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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Rie Sheridan Rose @RieSheridanRose @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Step Inside 
by Rie Sheridan Rose

The box sat on the doorstep when Brita got home. She hadn’t ordered anything from Amazon in weeks. She wasn’t expecting any sort of delivery, but carried it into the house and set it on the kitchen table.

It was late in the evening when she had a chance to open the parcel. It only offered more questions.

Inside the plain cardboard wrapper was a wooden box about two feet square. The dark wood was bound in leather with brass studs. It was beautiful…but she didn’t understand it at all.

There was a note under the box:

                        Inside this box is a whole new world.

                        To take advantage—step inside.

The box was tiny. How could she “step inside”?

Shrugging, she placed the box in the center of the floor. She knelt beside it and opened the lid. The result rocked her back on her heels. A beam of golden light shot to the ceiling.

What the hell is it? She bent forward, trying to see inside the box.

 All she could see was the light.

Why not? I’ve got nothing to lose…

 She thought about her life. No family. No real friends. A dead-end job. Why the hell not?

 She got to her feet and tentatively stepped into the box.

 The glow surrounded her—and then the pain struck. She felt like she was burning from the inside out.

 She tried to step back out of the box…but she couldn’t move. Her body dissolved, releasing her consciousness to the cosmos.

 Her last thought was Well, this is a whole new world alright…

 As her consciousness dissolved around her, the lid slammed shut.

The front door opened, and a figure dressed in a long black robe glided into the room and picked up the box.

Who’s next on the list? he thought, as he turned and walked away.

Fiction © Copyright Rie Sheridan Rose
Image courtesy of

line_separator2More from Author Rie Sheridan Rose:


Overheard in Hell:
Dark Poetry

Poems exploring hell and damnation. Tales of sorrow, vengeance, betrayal, and redemption. Ghosts, ghouls, and demons stalk these pages. Don’t read in a lonely house…in a darkened room by a single candle…

…unless you like the touch of an icy finger up your spine.

Available on Amazon!


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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Ela Lourenco @ElaLourenco @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


The Pledge
by Ela Lourenco

Alone. No one and nothing to keep me company. Only the sound of my own voice. When I first washed up on the shore all I felt was the elation of being alive, of having cheated the grim reaper. A sense of success that my betraying lover’s attempt to kill me had failed… Now I know better. A quick death would have been a kinder fate.

I cried at first. Cried until there were no tears left in my body, my voice hoarse from the gut-wrenching wails of my pulverised heart. Then came the anger. Red hot fury keeping me warm on the cold lonely nights.

Ten years… ten years I have been on this rock. The glass bottle I managed to write an SOS on has returned to my beach time and time again. No one has come looking for me. No one will. It is as though I have been imprisoned here by some unseen force. Tortured, tormented by long dead dreams of the life I could have had were it not for the choices I made along the way. Had I not fallen in love with the betrayer, the most charming and addictive of men whose attentions hypnotised me.

I will die on this rock, there is no way out. But I pledge that my broken spirit will rise when that day comes and I will seek him out and have my revenge…

Fiction © Copyright Ela Lourenco
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More from Ela Lourenco:

awakeningDragon Born: Book Three

The Royal tournament, the Karnac, is fully underway. But there is deception and betrayal at every turn. Unseen dark forces are at play, both within the school grounds and out with. Even the Gods are unable to help when a new threat looms over them all.The very existence of Azmantium depends on Lara fully becoming the Child of Fire and casting aside the Shadows lurking in every corner of her beloved planet.Can she overcome the challenges that await? Will the Shadows cover the world in darkness? Only Lara and her friends can change the fate of Azmantium.

Available on Amazon!


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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Kathleen McCluskey @KathleenMcClus4 @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


by Kathleen McCluskey

Nick began to get frustrated with his wife, he had been waiting for her for over an hour. “Just how long can a woman spend in a candle store?” He thought. He couldn’t sit any longer with her other purchases in his lap, he decided to go explore some of the other stores in the strip mall.

He wandered aimlessly, looking in the store windows. Nick found himself standing in front of an antique photography shop. The little bells above the store’s door chimed as he opened the door; the distinct, musty smell of ancient paper and photos hit him as he got deeper into the establishment. He raised his hand to his nose as a reflex. Setting his wife’s bags on the floor he began to look through old photos.

He shuffled through picture after picture. The urge to find a specific picture gripped him and he began rifling faster and faster until he stopped. Nick could feel a vibration coming from the picture that he had stopped on. He couldn’t imagine why he was so intrigued by a photo that he had never seen. He pulled it out of the stack and turned it over. Letting out an audible gasp, he stepped backward as the image looking back at him was himself.

Instantly upon seeing his own image in the ancient photograph he vanished from the store. He appeared in a field; he felt the hot, humid summer day. Astonished he looked down at his clothes. He was now in the uniform of a rebel colonel of the American Civil War. He could hear the sound of cannon fire and smell the Sulphur from rifles being fired. Nick was confused but self-preservation kicked in as he began to run towards the tree line.

“Colonel, Colonel…what do we do? The Yankees have over run the town. I fear we have lost Gettysburg!” Nick began to speak but was interrupted by searing pain as the bullet slammed into his back. He staggered. The second bullet caught him in the hand and the third ripped a hole into the side of his head. Nick fell over dead. The battle had been lost for the Colonel.

Fiction © Copyright Kathleen McCluskey
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More from Kathleen McCluskey:

The Long Fall: Book 1: The Inception of Horror

Lucifer always cunning and intelligent challenges father to a battle of wits. Being the angel of light he casts a judgmental eye upon mankind. He begins a war with his fellow archangels and God. Michael, along with his siblings defend their home and mankind from their deranged brother. Broad swords and hand to hand combat drench heaven in blood. The four apocalyptic steeds are released, each having their own destructive power. Betrayal and lust are at biblical levels. Understand the very creation of evil and the consequences that transpire in the first of THE LONG FALL series.

Available on Amazon!


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

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Rejoice Because Thorns Have Roses
by Elaine Pascale

We told many jokes at the flower shop because we were all budding comedians.

The one thing I would never joke about were my roses. They were the best in the state. In many states, in fact. People were paying in spades to have them flown out to weddings, quinceañeras, and retirement parties. The prettiest girls with guarded virginities were gifted them at homecoming and prom. The deceased with families that loved them were placed in the ground clutching a holy trinity of one red, one pink, and one white.

The secret was the ingredient I added to the fertilizer.

The hospital was located conveniently close to the flower shop which kept business booming and blood flowing. The blood came from my phlebotomist friend; it was the rush that made my roses blush.

Then, I was no longer allowed to have the blood. Something about suspicions. Something about the factory accident and triage and blah, blah, blah.

I ignored the blah, blah, blah, but triage gave me an idea.

Arriving at accidents ahead of emergency personnel was easy. I knew the police, firemen, and EMTs in the area and knew who was slow on the draw. Since these were accidents, the blood was not needed for evidence, so no one missed a little.

That sufficed for the winter and early spring. But then, as always, prom, graduation, and wedding seasons collided. And they happened to collide with a float for the state fair and the American Rose Society’s call for their annual calendar. A little blood would not suffice.

Accidents would not suffice.

And the blood was evidence. Better it fertilize my roses than be left in a crime scene.

Phlebotomists have jokes, too. They tell the one about robbing a blood bank and getting caught red handed. I had thought that the only thing reddening my hands was the glow from rose petals I attached to the float that was destined to win. By my hands were reddened and blued by the rollers on the police vehicles coming to get me.

Crime scene detectives have jokes, too. The detective who had confiscated the dirt after spotting traces of blood on a bouquet told me the blood matched a recent murder victim. The good news, the blood I had been handling was riddled with viruses. He laughed, telling me I would be very sick during the beginning of my stint in prison.

Detectives are not as funny as phlebotomists or florists.

Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
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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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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Melissa R. Mendelson @melissmendelson @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Pieces We Lost, Pieces We Keep
by Melissa R. Mendelson

As always when I get to work and check on the residents, I find her sitting in a chair in the dayroom away from everyone else.  Her eyes are always dark, her hands cupped together.  Her lips pressed tight, locking the words inside, and they’ve been locked inside for a very long time.  The shadows sat with her, seeping into her skin, filling her with pleasure and pain, but she did not flinch.  She allowed the darkness to eat at her, taking what it could, but she was always holding onto something.

After rounds, I returned to the dayroom, finding her still there in the corner.  No one else noticed, lost in their own worlds, trying to forget why they were even there.  It was the lunch hour, and the other residents left the room.  But she remained, still coated with shadows, darkness riding inside her.  Maybe, she was afraid to move, and I stepped closer, catching a small faint of light inside those eyes.

“Why do you fight it,” I whispered.  “Why not just let the darkness have all of you?”

To my surprise, she looked at me, smiling, her mouth finally opening to release a breath of air, and I looked closer into those eyes.  The light was brighter, and there was someone there, someone kneeling beside an old chest with yellow light pouring out of it.  And there was a letter attached to the chest, and my mind seized upon it, devouring its words, the moments that had destroyed her, still destroying her.  I moved back as the light chased the darkness out, obliterated the shadows around her.  She grabbed my hand, burning my skin.

“You can’t have all of me because it’s safe, locked away in that chest, and today, I’m letting it all out.”

Before I could ask why, the light went out in her eyes.  She slumped back into her seat, a smile resting on her lips.  Her hands folded gently together.  She looked like she was asleep, but she was gone, taking away what was left of her from me.

Fiction © Copyright Melissa R. Mendelson
Image courtesy of

About Author Melissa R. Mendelson:

Melissa R. Mendelson is a Horror, Science-Fiction, and Dystopian Author. Her short stories have been published by Sirens Call Publications, Dark Helix Press, and Transmundane Press. She also has a variety of short stories and poetry available on Medium.


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RELEASE: The Sirens Call eZine Winter 2021 Edition – Issue 56 | FREE Online #Horror and #DarkFic #eZine #magazine @Sirens_Call


The Winter 2021 edition of The Sirens Call!

The 56th issue of The Sirens Call weighs in at 190 pages containing 139 pieces of dark fiction and horror in the form of short stories, flash fiction, and dark poetry! This issue also features artist Dave Dick who has shared 12 pieces of his artwork with us, including Sky Monster, which is featured on the cover. This issue also spotlights our first glimpse from cartoonist D.S. Ullery, his article A Cartoon Saved My Life, and 12 of his satirical and humorous Goulash panels. Our featured author, Mike Salt, has a bit of advice for budding or struggling authors, and has graciously offered an excerpt from his novella, The House on Harlan.

Visit Sirens Call Publications to download a free copy!

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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!


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