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

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_001_June_2020

At the End of the Day
by Kendra Hale

The more I listen to this bullshit therapy, the more my mind grinds. Hard and heavy, I can hear the gears turning. They shriek and moan, letting out noises that alert me to the fact that they needed oil long before now. My mind feels like a machine that’s been deprived of proper maintenance for too long. Left in the dark, forgotten. Once useful… but no more. Being tossed aside would have been a kindness in comparison to rusting and eroding, disintegrating into nothing. Nothing at all.

My therapist talks a big game, the whole “You have to learn to love yourself “ speech, that sends images of that “hang-in-there kitten” poster that used to hang above my bed. But no one understands that it was never about loving myself. That was never an issue. We all learn along the way that no one’s truly capable of love, not true love. Not the unconditional love that all the Hallmark and Normon Rockwell images show.

I grew up in the rural midwest, an area where farming thrived and the fields were always rotated for different crops. I was taught that the rotation helped to keep the ground fertile, to stop it from becoming useless, without nutrients. Each summer it would be something different; short crops of soya beans one year, but then the next the corn would rise, high and healthy.

Looking back, the corn years were my favorites. It was fuel corn, so there was no reason to sneak into the fields at night to steal the cobs, as they were inedible. But once the fall came, and the winds brought a light chill, these stalks would lose their rich green, almost as if their life was sucked out of them. They would slowly transition to tans and browns. It made them perfect for use as cheap Halloween decorations; you just had to collect the stalks, and arrange them around the outside of the house.

Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays. It was normal for everyone to hide their faces and identities, with masks and costumes, instead of just being alone, which was my mask on a daily basis. On Halloween everyone was in on the game. It made it the norm, instead of it being seen as weird. It was the one time of the year where I felt a part of something, which was rare for me.

When I turned fourteen, the fields that I had watched flourish over the years stopped taking the seeds. The lands became barren, they refused to grow crops. I watched as the farmer who owned the land tried over the months to get the fields to grow, bringing in all manner of machinery to try to make the land fertile again.

I would sit outside and watch as the workers tried in vain. My Father would tell me that the farmer would be smart to leave it for a year and let the ground rest, that he was killing it with all the constant planting. My Father wasn’t a good man, but he was a smart one. All the drinking and drugs he’d done to numb his old wounds hadn’t prepared him, or given him the patience necessary for raising a child.

My Mother had been killed by a drunk driver when I was seven, and my Dad  never recovered. I lost what was left of my childhood on the day I watched them lower her into the ground, and cover her with dirt. The small pitter patter of the light earth were harbingers to the thunder of the thud of the shovels. It struck me that day that this would be where we all ended up in the end, hidden in the dark. Forgotten.  But some of us know that feeling in our everyday lives, even though we’re still alive and kicking. It’s ingrained in our very being.

To the outside world I probably seemed a happy child. All was “normal”. But it’s astounding how something that looks normal, can actually be twisted and dark, on every level. Like I said, my Father wasn’t a good man, and the times where I got to actually be a child were gone after my Mother’s death. The times I was allowed outside were sparing, but were occasionally allowed, with the sole intent to show more of that normalcy. To the neighbors or those driving by or visiting my Father, I probably looked like nothing more than a kid outside, enjoying a nice day.

In truth though, Father only sent me out so I wouldn’t see what he was doing behind . You see, my Father’s mind had cracked, similarly to mine, when my Mother was killed. His center was gone and he was unable to cope. His anger was all encompassing, as was his pain. I was frequently a target of that pain.

It was my fault for looking like her, I guess.  Long, honey blonde hair, and light green eyes. That was what he thought, and that hatred had spewed over into his life, threatening to drown him.

When mom was younger, he’d told her that all he was doing in life was trying to find his breath, but barely staying above water.

I hadn’t understood at the time why the “mermaids” he played with never spoke to me. They just stared from the large tank in the basement at me, their eyes wide and their mouth caught in this continuous O shape. They almost looked scared of me, and all I wanted was to comfort their fears. The way their golden hair flowed in the water and caught the florescent lights was mesmerizing… almost magical.

It hadn’t been until I was older that I realized what my Father was doing when he was “breathing”. The first time he asked for my help, I was seventeen years old. I remember the dirt from the field on my hand, the dry scratchy texture, the way it stood out so starkly against my own flesh. I knew it was wrong in an instant, but my mind couldn’t get around the fact that my Father was doing these things… and now, so was I.

Everything changed after that moment, but given my Father’s standing in the community and his careful nature, no one ever found out. By the time I was twenty two I’d lost count of the girls he’d brought in. The days of calling them mermaids were long gone by then, with no door left open for a discussion. He shut me out completely at the end. Not that I even cared any more at that point, I’d moved on to a local college and was studying to be a criminal profiler.

After all the years of learning from the best, and successfully adding my father’s victims to the field that never bore crops again… who else could be better to analyze the minds of those with ghosts in their machines?

Fiction © Copyright Kendra Hale
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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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 K.R. Morrison @KRMorrison2 @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_004_June_2020

Best Left Hidden
by K.R. Morrison

“You sure about this?”
Gunther squinted up through the dense forest at what little he could see of the morning sky. “This doesn’t seem like a place where such a big thing could be found.”
Wes sighed. “Well, of course it wouldn’t just be sitting out here like some sort of tourist attraction. It’s BURIED somewhere around here.”
The two men walked along in silence for some time. Their guides from nearby Deutschneudorf flanked them on either side, eyes and ears alert for wolves or any other predators. Humans were not on the top of the food chain in this part of Germany.
Wes stopped and pulled something from his jacket pocket; it was a piece of note paper with something wrapped inside.
Gunther peered at the item. “That’s the…?”
“Yes.”
The guides stopped as well, but didn’t come any closer. It was as if they’d left their curiosity at home that day. Wes did not need to worry about the possibility of them prying into his business.
He unwrapped the object and dropped it into Gunther’s outstretched hand.
It was a shard of amber, an object that had been sent to Wes by his Uncle Otto, along with the paper that Wes was currently reading.
“These are the GPS coordinates that Uncle Otto sent me.”
Wes checked his phone app. “We’re on it now. Where’s the shovel?”
They quickly unpacked the tools and dug. Within minutes, they found a hole in the ground, which was covered by a heavy iron lid.
“Hot damn!” Wes crowed, and together he and Wes pulled the cover up and off. In their enthusiasm, they did not see the guides back off slowly from the site and melt into the surrounding forest.
Soon they had lowered themselves into a vast cavern, which would have been a delight to explore if the bottom had not been covered with stagnant water. The stench itself was enough to make them almost rethink their plans.
“What the? Must have flooded since Otto was here.”
Gunther shined his flashlight around the ceiling. “I hope we don’t have to deal with bats.”
Wes suddenly clutched Gunther’s arm. “Wait! Go back!”
The light was now on a side tunnel, above the water and easily accessible. The men took off into it right away.
Two minutes later, they fell through a hole in the floor and slid into the place of their dreams.
The Amber Room! They had found it!
As they looked around in wonder, they became aware of the presence of someone else in the room—and it was not a pleasant feeling. Ice grew up their spines as they turned slowly around to face whatever it was.
But—it was only a man. Or, at least, he looked like a man in the light of the torch. The two explorers could not be sure—especially since it seemed he was hovering a good three inches or so above the golden floor.
After a moment, he spoke.
“Welcome, wanderers. I am Viktor. And how did you find my home?”
Gunther was petrified. Wes was less so, but he still couldn’t get his voice to work.
The man quirked an eyebrow. “Cat got your tongue?”
“Ummm…Ott…my uncle told us of where we could find the Amber Room.” Wes smiled weakly. “We had no idea someone was…er…living in it.”
He moved backwards a few steps. “Sorry to have bothered you. We’ll…just let ourselves out.”
Gunther nodded vehemently—the only motion he was able to do. Wes pulled him by the shoulder, and the frightened man was put to flight. He stumbled backwards, and the flashlight’s beacon flew off and around the room. In a matter of moments, its light was rendered unnecessary.
Torches suddenly flared from all over, lighting up the walls and ceiling with golden luminescence. However, this was no longer an attraction to the young men; their frightened gaze was on Viktor’s face.
Viktor quirked an eyebrow. “Just how far do you think you’d get?”
The predatory look in Viktor’s eyes was enough to stop their hearts.
The man then smiled—a small gesture, but enough for Wes and Gunther to see that not all was as it should be with his teeth. “I mean—it is getting on in the day, and surely you must know that your guides did not stay.”
The hair on Wes’s neck stood on end. “But…but…we paid them…”
“A superstitious lot.” Viktor paced back and forth, looking pensive. “I’m afraid they always leave. A pity. I should like to invite them to dinner in my palace.”
He stopped, then stared directly into Wes’s eyes. “Never mind. I seem to have dinner guests enough right now.”
Gunther turned and ran. He scrambled up and out of the room, crying as he heard Wes’s screams.
(Three weeks later)
Wes sat in his room at the asylum, writing in his diary. He still lived the nightmare every day, but it seemed that, with therapy, he was improving with time.
He had just finished when he heard voices in the hallway. He froze as he heard a very familiar voice speaking.
“Thank you, Nurse, for allowing us to see my cousin. Uncle Viktor and I are very eager to see him.”
Shaking with fear, Gunther peeked through the grill of his door’s window.
And collapsed.
And Wes and Viktor shared a secret smile. Soon they would be a threesome.
Fiction © Copyright K.R. Morrison
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
 

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More from Author K.R. Morrison:

Be Not Afraid (Pride’s Downfall Vol 1)

Lydia’s faith in God is strong – at least on paper. But what happens when that faith is tested? Turned into a vampire by the worst – Vlad Drakul – she feels that God has abandoned her. But the opposite is true. God rescues her from a fate worse than death, and brings her into the plan He has for global redemption. With the help He sends, she feels like nothing can stop her. But when Vlad torments her again, and then her family, the temptation to run and hide is almost too strong to resist. Her answer to God’s call is the deciding factor in the battle that pits the angelic powers of God against the demonic powers of Hell.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Anna Davis @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Image_003_June_2020Black Autumn
by Anna Davis

I met her in the midnight twilit darkness of a golden autumn moonrise. The fireflies lit up the trees near the river in which she waded like old oil lamps, showing her effervescent form amongst the woods like Aphrodite in silver, but that was just the glow of her skin. She was madness in the starlight. Her graying white gown, floating softly in the gentle waters, did not diminish her shine. Raven hair, eyes of black intrigue, and a voice that had called me here, silently. Her back was to me, but I knew she was more than aware of my presence. She kept her distance until the moon reached its apex in the sky, then disappeared from the water, reappearing around a tree to kiss me, then vanishing into the dust motes and phosphenes of a quanerenian moonbeam.
We met in those woods near the babbling river without words or expectations from dusk to the choleric half-light of pre-dawn moonglow until winter had breathed its last frost. With spring, she would be gone. I didn’t know how I knew that, but I did. Like how I knew her name when she never spoke a word. Lilia. It fit her, somehow. Like a flower, slightly damaged, in a Monet hanging in a dusty corridor somewhere, alone and unappreciated, despite its beauty. She made fate flow with pale fingers, finding solace in the waters. Her leaving was but a metamorphosis, she told me in my dreams. That was the end.
Two years later, I still dreamed of her. Still thought of her. Who and what she was, I didn’t care. I took evening walks along the pier that went out past the breakers, and it shored my soul. For what could she have been but a siren or a nymph? Something of seas and tides and moonlight. Every eve I walked the weathered boards, leaving at moonrise to pace our same path through the woods to the spring-fed waters.
It was a crisp winter dusk in a light snow on the pier when I saw her again. She didn’t look like herself, no, not this black skeletal form tied together with remnants of sinew and dripping ichor, her stringy hair trailing along her hip bones as she threw her head back and surveyed the sky with those same flat black eyes. She walked along the railing in the snow fog, not even looking at her feet. Yes, she was different, but not different enough to steal away my love for her. Her bones were beautiful; ebony, cracked in places—she must have been very old, and certainly she was very wise. The sinew and strips of muscle showed her strength—they’d lasted so long, and certainly she was a living being with these things. Had I not the same? And the ichor, the pitch-colored, viscous slime that poured from somewhere inside—what was it but a different kind of blood? The color did not bother me.
We walked back into the woods as it was getting dark. She entered the water, the usually roiling surface now still as glass, and then went under. She lay amongst a bed of river rocks, her skeleton’s dark suppuration slowly merging with the colors of the stones in glimmers of coruscation. She reached out a bony, fleshless hand to me. We would be warm together beneath the cold waters. I stepped in up to my knees, reaching out to take her hand. Charles, spoke the chill night wind, and she stopped, turned her head, and smiled at me for the first time, ragged, desiccated lips revealing teeth like razor blades, filed to points. I’d always known her smile would be special.
Fiction © Copyright Anna Davis
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Alex Grey @indigodreamers @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_002_June_2020

Ink
by Alex Grey

Our elders say that we once wrote on paper made from the beaten pulp of trees. The precious trees. Imagine these three-dimensional beings reduced to two-dimensional sheets; of less value than the words written on them.
That was then, before the symbionts evolved and forbade such desecration. They are fierce enforcers, combining as they do the patient strength of trees and the inventive cruelty of mankind.  For now, the symbionts allow us, the humans, to inhabit our old homes in city suburbs even as the forest takes back the land around us.
I am old enough to remember my mother reading to my younger brother, Piers, and me. The words were like flames, roaring through my imagination, igniting my feelings, burning away my ignorance. I yearned for more, but even then, books were a rare and dangerous commodity. I have only a few volumes left now, the ones Piers and I escaped with when we fled from the purge. My mother’s dying screams echo through my dreams still.
The symbionts do not need books. The forest is one with them – sharing their thoughts without words; their history is written in the tree rings. They believe us to be deaf, dumb, inferior. We scratch a living, existing only on that which the symbionts grudgingly give us. We cannot sow or reap – our days of taking are over.
I would give in and die of despair and starvation, as many did when the symbionts came to power. But I, and a few others, still have words to inspire us, though we dare not speak or write openly. We meet when we can, gathering in barren places to read a priceless book. We take just one book at a time – it is all we can afford to lose if we are exposed.
A knock disturbs my reverie. When I open the door, there is no-one there, but a tiny vial of indigo ink sits on the doorstep. We lack the symbionts’ innate telepathy, but we are cunning and have found another way to communicate without words.
Piers nods and goes out to the back yard, taking a shovel with him. Our books are buried deep, but it is our turn to take one to tonight’s gathering. We have chosen a volume by a man named Oscar Wilde. We know nothing of his history, but I remember how my soul rocked to the cadence of his words as my mother read to me.
I take the vial, marvelling again at the complexity of its formulation. Our scientists have discovered a way to control the patterns that form when the ink is dripped into water. Their dedication is remarkable. Each batch is unique and coded to deliver a single message. I do not know who they are or where they are based – the unknown cannot be betrayed. What I do know is how to read the patterns.
I let ten drops fall into the glass, the ink swirls, the message clear – midnight at the South Beach. It is a good place, the wind-scoured sand is bare of spying trees and the rhythmic beat of the waves will drown our whispered reading. The message dissipates as the ink mixes with the water. Of necessity, the message is short-lived, the consequences of discovery are terrible and fill my bones with fear.
Suddenly, the front door crashes open. Three symbionts stride into the room, their eyes filled with horror as they look at blue-stained water. Attuned as they are to the plants that surround us, they know that we have snatched and murdered many berries to make this ink.
I grab the glass and run out of the back door, but it is too late. Piers is already staked out on the ground. He screams and screams as a symbiont carefully cuts a slit in his belly and plants a cherry sapling, gently spreading the roots under the skin. As the tree grows, Piers will be consumed, slowly. He will die within a few weeks; if he is lucky.
 “Drink!” Piers shouts as he sees the glass in my hand.
I take a mouthful and swallow quickly before running to him, throwing as much of the liquid into his pleading mouth as I can. He licks his lips greedily, desperate to catch the liquid streaming over his face. His limbs convulse against their bonds as the poison takes hold – the fragile cherry tree topples, ripping his skin as it falls, but Piers is past caring.
The purple-black Belladonna berries that we use to make our ink are deadly. Too many of us were caught; too many suffered before we learnt the necessity of a swift death.
The symbionts are gathered around the stricken cherry sapling, distracted.
I run into the forest, wondering whether I can escape, but my legs suddenly fold beneath me. I lie on a dense carpet of fallen leaves. Delirious, the branches far above me become scribbled words – To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.
I feel my life ebbing away. This is a beautiful death — the words were worth it.
Note: Quote taken from Oscar Wilde’s short story The Canterville Ghost
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/12366-death-must-be-so-beautiful-to-lie-in-the-soft
Fiction © Copyright Alex Grey
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More about Alex Grey:

After a lifetime of writing technical non-fiction, Alex Grey is fulfilling her dream of writing poems and stories that engage the reader’s emotions. Her ingredients for contentment are narrowboating, greyhounds, singing and chocolate – it’s a sweet life. Her poems and short stories have been published by a number of ezines including The Siren’s Call, Raconteur and Toasted Cheese. One of her comic poems is also available via a worldwide network of public fiction dispensers managed by French publisher, Short Edition. Alex’s original view of the world, which shines through her writing, has led to her best friend to say “For someone so lovely, you’re very twisted!”

Please click here to discover more! 

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Christina Sng @ChristinaSng @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Image_001_June_2020Demon Night
by Christina Sng

I welcome the light.
It has kept me alive
Since demons

Poured through
The open wormhole
In my laboratory.

They have devoured
Everyone there
And now they prowl

The residential streets,
Waiting for someone
To slip up

And leave a door
Or window open
For them to enter.

I see their shadows
Outside my window,
Curved claws tapping

To test the integrity
Of the glass, if they can
Easily smash it open.

But the windows will hold
As long as they are
Sealed and locked.

Triple-paned, triple-walled.
This was a precaution
I took long ago.

I shine my torch
At them, listen to them
Sizzle and burn

Until all that remains
Are the faint wisps
Of smoke

Swirling lost
In the darkness,
Fogging up my window.

I draw the curtains,
Keep the generator alive,
And wait for the sun to rise.

Fiction © Copyright Christina Sng
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from Christina Sng:

A Collection of Nightmares

Hold your screams and enter a world of seasonal creatures, dreams of bones, and confessions modeled from open eyes and endless insomnia. Christina Sng’s A Collection of Nightmares is a poetic feast of sleeplessness and shadows, an exquisite exhibition of fear and things better left unsaid. Here are ramblings at the end of the world and a path that leads to a thousand paper cuts at the hands of a skin carver. There are crawlspace whispers, and fresh sheets gently washed with sacrifice and poison, and if you’re careful in this ghost month, these poems will call upon the succubus to tend to your flesh wounds and scars.
These nightmares are sweeping fantasies that electrocute the senses as much as they dull the ache of loneliness by showing you what’s hiding under your bed, in the back of your closet, and inside your head. Sng’s poems dissect and flower, her autopsies are delicate blooms dressed with blood and syntax. Her words are charcoal and cotton, safe yet dressed in an executioner’s garb.
Dream carefully.
You’ve already made your bed.
The nightmares you have now will not be kind.
And you have no one to blame but yourself.

Available on Amazon!

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

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_004_June_2020

What We Have Become
by Linda Lee Rice

When the insurgence began, our ancestors fled to the tunnels and sewers. They carried with them the survival items they would need for what they thought would be a short time. Food, water, clothing, flashlights and lanterns, such as the one you see here.
But time passed and the world did not become the Utopia that was planned. Riots, looting, and killing was the normal, so our ancestors stayed in the sewers and tunnels. Every so often, someone would volunteer to go above and scout out the world beyond but never returned.
So, our ancestors began to change as the years passed. Clothing became scarce, so hair grew to cover bodies to keep out the damp and cold. Eyes became larger, with slits that widened in the dark to be able to see, because the flashlights darkened, and the lanterns ran out of fuel.
We still had food of a kind and the water, although it smelled bad, was drinkable. So, we blossomed under the ground like a fungi…pale, quiet footed, and ears that rotated to any sound. We evolved into…something else.
The lantern was placed on the stone as a symbol of what we were and where we came from. Forgotten memories only told as stories now over the warming fires of wood which drifted through. The fifth generation of those who went underground and didn’t surface again listened to these stories and wondered.
We had a language, not quite the language that was brought down, but a combination of several languages along with hand signs and signals. After all, when you’re hunting for food, you must be fleet footed and quiet among the tunnels and sewers.
Our teeth changed shape and became sharper, pointed to make it easier to rip our prey apart since we didn’t have the niceties of forks and spoons. Ah, but the sharp knives! Those we had, carefully sharpened for ready use.
As I write this, I hear a noise in the tunnels that’s unfamiliar. Murmurs of speech that aren’t of our kind…and my mouth waters.
Fiction © Copyright Linda Lee Rice
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

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

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_003_June_2020
Gates to Hell

by A.F. Stewart

They have stood for ten thousand years of memory.
Winged obsidian pillars, our gateway to the mountains.
The entrance to damnation.
Now it is my turn to go. I stand between the massive stone monoliths and take one last look at my village. There is no sadness on any of the faces that stare back at me. Only hatred and relief.
They have condemned me. And rightly so.
I spilled innocent blood. It felt glorious, such a thrill.
I rejoiced to see the fear in their eyes, to feel my knife slice across their throats, and watch their life drip away with the blood. I only managed three kills before they caught me, but it was enough.
For now, I stand at the gates, on the path to the forbidden mountain.
Where the demons make their home.
They exist beneath the rock, and we live beneath their shadow. Most in the village barely notice their influence but some, like me, sense them. I hear their voices at night. I feel their presence on the mountain. I am one of the cursed.
For years, I wanted to go to them. Now I can finally pass through the gates.
It is an exhaustive walk, but by nightfall I reach the pit. The swirling cavernous maw that is the doorway to the underworld. I stare into the dark depths with no fear.
Below me is what I earned. Every life taken, the price paid for entry. I smile at the black abyss and step off the edge.
And I fall into welcoming arms.
Fiction © Copyright A.F. Stewart
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
 

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More from A.F. Stewart:

vnVisions 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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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Sonora Taylor @sonorawrites @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_002_June_2020

Write Drunk, Edit Sober
by Sonora Taylor

Myra began to wonder if the wine would ever kick in. She traced the top of her glass with her fingertips. Chenin Blanc, her preferred libation when she sat down to write.
Lately though, she’d done more drinking than writing. It seemed the inspiration she used to feel after one glass would only come after two, then three. She’d grown so worried about her output that she soon started drinking to calm herself down. But by the time she was calm, her mind was too fuzzy to even think of words, and her arms too heavy to lift her pen.
She sat in a heavy state of calm that evening, one bottle down and another glass poured. She stared at the wine in her glass and twirled her fountain pen in her other hand. The wine vibrated in the glass as her fingers tapped the rim. The ripples stopped. The effect reminded her of her creative juices running dry.
The thick blanket on her mind, tongue, and body began to pull back. She slammed her pen on the table in anger. She felt it crack against the wood.
“Fuck!” she said, though in a slurred voice that made it sound like a purr instead of a curse. She lifted the broken pen. Blue ink dripped from her hand and into her glass. She dropped the pen and picked up her glass. She was about to throw it away when she saw the ink swirling in the wine.
She sat back down, entranced by the swirls in the glass. They didn’t spread and turn the entire beverage dark. They swam and darted like fish.
Myra rested her chin on her hands and watched the swirls. They seemed to be forming a word. Perhaps wine and ink would come together to help her after all. She sat in silence until finally, a message floated in the glass:
Blood.
Myra furrowed her eyebrows, then looked down at her hand. There was a small drop of blood where her pen had lain. She picked up one piece of the broken pen, then ran it down her palm. She held her hand over the glass of wine.
The red joined the blue and swirled together. Myra sat back and watched as another word formed:
Drink.
Myra crinkled her nose, then lifted the glass and drank. Her stomach retched, and she coughed and sputtered around her final sips.
The pieces of pen on the table moved back towards one another and fused, a red ring around the crack. Myra held her stomach with one hand and held the pen in the other. She glanced at the empty glass. The stains left behind from her drink spelled one final word:
Write.
Myra swallowed bile, then felt herself jerked down to the table. The pen grounded itself against her notebook. Words came to Myra so fast she could barely keep up. She wrote and wrote, the empty glass beside her watching as she poured her life into the page.
Once she’d written two, three, ten pages, her pen stopped. It fell to the desk, and Myra leaned to the side. She grabbed the wastebasket and vomited into it. Her throat burned and tears dribbled down her face.
Soon, her retches were dry. All traces of drunkenness were gone. She thanked whoever was watching out for her that she hadn’t poisoned herself. She turned back to her desk, then let out a cry when she saw the glass. The stains on the side had written one final message:
Edit.
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Taylor
Image courtesy of  Pixabay.com

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More from Sonora Taylor:

74533110_1104998099694619_4901851685367840768_nLittle Paranoias: Stories

Is it a knock on the door, or a gust of wind? A trick of the light, or someone who’ll see what you’ve done?

“Little Paranoias: Stories” features twenty tales of the little things that drive our deepest fears. It tells the stories of terror and sorrow, lust at the end of the world and death as an unwanted second chance. It dives into the darkest corners of the minds of men, women, and children. It wanders into the forest and touches every corner of the capital. Everyone has something to fear — but after all, it’s those little paranoias that drive our day-to-day.

Available on Amazon!

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Posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Mary Ann Peden-Coviello @MAPedenCoviello @Sotet_Angyal #LoH

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_001_June_2020

One, Two, Three
by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello

The battles didn’t last long in the end, did they? Their unstable Grand Poohbah lost his temper with ours – or maybe it was the other way around – who knows and who cares anymore? – and the skies lit up with death.  A few of us legged it to the wilderness, trying to outrun the fires, the sickness, the ever-encroaching doom. 
I’m leaving this letter in case anyone besides our group survived to read it. The others are all gone now.  I saved three bullets for my Granddad’s old Colt service revolver for, well, you know. Last stands make for good reading in history books, but what happens when history ends? 
My wife started sickening a week ago. Yesterday, she looked at me with love and death in her eyes. My heart broke. My will broke.  
I carried her out to see the sunset. God, her body was like a bundle of sticks in my arms. I held her till darkness covered us, hiding my actions. 
Then I shot her. 
Two bullets left. 
I buried her there and piled rocks on top of the grave.
Today, a lesion showed on the face of our little girl. Tonight, we’ll go see the sunset. I’ll bury her beside her mother, the only woman I ever loved. 
I’ll lie down between the two loves of my life and use the third, last, bullet on myself.
Fiction © Copyright Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com 

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More from Mary Ann Peden-Coviello:

maryannpedencoviello_frightmareFright Mare-Women Write Horror
Short Story: One Hour Before the Dark

Women write horror and have written it since before Mary Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN. This anthology is to highlight the fact women write great horror and to kill the fallacy that they aren’t in some way up to standard. They are. Read here stories by Elizabeth Massie, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lucy Taylor, and a plethora of other great writers as they work on your nerves, get inside your head, and bang out some of the scariest tales written today. I’m proud to present these women for your consideration, as Rod Serling might say, as I ask you to step into FRIGHT MARE. Lock the door and windows, put on a light, and remember, it’s not real. It’s not real. Midnight awaits, monsters scheme to take you away, the strange and weird wait in the shadows, but it’s not real. Is it?

Edited by Billie Sue Mosiman, the author who brought you the SINISTER-TALES OF DREAD collections and her latest suspense novel, THE GREY MATTER.

Available on Amazon!

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

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

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_004_June_2020

The Katana
by Naching T. Kassa

The crystal sat upon a scrap of black velvet, shining beneath the muted light of the shop. I admired each smooth facet and the prismatic color revealed within its shadow before taking it in my hands.
“You’re sure it will work?” I asked the old man.
He shuffled over to me, his breath reeking of illness. He paused at the counter and peered into my face.
“Gaze into the crystal’s depths. It will tell you what you need.”
I did as he bade me.
The whispering began right away. A chorus of voices called out, directing me to the back of the store, and the glass case which held a variety of weapons. I pointed to the katana still in its jewel-encrusted saya. The old man took it from the case and handed it to me.
A large jewel had been set into the handle. Upon closer examination, I realized it was not a jewel at all, but a shard of crystal, perhaps the from the same one I had just gazed into.
“Do you want it?” the old man asked.
“Yes. How much?”
“Eighteen-thousand. Nineteen if you’re going to use it. Cash only.”
I pulled a package wrapped in brown paper from my bag and set the block on top of the case.
“There’s twenty in here. Keep the change.”
The old man eyed the package, then shifted his gaze to my face. 
“A word of warning, before you go,” he said. “Never draw the sword unless you intend to use it. If air touches the blade, it must taste blood.”
“And…if it doesn’t?”
“Then, its hunger will grow. And the next time you pull it from the saya, it will feed until it’s sated.” The old man shook his head. “The samurai…they knew how to control the spirit in the blade. They never allowed it to control them.”
“I understand.”
“I’m not sure you do.”
“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ve already dug a second grave. The headstone’s already inscribed.”
He said no more as I left the shop. The bell on the door jingled in my wake.
When I arrived home, I found the ghosts of my family waiting. They laughed and smiled, forever frozen behind panes of glass and frames of wood. I would never hold them again.
 My cell rang and I pulled it from my pocket. A hushed, female voice spoke into my ear.
“It was Smith. He ordered the hit. He killed them all.”
“Don’t go back to the office,” I said, and ended the call before she could say another word.
I placed my hand on the handle of the katana and pulled it from the saya. The blade gleamed under the amber light of the living room lamps.
“Blood,” a voice said. Hollow and inhuman, it filled my head.
“Who’s there?” I whispered.
“Me.” 
A face appeared within the crystal on the katana’s handle. The raw, pink skin reminded me of potato bug larvae I found in the garden. One long tooth protruded from its upper jaw. 
“Feed me,” the creature said.
“Soon,” I replied, and returned the sword to the scabbard.
I left without locking the house and drove my car downtown. Steel and concrete surrounded me as I pulled into the parking garage. I left the car in the shadows, the katana hidden beneath my long coat. When I entered the elevator, and found myself alone, I pulled the sword and released the spirit once more.
“Blood,” the thing demanded. Saliva oozed from between its lips and glistened on the single tooth.
“A few moments more,” I said, and returned it to the saya.
Jack Smith’s offices were on the top floor. He employed many people here. People who killed and covered for him. People like me. 
I found him in the boardroom with nine other men. None of them were like me. None had tried to rise against him. None had lost everything doing it.
“Glad you’re back, Joe,” Smith said as I entered. “Sorry about your wife and kids.”
He grinned.
I released the spirit for the last time.
The long tooth cut deep.
Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
 

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More from Naching T. Kassa:

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