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

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

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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!

That Wise Old Owl 
by Terrie Leigh Relf

Remember that poem? You probably had to memorize it as a child. Or maybe your parents and grandparents would recite it whenever you weren’t listening or otherwise behaving like they wanted. I heard that poem quite a bit growing up. I still hear it playing through my mind, interrupting my concentration at the oddest times—especially now when I’m misbehaving again. Maybe writing my own version will help me focus. You want me to be more focused, right? Thought you would . . .

A cheating asshole sits in his chair,

the less he screams, the more cuts I make.

The more cuts I make, the sooner he’ll die . . .

Why can’t we find an honest guy?!


Well, that helped. It’s not like my version will win any awards, but it seriously helped me focus. Perhaps I should write more often, as you are clearly, blissfully, and finally dead. Not that it will keep me from misbehaving, though. This was just too much fun.



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 Angela Yuriko Smith @AngelaYSmith @darc_nina #LoH

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Autumnal Crunch
by Angela Yuriko Smith

Once, there were people.

Children ran among the leaves—

crisp, autumnal crunch…


but we couldn’t learn, leave

well enough alone. we had to meddle

and unsettle the things that ought

stay buried. we prodded, dug up 

and carried the spoils from below.

ignorance isn’t bliss when it 

blisters, leaves nowhere to go

but down in a futile attempt

to undo, set back, repent but 

the deed was done, the blood 

spent and we paid dear 

for the sins of us all. a 

collective sigh and

a small town 



Now, there are demons.

Hunters run among the leaves.

crisp, autumnal crunch…



More from Angela Yuriko Smith:

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, author and co-publisher of Space and Time magazine, a publication that has been printing speculative fiction, art and poetry since 1966. Together we build a poem as a community each month. Visit “Exquisite Corpse” at to submit.

Catch up with Angela here!


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The Bubble, A Halloween story by 11 Year old Izabelle S. – @DarcNina #horror #YouthofHorror #TheBubble #DarkFiction

The Bubble, by Izabelle S.

Miles and Wesley were brothers and loved each other very much. Their parents were
married and cared for them immensely. The neighbourhood loved them, since they were
always the family to go to if there were any problems. They always knew what to do.  
The family were so happy, and their life was perfect, until…. at the age of 10, Miles had a
seizure. Everyone was horrified and thought he was going to die. It took the doctors 6 hours of tests to find out what was wrong with him and to make sure he was ok. Finally, the doctors were able to tell the family what had happened and said that he was allergic to insect stings, fur, gluten, dust mites, fish, sunlight, leather, the cold and so much more. So much, that he had to be trapped inside a bubble. His family weren’t allowed in the bubble, so because of this Miles felt so lonely, even though he knew that if his family were allowed in, then they would, but sadly his allergies wouldn’t allow this.  

As time went on, Miles and his family learnt to live as best they could. The doctors managed to control some of his allergies with medication. He still had to live in the bubble, but at last, the family got to go inside and see him but only one at a time and an hour apart. As the boys got older Miles and Wesley started to drift apart. Wesely was always busy with his friends and only went to see Miles once he’d finished hanging out with them. Their mum did not like Wesely’s friends and did not want her son playing with them. Lots of the other mums from school agreed with her, saying that they were a bad influence on Wesley and if he carried on hanging out with them, then he’d end up getting into all sorts of trouble. Wesley’s mum thought this too, but her main concern was that he was spending less and less time with his brother Miles. The mum did not like this as she knew the brothers loved each other with
all their might.  

As the sun set, Wesley came back from visiting the sweet shop with his friends and went to speak to his dad. He told him all about his astonishing sweets and how they made his tongue go blue and that Lucas did a backflip on the bench in the park. His dad listened to Wesley’s stories and then told him that it was time to finish his homework. He reminded Wesley to put his open packet of sweets away before he goes to see his brother, due to Miles’ allergies. By the time Wesley finished his homework it was late, and he was tired, but he just had enough time to go and spend a few minutes with Miles before bed. As he stepped into the bubble, Miles ran over to his brother and gave him a hug. He told him how much he had missed him and had been waiting for him to come and visit. As they were chatting, Wesley noticed that Miles was having trouble breathing. Suddenly, Miles fell to the floor. Wesley tried to wake his brother, but he was unconscious. In a panic, Wesley ran out of the bubble screaming for his parents. As soon as they heard Wesley’s screams, they rushed in and upon seeing Miles collapsed on the floor, they immediately rang for an ambulance.  

Once at the hospital, as soon as the doctors took one look at Miles, they rushed him straight to the emergency room. His mum, dad and Wesley waited patiently in the waiting room, trying to understand what was happening. What seemed like a lifetime later, Dr Smith appeared from the emergency room. He explained to the family that Miles was seriously ill and they were doing everything they could, but they should prepare themselves for the worst.

It wasn’t until three hours had passed, that Dr Smith appeared again. The family could tell it wasn’t good news as soon as he walked into the waiting room. As Dr Smith explained, that whilst in the emergency room, Miles had had another seizure and unfortunately, his body just wasn’t strong enough to fight it. Wesley’s mum and dad just broke down in tears. Wesley couldn’t take it all in. He couldn’t believe what was happening. He ran out of the room. He just wanted to be by himself.  

As he sat in an empty stairway with the tears streaming down his face, Wesley sunk his hand into his pocket to pull out a tissue to wipe his eyes. Instead of a tissue, he pulled out the open packet of sweets that he had forgotten to put away earlier before visiting Miles. He realised that it must have been the sweets that made Miles collapse. He must have had an allergy to one of the ingredients which caused him to have a seizure. This is why they all had to be SO careful about what came into contact with Miles. He was devastated that he was the reason that Miles was dead. He couldn’t tell his parents because he didn’t want his parents to hate him. 

After the funeral, Wesley and his parents tried to adjust to life without Miles. It was very hard as they all missed him desperately. Time after time, Wesley went into the bubble to feel closer to his brother. This went on for a few weeks until one day Wesley was in the bubble, sitting, thinking about Miles and how much he missed him, when all a sudden the lights around him started to flicker, then all at once they turned off. It was pitch black. Wesley sat there wondering if the electricity had gone off so decided to check the rest of the house. As he stood up, he felt a cold chill down his back. He sat right down and then he heard a noise behind him. He looked round to see the mirror on the wall drop to the floor and smash into smithereens. Wesly was so frightened that he ran out of the bubble and into his bedroom. He slammed the door shut and hid under his duvet, but as he did, he heard a creaking noise. He slowly lifted the duvet off his head and saw that the door was opening by itself. He hoped if he went to sleep it would all stop. As he was drifting off, he felt a hand on his face and thought it was his mum come to say goodnight to him. As he opened his eyes, the hand covered his mouth so that he couldn’t scream and that’s when he saw it. It was Miles’ face, but transparent. It shouted BOO and then seemed to just disappear. 

The next day Wesley still couldn’t believe what he had seen the previous night. He was shaking when he got out of bed. As he was walking down the hallway, his dad came out of the bathroom unexpectedly. This made Wesley jump and he ran away screaming. His mum and dad were worried about his state of mind. They thought that it would be a good idea for Wesley to go and see a grief councillor to help him cope with Miles’ death.  The councillor had told Wesley’s mum and dad that they needed to talk to Wesley alone to help him through his grief, so his dad just dropped him off and said he’d be back to pick him up after the counselling session. Wesley begged him to stay but his dad knew he wasn’t
allowed to. 

As Wesley sat on the sofa, twiddling with his thumbs, he felt very anxious wating for the counsellor. When she arrived, she put Wesley at ease though and made him feel very comfortable and safe. He found it easy to talk to her and felt that he could trust her. He was desperate to talk to somebody about how Miles had died and how it was all his fault because he took the open packet of sweets into the bubble. He was considering telling the counsellor and also all about the ghostly vision he had seen, when he saw Miles again., standing behind the counsellor. Wesley was so startled that he ran out of the room as fast as his legs would take him, all the way home. 

The next day, whilst Wesley was eating breakfast, he was petrified to see on the news that the counsellor he had seen the day before, had died. It was reported that she had died in her office, the same room that Wesley had been talking to her in, and it seemed to of happened right after he’d left. 

Wesley couldn’t take it anymore. He couldn’t understand what was happening to him, so he locked himself in his room. Inside Wesley’s bedroom was a weak and unstable child who needed desperate help. Every day, his mum and dad would knock on the door to check on him, but he just wanted to be left alone. Day after day and night after night, Wesley refused to come out of his room He couldn’t face his parents anymore, knowing that he was the reason that Miles was dead. 

Things just got worse for Wesley, as every night he would see Miles who would just stand over him, staring at him. He started eating less and less and by the time it was the third week, he was very weak. He could hear his mum and dad talking to each other outside his room. They were both really worried about him and scared that they were going to lose him too, but they just didn’t know how to help him. He could hear his mum at night crying with worry.  One morning he woke up and knew he couldn’t put his parents through this any longer. He had to tell them the truth, about everything, but first he wanted to go to the bubble. He hoped he could see Miles and talk to him. Explain that it was an accident, and he didn’t mean for it to happen. He wanted to tell Miles that he was sorry and that he loved and missed him so much.  

As he wandered into the bubble, he spotted something on the floor that he recognised. As he bent down to pick it up, he realised that it was the sweet packet he had forgotten to put away before visiting Miles that fateful day. He couldn’t understand how it had got there, as he’d never taken it out of his jacket pocket. He suddenly felt a tap on his shoulder and as he turned around, a smirking Miles shouted BOO!  A few hours later, Wesley’s mum came into the bubble looking for Wesley. As she picked up
the bloody sweet packet that she saw on the floor, she spotted something on Miles’ bed and screamed.

Copyright Izabelle S.


About the Author:

Thank you for reading Izabelle’s story. Isabelle is an 11 year old writer who resides in Manchester, United Kingdom. The Bubble is her first piece of published horror fiction!

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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!


Building a Wall 
by Rie Sheridan Rose 

It’s almost finished now. My wall. I’ve been building it since the famine hit—no, wait. I started before that. The first bones were laid when the “plague” began. Well, some called it a plague. It was really not so bad. Yes, a lot of people died, but they were the ones who wouldn’t listen. They refused to take any precautions. They continued to be exactly as they were—so they had to be taught a lesson, of course. There didn’t seem to be any point in wasting all that material. My freezer is full, for example, and I have no shortage of vellum for my journals. And the bones…the bones are great for building with.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to do with them at first. I was just trying to keep things neat, so they wouldn’t be scattered all over the backyard. So I was stacking them…in the corner at first. But they fit together so nicely, that it got me thinking. Why not? After all, I had plenty. There was absolutely no end to the idiots that needed culling. I decided to enclose the whole yard.

  Of course, then the plague was over. I think it was just starved out as all the fools died off. But the people weren’t the only things that died. Without farmers and herdsmen, the crops never got harvested, and the livestock perished…so that’s when the famine hit. And everyone who was left began to die. Starved out mostly. Nothing to me, anyway. I did buy a couple more freezers…

Now, the wall is almost finished. Once I lay that last bit to close off the gap, I’ll live impervious here behind my wall. No one will ever call me weird again. No one will ever make fun of me. No one will ever see me again.

Unless I get bored. Or want an extension…

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 Asena Lourenco @ElaLourenco @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Immortal Fantasy   
by Asena Lourenco 


Trapped in the pages, losing track of time,

Stuck in a loop of a never-ending rhyme,

The stories chasing me, chapter by chapter,

Seeking to claim their gory ever-after,

Once my friend, become my only foe

I now pray that they leave me alone.

As dusty shelves no longer hold,

A place to run to where I can grow old,

As time I spend, changes me not,

And the world around begins to rot…

But alas something is different here today,

Someone other has been trapped in to play.


Fiction © Copyright Asena Lourenco
Image courtesy of


More about Asena Lourenco:

AsenaAsena Lourenco is 14 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 Sheikha A. @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


by Sheikha A. 

to giving Venus a bevy of blooms
You are at the mercy of an one-eyed caged bird,
she tilts a candle over an earthen bowl of water.
The girl watching is succulent:
doe-eyed and mind an open gate
of undiscovered premise. She reads
the water arch and coy at the touch
of melting candle drops; rose-infused
ash peppering its rim. She eyes the girl,
there is need for sacrifice, rubbing bone-
runes between her palms; tooth-sickle
spilling first; crow’s femur landing in tow.
The girl is here about her recurring dream:
her body sprouting midnight calla-lilies,
skin magenta sheen of fresh blood, lips
pouting deeper shade of warm, throbbing
flesh. She knows this girl is divine vessel:
mind impulsive field of curiosity; her spirit
can be smelled miles away, of unfurling
newness, of a dew’s first sprinkle. The girl
leans closer to the candle’s wick, her eyes
mirroring the blinking flame: crimson
swivels in a pool of fire. You are saviour,
she whispers to the girl, her voice incant
and prophetic. Your body will be eternal;
a gift of source, the miracle life on toxic
land. Are you ready to live as carbon – 
pink ash swirling Earth? Your time is near 
to travel – out of this body. Sultana: star-
belt; you will be real and imaginary. 
Your power unconquered – the scent 
of a flower uncut from its stem. 
The water in the bowl sputters;
the girl has been caged. Drink this,
her voice hisses like a soft breeze,
when you wake, you will have reborn;
your form pure, untouched and lethal.
Fiction © Copyright Sheikha A.
Image courtesy of


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

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


You Would Not Believe Your Eyes  
by Kendra Hale 

A rich, smokey smell and haze flowed along the forest floor. The fiery ombré sky is slowly, elegantly, changing into her nightgown. It was almost time, McGee’s Screaming Mimi’s Fear Park was opening its gates. Soon the fireflies would be drawn into the wood.

Their small lights would lead them along the more dirt than gravel footpath that tore through the Oak, Maple, and Birch. Each crunch echoing loudly amidst the frightened silence, only to intermittently be drowned out, swallowed, by the sound of screams.

Willing participants all who entered these woods. They came for the thrill, the rush, the fluttering of butterfly wings.

So did she.

She chose a new fear theme park each season to join. Had been all over the world at this point, but the excitement of a new season never left her. The call was always there and she never felt full.

The lights led the way to her new prey and she followed them like it was a religion. Each time the glow was different, it had a different aroma that permeated the air when it was time. The light shined as though made just to appeal to her.

Tonight she felt invigorated and hyper aware. Her knife would taste real blood tonight, not the false slime that coated the foam and wooden props the actors carried. Her tally was ninety nine and tonight truly felt as special as that anniversary warranted.

The fireflies would bless her again tonight, she hoped it would be a sweet one. She loved the look of  innocence touched by sheer terror. She enjoyed the routine and joy of it all.

From the corner of her eye, she saw them.

Little lights were dancing in the distance. Edging their way towards her.

Her high pitched laugh pierced the night, beckoning her prey onwards.

Time to play a game. 


Fiction © Copyright Kendra Hale
Image courtesy of


More from author Kendra Hale:


Just Emotions:
A Gothic Bite Magazine Anthology

A collection of poetry.

Just Emotions‘ is exactly as it states, a group of writers who had feelings they wanted to express in poem form. Inside, there are a range of emotions to explore. Each writer has given a bit of themselves to you, each in their own way.

We hope that you enjoy these writings and that among the poems you may find some thing you can identify with or relate to. Thank you for giving us this chance to open the catacombs and share with you.

Available on Amazon!  


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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author R.A. Clarke @RAClarkeWrites @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


The Playroom 
by R.A. Clarke 

Daddy slopped a glob of grey plaster onto the top of my new playroom wall. Each rounded piece fit perfectly, forming rows that climbed from floor to ceiling. They were all painted with different designs, creating a kaleidoscopic montage. Those were the fancy words my mamma used to describe it. She was such a good artist. Her masterpiece—a present for my fifth birthday—was almost complete.

“A beautiful playroom for a beautiful girl,” she’d said, giving me a big hug. I remember feeling so light inside, I coulda floated away.

“Oh, it’s so close to being done!” I jumped up and down, squeezing my Janie, barely able to contain my excitement. My doll’s plastic head and limbs jostled as her red hair flopped side to side. She’d been a gift from my granny when I was born—the same doll she’d cuddled every night as a child. I didn’t care one bit that her dress was faded, or that she was missing an eye, because to me Janie was perfect.

“You wanna put this piece on?” Daddy asked.

“I’m not tall enough.” I pouted. “I’m always too little.”

Daddy’s strong arms swept under my armpits and flew me up onto his shoulders. “Soon enough, baby girl, you’ll be all grown up. Enjoy these fancy free days while you got ’em.” He flashed a lopsided grin and passed me the piece.

I smiled back, nodding. “Alright, Daddy.”

He pointed to the spot he’d slopped with plaster. “Now put that cranium there.”

I smushed the piece into place, loving how light glinted off the painted clouds covering its surface. The jaw suddenly shifted, its incisors pinching my pinky. “Ow!”

“You alright?” Daddy asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I yanked my pinky free and shoved the piece down hard—punishment for snapping at me.

Daddy lowered me to the floor and tickled my sides. Once my giggles subsided, he admired the wall. “Pretty ain’t it?”

I smiled—the kind that showed all my teeth. “I wanna grow up to be an artist just like Mamma. She says I got a good eye.”

“You do.” He touched the tip of my nose with his finger. “You can be whatever you wanna be.”

That warm, floating feeling washed over me again. “When can we make the very last piece?”

Me and your momma are working with the final still life tonight. I promise you can put the last piece on the wall when it’s done.”

I squished Janie as I crossed my arms. “Daddy, but you promised you’d let me help make the last one! Not just put it up!”

“Baby girl…” His head tilted, a sigh escaping his mouth like he always did before telling me I couldn’t do something. But before he said another word, I stomped up to him and glowered.

“You promised!” With a flick of my wrist, Janie’s head nodded in agreement.

Daddy called up to Mamma, then looked back down at me with a quirked eyebrow. “I guess I did…”

“Mmm hmm.”

He waved a hand. “Well, a promise is a promise.” Daddy led the way out of the playroom and across the basement to the rear closet. He lifted a wooden hatch on the floor inside. A light popped on, brightening a set of stairs leading down.

“What’s the first rule of the art studio?”

“Don’t paint anything without an adult present,” I answered confidently.

“The second rule?”

“Don’t kill anything without an adult present.” Janie nodded with me.

“And the third?”

Never talk about our family’s art.”

“Good girl,” Mamma said as she joined us. She had silky blonde hair just like mine and was the bestest mamma.

We walked down into the studio and Daddy turned on the gallery lights, revealing wash tubs and boxes of lye sitting against the far wall. Easles were scattered about, some canvases already painted.

Next Daddy flicked on umbrella-like lamps surrounding the main studio. Soft light bounced every which way, and that’s when I saw the still life tied tight to a chair in the centre of the room. He looked a lot like Mr. Grosner, my gym teacher—the one who’d touched my bum during class last week.

“Nobody touches my baby girl when he shouldn’t.” Mamma gave Mr. Grosner a pointy glare.

My gym teacher’s eyes widened. Wet, stringy hair clung to his forehead, his screams muffled by a rag. My daddy chuckled as he readied the tray of artist’s tools. Paint brushes, palette knives, a hammer, drill, pliers, jars of a liquid that burned, and lots of shiny blades.

Daddy and Mamma shared a look I couldn’t quite understand, then Daddy knelt in front of me. “Are you sure you’re ready to make art with us?”

I gave him an I’m-big-enough look. “Yes.”

Daddy sat back on his heels and looked at Mamma again. “Alright, little darlin’. So once we finish creating the art, we toss the fleshy chunks to the pigs, then dissolve the rest. Except the skull. That goes to your mamma to clean up and paint for the wall.” He smiled. “The very last piece.”

I clapped my hands, over-the-moon happy, as I hugged my Janie. “Can I make the first cut? Or pluck out an eye? Janie needs a new one.”

Daddy ruffled my hair. “Now, now. Cutting is for when you’re a bit older, baby girl.”

Before I could argue, Mamma said, “How about this… You can help us abstract the subject and pluck an eye out for Janie then, okay?”

I beamed with pride. I get to help!

“And we can get ice cream after,” Daddy added with a cheerful grin.

“Ice cream, too? Yay!” I took off, skipping a wide circle around Mr. Grosner’s chair making my folks laugh. Then I stopped, turning. “Can Janie come?” I held my doll out, giving her a shake.

Mamma donned her red stained smock. “Sure. We’ll put an eye patch on her.”

“Perfect!” Daddy rubbed his hands together. “Now let’s make some art.”


Fiction © Copyright R.A. Clarke
Image courtesy of 


More from author R.A. Clarke:


Oh, That’s Good, Too!

From the author of Oh, That’s Good… you are cordially invited to peruse 52 more original speculative fiction prompts that are sure to inspire and spark the imagination. From dark to light, spaceships to fairytale creatures, and everything in between, there’s a little something for everyone between the covers. Whether you’re writing short or long fiction, in the home, class, or office, these prompts work for all manner of creative writing. Just spin, expand, elevate, and transform the concepts into your own, then jot down your shiny new plotlines in the handy note sections provided. So, are you ready to find inspiration and write that next great 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!


The Woman in Yellow
by Naching T. Kassa 

You’ve stayed in the house too long. There are footsteps at the end of the hall, and you are alone.

They have many names for the spirit residing here. Most call her “Soul Collector.” You call her, “The Woman in Yellow.”

The footsteps have stopped. She’s standing in the doorway, watching you.

Her wedding dress has yellowed with age. As has the veil draped over her head. They say the sight of her face will drive you mad. She has no eyes, only smooth, pale skin. Her smile is slashed across her face. The lips are ragged. She has too many teeth.

You shouldn’t have entered the hall, but you had to see the books. These tomes from a bygone age lie behind the glass, beckoning you. You have come here to destroy them. To rid the earth once and for all of their lies. The knowledge they hold is an abomination.

And now you are trapped here. The door behind you is locked. She guards the one ahead.

Her voice is like nothing you have ever heard. It grates on every nerve.

“Read to me,” she cries.

You weep with relief when the words die away. You cannot stand to hear another.

Her veil moves, and fearing she might speak again, you approach the cabinet and open the first glass door. You pull a slim volume down and open it.

She is beside you in an instant. Her breath smells of the grave. It comes in ragged gasps. You feel you might die if she touches you.

“Read to me.”

Crimson oozes from your ears and drips on the sleeve of your white shirt. Words swirl into being before your eyes. They are thoughts of a mind undone, and they unlock the worst part of yours, the place where all the nightmares hide.

She nods as you speak, savoring every word.

The lies burrow like worms into your head, but you can’t stop reading. For hours, yours is the only voice in the hall. When the book ends, your voice is nothing but a whisper.

You glance around. The Woman in Yellow has vanished.

Both doors are open.

You collect books from the shelf, as many as you can carry, and take them to the next room. There is a fireplace. You sit before it and pull the lighter from your pocket.

Under its glow, you open the next book.

And begin to read.


Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
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More from Naching T. Kassa:


Arterial Bloom

Lush. Brutal.

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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.

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